Cerebellar Hypoplasia

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Cerebellar Hypoplasia is a condition in dogs and cats where the cerebellum is not completely mature at birth. The cerebellum is the part of the brain that controls sensory perception, coordination and motor control. In cats, the effects of cerebellar hypoplasia are usually seen immediately, but can take up to two months to become apparent in dogs.

Jerky movements, tremors and uncoordinated movement, characterize Cerebellar Hypoplasia. The cat or dog will often fall down and have trouble walking with tremors that increase with excitement.

While the exact cause of cerebeller hypoplasia is not known, scientists believe there are some underlying things that can lead to the disease, such as genetics, injury, or poisons. There is no treatment for cerebellar hypoplasia, however, most dogs and cats with the condition can live happily with a little extra care to help them compensate for their disabilities. They will have to avoid areas where a fall could get them hurt and also areas where their balance could be an issue.

Here is what a cat with cerebellar hypoplasia looks like:

While she does have trouble walking. She is healthy, has good body shape and a nice coat. She obviously likes to play and she can pretty much function like a normal cat. She just falls over once in awhile.

Do you have a cat or dog with cerebellar hypoplasia? What are your tips for living with a dog or cat with this condition?


Running Dog, Treadmill Hog

We all live hectic lives and having pets can make it even more hectic, so what’s a busy pet owner to do? I have recently been seeing a lot of people using their treadmills to help beat doggie boredom and exercise them at the same time. We all know that daily exercise helps reduce dog behavior problems, but many of us find it hard to fit that in between life, work and kids too.

Teaching your dog to run on a treadmill can be a fun training experience for both of you if done properly. While there are treadmills specifically made for dogs, such as Jog A Dog, which are quite pricey, you really don’t need to shell out the money for a dog-specific treadmill. In fact, you can pick up one for just a little money (less than $400) at Wal-Mart, or if you really want to save money, pick one up at a garage sale. It doesn’t have to have all the bells and whistles, your dog doesn’t care if it’s MP3 compatible or not!

Now for training….I won’t go into it as this video shows a pretty good example.

And if you’re really, really motivated, you can teach your cat to do it too!



Doga – Yoga for Dogs

Yoga has been evolving for more than 5,000 years. It’s origins have been traced to India, with the oldest written records dating more than 3,000 years old. Artifacts have been found from this period also where the people of India have interacted with animals. This significance crossed over into yoga with many postures named after animals.

Animals were noted for their abilities and accomplishments and to imitate these qualities was considered a sign of spiritual attainment. A few of these poses are Downward Dog, Rooster Pose and Tortoise Pose. Recently, Yoga has evolved to include animals.

DogaToday more than 30 million people practice Yoga on a regular basis and people’s attitudes toward health and spirituality are changing. Doga (pronounced DOE-guh) developed from observing animals. Ashley Storm, a yoga instructor and co-owner of Hot Yoga, says, “They stretch naturally, like we do in our yoga poses. It just feels good to them. It feels good to us, too.”

Suzi Teitelman a Doga teacher and the Director of Yoga for Crunch Fitness NYC explains, “In the Doga poses, we will help our dogs go further in the stretches, and they will help us go deeper too. The poses are based on Hatha postures, and the dogs and humans stretch, breathe, bond and relax in sync. The weight of their body, their scent and their love all work together and that makes doga a complete spiritual experience. Chanting, massage and accupressure are a large part of doga as well as reflexology on all the paws, and on our pads too…Doga is the most amazing bonding experience you will ever have with your pet.”

Do you do Doga? What is your experience with it? If you don’t do it, would you try it? Let us know!


Flyball – An Introduction

Flyball began in the 1970’s when Herbert Wagner developed the first tennis ball launcher. The first Flyball tournament was held in 1983. Flyball racing is governed by the North American Flyball Association (NAFA), which was formed in 1985 by a group of 12 teams from Michigan and Ontario, Canada. Today, NAFA has more than 700 clubs with more than 16,000 dogs participating. Another club, United Flyball International (UFI) began in 2005 for the purpose of promoting Flyball.

Dog Running Flyball CourseFlyball races are fast-paced and offers more than enough excitement for all involved, including the spectators. Races consist of two teams, with four dogs on each team. They race side-by-side over a course that is 51 feet long.

The course consists of a starting line, four hurdles spaced ten (10) feet apart, and a box. The first hurdle is six (6) feet from the start line and the box is fifteen (15) feet from the last hurdle for a fifty-one (51) foot overall length. The hurdle height is dependent upon the height of the smallest dog on the team. The dogs jump the hurdles and step on a spring loaded box that shoots out a tennis ball. The dogs catch the tennis ball and then run back over the four hurdles. When the first dog crosses the starting line the next dog goes, etc. until all four dogs have run.

All dogs are allowed to compete in Flyball and can compete to earn NAFA titles in sanctioned tournaments. These titles are earned based on points and the time it takes for the dog to complete each race.


Teach Your Cat to Play Fetch

Teaching your cat to play fetch can be a fun and rewarding activity for both of you. Provided you furry friend is interested in cooperating with the whole toss and bring back idea. But, with patience you and your cat will get the hang of this fun activity.

The only thing you will need for this activity is your cat’s favorite toy. This can be a ball, a wad of paper, a mouse, whichever he prefers. You want it to be small enough that he can pick it up and bring it back to you.

Here we go:

  1. Get your cat’s attention with the toy by rustling it or dangling it in front of him.
  2. When you have his attention, toss it a little way from you. Let him play with it for a bit, then go pick it up and return to your spot.
  3. Encourage the cat to follow you back to your spot. When he does pet him and praise him.
  4. Repeat. Each time toss it a little farther. Eventually, your cat will get the idea and bring the toy back to you.

Check out the cat who loves to fetch below!