The veterinarians and staff at the Irving Pet Hospital are pleased to provide you with an online newsletter. This fun and fact-filled newsletter is updated on a regular basis.

Included in the newsletter are articles pertaining to pet care, information on our animal hospital, as well as news on the latest trends and discoveries in veterinary medicine.

Please enjoy the newsletter!

Current Newsletter Topics

2016's Most Wackiest and Unique Pet Names

Not everyone is content naming their dog or cat a tried-and-true name like Buddy or Whiskers. That’s why employees of Nationwide’s Veterinary Pet Insurance compile a yearly list of the wackiest and most unique pet names they encounter.

Here’s a look at the top picks for 2016:

Ten Top Dog Names

• Aggie Von Schwaggie

• Angus Von Wigglebottom

• ChaChi BigFoot

• Kanye Westie

• Lieutenant Colonel Be Back Soon

• Maximus Waffles

• Mcloven the Stud Muffin

• Optimus Prime Rib

• Scrappin Scruffy Macdoogle of the Highland Macdoogles

• SuperFun Coconut Dog

Ten Top Cat Names

• Agent Jack Meower

• Butch Catsidy

• Enzo Asparagus Santa

• Macaroni Bob

• Meowmadeus

• Princess Poopy Paws

• Shakespurr

• Sharkbait Hoo Haa Haa

• Sir Pickles Pennybottom

• Ziggy Snowdust

Popular Cat Breeds

Cats are becoming the most popular household pets worldwide. There are more than 100 million house cats in the Western world and this figure is increasing. In the USA, 38 million households have cats and the total number of cats exceeds 90 million. There are many reasons for feline popularity. Cats make affectionate, extremely devoted and are low maintenance companions.

There are over a hundred recognized breeds of domestic cats. According to the Cat Fanciers Association, fewer than 3% of all owned cats worldwide are pedigreed. Unlike dog breeds, cat breeds are a relatively new concept and many are imports from other countries. Only for the last 20 years have we seen the diversity that makes up most of our cat breeds today.

Below is a list of some of the more common cat breeds of the world.

The Abyssinian is a very active, playful, and inquisitive breed. This slender, shorthaired breed is distinguished by its ticked tabby coat pattern, which is a pattern more commonly seen in wild cats. Though ruddy is the color most associated with the breed, "Abys" are available in blue, fawn, and red (also known as sorrel), as well.

Although the Abyssinian is one of the oldest known breeds, there continues to be speculation and controversy concerning its history. Recent studies by geneticists show that the most convincing origin of the Abyssinian breed is the coast of the Indian Ocean and parts of Southeast Asia.


The American Shorthair was developed from native American working cats. It is a moderately stocky, even-tempered cat with a short coat. Although this breed is accepted in a wide variety of colors and patterns, the silver classic tabby is perhaps best known.

The American Shorthair is America’s own breed, whose ancestors are the cats that came to North America with the early pioneers from Europe. There are records that indicate several cats arrived on the Mayflower.

American Shorthair

Also known as the "Sacred Cat of Burma", the Birman has a number of fanciful legends associated with its origin. It is a semi-longhaired cat, accepted only in the pointed pattern, but is distinguished from the Balinese and Himalayan not only by its moderately stocky body type, but by its four white feet.

The Birman cat is believed to have originated in Burma, where it was considered the sacred companion cat of the Kittah priests.


The Chartreux is an old natural breed which originated in France. There exists a lovely old legend that the Chartreux lived with, and were named for, the Carthusian monks of France, and perhaps even shared a tipple or two of their famous Chartreuse liqueur!

Known for its wooly blue coat, brilliant orange eyes, and smiling expression, it is a sturdy, quiet, sweet-tempered cat.


The Cornish Rex is known for its soft, wavy, curly hair: even the whiskers curl. Its coat feels like crushed velvet to the touch. The original Rex, a cream male named Kallibunker, was born in 1950 in Cornwall, England.

Today’s Cornish Rex has a racy, slender body, and is found in a wide variety of colors and patterns.

Cornish Rex

The Korat is a small cat known for its sleek silvery blue coat, heart-shaped face and prominent gooseberry-green eyes. Korats originated in Thailand, where they are regarded as "good luck" cats. They are energetic and affectionate companions.

The earliest known picture of a Korat, or Si-Sawat, cat is to be found in the ancient book of paintings and verses known as The Cat-Book Poems in Bangkok’s National Library. It is believed by the Fine Arts Department, a division of Thailand’s Ministry of Education, to have been produced some time during the Ayudhya Period of Siamese History (1350-1767). The gift of a pair of Si-Sawat cats to a bride ensures a fortunate marriage.


The Maine Coon is known for its large size, easy-going temperament, and rugged appearance. This native New England breed is well-adapted to that harsh climate, with a heavy, shaggy coat, bushy tail, and tufted ears and toes. Though the brown classic tabby pattern is perhaps the best known, Maine Coons are available in a variety of colors and patterns.

The Maine Coon Cat is the native American longhaired cat and was recognized as a specific breed in Maine where they were held in high regard for their mousing talents. Through nature’s own breeding program, this breed has developed into a sturdy cat ideally suited to the harsh winters and varied seasons of the region.

Maine Coon

The Manx is distinguished by a feature it lacks - a tail. This natural mutation is thought to have originated hundreds of years ago on the Isle of Man, off the coast of England, hence the name Manx. Since many trade ships docked on the Isle, and all had ship cats, it is hard to tell just what the parent cat really was. CFA has recognized the Manx as a breed since the 1920s.

The "Manx gene" produces cats with tails of varying length, from the "longie" (normal tail) to the "stumpy" (short tail) and "rumpy" (no tail). Manx cats are stocky and rounded in appearance, with short backs and long hind legs that make them appear rabbit-like. The thick coat can be either short or semi-long, though in some associations the longhairs are known as Cymrics. Manx are available in a variety of colors and patterns.


The Ocicat looks like a small wild spotted cat, but is in fact a domestic breed created by combining the Siamese, Abyssinian, and American Shorthair. "Ocis" are active, affectionate, and very social. They are available in various patterns, though only the spotted patterns may be shown, and in several different colors.

Feline enthusiasts have always been awed by the spotted cats of the wild: ocelots, margays, leopards and others. Never before was there such an effort to breed an entirely domestic cat that can offer the spotted beauty of the wild cats, while maintaining the lovely, predictable disposition of the domestic cat. With so many wild spotteds disappearing as their native habitats are destroyed and invaded, it is increasingly important that this man-made breed can satisfy people who want something "exotic."


The Persian is perhaps the most widely recognized cat breed. It is certainly the most numerous of all the breeds. The Persian is known for its extremely long, fluffy coat, very stocky body type, round head, large eyes, and flat face. Persians have a sweet and gentle temperament, and are among the most placid of all breeds. Buyers are advised that the long, soft coat requires daily grooming.

Persians are available in a myriad of colors and patterns. Persians with the pointed ("Siamese") pattern are sometimes called Himalayans. In Britain, the Persian is known as the Longhair, and the Himalayan is known as the Colorpoint Longhair.


The Scottish Fold is characterized by its distinctive ears, which are folded forward and down, and by its large, rounded eyes, which give it a sweet, wide-eyed expression. They are mellow and affectionate cats. Scottish Folds are found in both longhair and shorthair varieties, in a great number of color and pattern combinations.

In 1961 a shepherd by the name of William Ross spotted the first known Scottish Fold cat at a farm near Coupar Angus in the Tayside Region of Scotland, Northwest of Dundee. The unique thing about this cat was that her ears folded forward and downward on her head. The resulting look gave the impression of a "pixie", "owl", or "teddy bear" that has captured the hearts of many American cat fanciers. Scottish Fold kittens are born with straight ears. At about three to four weeks of age, their ears fold...or they don’t!

Scottish Fold

The Siamese is distinguished by its brilliant blue eyes and its colored "points" (ears, face, tail, and feet), which provide a striking contrast to its light-colored body. It is vocal, demanding, lively, and affectionate. Today’s show Siamese display a very long, slender body type and a long, wedge-shaped head with huge ears. Some breeders work with a more moderate, rounded type of Siamese, known as the Traditional (Applehead) Siamese.

Siamese were originally recognized in the seal, blue, chocolate, and lilac point colors. In some associations, additional colors and patterns are accepted as part of the Siamese breed, while other associations call these cats Colorpoint Shorthairs.

Having been nurtured and protected within temple walls for centuries, a fact documented in art and literature, the Siamese became known to the rest of the world through the royal family of Siam. What better gift to present to a visiting dignitary than these beautiful native treasures? This is exactly the way this breed became known outside the borders of what we now call Thailand.


The Tonkinese was produced by crossing the Burmese and Siamese breeds. This playful, people-oriented breed has a moderate body type and a sleek, soft coat, and features a unique pattern known as "mink": it is pointed like the Siamese, but the body is colored in a shade harmonizing with the point color, and the eyes are aqua in shade. "Tonks" are available in a range of colors intermediate between their Burmese and Siamese parent breeds. In some associations non-mink colors and patterns are also accepted.

Caring for Tonkinese is as easy as feeding a well-balanced feline diet, clipping their nails weekly (providing a scratching post and insisting they use it is also imperative), using a rubber brush to groom them, and of course the all important visit to the vet for check-ups and inoculations.


The Turkish Van is a semi-longhaired cat distinguished by its unusual pattern: the cat is white except for a colored tail and color on the head. (This is called the "Van" pattern, and is seen in other breeds as well.) Turkish Vans are said to be fond of water and swimming.

The cat known in the United States as the Turkish Van is a rare and ancient breed that developed in central and southwest Asia, which today encompasses the countries of Iran, Iraq, southwest Soviet Union and Far Eastern Turkey. They are considered regional treasures in their homeland.

Turkish Van

Infographic: Pet Holiday Hazards

The holidays can mean exciting smells, sights and tastes for your curious pet -- and more ways he or she can get into trouble. Please take a look at the infographic below outlining the most serious dangers. Take the necessary precautions to keep the holidays happy and healthy for everyone in your home.

Click on the graphic below and print it out.

Keep it handy during the holiday and give copies to your friends and family.

Holiday Hazards

Keeping Your Dog Anxiety Free On New Year's Eve

Celebrating the new year is an exciting time for many people. Unfortunately, your dog might not share the same enthusiasm you do. There are numerous ways your dog might be put on edge this December 31. Whether it's loud neighbors celebrating loudly or fireworks exploding overhead, as a dog owner you must be conscientious of your dog's fears.

Fortunately, there are ways to make your dog feel more safe as we move into the new year. Here are just a few pointers to keep your dog happy and healthy into the new year and beyond.

Give your dog plenty of exercise before the celebrations begin. Take him or her to the dog park, go on a long walk or jog, play fetch until your dog's tongue is down to the floor. The point is that the more you tire them out during the day, the likelier they are to sleep through a noisy night.
Create a relaxing environment for them. Lavender oil (Lavendula augustifolia or Lavendula officinalis) can be used either on the skin or by letting your dog smell it, and has been found to reduce anxiety. It's also a good idea to play calming music, like classical or light jazz, that's turned up just high enough to wash out external noise.
Ask your veterinarian about medications that may help. Your veterinarian may be able to prescribe your dog anti-anxiety medication that will help calm them throughout the night. These same types of medications can be used for other anxiety-producing scenarios like thunderstorms or car rides.

Above all, remember to have a fun and safe New Year's Eve for both yourself and your dog!

The Benefits of Crate Training Your Cat

The idea of "training" your cat may either amuse or frighten you, but don't worry - it is possible. According to experts, it isn't that tough to teach your cat to accept a carrier, and once you do, you'll find lots of practical reasons for containing your kitty.

The biggest benefit of crate training is safety. You'll know where your cat is and he can still be a part of your activities. No more "'fraidy cats" getting loose when workmen come into your house. No more hissing fits that annoy or frighten your visitors. No more contortionist cats crammed under the seat of your car. More and more people are traveling with their cats, and for them, carriers are travel necessities. Loose cats can distract a driver, fall out of windows, get injured by loose objects or get wedged under the accelerator or dashboard. Also, many motels allow pets only when they are crated.

Another benefit of crate training is acceptance of a cage if the kitty must be boarded, hospitalized or shipped.

A carrier not only keeps these cats from getting into trouble, but also often serves as a safe haven - a cozy, contained space where the cat has privacy and a place of his own. Of course, a crate at home must be used humanely and not abused. No pet should be left alone in a crate for more than a couple of hours. Many cats find crates stressful at first. That fear can usually be overcome with patience and treats. You don't have to face the grueling training task unprepared. Many pet shops offer pamphlets on crate training or even training videos. At the very least, when you're buying a cat carrier, ask for the manufacturer's sales sheet describing the crate's features. It usually explains what size carrier to buy, various uses and the basics of crate training.

Here are some basic steps for crate training your cat:

• Place the carrier (with its door open) in a room where he can explore the crate on his own.

• Put food and toys inside to draw his attention. Leave the crate alone for several days

• The first time the cat enters the crate, he should not be locked inside for longer than 10 minutes. Gradually increase the amount of time he is locked inside. Do not let the cat out if he cries or hisses; that only reinforces bad behavior.

• Put favorite toys or soft bedding (particularly an old towel, blanket or sweater that carries your scent) inside the crate in order to help make him feel more secure.

• When kitty settles down, re-open the door to the carrier so he can come and go at will.

• Once your cat accepts the carrier, the next step is to get him used to movement. The crate should be picked up and carried around carefully. Talk soothingly and give treats.

• Slowly acclimate kitty to traveling in your car. At first, just sit in the car with him, and then take him on short errands. Each time you put your crated kitty in the car, increase your travel time. Make the experience as pleasant as possible using toys and treats. Don't limit your car trips to visits to the veterinarian's office and boarding kennel.

• Admittedly, for some cats, slow training doesn't work. A quick method of getting a cat into a carrier is as follows: Sit the carrier up-ended so its open door is at the top. Hold the cat firmly by the scruff of the neck and gently lower him into the crate. Be sure to support the cat's rump with your hand.

• Cat carriers (pet carriers) come in all sizes, designs, materials and prices. Pet stores, veterinary hospitals, catalog companies and online outfits offer large choices. Cardboard carriers are not recommended, as most cats can find ways to slip out and escape.

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