For those of you who are familiar with Bella the Basset, you may recognize the amazing animal campaign website known as, Animal Lover Funding. Animal Lover Funding allows pet owners to set up campaigns online to raise money for pets in need. Some of the campaigns are run by foster parents and some are set up by parents who have run into bad luck, and need some help taking care of their beloved furry family members. I was fortunate enough to have direct contact with the CEO of this amazing website, Lindsay Driver, during the campaign I ran for Bella the Basset. I connected with Lindsay through BlogPaws, a pet blogger community and online network. Almost immediately after I learned about the awesomeness that is Animal Lover Funding, I learned that my friend had taken on a new foster who needed to have her eyes surgically removed, and she wasn’t sure how to fund the surgery. After contacting my friend and ironing out a few details, I set up a campaign for Bella the Basset on Animal Lover Funding. I also contacted Lindsay by email to see if she had any additional methods to help me spread the word about Bella’s campaign. Lindsay informed me that reaching out to breed specific rescues through social media is a very effective way to get the message out there. Within 24 hours we exceeded our goal of $550, and within the week, we raised 300% of our goal, which we used to pay for unforeseen medications and care Bella needed, and we are saving the rest for a future foster in need. After having such great success using Animal Lover Funding, I contact Lindsay to conduct an interview so I could share more about this amazing website.
R: Where did you get the idea for Animal Lover Funding?
L: Our first dog had knee surgery early on in her life, she then was diagnosed with cancer at a very young age, and we recently lost her. When we got our second dog, he got Parvo at 8 weeks of age, and spent 9 days in the hospital. We were fortunate enough to afford to deal with a bit of debt and ultimately pay for the large veterinary bills, but after experiencing the financial hardship that stemmed from two very ill pets, my husband and I were inspired by other websites, like Kickstarter, and we decided the world was ready for a website geared toward pet campaigns.
R: Is your work/education background related directly to the website?
L: Actually, my background is in child welfare, and my husband’s background is in business, but we both felt passionate about helping individual animals and their cause. About 16 months ago, we took our savings and reached out to a web developer to help us build the website. During the 12 months prior to the launch, we used Facebook and our own social network to get feedback about whether or not people would use this website, and what type of experience they would like to have. We launched the site in July 2013, so we are still very new, and thus far the website has been quite time consuming (we are running this website is in addition to our full time jobs). We are finding out that website maintenance is quite difficult.
R: What are your next steps for the website?
L: Our overall goal is to help as many animals as possible, and we are taking steps to help make this happen. We really want to expand our work will shelters, especially helping their special need cases. We feel that shelters/rescues could benefit the most from our website, but we are still working toward building those relationships. We also would like to help other animal organizations build funds for special need cases, such as Good Samaritan accounts.
R: Do you feel that social media and advertising play a large role in the success of the website?
L: We try to stay away from advertising because we are afraid people will associate advertising with revenues, and we don’t want donors to think that their money is going toward anything more than keeping the website running. Currently, we take 5% of every donation to help fund the website, but until we get more campaigns, this amount is only coming close to what we need. In terms of social media, Facebook has made the biggest difference for our success and campaigns thus far, but we hope to be able to expand into other forms of social media in the future.
R: How many campaigns have been funded so far?
L: So far, we have had 20 campaigns started on our website, and more of them are starting to exceed their goals. For those that haven’t, we are looking into extending the terms of each campaign from 30 days to 60 days.
It looks like there is a lot on the horizon for Animal Lover Funding, and the more people know about this website, the more animals will be helped and saved. I want to thank Lindsay for taking the time to speak with me, and I look forward to witnessing the success of such a wonderful website.
Humans can experience the effects of both Hyperthyroidism and Hypothyroidism. In their basic definitions, these diseases represent the over and under production of the thyroid hormone. Our furry friends provide an exception to the traditional human definition of Hyper or Hypo-thyroidism; cats typically experience hyperthyroidism and dogs typically experience hypothyroidism. In plainer terms, cats experience the over production of the thyroid hormone and dogs experience the under production of the thyroid hormone. These diseases are commonly diagnosed in veterinary medicine, so I hope to shed some light on the details for pet parents.
Where is the thyroid hormone?
The thyroid hormone is located on the neck for both cats and dogs. According to the Merck/Merial Manual for Pet Health, the thyroid gland produces the same two hormones as the human thyroid gland T3 and T4. The thyroid hormone is central to the animal metabolism, and works in harmony with many other hormones throughout the body. If you bring your cat to the veterinarian and they feel along the center of their neck, they are feeling for their thyroid hormone. When cats have hyperthyroidism, their thyroid gland sometimes becomes noticeably larger. Because this swelling isn’t always evident, blood work is the most common form of diagnosis.
What is Hyperthyroidism?
The definition of hyperthyroidism according to the Merck/Merial Manual for Pet Health, is the excess production of the T3 and T4 hormones. The most common cause of feline hyperthyroidism is a benign thyroid tumor.
What are the symptoms of Hyperthyroidism?
According to the Merck/Merial Manual for Pet Health the symptoms include:
Weight loss: This is why it is important to bring your pet in for their annual exam. They could have lost 2lbs in the last year, that you may not have noticed, and they could be experiencing internal symptoms.
Excessive Appetite: Have you ever met a kitty who will physically harass you for food? If this is a new behavior, you might want to have their thyroid hormone tested.
Hyper-excitability: Many hyperthyroid cats become VERY vocal and what some owners describe as “needy”.
Increased Thirst/Urination/Defecation: All of these symptoms are associated with an increase in metabolism.
Vomiting/Diarrhea: May be due to the inefficiencies within the system as a result of the overproduction of the thyroid hormone.
Cardiovascular symptoms include heart murmurs, shortness of breath, and congestive heart failure.
What treatments are available for Hyperthyroidism?
Radioactive iodine treatment: According to the Centers for the Treatment of Feline Hyperthyroidism radioactive iodine treatment is advantageous due to its cost effective nature, and lack of anesthesia.
Surgical Removal of the Thyroid Gland: According to VeterinaryPartner.com, surgical removal of the gland is advantageous due to its effectiveness. Often times, no additional treatment is necessary.
Long term medications: This is the most common treatment chosen by pet owners. I believe many people choose this option based on the age of their cat versus the expense of the other options. These days, pharmacy companies have the option of medicated chews for your cat, which is much easier that physically pilling them.
Can dogs ever experience hyperthyroidism?
According to the Merck/Merial Pet Manual for Health, the answer is Yes, although very rarely.
What is hypothyroidism?
According to the Merck/Merial Manual for Pet Health hypothyroidism causes decreased levels of thyroid hormone result in a slower metabolic rates. Hypothyroidism is most common in 4 to 10 year old mid to large breed dogs.
What are the symptoms of hypothyroidism?
Lethargy or unwillingness to exercise due to a decrease in metabolism.
Weight gain without an increase in food intake.
Dryness of skin and coat.
What treatments are available?
According to Pet.WebMD.com the only treatment available is to treat with thyroid replacement hormone medication. Typically, the treatment is lifelong and thyroid hormones should be monitored throughout a dogs life.
Can cats ever experience hypothyroidism?
Yes, typically as a result of the damage or removal of the thyroid gland.
Many of these symptoms can be discussed at your pet’s annual exam. Be sure to note any changes in their weight and appetite.
WARNING! DO NOT EAT WHILE READING THIS POST!
Your dog is trying to express its anal glands when they drag their butt across your carpet, also called, scooting. Also, if you suddenly smell something foul (and fishy), they have achieved their goal. Although gross, it is important to learn about anal glands for both dog and cat owners. Many owners may already be familiar with this gland, located on either side of a dog, or cat’s, rear end (in very close proximity to the anus). Owners have to bring their pet into the vet’s office every 3-4 weeks to have them expressed because their pet can’t do it on their own. When a pet is unable to express their anal glands, owners often find out when they have a burst, or abscessed, anal gland, which looks like a cut right next to their butt. When this happens, the vet needs to flush out the gland to make sure it isn’t still impacted, and sometimes they prescribe antibiotics.
Why can’t my pet express their own glands?
Normally these glands are naturally expressed during defecation. Typically, large dogs don’t have a problem with this, but small dogs are very susceptible to “Anal Sac Disease”, or the inability to express their anal glands.
According to the Merck/Merial Manual for Pet Health, anal sacs can become impacted (clogged), infected, abscessed, or cancerous in both dogs and cats. The inability to express the glands causes them to become impacted. Before your pet reaches the point of them being infected, or abscessed, you will need to get them expressed at your veterinarian’s office. This can happen because the glands don’t express during defecation, lack of muscle tone in obese animals, and frequent, or excessive, secretion of these glands.
How do I know if my pet has this problem?
If your pet is “paying a lot of attention” to that area, it may be time to have them expressed. IF, this is the first time your pet has had a problem, its ALWAYS a great idea to have them expressed by a veterinarian to be sure there isn’t a tumor and the discharge is of normal consistency and color.