Introducing Our New Managing Editor!

Today I am very excited to tell you that we have a new Managing Editor,

Jessica Smith!

Jessica came to work for us at Your Pet Space just before Christmas last year, and we couldn’t have asked for a better holiday gift!  Many of you reading this have interacted with Jessica as my second at the front desk at Your Pet Space, spoken to her on the phone or received a few of her e-mails.  Perhaps you’ve even read some of her writing on pets, which shows up regularly here in our online magazine, or seen her charming Instagram posts that include your pets, all smiling and trending.

Here is even more about Jessica:

Having been raised in a household full of dogs, guinea pigs, hamsters, and all things furry, Jessica’s love of animals has only grown over the years. She is currently volunteering for Safe Haven Animal Sanctuary in her free time when she isn’t out and about with her ridiculous pit bull mix, Annabel Lee, or taking care of her two gold fish, Carrot Cake and Winchester. She is also putting her literature degree to use by working as an editor for a local online magazine, Independent Noise. While she has no plans for the future, she knows that it will be filled with fur and fiction galore.

Thanks to client John Hesse’s endorsement, Jessica will also be sitting for her Professional Animal Care Provider exam in June, and we have no doubt she’ll pass with flying colors!



1) Purchases content
2) Promotes the publication to be an editorial and commercial success
3) Manages the magazine so that it provides readers with high quality content
4) Defines the editorial positions/hires new editors
5) May assist with posting content to the site

Jessica/Managing Editor

1) suggests ideas, receives article pitches
2) assigns article ideas to the editors
3) handles problems, keeps the editorial staff on schedule and answers questions from department editors
4) determines the importance of articles and what goes up in what order
5) May assist with posting content to the site

I’m very excited for those of you who will get to interact with Jessica for the first time. I have found her a pleasure to work with in every capacity, as she treats every single pet, whether here at the facility or in print, as if it were her own.

If you haven’t yet seen her writing, a couple of her previously submitted articles are here:

My Dog Has Allergies: Now, What?

Feeding Dogs Human Food: How To Change Your Ways

Congratulations again, Jessica!

Do You Want A New Cat? Here Are A Few Things to Know.

Your best friend has a cat, your sister just got two kittens for her kids, and even your mom took in a cat…so you decide to get a cat too! You’re probably thrilled as you scroll through the photos of cats up for adoption at your local animal shelters, and you should be! Keep in mind that there are a few questions you should consider. Will I have enough time to dedicate to my new cat as they settle into their new home? Will my cat be friendly to my guests? Should I get a more independent breed? These are all very important questions, but before you begin selecting cat breeds and picking out combs and collars, start doing research to figure out how much adopting your new cat will cost you. Most of the following information is from the Simple Dollar’s Pet Ownership Costs Guide.

Every cat deserves a cozy bed to call their own!

Initial Cost

The initial cost for your new cat is your adoption or purchase fee, vaccination fees, and cat equipment. One of the perks about cats is that they are generally less expensive than dogs, especially when it comes to illnesses or injuries. The costs are much, much lower! When it comes to adoption, the breed of your desired cat can affect the adoption price dramatically, especially if you purchase your new cat from a breeder. For instance, an American Bobtail can cost between $500 to $700, whereas the average price of a Maine Coon is $1,000.

But if you adopt a cat from your local shelters, you might only be charged between $50 to $175 for your adoption fee. Luckily, some shelters will even provide a microchip, a spay or neuter operation, and vaccinations for your new cat without charge.

How much am I worth?!

If you’re adopting a kitten, the veterinarian will probably insist on a few vaccinations that will protect your cat later in life. These vaccinations include feline leukemia, rabies, panleukopenia, and calicivirus. Keep in mind that each vaccination can cost between $50 to $100, and you may have to pay an additional fee for any booster shots. Heartworm prevention medication is very important for cats because there is not an approved medication for heartworm treatment for them. Make sure to get the prevention medication, especially if you live in a Northern or Tropical area.

Once you finally bring your new cat home, you can start buying cat equipment for them! Some basics are a water and food bowl, cat food, a cat box with a scooper, cat litter, and a cat bed. If you feel that you want to get more for your cat, there are cat houses, scratching posts and window perches that you can purchase for your cat. Some stores even sell treats like Catnip Grass and mouse toys. If you want to purchase more cat tools, here’s a list!

  • Collar
  • Cat Litter Deodorizer
  • Name tag and your name, address, and phone number
  • Non-toxic Cleanser
  • Undercoat brush
  • Nail Clippers
  • Feline toothpaste and toothbrush 

Medical Care

If you adopt a cat from a shelter, you may be charged for their spay or neuter operation. And if you take in a stray, you will need to schedule your cat’s operation soon. Some people are against spaying and neutering, but according to Spay USA, both genders benefit from the operation. Female cats won’t have heat cycles, the chance of uterine, ovarian, and mammary gland tumors can be reduced or eliminated, and it helps reduce the number of stray cats roaming without a home. For male cats, neutering at a young age eliminates spraying or marking of territory, it lessens their desire to try to roam outside, chances of prostate and testicular cancer reduce, there can be a decrease in aggressive or hostile behavior, and they may be better behaved.

Neutered, and more handsome than ever!

During their recovery stage, remember to keep your home quiet and peaceful, try to prevent them from jumping and running for at least two weeks, do not allow them to lick their incision, and check their incision daily to make sure there is no redness, discharge, or swelling. If there is, take your cat to the nearest animal hospital immediately. Make sure to keep up with regular check ups as frequently as you can to keep them as healthy as possible.

Depending on the breed of your cat, you may be faced with specific medical issues. Because of selective breeding, breeders often decide to pass on specific traits and many purebred cats are prone to medical concerns because of this breeding method. Balinese cats may suffer from Nystagmus (a neurological disorder which causes rapid eye movement), Lymphoma, Megaesophagus, Aortic Stenosis, Asthma and Amyloidosis (a disease that happens when a type of protein called amyloid is deposited in body organs).

Devon Rex cats can suffer from Urticaria Pigmentosa (a dermatological problem that causes sores that become crusty on their body), Hip Dysplasia, and Congenital Hypotrichosis (hereditary baldness).

These cats look very different from each other, and they have their own health issues to go with their unique looks.

And the Himalayan cat suffers from Seborrhea Oleosa, Feline Hyperesthesia (a nervous system disorder), Progressive Retinal Atrophy, or Dental Malocclusions (cat’s teeth don’t fit well together). Regardless of your cat’s breed, remember to schedule your cat for routine (annually or biannually) veterinary visits; but remember to put aside funds for unexpected accidents or illnesses that may occur. If you adopt a cat who turns out to have physical or mental disabilities, you may have to seek specific professional medical care for your cat.


Although feeding may seem like one the easiest parts of being a cat owner, it can be a more difficult process then some owners anticipate. Ideally, you should feed your cat a medium to high quality food. Avoid Science Diet, Fancy Feast, and Iams. Some of the best diets you can provide for your cat are raw, homemade food, human-grade canned food, or Blue Buffalo dry food. Visit Better Life Natural Pet Foods for even more detailed information and personalized help for your cat’s feeding.

Your cat would be more than thrilled to have an all-natural diet!

Keep in mind that cats can develop allergies to food that is most frequently fed to them, so remember to keep your cat’s diet flexible, especially if you’ll be feeding them dry food. Cats mostly develop allergies to beef, seafood, soy, wheat gluten, lamb, corn, and dairy products. If you notice itchy skin, vomiting, hair loss or scratching, take your cat to a veterinarian and change their diet.


Some people forget that their cats need grooming, the same way we need to groom ourselves daily. Your cat’s hair length can generally determine the routine you create for your cat. A shorthaired breed like an Egyptian Mau, Burmese, American Shorthair, or a Savannah cat may have to brushed once or twice every two weeks. A longhaired breed such as a Persian, Ragdoll, Birman, or a Somali cat should be brushed every day. If you decide to give your cat a bath, you may expect a few scratches. If you decide to take your cat to a professional groomer, you may be charged between $30 to $50; but you can also purchase cat bathing wipes for your feline instead of water and soap. Remember to clean your cat’s ears to prevent infections from growing wax, and to keep their claws trimmed to avoid splintering of broken claws.

Fredrick Douglass and his dad enjoying some outdoor playtime.

If you use the TSD Pet Cost Calculator, you’ll be able to roughly calculate what your first-year costs for your new cat. For instance, I put in the information for the most recent addition to my family, Fredrick Douglass. With his vaccines, cost of food, toys, a litter box, bowls, collar and harness, and the amount of days I travel a year, it’s calculated that I will spend about $985 a year on Frederick Douglass.

Test it out for your new pet, and good luck finding your purr-fect pal!

Elanda-Isabella Atencio, our Feline Editor, is on her road to being a “crazy” cat lady. She has three cats; a moody Missus, a wild Baby Kitty, and notorious Fredrick Douglass. She was raised with cats, chickens, dogs, and geese. From cleaning coops, morning dog runs, picking eggs, to growing catnip, Elanda enjoys pampering her pets. Elanda is a student at New Mexico State University, earning her BA in Creative Writing and is Editor-in-Chief of the online arts journal, Independent Noise and reader for Puerto del Sol. She plans to move to Oregon, where she hopes to take her cats on daily walks when it’s overcast and cool. If you’d like to contact Elanda, email her at

Too Hot to Trot: Summer Conditions in Horses

Summer may be the favorite season for many, but for horse owners, it can create several challenges. Equines become hot much more quickly than humans do, and the effects can have serious consequences if they aren’t managed correctly.

The horse’s body has evolved over time to cope more easily with cold weather conditions than with the heat. It is, therefore, essential that owners provide the right care for their horses during summer months to keep them in good health.

In this article, we look at four conditions associated with hot weather, how to spot the symptoms, and what action you should take.

Itchiness is a common symptom seen in several of these conditions.


What Is It?

Anhidrosis is a Greek word, which translates to “without sweating.” A horse with this condition is incapable of sweating, and those that suffer from it are also known as non-sweaters, puffers, and dry-coated horses.

What happens is that the sweat glands become over stimulated and then shut down completely. The exact cause is not known, but it is common in horses that have been moved to hot and humid climates.

The condition was first recorded in the 1920s when the British moved their racehorses and polo ponies to colonies such as India and Malaysia and noticed that they didn’t sweat.

Horses, like humans, cool their bodies through sweating. When they are unable to do this, their body temperature remains high, which puts them at risk for heat stroke. It is very dangerous and it can potentially result in death.

It affects horses of any age or breed, whether they are exercised or not, but dark horses tend to be most susceptible.

This horse with anhidrosis is getting a cooling rinse-off after exercising.


If your horse suffers from anhidrosis, he will display some or all of the following symptoms:

  • Coat that is dry and hot to touch after exercise
  • Laboured breathing during and after exercise with flared nostrils
  • High temperature
  • Increased heart rate
  • Lethargy and exhaustion
  • Poor coat that is thin and patchy
  • Facial hair loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Decreased water consumption

What Action to Take

If you think your horse has anhidrosis, your veterinarian will probably do an intradermal terbutaline sweat test. Diagnosing the condition is much easier than controlling it, but it can eventually disappear.

Here are some ways that you can manage a horse with anhidrosis during the summer months:

  • Ride when the temperatures are cooler, either early in the morning or late in the evening.
  • Take frequent breaks during riding and note how hard your horse is breathing. Watch that he doesn’t overheat.
  • Compete at cooler times of the year, as most shows will be held during the daytime in summer.
  • After exercise, move him into some shade and cool him down by splashing cold water on his body, neck and legs. Scrape the water off and repeat the process.
  • Turn him out during the night.
  • During the day, keep him in a well-ventilated barn with fans.
  • Ensure fresh water is consistently available.
  • Give electrolytes.

If the condition persists and your horse continues to suffer, the only way to cure anhidrosis is to move him to a cooler climate.


What Is It?

Dehydration happens when the loss of fluids from the horse exceeds the fluid intake from food and water.

It is caused by either persistent diarrhea or extreme sweating during strenuous exercise. A horse can lose 10 to 15 liters (nearly 4 gallons) of sweat in one hour, especially when it is hot and humid, and they may struggle to cool down afterwards.

This horse is trying to stay properly hydrated.

As a result, the horse loses vital fluids and electrolytes. Electrolytes perform many functions in your horse’s body and have the same elements as seawater:

  • Sodium (Na)
  • Magnesium (Mg)
  • Calcium (Ca)
  • Potassium (K)
  • Chloride (Cl)

The danger of dehydration is that sometimes it can be difficult to detect. If left untreated, it can lead to conditions such as colic, kidney failure and azoturia (an abnormal excess of nitrogen compounds in the urine).


To check if your horse is dehydrated, pinch a fold of his skin and then let it go. With a properly hydrated horse, the skin will instantly spring back into place, but if he is dehydrated, it will take a few seconds to return to normal.

Other symptoms include:

  • Frequent, shallow breaths
  • Sunken eyes
  • Lethargy
  • Depression
  • Gums not pink
  • Dry skin and mouth
  • Increased heart rate
  • Urine dark colored with a powerful odour
  • Thick and sticky saliva
  • Tucked-up appearance

What Action to Take

Prevention of dehydration is better than a cure.

An average horse’s body contains approximately 70% water, meaning he will usually drink between 5 to 15 gallons of water daily, depending on the amount of exercise they are receiving and the climate.

It is, therefore, vital that clean, fresh water is continuously available.

Adding apple juice or molasses to the water is also a good idea. Once your horse is familiar with the taste, you can add it to the drinking water at shows, as many equines are reluctant to drink when they are away from home.

These guys aren’t at home, but it is crucial for them to have access to water wherever there are.

Ensure that your horse has free access to salt, either loose or via a salt lick, to encourage him to drink and replace lost minerals and electrolytes. Also, many veterinarians now suggest feeding electrolytes daily all year round.

With mild forms of dehydration, offer your horse two buckets of water; one with electrolytes and one plain, allowing him to choose.

Make sure your horse stands in the shade and cool him down by cold hosing. More severe cases will require immediate veterinary treatment, giving fluids via a nasogastric tube.

Sweet Itch

What Is It?

Sweet itch, also known as Pruritus Threshold, is an allergic reaction in horses triggered by the saliva of biting insects, such as midges, lice, black flies and horse flies. Allergies and infections can also be a cause.

With this condition, the horse suffers unbearable and extreme itchiness.

The condition is more common in areas that are prone to bugs, such as ponds, swamps, and bogs and is made worse by hot and humid weather.

A horse suffering from sweet itch, in search of relief, can rub hair completely off the afflicted area, breaking open the skin, which can then become infected.

It affects any part of the horse’s body but is mostly found on the belly, face, back, mane and tail.

All of these flies would certainly BUG me!


If you think your horse has sweet itch, he will display the following symptoms:

  • Mild to severe rubbing
  • Loss of mane and tail hair
  • Bald patches
  • Sections of sore, swollen, open and broken skin which may bleed

What Action to Take

During spring and summer, protect your horse from biting insects by:

  • Spraying fly repellent on him
  • Use fly masks and sheets
  • Stable from 4 pm to 8 am when biting insects are most active
  • Use a ceiling fan in his stable
  • Do not stable him near woodland or boggy areas
  • Cut sweet foods from your horse’s diet
  • Add garlic to feed (the smell deters insects!)

When treating sweet itch, it is essential that you consult your veterinarian who can then do a skin scraping to diagnose the cause.

Medication, such as steroids or antibiotics, may be administered along with the appropriate creams, lotions, and shampoos.

Your veterinarian can advise you accordingly as to what is the best cause of action for your horse.


What Is It?

Sunburn, also known as Erythema Solare, is the burning of skin due to over-exposure to UV radiation and it can be extremely painful.

Any horse or pony can get sunburned, but grays, Pintos, Cremellos, Appaloosas, and those with white face and leg markings or pink muzzles, are most susceptible. Foals and yearlings are also particularly prone.

Sometimes you have to protect your horse from the sun’s harmful rays in style!


When an unprotected horse has exposure to the sun for a length of time, he is likely to show the following symptoms:

  • Skin that appears red and painful
  • Skin is hot and sore to touch
  • Skin is dry and cracked
  • The skin bleed or be weepy
  • Blisters
  • Patches of hair loss
  • Inflammation
  • Peeling of skin

The symptoms of sunburn can lead to dehydration and stress in your horse, caused by the heat and pain, and it may result in colic or liver damage.

Burning rays can damage the skin, cause scarring, and continuous overexposure may lead to skin cancer, squamous cell carcinoma, whereby cancerous growths appear on or around the eyelids.


Protect your horse from the sun by:

  • Stabling during the day– Keep your horse in a well-ventilated stable during the hottest part of the day. If your horse must be out, ensure that he has proper shade.
  • Sunscreen/sunblock– There are many brands that are formulated for horses, or you can use one for humans that are at least 30 SPF. Products containing zinc oxide are particularly useful. Using brightly colored sunscreen is a helpful indication as to when it is wearing off and needs re-applying.
  • Protective clothing– There are several sun-blocking fly sheets, fly masks (some with a flap that reaches to the horse’s nose for extra protection), and hoods available on the market now.

If your horse does have sunburn, treat it the same way you would treat your own. Using Aloe Vera sunburn treatments are very soothing and help to heal your horse’s skin. Otherwise, antiseptic ointments such as Sudocream are also good.

If the sunburn does not appear to be healing, contact your veterinarian who may prescribe an antibiotic cream or ointment.

If you have protected your horse against sunburn and he still shows symptoms, there may be individual plants that are causing toxicity and photosensitivity to him. Call your veterinarian who can identify any plants in the area that may cause a sunburn-like reaction.

Also, it is possible that any medication your horse is on may cause the same symptoms and must be investigated by your veterinarian.

By taking these preventative measures, you should be able to keep your horse cool, hydrated, happy and healthy during those long, summer months.

Alison O’Callaghan, our Equine Editor, is a professional horse riding instructor and has owned many types of pets. When she is not riding horses or walking her dog, she loves to write about animals. If you’d like to contact Alison, you can email her at