Do Dogs Smile? Understanding Pet Facial Expressions

Pet facial expressions are one of the ways pets communicate with us.

Facial expressions are such an integral part of communication between humans that oftentimes we impart meaning on the expressions that our pets carry. Anyone who is an animal lover will maintain that their four-legged friends have meaningful facial changes, though. So what is the final verdict? Do dogs really smile or is it all in our heads? The team at Carriage Hills Animal Hospital  loves to decode pet facial expressions, and sharing our findings with you is part of the fun!


Pet Facial Expressions in Nature

You can tell a great deal about what another person is thinking or feeling based on their facial expression. Pets also rely heavily on nonverbal communication, but unlike people, they naturally use more body language changes than facial changes to communicate with one another.

Animal communication utilizes posture, ear position, tail carriage, and facial expression in order to convey information. All of these components are integral to the process. For instance, a dog with a low, relaxed tail, slightly open mouth, and perked ears communicates a sense of ease. A tucked tail, low body, and pinned back ears indicates a fearful demeanor.

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Kitty Kryptonite:Feline Kidney Disease

Feline kidney disease can cause your cat to be sickWe all have our strengths and weaknesses. When it comes to our bodies, things are no different. Each of us have organs and body systems that work better than others, be it a diseased immune system, a congenital heart issue, or a sensitive gastrointestinal tract.

Cats as a group tend to have a temperamental urinary system. This organ system results in more than its fair share of vet visits for our feline friends, be it for a urinary tract infection, a cystitis flare, or for feline kidney disease. No matter what the issue, Carriage Hills Animal Hospital is equipped to help your cat make the best of a flawed urinary tract. Continue…

Understanding Feline Leukemia

understand and learn how to help protect your pet against feline leukemia virusCats, like any other creature, are susceptible to a variety of infectious diseases that can have serious consequences on health and well-being. One such infectious disease that cat lovers need to have an understanding of is feline leukemia. This viral infection is truly one to avoid when possible, and at Carriage Hills Animal Hospital we are here to arm you with the knowledge you need to do so.

The Pathophysiology Behind Feline Leukemia

While the leukemia that affects our human loved-ones is the result of a cancerous process, feline leukemia is actually caused by an infectious virus. Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) is a retrovirus, similar to HIV in people. It results in a serious infection that may appear even several years after exposure to the virus. Continue…

Eye of the Tiger: Feline Vision

Feline vision is different than human vision. Perspective can be an amazing thing. Looking at a situation from a different angle can shed light on many situations.

As cat lovers, we at Carriage Hills Animal Hospital find that  sometimes looking at the world from a feline perspective can be very helpful. Keep reading to see the world through a cat’s eyes by understanding more about feline vision.

Vision Basics

Humans, cats, and dogs alike are very dependent on vision for day to day function. Feline vision plays a central role in hunting and social behaviors, too.

No matter what your species, the eye works similarly in most animals. Light enters the front of the eye through the clear windshield-like cornea. It then passes through the lens, which focuses light on the retina. The retina is a layer of cells at the back of the eye made up of: Continue…

The Next Level in Cat Dental Care

Our kitties seem so good at taking care of themselves, don’t they? Their independence is one of the many traits that makes them so endearing. But, of course, they need our care and attention to thrive. One place we may not always think to check when it comes to cat care is the mouth. After all, who wants to look in there with those enormous fangs?

However, cat dental care is crucial to prevent dental disease. By the time they reach age three, 85% of cats have some form of periodontal disease. Fortunately, this common problem is preventable.

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Spotlight: Hyperthyroidism in Cats

Sleeping catAt Carriage Hills Animal Hospital, we diagnose and treat a wide variety of diseases and conditions in our patients. Some, however, we see more frequently than others. Hyperthyroidism in cats is a very common condition that we deal with, and one that we feel all cat owners should know about.

Hyper What?

The thyroid is a part of the endocrine system, the body system that is responsible for hormone production and regulation. The thyroid is a gland that lies in the neck region of our pets (and us as well). It produces thyroid hormone, which is largely responsible for the proper functioning of metabolism. Continue…

Vomiting Cats: Not Just Hairballs

iStock_000003578356_MediumCats are known for throwing up. Pop culture often makes fun of pukey kitties, and most cat owners accept that their cat is going to throw up more often than they’d like. Believe it or not, though, vomiting cats are never really normal.

The Hairball Myth

Cats definitely throw up a lot, and many times there is hair in the vomit. But hair does not cause vomiting. Cats have evolved to groom their lush coats and eat little creatures with hair. Cats who vomit are displaying a symptom of something that is not working correctly in their digestive system. Continue…