Before you sit your cat down for a serious discussion or ground them by taking away catnip toys…Herpesvirus in cats is primarily a respiratory disease.

Herpesvirus is an extremely common virus in the feline population (both domestic and wild). The majority of kittens already test positive for exposure by 8 weeks of age. Infected mothers can pass it on to their kittens as young as 3-4 weeks of age. Kittens are the most likely to have severe clinical signs and it can cause death in them.

When her Indian Ringneck Parakeet flew from her shoulder in May after being startled by a gust of wind, owner Kathryn Johnson thought she would never see her beloved bird again.

But thanks to a fortunate turn of events and good detective work by Cascade Hospital For Animals, Johnson was reunited nearly 2 months later with Peppin, who had managed to fly from Holland to roost at a home on the Thornapple River near Cascade Township.

While dogs love to ride shotgun in cars and trucks when their owners run errands or shop, veterinarians caution that the pets often should be left home for their own well being.

At the very least, owners should care for their pets with padded harnesses or carriers to protect against sudden stops or collisions and make sure that the insides of the vehicles won’t become sweltering under the summer sun.

This summer, dogs may be at an increased risk of contracting the H3N2 canine influenza virus being transmitted throughout the country at dog shows, so you may want to protect your pet with a vaccination against the disease.

At the beginning of June, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development reported that there were six cases of the highly contagious respiratory disease that causes symptoms similar to human flu: coughing, runny nose and fever.

Dog owners who also are gardeners have been asking us at Cascade Hospital for Animals whether it’s safe to take their pets out with them as they perform various chores such as weeding and fertilizing. The short answer is yes, but be prepared to supervise your pet as you tend to your garden.

Dr. Victoria Hekman, new Associate Veterinarian at Cascade Hospital, Preserving the Bond Between Owners and Pets

If you want to understand why Dr. Victoria Hekman got into the field of veterinary medicine, you needn’t look much further than the case of Petunia the pig.

“Petunia was a market hog that lived inside the house with a family that owned a farm,” says Victoria, who joined the staff of Cascade Hospital for Animals as an Associate Veterinarian last month after a stint in an emergency room of an Akron, Ohio pet clinic. “She even had her own bedroom.

Bearded dragons and snakes in particular seem to like to interact with their owners.

There are a number of misconceptions about reptiles, but perhaps the top one is that they don’t make good pets.

“We have many owners of reptiles in this area, and they are well liked by the families that have them,” said Dr. Tracey Ritzman, a veterinarian who provides care for exotic pets, has been treating reptiles at Cascade Hospital for Animals for over 6 years. During that time, she has seen quite a menagerie of bearded dragons, boa constrictors, pythons, water and land turtles, tortoises and geckos.

Before buying a puppy, take into consideration what characteristics the dog will have when it is an adult.

It’s almost always a bad idea to buy something on impulse -- even more so when it’s a puppy that has some unwelcomed characteristics that you will have to tolerate for 12 years or longer.

Like their owners, dogs and cats start to feel more aches and pains in their joints as they age, so they may shy away from physical activity that aggravates their conditions. And just like their owners, older pets lose flexibility and put on excess weight as they avoid exercise -- causing the whole cycle to accelerate.

The situation is largely the same when a dog or cat undergoes surgery on their hips, elbows, knees and ankles. When it hurts to move their joints, they avoid activity -- which only causes them to lose even more range of motion.

The staff at Cascade Hospital want to remember former employee Molly Hulbert in the most fitting way they can -- by giving the gift of life to people and encouraging others to do so as well.

Molly, a 14-year veteran at the hospital who succumbed to small cell carcinoma in November, was the type of person “who would help anyone in any way she could,” said LVT Kelli Ferguson, who is organizing a blood drive March 8 at the hospital along with staffer Theresa Hertel. “We felt this is the best way to pass along her spirit of giving. The number-one reason why donors say they give is to help others.”