Latest Posts

The origin of the purr….

July 17, 2017 | Filed under: Uncategorized — Trumann Staff @ 2:05 pm

Pet Talk

By Dr. Norette L. Underwood

The Origin of the Purr

The purring of cats has long been one of the most interesting and controversial sounds in the animal kingdom.

Several theories for the origin of the purr have been offered.  At first, the larynx was considered the source. However, results of early experiments virtually dispelled this theory.  When air was allowed to bypass the larynx in some cats, they could still purr.

Next, the sound was attributed to vascular sources.  Researchers observed that cats most often purred while being petted and that they also tended to arch the back during that time.  The theory went something like this: the arching of the back bent the aorta, the blood eddied at the sharp bend, resulting in turbulence that was heard as a purr.  Investigators went so far as to induce local anesthesia at the site of an abdominal incision so they could manually palpate the aorta.

Not until recently has the mechanism for purring been found.  Results of electromyographic studies of laryngeal muscles revealed regular stereotyped patterns associated with purring.  As certain of these muscles contract, the glottis closes partially, causing a buildup of pressure caudal to or within the glottis.  The turbulence of the air passing through the narrowed opening produces the purr.  This explanation holds for purring that occurs when the cat is in positions other than the arched-back.

Meaning of the purr

Not all purring is associated with an audible sound. Cats often purr in the presence of their kittens or people.  Despite the fact we can never truly know why cats purr, it is fund to speculate on the reasons.  Some have said that a purr is somewhat comparable to our smile.  The behavior occurs most commonly when cats seen to be happy, content or relaxed.

The most unusual occasion for purring is one most often seen by veterinarians.  The chronically ill cat may purr during the late stages of illness right before death.

The conclusion is that the purr originates at the source of most vocalizations, the larynx. It probably communicates a feeling of contentment.  It is interesting that is has taken scientists this long to figure out what most of us always thought it meant.

If you have questions contact Dr. Underwood of the Trumann Animal Clinic and Best Friends Vet Mobile at

Ear Inflammation and Infection

July 10, 2017 | Filed under: Uncategorized — Trumann Staff @ 8:01 pm

Pet Talk
By Dr. Norette L. Underwood

Ear Inflammation and Infection:
Otitis Externa is the fancy medical term for inflammation or infection of your pet’s outer ear canal. Here are some things some folks believe about recurring ear problems….and the facts:

You might think… that all ear infections are same, so I can use the same medication I used last time my pet had an ear infection.
FACT: Ear Infections can be caused by a variety of bacteria and yeast. Is important that your veterinarian examine each ear infection. It is important to determine if this is the same infection that was not resolved or a new infection.

You might think… If I pluck the hairs out of my dog’s ears, my dog will never get an ear infection.
FACT: the hairs should be left alone unless they are causing a problem.

You might think…My dog has an ear infection, because he caught it from another animal.
FACT: Ear infections often occur secondary to inflammation in the ear, which may be a symptom of an underlying condition such as allergies. When the environment of the ear is altered, bacteria or yeast can cause an infection.

You might think…My dog scratches, licks, or chews because he is bored, grooming himself or imitating the family cat.
FACT: Scratching, licking, and chewing are signs of an itchy, allergic dog. Allergies are one of the most common underlying conditions of ear infections. So schedule an appointment with your veterinarian if you see your pet doing these.

You might think…My dog’s ears will be cured so he will never get another infection.
FACT: This may be true if the infection is not due to an underlying problem. But if allergies were the culprit, the ears will be managed along with allergies over your pet’s lifetime.

If you have ear questions with your dog you may contact Dr. Norette L. Underwood of Trumann Animal Clinic and Best Friends Vet Mobile at

Ticks, Natures Vampires!

July 5, 2017 | Filed under: Uncategorized — Trumann Staff @ 5:47 pm

Ticks, Natures Vampires!

Pet Talk

By Dr. Norette L. Underwood

Dogs and cats are very susceptible to tick bites and tick-borne diseases. Vaccines are not available for all the tick-borne diseases that dogs can get, and they don’t keep the dogs from bringing ticks into your home. For these reasons, it’s important to use a tick preventive product on your dog.

Tick bites on dogs or cats may be hard to detect. Signs of tick-borne disease may not appear for 7-21 days or longer after a tick bite, so watch your pet closely for changes in behavior or appetite if you suspect that a tick has bitten your pet.

To reduce the chances that a tick will transmit disease to you or your pets:

  • Check your pets for ticks daily, especially after they spend time outdoors.
  • If you find a tick on your pet remove it right away.
  • Ask your veterinarian to conduct a tick check at each exam.
  • Talk to your veterinarian about tick-borne diseases in your area.
  • Reduce tick habitat in your yard. They love dense vegetation.
  • Talk with your veterinarian about using tick preventives on your pet.

Note: Cats are extremely sensitive to a variety of chemicals. Do not apply any insect acaricides or repellents to your cats without first consulting your veterinarian!

Kill Ticks on Dogs

A pesticide product that kills ticks is known as an acaricide. Acaricides that can be used on dogs include dusts, impregnated collars, sprays, topical treatments, or oral pills.  Some acaricides kill the tick on contact. Others may be absorbed into the bloodstream of a dog and kill ticks that attach and feed. Some collars actually repel the ticks from attaching.


  • Helps to reduce the number of ticks in the environment
  • Prevents tick-borne disease


  • Tick bites can cause a painful wound and may become infected.
  • When bitten, a dog or cat may become infected with a number of diseases. This depends on the type of tick, which diseases it is carrying (if any), and how quickly a product kills the feeding tick.

This summer may be a tick fest.  So proper tick control is essential.  Keep weeds cut and yards mowed.  If you have questions about tick diseases and tick control contact Dr. Norette L. Underwood of Trumann Animal Clinic and Best Friends Vet Mobile Service at

Don’t Let Fireworks frighten Your Pets This Fourth of July!

June 26, 2017 | Filed under: Uncategorized — Trumann Staff @ 10:37 pm

Pet Talk

By Dr. Norette Underwood

Don’t Let Fireworks frighten Your Pets This Fourth of July!

Fireworks are enjoyed year-round by people but can be a source of fear for many animals.

It doesn’t have to be that way though, so don’t ignore the problem. Seek advice from your veterinarian about behavior or drug therapy to make this a not so frightening experience for your pet.

Keeping cats and dogs secure

  • Make sure your dog or cat always has somewhere to hide if he or she wants to and has access to this place at all times. For example this could be under some furniture or in a crate or in a closet.
  • Be sure and walk your dogs during daylight hours and keep cats and dogs indoors when fireworks are likely to be set off.
  • At nightfall close windows and curtains and put on music to mask and muffle the sound of fireworks.
  • If your pet shows any signs of fear try to ignore their behavior. Leave them alone unless they are likely to harm themselves.
  • Never punish or fuss over your pet when it’s scared, as this will only make things worse in the long run.
  • Make sure your cat or dog is always kept in a safe and secure environment and can’t escape if there’s a sudden noise. Have your pet micro chipped in case they do escape. 
Just for dogs – before the firework season starts 
Planning ahead can help your dog cope with the firework season. 
Talk to your vet about pheromone diffusers. These disperse calming chemicals into the room and may be a good option for your dog; in some cases your vet may even prescribe medication. If either of these options is used they should be used in conjunction with behavioral therapy.

Before the firework season starts provide your dog with a doggy safe haven, this should be a quiet area so choose one of the quietist rooms in your home. It should be a place where the animal feels it is in control, so don’t interfere with it when it’s in that area. Train your dog to associate the area with positive experiences e.g. by leaving toys there but not imposing yourself at any time. Use a variety of toys and swap them regularly, putting them away when not in use so that your dog doesn’t become bored with them. With time your dog can learn that this place is safe and enjoyable. So when fireworks happen it may choose to go here because it knows that when it is here, no harm will come to it and so it’s more able to cope. It is important that your dog has access to its doggy safe haven at all times even when you’re not at home.

Just for dogs – when the fireworks start

  • Close any windows and black out the ‘doggy play area’ to remove any extra problems caused by flashing lights.
  • Each evening before the fireworks begin, move your dog to the play area and provide toys and other things that they enjoy. Make sure that there are things for you to do too so that your dog isn’t left alone.
  • Ignore the firework noises yourself. Try doing something with your pet to distract them. Play with a toy to see if your dog wants to join in, but don’t force them to play.
  • If you know a dog that isn’t scared by noises and which gets on well with your dog, then keeping the two together during the evenings may help your dog to realize that there’s no need to be afraid. 
Sounds Scary – for dogs 
In the long term your dog needs to learn to be less afraid of loud noises. With proper treatment this is possible so that the next firework season will be less stressful for you and your dog. 
We recommend slowly introducing your dog to the sounds they do not like.


Just for cats

  • Make sure your cat has somewhere to hide if it wants to. For example this may be under some furniture or in a quiet corner.
  • Don’t try and tempt your cat out, as this will cause it to become more stressed. 
Don’t forget small animals
    • If your pets live outside, partly cover cages, pens and aviaries with blankets so that one area is well soundproofed. Make sure that your pet is still able to look out.
    • Provide lots of extra bedding so your pet has something to burrow in.
    • If you have questions about fireworks and your pet. Contact dr. Norette Underwood of Trumann Animal Clinic and Best Friends Vet Moble Service at Happy 4th of July.
Acknowledgement for part of this information is made to Prof Daniel Mills.

Is Talking Baby Talk Beneficial for your Puppy?

June 19, 2017 | Filed under: Uncategorized — Trumann Staff @ 7:59 pm


Pet Talk

By Dr. Norette L. Underwood


Is Talking Baby Talk Beneficial for your Puppy?



I thought this was a very interesting debate. I found this article and wanted to share with my pet talk readers. This article was authored by Cari Romm on


There are of course exceptions to every rule, but most of the time, when faced with a baby, adults will find themselves slipping into a slower, higher-pitched, more repetition-prone version of their normal speech patterns: Hiiii there! Hiiii. Who’s the cutest baby? Is it you? Say what you want about how baby talk makes adults sound silly, it really does serve a purpose: Research has shown that it helps infants absorb words more easily than when you speak to them in a normal tone.


And according to a new study in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, a similar dynamic may be at play with puppies — the other group that causes us to lapse into that same cutesy voice. In the first part of the experiment, volunteers viewed images of puppies and adult dogs and recorded a piece of prewritten dialogue as though they were speaking directly to the dogs in the photos: “Hi! Hello cutie! Who’s a good boy? Come here! Good boy! Yes! Come here sweetie pie! What a good boy!” (For a control, the study authors also had them say the same few lines in their normal voices.) In the second part, the researchers played the recordings back to dogs — some borrowed from shelters and some belonging to humans who volunteered their pets — and observed how they reacted to the sound of the human voice.

The takeaways here are twofold: First, when the researchers ran an acoustical analysis on their voice recordings, they discovered that the participants altered their pitch depending on the age of the dog in question. In general, people spoke more slowly and at a higher pitch when addressing a dog than when they were speaking in their regular tone of voice, but the difference was especially pronounced when they were talking to puppies. Which, incidentally, works out well for the puppies: While older dogs were equally responsive to high-pitched and normal recordings, younger ones seemed particularly engaged when they were listening to people baby-talk in their direction.

The study authors didn’t have a firm conclusion as to why that was the case, but they speculated that, as with humans, talking high and slow “may be efficient to promote word learning, an ability well demonstrated in dogs” — which, they argued, is the same reason why we do it in the first place: Our minds lump dogs together with babies as “nonverbal companions,” entities that only kinda sorta maybe understand what we’re saying.

If you have questions about your pet please contact Dr. Norette L. Underwood of Trumann Animal Clinic and Best Friends Vet Mobile Service at




Laundry Detergent Pods Cause Harm in Pets Too

June 12, 2017 | Filed under: Uncategorized — Trumann Staff @ 7:47 pm

Laundry Detergent Pods Cause Harm in Pets Too

Most soaps and detergents contain chemicals called ionic and anionic surfactants. Regular laundry detergent is not as highly concentrated as a pod. When your pet ingests regular detergent it is more dilute and they can quickly get rid of the taste by licking and drooling. Laundry pods are very highly concentrated and cause much more irritation to your pet’s mouth. They cannot rid the taste easily so they may paw at their mouth excessively and drool profusely.We all love laundry pods because of their ease of use.  Pets love them too. Dogs think they are brightly colored chew toys and cats like to bat them around like a hockey puck.


However, laundry pods present a new danger.  It was first noticed that young children were developing serious respiratory issues after biting into the highly concentrated, pre-packaged laundry detergent pods (some that look like candy and come in brightly colored packages).

Not surprisingly, Pet Poison Helpline has noticed some severe clinical signs in dogs and cats exposed to these pods as well. Of the cases reported to the Pet Poison Helpline over the past 2 years, 72.19% of pets developed clinical signs. In order of prevalence, 84.4% of symptomatic cases experienced vomiting, 21.48% experienced cough, 17% experienced lethargy, and 13.3% experienced dyspnea, wheezing, or other respiratory irritation.

The reason for the increased severity between pets exposed to laundry pods and pets simply licking product off the floor or off their fur is thought to be due to the way the product is formulated in the pod. When a pet bites into a pod, the product is both highly concentrated and under pressure from the bite. Therefore, when the pod is punctured, the detergents are forcefully expelled and may be easily aspirated or swallowed, often in large amounts. Theoretically, ingestion of multiple packets may run a risk for a foreign body obstruction and erosive lesions from prolonged contact in the gut.

When these exposures occur, it is important to dilute the exposed site as much as possible—rinse the mouth, skin, or eyes until the slick, “soapy” feel is gone. If your pet exhibits persistent vomiting or respiratory signs your veterinarian should immediately evaluate them. There is no antidote for laundry pod exposure. Your attending veterinarian should treat clinical signs with symptomatic and supportive care.


Please keep your laundry pods out of reach of children and pets.


If you have questions regarding laundry pod toxicity please contact Dr. Norette L. Underwood of Trumann Animal Clinic and Best Friends Vet Mobile Service at

Could you please turn the TV down?

May 30, 2017 | Filed under: Uncategorized — Trumann Staff @ 3:28 pm


Pet Talk

By Dr. Norette L. Underwood


Could you please turn the TV down?

(and other requests your dog is too polite to ask)


Did you know that dogs hear four times better than humans!  Dogs do not like loud noise.  They put up with so much we do to accommodate themselves to our lives.  There are so many ways we do not have a clue of how they perceive the world in which they live.  Here, with our senses in mind are some ways to make living with us a better world.


  1. Turn down the volume. Sound is heard at different levels depending on where you are in a room. So if pup is on the floor and you in a chair it could be much louder to them.  Loud rock music can set them on edge. Dogs do not like arguing.  The next time you have an argument watch what your dog does.  They may run for cover or even try to break up the argument. Not only is it the volume but the tone of a voice or other noise that can hurt their ears.  Dogs generally like peace and quiet except if it is play time or barking at things.


  1. Choose blue and yellow toys. Dogs do not see colors they way we see them. Their spectrum is smaller and they don’t see them as vividly as us. This is because over the decades, they were selected to be able to pick out a brown rodent in the grey dusk, not interior decorators.  A red Frisbee on green grass just won’t stand out.  Blues and yellows pop for them.  Dogs do see better at night because they have a special reflecting layer in the back of their eye.  This is relevant so you will be patient if your dog starts barking or remains rooted in one spot on a nighttime walk.  They simply may see something that we don’t.  My dogs can see our neighborhood raccoon when I cannot.


  1. Allow your dog time to sniff. Dogs see their world through their nose. They have 20 times more primary smell receptors in their nose than people.  They can detect odors at least 100 times less than a human.  A dog can detect a human scent on a glass slide that has been lightly fingerprinted and left outside for two weeks.  So when they go for a walk they need extra time to read the odors of their world.


If you have questions about this article contact Dr. Norette L. Underwood of Trumann Animal Clinic and Best Friends Vet Mobile at

How Summertime temperatures can soar in your Car and harm your pet!

May 25, 2017 | Filed under: Uncategorized — Trumann Staff @ 2:15 pm

Pet Talk

How Summertime temperatures can soar in your Car and harm your pet!

By Dr. Norette L. Underwood


All across North America, summer time temperatures can exceed 80, 90 or even 100 degrees in some areas.  While these sunny days may be great for sunbathers and swimmers, the heat can prove deadly for our pets, especially when left inside cars.  A “quick” trip to the store often results in owners finding pets suffering from heatstroke and near death.  How can you prevent such a tragedy?



Many pets, especially our dogs, love to go for car rides.


Unfortunately, this favored activity can turn deadly when warmer temperatures arrive and when owners misjudge the amount of time they will be away from the car.  Each year, dozens, if not hundreds, of stories of dogs dying in hot cars are reported by local media.


When confronted with the fact that their pet’s death was likely preventable, most owners will respond with statements like “I didn’t think I would be gone that long” or that they “didn’t know it was THAT warm outside”.   When looking at the facts, the reality of just how quickly the inside of a car can heat up, even in mild temperatures, can produce some startling revelations for pet lovers.


It’s probably common sense to most people that hotter days cause the inside of a car to heat up faster, but few people realize that even with outside temperatures as low as 65 or 70 degrees Fahrenheit, the inside of the vehicle will warm uncomfortably in just 30 minutes.  In fact, on a 75 degree day, your car’s interior will be at 100 degrees in just about 10 minutes and a blistering 120 degrees in a half hour!  Despite urban myths, cracking the windows has little effect on the rate of heating inside the car.


But, it’s not just the heat of the day that is an issue.  Your pet’s overall health status and behavior can also contribute to how quickly he will overheat in the car.  Veterinarians across the country have posted stories online about cases in which dogs have died when left in cars on days where the temperature never exceeded 60 degrees.  Short faced breeds, like Pugs and Bulldogs, as well as obese pets, heavy coated breeds and senior animals will have less tolerance for extreme temperatures.  In addition, excitable animals and those with separation anxiety issues may work themselves into frenzy, raising their body temperature to dangerous levels.


When in doubt, it’s probably best to leave your pet at home.  It’s far too easy for a quick trip to become complicated and take more time than you intended.


Currently, 14 states specifically have laws that prohibit leaving animals “unattended and confined” in a motor vehicle when physical injury or death is likely to result.  While that is a great thing, it does NOT give ordinary citizens the right to smash windshields or take the pet from the car.  Most of these states have included rescue provisions that empower police, peace officers, fire and rescue workers or animal control officers to use reasonable force to remove an animal in distress.


So, what should you, as an animal lover and Good Samaritan do if you come across a pet confined in a car?


First, if you are in a store parking lot, consider contacting the management of the store or even security.  It may be possible to page the pet’s owner and have them return to the vehicle.


Next, call 911 and try to get the local authorities involved.  This action will help lessen your liability if the pet is injured during the rescue attempt or happens to escape.  Allow the police or legally designated person open the vehicle.


Finally, realize that not every animal in a car is actually in distress.  As mentioned above, some pets may appear frantic, but others will lie quietly while waiting for their owners.  It’s important to stay calm and not over-react – in some cases the pet is not in danger!


If you have questions about your pet contact dr. Norette L. Underwood of Trumann Animal Clinic and Best Friends Vet Mobile service at

Celebrate National Pet Week

May 16, 2017 | Filed under: Uncategorized — Trumann Staff @ 1:34 pm

Pet Talk

By Dr. Norette L. Underwood


Celebrate National Pet Week


Lifetime of Love — The Basics: Tips to a happier, healthier pet.


Here are some wonderful tips I found on the American Veterinary Medical Association  Website for National Pet Week.

Everyone loves their pets but not everyone is aware of what their pet needs from them to keep them happy and healthy long into their pet’s senior years. Leading veterinary experts in animal health, welfare, and behavior invite you to take each of the essential actions highlighted during National Pet Week® that are vital to achieving a Lifetime of Love.


Select the pet that’s right for your family’s lifestyle, and make a commitment to that pet for its life. Even if you have already welcomed a pet into your home, your veterinarian can help you better understand the social and healthcare needs of your individual pet.


Socialize now. New doesn’t have to be scary.

Learn about how to appropriately prepare your pet to enjoy a variety of interactions with other animals, people, places and activities. Everyone will be more comfortable!


Exercise body. Exercise mind.

With an estimated 52.7% of dogs and 57.9% cats in the United States considered overweight or obese, and humans plagued by this issue as well, the AVMA encourages pets and their owners to get regular exercise—together! This improves cardiovascular health, maintains a healthy weight, and supports good mental health for both owner and pet, but it strengthens the human-animal bond.


Love your pet? See your vet!

Everybody love’s their pet, yet 53.9 percent of cat owners and 48.6 percent of dog owners do not take their pet to the veterinarian unless it is visibly sick or injured. Pets often hide signs of illness. Regular check-ups are vital to catching health problems early. Not only can early treatment mean better health for your pet, it can also save money.


Pet population control: Know your role.

Do your part to prevent pet overpopulation. Talk to your veterinarian about when you should have your pet spayed or neutered. Avoid unplanned breeding through spay/neuter, containment or managed breeding. To learn more, visit the AVMA webpage on spaying and neutering your pet.


Emergencies happen. Be prepared.

Include your pets in your family’s emergency plan. The AVMA offers a step-by-step guide to assembling emergency kits and plans for a variety of pets and animals.


Give them a lifetime of love

Thanks to better care, pets are living longer now than they ever have before – but as pets get older, they need extra care and attention. Regular veterinary examinations can detect problems in older pets before they become advanced or life threatening, and improve the chances of a longer and healthier life for your pet. Visit the AVMA’s special page for senior pets to find out what is ‘normal’ and what may signal a reason for concern about an aging pet. Contrary to popular belief, dogs do not age at a rate of seven human years for each year in dog years. Download the AVMA PetsAgeFaster chart to check how your pet’s real age compares with yours.


If you have questions about your pet contact Dr. Norette L. Underwood of Trumann Animal Clinic and Best Friends Vet Mobile Service at or 870-483-6275.


May 8, 2017 | Filed under: Uncategorized — Trumann Staff @ 7:29 pm

Pet Talk

By Dr. Norette L. Underwood






  • More than 60% of American households have at least one pet and many have multiple animals. Even though we think our pets should always get along, it’s not always possible to keep our canine friends from having their own little squabbles.


  • Despite the loud barking, fearsome growling and baring of teeth, these fights between housemates rarely cause serious damage to the dogs. It is rare to see dogs accustomed to living together attempt to cause life-threatening injuries unless there is a possible medical or behavioral problem.


  • Because our pets are in a highly aroused and aggressive state during a fight, they are unaware of or even unconcerned about who they bite during the melee.


  • Knowing this, owners should NEVER reach their hands into the middle of a dog fight and attempt to separate the fighting animals. Doing so will often result in significant and serious injuries to the human, especially on the hands.


  • In addition, some pets carry specific pathogenic bacteria that could cause some serious illnesses if introduced into a human’s bloodstream. If you are bitten by a pet, thoroughly cleanse the bite with a good antiseptic and then seek medical attention.


  • There are some tips that might help an owner safely disrupt a dog fight in progress. First, consider using any sort of loud noise that might distract the animals.  Whistles, air horns or even bells could work.


  • Next, if your pet responds to the doorbell, go ring it. Other options might include using words that typically motivate your pet, like “walk”, “car ride” etc.  Be sure to use a loud, but happy tone of voice.


  • Physically interrupting the altercation by covering the dogs with a large, thick blanket can also help to disorient and calm them down. Another successful option is to use a baby gate or chair to force your way in between the dogs.  This might then enable you to move one dog out of harm’s way.


  • Smelly sprays, like citronella, bitter apple spray or even a well-shaken carbonated beverage could do the trick. And, the old wives tale about spraying the dogs with water might work too…try pouring a pitcher of water over the dog’s head!


  • An important thing to remember is that if your pet has shown any aggressive tendencies, towards people or pets, you need to seek professional help. Far too many owners wait until the problem becomes severe.


  • The longer a behavior issue continues, the more difficult it will be to correct. This could mean relinquishment or even euthanasia of the pet.


  • If your pet has shown aggressive behavior, please seek a consultation with your veterinarian immediately. He or she can help you find ways to help you correct the behavior or even have you consider a consultation with a veterinary behaviorist.





If you have questions about dog fights and other pet related issues, contact Dr. Norette L. Underwood of Trumann Animal Clinic and Best Friends Vet Mobile Service at, facebook messenger, or 870-483-6275.