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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