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washington the cat likes to sneeze

Veterinary Corner: My Cat Keeps Sneezing But Seems Fine

Okay, so you all know that I was pre-vet for several years before I decided to ditch the whole science thing and pursue a humanities degree. But I still picked up a minor in biology and I strongly disagree with the idea of over specialization! So I’m adding a post type to Presidential Pup called “Veterinary Corner”. These posts will be based on my own research but will also include fact checking from Dr. E from Parkside Animal Health Center.

Just to be clear, despite having a doctor involved, that does not mean that this or other posts constitute medical advice! This is just for fun and informational purposes! Always take the advice of your veterinarian!

“My Cat Keeps Sneezing But Seems Fine!?”

So let’s get right into it! For the first one in our series, I’m answering a question that I had about my cat Washington. Washington is a 2 year old gray and white shelter cat. He is also the best cat I’ve ever had! He gets along great with my two dogs and is generally just a happy little feline! But about 6 months ago he started sneezing pretty frequently. Everything else was the same though, he was still eating, drinking and sleeping normally. Everything else seemed fine! So while this certainly doesn’t sound like a medical emergency, I started to get pretty worried after a while. So I called Dr. E and asked “What should I do? My cat keeps sneezing but seems fine!?” Here are the two major concerns you have to decide between:

Consider Environmental Irritants

The first thing to look for is basic changes to the environment. There’s a saying in both human and veterinary medicine that goes something like, “When you hear hoofbeats, look for the horse, not the zebra.” It comments on the tendency of veterinarians, and laypeople, to jump to the most complicated and often most unlikely conclusion first. It’s with that in mind that Dr. E asked me to look at the simple possibility of an environmental change first before considering flesh eating bacteria or other extraordinary concerns.

  • Living in Colorado means very dry air! Washington may just be sensitive to climate, just like people get sensitive to the dry Colorado weather. Something as simple as adding a humidifier to your home may help the situation. Often, we see bloody nasal discharge which makes pet owners totally flip. But the reality is, bloody nasal discharge is more often a result of dryness in the nasal passages than some major underlying disease.
  • Check the litter! Even if you’re scooping frequently, old litter can create small irritants as it dissolves and ages. This can cause your cat to keep sneezing despite everything else being fine since the sneezing will most often occur around litter box time. You can also try changing the litter. Just like people’s sensitivities change with time so does your cat’s! So just because Washington has never had a problem with clumping litter before doesn’t mean it hasn’t become a problem now.
  • Clean the house! Cats love to find little nooks and crannies and this often means find their way into dusty and dander filled spots of the house. Check your cat’s preferred hangouts for areas of dirt and debris.

Consider the Feline Herpes Virus or Feline Upper Respiratory Infection

Since Washington comes from a shelter environment, he almost certainly was exposed to the Feline Herpes Virus. Even if he wasn’t a shelter cat, almost all cats have been exposed to the herpes virus. Most cats carry the virus but it won’t become evident unless the cat gets stressed out. This is going to be different for most cats. If your cat does have feline herpes virus and keeps sneezing but seems fine then your cat probably is fine. If you see additional symptoms, like anorexia, congestion or conjunctivitis (discharge around the eyes) you should certainly bring your cat in to see your veterinarian. (And as a side note, I can’t recommend Dr. E and Parkside enough if you need an Aurora veterinarian.) But back to the topic at hand! Herpes virus is just one of many components of an upper respiratory infection and any symptoms beyond sneezing could indicate a more concerning type of infection.

  • Herpes virus flare ups may not require a visit to the veterinarian. Once you know your cat has the virus you can monitor closely for signs but since it is a virus there’s little that can be done at the initial stages.
  • If you see any additional medical concerns then it’s time to see your veterinarian.

Horses, not Zebras!

Not today Mr. Zebra!

So there you have it! That’s us looking for horses when we hear hooves (or sneezing) rather than hunting zebras. While there are a lot more things that could be going on when your cat sneezes investigating these first two problems is generally the best way to go.

Thank you Dr. E for allowing me to put information from Washington’s visit into this post! And if you live in Aurora and want to visit Parkside, check them out at:

Parkside Animal Health Center

5001 S Parker Rd #101

Aurora, CO 80015

(303) 699-3344


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famous canine bo meeting famous people

Presidential Pup Profile: Bo The Obama’s Dog

The First Dog. A truly sought out position with mountains of history behind it! One of the most famous presidential pups, Bo the Portuguese Water Dog, is perhaps the most famous of the POTUS pups. Perhaps one of the most popular dogs in the world, Bo is a superstar!

I know it’s been a little while since Bo was in office, but he is still quite famous. Additionally, his history and presence in the white house became a major animal welfare event since Bo is a purebred dog from a dog breeder- rather than a shelter dog.

Let’s start with a quick profile on Bo!

What kind of dog is Bo?

Bo is a male purebred Portuguese Water Dog, which while not an ultra rare breed is far from an everyday occurrence at the dog park. Water dogs have a long history of working closely with humans and in the past they were trained to travel from ship to ship carrying messages off Portugal of Portugaul. Even more interesting, these dogs were used to literally herd fish into the nets of fisherman. I wonder which creative fisherman was the first to train his dog to help him fish! And did his friends believe it until they saw it!?

Haven’t I seen dogs like this have strange haircuts?

You have indeed! These dogs are often shown with a funny haircut that leaves their hind end shaved with the rest of the body furry and fluffy. This is a traditional cut used by the working dogs on the coast of Portugal. It allows for the dogs to protect their vital organs of the chest and thorax while leaving the hind end unencumbered allowing for faster and more efficient swimming.

The Obamas typically leave Bo with a cut that is roughly the same length all over. While many dogs of this breed are all black, Bo has a white chest that makes him look almost like he is wearing a tuxedo. Barrack has joked before that Bo is always ready to go with his tuxedo attire!

Where did Bo come from?

Bo came from a small breeder in Boyd, Texas and is the son of Watson and Penny. Who are dogs, in case that wasn’t clear. While I couldn’t find the details on how Bo was chosen, his brothers and sisters certainly got a lot of attention. One of Bo’s littermates ended up with Senator Ted Kennedy. This a very special and politically aligned litter for sure!

But Bo wasn’t always with the Obamas! He was originally sold to an unknown buyer, presumably in Texas, before being brought back to the breeder for an unknown reason.

Just how famous is this dog?

Well, he’s met the Pope among hundreds of other important world leaders. He’s also appeared on the Ellen show and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Which makes him pretty famous. Bo was the First Dog for some time and as such, it is impossible for him not to end up in the spotlight. Add to it that the Obama family has never been shy about sharing the camera with Bo and you have one of the most famous first dogs of the century. The dog essentially grew up in front of the world, as there have been a number of pictures and videos taken of the family walking and playing with the dog. There are even some pictures of Obama goofing off with the dog and running around with him throughout various wings of the White House.

POTUS and his canine
A young Bo and Obama running through the Whitehouse.


Why not a shelter dog?

As you know, I’m a big support of shelters across the country. The world already has too many dogs and spay/neuter efforts aren’t keeping up. Despite numerous petitions from animal welfare organizations requesting that the Obama’s adopt a shelter pet, the family decided on this breed of dog due to the fact that their daughter Malia has allergies. Portuguese Water Dogs are thought to be hypoallergenic which means that Malia’s allergies would be minimally affected. PWD’s are also one of the few larger breed dogs whose coat is thought to be hypoallergenic.

The Obamas had originally intended to adopt a dog from a shelter before Bo came along. At least that’s what various media outlets reported. A number of animal organizations signed petitions urging the Obama to take in a shelter dog instead. Though Bo is not a shelter dog, the Obamas did go on to make a donation to the Washington DC Humane Society in an effort to show support for shelter dogs across the nation.

Many organization were disappointed with this decision and while a donation is kind it doesn’t have the same impact as the most powerful man in the world brining a shelter dog into his home.

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Weird and Interesting Facts About the US Presidents

I love history and I often find that people who don’t read up on history miss out on many interesting things. Most people just know and retain the basic things they learned in school. There is so much more to know! I have gathered some weird and interesting facts to share with those of you who would like to know a bit more about the history of our country and its past presidents.

Thomas Jefferson had a thing for chairs. Jefferson vandalized Shakespeare’s chair and he is known to have invented the swivel chair. He wasn’t one for public speaking, but clearly he had a thing for chairs.

The smallest president was James Madison. He was just over 5 feet tall and only weighed about 100 pounds.

John Quincy Jones enjoyed skinny dipping. The president who hated Jefferson was well-known to enjoy skinny dipping. It was so well-known that a reporter used it to her advantage. She kept his clothes hostage until he agreed to give her an interview.

Martin van Buren was the first president born in the US. Van Buren most likely also had the most nicknames as president. His nicknames included ‘Sly Fox’, Little Magician’, and Red Fox of Kinderhook.

John Tyler was the most hated president. Tyler became president after William Henry Harrison died suddenly. The whole country hated him, his whole cabinet resigned because of his policies, and he was the first president who faced impeachment.

James K Polk was the least fun president. Polk banned alcohol, playing cards, and dancing from the White House. It must have been quite dull during his presidency.

Abraham Lincoln was a man with many talents. Lincoln is one of the most loved past presidents and had many talents. He was bartender, a good wrestler, and many women adored him.

Ulysses S grant ended the Klu Klux Klan. Grant isn’t that well-known to people from other countries, but he has one great thing to his name – he dismantled the KKK during his term in office.


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Top Presidential Pets that Lived at the White House

The US presidents always keep things interesting. If not with the policies they change or scandals they cause, it is with their pets. Let’s take a look at a few:

Theodore Roosevelt had a pet badger. After a trip, Roosevelt returned home with a badger he called Josiah. He gave Josiah to his son as a pet and the two became great friends.

Andrew Jackson had a pet parrot. Jackson was a beloved president and known as the first president of the people. He had a pet parrot called Poll who enjoyed chatting. He had a tendency for foul language which he supposedly learned from Jackson.

Franklin D Roosevelt had a Scottish terrier. The beloved Scotty was called Fala and he was always at the president’s side. The two were so attached that the Secret Service called Fala ‘The Informer’ because people would know where the president was based on sightings of Fala.

The Bush’s Springer Spaniels. George W Bush had a Spaniel called Millie. She gave birth to a litter of puppies at the White House and Bush’s son adopted one and named her Spot Fetcher. Spot Fetcher returned many years later to take the place of her mom and become a first dog as well.

The Kennedy family had Pushinka. A white mixed breed dog was sent to President Kennedy by the Russians as a gift and a taunt. She was the pup of one of the first dogs to go to space and return safely. The president called her Pushinka.

Some other presidents had cats, hamsters, goats, and even sheep as pets. Many pets have lived in the White House and enjoyed the life of luxury. Some may seem strange, but it is good to have a president that loves animals.

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Presidents and Their Dogs: A History in Brief

Most of the US presidents had pets, most often dogs, while they lived at the White House. Some of the pets were strange, but regardless, pets have always been a part of the White House. Today, we look at a bit of history on some of the past presidents and we throw in a fact or two about the pets they owned.

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson was the 3rd president of the United States and also the main author of the Declaration of Independence. Some of Jefferson’s words at the end of his term made many people believe that it was not always a post he enjoyed. He had two bear cubs and mockingbird as pets. No dogs. Just bears.

Andrew Jackson

Andrew Jackson was one of the first presidents who was surrounded by rumors and drama. He was the first president who was the subject of an attempted assassination. His term as president ran anything but smooth and he was partly responsible for sending America into the Depression. He owned a parrot, horses, and ponies.

William Henry Harrison

One of the lesser known presidents was William Henry Harrison. He spent a mere 30 days in office before he died of enteric fever. He had a goat, but also no dog.

Andrew Johnson

After President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, Andrew Johnson took his place. He became president in the time during which slavery was still a huge issue and no resolution had been reached. It was quite a tumultuous time in America and after the Radical Republicans passed laws to restrict the office of the president, Johnson missed being impeached by one vote. He also owned no pets.

Many more presidents who had dramatic and disastrous terms in office or who had dealt with an overload of problems since they stepped into the position did not own pets. It could be said that the presidents who owned dogs, or at least some pets, had better terms in office than those who did not. Coincidence? I think not!

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george washington and dogs

George Washington’s Dogs- The First Presidential Pups

The first President of the United States was also the first president to have dogs. And like many people during that time, he had quite a few more than one. Even more impressive still, the AKC (American Kennel Club) has records of the dogs he had along with the bloodline. That means that if you’re willing to pay a pretty penny you could have the canine offspring of George Washington’s best furry friend!

The George Washington was more than a little creative with the names of his dogs too! Are you confident enough to name your dog Sweetlips and True Love and then shout that across the dog park? While the first president was. Minus the dog park part. I don’t’ think that was on the list of Revolutionary times priorities. Rather than dog parks most of Washington’s dog were used for hunting. But unlike many owners of hunting dogs who ignore them most of the year, Washington took pride in his canines and made it a point to regularly inspect their kennels.

The First President had more than just hunting dogs though. He also had a variety of terriers, Greyhounds and Great Pyrenees dogs. All of which probably had some of the best lives of any canines history!

Washington’s favorite dog was named Dr. Frank. As usual, the dog had a very unusual and somewhat silly name. Many of the canine names from Washington’s era, and from Washington himself, seem more like the names of race horses than dogs! Dr. Frank was a hound mix that was a result of two dogs being incorrectly gendered by his kennel servant. None of the other hounds in the litter survived except for Dr. Frank. Washington’s favorite hound was always seen at the front of the pack during his hunts.