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May 23, 2018 0

The beauty of the Star Wars universe is how timeless the story is. With storylines that span decades and fans across all ages, the movies clearly have important stars. No, not Carrie Fisher. Not Harrison Ford either.

We’re talking about the creatures! The furry ones, the big ones, the scary ones, and most importantly, the adorable ones. Since day one, each movie has had a wide range of fictional creatures populating each planet, each based on real animals from our planet.  

 

Fathiers Horse + Dog + Cat + Lion

This crazy combination of animals resulted in the majestic Fathiers. These creatures, who were destined to live their lives under the oppressive race-track culture on Canto Bight, break free after saving Finn and Rose from getting caught by The First Order.   

The Fathiers were created entirely by the digital effects team. They are enormous creatures and physically superior, such as the horse and lion, with faces similar to a dog or cat. These gentle giants have personality traits that are similar to those animals that we have here on our Earth, and they certainly captured our hearts from the moment they appeared on the big screen.

 

Vulptex – Arctic Fox

Towards the end of The Last Jedi, the audience got a glimpse of the crystal-covered Vulptex creatures on the planet Crait. These sparkly creatures are based on the Arctic Fox, the fluffy animals of the Arctic Tundra. The Arctic Fox can be found anywhere from Alaska to Iceland, and weighs between 6.5 to 17 pounds.

For the film, the creative director thought it would be interesting to see what these creatures would look like if they had crystals, instead of fur. The Vulptex ended up have coats that refracted light, and gave off  shimmering rainbows of color.

 

Ewok – ???

In The Empire Strikes Back, Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, and Han Solo were great and all. But the real stars of the show were the Ewoks.

These 3-foot tall creatures were helpful in defeating the Galactic Empire in the second installation of the original Star Wars trilogy. Our first guess was that the Ewoks were based on some kind of bear, since they look a lot like teddy bears (but fight like angry monkeys).  

Supposedly, the Ewoks were based on a dog breed called Griffon Bruxellois. The visual effects director and make-up artist for the movie looked at photos of these dogs for inspiration when creating the Ewok.

You can see it… right?

 

The Porgs – Puffins

By far the cutest of all of the Star Wars creatures, the Porgs, were the true stars of the show in The Last Jedi. In this movie, Rey tracks down Luke Skywalker to his hideout on Ahch-To and it is filled with these curious, feathered cuties.

The Porgs are based on the Atlantic Puffin, which were all over the island that the Star Wars crew filmed these scenes on. In real life, the Atlantic Puffin can be found mostly in the sea, diving up to 200 feet into the water to catch fish. Porgs, on the other hand, can be found goofing around on Ahch-To.

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May 3, 2018 0

Itching to adopt a pet? Literally?

Despite the wishes of their physicians, an estimated 10% of pet owners who are allergic to their beloved animals still keep them, yet they continue to lead healthy and happy lives. By understanding why they are allergic to certain animals and choosing the right hypoallergenic pet, tons of people are able to control their symptoms and enjoy the companionship of a lifetime. In the battle against pet allergies, here’s how you can own yours – let’s break it down.

Round 1: The Source of Allergies

Many animals produce a type of protein that is found in animal urine, saliva, and dander. Some people have immune systems who can’t handle these foreign substances which is what triggers allergies. Symptoms may include symptoms like teary eyes, itching, swollen membranes and more. Contrary to what many believe, people aren’t allergic to pet hair – they’re allergic to the allergens that are present in pet hair. Allergic reactions can be caused when the allergens become airborne as well, so it’s possible to be susceptible to an allergy attack without even touching the culprit.

Don’t forget, animals can be allergic to things, too! Many dogs and cats experience allergies between each other and some are even allergic to humans. If your pet suffers from allergies, visit a local veterinarian to figure out the best course of action.

Round 2: How to Deal with Symptoms

Allergies are annoying; there’s no doubt about it. But taking certain steps can improve quality of living and minimize allergic reactions. Here’s how pet owners deal with dander from their pets:

  • Regular grooming: It’s important to bathe and brush your pet regularly to remove dirt and dander that’s building up. Pets should get their fur trimmed quite often as well to reduce shedding.
  • Air purifiers: Investing in an air purifier will get rid of the allergens floating in the air that cause allergies. Not only do air purifiers get rid of dander, they filter out dust, pollen, smoke, and most other pollutants as well.
  • Allergy medication: Pharmacies offer over-the-counter drugs such as Claritin and Zyrtec that contain antihistamines. These chemicals reduce the natural histamines in the body that cause runny noses, teary eyes, and swelling.
  • Immunotherapy: Some doctors may recommend getting allergy shots. How this works is the doctor will inject the patient with a tiny amount of the substance that they are allergic to, which should stimulate the production of “blocking” antibodies that reduce allergy symptoms. Gradually, the doses will increase and then stabilize. This option isn’t for everyone, so make sure to double check with a doctor.
  • Hygiene: Stay extra clean to avoid getting any dander in the sinus cavities, eyes, or mouth. Some good practices include washing your hands after every encounter with your pet, doing laundry every week including pillows and sheets, and vacuuming regularly. This will eliminate pet hair or mucus around the house that may be causing symptoms. Here’s some more in-depth information about how you can keep your home clean when you have pets.
  • Pet-only areas: Lastly, it may be a good idea to designate a specific area for pets to avoid getting allergens all over the house. Keep them outside or invest in a pet gate, so they’re not shedding all over the house.

Round 3: What Hypoallergenic Pets to Adopt

If your allergies are extremely serious, many pets are still available out there. According to Babble, experts have determined some animals produce less allergens or no allergens at all, making them better choices for people who are hyper-sensitive to these substances. There are tons of options out there including certain breeds of dogs, cats, fish, reptiles, birds, and more. Here’s a list of hypoallergenic pets that may be compatible with your allergies.

  • Dogs: Often, allergens are spread when dogs shed their fur around the house. By choosing a dog that sheds less and requires more grooming, it is possible to reduce the amount of fur being circulated around your home. No dog is completely hypoallergenic, but for those who are only mildly allergic, consider the following breeds:
    • Tibetan Terrier
    • Shih Tzu
    • Portuguese Water Dog
    • Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier
    • Poodle
    • West Highland White Terrier
    • Bichon Frise
    • Havanese
    • Chinese Cresteds
    • Basenji
  • Cats: The cause of many people’s allergies is the protein Fel d 1 found in cat hair. Like dogs, all cats produce this protein, so none are completely hypoallergenic. However, choosing a cat with less fur and shedding can reduce the amount of protein being circulated in the air. Some breeds have less fur or finer fur which can help reduce allergic reactions. According to Catster, here are a few popular ones:
    • Russian Blue
    • Bengal
    • Devon Rex
    • Sphynx
    • Javanese cats.
  • Small mammals: Gerbils, guinea pigs, mice, and rabbits are all awesome pets because they have short fur and they shed less than dogs and cats. Since they are usually left them outside (in the case of guinea pigs and rabbits) or in a cage, the chance that allergens will spread is much lower. There are even hairless rodents and hamster available for people with extreme allergies.
  • Reptiles: Don’t be fooled by their cold-blooded nature, these creatures can be just as friendly and fun as other typical house pets. Even better, they shed no fur or dander, making them the perfect pets for people with allergies. There are a variety of different types of reptiles offered at pet stores such as:
    • Iguanas
    • Lizards
    • Turtles
    • Snakes
    • Bearded dragons
    • Geckos

  • Amphibians: Like reptiles, amphibians don’t have fur or dander. Besides being gloriously slimy, many of them are excellent, low maintenance pets for first-time pet owners. Popular amphibians are frogs, salamanders, axolotls, newts, and toads.
  • Pigs: Pigs can make great pets if you have the space and resources to provide for a bigger pet. They have hair instead of fur, so they have may be a better choice for those with allergies. It’s important to remember that most pigs do grow to be over 100 pounds large, so make sure that you can provide the space they need. It’s critical to do your research on mini pigs and how to properly care for them!
  • Insects, bugs, spiders, and more: These unorthodox pets produce no dander and they are very unique pets. Tons of people own spiders, ant farms, snails, and even cockroaches. Just be careful not to let them loose in the house!
  • Hermit crabs: These curious, little invertebrates are completely hypoallergenic. Hermit crabs vary in size, color, and change shells as they grow larger. However, they aren’t as low maintenance as people may believe. Hermit crabs can live over 30 years, but they need lots of space, shells, proper humidity, companions, sand, toys, and a special diet. Here’s more information about hermit crab care for beginners.
  • Fish: Fish come with different sizes, shapes, colors, and personalities. These hypoallergenic pets are a classic.

Allergies can definitely be in-fur-iating, but they’re no reason to eliminate the possibility of having pets altogether. There are tons of solutions available to treat them and lots of hypoallergenic pets to adopt. If you’re interested, check out your local pet shelter because there are always animals in need of loving homes. For anyone who’s already a proud pet parent, Brookhurst Animal is a veterinary clinic located in Anaheim, CA, and we are just a call away if your pet needs medical attention.

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May 25, 2017 0

Are you looking to get a lizard, snake, turtle, frog, or other kind of reptile? Owning reptiles and amphibians is a big commitment, and taking care of them requires lots of care and knowledge of the species. While it is a very rewarding experience, it is very important that you maintain the health of both you and your pet reptile.

The first thing that you must do to keep your reptile healthy is by keeping its tank or enclosure clean. Your reptile’s living space must be clean and regularly maintained to make sure that it is a safe and healthy environment for them. This will also ensure that you keep your home clean and odor-free.

Determine A Schedule

Depending on the size and habits of your reptile, you may have to clean its habitat more thoroughly or more often. For example, a snake typically requires less cleaning, while a large iguana would need more work. Be sure to keep an eye on your pet’s habitat every day, checking to remove spills, leftover food, feces or shed skin. You will need to conduct a full cleaning of the habitat, including disinfecting, once a week.

Cleaning Habitat Accessories

If you choose to include decorations in your reptile’s cage – such as rocks, branches, and sand – these items should be cleaned thoroughly. Rocks can be cleaned by boiling them in water for 30 minutes. Before introducing sand into the environment, rinse it with water, and then heat it in an oven at 200-250 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes. Branches should also be cleaned and then heated in the oven, just like the sand.

Cleaning the Cage or Habitat

Before you begin cleaning your reptile’s habitat, make sure that you have a plan and all of the items you will need. This should include a clean second cage, buckets, terrarium cleaner, sponges, brushes, rubber gloves and goggles, and soap or dishwashing detergent.

Procedure:

  1. Remove the decorations and accessories from the habitat or cage
  2. Wash, rinse, and disinfect the bowls of food and water
  3. Discard of any disposable substrate
  4. Wash all surfaces, decorations, and non-disposable substrate with soap and hot water. Scrub with brushes, and rinse well.
  5. Use a herp-safe terrarium cleaner and brush to loosen any tough spots in the habitat or cage
  6. Use disinfectant on the cage and decorations. Afterwards, rinse the cage and all items with hot water until all residue is removed.
  7. Dry the habitat or cage completely
  8. Reassemble the habitat, and replace any decorations that do not easily dry (such as wood branches)
  9. If bathing is recommended for your reptile, give your pet a bath before placing him or her back into the newly cleaned habitat
  10. Clean and disinfect all equipment that you used, including the buckets and sink
  11. Lastly, wash your hands with hot water and soap.

 

Since reptiles are susceptible to skin and bacterial infections, it is very important that you take extra care when cleaning their living spaces. If you are looking for a veterinarian in Anaheim that is knowledgeable of reptiles, look no further. Dr. Lopez at Brookhurst Animal Medical Center is experienced in treating a variety of herps, and will take good care of your beloved pet.

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May 16, 2017 0

Our pets bring happiness and joy into our lives every day. We all know of the perks that come with owning a pet, including the emotional support and physical health benefits they provide us. But unfortunately, some of us just can’t enjoy spending time with furry friends without facing a stuffy nose, itchy eyes, or rashes.

If you’re allergic to animals, know that you aren’t alone. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, 3 in 10 people have allergies to dogs and cats.  A common misconception is that pet hair is the main cause of allergic reactions, which is untrue. Allergies are triggered by dander (dead skin cells), saliva, and pet urine. Some of the annoying reactions you might get include mild irritations such as sneezing, a runny nose, itchy eyes, or skin rashes.

So what can you do if you are allergic to furry animals?

We know – it’s tough being an animal lover who is allergic to animals. If you have only mild allergic reactions to animals, and they are not life-threatening, there are a few things that you can do to ease your symptoms.

1. Keep Your House Clean

The first thing you can do to alleviate your allergy symptoms is keep your home clean. Wipe down surfaces, wash your clothing, and vacuum or mop the floors regularly. These can collect dust, pet hair, and other particles that might be causing your allergies.

2. Use Air Filters (HEPA)

Invest in a High Efficiency Particulate Air Filter, or HEPA air cleaner, for your home. These can improve the air quality in your rooms by removing allergenic particles, relieving you of your allergy symptoms.

3. Have an Animal-Free Zone

Ideally, this zone would be your bedroom. Keeping your furry friends out of your bedroom will let you sleep peacefully, without the threat of allergic reactions. You’ll also want to create animal-friendly zones in your house as well, where your pet can roam around and play to his heart’s content.

4. Remove Carpets & Rugs

Rugs and carpets can often trap the allergenic particles that cause your symptoms. While vacuuming seems effective, it can stir up the allergens that got stuck to the carpeting and worsen your allergies. You may find it more convenient in the long run to simply remove the carpets and rugs, and replace them with hardwood floors or tiles instead. These are easier to clean, and they do not trap dust and pet hair like carpets do.

5. Over-the-counter Medication

If you have mild allergies, you are probably already familiar with antihistamines. This over-the-counter medication can relieve mild symptoms, allowing you to play with your pets without worrying about allergic reactions.

6. Allergy Shots

If you have more severe allergies and plan to have furry pets for a long time, you may want to consider allergy shots. While it takes a while for allergy shots to fully take effect, it is the most effective way to get rid of your allergies in the long run.

7. Adopt A Fur-less Animal

Lastly, if you are an animal lover looking to open up your home to a new pet, consider adopting an animal without fur. Some of your options are fish, turtles, bearded dragons, geckos, and more fur-less and featherless animals.

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April 15, 2017 0

Rabbits are some of the cutest and friendliest creatures that you can own as a household pet. Many people who live in Anaheim have opened up their homes to rabbits, primarily because they are a good option for people who don’t have the resources or space to have a dog or cat. Rabbits are known for their fun personalities which makes them great companions.

The furry little guys are extremely entertaining and fun-loving. They are very social, so they will want you to spend time with them! On top of that, rabbits can live anywhere between 10-12 years – with the proper care of course. This is especially wonderful, because studies have shown that petting a rabbit can significantly reduce stress levels. Other benefits include small living spaces and fairly low maintenance.

On that note, if you are thinking of adopting a pet bunny, it is important to consider that:

They Are A Financial Responsibility

Owning any kind of pet comes with a financial responsibility. Initial fees include the adoption fee which are usually inexpensive.  Additional costs include housing, food, and supplies to bunny-proof your home.  On-going costs include food, litter, and visits to the veterinarian. It also is very important that you invest in getting your bunny spayed or neutered.

They Are Social Animals

They don’t like to be alone. They love spending time with you, but you will have to make time for them every day. Since they are social creatures, rabbits will tend to get into trouble if they are not entertained.

They Don’t Like Change

Rabbits get stressed out when they travel or are placed in an unfamiliar environment. If you plan to travel often, you may have to consider getting a pet sitter. Airlines do not often allow rabbits to fly in-cabin. If you travel often, getting a rabbit may not be the best option for you.

They Don’t Just Eat Carrots

Contrary to popular belief, rabbits cannot live solely on carrots. These colorful vegetables are very sweet, and should be given to your pet rabbits as an occasional treat. For regular meals, rabbits should be fed fresh hay and salads.

They Will Chew

If you plan to keep your rabbit inside the house, be aware that they will chew on anything that they can get their paws on. Investing the time to bunny-proof your home is necessary to prevent any accidents with electrical wires and furniture.

When you start thinking about adopting a bunny, consider both the benefits of having one as a pet, but be sure that you’re able to take care of one before bringing him or her home. Many rabbits have been abandoned, and are constantly searching for loving homes.

Every year after Easter, animal shelters find themselves with an overwhelming amount of abandoned rabbits that were meant to be gifts. For that reason, the decision to bring any kind of pet into your life is very important. They are delightful little creatures.

For more information on caring for rabbits, contact Dr. Lopez at Brookhurst Animal Medical Center. As a leading veterinarian in Anaheim, Dr. Lopez provides excellent care to all kinds of exotic animals.

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