Animal Clinic of Kalispell - May 2020

Gunner photos

Health Benefits of Family Gardening GIVE YOUR KID THE GIFT OF A GREEN THUMB Yes, there will always be football season, basketball season, and soccer season, but right now, it’s gardening season. That means it’s time to roll up your sleeves and play in the dirt. If you’ve been searching for a way to get the kids away from technology and engaged with the real world, gardening is the perfect activity for the whole family to enjoy. Not only is it fun, but it’s also beneficial for your kids’ development.

CATS THA When a Hairball is

Have you noticed a difference in how your cat breathes? It can be a very subtle change over a period of time that is difficult to recognize (cats hide illness well) but could indicate a serious problem. Recently, we’ve seen several cats with a rare condition called chylothorax. This is when a duct within the cat’s chest begins leaking lymphatic fluid, or chyle. The chyle accumulates around the lungs, making it difficult for the cat to breathe. Eventually, that fluid accumulation can prevent the lungs from inflating and the cat can’t get enough oxygen, which can cause them to develop respiratory failure. Some data suggests that purebred cats, especially Siamese or Himalayan cats, have an increased risk for chylothorax, however all cats can suffer from the condition. Chylothorax may occur after a trauma like a car accident or a fall or be caused by other conditions including heart failure, a heartworm infection, or a fungal disease. However, most of the time it’s impossible to determine what has caused a cat to suffer from chylothorax. This is called idiopathic chylothorax, and more than 50% of chylothorax cases fall into this category.

For example, gardening can improve your children’s analytical abilities. As Dr. Wendy Matthews says, “Gardening exercises important reasoning, initiation, planning, and organization skills.” Furthermore, several studies, including one at Texas A&M University, suggest that gardening improves a child’s attitude toward fruits and vegetables and may make them more likely to choose them as snacks. Gardening helps kids identify with where their food is coming from, and nothing tastes better than a freshly picked strawberry or pea pod they grew themselves. Jack Gilbert, a scientist at the University of Chicago and a parent himself, and his co-author, Rob Knight, emphasize the health benefits of garden time in their book, “Dirt Is Good: The Advantage of Germs for Your Child’s Developing Immune System.” The two found that exposure to different microbes, like those found in a garden, strengthens a child’s immune system and makes them less likely to develop allergies.

Since the cause of chylothorax isn’t always clear, it’s important for cat owners to recognize the warning signs:

HOMEMADE Chicken and Cranberr CAT TREATS

If this is your first time gardening, you don’t need much to get started. Grab a few shovels, a pair of gloves for each family member, and fresh potting soil, and you’ll be set. Then, you can decide together which plants you’d like to grow! Carrots are fun because of the surprise factor — just imagine your child discovering that the part they eat grows below the ground! Peas are tasty and fairly easy to grow, as are strawberries. The options really are endless. Depending on the growing season in your area, you can choose to buy seeds or opt for rooted plants.

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Does your picky kitty turn up their nose at every treat? These homemade goodies are sure to delight even the most finicky of felines!

Last but certainly not least, the best part of gardening as a family is the healthy, fresh produce you’ll get to enjoy all summer long!


1 cup oat flour

3 tbsp unsweetened, dried cranberries

4 oz plain chicken, cooked and chopped into small pieces

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp dried catnip

1 large egg



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