Posted in Health, pets

How to Celebrate Your Pet’s Birthday

Many of us love our pets, treating them as if they were our children.  And for some of us we may love them more (j/k).  So it’s natural to want to celebrate their birthday.


Here’s some tips on how to make your furry friend feel special on their big day….

For Dogs

  1.  Invite other dogs over. Dogs are very social and love sniffing each other.  It’s their version of “pin the tail on the donkey.”
  2. Go to a dog park.  Less poop in the house
  3. Make them a puppy cake of their favorite meat
  4. Buy them a present but let them unwrap it.  They love the surprise and the suspense. (Un-train them in this feat before Christmas though).
  5. Treat them to a doggie massage

    waiting for my massage
    Image from American Kennel Club
  6. Let them walk YOU on their walk outside
  7. Get a cat piñata and load it with treats
  8. Get them a new pillow bed and don’t yell at them if they poop on it
  9. Treat yourself to a T-bone steak for dinner and give them the bone
  10. If they don’t get to sleep with you on your bed, let them this one time


For Cats



  1. Leave them alone
  2. Let them be
  3. Don’t make eye contact
  4. But in case you have a loving kitty like I do….you can also a order a cat massage or get them a Tweety bird piñata



ultimate book cover final

Great Gift!!!

The Ultimate Medical Student HandBook


Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.

Posted in Health, news, pets

Avoid Kissing Your Pet Hedgehog

Having high-maintenance cats and dogs my whole life, I find how a pet hedgehog can be appealing. However, the CDC has issued a warning to those with the cuddly critters to not kiss them as 11 people from 8 states have come down with Salmonella.

On their website the CDC reports the following:

  • Eleven people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella have been reported from eight states (CO, ME, MN, MS, MO, NE, TX, WY).

  • One person has been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

  • Fifty-five percent of the ill people are children under 12.

  • Ten of the 11 ill people reported contact with a pet hedgehog.

  • The outbreak strain making people sick was found in samples collected from three hedgehogs in two ill patients’ homes.

  • A common supplier of hedgehogs in this outbreak has not been identified. Ill people reported buying hedgehogs from various sources, including pet stores, breeders, or online.

  • Illnesses started from October 22, 2018 to December 25, 2018.

  • CDC continues to monitor PulseNet to identify illnesses that may be part of this outbreak.

  • This investigation is ongoing, and CDC will provide updates when more information becomes available.



Symptoms of salmonella poisoning include fever, chills, rash, diarrhea and stomach cramps within 12-72 hours after exposure. The illness can last 4-7 days, although most people will recover without treatment.

If you are of the silent majority of pet owners who worship their hedgehog, keep them away from the kitchen, avoid in households with immunocompromised family members and wash your hands thoroughly after handling them.


spanish book

Learning Medical Spanish is Easy!!!


Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.

Posted in Christmas, Health, news, pets, thanksgiving

The Holidays and the In-laws: Your Step by Step Guide

The holidays are here!! Good food, no school, no work, and most of all….. family!!

For many this is the happiest time of the year!

For some…..the most dreaded…

This is your very rare and valuable time off, and you have to spend all of it with people who don’t like you and you’re not particularly fond of. Four to 7 days of staying with family, (especially if they don’t let you stay a hotel and insist you stay with them), can be more than many can bear.

So here are some steps you can take to make the holidays easier.

1. Huddle up




Usually your spouse wants to avoid controversy just as much as you do.  Before the encounter, huddle up and create a strategy for:

a.  How to deal with insults

b.  How to take a break – take the car to go grab some last-minute Thanksgiving necessities

c.  Where you get to sit at the table

d.  Potential arguments regarding the children and their upbringing

2.  Try to get a hotel room




This gives you the much-needed reprieve at the end of the day.  However, if the family insists you stay with them and 4 nights at Hotel Hell are just too much to bear, plan a “sneak away” for an evening with your wife and tell the Grandparents they will host the kid’s slumber party.  Remember to thank them for the huge favor they are doing allowing you and the wife a much needed night away “from the kids” …wink…wink…..

3.  Football




Thank Heavens the Cowboys are playing this Thanksgiving.  Usually there is someone else in the family just as sane as you are when it comes to football, so you can immediately partner with him to get the television on and the game playing.  Although this may only give you a 15 minute “out” of the family festivities, its 15 minutes of pure euphoria.

4.  Remember you have sciatica




The most difficult part of Thanksgiving/Christmas is sitting at a table for hours and usually trapped, physically, because the chairs are pushed together so tight that you can’t push out the chair. If you ever, ever, ever had an issue with your back, knee, leg, muscle, or even pinky toe, use this as an excuse to heave the table forward so you can get up and stretch your legs.  Slowly limp over to the living room where hopefully you left the football game on……

5.  Get called to work




No in-law can or wants to take on your boss.  So during the 7 day stent, politely excuse yourself if you need to go onto a computer, make a phone call, or drive 60 miles away for “work”.  Make sure your spouse is on board with this one……


6.  Have “diarrhea”



You get to leave the room and no one wants to be near you.  You just gained escaping 3-5 times/hour since you need to “run” to the bathroom.


7.  Inform the family you feel a cold coming on




Don’t jinx yourself but this gets you out of hugs, and sloppy lipstick kisses…..

Ok this gives you a well-coordinated exit plan but what happens if they are on to you?  How do you deal with the remaining, 3 days, 23 hours and 45 minutes?

1.  Don’t take it personally

When the insults and digs come, don’t feel like these personal attacks need to stick.  You have enough people in your life telling you your shortcomings.  The in-laws are either being redundant or telling you something that doesn’t hold true.

2.  You’re not alone

Millions of adults are in the exact same position as you at the same moment in time.  You’re not alone.  Just sneak a peek on facebook and you’ll scroll through hundreds of “Ugh!!!!”s………..

3.  Make a game of it

Bet your wife or coworker that you will get the most insults over the holiday than they will and write down or note every time it happens. The more it occurs, you win.  Compare notes or use it as a “get out jail free card” with your spouse.

4.  Have a happy place

Negotiate with your spouse prior to the holiday a “free day” or “free weekend” that you will earn upon completion of a 7 day holiday with the in-laws.  Plan and fantasize about this reward throughout your tour of duty to make the path easier

5.  Bring the pets


Since you are usually outnumbered during these family events, why not have non humans come to your aid.  Dogs need to be walked, cats need to be chased, so this gives you an out and gives you a much-needed buddy during the hard times.


Look, it’s not easy, but remember why you’re there.  For YOUR family.  Your spouse and kids need to spend the holidays with you so grin and bear it.  And remember you may be luckier than the average guy.  He could be spending the WHOLE WEEK!  Ahhh, you DO have something to be thankful for.  Happy Thanksgiving!!!!


Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network and Board Certified Family Physician

Posted in Health, news, pets

Cat Tongue Cleaning Scoop….Literally

A study recently discovered why cats are so artful at cleaning themselves and others.

Although to the naked eye it appears as if they have mini thorns along their tongue, they actually have little “scoops” that can carry saliva.


cat tongue.jpeg


Dr. David Hu, a bioengineer at Georgia Tech, and his student, Alexis Noel, found, using microCT scans, that the papilla (thorns) of the tongue spring up and into action during cleaning, and contain scoops of saliva that can penetrate fur. This allows fluid to get under the hair and onto the skin of the animal.

They looked at 6 different species, including the lion, bobcat, cougar, snow leopard, tiger and domestic cat and found similar results with their sandpapery-feeling appendage. reports:

Although each papilla may only be able to wick a fraction of a water droplet (4.1 microliters, to be precise), over the course of a day, the tongue of a domestic cat transfers an average of 48 milliliters to its fur, about a fifth of a cup of water.

The significance?  Scientists can use this bioinspired design to create a brush animals can use for grooming, assist humans in sorting fibers and textiles, and even delivering medication.

I hate to give my cats a bigger head than they already have, but their tongue technology is pretty cool.




One of my grumpy kitties….Spider



Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.

She is also a Board Certified Family Physician and Assistant Professor at Touro University Nevada



Posted in Christmas, food, Health, news, pets, thanksgiving

What Your Pets CANNOT Eat This Holiday Season


The holidays are coming and so are the in-laws.  So to avoid being outnumbered at the dinner table, we invite our pets.  But can pets eat table scrapings and leftovers from Thanksgiving and Christmas?

Let’s look at what they can and cannot eat.




According to the American Kennel Club, dogs can eat the following (in moderate amounts):

  • Turkey, Chicken, Beef (remove all bones so they don’t get swallowed and perforate the gut)
  • Ham
  • Shrimp
  • Salmon
  • Eggs
  • Cheese
  • Peanut Butter
  • Bread (with no raisins)
  • Popcorn
  • Corn
  • Honey

Avoid the following in dogs:

May be toxic; cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea; electrolyte abnormalities; kidney damage; pancreatitis due to high fat content, or intestinal obstruction

  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Chives
  • Raw Dough
  • Avocado
  • Raisins
  • Grapes
  • Chocolate
  • Cinnamon
  • Ice cream
  • Almonds
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Alcohol
  • Nutmeg
  • Mushrooms
  • Caffeine
  • Coconut
  • Energy drinks
  • Fatty/fried foods and even the fat trimmings
  • Artificial Sweeteners such as Xylitol

And watch their portions. They will eat and eat and eat and won’t keep a tally on what grandma, nephew and the neighbors threw at him.




Fluffy or Snappy (above) can eat – but again only in moderation:

  • Meat
  • Fish
  • Grains
  • Vegetables (though many stick their nose up at it)
  • Eggs
  • Butter


Avoid similar foods as with dogs due to toxicity and also (according to Vetsnow)

  • Alcohol
  • Raw fish and eggs
  • Dairy products
  • Coffee, tea and energy drinks




Yes, some will bring Nemo to Holiday dinner.

It appears fish can eat many types of meat and vegetables, scrambled eggs and even cooked rice but be careful of toxins, fats and cooking oils.



I don’t have any of these and if I did, I doubt I’d share my turkey with it.  But according to, many fruits, vegetables, breads and nuts (chopped up without shell) can be eaten by birdie.



Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.


Posted in Health, news, pets

How Pets Can Pick Up Cancer

This week a Marine veteran is crediting her Siberian Husky with finding her ovarian cancer, and she’s not the first one to claim how furry friends can save lives.

Stephanie Herfel of Wisconsin said she had been experiencing abdominal pain when her dog, Sierra kept sniffing her.  She states, “She put her nose on my lower belly and sniffed so intently that I thought I spilled something on my clothes.”  After multiple sniffs she went into the emergency room to be diagnosed with an ovarian cyst which eventually was found by her gynecologist to be stage 3C ovarian cancer, according to Fox News.

ovarian cancer.jpg


Last month, an Oregon woman claimed her cat helped her detect her breast cancer.  Michelle Pearson adopted a cat, Mia, a few years back from the Humane Society.  The one day she pounced on Pearson’s chest, sniffed her breast and directed her owner’s attention to the breast.  Days later Michelle was diagnosed with breast cancer.

She states, “All of a sudden out of nowhere, she just got up on my chest and she sniffed that breast and then looked in my face, sniffed the spot again and looked in my face and I tried to shove her off and she came back up and just laid down on that right breast and she looked at me like ‘I’m trying to tell you something.'”

She feels her rescue cat actually “rescued” her.


A woman in California cited the same miracle.  Nancy Best stated her dog, also named Mia, would not stop licking her breast. She was eventually diagnosed with breast cancer.

Sometimes animals may not always be friendly towards a diseased body part.  My in-law’s poodle would shower everyone with licks except for one person who she would excessively bark at.  He was soon diagnosed with brain cancer.

So can pets detect cancer?

PBS reports that dogs can smell 40 times better than humans, with over 300 million olfactory receptors in their nose.  They can smell parts per trillion, a keen sense that is potentially sharp enough to pick up cancer cells and the smells they produce.

Healthline reports that cancer cells raise polyamine levels which come with an odor.  Moreover if cancer cells incite an immune response, this can expel a scent as well.

In 1989 a case report revealed a woman’s dog tried to bite a mole off her leg which ended up being malignant melanoma.

According to a 2011 study in the journal Gut, Labrador retrievers were able to sniff out colon cancer in 97% of stool samples.

The Italian Ministry of Defense’s Military Veterinary Center was successful in training German Shepherds to recognize prostate cancer proteins in urine to 98% accuracy.

For those of you with a pet pigeon, don’t feel left out. A University of Iowa study found pigeons to be trained to detect breast cancer cells to 85% accuracy.

So despite our animals possessing the power to sense microscopic anomalies, we shouldn’t panic every time they sniff or lick us.  But if they persist on one area of your body, it might be worth getting checked out.


dw sketch.jpg


Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.

She is also a Board Certified Family Physician and Assistant Professor at Touro University Nevada


Posted in Health, news, pets

Our Pets CAN Tell Time

We pet owners have always suspected it…..our cats jump on us moments before our alarm goes off and our dogs sit by the front door at 5:45 pm each weeknight.   Why? Because they can tell time, well figuratively that is, with science to prove it.


cat bed.jpg

Daniel Dombeck, the associate professor of neurobiology at Northwestern’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and colleagues, found the part of an animal’s brain that comprised “timing cells” or neurons that would give animals a sense of when something was supposed to happen. In mice this was found to occur in the medial entorhinal cortex of the temporal lobe.

temporal lobe.jpeg

According to

When planning the study, Dombeck’s team focused on the medial entorhinal cortex, an area located in the brain’s temporal lobe that is associated with memory and navigation. Because that part of the brain encodes spatial information in episodic memories, Dombeck hypothesized that the area could also be responsible for encoding time.
“Every memory is a bit different,” said James Heys, a postdoctoral fellow in Dombeck’s laboratory. “But there are two central features to all episodic memories: space and time. They always happen in a particular environment and are always structured in time.”
To test their hypothesis, Dombeck and Heys set up an experiment called the virtual “door stop” task. In the experiment, a mouse runs on a physical treadmill in a virtual reality environment. The mouse learns to run down a hallway to a door that is located about halfway down the track. After six seconds, the door opens, allowing the mouse to continue down the hallway to receive its reward.
After running several training sessions, researchers made the door invisible in the virtual reality scene. In the new scenario, the mouse still knew where the now-invisible “door” was located based on the floor’s changing textures. And it still waited six seconds at the “door” before abruptly racing down the track to collect its reward.
“The important point here is that the mouse doesn’t know when the door is open or closed because it’s invisible,” said Heys, the paper’s first author. “The only way he can solve this task efficiently is by using his brain’s internal sense of time.”

Our pets’ sense of timing is instinctive and therefore not surprising, as animals have always had the ability to sense the time of day when their prey comes to the water hole or when they to avoid the night prowlers starting their hunt.

So although our humanization of pets may seem cute at first, we should proceed with caution as animals possess many of the same intellectual capabilities as humans.  They’re smart….too smart…..and the more details scientists unlock in their furry heads, the more we learn of how similar they are to us. And I’m not sure I want to know what they’re truly thinking.  Ignorance is bliss…..


dog costumw.jpg


dw sketch.jpg


Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.

She is also a Board Certified Family Physician and Assistant Professor at Touro University Nevada