Zika Virus and Animals FAQ
Q: What is the human risk of exposure to the Zika virus in the U.S.? A: Zika virus is transmitted primarily through Aedes aegypti mosquitos (which also spread other diseases, such as dengue fever and chikungunya), though other mosquito species have been identified as carriers. Besides mosquito bites, Zika can also be transmitted through blood transfusion, laboratory exposure, or sexual intercourse, and from mother to child during pregnancy. As Zika can cause microcephaly (an underdeveloped brain) and other brain defects in fetuses, pregnant women are advised to avoid travel to areas where the Zika virus is found.
As of September 7, 2016, there had been 2,964 human cases of Zika reported in the United States, with 2,920 of those being travel-associated cases and 43 of them being transmitted locally, as reported to ArboNET, a system managed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). There have been no reports of animals infected with Zika. At this time, Zika is not considered widespread in North America.
Q: Is there a vaccine for Zika?
A: There is no vaccine or treatment currently available for the Zika virus, although there is ongoing research to develop an effective vaccine.
Q: Can dogs or other pets get the Zika virus from humans, or transmit it to them?
A: According to the CDC, “There have not been any reports of pets or other types of animals becoming sick with Zika virus. However, more research is needed to better understand Zika virus in animals.”
While there have been no reports of the Zika virus infection in traditional pets, there has not been enough research done to conclude that it doesn’t occur. In other countries, antibodies (indicating exposure) to Zika virus have been detected in nonhuman primates, and outbreaks in nonhuman primates have occurred.
If you are concerned about your pet contracting the virus, talk with your veterinarian about appropriate mosquito repellants and other preventive measures.
Q: Could my pet be a “reservoir host” for the Zika virus?
A: A “reservoir host” is a long-term host of a disease that generally does not become clinically ill from the disease but may carry and serve as a source of infection for others. Without research, there is no way to know whether any animals are or will become reservoir hosts of the Zika virus.
However, Dr. Maureen Long, an associate professor in the Department of Infectious Diseases and Pathology at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, finds it unlikely. As she told the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, “To our knowledge, the only species that develop a very high viral load of Zika in their blood are humans and nonhuman primates.”
The CDC also notes that animals don’t appear to be involved in the spread of the Zika virus.
Q: Can I get my pet tested for Zika?
A: To our knowledge, there are no diagnostic laboratories in the United States testing animals for Zika virus..
Q: What about risks of Zika from other animals?
A: The CDC reports there is no evidence that the Zika virus is spread to people from contact with animals.
The Zika virus was first discovered in Uganda in the 1940s in a monkey presenting a mild fever, and while nonhuman primates have the ability to become infected with Zika, the risk of monkeys and apes in the United States becoming infected with the virus is low. Additionally, monkeys and apes must undergo a mandatory 31-day quarantine period when imported into the United States. The CDC has more information about the prevalence of Zika in nonhuman primates and other species. Anyone with nonhuman primate pets or assistance animals, particularly those near areas in which Zika has been reported, should remain vigilant and seek veterinary care for the animal if any illness is observed.
A Peaceful Farewell provides compassionate at home pet euthanasia to fellow pet owners in Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Scottsdale, and most of the Greater Phoenix Metropolitan Area.
Pet Care FAQ: Vaccinating Pets
Q: What are vaccines?
A: Vaccines are health products that trigger protective immune responses in pets and prepare them to fight future infections from disease-causing agents. Vaccines can lessen the severity of future diseases and certain vaccines can prevent infection altogether. Today, a variety of vaccines are available for use by veterinarians.
Q: Is it important to vaccinate?
A: Yes! Pets should be vaccinated to protect them from many highly contagious and deadly diseases. Experts agree that widespread use of vaccines within the last century has prevented death and disease in millions of animals. Even though some formerly common diseases have now become uncommon, vaccination is still highly recommended because these serious disease agents continue to be present in the environment.
Q: Which vaccines should pets receive?
A: When designing a vaccination program, veterinarians consider the pet's lifestyle, related disease risks, and the characteristics of available vaccines. "Core vaccines" (e.g., rabies, feline panleukopenia, feline viral rhinotracheitis, feline calicivirus infection, canine distemper, canine parvovirus infection, and canine hepatitis) are recommended for most pets. Additional "non-core vaccines" (e.g., feline leukemia, canine kennel cough and other vaccines) may be appropriate based on the pet's particular needs.
Q: How often should pets be revaccinated?
A: Veterinarians have traditionally vaccinated annually; however, they are now learning that some vaccines induce immunity that lasts less than one year, whereas others may induce immunity that lasts well beyond one year. The AVMA recommends that veterinarians customize vaccination programs to the needs of their patients. More than one vaccination program may be effective.
Q: How does my pet's lifestyle affect its vaccination program?
A: Some pets are homebodies and have modest opportunity for exposure to infectious disease, whereas others have a great deal of exposure to other pets and/or wildlife and infectious disease by virtue of their activities. Still other pets live in geographic areas that place them at greater risk for contracting some infectious diseases. Differences in lifestyle illustrate the importance of customizing a vaccination program to individual patients.
Q: Are there risks associated with vaccination?
A: Vaccines have protected millions of animals from illness and death caused by infectious diseases. All medical procedures, however, carry with them some risk. Fortunately, in the case of vaccination, serious adverse responses are very infrequent. Veterinarians minimize risk by carefully selecting vaccines on the basis of a pet's individual needs and by choosing appropriate injection sites. In an effort to find ways to prevent even these limited numbers of adverse responses from occurring, the AVMA is working with government and industry to redefine how information regarding adverse responses is gathered, analyzed, and disseminated.
Q: Is serologic testing useful to evaluate immunity to some diseases?
A: Theoretically, tests that measure antibody response (i.e., serologic titers) may help veterinarians determine the need for revaccination in some cases. Unfortunately, veterinarians cannot be certain that a specific concentration of antibody is always protective or that a lower concentration leaves an animal unprotected.
This information has been prepared as a service by the American Veterinary Medical Association. Redistribution is acceptable, but the document's original content and format must be maintained, and its source must be prominently identified.
Medicating a cat is sometimes one of the most challenging tasks a cat owner must face. But with a little advance preparation, it doesn't have to be difficult.
Before you attempt to medicate your cat, get all your supplies together. Have the medication handy, along with a treat to make the experience more pleasant for your cat, and a towel for wrapping your cat if necessary.
To give a liquid medication, place your cat on a flat surface, facing away from you with his hindquarters against your body. You should already have the medication drawn up into a dosing syringe. Use your free hand to tilt your cat’s head up slightly. Place the tip of syringe in the back corner of your cat’s mouth, squirting the medication in the space between the cheek and gums. Be sure to reward your cat with a favorite treat afterward.
To give a pill or capsule, hold your cat in the same position you would to give a liquid. Using one hand, steady your cat’s head and tilt it slightly upward. Grasp the pill or capsule between your thumb and forefinger of the opposite hand. Use your middle finger to open your cat’s mouth and slide the pill down the center of the tongue to the back of the mouth.
Alternatively, you can use a pill gun (a device used to hold the pill or capsule and place it in the mouth), again placing the medication on the tongue at the back of your cat’s mouth. Continue to hold your cat’s head in a slightly tilted position with the mouth closed until you see your cat swallow. Follow the pilling procedure with a treat for your cat.
If your cat struggles and attempts to scratch, wrap a thick towel around your cat’s neck and front legs to protect yourself from your cat’s claws.
If medicating your cat is difficult, you may try hiding your cat’s medication in food. Liquid medication can be mixed in with wet food or with gravy or tuna juice. Check with your veterinarian first though, to be sure that this will not affect the efficacy of the medication.
For pills or capsules, you can purchase pill pockets which can be used to hide a pill or capsule inside. The pill pocket with the medication inside is then offered as a treat. Alternatively, you can try making your own pill pocket by wrapping the pill or capsule in a bit of cheese or inside of a ball of canned food.
However, many cats will simply nibble around the medication, rather than actually taking the medication. If your cat does this, you will need to either manually medicate your cat or find another alternative.
In many situations, there may be other alternatives available. Many medications can be compounded, producing a liquid with a pleasant flavor. There are special compounding pharmacies that can do this if your veterinarian is unable to formulate the flavored medication in the hospital.
Some medications are also available as a transdermal gel. This special medicated gel is able to be absorbed through the skin rather than requiring oral administration. Typically, these medications are applied to the inside of the tip of the ear. Methimazole, a medication frequently used to treat hyperthyroidism in cats, is frequently dosed as a transdermal gel.
Transdermal patches are another alternative that may be an option with some medications. These are patches with medication embedded in them that are affixed directly to the skin. The medication is then released from the patch through the skin in a time-released manner. Fentanyl, a potent pain reliever, is often dosed as a patch.
Unfortunately, not all medications lend themselves well to transdermal applications. However, your veterinarian will be able to help you choose a medication delivery system that is manageable for you and can also demonstrate how to go about medicating your cat.
Benefits of In-Home Pet Boarding
Before setting off on that island getaway or action-packed tour, there’s still one big question that all pet parents must consider before saying bon voyage: Who’ll watch your pets?
As the pet population and spending continues to grow, dog owners have more options for vacation care than ever. According to the American Pet Products Association, U.S. pet industry spending reached around $51 billion in 2011. The number of insured pet-sitter business is already at 10K nationally, and from 2010 to 2020 the number of animal care and service workers is expected to grow by 23%. So if your go-to move is usually traditional kennel boarding, it may be time to consider another option — in-home boarding.
WHAT IS IN-HOME PET BOARDING?In-home boarding works like this: Pet owners search for a registered home nearby, namely through national website services catering to this need. It’s 24-hour care in the hands of trusted professional for an affordable rate.
Most in-home boarding sites are free to browse, and they perform background checks on canine hosts to ensure they are qualified to watch your dog. When a pet owner finds a sitter or host that’s a match, they work with the service to connect with sitter and ensure that the potential dog watcher is a good fit for Fido, based on location, personality and daily routine. Payment is worked out through the service, and the pet parent brings the pooch over to the host’s house before they leave for vacation.
In-home pet boarding services offer dogs individual attention, regular walks, trips to the park, and the opportunity to socialize with other dogs in the household. They can also keep up with your pet’s regular routine — including eating schedules, bathroom breaks, grooming necessities, and daily exercise requirements — so your pooch has less anxiety while you’re away. If your pup isn’t the easiest to handle, you can even opt for in-home pet boarding with a professional trainer!
A number of national websites, such as DogVacay.com and Sleepover Rover, are culling perfect environments for pet owners to search for in-home pet sitters. DogVacay.com, founded by Aaron Hirschhorn and his wife, was born after the two experienced firsthand the stresses of finding trustworthy sitters at affordable rates for their two dogs. “DogVacay’s sitters offer in-home care, and most charge less than $25 per night,” says co-founder and CEO Hirschhorn. Kennels, he notes, can be anywhere from $35-$70 per night, depending on location.
While price is certainly a consideration, how your dog will be cared for while you’re away is paramount. One DogVacay online reviewer (out of thousands of satisfied customers), Ethan C., said that his dogs “...who usually hate boarding of any kind (and make us feel horribly guilty about leaving them) came back exhausted from their play and walks, and looked at us as though we'd taken them away from a romping good time.”
Hirschhorn adds that DogVacay isn’t just about connecting owners and sitters, but also ensuring quality through pet sitter reference checks, reviews, phone interviews, online training, and insurance policies (for both pet sitters and pooches). “During the pet owners’ time away, we also provide them with a daily email updates that include a picture of their dog,” says Hirschhorn. The in-home dog boarding service also provides a no cost, no obligation meet and greet for the pet and potential sitter to see if it will be a good fit.
QUESTIONS AND CONSIDERATIONS ABOUT IN-HOME BOARDING PET SITTERS
When deciding upon the in-home boarding spot right for your dog, Hirschhorn says some of the most important considerations are getting a feel for the environment and a sense of how your dog and the sitter get along. Keep these questions and consideration in mind when meeting with any potential pet sitter:
1. Is the pet sitter’s home clean and safe? Before you head out to tropical paradise, head over to the facility that you’re considering to confirm your pet will be placed in a pet friendly, secure home.
2. Are the pet-watchers/homeowners responsible and reliable? The same way that you would consider whether or not a family member or friend could do the job of watching your pet, do your due diligence on the in-home boarding homeowners. Read other customer reviews, and ask specific questions about their pet experience and daily routine.
3. Are there other pets in the house? If so, how many, and what types? If your dog loves to play with other dogs, consider whether this household is home to small pets or large dogs which may frighten your pet. Also consider if there are any other animals, such as cats, present in the household.
4. What’s the daily routine? If your pooch needs his pill at a certain time of day, or likes to go on long walks in the morning, be sure that the in-home boarding care will be accommodating. Consider feeding, medication, physical needs and hygienic needs (baths or teeth-brushing) when you ask about the schedule.
5. Provide full disclosure. In addition to interviewing the in-home dog sitter, providing an out-of-town contact number and asking about the nearest animal hospital, it’s a pet parent’s job to be open and transparent about a pet’s needs, says Hirschhorn. Share as much info about your pet’s personality, needs and medical history as possible to ensure your pet has a fabulous time on his vacation!
7 Home Remedies for Your Dog
When you're feeling under the weather, you might find that the perfect thing for treating what ails you is something you already have in the kitchen. Did you know that you can treat your ailing dog with some simple home remedies too? Below you will find seven great natural remedies for making your dog happy and healthy again.
Vitamin E is good for preventing those pesky age lines on your face, and it's also great for your dog's dry skin. You can give your pup a doggy massage by applying vitamin E oil directly to the skin, a soaking bath with vitamin E added to the water, or you can go all "Hollywood" and pop your dog a pill (of vitamin E, that is).
If you give the vitamin orally, check with your vet on the recommended dosage for your specific dog breed.
Flavorless electrolyte-replacing liquids, such as sports waters or pediatric drinks, not only help athletes to replenish fluids, and babies to rehydrate after an illness, they can also supply your sick pooch's body with much needed fluids after a bout of diarrhea or vomiting.
Consult your veterinarian as to the appropriate dosage amounts when giving these types of liquids to your dog.
Deliciously plain yogurt is a healthy treat for your dog. Just as with humans, the live acidophilus in the yogurt keeps the good bacteria in your dog's intestines in balance, so that bad bacteria is swiftly knocked out. If your dog is on antibiotics, a little yogurt will also help keep yeast infections at bay (a common side-effect of antibiotic treatment). You can also give your dog acidophilus pills -- wrapping the pills in bacon is strictly optional.
Puppies are especially prone to yeast infections, so a little plain yogurt as a snack (or even dessert) can help keep things in balance; especially useful while the intestinal system is building immunities.
Chamomile tea uses the natural disinfecting effects of the chamomile plant to settle upset doggy tummies. It is recommended for colic, gas, and anxiety. It can also alleviate minor skin irritations. Just chill in the fridge and spray onto the affected area on the dog's raw skin. Your dog should feel an immediate soothing effect as the chilled tea kills the yeast and/or bacteria on the skin. A warm (not hot) tea bag can also be used for soothing infected or irritated eyes.
An itchy dog can be quite an annoyance, especially as it goes around scratching itself on any piece of furniture it can reach. Forget the backscratcher. Finely ground oatmeal is a time-honored remedy for irritated skin. You can use baby oatmeal cereal or grind it yourself in a food processor. Stir the oatmeal into a bath of warm water and let your dog soak in the healing goodness. Your dog will thank you, trust us. Dogs with skin allergies, infections, and other diseases which cause itchiness have been shown to gain immediate relief with this approach, too.
Dogs can be like kids at times, and as such they are bound to suffer from wounds and the occasional unexplained swelling. Try treating these ailments with Epsom salt soaks and heat packs next time. A bath consisting of Epsom salt and warm water can help reduce the swelling and the healing time, especially when combined with prescribed antibiotics and veterinary supervision.
If soaking your dog in an Epsom salt bath twice a day for five minutes isn't convenient or practical, a homemade heat pack using a clean towel drenched in the same warm-water solution can be applied to wounds for the same effect.
Does your dog have fleas? Never fear. Before turning to the big guns, try some borax powder. The standard stuff at the store will work wonders on fleas by poking holes in their crunchy insect exoskeletons. A good way to make sure those parasitic suckers get annihilated is to sprinkle the borax on your floor, and then sweep or vacuum up the excess. The invisible borax crystals left behind will kill the fleas and you won't even have to lift a finger. It's inexpensive and practically non-toxic compared to an appointment with the exterminator.
For the dog, try a simple solution of lemon water. Fleas are repelled by citrus, so this can work both as a flea preventive, and for making your dog smell clean and refreshing. A useful solution can be made by pouring boiled water over lemons and allowing them to steep over night. This solution can then be applied all over your dog's skin using a fresh spray bottle. And, the tried and true Brewer's yeast method cannot be left out. Brewer's yeast can be given as part of a regular diet in powdered form, sprinkled over the dog food, or in tablet form, perhaps wrapped in a small slice of bacon or cheese.
Home (or holistic) remedies aren't just for tree huggers anymore. It's important to take care of your dog from day to day, not just when it's feeling a little under the weather, and the best way to maintain the best health is often the most natural way. But most of all, it'll help keeping your "baby" from crying like a hound dog.
Can Dogs See Colors?
Probably one of the most frequently asked questions about dog's vision is whether dogs see colors. The simple answer-namely that dogs are colorblind-has been misinterpreted by people as meaning that dogs see no color, but only shades of gray. This is wrong. Dogs do see colors, but the colors that they see are neither as rich nor as many as those seen by humans.
The eyes of both people and dogs contain special light catching cells called cones that respond to color. Dogs have fewer cones than humans which suggests that their color vision won't be as rich or intense as ours. However, the trick to seeing color is not just having cones, but having several different types of cones, each tuned to different wavelengths of light. Human beings have three different kinds of cones and the combined activity of these gives humans their full range of color vision.
The most common types of human colorblindness come about because the person is missing one of the three kinds of cones. With only two cones, the individual can still see colors, but many fewer than someone with normal color vision. This is the situation with dogs who also have only two kinds of cones.
Jay Neitz at the University of California, Santa Barbara, tested the color vision of dogs. For many test trials, dogs were shown three light panels in a row--two of the panels were the same color, while the third was different. The dogs' task was to find the one that was different and to press that panel. If the dog was correct, he was rewarded with a treat that the computer delivered to the cup below that panel.
Neitz confirmed that dogs actually do see color, but many fewer colors than normal humans do. Instead of seeing the rainbow as violet, blue, blue-green, green, yellow, orange and red, dogs would see it as dark blue, light blue, gray, light yellow, darker yellow (sort of brown), and very dark gray. In other words, dogs see the colors of the world as basically yellow, blue and gray. They see the colors green, yellow and orange as yellowish, and they see violet and blue as blue. Blue-green is seen as a gray. You can see what the spectrum looks like to people and dogs below.
One amusing or odd fact is that the most popular colors for dog toys today are red or safety orange (the bright orange red on traffic cones or safety vests). However red is difficult for dogs to see. It may appear as a very dark brownish gray or perhaps even a black. This means that that bright red dog toy that is so visible to you may often be difficult for your dog to see. That means that when your own pet version of Lassie runs right past the toy that you tossed she may not be stubborn or stupid. It may be your fault for choosing a toy with a color that is hard to discriminate from the green grass of your lawn.
Flirting with the idea of owning both a dog and a cat — but worried you'll only be flirting with disaster? Canines and felines can live in harmony, as long as you follow these no-nonsense tips.
If you’re having doubts about adding a cat to your “dog house” or introducing a canine to your feline-friendly home, rest assured: Dogs and cats can live together in peace. The trick? Create a structured and healthy pet environment to smooth the transition.
The conventional wisdom that a cat and dog can’t get along is a pet myth, says Isabelle Hamel, head trainer and behavior consultant at North Shore Animal League America, the world’s largest no-kill animal rescue and adoption organization located in Port Washington, N.Y. “Cats and dogs can live very happily together,” she says.
In fact, millions of Americans live in a dog-and-cat household. According to a recent Gallup survey, of the 59 percent of Americans who own either a cat or dog, 16 percent of them own both a cat and a dog.
5 Must-Dos for Keeping the Peace Between Pets
Here’s how to avoid an unpleasant dog vs. cat showdown:
Keep kitty safe. Set up a safe haven for your cat that is inaccessible to your dog. “This area should contain the cat’s bed, food, and water on one side of the room and the litter box on the other,” says Hamel. Use a gate or chain on top of the door that keeps the dog out, but provides just enough room for the cat to slip in and out.
Put your pup on a leash. “It’s important to be able to control the dog without chasing, yelling, or grabbing,” Hamel says. She suggests using a light tether attached to the dog’s collar while at home. This will provide you with instant access to the dog. Since the tether is lighter than a leash, the dog will feel as though he’s free, but you will still be able to control him. To keep the dog from chewing on the tether, soak it in bad-tasting mouthwash. As the animals become accustomed to each other, gradually cut this cord shorter until it is no longer needed, she says.
Get them while they’re young. If possible, introduce a cat and dog while they are still young. “Youth is a formative time — most animals are curious, flexible, and resilient when they are young,” says Hamel.
Bear breeds in mind. “It’s important to research what tasks an animal was originally bred for,” Hamel says. For instance, hounds, spaniels, and retrievers were bred to work with groups of people or other dogs, making them very social. Says Hamel, “Terriers were bred to work independently and usually prefer the company of people rather than other animals — Jack Russells are a good example of this.” Siberian huskies have a strong prey drive and do not do well with cats, nor do Alaskan malamutes since they are natural predators, according to Hamel.
Let them work it out. Hamel says the biggest mistake pet owners make when introducing a cat and dog is interfering with the animals’ natural interaction. “If an animal growls or hisses, it is a clear correction toward the offending animal.” If you step in and try to stop the behavior, the cat and dog will hiss or growl more intensely, becoming more aggressive, she explains.
So if you think you’re ready to share your home with another pet, Hamel has this advice: “Examine your motivation behind the decision. Does your existing pet want another animal in its life? What role will the animal play in your life? This decision is a 14 to 25 year commitment, so it is important to consider everyone in your family, including your existing pet.”
Separation Anxiety in Dogs
Does your pooch get uneasy when he's left home alone? He could have separation anxiety....here's how you can help:
Dogs with separation anxiety are usually overly attached to or dependent on one or more family members. They become extremely anxious and show distress behaviors of vocalization, destruction, house-soiling, or inactivity when separated from the owners.
Many of these dogs begin to show signs of separation anxiety as the owners prepare to leave. They often salivate or pant profusely, vocalize, eliminate, refuse to eat, and become destructive. Some dogs simply become quiet and withdrawn. Most dogs with separation anxiety also tend to become overly excited when the owner returns.
Because the underlying problem is anxiety, treatment includes reducing all forms of anxiety before the owner leaves, at the time of departure, and when the owner returns. In addition, the dog must learn to accept progressively longer periods of inattention and separation while the owners are at home.
During initial retraining, it’s usually best to find an alternative to leaving the dog alone while you are gone, to prevent damage and vocalization problems. Retraining involves developing a routine so that your dog settles down and relaxes before he is rewarded with attention. In other words, use the very rewards that your dog is seeking to teach independent behavior and relaxed times away from you. Until you can get your dog to settle and relax without attention when you are at home, he is unlikely to settle when you leave.
Formal retraining should be directed at teaching your dog to remain on his mat or dog bed, or in his dog crate or den area for progressively longer periods of time. During these training exercises, try to keep him as calm and relaxed as possible.
Activities that you consistently do before you leave (eg, jangling car keys, grabbing a purse, opening the garage door) signal or cue the dog that you’ll be leaving soon. Anxiety can be greatly reduced by preventing the dog from hearing or seeing any of these cues and by training him that these cues no longer predict a departure. One way to do this is to go through your pre-departure routine, but then remain at home. This is especially good to do when the dog is relaxed or otherwise occupied, so that the dog will learn that the usual cues are no longer a signal that you are necessarily going to leave.
As you depart, your dog should be kept busy and occupied, and preferably where he cannot see you, so that there is little or no anxiety. Giving special food treats in a kong or dog bones that have been saved for departures (and mock departure training sessions) can help keep the dog distracted and busy while you leave. Be certain that the distraction devices last as long as possible so that your dog continues to be occupied until you have left and been gone for a while.
Although medications can be useful during initial departure training, they do not improve separation anxiety. A solid program of retraining is needed to help your dog become more independent and well behaved when away from you.
Dogs with separation anxiety are usually overly attached to or dependent on one or more family members, so that the dog becomes extremely anxious and distressed when these persons leave. This distress often takes the form of vocalization, destruction, house-soiling, or inactivity.
Veterinary experts agree: Having your dog or cat spayed or neutered is the right, responsible choice. Need more convincing? Find out about some important benefits.
Want to do something for your pet that is great for his health and is also an act of responsible pet ownership? Have your animal spayed or neutered. When you make the decision to spay or neuter a pet, you are also making a socially responsible choice — each year, millions of unwanted dogs and cats are euthanized.
So when would a pet owner not want to spay or neuter a pet? According to Bonnie Beaver, DVM, a professor at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Texas A&M University, the only instance should be if the dog or cat is a breeding animal. Some hunters feel that if a male hunting dog is castrated, he will not work effectively, but this is just an old wives’ tale. “There really hasn’t been any strong scientific evidence that says that this is the case,” says Dr. Beaver.
Important Reasons to Spay and Neuter Pets
Here are some of the pet health benefits of choosing to sterilize your furry companion:
How Will Your Pet Feel?
Spaying or neutering a pet is a major surgery, but these are also some of the most commonly performed procedures. Your pet will be given general anesthesia during the surgery, and pain medications are often given after the procedure to minimize pain or discomfort. After the surgery, your veterinarian may recommend keeping your pet indoors in a quiet place to recover. She may also suggest ways to keep your pet calm and prevent your pet from running and jumping. Stitches are usually removed 10 to 14 days later.
It is recommended that female dogs and cats not be spayed while they are in heat since they may be susceptible to increased blood loss. If you want to have an older dog or cat undergo sterilization, have your veterinarian evaluate your pet to make sure the animal is in good health before undergoing the procedure.
Your pet will be calmer and better behaved after surgery — reducing the breeding instinct can eliminate the desire to roam to find a mate. More importantly, your dog or cat will be healthier, more content, and a more devoted member of the family.
Have you heard about the tragic case of the 10-year-old boy from San Diego who died from an infection that he allegedly caught from his new pet rat? The disease is called rat bite fever.
Despite its name, bites aren’t the only way transmission can occur. According to the Centers for Disease Control, people most commonly contract rat bite fever through:
Rat bite fever is a zoonosis — a disease that can be transmitted from animals to people. According to the World Health Organization, over 200 zoonotic diseases have been identified. In fact, most infectious diseases that affect people got their start as animal diseases. And before all you owners of “traditional” pets think this topic only applies to people who choose to live with “weird” animals, dogs and cats can be carriers of around 30 zoonotic diseases.
Zoonotic diseases are generally spread from animals to people by one of three routes:
Disease transmission may be directly from animal to person or via fomites (contaminated objects).
Protecting yourself and your loved ones from zoonotic diseases is in large part a matter of common sense. Here are a few helpful reminders:
Immunosuppressed people, including those who have HIV/AIDS, are on chemotherapy, have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants, or splenectomies, and the very young or old are at higher than average risk for zoonotic diseases. Consult with a doctor before having contact with animals if you or a family member falls into one of these categories.
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For the LOVE of Pets
The goal of this blog is to help educate pet owners by sharing pet health facts and pet news articles...and ... sometimes put a smile on your face with a cute or funny pet story!
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