"SPAYING" (Ovarian Hysterectomy for female animals) and "NEUTERING" (Castration for male animals) not only helps save lives by reducing the number of unplanned and unwanted litters of animals, but these procedures will also help prevent various health risks to your pets such as females developing pyometra, as well as help keep them safe at home instead of being drawn to the "call of the wild" when females come into heat.
Some male dogs can easily scale an 8 foot fence or wall and travel long distances to get to a female dog that is in heat. While traveling, these dogs often encounter other dogs and even wild animals and get in dangerous fights with them, sometimes even fatal fights, as well as often being hit by cars when running loose across busy streets.
Females can often be injured by males while mating, and the spread of disease can also occur through the contact between animals which have not been properly vaccinated.
If female dogs or cats mate with much larger males, a condition called "Dystocia" can occur. One of the causes of Dystocia is when the puppy or kitten is too large to pass through the birth canal. Dystocia can also occur when the mother simply becomes too exhausted to give birth naturally. When Dystocia occurs, in order to save the mother and save her offspring, a surgical procedure called a "cesarian-section" (also known as a "c-section") may be necessary. This can be dangerous, as well as expensive.
Also, raising litters of puppies and/or kittens is not easy and can become quite expensive.
Furthermore, in many cities it is mandatory by law to spay or neuter your pet. In those areas where licensing a pet which is not altered (spayed or neutered) is still permitted, it will cost pet owners a great deal more than if their pet was altered.
Spaying and Neutering does NOT change your pet's personality! It may "calm" it only in the "sense" of being more "sensible" while not letting its "sense" of smell take over its good "sense". Please be a sensible and responsible pet owner and show your pets and others that you care ... SPAY AND NEUTER YOUR PETS!!!!!!!!
Please contact your veterinarian or an SCVMA member veterinarian in your area to learn about other very important health care for your pet!
If you have any concerns about the behavior of your pet, please check with a veterinarian to rule out any medical condition which may be the cause of the problem. If the veterinarian determines that your pet is physically healthy, then please speak to a reputable trainer to seek answers/training for your pet. Unfortunately, many pets currently housed in thousands of shelters are there only because their owners wouldn't take the time or make the effort to properly train their pet. Some shelters may be able to refer you to local, reputable trainers. Also, many cities offer classes through community center events. Just make sure that you speak to the trainer before enrolling in a class to learn what type of "techniques" or "methods" are used in the handling and training of the pets. Abusive or harsh methods should always be avoided.
Most puppies and kittens have worms and should be de-wormed according to the type of worm/parasite infestation. There are many types of worms. Many worms cannot be seen or detected by pet owners, so it may be necessary for the veterinarian to perform a fecal test. As a responsible pet owner, you should allow a veterinarian to run this test and then treat your pet with the proper medication if necessary. The cost of the test and medicine is inexpensive. The cost of not doing it will be extremely costly for you and your pet in the long run.
Tapeworms are caused by fleas, so certain flea products such as "Frontline" and "Advantage" are recommended for cats and dogs to help control flea infestation which will reduce the risk of tapeworms and other severe allergy reactions which may be a result of even a single flea bite.
Heartworms can be caused by mosquitos. Testing for heartworms is strongly recommended. If your pet is negative, putting it on a regimen of "Heartgard" is an excellent way to prevent heartworm infestation.
Lyme disease can be caused by ticks. Products such as "Frontline" and "Advantix" are recommended for cats and dogs to help control tick infestation which will reduce the risk of Lyme disease.
Dental care on a regular basis is also a very important part of maintaining a healthy pet, regardless of it's age! Please make sure your pet receives routine dental exams to help prevent periodontal disease! Brushing your dog's teeth can help prevent tartar build-up, just as with humans. Dental scalings are usually necessary for dogs and cats on occasion to remove plaque and other debris which can cause harm to healthy teeth and gums. Often with older pets, abscesses, root loss, and other problems can develop which may necessitate tooth extraction, or possibly a simple treatments with medication.
Geriatric work-ups are also important for you pet's heath! Exams, Blood Work, EKGs, and Xrays can be the source of providing a better quality of life and a longer, healthier, more comfortable life for your older pet.
The list goes on and on, so PLEASE obtain more information about good, preventive health care for your pet from an SCVMA member veterinarian!
You have taken on the responsibility of adopting a pet. Please consider the end result if you do not take that responsibility seriously. Please act accordingly in your pet's best interest. There are many veterinarians and pet organizations available to help answer all of your pet care questions.
Please remember that a healthy pet means that it is healthy both physically and mentally. It is your responsibility to ensure the health and safety of your pet!!!
The idea that it’s natural for dogs to chew on bones is a popular one. However, it’s a dangerous practice and can cause serious injury to your pet.
“Some people think it’s safe to give dogs large bones, like those from a ham or a roast,” says Carmela Stamper, D.V.M., a veterinarian in the Center for Veterinary Medicine at the Food and Drug Administration. “Bones are unsafe no matter what their size. Giving your dog a bone may make your pet a candidate for a trip to your veterinarian’s office later, possible emergency surgery, or even death.”
“Make sure you throw out bones from your own meals in a way that your dog can’t get to them,” adds Stamper, who suggests taking the trash out right away or putting the bones up high and out of your dog’s reach until you have a chance to dispose of them. “And pay attention to where your dog’s nose is when you walk him around the neighborhood—steer him away from any objects lying in the grass.”
Here are 10 reasons why it’s a bad idea to give your dog a bone:
“Talk with your veterinarian about alternatives to giving bones to your dog,” says Stamper. “There are many bone-like products made with materials that are safe for dogs to chew on.”
“Always supervise your dog with any chew product, especially one your dog hasn’t had before,” adds Stamper. “And always, if your dog ‘just isn’t acting right,’ call your veterinarian right away!”
This article appears on FDA's Consumer Updates page4, which features the latest on all FDA-regulated products.
Date Posted: April 20, 2010
If kept outside, make sure your pet has plenty of shade. Remember that dog houses are NOT good shelter during the summer, as they can trap heat!
Make sure your pet has access to plenty of cool, fresh water 24 hours a day. If your pet travels with you, bring along water and a bowl!
NEVER leave your pet in a vehicle on a warm day. Even with the windows open, the temperature inside a car can rise to over 100 degrees in a matter of minutes!
It's fun to take your dog with you to run errands, but if you can't bring your dog inside the store, it's best to leave it home. Tying a dog outside a store is dangerous because he is exposed to the hot sun and strangers who could be unkind.
Avoid strenuous exercise for your dog on extremely hot days. Take walks in the early mornings or evenings when the sun's heat is less intense.
Make sure your pet's vaccinations are up-to-date. Pets tend to stay outdoors longer in warmer weather and they come into contact with other animals more often than during other, cooler months.
Keep pets off lawns that have been chemically treated or fertilized for at least 24 hours (or according to package instructions), and keep them away from potentially toxic plants and flowers. Even the most "common" house and yard plants are many times quite poisionous. Conduct an engine search on the internet to research information on the plants located in your yard and house. For a list of some toxic plants, visit http://www.akc.org/pdfs/public_education/hacardous_plaants.pdf.
Mosquitoes (which carry heartworm disease), along with fleas and ticks, are more prevalent in warmer months. Ask your veterinarian for an effective preventive to keep these parasites off your pets.
Many dogs like swimming, but some cannot swim or are unable to safely bring themselves out of the water. Be conscious of your dog's preferences and skills before putting it in the water. Always supervise your dog while swimming. Always teach your dog how and where to get out of a swimming pool via steps that it can reach and safely climb upon while keeping its head out of the water.
Chlorine from pools and bacteria from streams, lakes, rivers, and ponds can be toxic for a dog's system. Always rinse your dog with clean water after swimming or walking through any of those water areas. Diseases and bacteria such as Distemper, Leptospirosis and Giardia can be prevalent in and/or near standing or other bodies of water. Ideally, your pet should not drink from these waters. Beware of the wildlife that may pose a danger to your swimming pet. Some catfish are known for attacking small dogs.
Many airlines will not ship animals during summer months due to dangers caused by hot weather. Some will only allow dogs to fly in the early morning or in the evening. Check with your airlines for specific rules. Shipping policies can also be found at http://www.akc.org/pdfs/canine_legislation/airline_chart_0605.pdf.
If traveling by car, keep your pet cool by putting ice packs such as frozen water bottles in its crate. Do NOT use freezer ice packs which contain poisonous materials. Make sure the crate is well ventilated. For more information on travel tips, visit http://www.akc.org/public_education/travel.cfm.
Be aware that asphalt can quickly get hot enough to burn the pads of animals' paws. In hot weather, walk your dog on the grass or dirt where it is cooler.
PLEASE don't forget that rabbits, birds, and reptiles also need to be properly and specially cared for during hot weather. These animals can overheat rapidly to where their condition may not be able to be reversed. Provide these pets with plenty of shade and cool, fresh water! Also, use plastic soda or water bottles filled with water and freeze them to use in rabbit cages. Change as needed, keeping a continuous supply of frozen bottles in the cage during the daytime. Make sure that your birds and reptiles have plenty of cool, fresh drinking and bathing water. The dishes/bowls/containers for bathing should be deep enough for the pet to climb into, but shallow enough to be able to easily climb out to avoid potential of drowning.
Zoonoses, or zoonotic diseases, are those diseases that can be transmitted directly or indirectly from animals to humans. For example, some worms can be transmitted in the environment.
Vector-borne diseases are those transmitted by fleas or ticks among other parasites that infest dogs and cats. They can affect pets and people. Ticks can transmit a large number of "vector-borne" diseases in North America including ehrlichiosis, Lyme disease, relapsing fever, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tularemia. Rickettsiosis (infection with Rickettsia) can be transmitted directly by ticks. Bartonellosis (infection with Bartonella) is transmitted between cats by fleas and then may spread to people. Also, fleas serve as an intermediate host for tapeworms, which can infect both your pet and humans.
A number of intestinal worms can infect dogs and cats, varying according to species. These include roundworms, hookworms, whipworms and tapeworms, and they are very prolific. One worm can produce more than 100,000 eggs per day, which are then passed in the pet's feces and spread throughout the area the pet roams. Once in the environment, some of these eggs can remain infective and present a health risk for your pet and humans for years.
Roundworms are the most common intestinal parasite of pets and the most likely to be transmitted to humans. Humans can accidentally ingest infective worm eggs that have been passed through the pet's feces and left in the environment. Eggs can then hatch in the human's intestinal tract, and the immature worms can travel to various tissues in the body, including the eyes and brain, potentially causing serious infections.
There are many parasites that may affect your pet such as Coccidia, Ear Mites, Giardia, Mange Mites, etc. The information provided herein is to serve as general information and assistance and does not provide information on all parasites. It is extremely important that you discuss preventive parasite control with your regular veterinarian.
You can reduce the risk of parasitic infection to your family by eliminating parasites from pets; restricting access to contaminated areas such as sand boxes, pet "walk areas", and other high-traffic areas; and practicing good personal hygiene.
Disposing of pet feces on a regular basis can help remove potentially infective worm eggs before they become distributed in the environment and are picked up or ingested by pets or humans.
Use a preventive flea and/or tick treatment year-round.
Only feed pets cooked or prepared food (not raw meat).
Administer de-worming medication as recommended by your veterinarian.
Toxoplasma gondii is a tiny parasite that infects people as well as birds and other animals.
Only cats and other members of the cat family (domestic cats, Bobcats, Mountain Lions, etc.) shed Toxoplasma in their feces. Cats may shed the parasite in their feces for 7 - 21 days the first time they get infected with Toxoplasma. If they are allowed outside, pet cats can get infected when they catch and eat wild animals.
Humans can get Toxoplasma several ways, including not washing hands after cleaning the cat box.
Toxoplasma rarely causes serious disease in people or cats; however, severe illness can occur if a person's immune system is not working well. In these cases, the body's defenses may not be able to control the spread of Toxoplasma, and the parasites may cause brain disease. Pregnant women should take extreme precautionary measures being around cat litter boxes. Babies born to a mother who is infected while pregnant can have birth defects, blindness and brain damage. Pregnant women who are infected are also at rick of miscarriage.
Tips to prevent infection during pregnancy:
1. Eat only well-cooked meat and drink only safe (non-contaminated) water.
2. Wash your hands well after any exposure to soil (gardening), sand boxes, or raw meat.
3. Wash fresh fruits and vegetables to reduce soil contamination.
4. Cover sand boxes and play areas to prevent wildlife and stray cats from contaminating these areas.
5. Keep cats indoors to minimize their risk of infection.
6. Feed cats only commercial cat food or well-cooked meat.
7. Choose adult cats as pets.
8. Have an adult friend, or a spouse or partner change the litter box. If changing the litter box by yourself is unavoidable, wear gloves and change it daily. Be certain to wash hands well after changing the litter or touching the scooper.
9. Have cat feces picked up from the yard daily.
10. Take your cat to your veterinarian regularly and have it tested for parasites at least annually.
If you think you have been exposed to Toxoplasma, especially if you are pregnant, talk to your doctor.
Fleas are probably the most common ectoparasite (external parasite) of dogs and cats worldwide. In addition to just being a nuisance, fleas are responsible for flea allergy dermatitis (FAD) in dogs and cats, which is estimated to account for over 50 percent of all the dermatological cases reported to veterinarians.
Fleas can carry and trasmit several potential serious illnesses to humans, including typhus and plague, and can transmit "cat scratch disease" (infection with Bartonella) among cats who can then spread the disease to humans. Additionally, fleas serve as an intermediate host for tapeworms, which can infect your pet and also humans.
Ticks are also extoparasites. Ticks are important vectors of a number of diseases, including Lyme disease, Rocky Maountain spotted fever, relapsing fever, chrlichiosis, tularemia and tick paralysis. Ticks are second only to mosquitos as vectors of human disease, both infectious and toxic. Control and prevention of ticks is extremely important in reducing the risk of disease associated with ticks.
Speak to your veterinarian for recommendations on the best flea and tick control for your pets.
Heartworms are known to occur throughout the U.S., and though they have been 100 percent preventable for decades, they are still common in dogs and cats. Transmitted by mosquitoes, they are among the most damaging canine and feline parasites. Heartworms are transmitted by feeding mosquitoes and, once mature, take residence in the heart and large vessels of the lungs.
Heartworms can be a very serious problem for both dogs and cats, especially those in mosquito-infested areas. Because heartworms live in the bloodstream, lungs and heart, they can kill or seriously debilitate pets that are infected with them.
Your veterinarian can conduct a simply blood test to determine if your pet has heartworms or heartworm disease. Diagnosis in cats can be more challenging. feline heartworm disease can differ significantly from canine heartworm disease. Cats with clinical heartworm disease usually show respiratory signs such as coughing and/or difficulty breathing, or even intermittent vomiting not associated with eating. Other signs include weight loss and/or diarrhea without accompanying respiratory signs. The respiratory signs are difficult to differentiate from those observed with feline asthma.
All dogs and cats are at risk, even those animals that primarily live indoors. However, heartworms are preventable. A year-round preventive program is recommended by authorities and is most effective to keep pets free of heartworms. Preventive treatment should begin at six or eight weeks of age in puppies and after tests have been conducted in older dogs to determine if your dog has already been infected. If your dog does have heartworms, your veterinarian can advise you about treatment options. In dogs over six months of age, a blood test is necessary before starting medication.