Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Benefits of Spaying and Neutering Your Pet

Benefits of Spaying (females):

  • No heat cycles, therefore males will not be attracted
  • Less desire to roam
  • Risk of mammary gland tumors, ovarian and/or uterine cancer is reduced or eliminated, especially if done before the first heat cycle
  • Reduces number of unwanted cats/kittens/dogs/puppies
  • Helps dogs and cats live longer, healthier lives

Benefits of Neutering (males):

  • Reduces or eliminates risk of spraying and marking
  • Less desire to roam, therefore less likely to be injured in fights or auto accidents
  • Risk of testicular cancer is eliminated, and decreases incidence of prostate disease
  • Reduces number of unwanted cats/kittens/dogs/puppies
  • Decreases aggressive behavior, including dog bites
  • Helps dogs and cats live longer, healthier lives

Top 3 Reasons to Spay and Neuter

  • It helps to reduce companion animal overpopulation. Most countries have a surplus of companion animals and are forced to euthanize or disregard their great suffering. The surplus is in the millions in the United States. Cats are 45 times as prolific, and dogs 15 times as prolific, as humans. They do not need our help to expand their numbers; they need our help to reduce their numbers until there are good homes for them all.
  • Sterilization of your cat or dog will increase his/her chance of a longer and healthier life. Altering your canine friend will increase his life an average of 1 to 3 years, felines, 3 to 5 years. Altered animals have a very low to no risk of mammary gland tumors/cancer, prostate cancer, perianal tumors, pyometria, and uterine, ovarian and testicular cancers.
  • Sterilizing your cat/dog makes him/her a better pet, reducing his/her urge to roam and decreasing the risk of contracting diseases or getting hurt as they roam. Surveys indicate that as many as 85% of dogs hit by cars are unaltered. Intact male cats living outside have been shown to live on average less than two years. Feline Immunodeficiency Syndrome is spread by bites and intact cats fight a great deal more than altered cats.

Additional Benefits:

  • Your community will also benefit. Unwanted animals are becoming a very real concern in many places. Stray animals can easily become a public nuisance, soiling parks and streets, ruining shrubbery, frightening children and elderly people, creating noise and other disturbances, causing automobile accidents, and sometimes even killing livestock or other pets.
    - The American Veterinary Medical Association
  • The capture, impoundment and eventual destruction of unwanted animals costs taxpayers and private humanitarian agencies over a billion dollars each year. As a potential source of rabies and other less serious diseases, they can be a public health hazard.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Importance of Spaying and Neutering

The decision to spay or neuter your pet is an important one for pet owners. But it can be the single best decision you make for his long-term welfare. Getting your pet spayed or neutered can: Reduce the number of homeless pets killed Improve your pet's health Reduce unruly behavior Save on the cost of pet care Help your pet bunny Pets are homeless everywhere In every community, in every state, there are homeless animals. In the U.S., there are an estimated 6-8 million homeless animals entering animal shelters every year. Barely half of these animals are adopted. Tragically, the rest are euthanized. These are healthy, sweet pets who would have made great companions. The number of homeless animals varies by state—in some states there are as many as 300,000 homeless animals euthanized in animal shelters every year. These are not the offspring of homeless "street" animals—these are the puppies and kittens of cherished family pets and even purebreds. Many people are surprised to learn that nationwide, more than 2.7 million healthy, adoptable cats and dogs are euthanized in shelters annually. Spay/neuter is the only permanent, 100 percent effective method of birth control for dogs and cats. Your pet's health A USA Today (May 7, 2013) article cites that pets who live in the states with the highest rates of spaying/neutering also live the longest. According to the report, neutered male dogs live 18% longer than un-neutered male dogs and spayed female dogs live 23% longer than unspayed female dogs. The report goes on to add that in Mississippi, the lowest-ranking state for pet longevity, 44% of the dogs are not neutered or spayed. Part of the reduced lifespan of unaltered pets can be attributed to their increased urge to roam, exposing them to fights with other animals, getting struck by cars, and other mishaps. Another contributor to the increased longevity of altered pets involves the reduced risk of certain types of cancers. Unspayed female cats and dogs have a far greater chance of developing pyrometra (a fatal uterine infection), uterine cancer, and other cancers of the reproductive system. Medical evidence indicates that females spayed before their first heat are typically healthier. (Many veterinarians now sterilize dogs and cats as young as eight weeks of age.) Male pets who are neutered eliminate their chances of getting testicular cancer, and it is thought they they have lowered rates of prostate cancer, as well. Getting your pets spayed/neutered will not change their fundamental personality, like their protective instinct. Read more spay/neuter myths » Curbing bad behavior Unneutered dogs are much more assertive and prone to urine-marking (lifting his leg) than neutered dogs. Although it is most often associated with male dogs, females may do it, too. Spaying or neutering your dog should reduce urine-marking and may stop it altogether. For cats, the urge to spray is extremely strong in an intact cat, and the simplest solution is to get yours neutered or spayed by 5 months of age before there's even a problem. Neutering solves 90 percent of all marking issues, even in cats that have been doing it for a while. It can also minimize howling, the urge to roam, and fighitng with other males. In both cats and dogs, the longer you wait, the greater the risk you run of the surgery not doing the trick because the behavior is so ingrained. Other behavioral problems that can be ameliorated by spay/neuter include: Roaming, especially when females are "in heat." Aggression: Studies also show that most dogs bites involve dogs who are unaltered. Excessive barking, mounting, and other dominance-related behaviors. While getting your pets spayed/neutered can help curb undesirable behaviors, it will not change their fundamental personality, like their protective instinct. Cost cutting When you factor in the long-term costs potentially incurred by a non-altered pet, the savings afforded by spay/neuter are clear (especially given the plethora of low-cost spay/neuter clincs). Caring for a pet with reproductive system cancer or pyometra can easily run into the thousands of dollars—five to ten times as much as a routine spay surgery. Additionally, unaltered pets can be more destructive or high-strung around other dogs. Serious fighting is more common between unaltered pets of the same gender and can incur high veterinary costs. Renewing your pet's license can be more expensive, too. Many counties have spay/neuter laws that require pets to be sterilized, or require people with unaltered pets to pay higher license renewal fees. Spaying and neutering are good for rabbits, too Part of being conscientious about the pet overpopulation problem is to spay or neuter your pet rabbits, too. Rabbits reproduce faster than dogs or cats and often end up in shelters, where they must be euthanized. Neutering male rabbits can reduce hormone-driven behavior such as lunging, mounting, spraying, and boxing. And just as with dogs and cats, spayed female rabbits are less likely to get ovarian, mammary, and uterine cancers, which can be prevalent in mature females. Millions of pet deaths each year are a needless tragedy. By spaying and neutering your pet, you can be an important part of the solution. Contact your veterinarian today and be sure to let your family and friends know that they should do the same.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Ticks at a Glance

Tick species and populations vary according to region, ecology, and environmental patterns.* The veterinary team is the first line of defense against the transmission of tick-borne diseases, and education is the best weapon. Common Ticks & Diseases They Transmit •Lone Star Tick (Amblyomma americanum): Noted for its long mouth parts and a single white spot on the back of adult females. Found in wooded areas and grassy meadows. Associated with white-tailed deer. Potential pathogens transmitted include Ehrlichia chaffeensis, E ewingii, Francisella tularensis, and Cytauxzoon felis. •Gulf Coast Tick (Amblyomma maculatum): Mouth parts are similar in length to the Lone Star tick, but the scutum (back plate) is more ornate and lacks a white dot. Range is also limited compared with the Lone Star tick. Capable of transmitting Hepatozoon americanum and Rickettsia parkeri. •Blacklegged Tick (Ixodes scapularis): Also known as the Deer tick, identified by long mouth parts and a black scutum on the adult female. As suggested by its nickname, also is associated with white- tailed deer. Capable of transmitting Borrelia burgdorferi (Lyme disease), Anaplasma phagocytophilum, and Babesia microti. •American Dog Tick (Dermacentor variabilis): Found in Eastern and Central U.S., as well as areas of the Pacific Coast. Identified by a distinctive ornate scutum and short mouth parts. Commonly encountered along roadways and trails and in forests. Potential vectored pathogens include Rickettsia rickettsii, Francisella tularensis, and Cytauxzoon felis. •Brown Dog Tick (Rhipicephalus sanguineus): Identified by short mouth parts and a brown scutum. Thrives in dry environments. This tick is a 3-host tick but is unique in that all 3 hosts can be dogs, or the same dog, accounting for home and kennel infestations. Agents vectored include Ehrlichia canis, E ewingii, E chaffeensis, Rickettsia rickettsii, Babesia canis, B gibsoni, Hepatozoon canis, and possibly Anaplasma platys. •Rocky Mountain Wood Tick (Dermacentor andersoni): Like the American Dog tick, commonly found along roadways, trails, and in forests of the Rocky Mountain region. Can potentially transmit Rickettsia rickettsii and Francisella tularensis. •Western Blacklegged Tick (Ixodes pacificus): Like the Blacklegged tick, transmission of organisms responsible for anaplasmosis and Lyme disease is possible. Commonly found near the West Coast. Environmental Control •Remove brush piles and mow and trim tall grass •Avoid attracting deer and control other hosts (eg, mice) •Apply environmental acaricides to yards, kennels, or other areas where dogs congregate Patient-Specific Control •Keep cats indoors •Treat outdoor cats with approved acaricides year-round •Use topical acaricides year-round; consider the strategic application of additional products for patients with high exposure (eg, hunting dogs) •Use long-acting collars, which are effective and may improve compliance. Every year, client misconceptions about ticks lead to needless morbidity from tick-borne illnesses. Although many clients have strong doubts about the need for year-round protection, client education—especially when presented without judgment—saves lives. Every team member can help clients make good decisions by knowing the facts and communicating them with conviction.