Monthly Archives: November 2013

Why Adopt a Pet?

The ASPCA recently reported that at any given time there are between 5 and 7 million animals up for adoption in shelters across the country. Of these, more than half, 60% of the dogs and 70% of the cats, will not be adopted and will be euthanized.They also reported that only 10% of new pet owners adopt from these shelters. The simple answer is “there are not enough people to adopt them” and there are just too many dogs and cats. Yet, the breeding of dogs and cats continue in puppy and kitten mills through out the country. It is not just mixed breeds, but pure breeds also as, according to the ASPCA again, 25% of all dogs euthanized are purebreds. Apparently, the novelty of new pet ownership wears off, or training was done improperly, or they found that they couldn’t care or afford them, etc. The reasons go on and on. Some people living in large cities and renting homes for the summer in suc h places like the “Hamptons”, adopt dogs from the shelters in the beginning of the summer and then “dump” them around Labor Day. The Shelters out east are filled beyond capacity every September. Each year when the Best in Show at Westminster is picked, there is a mad rush to breed that particular type dog. This year (Sept. 2013) it was the Affenpinscher. Although this toy breed is adorable and loving, they are very active and demanding. This eventually leads many to be brought to shelters and put up for adoption. Only a small percentage of this latest “fashionable” breed of dog is adopted, most are not. The decision to adopt or purchase a pet is a major one. Many things should be considered, such as: are there children in the household, are you experienced and willing to devote time, effort and money to properly care for your new pet, do you have enough room for proper exercise, etc.? Don’t act on impulse, think it out carefully. There are literally hundreds of studies showi ng that pet companionship is good for humans, adults as well as children. These benefits range from physical to spiritual. For example, recent studies have shown pet owners have lower levels of cardiovascular disease, spend less time and money on their own self indulgences, have stronger immune systems, and are in better physical  condition. In addition, several studies have shown that pet ownership improves self-esteem and lessens depression. Amazingly, an organization known as the K9 Connection has reduced the number of teenage suicides by adopting pets out to high-risk teenagers. This impact on the teens is profound. They have shown that the healing power of the human-animal bond does work.

CBC: What Is It?

CBC stands for “complete blood count”. But what is it and what does it mean? The CBC is one of the most important blood tests a veterinarian or physician can perform.  The CBC determines various type of blood cells and their quantity. This number is extremely important in determining the health status of the patient being tested and sometimes the number can even diagnose a specific disease. Within the blood there are many different cells, which will briefly be mentioned: 1. RBC or red blood cells can indicate anemia, traumatic blood loss, dehydration, certain parasitic diseases, bone marrow status, etc. Hemoglobin is within the RBC’s in the blood. Its primary purpose is to carry oxygen throughout the body, and transport CO2 to the  lungs to be expelled. 2. Platelets: are involved with the formation of blot clots. If the number is too low excessive bleeding can occur, if too high clots can form and obstruct blood vessels which can lead to a stroke, heart attack, or block blood flow to other parts of the body such as the lungs. 3. WBC or white blood cells. There are many different types and each have a specific meaning: a) Neutrophils: These are the most abundant  type of WBC and form an essential part of the immune system. They are the first responders to infection, certain environmental exposures and some cancers. Generally, in bacterial infections their numbers increase and in  viral disease their numbers decrease. b) Lymphocytes: the amount of this type of white blood cell is very helpful in diagnosing certain diseases like leukemia, lymphoma, infection after surgery, trauma, etc. They are very important cells that help fight off cancer and help control immune responses. There are 2 types of lymphocytes and they create antibodies for the immune system and fight off inf ection and cancer. c) Basophils: another white blood cell used to help diagnose certain cancers, allergic disorders parasitic disease, etc. d) Eosinophils: also fight off disease and elevate in allergic reactions. e) Monocytes:  the last type of white blood cell that also fight off disease and aid in the immune system. These cells sometimes indicate a chronic state of inflammation, infection &/or immune response. This article is just a simple overview of the importance of the CBC test. It is used daily in all veterinary/medical practices.

Halloween Pet Hazards

It’s not only the “treats” that can be dangerous, but other things as well. The most dangerous foods include: chocolate, nuts, raisins, mints, chewing gum, and many baked goods. Anything that contains xylitol, an artificial sweetener, is particularly toxic. This product is 5 x sweeter than regular sugar and is frequently found in chewing gum and baked goods and “diet candies”. Xylitol must always be avoided as it can cause liver failure and death. Any and all treats should be avoided as even the colorful wrappers can cause a problem. Also the colorful decorations like “Glow sticks” and Glow Jewelry” and cutouts, foam figurines, tempt playful pets to investigate and sometimes take a bite. Small ornaments are particularly dangerous to puppies and kittens because if swallowed Intestinal blockages can result. Watch out for exposed electric cords. Some pets become frightened and eve n aggressive with all the noise and front door bells ringing. Especially when strangers in costume show up at the door. Those pets that do not join in the the festivities should be consoled, confined in a quiet room, and some may need veterinary help in the form of mild sedatives. Get them ahead of time and have them handy, just in case. Make sure proper identification is on your pet. With the front door opening and closing, many dogs and cats will want “escape” from all the noise and excitement. Use a quick release collar for cats and a good strong leather collar for dogs. Both must have identification tags and Rabies tags. Permanent identification in the form of a microchip is always best.