New York State finally implemented a law on July 1, 2013 that protects the well being of all dogs and cats sold by licensed pet dealers. It has been a long time coming and veterinarians, animal activists, animal lovers as well as informed elected officials have been working towards this goal. Basically, the law mandates that these licensed pet dealers MUST involve the participation of a licensed veterinarian in creating and implementing a veterinary care program as well as a veterinary supervised animal exercise program for all animals that are offered for sale. The dealers were notified on January 10th. of this year alerting them of the new legal requirements. Each licensed pet dealer had just short of six months to create, propose, and implement a veterinary care and exercise plan. The mandated law is far reaching and is in the best interest of the humane care of each individual pu ppy and kitten. It not only mandates the proper veterinary care, but also details proper feeding, watering, housing, exercise, sanitation, ventilation, record keeping, as well as consumer protection. It also spells out what is expected of the personnel responsible for the handling and well being of those animals in their care. We are all aware of the horrific conditions of “puppy mills” and “kitten mills”. Many states have outlawed them, including NY, and many have put severe restraints on them. This new law in New York also mandates that every licensed dealer must state, in writing, the origin of each pet they sell. FYI, New York State has a Pet Lemon Law. To qualify for a refund or a replacement animal, the consumer must obtain a veterinary certificate that the animal is unfit within fourteen (14) business days of the purchase. The consumer must return the pet to the seller within three (3) business days of obtaining this certification. In addition, the consumer is entitled to reimbursement of the veterinary fee for such certification.
Bad news: A new tick-borne disease has recently been discovered, in people. It has already affected an estimated 100,000 people in New York State alone because it often goes undiagnosed and untreated, according to physicians at Columbia University. The symptoms are very similar to Lyme disease but usually a rash does not develop. High fever, aches, weakness, recurring fevers, etc. are some of the symptoms. In people, it often is confused with and called “chronic Lyme disease”, but it is different. And, unfortunately, there is no specific test for this disease yet. And, when the regular Lyme test comes back negative it usually goes untreated. Please check with your physician if you have any suspicions, DO NOT WAIT. The causative agent is a bacterium in the same family (Borrelia) as the regular Lyme disease and it is carried by the same deer tick that dogs ge t. This one is called Borrelia miyamotoi. Good news: Although there is no test for this disease as of this writing (July 5, 2013), the treatment is the same as regular Lyme disease. However, the antibiotic, Doxycycline, must be started early in the disease process. Also, as of this writing, this disease has not been diagnosed in dogs, but the same ticks that dogs get can be brought into the house and infect humans. So, it is just common sense that dogs should have the newer preventative tick and flea products applied once a month to their skin. Don’t forget, even if your dog does not leave your property, birds can and do bring in ticks from far way. Also, don’t forget that Lyme disease is on the increase in the northeast of America, in people. It is preventable, so protect yourself as well as your dogs. Keep dogs out of the woods as ticks usually climb up approximately 4-6 inches on weeds, grass and plants and wait for a host to come by. Check your pet carefully for ticks and check yourself. Ask your veterinarian about the newer and improved topical tick/flea products and Lyme vaccines.