Watch Tip: Prevent Puppy-Kitten Diseases, Vaccinate

Posted on September 25th, 2011 by Anna Nirva

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Deadly pet diseases are everywhere these days. Prevent tragic death of puppies and kittens by following a strict schedule of vaccinations recommended by your vet. If you can’t afford vaccinations immediately, don’t get a baby dog or cat until you can. DO NOT let your puppy or kitten paws touch the ground or floor in parks, public places, pet stores or vet clinics until a week past the day that vaccinations are completed. Don’t surrender your unvaccinated baby pet to any pound or shelter or they will likely contract disease and die or be killed after falling ill.

Deadly germs are common, live for months, and are very hard to kill

With the economy challenging millions of families, pet illnesses are spreading like never before because more families are trying to reduce money spent on pet care. Your personal health rule for adopting a puppy or kitten should be to start vaccinations immediately. Get that series of vaccinations started because you will track home deadly viruses on your shoes and tires. Remember, some deadly germs are only killed by harsh chemicals.

Germs live up to a year in dirt, grass, roads, sidewalks, store floors, parking lots. Some veterinary health experts question if annual vaccinations may be necessary, but don’t be misled by this. Virtually all experts insist that puppies and kittens absolutely NEED their baby shots to survive those early months. Do not doubt it. Do not delay.

Follow these rules:

  • Vaccinate your kittens and puppies, following your veterinarian’s recommendations carefully.
  • No paws on the ground in ANY public place until a week past the final vaccinations. If you see a baby pet playing on the floor of a retail store, go speak with the owner. You may save a life.
  • Clean the soles of your shoes with bleach & water mixture after visiting vet clinics or stores with vet clinics inside, until after your baby pet has finished final vaccinations plus one week. Some keep a plastic dish tub near the house entrance door with a folded towel and bleach-water mix to step into upon entering. It’s simple and quick.
  • Visiting baby pets must follow the same rules or don’t allow the visit to your home.
  • Don’t accept free kittens or puppies from Craig’s List, backyard breeders, or “oops” litters as they are likely to be already infected with disease, parasites, and fleas, and treatment is expensive. Good breeders always vaccinate their baby pets. (Don’t ever buy puppies or kittens from a pet store because they acquire them from puppy and kitten mills.)
  • If you adopt a baby pet from a pound or shelter, ask about vaccinations. If the baby has not had vaccinations, go to your vet immediately with your new pet. Adult pets for adoption are likely to have developed immunity to the common baby pet diseases.

In addition to diseases, parasites are extremely common. You must actively prevent disease and parasite infestation in young puppies and kittens so they survive to adulthood, and you must guide others to do the same if they have not been taught about the extreme dangers of puppy and kitten germs and parasites.

This post is written with great sadness to memorialize all puppies and kittens that have died in the past week of preventable diseases, especially sweet shepherd mix puppy Tawny in Indiana, who contracted parvovirus in a city pound and died, despite dramatic efforts by her rescuer Tara Harris and volunteers to save her. RIP in peace, Tawny. She showed first symptoms on Thursday morning and was dead by Saturday morning.

Read one vaccination schedule for puppies and kittens here. Vaccinations may vary; follow your veterinarian’s recommendations.

Watch Tip: Microchip Pets

Posted on September 17th, 2011 by Trish Roman-Aquilino

Watch Tip LogoWatch tip for week of September 18

Aside from a collar and identification tags, having a microchip implanted is one of the most important methods one can employ to ensure the return of a pet, in the event a pet is lost. Set an example in your community and have your pets microchipped and communicate with your neighbors, family and friends about the benefits of doing so. A chip is the size of a grain of rice, and does not harm or hurt pets when injected. Once implanted, be sure to adhere to three rules – register, re-scan, and rechip.

Follow the Three Rules of Microchipping

Register…your pet’s chip with your current contact information. Chipping your pet alone does not ensure their safe return; you must register your pet’s chip along with your contact information. Be sure to add a second contact that will be available to pick up your pet for you, in the event you are out of town, or somehow unable to retrieve your lost pet from the shelter or individual that finds them. Most shelters will not release an animal to an individual that is not listed on the registration, and if you are unable to retrieve your pet prior to the shelter’s “hold” period, your pet runs the risk of being euthanized if it is a “kill” shelter. If you adopt a pet and do not know if the pet is chipped for certain, take him or her into your vet to have them scanned, so that you can register the chip with your contact information.

Re-scan…have your pet’s chip scanned and read from time to time, to ensure the chip is working, and to keep yourself informed on potential chip-reading issues. A woman in Phoenix, Arizona recently had her dog’s chip scanned at her vet, just to confirm its working condition, and found that her vet’s scanner did not pick up the chip’s information. Since she volunteers at the local shelter, she took her dog to the shelter that afternoon and asked them to try scanning. The shelter’s scanner indeed located the chip and was able to read it. Types of chips and chip readers can vary in use, but universal scanners are becoming more widespread and utilized to address this issue.

Rechip…find out what type of frequency your pet’s chip operates on, then find out if your local pound or shelters utilize scanners that only work with a particular frequency. Chips emit a frequency that scanners can read, and vary in frequency emitted from 125 kilohertz to 134.2 kilohertz, depending on manufacturer. If your pet is chipped with a 134.2 kilohertz chip, and your shelter’s scanner only reads 125 kilohertz chips, you should rechip your pet with a chip that is compatible with your shelter’s capabilities to avoid any potential problems. Be sure to update the contact information for both chips whenever necessary. Also, if you have moved here from abroad, chances are the chip your pet has will not be read by U.S. scanners, and you should rechip with one that is compatible.

Although no method of identifying your pet is fail-safe, microchipping raises the chances of your pet being returned to you. According to an American Veterinary Medical Association study in 2009:

“…more than 7,700 stray animals at animal shelters showed that dogs without microchips were returned to their owners 21.9% of the time, whereas microchipped dogs were returned to their owners 52.2% of the time. Cats without microchips were reunited with their owners only 1.8% of the time, whereas microchipped cats went back home 38.5% of the time.”

In cases where pets were not reunited with their owners, most often it was because the owner had not updated the contact information for their pet’s chip and were unreachable.

The benefits of chipping definitely outweigh any potential issues or problems that may be encountered by chipping, and when combined with a collar and current identification tags, practically ensures your lost pet’s return to you.  Remember—your pet, once lost from the safety of your home, has no way of getting back to you except for whatever identification you take the time to give them.  They cannot tell anyone where they live or who they belong to—that is your responsibility.

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Watch Tip: Stand Up and Vote for Animals

Posted on September 11th, 2011 by Anna Nirva

Watch Tip LogoWatch Tip for week of Sept. 11

The only antidote to despair is action to lead change in your neighborhood, community, city and state. STAND UP for animal welfare standards. STAND TOGETHER with those who share your vision. Be a force. Rally for change. Lobby your legislators. Vote.

Join (or start) a statewide association of voters for companion animals

The 2012 elections will be critical for animal welfare because state budget shortfalls plague most of the nation. This situation will add financial pressure on municipalities to create savings and animal control services are vulnerable. This will likely result in reductions in services, staff, and animal care standards in your community. Please join your state organization and get busy. The animals need you more than ever.

Please comment to amend this list; thank you for your help.

Find out how to become an effective citizen lobbyist for companion animals.

Find out how your federal lawmakers are voting on animal welfare issues.

Find out how your federal lawmakers are scored on their voting records at year end.

Watch Tip: Fraudulent Animal Rescues

Posted on September 5th, 2011 by Anna Nirva

Watch Tip LogoWatch out for fraudulent animal rescues. While the majority of rescues are trustworthy and perform near-miracles every day, saving neglected, abused, and homeless pets and domestic animals, some are not. Some are “fronts” for puppy and kitten mills. Others are resellers who believe they get higher prices posing as rescues. Some are failed rescues that hoard animals in neglectful conditions.

Before You Adopt, Do Your Homework

Your money is a tool that helps bad rescues continue or great rescues thrive, so think strategically in addition to following your heart. There are many bad rescues in operation today; the pet industry is growing and many seek ways to make what appears to be “easy money” by preying on the soft-hearted. Adopter beware! When you decide to bring a rescue pet into your family, do some research first to ensure that the adoption fee will support those groups that reflect your values–and that you can trust to provide you a healthy adoptable pet with a good temperament.  Read the rest of this entry »