August 2012 Pet Health News

Quiet Down You Animal: Incessant Barking Banned

"Sir, do you know how long, and how loud you were barking?"
"That's the problem right there, Sir."

Hawaii County has taken action against a new breed of criminals that has overrun the calm audible Archipelago with a new breed of social disruption: dogs barking to excess. A new law that some view as "draconian" and infringing on rights enables police officers to fine dog owners several hundred dollars in the event that "barks, bays, cries, or howls" continue for ten minutes interrupted, or for twenty minutes out of thirty intermittently.

Despite these objections, some residents view this legislation as the only way to deal with the near-constant assault on their ear drums. Some residents point out that they need to sleep with fans next to the heads just to drown out the barking in an attempt to fall asleep at night. Despite what you might expect from such a heating scenario, the residents in question are not cool such an arrangement.

Hawaii enables dogs that fall outside of the law to get professional help as part of a plea deal so as to allow dog owners to retain their canines.

Carl Oguss, who runs the East Hawaii Dog Psychology Centre, explains that excessive dog barking is the result of boredom of the part of the animal. He urges pet owners to take their dogs for walks and to engage in play dates with other dogs so as to curb this behavior.

"You have to focus on the cause as well as how to correct the symptoms," he said of incessant barkers.

Carl Oguss is a self-professed 'dog whisperer' and teaches Hawaii County pet owners on how to communicate with their pets in this fashion.

While there are seemingly plenty of arguments present to support a world where the police do not patrol the streets for animal sounds, it should be noted that this law shows spots of compassion for the instinctual nature of canines, and the eventuality that situations will arise to provoke such innate responses—for example, the law allows dogs to bark over the allotted time limit if their owner is being physically attacked.

Hawaii (in particular Honolulu) describes a particular nightmare with noisy dogs, but they are not alone in their legislative actions. California has also imposed similar constraints on dog barking, with a few towns having set time limits on how long is too long.

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That Fateful Ride: The View From The Top of a Station Wagon

Just like looking at dog tumor pictures online, it’s hard to look away from the recent outburst of news stories revolving around Mitt Romney and Seamus, the family dog he strapped to the roof of his station wagon during a 1983 family trip.

The story, which was first reported by The Boston Globe in 2007, gives an account of how Romney put his dog in a crate equipped with a handmade windscreen, secured the crate to the top of his car, and drove from Boston to Ontario.

At one point Romney had to hose off his car, crate, and dog after the dog had a bowel movement accident inside his crate. Then, according to The Globe, Romney put Seamus back in his crate and drove to his destination.

Again, like the dog tumor pictures, Americans can’t stop reading and commenting on this story. Because this is an election year, stories like Romney’s treatment of Seamus dominate the political headlines and keep dog loving voters in an uproar. Readers empathize with the family dog and wonder, if Romney seems to treat his dog so poorly how will he treat voters? After all, how people care for their pets is seen by many as direct insight into their character. Right now Romney’s character is looking poor.

Many pet owners think of their dogs as part of their family, and they would as soon strap man’s best friend to the roof of their car as they would their own mother. Reactions to Romney’s behavior range from thinking him cruel and unpleasant to immoral and depraved. There are few who have no opinion.

Romney himself has not offered a statement on the story. And Seamus, who passed away years ago, is not offering his side of the tail either. Either way given a choice between looking at dog tumor pictures and seeing a dog like Seamus fastened on top of a moving car, it seems many animal lovers will choose the tumor pictures. How many of those same animal lovers will now choose a different candidate?

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Pet Insurance: Is it Worth It?

Pet health insurance can be a much needed safety net when the unthinkable happens to a beloved pet. Imagine coming home from work one day to find your dog vomiting uncontrollably and moaning in pain. In a panic you search the house and find that your pet has chewed through, and probably drank quite a bit from, a bottle of bleach left out that morning. What do you do? An emergency trip to the vet can be expensive, but you have pet insurance so you aren’t preoccupied with costs. Instead you are focused on your dog and getting them quickly to the animal hospital. The vet is able to do their job and you are able to be the dedicated pet owner your dog needs.

Like all forms of insurance, pet health insurance becomes more valuable after unexpected accidents occur, rather than in the day-to-day living we do. Owners who invest in pet insurance are more prepared for the broken bones, sudden illness, and of course pet poisonings that can happen to even the best cared for pet.

With this year’s 50th anniversary of National Poison Prevention Week, which took place March 18-24, companies like Embrace Pet Insurance turned its attention to pet and animal poison prevention. In addition to offering traditional dog and cat insurance products, Embrace launched its Poison Prevention Center to assist pet owners in preventing, identifying, and treating pet poisonings. According to Embrace common toxins to watch out for include human food such as grapes, chocolate, salt, and cherries; chemicals like bleach, lighter fluid, antifreeze, and insecticides; human and pet medication; animals and plants; and even malicious poisonings from other people.

The Poison Prevention Center also offers advice on what to do if your pet comes into contact with any venomous objects. Because insurance plans vary widely in coverage and cost, you’ll want to be sure that whatever policy you choose has adequate coverage for your family’s needs. Before you settle on a plan compare the information and cost to other plans, and always read the fine print.

Like the saying goes, planning is the best insurance against a catastrophe. Whether your dog or cat ingested something they shouldn’t have, or needs to have an open wound looked at, there may come a time when you will need to take your pet to the veterinarian. Dog or cat insurance can take some of the financial burden off your plate and leave your mind free so you can keep the focus on your pet.

5 Most Common Cat Health Problems

I still remember the first cat I ever raised. As an only child, my cat Morris was my only real friend in the world. I loved him in a way that only a lonely child can love. Tragically, my most vivid memory is burying my jade-eyed, orange and white-striped best friend. He passed away after living by my side for 11 years.

Morris died of feline distemper, one of the most common cat health issues, three days before my 14th birthday. At the time, I had no idea that distemper is a horrible, yet preventable disease that could have been avoided by vaccinating Morris as a kitten.

Anyone who has lost a pet to sickness can relate to the heavy guilt that I felt. How could I have let this happen to my best buddy? I simply had no idea how important it is to monitor a cat's health from birth to adulthood.

I discovered the hard way that many of the most common feline health problems are easily preventable. So I hope that this brief list will help all cat owners recognize the signs of ailing health before it is too late.

1. Fleas: the Most Annoying Parasite on the Planet

Every cat who spends most of his day outdoors contracts fleas. It is inevitable, and fleas are annoying. Imagine what it would feel like to itch constantly. It would drive anyone mad, and cats are no different. I've owned a few cats that used to meow endlessly after catching fleas.

The gross little bugs can carry diseases and infest entire homes if left untreated. Flea prevention products abound, but most people don't realize that cleaning a cat's environment is critical. Otherwise, the disgusting parasites just return stronger than before.

2. Internal Parasites: Nature's Unwanted Passengers

Unfortunately, cats infested with fleas have a higher chance of carrying internal parasites, such as roundworms and tapeworms. Tapeworms are transmitted to felines via larval fleas. Roundworms take root by unintentionally eating worm eggs found in the faeces of infected cats. Thankfully, there are many de-worming medicines available, so cats who contract worms have a great prognosis if treated properly.

3. Upper Respiratory Diseases: Cats Catch Colds Too

Feline calicivirus and rhinotracheitis virus are two distinct common cat illnesses. They are like the common cold in humans, but much more virulent in felines. Cat sneezing and coughing are a couple of obvious symptoms. Other symptoms include high fever and breathing difficulties. Infections can last for over a month and are fatal more often than is popularly known

4. Feline Leukaemia: the Truth About a Silent Killer

Unvaccinated cats who contract feline leukaemia will die. The truth is that this all-too-common contagion is a killer. Cats with leukaemia display such a wide range of symptoms that only a veterinary professional can diagnose the condition.

Euthanasia is the only option for unvaccinated felines because there is no treatment. Weight loss and tumours are only two of the many symptoms of feline leukaemia. Like the other diseases mentioned in this list, leukaemia is preventable with proper vaccination.

5. Distemper: the Worst Cat Health Problem of All

Unvaccinated cats who contract distemper, an extremely fatal gastrointestinal infection, suffer for days before expiring. The symptoms are horrifying and may include the following:

  • Sudden vomiting
  • Frequent, bloodied diarrhea
  • Dehydration
  • Pain
  • Severe depression

Distemper took away my best friend. My guilt was magnified when I discovered that a simple vaccination would have assuaged Morris' suffering. To prevent such an awful tragedy, vaccinate your cat on schedule, including booster shots. The peace of mind you'll feel is well worth the cost of a visit to the veterinarian.

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Disclaimer: CritterCures is an educational resource, and all information herein is strictly for educational purposes. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure diseases, nor is it meant to replace the (prescribed) treatment or recommendations of your veterinarian or healthcare provider. Always inform your veterinarian or healthcare provider of any products that your pet are taking, including herbal remedies and supplements.