Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Shelters struggle to care for dogs and cats in peak months

We thought it might be funny to have a “Vacancy/No Vacancy” neon sign that we could hang out front, letting people know our status of cage availability for new animals coming to the shelter. We wondered if it would make a difference.

Spring and Summer time signals kitten season plus an over-abundance of stray dogs and puppies. Shelters can’t handle the increased volume and it seems like everyone makes decisions in June, July and August to move to places that won’t allow pets or they decide that they can no longer handle pet responsibilities. Or, they decide the outside cat for which they have taken responsibility over months or years needs to go because it keeps having kittens or they are tired of it and it must go now; they can’t wait.

At this time of year we struggle to find the funds to take care of the little ones who are brought to us, we struggle to find the space to put them, and we struggle to control our emotions when they are too sick or too wild. We adopt out two animals and ten more come in. This June and July our cat intake has increased by 38% and dogs by 22%. It feels like we are bailing out a sinking boat without fixing the leak.

Animal shelters did not create the pet over-population problem but we are asked to clean up the mess created by society. That is why we all preach spay/neuter. It is hard to make a case for spay/neuter with people who are only captivated by the cuteness of kittens and puppies and do not understand the consequences of having so many of them. There are also those people who can’t afford to get their pets fixed or think that the stray cat having kittens in their neighborhood isn’t their problem. On the other hand, it would be repugnant for us to show pictures of sick, suffering and dead animals we deal with every kitten/cat season. But, consider this: the mortality rate of kittens born in the wild is estimated to be 50-75% before reaching six months of age and in many shelters it is 80-90%. Spay/Neuter can avoid misery on so many levels.

The Lynchburg Humane Society is committed to fixing the leak- this is another reason we preach spay/neuter and have our new City Cat Fix program where we are providing free spay/neuter services and a rabies shot for outdoor cats.

But spay/neuter isn’t the only thing we preach. It is just as important for owners to be responsible for their pets especially during this very busy time. We do ask owners to wait and to bring their pet in when we have space through our appointment system. We are here to help owners and we offer services such as behavior support and assistance with re-homing their pets, but the Lynchburg Humane Society does not feel we or any other shelter should take in an owned pet just to euthanize another for space reasons.

So, we ask for patience as we work with you to bring your pet in responsibly when we have the space to accommodate it. Of course not everyone can wait and we always bring those in that can’t but for those that are not in dire straits we ask for you to be honest and do what is right for your pet and the others in our shelters. Please continue to work with us to become part of the solution because we know most people want what is best for their pet.

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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Taipei Zoo's horse whisperer has thing for wild horses

Taipei Zoo officials said Wednesday that the keeper charged with taking care of the zoo's wild horses -- said to be one of the most hard-to-handle species -- has an uncanny knack for dealing with the animals.

Przewalski's horse (Equus ferus przewalskii), commonly known as the Asian wild horse or the Mongolian wild horse, is known to be feisty and even routine checkups, vaccinations and medical treatment can be fraught with difficulty, the officials said.

Senior keeper Hu Chung-yuan, however, who has 13 years of experience, has a thing for handling the zoo's horses and can approach every one of them, with the exception of the oldest stallion. Hu recalled that he was once kicked when he tried to stop two stallions fighting. The next day, his assailant lifted its leg to him, which Hu said he took as a gesture of apology.

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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Doggie day-care opens in Wangara

DOG lover Carol Spencer is capitalising on people’s love of pets through her new business Paws at Play dog day-care centre in Wangara. Pet services are part of a successful industry, with results from the Coles Pet Survey released earlier this year showing that, on average, West Australians spend more than $65 a month on their pets.

Ms Spencer said the centre, due to open today, was like children’s day-care, but for four-legged friends. “A lot of people are choosing not to have kids, so their pets become like their children,” Ms Spencer said.

She said the service would be for pampered pooches as well as bored dogs that ended up digging up the garden when they were home by themselves too much. Ms Spencer said the service was cage-free and gave dogs an opportunity to spend a day playing and socialising. While Melbourne and Sydney have had doggy day-cares for years, the idea is still relatively new in Perth.

Ms Spencer said when she applied to the council it did not initially have a classification for her type of business, but the City of Wanneroo created a separate classification. The centre is in a warehouse and has an outdoor area with grass, sandpits and paddling pools.

Ms Spencer said all dogs who visited the centre would be temperament tested and would have to be sterilised, vaccinated and more than four months old. The centre will also offer dog-grooming services.

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Sunday, August 21, 2011


Black Horse Carriages of Cartmel trotted into the Old Vicarage residential home in Allithwaite to take the older people on a 10-minute jaunt around the surrounding Allithwaite lanes. Sheila Ramsbottom, 80, said: “It was super. I could’ve kept going round and round. It was beautiful.

“I love horses and my husband did. I used to ride a bit when I was younger.”Malcolm Wilson, 93, said: “It was very good, very nice. It’s my first time in a carriage more or less.”

Also among the people to enjoy a ride was 99-year-old Alice Foster – a resident at the Vicarage Lane home for 12 years. She is due to turn 100 in December and used to help all her fellow residents by doing jobs around the home such as sewing, making curtains and taking up hems of dresses.

Pippa Whitehead, the home’s new activities co-ordinator, said: “We’ve organised it because I’ve just taken over doing the activities here and lots of the residents are a bit infirm and they don’t go outside, so we’re trying to bring different activities to them which are going to engage and motivate them. “I had seen the horses around the village and they looked spectacular, and thought it would be something a bit different and something the residents could all do from their front door.

“We’re trying to follow what the residents’ hobbies were when they were at home and to incorporate them into what we do here. “The owner’s mantra is they should be treated as you would want your parents to be treated, which is how we operate here.”

Other summer activities have included a strawberry tea party for the entire community, and a tea dance will be held at the end of the month. An art therapist visits once a week and there is a film club, craft and gardening activities ongoing. Owner Barbara Siddiqi said of the horses’ visit: “It’s lovely. It will take them back. It definitely takes me back.”

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Friday, August 19, 2011

Vets worried about shortage of heartworm medicine for dogs

The company that sells the only FDA approved medicine to treat adult heartworm in dogs has announced its manufacturer has halted production leaving veterinarians with few boxes on the shelves and concerns about what to do if they see multiple cases.

Earlier this month, Merial, a veterinary product company, said it is nearly out of the heartworm medication Immiticide and is urging veterinarians to only place orders for the most severe cases.

Most vets have only a few treatments of the drug stockpiled and worry about what they will do if they see multiple cases.

Although vets are concerned, they say Colorado receives fewer cases of mosquito-borne heartworms than many other states and most see only a few cases a year.

"So it's a concern at this point but it's not an emergency so it's not something people should be panicking about and it's something that hopefully won't be a problem at all," Urban Vet Care Veterinarian Dr. Naomi Weber said.

There are alternative treatments to Immiticide, including antibiotics and surgery but those options can be more costly for owners and more dangerous for a dog's health.

Veterinarians urge preventative care and medicines and because of the lack of symptoms associated with heartworms they recommend people have their dogs tested at least once a year.

Merial has not given an exact date on when it may get a new manufacturer to make the drug, but it says it could be at least several weeks before restrictions on orders are lifted.

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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Dr. Madalyn Ward, DVM, Offers Advice On Horse Care & The Heat;Humidity

First, you should calculate the temperature-humidity index( THI) and all you do is add the air temperature, in degrees F., to the percentage of humidity, for example, if the air temperature is 80 degrees F., and the humidity is 60%, the THI is 140. When the THI gets to 150, your horse might have trouble cooling off. A THI of 180 and you should NOT work your horse at all and take immediate action to cool him down!

Another thing you can do is check your horse`s temperature. Their normal body temperature should be between 99.5 and 100.5, but can reach 103 or 104 during exercise and workouts. If your horse`s temperature gets to 105, he is in danger of being overheated and may suffer chronic or permanent damage.
If his temperature is above 105, your horse will be suffering from heatstroke, and will need to get to a vet (or vet-called out) immediately!

Some things you can do to prevent overheating is to provide plenty of cool water as a horse at rest will consume at least 10 gallons or more a day. Avoid automatic waterers as they only let the horse sip, not gulp the water. Provide a well-ventilated shade/stall and put a fan in the stall to keep the air moving. Always cool your horse before and after workouts by hosing him off with cool water.

Don`t bathe horses who have trouble sweating, but rather, sponge them with air-temperature water mixed with a liniment like Sore No More. Provide the right horse feed and research what are considered ‘heated feeds’ as well as you don`t want to feed a lot of hay during hot weather as this will make your horse even hotter, because of the digestive process.

Try adding Simplexity Health or Pro-Bi to help their tummy and also try cooling foods, like apples, citrus foods, barley grass, lemon balm, fresh peppermint or cilantro. Also consider your horse`s fitness and environment as well-conditioned horses will do better in hot, humid weather than out-of-shape horses.

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