This podcast was actually recorded last year, so I’ll be doing an update on Bart and Sadie soon. They’re doing great! Happily we all were wrong about how big they’d be and it looks like they’ll stay under 50 lbs. A much more easily managed size when there are 2 of them! Here’s what Bart & Sadie looked like at New Years.
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You hear that odd noise? That’s a bunch of nitwits doing their Chicken Little impressions by running in circles screeching that the sky is falling. A new study authored by Bruno Chomel points out it’s possible to catch certain serious diseases from our pets if we let them sleep with us. Chomel goes so far as saying we should not let pets sleep with us. And the media is reporting that letting your dog or cat sleep with you—COULD. KILL. YOU. (Cue spooky music.)
It’s not that I’m disputing the facts.
- you can catch the plague from your pets, if you sleep with a flea infested animal.
- you can catch meningitis from your dog. If you let him lick the wound from your hip replacement surgery or open wounds. Or if you regularly feed it food from your own mouth.
- you can catch Chagas. If you sleep with a bug infested animal.
- you can catch MRSA. If you dog carries it and licks you a lot & you don’t wash.
But, instead of saying “Ban all pets from your beds or you’re gonna die!”, I think we should be saying, “Keep your pet healthy and you’ll be healthier too!” I have a feeling we’re at far greater risk of getting hurt by tripping over our pets than catching the Black Plague from them. You know?
So be sure to:
- take your pets to the vet
- get them vaccinated
- treat them for fleas & ticks
- keep your cats indoors
- bathe your dogs
- make sure your pets don’t have worms
- don’t allow them access to carrion
- keep vermin like rats & mice away from your home
- keep raccoons away from your property (they carry round worm in their feces)
- feed your pets quality food and make sure they get exercise so their immune systems stay strong
And use some common sense, for pete’s sake.
- if your immune system is compromised, be very careful to avoid risks
- keep your open wounds covered and don’t let anyone lick them—cat, dog, human
- limit contact between pets and babies
- wash your hands
- don’t feed you pets food from your mouth
- don’t snuggle with a bunch of blood sucking bugs
And don’t trip over them!
It’s time to revisit my least favorite topic—ticks. Blech! While we don’t have a really bad problem with them in the Pacific Northwest, they pose a real danger in other parts of the country. This previous post is packed with information and presents a novel way of removing them from your pets—complete with video.
Parasites are not my favorite topic. In fact they really give me the creeps, but ticks are an important topic and their removal can be tricky. Using tweezers risks breaking off the body of the tick and leaving its head under the skin.(Ugh!) This can lead to infection and scarring. Applying a noxious substance to the tick can be bad if your pet licks it clean or it can lead to the tick depositing more of its disease-carrying saliva in the wound.(Bleh!) Using a match may cause the same thing to happen and just doesn’t seem wise to do on a furry animal.
Despite the “ick-factor” for me, I found good instructions for a safe way to remove the entire tick on the site Instructables.com. There is even a video demonstrating the technique which only requires using your finger to get the tick to crawl out almost immediately.(Gah!) This technique seems especially good for pets that don’t want to hold still. I highly recommend using latex gloves to do this to limit your exposure to the diseases ticks can carry. Don’t squish them between your fingers for the same reason. Instead, put them in a jar filled with rubbing alcohol. Don’t just flush them down the toilet–this won’t kill them. Once you remove the tick, be sure to clean the wound with antiseptic.
Ticks are serious business when it comes to cats, dogs, rabbits, and other companion animals—not to mention the risk to humans. The mere presence of ticks on your pet can cause tick paralysis in your animals.
Ticks carry a number of diseases including:
Prevention is your first defense. We use Frontline Plus on our dog during flea season, so we haven’t ever needed to remove a tick from her.(Yea!) I definitely recommend using a product like Frontline Plus, Revolution for Dogs, or K9 Advantix. (Frontline Plus is the only topical treatment of the three that kills ticks and is safe to use on cats.) Always check with your vet before administering medication to your pets. It isn’t always possible to use one of these topical treatments on animals with tick infestations, especially in weakened, underweight, and/or anemic animals which happens sometimes with neglected and stray animals. The technique above would be very usefull in those instances.