Parasite Infection Risk Increases for Outdoor Cats

Cats allowed to roam outdoors face a variety of health risks, from getting hit by cars and attacked by other animals to an increased risk for infection by internal and external parasites.

A recent study of parasite infection rates for outdoor cats vs. indoor cats around the world has led to some interesting findings.

Cats allowed to roam outdoors are 2.77 times more likely to become infected with parasites than indoor only cats.  The surprise finding in this study relates to what parts of the globe parasite infection risks are highest.

You might think that cats in warmer climates have an increased risk of parasite infection because there tends to be a greater concentration of parasites in these warmer places.

In reality, the opposite was found to be true:  infection rates decrease with higher parasite diversity, and cats in northern climates are a greater risk for infection.  Risk of infection goes up a surprising 4% with each degree of increase in latitude.

Why is this?  The researchers note that rodents (a common feline prey animal) and other species of wildlife display similar increased infection rates.

Experts recommend that cat owners restrict access to the outdoors for their pets, both to preserve their cats’ overall health and well-being, and also to reduce the risk of parasite transmission to humans.

 

Spending on US Pets Reaches All-Time High in 2018

The American Pet Products Association recently released its latest pet industry spending numbers and reports that we spent a record-breaking $72.56 billion on our pets in 2018, up $3 billion from the 2017 figures.

The survey found that millennial pet owners are driving the spending, with their willingness to pay more than previous generations for quality pet products and services.

Here are a few key spending figures from the APPA survey:

  • Food: $30.32 billion
  • Supplies and over the counter medications: $16.01 billion
  • Veterinary care: $18.11 billion
  • Live animal purchases: $2.01 billion (this is down 4.3% from 2017)
  • Other services (boarding, grooming, etc.): $6.11 billion

Premium brand pet foods and treats continue to be a driving factor in pet industry growth.  Other areas of growth include nutritional supplements and digital pet-related technologies.

The APPA also notes that Americans, especially millennials, are acquiring greater numbers of pets through shelters and rescues, which may account for the decrease in live animal sales.

Check out the statistics, including spending estimates for 2019, on the APPA website HERE.

 

Heartwarming Video: Deaf and Blind Dog Maisie Enjoys the Good Life

Maisie is an adorable and active dog who also happened to be born both deaf and blind.  Maisie is known as a double merle dog, the result of breeding two blue merle dogs together (generally regarded as poor breeding practice).

Double merles are prone to both eye and ear abnormalities that can lead to blindness and deafness, as was the case with Maisie.

Maisie was a rescue puppy when mom Haley adopted her after fostering her for just a few months.  Haley developed a successful training routine for Maisie that incorporated touch.

Haley and Maisie work together to raise awareness about the health risks of breeding double merle dogs.  Check out the heartwarming story of Haley and Maisie from The Dodo:

 

 

California Bans “Easter Bunny” Sales in New Animal Welfare Law

This Easter marks the first year a new California animal welfare law designed to protect rabbits goes into effect.  California is the first state in the US to ban live rabbit sales at pet stores—an effort to cut back on the number of rabbits that are either abandoned, surrendered to shelters, or euthanized after Easter.

This is the same law that also bans the sale of commercially bred dogs and cats in pet stores.  Pet stores can still house adoptable dogs, cats, and rabbits from local animal shelters.

According to an article from Reuters, animal shelters see a spike in rabbit intakes one to three months after Easter.  The House Rabbit Society notes that thousands of rabbits, many still under one year old, are surrendered to California shelters.

Under the new law, rabbits will still be available for adoption from animal shelters and rescue groups, so California rabbit fans have the opportunity to provide a new forever home for rabbits in need!

 

Side Effects of Flea and Tick Spot Treatments

The warm spring weather means that flea and tick season is coming!  Topical spot products are the preferred treatment for many dog and cat owners.  When used correctly, they can be very safe and effective.

But it is possible that your individual pet may experience an adverse skin reaction to the treatment.

Here’s an overview of the most common reactions, courtesy of the Veterinary Information Network:

Epidermal paresthesia:  This is a fancy term for an itching, prickling, or burning sensation on the skin.  This reaction is most common with spot treatments that contain pyrethroids.  The itching can start minutes after treatment and last as long as 24 hours.

The skin looks normal with paresthesia, but you will notice behavior changes in your pets if they feel uncomfortable.

Contact dermatitis:  This skin condition occurs when your pet develops an inflammatory reaction to the spot product.  Your pet’s skin will look red and irritated at the application site.  In severe cases, the skin may blister.  The reaction time is more delayed than with paresthesia.

Wash off the product and seek veterinary care if the skin does not improve after the product is removed.

What should you do if your dog or cat has a reaction to a spot treatment?  Veterinary experts recommend that you discontinue use of the product.  You can try another treatment that uses different active ingredients and monitor your pet for signs of a reaction.

Important reminder:  Certain canine flea and tick spot treatments can be very toxic to cats, especially those containing permethrin.  Permethrin can cause life-threatening neurological damage in cats.  Never use canine treatments on cats.

If your pet experiences an adverse reaction to a spot treatment, you can report it to the manufacturer as well as to the Food and Drug Administration and Environmental Protection Agency if you live in the U.S.