Veterinary Visits During COVID-19

As more and more businesses are temporarily closing due to the Coronavirus outbreak, many concerned pet owners are wondering if their local veterinary practices will be open.  According to an article on the Veterinary Information Network website, some—but not all—states are declaring veterinary clinics as “essential services” to remain open.

If you need to take your pet for veterinary care, be sure to call and check with your own veterinarian and/or local pet emergency and specialty clinics before bringing your animal in.

Some states are providing guidance to veterinarians on whether to stay open or not, and what types of services they should provide.  For example, here in California, the state veterinary medical association is asking members to use their best judgement based on what types of conditions their own communities are facing.

The AVMA suggests that veterinarians may want to defer certain kinds of non-critical care to conserve personal protective equipment like masks, gowns, and gloves.

Many veterinary practices that are staying open are limiting contact between pet owners and veterinary staff.  If your pet needs care, you may have to drop him or her off at the clinic door or in the parking lot and will not be permitted to go inside.

The best advice is to postpone any non-essential treatment.  If your pet needs urgent veterinary treatment, always call the practice or emergency clinic before you go.  Even if you are not allowed in the building, you should expect to receive phone calls from the veterinary team to update you on what’s going on with your pet.

Be sure to refer to the AVMA website for updates on the COVID-19 situation as it relates to veterinary care.  You can also check with your local state veterinary medical association for more specific information.

 

New Finnish Study Shows Anxiety is a Common Trait in Many Dogs

Researchers in Finland conducted a survey of nearly 14,000 dog owners to determine the causes of canine anxiety.  They found that over 72% of dogs experience some form of anxiety.

What types of anxiety are most common, and are there certain breeds that are more anxious than others?  Here are a few key findings from the study:

  • The most common form of anxiety in dogs is noise sensitivity (fireworks, thunder, etc.) followed by fear of specific things (such as strangers, other dogs, or surfaces and heights).
  • Female dogs are slightly more likely to show anxiety and fear than male dogs (51.5%). Male dogs tend to show more separation anxiety.
  • Certain behavior problems tend to be associated with canine anxiety, including inattention, aggression, hyperactivity, and compulsive behavior (such as self-biting).
  • Some breeds are more anxious and fearful than others. Labrador Retrievers and Staffordshire Bull Terriers show low levels of fear, while Shetland Sheepdogs and Rough Collies tend to be more fearful.

The authors of the study note that canine anxiety can have a genetic basis.  However, the prevalence of canine anxiety shows that it is common across breeds and factors like training, socialization, and the home environment play a role too.

Interested in learning more?  Check out the full study HERE.

 

COVID-19 and Pets: Facts from the AVMA

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has created a fact sheet on Coronavirus for pet owners.

They address common concerns, including whether or not cats and dogs can become infected with the virus or pass it on.  As of this time, there is no evidence that pets can become sick from Coronavirus.

There have been reports about a couple of dogs contracting the virus, but the AVMA says that these pets have not shown signs of being ill with COVID-19 specifically.

Should you keep your pet’s veterinary appointments?  The AVMA says there is no reason to cancel appointments unless you yourself are sick and feel it is best to stay home.

They also advise pet owners to make plans for pet care in the event that you are unable to care for your pet at home.

You can download the full fact sheet HERE.  Be sure to check the AVMA website for any updates on Coronavirus and veterinary health.

 

March is Pet Poison Prevention Awareness Month

An important animal awareness holiday happens in March:  Pet Poison Prevention Month.

The ASPCA urges pet owners to be mindful of the following common pet poison hazards:

  • Household cleaning products
  • Pesticides (insect and rodent)
  • Certain people foods
  • Automotive products (like antifreeze)
  • Medicines (human and pet, Rx and OTC)
  • House and yard plants
  • Certain flea and tick products

Feeling overwhelmed about what’s safe and what’s not?  The ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center has created a free mobile app that covers the toxicity of hundreds of items.  It includes pictures and other tools to help you identify what’s harmful to your pet.

Download the app HERE!

 

Long-Term Health Effects of Wildfires on Cats

Veterinarians at the University of California, Davis have been studying the health of cats affected by the recent California wildfires.  They have found that cats who suffered burns and smoke inhalation developed a high incidence of cardiovascular problems.

Researchers examined 51 cats referred for veterinary treatment after wildfires in 2017 and 2018.  More than half of the cats had serious cardiovascular problems.

Specifically, a high incidence of heart muscle thickening and blood clot formation (or the risk of blood clot formation) was found in many of the cats.  Six of the cats in the study had to be euthanized for cardiac problems.

The researchers report that humans who have experienced burns are also at risk for cardiovascular issues, but they found a higher incidence in the cats, even among those who had only moderate burns.

They note that further research into animals impacted by fire can translate into a greater understanding of how human health is affected.

“We also know that these cats inhaled smoke in a very urban environment, exposing them to toxicants,” said one of the researchers. “These cats could be the canary in the coal mine, letting us know what might happen if more people are exposed to these types of wildfires.”

They recommend that veterinarians screen for cardiovascular issues in cats who have been treated after wildfires.

You can read the full text of the study HERE.

Top image:  Rob Warren/UC Davis