April is Heartworm Awareness Month

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, heartworm is a potentially serious (even fatal) parasite that affects dogs, cats, and pets such as ferrets.  In the wild, heartworm is found in many animals, including foxes, raccoons, and opossums.

Mosquitoes transfer the heartworm parasite from animal to animal, usually in the form of larvae.  The larvae mature in animals and adults can reach lengths of up to 14 inches. Worms affect the heart, lungs, and blood vessels of infected animals.

If male and female heartworms are present in your pet’s body, they can reproduce and create new larvae.  The larvae can also affect your pet’s immune system.

Heartworm can be found all over the US and in other parts of the world.  Many pet owners think heartworm is a canine problem, but cats can also become infected.  Exposure to mosquito bites is a major risk factor.

Your veterinarian can perform tests to detect the presence of heartworm in your pet.  Early detection is key to successful treatment.  Treatment can be challenging as it involves killing the parasites and then managing your dog’s response.  Treatment for cats can be even more difficult.

The good news is that heartworm is preventable!  Your vet will test for the presence of heartworm before providing preventives.  Ongoing testing is important to ensure that your pet has not become infected.

You can learn more about heartworm prevention on the American Heartworm Society’s website.

 

 

New Pet Obesity Statistics for U.S. Dogs and Cats

The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention has released the results of its 2018 Pet Obesity Survey.  You can click HERE to read the full report.  Here are a few interesting findings about our pets:

  • 59.5% of cats and 55.8% of dogs are classified as either overweight or obese.  This translates to 56 million cats and 50 million dogs.
  • 25.7% of cats and 36.9% of dogs were rated as overweight.
  • 33.8% of cats and 18.9% of dogs were rated as obese.

  • 68% of pet owners report that they have tried to help their pets lose weight.
  • Calorie reduction/smaller portions and increased exercise were reported to be the most effective pet weight loss methods.
  • 53% of pet owners reported that their veterinarians discussed their pets’ weight with them, however 40% said that their vets did not provide them with dietary advice.

Could your dog or cat lose a few of those extra pounds?  APOP has created some helpful pet weight loss tools for owners.  You can find information on ideal weight ranges, pet caloric needs, and weight reduction advice for both dogs and cats.

 

 

Watch the Trailer for “Buddy” – A New Film About Service Dogs

Ready for a heartwarming documentary about service dogs and the people who rely on them?  Be sure to keep an eye out for the movie Buddy, a film from the Netherlands that tells the stories of six special service dogs and their owners.

Buddy is currently playing in a few select theatres around the US, but if it’s not in your town, be sure to watch for the DVD and streaming releases.

Here’s the official trailer for the film:

 

Happy National Puppy Day!

 

Evie

Today is National Puppy Day!

In honor of this important holiday, we are sharing just a few pictures of the many adorable puppies that FACE and our veterinary partners have helped save in the past few months.

Enjoy the cuteness!

Luna

Koi Koi

 

How Our Personalities Affect Our Cats’ Care and Well-Being

A new research study on personality type and cat ownership provides some interesting insights into how our personalities can impact our cats’ lives.

Researchers surveyed over 3,000 UK cat owners on their personality types based on the “Big Five Inventory”

  • Agreeableness
  • Conscientiousness
  • Extroversion
  • Neuroticism
  • Openness

They also asked the owners several questions about how they cared for their cats.  The findings show that our personality types play a big role in how we relate to our cats.

For example, owners identified as having high neuroticism were more likely to keep their cats indoors.  They were also more likely to report behavior problems such as anxiety and obesity in their cats.

In contrast, the researchers found that extroverted owners were more likely to let their cats have access to the outdoors.

Owners identified as agreeable reported greater overall satisfaction with their cats and were also more likely to identify their cats as being at a normal weight.

Conscientious owners tended to view their cats as more outgoing and less anxious, fearful, or aloof than other owner types.

The researchers note that these findings are similar to other studies on parental personality type and child rearing practices.  Not surprisingly, parents identified as “neurotic” are more likely to have overprotective caregiving styles that can cause stress in their children.

For more information on pet parenting styles, check out this article from Science Daily.