Updated Veterinary Guidelines for Cat Health: FIV and FeLV

The American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) has updated their testing and management guidelines for the feline retroviruses FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus) and FeLV (feline leukemia virus).

These two potentially life-threatening illnesses can be managed with proper owner education, testing, and vaccinations.  As the AAFP notes in an article on phys.org:

“Education and early testing can greatly assist in the treatment and management of feline retrovirus infections. Routine veterinary care, when cats are well and when they are sick, can lead to better care and decrease the spread of infection…with regular healthcare and reduced stress, cats infected with retroviruses, especially FIV, may live many healthy years.”

The new guidelines are designed for veterinarians in private practice, as well as those in shelter medicine, because these diseases can spread in multi-cat environments.

Testing is key to identifying infected cats, especially when they are in contact with other cats.  FIV is often spread via saliva in bite wounds, especially in adult males.  About 3-5% of cats in North America have FIV.  FeLV is commonly passed from the mother to her kittens, often through grooming and feeding.  4% of cats in North America are thought to have FeLV.

Vets can download the 2020 guidelines via the AAFP website HERE.  Cat owners interested in learning more about FIV and FeLV can download an electronic owner education brochure HERE.  You can learn more about how to spot an infected cat, testing and vaccinations, and how to care for a cat living with FIV or FeLV.

 

 

Allergic to Dogs? Neutering May Be the Solution

There are many reasons to spay and neuter your pets.  Spay/neuter is the best way to reduce homeless pet overpopulation and to prevent certain kinds of diseases—including cancer—of the reproductive system in both males and females.

New research published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology suggests that another benefit of neutering is to reduce human allergic reactions to a specific protein found in intact male dogs.

Dog and cat allergies are common, and can be caused by allergens in your pet’s urine, saliva, and dander.  But this new research shows that as many as 30% of people with dog allergies may be affected by a single prostate protein called Can f 5, found only in male dogs.

People who are allergic to Can f 5 can live with female dogs in the house but have problems with male dogs.  Some people with this allergy can tolerate neutered male dogs, while others may be better off with female dogs only.

If you suffer from pet allergies, you can note if certain dogs are easier to be around than others.  You can also talk to your doctor about getting tested.  An article on the Can f 5 research on the Mother Nature Network website notes that there are currently 6 different dog protein tests available, so you can narrow down the exact cause of your pet allergy.

 

Small Pet Socialization Tips

There’s lots of information about how to socialize dogs and cats out there, but what about small and exotic pets?  They can learn polite behavior too!

The San Diego Humane Society’s San Diego Pets Magazine recently shared some tips on how to socialize your rabbits, rodents, birds, and reptiles.  Here are a few highlights:

Rabbits

  • Some bunnies can be shy so let them approach you first. If you do approach a rabbit, do so slowly, at their level, and from the side.
  • Offering treats like fresh vegetables is a good way for your rabbit to associate human interaction with a positive reward.

Hamsters, Gerbils and Other Rodents

  • Young children may be excited to interact with their new small pets, but give the animals some time to adjust to their new surroundings first. Then start with a few short sessions each day.
  • Approach rodents on their level, not from overhead.
  • Let them walk onto a neutral object and work their way to your hand gradually.

Birds

  • Bird are very social, so they appreciate lots of interaction and being included in your family’s daily activities.
  • Avoid sudden movements around birds. They appreciate pets on the back of the head and back, and slow blinks (like cats!).

Reptiles

  • Not all reptiles like to be cuddled or held, so check your expectations if you’re looking for a snuggle buddy.
  • Treats can help them associate handling with something positive. Certain reptiles like turtles and tortoises enjoy being hand fed.
  • Your lizard or other reptile may not like to be handled, but some might appreciate being near you for warmth.

 

 

Video: NFL Star Raises Awareness About Dogs Left Outside in the Cold

Kansas City Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu has teamed up with PETA to create a public awareness video on the dangers of dogs being kept outside in freezing cold weather.

Tyrann stepped into a walk-in freezer to experience what it must be like for dogs left out in the cold.  He pointed out that their food and water also freeze solid when left outdoors in the cold.

Tyrann lasted about 20 minutes, but some dogs are left outside all day and night.

PETA recommends talking to your neighbors if you see that their dogs are left outside in the cold.  You can also see if your local government has a policy on chained dogs.

Check out the full video below and click this link for helpful tips on keeping pets warm in cold weather.

 

Ohio State’s “Honoring the Bond” Program Helps Grieving Pet Owners

The hardest part about sharing your life with a companion animal is when the time comes to say goodbye.  The loss of a beloved pet is difficult for all pet parents.  Luckily, there are some helpful support resources out there, including Ohio State University Veterinary Medical Center’s Honoring the Bond program.

Honoring the Bond not only helps clients of the Veterinary Medical Center (providing on-site social work services) but also pet owners everywhere.

You can visit their website and download information resources on pet loss topics such as:

  • Deciding on when and why to consider euthanasia
  • Coping with the loss of a pet
  • Helping children handle the death of a family pet
  • Do other animals in the home grieve the loss of a companion?

Ohio State has also compiled a great suggested reading list on topics related to pet loss, including making end of life decisions and children’s books about the loss of a pet.  You can also find a list of hotlines and online sites that support grieving pet owners.