On this Memorial Day...
...we'd like to recognize, in addition to the brave men and women who fight for our country, their companions, the working dogs of the USA. From those who work side by side with our troops both domestically and overseas, to those who provide the invaluable service of search and rescue, we'd like to thank those special canine friends who have done so much for us. Have a safe weekend, and we hope your handlers give you a special treat this Monday. Thank you again for all that you do and have done, and God bless.
Thinking about adding another feline to your home? Before you do, please consider the following article provided by DVM360. There is a lot to think about, and you may be doing more harm than good.
By Sarah Heath, BVSc, DECAWBM, CCAB, MRCVS
Q. Some people think that they can put two or more previously unacquainted cats together in a house without any preparation and then expect no problems. Can you help break this myth?
A. Introducing cats to each other abruptly can be very stressful if they are not socially compatible. While physical confrontation may not be seen, passive signs of social tension, such as social and physical withdrawal, are likely to occur. This may result in owners considering that there has been no problem with the introduction since there is no fur flying or blood being shed. However cats that are expected to live close to cats with whom they are not socially compatible can suffer from chronic stress, and this can have physical health implications as well as behavioral ones.
Cats are not obligate social creatures, so they avoid unnecessary social interactions wherever possible. When they do spend time with other cats it is usually with those they are related to or have lived with since they were kittens. Two unrelated and unfamiliar cats arriving into a household will have no basis for a relationship and nothing in their normal behavioral repertoire to prepare them for sudden introduction.
It is likely that the cats would be in physical proximity to each other and may be expected to share essential resources, such as food stations or litter boxes. This is not compatible with natural feline behavior, which leads them to establish separate core territories and to avoid sharing resources with anyone outside of their social group.
Q. What is the best way to introduce two cats to each other?
A. The first thing to consider is whether it is appropriate to introduce the cats. For example if the one cat is a solo cat in a household, it is important to question the reason for taking on another cat. Owners will often think that they are getting a companion for the existing cat but this is not the case. The resident cat has no reason to consider the newcomer as part of its social group and, while there is the potential for cats to develop friendships over time, it should never be assumed that this will happen.
Anyone taking on a new cat should realize that the newcomer will be a single cat within the already existing household, like another tenant moving into a house of multiple occupancy. The cats may tolerate each other’s presence if they are introduced gradually and their need for separate core territories is respected, but wanting the resident cat to have a friend is not a valid reason for taking on a second cat.
For those owners who would like to own more than one cat, it is best to plan to take on more than one kitten from the same litter or to introduce kittens to one another in the early weeks of life. Cats become socially mature between 2 and 3 years of age. After this, they are less likely to be accepting of social interaction with a newcomer. So if people are wanting to expand their feline household it is better to do so before the residents reach social maturity.
Even then it should be assumed that the newcomer is a new social group and make sure that its arrival does not put any strain on the resources used by the resident cat. Totally separate feeding, toileting, resting and drinking stations need to be provided. It is recommended to prevent any visual contact between the cats for a few days and in some cases a couple of weeks in order for the resident to have the chance to adjust to the presence of a new feline scent within the household before actually encountering the new arrival. The use of the feline appeasing pheromone (Feliway MultiCat—Ceva) may be beneficial to increase the sense of personal security for both of the cats but it is not going to alter their perception of the other cat.
Proactive introduction should be avoided, and it is important not to use food to encourage the cats to come closer. Cats are solitary feeders, and eating in the presence of another cat is potentially stressful. The aim of introduction is for the cats to live in peaceful tolerance of one another rather than to become friends.
Dr. Sarah Heath qualified from Bristol University and spent four years in mixed general practice before setting up a behavioral medicine referral practice in 1992. She is an external lecturer in small animal behavioral medicine at Liverpool University and a certified clinical animal behaviorist under the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour (ASAB) accreditation scheme. In 2002, Dr. Heath became a founding diplomate of the European College of Animal Welfare and Behavioural Medicine and served as president from 2002 to 2008. Dr. Heath has a special interest in the interplay between behavior and physical illness in dogs and cats and particularly in the role of pain. She lectures extensively at home and abroad on behavioral topics and is an author and co-editor of the recently published Feline Behavioral Health and Welfare.
Dr. Heath will be a speaker at the American Association of Feline Practitioners’ 2016 annual conference in Washington, D.C., which will address feline behavior and respiratory diseases.
The American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) improves the health and welfare of cats by supporting high standards of practice, continuing education and scientific investigation. This year’s 2016 Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., will address feline behavior and respiratory diseases. Presentations will be geared toward all levels of feline practitioners and include both a paraprofessional track and full-day shelter track. For more information about AAFP and the conference, visitwww.catvets.com/education.
It's getting closer, and it is important to think about vaccinating your dog. It was reported that there was a case of this highly infections virus that popped up in Detroit Lakes, MN. If you are planning on boarding your dog, or if your dog is around a lot of different dogs at times, it is important to consider vaccinating them as soon as possible. We do offer the vaccine for this virus at our clinic, please call for additional information or to schedule your dog.
The following is information regarding this virus posted by the American Veterinary Medical Association:
Canine Influenza: Pet Owners' Guide
Canine influenza (CI, or dog flu) in the U.S. is caused by the canine influenza virus (CIV), an influenza A virus. It is highly contagious and easily spread from infected dogs to other dogs through direct contact, nasal secretions (through barking, coughing or sneezing), contaminated objects (kennel surfaces, food and water bowls, collars and leashes), and by people moving between infected and uninfected dogs. Dogs of any breed, age, sex or health status are at risk of infection when exposed to the virus. In early 2016, a group of cats in an Indiana shelter were infected with H3N2 canine influenza (passed to them by infected dogs), and the findings suggested that cat-to-cat transmission was possible.
Unlike seasonal flu in people, canine influenza can occur year round. So far, there is no evidence that canine influenza infects people. However, it does appear that at least some strains of the disease can infect cats.
Canine influenza symptoms and diagnosis CIV infection resembles canine infectious tracheobronchitis ("kennel cough"). The illness may be mild or severe, and infected dogs develop a persistent cough and may develop a thick nasal discharge and fever (often 104-105oF). Other signs can include lethargy, eye discharge, and reduced appetite. Some dogs may not show signs of illness, but can shed the virus and infect other dogs.
Most dogs recover within 2-3 weeks. However, secondary bacterial infections can develop, and may cause more severe illness and pneumonia. Anyone with concerns about their pet’s health, or whose pet is showing signs of canine influenza, should contact their veterinarian.
CIV can be diagnosed early in the illness (less than 3 days) by testing a nasal or throat swab. The most accurate test for CIV infection is a blood test that requires a sample taken during the first week of illness, followed by a second sample 10-14 days later.
Cats infected with H3N2 canine influenza show symptoms of upper respiratory illness, including a runny nose, congestion, malaise, lip smacking, and excessive salivation.
Transmission and prevention of canine influenzaDogs are most contagious during the two- to four-day incubation period for the virus, when they are infected and shedding the virus in their nasal secretions but are not showing signs of illness. Almost all dogs exposed to CIV will become infected, and the majority (80%) of infected dogs develop flu-like illness. The mortality (death) rate is low (less than 10%).
The spread of CIV can be reduced by isolating ill dogs as well as those who are known to have been exposed to an infected dog and those showing signs of respiratory illness. Dogs infected with H3N2 canine influenza should be isolated for at least 21 days. Good hygiene and sanitation, including hand washing and thorough cleaning of shared items and kennels, also reduce the spread of CIV. Influenza viruses do not usually survive in the environment beyond 48 hours and are inactivated or killed by commonly used disinfectants.
There are vaccines against the H3N8 strain of canine influenza, which was first discovered in 2004 and until 2015 was the only strain of canine influenza found in the United States. However, a 2015 outbreak of canine influenza in Chicago was traced to the H3N2 strain – the first reporting of this strain outside of Asia – and it is not known whether the H3N8 vaccine provides any protection against this strain. Used against H3N8, the vaccines may not completely prevent infection, but appear to reduce the severity and duration of the illness, as well as the length of time when an infected dog may shed the virus in its respiratory secretions and the amount of virus shed – making them less contagious to other dogs.
In November 2015, the U.S. Department of Agriculture granted a conditional license to Zoetis to market the first commercially available H3N2 canine influenza vaccine. Later that month, Merck Animal Health announced the availability of an H3N2 canine influenza vaccine, also conditionally licensed by USDA. None of the currently available H3N2 canine influenza vaccines are approved for use in cats.
The CIV vaccination is a "lifestyle" vaccination, recommended for dogs at risk of exposure due to their increased exposure to other dogs – such as boarding, attending social events with dogs present, and visiting dog parks.