Archive for November, 2007

According to popular folklore a full moon brings out the worst in animals (both the two-legged and the four-legged varieties) . Scientific fact, however, seems scant and those studies that have been carried out are contradictory in their findings.

The most regularly quoted studies comparing the frequency of animal bites with the lunar phases were published in the British Medical Journal in December 2000. The first study carried out in the Bradford Royal Infirmary in Bradford, England reviewed 1621 patients that had been bitten by animals during the period 1997-1999. The results of this study showed that the chances of being bitten on or around a full-moon were twice as high as at other times.

The second study carried out at the University of Sydney, Australia, examined 1671 dog bite victims who entered into the public hospitals during a one year period. The results of this study showed no correlation between the incidents of dog bites and the phases of the moon.

Most recently the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association published the results of a study completed by the Colorado State University Medical Centre. This study, carried out over an 11 year period, set out to determine the frequency of emergency room visits for dogs and cats with respect to the lunar cycle. Having studied 11,940 cases it was found that the risk of needing to take a pet to an emergency clinic (for incidents ranging from cardiac arrest to trauma) was 28% higher for dogs and 23% higher for cats on nights that fell on or near to a full moon.

Living deep in farm country with four dogs and two cats, I am a believer in the lunar effect on animals, both domestic and wild. As the moon waxes fuller each month the coyotes become steadily more fearless until the night of the full moon when they sit on the hill just beyond the garden and howl at the dogs. The dogs, safe and warm inside, are happy to join in with the general party atmosphere and howl until the walls shake with the collective cacophony of sound. The cats are affected too, although in a more restrained manner, sitting quietly on the windowsill watching and listening to the nighttime scurrying and scampering of the animals outside.Am I alone in this belief? Let us know what you think about this topic by participating in our instant poll!

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On November 15th Pethealth Inc launched its new social networking site – PawsConnect.com – the new online destination for connected pet people.

PawsConnect.com is a unique social networking site aimed at both enhancing and empowering the lives of pet lovers throughout North America by providing them with new and innovative ways to interact and learn more about the best way to care for their dogs and cats.

PawsConnect.com has strong links to the animal welfare sector, featuring adoptable animals and profiling one shelter per month. This month Dane County Humane Society gets the spotlight, followed by Austin Humane Society in December. Let us know if your organization is interested in being profiled on PawsConnect.com.

Donation links for animal related charities will also be a staple on our site. We encourage all members of the animal welfare community to sign up at www.pawsconnect.com. Start a group for your own organization and enhance the profile of the animal welfare sector with other connected pet lovers!

Look out for our “Bite Mike game”! Pet parents can not only take out their ‘virtual revenge’ on the disgraced quarterback, but can also make donations to their chosen animal welfare organization after playing. If your organization is not listed, ask us to add you by sending an email with a link to your donation page to bitemike@pawsconnect.com. Spread the word by sending the game to your friends and uploading to your Facebook account!

Unlike virtually all other online communities which require registrants to create their own profile, many pet owners registering with PawsConnect.com will find their profile and pet pages already populated for them if their information and the information on their pet has been registered in 24PetWatch’s existing database. If the pet owner has adopted a dog or cat from one of the nearly 750 animal welfare organizations now running the Company’s PetPoint animal management application, the pet owner’s prepopulated profile may also include photographs of that same pet. This unique site will allow pet owners to begin participating in the PawsConnect.com community with a simple password and user ID.

PawsConnect.com will be hosted by Catrina Skepper well-known TV personality, former model and long-time pet lover. Catrina will be a regular feature on the PawsConnect.com site through a series of video-streaming segments where she will not only keep visitors up-to-date on the features of the site, but will also cover topics relevant to modern day pet owners. With the launch of the PawsConnect.com site, she will also be maintaining a regular blog.

In addition to providing pet parents with the opportunity to meet and chat with other pet parents online, PawsConnect.com offers pet forums covering a broad range of pet related topics, pet related competitions, surveys and pet specific products including “Birthday in a Bowl” and Your Scrapbook.

Interested? – Click here to sign up with PawsConnect.com today!

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Cats in the animal welfare world can cause employees and volunteers both headaches and happiness. Their unique characters can generate an affection in even the most die hard “dog” people but their unique needs create a challenging set of criteria upon which to safely and healthily house and, ultimately, adopt them out.

To those of you familiar with the PetPoint Journals you will know that it has been demonstrated that the outcome for cats entering into the animal welfare system, as a whole, is not as favorable as the outcome for dogs. The reasons for this disparity are multiple and include a complex mixture of adopter preference, behavioral issues, their prodigious reproductive capabilities and species-specific health issues.

As with many things in life, the key to providing a safe and healthy environment for cats in the animal welfare sector lies with planning, organization and communication. Much has been written by experts in the field about these issues and how best to counter them. Here we look to summarize some of the the key considerations:-

1) Cats at Intake: Cats are very susceptible to illness when they are stressed and their immune systems are compromised. Entry into the animal welfare system is a stressful time for cats and must be managed carefully to ensure that the animal is traumatized as little as possible and that there is no opportunity for cross contamination of other cats within the community. With the virulent nature of Upper Respiratory Tract Infections and other cat specific illnesses that can be transmitted through the air or by contact, disease control and hygiene have to be given the highest level of priority. It is usual for cats entering into a facility to be quarantined for a period of anywhere from 2-14 days, with the length of time dictated by the condition of the cat and each organization’s individual protocol.

2) Individual versus Colony Housing: Once the animal has been declared healthy the decision must be taken about where to house the cat within the organization, pending adoption. A variety of factors including the character of the cat, the number of cats already onsite and the availability of housing determine if the new cat is ultimately housed individually or as part of a group. The decision about whether to house cats individually, in groups or in a combination of the two, varies widely from organization to organization and is dictated by the facilities available and the protocol dictating disease prevention.


3) Ongoing Disease Control: Having placed the animal in either single-cat housing or group housing, the overriding concern of animal welfare organizations is to provide their cats with an environment that will keep it happy and healthy until adopted. Ensuring that cats stay healthy in this type of environment is dependant upon all employees and volunteers adhering to a strict and regular cleaning regimen. Exact details will be organization specific but many ensure compliance by giving employees and volunteers a cleaning checklist to be completed each day.

4) Healthy body – healthy mind: Cats also require the daily stimulation provided by a combination of toys, scratching posts and perches. The provision of boxes and other places to hide is useful for the more shy cats and those that want time alone. Daily human contact with the cats is vital ensuring that they remain comfortable with humans, but it also gives staff the chance to observe the cats to check on their health, general well-being and to assess behavioral trends.

5) Here come the Adopters: Having worked so hard to keep the cats happy, the time comes when they see and meet potential adopters. This interaction carries with it the new potential for the introduction of disease. Organizations vary widely in the level of access given to potential adopters. Anti-bacterial hand cleanser is a staple in almost all animal welfare organizations.

6) Time to go Home: This is the moment of truth and the hope is always that the cat has found its “Forever Home”. Microchipped and registered with 24PetWatch in case it strays and insured under the ShelterCare Gift for all those unknown and unseen health issues, ensures that it has been given a great start on its new life. Thank you.

The Pethealth Family

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