Archive for December, 2007

As 2007 draws to a close we would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our readers of the Pethealth Post. We hope that you have found our weekly Posts thought provoking and informative and we look forward to providing you with more topics of interest in 2008. This week, however, we would just like to wish you all a Happy Holiday season and to give you the opportunity to win an extra holiday gift to put under your tree.

Simply send us the e-mail addresses of animal loving friends or colleagues who may be interested to receive the Pethealth Post in 2008 and we’ll put your name into the draw for one of the three beautiful “Holiday in a Bowl” packages illustrated below.

Thanks for participating and good luck in the draw!

Don’t forget to join www.PawsConnect.com to network with other pet lovers across the nation this holiday season!

The Pethealth Family

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Consistent with the view that pets are being seen more and more as members of the family is the fact that Hollywood, in a seemingly ever increasing fashion, is creating movies with dogs and cats as principals. This year has been no different. Of recent note is Disney Pictures’ “The Game Plan“, which was released in late September of this year and will be offered on DVD in early 2008. For those of you who have already seen it in the theatres, you will know that the main character owns a bulldog named Spike, who is affably subjected to wearing a tutu, having his nails painted, and appearing covered in bubbles. Indeed, Spike is almost assured of “taking the biscuit” for being the cutest and most endearing dog or cat in cinemas this year – and definitely arm-twisting material for children looking to ask Mom and Dad for a new family member this holiday season.

No doubt, the launch of “The Game Plan” also triggered alarm bells in the animal welfare community over concerns that unprepared parents may be convinced to purchase a bulldog as a new family pet, based on the depiction of “bulldog life” in the movie. These concerns are understandable, given the experiences of humane organizations following the release of 101 Dalmatians some years ago.

According to Petfinder.com, 101 Dalmatians immediately prompted a significant increase in the purchase and registration of Dalmatians in North America. However 6-9 months later, as the cute spotted puppies grew into rambunctious dogs requiring a significant amount of attention and exercise, many new Dalmatian owners conceded defeat and surrendered their dogs to the care of animal welfare organizations. (Reference)

Since that time, efforts have been made to avoid similar situations and while these efforts have met with a degree of success, leaders in the animal welfare community remain cautious with the release of each new animal focused children’s film. (Reference)

If the 6-month lag period holds true in the case of The Game Plan, then it is possible that we may see an increase in bulldog surrenders to animal welfare organizations starting as early as the second quarter of next year. While these bulldogs are unlikely to be abandoned by their new owner due to excessive exercise demands (bulldogs being less energetic than most other breeds), or their personalities (bulldogs are recognized as good family pets), their health requirements may make them an expensive pet choice for some.

Bulldogs are prone to a variety of hereditary defects and the strict breed guidelines for bulldogs make them a high maintenance dog which is likely to require numerous visits to the veterinarian. Historically speaking ShelterCare Pet Insurance has paid out more than two major claims for each insured bulldog on average, with the ten most common problems being:-

  • Skin Problems
  • Allergies and Allergic Reactions
  • Gastro-Intestinal Problems, including organs secondary to system.
  • Eye Problems
  • Uro-genital Problems
  • Otitis Externa
  • Lameness and Cause Thereof

  • Ear Problems
  • Cruciate Ligaments
  • Pyoderma

In the event that your organization does find itself the unexpected recipient of unwanted bulldogs in 2008, it will be important to inform the adopters of their dog’s health requirements to ensure that they do not become return visitors. Click here for a downloadable information sheet about bulldogs.

As is the case with all dogs, it is important to ensure that your new adopters extend their ShelterCare 30-day Gift coverage into an annual policy as soon as possible. Extending within the 30-day gift period will allow them to benefit from a $8.95 credit towards their new policy and will ensure that there is no interruption in their coverage.

The Pethealth Family

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There continues to be great misconceptions about the nature of sheltered animals and how they got there. A commonly cited fallacy is that animals are being surrendered for reasons that relate to their behavior. Indeed, the website of the pharmaceutical giant, Novartis, currently states that “the number one reason people give up pets to shelters is because of behavioral problems…”.

On November 11th, 2007 Pethealth Inc. issued PetPoint Journal #7 in which the reasons given for surrender of pets to North American users of the PetPoint animal management system were identified and ranked for the period 2005-2007. Based on data from nearly 800 animal welfare organizations, on over 1.4-million dogs and cats, the study revealed that a staggering 86% of all animals surrendered to animal welfare organizations were surrendered for reasons that directly related to the life situation of their owners. Animal surrenders that were due to the specific characteristics of the animal in question did not even feature in the Top Ten Reasons for Surrender (see chart below), and in total accounted for only 14% of all animal surrenders.

Top Ten Reasons for Surrender

  1. Too many pets (18%)

  2. Unwanted/Incompatible (10%)

  3. Moving/Deployed (10%)

  4. Stray/Found/Abandoned (8%)

  5. Inability to care for (8%)

  6. Financial/Home Insurance policy restrictions (6%)

  7. Euthanasia Request (5%)

  8. Unwanted litter/pregnant female (4%)

  9. Allergic to Animal (4%)

  10. Family health/Death of owner (3%)

While we support the interest in the animal welfare community shown by companies like Novartis, we believe that ultimate success in animal welfare will only come through gaining a better understanding of the real issues that shelters and shelter staff face each day.

The information accumulated through daily use of PetPoint represents the single largest source of aggregated data on animals in the animal welfare sector in North America. Pethealth is thus in a unique position assess and develop more accurate conclusions on the issues that may impact your organizations effectiveness.

The PetPoint Journal is published bi-monthly and delivered electronically to animal welfare organizations running the PetPoint animal management system. If you would like more information on PetPoint please contact us by phone at 1-866-630-7387or by emailing sales@petpoint.com. We also welcome study suggestions and recommendations from members of the animal welfare community. If you have any comments, please send them to us at journal@petpoint.com.

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