Archive for January, 2008

Watching a cat as it goes about its daily bathing ritual, one can only be amazed by the flexibility they demonstrate. Similar feats of contortion may be witnessed when observing a cat slip through a tiny crack or when viewing slow motion footage of a cat righting itself mid-air. What is it that allows these masters of escape to earn their proverbial nine lives?

The answer to this question lies in a combination of three factors that work together to provide cats with their death defying abilities:-

  1. Skeletal Structure – The extreme flexibility of a cat is due to the uniqueness of the cat’s skeleton – they do not have a collarbone, and the bones in their backbone have more mobility than in many other animals. These skeletal attributes allow them to get their bodies through any gap that is large enough for their heads and also gives them their uncanny flexibility. Furthermore cats have shock absorbing pads on the bottoms of their paws and have unique (among small mammals) ability to land with flexed joints thus allowing them to absorb much of the shock of impact:
  2. Righting Reflex – from the age of approximately 3-4 weeks cats start to develop the ability to orientate themselves in the air, a skill that is perfected at 7 weeks. This righting reflex is due to the existence of a small organ in their inner ear, the vestibular apparatus, that acts as an internal gyroscope;
  3. Pure Physics – When falling from a high place a cat can right itself through a series of movements that result in the rotation and stretching of the body until the point at which its feet are pointed towards the ground. In addition, during falls from extreme heights cats reach a speed at which they are no longer accelerating – terminal velocity – at this point the cat starts to relax and moves into a spread eagled position thus reducing its speed and minimizing its risk of serious injury.

The regularity with which cats fall from high places resulted in the coining of the phrase in 1976 “Feline High Rise Syndrome” by Dr Gordon Robinson. In 1987 two veterinarians, Drs Wayne Whitney and Cheryl Mehlhaff of the Animal Medical Centre in Manhattan conducted a study on Feline High Rise Syndrome, the results of which were published in the Journal of American Veterinary Medicine and are as follows:-

  • The science of falling cats is called Feline pesematology;
  • Of the 115 cats who were brought into the Medical Centre having sustained a fall of between two and thirty two stories 90% survived;
  • 10% of the cats which fell between 2-6 stories died;
  • Only 5% of the cats which fell between 7-32 stories died – the doubling of the survival rate as the height increased can be accounted for by the effects of terminal velocity;
  • The most common injury following a fall is nose bleeds.
While the most common injury following a steep fall may well be a nose bleed, cats often suffer serious internal damage following a fall and all cat owners should take steps to ensure that their pets are not put into a position where they could jump. Balconies and windows should be off limits to cats or screened in to allow your feline friends to enjoy the scenery and fresh air in safety.

The Pethealth Family

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We are delighted to announce the launch of the ‘Advanced Asilomar’ reporting system now available within the PetPoint application. The new advanced module replaces the existing ‘Asilomar Accord’ module introduced in 2006.

A key differentiating factor between the PetPoint Animal Management application and other traditional client server based software applications is that PetPoint enables users to continue with their existing method of reporting while also allowing them to report in the standard format set out under the Asilomar Accord. This functionality is used by administrators to report their data on a monthly, quarterly and annual basis easily and automatically.

Advanced Asilomar is designed to support the more detailed variations of the Asilomar Accord standard, as required by groups such as Maddie’s Fund. However, the Advanced Asilomar system requires no additional work by PetPoint users, provided that they have completed their original mapping of their organization’s unique Intake and Outcome values.

PetPoint users will notice that each intake and outcome screen has been updated to include a new field, called “Asilomar Status.” The choices available are: Healthy, Treatable-Rehabilitatable, Treatable-Manageable, and Unhealthy-Untreatable. Users may assign the appropriate value to each animal when it arrives and when it departs. These values may be updated and tracked throughout each animal’s stay at the organization, therefore providing an accurate profile of the animal while it is under the care of the animal welfare organization.

The animal welfare community in North America has struggled for many years with the fact that each organization tracks its statistics differently. However, as the number of PetPoint users continues to grow (813 licensed users to date), animal welfare organizations are able to access meaningful statistics which can now be published and that give an accurate representation of the state of the industry at any given time. Statistics are also now being released to PetPoint users every other week through the PetPoint Journal – Please call the PetPoint team if you would like your name added to the list.
Existing PetPoint users can contact the help desk for assistance in setting up Advanced Asilomar.

If your organization is not using PetPoint yet we encourage you to call the PetPoint team at 1-866-630-7387 to find out how your organization can benefit from this free animal management system. PetPoint gives the animal welfare community more time and money to what it does best – save lives.

The Pethealth Family

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Happy New Year to all our friends and partners in the animal welfare community. With this first edition of the Pethealth Post for 2008 we look back at some of our 2007 milestones that provide further evidence of Pethealth’s ongoing commitment to animal welfare.

By the close of 2007 Pethealth’s financial contributions to the animal welfare community, through its PetPoint, 24PetWatch and ShelterCare programs, had surpassed $16,870,000. Pethealth’s total investment in the animal welfare community now stands at over $26,800,000.


813 organizations have now licensed the PetPoint animal management system. This ground breaking ASP.net platform is offered free of charge to all animal welfare organizations. During 2007 alone 1,097,852 animal intakes and 375,459 adoptions were completed through PetPoint. This represents a 131% and 119% increase respectively over 2006.

PetPoint users benefit with multiple operational advantages including (to name but a few):-

  • Intakes for Stray, Surrendered, Returned Transferred, Wildlife, Clinic, and Seized Animals;
  • Outcomes for Adopted, Returned to Owner, Transferred, Wildlife, Deceased, and Euthanized Animals;
  • Asilomar Accord & Maddie’s Fund Reporting;
  • Electronic animal record transfers between PetPoint users;
  • Animal Profiles & Pictures that can be uploaded to adoption sites;
  • Medical Assessment & Treatment Records;
  • Behavior / Temperament Assessment Records;
  • All animals adopted out through PetPoint user organizations are automatically provided with the ShelterCare 30-Day Gift of Insurance;
  • All microchipped animals adopted out through PetPoint user organizations are automatically registered in the 24PetWatch database (irrespective of the make of microchip).

If you are not yet using PetPoint we would encourage you to make your New Year’s resolution to call the PetPoint team and get started!

24PetWatch Microchip Indentification

Much has been written about animal identification with microchips in 2007, some of it good and some of it blatantly incorrect (including the reincarnation of the vastly overblown microchip/cancer connection).

We are happy that the animal welfare community continues to keep its focus on the big picture (permanent identification of animals and reuniting lost pets with their original owners) and has embraced microchip technology for the permanent identification of pets in increasing numbers. In 2007 the number of pets registered with the 24PetWatch database rose to 1,439,065 – a 69% increase over the year end 2006.

Our 24PetWatch commitment to animal welfare organizations is as follows:-

  • Low cost microchip technology available throughout North America;
  • A microchip registry that accepts ALL brands and types of microchip;
  • 24/7/365 call center support
  • The most robust North American wide database registry;
  • The industry leading ‘Virtual Search’ capability for lost pets which reduces the administration time required by animal welfare organizations in a lost pet emergency.

If your organization would like to learn more about 24PetWatch – please contact us at 1-866-597-2424.

The ShelterCare 30-day Gift of Insurance

The success of the ShelterCare 30-day Gift of Insurance is unparalleled; by the end of 2007 1,539,157 newly adopted animals had gone home with the 30-Day Gift of ShelterCare Insurance since the program was first introduced in 2002. Claims paid within the first 30 days of coverage now exceed $6,660,000 for those accidents and illnesses covered. The payment of these claims in a timely and efficient manner has not only removed the financial burden from the adopting organizations but has provided the adopters with the financial assistance needed in the early days following adoption.

While the ShelterCare Gift provides an important support for new adopters, it is our aim to see that adopters become responsible pet parents capable of providing their pet with ongoing high quality healthcare. Finances should not dictate the decisions made with regards to a pet’s health, and the key to separating the two is the purchase of an annual pet insurance policy. In 2007 we introduced two new pet insurance policies QuickCare Optimum and QuickCare Complete which offer annual maintenance coverage in addition to our existing full range of accident and illness programs. In 2008 we would ask our friends and partners in the animal welfare world to help us to help adopted animals for life by recommending that new adopters seek out information from ShelterCare Insurance beyond the 30-day Gift.

We hope that you enjoyed reading our Pethealth Post editions in 2007 and we will endeavor to provide you with more interesting and informative pieces in 2008. We welcome your input, comments and suggestions and look forward to working with you in the coming year.

The Pethealth Family

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