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Archive for May, 2008

It is one of those oddities in life that well fed cats and dogs from loving caring homes, when given the opportunity, will go outside and act like a four-legged version of a lawnmower. No one really knows why cats and dogs eat grass or whether there is a physical need that drives them to do so; veterinarians generally suggest that you allow them to follow their instincts in this regard.

It is perhaps somewhat understandable that our canine companions, being omnivores would have the occasional urge to eat some fresh greens, even though most pet foods are now carefully balanced to ensure that they receive all the required vitamins and minerals. The same, however, does not run true for cats which are exclusively carnivorous in nature and do not have the required enzymes to digest plant material.

This perhaps explains the fact that there are two common methods of eating the grass with a clear divide by species over the preferred eating technique. The first is the “gobble and swallow” technique which almost certainly results in the animal vomiting the contents of its stomach – this method is most favored by cats. The second is a more leisurely and enjoyable “sniff, chew and snack” technique where the animal seems to be taking pleasure in the taste and experience – this method is most favored by dogs and does not generally result in vomiting.

Given that there appears to be no accepted wisdom on the subject and a multitude of theories, we would not advise anyone in the animal welfare community to start planning out their new lawns just yet, certainly not in the cat wing where you may end up with some additional messes to clear up! Should an adopter ask, we recommend that they ask their own veterinarian for guidance but in all instances adopters should be warned that if they do find that their new family member has a penchant for eating grass, they must make sure that they only eat clean grass and avoid grass that has been sprayed with pesticides and weed killers.

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Pethealth Inc. today announced the launch of the PetPoint Lite™ animal management system designed specifically for the needs of Animal Rescue Organizations. PetPoint Lite will be available free of charge to these organizations across the U.S. and Canada, in early June.

PetPoint Lite is a streamlined version of PetPoint®, the most advanced web-based animal management application used by animal welfare organizations today.

Pethealth created PetPoint in 2005 in response to the expressed need of animal welfare organizations for an efficient and intuitive application to run their day-to-day operations. Since 2005, many new modules, reports and applications have been added to support the growing needs of large animal welfare organizations, many of which are over and above the more limited needs of smaller organizations and animal rescue organizations in particular. Pethealths’ desire to offer smaller organizations and animal rescue organizations a similar hosted application, through which these organizations can reduce, or eliminate completely, their IT and IT-related infrastructure costs has lead to the development of PetPoint Lite.

“The additional modules and reports we had added to PetPoint since its introduction in 2005 led to a need for us to develop a scaled-down version for smaller organizations and rescue groups,” said Steve Zeidman, Chief Technology Officer of Pethealth Inc. “Animal rescue organizations have fewer animals in their care and generally have less complex requirements than larger animal welfare organizations and therefore we believe this version will be more suitable to their needs.”

PetPoint Lite allows the full benefit of an online animal welfare management system, as well as the operational advantages designed specifically for animal rescue, including:

  • the management of medical data
  • automatic registration of microchips with the 24PetWatch system
  • registration and intake of animals
  • transfer module allows for seamless migration of pet data between PetPoint organizations
  • automatic uploads of information about adoptable pets to national pet adoption websites, giving immediate access to millions of potential pet adopters
  • online search tool allows organizations to add real-time search functionality to their web sites

To date, PetPoint has been licensed by more than 900 animal welfare organizations, including animal control agencies, humane societies, SPCAs and rescue groups in both the U.S. and Canada. Pethealth estimates that approximately 4 in 10 animal adoptions in the U.S. are now managed through the PetPoint platform. In 2007, animal welfare organizations running the PetPoint application accounted for over 1.1 million animal intakes and over 375,000 adoptions

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“PetPoint Community” Provides Hub for over 35,000 Animal Welfare Professionals

Pethealth today announced the launch of a new networking site for shelter and animal welfare professionals. Linked to PetPoint®, the new networking site, PetPoint Community creates a forum for shelter professionals to network and exchange ideas.

“Shelter professionals want a place to discuss all aspects of their cause, including new product reviews, fundraising ideas, events, job postings and standard operating procedures,” said Mark Warren, President and CEO, Pethealth Inc. “PetPoint Community not only meets this need but also allows shelters to streamline their on-line internal operations and communications, without investing in a system of their own.”

Password protected access to PetPoint Community is provided at no cost to all animal welfare organizations in the U.S. and Canada running the PetPoint animal management application. As a member you can:

  • View forums on topics including animal transport, standardized operating procedures, policies and job postings;
  • Create a group for your animal welfare organization or join an existing one;
  • Promote events and conferences using the calendar feature;
  • Access user generated blogs or post your own opinions and ideas.
  • Engage, express and earn, every time!

When you interact with PetPoint Community – for example by blogging, joining a forum or uploading a picture – you’ll earn valuable points in our Express’n Earn Program. Quarterly gifts, such as laptops for organizations and cameras for individuals, will be awarded to the organizations and individuals that contribute the most.

The more you participate the more you earn!

Join PetPoint Community today at community.petpoint.com

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North America’s #1 Pet Insurance Program for Adopted Dogs and Cats to Offer Four New Enhancements

Pethealth, owner of ShelterCare® Pet Insurance Program for newly adopted pets, is pleased to announce it has added four new enhancements to its industry-leading pet insurance program designed for those pet parents who choose to adopt their new dog or cat.

The ShelterCare Pet Insurance Program was first introduced in 2002. More than 1.8-million dogs and cats have been enrolled in the program to date. The program features a 30-day pre-paid gift program provided by animal welfare organizations to those adopting dogs and cats from their facilities. Over $7-million in claims has been paid out under the first 30 days of coverage alone.

Expanded Coverage
Coverage under the program has been expanded significantly to include all accidents, eye and ear illnesses, flea allergy related dermatitis, heartworm disease and tick borne diseases. Previously, the coverage had been limited to 11 specific perils.
“Extending the coverage available under the ShelterCare gift program to include all accidents and these additional illness coverages has been made in response to our shelter partners’ desire to provide greater value added to those pet parents who choose to adopt their dogs and cats,” said Mark Warren, President and CEO, Pethealth Inc.

Extended Coverage Period
The second announced change is that adopters can now extend the pre-paid gift period from 30 to 45 days by making a simple phone call to the ShelterCare call centre between 9.00 a.m. and 1.00 p.m. (EST) Tuesdays through Saturdays.
“Extending the gift period from 30-45 days is an additional change desired by our partners in the shelter community that we have been happy to make based on the generosity they have exhibited,” added Warren.

Increased Coverage Limit
The coverage limit per event under the gift program has now been increased from $500 to $750. A corresponding increase in the deductible from $50 to $75 has also been made.
“Since 2002, veterinary fees have increased in line with or ahead of inflation rates in general,” said John Warden, Vice President. “As a result, it seems sensible for us to increase the dollar limit per event under the ShelterCare program during the gift period to $750.”

ShelterCare for Renters
Pethealth also announced that pet parents living in rental accommodation can choose to add a renters’ endorsement to their 30 day gift of ShelterCare by calling the ShelterCare call centre. This endorsement will cover any damage the newly adopted pet causes to the pet parents’ rental unit.

“Our increasingly strong relationship with the animal welfare community has made us cognisant of a couple of significant trends,” said Warren. First, organizations have had difficulty attracting potential adopters who live in rental accommodation due to concerns about the ability to obtain landlord permission for the pet. Secondly, with the current crisis in the housing market, we are concerned that pet owners who currently own their own homes may soon become renters and we want to make sure that our friends in the animal welfare community are not suddenly inundated with dogs and cats who are unable to relocate with their pet parents,” added Warren. “Given our success to date in promoting pet health insurance to those that adopt dogs and cats, adding coverage for renters made good sense.”

Animal welfare organizations that wish to inform their community of this new renters’ endorsement may do so by using the prepared release – click here to access release http://www.pethealthinc.com/pr_15_may_08.htm

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Pethealth announced today the introduction of live search for lost and adoptable pets for shelters and animal welfare organizations running PetPoint®. Animal data can now appear instantly on the search function of a shelter’s web site, allowing pet owners to search for lost pets and potential pet parents to search for adoptable animals.

“Most shelters and animal welfare organizations currently need staff and volunteers to manually upload adoptable pet data to their shelters’ or animal welfare organizations’ web sites,” said Steve Zeidman, Chief Technology Officer, Pethealth Inc. “PetPoint takes out all the effort needed to update the site and posts it live.”

In addition to a live feed on the local shelter’s website, adoptable pet information will be automatically uploaded to national pet adoption sites providing access to millions of potential pet adopters across the U.S. and Canada.

This add-on function is available at no cost to shelters and animal welfare organizations running PetPoint, Pethealth’s industry-leading on-line animal management system. The Company estimates that nearly 40% of all animal intakes and adoptions now take place in organisations running the PetPoint application and more animal welfare organisations run PetPoint than any other form of management software.

This new adoptable search function has been tested for the past two months with the Atlanta Humane Society (www.atlantahumane.org), and the Boulder Valley Humane Society (www.boulderhumane.org) before being introduced across the U.S. and Canada in early June 2008.

“Enabling potential adopters to view pet profiles in real time is essential to driving our adoption success rate,” said Lisa Pedersen, CEO of the Humane Society of Boulder Valley. “This important feature provides great access to all of the animals in our adoption centre which increases visits to our facility and our effectiveness in finding the right match for every family.”

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One of the frustrations for workers in the animal welfare community is that “looks can be deceiving” and in many cases an animal with a wonderful nature is overlooked by potential adopters due to his or her looks.  One of the issues that is off-putting but should not be is that of reddish brown tear stains on the fur of white or light furred animals.  This problem affects both dogs and cats, pure and cross breeds, and is particularly prevalent in bulldogs, Bishon Frise, Cocker Spaniels, King Charles Cavaliers, Poodles, Himalayans, Persions and Scottish Folds – to name but a few!  Potential adopters should be informed that in most cases these stains are quite normal and can be simply and easily dealt with once the new pet has been taken to his or her new home.

All healthy cats and dogs produce tears on an ongoing basis to help keep their eyes healthy, clean and well lubricated.  Unlike humans, the tears of cats and dogs are not clear because they contain pigments called porphyrins which are the usual cause of the common reddish/brown stain.  In most cases regular cleaning with fresh water is sufficient to remove the stains and keep them under control.

There are however instances where the stains will be caused by medical or environmental conditions and in these situations the pet should be taken to a veterinarian to determine the underlying cause.  Problem tear stains appear to occur mainly in animals which are producing too many tears.  There are many potential causes including:-

Genetics
Cutting Teeth
Blocked Tear Ducts
Eye irritations
Ear Infections
Allergies

Other possible causes of the reddish/brown staining include:-

Fleas and ear mites
Mineralized water
Food

Having ascertained what the root cause of the problem is the veterinarian should make a recommendation on treatment and may give some suggestions with regard to how to clean the fur around the face. There are numerous cleansing solutions that are sold through pet specialty retail stores, on-line pharmacies and in some cases may be made by the new pet parent at home.  Given the close proximity to the eyes pet parents are advised to follow the instructions carefully.  Additionally If clipping hair around the eyes is recommended it would be wise to seek the assistance of a professional groomer.

Dependent upon the root cause of the tear staining there are some ongoing maintenance recommendations that may prevent the re-occurrence of the problem as follows:-

Root Problem

Recommendation

Allergies

In addition to veterinarian’s recommendations increase the amount of Essential Fatty Acids in the pet’s diet – check pet supply store for recommended products

Minerals in water

Provide the pet with bottled or distilled water to drink

Fleas

Treat with veterinarian recommended products and keep the area around the eye dry

Teething

Keep the area around the eye dry and make sure that the pet has plenty of toys to chew

Ear mites

Treat as per veterinarian’s recommendations and keep ears clean and dry

Food

Dry food is recommended

Bacteria or Red Yeast

In addition to the veterinarian’s recommendations some breeders suggest that you change the pH of the pet’s water by adding a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar

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