Posts Tagged ‘American Veterinary Medical Association’

Deadly Diseases You Can Catch From Your Pet

June 19, 2008

Pets can serve as wonderful companions – and owning one certainly has many physical and mental health benefits.

However, with the summer months upon us, it is likely your pets will be spending more time outdoors, leaving them prone to zoonotic diseases – diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans.

A Corpus Christi, Texas, man and his daughter spent weeks in the hospital because of a diseased cockatiel bought from a PetSmart store, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday by the man’s family.

Joe De La Garza, 63, later died of psittacosis, KRIS 6 News reported.

“There have been over 250 zoonotic diseases identified,” said Dr. Roger Mahr, past president of the American Veterinary Medical Association. “There is a particular focus on household pets. They are definitely an area of concern. More than 60 percent of U.S. households have pets and the value of that companionship has been recognized.”

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Pets are baby boomers too–with medical bills to match

June 8, 2008

Better preventative care, medicine, vitamins and food are making pets live longer, but leading to one costly side effect: higher medical bills, the Washington Post reports.

Think of them as baby boomers on four legs. They’re older and fatter–just like the country at large. About 44% of the country’s dogs are older than 6, compared with 32% in 1987, according to the Post. And 45% of U.S. pets are overweight or obese, according to the Assn. for Pet Obesity Prevention.

But also like humans, they are racking up larger medical bills. According to the American Veterinary Medical Assn., spending on veterinary medicine doubled to $24.5 million in the last decade, the Post reports.

So pet owners are now opting for expensive surgeries and preventative procedures–such as with the dog above, who was getting hip replacement surgery–when in the past a vet would resort to euthanasia.

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New Age of ‘Pocket Pet’ Medicine Begins

May 4, 2008

The American Veterinary Medical Association ( AVMA ) has granted provisional recognition to the first completely new veterinary specialty since 1993. The new specialty will focus on small mammals including rabbits, ferrets, guinea pigs, mice and other small mammals, commonly known as “pocket pets.”

The new Exotic Companion Mammal ( ECM ) specialty was granted provisional recognition by the AVMA Executive Board on April 12, 2008, following recommendation from the AVMA American Board of Veterinary Specialties ( ABVS ) and Council on Education.

“The public and the profession will see these specialists as providing that next level of care of small exotic pets,” explains Dr. Beth Sabin, assistant director of the AVMA’s Education and Research Division. “This new specialty is really the outgrowth of the growing and ever increasing knowledge base of the particular needs of these animals in order to keep them healthy.”

Americans own 6.2 million pet rabbits, 1.2 million hamsters, 1.1 million ferrets, and a million guinea pigs, according to the 2007 AVMA U.S. Pet Ownership & Demographics Sourcebook. The new ECM practice area includes these and other more unusual small pets, including hedgehogs and sugar gliders, but doesn’t include illegal pet species—sometimes referred to as “fad pets”—which have been linked to the spread of zoonotic diseases. In 2003, prairie dogs and Gambian giant pouched rats kept as pets were linked to a serious monkeypox outbreak.

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It’s a dog’s life, not the cat’s meow, study says

May 3, 2008

In the epic cold war between cats and dogs, a recent study suggests canines are getting a paw-up on the home front.

According to research published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, dogs not only get showered with more affection from their owners than cats, they’re also significantly more likely to receive medical services such as vaccinations, regular health exams and preventive dental care.

The multi-phase study, which was conducted with 2,000 dog and cat owners over three months, shows dog people are considerably more likely than cat people to spend whatever is necessary to keep their pet healthy (52 per cent versus 42 per cent), are more prone to seeing their animal as a child (43 per cent versus 36 per cent), more frequently buy gifts for the pet (48 per cent versus 34 per cent), and are more apt to miss their animal while away from home (58 per cent versus 47 per cent).

“The crisis is that cat health care is on the decline,” says Jane E. Brunt, an AVMA spokeswoman and doctor of veterinary medicine. She believes the trend is partially linked to diminished views of cats in popular culture.

“The stereotypes that surround cats are unfortunate – that whole ‘crazy cat lady’ thing, the feeling that cats are sneaky, cats are aloof.”

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American Veterinary Medical Association testifies against keeping primates as pets

April 3, 2008

Citing concerns about the spread of disease and injury, inhumane treatment of animals, and ecologic damage, Dr. Gail C. Golab, director of the AVMA Animal Welfare Division, recently spoke before a House subcommittee on the dangers of private ownership of nonhuman primates by unlicensed individuals.

The House Committee on Natural Resources’ Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, and Oceans held a hearing March 11 on the Captive Primate Safety Act (H.R. 2964). The legislation would amend the Lacey Act Amendments of 1981, making chimpanzees, monkeys, and other nonhuman primates prohibited wildlife species, thus strictly limiting commerce in pet primates.

Persons or agencies licensed or registered by the government, such as zoos and research facilities, are exempt under the proposal.

Born Free USA and Captive Wild Animal Protection Coalition estimate that more than 15,000 primates are privately owned in the United States.

Between 1995 and 2005, there were 132 injuries or escapes by primates in the United States, according to the coalition. Also, some 80 percent of health and behavioral issues pertaining to primates involve those kept as pets.

Dr. Golab told subcommittee members that the evidence is clear that primates kept as pets are unsafe. Not only are these animals a physical threat, they may also be a source of the herpes B virus and other zoonotic pathogens. “Make no mistake about it,” Dr. Golab, said, “nonhuman primates kept as pets—while cute and often very entertaining—can also pose serious injury risks for their human caretakers and other domestic animals.”

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