Posts Tagged ‘Health’

Pets Can Improve Your Health and Aid in Recovery

June 19, 2008

There is now evidence showing that domestic animals not only provide great companionship, but they can also help prevent illness. A recent study conducted by the University of Minnesota has highlighted the importance of regular contact with pets. The study showed that having a cat for a pet can reduce your risk of heart attack or stroke by just under 50 percent.

The study included 4,500 adults between the ages of 30 and 75 years. The study participants were followed for 10 years. The conclusion was that cat owners had a 40 percent lower risk of a fatal heart attack.

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Protecting You and Your Pets From Ticks

May 9, 2008

Whether you are hiking up Mount Rainier or camping in the woods this season, it is important to protect yourself from ticks.

One thing you can do is use tick repellent that contains DEET. For your pets, there are commercially available products that are safe to use.

If you are going into heavily wooded areas, wear long sleeves and pants even if it’s hot. As you leave the woods, use the buddy system to check your friends for ticks. The key areas to check are: in hair, around the ears, under the arm, and behind the knee.

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Watch out for that tongue: Study cautions against getting too chummy with dogs

May 8, 2008

A slop across the face is a friendly – although messy – act of love from a dog.

Many owners gladly accept it. In fact, many are so close to their dogs that they let the animals hop onto the bed and snooze with them.

But a British study suggests owners need to be careful about getting too chummy with man’s best friend.

The study, from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs at the University of Liverpool Veterinary School, identifies risks involving transmittable diseases.

The study notes that allowing dogs to lick your face or sleep in your bed, or picking up the animal’s mess, could increase the risk of contracting infections such as staph, salmonella, campylobacter and MRSA.

At the same time, others point out, the risk is mild, especially when compared to the risks involving contact with humans, and there are numerous health benefits to owning a dog.

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Heal, boy: How pets can keep you healthy

May 6, 2008

As she makes her way through the hospital wards, Billie-Jean keeps up an impressive pace. She has to if she is going to see all the patients who are waiting for her. Wearing her official uniform, she looks neat and trim, and despite how busy she is, she always has time to stop if someone wants to say hello or slip her a Bonio. You see, Billie-Jean isn’t a ward sister doing the rounds or a doctor bringing vital medicine, she’s an Irish terrier. But despite the fact she’s a canine, not human, carer, her medical value is second-to-none because she is a Pets As Therapy dog.

Pets As Therapy is a charity that takes pet dogs and cats to hospitals, hospices, residential care homes, day centres and special-needs schools. It was formed in 1983, explains chief executive Maureen Hennis, by a group of pet owners who were convinced that their animals could help other people. “At that time, people were moving into residential accommodation and nursing homes, and they had to give up their own pets,” she says. “This wasn’t only making them sad and depressed, sometimes it was actually making them ill.”

The importance of regular contact with domestic animals has been highlighted by recent research conducted by the University of Minnesota. According to the study, having a cat around the house can cut the risk of having a heart attack or a stroke by almost half. After studying nearly 4,500 adults aged between 30 and 75 for 10 years, it was found that cat owners had a 40 per cent lower risk of suffering a fatal heart attack.

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Chinese Ants Show Promise For Fighting Arthritis, Other Diseases

May 6, 2008

Ants may be an unwelcome intruder at picnics, but they could soon be a welcome guest in your medicine cabinet. Chemists in China report identification of substances in a certain species of ants that show promise for fighting arthritis, hepatitis, and other diseases.

For centuries, ants have been used as a health food or drink ingredient in China to treat a wide range of health conditions, including arthritis and hepatitis. Researchers suspect that these health effects are due to anti-inflammatory and pain-killing substances in the ants. However, the exact chemicals responsible for its alleged medicinal effects are largely unknown.

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Household Toxins More Dangerous to Pets Than People

April 18, 2008

Just as exposure to common household and yard chemicals affect us and our children, our pets are affected by these toxins, too. And the exposure to these toxins may produce compounded harmful effects in our cats and dogs.

Researchers for the Environmental Working Group (EWG) analyzed blood and urine samples they collected from 40 cats and 20 dogs, all household pets. They were tracking the presence of 70 industrial chemicals in the pets’ bodies. The results of their analysis is described as startling.

Of the 70 chemicals tracked, 48 of them were present in the animals. Of those 48 chemicals, 43 of them were at levels much higher than what is typically found in humans. Stain- and grease-proofing coating chemicals (perfluorochemicals) were 2.4 times higher in the dogs than in people. Fire retardants (PBDEs) were found at levels 23 times higher in cats than in people and the cats’ mercury levels were 5 times higher. The average chemical saturation in humans for this study was based on conclusions from national studies conducted by both the EWG and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Jane Houlihan, vice president of research at EWG, suggests the elevated levels of common household chemicals in our pets is a glimpse into the future for ourselves and our children. She would like to see study become a “wake-up call” to establish more stringent safety standards pertaining to industrial chemicals that become a part of our homes.

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Pets’ weight can mirror their owners

March 26, 2008

Chances are, if you’re overweight and out of shape, so is your pet, says a leading animal health expert.

“We know, unfortunately, that our kind of lifestyle impacts on our pets, and their eating habits, and their exercising regime,” said Abigail Stevenson, scientific communications manager for the U.K.-based Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition.

“We know through work done at the Waltham centre that if an owner carries too much weight, then their pets are very likely to be like that as well. All of that impacts on their pet’s health.”

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