In this Edition you will find:
Cat Bite Abscesses
Service animals come in many shapes and sizes. Dogs are the most commonly used animal and can be trained to alert owners to a knock at the door, a ringing telephone, dangerously low blood sugar and impending seizures. They can also retrieve objects for disabled owners.
Service dogs are even used to help relieve anxiety including anxiety associated with post traumatic stress disorder. Our canine helpers visit hospitals and nursing homes, are listeners for children learning to read and act as companions to autistic children. The list of services they can be trained to perform is long and varied.
One of the most impressive tasks for a service dog is to become a human's eyes to the world. There are several schools training service dogs for the blind around the country. Leader Dog is operated and funded by Lions Clubs. They have a facility in Michigan where the dogs are bred and trained. Visually impaired individuals travel to the school and spend about a month training with their dog before going home. There is no charge to the blind person.
A very inspirational story was presented at the last Lions District Convention. A young man had gradually lost all his vision secondary to complications from diabetes. At the age of 22 he was 100% disabled and in a nursing home. He had considered suicide.
Eventually he learned about Leader Dog, applied and was paired with a service dog. Since then he completed his college degree, no longer receives disability and is employed helping other visually impaired individuals apply for assistance. He is now paired with his fourth leader dog. One of his dogs helped him when his house was hit by a tornado.
The average Leader Dog serves for approximately 8 years. For 8 years they serve as a person's eyes, helping them get around their homes and in the outside world. They must safely lead them through traffic and must even know when to ignore a command to keep their owner safe. The intelligence of these dogs is phenomenal.
Service dogs of all types greatly enrich the lives of those they help. Next time you see a service dog take a moment to consider the difference that dog has made in someone's life.
For more information on Leader Dog go to www.leaderdog.org or http://www.21alive.com/nbc33/news/Guide-Dog-Program-Provides-New-Outlook-for-Visually-Impaired-289788081.html
As we enter the season for many animals to have their babies, we thought a reminder of how to handle these wild babies would be in order. Essentially, it is best not to handle wild babies. Leave them alone.
Most of the wild babies that you will find have not been orphaned. Most have parents around and caring for them. Additionally, they are not usually in significant danger in or near their nests.
As a survival instinct, many wild parents only visit their nest occasionally throughout the day. They must leave the nest to get food. They are near and watching and aware of what is going on.
The very best thing to do for the wild babies is to leave them undisturbed.
Cat Bite Abscesses
While some animals are having babies, others are entering their breeding season. Cats are among these. Cats are what we call long-day breeders. This means that they become reproductively active as the hours of daylight become longer.
As they become more active, competition for mates and territory increases. Therefore, we tend to see more cat fights. As with people who get bitten, cats also commonly develop abscesses from cat bites.
Cat bites are notorious for causing abscesses. Usually over about a day the cat will start to become sickly and develop a swelling that turns into an abscess or cellulitis. This is because the narrow cat teeth essentially inject bacteria into the tissues during a bite. These small puncture wounds can even be very difficult to find.
If your cat goes outside and starts to feel sick, lame or develops a swelling somewhere, a cat bite wound is likely. It needs to be seen. Some patients will require surgery. Other patients will be started on antibiotics and monitored. With treatment, the vast majority of these patients do extremely well.
Spring is springing. The days are getting longer and warmer. I have even started to have bugs hit the car windshield. This means that mosquitoes are not far behind.
It is time to make sure that your pet is current on its heartworm test and has heartworm preventative.
If you are not sure about the heartworm test, please call. We are happy to check the records for you.