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The Best Gifts from Schoharie County

Showing posts with label Pet Talk Column. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pet Talk Column. Show all posts

Pet Talk: "Selecting the Right Pet for You"

Written By Editor on 2/6/17 | 2/6/17

By Lorraine Fancher, LVT

... Farm Animals ...

Hello and welcome!. Did you know this month is National Responsible Pet Owner Month? For good reason too.

 According to APPA (American Pet Products Association) 65% of US households; an estimated 79.7 million families, own a pet. That 65% of households spent an estimated $62.75 billion dollars on pet products and services, with the predominance of it being spent on dogs and horses (dairy/beef cattle not counted in the survey) according to the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association 2016). According to APPA, the volume of expenditure was spent on food and vet care. The unfortunate thing is in 2016, 7.6 million companion animal pets entered the shelter with only 35/37% of them being adopted out, the rest were euthanized or other (not described). This number isn’t taking into account the strays that are found and rescued. Twice as many strays entered shelters in addition to the relinquished pets last year. The American Humane Society states “the  main reasons for relinquishment of pets is; their place of residence doesn’t allow pets, not enough time, divorce, death, behavior issues, and allergies.These figures alone stress the importance of responsible pet ownership and the need to educate the community as this number will continue to grow.

Pet ownership is a privilege and like anything else; comes with responsibility. The most important decision you will make in being a responsible pet owner, is the proper selection (or not) of your pet. Deciding on and selecting a pet is an exciting process which generally involves a lot of emotion and research. Given the fact that many pets will be joining your family for 15 plus years, it’s vitally important to think about all the positive and negative consequences of owning a pet; not just now; but for years to come. It’s important to think about a 1 year, 5 year, 10 year plus plan. Sounds ridiculous, right? But it’s not. Let’s say you pick out a horse for your 13 year old. You will need to plan out what things may be like at the age of 14, 18, 23, 28, etc. No, we cannot plan or predict our futures, however we can make the very best decision based on what our futures may be like. In this scenario; the horse will likely still be exciting to your 14 year old. At the age of 18 or before, your 18 year old has graduated, is driving, probably dating and has other interests now; maybe even college or moving. Is there time for a horse or are you, the parent, going to take over care? Is that something you would be willing to do if able? Now, the age of 23. If you/your child decided to keep taking care of the horse and you get to age 23, what now? The plans may involve continued college, a job, marriage, etc. Who knows. Are you ready to take on that continued care or the responsibility of finding a caring owner for the horse’s remaining life? Now, what if instead, you chose a hamster to give to your 13 year old? Their average lifespan is 3-5 years, which at the very latest, gets you to the age of 18. It’s a pocket pet and easy to transport or even care for. So, the moral of the story is to choose wisely and consider all factors. Some of the factors to take into consideration are; living environment, family dynamics (health, age, children), financial status (even if someone gets sick), accessibility to veterinary care/products, and desired pet’s lifespan, care and continued maintenance. A pet becomes an integral part of the family and rightly so. Please take the time to choose wisely. Please share any questions or stories to  
Lorraine Fancher, LVT

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Pet Talk Column: Ticks and Mosquitoes

Written By Cicero on 5/21/15 | 5/21/15

Be sure to read this story and more in The Schoharie News - now available countywide for 75 cents per paper.

The sun is shining, grass is growing, leaves are filling in and a warm breeze is blanketing the landscape. We are all getting out of our cooped up states from a long winter season; but we aren't the only ones; so are the ticks and mosquitoes. 

According to an April 30th, 2015 report from CAPC (Companion Animal Parasite Council), which is the leading source of data about internal and external parasites that can, are or will threaten the health of people and pets; ticks and mosquitoes are expected to be at an all time high and will spread this year. Their prediction is based on temperatures, precipitation and population densities.

There has been a misconception that because a pet stays indoors or is of the exotic variety, that they can’t pick up one of these disease carrying organisms. It’s also been thought that they are only active in warmer months. It just isn't the case anymore. 

Ticks and mosquitoes are considered zoonotic organisms or those that transmit disease to both humans and pets year round and why they are of such great concern. A variety of animal species are susceptible; even ones thought previously not to be affected. Ticks carry many diseases but the 3 most prevalent in our area are Lyme, Erlichiosis, and Anaplasmosis.

The most common mosquito diseases for our area are Heartworm and West Nile. Most animals are affected by mosquitoes and ticks and the diseases they carry, including reptiles and birds. Both of these animal species have soft skin areas not protected by feathers or scales. Ticks and mosquitoes are adaptable and the diseases they carry are as well. A recent report found Heartworm in whistling swans, so it just goes to show that prevention, and protection of yourself and your pets is vital to everyone’s health and wellbeing. 

Indoor pets are just as at risk as those going out. As pet owners, we are in and out of our homes several times a day. With each opening of the door, there lies the availability of space for mosquitoes and ticks to enter. We can carry them in on our clothes, shoes, hair or even things we carry in. They can be on plants we bring into the home from a local nursery or wood for the stove. These organisms are designed to find a way to get a blood meal. Their survival depends on it. 

So, what do you do against these invasive and very harmful organisms?     

The first step is to take your pet to your local vet or have them visit your home and get your pets tested, vaccinated and protected with a preventable. There are blood tests for Heartworm, Lyme, Ehrlichiosis and Anaplasmosis in a 4DX 10 minute snap test. This will ensure your pets aren't positive to any degree with any of these diseases. 

Once this is known, then you can take the necessary measures to protect your pets from getting infected. There are oral, topical and injectable choices depending on the level of protection needed and financial investment you are willing to invest. 

Many times a combination of methods is best to be sure your pets are protected. Your vet will know what is suitable for your particular pet based on species, age, health and geographic location. There are also natural organic methods available with specific plantings or plant based sprays. Most are for repellent use and not for eradication of these organisms. 

For more detailed information on specific ticks, mosquitoes or the diseases they carry, I recommend the following websites:


I recommend becoming as informed and educated on these organisms and the diseases they carry and what threats they pose to you and your family, as best you can. Your pets depend on you, so please make sure they are protected. 

Next week May 18-24 is Dog Bite Prevention Week. 

   - Lorraine Fancher, LVT

Pet Talk Column: Mother's Day and our Pets

Written By Cicero on 5/7/15 | 5/7/15

Here we are just three days away from Mother’s Day and just because your kids are scaly, feathered, finned or furry with four legs, doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate and join in on the fun. Pet parents are some of the best, most loyal, compassionate, and deserving people around.

It’s not exactly clear when pets, like dogs and cats, became full-fledged members of the family, but a pet’s elevated status is quite apparent. About 82 million American households or 68% of total American households, have a domestic animal. Americans spent $55.7 billion on their pets last year and it’s estimated to be just about $60 billion this year; according to APPA (American Pet Products Association).  So what does all this mean for Schoharie County? As of the 2013 census, there was an estimated population of 31,849 people, which calculates out to 12,820 households and an average of 2.4 people per household. Using this data against the national averages, we can figure the number of pet owning households in this county to be 7,179. That tells us that about 56% of the households in Schoharie County own a domestic pet, including horses but does not include most other livestock.  That’s a lot of households. If only half the pet owning households had a pet mom, then there would be 3,590 pet moms. Now that we know this, wouldn't you like to know how many cats, dogs, birds and horses reside here? Using the pet ownership calculator, I have determined the average number of each of the following pets residing in our county. Dogs: 7,486 Cats: 8,179 Birds: 910 Horses: 526. The data just goes to show you, how important pets are to our small community and where we stand in the big picture. Let’s celebrate this bond with our pets by doing something special this Mother’s Day. Here are some ideas.

Take a walk or hike together. The greatest gift we can give our pets is good health and happiness. Getting outside in the fresh air is good for both of you. If you already do regular walks with your pet, then change it up a bit. Take them to a new park or trail or even pack a lunch and make a day of it. Don’t forget to bring some fun things to do, like a Frisbee, ball or favorite toy. An important tip to remember on any outing is to bring water for both and make sure you are both protected from ticks and mosquitoes. Those critters can take the fun out of anything.

Go shopping with your pet. Take them to a pet friendly shop and treat them to a new toy, treat, collar, leash, name tag, bowls, bedding, etc. Dogs love to travel, and many cats do as well. Other pets may not enjoy it quite as much, so just go shopping for something new for them.

For the non-travelers, you can bake them homemade treats. Here are a couple simple treats for cats, dogs and horses. They are simple, tasty and budget friendly. **Be sure the baby food doesn’t contain any onion products**

(For dogs and horses): Sweet Potato Treats  

1 sweet potato, 2 ½ cups whole wheat flour, ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce and 2 eggs. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and prick sweet potato several times with a fork. Heat sweet potato in a microwave about 6 minutes. Scoop out flesh and mash. Discard skin. In separate bowl, mix whole wheat flour, applesauce, and eggs and 1 cup mashed sweet potato, until a dough forms. Save rest of mashed sweet potato for another batch. Turn dough onto a well-floured surface and roll to 1/2inch thick. Cut out shapes using a cookie cutter of choice and arrange on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake until crisp, 35-45 minutes. Cool for 10min before moving to a wire rack to finish cooling.

(For cats): Chicken Lickens

1 jar (2 ½ oz.) strained chicken baby food, 5/8cup wheat germ, 5/8cup non-fat milk powder and 1 egg beaten. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and spray cookie sheet with vegetable oil spray. Mix baby food, wheat germ, milk powder, and egg in medium bowl. Drop by ½ teaspoonful’s onto prepared baking sheet.

Bake 12-15 minutes. Remove and let cool on wire rack. Store in airtight container or freeze. Makes 2 ½ -3doz.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there (especially pet moms) and enjoy your special day. You deserve it!

Lorraine Fancher, LVT

Pet Talk Column: Gardening for You and Your Pet

Written By Cicero on 5/1/15 | 5/1/15

It’s National Pet Week May 3-9th. It’s that time of year again; April showers bringing May flowers, green grass and garden season. It’s a favorite time of year for many, especially for your pets. They look forward to running around in the fresh warm air; spreading their toes in the soft green grass and rolling around in whatever they can find. Do you find them munching on the grass or green shoots coming up? Do you wonder why they do this and if it will hurt them or wonder if they are sick? 

While it may seem like a strange behavior—especially when they throw up afterwards—there’s not much to worry about. Most experts in the veterinary and animal world don’t see a danger in letting them munch on the grass and in fact can prove to be beneficial for them. Grass contains essential nutrients a dog or cat might crave, especially if they are on a commercial kibble diet. 

Juices in grass contain folic acid just like mothers milk. This is an essential vitamin used for such bodily functions as production of hemoglobin; which helps move oxygen in their blood. It’s kind of like a wheat grass shake for your pet. Grass also acts as a natural laxative, counteracting cases of indigestion. 

When your pet eats things from the yard, grooms a lot or finds dead critters; grass will help them clean out their gut and eliminate it by vomiting. As with anything, there are always precautions to watch for. If your pet has a sudden increase in grass eating and begins gulping it down in large quantities; it could be a sign of a more serious underlying illness that your dog or cat is trying to self-treat and will require veterinary evaluation.

If you notice your pets have been munching, then you may want to introduce them to natural herbs and or cooked veggies in their diet. Cats tend to be more finicky than dogs but neither are fond of raw veggies either. They are kind of like big furry kids. 

You can start an herbal garden at home to give them an alternative to outdoor grass and landscaping that may lead to accidental ingestion of chemicals, herbicides or pesticides used to treat your (or your neighbor’s) yards. 

Whether you have a large yard space, a small 4x4 plot, or a windowsill; you can grow a healing garden for your cat or dog. The plants I suggest will be easy to grow, inexpensive and can double as a home remedy for you and your family. Below is a list to use as a guide.

Burdock Herb: Treats allergies, digestive and kidney issues. Needs to be kept in rich soil and keep it well pruned.

Milk Thistle: Used for liver disorders. Loves sun/part sun and flowers need to be removed.

Peppermint: Good for indigestion and nausea. Likes rich, moist soil, sun and/or shade. Keep it trimmed to keep healthy and from being invasive.

Astragalus Herb: Used for lowering blood pressure and blood sugar levels. It also improves digestion and promotes healing. It likes sandy soil. You will need to scratch the seeds before planting.

Garlic Grass: Is an immune booster. Plant a clove of the bulb in rich soil pointed side up. The grass that grows from the clove is okay for either to eat. Limit dogs on clove ingestion. Do not feed garlic cloves to your cat, just the grass from it.
Rosemary: Is an immune booster. It’s a hardy perennial, that doesn't like too much water and needs to be kept well-trimmed.

Grass: (From wheat or Barley berries from a health food store) Grass from these are good for digestion. Grow a plot just for pets. Moist balanced soil without weeds, is what allows it to grow best.

Gardening can be great for you and your pets. Consult your veterinarian or local master gardener for other pet friendly herbs and flowers and happy gardening.

Lorraine Fancher, LVT

Pet Talk Column: It's National Pet First Aid Awareness Month

Written By Cicero on 4/23/15 | 4/23/15

Welcome to my column dedicated to pets of all shapes and sizes. Here, you will find topics dedicated to enhancing the health and well-being of pets and their owners. I will be including topics in hygiene, safety, training, behavior, breeds and species, funny stories, recipes and tips and tricks. I am a licensed Veterinary Technician and have worked with animals professionally for 17 years now. I’ve seen and helped animals in the clinic setting, emergency room and people’s homes. I look forward to sharing my knowledge and experience with you each week and hope you find something that helps you and your pets out.
National Pet First Aid Awareness Month

In an era when there’s a national day, week, or month for almost everything, it’s understandable that this announcement lacks the pizzazz of an announcement like National ice cream day. To many people, pet first aid isn’t a very interesting topic, until their pet is hit by a car; suddenly choking on a toy; ingests a toxin; or any number of other incidents that can occur. 

Animals are surrounded by constant hazards and accidents can and do happen. The best thing you can do as a pet owner, is be as prepared as possible. An emergency situation can be handled much faster and more appropriately if an owner has resources like a pet first aid kit and a list of important phone numbers. Important numbers that should be kept handy are; your veterinarian, emergency animal clinic, poison control and a friend who is willing to help you in an emergency. The 24hr Animal Poison Control number is (888)-426-4435.  

Just like us, most pet accidents happen in or near the home. Some of the most common accidents are; toxic ingestion, hit by a vehicle, eye injury, fight wounds, birthing problems, wild animal encounters and near drowning. A pet first-aid kit can be easily created by you at home, to keep on hand, so it’s easily accessible in an emergency and when you call animal poison control. The AAHA (American Animal Hospital Association) states that 25% more pets would survive if just a single pet first aid measure was applied prior to getting proper veterinary care.

Below are the following items that should be in your kit:
Rubber gloves
Hydrogen peroxide 3% (Make sure it’s within the expiration date) (To induce vomiting)
Liquid hand dish-washing detergent (Dawn, Palmolive)
Teaspoon/tablespoon set (to measure ant. of peroxide.)
Benadryl (diphenhydramine tablets 25mg w/o other ingredients)
Corn syrup
Dosing syringe or turkey baster for giving peroxide
Can of tuna in water or jar baby food (chicken)
Bulk bandage material (gauze roll, telfa pads, bandage tape)
2 Towels (For warmth, protection or bolster)

Remember, before using anything in your kit, please contact your veterinary professional or poison control hotline. Remember: STAY CALM!

Lorraine Fancher, LVT

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