Thursday, May 16, 2013

Terrible Ticks

Ticks are parasites that latch onto other animals with their mouth, to feed on the blood of a host - such as your family pet! Although ticks are small, the consequences of a tick infection can be terrible for your pet. Discover what you can do to protect your pet from terrible ticks. 

Check your Pet for Ticks

Tick activity increases during warm weather; so the team at recommend checking your family pets for ticks, daily during spring: Run your hands over your pet's body to feel for bumps. If you feel a bump, part your pet's fur to examine the area closely. Ticks are dark brown or black in color. These parasites vary in size and occasionally their eight legs may be visible. While there are over 800 species of ticks; there are four terrible types commonly found in America that pet owners should watch out for.

Ticks to Watch Out for 

1. Brown Dog Tick
The brown dog tick is typically found in warmer climates, throughout Florida. It's small and red-brown in colour. This tick has the capacity to spend its entire life cycle indoors, which means infestations are possible. They cause skin irritation, lameness and fever, particularly in dogs.

2. American Dog Tick

As its name suggests, the American dog tick is found throughout the U.S.A as well as some regions of Canada and Mexico. It infests mammals large and small, including people. This tick transmits the bacteria that causes Hunter's disease and is the major carrier of Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

3. Spotted Deer Tick

This tick is the prime transmitter of Lyme disease throughout the U.S.A. If detected early there is a chance the disease will not have been transmitted. If symptoms such as a rash, fever, fatigue, chills or joint pains occur, then you should immediately seek professional advice.
4. Lone Star Tick

This aggressive tick is found throughout the south-eastern and south-central states in the U.S.A. It is connected with the transmission of Southern Tick Associated Rash Illness (STARI). Males have spots and white streaks on the edge of their body; whereas females have a single white spot.
Remove Ticks Quick

It is important to remove not only the visible body of a tick but the head of the parasite, where it has latched onto your pet's skin, as well. Otherwise, infection may occur. Using tweezers promptly pull the tick out of your pet's skin. Ensure you don't crush the tick during the removal process; because this could potentially spread bacteria or disease. Treat the area surrounding the tick bite with a disinfectant. recommends pet owners seek the advice of their local veterinarian if symptoms become apparent. 

Tick Control Products

Fortunately, there are a variety of tick preventative products available, to protect your pets from these terrible ticks:

Friday, May 10, 2013

What's the average dog and cat life span in the USA?

You might be surprised to hear it, but according to a recent study, the lifespan of an American dog or cat, depends on where you live. Regional health factors (such as heartworm disease, heat stroke and lyme disease) mean that  pets live longer in the  West,  and have the shortest lifespans in Southern states. 

After regional factors the biggest factor in determining lifespan is whether your animal is spayed or neutered.

The map shows the states in which dogs have the longest and shortest lifespans, as reported by Banfield Pet Hospital's State of Pet Health 2013 Report

The map shows the states in which dogs have the longest and shortest lifespans. (Click to enlarge)

According to the study by Banfield Pet Hospital, on average, American dogs live longer in South Dakota, Montana, Oregon, New Mexico, and Colorado, and have shorter lifespans in Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Delaware, and Massachusetts.  American  Cats live longer in Montana, Colorado, Rhode Island, Illinois, and Nebraska, and have shorter lifespans in Delaware, Ohio, Louisiana, Kentucky, and Mississippi.
    The study reports that 20 per cent of the cats in Louisiana and Mississippi, states with shorter life expectancy, are not spayed or neutered, but in Montana and Colorado, states with longer life expectancy, 8 per cent of cats are not spayed and neutered.
    The statistics also show that neutered male dogs live 18 per cent longer than unneutered male dogs, and spayed female dogs live 23 per cent longer than unspayed female dogs. Neutered male felines have a 62 per cent longer lifespan, and spayed female cats a 39 per cent longer lifespan.

    The map shows the states in which cats have the highest and lowest lifespans, according to the State of Pet Health 2013 Report from Banfield Pet Hospital
    The map shows the states in which cats have the highest and lowest lifespans. 

    In addition to just being susceptible to environmental factors unneutered pets living in the warmer Southern states are more susceptible to diseases because they spend more time outdoors. The research showed that neutering male pets decreases chances of prostate problems and eliminates the risk of testicular cancer. 

    Spaying female pets lowers the chances of contracting breast cancer and eliminates the risk of pyometra, a potentially fatal uterus infection.  Furthermore, unneutered dogs are more than twice likely as neutered dogs to get hit by a car or bitten by other animals. Unneutered cats are four times as likely as being hit by a moving vehicle.

    In general neutering and spaying pets decreases aggressive behavior including roaming, spraying to mark territory, and fighting.