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My Pet World: Powerful new preventives kill fleas faster than ever

Pets / My Pet World /

Along with spring showers and flowers come fleas. It's a sure bet in most parts of the country, but some places have it worse than others. Fleas in Florida and other southern states can be so overwhelming that many pet owners throw in the towel, assuming these pests are inevitable, and simply hire an exterminator when needed.

Veterinary ...Read more

My Pet World: Distract finger-biting cat with other amusements

Pets / My Pet World /

ATLANTA, GA. -- These reader questions were answered at the 2015 International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants Feline Behavior Conference here, April 11-12. Speakers included veterinary behaviorists and certified cat behavior consultants on issues ranging from the social organization of cats to how to introduce an ...Read more

My Pet World: Conference explores cat behavior issues

Pets / My Pet World /

ATLANTA, GA -- "Cats are not anti-social," says veterinary behaviorist Dr. Sharon Crowell-Davis, professor of behavior and anatomy at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine, Athens, speaking at the 2015 International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants Feline Behavior Conference here April 11-12.

For ...Read more

My Pet World: Vaccine good tool as dog flu epidemic grows

Pets / My Pet World /

Q: I live in Chicago, where there's an epidemic of dog flu. My dog is very social, so I was thinking about the vaccine. Now, I've heard that the virus has mutated and the vaccine is no longer effective. Any advice? -- C.G., Chicago, IL

Q: Our dogs play with other dogs all the time. I know about the dog flu in Chicago, but my veterinarian says ...Read more

My Pet World: Dog flu outbreak in the Midwest could spread

Pets / My Pet World /

A dog flu epidemic has sickened over 1,000 dogs and has been responsible for the death of at least five dogs in the Chicago area since mid-March, according to Dr. Donna Alexander, administrator for the Cook County Department of Animal and Rabies Control.

Alexander concedes that these numbers may be conservative and are likely to continue to ...Read more

My Pet World: Howling dog is probably NOT seeing ghosts

Pets / My Pet World /

After 20 years of writing this column and answering, on average, four reader questions weekly, that's 4,160 answers! My fingers should be 'dog-tired,' but instead I'm invigorated because each month (sometimes each week) I receive letters and emails saying my answers motivated someone a visit to a veterinarian, or even saved a pet's life.

By far...Read more

My Pet World: Soft Paws can soften your cat's ability to damage furniture

Pets / My Pet World /

Keep those emails and 'snail mail' letters coming. I'm always learning from readers. My knowledge base can't equal the collective expertise of all of you! Also, reflecting back on 20 years of writing this column, I certainly wouldn't have lasted anywhere near this long without your interest and input.

Here's a sampling of recent comments posted...Read more

My Pet World: New drug showing promise against once fatal FIP

Pets / My Pet World /

TAMPA, FLA. -- Your questions are answered this week by experts attending the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) Conference here, March 12-15, and a meeting of the Winn Feline Foundation Board of Directors directly following the conference.

AAHA is the only organization that accredits veterinary practices in the U.S. and...Read more

My Pet World: Bonding with your veterinarian is good for your pet's health!

Pets / My Pet World /

TAMPA, FLA. -- What do pet owners want from their veterinarians? According to a 2014 survey, they disdain medical jargon they don't understand, want tests results shared, and expect full transparency regarding their pets' care.

"In other words, pet owners want to be treated as partners," said American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) CEO Dr. ...Read more

My Pet World: Regular veterinary visits can catch any problems early

Pets / My Pet World /

TAMPA, FLA. -- Your questions are answered this week by experts attending the American Animal Hospital Association Conference, March 12-15.

AAHA is the only organization that accredits veterinary practices in the U.S. and Canada (and actually most practices, around 85 percent, are not accredited). To be accredited, hospitals must...Read more

My Pet World: Twenty years of columns have only fueled my enthusiasm about pets!

Pets / My Pet World /

Summing up 20 years of work isn't easy. As I begin my third decade of writing this column, I have a wealth of memories to recall.

I was the first journalist to speak with a search-and-rescue dog handler at the World Trade Center, within 48 hours of the Sept. 11, 2001 disaster. After driving overnight from East Carondelet, MO (...Read more

My Pet World: Noisy parrot may have been lovesick!

Pets / My Pet World /

Q: I recently gave my 18-year-old African Grey parrot to a bird sanctuary because he became restless and climbed and squawked a lot. In his huge new cage, he seems happier. I visit him every week, but I wonder if this is actually detrimental to helping him adjust to his new surroundings. I only want him to be happy. Any thoughts? -- N.L., Las ...Read more

My Pet World: A little enrichment could give your pet a new lease on life

Pets / My Pet World /

I contend that the average monkey, bear or lion in a zoo has a richer life than most of our dogs and cats at home. In fact, all pets require some enrichment, even lizards, and most certainly, pet parrots.

Providing enrichment means manipulating the environment to suit an animal's natural behavior. Over a long winter, and through a wet spring, ...Read more

My Pet World: Education is the best way to discourage declawing

Pets / My Pet World /

Q: I appreciated your recent column about declawing cats and your stand against this procedure. But you didn't state what we need to do - namely to ban declaw as some other countries have done. Don't you believe the U.S. ought to act tomorrow? -- V.H., Seattle, WA

A: Certainly, many nations have banned declaw surgery (onychectomy), including ...Read more

My Pet World: Labrador Retriever keeps crown as America's most popular dog

Pets / My Pet World /

The Labrador Retriever continues to hold the title of America's favorite dog breed, (since 1991), according to just released 2014 American Kennel Club (AKC) registration numbers.

The AKC began tabulating and comparing breed registration numbers back in 1936, when the crown for the most popular breed went to the American Cocker Spaniel. In 1953,...Read more

My Pet World: Careful conditioning can convert scaredy-dog

Pets / My Pet World /

LAS VEGAS, NV -- This week, experts attending the Western Veterinary Conference in Las Vegas, NV, Feb.15-19, have answered your queries:

Q: My Chihuahua growls constantly at my boyfriend, even snapping at times. My boyfriend does give him treats, or tries to, but the dog is scared. My dog seems to respond this way to all males. How can I get ...Read more

My Pet World: Movement keeps building to the ban puppy mills

Pets / My Pet World /

"I don't understand how in a country of animal lovers, puppy mills can be tolerated," says Chicago veterinarian Dr. Scott Rovner. "Now, we've finally begun to speak up and do something about it; we need to."

Rovner and a Chicago colleague, Dr. Jane Lohmar (with this reporter) recently founded a loosely-knit organization called Veterinary ...Read more

My Pet World: Declawing with a laser is still inhumane and unnecessary

Pets / My Pet World /

Q: I was told that it's possible to humanely declaw cats with a laser. My two kittens are dangerous with their claws. Would this be a good choice? -- C.S., via cyberspace

A: No offense, but I'm unsure how kittens might be perceived as "dangerous." It's true that a kitten's nails can be sharp, especially when they get too long. A veterinary ...Read more

My Pet World: Military and police dogs deserve to be treated as heroes, too

Pets / My Pet World /

Here's the dictionary definition of a hero: "A person admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities, as achieved with altruistic intent. Typically a hero doesn't boast about his or her achievements."

This definition doesn't mention that only humans can be heroes, but military working dogs and police dogs fit the...Read more

My Pet World: Research offers hope for feline heart problems

Pets / My Pet World /

Q: Penny, our beloved tabby, died in my arms last weekend. We loved him (cq) for 9 years and he appeared to be perfectly healthy when he suddenly collapsed. I rushed Penny to the emergency clinic, but nothing could be done. I was devastated. Our veterinarian never warned us of the danger of heart problems in cats. Skylar, Penny's buddy, has ...Read more

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