Pampered pets and rattlesnake bites

There's money to be made in scooping poop

We had some fun this past week on our Petpourri radio show. And
I followed it up with a poll on Facebook that received a lot of
interesting answers. I asked pet owners where they kept their dogs
or cats at night. Of course, some people keep their dogs outside,
literally in the doghouse.
We had some fun this past week on our Petpourri radio show. And I followed it up with a poll on Facebook that received a lot of interesting answers. I asked pet owners where they kept their dogs or cats at night. Of course, some people keep their dogs outside, literally in the doghouse. No surprise there. But I was amazed at the extravagant construction several folks had lavished on their pooch. Yes, I got pictures of some gorgeous dog homes; these were big and beautiful.

Mark, a regular listener of our show told me, “Maggie’s too special. She deserves the best. Besides, someday I might have to sleep out there!” This was no ordinary doghouse, folks. It was a 150-square-foot doggy mansion, complete with stereo and television. Mark told me Maggie’s favorite shows weren’t on Animal Planet. No, she preferred the cooking shows. I wonder. Is it time to remodel and add a kitchenette to that doghouse?

The most common answer to our poll surprised me. I was astounded at the number of people that share their bed with their furry friend.

“Why not,” asked Shelly when she described her life with Railey, her 15 pound cat. “I work 50 hours a week. So I want to spend as much time with him as I can. Besides, he keeps me warm.” All right, I can see having a cat on the bed. But what about a big dog? Or how about a rat? Read on.

A lot of dogs are kept in a separate room. Some are allowed to sleep in the bedroom, but in their own bed. But a lucky few have it made; they sleep in bed with the whole family!

Natalie wrote, “I sleep with my husband, my 2-year-old, the 60 pound pit and the 100 pound Lab! I love it, Vinnie hates it because he can’t stretch out. The pit bull becomes complete dead weight, snores, hogs the covers, and I still love it!” Man, that’s one crowded bed. I wonder if the neighbors can hear all that collective snoring? They must have the windows open with all that body heat in one bed. Who needs blankets?

There were some surprising answers to our poll. But the biggest to most of us came from Betsy, who shares her bed with her hubby and his rat. Yep, Oscar is a 2-year-old white rat that belonged to her husband, Mike, when Betsy first met him. Betsy says it was quite a conversation when Mike first told her about Oscar and his sleeping arrangements.

“I almost gave up on our relationship, but I guess love really is blind.” She says she didn’t sleep very well that first night, but soon realized what a good snuggler Oscar is. Now he prefers her, curling up on her side of the bed rather than with Mike’s side.

Is Mike jealous? Betsy says everything is fine. Remember, love is blind. As long as Betsy still loves him, Mike’s willing to share Oscar with her. That rat is one lucky guy.

And now to this week’s question …

Q:

We’re interested in protecting our dogs against rattlesnake bites. I see that Red Rock Biologics offers a vaccine that defends a dog by creating an immunity that works by neutralizing the rattlesnake bite toxins, but I see also that a small percentage of dogs have very bad reactions to this vaccine. Do you know anything about it?

A:

This vaccine has been in use for years now, and it seems to be very helpful in minimizing the reaction that occurs after a rattlesnake bite. In a dramatic case, a small (approximately 15 pound) dog was bitten several years back and had an extremely nasty reaction, losing some skin and muscle from the side of its face. The very next year, this same dog was bitten again on the other side of his face. The owner saw both rattler strikes. This second time, the dog had only a little swelling and only a small amount of pain or discomfort. The vaccine made a big difference. I’ve seen several cases similar to this.

Every vaccine (for that matter, any medication) can elicit a reaction. We should always be cautious any time a vaccine is given to a pet. This vaccine should be given deep in the subcutaneous tissues. Superficial injection encourages reactions, most of which are not serious. Talk to your veterinarian to be sure that he or she is comfortable with this vaccine. I believe the risk for adverse reactions is well worth the benefit it provides a dog that might be exposed to rattlesnakes.

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