Every dog and cat needs rabies vaccination

There's money to be made in scooping poop

Two stories hit the news recently. First, a report of a
2-year-old in Texas exposed to rabies. He was bitten by the family
dog. Authorities tested the dog and confirmed the disease. The
little boy has been treated and reportedly is doing fine. The dog
was euthanized.
Two stories hit the news recently. First, a report of a 2-year-old in Texas exposed to rabies. He was bitten by the family dog. Authorities tested the dog and confirmed the disease. The little boy has been treated and reportedly is doing fine. The dog was euthanized.

This dog had never been vaccinated; the owners felt that he didn’t need vaccines because he only went out in the backyard a few brief moments each day. He never left the yard, so they assumed he was safe from contagious diseases.

But this case underscores the need to vaccinate any pet that goes outside, even if only for a brief moment. It takes just one bite from a rabid bat and a family pet becomes infected. Most cities and counties require rabies vaccinations for all cats and dogs, but lots of indoor pets are never inoculated. If you think your pooch or kitty is safe, you might be dangerously wrong.

Rabid bats are found every year in Northern California. Protect your pet and your family from this dreaded disease. Vaccinate your pets for rabies protection.

Here’s another item. April is national Adopt-a-Greyhound month. These are wonderful dogs that make fabulous pets. Greyhounds are sighthounds, bred to race. But off the track, “retired” greyhounds make devoted couch potatoes. There are more than 300 of these dogs between the ages of 2 and 5 years looking for homes across the country. If you’re interested in finding out more about this breed and their characteristics, visit www.adopt-a-greyhound.org . You’ll find loads of information about the breed and availability.

Finally, here’s a reminder about the upcoming dog show at Bolado Park, just south of Hollister. The Gavilan Kennel Club is putting on their annual all-breed show on Saturday and Sunday, May 1 and 2. This is a terrific show with a real “family feel” to it. It’s a great outing if you want to get out in the country for a picnic and see a wide variety of dogs in all shapes and sizes. Now to this week’s entries.

Q:

We began hearing animals in our walls weeks ago. We had exterminators come out and they told us we have raccoons. They have captured a few of them, but we are concerned that there might be babies still in the wall. We have children and I remember you talking about parasite problems that raccoons carry. We also have two cats. What can we do to protect our family?

A:

You’ve started out on the right foot calling a professional exterminator to help you with your problem. The greatest danger here is roundworm infestation. These parasites are common in raccoons and they can infect cats, dogs and in the worst cases, children. Roundworms are passed in the stool but they can be washed out and spread by rainwater or irrigation.

So if these coons have pooped in your backyard, there may be some parasite eggs in the grass or soil out there as well. And this presents a bigger danger to your family. Children can be exposed to these worms playing on the grass. And roundworms can cause larva migrans, with symptoms ranging from indigestion to kidney problems, even neurological disease.

I suggest you have a stool exam done on both cats. Repeat this exam two weeks later, even if no parasites are seen. I also think you should talk to your family physician to see if he or she recommends any testing for your children. This is not a problem to take lightly. There are well-documented cases of larva migrans in young children that are caused by raccoon infestation. Once symptoms show, it can be devastating. Fortunately, it is treatable with medications if they are started early before symptoms are present.

Q:

Our neighbor has some horses and one has a skin condition that the vet says is “rain rot”. These aren’t our horses, but my curiosity is killing me. What is rain rot?

A:

Rain rot, rain scald, mud fever; these are all terms used to describe a particular dermatitis (inflammation) of the skin along the backline of a horse. It’s caused by a bacterium named dermatophilus congolensis. (It’s not a fungus or ringworm as many people think.) Chronic moisture on the back leads to the development of rain rot. And with the heavier rains we’ve had this year, it’s no surprise this condition is showing up in larger numbers.

Rain rot usually causes large clumps of fur and crusts or scabs to form on the back and over the rump. These scabs can be removed with a brush, but it can be a painful process. The skin underneath is reddened and inflamed.

Rain rot isn’t dangerous. But it is contagious to other horses if a contaminated brush or blanket is shared. Rain rot usually heals once the skin is allowed to remain dry. Sometimes medications are given to speed the healing process.

Your neighbor won’t be able to saddle up that horse until the skin heals. But in a few weeks, it’ll all be water under the bridge, so to speak.

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