Based upon the success of Pets’ Trust Miami, a Florida legislator has introduced a proposal to allow voters in each county the opportunity to support a separate property tax on real estate in order to pay for spay and neuter programs for local animals
Sen. Gwen Margolis’ bill seeks to reduce the population of unwanted animals in Florida communities.
The proposal is called “Pet Services and Welfare Programs.”
A reader recently pointed me toward a story regarding the spiraling medical costs for pet owners.
According to Nancy Keats, a writer for SmartMoney.com, there appears to be no limit for medical treatment for pets.
"Dogs and cats can have pacemakers implanted at a cost of $1,000 to $1,500, while pets with kidney failure can get a kidney-clearing procedure that runs $20,000 to $25,000 for just the first few weeks. Not long ago a vet would most likely have recommended euthanasia for a cat or dog diagnosed with cancer or another serious illness. Today high-tech procedures and equipment, such as chemotherapy and MRIs — and yes, CAT scans — allow for better diagnosis and more-advanced treatment."
Is there such a thing as too much treatment for pets?
Read the full story here, and let us know your thoughts.
I received this plea this weekend from a reader in East haven Connecticut.
"hi, my dog vanessa, a toy australian sheppard, ran out yesterday and got hit by a car. we took her to the er and there they said either we put her to sleep cause we could not afford the cost of care or sign her over to be adopted. we are heartbroken is this okay? how can human beings allow this sort of thing to happen? i can not sleep thinking about her. is there anything we can do?"
Some suggestions from others include:
"Most vets have access to sources of financing for things like this. I hope they have at least given her something for pain while you make a decision. If they will fix her up at no cost to you and then allow her to be adopted, that seems to indicate that they have indigent care available for her.
Your options appear to be:
3. Finding a source of financing
Did they give you an estimate of the cost?
If she's in pain you have to make a decision quickly, for her sake.
Surely there must be something you can sell to raise the funds. Even a payday loan place is better than nothing. Or a car title lending place. Family, friends.
Do let us know how it turns out. And please, make sure she isn't in pain while you decide.
Please urge this individual to make a decision quickly for the sake of the dog. Also, it would help to know what city you and the dog owner are in, in case somebody wants to adopt her. Maybe the dog could be adopted and then purchased back by the original owner when he gets funds together, but only if that would be in the best interest of the dog. Chances are, somebody with a fenced yard and more stable finances could provide a better home, although it's sad to realize that a dog will never forget her original owner."
Any other thoughts out there…please respond.
Many animal lovers want to take their experiences and attitude toward the next level.
Some believe that the ultimate animal lover is the veterinarian.
Taking care of animals for a living is certainly a lofty and worth goal, but how does one achieve that status.
I am certainly not the authority, but your might start here.
The site is designed for the professional, but leads to a great deal of useful information for professionals and simple pet lovers alike.
Let me know if you find it useful.
I often times forget that my dog is a dog and not a real person. However, are there any ways that I can actually tell if Max is in real pain and not just something within my imagination? Thanks.
Connie Palm Beach, Miami
Connie, obviously pets like humans are going to differ from species to species.
However, according to Eric Barchas, a veterinarian who lives and works in San Francisco, here are some common symptoms:
Cats instinctively hide pain. Therefore, signs of pain in cats are usually subtle. A cat in pain may:
o Hide or act quiet and withdrawn.
o Lose its appetite.
o Breathe rapidly or pant.
o Act agitated or refuse to lie down, rest, or sleep.
o Become aggressive or suffer personality changes.
o Limp, favor a painful area, or resent it when a painful area is touched.
Vocalization (howling or crying) may be a sign of anxiety, agitation, fear, hunger, or severe pain. Most cats suffering from pain do not vocalize. Lack of vocalization should not be construed as absence of pain.
Dogs' responses to pain vary. Some dogs are very stoic, and will show few outward signs even when in extreme pain. Others are more dramatic, and will make their pain quite clear. A dog in pain may:
o Whine, whimper, or vocalize. This occurs less often in cats.
o Limp, favor a painful area, or resent it when a painful area is touched.
o Act agitated or refuse to lie down, rest, or sleep.
o Become aggressive or suffer personality changes.
o Lose its appetite.
o Stand with its back arched.
o Hide or act quiet and withdrawn.
You can receive additional information from Dr. Barchas here.
Although I have written about insurance for pets on many occasions, I have never purchased any policies and have no real conviction one way or the other as to it's usefulness.
I did receive an interesting comment from a reader that I thought that I should pass along to all of your.
"I have always had pet insurance.Since 1985 I was with a So.Cal popular company and most recently with a new company out of Canada. In the long run I have lost more money that support from the insurance companies. Any and all claims are initially denied than require an appeal and than you receive a minimum return due to insurance language. Also one needs to pay the cost up front and hope you will receive reimbursement. It is better to put away as much as you can for your animal and gain interest however small. I also recommend a looking into programs that are actually credit cards and have a program that is interest free if you meet the terms. My monthly premium for the company I just resigned from was $235.00 per month. The amount I paid over the last few months would have covered the bills. So my question, Is it really financially prudent to purchase this product. I also recommend making sure that the insurance company you pick is endorsed by the Dept of Insurance. Thanks..."
Good comments and some ideas for you to consider regarding per insurance.
According to Veterinarian Nancy Kay, the prescription medication for your pet should contain some very specific information such as:
The date the medication was prescribed
Your pet’s name
The prescribing veterinarian’s name
Address and telephone number of the facility filling the prescription
Amount of medication dispensed (milliliters, ounces, number of tablets or capsules)
Strength of the medication (milligrams, micrograms)
Dosage and duration of treatment
Route of administration (orally, applied to the skin, in the ear)
Number of refills
Cautionary instructions (shake well, keep refrigerated)
To protect the health of your pet, check out her website here, for additional information on this issue.
When is a veterinarian liable for malpractice on an animal that they treat?
Greg Lynnville, South Carolina
Greg, for an animal owner to recover damages for injury to an animal, in an action based on malpractice, all the following elements must be proven;
(1) The vet was under a duty of care toward the animal in question and had accepted the responsibility to treat the animal.
(2) The actions or nonactions of the veterinarian did not conform to the professional standard of conduct.
(3) The failure to conform to the professional standard was the proximate cause of the injury or harm at issue.
(4) The injury or harm resulted in damages to the plaintiff and not just the animal.
According to David S. Favre of Michigan State University:
"Veterinarians are under no legal duty to treat an ill or injured animal. The decision whether or not to provide a service is an individual decision. A decision to not provide treatment is not malpractice. One case suggests, however, that professional ethics may require some level of attention in emergency situations, but this does not give rise to a legal cause of action. Once the decision to treat an animal is made, the veterinarian has a duty to continue to treat or at least inform the owner of his or her decision to stop treatment of the animal in question."
I recently discovered a new blog by Dr. Nancy Kay, called Speakingforspot.com.
Her book, Speaking for Spot, was a labor of love for Dr. Kay, fueled by her passion to teach people how to be effective medical advocates for their four-legged best friends
In her website notes, Dr. Kay states that she is a board certified specialist in the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine and has been published in several professional journals and textbooks. She lectures professionally to regional and national audiences, and one of her favorite lecture topics is communication between veterinarians and their clients.
The book is designed to, “help dog lovers become more involved, savvy consumers of veterinary medicine.”
Dr. Kay said that writing it was truly a labor of love, fueled by her passion to help dog lovers become more involved, savvy consumers of veterinary medicine.
In my home, medical treatment for our dog is always an issue; we want to use the minimal amount of drugs that are necessary to keep her in good health.
The less treatment, the better.
I suggest you visit her site and see if her book is for our and your pets.
You might find some useful information.
I am going to put my dog Ralph, in a kennel while I go on a short business trip. What will happen if he needs medical care while I am away? What if there is an emergency and I am not immediately available?
Tommy Ames, Iowa
Tommy, most kennel contracts will cover these contingencies by providing that they are authorized to perform everyday care and services including, but not limited to, requests to administer specified medications.
In the event of an emergency, the kennel must use reasonable judgment in caring for your dog.
There is also usually a clause in the contract that states that if medical attention is necessary and a specified veterinarian is unavailable, then you expressly authorize the facility to seek emergency veterinary care.
You can also give an emergency medical power of attorney to someone for Ralph, that you trust, while you are gone.
Our experience has been that most facilities that care for animals on a long term basis are very good with their medical attention.
Good luck on your trip.
This is a follow-up post regarding pets that are currently undergoing treatment for cancer.
I just recently became aware of a new drug that has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that is the first drug developed specifically for the treatment of cancer in dogs.
According to the FDA news release, the drug, Palladia (toceranib phosphate)
"… is approved to treat canine cutaneous (skin-based) mast cell tumors, a type of cancer responsible for about 1 out of 5 cases of canine skin tumors. The drug is approved to treat the tumors with or without regional lymph node involvement...
... All cancer drugs now used in veterinary medicine originally were developed for use in humans and are not approved for use in animals. Cancer treatments used in animals are used in an “extra-label” manner as allowed by the Animal Medicinal Drug Use Clarification Act of 1994.
...Palladia is a tyrosine kinase inhibitor and works in two ways: by killing tumor cells and by cutting off the blood supply to the tumor. In a clinical trial, Palladia showed a statistically significant difference in tumor shrinkage when compared with an inactive substance (placebo)."
Obviously, you need to discuss this new drug with your Vet to determine if this drug can help your inflicted dog.
For more information go here.
I came across your comments today after finding out that our dog has cancer in her lymph nodes from a previous bout of anal gland cancer. She is old with many other medical issues, so our concern at this point is getting her through this final assault as comfortably as is possible. I am looking forward to further information that you might be sharing while looking for a vet who might be able to become involved in this process.
Cheryl Plainfield, Illinois
Cheryl, I am sorry for you and your dog.
I have included some information from another dog lover who responded to a similar question.
..."There's a fantastic Yahoo! support and information exchange group, "bonecancerdogs" that is a great support and information-sharing network. The moderator has to approve your membership, but that usually happens the same day. I think anyone (member or not) can view the files, database, and archives. That group has started a website at www.bonecancerdogs.org that is loaded with information.
One thing, no matter what you decide: the pain of bone cancer is horrendous. It can change your dog's personality. If you see your dog is suffering consistently, do the kindest thing and let her go peacefully. It's very hard, but stay with her if you can. It's the ultimate comfort to have you there..."
Jan Matthew Tamanini
Hopefully, this will provide some useful information for you and give direction to the resolution of this terible situation.
Intrinsic value is generally defined as the inherent worth of something, independent of its value to anyone or anything else. One way to think about intrinsic value is to view it as similar to the inalienable right to exist.
The Endangered Species Act in the United States protects many species that are not "valuable" to humans in any readily definable way (for instance, the dwarf wedge mussel [Alasmidonta heterodon] or the swamp pink [Helonias bullata]). These species are protected based on the idea that they have a right to exist, just as all humans do.
In the ever expanding area of companion animal law, a jury in Broward County, Florida (Miami) recently returned a verdict that stated that the “intrinsic value “of a pet rottweiler was $20,000.00!
The dog’s owner sued a kennel where she had boarded her pet, alleging that the Vet was negligent when he failed to provide adequate medical care. Because of this inaction, the rottweiler died.
The members of the jury found that the owner was entitled to the “companionship loss” of her dog, and not the usual “fair market” or “replacement value" of the pet.
You can read more about this case here.
A very interesting, far-reaching and expanding decision in favor of pet owners. It will be interesting to sell how other jurisdictions respond.
Hospice service for humans has been available since the 1960’s.
Now, hospice care for pets is a growing field.
Like its counterpart, pet owners who see their companions as important members of the family and deserving of a peaceful end, welcome the veterinary or animal hospice.
The goal of palliative care is to relieve the pain, symptoms and stress of serious illness, whatever the diagnosis or prognosis.
Pallimed , recently wrote in its website;
"Yes, there is a small but growing veterinary hospice/palliative care movement. There is even one pet hospice foundation that is an associate member of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. It is an interesting topic of discussion for several reasons. Obviously, euthanasia has always been a part of veterinary medicine and a mainstay of veterinary "palliative" therapy. However, as some pet owners demand ever increasing levels of high-tech medicine for their pets (pets that are often treated as nearly human members of the family), veterinary specialists have dealt increasingly with issues of futility and aggressive treatment efforts at the end of life….
There are also a group of owners who decline euthanasia, and veterinarians must either provide palliative care (for which we have little training and some degree of ethical quandry) or leave owners to do what they can and watch and wait for their pets to die "naturally" at home."
There are many forms of pet hospice and the fees vary greatly.
However, if you find yourself in this position of having a pet with little hope of recovery from a serious illness or disease, you might consider this alternative form of assistance and comfort.
Unfortunately, although you may constantly talk with your dog and even ask them questions, it is rare that you will receive an answer or response.
Are they hungry, do they need to go outside, are they feeling okay?
We can only guess at what they need or desire.
In my opinion, any tips or help that we can receive to try to take care of them are always welcome.
The following aids are from dogage.com:
• Brush teeth three times a week and have chew toys or biscuits for additional teeth cleaning
• Spay or neuter to help improve a dog's disposition, prevent unwanted behaviors and reduce the chance for infections, tumors and cancers
• Maintain a Home Health check-list and examine coat, ribs, eyes, ears and nose regularly
• Groom regularly by brushing, bathing and clipping according to breed, size and your dog's indoor or outdoor habits
• Post emergency numbers and keep and first-aid supplies on hand such as, gauze, bandages, eyewash, tweezers, cold pack, thermometer, towel and gloves
• Maintain regular veterinarian visits for routine health check-ups including vaccinations and preventative care measures
• Learn about the breed of your dog for any specific diseases or body conditions
• Look for any change in behavior or eating habits that might signal a medical problem
• Keep a log of vaccinations and medical problems
• Monitor diet and caloric intake by measuring food and limiting treats
• Avoid human food – it can upset a dog's stomach and diet
• Talk to your veterinarian about nutritional requirements for age or breed specific food
• Provide fresh, clean water daily
• Exercise pets regularly, as approved by a veterinarian
• Be aware of the weather, monitor temperatures to determine the best time of day to exercise your dog outside
• Select toys that are safe and stimulating for your pet, such as hard rubber balls or raw hides
• Stay in command – training a dog to respond to direction makes the pet and owner relationship easier and safer
• Practice safety in the yard, on walks and trips by using barriers, leashes, carriers and proper identification
• Give your dog a clean and comfortable sleeping area
• Socialize your dog around other pets and people to help him learn to adjust to changes in his environment
These tips provide a good outline for you to follow.
Apply these guidelines to the care of your pet.
Dog or not.
If they could, they would thank you!
We have all heard the anecdotal stories from hospitals, news outlets and police reports stating that a full moon always brings the “crazies and loonies’ out of the woodwork.
We have even personally observed bizarre behavior and said, “Must be a full moon.”
Well, I recently came across a study completed by the American Veterinary Medical Association.
Although the report was originally published last year, I found it to be very interesting.
The study was completed by Raegan J. Wells, DVM; Juliet R. Gionfriddo, DVM, MS, DACVO; Timothy B. Hackett, DVM, MS, DACVECC; Steven V. Radecki, PhD Veterinary Medical Center, Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado.
The purpose of the study was to determine the frequency of canine and feline emergency visits with respect to the lunar cycle.
The study was based upon the clinical records of 11,940 dogs and cats that were evaluated on an emergency basis during an 11-year period.
The emergency types were categorized as animal bite, cardiac arrest, epilepsy, ophthalmic, gastric dilatation-volvulus (a twisting of the digestive tract that leads to partial or complete obstruction and a reduction in blood supply), trauma, multiple diseases, neoplasia (the formation or existence of tumors) or toxicosis (the harmful effects of a poison, including any disease).
The results were…
“Of 11,940 cases, 9,407 were canine and 2,533 were feline. Relative risk calculations identified a significant increase in emergencies for dogs and cats on fuller moon days (waxing gibbous to waning gibbous), compared with all other days.”
The study went on to report…
“The results suggested that more emergency room visits occurred on fuller moon days for dogs and cats. It is unlikely that an attending clinician would notice the fractional increase in visits (0.59 and 0.13 more canine and feline visits, respectively) observed in this study at a facility with a low caseload. If the study is repeated at a facility with a robust emergency caseload, these results may lead to reorganization of staffing on fuller moon dates.”
So the next time that your dog howls, without any obvious reason, at the full moon, maybe it is more than a coincidence.
Lunar cycle effects causing injury or illness to your pets?
Maybe we need to watch our pets a little more carefully during a full moon.
I dunno…can’t hurt, can it?
If you are like most pet owners in the United States, you treat your pet more like a family member than an animal.
If you are willing to allow your pet to sit with you on your sofa (or lap) to watch television, eat from your plate during meals and sleep in your bed, you are among the majority of pet lovers.
Don’t forget then, that these same pets need your protection and help in other areas and many individuals have prepared Medical Power of Attorneys for their Pets to be used in an emergency situation. Most pet owners regularly and confidently use their local veterinary for medical care and prevention.
However, one couple in Naples, Florida is claiming that a routine trip to the veterinary has turned into a legal nightmare. Naples couple sues vet.
Nancy Hamerling of Naples says she took her 5-year-old Maltese dog (Jake) to a vet for an examination and rabies shot and never got him back.
Three days later, she learned that Jake had been put up for adoption and was gone. Employees at the clinic, however, contend Jake never had an appointment and their office was used only as a place to surrender the dog to a nonprofit adoption group that works with one of its employees.
Hamerling and her husband, Robert, have sued the clinic to get Jake back. A woman, who works at the clinic, said that the Hamerlings brought their dog in and asked how to place him up for adoption because they were moving to a condo that did not allow pets; the Hamerlings deny they’re moving.
According to the Principles of veterinary Medical ethics of the American Veterinary Medical Association. Veterniary Medical Ethics, the veterinarian-client-patient relationship is the basis for interaction among veterinarians, their clients, and their patients…exists when all of the following conditions have been met:
The veterinarian has assumed responsibility for making clinical judgments regarding the health of the animal(s) and the need for medical treatment, and the client has agreed to follow the veterinarian’s instructions.
The veterinarian has sufficient knowledge of the animal(s) to initiate at least a general or preliminary diagnosis of the medical condition of the animal(s). This means that the veterinarian has recently seen and is personally acquainted with the keeping and care of the animal(s) by virtue of an examination of the animal(s), or by medically appropriate and timely visits to the premises where the animal(s) are kept.
The veterinarian is readily available, or has arranged for emergency coverage, for follow-up evaluation in the event of adverse reactions or the failure of the treatment regimen.
Other ethical policies of the AVMA state that veterinary medical records are an integral part of veterinary care and that the records must comply with the standards established by state and federal law. The medical records are the property of the practice and the practice owner. The original records must be retained by the practice for the period required by statute. Ethically, the information within veterinary medical records is considered privileged and confidential. It must not be released except by court order or consent of the owner of the patient. Veterinarians are obligated to provide copies or summaries of medical records when requested by the client and should secure a written release to document that request.
According to the Humane Society of the United States, Humane Society , the best way to find a good veterinarian is to ask people who have the same approach to pet care as you. Start with a recommendation from a friend, neighbor, animal shelter worker, dog trainer, groomer, boarding kennel employee, or pet sitter. Check the Yellow Pages under "Veterinarians" and "Animal Hospitals," where important information may also be provided about hours, services, and staff. You can also search for veterinarians in your area at Pets 911.
You should treat a trip to the veterinarian, just as you would a trip to any other physician, whether for you or another family member. You may learn to rely on their judgment and trust them.
But understand your responsibility to your pets regarding their diagnosis, medications and treatment. You need to speak on their behalf.
Medical care is just another piece of the puzzle that completes the picture of the planning for your pet’s future