Careers for the Animal-Loving Millennial

As a senior in high school, I know firsthand what it’s like to be asked every five minutes by any adults in the vicinity what it is I want to do with my life. Fortunately for me, I have always known that I wanted to go into veterinary medicine as a practicing veterinarian, but for some young animal lovers, the path to take isn’t always clear. Here are some careers for college-bound animal fans:

Artificial Insemination Technician
AI technicians use the latest in artificial insemination technology in order to safely breed cows, horses, and even dogs or cats. Technicians work with veterinarians and specialists to regulate breeding and to monitor the heat cycles of animals. More information here

Canine Nutritionist
Canine nutritionists create dietary plans for dogs and work with clients to find the best food options for their dog, whether the dog suffers from allergies or weight problems or anything in between. More information here

Animal Cruelty Investigator
Animal cruelty investigators investigate cruelty, document cases, and enforce laws against animal cruelty. This job can be heartbreaking, as investigators deal with harrowing scenes of abuse on a daily basis. More information here

Pet Adoption Counselor
Pet adoption counselors advocate for adoption and match potential owners with their perfect shelter pet. More information here

Veterinary Pathologist
Veterinary pathologists prevent and treat pathogens found in animals, domesticated or otherwise. More information here

Wildlife Rehabilitator
Wildlife rehabilitators work to rehabilitate sick or injured wildlife and educate the public on what to do if a sick or hurt wild animal is found. More information here

Dog Days Of Summer

 pet-water-beach-dog-web

   It may be the middle of August already, but summer still has some warm life left in it before we are thrown into the chill and sweater-strewn days of autumn. Below, you will find some great activity ideas you can do with your dog before the dreary days of winter, as well as some helpful tips to ensure Fido’s health and safety.

Take Your Dog For A Walk
The days are starting to feel a little less blistering than they did in July, so why not take advantage of some of the cooler days by taking Fido for a walk? It’s a great way to get exercise, both for you and your pup. If your dog has a habit of being destructive and chewing up things (s)he shouldn’t, try taking him/her on walks to get rid of some of that energy. Taking walks with your dog is a good way to bond, relieve stress, and enjoy the outdoors. Make sure you have a secure leash and harness/collar (although harnesses are the best for walking) and a firm grip on the leash while walking your pet. It is also important for your pet to have a collar with an identification tag and license. Before taking a walk with your dog, make sure it isn’t too hot to walk him/her by using this effective trick: put the back of your hand to the pavement and if it is too hot for you to keep your hand there for five seconds, it is too hot to walk your pet. (link)

Take Your Dog Somewhere New
There are many restaurants, hotels, campgrounds, beaches, and other attractions that allow dogs, and if you’re looking to get away for a few days, or maybe just go on a day trip or outing, bringfido.com is a valuable resource to find pet-friendly attractions near you or your intended destination. The website even has an “Events” tab where you can find dog events worldwide for you and Fido to visit. 

…Or Somewhere Close
You don’t need to go far to have a great time with your pet. Teach Fido a new trick in the backyard, or maybe play a game of fetch or Frisbee. Call up some of your friends who also have dogs and schedule a day where you meet up at the local dog park or someone’s yard for some puppy socializing and people socializing too. Run around in sprinklers, make pet friendly ice pops (recipes can be found at dogingtonpost.com), or just enjoy the sunshine —  whatever it is, Fido will be happy to spend the time with you.

Helpful Tips/Reminders
– Remember to never leave Fido in the car for an extended period of time. When the temperature is in the 60’s (Fahrenheit) or higher, especially on a sunny day, it is recommended to not leave your dog in the car. Temperatures rise drastically in a car, even more than people realize. If you have any doubts at all about the temperature being too hot, do not chance leaving Fido in the car.
– Mosquitoes and other bugs too much to bear? You can find many bug repellents and do-it-yourself bug repellent recipes online that use essential oils and are safe to use on and around your pet. Don’t let pests get in the way!
– Always be on the alert for fleas and ticks by using products such as Frontline and bathe your pet in anti-flea and tick shampoos. Check your dogs regularly and thoroughly for ticks, especially if you or Fido have been in an area with tall grass/brush. Keep your dog up to date on all preventative medicines and vaccines, such as heart worm pills and rabies vaccines to ensure their health and safety as well as the health and safety of other dogs they may come in contact with.
– It may not seem to be too hot, but always be sure to have water available for your pet, especially when they are outside. Take the appropriate safety measures for your pet to ensure that overheating and dehydration doesn’t occur.
– Spend time with your pet, and have a safe and fun rest of the summer, both for you and Fido.

Spay & Neuter: Why It Helps

Many dog and cat owners feel that spaying or neutering their pet is unnecessary; according to some studies, some pet owners believe that neutering a male cat/dog “removes his masculinity” and can be “demeaning” to the dog or cat’s sense of being a male. In all honesty, this is purely an excuse for not getting the procedure done. Male cats and dogs, once neutered, do not feel or exhibit themselves as being anything less than “manly”. Neutering your pet has many benefits, both for him and for you.
When a dog/cat has been neutered, it reduces destructive behavior due to the angst of wanting a mate. The scratching, chewing, marking of territory (urinating where they shouldn’t) or overall destruction of furniture, shoes, walls, etcetera can be reduced or even eliminated just from the procedure. Your pet will be more content, have no chance of testicular tumors,will be less likely to have prostate gland problems, will reduce the urge to roam and get lost, as well as reduce urges to fight. All of these prevent injuries and make for a happier, longer pet life.

Spaying your female dog/cat has benefits as well; if you have more than one cat (being of opposite sexes), or if you allow your cat/dog to roam (not recommended, ever), there will never be the fear of coming home to a pregnant cat/dog. This lowers the level of unwanted kittens/puppies put into shelters, being euthanized, or left on the streets. There are also uncertain complications that can arise in your pet’s health from the prospect of pregnancy and delivery; just like a human birth, not everything can be 100% certain. Spaying your female pet also eliminates the heat cycle: that uncomfortable time when your cat or dog tries to find a mate. Female dogs that aren’t spayed can menstruate just like humans, which can cause a mess in your home (cats do not menstruate; if your cat is bleeding, contact emergency veterinary help right away).

Just like with male pets, spaying your female pet reduces the urge to roam, reduces the chance of reproductive diseases, and provides a happier temperament, making your pet (male or female)  lead a healthier, happier life, and not having to deal with the symptoms of not being fixed makes you happier, too.

Disease Detectors: Kennel Cough

Kennel cough, or canine infectious tracheobronchitis, can happen due to many viruses and bacteria. Bordetella is a main bacterial cause of kennel cough, which can also be paired with a virus; so not only does the dog have Bordetella, it may also have another virus, such as canine herpes, canine distemper, or the parainfluenza virus.
While kennel cough can seem bad, what with the terrible hacking coughing and choking it can cause, it usually isn’t serious, and many dogs can get themselves better without treatment.

Causes

Dogs can get kennel cough by being exposed to infected particles of viruses or bacteria that are in the air. Once inhaled, the particles can coat the respiratory tract.
Usually, this tract has a layer of mucus that protects the tract from infection and diseases, but this lining can be weakened by cold temperatures, cigarette smoke, crowded shelter/kennel conditions, and stress because of travel. Once weakened, the mucus cannot combat the particles, and the dog can get sick.

Symptoms

Kennel cough can be categorized by a few symptoms listed here:

*Excessive coughing
*Sneezing/runny nose
*Eye discharge
*Loss of appetite
*Low energy

Prevention/Treatment

Kennel cough is contagious, so if you have more than one dog and suspect one of them has kennel cough, immediately separate the sick dog from the other(s).
Contact your veterinarian if you think your dog has kennel cough, or is having any abnormal symptoms similar to those above, as these can also sometimes indicate other more serious problems.
Dogs can usually fight off kennel cough on their own, but you may want to get medication from your veterinarian.
Use a harness when the sick dog is on a leash to minimize coughing and discomfort.
Avoid leaving your dog in kennels that seem overcrowded, unsanitary, or poorly ventilated.
Dogs with kennel cough will usually bounce back within three weeks, but if not, contact your veterinarian. Prolonged kennel cough can lead to pneumonia.

Rabies

Rabies is a viral infection that occurs in more than 150 countries, and is often transferred to humans by way of infected dogs and cats, something that is easily preventable. This disease is nearly always fatal, so it is important, for both your family’s health and your pet’s health, that when symptoms arise, medical help should be provided right away.
Rabies is usually first seen in neighborhood wildlife, such as raccoons, coyotes, foxes, and bats. The first thing to look for in these animals is if they are especially brazen or unafraid of humans. These animals may come up closer than usually to a human and not run away, or not seem to be scared of human life at all.

As well as being especially brazen, the animal may also growl and act especially aggressive, as if it were being cornered. This is called “furious” rabies.
rabid dog
These animals may also have excessive salivation, or may be foaming at the mouth. This symptom is the most classically known, but is not seen in all rabies-infected animals.

Another symptom is if the animal simply lays on the ground and seems to be paralyzed. This is a different form of rabies, called “dumb” rabies, and although a person may want to help the animal, it is best for your safety and the safety of the animal if it is left alone.

The animal may also be experiencing seizures instead or as well as paralysis, and should still be left alone.

The animal could also be looking raggedy, with fur missing, open sores, etc. This is a sign of self-mutilation, a symptom of “furious” rabies.

If you see an animal with one or more of these symptoms, it is best to stay inside and contact your local animal control, or the police. It is important that all suspected rabid animals are reported so they can be removed from the environment and/or treated if possible to prevent any more infections.

If you are bitten/licked/scratched by a suspected rabies carrier, it is important to promptly visit your local hospital or clinc to get treated. You may experience a fever, light-headedness, muscle weakness, and burning at the bite site. The faster medical help is applied, the quicker and better healing can occur.

To prevent rabies in your pets, it is important to keep dogs and cats inside. A roaming neighborhood dog or cat can easily get infected by way of bite or scratch. You also should never leave your dog outside unsupervised for long, or chained up outside, for dogs on the end of a chain are vulnerable to whatever infected animals are in the neighborhood, and should always be watched. Dogs should also have regular vet checkups and rabies shots to protect them from rabies as much as possible.

If you suspect that your dog or cat has rabies, contact your local veterinarian clinic or hospital promptly and set up an immediate appointment. With rabies, time is crucial. The quicker the treatment, the better chances of survival. Make sure any unusual scratches or bites are immediately checked, and don’t wait until the symptoms get bad. The worse the symptoms, the farther along the rabies is in your pet’s system.