Pet Obesity on the Rise in UK: A disturbing new report from British animal charity PDSA found that one in three dogs and one in four cats in the UK are overweight or obese. Additionally, the report stated that “80% of vets and vet nurses believe there will be more overweight pets than healthy weight pets in five years time.” What are some of your own methods for keeping your pets active, exercised and at a healthy weight?
A New Feline Flick: Calling all cat-lovers! New reports out of Hollywood state that actors Kevin Spacey and Christopher Walken have signed on to appear in “Nine Lives,” a film in which Spacey will play a man trapped in the body of a cat. We’re usually covered in cat hair, so this is one concept we definitely understand!
An Adora-bull New Mom: Pittie and Kitty, a full-grown pit bull and a newborn kitten, were found on the side of the road in Dallas, Texas last week. The kitten needed mothering, and Pittie was more than happy to take the job—she even nursed the kitten herself! Check out the cute pics and video of this very sweet duo.
Madonna, a three-year-old pit bull mix with a sweet disposition, arrived at the ASPCA last May, part of a group of eight dogs rescued by the New York City Police Department (NYPD). All of the dogs were in extreme stages of neglect and were suffering from skin and ear infections, intestinal parasites, dental disease and other illnesses, but only Madonna tested positive for heartworm.
Heartworm is a serious disease: The spaghetti-like worms, which can grow up to a foot in length, live in the hearts, lungs and associated blood vessels of infected animals. They are carried in a microscopic form (known as microfilaria) by mosquitoes that transmit the worms when they bite other animals. They can circulate in the bloodstream, mature, multiply and can eventually obstruct the flow of blood to the heart and lungs. If not treated, heartworm can be fatal.
While dogs are the most common hosts for this parasite, they can also be found in other species, including cats, ferrets, foxes, even wolves and horses. Dogs can live for years without symptoms after infection, but the heartworms’ long-term effects in an untreated dog may cause lasting damage to the heart, lungs, and arteries. Cats may develop chronic respiratory disease and, unfortunately, the first signs in infected cats can be sudden collapse or death.
Fortunately, the ASPCA caught Madonna’s case early. She was successfully treated for her infection and subsequently tested for both adult heartworms and microfilaria. Today she is in a happy home and takes a monthly preventive medication.
Heartworm treatment in dogs is a multiple-step, three-to-four month process that involves injections and oral medication to kill the heartworms, as well as prolonged periods of exercise restriction. Since it is very challenging to treat cats for heartworm disease, it is essential to prevent the disease in the first place.
“The best way to avoid heartworm disease is to give your dog heartworm preventive, a once-a-month oral or topical prescription medication,” says Dr. Louise Murray, Vice President of the ASPCA Animal Hospital in New York City. Prevention comes in several formulations and your veterinarian can advise you as to the best choice for your pet. Heartworm preventives commonly also treat a variety of other internal and external parasites.
Puppies should start on preventives no later than eight weeks of age without a test, but should be tested in six month intervals after the first dose and then yearly after that.
Heartworm infection is harder to detect in cats, because they are less likely to host adult heartworms. Cats should be tested before being put on medication and re-tested as vets deems appropriate to monitor exposure and risk.
Heartworm symptoms in dogs include persistent coughing, fatigue after exercise, decreased appetite, decreased desire to exercise, and weight loss. Heartworm in cats can cause wheezing and respiratory symptoms, as well as vomiting, loss of appetite and weight loss.
April is National Heartworm Awareness Month. Visit our Pet Care section to learn more about heartworm in dogs and in cats.
Update: The ASPCA has helped to reunite two formerly missing cats with their guardian following a large explosion and fire in New York City’s East Village neighborhood last week. The Office of Emergency Management granted ASPCA responders access to a residential building where they searched for and located the cats.
The two cats belong to East Village resident Kathleen Blomberg, who has been displaced and is staying with a friend. The ASPCA will provide transportation and medical exams at the ASPCA Animal Hospital for Kathleen’s cats, Kitty Cordelia and Sebastian, and we have also offered free boarding for her cats as she secures new housing.
This post was originally published on March 27, 2015.
At the request of the Office of Emergency Management, the ASPCA is providing coordination of animal-related issues at the city’s emergency reception center for pet owners in the area surrounding the site of Thursday’s explosion and fire in the East Village neighborhood of New York City. Residents in the evacuation area who need to access their pets should speak to a police officer for more information.
The damage and resulting needs of residents affected by the explosion and fire are still being assessed.
Curious pup Otis leaves no stone unturned! This inquisitive guy loves to sniff around and explore his surroundings—there’s nothing he’d like more than a Saturday by your side roaming Central Park. This funny guy will keep you laughing with his playful antics, but, like most city dwellers, he’s in a rush to get to where he’s going!
At times, Otis will bark to let you know he wants something and may be protective of his food, but our Behavioral team is available to give you tips on how to control this behavior. Otis would do best in an adults-only household with an experienced adopter who can give him lots of exercise and playtime. Adopt Otis today!
Otis is available for adoption at the ASPCA Adoption Center. If you are interested in adopting, please call our Adoptions department in New York City at (212) 876-7700 ext. 4120. To learn more about Otis, please visit his profile page.
Even though we work to prevent cruelty to animals all year long, April is special at the ASPCA because it is officially Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month! Every year, we ask supporters to celebrate this month by helping us raise awareness about important issues facing animals—and we hope that you’ll join in! We’ve come up with some exciting ways you can get involved and make a difference all month long:
Start a Fundraising Campaign Create a personal ASPCA fundraising page for an important event in your life and share it with your friends and family. Whether you donate your birthday, honor the memory of a beloved pet or decide to run a 5k with Team ASPCA, the money you raise can make a big difference for animals in need nationwide.
Commemorate Dog Fighting Awareness Tuesday, April 8, marks our second annual National Dog Fighting Awareness Day. The ASPCA designated this day to advance the conversation about dog fighting and to encourage animal-lovers across the country to take action against this brutal form of cruelty. This year, you can add your voice to the cause by joining our Get Tough campaign.
Make Adoption Your First Option Bringing a four-legged friend into your family? Shelters have lovable dogs and cats of all shapes, sizes and ages who are looking for a good home, so please make adoption your first choice. Check out our nationwide database of dogs and cats who are looking for good homes.
Show Your Support Online During April, use Your Facebook page, Twitter account or blog to spread the word about Prevention of Cruelty to Animals month—and be sure to tag us at @ASPCA in your posts! If you don’t already, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.