What Does Climate Change Mean for Our Pets?
I am referring to weather, economic and political "climate change".
I think I am a moderate. As a business owner and mom I hold some very conservative views. However, as a vegetarian and intense animal lover I am often on the side of some extreme liberals.
Economically, I'd like to make a nice living, but dollar sales are never primary on my mind. My business partner has had to remind me, that if I keep "discounting" I won't be in business very long to take care of any pets!
As far as the weather is concerned, I think I like spring and fall best, not too hot, not too cold.
But, what is going on in all three of these arenas? Everything is changing. You can't count on anything anymore.
This warm winter has caused us to see a dozen tick cases already in March and even one flea case. We never see fleas on dogs until July! This early warm burst has caused many a pet guardian to reach into the cabinet to re-start heartworm preventative. Don't do it! It is not safe to re-start until AFTER your dog's spring heartworm test.Don't worry, heartworm prevention works "backwards". For example, a pill given May 1 protects back to April 1. So you still have time to get in to the vet for your dog's test before mosquitoes are out in full force!
Drug manufacturers have had to develop different and stronger medications since forces of nature, such as Katrina, have produced insects and parasites resistant to standard prescriptions.
Something in this crazy politicoeconomic climate change has been causing many important medications to be removed from the market temporarily and sometimes permanently. There are large company mergers which cause medications to skyrocket in price and some to be pulled from the market. This affects the ability of veterinarians and guardians to provide proper pet care. Currently the common heartworm preventative, Interceptor, is not available anywhere. This puts veterinarians in a bind. I try to avoid switching my patients from one product to another, but looks like this will be necessary. Collie-type breeds are almost exclusively treated with Interceptor(milbemycin) due to a potential breed sensitivity. Heartgard and others are made from ivermectin.
It is common and necessary for many human medications to be used for our pets.The FDA and state regulatory agencies often have no regard for the veterinary community and what we need to practice effectively, safely and successfully. They may pull a med that we rely on. They may say that it is OK to put a (pet toxic) flavoring in a suspension with a drug for humans and then insist that we allow clients to pick up prescriptions from a human pharmacy because it is "cheaper". We have no knowledge or control over the fact that the sweetener xylitol has been added and can kill a small dog in 48 hours due to profound hypoglycemia.
We all talk about the weather; we try not to talk about politics; we all try to make a living. Everything is changing so fast; it's hard to keep up.
Animals are at our mercy. Most are major players in our families. We need to take the time in this fast-paced changing world to educate ourselves to be good pet stewards and animal advocates. There is no longer a status quo for anyone. Because our pets have risen to the status of family member, other changes have come concerning their care: pet insurance, informed consent, laws against ear cropping, tail docking, declawing, the legalities associated with standard of care and pet loss....sounds like some interesting future topics!