Posts Tagged ‘antibiotics’

Babies who are in close contact with dogs or cats during their first twelve months of life were found to enjoy better health and less likely to suffer from respiratory infections

Babies who are in close contact with dogs or cats during their first twelve months of life were found to enjoy better health and were less likely to suffer from respiratory infections, compared to those without any pets in the house or no close contact with these animals, researchers from the Kuopio University Hospital, Kuopio, Finland, reported in the journal Pediatrics.

The team had set out to determine what effect contact with dogs and cats might have on respiratory symptoms among children during their first year of life.

They followed 397 children from pregnancy up to the age of 12 months, and monitored how much contact they had during this period with dogs and/or cats. The babies’ parents were given a questionnaire which asked about their child’s contact with pets. All the infants were born in middle or eastern Finland between September 2002 and May 2005.

The protective effect of having a dog around

Ben Family Dog 01
Babies who live with a dog in the house tend to have fewer infections

They found that despite respiratory infections and infectious symptoms being common during a human’s first year of life, children who had contacts with dogs early in life had fewer symptoms of respiratory infections, suffered less often from respiratory diseases, and required shorter courses of antibiotics when ill, compared to other children of the same age with no exposure to dogs.

The frequency of ear infections was considerably lower among those with early regular contact with dogs, the authors added.

The protective effect on infants from having a pet cat was also detected, but it was not as strong as with dogs.

The investigators compared children with a dog which spent its time indoors temporarily or often, with those who had just a pet cat, and children with no pets.

They found that those with a pet dog in the house had the lowest risk of infections generally, as well as respiratory tract infections. Those with no pets in the house had the highest rates of infections.

Weekly and yearly contact with dogs were found to be closely linked to overall susceptibility to illness – the more contact there was, the lower the morbidity.

The scientists believe that early contact with animals impacts on the maturation of the immune system in infants, resulting in shorter-lasting infections and better resistance to respiratory infections.

In an Abstract in the journal, the authors wrote:

“These results suggest that dog contacts may have a protective effect on respiratory tract infections during the first year of life. Our findings support the theory that during the first year of life, animal contacts are important, possibly leading to better resistance to infectious respiratory illnesses during childhood.”

Rattlesnake bite to your dog…ANTI-VENOM?

When is Snakebite Anti-venom Really Needed?

A client relayed a story to me on how they had to take their four year old ninety pound hunting dog to an emergency clinic because she had been bitten by a copperhead. The bill ended up being just under $2000, with the fee for the anti-venom comprising nearly half of that amount.  No doubt the anti-venom helped speed the recovery process in this particular case, but the dog would have probably done just fine without it. And at $300 to $500 a vial, with multiple vials sometimes needed, it can add up fast.

One of my clients had their large schnauzer with them up at their summer house in Somona County.  The foothills are full of rattle snakes.  The hide in holes and abandoned structures.  The dog was sniffing ground holes and SNAP!  He was bit in the face!    OUCH.   They got the anti-venom and the dog had a very hard time recovering from the bite and the anti-venom.

He never fully recovered and had a hard time breathing after that.  I can’t even imagine being bit in the face from a rattlesnake.  Some counties have it more available for pets and other DO NOT have it available. If you are vacationing or have a home with rattle snakes in the area, PRE-check with your vet if you have the opportunity to get an anti-venom in the case that your pet is bit by a rattle snake. This could save their life.

In over twenty years of veterinary practice (with over ten years as an emergency clinician), I’ve treated multiple cases of snakebite (mostly copperheads and water moccasins) and never used anti-venom. I never lost a patient either. Does this mean it’s never needed? (from  Veterinary Insider)

“Never” is a strong word. Here are a few scenerios where anti-venom might come in handy:

1. Cats, puppies and adult dogs that weigh less than 20 lbs and are bitten by a rattlesnake or a cottonmouth.                                       2. All dogs and cats that are bitten by exceptionally large snakes, especially large rattlesnakes.                                                              3. All dogs and cats that are bitten on the tongue or on the torso, regardless of the type of snake involved.                                         4. All dogs and cats that receive multiple bite wounds, regardless of the type of snake involved.                                                              5. All dogs and cats that are bitten by a dying snake, regardless of the type of snake involved.

In case you didn’t know, the attitude of the snake at the time of the bite can determine the severity of intoxication. For example, snakes that bite defensively will deliver less venom than those aggressive ones that take the offensive. In some instances, defensive bites may not deliver any venom whatsoever. The worst type of poison will come from a snake that is in its death throes. In nearly all of these cases, the snake will inject its full complement of venom into its victim.

6. All dogs and cats bitten by a coral snake. Anti-venom is a MUST in these cases. Unfortunately, supplies of coral snake anti-venom are extremely limited and may not be available in the near future.

Those cases of mine I told you about earlier? None of them fell into the above categories. Most snake bites veterinarians see occur in medium to large size dogs (especially hunting dogs) that get bitten on the face. And these dogs usually do just fine on a standard course of intravenous fluids, antibiotics, and pain medication. Sometimes the bites occurred on the legs and digits. These “digit” bites seemed to always take a long time to heal and timely anti-venom therapy would probably help shorten this recovery period. If you can afford it, then by all means have your veterinarian administer anti-venom in the event of a snakebite.

But if you can’t afford, chances are your pet will do fine without it with standard supportive care. Let your veterinarian know about your cost concerns. He/she will be able to advise you on the best course of action based on your pet’s own unique circumstance.

source: Mostly Veterinary Insider and schnauzer story pitched in by Barbara Tapella

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