DEAR DR. FOX: I just read a column of yours from last year on health concerns about the product Seresto.
My dog died today. I had loosely fitted a Seresto collar on my sweet boy on July 9, and noticed his neck lymph nodes were swollen in August. Today is Oct. 3, and my dog is dead.
How would I investigate? -- A.H., Rehoboth Beach, Delaware
DEAR A.H.: Your veterinarian should report this to the manufacturers, as well as to the FDA and EPA, even if she or he believes that it is mere coincidence.
In my opinion, it is very telling evidence. Many similar cases have been reported, and cannot be discounted just because only a few animals show such immediate adverse reactions. The “benefits” of these products do not outweigh the risks.
You may want to explore online and link up with, or start, a website to gather more evidence from other pet owners. There are several online reports that suggest that Seresto collars can cause lymphoma and/or seizures in some dogs. Keep me posted.
DEAR DR. FOX: I am asking for your help with a nasty problem. My neighbors and I, and our dogs, live in doggy paradise! It’s a small development with our own fenced dog park, just about a full acre. Shade trees, running water, picnic tables, etc. All of us keep it clean. The development requires that owners pay a small monthly “pet rent,” and every dog is required to be vaccinated and registered with the community office.
But sure enough, somebody broke the rules! Two dogs --untrained, unregistered and unvaccinated -- were recently on the property.
These two dogs used the dog park as their private potty. It is now filthy. Our property manager gave the owner seven days to remove them from the property, and thankfully, both of them have now been rehomed.
We need to know how to make our dog park safe for use by our dogs again! Aside from picking up all the droppings, what do we have to do? Are our little dogs at greater risk than the bigger ones?
The Boynton Bay Canines are really looking forward to playing in the park again, but only if they are safe! -- M.W., Boynton Bay, Florida
DEAR M.W.: You have my sympathy and support concerning this evident dog-owner irresponsibility.
We have had a comparable problem where I live: Dogs recently adopted from a local shelter have tested positive for hookworm, whipworm and giardia, and have visited our local dog park and pooped around our neighborhood.
Appropriate action was taken in your case to prohibit these neglected dogs from returning to your dog park, but the possibility of parasite eggs in these dogs’ feces remains, and you have no freezing winter to eliminate them. I would therefore advise all dog owners who use this park have their dogs’ stool samples checked for parasites and be treated as needed.
FARMED ANIMAL SUFFERING
Considering our growing numbers and appetite for meat and other animal products, it is time to reassess our engagement as consumers with this industry.
For instance, on pig factory farms, the breeding sows are being selected to birth many piglets at such an early age that many die from a prolapsed uterus. (See the article “Why are sows in factory farms dying in surprising numbers?” on civileats.com.) Pigs and poultry in particular, raised in factories called CAFOs -- confined animal feeding operations -- are a constant source of influenza virus epidemics and other diseases transmissible to humans.
Animals raised for their produce under free-range conditions can fare terribly in other ways. Foot-and-mouth disease in livestock in East Africa costs around $2.3 billion in annual production losses, never mind the creatures’ suffering. This highly contagious disease, which can also infect elephants and other wildlife, causes the hooves of cows, goats and sheep to rot off, eaten away by maggots. And that’s only in those animals that survive thirst and starvation, since the virus that invades their mouths makes it too painful to eat.
In countries rich and poor, the veterinary profession is challenged to keep farmed/food animals healthy and minimize their public health and environmental risks. Their success will only come when fewer animals are raised for human consumption and alternative sources of essential nutrients from plants and microorganisms are successfully incorporated into the food chain and markets. This includes the diets of dogs and cats, who are currently the recipients of recycled waste from the livestock and seafood industries, especially in developing countries.
The good news is that the urgent need to reduce meat consumption for the good of the planet is being more widely recognized. (See the article “Huge reduction in meat-eating ‘essential’ to avoid climate breakdown” on theguardian.com.)
(Send all mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or to Dr. Michael Fox in care of Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106. The volume of mail received prohibits personal replies, but questions and comments of general interest will be discussed in future columns.
Visit Dr. Fox’s website at DrFoxVet.net.)