DEAR READERS: If your dog or cat has been vaccinated, you may be able to avoid revaccination -- which is never without health risks -- by having blood tests done to check for protective antibodies. The Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (KSVDL) offers a core vaccine panel for both dogs and cats. Samples can be submitted by attending veterinarians using an online submission form.
The canine panel (canine distemper, canine adenovirus and canine parvovirus) and the feline panel (feline herpesvirus, feline calicivirus and feline panleukopenia) each cost $23. A micro rabies screen is also available for $34. (Your attending veterinarian will charge an additional amount for collecting and shipping the blood samples.)
See ksvdl.org/resources/core-vaccine-spotlight.html for details.
DEAR DR. FOX: Since our retirement, my husband and I have been serving as foster parents for cats who need forever homes. We joined a local network of cat rescuers and are against trapping, neutering and releasing them to live outdoors. My sister has been providing a foster home for dogs for some years now, as well.
Fostering is so much better for the animals than having to stay in cages in shelters waiting for adoption.
I just want to say this is our way of giving back all the love and enjoyment we have had in our earlier years with animal companions. We have given up vacations for this avocation, and it is so rewarding when we find a forever home for our next rescued cat. Perhaps other readers might want to do this in their communities, too. -- F.L.P., St. Louis, Missouri
DEAR F.L.P.: I applaud what you and your husband are doing, and your sister, and I do wish more people would follow your example of putting compassion into action!
It is surely far more rewarding for animal-loving retirees than taking another crowded ocean cruise (I call them floating toilets) or making a big “carbon footprint” flying abroad for another vacation.
Giving love and attention, including veterinary care as needed, to a fostered cat or dog takes commitment. Such dedication has many rewards, which my wife and I have come to enjoy. Our latest rescued cat recently found a forever home with a family with two children, an old dog and another cat -- whom they adopted after we rescued and fostered him a year ago. Now we have found another cat outdoors, whom we must rescue and rehabilitate. So life goes on.
The only downside, which all animal “foster parents” must accept, is that feeling of losing someone you’ve loved and developed a strong attachment to. But the upside is knowing that another life has been saved and improved.
DEAR DR. FOX: I read about your concerns about insects and wildlife being harmed by electromagnetic fields (EMFs). I went online to find out more information, thinking you were an alarmist. Now I, too, am very disturbed by the risks to our own health and to the animals who share our homes with all kinds of electrical devices.
How can we best protect them and ourselves? At least my home is not near power lines that have strong magnetic fields. -- H.M., West Palm Beach, Florida
DEAR H.M. I am not the only veterinarian to address this issue.
For decades, vets have worked with dairy farmers and power companies to deal with “stray voltage” that can affect cow health, welfare and productivity. Electro-pollution is a fact of life in urban and commercial centers, and may affect brain and endocrine function, as well as cellular activity.
The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer classified radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as probable carcinogens in 2013. Veterinarian Dr. Katie Kangas has written a helpful article in Animal Wellness magazine (December 2018 issue) on the topic, in which she offers useful tips on reducing exposure in our homes. Readers are encouraged to seek it out.
GENE THERAPY REDUCES PAIN, INFLAMMATION IN DOGS WITH OSTEOARTHRITIS
An experimental gene therapy based on the interleukin-10 gene is showing promise in dogs with severe osteoarthritis, reducing pain and inflammation and restoring their ability to move, and it could reduce the need for joint replacements in humans, says University of Colorado-Boulder neuroscience professor Linda Watkins.
More dogs are being accepted into clinical trials, and the FDA recently approved the experimental therapy for human use. (KCNC-TV, Denver, Nov. 6)
(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.)