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Pets of the Week
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    Sweet is this brown and white tabby's middle name. Her expressive eyes and adorable face say "please adopt me." Gracie came back to Save Our Strays because her "mom" could no longer care for her. The golden-eyed beauty has been tested for feline diseases, is vaccinated and microchipped and is ready for an attentive family looking for a great cat. For information, call 727-481-5262. To view additional cats, visit saveourstrayinc.com.
Pet News
PALM HARBOR - Owners of unvaccinated dogs are advised to temporarily avoid bringing pets to Chesnut Park in Palm Harbor after the discovery of canine distemper virus in a raccoon prompts vaccination reminder.

As a precautionary measure, Pinellas County Animal Services is advising pet owners to refrain from bringing puppies, senior dogs, unvaccinated dogs or dogs that may have compromised immune systems to John Chesnut Sr. Park, 2200 East Lake Road in Palm Harbor, until further notice. This recommendation is due to the discovery of a raccoon that tested positive for canine distemper virus.
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We have made it through Christmas and Valentine’s Day, but Easter is soon approaching. And let’s face it: Our pets don’t need a holiday to find a treat to stuff their face with.

Many of you may have gotten pets as a gift recently, and there are tips you should know to help puppy- and kitten-proof your house. Puppies and kittens are inherently inquisitive and it is your job to protect them from injury.
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LARGO - The Skyway Cat Club of Tampa Bay will host an all-breed championship cat show Saturday and Sunday, April 15-16, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., at Minnreg Hall, 6340 126th Ave. N., Largo.

Cats will compete in 12 different rings, both days. Judges from all around the country will judge cats both days. The show will feature pet-related vendors selling items such as cat trees, cat beds, toys and unique gifts. Cats and kittens will be available for adoption from local shelters. Food will be available for purchase at the hall. There also will be a raffle.
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A few weeks ago my niece’s rabbit died unexpectedly from a muscle disease and it was so heartbreaking. She adopted the animal from the SPCA when school started this past year and was taking care of the bunny for a high school class project.

Seeing my niece go through the death of her bunny reminded me once again I can’t go through another bunny dying in our house. My two girls, who are 11 and 12 years old, continue to beg to have another bunny. I want to give in so bad and just say yes, but I just can’t see them so sad again if the bunny were to die.
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Just as foster homes are needed for children, local animal shelters need temporary homes for pets.

Foster parents provide a nurturing environment to animals that might be too young for adoption, need time to heal from a medical procedure, or could benefit from socialization in a home environment.
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If you have ever had to euthanize a pet, you know how hard it is to come to that final decision. It should be a decision about what is best for your beloved companion and not about being selfish.

This is not easy when you love your pet so dearly that you can’t imagine a life without him/her. One of the most horrible experiences one can have is to watch a human family member with a terminal disease suffer until they die on their own. Fortunately, we do not have to do that with our pets.

So how do you know when?
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It’s 3 a.m., your pet starts shaking uncontrollably and you feel helpless. Seizures can be one of the most nerve-wracking diseases a pet owner can encounter. A trip to the veterinarian’s office will include a thorough physical exam and diagnostic testing such as blood work to try to find the cause of the seizure.

There are many causes that can contribute to seizure activity including trauma, encephalitis, liver disease and neoplasia, but many times the diagnosis is epilepsy. Part of the journey may also require a trip to the specialist where more robust diagnostics may be performed such as an MRI or CT scan. Your pet may be started on medications in an effort to control the seizure activity.

Many of the medications used to control seizure activity can carry side effects such as lethargy and when used long-term may even cause organ damage. More over, they may not completely control the seizure activity. Integrative practices such as acupuncture and herbal therapy can be used as an adjunct treatment to help control the seizures. In some cases they can be used as a stand-alone therapy.
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The decision to add a pet to the family is a big one. When considering a pet, many people consider the size and temperament, but it's just as important to consider the animal's age.

People often look for adoptable puppies or kittens. But they may not consider if they have the time, energy or lifestyle that's best suited to raise a young pet. Young animals, much like babies and toddlers, need considerable time and attention to learn and grow. A puppy or kitten is perfect for someone who can be home much of the day, but it can be less-than-ideal for someone with a busy schedule that keeps them away from the new pet for long periods of time.

On the other hand, older animals are often litter box or housetrained and are used to life with a family. They can be a great fit for many homes, but they're often overlooked for younger animals.
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Old age in itself is not a disease. However, those animals that reach their senior years can have disease processes present that some may mistake as just old age without knowing that something can be done to help their beloved pet.

As pets age, one may notice changes in their behavior. These changes need to be brought to the attention of a veterinarian so they can help to diagnose a pet properly. Changes in vocalization (especially in cats), housetraining habits, anxiety, social interaction, activity levels, sleep-wake cycles and mental status can all be indications that a pet may be suffering from Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome or another medical condition that needs to be addressed.

Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS) in dogs and cats has some similarities to Alzheimer’s disease and dementia in humans. The prevalence of CDS in dogs and cats is fairly high. Screening patients that are 10 years of age and older should be done as part of a regular examination in order to slow the progression. Screening includes thorough history taking of changes in the above-mentioned behaviors as well as ruling out medical diseases that can effect those changes.
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As many of us approach our golden years in the sunshine state, our pets are aging alongside us.

Granted: We may not notice it, some may be more graceful than others, but it is inevitable.
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Having a baby is a life changing experience for everyone involved, including pets. Just as you’re preparing for baby’s arrival, your dog needs advance preparation for this big change, especially if your dog has not spent time around children.

Start preparing your pet now for baby’s arrival to create a safe and happy environment for everyone, and to establish the start of a lifelong bond between your new baby and your canine companion.

SPCA Tampa Bay’s Dogs & Storks program is the first program in the nation that provides positive, practical and fun solutions to help families with dogs prepare for baby before baby arrives. Here are some tips for expectant parents:
 ... Read More 
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Adopt-a-Pet, Lost Pet Info
Local animal shelters, such as those listed below, can be good places to go to adopt a pet or seek a lost pet.
Pinellas County Animal Services
12450 Ulmerton Road, Largo; 582-2600
Humane Society of Pinellas
3040 State Road 590, Clearwater; 797-7722
Pet Pal Animal Shelter
405 22nd. St. S, St. Petersburg Fl. 337112; 328-7738
SPCA Tampa Bay
9099 130th Ave. N., Largo; 586-3591; spcatampabay.org
Suncoast Animal League
1030 Pennsylvania Ave., Palm Harbor; 786-1330
Save Our Strays Inc.
Friends of Strays Inc.
Second Chance for Strays, Inc.
All ’bout Cats
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Tampa Bay Newspapers
9911 Seminole Blvd.,
Seminole, FL 33772
Phone: (727) 397-5563
Fax: (727) 397-5900
Submit News