<![CDATA[NBC 6 South Florida - ]]>Copyright 2016http://www.nbcmiami.com/feature/all-about-animals http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/NBC+6+LOGO+GOOGLE.png NBC 6 South Florida http://www.nbcmiami.comen-usTue, 30 Aug 2016 16:49:16 -0400Tue, 30 Aug 2016 16:49:16 -0400NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Zika and Pets]]> Sun, 28 Aug 2016 11:08:56 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Dog+lays+on+grass.jpg

by Dr. Ian Kupkee

Some of my clients are human health care providers. They are knowledgeable,  dedicated, caring, professionals - and they are tired.

"I always thought I was a hard worker," an obstetrics nurse lamented to me last week.  "But since Zika popped up? The testing, the questions, the walk-ins, the non-stop calls and emails - I’ve never worked so hard in my life. People are really scared."

Indeed they are.  But when the calls and emails began coming into my office, I began to realize just how much fear was out there. So is the fear justified? Should pet owners be worried about Zika?

Most pet parents are aware that mosquitoes can transmit deadly heartworm disease to their pets. More still understand that certain pathogens can be passed from animals to humans.  So where does Zika fit in? Let’s take a look at some of the most commonly asked questions.

Is my pet in any danger from Zika?

It is important to note the research on Zika is ongoing.  The scientific community does not claim to know everything there is to know about this disease.  That said, both veterinary researchers and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have stated that illness caused by the Zika virus has not been seen in dogs or cats.  For this reason, Zika is not expected to become a problem within the pet population of the United States.

Even if my pet cannot become ill from Zika, can he still be a carrier for the disease?

Carriers, or more accurately "reservoir hosts" can carry a disease within their bodies without ever developing clinical signs.  These hosts will often carry the disease for long periods of time.  While they themselves do not fall ill, they are nonetheless capable of transmitting the illness to other organisms.  Our most current knowledge of Zika suggests that only humans and non-human primates are capable of carrying a high viral load of of the disease within their bloodstreams.  So even if your your pet is bitten by a mosquito carrying the Zika virus, your pet’s body would not provide an environment which would allow the virus to survive.  The CDC has stated, "At this time, animals do not appear to be involved in the spread of Zika virus."

I have a champion show dog whom I’d like to breed. Should I be worried about birth defects in her puppies? Should I wait to breed her?

Very little official research has been done on this topic, but as of this writing, there are no known cases of Zika-linked microcephaly in baby animals.  This is yet another reason scientists are not convinced Zika poses a risk to our pets - the absence of clinical signs of the disease in puppies and kittens born in Zika zones suggests their mothers are not becoming infected. While more research is needed, it is not likely that pets born in a Zika zone will be born with Zika-related birth defects.

Should I get my pet tested, just to be on the safe side?

Because researchers do not believe that dogs and cats either transmit Zika or fall ill from it, no veterinary diagnostic labs offer Zika testing for pets at this time.  But make no mistake - the scientific community is watching Zika very carefully.  If the virus evolves, protocols may change, in which case, testing could theoretically become available for our pets.  At this point in time, however, officials are not recommending Zika testing for pets.

I’ve been using a DEET-based mosquito repellant for myself. Can I spray that on my pet as well?

Absolutely not! DEET toxicity is a common reason for trips to the pet emergency hospital. Dogs exposed to DEET can exhibit a range of clinical signs from corneal damage, to gastrointestinal upset, to seizures. Cats are at an even greater risk as their first instinct is groom the offending products from their bodies via licking. This results in twice the exposure to the toxin. If your pet has ingested or has been sprayed with DEET, call the Pet Poison Hotline or go straight to the nearest veterinary facility.

What about garlic tablets? Garlic is a natural mosquito repellant!

For dogs and cats, garlic, while natural, is also deadly.  Garlic, onions, and all other members of the allium family cause a dangerous blood disorder called Heinz body anemia when ingested by dogs and cats.  Pets with this condition often require blood transfusions. When left untreated, Heinz body anemia is fatal.

There is still much research to be done on Zika, and scientists are working round the clock to better understand and combat this disease. For more information on Zika and animals, visit the CDC’s website, and keep checking NBC 6 for any news or updates as they become available.

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To visit the NBC6.com "All About Animals" section, click here.

Do you have a question for Dr. Kupkee?

Dr. Kupkee is the lead practitioner at Sabal Chase Animal Clinic

Do you have a question for Dr. Kupkee? Send him an email by clicking here.

Click here for special deals and discounts exclusively for NBC 6 viewers.

]]>
<![CDATA[South Florida Celebrates National Dog Day]]> Fri, 26 Aug 2016 17:25:26 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/160*160/d0ab57a213e445f5bcfd5fc016cfd759.jpg Share your dog photos with NBC 6 for #NationalDogDay!

Photo Credit: danareasons]]>
<![CDATA[South Florida Celebrates National Dog Day!]]> Fri, 26 Aug 2016 10:32:00 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/160*120/Dino+Cute+Dog.jpg

Happy National Dog Day, South Florida!

Started in 2004 by pet and family lifestyle expert and animal advocate Colleen Paige, National Dog Day aims to recognize the number of dogs that need to be rescued each year, and also acknowledges the every day dogs that save lives, keep us safe, help make our lives easier and complete our families.

Besides sharing photos of our furry friends, dog owners and non-dog owners alike are encouraged to support National Dog Day by volunteering time or making a donation to their local animal shelter.

We want to see pictures of the dogs who bring joy and companionship to your life! Send us a photo and we will post it in a gallery on our website and app, and you may see it on our air!

Share your photos on social media using the hashtag #NBC6. Or upload them using the NBC News and Weather app!


This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Broward Humane Society Adoptable Pets]]> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 17:54:19 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/182*120/NBC6+new_Aphrodite.jpg Check out the pets available for adoption at the Broward Humane Society!]]> <![CDATA[Miami-Dade Animal Services Adoptable Pets]]> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 17:26:06 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/163*120/Tiger+A1357547.jpg Check out the furry friends available for adoption in Miami-Dade.]]> <![CDATA[Therapy Dog Joins Boynton Beach Police Force]]> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 17:18:41 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/082416+boynton+beach+police+therapy+dog+harley.jpg

Boynton Beach Police say they're the first municipal police department in Florida to employ a therapy dog.

The department announced Wednesday that Harley, a 3-year-old Beagle mix, has officially joined the force.

Harley has been partnered with Det. Astrel Labbe, a 14-year veteran who specializes in investigations of crimes against children and the elderly.

The therapy dog was trained at the Paws & Stripes College at the Brevard County Sheriff's Office and will continue training with Det. Labbe for the next week.



Photo Credit: Boynton Beach Police]]>
<![CDATA[Pig Gets Lost, Miramar Police Steps in and Saves the Day]]> Wed, 17 Aug 2016 19:26:29 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/160*160/piggetslost.jpg

A pet pig that wandered away from home was reunited with her owner Wednesday and it was all thanks to two Miramar Police officers.

A picture of the pig, named Mojo, being returned home by the officers was posted on the Miramar Police Department Twitter page with the following caption: "We'll get plenty of jokes, but felt this picture still deserved to be posted.‪#‎MiramarPD helped bring Mojo back to her owner."

Mojo appeared thrilled to be back home.



Photo Credit: Miramar Police Dept.]]>
<![CDATA[Broward Humane Society Adoptable Pets]]> Wed, 17 Aug 2016 16:55:45 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/182*120/NBC6+new_Freya1.jpg Check out the pets available for adoption at the Broward Humane Society!]]> <![CDATA[Miami-Dade Animal Services Adoptable Pets]]> Wed, 17 Aug 2016 14:22:58 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/180*120/Ryan+A1804605+%282%29.JPG Check out the furry friends available for adoption in Miami-Dade.]]> <![CDATA[SeaWorld Crews in Texas to Help Rescue Dolphin In Distress]]> Tue, 16 Aug 2016 07:01:28 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/181*120/081616+sea+world+dolphin+rescue+5.JPG

Photo Credit: Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network]]>
<![CDATA[Pooches in Pines Opens in Police Department]]> Fri, 12 Aug 2016 05:51:08 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/WTVJ_000000024987709_1200x675_742976067817.jpg Pooches in Pines opens up in the Pembroke Pines Police Department.]]> <![CDATA[Miami-Dade Animal Services Adoptable Pets]]> Thu, 11 Aug 2016 15:02:12 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/180*120/Carlos+A1801584.jpg Check out the furry friends available for adoption in Miami-Dade.]]> <![CDATA[Broward Humane Society Adoptable Pets]]> Thu, 11 Aug 2016 16:45:17 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/182*120/NBC6+new_Angelina.jpg Check out the pets available for adoption at the Broward Humane Society!]]> <![CDATA[Stuck Puppy Pulled From Under Storage Container in Homestead]]> Wed, 10 Aug 2016 23:39:11 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/081016+mdfr+dog+rescue.jpg

A stray puppy got a help from some human friends after getting trapped in a tight spot Wednesday morning.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue responded to the area of Northwest 11th Street and 4th Avenue in Homestead after receiving a call of a puppy that found his way under a storage container but couldn't get out.

Rescue crews used shovels and other tools to dig out the area around the container. They were able to safely pull the little guy from his cramped position.

The puppy was taken to a local animal shelter where he will be put up for adoption.



Photo Credit: Miami-Dade Fire Rescue]]>
<![CDATA[Zoo Miami Jaguar Undergoes Thorough Exam ]]> Tue, 09 Aug 2016 18:08:18 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/180*120/jaguar6.jpg Veterinarians at Zoo Miami perform an exam on 7-year old male jaguar, Adonis. The exam included an ultrasound, X-Rays, dental cleaning and blood and urine collection. Preliminary results of the exam were positive and indicated that Adonis is in excellent health.

Photo Credit: Zoo Miami]]>
<![CDATA[Jungle Island Welcomes Birth of Two Toed Sloth]]> Tue, 09 Aug 2016 11:58:59 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/160*160/jungle+island+sloth+1.jpg

Photo Credit: Jungle Island]]>
<![CDATA[Thunderstorm Anxiety and Pets]]> Fri, 05 Aug 2016 13:01:13 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/160*120/Storm+anxiety+and+pets+Dr+Kupkee.jpg

by Dr. Ian Kupkee

South Florida summers can be tough for pets.  They can be especially hard for one of mine.  At Casa Kupkee, we don’t even need to look for rainclouds to know when a storm is approaching. Our younger dog, Zohan, seems to know when a storm is coming, and he responds to said knowledge by attempting to glue himself to the nearest human body.

If you share your life with a pet like Zohan, you know the routine: shaking, panting, pacing, drooling, destructiveness, and lack of appetite, just to name a few.  Here are some suggestions to help your furry friends - and mine! - weather the storms.

Create a safe space

Like pets who deal with fireworks phobia, storm phobic pets need a safe space to ride out the event.  Unlike fireworks, however, tropical weather can be unpredictable, and often occurs when owners are not at home.  A closet can make for an ideal safe space, as they are dark, cozy, and partially soundproofed with hanging clothes.  A crate covered with a blanket and lined with bedding is also a great choice.   If you are home during a storm, take him to the safe space and stay with him if you can.  If he chooses a different one, that is okay too!  Reward his initiative with lots of praise and positive re-enforcement. 

Cats, on the other hand, will often find their own safe space, will and retreat to it as needed.  If you notice your kitty tends to disappear under a bed, or into a closet during storms, resist the urge to haul her out and “comfort” her.  This is a self-soothing behavior, and should be encouraged.  Do not restrict her access to these places, as this will only increase her level of anxiety.  Watch her carefully for any changes in her litter box habits.  Urinating outside the litter box, blood in the litter, and vocalizing in the litter box are just a few of the clinical signs that can signal the onset of stress-related urinary tract abnormalities. If your cat is showing any such signs, she needs to see your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Invest in a summer wardrobe

Zohan rocks the summer fashion scene with a tightly fitting garment that uses gentle pressure to soothe anxious pets. While not a miracle cure, it helps him tremendously, and many of our clients have also reported substantial improvement. It is available for both dogs and cats. Other wearable options boast linings which claim to help neutralize the charges that accompany electrical storms. This is not an endorsement of these products, but simply options from which you might choose.

Try synthetic pheromones

Synthetic pheromones mimic the pheromones of lactating mother dogs  or cats.  While undetectable to humans, they produce a calming scent our pets associate with feelings of security and safety.  Such pheromones create the sense of well-being and calm felt by puppies and kittens when their mommies are caring for them.  Synthetic pheromones are available as sprays, diffusers, or collars and the best prices can be found on Amazon.com.

Throw storm parties

If you are home with your dog during a thunderstorm, try running him through some basic obedience commands.  Reward him lavishly with lots of praise and high-value treats.  This is where trick training becomes your best friend.  The more tricks your dog knows, the more tools you have to distract him from his fear.  My wife is fond of telling clients that dogs are like us men - incapable of thinking about two things at the same time!  If your dog is focused  on tricks and games, he is less likely to focus on the sounds of impending doom.  

The trick is to get him to focus on you, so when I say high-value treats, I don’t mean dry kibble.  The potential for reward has to be so powerful that he sees his human companion as being more valuable than whatever is going on outside.  Look for training treats that are meaty, chewy, and heavily scented.  Each reward should be small, so he is motivated to do more.  This is not necessarily the time to teach new commands, but rather to go through his existing repertoire.  The feelings of mastery and accomplishment should displace those of anxiety and help to build his confidence.  It can also help create positive associations with storms, which will help him to cope with his fear when he is alone during a storm.  Our older dog, Grendel actually enjoys watching storms from our bedroom window!

If you have a young dog who does not appear to be storm phobic, teach these behaviors anyway.  Storm anxiety generally peaks at three to four years of age, so use this time to build his confidence and acquire the tools you may need later.

If your dog is too frightened to focus on you, do not force the issue.  His fear of disappointing you will only add to his fear of the weather event. Try tempting him with a favorite toy, or encouraging him to chase a ball around the house.  If that doesn’t work either, simply shut it down.  Never scold or punish your pet for being frightened, and never force him to “deal with it” by leaving him outside during a storm.  If none of these techniques work, this next step may be your only option.

Consider chemical courage

If none of the methods above seem to work with you pet, ask you veterninarian about medications that can help your pet stay calm during a storm.

In the past, veterinarians prescribed powerful sedatives to tranquilize pets during storms.  Recent research, however, has shown that while these drugs do a great job of shutting down the body, they do nothing to quiet the animal’s anxious mind.  The more modern approach is to prescribe anti-anxiety medications, many of which are given on a daily basis.  These medications take about two weeks to take effect, and it may take even more time to find the dose that is most helpful for your pet. 

Some of my clients start giving the medications in May, and discontinue them once hurricane season ends.  Since every pet is different, it is important to discuss this option with your veterinarian.  Most importantly, anti-anxiety medications are intended to be used in conjunction with behavioral modification.  When you talk to your vet about medication, be sure he or she also recommends a Certified Professional Dog Trainer.   Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a pharmaceutical fix-all.

To visit the NBC6.com "All About Animals" section, click here.

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Do you have a question for Dr. Kupkee?

Dr. Kupkee is the lead practitioner at Sabal Chase Animal Clinic

Do you have a question for Dr. Kupkee? Send him an email by clicking here.

Click here for special deals and discounts exclusively for NBC 6 viewers.

]]>
<![CDATA[8-Foot Alligator Captured on Key Biscayne]]> Thu, 04 Aug 2016 23:25:45 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/080416+alligator+key+biscayne.jpg

An 8-foot alligator was captured after it was spotted in a parking lot on Key Biscayne Thursday night.

A security guard at a water treatment facility called 911 after spotting the large gator in the parking lot near the Rickenbacker Causeway.

"About 8:53 p.m., I saw a big alligator just appear right there," guard Jean Rousseau said. "He might have come from the water behind the trees looking for food."

Trappers were called in and were able to get the gator, which was expected to be relocated to the Florida Everglades.



Photo Credit: NBC 6]]>
<![CDATA[Miami-Dade Animal Services Adoptable Pets]]> Thu, 04 Aug 2016 15:33:00 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/171*120/Tuti+A1294387.JPG Check out the furry friends available for adoption in Miami-Dade.]]> <![CDATA[Family Reunited With Family Pet After She Escaped Near MIA]]> Thu, 04 Aug 2016 16:40:41 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/165*120/080316+naples+family+reunited+with+dog+at+MIA.jpg

A family from Naples was more than happy to make a drive back to Miami after their beloved pet was found near Miami International Airport.

Monday, a dog named Tica hopped out of her family’s car while leaving the airport and heading home, running away before her owners could catch up. After notifying businesses in the area where Tica ran away, the family waited and hoped for some good news.

That good news came on Wednesday when the dog was reunited with her family after she was found near the airport’s Wildlife Management area, roughly two miles away from where she was last seen.

Officials say she somehow got across eight lanes of traffic and dealt with over 90 degree temperatures to get to the location she was spotted.



Photo Credit: Facebook / Miami International Airport]]>
<![CDATA[2 Dogs Drive Car Into West Va. Wal-Mart]]> Tue, 02 Aug 2016 10:15:03 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/NC_dogcrash0802_1920x1080.jpg Two small dogs left alone in a running car knocked the vehicle into gear, causing it to crash into a West Virginia Wal-Mart. ]]> <![CDATA[Clear the Shelters: Kenny]]> Sun, 31 Jul 2016 14:46:00 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/214*120/clear+the+shelters+kenny.jpg

Our pet of the week is Kenny, who is about five to six years of age and is looking for his forever home.

Tracy Calvino with Pooches in Pines stopped by NBC 6 on Saturday with Kenny. She said he is very chill and obedient. He loves to relax and is well-behaved.

Calvino said Kenny is great with others and is fully grown. He'll need to go to a loving home. Kenny loves to be around people.

If you're interested in Kenny, contact Pooches in Pines at (954) 431-2200 or visit their Facebook and Twitter pages for more information.

For more animal news or to view other pets up for adoption, visit our All About Animals page.



Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[Endangered Zebra Born at Zoo Miami]]> Wed, 27 Jul 2016 20:17:34 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/072716+zoo+miami+zebra.jpg

An endangered zebra that was born at Zoo Miami made its exhibit debut Tuesday.

The male Grevy's zebra was born Thursday after a gestation period of 13 months and weighed in at 102 pounds, zoo officials said.

The zebra was given a few days to bond with his mother before joining the exhibit. It's the 17th successful birth of the endangered species at Zoo Miami.

Grevy's zebras are the largest species of zebras and come from the horn of Africa in Kenya and Ethiopia.



Photo Credit: Zoo Miami]]>
<![CDATA[Olympic Athletes Play With Pups Ahead of the 2016 Rio Games]]> Mon, 15 Aug 2016 09:58:44 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/cts-olympics-thumb-triptych.jpg Puppies up for adoption in Southern California got their big break as stars of a People Magazine photoshoot with the Rio 2016 USA Olympic Team.]]> <![CDATA[Miami-Dade Animal Services Adoptable Pets]]> Wed, 27 Jul 2016 13:54:31 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/180*120/Achilles+A1566800.jpg Check out the furry friends available for adoption in Miami-Dade.]]> <![CDATA[Broward Humane Society Adoptable Pets]]> Wed, 27 Jul 2016 13:04:42 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/182*120/NBC6_Star1.jpg Check out the pets available for adoption at the Broward Humane Society!]]> <![CDATA[Pet Store Accidentally Sells Man's Bearded Dragon]]> Wed, 27 Jul 2016 09:18:10 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/160*128/san-francisco-zoo-bearded-dragon.jpg

A simple trip to the pet store in North Miami ended with a messy transaction for one owner of a bearded dragon lizard. He claims they sold his pet reptile by mistake.

For Brandon Cabrera, his beloved bearded dragon, Kenny, is more than just a pet.

"He sleeps with me." said Cabrera. "I'll put him on the pillow next to me sometimes and then really I mean, it's like part of the family."

But now he's without his scaly friend. Cabrera boarded up Kenny at a pet store when he was on vacation. But when he returned, he was faced with some lizard drama.

"The guy says listen man, we have bad news: one of the girls here, she's new, she just sold your bearded dragon to some guy," said Cabrera.

The mixed up transaction went down at Moc Reptiles in North Miami. The store owner did not want to speak to us on camera but he confirmed the mistake. The owner has terminated the employee who sold Kenny for $70 and tells us he is doing everything to track down the man who purchased the reptile. They even found him on Facebook.

"He was posting pictures with my bearded dragon," said Cabrera. "I messaged him and I even offered double the cash. I clicked on his profile and I was blocked, so that's kind of where we are right now this guy has blocked me."

So far Cabrera hasn't had any luck. He says the purchaser called the store and said he would bring Kenny back last Sunday, but the day came and went. He also tried calling the purchaser but the number was disconnected.

Cabrera has had Kenny for about than seven months and even built him a cage from scratch.

"If you would have told me a year ago that I'd be doing this for a lizard, I would have said you were crazy but he is part of the family now." said Cabrera. "It's literally like another pet; like anyone else's pet."

The store owner did offer to give Cabrera another lizard or even compensate him.

Cabrera says it's not the same: "At the end of the day he said that he's replace the lizard but that's like someone losing their dog and someone bringing a replacement dog. it's just not the same."

At this point Cabrera's hoping the man who mistakenly purchased Kenny will hear his plea so he can be reunited with his cold-blooded pet.

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<![CDATA[Pet of the Week: Balto]]> Sun, 24 Jul 2016 10:53:42 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/pet+of+the+week+balto.jpg

Our pet of the week is Balto, a two-year-old Husky mix, who is looking for his forever home.

Lisa Mendheim with Broward Animal Care stopped by NBC 6 on Sunday with Balto. She said Balto is very active and loving, and friendly.

Balto would make a great pet for a family with an active lifestyle.

If you're interested in Balto or other animals up for adoption, contact Broward Animal Care at (954) 359-1313.

For more animal news, visit our All About Animals section.



Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[2016 Clear The Shelters: Broward County Humane Society]]> Sat, 23 Jul 2016 17:55:05 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/160*212/hs+broward+544pm+1.jpg Let's clear the shelters!]]> <![CDATA[Clear The Shelters 2016: ADOPTED!]]> Sat, 23 Jul 2016 15:43:35 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/180*120/73e588382af246c98b377e2eb8871ac5.jpg

Click on the links below for photos of the animals adopted at all the participating South Florida shelters during #ClearTheShelters Day 2016.

These will be updated throughout the day, so keep checking back!

Last week, in preparation for Clear The Shelters, I shared my thoughts on South Florida’s alarmingly high shelter pet population.  Additionally. I shared my thoughts on our community’s low spay/neuter compliance rate, and the correlation between that, and the need for what is becoming an annual adoption event.

 

There are many reasons why conscientious pet owners do not spay or neuter their pets.  Some pets are poor candidates for anesthetic procedures, others still may benefit from waiting until adolescence or adulthood before having said procedures performed.  Such animals, however, are the exceptions, rather than the rules.

 

I also detailed whom I was not addressing in my “why do you have an intact pet?” rant, and offered some solutions for pet owners who are genuinely struggling.  In case you missed it, let me go over it again:

 

If your pet is not a candidate for an early spay/neuter procedure due to a legitimate veterinary concern, this next bit is not for you. Carry on, and spay or neuter your pet if and when your veterinarian decides the time is right. Ditto for those of you whose pets are not healthy enough to have surgery.

 

Additionally, if you are a licensed, responsible breeder of healthy, purpose-bred dogs, I am not addressing you either. Ditto for those of you with genetically strong specimens whose bloodlines will truly benefit future generations of the breed. Thanks for not sending me hate mail. Keep up the good work.

 

And once again,  if you would absolutely love to get your pet spayed or neutered, but simply cannot afford to do so, I am not calling you out either. I am no stranger to financial hardship. Trust me, you won’t see any poor shaming here. Click here for a list of organizations that will spay or neuter your pet at a steeply reduced price, or perhaps even for free. http://www.nbcmiami.com/news/local/Low-Cost-Spay-and-Neuter-Clinics-in-Miami-Dade-Broward-Palm-Beach-Monroe-Counties-386355091.html  These organizations are here to help, and would love for you to take advantage of their services.

 

If none of the above reasons apply to your pet, you undoubtedly have a reason for having an intact pet. Chances are, I’ve heard it before; and chances are, it’s bunk. Sadly, these misconceptions have been around for so long, that we tend to assume they are true.  So let’s do a little veterinary “mythbusting” as I share some of the most oft-repeated excuses for spay/neuter non-compliance.

 

“It makes them lazy and boring.”

 

While spaying and neutering will reduce a pet’s sex drive, that’s the only type of drive it affects. They will still retain their play drive, prey drive, activity level, protectiveness, eagerness to please, ability to work, and all the other things you love about them. In fact they will be more focused on the things you love about them because, as my wife so eloquently puts it, they will be thinking with the correct organ! The sex drive of a pet dog or cat can make them extremely unpleasant to live with. They can yowl, escape, fight, roam, and spray foul-smelling urine. Intact dogs are involved in roughly 90% of serious attacks on humans. https://www.avma.org/Advocacy/StateAndLocal/Pages/dogbite-summary.aspx These are the pets who bolt into traffic, dig under fences, destroy property, and make your neighbors hate you. They are often deemed “out of control” and surrendered to shelters - along with the unwanted offspring they produce. Both of our dogs were spayed and neutered before they were five months old. Grendel will swim until she is blue and shivering. Zohan is the Ironman of play. Lazy and boring? See for yourself.

 

Grendel running.jpgZ pool small.jpg

 

“It’s just so unnatural.”

 

So is killing over two million pets via lethal injection every year because there aren’t enough homes for them all. http://www.aspca.org/animal-homelessness/shelter-intake-and-surrender/pet-statistics

 

Cats and dogs are the quintessential genetically modified organisms.  There is no such thing is a free-ranging Schnauzer or an indigenous Golden Retriever. There is nothing natural about them.  Why we suddenly go into “granola mode” with regards to their reproductive organs is utterly beyond me.

 

A colleague of mine sometimes chides his clients by reminding them that rattlesnake venom is 100% natural and organic. In other words, not everything that’s natural is automatically good.

 

A spayed pet has a zero percent chance of developing a life-threatening uterine infection known as pyometra. Ditto for the risk of testicular cancer in neutered pets. The risk of metastatic breast cancer in intact female pets increases drastically with each heat cycle - and let’s not forget, our pets generally have between eight and ten breasts! And in nearly 20 years of practice, I’ve seen just one case of prostatic cancer in a neutered dog. For an intact male, this condition is almost inevitable -  dare I say, a “natural” progression of events.

 

“I really want one of his/her puppies!”

 

Just as every family has it’s black sheep, there is no guarantee the traits you love will be passed to the next generation. Breeding for temperament is something best left to qualified, experienced, professional breeders who know what the heck they are doing. I am nothing like anyone in my family, and I’m convinced my wife was left on her family’s doorstep by the fairy folk. Personality is not always an inherited trait.

 

If you still insist on breeding for “one of the puppies”, I would strongly encourage you to closely examine that sentence. There is a word included therein that saddens the hell out of me, and it should sadden the hell out of you too. Do you see it? Look closely...

 

One.

 

You want one of the puppies. She may have four. Or nine. Or twelve! What will become of the rest of them once you select the pick of the litter?

 

Don’t answer that. I know what you’re thinking. (I’ve been at this a while.) You’re thinking of the friends, coworkers and family members who have told you they would line up for one of Snowflake’s puppies! And yet what people say and what they ultimately do are often two separate things. Life changes quickly, and those surefire homes may be relocated, foreclosed upon, filled up with babies, or occupied by someone else’s surplus puppy.  Guess where that leaves Snowflake’s litter? You guessed it! Your friendly neighborhood shelter. If your friends and family members have puppy-ready homes, great! There are plenty in our shelters. And if we want said shelters to maintain their much-lauded, “no-kill” status, we as individuals must get our own houses in order. No-kill shelters are not sustainable in communities whose residents do not spay and neuter their pets. Period.

 

Folks, we all like to think our pets are special. I am absolutely besotted with mine. But in terms of the pet population’s gene pool, well...they’re not. I love them to pieces, but truth is truth. And if my dogs aren’t special enough to warrant a genetic legacy, chances are, yours aren’t either.

 

Next time, we’ll discuss even more of the reasons we don’t spay and neuter our pets! I’m sorry, did you think I was done? Like I said I’ve been at this a while, and I’ve got some good ones. Manliness, motherhood, miracles, educa

Last week, in preparation for Clear The Shelters, I shared my thoughts on South Florida’s alarmingly high shelter pet population.  Additionally. I shared my thoughts on our community’s low spay/neuter compliance rate, and the correlation between that, and the need for what is becoming an annual adoption event.

 

There are many reasons why conscientious pet owners do not spay or neuter their pets.  Some pets are poor candidates for anesthetic procedures, others still may benefit from waiting until adolescence or adulthood before having said procedures performed.  Such animals, however, are the exceptions, rather than the rules.

 

I also detailed whom I was not addressing in my “why do you have an intact pet?” rant, and offered some solutions for pet owners who are genuinely struggling.  In case you missed it, let me go over it again:

 

If your pet is not a candidate for an early spay/neuter procedure due to a legitimate veterinary concern, this next bit is not for you. Carry on, and spay or neuter your pet if and when your veterinarian decides the time is right. Ditto for those of you whose pets are not healthy enough to have surgery.

 

Additionally, if you are a licensed, responsible breeder of healthy, purpose-bred dogs, I am not addressing you either. Ditto for those of you with genetically strong specimens whose bloodlines will truly benefit future generations of the breed. Thanks for not sending me hate mail. Keep up the good work.

 

And once again,  if you would absolutely love to get your pet spayed or neutered, but simply cannot afford to do so, I am not calling you out either. I am no stranger to financial hardship. Trust me, you won’t see any poor shaming here. Click here for a list of organizations that will spay or neuter your pet at a steeply reduced price, or perhaps even for free. http://www.nbcmiami.com/news/local/Low-Cost-Spay-and-Neuter-Clinics-in-Miami-Dade-Broward-Palm-Beach-Monroe-Counties-386355091.html  These organizations are here to help, and would love for you to take advantage of their services.

 

If none of the above reasons apply to your pet, you undoubtedly have a reason for having an intact pet. Chances are, I’ve heard it before; and chances are, it’s bunk. Sadly, these misconceptions have been around for so long, that we tend to assume they are true.  So let’s do a little veterinary “mythbusting” as I share some of the most oft-repeated excuses for spay/neuter non-compliance.

 

“It makes them lazy and boring.”

 

While spaying and neutering will reduce a pet’s sex drive, that’s the only type of drive it affects. They will still retain their play drive, prey drive, activity level, protectiveness, eagerness to please, ability to work, and all the other things you love about them. In fact they will be more focused on the things you love about them because, as my wife so eloquently puts it, they will be thinking with the correct organ! The sex drive of a pet dog or cat can make them extremely unpleasant to live with. They can yowl, escape, fight, roam, and spray foul-smelling urine. Intact dogs are involved in roughly 90% of serious attacks on humans. https://www.avma.org/Advocacy/StateAndLocal/Pages/dogbite-summary.aspx These are the pets who bolt into traffic, dig under fences, destroy property, and make your neighbors hate you. They are often deemed “out of control” and surrendered to shelters - along with the unwanted offspring they produce. Both of our dogs were spayed and neutered before they were five months old. Grendel will swim until she is blue and shivering. Zohan is the Ironman of play. Lazy and boring? See for yourself.

 

 

 

“It’s just so unnatural.”

 

So is killing over two million pets via lethal injection every year because there aren’t enough homes for them all. http://www.aspca.org/animal-homelessness/shelter-intake-and-surrender/pet-statistics

 

Cats and dogs are the quintessential genetically modified organisms.  There is no such thing is a free-ranging Schnauzer or an indigenous Golden Retriever. There is nothing natural about them.  Why we suddenly go into “granola mode” with regards to their reproductive organs is utterly beyond me.

 

A colleague of mine sometimes chides his clients by reminding them that rattlesnake venom is 100% natural and organic. In other words, not everything that’s natural is automatically good.

 

A spayed pet has a zero percent chance of developing a life-threatening uterine infection known as pyometra. Ditto for the risk of testicular cancer in neutered pets. The risk of metastatic breast cancer in intact female pets increases drastically with each heat cycle - and let’s not forget, our pets generally have between eight and ten breasts! And in nearly 20 years of practice, I’ve seen just one case of prostatic cancer in a neutered dog. For an intact male, this condition is almost inevitable -  dare I say, a “natural” progression of events.

 

“I really want one of his/her puppies!”

 

Just as every family has it’s black sheep, there is no guarantee the traits you love will be passed to the next generation. Breeding for temperament is something best left to qualified, experienced, professional breeders who know what the heck they are doing. I am nothing like anyone in my family, and I’m convinced my wife was left on her family’s doorstep by the fairy folk. Personality is not always an inherited trait.

 

If you still insist on breeding for “one of the puppies”, I would strongly encourage you to closely examine that sentence. There is a word included therein that saddens the hell out of me, and it should sadden the hell out of you too. Do you see it? Look closely...

 

One.

 

You want one of the puppies. She may have four. Or nine. Or twelve! What will become of the rest of them once you select the pick of the litter?

 

Don’t answer that. I know what you’re thinking. (I’ve been at this a while.) You’re thinking of the friends, coworkers and family members who have told you they would line up for one of Snowflake’s puppies! And yet what people say and what they ultimately do are often two separate things. Life changes quickly, and those surefire homes may be relocated, foreclosed upon, filled up with babies, or occupied by someone else’s surplus puppy.  Guess where that leaves Snowflake’s litter? You guessed it! Your friendly neighborhood shelter. If your friends and family members have puppy-ready homes, great! There are plenty in our shelters. And if we want said shelters to maintain their much-lauded, “no-kill” status, we as individuals must get our own houses in order. No-kill shelters are not sustainable in communities whose residents do not spay and neuter their pets. Period.

 

Folks, we all like to think our pets are special. I am absolutely besotted with mine. But in terms of the pet population’s gene pool, well...they’re not. I love them to pieces, but truth is truth. And if my dogs aren’t special enough to warrant a genetic legacy, chances are, yours aren’t either.

 

Next time, we’ll discuss even more of the reasons we don’t spay and neuter our pets! I’m sorry, did you think I was done? Like I said I’ve been at this a while, and I’ve got some good ones. Manliness, motherhood, miracles, educational value...I’ve heard them all. And next time, so will you.

 

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go answer some hate mail…

tional value...I’ve heard them all. And next time, so will you.

 

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go answer some hate mail…



Photo Credit: Ashley Igo
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<![CDATA[2016 Clear The Shelters: Abandoned Pet Rescue]]> Sat, 23 Jul 2016 14:25:24 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/160*213/abandoned+pets+broward+215.JPG Let's clear the shelters!]]> <![CDATA[2016 Clear The Shelters: Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League]]> Sat, 23 Jul 2016 15:13:50 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/160*213/peggy+adams+312pm.JPG Let's clear the shelters!]]> <![CDATA[2016 Clear The Shelters: Upper Keys Humane Society]]> Sat, 23 Jul 2016 15:05:44 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/160*120/keys+250pm+1.JPG Let's clear the shelters!]]> <![CDATA[2016 Clear The Shelters: Humane Society of Greater Miami]]> Sat, 23 Jul 2016 17:39:37 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/163*120/hs+miami+534pm+1.jpg Let's clear the shelters!]]> <![CDATA[2016 Clear The Shelters: Broward Animal Care & Adoption]]> Sat, 23 Jul 2016 16:21:42 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/160*225/broward+acc+419pm+1.jpg Let's clear the shelters!]]> <![CDATA[2016 Clear The Shelters: Miami-Dade Animal Services Adopted]]> Sat, 23 Jul 2016 18:04:42 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/160*219/md+animal+services+601pm.jpg Let's clear the shelters!]]> <![CDATA[Broward Humane Society Adoptable Pets]]> Wed, 20 Jul 2016 15:56:13 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/182*120/NBC6_Allen.jpg Check out the pets available for adoption at the Broward Humane Society!]]> <![CDATA[A No-Kill Shelter Starts At Home: Part 2]]> Wed, 20 Jul 2016 12:32:20 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Doc+Kupkee+and+Ringo.JPG

by Dr. Ian Kupkee

Last week, in anticipation of Clear The Shelters, I began a series on the various and sundry reasons I’ve heard as to why pet owners resist the idea of spaying or neutering their pets. I also took great pains to explain that there are certain folks who are not the intended targets of my “why do you have an intact pet?” themed rants. As I’ve stated before, if your veterinarian feels your pet is not a candidate for surgery, or should not be spayed or neutered until it is more mature, you are off the hook. If you are a licensed, responsible breeder of health-tested, purpose-bred dogs, my gripe is not with you either.

And as I’ve said earlier, if you simply cannot afford to spay or neuter your pet, I am not calling you out either. On the contrary, I’ve put together a list of organizations that will spay or neuter your pet at a steeply discounted price, or perhaps even for free.

The reasons that make me fear for the sustainability of our shelter’s  vaunted no-kill status are the ones I hear from pet owners on a regular basis. Most don’t come from a place of ignorance, or even stubbornness.  Ironically, they come from a place of love, and of genuine concern. However in our zeal to treat pets as members of the family, we tend to forget that in many ways, they do not think like we do. This is manifested especially clearly in some of the reasons we give for not wanting to spay or neuter our pets.  Let’s take a look at some of more of the reasons for spay/neuter resistance. 

I could never deprive her of the experience of motherhood

For many humans parenthood is part of a life plan that begins percolating in childhood.  It is widely assumed we will grow up to raise children, regardless of whether or not we ultimately  choose that path. Because it is a societal expectation, we think about it. A lot. If and when it  happens, the rearing of our children occupies a large percentage of our time, energy, identity, and resources. This is not the case with our pets.

Dogs and cats live in the here and now. The don’t ponder possibilities, think of what could be, or wonder what the future might hold. Parenthood, as we know it, is not seen by our pets  as milestone or a goal.  For them, it is simply a biological urge that results in the production of offspring. Eight weeks after the offspring arrive, they are shipped off to new homes and gone from their mother’s lives forever. And you know what? Everybody just carries on living their lives.

Having babies is not a magical or life-changing experience for cats and dogs. They do not look into the eyes of that special someone and wonder what their future children will look like. They don’t worry about who will care for them when they’re old, or fantasize about hordes of happy grandbabies. They live in the moment. They live without care. And let’s face it - isn’t that one of the reasons why we love them? We kind of want to be them!  Your pet isn’t “missing out” on parenthood. She doesn’t know how to miss out.  Perhaps that is the true definition of joy.

I just want him to sow his wild oats once

Just like our pets don’t think about the future, likewise they don’t think about the past.  They live in a world devoid of a space-time continuum, and the oat-sowing experience will be promptly forgotten.  But the consequence of that singular act is a litter of puppies or kittens that are likely to end up in a shelter. It’s hard for us humans to wrap our heads around this one, but honestly, our pets don’t care if they “die as a virgin.” As long as there are car rides and belly rubs and squirrels, he’s going to be a happy camper. To quote a pithy Facebook meme, the only balls he cares about are the ones he fetches.  Seriously. Just neuter him.

I want my children to witness the miracle of birth

In the day and age of the internet there is no reason to use this as an excuse to breed an animal. YouTube is a treasure trove of birthing videos involving cats, dogs, livestock - even humans!  And if the miracle of human birth is the lesson you’re after, a digital education should leave very few questions unanswered. Videos of women giving birth in hospitals, at home, in birthing pools and in nature are just a few easy clicks away. And unlike the real deal, you as a parent can pre-screen them all.

While the process of birth is natural - and yes, very cool - anyone who’s ever been in or near a birthing situation can tell you things sometimes go wrong. And when the unexpected happens, it often happens dramatically and quickly.  Pets can die while giving birth. They may need an emergency c-section you cannot afford. She may bleed to death while you race to the vet’s office. The babies could be stillborn. Or the birth could go smoothly, only to have your pet refuse to care for her own babies.  It is utterly heartbreaking to watch these things happen. Ask yourself if you really want your children to witness them as well.

I’ll make good money selling her puppies

How can I put this delicately?

Um. no. You won’t.

I have clients who literally laugh in the faces of people who say this in our lobby.  They too, thought the same thing. They lost money, spayed the dog, and vowed never to breed a dog again. Remember the emergency c-section I mentioned? They’re complicated procedures which are not cheap. Your dog may need one of those. In order to be sold legally, each puppy must be vaccinated, dewormed and microchipped. And there is always the chance that one or more puppy will require extensive veterinary care.

Sure there are puppies and kittens being advertised online for thousands of dollars apiece.  But those kinds of prices are fetched for animals with impeccable and well-documented bloodlines.  They are bred by professionals who know what they’re doing. They often test their breeding stock for genetic markers that indicate a tendency towards breed-specific, inherited diseases. They are happy to provide you with references from people who have bought from them in the past, and by the way, they will likely want  to “interview” you as well. They charge what their puppies and kittens are worth, and the money you pay a good breeder represents money you will probably not pay a vet. Even so, many of these diligent professionals barely break even. They do it for the love of the breed. The money is negligible at best. Please do not be fooled into thinking that breeding a cute pet with another cute pet is a viable source of income. Potential buyers will not want to pay for a pet without a documented history. You’re likely to end up giving them away, or surrendering them to a shelter in order to cut your losses.

I’m not from here. And where I come from, we don’t do that to animals.

I’m not from here either, so I can relate to this one. I love this country deeply. I chose to come here, but like many immigrants there are things about it I suspect I will never understand. However, what I do understand is that while I am not expected to lose my identity or surrender my culture,  I am expected to assimilate.

Where I come from, we don’t “do that to animals” either. But part of being a responsible citizen of the country that welcomed me is being a responsible pet owner as well.  That means all of us doing our part to keep unwanted pets from flooding our shelters and roaming our streets. It means stepping out of our comfort zones and looking beyond our cultures to do what is right for our animals.  It means spaying and neutering the animals in our care. Period. It’s our adopted country’s societal expectation, and it’s in the best interest of our pets. 

This country was kind enough to provide us with a home. Sadly, the same cannot be said for all of its animals.  The no-kill status of the animal shelter in our adopted community will only be sustainable if we as individuals take responsibility for making it so. 

And that responsibility begins at home.

---

Do you have a question for Dr. Kupkee?

Dr. Kupkee is the lead practitioner at Sabal Chase Animal Clinic

Do you have a question for Dr. Kupkee? Send him an email by clicking here.

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Last week, in preparation for Clear The Shelters, I shared my thoughts on South Florida’s alarmingly high shelter pet population.  Additionally. I shared my thoughts on our community’s low spay/neuter compliance rate, and the correlation between that, and the need for what is becoming an annual adoption event.

 

There are many reasons why conscientious pet owners do not spay or neuter their pets.  Some pets are poor candidates for anesthetic procedures, others still may benefit from waiting until adolescence or adulthood before having said procedures performed.  Such animals, however, are the exceptions, rather than the rules.

 

I also detailed whom I was not addressing in my “why do you have an intact pet?” rant, and offered some solutions for pet owners who are genuinely struggling.  In case you missed it, let me go over it again:

 

If your pet is not a candidate for an early spay/neuter procedure due to a legitimate veterinary concern, this next bit is not for you. Carry on, and spay or neuter your pet if and when your veterinarian decides the time is right. Ditto for those of you whose pets are not healthy enough to have surgery.

 

Additionally, if you are a licensed, responsible breeder of healthy, purpose-bred dogs, I am not addressing you either. Ditto for those of you with genetically strong specimens whose bloodlines will truly benefit future generations of the breed. Thanks for not sending me hate mail. Keep up the good work.

 

And once again,  if you would absolutely love to get your pet spayed or neutered, but simply cannot afford to do so, I am not calling you out either. I am no stranger to financial hardship. Trust me, you won’t see any poor shaming here. Click here for a list of organizations that will spay or neuter your pet at a steeply reduced price, or perhaps even for free. http://www.nbcmiami.com/news/local/Low-Cost-Spay-and-Neuter-Clinics-in-Miami-Dade-Broward-Palm-Beach-Monroe-Counties-386355091.html  These organizations are here to help, and would love for you to take advantage of their services.

 

If none of the above reasons apply to your pet, you undoubtedly have a reason for having an intact pet. Chances are, I’ve heard it before; and chances are, it’s bunk. Sadly, these misconceptions have been around for so long, that we tend to assume they are true.  So let’s do a little veterinary “mythbusting” as I share some of the most oft-repeated excuses for spay/neuter non-compliance.

 

“It makes them lazy and boring.”

 

While spaying and neutering will reduce a pet’s sex drive, that’s the only type of drive it affects. They will still retain their play drive, prey drive, activity level, protectiveness, eagerness to please, ability to work, and all the other things you love about them. In fact they will be more focused on the things you love about them because, as my wife so eloquently puts it, they will be thinking with the correct organ! The sex drive of a pet dog or cat can make them extremely unpleasant to live with. They can yowl, escape, fight, roam, and spray foul-smelling urine. Intact dogs are involved in roughly 90% of serious attacks on humans. https://www.avma.org/Advocacy/StateAndLocal/Pages/dogbite-summary.aspx These are the pets who bolt into traffic, dig under fences, destroy property, and make your neighbors hate you. They are often deemed “out of control” and surrendered to shelters - along with the unwanted offspring they produce. Both of our dogs were spayed and neutered before they were five months old. Grendel will swim until she is blue and shivering. Zohan is the Ironman of play. Lazy and boring? See for yourself.

 

Grendel running.jpgZ pool small.jpg

 

“It’s just so unnatural.”

 

So is killing over two million pets via lethal injection every year because there aren’t enough homes for them all. http://www.aspca.org/animal-homelessness/shelter-intake-and-surrender/pet-statistics

 

Cats and dogs are the quintessential genetically modified organisms.  There is no such thing is a free-ranging Schnauzer or an indigenous Golden Retriever. There is nothing natural about them.  Why we suddenly go into “granola mode” with regards to their reproductive organs is utterly beyond me.

 

A colleague of mine sometimes chides his clients by reminding them that rattlesnake venom is 100% natural and organic. In other words, not everything that’s natural is automatically good.

 

A spayed pet has a zero percent chance of developing a life-threatening uterine infection known as pyometra. Ditto for the risk of testicular cancer in neutered pets. The risk of metastatic breast cancer in intact female pets increases drastically with each heat cycle - and let’s not forget, our pets generally have between eight and ten breasts! And in nearly 20 years of practice, I’ve seen just one case of prostatic cancer in a neutered dog. For an intact male, this condition is almost inevitable -  dare I say, a “natural” progression of events.

 

“I really want one of his/her puppies!”

 

Just as every family has it’s black sheep, there is no guarantee the traits you love will be passed to the next generation. Breeding for temperament is something best left to qualified, experienced, professional breeders who know what the heck they are doing. I am nothing like anyone in my family, and I’m convinced my wife was left on her family’s doorstep by the fairy folk. Personality is not always an inherited trait.

 

If you still insist on breeding for “one of the puppies”, I would strongly encourage you to closely examine that sentence. There is a word included therein that saddens the hell out of me, and it should sadden the hell out of you too. Do you see it? Look closely...

 

One.

 

You want one of the puppies. She may have four. Or nine. Or twelve! What will become of the rest of them once you select the pick of the litter?

 

Don’t answer that. I know what you’re thinking. (I’ve been at this a while.) You’re thinking of the friends, coworkers and family members who have told you they would line up for one of Snowflake’s puppies! And yet what people say and what they ultimately do are often two separate things. Life changes quickly, and those surefire homes may be relocated, foreclosed upon, filled up with babies, or occupied by someone else’s surplus puppy.  Guess where that leaves Snowflake’s litter? You guessed it! Your friendly neighborhood shelter. If your friends and family members have puppy-ready homes, great! There are plenty in our shelters. And if we want said shelters to maintain their much-lauded, “no-kill” status, we as individuals must get our own houses in order. No-kill shelters are not sustainable in communities whose residents do not spay and neuter their pets. Period.

 

Folks, we all like to think our pets are special. I am absolutely besotted with mine. But in terms of the pet population’s gene pool, well...they’re not. I love them to pieces, but truth is truth. And if my dogs aren’t special enough to warrant a genetic legacy, chances are, yours aren’t either.

 

Next time, we’ll discuss even more of the reasons we don’t spay and neuter our pets! I’m sorry, did you think I was done? Like I said I’ve been at this a while, and I’ve got some good ones. Manliness, motherhood, miracles, educa

Last week, in preparation for Clear The Shelters, I shared my thoughts on South Florida’s alarmingly high shelter pet population.  Additionally. I shared my thoughts on our community’s low spay/neuter compliance rate, and the correlation between that, and the need for what is becoming an annual adoption event.

 

There are many reasons why conscientious pet owners do not spay or neuter their pets.  Some pets are poor candidates for anesthetic procedures, others still may benefit from waiting until adolescence or adulthood before having said procedures performed.  Such animals, however, are the exceptions, rather than the rules.

 

I also detailed whom I was not addressing in my “why do you have an intact pet?” rant, and offered some solutions for pet owners who are genuinely struggling.  In case you missed it, let me go over it again:

 

If your pet is not a candidate for an early spay/neuter procedure due to a legitimate veterinary concern, this next bit is not for you. Carry on, and spay or neuter your pet if and when your veterinarian decides the time is right. Ditto for those of you whose pets are not healthy enough to have surgery.

 

Additionally, if you are a licensed, responsible breeder of healthy, purpose-bred dogs, I am not addressing you either. Ditto for those of you with genetically strong specimens whose bloodlines will truly benefit future generations of the breed. Thanks for not sending me hate mail. Keep up the good work.

 

And once again,  if you would absolutely love to get your pet spayed or neutered, but simply cannot afford to do so, I am not calling you out either. I am no stranger to financial hardship. Trust me, you won’t see any poor shaming here. Click here for a list of organizations that will spay or neuter your pet at a steeply reduced price, or perhaps even for free. http://www.nbcmiami.com/news/local/Low-Cost-Spay-and-Neuter-Clinics-in-Miami-Dade-Broward-Palm-Beach-Monroe-Counties-386355091.html  These organizations are here to help, and would love for you to take advantage of their services.

 

If none of the above reasons apply to your pet, you undoubtedly have a reason for having an intact pet. Chances are, I’ve heard it before; and chances are, it’s bunk. Sadly, these misconceptions have been around for so long, that we tend to assume they are true.  So let’s do a little veterinary “mythbusting” as I share some of the most oft-repeated excuses for spay/neuter non-compliance.

 

“It makes them lazy and boring.”

 

While spaying and neutering will reduce a pet’s sex drive, that’s the only type of drive it affects. They will still retain their play drive, prey drive, activity level, protectiveness, eagerness to please, ability to work, and all the other things you love about them. In fact they will be more focused on the things you love about them because, as my wife so eloquently puts it, they will be thinking with the correct organ! The sex drive of a pet dog or cat can make them extremely unpleasant to live with. They can yowl, escape, fight, roam, and spray foul-smelling urine. Intact dogs are involved in roughly 90% of serious attacks on humans. https://www.avma.org/Advocacy/StateAndLocal/Pages/dogbite-summary.aspx These are the pets who bolt into traffic, dig under fences, destroy property, and make your neighbors hate you. They are often deemed “out of control” and surrendered to shelters - along with the unwanted offspring they produce. Both of our dogs were spayed and neutered before they were five months old. Grendel will swim until she is blue and shivering. Zohan is the Ironman of play. Lazy and boring? See for yourself.

 

 

 

“It’s just so unnatural.”

 

So is killing over two million pets via lethal injection every year because there aren’t enough homes for them all. http://www.aspca.org/animal-homelessness/shelter-intake-and-surrender/pet-statistics

 

Cats and dogs are the quintessential genetically modified organisms.  There is no such thing is a free-ranging Schnauzer or an indigenous Golden Retriever. There is nothing natural about them.  Why we suddenly go into “granola mode” with regards to their reproductive organs is utterly beyond me.

 

A colleague of mine sometimes chides his clients by reminding them that rattlesnake venom is 100% natural and organic. In other words, not everything that’s natural is automatically good.

 

A spayed pet has a zero percent chance of developing a life-threatening uterine infection known as pyometra. Ditto for the risk of testicular cancer in neutered pets. The risk of metastatic breast cancer in intact female pets increases drastically with each heat cycle - and let’s not forget, our pets generally have between eight and ten breasts! And in nearly 20 years of practice, I’ve seen just one case of prostatic cancer in a neutered dog. For an intact male, this condition is almost inevitable -  dare I say, a “natural” progression of events.

 

“I really want one of his/her puppies!”

 

Just as every family has it’s black sheep, there is no guarantee the traits you love will be passed to the next generation. Breeding for temperament is something best left to qualified, experienced, professional breeders who know what the heck they are doing. I am nothing like anyone in my family, and I’m convinced my wife was left on her family’s doorstep by the fairy folk. Personality is not always an inherited trait.

 

If you still insist on breeding for “one of the puppies”, I would strongly encourage you to closely examine that sentence. There is a word included therein that saddens the hell out of me, and it should sadden the hell out of you too. Do you see it? Look closely...

 

One.

 

You want one of the puppies. She may have four. Or nine. Or twelve! What will become of the rest of them once you select the pick of the litter?

 

Don’t answer that. I know what you’re thinking. (I’ve been at this a while.) You’re thinking of the friends, coworkers and family members who have told you they would line up for one of Snowflake’s puppies! And yet what people say and what they ultimately do are often two separate things. Life changes quickly, and those surefire homes may be relocated, foreclosed upon, filled up with babies, or occupied by someone else’s surplus puppy.  Guess where that leaves Snowflake’s litter? You guessed it! Your friendly neighborhood shelter. If your friends and family members have puppy-ready homes, great! There are plenty in our shelters. And if we want said shelters to maintain their much-lauded, “no-kill” status, we as individuals must get our own houses in order. No-kill shelters are not sustainable in communities whose residents do not spay and neuter their pets. Period.

 

Folks, we all like to think our pets are special. I am absolutely besotted with mine. But in terms of the pet population’s gene pool, well...they’re not. I love them to pieces, but truth is truth. And if my dogs aren’t special enough to warrant a genetic legacy, chances are, yours aren’t either.

 

Next time, we’ll discuss even more of the reasons we don’t spay and neuter our pets! I’m sorry, did you think I was done? Like I said I’ve been at this a while, and I’ve got some good ones. Manliness, motherhood, miracles, educational value...I’ve heard them all. And next time, so will you.

 

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go answer some hate mail…

tional value...I’ve heard them all. And next time, so will you.

 

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go answer some hate mail…

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<![CDATA[A No-Kill Shelter Starts At Home: Part 1]]> Mon, 18 Jul 2016 11:59:38 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/160*120/Doc+Kupkee+and+Murphy.JPG

by Dr. Ian Kupkee

Last week, in preparation for Clear The Shelters, I shared my thoughts on South Florida’s alarmingly high shelter pet population.  Additionally. I shared my thoughts on our community’s low spay/neuter compliance rate, and the correlation between that, and the need for what is becoming an annual adoption event.

There are many reasons why conscientious pet owners do not spay or neuter their pets.  Some pets are poor candidates for anesthetic procedures, others still may benefit from waiting until adolescence or adulthood before having said procedures performed.  Such animals, however, are the exceptions, rather than the rules.

I also detailed whom I was not addressing in my “why do you have an intact pet?” rant, and offered some solutions for pet owners who are genuinely struggling.  In case you missed it, let me go over it again:

If your pet is not a candidate for an early spay/neuter procedure due to a legitimate veterinary concern, this next bit is not for you. Carry on, and spay or neuter your pet if and when your veterinarian decides the time is right. Ditto for those of you whose pets are not healthy enough to have surgery.

Additionally, if you are a licensed, responsible breeder of healthy, purpose-bred dogs, I am not addressing you either. Ditto for those of you with genetically strong specimens whose bloodlines will truly benefit future generations of the breed. Thanks for not sending me hate mail. Keep up the good work.

And once again,  if you would absolutely love to get your pet spayed or neutered, but simply cannot afford to do so, I am not calling you out either. I am no stranger to financial hardship. Trust me, you won’t see any poor shaming here. Click here for a list of organizations that will spay or neuter your pet at a steeply reduced price, or perhaps even for free. These organizations are here to help, and would love for you to take advantage of their services.

If none of the above reasons apply to your pet, you undoubtedly have a reason for having an intact pet. Chances are, I’ve heard it before; and chances are, it’s bunk. Sadly, these misconceptions have been around for so long, that we tend to assume they are true.  So let’s do a little veterinary “mythbusting” as I share some of the most oft-repeated excuses for spay/neuter non-compliance.

It makes them lazy and boring

While spaying and neutering will reduce a pet’s sex drive, that’s the only type of drive it affects. They will still retain their play drive, prey drive, activity level, protectiveness, eagerness to please, ability to work, and all the other things you love about them. In fact they will be more focused on the things you love about them because, as my wife so eloquently puts it, they will be thinking with the correct organ!

The sex drive of a pet dog or cat can make them extremely unpleasant to live with. They can yowl, escape, fight, roam, and spray foul-smelling urine. Intact dogs are involved in roughly 90 percent of serious attacks on humans. These are the pets who bolt into traffic, dig under fences, destroy property, and make your neighbors hate you. They are often deemed "out of control" and surrendered to shelters - along with the unwanted offspring they produce. Both of our dogs were spayed and neutered before they were five months old. Grendel will swim until she is blue and shivering. Zohan is the Ironman of play. Lazy and boring? See for yourself.