By Diane Dash
Muffy's coughed up another hairball and Dexter
Grandma's new orthopedic shoes. Your parakeet is sneezing, your fish seem
lethargic and that normally bright-eyed and bushy-tailed silly wabbit seems
depressed. What do you do, what do you do?
Many of us with "multi-cultural" families
a variety of species that all need tending to. Since consulting a vet or
behaviorist for each symptom or odd behavior can be costly and time-consuming
(not to mention stressful for the patient) perusing a pet-related web site can
be the first step in determining an appropriate course of action for whatever
ails your little darlings.
There are several online resources with an abundance of
information about common health and behavior problems. Each of the following sites
stresses that their goal is education, and is not meant to replace veterinary
care. If your pet has severe symptoms such as rapid blood loss or labored
breathing they should be taken to a licensed vet or animal hospital
Veterinarypartner.com is a spin-off of the Veterinary
Information Network (vin.com), an online resource that provides veterinarians
and the veterinary industry with information and tools that address the needs
of a veterinary practice. The lay person web site is a great way to educate
oneself on common medical conditions and treatments. Explanations of frequently
prescribed pharmaceuticals are covered along with information on proper dental
care, animal dermatology, pet nutrition and the dangers of antifreeze or
noxious house plants.
Ailments ranging from bladder stones, allergies and cat
scratch fever to irritable bowel syndrome, marijuana toxicity and nicotine
poisoning are explained in terms that the medically-challenged can understand.
is also an "Ask a Vet" feature which
allows users to interactively pose questions to a qualified professional. A
section for those of you with scaled rather than furry companions offers a
wealth of reptile-related facts and advice, in other words, there's no need to
worry if your iguana spends all her time either eating or basking in the sun.
know the most common disease of adult dogs and
cats is dental disease?
Healthypet.com is run by the American Animal Hospital
Association (AAHA), which provides standards for hospitals and pet health care
services. This site offers tips on how to choose a veterinarian or animal
hospital, such as asking for a tour of the facility, or verifying that gas
anesthesia is used and its lab equipment is modern and up-to-date.
AAHA accredits hospitals
based on criteria such as
contagious disease protocols, radiology services and staff continuing education
and training. The site allows searches for local approved hospitals in addition
to information on parasites, senior care, and FAQ's on dogs, cats, exotics and
topics such as pet health insurance. There's also a coloring page with
printable posters and a display of past coloring contest winners' artwork.
Did you know
animals can develop cancer from secondhand
Peteducation.com is operated by Drs. Foster & Smith,
founders of the well-known pet product catalog and online business. Their site
offers 2800 articles on pet health and well-being ranging from care and
training to travelling with your bird and estate planning for nonhuman family
This site contains some interesting resources including a
dictionary of veterinary terms, training videos on topics such as how to
properly clean your dog's ears, and a conversion chart for apothecary and fluid
equivalents. It also provides information on alternative and holistic medicine
including commonly used vitamins, herbs, and natural supplements such as
acidophilus, which can replace the "friendly" bacteria often killed
by antibiotic use.
Think you know a lot about animals? This site also offers
quizzes to test your "pet IQ."
Did you know
Dalmatians are born without their spots?
Animed.org is produced by the ASPCA. This site
general information on common health and behavior issues for dogs, cats, birds,
rabbits, fish, gerbils, rats, ferrets, mice, guinea pigs and hamsters. The
ASPCA's site is very focused on issues such as how to choose the right
companion and then keep them in the home. Problems such as digging or barking,
or the best way to give cats oral medications are addressed. Felines who need
regular medication generally require a few tools, one being a good towel to
wrap them in. A pill popper can also be a smart investment. As someone who's
been inadvertently bitten while someone else clamped their jaw shut on my
fingers to keep the offensive object out of their throat I highly recommend
this purchase ($5.99 at PetSmart).
If you have birds, use only non-Teflon cookware.
fumes from self-cleaning ovens and Teflon- or Silverstone-coated pans can kill
Did you know rabbit and rodent teeth grow continuously?
with our own health, learning as much as we can about
how to keep everyone healthy will also keep everyone happy. The more you know
about your pet's medical, nutritional and behavioral needs the better off
you'll both (or all) be. Try these sites out for yourself, you might be
surprised at what you'll learn. And don't forget to play and cuddle with your
creatures. That's the best and cheapest preventative medicine of all!
Diane Dash works
to educate the public about animal
issues and how they affect human beings. She has seven years shelter experience
and many more as a voice for the voiceless and furry, feathered or finned.