Monthly Archives: October 2015

Black Cats & Halloween

October is all about Halloween and what screams (pardon the pun) more about Halloween than black cats.  I wanted to give you some fun facts about the seemingly “unlucky” beautiful creatures known as black cats and the superstitions surrounding them.

The folklore surrounding black cats varies from country to country and culture to culture.  In Scotland, the arrival of a strange black cat to a home signifies prosperity.  In Celtic mythology, a fairy names the Cat Sith takes the form of a black cat.  In Asia and England, black cats are considered lucky and lady who owns a black cat will have many suitors.

However, the black cat superstitions began in Western history.  Black cats were looked at as evil omens and suspected of being witch familiars.  This brought about the belief that blacks were a symbol of bad luck.  If a black cat crosses your path, it was considered an omen of misfortune and even death.  Germany takes it a step farther in believing that if a black cat crosses your path from right to left,  this is a bad omen but if the black cat crosses from left to right, the cat is granting luck.

When the pilgrims arrived at Plymouth Rock, they brought (along with a devout faith in the Bible) a view that anything deemed of Satan was viewed as evil.  Unfortunately, the black cat fell under this suspicion.  Anyone caught with a black cat would be severely punished.  These same beliefs led to the killing of black cats in the Middle Ages.  Midsummer bonfires were held as a large scale massacre of “satanic” cats.

However, sometimes the supernatural powers of the Black Cat were viewed as something positive.  Sailors wanted a black cat as the “ship’s cat” in order to bring good luck.  Fisherman’s wives would keep black cats at home in order to use their power to protect their husbands at sea.

In ancient Egypt, all cats were worshiped and considered sacred.  Mainly, the black cat was found to be especially sacred, which was attributed to the Egyptian cat goddess “Bast”.  Household in Egypt believed that having a black cat would increase favor with goddess and bring good fortune to the home.

Unfortunately some of the negative beliefs still exist in modern times.  Black cats have been found to have the lowest adoption rate in American animal shelters.  Some shelters even suspend black cat adoption in the month of October due to the fear of the cats being tortured, killed, or used a “live” decorations.

Please remember that cats, no matter the color, are still cats.  Cats make wonderful pets and are independent enough that you have to “earn” their adoration and affection.  It seems that they have never forgotten that at one time they were worshiped.  After all, it’s not easy being King.  Just ask Four.  He has his loyal subjects and his own personal staff.  It’s tough but he makes it look easy.

Rain = Mosquitoes = Heartworms

                Hello from Animal Emergency Hospital of St. Johns.  How about all this rain we’ve been getting lately?  I think we may need to get Four some arm waders soon just to keep him afloat.  Although, I think he would prefer his own yacht complete with a staff to fulfill his every whim.  Oh wait!  He already has a staff for that, now he just needs a big boat.
               Speaking of rain…do you know who else loves these damp conditions?  Mosquitoes!  Those nasty little bloodsuckers are prominent in our area and this rain can make their population skyrocket.  Not only do these bugs cause itchy bites, they can also carry and spread heartworms in our beloved pets.  The mosquito has the starring role in the heartworm life cycle.
                Adult female heartworms live in an infected dog and produce microscopic baby worms called microfilaria.  These microfilarias circulate in the bloodstream and when mosquito will take a blood meal from the infected dog, the mosquito becomes a carrier.   These baby worms will then develop into larvae over a period of 10 to 14 days.  When the infected mosquito bites another dog, the larvae are deposited on the animal’s skin and enter the new host through the mosquito bite.  Once inside the host, the microfilaria can mature into adult heartworms within the animal’s heart in about 6 months.  Once mature, heartworms can live for 5-7 years in dogs.
What are the symptoms of heartworm disease?  Many dogs show little to no symptoms in the early stages of heartworm disease.  The longer the infection goes on, the more likely symptoms will develop.  Signs and symptoms may include a mild persistent cough, fatigue after exercise, decreased appetite, and weight loss.  As the disease progresses, more serious symptoms may present such as heart failure and the appearance of a swollen abdomen due to excess fluid.   In serious cases, symptoms include labored breathing, pale gums, dark bloody urine, and death.
So what can you do to combat this deadly disease?  You can try eradicating mosquitoes from all of the great state of Florida.  Or you can treat your pet with a monthly heartworm preventative.  With a prescription for heartworm prevention you can help prevent your pet from ever experiences the symptoms of heartworm disease.   Heartworm preventions works by killing the microfilaria.  Heartworms must be eliminated before reaching the adult stage so we recommend a monthly preventive that can be either topical (Advantage Multi) or oral (Interceptor or Iverhart).
                  We recommend yearly heartworm blood tests and monthly preventative in order to eliminate heartworms and keep your pet healthy and happy.  We gladly stock Advantage Multi which is a topical heartworm prevention that also kills adult fleas, treat and controls roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms, and also treats sarcoptic mange.  We also have oral Interceptor and Iverhart which prevent heartworm disease and treats roundworms and hookworms.   If you have questions about what preventative would work for you and your pet, please feel free to call us at (904)794-5071.

October Is National Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Month!

What breed of dog makes the most ideal pet for your family?  A shelter dog of course!  There are hundreds upon thousands of homeless dogs in shelters around the world right now who are looking for homes and loving families.  October is the best time to adopt a new friend.  Working in the veterinary medicine world, you get to meet a lot of the lucky ones who find their forever home.  Even some of our own have adopted their fur babies.

Speaking of homeless pets looking for a forever home.  We have a very handsome bulldog named Charlie that is currently looking for a loving home.  Charlie had a rough start in life, but he’s a survivor.  He’s a big sweetheart that has a lot of love to give to the right family.  If you’re interested in our handsome Charles, please feel free to give us a call.  We’d love for you to meet this big hearted fellow.

This is Charlie enjoying his first ever “Bulldog Birthday Party!”

 

To quote Bob Barker from the Price is Right: “Please remember to spay or neuter your pets.”

If you’re lonely and looking for that special four legged friend, seek out a shelter to help find a wonderful pet.  You won’t regret it.  I speak from experience!