04-2012 April

Fatal Dog Attack
Our sympathy goes out to the family of the Henderson infant killed by their Mastiff mix. The attack comes unfortunately just before National Dog Bite Prevention Week May 20-26th.

Fatal dog attacks such as this are rare. With near 78 million dogs in the U.S., the number of fatal attacks reportedly was 31 nationwide in 2011. However, all would agree that one case is too many.

Dogs have become members of our human families, but still possess canine behaviors and will respond as a dog, not as a human would. Infants vocalizations, small stature, crawling, and quick movements mimic prey behavior, and can elicit a dog to respond aggressively when they might not otherwise

Even well-trained, beloved pets can bite if they are nervous, fearful, or provoked. And since 86% of dog bites occur at home involving children and the family dog, pet owners with children should learn non-verbal canine communication. Signs a dog is nervous or may bite include growling, raised hackles, ears tucked back, eyes looking away from an individual, licking lips, and tail tucked low.

Tips to raise dogs with children:

Spay & neuter:  It is reported that 75% of reported bites are by intact male dogs. Spaying and neutering can decrease aggression in both sexes.

Obedience train: All dogs should be taught to follow basic obedience and leash commands.

Provide positive rewards:  Dogs should receive affection and positive rewards only when children are around. This positive association teaches tolerance to the children’s presence.

Avoid rough play: Avoid all wrestling and play fighting with dogs- this teaches dogs that it is acceptable to bite the human hand.

Constantly supervise:  Small children should never be left alone with dogs. Children should not be permitted to pull on dog’s body, ears, or tail. Do not allow children to approach dog’s face-to-face- the direct eye contact and close facial distance may be perceived as threatening.

For more information on dog bite prevention visit the AVMA’s website: www.avma.org/public_health/dogbite

Ask Dr. Debbie

april12Q: I was told my male Shih Tzu’s testicles didn’t drop. Is this a problem when neutering him?

A: Your dog was diagnosed with Cryptorchidism, a common reproductive abnormality where one or both testicles fail to descend to the scrotal region. Dogs have both testicles, but they may be located in the groin area or inside the abdominal cavity.

You are wise to have him neutered since cryptorchid dogs can have 9-13 times greater risk of testicular cancer if not neutered. And since this condition may be passed to male offspring, neutering helps to prevent passing on this trait.

Being cryptorchid doesn’t create a problem for neutering, but just means that your doc will locate the testicle in either of those areas. Costs may be higher than typical neuter, and surgical recovery is a bit longer than a normal neuter, but otherwise most male dogs bounce back very well.

Pet of the Month
Congratulations to Gia, our May 2012 recognized pet of the month. She was a special needs adoption that is flourishing in her loving home. Read more about Gia on our website www.lmah.net.

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