Pensacola, Florida
Sunday April 22nd 2018


Really? Pet Myths Explored

With Stephanie Henley, DVM, owner of Davis Animal Hospital

IN: If you let your dog swim at the Bayview Park dog beach, will they get diarrhea?
DR. HENLEY: As far as all dog parks go, dogs can pick up hookworms, giardia—a type of protozoan parasite that’s waterborne. They’re frequently found in Florida and treatable. But dogs are at risk in all dog parks, there’s nothing particular about Bayview Park.

IN: Can dogs only see in black and white?
DR. HENLEY: Dogs have very little color vision, but they do have some. They rely heavily on hearing and scenting. There’s even an iPhone app that’s $.99 called Dog Vision that shows you what your dog sees.

IN: Do cats always land on their feet?
DR. HENLEY: Absolutely not. I have proof with my clinic cats that fall out of windows! When they’re sound asleep and fall off the windowsill, they fall on their back, not feet.

IN: Does one human year really equal seven dog years?
DR. HENLEY: To a certain degree. Tiny dogs age a bit slower and larger breeds age faster, but seven years is a good average.

IN: Are some “Crazy Cat Ladies” really crazy?
DR. HENLEY: Absolutely! I’m on my way to becoming one myself, I just need 16 more cats and I’m joining the club. In fact, I’m going to be one for Halloween.

IN: Is there any truth about the articles that say the t. gondii parasite, which can be found in an infected cat’s intestinal tract, make women crazy?
DR. HENLEY: The toxoplasma gondii parasite has nothing to do with crazy cat ladies. Humans primarily contact the parasite by eating uncooked meats. Very few cats are infected and those that are only shed eggs for two weeks in their entire life. It takes 24 to 48 hours for the parasite to infect a human. Main thing is: don’t eat raw meat, wash your hands after you scoop the cat box and don’t chew your nails when they have cat poop on them. Daily hygiene is all that’s required.

IN: Do dogs sweat?
DR. HENLEY: Yes, their sweat glands are in their feet. You’ll see their little wet paw prints on my exam tables.

IN: Is chocolate really that bad for dogs?
DR. HENLEY: Yes, it is toxic. Dark chocolate and baker’s chocolate are the most toxic. It’s really the theobromine and caffeine that’s bad for them. The chocolate can cause irregular heartbeat, hyperactivity, seizures or death. Milk chocolate is the least toxic. If they recover, they can develop pancreatitis, which is life threatening. But if it’s caught early, we can treat them. I had a patient once who ate dark chocolate cherry cordials, I got to her right away and treated her and she was fine!

IN: What are some other human foods that cannot be given to pets?
DR. HENLEY: Grapes, raisins. Anything with xylitol, this is found in sugar-free gum and diabetic diet foods. We’ve seen several cases of dogs getting into sugar-free gum. Garlic and onions, many people think it’s good for flea control, but it doesn’t work and could lead to death. And never give a cat Tylenol. This is kind of a blue-haired lady phenomenon, but it causes very rapid liver failure. It’s treatable when caught early, but most don’t admit it until it’s too late. And watch your pets outside to make sure they don’t eat any sago palms. If they eat any part, they have an upset stomach for one to two weeks and later their liver shuts down.

IN: What are some crazy pet myths you’ve heard from patients in the past?
DR. HENLEY: If you leave a cat’s dew claws, it prevents them from snake bites. That’s an urban myth I’ve heard around here, not true. Motor oil treats mange—definitely not true. If you cut the hair away from a long-haired dog’s eyes, like a sheepdog, they’ll go blind—not true. Inside dogs and cats do not get heartworms—absolutely false. A dry nose means absolutely nothing. A dog’s nose temperature varies greatly. A dogs mouth is cleaner than human’s—false. Open a poodle’s mouth that hasn’t had a dental treatment. When a dog eats grass, he or she has an upset stomach. Most dogs eat grass periodically. It’s a normal, common behavior. And my favorite myth is that pets don’t feel pain. I don’t know how anyone can believe that.

WHERE: 8560 N. Davis Hwy.
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