Pensacola, Florida
Tuesday December 1st 2015


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, giardiaa type of protozoan parasite thats waterborne. Theyre frequently found in Florida and treatable. But dogs are at risk in all dog parks, theres 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. Theres even an iPhone app thats $.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 theyre 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! Im on my way to becoming one myself, I just need 16 more cats and Im joining the club. In fact, Im 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 cats 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: dont eat raw meat, wash your hands after you scoop the cat box and dont chew your nails when they have cat poop on them. Daily hygiene is all thats required.

IN: Do dogs sweat?
DR. HENLEY: Yes, their sweat glands are in their feet. Youll 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 bakers chocolate are the most toxic. Its really the theobromine and caffeine thats 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 its 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. Weve seen several cases of dogs getting into sugar-free gum. Garlic and onions, many people think its good for flea control, but it doesnt 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. Its treatable when caught early, but most dont admit it until its too late. And watch your pets outside to make sure they dont 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 youve heard from patients in the past?
DR. HENLEY: If you leave a cats dew claws, it prevents them from snake bites. Thats an urban myth Ive heard around here, not true. Motor oil treats mangedefinitely not true. If you cut the hair away from a long-haired dogs eyes, like a sheepdog, theyll go blindnot true. Inside dogs and cats do not get heartwormsabsolutely false. A dry nose means absolutely nothing. A dogs nose temperature varies greatly. A dogs mouth is cleaner than humansfalse. Open a poodles mouth that hasnt had a dental treatment. When a dog eats grass, he or she has an upset stomach. Most dogs eat grass periodically. Its a normal, common behavior. And my favorite myth is that pets dont feel pain. I dont know how anyone can believe that.

WHERE: 8560 N. Davis Hwy.
BUSINESS HOURS: Monday-Saturday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
CONTACT: 479-9484 or