I have to tell myself he’s a dog, not just a “pit bull”.

A few nice Flea Prevention images I found:

I have to tell myself he’s a dog, not just a “pit bull”.
Flea Prevention

Image by This Year’s Love
Yesterday Israel got outside when my sister opened the door. There were two neighbor dogs at the edge of our (large) front yard. These are older and very cantankerous dogs. One of them got away months ago when I was outside with Judah off leash and even as the owner ran up to get her she was circling Judah with narrowed eyes and a tail raised up high. Judah didn’t let it bother her and made no move toward the dog, even letting the dog sniff her–and then the dog snarled and wanted to attack. Judah moved away.
Just the other day while walking Judah we passed them on opposite sides of the street. While they strained at their leashes, snarling and barking at Judah, she kept her eyes forward and didn’t bother them. The owner called across the street to me, "She is SUCH a good dog!" (She also recognizes that her dogs are, well, mean.)
"Thank you!" I called back.
So anyway. Israel hasn’t encountered them yet, but he was about to. I dropped my purse (I was leaving) and went outside to get Israel (who had no collar on) as he stopped halfway between me and the dogs. They were geared for a fight and Israel stood with his tail down (good) and his ears back (hmm). He growled a little, barked once or twice in warning to the other dogs, but didn’t just race over and start attacking them. It ended with me telling him firmly to get back in the house. When he heard and saw me he immediately put his head down, tail between his legs, and went up to the house and inside when my sister opened the door again.

Here I was thinking "pit bull! attack! blood! gore!" and only afterward realized…he’s a dog. He’s an intact male. And he’s wary. It had little to do with the fact that he’s an APBT and more to do with him being a testosterone-fueled dog wanting to guard his territory–and he was quick to let me step in and do it instead.

I used to think that anyone who wasn’t a (responsible) breeder with intact dogs were just plain stupid. I wonder if people think the same of me when I go out with Israel, who is clearly not neutered. Do they think I’m keeping him intact so he’ll actually be aggressive? That I have something to prove?
But now that I’m relearning everything that I know about dogs regarding what to feed, how to vaccinate, how to handle different behaviors I realize that pretty much everything I was taught was just dead wrong. Literally.
Pet food has rat poison in it, pet food has dead cats and dogs in it, most vaccinations are unnecessary and harmful, and only rabies is legally required–AND you don’t have to get it every year in some states!
Even flea & tick prevention as well as heartworm preventatives are just more toxins and poisons we dump on and in our animals. I have to wear gloves when applying Frontline because if I don’t and it gets on my (sensitive) skin, then it’s days of numbness with itching and a weird feeling. And I put that on my dogs? No thanks.
The reason I’m not neutering Israel until he’s a year old is because I don’t want him to overgrow. If he’s short, he’s short. But if I don’t let the growth plates close when they should–earlier than they would if you spay/neuter–then he’ll be too tall and his bones will be too thin to support his weight. At least that’s what I think and it’s certainly a very good theory as far as what’s wrong with Judah. By no means fat, she is leggy and I think her joints just didn’t get the chance to develop and strengthen enough to support her body type because of her early spay.
I won’t let that happen to Israel. By allowing the hormones to take their own natural course, closing the growth plates at the right time, as well as feeding a natural diet that keeps him from getting too big too fast (which happened to Judah) then there’s a much lesser risk for joint problems when he’s proportionate. He’s steadily gained weight but it was never in huge spurts. The last five pounds took nearly a month to put on–and he’s fed probably 5% of his current body weight, whereas Judah is fed a bit under 2% since she’s on restricted activity and doesn’t need all of that food. Those five pounds in a month is what should have happened to Judah. Instead, she gained something like eleven pounds in three weeks.

My point is that people who don’t alter their pets out of laziness are stupid. People who don’t alter their pets for a valid, well-thought out reason are looking out for their animal’s well being. It might not look like I’m being responsible having an intact male pit bull, but I’m doing what’s best for him and I don’t need to justify that.
I am really rethinking the concept of altering to begin with. I think in reality it’s necessary because people are just damned careless. But it also has side effects for the animal, physically and mentally. I would feel more comfortable if we were able to let animals come to full maturity–at least 2 years of age–before having to alter them. I’m still thinking about it with Israel. We’ll see.

Cat Processing 101
Flea Prevention

Image by rikkis_refuge
All animals are processed thru a minimum of a two week quarantine when they come to Rikki’s. We cannot risk any of our residents catching something from "the outside world". Our residents are our first concern. When a new resident joins us they go into quarantine. In the case of cats, it’s usually two weeks, unless there are "issues". Like persistent worms, a bad case of ear mites, they get sick during their two weeks or they need additional veterinarian work like neutering or spaying or a current rabies vaccination or a dental.

We have an extensive parasite prevention program because we simply cannot afford to have all of our animals infected by parasites brought in by one animal. An otherwise healthy and "ready to go" cat receives two preventative parasite treatments as well as a physical and any needed vaccinations. They are treated for fleas and ticks, ear mites, mange mites, a whole host of possible internal parasites and given vaccinations. The typical cat will have his or her ears cleaned and mite prevention dripped in. They will receive a capsule of worming meds and 2 cc of liquid worming meds. They get an injection for mites and other parasites and one for distemper and those other nasty things. Then they get flea drops. If they didn’t come with a current rabies certificate or it’s due to expire soon, they also get a trip to the vet to update that. A full exam includes various body orifices being poked and prodded, otoscope in ears, thermometers in unpleasant places, eyes examined, mouth pried and held open so teeth can be examined – visually we hope but all too often with the ferals we get to feel first hand how well those teeth are working – stethoscope pressed against chest and abdomen, nails clipped – often after being extracted from human flesh.

And two weeks later it’s all repeated. And if all looks well at that time they get to move into their new cat house. We have 8 temporary pens for cat quarantine that can hold up to six cats each. Some will have to be quarantined in cages in our hospital. When a family comes in together we prefer to keep them together in a temp pen than in individual cages. it’s much more homey and much less scary. Lots of kitties who’ve come to Rikki’s in the last 8 months thank Ron for the temp pens.

These kitties have been captured in their temp pens and brought up to the hospital for "processing".

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