The AVMA has released a reference guide to educate dog owners about the health risks of dogs socializing.
According to the introduction: "This document isn't intended to scare dog owners away from participating in and enjoying social events involving dogs; rather, it is intended to inform you of the risks and some common sense measures that can decrease the disease risks for you and your dog(s)."
The guide notes that dogs can spread diseases to other dogs and people in settings such as dog parks, day care and boarding facilities, competitions, and training classes. Other health risks in these settings include bite wounds and environmental hazards. The three sections of the document cover risks for dogs, risks for people, and protective measures.
The document summarizes risks for dogs of canine distemper, canine influenza, canine parvovirus, external parasites, fertilizers and pesticides, fungal infections, heartworm, heatstroke, injuries, intestinal parasites, kennel cough, leptospirosis, rabies, regional wildlife and feral animals, ringworm, tick-borne diseases, and toxic plants.
The guide outlines the risks for people of cryptosporidiosis, dog bites, echinococcosis, external parasites, hookworms and roundworms, fungal infections, mosquito-borne diseases, tick-borne diseases, and water-borne diseases.
To protect dogs' health, according to the guide, owners should consult a veterinarian regarding preventive measures. The document also offers advice about when dogs should not socialize, such as when they are ill, and how owners should handle dogs outdoors and around other animals.
The guide is available online at www.avma.org/animal_health by scrolling down to "Pet care" and clicking on "Dogs' social lives and disease risks."
November is Pet Diabetes Month.
Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health has developed a Web site to educate pet owners about the disease at www.petdiabetesmonth.com.