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5 Pet Health Myths
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Will Draper, DVM posted:
A myth is often defined as a story without a determinable basis of fact that is generally accepted as true. Here are a few myths about pets!

? Cats need to drink milk. Not true! As I've mentioned in a previous post -- you've probably seen cats in cartoons plotting against the milk man to get his milk. In reality, most cats are actually lactose intolerant and unable to digest milk. Milk can cause a cat to develop an upset gastrointestinal system, and as a result, can make changing the litter box a very messy task. Give your cat clean, fresh water instead of milk.

? Dogs can heal their own wounds by licking them. Nope! In fact, dogs carry a lot of bacteria in their mouths, so let's also discredit the myth that their mouths are cleaner than ours. These bacteria can infect a relatively minor wound, turning it into a more serious health problem. If your dog has a wound, visit your vet.

? Cats will always land on their feet. From certain heights, cats do have the ability to flip themselves over and land safely. However, if a cat falls, it can suffer serious injury. Cats will actually fair better from higher distances than they will from shorter ones, but they're better off not falling at all.

? A dog's wet or dry nose is a good indicator of illness. Not true. A dog's nose temperature and hydration can change with the weather -- just like human skin can change. Better health status indicators are the presence of lethargy, loss of appetite, changes in behavior, loose stool and presence of a nasal discharge.

? Dogs should eat bones. Again, this is a myth encouraged by the cartoons we saw as we were growing up. Dogs do need to satisfy their desire to chew, but bones are not the best answer. Bones, if swallowed, can cause mouth and/or throat injury, as well as injury to the gastrointestinal tract that can lead to surgery. Dogs do not need to eat or chew on bones. A safe toy or rawhide chew is a much better choice to satisfy your dog's urge to chew.

Here are links to more healthy information about dog and cat care -- on WebMD Healthy Pets.

5 Health Mistakes Dog Owners Make
6 Health Mistakes Cat Owners Make

What myths about pets do you know or suspect is a myth? Share here!
Dr. Will
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srstephanie responded:
  • Cats don't feel pain. Many seem to think that cats do not feel pain because they often do not respond to it as dogs do with groaning or whining, etc. Cats are less domesticated and still have a wild instinct to hide pain so as not to be more susceptible to predators. However, cats do feel pain as all mammals do, but the signs are more subtle ... e.g. being more quiet and sedate, retreating or hiding, holding their head low, not wanting to eat, etc. More and more vets and owners are realizing that cats need pain medications after procedures such as spay surgery or tooth extractions ... where in the past many felt that they didn't need any medication because it was thought they didn't have pain.
 
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Byroney_WebMD_Staff responded:
I am always worried about the "home treatment" remedies for things like mange. I have seen dogs dunked in motor oil (Argh!) and given garlic in an attempt to "cure" skin conditions.

I also think it's a myth that bad breath is "normal" as your pet ages. My dogs are both almost four, my cats 5 and 7 years old and none of them have bad breath. I used to breed and show Italian Greyhounds and the judges would frequently comment how great my dogs' teeth looked. Even toy breeds like Italian Greyhounds can have good teeth. There are a lot more products available today for the pet owner, not to mention professional cleanings by your vet.

Byroney
 
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Will Draper, DVM replied to srstephanie's response:
Great addition, srsteph...thank you!
Dr. Will
 
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Will Draper, DVM replied to Byroney_WebMD_Staff's response:
"Argh" is right! I remember the days of the old "motor oil for red mange" treatment I heard lots of in the '90s. I've fortunately not heard much of that lately.
GREAT point about the breath. Bad breath can be a sign of illness. Odors from the mouth can be indications of illnesses like kidney disease as well. Thanks for sharing!
Dr. Will
 
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Msbungle replied to Will Draper, DVM's response:
I have heard that rawhides are not really that great for chewing. That they can cause blockages? Instead of giving a dog a rawhide, shouldn't people be encouraged to buy the new digestible "chewies" on the market?


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