I’ve just spent the last twenty minutes trying to convince the owner of Jessie, a lovely 7-year-old Border Collie to agree to have her spayed. With recent improvements in veterinary knowledge and resources, our patients are enjoying longer healthier lives; and with safer anaesthetics for animals, preventative surgery for dogs and cats has never been so important.
In females, spaying eliminates the chances of both pyometra (pus-filled womb) and mammary tumours. Male pets will benefit from the non-existent risk of prostate and testicular cancer, as well as alleviating some associated behaviour problems too.
Of course it’s not just about routine operations. Preventative medicine is equally as important. With these increasing daylight hours now, our pets are loving spending more and more time outdoors.
Cats are coming into closer contact with each other, both fighting ‘tooth and claw’ to defend their back-garden territories or just having sexy-times. Uncontrollable dogs let off their leads, and rabbits moving into the garden add to number of familiar risks that return every year that can and should be prevented.
Promoting responsible pet-ownership, e.g. vaccination and microchipping, is just one of the aims of this years’ National Pet Month (NPM), which started a fortnight ago and runs until May 5th. NPM’s other objectives include raising much needed funds and awareness for our local animal charities, as well as this year’s theme – to celebrate our very own ‘Great British Pets’.
Running for the last eighteen years, NPM’s success and popularity has increased exponentially with pet-lovers and animal-fans nationwide dreaming up more creative and imaginative themes for local events, for example, my ‘Sussex Pets Awards 2006’ and ‘Bravest Pet in Sussex 2007’; which both raised hundreds of pounds for Sussex Pet Rescue and Cat Welfare Sussex.
Last year over 690 events were held across the UK and raised around £70,000 for local pet and animal charities. And as this year’s ambassador for NPM, I’m urging all you pet lovers out there to try and smash this record in 2008!
So why don’t you get involved? There’re many local events that you and your family and even your pet can enjoy including fun dog shows, sponsored walks and even visits to local rescue shelters.
NPM’s jewel in its rather furry crown will be tomorrow’s ‘Wet Nose Day’ – to tie in with St George’s Day – a national event celebrating animals great and small; from hamsters to horses, llamas to labradoodles, cats to cockatoos.
If you’d like to take part in NPM, you can either set up an event in your local area and register it at www.nationalpetmonth.org.uk, or simply turn up to the number of events already registered on the ‘What’s On’ page of the website. Enjoy!