Saving money for pet emergencies

15 years ago
By Christine Cowett Robinson
Special to the Aroostook Republican

    Have you checked out the Central Aroostook Humane Society's new and improved Web site? Visit: http://centralaroostookhumanesociety.org. Our very own Amanda designed the whole site herself. Without the generous donation of her time and talents, this Web site would be impossible for us to pay to have something like this created for us. We have a number of members on our Board who have amazing talents and use them to benefit the animals at the shelter. We are thankful for all of them.      Are you prepared for an emergency with regards to your pets? What would happen if your dog or cat were hit by a car and needed surgery to save its life? These are things we don't even want to think about, and with today's economy, it is a tough choice, but with proper planning it doesn't have to be. My suggestion would be to take your pocket change and set aside a “just in case” jar for your pet. Another would be to collect bottles or to take a few dollars each week from your paycheck to set aside for emergencies. I am sure everyone wonders why vets don't take payments. Think about it — and wonder how many times they have been burned? It is our responsibility as pet owners to have an emergency plan in place and then when something comes up and your beloved pet is sick or needs surgery, you are ready, instead of scrambling to find the money. Being a pet guardian is a tough job; it is one to take very seriously. Nobody wants to surrender their pet to the shelter because they can't afford veterinary care or, worse yet, have their pet euthanized. We have even had calls from people asking for help to have their pet put to sleep. Proper planning, it is part of pet ownership and being responsible.  
    Hot spots — what are they and how do you get rid of them? I have heard a lot of people talk about their dog having hot spots this year. So what is a ‘hot spot?’
    “Hot spots are surface skin infections caused when populations of normal skin bacteria grow and overwhelm normal resistance. They are generally circular patches that lose hair, can be swollen, may exude a smelly pus and can be painfully itchy, causing the dog to scratch, lick or bite to the point of self-mutilation. Untreated hot spots can spread and provoke a normally even-tempered dog to growl or nip when touched,” according to “Dog Owners Guide” online magazine.
    Dogs who are most likely to get hot spots are those with heavy coats and a history of infections or irritated anal sacs, but any dog can develop these spots. The most common place to find them are on the rump, feet, legs and flank.
    Veterinary Dermatologist Lowell Ackerman recommends the following treatment in his book “Skin and Haircoat Problems in Dogs”:
• Trim the hair around the sore to prevent further spread of the infection and expose the edges of the lesion;
• Wash the area in a mild water-based astringent or antiseptic; and
• Be prepared to use antibiotics or cortisone if the washing does not give results.
    Ackerman recommends against the use of ointments or creams because they can seal in the infection and hinder recovery. In severe cases, a veterinarian may suggest the use of an Elizabethan collar to prevent mutilation and give the spot a chance to heal.  Remember to visit your veterinarian to get a proper diagnosis and treatment.  
    If you are looking for a friend for life, please make the Central Aroostook Humane Society your first stop. We have many wonderful animals looking for loving homes.