It bears repeating that when you obtain a new pet it needs to be kept separate from your other pets for a three week time period.
I saw dogs from two homes this morning in which that warning had not been heeded. Both families had new pups from the Humane Society Of South Mississippi.
In one case, the pup had been well. The other one, however, had a cough. I warned the owners that their preexisting dog might well have a cough soon, too.
Dogs, and cats too, who come into shelters from the streets are often harboring diseases. Their health problem may be a respiratory infection, a gastrointestinal problem such as vomiting or diarrhea, intestinal parasites or even something mundane, like fleas. None of these, however, are things your current pets need to have to deal with.
In addition to a period of separation, new pets should not be allowed to meet existing pets until they have had a thorough evaluation from your pets’ doctor. All of the above-listed problems are easily transmitted.
Another common risk is Feline Leukemia Virus. Contamination of food and water bowls, as well as litterboxes, can result in infection. Simply grooming each other can transmit the virus. Once your cat is infected there is little that can be done.
Heartworms and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus are more difficult to transmit, but even more serious.
Twenty one days is usually enough time for hidden, incubating diseases to show themselves, and if a new pet remains well for that time period, then getting together is probably safe.
After the visit to the veterinarian, that is.
See you tomorrow, Dr. Randolph.