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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Animal & Veterinary

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FDA Veterinarian Newsletter May/June 1998 Volume XIII, No III

This year's theme for National Pet Week is "People and Animals Need Each Other." Cosponsors are the Auxiliary to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), the AVMA, the American Animal Health Association (AAHA), and the North American Veterinary Technician Association.

According to a study conducted by the AVMA, almost 60 percent of all U.S. households own at least one companion animal, with cats and dogs being the most popular, in 45.7 percent of homes, but close behind are birds (14.5 percent), rabbits and ferrets (2.3 percent), guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils (2.3 percent), and reptiles (1.5 percent). In addition, 6.3 percent of households own 55.6 million fish.

The FDA Veterinarian is proud to support the National Pet Week campaign and its goals. Animals play an important role in our lives and provide us with hours of companionship and unconditional love, but they remain dependent on us for their well-being. Scientific studies have shown that pet ownership can lower blood pressure and even reduce the threat of heart disease. As animals increase our quality of life it is important to remember that responsible pet ownership can be a long-term commitment which requires the time and money to provide necessary care. Ensure your pet's good health and longer life by scheduling regular veterinary visits, and by watching for common problems that could have a serious impact on your pet if not properly treated. For information concerning pet care, you may access the AVMA's Internet Web site at www.avma.org. The AAHA Web site is www.healthypet.com.

The following article provides information on dogs and provides suggestions for their care. Veterinarians may wish to duplicate this article and provide copies to their interested clients. As always, material which appears in the FDA Veterinarian is free of copyright and may be reproduced without permission.