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December 04, 2016
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community living

Neglected pets: life after

Photo from Wikimedia Commons

By Joseph A. D’Abbraccio, D.V.M.

Have you ever been sitting in your living room and watching television when the ASPCA’s commercial comes on? Do you become flooded with emotions as the camera sweeps past cages of animals that are sick, injured, once abused pets? This is a common response for many. But the biggest question is what happens to those animals once they are recovered from those undesirable situations? Given the current financial state of the economy locally, many animals have to endure such hardship, and as a result many of them require intense veterinary care. Some of this care may be simple cosmetic care such as a fresh grooming and a deep cleansing bath. Others may suffer severe developmental issues such as stunted growth, poor vision, heart conditions, or deformities. Some of the other conditions that may be noted are severe ear infections, advanced dental disease, skin infections and severe flea or tick infestations.

Every year area veterinarians as well as humane societies are faced with situations such as this on a variety of scales. Sometimes we may see cases from single-animal households, or others where dozens of animals are affected. Addressing the needs of these helpless creatures is not only financially straining, but also emotionally straining for all of those involved. Some of these animals maybe in such poor health that to provide treatment may not even be the most humane option and as a last option, they are humanely euthanized. Many animals, whether furred, hooved, finned, or scaled go on to be placed for adoption following a thorough behavior evaluation.

Animals that are subjected to severe neglect often have a variety of behavioral issues such as fear, anxiety, and sometimes aggression. These conditions are often directly related to the way in which the animal lived prior to being liberated. For those animals that show signs of behavioral illness, they need to be rehabilitated under the direction of a veterinarian and certified animal trainer. The road to rehabilitation is very long, at times taking years to help manage an animal’s behavioral issues.

As we enter the colder months here in the Upper Delaware River Valley, everyone feels the financial pressure, but during winter and spring are the times of year that we experience an increase in the number of neglected animal cases. Some things that members of the general public can do to help the neglected animal population in our area include contacting your local officials if you suspect animal abuse. Often animal abuse is an early warning sign of child and other human neglect. If you are not sure who these officials are, I would suggest contacting your local humane society or county sheriff’s office.

Additionally, try to volunteer some time at a local shelter or with a rescue group. Again, we can all appreciate that our budgets for charitable giving may be at their max, but volunteering even 30 minutes of your time to help walk dogs is quite accommodating. Plus, you can use that opportunity to give some love and compassion to a once neglected animal and also get in your daily exercise requirement.

Remember, animals may not be able to speak, but they all require love, compassion and annual health care. If you are having difficulty providing for these selfless creatures, please contact your local humane society or veterinary office for advice.

Catskill Veterinary Services is happy to answer any of animal related questions!
Joseph A. D’Abbraccio, D.V.M.
Catskill Veterinary Services, PLLC