I get the best of the best on my radio shows. For example, on my WGN Radio show Steve Dale’s Pet World listen HERE to my conversation first with Dr. Aubrey Fine of Pet Partners. He’s the author of many books, including How Animals Help Children Learn, Our Faithful Companions, and Afternoon with Puppy.
So, what’s the difference between a service dog, an assistance dog, a therapy dog, and an emotional support or comfort animal? What do all these terms mean?
Fine says there’s a misuse of terminology, and maybe even a misuse of animals (are there really comfort pigs, and should be they allowed on an airplane?).
Dr. Michael Lappin, professor of infectious disease in the Department of Clinical Sciences Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital and Biomedical Sciences talks about upper respiratory viruses in cats, specifically feline herpes virus. Cats in shelters and other places where they live in group settings with other cats are likely to express their stress or anxiety with the herpes virus, just as we get herpes simplex virus following or during a stressful event.
Dr. Lappin talks about treatments for the symptoms, which in some cats are very uncomfortable and may require an antiviral drug. Prevention is always best, but how do you prevent stress in cats, or at least lower the bar?
One idea to reduce stress in cats is to get cats out of shelters ASAP and into foster homes. It also helps to provide an excess of resources and enrichment opportunities for cats in homes. And now, Lappin has studied the use of Feliway to prevent the onset of the feline herpes virus. Feliway, a copy of a naturally occurring feline pheromone, lowers anxiety in cats and helps them to feel comfortable in their environment. It’s no surprise that reducing anxiety can prevent or diminish the onset of the feline herpes virus.