When to Visit the Veterinarian and How to Keep Your Pets Occupied on WGN Radio


Veterinary practices are essential businesses in most places, including my home state of Illinois. And where they are open, they are on the front lines of COVID-19. Listen HERE to my conversation on Steve Dale’s Pet World on WGN Radio about that and who should go to the veterinarian with Dr. Dana Varble, chief veterinary officer of the North American Veterinary Community.

Dr. Dana Varble

We talk about what’s called one health – and how there are examples of how animal health could impact our own. Veterinarians are public health stewards for farms and in the big cities. As just one example, leptospirosis can make our dogs potentially very sick. Also, potentially, leptospirosis is zoonotic – which means we can get it, and get sick too. Prevention is as easy as a vaccine. But under the current circumstances, is that a good idea?

We also discuss how veterinarians and veterinary technicians are actually trained for this sort of emergency, and how to take action and understand how to protect themselves.

The the profession has lost some of their own, including Chicago area’s own Dr. Peter Sakas.

Many veterinary clinics are small business, will those practices survive the financial crunch? That’s something else we discuss.

Dr. Varble is a particular expert of alternative pets, from pet snakes to pet lovebirds to pet turtles – and when do they need to see the veterinarian?

Dr. Varble stresses again how our pets are a safe source stress reduction – and they are not getting sick from COVID-19, or transmitting the novel corona virus to us.

Fear Free and Healing Power of Pets

Dr. Marty Becker, founder of the Fear Free initiative, discusses the Healing Power of Pets, which is a book he authored several years ago. It turns out that being home with our pets is good for us, and good for them – it’s the best anti anxiety there is.  If you have a cat or dog, Dr. Becker discusses how the pets that – in a sense we take for granted – are so good for our health, and he rattles off some of the science.

We talk about Fear Free Happy Homes – and how this website can help us right now, giving us idea of games to play with our pets and how to offer enrichment activities. And how to choose the right activities to match the dog breed or the kind of pet you happen to have.

COVID-19 and Pets

From last week’s show, Dr. John Howe, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) explained that our pet’s aren’t getting COVID-19 or giving it to us or one another. 

The Internet’s been saying hand sanitizer is like anti-freeze, killing pets instantly. Well, I explain that hand sanitizers are certainly not a healthy choice for pets but they’re 60 percent alcohol or more – so what they can die of is alcohol poisoning.

And please don’t put a mask on your pets – they don’t need it!

Keep up to date on COVID-19 and pets with the AVMA.