Thursday, April 30, 2009

How Global Warming Affects Our Pets

Global warming has brought about extreme weather conditions, extreme cold or extreme heat, which can even come unexpectedly. Have you noticed how the weather nowadays can seem to be out of date or out of season? Yet when they come, they always seem to be at an intense level.

The Department of Pathology and Animal Health, University of Naples "Federico II", Naples, Italy warned, that the effects of these climate changes include the increase in numerous vector borne diseases. Vector in biology means an agent or organism capable of transmitting disease-causing microorganisms from one infected human being or animal to another. The most common vectors are mosquitoes, fleas, and ticks.

Humans are not the only ones susceptible to the effects of these severe climate conditions. Even our pets who are supposed to have built-in adapters for wild life condition can be affected. Why not? We have sheltered and protected them just like our own offspring. We feed, bathe, and care for them to make them feel comfortable so they would never run away from home. Just like humans, pets would prefer to stay snug, cared for, and cozy in a loving home. However, they are the likely carriers of fleas and ticks.

According to the paper reviews of the university, one such vector borne parasite is called "Dirofilaria" and poses a great risk of infecting humans and animals because they are mosquito-borne parasites. The past summer temperatures had been ideal for the incubation of these parasites and its impact can spread in different parts of the world.

As winters have become shorter and milder, ticks have more time to be active during the year. In Europe, dog tick is said to be responsible for spreading a malaria-like disease called "canine babesiosis" to other countries that rarely experienced any such diseases in their communities. In other cases, ticks called  "Ixodes' medically pinpointed as responsible for tick-borne encephalitis that occur in horses and dogs, are now gaining greater density in Europe. Cat flea typhus, which used to be a rare disease, is now feared to become widespread in both dogs and cats.  

As responsible pet lovers and owners, our tendency is to treat our household pets with anti-flea products that contain insecticides. They may come in the form of shampoos, spray or dusting agents to make sure fleas will not thrive to cause discomfort in our pets. However, there is still another problem to contend with.

As early as June 1999, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) gave out its warning that flea control products sold as shampoos, dips, and other forms of flea insecticides pose a threat to its users, handlers and the pet itself. Most of them contain some of the most dangerous pesticides collectively known as "organophosphate" (OP). Individually there are seven known "organophosphates" widely used in pet products. These are: malathion, dichlorvos, phosmet, tetrachlorvinphos, diazinon, naled, and chlorpyrifos.

The CDC came out with this warning after several cases of children being hospitalized for "organophosphate" poisoning as a result of their exposure to pesticides found in their respective dogs or cats. The CDC further warned that children who will continuously be exposed to these toxic hazards face an increased risk of impaired brain development.

It was established that a child who is still in the developing stage of his or her nervous system is highly vulnerable to the toxic effects of "organophosphate". This report aims to bring to the consumer the knowledge that the anti-flea product they have patronized not only contribute to our environmental ruin but also threaten our health, especially that of our children.

Anti-flea shampoos are carried in water-run offs that will eventually find its way to canals, rivers and streams. Aerosol sprays evaporate and mingle in our atmosphere while dusting powders are particulate matters that contribute in polluting our air. There is a call to go green, which means changing our lifestyle including that of our pets, by utilizing products made from less hazardous raw materials.

There is a green and safer alternative to care for our pets.  The Natural Resources Defense Council suggests a little extra effort like regular washing and combing of pets as well as cleaning of furniture and vacuuming of carpets can control cases of mild flea infestations. If necessary, there are other newer substances known as insect growth regulators not classified as pesticides but as chemicals that are effective in arresting the propagation of young fleas. They are safe to spray and apply on our pets since the ingredients were verified to be non-hazardous.  

Based on the above report, the facts presented to the buying public aim to convince them of the need to go green. Change must also come from them because they are the end users and hazardous wastes result from their use of non-eco friendly goods. Increasing the public's demand for green products can lessen the demand on products made from toxic raw materials. 

Hopefully, we will finally see the day that environmental concerns for toxic wastes and pollution will become a thing of the past.  Don't you think it's about time we stopped using toxic products and all other consumer goods that result to toxic wastes? 

For your guide to green products, visit The GreenAbility. it's also a good place to learn more.

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