Summer 2011 Magazine


Did you know leg-hold trapping is allowed on public lands in New Mexico?
Most people don't.

Traps snap shut on the animal and hold it until the trapper returns to gather his catch. The problem is these traps grab animals indiscriminately. They don't just catch animals it is legal to trap. They also trap what is known as "by-catch" - birds, dogs, cats, or any other animal who happens to step on the trigger. If the trap doesn't kill the animal outright, they break legs, damage limbs and in some cases cause an animal to chew off its own limb to get out of the trap. Trappers are not penalized or fined for trapping this "by-catch."

What can you do to voice opposition to this barbaric practice.

   . Write the Game and Fish Department about your concern over
    this practice.
   . Email the State Game and Fish Department at:
   . Write letters to the editor of newspapers.
   . Call 575-772-5655 for information.

For more information on trapping in New Mexico go to

Two cases of plague were reported in New Mexico animals this spring. One case was in a dog in Santa Fe County and the other was a cat near Abiquiu.

In May a man was hospitalized in Santa Fe for a week with symptoms of plague. He is the first confirmed human case this year. The most common cause of plague is a bite from an infected flea. It can also be transmitted by direct contact with infected animals.

Symptoms of plague in humans include sudden fever, chills, headache and weakness. In most cases there is also painful swelling of lymph nodes in the groin, armpit or neck.

New Mexico has the highest incidence of domestic plague with 65 of the 134 cases reported in the U.S. since 1990 according to a report called Infectious Diseases in New Mexico published by the New Mexico Department of Health in February 2011.

Plague is caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis, which lives in rodents, and is transmitted by flea bites.

Do you know the animal laws for your community? Animal Protection of New Mexico does. They have updated the list of animal ordinances for New Mexico. By checking here first you'll learn how many animals you can have in your home, what vaccinations are required, and whether you must spay or neuter your animal. Go to: You will also find information and links on reporting animal cruelty and many other useful things.

Natural disasters can happen anywhere and certainly New Mexico is no stranger to wildfires. Be sure you are prepared to evacuate, if necessary, and have a plan for your animals as well. Here are some things that need to be in an animal disaster kit.

   . Identify several places you can go with your pet in advance. Don't wait until
     you get an evacuation notice.
   . Prepare an animal evacuation kit that includes a week's worth of food,
     bottled water, veterinary medical records, a week's worth of medications,
     extra leashes and collars with ID's, portable food and water bowls and a
   . Post a rescue alert sticker on a visible window in your home. This alerts
     firefighters and rescue workers to the type and number of animals in your

For more information on disaster preparedness visit the ASPCA site at:

A Colorado State University veterinarian and psychologist are studying whether playing classical music in the veterinary hospital waiting room will calm cats and their owners. They believe the reason that cats are taken to the vet less often than dogs is because of the stress factor.

Veterinarian, Narda Robinson and psychologist, Lori Kogan, have learned that just any classical music doesn't work. "Music therapy research has shown that the simpler, slower, sounds in a moderate to lower range of tone, is more relaxing," Robinson said.

Fifty cats and their owners will be enrolled in the study. Cats will visit the Veterinary Teaching Hospital twice and be exposed to two different soundscapes of either no music, slow music or classical music. They will be videotaped during the 15-minute wait and their behavior will be observed by independent observers who will not know whether music is being played or not. The caretaker will also fill out a survey about their own and their cat's stress levels before and after the session. The researchers hope to learn whether the music therapy has stress-reducing benefits and makes the cats easier to examine.

The most recent poll from the nonprofit American Pet Products Association (APPA) shows that despite the bad economy people are spending more on their companion animals.

About 73 million U.S. households, or two-thirds of the total, have one or more companion animal. Dogs and cats account for about three-fourths of these companion animals.

Pet owners are projected to spend $12.2 billion on veterinary care in 2011. This is up from $11 billion in 2010 and $8.2 billion five years ago.

Cat owners are taking their cats to the veterinarian more often than they used to. They made 2.4 visits in 2010 compared to 2.1 visits in 2008 and spent $423 on surgery in 2010 instead of the $278 spent in 2008.

Money spent on doggie gifts was up 30% from $56 million in 2008 to $73 million in 2010. Nearly 10% of those surveyed said they had hosted parties for their star pooches.

Companion animals seem to be winning the economic wars.

Helping felines develop behaviors you want them to have starts when they are babies. Kitty Kindergarten classes have become popular in many humane societies and rescues as a way of starting kitten and human companions off on the right paw.

Cats are easily stressed which can lead to behavior problems such as litter box issues, aggression, or inappropriate scratching. Training and socializing kittens when they are young and showing humans what they can do to alleviate problems if they should occur, makes life easier for everyone as the kitties grow into cats.

Classes are usually small - four to eight kittens. The whole family is invited to attend with the kitten. Kitties are between seven and 14 weeks old, which is the critical age when kittens are most open to new experiences, and are forming how they will learn new things.

Puppy classes are now accepted as a necessity for people and their dogs. Animal workers hope Kitty Kindergartens will become just as accepted.

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