Posted in disease, Health, news, pets

Deadly Rabbit Virus Reported in Nevada

A virus that affects both wild and pet rabbits has been reported in Southern Nevada.

Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus Serotype 2, or RHDV2, appears to cause internal bleeding and sudden death when exposed.

Humans and other pets are not believed to be affected by this virus.

With early symptoms the rabbit may seem less playful and hungry.  Then they may show a fever, respiratory symptoms and “nervous symptoms”.  Internal bleeding may then occur, elicited sometimes by a bloody nose, and death may follow.

The virus was first detected on Vancouver Island, Canada in September of 2018 but KTNV reports there have been three known cases in Southern Nevada, one of which was a domestic rabbit.

Reporter Joe Bartels informs us that humans can indirectly carry the virus on their clothes and shoes as the virus can live on surfaces for up to 200 days.

Since there is no vaccine to prevent disease, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends the following:

Follow these recommended biosecurity practices:
• Do not allow pet, feral, or wild rabbits to have contact with your rabbits or gain entry to the facility or home.
• Do not allow visitors in rabbitries or let them handle pet rabbits without protective clothing (including coveralls, shoe covers, hair covering, and gloves).
• Always wash hands with warm soapy water before entering your rabbit area, after
removing protective clothing and before leaving the rabbit area.
• Do not introduce new rabbits from unknown or untrusted sources. Do not add rabbits to your rabbitry from animal shelters or other types of rescue operations.
• If you bring outside rabbits into your facility or home, keep them separated from your existing rabbits. Use separate equipment for newly acquired or sick rabbits to avoid spreading disease.
• Sanitize all equipment and cages moved on or off premises before they are returned to the rabbitry. We recommend disinfecting with 10% bleach or 10% sodium hydroxide mixed with water.
• Establish a working relationship with a veterinarian to review biosecurity practices for identification and closure of possible gaps.

Rabbit owners are urged to contact their veterinarian if they see signs of RHDV2.

This is a developing story…

 

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.

 

 

 

Posted in coronavirus, Covid-19, Health, news, pets

Social Distancing to Prevent COVID Infection Also Applies to PETS

The CDC has urged people to include pets in their social distancing habits to avoid COVID-19 infection.

Last week the CDC reported 2 cats living in New York had tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 after demonstrating mild respiratory symptoms. They are expected to make a full recovery.

The CDC recommends the following:

  • Do not let pets interact with people or other animals outside the household.
  • Keep cats indoors when possible to prevent them from interacting with other animals or people.
  • Walk dogs on a leash, maintaining at least 6 feet from other people and animals.
  • Avoid dog parks or public places where a large number of people and dogs gather.

Earlier this month, Mississippi Agriculture Commissioner Andy Gipson and State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers at a news conference urged those who are sick with COVID to avoid being the “primary caretaker” of their pets until further studies could be done regarding their susceptibility and spread of the deadly virus.

 

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The conference occurred in light of a Bronx Zoo tiger becoming infected with COVID-19.

A cat in Belgium last month tested positive for the COVID-19 as well.

Although there are no definitive cases of pets giving COVID to their owners, officials believe we may be able to infect them.

What additionally needs to be investigated is if the virus can live temporarily on the animal as a “surface” allowing others who touch it to become contaminated.

For those of us with pets, we know that “social distancing” is not in their vocabulary or daily habits.  Most cats and dogs like to sleep in bed with their owners, some competing for their owner’s pillows.

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Although most of us would prefer the comfort of our furry friend if convalescing at home with COVID, the CDC recommends the following:

  • If you are sick with COVID-19 (either suspected or confirmed by a test), restrict contact with your pets and other animals, just like you would around other people.
    • When possible, have another member of your household care for your pets while you are sick.
    • Avoid contact with your pet, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food or bedding.
    • If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wear a cloth face covering and wash your hands before and after you interact with them.

 

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Great Gift!!!

The Ultimate Medical Student HandBook

 

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.

Posted in coronavirus, Covid-19, Health, news, pets

COVID Infected Patients Told To Avoid Their Pets

Mississippi Agriculture Commissioner Andy Gipson and State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers at a news conference on Monday urged those who are sick with COVID to avoid being the “primary caretaker” of their pets until further studies could be done regarding their susceptibility and spread of the deadly virus.

Per WAPT, Gipson stated, “I would say to people, until we get a better handle on this, you might want to make that social distancing with your pets, as well. Continue to feed them, care for them, but don’t get up in their face if you can help it. Obviously, there are a lot of unknowns.

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Dr. Byers cautioned, “It’s important that if you are infected, if you are sick, don’t be the primary caregiver for that pet.”

He also stated, “Keep some distance. We don’t know that our pets at home can transmit it back to us, or to other people, but we know that they may become infected. We want to avoid that if we can.”

The conference occurred in light of a Bronx Zoo tiger becoming infected with COVID-19.

A cat in Belgium last month tested positive for the COVID-19 as well.

Although there are no definitive cases of pets giving COVID to their owners, officials believe we may be able to infect them.

What additionally needs to be investigated is if the virus can live temporarily on the animal as a “surface” allowing others who touch it to become contaminated.

For those of us with pets, we know that “social distancing” is not in their vocabulary or daily habits.  Most cats and dogs like to sleep in bed with their owners, some competing for their owner’s pillows.

IMG_6766.jpg

Although most of us would prefer the comfort of our furry friend if convalescing at home with COVID, the following may help to avoid close contact:

  • Sleep in a separate room than your family or pets
  • Have another family member in charge of feeding and bathing
  • Wear gloves when playing fetch with their favorite toy
  • Use a face covering/mask when you think your pet will sneakily approach your face
  • Leave potty clean up to another family member (hey…when life gives you lemons make lemonade….)

 

ultimate book cover final

Great Gift!!!

The Ultimate Medical Student HandBook

 

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.

 

 

 

 

Posted in coronavirus, Covid-19, Health, news, pets

Cats Can Infect Other Cats With COVID, Not Humans

A study from Harbin Veterinary Research Institute in China found that not only can cats become infected with COVID-19 but can also transmit it to other felines.

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Ferrets may also be vulnerable to the virus, however dogs, ducks, pigs and chickens appear to be less susceptible.

Researchers used 8 month old cats and exposed 5 of them intranasally with the virus.  They then euthanized 2 of them and found evidence of infection along their respiratory tree (nasal turbinates, soft palates, tonsils, trachea, and in one, the small intestines) signifying infection susceptibility.

For the transmission portion of the study, the other exposed cats were put into cages separately with non-infected cats and the latter were subsequently tested days later to see if they were exposed.  Evidence of the virus particles were found in their feces. None of the animals exhibited symptoms however of coronavirus.

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Ferrets too were found to be susceptible but dogs did not appear to carry the virus as did their whiskered counterparts.

UZ

Although no cat to human transmission of COVID has been found, study authors suggest, “Surveillance for SARS-CoV-2 in cats should be considered as an adjunct to elimination of of COVID-19 in humans.”

The full text of the study can be found here.

 

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Great Gift!!!

The Ultimate Medical Student HandBook

 

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.

 

Posted in economy, Health, money, news, pets, taxes

Medical Tax Deductions You Never Thought You Could Use

It’s tax season and most of us are hoping to shave a few bucks off our tax bill.  Well many are not aware of the deductions that are available when it comes to medical expenses.

If you spent over 7.5% of your adjusted gross income on unreimbursed medical expenses during 2019, you may be able to deduct what you spent over this 7.5%, according to the IRS.

So, for example, if you make $100,000 a year, 7.5% would equal $7,500.  So lets say you spent $10,000 on medical expenses, subtract the 7.5 % ($7,500) from $10,000, and the remaining $2,500 is tax-deductible.

But the expenses made can also include those of your spouse, children and dependents. Combined, these could qualify you for descent deductions.

Publication 502 breaks down what services or items you purchased in 2019 that are tax-deductible and which are not.  Here’s a brief summary:

Tax Deductible Items:

  • Abortion (legal)
  • Acupuncture
  • Alcohol and Drug Treatment
  • Ambulance Service
  • Annual physicals
  • Artificial Limbs
  • Artificial Teeth/Dentures
  • Bandages – so supplies for wounds, burns, nose bleeds

 

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  • Birth Control Pills
  • Home Improvements
    • under the “Capital Expenses” section, the IRS states the following:
    • You can include in medical expenses amounts you pay for special equipment installed in a home, or for improvements, if their main purpose is medical care for you, your spouse, or your dependent. The cost of permanent improvements that increase the value of your property may be partly included as a medical expense. The cost of the improvement is reduced by the increase in the value of your property. The difference is a medical expense. If the value of your property isn’t increased by the improvement, the entire cost is included as a medical expense.
      Certain improvements made to accommodate a home to your disabled condition, or that of your spouse or your dependents who live with you, don’t usually increase the value of the home and the cost can be included in full as medical expenses. These improvements include, but aren’t limited to, the following items.
      • Constructing entrance or exit ramps for your home.
      • Widening doorways at entrances or exits to your home.
      • Widening or otherwise modifying hallways and interior doorways.
      • Installing railings, support bars, or other modifications to bathrooms.
      • Lowering or modifying kitchen cabinets and equipment.
      • Moving or modifying electrical outlets and fixtures.
      • Installing porch lifts and other forms of lifts (but elevators generally add value to the house).
      • Modifying fire alarms, smoke detectors, and other warning systems.
      • Modifying stairways.
      • Adding handrails or grab bars anywhere (whether or not in bathrooms).
      • Modifying hardware on doors.
      • Modifying areas in front of entrance and exit doorways.
      • Grading the ground to provide access to the residence.
  • Mileage (20 cents a mile for trips to medical office/lab/hospital)
  • Transportation (Uber, Taxi, Bus ride to medical office/lab/hospital)
  • Breast feeding/pump supplies
  • Medications that were prescribed by a provider
  • Hearing Aids
  • Insurance Premiums
  • Oxygen
  • Contact lens/glasses
  • Crutches
  • Service animal – and most of their expenses

 

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  • Lodging and Meals when going to out-of-town medical facilities
  • Nursing home
  • Nursing expenses
  • Pregnancy tests
  • Wigs
  • Wheelchairs
  • Vasectomies
  • and the list goes on

 

Unfortunately the following cannot be written off:

  • Gym memberships
  • Cosmetic surgery (unless for reconstruction after cancer or trauma/disfigurement)
  • Dance lessons – despite using it for weight loss
  • Funeral expenses
  • Maternity clothes
  • Insurance premiums that were covered by the employer
  • Over the counter medications and supplements
  • Teeth whitening

 

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So review the list and see what you can apply to your 2019 itemized deduction worksheet.  But make sure you have your receipts and logging of car mileage…. and start keeping track this year as well!

 

 

 

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The Baby Boomer’s Guide to Online Dating

 

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.

Posted in coronavirus, disease, Health, news, pets

“Low Level’ of Coronavirus Found in Pet Pooch

Image above from Unilad

A report released this week from the Hong Kong Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) states a pet pomeranian of a patient infected with COVID-19, the novel coronavirus, has tested weakly positive for the virus as well.

The dog had no symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, respiratory distress), however oral and nasal cavity samples tested “weakly positive” for the virus.

Although we have not heard of a previous case of COVID transferring from a human to their pet, the dog has been quarantined at a facility at the Hong Kong Port of Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge.

The AFCD is also considering this may be an environmental contamination causing the weakly positive test.  Repeated testing on the dog will be conducted and once proven negative after the 14 day quarantine period, may be released back to his owner.

Pet owners are urged not to kiss their pets and wash their hands thoroughly after handling them, whether they have coronavirus or not.  If a pet does appear to show symptoms of being ill, they should be put under quarantine by appropriate authorities.

Currently over 83,000 people in multiple countries have been affected by the virus. The death toll is over 2,850, the majority of whom have been from China. In the US, 60 cases have been confirmed.

This is a developing story.

What is coronavirus?

 

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Coronaviruses come in multiple types and can cause an array of illnesses from the common cold to SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome). The latter two causing severe illness, as SARS killed over 700 people and sickened over 8000 in the 2002-2003 outbreak.

Hence a coronavirus can be unpredictable, mutate to more virulent forms, or cause mild upper respiratory illness.

How is Coronavirus spread?

The virus can be spread from human contact with animals, and human to human contact. Scientists believe COVID-19 may be transmitted by saliva and respiratory secretions but are still investigating its ability to be spread by this “droplet transmission.”

What are the symptoms of the Coronavirus strain COVID-19?

As with most viruses, this strain can cause any of the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Cough – dry early on and then in later stages may be productive
  • Runny nose
  • Headache
  • Fatigue/malaise
  • Sore throat
  • Wheezing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lack of appetite

How long after exposure can one become sick?

The incubation period can range anywhere from 2-14 days.

How does one die from Coronavirus?

If the illness persists or becomes severe, one could potentially suffer from pneumonia, respiratory difficulty and even secondary infections.

How does one tell if they have a mild Coronavirus strain or a deadly one?

The early onset of disease could mimic a cold or flu, hence it may be difficult to tell. However, severe or persistent symptoms could suggest a more aggressive strain of the virus and will warrant immediate evaluation.  Medical providers have been urged to ask patients about their travel habits and exposure to others who may have been exposed and to notify local health departments to facilitate testing of those who demonstrate symptoms of the COVID-19 strain.

Is there a vaccine for COVID-19?

No, however, we have heard a vaccine for COVID-19 is being researched and may be in its early development.

What is the treatment for this strain of Coronavirus?

At this time there is no specific treatment for this strain. However, supportive measures can be instilled such as rest, fluids and maintaining oxygenation in severe cases.

How can we prevent a COVID-19 infection?

Experts urge avoiding sick contacts and washing hands thoroughly. Cover your nose and mouth when sneezing and coughing to avoid spreading illness if you are sick.  And if you do have a family member with COVID-19, the CDC suggests the following:

The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
    • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
    • Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to  others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, iHeart Radio and is Board Certified Family Physician

Posted in Health, pets

How to Celebrate Your Pet’s Birthday

Many of us love our pets, treating them as if they were our children.  And for some of us we may love them more (j/k).  So it’s natural to want to celebrate their birthday.

UZ

Here’s some tips on how to make your furry friend feel special on their big day….

For Dogs

  1.  Invite other dogs over. Dogs are very social and love sniffing each other.  It’s their version of “pin the tail on the donkey.”
  2. Go to a dog park.  Less poop in the house
  3. Make them a puppy cake of their favorite meat
  4. Buy them a present but let them unwrap it.  They love the surprise and the suspense. (Un-train them in this feat before Christmas though).
  5. Treat them to a doggie massage

    waiting for my massage
    Image from American Kennel Club
  6. Let them walk YOU on their walk outside
  7. Get a cat piñata and load it with treats
  8. Get them a new pillow bed and don’t yell at them if they poop on it
  9. Treat yourself to a T-bone steak for dinner and give them the bone
  10. If they don’t get to sleep with you on your bed, let them this one time

 

For Cats

 

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  1. Leave them alone
  2. Let them be
  3. Don’t make eye contact
  4. But in case you have a loving kitty like I do….you can also a order a cat massage or get them a Tweety bird piñata

snappy

 

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Great Gift!!!

The Ultimate Medical Student HandBook

 

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.