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Whipworm is a Common Intestinal Parasite of Dogs

Did you know that there are five types of worms that can seriously affect your animals? Worms are one of the most common health problems for dogs. There are five types of worms that generally affect dogs, and in this is series, we will discuss each type of worm:

This blog will discuss Whipworms.

What is Whipworm?

The whipworm is a common intestinal parasite of dogs which reside in the cecum where the small intestine and large intestine meet. When dogs swallow infective whipworm eggs in soil or other substances that may contain dog feces, they become infected. 

Why Named Whipworm?

Whipworms get their name from their shape. They have a thick anterior end and a long, thin, posterior end that resembles a whip. The thicker end embeds itself in the intestinal wall as the worms mature, causing irritation and discomfort.

Whipworm Lifecycle

The three stages of the whipworm life cycle are:

  • Egg
  • Larvae
  • Adult

In the large intestine, adult whipworms lay their eggs, where they are then passed into the dog’s stool to infect the environment. The eggs mature to an infective state, or embryonate, in the environment, and are ready to re-infect the host or infect a new host in 10-to-60 days. If ingested, the eggs hatch and mature in the lower intestinal tract, where they attach to feed and lay more eggs, continuing the cycle.

Symptoms

In the early stages, dogs may not show signs of whipworm infections. Once the whipworms attach to the cecum and colon, they can cause irritation. The more volume of whipworms, the greater the irritation, which can lead to anemia, diarrhea, weight loss, and bloody stools which are symptoms of parasites and other serious diseases.

Diagnosing

Taking a stool sample and examining it under a microscope is the best way to diagnose a whipworm.

Treatment

Your veterinarian may prescribe one of many anti-worm medications to kill the parasites in your dog's system and help alleviate his symptoms.

Prevention

Many common heartworm preventatives also prevent whipworm infections. Prevention is the best way to keep whipworms away from your animal.

Can Humans Get Whipworms?

Trichuris trichiura is the type of whipworms that humans spread through human feces. The infection most often occurs in children. It is also more common in people who live in regions with hot, humid climates and in areas with poor hygiene and sanitation.

If you think your animal has any of these symptoms or has been exposed to Whipworms, make sure you contact your Vet?

Animal Care Center in Smyrna, GA, is owned and operated by Otto H. Williams, DVM. The veterinary practice specializes in complete healthcare for cats and dogs and offers services including preventative, surgical and nonsurgical care, internal medicine, grooming and boarding to Cobb County and surrounding cities such as Vinings, Marietta, Mableton and Sandy Springs. Call today at 770.438.2694 or request an appointment

Roundworms are Most Common Parasitic Worms Found Inside a Dog

Did you know that five types of worms can seriously affect your animals? Worms are one of the most common health problems for dogs. There are five types of worms that generally affect dogs, and in this is series, we will discuss each type of worm:

This blog will discuss Roundworms.

Unfortunately, roundworms are one of the most common parasitic worms found inside an animal, specifically a dog. At some time in their lives, almost all dogs become infected with them. It is usually as puppies. They can be contracted in different ways, which makes them easy to spread and hard to control.

From the time your dog is born, they may be infected with roundworms. Worms pass to the puppy from their mother while the pup is still in her body.

Another way that roundworms can develop in a puppy is after the puppy is born and eats larvated eggs from the environment or drinks worm larvae (young worms) in the mother's milk.

Roundworm larvae are present in the tissues of mice and other small mammals. If a puppy eats one of these mammals, they can get roundworms.

How will they affect my dog?

If your dog is infected, adult roundworms live in the dog's intestines. Unfortunately, some dogs do not have any signs of infection, so it may be hard to detect. The dogs that have major roundworm infections, especially puppies, show diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss, dull hair, and a potbellied appearance. If the roundworms move into your dog's lungs, your dog may cough.

Adult roundworms can show up in your dog's feces or vomit. They present themselves as white or light brown and may be several inches long.

Roundworm Prevention

There are several things you can do to prevent roundworm for your furry loved one:

  • Keeping your dog's living area clean
  • Remove feces regularly
  • Try to prevent your dog from eating wild animals that may carry roundworms

Remove Roundworm

To remove roundworms that are passed from the mother, puppies should be treated at 2, 4, 6, and 8 weeks of age and then receive a preventive treatment monthly. Stool examinations should be conducted from 2 to 4 times during the first year of life. With adult dogs, stool examinations should be performed 1 or 2 times each year. Monthly preventive meds should be given to nursing mothers and also treated along with their puppies to decrease the risk of transmission.

Make sure you ask your vet about prevention and treatment because many heartworm preventives include controlling roundworms.

Can roundworms harm humans?

Roundworms can be a significant risk to humans if humans ingest or come into contact with contaminated soil or dog feces. Wherever pets deposit feces, roundworm eggs may accumulate in significant numbers in the soil. These worms can cause eye, lung, heart, and neurologic signs in humans if infected.

Keep children’s play area separate from where animals have passed feces. Individuals should wear gloves or wash their hands immediately if they have direct contact with soil that may have been contaminated by cat or dog feces

Give us a call at 770.438.2694 or schedule an appointment to discuss your beloved animal and possible worms before it gets serious!

Animal Care Center in Smyrna, GA, is owned and operated by Otto H. Williams, DVM. The veterinary practice specializes in complete healthcare for cats and dogs and offers services including preventative, surgical and nonsurgical care, internal medicine, grooming and boarding to Cobb County and surrounding cities such as Vinings, Marietta, Mableton and Sandy Springs. Call today at 770.438.2694 or request an appointment.

Can Humans Get Hookworms From A Dog

Yes, humans can get hookworms from a dog? Hookworms from dogs penetrate a human’s skin and then infects them. It can be transmitted by walking barefoot on the beach, digging in the garden or other locations where pets deposit feces.

According to the CDC, “an estimated 576-740 million people in the world are infected with hookworm. Most people infected with hookworms have no symptoms. People infected for the first time can have some gastrointestinal symptoms. Blood loss leading to anemia is one of the most serious effects of hookworm infection, in addition to protein loss. Medication prescribed by your health care provider can treat Hookworm infections”.

Worm Series

Did you know that there are five types of worms that can seriously affect your animals? One of the most common health problems for dogs is worms. There are five types of worms that generally affect dogs, and in this is series, we will discuss each type of worm: 

This blog will discuss Hookworms.

Causes

There are four different ways a dog can get hookworms:

  • In utero
  • Skin contact
  • Ingesting orally
  • Through mother’s milk

When a dog sniffs or eats contaminated soil or feces, they can accidentally ingest the larvae. While dogs are drinking contaminated water or grooming their paws, larvae can burrow into the skin of unsuspecting dogs if the dog lies on contaminated soil.

Mothers can pass hookworms on to their pups. The larvae infect the puppies either in the uterus or through the bitch’s milk when the puppies nurse. For puppies, hookworms can lead to severe anemia, which can be fatal.

Symptoms

A dog with the hookworms parasite is not healthy. Here are some symptoms:

  • Looks unhealthy
  • Poor appetite
  • Pale linings of dog’s lips, nostrils, and ears
  • Pale gums
  • Coughing (advanced if hookwormlarvae are in your dog’s lungs)
  • Dark and tarry stool
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Weight loss,
  • Pot-bellied appearance
  • Dull coat
  • Poor growth
  • Itchy paws
  • Low energy 

Diagnosing

To find out if your dog has hookworm, your vet will perform a diagnostic test called a fecal float. This reliable test is generally a good method of detecting hookworms.

In young puppies, the test is sometimes less reliable, as it takes two-to-three weeks for the larvae to mature and produce eggs, so talk to your vet about deworming protocols that can help prevent a hookworm infection in litters. 

Prevention

The key to treating hookworms is preventing reinfection. To prevent reinfection, it is imperative to clean up your dog’s feces immediately because the eggs pass through the feces.  Your vet can add a heartworm preventative medicine to take until the hookworm comes out. 

An overcrowded kennel is a perfect environment for Hookworms since they thrive in warm, moist environments. This is why it is extremely important to use proper kennel hygiene, cleaning up after dogs and disinfecting runs and yards. Check to see if the dog facility follows standard kennel protocols. Stay away from areas where there are large amounts of dog feces on the ground.

Animal Care Center in Smyrna, GA, is owned and operated by Otto H. Williams, DVM. The veterinary practice specializes in complete healthcare for cats and dogs and offers services including preventative, surgical and nonsurgical care, internal medicine, grooming and boarding to Cobb County and surrounding cities such as Vinings, Marietta, Mableton and Sandy Springs. Call today at 770.438.2694 or request an appointment.

Important Information You Need to Know About Heartworm that Affects Your Dog's Health

Did you know that there are five different types of worms that can seriously affect your animals? One of the most common health problems for dogs and other animals is worms. Worms generally negatively impact a dog's health, and in this continuing series, we will discuss each type of worm:

What is heartworm disease?

Heartworm disease can be deadly in animals. The disease starts with the bite of an infected mosquito. The worms penetrate the dog's tissue, and they migrate to the bloodstream and then enter your pet's heart and lungs. The heartworms can be foot-long worms.

Heartworm disease affects the following mammal species which include: dogs, cats and ferrets, wolves, coyotes, foxes, sea lions and—in rare instances—humans.

Symptoms

If your dog has these symptoms, contact your vet asap to determine if it is heartworm disease or not:

  • a mild persistent cough
  • reluctanceto exercise
  • Difficulty breathing
  • fatigueafter moderate activity
  • decreased appetite
  • weight loss
  • Enlarged liver

As the disease progresses, many pets develop heart failure and the appearance of a swollen belly due to excess fluid in the abdomen.

Prevention

Prevention is the best weapon against heartworm disease. A vet can perform a yearly blood test to detect a heartworm infection. It is recommended that treatment with a broad-spectrum parasite control product be given to your dog year-round to prevent heartworm.

Can heartworm be cured?

Most dogs that are infected can be successfully treated.

The disease protocol is to stabilize your dog first if he is showing signs of disease. Then using medications eliminate all adult and immature worms while keeping the side effects of treatment to a minimum.

Transmitted from one pet to another?

A dog is a natural host for heartworms, which means that heartworms that live inside the dog mature into adults, mate and produce offspring. If heartworm is left untreated, the number of worms can increase, and dogs have been known to harbor several hundred worms in their bodies.

In the heartworm life cycle, mosquitos play the most significant role. Heartworms that are living in an infected dog, fox, coyote, or wolf produce microscopic baby worms called microfilaria that circulate in the bloodstream.

Worms can seriously damage your dog’s internal organs and lead to loss of consciousness and death if untreated. If your dog has any of these symptoms of worms, contact your vet immediately.

Once diagnosed, most intestinal worms can be reasonably easy to treat with medication. Heartworm is much more severe to your dog's health. Treatment can be expensive and difficult for your dog. The best approach with heartworm is monthly preventive medication, which can also prevent other worm infections. Contact your vet for recommendations for your dog.

Animal Care Center in Smyrna, GA, is owned and operated by Otto H. Williams, DVM. The veterinary practice specializes in complete healthcare for cats and dogs and offers services including preventative, surgical and nonsurgical care, internal medicine, grooming and boarding to Cobb County and surrounding cities such as Vinings, Marietta, Mableton and Sandy Springs. Call today at 770.438.2694 or request an appointment.

Five Types of Worms that Affect Your Dog's Health

Did you know that there are five different types of worms that can seriously affect your animals? One of the most common health problems for dogs and other animals is worms. Worms generally negatively impact a dog's health, and in this continuing series, we will discuss each type of worm:

  • Heartworms
  • Hookworms
  • Roundworms
  • Whipworms
  • Tapeworms 

Some of the worm types are much easier to spot than the others. When you see something that looks like grains of rice in your dog’s stool, it is probably tapeworm. Heartworm is much harder to diagnose. An infection in your dog might only show subtle symptoms until it has progressed to an advanced stage.

Symptoms of Worms in Dogs

The most common symptoms of worms in dogs are the following items:

Low energy

If your dog suddenly becomes lethargic and less active than usual, it may be a symptom of having worms.

Diarrhea

Worms can also present themselves as a symptom of soft stools and canine diarrhea. Dogs with hookworms can have blood in their stools too.

Vomiting

If your pet throws up, this can be a symptom of works, especially roundworms.

Change in appetite

Another system is a sudden change in your dog’s appetite. Your furry loved one may have come into contact with roundworms. Dogs that lose their appetite completed are often infected.

Bloated appearance

Your dog may have contracted worms if they are bloated or starts to appear pot-bellied. This is a common symptom in puppies if they have picked up worms from their mother.

Weight loss

If your dog has a rapid weight loss, they may have a whipworm or tapeworm.

Coughing

Coughing can be a symptom when your dog has an advanced stage of heartworms. A cough may be present in dogs with hookworms and roundworms too.

Itching and signs of skin irritations

Skin irritation may indicate that your dog may have a severe infestation of worms.

Dull coat

A shiny, thick coat is a sign that your dog is healthy. A symptom of worms is that your dog’s coat begins to dull and dry out. Rashes or hair loss can also indicate worms.

Rubbing its bottom on the ground or "scooting."

Dogs occasionally rub their rear ends on the floor in order to relieve themselves of an itch that may be caused due to worms in the area. This behavior can also be caused by problems with the anal glands as well.

Visible worms in fur or fecal matter

Tapeworms can appear as tiny moving items in a dog’s fur or area around their anus. Check your dog’s stools for roundworms.

If you Suspect Worms

Worms can seriously damage your dog’s internal organs and lead to loss of consciousness and death if untreated. If your dog has any of these symptoms of worms, contact your vet immediately.

Once diagnosed, most intestinal worms can be reasonably easy to treat with medication. Heartworm is much more severe to your dog's health. Treatment can be expensive and difficult for your dog. The best approach with heartworm is monthly preventive medication, which can also prevent other worm infections. Contact your vet for recommendations for your dog.

Animal Care Center in Smyrna, GA, is owned and operated by Otto H. Williams, DVM. The veterinary practice specializes in complete healthcare for cats and dogs and offers services including preventative, surgical and nonsurgical care, internal medicine, grooming and boarding to Cobb County and surrounding cities such as Vinings, Marietta, Mableton and Sandy Springs. Call today at 770.438.2694 or request an appointment.

Take Your Pet to Work Week

Pet lovers - Mark your calendars with these two dates coming up in June for you to take your furry loved one to work.

  • June 17 – 21 is Take Your Pet To Work Week® (June 17-21)
  • June 21 is the Take Your Dog To Work Day®

Before you plan on bringing your animal to your office, make sure your business allows it and check with their policy. Maybe you can help them implement a new policy for this week and day. Here is some ammo to support that shift in your office.

Friday, June 21, 2019, is Take Your Pet to Work Day established by Pet Sitters. This year is the 21st year of Take Your Pet to Work Day, which raises awareness and funds to support animal rescue and shelter dog adoption.

History of Take Your Pet To Work Day

In 1996, Pet Sitters International decided that there were far too many instances of people leaving their animals at home while they went about their workday. These amazing people are dedicated to saving animals from local shelters and humane shelters and helping them find good homes with people who will love and respect them.

Pet-Friendly Companies

There is research that suggests that dog owners bringing their dogs to work offer stress relief. Animals also break the ice during tense meetings and encourage socializing at work.

According to Fortune.com, here are ten pet-friendly companies where every day is Take Your Dog to Work Day.

1. Bissell

2. Amazon

3. Zynga

4. Nestle Purina

5. Salesforce

6. PetSmart

7. Google

8. WorkDay

9. Zoosk

10. Ticketmaster

Take Your Pet to Work Day Activities

Take advantage of Take Your Pet To Work Week® by these methods:

·      Participate in the holiday with your dog

·      Volunteer at an animal shelter

·      Sign up for a training class

We love this week because:

1.   It celebrates dogs

Dog lovers love to have their animals with them, talk about them and show them off to others o having the ability to introduce your dog to your coworkers is a great way to celebrate your dog’s best traits. Your dog may help to change someone else’s mind about how they feel about dogs.

2.   It can make work more fun

By bringing their animals to work, people may be more excited about coming and the day will go faster.

3.   It isn’t necessarily just for dogs

If you don’t have a dog or cat, bring in a parrot, goldfish, or borrow a dog from your friends, neighbors or family?

We love working work animals and seeing them in our office every day. It brings all of our staff much joy.

Animal Care Center in Smyrna, GA, is owned and operated by Otto H. Williams, DVM. The veterinary practice specializes in complete healthcare for cats and dogs and offers services including preventative, surgical and nonsurgical care, internal medicine, grooming and boarding to Cobb County and surrounding cities such as Vinings, Marietta, Mableton and Sandy Springs. Call today at 770.438.2694 or request an appointment.

Take Your Pet to Work Week

Pet lovers - Mark your calendars with these two dates coming up in June for you to take your furry loved one to work.

  • June 17 – 21 is Take Your Pet To Work Week® (June 17-21)
  • June 21 is the Take Your Dog To Work Day®

Before you plan on bringing your animal to your office, make sure your business allows it and check with their policy. Maybe you can help them implement a new policy for this week and day. Here is some ammo to support that shift in your office.

Friday, June 21, 2019, is Take Your Pet to Work Day established by Pet Sitters. This year is the 21st year of Take Your Pet to Work Day, which raises awareness and funds to support animal rescue and shelter dog adoption.

History of Take Your Pet To Work Day

In 1996, Pet Sitters International decided that there were far too many instances of people leaving their animals at home while they went about their workday. These amazing people are dedicated to saving animals from local shelters and humane shelters and helping them find good homes with people who will love and respect them.

Pet-Friendly Companies

There is research that suggests that dog owners bringing their dogs to work offer stress relief. Animals also break the ice during tense meetings and encourage socializing at work.

According to Fortune.com, here are ten pet-friendly companies where every day is Take Your Dog to Work Day.

1. Bissell

2. Amazon

3. Zynga

4. Nestle Purina

5. Salesforce

6. PetSmart

7. Google

8. WorkDay

9. Zoosk

10. Ticketmaster

Take Your Pet to Work Day Activities

Take advantage of Take Your Pet To Work Week® by these methods:

·      Participate in the holiday with your dog

·      Volunteer at an animal shelter

·      Sign up for a training class

We love this week because:

1.   It celebrates animals

Dog lovers love to have their animals with them, talk about them and show them off to others o having the ability to introduce your dog to your coworkers is a great way to celebrate your dog’s best traits. Your dog may help to change someone else’s mind about how they feel about dogs.

2.   It can make work more fun

By bringing their animals to work, people may be more excited about coming and the day will go faster.

3.   It isn’t necessarily just for dogs

If you don’t have a dog or cat, bring in a parrot, goldfish, or borrow a dog from your friends, neighbors or family?

We love working work animals and seeing them in our office every day. It brings all of our staff much joy.

Animal Care Center in Smyrna, GA, is owned and operated by Otto H. Williams, DVM. The veterinary practice specializes in complete healthcare for cats and dogs and offers services including preventative, surgical and nonsurgical care, internal medicine, grooming and boarding to Cobb County and surrounding cities such as Vinings, Marietta, Mableton and Sandy Springs. Call today at 770.438.2694 or request an appointment.

Memorialize Your Pet on World Pet Memorial Day

World Pet Memorial Day is observed on Tuesday, June 11, 2019. Here is a chance to celebrate the life of your pet that has passed away. This memorial day was created by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). It is a day to memorialize your pets.

AVMA

The American Veterinary Medical Association, founded in 1863, is a not-for-profit association representing more than 91,000 U.S. veterinarians working in private and corporate practice, government, industry, academia, and uniformed services.

Ways to Celebrate

On this day, you can celebrate the lives of your beloved pet(s) that have died. Thinking about the good times keeps the memory of your pet alive.

There are many ways you could do this:

  • Make a collage or scrapbook of your furry loved one
  • Frame a favorite photo of them
  • Plant a tree or other favorite plant in their memory
  • Donate money to a place that supports animals in your pet’s name
  • Volunteer your time to a pet shelter that helps animals
  • Hold a celebration of life get together
  • Write a social media post with a picture of your pet
  • Set up a web page in honor of your cat or dog
  • Donate or spend time at a local dog park
  • Put together video footage of your pet and post it on social media or email it to friends and family
  • Give away your pet’s favorite things to friends or a shelter
  • Adopt another furry one in your pet’s honor

Create a Memorial

Creating a special memorial for your loved one is a beautiful way to preserve your pet's legacy. Here are some ideas to memorialize your furry loved one(s):

  • Have a cemetery marker personalized for your pet where they are resting
  • Honor your pet with a unique urn for a pet that has been cremated and display in your home
  • Create a plaque with their name, date, photo or memorable quote for your home to hang or display
  • Create a small memory stone into jewelry
  • Memorialize your pet with a tattoo with permanent ink
  • Make a mosaic portrait tile to put in your yard or your pet’s favorite place in the yard

Remembering your pet can help you, your family and friends mourn the loss and celebrate your loved one to keep their memories alive forever.

If your animal is ill, make sure you contact a veterinarian to receive an accurate diagnosis and safe, effective treatment options? If you loved one is ready to pass, contact a compassionate vet to discuss your humane options?

Animal Care Center in Smyrna, GA, is owned and operated by Otto H. Williams, DVM. The veterinary practice specializes in complete healthcare for cats and dogs and offers services including preventative, surgical and nonsurgical care, internal medicine, grooming and boarding to Cobb County and surrounding cities such as Vinings, Marietta, Mableton and Sandy Springs. Call today at 770.438.2694 or request an appointment.

Did You Know That Dogs Can Get Tapeworms from Fleas, Mice and Other Rodents?

Did you know these facts about tapeworms and your dog?

  • Dogs may not have symptoms from tapeworms other than worm segments on their rear end or in their feces
  • People rarely are affected by dog tapeworms
  • Flea control is an essential step in protection
  • Dogs can get heartworms, hookworms, roundworms, tapeworms, and whipworms

 Symptoms

Some dogs will not show obvious symptoms while carrying tapeworm. Here are some of the signs that your dog may have tapeworm:

  • Scooting hind end along floor due to itching
  • Constantly licking or biting the anal area
  • Tapeworm may pass in the feces and be visibly seen
  • Dried yellowish segments of the tapeworm in the feces or around the tail
  • Live segments seen moving around in the same area
  • Vomit up an entire tapeworm
  • Bouts of gas
  • Malaise and irritability
  • Dull fur
  • Restless
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss
  • Abdominal pain

Appearance

Tapeworms are flat long worms that attach themselves to your dog’s intestines. A tapeworm consists of multiple parts, or segments, each with its reproductive organs.

Infections

If your dog has a tapeworm infection, you will see small white worms that resemble grains of rice. These are called segments and show up on your dog’s rear end or in their feces. They can also be visible where your dog sleeps.

There are several species of tapeworms. Each species has an in-between host which infects your dog.  Dogs get tapeworms by ingesting the immediate host containing larvae. One species is called Dipylidium caninum that uses fleas as its intermediate host. Two other species, Taenia and Echinococcus, use small rodents (mice, rats, squirrels), rabbits, or large animals (such as deer or sheep) as their intermediate hosts.

Diagnosis 

A fecal, or stool sample can be used to review for the presence of tapeworms. Most test results are conclusive.

Prevention

For prevention, it is vital to keep your dog from coming in contact with intermediate hosts that contain tapeworm larvae. For the most common kind of tapeworm, fleas are the intermediate host. That is why effective flea control is an essential prevention measure.

Your vet can give you a safe, effective monthly heartworm preventive that contains a drug specific for tapeworm infections.

Can humans be harmed by tapeworms?

Echinococcus species of tapeworm found in in dogs or cats may cause serious disease in humans. These tapeworms are uncommon in the United States and are readily treated by prescriptions available from your veterinarian.

If your dog has symptoms or you think your dog is infected with tapeworms, call your veterinarian for an appointment to get an accurate diagnosis and safe, effective treatment options.

Animal Care Center in Smyrna, GA, is owned and operated by Otto H. Williams, DVM. The veterinary practice specializes in complete healthcare for cats and dogs and offers services including preventative, surgical and nonsurgical care, internal medicine, grooming and boarding to Cobb County and surrounding cities such as Vinings, Marietta, Mableton and Sandy Springs. Call today at 770.438.2694 or request an appointment.

World Turtle Day is May 23rd

 

There is one special day of the year devoted to turtles around the world. It is on Thursday, May 23rd this year. This day is focused on the protection of all species of tortoises and turtles. This year's theme is "Adopt, Don't Shop." There is one special day of the year devoted to turtles around the world. It is on Thursday, May 23rd this year. This day is focused on the protection of all species of tortoises and turtles. This year's theme is "Adopt, Don't Shop." 

What is World Turtle Day?

The nonprofit organization of American Tortoise Rescue “ATR” was established in 1990 for the protection of all species of tortoise and turtle. ATR is sponsoring its 17th annual World Turtle Day® on May 23. To help people celebrate and protect turtles and tortoises and their disappearing habitats around the world, ATR created this day as an annual observance. The founders of ATR, Marshall Thompson and Susan Tellem, advocate humane treatment of all animals, including reptiles. ATR has placed about 4,000 tortoises and turtles in caring homes since 1990. When undersize or endangered turtles are confiscated ATR assists law enforcement and provides helpful information and referrals to persons with sick, neglected or abandoned turtles. 

ATR created and launched World Turtle Day to increase respect for and knowledge of one of the world’s oldest creatures. Now observed around the globe, turtle and tortoise lovers are taking “shellfies” and holding shellebrations in the U.S., Canada, Pakistan, Borneo, India, Australia, the UK, Greece, and many other countries. These gentle animals are rapidly disappearing as a result of smuggling, the exotic food industry, habitat destruction, climate change, and the cruel pet trade. The survived 200 million years before that. Biologists and other experts predict the disappearance of turtles and tortoises in the wild within the next 50 years. 

American Tortoise Rescue

ATR has rescued more than 4,000 since inception. Foundlings that cannot be adopted because of ill health remain in the care of ATR for the remainder of their lives. American Tortoise Rescue acts as a clearinghouse for information about turtle care. They work to abolish “live market” slaughter of turtles in the US, the sale of reptiles on sites like craigslist.com and the cruel importation and exploitation of a variety of species. 

Fire in Malibu destroyed turtle hospital

“We are more grateful than ever this year to shellebrate. We lost our home and the turtle hospital in the Woolsey fire in Malibu, one of the worst wildfires in history,” said Susan Tellem, RN, BSN, co-founder of ATR with her husband, Marshall Thompson. "We were able to evacuate with all 35 turtles and tortoises in our hospital, but those in the rescue itself were hibernating and hidden. Fortunately, the 15 pond turtles and more than 50 other rescues sheltered in place in fireproof housing that my husband built years ago." Tellem said the intense heat melted everything and destroyed plants and trees, but the hibernating turtles survived. “I think it was a miracle. We believe it was the St. Francis statue in the front yard that kept the animals safe. The statue was the only thing left on the home site.” To help rebuild the hospital and the rescue itself, visit https://www.gofundme.com/turtlestrong-malibu-fire-relief 

Adopt, Don’t Shop Theme

“Our theme this year is Adopt, Don’t Shop,” Tellem said. “There are rescues throughout the globe that help place turtles and tortoises into forever homes, most at no cost.” She added, “You can help by not purchasing a turtle from a pet store, online or at a swap meet. Sadly, most of these animals are taken illegally out of the wild or are victims of international smuggling.” Tellem also suggests reporting tiny turtles less than four inches sold at pet stores, by street vendors or used as prizes at carnivals and other events to government wildlife agencies. Their sale has been illegal since 1974. Most die after purchase years before they should.

Some of the highlights to help make your World Turtle Day special include:

  • Everyone can join the party at home, at a pub or work. There is a World Turtle Day Party Pack available created by ATR that can be accessed for free here http://bit.ly/1YwebJR 
  • Like the World Turtle Day page on Facebook and join thousands of fans who are enjoying shellfies, photo contests, and gifts in honor of World Turtle Day.
  • Follow @WorldTurtleDay on Twitter. Thousands of people tweet #worldturtleday to spread the good word about turtles.• Join www.instagram.com/worldturtleday
  • Follow and share videos at www.youtube.com/americantortrescue 

Animal Care Center in Smyrna, GA, is owned and operated by Otto H. Williams, DVM. The veterinary practice specializes in complete healthcare for cats and dogs and offers services including preventative, surgical and nonsurgical care, internal medicine, grooming and boarding to Cobb County and surrounding cities such as Vinings, Marietta, Mableton and Sandy Springs. Call today at 770.438.2694 or request an appointment.

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