Almost on a daily basis, a Veterinarian examining a patient has to deal with “Old wives tales” about animal’s which have been passed from generation to generation over year’s.
And then, of course, there is “Doctor Google” too, who tends to give an excess of information and often treatment suggestions, which can have a Vet with his hand’s in his hair!
Here are a few myths, we can “debunk”:
Dogs with warm, dry noses are sick – A dry nose has nothing to do with a dog’s health. Normal canine body temperature ranges from 38.2 to 39.2 degrees. Veterinarians agree a dog may still have a cold, wet nose while running a temperature of 40 degrees.
Old dogs can’t learn new tricks – Old dogs and old people continue to learn throughout their lives. Very old dogs may not learn well because they may be impaired by progressive blindness, deafness, or motivational problems and decline in cerebral function.
A dog wagging his tail will not bite – The wag of a dog’s tail tells nothing about his aggressiveness. It simply is a sign of excitement. Other aspects of his behavior can tell more about aggressiveness such as ear position, whether the dog is staring, growling, or barking.
If a dog scoots across the floor, he has worms – Although dogs with tapeworms will scoot due to the itchiness of the worm segments, not all scooting dogs have worms. Allergies, diarrhea or even anal glands can be reasons for this behavior.
If your dog eats his poop, he has worms – Many dogs will eat their own poop as well as another dog’s poop. Although this is a disgusting behavior and pets can acquire parasites from the habit, it is not strictly a sign of intestinal parasites. Many mother dogs will do this to clean her newborn puppies and some pets will do it as an attention getting behavior. The problem may also be poor nutrition and a learned habit.
Female dogs should have at least 1 litter of puppies before spaying – There is no known benefit to allowing a pet to reproduce unnecessarily. In fact, there is evidence that spaying a female before her first heat may reduce her risk of developing breast cancer and other hormone-related problems such as diabetes.
Some dogs have jaws that lock – All dogs have the same facial musculature and structure — none has locking jaws. All dogs can be taught to be gentle — to release everything from toys to trash on command.
Dogs eat grass because they know they are sick – Many dogs will eat grass and then vomit, but this does not mean that they are sick. Some dogs even eat grass simply because they like it. It is normal for dogs to eat grass in very small amounts — their ancestors ate grass. It’s roughage.
Low-shed breeds of dogs are better for people with allergies – For most people, it’s the dander and saliva, not the fur that trigger an allergic response.
Neutering and spaying makes dogs fat and lazy – Eating too much and not enough exercise makes animals overweight. Same goes for cats.
A cat purrs when it is happy – Purring is generally the first sound kittens can make. They can purr by the time they are 48 hours old. While nursing, both mom and kittens can be heard to purr. But while purring is often heard at times of contentment, cats also purr when in pain and in the throes of death.
Cats can be fed an all tuna diet – Many cats love the flavor and taste of tuna. Despite this love, an all tuna diet is bad for cats because high levels of magnesium can increase Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease, as well as imbalances which can cause severe spinal problems. Feed your pet the best diet you can afford, which is specifically made for them.
It will keep their teeth in good shape too.
Cutting off a cat’s whiskers causes loss of balance – A cat’s whiskers are not involved in maintaining balance, only as an aid to feel their way through their world.
Cats have 9 lives – This probably goes back to ancient Egypt, where 9 was a mystical number. The god Atum-Ka had 9 lives and took the form of a feline whenever he visited the underworld, so the 9 lives became associated with the cats.
Cats always land safely on their feet – Cats are naturally flexible and have an amazing ability to right their bodies. But that doesn’t necessarily protect them from harm. Cats can break their front legs and jaw when they land on their feet.
Cats can steal a baby’s breath – Cats are heat and comfort-seekers. Curling up next to a newborn in a crib meets both of these needs. Perhaps the origins started because cat’s can smell the baby’s milk and try to get a taste of the milk. If the cat presses against the face of an infant who is too young to turn away the baby’s breathing may be hampered. Keep cats out of the nursery at naptime.
Cats need milk in their diet – Although many cats do like milk, it is not necessary in their diet. In fact, many kittens have signs of digestive upset, such as diarrhea after drinking milk.
Wild cats are loners – Feral cats are not solitary, they usually live as a group near a food source.
Cats are nocturnal creatures – Cats are most active at dusk and dawn when prey abounds and the hunting is best. The construction of their eyes allows them to see well in low light. Cats only need 1/6 of the light humans do in order to decipher shapes. However, they cannot see in absolute darkness.
Pregnant women must give up their cats – While toxoplasmosis is a risk for fetuses, a woman is more likely to catch it from handling raw meat or digging in the garden, than from her cats.
Someone, who’s had cat’s most of their life, will in actual fact already have antibodies against Toxoplasmosis.
Black cats are bad luck – There are nearly as many superstitions about black cats bringing good luck as there are about them being bringers of bad luck.
Cats hate water – While most cats hate baths, many find running water fascinating and spend time pawing at dripping faucets. The Turkish Van, is nicknamed “the swimming cat” for its swimming prowess. With a bit of preparation it is easy to give a cat a bath without being scratched and mauled
Reddish orange cats are almost always male – While the statistics are high that a red/orange tabby is usually male, the female gene sometimes sneaks in and creates a somewhat unusual red/orange female.
If a cat is calico, then it must be a female. – Most calico cats are female; however it is possible for a calico cat to be male, who are often sterile and not capable of reproduction.
Mother birds will reject their babies if they’ve been touched by humans – Most birds have a poorly developed sense of smell and won’t notice a human scent.
Ostriches bury their heads in the sand when they’re scared or threatened – Ostriches don’t bury their heads in the sand, they wouldn’t be able to breathe! But they do dig holes in the dirt to use as nests for their eggs. Several times a day, an ostrich puts her head in the hole and turns the eggs.
Penguins fall backward when they look up at airplanes – An experiment testing the story found that penguins are capable of maintaining their footing when watching airplanes.
I am sure there are many more myth’s and old wife’s tales – feel free to share them with us and we will try and debunk it.