Va. veterinarian cautions against writing off entire breed

WASHINGTON – In light of the recent ruling by a Maryland Court of Appeals that found pit bulls are an inherently dangerous breed, a local veterinarian says pit bull owners should focus on keeping their dogs happy and healthy, and take the time to properly train them.

Maryland is the only state that officially categorizes pit bulls as categorically dangerous. The ruling means plaintiffs in civil lawsuits don’t have to prove the animal’s prior violent behavior for the owner to be held liable for damages.

“It is difficult to condemn an entire group due to certain individuals’ actions … Pitts can be fabulous family dogs, but just as with any breed, you have to put the time and effort in to train your pets to live harmoniously with those in your home, and those outside your home,” says Alexandria veterinarian Dr. Katy Nelson.

Nelson joined WTOP Thursday for a live chat about pets and pet problems where she spent an hour answering questions from readers and listeners.

In addition to answering readers’ questions about pet maladies and illnesses, Nelson also warns that just as humans need to be aware of the potentially active mosquito season ahead, fleas and bugs will be a problem for pets.

She says be sure and get flea and tick prevention on pets “not only for the itch factor, but for the disease-prevention factor. And don’t forget about mosquitoes, they’re not only pesky, but they carry heartworms, so try and protect your pet from them as well.”

Nelson has been an associate emergency veterinarian in Alexandria, Va. where she works with a wide variety of pets and pet problems.

She is passionate about health and fitness and helping dogs and cats to live the longest, fullest life that they can lead by staying fit and trim.

Nelson, a native of Louisiana, was raised on a small farm in the heart of the state where her childhood was filled with many beloved pets.

She earned her veterinary degree in 2001 from the Louisiana State University’s School of Veterinary Medicine.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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