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Don’t Chew Gum

June 3 | 12 Comments

For those of you that can walk and chew gum at the same time, here’s an article you must read.

WILMINGTON — An artificial sweetener can be deadly for dogs, and a local dog owner learned that the hard way.

Anna Frazelle rushed her dog, Scout, to the Dineen Animal Hospital when she noticed her King Charles Spaniel acting strange.

“He was using the wall to hold himself up,” said Frazelle.

She was shocked by the diagnosis of sugar free gum poisoning.

Sugar free gum contains Xylitol, a sugar substitute found in almost any sugar free food, which can be deadly for dogs.

Veterinarians said they are most often concerned about Xylitol contained in gum because one stick can kill a 20 pound dog.

“It makes the pancreas release a tremendous amount of insulin all at once, it puts the dog into extreme hypoglycemia and that’s where most dogs die, they die within the first hour,” said Dr. Jeff Dineen.

If you fear your dog has swallowed gum, but on the lookout for symptoms such as weakness and uncoordinated movements.

According to Dr. Dineen, ridding your dog’s system of the gum by vomiting is the first step in recovery.

Luckily, Scout eventually recovered.

For more information on Xylitol poisoning contact the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435 or on the web, here.

Is Tap Water Safe for Your Dog?

June 2 | 8 Comments

 Regardless of the studies findings below, I prefer bottled water. Perrier to be specific, but admittedly I am high maintenance.

SCHAUMBURG, Ill., June 2 IL-American-Vet-Dog
SCHAUMBURG, Ill., June 2 /PRNewswire/ — With all the concerns about
what’s in our food and our water, many of us are paying even more attention
these days to what we are giving our pets.
You can’t blame pet owners for taking a few precautions. After all, pet
food recalls raised concerns about chemical contamination; even treats have
been scrutinized.
So, should we resort to bottled water for our canine companions? According
to a study in the June 1, 2008, Journal of the American Veterinary Medical
Association, that won’t be necessary. Tap water, the study suggests, doesn’t
cause bladder cancer in dogs.
Long-term consumption of disinfected tap water — the stuff that flows
from our faucets after being treated with chemicals such as chlorine — has
been associated with bladder cancer in people. But the study, which was led by
Dr. Lorraine Backer of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found
that there is no such association in dogs.
There may be more than one reason why dogs that drink tap water don’t have
an increased risk of bladder cancer, even though people apparently do. First,
a dog’s exposure to drinking water disinfection by-products — the chemicals
that are produced when things like chlorine interact with natural organic
matter — is different from that of its human owners. Dogs don’t gulp down a
big glass of water like people often do. Their water usually sits in a bowl
for hours, which allows the chemical concentrations to decrease over time.
Second, dogs don’t take long showers or baths like people do. And
showering and bathing are important routes of human exposure to chemical
by-products of tap water.
The study focused on 200 dogs living in residential settings, 100 of which
had bladder cancer and 100 of which did not. While the results showed that
dogs with bladder cancer were exposed to higher total chemical by-product
concentrations than the control dogs, the difference wasn’t significant enough
to draw a connection between tap water consumption and bladder cancer, the
study says.

The AVMA and its more than 76,000 member veterinarians are engaged in a
wide variety of activities dedicated to advancing the science and art of
animal, human and public health. Visit the AVMA Web site at
http://www.avma.org for more information.

Instant Family

You can’t tell me that fertility clinics aren’t affecting everyone, including dogs. Don’t believe me? Then how do you explain this?

An American Bulldog has given birth to a record-breaking litter.

Kaiser gave birth to twenty pups – the average is ten.

The pups, born in New Barnet, Hertfordshire, were fathered by fellow bulldog Mutley, reports The Sun.

Kaiser’s owner Kerry New was shocked by the huge delivery but will be soon reaping the benefits as each dog is set to fetch up to £1,000.

The litter is now set to go in the Guinness Book of Records.

It’s good to be a male dog.

Old Age Record Holder

May 29 | 2 Comments

What’s Up Sonny?And I thought I was old…check out this unofficial record holder.

A couple claim their Labrador cross is the oldest dog in the world.

The owners of Bella say that she is at least 29 years old, reports the Daily Telegraph.

Owner David Richardson, 76, said he got the mixed breed dog from an animal home about 26 years ago when she was at least three years old.

That would make Bella’s age more than 200 years in canine years.

That means she was born during the same time Benjamin Franklin’s dog was holding on to that kite and discovering electricity.  That is old.

But the RSPCA said it does not have any records for Bella and the Guinness World Records said without the appropriate paperwork it could not be proved.

“I’m convinced she is the oldest dog in the world”, said Mr Richardson, from Chesterfield.

Gareth Deaves, records manager from Guinness World Records, said: “Unless we can get a doggy birth certificate or some really clear evidence from the RSPCA then we won’t be able to prove Bella’s age and we can’t list her as the oldest dog.”

According to Mr Deaves, the most recent record for the oldest dog was held by Butch, a 28-year-old from America who died in 2003.

The oldest ever dog was Bluey, a sheepdog from Australia, who lived to 29.

Bluey was seen in the Bugs Bunny cartoons punching a clock to watch the sheep.  I can’t remember if he was Sam or Ralph, but he was there.

The Eyes Have It

Here’s an interesting article in Science Daily on a new procedure to restore eyesight in canines.  Still experimental but will, no doubt, come to a veterinarian near you shortly. Sounds like a great advancement but I’m sure future generations of dogs will be snickering, “Look at those cornea’s. They can’t be real, they must be implants.”

ScienceDaily (May 13, 2008) – Sinisa Grozdanic an assistant professor of Veterinary Clinical Sciences performed the surgery that restored sight to 7-year-old Dixie, a Mountain Cur breed owned by Brett Williams of Runnells.

“We are excited for Dixie,” said Grozdanic. “She was our patient for such a long time and nothing really worked. She was gradually going down visually and we were finally able to do something to definitely improve her quality of life.”

“She is my pet and my friend,” said Williams. “She is the best dog I’ve ever had. Even when she was almost blind, she was still my best dog.”

Dixie, who had gained weight due to inactivity from her blindness, has lost seven pounds since the surgery.

“She used to walk right behind me when we’d go for a walk. She couldn’t see and was scared,” said Williams. “Now she wants to run ahead.”

Dixie’s sight was restored through a two-step surgical procedure that involves cutting into the eye to take out the cloudy cornea and inserting a permanent, plastic cornea. The new cornea is sutured, or stitched, into place. The entire eye including the new, plastic cornea is then covered with tissue from the dog to help the eye heal from the surgery. Because of the tissue and the bandages, the dog cannot see after this procedure.

After several weeks, the bandages are removed and a hole is cut into the tissue exposing the new, plastic cornea.

In addition to being the first such procedure in North America, it was one of only a few in the world. The technology is still being developed.

A German company called Acrivet is developing the plastic corneas. When Grozdanic met a company representative at a conference a few years ago, he became interested in the possibilities of doing the procedure on canine patients at Iowa State.

“These are special prototypes,” said Joyce Wickham from Acrivet’s U.S.-based office in Salt Lake City. “They are not made routinely, and are not yet available commercially.”

Wickham is eager to get the full report from Grozdanic. Depending on what he tells the company, the corneas may soon be available to more veterinary doctors.

“Anytime you develop something, you want to know how it’s going to work,” she said. “If it’s something that is going to work, we’ll move forward with it.”

The new cornea is working for Dixie, but she has very little peripheral vision, Grozdanic said.

“She is visual,” he said. “For Dixie, it’s like looking through a peephole.”

One of the tests doctors used to see how Dixie’s vision is progressing is done by simply dropping a cotton ball in front of her.

If she follows the ball with her head and eyes, they know she can see it. When they preformed the test in front of her owner and she tracked the ball, Williamson was excited.

“When I came in to watch, and they dropped that cotton ball, I thought ‘I got my dog back,’” he said.

Months before the surgery, when Grozdanic described the process to Williams, he didn’t hesitate to give his approval, even though the procedure was new.

“It could have failed,” Williams said. “But I thought it was worth trying to see what they could do. I hope they continue to research this. It’s a great lesson for everybody about taking risks.”

While Grozdanic recognizes that the procedure was noteworthy because it was the first, he is most excited about the improvement in Dixie’s quality of life.

“It’s not a good thing because it’s the first one in North America. That’s really secondary,” he said. “We are excited because of Dixie. She was our patient for such a long time and nothing really worked. It is interesting from the research side of it, but if you can fix something that is thought to be unfixable, it gives you a huge amount of pleasure. I think all of us here feel that way. The biggest reward comes from the patient. It’s great to see a completely transformed dog, and an owner who is pleased.”

Dixie has been a patient of Grozdanic for four years during which he had worked to restore, or at least retain, Dixie’s deteriorating eyesight.

According to Grozdanic, corneal transplants — using live corneal tissue from other dogs — have a low success rate because of the high likelihood of rejection.

Canine implant corneas being produced by Acrivet are not made from biomaterial so rejection is unlikely.

Another problem with getting a transplant from a donor dog is that the cornea may turn into scar tissue during the healing process.

“It’s just a fact of the species,” Grozdanic said.

Artificial corneal implants are somewhat common in humans. They have been performed for several years. It has taken time for the procedure to take place in dogs.

“Humans need to work and drive cars and read, so they are more likely to have the surgery,” said Grozdanic. “As long as dogs can see and have a pretty good quality of life, owners are reluctant to put them through this type of procedure. And my advice to them would be ‘Don’t take the risk.’ But when the quality of life is severely affected, those are candidates for this procedure. We’re very glad it worked out for Dixie.”

Link Between Music And Behaviour

Here’s an interesting article on the connection between music and animal behaviour.

 

 

Denise Flaim Bio | E-mail | Recent columns

 As that often-misquoted line goes, music is supposed to soothe savage beasts – heck, even mildly irked ones.

That’s the premise behind “Through a Dog’s Ear: Using Sound to Improve the Health & Behavior of Your Canine Companion” (Sounds True, $18.95), a book and starter CD that pays attention to an oft-overlooked canine sense.

We hear all about dogs as connoisseurs of scent – how their noses are a hundred times more sensitive than our sniffers, how they can identify all the individual ingredients in a bubbling pot of soup, from carrots to celery.

But when it comes to aural input, dogs can and do go into sensory overload. “They are instinctively tuned in to react to noises,” explains veterinary neurologist Susan Wagner, who co-wrote the book with Joshua Leeds, an expert in psychoacoustics, or the study of the effects of music and sound on the human nervous system. They contend the cumulative effect of roaring leaf blowers, blaring plasma TVs and chirping cell phones is causing an uptick in physical and psychological problems in our dogs.

Conversely, they say, “intentional” music – purposefully created with lower tones, slower tempos, simplified structure and solo instruments – actually changes canine physiology, causing heart rates to drop, brain waves to calm and stress levels to plummet.

Research on the subject is spotty but interesting: In 2002, Belfast-based psychologist and animal behaviorist Deborah Wells studied the influence of human conversation, classical music, heavy metal music and pop music on dogs in animal shelters.

Dogs exposed to classical music spent more time resting than any other group and barked less. Not surprisingly, the heavy metal “agitated” the dogs, while human voices and pop music had no effect at all – perhaps, Wells posited, because dogs had been desensitized to those sounds.

Despite Wells’ findings, not all classical music is Fido-friendly, Wagner warns. The more complicated the work, the more stimulus the dog has to orient to. “If you put on ‘The 1812 Overture,’ that’s potentially not going to be soothing.”

Through her Web site, throughadogsear.com, Wagner markets CDs with dog-friendly music performed by Julliard-trained concert pianist Lisa Spector, among others. She says clinical trials showed that 70 percent of dogs in kennels and 85 percent of those in households exposed to such modified music showed reduced stress behavior, including thunderstorm trembling, excitement with visitors and separation anxiety.

Even if owners don’t want to cue up special music for their hounds, at the very least they can be aware of the different sounds in their environment.

“Don’t have the television blaring, especially if you’re not watching it,” Wagner advises, adding that owners who leave Animal Planet on to entertain their critters while they are at work may be doing more harm than good. “It might not be tuned into something calming, like ‘Emergency Vets’ or a lion attacking something.” A better option is to tune the radio to a station you listen to often, which your animal likely associates with your presence.

Wagner encourages owners to take a “sonic inventory” of their household: Sit quietly for a half-hour with pen in hand, noting sounds inside and outside the home, from the churn of the dishwasher to the whoosh of passing traffic.

Notice your dog’s reactions – or lack of them – to particular sounds, then rate them from 1 (least noticeable) to 10 (most disturbing), both from your perspective and what you can guess of the dog’s.

The next step, of course, is to eliminate or otherwise mask the most disruptive noises – or at the very least give your dog an escape route. “If you like a certain type of music, and your dog or cat hangs around, that’s great,” Wagner advises. “Just make sure they can leave.”

As for cats, Wagner says the jury is out. Tests her group conducted on cats in a home setting were inconclusive: Some cats seemed more relaxed when exposed to the simplified music, but that could have been attributed to the fact that they were also old and sedentary.

“But we found it didn’t agitate the cats,” she says, so it might be worth a try in anxious kitties.

Joint and Bone Health

PupLife.com is pleased to celebrate Dog Health Awareness Month in May by providing timely articles, resource guides, tips and information to encourage and promote healthy lifestyles for dogs. Joint and Bone Health in Canines serves as the focus for 2008. PupLife.com is proud to sponsor Dog Health Awareness Month for the fifth consecutive year.Throughout the month of May, PupLife.com will feature articles and information specifically related to joint and bone health, maintaining healthy lifestyles and managing joint diseases like arthritis. Arthritis is the result of inflammation in the joints. This may be caused by degeneration or swelling of the joint either through a genetic abnormality, wear and tear or infection. Stiffness after exercise or intermittent lameness in dogs may be a sign of arthritis. Because arthritis and other joint-related diseases may have several underlying causes, a trip to the veterinarian is a better choice than giving an aspirin and turning a blind eye to the problem.

It is important to know that much progress has been made in the treatment and management of canine arthritis and joint-related diseases. Veterinarians are offering more practical options and strategies to enhance the health of companion pets. Growing interest in biologically appropriate dog food, natural supplements and holistic health care for dogs has encouraged pet owners to take a more proactive approach to their dog’s diet and lifestyle in an effort to make better choices.

Additionally, veterinarians and pet owners alike are beginning to recognize that exercise is a vital link in creating and maintaining a healthy lifestyle for pet dogs. All of us are aware of the dangers of obesity, but many of us may not know that poor nutrition and lack of exercise may contribute to an increased risk of disease. Establishing a healthy diet and exercise program will help your “best friend” enjoy a happier and hopefully longer life.

“We believe that education is the first step in creating healthy lifestyles for ourselves and our pets,” said PupLife.com CEO, Leslie Hayes-Houtkooper. She continued, “In addition to seeking out the best products for dogs, we gather a wide array of information, both conventional and alternative, and make it available to our customers to aid them in creating the healthiest lifestyle possible. That’s why Dog Health Awareness Month is so important to us.”

PupLife.com is one of the fastest growing online retailers in the pet supply industry. Focusing on healthy, safe and holistic dogs supplies, PupLife.com provides customers a one-stop shopping site for all their dog care needs. In addition to the best selection of dog food and treats, natural grooming products, designer dog carriers and training tools, PupLife.com offers information and articles including positive reinforcement training tips, health care guides and interviews with leaders in the pet care industry. PupLife.com also enjoys widespread readership of its blog, the Pup Life Dog Blog, a place for dogs and their people to read up on the latest information in the canine world.

At PupLife.com, conscientious dog owners can find the best selection of products for dogs, news and information, as well as superior customer service. As a business, we strive to promote ethical treatment of animals, and we encourage compassion and responsibility toward our pets. Most of all, we celebrate the incredible bond between humans and animals. For more information, contact Leslie Hayes-Houtkooper at 773-620-0050 or visit PupLife.com.

Mango Lassie

It all started centuries ago when pilgrims, their dogs and the bounty of their harvest was shared with the Indians, their dogs and their bounty. Now Thanksgiving has turned into a great big holiday that all canines look forward to. The amount of leftovers inevitably leads to a lot of scraps being shared, and rightfully so. Unfortunately for Mango, her owner shared a little too much and a little too quickly. That's not a fart mask, is it?

LAKE OSWEGO, Ore. – Thanksgiving was a hard holiday at the Stapleton home in Lake Oswego, hardest of all on Mango, the family’s 2-pound teacup poodle.

She got the stuffing knocked out of her.

Was Mango a stuffed animal? Not so my friend.

Joe, an anesthesiologist and pain-management specialist, said he didn’t realize any dogs were in the kitchen as he busily prepared a Thanksgiving feast for that afternoon’s family gathering.

As Joe stuffed the bird, it swiveled on the kitchen counter, knocking a heavy pot of stuffing – bam! – to the kitchen floor. He reached to retrieve the pot, and there lay Mango.

“Oh, no!” Roxanne remembered hearing him cry. “She’s dead.”

At the Pearly Gates, Mango was asked, “How did you die?”

“Oh, I had the stuffing knocked on top of me,” she replied.

“You mean you had the stuffing knocked out of you.”

“No, it was on me.”

To which St. Peter said, “Well…that’s no way to go, even for a fru fru dog like you. I will send you back.”

Joe scooped up the pocket-sized pooch and pressed his ear to her chest. He didn’t hear a heartbeat.

He’d performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on plenty of humans, he said, but never had tried it on a dog.

He held Mango in his left hand and started chest compressions with his right. When he breathed into her nostrils, Joe said, he could feel the dog’s lungs inflate.

(When asked if giving mouth-to-snout resuscitation was icky, Joe replied: “Most dog owners are used to kissing their dogs. It’s not much different.”) Read more

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