Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Americans are having dogs instead of babies

Americans are having dogs instead of babies

The fewer babies Americans give birth to, the more small dogs they seem to buy.
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Birth rates in the US have fallen from nearly 70 per 1,000 women in 2007, to under 63 last year—a 10% tumble. American women birthed almost 400,000 fewer little humans in 2013 than they did six years before. The drop-off has come exclusively among 15- to 29-year-olds. This chart, taken from a recent report by the US Department of Health (pdf), does a pretty decent job of showing how much of the growing disinterest in having babies is due to younger women:
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Meanwhile, the ownership of small dogs—that is, pets weighing no more than 20 pounds (9 kilograms)—is doing just the opposite. Americans have been buying more and more small dogs each year since 1999. The population of little canines more than doubled in the US over that period, and is only projected to continue upwards, according to data from market research firm Euromonitor.
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“You do not have to go to many pet shows to realize that the numbers of small and tiny dogs are on the increase,” a report by Pets International opened in 2010 (pdf).
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And rightly so. The number of small dogs has grown so fast that they are now the most popular kind nationwide.
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It could just be a coincidence that Americans are birthing fewer babies at the same time as they’re buying a lot more little dogs. But there’s pretty good reason to believe it isn’t, Damian Shore, an analyst at market-research firm Euromonitor, told Quartz. “There’s definitely some replacement happening there,” he said.
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One telling sign that the two are not entirely unrelated is that the same age groups that are forgoing motherhood are leading the small dog charge. “Women are not only having fewer children, but are also getting married later. There are more single and unmarried women in their late 20s and early 30s, which also happens to be the demographic that buys the most small dogs,” Shore said.
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There’s also evidence people are treating their dogs a bit more like little humans these days. Premium dog food, the most expensive kind, has grown by 170% over the past 15 years, and now accounts for 57% of of the overall dog food market.
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There are now tools to monitor your dog’s fitness, ice cream trucks exclusively for canines, and vacations designed exclusively for dog-having people. “The animals in our homes are family. They’re like children,” David Grimm, the author of the book Citizen Canine, told Wired this week.

Of course, small dog ownership isn’t rising just because people want kid substitutes. Fashion trends aside, small dogs are also emblematic of a national migration to cities, where big dogs are harder to keep. Nearly 80% of Americans live in urban areas. “Smaller homes and apartments are also helping drive the growing popularity of smaller dogs,” Shore said.

But the national trend towards later motherhood is certainly playing its part. And those who treat their pooches and pugs like babies may be on to something. A study last year found that dogs form bonds of dependency with their owners not unlike the ones babies form with their parents.

EPA: Some flea and tick collars pose danger to children

EPA: Some flea and tick collars pose danger to children

An Environmental Protection Agency report warns that propoxur, a flea-killing chemical in flea collars marketed by Sergeant's Pet Care Products and Wellmark International, is unsafe for children. However, the products can be distributed until two years from now, and retailers can continue to sell them after that until their stock is gone. Veterinary dermatologist Daniel Morris says there are safer products available and urges owners to consult with their veterinarian to determine the best approach.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

More Pets Are Showing Up High On Marijuana

More Pets Are Showing Up High On Marijuana, Vets Say



A sticker is seen on a dog's back during a demo in support of the legalization of marijuana, in Mexico City, on May 5, 2012, as part of the 2012 Global Marijuana March.
Veterinarians are asking pet owners to watch their weed, because more pets are showing up high and sick.
Dr. Billy Griswold, a vet at the Emergency Animal Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz., told KCTV that he's seen double the number of cases of animals ingesting marijuana over the past few years. KCTV reports that the increase in marijuana treatments "directly coincides" with the opening of medical marijuana dispensaries in the state, starting in December 2012.

The clinic has five facilities that have reported upwards of 24 cases of pets eating weed every month.
Of course, that's just one clinic in one state, but vets in Colorado -- where recreational pot shops opened their doors earlier this year -- are reporting the same problem, according to ABC News.

The natural stuff isn't toxic to animals, but it can give them an upset stomach and other side effects. The real danger is in synthetic marijuana, which can kill pets, Griswold said.

"We have seen a couple fatalities with [synthetic marijuana]," he told KCTV. "There are more serious side effects and longer treatments associated with that."

In fact, some vets condone the use of medical marijuana as a treatment for ailing pets. Laura Bugni-Daniel said her dog is as happy as a (high) clam, despite his sickness and old age, after she started feeding him "magic cheese."

Still, Griswold warns that it's high time you hide your stash.

"Usually [pets] will become sedate, they'll act stuporous," he said.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Electronic Cigarettes are Toxic to Pets

Electronic Cigarettes are Toxic to Pets

Sharon Gwaltney-Brant, DVM, PhD, DABVT, DABT 

 

Electronic cigarettes, often called e-cigs, are marketed as an alternative to cigarette smoking.  They are also referred to as personal vaporizers or electronic nicotine delivery systems. These devices are a cylindrical body that holds a cartridge containing a liquid solution; some resemble a tobacco cigarette.  The solution, termed “e-liquid” or “e-juice,” contains a base material, flavoring compounds, and nicotine. The base material is generally propylene glycol and either vegetable glycerin or polyethylene glycol.

Glycerin and propylene glycol are of low toxicity when eaten, but the amount in the refill bottles (usually 10-30% of what's in the bottle) is low enough to not be much of a concern; nicotine is the bigger issue. Whether any of the compounds used are toxic if inhaled long term is not known.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Some e-cigarettes can be reused (left), and some are disposable (center). E-juice is bottled (right). Photos by VIN.
The nicotine levels in these e-liquids can vary in concentration from being completely nicotine-free up to 36 milligrams per milliliter (mg/mL) of nicotine. For marketing purposes, the “/mL” part is frequently dropped, and the e-liquids are advertised as having X mg of nicotine rather than X mg/mL. In some e-cigs, the user controls the amount of nicotine delivered by adjusting the flow of e-liquid from the cartridge.

An e-cig with a full cartridge can contain up to 36 mg of nicotine, which doesn’t sound like a lot until you factor in how toxic nicotine is.  Clinical signs of nicotine poisoning can be seen in dogs and cats exposed to a mere 0.5 mg per pound of body weight.  For cats and small dogs, ingesting 20 mg of nicotine can be lethal.
Even more dangerous are the bottles of e-liquid that are used to recharge the e-cig cartridge: the nicotine in these bottles can range from 10 mL to 60 mL or more.  So a 30-mL bottle of 36 mg/mL e-liquid will contain 1080 mg of nicotine, more than enough to prove fatal for even a very large dog if the contents are ingested.
Nicotine is readily absorbed by ingestion as well as through the skin.  Pets may be exposed when they chew up the e-cigs or the bottles containing e-juice, or even when they walk through puddles of spilled e-juice and get it on their paws.  The signs of nicotine poisoning may begin within 15 to 30 minutes of exposure to the e-liquid; in contrast, signs of nicotine poisoning following eating tobacco products may take a few hours  as the nicotine must be released from the tobacco. 

The first signs normally seen with toxic exposure to nicotine include:
  • Excessive drooling (hypersalivation)
  • Vomiting with or without diarrhea
  • Agitation or restlessness
  • Increased respiratory rate or panting.
With severe intoxications, signs may progress to include:
  • Excitation
  • Disorientation
  • Tremors
  • Twitching
  • Convulsions or seizures
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure.
Further progression of signs may result in profound weakness, paralysis, abnormal heart rhythms (including cardiac arrest), hypotension, coma and death.

Prompt and aggressive veterinary care is required to successfully manage poisoning from e-juice exposure.  Because the e-juice is rapidly absorbed across the mucous membranes of the mouth, standard decontamination measures such as inducing vomiting are usually not helpful.  Treatment includes managing convulsions and seizures, treating heart and blood pressure abnormalities, ensuring adequate respiration, and providing intravenous fluids to enhance nicotine elimination. 

The prognosis for patients exposed to large amounts of nicotine can be quite grave depending on how quickly veterinary care is obtained, and even with aggressive veterinary care some patients will not survive.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Protect Yourself and Your Pets From Leptospirosis

A client handout about "Leptospirosis" written by Dr. Staunton.



Leptospirosis
Niles Animal Hospital and Bird Medical Center
7278 N. Milwaukee Ave. Niles, IL 60714   
(847)-647-9325 Fax (847)-647-8498
www.nilesanimalhospital.com


Over the last 10 years, cases of canine leptospirosis have been increasingly reported across the United States. It is particularly a problem in suburban areas where dogs of all sizes and ages are becoming in ever-closer contact with wildlife. Even more disturbing is the fact that human cases of leptospirosis contracted from dogs and other species including raccoons, skunks, squirrels, opossums, deer, coyotes, mice and rats, are on the rise. Leptospirosis is considered to be one of the most common zoonotic diseases (diseases people can contract from animals) worldwide.

The bacteria that cause leptospirosis are spread through the urine of infected animals, which can get into water or soil and can survive there for weeks to months. Dogs and people can get infected through contact with this contaminated urine (or other body fluids, except saliva), water, or soil. The bacteria can enter the body through skin or mucus membranes (eyes, nose, or mouth), especially if the skin is broken from a cut or scratch. Drinking, swimming, or walking through contaminated water increases the risk of becoming infected with the bacteria. Wherever dogs and wildlife cross paths, from the dog park to your own backyard, exposure to leptospirosis is an ever-increasing risk.

Common non-specific clinical signs include fever, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, refusal to eat, weakness and depression, stiffness, excessive drinking, jaundice, and excessive bleeding. Kidney failure affects 90% of dogs with leptospirosis, with 10-20% also suffering from liver failure.

To help prevent leptospirosis infection, minimize exposure to wildlife and their environment wherever possible.

Get your pet vaccinated against leptospirosis. The vaccine does not provide 100% protection against all strains of the bacteria but does provide immunity to the more common ones.


Friday, March 28, 2014

Top Five Regrets

Received this in an email from a friend. Words to live by......

Top Five Regrets 12-10-11
For many years I worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die. Some incredibly special times were shared. I was with them for the last three to twelve weeks of their lives.
 
People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality. I learned never to underestimate someone's capacity for growth. Some changes were phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them.
 
When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five:
 
1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
 
This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people have had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.
 
It is very important to try and honour at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.
 
2. I wish I didn't work so hard.
 
This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children's youth and their partner's companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.
 
By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.
 
3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.
 
Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.
 
We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.
 
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
 
Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.
 
It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It is all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.
 
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
 
This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called 'comfort' of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.
 
When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.
 
Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. 

Choose happiness.
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Bronnie Ware is a writer and songwriter from Australia. Her blog has a loyal and ever-increasing following and has been quoted in several respectable international publications.

Based on this article, Bronnie has now released a full-length book, also titled 'The Top Five Regrets of the Dying'. For more information about this or to read more of Bronnie's work, please visit her blog at http://inspirationandchai.com.
 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A Wonderful Story

Don't know if this is true or not, but it is a great story.........
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Someone in the Postal Service needs to be rewarded.

We don't know who replied, but there is a beautiful soul working in the dead letter department who understands LOVE..........................

Our 14-year-old dog Abbey died last month.

The day after she passed away my 4-year-old daughter Meredith was crying and talking about how much she missed Abbey.

She asked if we could write a letter to God so that when Abbey got to heaven, God would recognize her.

I told her that I thought that we could, so she dictated these words:

Dear God,
Will you please take care of my dog? Abbey died yesterday and is with you in heaven. I miss her very much.
I 'm happy that you let me have her as my dog even though she got sick.
I hope you will play with her. She likes to swim and play with balls.

I am sending a picture of her so when you see her you will know that she is my dog.

I really miss her.

Love, Meredith

We put the letter in an envelope with a picture of Abbey & Meredith, addressed it to God/Heaven.
We put our return address on it.

Meredith pasted several stamps on the front of the envelope because she said it would take lots of stamps to get the letter all the way to heaven.

That afternoon she dropped it into the letter box at the post office.

A few days later, she asked if God had gotten the letter yet. I told her that I thought He had.

Yesterday, there was a package wrapped in gold paper on our front porch addressed, 'To Meredith' in an unfamiliar hand.

Meredith opened it. Inside was a book by Mr Rogers called, 'When a Pet Dies.'

Taped to the inside front cover was the letter we had written to God in its opened envelope. On the opposite page was the picture of Abbey & Meredith and this note:

Dear Meredith,
Abbey arrived safely in heaven. Having the picture was a big help and I recognized her right away.
Abbey isn't sick anymore.

Her spirit is here with me just like it stays in your heart.

Abbey loved being your dog.

Since we don't need our bodies in heaven, I don't have any pockets to keep your picture in so I'm sending it back to you in this little book for you to keep and have something to remember Abbey by.

Thank you for the beautiful letter and thank your mother for helping you write it and sending it to me.
What a wonderful mother you have. I picked her especially for you.

I send my blessings every day and remember that I love you very much.

By the way, I'm easy to find.

I am wherever there is love.

Love,
God