Friday, May 23, 2014

California Reportedly Leading the Nation in Pot Poisonings Among Pet Dogs

Anyone surprised?

California Reportedly Leading the Nation in Pot Poisonings Among Pet Dogs

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) – An increasing number of dogs are being rushed to Bay Area emergency veterinary clinics after eating marijuana intended for human consumption. Experts say dogs left untreated after ingesting pot can suffer serious consequences, including coma and death.

“It’s a drug like any other prescribed drug and (the results) can be very serious,”  veterinarian Sean Wells told ConsumerWatch. “We see between two and three cases a week.”

That’s up from about one case a month several years ago.

Other veterinary clinics around the Bay Area report a similar rise.

A study by Trupanion,  a company that sells pet insurance, finds California is now the number one state in the nation for marijuana-related pet health claims.

Washington and New York are second and third, respectively.  Colorado, where pot was legalized last year, ranks fourth.

Ingesting marijuana can be traumatic for a pooch,  according to Dr. Wells.

“They don’t understand.  They eat something and now they feel really strange. They feel really sick.”

He says, in most cases, the animal will need to be closely observed and possibly treated with a sedative, like Valium.

And don’t be afraid to take your canine in for treatment. Wells say good vets won’t make a pet owner feel uncomfortable.

“The best case scenario is you’re overly cautious and spend a couple of dollars.  The worst case scenario is your pet dies,”  Wells said.

As we reported last week, this is an ongoing trend that precedes the approval of recreational drug use in some states. UC Davis said its School of Veterinary Medicine treated 27 dogs for marijuana poisoning in 2013, up from just four in 2010, the Chronicle reported.

In Colorado, a five-year study showed marijuana poisoning of dogs quadrupled after medicinal use of marijuana was legalized in 2000.

The Oregonian reported cases in the Pacific Northwest were on the rise last year, and a Scottsdale, Arizona veterinarian told the local CBS affiliate the number of cases there have doubled over the past few years.

A national outbreak of salmonella infections related to frozen mice used as reptile food has sickened four people in Ohio

4 people in Ohio sick with salmonella from frozen 'feeder rodents' bought at PetSmart: Food and drug recalls

A national outbreak of salmonella infections related to frozen mice used as reptile food has sickened four people in Ohio. The Arctic Mice brand feeder rodents were sold in PetSmart stores nationwide and were distributed by Reptile Industries, Inc. of Naples, Fla. (Marvin Fong, The Plain Dealer)

By Brie Zeltner, The Plain Dealer
on May 21, 2014 at 2:56 PM, updated May 21, 2014 at 4:28 PM




CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Four people in Ohio and a total of 37 nationwide have fallen ill with salmonella infections connected to handling frozen 'feeder rodents' sold at PetSmart stores as reptile food, the Food and Drug Administration warned Wednesday.

The Arctic Mice brand frozen rodents were distributed nationwide to PetSmart stores by Reptile Industry Inc. The Naples, Florida-based company has declined a recall of all of the affected product, according to the FDA.

As of May 13, a total of 37 illnesses connected to the mice have been reported in 18 states since January, and five people have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Cases were reported in the following states: Alabama (1), Arizona (2), California (7), Illinois (1), Kentucky (1), Maryland (1), Michigan (2), Minnesota (1), Missouri (2), Montana (3), New Jersey (3), New Mexico (1), North Carolina (1), Ohio (4), Oregon (2), Pennsylvania (3), South Dakota (1), and Texas (1).

The four Ohio cases were reported in Hamilton, Lawrence, Lucas and Wood counties. Those who fell ill ranged in age from seven years old to 63, and no one was hospitalized, according to Ohio Department of Health spokeswoman Melanie Amato. The first illness in the state was reported Feb. 13 and the most recent on April 11, she said.
A strain of bacteria called Salmonella Typhimurium was detected in one of the feeder mice in the home of someone who fell ill in Oregon, and testing conducted by the FDA identified the outbreak strain in two frozen feeder rodent samples collected during an investigation at the company's facility. Two thirds of the ill people interviewed reported contact with multiple types of reptiles, including snakes and lizards, and 15 reported exposure to frozen feeder rodents.

People infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection, and the infection usually lasts 4 to 7 days and resolves on its own. In some people, the Salmonella infection (or salmonellosis) may spread from the intestines to the blood stream and then to other body sites and can be deadly unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics. Young children, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems are the most likely to have severe infections.

If you think you've been sickened by contact with the product, call your doctor. If you have any of the Arctic Mice frozen rodents, dispose of them by placing them in a sealed container in the trash so that animals and pets cannot reach them.

If you're handling rodents as reptile food, be sure to:
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling the rodents or anything they have come in contact with.
  • Disinfect surfaces that the rodents have touched. FDA recommends a bleach solution of 1 tablespoon bleach to 1 quart (4 cups) water, or for a larger supply of solution, add ¼ cup bleach to 1 gallon (16 cups) water.
  • Keep feeder rodents away from food prep areas, and never thaw them in the microwave.
  • Keep feeder rodents away from children, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems.
For more tips on safe handling of feeder rodents, check here. You can also find more information about food safety from the FDA here, or by calling 1-888-SAFEFOOD Monday through Friday between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. eastern time.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Pet Treat Mystery:More Dogs Dead, 3 People Sick, FDA Says

Pet Treat Mystery: More Dogs Dead, 3 People Sick, FDA Says

Pet jerky treats, mostly imported from China, are now linked to more than 1,000 deaths in dogs, more than 4,800 complaints about animal illness, and, for the first time, sickness in three people who ate the products, federal health officials said Friday. 

But Food and Drug Administration officials say they still can't identify a specific cause for the reported illnesses or deaths, despite seven years of testing and investigation. 

“The agency continues to caution pet owners that jerky treats are not required for a balanced diet and encourage them to consult with their veterinarians, both prior to feeding treats and if they notice symptoms in their pets,” FDA said in a statement. 

The humans who consumed the treats included two toddlers who ingested them accidentally and an adult who may have been snacking on the questionable products, which include chicken, duck or sweet potato jerky treats, an FDA official said.
“The agency continues to caution pet owners that jerky treats are not required for a balanced diet and encourage them to consult with their veterinarians."
One of the children was diagnosed with a salmonella infection, which can be spread by touching contaminated pet food and treats. The other child developed gastrointestinal illness and fever that mirrored the symptoms of dogs in the house that also ate the treats. The adult reported nausea and headache, said Siobhan DeLancey, an FDA spokeswoman. 

The agency has received about 1,800 new reports of illnesses and deaths since its last update in October, some involving more than one pet. The numbers now include 5,600 dogs and 24 cats. 

About 60 percent of the cases involve symptoms of gastrointestinal trouble and liver disease, 30 percent involve kidney disease and about 10 percent involve other complaints, including neurological and skin conditions, the FDA said. About 15 percent of the kidney or urinary cases also tested positive for Fanconi syndrome, a rare disease that has been associated with the treats. 

Agency officials also said they were able to perform necropsies, or post-death examinations, on 26 dogs submitted by veterinarians from across the country. In half of those cases, the deaths did not appear to be associated with the treats. Of the remaining 13 cases, an association with eating jerky treats "could not be ruled out," FDA officials said. 

The FDA plans to join with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to launch a study similar to epidemiological traceback investigations used with people, comparing foods eaten by sick dogs with foods eaten by pets that did not get sick. 

Pet treats made by national manufacturers Nestle Purina Pet Care and Del Monte Foods Corp., now known as Big Heart Pet Brands, were returned to store shelves recently after a voluntary recall tied to the discovery of unapproved antibiotic residue in some products last year. FDA officials said they had received few reports of illness associated with those reformulated products and no Fanconi syndrome cases. 

In response to consumer demand, Milo's Kitchen Chicken Grillers and other products are now made in the U.S. with U.S.-sourced meat, said Chrissy Trampedach, Big Heart's director of corporate communications.
Overall, the jerky treat illnesses and deaths have been associated with many different product brands, officials said. 

In the new report, the FDA said it had detected the antiviral drug amantadine in some Chinese chicken jerky samples sold more than a year ago. Officials said they don't believe the drug contributed to the animal illnesses or deaths. However, the drug, which is used to treat Parkinson's disease and influenza in humans, should not be present in jerky treats, officials said. The FDA has warned Chinese and domestic suppliers that amantadine is considered an adulterant, which could be grounds for banning the treats for sale in the U.S. 

The companies have consistently said that the treats are safe to feed as directed and they've emphasized that, despite extensive testing, no specific cause of illness has been linked to the products.
"It's quite sad when you see it dawn on the people that they're trying to reward their best buddy there and then now they're the ones who have been making them ill."
Pet owners and veterinarians have criticized the FDA for not finding the source of the contamination more quickly and for not issuing more far-reaching recalls. They say they're sure that the products are dangerous, and that the reported illnesses and deaths should be more than enough proof. 

"Its really hard to look at the number of cases that come in, correlate them with what they're eating and then go away from that and say, no, it's not related," said Brett Levitzke, a Brooklyn, New York, veterinarian who has seen more than a dozen dogs since 2011 with Fanconi syndrome. 

"It's quite sad when you see it dawn on the people that they're trying to reward their best buddy there and then now they're the ones who have been making them ill," he told NBC News.
First published May 16th 2014, 10:44 am

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The First TASC (The Avicultural Society of Chicagoland) Avian Veterinary Roundtable Saturday May 17th

Come and support a good cause, as well as having a mind-expanding experience with all the knowledge you will gain. Dr. Sakas will be there all day and giving two presentations (Dr. Becker had to cancel) on Avian Diagnostics: Clinical Pathology (explaining the testing done in avian medicine) and the other Avian Droppings: An Excellent Indicator of Health and Illness (his poopology lecture, with all sorts of poop pictures!) Hope to see you there!


SATURDAY, MAY 17, 2014

How does a day up close and personal with some of the most phenomenal avian veterinarians practicing today sound to you?

Avian vets like Dr. Karen Becker, Dr. Pete Sakas, Dr. Susan Horton and just added, Dr. Rober Ness will all be speaking at TASC's FIRST EVER AVIAN VETERINARY ROUNDTABLE.

If you would like to reserve your seat, email us today at with the number of tickets you would like to reserve.

Tickets for this special event will be $50 and will include lunch and other fun activities! Some vendors will also be on site as well so some shopping time will also be available.

Hope you can make it!

Who? The Avicultural Society of Chicagoland with support from the Lyons Township High School Zoology Club

What? The Avian Veterinary Roundtable, a full day seminar including Q&A sessions with time to talk to leading avian vets in our area.

When? Saturday, May 17th from 8:30am - 5:00pm

Where? Lyons Township High School, 4900 South Willow Springs Rd, Western Springs, IL 60558

Why? To further the TASC mission of continuing education for bird enthusiasts everywhere

Monday, May 12, 2014

Lyme Disease Is Expanding Its Range Westward in 2014

Lyme Disease Is Expanding Its Range Westward In 2014

Lyme disease is a notorious vector-borne illness that can cause disease in pets and people. Because this disease is zoonotic (can be transmitted to people) and is responsible for a wide array of clinical signs, it is helpful to understand the risks of disease transmission throughout the country. The CAPC Parasite Forecast Maps for 2014 predict that Lyme disease is expanding its range westward from the historic focus of the northeastern United States. New England and the Pacific Coast continue to be hotspots of activity, and are likely to experience a higher number of infections. Consistently stable activity is predicted for the Mid-Atlantic States and the upper Midwest. The CAPC forecast also shows that Lyme continues to expand southward and involve more areas of Appalachia.

Dogs become infected with Borrelia burgdorferi (Lyme disease organism) when they are inoculated with the organism by feeding ticks. In North America, only Ixodes scapularis and Ixodes pacificus (commonly known as the Eastern and Western Black-Legged ticks, respectively) have been shown to transmit the infection to dogs. A clinical diagnosis of Lyme borreliosis usually depends on the presence of compatible clinical signs and positive serology for B. burgdorferi.

Dogs frequently travel with their owners, so even if Lyme disease isn’t a threat in your region, there is a possibility that an individual dog will test positive when tested. Heightened pet owner awareness of Lyme disease provides an ideal educational opportunity to discuss all vector-borne diseases and the importance of year-round protection for all pets.

In addition to the forecast, CAPC provides parasite prevalence maps available by clicking here. The CAPC Prevalence Maps monitor the activity level for parasitic diseases in any U.S. state and county. Because parasites are dynamic and ever-changing, CAPC will continue to provide the veterinary community with vital information about parasite prevalence that can be shared with clients.

The maps work well as an educational tool for clients who want to know more about why protecting their pets against parasites year-round is essential. The state and county forecasts are also valuable for clients who travel with their pets and need to protect them from diseases that occur in different parts of the country.

Because ticks can be carriers of many diseases, including Lyme disease, it is imperative that veterinarians reinforce the importance of regular visits that should include parasite prevention. To prevent any type of infection or infestation, CAPC recommends year-round parasite control for dogs and cats. In addition, CAPC’s guidelines recommend regular examinations — at least annually — by a veterinarian. CAPC Guidelines for Lyme Disease can be found here.

CAPC bases its parasite forecasts on many different factors, including temperature, precipitation, humidity, ground elevation, forest cover, population density, reported human Lyme disease cases and deer strikes with cars. These factors are incorporated into an equation created by a team of statisticians that allows CAPC to predict the prevalence rate of any given disease. The forecast is also the collective expert opinion of respected parasitologists who engage in ongoing research and data interpretation to better understand and monitor disease transmission and changing parasite life cycles. Click here to learn more about the forecasts.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

13 animal emergencies that should receive immediate veterinary consultation and/or care

Important information from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).

13 animal emergencies that should receive immediate veterinary consultation and/or care

  1. Severe bleeding or bleeding that doesn't stop within 5 minutes
  2. Choking, difficulty breathing or nonstop coughing and gagging
  3. Bleeding from nose, mouth, rectum, coughing up blood, or blood in urine
  4. Inability to urinate or pass feces (stool), or obvious pain associated with urinating or passing stool
  5. Injuries to your pet's eye(s)
  6. You suspect or know your pet has eaten something poisonous (such as antifreeze, xylitol, chocolate, rodent poison, etc.)
  7. Seizures and/or staggering
  8. Fractured bones, severe lameness or inability to move leg(s)
  9. Obvious signs of pain or extreme anxiety
  10. Heat stress or heatstroke
  11. Severe vomiting or diarrhea – more than 2 episodes in a 24-hour period, or either of these combined with obvious illness or any of the other problems listed here
  12. Refusal to drink for 24 hours or more
  13. Unconsciousness
The bottom line is that ANY concern about your pet's health warrants, at minimum, a call to your veterinarian.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

First Aid Tips for Pets (from the AVMA)

From the American Veterinary Medical Association Website:

First Aid Tips for Pet Owners

Poodle with taped forelimb

What would you do if

...your dog ate the bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips that was left out on the kitchen counter?

 ...your cat had a seizure right in front of you?

 ...your dog fell down the stairs and started limping?

 ...your cat was overheating on a hot summer day?

To avoid the feelings of panic that may accompany these situations, we recommend the following steps to better prepare you for a pet medical emergency. The following links summarize the basics you need for giving first aid care to your pet.

Always remember that any first aid administered to your pet should be followed by immediate veterinary care. First aid care is not a substitute for veterinary care, but it may save your pet's life until it receives veterinary treatment.

First aid supplies
Our handy checklist tells you all the supplies you should have on hand for pet first aid. Print out a copy to use for shopping, and keep a copy on your refrigerator or next to the first aid kit for your family, for quick reference in emergencies.
How to handle an injured pet
Knowing how to comfort an injured pet can help minimize your pet's anxiety and also protect you and your family from injury.
Basic pet first aid procedures
Read our simple instructions for providing emergency first aid if your pet is suffering from poisoning, seizures, broken bones, bleeding, burns, shock, heatstroke, choking or other urgent medical problems. Print out a copy to keep with your pet emergency kit.
First aid when traveling with your pet
A few simple steps can better prepare you to help your pet in first aid situations while you are traveling. Remember: pet medical emergencies don't just happen at home.
Pets and disasters
Whether confronted by natural disasters such as hurricanes, or unexpected catastrophes such as a house fire, you need to be prepared to take care of your animals. A pre-determined disaster plan will help you remain calm and think clearly.

Additional pet first aid links