Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Dangers of Ice Water and Dogs

Actually I should entitle this the danger of believing everything you read on the internet!

The Rumor Of Ice Water & Dogs

An old Internet rumor resurfaces and has dog owners wondering: Is ice bad for dogs?


Photo from National Weather StationWe
We have been getting a lot of questions from clients and friends asking if ice water is lethal to dogs?  It’s a rumor that’s circulating the Internet and worrying dog owners.

The cautionary tale (titled "NO ICE WATER FOR DOGS...PLEASE READ ASAP”) was written in 2010, but the rumor has been circulating since 2007. It centers on a dog named Baran, and his owner who unthinkingly added ice cubes to the dog’s water bowl to help him cool off on a hot day. Shortly after, Baran appears to be in distress and is rushed to the animal hospital. The veterinarian tells the owner that the ice water caused the dog to experience violent muscle spasms in his stomach, which led to bloating. Bloat — also known as gastric dilation-volvulus—is a life-threatening condition in dogs.

Dogs can bloat after eating or drinking too fast in general, regardless of the temperature of the water or whether or not the water contains ice cubes. When a dog is hot and thirsty, he very likely might drink the water too fast -- and swallow lots of air in the process -- which can be a recipe for bloat. When a dog’s stomach bloats, it twists and traps air, gas and food, cutting off the blood supply to the stomach and nearby organs. The dog’s stomach then becomes distended, and without immediate help, the dog can suffer from shock or organ failure, or even die.

Here are the dangers of ice, heat stroke and bloating.

Although eating ice technically is safe for dogs, eating ice can pose a few dangers. Dogs that munch on ice can potentially damage or break their teeth, or the ice could possibly become lodged in the dog’s throat. Supervision is required whenever ice is given to a dog.

Heat Stroke In Dogs
Tips on how to treat heat stroke in dogs.

• If a dog becomes overheated, it's important to cool your dog off gradually

• Dog owners should initially use a wet towel to cool off any dog suspected of heat stroke or overheating, and then gently mist them off (do not spray them or submerse them in water)

• A fan can be used to help increase evaporative cooling, and the dog can lay on a cool floor surface.

• Once the body temperature is gradually reduced to 103 F, further cooling efforts are not necessary. If a dog is cooled off too quickly, they can go into shock and organ failure.

Bloat In Dogs
While the cause is unknown, rapid eating, eating only one large meal daily, a dry-food-only diet, overeating, over-drinking, heavy exercise right after eating, a fearful temperament, stress, trauma and abnormal gastric mobility are all risk factors.

It is best to feed several small meals per day, don’t let your dog drink lots of water all at once, and restrict heavy exercise for about an hour after mealtimes.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

North Shore Mosquitoes Test Positive for West Nile Virus

North Shore Mosquitoes Test Positive for West Nile Virus

Remember to remove any standing water on your property to help protect yourself from bites.

Mosquitoes collected in traps in Northbrook and Kenilworth have tested positive for West Nile Virus, according to the North Shore Mosquito Abatement District (NSMAD). The mosquitoes were collected June 18. Mosquitoes in Skokie have also previously tested positive.

According to the NSMAD:
“West Nile virus can be transmitted to humans via the bite of an infected mosquito. Mild cases of WNV may cause a slight fever or headache. More severe infections are marked by a rapid onset of a high fever with head and body aches, disorientation, tremors, convulsions and, in the most severe cases, paralysis or death. Symptoms typically occur within three to 14 days after the bite from an infected mosquito. Persons 50 years of age or older are at the highest risk for serious illness.
The NSMAD recommends that residents take personal protection measures to minimize mosquito bites including: the use of insect repellent on exposed skin, wearing light colored, loose fitting clothing and avoiding peak mosquito feeding times during the hours around dawn and dusk. Residents are urged to examine their property and eliminate any items that can hold water, particularly smaller items that may be easily overlooked. Remember, if it can hold water, it can breed mosquitoes.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Risk Factor Assessment for Lyme Disease

Assess Your Dog's risk factors

Assessing the risk for your dog to get Lyme disease is a combination of where you live, your dog's lifestyle and his overall health. While many dogs are at risk in their own backyards because of where they live, others may have hunting or travel lifestyles that put them at risk. Understanding the risk in your local area is important.
The breed of your dog is not an important risk factor. Big or small, couch potato or hunting dog, any dog can be at risk. Whenever and wherever dogs come in close contact with ticks - usually wildlife areas where mice and deer live - the risk of exposure to Lyme disease is great.
The two largest risk factors for contracting Lyme disease are:
  1. Exposure to infected ticks.
  2. Vaccination status.

Know the facts

- Nearly 75 percent of unvaccinated dogs in endemic areas will eventually test positive, and each year some will develop Lyme disease.3
- Three-quarters of human cases in endemic areas are contracted during activities around the home.3
- If you find a tick attached to your dog, call your veterinarian. Canine Lyme disease can be treated with antibiotics, particularly if caught early. Your veterinarian will determine the best course of care.
- Canine Lyme disease is largely preventable by vaccination, and by using tick control and frequent tick checks. Remember that Ixodes ticks are small and hard to find in a dog's coat.
- If you suspect your dog might be at risk, ask your veterinarian about options for vaccinating your dog for Lyme disease. 


How do dogs get lyme disease?

From the bite of an infected Ixodes called "the deer tick"
  • - The tick must be infected with a specific bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi for your dog to get canine Lyme disease.
  • - This bacteria is what actualy causes canine Lyme disease - the tick is just the transmitter or "vector" for the bacteria.
  • - Dogs don't get Lyme disease from other dogs or people.
  • - Dogs can get Lyme disease anywhere there are infected ticks, such as wildlife areas or their own backyards.
  • - Your dog is at higher risk for getting Lyme disease if he lives in an area with a high incendence of human Lyme disease.

Friday, June 13, 2014

A Lovely Poem About Elderly Shelter Pets

I came across this heart wrenching poem written from the perspective of an elderly pet in a shelter. It is sure to bring a tear to your eye.

Consider adoption of one of these poor unfortunate pets who have ended up in a shelter through no fault of their own. They deserve a loving home. Yes, puppies are wonderful, but do not overlook these older pets, they need your love as well.


One by One, they pass by my cage,
Too old, too worn, too broken, no way.
Way past his time, he can't run and play.
Then they shake their heads slowly and go on their way.

A little old man, arthritic and sore,
It seems I am not wanted anymore.
I once had a home, I once had a bed,
A place that was warm, and where I was fed.
Now my muzzle is gray, and my eyes slowly fail.
Who wants a dog so old and so frail?

My family decided I didn't belong,
I got in their way, my attitude was wrong.
Whatever excuse they made in their head,
Can't justify how they left me for dead.
Now I sit in this cage, where day after day,
The younger dogs get adopted away.

When I had almost come to the end of my rope,
You saw my face, and I finally had hope.
You saw thru the gray, and the legs bent with age,
And felt I still had life beyond this cage.
You took me home, gave me food and a bed,
And shared your own pillow with my poor tired head.

We snuggle and play, and you talk to me low,
You love me so dearly, you want me to know.
I may have lived most of my life with another,
But you outshine them with a love so much stronger.
And I promise to return all the love I can give,
To you, my dear person, as long as I live.

I may be with you for a week, or for years,
We will share many smiles, you will no doubt shed tears.
And when the time comes that God deems I must leave,
I know you will cry and your heart, it will grieve.
And when I arrive at the Bridge, all brand new,
My thoughts and my heart will still be with you.
And I will brag to all who will hear,
Of the person who made my last days so dear.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Three Ways to Help Pets Cope With Fear of Storms

Three Ways to Help Pets Cope With Fear of Storms

By Michael Kuhne, Staff Writer
June 09, 2014; 4:48 AM
The loud roar of passing thunderstorms and other loud noises can spark fear in many animals, causing extreme anxiety not only for pets, but also their owners who must manage this stress.

In order to help animals cope with these phobias, pet owners can look for different solutions with the help of their veterinarians. According to Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Lauren Connolly, there are several techniques to calm an animal during a thunderstorm.

"Being afraid of thunderstorms is just a form of noise phobia," she said, adding that symptoms from dogs are often more noticeable than those exhibited by cats.

"(Cats) can also be afraid of loud noises and storms," Connolly said. "They often will go and hide under a bed or behind a couch. Because they are not as destructive as dogs, their fear often goes unnoticed."
(Photo/Sean Waugh NOAA/NSSL)

1. Calming Methods

Connolly said that techniques such as calming the animal by petting them or simply sitting with them may reduce anxiety.

Also, allowing a pet to have a "safe" quiet place where they can go and be undisturbed can be used.
Try to block out the lightning and play loud music to block out the noise if possible, she said, adding that a white noise may help.

Playing a game or distracting the animal with a favorite toy can also put them at ease, she said.
In some cases, a veterinarian may prescribe anti-anxiety medications such as Alprazolam that can be administered before a storm.

2. Conditioning and Behavior Modification

Other methods of reducing anxiety during storms may include conditioning a pet to not fear the sound.

"You can play recordings of storms and play them at a sound level just below where they will get scared," Connolly said. "They should be played in short, 3- to 5-minute intervals and no longer."

A concerned dog parent should work with their veterinarian to develop a safe and effective conditioning program, according to Connolly.

"Behavior modification is the best way to get your dog desensitized to storms," Connolly said. "It is important to not punish your dog during this time, they will just get more stressed."

Connolly said it is also important never to praise them and tell them it is "OK."

"By rewarding this behavior you can inadvertently encourage it," she said.

Clancy wears his Thundershirt to comfort him from a storm. (Photo/ Kristen Connolly)

3. Stress Relief Gear

Out of necessity, CEO and Founder Phil Blizzard said his business was started after trying various methods of calming his own dog during thunderstorms.

"She's been afraid of thunder and fireworks," Blizzard said. "Anytime we had a thunderstorm, she would pant and shake."

In the middle of the night during a storm, Blizzard said his dog would often awaken him by climbing on top of him while he was in bed.

When methods recommended by the veterinarian didn't work, Blizzard and his wife started looking for another solution to alleviate her fear, which motivated the creation of the ThunderShirt.

"Someone had suggested a snug wrap, like swaddling, which applies a gentle, constant pressure," he said, adding that this concept is to provide stress release for animals and humans alike.
A dalmatian wears a Thundershirt. (Credit: Flickr/Maja Dumat)

During Blizzard's research, he said they found that more than 30 percent of pet owners reported similar anxiety in their animals during thunderstorms.

"As the name ThunderShirt implies, thunder and noises was the first fear we tackled, but along the way, we found that simple pressure helped with a multitude of pet anxieties including separation, travel, vet visits and much more," according to the ThunderShirt website.

In 2008, with the help of partners and veterinary and trainer endorsements, Blizzard launched his website to sell the ThunderShirt. He now employees 25 people.

Connolly said similar products that apply this method of constant, gentle pressure seem to help some animals, but are not clinically proven. Since Blizzard started his business, he has received endorsements from several thousand trainers, veterinarians, rescue groups and pet owners.

"It is like a swaddle for a baby and did nothing for my dog, but I know others who have used it and loved it," she said.

Other products include a special lining to decrease animals' sensitivity to the static charge associated with storms, she said.

Monday, June 9, 2014

The Hidden Epidemic of Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is a risk for both humans and their pets. As it is carried by ticks, it is important to use an effective flea/tick preventative on a regular basis. If your pet spends any time in areas which have the potential for the presence of ticks it is prudent for extra protection to have them receive the Lyme vaccination as well.

This is an article specifically referring to the human side of the disease, as we are also at risk of developing the disease. In fact, I have known a number of people who have had Lyme disease. It is good to be familiar with the symptoms for people (as well as pets) as the disease is spreading.

The Hidden Epidemic Of Lyme Disease


It is time we took a serious look at Lyme disease.

If not treated early and appropriately, infection with Lyme can produce chronic disease that can cause severe pain, debilitating fatigue, reduced quality of life and neurological problems such as impaired memory and concentration.

The CDC now recognizes that more than 300,000 new infections occur every year in the U.S. Most of these infections are acquired in late spring or early summer.

Lyme disease is spreading across the country at an alarming rate. Cases are appearing not only in well-known endemic areas like the northeast, but in California and Florida and in prairie areas of the mid-west.

Most cases of Lyme disease are caused by a bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi (Bb), which is carried by deer ticks. Different strains of Bb may produce different patterns of illness in individual patients and deer ticks often carry other pathogenic organisms like Anaplasma (a different type of bacteria) or Babesia (a blood-borne parasite).

Each of these organisms can cause a distinct pattern of illness, making Lyme disease one of the most complex, multi-layered infectious diseases ever described.

The symptoms of Lyme disease are so varied it has been called "the great imitator."
Although most people associate deer ticks with deer, they hitch rides on a wide range of small animals including white-footed mice, chipmunks, shrews, prairie dogs, birds, squirrels, raccoons, opossums and skunks, that can bring them right into your backyard. Even birds have been found to carry deer ticks as far north as the Yukon in Canada.

The ticks are so small they may not be seen and many people who develop tick-borne illness have no knowledge of being bitten by a tick.

Textbooks indicate that Lyme disease is easy to treat. Three weeks of an antibiotic like doxycycline and you're cured.

Yet many people treated for Lyme disease have symptoms that persist or appear after antibiotics are finished. A study from Johns Hopkins University found that six months after Lyme treatment, 36 percent of patients reported new-onset fatigue, 20 percent reported widespread pain, and 45 percent had neurocognitive difficulties. These baffling post-treatment symptoms were associated with a significant impairment of life functioning. Post-treatment Lyme symptoms are common and represent a major public health problem.

Great controversy surrounds the causes of these chronic symptoms. In treating patients with Lyme disease and chronic symptoms, I have found several causes, each of which is supported by scientific studies and each of which must be looked for and treated for full recovery to occur. These include:
The ticks that spread Lyme disease may transmit other bacterial or parasitic infections that require their own specific treatments. Treatment of Bb alone may be insufficient to produce a cure.
Bacterial persistence.
Lyme bacteria have evolved ways to escape the effects of antibiotics and evade the immune system. Special measures may be needed to overcome persisting infection.
Auto-immune damage.
Lyme can trigger the immune system to attack the body's own tissues, even when infection is gone. Restoring immune balance can be critical to recovery. This is especially true when Lyme disease damages the nervous system, but may also occur with Lyme arthritis.
Antibiotic side effects. Treatment of Lyme disease with antibiotics may have unintended consequences. Yeast overgrowth is a well-known effect of antibiotics. A small study from Germany found that almost three-quarters of patients with persisting post-treatment symptoms became symptom-free after treatment with the anti-yeast medication fluconazole.
Strong antibiotics may also damage the energy powerhouses in our bodies' cells, the mitochondria, causing fatigue, muscular weakness or brain disturbances. Nutritional treatments that protect mitochondria or restore mitochondrial function may be needed for a return to health.
Central sensitization, an alteration of brain function producing pain in parts of the body that are not actually damaged. Healing of the brain with medication, nutritional therapies or mind-body therapies may help.

In conclusion, Lyme disease is a major threat to public health and a growing source of chronic illness. For many people, recovery from Lyme disease requires a multifaceted treatment approach that impacts on all aspects of the Lyme problem, individualized to the needs of each person.

 Best Health,

Leo Galland, M.D.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

d-CON to Stop Producing Rat Poison That Have Accidentally Harmed Children, Pets, and Wildlife

Big change in rat poisons.....

Maker of powerful rat poison will cease production in July

Maker agrees to stop producing harmful rat poison for consumer market. Powerful rat poison to be replaced has accidentally harmed children and animals.'This is a significant victory for environmental protection,' attorney says of rat poison halt.
After years of battling federal environmental officials, the maker of d-CON has agreed to stop producing for the consumer market certain rat poisons that have accidentally harmed children, wildlife and pets.

The company's rodent-control products will be replaced next year with a new line of baits the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved for use in every state. Environmental activists hailed the agreement announced Friday.

"This is a significant victory for environmental protection and corporate responsibility," said Jonathan Evans of the Center for Biological Diversity in San Francisco. "While the fight isn't over until all of these hazardous products are off the market, this decision keeps the worst of the worst products from residential consumers."

The poisons will still be available for use in agriculture and by licensed pest-control operators.
The rat poisons that Reckitt Benckiser Group has agreed to discontinue contain "second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides." These are more toxic and persistent than the previous generation of products.

The poisons are designed to kill rodents by thinning the blood and preventing clotting.

Scientists say the products have for years wreaked havoc by working their way up the food chain.

The state of California took sweeping action in March, when the Department of Pesticide Regulation signaled plans to halt retail sales of second-generation rat poisons to consumers after July 1. Reckitt Benckiser, the maker of d-CON, lost its bid to stop the ban.
The department said the national agreement would not affect the state's action, and it urged stores to continue the process of removing the products from shelves.

Some activists credited California's action with inducing the company to give in.

"California is a huge market," said Greg Loarie, an attorney with Earthjustice, a public interest environmental law firm in San Francisco. With the July 1 deadline looming, he added, "I suspect [Reckitt Benckiser] took a look around and saw the writing on the wall."
Reckitt Benckiser is one of 17 manufacturers of rodent poisons, but it is the only one that had not altered its packaging and ingredients to comply with federal safety standards.

During nearly two decades of research in and around the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, National Park Service scientists have documented widespread exposure in carnivores to common household poisons. Of 140 bobcats, coyotes and mountain lions evaluated, 88% tested positive for one or more anticoagulant compounds. Scores of animals are known to have died from internal bleeding, researchers said.

The poisons also affect protected or endangered species, including golden eagles, northern spotted owls and San Joaquin kit foxes.

Among heavy users of the poisons are growers of illegal marijuana throughout California. Scientists have linked rat poisons to the deaths of Pacific fishers, which are small carnivores, that had eaten rodents poisoned by illegal pot growers.

Under the agreement, Reckitt Benckiser will begin to phase out production of 12 d-CON rat and mouse poison products next month and will stop production by year-end. The company will cease distribution of existing stocks by March 31, 2015. Retailers will be allowed to keep the products on shelves until stocks are depleted.