Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Cats need veterinary care too!


Do Cats Need All of These Vaccines? 




Did you know that cats are 30 percent less likely to see a veterinarian than dogs? Many cat lovers skip annual vaccines and checkups for their cats, especially if they have an indoor cat.

“Part of the problem is that people believe that cats are low maintenance,” says Jane Brunt, DVM, Executive Director of the CATalyst Council and owner of the Cat Hospital at Towson in Maryland. “Some cat owners think that their indoor cat won’t be exposed to disease. Indoor cats can get exposed to viruses and rabies.” (As odd as this may sound, it is true. I had a rabid bat in my house.)

It’s Not About the Vaccines

Dr. Jane Brunt, DVM, with Stanley, a spokescat for the CATalyst Council. 
 
According to Dr. Brunt, “Having regular checkups with your cat’s veterinarian shouldn’t be about the vaccines. You and your vet should decide together about what is and what is not necessary for your cat’s health. Every cat is an individual and has different needs. Your vet can help guide you with the specifics of what your cat needs.”

Dr. Brunt believes annual visits are essential. “Have a relationship with your veterinarian,” she says. “Don’t just take your cat in for a visit when he’s sick. Your cat may seem healthy. However, that annual visit is important. Did you know that 68 percent of cats over the age of 3 have dental disease? Just like with us, it’s important to catch something before it develops into a bigger health issue. It’s better for your cat, and your pocketbook!”

Why Does My Cat Need to Be Vaccinated?
Vaccines protect against specific infectious diseases.  Skipping vaccines can put a cat’s immune system at risk.  Last year, after adopting my kittens, I took them to the vet to be spayed, microchipped, and vaccinated for rabies. Kittens get an initial rabies vaccine that must be boostered in one year.

I recently spoke to my vet who said that in my state (different states have different requirements) they will be able to get a three-year rabies vaccine (the vaccine is good for three years) a full year after receiving their first one. “Three-year vaccines are available, but many DVMs choose a non-adjuvanted vaccine. (An adjuvant is added to a vaccine to stimulate your cat’s immune system so it will make antibodies to protect your cat in the future. Historically, adjuvanted vaccines were suspected of causing a certain type of cancer in cats. More recent scientific studies report that not to be the case. Dr. Brunt says vaccine-induced sarcomas are very rare, occurring in fewer than 1 in 10,000 cats. She uses the canarypox-vectored rabies vaccine.)

Rabies Vaccines are Required by Law
In most towns a rabies vaccine is mandatory. Check with your local government to find out what is required.

Every Three Years
After the kitten series and a booster one year later, certain vaccines like feline distemper, Feline Viral Rhinotrachetis, and Calicivirus are recommended every three years, and instead of a shot, some veterinarians are using an intranasal vaccine.

Dr. Brunt also recommends that all kittens and at-risk adult cats get vaccinated for FeLV (Feline Leukemia Virus). The one vaccine she questions is for FIV. “It is a consideration for high-risk cats, such as those who go outdoors,” she says. “My practice doesn’t stock the FIV vaccine because the virus is not easily transmitted and if the vaccine is administered it causes a false positive test for the virus, even when the cat is not infected.”

How to Decide
The best advice is to find a veterinarian that you trust, and have a dialogue to see what is necessary and what isn’t needed for your cat. Together you can both come up with a good health care plan for your cats.
This video from Veterinary News Network offers more helpful advice on caring for your cat.

Michele C. Hollow writes the pet lifestyle blog Pet News and Views. She also writes about interiors and travel for numerous publications, and is the author of The Everything Guide to Working with Animals and What A Long Strange Trip It’s Been, a biography of the Grateful Dead.

Red Flannel Cat food recalled due to salmonella risk

Another pet food recall......

Red Flannel Cat food recalled due to salmonella risk: Food and Drug recalls

Cat Rescue-Drainpipe
PMI Nutrition in Minnesota is recalling 20-pound bags of its Red Flannel cat food because of potential contamination with salmonella. There have been no reports of illness, but customers should stop using the food and return it for a refund or replacement, the company says. (AP Photo/The Courier, Randy Roberts)

Brie Zeltner, The Plain Dealer By Brie Zeltner, The Plain Dealer

 January 27, 2014 



3
CLEVELAND, Ohio—A Minnesota-based pet food company is recalling bags of its Red Flannel cat food due to possible salmonella contamination, the company announced over the weekend. 

PMI Nutrition LLC, in Arden Hills, is recalling its 20 pound bags of the cat food after routine testing by the FDA Detroit District Office identified the possible contamination. There have been no reports of illness related to the product, according to the company.

The cat food was manufactured by a third party and distributed in Ohio and 22 other states: Alabama, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Vermont, Wisconsin and West Virginia.
The lot number of the recalled product is printed on the lower back side of the bag in a white box on the right-hand side. The lot number will be preceded by a time stamp that will be unique to each bag, for example, 14:32. The lot number and best-by date impacted by this recall are as follows:
Best by 05 06 14 096 13 SM L2 1A (lot number)
The UPC code for the recalled product is: 7 42869 00058 5.

The food poses a potential risk to the animals that may consume it, but also to people who do not thoroughly wash their hands after handling it.

Salmonella is a type of bacteria that can cause diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While most people usually recover without treatment, some need to be hospitalized. Contact your doctor if you have symptoms after handling the food.

Symptoms in animals may include fever, diarrhea, vomiting, loss of appetite and an abnormally fast heart rate. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. Contact a veterinarian if your pet has symptoms after consuming the recalled food.

If you have a recalled bag, stop using it and return the bag to the dealer for a full refund or replacement. For more information on the recall, customers can contact the customer service line for PMI products at 1-800-332-4738. Customer service representatives are available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CST.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Rebuilding the Rodriguez Home (Fund Raising Effort)


From my kind-hearted daughter....
Hey Dad, One of my kids lost their home and all of their belongings last Thursday night. Considering the area I work in, it's obviously going to be incredibly hard for his family to recover, and I've set up a fundraising page to try and help out. I'm trying to reach as many people as possible so would you be willing to share the link on your page? I've pasted it below.
Thanks!
(My daughter is in the program "Teach for America" and teaches underprivileged fourth graders at a school in Chicago)
 







One of my amazing scholars in my 4th grade classroom, Angel, and his family tragically lost their home to a fire on Jan. 9th, 2014. Angel's family has been an incredible support to our school. His mother is incredibly involved in her children's education and constantly looks out for ways to aid the teachers as well as her children.

My hope is that this funding page will be a way to return all of the support she has provided for our school and classroom and help the family during this difficult time.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Cold Weather Tips for Pets

With these frigid temperatures and snow, it is a good time to reiterate cold weather tips for your pets.

Cold weather safety tips for pet owners

January 03, 2014 7:00 pm

With a bone-chilling forecast, the American Veterinary Medical Association reminds pet owners that a fur coat is not enough to fend off brutal temperatures.

“Most pet owners seem to worry about their pets overheating in the summer, but tend to overlook the dangers of cold weather. Their fur coats don’t always provide the necessary protection from the cold, particularly for small animals ...,” said Dr. Douglas G. Aspros, past president of the AVMA.

He urged pet owners to watch for signs of cold stress including whining, shivering, anxiety, weakness, slowing down.

First and foremost, he said, owners should bring pets inside during cold weather.

Tips for keeping pets warm and safe:
* Protect their feet; ice and icy crust on top of snow can cause cut their paws.
* Watch pets around frozen lakes and rivers and slippery staircases, which pose risks for injuries.
* Make sure cats and other animals haven't crawled inside the engine compartment before starting the car.
* Never leave a pet in a cold car.
* Modify outdoor housing to provide shelter from the wind. Make sure outdoor shelters are be off the ground, bedding is thick and dry and water is fresh and not frozen. Avoid space heaters and heat lamps, which pose a fire risk.
* Keep your dog active, but avoid overdoing it in extreme temperatures.
* Use pet-safe deicers.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Dogs' marijuana poisoning soars as pets dig through trash, stash

Dogs' pot poisoning soars as pets dig through trash, stash

Updated 8:10 am, Tuesday, December 31, 2013
San Francisco veterinarian Jill Chase had just finished hosting a birthday party for her son 10 years ago when her dog went limp. After investigating what might have caused the problem, she discovered the culprit: cannabis-infused butter that a neighbor had dumped in the garbage down the street. Her dog, a Tibetan terrier who was a habitual trash surfer, had eaten a large dose.

"He was completely ODd in a coma for three days, on my bathroom floor with an IV," said Chase, whose dog eventually recovered.

Since Chase's experience, cases of marijuana poisoning in dogs have increased, particularly in states like California where medical marijuana is legal. As one veterinarian put it, our dogs are "munching out." Dogs are known to be indiscriminate eaters, going after paper, trash, random objects on the street and, now, their best friend's cannabis.

The Pet Poison Hotline, which takes calls from around the country and Canada, noted a 200 percent increase in reported incidents of poisoning in the past five years. Dr. Lori Green, a critical care veterinarian at the San Francisco SPCA Veterinary Hospital, says the clinic treats as many as three dogs a week for symptoms of marijuana toxicity: trembling, vomiting and walking troubles.

"There's been an increase as marijuana becomes more acceptable in public and less of an underworld thing," said Dr. Karl Jandrey, an assistant clinical professor at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, where the animal hospital treated 27 dogs for pot poisoning in the past year, up from four in 2010.

Pot's effect different on dogs

A study published in the Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care in 2012 reported a correlation between the increase in the number of medical marijuana cardholders and the number of dogs getting poisoned. The study found a fourfold increase in cases seen at two Colorado hospitals over six years. All but two dogs - who ate cannabis butter - survived.

If only a small amount of marijuana is consumed, dogs may become listless or depressed. Pot affects dogs differently than it does humans, veterinarians say, because dogs don't have liver enzymes to metabolize tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the active ingredient in cannabis. At higher doses, marijuana can cause dogs to vomit, lose coordination and bladder control, have tremors, and be nervous and over-reactive. Their body temperature and heart rate may drop.

In extreme cases dogs may suffer seizures or seem unresponsive, but THC poisoning is rarely fatal. Dogs usually recover in 12 to 24 hours, though signs can last up to 72 hours.

"We had one dog affected for three days, but it turns out there was psilocybin and antidepressant in the brownie," Green said. "It was a healthy young dog, but it got the whole cocktail."

Few poisonings fatal

A urine test can determine if THC is present, but most dogs are diagnosed based on symptoms, which veterinarians say makes it hard to document the exact number of cases. While many owners take dogs to the veterinarian, an unknown number of others call for advice, consult the Internet or wait out the symptoms at home.

A 2002 study by the American SPCA's Animal Poison Control Center of 250 cases of accidental marijuana ingestion found that only two were fatal - to a cat and a horse. The vast majority of the poisonings, 96 percent, occurred in dogs, with 3 percent in cats and the remaining 1 percent in other species, according to the ASPCA, which also runs a poison hotline.

Veterinarians report that some people give their animals marijuana vapors, tinctures or edibles for pain control, and trade pot biscuit recipes on the Internet and discuss dosage. Green and others discourage such treatment, saying there are more effective, safer drugs available and that there is insufficient research showing that pot helps relieve pet suffering.

Most people who know how their pet got sick are up-front about it, Green said, but sometimes they don't know. Or they don't want anyone else to know. She recalls one client who admitted, after her teenage daughter left the room, that it was her own stash.

"We make it clear we're trying to help the dog and not pointing the finger at anybody," she said. "The dog might have gotten it from a park or a trash can or from a buddy's backpack."

Emergency care

Veterinarians say it's important to get emergency treatment for dogs that show symptoms of THC toxicity, which usually show up 30 to 90 minutes after ingestion. Treatment may include inducing vomiting, or, if the dog is too woozy, feeding it activated charcoal to absorb what's in the stomach. In some cases, the dog might need intravenous fluids to help flush out the toxins and an overnight stay for close monitoring of vital signs.

The bill for treatment can vary from a few hundred dollars to more than $1,000, depending on the level of care needed.

Green advises being vigilant about what might put pets at risk, particularly during the season when marijuana edibles may be on the holiday menu.

"Be aware that it might not be your animal but someone else's," she said. "They will eat anything you leave out."

Katherine Seligman is a San Francisco freelance writer. E-mail: datebookletters@sfchronicle.com

Thursday, January 2, 2014

West Nile Virus Blamed for Death of Bald Eagles in Utah

West Nile Virus Blamed for Death of Bald Eagles in Utah

An unprecedented wintertime outbreak of West Nile virus has killed more than two dozen bald eagles in Utah and thousands of water birds around the Great Salt Lake, state wildlife officials said on Tuesday.


By Laura Zuckerman

(Reuters) - An unprecedented wintertime outbreak of West Nile virus has killed more than two dozen bald eagles in Utah and thousands of water birds around the Great Salt Lake, state wildlife officials said on Tuesday.

At least 27 bald eagles have died this month in the northern and central parts of Utah from the blood-borne virus, and state biologists reported that five more ailing eagles were responding to treatment at rehabilitation centers.

The eagles, whose symptoms included leg paralysis and tremors, are believed to have contracted the disease by preying on sick or dead water birds called eared grebes that were infected by the West Nile virus, said Leslie McFarlane, Utah wildlife disease coordinator.

Some 20,000 of the water birds have died in and around the Great Salt Lake since November in an outbreak that may be a record in North America, McFarlane said. Initial testing suggested an infectious bacterial disease such as avian cholera caused the deaths, but findings released on Tuesday showed West Nile virus was the culprit, McFarlane said.

The dead birds do not pose a risk to people, Utah Health Department epidemiologist JoDee Baker said in a statement. Yet Baker urged those who find sick or dead birds to avoid handling them.

Utah wildlife specialists said bird deaths tied to West Nile virus were unusual in wintertime in Utah since mosquitoes - the primary vector - are not usually active during colder months.

'NOT BEEN SEEN BEFORE'

McFarlane said Utah had an unusually warm fall that extended the breeding season for mosquitoes to late October. But scientists may ultimately be unable to determine if grebes infected by West Nile virus migrated to Utah or if they contracted it there, she said.

West Nile virus, which was first detected in North America in 1999 and has since spread across the continental United States and Canada, can live for a few days in carcasses of infected birds. It can be transmitted to birds of prey and scavengers that feed on them, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But the epidemic in Utah may be unprecedented in North America for the masses of birds killed over a broad geographic area and for the number of bald eagles affected, said McFarlane.

"This is really kind of undocumented. Eagles have been known to feed on birds infected with West Nile virus but the transmission hasn't happened on this large of a scale. And the total number of birds we're talking about is on a grand scale that may not have been seen before," she said.

Additional testing of grebes and eagles is underway to shed more light on the mix of factors that converged to trigger the extensive die-off and to determine how much of a risk it might pose to other types of birds.

More than 2 million eared grebes stage at the Great Salt Lake amid a yearly winter migration from Canada and U.S. states west of the Mississippi River, according to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in Ithaca, New York.

The water birds are expected to end their stopover in Utah and fly to the Southwestern United States and Mexico the second week of January, reducing the disease risk to bald eagles, McFarlane said.

From 750 to 1,200 bald eagles migrate to wintering grounds in Utah each year, she said.

Bald eagles, the national symbol of the United States, were removed from the federal threatened and endangered species list in 2007 after they soared back from near extinction.

(Reporting by Laura Zuckerman; Editing by Steve Gorman, Dan Whitcomb and Sandra Maler)

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Study finds that short dogs are more prone to behavior problems

Study finds that short dogs are more prone to behavior problems
That small dog mounting your leg is more likely than a larger one to behave badly, according to new research from the University of Sydney. The researchers found that “across the breeds, behavior becomes more problematic as height decreases.”

According to the university, the researchers used owners' reports on the behavior of over 8,000 dogs from across 80 breeds and related them to the shape of 960 dogs of those breeds, revealing strong relationships between height, body weight, cephalic index (the ratio of skull width to skull length), and behavior.
The study showed that most undesirable behaviors were associated with height, body weight, and skull shape.

“Breed average height showed strongly significant inverse relationships with mounting persons or objects, touch sensitivity, urination when left alone, dog-directed fear, separation-related problems, non-social fear, defecation when left alone, owner-directed aggression, begging for food, urine marking, and attachment/attention-seeking,” the study found.

Researchers used results from an international pet-owner survey, the Canine Behavioral Assessment and Research Questionnaire (C-BARQ). The questionnaire consists of 100 items that ask respondents to indicate, using a series of 5-point ordinal rating scales, their dogs' typical responses to a variety of everyday situations during the recent past.

Only three behavioral traits (coprophagia, chewing, and pulling on leash) failed to correlate with a morphological feature, the study found.

"The only behavioral trait associated with increasing height was 'trainability.' When average body weight decreased, excitability and hyperactivity increased," said Professor Paul McGreevy, lead author of the study.

The study, "Dog Behavior Co-Varies with Height, Bodyweight and Skull Shape," was published in the journal PLOS One.