Monday, April 28, 2014

Most Popular Dog Breeds in 2013 (AKC Ranking)

Most popular U.S. dog breeds of 2013 (AKC)

1) Labrador Retriever (for the 23rd consecutive year, the longest reign as most popular breed ever recorded in AKC history), 2) German Shepherd, 3) Golden Retriever, 4) Beagle, 5) Bulldog, 6) Yorkshire Terrier, 7) Boxer, 8) Poodle, 9) Rottweiler, 10) Dachshund. The French Bulldogs came in at 11th and have had a steep rise in popularity, 323% increase in registrations since 2003. Doberman Pinschers rose to 12th position, from an earlier ranking at 22nd most popular. Great Danes also improved from 27th to 16th place.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Meet 5 Incredible 'Bionic' Pets With Prosthetic Limbs

Amazing stories.......

Meet 5 Incredible 'Bionic' Pets With Prosthetic Limbs

PHOTO: Nora lost her back legs to an unknown trauma a few years ago. Her prosthetics do a good job protecting her back legs and allowing her to move naturally.
If the Six Million Dollar Man had a pet sidekick, it would probably be one of these incredible animals. While not exactly bionic, all of them were fitted with an artificial limb after an amputation. 

These resilient creatures prove that people aren’t the only ones who can benefit from amazing advances in prosthetic technology. Experts say more and more of our animal friends are being fitted with replacement parts that help them get back on their paws, feet or fins in no time. 

“When we started building prosthetics for animals back in 2002, we would do maybe one or two a month,” said Martin Kaufmann, co-founder of OrthoPets, a Colorado-based animal prosthetic maker. “Now we make eight to ten a week.” 

PHOTO: Sally, a 6-year-old Saluki was found in Iraq by an American soldier and was brought to the U.S. for treatment for a damaged hind leg. She received an implant about four years ago. The vegetarian who performed her surgery adopted her.
Sally, a 6-year-old Saluki was found in Iraq by an American soldier and was brought to the U.S. for treatment for a damaged hind leg. She received an implant about four years ago. The veterinarian who performed her surgery adopted her. 
The main reason animals are receiving prosthetic limbs more often than in the past, Kaufmann believes, is because we humans have come to look upon ourselves as the guardians of our four-legged friends rather than the owners of disposable possessions. 

“Once you see yourself as a guardian, you can look at animals through a different lens,” he said. “Your mindset is not to euthanize or chop off a leg, but to help them get back to normal function.”
PHOTO: Tripod, a rescue llama, fractured his back left leg and ultimately it was amputated. Now fitted with a prosthetic, he works as a guard llama on an alpaca ranch in Colorado.
Tripod, a rescue llama, fractured his back left leg and ultimately it was amputated. Now fitted with a prosthetic, he works as a guard llama on an alpaca ranch in Colorado.
The most common site of prosthetic limb replacement on an animal is the paw or foot, Kaufmann said. When a four-legged animal has an amputation of the front leg, it’s usually high up near the shoulder. In a back leg amputation, only the lower portion of the leg typically gets removed. 

Socket prostheses are the most common type of replacement limb used in animals. They slip over the limb stump and then strap or buckle into place. Newer, integrated prostheses involve implanting one part of the device into the bone and then anchoring another removable part into it with a screw. Either kind provides long-lasting limb support and more natural movement, Kaufmann said. 

PHOTO:  Motala, a 50-year-old elephant in Thailand who lost her left front leg after stepping on a land mine a few years ago, received a new leg.
Reuters Photo
Motala, a 50-year-old elephant in Thailand who lost her left front leg after stepping on a land mine a few years ago, received a new leg.
A typical dog prosthetis paw costs between $1,200 and $1,500 dollars, Kaufmann said. Cat replacement limbs are smaller and less expensive. Prosthetic limbs made for larger beasts like llamas, cows or horses are more expensive. 

Most animals are first fitted with a temporary teaching prosthetic. Then once they get the hang of it – typically in about two weeks – they’re switched over to permanent hardware, Kaufmann said, adding that all animals have that eureka moment when they figure out how to use their new limb. 

“It’s the most exciting thing in the world to watch,” he said.
PHOTO: Bunker lives on a golf course in Canada. His leg was struck and fractured by a golf ball. A local vet teamed up with OrthoPets to donate his amputation and new limb. He’s now happily roaming the golf course once again.
Bunker lives on a golf course in Canada. His leg was struck and fractured by a golf ball. A local vet teamed up with OrthoPets to donate his amputation and new limb. He’s now happily roaming the golf course once again.

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.
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:
Screen Shot 2014-04-09 at 1.42.32 PM
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.
“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).
And rightly so. The number of small dogs has grown so fast that they are now the most popular kind nationwide.
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.
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.
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.
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.

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

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.