Category Archives: The Pet Page

Vol. 14, No. 04 – Nov 18 – Dec 1, 2020 – The Pet Page

∙New study highlights need for consistency in diagnosing and treating epilepsy in dogs. A study led by the Royal Veterinary College’s Vet Compass program has revealed a significant difference between how clinicians diagnose epilepsy compared with current expert recommendations, supporting a call for clearer diagnostic guidelines for greater consistency of diagnosis and treatment in clinical practice.

For the study, 2,834 seizure incident cases were identified from a population of 455,553 dogs attending VetCompass participating practices in 2013.

The study found that that approximately 1 in 160 dogs under first opinion veterinary care are affected by seizures every year.

Many of those dogs will have underlying epilepsy, defined as dogs with two or more unprovoked seizures at least 24 hours apart. Seizures can be secondary to idiopathic epilepsy, structural epilepsy or epilepsy of unknown cause.

Until now, however, there has been little information on the classifications of seizures, diagnostic approaches, or clinical management of dogs with seizures in the veterinary first opinion population.

The main findings from the research were:

The annual incidence risk of seizures in dogs was 0.62%.

The most common breeds among seizure cases were Labrador Retrievers (8.6%), Staffordshire Bull Terriers (6.1%), Jack Russell Terriers (5.8%) and Yorkshire Terriers (5.0%).

579 (20.5%) seizure cases met the criteria for epilepsy based on the International Veterinary Epilepsy Task Force (IVETF) classification system, compared with just 245 (8.6%) that were formally recorded with epilepsy by the attending veterinary teams.

Overall, 1,415 (49.9%) cases received diagnostic evaluation equivalent to or higher than IVETF Tier 1 diagnostic testing.

Dr Dan O’Neill, Senior Lecturer in Companion Animals Epidemiology at the RVC, and author of the paper, said: “Watching your dog undergo a seizure can be an incredibly scary moment for any dog owner. It is really important that dogs that seizure are rapidly diagnosed to decide whether they need no further treatment beyond careful monitoring or alternatively require a clinical work-up to define the cause of the seizures.

“There are now some excellent treatments for many seizure-related diseases. This study helps up to understand the current state of play for seizure management in dogs and identifies opportunities for improved care of these affected dogs.”

∙While there are parts of a dog’s mind that are alien, there are also parts that feel very familiar. Chances are, your dog occupies a special place in your heart. Recent research suggests your dog feels the same way about you. Your dog adores you.

Dogs attach to their owners in much the same way human infants attach to their parents. Like babies, dogs show distress when left with a stranger and rush to reunite upon their person’s return.

A recent study found that dogs that have been deprived of food and owners choose to greet their owners before eating. Further, their brain’s reward centers “light up” upon smelling their owners. And, when your eyes meet your dog’s, both your brains release oxytocin, also know as the “cuddle hormone.”

All of this research shows that you can make your dog happier with just one ingredient: you. Make more eye contact to release that cuddle hormone. Touch it more — dogs like pats better than treats. Go ahead and “baby talk” to your dog

∙By Ellen Furlong

I have discovered one positive amid the pandemic: I love working with two dogs at my feet.

As someone who studies dog cognition, I often wonder: What is Charlie learning when he stops to sniff the crisp fall air? What is Cleo thinking when she stares at me while I write? Are my dogs happy?

I’m not alone in finding myself suddenly spending more time with my pups and contemplating what’s on their minds. More people in the United States are working from home now than are working in the workplace, and many now share home offices with their canine companions. What’s more, many are finding their lives enriched with the addition of a new pet, as people started adopting dogs at massive rates during the pandemic.

What makes dogs so special and successful? Love.

This uptick in dog time means I have been fielding questions from new and experienced dog owners alike about their companions’ mentalities. Many questions center on the same themes I ponder: What is my dog thinking? Am I doing everything I can to ensure my pup is content?

Fortunately, research on dog cognition can help unravel what is on their minds and provide insight into what they need for psychologically fulfilling and happy lives.

Dogs are both familiar and yet fascinatingly alien. To appreciate their “otherness,” all you need to do is consider their sensory world.

My dogs and I have very different experiences when we walk a trail. I marvel at the beautiful autumn day, but my dogs have their heads to the ground, seemingly ignoring the wonders around them.

But they are appreciating something I can’t perceive: the scent of the fox who scampered through last night, the lingering odor of the dogs who’ve walked this way and the foot steps of my neighbor, who last wore her hiking shoes in woods my dogs have never visited.

Can dogs detect the coronavirus?

You’ve probably heard about dogs who sniff out cancer, weapons or even coronavirus. These dogs are not special in their nose power: Your dog could do the same thing.

The first dog to sniff out cancer sniffed a mole on his owner’s leg so frequently that she went to the dermatologist, where she was diagnosed with melanoma.

A dog’s sense of smell is estimated to be 10,000 to 100,000 times better than that of a human. In large part, this is due to staggering differences in odor processing in humans and dogs.

While we have about 6 million olfactory receptors, dogs have a staggering 300 million. Their epithelium, or nasal tissue, is about 30 times larger than ours. And while people have between 12 million and 40 million olfactory neurons — specialized cells involved in transmitting odor information to the brain — dogs, depending on the breed, can have 220 million to 2 billion.

How can you even conceptualize this breathtaking difference in abilities? This disparity is like detecting one teaspoon of sugar in enough water to fill two Olympic-size swimming pools.

Now that your mind has been blown about your dog’s incredible sense of smell, you can use this information to make your dog happier by taking it on the occasional “sniffy walk” — letting it lead the way and take as much time to smell as it would like. Such walks can make dogs happier by allowing them to gain lots of information about the world around them.

Vol. 14, No. 03 – Nov 4 – Nov 17, 2020 – The Pet Page

∙Counterfeit Pet King Brands Zymox products were recently sold on Amazon, Pet King Brands officials reported. Amazon officials are notifying consumers about the counterfeit products, which were not manufactured by Pet King Brands nor supplied directly to Amazon by Pet King Brands.

As a precautionary measure, Pet King Brands officials recommend consumers who have purchased one of the Zymox Ear products directly from Amazon and not from one of the authorized sellers on Amazon to immediately discontinue use and contact Pet King Brands with any questions regarding these products or any other Zymox products purchased directly from the Amazon storefront.

Counterfeit products that have been identified so far as being sold by Amazon include: Zymox Otic Ear Solution with 1% Hydrocortisone, 1.25 fluid ounce, Zymox Otic Plus Ear Solution with 1% Hydrocortisone, 1.25 fluid ounce and Zymox Enzymatic Ear Solution with 0.5% Hydrocortisone, 1.25 fluid ounce.

Pet King Brands was able to detect the counterfeit products through its quality and safety enforcement program, officials said.

∙ Obesity in dogs is associated with a shortened average lifespan, of up to 2.5 years in some breeds, and that more than half of all pets in the UK and US are overweight. Healthy habits should start when dogs are still puppies.

Analyzing data from two research sites in Europe and a large network of primary care veterinary hospitals across the U.S., the researchers found that dogs that developed obesity by three years of age gained weight faster than the growth standards predicted. In contrast, dogs that became underweight by three years gained weight slower than expected.

In humans, growth standards, such as those created by the World Health Organization (WHO), are used to monitor the growth of children, by comparing an individual’s pattern of growth with that of a healthy reference population. These standards can help health professionals identify growth disorders quickly and enable faster interventions. The results from this study suggests that these growth standards for dogs could be used in a similar way, helping pet owners and veterinarians track the weight of a dog and to intervene if its weight starts to creep up.

“Obesity is the major health concern facing our pets today,” says Darren Logan, Head of Research at the Waltham Petcare Science Institute. “We developed the Puppy Growth Charts to help owners and veterinarians identify when puppies might be getting off track so they can act sooner to help prevent excess weight before it causes major health problems. This tool supports a positive step towards more preventive health for our companion animals and another way we are delivering on our purpose:

∙ By Mike Wehner @MikeWehner

A new study reveals that dogs are incredibly good at forging shortcuts in areas that are unfamiliar to them. The impressive ability appears to be connected to the dogs being able to tap into their own internal compass, governed by the Earth’s magnetic field. The dogs proved to be excellent at coming up with their own routes even when they had no guidance, finding their goal without issue.

While we may think that our four-legged friends depend on us for a lot, they possess some abilities that humans could only dream of. Their sense of smell is far keener than our own, their eyesight can detect even the slightest movement, and as a new research paper reveals, they appear to be in tune with Earth’s magnetic field in a way that allows them to find shortcuts when traveling.

Dogs, it seems, have the ability to navigate toward a goal by forging new, more efficient paths than the ones they already know. This hints at an ability to sense direction and location based on an internal compass that, thus far, has gone unstudied.

As part of the research, the team tracked dogs using GPS while taking them on excursions into forested areas. By mapping the dogs’ behaviors when they ventured off on their own, the researchers came up with three types of exploring behavior.

The “tracking” behavior is characterized by the animal following the same path to return to their origin point as they took when they first ventured out. This is typically what humans do by forging a path and then using that path to find their way back without getting lost.

A different behavior, which the researchers called “scouting,” reveals that dogs can travel blindly into a wooded location, reach their turning point at which they decided to head back, and then take a completely different path to make it back to the same place they started. The researchers also observed instances of combinations of both of these techniques, with dogs tracing their route backward before breaking into a new path that was more efficient to reach their destination.

∙ Matthew R. Bailey is president of the Foundation for Biomedical Research. This piece originally ran in the Buffalo News.

After an especially good belly rub, a dog might bump its nose into its human as a way of saying thanks. Often, this snoot boop feels cold and wet. The owner might wonder: Is it normal for a dog’s nose to feel like this?

The answer is yes, it’s normal. But so is a warm nose, especially after snoozing, said Anna Bálint, a researcher who studies animal behavior at Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, Hungary. “When a dog is asleep, their nose usually warms up, and it also dries. Then, the dog wakes up, gives its nose a lick, and it’s back to cold.”

But why are dogs’ noses cold, and could there be a benefit?

One idea is that the dog’s cold nose could help the furry beast regulate its body temperature. But the nose tip is so small, it’s likely unable to meaningfully contribute to a dog’s overall thermal regulation, Bálint said.

To investigate further, an international team of scientists measured the temperature of many animals’ noses, including a horse, dog and moose. By the time Bálint joined the project, the team had already learned that the nose tips, or rhinariums, of dogs and carnivorous animals are usually cooler than those of herbivores. Perhaps, a cooler nose tip could be an advantage in the wild, the researchers thought.

The team conducted two experiments — one looking at behavior and another at the brain — to see whether a cold rhinarium could make for better heat detection. In the first experiment, the team successfully trained three pet dogs to choose a warmer object, about the same temperature as potential prey, over an object at room temperature. The results indicated that dogs can detect weak thermal radiation from a distance akin to hunting prey.

 

 

Vol. 14, No. 02 – Oct 21 – Nov 3, 2020 – The Pet Page

∙SPAN Thrift Store is now open to the public and looking for donations of adult clothing, household items and tools if you’ve got items you no longer use.

SPAN Thrift Store is providing $10 spays and neuters for low income households with cats and dogs.

Two upcoming clinics are:

Friday, October 3rd at SPAN Thrift Store parking lot 110 N. Olive St. (behind Vons on Main), and a second at Albert H. Soliz Library – El Rio, 2820 Jourdan St., Oxnard, 93036 on Friday, November 6th.

Please call to schedule an appointment (805) 584-3823.

∙ “As someone who has both studied animal behavior and is a cat owner, it’s great to be able to show that cats and humans can communicate in this way. It’s something that many cat owners had already suspected, so it’s exciting to have found evidence for it,” study supervisor Karen McComb, a professor of psychology at the University of Sussex in England, said in a news release.

“It is something you can try yourself with your own cat at home, or with cats you meet in the street. It’s a great way of enhancing the bond you have with cats,” McComb added.

Here’s what you need to do: place yourself in front of your cat, narrow your eyes like you would in a relaxed smile, then close them for a couple of seconds, mimicking a slow-motion blink.

“You’ll find they respond in the same way themselves and you can start a sort of conversation,” McComb said.

To test the technique, the researchers conducted two separate experiments. The first involved 21 cats from 14 different households. Owners were taught how to “slow blink” while sitting about three feet away from their cat.

The experiment showed that cats are more likely to slow blink at their owners after their owners slow blinked at them, compared to no interaction between the two, according to the study.

The second experiment was similarly set up but with 24 different cats from eight different homes. This time, the cat was partnered with an unfamiliar researcher for the stare down.

The stranger either slow blinked at the cat or put on a neutral expression without direct eye contact. They were also instructed to stretch out an open palm to the cat or just sit across from it. Turns out the cats were more likely to approach the stranger’s outstretched hand after they slow blinked at it, compared to when they had a neutral face.

The researchers speculate cats behave more friendly when their owners narrow their eyes at them because over time, humans may have rewarded them for the action in a positive way.

Another theory is that cats slow blink because it’s a way to break up intense staring, “which is potentially threatening in social interaction” with other cats or species, the researchers said.

Although cats may be more mysterious than dogs, past research has broken down that wall between human and feline miscommunication.

For example, we know that cats can attract and manipulate human attention through purring, they can differentiate their name from other words and they can be “sensitive” to human emotions by rubbing or butting their heads against their owner to provide support, the researchers said.

These actions have long been a part of what make cats such popular pets, but studying their natural behavior, and providing evidence through experiments, can provide “rare insight into the world of cat-human communication,” study co-supervisor Dr. Leanne Proops from the University of Portsmouth in England, said in the release.

∙ On September 18th, Governor Newsom signed Senate Bill No. 573 into law for the state of California. Effective January 1st, 2021, public animal shelters and animal control agencies will be prohibited from releasing a dog or cat to an owner seeking to reclaim or adopt the animal unless it is or will be microchipped. The microchip must have the current information of the new or present owner acquiring the animal.

If the agency, shelter, or group does not have microchipping capabilities on-site, the agency, shelter, or group must make a good faith effort to locate free or discounted microchipping services and provide that information to the owner. The owner must agree to have the dog or cat microchipped within 30 days of reclaiming or adopting the animal. Proof of the procedure must be provided to the agency, shelter, or group in which the animal came from.

Animals that are medically unfit to be microchipped are exempt from the bill. Owners who sign a form stating the cost of microchipping their dog or cat would impose an economic hardship are also exempt. For more information on this bill, please visit California Legislative Information website.

∙Southern California has been experiencing a scorching heatwave with temperatures soaring into the 100s on some occasions. Remember that when the weather is hot for you, it is much hotter for your furry friends. To demonstrate this, the HSVC is providing a daily heat report to show just how hot common surfaces outside can get.

“We used a heat gun to take the temperature of several surfaces outside our shelter in Ojai including the sidewalk, pavement, and inside a vehicle. All of the temperatures were more than 20 degrees hotter than the temperature outside! With this in mind, please make sure to give your pets plenty of water, access to shade, and lots of rest on hotter days.”

Never leave your animals in a hot car for any amount of time and keep them in an air-conditioned space as often as possible. Avoid taking your dogs for walks on hot surfaces. If your animals enjoy playing in the water, consider setting up a kiddie pool or sprinkler for your pet so they can have fun in the sun and stay cool.

∙The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension formally welcomed the state’s first electronic device-sniffing dog into its ranks.

Sota the British Labrador has already assisted the BCA on 10 cases since May and has so far located 21 different pieces of evidence, the bureau said. Though she is trained to work on violent crime and financial crime investigations, BCA Superintendent Drew Evans said, she will primarily aid authorities on child exploitation cases.

“Those are the cases where we’re locating people that are trying to exploit our children online. Whether it be through child pornography investigations or those contacting our children online, these types of evidence are critical to proving those cases, to holding those accountable who choose to try to hurt our children across our Minnesota,” Evans said at a press conference Thursday.

Sota can locate electronics like cell phones, and even small devices such USB drives and memory storage cards, because she is trained to recognize the scent of triphenylphosphine oxide, or TPPO, a type of chemical coating. During a homicide investigation, Evans said for example, she managed to locate a concealed cell phone later used as evidence.

The $15,000 cost of purchasing and training Sota was paid for by Operation Underground Railroad, a non-profit anti-human trafficking group. According to a BCA news release, Sota was first trained to be a service dog in Michigan.

Vol. 14, No. 02 – Oct 21 – Nov 3, 2020 – The Pet Page

∙SPAN Thrift Store is now open to the public and looking for donations of adult clothing, household items and tools if you’ve got items you no longer use.

SPAN Thrift Store is providing $10 spays and neuters for low income households with cats and dogs.

Two upcoming clinics are:

Friday, October 3rd at SPAN Thrift Store parking lot 110 N. Olive St. (behind Vons on Main), and a second at Albert H. Soliz Library – El Rio, 2820 Jourdan St., Oxnard, 93036 on Friday, November 6th.

Please call to schedule an appointment (805) 584-3823.

∙ “As someone who has both studied animal behavior and is a cat owner, it’s great to be able to show that cats and humans can communicate in this way. It’s something that many cat owners had already suspected, so it’s exciting to have found evidence for it,” study supervisor Karen McComb, a professor of psychology at the University of Sussex in England, said in a news release.

“It is something you can try yourself with your own cat at home, or with cats you meet in the street. It’s a great way of enhancing the bond you have with cats,” McComb added.

Here’s what you need to do: place yourself in front of your cat, narrow your eyes like you would in a relaxed smile, then close them for a couple of seconds, mimicking a slow-motion blink.

“You’ll find they respond in the same way themselves and you can start a sort of conversation,” McComb said.

To test the technique, the researchers conducted two separate experiments. The first involved 21 cats from 14 different households. Owners were taught how to “slow blink” while sitting about three feet away from their cat.

The experiment showed that cats are more likely to slow blink at their owners after their owners slow blinked at them, compared to no interaction between the two, according to the study.

The second experiment was similarly set up but with 24 different cats from eight different homes. This time, the cat was partnered with an unfamiliar researcher for the stare down.

The stranger either slow blinked at the cat or put on a neutral expression without direct eye contact. They were also instructed to stretch out an open palm to the cat or just sit across from it. Turns out the cats were more likely to approach the stranger’s outstretched hand after they slow blinked at it, compared to when they had a neutral face.

The researchers speculate cats behave more friendly when their owners narrow their eyes at them because over time, humans may have rewarded them for the action in a positive way.

Another theory is that cats slow blink because it’s a way to break up intense staring, “which is potentially threatening in social interaction” with other cats or species, the researchers said.

Although cats may be more mysterious than dogs, past research has broken down that wall between human and feline miscommunication.

For example, we know that cats can attract and manipulate human attention through purring, they can differentiate their name from other words and they can be “sensitive” to human emotions by rubbing or butting their heads against their owner to provide support, the researchers said.

These actions have long been a part of what make cats such popular pets, but studying their natural behavior, and providing evidence through experiments, can provide “rare insight into the world of cat-human communication,” study co-supervisor Dr. Leanne Proops from the University of Portsmouth in England, said in the release.

∙ On September 18th, Governor Newsom signed Senate Bill No. 573 into law for the state of California. Effective January 1st, 2021, public animal shelters and animal control agencies will be prohibited from releasing a dog or cat to an owner seeking to reclaim or adopt the animal unless it is or will be microchipped. The microchip must have the current information of the new or present owner acquiring the animal.

If the agency, shelter, or group does not have microchipping capabilities on-site, the agency, shelter, or group must make a good faith effort to locate free or discounted microchipping services and provide that information to the owner. The owner must agree to have the dog or cat microchipped within 30 days of reclaiming or adopting the animal. Proof of the procedure must be provided to the agency, shelter, or group in which the animal came from.

Animals that are medically unfit to be microchipped are exempt from the bill. Owners who sign a form stating the cost of microchipping their dog or cat would impose an economic hardship are also exempt. For more information on this bill, please visit California Legislative Information website.

∙Southern California has been experiencing a scorching heatwave with temperatures soaring into the 100s on some occasions. Remember that when the weather is hot for you, it is much hotter for your furry friends. To demonstrate this, the HSVC is providing a daily heat report to show just how hot common surfaces outside can get.

“We used a heat gun to take the temperature of several surfaces outside our shelter in Ojai including the sidewalk, pavement, and inside a vehicle. All of the temperatures were more than 20 degrees hotter than the temperature outside! With this in mind, please make sure to give your pets plenty of water, access to shade, and lots of rest on hotter days.”

Never leave your animals in a hot car for any amount of time and keep them in an air-conditioned space as often as possible. Avoid taking your dogs for walks on hot surfaces. If your animals enjoy playing in the water, consider setting up a kiddie pool or sprinkler for your pet so they can have fun in the sun and stay cool.

∙The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension formally welcomed the state’s first electronic device-sniffing dog into its ranks.

Sota the British Labrador has already assisted the BCA on 10 cases since May and has so far located 21 different pieces of evidence, the bureau said. Though she is trained to work on violent crime and financial crime investigations, BCA Superintendent Drew Evans said, she will primarily aid authorities on child exploitation cases.

“Those are the cases where we’re locating people that are trying to exploit our children online. Whether it be through child pornography investigations or those contacting our children online, these types of evidence are critical to proving those cases, to holding those accountable who choose to try to hurt our children across our Minnesota,” Evans said at a press conference Thursday.

Sota can locate electronics like cell phones, and even small devices such USB drives and memory storage cards, because she is trained to recognize the scent of triphenylphosphine oxide, or TPPO, a type of chemical coating. During a homicide investigation, Evans said for example, she managed to locate a concealed cell phone later used as evidence.

The $15,000 cost of purchasing and training Sota was paid for by Operation Underground Railroad, a non-profit anti-human trafficking group. According to a BCA news release, Sota was first trained to be a service dog in Michigan.

Vol. 14, No. 01 – Oct 7 – Oct 20, 2020 – The Pet Page

∙SPAN Thrift Store is now open to the public and looking for donations of adult clothing, household items and tools if you’ve got items you no longer use.

SPAN Thrift Store regularly provides $10 spays and neuters for low income households with cats and dogs.

Two upcoming clinics in October are: Friday, October 9th at the Albert H. Soliz Library – El Rio, 2820 Jourdan St., Oxnard, 93036 and a second on Friday, October 23rd at SPAN Thrift Store parking lot 110 N. Olive St. (behind Vons on Main).

Please call to schedule an appointment (805) 584-3823.

HSVC kennel staff feed and care for a group of farm animals evacuated during the Easy and Maria fires of 2019.

∙Fire season has arrived early; be prepared.

The fall was commonly known as fire season in Ventura County, but “fire season” should now be expected all year (going on right now) . High heat, low humidity, dry brush and high winds occur these days with increasing frequency, creating disastrous conditions for extreme fire behavior. The Humane Society of Ventura County has learned to be prepared year-round.

The HSVC has assisted in the safe evacuation and relocation of animals displaced by wildfires, which erupt regularly across the region and have hit close to home. For the past three years, Ventura and Los Angeles counties have been hit hard with wildfires and, in each case, the HSVC has been there to help.

Sadly, the Thomas Fire of 2017 was not the first time the HSVC has been called into action. “The HSVC was very busy sheltering animals during the Wheeler Fire of 1985,” said shelter director Jolene Hoffman, who can recall rescuing animals during the conflagration that consumed 118,000 acres and 26 structures and caused mass evacuations. “We had over 170 dogs, 150 cats and about 35 horses that we took in during the 15-day fire that burned around the Ojai Valley.”

In the 2017 fire season, the HSVC sheltered 320 animals. In the 2018 season, it sheltered 244 animals and last year, 284 animals.

In preparation for this year’s fire season, the HSVC has increased capacity for animal intake as well as outfitting its fleet of trucks, vans and stock trailers with equipment and supplies. “It’s one of those situations where we plan for the worst but hope for the best,” said HSVC Humane Officer K King.

The Humane Society of Ventura County offers a sanctuary for pets as well as temporary crates, kennels, pet food, ID tags and other supplies for those in harm’s way. “We will also send out our Emergency Response Teams to assist with animal evacuations at the owner’s request,” said Hoffman. “Our primary concern is for the safety of people and their pets. Please do not hesitate to take them to animal rescue centers in the event of an emergency.”

Budgeting in advance for disasters presents a unique challenge, since they are impossible to predict, so financial support from the community is crucial to help offset the costs incurred for the HSVC’s services, noted Greg Cooper, director of community outreach for the HSVC.

Those who would like to support the HSVC’s emergency preparedness can drop off supplies at the Ojai shelter, at 402 Bryant St. Also, the HSVC Amazon Wish List has been updated to include examples of requested items.

Congratulations to the six newest canine disaster search teams.

∙ On the morning of August 28, 2020, six search teams graduated from Search Dog Foundation (SDF’s) Handler Course: Felicia Lee & Jax and Paul Sandigo & Cassie (California Task Force 3), Kiegon List & Chloe and James McCandless & Mac (California Task Force 7), and Andrew Pitcher & Storm and Mark Schroder & Koda (Nebraska Task Force 1). The handlers completed the course despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, observing distancing and safety protocols throughout their two-week stay on campus.

The graduating class was a combination of four brand new handlers from the Bay Area and Sacramento in California, as well as two veteran handlers from Lincoln, Nebraska, providing ample opportunity to learn, share experiences, and build lifelong friendships.

∙Only days after the previous dog food recall, the FDA is drawing attention to another voluntary recall of dog food, this time over the risk of Salmonella contamination. The recall impacts one dog food brand and shouldn’t be mistaken for the dog food recall from earlier this month, which involved the presence of a potentially deadly toxin that results from a naturally-occurring mold. As expected, dog food owners are advised to get rid of the potentially contaminated dog food to protect both their own and their pet’s health.

The latest dog food recall in the United States was issued on September 22 from Real Pet Food Company, which offers a range of different dog foods, including chilled, dry, and wet versions, with an emphasis on high-quality ingredients. One particular brand of food sold by the company was voluntarily recalled because routine sampling found Salmonella bacteria.

According to Real Pet Food Company, one lot of its Billy+Margot Wild Kangaroo and Superfoods Recipe 4lb bags of dog food have been recalled. As with humans, pets that eat food contaminated with Salmonella can develop an uncomfortable illness that, in a small percentage of cases, may become severe.

Vol. 13, No. 26 – Sept 23 – Oct 6, 2020 – The Pet Page

∙SPAN Thrift Store is now open to the public and looking for donations of adult clothing, household items and tools if you’ve got items you no longer use.

SPAN Thrift Store regularly provides $10 spays and neuters for low income households with cats and dogs.

Two upcoming clinics in October are: Friday, October 9th at the Albert H. Soliz Library – El Rio, 2820 Jourdan St., Oxnard, 93036 and a second on Friday, October 23rd at SPAN Thrift Store parking lot 110 N. Olive St. (behind Vons on Main).

Please call to schedule an appointment (805) 584-3823.

Dr. Sisk performed a facial reconstructive procedure on Black Balls.

∙The HSVC (Humane Society of Ventura County) would like to recognize our Director of Veterinary Services Dr. Christina Sisk for her recent outstanding work in reconstructing the face of a severely injured feral cat.

Affectionately known as Black Balls, this injured cat was brought to the shelter by our rescue partners, Foundling Kitten Society. His mouth and lips were completely torn open and he had a huge gash up the side of his nose. It is unknown how the cat received these injuries. Dr. Sisk performed a facial reconstructive procedure on Black Balls and was able to repair nearly all the damage on the injured cat’s face. As an added bonus, the shelter was able to cover the cost of Black Balls’ procedure and the Herman Bennett Foundation was able to cover the cost of his neuter surgery.

The HSVC has many resources to assist those wanting to help reduce the overpopulation of feral and stray cats in our community. We accept feral cats for TNR (trap, neuter, and release) surgeries for free every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. The shelter also provides feral cat traps to those wanting to trap local feral and community cats for spaying/neutering. Please call the shelter at 805-646-6505 for more information or to make an appointment to bring in a feral cat for spay/neuter surgery.

∙A vet nurse has recently been made aware of the toxicity for pets, of a fairly common prescription cream for humans. Veterinary Nurse Kaylene Doust, said that losing one pet can be heartbreaking, especially if they are young and their death is sudden. “Losing two young pets within a few days of one another is even more tragic.”

Doust said that these were the circumstances faced by a local pet owner after her dogs accidentally ingested Fluorouracil 5% topical skin cancer cream (in this instance marketed as Efudix 5%).

In the early evening, soon after applying this cream to her skin from a nearly full tube, the owner left the room to answer a phone call, leaving the capped tube on a nearby coffee table. When she returned, she noticed the cream all over the blanket on the lounge and found the oldest of her three dogs had the punctured and the near empty tube in its mouth.’

The woman removed the tube and placed the blanket into the washing machine. With all three dogs yet unaffected, no clear idea of which ones were exposed, and no sense of the danger posed by ingestion of this chemical, no veterinary advice was sought at this time. After a few days two of her dogs died.

∙September is National Preparedness Month, and planning ahead is the key to keeping yourself and your pets safe if disaster strikes. It is important to remember: If it’s not safe for you, it is not safe for your pets.

You can follow these tips to make an emergency plan for your pets:

1. Microchip your pets: Microchip identification is one of the best ways to ensure that you and your pet are reunited if you are separated. Be sure to keep the microchip registration up-to-date, and include at least one emergency number of a friend or relative who resides out of your immediate area.

2. Keep a collar and tag on all cats and dogs: Keep several current phone numbers on your animal’s identification tag. Identification on indoor-only cats is especially important. If your home is damaged during a disaster, they could easily escape.

3. Plan a pet-friendly place to stay: Search in advance for out-of-area pet-friendly hotels or boarding facilities, or make a housing exchange agreement with an out-of-area friend or relative. Never leave your pet behind if you evacuate!

4. Use the buddy system: Exchange pet information, evacuation plans and house keys with a few trusted neighbors or nearby friends. If you’re caught outside evacuation lines when an evacuation order is issued, your neighbors or friends can evacuate your pets for you.

5. Prepare an emergency kit for each animal: To help alleviate some of the stress that happens during an evacuation, we recommend creating and taking an emergency kit for each of your animals if you are forced to leave unexpectedly. You should keep your kit in an easy-to-grab container or bag, and periodically check and update as needed. Here is a list of suggested items to keep in your kit(s):

6. Identify emergency veterinary facilities outside of your immediate area: If a disaster has affected your community, emergency veterinary facilities may be closed.

7. Plan for temporary confinement: Physical structures, like walls, fences and barns may be destroyed during a disaster. Have a plan for keeping your animals safely confined. You may need a tie-out, crate or kennel. Caregivers of multiple cats or other small animals may want to use an EvacSak instead of a carrier, which is easy to store and use for transport. Read more tips for ensuring your pets’ safety during an evacuation.

8. Comfort your animals: Your animals will appreciate your calm presence and soft, comforting voice if they are stressed following a disaster or while evacuated, and you may find it comforting to spend time with them, too. Some animals, especially cats, may be too scared to be comforted. Interact with them on their terms. Some animals may find toys, especially long-lasting chew toys, comforting.

9. Know where to search for lost animals: When animals become lost during a disaster, they often end up at a local shelter. Keep the locations and phone numbers of the shelters in your area readily accessible.

10. Get children involved in disaster preparedness plans: The book Ready or Not, Here it Comes! by RedRover Responders Team Leader, Howard Edelstein, discusses how to prepare for all types of disasters to safeguard families and the animals in their care.

To learn more visit https://redrover.org/resource/pet-disaster-preparedness-2/ and download our 5 Animal Disaster Preparedness Essentials checklist (PDF) here.

Cassie’s Cats-Fostering, Love and Forever Homes for Cats and Kittens

Jennifer with one of her saved kitties.

by Jill Forman

When Jennifer Thompson was 10 years old, she got her first cat, Cassie. Cassie was loved for 19 years, and now she lives on in Cassie’s Cats.

Fast forward a few years to 2006, a friend of Thompson’s found an abandoned litter of kittens and brought them to her. “I had no idea what to do! I did a lot of Googling and gave myself a crash course on caring for orphaned newborn kittens. I raised those kittens successfully and got all four adopted out.” Since then she has fostered almost 50 cats and kittens, 15 so far in 2020.

She incorporated Cassie’s Cats in January of this year. It is a nonprofit 501©3 with the mission of finding safe, permanent, loving homes for cats and kittens.

She has an ambitious dream to accomplish this. “Cassie’s Cats will be a lounge and adoption center in Ventura. The idea of “cat cafes” is catching on in this country as spaces for people to come relax and hang out with cats. Giving cats a space that is more like a normal home environment helps them relax and allows their real personalities to emerge. This will also allow prospective adopters to get to know the cats and visit with them in a comfortable environment.”

Thompson, 49, has lived in Ventura almost 15 years. She has been a teacher and a college counselor. “My whole life has been spent in ‘helping’ professions and having meaningful work in my life is important. Saving cats and kittens fits right in.”

A diagnosis of breast cancer in 2014 “… was a transformative experience in so many ways and I think it helped give me the courage to create the life I wanted for myself and make changes instead of always playing it safe.”

Currently she is building a support base to raise awareness and funds. She uses social media to publicize photos of fosters, fundraisers, and updates.

Including merchandise. “We have all kinds of handmade items in our online shop – toys for cats, note cards featuring original watercolor paintings, cat-themed jewelry, and masks made with whimsical cat print fabrics! My mom has even been helping from afar, sewing dozens of masks for us to use in our fundraisers. We’re selling t-shirts and sweatshirts too in a variety of designs on the fundraising site Bonfire.com. The response to all of these fundraisers has been fantastic so far! We are so heartened by the support our community is already showing for our organization.”

 

Vol. 13, No. 25 – Sept 9 – Sept 22, 2020 – The Pet Page

∙SPAN Thrift Store is now open to the public and in need of volunteers to operate day to day. If you are interested or have questions please call (805) 641-1170 to inquire.

In addition, SPAN is back and providing $10 spays and neuters for low income households with cats and dogs.

The next one is at the Albert H. Soliz Library – El Rio, 2820 Jourdan St., Oxnard, 93036 on Friday, September 11th. Please call to schedule an appointment (805) 584-3823.

∙Three types of dog foods sold nationwide recalled over high levels of mold by-product

By Mallika Kallingal, CNN

Sunshine Mills has issued a voluntary recall of three dog food products due to high levels of aflatoxin, according to the Food and Drug Administration. Aflatoxin is a naturally occurring mold by-product and can be harmful to pets if consumed in significant quantities.

Family Pet Meaty Cuts beef chicken & cheese flavors premium dog food, Heartland Farms grilled favorites beef chicken & cheese flavor, and Paws Happy Life butcher’s choice dog food have been affected by the recall announced Wednesday. The products were distributed in retail stores nationwide.

So far, no illnesses have been reported in association with these products, the FDA says, and other Sunshine Mills pet food products are not affected. The FDA says these products were recalled as a precautionary measure and no adverse health effects related to them have been reported.

“Pets that have consumed any of the recalled products and exhibit symptoms of illness including sluggishness or lethargy combined with a reluctance to eat, vomiting, yellowish tint to the eyes or gums, or diarrhea should be seen by a veterinarian,” the FDA statement says.

Retailers have been asked to pull the affected products from their inventory and customers who have purchased the products can return them to the place of purchase for a full refund.

The potential for aflatoxin levels above the acceptable limit in these products was discovered by routine sampling performed by the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, the FDA says.

∙Sometimes research provides groundbreaking information that can change our lives. Other times it confirms what we already know, but provides empirical evidence to bolster nagging. A study of pet feeding practices recently published in the British Medical Journals’ Vet Record definitely falls into the second category. A survey of 3,673 English-speaking pet owners in five countries (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the U.S., and the U.K.) found that only 13% of dogs and 32% of cats ate pet food and pet food only.

In the abstract of the paper, they conclude: “As an increased risk of nutrient insufficiency and associated conditions have been attributed to unconventional feeding practices, veterinarians must be aware of pet feeding trends and educate clients about the nutritional needs of companion animals.” Which seems like a lot of work to go through to get vets to tell humans to be careful about feeding their pets, but whatever works, I guess.

The Toronto Sun spoke to Sarah Dodd, the lead author of the study, who said that one of the researchers’ biggest concerns was people feeding their pets raw food: “We have concerns, particularly for potential microbial contamination (harmful bacteria) and how that can affect not only the pets in the household but also the people.” She added that people are suspicious of conventional pet food because it’s processed, and they’ve been warned about the dangers of processed foods to humans.

Pet food, Dodd said, is different: kibbles contain a nutritional balance that can’t be duplicated by homemade food alone. And then she said the thing that vets always say: before you make any drastic changes in your pet’s diet, consult their vet!Dogs possess an ability that humans can only dream of dog compass

Vol. 13, No. 24 – Aug 26 – Sept 8, 2020 – The Pet Page

Topa had been locked in a car for nearly eight hours.

∙From the Search Dog Foundation: Topa had been locked in a car for nearly eight hours by the time concerned citizens noticed and called the police to rescue this Border Collie mix. When her owner was discovered in a nearby bar, he was arrested for animal neglect and other outstanding legal issues, forcing him to surrender ownership of Topa to the Western Hills Humane Society. Soon after she arrived, Topa was discovered by SDF recruiters, who quickly evaluated her and determined she was a great fit for our program! Benefiting from the generous support raised by The Rachael Ray Rescue Brigade in 2018 and 2019, Topa completed her search dog training in September, 2019 and was partnered with Rudy Valencia of the Berkeley Fire Department in California. The team is now training and working toward FEMA certification, making them deployable anywhere in the United States as part of California Task Force 4.

∙The North Korean government is reportedly ordering more “decadent” citizens to hand over their dogs so that other people can eat.

According to Canadian news outlet the National Post, South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo reported that President Kim Jong-Un calls pet ownership a byproduct of “bourgeois ideology” and is ordering dog owners to surrender those pets so they can be slaughtered and fed to hungry North Koreans.

“Authorities have identified households with pet dogs and are forcing them to give them up or forcefully confiscating them and putting them down,” a source reportedly told South Korean media.

That report states that common folks in the communist “Hermit Kingdom” raise livestock for sustenance but owning an animal for companionship is a luxury enjoyed by people of privilege. The fact that some North Koreans can afford dogs has “stoked some resentment.”

Soo you dog owners should be happy to know that you are people of privilege. How sad this is.

∙For the first time, the RedRover Responders training is available online to those who are eager to help animals and people in crisis. This online course will be offered at no charge.

RedRover Responders volunteers are specially trained to care for and shelter large numbers of animals after they have been rescued from cruelty and neglect cases or natural disasters. The volunteers provide the workforce which enables communities to address their animal needs swiftly and efficiently. Additionally, volunteers often deploy to help build pet-friendly spaces at domestic violence shelters in conjunction with RedRover Safe Housing grants.

The online course is self-paced and can be completed in just a few hours, while offering the expert information and training that RedRover is known for in preparing volunteers for future deployments.

With more than 4,000 trained volunteers in the United States and Canada, RedRover can deploy its volunteers quickly when communities become overburdened by a crisis involving large numbers of animals. Since 1987, RedRover has responded to more than 200 natural disasters and other crises nationwide, including Hurricanes Harvey and Katrina, Camp Fire, Superstorm Sandy, 9/11, Joplin Tornado, Exxon Valdez Oil Spill, and many more.

Deployments and in-person training workshops are currently on hold due to COVID-19, but will resume once it is determined to be safe.

To learn how to become a RedRover Responders volunteer, visit: https://go.redrover.org/page/21471/event/1.

Since 1987, RedRover has focused on bringing animals out of crisis and strengthening the human-animal bond through emergency sheltering, disaster relief services, financial assistance and humane education. RedRover is a founding member of the National Animal Rescue and Sheltering Coalition (NARSC), established after Hurricane Katrina’s devastating impact on more people and animals than any other storm in United States history. To learn how RedRover is creating a more compassionate world, please visit RedRover.org.

∙Houseplants are a wholesome addition to the ambiance of any room. They can provide several health benefits, including keeping carbon dioxide levels down, removing pollutants, and improving moisture levels in your home. However, there are some common houseplants that can be toxic to your furry friends. According to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC), the following houseplants could be potentially dangerous to the wellbeing of your pets.

Mildly Toxic Plants:

Fiddle Leaf Fig and Spider Plant can be toxic to both dogs and cats. Small ingestions of either plant can cause mild gastrointestinal irritation, skin irritation, vomiting, and diarrhea.

These plants contain insoluble calcium oxalates. The stem, leaf stalk, and leaves contain crystals that can cause irritation to the mouth and GI tract when chewed or ingested. Additional symptoms include nausea, drooling, gagging, vomiting, and diarrhea.

In addition to Calla Liles and Peace Lilies, there are several other Lilies that are extremely toxic to cats. According to Pet Poison Helpline, Lilies classified as “True Lilies” and “Day Lilies”, including Easter Lilies, Tiger Lilies, Stargazer Lilies, Japanese Show Lilies, and Asiatic Lilies, can trigger sudden kidney failure in cats. Pet owners should avoid having these types of Lilies in their homes or yards to avoid harm to their animals.

Exposure to these plants are not considered life threatening, but pets that show more severe symptoms may require a visit to your local vet.

Moderately Toxic Plants:

Small exposure to these plants can cause vomiting or diarrhea in dogs and cats. Larger exposure can lead to depression, weakness, and lack of coordination. Additional symptoms for cats may include enlarged pupils, rapid breathing, elevated heart rate, drooling, and abdominal discomfort. Exposure to Jade plants in both cats and dogs may also cause lethargy, ataxia, and muscle tremors.

Severely Toxic Plants:

 

All parts of the Sago Palm plant are extremely toxic to both cats and dogs. However, the seeds contain the highest concentration of toxins. If exposed, pets can experience immediate vomiting, diarrhea with blood, lethargy, anorexia, and seizures. The most extreme symptom is liver failure, which can develop within three days of consumption.

Easter Lilies are very toxic to cats. Even the smallest amount of exposure to this plant can result in kidney injury and death, which can develop within 48-72 hours. Other symptoms include vomiting, depression, lethargy, and anorexia. Dogs often experience less severe symptoms than cats.

It is important to have an emergency plan in place if/when your animal is exposed to a toxic plant. Have emergency vet numbers easily accessible, including your own vet and a poison control hotline. The APC can be contacted at 888-426-4435. If symptoms are severe and you need to take your pet in for veterinary assistance, it may be helpful to bring a picture of the plant so your vet knows exactly what was consumed. In most cases, it is best to contact your vet if your pet is exposed to a large amount of these plants.

If you currently own any of these indoor plants, be sure they are placed on a high shelf or counter and are out of reach of your animal. If your pet likes to roam your fenced yard, you should consider avoiding these types of toxic plants in your landscaping. Pet owners should context their vet immediately if your pet has been exposed to either of these plants. You can also contact APCC at 888-426-4435.

Vol. 13, No. 23 – Aug 12 – Aug 25, 2020 – The Pet Page

SPAN Thrift Store is now open to the public and in need of volunteers to operate day to day. If you are interested or have questions please call (805) 641-1170 to inquire.

In addition to that, SPAN is back and providing $10 spays and neuters for low income households with cats and dogs.

Two clinics in August are: Albert H. Soliz Library – El Rio, 2820 Jourdan St., Oxnard, 93036 on Friday, August 14th, and another one on Friday, August 21st at Shiells Park, in the parking lot, located at 649 C St., Fillmore, 93015. Please call to schedule an appointment (805) 584-3823.

Molly handles stressful situations much better with CBD dog treats.

Ventura couple launches CBD Dog Treats

It’s extremely common for pets to suffer from anxiety, such as trembling uncontrollably at the sound of loud noises, acting fearful around strangers, or panicking at the vet’s office.

A new family-owned company, Shelter CBD, strives to help dog owners manage their pets’ anxious behaviors. Founded by Ventura couple Ryan and Emily Miller, the firm offers CBD dog treats designed to calm the nerves of stressed-out canines and provide dogs with access to the many other medicinal benefits attributed to cannabidiol (CBD).

The Millers launched Shelter CBD after struggling to find a dog-friendly cannabidiol product for their family pet, a Black Labrador named Buddha. The adorable pooch had battled anxiety since being hospitalized with a gastrointestinal illness as a puppy. Familiar with CBD as a treatment for anxiety in humans, Millers wanted Buddha to enjoy the same type of non-toxic, medicinal support.

Working with a veterinarian and animal nutritionist, the couple developed a beef-flavored dog treat that contains CBD and other phytonutrients derived from the hemp plant. Unlike many CBD products for humans, Shelter CBD treats contain zero THC compounds; the chemical that creates the “high” associated with cannabis and is not appropriate for animals. A third-party laboratory tests the treats to ensure they contain the correct potency of CBD, as well as no trace of THC or harmful pesticides. It’s one of the only products of its kind on the market.

“These are good tasting treats that dogs actually want to eat,” said co-founder Ryan Miller. “We have customers seeking it out for when they have to leave their dogs at home for an extended period, when they’re traveling with their dogs by car or plane, and by people who have a reactive dog.”

Other pet owners use the treats to help their dogs build strong joints, improve longevity, and manage pain. Repeat customers get reduced pricing through a Shelter CBD subscription program.

As part of their mission to improve the lives of dogs, the Millers are donating 5% of the profits, as a starting point; from each sale to local animal shelters. The donations are central to Shelter CBD’s business model, and inspired the company’s name.

“There are just so many dogs in shelters needing a home,” explained Emily Miller. “We just want to do our part by helping dog owners and industry professionals realize the power of CBD. In helping dogs we will consider our company successful.”

Visit https://sheltercbd.com or call (805) 203-3311

As if there were no end to their talents, dogs have proved to be remarkably effective at detecting Covid-19 with their super-sensitive sniffing.

Researchers led by the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover in Germany trained eight sniffer dogs from the German military to identify scents associated with SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for Covid-19, in samples of human saliva and phlegm. After a week of training, they were able to differentiate between samples from infected patients and non-infected peoples with 96 percent accuracy. This boiled down to 1,157 correct indications of positive, 792 correct rejections of negative, and around 63 incorrect indications or rejections.

The research is considered a small pilot study, but the promising findings suggest that sniffer dogs could play some role in the detection and management of Covid-19 infections in the future. The study was published last week in the journal BMC Infectious Diseases.

These preliminary findings indicating that pre-trained scent detection dogs can discriminate reliably, accurately and rapidly between samples from SARS-CoV-2 infected patients and negative controls is truly exciting. We have built a solid foundation for future studies to explore what the dogs do scent and if they can be used to discriminate also between different disease timepoints or clinical phenotypes,” Professor Holger A Volk, department chair of small animal medicine and surgery at the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, said in a statement.

As summer comes (eventually in Ventura) consider the following.

The temperatures inside a parked car, the bed of a pickup truck and even the sidewalk can be significantly higher than the ambient temperature and can seriously injure or even be fatal to pets.

Here are some things to remember, from the Humane Society of Ventura County:

Walk your dogs in the early morning and evening hours and, before taking them out, check the temperature of asphalt or sidewalks. “Place your hand on the surface for seven seconds,” said Senior Humane Officer T. Vail of the HSVC. “If you can bear it, then it’s safe.”

Avoid traveling with your dogs in the exposed backs of pickup trucks, which can be 20 to 40 degrees hotter than ambient temperature and unsafe for transport during the heat.

Never leave a dog in a parked car in the heat; even with the windows ajar, the temps inside the car can quickly soar to dangerous levels.

At home, if your pets are outdoors or contained in a hot space, it is crucial to have a proper setup for them. Be sure to provide plenty of fresh water (in the shade) in a nontip, light-colored plastic container and ensure they have access to proper shelter. In addition, HSVC Humane Officer K. King said, “If you live in a particularly hot area, it’s important to have proper ventilation at all times.”

If your pets show any sign of heat distress, remove them from the situation immediately, give them a limited amount of water, douse them in cool (not cold) water, and seek medical attention as quickly as possible. Signs of heatstroke (hyperthermia) and other heat distress in dogs can include panting, drooling, salivating, agitation, a bright red tongue, very red or pale gums, an increased heartrate, breathing distress, vomiting and diarrhea.

To avoid the danger in the first place, keep your pets indoors during the hottest part of the day. If it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for them. Take them outside only when the ambient temperatures are mild.