Vol. 14, No. 11 – Feb 24 – Mar 9, 2021 – 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 low cost spays and neuters for low income households with cats and dogs.

Two upcoming clinics are: Tuesday, March 2nd at Albert H. Soliz Library – El Rio, 2820 Jourdan St., Oxnard, and a second one at SPAN Thrift Store parking lot 110 N. Olive St. (behind Vons on Main) on Tuesday, March 9th.

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

Celebrated every February, National Pet Dental Health month aims to bring awareness the importance of oral health care for pets. In addition to bad breath, poor oral health can contribute to damage to the teeth and gums as well as periodontal disease, which can negatively impact the kidney, liver, and heart muscle.

One common type of periodontal disease, known as gingivitis, causes inflammation of the gums around the teeth and can act as a wake-up call for owners to pay attention to their pet’s pearly whites before more serious conditions develop.

Dr. Bert Dodd, a clinical professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, says that gingivitis is very common, and every pet has it to some degree.

Until gingivitis reaches a more advanced stage, it can be difficult for pet owners to detect on their own and their animal may not exhibit any symptoms. As such, it’s important that pets are regularly checked for signs of gingivitis by their veterinarian.

Just like in humans, gingivitis is caused by plaque buildup on the tooth. This plaque is made of food, saliva, and bacteria. Through an interaction between these foreign bacteria and the body’s immune system, enzymes are released that break down the gum tissue, leading to inflammation.

There is hope for friends of furry felines suffering from cat allergy, as Luxembourg researchers are working on developing new types of treatment.

Researchers at the Luxembourg Institute of Health developed a new immunotherapy approach, injecting allergic mice with a mix of major cat allergen Fel d 1 in combination with high doses of CpG oligonucleotide, an adjuvant substance that improves immune response.

The mice subjected to this allergen-specific therapy showed significantly reduced signs of airway inflammation and hyper-responsiveness, lower levels of pro-allergic molecules and IgE antibodies, commonly associated with allergic responses, and higher levels of IgA and IgG antibodies, which can have anti-inflammatory properties.

The mice also showed higher levels of immune cells involved in allergy regulation and tolerance.

The work at LIH “sets the bases for the development of novel successful immunotherapeutic treatments for allergies,” said Prof. Markus Ollert, Director of the department of infection and immunity and senior lead author of the study.

The findings were published in international journal “Allergy”.

NCSU professor shares science behind COVID-19 sniffing dogs

by Amber Rupinta

Dogs who have joined the fight against COVID-19 are now being used to sniff out humans who may have the virus. Dogs who have joined the fight against COVID-19 are now being used to sniff out humans who may have the virus.

While dogs on the frontline using their acute sense of smell aren’t anything new, the science behind how to train them to sniff out coronavirus and how effective it is is still being gathered.

At NCSU’s Veterinary School, Dr. David Dorman has led several research studies surrounding dogs using their sense of smell to detect bombs and cancer. Dorman says when it comes to a dog using its acute sense of smell to detect the virus there are many questions as to what exactly the dog is smelling.

“So, what we don’t know for example is, are the dogs actually detecting the smell of the virus or our body’s response to the virus?” Dorman explained. “So, for example, if say I have an infection with COVID, maybe my sweat changes because I also have a fever. That’s something an animal may be detected, those types of signals, rather than the virus itself,” said Dorman.

Researchers say training dogs to sniff out COVID-19 can be as simple as having them detect it first through sweat or urine samples then having trained dogs look for the same scent in crowds.

“This approach has been used at the Helsinki airport for several months on a voluntary basis,” said Dorman. “Where travelers going through Helsinki will provide a sweat sample, they basically take a little bit of a Q tip, rub it under their armpit and pass it to the dog to see if they might have COVID. So, that’s been attempted. There’s also been a couple of experimental studies that were recently published, showing the dogs can be accurate about 80% or more of the time, detecting a COVID positive patient, if they’re presented with sweat or a saliva sample.”

For pet owners with an overweight animal companion, there can be a difficult balance between wanting to treat a pet and wanting to keep them in the best health possible. However, with moderation and consistency, owners can ensure their pet reaches a healthy weight without discomfort.

Dr. Lori Teller, an associate professor in the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, says that a healthy diet is integral to successful weight loss.

Treats, whether specially made for pets or table food, should not make up more than 10% of an animal’s diet, and when given, the calories of a treat should be included in a pet’s total daily intake, she said.

Healthy treats may include green beans, baby carrots, celery sticks, or apple slices,” Teller said. “There also are other ways to treat pets besides food; many pets may be satisfied with some attention, whether that is a game of fetch, a catnip toy, or a chin scratch.

Owners with an overweight pet also should consult with their veterinarian to set a weight loss plan that is best for their animal. As a general rule, Teller says that a gradual reduction in body mass is safest.

Exercise can also be a healthy tool in promoting a pet’s weight loss. For dogs, this can include walks, swimming, frisbee, or fetch.

If a dog is resistant to exercise, Teller recommends starting slowly. Taking walks in new areas may help mentally stimulate your dog in new ways, and, as a result, your dog may not even realize that they are going out for exercise.

If your dog is hesitant to get moving, Teller also recommends ruling out underlying health problems that may make exercise painful for them.

Cats and other non-walkable pets can also benefit from exercise. Cats may be encouraged to move with certain toys, such as a laser pointer. Teller says owners can place the cat’s food in a location where they will have to work to get it, such as on top of a tall cat tree.

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