Vol. 14, No. 12 – Mar 10 – Mar 23, 2021 – The Pet Page

∙On March 1, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that pet food manufacturer Vitakraft Sun Seed, Inc. had recalled one of its pet foods due to potential Salmonella contamination. The pet food you have in your cabinet could be putting your furry friend’s health—or yours—in harm’s way.

The affected products can make your pets seriously ill. The recall affects a single lot of Vitakraft Vita Smart Hedgehog Food, which may have been contaminated with Salmonella. The affected products are marked with lot number 343422 and UPC number 0-51233-34792-9.

The FDA reports that the recalled lot of Vitakraft Hedgehog Food could cause pets to develop fever, vomiting, diarrhea, blood in their stool, and general lethargy. Anyone whose pets develop these symptoms after eating the affected food is advised to contact a veterinarian.

Bravo Packing of Carneys Point, New Jersey is recalling all Ground Beef and Performance Dog, which is a frozen raw pet food, because it may be contaminated with the pathogens Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes. Both pathogens can cause serious illness in animals eating the products and in humans who handle contaminated pet products. No human or animal illnesses have been reported to the company to date in connection with this issue.

Samples of Performance Dog and a sample of Ground Beef pet food were collected during an FDA inspection and tested positive for Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes bacteria. Performance Dog usually works with a distributor who is located in Brooklyn, New York, that fills orders to brick-and-mortar retail stores or to consumers directly nationwide. You can see pictures of product labels at the FDA web site.

Ground Beef and Performance Dog raw frozen pet foods come frozen in 2 pound and 5 pound plastic sleeves. If you have these products in your home, throw them away in a sealed container, or take them back to the store where you bought them for a full refund. Then clean dog dishes and anything that may have come into contact with the food with a mild bleach solution to kill pathogens. Rinse them thoroughly and dry before using again. Wash your hands well with soap and water after cleaning and after handling these products.

Pets who are infected with these pathogens can be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will have decreased appetite, fever, and abdominal pain. Others may be infected but show no signs. All pets can pass these infections to the humans they live with through fees and saliva.

People with Salmonella infections have symptoms of nausea, vomiting, a fever, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps. People infected with listeriosis can suffer from high fever, severe headache, stiff neck, nausea, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. Pregnant women can suffer miscarriage and stillbirth with this infection even though they are only mildly ill. Anyone who is feeling sick after having contact with this food or with a pet who has been fed the food should contact their doctor.

∙Veterinarians warn of marijuana poisoning in dogs now that it’s legal in Arizona

By Steve NielsenPublished Pets and AnimalsFOX 10 Phoenix

An inquisitive 90-pound Labordoodle accidentally ate marijuana while on a walk and vets say an incident like this could have turned nearly fatal. The good news is that most dogs recover from marijuana poisoning. However, it can still be serious.

Dr. Marcella Granfone at emergency hospital Arizona Veterinary Emergency & Critical Care Center said they have several cases of this a week. “We have seen more severe effects from edible products where pets can come in looking comatose and actually will need a machine to breathe for them for a period of time.”

Dr. Karen Choptain is a veterinarian at the hospital, and she says the problem of dog overdoses has become especially pronounced over the last month. These exposures can lead to a number of different symptoms, including trouble walking, leaking urine and nausea”, she said, but it depends on the size of the dog.

“We’re very concerned that if there’s more access to them than you know, dogs can get into a lot of things. So definitely warning owners to be more cautious of the edible products. They’re just a lot stronger,” she said.

∙Studies show that skinny dogs live longer. Purina did a landmark study in 2002 using the American chunky dog, the Labrador Retriever. They divided 48 sets of twins up, told half the group to let them be typical beefy labs and told the other half to limit food and calories so that they were skinny. “So skinny that your neighbors tell you to feed your dog, skinny.”

The results were shocking. The skinny group outlived the normal group by almost 20% (11.3 years versus 13 years). Also, of great interest was that those in the skinny group died a more natural death and almost 90% of those in the normal group were euthanized due to medical problems.

Since this original study numerous groups have repeated it and achieved almost identical results. What they have also found its that being skinny delays the onset of many age-related degenerative diseases like cancer, diabetes, organ failure and arthritis.

So how skinny is skinny enough? Historically, veterinarians have used what is called the Body Condition Score or BCS. This rates a dog on a numerical scale based on subjective criteria

You want to be able to feel your dogs ribs with a little fat only between skin and ribs. Your dog should have a waistline, meaning the chest should be wider than the abdomen and there should be nothing hanging beneath. Of course, what is normal for a greyhound is not normal for a bulldog, so breed variation plays a role.

∙ HealthDay News — It is an image as heartwarming as any: Young children giggling as the family dog climbs all over them and licks their faces. But new research suggests the bond may be more than playful.

“The great news is that this study suggests dogs are paying a lot of attention to the kids that they live with,” said study author Monique Udell, an animal behaviorist and associate professor at Oregon State University. “They are responsive to them and, in many cases, behaving in synchrony with them, indicators of positive affiliation and a foundation for building strong bonds.”

The children were asked to walk with their off-leash dogs in a standardized way among color-coded taped lines in a large empty room. Researchers videotaped the experiments, analyzing how much time each child and their dog were moving or stationary at the same time (what they called activity synchrony), how often they were within 3 feet of each other (proximity), and going in the same direction (orientation).

“Sometimes we don’t give children and dogs enough credit. Our research suggests that with some guidance we can provide important and positive learning experiences for our kids and our dogs starting at a much earlier age, something that can make a world of difference to the lives of both,” she said.

Still, the percentages were all lower than found in previous research with adults — who had nearly 82% active synchrony and almost 73% proximity with their dogs.

“One interesting thing we have observed is that dogs are matching their child’s behavior less frequently than what we have seen between dogs and adult caretakers, which suggests that while they may view children as social companions, there are also some differences that we need to understand better,” Udell said.

The researchers are now studying more about synchrony and bond quality between dogs and the kids and adults in their families. This includes participation in animal-assisted interventions and increasing the child’s responsibility for the dog’s care.

The findings were published in the journal Animal Cognition


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