Category Archives: Professor Scamp Ph.D (Pretty Happy Dog)

Vol. 15, No. 26 – Sept 21 – Oct 4, 2022 – The Pet Page

∙ What appeared to be a mysterious illness that killed more than 20 dogs recently in northern Michigan was later identified as canine parvovirus. No outbreaks have been reported in Oklahoma, but the disease is still a threat.

Although parvovirus is a severe and highly contagious disease, it is highly preventable with proper and complete vaccines, said Dr. Barry Whitworth, Oklahoma State University Extension veterinarian and food animal quality and health specialist.
“Parvovirus can be a threat to all dogs, but unvaccinated dogs and puppies younger than 4 months old are at the greatest risk,” Whitworth said. “And despite their vaccination status, puppies in that age range do have a window in which they are susceptible to the virus.”

Parvovirus is spread by direct dog-to-dog contact and contact with contaminated feces. The virus can also contaminate water and food bowls, collars, leashes and the hands and clothing of humans who have handled an infected animal.

Signs of parvovirus include:

Lethargy, Loss of appetite, Abdominal pain and bloating, Fever or low body temperature and Vomiting.

It’s important for pet owners to be aware of persistent vomiting and diarrhea as this can lead to rapid dehydration, and damage to the intestines and immune system can cause septic shock. Most canine deaths from parvovirus occur within 48 to 72 hours following the onset of symptoms. Whitworth said it’s critical to get a symptomatic dog to the veterinarian immediately.

Dr. Rosslyn Biggs, OSU Extension veterinarian and director of continuing education for the university’s College of Veterinary Medicine, said proper and complete vaccination and good hygiene play pivotal roles in preventing the disease.

“Many pet owners enjoy taking their dogs to the local dog park or other places, such as doggy day care, obedience classes and groomers. Multiple opportunities for your dog to come into contact with other dogs should be a big motivator to ensure your pet is vaccinated,” Biggs said. “Talk with your veterinarian about the proper vaccination schedule for your pet.”

It is recommended puppies start parvovirus vaccines between 6 and 8 weeks old and receive a booster every three to four weeks until they are 16 weeks when antibodies from their mother’s milk have faded. Once the initial series of vaccines have been given, a booster vaccine should be administered one year later, then repeated every three years thereafter or as directed by your veterinarian.

∙ “Intelligence is the result of diverse cognitive traits that allow individuals to flexibly solve different types of problems,” Fugazza explained. “Giftedness refers to an extremely good capacity in the case of a specific skill.” So, maybe gifted dogs are like people who score high on the verbal part of the SATs.

If your pup doesn’t learn words easily, it doesn’t mean it’s a dumb dog. Adam Boyko, an expert in canine genomics, reassures owners that canine intelligence is more than that.

“Both dogs and wolves are playful when they are puppies, but dogs really evolved to living in the human environment and to responding to social cues,” said Boyko, a specialist in the genetics of behavior and an associate professor at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. “It’s not surprising that the more playful ones exhibit better learning in the domain of learning human words. And it’s not surprising that Border collies, who are bred to respond to human cues, show the propensity to learn words more than other breeds. ““APRIL 29, 202202:35

“Other breeds of dogs might show intelligence in other ways,” Boyko said. “For example, wolves are very intelligent although they don’t typically pick up on human cues.”

“But they can figure out how to escape,” said Boyko. “Where dogs would look for a person to help, wolves would see how humans did a latch and lock and then the wolves would do it themselves to get out.”

One thing that can’t be determined from the study is whether the playfulness trait spurred owners to interact more with their dogs and thus teach them more words, said Dr. Nicholas Dodman, a professor emeritus at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, CEO and president of the Center for Canine Behavior Studies and the author of “Pets on the Couch: Neurotic Dogs, Compulsive Cats, Anxious Birds and the New Science of Animal Psychiatry.”

The new findings might help people who want to buy or adopt a puppy. It suggests that playfulness might be a good attribute to consider.

“The playful ones might be more likely to interact with a person, assimilate words more easily and be more intelligent,” said Dodman.

∙ A Columbia couple is hoping to raise awareness about poisonous mushrooms after their beloved dog died from eating them in their yard. Mike and Cindy Casto found their dog Ruffles, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, had gotten into some mushrooms. They brought her to their primary veterinary clinic and an emergency veterinary hospital but lost her a little more than 24 hours later.

When the Castos brought Ruffles to Shandon-Wood Animal Clinic, staff there said she was comatose.

Dr. Courtney Cauthen, Associate Veterinarian at Shandon-Wood, treated Ruffles.“Liver values were so high on the machine that it couldn’t read them,” she said.

Ruffles was then taken to the South Carolina Veterinary Specialists & Emergency Care hospital, where she had clotting issues.

The Castos said that she was given plasma transfusions to reverse the damage, but they were unsuccessful.

According to Cauthen, the Amanita and Galerina mushrooms are the most dangerous for pets and can cause liver failure.

Since the mushrooms can vary in color and size, she said it is best to assume all mushrooms growing in yards could be harmful to pets.

“Try to scan your yard the best that you can before you let them out, pick up as many as you can that you see and toss them away,” Cauthen said. “Generally, when I let my dogs in the backyard, I’m scanning, I’m picking them up and putting them in food bags and throwing them away.”
“They unfortunately don’t know things that are dangerous for them to eat so we have to do our best to prevent it the best we can,” she said.

“We’ve told our neighbors and they have dogs, and we just want them to go out and check your yard and see if you have any mushrooms, get rid of them or keep your pet inside,” Mike said.

There is no known cure, but Cauthen said if you see your dog eating a mushroom, you should rush them to a clinic so that they can induce vomiting and try to get it out of their system.

∙A Polish scientific institute has classified domestic cats as an “invasive alien species,” citing the damage they cause to birds and other wildlife.

Some cat lovers have reacted emotionally to this month’s decision and put the key scientist behind it on the defensive.

Wojciech Solarz, a biologist at the state-run Polish Academy of Sciences, wasn’t prepared for the disapproving public response when he entered “Felis catus,” the scientific name for the common house cat, into a national database run by the academy’s Institute of Nature Conservation.

The database already had 1,786 other species listed with no objections, Solarz told The Associated Press on Tuesday. Invasive alien species No. 1,787, however, is a creature so beloved that it often is honored in Poland’s cemeteries reserved for cats and dogs.

Solarz described the growing scientific consensus that domestic cats have a harmful impact on biodiversity given the number of birds and mammals they hunt and kill.

Vol. 15, No. 25 – Sept 7 – Sept 20, 2022 – The Pet Page

∙ Members of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) passed a pet insurance model act, which institutes regulatory standards for pet coverage including consumer protections, rules for preexisting conditions and training requirements. States would still need to adopt the model law either as written or in a modified form.

“This model law establishes clear rules for the sale of pet insurance and provides important disclosures to pet owners interested in purchasing this product,” Beth Dwyer, superintendent of insurance for the Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation, said in a release. “Now, it is up to the states to see if they would like to adopt or modify the model law for this regulatory framework to be in effect.” (HealthDay News)

∙ Getting fit with fido is a win-win for everyone, a new Canadian study finds. While previous research has shown that dog owners tend to get more exercise than folks without dogs, the new study shows that dogs with more active owners also get more exercise.

Obesity in dogs is on the rise, and dogs who are overweight face a number of health problems, such as diabetes and heart disease.

For the study, researchers analyzed results from a survey of nearly 3,300 dog owners in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States. The survey looked at owners’ and dogs’ diets and exercise routines, along with the owner’s perception of their dog’s weight.

The bottom line? Dogs got more exercise if their owners spent more time exercising. More active owners were also more likely to perceive their dog as having an ideal body weight, the survey showed.

Vigorous exercise for dogs included running, playing ball or swimming, while moderate exercise was defined as walking, hiking or visiting the dog park.

Folks who didn’t perform more than 15 minutes of vigorous exercise weekly were less likely to report that their dog performs vigorous exercise, the study showed.

Dog owners who performed moderate exercise for more than five days per week were more likely to exercise their dogs for 60 minutes to 90 minutes or more per day, the study showed.

“We encourage dog owners to include exercise as part of their dog’s daily routine,” she said. “If the dog is overweight, starting with smaller bouts of less intense exercise, such as a walk around the block, is a great way to gradually incorporate exercise into your dog’s routine.”

The study is published in the Aug. 24 issue of PLOS ONE.

A new study from North Carolina State University explores the connection between hearing loss and dementia in geriatric dogs. The work could aid in both treatment of aging dogs and in understanding the relationship between sensory loss and cognitive function in dogs.

In humans, we know that age-related hearing loss is estimated to affect one-third of people over age 65,” says Natasha Olby, the Dr. Kady M. Gjessing and Rahna M. Davidson Distinguished Chair in Gerontology at North Carolina State University and corresponding author of the study.

We also know that the rate of cognitive decline is approximately 30-40% faster in people with age-related hearing loss and that hearing loss is a greater contributor to dementia risk than other factors such as hypertension or obesity. But we don’t understand whether the same holds true for dogs.”

In the study, Olby and colleagues evaluated 39 senior or geriatric dogs. Auditory and cognitive tests were performed on each dog and their owners were asked to fill out two commonly used questionnaires – one focused on cognitive ability and the other on quality of life. Cognitive testing, questionnaire scores and age were compared between hearing groups.

The “average” dog can hear tones at 50 decibels (dBs) with no difficulty. Of the study cohort, 19 of the dogs could hear at 50 dBs, 12 at 70 dBs, and eight at 90 dBs (roughly equivalent to the noise made by a jet plane at takeoff). The average age of the dogs within each group were 12, 13 and 14 years old, respectively.

When the researchers compared the hearing results with owners’ quality of life questionnaire responses, they found that scores related to vitality and companionship declined significantly as hearing deteriorated.

Similarly, cognitive questionnaire scores ranked all eight of the dogs in the 90 dB group as abnormal, compared to nine of the 12 in the 70 dB group and eight of the 19 in the 50 dB group. Results from cognitive testing were similar: as hearing declined, so did the dog’s ability to perform tasks.

Hearing loss is one of the biggest predictors of dementia in people,” Olby says. “Hearing loss also contributes to falls in elderly people, as sensory decline contributes to a loss in motor skills. So the connection between physical and neurological decline is clear for humans.

This study indicates that the same connection is at work in aging dogs. But since we can potentially treat hearing loss in dogs, we may be able to alleviate some of these other issues. By quantifying neurological and physiological changes in elderly dogs, we’re not only improving our ability to identify and treat these issues in our pets, we’re also creating a model for improving our understanding of the same issues in humans.”

The study appears in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine. Margaret Gruen, assistant professor of behavioral medicine at NC State, is co-senior author of the work.

By Linda Carroll

Gifted” dogs, who have a rare talent for learning lots of words for objects easily, also turn out to be more playful than other dogs, a new study finds.

Prior research in humans has shown a link between playfulness and problem-solving abilities, so animal behavior researchers from Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, Hungary, wondered if the same was true for rollicking pups.

What is a gifted dog? In the new study, it was Border collies who had proven in prior research that they were able to learn as many as 12 new words per week and then retain them for months.

To take a closer look at the possible association between giftedness and playfulness in dogs, Claudia Fugazza, a researcher in the university’s department of ethology (the study of animal behavior), and her colleagues asked the owners of 165 Border collies to fill out dog personality questionnaires. Twenty-one of the dogs were gifted and the other 114 were just randomly selected with no testing for word learning ability.

The surveys assessed the personality of the animals in five categories:

Fearfulness, including fear of people, nonsocial fear, fear of dogs, fear of handling.

Aggression toward people, including general aggression and aggression in certain situations.

Activity/Excitability, including excitability, playfulness, active engagement and companionability.

Responsiveness, such as trainability and controllability.

Aggression toward animals, including aggression toward dogs, prey drive and dominance over other dogs.

For the evaluation of playfulness the owners were asked to rate their dogs in three areas:

Dog gets bored in play quickly.

Dog enjoys playing with toys.

Dog retrieves objects, such as balls, toys and sticks.

The researchers focused solely on Border collies because earlier experiments found that the breed is more likely to be good at learning new words compared to others.

After collecting the survey responses, the researchers then compared the responses from owners of gifted dogs to those from the owners of dogs who had not been identified as gifted.

Playfulness was the only personality trait that was consistently different between the two groups.

It’s not clear from the study whether it’s the playfulness that helps the dogs learn more words, or whether the extra playful ones ended up with more opportunities to learn, said Fugazza, the study’s lead author, said in an email. That’s because gifted dogs tend to learn words for objects when their owners are playing with them.

“ I gave up architecture because I didn’t want to learn to draw on a computer.”

Vol. 15, No. 24 – Aug 24 – Sept 6, 2022 – The Pet Page

∙SPAN Thrift Store is open to the public and looking for donations of adult clothing, household items and tools.  SPAN Thrift Store regularly provides $10 spay and neuter clinics for low-income households for cats and dogs. Upcoming clinics include:  Tuesday, September 21st, parking lot of Shiells Park, 649 C St, Fillmore; September 13th, parking lot of SPARC, 705 E. Santa Barbara St., Santa Paula. Please call to schedule an appointment (805) 584-3823.

Since 1992, the Spay and Neuter Animal Network, otherwise known as SPAN, has made it their mission to reduce dog and cat overpopulation throughout Ventura County by raising public awareness about the direct consequence of irresponsible breeding.

Today more than ever, responsible dog & cat owners play the most significant role in the solution to overpopulation by spaying and neutering. SPAN shares in that responsibility by providing financial assistance to pet owners who would otherwise be unable to pay for this procedure.

As a result of their dedication and focused commitment, SPAN proudly releases their 2021 / 2022 fiscal year stats that support over 1300 spay and neuter procedures. These numbers bring SPAN’s 30-year total to over 36,680 spay/neuter procedures. Incredible.

“Our ability to help pet owners is related to our Thrift Store sales, Legacy gifts, and unrestricted cash donations. Thanks to our all-volunteer staff at SPAN, we are proud to say that 100% of our income supports spay and neuter procedures.” — SPAN Board of Directors

For more about SPAN, their mission, and opportunities to assist, please visit website at: www.spanonline.org.

You can shop the SPAN Thrift Store located at 110 N. Olive St. Suite A Ventura

SPAN Thrift Store Phone: 805-641-1170 for hours.

∙Saturday, August 27, 11am-6pm, Clear The Shelters is back after a 2-year break during COVID. Fee-waived adoptions for all animals at the Camarillo and Simi Valley Shelters! Doors open at 11:00am for the adoption of dogs, puppies, cats, kittens, bunnies, reptiles, farm-type animals and more. Animals go home spayed or neutered, vaccinated, microchipped, flea-treated, and come with a voucher for a free first vet visit!

Online adoption sign-ups will be suspended this day only due to the event, so all adoptions are on a first-come, first-served basis. Animals can be previewed online at www.vcas.us/pets.

#ClearTheShelters is a nationwide pet adoption event organized by NBC4 and Telemundo52. Promotions do not guarantee the adoption of a shelter pet. All interested parties must participate in the full adoption process to ensure the best possible matches are made. Promotions do not include the cost of a pet license if applicable.

Questions? Please contact us at (805) 388-4341 or info@vcas.us.

∙ On August 10, at 7:06pm, fire units were dispatched to a reported animal in distress at Victoria Ave at Thille St. Units arrived to find a young dog entangled by its leash in brush and trapped in a storm drain. Fire crews were able to make access to the dog and disentangle it from the brush and remove it safely from the storm drain. The dog was assessed and determined to have some injuries to a hind leg and mouth. It is unknown how long the dog was trapped and no owner was able to be identified. Firefighters gave the dog some water and it was taken by Ventura County Animal Services to the shelter in Camarillo. If you recognize the dog or know the owner, please contact Ventura County Animal Services at (805) 388-4341.

Veterinary Viewpoint: How fat is my cat?

Dr. Joanna Bronson

Fat cats are not healthy cats. A healthy cat should have no more fat along his rib cage than the padding on the back of your hand. “Fluffy” is not an excuse for fat. If you can’t even feel his ribs, he’s fat.

As cats age, their metabolism shows down. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, nearly 60% of all domestic cats in the U.S. are overweight. Just as with humans, carrying extra weight can lead to numerous health problems.

Using a scale of 1-5 (5 being high) to measure body condition, stand over your cat while he is standing. If he is not fat, you should be able to see a slight indentation over his hips (looks like a waist in humans). Long-haired pets might be difficult to judge this way.

If his sides bulge out, then he’s chubby. You can also weigh your cat at home. An ideal weight for most cats (dependent on breed, age, and bone structure) is around 10 pounds. If your smallish cat tips the scales at 15 or more, he’s too fat.

Symptoms of obesity can include:

  • Difficulty jumping or climbing stairs
  • Sitting or lying down more and an unwillingness to move around
  • Loss of a visible waistline
  • Owner’s inability to feel rib or hip bones
  • Dirty, messy, unkempt hair
  • Less frequent bowel movements and/or passing more gas

Overweight cats are more prone to diseases, such as diabetes, arthritis, and joint pain. Excess weight can also trigger inflammation that can lead to multiple acute and chronic conditions that can become life-threatening.

As cats age, so do their nutritional needs. Free choice feeding is not recommended for older or obese cats. However, drastically reducing or changing your cat’s regular diet is not recommended just as crash diets do not succeed in humans.

Changing diets too quickly can actually be harmful to your cat. For a fat cat, not eating for a couple of days whether from stress, starvation, or refusal to try a need food can lead to a form of liver disease. Therefore, any food transitions should always be made gradually.

Age: Middle-aged cats (8-12) years old are more likely to be overweight;

Neutered: Neutered or spayed cats tend to have a larger appetite;

Environment: Indoor cats are generally heavier than outdoor cats;

Underlying Health Conditions: Food allergies, joint discomfort, arthritis. and keep him healthy.

Ventura fire units were dispatched to a reported animal in distress.

Calorie-restricted foods promote weight loss but help maintain lean muscle mass. These diets combine low fat with higher protein and insoluble fiber to help him feel full.

Dry vs. canned diet. Switching from dry to canned food can help achieve weight loss. Careful washing of food dishes between feedings is important.

Prescription veterinary diets. These metabolic-controlled diets aim to induce ketosis (the body burns fat for energy instead of glucose from carbohydrates) without a reduction in calories fed.

Once a cat has started and his weight loss program, it’s essential to continue the plan to keep him from regressing.

America’s four newest search teams, officially paired July 2, now join Search Dog Foundation’s national roster.

Vol. 15, No. 23 – Aug 10 – Aug 23, 2022 – The Pet Page

∙SPAN Thrift Store is open to the public and looking for donations of adult clothing, household items and tools. SPAN Thrift Store regularly provides $10 spay and neuter clinics for low income households for cats and dogs. Upcoming clinics include: Tuesday, August 16th, parking lot of Shiells Park, 649 C St, Fillmore; Tuesday, Aug 30th, parking lot of SPAN Thrift Store 110 N. Olive St, Ventura. Please call to schedule an appointment (805) 584-3823.

∙What are vaccines, and why do they matter?

Vaccines are products designed to trigger protective immune responses and prepare the immune system to fight future infections from disease-causing agents. Vaccines stimulate the immune system’s production of antibodies that identify and destroy disease-causing organisms that enter the body.

Experts agree that widespread use of vaccinations within the last century has prevented death and disease in millions of animals. Vaccinations protect your pet from highly contagious and deadly diseases and improve your pet’s overall quality of life.

Reasons to vaccinate your pet

Vaccinations prevent many pet illnesses.

Vaccinations can help avoid costly treatments for diseases that can be prevented.

Vaccinations prevent diseases that can be passed between animals and also from animals to people.

Diseases prevalent in wildlife, such as rabies and distemper, can infect unvaccinated pets.

In many areas, local or state ordinances require certain vaccinations of household pets.

For most pets, vaccination is effective in preventing future disease or decreasing the severity clinical signs. It is important to follow the vaccination schedule provided by your veterinarian to reduce the possibility of a gap in protection.

Any type of medical treatment has associated risks, but the risk should be weighed against the benefits of protecting your pet, your family and your community from potentially fatal diseases. The majority of pets respond well to vaccines.

“Core” vaccines are recommended for most pets in a particular area or geographical location because they protect from diseases most common in that area. “Non-core” vaccinations are for individual pets with unique needs. Your veterinarian will consider your pet’s risk of exposure to a variety of preventable diseases in order to customize a vaccination program for optimal protection throughout your pet’s life.

∙Dogs sometimes don’t like certain people, and their owners can’t explain why. But scientists are increasingly learning more about dog behavior and cognition. Since 2005, scientists have studied dogs more intensely, and they’ve gained greater insight as to how dogs collect information to determine when someone is growl-worthy.

A dog’s sense of smell is profoundly more sensitive than humans. Whereas humans have about five to six million smell receptors, dogs have 220 million — some breeds have 300 million. Dogs can detect scents that humans won’t notice until it is 50 times concentrated. In some instances, a scent needs to be concentrated 100 times before a human can detect it.

Studies using magnetic resonance imaging (MRIs) have identified that dogs do not have a large frontal lobe like humans. Instead, they have a massive olfactory bulb that takes up 10 percent of their brains.

Since a dog’s sense of smell is 10,000 to sometimes 100,000 times better than ours, dogs can not only smell things humans can’t register, but they also apply more meaning to the scents they sniff. Whereas humans tend to notice smells that are either good or bad, dogs collect and store information about all sorts of odors.

In some instances, odors create an association for dogs. In The Other End of the Leash, an applied animal behaviorist described a dog she worked with who welcomed some visitors, but bit others. She interviewed the client to determine what the bite victims had in common. They didn’t see any patterns in terms of not liking specific people (i.e. fear of tall men), but they could see a similarity in smell among the bite victims. All had eaten pizza before visiting the house, and the dog could still smell it hours later.

Smelling faint scents and forming associations is one way dogs might not like a person. Research also shows that dogs can smell different human emotions through changes to chemosignals, such as adrenaline, sweat and body odor. And when it comes to their humans, they can determine if fear produced sweat.

Other studies have found that dogs have the ability to sense changes seen within a fight-or-flight response, including changes to facial expressions, as well as gestures. Studies have found that service dogs can assist veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Dogs can provide a distraction after they sense the slight changes their person exhibits when they experience intrusive thoughts.

∙It’s a popular myth that if a cat is an indoor-only pet, it does not need regular vet visits and vaccinations. But just like dogs, cats need to see a vet at least once a year.

Not only do even strictly indoor cats need regular vaccinations, but vet visits are necessary for more than just shots.

Regular wellness exams can help with a cat’s socialization skills. Having exposure to new people, places and environments, and not being relegated to just the family home, also helps decrease stress and anxiety.

Annual vet care can help detect illness. It is often hard to tell when the family feline is under the weather because cats are known for concealing sickness and pain.

This is especially true for chronic conditions like heart disease, and dental and kidney issues. Owners may not know there is a problem until the condition is advanced when there are no physical signs something is wrong.

Regular checkups with the vet and being observant of a cat’s physical appearance and behaviors are important for early detection of a possible medical problem.

Vet visits are necessary to discuss behavioral changes such as suddenly not using the litter box, or new, out-of-character aggressiveness.

These are often signs of an underlying issue, such as pain (arthritis, urinary tract or bladder infection, etc.), stress (new pet or baby, change in routine, new living arrangements, etc.), or an undiagnosed medical condition.

Behavioral problems are some of the most common reasons why cats are surrendered to shelters, banned from living indoors or even euthanized, so let your vet help find what’s behind them before taking drastic measures.

Regular checkups are also a great time to discuss and evaluate flea and parasite medications. Even indoor-only cats should be on regular preventatives. Indoor cats can still get fleas, intestinal worms, ear mites and heartworms.

Andoni Bastarrika is an artist from the Basque region of Spain who specializes in turning wet beach sand into sculptures of animals so realistic that people want to pet them.

Vol. 15, No. 22 – July 27 – Aug 9, 2022 – The Pet Page

SPAN Thrift Store is open to the public and looking for donations of adult clothing, household items and tools.  SPAN regularly provides $10 spay and neuter clinics for low income households for cats and dogs. Upcoming clinics include:  Tuesday, Aug 9th, Albert Soliz Library parking lot, 2820 Jourdan St., Oxnard; Tuesday, Aug 30th , SPAN Thrift Store parking lot, 110 N. Olive St, Ventura. Please call to schedule an appointment (805) 584-3823.

Dogs are capable of learning the instruction “do that again,” and can flexibly access memories of their own recent actions—cognitive abilities they were not known to possess, researchers report.

Teaching a dog to sit or roll over? That’s easy. But what about that cute head tilt that you’ve never seen before, which happened while your phone was out of reach? Now you want a picture.

But how do you get a dog to repeat an action it hasn’t been trained to perform? For dogs taught to “think back” on cue, you just need to ask, the new study shows.

We found that dogs could be trained to repeat specific actions on cue, and then take what they’d learned and apply it to actions they had never been asked to repeat,” says Allison Scagel, a graduate student in the University at Buffalo psychology department at the time of the research, and corresponding author of the study in the Journal of Comparative Psychology.

Our findings showed that they were able to apply the concept of repetition to new situations. More generally, we found evidence that dogs are capable of forming abstract concepts.”

Historically, there has been a notion that conscious awareness of past personal experiences is the exclusive domain of humans, but recent research isn’t supporting that conclusion, Scagel says.

Our study shows that dogs are capable of conceptualization, placing them in an expanding category of other animals that includes bottlenose dolphins and chimpanzees.”

The findings present new flexible training possibilities for dogs, Scagel says.

Dogs can do more than learn the relationship between a person’s cue and which specific trick they should perform,” she says. “They can understand the concept of repetition: Whatever you just did, do that again. It can apply to anything they do.”

Animals are often tested on their ability to recall things in the external environment they have recently observed, such as objects, sounds, or scents. Memories of actions are different because they’re not outwardly perceivable. Memories are entirely internal; they are purely mental representations of previous personal experiences that can be recalled in ways that might influence what an animal chooses to do in the future.

For this study, the researchers looked at dogs’ memories of their own recently performed actions to determine if they could voluntarily think back to what they had just been doing and reproduce those actions.

Traditional dog training is cue and response. When dogs hear or see a trained cue, they respond with a behavior associated with that cue. For a baseline, the researchers started training the dogs in that fashion, with simple cues like spin in a circle, lie down, or walk around an object.

The dogs then learned a separate repeat cue (the word “again” accompanied by a hand gesture), which instructed them to reproduce the action they had just completed. To assess whether the dogs had actually learned a general concept of repeating recent actions, they were asked to repeat novel actions that they had never been asked to repeat before. Despite never being trained to repeat these actions, the dogs passed this test.

This is an important step toward a greater understanding of how other species form abstract concepts,” says Scagel. “And we’re learning that humans aren’t that cognitively unique after all.”

Source: University at Buffalo

Cornell researchers have provided the first documentation that dogs’ sense of smell is integrated with their vision and other unique parts of the brain, shedding new light on how dogs experience and navigate the world.

We’ve never seen this connection between the nose and the occipital lobe, functionally the visual cortex in dogs, in any species,” said Pip Johnson, assistant professor in the Department of Clinical Sciences in the College of Veterinary Medicine and senior author of “Extensive Connections of the Canine Olfactory Pathway Revealed by Tractography and Dissection,” published July 11 in the Journal of Neuroscience.

It makes a ton of sense in dogs,” she said. “When we walk into a room, we primarily use our vision to work out where the door is, who’s in the room, where the table is. Whereas in dogs, this study shows that olfaction is really integrated with vision in terms of how they learn about their environment and orient themselves in it.”

Erica Andrews, a former analyst in Johnson’s lab, is the paper’s first author and currently works in canine aging research.

Johnson and her team performed MRI scans on 23 healthy dogs and used diffusion tensor imaging, an advanced neuroimaging technique, to locate the dog brain’s white matter pathways, the information highways of the brain. They found connections between the olfactory bulb and the limbic system and piriform lobe, where the brain processes memory and emotion, which are similar to those in humans, as well as never-documented connections to the spinal cord and the occipital lobe that are not found in humans.

It was really consistent,” Johnson said. “And size-wise, these tracts were really dramatic compared to what is described in the human olfactory system, more like what you’d see in our visual systems.”

Tractography, a 3D-modeling process, allowed Johnson and her team to map and virtually dissect the white matter tracts. The findings in the digital images were later confirmed by a co-author and white matter expert at Johns Hopkins University.

Johnson said the research corroborates her clinical experiences with blind dogs, who function remarkably well. “They can still play fetch and navigate their surroundings much better than humans with the same condition,” Johnson said. “Knowing there’s that information freeway going between those two areas could be hugely comforting to owners of dogs with incurable eye diseases.”

Identifying new connections in the brain also opens up new lines of questioning. “To see this variation in the brain allows us to see what’s possible in the mammalian brain and to wonder – maybe we have a vestigial connection between those two areas from when we were more ape-like and scent-oriented, or maybe other species have significant variations that we haven’t explored,” Johnson said.

Johnson plans to examine the olfactory system’s structure in the brains of cats and horses, which aligns with the broader goals of her research program – to leverage the most advanced imaging techniques, used commonly in human clinical research, to better understand animal brain physiology and disease.

Johnson is also part of the Cornell Margaret and Richard Riney Canine Health Center.

An Alaska family had given up hope of finding their blind, elderly golden retriever who wandered away from their home three weeks ago, but a construction crew found Lulu in salmonberry bushes after initially confusing her for a bear.

Lulu was barely alive after being found but she is being nursed back to health and is back home with her family, the Daily Sitka Sentinel reported.

She means everything,” owner Ted Kubacki said. “I have five daughters and they’re 4 to 13 years old, so they’ve spent every day of their life with that dog.”

The Kubacki family searched for weeks after Lulu wandered off June 18.

She’s just so helpless, and you kind of imagined that she can’t get real far because she can’t see,” he said.

Vol. 15, No. 21 – July 13 – July 26, 2022 – The Pet Page

SPAN Thrift Store is now open to the public and looking for donations of adult clothing, household items and tools. SPAN Thrift Store regularly provides $10 spays and neuters for low income households with cats and dogs.

Upcoming clinics: Free spay and neuter cat clinic: Monday, July 18th at the Albert H. Soliz Library – El Rio, 2820 Jourdan St., Oxnard, 93036, and dog and cats on Tuesday, July 27th at Shiells Park in the parking lot at 649 C St., Fillmore, 93015.

The American Kennel Club announced that the ancient dog breed, the Bracco Italiano, has received full recognition as the AKC’s 200th breed.The Bracco Italiano is a strong, active and sturdy breed of dog that would make a great companion for active families.

∙ Research confirms what dog lovers know — every pup is truly an individual.

Many of the popular stereotypes about the behavior of golden retrievers, poodles or schnauzers, for example, aren’t supported by science, according to a new study. “There is a huge amount of behavioral variation in every breed, and at the end of the day, every dog really is an individual,” said study co-author and University of Massachusetts geneticist Elinor Karlsson.

She said pet owners love to talk about their dog’s personality, as illustrated by some owners at a New York dog park.Elizabeth Kelly said her English springer spaniel was “friendly, but she’s also kind of the queen bee.” Suly Ortiz described her yellow Lab as “really calm, lazy and shy.”

And Rachel Kim’s mixed-breed dog is “a lot of different dogs, personality wise — super independent, really affectionate with me and my husband, but pretty, pretty suspicious of other people, other dogs.”

That kind of enthusiasm from pet owners inspired Karlsson’s latest scientific inquiry. She wanted to know to what extent are behavioral patterns inherited — and how much are dog breeds associated with distinctive and predictable behaviors?

The answer: While physical traits such as a greyhound’s long legs or a Dalmatian’s spots are clearly inherited, breed is not a strong predictor of any individual dog’s personality.

The researchers’ work, published in the journal Science, marshals a massive dataset to reach these conclusions — the most ever compiled, said Adam Boyko, a geneticist at Cornell University, who was not involved in the study.

HealthDay News- Dogs may be famous meat lovers, but canines who follow a vegan diet might be a bit healthier, a new survey suggests.

British and Australian researchers found that dogs on vegan diets (one without animal products or byproducts) tended to have fewer health problems, based on their guardians’ reports, than those who ate “conventional” meat-based products. Owners in the vegan group reported lower rates of obesity, digestive troubles, arthritis and issues with eye and ear health.

Overall, 70% rated their vegan canine companion as “healthy,” versus 55% of owners whose dogs ate conventional dog food.

Those numbers, however, do not prove vegan diets are healthier for dogs, according to veterinary nutritionists who reviewed the findings. “This is really a study of owners’ perceptions,” said Dr. Julie Churchill, a professor of veterinary nutrition at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine.

It’s very likely, Churchill noted, that “pet parents” who give their dogs a vegan diet are themselves vegan. That complicates the survey results for a number of reasons.

Because those individuals believe veganism is the healthiest diet choice, they may see their dogs as healthier. Beyond that, Churchill said, vegan humans probably have generally healthier lifestyles — including more physical activity for themselves and their dogs.

In general, evidence is lacking that vegan dog foods actually help dogs live longer, healthier lives, said Dr. Joseph Wakshlag, a professor at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine.

Like Churchill, he said the current findings may reflect the perceptions and lifestyles of the humans surveyed, rather than effects of their dogs’ diets.

Overall, half of respondents in the conventional-diet group said their dog had some type of health issue, versus 43% of those who used raw meat, and 36% in the vegan group.

Dogs eating raw meat made fewer visits to the vet. But that does not necessarily mean they were healthier, all three veterinarians stressed.Vets generally warn against giving dogs raw meat, because of the risk of contamination with pathogens. So people in that raw-meat group may have tended to shun veterinarians’ advice, the experts said.

Officials with the FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine said in response to questions that they have been reviewing scientific literature regarding the role and amount of copper in dog foods for the past year.

Anne Norris, spokesperson for the CVM, said the FDA has received some reports of dogs that developed liver disease with suspected links to excess dietary copper. Those complaints have been uncommon, and evidence suggests some dog breeds have genetic predispositions for diseases that affect their ability to metabolize copper.

“The FDA has been reviewing the relevant facts and current scientific literature to assess whether regulatory intervention is appropriate,” she said. “As part of its assessment, FDA scientists are looking at the level of copper in the food, the physiology of the particular animal the food is intended for, how much of the food the animal is likely to eat over the course of a lifetime, and other potential exposures that might add to the animal’s overall dose.

“We are aware of some papers on the topic of copper toxicosis in dogs and will continue to track this issue as the veterinary community advances its understanding.”

Norris said CVM and AAFCO officials have discussed establishing a maximum amount of copper in dog food. In the absence of such a limit, manufacturers remain subject to a regulatory principle that no more of an ingredient should be used than is necessary to provide the intended effect.

“For copper-containing ingredients, this would be no more than is needed to meet the animals’ nutritional requirements,” she said.

Dr. Valerie J. Parker is a professor of small animal internal medicine and nutrition at The Ohio State University. She is an internal medicine specialist and nutritionist and is not connected with the work by Dr. Center and Dr. Wakshlag. She thinks the February 2021 JAVMA commentary made a valid point that it’s worth considering how much copper is in pet foods, whether that amount is justified, and whether it should be lowered.

Dr. Parker said it’s unclear whether dog food generally contains too much copper, though, since the amount can vary by tenfold or sometimes even thirtyfold between two products. She said the low-copper diets available today tend to be general formulations for dogs with liver diseases, including liver failure or hepatic encephalopathy.

“The lowest-copper commercially available diets are not necessarily diets that you would want to feed a 2-year-old otherwise healthy dog because they are lower in protein,” Dr. Parker said. (HealthDay News) — Chasing light shimmers reflected onto a wall. Obsessive licking or chewing. Compulsive barking and whining. Pacing or tail chasing.

Vol. 15, No. 20 – June 29 – July 12, 2022 – The Pet Page

SPAN Thrift Store is open to the public and looking for donations of lightly used adult clothing, household items and tools. SPAN Thrift Store regularly provides $10 spays and neuters for low-income households for cats and dogs. Upcoming clinics: Tuesday, July 5th at Albert Soliz Library, 2820 Jourdan St., Oxnard; Tuesday, July 12th, Shiels Park, 649 C. St., Fillmore; Tuesday, July 26th, SPAN Thrift Store, 110 N. Olive St., Ventura. Please call to schedule an appointment – (805) 584-3823.

∙ Just like people, dogs can get stomach aches for a variety of reasons, from eating something they shouldn’t have to catching a disease. Because these causes have a wide range of severity, many dog owners are unsure of how to respond to a dog showing gastrointestinal (GI) upset and if a trip to the veterinarian is always necessary.

Dr. Emily Gould, a clinical assistant professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, discusses the common causes and symptoms of digestive issues, as well as what owners can do to help their pup through the pain.

“The most common gastrointestinal issues causing owners to seek veterinary care for their dogs are dietary indiscretion (eating of food that upsets their GI tract), ingestion of a foreign object, intestinal parasites, pancreatitis, and chronic inflammatory intestinal disease (caused by food allergies/intolerance or immune-mediated inflammation),” she said.

The most common symptoms for any form of GI upset are vomiting and diarrhea, which can appear as acute symptoms with a sudden onset or chronic symptoms with multiple episodes over several weeks.

“Some animals with GI upset will also become nauseous, which can manifest as excessive drooling/salivation, lip licking, and lack of interest in food,” Gould said. “The development of flatulence and/or loud ‘gut sounds’ (known as borborygmi) might also be noted in some cases.”

Many cases of GI upset will resolve on their own, but there are several symptoms owners can watch out for to determine if a trip to the veterinarian is necessary, including if the dog stops eating or drinking, is depressed/lethargic, has frequent or persistent vomit or diarrhea (lasting beyond 24 hours), blood in the vomitus or diarrhea, or is known to have ingested a foreign object.

“For the most part, if your pet is still acting like itself and eating and drinking normally, there is not always a need to bring them in for signs lasting less than 48 hours,” Gould said. “If signs continue for more than 48 hours or any of the earlier criteria are noted, veterinary care is warranted, as vomiting and diarrhea can cause life-threatening dehydration if medical care is not provided.”

One notable cause of GI upset in puppies, specifically, is parvovirus, a condition that can be life-threatening for dogs that have not been fully vaccinated. Unvaccinated puppies with GI issues should always be taken to a veterinarian because parvovirus can cause extreme dehydration and death within 24 hours without supportive care.

“Boiled, skinless chicken or turkey breast mixed with white rice or low-fat cottage cheese can be offered in the short term,” Gould said. “The low-fat component makes the food easier to digest and helps the stomach empty its contents quickly.
Other dietary changes that may help resolve and prevent GI upset are feeding smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day and not giving a dog table scraps, raw meat, or foods high in fat.

Because the causes of digestive issues can range from mild to severe, dog owners should always be on the lookout for any signs of discomfort. A quick response, and trip to the veterinarian, if necessary, can save time, money, and even a dog’s life.

“Gastrointestinal upset can be very distressing for owners, and it is always better to be on the safe side with having your dog evaluated if you are at all concerned,” Gould said. “While many causes of GI upset are not life threatening, some can be, which is why assessment by a veterinarian is never wrong.”

Pet Talk is a service of the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University.

By Laura Polacheck

∙ Temperatures are rising soon, so Salt Lake County Animal Services is reminding people that keeping pets safe in the heat will prevent tragic accidents.

On a 70 degree day, the temperature in the car can soar to 116 degrees in as little as 10 minutes.

Animal Control Officers respond to over 500 calls about dogs kept in sweltering car temperatures annually, with over 100 such calls already this year.

Because dogs can’t release heat from sweating, their internal body temperature rise quickly and cause heat stroke, which can be deadly.

Senior dogs, puppies, and those with flatter faces, suffer even more in hot weather.

Here’s what to do if a dog is spotted in a hot car:
If a pet inside a vehicle excessively panting, non-responsive, drooling, or listless, call 911.

Take a photo of the pet, the license plate, and give that information to Animal Control Officers.

Ask managers of nearby businesses to page the owner to return to their vehicle immediately.

What not to do:
Never break a window of a vehicle on your own to pull out a pet, you could be liable for damages.

Don’t just leave the A/C on. It’s best to leave your pet at home where they can lounge in a comfy, cool place, with plenty of water.

Signs of pet heatstroke include excessive panting, a rapid or erratic pulse, muscle tremors, convulsing, and vomiting.
Pets with these signs should be moved to a cool, shady place, cooled down with water in a tub or stream, fanned to reduce the animal’s core temperature, and taken to a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Don’t forget to take water for animals on hikes, and make sure to avoid trails with hot sand that can burn an animal’s paws.
If the pavement feels too hot to the touch after five seconds, it’s too hot for dogs.And while balconies seem like a safe spot, they too can become overheated quickly. When in doubt, leave your dog at home to steal the couch and have access to long drinks of water.

∙ Gardeners should keep in mind that not all plant varieties are safe for pets. In fact, some are deadly and should be avoided if there are pets in the household.

Choosing the right plants to make our gardens bloom but also be safe for pets can be a daunting task — some plants are toxic for dogs but not cats, and vice versa, so it is important to do your homework before choosing what to plant.

Some of the most common poisonous plants that should be avoided for pets include:

SAGO PALM: Also known as the Palm Sunday palm. The entire plant, and the seeds in particular, contain a potent toxin called cycasin that can be fatal, even if the animal only eats a single seed.

AZALEAS: Ingesting even a few leaves can cause serious issues such as upset stomach, drooling, loss of appetite, weakness and leg paralysis, and in some cases, coma or death.

HYDRANGEAS: These are poisonous to cats, dogs and horses. All parts of the plant are toxic because they contain cyanogenic glycoside. Signs of ingestion include diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy, confusion and depression.

BIRDS OF PARADISE: Toxic for both dogs and cats, they also can be fatal for rabbits. They can cause intense burning and irritation of mouth, tongue and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty swallowing and loss of coordination is possible.

Vol. 15, No. 19 – June 15 – June 28, 2022 – The Pet Page

Why would Ventura include dogs among their treasured visitors? The real question is Why not? No place loves dogs more, so why wouldn’t Ventura welcome our visiting dogs – and their two-legged friends – with something special?

Meet Visit Ventura’s free Pooch Pouch. What’s in it? Fun dog treats — doggie bandana, dog biscuit, and coupons for a free puppy ice cream at Coastal Cone and a free doggie meal at Peirano’s Market (choice of scrambled eggs or unseasoned chicken). And, down the line, more fun changes and different offerings.

What’s in the free Pooch Pouch?

How does it work? When visitors traveling with their dogs check-in at a pet-friendly Ventura hotel, the welcoming front desk team hands the two-legged guest (the four-legged one is busy snuffling) a Pooch Pouch redemption card and kindly points all the guests in the direction of the Ventura Visitor Center (101 South California Street). Guests present the redemption card – along with their dog – at the Visitor Center and receive their free Pooch Pouch (Visitor Center hours are Sunday through Wednesday, 10 am to 4 pm, and Thursday through Saturday 9 am to 5 pm).

Dogs have always held a special place in Ventura’s heart. From Roxy and Flynn who pad about our Visitor Center like they own it (they do) to Ventura’s forever immortalized Haole, who loved unconditionally and played unconditionally and gave unconditionally (Haole’s Rock Garden, on the Ventura beachfront promenade, tells a story of everything right.) Plus, Ventura offers a host of dog-friendly fun.

And, of course, the late Dr. Scamp PhD (pretty happy dog).

∙ SPAN Thrift Store is open to the public and looking for donations of adult clothing, household items and tools. SPAN Thrift Store regularly provides $10 spays and neuters for low-income households for cats and dogs. Upcoming clinic: June 25 in the parking lot of SPAN Thrift Store, 110 N. Olive St., Ventura. Please call to schedule an appointment – (805) 584-3823.

Paws for Reading is back!

The Paws for Reading Program brings together young readers and affectionate, canine listeners to help boost the confidence of beginning readers.

Hill Road Library — Wednesdays, 3:30 to 5 pm

E.P. Foster Library — Thursdays, 4 to 6 pm

Join PAWS dogs for one-on-one reading sessions. Arrive at the library early to choose a book and get in line to read to a special pooch. Children of all ages are welcome and love reading, and learning with the dogs.

U.S. Postal Service releases dog attack national rankings during National Dog Bite Awareness Week.

More than 5,400 postal employees were attacked by dogs in the United States in 2021. From nips and bites to vicious attacks, aggressive dog behavior poses a serious threat to postal employees and the public. To highlight the enormity of this serious issue, the U.S. Postal Service is providing information on the do’s and don’ts of responsible dog ownership as part of its annual National Dog Bite Awareness Week public service campaign.

The campaign ran Sunday, June 5, through Saturday, June 11. This year’s theme is “The USPS Delivers for America — Deliver for Us by Restraining Your Dog.” Spread the news of the campaign by using the hashtag #dogbiteawareness

Every year, thousands of postal employees are attacked by dogs as they deliver America’s mail. And while it’s a dog’s natural instinct to protect their family and home, we ask all customers to act responsibly by taking safety precautions with their dogs while the mail is being delivered,” said USPS Employee Safety and Health Awareness Manager Leeann Theriault. “When a carrier comes to the residence, keep the dog inside the house and away from the door — or behind a fence on a leash — to avoid an attack.”

Dog owners with friendly dogs often expect a friendly reaction from other dogs. However, even friendly dogs will bite, depending on the circumstance. Dogs are primarily territorial in nature and protective of their owners and their owners’ property. Defending its territory sometimes means attacking — and possibly biting — the letter carrier. Dog owners are responsible for controlling their dogs. The best way to keep everyone safe from dog bites is to recognize and promote responsible pet ownership.

Most people know the approximate time their letter carrier arrives every day. Securing your dog before the carrier approaches your property will minimize any dog-carrier interactions.

When a letter carrier comes to your home, keep dogs:

Inside the house or behind a fence; Away from the door or in another room; or on a leash.

Pet owners also should remind their children not to take mail directly from a letter carrier as the dog may view the carrier as a threat.

If you feel fine, but your dog’s looking at you funny – trust the dog.

A new study on COVID detection found that trained dogs were actually better at correctly determining an infected person’s status in some cases than the typical nose swab antigen tests, according to a paper published Wednesday.

The peer-reviewed work, led by researchers from a French veterinary school and published in PLOS One, is the latest in a long line of research on dogs being used to sniff out COVID. Already they have been used at airports and in concert venues, among other places, to flag potential risk.

Researchers found that the overall sensitivity of the dogs — correctly giving a positive result for an infected individual — was 97%, and got all the way to 100% in those who were infected but asymptomatic.

As to specificity — the ability to correctly diagnose a negative result in an uninfected person — the dogs were right 91% of the time.

“The sensitivity of canine detection was higher than that of nasopharyngeal antigen testing … but the specificity was lower,” the authors wrote in an abstract to the results.

The dogs, a mix of animals from French fire brigades and security dogs from the Middle East, took anywhere from three to six weeks to train.

But don’t throw away your test kits; the authors said that while dogs appeared to be highly reliable, PCR tests were still needed to confirm infection, especially for variants.

Vol. 15, No. 18 – June 1 – June 14, 2022 – The Pet Page

The American Humane Association estimates over 10 million dogs and cats are lost or stolen in the U.S. every year. One in three pets will become lost at some point during their life.

Microchips are a unique means of identification for pets. The rice-sized radio identification device provides a permanent and distinctive form of identification for dogs, cats and many other animals.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), “A study of more than 7,700 stray animals at animal shelters showed that dogs without microchips were returned to their owners 21.9% of the time, whereas microchipped dogs were returned to their owners 52.2% of the time. Cats without microchips were reunited with their owners only 1.8% of the time, whereas microchipped cats went back home 38.5% of the time.”

In the United Kingdom, where microchipping has been mandatory for the last 5 years, the return rates are significantly higher.

Unlike collars and tags that can be easily removed, microchips are implanted under the skin of the pet and can’t be lost.

Microchips have aided in the return of pets to their original owners many years after being lost. In some cases, the pets were found hundreds or even more than 1,000 miles away from home!

No identification system is 100% fool proof, but when microchips are implanted correctly, registered correctly and the database is kept up to date, they significantly increase the odds of getting your pet home to you!

If you find a pet who you think is lost, most veterinary offices and animal shelters will allow you to bring the pet in and “scan” the pet for a microchip. This quick process can help reunite pets with their families.

The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) has a universal look up tool to help aid in this endeavor. Microchip numbers can be loaded into the website and the veterinarian or shelter can then find the right database where the pet should be located. petmicrochiplookup.org. Another helpful site is petchipregistry-us.info.

“When a Democat runs I’ll show more interest in voting!” Savana

Researchers with Kyoto University and other institutions found that cats recognize other felines in the same household when the names of the latter are called. Team members said cats conjure up a mental image of other felines in such situations.

What we discovered is astonishing,” said Saho Takagi, a research fellow specializing in animal science at Azabu University in Kanagawa Prefecture neighboring Tokyo who initiated the study when she worked at Kyoto University. “I want people to know the truth. Felines do not appear to listen to people’s conversations, but as a matter of fact, they do.”

The finding was published in the scientific journal Scientific Reports.

Just like humans, animals also react to unexpected situations, causing them to pay close attention to whatever is happening for prolonged periods.

Realizing this was the case, team members wanted to determine if cats can identify the names of their “friend” felines. For the study, they selected 25 cats from households with three or more pet felines each.

With them seated, the researchers let the cats hear human voices calling names of other felines in the same household. The images of named cats and others were then displayed on a monitor to examine their reaction.

The results showed that felines kept looking at the photos of unnamed cats longer, suggesting they know the names of those they live with.

This difference was not apparent when felines kept at cat cafes were used. The researchers said this was probably because so many cats live in the facilities that the name of each one is called less frequently.

The survey also checked if domestic cats can distinguish various human family members. Felines from larger households tended to stare longer at the facial images of unnamed people.

Cornell University scientists warn that some commercial dog foods may contain too much copper, which can increase the risk of liver disease for all dogs but particularly in certain breeds.

Food and Drug Administration officials are considering evidence regarding whether the concentrations in dog food could be harmful.

Dr. Sharon A. Center is an emeritus professor of internal medicine at Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine, where she specializes in liver disease. She said chronic consumption of excess copper can lead to copper-associated hepatopathy, signs of which include abdominal swelling, decreased appetite, diarrhea, increased thirst and urination, jaundice, lethargy, and vomiting.

Doberman Pinschers are among dog breeds with predispositions toward copper-associated liver disease, but scientists at Cornell University warn that high copper concentrations in dog diets puts other dogs at risk as well.

A veterinarian who is monitoring a pet’s liver enzymes can identify increased alanine aminotransferase as an early sign of the disease, she said, but confirmation requires a liver biopsy. Treatments with chelation can cost several thousand dollars, and affected dogs need to permanently switch to copper-restricted diets.

by Andrei Ionescu

Earth.com staff writer

A team of researchers from the University of Adelaide in Australia has found that veterinary visits can be highly stressful experiences for dogs. By measuring the heart rates of 30 dogs of various ages and breeds during a mock veterinary examination, the scientists found that one-third of the dogs’ heart rates nearly doubled between the waiting room and the examination table.

Regular veterinary care is integral to companion dog health and welfare, but fearful patients can inhibit provision of care and pose a risk of injury to veterinary staff,” wrote the study authors. “This study aimed to identify the physiological and behavioral responses of a sample of 30 dogs of various age and breed, to a standardized physical examination in a simulated veterinary setting.”

While in the waiting room, the dogs’ average heart rate was 97 beats per minute (bpm), during the physical examination, one third of the dogs’ heart rates nearly doubled, peaking at an average value of 180bpm (with a greyhound experiencing a heart rate as high as 230bpm). The heart rates were the highest during the first stage of the examination (when dogs were patted by the examiner), as well as the last one (a simulated vaccination). By contrast, the middle stage – involving a teeth examination – elicited the lowest heart rates.

The researchers noticed that the elevated heart rates were correlated with body language showing fear, such as tails tucked between the legs or ears tilted back. Overall, females seemed to be more anxious than males during veterinary visits.

Congratulations to Search Dog Foundation’s (SDF) nine newest search teams!

 

Vol. 15, No. 17 – May 18 – May 31, 2022 – The Pet Page

 

∙ SPAN Thrift Store is open to the public and looking for donations of adult clothing, household items and tools. SPAN Thrift Store regularly provides $10 spays and neuters for low-income households for cats and dogs. Upcoming clinics: May 24th at Shiells Park, in the parking lot at 649 C St., Fillmore, 93015. And May 31st in the parking lot of SPAN Thrift Store, 110 N. Olive St., Ventura. Please call to schedule an appointment – (805) 584-3823.

A dog was found abandoned and tied to a fire hydrant in Green Bay, prompting the Wisconsin Humane Society to remind everyone it will never turn away an animal in need.

The dog had a note with her explaining the owners could not take care of her anymore.

Abandoned dog Baby Girl rescued.

The dog, named “Baby Girl,” was left with a bag filled with dog food, treats and toys.

Baby Girl is now being cared for at the WHS, and she’s “doing great.”

∙Fake meds from online sellers could prove dangerous to your pet

By Keely Arthur, WRAL consumer reporter

Seventy percent of U.S. families own a pet, according to the National Pet Owners Survey, and they are spending more money on their furry friends, including $10 billion on pet medications alone, according to a Pet Medications in the U.S. report. Shopping online for medication can expose consumers and their animals to knockoffs that either do not work or could be dangerous.

Dr. Jennifer Shults is a veterinarian and the owner of Veterinary Emergency Care of Cary. Shults is seeing more pets with faulty medications in their system in the Triangle, especially during and since the pandemic. She tells Five on Your Side that fake heartworm and flea prevention medication and fake injectable arthritis medications are the biggest offenders. She says that in all cases the medications were purchased online.

“If you your pet takes the wrong medication, there is certainly a risk of death,” Shults said.

At the very least, she says a pet will not get the treatment it needs or get the preventative treatment it needs to keep a problem from arising. Shults suggests pet owners get their prescriptions through their local vet

If you suspect your pet has received counterfeit parasite preventative products, please call the National Pesticide Information Center (N.P.I.C.) toll-free at 1-800-858-7378. To report the retailer you purchased the product from, alert the E.P.A.

∙HealthDay News: If longevity were a priority when choosing a pup, Jack Russell terriers and Yorkshire terriers would be top picks.

Those little dynamos have the longest life expectancy of a host of common dog breeds, according to a new study by Dr. Dan O’Neill, an associate professor of companion animal epidemiology at the Royal Veterinary College in Hertfordshire, England.

Jack Russells and Yorkies have a life expectancy of nearly 13 years, O’Neill and his colleagues found after poring over thousands of dog records in the United Kingdom.

On the other hand, flat-faced breeds such as French bulldogs (Frenchies) and pugs tend to depart this world earlier than average, the study found.

Although they’re all the rage now, Frenchies live only around 5 years, which is less than other flat-faced breeds, including English bulldogs (7 years) and pugs (8 years), according to the study.

Those that are healthiest and live the longest are dogs that “look like dogs” — not too big or too small with snouts and tails, according to O’Neill.

“We’re looking at different configurations of dogs, mainly by breed, and we’re seeing that life span tells us a story about the general health of these dogs,” he said.

O’Neill and the team analyzed more than 30,500 records of dog deaths throughout the United Kingdom between 2016 and 2020. They categorized dogs into18 breeds recognized by the Kennel Club and also some types of crossbreeds. Using these data, they created tables that calculated life expectancy starting at birth.

Besides Jack Russells and Yorkies, other long-lived breeds include border collies and springer spaniels, with an average life span of 12 years.

Across all breeds, the average life expectancy for male dogs was 11.1 years, about four months shy of the estimate for females. Neutered dogs had a life expectancy of close to 12 years for females and 11.5 years for males. Life expectancy for unneutered dogs was about 10.5 years for males and females.

O’Neill recommends putting some thought into choosing a dog: Be conscious of the animal’s health and life span and the life that the animal would like to live.

“When you go out to buy a dog, think about the world from the dog’s point of view. Why buy a dog that will only live seven years and is likely to be plagued with illness?” he said.

O’Neill noted that human meddling is the cause of some unhealthy and short-lived breeds.

When people started keeping dogs for hobby and not for work, and the era of dog shows arrived, people started inventing breeds that didn’t exist in nature, and this stopped dogs from evolving naturally, O’Neill said.

“The ones that have the very short life span tend to be the ones with extreme configurations,” he pointed out.

These extremes include bigger or smaller than normal dogs, flat-faced dogs, dogs without tails and dogs with excessively wrinkled coats, O’Neill said.

Many of these engineered breeds have breathing problems, crowded teeth and eye abnormalities. Some can’t give birth normally, O’Neill noted.

Breeders have become more conscious of the health problems that shorten the lives of some breeds and are breeding dogs to eliminate these traits, said Dr. Jose Arce, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association.

When selecting a dog, Arce suggests making sure it matches your lifestyle.

“How many hours you’re going to spend in the house, how long you’re gone, the size of where you live, because certain breeds need exercise regularly and to socialize. Other breeds can adapt to apartment life and don’t need as much social life,” Arce said.

Also, taking good care of your dog can extend its life and yours, he said.

“We want our pets to live as long as possible,” Arce said. “We know how positive, how important the human animal bond is, and how dogs living with people help people live longer, healthier lives, so the longer the pet lives, the healthier and the longer the owner is going to live.”

Dr. Jerry Klein, chief veterinary officer at the American Kennel Club, said the application of life tables is still in its infancy.

However, “life tables generated in the current study promote not only a better understanding of the life trajectory of dogs, but also may offer several applications for the veterinary profession and research to study and improve the health and welfare of dogs,” Klein said.

CMH therapy dogs are always ready to help with patient’s needs.