Category Archives: The Pet Page

Vol. 14, No. 08 – Jan 13 – Jan 26, 2021 – The Pet Page

∙Several pet food products have been recalled after 28 dogs died, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has announced. Three brands of Sportmix products for dogs and cats made by Midwestern Pet Foods may contain potentially fatal levels of the toxin aflatoxin, according to the FDA.

The FDA said it is aware of at least 28 deaths and eight illnesses in dogs that ate the recalled pet food.

The Missouri Department of Agriculture tested multiple samples of the food and found “very high levels” of aflatoxin, which is produced by a mold that can grow on corn and other grains used in pet food, the FDA said.

Midwestern Pet Foods has committed to recalling nine lots of Sportmix products, the FDA said. The FDA and Missouri Department of Agriculture are working to determine if any others need to be recalled.

The lot code, which begins with the letters “Exp,” is located on the back of the bag.

Phelan beat out a greyhound to be the world’s fastest dog.

∙ A mixed-breed dog won an American Kennel Club contest and was named the nation’s fastest dog.

Wailin’ Phelan The Bearded Lass, a rescue adopted by Krista Shreet and Ted Koch, competed against 116 other dogs in the inaugural Fast Course Ability Testing (CAT) Invitational. The fastest dogs of each breed, as ranked by prior kennel club events, met in Orlando for the competition December 9-11.

The Fast CAT is a 100-yard sprint in which dogs chase a lure on a string down a grassy field.

The dogs ran three times and their speeds were converted into miles per hour and averaged. Phelan ran an average of 32.3 miles an hour, beating a greyhound named Dagnabit, which came in second at 31.2 miles per hour.

The slowest dog at the race was a Pekingese named Buster who averaged 7.8 miles per hour. While Buster was slow relative to other dogs, Buster is the fastest Pekingese in the country.

Phelan is categorized as a large All-American dog, a term the club uses to describe mixed-breeds and unrecognized breeds. She is 4-years-old, and a genetic test shows she is part greyhound, part borzoi and part Scottish deerhound.

∙ This was published online Sept. 16 in the journal PLOS ONE.

Despite the deep desire to help your dog age gracefully and stay mentally sharp, new research suggests that even the best diet and training won’t slow the ravages of time for your furry friend.

Just like their human owners, dogs can experience thinking declines and behavioral changes as they age. They might display less curiosity about novel objects and show decline in social responsiveness, memory and attention, the researchers explained.

Studies have suggested that lifelong training and an enriched diet could slow dogs’ mental aging, but few have explored aging in pet dogs in real-life settings.

In this latest study, an international team of researchers led by Durga Chapagain, from the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna, Austria, found that middle-aged to elderly dogs who were trained throughout their life and fed a nutrient-enriched diet for a year performed no better on thinking tests than dogs who received less training and ate a regular diet.

The study included more than 100 pet dogs over the age of 6 years and of varying breeds. The participating dogs were split randomly into two groups: half were fed a nutrient-enriched diet, including antioxidants and omega fatty acids, while the other half consumed a regular diet. The researchers also collected information from the pets’ owners about their dogs’ previous training.

After a year on the diet, the researchers evaluated the dogs’ mental capacities using a cognitive test that is designed for older canines.

Sadly, diet and training were found to have no significant impact on mental decline, the study authors said.

The aging dogs experienced declines in four particular areas: problem-solving, sociability, boldness and dependency. However, the findings showed that their trainability and activity independence appeared to remain sharp.

∙ It’s not uncommon for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder to wait years for a service dog because of lengthy waiting lists.

As these waiting lists continue to grow, a scientist at Purdue University continues to lead first-of-its-kind research revealing how exactly these dogs are helping veterans and the people around them – providing quantifiable data as they wait for a dog of their own.

Maggie O’Haire, an associate professor of human-animal interaction in the Purdue College of Veterinary Medicine, is revealing how service dogs can offer both physiological and behavioral benefits to veterans with PTSD.

“We continue to hear that service dogs are saving veterans’ lives,” O’Haire said. “Our research is intended to measure this. We see that the dogs are helping, but now the challenge is answering how exactly service dogs are helping and what to expect once you have one of them in your household. Service dogs for PTSD are not a cure, but for some veterans they can offer benefits that make PTSD symptoms easier to manage.”

O’Haire led a preliminary study that took place in 2015-16, which showed that overall symptoms of PTSD were lower among war veterans with service dogs. The study examined 141 veterans — with 76 of them having a service dog and 65 being on a waiting list for a dog. O’Haire led that study with the help of K9s For Warriors, a nonprofit organization that provides veterans with service dogs.

O’Haire’s work provided scientific evidence of mental health benefits experienced by veterans with PTSD who have service dogs. The findings during that study also went beyond behavioral benefits and assessed cortisol levels because it is a biomarker in the stress response system, O’Haire says. For veterans with service dogs, their cortisol levels grew higher in the morning than those who were on the waiting list. Healthy adults without PTSD typically have rising cortisol levels in the morning as part of their response to waking up. O’Haire’s research has revealed that for veterans, having a service dog was also associated with less anger, less anxiety and better sleep.

In preparation for the clinical trial, O’Haire co-led a study that showed what trained tasks service dogs perform the most often and which ones are most helpful to veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. The study found that the task of disrupting episodes of anxiety ranked among the most important and most often used. Support for the work was provided by Merrick Pet Care.

O’Haire and her research team will continue to analyze and learn from the data collected from the recently concluded clinical trial, which includes studying how veterans are partnering with their dogs and what trained tasks continue to be the most important.

“Our goal is to advance rigorous science instead of relying on intuition when it comes to how service dogs are helping veterans,” O’Haire said.


Vol. 14, No. 07 – Dec 30, 2020 – Jan 12, 2021 – The Pet Page

The Search Dog Foundation’s newest search teams.

∙Recruiting and rescuing dogs to train to become rescuers alongside first responders is no easy task, and this year has been no exception due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. It’s just one more reason why we are so proud to introduce the five newest search teams to join our national roster: The Search Dog Foundation

∙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:

Tuesday, December 12th 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, December 19th. Please call to schedule an appointment (805) 584-3823.

∙Fayetteville, WV (WOAY) – Poinsettias are getting popular once again as the holidays roll around, but veterinarians urge caution if you own a cat. Poinsettias have potential to be toxic to cats if eaten. Katie Faulkner, a veterinarian with the Fayette Veterinary Hospital says that if a cat eats part of a poinsettia, it can cause some severe issues. They recommend keeping them out of reach or avoiding them entirely if you own a cat.

“They do have to eat a decent amount of it to cause very severe symptoms, but even a small amount can cause cats to drool, vomit and cause GI disruptions, so sometimes diarrhea,” Faulkner said. If your cat even eats a small amount of Poinsettia, it’s recommended you take them to a vet, just to ensure they’re safe.

∙By AVMA

It’s said that dogs resemble their owners, but the similarities may also extend to their risk of diabetes, research suggests. The same cannot be said of cat owners and their companions, however.

Previous studies had hinted that overweight owners tend to have porkier pets, possibly because of shared health behaviors such as overeating or not taking regular exercise. To investigate whether this extended to a shared risk of type 2 diabetes, Beatrice Kennedy, of Uppsala University in Sweden, and colleagues turned to insurance data from Sweden’s largest pet insurance company, using owners’ 10-digit national identification numbers to pull their anonymized health records.

Comparing data from 208,980 owner/dog and 123,566 owner/cat pairs, they discovered that owning a dog with diabetes was associated with a 38% increased risk of having type 2 diabetes compared with owning a healthy hound. Personal and socioeconomic circumstances of the dog owners could not explain this link. No shared risk of diabetes was found between cat owners and their pets, however.

∙Keep pets safe from holiday hazards

By Crystal Munguia

No one knows better than a veterinarian who staffs the emergency room that the holidays can be fraught with hazards for pets. Luckily, most of the dangers can easily be prevented with some foresight and good advice.

Dr. Yanshan Er, a veterinarian at the University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching shares her top tips for keeping your pets safe during the holidays.

While you are enjoying your Thanksgiving feast, you may be tempted to slip your pet some table scraps. It is important to remember many of the things we enjoy are not appropriate for our furry friends.

Chocolate – Chocolate, especially the dark and baking varieties, contains toxins called methylxanthines, which may cause tremors, seizures, and fatal arrhythmias at high doses. Lower doses may cause vomiting and diarrhea. Solution: Keep chocolate away from your pets!

Bones – Leftover bones from that turkey or ham may seem like a treat for your pet, but Dr. Er says that’s not true. “Bones pose several dangers: cracked teeth, a blockage in the esophagus, constipation, severe gastrointestinal inflammation or even perforation of the gastrointestinal organs,” she says. “There are so many great ways to offer a treat, bones are definitely not worth the risk.”

Alcohol and bread dough – Make sure to keep your alcoholic drinks and baking supplies out of reach of your pets. If a pet eats raw yeast-containing dough, the dough will ferment in the stomach, producing ethanol, a form of alcohol. The expansion of dough in the stomach can cause a mechanical obstruction. The ethanol gets absorbed systemically and causes blood acidity and low blood sugar. “These complications can ultimately result in a coma and even death,” warns Dr. Er.

Grapes, raisins, and currants – The exact causative toxin is currently unknown, but the fact that consuming grapes, raisins, and currants may result in acute kidney injury in dogs is well documented. Toxicity from these fruits may also lead to vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy. Dr. Er advises pet owners to tell guests these items, especially baked goods like Christmas cake with raisins, are no-nos for pets.

Tinsel and candles – Shiny, reflective tinsel also attracts cats. If swallowed, tinsel, yarn or other stringy objects wreak havoc on a cat’s digestive tract. This problem, called a “linear foreign body,” must be treated with emergency surgery. Candles also fall into the “shiny danger” category. Pets aren’t aware of the danger fire poses, so never allow pets to remain unsupervised in a room with lit candles.

Poinsettias, mistletoe, and lilies – If you own a pet that eats anything and everything, it is important to know that poinsettias and mistletoe can result in an upset stomach for your pet. In very rare cases, mistletoe can also affect the heart. While not typically a winter holiday decoration, lilies are very toxic to cats, and result in acute kidney injury. “All parts of the lily plant are toxic, so remember to keep them out of reach of your kitties,” says Dr. Er.

∙Managing holiday stresses in pets

While they’re probably not dreading crowded shopping malls or discussing politics with that one uncle, many pets do find the holidays stressful. Strange people, smells and loud sounds may be overwhelming for your pet. Make sure it has a safe, quiet, and escape-proof room to provide a safe retreat when needed.

Don’t forget that Christmas poppers and fireworks can be terrifying for pets with noise aversion. Dr. Er suggests talking to your veterinarian about anxiety medication and sedatives if your pet might benefit from those during high-anxiety situations.

Understanding your dog’s mind cannot only sate your curiosity about your companion, but can also help you ensure your pup lives a good, happy life. The more you know about your furry friends the more you can do to meet their needs.

Ellen Furlong is an associate professor of psychology at Illinois Wesleyan University. This report was originally published on theconversation.com.

Vol. 14, No. 06 – Dec 16 – Dec 29, 2020 – The Pet Page

∙After four years of no first pet at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Biden and his wife will move in with a pair of German shepherds, Champ and Major. The Bidens got Champ as a puppy in 2008, shortly before they moved into the vice president’s official residence at the Naval Observatory.

∙Santa Paula Animal Rescue Center (SPARC) is expanding its community outreach program to support the care and wellbeing of animals living within the City of Santa Paula and throughout the County of Ventura. The new pet pantry, appropriately named “Food FUR All”, launched as a Free Pet Food Drive on Saturday, December 12. The launch was held at the Santa Paula Animal Rescue Center located at 705 E. Santa Barbara Street, Santa Paula. Food FUR All was created to provide pet owners who may be financially stressed or simply need a helping hand, especially during such trying times. One of the primary goals of the program is to reduce the number of pet owners who are fighting making the agonizing decision to surrender their pet simply because they cannot afford to feed their pets; that is a false choice that SPARC hopes to end with our new pet food pantry.

In one ASPCA study, 40% of low-income pet owners surrendering an animal to a shelter said they would have kept their pet if they’d had access to affordable vet care, and 30% said the same if they could have gotten free or low-cost pet food.

The shelter cannot provide this service without help from the community. SPARC is seeking generous donors who can donate unopened food or make a financial contribution and those interested in making a financial investment in SPARC’s future pet retention program to keep pets in their homes. The shelter is also seeking those interested in participating on a volunteer basis. Please contact the shelter directly at 805- 525 8609. Donations can be dropped off at the animal shelter any time between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.∙∙

∙ The holidays are here and the Humane Society of Ventura County (HSVC) is ready to spread cheer! They are disappointed cannot host annual Santa Paws Fundraiser due to COVID-19. The shelter will be offering a Selfie Holiday Photo Booth complete with holiday sweaters and accessories for your four-legged friends. Furry visitors will even get a pawesome holiday dog toy if they stay on the Nice List this season. Stop by and show your socially distanced holiday spirit all December long from 10 am – 4 pm. The booth will be set up on the patio in front of our main office located at 402 Bryant St. in Ojai.

Our financial support has significantly decreased since we had to close our doors in March due to the pandemic. As a private nonprofit, the HSVC relies 100% on private donations to provide our services. This holiday season, please consider donating to the HSVC so we can continue providing quality care to animals in need.

∙The Better Business Bureau advises extreme caution when shopping for a pet online, especially in light of scammers’ evolving tactics.

The BBB Scam Tracker saw an increased in pet fraud soon after cities and states began to impose tighter restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19. There were more reports about fraudulent pet websites in April than in the first three months of the year combined.

The COVID bump is continuing into the holiday season with consumers reporting 337 complaints to BBB about puppy scams in November 2020, a dramatic increase from 77 for the same month in 2019.

At the current pace, the number of pet scams reported to BBB in 2020 will be nearly five times higher than 2017 numbers, when BBB published its first in-depth investigative study on pet scams.

Different from 2017 is the way scammers are taking payment from victims, with scammers increasingly asking or money through payment apps like Zelle and CashApp as opposed to wiring money through Western Union or MoneyGram.

For example, one woman from the Traverse City area lost $2,000 to a puppy scam in November which started with a $500 deposit paid through Zelle for a Pomeranian puppy named Moose.

When it came time to ship the dog to Michigan the transportation company claimed it needed an additional $1,500 to upgrade the travel crate, which the company promised the would be refunded at the airport when the dog arrived.

After paying she then got a message that the company needed an additional $2,800 for puppy insurance because the dog was stressed from the first leg of its flight. When the Traverse City woman refused to pay, she was threatened with fines and possible criminal charges for puppy abandonment, according to the BBB.

A woman in Comstock Park reported losing $900 while trying to buy an Akita puppy in September. After making the initial payment, she was told she had to pay an additional $2,000 for travel insurance and a crate.

Excuses for additional payments often include special climate-controlled crates, insurance and a (non-existent) COVID-19 vaccine, according to Scam Tracker reports. There also were instances where purchasers wanted to pick up the pet but were told that wasn’t possible due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“Once one payment is made, scammers come up with a list of reasons why the customer has to send more money,” Catlett said. “They prey on your emotions, knowing that once you become attached to the idea that you will be getting a new puppy it is hard to say no.”

While puppies remain the most common bait in a pet scam, other animals are used as well. 12% of pet scam complaints to BBB were about kittens or cats.

When attempting to purchase pets online the BBB recommends seeing the pet in person or on a live video call before paying any money. Buyers should also do research to get a sense of a fair price for the breed they’re considering. If someone advertises a purebred dog for free or at a deeply discounted price, it could be a fraudulent offer, according to the BBB.

Buyers should also use caution with breeders offering shipping. A better option is to check out a local animal shelter or breeder for pets you can meet before adopting or buying.

Although there has been an increase in demand for the adoption and fostering of pets during the COVID-19 pandemic, there has also been an uptick in the number of animals being surrendered, according to several animal shelters. Unfortunately, this uptick may increase after the holiday season, as oftentimes “gift” pets are surrendered as their owners cannot or will not look after them.

While pets have proven to be great companions amid the pandemic—providing entertainment, comfort, and stress relief—there are many things to consider prior to gifting a cat or dog to a friend or family member this Christmas. These considerations include pet care costs, owner commitment, and species/breed-pet owner compatibility.

Vol. 14, No. 05 – Dec 2 – Dec 15, 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.

The next upcoming clinic is Friday, December 18th at Albert H. Soliz Library – El Rio, 2820 Jourdan St., Oxnard, 93036. Please call to schedule an appointment (805) 584-3823.

∙The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Stelfonta (tigilanol tiglate injection) to treat dogs with non-metastatic, skin-based (cutaneous) mast cell tumors (MCTs). The FDA is also approving Stelfonta to treat non-metastatic MCTs located under the dog’s skin (subcutaneous), in particular areas of a dog’s leg. Stelfonta is injected directly into the MCT (intratumoral injection). Stelfonta works by activating a protein that spreads throughout the treated tumor, which disintegrates tumor cells.

MCTs are the most common malignant skin tumor in dogs, and usually present as a lump on or under the skin. Full surgical removal of mast cell tumors can be difficult when tumors are located in certain areas, such as the leg. When mast cell tumors are not fully removed, the remaining malignant cells can start to grow and spread rapidly. Stelfonta offers a novel way to treat non-metastatic MCTs as the only approved intratumoral injection.

Stelfonta is available only by prescription due to the professional expertise required to diagnose MCTs, properly administer the injection, provide adequate instructions for post treatment care, and monitor the safe use of the product, including treatment of any adverse reactions. The label for Stelfonta carries a boxed warning for human safety because of the risk of severe wound formation from accidental self-injection or needle stick injuries. The boxed warning also includes several statements regarding the safe use of Stelfonta in dogs, including: Stelfonta should always be given with a corticosteroid, an H1 receptor blocking agent and an H2 receptor blocking agent, to decrease the risk of severe systemic adverse reactions, including death, from mast cell degranulation. Veterinarians should provide the client information sheet to pet owners for important information about Stelfonta and how to care for their pets after they have been given the drug.

Raw dog food recalled because of Salmonella

By News Desk

Albright’s Raw Dog Food is recalling 67 cases of “Chicken Recipe for Dogs” because it has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella. There is risk to humans from handling contaminated pet products. It is important for consumers to thoroughly wash their hands after having contact with the products or any surfaces of utensils exposed to these products.

Contaminated pet food can pose significant health concerns and even death, as a recent Salmonella outbreak in Canada linked to pig ear dog treats has shown.

A Salmonella outbreak in Canada is linked to pig ear treats for dogs.

As of the most recent outbreak update from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), Sept. 29, there have been eight confirmed cases of Salmonella Typhimurium illness in the following provinces: British Columbia with 5, Alberta with 2, and Yukon with 1.

Individuals became sick between late February and early August this year. Three individuals were hospitalized, and one individual died. Individuals who became ill are between 7 and 95 years of age. The illnesses are distributed equally among men and women.

Albright’s Raw Dog Food Chicken Recipe for Dogs was distributed in California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee and product was distributed through retail stores, mail order, and direct delivery.

Labeled as Albright’s Raw Dog Food Chicken Recipe for Dogs. Packaged in 2 lbs chubs/rolls. Each chub/roll is printed with “Lot number C000185, Best By 19 May 2021.” The product was sold frozen and was distributed from the company to distributors from 7/8/20 to 8/27/20.

∙As any cat owner who has tried to wear a black shirt knows…well, shedding is a normal aspect of cat ownership. However, there are times when the hair just keeps coming and an owner may become concerned that their pet’s hair loss is abnormal and indicative of a larger issue.

Dr. Alison Diesel, a clinical associate professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, says that cat owners can differentiate normal shedding from feline alopecia, or hair loss, if the hair coat is noted to be thin or has the absence of hair in areas.

“The biggest difference between normal shedding and alopecia in cats is that with normal shedding, there is not appreciable hair loss on the animal,” said Diesel. “While the owner may see tufts of fur and hairballs around the home, the cat looks to have a normal haircoat in regard to thickness, length, and density.”

Feline alopecia can have many causes, according to Diesel, ranging from parasites, such as fleas or mites, to infections, such as dermatophytosis, or ringworm.

“We can also see it with underlying allergies including to things like fleas, food, or the environment,” she said. “Genetics can also be a ‘cause’ of alopecia; this is normal in certain breeds of cats, such as the Sphinx. Lastly, there are some normal variants in cats that appear as alopecia. Examples include hair loss on the ear flaps of aging Siamese cats and sparsely haired skin in the preauricular region (top of the head in front of the ears) on cats of any breed.”

If an owner notices their cat is losing an abnormal amount of hair, they should also keep an eye out for accompanying symptoms that may point towards a larger problem.

“The most important thing to look for is whether the cat is also itchy. This can be shown by certain behaviors include scratching, biting, licking, chewing, pulling out hair, over grooming, and/or increased hairballs. Additionally, owners should monitor if there are any sores on the skin along with the hair loss,” she said. “Lastly, if anything has obviously changed with the overall health of the cat–signs of internal illness such as vomiting, change in appetite, or energy levels—owners should seek veterinary care.”

Pets experiencing unusual hair loss should be evaluated by their primary care veterinarian or a veterinary dermatologist to help determine the reason for hair loss. They may conduct diagnostic tests and/or suggest a treatment plan tailored to your pet’s specific case.

While overgrooming most commonly has an underlying medical reason, typically related to itch or possibly pain, there are some cats where stress and behavioral contributions can play into the excessive grooming observed. Owners concerned that their pet is overgrooming may also wish to modify their pet’s environment in addition to bringing them in for a check-up. Ensure your pet has plenty of enrichment, which can include toys, window access, and hands-on playtime, in addition to areas where the cat can retreat and relax alone.

Hair loss may be reversible depending on the cause; Diesel said, “you can’t all of a sudden make a Sphinx grow hair, but hair can grow back following resolution of ringworm as an example.”

Although the line between normal shedding and feline alopecia may at times seem thin, prudent monitoring and prompt care can help owners keep their feline friend as happy, healthy, and fluffy as possible.

Pet Talk is a service of the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University. Stories can be viewed on the web at vetmed.tamu.edu/news/pet-talk. Suggestions for future topics may be directed to editor@cvm.tamu.edu.

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.