Category Archives: The Pet Page

Vol. 16, No. 04 – Nov 16 – Nov 30, 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 provides $10 spay and neuter clinics for low income households for cats and dogs. Upcoming clinics:  Tuesday, Nov 22nd, Albert H. Soliz Library parking lot – El Rio, 2820 Jourdan St., Oxnard, 93036 and November 29th, SPAN Thrift Store, 110 N. Olive St., Ventura.  Please call to schedule an appointment (805) 584-3823. They are also having a handmade quilt raffle. Tickets are $1 each. Drawing is on Nov, 20th. www.spanonline.org.

∙ November is ‘”Adopt a Senior Pet” month and local shelters are encouraging families to consider adding a furry friend to their home, especially one in need of some extra love.

There are a lot of perks to having a senior pet which includes being able to give them the chance to feel a lifetime of love and having to do less work training and teaching them.

Since senior pets are fully grown, ASPCA said owners will be immediately aware of important information like personality type and grooming requirements, making it easier to choose the perfect pet for your family.

Senior dogs and cats often go unnoticed in shelters next to puppies and kittens and when you adopt one, you’re not only welcoming a lifetime of love into your home, but you’re also saving a precious life.

∙By Kiana Burks

“It can be fairly simple. It feels really complicated,” said Dr. Erika Bruner, a Veterinarian based in central Vermont.

According to Dr. Bruner, Elderly pet care is about maximizing comfort in the activities of everyday life- with love, connection, and a bit of humor.

“My message is all about trying to bring peace to everybody both the animal and the person iand trying to help them connect,” said Bruner

Which is why she’s dedicated to opening conversations and spreading knowledge about this difficult time in both pet and owner’s life

“I feel like we really have a good grasp on the technological aspects of medicine and what we need to take care of pets as they age in that way. But the way things are structured in a clinic, it’s often hard to find the time to spend a long time with people to really have an in-depth conversation about their aging animals,” said Bruner

The purpose of the program was to help ease people into thinking about the difficult decisions they may have to make for their pets specifically surrounding illness, death, and end of life care. 10

In the program, Dr. Bruner spoke of some of the challenges of owning a geriatric pet, and some low-tech solutions that may be available. Those in attendance say the program was comforting and informational

“I think sometimes we feel alone in these things. You know, and I think this group, even those that didn’t maybe raise a question or make a comment. I think there was such camaraderie with all of us, everybody that came in I knew that they were grappling with some of these issues,” said Judy Byron, a pet owner and program coordinator of the Waterbury Library.

And say they feel less alone and insecure about having to go through the difficult end of life decision-making processes

“What I got out of it so wonderfully is that you can’t make a wrong decision. I think sometimes we obsess about is it time is it not time… I am empowered in going forward and I can reveal their decision that’s right for my family and my path,” said Byron.

∙We may finally have the basis of a dog allergy vaccine

David Nield

Scientists are working hard to make pet-related sneezes and sniffles a distant memory, and there’s promising news from researchers analyzing the potential for a vaccine against dog allergies.

In what’s being described as a first step in developing such a vaccine, a team in Japan has identified certain parts of molecules that may be responsible for causing an allergic reaction in people whenever a dog is around.

Once these molecular sections have been spotted and isolated, they can potentially be targeted by a vaccine that lessens the immune response they trigger. These sections are technically known as epitopes – strings of amino acids that compose part of the protein that our bodies perceive as a threat.

Using a technique called X-ray crystallography (where X-ray diffraction reveals the crystal structure of a material), the team was able to determine the structure of the Can f 1 protein in its entirety, something that hasn’t been done before.

For someone with a dog allergy, the epitopes the scientists are looking for can be thought of as being like puzzle pieces that fit with matching pieces constructed by our on immune system – antibodies carried by B cells, or T Cells – for easy identification. It’s essentially hunting down the cause of the allergic reaction.

We’re still at the very early stages with this, so dog allergy sufferers may have to carry on avoiding close contact with pooches for a while yet – but we could one day look back on this as the first important step towards a working vaccine.

∙ Dogs are helping researchers find endangered orchids in Arizona

The Desert Botanical Garden and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have teamed up with two specially trained dogs to use their super sniffers to locate endangered orchids.

The orchid grows in extremely dense vegetation, making it hard for humans to spot, DBG conservation collections manager Steven Blackwell tells us.

The dogs are part of a California-based program called K9inScentive that trains them to detect specific plants and wildlife.

Why it matters: The orchids are an important part of the desert ecosystem, but they grow in ciénegas — a type of desert wetland that is disappearing because of the western megadrought.

The plant has been endangered since 1997 and has been found in only two places in Arizona since 2016.

When DBG researchers find them, they can collect some of their seeds so they can grow and reintroduce them.

Because this plant is so rare, Muon and Circe had to learn how to track them by practicing with a similar orchid that grows in Nevada, Blackwell says.

Their trainer taught them to identify different parts of the plant, from the root to the flower.

Blackwell says the researchers were unsure whether the plant they practiced with would smell the same as the endangered one, but within 10 minutes of their first outing in Arizona, Muon and Circe alerted handlers that they’d found something.

At first, researchers didn’t see anything, but after digging into the wetland, lo and behold, there was an orchid.

“They knew where it was and we had to look around all over the place,” he said.

Muon and Circe are back in California now but will continue practicing with the orchids ahead of next summer’s trip to southern Arizona.

Blackwell says he’d also love to use the pups to locate endangered cacti in the future.

Parting shot: “If it takes dogs to get people interested in plants, then whatever it takes,” he said.

Vol. 16, No. 03 – Nov 2 – Nov 15, 2022 – The Pet Page

Cats respond preferentially to the voice of their owner

Indoor cats react when their owners speak in a high-pitched “kitty voice” – such as by moving their heads and ears more – but not when strangers do so.

Unlike dogs, which respond to speech directed at them whether it is from their owners or from strangers, cats only seem to respond when the speaker is their owner. This may suggest that cats and their owners bond through their own unique form of communication, says Charlotte de Mouzon at University Paris Nanterre in France.

De Mouzon and her colleagues tested the behavior of 16 cats, nine males and seven females, living in studio apartments either as single pets with a female owner or as pairs of cats with a heterosexual couple. The cats ranged in age from 8 months to 2 years old, and their owners were all veterinary students at the National Veterinary School in Alfort, near Paris.

The team recorded the owners calling their cats by name in a high-pitched voice, as they would normally. The owners were also asked to say things in French relating to one of four contexts. These included: “Do you want to play?”, “Do you want to eat?”, “See you later!” and “How are you?”. The team then recorded the pet owners saying the same phrases to people, now using the style of speech they would typically use with friends or adult family members.

Sixteen women – not known to the cats – also had their voices recorded as they said the same four things to adult humans and to cats that they saw in videos in de Mouzon’s laboratory, using the same styles of speaking as the cat owners.

The cats heard all the recordings in their own homes, with their owners present but not interacting with them. When they heard the voices of their owners, the cats tended to interrupt their behavior and begin doing something else, such as looking around, moving their ears and tails, or even becoming completely still.

Even when they heard strangers speaking to them in a high-pitched, affectionate manner, calling them by name and inviting them to play or eat, the cats essentially ignored them, says de Mouzon. However, that could be related to the fact that all the cats were exclusively indoor pets, with few opportunities to interact with strangers, she says.

The findings provide further evidence that cats have strong social cognitive skills and that they are “sensitive and communicative individuals”, she says.

We know that they react to this kind of speech and it’s a good way for cats to know that we’re addressing them,” says de Mouzon. “So, we should feel confident about speaking to our cats with this kind of ‘baby talk’.”

Journal reference: Animal Cognition, DOI: 10.1007/s10071-022-01674

Dr. Lori Teller, a clinical associate professor of telehealth at the Texas A&M School of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, says there are several foods people should avoid giving their pets, but especially any foods containing xylitol.

Anything that contains xylitol should never be given to dogs,” Teller said. “It is extremely toxic and can lead to liver failure and death. It is a common replacement for sugar in many human foods, but it is so toxic to dogs that there has been legislation filed in Congress to require that any products containing xylitol be labeled as such. The bill is titled the Paws Off Act of 2021.”

Traditional holiday cooking and baking ingredients also can be dangerous for pet consumption. Some such items include chocolate, especially dark or baking chocolate; grapes or raisins; fatty foods; macadamia nuts and walnuts; bones; alcohol; raw dough; seeds and pits from fruits (such as apples, apricots, cherries, peaches); caffeinated products; avocado; and onions and garlic.

Any dangerous foods should be stored in a pet-proof cabinet, pantry, or container,” Teller advised. “Some pets are ‘counter-surfers’ and will jump up on a counter to steal something that smells irresistible.

Teller said that while some foods should be avoided in pet consumption at all costs, such as products containing xylitol and grapes or raisins, the effects of other foods are dose-dependent.

One example is chocolate,” she explained. “If your healthy Labrador retriever gets a hold of a couple of milk chocolate M&Ms, then the risk is pretty low for any problems. However, if the dog eats a couple of squares of baking chocolate, there is a much higher risk of toxic effects and you should seek veterinary care. When in doubt, talk to your veterinarian.”

While some traditional holiday eats and treats are dangerous for pets, others can be enjoyed together in celebratory moments. “These include most fruits (minus the seeds or pits), such as apples, bananas, blueberries, and watermelon. Most vegetables are healthy as well, including carrots, green beans, chickpeas, lettuce leaves, and cucumbers,” Teller said. “White rice and plain bread in small quantities are also acceptable. Cooked chicken, turkey or fish, without the skin or bones, is also safe for pets.”

Any treats or human foods given to pets should not exceed 10% of their dietary intake,” Teller shared. “More than this and their diet may become nutritionally unbalanced. It is always a good idea to talk with your veterinarian to make sure foods that you want to give your pet will be safe, especially if your pet has an underlying health problem.”

Keeping your pet away from potentially toxic foods may also involve educating children and visiting relatives, or even keeping the pet out of the kitchen entirely. Keeping your pet’s safety top of mind will help ensure that the entire family has a happy, healthy holiday season.

If you find yourself in a situation this holiday season where your pet has consumed something potentially detrimental to their health, The ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control can be reached at (888) 426-4435 and the Pet Poison Helpline can be reached at (855) 764-7661.

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

Vol. 16, No. 02 – Oct 19 – Nov 1, 2022 – The Pet Page

Search Dog Foundation (SDF) -When Hurricane Ian made landfall in Florida on September 28, it did so as a Category 4 with 150 mph winds.

Even viewing a model, it’s easy to imagine how entire towns can be wiped out and residents trapped under debris, a sobering reminder of the importance of our mission. Over the years, our SDF teams have deployed to Ian and hundreds of other disasters to ensure no one is left behind.

Three SDF teams were among hurricane Ian response.

With your support, we continue to keep our teams and the next generation of first responders prepared and ready to act when communities need them.

We had three teams deploy in response to Hurricane Ian: Karen Meadows & Jax and Shawn Hall & Manion of Virginia Task Force 2, and Ed Ruiz & Harper of California Task Force 2. Notably, all three teams are relatively new to the roster, partnered in the last eighteen months.

New does not mean green, though. Even after the leashes of search dogs are handed off to their first responder partners, the teams have ongoing support and instruction from our dedicated canine training staff. These three teams had been training consistently for any disaster they might encounter and were well-prepared and ready to join their task forces when the call came.

After 15 days in Florida, all canine teams have demobilized from the Hurricane Ian incident and returned home. The many days of searching through homes ripped from their foundations, boats stranded inland, and streets unrecognizable with debris become a blur amid such widespread devastation. However, like the resilience and determination we look for in our search dogs, many human rescuers worked day in and day out until they completed their mission. We are incredibly proud of these teams and thankful for their sacrifice and their service.

We are celebrating National Make A Dog’s Day on October 22. We use this day to ensure that the dogs around us enjoy themselves as best as possible. This is a day to spread information about dogs’ importance in our lives and how much they can improve our days with love and loyalty. We also use this day to encourage people to adopt from shelters and provide a better life for at least one puppy. We mean the world for a dog, and it is time we ensure they get everything they deserve.

Is it safe for cats to drink milk?

By Charles Q. Choi

Cats are commonly shown lapping milk from saucers. But can they safely drink milk?

The popular image of cats drinking milk may have emerged during the 19th century, when cats and dogs became popular subjects for artists. As the Industrial Revolution progressed and more people migrated to cities, the number of cat and dog owners grew, and artists were increasingly called on to paint charming works of pets. As such, French artist Alfred-Arthur Brunel de Neuville often drew cats drinking from bowls of milk, and his work proved very popular during his lifetime, according to Rehs Galleries in New York City.

However, giving milk to adult cats might actually do more harm than good to them, according to Britain’s leading veterinary charity, the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals. Cats often lose their tolerance for lactose, the sugar found in milk, when they get older, just as most humans do.

“For most cats, the ability to digest lactose declines after weaning,” Nathalie Dowgray, head of the International Society of Feline Medicine in the United Kingdom, told Live Science. “As a result, milk can cause digestive issues in cats and lead to symptoms such as diarrhea or vomiting.”

Some cats may keep the ability to digest lactose into adulthood, just as some people do, Dowgray noted. Still, “there are no additional nutritional benefits to giving your cat cow’s milk if they are fed a high-quality complete and balanced cat food,” she said.

In addition, cow’s milk is full of fat. A saucer of milk for a cat “is like you eating an entire 12-inch pizza,” the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals noted. As such, cow’s milk can lead a cat to become overweight, Dowgray said.

Cats may still crave milk despite the problems it causes because they may connect it with positive memories from their time as kittens, according to Hastings Veterinary Hospital Burnaby, British Columbia. They may also simply like the taste of the fat in it, the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals noted.

Nearly one in three pet dogs suffer from these ADHD-like repetitive behaviors — and researchers now suspect that an animal’s home life could be the cause.

A study involving thousands of Finnish pet dogs found that certain factors make a canine more likely to develop repetitive behaviors, including:

  • Belonging to a first-time dog owner.
  • Living in a larger family.
  • Being the only dog in a family.
  • Getting little exercise.

These repetitive behaviors can range from the annoying to the actively harmful.

Dogs can injure themselves by licking or chewing a paw, or break a tooth lunging at a glimmer of light on a wall, said Erica Feuerbacher, an associate professor who studies domestic dog behavior at the Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences in Blacksburg, Va.

Feuerbacher herself ran into such trouble while transporting a rescue Belgian Malinois, because she didn’t know that the dog was a “light chaser.”

“We had just had her loose in the back of my car, kind of tethered but not in a crate,” Feuerbacher recalled. “And my phone flashed, caught a light, and she leapt into the driver’s seat — while I was driving! I had a mesh barrier up between the front seats and the back of the car, but she launched herself over it!”

She added: “Luckily my husband was able to catch her and restrain her. We pulled over right after that and he sat in the back with her the rest of the way” to keep her settled, so those lights didn’t cause an accident.

For the study, Sulkama and her colleagues gathered questionnaire data on almost 4,500 Finnish pet dogs and their owners.

About 30% of the dogs in the study engaged in repetitive behaviors, the researchers found, and the likelihood of these behaviors was associated with a dog’s home and lifestyle.

For example, dogs that are their owner’s first canine companion are 58% more likely to develop repetitive behaviors than ones that belong to veteran dog owners, results show.

Vol. 16, No. 01 – Oct 5 – Oct 18, 2022 – The Pet Page

There is always Hope.

∙ Meet the newest member of the Ventura City Fire Department — Hope.

As a therapy dog, Hope has the very important job of providing comfort and support to firefighters after they’ve had a difficult run. She also visits children in the community who have experienced a tragedy, to help them start to heal.

∙ 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: Tuesday, October 11th, parking lot of Shiells Park, 649 C St, Fillmore; Tuesday, October 25th, parking lot of SPAN Thrift Store, 110 N. Olive St., Ventura. Please call to schedule an appointment (805) 584-3823

∙ Beginning September 18th, all dog owners now have a Happy Hour destination just for them and their 4 legged friends at Peirano’s! They have created a menu just for your dog. They can have a dog gone good time sipping/slurping on bacon water and chomping on salon skin treats, or scrambled eggs. Live music every Saturday and Sunday afternoon from 3-5 pm and Friday evening from 6-8, Sunday Brunch from 1120-2:00pm.

∙ Alexandra Horowitz has been studying the inner lives of humanity’s best friend for about two decades, including in her current role as head of the Dog Cognition Lab at Barnard College in New York. Since 2009, Horowitz has also been a book author, translating the latest findings from the field of canine science for the general public.

In her book The Year of the Puppy Horowitz dives deep into the earliest stages of being a dog. But this book comes with an added personal angle: It details Horowitz and her family’s journey in raising their own puppy, Quiddity, from the very start of life. Among other things, Horowitz discusses why new dog moms are always licking their puppies; why puppies aren’t too fussy about the nipples they nurse on; and how everything from a mom’s diet to the placement of a fetus within the uterus can subtly affect a dog’s later development.

∙ A national study finds millions of pets that were adopted during the pandemic weren’t spayed or neutered, which is causing severe overcrowding at animal shelters and a sharp rise in euthanasia.

Josh Fiala, who oversees the spay/neuter program at the Animal Rescue League of Iowa, says those important surgeries did continue throughout the COVID years at the state’s largest non-profit shelter, though veterinarians are becoming scarce.

Fiala says it’s fortunate the ARL was able to maintain its schedule during the past two years as he says spaying and neutering of pets is vital. “It helps control the pet population. Our shelters are full enough as it is. We do not need more pets in the area,” Fiala says. “If people want to find animals, there’s definitely plenty in shelters across the U.S. And it does, from a health perspective, from a behavior perspective, it’s shown to have benefits as well.”

According to a recent paper published in the journal Animal Cognition, dogs store key sensory features about their toys—notably what they look like and how they smell—and recall those features when searching for the named toy.

Prior studies suggested that dogs typically rely on vision, or a combination of sight and smell, to locate target objects. A few dogs can also identify objects based on verbal labels, which the authors call “gifted word learner” (GWL) dogs. “Just like humans, GWL dogs not only recognize the labeled objects—or categories of objects—as stimuli they have already encountered, but they also identify them among other similarly familiar named objects, based on their verbal labels,” the authors wrote. They wanted to investigate whether GWL dogs have an enhanced ability to discriminate and/or recognize objects compared to typical dogs.

To find out, they conducted two separate experiments. The first involved 14 dogs, three of which were GWL dogs (all border collies): Max, Gaia, and Nalani. All three had participated in prior studies and demonstrated they knew the names of more than 20 dog toys. Most of the dogs were tested in the lab; three were tested in their homes using the same experimental setup. The experimenter and the dog’s owner stood with the dog in one room. An adjacent room held dog toys. The rooms were connected by a corridor and separated by heavy curtains. All the windows were covered with dark nylon sheets.

The same 10 unfamiliar dog toys were used with all the dogs, and the toys were of different shapes, sizes, colors, and materials. The experimenter randomly divided the toys into two sets, and then picked one toy randomly out of each set to be the target toy.

After the training phase, each dog was tested in both light and dark conditions with the corridor and toy room lights turned off. They were asked 10 times to retrieve the target toy from among the other four toys in a set, which had been randomly scattered on the floor. The toys were reshuffled between each iteration. Everything was recorded using an infrared video camera, and the researchers recorded not just toy selection and retrieval but also searching and sniffing behavior.

The second experimental setup and location were the same as the first, but only the three GWL dogs were tested, along with an additional GWL dog named Whisky. All four knew the names of the 20 toys used in the experiment, scattered randomly on the floor. If the dog retrieved the correct toy, it was rewarded. Once again, the dogs were tested in both light and dark conditions.

All the dogs in the first experiment—regardless of whether they were GWL dogs or typical dogs—successfully picked out the target toys in both light and dark conditions, although it took them longer to locate the toys in the dark. Most relied on visual cues, even though dogs possess an excellent sense of smell. The GWL dogs in the second experiment were also able to select the named toys when commanded by their owners, with similar reliance on visual cues—what the toy looks like—augmented by their sense of smell (what the toy smells like), particularly in dark conditions.

According to the authors, this confirms that when dogs play with a toy, they record its features using multiple senses, creating a “multistory mental image.” They prefer to rely primarily on visual cues, but dogs can incorporate other sensory cues, most notably smell, when the conditions call for it.

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.