Category Archives: The Pet Page

Vol. 14, No. 14 – April 7 – April 20, 2021 – The Pet Page

∙SPAN Thrift Store is 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.
Three upcoming clinics in April are: Tuesday, April 13th at the Albert H. Soliz Library – El Rio, 2820 Jourdan St., Oxnard, 93036, a second one on Tuesday, April 20th at Shiells Park, in the parking lot, located at 649 C St., Fillmore, 93015 and a third one on Tuesday, April 27th at SPAN Thrift Store parking lot 110 N. Olive St. (behind Vons on Main).
Please call to schedule an appointment (805) 584-3823.

K-9 Rocky has a nose for illegal drugs.

∙An Oxnard Police Department K-9 detected a half ton of methamphetamine that was being smuggled in produce boxes. Police Officer Caston and K-9 Rocky were conducting a traffic stop of a vehicle in Oxnard when Rocky alerted the officer to the presence of narcotics. During a search of the vehicle, Caston found more than 1,000 pounds of methamphetamine with a street value of $2.8 million.

∙For the last quarter-century, the local Search Dog Foundation (SDF) has been dedicated to training canine disaster search teams to respond with their urban search and rescue task forces to find survivors in the aftermath of disasters throughout the United States and the world.

This year, twenty-five years after our founding in 1996, we invite you to take a journey through our history with us—revisiting the heartbreaks we’ve faced in disaster work as well as rejoicing in the successes and the accomplishments that you have made possible…

Seeing a desperate need for more highly-trained, certified search dogs, Wilma founded the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation the very next year.

On February 2, 2020, nearly 25 years after the bombing in Oklahoma City, Wilma witnessed SDF’s 168th team certify for deployment, fulfilling her goal to create one certified search team for each of the 168 lives lost on that tragic day. In memory and in honor of them, SDF works each day to help ensure no survivors are left behind.

The moments like these that we’ll revisit during the year—like our 168th certification—and the ones that lie ahead are only possible thanks to your generosity and belief in our work. With you fueling our mission, we are now at 180 certified teams and growing! Each day is another day we further Wilma’s legacy of strengthening disaster response in America. Thank you for making an impact on so many lives through the years, both canine and human.

Donate today at

∙The Biden family dogs, Major and Champ, are back at the White House after an incident in which Major caused a “minor” injury to an undisclosed person.

The White House did not specify when the dogs had returned from Delaware, where they were sent earlier this month after the incident.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on March 9 that the dogs had already been scheduled to be out of town prior to the incident while the first lady was traveling and would return to the White House soon.

∙Puppy scams have cost Canadians more than $105,000 since January 2020, according to the Better Business Bureau.

Mary O’Sullivan-Andersen, president and CEO of BBB for southern Alberta and B.C.’s East Kootenay region, says consumers need to be especially diligent if they are trying to purchase a puppy online.

“Ask for references from other satisfied customers, set up a live video call to meet the breeder and the puppy, and ask for detailed information about the dog and its health,” she said in a release.

“Take the necessary steps to ensure the breeder is legitimate and ethical. Don’t become the victim of a scammer.”

∙Service dogs trained to support veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder can decrease the severity of their symptoms better than companion dogs classified as emotional support animals, according to the results of a long-awaited study by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Research involving 227 veterans — 153 of whom remained with their paired dogs for the entire study — showed that both types of animals helped decrease PTSD symptoms in their owners. But results were more significant in participants paired with a service dog.

In addition, veterans paired with service dogs had fewer suicidal behaviors and less ideation at the 18-month point, while both groups displayed a decrease in other symptoms such as anger and disrupted sleep.

However, the research found that, while both groups showed slight improvements in their mental health, there was no change in their levels of disability and no difference in physical health by the study’s completion.

“While both groups appeared to have experienced some benefit, an improvement in overall disability and quality of life among veteran participants with PTSD was not observed with the provision of a service dog relative to provision of an emotional support dog,” wrote the authors of the study, “A Randomized Trial of Differential Effectiveness of Service Dog Pairing Versus Emotional Support Dog Pairing to Improve Quality of Life for Veterans with PTSD.”

∙If your pet has put on weight during the pandemic, you’re not alone.
A recent Hills Pet Nutrition survey says our four-legged friends are putting on pandemic pounds with us, and not every pet parent wants to hear it.

Dr. Andrew Novosad with Sugar Land Veterinary Specialists says the first step to better health is recognizing there’s a problem.

“We use things like big-boned, there’s lots of ways you can phrase it. You find yourself having to be tactful… Yes, your dog’s overweight!” Dr. Novosad said.

Pandemic or not, Dr. Novosad said treats should be given out sparingly. As for Kibble, you can reduce the amount you’re feeding, or use a diet version, but dogs and cats typically differ on what they’ll tolerate. While dogs will likely accept a bland diet, “Cats will go on a hunger strike just to prove a point,” Dr. Novosad said.

If you need some guidance on helping your pet slim down the right way, visit, the American Veterinary Association website

∙ Midwestern Pet Foods has issued a voluntary recall of certain dog and cat food brands manufactured at the company’s Monmouth, Illinois, facility because they may be contaminated with salmonella, according to a company announcement posted on the FDA website.
The affected brands, which are sold nationwide, include CanineX, Earthborn Holistic, Meridian, Pro Pac, Pro Pac Ultimates, Sportmix, Sportmix Wholesomes, Sportstrial, Unrefined and Venture.
FDA expands Sportmix dog food recall after 70 dogs reportedly died
FDA expands Sportmix dog food recall after 70 dogs reportedly died
The Indiana-based company discovered the potential for contamination after routine sampling. You can tell if your product needs to be thrown out by looking at the expiration date, the company said.

The possibly contaminated products have an “M” in the date code, such as this example: “EXP AUG/02/22/M1/L#.
Midwestern Pet Foods is urging retailers and distributors to pull recalled lots from their inventory and shelves and, if possible, contact customers that purchased the products.

Vol. 14, No. 13 – Mar 24 – April 6, 2021 – The Pet Page

∙SPAN Thrift Store is 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.

Three upcoming clinics in April are: Tuesday, April 13th at the Albert H. Soliz Library – El Rio, 2820 Jourdan St., Oxnard, 93036, a second one on Tuesday, April 20th at Shiells Park, in the parking lot, located at 649 C St., Fillmore, 93015 and a third one on Tuesday, April 27th at SPAN Thrift Store parking lot 110 N. Olive St. (behind Vons on Main).

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

∙ Bravo Packing is expanding its March 4, 2021 recall of pet food products for possible Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes contamination. No human or animal illnesses related to the consumption of these products have been reported to the company to date.

The recall now includes all Bravo Packing pet food and bones in all package sizes. During an FDA inspection, samples collected tested positive for Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes. The recall is being expanded due to potential cross-contamination.

The recalled products include Performance Dog chub frozen raw dog food in 2 pound size; Performances Dog chub frozen raw dog food in 5 pound size; “Green Tripe” cub – ground bovine stomach frozen raw dog food in 2 pound packages, and “Green Tripe” chub-ground bovine stomach frozen raw dog food in 5 pound packages.

Also recalled is “Beef” chub – ground frozen raw dog food in 2 pound packages and “Beef” chub – ground frozen raw dog food in 5 pound packages. “Performance Dog” patties frozen raw dog food in unknown sizes is recalled, as is “Tripe” in 1/4 pound patties frozen raw dog food in unknown sizes. Finally, smoked Bones, in 14 varieties, of unknown package sizes, is recalled.

Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes can cause illness in pets and in people. Pets can eat this food, get sick, and spread the pathogens in their feces, which can contaminate their fur and environment. Pets who are sick may be lethargic, have diarrhea that may be bloody, fever, and vomiting. If your pet has been ill, see your veterinarian.

If you have any of these products in your home freezer, do not feed them to your pet. You can throw them away after first double bagging them. Put them into a secure garbage can with a tight fitting lid so other animals can’t access them. ou can also take them back to the store where you bought them for a full refund.

∙The Bidens’ 3-year-old German shepherd Major “nipped” a Secret Service agent’s hand.

“No skin was broken,” said the official, who described the injury as “extremely minor.”

The White House medical unit handled the incident, press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters, adding that “no further treatment was needed.”

∙The French Bulldog, once again, claimed Los Angeles’ top spot in the American Kennel Club’s (AKC®) 2020 ranking of the most popular AKC-recognized dog breeds in the U.S. The French Bulldog was also recognized as the #1 pup in West Palm Beach, FL and San Francisco.

Pomeranians have gained a bit of popularity moving from a 10th spot ranking to 9th, signifying the only real change in Los Angeles’ 2020 list.

“No wonder I’m LA’s favorite dog I’m sooo cute.”

“The French Bulldog continues to be a top favorite for people of Los Angeles for a third year in a row,” said AKC Executive Secretary Gina DiNardo. “This breed’s playful, alert and smart temperament make it a popular choice for both current and potential dog owners.”

Los Angeles’ top 5 breeds for 2020:

1. French Bulldog

2. Bulldog

3. Labrador Retriever

4. German Shepherd Dog

5. Golden Retriever

The AKC also announced its nationwide rankings at the AKC Museum of the Dog in NYC.

The Labrador Retriever celebrates a milestone! The loveable Lab remains the number one most popular breed in the United States for the 30th year.

While the Lab holds firmly to the top spot, the French Bulldog has continued to skyrocket in popularity. The Frenchie landed at number two in 2020, knocking the German Shepherd Dog down to third. The German Shepherd Dog had been the second most popular dog breed since 2009.

Most Popular Breeds Nationwide 2020

1. Labrador Retriever

2. French Bulldog

3. German Shepherd Dog

4. Golden Retriever

5. Bulldog

∙Get ready for what El Paso Animal Services is calling “Straylight Savings,” a play on daylight savings time. Animal Services is asking you to take time to check if your pet’s microchip is up to date.

While the fire department reminds residents to check the batteries in your smoke detector when daylight savings starts and ends, Animal Services said it’s also a great reminder to check the contact information on your pet’s microchip.

El Paso Animal Services said microchips are so important in making sure that your pet gets back home to you in case they ever get lost, but only if the contact information attached to the chip is current and registered.

You can update your pet’s microchip information by contacting the microchip manufacturer directly and ensure they have your current address and contact number. You can also register your pet’s microchip for free on the database as an extra layer of protection.

El Paso Animals Services reminds residents that if your pet does not have a microchip, microchipping is usually only about $20 at most veterinary clinics.

The nonprofit is also hosting free microchip clinics throughout the year through the Resource Rover program.

For more information on Animal Services’ next Resource Rover Pop-Up Microchip Clinic will be held, be sure to follow them on social media by searching for “El Paso Animal Services.”

∙From King Features: Are High Rehoming Fees Legitimate?

In a private Facebook group I belong to, someone is offering a pet for adoption, saying it belonged to their recently deceased mother-in-law. They want a $650 fee for “rehoming” the pet, because they say it has AKC registration. Is this a legitimate fee? It seems awfully steep. — James in Burlington, Vermont

James: Rehoming fees are a fact of life for private pet placements, but $650 to simply adopt a pet is unreasonably steep.

That isn’t to say that rehoming fees are a bad thing. A reasonable rehoming fee can prevent a pet from being adopted by people with bad intentions, who can’t financially care for a pet, or who are impulsively adopting a cute little dog that they might abandon at the first hiccup in behavior.

The flip side is someone abusing the rehoming fee for personal profit. That person may claim that the fee offsets their costs of caring for the pet, but when the rehoming fee far outstrips the cost of adopting from a shelter, it’s time to proceed with caution.

“ I need to take a break while delivering the Ventura Breeze. It’s hard work for a little dog. I need a raise” Glenda

Find out what the local shelter charges to adopt a pet and ask online what average rehoming fees are for your area. If you’re interested in the dog, contact the offerer and find out as many details as possible about its breed, temperament, health and the environment it lives in. Do not send any money beforehand. You need to meet both them and the dog in person, and no money should change hands until both sides agree (in writing, ideally) to the rehoming.

Further, if they are truly concerned for the dog’s welfare, they will have questions for you — maybe even an application — to make sure you are genuinely adopting the dog and will be a good owner.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Steve NielsenPublished Pets and AnimalsFOX 10 Phoenix

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The findings were published in the journal Animal Cognition


Vol. 14, No. 11 – Feb 24 – Mar 9, 2021 – The Pet Page

SPAN Thrift Store is now open to the public and looking for donations of adult clothing, household items and tools if you’ve got items you no longer use. SPAN Thrift Store is providing low cost spays and neuters for low income households with cats and dogs.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The findings were published in international journal “Allergy”.

NCSU professor shares science behind COVID-19 sniffing dogs

by Amber Rupinta

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

∙The first dogs have arrived from Delaware and are settled in their new home.

Lucky German Shepherds are living in Washington, DC.

“Champ is enjoying his new dog bed by fireplace and Major loved running around the South Lawn,” the White House said in a press release. Champ lived at the vice president’s residence during the Biden’s time there, and Major was adopted by the family in 2018 from a Delaware pet rescue.

∙ To some extent, dog genetic patterns mirror human ones, because people took their animal companions with them when they moved. But there were also important differences.

For example, early European dogs were initially diverse, appearing to originate from two very distinct populations, one related to Near Eastern dogs and another to Siberian dogs.

But at some point, perhaps after the onset of the Bronze Age, a single dog lineage spread widely and replaced all other dog populations on the continent. This pattern has no counterpart in the genetic patterns of people from Europe.

Anders Bergström, lead author and post-doctoral researcher at the Crick, said: “If we look back more than four or five thousand years ago, we can see that Europe was a very diverse place when it came to dogs. Although the European dogs we see today come in such an extraordinary array of shapes and forms, genetically they derive from only a very narrow subset of the diversity that used to exist.”

An international team analyzed the whole genomes (the full complement of DNA in the nuclei of biological cells) of 27 ancient dog remains associated with a variety of archaeological cultures. They compared these to each other and to modern dogs.

The results reveal that breeds like the Rhodesian Ridgeback in southern Africa and the Chihuahua and Xoloitzcuintli in Mexico retain genetic traces of ancient indigenous dogs from the region.

The ancestry of dogs in East Asia is complex. Chinese breeds seem to derive some of their ancestry from animals like the Australian dingo and New Guinea singing dog, with the rest coming from Europe and dogs from the Russian steppe.

Greger Larson, a co-author from the University of Oxford, said: “Dogs are our oldest and closest animal partner. Using DNA from ancient dogs is showing us just how far back our shared history goes and will ultimately help us understand when and where this deep relationship began.”

Dogs are thought to have evolved from wolves that ventured into human camps, perhaps sniffing around for food. As they were tamed, they could then have served humans as hunting companions or guards.

The results suggest all dogs derive from a single extinct wolf population – or perhaps a few very closely related ones. If there were multiple domestication events around the world, these other lineages did not contribute much DNA to later dogs.

Dr Skoglund said it was unclear when or where the initial domestication occurred. “Dog history has been so dynamic that you can’t really count on it still being there to readily read in their DNA. We really don’t know – that’s the fascinating thing about it.”

Many animals, such as cats, probably became our pets when humans settled down to farm a little over 6,000 years ago. Cats were probably useful for controlling pests such as mice, that were attracted by the waste generated by dense settlements. This places their domestication in cradles of agriculture such as the Near East.

“For dogs, it could almost have been anywhere: cold Siberia, the warm Near East, South-East Asia. All of these are possibilities in my mind,” Pontus Skoglund explained.

∙According to MedVet, cancer affects one in four dogs and one in five cats, and is the No. 1 disease-related cause of death for dogs and cats in the U.S.

Dr. Bobbi Musgrove, of Premier Pet Clinic in Tahlequah, said it’s a lot harder to detect symptoms of cancer in animals than in people.

“Unfortunately, a lot of the things people have as symptoms when they are coming down with cancer are easier to detect because people know those aren’t normal,” Musgrove said. “In dogs and cats, they tend to hide those kinds of symptoms, even though they’re very well domesticated. They are still technically prey and they’re not necessarily going to show us when they have symptoms of pain.”

Big changes dogs or cats may make if they are feeling ill include loss of appetite, decreased physical activity, or major behavior changes. Surprisingly, cats may come off as friendlier, and that could indicate an illness.

“A lot of people think that a dog or a cat might vocalize when they’re in pain, but in fact, that’s not generally the case unless it’s an injury-type of pain,” Musgrove said. “They’re not going to cry if they have pain associated with a tumor somewhere.”

Among the types of cancers dogs and cats are most at risk for are skin cancer, lymphosarcoma, spleen, liver, and bone and joint.

“There’s not just one [cancer] that’s the most common, but we do tend to see dogs and cats getting lymphosarcoma, and it can pop up in numerous systems throughout the body,” Musgrove said.

The process for detecting cancer in an animal begins with a physical exam.

“There aren’t as straightforward of tests for dogs and cats as there are for people. We don’t have what’s called a ‘PET’ scan and we don’t have genetic blood work or markers that are specific for certain tumors,” Musgrove said. “It’s all going to depend on if I feel a mass in the abdomen. We take an X-ray and then maybe do an ultrasound, and then we would potentially get a diagnosis based on getting a sample like a biopsy.”

More often than not, surgery will be initially recommended by a veterinarian, with radiation or chemotherapy following.

“For skin cancers, there’s probably a decent percentage in the realm of 60 to 90 percent,” Musgrove said. “For tumors that arise in other places — a lot of them, by the time we diagnose them, have already metastasized or spread. The chance of cure with surgery drops down to probably somewhere in the realm of 30 percent.”

Musgrove said a good step in detecting cancers in its early stages would be to have pets get physical exams annually.

“We recommend an annual physical exam for any pet that’s less than 6 years of age. Generally speaking, we’re not going to see cancers arise at a young age, just like in people,” Musgrove said. “Anything over 6, we do recommend semi-annual exams because then we can be better at staying on top of it.”

Another recommendation Musgrove has for pet owners to get their furry loved ones insured before it’s too late.

“Just like in people, you cannot wait until your vet says they believe your dog or cat has cancer to get insurance. You have to have it in advance; otherwise, it’s a pre-existing condition and it won’t be covered,” Musgrove said.

National Pet Cancer Awareness Month started in 2005, and was created by Nationwide and the Animal Cancer Foundation with a goal of raising money and increasing awareness to fight the leading killer of pets.

Vol. 14, No. 09 – Jan 27 – Feb 9, 2021 – The Pet Page

SPAN Thrift Store is now open to the public and looking for donations of adult clothing, household items and tools if you’ve got items you no longer use. 

SPAN Thrift Store is providing $10 spays and neuters for low income households with cats and dogs.

Two upcoming clinics are: 

Tuesday, February 2nd 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, on Tuesday, February 9th. 

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

∙Pet owners and veterinarians are being warned about recalled Sportmix pet food products now linked to the deaths of more than 70 dogs and the illnesses of 80 others.

Midwestern Pet Food is expanding its recall of dog and cat food sold online by retailers nationwide as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration investigates potentially fatal levels of aflatoxins.

Midwestern, based in Evansville, Indiana, is broadening a prior recall to include all pet foods manufactured in the company’s Oklahoma plant containing corn and having an expiration date on or before July 9, 2022. The recalled products include “05” in the date/lot code, which identifies them as having been made in the Oklahoma plant. More than 1,000 lot codes are affected.

The company in December recalled only certain lots of its Sportmix product after the deaths of at least 28 canines and the illnesses of eight others. The Missouri Department of Agriculture tested multiple product samples and found high levels of aflatoxins, which are toxins produced by mold that can cause death and illness in pets, according to the FDA. The toxins can be present even if there is no visible mold, the agency cautioned.

Pets with aflatoxin poisoning may have symptoms such as sluggishness, loss of appetite, vomiting, jaundice (yellowish tint to the eyes or gums due to liver damage) and diarrhea. Pets can also suffer liver damage without showing symptoms.

“FDA is issuing this advisory to notify the public about the potentially fatal levels of aflatoxins in Midwestern pet food products that may still be on store shelves, online or in pet owners’ homes,” the agency stated in an alert posted Monday. “We continue a thorough review of our facilities and practices in full cooperation with FDA,” the nearly 100-year-old company said Tuesday in a statement. “Until recently, throughout our long history, we’ve never had a product recall.”

Customers with questions can reach a call center at (800) 474-4163, ext. 455, or email

∙ Face masks for pets has increased in 2020 but top vets told Insider you shouldn’t put a mask on your pet. Sales for New York-based Pet Masks increased roughly sixfold during the pandemic, the Southwest News Service (SWNS) reported.

People had previously bought the $25 masks as a novelty or to protect their cats and dogs from pollution. But sales have boomed during the pandemic as people look to protect both their pets and themselves from COVID-19. This is despite the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and UK vet charity PDSA all telling people not to put masks on their animals because it can distress them as well as making it difficult for them to breathe.

∙A study of dog DNA has shown that our “best friend” in the animal world may also be our oldest one. The analysis reveals that dog domestication can be traced back 11,000 years, to the end of the last Ice Age.

This confirms that dogs were domesticated before any other known species.

Our canine companions were widespread across the northern hemisphere at this time, and had already split into five different types.

Despite the expansion of European dogs during the colonial era, traces of these ancient indigenous breeds survive today in the Americas, Asia, Africa and Oceania.

The research fills in some of the gaps in the natural history of our close animal companions.

Dr Pontus Skoglund, co-author of the study and group leader of the Ancient Genomics laboratory at London’s Crick Institute, told BBC News: “Dogs are really unique in being this quite strange thing if you think about it, when all people were still hunter gatherers, they domesticate what is really a wild carnivore – wolves are pretty frightening in many parts of the world.

“The question of why did people do that? How did that come about? That’s what we’re ultimately interested in.”

∙By Rachel Nuwer

It’s easy to understand why early humans domesticated dogs as their new best friends. Tame canines can guard against predators and interlopers, carry supplies, pull sleds and provide warmth during cold nights. But those benefits only come following domestication. Despite more than a century of study, scientists have struggled to understand what triggered the domestication process in the first place. A new theory described today in Scientific Reports posits that hunter-gatherers whose omnivorous digestive system prevented too much protein consumption likely shared surplus meat with wolves. Those scraps may have initiated a step toward domestication.

“This is the first time that we have an ecological explanation for dog domestication,” says lead author Maria Lahtinen, a senior researcher at the Finnish Food Authority and a visiting scholar at the Finnish Museum of Natural History. “I personally don’t think that there is a simple, easy answer behind dog domestication, but we need to see the full picture and complexity of the process.”

Lahtinen did not originally set out to solve a long-standing dog mystery. Instead, she was studying the diet of late Pleistocene hunter-gatherers in Arctic and sub-Arctic Eurasia. At that time, around 20,000 to 15,000 years ago, the world was engulfed in the coldest period of the last ice age. In frigid environments then, as today, humans tended to derive the majority of their food from animals. Nutritional deficiencies came from the absence of fat and carbohydrates, not necessarily protein. Indeed, if humans eat too much meat, diarrhea usually ensues. And within weeks, they can develop protein poisoning and even die. “Because we humans are not fully adapted to a carnivorous diet, we simply cannot digest protein very well,” Lahtinen says. “It can be very fatal in a very short period of time.”

During the coldest years of the last ice age—and especially in harsh Arctic and sub-Arctic winters—reindeer, wild horses and other human prey animals would have been eking out an existence, nearly devoid of fat and composed mostly of lean muscle. Using previously published early fossil records, Lahtinen and her colleagues calculated that the game captured by people in the Arctic and sub-Arctic during this time would have provided much more protein than they could have safely consumed.

In more ecologically favorable conditions, wolves and humans would have been competing for the same prey animals. But under the harsh circumstances of the Arctic and sub-Arctic ice age winter, sharing excess meat with canines would have cost people nothing. The descendants of wolves that took advantage of such handouts would have become more docile toward their bipedal benefactors over time, and they likely went on to become the first domesticated dogs. As the authors point out, the theory makes sense not just ecologically but also geographically: the earliest Paleolithic dog discoveries primarily come from areas that were very cold at the time.

The new study presents a “fascinating idea about lean protein being a food that humans would have discarded but wolves may have relied on during winter months in the Arctic,” says Brian Hare, an evolutionary anthropologist at Duke University, who was not involved in the work. “I think it offers another vital clue for how the human-dog partnership might have been initially fueled.”



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.


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

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 Suggestions for future topics may be directed to