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Archive for the ‘Health and Safety’ Category

Stem cells help canine arthritis

In Animal News, Health and Safety on May 24, 2010 at 7:56 pm

Before anybody panics, let it be clear that this new therapy, harms no animals, nor does it involve harvesting them for their stem cells. This is far away from the controversial topic of embryonic stem cell research, as only the animal’s own cells are used.

(photo via canineofmine)

Vet-Stem—a pharmaceutical company that strives to bring regenerative medicine technology to the veterinary profession—developed technology that derives stem cells from fat tissue by processing the tissue to concentrate it and then purifying it, which results in safe and usable stem cells.

More than 2,500 horses have already experienced the treatment, and it has proven very successful in repairing tendon and ligament injuries. Even more encouraging news: No significant side effects were reported in any of those cases.

While the therapy isn’t available everywhere yet, vets around the country are putting it into practice. Vets can harvest a sample of fat tissue, send the tissue to a laboratory in San Diego, CA, and receive the stem cells—ready for injection—in 48 hours.

Dogs or cats that have adverse reactions to anesthesia may want to stay away from this as the animal must be put under to harvest the fat and to inject the stem cells.

We don’t know yet if this research will help pet cancer. —Brendan Quealy


Resist the temptation to take the Easter Bunny home

In Health and Safety, Help the Animals on March 31, 2010 at 8:56 pm

Around every holiday, countless organizations around the country get the word out to make sure people are being responsible when considering whether to get a pet. Easter is no different and, in fact, drums up a bit more support for the cause.

Around this time there is a great increase in the purchase and adoption of rabbits and baby chicks, the two symbols of Easter and spring. However, it as been shown that the novelty of these animals wears off quickly as many of the cute and fuzzy “gifts” are returned before too long. Others are simply abandoned or face a life of neglect.

The problem is that some people look at these animals and assume they are not as much of a responsibility as a dog or a cat. In some cases, they can be more work. The truth is that the adorable little, yellow chick will grow up to be a real-life clucking chicken who requires space to roam, food to eat, supplies to stay healthy, and nearly constant cleanup. The same goes for any bunny you happen to bring home.

These are not animals you can stick in a cage, leave in the basement, or put out in the garage and forget about. Rabbits require vaccinations and vet checkups, objects to chew and scratch, areas to run free, and a clean living space. The last is quite challenging, as rabbits tend to produce more waste because of their inefficient digestive system.

Rabbits can be litterbox trained, but it takes much more work, patience, and dedication. As far as having a chicken roam about the house, between the feathers being shed and eggs being laid and waste being dropped, these animals are notorious for being carriers of salmonella.

The cost is also something that the prospective guardian needs to be aware of, especially in this economy. Many people would believe that it is cheaper to keep a rabbit or a chick, but according to the ASPCA, the yearly cost of a rabbit ($1,055) is just slightly cheaper than that of a small dog and actually a bit more than that required to care for a cat. For a chicken, there must be a coop with the proper bedding. For most people, that cost alone would be far more than originally expected, as it could range anywhere between $300 and $2,000.

All of these factors need to be taken into account before you surprise your child with that fuzzy ball of cuteness. No one is denying the fact that they are cute or saying that a person should not adopt a rabbit or a chick. They can make great pets if under the supervision and care of well-informed people. However, this is simply advocating for responsible decision-making based on a thought process where all of the information has been taken into consideration.

Remember that these are not stuffed animals. These are living, breathing creatures who look to us as the provider when we decide to take them home. We become their source for food, water, shelter, and companionship. Their lives are in our hands, and that is a responsibility that should not be taken lightly or undertaken without a great deal of thought behind it.

For more information about rabbit and chick guardianship, you can visit HumaneSociety.org. — Brendan Quealy

Shop Cruelty-Free

In Health and Safety on March 2, 2010 at 8:15 pm

Shop cruelty-free!

Since 1996 Leaping Bunny has been the authority on cruelty-free goods. They aim to make shopping for products that do not test on animals simple and straightforward. In response to brands designing their own bunny logos to trick consumers, Leaping Bunny formed the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics (CCIC) along with eight animal protection groups.

The Leaping Bunny stamp of approval is the only way to know if a product doesn’t test a single ingredient on animals in any phase of product development and has pledged not to do so in the future. Leaping Bunny warns that some products state they do not test on animals, when in fact they simply contract other companies to do the testing.

Look for me before you buy!

At http://www.LeapingBunny.org consumers can take a pledge to go cruelty-free as well as download a shopping guide detailing all Leaping Bunny approved products. Such brands include The Body Shop, Burt’s Bees, L’Occitane, Mary Kay and Paul Mitchell.

Sarah Hyde

Goodwill for chilly dogs

In Animal News, Health and Safety, Help the Animals on January 26, 2010 at 7:26 pm

Mississippi resident Clarissa Jones was unconvinced that the dogs at her local animal shelter, some of whom had no access to the indoors, could safely withstand the winter. She put her empathy into action by purchasing used sweaters from Goodwill and repurposing them to fit dogs.

Thus was born a local initiative that went national, The Save the Dogs from the Chill Project.

When Jones saw the number of supportive comments from blog readers in response to her suiting up the dogs, she realized that she had only touched the tip of the iceberg. She wrote in her blog, bignutshell.com/blogs/dogproject, “I can only imagine what dogs go through every winter all over the U.S. It’s obvious we have (unexpectedly) stumbled upon a HUGE issue that should be addressed.”

As a result, she is now accepting donations of used sweaters (children’s sweaters work best), to be sent to shelters all over the country. “The key has always been to build a bridge between the dogs and the people that are willing to help them,” Jones says.

Donations can be mailed to P.O. Box 19071, Hattiesburg, MS, 39404. Visit bignutshell.com/blogs/dogproject to follow the progress of the project.
Joy Schmoll

dog, sweater, winter, snow

Knits fit for mutts.
Source: http://www.everystockphoto.com

Man’s Best Friend Sniffs Out Survivors in Haiti

In Animal News, Health and Safety on January 19, 2010 at 4:44 pm

As help pours into earthquake-ravaged Haiti the number of people trapped under rubble awaiting rescue is uncertain. The fastest and most affective way to locate those buried alive is with search and rescue dogs, often referred to as “sniffer dogs.” Dozens of professionally trained “sniffer dogs” have come to Haiti’s aid in an unprecedented worldwide effort.

After the earthquake hit January 12, the United States immediately sent a 72-member team including many rescue dogs to the devastated country to help locate and dig out survivors. Britain, Peru, Mexico, France, Russia, Taiwan, and many other countries quickly followed suit.

The National Disaster Search Dog Foundation (NDSDF) has played an integral role in recruiting and training dog rescue teams to send to Haiti. NDSDF executive director Debra Tosch said, “This is the day that our teams have trained for; when the unthinkable happens, SDF teams stand ready to respond, bringing hope and comfort to victims and their loved ones.”

One such heroic team is California firefighter Bill Monahan and his Border Collie Hunter. Hunter used his “sniffer dog” training to locate three young girls who were trapped under 4 feet of broken concrete. Because of his discovery, the girls were extricated safely and given first aid. -Sarah Hyde

Dr. Marty Becker picks best dog-friendly cars

In Animal News, Health and Safety on January 6, 2010 at 8:02 pm

Dr. Marty Becker, “America’s Veterinarian,” chose the 2009 Toyota Venza and the 2010 Honda Element EX as Best In Show for canine-compatible cars. According to Dr. Becker, owner of the website DogCars.com, “Our winners this year reflect a trend we hope continues.”

He is referring to the surge in vehicle designs that specifically address the needs of dog guardians, incorporating everything from ramps and dedicated safety features to pet-ready interiors and stylish accessories.

The Venza features low-ground clearance for easier dog loading, flat-folding seats, and cargo hooks for securing crates. Additional safety accessories available for purchase include waterproof seat covers, pet-restraint harnesses, and cargo area barriers.

The “Dog Friendly” Element EX likewise caters to the pet-parent crowd, with dog-pattern seat covers and floor mats, stowable ramp, and rear kennel area complete with plug-in fan and spill-resistant water bowl.

Now your dog can enjoy the inside of the car as much as the view out the windows. —Joy Schmoll

New website helps send anonymous message to neighbor’s barking dogs

In Health and Safety on October 29, 2009 at 3:07 pm

stop barking dog

You know that bark, the inevitable howl ringing through the evening: it’s your neighbor’s dog’s nightly routine. Since you don’t want to cause friction when you run into him around town, however, you are left sleep-deprived and holding a grudge.

StopMyNeighborsDog.com, a new website launched by industry leader in pet safety and behavior products PetSafe, hopes to bring peace to neighborhood barking disputes by allowing neighbors to subtly spotlight nuisance barking to pet parents politely and anonymously.

Rather than simply investing in earplugs, concerned neighbors may send either an anonymous e-mail or postcard pre-written in a friendly, humorous, or serious tone to the beloved barker’s people, with the option to include tips on controlling nuisance barking and a coupon for a product from PetSafe’s line of bark solution training products.

“One of the most frequent sources of calls to local animal control departments is excessive barking from dogs,” says Randy Boyd, PetSafe President and CEO. “We hope the web site will help ease friction between neighbors and also keep otherwise good dogs from being taken to the pound.” –Sarah Hughes

ASPCA offers July 4th safety tips

In Health and Safety on June 30, 2009 at 3:30 pm


Keep Fido safe this 4th of July weekend! The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center offers the following tips:

*Never leave alcoholic drinks unattended where pets can reach them. Alcoholic beverages have the potential to poison pets. If ingested, the animal could become very intoxicated and weak, severely depressed or could go into a coma. Death from respiratory failure is also a possibility in severe cases.

*Do not apply any sunscreen or insect repellent product to your pet that is not labeled specifically for use on animals. Ingestion of sunscreen products can result in drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst, and lethargy. The misuse of insect repellent that contains DEET can lead to neurological problems.

*Always keep matches and lighter fluid out of your pets’ reach. Certain types of matches contain chlorates, which could potentially damage blood cells and result in difficulty breathing—or even kidney disease in severe cases. Lighter fluid can be irritating to skin, and if ingested can produce gastrointestinal irritation and central nervous system depression. If lighter fluid is inhaled, aspiration pneumonia and breathing problems could develop.

Read the rest of this entry »

Think Twice Before Leaving Your Pup in the Car

In Health and Safety on June 23, 2009 at 6:20 pm

In Concord, CA, Debbie Brown, 40, and her boyfriend, Chris, left their 2-year-old pooch, Lexi, in their air-conditioned vehicle. After grabbing a quick lunch, they returned to their Escalade to find the passenger side window smashed and their beloved Yorkie-Chihuahua mix nowhere to be found, according to a report in PeoplePets.com.

The couple called the police, who showed up immediately. Fingerprints could not be taken due to short staffing. Brown and her boyfriend did not waste time and decided they needed to take matters into their own hands and offer a $10,000 reward. Between Brown, Chris, and friends, the hefty reward was made possible.

“Within an hour to 45 minutes of her being gone, we had over 500 fliers up and on every single car at the Elephant Bar,” Brown says. “By the next afternoon, Channel 5 was good enough to come out and put the story on.”

The reward caused many bogus phone calls. But Monday morning gave Brown and her boyfriend hope. A person whom they believe to be the thief called and sent a photo of Lexi dressed in a jean jacket. “I said, ‘Oh my God, it’s her!’” Brown recalls.

Chris insisted on meeting the thief alone at a Petco in Alameda. “They gave him the dog, he gave them the $10,000, and nothing was said. That was it,” said Brown.

Lexi is home with her guardian and will not be left alone ever again. Brown guarantees that her 3-pound pooch will not be out of her sight again. “She’s in my arms, and she’s going to be in my arms from now on,” Brown says. —Jillian Wolande

Fleas, Ticks and… Bacterial Disease? Oh My!

In Health and Safety on June 22, 2009 at 7:36 pm

If just the thought of ticks and fleas on Fido or FiFi makes you shudder, gear up for something else that’ll have even you scratching—or worse.

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)—while it’s usually transmitted through person-to-person contact as bacteria living on the skin—may find its next host on your pet. This “super bug,” as it’s called, can cause minor skin infections if the bacterium is exposed to an open wound or infection if exposed to the bloodstream.

Constantly adapting bacteria, MSRA has become immune to antibiotics and drugs. So, it can be very dangerous to cats and dogs as well as their guardians. It can be transferred between pets through scratches or bites but can just as easily travel between pets and their humans.

In loving your pets, be sure to take care of their fur—and what’s underneath it—while taking care of your body, too. Also keep up with regular vet visits to detect any problems early.

To read more about household pets and MSRA, click here. —Morgan McMillan