Archive for January, 2013


Thursday, January 10th, 2013

San Francisco – January 9, 2013 –

Milo’s Kitchen® today announced that it is voluntarily recalling its Chicken Jerky and Chicken Grillers home-style dog treats from retailer shelves nationally. No other Milo’s Kitchen® products are affected.

On Monday, New York State’s Department of Agriculture informed the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Company that trace amounts of residual antibiotics had been found in several lots of Milo’s Kitchen® Chicken Jerky. After consultation with the New York Department of Agriculture and FDA, the company decided to voluntarily recall Milo’s Kitchen® Chicken Jerky and Chicken Grillers, which are both sourced from the same chicken suppliers.

The use of antibiotics to keep chickens healthy and disease-free while raising them is standard practice in poultry production for both human and pet food. However, the antibiotics found in the products were unapproved and should not be present in the final food product.

Milo’s Kitchen® has a comprehensive safety testing program in place for its products from procurement through manufacturing and distribution. Part of that program involves extensive testing for a wide range of substances commonly used to ensure the health of chickens. However, Milo’s Kitchen® did not test for all of the specific antibiotics found by the New York Department of Agriculture.

“Pet safety and consumer confidence in our products are our top priorities,” said Rob Leibowitz, general manager, Pet Products. “While there is no known health risk, the presence of even trace amounts of these antibiotics does not meet our high quality standards. Therefore, today we decided to recall both products and asked retailers to remove the products from their shelves.

“Consumers who discard the treats will receive a full refund,” said Leibowitz. “We are committed to Milo’s Kitchen® and stand by our guarantee of complete consumer satisfaction.”

Consumers with questions about Milo’s Kitchen products can get further information at 1-877-228-6493.

Nestlé Purina PetCare Company to voluntarily withdraw Waggin’ Train® and Canyon Creek Ranch® brand dog treat products

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

St. Louis, Missouri, January 9, 2013 . . . Nestlé Purina PetCare Company and its wholly owned subsidiary Waggin’ Train, LLC today announced it is voluntarily withdrawing its Waggin’ Train and Canyon Creek Ranch brand dog treats sold in the United States until further notice.

The Company is taking this action after learning this week that the New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets (NYSDAM) found trace amounts of antibiotic residue in samples of Waggin’ Train and Canyon Creek Ranch chicken jerky products. These antibiotics are approved for use in poultry in China and other major countries, including European Union member states, but are not among those approved in the U.S. Antibiotics are commonly used globally, including in the United States, when raising animals fit for human consumption. Waggin’ Train and Canyon Creek Ranch products are safe to feed as directed. However, due to regulatory inconsistencies among countries, the presence of antibiotic residue is technically considered an adulteration in the United States. This finding does not pose a safety risk to pets.

New York State authorities initially requested that the Company remove Waggin’ Train and Canyon Creek Ranch chicken jerky treats from retail locations in the state of New York, which we have agreed to do. In addition, because of the differences in U.S. and Chinese regulations, Nestlé Purina decided to conduct a nationwide voluntary withdrawal.

“All of us at Waggin’ Train care deeply about pets and their owners, and the quality of our products is of the utmost importance,” said Nina Leigh Krueger, President, Waggin’ Train LLC. “Waggin’ Train has served millions of pets and their owners very well. In the final analysis, our Company and our loyal consumers must have total confidence in the products we sell and feed our pets. Once we understand and determine how to comply with the technicalities of different regulatory frameworks, we will work with all appropriate parties to define the best way to supply the market.”

Nestlé Purina contacted the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding NYSDAM’s findings. There is no indication that the trace amounts of antibiotic residue are linked to the FDA’s ongoing investigation of chicken jerky products. The trace amounts of antibiotic residue (in the parts-per-billion range) do not pose a health or pet safety risk.

No other Purina treats or pet food products are affected by this withdrawal. In addition, Canyon Creek Ranch dog and cat foods, which are manufactured in the United States, are not included in this withdrawal.

For product refund or more information call our Office of Consumer Affairs at 1-800-982-0704 or go to

Angel Fund helps abused chihuahua get 2nd chance

Monday, January 7th, 2013

In August, 2011, Oksana and Eric Schwartz took their two dogs to a dog park not far from their West Hollywood apartment.

“A man came over to us and said he had found a dog tied up to a pole there and asked if it belonged to somebody,” Oksana said. “The dog [a chihuahua] had this little harness on and he had grown into it and it wouldn’t buckle up any more. It was so tight I couldn’t pull it over his head.  We had to cut it off. He was really underweight and had a broken leg.

“My husband has a soft spot for little dogs and he said: ‘Well he’s not ours but we’ll take him and  . . . see what we can do.’ We took him to Blue Cross Pet Hospital in North Hollywood. We’ve been taking our dogs there for a long time. And it turned out the dog had a broken hip on top of the broken leg.

Dr. James Walters, co-owner of the hospital, told the couple that the dog needed surgery. Eric is in the Marine Corps and Oksana works as a projects manager. She told Walters that they could not afford to pay for an operation. “‘We’d love to,’ I said, ‘but this is not our dog.’ My bigger dog was in a car accident less than six months before and we had been paying off that vet bill as well,” she said.

“The hospital offered to do the surgery for almost 50 percent off . . . so we finally decided to have it done. They had to put four pins, I think, in his leg. Our veterinarian told us after the surgery that somebody probably had kicked him and that the hip injury was a really old injury.”

The hospital took more than $700 off its bill and helped the Schwartzes obtain an Angel Fund grant. Oksana created a Facebook page for Murray, as they decided to call the dog, and a couple of friends contributed, too. “The fact that we got some help with the bill was really great,” she said.

“But we couldn’t find a place for him. Nobody really wanted a dog that had a broken bone,” Oksana said. “I really didn’t want another dog, either, because we live in a small apartment where we had two dogs to begin with and we weren’t sure if we could afford him.  But he was such a sweet little dog that we decided to keep him.”

Murray still has some issues that Oksana believes are related to how he was treated before he came into her life. For instance, she said, “in the middle of the night, if he’s sleeping on our bed and you accidently touch him with your foot, he can have a freak-out moment where he starts growling. But usually if you just hold him down, he’s o.k. and he’ll calm down and go right back to sleep.”

“Since we’ve had him, he’s 100 percent better than when we found him. He was about six pounds then. Now he’s about 10.  He wasn’t using his leg for a long time and the muscle had deteriorated so we had to train him to use it again. And now the muscle is slowly coming back.

“He’s a great addition to our family. He’s super sweet and smart and he wants to get petted all the time and he cuddles. He loves playing with our bigger dog and our little girl dog takes care of him like she’s his mom.”

December, 2012 Angel Fund Grant Recipients

Monday, January 7th, 2013

The Animal Health Foundation’s Angel Fund was happy to help pet owners in Los Angeles and Orange Counties afford critical care for their precious furry pets.

The Nelson’s pet Pistol received a grant as a result of the Lomita Pet Hospital

The Portillo’s pet Little Ranger received a grant as a result of the Community Veterinary Hospital, Inc.

The Varela’s pet Diesel received a grant as a result of the Aliso Niguel Animal Hospital

The Hattori’s pet Buddy received a grant as a result of the Crenshaw Animal Hospital

The Meier’s pet Little Bob received a grant as a result of the Mar Vista Animal Medical Center

The Leek’s pet Sheb received a grant as a result of the Beverly Virgin Animal Hospital

The Rodriguez’ pet Teddy received a grant as a result of the Animal Hospital of Huntington Beach

Cold-weather tips to keep pets safe this season

Monday, January 7th, 2013

Veterinarian Susan Nelson, a clinical associate professor at Kansas State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, offers tips for keeping pets safe in cold weather, such as letting them gradually get used to the cold. Dr. Nelson says smaller, less furry dogs such as Chihuahuas have a lower tolerance for cold than larger, well-insulated breeds such as huskies. Coats, boots and other winter gear designed for pets may help keep them warm but can also pose some hazards if not properly used and monitored, she adds. U.S. News & World Report/HealthDay News (1/5)

With the arrival of winter, dog owners need to be aware of how to keep their canine friends comfortable and safe, an expert says.

“A general rule of thumb is if it is too cold for you outside, it is too cold for your dog,” Susan Nelson, a clinical associate professor and veterinarian at the Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine’s Pet Health Center, said in a university news release.

Several factors, such as size, help some dogs tolerate the cold better than others.

“Small stature and short coats, such as with a Chihuahua, make dogs less tolerant of cold weather. Some of these dogs may not even tolerate cooler temperatures that are still above freezing for very long,” Nelson said.

“Larger body mass and longer, plusher coats allow dogs to tolerate lower temperatures for a longer duration — think Siberian husky,” she added.

Giving your dog enough time to get used to colder temperatures is a good idea. Being exposed to a gradual reduction in temperature allows your dog to develop a protective winter coat and adjust to the colder conditions.

While coats, sweaters and boots can give dogs added protection, they also have some disadvantages, Nelson said.

“Watch for choking hazards, such as buttons, on coats and sweaters,” she advised. “Ensure they are made of breathable fabrics and that the fabric doesn’t irritate the dog. They should only be worn when supervised as the dog could get caught up in them. Also, if the apparel gets wet, it can promote hypothermia that results from chilling caused from the body being in contact with the cold, wet fabric.”

Boots can keep snow and ice away from paws, but owners need to make sure they fit correctly, can be put on easily and stay on, and have good traction, Nelson said.

Mold Found in Merrick Cat Food Cans

Monday, January 7th, 2013

Posted by  on January 6, 2013 at 5:40 pm on

Some concerning pictures and information has been shared with by a pet owner in California.  Numerous cans of Merrick Cat food (from two cases) appear to have a canning problem, the pet owner found mold covering the food.

Kitty Mom Michelle G. contacted with a concern over mold found in numerous cans of Merrick Cat Food purchased from Petflow (an online pet food provider).  In speaking with Michelle, she shared that not all the cans seemed to have a problem.  “Some of the cans opened fine and the pet food looked pink and normal.  But some of them didn’t seem to be sealed properly, there was no vacuum seal noise when it opened – there was a dead sound.”

With the cans in question, the pet food varied in amount of mold that covered the food – some “had worse mold than in the picture” (below).  And some of the cans in question, the pet food had no mold but appeared brownish (instead of pinkish meat appearance).

The pet food cans from Michelle’s cases are…

Merrick BG Chicken Grain Free Cat Food 5.5 ounce cans Best By dates are:  14 Mar 14 Lot number:  12074 CL2 20473 1203

Michelle has reported this to Merrick, Petflow, FDA, and tomorrow (when offices open) her State Department of Agriculture will be notified.  Several of the moldy cans of pet food are now in her freezer (double bagged) in hopes the FDA or State will want to do testing.  The rest of the case of pet food is also being held for testing.  She stated she will keep us advised on the investigations of each party.

Thanks to Michelle for sharing her story with us – and for reporting this to authorities and to Merrick and the retailer.  When/if more is learned, it will be posted.

Note:  Always closely examine and smell your pets food before feeding.  If anything appears not to be normal – if it doesn’t look the same or smell the same – do not feed it to your pet.  Always keep the packaging (can or bag) until you are certain your pet has not/will not suffer an adverse event from the food.  The FDA or State Department of Agriculture will not investigate without the packaging (this includes cans).

Pet Partner team Carole and Shellie on TV!

Sunday, January 6th, 2013

Carole Melvin and Shellie were at their regular visit at CHOC (Children’s Hospital of Orange County) when they were asked to help with a project.  Channel 7 ABC news was doing a feature on charities and how a consumer should check out the charity first. So, Carole and Shellie ended up on TV in a special news segment when they were talking about the CHOC Foundation!  Sometimes we’re called on to help in many different ways!

To view the whole story CLICK HERE

Canine distemper virus: Serious but preventable

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

Canine distemper virus causes a potentially deadly, multisystemic disease in canids and can be hard to distinguish from canine parvovirus and kennel cough, writes veterinarian Allison Dascoli. Testing can help differentiate between the illnesses, according to Dr. Dascoli, but she notes that canine distemper virus can be prevented with proper vaccination. Charleston Daily Mail (W.Va.)

Canine distemper virus is a severe, highly contagious multisystemic virus that can affect dogs and other carnivores worldwide. We can see the virus in any dog, but it is most commonly diagnosed in young, unvaccinated puppies. This is especially true of puppies and dogs that are kept in close contact in kennels or shelters.

In these situations, the virus is spread by infected animals in all body secretions and excretions. But the most common way it is spread is through respiratory droplets and aerosol spray. Once the virus enters the body, it travels to the lymph system and on into the blood. Once in the blood, it travels back to the respiratory tract, GI tract and nervous system, causing clinical signs of the disease. Animals can shed the virus for up to two weeks after recovery if they are able to mount a sufficient immune response. If they are unable to fight the virus due to a poor immune system, they will die quickly.

The clinical signs of the virus are variable. Generally, these dogs will have a fever, go off feed and be depressed. The respiratory signs include nasal discharge, running eyes, coughing and sneezing. Pneumonia is a secondary side effect and can be viral initially and then change to bacterial. GI signs will include vomiting and diarrhea. Neurologic signs also can occur with or without other signs. The encephalitis that we see can include seizures, pacing, circling, problems walking, paralysis, vision issues and twitches. Some dogs can succumb to neurologic signs weeks to months after an apparent recovery. Other signs you can see are enamel defects on their adult teeth and hardening of the footpads.

Diagnosis of distemper can be difficult. The lifestyle of the pet has to be taken into account.  Older, vaccinated pets do not get distemper. Blood work is needed to look at blood cells and organ function to assess involvement. Chest X-rays can show pneumonia. The virus is only detectable for a certain amount of time in different tissues so sometimes a spinal tap is needed to collect fluid for analysis as well. But one of the better tests is called a PCR assay. It can be run on a blood sample, a conjunctival swab or on urine. These are all very expensive tests and multiple tests should be run to ultimately get to a correct diagnosis.

There is no effective antiviral treatment for canine distemper. Therefore all treatment is aimed at controlling the secondary symptoms. This includes broad-spectrum antibiotics, humidifiers, bronchodilators and expectorants to treat the pneumonia. Vomiting and anti-diarrheal medicine for the GI effects are given sometimes as necessary. Medicine to control seizures and excellent nursing care with fluids, cleaning the air passageways and balanced nutrition all help to support these patients.

The prognosis for distemper dogs is guarded. Mortality rates are the highest in younger animals and in animals that start to show neurologic signs. Even mild cases can appear to recover initially only to become clinical again.

Vaccination is the cornerstone in preventing canine distemper. The current American Animal Hospital Association guidelines for vaccines start at 8 weeks of age with a modified live virus vaccine and booster every four weeks until they are 16 weeks old. After the initial series, a booster should be given one year later, then every three years for life.  If dogs are older than 16 weeks when vaccination is started, booster after four weeks, then one year later, then every three years to ensure protection for life.

The problem with distemper is that it can look like kennel cough and also like parvo, which are very common diseases we see in shelters. If you suspect distemper, immediately talk to your veterinarian. They will recommend testing to try to determine the disease. In all cases, you will need to isolate the pet and clean the environment well with disinfectants until you can get a diagnosis and a treatment plan started.