Archive for May, 2013

Cosmo was helped by The Cat Care Clinic in Orange, CA

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

Cosmo PictureThe Carrillo family knew that Cosmo needed help, but was short on funds, so the Cat Care Clinic in Orange, CA reached out to the Angel Fund to help fund the emergency surgery this 1 year old boy needed.

Unfortunately, Cosmo did not survive the surgery due to going into shock and an adverse drug reaction.

The AHF and Angel Fund send condolences to the Carrillo family.

Angel Fund helps the Hopper family’s “Ladybird”

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

LadybirdMr. Hopper’s Cocker Spaniel mix was diagnosed with Heartworm.  At 82 years old and being on a fixed income, he was struggling to afford the treatment.

So, Dr. Jackson from the Airport Cities Animal Hospital in Inglewood applied  and was approved for an Angel Fund Grant to help Ladybird who is currently on the mend.

One Health: Dog walking in an era of overweight and obesity: Strategies for both ends of the leash

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

finalAHF_PawLogoRebecca A. Johnson, University of Missouri, USA (Co-Author of “Walk A Hound, Lose A Pound)

ABSTRACT for AVMA Convention, 2013, Human-Animal Bond Track

A large share of the industrialized world is recognizing and struggling to address an epidemic of overweight and obesity which has also extended itself to companion animals. Creative strategies are needed that transcend species and help to facilitate physical activity. The nature of human-animal interaction (HAI) as a key facilitator of physical activity for both ends of the leash will be explored. In particular, what components of HAI and the human animal bond are most likely to facilitate cross-species physical activity, what role dog walking can play when it is incorporated into treatment plans for people and companion animals, and what arethe theoretical and empirical bases for advocating dog walking?

The potential for dog walking as a communities-wide intervention and its applicability across cultures will be discussed. Attention will be paid to clinical implications around dog walking and its potential for advancing One Health practice in a variety of disciplines.  This work grew out of my research on relocation of older adults in which I found that physical limitations were common reasons for them to relocate to a nursing home. In our first study we achieved significant weight loss among participants. Subsequent studies showed that older adults’ normal walking speed increased
significantly after dog-walking and that dog walking was associated with increased physical activity outside of the dog walking. The findings show that HAI can have important implications for health and well-being.

Dog-friendly beaches a rare, treasured resource

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

HB dog beachThey can be hard to find, but “off-leash dog beaches are a canine’s dream come true,” according to Lisa Porter, owner of the travel site Pet Hotels of America. The best beaches offer amenities for pets such as showers, bags for waste cleanup and the option for off-leash play. Efforts to develop more oceanside spots for dogs have stalled in some areas amid fears of wildlife impacts and mess, but those who support the beaches say they are good for people in addition to pets. Detroit Free Press/The Associated Press (5/22)

LOS ANGELES — When Craig Haverstick approaches the beach with his dog in tow, Stanley instinctively knows he’s in for a treat. His ears perk up and he starts sniffing the salty air.

“Chesapeake Bay retrievers are like plants, they need to be watered every now and then,” Haverstick said of the 9-year-old he’s been taking to the beach in San Diego weekly for eight years. “We have some great dog beaches. Dogs and people both drool over them.”

Dog beaches account for a tiny fraction of the thousands of miles of U.S. shoreline, but they are treasured by pet owners and their pooches.

“Off-leash dog beaches are a canine’s dream come true,” said Lisa Porter, owner of Pet Hotels of America, a travel website that lists thousands of beaches and parks where dogs are allowed on leash or can run free.

Every beach has its own draw. San Diego offers three off-leash options: Fiesta Island in Mission Bay is great for swimming; Ocean Beach Dog Beach is good for dogs to play together; and Coronado’s Dog Beach is described as magical.

Beaches where unleashed dogs are allowed complete freedom are typically fenced, offer drinking water and showers for dogs, bags to pick up dog feces and trash cans.

Dog lovers say the biggest problem is that there aren’t enough beaches for their pets and parking is often scarce.

■Related story: Togs day afternoon: Dress your pooch for the beach

Efforts to create more pooch-friendly beaches, such as one that died in Santa Monica two years ago, have run into resistance from California State Parks.

Critics say letting beaches go to the dogs threatens species such as shore birds, jeopardizes the safety of visitors, ruins the experience for beachgoers and can pollute water and sand with poop and urine.

Fans who frequent the beaches say they provide a great playground for their hounds and can even be therapeutic.

When Carol Kearney first adopted Buddy, an abused 70-pound, 2-year-old Staffordshire terrier mix, he was afraid of noises and terrified of water.

“When he heard traffic, it was like he was trying to get out of his skin,” Kearney said.

Letting him run on the beach less than a mile from her 14th floor home in a Coronado high-rise was the only way to calm him down.

Now he digs in the sand, chases his dog pals or swims through the waves to retrieve float toys.

Other top West Coast off-leash dog beaches recommended by Porter include Huntington Dog Beach in Huntington Beach, one of the best known dog surfing beaches in the world; Rosie’s Dog Beach in Long Beach; Cannon Beach in Oregon; and Double Bluff Beach on Whidbey Island in Washington.

East Coast recommendations are Duck Beach in Outer Banks, N.C.; Bonita Beach Dog Park in Bonita Springs, Fla.; and Paw Park in South Brohard Beach, Fla.

Some beaches, such as Fisherman’s Cove Conservation Area in Manasquan, N.J., require a leash. That law wasn’t enforced until after Superstorm Sandy did a lot of damage and the county decided to start ticketing offenders, said Monmouth County Parks Manager Drew d’Apolito.

Similarly, Live Oak Beach in Santa Cruz County was known as a “don’t ask, don’t tell” beach until recently, said Ingrid Wander, who let Asia, her chocolate Labrador retriever, run free.

Wander got a $160 ticket in January.

She still takes Asia there at low tide. Wander walks, collects shells, takes photos of sea life and watches out for the law as Asia fetches balls in the water.


Meet the Canine Minister to an Alzheimer’s Man

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

alaskan malamuteBy Ron Berler

Appeared originally in Mysterious Ways magazine.

Casey wasn’t the most popular dog in her owner Carol Baird’s neighborhood of Dalton, Ga. A huge, burly Alaskan malamute, she had a heart of gold but a nose for trouble.

She’d slip out the Baird family’s back door and trot down the street without a care. Most people gave her a wide berth. That was hardly surprising. From a distance, Casey looked a lot like a wolf.

She behaved like one too, or at least had an appetite like one. Neighbors often stormed over to complain. “Your dog got out again, and ate all of our dog’s food!” or “Casey’s turned over our garbage!”

So when a man rapped on Carol’s door, said he lived three blocks away and then asked for her dog’s name, Carol braced herself. What did Casey do this time?

“We have a sliding-glass door that we usually keep open in the summer,” the man began, “and every day for the last several weeks your dog has wandered off the street and come uninvited into my house.”

That dog, Carol thought. “I’m so sorry,” she said. “I don’t know why Casey gets herself into such mischief. A lot of it’s our fault. We have to start watching her more closely. But honestly, she means no harm…”

“No, you don’t understand,” the man interrupted. “I came over to thank you.”

The man must have seen the confusion on Carol’s face. No neighbor had ever said anything positive about Casey before. They usually wanted to know who would fill up the two-foot hole she’d energetically dug in their backyard.

But not this neighbor. He explained that his father, who had Alzheimer’s, lived with him and his wife and needed constant monitoring. The father rarely moved from his easy chair in front of the TV in the living room and was often agitated. Caring for him had exhausted the man and his wife.

“I couldn’t remember the last time we had two hours to ourselves,” the man said. “And then, one day, your dog showed up.”

Casey wandered into the house through the sliding door and made straight for the man’s father. “She sat right beside him, like she had planned to visit him all along,” the neighbor said, his voice filled with wonder.

He saw his father turn to Casey and begin to pet her. He stroked her and stroked her, and fell peacefully asleep. “He slept two full hours,” the neighbor said. “It was the biggest midday reprieve my wife and I have had in years.”

Casey returned the next day, and every day after that, as if she had an appointment to keep. Each time was the same. She’d pad to the old man’s chair and sit by his side, letting him pet her till he dozed off.

“To my wife and me,” the neighbor said, “Casey was a gift from heaven. That’s why I’ve come to see you today. Is Casey here?”

“Yes, she is,” Carol said. “Casey!”

The big malamute trotted up, looking at the neighbor with searching eyes. The neighbor gave a gentle pat. “You must have known, didn’t you?” the neighbor said to Casey. “That’s why you just stopped coming a couple of days ago.”

“Known what?” Carol asked.

“My father died in his sleep the night after Casey’s last visit. She knew her job was over.”

An ounce of heartworm prevention is worth a pound of cure

Monday, May 20th, 2013

heartwormTreatment of heartworm disease can cost as much as $1,000 for bigger dogs, much more than the cost of monthly preventive medication, notes veterinarian Melissa James. The health costs to dogs are high, as they suffer severe damage to the heart, kidneys and their overall health, and some dogs do not survive treatment. Heartworm preventive medication has the added bonus of killing other parasites that can cause illness in dogs and people, Dr. James adds. The Blade (Toledo, Ohio) (5/20)

Jody Brickner’s Brittany spaniel, Ruthie, is a survivor.

The 15-year-old first lost her home eight years ago and ended up in rescue. Then she was diagnosed with heartworm disease.

The rescue group opted to spring for the expensive treatment for the friendly orange-and-white dog, and Mrs. Brickner fell in love with her in the process.

“She is a great gal,” said Mrs. Brickner, who lives in Findlay with Ruthie and several other dogs. “Even in her age and weakness, she can still be the boss around here.”

One thing pet owners need to know is that all preventive treatment options for heartworm are much less expensive than treating the disease, said Dr. Melissa James, a veterinarian at Blanchard Valley Veterinary Clinic in Findlay, where Ruthie was treated.

“Also, once they’ve had heartworm, you can’t reverse the damage to the heart,” Dr. James said.

Both topical and oral medications are available that prevent a dog who is bitten by a mosquito carrying heartworm from getting the disease. Oral medications include both hard chews and soft chews, depending on the preference of the dog.

Adult heartworms can grow up to a foot in length and live as long as five years inside a dog. They can clog pulmonary arteries, and if there is significant infestation, the worms back up into the heart itself and eventually fill it. They cause blood clots, and the heart has to work abnormally hard to pump blood through plugged arteries. Heartworms also cause serious inflammation in the arteries that can affect the liver and kidneys.

Heartworm is a silent killer and can easily go undetected for several years, Dr. James said. Dogs don’t start to experience symptoms such as coughing, lethargy, and exercise intolerance until the disease is pretty far along.

Ruthie was given three deep intramuscular injections of Immiticide to kill her heartworms. Dogs being treated for heartworm must be kept quiet and not exercised while the parasites in their system die off.

Several treatment protocols are used, depending on the severity of the disease, which is assessed by clinical exams, radiographs, and blood work, Dr. James said.

Ruthie got one injection, followed by another injection 30 days later, and a third injection 24 hours after the second.

The cost of treatment depends on the weight of the dog and can approach $1,000 for large dogs.

Mrs. Brickner has fostered two other dogs with heartworm for American Brittany Rescue. The group reports about 10 percent of dogs it takes in have heartworm infection.

“Another one was a senior dog with a low infection,” she said. “He was treated just with Heartgard once a month for a slow kill. They felt the standard treatment would have been too hard on him.”

The third dog, Ruby, was severely infected and didn’t make it. “It had already affected her kidneys when she came into rescue,” Mrs. Brickner said. “Her appetite was very poor, and it was very sad. I paid for a treatment that was supposed to clear her blood from toxins because of the kidney failure.

“She felt better for a very short time, only a few days. Within two months of coming into rescue, she pretty much stopped eating, and we made the tough choice to let her go.”

One of the benefits of treatment with heartworm preventive is that it also kills other intestinal parasites such as roundworm and hookworm, which can be passed on to humans, Dr. James said. Some heartworm preventives also kill whipworms.

“They are transmitted via fecal matter through the skin,” Dr. James said. “You don’t necessarily have to ingest the fecal matter. If kids are playing in a yard where an infected dog has defecated, they can get the worms. And no one wants their kids to have internal parasites.”

While dog owners are thinking about preventing heartworm, they also should consider flea and tick preventives, Dr. James said. Some heartworm preventives are effective against fleas and ticks. “Although it seems like a lot of money, it’s a lot cheaper than treating the illness,” Dr. James said. “And ridding your home of fleas once your dog has brought them in is time-consuming and no fun.”

Ticks, which carry Lyme disease, already are prevalent this year, Dr. James said. According to the Companion Animal Parasite Council, 250 out of 45,376 dogs tested positive for Lyme disease in Ohio in 2012, or one in 182. Ticks can be removed by owners, but they must be careful not to crush the tick in the process because that will release the diseases it carries into the dog. It’s also dangerous for owners to burn ticks off dogs.

“They can burn them to destroy them once they remove them, but not while they are still on the dog,” Dr. James said. “I often see more damage from people trying to remove the ticks than what the tick itself has done.

“If the tick is embedded or the dog owner doesn’t feel comfortable in removing them, they should let their vet do it.”

Contact Tanya Irwin at or 410-724-6066, or on Twitter @TanyaIrwin.

Marine, dog reunited in surprise ceremony

Sunday, May 19th, 2013

dog and marineDES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — When Marine Sgt. Ross Gundlach served as a dog handler in Afghanistan, he told the yellow lab who was his constant companion that he’d look her up when he returned home.

“I promised her if we made it out of alive, I’d do whatever it took to find her,” Gundlach said.

On Friday, he made good on that vow with help from some sentimental state officials in Iowa who know how to pull off a surprise.

Since leaving active duty to take classes at the University of Wisconsin this summer, Gundlach, of Madison, Wis., had been seeking to adopt 4-year-old Casey.

The 25-year-old learned Casey had finished her military service and had been sent to the Iowa State Fire Marshal’s Office, where she was used to detect explosives.

Gundlach wrote to State Fire Marshal Director Ray Reynolds, explaining the connection he felt with the dog. He even has a tattoo on his right forearm depicting Casey with angel wings and a halo, sitting at the foot of a Marine.

“He’s been putting a case together for the last two months, sending me pictures … it just tugged on your heart,” Reynolds said.

Reynolds decided to arrange a surprise. First, he got in touch with the Iowa Elk’s Association, which agreed to donate $8,500 to buy another dog for the agency.

“We have a motto in our association that as long as there are veterans, the Elks will strive to help them,” Iowa Elks Association president Tom Maher said.

Then, Reynolds came up with a ruse to get Gundlach to Des Moines, telling Gundlach he needed to come to the state Capitol to plead his case in front of a “bureaucratic oversight committee.”

When Gundlach arrived with his parents, Reynolds told them the meeting had been delayed and invited them to join an Armed Services Day celebration in the rotunda. There, hundreds of law enforcement officers, military personnel and civilians were seated, keeping the secret — until they brought out Casey.

When Gundlach saw Casey, he put his head in his hands and cried. She licked his face, wagging her tail furiously.

“It was a total surprise,” he said. “I owe her. I’ll just try to give her the best life I can.”

His father, Glen Gundlach, seemed just as surprised.

“It’s unbelievable … the state of Iowa, I love ’em,” he said.

Gov. Terry Branstad officially retired Casey from active duty during Friday’s ceremony, thanking the dog for a “job well done.”

During the 150 missions they performed together, Gundlach said Casey never missed an explosive — she caught three before they could be detonated. He credits her for making it back home safely.

“I wouldn’t be here … any kids I ever had wouldn’t exist if Casey hadn’t been here,” he said.

Paddle boarding with Kinsey

Friday, May 17th, 2013

Kinsey & Chris PaddleboardingCheck out Chris and her pet partner Kinsey having a blast paddle boarding!

Lyme vaccine for humans does well in trials

Thursday, May 16th, 2013

ticksA novel vaccine for Lyme disease led to the production of antibodies against the borrelia organisms that cause the disease in the U.S. and Europe, without sparking major side effects, according to new research. The vaccine must undergo Phase III trials, but the research team is hopeful it will become a tool to help prevent Lyme disease in people. Dogs and humans contract Lyme disease from ticks, and the incidence of Lyme disease in the U.S. is increasing. Medical News Today (5/14)


A vaccine for Lyme disease may be on its way, following a promising phase 1/2 clinical trial from investigators at the Stony Brook University School of Medicine and Brookhaven National Laboratory.

The finding was published online in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, and revealed that the vaccine resulted in significant antibodies against all targeted species of Borrelia – the agent that causes Lyme disease in the United States and Europe.

Lyme disease, contracted via ticks, is an infectious disease that can cause the following signs and symptoms:

This disease can often be overlooked and go untreated, leading to complications – making it crucial for people to protect themselves from this disease.

The research team consisted of scientists from Stony Brook University, Brookhaven National Laboratory, and Baxter International Inc. They analyzed the safety and immune response potential of the vaccine in a range of doses among 300 people living in Germany and Austria.

Study volunteers received three primary immunizations and one booster. All types and doses – some of which had an adjuvent, an additive that triggers an immune response to the vaccine – resulted in significant antibodies against all species of Borrelia.

The vaccine caused mostly mild adverse reactions. No-vaccine induced serious events were documented in the sample population.

Dr. Luft, a co-author on the paper explained:

“The results of the clinical trial conducted by Baxter are promising because the vaccine generated a potent human immune reaction, covered the complete range of Borrelia active in the entire Northern hemisphere, and produced no major side effects. We hope that a larger-scale, Phase 3 trial will demonstrate not only a strong immune response but true efficacy in a large population that illustrates protection against Lyme disease.”

One of the long-time challenges of creating a Lyme disease vaccine has been to find a technique that can develop a vaccine that is effective against all Borrelia species.

Using technology and the expertise of all scientists involved in the study, Dr. Luft and his colleagues were able to aim vaccine development on the most prominent Borrelia outer surface protein found when the spirochete bacteria live in ticks – which normally transmit the disease.

By using the scaffold of this protein, known as OspA, the experts were able to bioengineer a set of specific OspA proteins that do not exist in nature. The new OspAs contain different components from different species of Borrelia. The new proteins are named chimeras.

Dr. Luft concluded, “After a series of experimentations and refinements, formulations consisting of these new OspA proteins were shown to protect against a broad spectrum of Lyme disease spirochetes.”

How to Prevent Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is passed through infected Ixodes dammini ticks. They can be found in grassy areas including lawns, woodlands, and shrubs.

May is Lyme disease awareness month and the following are recommendations to prevent Lyme disease:

  • Avoid wooded and bushy areas with high grass.
  • Apply tick repellent and wear long sleeves, pants, and socks.
  • Regularly check your skin and clothes for ticks
  • Acaricide application in your home to eliminate ticks.
  • Be extra careful in the hot summer months of May, June, July, and August
  • Check with local authorities about tick infested areas around where you live.

Last month, a report conducted by the University of Toronto revealed that rates of lyme disease are rising in the U.S.

In the UK, a study of pet dogs last year showed that a person’s risk of becoming infected with Lyme disease is much greater than previously thought. Many pet dogs carry the ticks that transmit the disease.

Therapy animals can be the best medicine

Thursday, May 16th, 2013

Therapy dogs have been shown to decrease cortisol levels in children with autism and ameliorate pain in chronic pain patients, according to this report. The video features the story of how a therapy dog helps one war veteran cope with severe pain and physical therapy after debilitating injuries incurred when he stepped on an explosive device. WFTV-TV (Orlando, Fla.)

BACKGROUND: Pet therapy is a broad term that includes animal-assisted therapy and other animal-assisted activities. Animal-assisted therapy is a growing field that uses dogs or other animals to help people recover from or better cope with health problems, such as heart disease, cancer and mental health disorders. (SOURCE:

WHAT IS ANIMAL ASSISTED THERAPY?: Animal assisted therapy (AAT) uses trained animals to enhance an individual’s physical, emotional, and social well-being, thus improving self-esteem, reducing anxiety and facilitating healing. The use of AAT reportedly dates back to the 1940s, when an army corporal brought his Yorkshire terrier to a hospital to cheer wounded soldiers. There was such a positive response that the dog continued to comfort others for 12 more years. (SOURCE: /)

BENEFITS: Animal-assisted therapy can significantly reduce pain, anxiety, depression, and fatigue in people with a range of health problems:

  • Children having dental procedures
  • People receiving cancer treatment
  • People in long-term care facilities
  • People hospitalized with chronic heart failure
  • Veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder

And it’s not only the ill person who reaps the benefits. Family members and friends who sit in on animal visits say they feel better, too. Pet therapy is also being used in nonmedical settings, such as universities and community programs, to help people deal with anxiety and stress. (SOURCE:

RISKS FACTORS: The biggest concern, particularly in hospitals, is safety and sanitation. Most hospitals and other facilities that use pet therapy have stringent rules to ensure that the animals are clean, vaccinated, well trained and screened for appropriate behavior. It’s also important to note the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has never received a report of infection from animal-assisted therapy. (SOURCE: