Archive for September, 2013

Dr. Joe Cortese Dog Park Dedication

Monday, September 9th, 2013

On August 17th, the city of San Juan Capistrano dedicated their new dog park in honor of beloved local veterinarian Dr. Joe Cortese, also know as “Dr. Fleas”Dr. Joe Cortese.The dog park welcomes small and large dogs and features picnic tables, benches, and an access ramp for people with disabilities. Enjoy the beautiful mature oak, avocado, and Valencia orange trees that are being preserved as part of this wonderful new park. The area will include drinking fountains for both people and pooches.

Dr. Cortese was a past president and member of the Animal Health Foundation’s Board of Trustees.  He passed away suddenly in 2008 while visiting friends in New Mexico with his wife, Goldee.

The AHF is proud to have made a donation to the park to honor such a dedicated and loved individual.

Troops reunited with dogs they cared for in Afghanistan

Monday, September 9th, 2013

Sheba and pupsA litter of puppies and their mother, Sheba, who befriended U.S. troops stationed in Afghanistan, have been transported to the U.S. The puppies will be adopted by the service members, while Sheba may be trained as a service dog and placed with a veteran in need. Staff Sgt. Edwin Caba and others were elated to see the dogs again. “We just built a bond you can’t even describe,” he said. CBS News/The Associated Press

For the story, pictures and video, CLICK HERE



Why urban dogs need heartworm prevention

Monday, September 9th, 2013

As part of an owner Q&A column, veterinarian Ernie Ward explains that the rare and mild adverse reactions to heartworm prevention treatment are no reason to avoid the potentially life-saving preventive medication. Responding to a question about whether an urban dog needs the prophylactic care, Dr. Ward says any dog that might be exposed to mosquitoes is at risk. “The treatment [for heartworm] is no fun and has the potential for side effects,” Dr. Ward says. “And treatment is expensive. Prevention is best.” The Hartford Courant (Conn.)/Tribune Content Agency (9/7)

Q: We’re reluctant to give our 3-year-old Shih Tzu heartworm medication because of all those side effects. We’re thinking of stopping it. We live in the city and don’t visit the park; our dog spends a lot of time in our yard. What do you think?

A: “Absolutely, this is wrong,” saysDr. Ernie Ward, of Calabash, N.C. “The benefits of heartworm preventatives far outweigh any potential chance of an adverse affect. And if there are side effects, which again are rare, most often it’s diarrhea or vomiting, which go away. If a pet gets heartworm, the disease doesn’t just go away. The treatment [for heartworm] is no fun and has the potential for side effects. And treatment is expensive. Prevention is best.”

Mosquitoes transmit heartworm, so where there are mosquitoes, there’s likely heartworm. Whether you live in the big city or not doesn’t matter; mosquitoes like urban life, too. And with your dog spending lots of time in the yard, it seems your dog is even more susceptible to mosquitoes.

Pet’s allergy diagnosis needs more than an oral swab

Monday, September 9th, 2013

dog scratchingAllergies in pets can’t be definitively diagnosed by taking an oral swab and sending it to a lab for evaluation, according to veterinarian Meridith Brand. Instead, a pet with skin problems should undergo a complete veterinary exam to rule out other potential causes. Dr. Brand notes that for diagnosis and management of canine atopy, intradermal skin testing is the gold standard. The Baltimore Sun

Swab tests and blood tests have been shown to be inaccurate in diagnosing pets’ allergies. If you think your pet might be suffering from allergies, the first step is to visit your veterinarian for a full evaluation to rule out other problems such as bacterial and fungal infections, skin mites, ringworm, fleas, or more serious diseases. Skin scrapings, skin cytology, skin cultures or skin biopsies may be necessary to identify your pet’s particular problem. Baseline blood work including thyroid testing should also be part of this evaluation. Once other diseases are ruled out and secondary infection is managed, your pet may be a candidate for allergy testing with a board-certified veterinary dermatologist.

Intradermal allergy testing has been considered the gold standard for diagnosing and treating canine atopy for many years and remains the primary testing method used by most veterinary dermatologists. Intradermal allergy testing allows us to test the skin where the allergic response is occurring. Most animals tolerate the procedure well and results are available immediately.  After allergy testing, your pet will be started on a series of injections tailored to your pet’s specific allergies that act to desensitize your pet to certain allergens.

If you are concerned that your pet has allergies, schedule an exam with your veterinarian to discuss all of your options.

This week’s expert is Dr. Meridith Brand with Eastern Animal Hospital, Baltimore.
Read more:,0,6925965.story#ixzz2ePcyksXR

Calif. forensic lab uses animal DNA to solve crimes

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

UCDavis Vet School Logo

The University of California, Davis’ Veterinary Genetics Laboratory helps law enforcement investigators by analyzing animal DNA from crime scenes. The lab’s three scientists can help solve crimes such as murder, rape and animal abuse, and they want more people to know what they can do. “What’s frustrating right now is we know there are a lot of cold cases out there where there’s animal evidence that can be used, and people aren’t aware that we can use it,” the lab’s Teri Kun said. San Francisco Chronicle (free content)

Stepping in dog poop is usually just bad luck, but for some criminals it’s a step toward the slammer.

That’s because dog feces pick up DNA-bearing epithelial cells from the colon on their way out. When those feces are found on the shoe of a suspect – one who claims not to have been anywhere near the scene of a crime where matching poop was found – a case may be cracked.

These are the clues prized by a tiny, three-person laboratory at UC Davis – the only accredited forensic lab in the country dealing in animal evidence.

“The shoe scraping I got, I remember, was just enough to cover the top of a pencil top, maybe a millimeter tall,” said Teri Kun, a scientist at the forensic lab of UC Davis’ Veterinary Genetics Laboratory, recalling a triple-murder case in Indiana in 2000.

“I remember taking it over to Beth (Wictum, the lab’s director), saying, ‘This is all I got. I don’t expect to get results.’ But I got a full profile.”

The profile from the suspect’s shoe matched a sample from the only dog on the property where the slayings occurred. The killer – who also left behind a shoe print in a poop patty – is now serving life in prison.

Struggling to get word out

That’s one of the more popular tales recounted by the three scientists who run the lab. And they have plenty of experience telling titillating stories for the media – one 2006 headline blared, “Snoopy’s poop scores crime coup” – because animals and crime together always make for a good yarn.

But despite the coverage and their unique status, they still struggle to get the word out to criminal investigators about what they can offer.

“What I hear the most when I tell people what I do is, ‘Wow, you can do that with animals?’ ” Kun said. “You know, animals have DNA just like humans. We do essentially everything the human labs do. We’re just doing it with animals. We’re using all the same techniques, all the same tools, just using primers that are specific to dogs, to cats.”

Such DNA comparisons can solve a wide range of cases: incidents of animal cruelty, animal attacks on humans, and human crimes like robbery, rape and murder where an animal left a mark behind – urine, hair, poop, saliva.

“Some studies show you can’t go into a house where there’s a dog or a cat without picking up some evidence,” said Wictum, the lab director.

Unlike in most genetics research involving animals, the samples aren’t neatly packaged. They’re often whatever scraps are left behind after they’ve aged, degraded, been cleaned away – sometimes just enough to extract the clinching DNA.

In one case, a stray dog hair caught around a power drill bit helped link a man to the killing of 29 puppies, one of which had been drilled in the head.

In another, a woman’s dog relieved itself on the tire of a car belonging to a man who tried to sexually assault her, so that even though she couldn’t pick him out of a lineup and he didn’t leave semen behind, he was linked to the scene.

And dog hairs recovered from a shower curtain wrapped around a slain 18-year-old girl were connected back to puppies her killer had received as a gift, solving a case that was four years cold.

Wictum, Kun and their colleague Christina Lindquist want to do more. They hope that every time they go to a law enforcement convention and give a presentation, they increase their chance of being hired and put to work.

“What’s frustrating right now is we know there are a lot of cold cases out there where there’s animal evidence that can be used, and people aren’t aware that we can use it,” Kun said. “Part of our endeavor in the past few years has been to try and push and get our name out there.”

For now, the lab is a humble setup: one trailer parked on a dusty side road on the fringe of the Davis campus, a tub of Dalmatian bones stowed in a corner.

But the scientists are uniquely positioned, with access to databases culled from years of research at the wider Veterinary Genetics Lab, which offers services to test animal parentage or find the likelihood of genetic disease. The DNA databases include dogs, cats, horses, cows, llamas, sheep, goats, pigs and alpacas.

“Having that sort of resource in conjunction with your forensics lab is going to be a rare combination to come by,” Kun said.

Settling animal disputes

The lab can settle disputes over cattle ownership. It investigates dogfighting, tracing abused canines back to breeders.

The lab also offers services in civil cases, usually species identification. For $150, the lab can test a meat sample to determine what it is – a helpful option for restaurateurs who want to make sure they’re getting what they paid for.

And many a hopeful bigfoot hunter has had his hopes dashed after a fur sample comes back stamped with “bear” or “chimpanzee.”

“Chupacabras always come back as coyotes,” Kun said. “Always. It’s never anything else.”

Purina ONE beyOnd Dry Dog Food Recalled for Salmonella Risk

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013
By News Desk |
Nestlé Purina PetCare Company (NPPC) of St. Louis, MO, is voluntarily recalling a limited number of 3.5-pound bags of its Purina ONE beyOnd Our White Meat Chicken & Whole Barley Recipe Adult Dry Dog Food from a single production run and shipped to retail customers in the United States. This is being done because one bag of the product was found to be contaminated with Salmonella.

Only Purina ONE beyOnd Our White Meat Chicken & Whole Barley Recipe Adult Dry Dog Food with both the best-by date and the production code shown below are included in this voluntary recall:

  • “Best By” Date: OCT 2014
  • Production Code: 31071083
  • UPC Code: 17800 12679

“Best By” Date and Production Code are found on the back or bottom of the bag.

No additional Purina or Purina ONE dog or cat products are involved in this voluntary recall at this time.

No Salmonella-related illness has been reported to date in association with this product. However, due to the time required to link illnesses to a food source, it is impossible to say whether or not any humans or dogs have fallen ill.

Consumers who have purchased Purina ONE beyOnd Our White Meat Chicken & Whole Barley Recipe Adult Dry Dog Food products with the specific “Best By” Date and Production Code should discontinue feeding the product and discard it.

Salmonella can affect animals eating the product, and there is a risk to humans from handling contaminated products. People handling contaminated dry pet food can become infected with Salmonella, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with surfaces exposed to this product.

Healthy people infected with Salmonella should monitor themselves for the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. Rarely, Salmonella can result in more serious ailments including arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation and urinary tract symptoms. Consumers exhibiting these signs after having contact with this product should contact their healthcare providers.

Pets with Salmonella infections may exhibit decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. If left untreated, pets may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever and vomiting. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.


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