Animal Health Foundation Blog

Archive for the ‘Healthy Pets’ Category

AHF Therapy Dog with Cancer Received Petco Grant

Monday, May 22nd, 2017

“Rock star” Therapy Dog Gets Sidelined with Cancer
Jane Horsfield and Dan Balza of Fountain Valley, California, adopted their dog Kiss at six-months-old when her previous owner no longer had time to train her for flyball. Through the years, Kiss’ super energetic nature has made her a perfect participant in flyball, agility, and nose work competitions as well as in recreational dock diving and K9 Disc.

Named after the rock band Kiss because of her black and white face, her outgoing nature also made her an ideal candidate for pet therapy work. As part of the Animal Health Foundation, an affiliate of Pet Partners, Horsfield and Kiss started visiting adults and children at local hospitals as well as elementary schools where children practiced their reading skills with Kiss sitting by their sides.

“There is not a person she doesn’t love to meet,” says Horsfield. “She loves everyone, and everyone loves her.”

As a “rock star” therapy dog, Kiss also gets invited to special events around town to raise awareness and money for skin cancer awareness through the local Rotary Club. It was during an event that Jane noticed some swelling above Kiss’s front left paw.

“At first, I thought it was related to her athletic activities,” says Horsfield. “So, I put some ice on her leg when we got home, and it looked a little better the next day.”

The family had been down this road before

But a week later, Kiss’ lower front left leg still looked swollen. Her veterinarian, Dr. Wayne Kopit of Brook-Ellis Pet Hospital, biopsied the lump and called Horsfield the day after Thanksgiving with the results. Kiss had a soft tissue sarcoma on her leg.

He decided to refer Kiss to Southern California Veterinary Specialty in Irvine, California for the cancer treatment.

Never in my wildest dreams did I expect it to be cancer,” says Jane. “The news struck terror into my heart.”

That’s because the previous Thanksgiving, the couple also had received cancer news about their dog Sheila. She died seven months later despite extensive surgeries and treatments to save her life. Unfortunately, the heartbreak doesn’t end there. The couple has lost four dogs to cancer through the years.

“My veterinarian says 50% of dogs die of cancer these days, and that none of the cancers my dogs have had have been related,” says Horsfield. “But that doesn’t make the news any easier when it’s your fifth dog with the diagnosis.”

New treatment delivers the right stuff

When Horsfield contacted the Animal Health Foundation to let them know about Kiss’ diagnosis, they told her that Pet Partners had grant monies from the Petco Foundation’s Pet Cancer Awareness campaign to help therapy dogs with their cancer treatments.

A $3,000 grant provided help with Kiss’ surgery and chemotherapy. “We had already spent thousands on Sheila’s treatments, so we really needed this support to help Kiss,” says Horsfield.

In the past, doctors might have amputated Kiss’ leg because of the difficulty in removing the entire tumor. But a new therapy combined surgical removal of the tumor with chemotherapy beads implanted directly into the tumor site. “The beads dissolve over four to five weeks releasing chemotherapy drugs to where it’s needed most,” says Horsfield.

So far, the results are good. The tumor hasn’t grown back, but Horsfield checks the leg daily, since if it returns, it will come back in the same spot, doctors say. She and Kiss are making therapy visits again, and Kiss is participating in some of her favorite sport activities on a limited basis.

“She won’t officially be out of the woods for 18 more months,” says Horsfield. “But in the meantime, we’ve got our sassy girl back. I am grateful for the help in saving her life. I never had kids, so my dogs are everything to me.”

 

6 Natural Remedies for Your Dog’s Itchy Skin

Thursday, April 27th, 2017
Skin allergies are a common problem among dogs and owners and veterinarians alike are constantly fighting to make dogs more comfortable. Dogs, like people, can be allergic to just about anything, from their food to the environment. While there are many different medications to help deal with allergy symptoms, many of us prefer to go a more natural route first to make sure we’ve tried all of the safest options. Always consult with your veterinarian before giving your dog any treatments or supplements, but if you’re looking to try some natural allergy remedies, consider these.

#1 – Proper Bathing & Grooming

This might not seem like a “natural” remedy, but if your dog suffers from environmental allergies, frequent bathing and grooming is going to offer much needed comfort. Using soothing ingredients such as oatmeal in the shampoos will help your dog’s skin feel softer and will relieve the itching they feel. Depending on the severity of your dog’s allergies, bathing once a week will greatly improve your dog’s condition. Brushing and combing will also help remove dead skin and coat, promoting new growth and removing allergens on top of the skin and fur.

20186347271_18c36f672f_z
IMAGE SOURCE: MAUREEN_SILL VIA FLICKR

#2 – Feed a Wholesome Diet

Your dog’s diet might be completely overlooked if your dog only suffers environmental allergens. But the more natural your dog’s diet, the better their bodies are able to fight off and heal from allergies and external stressors. If your dog is allergic to certain ingredients, you’ll want to avoid those ingredients and replace them with something else. Grain-free diets are highly recommended for dogs with any type of allergy (or no allergy at all!) but if this isn’t possible, consider feeding organic, whole grains. The better your dog’s nutrition, the better their overall health and their ability to fight off allergens.

9698803260_6d8f670a31_z

Image source: Oleg. via Flickr

#3 – Try Apple Cider Vinegar

Organic, raw, unfiltered apple cider offers many benefits to dogs suffering from allergies. If your dog has hot spots or itchy skin, you can apply a 50/50 solution of apple cider vinegar and water to your dog. Put the solution in a spray bottle for easy use. This same spray will help repel fleas and ticks – a common allergen for many dogs. You can also use it to clean out your dog’s ears. The acidity of the mixture makes for an environment that yeast can’t live in – and yeast infections are typically caused by allergies. Make sure that the acidity isn’t too strong for your dog – some prefer a different mixture than the 50/50 suggested.

#4 – Manage Heat & Moisture

Your dog’s environment plays a large role in the health of their skin. Be sure to keep your home appropriately cooled and use a humidifier in dry conditions. When grooming, avoid using a high heat blow dryer, which might be faster but wreaks havoc on your dog’s sensitive skin.

Make sure your dog always has access to fresh, filtered water. Dogs on a dry kibble diet are in need of more moisture in their diets than dogs that eat a home-cooked, raw, or wet food diet.

#5 – Consider Applying Calendula

Calendula is a member of the sunflower family and offers several benefits to dogs with allergies. Either made into a tea or gel, applying calendula to your dog’s skin will help relieve inflammation from allergies. It also has natural anti-fungal and anti-yeast properties. It also helps improve your dog’s immune system when taken internally, so consider this as an allergy treatment as well.

#6 – Add Omega-3 Fatty Acids Supplementation

Omega-3 fatty acids are extremely beneficial to dogs with allergies. These oils help improve your dog’s skin and coat by keeping the natural oils present in healthy amounts. Omega-3s also work as anti-inflammatories and greatly reduce the intensity of allergens. There are many Omega-3 fatty acids on the market, and you’ll want to look for something that works quickly to support a soft, silky coat, minimize normal shedding, and maintain the skin’s normal moisture content, such as Project Paws™ Omega-3 Select soft chews.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional. 

Tarzan Recovers From Encounter With Car, Thanks to Angel Fund

Friday, April 8th, 2016

 

On an August morning in 2014, Robin – a writer and editor who lives in West Los Angeles – heard a cat crying in her courtyard.  “He was yelping and he was really upset. He just kept crying and crying,” she said, “and his mouth looked swollen.”

Robin, who asked that her last name not be used, recognized Tarzan, a friendly cat who lived outdoors in the neighborhood after his owner died. eH “At first I thought he had an abscessed tooth. I could see he was in pain. . . . So I took him inside and started researching veterinarians on the internet.”

Robin took Tarzan to the Westchester Veterinary Center and Cat Clinic. “When I got there, I explained that I was not Tarzan’s owner and that I was just a concerned animal lover. The staff . . . was really friendly and concerned about the cat,” she said.

A staff veterinarian said Tarzan’s jaw was shattered and that he needed surgery. She said that he probably had been hit by a car.

“I sat inside the exam room with Tarzan and I was massaging him and talking to him and the [clinic] staff was talking about what to do.  Someone came in after a while and said that I could apply to Angel Fund for Tarzan’s surgery. I said I was willing to chip in $150. Angel Fund and the clinic paid the rest.”

Robin and Tarzan Feb 2016Dr. Henry Yoo, owner of the clinic, did the surgery. “He did an amazing job with Tarzan,” Robin said. “There were a couple of months of feeding him with a turkey baster and going to the clinic regularly for follow-up appointments. The people at the clinic were always friendly and helpful.”

The time she spent caring for Tarzan had an impact on Robin.  “After a couple of months,” she said, “I got very close to him. And I didn’t want him going back outside. It’s healthier for cats indoors [where they’re unlikely to pick up diseases] and there are no cat fights.  And I certainly didn’t want him to get hit by a car again. So I just had to adopt him.”

And, she said, “without Angel Fund, who knows what would have happened to him. He might have been put down. I really think that the clinic and Angel Fund saved his life.”

Today, she said, you can’t tell he had surgery. “He’s a special cat. He eats normally and has a good appetite. He has a lot of energy. He’s very clean and he was always really friendly. One day I woke up and he was lying there beside me.” She thinks Tarzan is “teen or pre-teen” in age.

Are she and Tarzan living happily ever after? “He is.  I am.”

Are you doing it together. “Exactly.”

Disaster Plan for Pets

Friday, April 8th, 2016

Veterinary Pet Insurance (r) - a Nationwide Insurance Company

Pet Disaster Preparedness

Plan Ahead to Protect Pets

A natural disaster or an emergency can take place when you least expect it. In moments of panic or chaos, you may not have enough time or foresight to evacuate pets with their daily essentials. Planning ahead for pets will save you valuable time—and keep your pets safe.

Storing an accessible “grab and go” bag for pets and having a well thought-out exit strategy will have you prepared for the worst.

Check out our infographic below for quick tips on preparing yourself—and your pets—for a disaster plan.

For more in-depth info on preparing pets for a disaster, read “5 Natural Disaster Tips for Pet Owners.”

Pet Disaster Preparedness Infographic

What You Should Know About Canine Lymphoma

Friday, February 26th, 2016

Canine Lymphoma

What You Should Know About Canine Lymphoma

Thursday, February 25th, 2016
Canine Lymphoma

Dangerous Foods for Dogs

Tuesday, November 24th, 2015

Dangerous Foods for Dogs

February is Responsible Dog Owners Month-Whole Dog Journal Tips and Rescouces

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014
Being a responsible pet owner is not an easy task. It takes a lot of time and effort to make sure your furry family members are well taken care of and happy. We’d like to share some of our favorite tips for keeping your dog save and healthy:
• ID at All Times – The one certain thing in life is unpredictability. Hurricanes, earthquakes, fires, power outages, sudden illness, car crashes – any number of things can separate you from your beloved pal. Make sure he’s always wearing ID (with current contact numbers) and is microchipped. And regularly check the ring or rivets fastening the tag to his collar. For more on collars and leashes, purchase Whole Dog Journal’s ebook Guide to Collars and Leashes.
• Train Every Day (If Only For a Minute) – Dogs are hardwired to live in an orderly and cooperative “pack” environment. You can easily and peacefully underline your role – and your dog’s role – in the household by asking him to perform a few simple behaviors (sit, come, down), and rewarding him when he complies. This daily exercise reminds him that you are the leader. For more on training your dog in a positive way, purchase Whole Dog Journal’s ebook Positive Training Basics.
• Keep Them Slim, Keep Them Moving – There’s no doubt about it: Fat dogs are more prone to injury, illness, and mobility issues than their slimmer compatriots. Studies have shown that, on average, dogs who are slightly underweight live longer than overweight dogs. More food is not more love, no matter what your dog says. If you really love him, you will keep him slender. For more on weight control and fitness, purchase Whole Dog Journal’s ebook Weight and Fitness Handbook.

Red Cross and Penn veterinary school develop pet first aid app

Saturday, January 18th, 2014
Animal Health AppUniversity of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine veterinarian Deborah C. Mandell collaborated with the Red Cross to create a first aid application for pet owners to use during animal health emergencies. Dr. Mandell has written books on animal medical emergencies but says the app includes just the right amount of information for owners during an emergency. The app, available for 99 cents, separates cat and dog information, and it also helps owners find the nearest veterinarian or pet-friendly hotel.
By Robert Moran, Philadelphia Inquirer Staff Writer

Is your cat breathing normally?

There’s an app for that – for knowing what’s normal, that is.

Is your dog not breathing?

Hopefully you will have watched the dog CPR video on the American Red Cross’ new mobile app called “Pet First Aid.”

The app, available for 99 cents on Apple and Android mobile devices, went on sale in December, but the Red Cross launched its awareness campaign on Thursday in Philadelphia.

The Philly connection comes from the humanitarian agency’s collaboration with University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine.

Since 2006, Deborah C. Mandell, a staff veterinarian and adjunct associate professor at the Matthew J. Ryan Veterinary Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, has served as a pet care advisor to the Red Cross, writing separate books on first aid for cats and dogs, and developing Red Cross instructional courses for pet owners around the country.

Mandell said the app gives users information “right at your fingertips when you need it,” such as knowing “what’s normal so they can know what’s abnormal much sooner.”

For anybody who wants in-depth information about pet first aid, however, “the app is certainly not a replacement for our first aid books,” Mandell said.

Several pet first aid apps have been available since 2009, when Jive Media launched an app.

Red Cross officials said its organization’s reputation, and its association with Penn Vet, should be an advantage in the marketplace.

Unlike the Jive Media app, which costs $3.99 and hasn’t been updated since 2010, the Red Cross app separates information about cats and dogs

“You could look at it as two apps in one,” said Paul Munn, who helped develop the app for the Red Cross.

The app also uses GPS to locate the nearest veterinary hospital or pet-friendly hotel during emergencies.

Users can enter information about their pets that can be stored in app and emailed to a veterinarian ahead of a visit.

There also are quizzes to test if users remember what they’ve learned.

“They’ve done an excellent job,” said Mary Kury, a certified veterinary technician supervisor at the Quakertown Veterinary Clinic, who downloaded the app this week.

“They went through the most common emergencies we see on a daily basis,” Kury said.

She also praised the app for providing “enough information without giving too much information,” so a pet owner is not overwhelmed or confused.

The Red Cross has been offering apps since June 2012, when it launched its first aid app for humans, and has tallied 3.9 million downloads for all its mobile apps.

They also have been offered for free.

Don Lauritzen, a Red Cross spokesman in Washington, said the pet app was a bit outside the main mission of the organization.

The Red Cross decided users would feel that 99 cents is worth the cost for the specialized information and peace of mind, Lauritzen said.

bmoran@phillynews.com

215-854-5983

@RobertMoran215

Pets’ oral health problems can be difficult to identify

Saturday, December 21st, 2013

MarleyVeterinarian Marty Becker and his team of experts say advanced dental problems can occur beneath a pet’s gum line with no obvious signs of a problem other than a mild change in behavior. A thorough physical exam coupled with sedation and oral radiographs finally helped identify a tooth-root abscess in Dr. Becker’s feline patient who presented only because her meow changed. “It’s up to us as owners and veterinarians to be aware of changes in behavior that could signal pain or illness and to look beneath the surface for potential causes of problems,” Dr. Becker writes. This article also relates a discovery by the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine that has implications for spinal dysraphism in Weimaraners and spina bifida in children.