Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Angel Fund Gave Cosmo a Fighting Chance to Live

Saturday, January 17th, 2015

Cosmo AFOn May 5, 2012 – Cinco de Mayo, Jessie Carrillo recalled – her cat gave birth to a litter of kittens. The next day, the mother died and Jessie raised the kittens. One of them was special.

“Cosmo was my favorite cat in the whole world. He was my best friend,” Jessie said. But Cosmo, who was gray and white, found something to eat that he shouldn’t have one day when he was outside not long after his first birthday. It was a cork and it lodged in his intestines, obstructing the duodenum.

“He was acting really bizarre. After a day and a half, I realized that he wasn’t going to get better and I took him in [to the Cat Care Clinic in Orange]. They did an x-ray and they saw the blockage.”

The doctor told Jessie that Cosmo was very sick but that surgery might save him – although he might not survive it. The operation would cost $2,000 – an amount far beyond her means. Jessie wanted to do whatever she could to save her cat. The doctor suggested that Angel Fund could help. So Jessie submitted an application for assistance. She was grateful for the $250 contributed by both Angel Fund and the Cat Care Clinic.

“It was a blessing that [Angel Fund] was there because I couldn’t afford the surgery,” she said. She was working as a receptionist at the time “but my job was not affording me $2,000 for surgery.”

After the surgery, she took Cosmo home but he soon died. “He was OK for a couple of hours but then he died in my arms. I was lucky to share that last moment with him but it was really rough. He could have been euthanized but they gave me hope that he might make it. I think the surgery was just too much for his body.”

Jessie is grateful to Angel Fund and to the doctors and staff at the Cat Care Clinic. “They were really understanding and sympathetic. They were kind and they did their best.”

Today, Jessie misses Cosmo very much. Losing him, she said, was “just part of life.” But she has his sister, a beautiful black cat named Boo, now 2½.

Does My Dog Have Cushings Disease?

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

scottiesVeterinarian Jeff Kahler explains the symptoms of Cushing’s disease and how it is diagnosed and treated. The example of a 10-year-old Scottie with hair loss on his flanks, increased drinking and eating, and apparent weight gain illustrates a possible case of Cushing’s disease, which involves hormonal abnormality. Owners concerned about the disease or anything unusual should see a veterinarian for an examination. The Modesto Bee (Calif.)

Mac is a 10-year-old Scottish terrier who has lived with Joe and Paula for almost all of his life. He has always been a healthy dog. Joe and Paula give Mac a monthly tablet for prevention of heartworm disease and intestinal parasites as well as a monthly topical flea preventative. He is fed a good diet and is not allowed to eat from their table. Recently, Mac has displayed some changes in his body and his habits and Joe and Paula are concerned.

Mac has begun to lose hair mostly on his sides and he seems to be getting a bit portly. He has been stout as described by Joe and Paula, all his life but lately he looks like he’s getting fat. He has become a much more aggressive eater and his thirst has become increased as well. Through their research, Joe and Paula have concluded that Mac might have Cushing’s disease and wanted some advice on how to proceed. Their need for veterinary intervention is obvious and acknowledged by Joe and Paula, but they would like to be educated on the diagnosis of Cushing’s disease as well as its treatment. They would also like to know if there might be another possible cause for the changes in Mac’s stature and behavior.

I must commend Joe and Paula on their active role in trying to determine what might be Mac’s problem. When caretakers are familiar with their companions and the changes that are apparent, it can make our jobs as veterinarians and investigators much easier. Joe and Paula are of course correct in surmising Mac’s need to see his veterinarian, and they are also correct in their conclusion that he may have Cushing’s disease.

Cushing’s disease is something we have discussed here before but some of the information bears repeating. This disease is one of the more common in the group called endocrine disorders. These diseases involve hormone systems in the body. In the case of Cushing’s disease, the specific area of concern involves the adrenal gland or glands and sometimes the pituitary gland. The “technical” name of the disease is hyperadrenocortisism. This is because it involves increase in the size and production of the area in one or both adrenal glands responsible for producing cortisone. With this increase in produced cortisone, the symptoms of Cushing’s disease occur. These include increased appetite and thirst, increased panting, thinning and loss of hair over time, usually equally on both sides of the body, development of a pot-bellied appearance, and thinning of the skin. Any or all of these symptoms can occur with this disease. Mac’s symptoms as described by Joe and Paula certainly do fit.

There are two types of Cushing’s disease. One type involves the development of a tumor in the pituitary gland in the brain that produces an excess of a hormone called adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), which stimulates part of each of the adrenal glands to produce too much cortisone. The other form of the disease involves the development of a tumor in one of the adrenal glands that directly produces excess cortisone and causes the disease. The pituitary form of the disease is far more common.

To diagnose Cushing’s disease, we use blood samples testing for the presence of cortisone in the blood before and after stimulation of the adrenal glands. If the testing is positive, treatment for the disease can be initiated and is usually effective in eliminating the symptoms. Not all dogs that are positive for Cushing’s disease need to be treated right away. It depends on the severity of the symptoms and which type is involved. Of the two forms of the disease, the pituitary form is more amenable to treatment with medication. An important point to understand about this form of the disease is that it is not considered curable. It can be effectively treated. The adrenal tumor form of the disease is curable in some cases by removal of the tumor, although some of these tumors are not amenable to surgery.

As far as the possibility of another disease causing Mac’s symptoms, diabetes and low thyroid condition are two that come to mind. I strongly suspect, as do Joe and Paula, that Mac has Cushing’s disease.

Read more here: http://www.modbee.com/living/pets/article4011235.html#storylink=cpy

 

Thank You Dr. Coward for Your Kind Words

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

Coward Letterr_0001Veterinarians work hard every day to help people and their pets in their communities.  The AHF — through the Angel Fund — is happy to help.

Dr. Coward of the Animal and Bird Clinic of Mission Viejo recently reached out to the Angel Fund for the Jackson family’s dog Cody.

Dr. Coward wrote us a nice letter of thanks for our help and we wanted to share it with you.

The AHF is pleased we could be of assistance to Dr Coward and  the Jackson’s.  Thank you Dr Coward for your kind words.

Board Member to speak at Continuing Education Event

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

Therapy Animal Class Rev 2

Board Member and Manager of the AHF Caring Creatures’ Pet Partner program – Jan Vincent – will be speaking on how alternative therapies such as Pet Therapy can foser physical, social and emotional wellbeing at a Continuing Education Meeting for medical professionals.

The meeting will be held at Saddleback Memorial Medical Center in Laguna Hills.

Dr. Sheldon Altman Selected by AHF to receive Cortese-Lippincott Award

Monday, June 30th, 2014

Dr. Sheldon Altman Selected by AHF to receive Cortese-Lippincott Award

Dr. Alice Villalobos presented the Cortese-Lippincott award to Dr. Sheldon Altman in January, 2014 at the Southern California Veterinary Medical Association’s officer installation dinner.

In her presentation, Dr. Villalobos noted that Dr. Altman grew up on a feed lot farm outside of Denver.  She has always felt bonded to Dr. Altman because they led parallel careers during the 70’s and 80’s. Shelley introduced acupunture while she pioneered oncology services for companion animals in So. California and both spoke widely about their passions.

When Dr. Altman retired in 1989 he continued to keep a hand in the profession. Instead of retirement gifts, Dr. Altman requested donations go to helping to pay veterinary bills for animals of families that needed help via the Rainbow Bridge Fund. The AHF administers the Rainbow Bridge Fund which has helped about 20 animals a year. Dr. Altman sets a magnificent example for retiring baby boomer veterinarians stay connected to our wonderful profession in some way.

Biography

Dr. Altman was born and raised in Denver, CO, received his BS degree in Biological Science and his DVM degree from Colorado State University.  He has been a licensed veterinarian in Kansas, Colorado and California. Prior to retirement in 1998, his professional career spanned almost 38 years.  He worked for the U.S. Dept of Agriculture, served in the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps, practices veterinary medicine in Southern California, spent 2 years as a staff member of the Acupuncture Research Project UCLA Pain Control Unit, was Director of Research for the National Association for Veterinary Acupuncture and served on the teaching faculties of the Center for Chinese Medicine and the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society.

Dr. Altman has referred and written articles for several veterinary journals, authored chapters in several veterinary medical textbooks and has been an invited lecturer at many local, national and international veterinary meetings, seminars and convention.  He has served on committees and been a member  or a board member of the Southern California Veterinary Medical Association, the California Veterinary Medical Association, the American Veterinary Medical Association, the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society, the American Academy of Veterinary Acupuncture, the Colorado State University Alumni Association, American Veterinarians for Israel and the Animal Health Foundation of California.

Dr. Altman has been married for over 50 years, has three children and four grandchildren.  In his retirement, he tutors elementary school children in reading, paints and plays classical guitar (but not very well).

How dogs protect humans from illness

Monday, April 28th, 2014

Dogs’ superior sense of smell allows them to detect compounds secreted through human pores that signal health problems such as low blood sugar or an impending seizure. Diane Papazian is grateful to her Doberman pinscher, Troy, whose incessant nudging at her left side led her to find a breast lump that was malignant. “Dogs are a wonderful part of the development of new technologies,” says veterinarian Cindy Otto, executive director of the Penn Vet Working Dog Center. “Their incredible sense of smell allows them to detect very low concentrations of odors and also pick out specific odors from a tapestry of smells that can confuse standard technology.” Philly.com (Philadelphia)

KIM CAMPBELL THORNTON
Posted: Sunday, April 27, 2014, 3:01 AM

 DIANE PAPAZIAN was allergic to dogs and she didn’t especially want a second one, but her husband, Harry, persuaded her to let him purchase Troy, a 3-month-old Doberman pinscher. Not long afterward, Troy was in bed with the couple one evening and began insistently nuzzling Diane’s left side. It caused her to start itching, and that’s when she discovered the lump in her breast. It turned out to be malignant, but Diane is now cancer-free after a double mastectomy and chemotherapy.

The Papazians credit Troy with saving Diane’s life. And he’s not the only pet who has helped owners make such a discovery. A number of dogs and cats have alerted their people not only to various cancers and dangerous infections, but also to oncoming seizures, allergic reactions and hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).

Our dogs and cats may not have been to medical school, but their superior senses of smell, as well as their habit of closely observing us 24/7, put them in the catbird seat when it comes to recognizing that something in our bodies has changed, even if we’re not always sure what they’re trying to tell us.

Scientific studies have confirmed the canine ability to sniff out lung, breast, bladder, prostate, colorectal and ovarian cancer, in some cases before it’s obvious through testing. They do this by taking a whiff of urine or breath samples from patients. Dogs have also been trained to alert people to oncoming epileptic seizures and assist them to a safe place until the seizure is over.

What’s their secret? Dogs and cats live in a world of smells, and their olfactory sense is far more acute than our own. Physiological changes such as lowered blood sugar or the presence of cancer produce or change volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted through the pores of the skin. Animals smell the difference and respond to it by licking, poking or pawing at the area.

Your doctor won’t be sending you out for a “Lab test” or “CAT scan” any time soon, but scientists are working to determine the exact compounds that dogs are scenting, with the goal of developing an electronic “nose” that could detect cancer

“Dogs are a wonderful part of the development of new technologies,” says Cindy Otto, DVM, Ph.D., executive director of the Penn Vet Working Dog Center, in Philadelphia. “Their incredible sense of smell allows them to detect very low concentrations of odors and also pick out specific odors from a tapestry of smells that can confuse standard technology. Unlike some of the other members of the animal kingdom with a highly developed sense of smell, dogs are also willing collaborators in our work.”

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/living/pets/20140427_Now__dogs_will_teach_you_to_heal.html#ZRUbuBu4pfE0YScA.99

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/living/pets/20140427_Now__dogs_will_teach_you_to_heal.html#ZRUbuBu4pfE0YScA.99

HSUS: Pet euthanasia rates decline at US shelters over past 40 years

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

As Reported on FOX News – ATLANTA –  The number of dogs and cats put to death in U.S. shelters is about one-fifth of what it was four decades ago.

“They were euthanizing about 15 million pets back in 1970,” said Betsy McFarland, vice president of companion animals at the Humane Society of the United States. “We’re now down to about 3 million every year. Of course, that’s 3 million too many. But that is tremendous progress that’s been made over the last four decades.”

During that same time period, the number of dogs and cats in the U.S. increased from 64 million to more than 160 million, according to Humane Society estimates. McFarland attributes the decline in euthanasia rates to spay/neuter campaigns targeted to underserved communities, better coordination among animal welfare organizations and changing social attitudes toward pets.

“I mean pets are really considered part of the family,” McFarland said. “And that has been a shift over the many decades where maybe pets were a little more utilitarian.”

Although the number of pets entering shelters has decreased nationwide, euthanasia rates at these shelters average close to 50 percent. But the Humane Society and other groups say their goal is to bring the number to zero, and they’re finding creative ways to head in that direction.

In the Atlanta area, the non-profit LifeLine Animal Project has helped two shelters lower their euthanasia rates from historic highs of 85 percent to less than 20 percent. LifeLine, which now manages shelters for Georgia’s DeKalb and Fulton Counties, brings its pets to adoption drives at shopping malls and other areas with large crowds. LifeLine also keeps many animals from entering shelters by offering “surrender counseling” to owners who are considering giving up their pets.

“What we found was that so many of the calls from the people who wanted to surrender their pets, they didn’t actually want to surrender their pets,” said Debbie Setzer, Lifeline’s community outreach director. “They may have had some financial hardship where they couldn’t afford dog food. They may have had a fence complaint where the dog was getting out.”

Pet owner Adrian Robinson, who’s already caring for a foster child and two adopted kids, says she felt overwhelmed when a highly energetic puppy joined her household.

“Keno doesn’t know his own strength,” Robinson said. “He was running around, jumping on the kids.”

LifeLine arranged free neutering, vaccinations and a training crate for Keno that helped calm him down and made it possible for Robinson to keep him. The mother and pet owner says she’s grateful to LifeLine’s staff for their assistance and advice.

“I love them,” Robinson said. “They did something for me that I couldn’t do for myself.”

Lifeline has helped other owners by repairing fences and helping them obtain donated pet food.

“Anything that we can do to keep that animal from coming into the shelter, we’ll try to do,” said LifeLine CEO Rebecca Guinn.

Before helping to create LifeLine, Guinn worked as a lawyer specializing in white-collar crime. While assisting a neglected dog in her neighborhood, she learned about the high euthanasia rates at her local shelter. Reducing those rates became her new passion (and full time job).

“There are more pets in American households than there are children. So, they’re a part of our lives,” Guinn said. “The idea that we use taxpayer dollars to round them up and then end their lives, to me, is not the right way to do it. And we’re working on a model where a shelter is truly a shelter — where the pets come in here, receive the care that they need and then can be re-homed — and where the community at large becomes a better community for pets to live in.”

Fox News’ Chip Bell contributed to this report.

Jonathan Serrie joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in April 1999 and currently serves as a correspondent based in the Atlanta bureau.

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.

Pets also get deliveries from Meals on Wheels

Friday, December 27th, 2013

Meals on WheelsMeals on Wheels programs in several states have expanded their offerings to include donated pet food for clients’ companion animals, said Jenny Bertolette of the Meals on Wheels Association of America. Volunteers for the program, which provides meals to the disabled, poor and elderly, began seeking donations from shelters and pet organizations after noticing clients were sharing food with their pets. Participating groups solicit and deliver pet food to Meals on Wheels as well as to senior centers and nursing homes. Star Tribune (Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.)/The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES – If Meals on Wheels didn’t deliver donated dog food, Sherry Scott of San Diego says her golden retriever Tootie would be eating the pasta, riblets and veggie wraps meant for her. But thanks to partnerships between the program for low-income seniors and pet groups across the country, fewer people and pets are going hungry.

After Meals on Wheels volunteers noticed a growing number of clients giving their food away to their furry friends, they started working with shelters and other pet groups to add free pet food to their meal deliveries. Those programs, relying on donations and volunteers, have continued to grow in popularity as seniors began eating better, staying healthier and worrying less about feeding their pets, one group said.

Meals on Wheels is just one organization serving people who are poor, disabled or elderly, but it has a vast reach. It has teamed up with independently run pet partners in several states, but how many isn’t known, said Jenny Bertolette, spokeswoman for Meals on Wheels Association of America in Alexandria, Va.

Partner pet groups will solicit, pick up, pack and get the animal chow to Meals on Wheels or another agency that donates food, volunteers said. Agencies also take pet food to nursing homes, senior centers or community centers.

Those who qualify for Meals on Wheels or similar programs are almost always eligible for a free pet food program.

Diabetes alert dog brings comfort, relief to boy and his family

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

Diabetic Alert DogsKermit, a 2-year-old service dog trained to detect fluctuations in human blood sugar levels, helps 9-year-old Kiernan Sullivan monitor his type 1 diabetes, giving Kiernan’s parents some extra relief. Uncontrolled blood sugar levels can lead to problems such as neuropathy, limb loss and even blindness, so specially trained dogs, along with tools such as glucose monitors that help keep blood sugar levels within the normal range, can improve the quality of diabetes patients’ lives, said physician Andrew Ahmann. The Oregonian (Portland)

When 9-year-old Kiernan Sullivan started school this month, he attends each class in the company of his new best friend – a 2-year-old service dog named Kermit.

“It’s fun but hard,” Kiernan says of his new charge. “You have to feed him, take him out to bathroom and take him out for walks.”

Kiernan has Type 1 diabetes, which usually affects children and young adults and accounts for about 5 percent of all diabetes cases. It occurs when the body does not produce insulin, a hormone needed to convert starches, sugars and other food into energy.

Kiernan, who was diagnosed when he was six, experienced a grand mal seizure in November. The experience was scary, but his parents thought they could manage Kiernan’s disease with careful meal planning and regular insulin shots.

Then one Saturday morning in March, Kiernan’s mom, Michelle Sullivan, awoke to a horrifying scene.

Her husband, Stuart, had left early that morning to go grocery shopping so the family could do something together. He kissed her goodbye and closed the bedroom door so she could sleep in a bit.

She awoke to her husband’s terrified screams as he came home to find their son lying unconscious on the kitchen floor. Kiernan had wandered into the kitchen to find some sugary food to bolster his blood sugar but found only sugar-free licorice. Bright red licorice was still smeared on his face when his parents found him.

The Sullivans realized they needed help. Thanks to the help of a staff member at Kiernan’s school, City View Charter School in Hillsboro, they found out about Dogs Assisting Diabetics.

About Dogs Assisting Diabetics

The Forest Grove-based nonprofit was founded by dog trainer Kristin Tarnowski and Darlene LaRose Cain, a former national chair for the American Diabetes Association.

Since the organization launched in 2009, Tarnowski has trained more than 35 dogs to be service-alert dogs.

The dogs initially came from breeders, but Tarnowski recently started her own breeding program with registered Labrador retrievers so she can start training them as puppies.

(Kermit came from the Guide Dogs for the Blind breeding program but failed his final test).

The training process can take at least six months to one year.

To train the dogs, Tarnowski places a swab of sweat collected from a diabetic person whose glucose levels are high or low and puts it in a sealed vial.

When the dog approaches the vial and reacts to it, she rewards them with treats and affection.

“We’re getting the dog to think of it as a game and have fun of it,” Tarnowski says. “The dog gets excited and wants to keep looking for it.”

The dogs can smell a metabolic change that takes place when someone’s blood sugar changes, although researchers still aren’t sure exactly what the dogs detect.

The dogs cost $15,000 and are in high demand. Each year, Dogs Assisting Diabetics receives about 200 requests from people all over the world.

Priority goes to people who have a high medical need for the dog, such as those whose blood-sugar levels are high enough to require dialysis.

How it works

When Kiernan’s blood sugar levels veer away from normal levels – below 80 or above 180 milligrams per deciliter – Kermit alerts him in one of three ways.

The dog will paw at the boy’s leg or chew on an orange strip on his leash called a “brain cell.”

Kermit continues to alert until Kiernan acknowledges him with a treat. Then he can check his blood-sugar levels and treat them accordingly.

Because Kiernan’s blood sugar levels fluctuate so frequently, the family decided against a Continuous Glucose Monitor that alerts during changes in glucose levels, Michelle Sullivan says.

The monitor’s frequent sensors can become a nuisance for someone like Kiernan, who can drop from a normal blood sugar level down to 50 mg/dL after walking just a few blocks.

Properly trained service dogs can offer great value to people with diabetes, says Dr. Andrew Ahmann, director of the Harold Schnitzer Diabetes Health Center at Oregon Health & Science University.

“I have no doubt that they can alert individuals who have low blood sugar at a time when the person themselves does not recognize the problem,” he says.

Since Kermit alerts Kiernan as soon as his blood sugar changes, he’ll know to check the levels sooner. He has less risk of reaching the dangerous highs or lows that can send him into a seizure.

Over time, that careful monitoring can help bring three-month blood sugar averages, called A1Cs, closer to normal range.

“That’s adding time to their life,” Tarnowski says. “High blood sugars contribute to blindness, limb loss or neuropathy.”

According to one study, one in 20 children will die in their sleep from low blood sugar levels.

Yet Ahmann cautions that little research is available that proves the dogs’ effectiveness in preventing severe hypoglycemia or in improving overall glucose control.

The dogs should never replace the use of blood sugar testing meters that provide accurate readings, he says.

“I don’t think the use of diabetic assistance dogs is a replacement for continue glucose monitoring or intermittent glucose monitoring,” Ahmann says, “but the dogs do provide another layer of security that is very important to kids and their families.”

For Kiernan’s mom, that furry security blanket is priceless.

“I know that Kermit isn’t 100 percent, but he’s at least given me an extra level, just an extra step of assurance,” she says. “I hope that Kiernan doesn’t have another seizure, but Kermit is just an extra layer of protection.”

If you want to help: The Sullivan family is struggling to pay for Kermit, who costs $15,000. So far, the family has paid $5,000 and is on a payment plan for the remaining amount.

The family has established a fundraising page on Youcaring.com called “Help Kiernan Bring Kermit home” that allows people to donate to his cause.

You can also donate to Dogs Assisting Diabetics at dogsassistingdiabetics.com.