Archive for February, 2013

Kasel Associates Industries Recalling Certain Pet Treats Due to Salmonella Contamination

Saturday, February 23rd, 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – February 21, 2013 – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced today that Kasel Associates Industries Inc. is recalling all pet treats it manufactured from April 20 through Sept. 19, 2012 due to potential contamination with Salmonella. Kasel has issued three previous recall notices for specific products manufactured during this time period.

The move comes after the Colorado Department of Agriculture tested a retail sample of a Kasel pet treat product and found it to be positive for Salmonella. Based on FDA’s follow-up inspection at the firm, FDA found that all of the finished pet treat product samples and 48 out of 87 environmental samples collected during the inspection tested positive for Salmonella. More than ten different species of Salmonella were found in the firm’s products and manufacturing facility, indicating multiple sources of contamination.

While there are no reports of human illness, FDA has received a small number of complaints of illness in dogs who were exposed to the treats. Because of the multiple positive tests for Salmonella, and the production practices and conditions observed at the facility during the inspection, FDA believes that there is a reasonable probability that pet treat products manufactured in the facility from April 20, 2012 through September 19, 2012 are contaminated with Salmonella.

Both people and animals can contract Salmonellosis from handling or eating contaminated products. People handling dry pet treats should thoroughly wash their hands after having contact with the treats as well as any surfaces exposed to these products.

Consumers who have any of these products, or who are unsure of the manufacturing date of their pet treats, should dispose of them in ways that people and animals, including wild animals, cannot access them, such as placing them in a securely lidded garbage can.

The Kasel-manufactured products are sold at various retailers, including Target, Petco, Sam’s Club and Costco. Most of the products have a two-year shelf life.

All of the products were made in the U.S. This action is not related to FDA’s ongoing investigation of jerky pet treats made in China.

Salmonella is a public health risk and is one of the most common causes of foodborne illness. Healthy people infected with Salmonella may experience some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. Although rare, Salmonella can result in more serious ailments including arterial infections, endocarditis (inflammation of the lining of the heart), arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation and urinary tract symptoms. Consumers exhibiting these signs after having contact with the products subject to this recall should contact their health care provider immediately.

Pets with Salmonella infections may become lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever and vomiting. Some pets may experience only a decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Infected, but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed any of the affected product or is experiencing any of these symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately.

The elderly, infants and those with impaired immune systems are more likely to become severely ill from Salmonella infection. The bacterium can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in these vulnerable populations. Most healthy individuals recover from Salmonella infections within four to seven days without treatment.

As with humans, dogs who are elderly, very young or have impaired immune systems are more vulnerable to Salmonella infection.

Product Name Distributors Lot/Best By Date UPC
12 PK Natural Pig Ears Petco 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN 800443092910
12 PK Smoked Pig Ears Petco 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN 800443092927
16 oz Chicken Chips Petco, Kasel 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN 647263800291
16 oz Chicken Jerky Petco, Kasel, Menards 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN 647263800291
16 oz Pork Jerky Petco, Kasel, Menards 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN 647263700157
16 oz Salmon Jerky Petco, Kasel 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN 647263900151
25 PK Natural Pig Ears Petco 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN 800443092903
4 oz Beef Jerky Petco, Kasel 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN 647263801175
4 oz Chicken Jerky Petco, Kasel 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN 647263800178
4 oz Lamb Jerky Petco, Kasel 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN 647263510176
4 oz Salmon Jerky Petco, Kasel 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN 647263900175
7 PK Natural Pig Ears Petco 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN 800443092934
7 PK Smoked Pig Ears Petco 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN 800443092941
BIXBI Hip And Joint Beef Liver Jerky 5oz BIXBI 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN 091037018106
BIXBI Hip And Joint Chicken Breast Jerky 5oz BIXBI 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN 091037018083
BIXBI Hip And Joint Lamb Jerky 5oz BIXBI 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN 091037018120
BIXBI Hip And Joint Pork Jerky 5oz BIXBI 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN 091037018144
BIXBI Skin & Coat Beef Liver Jerky 5oz BIXBI 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN 091037018021
BIXBI Skin & Coat Chicken Breast Jerky Treats 5oz BIXBI 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN 091037018007
BIXBI Skin & Coat Lamb Jerky 5oz BIXBI 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN 091037018045
BIXBI Skin & Coat Pork Jerky 5oz BIXBI 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN 091037018069
Boots & Barkley Assorted Natural Parts 32oz Target 20APR2014 DEN-03OCT2014 DEN 490830400086
Boots & Barkley Beef Bully Stick 12″ Target 20APR2014 DEN-03OCT2014 DEN 085239043165
Boots & Barkley Beef Bully Sticks 6ct Target 20APR2014 DEN-03OCT2014 DEN 647263899189
Boots & Barkley Beef Knuckle Target 20APR2014 DEN-03OCT2014 DEN 647263899172
Boots & Barkley Beef Ribs 2ct Target 20APR2014 DEN-03OCT2014 DEN 647263899196
Boots & Barkley Braided Bully Stick 5″ Target 20APR2014 DEN-03OCT2014 DEN 085239043110
Boots & Barkley Chicken Jerky 16oz Target 20APR2014 DEN-03OCT2014 DEN 085239043325
Boots & Barkley Chicken Jerky 8oz Target 20APR2014 DEN-03OCT2014 DEN 085239043400
Boots & Barkley Chicken Stuffed Beef Femur Bone 6″ Target 20APR2014 DEN-03OCT2014 DEN 085239043202
Boots & Barkley Flossie 6-8″ Target 20APR2014 DEN-03OCT2014 DEN 085239043103
Boots & Barkley Pig Ear Strips 8oz Target 20APR2014 DEN-03OCT2014 DEN 085239403440
Boots & Barkley Pig Ears 12ct Target 20APR2014 DEN-03OCT2014 DEN 647263899158
Boots & Barkley Pork Femur Target 20APR2014 DEN-03OCT2014 DEN 647263899165
Boots & Barkley Smoked Beef Femur Bone 3″ Target 20APR2014 DEN-03OCT2014 DEN 085239403495
K9 Chicken Breath Fresh Jerky 15oz Nutri-Vet 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN 669125507117
K9 Chicken Breath Fresh Jerky 5oz Nutri-Vet 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN 669125507100
K9 Chicken Calming Jerky 15oz Nutri-Vet 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN 669125507094
K9 Chicken Calming Jerky 5oz Nutri-Vet 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN 669125507087
K9 Chicken Coat Jerky 15oz Nutri-Vet 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN 669125507070
K9 Chicken Coat Jerky 5oz Nutri-Vet 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN 669125507063
K9 Chicken Digestive Jerky 15oz Nutri-Vet 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN 669125507155
K9 Chicken Digestive Jerky 5oz Nutri-Vet 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN 669125507148
K9 Chicken Healthy Weight Jerky 15oz Nutri-Vet 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN 669125507179
K9 Chicken Healthy Weight Jerky 5oz Nutri-Vet 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN 669125507162
K9 Chicken Jerky 16oz Nutri-Vet 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN 669125507032
K9 Chicken Jerky 5oz Nutri-Vet 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN 669125507018
K9 Chicken Jerky 8oz Nutri-Vet 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN 669125507025
K9 Chicken Joint Jerky 15oz Nutri-Vet 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN 669125507056
K9 Chicken Joint Jerky 5oz Nutri-Vet 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN 669125507049
K9 Chicken Senior Jerky 15oz Nutri-Vet 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN 669125507131
K9 Chicken Senior Jerky 5oz Nutri-Vet 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN 669125507124
K9 Hip & Joint Chicken Strips 8oz Nutri-Vet 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN 669125990445
Nature’s Deli Chicken Jerky 2.5lbs Sam’s Club 04202013 DEN-10032013 DEN 647263800208
Nature’s Deli Chicken Jerky 3lbs Costco 04202013 DEN-10032013 DEN 647263800215
Nutri-Pet 16oz Natural Filet Strips Nutri-Vet 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN 76-0081
Roasted Pig Ear Dog Treats 28oz Sam’s Club 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN 681131857246
TDBBS, Inc Beef Lobster Tails 1ct TDBBS, Inc/Best Bully Sticks 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN Bulk
TDBBS, Inc Buffalo Hearts Sliced 3 lbs TDBBS, Inc/Best Bully Sticks 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN Bulk
TDBBS, Inc Chicken Jerky 16oz TDBBS, Inc/Best Bully Sticks 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN Unknown
TDBBS, Inc Hearts of Lamb 4oz TDBBS, Inc/Best Bully Sticks 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN Unknown
TDBBS, Inc Knee Caps 25 Ct TDBBS, Inc/Best Bully Sticks 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN Bulk
TDBBS, Inc Lamb Jerky 4oz TDBBS, Inc/Best Bully Sticks 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN Unknown
TDBBS, Inc Pig Snouts 25ct TDBBS, Inc/Best Bully Sticks 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN Bulk
TDBBS, Inc Pork Jerky Strips 16oz TDBBS, Inc/Best Bully Sticks 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN Unknown
TDBBS, Inc Turkey Cubes 4.5oz TDBBS, Inc/Best Bully Sticks 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN Unknown
TDBBS, Inc Turkey Jerkey Sticks 6ct TDBBS, Inc/Best Bully Sticks 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN Unknown

Boaters encounter mega-pod of thousands of dolphins

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

On his daily tour, Capt. Joe Dutra of Hornblower Cruises in California encountered what he called a “super mega-pod” of thousands of swimming dolphins that he estimated to be five miles wide and seven miles long. Dolphins’ social groups usually number no more than 200 individuals, but abundant resources could bring multiple pods together, said scientist Sarah Wilkin. “They were coming from all directions — you could see them from as far as the eye can see,” Dutra said. “I’ve seen a lot of stuff out here … but this is the biggest I’ve ever seen, ever.” KNSD-TV (San Diego)

Thousands of dolphins spanning across 7 miles of ocean were  sighted off the coast of San Diego on Thursday, a boat captain told NBC 7 San  Diego.

Capt. Joe Dutra of Hornblower Cruises said he saw a “super mega-pod” of common  dolphins Thursday around noon while he was on his daily tour. He said the pod  was more than 7 miles long and 5 miles wide.

Dutra said the boat tour followed the pod for more than an  hour and said he’s never seen anything like it.

“When you see something that is honestly truly beyond  belief,” the captain said.

Guests aboard the boat started screaming and pointing when  they first saw the school of adult and juvenile common dolphins. Dutra estimated  there were about 100,000 dolphins swimming in the area.

“They were coming from all directions, you could see them  from as far as the eye can see,” he said. “I’ve seen a lot of stuff out here… but this is the biggest I’ve ever seen, ever.” Whale and dolphin watching tours have done particularly well this year, with  dozens of animal sightings reported.

Marine mammal expert Sarah Wilkin said the reason the large  pod might be there is because there’s plenty of food in the area, including  sardines, herring and squid.

“They’re attracted to kind of the same thing, they might wind  up in the same place,” she said.

Though dolphins typically travel in groups of 200 or less,  Wilkin said “super-pods” are not unheard of.

“They’re definitely social animals, they stick together in  small groups,” she said. “But sometimes, the schools come together.”

Dutra, who’s been boating for decades, said he felt lucky to  enjoy such a rare phenomenon.

“You had to be there to experience it,” he said.  “It  was truly spectacular.”


Pets in pain deserve the best care

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

While there are lifestyle changes that can help alleviate arthritic pain in pets, such as soft beds, glucosamine supplements, proper exercise and weight management, veterinarian Marty Becker suggests owners get educated about the medications available to help treat chronic pain in pets. Veterinarians can provide medications that are safe and effective and tailored for each pet’s needs. The Sacramento Bee (Calif.) (free registration)

There are things you can do to treat your dog’s arthritis without using a prescription pain medication from your veterinarian, such as providing soft beds (warmed in the winter), glucosamine supplements and regular moderate exercise, and getting your pet down to a proper weight. But if these measures are not enough, you need to discuss effective prescription pain control with your veterinarian.

I know a little something about chronic pain, thanks to a chronic neurological condition, and I can tell you it’s a miserable way to spend a life. And yet so many pets are in such misery because their owners have “heard” that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are deadly.

While no medication, however helpful, is without the potential for side effects (including very serious ones), the NSAIDs available from your veterinarian have high marks for safety as long as precautionary protocols are followed, including diagnostic tests to spot possible problems with internal organs.

Discuss all your options and all the precautions, and work with your veterinarian to ease your pet’s suffering while minimizing the potential for side effects. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has an excellent free publication on NSAIDs (, and I encourage you to download it.

– Dr. Marty Becker

Read more here:

Supreme Court sides with drug-sniffing dog

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

By ,   Feb 19, 2013 10:20 PM EST  The Washington Post

The Supreme Court on Tuesday sided with a drug-sniffing German shepherd named Aldo in ruling that police do not have to extensively document a dog’s expertise to justify relying on the animal to search someone’s vehicle.

The unanimous court overturned a decision by the Florida Supreme Court. That court had thrown out a 2006 search of a man’s truck after Aldo “alerted” to the smell of drugs, saying police must compile detailed evidence of the dog’s reliability before probable cause to search the vehicle is established.

 Justice Elena Kagan said the Florida court  had gone too far, and suggested that proper training and certification of the dog — rather than how it has performed in the field — might be enough for law enforcement’s purposes.

“The question — similar to every inquiry into probable cause — is whether all the facts surrounding a dog’s alert, viewed through the lens of common sense, would make a reasonably prudent person think that a search would reveal contraband or evidence of a crime,” Kagan wrote.

“A sniff is up to snuff when it meets that test. . . . Aldo’s did.”

The case was one of two the court accepted regarding drug-sniffing dogs from Florida. It has not decided the other, which concerns whether police may bring a dog to someone’s home and then use the dog’s “alert” to the presence of drugs as probable cause for getting a search warrant.

At oral arguments, that case — involving a chocolate Lab named Franky — caused considerably more debate among the justices.

Aldo’s case came from the Florida Panhandle, where Officer William Wheetley stopped Clayton Harris because of an expired license plate. Wheetley found Harris nervous and shaking, and the man refused Wheetley’s request to search his truck. Wheetley brought out Aldo, and the dog alerted to the smell of something on the driver’s side door handle.

Wheetley used the alert as probable cause to search the vehicle and found the ingredients for making methamphetamine. Wheetley was convicted, but the Florida Supreme Court reversed the conviction.

The Florida high court, citing a growing body of evidence that dogs often make mistakes or are influenced by their handlers, said judges had to consider a long list of specific findings, including how the dogs perform in the field.

Kagan said that went too far, and was at odds with previous U.S. Supreme Court decisions that prescribed “a more flexible, ­all-things-considered” approach. She noted that defense lawyers who had specific concerns about a dog’s qualification could still make such a case to a judge.

The case is Florida v. Harris.


Cat ownership: Here’s how to do it right

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

It takes more than a love of cats to care for them properly, according to veterinarian Lorie Huston. Prospective owners should think through the decision to add a cat to the family, and be prepared for a lifelong commitment to the animal’s care and health, Dr. Huston notes. Such a commitment includes meeting the cat’s basic needs but also providing enrichment, veterinary care and including the pet in planning for an emergency.

February is Responsible Pet Owners Month. So I thought this would be a good time to talk about how responsible cat owners care for their cats. This is, of course, a matter of opinion. You’re free to agree or disagree with me. However, these are the things that I think make a cat owner a responsible pet owner.

Responsible pet owners do not bring home a cat on impulse without first knowing that they are able to care for the cat. They take the time to do their homework first, finding out what type of care a new pet will require and whether they are able to provide that type of care. Adopting a cat creates an obligation to care for that cat throughout his/her lifetime. Responsible pet owners know that pets are not disposable creatures that can be tossed out simply because the owner no longer has any interest in the pet.
Cats should be housed inside. Outdoor activity can be a useful distraction but should be limited to supervised activities such as walking on a leash and harness/collar or being confined in an outdoor catio. This serves several purposes. Your cat will be protected from predators as well as other dangers such as cars, dogs and malicious people. Your cat is also less likely to be exposed to infectious diseases and/or toxins. In addition, your cat will not be hunting songbirds or other small animals if housed indoors.
All cats require regular home care. Daily feeding is, of course, a necessity but is only a small part of the care a cat requires. Fresh water and clean litter boxes are necessities. Scratching posts, perches, beds or other resting places, and toys are all important for meeting your cat’s basic needs. Cats also need to be groomed regularly. Grooming should include regular brushing of the hair coat, nail trimming as necessary, ear cleaning as necessary, and tooth brushing on a daily basis. Individual cats may require other grooming procedures as well, like keeping the eyes clean or bathing.
Cats require regular veterinary care. They need routine examinations, vaccinations, dental care, and more. Plan on visiting your veterinarian at least once to twice a year. More frequent visits may be necessary for cats with chronic illnesses.
Responsible cat owners spay or neuter their cats. This falls under veterinary care but is worthy of separate mention because it is such an important part of being a responsible pet owner. Only purebred cats that are breeding animals should be left intact and these animals should be bred responsibly and only by a knowledgeable breeder. The vast majority of cat owners should not be breeding their cats and the cats should be spayed or neutered.
Cats are creatures that can hide symptoms of illness quite well. A responsible cat owner becomes intimately familiar with their cat’s normal habits and behaviors. Any deviation from the norm, no matter how subtle, should prompt a consultation with the veterinarian.
Responsible cat owners have an emergency plan in place. That plan can be quickly implemented and it includes the family cat. A good emergency plan includes knowing where you will go in the case of an emergency and making certain that your cat is welcome there also. An emergency kit and first aid kit should be available, pre-packed, and easily accessible. This is a part of being a pet owner that is often overlooked or postponed. Nevertheless, having a plan can be the difference between life and death. In some emergency situations, minutes count, and being prepared ahead of time can save precious time in a crisis situation.
What did I forget? What other things do responsible cat owners do or not do?

Tailored care ensures dental cleanings are as safe as possible

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

February is National Pet Dental Health Month, but pets’ oral health should be a year-round priority because dental disease can lead to systemic problems involving the liver, kidneys and heart, writes veterinarian Karen Dye. Fear of anesthesia is not a reason to forgo veterinary dental cleanings, Dr. Dye notes, because thorough lab tests before the procedure, appropriate anesthetic choices and monitoring during anesthesia all tailored to a specific breed and animal help ensure a pet’s safety. The Culpeper Star-Exponent (Va.)

Q:  I know February is National Pet Dental Health Month, but I am worried about the risk of anesthesia.

A:  Anesthesia always involves some risk, but there are many precautions that can make anesthesia as safe as possible.  The risks of dental disease usually outweigh the risks of anesthesia.  Bacteria from dental disease can affect the whole body including the heart, liver and kidneys.

Prior to any patient being anesthetized, a complete physical exam should be performed to ensure the safest anesthetic experience.  Pre-anesthetic blood tests should also be completed in order to detect anemia or problems with liver health, kidney function, blood sugar, or serum proteins that would otherwise go unnoticed.  Having the complete picture of your pet’s health, veterinarians can individually tailor the choice of anesthetic drugs, keeping your pet as safe as possible.

At my practice, we use only uses the safest, most modern anesthetic medications for any procedure.  Most of these drugs are used every day in human hospitals.  Your pet will benefit from the advanced safety of modern anesthesia.  State of the art computerized monitoring equipment is also used to keep every patient as safe as possible.  Your pet’s heart rate, EKG, respiration, blood oxygen saturation, and core body temperature will be constantly monitored during the procedure using the latest VetSpecs PC-VSM3 multi-parameter digital anesthetic monitor.

Tracheal intubation during general anesthesia maintains adequate ventilation.  The simple act of placing a tracheal tube will ensure your pet receives enough oxygen throughout the procedure, a key component in anesthesia safety.

Intravenous fluid therapy will help protect your pet’s kidneys from damage during anesthesia.  Healthy kidneys are vital to a long, happy life.  No human hospital would ever perform general anesthesia without IV fluids, yet many veterinary hospitals skip this important step.  The IV catheter placed to administer fluids can also be life-saving.  If minor abnormalities occur during the procedure, appropriate medications can be rapidly administered intravenously when a catheter is present.  With early detection from a computerized monitor, and speedy treatment through a catheter, our medical team can often keep small problems from turning into larger ones.

To protect against dangerously low body temperature, we use a high tech water circulating heating pad system.  This system will not burn the patient.  When we say as safe as possible, we mean it.

From the moment your pet is anesthetized until after he or she wakes up, a highly educated member of our medical team is by his or her side.  No anesthetized patient is ever left alone, not even for a second.  Our professional staff regularly attends continuing education courses on the newest, safest anesthetic techniques.  We will be there to hold your pet’s paw.

We use breed-specific profiling as well.  Certain breeds carry specific predispositions that should be addressed prior to anesthesia.  Examples include clotting disorders in Dobermans, heart murmurs in Maine Coon cats, and drug sensitivities in Greyhounds.  Brachycephalic breeds (bulldogs, pugs, Boston terriers, Pekingese) can have brachycephalic syndrome with increased respiratory effort with the potential for upper airway obstruction.  We avoid excessive sedation with brachycephalic breeds, administering pre-medications at half-dose.  We also pre-oxygenate brachycephalic breeds and use short-acting induction agents.  Appropriate sized tracheal tubes are selected and extubation does not occur until your pet is sitting up, vigorous, bright and alert.  Sighthounds (greyhounds, whippets, Borzoi, Salukis) have delayed metabolism, lower body fat percentage and are at risk for hypothermia.  These risks are kept very low since we use high tech monitoring equipment and warm water circulating heating pads.  Herding breeds (collies, shelties, Australian shepherds and border collies) can have a mutation resulting in accumulation of certain drugs in the cerebral spinal fluid, followed by excessive sedation and respiratory depression.  For these patients, we reduce certain medications by 25% and monitor carefully.

In conclusion, it is important to keep your pet healthy and dental health is a critical component of overall health and well being.  Modern protocols, like the ones at Clevengers Corner Veterinary Care, minimize anesthetic risk and maximize the benefit of a clean, healthy mouth.

Dr. Dye practices companion animal medicine and surgery at Clevengers Corner Veterinary Care.  She and Dr. Watts can be reached at (540)428-1000 or through

AHF Pet Partner team Jan and Jonah

Monday, February 18th, 2013

During the past year, Jan Haderlie and Jonah, her 5-year-old Shetland Sheepdog, have been valuable partipants in Project Positive Assertive Cooperative Kids (P.A.C.K.) at the University of California -Irvine.  P.A.C.K.  is a federally funded, non-medication research study to examine whether adding therapy dogs in a 12-week cognitive-behavioral group therapy intervention is more effective than traditional cognitive-behavioral group therapy without therapy dogs in improving self-esteem, self-regulation and pro-social behaviors in 7- to 9-year-old children who have attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

The P.A.C.K. children have multiple opportunities to bond with Jan and Jonah during their twice-weekly sessions. At each session, children rotate among three stations. The children create arts and crafts projects at Jan and Jonah’s station. The children also have the opportunity to earn the privilege of having one-on-one time with Jan and Jonah during group therapy when they demonstrate on-task behaviors, such as attending to the speaker and making contributions during discussions.

During reading time, the children pair up and read dog stories to each other and to Jonah. Jonah’s impeccable eye contact with the pages of the story amazes the children. One of the children’s favorite P.A.C.K. activities is giving basic commands to their four-legged friends, which demonstrates self-regulation and assertiveness by having a confident voice and a calm body. During this activity, they are also practicing pro-social behaviors by complimenting the dogs for following directions.

P.A.C.K. is extremely grateful to Jan, Jonah and the other Pet Partners teams participating in the project. For more information on the study, visit

Meet Pet Partner Team Suzannah and Lacey

Monday, February 18th, 2013

Suzannah and Lacey have been an AHF Caring Creatures Pet Partner Team since 2012.

Pets on a plane: Decrease their risk

Monday, February 18th, 2013

While most pets who fly the friendly skies arrive at their destination unscathed, there have been cases of injury and death in some, and this article provides some tips for owners to help ensure the safety of their animals during flight. Veterinarian Jay King suggests getting pets used to the crate they will fly in beforehand, and he says pets’ disposition and the weather should be taken into consideration before putting animals on a flight. The ASPCA recommends ensuring your animal is up to date on vaccinations and that the collar and crate are labeled appropriately. Freezing a dish of water ensures pets have water to drink when they’re ready for it. St. Louis Post-Dispatch/Along for the Ride blog

In November 2010, a French bulldog died sometime during a pair of Continental Airlines flights between St. Louis and Seattle.

During a necropsy of the 11/2-year-old dog at the Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, a “small amount of shredded newspaper” was found partially obstructing the opening of the dog’s larynx. The dog’s death was determined to be unrelated to the airline’s handling of the pet.

The cursory account is one of dozens that airlines have filed with the U.S. Department of Transportation in recent years in response to federal reporting rules.

First, it should be noted that the overwhelming majority of pets and other animals that travel by air suffer no serious consequences. Continental shipped 6,725 animals in November 2010 with only one incident.

Still, there are enough reports of animal injuries and deaths to gain some insights into these worst cases. During 2012, for instance, 58 animals were lost, injured or died, during air transportation. In 2011, there were 46. In 2010, the number was 57.

Dr. Jay King of the Watson Road Veterinary Clinic said that “99.9 percent of the time, it is noneventful” to fly with your pet. But there are steps you can take to prevent harm from coming to your family pet during a flight.

If your pet is flying in a crate, take the time for the animal to become familiar with it beforehand.

Drive the pet around town to get accustomed to the notion of travel. Tranquilizers may help your dog or cat handle the stress of air travel, King said, but they can also affect an animal’s ability to regulate its body temperature.

In one case, records show, an English bulldog died after its owner administered a dose of Xanax before a flight in late December from Orlando, Fla., to Seattle.

Recognize that some pets — just like some pet owners — are not comfortable with air travel. They can suffer panic attacks or separation anxiety, King said.

“They are in a weird situation,” King said. “They are put in a cargo hold. Their ears pop. Sometimes they will really freak out.”

Take weather into account, he said. If it is too hot or too cold, the airline may not let your pet fly if the animal is going to be shipped in the cargo hold.

Many of the reports filed during the last three years involved dogs that injured themselves while trying to chew their way out of transport crates. After one Alaska Airlines flight touched down in Seattle last December, ramp workers noticed that a dog’s mouth was stuck on the metal wires of the kennel door, according to one report. Workers had to cut a few of the wires to free the dog’s mouth.

The owners told the airline the dog suffers from “extreme separation anxiety,” and that they would be taking it to a veterinarian to check for any injuries to its mouth.

Many of the mishaps involved international flights, which King said can amount to “a nightmare” because of the extra steps required.

In June 2011, an 8-month-old chinchilla that was originally loaded onto a Delta Air Lines flight at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport was discovered dead at its ultimate destination, Moscow.

Delta officials reported that the chinchilla was “in good condition” at JFK International Airport in New York before it was loaded onto the final flight to Moscow. Once it got there, however, the chinchilla was dead. During a necropsy, the doctor determined that “to the best of our knowledge, cause of death was due to a septic gastroenteritis or acute heart failure from stress,” the report showed.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals recommends against flying with your pet — unless it is going to fly with you in the cabin. If you must transport a pet as cargo on a commercial flight, here are some tips:

  • Make sure all vaccinations are up to date and get a health certificate from your veterinarian within 10 days of the trip.
  • Don’t forget to make sure your pet has a collar and an identification tag, and a microchip if possible. The collar should include information about your destination, in case the animal escapes.
  • Choose a direct flight whenever possible.
  • Pick a USDA-approved shipping crate, and write “live animal” in one-inch letters on the top and at least one side. Affix arrows to show the upright position of the crate.
  • Freeze a small dish of water the night before the trip so it won’t spill while loading. It should be melted by the time your pet is thirsty. King says ice cubes work too.

Your pet is family, so take the extra time to ensure the flight ends happily.

Study assesses neutering and health conditions in dogs

Monday, February 18th, 2013

Neutering dogs may impact the occurrence of disorders including hip dysplasia, cranial cruciate ligament tears, lymphosarcoma, mast cell tumors and hemangiosarcomas, according to a study led by veterinarian Benjamin Hart at the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine. Researchers evaluated the medical records of 759 golden retrievers, male and female, finding that early and late sterilization were associated with an increased occurrence of certain disorders. However, Dr. Hart noted that disease vulnerability may vary among breeds, and any connection between neutering and health conditions is likely multifaceted.

The study, which examined the health records of 759 golden retrievers, found a surprising doubling of hip dysplasia among male dogs neutered before one year of age. This and other results will be published today (Feb. 13) in the online scientific journal PLOS ONE. “The study results indicate that dog owners and service-dog trainers should carefully consider when to have their male or female dogs neutered,” said lead investigator Benjamin Hart, a distinguished professor emeritus in the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. “It is important to remember, however, that because different dog breeds have different vulnerabilities to various diseases, the effects of early and late neutering also may vary from breed to breed,” he said. While results of the new study are revealing, Hart said the relationship between neutering and disease-risk remains a complex issue. For example, the increased incidence of joint diseases among early-neutered dogs is likely a combination of the effect of neutering on the young dog’s growth plates as well as the increase in weight on the joints that is commonly seen in neutered dogs. Dog owners in the United States are overwhelmingly choosing to neuter their dogs, in large part to prevent pet overpopulation or avoid unwanted behaviors. In the U.S., surgical neutering—known as spaying in females—is usually done when the dog is less than one year old. In Europe, however, neutering is generally avoided by owners and trainers and not promoted by animal health authorities, Hart said. During the past decade, some studies have indicated that neutering can have several adverse health effects for certain dog breeds. Those studies examined individual diseases using data drawn from one breed or pooled from several breeds. Against that backdrop, Hart and colleagues launched their study, using a single hospital database. The study was designed to examine the effects of neutering on the risks of several diseases in the same breed, distinguishing between males and females and between early or late neutering and non-neutering.                                        google_protectAndRun(“render_ads.js::google_render_ad”, google_handleError, google_render_ad);     The researchers chose to focus on the golden retriever because it is one of the most popular breeds in the U.S. and Europe and is vulnerable to various cancers and joint disorders. The breed also is favored for work as a service dog. The research team reviewed the records of female and male golden retrievers, ranging in age from 1 to 8 years, that had been examined at UC Davis’ William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital for two joint disorders and three cancers: hip dysplasia, cranial cruciate ligament tear, lymphosarcoma, hemangiosarcoma and mast cell tumor. The dogs were classified as intact (not neutered), neutered early (before 12 months age), or neutered late (at or after 12 months age). Joint disorders and cancers are of particular interest because neutering removes the male dog’s testes and the female’s ovaries, interrupting production of certain hormones that play key roles in important body processes such as closure of bone growth plates, and regulation of the estrous cycle in female dogs. The study revealed that, for all five diseases analyzed, the disease rates were significantly higher in both males and females that were neutered either early or late compared with intact (non-neutered) dogs. Specifically, early neutering was associated with an increase in the occurrence of hip dysplasia, cranial cruciate ligament tear and lymphosarcoma in males and of cranial cruciate ligament tear in females. Late neutering was associated with the subsequent occurrence of mast cell tumors and hemangiosarcoma in females. In most areas, the findings of this study were consistent with earlier studies, suggesting similar increases in disease risks. The new study, however, was the first to specifically report an increased risk of late neutering for mast cell tumors and hemangiosarcoma. Furthermore, the new study showed a surprising 100 percent increase, or doubling, of the incidence of hip dysplasia among early-neutered males. Earlier studies had reported a 17 percent increase among all neutered dogs compared to all non-neutered dogs, indicating the importance of the new study in making gender and age-of-neutering comparisons. More information: reference: PLoS ONE Provided by UC Davis
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