Archive for July, 2020

German sniffer dogs show promise at detecting coronavirus

Monday, July 27th, 2020

Researchers in Germany have found that army sniffer dogs can discern between samples from coronavirus-infected and healthy patients. So high is the level of accuracy, they hope this can be used in real-life scenarios.

    
Deutschland Coronavirus Spürhunde der Bundeswehr (Reuters/W. Rattay)

Scientists at the University of Veterinary Medicine Hanover have found that trained sniffer dogs could be used to detect COVID-19 in human samples with a relatively high rate of accuracy, a study published on Thursday revealed.

Eight sniffer dogs from the German Bundeswehr were trained for only a weekto distinguish between the mucus and saliva of patients infected with coronavirus and non-infected individuals.

The dogs were then presented with positive and negative samples on a random basis by a machine.

‘Potential to take this further’

The animals were able to positively detect SARS-CoV-2 infected secretions with an 83% success rate, and control secretions at a rate of 96%. The overall detection rate, combining both, was 94%.

In its conclusion based on more than 1,000 sniffed samples, published in the BMC Infectious Diseases journal, the team said dogs could play a role in detecting infected individuals.

Sniffer dogs that normally look for explosives or drugs have been used previously to smell various cancers and hypoglycemia in diabetics. This medical application motivated veterinary scientists to research the potential ability of sniffer dogs to detect the coronavirus.

“We think that this works because the metabolic processes in the body of a diseased patient are completely changed and we think that the dog is able to detect a specific smell of the metabolic changes that occur in those patients,” said Professor Maren von Köckritz-Blickwede, a specialist in the biochemistry of infections.

“What has to be crystal clear is that this is just a pilot study,” said Holger Volk, chair of the university’s department of small animal medicine. “There’s a lot of potential to take this further — to really use these dogs in the field.”

In their conclusion, the team envisaged using sniffer dogs to detect infectious individuals in certain places.

“In countries with limited access to diagnostic tests, detection dogs could then have the potential to be used for mass detection of infected people,” said the conclusion. “Further work is necessary to better understand the potential and limitation of using scent dogs for the detection of viral respiratory diseases.”

The samples with which the sniffer dogs are being tested were chemically rendered harmless. The question remains whether the canines can detect active coronavirus cases in patients.

The researchers are also looking at how well dogs can differentiate between samples from COVID-19 patients and those with other diseases such as flu.

The Poisoned Cue from Dogs Naturally Magazine

Saturday, July 25th, 2020

www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com

 

One of the best “Cue” articles that we’ve seen!

Most of us are generally on board when it comes to reward-based training. We all like to be nice to our dogs and we all like happy, willing partners … so it just seems like a good idea to use cookies and games when teaching our dogs new things.What To Do When Your Dog Doesn’t Obey
Let’s use a recall as an example. If you you ask your dog to come and he simply shrugs you off and continues doing his own thing, is it time to change stride and start correcting poor choices?

It may seem that giving cookies for right responses and verbal or physical reprimands for wrong responses is a good idea. This is what many people call ‘balanced training’.

But while it seems like good sense, there are very real and unwanted byproducts of using reprimands.

Let’s Make A Deal
If you teach your dog with cookies, you’ve established a pact with your dog: “You do what I ask and I’ll give you something yummie.”

It’s a good deal … your dog is happy, you’re happy and everything goes well. And your dog learns over time that every time you ask him to do something, it’s a promise of good things to come. And that’s good …

With positive training, your dog becomes very motivated to comply with your wishes because every request is an opportunity to earn a reward. As you repeat this over time, your cues actually become rewards in themselves.

Breaking The Deal
Let’s say you call your dog and he doesn’t come. So you go and get him and give him a little shake for being bad. Suddenly, there’s a shift in your dog’s perception of the cues.

Once he’s corrected for a wrong response, your cues are now threats as well as promises.

When this happens, your cues no longer serve as rewards … so your dog will have a lot less emotional attachment to them and a lot less motivation to comply.

Cues As Rewards
If you teach your dog that “come” means an invitation to come and get some cookies and play some games, your dog would really look forward to hearing that word. He would also be motivated to actually come because he knows there’s a chance that doing so could earn him rewards.

But once you say “come” and follow up with a correction, your dog will become suspicious of the cue. He’ll no longer feel that happy anticipation when he hears the word, because it’s no longer a good predictor of Good Things For Dog.

The Results . . .
If you punish your dog after a cue, even if he doesn’t comply, you’ll start to see slower responses, fear of responding, or calming signals such as sniffing the ground or looking away. Your dog will lose interest and motivation because he’ll understandably want to avoid any chance of correction or punishment.

Even if you continue to reward right responses, you’ll see this shift in motivation. This is because your requests are no longer safe for your dog.

This is called poisoning the cue … your cues are now threats as well as promises.

How to Disinfect Your Home Without Harming Your Pet

Tuesday, July 7th, 2020

By Dr. Karen Becker for Mercola

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • Since the COVID-19 pandemic, some people are more concerned than ever about keeping their spaces clean, but some may forget to read and heed warning labels on cleaners
  • The Pet Poison Helpline reported a 100% increase in phone traffic from panicked pet owners due to pets inhaling, ingesting or having skin contact with common but poisonous household cleaners
  • Bleach and ammonia are common cleaners that are potentially lethal to pets, but mixing them with other substances can make them even worse
  • Experts say highly reactive chemicals may be effective in killing bacteria and viruses, but that’s also what makes them respond to others, creating new toxic chemicals
  • While large dogs may also be affected, small dogs and cats are much closer to the source of toxins on the floor after cleaning, disinfecting or deodorizing, and may be increasingly harmed over time

Since the first warnings of the dangers of COVID-19 emerged, the U.S. has been inundated with advice from doctors, scientists and government officials regarding how people should behave to avoid contamination.

Besides the handwashing, social distancing and mask wearing that humans have been advised to practice, it only makes sense for pet owners to think about how to protect their pets’ sensitive skin, organs and nasal passages if you’re using harsh cleaners in your home.

But some have forgotten to read and heed the warning labels on cleaning and sanitizing agents, and pets as well as humans have been harmed because of it. Remember, a dog’s sense of smell is thousands of times greater than a human’s, and their chemical sensitivity potentially much greater (they don’t shower regularly to remove the accumulated chemicals).

In fact, since the first reports of what’s been termed a pandemic, Pet Poison Helpline has reported a 100% increase in phone traffic from panicked pet owners due to exposure to common household products that ended up injuring a vulnerable pet, from cats and dogs to birds, reptiles and numerous other exotic species.

Sadly, that can happen more easily than some people may think, especially when it comes to bleach, hand sanitizer and antibacterial wipes, observed Bluefield Daily Telegraph, based in West Virginia. According to Ahna Brutlag, DVM, a senior veterinary toxicologist:

“People are very concerned about their families during this COVID-19 crisis. That includes their pets. When we started receiving calls from panicked pet parents regarding possible poisonings related to COVID-19 cleaning fears, we felt we needed to educate the pet loving community on the safest way to do it.”1

Everybody wants their home to be clean, but harsh and even toxic chemicals are being used on a more frequent basis in more households, and accidents do happen. For example, someone with an open jug of bleach on the floor next to their washing machine might not realize how easy it would be to knock over.

Brutlag says if a dog or cat walks through the spilled substance, it could cause skin irritation since it can be absorbed so easily into their paw pads. But if the animal licked its paws while self grooming, the chemical’s contact with their delicate internal organs could lead to stomach irritation, diarrhea, vomiting and worse.

Some Cleaners Are Harsh, but Mixing Them Can Be Deadly

Bleach is potentially toxic on its own, but mixing it with many other cleaners can create noxious fumes. Potentially deadly combinations include bleach with ammonia, which creates chlorine gas; bleach with vinegar, which creates a chlorine gas so toxic it was used in World War I; and bleach with rubbing alcohol, says Vy Dong, professor at the University of California Irvine and head of the Dong Research Group.2

Alexander Lu from Dong Research Group notes that bleach is comprised of “highly reactive chemicals that make it effective at killing bacteria and viruses, but its high reactivity is also what makes it respond to other chemicals, which can result in new toxic chemicals.”3

While both toilet bowl cleaner and bleach are commonly used in the bathroom, they can be a lethal combination due to the fumes created. Use one or the other, and again, make sure you have good ventilation and that your pet isn’t in the room. Dong had this to say about various chemical combinations:

“Molecules are like people with their own personalities and how they behave depends on who they are around … unless you understand the personalities of all the molecules in your bottle, don’t try this at home.”4

They may seem tame in comparison, but even a combination of hydrogen peroxide and vinegar forms a chemical called peracetic acid, which is corrosive enough to break down surfaces, as well as being toxic.

Hand sanitizer can become a hazard because of its high alcohol content, Brutlag says. If an animal should swallow enough of it, symptoms could arise in as little as a half hour, necessitating a call to either the animal’s veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline.

Rubbing alcohol, especially concentrated alcohol levels from 70% to 99%, may be good for cleaning, but mixed with bleach it turns into chloroform, which can cause unconsciousness, and chloroacetone, another tear gas. Both are described as “toxic and dangerous.”5


Many Cleaners Are Potentially Dangerous

Steps you can take to avoid problems include placing your dog in his crate (and your cat in a closed room) while using chemical-based cleaning products on your floors, bathrooms or laundry. But some might use such cleaners on the cages themselves. The ASPCA notes that it’s the dilution of bleach in water that’s important:

“Pet parents are often curious about the risks associated with cleaning their pets’ cages and toys with bleach. The bottom line is this: cleaning your pet’s cage or toy with a properly diluted bleach solution, followed by a thorough rinsing and airing out, is not expected to cause harm. If the odor of bleach seems overwhelming, open windows and use fans to air the room.”6

One reason pets are so susceptible to chemical odors is because their systems are more sensitive, so the level of exposure for them is much higher than it is for humans. Even if you have a large dog — and especially if you have a cat or small dog — they’re much closer to the source of the toxins that are on the floor. Breathing them constantly would be not only unpleasant, but increasingly harmful over time.

Other substances many homeowners with pets wouldn’t think twice about using include carpet deodorizers that are shaken or sprayed on and left to sit for a period of time before vacuuming. Pets can easily walk through the room and inhale it or get it on their paws, and ingest it secondarily to grooming.

One way to protect both you and your pets is to make sure you thoroughly wipe down any surface with pure water after using conventional disinfectants. I use a medical-grade colloidal silver product around my house (proven to address aggressive viruses and bacteria) to safely address bacteria and viruses without risk to me or my furry family members.

If you opt for conventional chemical cleaning agents with poison control warnings on the label, make sure you (and your pets) have plenty of ventilation. Further:

“While we’re stuck at home trying to sanitize everything in sight, it might be tempting to get creative with mixing household chemicals to try to get your home as clean as possible. However, mixing household cleaners can be dangerous due to the chemical makeup of the unique cleaners … It’s highly recommended to stick to using one household cleaner at a time per surface to avoid mixing chemicals.”7

Better yet, opt for only natural cleaning products in your home, here’s a link to a Facebook Live I did about effective and non-toxic household cleaning products you can feel good about using around animals.

If you are still using conventional chemical cleaning products and notice changes in your pets, don’t hesitate to call the Pet Poison Helpline8 at 800-213-6680, seven days a week, 24 hours a day, for information regarding potential poisoning of all animal species.

RECALL-Natural Balance Ultra Premium Chicken and Liver Pate Formula CAT Food

Monday, July 6th, 2020

The J. M. Smucker Company today announced a voluntary recall of one lot of Natural Balance® Ultra Premium Chicken & Liver Paté Formula canned cat food due to health concerns likely associated with elevated levels of choline chloride.

Ingesting impacted product may cause nausea with excessive salivation, constricted pupils and poor vision, diarrhea or vomiting to more severe symptoms including difficulty walking, muscle shaking, tremors, irregular heartbeat, difficulty breathing, possible cardiac or respiratory failure and, in extreme situations, death. Pet parents are encouraged to contact their cat’s veterinarian immediately if their cat is displaying any of these symptoms.

If pet parents have any product matching the following description in their possession, they should stop feeding it to their cats and dispose of the product. This information can be found on the bottom of each can.

Product Name Retail UPC Code Lot Code Best If Used By Date
Natural Balance® Ultra Premium Chicken & Liver Paté Formula canned cat food
5.5 oz can
2363353227 9217803 08 04 2021

These products are most commonly sold in pet specialty retailers and online throughout the United States and Canada. No other Natural Balance® products are impacted by this recall.

The Company has received reports of adverse reactions. Pet parents that have questions or would like to report adverse reactions should call 888-569-6828, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. ET or email anytime at info@naturalbalanceinc.com.

This recall is being conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

FDA recall notice: https://www.fda.gov/safety/recalls-market-withdrawals-safety-alerts/j-m-smucker-company-issues-voluntary-recall-one-lot-natural-balancer-ultra-premium-chicken-liver