Animal Health Foundation Blog

Archive for the ‘Dogs’ Category

The Dogs of California Wine Country

Monday, March 1st, 2021

Part 1   How Fun this series is!

Enjoy the wine and special pups too!

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9 Facts About Corn in Pet Food

Monday, March 1st, 2021

-By  Susan Thixton – The Truth About Pet Food

Corn doesn’t have to be a risk ingredient, but it CAN be. Facts you should know about corn ingredients before you trust your pet’s life with that pet food.

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Kids and Interaction With Dogs

Saturday, February 27th, 2021

Heartworm Preventative – Year Round or Not?

Friday, February 26th, 2021

Paraphrased from Dr. Judy Morgan:

Mosquitoes are the main way that heartworms are transmitted.  There are 3 stages.  The first 2 (L1 and L2 larvae) require temperatures above 80 F (27 C) for a minimum of two weeks to reach L3. That is the infection stage. So. while most veterinarians recommend year-round administration of heartworm preventative, it may only be required seasonally in some areas.

Since there are a lot of variables, Dr. Morgan wrote a blog to “…try and help you decide what kind of heartworm preventative may be recommended for your pet”.

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Column: Are you giving your pets supplements to ward off COVID? Don’t bother

Friday, February 26th, 2021

From the Los Angeles Times

The COVID-19 pandemic has sparked a boom in consumption of dietary supplements, with one recent report estimating 12% growth in sales last year.

 

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ACIP shortens recommendation for rabies PrEP to two-dose schedule

Thursday, February 25th, 2021

The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted Wednesday to shorten the recommendation for rabies PrEP to a two-dose vaccine schedule, aligning with international guidance.

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Prepare Your Home for an Earthquake and Keep You and Your Pets Safe

Tuesday, November 24th, 2020

From:  www.porch.com at:

https://porch.com/advice/prepare-home-earthquake-keep-pets-safe

November 2, 2020

While many homeowners are under the false impression that earthquakes are restricted to certain areas of the U.S., the reality is that an earthquake can strike any location at any time. Although states like California, Alaska, Washington, and Oregon are more prone to the risk of an earthquake, one can happen anywhere without warning. An earthquake can cause tsunamis, landslides, fires, and other disturbances that can wreak havoc on an entire region.

As with any natural disaster, the best time to prepare is before the unexpected happens. Read on to learn about earthquake preparedness tips you can use to safeguard your home, family, and pets.

Earthquake Preparedness Tips for Your Family

While natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and typhoons can be predicted beforehand, even with today’s advanced technology, there’s no fool-proof way for weather departments to detect the location and magnitude of an earthquake. Although scientists do have a general understanding of which areas of the United States are most prone to earthquakes, they’re unfortunately still unable to assess the exact time this type of catastrophe will occur. For that reason, the only way to minimize loss of life and property damage is to prepare beforehand.

No matter where you live, there are certain earthquake safety tips you can implement to ensure your family’s safety.

Earthquake Readiness Planning Begins Inside the Home

The best place to begin planning your family’s earthquake safety measures is within your home. Follow these five earthquake safety procedures to keep your family safe:

  1. Identify both the safest and most dangerous areas of your home. Review these areas with your family members so everyone understands where to go if disaster strikes.
  2. Designate a safe zone where you and other family members can meet if you get separated during or after an earthquake.
  3. Since fires often break out after earthquakes, make sure your family knows where the fire extinguisher is and how to use it properly.
  4. Run regular earthquake readiness drills with your family so they become more familiar with how to respond if a disaster occurs.
  5. Review your community’s earthquake preparedness plans. Identify your city’s safety zones and include an emergency meeting place in your family’s plan in case you get separated.

Build an Earthquake Emergency Kit

After an earthquake, you may have to survive for several days on your own until help arrives. Smart earthquake preparedness means you have enough food, water, and other essential supplies to last for several days. Build a collection of basic household items that you might need if you’re forced to evacuate your home quickly or if you’re unable to leave your home temporarily.

What to Include in an Earthquake Emergency Kit

When assembling your earthquake emergency kit, take your family’s unique needs into account. For example, consider the needs of your pets or senior citizens when building your kit. If you have a baby, don’t forget to pack formula, bottles, wipes, diapers, and other essentials. A basic disaster supply kit safety checklist should include:

  • A gallon of water per person per day to last several days
  • At least a three-day supply of non-perishable food that can be prepared without gas or electricity
  • Flashlights with extra batteries
  • A first aid kit
  • Waterproof matches
  • A battery-powered emergency radio so you can keep up with current information
  • A whistle to signal for help
  • A manual can opener
  • A map of your city
  • Hand sanitizer or moist towelettes
  • Prescription medications
  • Non-prescription medicines such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and antacids
  • Masks to help filter contaminated air
  • Copies of important documents such as ID cards, bank account information, and insurance policies
  • Sleeping bags or heavy blankets to stay warm

Create an Earthquake-Proof Home to Prevent Structural Damage

Prepare your home for an earthquake to keep your family and home safe from seismic activity. Use this home safety checklist to reduce property damage and help ensure safety:

Purchase Earthquake Insurance

If you live in a region that’s particularly prone to earthquakes, purchasing earthquake insurance is critical. Depending on the magnitude, an earthquake can cause extensive damage to property. Most homeowner’s insurance policies don’t cover earthquake-related damage. If disaster does strike, earthquake insurance can help cover the costs of repairing your home or purchasing a new one so you and your family can continue to live life as normal.

Reinforce the Structural Elements of Your Home

Many new properties are built on a strong foundation, but older homes may be held in place simply by their weight. If your home isn’t fixed firmly to the ground, it may be prone to wobbling, cracking, or crumbling if an earthquake occurs. Here are a few ways you can create an earthquake-proof home:

  • Repair any cracks in your walls or roof.
  • Reinforce the cripple wall of your home, which is located between the foundation and the first floor of your home.
  • Reinforce attached structures such as your garage, chimney, and joint shed.
  • Secure anchor bolts or steel plates between the foundation and the house. This small investment can prevent your home from sliding or being overturned during an earthquake.

Secure Items within Your House

After an earthquake, gas leaks can be even more dangerous than the natural disaster itself. Consider investing in automatic shut-off devices or breakaway gas shut-off devices so you can easily turn the gas off. Then, follow these safety precautions to prepare the inside of your home for an earthquake:

  • Fasten taller furniture like wardrobes, armoires, and bookcases to the wall with straps or safety cables.
  • Hang heavier objects such as mirrors and artwork away from couches, beds, or any other furniture where people sit.
  • On shelves, place heavier objects and breakables as low as possible.
  • Secure your water heater to the wall.
  • Install safety film on glass doors and windows.
  • Secure ceiling fixtures like chandeliers and ceiling lights to the permanent structure of your home.
  • Install latches on cabinet doors and drawers to prevent items from spilling out.
  • Identify the locations of your circuit breaker or electrical fuse box and water shut-off valve so you can quickly turn them off if needed.

If you’re unsure about how earthquake-proof your home is, a professional engineer can evaluate your structure. Don’t hesitate to ask about home safety repair and strengthening tips for features like your porch, deck, sliding glass doors, carport, garage door, or other structures.

Earthquake Pet Safety Tips to Practice During and After an Earthquake

After an earthquake, it’s not uncommon for families to deal with the grief of a missing pet that became separated during the catastrophe. Unfortunately, many pets may never be reunited with their family members due to poor earthquake preparedness. In an emergency like an earthquake, your pet will be even more dependent on you for its well-being and safety. Your family’s earthquake disaster preparedness plan should also include the needs of your pet.

What to Include in an Emergency Kit for Pets

Make sure your furry family members are also ready for a major disaster like an earthquake by following these earthquake pet safety tips. When building a disaster preparedness kit for your pets, follow these safety procedures:

  • Pack enough food and water to last for at least five days for each pet. Don’t forget to pack your pet’s bowl and a manual can opener.
  • Make sure your pet is properly identified by a tag, collar, or microchip. Your pet should always wear an ID, even when indoors.
  • Become aware of your pet’s favorite hiding places. If your pet becomes frightened, it may try to hide.
  • Keep a list of your pet’s medical records and medications and store this information in a waterproof container.
  • Keep a leash, harness, and secure carrier close by in case you need to suddenly leave your home.
  • Take current photos of your pet to help others identify it if you become separated.
  • Display a pet alert window sticker on your house to let first responders know there’s an animal inside.
  • Write down information about your pet’s feeding schedule or medical conditions along with the contact information of your veterinarian in case you have to temporarily board your pet or place it in a shelter.
  • Include your pet’s favorite toy and blanket in the kit for increased comfort.

The above guide is primarily about common household pets such as cats and dogs. If you’re looking for earthquake disaster preparedness tips for other animals such as reptiles, birds, or small animals like hamsters or gerbils, follow these recommendations from the ASPCA.

Prepare Now for an Earthquake

Since earthquakes are more unpredictable than other natural disasters, they can be extremely dangerous. The likelihood of aftershocks following an earthquake can make matters even worse. While there’s no way to know when an earthquake will occur, you can do your part to prepare for one beforehand. Keeping every member of your family educated about earthquake readiness is important. Hopefully, these earthquake safety measures will help you keep you, your family, and your pets safe before, during, and after an earthquake.

Surviving the Holidays without Your Pet

Wednesday, November 18th, 2020

TO REGISTER:  https://petlosspartners.com/special-events/

5 Things You May Not Know About Goldens

Wednesday, November 18th, 2020

Mercola Healthy Pets

Analysis by Dr. Karen Shaw Becker
golden retrievers

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • Golden Retrievers are hugely popular dogs, but many people don’t realize there are three different types — American, Canadian and British
  • The differences among them are subtle, involving coat colors and body size
  • Earlier this year, the world celebrated Augie, the first Golden to reach the amazing age of 20
  • One of the reasons for the popularity of GRs is their eagerness to please; another is their extraordinary work ethic

Unless you’ve been living on another planet, you can probably pick out the Golden Retriever in a crowd of dogs, because they’re everywhere you look — on TV, in the movies, in videos, in pictures, posters and print advertisements, and in nearly every neighborhood across the globe.

Not only is this breed wildly popular with dog parents (#3 out of 196 according to the American Kennel Club),1 but Goldens are also among the most photographed, videoed and written about dogs anywhere.

Interestingly, a little factoid about GRs that not many people know is there are actually three varieties of the breed: American, Canadian and British. The differences among them are subtle, but they exist!

  • American Golden Retriever — The American GR coat comes in a range of shades from blonde to red, is very dense and neither coarse nor silky. The coat lies close the body, with heavier feathering on the neck, thighs, and tail. The average male American Golden is 23 to 24 inches, and females usually measure 21.5 to 22.5 inches in height.
  • Canadian Golden Retriever — The coat of the Canadian Golden is typically shorter and thinner than its American and British counterparts, with a texture that is neither wiry nor silky, and with less feathering. Like their cousins to the south, the average male Canadian GR is 23 to 24 inches tall; females are typically 21.5 to 22.5 inches tall.
  • British Golden Retriever — The British (aka English) version of the breed has a long, feathery coat like the other two varieties, but unlike them, the British GR is usually cream-colored and slightly smaller. Males typically stand 22 to 24 inches in height, and females an average of 20 to 22 inches.

World’s Oldest Golden Turns 20

Augie (short for August), an American Golden Retriever, became the oldest GR on record when she turned 20 in April of this year. This is quite remarkable when you consider that so many Goldens live only about half as long.

After being rehomed twice (through no fault of her own), Augie was 14 when she found her third and true forever family, Jennifer and Steve Hetterscheidt of Oakland, Tennessee. Jennifer was working as the intake director at a GR rescue in southern Nevada, and she fell in love with Augie the second she laid eyes on her.

“She’s just darling,” Hetterscheidt told CNN. “There’s nothing to not love about her. She’s happy doing something and happy doing nothing. I can’t imagine life without her.”2

The Hetterscheidts have taken Augie on RV trips around the country along with her three Golden siblings — Sherman, Belle and Bruce. She also enjoys playing fetch in the pool and taking daily walks around the yard.

On her big day, though the coronavirus pandemic canceled the 100-person party planned by the Hetterscheidts, Augie still celebrated her 20th with a dog-friendly carrot cake, blueberries and a few other goodies. And decorations, of course. Pics of the birthday bash.

Here’s a short but fascinating interview Rodney Habib and I did with Augie’s dad, Steve Hetterscheidt:

5 More Fun Facts About Goldens

1.The breed originated in Scotland — The Golden Retriever was born in the Scottish Highlands, developed by a man named Dudley Marjoribanks, later known as Lord Tweedmouth. In 1865, Marjoribanks purchased Nous, the only yellow puppy in a litter of black wavy-coated retrievers.

Within a few years, Nous was bred to Belle, a Tweed Water Spaniel (a breed that is now extinct), and several of their yellow puppies became the foundation for a line of yellow retrievers.

2.These dogs have an extraordinary work ethic — Originally bred to be biddable (easy to train and eager to please), calm, and sensible for use as hunting dogs, the Golden Retriever’s physical and mental traits also lend themselves to more modern activities. The breed excels as obedience competitors, tracking dogs, show dogs, guide and assistance dogs, and search and rescue dogs.

3.Goldens are exceptionally eager to please — There’s probably no better proof of this than that the first three AKC obedience champions were Golden Retrievers. This breed is extremely easy to train and comes in fourth in The Intelligence of Dogs by Stanley Coren,3 as one of the brightest dogs ranked by obedience-command trainability.

4.They require lots and lots of exercise — To avoid boredom and weight gain, and to maintain their large, heavy frames in good condition, Goldens need at least one brisk long walk, jog or run each day. Games of fetch (retrieving) can be great exercise, as can swimming. Given the opportunity, this breed is sure-footed on hiking trails and loves the opportunity to explore nature.

5.Not every Golden Retriever is a born retriever — If you want to exercise your Golden with games of fetch, it’s a good idea to introduce him to the sport at a young age. It’s possible he’ll know instinctively what to do as soon as you throw the ball the first time, but some dogs need to learn through repetition and lots of praise each time they return the ball or other toy.

Most quickly learn that in order for the game to continue, they must bring the ball back and drop it. Keep in mind, though, that once your Golden gets the whole retrieving thing down, it can quickly become an obsession!

Making sense of genetic disease in dogs and cats

Thursday, October 15th, 2020

From Journal of the American Veternary Medical Association (JAVMA)

Making sense of genetic disease in dogs and cats

Published on October 14, 2020

Understanding genetic disease in mixed-breed and purebred dogs and cats can bring about more effective treatments and better client service, says clinical geneticist and general practitioner Dr. Jerold Bell.

French bulldog

“If we understand the genetic background of our patients, we’re better positioned to prevent, to mitigate, or to alter the expression of genetic disease, allowing our patients to be healthier in their lifetimes as well as to breed healthier dogs and cats,” Dr. Bell said.

An adjunct professor at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, Dr. Bell spoke about genetic diseases during the AVMA Virtual Convention 2020 this August. In addition to his teaching duties, Dr. Bell works as a solo practitioner, and he sees “dogs and cats all day long and sees genetic disease in our patients all day long.”

He explained that common genetic disorders are caused by ancient disease liability genes that preceded breed formation. Since these mutations occurred long before the separation of breeds, these diseases are seen across all breeds and in mixed breeds.

The most common hereditary diseases in dogs are allergies, followed by hip and elbow dysplasia; inherited cancers such as lymphoma, hemangiosarcoma, mast cell tumor, and osteosarcoma; patella luxation; nonstruvite bladder stones; hypothyroidism; mitral valve disease; inflammatory bowel disease; diabetes mellitus; retained testicles; and umbilical hernias.

In cats, the most prevalent genetic diseases are inflammatory cystitis, then feline urological syndrome, diabetes mellitus, lymphoplasmocytic gingivostomatitis, nonstruvite bladder stones, allergies, eosinophilic skin disease, and inflammatory bowel disease.

Disease is not a function of homozygosity, which happens when identical DNA sequences for a particular gene are inherited from both biological parents, nor is it a consequence of inbreeding. Rather, Dr. Bell explained, hereditary diseases are a result of the accumulation and propagation of specific disease liability genes. Breed-related deleterious genes accumulate in various ways, including direct selection for disease-associated phenotypes, linkage to selected traits, carriage by popular sires, genetic drift, and—most importantly—the absence of selection against deleterious phenotypes.

“If we don’t select for healthy parents to produce offspring, then we have no expectation of health in those offspring,” Dr. Bell said. “Not selecting for health is selecting for disease, and we need to understand that and pass that on to our breeder clients.”

On the topic of disease and extreme phenotypes, Dr. Bell said brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome is frequently diagnosed at veterinary clinics on account of the popularity of certain brachycephalic dog breeds, namely Pugs, French Bulldogs, and Bulldogs. Most breed standards do not call for the expression of extreme phenotypes, he said, nor do they select for the most extreme size or the most extreme brachycephalic trait.

“Moderation away from extremes that cause disease should be the guiding principle in breeding,” Dr. Bell noted, and in judging dog shows.

Common genetic diseases seen in mixed-breed dogs and cats occur randomly because of dispersed ancient liability genes, according to Dr. Bell. Uncommon and breed-specific recessive or complexly inherited disease is far less likely to occur in mixed-breed individuals.

Dr. Bell said designer-bred dogs and cats often have inherited diseases common in random-bred populations. They can also inherit disease liability genes shared by the parent breeds or parent species. “So if you’re breeding short-statured breeds together, it wouldn’t be surprising to see patellar luxation, or in smaller toy size breeds, to see mitral valve disease,” he said.

Hereditary disease manifests as a result of anatomical mismatch between parent breeds. “We see a lot of this in dental disease, where we see crowding of teeth and malocclusions and misplaced teeth,” Dr. Bell continued. “Even in the musculoskeletal, if you breed two breeds with different body types together, we may see degenerative joint disease and poor joints. All of these things, all need to be monitored.”