Animal Health Foundation Blog

Americans are starting to give up their pets because of COVID-19 hardships

October 6th, 2020 by Animal Health Foundation

We’ve been hearing that  shelters are adopting out many animals as a result of the COVID Pandemic.

Well, this article tells the other side of the sad story about pets during the COVID Pandemic.

Animal shelters and other nonprofits are working to help keep pets at home with the people who love them.

Courtesy Best Friends Animal Society

 / Source: TODAY
By Jen Reeder

When three older Labrador retrievers wound up at Lily’s Legacy Senior Dog Sanctuary this summer, they hadn’t done anything wrong.

Luka, 7, Kona, 9, and Bella, 11, had lived happy lives together as ranch dogs in California. But when their owner lost his business and his home due to the coronavirus pandemic shutdowns, he could no longer afford to care for them. He’d tried for about a month to figure out a way to keep them but realized he didn’t have a choice.

“He was a mess,” Alice Mayn, founder of Lily’s Legacy, told TODAY. “Those dogs were his life. He’d done a really, really good job with them but he had to give them up.”

Because the dogs were so bonded to one another, the sanctuary managed to place them together in a new home. But Mayn is concerned that other senior pets are at risk during the pandemic. Lily’s Legacy, which is located in Petaluma, California, has already had five dogs surrendered due to the pandemic recession, and she knows of two more coming in soon for the same reason.
Three black Labrador retrievers smile from the back of a car.
After being surrendered to Lily’s Legacy Senior Dog Sanctuary in Petaluma, California, due to economic hardships, Luka, Kona and Bella were adopted together to a loving home. Alice Mayn, founder of the sanctuary, is concerned that more senior dogs will be surrendered during the pandemic and is hosting “Saving Senior Dogs Week” from Oct. 26-Nov. 1 to highlight the need for senior dog adoption.Courtesy of Lily’s Legacy Senior Dog Sanctuary

“We’ve had people that have been affected by the recession, and the lack of jobs, and not being able to pay their rent and that sort of thing,” she said. “They’ve lost their homes or have to move and can’t take a dog with them or are moving in with family and they don’t have room. There are a variety of things. I’m very worried about them — and this COVID thing obviously isn’t going to go away tomorrow.”

In August, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals released data estimating that 4.2 million pets will enter poverty in the next six months as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, a 21% increase from pre-pandemic estimates. The total number of animals living in poverty could rise to more than 24.4 million dogs, cats, horses and other animals.

Matt Bershadker, president and CEO of the ASPCA, said the organization is working to address the crisis. In March, the nonprofit launched a $5 million COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Initiative to help families keep their pets at home by improving access to veterinary care, pet food and supplies.

“We are working to reimagine how the animal welfare and veterinary field can best serve pets, owners and communities,” he told TODAY in an email. “Providing access to free pet food, supplies, veterinary care, emergency boarding and information will help keep animals safe and healthy, in their homes and out of shelters, while also sustaining important family bonds for millions of people.”

Volunteers pass pet food for a pantry.
The ASPCA’s $5 million COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Initiative, launched in March, provided $2 million in grant funding to more than 50 animal welfare organizations across 30 states. As part of the response effort, the nonprofit also donated more than 1,800 tons of emergency food for dogs, cats and horses with struggling owners.Courtesy of the ASPCA

Bershadker suggests people facing economic hardships contact their local animal shelter, veterinary clinic, food bank or other community service provider to learn more about available resources.

Sarah Brown, division chief of Manatee County Animal Services, which operates the Manatee County shelter in Palmetto, Florida, said her shelter and others are focusing on individual needs to assist with whatever issues people are facing. For instance, MCAS started offering a drive-up pet food pantry at the onset of the pandemic for anyone in the community who needed assistance. Many people came for food, but others still couldn’t keep their pets.

“While we continue to offer assistance to the community, ownership of a pet has become beyond the capacity for so many,” she told TODAY in an email. “Aside from simply not being able to afford their pets, we have seen many impoundments made because owners are in jail or have been sent for mental assistance.”

A puppy gets loving care at an animal clinic.
Many shelters are working with veterinary professionals to provide free or discounted services like vaccinations, spay/neuter and other medical care to pets whose owners are facing financial difficulties due to the pandemic.Courtesy of the ASPCA

Kristen Hassen, director of animal services at Pima Animal Care Center, the municipal animal shelter in Tucson, Arizona, said the shelter has distributed a million meals to pets in the area since May, a huge increase. While the overall number of pets being surrendered is still down thanks to pet services and retention efforts, there’s an increase in the reason: pandemic-related issues.

A black cat runs toward the camera.
Many leaders in animal services believe the future of animal sheltering will involve increased help from fosters, who temporarily shelter pets in their homes not only when the animal is waiting for a forever home, but while their owners are hospitalized or dealing with a temporary crisis.Courtesy of Best Friends Animal Society

“We are seeing an uptick in intakes due to evictions, intakes due to temporary crises, and intakes due to job loss,” she told TODAY. “We’re seeing an increase in intakes due to people having either mental health crises or needing to go into drug rehab. Those are the kinds of factors that maybe don’t become immediately associated with COVID, but clearly, people are really struggling and everything we’re seeing in our data is pointing to that.”

In March, Hassen co-founded Human Animal Support Services, a network of more than 500 animal services leaders trying to transform the role of shelters.

With grant funding, HASS has started providing not just pet food distribution but free veterinary care to pet owners impacted by the pandemic and boarding for pets whose owners are facing temporary crises or have been hospitalized with COVID-19.

“We’re trying to become pet support centers and resource centers, rather than these intake facilities that all we do is churn animals in and out of the system without addressing the root causes of why they’re coming in in the first place,” she said.

Julie Castle, chief executive officer of Best Friends Animal Society, said housing issues are the second most common reason that people surrender dogs and cats to shelters. So the national nonprofit advocates for affordable, pet-friendly housing without breed, size and weight restrictions on pets and cost-prohibitive pet deposits.

She said renters should learn their rights as tenants and know what resources are available in their community prior to eviction, and mentioned evictionlab.org as a good source for information. She also recommends embracing the power of “neighbors helping neighbors,” whether through the neighborhood social networking site NextDoor or reaching out in person.

A child pets a senior corgi.
Animal shelters and nonprofits across America are working together to try to keep pets with the families that love them.Sarah Ause Kichas / Best Friends Animal Society

“Helping people find needed resources or even providing temporary foster care for the pets of neighbors in crisis can help keep their pets from being relinquished to shelters as they get back on their feet,” she told TODAY in an email. “The amazing outpouring of people fostering and adopting has made a huge difference in the impact to community shelters and ultimately, the animals.”

“We’re just having a marvelous time,” she told TODAY. “They are just delightful and fun, and they listen and they’re very smart. They’re just diamonds.”

Thr
Tara Nicole Weyr adopted Kona, Luka and Bella from Lily’s Legacy Senior Dog Sanctuary after their previous owner lost his home and business.Courtesy of Lily’s Legacy Senior Dog Sanctuary

She said their “dad” did everything right in raising them, and that she thinks about him every day because she knows giving them up must have been so hard. She hopes that people who truly have no other option than to surrender their pets take comfort knowing there is still a chance for a happy ending.

“I know a lot of people who care about senior dogs and will adopt them,” she said. “There is hope out there.”

Death of a Pet Can Hit Children Hard

September 24th, 2020 by Animal Health Foundation

 

By Serena McNiff
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 23, 2020 (HealthDay News) — The loss of a pet may be a child’s first encounter with death, and new research suggests no one should underestimate the psychological trauma that the loss can bring.

Previous studies have found that kids form deep emotional attachments to their pets and having a furry companion in your youth has been linked to greater empathy, self-esteem and social skills.

“The effects of pet loss were unique,” said study co-author Erin Dunn, an assistant professor of psychiatry at the Center for Genomic Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

To learn more, she and her hospital colleagues looked at a sample of more than 6,000 British children. Almost 9 out of 10 had owned a pet during their youth, and more than half had lost one during their first seven years of life.

Information was collected as a part a long-term study of parents and kids in Britain. When kids were 8 years old, their mothers filled out questionnaires about their youngsters’ mental health symptoms.

“For example, how often does your child feel sad, depressed or anxious — these are the kind of emotional and behavioral indicators that are used to identify and characterize children who might be experiencing some mental health-related challenges,” said Dunn.

The research team found that kids who lost a pet were more likely to have poor mental health. And the link held true after accounting for other distressing factors, including financial hardship, parental physical or emotional abuse, and physical or sexual abuse by anyone.

While a child’s mental well-being can be affected by many other adversities, the effects of pet loss “were not explained by these other hardships,” Dunn said.

And boys seemed to be affected more deeply than girls, the study found.

“The boys had more psychopathology symptoms — or a greater effect of the pet death, as compared to their female counterparts,” said co-author Katherine Crawford, who worked on the study while at Massachusetts General Hospital. She’s now a genetic counselor at Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island in Providence.

Crawford added that the questionnaire used to evaluate well-being does not serve as a definitive diagnosis of any mental health disorder. But, she said, it asks “a lot of the same questions that one might when evaluating those mental health concerns.”

While the study did not examine how best to help a child cope with losing a furry friend, researchers suggested that being aware and recognizing a child’s emotions is a good start.

George Holden is chairman of the psychology department at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. He advised parents to talk frankly with their children regarding the loss of a pet.

“All too often parents think, erroneously, that if they don’t mention something, it’s better — it will go away,” said Holden, who wasn’t part of the study. “That’s absolutely wrong. It’s much better to directly recognize what’s going on, talk about it, and hear the child’s perspective.”

He also suggested being proactive and preparing a child for the inevitable if a pet is old or sick.

Struggling with the loss of a pet is entirely normal, Holden added, as they are often very well-loved family members.

Despite the emotional toll of losing a pet, researchers are not suggesting that parents avoid getting one.

Dunn suggested that further research should explore the “positive benefits of pet ownership because that kind of information would help parents in weighing the cost-benefit ratio of having pets.”

The findings were recently published online in the journal European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.

More information

There’s more about coping with the loss of a pet at the American Veterinary Medical Association.

SOURCES: Erin Dunn, Sc.D., M.P.H., assistant professor, psychiatry, Center for Genomic Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston; Katherine Crawford, M.S., genetic counselor, Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island, Providence, and former senior researcher, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston; George Holden, Ph.D., professor and chairman, psychology, Southern Methodist University, Dallas; European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, online, Sept. 10, 2020

Last Updated: 

 

 

Billy + Margot Dog Food Recall

September 24th, 2020 by Animal Health Foundation

Billy+Margot Wild Kangaroo Dog Food Recalled For Possible Salmonella

 

How We Can Confuse Our Dogs

August 1st, 2020 by Animal Health Foundation

WHOLE DOG JOURNAL WEEKLY

TIP

So often in training, when a dog doesn’t perform the desired behavior in response to the given cue, we blame the dog. I often hear, “He’s blowing me off!” or “She’s being stubborn!” In reality, the handler just didn’t make it clear enough for the dog to fully understand what the person was trying to teach. Here are ways we confuse our dogs:

DON’T EXPECT YOUR DOG TO AUTOMATICALLY KNOW OUR LANGUAGE. Dogs don’t come with an English software package installed. We must patiently teach them our language, one cue at a time.

NOT TAKING THE TIME TO DEFINE THE CUE’S GOAL BEHAVOIR. Have in mind the specific definition of what you expect. I suggest you create a cue dictionary. Write down every cue you currently use, then define the goal behavior for each cue. Do you want a straight sit with square hips or a sidesaddle sit? A speedy down or a slow down? Defining your cues and the goal behavior for each in writing will help you be clear in your own mind about what you expect, and that will make it more clear for your dog.

AVOID ADDING CUES TOO EARLY. It’s important to teach your dog the behavior and make sure she can perform it reliably before adding the cue.

DON’T USE TWO CUES SIMULTANEOUSLY. For example, a verbal cue and a body cue (hand signal): Dogs are keen observers. They pick up on our body language before they pick up on our words. If you use a verbal cue, but also a body movement with it (such as the word “sit” and then the hand signal for “sit”), I’d bet that if you said the word and didn’t use the body movement, the dog probably wouldn’t understand what you meant and might not give you the behavior you expect.

POOR REINFORCEMENT. Don’t fail to reinforce the newly learned behavior enough for it to become fluent. Some dogs catch on very quickly; others more slowly, but they all can learn if we’re patient and reinforce the desired behavior appropriately.

DON’T CHOOSE CUES THAT LOOKS SIMILAR OR SOUND SIMILAR. Choosing the verbal cues such as Down and Bow for two different behaviors can be confusing for your dog. Instead of Bow, I suggest Bravo or TaDa!

There are other reasons a dog doesn’t respond to a cue: the dog didn’t see or hear the cue; the dog didn’t recognize the cue because it’s too similar to another cue; the dog was distracted by the environment (another dog, person, squirrel); the dog felt unsafe.

So, repeat after me: “Don’t blame the dog.” Take a look at your training techniques and find a way to tweak the process so you can help your dog be successful. When your dog is successful, she earns reinforcement and that behavior you worked diligently to install and put on cue works perfectly. The result is clear communication with your favorite furry friend. Happy dog. Happy trainer!

For more information on cues for your dog, download Whole Dog Journal’s ebook The Recall.

German sniffer dogs show promise at detecting coronavirus

July 27th, 2020 by Animal Health Foundation

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

July 25th, 2020 by Animal Health Foundation

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

July 7th, 2020 by Animal Health Foundation

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

July 6th, 2020 by Animal Health Foundation

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

Angel Fund Helps Keep Miss Kallie Healthy

May 21st, 2020 by Animal Health Foundation

Tim Genoway, who had not worked in four years, was concerned about his dog, Miss Kallie, earlier this year.

“I went to two or three veterinarians’ offices and I could see she wasn’t getting any better,” he said.  Then I went to a practice in Orange.  I was practically out of money and they wouldn’t start treating her condition without any kind of money.

“I was like, my dog’s dying here.  I know she is.  and they would say, ‘Yeah, I know she is. This is serious but we’ve got to have some kind of deposit.’

“I was at my wit’s end. I didn’t know what to do.  I made a sign that said I needed help with vet care.  somebody came along and mentioned one or two organizations and I called them.  They didn’t call me back.  One called me back a couple of days later and said they would be willing to help with $200 to $400.  So that was a good start.”

Then he took Kallie to Anaheim Hills Animal Hospital.  The doctors there examined the dog – a small animal who is part miniature Pinscher and part Chihuahua and weighs about six and a half pounds.  “They thought they knew what the problem was [Pyometra],” Tim said, but they were concerned about whether Kallie could be ready to face the needed surgery.

It was late in the day and the veterinarian told Tim that the hospital closed in 20 minutes and suggested that he and Miss Kallie say goodbye to each other.  Fearing the worst, Tim was thinking: “This is my best friend. I can’t let her go like this. She’s my partner in life. There’s got to be something they can do.  Please, let’s not give up!”

The doctor told him: “We’ll give it 24 hours and, if she recovers, we’ll go ahead with the surgery.  But we can’t promise anything.”  The dog was put on an IV about 11 p.m.

The next morning, Tim got a call from the hospital.  The message was positive and he was ecstatic. “She was doing really good and they said they expected to do the surgery sometime that day, if not the next day.  And they said she would likely make it! They said they would check her throughout the day and when they thought she was ready, they would go ahead with the surgery.”

The surgery was performed about 3 p.m. that day.  “They spayed her and cleaned out all the bad stuff, stitched her up and did a beautiful job. I couldn’t have asked for more.”

The hospital steered him to Angel Fund, which approved his application and granted him $500, an amount matched by the practice.

Kallie, he said, weighed barely six pounds when she had the surgery and weighs about have a pound more now.  Tim said that she was ready to play the day he brought her home from the hospital.

“She’s definitely a very special dog,” he said.  “There’s something about her.  I lost my Pitbull in April last year.  If she had left this year, that would have been both of my best friends gone.  Basically, Kallie’s the only family I’ve got left.  I’ve got some cousins but don’t really talk to them too much.”

He is estranged from his sister and has not spoken to his mother in more than two years.

“You guys [Angel Fund] are angels.  You really, truly are.  You are awesome.”

When it was time to pay his bill at Anaheim Hills Hospital, Tim said, “I took all the money I could put together.  But they said, you just need to sign.  It’s all taken care of.  Talk about the Lord blessing me!”

He said that he once had a good job and owned a house, then fell on hard times and had not worked for several years. He recently started a job as a security officer at a shopping center in Orange – and what he hopes will be a fresh start in life with a healthy and happy best friend.

Angel Fund Supplies Clarity for Dog With Terminal Cancer

May 9th, 2020 by Animal Health Foundation

In the fall of 2017, a young Laguna Niguel family had a sick dog on its hands.  Rikku, a shepard mix, had been in the family for some 13 years and was loved by mom and dad and two young children.

“She had been sick for a few months,” Lindsay, the mother, said in an interview.  (She asked that her last name not be used.)  “We were unsure of the cause.  At first we thought it might be behavioral. But then . . . she started having potty accidents in the house, which was so unusual for her.

“We took her to the vet [Dr. Rachel Tuz at Aliso Niguel Animal Hospital].  After a few visits and really no conclusive idea what the diagnosis was, we shrugged our shoulders and decided, ‘Well, she’s 13 years old and pushing 14, should we even pursue this any further?’

“The doctor had suggested a couple of other tests,” Lindsay said. “At that point, we had run dry on money.”  But Dr. Tuz called and said that Angel Fund might be able to help.  Lindsay successfully submitted an application with the hospital’s help. “They did the tests and found that she had a massive tumor in her bladder.  And it was basically inoperable.  There was nothing we could do about it.

“”We didn’t know what to do next, other than wait it out,” Lindsay said. “The next few months the dog got worse quickly and was losing weight, two pounds or more a month.  And we finally reached the point where Dr. Tuz said that this wasn’t fair to Rikku. She was not able to be in the house because she was having so many accidents.  So we had to choose to put her down.  That was in November.”

The experience was wrenching for all the family.  “My husband, Ryan, and I had owned her since we were kids,” Lindsay said.  “It was very hard.  “My son, Finnegan, was very sad.  He still is.  He still talks about her.”  He is five years old.  She and her husband also have a two-year-old daughter, Molly, is two.

The family got a new dog – a puppy – in January.  “We were going to wait but Finnegan kept saying he missed not having a dog,” Lindsay said.  “It’s different, though.  The new dog doesn’t replace the dog you had.  They’re just totally different personalities.”

Angel Fund was “fantastic,” Lindsay said, and she wrote a thank you letter to the fund after receiving the grant.  “They helped us in a serious time of need.  It’s hard when your pet is sick and you feel like you can’t do anything else about it.”

Lindsay had opted to be a stay-at-home mom after her first child was born.  And she and Ryan felt financially overburdened, she said, with a mortgage, two young children and hefty student loans for two college educations.