Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Dogs in the News

Many dogs enjoy going for a ride in the car. We've all seen them, head out the window, tongue flapping in the breeze! So cute! But, is it safe? How much thought do you give to the way your dog rides in the car? While no one is suggesting that you buckle Rover into a seatbelt (although such devices are available!) a new bill has been passed in California making it illegal to drive with a pet on your lap!

"If you have an animal that gets in your face or gets tangled up in your steering wheel when you're driving, you can't properly control (the car)," says Califronia Assembly Member Bill Maze, who proposed the bill. The bill prohibits drivers from "holding a live animal in his or her arm or arms or upon his or her lap."

Both houses of the California legislature have passed the bill. After minor tweaking, it heads to Governor Schwarzenegger's desk. The governor has not yet stated his position on the bill.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Dog Tags- Skidboot

If I was to make a list of inspiring names of great dogs, I sure wouldn't have thought to include a name like "Skidboot." That name sounds like something that gets in the way under your feet. Maybe not a very dignified name for a dog. But once I met Skidboot, I changed my mind. Maybe you will too.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Dogs in the News--Red Cross Rovers

Many of us donate blood. We all know the importance of a well-stocked blood bank to save lives in times of trauma. But did you know that dogs may become blood donors too? I didn't know either, until today, thanks to my Vermont cousin Judy, who read about this process in Best Friends magazine.

Without dog blood donors, veterinary surgeons couldn't perform life-saving surgical procedures. It's understandable how important this is. I also agree with Judy, who mentions one concern-- that the dogs have no say in the somewhat painful and possibly risky procedure. Like most things in life, there are pros and cons.

There is even a dog blood donor website, where you can register your dog and veterinarians can check for matches. No fee is charged for listing on the website, and they recommend that all blood donations be without charge. The idea for the registry was started after a nine-year old Golden Retriever needed a life-saving transfusion.

>>The idea of creating a national blood donor database for pets came about after a nine year old Golden Retriever, Abi was diagnosed with auto-immune haemolytic anaemia. This is a disease in which the dog's own immune system attacks and destroys the red cells in the blood which if untreated will eventually result in death.

Realising the seriousness of her condition Diana, Abi's owner and vet immediately attempted to locate a blood donor or oxyglobin (a blood substitute) supplier.

Both were unsuccessful so it was decided to transfer Abi to Davies Veterinary Specialists, a specialist veterinary hospital for further treatment. Abi went along with three other Golden Retrievers belonging to the household. When tested they found, fortunately that all three had the same blood type as Abi.

Within hours Abi received her first transfusion.

The treatment continued for eight days, three transfusions in all. Along with medication, the blood donation worked. Abi returned home two weeks later and as of July 2006 is doing very well!

There is little doubt that without the second and third transfusion Abi would not have recovered. Diana is so thankful that she had the use of her own dogs to save Abi's life. Not everyone is that lucky. Everyday vets face the problem of finding suitable animal blood donors.

With this in mind Diana approached Dr. Clive Elwood with a proposal for a national animal blood donor scheme. As head of the internal medicine service at Davies Veterinary Specialists Clive has first hand experience of the difficulties facing vets in need of animal blood donations.

Clive is also responsible for, the company website. His understanding of what is possible with the internet combined with his clinical experience places him in a unique position. With Clive's supervision the Animal Blood Register was created as a free to use resource, helping vets find animal blood donations.

If you would like to learn more about the actual procedure for drawing blood from your dog, click here.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Dog Tags #1

I love to hear what people name their dogs, and why. Did you consider your dog's physical appearance, or personality? Was he or she named after a famous person, pop icon, or perhaps relative? How does your name fit your dog? Do you prefer people names or not?
Kelly came from a rescue home already named. We considered changing it, but in the end it seemed to fit her auburn fur and spunky personality. Our yellow lab was named after a famous explorer, Henry Hudson. And our dalmatian was named Schuyler, after a local historical figure.
Unique or common, it doesn't matter, it's fun to see how our special names fit together with our pets. You can look up some ideas in this book, 1000 Dog Names from A to Z.
Here's a little dog name trivia.
What do you think are the most common dog names? I guessed Princess, Casey, and Lady.
The most popular puppy names in North American are:
Sam, Max, Lady, Bear, Maggie, Buddy, Brandy, Ginger and Taffy. Some other popular names are Duke, Rocky, Buster, Winston, Lucy, Sadie, Daisy, Bo and Coco.

I'd love to hear--what did you name your dog, and why?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Too Much Dog Food

This is Hudson -- before and after. We took good care of him, gave him a loving home, but sadly, we also unintentionally allowed him to become obese. As he grew older, arthritis limited his mobility and that's when most of the weight packed on. He passed away at age 12, but I often felt if we'd been able to help him slim down, we could have added a few more years to his life.

Do you wonder why our pets are overweight? The basic reason is obviously caloric intake vs. exercise. But the other day I made an interesting discovery. I was searching the pet store shelves for some canned dog food that might constitute a bland diet. I'd been cooking Kelly chicken and rice for her stomach ailment, but wanted a convenient back up for days I didn't cook. I looked at one can of premium quality "easy to digest" dog food, and read the back. Serving size: daily, one 13 oz can per every 10 lbs of weight. That would mean I'd give Kelly, a small cocker spaniel size dog, 3 1/2 cans of dog food a day! Compared to the amount of dry dog food my vet instructed us to give (1/2 cup, twice a day) that seemed exorbitant. I questioned our vet about it later and she agreed. She suggested feeding the canned dog food in the same volume as what we've been giving her.
If a small dog consumed 3 1/2 cans of dog food every day, they'd surely become obese!

I've been searching for a new brand of high quality, natural dry dog food for Kelly. What do you feed your dogs?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Prince Chunk

No fat dog story, but a fat cat story....

A 44lb cat was found wandering around Voorhees NJ, apparently abandoned. It was later learned that his owner lost her home due to foreclosure. The cat was turned in to the Camden County Animal Shelter.

Prince Chunk is mostly white, with orange markings. She became an overnight sensation, and even appeared on Live with Regis and Kelly, Good Morning America, and the Early Show.

Her weight is just 2 lbs shy of the record. Despite her obesity, the vet has given her a clean bill of health.

More than 400 families responded to adopt the fat cat! A New Jersey family with two other cats was selected to take Prince Chunk home. The shelter hopes that some of the responding families might consider adopting one of the cats in the shelter awaiting homes.

Monday, August 11, 2008

It's Raining Female Trolls

We are in a State of Emergency. My city is underwater.
Fortunately, my house is unaffected. The heavy rains caused rivers to flow down the street, hail pelted at my windows, thunder and lightning made Kelly hide in the closet. But at least inside, we're snug and dry.

Kelly does not like going outside in the rain. She sits on the threshold and stares out the open door. Nothing I say will bribe her to go out there unless I go out myself. Then she'll rush out to do her business and bolt right back for the door. But if I'm not standing out there too, forget it. The things we do for our dogs!

In honor of our soggy weather, here is a list of idioms for "raining cats and dogs" in other languages from Omniglot.

Afrikaans-- Ou vrouens met knopkieries reen
it's raining old women with knobkerries (clubs)

Catalan-- Està plovent a bots i barrals
it's raining boats and casks

Croatian-- Lije k'o iz kabla
it's raining like from a bucket

Czech-- Padají trakaře
it's raining wheelbarrows

Danish-- Det regner skomagerdrenge
it's raining shoemakers' apprenticies

Dutch-- Het regent pijpestelen
it's raining pipe stems

French-- Il pleut comme vache qui pisse
it's raining like a pissing cow

Gaelic (Irish)-- Tá sé ag caitheamh sceana gréasaí
it's throwing cobblers knives

German-- Es gießt Schusterjungs
it's pouring cobbler boys

Greek-- Βρέχει καρεκλοπόδαρα
it's raining chair legs

Hungarian-- Úgy esik, mintha dézsából öntenék
it's raining as if it were poured from a tub

Icelandic-- Það rignir eld og brennustein / Það er eins og hellt sé úr fötu
it's raining fire and brimstone

Japanese-- 土砂降りである (doshaburi de aru)
earth and sand are falling

Korean-- 비가 억수같이 쏟아진다
rain is pouring down like a torrential downpour.

Macedonian-- Паѓа дожд како од крбла (Pagja dožd kako od krbla)
it's raining like from a tub.

Norwegian-- Det regner trollkjerringer
it's raining female trolls

Polish-- Leje zabami
it's raining frogs

Portuguese-- Está chovendo barba de sapo
it's raining toads' beards

Slovak-- Leje ako Padajú traktory
Tractors are falling

Spanish-- Está lloviendo a chuzos
it's raining pikes

Estan-- lloviendo hasta maridos
It's even raining husbands

Swedish-- Det ösregnar
it's raining like ladles

Turkish-- Sicim gibi yağmur yağıyor
it's raining like long strings of rope

Welsh-- Mae hi'n bwrw hen wragedd a ffyn
it's raining old ladies and sticks

Friday, August 8, 2008

Kelly update

Excuse the topic of this post, but sometimes we just have to write about...poop.
Although we still don't know what might be troubling Kelly, she seems to be improving. She's eating well and acting comfortable. Yesterday I waited all day to check her stool sample (I know, fun) but she wouldn't oblige. Finally, success! And there didn't appear to be any blood. The same story today. Usually she has to "go" once or twice even every time I take her for a walk. Well, I got a good workout, walking her again and again and again. She didn't produce much, but from what I saw, there was no blood. I'm a bit worried about the lack of quantity now. Perhaps it can be chalked up to her new bland diet...medication...stress...performance anxiety? Anyway, she seems to be doing well and I'm feeling confident she'll recover fully. Thanks for your thoughts, prayers and support.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Co$t of $ickne$$

Managing my dog's health...that is no easy task, when sometimes I feel it's difficult to manage my own health.
Today Kelly and I were out for a walk. I dutifully stooped with my little blue plastic bag to do some pooper-scooping, when I noticed blood in her stools. Not just a little, but it looked like a lot. So naturally, I called the vet's right when we got home.
I can never decide when to wait and when not to--she didn't seem to have a stomach ache. But what if she had some sort of intestinal emergency in the middle of the night? Knowing my propensity to worry, I figured I'd better get an appointment today.
Stool sample in hand (well, in a baggy in hand) we went to the vet's. They are all really, really nice and really concerned people there. I love them. I'm not implying they are doing anything wrong. But the medical expenses are astronomical. I believe it is a responsible pet owner's duty to give their pet the best of care and all advisable treatments. But sometimes it is difficult to determine what is warranted and what could wait or even be prudently skipped.

If money was no object, I'd probably do whatever tests were necessary, ruling out possibilities and calming my nerves. Also, some tests may put the dog through undue stress, or some medications may not be necessary. That is the problem. Although I keep informed about dog-related diseases and first aid, I'm not a vet. They are the experts, and I'm inclined to listen to them.

First the vet did a fecal analysis. Okay, so that was obvious. $21.
The "sick pet" exam (temperature, look in ears, poking and prodding) $51
Then the vet suggested stomach x-rays to make sure there wasn't a blockage of some sort. I didn't think Kelly had eaten anything unusual. She doesn't wander loose and our house is small enough that I'm generally aware of what she's doing. But when we considered a test that could show a potentially deadly blockage, I just couldn't ignore it. x-rays, 2 views= $126

We were, in the end, spared this expense, as Kelly did not cooperate with the x-ray procedure. My husband accompanied her into the x-ray room to keep her calm, but the moment he left the room (he said he was willing to take the dose of radiation, but state laws would not allow him to stay in the room) Kelly freaked. You might wonder how they restrain a dog for the purposes of x-rays. They do not use sedation, and for that I was grateful. But first they positioned her on her side with her legs stretched out. Then they placed sandbags over her to help hold her down. Finally, they taped her down with medical tape in a grid-like pattern. I know it sounds rather cruel, but to get a picture the dog has to lie still. Kelly remained still as long as Mike was in the room, but panicked the minute he stepped away. This was supposedly the easy view. The next position was to be on her back with all four legs sticking up. Not to happen.

So we weren't able to get that piece of the puzzle, and if Kelly should become increasingly ill I assume they may have to attempt the procedure again, possibly with sedation if it seemed like a blockage was likely.

Next, a blood profile. The blood was drawn from her neck, something that always freaks me out, but she never seems to mind. Considering the blood is analyzed in about 10 minutes in the office, I can't figure out why it was so expensive. $105.

Finally, Kelly was sent home with some medicine for her loose stools and possible stomach ache $26.

Add to that her Interceptor tablets, since she was out- $36

Grand total (without x-rays) $238

By the way, the blood tests were all normal. Not sure what caused the bloody stools. We are giving Kelly a bland diet. I boiled chicken and rice. She loved it. She's resting comfortably and hopefully whatever it is will pass, with only the vet bill as a reminder.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Dog in the News --Isabella

Isabella, a golden retriever at the Safari Zoological Park, east of Caney, Kan. nurses Wednesday, July 30, 2008, three white tiger cubs she adopted after they were abandoned by their mother at the park. The cubs were born on Sunday.

(AP Photo/The Daily Reporter, Rob Morgan)

Isn't this the most beautiful picture? I've been reading recently about animals who've adopted orphan babies of other species, and came across this touching case. Just looking at the expression in the eyes of this golden retriever mom makes me melt.

The mother tiger at the Kansas Zoo rejected the babies. Zookeepers found the cubs wandering around their enclosure, searching for their mother, but she ignored them.

Fortunately, Isabella had just weaned a litter of puppies. Zookeepers introduced the tiger cubs, and instinct took over.

Here is another beautiful surrogate mother story. This may be a c-a-t but still, this is amazing footage from National Geographic.