New Hope for Dogs and Humans Who Suffer Blindness as a Result of LCA

Both dogs and humans suffer from blindness caused by  Leber congenital amaurosis, or LCA. Researchers have recently discovered that the disease is has similar causes in both humans and dogs.

According to Dr. Gustavo D. Aguirre of Penn’s School of Veterinary Medicine, this information opens the door to developing therapies to halt or cure this form of blindness. The Penn team made an important discovery, although the dogs lack functional vision in daylight, the cone cells are still there even though they are very compromised.

The hope is that they can develop a therapy to stop the degenerative process and possibly reverse it. According to Dr. Aguirre they already have had success with preliminary gene therapy that indicates that this would be possible.

To read more:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/08/160829140432.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Fplants_animals%2Fdogs+%28Dogs+News+–+ScienceDaily%29

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Canine Hereditary Disorders Affect More Dogs Than Previously Thought

Good breeders typically do all of the genetic testing on the parents of a litter before they breed. Research has indicated that this is much more important than ever before.

Genoscoper Ltd. (a Finnish company specializing in animal genetics and gene testing) has published the most conclusive study ever on canine hereditary disorders. The study was done with researchers from the University of Helsinki and the University of Pennsylvania and published on PLOS ONE, 8/15/16.

They tested 7000 dogs in about 230 different breeds for a predisposition for about 100 genetic disorders. They found that 1 in 6 dogs carried at least one disease. Additionally, 1 in 6 breeds that never tested positive for one of the diseases had a predisposition for it.

This information will help dog owners understand and identify early signs of inherited disorders which may enable pet owners and veterinarians to better able  identify health issues earlier and perhaps prevent suffering for the dog.

This important study will lead to further research about inherited diseases in dogs that will help the overall health and well-being of both dogs and other pets.

www.sciencedalily.com/releases/2016/08/160822100703.htm

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Mighty Little Man

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Mighty Little Man: My Story, His Story, Our Story by Jonathon Scott Payne, ISBN: 1493634046, ISBN 13: 9781493634040; 328 pgs; self-published.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Mr. Payne’s writing style was direct, personal, honest and easy to read. The quality of the book itself is good and I did not find any grammatical or other mistakes.

Mr. Payne’s story is one of accomplishment and devotion. Although he had some difficult times, he did not dramatize the events in his life but yet told them in a way that made you relate or understand what he was going through.

His love of cats shines through the story and the way he wove Little Man into his story was an art form. The reader feels what Mr. Payne felt and got to know Little Man as if he were your own cat.

I personally can relate to Little Man since many of this antics and mannerisms were the same as my own cats. It made me feel good to recall them.

What impressed me was how much time, effort and I can imagine, money Mr. Payne spent to save Little Man’s life when he was afflicted with an unknown toxin that almost killed him. I applaud Mr. Payne and his family for standing with Little Man to save him.

Fortunately, Little Man survived but today it is still a mystery as to what caused his affliction.

I highly recommend this book for any pet lover. It is a heartwarming story about a man and a cat who would not give up.

I also applaud Mr. Payne for starting a petition to improve pet food. As a certified animal behavior consultant I have seen firsthand what bad food can do to an animal.

https://www.facebook.com/mightylittleman2014/

https://www.mightylittleman.com/

https://www.change.org/p/united-states-congress-our-pets-are-dying-from-illegal-pet-food-ingredients-we-need-little-man-s-law

Now you can clone your beloved pet

No matter if it is a dog, cat or other animal, or how many pets you have had in your life there is always that one special pet. Many people try to get another pet just like the one that they had. They go to the same breeder or try to pick one that has the same characteristics as the beloved pet. But it rarely ever works out because each animal is unique.

Cloning now lets a pet owner get the exact same animal. A company called ViaGen Pets has cloned the first puppy and kitten in the U.S. They are the only company that is in full compliance with all of the U.S. regulations and pet care practices.

Cloning is best done while the pet you wish to clone is alive because a small tissue sample is harvested, processed and stored. Then when you are ready, the DNA from your pet is implanted in a donor and will develop to full gestation.

The resulting pet will look and behave the same as the original pet. It will also have the same health issues which can be an advantage since in some cases,  the pet owner can take preventative measures.

If cloning had been available many years ago, I would have cloned my beloved SAR dog Scout.

For more information, contact: www.viagenpets.com or speak with a ViaGen counselor at 888-876-6104.
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New Hope For Cat FHV-1 Eye Infections

Cats frequently suffer from Herpes Virus 1 (FHV-1) an eye infection that causes them to blink, squint have teary eyes and eyes that look sore. If not treated a cat can become blind. The current medication to treat this eye infection must be applied frequently and may not always work.

Dr. Gerlinde Van de Walle has led a study at the Baker Institute for Animal Health at Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine that may lead to a new drug that will cure the infection and only needs to be applied once a day. The drug will soon head to clinical trials.

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Transporting Your Nervous Cat to the Veterinarian

The following article is written by and provided courtesy of:

Dr. Daniel Mudrick; B.Sc, D.V.M, Clarkson Village Animal Hospital, 1659 Lakeshore Road West, Mississauga, ON, L5J 1J4

905-855-2100

petcare@clarksonvillagevet.com

www.clarksonvillagevet.com

 

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Transporting Your Nervous Cat to the Vet

As tough as cats can be, a simple car ride to the vet can be very stressful for them. Cats often become nervous or anxious with travel, and then behave in a passive or sometimes aggressive way.

Our goal is to prevent problems for you and your pet. Our simple recommendations will make travel and vet visits much easier for your cat.

Cat Calming Recommendations

Leave your cat carrier out for at least a few days prior to travelling.

Leave the carrier in an easily accessible area of the house where your cat will see it. You should leave the door of the carrier open so your cat may go in and out as she/he pleases. You can place food or treats in the carrier to help build a positive association with it.

Use Feliway 15 minutes prior to putting your cat in the carrier.

15 minutes before you will put your cat in the carrier, you should wipe down the inside with Feliway wipes or Feliway spray. Feliway is a pheromone treatment that helps elicit a calming response in cats.

Learn more at www.feliway.com.

Don’t put your cat in the front seat of the car.

It’s best not to put your cat carrier in the front seat of the car as it can be dangerous if the passenger airbag is deployed. You can secure the carrier in the back seat using one of the rear passenger seatbelts. Try to keep the carrier level, instead of sloping back.

Calming Supplements and Medications 

Some cats will be anxious despite the above measures. If that’s the case, we may recommend the use of a calming supplement or medication to ease your cat through the trip and vet visit.

If we have discussed with you the use of Zylkene (a calming milk protein based supplement) or Gabapentin (a gentle calming medication) to help your cat cope with the anxiety of going for a car ride, please read the following recommendations:

Hunger is your friend!

It is ideal if your cat is hungry before travel time. Feed your cat a small dinner and breakfast the night and morning before your visit. One hour before you are going to put your cat in the carrier, feed a small amount of her/his favorite food with the medication mixed in. Once you get back home, you can feed the remainder of the meal.

If your cat is not willing to eat, you should reschedule for another day.

If you need, please come in to the clinic and pick up an appetite stimulate that you can use to help ensure your cat will eat (and therefore eat the medication) at the appropriate time prior to your next appointment. The appetite stimulant is in the form of a paste that you can apply to the inside of your cat’s ear – no pilling required!

We use Feliway pheromone diffusers at the hospital and we handle cats very gently to minimize nervous behaviour.

Each cat is an individual and we want to make your cat’s car rides, and life, as comfortable as can be. Cats don’t understand what is happening; they are just afraid, and we want to help alleviate those fears.

Our goal is “Stress-Free Visits”.

For more information, visit CATalyst Council’s Cat Friendly Practice to watch a thorough video on this subject.

Please call us if you have any questions at all about helping to take the stress away from your cat.

Rescuing or Fostering a Dog From a Foreign Country

Most people would be surprised at how many dogs are imported from one state to another and put in shelters and foster care. These dogs come from areas of the United States that have too many dogs for the local shelter to handle. Some are rescued by breed specific groups. But what most people do not realize is that many dogs are imported from other countries. Most of those dogs are street dogs which present a different problem.

Dogs from other countries do not understand our language, are used to a different climate, water and food. Many had to scavenge for food and have never had a good diet. They are often aggressive to other dogs because they had to fight to survive. They may also be wary of humans.

Rehabilitating these dogs can be done but may take much more time. Genetics play an important part in how well these dogs can be rehabilitated since temperament is inherited. A dog that has a mild temperament and who is not inherently aggressive may respond well to rehabilitation. As a rule of thumb you cannot change the genes but you can change or alter the behavior.  This does not mean that a dog will forget what he has learned, but dogs are capable of learning to change how they react to given situations.

A good rule of thumb for rehabilitating foreign dogs is as follows:

  1. Give the dog time to adjust to the physical changes that he must face. This would include food, weather, water, where he is housed, general odors and language. Remember that scent is one of the key elements in a dog’s life. The scents of one place can be drastically different than another, even in the United States. This will mean that the dog has to learn a whole new point of reference. Even people smell different from one area to another. This is because the soil and plants that surround us have different odors and cling to our clothes and permeate our homes. Also the food we eat make up a part of a person’s general scent.
  2. Start easy basic training using a non-force method such as clicker training. No matter what language a dog has grown up hearing, all dogs understand human facial expressions and tone of voice. Take baby steps and use very short, (five minute) training sessions. Dogs need time to analyze and think of what is going on and relate to it.
  3. Give the dog space. Too much activity and people can make the dog withdraw.
  4. Do not house the dog with other dogs unless it is apparent that the dog is dog friendly. If the foster dog had to fight for its food and existence, he may not get along with other dogs.
  5. Do not be discouraged if the dog seems to backslide. We all do. Dogs have bad days just like humans. Give the dog a day off if he seems to be having a bad day and try again the next day.

With time and patience, a foster or adopted dog can adjust to a completely new environment, learn to trust humans and perhaps, enjoy the company of other dogs.

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That Day by the Creek: A Novel About the Sand Creek Massacre of 1864

Although this book is not about animals, I enjoyed it so much that I wanted to share it with all of you.

That Day by the Creek: A Novel About the Sand Creed Massacre of 1864, by John Buzzard, ISBN: 978-0-9891014-7-9; $14.49; 221 pgs, Cladach Publishing, www.cladach.com

History lovers will enjoy this book. While the main characters are fictional, other characters in this historical novel are real. The author does an excellent job of telling the true story of the events that led up to the massacre as well as the massacre itself. He shows us how the Indians, the settlers and the army felt. Buzzard has thoroughly researched the incident and includes the actual letters written by Robert Bent, Captain Silas Soule; Lieutenant Joseph Cramer; and Major Edward Wynkoop’s report in the appendix.

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Although this is a sad event in history, it is true and must not be forgotten. That Day by the Creek will help the reader understand how people felt, why they did what they did and the consequences of their actions. The book is an easy read, entertaining and educational making it an ideal book for teens, young adults and adults to read.

 

 

K9 Professional Tracking: A Complete Manual for Theory and Training

K9 Professional Tracking: A Complete Manual for Theory and Training by Resi Gerritsen & Rudd Haak

Detselig Enterprises, Ltd.; Calgary, Alberta, Canada; 154 pgs; $32.95; ISBN:1-55059-223-8.

This is another great book by Gerritsen and Haak. It is well researched and offers many interesting points and tips about training the tracking dog. It covers many of the myths about odor and explains how a dog detects odor and what they detect. What is especially helpful is the way the authors explain why and how dogs fail to follow scent. They stress that handler error plays a large part, as well as faulty training.

The training methods are detailed with a thorough explanation about what works and what does not. Although this book focuses more on competition, it will help the SAR dog handler as well. There was one point that I did not agree with for SAR work, but I understand why they brought it up for competition. They mention in the chapter on Cross Tracks, that if the track is interrupted, for example the person gets on a bicycle and rides away, that the dog should be stopped because the track ended. In reality the scent from the person riding the bicycle may fall to the ground and a dog can still follow it.

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K9 Professional Tracking

All in all, this is an excellent book that will help both the sport tracker and the SAR dog handler. The chapters are:

Preface; Introduction; Scent and Perception; The Dog’s Nose; The Odors of the Track; By the Sweat of One’s Feet; Equipment and Conditions; Common Training Methods; Asking for Trouble; History of Tracking Research; Scientific Aspects; Conditions for Success; Preliminary Exercises; Clean-scent Tracking; Weather Conditions; Cross-tracks; The Limits of Tracking; Epilogue: A Lack of Character; Bibliography; About the Authors.

 

Soldiers in Fur and Feathers: The Animals That Served in WWI Allied Forces

Soldiers in Fur and Feathers

“There goes Little Jim!” the soldiers would call outfrom the trenches as an unusual messenger dog flew across the fields. Little Jim was a small black Pomeranian mix who was so fast that soldiers described him as a black streak.

In December of 1915 the soldiers of A Battery, 52nd Brigade, RFA, purchased a goose and gander to be fattened for Christmas dinner. However, some of the soldiers decided that they were too cute to eat. So a trial was held to determine their fate. It was decided that they should be mascots for the duration of the war. They traveled in the mess cart with their heads hanging out for the rest of the war. What a comical sight they made.

Pitoutchi the cat is credited for saving his masters life inthe trenches. How could a cat save a man’s life from the Germans?

One of England’s largest seaplanes went down in bad weather. The only hope for survival depended on a pigeon, one pigeon out of three that survived the crash. Did he make it?

The variety of animals and birds were involved in WWI is amazing. Any type of animal or bird could be a mascot. Some mascots went to battle and some stayed behind to cheer the wounded or relieve stress for the newly arrived soldiers.

Read these accounts and many others in the book Soldiers in Fur and Feathers: The Animals that Served in WWI- Allied Forces. An autographed copy of the book is available at www.sbulanda.com you can also purchase it on Amazon or at www.alpinepub.com