Breast Cancer in Dogs

Mammary tumors in dogs can manifest itself the same way as it does in humans. According to Karin Sorenmo, a veterinary oncologist at Penn’s School of Veterinary Medicine, Mammary gland carcinomas are the most common in intact dogs. Yet veterinarians have not had a reliable way to determine which dogs are fine with surgical treatment only, which dogs might need chemotherapy or hormonal treatment.

Dr. Sorenmo has developed a new “bio-scoring” system that gives veterinarians a more reliable prognosticating method. The work has been published in the journal Veterinary and Comparative Oncology.

The beauty of this system is that it is easy for veterinarians to use, taking much of the guess work out of evaluating dogs with breast cancer. This method was developed by a team of veterinarians, coauthors were Amy C. Durham, Michael C. Goldschmidt, and Darko Stefanovski of Penn Vet; Veronica Kristiansen of the Norwegian University of Life Sciences; and Laura Pena of Complutense University of Madrid.

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Money-Saving Tips for Traveling With a Dog – by guest blogger Nick Burton

As dog owners, our canine companions enrich our lives in many ways, and it can be heart-wrenching to set out on a trip without them. Luckily, we don’t have to say “bye” if we make the right preparations. If you’re a dog owner who is planning to travel, these money-saving tips will help ensure that you and your pup have the best experience possible.

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Photo Credit: Unsplash

Reserve a Pet Sitter

Traveling with your dog provides a great opportunity to spend quality time together in a new and exciting place. However, that doesn’t mean they’ll be able to join you for every single activity during the trip. For the times when you must leave your pup behind for a bit, it’s important that they’re not alone, as it can cause them severe anxiety. That’s where a pet sitter comes in. Research area pet sitters that fits within your budget and can keep your dog company. Just make sure the person is reputable and trustworthy.

Pack All the Things

 The more stuff you pack for your dog, the more comfortable they will be and the less you will have to buy when you arrive at your destination. Be sure to bring along the essentials:

You can find many of these items for a good price from online retailers like Amazon. When you place your order, use a promo code for Amazon.com to knock the price down even more.

Strategize the Destination

Choosing a destination for you and your pup may take a little more work than if it was just you. Not only do you have to make sure it’s a place where you can have fun and relax, but you also have to consider your dog’s needs as well. Wherever you decide to go, make sure there are dog-friendly activities within a reasonable distance. For instance, if you plan on dining out quite a bit, you’ll want to make sure there are dog-friendly restaurants around. You also may want to look for open spaces where they can safely run and play. Dog parks and beaches that offer pet-friendly areas can be great options at no cost to you.

Strategize the Lodging

 Along with your destination, you’ll want to consider your dog’s needs as you choose the lodging during your trip. One of the easiest ways to do this is by searching online for pet-friendly hotels. However, if you already have lodging in mind (e.g., a hotel, bed and breakfast, vacation home, campground, etc.), you can contact the facility and ask about their pet policy. You can typically find pet-friendly places to stay wherever you go; you’ll just need to make sure you understand the rules. Once you’ve gone over the pet policy, be sure to abide by the guidelines so that you, your dog, and the other occupants can all enjoy your time.

Warm Your Pup Up to Traveling

Another budget-friendly way to plan your trip with your dog is to warm them up to whatever mode of transit you’ve chosen. For example, if you’re driving and your pup is not used to riding in a vehicle, take them for some short trips in your vehicle to break them in. If you’re flying or taking a train or bus, take them to the airport or station and let them see and smell the surroundings. Also, if you’re using a travel carrier, having them spend time in the carrier and lining it with some of their bedding before you leave can help them get comfortable with it.

Traveling with your pup can provide a lot of quality time together. Just be sure to hire a pet sitter if you have to leave your dog behind for an activity, and pack all of the necessary supplies. Keep your dog’s needs in mind when you choose your destination and lodging, and try to ease them into the traveling process. The extra time and effort it takes to plan a trip with your dog will prove well worth it when you’re enjoying a new place together.

NOTE From Sue: These tips can apply to any pet that goes traveling with you.

K9 Obedience Training: Teaching Pets and Working Dogs to be Reliable and Free-Thinking by Susan Bulanda

I am very excited to announce that my latest book is now available. If you would like an autographed copy please go to my website and order one, http://www.sbulanda.com.

If you live outside of the USA the postage may cost more than the book, but if you still want a copy please email me at: sbulanda@gmail.com and I will check how much the postage will cost. The book is also available as an Ebook. Below is a summary of what is in the book. As always, if after you read the book you can email me with any questions that you may have.

K9 OBEDIENCE TRAINING COVER PRINT

Obedience is the foundation for any reliable, well-trained dog. Without obedience, working dogs are ineffective in operations and pet dogs can be annoying and possibly a danger to themselves or others.

In K9 Obedience Training, you will learn the techniques that I have developed during my career as a dog trainer and then certified animal behavior consultant. The methods outlined in my book will let your dog be free-thinking as well as obedient. I also cover the latest research about how a dog thinks, what they understand and what they are capable of solving.

What is free-thinking? This is when a dog can apply what he has been taught to situations that he has not encountered before. His training allows him to solve problems and even perform obedient disobedience. An example of obedient disobedience is when a person directs a dog to do something, but the dog knows that it is not safe to do it. For example, if you toss a ball and it drops over a ledge that is unsafe, the dog will not retrieve it even though you have told him to “fetch.” This allows the dog to make decisions. It does not undo the training that the dog has had.

In my book I cover many topics that are part of obedience but not part of the basic obedience exercises. This includes teaching your dog to allow you to groom him, handle his body parts for things such as nail clipping, brushing the coat and teeth.

The book also covers basic manners such as not jumping, bolting in and out of doors and other safety exercises.

What is also very important is the discussion about who should train the dog and the rules that you must follow to successfully train the dog. Everything is explained in detail so that you can understand the purposes behind the rules.

I also cover food and how it affects your dog’s behavior. There is so much more in this book including some fun tricks to teach your dog. And for fun, at the end of the book is a photo gallery of some of the animals that have shared my life.

Here is a list of major topics. Many of these have sub-topics as well.

Part I Training Your Dog to Think Freely

  1. What is a Free-Thinking Dog?
  2. A Positive Training Philosophy

Part II Pre-Training Basics for The Free-Thinking Dog Trainer

  1. Talking to Your Dog
  2. Questions to Ask Before You Start Training
  3. House Training and Crate Training
  4. Handling Your Dog’s Body for Grooming and Hygiene

Part III

  1. The Equipment
  2. Setting Up for Success
  3. Basic Obedience Training
  4. Advanced Obedience for Safe Work, Sport and Play
  5. Exercises for Common Behavioral Challenges
  6. Tricks

Australian Kelpie surprise

A recent DNA study of the Australian Kelpie has proven that they are not related to the Dingo as some believe. The Kelpie was brought to Australia from Scotland and are derived from the Scottish farm collie or smooth collie which is most likely the same working stock as the Border Collie.

 

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Kelpie’s are known for their ability to run across the backs of sheep

Like many breeds in the rest of the world, there are two distinct types of Australian Kelpie, the working variety and the show or conformation variety.

The Kelpie DNA used in the research was collected to help breeders produce the best working dogs. This ongoing research is open to owners of working Kelpie’s who wish to participate.

It is important for breeders to work together in all working breeds to maintain their working ability, which is often lost in a little as three generations of poor breeding.

Asthma and Pets

In a new study conducted by the Nationwide Children’s Hospital, if parents and children follow the NAEPP (EPR-3) guidelines for asthma control in children, pets and secondhand smoke does not increase their symptoms. This is important to those people who love pets because it means that a family does not have to get rid of a pet if a family member develops asthma.

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This is also important because if a child suffers from asthma, a pet can be a big comfort to them if the asthma interferes with other activities.

However, it is important to work with your health care provider and follow the NAEPP (EPR-3) guidelines. The study shows that asthma treatment is more important than exposure to elements in the environment.

Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis (HGE) in dogs revisited

Because so many people have clicked on my HGE article, I thought it might be a good idea to write another article about it.

As I stated in my earlier article, my Parsons Russell Terrier had it twice. Once when he was young which is when it usually manifests itself in dogs, and another time when he was about 8 years old.

What is critical to understand about this illness, is that it can kill a dog in 24 hours and must be treated by a veterinarian. While it is typically found in small dogs such as Toy Poodles and Miniature Schnauzers, it can attack any dog.

The Signs:

  1. Sudden vomiting
  2. Bloody diarrhea
  3. Low blood volume
  4. Severe concentrated blood
  5. Hypovolemic Shock
  6. Very lethargic

If your dog gets HGE, you will see three critical signs, sudden vomiting, bloody diarrhea and your dog will be very lethargic. Very small dogs cannot survive long with these symptoms.

The exact cause is unknown. However, it is suspected that an abnormal reaction to bacteria or a reaction to toxins from the bacteria is one cause of HGE. Another possibility is an extreme reaction to food. This is one reason why it is very important to only feed your dog the highest quality of food. I strongly suggest checking one of the many sites that analyze pet food. Most pet food is not safe or good for your dog. Nothing that you buy at a discount store or supermarket is the high quality that you want.

Another cause is Colostridium perfringens which is another type of bacteria. This has been found in quite a few dogs who have gotten HGE.

The articles that I have researched mention that HGE appears to be similar to canine parvovirus (CPV), making it critical that you take your dog to a veterinarian at the first signs of vomiting and diarrhea. If your dog is up to date on his shots it is not likely to be CPV. There are other illnesses that have similar signs as well which is why an immediate veterinary visit is necessary.

When my dog got it again, he started the symptoms while we were asleep. When my husband woke up early, Riley was very sick. Not knowing when the symptoms started, I immediately took him to the emergency veterinary clinic. When my regular veterinary clinic opened, we transferred Riley to them to spend the rest of the day. By evening he was recovered.

Your veterinarian will start intravenous fluids immediately and will treat the other symptoms which can last up to two days. If you take your dog to the veterinarian right away your dog will most likely survive. Only about 10% of dogs with HGE do not survive. As I experienced with my dog, and statistics show that up to 15% of dogs that get it may get it again.

In my practice as a behavior consultant, I have seen where people whose dog has gotten sick, wait a day or so to see if the dog gets better before they take their dog to the veterinarian. If your dog has HGE, this is a death sentence. Take your dog to the veterinarian at the first signs of any illness.

I hope this article has helped you understand this very dangerous illness. Riley is going on 13 and is very healthy.

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Riley as a puppy with Mom in the background

 

A new strain of distemper is a risk for dogs

“The new strain of canine distemper virus was identified by UNH pathologists in collaboration with colleagues at Cornell University, University of Georgia, Northeast Wildlife Disease Cooperative, N.H. Fish and Game, and Vermont Fish and Game. Over a one-year period, pathologists diagnosed canine distemper virus infection in eight largely carnivorous mammals in southeastern New Hampshire and north central Vermont. The animals included three fishers, two gray foxes, one skunk, one raccoon, and one mink.”

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While this new strain may not be a risk for the rest of the country, it would be diligent to alert your veterinarian to the new distemper strain. According to the report a raccoon in Rhode Island was found to have it in 2004. This indicates that it is not new and has potentially spread. There is always the chance in time, it will spread across the country.

 

Some studies about canine intelligence may be bias

Researchers, from the University of Exeter and Canterbury Christ Church University reviewed 300 research papers that compared the intelligence of dogs to other animals such as domestic animals, social hunters and carnivores. They found that some of the papers showed bias to credit dogs as being smarter when they were equal to other animals.

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The researchers looked at sensory, physical, spatial, and social cognition as well as self-awareness. However, the researchers did not say that dogs were any less intelligent, just that they were not always more intelligent.

It is also important to keep in mind that all tests of this nature, especially when testing another species, are not completely reliable. It is even safe to say that tests of this nature are not 100% reliable when testing fellow humans.

There is no doubt however, that dogs and other animals have shown us that they are much more intelligent than we ever thought. Also keep in mind that in every species, there is a range of intelligence and abilities.

 

Virtual dog helps prevent dog bites

Dogs Trust and the University of Liverpool researchers have created a virtual reality dog that people can approach and interact with that displays signs of aggression.

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The purpose of the project is to educate people, including children, how to recognize signs of aggression in a dog in a safe environment. As the user approaches the dog its behavior changes to include lip licking, lowering of the head and body, front paw lifting, growling and showing of teeth. The team plans to improve the virtual dog to show a variety of behaviors and situations.

This is an excellent project and I hope that it will succeed and be used worldwide to help educate people and teach them how to recognize and understand canine body language. This could also work with all types of animals and would be a safe fantastic way for people to learn about animal behavior.

Sleepovers for shelter dogs

A team of researchers from the Canine Science Collaboratory have determined that if volunteers take shelter dogs home for a few days, it reduces their stress level. The benefits of this mini-vacation last for a while after they are brought back to the shelter.

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The researchers found that the sleepovers provided a break for the dogs from the stress of the shelter. The team found that dogs in a shelter cannot get the sleep that they need because of how busy and noisy it is in a typical shelter.

The team is also looking into other programs that allow dogs to leave shelters, such as field trips and long-term foster care. With a grant from Maddie’s Fund, they are enrolling 100 animal shelters across the country in a study to understand how foster care impacts the dogs in shelters.