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since Sept 15 2005

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by George Cooke.
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Health Tips of the Month:

Consults: 10 Things to Know About the H3N8 Dog Flu

Daydreaming of a sandy beach and a breeze shimmying through the palm trees? Paradise, right? Not so fast, says Fido. Though palm trees evoke relaxation of the highest order, Sago palm (Cycas revolute)—a stocky member of the Cycad family of plants—is downright dangerous to our furry companions.

According to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) in Urbana, IL, pet poisonings from the increasingly popular plant are on the rise. Since 2003, the Center has seen an increase in cases of Sago palm and Cycad poisonings by more than 200 percent. APCC data also reveals that 50 percent to 75 percent of those cases resulted in fatalities.

A native of Southern Japan, Sago palm has been a common addition to outdoor landscaping in sunny climates, but in recent years, has also emerged as a trendy houseplant in northern states. Though attractive with its dark green leaves and hairy trunk, the plant is highly toxic to cats and dogs. Common signs of Sago palm poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, depression, seizures and liver failure.

“Many pet parents may not be familiar with the toxic effects of Cycad palms, and assume the only poisonous portions are the seeds or nuts,” says Dr. Sharon Gwaltney-Brant, veterinary toxicologist and APCC Vice President. “But all parts of the plant are toxic if ingested.”

As always, pet parents should guard against any mishaps and prevent their furry beloveds from coming into contact with Sago palm plants by placing them out of reach. Or consider a nontoxic alternative to brighten your home and keep the dog days of summer cool and carefree.

If your dog likes to spend his summer grazing in your garden, his treat-seeking nose may lead him to one danger in particular: the sweet-smelling, but potentially harmful cocoa bean mulch. Made of cocoa bean shells and considered desirable for its eventual degradation into organic fertilizer, this gardener’s choice can be toxic to canines if eaten in large quantities—and some dogs have been known to eat amazing amounts!

In 2007, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) handled 26 cases of cocoa bean mulch ingestion—a third originating in California. “Dogs are attracted to the fertilizer’s sweet smell,” says Dr. Steven Hansen, ASPCA Veterinary Toxicologist and APCC Director, “but like chocolate, cocoa bean mulch can be too much for our canine companions.”

Ingestion of large amounts of cocoa bean mulch, which contains residual amounts of theobromine—a methylxanthine found in chocolate and known to be toxic to dogs—may cause a variety of clinical signs. These typically start with vomiting, diarrhea and elevated heart rate, and if large amounts are consumed, they may progress to hyperactivity, muscle tremors and possibly other more serious neurological signs.

Treatment includes administering medical-grade activated charcoal, bringing tremors under control, cardiac monitoring and preventing further exposure.

“One key point to remember is that some dogs, particularly those with indiscriminate eating habits, can be attracted to any organic matter,” says Dana Farbman, APCC Senior Manager, Professional Communications. “Therefore, if you have a dog with such eating habits, it’s important that you don’t leave him unsupervised or allow him into areas where such materials are being used.”

To avoid contact, pet parents should consider a nontoxic alternative, such as shredded pine, cedar or hemlock bark. These will keep your pooch—and your garden—healthy.

For more detailed information, please take a look at the Animal Poison Control Center online.

Click here to see a news video on a canine amputee who is making prosthetic history:


National Dog Bite Prevention Week ~ May 18-24

According to a survey conducted by the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs annually, with 800,000 individuals—half of them children—requiring medical treatment. To help raise awareness of the issue, a resolution was introduced in Congress that recognizes National Dog Bite Prevention Week, May 18-24, 2008, and calls on communities to find local solutions to address the problem.
In an effort to help parents educate their children about basic safety around dogs, the ASPCA offers the following tips:

--Children should not approach, touch or play with any dog who is sleeping, eating or caring for puppies.
--Children should not pet unfamiliar dogs without asking permission from the dog’s guardian first. If the guardian says it is okay, the child should first let the dog sniff his closed hand.
--If a child sees a dog off-leash outside, he should tell an adult immediately.
--If a loose dog comes near a child, she should not run or scream. Instead, she should avoid eye contact with the animal and stand very still, like a tree, until the animal moves away.

For more dog bite prevention tips and to download our Dog Bite Prevention activity worksheet, please visit ASPCA.org.

Save Dogs in Korea - While not a topic many of you want to read about, it is important: The suffering of dogs destined for consumption by Korean has been documented many times- crammed into tiny cages, deprived of water and proper food, beaten and hanged-- sometimes even burnt alive. Recently, the municipality of Seoul released the Dog Meat Hygiene Management Policy, a document that lists dogs as livestock. The Korean government is now trying to pass a bill that would legalize dogs to be a part of livestock. Korean animal protection groups gathered to protest this move. Individual advocates are also writing letters to the mayor and the president, asking to stop. You can help to support the Korean animal protection group, CARE and KAAP, with their campaign to stop dogs being treated as food. For more details, click here: Save Dogs in Korea | ActAsia Projects - actasia.org


The New Pet Owners Guide - Health, Safety and Savings

Pet Proofing - Keeping your Home and Yard Safe For Dogs Or Cats
How Do Animals Use Smells? See this link to find out

Dogs-Don't Eat These! quiz

Some pit bulls are sweet | The San Diego Union-Tribune

Why Dogs Bite Kids - Yahoo! News

Are you 'loving' your pet into an early grave? | CNN.com

Teaching Your Pooch Pool Safety

Pedigree.com - Safety in the Sun

NEW RECALL: Ol’ Roy Complete Nutrition For Dogs Recall

11 dogs who could raise insurance rates

The Pet Food Bank Home Page - Welcome!!

Summer Travel With Fido Doesn't Have to Be Tricky
(as reported in earthtimes.org)

Diet Choices Can Keep Pets Healthy, Happy
Family News Story - WKMG Orlando


For an update on which brands have been effected, please visit this web site:
Search for Pet Food Recalls

Protecting animals from heat exposure in vehicles -
Senate Bill 1806 bars owners and guardians from leaving animals unattended in a motor vehicle "under conditions that endanger the health or well-being of an animal due to heat, cold, lack of adequate ventilation, or lack of food or water, or other circumstances that could reasonably be expected to cause suffering, disability, or death to the animal." The new law is designed to protect animals from being cooped up in cars during a summer heat wave or winter frost. Penalties range from an initial maximum $100 fine for an unattended animal that suffers little bodily harm to a $500 penalty and up to six months in county jail for a second offense. SB 1806 also allows law enforcement or animal control officers to break into a vehicle if they cannot locate an animal's owner after making a reasonable effort to do so.

Dealing with a Jealous Dog | As explained in Pedigree.com

Bad Foods For Dogs List | As explained in Mooreshaven.com

Pets Can Get Alzheimer's Too! | As explained in Prevention.com

Sex and the Single Dog | As explained in Pedigree.com

Dog Safety for Kids

Disaster Preparedness for Pets

Top 10 Dog Bathing Tips - from www.pedigree.com

Dog Genetics Health Issues by Breed - from www.dogplay.com

Rattlesnake Bites in California - from www.marvistavet.com

Snake Bites and Dogs at ThePetCenter.com

Designer Dogs - from www.timesnews.net

Pets and Fireworks - Safety considerations - as explained in vetmedicine.about.com

Danger: foxtails! - as explained in www.cccgdr.com

Animal CPR Instructions

Dogs on mend after first-ever canine flu cases noted in county | The San Diego Union-Tribune

Dogs in Hot Cars

Warning for dog owners: Labrador sick after eating part of Sago palm | The Pomerado Newspaper Group

Snopes.com: Cocoa Mulch Dangers

CITIZEN-TIMES.com: Got fleas? Try these tips to help your pet with pesky summer hitchikers

Dog Owner's Guide: The nose knows, Explained in www.canismajor.com

Retiring police animals head out to pasture without woofing | The San Diego Union-Tribune

Protect Your Pet from Common Household Dangers, Explained in www.hsus.org

CNN.com - Owners: Dog treats killed our pets - Feb 15, 2006

Plants Poisonous to Dogs, as Explained in uexplore.com

Also, Plants Poisonous to Dogs, as Explained in Angel-LiteMaltese.com

Help Your Pet Shed Pounds/Parade Magazine

Do Dogs Have a Nose for Cancer?, as Explained in www.10News.com

Scientists Decipher DNA of Dogs, Explained in LiveScience.com

The Importance of Spaying and Neutering, Explained in DiamondsInTheRuff.com

Control of Canine Influenza in Dogs, Explained in AVMA.org

Kennel Cough In Dogs, Explained in ThePetCenter.com