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Animal Radio® Show #485 March 21, 2009


Dr. Jim Humphries - Veterinary Minute

Poisonous Mushrooms

Veterinarians in our high country have warned dog owners about poisonous mushrooms that make dogs seem like they are drunk.   The recent moisture in many parts of the high country has given way to a healthy mushroom population, but the only one problem is that they’re toxic and quite dangerous to dogs.  Carol Padlick of Dillon, Colorado said she was worried when her dog Elway ate a yellowish brown mushroom, which had white spots on it.  She said he was stumbling and would walk a few steps and then would fall over.  There are many mushrooms since it has been so wet this year.  They are even growing on the trails everywhere you look. Veterinarians at the Alpine Veterinary Practice in Dillon have seen six cases in two weeks.  They link the mushrooms to the condition, since most of the dog owners actually saw their dogs eat mushrooms.   Dr. Gretchen Norton says for us its pretty much an epidemic.

Signs generally start within 30 minutes to 6 hours of the dog eating the mushrooms. Mild symptoms are that the dog may be nauseous, it may be salivating profusely, it may actually vomit and many times have diarrhea.  The poison affects the dog’s neurological system, causing tremors, seizures and kidney failure.   They also walk like they’re drunk, and this is technically called ataxia – that’s your new word for the day!  They certainly can die from eating mushrooms, so the recommendation for prevention is to keep your dog on a leash when walking on trails near where mushrooms are growing. 

Elway had to spend two nights in a Denver hospital getting his system flushed out and being closely monitored. 

Veterinarians who practice in mountain communities say it’s hard to know for sure which mushrooms cause the animals to be so sick, so therefore its best to just avoid them all!

Orthotics for Your Pet

Just like us, our pets can suffer a number of orthopedic injuries, some of which can be devastating and debilitating.   Veterinary orthopedics continues to make great advances, but what happens when surgery is not an option or when the surgery alone can’t give a good quality of life?  Luckily, the science of orthotics can provide additional support and just might save the lives of some pets.

View video at


Animal Minute With Britt Savage
Lost Parrot Tells Rescuers His Address

When police rescued an African Parrot from a Tokyo rooftop, they had no idea where he came from.  The parrot spent a night at the police station and then was transferred to a nearby veterinary hospital.   According to the police, the parrot hadn’t said a word, but a couple days into his stay at the vet, he suddenly said, “I‘m Mr. Yosuke Nakamura.”  He then recited his full address and entertained the staff by singing some songs. 

The police checked the address and Yosuke’s very relieved family, who explained that they had been teaching the parrot his name and address for about two years, which sounds a lot more useful than “Polly want a cracker?”

Deadbeat Dog Ignores Bill
A Sacramento couple said they were shocked and confused when their dog received a bill from Verizon Online.  Steve Fanelli and Shawn Donovan said their Lhaso Apso named Andy Fanelli received a notice in the mail from a collection agency about a bill totaling $142.34.  Verizon said the bill was meant for a man named Andy Fanelli who lives on the other side of the country.   Owner Donovan said, “Just because there’s an Andy Fanelli back east, doesn’t mean you send a letter to Andy Fanelli in California.  There has to be something else to connect it.”  AFNI Collection Agency said the confusion might have resulted from the fact that Andy Fanelli, the dog, has his own American Express card, which Donovan obtained when it was offered to family members.  Donovan said she often takes her girlfriends out to lunch on Andy, the dog.


Vladae, The "World Famous" Russian Dog Wizard

Puppy Barks At Everyone

Behavior problems in dogs are the number one reason pets are given up.  When a dog barks, they are telling us something.   They are also saying that they are in charge.  A bark is already a bite, which hasn’t been connected yet.    This is something that should be taken very seriously.  Vladae explains how to nip this problem in the bud!

Dogs Pee & Poop In The House

There are three things you need to immediately do:

These things are not as hard as you think.  Tune in for tips to making these steps easy.

Dog Pulls on Leash

This is such an easy dilemma to deal with.  In less than five minutes, you can teach your dog how to properly walk on a leash.   Use a 6-foot leash and keep it slack.  Let your dog go wherever he wants to go, and just before it gets tight, momentarily turn around in the opposite direction and do a quick snap of the leash.  This is a surprise for your dog and it immediately directs your dog to pay attention to you.   If your dog gets ahead of you, you go in reverse and snap the leash and praise him when he turns around and follows you.


Vinnie Penn, Animal Radio's Resident Party Animal

Snow Footprints

So those of you who have been following the Party Animal segment all of this time, know that I live in Connecticut.  We received a lot of snow this winter, but I have to tell you something, before Christmas, at one point I got very creative.  I noticed some weird footprints in the snow in front of my house.  I grabbed my daughter and lifted her up, and said, “Do you see those footprints over there?”  Her eyes went wide, and I said, “I think it’s a reindeer.”  I was very proud of myself, I was quick and I pointed out, “That they’re staking out the house, Santa sent the reindeer to stake out a house to bring all of your gifts.” 

Well, now here it is long past Christmas, and these footprints, I really can’t trace what the animal is, but the other day I saw them leading up and around behind the shed.  My daughter spotted them, and she said, “Is the reindeer coming back?”  And I said, “No, quite frankly, daddy’s a little worried,” and she said, “Go behind the shed and see what it is!”  Now I looked at these footprints and I had to take a picture.  I have to talk to the gang at Animal Radio and see if we can post it and maybe someone can tell me what it is. If you ask me, I think it’s a gigantic raccoon, that’s half raccoon, half bear.  That’s what I think!  And I will never go behind the shed. If my daughter ran back there and said, “Daddy, I’m going to go and find out.”  I would just yell, “You’re on your own, let me know what it is!”

Stella And The Barking Dog

This is kind of a sad story.  My daughter is in her second year of school; I have a young daughter named Stella.  For those of you who’ve been following along, you know she comes up quite a bit.   You were with us when we bought Stella her fish named Betty not too long ago.

When I walk Stella to school, there’s a certain point where we have to cross the street because there is a dog, fenced in, that barks like a son of a gun, even when you’re a block away.  He terrifies her, so we have to cross the street.  He still barks, but crossing the street makes her feel safer.  Now I don’t live far from the house I grew up in, and this dog has been there for quite some time.  I don’t know the family personally, but they don’t live far from the little convenience store, so I’ve always been walking by this area.

Well, recently we were going for our walk and the last couple of times she’s been saying let’s cross the street, but we haven’t been hearing the barking.  Now it took about two times before she noticed and said where is he?  I was afraid of the answer, but the answer is not as grim as you are expecting, this isn’t a very special episode of the Party Animal.  But nonetheless, I said let’s go back over there, and there he was.  I don’t know the dog’s name, but he was there, just not up to barking any more.  And I can tell my daughter, at all of seven years of age, she’s got her head wrapped around it, and she said why isn’t he barking?  And she looked over at the dog and it was like she wanted the bark.  And I said, you see, even barking can be missed!


Talk With Your Animals with Joy Turner

Mike wants to talk with his severe miniature macaw that he has had for thirteen years, named Springer.  It seems that any time the grass is mowed, whether it’s his house, or the neighbor’s house, the bird screams like crazy and won’t stop until they are done.   It turns out Springer (who seems to have a pension for swear words which Joy won’t repeat) says that if we could hear the noise at the frequency he hears it, we would swear too!   Also, when he is making sounds, it drowns out the sound of the lawn mower.  Springer also expects Mike to go outside and tell them to turn those machines off because his bird doesn’t like them!



Animal Radio® News with Bobbie Hill
First Aid for Cats and Dogs

If you were in a restaurant and someone was choking you probably know what to do but what if your pet was in the same kind of distress...would you know how to save them?  The American Red Cross offers special classes for pet owners that cover first aid for cats and dogs including CPR classes.  Most Red Cross chapters offer pet first aid classes about six times each year for a small fee with a DVD and book for about 15 dollars a piece.  The classes are divided into cat or dog first aid.

“Guardian” Didn’t Know Dog’s Name

Police in Kenner Louisiana pulled over what they thought was a speeding suspect.  The 18-year-old man exceeding the speed limit on a suspended license without his seatbelt, but those were the least of his problems.  According to the Times/Picayune when police took a closer look in the car they found 27-thousand dollars worth of stolen property, a marijuana cigarette and a small dog on the front seat.  The driver couldn’t tell the officers anything about the dog including its name.  Cops took the pooch to a local vet listed on its tags and it turns out the dog was stolen during a home burglary.  The dog’s been sent home while the suspect was sent to jail.

“Pet Fit” Club Champ

This is a follow up on a story we brought you in November about porky pets going on a diet for a veterinary charity in England.  The winner of the slimmest pet competition is Keano the Labrador from Plymouth.  The black lab was crowned Pet Fit Club Champ after he lost 22 pounds on the 100-day diet designed by vets.  Keano beat out four other dogs and one fat cat by eating properly and exercising.  PDSA, the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals of the Poor, is the U.K.’s leading veterinary charity founded in 1917. The organization of vets came up with the contest to encourage healthier habits after canine obesity rose by 9% last year in the U.K.

T.Boone Pickens’ Wife Saving Wild Horses

The wife of oil tycoon T.Boone Pickens is ready to start saving wild horses through the creation of a sanctuary but the change of power in D.C. is delaying the plan.  Madeleine Pickens wants to save the wild horses from being slaughtered by the Bureau of Land Management but since there’s no new director everything’s on hold according to the A.P. story.  There are an estimated 33-thousand wild horses currently roaming the western United States.  The BLM says 27-thousand would be easier to manage.

Vacuum Cleaner Runs on Hamster Power

Most pet owners never want their hamster near the vacuum cleaner - it’s just an emergency vet visit waiting to happen.  But the techies at a company called iRobot have come up with a wireless robotic vacuum cleaner that runs on hamster power.  The technology company designed a prototype containing sensors that follow the hamster’s movement as it runs in a spinning ball.  The vacuum then follows the direction and speed...according to the story in Network World.

Bird Helps Main Regain Speech

After suffering a severe head injury a Maryland man was told by doctors he’d never fully regain the ability to speak.  Brian Wilson’s pet parrots kept talking to him once he was home...and kept talking to him.  Then all of a sudden according to Wilson, “ a word popped out, then two then more.”  To show his appreciation Wilson has founded a bird rescue organization in his home.  He rescues birds in need of new homes through the Wilson Parrot Foundation, explaining, “They helped me to talk again, so now I take care of them.”

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Your Vet Questions Answered with Dr. Debbie

Dog Is Congested

This Shih Tzu has been congested for a couple of months and his vet did an exam and sent him home with a prescription.  When this didn’t work, he went back to the vet for blood work and a second prescription.  Again, it didn’t work and the process was repeated.   The vet believes that it started with an infection in his gums.    Dr. Debbie agrees that this is a good place to start, because the roots of bad teeth that go up in the sinus area can create a respiratory problem.

Yorkie Has Gastroenteritis

The mood of this Yorkie is great, however, he is vomiting frequently.  He was diagnosed with gastroenteritis and is on the Prescription I/D diet.    He had pink around his eyes and upon blood work being done, it was found that his blood was very thick which was causing him to be in the early stages of kidney disease.    Dr. Debbie feels that there is probably more going on with this dog and suggests having his stomach checked for either blockage or even a narrowing of his gut. 

Dog Has Rash

This Pit Bull has a rash at his back end that looks almost like ringworm.  His guardian has tried many different things but can’t seem to get rid of it.   It seems very itchy to the dog, but only happens when it is warm.  His vet said it was allergies and he has to learn to deal with it.  Dr. Debbie disagrees, while she does agree it probably is allergies, there are things you can do.  She thinks it is a bacterial infection which needs to be tested, and if it comes back positive, she would put the dog on a good antibiotics for more than just the regular 10 days, and would perhaps suggest 2-4 weeks or even longer.  She also recommends using an antiseptic shampoo about twice a week.

Dog Treats Stuffed Toy As Baby

This Jack Russell/Chihuahua mix was recently spayed and treats a stuffed toy (a fire hydrant) as her baby.   She licks it, cleans it and picks it up and cries and whines.  Dr. Debbie feels the dog is going through a false pregnancy, which includes going through a cycle of hormones.  She states that the guardian might even see body changes similar to the dog being pregnant.  These signs can last as long as a regular pregnancy in dogs.  Dr. Debbie suggests just leaving her alone and let her go through this with her “fire hydrant,” and it will eventually stop. 

Dog Eats Socks

This Golden Retriever seems to have a pension for eating socks! In fact, when he didn’t seem right, he was taken to the vet for x-rays and they found a shadow on the x-ray and gave him something to help it pass.   Retrievers are the number one breed; whether they are Golden Retrievers of Labrador Retrievers that Dr. Debbie sees the most frequent when it comes to removing swallowed items.    She states that you have to get rid of the access to these items.  In this case, put clothes away immediately and don’t leave them lying around.  You should also go back to the beginnings of obedience training!

Dog Has Never Been Boarded

This 13-year-old Papillion has never been boarded and his guardian is worried about leaving him, as he is a very nervous dog.  She went to the boarding facility to check it out and wants to know what are the things she can do to help him adjust.   The facility she looked at had a lot of large dogs with an open area.   Dr. Debbie suggests that this type of set up might be little intimidating for small dogs and to ask if there are any “quiet rooms” where the dog can be placed.  She also suggests doing a dry run by taking the dog to the facility to spend a few hours to get used to the people and being left.  She also recommends taking something familiar like his crate (if the facility allows it) and a blanket.  Also keeping to the same schedules will help him adjust.  Find out the facility’s schedule and try to get the dog on that schedule before you leave him.   And lastly, you might think of using a “pheromone collar” which will have a calming effect and can help him make the transition into this new environment.

It Was Suggested Dog Should Do Agility – How To Go About It?

This man fosters dogs and immediately sends them off to a trainer.  His trainer said his new foster dog, a Lab/Pointer mix, seems to be very suited to agility training.  He wants to know if there are any agility trainers who would be willing to adopt the dog and train her for agility, as he doesn’t have the time.  However, Dr. Debbie states that most agility training is done with the guardian and their pet in a class with an instructor.  She suggests finding an individual who might be willing to adopt the dog and work with her in agility training. 


DNA Test Winner

Melissa was one of the winners of the BioPet Vet Lab DNA Test.   She is a lady trucker who always manages to pick up strays along her way.  Her last stray was a Boston Terrier/Pit Bull mix named Gabby, who unfortunately was hit by a car.  She did not want to go to a shelter to get a dog so she just left it up to fate.  Two weeks later, she got a call from home with a message that something was left on her doorstep.  The dog that showed up is big, white and fluffy, but she has no idea of what breed it is.  People are guessing American Eskimo.  To her, it looks like a pure white Irish Setter with a Collie face.   She has named him Winston and is curious to know his breed!

We have sent her one of the BioPet Vet Lab DNA kits by mail and she has promised she will get back to us when she receives the results!



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