October 6, 2007

Cesar Millan, Be the Pack Leader
Cesar Millan returns for a fourth season of National Geographic's hit series the Dog Whisperer. Even though Cesar has aided dogs with all types of problems, he admits he has never encountered a dog he felt he couldn't help, until now. Listen in to find out whether Cesar has finally met his match - or if even he can win this dog's trust.

Cesar's new book, Be the Pack Leader, shows you how to develop the calm-assertive energy of a successful pack leader and use it to improve your dog's life ­ and your own! It even includes real-life success stories from his clients, including the Grogan family, owners of Marley from Marley & Me.

It is Cesar's goal to open Dog Psychology Centers all over the United States by next year so that people can attend and learn how to work with dogs and become a "pack leader."

Joan Embery
You've seen her on "The Tonight Show" with Johnny Carson and Jay Leno, "Good Morning America", "CBS This Morning", "Live with Regis & Kathie Lee", and "Entertainment Tonight", promoting the need for a global conservation effort. Animals and the environment could not have a better champion than Joan Embery. Undoubtedly, she is one of the most dedicated and caring animal experts, determined to spread her message of preservation throughout the world. Throughout the 32 years Joan served as goodwill ambassador for the Zoological Society of San Diego, she was able to indulge her passion for animals while working to educate the public about a variety of endangered and exotic species and the need to preserve them and their habitats.


Jillian Michaels, The Biggest Loser
Who would ever expect that Jillian Michaels, one of the personal trainers on NBC's series The Biggest Loser, would have an obesity problem in her own household! But Jillian's chubby Chihuahua, Baxter, is one of a rapidly growing number of America's portly pets that are tipping the scales at an all time high. As many as 40 percent of American household pets are obese or overweight.

Listen in as Jillian tells how she recognized the signs her pooch was overweight and what she is doing about it.

Who knows, maybe the next loser show will be a "Biggest Loser" for dogs?

Sugar Substitute May Be Dangerous to Dogs
Dr. Sharon Gwaltney-Brant, Animal Poison Control Center, ASPCA
If you think it's no big deal that your dog just ate some sugar-free gum or a cookie or two, think again. You may want to make an immediate trip to your veterinarian.

While veterinarians have suspected that the sugar substitute xylitol can make dogs sick, there is now further clinical evidence of an association between the product and possible liver failure in canines.

While not all pets become ill after eating xylitol, Dr. Gwaltney-Brant said the public ­ and especially dog owners ­ needs to be aware of the potential dangers. She added that pet owners should make sure that products containing xylitol are kept away from dogs. If an owner suspects that their dog has eaten products containing xylitol, they should contact their veterinarian immediately.

"People only absorb a certain percentage of it," she said. "The body doesn't even notice it. However, in dogs, xylitol triggers significant insulin release, which drops the blood sugar. It is definitely a species difference. People aren't in danger from sugar-free gum; dogs are."

"A 22-pound dog who consumes 1 gram of xylitol should be treated," she said. "That doesn't take very many pieces of gum."

There is no information on whether severe xylitol poisoning has occurred in cats.


Surrogate Opossum
Britt Savage
Things looked pretty grim for the four baby opossums. They were found in the marsupial pouch of their mother who had been killed by a car. But two Virginia Beach vets and a wildlife rehabilitator came up with the perfect solution. Evelyn Flengas already had one mother opossum in her backyard sanctuary, so when she heard about the orphans, she suggested an opossum switcheroo. The mother opossum had eleven babies called joeys, but they were old enough to leave the pouch. So they sedated her and put the four new joeys in her pouch and when she woke up, she just started taking care of the new ones like her own. Now, if we could only teach those opossums how to cross the street!

NEWS UPDATE: Jack Hanna Stuck at Airport with Flamingo
Animal expert Jack Hanna is a frequent guest on talk shows and often travels on the airlines with his animals.

Recently, Jack was traveling with an 11-month-old flamingo late at night in Ohio when he found the terminal closed. His only choice to exit was to pass through a 10-foot-tall metal turnstile that had several horizontal bars.

Well, trying to squeeze a square crate through a round turnstile didn't work. Jack and the flamingo got stuck. Jack was finally able to squirm free, leaving the flamingo behind and the only exit blocked for other passengers. Jack then went to a nearby fire station for help.

The flaming was eventually hoisted up by three firefighters and out of the turnstile.

Jack jokes that the next time he flies, the largest animal he will take will be a gerbil.

NEWS UPDATE Brought To You By Simple Solution Natural Line Of Products

Pets Get Hay Fever Too
Dr. Jim Humphries, Veterinary News Network
From springtime through the late fall, many people are subject to seasonal allergies. But people are not the only ones suffering. For our dogs and cats, these same seasons can bring intense itching and discomfort. Yes, it seems our pets can get their own "hay fever".

It's a very frustrating and somewhat common situation. Pet owners by the millions flock to their veterinarians in the hope of relieving their pet's itchiness. For many people, the constant chewing, licking, and scratching can test their love for their pets.

Current estimates show that about 20 million pets suffer from some sort of skin condition and many of these are allergies. Allergies are an over-reaction of the body's immune system to a foreign substance, such as pollen or flea saliva. For people with allergies, we sneeze and sniffle as our bodies respond to histamine released by immune cells. These symptoms are due to the reaction of histamine with receptors in our nose and upper airways.

Our pets, however, react somewhat differently. Dogs and cats have many more histamine receptors in the skin and fewer in the nose. As histamine is released, the receptors cause an itchy feeling and the pet reacts by scratching at that site. Scratching can generate more histamine release, thereby causing more scratching. The constant assault on the skin by the pet's claws can actually damage the skin, leading to bacterial infections. Areas of hair loss and oozing sores known as "hot spots" are very common with allergies.

Fleas are often found to be the reason for a pet's itchiness. However, the pet who is truly allergic to fleas will often appear to have no fleas at all! Why? Because these pets are the ultimate flea catchers, doing everything in their power to bite or scratch the discomfort of the flea away. The flea's saliva sets off an allergic reaction leading to a flurry of chewing and digging at the skin.

Allergies to airborne substances, such as pollen and mold spores, are another reason for itchiness in pets. This is known as atopy and affects many pets from springtime straight through until fall. This condition can be inherited in certain breeds.

If your pet has signs of allergies year round and you see little or no improvement with certain medications, you may have a pet that has food allergies. Contrary to popular belief, food allergies take time to develop and are not due to recent diet changes. Most pets who develop food allergies have been eating the offending food with little problem for years. Common food allergens can include any major protein or carbohydrate source in the pet's food.

In some mild cases, the itchiness can be treated with anti-histamines or even steroids for a short period of time. However, pet owners need to be aware that allergies are not a condition that can be cured. The good news though, is that they can be well-managed with a team effort from the pet owner and the veterinary team.

Utilizing diagnostic tests such as blood testing and even skin allergy tests, veterinarians can often find ways to reduce the pet's discomfort level. In some cases, your family veterinarian may refer you and your pet to a veterinary dermatologist. This specialist has many more diagnostic and treatment resources available to bring relief to your pet. In all cases, you, the pet owner, are a vital part of the team. It will be up to you to make sure that all pets in the household are treated for fleas or that your pet stays on the recommended hypo-allergenic diet and doesn't sneak other treats!

Allergies are not only one of the most frequent reasons for a trip to the veterinarian, but are also a big reason for pet owners becoming frustrated with their pet. Working with your veterinary team to identify what is causing your pet's symptoms will help keep your four-legged family member right where he needs to be with you! Visit www.MyVNN.com to see a video of how pet owners deal with their pet's allergies.


Alligator Knocks on Woman's Door
Britt Savage
So now the alligators are going door to door. When Lori Pachelli heard someone knocking at the door of her home in a gated community in this southwest Florida community earlier this week, she looked out to see an unwelcome visitor on her front stoop: an 8-foot alligator. The bull gator, which had wandered up from the pond behind the house, had a bloody lip from banging its head against the door.

"He was pretty big, pretty aggressive," Pachelli said, adding that the gator may have followed her home from walking her cocker spaniel, Trooper. Pachelli's husband, Mike, said he sped home after his wife called him in hysterics. The animal remained at the Pachellis' door for about an hour before going back into the lake, where trapper John French captured it later. French said it's not unusual to find male alligators in some pretty interesting places this time of year.

"You're starting into what's called the crawl season, the breeding season," he said. "We get them out of front porches, out of garages, out of swimming pools." The Pachellis said they never dreamed an alligator would venture that close to the house. "I've never seen them walking around (the neighborhood), let alone banging on my front door," Lori Pachelli said.

Dog Helps With Weight Loss
Patti Lawson, The Dog Diet
Three years ago Patti drove to PetsMart just to look at dogs because she was tired of being lonely and thought maybe a dog would cheer her up. There fate in the form of a lady volunteer at the Love-A Pet-Adoption Center tapped her on the shoulder and handed her a little black and tan puppy to hold for a minute.

Fast forward three years and this little puppy is now a long-legged Pollyanna type creature she named Sadie and simply cannot imagine her life without her.

While it was not love at first sight for either of them, they found their way together and formed a bond stronger that anything Patti experienced... Along the way, Sadie lifted her out of that depressive state, helped her lose over 30 pounds and fills her days with once unimaginable joy.

While Pattie won't lend her dog Sadie out to anyone, perhaps you already have one of these amazing dogs, or can find one at your local shelter.


Listen to the entire Podcast of this show (#410).

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