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 Featured On This Week's Program

Animal Radio┬« for July 26, 2014  

Animal Bloodmobile
Kimberly Marryott, Penn's Animal Blood Bank

Penn Vet LogoOh sure, you've seen the mobile blood banks that routinely troll for human blood. But you've probably never seen a mobile blood bank for dogs. Kim Marryott saw the need and now she manages a program in Pennsylvania that collects the twelve different canine blood types for transfusions and other life-threatening procedures. As far as Kimberly Marryott knows, this is the only mobile unit for dogs.

The Penn Animal Blood Bank is located in the center of Philadelphia, which makes it hard for people to bring their dogs out to donate blood and actually find parking. The blood bank wanted to make it easier for them, and take the equipment right to their front door. They can also meet at a shopping center or even a veterinarian office.

Dogs can safely donate 10mL per pound. However, they ask that all dogs donating blood be over 55 pounds, so they can actually donate a pint.

The pint of blood is then taken back to the facility where it is processed down into two units of plasma and one unit of packed red blood cells. This means the blood can actually go to three different dogs. The packed red blood cells has a shelf life of about 28 days, but the plasma is frozen, which can then last up to a year.

Dog Blood MobileUnlike human blood, there are over a dozen different types of blood in dogs. There is also one type, which is called DEA 1.1 negative, which is what is considered the universal blood type in dogs. This type of blood is common and found in almost one out of every two dogs. This allows that particular blood to go to any dog in need.

While blood is species specific, meaning a dog cannot donate blood to a cat, it is not breed specific, so a dog can donate to any other type of dog breed as long as they have the same blood type.

The dogs are not sedated when giving blood and can leave if they want to. But, there are some that have donated to so many times, they voluntarily jump up on the table and lay there.

Just like people, the furry donors get a snack (a huge bowl of what is called doggy chocolate cake), and a heart-shaped "U of P Blood Donor" sticker immediately after giving. In addition, they receive free blood screenings (about $500 worth of free blood work) and dog food to take home.

And what about a catmobile? Perhaps not surprisingly, felines are bit less cooperative. They need to be sedated in order to give blood, so Penn does that only at its animal hospital.

"HERO PEOPLE OF THE WEEK" - Female Inmates

Cell Dogs LogoThis week's Hero People are in prison. Female inmates are teamed up with a dog 24/7. Their mission is to train these shelter dogs to help autistic children. It's a second chance for the inmates, the dog and the child. Program Director Janette Thomas explains how the Pups in Prison initiative is a win, win, win!

In March 2012, inmates at California Institution for Women (CIW) began training shelter dogs to become working partners with children diagnosed with Autism.

In partnership with Pathways to Hope, a nonprofit community organization, the program gives inmates the chance to be trusted with responsibility and give back to the community.

The dogs are taken from local shelters and rescue groups, taken into the institution, where the female inmates have been trained to train the dogs specifically for children with autism.

This includes a basic obedience program, which lasts about 10 weeks. The dogs with exceptional temperament are then moved on to the advanced training phase where they go under about four to six months of intensive training and socialization so they are appropriate for these kids with amazing challenges in life.

During the initial 10-week training, the dogs stay in the cell with the inmate, which many of the inmates treasure and also find therapeutic.

Dogs with Female InmatesTo qualify for the program, inmates must be physically fit and able to lift 45 pounds. They also must have a minimum of two years remaining in their sentence, must be clear of discipline for the previous year and cannot have a history of violence to animals or children. They also have to complete a training class as well as sit in on lectures and demos so they can learn how to work with these dogs

Not all inmates qualify for the program and not all inmates want to. These dogs are a 24/7 commitment, which is a lot of work. You might think, well, what else would these ladies do? The all have full-time jobs and they do the training as a volunteer. These dogs are never kenneled and are with the inmates full-time, even going with them to work. If they can't take them because they work in a place like the cafeteria, where dogs aren't allowed, they have to find someone else to temporarily care for them.

When the dogs arrive, an inmate is selected to work with each particular dog based on their personality as well the as personality of the dog. They want to make sure they have a good match as opposed to trying to fit a square peg in a round hole.

What happens to a dog that doesn't pass the class? Janette assures us that if a dog doesn't have the "right stuff," no dog is returned to the shelter, and members of the general public adopt them. These are still great dogs; because they have been trained and the institution knows everything about them, such as do they like men? Do they like kids? They are then able to work on their needs before they graduate.

Once they have completed the program, the inmates have also learned a lifelong skill. Many of the women who get out on parole, with the guidance and mentoring of the institution, have gone on and secured jobs in training dogs.

The Pathways To Hope is a 501(c)(3) corporation and none of the institutions pay for this program, it is provided to them pro bono. The Pathways To Hope is totally self-sufficient and depends on in kind and monetary donations.

Because the dogs are in a correctional facility 24/4, they would also love to have fosters who can take then out for a weekend, generalizing their behavior for the outside world.

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Restriction On Breeding "Franken Cats"
Daniel Lutz, Animal Legal Defense Fund

ALDF LogoAnimal Defense League's Daniel Lutz is petitioning the courts to outlaw exotic hybrids of wildcats. He says cats have been responsible for 14% of all the world's extinctions since 1600. Will legislation make a difference in our ecosystem?

The legislation is to restrict the breeding and possession of hybrid cats; the result of crossbreeding between house cats and wild cats such as Asian leopard cats or African servals.

Hybrid cats are being bred more and more because people are attracted to the wild look of them. They happen to have a common experience with many other exotic pets in which people are thrilled to own them and find them really cute when they're young. But then they will grow into an animal that people are really unprepared to care for.

While these cats are not lions, they may act like one. They also pose many threats to native wild life and to humans. They also suffer harm themselves through the breeding process.

ServalThese hybrids can be a number of many cats, but usually domestic cats are bred with Asian leopard cats, jungle cats or even an African serval, which is listed as an endangered species.

The resulting hybrids can be a little wild and tend to bite and scratch more readily. Many also have urinary problems resulting in inappropriate urination, because they have that wild drive to mark in the home. These hybrids are often larger than an average domestic cat.

Lutz said that homeowners who tire of their exotic pets have difficulty finding places to take them, increasing the risk of abandonment. He said that many shelters refuse to accept the hybrids and that many end up in big cat sanctuaries.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund is a co-petitioner on a petition to restrict hybrid cats in California with a few other sanctuaries that are inundated with these cats. These sanctuaries are where these cats often end up because they cannot get along well and don't fit in with your average dog and cat shelter. The petition states that these pets pose a potential health risk to humans as well, citing that no known rabies vaccine exists for the cats.

Joey VillaniThe Dogfather's Grooming Tip with Joey Villani

When Is Your Dog Too Old To Go To A Groomer?

You don't hear too often about dogs that are perhaps to old to keep going to a groomer. But when a dog reaches a certain age, your groomer should be the one to tell you that you either need to change the pet's haircut or it's time to go to a veterinarian who has grooming capabilities.

This is because as much as a dog may like going to the groomers, it can still be a stressful experience. However, there are still those people who want to continue grooming their dog the same way they always have. But, it's not good for the health of an older dog.

There have been unfortunate situations where dogs have actually died while being groomed. This is because of the stress of grooming, not anything the groomer did to the dog.

Unfortunately, people who know that their dogs are not doing too well and may be on borrowed time, still want to get them groomed every 6 weeks.

Elderly Groomed PoodleThe pet owner should recognize when their pet is at a point in time and maybe they need to change their haircut.

For example, Joey tells us about his own dog, Miles, a cairn terrier who was always hand-stripped. This is a process that while it doesn't hurt the dog, it is still a little hard on them because it is intensive and takes longer to do. This means the dog has to stand on the table longer. But as he got older, Joey realized that it was easier on the dog to just clip him down. It turns out; even Miles enjoyed this new grooming better.

No one wants to get "that call" over a haircut. So, it is better to be open minded and perhaps even discuss with your groomer alternatives to keep your elderly dog comfortable and healthy in the grooming salon.

Animal Radio® News with Tammy Trujillo

Vet MobileVets Don't Always Work In The Office
Vets treat animals in many settings like barnyards and sometimes even backyards. And to do it, they often need to carry controlled substances like medicines for pain management, anesthesia or euthanasia. But, the DEA doesn't let them carry those medications outside their registered places of business, usually their vet hospital. Now that is closer to changing. The House of Representatives has passed the Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act. The bill was sponsored by the only two veterinarians in Congress, Democrat Kurt Schrader of Oregon and Republican Ted Yoho of Florida. If the legislation becomes law, it would mean that vets would be able to provide mobile spay/neuter clinics, on-site care at rural ranches, disaster response and at-home euthanasia without being worried about breaking the law.

Want To Know Who's The Daddy? Do A DNA Test!
If you have a mixed breed dog, you might consider getting him or her a DNA test. Not only will you find out just what combination of breeds went into your best friend, but also Dr. David Linzey of the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Association says you might find out some valuable health information. Certain breeds have a tendency to certain health issues, so finding out your dogs breed mix could allow your vet to take preventative and proactive measures. Most DNA tests you can even do at home yourself and then send the test off to get the results.

Chimpanzee with BabyChimpanzees Get Their Intelligence From Parents
A new study finds that chimpanzees inherit much of their intelligence from their parents, pretty much like humans do. Researchers at Georgia State University found that genetics determined as much as 50-percent of the chimp's performance on a series of cognitive tests. The study found smart chimps and not so smart chimps and the scientists were able to explain a lot of the variability by who was related to whom.

Regulation For Pet Insurance Industry
We all know how expensive veterinary bills can be, but only 1-percent of pet parents have pet insurance. Many of the people who do, say their policies are confusing and in some cases, downright misleading. That might be because people expect the policies to be like human health insurance. But since pet insurance falls into the category of property insurance, there basically are no rules. California may become the first state to change that. The state's Department of Insurance has gotten so many complaints about pet insurance being unfair that Democratic Assemblyman Matt Dababneh of Los Angeles is reviving an effort that was vetoed by former Governor Schwarzenegger to set guidelines for the pet insurance industry. If California is successful, it could prompt a countrywide effort to regulate the pet insurance industry. Americans are expected to spend more than 15-billion on pet care this year.

Galaxy Wedding"Cat From Hell" Man Marries
We need to say congratulations to cat expert Jackson Galaxy. He's the star of Animal Planet's show My Cat From Hell. He just got married to girlfriend Minoo Rahbar and the wedding was held at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Utah. But a cat was not the ring bearer, that honor went to the couple's dog Mooshka. And instead of wedding favors, the couple sponsored a Best Friends animal in honor of each guest.

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