Animal Radio® Show #532 February 13, 2010

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Help For the Animals in Haiti

Dr. Anand Ramanathan, In Defense of Animals (IDA)

The devastating earthquake in Haiti not only affected the human population, but the animal population as well.  "Many of the animals in Haiti were already in poor shape before the earthquake hit," said Anand Ramanathan, Executive Director of IDA. "So our approach is twofold - deliver immediate relief to animals, and help ensure lasting progress in Haitian animal welfare. Right now, the city is in ruins and the country's economy in shambles. The fundamental structures of Haiti, both physical and economic, need to be built stronger than before, which will pave the way for building long-term animal protection programs upon that foundation."

A coalition of animal protection organizations including In Defense of Animals (IDA) has arrived in Haiti to aid animals left imperiled by the devastating earthquake. The team represents the Animal Relief Coalition for Haiti (ARCH), a coalition that was formed specifically to deal with the Haiti crisis.

The Animal Relief Coalition for Haiti (ARCH) led by IFAW and WSPA, is a partnership of over a dozen of the world’s leading animal protection organizations. ARCH was formed so that we could work together to bring aid to as many animals, and in as short a time, as possible. At present, ARCH partners include: In Defense of Animals, International Fund for Animal Welfare, World Society for the Protection of Animals, American Humane Association, Best Friends Animal Society, Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (UK), American Veterinary Medical Association, American Veterinary Medical Foundation, Antigua and Barbuda Humane Society, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, United Animal Nations, Kinship Circle, One Voice, Swiss Animal Protection and Foundation. ARCH members urge other animal protection groups to join in the group efforts.
The ARCH team is meeting with officials from the Haitian government as well as international agencies such as the United Nations, to define the country’s most pressing animal-related problems, as well as identifying options for a wide-ranging, long-term plan which includes options for creating and improving infrastructure for veterinary care, a large-scale vaccination program and animal population control services.
“We had not considered including animals in the plans we're working up now, but after meeting the ARCH team, we can see that it would be good to do so,” said Jean Marie Claude Germain, the Haitian Minister of Environment. “In addition to preventing deforestation and protecting our water reserves, we are also discussing the need for a vaccination program in order to prevent the spread of diseases amongst the animal populations.”
Only about 100,000 Haitian dogs (out of an estimated population of 500,000) were vaccinated against rabies last year. In addition, the Haitian government lacks sufficient medicines and vaccines to protect pigs, cows, and other farmed animals against common diseases, such as anthrax and pig cholera.
In Defense of Animals is an international animal protection organization located in San Rafael, Calif. dedicated to protecting animals’ rights, welfare, and habitat through education, outreach, and our hands-on rescue facilities in Mumbai, India, Cameroon, Africa, and rural Mississippi.


Protecting Yourself From Pet Dangers

Dr. Marty Becker, "America's Veterinarian"

Dr. Marty Becker addresses the possible diseases, or zoonotic diseases, you can catch from your dogs and cats. Some of these diseases are parasites (internal and external), and infectious diseases such as Lepto.  

Another one is MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) transmission.  While staph in itself is not good, MRSA is scary because there are not very many antibodies that kill this infection.  You will see this in both pets and people and it usually appears as a red, angry looking type of sore, sort of like a red pimple that really hurts, with a ring around it, that doesn’t heal.   It tends to colonize in the nasal cavities and mouths of both pets and people.  Recently it has been discovered that MRSA is “ping-ponging” back and forth between the guardians and the animals.  This means that once you feel better, your pet gives it back to you and then when your pet feels better, you give it back to them.

Random testing was recently done on households that had MRSA.  Some of the places that were suspected of having MRSA were day cares, health clubs and an involvement in the health care profession.  But the results showed that MRSA was more prevalent in households that had cats.  “Cat owners are eight times more likely to have MRSA in their homes," says Dr. Becker, “But remember, you are giving it to the cats more than the cats are giving it to you.”

The risk of contracting zoonotic diseases is higher in the very young, the very old, and those with weakened immune systems from HIV or chemotherapy, and pregnant women.

There are things you can do such as washing your hands with soap and water BEFORE you play with your pet and AFTER playing.  This way, you don’t transfer any diseases to your pet.   Also, ask your vet about the new antimicrobial pet shampoo to combat MRSA.  

You should also use a pooper-scooper when picking up dog poop so you never touch any feces.  Dr. Becker states that, “If you pick the feces up at least every other day, the parasites never reach the infective stage.”  But be careful where you put the feces after you pick them up.  You don’t want to just throw them away in the environment.   There are now things that fit on septic clean-outs so you can just place the feces down the drain, which is not only more eco-friendly but limits the transmission of any possible diseases.

And lastly, don’t let your dog lick you on the mouth.   According to Dr. Becker, "Your mouth is such a portal for zoonotic diseases that the days of the 'canine tonsil swab' are over!"

Dr. Becker says, “Don’ get rid of the pet, get rid of the risk.”   “Veterinarians come in contact with these diseases on a regular basis and you don’t see them dropping dead!”  So don’t be too alarmed, just be cautious. 

Dr. Marty Becker, "America's Veterinarian," is the popular veterinary contributor to ABC-TV's "Good Morning America" and the resident veterinarian on "The Dr. Oz Show." He is a frequent guest on national network and cable television, and radio shows. He has also been interviewed for countless magazine and newspaper articles, and has served as a consultant to or veterinary spokesman for top animal health companies. Along with his writing partner, Gina Spadafori, he is a regular contributor to Parade magazine and the Co-creator of popular web site  You can also join Dr. Becker on Facebook as well as on Twitter.


The Longest, Shortest, Fastest,Tallest Facts and Feats

Stuart Claxton, Guinness World Records 2010

There is a little bit of everything that made it into the Guinness World Records 2010 book, but we take a look at some of the animal oddities.   “Nature is a wonderful thing and it really covers all extremes!” states Stuart Claxton, who is the spokesperson for Guinness World Records.  

One of the most unique records that Stuart personally verified was a lady in Utah whose fingernails hadn’t been cut since 1979 and when you added them all together, they measured 28 feet long.  The longest nail was her left index finger, which was 3 feet long.

Some of the amazing animal records you will find in the Guinness World Records 2010 are:


Gibson, meet Boo Boo! The tallest dog ever, 42.2-in.-high harlequin Great Dane Gibson, goes nose-to-nose with the world's shortest dog, 4-in.-tall Boo Boo. Sadly, Gibson died of cancer in August, but the title remains his until a new tallest dog is found.


Don't try to saddle up to this little guy! Thumbelina, a miniature sorrel brown mare who captured the title of smallest living horse in July 2006, stands just 17.5 in. high. The tiny trotter lives on Goose Creek Farm in St. Louis, Mo.


1, 2, 3, hop! Sweet Pea the Australian shepherd/border collie completed 75 jump-rope skips in one minute on Live with Regis and Kelly in August of 2007. But that's not all the amazing pup's done: She also holds the record for the most steps climbed by a dog balancing a glass of water on the snout — 17 in total!


My, what big ears you have! Seriously — bloodhound Tigger's ears measured 13.5 in. on the left and 13.75 in. on the right in 2004. We bet he almost catches air when he runs for his food!


German farmer Gunther Wahl could make many milkshakes with the milk he extracted from his cow in just two minutes in 2008 — 2 full liters! The amount broke the world record, and still stands today.


Here's looking at you, puppy! Heaven Sent Brandy, a Chihuahua, measured just 6 in. from tip to tail in 2005, snagging the title of smallest dog, length-wise. Perfect for a bun ... just kidding!


So what if it's slow? The 2-lb. African giant snail Achatina achatina is the largest known land gastropod, measuring 15.5 in. from snout to tail. The shell is 10.75 in. alone!


Here's one we're not looking to break: The most rattlesnakes held in the mouth. That title goes to Jackie Bibby, who held 10 live rattlesnakes in his mouth — without assistance — for 10 seconds in New York City in 2006.

Guinness receives about 50,00 inquiries every year from around the world for different types of records.   In order to get your record into the book, no matter how large or small, you need to start at the website.


Westminster Doggie Concierge  

Jerry Grymek, Hotel Penn

New York’s Hotel Pennsylvania is the ‘Five-Paw’ Hotel for Westminster VIP’s (Very Important Pooches). The 134th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show takes place on February 15th and 16th 2010 at Madison Square Garden, directly across from New York’s Hotel Pennsylvania. 

Westminster is the oldest, continuous sporting event in America, with the exception of the Kentucky Derby. The Dog Show is the most prestigious of National Dog Shows and has been held every year despite power shortages, hazardous weather conditions, economic depressions and World Wars.

As with every year since Westminster began, New York’s Hotel Pennsylvania is overcome with dogs.  But that’s okay with them; they’re a year-round dog-friendly hotel.   The Hotel Penn is known for hosting Westminster champions, including 2008 Best in Show winner Uno the Beagle. In an effort to increase their luck, guests have been calling for ‘Uno’s Room’ (#213A) as well as rooms which represent the date Westminster announces its champion (February 16 = 216).

Jerry Grymek says that, “No one does it like the Hotel Penn.  We cater to the four-legged guests like we do the two-legged guests!”

Some activities you will find during Westminster at the Hotel Penn:

1) The Hotel will again convert function space into what is perhaps the largest in-door doggie spa in all of New York. Located within the lower level of the Hotel, the 1st In-Line, Inc. sponsored Green Room Salon & S’paw’ offers a variety of amenities that Show participants require: bathing/beauty parlor/salon, dog grooming/comfort station, exercise area, walking area, and even his and hers relieving area. Don’t forget about the famed Dog-tor’s Corner, which offers a canine masseuse and an animal communicator!

2) The Hotel will host SkyBark Pre-Westminster Red Carpet Events taking place over the weekend prior to the Dog Show.
3) The Paw Mall, located at the Dog S’paw’, will feature all the latest toys and accessories for both owners and pets to enjoy.

As always, Jerry will be on-site working hard to attend to all canine requirements (such as handling ‘pup’arazzi interviews and tours) before the Westminster Dog Show.  He states that because some handlers are there alone with the dogs and they can’t leave the dogs in the rooms by themselves, he is on call to handle their needs.   Some of the requests he receives include chicken sandwiches, meatball with cheese and extra sauce and pizza.  However, these items are not for the handlers, they’re for the dogs!


Animal Radio® News with Bobbie Hill

Haiti Animals Getting Much Needed Relief

The outpouring of international humanitarian aid continues to arrive in earthquake-ravaged Haiti, but now comes word that the animals are getting much needed relief too.  Led by The International Fund For Animal Welfare of Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts, aid workers are setting up mobile clinics to assist the pets including the more than half a million dogs in Port-au-Prince.  The organization will also work to keep the island nation’s five million head of livestock healthy.

Dog Plucked From River Reunited With Owners

Updating a story we brought you last week - the rescued German Shepard plucked from the storm swollen L.A. river in a spectacular aerial effort has been reunited with his owners.  Spikey is the name of the pooch who captured media attention across the country but not so much on the Spanish language stations.  That’s why it took some time before 70-year-old Maria Medina new where her missing dog was.  Medina speaks only Spanish and the language barrier contributed to the delayed reunion.   Medina said Spikey’s brother; a yellow lab named Polo had been picked up by animal control the same day.  Medina thinks her grandchildren left the gate open allowing the dogs to escape.  When a family friend went to the Southeast Area Animal Control Authority to get Spikey staff said the dog “went nuts when he saw he found a long lost friend.”

Most Popular Dog Breed

The American Kennel Club released results for what they call the most popular purebred in the country  - and for the 19th consecutive year the Labrador Retriever sits in the top spot.  The rankings are based upon yearly registration with the AKC by breeders and those stats show the German Shepherd overtaking the Yorky this time.  The German Shepherd became the top breed in the early 1900's but lost popularity after the Second World War.   The 2009 rankings showed the rest of the top ten - Golden Retriever at 4; Beagle was 5; Number 6 is the Boxer; followed by the Bulldog at number 7.  The Dachshund placed 8th beating out number 9 Poodle and the Shih Tzu rounded out the top 10.

Dogs Contract Flu From Dog Gatherings

Dogs are more likely to contract canine influenza if they spend time mingling with other dogs like at kennels, groomers, even dog shows and doggie day cares.  Last year seven states saw canine influenza outbreaks, in Colorado, Georgia, Florida, Virginia, Delaware, New Jersey, and New York.  There is a vaccine available that reduces the severity of symptoms in clinical trials.  Dr. Cynda Crawford of the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine said, “So far it performs about as well as the vaccines that we give to people and horses and pigs.” Crawford added that with proper medical care, sick dogs will recover in about two weeks.

Breeders Must Supply Pet’s Background

Indiana is one step closer to requiring retail pet shops to disclose a pet’s background information to buyers.   The House Committee unanimously passed the bill last month which would allow customers to get the address and size of breeding operations upon request.  Sarah Hayes, president of the Indiana Alliance of Animal Control and Welfare Organizations, says in the past, pet stores have been skirting the facts about their dogs and cats by claiming they came from a “local breeder.”   Hayes said, “Local can be a puppy mill also.” and added “if pet stores are telling the truth...they shouldn’t have a problem with simply posting this information.”

A New York Moment With A Chicken

It could be a “bet pay off “ or just one of those “New York moments” but a video of a man cuddling a live chicken on the subway is being investigated by New York City’s transit agency.  The incident last month was captured on video by 27-year-old Brooklyn architect Kylie Kaiser and posted online.  The video shows a man, oblivious to everything around him, on his back in the subway car aisle kissing, hugging and lifting the chicken up in the air.  Kaiser described the man as possibly homeless and chalked it up to an "only-in-New-York" situation.

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