March 31st 2007

Breaking News: Dry Pet Food added to Menu Foods Pet Food Recall list. Find out more at

Pet Food Recall Crisis Grows
Dr. Steven Hansen, ASPCA Poison Control Center
Since Menu Foods announced its massive pet food recall on March 16, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) has been flooded with calls from concerned pet parents and animal welfare professionals alike. The ASPCA's veterinary toxicologists have been carefully analyzing data from these calls.

Based on these data, clinical signs reported in cats affected by the contaminated foods are not fully consistent with the ingestion of rat poison containing aminopterin that, according to Menu Foods, is at the "root" of the contamination issue.

"We've seen reports coming in from all around the country that animals that were eating the contaminated foods are definitely suffering from renal failure," said Dr. Steven Hansen, veterinary toxicologist and senior vice president with the ASPCA, who manages the ASPCA's Midwest Office, including the APCC. "But the data that we've been collecting do not conclusively prove this connection, which is why we strongly recommend that those involved in the investigation continue to search for additional contaminants."

Dr. Hansen continued, "Aminopterin has been used to treat cancer in people, since it is able to disrupt rapidly-growing cells. In animals, it should result in effects that mimic this function, and these include bloody diarrhea, bone marrow suppression, abortion and birth defects. Further, renal damage-which has been seen in the affected animals-can occur at high doses.

"However, to be consistent with the effects of aminopterin, we should also be seeing a significant number of affected pets showing the accompanying signs of severe intestinal damage, as well as bone marrow suppression, including 'leukopenia,' which is a serious reduction in white blood cells.

The ASPCA strongly recommends that pet parents should have their pet examined by their veterinarian if any signs of illness occur following consumption of the recalled foods, including loss of appetite, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, changes in water consumption or changes in urination. Adverse effects or deaths of pets conclusively linked to eating the contaminated foods should be reported to the FDA at Additionally, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has a wealth of resources at


First Rehabilitation Center for Pets
Dr. Jean Dodds, Hemopet
W. Jean Dodds, DVM, president of Hemopet, is spearheading a fundraising drive to raise $10 million for the nation's first center focused on restoring health for dogs, cats and other pets with special needs and during recovery. This capital and endowment campaign is for a permanent two-acre, environmentally friendly, short-term rehabilitation facility in Garden Grove.

The Center, with its fully trained faculty and staff, will set the standard for the next generation of animal facilities. The facility will feature a unique group of apartment-style units, with support rooms, outdoor exercise yards and playgrounds, for 200 rescued greyhounds. The Restore Health Center will provide short-term transitional and emergency care for dogs, cats and other pets, and it will offer a pick-up service by a pet ambulance. The care includes alternative therapies such as acupuncture, physiotherapy, chiropractic and herbal medicine. A veterinary nursing service will be available to make home visits to pets that need ongoing care once they've returned home. Community rooms will be for educating veterinarians and the public about companion animal health, nutritional testing, vaccines, holistic care, first-aid and other pet-friendly topics. The Center will also house a diagnostic and related clinical research laboratory.

Johnny Carson Helps The Animals
Joanne Carson, Epi Guardian Angels
Joanne Carson, Ph.D., second wife of the late Johnny Carson, is donating a portion of the proceeds from the recently released "The Johnny Carson Show" 2-DVD box set to Hemopet's Animal Restore Health Center. The Center is a component of the Hemopet Center for Greyhound Rescue and Pet Animal Recovery, a planned $10 million nonprofit facility for the nation's first accommodation focused on restoring health for dogs, cats and other pets with special needs and during recovery.

During Joanne's marriage to Johnny, they had two Yorkshire Terriers. Johnny was a big animal lover and when returning home from a taping on the Tonight Show, he liked nothing more than to come home to his dogs and play with them on the floor on his hands and knees. While Johnny was a shy person, he was the most secure around his dogs. In fact, Johnny wooed Joanne with these tapings from The Johnny Carson Show.

Joanne, who has a Ph.D. in physiology, devotes most of her energy to a website she founded to educate owners of dogs with canine epilepsy. Their goal is to provide information on canine epilepsy and other diseases that cause seizures in dogs including canine hypothyroidism.


Why Do the Emotional Lives of Animals Matter?
Dr. Marc Bekoff, The Emotional Lives of Animals
Based on Marc Bekoff's years of experience studying communication patterns of a wide range of animals, Marc shows that animals have rich emotional lives. Not only can animal emotions teach us about love, empathy, and compassion, argues Bekoff - they require us to radically rethink our current relationship of domination and abuse of animals.

Tests have shown that mice show empathy when another mouse is in pain and that dogs can smell stress pheromones from other dogs.

As can be expected, with all of the scientific proof, more and more people are believing that our pets are sentient beings and have emotions.

They could have saved all of that money and research and just asked us here at Animal Radio ­ we already knew that!


Enrich Your Indoor Cat's Life
Dr. Jim Humphries, Veterinary News Network
Enrichment is important to a cat's health and happiness. Most cat owners feel if they provide their indoor feline family with good food, plenty of fresh water and routine veterinary care, they'll live happy and healthy full lives. But, cats destined to thrive and not just survive need a lot more says Dr. Tony Buffington, Founder of the Indoor Cat Initiative. His goal is to enrich the lives of indoor cats. Here are seven things you can do to improve your cat's environment that are proven to decrease your cat's stress and improve its overall health.

1. Be a friend. (Play with your cat)
2. Be a "litter" bug. (Keep his litter clean)
3. Get you cat "high." (Make sure he has high places to go like window sills)
4. Plan a hunt. (Put treats around the house that he has to hunt for)
5. Scratch an itch. (Maker sure your cat has an appropriate scratching post)
6. Take on water. (Provide you cat with an aerator pet water fountain)
7. Be a Wizard of Oz (Cats like alone time)


Kevin Fitzgerald ­ "Emergency Vets"
When Puppy Gets into Things He Shouldn't
Everyone's heard about plants such as poinsettias being bad for your dog, but did you know that Macadamia nuts are toxic and can produce devastating neurological results? And what do you do when your puppy gets into your medicine on your nightstand? Also, do you think your dog will be fine if he swallows a few pennies? Beware, the zinc in pennies can destroy a dog's red blood cells. Dr. Fitzgerald has great information regarding these subjects and many more. If you have a dog ­ you don't want to miss this!


Male Mice Sing Songs of Love
Britt Savage
Male mice serenade females with ultrasonic love songs, a U.S. study had found. Birds, insects and frogs commonly sing during courtship but until now, the only mammals known to croon have been people, bats and cetaceans such as whales and dolphins.

Scientists realized decades ago that male mice emit squeaks too high-pitched for humans to hear when they encounter female mice or their urine. However, the cries could have been random. When a team from Washington University in St. Louis, Mo., analyzed the vocalizations, they found that male mice were actually repeatedly producing a series of differently-pitched "chirp-like" syllables ­ similar to bird songs.


Music Created For Your Pet's Happiness
Demitric Collins and Papa Kash, Allo Records
They've produced for Maria Carey, Earth Wind and Fire, and even Seal, but their favorite work is their production of The Doggie Dog World and Kitty Cat Kingdom CD's. These relaxing and mindful stimulating tunes provide both the animals AND their people with genuine bonding and fun. There are tunes to perk your pet up and also tunes to calm him down. Next time you are enjoying time with your animal, pop one of these CD's in the stereo and enjoy the music together.


Talk With Your Animals
Joy Turner
A caller asks if her 3 dogs are happy and are enjoying life? Of course the dogs think she is crazy, because she has provided a very loving home for them. The dogs also say not to worry when they run off for 20 minutes or so, they are just exploring and want their guardian to trust them more.


Disaster Preparedness For Pets
Dr. Jim Humphries, Veterinary News Network
In a natural or man-made disaster, you could be told to leave your home on very short notice ­ and that includes your pets. You should plan in advance for what to take along when you leave, what steps to take when an evacuation order is made and what do to when you return home. Good planning even includes preparation for disasters that occur when you are away from home.


Introducing a New Dog
Darlene Arden
Darlene tells us some great things you can do to help ensure that a new dog will get along with your old dog. First, they should be introduced on neutral grounds, such as outside the house. They should both be on leashes because you don't know how they are going to react. You can also put vanilla on both their tails so that they have the same "scent." And don't adopt sibling dogs. They sometimes fight for dominance, and you could end up with more problems than you bargained for.

Listen to the 1st Hour ABRIDGED VERSION Podcast of this show (#383).
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