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 This Week on Animal Radio

Animal Radio for July 13, 2024  

Being A Vet Saved Her Life
Dr. Sarah Boston, Lucky Dog

Dr. Sarah Boston   When Veterinarian Dr. Sarah Boston noticed a lump on her neck, she insisted that it was cancerous, even though other doctors said no. She did an ultrasound at her office and it validated her worst fear. The lump was removed and she is now cancer-free.

Dr. Sarah Boston is a veterinary surgical oncologist (cancer surgery doctor) and her husband is a large animal vet. Dr. Boston takes care of dogs and cat with cancer, with her specialty being surgery.

One day she found herself in a situation where she found a mass in her own neck. Because of what she does for a living, she knew that the mass was new and that it was a thyroid mass. She was concerned that it was a thyroid carcinoma, because that is what she sees in many of her own dog patients.

Because of her knowledge, it helped her to push for a diagnosis and push for surgery. Unfortunately, she was in Canada's slow community health care medical system and found it frustrating. She felt that her animal patients received faster and better care than what she was getting, which stimulated her to write her book, "Lucky Dog, How Being A Veterinarian Saved My Life."

Lucky Dog Book CoverWhile thyroid cancer is not that common in humans, it is on the rise. Because of this, Sarah had four doctors tell her that it was most likely benign and that she shouldn't worry about it. But Sarah knew better.

Being a veterinarian, Sarah was able to do an ultrasound on herself, using her husband's equipment. Unfortunately, what she saw was very consistent with what she sees in her own canine patients with thyroid cancer.

Ultimately, Sarah had two surgeries to remove her thyroid gland and then had radioactive iodine. She tells us she is doing great now and is in remission. Thyroid cancer, if it is caught early, does have a very high cure rate.

The surgery that Sarah had is also the same surgery that would be done on a pet with thyroid cancer, but without as much radioactive iodine used on dogs.

In writing her book, Sarah stressed the importance of your own advocacy. If you think something's wrong with you or your pet, you really need to be an advocate in whatever healthcare system you happen to be in.

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Bit 100,000 Times
Brian Barczyk, BHB Reptiles

Brian BarczykThis week is the triumphant return of Brian Barczyk to Animal Radio airwaves. Yes, he has 30,000 snakes at home. Yes, he's been bit 100,000 times. And yes, the chicks dig it!

Brian tells us that he has been married for 25 years and that his wife has been working with him and the snakes full-time. He says that she thinks snakes are cool, but she is not a snake person and doesn't get the obsession, but she puts up with it!

While Brian has the biggest affinity towards snakes, he is also an animal guy all around, and even has gators and lizards. Being an animal guy takes Brian all around the world. He has even been with snow leopards, cheetahs and even Penguins.

Brian launched SnakeBytesTV online and grew it into almost 250,000 subscribers on YouTube. He then decided that an animal network was much needed. As a result, Brian launched the first online independent animal network called AnimalBytesTV produced, "By Animal Lovers For Animal Lovers."

AnimalBytesTV is a network of entertaining and educational shows produced by people that live and breathe wildlife each and everyday of their lives. Each show is filmed, produced and edited by animal lovers, so there's no pressure from network executives to have overly sensational shows just for ratings.

AnimalBytesTV LogoTheir mission is to bring you along on their journey to the wild side. Whether it's wrangling reptiles or playing with big cats, they'll welcome you into their lives so you can see what it's like to get up and close to a wide array of amazing creatures.

Conservation is a large part of the goal at AnimalBytesTV and they make sure to highlight the topics that effect animals around the globe.

Being around so many snakes, Brian tells us that he has been bit around 100,000 times, including bites to his face. He blames his mom for his 30,000 snakes, because as a kid he would collect garter snakes and try to bring them into the house. He was 15 when he got his first pet snake that he could keep at home. He feels if he could have gotten it out of his system when he was a kid, he might not be surrounded by thousands of snakes today.

Brian wants to tell all parents, "Let your kids get a snake as a kid and get it out of their system or they're going to end up with 30,000 snakes!"

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"HERO PEOPLE OF THE WEEK" - What Would You Do For Your Dog? Scott Clare & Buck-O

Scott Clare and Buck-OWhen this week's Hero Person found out his pup had Ventricular Tachycardia, a rare condition where a dog has a rapidly fast and sometimes-irregular heartbeat, he drove almost 5,000 miles and spent over $10,000 to treat him.

After Scott Clare's wife died, the high school teacher taught himself to love again. This time, it was a four-legged companion; he named Buck-O, after baseball player Buck O'Neil, a reflection of his love of baseball.

Buck-O was a yellow lab. When Buck-O was about 4 months old, Scott took him to be neutered. Upon a routine examination before being neutered, it was discovered that Buck-O had an irregular heartbeat.

Buck-O was diagnosed with ventricular tachycardia. It's a rare condition where a dog has a rapidly fast and sometimes irregular heartbeat, leaving Scott to make a very tough decision. Scott was told that because of this, Buck-O could faint, he could suddenly fall over dead, but if he did live for any amount of time, he could suddenly develop an oversized heart that would eventually kill him.

So Scott's choices were to spend a lot of money or hang on to him until he had a horrible death and he wasn't going do that.

Whatever the vet asked Scott to do or told him he could do, he did! Scott lived in Central California and was told to take Buck-O to a cardiologist in Los Angeles, where he got a second opinion that confirmed the first. Scott was then told that there was only one place in the country that could perform the ventricular ablation surgery that Buck-O needed to save his life, and that was in Cincinnati.

With over 100,000 veterinarians in the United States, there was only one who could perform this type of surgery, Dr. Kathy Wright, because it was not taught in veterinary school.

Dr. Wright actually learned how to perform the surgery on animals at a pediatric hospital.

Scott then needed to get Buck-O to Cincinnati. While flying was the fastest, it was not an option because Buck-O would have to have additional tests, which he might not have passed, to fly. And if he were approved, he would have to ride in cargo, and that wasn't going to happen.

Scott then loaded the car and he and Buck-O traveled 2,300 miles to Cincinnati, an adventure that made Buck-O many friends along the way.

After 5 days on the road, they made it. Scott checked Buck-O into the hospital, where he was held for 24 hours before surgery. But, before surgery could be done, the hospital lost all power. Buck-O was then scheduled for the following day, but again, it didn't happen. It turned out the power outage "fried" all of the hospital's equipment. New equipment was ordered, but it took another week before the surgery could take place.

Buck-O was the first dog to actually undergo this type of surgery, and made it just fine through the 8-hour surgery. When he was well enough, the two of them headed back to California, nearly a month after first hitting the road.

This whole experience was not cheap, at around $10,000. Scott said he paid $1,000 for a puppy that had heart and hip certifications, but they didn't catch the irregular heartbeat. Scott also did not have any insurance coverage on Buck-O.

Scott is our hero who went above and beyond, both in time and money, to save his dog. But, Scott tells us that Dr. Kathy wright and Buck-O are the real heroes!

Pet Flipping - Seven Tips to Safeguard Your Pet - Dr. Debbie

Dr. Debbie WhitePet lovers beware of the disturbing criminal trend called "pet flipping." This is when a person steals a pet or takes ownership of a lost pet, and then sells the animal. Pets are typically sold on the Internet to make a quick profit. The American Kennel Club (AKC) has reported a rise in pet thefts.

Pet flippers most commonly target purebred dogs because they can fetch a high price, but even mixed breed dogs are at risk. Dogs are swiped from porches, fenced in back yards, dog parks, and cars. Some pet scams involve a person advertising as a pet sitter or trainer, who then disappears with your pet. Other scams involve someone who steals a pet and then responds to the lost pet ad, making money on rewards.

Top 7 Tips to Prevent Pet Flipping:

1. Don't Leave Your Pet Unattended
Avoid leaving your pet unattended, even in your own backyard. Don't leave your pet outside of stores or coffee shops. Tying your dog's leash up while you run that quick errand can give a thief the few minutes he needs to snatch your pet while you step away. Keep a watchful eye on your dog when visiting dog parks.

2. Get Your Pet Microchipped
A microchip is one of the best tools to reunite lost pets and serves as legal proof of ownership. Be sure to keep your contact information up to date with the microchip company.

3. Use GPS Collars
A GPS collar allows you to track your dog's movement minute by minute. These units can help you find your pet quickly if lost, but are of little use if a pet flipper removes the collar. I use the Tagg Pet Tracker for my dog and like that I can locate him to a precise location with my smart phone.

4. Get Your Pet Spayed or Neutered
Dogs that aren't spayed or neutered are especially prized targets to thieves since they are perceived as a money-making opportunity. Spaying and neutering also decreases the desire to stray and is good for your pet's health.

Empty Dog Leash5. Research Pet Services Carefully
Before signing on for pet sitting or dog trainer services, research the business person's reputation with the Better Business Bureau. Ask your veterinarian for a referral to a reputable pet professional. Request references before using a new pet service.

6. Buyer Beware
Be cautious when buying a pet online and only use reputable breeders. Check out a breeders standing with the AKC and breed clubs. Be wary of individuals that lack documentation of breeding or veterinary health care records.

7. Sign Up For Doggie Facial Recognition Apps
High-tech facial recognition technology is now available to identify and track down lost pets with services like Finding Rover. Use your iPhone to download the app. Upload your pet's photo in their database and promptly notify Finding Rover if your pet is ever lost.

Pet flipping is so heinous because it exploits the cherished relationship between family and a beloved pet. Share this information with fellow pet lovers to spread awareness and halt this criminal trend.

Featured veterinarian known as "Dr. Debbie" on national pet radio program, Animal Radio. Ebook author of "Yorkshire Terriers: How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend"; "Pugs: How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend"; "Mini Schnauzers: How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend"; and "Shih Tzu: How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend." Dr. Debbie's books.

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Animal Radio News - Tammy Trujillo

Depressed DogIs Your Dog Depressed?
A survey of pet parents suggested that as many as 80-percent of our dogs might be depressed and suffering from anxiety. It may be hard to tell because some of the telltale behaviors seem pretty common; things like excessive barking at visitors, cars or even the vacuum. If you think your pet is behaving strangely, take him to the vet for a check-up. If everything is fine, tell your vet about your pets' behavior. They may have a suggestion or prescribe an anti-depressant or anxiety medication like Prozac or Zoloft.

You Can Face Charges If You Don’t Keep Pet Free of Pain

This is pretty interesting.  It's from the Isle of Guernsey, off the coast of England.  They created a series of animal welfare law updates. One update called for a person to face charges if they didn't make sure their pets were free of pain. Basically, if an animal was hurt, you had to get it to the vet.   It's based on the so-called five freedoms: freedom from thirst, hunger and malnutrition; freedom from discomfort; freedom from pain, injury or disease; freedom from fear and distress; and freedom to express normal behavior patterns.  It sounds like a great plan, except that veterinarian appointments on Guernsey cost only a little less than a regular human doctor's appointment. But the government there said if you can't afford to keep a pet happy and healthy, then you shouldn't have one.

X-Ray and Missing SocksEver Wonder Where All Your Missing Socks Are?
One family found out, the hard way! Their three-year old Great Dane was miserable and coughing when they rushed him to an emergency clinic. X-rays showed he had 43 socks in his stomach. It took 2 and1/2 hours of surgery to get them out. The Great Dane went home one day after the surgery, feeling just fine. This story actually won an annual contest of weirdest x-rays of what pets eat held by the magazine Veterinary Practice News. Among the other entries, a kitten that ate a toy alien figure, a bearded dragon that ate a miniature banana from a Barbie Dream House and a frog named Kermit that ate more than 30 small ornamental rocks. Luckily, they all survived.

This is really awful. It's become so prevalent, that it now has a name, "Pet-flipping." It involves a criminal getting his hands on a cat or dog by stealing it or claiming to be the owner of a missing pet, then quickly selling them. Pet flippers snatch pets from front porches and back yards or pick them up if they're wandering the streets. The new buyer generally has no idea that the pet actually belongs to someone else who is desperately looking for the animal.

Savanna ElephantsGreat Elephant Aerial Census
A yearlong project was the first pan-Africa aerial survey of savanna elephants since the 1970s. It was funded by Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen and included 18 countries. The Great Elephant Census didn't include forest elephants, because they couldn't be spotted from the air. Ecologist Mike Chase was the lead researcher on the project and said if they knew more, they'd have a better chance of saving the elephants. He shared an amazing and horrifying fact that in 2013, 96 elephants a day were being lost in Africa to poaching and other threats.

Ear Listen to the entire Podcast of this show (#1284)

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