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 Featured On This Week's Program

Animal Radio® for July 25 , 2015  

To Vaccinate or Not To Vaccinate - That is the Question!
Doc Halligan, Lucy Pet Foundation

Doc Halligan with DogDoc Halligan has the 411 on pet vaccines. Can they cause cancer? Are they really necessary? Is there a way to tell if your pet needs them or can skip them? Why are the pharmaceuticals only testing for a year?

Doc Halligan says the question of whether to vaccinate or not, is not really as controversial as you would think. There is also a lot of miscommunication about vaccinating.

The fact of the matter is every year cats and dogs die from preventable diseases that they could have been vaccinated for. One of these diseases is dog parvo, where thousands of dogs who didn't get the vaccination die every year. Feline distemper and feline leukemia are two other diseases. Then there is rabies, which is a big one. While there may not be very many cases of rabies, there are cases in domesticated animals, more so in cats than in dogs. These are all preventable diseases.

Years ago you would take your pet to the vet's every year for all of their vaccinations. Then the veterinarians in the schools started doing research and testing to see if pets really needed to be vaccinated every year.

However, the vaccine manufacturers only did studies for one year. They didn't do three year or longer studies. This is because if they did a study that showed your pet didn't need repeated vaccinations for five years, that would significantly cut into their profits.

But when the vet schools did their own studies, they found that pets that were vaccinated properly had antibodies three to ten years later. This is what caused such a controversy.

At Marina Vet, where Doc Halligan works, they don't vaccinate pets yearly. They vaccinate depending upon your pet's lifestyle and they don't vaccinate elderly animals that are housebound.

Cat Being VaccinatedTo be safe, you can test our pet's titer. Through this blood test you can actually see if your pet has antibodies to the preventable diseases. However, the test is not cost effective yet and can range from $50 - $100.

The problem now is that people who used to take their pets to the vets every year for vaccinations, aren't bringing their pets to be seen at all. Or, if a vet sees them, there are many years between visits. Remember, one year in the life of your pet is like seven yours in yours. If your pet hasn't visited a vet in three years, it is like 21 years without any medical checkups.

While it is not common, it does happen where a pet can die from a vaccination. They can go into anaphylaxis and die. But, if you are at a veterinary hospital when that happens, it is usually happens quickly and it can be counteracted by your veterinarian. However, when you go to a shot clinic where you get the shot and then leave, you need to watch your pet closely for the first hour or two.

Pets can also get cancer form the adjuvants that are in the vaccines. Not the virus, but the adjuvants that keep it in the solution. This can trigger cancer especially in cats. But now they are saying that any kind of injection can trigger a sarcoma, which is a malignant, nasty tumor in the shoulder blades and usually ends up in death.

Dog  Being VaccinatedThis is why vaccinations are universally given in certain limbs, so that the limb can be amputated if it happens. A rabies vaccination is usually given in the right rear limb, the FVRCP vaccination in cats is given in the right front limb and the DAPP vaccination is given to dogs in the right front limb.

Check with your local veterinarian to see what vaccinations your pets need and what is required for the area in which you live.

The Mission of The Lucy Pet Foundation is to reduce pet overpopulation by having mobile spay/neuter clinics across the country and to support causes that benefit animal welfare. The Lucy Pet Foundation currently has two buses that travel around Southern California focusing on spaying and neutering. These buses are state of the art surgery units. Their next focus is in generating more funds to expand the work of these buses and have more across the country.

The Lucy Pet Foundation not only offers free and reduced spays and neuters, they also do microchipping, vaccines and de-wormings. Spaying and neutering is not only great for pet population control, but it has been proven that an animal will live on an average of 40-percent longer after having this surgery.

Lucy Pet Foundation Mobile ClinicHere is a list of upcoming free or reduced fee mobile spay and neuter clinics in California:

July 27
Location: Morgan Park, City of Baldwin Hills, 4100 Baldwin Park Blvd, Baldwin Park CA
Check in 7:30am
Please call 1-855-499-5829 or Email: to schedule an appointment.

July 29
Location: Inland Valley
Check in 8:00am
Prices Vary
Please call 1-855-499-5829 or Email: to schedule an appointment.

July 29
Location: Lomita City Hall 24300 Narbonne Avenue
6:00pm - 7:30pm
Please call 1-855-499-5829 or Email: to schedule an appointment.

Remember, you must get on a list to have your pet seen at these locations. Please call The Lucy Pet Foundation toll free at 1-855-499-5829 or Email: to schedule an appointment, or register at the events.

See the current list of clinics at

Keep Your Dogs In Your Yard and Other Animals Out
Victor Boemmels, Pet Playgrounds

Pet Playgrounds LogoCreating a fence to contain dogs is very personal for Victor Boemmels, President of Pet Playgrounds, after he had a puppy that ran away when he was a child and was killed by a car. He then became an amateur dog trainer, training his own dogs. However, the issue was other dogs in the neighborhood. Even if you can call your dog when he is off leash, you can still have a problem with other animals.

Pet Playgrounds offers a REAL physical fence to keep your dogs in your yard and keep unwanted critters out. It's been tested on virtually every type of dog and property over the course of the past seven years and has been tested by several animal groups such as PETA.

Most fencing solutions are very expensive and many of them don't work. For example, a chain link fence may work, but it is very expensive and can only be installed on even ground. Then there is the issue that a dog may be able to climb over, or dig under, this type of fence. The Pet Playgrounds fencing doesn't contain any rails, as rails make it very easy for dogs to put their paws on and pull themselves over.

The Pet Playgrounds fencing consists of a tension cable along the top and a tension cable along the bottom. While there is tension to keep it tight and straight, it is not as steady as a rail, so a dog feels it and it feels like a net. They don't like that feeling and they won't climb on it.

Pet Playgrounds FenceThe Pet Playgrounds fencing offers REAL climb, dig and chew protection for any breed. It is made up of a combination of materials, including polypropylene mesh with an 1100-break strength, combined with a metal hex wire. Because the bottom of the fence flares in and gets staked down, it makes it almost impossible to climb.

The Pet Playgrounds fencing system is also virtually undetectable from as little as 10-15 feet away and blends into your natural environment. Posts, or a tree, are only required every 20-feet. The heavy-duty 12 gauge vinyl coated braided steel cable allows fences to nearly disappear from most angles. This helps your fence seamlessly blend into your existing natural surroundings.

When asked about invisible fences, Victor says that everyone should try it on their own neck first. He also states that there are so many reasons why you shouldn't use a shock collar on your dog, but the most important reason is that it doesn't work. According to industry tests, nearly 30-percent of dogs are able to beat the invisible fence system and leave your yard. Plus, invisible electric fences don't keep other critters out. In some parts of the country coyotes are a big concern, so in the best-case scenario your dog is contained in your invisible fence area but is now a sitting duck and any predator can easily attack your dog.

But they didn't forget about the cats. Pet Playgrounds also sells an adaptor for cats, which consists of a special arm that attaches to the 6-foot tall dog fence kit. It faces inward, which creates an overhang that makes it virtually impossible for a cat to climb over. Other cat fence manufacturers sell products with weaker materials because they are only attempting to contain your cat in your yard. However, The Pet Playgrounds fencing system is designed not just to keep your cats on your property but also to keep other predators out.

Pet Playgrounds sells DIY kits nationwide and even to Canada, if you want to assemble it yourself. They also have professional installers in nearly every state in the United States. Learn more about the Pet Playgrounds fencing by visiting or calling their toll free number at 1-800-985-9202.

For a limited time visit and enter code ANIMALRADIO to receive 10-percent off your Pet Playgrounds fencing system.

Pigs Are Just As Smart as Dogs and Primates
Dr. Lori Marino, Kimmela Center for Animal Advocacy

Dr. Lori Marino holding a brainAccording to Dr. Lori Marino, the Executive Director of the Kimmela Center for Animal Advocacy, new research shows that pigs are smart as, if not smarter than, chimpanzees and dogs. The often lowly regarded swine may even have self-awareness, something our companion animals don't understand.

In a recent study in the scientific journal, the International Journal of Comparative Psychology, they looked at what we already know about pigs and put it in a comparative context to try and understand who they are, not just what they can do.

Essentially, they looked at research on cognition social complexities, emotion, personality and even self-awareness. They tried to come up with an understanding of who they are and what kinds of non-evasive research would help us to understand them even better.

When questioned as to whether or not this research covered all pigs, from pot bellied to farm pigs to wild boar, Dr. Marino states that what we do know is that domesticated pigs are basically one species and they are very, very close to their wild counterparts. So far they don't have any information about differences across breeds.

From what we know, the jury is still out on whether a pig has true self-awareness. They are still trying to stick with the data so claims aren't made that can't be backed up. However, Dr. Marino states that there are some findings out there that suggest that they do have a sense of self.

Pig looking in MirrorOne of the studies had to do with what a pig does when it is confronted with a mirror. Some animals do recognize themselves in mirrors, like chimpanzees, dolphins and elephants. Cats and dogs do not recognize themselves in mirrors, which doesn't mean they don't have a sense of self, but in this particular way of probing it they don't show it and attack the mirror.

During one of the studies with pigs, it was found that they could use a mirror to find hidden food. That is interesting because that is using the mirror in a level similar to how monkeys use one. Monkeys don't show mirror self-recognition, but they can use a mirror as tool to guide their hands to hidden food. So, this suggests they know something about themselves, the mirror image and their environment. This is a form of self-awareness, even though it's not formally self-recognition.

Pigs also do other things too. They are able to use a joystick to move a curser on a screen, which is a pretty sophisticated cognitive task. They have to understand that if they move the joystick, it moves something else and that something else then moves towards a goal on a screen. What this is called in comparative psychology is self-agency; the ability to understand that your actions are intentional and can actually affect something else in the environment.

So far, we have learned that pigs:

Pig and Dog doing Agility- Have excellent long-term memories
- Are whizzes with mazes and other tests requiring location of desired objects
- Can comprehend a simple symbolic language and can learn complex combinations of symbols for actions and objects
- Love to play and engage in mock fighting with each other, similar to play in dogs and other mammals
- Live in complex social communities where they keep track of individuals and learn from one another
- Cooperate with one another and show signs of Machiavellian intelligence such as perspective-taking and tactical deception
- Can manipulate a joystick to move an on-screen cursor, a capacity they share with chimpanzees
- Can use a mirror to find hidden food
- Exhibit a form of empathy when witnessing the same emotion in another individual

Dr. Marino explains, "We have shown that pigs share a number of cognitive capacities with other highly intelligent species such as dogs, chimpanzees, elephants, dolphins, and even humans. There is good scientific evidence to suggest we need to rethink our overall relationship to them."

Dr. Marino is the executive director of the Kimmela Center for Animal Advocacy and provided the scientific support for the lawsuits of the Nonhuman Rights Project regarding recognition of chimpanzees as "legal persons." In the blockbuster documentary Blackfish, Dr. Marino explains the neural underpinnings of cetacean intelligence and why orcas and other cetaceans cannot thrive in captivity.

You can learn more at the

Joey VillaniThe Dogfather's Grooming Tip with Joey Villani

When Hair Wraps Around Your Dog's Teeth
Joey explains that he has seen many cases at his grooming salon where the facial hair of a dog actually wrapped around their teeth. While it happens mainly with curly coated older dogs, it can happen with dogs of all types and ages.

When a dog gets older, the gums can recede and expose more of the tooth. This can leave more of a space between the gum and the tooth. The hair around their mouth then starts to curl inward and will wrap itself around a tooth, just like a vine growing on a fence. It can cause odor and can also be painful to your pet.

This is extremely dangerous for your pet if left untreated, as it will start to rot. As it rots, it ends up rotting the tooth as well. In extreme cases, the rot can go all the way down to the jawbone, requiring life-saving, major surgery.

Hair Wrapped Around Dog's TeethWhen you see this happening and catch it in the early stages, you can take your dog to a groomer and have them clip the hair along the lip line. If you keep the hair short, you won't have any problems.

But if the hair is already wrapped around the tooth, don't try to remove it at home, as you could end up removing the tooth as well. If your groomer can't remove the hair, then you should take your pet to a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Dr. Debbie WhitePet Threats Come in All Sizes - Dr. Debbie

Our doggie family ambled along on our typical morning walk along the community trail. With a family of two Labradors and a Yorkie mix, my crew is always up for fun and they investigate anything and everything.

Sometimes it's a crunchy cockroach snack or the fortunate edible remnant in a discarded candy wrapper. My dogs enjoy the "date game" where they snatch up shriveled fruit fallen from date palms, crunching away before the mom and dad notice. And sometimes it's a half-hearted game of chase with an unsuspecting rabbit. A more gut wrenching episode once involved my Labrador ingesting a rat with tail slipping down his gullet like a piece of spaghetti. My furry kids are professional trouble finders so I try to keep a watchful eye for things that make them go "Oooh," and make me go "Ugh!"

Female Black Widow Spider
While walking along the pedestrian pathway we came upon today's discovery - spiders and lots of them living in the recesses of a block wall. The hairs on my arm stood up as my Yorkie mix approached their lair. I recognize what these spiders are and what could happen to a 16-pound pup.

The long legged spiders were over 1 1/2" in length, black in color with a distinctive orange hourglass mark on its underbelly. Meet the black widow spider, a common arachnid found in every state in the U.S. except Alaska.

The Black Widow Bite
Black widow spiders contain a potent neurotoxin that causes pain, swelling and can lead paralysis. Female black widows are the dangerous ones, while the males rarely ever bite. While some black widow bites go unnoticed, others cause immediate pain at the site or result in pain at the nearest lymph node. Pain intensity reaches its maximum within 1 to 3 hours after the bite, but can last up to 48 hours.

Symptoms of a black widow bite appear within 8 hours after bite an include muscle twitching, restlessness, rigid abdomen and difficulty breathing. Symptoms may result in high blood pressure, a racing heart rate, seizures and collapse. Dogs are more resistant to a black widow bite, but still can suffer serious illness. Cats are very sensitive to the toxins and can suffer fatalities.

Symptoms of black widow bite include:

Black Widow Spider- Pain and numbness around bite site
- Anxiety
- Racing heart rate
- Muscle pain and stiffness, especially abdominal muscles
- Difficulty breathing
- Paralysis
- Seizures

Treatment for Black Widow Spider Bite
Call your veterinarian if you suspect your pet was bitten by a black widow. Initial home emergency care of a black widow bite may include ice packing bite area and oral antihistamines like Benadryl. Your veterinarian will need to see your pet to evaluate and treat the more serious symptoms. Treatment may include medications to control muscle spasms and seizures. Blood pressure and blood sugar are monitored and intravenous fluids may be administered. An antivenin is available for more serious confirmed cases of black widow bite.

Avoidance of spider habitats is the best prevention. These eight-legged critters favor dark recesses both indoors and outdoors. Look for cobwebs with a distinctive funnel-shaped opening at the top. And keep a close eye on your dog when out exploring. Inquire about spider control methods with your pest control company.

With pet noses so close to web level, the risk of black widow bites is just natural to being a dog. Our morning spider encounter ended without any drama, thankfully. After one firm "No," my doggies retreated to unearth some other lucky find. Here's to hoping it doesn't involve any rats or bugs next time.

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."

It's a Wacky Wednesday Here at the Animal Radio® Studios

WackyWed Contest IS ON - LIKE your FAVORITE pic and the three pics with the most LIKES & SHARES are this week's winner will receive a Litter Genie from Litter Genie Cat Litter Disposal System.

Litter GenieTO ENTER Send us your FUNNY pet pic to - (Please put WACKYWED in the subject line & give us your pet's name, your name & where you hail from) If YOUR pic is chosen then spread the word to your friends & family on Wednesday - the pics w/the most LIKES and SHARES will be the winner!

This week we are giving away a Litter Genie from Litter Genie Cat Litter Disposal System. Litter Genie is an ultimate hassle-free solution for controlling litter odors and helps lock litter and odor away in 3 simple steps: 1) Scoop 2) Open Lid 3) Pull Handle. The unique, airtight design helps keep smells in even when you open the lid.

I never had a diaper genie when my kids were in diapers, but I didn't want to miss out on having a Litter Genie now that I have several cats. I was making several trips outside to the trash can to constantly throw away bags of dirty litter. Forget about them many bags I was using, I was spending a lot of time going out in the cold and sometimes rain to get it out of the house. Now, I just store it in the Litter Genie in a matter of minutes. I can store several days worth of dirty litter, but if you have one cat, you can go a lot longer before emptying it. I also have an indoor potty for my dog and now have a place to put the poop as well. And, it doesn't smell up the house.

Animal Radio® Facebook
Join Animal Radio® on Facebook for Wacky Wednesday! Win great prizes every week for your wacky pet pictures. Last month we gave out goodies from nVision, Calm My Pet, SV Distribution, Petmate and more. Visit us on Facebook now.

Lori and FlobearAnimal Radio® News - Lori Brooks

Program Helps Those in Hospice Care For Pets
A new program in Louisiana is working to give hospice patients and their animal friends more peace. Beginning next month, Hospice of Acadiana will begin its new Pet Peace of Mind after receiving a $5,000 grant from Banfield Charitable Trust. The program is designed to help both the hospice patient and their family members, who may be caring for the patient's pet, to ensure that an animal is not neglected or homeless when its owner passes away. Special Hospice pet volunteers will help with arranging for pet placement through relationships with local rescue groups, pet day cares and veterinarians.

Panda at a ZooNew Restrictions On Leasing Pandas
If you live near a zoo that has a giant panda exhibit it could be changing in the near future. Leasing of giant pandas to zoos by Chinese research centers is going to become even more strict and regulated. The State Forestry Administration, China's wildlife watchdog agency, says that the giant panda leasing system urgently needs government regulation. In the future, zoos applying to borrow pandas will have to send their keepers and veterinarians to China for three months of training and special inspection teams will be sent out to the zoos every year to check on the pandas. A professor of wildlife protection at Peking University, says "In some zoos, visitors can purchase time to interact with giant pandas, and that he says is not only bad for the health of giant pandas but also sends the wrong message because pandas are an endangered species; they are not pets."

Grumpy CatThe Wealthiest Pets in the World
Just like people, there are some really wealthy pets in the world! We're talking super rich!!! And the richest of them is probably not a shock to you - it's Grumpy the Cat. It's estimated Grumpy's owner has made more than 100 million dollars for appearances, modeling, book deals and ads. She disputes the number, but won't say if it's too high or too low. Also on the list is Moose the Jack Russell, who starred as Eddie on Frasier, Keiko the killer whale, Rin Tin Tin, the dogs who starred as Lassie and Virgin America spokesdog Boo.

Financial Responsibilities of Owning Pets
Pet ownership or pet parenting isn't all kitten kisses and puppy love, and before you adopt a furry friend, you need to be sure you're ready for the financial responsibility that comes with keeping an animal alive and happy. Just like the index on the cost of raising a child comes out every year, here's one for cats and dogs that focused on the first year cost of having a pet when you have to acquire all the things they need. The first year of being a pet parent to a cat will cost about $1,035 and for a dog that number is $1,843 as estimated by the ASPCA. So dogs are more expensive, but of course worth every penny!

Pima Animall Care Center Christmas In JulyChristmas In July For Shelter Animals
Pima Animal Care Center in Arizona is celebrating Christmas in July by giving potential pet owners the chance to choose how much they want to pay to take home a cat or dog at the shelter. Summertime means overcrowding at shelters as people dump their pets because they don't want to pay for boarding while they go on vacation, in addition to all the runaways that end up at the shelter after those scary Fourth of July fireworks. Because of summertime overcrowding, shelters all over the country are trying new ways of finding homes for animals. At Pima Animal Care Center, besides choosing your own price for adoption, shelter dogs and cats also come with a Christmas gift and a picture with Santa to really get in the spirit of the event.

Groomers Need To Be Regulated
Several high profile recent pet deaths are highlighting the possible need for government regulation of the over $6 billion pet grooming industry. At least three states, New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts, are now considering laws to put rules in place in the largely unregulated pet grooming industry. Some changes are already happening as a result. Petco, where one dog died while a kennel dryer was being used on it, says that "type of kennel dryer" the dog was housed in has been "removed from service in all their stores."

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Ear Listen to the entire Podcast of this show (#816)

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