Animal Radio® Show #520 November 21, 2009

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H1N1 Confirmed In Cat

Dr. Julie Levy – UV Florida College of Veterinary Medicine

A cat in Iowa has tested positive for the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus, marking the first time a cat has been diagnosed with this strain of influenza.  While dogs don't seem to fall victim to this brand of flu (they have their own dog flu), felines and other domestic pets such as birds and ferrets are at risk! 


In this case, the humans were sick first and then passed it on to the cat.  It was the cat who was actually diagnosed with H1N1.    There are no indications that the cat passed the virus on to any other animals or people.  The family and the cat have since recovered and there is no evidence that these animals can spread it to each other or from themselves back to people.  It should be mentioned that this was an older cat around 13 years of age.

If you have flu-like symptoms, you need to use common sense.  Stay home and keep your pets away from you for about a week.  We know this is hard, because when you feel sick you naturally want your pet around you and they naturally want to comfort you.

The virus is contagious for about 7-10 days, but unfortunately some of these days actually occur before you feel sick. 

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) are reminding pet owners that some viruses can pass between people and animals, so this was not an altogether unexpected event. Pet owners should monitor their pets’ health very closely, no matter what type of animal, and visit a veterinarian if there are any signs of illness.
The AVMA is actively tracking all instances of H1N1 in animals and posting updates.


Do Dogs Feel Guilt?

Alexandra Horowitz – Inside of a Dog

Truth is that canines don't feel guilt but this look was developed to appease you, according to Alexandria Horowitz. The psychology professor tops the best-selling book list with her new book, Inside Of A Dog.

One example of how humans assign human-based traits to our dogs is when your dog comes up to you and licks your face.  To you, this feels like love and affection.  But to your dog, it may mean something else entirely.  If we look at their ancestor, the wolf, it is exactly the same action.  But in their case, it occurs when a wolf returns to the den after a successful hunt and all of the other wolfs mob him and lick him around his face.  While this is a greeting, it is also a request for him to regurgitate what he has killed, which he does.  So when your dog does this, it is still a greeting but it might also be a request for your sandwich!  We may also think those puppy eyes are expressing remorse or even guilt for something your dog did wrong, but it is probably anticipation that they are going to be scolded.

Another thing is the clothes we put on them.  We might feel better when we put a raincoat on them in the rain, but they are probably feeling things a little different.   Again, if you look at wolf behavior, wolves press down on other wolves’ backs to dominate or punish them.  So the feeling of a raincoat on your dog probably produces the feeling that someone who is stronger or has more authority is pressing down on them.   A lot of the products for pets being sold aren’t necessarily necessary for pets, but they make us feel better!

Also, when you purchased that new high-def TV, you were probably thinking how crisp the picture appears to you. Did you know that your dog couldn't see what we saw with your old TV? It just looked like the horizontal hold needed to be adjusted because all your dog saw were lines going up and down. Today's new Digital Television delivers the signal differently, and yes your dog can see the same picture you see, but probably not the same colors.   Red is still white to the canine eye.

After reading Inside of a Dog you will look at your dog’s behavior in a different and revealing light!



In The Footsteps Of The African Elephant

Cyril Christo & Marie Wilkinson – Walking Thunder

Environmental Artist Christo's son, Cyril, has created a stunning photo book of elephants, called Walking Thunder. His message is poignant. Elephant populations are declining because of illegal poaching and the destruction of our environment.

Cyril and his wife Marie describe their journey and mission, as well as their plea to salvage what is left of the planet. Along with the photos are quotations, myths and stories from the past 400 years .Walking Thunder is the perfect book for anyone passionate about the conservation of our planet and the African elephant, which has become an endangered species and whose future is uncertain.  In fact, if things continue they way there are, we could lose these magnificent creatures within as little as 15 years. 

A portion of the proceeds from Walking Thunder will be donated to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Kenya.



Vladae, The "World Famous" Russian Dog Wizard

Dog Jumps On People When Greeting Them

A Boxer mix who is a little over a year is quite hyper and jumps on people when they come in the door. Vladae suggests using the Herm Sprenger collar, which may not look very nice, but will NOT cause injury, used properly and gently as intended.  Remember, even a plastic knife can be a very dangerous weapon in the wrong hands. The collar works on the same principal that pups learn from the mother dog when she picks up or reprimands the pup around the neck with her teeth. The dog knows to relax or stop an unwanted behavior.  Then attach a leather leash to the collar but make sure it is slack.  Go outside and have some friends help you.  When they approach your dog, make sure there is slack in the leash.  When your dog starts to jump, SNAP the leash and make a loud startling sound. When your dog backs up, give him plenty of praise and treats.  Do this about 3 or 4 times and your dog will eventually get it!

Dog Is Submissive When Meeting Someone

Whenever this 20-month-old Schnauzer meets someone, she gets on her tummy and crawls to them. Why does she do this?  Why doesn’t she stand up and greet people?  Vladae explains that not everyone was created equal, which is the same in dogs as well.  This kind of behavior is a genetic factor in your dog, which determines the amount of stress he can take such and how sensitive he is to noises and even the raising of a hand.  When a dog cowers at the raise of a hand, people naturally assume that the dog has been abused.  This is not so!  He advises the guardian to stop treating the dog as royalty, but to start treating her with authority.  The dog needs to have rules and structure as the foundation for his confidence, because if you are a confident leader, your dog will be a confident follower.  Invest some time in training and enroll your dog in training classes.  Also, teach him how to great people by putting him in a sit/stay position.  If he lies down, put him back in the sitting position. 




Vinnie Penn, Animal Radio's Resident Party Animal

The Cruiser Chronicles 

The next two Party Animal segments will be about my beloved dog, Cruiser.  For longtime listeners, you know that Cruiser was a mini-Schnauzer that ran the Penn home for over 10 years.  The reason we are doing the Cruiser Chronicles is that I was reminded of him twice recently, and both stories are certainly worthy of your attention.

One came up recently due to Halloween.  I took the kids out trick-or-treating, and really, this isn’t me trying to be funny.  I have a three-year-old and a six-year old, and they come back with such loot, that I really feel I’m doing them a favor when I eat all of it over the next couple of days while they’re at school and daycare.  They think I’m being funny when I do it, but really, I don’t want them to have that much candy since they are so young, as they are not that well versed at brushing their teeth anyway!  But they would come back, and my three-year-old in particular wouldn’t notice that so much of his loot was gone, but I came clean and told them what had happened.

It reminded me of the time that I had gone trick-or-treating and I came home and my entire bag of Halloween candy, a lot of loot, and not just the chocolate, but some crazy things like starburst, sweet tarts and bubble gum, was devoured by Cruiser (a dog who I don’t think ever surpassed the 10-pound mark), wrappers included.

Now I proceed to tell people that I was dumbfounded by the fact that this tiny little animal could eat all of that.  He was lying around the house that night because he was certainly stuffed.  People were saying that dogs can’t eat chocolate, chocolate will kill dogs, and to this day I will tell you and everyone listening that no it won’t!  It didn’t kill a 10-pound mini-Schnauzer!

Dogs’ Mouths Are Cleaner Than Humans

You know one saying, that may be true or may be not, but even if it is true (which I would find hard to believe) I’m sick of hearing it.  That saying is, “Dogs’ mouths are cleaner than humans.” 

My two beloved dogs, you know I always gave them kisses on the head and played with their ears, but I never really did, and I am just going to come right out and say it, the French kiss with my dog or the full on their tongue lapping at my lips kiss.  I never really did that.  When I see people doing that, especially after you’ve just seen the dog in particular spend a good 20 minutes giving himself a “genital bath,” and then the person says, “You know, the dogs’ mouths are cleaner than humans!”

I’m finding it hard to believe.  Is there Doggy Scope?  Is there Doggy Floss? I know my two dogs didn’t get up in the morning and brush their teeth.  So how is it possible that this dog who just ate a lizard, lapped at his own crotchery region and maybe even ate his own feces, or licked another dog’s but, his mouth is really cleaner than your own you’re saying?

If that’s the case, then might I suggest you just have all of your teeth and your gums removed?  Just stitch your mouth up.  Because if your dog’s mouth is cleaner than yours, than yours should never be allowed to be open again!



Animal Minute With Britt Savage

Curly Gets 2nd Chance 

A Park Ranger found Curly on a routine patrol.  Someone had abandoned this little guy by leaving him in a dog crate for who knows how long.  He was also left with a badly injured front right paw that eventually had to be amputated.  Curly was taken to the Pet Adoption League where he was adopted by Sharon and Joe Spitz, who own the local Canine Café.

Talk about second chances!  Curly has gone from the abandoned pup to the shop greeter at the Canine Café with all of the treats he can eat!

Restaurant Allows Dogs But Not Kids

A German restaurant has caused a lot of animosity to come to the surface when it refused to seat a woman who wanted to bring her two small children to dinner, and yet it allows patrons to bring their dogs to sit with them in the dining area.

Dogs are welcome at both lunch and dinner, the restaurant's owner has said, but "here, children are not allowed in the evening." Jana Schmid, 32, wanted to celebrate a christening at the "Boheme" restaurant at Augsburg with a party five adults and two small children. It is the only non-smoking eatery in the area.

Peter Degle, the owner of the "Boheme" and father of two, said he had to think of the interests of his regulars. "After a hard day's work they want some peace," he said. "Recently they have complained on several occasions about crying babies. During the day children are welcome but in the evening businessmen have priority and we wanted to spare them crying children."

Many people in the conservative Bavarian town are supporting the restaurateur’s decision.



Talk With Your Animals with Joy Turner

Is My Cat Lonely When I Am Gone?

A guardian who is a trucker and is gone for long periods of time wants to know if her cat Tiggers is too lonely when she is gone.  During this time, she has someone who comes in and checks on her occasionally.  The guardian wants to know if Tiggers wants another cat or if she wants the caretaker to spend more time with her?  Tiggers admits that she does spend a lot of time alone and wants to know if her guardian can’t perhaps find a roommate?   While she isn’t terribly lonely, she admits that she is home alone a lot!  Also, her guardian feels bad about having her declawed and wants to know what Tiggers things about this.  Tiggers wants everyone to know that this is a bad thing to do to cats and as long as her guardian understands this and will never do it to another cat, she is okay with it.  But she knows that her feet will always be tender because of it.


Animal Radio® News with Bobbie Hill

H1N1 Transferred From Human To Cat

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed a case of H1N1 flu virus transferred from a human to a cat.  The 13-year-old feline from Iowa came down with the flu symptoms after several people in the cat’s home were sick. The cat was treated two weeks ago at Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine in Ames and is doing well.  The virus however was responsible for killing two pet ferrets - one in Nebraska and one in Oregon according to the University.  Health experts say if you have the flu, don’t put your face up against your cat’s or dog’s to snuggle until your symptoms are gone.

Church Has Gone To The Dogs

The Covenant Presbyterian Church in suburban Los Angeles is going to the dogs - literally.  The Pastor who joined the congregation three years ago decided it was time to jump start the community church by allowing dogs.  Rev. Tom Eggebeen presides over a half hour service geared toward the four-legged worshippers - there are canine prayers, individual doggie beds as well as an offering of dog treats.   The Canines at Covenant service is new but is already being called a success according to the L.A. Times story.

Try To Tell Your Insurance Company This One!

Here’s one your insurance company may not buy - an elephant dented my SUV.  It happened to a couple in Oklahoma who were heading home from church on U.S. 81, north of Oklahoma City.  Bill Carpenter said he swerved to avoid a female Asian elephant in the highway who had apparently escaped from a nearby circus.  The pachyderm was slightly injured by the encounter with the SUV.  A veterinarian who examined her said the 29 year old elephant suffered a leg wound and broken tusk but she’s expected to recover.

Island Cats Get New Home Thanks to Website

It’s not unusual for feral cats to be euthanized but 54 lucky cats relocated off San Nicholas Island are settling into their new enclosure built with the help of a website. gave over 100-thousand dollars in donations to build a “cat house” at the Fund For Animals Wildlife Center in Ramona California.  In an unusually cooperative step, the Navy, Humane Society of The United States, The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the California Department of Fish and Game decided to trap and remove the cats.  Feral cats on San Nicholas Island prey on nesting sea birds.  The Navy, which owns two Channel Islands, began trapping the cats in June and will keep doing it until February.  The center in Ramona says most of the cats are too wild to be adopted but 18 kittens have been born which may need to find homes.

“PETA” Barbeque

Showing once again our tendency towards fair and balanced news we bring you this story out of Florida - The University of Florida’s student Republican group gave it’s opposing viewpoint to PETA by holding a barbeque.  The first ever “People Eating Tasty Animals Barbeque” was thrown to point out the other PETA’s  “Radical environmental extremism”.  One supporter and barbeque enthusiast told the Gainesville Sun “I am a big supporter of eating animals. I think PETA is just ridiculous. It’s liberal propaganda.”

The New & Improved Doggy Door

Ain’t technology great! And now it’s catching up with the age-old invention that started as just a hole sawed in the bottom of the backdoor.  A company has improved upon the Doggy Door by bringing it into the 21st century - technologically speaking.   The company has matched RFID chips, one attached to the door, the other to the dogs collar. In theory the door will only open when it detects the compatible chip.   The company’s called Plexidor Pet Door....

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Your Vet Questions Answered with Dr. Debbie

Tips For Road Trip Picking Up New Dog

This guardian is driving to pick up a new rescue dog, a Boykin Spaniel, who is about 5 years old.  When they get the dog, they have about a 12-hour return trip in their car with the dog.  Dr. Debbie states that since this is their first meeting, they need to get a feel for the dog’s personality and let the dog set the pace.   Unfortunately, there is not a lot of time to get the dog used to them before the trip.  Dr. Debbie suggests to use treats and the reward system to get the dog used to her new people and to get her in the crate and the car.   Hopefully, she will already be crate trained.  She also recommends using dog pheromones.  This comes in a spray, a collar and a plug-in, and stop at least every 2 hours to let the dog out to stretch and to have a potty break.

Do We Need All Of The Additives In Dog Food?

It seems there are more grains and antioxidants in dog food, which is making it more like human food.  Is this necessary and good for the dog?  Or, is it just to make us feel good?  Dr. Debbie states that dog food is way more complicated now because we know more and manufacturers know what consumers like to buy!  This doesn’t necessarily mean it is good nutritionally.  For dog, an “only meat diet” is not the best.  She cautions people on following the claims of different dog foods.   She suggests looking for a high quality protein, and if there are things such as meat meals, that is not a bad thing.  As far as additives, antioxidants are good and some preservatives are necessary.   She also states that if your dog needs things such as glucosamine; don’t get it from their food.  You can’t be sure how much they are actually getting, so use a supplement in addition to their food.  And, you get what you pay for. You might pay a little extra for a high quality pet food, but it will be worth it in the long run by saving on veterinary bills.  You should look for protein listed first in the list of ingredients or the protein in a meal, such as chicken meal.  If you see the words “by products,” make sure it is not the first couple of ingredients, but down lower on the list. 

What Is The Best Dog Food For A Trucking Dog?

This trucker has two Cocker Spaniels, ages 1 and 3, and they ride in the truck with their guardian.  She wants to know the best food to feed them.  They currently are eating an alternative protein, which consists of rabbit and potato dog food, because they were having allergies from a previous chicken diet.  This is not an easy question for Dr. Debbie to answer, as it is not a black and white question.  Also, a dry food might be easier for truckers to feed their dogs, and it should be a food that can be easily found across the country.  It also helps a little to make sure that the food has been approved by the AAFCO.  The AAFCO is a food control organization which is proof that the food has gone through a feeding trial to make sure that dogs have not gotten sick from the food.  Also, find the name of the manufacture on the bag and make sure they have their phone number listed in case you have any questions.

Husband Wants Dog To Ride In Back Of Truck

A husband wants a Labradoodle to ride in the back of a truck from Texas to Colorado on a trip during the winter.  Debbie is horrified at the thought of a dog riding in the back of a truck unrestrained.  If they are in a secured kennel for a short trip, that is okay, but not for this length of time and not in this kind of weather, as the dog can get hypothermia.  There is also the threat of carbon monoxide.  Even the sounds of the road can be very scary for a dog.  She suggests putting the dog in the car in either a crate or in a restraint like a doggy seatbelt, but never put them in the back of a truck!

I Am Adopting A Dog Who Previously Had Bloat – Should I Be Concerned?

This blind guardian was in the process of adopting a guide dog but had to cancel her training because the dog had bloat.    The dog has since recovered and is ready for training.

Bloat is a common problem that happens in large breed dogs.  Their stomachs get large and become gas filled and then twist.  This traps the gas and food inside the stomach, which requires immediate surgery or they can die.

This dog was hospitalized and recovered without surgery.  Can this happen again without surgery?  Before this guardian makes this commitment, she wants to be sure it won’t come back.

Dr. Debbie feels that the stomach in this case became bloated, but didn’t actually twist.   However, if a dog has a tendency for their stomach to bloat up, she would recommend surgery as a preventative measure to help it from occurring.  Things you can do at home are to feed frequent, smaller meals throughout the day.  It has also been proven than canned food helps stop bloat.  While it might be hard to feed a large dog only canned food, just make sure that it is added to the dry food.  Also, it was previously believed that you should raise your dog’s food bowl, but this has since been proven to lead to bloat.  It was also previously thought that if your dog ran around after eating, this would cause bloat.  But, while this has not been proven, just use caution after your dog eats and let them rest before any activity.  Stress can also be a factor.


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