|Animal Radio® July 2012 Audio Newsletter|
Have a Happy and Safe Fourth!!
Nancy Cartwright Guests
One Dog At A Time
Willie Nelson Supports Ban On Slaughtering Horses
Do You Use Your Dog As Date Bait?
PETA's Unorthodox Strategy
Puppies Instead of Panhandling
Half Cat €“ Half Machine!
First Recalls, Then Lawsuits
"Click It Or Ticket" Applies To Pets Too
Nearly Half Of All Pet Owners Will Travel This Summer
Now's The Time To Start Worrying About Ticks
Cat Scratch Fever
Dogs In The City
Lucky's In A Rush To Get Married
Would You Take Your Dog To Church With You?
10 Best Cities To Be A Pet
All of us at Animal Radio® are doing our best to help out. After all, we're all in the same financial boat and don't want the pets to suffer because a medicine's cost is prohibitive. We made a deal with the top pharmacy benefits managers. Here's what we came up with:
- The Animal Radio® Pets & People Drug Discount Card is FREE.
Or, if you would like us to mail you a free card, send a self-addressed stamped envelope to:
Animal Radio Drug Card
Please help spread the word. Your friends will thank you.
Lost-pet poster: Six tips for a more effective sign
I returned home Saturday to two discoveries: Both of my dogs were gone from the yard. And worse: One dog's collar had slipped off and was lying by the fence.
Wally returned home on his own, but with Daisy still missing -- and lacking any identification -- I had only two likely ways of seeing her again. Someone would have to catch her, drive her to an animal shelter and have her scanned for a microchip containing my contact information. Or someone would have to see her on a lost-dog poster.
It's good I didn't know the odds. According to the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy, a nonprofit organization whose members include the Humane Society of the United States, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the American Veterinary Medical Assn., less than 2% of lost cats and less than 20% of lost dogs are returned to their owners €” and that's if the animal has a tag, a microchip or both.
I poured my energy into the posters, but making an effective lost-pet flier proved to be art unto itself, a fact that I learned the hard way. Only after I had posted dozens of fliers around my neighborhood did I realize all of the mistakes I had made in the one pictured above. Here are six things I would have done differently:
1. Photo selection. I thought I was smart by making a photo of Daisy so prominent -- taking up half of the 8.5-by-11-inch paper. But as I taped up the flier alongside other lost-dog posters on a lamppost, I realized someone else's sign was more effective: It also used a large photo, but one that showed only the dog's distinctive face -- not the whole body. As I drove from intersection to intersection, Daisy's photo was hard to make out, but that close-up shot of another's dog face grabbed my attention and prompted passersby to stop and read the signs. Even though my signs were color, the black-and-white fliers with the face in detail were better: graphic, easy to see from afar and emotionally compelling. If Daisy had distinctive body markings or a memorable shape, the full-body photo would have been wise. But she didn't. I should have emphasized her face in the photo, then let words convey her size.
3. Sign locations. As I madly taped fliers to streetlights and utility poles, I worried that they would be pulled off within a day or two -- perhaps by city workers just doing their job. Had I to do it over again, I would have made some larger signs -- poster board, not paper -- and asked homeowners on key streets if they would have allowed me to stake those signs in their yards, perhaps near a sidewalk or intersection. Others who had lost pets later recommended using fluorescent poster board, either as the sign itself or simply as an eye-grabbing backdrop. Just glue an 8.5-by-11 flier to a larger piece of colorful poster board.
4. Number of copies. I underestimated the number of fliers to make at the copy center. How? I guessed how many I might put on street lights, but I didn't consider how many I might hand out to people. As I searched for Daisy by foot, I encountered neighbors and dog walkers who were sympathetic and vowed to keep an eye out. I gave a flier to them all, and they essentially expanded my search team. I initially printed 75 copies, but I probably should have made 150, maybe 200.
5. Preparedness. As soon as I found that collar in the yard, time felt unbelievably crucial. With every passing minute, I imagined Daisy wandering farther from home -- and farther from where I would be posting fliers. Superstitious pet owners may think I'm crazy, but I'm convinced I now should approach a missing dog like an earthquake: Get the kit ready in advance. Create a flier now, include the best photo and update it every year. Put the design in multiple places, including a flash drive stored with a big roll of sturdy tape and a staple gun. I wasted two hours calling my partner (who had the laptop where all of our photos are stored) in vain, then madly searching for a decent print of Daisy, then writing a flier, then running to the copy center and then buying tape at CVS because the copy center was sold out. Those were two agonizing hours that I just wanted to be searching for my dog.
6. Hope. Don't lose it. Because I was looking for a dog that had no identification, no penchant to come when called by name and no spectacular sense of direction or intelligence (love her, but let's be honest), I was fairly certain that I would never see Daisy again. As night fell of the day of her disappearance, a dog walker in the neighborhood told me to keep my chin up. She lost her springer spaniel, and two months later it was found at a park miles away, she said. Indeed, SPCALA has an "Animal Finder" advice sheet that said: "A lost pet can wander the streets for weeks or months and people who find lost pets may keep them for several weeks before taking them to a shelter." My local city and Humane Society shelters said the same thing, encouraging me to check their websites daily and to walk their kennels regularly, just in case.
I didn't need to, I'm happy to report. A dog lover corralled Daisy and drove her to a city shelter, which scanned her microchip and called at night to say my girl was waiting to be bailed out. I don't know anything about the good Samaritan other than she told a shelter employee that Daisy "seemed like a nice dog." Daisy has been reunited with Wally, and my fence has been mended. And now I've got a lost dog flier on a flash drive ready to go, garden stakes in the garage and a roll of tape stashed in the den, just in case.
Not all driving distractions ring or beep. Some of them bark.
And so, animal protection and automobile safety officials nationwide are starting to unleash a new message: Restrain your pet on the road.
"You wouldn't put your child in the car unrestrained, so you shouldn't put your pet in the car unrestrained, either," says Col. Frank Rizzo, superintendent of the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NJSPCA).
In a 2010 survey by AAA, 20% of participants admitted to letting their dog sit on their lap while driving. A "staggering" 31% said they were distracted by their dog while driving, says Raymond Martinez, chairman of New Jersey's Motor Vehicle Commission.
"What people come to realize only too late is that animals act like flying missiles in an impact and can not only hurt themselves but hurt their human family members, too," Rizzo says.
Only a few states have passed legislation requiring animal restraints in moving vehicles, and in some of those states laws apply only to animals riding in the exterior of the vehicle, such as the bed of a pickup, according to AAA, formerly known as the American Automobile Association.
€¢In New Jersey, under state law, NJSPCA officers can stop a driver they believe is improperly transporting an animal. Tickets range from $250 to $1,000 per offense, and a driver can face a disorderly person's offense under animal-cruelty laws.
€¢Hawaii explicitly forbids drivers from holding a pet on their lap. In Arizona, Connecticut and Maine, distracted-driving laws can be used to charge drivers with pets on their laps.
€¢In Rhode Island, Democratic state Rep. Peter Palumbo has proposed legislation to make having a dog in your lap a distracted-driving violation after a complaint from someone who witnessed a driver, whose view was blocked by a lap dog, change lanes.
"Pet restraint is a somewhat emerging issue," AAA spokeswoman Heather Hunter says. "While some states do have legislation in place, there is much more to be done regarding tracking of these laws, filling gaps in states that do not yet have laws and education on the importance of restraining pets in moving vehicles, to protect the pet and all family members."
Numerous types of restraints are available at pet supply stores, websites and department stores. Among options are dog harnesses, which go around the body of the dog and clip into the regular seat belt buckle, according to the dog safety website canineauto.com. Dog safety seats and travel crates are other choices.
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that looking away from the road for only two seconds doubles your risk of being in a crash, Hunter says.
"It's really up to the owner, but people take a gamble when they put their animals in the front seat," says Kristina Dello of Cherry Hill.
When someone adopts a homeless animal or redeems a lost pet from a Los Angeles City animal shelter, shouldn't they expect that General Manager Brenda Barnette is making every effort to assure the personal information required by this municipal agency--including a California driver's license€”willl never be shared with private companies and/or sold to marketing lists?
When you license your dog, relinquish an animal, bring in a stray, get a spay/neuter voucher. or microchip a pet, shouldn't you feel confident that any identification, financial documents, banking or credit card information is absolutely secure?
Up to now, this has not been a worry because Los Angeles Animal Services has maintained its confidential data on a City server, using the highly specialized Chameleon shelter-software system. Thus far, there has never been a report of theft of any data that residents must share in order to avail themselves of municipal services or conduct business with the department.
That could soon change if Animal Services GM Brenda Barnette gets her way. Private citizens, LAAS employees, veterinarians, New Hope animal-rescue organizations, interfacing agencies, public/elected officials, celebrities, and donors could soon find that their personal and financial information is in a "cloud."
At the April 24, 2012 meeting of the Animal Services Commission, the last item by GM Barnette (who claims to know little about computer systems) was approval of the release of a Request for Proposals (RFP) for: "the selection of a contractor to provide a new animal-data management system; andreport back to the Board on the contractor selected based on the recommendations of the [in-house] evaluation panel."
Commissioner Kathleen Riordan, daughter of former Mayor Richard Riordan, intensely questioned whether this issue was researched to determine and address any alleged deficits in the current Chameleon system--used nationally by public and private animal shelters because of its design capacity, security and interface capabilities. Commissioner Riordan also expressed repeated concerns for cybersecurity. After discussion, reviewing a written objection and allowing one-minute per person of public input, the Animal Services Commission continued the matter until May 22.
At that second meeting, a full-blown draft RFP was presented. GM Brenda Barnette and Deputy Jim Bickhart of Mayor Villaraigosa's office pursued with relentless insistence that this is the time to expend money the City supposedly doesn't have to replace the current system which works effectively despite management failures and data-input discrepancies recently pointed out in a City Controller's audit.
There are no details of what advantages or additional benefits the proposed new system would provide and no specifications to insure how confidential City records and individual-identity information will be encrypted, coded, stored or protected. The entire draft RFP can be read at: http://www.laanimalservices.org/images/PDFs/commission/2012/052212-agd.pdf
Japan Animal Tsunami Warning System Involves Pets' 'Sixth' Sense
Japan is considering a tsunami warning system that involves analyzing the erratic behavior of animals as a predictor of incremental weather conditions.
In the past, long before officials were able to predict a coming natural disaster, animals have often fled to safety. It is believed the animals may have more acute senses that allow them to feel the vibration of the earth long before the actual incident occurs.
Yoshihito Myojin, the deputy mayor of Susaki, which lies on Japan's coast, is now considering using the animals' sort of sixth sense as a tool for predicting when a tsunami might occur.
"They may not foretell a future disaster in a perfectly accurate manner, but the most important is to analyse such data thoroughly," Myojin said according to a regional broadcaster last month.
Before a large tsunami struck Sri Lanka in 2005, a number of animals began to act strangely and seek cover.
"Elephants screamed and ran for higher ground, dogs refused to go outdoors, flamingos abandoned their low-lying breeding areas, and zoo animals rushed into their shelters and could not be enticed to come back out," the National Geographic reported.
Just before the Japan tsunami occurred in April of this year, a number of people also reported erratic animal behavior. Some animals sought out higher shelter while others became anxious or distressed.
Geologist James Berkland told PBS during a television interview that he has been accurately predicting earthquakes for the past 31 years; his method involves looking through the lost pet ads. According to Berkland, the number of pets that go missing dramatically spikes just before a storm hits. In 1989 Berkland successfully predicted the World Series Quake, reporting it to the local paper days before the disaster occurred.
Japan may now utilize a similar tactic, in addition to monitoring drops in water levels at wells.
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Bob: I listen to you show every Sat. morning on WEEU, out of Reading pa. I used to use Frontline Flea control on my three cats, but found it ineffective in about Feb. I read stuff online that Frontline had changed formula. While I was in Tractor Supply, I asked about flea control and was told to use Sentry Purrscriptions by Sergeant's which I did. I have the original packaging with 1 vial of solution left. I put the other two, one on my 3 year old black male cat Friskie in the morning, when I came home from work that night, I found him dead in a pool of blood from the mouth. Friskie had some other skin problems, was a stray, so I did not make a connection to the flea treatment. On Friday night, I applied another vial of it from the same box to my cat, Snowball, another 2 year old female stray, and found her dead the following morning. Snowball was in excellent health prior, and the treatment would have been after 34 days from the previous one.
I want to know what recourse I have against Sergeant's pet products. I have the cat at a vet in a freezer and trying to find someone to do toxicology testing, and I still have one tube of it left. I think it was probably package wrong for maybe for bigger dogs and not cats. Who should I contact? Any help would be appreciated.
Dr. Debbie: I'm so sorry about the loss of your cats- what a tragic story. You were doing the right thing in wanting to control flea/ticks and trying to keep your kitties in good health.
The first step I'd advise is to examine your packaging - check to see that is intended for cats, and of appropriate weight category. Cats should only receive a topical cat flea product since they are very sensitive to permethrin products. Using a dog product on a cat is a main cause of this type of toxicity. Also it is crucial to apply product along scruff of neck - not elsewhere on the body where it can be groomed/licked off. A cat in close contact to a recently treated dog can also ingest or groom the product on household canine. (Most cat flea topicals contain 0.05-0.1% permethrin while dogs contain 45-65%- a very big difference.)
Start with a consumer complaint with the company. Then you can turn to the FDA and EPA - both have duties in approving and registering flea/tick control products. You may go to:
Michelle: My name is Michelle and my almost 2 year old Chawinnie dog Diablo. My dog is driving me absolutely insane with his constant scratching and biting and digging. He has practically licked all of his fur off and he cant stop. I have been listening to your show for a couple of weeks now and I have been scanning all the past shows and I have done pretty much all I can do for the poor fella. Diablo is highly allergic to fleas. About this same time last year we went through this same type of activity, along with the same symptoms (balding, very badly irritated skin, oozing sores and the scratching). I have given him oatmeal baths, flea dips and the best flea shampoo that I have found to work the best for him is the Antibacterial Dawn Dish Soap. But even after I let him soak in the suds and get him all cleaned up he starts his compulsive cleaning of himself. I swear he licks his fur off. He has always been a very clean dog, as in he goes through his morning ritual of cleaning every inch of his body that usually takes him about an hour +. I truly think that my dog has OCD. However, add the scratching and chewing of himself in and I'm about ready to scream. He is constantly scratching and biting himself he never stops and its driving me insane. I cant handle watching him make himself bleed. And now I have noticed that he has a small case of Tapeworm. Now I am having to treat him for that, which of course the regular dog de-wormer makes him super sick. The clerk at the feed store has suggested a De-wormer that comes in a tube and is a paste made for both horses and dogs. The dogs love the stuff and so far no signs of illness. Wow this is a relief. I understand that there are all sorts of allergies that can be the cause of his symptoms, but I need to be able to calm him down with all the scratching and biting, I got the fleas under control with the First Response 3 month treatments, but his skin looks so oozing and ganggreenish. It almost looks like puss pocket psoriasis. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Dr. Debbie: If you haven't taken Diablo to a veterinarian, then I suggest you start with that. From what you are describing, His symptoms sound severe. It absolutely does not sound like a behavioral problem or OCD. Diablo has skin disease and needs medical attention.
I'd be suspicious of allergies, scabies mites, bacterial/yeast infections....or a combo of those. My first step to figure out the best course would be to perform a skin scraping (for scabies mites) and impression smears (to look for bacterial or yeast infections). I find that many folks run themselves in circles trying to stop an itch, without getting to the bottom of it in the first place.
Even if I encounter a situation when money concerns limit the tests I might want to do...it still makes good sense to design a treatment program with medications such as antibiotics, anti-yeast medications, anti-itch meds, and/or mite treatments.
And for goodness sakes - please don't use deworming and flea products without checking with your vet. I could tell tons of stories of pet owners that inadvertently sickened or killed their pets from using parasite treatment products purchased at garden stores, warehouse clubs, etc!
It sounds like you have done alot of internet research and have Diablo's concerns at heart, but there is a point where you cannot cure disease with just good intentions. Please see your veterinarian for the tools you need to get him feeling better.
What Causes Bloating?
Pam: What can cause a dogs stomach area to bloat and what should be done about it
Dr. Debbie: I'm guessing you must have a large or giant breed dog. Bloat is the gaseous distention of the stomach- which is step one in this emergency. Step two involves the twisting of the bloated stomach- which cuts off movement of ingesta in or out of stomach and comprises blood supply. The resulting condition is called Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV). GDV is a rapidly fatal condition that warrants immediate veterinary attention. Shock sets in very early and immediate surgery must be done to correct the twisting of the stomach and sometimes requires removal of the spleen or parts of the stomach.
General risk factors for bloat:
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