Sunday, September 18, 2011

We're going to be phasing out this blog and the sister "Save Louie" blog in order to consolidate all of our writing in one place.    The "Louie Saving" phase of my life is pretty much done and now we've moved forward to helping others as we can, which is not really limited to pet health issues, and we can cover those and more better if we do it all in the same virtual space. 

In the past year, Louie's Facebook page has grown and, with it, my own desire to focus on where I can make a difference for companion animals.  We hope that our new website at and our new blog at will be avenues for exploring how best to make that happen. 

Thank you to everyone who has subscribed to this blog and/or promoted it in some way.  Please come and join us at the new site. 


Louie's Mom

Monday, July 11, 2011

What is Dog Show Crud?

This disease is one I'd never heard of until last week, when I read a post written by Chelsey Combs-Gerkin of Klearly Chinese Cresteds.  Apparently, "Dog Show Crud" is a disease that presents with symptoms similar to parvo and is highly contagious, but which will test negative for parvo and must be treated differently.  Untreated, is is often fatal, however if treated correctly and quickly, the outcomes are quite good.

I did some reading and, apparently, this is either camplylobacter or some form of bacterial overgrowth in the intestine (possibly both).  The links I've found have not been very precise in describing it, but have been very precise in suggesting what should be done.  Here's a sample:

Trial & error found the treatment. DOG SHOW CRUD Non-specific diarrhea syndrome Progressive diarrhea.  It's a BACTERIAL imbalance in the digestive tract.  This is NOT a new form of Parvo.   Parvo tests will show a LOW positive & subsequent tests will continue to show low positives, will be inconclusive, or will give erratic results.  This disease is so similar to Parvo, that some dogs have tested in the low positive for Parvo.  But they do not have Parvo, and it has been recommended that three Parvo tests are needed to exclude Parvo. 
Mode of infection: widely varied, but mostly from contact with urine, feces, something brought in on shoes, etc.  Symptoms usually start 12-48hrs after initial contact & spread to susceptible dogs rapidly (young or weaker dogs).  It's everywhere! It's on your shoes, in the places where dogs sniff, urine on posts or ground, or trees, or feces, etc.  Pups have a difficult time surviving, but if caught quickly enough (before anorexia), no one dies.  Death occurs because of dehydration. Some dogs get better without treatment. This disease seems to move from the West to the East through the dog shows.
It is medically known as Campylobacteriosis, name of the organism causing this is Campylobacter Jejuni. This disease can be tested for specifically, so if you have an affected dog that appears to have Parvo, but in your mind know that, that could not be possible, have them tested for  "Camby".   It is important to note that this disease can be transferred between humans, dogs, cats and other livestock.  Dogs are alert, hungry, and energetic, with normal feces.
It starts with fecal mucus sheath & continues to get progressively softer until it is watery & contains blood. It then becomes explosive. Vomiting may accompany & may or may not also contain blood.  Feces have a sweet/flowery aroma along with a "slaughterhouse on a summer day" smell (similar to Parvo diarrhea but with a floral hint).  Feces are *usually* mustard colored. Dogs dehydrate at an astounding rate. Dogs are also at risk of intusseption (sp?).
Do NOT automatically assume Parvo when you see this.  Parvo treatments have killed the majority of Crud dogs.  If you suspect Parvo, try the Cephalexin 1st, if it doesn't work, THEN assume Parvo.  Do NOT use Amoxycillin.   Keflex has worked in the past, but slowly & speed is the important thing here.  Dogs should show improvement within hours of treatment.  What is happening is that there is a bacterial growth in the digestive tract which throws it off balance. The body is trying to counteract this by removing the extra (or offending) bacteria.  It seems to do this by trying to remove ALL body fluids as quickly as possible. Death is caused by massive dehydration.  From the 1st signs of symptoms, death can be as short as 12 hrs, or as long as 7 days.


And here's where you can read what the Merck Veterinary Manual has to say about campylobacteriosis:

If you suspect your dog has parvo, but tests are negative for parvo, please talk to your vet about the possibility that you may be looking at a case of "dog show crud" or campylobacteriosis instead.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Every Pet Owner Should Watch This Video

This video is full of basic information about pet vaccinations. It should be watched by anyone with a concern about the health of their pets. She packs a lot into a short space, so watch it to the end.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

US: Bill would level playing field for veterinary prescriptions

A bill recently introduced as H.R. 1406 in the US House of Representatives would make access to prescription medical services in veterinary medicine more comparable to human medicine.  Among other things, the bill would require veterinarians to write written prescriptions for the medicines they prescribe, and offer information about medication dispensation options outside of the veterinary practice.

Disappointingly, but perhaps not surprisingly, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is mounting a lobbying effort to kill H.R. 1406.

The bill's sponsor, Utah Representative Jim Matheson, believes that veterinary consumers should have better access to a competitive market for prescription veterinary medications.  "This bill simply gives pet owners the same right to shop around for the best prices on the medications they buy for their pets as they have for products they buy for themselves." Matheson says that the legislation was modeled after the Contact Lens Consumers Act, with the intent of giving pet owners a copy of the written prescription so they can shop around.

"Having the written prescription would give consumers the ability to comparison shop. One study of 18 common pet medication found that on average consumers who purchase from prescribers pay a 248 percent markup over average wholesale prices," Matheson says.

But the AVMA wants to kill the bill, stating that it places an undue regulatory burden on veterinarians.

The Pet Health Action Network disagrees with the AVMA, and has launched its own initiative in the form of a petition drive to give consumers of veterinary services a way to make their voices heard.  Please sign the petition here:

Friday, May 20, 2011

More confirmed cases of Equine Herpes Virus


National Report — An outbreak of equine herpes virus (EHV-1) continues to spread with at least 29 cases now confirmed in eight Western states. 

Various state agriculture departments report that about 400 horses from 29 states attended the National Cutting Horse Association's Western National Championships in Odgen, Utah between April 30-May 8, which is believed to have been the source of the outbreak. 

On May 19, Washington officials increased the state's confirmed case count from one to three. Other cases have been confirmed in multiple western states, but taper off north of Texas and further east. As of May 19, the following states, through their state veterinarian's office or agriculture department, have confirmed or suspected equine herpes virus cases: 

• Arizona — One confirmed case; 
• California — 10 confirmed; 
• Colorado — Six confirmed cases; five that attended the NCHA event and one that was in contact with sick horses but did not attend the event; 
• Idaho — Two dead, no confirmed cases; 
• Montana — 30-35 horses under observation, no confirmed EHV-1 cases reported; 
• Nebraska — Five farms quarantined, no cases confirmed; 
• Nevada — No confirmed cases; 
• New Mexico — One dead, one suspected and no confirmed cases; 
• Oregon — One confirmed case; 
• Texas — 20 under investigation. The one confirmed case was a horse from New Mexico that was taken to West Texas for treatment. 
• Utah — Five confirmed cases; 
• Washington — Three confirmed cases; 
• Wyoming — No confirmed cases. 

Full report here.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

New Pet Treat Recall

Boss Pet Products, Inc. recalled its Diggers Natural Treat Pig Ear pet treats because the products have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella. 

In an advisory today, the Food and Drug Administration's Center for Veterinary Medicine reports, "Boss Pet (Products) has been notified by one of its suppliers, Keys Manufacturing Company, Inc., that a batch of pig ear treats tested positive for Salmonella. Keys Manufacturing initiated a voluntary product recall in cooperation with the FDA and has identified several shipments of potentially affected products which Boss Pet shipped out under its Diggers brand in November, 2010 through April, 2011. So far, there has been a report of one dog in Missouri having Salmonella," FDA reports. 

The recalled Diggers Natural Chews Pig Ears were sold in the following package sizes:

Bulk Pig Ears in boxes of 100 (UPC #0-72929-00038-6)

Bulk Pig Ears Shrink Wrapped in boxes of 50 (UPC #0-72929-99120-2)

2-Pack Bags shipped in cases of 12 bags (UPC #0-72929-99504-0)

4-Pack Bags shipped in cases of 12 bags (UPC #0-72929-00227-4)

8-Pack Bags shipped in cases of 12 bags (UPC #0-72929-99584-2) 

These products were distributed in Montana, California, Washington, Oklahoma, Tennessee, New York, Ohio, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, Oregon, Utah, Iowa, Montana, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana and Minnesota, FDA says. 

Consumers can return the products to their place of purchase for a refund. For more information about the recall contact Boss Pet at (800) 445-6347 between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. EST) or go to

Monday, May 16, 2011

WASHINGTON: State veterinarian cautions horse owners about EHV-1 outbreak

The Washington State Department of Agriculture is warning about possible exposure to Equine Herpes Virus 1, a highly contagious virus that was found in a horse that attended the National Cutting Horse Association event in Ogden, Utah from April 30 to May 8.  The affected horse is from Washington State.

“While I have not yet placed any restrictions on the movement of animals, I strongly suggest that horse owners isolate animals that attended the Western National Championships in Ogden, Utah,” said State Veterinarian Leonard Eldridge. “For the protection of other horses, these owners are advised to keep their animals home for a couple of weeks.”

The disease poses no threat to people, but symptoms in horses can include fever, sneezing, slobbering and other mild symptoms. Serious cases of the disease are rare, but can include staggering, hind-end paralysis and even death of the horse.

A horse that attended the Ogden show was treated at the Washington State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Pullman and was confirmed over the weekend to be positive for EHV-1. Blood samples from several other Washington horses that attended the Utah event are currently being tested at WSU’s Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory.

The disease is spread from horse to horse through direct contact, on feed, tack and equipment, or on the clothes and hands of horse owners. While there is no human public health threat associated with the disease, horse owners should carefully wash their hands and equipment to prevent the spread of the virus.

The time of exposure to illness of EHV-1 is typically two to 14 days. Horse owners attending the Ogden show should consider limiting the movement of their horses and isolate them from other horses to prevent further spread of the virus.

Horses that show any symptoms of EHV-1 should be seen by a veterinarian. Positive cases of EHV-1 must be reported to the State Veterinarian’s Office at (360) 902-1881.

More information on the virus can be found at

Saturday, May 14, 2011

FDA urges caution with use of Douxo Seborrhea Shampoo

"The FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine is alerting pet owners to use caution with the use of an unapproved animal drug product, Douxo Seborrhea Shampoo (0.1% phytosphingosine), distributed by Sogeval Laboratories, Inc. of Coppell, Texas after recently receiving a report of the death of a woman associated with the use of the product on her dog."

The woman died from a severe asthma attack following the use of this product.

For the entire report, please see the FDA press release.  Thanks to Dr. Marty Becker for posting this today.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Saturday, March 26, 2011

California's Rabies Exemption Bill (AB-258): What it will do

Many thanks to Margelia for bringing this page to our attention.  This is a layperson's explanation of what the Rabies Vaccination Bill proposed in California will actually mandate.  We support this bill and urge you to call the committee currently considering it and let them know that you support it, too.

For information about who and where to call, see our earlier post here.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

UC Davis Vet: "No radiation risk to pets in California"

A UC Davis faculty veterinarian has stated that there is no current radiation risk to pets in the state of California from the recent nuclear accident in Japan, according to this report from the
"There is currently no radiation risk to pets in California due to the damaged nuclear power plants in Japan following the earthquake and tsunami last week, according to Michael Kent, DVM, a faculty veterinarian at the University of California, Davis, who specializes in radiation cancer therapy.
The university’s William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital has been receiving three to five calls per hour from clients inquiring about potential radiation risks to their pets should the radioactive material from Japan’s nuclear power plants cross the Pacific and reach California.
“At this point, there is no risk to pets in California stemming from radiation released from the tragedy that continues to unfold in Japan,” Kent said yesterday.
Clients are also asking whether they should give potassium iodide tablets to their pets as a preventive.
“While potassium iodide might help protect dogs, cats and other pets, as it would people, from the risks of radiation exposure in the unlikely event that radioactive iodine reaches here in appreciable levels, giving it ahead of time carries risks and would be ill-advised,” Kent said. “Side effects to pets taking potassium iodide, especially if they ingest too much, include severe and even life-threatening allergic reactions, gastrointestinal upset (vomiting, diarrhea, anorexia), decreased normal thyroid function (hypothyroidism) and damage to the heart. At high enough levels, it can cause death.”

Read the full report here.

Friday, March 18, 2011

CALIFORNIA: URGENT! Rabies Medical Exemption Bill Needs Your Support NOW.

PHAN founder's dog Louie after developing autoimmune disease due to rabies vaccine.
Another vaccination would probably kill him.  
CALIFORNIA Rabies Medical Exemption Bill AB 258 Hearing Date April 6 Please contact Ag. Com. Chair Cathleen Galgiani (916) 319-2017 and ask the committee to vote "ought to pass."

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Paws For Japan: Help Raise Money to Aid Animals in Japan

This is a very important Blog Hop Event to raise awareness of the work being done by World Vets to help animals in Japan. Please share, retweet, repost, and work with us to help spread the word and encourage others to donate to them.

My personal goal is to raise $200.00 for World Vets through a "like" campaign involving the Facebook page of Louie the Love Muffin. Louie's page exists to help raise awareness of health issues related to his last rabies vaccination, which made him quite ill. I will personally donate $1.00 for each new "like" of his page, with a total goal of $200.00. He started with 83 "likes," so the goal is a total of 283.

Please, donate to World Vets and then visit Louie's page and "like" him, too.

Blog hop is below!


Saturday, March 12, 2011

Xylitol Toxicity: Video

World Vets: Japan Disaster Relief

Wondering how you can help the animals affected by Japan's twin disasters?  Take a look at World Vets Japan Disaster Relief page.  World Vets is an independent program which supports veterinary care for needy animals worldwide.

You can also help the human animals affected by texting the word "REDCROSS" to 90999.  A $10.00 donation to the Red Cross will be added to your next cell phone bill.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

URGENT: If your pet takes phenobarbital, call your vet!

The FDA has issued an alert for veterinarians concerning the recall of a drug mislabeled as phenobarbital.  Phenobarbital is a human drug which is frequently prescribed by veterinarians for off-label uses such as treatment of seizures.  If you have phenobarbital for your dog or cat, please call your vet to make sure it is, in fact, what it is supposed to be.  Do not give it to your pet until you know it is safe.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Petition: Tell PetSmart to stop promoting impulse purchases of reptiles

The petition states:
PetSmart is currently running a promotion offering a ten dollar discount on any reptile to customers with Rango ticket stubs. Rango is an animated movie about a chameleon, and features other CGI animated lizards and snakes. 
This PetSmart promotion is an irresponsible attempt to increase sales of reptiles in the pet store. 
Caring for a reptile is a serious commitment, and not one that should be promoted with ticket stubs. As it says on PetSmart's website, snakes can live for over 35 years, and many lizards can live for over 15. Most reptiles require heat lamps and humidity control. If a reptile becomes sick, veterinary costs can be extremely high. Because of the many complications in caring for them, many reptiles die from inadequate care. 
Sign the petition to tell PetSmart to stop this irresponsible promotion.
Sign it HERE

Sunday, February 27, 2011

California Rabies Medical Exemption Bill Now in Committee: Contact information to voice your support

CALIFORNIA Rabies Medical Exemption Bill AB 258 (Molly's Bill) has been referred to the Agriculture Committee. Please contact Committee members (especially Chair Galgiani (916) 319-2017 ) and ask that they vote "Ought to Pass."

2011 California Agriculture Committee

Committee Phone (916) 319-2084

Cathleen Galgiani - Chair (916) 319-2017
David G. Valadao - Vice Chair (916) 319-2030
Bill Berryhill (916) 319-2026
Jerry Hill (916) 319-2019
Fiona Ma (916) 319-2012
Tony Mendoza (916) 319-2056
Kristin Olsen (916) 319-2025
Henry T. Perea (916) 319-2031
Mariko Yamada (916) 319-2008

Sunday, February 20, 2011

More on the Sled Dog Killings

Christie Keith of the Pet Connection has written a very good series of articles on the topic of the recent killings of 100 sled dogs in British Columbia. Here are links to some of her writings, for those interested in learning more about this situation.

Head of BC Task Force: Sled dogs "arent pets," can be killed.

Anatomy of a Sled Dog Massacre

Lessons from a Sled Dog Massacre

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Petition to end the needless killing of sled dogs

I have been planning a series of articles to post here about the recent killings of sled dogs, but have determined that Christie Keith of is already doing an outstanding job of covering this story and I'll refer readers to her writings in a separate post.

Right now, however, I'm particularly outraged by statements made recently by Terry Lake, the head of the task force that is investigating these killings, which imply that sled dogs, because they are working dogs, should be held to lower standards of what is considered "humane" euthanasia (i.e. killing) and are not adoptable as pets.

The petition is directed to Dr. Lake's e-mail inbox and sends a letter expressing outrage and urging him to seek additional information from people who have adopted animals such as these before making decisions.

Sign it here: and pass it on.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Why PHAN exists

This post was made to our companion blog, Save Louie, a few weeks back. PHAN is growing, but we thought it would be good for those who wander here to have some background about why this page exists, particularly now that the California rabies vaccine exemption legislation is being reintroduced.


Recently we got involved in a California campaign to formally legalize vaccination exemptions for dogs whose veterinarians determine they are too sick to be vaccinated.  Because Louie is one of those dogs, the legislation which was proposed has the potential to directly impact his life, and mine too.

Currently, California law leaves it to the local public health officer to decide whether or not letters of exemption written by veterinarians will excuse pets from being vaccinated.  The bill that was introduced, AB-2000 (also known as Molly's Law), would have required all counties to accept these recommendations from veterinarians.

My initial involvement in this bill came about due to a troublesome clause which was inserted into the language as an amendment, stipulating in essence that any dog in California with a medical exemption from rabies vaccination would have to be quarantined.  I, and others, objected to that language while agreeing with the overall spirit of the bill itself, and so, with the help of my friend Cynthia Jeremica (whose dog is also immuno-compromised due to rabies vaccine), the wonderful Dr. Jean Dodds of Hemopet, Jan Rasmusen of, and Kris L. Christine of the Rabies Challenge Fund, I crafted a press release highlighting the problem with the proposed amendment.  Cynthia, Louie and I, along with Cynthia's dog, Ruby, all ended up on the Sacramento news (@7:15 on the clip) to talk about the problem.  We were successful in getting the quarantine language struck from the bill and then worked hard to get the bill passed, but ultimately the whole bill was voted down in committee due to some political wrangling behind the scenes.

Though we tried very hard to get the word out about the bill to pet owners in California, urging them to call their congressional representatives, in hindsight it became clear that what we lacked was a network of concerned citizens willing to pick up the phone and make those calls.  When AB 2000 was voted down, I realized that it might be important to the health of pets everywhere if we could put information about issues that affect the health of our companion animals directly into the hands of those people most interested and most willing to take action.  And so the Pet Health Action Network (PHAN) was born.

But PHAN needs your help if it is to grow into what we need it to be in order to be an effective force for our pets.  There are several ways you can receive information from PHAN.  You can follow us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, bookmark our blog, or follow us on NetworkedBlogs.   We ask you also to please share PHAN with your pet-oriented friends.   We've just begun this journey, and we may be small now, but we don't intend to remain that way for long.

Finally, leave us a comment and give us your own ideas about how PHAN can grow.  Let's work together to make this world a better place for those who don't have a voice of their own-- our beloved companion animals.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

CALIFORNIA: Medical exemptions for rabies vaccine back on the table; please support!

This press release just hit my inbox: 

California Legislature

Curt Hagman
Assembly District 60


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                             CONTACT:  Mike Spence
February 3, 2011                                                         (916) 319-2060

Assemblyman Curt Hagman: Presents Legislation to Protect Man’s Best Friend from Inflexible State Mandate Endangering Their Lives

CHINO HILLS – In an effort to improve the welfare of animals in California, Assemblyman Curt Hagman will hold a press conference on Molly’s Bill, legislation seeking to save Molly, a dog from Chino Hills with an auto-immune disorder.

WHO:        Assemblyman Curt Hagman (R – Chino Hills)
Sam and Cecilia Gadd and their dog Molly
Dr. Tracy Yen, Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association member and local veterinarian
Lisa Lippman, veterinary student and animal activist

WHAT:      Press conference to discuss legislation to allow an exemption to the state mandated rabies vaccinations for dogs whose life would be endangered due to disease or other considerations if the vaccine is administered.

WHEN:       Friday, February 4, 2011
                10:30 a.m.

WHERE:    Chino Hills City Hall
                14000 City Center Drive
Chino Hills, CA 91709

Let's make AB 2000 happen this time.  More to come. 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Blame Game: SPCA claims they were not approached by Outdoor Adventures Whistler prior to mass dog shooting, claims "culls" are common practice

An article in today's "Province" argues that the British Columbia SPCA was not approached prior to the mass execution of 100 sled dogs, but was approached afterward.  It further claims that no laws would have been broken in the typical handling of what is being called a "cull" of sled dogs by Outdoor Adventures Whistler. 

According to the article, in a chilling statement, the head of the British Columbia SPCA's Animal Cruelty Division also indicated that:

" is not uncommon for sled-dog tour operators in Canada to complete large culls, but mentioned previously that the criminal probe will focus on whether the killings caused unnecessary pain and suffering."
Which makes me wonder whether we ought to be focusing on the sled-dog tourism industry as a whole with this boycott.  Is this a common business practice which only came to light as a result of one man's claim of post-traumatic stress?  If so, something needs to change. 

UPDATE:  2/4/2011
I've gotten in touch with some folks doing Siberian Husky Rescue and hope to have more information soon about how we can recognize and avoid doing business with companies such as this one.  Please check back.  

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Facebook page for Outdoor Adventures Whistler Boycott

CANADA: Outdoor Adventures Whistler shoots 100 dogs due to slowdown in business; boycott called

As incredulous as it may seem, a Canadian tourism company had its employees shoot 100 sled dogs and dispose of their bodies in a mass grave after their business took a turn for the worse.

No evidence has so far been provided to suggest that this company did anything to attempt to rehome or shelter these animals, though it has been reported that a veterinarian refused to euthanize the healthy animals using more "humane" methods.

Read More HERE.

The Pet Health Action Network is calling for a boycott of this company. If you live in Canada or plan to travel to Canada, please DO NOT do business with Outdoor Adventures Whistler. The remaining 200 dogs are not in danger of the same fate; with all eyes now upon this tragedy, rescues and shelters are almost certain to step in to help those that remain, and an investigation is now underway involving the RCMP and the SPCA.

UPDATE: It looks like there was an attempt to rehome these dogs, after all.  See this article for details.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Merrick mystery recall confirmed: Jr. Texas Taffy Pet Treats

In the fast-paced world of now-we-see-it, now-we-don't information, I was surprised this morning to find dead links when I clicked on a story that had been posted to Facebook about the recall of Merrick Jr. Texas Taffy pet treats due to possible salmonella contamination. As quickly as the link went up on the FDA's website, it went down, and eventually I saw this post on the Pet Connection with a link to a recall notice with an incorrect date of January 28, 2010.

According to the Pet Connection, Merrick eventually put out their own release about this recall, so we know that it is current.  Please do not feed the following products to your dogs:

Merrick Jr. Texas Taffy pet treat (ITEM # 27077, UPC # 02280827077, All Lots up to and including 10364).

If you have these products, please return them to the store at which they were purchased.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Ohio: Support HB 14 to Stop Breed Discrimination

From Best Friends Animal Society comes this call to legislative action for Ohio:

Ohio is the only state that summarily deems a breed of dog “vicious.” Rep. Barbara Sears (R-Sylvania) hopes to end canine profiling in Ohio and has introduced HB14, which would strike the provision that calls all pit bulls vicious.

Sears explains that pit bulls aren’t the first to be declared vicious: "In the 1970s, it was the German shepherd. In the 1980s, it was the Doberman. In the 1990s, it was the Rottweiler. We shouldn't put something in permanent law that is a moving target.” Instead of targeting specific breeds, she says, the law should focus on reckless owners of dangerous dogs.

Full post here:

Friday, January 21, 2011

Art for a Cause

Project: Create a large mural to hang on the exterior of a building in the Canton, OH Arts District. The mural will have a focus of raising awareness about the connections between animal maltreatment, child abuse and domestic violence. The mural image will have a positive focus, featuring a child with a dog and a cat, serving to remind us of the riches we have in helping those who are most vulnerable in society.

The artist needs funds to complete the project.  Click here if you'd like to find out how you can help.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Minnesota Action Alert: Rabies Rule Planned

This just in from the Rabies Challenge Fund

MINNESOTA -- Action Alert The Board of Animal Health is planning a statewide rabies rule (please copy and paste links into browser if they do not work by clicking on them). Below is the letter faxed to the State Veterinarian on behalf of the The Rabies Challenge Fund Charitable Trust.

What You Can Do to Help:

Contact State Veterinarian, Dr. Hartman 651-296-2942 and legislators requesting them to create a protocol requiring pets to be vaccinated according to rabies vaccine manufacturers' label instructions beginning at the age of 6 months and to include a medical exemption clause for animals too sick to be vaccinated. Ask all Minnesota pet owners to do the same.


January 17, 2011

Dr. Bill Hartmann, State Veterinarian
Minnesota Board of Animal Health
625 Robert Street North
St. Paul, MN 55155

RE: Rabies Vaccination Rulemaking for Minnesota Pets

Greetings Dr. Hartmann:

It has come to our attention that the Minnesota Board of Animal Health is in the process of developing a rabies vaccination rule for Minnesota’s dogs, cats, and ferrets to establish a consistent rabies protocol throughout the state.

The Rabies Challenge Fund Charitable Trust respectfully requests that your Department consider drafting the new rule based, in part, on the language contained in Florida’s rabies statute, Title XLVI Chapter 828, and that initial vaccination be required at the age of six (6) months as in the protocols of Delaware, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, and West Virginia. Florida, along with the states of Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin all have medical exemption clauses in their rabies regulations for animals deemed by a veterinarian to be too ill to be vaccinated, and we request that Minnesota’s new regulation include a similar exemption.

Below is proposed language that The Rabies Challenge Fund Charitable Trust asks that you consider in your deliberations:

(1) All dogs, cats, and ferrets 6 months of age or older must be vaccinated by a licensed veterinarian against rabies with a vaccine that is licensed by the United States Department of Agriculture for use in those species. The owner of every dog, cat, and ferret shall have the animal revaccinated 12 months after the initial vaccination. Thereafter, the interval between vaccinations shall conform to the vaccine manufacturer's directions. The cost of vaccination must be borne by the animal's owner.

(2) A dog, cat, or ferret is exempt from vaccination against rabies if a licensed veterinarian has examined the animal and has certified in writing that at the time vaccination would endanger the animal's health because of its age, infirmity, disability, illness, or other medical considerations. An exempt animal must be vaccinated against rabies as soon as its health permits.

(3) Upon vaccination against rabies, the licensed veterinarian shall provide the animal's owner and the animal control authority with a rabies vaccination certificate. Each animal control authority and veterinarian shall use the "Rabies Vaccination Certificate" of the National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians (NASPHV) or an equivalent form approved by the local government that contains all the information required by the NASPHV Rabies Vaccination Certificate. The veterinarian who administers the rabies vaccine to an animal as required under this section may affix his or her signature stamp in lieu of an actual signature.

If you have any questions or would like further information, please feel free to contact me.


Kris L. Christine
Founder & Co-Trustee
The Rabies Challenge Fund

cc: Dr. W. Jean Dodds
Dr. Ronald Schultz
Minnesota Legislature

Saturday, January 15, 2011

California: CVMA to campaign against unlicensed services

VIN News posted an interesting story last month:
The California Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) is preparing a crusade against unlicensed veterinary medical activities such as anesthesia-free teeth cleaning for dogs and cats, ultrasound pregnancy testing of livestock and physical rehabilitation for animals of all sorts.

The planned campaign aims to warn animal owners and producers of the dangers of unlicensed veterinary care, as well as clarify and toughen regulations and sanctions against those who practice veterinary medicine without a license.
The campaign will target activities which, according to the CVMA, have the potential to harm pets when not done in a proper veterinary setting or by licensed professionals.  

In practice, the state is historically unenthusiastic when it comes to addressing these activities:
In California, the veterinary medical board can issue cease-and-desist letters to known violators and issue fines up to $1,500 for unauthorized practice. That’s where it ends unless the state attorney general's office, serving as the CVMB's legal counsel, prosecutes the case — a rare occurrence in The Golden State.

In the past six months, for example, the CVMB issued five citations involving the practice of unlicensed veterinary medicine, but could not convince a district attorney to prosecute a single case.
One might wonder whether this is a case of the CVMA taking a stand to protect pets, or taking a stand to protect veterinary income.   Dental hygiene, in particular, seems to be a longstanding thorn in the paw for the CVMA. These procedures, as performed by vets, are both expensive and risky, yet many owners are reluctant to perform daily dental care on their pets.

The rationale for targeting these hygienic procedures seems to be that dental hygiene sessions are opportunities for vets to find and treat oral disease:

Dr. Ronald Kelpe, a veterinarian in Rancho Santa Margarita, has particular concerns about anethesia-free dental care. Under California law, hygienists are allowed to brush and floss teeth but cannot use any other instruments such as scaling devices in animals’ mouths.

“In the last month, I have seen two dogs who came in whose teeth were spit polished, but mobile and painful," he said. "We took radiographs of the mouth and teeth, and in both cases, more than 12 teeth had to be removed.”

The problem, said Kelpe, is that dental conditions aren't being detected or managed properly by those who aren't trained to practice veterinary medicine.

“People feel that they got a good deal because the dog’s mouth looks clean and the breath smells better,” Kelpe said. “The (cleaner) got the obvious calculus on the crown removed, but it’s what’s under the gum line where the problem starts and finishes.

But is it fair to suggest that a fundamentally hygienic procedure only be performed under the supervision of a trained veterinarian? Using that logic, couldn't the CVMA extend this campaign out to, say, groomers, targeting them because they are not trained to diagnose and treat diseases of the skin and nails that might be observable during a grooming session, or because they use sharp instruments which may gouge the skin or cut into the nail quick?

Exactly when does a hygienic procedure become a veterinary procedure? Should the public have the right to an alternative?  What do you think?

Read the full article here.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Mississippi: Support bill to make torturing pets a felony

From the Mississippi Clarion Ledger:
Senate Pro Tempore Billy Hewes, R-Gulfport, is sponsoring legislation that would make the deliberate torture, mutilation, maiming or burning of a pet dog or cat a first-offense felony.
Under Senate Bill 2127, penalties are a prison sentence of up to five years and a maximum $10,000 fine.
Such a bill passed the Senate last year but died in the House Agriculture Committee.
Asked what might make the difference this session, Hewes said, "public passion. "I've been hearing from Mississippians everywhere about this legislation."
Mississippi is one of four states and the only state in the South with no felony law that punishes acts of cruelty against dogs and cats.

If you live in Mississippi and would like to voice your support for this bill, please go to the Mississippi State Legislature page and contact your representatives to ask them to vote for SB 2127.


Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Are flea control products slowly killing our pets?

Are the flea and tick products we use really safe for our pets?  How would we know?  If you or I ingest something toxic, we can complain about how we feel and maybe go to the doctor or ER if it's serious enough.  Our pets, however, rely on us to read telltale signs of distress that may not be readily apparent, or that may look like other problems.  They can't tell us if something isn't right.

Long term, low level exposure to toxic substances can weaken a pet's immune system and cause it to attack the healthy cells and organs in a pet's body.  This is called autoimmune or immune-mediated disease.  It can have many causes, but flea products, along with other toxic substances we put in and on our pets (like vaccines), are a leading concern.

There's an interesting article about flea products today in the, which describes the gradual nature of the harm that can be done by repeated use of flea and tick control products.
The problem is that ‘spot-on’ products may not harm or kill pets or humans with the initial exposure, or even after several exposures. Exposed in this way it takes longer for the negative effects – often due to and continual assault on a animal’s immune system - to reveal themselves. Vigilance is required because the health issues for flea and tick treatments are the same as with pesticide exposure to those living close to farmland, or those who use pesticides in their homes: small chronic exposures add up.

But because low dose exposures act like slow motion poison, the pesticide industry continues to mislead the public, and the government regulatory agencies, by insisting that there is no scientific proof showing a definite cause and effect link between pesticide exposure and illness in either pets or humans.

Read the full article here. 

For my own pets, I do use flea products, but I use them sparingly.  I treat--once--at the first sign of fleas, using a combination of spot products and a pill (Program) which work together; one kills the adult fleas that are living on my pets, and the other prevents adult and larval fleas in the environment from reproducing.  I've found this to be an extremely effective, double edged approach that eliminates the need for repeated exposure to these toxins.  Once I've treated my pets with these products, it takes about a month for all the adult and larval fleas to die off,  Once they do, we are flea free, and we stay that way for several years.  I don't treat again until the next time fleas appear.

UK: RSPCA calls attention to cat deaths due to antifreeze, seeks public support

Quoting from
"The animal welfare charity is calling on the public and all antifreeze manufacturers to ensure that this winter does not have fatal consequences for cats.
Following the tragic case of five cats dying in from antifreeze poisoning on the same day in Norwich on 30 December, the RSPCA is renewing its plea for the public to take extra care when using the product.
Every year, the Society picks up the pieces from too many cases where cats are believed to have been poisoned by antifreeze."
It's not just cats that can die from drinking antifreeze; dogs and wildlife are also killed by the substance, so much so that the state of Utah in the United States has mandated that antifreeze sold in the state contain a bittering agent to make it unattractive to animals.

Read entire article here.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Petition: Tell Delta Airlines to take responsibility for lost pets

Delta airlines continues to lose pets in airports and elsewhere at an alarming rate, while obfuscating their role in these pet loss disasters.

Please consider signing this petition to tell them to take responsibility for these losses.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Researching advice: Why it's so important

Today being Sunday, I thought it might be appropriate to repost something I originally wrote for another blog back in September of 2010. The message is important enough to bear repeating, as it has to do with making sure the advice you are given by companies that sell pet foods and other products is sound advice.

Sometimes people overstep their capacity to advise, and we need to be cautious when seeking and following any advice, particularly when it comes from the untrained.


Sunday Pet Peeve

I just visited the Facebook page of a company that makes a premium dog food, of which I am quite fond. However, today I was dismayed to read a discussion there about feeding a variety of their products, which contain different protein sources, as a way to keep dogs interested in the food.

This probably isn't horrible advice in and of itself, but someone then asked about advice they'd been given by their veterinarian for their own dog, who is young but is beginning to show signs of food allergies (reacting to certain types of treats with hives and itching). She said she'd been told to stick with one kind of food and not to vary the dog's diet.

Here's the pet peeve part. The company spokesperson came on and told this person that a varied diet would be healthier for her dog.

I found myself compelled to post and express my dismay that a corporate spokesperson (whom I assume is not a veterinarian) would be giving veterinary advice to a customer, particularly advice that contradicts advice given by an actual vet. I then went on to explain that dogs who show allergic tendencies often end up needing to be fed a novel protein and the more proteins you expose them to while young, the more difficult it will be to find anything they can eat if the condition flares up. This is a common path to IBD in dogs, which is very serious and life-threatening.

Now, I'm not a vet myself, but I know this because I've had to deal with these issues in my own dogs (I have two that are atopic) and I know the horrors of trying to do an elimination diet trial with a dog that has eaten just about everything. Unless you want to be stuck feeding exotic proteins like venison or buffalo for the rest of your dog's life (and even those are not really novel to many diets anymore), you may want to stop and reconsider what you're putting on your sensitive dog's plate every day and what you and your sensitive dog will have to endure if you ever do find yourself on a search for a palatable protein.

The thing that really bugs me here is that the question was asked of a corporation, whose best interest is clearly served by getting you to purchase all their products, and that the corporation was all too happy to trot out the corporate line suggesting nothing could possibly go wrong as long as you feed THEIR products.

This is a company I've respected a great deal, whose products I have used and recommended. I still love their products, but I'm starting to believe that they've gotten a bit drunk with their own success.

Bottom line in this pet peeve of mine: If you have questions about your dog's health, and if you want an educated opinion, it's best to talk to vets, to do research on your own, and learn all you can about the condition in question in order to form your own, educated opinion using unbiased resources. We shouldn't be too trusting of those whose interests are served by providing a certain answer.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Saturday Pet Blog Hop

Please take a look at some of these pet-related blogs.  We participate in the blog hop because networking is important if we're going to help make good things happen here.  I hope you will find some of these blogs interesting and informative enough to follow.

Tennessee: Aflatoxins found in grains used for recalled Kroger's pet food recently reported that elevated levels of aflatoxins have been found in the grains that were used to make the Kroger's pet food recalled in December, 2010. According to the site, a spokesman from the Tennesee Department of Agriculture stated, "We took finished samples and grain samples that were stored and used to make pet food. We did find some elevated levels in some grains stored there."

Aflatoxins are naturally occurring substances produced by fungi that live on grains, including corn. The toxins cause disease in the liver and can be extremely deadly.

One more reason to feed quality, grain-free food formulas to our pets, where possible.

More can be read about this story here:

and here: