The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : February 2013 The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : February 2013

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Is Your Pet Suffering from Depression? Do You Know?

People aren't the only ones that get depressed. Pets can suffer from depression too. Depression in pets can be caused by a variety of factors such as grief over the death of a human member of the household or another pet. It can also be the result of a move or other break from regular routine. If you work long hours and your pet is left alone for long periods of time, he can become depressed. There are usually several signs that may indicate your pet is suffering from depression.

 Many times a pet will get depressed if someone new comes around and they feel replaced, whether it's another pet or a person. So be sure to include your pet in activities with the new person or pet in your life. Don't leave them out. You can also help your pet get use to the new person or pet by allowing them time to get to know each other without you around. Be sure to continue your regular activities with your pet that you engaged in before the new person or pet arrived. Take walks and play at the same time and for the same length of time. If there will be a new baby in the house, get your pet use to the sounds and smells of a new baby as best you can.

Some signs of depression in pets may be:
  • Eating and drinking less often - A depressed pet will begin eating less and sometimes stop eating entirely.
  • Chewing and destroying things - When pets are depressed, they take up destructive behavior as a cry for help.
  • Going to the bathroom inside the house or outside of the litter box. This doesn’t just indicate bad behavior in mad or angry pets - bathroom “accidents” may not be accidents at all - your pet may be too sad to get up.
  • Loss of interest in Activities - Lethargy and lack of interest are telltale signs of depression in humans and animals alike.
  • Dog is wagging its tail less - Happy dogs wag their tails.
  • Hiding - When your pet starts making a home out of the dark corners and spaces in your house (closets, under your bed), and takes up residence in an area they don’t usually frequent, this could be a sign that they’re depressed.
  • Not wanting to be left alone - Like their human counterparts, when feeling particularly sad, some pets do not want to be left alone. Separation anxiety is signaled by excessive crying and whining when you attempt to leave the house. This is often accompanied by #2, chewing or destroying things.
  • Too little or too much grooming - Cats have a tendency to under-groom when they are depressed, but once in a while, you’ll get a pet that does quite the opposite. Watch out for skin irritation and shedding.
  • Increased vocalization - If your pet is crying, whining, or barking more than usual it’s possible there is something wrong and they are trying to communicate with you the only way they know how.


Did You Know that there are Homeless Horses?

When most people think of homeless animals, they think of dogs and cats. Did you know that there are homeless horses?

There are no unwanted horses in the United States, simply homeless horses. "Unwanted Horse" is a pro slaughter term.

No one has a litter of horses show up on their door step, no one is walking down the street and finds a basket full of baby horses!

All domestic horse breeding, save the exception of an unlatched gate, is controlled by human intervention. A homeless horse has simply outgrown the reason for which he or she has been bred and is now homeless, not unwanted.

As a domestic species in America, the horse tends to have an ownership history that closely resembles that of a used car. An estimate I’ve heard is that the average horse will pass through 7 to 10 homes in their lifetime. The implications of this sad fact are compounded many fold when you come to understand the nature and needs of a horse, a beautiful, highly intelligent herd animal who thrives on companionship, leadership, routine and a predictably safe environment.

The Humane Society of the United States, says, A typical horse has a life-span of more than 20 years and will have several owners over the course of his life. While most will find owners who love and cherish them, some will fall victim to abuse, neglect, or even death at a slaughter plant. We’re working to make sure that doesn’t happen.


Rescue Dogs - One Blind and One Deaf Are Best Friends

A good friend won't mind if you can't see or hear. In the photo below are two disabled dogs, one blind, one deaf taking a nap together.

The larger dog, Tank is blind, and the smaller dog, Mozart, is deaf.

Both were recently adopted. Both were rescue dogs. The new owner was a little concerned about how they would get along.

Fortunately, everything turned out just fine.


Notorious Gangster in Romanian Kept Lions and Bears in His Mansion

Bucharest, Romania - A notorious gangster known as Nutzu the Pawnbroker has been indicted for heading a gang charged with attempted murder, kidnapping, blackmail and illegally possessing weapons, but the public seems to be more interested in his pets: four lions and two bears.

Press reports, not confirmed by authorities have claimed that Ion Balint - his real name - use the lions to intimidate rivals and victims.

When he rode away from prison on a black stallion in 2010, Balint played up that fearsome image.

"You said I fed men to the lions?" Balint can be heard saying on a tape heard by The Associated Press. "Why don't you come over and I'll give you some lions!"

Authorities won't speculate about why Balint kept lions and bears, as well as thoroughbred horses and canaries, at his high-walled and heavily guarded estate in the poorest part of Bucharest.

"Many untruths are being reported," Balint's son-in-law Marius Vlad told The Associated Press on Wednesday, referring to other rumors of a torture chamber.

Bystanders and relatives who gathered near the gates of the estate described Balint, 48, as a good neighbor and an animal lover, and said they weren't bothered by roaring lions.

"We can hear them every day but only when they're hungry or the female is in heat," said Gabriela Ionescu, 36, robed in a dressing gown and clutching her toddler daughter's hand. "They don't disturb us at all."

Authorities allege that Balint and his brother Vasile headed a criminal network which controlled much of the underworld activity in Bucharest, a city of 2 million. Some 400 police and detectives were involved in the investigation which led to the arrest last week of 67 suspects, including the Balint brothers.

In 2009, Balint was convicted of human trafficking, violence and pimping, and sentenced to 13 years in prison. That was reduced to six years but Balint was free after a year.

On Wednesday, the four lions and two bears were sedated, put in cages and removed Wednesday by environmental authorities and the Vier Pfoten animal welfare charity. The animals, which generally appeared in good condition, will be temporarily housed in a zoo and may be eventually relocated in South Africa, animal welfare officers said.

Mircea Pupaza, commissioner of the National Environment Guard, told The Associated Press that Balint had no documentation or health records for the animals, which he's kept illegally for 10 years. He could face a year in prison and a hefty fine for illegally keeping wild animals.

"The lions are a status symbol for him," said Livia Cimpoeru, a Vier Pfoten spokeswoman. She declined to speculate whether they had a more sinister purpose.

Lions sit in a cage on the estate of Ion Balint in Bucharest. The animal welfare charity Vier Pfoten removed four lions and two bears that were illegally kept on the estate

A bear chews on the bars of a cage at the estate of Ion Balint. He was convicted in 2009 for human trafficking, violence and pimping and sentenced to 13 years in prison. The sentence was later reduced to six years, but Balint was freed after serving one year.

A sedated lioness is removed from the estate of Ion Balint. He had no documentation for the animals, which police say he's kept illegally for 10 years.

                                                                                A bear reaches out from a cage.


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Zeus, a Great Dane has Been Named World's Tallest Dog by Guinness World Records 2013

Guinness World Records has replaced Giant George, the handsome Great Dane who grew from runt to 43 inches, with a new “world’s largest dog”: the 44-inch Great Dane, Zeus.

A 44" Great Dane has been named the world’s tallest dog by Guinness World Records.

Aptly named Zeus weighs 155 pounds and reaches an astonishing height of 7' 4" standing on his hind legs.

In April, 2012, I posted a story about Giant George, a Great Dane that held the title as the Guinness World Record Holder for Tallest Dog Ever for 2012.

Owner Denise Doorlag from Michigan says the three-year-old is so big little children often thinks he is a horse.

She said her family was honored by their pet’s place in the Guinness Book of World Records.

‘We are just a regular family from Michigan, so to be able to say that we own the world’s tallest dog is very exciting, and the kids are just so excited.’

First published in 1955, The Guinness Book of World Records has sold more than 120 million copies to date in over 100 countries.

Standing normally, he’s about the height of an average donkey. He eats 12 cups of food each day.

Big dog: Great Dane Zeus measures 44in from paw to withers and owner Denise, right, says young children often mistake him for a horse

                          No bowl: Zeus serves himself some water from the tap at the Doorlag family home in Michigan

                               Standing tall: On his hind legs Zeus, pictured with owner Kevin Doorlag, measures 7' 4"


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Ailing Pets Receiving Treatment in Hyperbaric Chamber

Gainesville, FL - Hyperbaric chambers have been used for decades to treat divers with the bends, burn victims and people with traumatic injuries, but in the U.S. they're increasingly being used on ailing pets.

Doctors at the University of Florida's College of Veterinary Medicine have recently used an oxygen chamber on dogs, cats, ferrets, rabbits and one monkey.

Veterinarian and professor Justin Shmalberg said the capsule has been used to treat animals that have been bitten by rattlesnakes, hit by cars and those with infected wounds, among other things.

"Any place we have swelling of tissue, we oftentimes are thinking about the hyperbaric chamber as something we could do to decrease that," he said.

Shmalberg said the chamber's high-pressure atmosphere of pure oxygen appears to help reduce swelling and aid healing time. He added that the school will begin clinical trials this summer to determine how - or even if - the hyperbaric chamber really is effective in speeding recoveries and healing animals.

There is little research on hyperbaric treatments and pets, although veterinarians who use the chambers note that most of the research for human hyperbaric treatments comes from trials done on rabbits and rats.

"We want to make sure there's really good science behind it," said Dr. Diane Levitan, who owns Peace Love Pets Veterinary Care in New York State. "It's not a panacea. There are specific reasons why this is helpful."

Levitan has a hyperbaric chamber in her practice and is writing an article for a veterinary journal on the treatment. Like Shmalberg, she has seen an improved rate of healing for certain conditions such as herniated discs, abscesses and even post-radiation swelling.

In humans, insurance companies will pay for hyperbaric treatment for several conditions, including carbon monoxide poisoning, crush injuries and bone marrow infections, among other things. Some insurance companies won't pay for hyperbaric treatment for wounds or ulcers, saying that it's an "unproven" therapy -- but some people swear by the treatment and seek out private clinics.

It's the same with pet owners; veterinarians with oxygen chambers say that people with sick pets often will often research the treatment and request it after becoming familiar with it through human medicine.

"It is a very new modality for treatment in veterinary medicine," said Dr. Andrew Turkell of Calusa Veterinary Center in Florida.

The devices used by UF, Levitan and Turkell are about the size of a loveseat and are manufactured by a company named Hyperbaric Veterinary Medicine. Turkell was the first doctor to sign a contract with Hyperbaric Veterinary Medicine, and estimates that he's used the chamber 750-800 times in the past year and a half.

"I find that it's really very effective for any kind of trauma," he said, adding that he's seen improvements in pets that have been hit by cars that have been subsequently treated in the chamber.

Wayne McCullough, the company's CEO, said that most veterinary offices can't afford to buy the capsules outright -- chambers for humans cost between $50,000 and $150,000 each -- so the company gives the clinics the chambers and then receives a cut on each treatment done by the veterinarian. At the UF clinic, treatment costs about $125 per session.

McCullough said that his employees deliver and train veterinarians on how to use the capsule. Working with 100 percent oxygen can be dangerous, which is why pets going inside the chamber are patted down with water before the treatment so their fur doesn't conduct static electricity and cause a fire.

In 2012, the high-oxygen chamber of a Florida equine sports medicine center exploded and caused part of a building to collapse, killed a worker and the horse inside the chamber.
The machine that exploded wasn't one of McCullough's chambers; it was a larger contraption made for horses. The horse inside the chamber apparently struck the side of the machine with its foot, which caused the spark and fire. It underscored the potential danger of the capsules.

Dr. Dorie Amour, the director of Emory University's wound care clinic, suggested that hyperbaric therapy in pets be a last-resort treatment. It "has to be a therapy used when there is no alternative. Or a therapy used for a very serious problem for which there hasn't been a solution."

Pet owners such as Mike Ray, the owner of Maggie, an 11-year-old dachshund with a gaping wound and recurring infection in her back paw, say they're willing to give it a try -- and spend the extra money to do so at the University of Florida animal hospital.
Maggie has been through a handful of hyperbaric treatments, and Dr. Schmalberg and Ray say they've noticed a difference after two sessions in the capsule. New fur is growing where raw flesh was once exposed.

"Whatever it takes, we're going do and we'll find a way to get it done," Ray said as he and his wife waited for Maggie to finish her oxygen therapy. "Because we need to get her healed."

Jan. 25, 2013: A dachshund named Maggie awaits treatment in the hyperbaric chamber at the University of Florida's College of Veterinary Medicine, in Gainesville, Fla. (AP)

Jan. 25, 2013: A dachshund named Maggie is treated in a hyperbaric chamber for an infection and paw wound at the University of Florida's College of Veterinary Medicine, in Gainesville, Fla. (AP)

Jan. 25, 2013: Dr. Justin Shmalberg, a veterinarian and professor at the University of Florida's College of Veterinary Medicine, said that hyperbaric oxygen chambers are being used to treat inflammation, wounds and other conditions in pets, in Gainesville, Fla. (AP)


Did You Know that Gum Disease is the Most Common Disease Occurring in Pet Dogs and Cats?

The Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC), says that periodontal disease (gum disease) is the most common disease occurring in pet dogs and cats.


The cause of gum disease is the same in cats and dogs as it is in people.

Gum disease is an infection resulting from build-up of soft dental plaque on the surfaces of the teeth around the gums. The bacteria in dental plaque irritate the gum tissue if plaque is allowed to accumulate, which often leads to infection in the bone surrounding the teeth.

Hard dental tartar (calculus) consists of calcium salts from saliva deposited on plaque. Tartar starts to form within a few days on a tooth surface that is not kept clean, and provides a rough surface that enhances further plaque accumulation. Once it has begun to grow in thickness, tartar is difficult to remove without dental instruments.


Bad breath is the most common effect noted by owners. However, this is often only the tip of the iceberg.

The gums become irritated, leading to bleeding and oral pain, and your cat or dog may lose its appetite or drop food from its mouth while eating.

The roots may become so severely affected that some teeth become loose and fall out.

Bacteria surrounding the roots gain access to the blood stream ("bacteremia"). Studies have shown that dogs with severe periodontal disease have more severe microscopic damage in their kidneys, heart muscle and liver than do dogs with less severe periodontal disease.


The key to management of gum disease (for humans or pets!) is prevention. As long as the surfaces of the teeth are cleaned frequently, the gums will stay healthy.

Excellent oral health is maintained by daily oral hygiene. The gold standard is brushing. Daily chewing activities can also be effective in maintaining oral health.

Daily use of products that have been awarded the VOHC Seal will help to keep your pet’s teeth clean and the gum tissues and bone around the roots healthy.

VOHC recommends periodic veterinary examination of the mouth and teeth of your dog or cat. Many pets, particularly middle-aged and older cats and dogs, require periodic professional scaling in addition to on-going plaque control.



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Monday, February 25, 2013

Food Stamps for Pets - A New York City-Based Organization has Instituted its Own Food Stamp Program for Pets

A New York City-based organization has instituted its own food stamp program, but this one is for pets – actually it's for needy pet owners who could use some help getting food and other supplies for their animal companions.

Currently, nearly 47 million eligible Americans receive government assistance through the food stamps program, now called Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, but the money can't be used to purchase pet food.

Now, eligible pet owners may get some relief through the Pet Food Stamps organization which has partnered with the pet service retailer Pet Food Direct and is seeking non-profit status.

The food would be paid for through private donations and grants, according to the Pet Food Stamps website. Once applicants have been verified and approved by program officials, their pet food requests would then be placed with, which would process the order based on the amount the applicant has been approved for and mail the food to the provided address.

"In these rough economic times, many pet owners are forced to abandon their beloved pet to the ASPCA, North Shore Animal League, or other animal shelters due to the inability to pay for their basic food supply and care," the organization states on its website, noting that SNAP only applies to food purchase for humans.

"There are over 50 million Americans who currently receive food stamps, many with dogs or cats, who simply cannot afford to feed their animals, and these cherished companions are dropped off at animal shelters where they will most likely be put to sleep . . . As more families struggle with difficult choices like paying the rent or buying food, some have to choose between keeping their pet and putting food on the table," said the statement.

The program was started two weeks ago by Marc Okon and has already received more than 12,000 requests, reported ABC affiliate KRQE-TV13.

According to Okon, if you are a pet owner who qualifies for federal assistance you most likely qualify for the Pet Food Stamp program as well.

"The love of a pet, the therapeutic ability of a pet and things like that are impossible to measure," said. "It gives us a special feeling of pride to be able to help people like that and we're happy to do it."

What do you think about this program?


Saturday, February 23, 2013

24 Foot Tall Black Dog Sculpture Gets Attention on Museum Wall

Newport Beach, CA -There it is a big black dog sculpture that stands 24 feet tall!

The dog stands right by the side wall of the Orange County Museum of Art building in Newport Beach, one leg lifted, squirting yellow paint on the salmon-colored wall.

"Bad Dog." That's what Sierra Madre artist Richard Jackson calls his latest creation. You see it as you drive down San Clemente Drive, smack dab in the middle of tall office buildings, a stone's throw from Fashion Island.

The dog is part of Jackson's exhibit titled "Ain't Painting a Pain," set to premiere Sunday.
"Bad Dog" is getting nothing but positive comments from onlookers, said museum spokeswoman Kirsten Schmidt. She said the museum has also received several emails about the giant pooch.

"We got one from an Australian website asking if it was a hoax or some type of joke," she said.

Some said the museum should have made the dog ... well ... not as anatomically perfect. But most of the responses, Schmidt said, expressed amusement.

Jackson said that was his goal with "Bad Dog."

"My intention is never to shock or offend anyone or any particular group," he said. "People's reaction to 'Bad Dog' or any art for that matter tends to vary. Sometimes, it depends on whether you're going home from church or from a strip club."

Jackson said he crafted the dog from fiberglass and other composite materials with the help of an engineering company in Santa Ana. It consists of 52 digitally-cut-out pieces that were assembled on site.

Once the shell was placed, Jackson climbed into the dog with a big bucket of yellow paint, which he squirted on to the wall. Now there’s a pump that could continuously shoot out the paint, Jackson said.

"The way I see it, it's funny," he said. "I understand that Newport Beach has traditionally been a conservative community. But this is an art museum. This piece of art is making a commentary or statement."

The dog is what Jackson calls a "painting machine," a mechanism that helps create works of art. He has at least a half-dozen other painting machines as part of the exhibit, including a herd of deer statues that shoot out paintballs.

One of his exhibits, called "Art by Accident," was created when he flew a model Cessna remote-control airplane filled with paint into the museum and crashed it against a wall. The wall is smeared with red paint, and the plane lies on the floor, broken and oozing red paint.

An exhibit that took Jackson five years to put together was a room with 1,000 clocks, synchronized to perfection. Jackson said he made 40,000 clock parts himself. The clocks click in unison every time the minute needles move.

Schmidt says "Bad Dog" is only a preview of what the public can expect to see inside the museum.

"It's about expecting the unexpected," she said.

"Bad Dog" won't be a permanent feature, Schmidt said. It will be taken down after the exhibit concludes May 5.

On Friday at lunchtime, some people stopped by to check out the dog although the museum was closed.

Tom Akashi of Fountain Valley said he drove into the parking lot to take a peek at the giant sculpture.

"I think it's wonderful," Akashi said. "It's making a comment that art doesn't need to be put on a pedestal. A lot of art lacks humor. This one, I find funny. I think a lot of people are going to enjoy it."


Friday, February 22, 2013

Rush University Medical Center in Chicago - Allowing Dogs and Cats to Visit Patients

All pet owners can attest to the health benefits of petting a dog or a cat. For long-term hospital patients with serious illnesses, cuddle time with Fido or Fluffy can provide that extra boost they need to get through each difficult day of treatment. But for the vast majority of patients, policies prohibiting pets ban four-legged family members from hospital rooms.

Rush University Medical Center in Chicago was one of those facilities hesitant to allow pet visitors...that is, until now.

As of December 2012, Rush became the first Chicagoland hospital to adopt an official visitation policy for canine or feline visitors. Rush joins only a dozen other hospitals across the country in allowing dogs and cats in patient rooms.

After a three-year study and consultations with other hospitals that formally permit pet visitors, including the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics and the University of Maryland Medical Center, Rush officials decided the benefits of a pet policy outweighed any risks or costs. They have created a 21-point checklist for pet visitors; some of the items stipulate that only dogs or cats are allowed, the attending physician must sign off on the visit and the pet must be freshly groomed.

Reverend Susan Carole Roy of the University of Maryland Medical Center, who provided consultation to the Rush task force, is pleased that Rush University Medical Center has implemented what she’s found to be such a beneficial program at her hospital.

“Our pets are an integral part of our everyday lives, and they share in our greatest joys and darkest hours,” Roy explains. “For patients to be able to reconnect with their pets — even for a short period of time — can really be very meaningful. It allows them to get in touch with a part of their lives that is often lost when they become patients.”

The decision in favor of dog and cat visitors was a long time coming for Rush Associate Vice President of Nursing Operations, Diane Gallagher, one of the biggest advocates for establishing a pet visitors policy at the Chicago hospital.

“For those of you who are dog lovers, this will be a piece of cake,” Gallagher told her colleagues. “The rest of you will just have to trust me.”

Bernadette Slesinski-Evans of nearby Oak Lawn, Ill., became the first Rush patient to take advantage of the new policy when her beloved Dachshund, Sadie, stopped by for a long-awaited visit.

Slesinski-Evans was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2010. The Oak Lawn resident has been hospitalized at Rush several times over the past few years, and is currently there receiving pain management treatments. One of the first things Slesinski-Evans did after checking into her hospital room was put out photos of Sadie and her two other dogs, a Collie and an Australian Shepherd.

A nurse noticed the photos and told Slesinski-Evans about Rush’s policy for dog and cat visitors. Less than 48 hours later, Sadie walked through the door and greeted her mom for the first time in weeks.

“It just gives me a little piece of home,” Slesinski-Evans told the Chicago Tribune. “It’s just wonderful to have someone to hug...and help me deal with things.”

Rush University Medical Center Bunny

Coco the rabbit visits child patients every day at Rush University Medical Center, which recently began allowing visitors’ pets to visit them. (Credit: Bernie Tafoya/WBBM)

Rush University Medical Center Animal Therapy - Sadie, a dachshund, visits with Bernadette Slesinski-Evans, a cancer patient at Rush University Medical Center. (Credit: Rush University Medical Center)
Patient Bernadette Selenski-Evans’ dog, Sadie, lies at the foot of her recliner. Selenski-Evans’ three-year-old dotson paid a visit to Bernadette as a part of the therapeutic animal visit program.


Huge Goldfish Invade Lake Tahoe

Goldfish the size of canned hams are turning up in Lake Tahoe on the California-Nevada border.

A group of researchers from the University of Nevada at Reno discovered and documented the oversized fish, including one 18-inches long. Others had apparently spotted the fish in the waters of Lake Tahoe, but Christine Ngai and fellow researchers were the first to document their existence.

Ngai told, "You just see this bright golden orange thing starting to float up, and you’re like, what is that? And then you take a net and you scoop it up, and you’re like, it’s a goldfish."

Experts believe that people dumping the contents of their aquariums into the lake is to blame for the problem. And it is a real problem. Researchers believe the large fish, which aren't native to the lake, could have a significant ecological impact, including creating a food shortage for native trout. Also a worry, according to Dr. Sudeep Chandra of the University of Nevada, is the goldfish's tendency to spur algae growth in a lake known for being crystal clear.

When Ngai and her colleagues examined the fish, they found that some were pregnant, meaning the problem is likely to get worse.

This isn't the first case of abnormally large goldfish showing up in a strange spot. In 2010, a fisherman in France reeled in a goldfish the size of a large dog.



Thursday, February 21, 2013

Pit Bulls Not 'Inherently Dangerous' - Maryland House of Delegates Approved Bill that Would Reverse a 2012 Court Ruling

The Maryland House of Delegates today unanimously approved a bill that would reverse a 2012 court ruling that found that pit bulls are "inherently dangerous" and that their owners faced higher liability standards than any other dog owners, reports NBC4.

Under the provisions of the bill, all dog owners are held to the same standards of liability in case their dogs bite someone else, and they'd all have a chance to prove in court that their dog isn't dangerous.

Last year's ruling not only targeted pit bull owners, but also any landlords that rent houses to them. Last September, a Baltimore man was told that he would have to choose between his public housing or his pit bull.

Animal advocates argued that the breed of dog itself isn't the problem, but rather how they are raised and treated. Regardless, Prince George's County still maintains a ban on pit bull ownership.

The bill now goes to the Senate.


Sea Otter Plays Basketball to Help Alleviate Arthritis Pain

Eddie is a bit late for the NBA Slam Dunk Contest, since it was just contested this last weekend, but he can dunk with the best of them. Nothing fancy like jumping over a car or ball boy, though. After all, Eddie is a sea otter. And the great thing about Eddie's dunking is that he doesn't do it for show. No, he dunks off stage at the Oregon Zoo to improve his health.

Eddie is 15 years old, geriatric for the species, and suffers from arthritis in the elbows. Veterinarians prescribed regular exercise, and the zookeepers came up with dunking a basketball as the perfect elixir. Eddie caught on quickly.

"He's definitely got game," the zoo's Jenny DeGroot told KPTV. "Sea otters have incredible dexterity, so it makes sense Eddie would have this hidden talent. They're famous for using rocks as tools to crack open clams."

Unfortunately, Eddie's dunking takes place behind the scenes at the zoo, so visitors can't see the Blake Griffin or Terrence Ross of the otter world. But perhaps the zoo will allow Portland Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts a visit to see Eddie dunk; surely he'd be interested.

Video: (Place mouse on video to start)


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Does Your Pet Have Ringworms?

Ringworm is caused by a fungus. The disease with the misleading name has nothing to do with a worm. It is a common infection that often causes itchy red patches on the skin. Dogs, cats, and humans can be affected by the disease, which causes hair to fall out in affected areas. It’s easily transmitted between people and pets, and if someone, or some pet in a household has it, all should be tested and treated, if needed. Treatment ranges from oral medications to topical products and can take weeks or months to resolve.


Ringworm in pets is most often caused by the fungus Microsporum canis. Although two other species of fungus can also cause ringworm infections, they tend to do so less frequently.

These fungi, also known as dermatophytes invade the superficial layers of the skin, hair, and/or nails. Because fungi thrive in moist environments, dermatophytes are especially persistent in humid climates and damp surroundings.

The ringworm infection caused by dermatophytes is also known as dermatophytosis. It’s not only contagious to other animals, it’s considered a zoonotic disease, meaning it can be transmitted from animals to humans, and vice versa. Children and those with compromised immune systems are most at risk.

Signs and Identification

In pets, the fungal infection causes the hair to become brittle and break off, resulting in bald spots. These occur most commonly on the face, ears, and legs. Within these hairless patches, the skin may be crusty or mildly inflamed, especially around the edges (hence, the ring-like appearance). If claws are affected, they may become deformed as they grow, just as in a human with a fungal infection of the nails.

Typically, the infection itself is not itchy, though secondary bacterial infections (pyoderma) may elicit significant pruritus (itchiness). Some animals may show no signs but may be sources of infection nonetheless, shedding fungal spores into the environment and serving as a reservoir for infection.

Ringworm is typically spread by contact with an infected animal. Because animals can shed fungal spores and infected hairs into the environment, touching objects the infected animal has been in contact with, including bedding and brushes, can also lead to infection. Organisms that are shed into the environment can remain infectious for months.

The best way to diagnose ringworm infection in an animal is by fungal culture. The veterinarian will pluck a few hairs from several lesions and place them on a culture medium where the organism can grow. Because it takes time for fungal growth, results may not be available for two weeks or more. Preliminary results, however, may sometimes be obtained within five days.

Veterinarians might also examine skin lesions under an ultraviolet lamp. In some cases, but not all the organism may glow yellow-green. Because this test is not always accurate, a fungal culture is still the preferred method of diagnosis.

In households in which people are diagnosed with ringworm, all the family pets should be tested. The same goes for multi-pet households in which one pet has been diagnosed with ringworm. Other pets should be tested and treated if positive in order to eliminate sources of ongoing infection.

Affected Breeds

All breeds of dogs and cats are equally susceptible. Dogs and cats with compromised immune systems may be predisposed to ringworm infections.


In healthy animals, the infection may be self-limiting, meaning that it will eventually resolve without treatment. However, treatment can hasten resolution of the problem and limit the spread of infection to other animals and people in the household.

Pets may be treated with topical products, oral medications, or both. Before applying a topical treatment, veterinarians may recommend shaving or clipping the infected area. Topical treatments include lime sulfur dip, anti-fungal sprays/creams or antifungal shampoos.

There are a number of oral medications for ringworm, such as griseofulvin and itraconazole. Griseofulvin should never be given to a pregnant animal because it may cause birth defects in developing puppies or kittens. It may also cause bone marrow suppression in cats, especially those with feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) or feline leukemia virus (FeLV). Administration of griseofulvin may require periodic blood monitoring tests. Itraconazole is rapidly becoming the preferred oral treatment for cats because it has fewer side effects.

Thorough cleaning and treatment of the home environment is important to prevent recurrence and spread of the infection to pets and people. To eliminate fungal organisms in the environment:
  • Clip affected areas on the pet and dispose of all hairs.
  • Confine infected pets to one area of the house.
  • Thoroughly vacuum areas that were highly trafficked by the pet and dispose of the vacuum bag outside. Wash all bedding and toys in hot water.
  • Dispose of any carpets or rugs, if possible.
  • Clean exposed areas and kennels with chlorine bleach that has been diluted 1:10 or with an antifungal spray recommended by your veterinarian.
  • Repeat vacuuming and surface treatment at least monthly until infection is resolved.
  • Treatment may be required for six weeks or longer. Once skin lesions have resolved, fungal cultures should be performed again. Treatment should not be stopped until fungal cultures are negative. Discontinuing treatment based only on resolution of lesions may result in recurrence of the infection.

It’s difficult to prevent ringworm infection 100% in pets that enjoy outdoor life. These organisms are in the soil and might be on other dogs in the dog park, for example. Keeping cats indoors is an obvious solution, but even they can be infected by humans or dogs in the household.

Once characteristic lesions are seen, however, owners should take care not to touch the lesions and take their pets quickly to the veterinarian to prevent the spread of this skin infection.


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

New Craze for Dogs - Hearts and Paw Print Tattoos Shaved into Fur!

Meet the pooches with patches:

One could say that the owners are surely getting more fun out of this than their pets.
Dogs are having ‘temporary tattoos’ such as paws, snowflakes and love hearts cut into their fur, with the designs taking about an hour to shave using clippers and lasting around 14 weeks.

Groomers Jessica Allegri, 26, and Amanda Marshall, 29, of Hatfield, Hertfordshire, came up with the idea for 'pooch patches' after trying it on their own boxer Ky, and have since been inundated with customers.

‘It was a quiet day and we thought it would be fun to shave a paw print on my dog, who comes to work with me,’ Ms Allegri said.

‘Our customers were really impressed and asked where he had had it done. Since then we have had lots of people asking for pooch patches and we've done snowflakes, flowers and hearts.
  • Temporary tattoos take an hour to shave into dog's fur and last 14 weeks
  • Dog groomers Jessica Allegri and Amanda Marshall came up with the idea
  • Pair run Groomers on the Green in Hatfield and are trademarking treatment

New look: Dogs are having 'temporary tattoos' such as paws, snowflakes and love hearts cut into their fur

Close shave: Jessica Allegri said that it was 'just like having a hair-cut' for the animals and 'doesn't hurt'

Paws for thought: The pair, who run Groomers on the Green in Hatfield, are now trademarking the treatment

Business: Dog groomers Jessica Allegri (right), 26, and Amanda Marshall (left), 29, of Hatfield, Hertfordshire, came up with the idea after trying it on their own boxer Ky, and have since been inundated with customers.

Personal mark: The designs normally take an hour to shave using clippers and last for around 14 weeks


Chinese Breeder Demands Facelift for Dog - Dog Dies in Surgery

A Chinese man has sued a Beijing animal hospital over the death of his dog during plastic surgery. Chinese animal welfare advocates have been appalled at the surgery, a facelift that was performed specifically to meet “the aesthetic desire” of the man, as Qin Xiaona, director of the Capital Animal Association, says to the Global Times.

Mr. Yu (as the media are referring to him) owns a Beijing dog farm. He wanted the dog to have a “facelift” to improve his appearance and thereby increase profits, as he says in the Global Times: ”The skin of my dog’s head was very flabby, so I wanted to cut part of his forehead and straighten the skin….. If my dog looks better, female dog owners will pay a higher price when they want to mate their dog with mine.”

Yu is demanding 880,000 yuan ($141,240) in compensation for the dog’s death; he claims that he bought the dog, a Tibetan Mastiff, from another owner for that price in March of 2012. He had previously had other dogs undergo surgery to make their ears more erect. The Global Times says that Yu owns 30 dogs and has been breeding them with dogs from other farms for fifteen years, for a price of 30,000 to 300,000 yuan. He also keeps female dogs whose puppies can sell from several thousand yuan to several million yuan.

The Tibetan Mastiff has become a canine status symbol for China’s nouveaux riche. One sold for 20 million yuan last year; a coal magnate in northern China bought a mastiff, Hong Dong for 10 million yuan in 2011. “If you are rich, you can easily buy a big house or a Lamborghini. But owning a pure-bred mastiff is quite another thing. It’s solid evidence of your wealth, power and taste,” millionaire dog breeder Li Yongfu is quoted as saying in the Telegraph.

Not only have Chinese animal welfare advocates expressed outrage at the use of plastic surgery to make the deceased mastiff look “better” according to the eyes of Yu. It is presumptuous for us to think that what humans consider “attractive” is the same as what animals do.

Advocates also point out that it is abusive for Tibetan mastiffs, which are native to the grassland plateaus of Central Asia and were originally bred as guard dogs, to be raised in lowland cities including Beijing and in urban areas, period.

In the Global Times, Zhang Mingming, who owns two cats, shuddered at the use of plastic surgery on a pet as such treats him or her “like a toy instead of a living being.” As Care2 blogger Judy Molland writes about the current rage for dog tattoos in the U.K.

Isn’t tattooing, or any other kind of adorning, taking away your pet’s dignity? How would humans like it if they had to submit to such embellishments against their will?

In the case of the deceased mastiff, the facelift was intended for the profit of the dog’s owner, in blatant disregard for the “rights and interests of the dog,” says Qin of the Capital Animal Association. It is horrendous that Yu is still seeking to make money from the now deceased dog who more than deserves to be left in peace.


Meet, Chesty the Marine Corps' Latest and Most Adorable Mascot - Semper Fido!

The 9-week-old English bulldog set to become the new mascot for the U.S. Marine Corps has arrived at the Marine Barracks in Washington.

Chesty arrived in the nation’s capital Thursday, at which point the young pup was unveiled to the world.

Chesty is set to become Pfc. Chesty XIV on March 29, replacing Sgt. Chesty XIII. Until then, young Chesty will undergo obedience training.

After his arrival in Washington, Chesty met Bonnie Amos, wife of Gen. James F. Amos, commandant of the Marine Corps, according to the U.S. Marines. The pup is in the care of Staff Sgt. Jason Mosser, a member of the U.S. Marine Drum & Bugle Corps, and his wife Christine.

As the Marines’ official mascot, Chesty’s responsibilities will include marching in the Friday Evening Parades, as well as supporting events around the nation’s capital.

Chesty comes from five generations of championship bulldogs, which are bred by mother-daughter team Sara Gomez and Abigail Callahan of Stephens City, Va., according to the Marines.

Marine mascots are named for the late Lt. Gen. Lewis “Chesty” Puller, one of the most decorated officers in the history of the Marine Corps.

Chesty, future Marine Corps mascot, sits on the red carpet in front of the Home of the Commandants waiting to meet Bonnie Amos, wife of Gen. James F. Amos, commandant of the Marine Corps during a visit to Marine Barracks Washington, D.C., Feb. 14, 2013. (Sgt. Dengrier M. Baez/U.S. Marine Corps)

Chesty takes a nap before his departure to his future home Marine Barracks Washington, D.C., Feb. 13, 2013. (U.S. Marine Corps)

Lt. Gen. William M. Faulkner, deputy commandant for Installations and Logistics, plays with Chesty, the future Marine Corps mascot, during the puppy's visit to the Home of the Commandants, Marine Barracks Washington, D.C., Feb. 14 2013. (U.S. Marine Corps )

Bonnie Amos, wife of Gen. James F. Amos, commandant of the Marine Corps, holds Chesty, the future Marine Corps mascot, during the puppy's visit to the Home of the Commandants, Marine Barracks Washington, D.C., Feb. 14, 2013. Chesty, a 9-week-old pedigree English bulldog is soon to become the future Marine Corps mascot after the completion of an obedience training and ceremony set for March 29. (U.S. Marine Corps )

Old Dominion, left, and Chesty, his son, right, look at each other one last time before the future Marine Corps mascot heads to his new home Marine Barracks Washington, D.C., Feb. 13 2013. Chesty, a 9-week-old pedigree English bulldog is soon to become the future Marine Corps mascot after the completion of an obedience and recruit training with a ceremony scheduled for March 29. (U.S. Marine Corps)

Chesty, the future Marine Corps mascot, stands on the door step Home of the Commandants during the puppy's visit to Marine Barracks Washington, D.C., Feb. 14, 2013. (U.S. Marine Corps)

Take a look at the videos below:

                                                         Chesty Puller -- Marine Legend -- His Life In Pictures


                                                            Lewis Chesty Puller statue dedicated in Virginia



Monday, February 18, 2013

Getting Your Dog, to Walk Your Dog - A Cute Video

This video is so cute I had to share! Enjoy!

Watch this video for the CUTEST and most efficient way to walk a puppy!

Meet Hudson an 11-week old Bernese Mountain Dog. He is being walked by his big brother, Ripley a 504 week old Berner.


Subaru and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Partnership - “Subaru Love A Pet ”

Did you ever wonder why so many of the Subaru vehicles that visit your service bays are full of pet hair? Quite simply, Subaru owners love pets like they love their Subarus. Nearly seven out of ten Subaru owners have a pet, and Subaru customers are 1.3 times more likely to own a pet than are the customers of Subaru’s competitors.

As part of its efforts to support the interests of Subaru owners, Subaru is proud to partner with the ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®).

As a Subaru owner and a animal lover, I want to share some of what I think are the cutest commercials!

Remember: They are professional stunt dogs!  Please do NOT try any of their stunts at home!


Saturday, February 16, 2013

Dog Sent to High Kill Shelter Because Owner Thought He Was Gay - Good News, He Was Adopted!

This healthy male American Bulldog mix was scheduled to be put down at the Rabies Control shelter in Jackson, Tennesee.

"Not because he is mean or tears things up," says a Facebook user who calls herself the "Jackson Madison Rabies Control Stalker."

No:  "Because his owner says he's gay."

According to the 39-year-old mother-of-four who pays regular visits to the kill shelter looking for dogs to rescue, this unloved pooch was rejected because he was found "hunched [over]" another male dog.

"His owner threw him away because he refuses to have a 'gay' dog!" she writes. "Don't let this gorgeous dog die because his owner is ignorant of normal dog behavior! He's in kennel and he WILL be put down because there is no room!"

Facebook users from across the country jumped at the opportunity to rescue the doomed dog.

Multiple people and at least one canine rescue group volunteered to show up at the shelter as soon as the doors open and have him pulled from death row.

"I am adopting this big boy first thing in the morning," wrote Facebook user Stephanie Fryns of WOOF Connections. "He will be neutered/ htwm tested/ and vetted. He will be temperament tested and then places in a rescue verified and approved home."


Rescued! According to The Tennessean, Gawker's coverage of the "gay dog" story had resulted in a flood of calls to the Jackson shelter where he was being kept. "I have had about 10 million calls this morning. It has been adopted already. It is gone," said an unnamed shelter employee. "He's in good hands."

The Jackson, Tenn., shelter was flooded with phone calls after a story went viral, a man who answered the phone there said.

The story cited a Facebook post that claimed the dog’s former owner dropped it off at the shelter because it humped another male dog.

“His owner says he’s gay,” the post read.

The post also claimed the dog was set to be euthanized.

“I can’t understand it,” said the shelter worker, who declined to give his name. “You know those dogs get on top of each other sometimes.”

 “I have had about 10 million calls this morning. It has been adopted already. It is gone,” he said. “He’s in good hands.”

To anyone who is disappointed with the news that he has already been adopted, please contact your local animal shelter and consider giving a homeless animal a forever home!