"St. Patrick's Day is an enchanted time -- a day to begin transforming winter's dreams into summer's magic." -- Adrienne Cook
Irish Water Spaniel
Irish Wolf Hound
Glen of Imaal Terrier
Kerry Blue Terrier
Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
Irish Red and White Setter
A description and short history of each of these breeds can be found at the AKC web site listed above. Two of these Irish breeds of dogs, the Irish Setter and the Irish Water Spaniel, were among the original nine breeds first recognized by the AKC when it was formed back in 1884.
In last week's poll on the appropriateness of having a pet with you in the workplace, 87% of respondents said, "Yes, but only under certain circumstances," which Helpful Buckeye feels is a fairly open-minded response. Be sure to answer this week's poll question in the column to the left.
CURRENT NEWS OF INTEREST
1) Still, another pet food/snack recall due to Salmonella contamination of peanut butter has been reported by the American Veterinary Medical Association. Check these two new producers to find if you may have purchased some of their products:
Bird food recalled due to Salmonella contamination: Dead birds found in N.C. initiates testing of bird food (12 Mar 2009) Alaska Canine Cookies Recalls Certain Canine Cookies Because of Possible Salmonella Health Risk (10 Mar 2009
In a very closely related story, President Obama appointed the new head of the Food & Drug Administration yesterday, with these words: "The nation's food safety system is a hazard to public health and overdue for an overhaul." When you consider the recent E. coli and Salmonella contamination outbreaks, the difficulty of tracking down the sources of contamination, and the money lost (see item #1 in General Interest below) over these food recalls, maybe it's about time to pay closer attention to this potential serious disaster that is waiting to happen. For the whole story, go to: http://news.aol.com/health/article/obama-food-safety-system-a-health-hazard/3825
2) The AKC has introduced their AKC Pet Healthcare Plan, with this statement: As the largest registry for purebred dogs in the world, the American Kennel Club (AKC) understands the concerns and needs of dog owners. This includes understanding the high costs of modern veterinary treatments, surgery and prescriptions, and the financial burden these costs create when you need to provide the very best care for your dog. The AKC web site for a description of their pet insurance plan is: http://www.akcpethealthcare.com/
If you have been considering pet health care insurance, Questions On Dogs and Cats has covered this topic in depth in three separate issues of the blog. Look in the "Labels" column to the left and click on "Pet Health Insurance" to review those discussions. This AKC Pet Health Plan does have some interesting aspects which any pet owner should at least consider.
DISEASES, AILMENTS, AND MEDICAL CONDITIONS
1) Last week, Helpful Buckeye finished the discussion of "worm" intestinal parasites. This week, Questions On Dogs and Cats will address the only other fairly common intestinal parasites, the protozoa, or one-celled organisms. The first of these would be the group known as "Coccidia." Don't expect to see these parasites in your pet's stools...they are microscopic and cannot be seen with the naked eye. Because of this, they can only be diagnosed by your veterinarian, usually in doing a routine fecal microscopic exam.
Coccidia can damage the lining of the intestine, leading to an inability of your pet to absorb necessary nutrients, and resulting in a watery (sometimes bloody) diarrhea and subsequent dehydration. They produce oocysts, which are passed in the animal's stools, incubate on the ground, and become infective to another cat or dog. Eating oocyst-infected soil or licking contaminated paws and/or fur will complete the life cycle of the Coccidia.
Coccidia are not considered a major, serious intestinal parasite, except in large kennel conditions where many animals live in close quarters and in both young and older pets which might have a weakened immune system. Treatment is available from your veterinarian if this parasite has been diagnosed and, in the cat, treatment might not even be necessary because many cats are capable of spontaneously eliminating the infection.
The other protozoan parasite for consideration is Giardia. These are also microscopic and not visible in the stools. In fact, Giardia can even be difficult for your veterinarian to detect with a microscope. The life cycle of Giardia is similar to that of Coccidia, including the passing of cysts in the stools. As with the "worm" parasites, overcrowding and humidity favor the survival and transmission of Giardia.
Most Giardia infections do not cause illness, but a severe infection could lead to an unexplained diarrhea. For this reason, your veterinarian will want to check for Giardia organisms if your pet's diarrhea does not respond to commonly successful treatments. Since Giardia can also infect people, it is equally important to know if this organism is present in the environment. Several non-approved treatments are available and your veterinarian will discuss these with you should this parasite become a problem for your pet.
In summary, some important considerations about internal parasites and your dog and/or cat:
Now that the transition of seasons is upon most of us and Spring is either at or just around the corner, your pets will most likely be spending more of their time outdoors. External parasites of dogs and cats are usually associated with being outdoors (even for short periods of time) during warmer weather, which will be arriving soon. Helpful Buckeye has already discussed the problem of flea infestation in a previous issue of Questions On Dogs and Cats, which you can access by looking under "Labels" in the left column and clicking on "Fleas." Next week, Helpful Buckeye will cover the other two major external parasites which bother your pets, the ticks and the mites.
The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center has compiled this list of the 10 most common pet poisonings that result from human medications:
Top 10 Human Medications That Poison Our Pets
1) As referred to in the above-mentioned article on food safety overhaul, the current Salmonella -contamination of peanut butter products could cost peanut growers more than $1 billion in lost production and sales. For this type of expense to occur more frequently, our economy would take even more hits than it has already. Read the whole story at: http://money.aol.com/news/articles/_a/bbdp/salmonella-recall-could-cost-peanut/3
2) There has been a noticeable confirmed increase in the incidence of rabies in the fox population around the city of Flagstaff. This has prompted the following warning and advice (which actually applies to just about anywhere in the USA):
The following precautions will help to reduce risk of exposure to rabies:
3) Some of you may have already read about this interesting, head-scratching story of the woman who bought a used sofa, brought it home, and later on, heard some strange noises coming from the sofa: http://news.aol.com/article/cat-found-in-couch/381253?icid=200100397x1219756926x
4) Under the title of "Dirty Cell Phones Found In Hospitals," a Turkish study released in the Annals of Clinical Microbiology and Antimicrobials says that cell phones carried by hospital doctors and nurses are often covered in bacteria, frequently of the MRSA type. Bacteria was found on 94 percent of cellular phones in a test involving 200 hospital workers. Researchers said MRSA bacteria was found on 25 of the mobile phones. That's 1 out of 8 phones, folks!
5) The Morris Animal Foundation has an "Ask An Expert" section on their web site that offers answers from experts on Pet Insurance, Animal Behavior, and Pain Management. These experts offer a long list of answers to questions already received in addition to allowing you to submit your own personal question. Check it out at: http://www.morrisanimalfoundation.org/resources/ask-an-expert/
6) To end this section on a lighter note, enjoy this short video featuring a puppy escape artist: http://www.evtv1.com/player.aspx?itemnum=13806
Manny Ramirez has finally joined the Los Angeles Dodgers for the rest of the spring training games. Hope he helps us get off to a good start for the season....
The Pitt Panthers basketball team bowed out in the opener of the Big East Tournament, but that shouldn't keep us from being one of the #1 seeds in the Big Dance of March Madness, which begins this week.
The Ohio State Buckeyes basketball team has done well this weekend in the Big 10 Tournament...well enough to be one of the 64 teams in the Big Dance.
In a study released this week, and reported by the USA Today, optimists are enjoying a longer life expectancy than are pessimists. Read the short summary of this study at: http://blogs.usatoday.com/betterlife/2009/03/study-optimists.html and draw your own conclusions. Helpful Buckeye has always been in the optimists' corner, to the extent that we here at Questions On Dogs and Cats have adopted Joseph Priestley's (English theologian, scientist, and discoverer of oxygen) quote: "I have always been delighted at the prospect of a new day, a fresh try, one more start, with perhaps a bit of magic waiting somewhere behind the morning...." as one of our mantras.
As a tandem corollary to this notion of optimism, comes this anonymous quote about happiness: "Being happy doesn't mean everything's perfect; it just means you've decided to see beyond the imperfections." --Author Unknown
To close out this week's issue on a happy, optimistic note, enjoy this 1988 song from Bobby Mcferrin, who turned 59 this past week (on March 11th)...go ahead and sing along...you'll feel better: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l9K4BKkLaCI
~~The goal of this blog is to provide general information and advice to help you be a better pet owner and to have a more rewarding relationship with your pet. This blog does not intend to replace the professional one-on-one care your pet receives from a practicing veterinarian. When in doubt about your pet's health, always visit a veterinarian.~~