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WINTER PERSISTS....

Posted Jan 16 2011 12:00am

The Pacific Northwest, the Great Plains, the Midwest, and the East Coast have been experiencing the type of winter that Desperado and Helpful Buckeye shoveled through last year.  If this is the result of La Nina, instead of El Nino, it's OK with us.  Granted, our temperatures have been lower than normal but...I haven't had to shovel nearly as much snow.  Our sympathies to all of you in the other parts of the USA, but it's much better to share this stuff, don't you think?

Mark Twain had a few really good things to say about cold, wintry weather
"Winter is begun here, now, I suppose. It blew part of the hair off the dog yesterday & got the rest this morning."  In a letter to Chatto and Windus, October 21, 1892.

"The captain had been telling how, in one of his Arctic voyages, it was so cold that the mate's shadow froze fast to the deck and had to be ripped loose by main strength. And even then he got only about two-thirds of it back."  From Following the Equator

"Cold! If the thermometer had been an inch longer we'd all have frozen to death." Quoted in Mark Twain and I

And, lastly, our good friend, "Anonymous", had this to say about snow:

"A snowflake is one of Mother Nature’s most fragile creations, but look what they can do when they stick together."



Anonymous must have been watching me last winter when I was shoveling 76" of snow in 4 days!

Anyway, the point here is that, while beautiful to behold in certain circumstances, winter and snow can add up to a bunch of trouble for your pets.  The Humane Society of the United States has offered these words of cautionary advice to pet owners: 

Keep Pets Inside in Winter

Leaving pets outside in extreme temperatures is a crime
As the temperature plummets in many parts of the country, The Humane Society of the United States is seeing a marked increase in the number of complaints of dogs and cats left outside with no food or shelter. Callers to The HSUS are encouraged to contact local law enforcement agencies because pets left outside in extreme temperatures without food and shelter are at risk of hypothermia, frostbite, and even death, placing their owners at risk of facing criminal charges.

“The act of leaving a pet outside without food or adequate shelter often receives less attention than a violent attack against an animal, but neglect is a crime. Especially in these cold months, it is important for people to bring their pets inside and for others to report neglected animals to law enforcement,” said Ashley Mauceri, The Humane Society of the United States’ manager of animal cruelty issues, who fields these calls.

Animal neglect is one of the most common forms of animal cruelty, and is investigated more by police and animal control agencies than any other form of animal abuse. Our most constant companions—dogs and cats—feel the effects of winter weather as much as we do, only they are too often cast outside to weather the storm due to a misconception that the fur on their backs will insulate them from suffering. Without proper food and water, to boot, these domesticated animals’ chances of survival in frigid temperatures is greatly decreased.

While views on animal welfare vary from region to region, laws are in place in every state to prevent needless suffering. Callers to The HSUS report numerous cases across the country of animals left out in the cold, but the organization is also working with an increasing number of law enforcement agencies that recognize the importance of intervention in these cases.

The facts:
  • Animal neglect is considered a misdemeanor crime in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
  • All but 10 states (Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Hawaii, Kentucky, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Mexico and North Carolina) specifically require pet owners to provide adequate shelter for a pet outside, the definition of which generally includes some variation of “protection from the elements or extreme weather.”
  • Felony penalties can be levied in Massachusetts and Oklahoma for any animal neglect case.
  • Felony charges can be applied in animal neglect resulting in death in California, Connecticut, Florida and Washington, D.C.
Most of our readers (80%) weren't quite sure how to feel about having a fever.  That's understandable when most of us have been taught that a fever is something to get rid of.  All of our respondents believed that the cat in reference was really 39 years old.  Nobody wanted anything to do with the "Tripe Sticks".  Lastly, about 25% reported having some form of pet insurance.  Remember to answer this week's poll questions in the column to the left.

Just as a reminder, you can e-mail Helpful Buckeye at: dogcatvethelp@gmail.com and you can leave a comment at the end of each blog issue...simply click on "Comment" and follow the instructions.

DISEASES, AILMENTS, AND MEDICAL CONDITIONS

Canine malignant lymphoma is a progressive, fatal disease caused by the malignant expansion of lymphoid cells. Lymphoma most commonly arises from organized lymphoid tissues including the bone marrow, thymus, lymph nodes, and spleen. In addition to these primary and secondary lymphoid organs, other fairly common sites include the skin, eye, central nervous system (CNS), testicles, and bone. Lymphoma is reported to be the most common blood cell-origin cancer in dogs, mainly in older dogs. Despite the prevalence of malignant lymphoma, its origin remains poorly characterized. Possible causes include retrovirus infection, environmental contamination with phenoxyacetic acid herbicides, magnetic field exposure, chromosomal abnormalities, and immune dysfunction.


Clinical Findings:

Canine lymphoma is a cancer with variable clinical signs depending in part on the anatomic region involved and extent of disease. In dogs, 4 well recognized anatomic forms of lymphoma have been described:

  • multicentric,
  • alimentary (digestive system),
  • mediastinal (space between the lungs—location of thymus gland), and
  • locations other than lymphoid tissue (renal, CNS, and cutaneous).
Multicentric lymphoma is by far the most common form, accounting for ~80% of all diagnosed cases. An early clinical sign of multicentric lymphoma is the rapid and nonpainful development of generalized swelling of lymph glands. In addition to dramatic peripheral lymph node swelling, malignant lymphocytes may infiltrate internal organs including the spleen, liver, bone marrow, and other non-lymphoid sites. Late in the course of disease, when a significant tumor burden exists, patients may show constitutional signs of illness, including lethargy, weakness, fever, loss of appetite, and depression.

Alimentary lymphoma accounts for <10% of all canine lymphomas. Dogs with focal intestinal lesions may exhibit clinical signs consistent with partial or complete intestinal obstruction (eg, vomiting, abdominal pain). With diffuse involvement of the intestinal tract, dogs with alimentary lymphoma may show significant GI signs, including loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, and profound weight loss secondary to severe malabsorption and maldigestion.

Mediastinal lymphoma, similar to the alimentary form, comprises only a small fraction of diagnosed cases. It is typically characterized by enlargement of the forward mediastinal lymph nodes, thymus, or both. Mediastinal lymphoma arising from the thymus may exhibit clinical signs that include respiratory distress.

The clinical findings associated with extranodal lymphoma (which may involve the skin, lungs, kidneys, eyes, and CNS) can be quite variable and are dictated by the organ infiltrated. Cutaneous lymphoma may appear as solitary, raised, ulcerative nodules or generalized, diffuse, scaly lesions. Clinical signs of lymphoma at other extranodal sites include respiratory distress (lungs), renal failure (kidneys), blindness (eyes), and seizures (CNS).

Lesions:

Commonly, all superficial and various internal lymph nodes are 3-10 times normal size (in the multicentric form). Affected nodes are freely movable and firm. Frequently, there is liver and/or spleen enlargement. In the alimentary form, any part of the GI tract or abdominal lymph nodes may be affected. Involvement of the bone marrow, CNS, kidney, heart, tonsils, pancreas, and eyes can be seen but is less common.

Diagnosis:

The definitive diagnosis of lymphoma is often uncomplicated and can be obtained by either cytologic (fine-needle aspiration) or histopathologic (surgical biopsy) evaluation of the affected organ system. In dogs with multicentric lymphoma, fine-needle aspiration of enlarged peripheral lymph nodes usually provides specimens of adequate cellular content and detail to make a definitive diagnosis. Despite the ease of diagnosis, cytology  is unable to categorize the wide spectrum of lymphomas with regard to the stage of advancement of the disease. Due to these constraints, histopathologic tissue evaluation remains the gold standard for the diagnosis of lymphoma, providing additional information required for definitive classification of the severity of the cancer.

Treatment:

Treatment of multicentric canine lymphoma with aggressive, multi-agent chemotherapy protocols is often rewarding, with >90% of all dogs achieving some clinical response. The most common chemotherapeutic agents used in combination protocols are vincristine, adriamycin, cyclophosphamide, L-asparaginase, and prednisone. Individual treatment protocols vary with respect to dosage, frequency, and duration of treatment. Advantages and disadvantages of each treatment protocol can be discussed with your veterinarian. With combination chemotherapy, the expected survival time for dogs with lymphoma will vary depending on the location and duration of the condition.

Despite the favorable outcomes expected in treating multicentric lymphoma, the successful management of other anatomic forms of lymphoma is often more difficult and less rewarding. Alimentary lymphoma, if localized, can be treated effectively with surgical removal and combination chemotherapy. However, with diffuse involvement of the intestinal tract, low constitutional reserve and severe malabsorption of nutrients and loss of proteins often results in poor clinical responses and short survival times (ie, <3 mo). The use of combination chemotherapy can afford dogs with mediastinal lymphoma considerable improvement in survival times and quality-of-life scores, but the expected median duration of remission is ~6 mo for them. Lymphoma involving other extranodal sites such as the skin, can be managed with combination therapies including surgery, radiation, and systemic chemotherapy; however, the development of progressive worsening of the disease is common.

Adapted from the Merck Veterinary Manual....

BREED OF THE WEEK

Cat Breed: LaPerm


Appearance: This increasingly popular cat breed is best known for the unusual curly coat for which it's named. "LaPerm" means wavy or rippled and, according to the LaPerm Society of America, even the LaPerm's whiskers are curly. The LaPerm's distinctive coat comes in a range of lengths, from short and wavy to long with corkscrew curls, notes the Cat Fanciers' Association. Likewise, the LaPerm's coat comes in all recognized colors and patterns.

History: The LaPerm breed was developed from humble, barn cat stock. In 1982, a bald kitten was born on an Oregon farm. Within eight weeks, according to the CFA, the kitten began to grow a very soft, curly coat. At the time, the farmer decided the cat was simply an anomaly. However, when an increasing number of bald, then curly-haired kittens appeared in future litters, the farmer decided to start controlling the breeding of the unusual cats.

Personality: Aside from its curly coat, another hallmark of the breed is the LaPerm's extremely social personality. According to the LPSA, LaPerms seek out human contact and love to rub their faces against their owner's face and neck. The CFA describes the LaPerm as an active breed, but one that is also quite content to be a lap kitty. On the whole, the LaPerm is reported to be a fairly quiet breed -- if you don't count its constant purring. LaPerms are also noted to be highly intelligent, often learning to play fetch and perform tricks.

What Fans Say: LaPerm Society of America webmaster Cathy Hurley says about her LaPerm: "I have a shorthaired LaPerm named Brisco; he is the sweetest, most loving cat I have ever had. He loves to follow me wherever I go, and he is a very good traveler. Brisco is always there to greet me at the door and cuddle with me at night. His fur is wavy and feels very airy and springy, but the best thing about the LaPerm is its wonderful people-oriented personality."


Breed information from PawNation.com....

PRODUCTS OF THE WEEK

1)  As all feline lovers know, odors from the litter box or the occasional accident can overwhelm the house with that dreaded cat urine smell.  Although cat owners may feel like the fearful odor is an unsolvable problem, a number of products can help restore a clean, fresh scent to households.  The folks at Zootoo.com have put together a list of 5 products they feel will help you deal with the problem of cat urine odors:  http://www.pawnation.com/2011/01/12/zootoo-review-5-great-products-for-getting-rid-of-cat-urine-sm/  

After each product, click on the blue type and you will be taken to that information page.

2) Many pet owners use the trick of wrapping or crushing medicines and vitamins in food to help maintain pet health. Fortunately, certain pet treats now offer extra ingredients to promote wellness and help your four-legged friends thrive. Our pals at Zootoo.com rounded up their favorite pet treats with a little "something extra" to boost your pet's health. They present beneficial elements -- from antioxidants to arthritic pain relief -- in tasty packages:  http://www.pawnation.com/2010/12/22/zootoo-review-5-pet-treats-with-something-extra/

GENERAL INTEREST 

1) For any of you dog owners who have some spare cash remaining after the holidays, you might be interested in one of these "high dollar" dog houses.  To see these (8 Beautiful Modern Dog Houses From $145 - $1500 ), go to: http://www.pawnation.com/2010/12/28/8-beautiful-modern-dog-houses-from-145-1500/

Even if you cannot justify buying one of these, they may give you some ideas for the future.

2) Have you ever wondered about signs that say, BEWARE OF DOG, and the legal ramifications of displaying such a sign?  According to this consumer advisor at the Arizona Republic, the sign might be a good idea: http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/business/articles/2011/01/02/20110102biz-cherry0103.html



3) Do you think your pet shows signs of having a 6th sense?  You know, they might be able to let you know that something is about to happen? According to a new poll conducted by the Associated Press and Petside.com , two-thirds of American pet owners believe their animal companions have a sixth sense that alerts them to future events or gives them insight into their owners.  For more information on this phenomenon, go to: http://www.pawnation.com/2011/01/12/majority-of-americans-believe-pets-have-psychic-powers/

4) Perhaps it's time to put aside the time-worn phrase, "A dog is a man's best friend," in favor of ..."a woman's best friend"?  Also, the phrase "working like a dog" has never been more literal than in the English town of Coventry where a 4-year-old dog named Sandie is a regular "growl Friday" for her disabled owner, Sue Line.  Sandie, a crossbreed between a Sheltie-collie mom and a Staffordshire bull terrier dad, has been doing practically everything for Line since the pooch was a tender 3 months old, including the shopping, the washing and even paying for groceries.  This is a great story: http://www.aolnews.com/2011/01/13/this-dog-is-a-womans-best-friend-housekeeper-and-personal-shop/

5) In the war on roadside bombs, the Pentagon has spent billions on everything from radio-signal jammers to robots, but there's one tool that's beaten them all -- dogs.  Now, instead of trying to come up with a technology that's better than dogs, Navy scientists are focusing on how to make the bomb-sniffing dogs work better.  To learn more about this ongoing research, go to: http://www.aolnews.com/2011/01/13/nothing-sniffs-out-roadside-bombs-like-a-dogs-nose/

SPORTS NEWS
The Pittsburgh Steelers came from behind to beat the Ravens in a tough game.  The outcome was in doubt until the very end of the game.  Then, in a most improbable game, the NY Jets upset the Patriots.  That allows the Steelers to host the Jets next Sunday for the AFC Championship.  Granted, the Jets won't be easy to beat...but, the Patriots would have been even tougher to beat.  We also owe the Jets for when they beat us 4 weeks ago...with the winner going to the Super Bowl.

Ohio State's mens' basketball team should move into the #1 spot in the rankings since Duke lost this past week.  Pitt's mens' basketball team is still in the top 5.

PERSONAL STUFF

Desperado and Helpful Buckeye are beginning their quest this week to see new parts of Arizona.  Arizona is such a diverse state in many ways...it is NOT just a big desert.  Our goal is to see something new each month.  More on this as it develops....


"Animals are such agreeable friends, they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms."--George Eliot, British writer (Silas Marner)

Whether sniffing out bombs or doing the chores for an incapacitated woman, dogs still want to be around a human that cares for them.

~~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.~~
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