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What Puppy Mills Do
by Gregg Terry

You may have heard the words "puppy mills" on the news, or seen reports of them on the internet. These reports are often just a few seconds mentioning another puppy mill under investigation. These reports do not often give the whole story of what goes on in a puppy mill.
Humane societies, animal rights groups, and other concerned citizens are constantly investigating puppy mills. They seek to educate the public about them and garner support for more aggressive action against them. They see the horrors that go on behind the doors of puppy mill operations.

Puppy mills are operations whereby purebred puppies are bred in great quantity. These breeding facilities are designed to produce the greatest number of puppies possible, for size of the operation, and get them out to pet retailers as fast as possible.

These puppy mills supply pet stores and online pet retailers. Many people buy their dogs from places that say they do not buy from puppy mills, when in actuality they do. That's why buying from a quality breeder or adapting a pet from an animal shelter is a safer route for purchasing a pet.

A puppy mill is usually an overcrowded facility. Often dogs spend their entire lives in a cage, or from cage to cage. They rarely, if ever see the outdoors. They also get little or no exercise during their daily existence. They are solely used for breeding purposes and when they are no longer suitable as breeders they are usually killed. If they are not killed, they are abandoned or sold to another puppy mill that feels they can get more days of use out of them. Once in their new environment they are subject to the same abuse.

Puppy mills are breeding grounds for not only puppies but disease as well. There are many puppy mills that are dirty, unkempt, and overcrowded places, that rarely see a visit from a veterinarian. These conditions, because they are so unhygienic, cause diseases and infections to spread amongst the dog population. It is for reasons such as this that humane societies and other groups are working hard to have these puppy mills outlawed in North America.

Puppy mills also over-breed, which produces puppies with health and behavioral problems. The breeding dogs are also under great stress health-wise as all they do is eat, sleep, and breed in an endless routine. They are made to do this until they are physically incapable of doing so anymore. Add to that the fact that the food in puppy mills is of poor quality and you have health problems waiting to happen.

When it comes to puppy mills one of the cruelest aspects of them are the lack of love and human touch the dogs receive. Like humans, these dogs crave touch and contact. They rarely if ever receive the touch of a friendly warm hand caressing them and praising them. Their days are mundane ones in cramped quarters, followed my more days of the same.

This is what puppy mills do. These puppy mills exist because of pet retailers only concerned about a continual supply coming their way. On both ends of the chain there is very little or no concern for the dogs and puppies they produce. The only concern is more production for more profit. The profit motive in society is not the culprit here. The culprits are puppy mills and pet store owners who choose to conduct their businesses by this system. There are ways to make a profit breeding dogs; it's the decent, reputable, respectful, and humane way, which quality dog breeders choose to live by.

About the Author
Want to learn more about puppy mills? SafeBreeder has some very informative puppy mill articles.


Seattle's Best Pet Pics
The Seattle Times

Dog Tears and Senior Years
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

We found some of the best pet experts in metro Atlanta. Today’s advice comes from Dr. Will Draper of the Village Veterinary Centers. Click here to see all the AJCpets experts. And feel free to submit questions in the form of a comment today.

Q: I have an 8-month-old yellow lab who has developed a reddish line from his right eye. I have seen it before on light-colored dogs and I believe it’s a discoloration from their tears. Is there any way to treat it?

A: The discoloration (or “reddish line”) noted from dogs’ eyes are caused by porphyrin, a compound secreted by a gland just under the third eyelid (porphyrin is also present in saliva, which explains the discoloration noted on the paws of light-colored dogs who lick their feet a lot). It is not abnormal and really can’t “go away,” but there are many commercial products available that can help to clear it up.

If your dog is having a more prominent discharge from one particular eye, this can indicate either eye irritation, injury, or even a clogged tear duct. A visit to your veterinarian to rule this out.

Q: After 13 years, my keeshound mix has decided it’s OK — even preferable — to urinate inside the house. He doesn’t respond to scolding. In the last few months, he’s lost his mind. His personality has changed, and he often will stare into a corner blankly. He never barks anymore. He will only lay down on his bed (never on the porch or in another room). He has a hard time walking on our hardwood floors. It’s become very sad and extremely frustrating. Can he be retrained to pee outside? What’s happened to him so suddenly?

A: The symptoms you are describing are much more significant than a dog who is no longer house broken. Senior dogs can have lots of issues that cause such behavioral changes, including urinary or kidney infections, kidney disease, endocrine (glandular) diseases, joint (or other) pain, or uroliths (urinary bladder stones) to name a few. Older dogs also can suffer from cognitive disorders (similar to Alzheimer’s), or senility. This will cause abrupt changes in attitude.

A complete diagnostic work up from your veterinarian is in order to determine the cause, and to help find any possible solutions.

Pet Sayings: Hair of the Dog
SF Gate

"Hair of the dog" is part of a longer expression — "the hair of the dog that bit you." It comes from the old wives' tale that the hair of a dog that bites someone could be used as an antidote against the effects of the bite. By extension, another drink (or three) on the heels of an alcohol binge is said to cure a hangover.

The use of the phrase as a metaphor for a hangover treatment dates back to the time of William Shakespeare. Ebenezer Cobham Brewer writes in the Dictionary of Phrase and Fable (1898): "In Scotland, it is a popular belief that a few hairs of the dog that bit you applied to the wound will prevent evil consequences. Applied to imbibing, it means if overnight you have indulged too freely, take a glass of the same wine next morning to soothe the nerves."

Of course, a hangover is due partly to the toxic chemicals found in alcohol, and partly to the body's reaction to withdrawal. And while consuming more alcohol may help to temporarily blunt some of the symptoms, sadly it will only aggravate them later when the body has additional toxins to deal with.


Fishless Cycling For Your Tropical Aquarium
by Janet Bugby

Once you have set up your tropical aquarium the next step is to 'cycle' it. This process produces beneficial bacteria that will process the waste ammonia from your fish and convert it into nitrites and then into relatively harmless nitrates. After adding fish to an uncycled tank the toxic ammonia and nitrite levels will rise to a dangerous high until there are sufficient numbers of bacteria to convert them into less toxic nitrates. In order to overcome this methods have been devised to encourage the growth of the bacteria. The traditional method is to add a few 'hardy' fish that will produce ammonia to encourage bacteria growth while the tank is 'cycling'. This method is very stressful for the fish, many of which die or are damaged by the process. The toxic ammonia burns the gills and leads to permanent damage. At the end of the 'cycling' you are left with fish in poor condition which you may not want in your aquarium.
A better, more humane method to cycle the tank is to use a fishless cycling method. It uses household ammonia as a source, rather than live fish, and a bacteria culture obtained from a healthy tank or purchased from an aquarium supplier.

The Bacteria Starter Culture

You can obtain a starter bacteria culture by adding some gravel, filter medium or rock from a healthy, aged tropical fish tank. If you do not have a source there are commercial products available, for example StressZyme or Hagen's Cycle. The culture will give a quick start to producing a colony of bacteria but you can also use this method without a starter culture. It will take a bit longer then to cycle your tank.

The Ammonia

Purchase some unscented, additive free 100% ammonia. Some aquarium supply shops are now selling ammonia for this purpose. If you know a chemist or science teacher they may be able to get you some pure ammonia from a laboratory supplier..

The Tank Temperature

The bacteria (Nitrosomonas and Nitrobacter) thrive best at higher temperature than is usually used for a tropical tank so during the cycling increase the temperature to between 30 and 35 C (85-95F). When you add the fish you can turn it down again.

Testing Kit

A testing kit to check the ammonia and nitrite levels is essential to test the levels and to indicate when cycling is complete.

The Fishless Cycling Method

Extra aeration is recommended while cycling as bacteria need oxygen to grow. Increase the aeration through the tank and filter if possible. You could add an extra air stone or even use an extra pump if one is available. Add your bacteria culture, then add about a teaspoon of ammonia for a small tank. Increase this for a larger tank. Allow about an hour for the ammonia to circulate then test. The ammonia level should be between 5 mg/L (or 5ppm). Add some more ammonia if the level is too low. Leave the tank alone for a few days then test again.

At this stage the ammonia level should begin to drop and the nitrite level to rise. This means that the bacteria are doing their job of processing the ammonia. Add some more ammonia when it drops to zero to give the bacteria more to work on. The nitrite level should rise until it reaches a maximum then begin to drop as the nitrites are converted into relatively harmless nitrates. Three or four days after the maximum nitrite levels are seen the nitrite level should drop to zero. The cycling is now complete.

Change about 50-70% of the water, carefully so as not to disturb the filter or the gravel bed where the bacteria are colonised. Reset the temperature to 25°C, or the recommended temperature for your intended fish and allow the temperature to stabilise for a few hours. Retest for ammonia and nitrites and if the levels are zero you can now begin to add some fish.

It is possible after cycling the tank to add all the fish in one go but this will result in a spike in the ammonia and nitrite levels which is stressful for the fish and could cause them to become diseased. adding the fish slowly will allow the bacteria to grow to cope with the added levels of ammonia excreted by the fish. Even for a fully cycled tank it is advisable to gradually add the fish. aim to take about a month to fully stock the tank.

A fishless cycling method is more efficient and produces a fully cycled tank in a much shorter time than the traditional method of using hardy fish. It is also more humane and you will not be left with unwanted, often damaged fish, at the end.

About the Author
For more information about aquariums and fish keeping and some good deals on aquariums check out Cheap Aquariums for Sale or Cheap Acrylic Aquariums

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How to Train a Cat
by Lasse Kohau

Cats can be trained, as well as dogs. A cat can be trained to perform on cue. All successful animal training is accomplished through praise and food rewards.

Compare a cat and a dog ! A dog is built from nature to be a pack animal, which means â€" to be dominated by a higher ranking member of the pack (owner). On the contrary, cats being solitary predators (hunts for living), and will by nature avoid or attack those who show hostility towards them. (enemy or owner). The key thing in the training program is to spot the food treat immediately each time, it responds to a verbal cue from the owner, followed by a desired behavior, from the cat.

A cat should come, when called upon. This is of course basic feline training for cat-owners. Even though your cat is a “house” cat, it should always anyway master this simple etiquette.

Chose your lines, do the Kitty, Kitty, Kitty-line or simple call it by name. I prefer to call my cats by name. They are still part of the family. Call the cat before serving his most wanted meal a day and reward it for coming with a special food treat. (same training as with dogs and horses).

If your cat has a destructive scratching problem, it is very easy to solve. It is very easy to train a cat to scratch on a post. The scratching post must meet some basic criteria to be acceptable to the cat;

A) Dimensions should be right for cat size B) Made of soft wood, not carpet C) Mounted stable

It should be placed in front of the previous scratching target or offer â€" usually in a room where cat and family spends time together. To encourage the cat to use it, scratch on the post yourself with your nails and call the over. Praise the cat, whenever he uses the post.

It will soon become a natural habit for the cat.

Good Luck

Surgery Will Put Dog With Amputated Leg Back On All Fours Again

A pioneering North Carolina State University collaboration between a veterinary surgeon and an engineer will give a deserving dog the ability to walk on four legs again.

Cassidy, a male German shepherd mix, was born with a defect in his right hind leg. His owner was referred to NC State's College of Veterinary Medicine in 2005 in order to have the defective limb removed. Three years later, Cassidy is back, this time for surgery that will replace the lost leg with an osseointegrated prosthetic limb.

Dr. Denis Marcellin-Little, associate professor of orthopedics, and Dr. Ola Harrysson, associate professor of industrial and systems engineering, are pioneers in the area of osseointegration, a process that fuses a prosthetic limb with an animal's (or human's) bones. The result is a custom-designed, limb-sparing prosthesis that behaves more like a natural limb - and a technique with implications for the future of human prosthetics.

Marcellin-Little and Harrysson began their work on osseointegrated pet prosthetics in 2005 with a cat named George Bailey, who had been born without the lower half of his hind legs. Harrysson designed and built the limb in collaboration with his students and Marcellin-Little, who performed the surgery. The procedure involved inserting a titanium nail into one of the legs and securing it with screws.

Since then, the collaborators have improved and strengthened the design, and Cassidy's limb surgery will be the third of its kind- and the first such surgery on a dog - performed at NC State.

"This research collaboration, along with new technologies, has made it possible for us to custom design and directly fabricate metal prosthetic implants in a timely and economical fashion," Harrysson says. "Ten years ago this process would have taken much longer, cost much more and not been as accurate. We see this process becoming even faster and more cost-effective in the future."

The researchers hope that Cassidy won't be the sole beneficiary of this surgery.

"The implications for this procedure are huge," Marcellin-Little says. "As we gain more experience with the surgical technique and the design of the limbs, we see the possible benefits for humans - implants that allow the prosthetic limbs to attach without chafing or irritation, and limbs with more natural ranges of motion. We believe that this is the future of prosthetics."

Adapted from materials provided by North Carolina State University.

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