Pet Advice and Pet News

Parvo Cases in Local Dogs on the Rise - SF Gate

The SF/SPCA has diagnosed a significant number of young and adolescent dogs with Canine Parvovirus at its veterinary hospital. There have been 16 reported cases since October 1, compared with just one case per month in previous years. All of the infected dogs have spent time in Golden Gate Park and in the Haight District.

Jan McHugh-Smith, president of The SF/SPCA urges all dog guardians who frequent these areas to make sure their dogs' inoculations are current. Although Parvo is a serious and life threatening disease, it has a survival rate of almost 80 percent if it is diagnosed and treated quickly. Symptoms of the disease include lethargy, vomiting and diarrhea. If your dog has been in Golden Gate Park or the Haight recently and is exhibiting these symptoms, Dr. Jack Aldridge, SF/SPCA director of veterinary services advises that you take him or her to your veterinarian right away.

Canine Parvovirus is a resilient virus that can survive for five months or longer in the right conditions. It is spread through contaminated feces, clothing, bedding, food dishes, floors and soil. Insects and rodents can also act as vectors. Prevention includes inoculation against the disease. The recommended protocol is to vaccinate puppies beginning when they are 6 to 8 weeks old, and to revaccinate every three weeks until the puppy is 16 to 20 weeks old. A booster is given at one year and every one to three years thereafter.

More detailed information about Canine Parvovirus is available on the ASPCA website, including prevention and disease outbreak management.

Britain's Fattest Pets Go Head to Head
Telegraph (UK)

Britain's fattest cat is battling it out with other overweight pets to win the title of the UK's biggest animal slimmer.

Along with seven dogs, 13 year old Tinks will be given a specially tailored 100 day diet and fitness programme.

When Bruce Brine, adopted the cat six years ago it weighed over 11kg and it remains 96 per cent overweight despite losing more than a kilo.

As a stray, Tinks was being fed by about four different neighbours and as a result suffers heart problems and spends most of his time asleep.

In total, the participants in the Pet Fit club organised by animal charity PDSA weigh 191kg and need to lose more than 74kg, equivalent to the weight of David Beckham, to reach their ideal shape.

Around 30 per cent or nearly 2 million of Britain’s dogs are overweight or obese and the numbers have risen sharply in recent years.

“PDSA is extremely concerned about the rising numbers of obese pets,” said the charity's Senior Veterinary Surgeon, Sean Wensley. “The aim of PDSA Pet Fit Club is to encourage owners to think about the food and exercise they are giving their pets to ensure they are healthy.”

Mr Wensley added: “Many owners admit to spoiling and over feeding their pets. Alongside their daily portions of pet food, owners often show their affection by giving unhealthy human treats such as cheese, buttered toast and biscuits. They don’t realise they are actually killing their pets with kindness. This, combined with a lack of, or not enough, exercise, is causing the growing number of obese pets, many of which face a lifetime of serious health problems because of their weight.

“In a nutshell, exercise, nutrition and awareness of what shape your pet should be are key in helping address the ever-expanding waistlines of the UK’s pets.”

At the end of Pet Fit Club, the pet with the biggest percentage weight loss and that, in the opinion of the judges, has best followed their new regime, will be crowned ‘PDSA Pet Fit Club Champ’. The winner's owner will be awarded a ‘pet-friendly’ holiday in Wales.

Dogs vs. Cats: Who Appreciates Their Owners More?
Posted by catlady - Atlanta Pets

For those of us with mixed households (dogs and cats), this anonymously-written pet “diary” circulating the Internet should strike home:

The Dog’s Diary

8:00 a.m. - Dog food! My favorite thing!
9:30 a.m. - A car ride! My favorite thing!
9:40 a.m. - A walk in the park! My favorite thing!
10:30 a.m. - Got rubbed and petted! My favorite thing!
12:00 p.m. - Milk bones! My favorite thing!
1:00 p.m. - Played in the yard! My favorite thing!
3:00 p.m. - Wagged my tail! My favorite thing!
5:00 p.m. - Dinner! My favorite thing!
7:00 p.m. - Got to play ball! My favorite thing!
8:00 p.m. - Wow! Watched TV with the people! My favorite thing!
11:00 p.m. - Sleeping on the bed! My favorite thing!

The Cat’s Diary

Day 983 of my captivity.

My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects. They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while the other inmates and I are fed hash or some sort of dry nuggets. Although I make my contempt for the rations perfectly clear, I nevertheless must eat something in order to keep up my strength.

The only thing that keeps me going is my dream of escape. In an attempt to disgust them, I once again vomit on the carpet. Today I decapitated a mouse and dropped its headless body at their feet. I had hoped this would strike fear into their hearts, since it clearly demonstrates my capabilities. However, they merely made condescending comments about what a “good little hunter” I am. Morons!

There was some sort of assembly of their accomplices tonight. I was placed in solitary confinement for the duration of the event. However, I could hear the noises and smell the food. I overheard that my confinement was due to the power of “allergies.” I must learn what this means, and how to use it to my advantage.

Today I was almost successful in an attempt to assassinate one of my tormentors by weaving around his feet as he was walking. I must try this again tomorrow, but at the top of the stairs.

I am convinced that the other prisoners here are flunkies and snitches. The dog receives special privileges. He is regularly released, and seems to be more than willing to return. He is obviously retarded. The bird must be an informant. I observe him communicate with the guards regularly. I am certain that he reports my every move. My captors have arranged protective custody for him in an elevated cell, so he is safe. For now…


Hartsdale Pet Cemetery ranks with the Taj Mahal
By Marcela Rojas • The Journal News

HARTSDALE - Their tombstones share glimpses of tender years spent serving as beloved companions and loyal kin.

"The little-stand in brother who mended a broken heart," reads the gray headstone for Raffles, who lived from 1936 to 1953.

"For all the faithful years of love and happiness you gave," reads another.

"There's so many stories here," said Hartsdale Pet Cemetery director Ed Martin as he stood on the hillside of this 112-year-old burial ground.

Indeed, its rich human-to-animal history may have been the reason the graveyard was listed, along with the Taj Mahal in India and Egypt's Pyramids of Giza, as one of the top 10 cemeteries in the world.

Lonely Planet, a publishing company that puts out travel guidebooks, recently gave the distinction for its "Best in Travel 2009" to the Hartsdale Pet Cemetery. Other final resting sites on the "10 best places to die for" list include the Catacombs of Rome and the Pere Lachaise in Paris, France where Doors' musician Jim Morrison and writers Oscar Wilde and Marcel Proust are buried.

"We're honored to be in that company," Martin said. "No one has to come here and bury their pet. It's something that is really a pure act of love."

The Hartsdale Pet Cemetery was started in 1896, when Dr. Samuel Johnson, a veterinarian, offered to let a bereaved client, who didn't know what to do with her dog's remains, bury her pet on his property. Johnson's act of kindness would turn into the country's first pet cemetery.

The hillside burial ground, which overlooks North Central Avenue, now contains some 15,000 plots, Martin said. Paths covered in leaves lead to countless headstones, festooned with flowers and balloons that fill the nearly 5-acre property.

Each year, some 600 animals are buried there, Martin said. Owners can either inter their pets' cremated ashes or put them in caskets. While 98 percent of the animals are cats and dogs, there are rabbits, birds, turtles and at least two cremated horses in the ground, Martin said.

Interestingly, the cemetery is not just for animals. About 10 people's cremated remains are laid to rest there each year, Martin said. His favorite spot is a remote area that looks out over the terrain, where his parents and in-laws, along with one of his dogs, are buried, he said.

Geraldine Mitchell of Hawthorne visits Hartsdale Pet Cemetery twice a week to pay respects to her two dogs, Maggie, a shepherd mix, and Lily, a purebred cocker spaniel. Yesterday, Mitchell offered special prayers to her pets, who she said were "like my children."

"This is a very quiet, very spiritual and safe place, where I can come and talk to them and reminisce," said Mitchell, a nurse. "For me, this place gives me a sense of peace. They are part of my family. They give you unconditional love. So we try to give back, like you would a loved one."

Homes Sought for Retired Dogs Amid Track Closings

CINCINNATI (AP) — Pet adoption agencies are pushing to find homes for a growing number of retired greyhounds amid a struggling dog racing industry and a weak U.S. economy that's left some prospective and current owners unable to afford a pet.

Many of the estimated 300 adoption groups nationwide are seeing increases in returns of adopted greyhounds and declines in new adoptions.

"There have been a lot of stress-related returns with people losing their houses or their jobs and more adoption groups are reporting new adoptions are down," said Michael McCann, president of The Greyhound Project Inc., a Boston-based nonprofit that provides support and information to greyhound adoption organizations and the public. "It seems to be related to the economy mostly."

The problem is compounded by more racetracks closing — at least seasonally — in the face of increased competition from casino gambling and the general economic slowdown, McCann said.

Most recently, Massachusetts voted Nov. 4 to ban greyhound racing, leading to the closure of two tracks there by Jan. 1, 2010.

"With some tracks having several hundred dogs, they have to go somewhere," McCann said. "Some of them can go to other tracks, but many of them are ending up needing to be adopted."

He said the problem is not confined to the continental United States. The recent closure of a racetrack in Guam left about 150 dogs needing homes, and animal rescue officials have been contacting U.S. groups for help.

"They may have to be destroyed if there is no place else to go," McCann said.

Nonprofit greyhound adoption groups and others trying to promote adoptions also are seeing a decrease in donations as potential donors become financially strapped.

Joanna Wolfe, president of Triangle Greyhound Society in Raleigh, N.C., said there has been a downturn in the number of people attending events held to provide information on greyhounds that allow adoption groups to raise funds.

"It can cost at least $300 just to get a dog ready for adoption, with the necessary shots and vet checks and having it spayed or neutered," Wolfe said. "And that doesn't include housing and feeding the dogs and trying to find homes for them."

Joan Buck, foster coordinator of Queen City Greyhounds in Cincinnati, said her group is doing better than some.

"It amazes me that we are doing so well, with adoptions up from last year," Buck said. "But there are always more greyhounds than there are homes, and I think everyone is concerned about that."

Greyhound Friends Inc., located in the Boston suburb of Hopkinton, typically has about 35 dogs, with a few more in foster care. Executive Director Louise Coleman said the group has had a lot of dogs coming in from four tracks that closed for the season in New England.

"We have about 200 on a waiting list to come here," Coleman said, adding that the list is usually about half that number.

The National Greyhound Association, the registry for racing greyhounds on North America, estimates that 20,000 greyhounds are adopted annually.

"While adoptions have been increasing in recent years, we don't expect any increase this year and it might stagnate a bit in the current economy," said Gary Guccione, executive director of the Abilene, Kan.-based group.

He said the racing industry has been hurt by stagnant purses and the rising cost of raising a greyhound from birth until it can go to the track at about 18 months of age — about $2,500 per dog.

Guccione and McCann said greyhounds make wonderful pets because they are quiet, gentle, adaptable and accustomed to human handling.

"Twenty years ago greyhound adoption was nearly unheard of, and they were routinely put down at the end of their career," McCann said. "But adoption groups and the industry have worked hard and are still working hard to change that."

On the Net:
Greyhound Project Inc.:
Triangle Greyhound Society:
Queen City Greyhounds:
Greyhound Friends Inc.:
National Greyhound Association:

Finding Right Kind of Dog Nothing to Sneeze At
MCT News Service • From

Hypoallergenic breeds have gained attention as a result of president-elect Obama's search for a dog for his allergy-suffering daughter Malia. Obama commented wryly in his first news conference that the canine question had "generated more interest on our Web site than just about anything."

Seems Malia isn't alone. Approximately 10 percent of Americans are allergic to dogs, with reactions ranging from itchy eyes to more serious complications such as asthma attacks or constricted breathing, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. While no dog is 100 percent hypoallergenic, there are many breeds the American Kennel Club suggests for allergy sufferers. These breeds have non-shedding coats, which produce less dander (it's the skin dander that is attached to pet hair which causes most pet allergies in humans).

So what breeds are up for discussion as potential first pet for the Obamas? Hypoallergenic canine candidates include:

• Bedlington Terrier

• Bichon Frise

• Chinese Crested

• Irish Water Spaniel

• Kerry Blue Terrier

• Maltese

• Poodles (Toy, Miniature or Standard)

• Portuguese Water Dog

• Schnauzer (Miniature, Standard or Giant)

• Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier

• Xoloitzcuintli (show-low-eats-quint-lee)

"These breeds may be just what the doctor ordered for people with allergies," says Lisa Peterson, spokesperson for the American Kennel Club. "There are a variety of sizes, energy levels and temperaments, yet all are well-established in their coat type. Dogs that are AKC registered have pedigrees reaching back often hundreds of years and so the characteristics that make them better companions for allergy suffers are fixed through decades of breeding for consistent type."

"Designer dogs," often mixed with poodles, are not recommended for allergy suffers due to their unpredictable coat. Each dog in a litter of mixed breeds is unique in its size, coat type, temperament and energy level, making the high prices unjustifiable and the claims these dogs are ideal misleading at best. A "designer dog" lacks the predictability and could pose a problem for Obama's allergy-suffering daughter.

Pet owners should prep the home when it comes to keeping allergens at bay. Measures that help include removing carpets, heavy drapes and upholstered furniture that trap dander; washing pet beds often and grooming your dog frequently, and not letting the pet sleep on the bed of an allergy sufferer.

Before you acquire any dog, research the breed to make sure its needs fit your lifestyle.

Additional tips can be found on the American Kennel Club Web site at

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