Pet News: Do Dogs Feel 'Guilty'?

First Drug Approved for Dog Cancer

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has announced the approval of the first drug developed specifically for the treatment of cancer in dogs, The Oregonian reports.

The drug, Palladia, is manufactured by Pfizer Animal Health. It is approved to treat mast-cell tumors in dogs, a type of cancer responsible for about 20 percent of canine skin tumors, according to the FDA.

While mast-cell tumors are often small, they can be a serious form of cancer in dogs. Some of these tumors are easily removed without further problems, while others can lead to life-threatening disease.

All cancer drugs now used in veterinary medicine originally were developed for use in humans and are not approved for use in animals by the FDA, although since 1994 it has been legal to prescribe certain drugs intended for humans to animals, the paper said.

Palladia works in two ways: by killing tumor cells and by cutting off the blood supply to the tumor. In a clinical trial, Palladia shrank tumors significantly, compared with a placebo.

The most common side effects associated with Palladia are diarrhea, decrease or loss of appetite, lameness and weight loss, the paper said.

Top 10 Tips to Stop Your Kitten From Chewing on Electrical Cords
By Kathy Robinson

Kittens seem to have a fascination with electrical cords. Their sharp teeth and mischievous behavior can easily ruin them, as well as power to your equipment. However, chewing on cords not only causes problems for you, it could kill your kitten.

Here are my favourite methods to stop your cat or kitten chewing your cords:

--Use masking or electrical tape and tape your cords to the wall to stop your kitten being able to access them. You could also tape over them the way they do in public places.

--Use strips of contact paper, sticky side up near your cords. Cats hate walking on something sticky.

--Make it hard to for your cat or kitten to get to cords by storing them under or behind the furniture. Out of sight is out of mind.

--Cats love dangling things, they think they are toys. If it's not possible to stop your cords from hanging, wrap them into a bundle too thick to fit into your kitten's mouth.

--Try wrapping your cords in foil. Cats don't like the feel of this and it will taste strange.

--Paint your cords with bitter or unpleasant tasting substances. Things such as mouthwash, lemon juice, toothpaste, menthol etc. Experiment with what you have in your pantry to see what works best.

--There is a product called Critter Cord which is a cord cover with a deterrent infused in it. Be careful to check that it is the one for cats as there are similar products available to kill rats.

--There are many other things you can rub onto your cords such as soap, hand cream and strong smelling products such as creams for sore joints. Use your imagination and find what works for you.

--Each time you notice your kitten or cat heading for the electrical cords, simply pick it up and place it elsewhere. It will take time, but this method of training will work.

--Distract your kitten by offering it something else to do. Play with it. Their attention span is not huge, and by diverting their attention they will soon forget about the cords in the excitement of playing with you.

By being patient and training your kitten when it is young, you will have a lot less problems, and not only with it chewing your electrical cords.

Kathy is the author of numerous articles on cat problems and the care of cats. Visit her website at Cat Problems Resolved today to find answers to problems you might be having with your cat or kitten.

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How Your Cat Could be Making You Neurotic
(... but Probably Isn't)
Clare Abreu - LA Unleashed

From science fiction or real life, you may be familiar with the manipulative powers of parasites. Invasive fungus that provokes ants to climb atop plants before dying, where it can continue growing. Rabies causes dogs to salivate and become aggressive, increasing the chance that they'll bite and spread the disease.

And Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite that actually draws rats to their predators -- cats. Manipulation is afoot here, too. Cats are the definitive hosts of this parasite, which can inhabit their brains after they kill a rat. From there, the parasite can spread to other mammals, including humans.

Researcher Kevin Lafferty proposed that T. gondii, discovered in 1908 and transmitted to roughly half of Earth's population, may be manipulating human behavior.

Characteristics of people carrying the parasite? In a Turkish study, drivers were two to four times as likely to get in car accidents if they tested positive for the bug. (Sound familiar, rats?) A study in the Czech Republic showed a sharp difference between male and female carriers. Males tended to have lower IQs, shorter attention spans, a greater likelihood of taking risks, and were more independent, antisocial and morose. Women, on the other hand, were more outgoing, friendly and promiscuous.

Overall, carriers were more likely to feel guilty (a characteristic of neurosis), and one study linked the parasite to schizophrenia.

There aren't many of these carrier studies, but there is a wealth of science on how people catch the parasite. Cat owners, do not fret: While some identify cat ownership as a slight risk, others do not. Eating undercooked meat or unwashed vegetables and handling soil are consistently more prominent factors. (Pregnant women, however, should ignore any cravings for raw meat or dirt, as the fetus can be especially at risk.)

But take another look at Garfield comics, and you may think again about whether a pet cat poses a risk. Garfield Minus Garfield cuts the cat out of the strip, exposing a strange Jon Arbuckle with schizophrenic tendencies.

A Practical Guide to Impractical Pets
Seattle Post Intelligencer

What a clever title for a book. In fact, the moment I read the title and saw the gorgeous male peacock in full regalia staring at me from the front cover….well, the book jumped right into my hands begging to be read!

The author is Barbara Burn, widow of Dr. Emil Dolensek, who was the chief veterinarian at the Bronx Zoo. Having spent many a day at the Bronx Zoo when I was a kid living in New York that was enough to intrigue me as well. Ah, the stories she must know, the insight into the care of exotics and all the hands on experience she must have observed and possibly participated in.

And, I was not disappointed. Barbara begins by talking about 'easy' pets and breaks them into categories:

*small mammals such as rats, mice, hamsters, gerbils, chinchillas, cavies (guinea pigs) rabbits, cats

*birds like budgies, small finches, canaries, lovebirds

*reptiles and amphibians like salamanders, turtles, snakes, lizards, frogs/toads

*fish like brine shrimp and land hermit crabs.

Even though, as a military family, we moved quite often during my childhood – our parents encouraged us to have a variety of pets (though' I don't think my mom was exactly 'thrilled' with some of my choices like the frogs, garter snakes, rats, innumerable mice & gerbils I had in my room or throughout the houses we lived in).

Upon reflection, I now realize my parents let us have the pets to provide consistency in our lives. We had so much upheaval from moving quite often to Daddy's new duty stations w/ the Marine Corps. Our pets always came with us and were our constant companions & yes, even our friends as we moved into each new neighborhood or military base. Sometimes it was difficult to make new friends at first yet we always had our pets to come home to - they loved us unconditionally and gave us companionship and comfort.

From easy pets, Barbara goes on to discuss "difficult pets" (they require more care!) which include domestic animals like dogs, ferrets, horses, pigs, cows, llamas, alpacas, koi, chickens, peacocks and then some wild animals like boa constrictors, pythons and green iguanas along with hedgehogs, sugar gliders, parrots and toucans.

While I never found our assorted dogs, ferrets, boa, iguana or hedgehog particularly difficult – they did require special attention, food and more involvement/work than the basic garter snakes, mice or cavies I'd had when I was younger. My parents reinforced the responsibility I had made to those individual creatures. And, thankfully encouraged me to read voraciously about the care of specific creatures and seek out professional expertise for giving the boa or the hedgehog proper nutrition and care. Fortunately, no matter where we lived, there were very patient veterinarians willing to talk to a precocious kid about her 'exotics' and helped me learn proper care and feeding protocols.

The fourth chapter was especially intriguing to me because for many years I was involved with a wildlife rehabilitation center in California. Unfortunately, I know all too well about the humans who have a wolf or a raccoon, a bear, a cougar or coyote or ocelot or serval or the assorted primates like bush babies, chimps, squirrel monkeys or marmosets and the havoc that can ensue with all the aforementioned. Barbara handles this delicate issue with grace and diplomacy and offers logical and rational explanations about why the aforementioned critters don't really make good pets for most people.

She has several chapters that deal with keeping a pet, caring for a pet from living arrangements to feeding, grooming and exercise. Her final chapters talk about selecting a veterinarian, preventative medicine, animal diseases that humans can catch and finally, she covers the end of life issues with animals.

Suffice to say, this book spoke to me on so many levels about what makes a good pet and which animal species the general public should avoid when considering having a 'unique' pet.

Our Pet Partners around the globe have a variety of wonderful animals as pets - from llamas, rabbits, guinea pigs, small horses and yes, an adorable pot bellied pig! to dogs and cats of all sizes, shapes and breeds…a wonderful mélange of loving pets from the animal world to share with people in need.

Healing Hearts of All Species,

Beware of Poison Pellets
Loyce Whitehill -

Our pet poodle died last Thursday. She was nearly 12 and a beloved family pet. It wouldn't seem so tragic, had she died of old age, however our Vet told us that after examination that she could only guess the poor dog had died of poisoning.....rat poisoning that someone in our surrounding neighborhood had put out in pellet form to get rid of either rats, opossums or pesky raccoons that have been seen recently. Apparently some critters find the pellets so 'yummy' that they pick up a few extra and carry them through neighboring yards, sometimes dropping one or two along the way. Our Vet seems to think this is what happened in our back yard and it is unfortunate that our dog found one or two and thought they were a nice little treat.

Just a word of warning to those of you who own pets: keep an eye on them. Our dog never went out of the yard without one of us with her. The only time she went into the backyard alone was to do her 'business'.....that is all it took.

A word to whoever it is who is putting out rat poison pellets: think twice before you do again. The loss of a otherwise healthy pet is devastating and unnecessary. Think twice about WHERE you put the pellets and if they might be redistributed throughout the neighborhood. Think how you would feel if it were your OWN pet.

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Pillows Stuffed with Pet Remains Not for Everyone

COLLIER COUNTY: A Collier County woman hopes to turn the loss of her pet into a booming business. Her idea is to make pillows stuffed with your pet's ashes. And many pet owners are finding comfort in the idea.

Patty Moore refuses to let go of a lost loved one.

"She was always by my side. She slept with me, watched TV with me, cooked with me - did everything with me," she said.

When her Havanese terrier named Samantha passed away, Moore had her cremated. But she couldn't believe it when the dog was left in a tin canister.

"I describe it as cold and really kind of uncaring," she explained.

While searching for a better solution, she came up with the pillow idea. She says the top of the pillow unzips and then you simply put the pet's ashes right in.

Moore says it's a way for Samantha to stay right by her side, even years after her death.

"I can still have her with me at night. I can throw her on a couch if I need to," Moore said.

Since starting Soft-Hearted Pillows in February, Moore has shipped them all around the world, for dogs, cats, birds - even rabbits.

"I've had people interested from Saudi Arabia to Canada to Mexico," Moore said.

But she also realizes the pillows aren't for everyone.

"It is a completely different idea and some people are a bit creeped out by it," she said.

But for Moore, it's just a way to preserve her pet.

"She deserved more than to be sitting on a shelf gathering dust. She deserved to be still next to me," said Moore.

Surviving the Summer Heat

Some summertime headache triggers are bright, flickering sunlight, odors, and perfumes from sunscreen, and food. Summer has hit again and many Central Texans and their pets are trying to keep cool.

Local doctors and nurses say at this time of the year they see many cases of heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. And, while the advice on avoiding these troubles is age-old and simple, it bears repeating.

• Drink plenty of water before you go out in the heat of the day. High humidity makes heat injuries more likely, because perspiration doesn’t evaporate from the skin as quickly. This causes the body to cool down more slowly. In addition, overweight people need more water than average weight people.

• Wear light-colored clothing. Darker colors can attract more of the sun’s heat, compounding your troubles.

• Avoid outdoor activities during the heat of the day. Save the yard work for the morning time, or late afternoon and early evening when the sun has begun setting.

(Source: St. David's Medical Center)


“Pets cool themselves the same way we do, through the evaporation of sweat produced by the body,” says Dr. Linda Czisny, one of Town Lake Animal Center’s full-time veterinarians. “The problem pets have is that they only have sweat glands on the soles of their feet. If that limited sweating isn’t enough, they pant, but if the air they pant is just as hot as they are, they’re unable to cool down.”

This situation can result in heat-related stress, exhaustion, and even death. Prevention is the best way to help your pet survive the extreme heat and humidity of the summer.

The best solution is allowing your pet to stay inside with air-conditioning during the heat of the day. If this is not possible, the following are some other things you can do:

• Make sure your pet always has access to shade. Remember that shade moves throughout the day, so check to make sure there’s something in the yard that will provide shade for your pet all day long.
• Provide plenty of fresh, cool water every day for your pet to drink and put it in a spot that’s out of the sun and unlikely to be spilled.
• Setting up a shallow “kiddie pool” of water or setting a timed sprinkler in the yard can help cool your dog down in the heat of the day.
• Avoid exercising your pet strenuously on hot days.
• Take plenty of water with you for your pet when you and your pet are out for walks or other activities.
• Never take your pet in the car if you’re going to leave it unattended. Parked cars turn into ovens in the sun, even if the windows are left open.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion in dogs and cats usually start with heavy panting, followed by huffing, puffing, or gasping for air. The animal may have difficulty walking or getting up because of dizziness, and may collapse or lose consciousness. If you observe these symptoms, you should immediately take steps to cool the animal down.

• Get the animal out of the heat and into an air-conditioned place, if possible.
• Provide a drink of cold water and rinse or spray your pet with cool water.
• Direct a fan toward the animal while its coat is damp.
• If necessary, place ice bags around the animal’s head.
• As soon as the animal has cooled off, take it to the veterinarian for medical treatment.

(Source: Austin/Travis County Health & Human Services

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Can Dogs Really Look 'Guilty'?
By Sean Coughlan - BBC News

Humans project their own emotions onto dogs, researchers found.
That "guilty look" on a dog's face is all in the imagination of the human owner, suggests research.

Dog owners have often claimed they can read the expressions of their pets - particularly that tell-tale look when they have done something wrong.

But researchers at a New York college tricked owners into thinking innocent pets had misbehaved - with the owners still claiming to see this guilty look.

The study found that the expression had no relation to the dogs' behaviour.

And researchers found that pet owners' belief that they could read their dogs' "body language" was often entirely unfounded.

Stolen treats

The study from Alexandra Horowitz, assistant professor at Barnard College in New York, showed that owners were projecting human values onto their pets.

The research, Canine Behaviour and Cognition, looked at how dog owners interpreted their pets' expressions, when they believed that the dog had stolen and eaten a forbidden treat.

In a series of tests, owners were sometimes given accurate and sometimes false information about whether their dog had stolen the treat.

But the research, published in Behavioural Processes, found that owners' interpretations of whether their dog looked guilty bore no reliable link with whether the dog had really stolen the treat.

When the owners had been told their dog had misbehaved, they saw this guilty expression, even when the dog had not really done anything wrong.

Where there was any change in the dogs' expression, it was seen to be a subsequent reflection of the human's emotions.

If an owner thought the dog had misbehaved and then told the dog off, some dogs showed an "admonished" look, which humans then misunderstood as an admission of guilt.

The dogs which were most likely to "look guilty", according to their owners, were those who were entirely innocent and had then been told off by owners who believed that they had stolen treats.

Researchers concluded that any such "guilty look" is a response to human behaviour and has no relation with the dog's actions or sense of having broken any rules.

Pet Safety Summer Guide
Coloradoan News Services

The summer season brings lots of time for families to spend with their pets out-doors.

However, along with all the fun are some potential perils that can turn an enjoyable outing into a trip to the veterinarian.

Here are some potential risks and how to handle them, according to the Colorado State University veterinarians:

Landscape lawn edging and dogs don’t mix. Sharp lawn-edging materials protruding from the ground or hidden under layers of grass and mulch can cause deep cuts to the pads of dogs' feet. The sharp metal edges can cut skin and tendons down to the bone.

Proper medical care for these cuts can cost hundreds of dollars. The cuts can take several weeks to heal and disrupt the pet’s mobility and quality of life. Sharp metal and plastic lawn-edging material should be properly covered with a rubber rolled edge or removed from landscapes that dogs frequent.

Cats and dogs can become very ill if exposed to lawn chemicals. It’s a good idea to follow labeled instructions for specific chemicals and allow several days before allowing pets onto chemically treated landscapes.

Make sure that all lawn and garden chemicals are stored properly in child-proof and pet-proof containers. Some chemicals, such as snail baits, are particularly attrac-tive to dogs. Extra precaution should be taken to store them in a pet-proof container out of the pets’ reach.

Playful and curious cats and dogs are often attracted to snakes. Venomous snake bites are a common reason for veterinary emergency room visits around the nation. The only venomous snake in Fort Collins is is the rattlesnake. Pets can be exposed to snakes in their own backyards or while visiting many of the area’s public lands.

The best first aid for any pet bitten by a snake is immediate action. Get the pet to an emergency veterinary clinic as quickly as possible. If a pet is bitten while away from home, try to decrease the pet’s activity level as much as possible while en route to the emergency clinic.

If hiking with a dog that is bitten by a snake, consider carrying the dog to the vehicle, if possible. Veterinarians caution that people should always protect themselves when handling a pet with a snake bite or other painful trauma, as cats and dogs in pain may scratch and bite at people trying to help.

Swelling around the face and front legs are often a sign of a snake bite. Snake bites can be extremely toxic to pets. Depending on the kind of snake, veterinarians will treat pets with fluids, pain medication, and if necessary, antivenin.

Heat stroke
Pets can suffer from heat stroke, which can be deadly. Pets can overheat on hikes or while left outside. And even though it may not seem like a hot day, direct sun on a pet left in a car can be deadly.

Pets become more susceptible to heat stroke as they age because their ability to pant — their only means to regulate body temperature — decreases.

Signs of heat stroke include rapid breathing and heart rate, along with altered con-sciousness. They may also move slowly or fail to respond to their name.

Heat stroke can cause a pet's body temperature to drop to a dangerously low point if it is cooled off too quickly. Pet owners should never try to cool a pet by dipping it in water or hosing it off. Instead, offer the animal plenty of water and get it into shade or a cool building or vehicle.

First-aid kit
It is a good idea to have first-aid kits on hand for pets, particularly for those who enjoy recreation and outdoor activities. A pet first-aid kit should include:

> Gauze, tape and a pair of scissors.
> An extra leash and collar.
> Extra prescription medication that the pet may need.
> Antiseptic wipes.
> Hydrogen peroxide.
> A pair of disposable gloves.
> Large, flexible, adhesive bandages.
> Tweezers.
> Muzzle.
> Blanket.
> Sterile, non-adhesive pads.
> Saline eye wash.
> Antibacterial ointment.
> Leather work gloves (to protect the pet owner from bites).
> Digital thermometer.
> Kaopectate or Pepto-Bismol (antacids approved for use in dogs and cats).
> Phone numbers of local emergency pet clinics and the poison control center.
> Information about the pet, such as vaccinations and medical history.

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