Classroom Rabbits, Exotic Pets and Canine Flu

Protect Your Dogs from Deadly Canine Flu
Janice Lloyd - USA Today

Shelter officials and dog experts concerned about the spread of canine flu are warning pet owners to be careful about taking their dogs to doggie day care centers, boarding facilities and dog parks.

A shelter in Fairfax County, Va., is the last place hit by canine flu, killing one dog and sickening more than two dozen others, forcing officials to close the center for two weeks and suspending adoptions. Experts say H3N8 is also affecting dogs in four other states.

While the flu has been contained at the Virginia shelter, it will remain closed for two weeks and officials say they suspect the flu is also present in the community.

Canine influenza was first identified in U.S. dogs in 2004 after an outbreak of respiratory disease in racing Greyhounds in Florida. Since then, it has continued to spread and has been detected in dogs in 30 states and the District of Columbia.

The flu can not spread to humans. Pet owners can check with veterinarians about the availability of a vaccine developed in June. Symptoms of the flu include cough, runny nose, and a fever.

Choose Your Dog's Chew Toys Carefully
Robert Yelland - SF Chronicle

Q: I know that chewing bones helps keep my dog's teeth clean, but pet stores offer dozens of varieties. I'm always concerned I'll buy the wrong kind, which might lead to choking, splintering internally or blocking an intestine. Which bones are safe?

A: Giving a dog a bone or hard chew toy risks not only choking, splintering and intestinal obstruction, but dental fractures and excessive wear as well. The problem is that dogs have incredibly powerful jaws. When they chomp down on an object that is equally hard or harder than their teeth, something has to give. And many times what gives is the tooth. Most veterinary dentists use the "kneecap test" to evaluate hard chew toys. If you tap on your kneecap with the chew toy and it hurts, it's probably too hard to give to your pet.

This generally rules out animal bones, nylon bones, hard rawhide bones, cow hooves or "bully sticks." One also needs to be careful with tennis balls. Even though dogs love to chase and chew these furry toys, the fuzz is highly abrasive and can cause significant wear to the point where root canal therapy might be necessary.

Any chew toy made by man or nature can be destroyed by a determined canine; therefore we recommend that all be used with some adult supervision.

To truly clean a dog's teeth and remove the subgingival plaque that is causing periodontal disease, the teeth should be professionally cleaned by your veterinarian. Then maintain oral health by daily brushing. There are special dental diets available that retard plaque and tartar formation. Teeth-safe chews and other oral health care products can be found at, the Web site of the Veterinary Oral Health Council.

Robert Yelland, D.V.M., Dental Services, Berkeley Dog & Cat Hospital/Special Veterinary Services;

Classroom Pets Need Special Care
By Hawaiian Humane Society -

Question: I'm a preschool teacher, and my students keep urging me to get a classroom pet. Are there any concerns?

Answer: Keeping animals in the classroom is not ideal unless each animal has an owner committed to its proper and lifelong care. That can mean bringing the pet home on the weekends, ensuring veterinary care and meeting its behavioral and psychological needs.

Rabbits are often popular classroom pets, but they must be handled gently and are social creatures that are not meant to be cage-confined for long periods.

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The Family Pet Ranks Higher
Than Sex to These Women
USA Today

A new book that surveyed 12,000 women in 22 countries says women rank having a pet as the one thing that makes them extremely happy.

While the book is mostly about the retail industry and how women are key to fixing the economy, that tidbit stands out to us. More on that in a second.

In Women Want More ( HarperCollins, $27.99), co-author Michael Silverstein says this about what makes women happy: 42 % said pets are the number one item making them extremely happy compared to 27 % who ranked sex at the top. Food and shopping were third and fourth respectively.

What goes here? Comment away. Men as well as women are encouraged to respond.


BlueCornMoon (0 friends, send message) wrote: 2d 1h ago
I'm single & not married because I haven't met the right man. Hard to find good ones nowdays;the best ones are married & many are gay altho they make great friends for women. Sadly,too many men are at the bottom of the food chain : some are looking for a sugar mama, some are irresponsible, & then there are the sex maniacs that would find a way/reason to cheat even if they had whatever women they wanted & the out & out mutants that no sane women wants. Compared to that list of creeps, my cats are much better companions.

labradorluv25 (0 friends, send message) wrote: 2d 8h ago
I have to can always rely on your pet to be there for you. Men, not so much..

ilove2chatter (0 friends, send message) wrote: 2d 10h ago
I love my husband, I would follow him anywhere...and I do. But I bring my dog along wherever I go too! Check out our sailing adventures on

Strickland20012 (10 friends, send message) wrote: 2d 17h ago
I think it is like comparing apples to oranges. I adore my pets...wouldn't trade them for anything. But, the intimate aspect to my marriage is extremely important. I wouldn't want to give up either, but for totally different reasons!!

J.M.C. (2 friends, send message) wrote: 1d 21h ago
Women typically sabotage their sex lives by being insecure, playing games, grudgeships, etc.

And men sabotage their sex lives by not bothering to shave, shower, brush their teeth, let alone knowing the meaning of 'foreplay'. Women can't just 'turn it on baby'.. My ex stopped trying to be attractive the minute the ink dried on the marriage certificate. He'd come home form work smelling to high heaven, and think that I should just fall into bed.

Um.. no.

Ree410 (0 friends, send message) wrote: 4d 5h ago
I think they polled CRAZY CAT LADIES!

Blondie6 (42 friends, send message) wrote: 4d 5h ago
Not gonna lie i would way rather have sex than hang out with my animals. Is that wrong?

I Love Animals Every Moment
By Susan Braudy -

From feral cats to pouting puppies, the pets who’ve shared my life

This is a tale with twists.

I am the sort of person who lurks at the pet store on Lexington Avenue at 63rd and convinces other people to buy the puppy they’re cuddling. Gentle reader, I confess, I also say hello to a cardinal and a raccoon in Central Park.

My first pet wasn’t a pet at all. He was a bushy, feral cat who lived on my aunt’s dairy farm 20 minutes from my house in Philadelphia. I passed intense afternoons trying to pet him. Farm cats frequently aren’t allowed in the house. They’re mousers whose rich coats are a result of hanging out in unheated barns. I’d toss food near the cat, and after he wolfed it down, I positioned tidbits nearer and nearer to myself. He inched over and ate. This went on until one day I was happily stroking him, and then he scratched me and ran.

Indeed, many pet stories aren’t cute. My first boyfriend gave me two ducklings that we eventually set loose on my aunt’s pond. After dinner one night, my aunt said I’d eaten my pets.

My next cat was a sleek Siamese with huge apprehensive blue eyes. He’d been abandoned in an apartment I rented one summer near Columbia. At night, he’d sleep curled into my neck. We were two of a kind. I remember our bus ride to graduate school in Philadelphia, the cat meowing nervously in a supermarket carton. (Siamese are big talkers.) I whispered back that things were going to be fine—and they were—even though I soon started wheezing when he settled into my neck to sleep. We compromised: he slept between my ankles.

When, I learned poodles don’t cause allergies, I bought a black standard puppy advertised in the Times. Rocky laughed by lolling his tongue foolishly out of one side of his mouth. He danced on his hind legs to Ray Charles. When we played hide-and-seek, I’d say, “stay,” and hide in the closet or shower until he found me.

I found my next dog Rocky 2 at the Harlem ASPCA. Every part of him was wriggling, but the manager said he was totally adoptable and promised to the North Shore Animal League, the Cadillac of adoption centers. When Rocky 2 (a poodle-schnauzer) got indigestion, I began cooking chicken, brown rice and vegetables for him. This diet, plus the fact that he was a small mixed-breed (now named a “schnoodle”), helped my companion live for 20 years. Your longest relationship, said an ex-boyfriend.

These days I live with a man and a fancy, silvery white Maltese named Tootsie. Tootsie had looked miserable, pacing in his cage at the Lexington Avenue pet store. (I now know little white dogs often have leaky sad eyes.) But when I asked why he was unhappy, a wily salesman said his brother’d been sold.

I brought the man I live with to meet Tootsie, but Joe Weintraub stormed out, saying anybody who pays this much for a dog is nuts.

Weeks passed. Every day Tootsie tugged like a pit bull on my sneaker laces. I finally paid two months’ rent to liberate the sad puppy.

In our apartment, he transformed into the happiest, most loving creature.

Here’s the twist de resistance. He’s a one-person dog—and his person is Joe. Tootsie’s bliss is sitting on Joe’s lap, his expensive chin hanging over Joe’s bare wrist. Maybe it’s male bonding, but I know Joe owes me big time.

Susan Braudy is the author and journalist whose last book, Family Circle: The Boudins and the Aristocracy of the Left, was nominated for a Pulitzer by publisher Alfred Knopf.

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Vet's Advice: Beware the Rising Risk
of Heartworms in Dogs
By Scott Line, Special for USA TODAY

Heartworm infection, once limited mostly to the South, is now being found in all 50 states, according to the American Heartworm Society, and the number of cases across the USA is on the rise.

Information from testing shows that more than 1 million dogs in the USA are infected with heartworms. Veterinarians in parts of the country where infection rates have been low, such as the Rocky Mountain states and the Pacific Northwest, are seeing an increasing number. Veterinarians in areas that have long had a high rate of the disease, including the Southern states and the Mississippi River Valley, are experiencing an even greater escalation.

Summer and early fall are peak seasons for mosquitoes, which can carry the threat. When an infected mosquito bites a dog, it can deposit immature heartworms that grow under the skin for about two months. The worms then migrate through the bloodstream to the heart and arteries in the lungs. After lodging in the lungs' blood vessels, these worms grow to up to 1 foot long. Heartworms can live for years, damaging the lining of the blood vessels that carry blood to the lungs and eventually leading to heart disease.

Signs of heartworm disease vary and can include coughing, tiring easily, difficulty breathing and fainting. Dogs that are more active are more likely to show such signs, and activity itself worsens the damage. Signs are often not detectable until the disease is well advanced.

Heartworms also can infect cats, causing severe inflammation in the lungs. But heartworm disease often is not recognized in cats because the infection is more difficult to diagnose than in dogs.

Pets that live indoors exclusively are also at risk of infection because mosquitoes that get into your house can transmit heartworms.

Left untreated, heartworm disease can be fatal.

Heartworm treatment — which is available only for dogs — can be risky for the dog and is expensive, sometimes as much as $1,000. That's why it makes sense to prevent heartworm disease.

The good news is that prevention is simple and inexpensive. A number of medications are available that can prevent heartworm disease. They do not prevent heartworm infection from mosquitoes; instead, they work by killing the immature heartworms migrating beneath the skin before they can reach the heart and blood vessels of the lungs.

Most heartworm products must be given monthly, and because dogs may get bitten by infected mosquitoes every day during peak mosquito season, giving the monthly preventives at the same time every month is important for their success.

Although you may think of heartworms as a summer problem, it's a disease that can be a risk to your pet at any time of year. A warm autumn extends the risk, and even a few days of warm weather in the winter can allow mosquitoes to become active. Because you can't predict when your pet will be at risk, experts recommend using heartworm preventives all year long.

Adult heartworms can be detected with a blood test, and experts recommend testing your dog every year to be sure it remains free of heartworms.

If your dog is found to have heartworms, early diagnosis and treatment can prevent serious consequences of heartworm infection.

Annual testing can help make sure this hasn't happened to your dog. See your veterinarian — and keep your pet healthy.

Puppy Stolen from Pet Store
in Shakopee is Returned
TIM HARLOW - Star Tribune

A 3-month-old dog taken Tuesday afternoon from a Shakopee pet store has been returned unharmed.

The black female pug had a "smile in her eyes" and ate a lot when store employees got her back Wednesday afternoon, said store owner Heather Latko.

A brother of one of the women who allegedly took the puppy from the store at 8091 Old Carriage Court arranged for his sister to meet a store employee in Eden Prairie after he learned about the theft. A video showing two women leaving the store with the dog was featured on local news media outlets.

"We care so much about the puppies," said Latko. "You think of the worst-case scenario: that it isn't getting enough food, or is stressed out and not getting the proper care, all the things we go over when a dog is going to a new home."

According to surveillance video, the suspects were seen stuffing the puppy into a medium-sized tote bag around 5 p.m. and dashing out the door. Store employees chased them, but the suspects were not found, Latko said.

Latko said the suspects had come into the store around 4:30 p.m. and had been playing with the pug in a cubicle called a "socialization room." The women asked a store employee about the dog's age, vaccination records and "information potential owners might want," Latko said. When the employee went to check the puppy's records, the suspects scooped her up and walked 10 to 15 feet to the front door.

Latko said she doesn't know whether she'll press charges.

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Animal Files: Be Aware of the Responsibilities
Before Getting an Exotic Pet
by Bonney Brown -

When Roberta first got the pot-bellied pig, he was so cute. She named him Ralph. But in spite of promises from the breeder that he would stay small, he grew to be quite large. His behavior also became harder for Roberta to manage. He was determined to find things to eat and got into absolutely everything. He had a strong need to root and overturned things in the house with his snout. Then he became very agitated and aggressive when anyone came to visit. Roberta was at her wits end, and she began searching for a sanctuary for Ralph.

It's a common story of life of an exotic pet.

At first it sounds thrilling to have a unique or exotic pet, but it is not uncommon for animal shelters and animal services agencies to get calls about these pets from people who are frustrated and ready to give up on their now-troublesome pet.

Chameleons, iguanas, snakes, sugar gliders, pot-bellied pigs -- these animals have special needs that can be expensive and time consuming. Some people will go to the trouble of learning what their unique pet really needs to be happy and healthy, and then go the distance to provide it. But few people have the time or resources necessary to ensure the animal's well-being.

The needs of these animals catch people off guard. Most people who are giving up their exotic pet will tell you that they bought the pet because having one seemed so fascinating, but they really had no idea what they were getting into.

Unusual pets often require expensive and specialized veterinary care. Many have challenging daily care needs, too. For example, reptiles need a heat source and special lighting, and you need to maintain a safe heat spectrum for them within their living environment. Some animals have very precise and sometimes elaborate dietary needs. Big cats need fresh raw meat and supplements that are expensive. Any large, intelligent animal needs room to exercise and mental stimulation. Some exotic animals and birds are highly social and suffer when housed alone.

In some cases, the animal ends up with a life of neglect because the care needed is so burdensome that their person just gives up on even trying. There are a few sanctuaries for exotic animals, but there are not enough to meet the demand. Most zoos will not take former pets, and rarely will the dealer take the animal back.

When faced with limited options, some frustrated people decide to set the animal free. This is not only illegal, but it puts the animal at grave risk. If somehow the animal -- now used to being a pet -- manages to survive outdoors, the former pet could pose a risk to native species or other pets.

Since the exotic pet is not usually adapted to the environment, they can suffer greatly in their struggle to find food, water and shelter. Most of them end up getting into some sort of very unfortunate situation and, ultimately, taxpayers and local animal shelters end up footing the bill for their recapture. The fate for many is death, as most shelters are not equipped to care for exotic animals.

In many communities, you might need a special permit for larger exotic pets; before acquiring one, check with your local animal services department. If you buy an exotic pet, you need to be very aware of the source of that animal. Illegal trafficking in exotic animals for the pet trade is a big and cruel business -- one you do not want to be supporting.

If you still have your heart set on a unique pet and feel that you have the time, financial resources and commitment to provide a good home for them, please adopt one. Animal shelters and exotic pet rescue groups often have unique pets in need of a good home.

If you want to adopt an exotic pet, or need assistance with one, contact the Animal Help Desk at 775-856-2000, ext. 200.

For the right person, giving a good home to an exotic pet that needs to be rescued is a marvelous experience. But the truth is that most of us are better off with a couple of lovable dogs or cats.

Bonney Brown is executive director of the Nevada Humane Society.

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Hero Pet of the Year PLUS More Acts of Pet Bravery!

Should Toads Be Pets?

August is the month when the tadpoles that hatched in our ponds and lakes this spring have transformed into toadlets and are captured by children who are budding naturalists.

As a result, I get many calls about what is the best type of diet to feed these little guys. The answer often comes as a surprise. There is no perfect diet for toadlets in captivity, as they should not be in captivity at all.

The toads we see are called Fowler's toads and they are a vanishing species on Long Island due to habitat destruction and the lowering of the water table. Adult toads are clever enough to stay hidden from us, but the toadlets are inexperienced and often fall into pool filters and window wells.

If you rescue some out of these places, just turn them loose in a quiet part of your yard.

Some children who encounter these toads develop a true interest in them. If children want to learn about toads as pets, I suggest you allow them to keep fire-belly toads or pac-man frogs. Both of these species are legally sold in pet stores and are suited to living in a vivarium indoors. (Feed them live crickets you can buy in any pet store.)

Dog Wins ‘Hero Pet of the Year’ Award
By Michael Inbar - contributor

Chi Chi, a Chihuahua mix, is the winner of this year’s Reader’s Digest Hero Pet of the Year award.

At first blush, 13-pound Chi Chi seems little different than the typical temperamental Chihuahua riding as an accessory in a celebrity tote bag. Even his owner admits everyone thinks of him as a bit of a pest.

But no longer. By sounding a yipping alarm on a North Carolina beach, Chi Chi likely saved the lives of two senior citizens overcome by waves — and was crowned Reader’s Digest Hero Pet of the Year in the process.

Chi Chi appeared humble — if a bit standoffish — in his national TV debut Tuesday, appearing on Rockefeller Plaza as his owners, Rick and Mary Lane, told TODAY’s Matt Lauer and Ann Curry how their pint-size prize rose to the occasion in a big way when danger loomed.

Sound of alarm
Mary Lane said it was a typical day at the beach for the family last October. She and Rick were relaxing on beach chairs at Indian Beach on North Carolina’s Outer Banks while Chi Chi rested on his own chair — restrained, of course, since he tends to chase after other beachgoers.

“He leapt out of his beach chair, still attached, dragging the beach chair, and he started sending out an alarm,” Lane told TODAY. “He was making a sound we never heard before. Rick said, ‘Hey, what’s the matter with the dog?’ ”

It turned out nothing was the matter with Chi Chi — but there was danger some 100 yards down the beach, where Mary Lane spotted a horrific sight.

“There was a storm surge, and there were two elderly ladies — one had fallen on her back headfirst into the surf,” she said. “The other lady — a little bitty lady about 90 pounds — was trying to hold her head up, and she was in danger of being washed out.”

The Lanes rushed to pull the ladies out of the riptide, and after determining the pair were shaken but otherwise fine, returned to their spot on the beach — to find Chi Chi happily sleeping in doggy dreamworld in his chair.

The Lanes were amazed that their pampered pet could sound an alarm of danger, bellowing out strange yips that “would not let us ignore him,” Mary Lane said. And readers of Reader’s Digest were so impressed by Chi Chi’s story they voted him Hero Pet of the Year.

Mary and Rick Lane proudly show off Chi Chi, named Reader’s Digest Hero Pet of the Year, on Rockefeller Plaza.

The alert Chihuahua pulled in 31 percent of the vote over a field that included another dog, a cat, a parrot and a horse — all of which had performed potentially life-saving acts. You might think that would be enough to earn Chi Chi at least a pat on the head from Lauer and Curry, but they kept their distance — the Lanes advised them Chi Chi tends to snap if he feels threatened.

And, as if to prove the point, Chi Chi bared his teeth ominously at the hosts of America’s favorite morning show.

Chi Chi can perhaps be forgiven his temperament in light of his early life: He was rescued as an abused dog by the Lanes’ niece when he was just a pup. Now he’s a local celebrity in the Lanes’ native Greensboro, with newspaper coverage and his gray-white mug posted in his veterinarian’s office. “Everyone recognizes him,” Mary Lane said with pride.

Animal heroes
Chi Chi’s story was just one of many moving stories of animals repaying the love lavished on them that Reader’s Digest profiled in its Hero Pet of the Year contest.

For example, Vivian, La., quarter horse Sunny Boy proved his mettle when his owners came face to face with a snarling, 75-pound pit bull. Chloe-Jean and Kristen Wendell were riding in a local festival when the pit bull ran out of the crowd — spooking Kristen’s horse, Angel, so much that Kristen dismounted for fear of being thrown. Chloe-Jean dismounted Sunny Boy to help protect her sister — but as it turned out, Sunny Boy had the situation in hand.

As the pit bull prepared to pounce on Chloe-Jean, Sunny Boy leapt between them, kicking the dog square in the face. The dog was captured and later euthanized, but dad Mark Wendell says he still shakes his head in wonderment at how Sunny Boy protected his daughters. “I’ve been around horses all my life and have not seen one take on another animal like that.”

Then there’s Denver, Colo., parrot Willie, who is rarely at a loss for words. He calls his owner Megan Howard “Mama” and isn’t bashful about asking for a kiss. But he learned a new word on the spot that turned out to be a life saver.

Howard was baby-sitting her roommate’s 2-year-old daughter, Hannah, when she made a quick trip to the bathroom — but within seconds, she heard a tremendous commotion in Willie’s cage. Willie was screeching, “Mama, baby! Mama, baby!”

Howard dashed out to find the tot turning blue from choking on a Pop-Tart. After dislodging the food from Hannah’s throat, she took a moment to reflect on what her parrot had done. “He was clearly trying to get my attention,” Howard told Reader’s Digest. “He’s loud and talkative, but what really amazes me is that he added the word ‘baby’ on his own.”

Not to be outdone, Waukesha, Wis., terrier-poodle Oscar was a rescue dog, but he ended up coming to the rescue of his owner Ron Gillette. Gillette, a diabetic, got up in the middle of the night with his blood sugar level sinking to dangerous levels, and fell awkwardly in the bathroom.

Gillette was barely conscious, but heard Oscar “let out sounds like a wild animal — honestly, it sounded like the dog from hell.” Ron’s wife Ann was awakened by the howls and found her slumping husband; she called an ambulance and Ron was rushed to the hospital.

Gillette made it through his medical ordeal in good shape, thanks to an alert pet pooch. And afterward, they decided Oscar was just too ordinary a name for a dog of his stature. They rechristened him Eduardo.

And cats can be heroic, too. New Castle, Ind., kitty Winnie usually whiles away the hours curled up on the Kessling family windowsill, but leapt into action when danger loomed. A pump the family was using to suction out a flooded basement was leaking carbon dioxide, and when the family’s heating system kicked in on a cold night, it sent toxic gas streaming throughout the house.

The family was sleeping unawares, but Winnie sounded the alarm. “Winnie jumped from her window perch right onto me, meowing like crazy and scratching at my hair and face,” owner Cathy Kessling told Reader’s Digest.

A groggy Kessling managed to rouse her husband and when she ran downstairs to call 911, found her son lying facedown on the floor. The family was hospitalized overnight, but happily lived to tell the tale of their guardian angel of a cat. “One of the rescuers said that we could’ve been dead in five more minutes,” Kessling said.

Local Expert Offers Hurricane
Preparation Tips...For Your Dog
By Michael J. Mooney in Broward

As South Florida ducked the wrath of Hurricane Bill, we're reminded yet again that this is still high hurricane season.

And as so many meteorologists and hurricane experts put together their preparation tips and kits to protect Floridians, their children, their property, and their weather-viewing habits, at least one local animal behavior expert is thinking about the furry friends of South Florida.

"The one thing that experience has taught all of us is that vigilance and preparation are key in surviving a major storm or hurricane," says Robin Edwards, a local trainer with Bark Busters, a national dog training company. Edwards says Bark Busters is "committed to extend this vigilance and preparation to our canine companions."

The most surprising tip: During the storm, if Fido is showing a lot of anxiety, Edwards says you should resist the urge to "comfort" the animal, which would probably come across as encouragement for the stressful behavior.

1. Before the Hurricane/Storm

Planning ahead is the most important thing you can do for your pets if you must evacuate your home, but NEVER refuse to evacuate because of your pets. Below are tips to help you be prepared in the event of evacuation:

--Research a safe place to take your pets because some public shelters, such as those operated by the American Red Cross, do not allow family pets. (Service dogs are an exception.)

--Ask friends, relatives or veterinarians that live inland if they are willing to shelter you and your pets.

--Look for pet-friendly facilities. For a list of pet-friendly lodging and their restrictions, check out or Keep a list of all these pet-friendly facilities with your other emergency supplies.
You can also check animal boarding facilities. As a last resort, consider humane societies and animal control shelters in a safe area, but call ahead to check on their restrictions.

--Make sure your pets are current on all their vaccinations.

--Have a recent photograph of you and your pets together to show proof of ownership in case you become separated.

--Have your pets implanted with a microchip as a permanent form of identification.

--Whether you stay home or evacuate, put together a pet emergency kit. Items to consider keeping in or near your kit include:
1. Collar with tags and sturdy leash
2. Any necessary medications (at least a two-week supply)
3. Photocopies of health records
4. First-aid supplies (ask your vet what to include, or visit the ASPCA website at to buy one online)
5. Secure, unbreakable, covered carrier (large enough that your pet can completely turn around)
6. Flashlight
7. Food and bottled water (at least a two-week supply for each pet)
8. Food and water bowls
9. Recent photograph of you and your pets together
10. Favorite toy (toys can help reduce the stress of unfamiliar surroundings)
11. Disposable trash bags or newspaper for clean-up
12. Zipper storage bags for important papers, treats, toys, etc.

2. During the Hurricane/Storm

Keep your pets calm during the storm:

If your pets show signs of anxiety, do NOT try to "comfort them." This will sound like praise to your pets and may increase their anxiety.
Instead, the best thing you can do for your dog when he is feeling unsettled is to act as you normally would. By over-reassuring your dog or giving him an unusual amount of attention, you inadvertently can communicate to him that because you are acting differently, there must be something to worry about.
Use that special "den" where your pets feel safe. A properly introduced crate or kennel (done ahead of time) can be a great den for them.
Turn on a TV or radio at normal volume to distract your pets from loud noises and help them to relax. Classical music is the most calming.
Keep windows and curtains closed to reduce noises and bright flashes. The more we can reduce the noise and flashes the better your pets will cope.

3. After the Hurricane/Storm

Walk your pets on a leash until they become re-oriented to the area and your home.
If you have lost your pet, contact the local animal control offices to find out where lost animals can be recovered. Bring along a recent picture of your pet, if possible.

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Cat Control: Who’s in Charge?
By BETTY RIDGE - Tahlequah Daily Press

Felines use many ways to try and get their owners to do their will. And it usually works.

Some people say you can’t control cats. Others are equally confident that cats control their owners.

The truth may lie somewhere in between.

What cat fancier who keeps the bedroom door opened hasn’t awakened to persistent mewing, perhaps a few paw pats in the face, to urge the owner to get up and do the right thing — feed the cat, of course.

Another type of meow communicates the desire to go out; unwelcome hisses are emitted when meeting rival cats; and there’s the excited chirping sound when the cat is inside, observing birds or squirrels cavorting around outside.

Throughout the centuries, cats and their communications skills have figured in history. The popular musical “Cats” was based on “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats” by T.S. Eliot (the best edition contains the Edward Gorey illustrations of such renowned cats as Jennyanydots and Simbleshanks, not to mention Old Deuteronomy).

In recent years, cats have become partners in crime-solving. Rita Mae Brown’s tabby Sneaky Pie is credited as the co-author of her “Miss Murphy” mystery series, in which two cats and a Welsh corgi help humans find out whodunit. Sneaky Pie also may be the only cat ever to write a cookbook, for cats, dogs and their humans.

And Joanne Fluke’s “Murder She Baked” series features an unforgettable hefty orange and white cat named Moishe. To Moishe’s credit, the corpulent cat is more interested in solving how to get into his feed container than in solving the mystery in any particular volume.

A new study by a British researcher claims cats make a particular urgent sound, a cross between a purr and an urgent meow, when wanting food. Some local cat experts say they’ve heard this type of meow, but some haven’t.

Karen McComb, an expert on mammal behavior, published the results of her study in “Current Biology” journal. She concluded household cats exercise control over people with “a certain type of high-pitched, urgent-sounding meow.”

This is usually exhibited when the cat wants to be fed, McComb said. Her study showed humans find this type of sound annoying and difficult to resist. She compared it with the cry of a human infant. She described the sound as sort of cross between a purr and a high-pitched meow.

McComb had cat owners record their pets’ vocalizations, then played them for volunteers, including cat owners and those who live without cats. Both found the sound in question annoying and something they would investigate, usually feeding the cat if it seemed like that was what the cat wanted.

Gloria Hoover has probably handled as many cats as any Cherokee County resident, since she not only bred Siamese cats for years, but judges all breeds in Cat Fanciers Association shows across the country. Later this year, she will judge shows in Indonesia and Singapore.

So she’s familiar with cats of all sorts, from the poshest pedigreed Persian to the rescued stray who competes for the coveted Morris the Cat trophy in the household pet division.

While Siamese are considered an especially “talky” breed, “actually, all of them do,” Hoover said.

She’s heard the type of meow McComb describes.

“They tend to do it at feeding time. It’s not really a loud meow and not quite a purr. They want to get fed,” she said.

She also has had cats make the “chirping” noise, when they want some attention.

“Other cats communicate with their voices but Siamese are more high-pitched. They’re really people cats. They want to be right with you all the time. They’re generally one-person cats, but if their person happens to be gone, they’ll sit in someone else’s lap,” Hoover said.

Currently, her cattery holds six — two Siamese, an ocicat, and three American shorthair calicos, all pensioners Hoover took in when their elderly owner could no longer care for them. The pensioners have a good home for the rest of their lives.

Hoover thinks it’s very important to socialize cats, from the time of birth if possible. When raising kittens, she has always handled them and played with them as they grew. People who have bought cats from her have come back for others, because the cats relate so well to people and make good pets.

Listening to and communicating with the cat is an important part of this socialization, Hoover believes.

“I talk to the cats while I’m judging. That’s my way of communicating with them, and they will communicate with me,” she said. “Listen to them, and you will know what they want.”

Hoover thinks cats try to control people’s behavior by the sounds they make, and also by their actions. Her show cats always knew when they were going to a show.

“We would get ready to go to the cat shows and when I’d get out my suitcase, they’d get ready, too,” she said.

Bunny Lawrence has operated a cat shelter north of Tahlequah for 26 or 27 years, and estimated she’s provided a temporary or permanent home to at least 1,000 cats during that time. Currently she has two house cats, cares for shelter cats and feeds a number of feral cats that roam around her property. She has them spayed or neutered, then just “lets them be cats,” as she said.

Her cats have no need to make a special noise when they’re hungry.

“I’ve never heard it because my cats all have free food,” she said. “The only time I hear any of them in distress is when something has happened to one of them.”

One of her two house cats, born prematurely and bottle-raised, is a year old but only the size of a 3-month-old kitten. He doesn’t purr, and rarely meows. When he does, “it’s the softest little meow. You have to be listening and you just barely hear it,” Lawrence said.

Even though she’s never heard the sound McComb described, that doesn’t mean it never happens, Lawrence said.

She said her cats don’t control her behavior; they just act like cats. When she walks across the yard, some will walk in front of her, and she risks stumbling if she doesn’t reach down and pat them or pick them up and give them some attention.

“My cats must be very happy, because they don’t make the noise she’s talking about,” Lawrence said about the study.

Beth Herrington is well-known locally not just as a retired educator, but an animal lover and rescuer. She does know the sound McComb described.

“My Blue Boy, who is a Russian blue, when he wants attention, he has this cry that demands attention. I get up and see what his problem is,” she said.

And sometimes cats express their feelings in a more active manner.

“One of my little calicos, when she wants my attention, runs through the house and over the furniture. I think she’s going to knock something down,” Herrington said.

Herrington noted anyone who thinks animals don’t love one another are wrong. Recently one of her cats was sick and had to spend some time with the veterinarian. When he returned home, his mother greeted him with an expression of concern. They snuggled up and slept together.

Gloria Brewster’s feline menagerie consists of her “permanent” cats, rescue and foster cats needing a home, and feral cats she feeds. She’s a wealth of cat stories and also has heard the “feed me” meow.

“They have a high-pitched meow when they’re hungry. They have the purr-meow combination,” she said. “I keep dry food out for them, and they pretty much eat on demand.”

Although she also keeps plenty of water available, some of the cats want a fresh supply.

“I have some that will only drink out of the bathroom faucet. They weren’t happy when I had it fixed,” she said.

When she comes downstairs in the morning, her large black male cat makes a demanding meow. She goes into the bathroom and turns the faucet on to just the exact level of dripping, and he and several companions drink to their heart’s content.

Her cats “chirp,” especially if they are inside and they see a bird outside.

“They get me up in the morning if they think I am sleeping too late,” Brewster said. “There’s one who is on a special diet. She goes and sits by her bowl, and I give her a pill, then she goes ahead and eats. As many cats as I’ve had over the years, there have been none of them alike.”

Do cats control humans, in Brewster’s opinion?

“I’d say they have definitely domesticated me, rather than the other way around,” she said.

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How Do I Get My Cat To Stop
Drinking From The Faucet?

I have a 5 year old cat that up until about a year and a half ago had no problem drinking from her water bowl. Now, the only way I can get her to drink is if it is from a running faucet. She actually beats me to the bathroom each morning and jumps up on the counter and starts meowing.

Eight months ago, I moved and with the move bought a cat water fountain. All was well for the first couple of months. Then she discovered where water comes from and will not drink from the fountain and we are back to her old faucet games.
She has gotten to the point now where she will walk over to us, meow, and run into the bathroom. If we don’t follow her, she just repeats until we get up and turn the faucet on for her.

I am not as concerned by the annoying factor as much as I don’t know if she is getting enough water during the day.

Any advice on how to ween her would be great


dorcasla says:
Try changing her water bowl. She might just like the water fresher. Try a new bowl and change the water every morning when you wake up. What you can also do if you are concerned about her getting enough water during the day is leave the faucet on,just enough for a drip of water to run down so that she can satisfy her trust until you get home
good luck

K says:
I dont really understand why you object to her drinking from the faucet? It sounds quite cute, and that’s where you get her water from anyways. I think it would be more effort to ‘ween’ her than to let her have her little quirk, especially when its harmless!

wifilly says:
Weird, but one of our cats years ago never drank out of a bowl, but only a faucet too. Anyway, I would leave several bowls of water around for her, different shapes and sizes. When she starts the meowing and wanting a drink, take her to one of the bowls and be consistant. She’ll get it and she will drink when she is thirsty. Give her a kitty treat, Pet her and praise her when she drinks from the bowl. Just don’t turn on the faucet when she asks. None of our cats would drink out of the fountain we bought for whatever reason. They would however, drink out of the toilet instead. So, now we keep lids down and went back to bowls.

njyecats says:
We bought our cat a water fountain water bowl. They love it! Check at Petsmart or Petco

juliabay says:
dont let ur cat drink from the faucet…..if she meows so what! ignore her.If u stop your cat will stop because she realizes that no matter what u r not going to turn on the faucet.

happyinl says:
just ignore her until she stops meowing and the presnt her with her water bowl.

wishorst says:
That’s amazing!Funny too.Wow

digimutt says:
I do not think that you are going to change the cat’s mind about this. Cats are smart and she has figured out that the faucet is where you get your water and now she does not want anything else. We had a cat that at two years old started to use the toilet and soon would have nothing to do with the litter box. We tried everything but the cat never did go to the box again. We just left the door open and the seat top up.
You just might have to leave a drip going for her if you do no want to be at her beck and call. Since she comes when she sees you at the faucet just let her get a good drink and be done with it.

it is because some cats like fresh running water. you can but a small cat drinking fountain from pet shops which runs fresh water at all times, you should try this

Kylekepp says:
Your cat has you trained well!
Think about it-why drink from a dish when you have your own maid who will come to your beckon call and turn the faucet on for you!!!! Your cat’s a lazy bones!
Put fresh water out in clean bowls in several places for your cat throughout your home.
My Siamese likes to drink out of the taps as well even though he has fresh water daily throughout the house-he’s just a lazy bones and at that moment in time cannot be bothered walking 2 feet when there is water available right there! ( I asked my vet when this first happened and he verified what I have just told you)

cashflow says:
Believe me if she needs water she will get it from her fountain.
If you want to break her form this habit, simply don’t give in.

digitals says:
my advice would be,,,,,kick the little **** up the hole ,,,that will teach it to listen to whos boss,from a strict pet lover,

butterfl says:
It sounds like an emotional problem more so than a preference for faucet water. She may revert to the old habits as a way of relieving stress. Talk to your veterinarian about treatment. Also, make sure the filter in the fountain is always clean, and replaced regularly per product instructions. Cats do prefer fresh, aerated water. Good luck!

Sheido says:
If she has access to water ( other than the faucet,) she can drink whenever she wants.
May be it is just a habit I personally thinks it’s quite cute!
At the age of five…she is too wise to change habits unless she wants to…I am sorry cant’t think of anything to help you!

Music Chick says:
I have a cat that used to do the same thing.
What my mom finally did was stopped turning on the faucet. She would just ignore the cat, Tigger, and do something else in the bathroom while he waited. It seems harsh but it works. Now when he didn’t get water from the faucet he would follow my mom downstairs and my mom would get the cat dish and fill it full of cold water and sit it down in the floor and give it to him. After a about a week and a half he relized that the only way he could get water was to go downstairs to the water dish.
Hope this helps.

amaya says:
try being stern with her,you need to sow her YOU ar the boss!not her!

Kirstie says:
Put a cup of faucet water by the sink or always keep the door shut.

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Dog Days of Summer
By ELISA LALA • The News Journal

Frank and Terri Durham have 10 children, all of them four-legged.

As mommy and daddy to eight black and yellow labradors and two beagles, the Durhams searched for years to find a fitting place to lodge their pets while they traveled.

"We found places that were safe, but they weren't cozy enough," Terri says. "We wanted a place where we would want to take human kids; we wanted someone who would really, really care for our kids."

And that's where the idea for their pet-pampering resort came from. Today, they own the Maryland Shore Pet Resort, a 440-acre plot of land for dogs and cats to sit and stay a spell.

It's one of a growing number of businesses that cater to dogs, and not just during the dog days of summer.

There's a reason it's not so hard to find a doggie beach resort, doggie treats at businesses, dogs-but-not-kids-allowed bed and breakfasts -- even restaurants that serve doggie cuisine.

According to a recent Associated Press/ survey, half of America's pet owners treat their animals like humans. Half said they valued animals in the family as much as the people; 35 percent include their pet in family portraits; 43 percent say their pet has its own sense of style.

It's those pets and their owners that the Durhams hope to attract to the Maryland Shore Pet Resort, which includes private suites with an adjacent personal patio, a warm water whirlpool with adjustable jets, a natural trail with "stop-and-play activities," and a flatscreen TV to ensure the pooch or kitty doesn't miss its favorite sitcom. "When you walk in, you'll wish you were vacationing here," Terri says.

The cats and doggies lucky enough to book a room have a yappy hour, tuck-in service with a bed-time story, splash dance by the pool and bonding time with other four-leggers during family-friendly movie night. The resort also has a Best-Friend Bistro, which offers meals made in-house.

But one of the biggest draws is Frank Durham himself, a renowned dog trainer. Frank's business, Walker Branch Retrievers, offers water dog training and handling services and attracts pooches from all around the U.S.

"We have a dog that just flew in from California staying with us now," Terri says.

But not all pet-lovers want to drop off their animals. A lot -- as many as 50 percent, according to the survey -- are packing up Fido and Frisky and taking them along. Business owners are pulling out the water bowls and welcoming four-legged clients, a trend most noticeable at Delaware's beaches.

Two Bed and Breakfasts in Delaware, Lazy L. at Willow Creek, in Lewes, and The Homestead, in Rehoboth, put pets first.

At The Homestead, though pets are welcome, children aren't, says co-owner Judy Hedrick, 67, the owner of two cats, Pumpkin and Patches. The bed and breakfast sits on two acres and offers four private rooms, a fenced-in pet area with a dog run and more pet-conscious accommodations.

"We have been slammed," Hedrick says.

The Homestead recently won an award for being the most pet-friendly B&B by bed and, based on guest reviews.

Hedrick says most of her guests are young professionals from the Washington or the Baltimore area whose pets are their children. Many are regulars.

"We remember the dogs' names before the people's," she says. "We have two guys that came back summer after summer. Last year their poor old dog died, and they still come back."

Delaware's beaches also have a full animal agenda, starting with pet-friendly beaches such as Bethany and Dewey Beach, where dogs can sunbathe and splash in the ocean. Pet lovers will even find restaurants catering to doggie tastes.

Jamie Idzi, 23, owner of Yuppy Puppy pet shop, in Bethany Beach, offers pups free pancakes on Sunday mornings from 9 to 11 and pizza on Fridays evenings from 7 to 9. Idzi, who makes the food herself, says the recipes make even the owners drool.

"The pancakes are made with cheddar cheese and potatoes and the pizzas are topped with chicken, broccoli and mozzarella cheese,"Idzi says.

Sometimes the owners sneak a bite, she says. But mostly the owners take the treat she offers them -- free coffee.

Owners can dine with their dogs at Fish On!, a seafood restaurant in Lewes that not only allows dogs to hang out with the diners on the patio, but also offers a full doggie menu called "Oh My Dog."

"We have a dog that just flew in from California staying with us now," Terri says.

General manager Fred Mazzeo, who has a 6-year-old, 115-pound mixed breed named Puck, says Fish On! believes dogs should eat as well as their owners do.

He says more and more people are taking their pets on vacation with them, and they need things to do on the trip.

"When our four-legged guests come in, our wait staff brings them a fresh bowl of water with ice and puts a jar of treats next to the bread basket," Mazzeo says. "When it's time to order, the dogs and the parents can chose their main courses."

Dogs can pick mini chicken treats, cranberry-orange pieces and banana carob chips, with ginger snaps or ice cream for dessert, Mazzeo says.

And dog lovers have plenty of choices of places to eat with their pooch by their side. Dewey's Sharkey's Grill, Lewes' Lazy Susan's and Rehoboth's Café Solé all welcome pets.

There are few complaints. If anything, patrons return with extra customers.
"When someone sees a dog on the patio, their reaction is: Next time I'll bring mine," Mazzeo says.

Which gives a whole new meaning to the time-honored tradition of a "doggie bag."

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How Much is Your Dog or Cat Worth? PLUS America's Favorite Animal Artist

Pet Friendly Travel
Christine Ledder -

Vacation Safely with a Furry Friend

The idea of traveling with a pet is often popular. The realities are not always as simple as people assume. Research is the key to a successful outing for all.

Traveling with a pet has become popular in the United States. An industry has arisen around the idea that pets can be accommodated just like traditional travelers at various budget levels. There are premium pet vacation plans and budget travel arrangements. Owners are becoming educated consumers in the pet friendly travel market.

The Trip and the Pet Should be a Good Fit
While wanting to keep a pet close is a natural instinct not all trips and pets are a good match. An active hiking trip in a pet friendly environment may be a wonderful fit for a dog that is healthy and loves the outdoors. It may not be a great fit for an older dog who struggles with the daily walking routine. Owners know the temperament and abilities of a dog and need to to be honest about the dog’s ability to handle the situation when choosing an outing. The same basic rules apply to all pets. Can the animal adapt to the structure of the environment in which it will be living? Will it be comfortable and content or stressed and worried the entire trip?

If the trip is a good fit then considering pet friendly options is a good choice for this trip. Some pets just are not good travelers so when one travels one should have good options for pet care available. If a pet can travel each trip will have to be considered on a trip by trip basis. If the trip is just not a good fit the two options are leaving the pet with reliable pet care, or altering the vacation to a more pet friendly option that meets the pet’s needs.

Planning a Pet Friendly Vacation
There are books, blogs and websites devoted to this subject with wonderful advice. One should understand one’s budget and goals for the trip. If one is bringing a pet one is going to have to focus activities around pet friendly options or consider pet care during the outings that are not pet friendly. Even pet friendly establishments do have issues with pets being left alone for long periods of time.

Pets will need consistency in food and medicine so consider that when packing. Bedding, toys, and entertainments should also be considered. A calm pet tends to be a happier one. Consider how an animal will be provided with hydration while traveling and during a visit. All animals have temperature issues so consider temperature control and how that can be maintained during travel and what options will be available at the location the pet will be living at during the stay.

Ron Burns - America's Favorite
Animal Artist

Ron is an Ohio native whose professional life started in Los Angeles where he and Buff founded the graphic design company, Ron Burns Design. There his work won over high-profile clients including Dick Clark Productions, Xerox, and Blue Cross.

But this brand of success demanded a nonstop, 25-hour-a-day approach to living and working that grew less and less fulfilling. Ron occasionally used painting as a pastime to deal with the intense pressures of commercial work. The 1987 Whittier earthquake rattled more than their design studio off its foundation, it forced Ron and Buff to completely reprioritize their lives.

Looking to escape the soulless-ness of business life in L.A., they moved to Sedona, Arizona. In this quieter, more spiritual setting Ron began to take painting seriously. He explored various styles and subject matter until finally he started painting vibrant portraits of their own dogs.

"There's nothing subtle or muted about a pet's love, especially, especially a dog's," says Ron. "It's full-strength, heart-felt and wild-as-the-wind. So the green-apple colors, the fire-truck reds, the swimming-pool blues really chose themselves."

Brilliant, saturated colors are the only ways I can begin to capture what each of us experiences with the dogs and cats that nurture us.

Ron begins each portrait with the eyes.

"Their eyes hold nothing back, whether it's love or fear, heartbreak or admiration. Every portrait begins with the eyes, they have to because from there all the life and personality radiates outward," he says.

After Ron's initial series of paintings of his own "kids," he started visiting animal shelters and taking photos of other dogs and cats to use as models. After selling portraits of these images, he returned a percentage of proceeds back to support the shelters. This approach later lead to being named artist-in-residence with The Humane Society of the United States.

New York Daily News writes that Ron's style "captures the quiet heroics of the life of dogs." It's a style that has won over collectors, interior designers, auction bidders, and book buyers. He has been featured nationally on television and in print.

Demand for Ron's original work, limited editions, and his book continues to flourish on the strength of gallery sales, word of mouth among collectors, and media praise.

-- Forbes magazine writes, "Burns style has become extremely collectible."

-- "His canvasses of in-your-face dogs and cats drenched in Day-Glo colors are hot sellers," reports San Francisco Chronicle.

-- Sky magazine calls his style "eye-popping, irresistible, Andy Warhol meets Matisse."

Ron, Buff, Loganberry and Emma currently live part-time in Scottsdale, Arizona and there he is presently creating new works of art, working on a number of exciting new projects including those that support the animals.

Click here to visit Ron's site and view his amazing animal art.

More Drugs Available to Pets with Cancer
By JAN JARVIS / Special Contributor to The Dallas Morning News

Kelly, a 10-year-old chocolate Lab, sports a bright yellow collar with "Livestrong" embroidered on it. Like cyclist Lance Armstrong, she's a cancer survivor.

In June, Kelly started getting Palladia, the first drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat cancer in dogs.

Kelly had a malignant mast cell tumor and an enlarged lymph node in her chest, said her owner, Pam Greenberg of Dallas. "The prognosis wasn't good – three to nine months."

At that time, Greenberg hit the Internet and discovered that Pfizer, the maker of Palladia, had received FDA approval for the drug in June, but for limited use. Only vets certified in oncology are allowed to give the drug until it becomes widely available early next year.

A month after the treatment, when the playful pooch returned to her Dallas veterinarian for tests, her owner got the news she had been hoping for.

"I don't see any cancer at all," said Dr. Cheryl Harris, who is board-certified in oncology.

Until the development of Palladia, veterinarians had to rely on human cancer drugs without knowing the dosage, safety or effectiveness in animals.

While surgery is the first line of treatment for dogs with mast cell tumors, many dogs don't have that option, Harris said. The malignant tumor accounts for about 20 percent of skin cancer in dogs. It strikes all breeds but is often found in Labradors, boxers and Boston terriers.

About 60 percent of dogs older than 6 are diagnosed with cancer, and nearly half the deaths in pets older than 10 result from the disease, according to the Pet Cancer Foundation.

Palladia joins a growing list of FDA-approved drugs developed specifically for companion animals. Within the last two years, the FDA has approved three other drugs developed by Pfizer's veterinary division: Slentrol for obesity, Cerenia for motion sickness and Convenia, the first single-dose injected antibiotic for skin infections in dogs and cats. Novartis, Eli Lilly and other pharmaceutical giants are also making medicines for companion animals.

Animal health is big business in a country where many people treat their pets as family members. An estimated 62 percent of U.S. households own a pet, equivalent to 71.4 million homes, according to the American Pet Products Association.

This year, pet owners are expected to spend $45.4 billion on their animal companions, $22.4 billion of that on veterinary care, over-the-counter medications and supplies.

Since the FDA approved Palladia, Harris said, she has been inundated with calls from people interested in the drug for their dogs.

"People definitely see their pets as four-legged children," Harris said.

As pet owners seek better care for their cats and dogs, vets have been pushing pharmaceutical companies to develop drugs for the most common conditions, such as motion sickness.

"We are seeing a lot of pet caregivers who are very anxious to keep the family pet healthy," said Rick Goulart, a Pfizer animal health spokesman.

Greenberg estimates that she has spent $5,000 this year on Kelly's treatment, including CT scans, biopsies and drugs. And that doesn't include the Palladia, which has been free because it's just beginning to be used.

Palladia's price is expected to be set next year. Harris said current cancer treatments for pets can cost $2,000 to $5,000 over a year, but Palladia is expected to be cheaper.

After hearing about Palladia, Greenberg did not hesitate to do whatever was needed to save her canine companion.

"I know a ton of people who would do anything for their dogs," she said.

Kelly had to be temporarily taken off the drug when her blood cell count dropped significantly, but after a week she began taking the pill again.

Over about a month, the tumor shrank dramatically, and Kelly was bouncing around like a puppy. Recently, Harris could not detect any cancer in the dog.

"Now on the CT scan you can't see any kind of enlarged lymph gland," Greenberg said. "The breast area doesn't even look like there was a tumor."

About Palladia

Palladia was tested on 157 dogs with Grade II and III tumors, which have begun to spread or metastasized to lymph glands.

About 60 percent of the dogs in clinical trials had their tumors shrink, disappear or stop growing, according to Pfizer.

Palladia works by killing tumor cells and cutting off the blood supply to the tumor.

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Remember Pets During Very Hot Weather
Moberly Monitor

When heat indices rise, pet owners are advised to take special precautions to keep pets safe. High temperatures can be deadly for pets left without a cool, shady place to rest and plenty of water.

•Never leave a pet unattended in a parked car when the temperature is more than 70 degrees.
When it’s 72 degrees outside, a car’s temperature can rocket to 116 degrees, even with the windows cracked. When it is 85 degrees outside, the temperature inside a car can soar to 120 degrees in minutes. Leaving a pet in a parked car is inhumane,illegal and can cause severe injury or even death within minutes.

•Act immediately if you see a distressed animal in an unattended car. This is called “exigent circumstances” and you can remove an animal from a car, by whatever means necessary, if they show signs of distress such as heavy panting, unresponsive behavior, seizure or collapse.

•Be certain outdoor pets have access to fresh, clean water at all times.
Secure plastic water bowls, never metal, to the ground so your pet can’t accidentally tip them over. You can dig a small round hole and place the water bowls inside.

•Ensure that your pet has access to shade at all times.
Your dog might be in the shade when you leave for work, but the sunlight moves throughout the day. Don’t allow your pet to be stranded in the scorching sun.

•If you run or jog with your dog, take frequent water breaks for yourself and your dog.

Remember that asphalt and concrete get hot quickly. You have rubber soles on your feet—your dog does not. On hot days, leave your dog at home.
Do not bicycle or rollerblade with a pet. Heat stroke and possible death can occur very quickly, particularly in hot weather.

•When the weather is dangerously hot, keep pets inside.

•If your pet is showing signs of heat exhaustion (excessive panting, vomiting, lethargic behavior), right away begin applying cold water to your pet’s extremities. See your veterinarian immediately!

•During the summer, mosquitoes are prevalent. Make sure your pet is tested by a veterinarian for heartworm disease (a mosquito-transmitted, often fatal disease) and begin heartworm prevention medication.

To report an animal in heat-related jeopardy, please call the Humane Society of Missouri at (314) 647-4400.
For more information on how to care for pets during the summer months, visit the Humane Society of Missouri or e-mail us at

Study: Dogs Can Dig Through Human Deception
By Dan Vergano, USA TODAY

Man's best friend or food-grubbing flatterer? Dogs are no dummies either way, suggests a study showing how canines respond to deception.

Fido always seems to know which hand hides the treat, even without sniffing, and researchers and pet owners alike have long wondered whether pooches imagine what we are thinking or whether they simply read body language.

"Dogs evolved with humans, and a number of studies have suggested they are particularly sensitive to human cues," says psychologist William Roberts of Canada's Dalhousie University. Sentimental pet owners might even say their dogs know what they are thinking.

Shih Tzus were one of the breeds studied to see if dogs followed signals or treats.

To test how well dogs have people figured out, Roberts and colleagues performed three experiments reported in the current Behaviour Process journal. The team recruiting pet owners and tested 16 dogs in a park near London, Ontario.

First, the researchers presented the dogs with two covered buckets, one empty, one loaded with treats. In some trials, the same tester would always signal to the dogs the empty bucket. In other trials, another tester would signal the full bucket.

The dogs started out running to the bucket indicated by testers in both trials, but within five attempts, the dogs figured out a little less than half the time to run to the bucket not indicated by the "deceptive" tester.

Similar tests were done decades ago in chimps, notes psychologist Clive Wynne of the University of Florida-Gainesville, editor of the journal. "One interesting thing is that the dogs are wiping the floor with the chimps in how often, statistically, they figure out the deception," he says.

To see whether the human testers mattered, the team replaced the testers with white or black boxes, placed behind buckets, one empty and one holding hot dog pieces. "It appears that dogs learned rather quickly to approach the (full) box and to avoid the (empty) box," the study says.

"They are just as good at it when no humans are involved," Wynne says. The study suggests, he adds, that "sometimes for your dog, you are just a stimulus machine that provides food" rather than a thinking creature whose intentions need to be read.

But Alexandra Horowitz of Columbia University says the experiments can't tell us too much. "In the deceiver case, they were torn — this person had deceived them, but on the other hand, it is still a person, and people often have information about where food or a toy is hidden."

Top 10 Allergies That Affect Pets
And Their Owners
Submitted by K9 Magazine News Editor -

People allergic to pets may be surprised to learn that pets too can suffer their (un)fair share of allergies. Topping the list of medical conditions that affect both people and pets, allergies are one of many pet illnesses often mistakenly considered exclusive to humans. A recent study by a pet health insurance firm in the USA examined its 2008 medical claims data to determine the top 10 “human” conditions that also plague pets:

1. Allergies – In 2008, VPI received 63,761 claims for skin allergies.
Allergic reactions in pets can result from flea bite saliva, the pollen
of nearby plants or foods that pets eat. Treatment for pets is
relatively the same as it is for people: control the pet’s exposure to
allergens (in the environment or to certain foods), administration of
antihistamines, and, in severe cases, administration of
anti-inflammatory medications.

2. Bladder infection – 23,915 claims received. The symptoms of a bladder
infection, or bacterial cystitis, can be difficult to recognize in
pets. Don’t assume all “accidents” in the house or a pet’s frequent
urination pattern is simply a behavioral issue. There could be medical
basis to a pet’s change in urinary habits. It is important to never
ignore a pet that appears to be experiencing painful or difficult

3. Arthritis – 19,537 claims received. The aging process occurs more
rapidly in pets and has many of the same effects on pets as it does on
humans. Arthritis, or degenerative joint disease, most often results
from a lifetime of wear and can cause pain or decreased joint movement.
Pets suffering from arthritis may need anti-inflammatory medications
and/or pet specific pain relievers for their arthritis. (Note: never
give a pet a human drug or pain reliever, since these can be toxic to

4. Diabetes – 8,590 claims received. As with humans, diabetes requires
daily management of the disease and a combination of treatment
involving weight control, specially timed meals, insulin injections
and/or oral medications.

5. Skin Cancer – 2,114 claims received. It would be easy to think that
with hair usually covering the majority of their bodies, pets don’t
have to worry about skin cancer. Unfortunately, the three most common
skin cancers in humans also occur in pets. Areas of skin that are white
or pink on a pet’s coat are particularly susceptible to sunburn which,
with long-term exposure, can lead to skin cancer. As such, it is
important to monitor the skin of pets with white ear tips, pink noses,

6. Gum Disease – 1,748 claims received. Pets have a disadvantage compared
to people in the dental category. Food particles tend to gather in the
corners of their mouth after a meal, so tooth brushing and regular
checkups are necessary. Without tooth brushing the pet is susceptible
to the potentially harmful effects of excessive plaque buildup on the
tooth’s surface. The plaque harbors bacteria, which easily invade the
adjacent gum lining, leading to gum recession and gum disease.

7. Acne – 705 claims received. Acne in dogs and cats affects the chin and
lips. While dogs often outgrow the condition, cats are more likely to
suffer lifelong breakouts. Most pets are not bothered by the condition,
but in severe cases, the affected areas may become painful or itchy.
Topical medications may be prescribed by a veterinarian to relieve the
pet’s discomfort.

8. Stomach Ulcers – 584 claims received. Ulcers in pets can be caused by
drugs, cancer, kidney or liver disease, pancreatitis, inflammatory
bowel disease or chronic stomach inflammation. Pets with stomach ulcers
may vomit or display abdominal discomfort.

9. Cataracts – 495 claims received. A cataract is a change in the
transparency of lens in the eye. An opaque lens blocks light from
reaching the retina and may cause a partial or complete loss of vision.
Cataracts in pets may be caused by diabetes, malnutrition, radiation,
inflammation, or trauma. Like humans, surgery may be required to remove
the affected lens or lenses.

10. Laryngitis – 382 claims received. Dogs and cats can bark or meow for
hours upon hours, but every so often, one will lose his voice. The
cause may be an upper respiratory tract infection, irritation due to
an inhalant, or just excessive vocalization. An inflamed larynx will
cause vocal difficulty. Fortunately, it is rarely serious.

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10 Top Tips for Cutting the Cost of Pet Insurance
by Sally Darby -

Pet insurance will give you the reassurance that should your pet need treatment the cost of taking them to the vet will be covered, but is there any way to reduce how much you pay in premiums? We discuss our top 10 ways to insure your pets for less.

Seen as an essential purchase by some pet-owners and an unnecessary extravagance by others, the subject of pet insurance can be a surprisingly controversial one in the animal world. However, there’s no doubt that if your pet falls ill or has an accident and you don’t have pet insurance in place, you’ll invariably find yourself having to pay out to cover huge vet bills.

The cost of treating your pet can be extremely high – often running into thousands of pounds if your dog has a broken foot, for example. Yet paying out regularly to keep up insurance premiums can be a drain on your finances, and when many of us are looking to tighten our belts any way we can, it’s something you’re likely to want to cut down on as much as possible.

So how can you reduce your pet insurance premiums? We give you our top 10 tips.

1. Shop aroundWhen buying insurance shopping around is an absolute must to ensure you aren’t paying out more than you have to. Instead of accepting your renewal or the first pet insurance quote you are given make sure you do your homework and research all the alternatives on the market.

There is a huge variety of different pet insurance policies available, giving cover for dogs, cats, horses, rabbits, and more ‘exotic’ pets such as lizards and tarantulas. This vast amount of choice means that you should be able to find exactly what you want from pet cover at a price that suits your budget. If you’re looking for a cost-cutting approach to insuring your pet then comparing a number of policies is a good place to start.

It’s a good idea to figure out what you want from a policy before you start looking, so that you can be confident your pet has the cover he or she needs in order to get the care you want to give them should you need to make a claim.

2. Buy onlineAs with the majority of insurance policies nowadays, the internet can be a valuable tool for reducing the cost of premiums. Not only can you use the internet to search and compare policies until you find one that provides suitable cover at a suitable price, you can also benefit from discounts on your premium if you buy online.

Many pet insurance companies offer a discount to customers if they purchase their policies online because it costs less to arrange and therefore cuts their overheads, meaning they can pass on the savings to you. That said, there’s no guarantee that policies that offer online discounts are going to provide you with cheaper, or better cover.

So when conducting your pet insurance search it’s important to compare policies that offer online discounts with those that do not offer them, to see how policies differ both in terms of cover and in terms of price.

3. Insure all your pets under the same policyIf you have more than one pet, it can make sense to insure them all at the same time with the same insurer. Doing so can often mean multi-pet discounts, where your insurer will offer you money off your cover if you are willing to insure two or more of your pets together.

Having all your pets covered under the same policy can be more convenient than buying several separate policies, as well as meaning savings for you. If your pets fall ill or have an accident, the claim process should be easier if you have only one insurer to deal with. So if you want to insure your faithful Collie under one policy, it could be a good idea to insure your cat, hamster, horse, and any other pets you own with the same insurer too.

4. Increase your excessIf you increase the amount you are willing to pay in the event of a claim, your premiums may be reduced accordingly. This is because the insurer will then have to pay less towards the cost of a claim and so can afford to charge you less to keep up your cover.

However this cost-cutting tactic should only be used if you can afford to pay out more in the event of a claim – if you think you won’t be able to meet potential costs, keep your excess low.

5. Find the balance between unlimited and limited coverAll pet insurance policies will cover vet fees to some extent, but while some insurers will give you unlimited cover for vet bills, others will limit the amount you can claim per year. Cover is also usually limited to a certain amount per condition, and may not cover any pre-existing conditions.

While an unlimited policy will provide you with the most comprehensive cover, it will cost more to keep up because the insurer will have to pay out more. Opting for cover that is limited to pay out a specific amount for any claim may therefore be more cost-effective, as long as it is providing you with the cover you need.

6. Choose between ongoing and short-termWhen it comes to taking out a pet insurance policy you tend to have two options; those that will pay out for treatment of any one condition (up to the policy maximum) on an ongoing basis and those that will pay out for treatment for a limited time only (usually 12 months).

If you’re looking to cut the cost of pet insurance, policies that are designed to cover the cost of treatment for a limited term are an option that’s definitely worth considering. This is because policies that provide insurance for a 12 months are likely to be more than adequate for those who are concerned about covering the cost of treatment following a sudden illness, injury or accident and tend to be the cheaper alternative.

Life of condition pet insurance policies on the other hand will provide you with reassurance that should your pet suffer from an ailment that is going to require treatment for a prolonged period then you will be able to afford to give this to them. That said, they do tend to be more expensive than those that provide cover for a limited term so you will need to weigh the benefits with the costs.

7. Leave nothing unsaidWhen arranging your pet insurance policy remember to always give a full disclosure of your pet’s health – past and present. If your pet has pre-existing or hereditary medical conditions don’t omit these important details at the point of buying cover.

Although insuring a pet with pre-existing conditions may cost more than insuring a pet in good health, it will save you money in the long run. It’s worth noting that many insurers will not provide cover for the treatment of pre-existing conditions so you’ll need to check before committing yourself.

An insurer is very unlikely to pay out in the event of a claim if they suspect your pet was already at risk of becoming ill, so it is always worth being completely honest at the outset.

8. Go for a mongrelIf you are at the stage where you are looking to add a new canine friend to your family, think about how much the animal will cost to insure before you buy. As a general rule a mongrel will be much cheaper to insure than a pedigree dog, as pedigrees tend to be more at risk of becoming ill and may require specialist treatment.

9. Cover them while they’re youngIt’s best to buy insurance for your pet while they are still young, as the older your pet is, the more it will cost to insure them. This is because as your pet advances in years they are more likely to fall ill or need a visit to the vet.

If you leave buying insurance till your pet is looking a little worse for wear and may need to make a trip to the vet in the near future, your cover is likely to cost much more than if you had insured a healthy young pup. So it pays to insure your pet early on in their life.

That said, it is still worth insuring older pets too, because the cost of cover is likely to be far less than paying out for vets’ bills.

10. Look after your pet Keeping your pet happy, healthy, and fit will reduce the likelihood of having to make a trip to the vet and in turn reduce the cost of pet insurance. A pet that is of good health and neither underweight nor overweight will cost less to insure simply because they are less likely to need treatment.

Make sure your pet gets plenty of exercise, has a good diet, and is given plenty of care and attention – as well as giving your pet a long and happy life, this also means you won’t have to shell out as much to keep up their insurance cover.

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How Much is Your Dog or Cat Worth?
by Jill Rosen - Baltimore Sun

The kitty that falls asleep on your pillow purring every night -- is she worth just the $30 you paid for her at the shelter?

Or your loyal dog, who you walk with every day -- what, $150?

That's the value that showed up on your credit card -- but is their real value about more than the pricetag? In a court of law, that might not be the case.

A courtroom in Virginia is wrestling with that very issue, according to this interesting story in Monday's Washington Post.

According to the story, Jeffrey Nanni has sued his former domestic partner, Maurice Kevin Smith, alleging that Smith maliciously killed their 12-pound Chihuahua, Buster, two years ago by hitting him with a wooden board. The suit says, Nanni, 42, a paralegal, "continues to suffer severe emotional distress" and should be compensated for it. He's aksing for monetary damages for Buster's worth, "which includes Buster's unique value . . . as a companion animal."

Virginia law says that dogs and cats are personal property and that owners are "entitled to recover the value" of the pet if the pet is injured or killed. That has been interpreted to mean replacement value.

This is Leo Sesame. I didn't pay much for him, but he means the world to me.

What do you think? Should the courts try to consider the fuzzy value of love and companionship when itemizing damages? A provocative and tricky issue....

My 22-year-old orange tabby, Marigold, is priceless, and that's my point. The laws should be changed to read that companion animals are not property but individuals who are protected under the law. People who kill these animals should go to jail. I know that's a slippery slope, and I do occasionally eat a burger, but we have to stop considering companion animals as property. They are not cars or refrigerators.

Posted by: Mart

If you took all of my vet bills (puppy has tummy troubles) and the bills for the special food she's on. Plus her daily medication for the past 6 years. The price of all the cute treats and doggie beds, and trips to the are getting into some tens of thousands I'm sure! (I try not to think about it :) And while that could be argued as an "investment" in my "property", that still isn't enough money to make a dent in the "emotional distress" that it would cause me if someone stole her or hurt her. She is my only family here in Baltimore. She's my furry child. And I would retaliate if someone or something hurt her.

Posted by: Bubbles

How much is a child worth? How much is a spouse worth? How much is a friend worth? All loving relationships are priceless. Many years ago, when going through a divorce, I gave up a really nice house in California so that I could keep my 6 year old Golden Retriever. I knew he'd have a better life with me. He was priceless and I wouldn't have traded a moment with him for a million dollars.

Posted by: Lisa Spector

Anybody who kills/hurts my pets better be prepared to suffer. Painfully.

I'd do time in order to avenge Jack & Daphne. They're my babies, & it's not OK to hurt them. The penalties for animal cruelty are shamefully insufficient...that disgusting piece of slime Richard Rioux is facing 90 days at most.

Posted by: Weaselbaby

Hi, I was in car accident in April 09, my car was rear-ended, had $8,000 in damage. My new Border Collie rescue was in the back seat with my other dog. Both dogs ended up on the floor. The accident did not scare my older dog, but the Border Collie became extremely AFRAID of EVERYTHING. We had to hire a special dog behaviorist. We ended up having almost $600 in the training, vet bill, hollistic meds out of our own pocket.The other persons insurance finally paid us $750 for our dog, and paid for the car repairs. I'm in AZ and that is all they would pay. The border collie has recoverd, but it took alot of work, we really were not compensated for many months of work that was caused by the other dumbo driver. I'm just glad my dogs are OK! Cheers Agnesmom

Posted by: Agnesmom

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