Let Sleeping Dogs Lie? The Loudest (and Quietest) Barkers

Own a Pet and Stay Healthy
By Niki Laviolette - TribStar.com

TERRE HAUTE — In the United States, one out of every two households owns a pet. Studies indicate your mental and physical health can be positively affected by owning a pet. Today, stress is ever present in our daily lives and animals have proven to function as buffers against this stress. A University of California study determined that people with pets are less affected by stress than people without pets. Just by petting an animal, you can reduce stress and blood pressure. Another study in Australia by Baker Medical Research Institute determined that pet owners have a significantly lower blood pressure level than people who do not have pets. Often, people with pets have better physical health and experience a reduced use of prescription drugs.

Owning a pet can also reduce hyperactivity and anxiety. A study in 1984 discovered that people watching fish in aquariums worked as well as hypnosis in reducing anxiety before surgery. Also, pet owners have a decreased risk for a heart attack. And for a person who owns a pet and has had a heart attack, their odds of survival increase from 1 in 15 to 1 in 87. Since both dog and cat owners are more prone to survive a heart attack, the reason behind it is less likely due to more exercise by dog owners.

Dr. Parminda Raina discovered in his Canadian research that elderly pet owners had lower health costs than non-pet owners and they were better able to cope with their daily activities. Often, elderly people say owning a pet gives them a reason for living. The physical contact with our pets allows us something to touch. Studies indicate the importance of touch for our physical and emotional health. Pets lift our moods and decrease the feeling of loneliness. It’s also important to feel needed and owning a pet is someone to care for.

Research conducted at the Medical College of Georgia and the Henry Ford Health System in Michigan suggests that children that are exposed to two or more cats and dogs in their first year of life have a reduced allergy risk. The study also indicated that it could lead to a better lung function in boys. Having two or more pets was linked to lower levels of immunoglobulin E, which has an affect on hypersensitivity reactions. Children who have pets tend to be more outgoing and self-reliant and less self-centered than those children without pets. A London children’s hospital allows weekly visits from pets that help children overcome depression from lengthy hospitalization and unpleasant treatments. There is a positive influence for adolescents as well. Teenagers in large cities with dogs are found to be more content with life and experience a better relationship with adults.

Family pets create a sense of closeness and well-being. They add consistency to our lives and they give us something to look forward to each day. Most pet owners consider their pets to be a part of their families. The love and affection that are shared between an owner and his pet can render you healthier and happier. Pets give you a sense of purpose, offer meaning to life, and help eliminate depression and loneliness. So, if you don’t yet own a pet, get healthy and adopt today.

Notes from the CEO:
Don't Let Car Sickness
Keep Your Pup at Home
Brenda Barnette, CEO of the Seattle Humane Society - SeattlePI.com

Some dogs just can't wait to go for a car ride! Many dogs and puppies would love to join you in the car, but the experience causes stomach upset and they get car sick. The good news is that most dogs outgrow it. If your puppy dislikes traveling, here's how you can help:

• Some dogs travel better on an empty stomach. No food or water right before a trip – or a quarter of what you usually feed them.

• Learn his signs of motion sickness and stop accordingly. Some dogs can travel for hours; others need to stop frequently.

• Let your dog ride where there's less movement. If he's not in a crate, strap him in with a dog seat belt.

• Open the window so your pup gets fresh air – just make sure he can't jump or fall out.

• Ask your vet about Dramamine. Dramamine can cause drowsiness, so give your dog time to recover.

Have an adult dog that still gets car sick? Step by step and over time, you can help her enjoy her time in the car. Start by putting her in the car five minutes daily without the engine running. When she's comfortable, start the engine but don't drive. After several days, drive a very short distance (200 feet). Repeat this step, and when she's ready, drive a little further. If she gets uncomfortable, back up a step and take it slower.

This can be a long process, but the payoff is a pet who will love being your constant companion!
Brenda Barnette
CEO of the Seattle Humane Society

Pet Safety During a Thunderstorm
Reporter: Iram Ali - wctv.com

Stormy weather means taking extra precaution when it comes to your pets.

Thomasville-Thomas County Humane Society officials say when it starts thundering, often times dogs and cats can develop anxiety.

They say they have a tendency to whimper, pace or even tremble throughout the storm, and it can be dangerous for them to be so frightened.

"It's best if they are in a smaller area, confined where they're safe and they don't hurt themselves or anyone else and even their property," Joyce Patterson, Thomasville-Thomas County Humane Society Director, said.

Officials also say folks can talk to their veterinarian and get their pets sedated before a major thunderstorm to help keep them calm before the storm.

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Tips for Quieting Barking Dogs

A Shiba Inu speaks its mind, which some dogs are excessively fond of doing.

How often do you have to tell your dog to stop barking?

How is that working for you?

Somehow, we doubt it. But if you own a "barky" dog, don't despair — even the innately vocal breeds can be trained to give it a rest.

Barking is a dog's way of communicating — hey, someone's coming up the driveway; watch out, something dangerous is about to happen. But some dogs, like some humans, just won't keep quiet and must have the last word. Their incessant yapping is a behavior known as nuisance barking.

Chicago-based pet writer and radio personality Steve Dale says barking is one trait that all dogs share, no matter the canine's breed, size or age.

"Some are more opinionated than others," Dale quips. "Every dog is an individual."

And some are born barkers.

Shetland sheepdogs, terriers and many of the toy breeds love to talk. Beagles bay. American Eskimo dogs and Siberian huskies howl. Basenjis, although indigenous to the Congo, yodel as well as a Swiss mountaineer.

"The terriers like to communicate a lot," Dale says.

He says it's ironic that when renting an apartment or home, many landlords specify, "no big dogs allowed," but permit tenants to have small breeds such as pugs and Chihuahuas.

"It's more likely that a little dog will make more noise than a Great Pyrenees — and more often," Dale comments. Although big dogs, such as a Saint Bernard or Kuvasz, occasionally bellow, they tend to be placid animals and are more content to sleep than to chatter like a small terrier or toy dog.

"Small dogs, overall, tend to say more," Dale notes.

Since "every dog is an individual," Dale says, an owner might be lucky enough to share quarters with a calm and quiet Westie or Affenpinscher.

According to Ruth Smiler, a New Bedford-based animal behavior consultant, most dogs can be trained to be quiet.

She emphasizes that when an owner is dealing with nuisance barking, it's important to remain calm and never shout, even if sorely tempted. Smiler offers several techniques to stop nuisance barking, but stresses that these methods shouldn't be used when a dog barks because of aggression, fear, senility or social isolation.

Smiler, who has owned dogs for more than 50 years, says that many dogs bark simply to get attention.

"Never reward request or demand barking by giving the dog what he wants," she warns.

Instead, give a demanding dog some attention in the form of a no-nonsense, rigorous workout of basic obedience drills.

"Immediately, put him on leash and do a couple of minutes of 'sit, down, stay,' " she advises. "Use crisp, business-like praise without treats. Be a drill sergeant!"

Another alternative, Smiler adds, is to ignore the dog until it stops barking.

"Turn your back," she suggests. Walk away. Pay no attention to the barking dog and have no eye contact.

"Be forewarned — when you first start to use this technique, the dog is likely to escalate his barking," Smiler says. "Be patient, wait him out. Then turn back to him, and praise and pat him immediately when he stops."

One easy way to calm Fido is to teach him a command such as "hush" or "quiet" and reward the animal with a treat when it stops barking.

"Say the cue word as you put your treat-filled fist, palm up, to his nose," she says. "He will stop barking because he cannot sniff your hand and bark simultaneously. After five seconds of sniffing and licking your hand, offer praise and open your hand to let him eat the treat. Over time, as he learns the cue, increase the time he must remain quiet before getting the treat. If he starts to bark again, use your no-reward mark ('uh, uh' or 'stop') to give him the opportunity to self-correct into 'hush' or 'quiet.' "

Another way to quiet barking is to put the dog into a down position once the animal learns the obedience command.

"A reliable and prompt 'down' cue can then be used as an alternative behavior incompatible with barking," Smiler adds.

Owners can also curtail nuisance barking by using basic management techniques.

"When dogs bark at people or other animals, their visual attention is focused on the target of their barking," Smiler observes. "If you break their line of vision, they will not bark."

Some dogs, especially terriers, like to sit by the window and bark at everything that moves, including falling leaves and darting squirrels.

"For the dog that sits on the couch looking out the window, barking at people who walk by, deny him access to that 'room with a view,' " Smiler advises, adding that owners can also close the curtains or simply move the couch so that the canine culprit can't see outdoors.

Smiler says it's important to verbally reward a nuisance barker when the animal is calm.

"Say 'quiet, good quiet.' Use a soothing, gentle, happy voice with a loving touch. This is vocabulary building. The dog becomes accustomed to hearing the word and attracting your attention and getting loving praise in the absence of barking."

A few owners of nuisance barkers resort to convenience devocalization, a surgical procedure also known as debarking, bark softening or vocal cordectomy. During the procedure, tissue is removed from the animal's vocal cords to permanently reduce the volume of the animal's vocalizations.

The controversial procedure has been banned in Britain as a form of animal mutilation and steps have been taken to stop the practice in several states in this country.

According to Dr. Sheila R. Morrissey, a veterinarian and breeder of Siberian huskies, some owners have their dogs debarked for "noise control."

Morrissey, genetics chairwoman for the Siberian Husky Club of America, does not perform the procedure nor has she ever had it done to one of her dogs, although a few of her friends have had Siberians and other breeds debarked. She reports that some breeding lines produce more vocal dogs than other stock.

"It can be equated to a tonsillectomy in humans," she notes, adding that the procedure does not stop dogs from sounding off, but just softens the bark.

A dog that has been debarked can be heard by other canines within close range, but not far away.

"It can make local calls," Morrissey says, laughing. "It can't make long-distance calls."

Acushnet resident and Siberian husky fancier Everett Philla has never experienced any noise problems with his dogs. He raced the huskies for more than 30 years at sled dog competitions throughout the region and owned as many as 16 dogs at one time.

"My dogs never made much noise — only when they were going to be run or be fed," he recalls. When Siberians do howl, he says, it's almost like singing.

He remembers a neighbor telling him that her dog used to get excited when Philla's canine chorus started to perform.

"She told me, 'My dog used to try to sing with your dogs, but he couldn't carry the tune.' "

The Web site www.barkingdogs.net rates the breeds according to inappropriate barking. Every dog is an individual, however, and might not be on the same vocal scale as others of its breed:

Most excessive barkers: No. 1

Yorkshire terrier

Cairn terrier

Miniature schnauzer

West Highland white terrier

Fox terrier


No. 2


Silky terrier


Miniature poodle

Toy poodle

No. 3

Irish setter



Lhasa Apso

Shetland sheepdog

Boston terrier

Least offensive barkers: No. 1


Golden retriever




Chesapeake Bay retriever

No. 2

Labrador retriever

Australian shepherd

Great Dane

Old English sheepdog

Alaskan malamute

No. 3

Saint Bernard


Doberman pinscher




Swansea resident Brian J. Lowney has been writing about pets for more than a decade. He is a past president of the Wampanoag Kennel Club, an active dog show judge and shares his home with two shelter-adopted cats. All of Brian's columns are available online in our new pet section. Visit http://pets.SouthCoastToday.com

Tips for Taking Pictures
of Pets by Digital Camera

The digital camera has become one of the popular and common electronics in our life. In your spare time, you may take your high performance electronic product-digital camera or digital camcorder with you to pay a visit to some famous travel sites to capture the beautiful scenery. You may also take photos on a lively get-together with your camera. But do you try any new ideas of photographing? Have you ever enjoyed the experience to take photos of your lovely pets? Maybe your answer is positive. Then, can you make a good shot of your pets?

To take lovely photos of your pets, it’s crucial to capture their individuality. A snap shot at any time when you encounter the remarkable and interesting movement of the little animals. It’s much more amusing to capture the close-up when a little dog or cat is nodding off on their favorite mat than the compulsive movements.

Don’t forget the close shot when you take a close-up picture. Because if you stay too close to the pets, they may never be right there to pose for you just like model or superstars.

Animals with dark fur
It’s not an easy job to take photos of the animals with dark color fur. There are two points should be noticed. On the one hand, a brighter background is required. On the other hand, the shadow position of the pets should be noticed, just like taking pictures for other targets. In addition, avoid the redeye when you shoot with speedlight. And it’s better not to use speed light in a bright area. If speedlight is imperatively needed, no direct shoot to the pets’ eyes is ok.

Group picture
When you intend to take photos of a group of puppies or kittens, you’d better place them in a basket and let them lean on each other. Thus it will be more convenient to adjust the shooting distance. If you want to have a direct shoot of the pets’ eyes, you can attract their attention by calling their nicknames softly or by a sound toy. A group of baby pets stay together; it will be a pretty lovely thing.

Pets with children
When you take the photos of the pets playing with children, you should make sure that the people and animals appear in the same level. If it’s a pet of large shape, you can make the pet lie beside the child. It’s certain to get an ideal layout. Lovely baby and lovely pets.

For desirable photos, sufficient patience is required all the time. Just as the old saying goes, no pains, no gains. As a matter of fact, all the professional and beautiful photos should cost the photographer a lot of time and energy; Needless to say the lovely photos of pets.

Taking your digital camera to shoot some dazzling scene and unforgettable moments always turns to be an enjoyable and cool experience. And taking pictures of your lovely pets will prove to be more exciting. I do believe the above will be of help to a large extent to help you capture the right moment.

I f you have not gotten a digital camera of your own, it is really a great pity and you are sure to miss more. Get one right now without any hesitation. Whether you choose to get one from your local shop or from online wholesale electronics stores, just pick a right one and you will never regret.

View Photos of Singles - Match.com
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Cathy M. Rosenthal:
Older Dog Can Be Easily Trained

Dear Cathy,

We have an 8-year-old dachshund from the Animal Defense League. He was rescued from a puppy mill and is a very loving dog, but he still cringes at any sudden touch or loud noise. He is not house-trained, so there are accidents. We speak loudly to tell him he is a bad dog, and he knows he is a bad dog because he slinks away, but we have made no headway. He loves to go for walks, but putting a leash on him is almost impossible. We have managed to get one on him a few times, but he refuses to go to the bathroom on these walks. Do you see any hope for us?

— Judith

Dear Judith,

There is lots of hope for this dog, but he does need training. Thankfully, dogs of any age can be trained, so be patient.

First, a little on dog behavior: Your dog slinks away because you speak loudly to him, not because he knows he has done something wrong. The only time this tactic works is if you actually catch him in the act; otherwise, he is not quite sure what you are being so loud about. Since he is already sensitive to loud noises, this can cause further behavior problems.

Second, dogs don't know to relieve themselves just because they are on a leash. In fact, being on a leash inhibits some dogs because they are under your control. So I can't help you there. But here's what you can do about everything else. Pretend your 8-year-old dog is a puppy and start beginner training with him. Speak softly and sweetly and take him out to relieve himself after he eats, sleeps or plays. Give him a treat when he relieves himself and lots of praise. He will want to please you, especially if you don't raise your voice.

As for the leash walking, hold a treat in your hand and encourage him to walk by your side. Start with just minutes a day and then work up to at least 20 minutes. You can also try a Gentle Leader or other type of head halter to see if you can get more control of him during the walk.

With some consistent training, I am sure you can turn this little guy's habits around.

— Guardian Angel Program

Do you love pets and know what it takes to care for them? Are you the kind of person who believes pets need a second chance? Then, gosh darn it, you might just have what it takes to be a Guardian Angel in San Antonio Animal Care Services' foster care program. As a guardian angel, you can foster healthy dogs and cats for a few days or weeks while a permanent home is being found.

The program was launched a few months ago to free up space in the shelter and give more pets the second chance they need to find a permanent home. Currently, pets that do not find homes are euthanized.

Right now, 20 foster families are on board, but ACS is trying to recruit 300 families, so you can see there is a real need for a few guardian angels to step up to the plate. Write to ACSGuardianAngels@sanantonio.gov for information on how to get your wings.

Send your pet stories and questions to Cathy M. Rosenthal, c/o Features Department, San Antonio Express-News, P.O. Box 2171, San Antonio, TX 78297-2171, or cathy@petpundit.com. Cathy's advice column runs Sundays. You can read her blog, Animals Matter, at www.mysanantonio.com.

Cathy M. Rosenthal:
5 Ways We Pick Names for Our Pets

A few weeks ago, I asked readers to share their pets' names. After reviewing your e-mails, I realized that a pet's name can provide as much insight into a pet owner's personality as it can about the pet himself. Here's my take on the five ways we name our pets.

First, there are "human names," like Maggie and Max, that pet owners may choose to make pets feel like family. "They are my babies," says Liz M.

Second are "personality/appearance names" that reflect something unique about the pet's personality, behavior or appearance. Judith Gunn Bronson of Bandera says she rescued a tiny cat who "chewed on everything." Her husband said, "You are just a little termite, nothing but teeth and mouth." So, she was named "Termite." Erin Harrison's blue heeler was the runt of the litter who made all sorts of unusual sounds as if he was trying to talk, so she named him "Verbal."

Third are "discovery names." These names tell us where the pet was found, rescued or adopted from, like a dog named Freeway. Angela Hoeffler named her Maine coon cat Baby Jessica after the famous Texas rescue. "When we found her, she crawled into a hole in the wall under the bathroom vanity and did not come out for two days," says Hoeffler. "It was like the rescue of the other Baby Jessica, except our Jessie was in a 'wall,' not a 'well.' "

Fourth are "revealer names," which give insight into pet owners' favorite things. Who loves Star Trek? Helen Harrison of Cibolo has a terrier mix named "Tiberius" after Captain James T. Kirk and a dachshund mix named Tribble. Her daughter Heather loves poker, so she has a cat named Aces. Joe and Susan Mustacchio appear to love Italian history and literature. They have cats named Nero, Mercuria and Bucharacio.

Finally, the last category I call "Other." It's the category where you sort of give up on finding a name and start calling the cat "Kitty." Lex Caswell explains this category best. As a kid in upstate New York, "my dad came home one day with six cats from the local shelter," says Caswell. "My four siblings and I were given the job of naming them. We ran out of names so we called the sixth cat the 'Other' cat. The name stuck. 'Other' was with us for 15 love-filled years."

What happens when you combine names? Mark Crider of Corpus Christi has a toy rat terrier who is "Blenheim with pink skin where the hair is white and dark where it is Blenheim, which gives her spots all over her tummy," says Crider. "When she rolled over and showed her speckled tummy, my wife said "Dotty" (personality/appearance). I looked at my reddish latte and said, 'Latte' " (revealer). Since then, we've called her "Latte Dotte." ("Blenheim" is a color description for a reddish brown and white pattern on a dog.)

How do you name your pets?

My most recent pets have been Brinkley (revealer: The movie, "You've Got Mail"), Smokey (personality/appearance: Named by our son when he was 5), Maggie (human), and Miss Kitty (other: She came with the name).

Send your pet stories and questions to Cathy M. Rosenthal, c/o Features Department, San Antonio Express-News, P.O. Box 2171, San Antonio, TX 78297-2171, or cathy@petpundit.com. Cathy's advice column runs every Sunday. You can read her blog, Animals Matter, at www.mysanantonio.com.

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US Surge in Afghanistan Means
More Military Dogs,
Rush on Dog Food Hounds Operations
By Eric Talmadge, The Associated Press

The Canadian Press Photo: Tosca, a Belgium Malanois explosive detector dog works to sniff out explosives during a training.

KANDAHAR AIR FIELD, Afghanistan - The U.S. troop surge in Afghanistan has led to a dog surge - and unexpected problems in procuring high-quality dog food with enough protein and nutrients for hundreds of canines used to find explosives and perform other energy-intensive missions.

Along with about 37,000 U.S. and NATO troops, the number of military working dogs being brought into the country to search for mines, explosives and to accompany soldiers on patrol is increasing substantially, according to Nick Guidas, the American K-9 project manager for Afghanistan.

Guidas, a civilian contractor who primarily oversees dog operations in southern Afghanistan, said he has 50 dogs on operational teams and about 20 more awaiting missions. He expects that number to go up to 219 by July.

"It may go as high as 315 dogs in Afghanistan," he said Saturday at a crowded kennel full of highly trained German and Dutch Shepherds, Belgian Malinois and Labradors on this air base, the hub of U.S. and international security forces' operations in the volatile Kandahar area.

"Because of the surge there is more need for working dogs. But one of my main problems is getting dog food," he said. "It's hard to convince people sometimes that it's a priority, but it's a necessity if we are to keep these dogs working."

Guidas said because of the energy-intensive demands of their missions, the dogs require special food and can't just eat scraps.

The dog food, which is made commercially in the United States and has extra protein and nutrients to keep the dogs healthy while working in the heat and cold, must be shipped to Pakistan and then trucked to Kandahar.

But space on trucks is limited and prioritized. Food and supplies for humans come first, and logistics planners are still adjusting for the eating needs of the bigger pack of dogs to be put to work.

"It doesn't get a higher priority than a Coke or some potato chips," Guidas said of the dog food. "It moves when it moves."

Even so, the dogs have become an essential component of many units because of their versatility. They can be trained to search for a wide variety of explosives and parts used in making improvised bombs.

In the past month alone, military dogs in southern Afghanistan have made 20 finds of unexploded devices, weapon caches and other materiel.

The U.S. has about 2,800 military dogs, the largest canine force in the world. It has used dogs in combat since World War I.

The dogs don't come cheap. It costs about $40,000 per dog a year, and each goes through about five months of training. This year, Guidas expects the cost of the dog food that he needs to reach $200,000, up from about $80,000 last year.

He said each dog can work for five or six years, but the demands of the terrain and of the mission are harsh, particularly on the dogs' joints. If a dog is injured or sick, it is not sent out on operations.

Only two military dogs have been lost in southern Afghanistan in the past five years, Guidas said.

"We take very good care of these dogs," he said. "In some cases they are treated better than us."

Dog Flu Risk Highest
Where Canines Mingle
By Maryann Mott - HealthDay Reporter/USNews.com

New vaccine could minimize severity, experts say

(HealthDay News) -- Nowadays, even Fido fears the flu.

Boarding kennels and shelters in at least eight states -- New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Virginia, Colorado, Georgia and Florida -- saw outbreaks of canine influenza virus last year. The highly contagious respiratory infection targets dogs of any breed and age in any season, killing up to 2 percent of its victims.

"With any respiratory infection in dogs, you do have the potential for it to morph into a secondary bacterial pneumonia, which then might -- if untreated aggressively -- result in the death of some animals," says Edward Dubovi, a professor of virology at Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine in Ithaca, N.Y.

But with proper medical care, dogs usually recover in two weeks without further health complications, says canine influenza virus expert Dr. Cynda Crawford, a veterinarian at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine in Gainesville.

Last July, the first influenza vaccine for dogs received a one-year conditional license from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and became available nationwide. The vaccine, made from a killed virus, doesn't prevent infection, but was shown in clinical trials to reduce the duration of coughing and viral shedding so that dogs are less contagious.

"So far, it performs about as well as the vaccines that we give to people, and horses and pigs," Crawford said.

Two allergic reactions to the canine influenza vaccine have been reported, but these were more likely related to the individual patient than the product itself, said Lyndsay Cole, an APHIS spokesperson.

Like human flu, the canine flu virus thrives in crowded conditions, spreading through coughs and sneezes, contaminated objects such as water bowls, and the hands and clothing of people who handle infected animals.

Training facilities, dog shows, dog day-care centers, kennels and grooming salons -- anywhere there is a tight grouping of dogs -- are typical breeding grounds, and nearly all dogs exposed to the virus get infected, showing flu-like symptoms of coughing, sneezing and runny nose.

Health experts have been tracking dog flu for five years, but the actual incidence nationwide is unknown because no central data collection center exists for infectious diseases in pets.

Canine influenza was identified in 2004 by virologists at Cornell's Animal Health Diagnostic Center after greyhounds at a Florida racetrack were stricken with an unusual respiratory disease. Researchers determined the dogs had a type of H3N8 influenza ordinarily found only in horses.

Several months later, a pet dog in Florida contracted the virus, setting off a wave of publicity. Since then, canine flu has been documented in 30 states and the District of Columbia.

The virus jumps to new communities mostly from the mass movement of shelter animals throughout the country, Dubovi said. Dogs are routinely taken by rescue workers from high kill shelters, usually in the Southeast, and brought to facilities in other states where they stand a better chance of being adopted.

Because dogs have no natural immunity to the virus, it spreads rapidly in closed environments, such as shelters or boarding kennels, making it difficult to eradicate.

In an effort to combat the problem, the ASPCA in New York City recently launched a three-year study to learn if a reliable rapid screening test can be developed to detect the disease before a new dog enters a shelter's main population.

Currently, veterinarians take a nasal swab and send the sample to an outside laboratory for analysis, a process that takes days before influenza is confirmed.

People cannot contract the dog flu, and to date it has not emerged in cats that were exposed to infected dogs, Crawford said.

She suggested vaccinating dogs if they fall into one of the following high-risk categories:

•Live in communities where the virus is prevalent.

•Participate in canine conformation or sporting events, such as agility or obedience.

•Go to boarding kennels, training facilities, day-care centers or grooming salons.

People working with dogs should also consider vaccinating their pets. "They don't want to bring this virus home from their workplace to their own pets and infect them," advises Crawford. "We've had lots of cases like that."

Missy the Cat Gets World's First
Feline Knee Replacement
By Daily Mail Reporter

Robo-cat Missy may have used up most of her nine lives but now she is back on the prowl after becoming the world's first feline to have an artificial knee replacement.

Vets found her close to death after she was run over by a car, but she completed a miraculous recovery after undergoing pioneering new surgery to rebuild her limbs and fit a specially-made metal joint.

Top cat: Missy is back on the prowl after becoming the first cat in the world to undergo a total knee replacement

The eight-year-old family pet had lain injured in a bush for two days with one hind leg broken in eight places and the other with a completely dislocated knee.
It was only because of her owners' relentless efforts that they found her.

'I heard a tiny little cry coming from the bush and I knew she was calling me,' said owner Louise Morris, of Petworth, West Sussex.

Lap of luxury: Owner Louise Morris says she would do whatever possible to give Missy a good quality of life

Dr Noel Fitzpatrick, the vet who performed the operation at his clinic in Guildford, said: 'It was a case of putting Missy to sleep forever or developing an artificial knee, which had never been done before.

'Amputation was not an option since the other hind leg was broken in eight places.'

The skin and tendons at the back of one foot had died due to crushing of the blood supply and the tissue had all fallen off, leaving raw bone exposed.

In order to re-grow tissue and cover the bone, a collagen mesh made out of pig's bladder was used.

The various broken bones were then placed in a scaffolding of pins called a Spider (Secured Pin Intramedullary Dorsal Epoxy Resin Frame) until the bone and tissue healed.

The new total knee replacement implant for the other leg was designed by Dr Fitzpatrick, Professor Gordon Blunn and Mr Jay Meswania of OrthoFitz Implants.

It is made of two parts which are linked together with a hinged mechanism so that the knee ligaments - which had all been shredded - would no longer be required and the knee could no longer dislocate.

Uniquely, the implant was custom-designed based on a CT scan of Missy's knee and exactly fitted Missy's measurements, both in terms of the size of her bones and the range of motion of her knee joint.

World's first: Missy's artificial knee joint

Purr-fect fit: X-Ray showing the high-tech knee in place

The three-inch long implant is made out of stainless steel and is bonded to the thigh bone and the shin bone using cement.

Dr Fitzpatrick said: 'The most difficult thing about the operation was miniaturising the implants and matching the hinge motion to allow walking, running and jumping, which cats do a lot of.

'A human patient with a knee replacement would probably walk and maybe even run but would rarely expect to jump.'

The operation took two-and-a-half hours to cut out the old damaged knee and replace it with the new joint.

After twelve agonising weeks of treatment her owners were over the moon to take Missy home to pamper her and treat her to her favourite chicken dinner.

Ms Morris now faces a huge vet's bill but said: 'Missy is a valuable member of the family and we would do whatever possible provided she has a good quality of life.'

She added: 'Noel is a genius. He makes it possible for animals to have the same level of care as humans.'

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