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Pet Health and Pet Therapy News

The most recent issue of the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association has a most informative article summarizing and commenting on guidelines for pet therapy in health-care facilities.  One of the most startling points in the commentary was the emphasis on hand hygiene!  The authors not only recommended that patients who touch the dogs practice proper hand hygiene, but that the owner/handler do so, too.  Question–does this mean we should carry wipes and/or suggest to administrators that after a therapy dog visit they make sure those touching the dogs also be cautioned to use wipes?  The article’s authors also suggest that all leashes be nonretractable and that collars and leashes be clean and odor-free.  They recommend against allowing puppies to participate in therapy since they are more likely to shed zoonotic organisms and suggest that the owners of therapy dogs be aware that as dogs approach their geriatric years they may change both mentally and physically which could adversely affect their ability to interact safely with patients.  And they further advise that dogs from an animal shelter not be taken into a healthcare situation until they have lived at least six months in a permanent home.  An old idea that was discarded was discussed–using veterinarians as evaluators.  However, the veterinarian would  have to have hands-on experience in pet therapy.  I know of only one who would qualify–Don Kamsler.   (I hope to share more of the guidelines in future BLOGS.)

      THE PLANET DOG Foundation has awarded $10,000 to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation to help it fund the PAWS FOR PURPLE HEARTS program, a cooperative project between the Bonnie Bergen Assistance Dog Institute and veterans hospitals and rehabilitation centers.  The program trains service dogs in therapeutic intervention for returning wounded soldiers who are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and other returning military men and women who have become paraplegic or quadriplegic as a result of combat-related injuries.  The PAWS FOR PURPLE HEARTS program also supports therapy dog visitation programs centered at the Walter Reed Medical Center.  FFI: or call 207-761-1515.

      AN EASTON  MRI FACILITY FOR PETS–Animal Scan advertises on-site veterinarians and certified MRI technologists, a board-certified veterinary radiologist with same-day scheduling and same-day results.  Phone 877-838-6747.  Fax 610-250-9403;  


I have been thinking in that direction due to the great cluster of AKC dog shows recently at the Bloomsburg Fairgrounds.  If you went, you saw Michael Scott show the #3 all-breed dog in the country, a Pointer, to Best in Show back to back!

The Back Mountain Veterinary Hospital not only uses ultra sound for help in a diagnosis but uses the Internet for second opinions from veterinary specialists across the country.  

The DOGHOUSE DANCERS, a freestyle dancing club, puts on demos, matches, classes and seminars.  Phone 570-696-4925 or 570-477-2943. 

At the Harvey’s Lake Veterinary Clinic, Dr. John Bucha  advocates raw diets for pets.  The Clinic is a distributor of Nature’s Variety. 

The area also boasts a dog park which opened this spring.  (The only other one I know of is located in State College.) THE GARDEN VILLAGE DOG PARK is located in West Pittston behind the Muncipal Building.  Open dawn to dusk, the park was created by the WOOF! Pack members of the Leadership Wilkes-Barre Class of 2008.  Contact the group at or 570-332-3583.  

Aug 02, 2008 | Comments are off | Animal Scan, Back Mountain Veterinary Hospital, Bloomsburg Fairgrounds, Bonnie Bergen Assistance Dog Institute, Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, Doghouse Dancers, Don Kamsler, Dr. John Bucha, Easton MRI facility, Garden Village Dog Park, Harvey's Lake Veterinary Clinic, Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, Michael Scott, Paws for Purple Hearts program, Planet Dog Foundation, pet therapy, pet therapy in healthcare facilities, therapeutic intervention, veterans
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