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Sherry’s Corner » Hills Pet Nutrition

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Canine Health and Treatment Challenges

The newest field in veterinary medicine is NUTRIGENOMICS.  This is the science of how nutrients in food affect gene expression and has implications for therapeutic nutrition.  Hills Pet Nutrition (Science Diet and Prescription Diets)  is presenting a symposium in this emerging field  at the upcoming AVMA convention.  One of the interesting topics is titled, “Altering Genomic Destiny Using Nutrition to Interrupt the Course of Arthritis.”  Another lecture concerns applying genome knowledge to nutrition for senior pets and there is also one denoting implications for puppies.  I am always extremely careful in choosing puppy food and have found over the years that a reputable “all stages” food is to be preferred.  Especially with Springers I have found most puppy foods are “too hot” and add to training problems–even aggression.   

       In my opinion the Cornell School of Veterinary Medicine has always had nationally acclaimed board certified nutritionists. Owners must be very careful of who they trust with their pet’s diets.   A veterinary nutritionist is the most reliable source of information followed by your pet’s veterinarian.  Although reading the label is a must, always remember that it is mostly advertising in a highly competitive, lucrative business.  A case in point–the Perdue chicken!  Once advertised as free from antibiotics, this has now been dropped by edict due to the antibiotics used in the food the chickens are fed.              

               PROHEART 6 has returned to the market after being recalled in 2004.  This heartworm preventative is available on a limited basis with a revised label and information sheet.  The new label warns to avoid administering the drug within one month of vaccinations and to use the drug with caution in dogs with pre-existing allergic diseases, including food allergies and flea bite allergy.  Veterinarians are required to register with Fort Dodge, the manufacturer,  and participate in a web-based training program prior to obtaining the product.

      The CRU VIN DOGS WINE GROUP has announced its support of the Morris Animal Foundation Canine Cancer Campaign.  (Sixty percent of all Golden Retrievers die of cancer.)  The group has bottled a chardonnay to benefit the fund.  This is a limited edition with a pastel pencil illustration by artist Jay P Snellgrove.  Also available are hand-signed illustrations, white cotton T shirts and blank note paper.  More more information 303-243-2345 and

      Eleven-year-old Cagney suffered a seizure recently.  While this is a frightening and tiring episode for both owner and pet, this one opened an educational door and the following are some of the coping mechanisms I found helpful.  X-pens are collapsible folding wire sections that can be joined in different sizes and configurations.  They are widely used in most performance events and are very visible at dog shows.  I use them both inside and outside.  Cagney’s X-pen gave her plenty of room.  I lined it with a whelping box pad (K-Vet) that could be washed and provided traction for walking–and of course her favorite pillow!  To help her get up and take the first steps a bath towel around her waist was comfortable and easy to use.  On advice of her veterinarian, as she was weaned down to a maintenance dose–Milk Thistle was added to her diet along with Relax Caps by Crystal Star.  And, in the way of all care givers I kept a daily record of her medications and actions–her veterinarian was delighted with this addition to her records.  Each dog seems to experience seizures in an individual way.  Two other additions to care I feel are indispensable.  One is a pet sitter who has had experience with dogs who have a seizure history–you need to have time to nap, to get away from the house.  The other is the book THE NATURE OF ANIMAL HEALING by Martin Goldstein, DVM.  It is available through Amazon and belongs on the shelf next to the book on first aid. 

Note:  In the beginning I put a few drops of Bach’s Rescue in her drinking water but on the advice of Deb Traugh switched to rubbing drops on my fingers and massaging Cagney.  (Traugh easily put Cagney to sleep with a massage and the veterinarian recommends massage also.)  I did not play harp music but in the future I probably will add this to the routine.    

Jul 21, 2008 | Comments are off | AVMA, Bach's Rescue, Cornell School of Veterinary Medicine, Fort Dodge, Golden Retrievers, Hills Pet Nutrition, Jay P. Snellgrove, Martin Goldstein, Relax Caps, genome, heartworm, milk thistle, nutrigenomics, seizures, senior pets, therapeutic nutrition


Long ago, the symbol of the Pennsylvania SPCA was a woe-be-gone dog named Tramp. Tramp carried his possessions in a bag attached to a stick balanced against his shoulder. He was the symbol of the homeless, the stray dog. As the SPCA grew, Tramp began to wear clothes. During World War II he dressed up as Uncle Sam and once he even donned a cap and gown and graduated from school–presumably obedience school. I wonder if Tramp is still alive, still the symbol of the homeless, and what he looks like! Most importantCI wonder if Tramp ever found the Aguaranteed good home@. As one who has whelped litters of puppies I am thrilled that the PSPCA can guarantee that its dogs and cats can be placed in Aloving forever homes@ (Director of Branch Adoptions, Chad Weaver). Finding loving forever homes is the most difficult part of raising puppies. I hope the executive board shares this priceless information with all dog lovers. Does Tramp have a Pennsylvania covered bridge for sale, too?


The Morris Animal Foundation has announced an essay contest honoring veterinarians. The contest is sponsored by Hill=s Pet Nutrition, Veterinary Practice News Magazine, Dog Fancy, and Cat Fancy. The contest runs from June 1 to August 31 and in 300 words should address: 1. The veterinarian=s outstanding clients, 2. commitment to the human-animal bond, 3. service to community, and 4. service to the veterinary profession. For rules and to enter online, go to Entries can also be mailed to the Morris Animal Foundation, Thank Your Vet Contest, 10200 E. Girard Ave., Ste. 8430, Denver , Colorado 80206. For a printed copy of the rules call 800.243.2345. The Morris Animal Foundation funds over 1,400 humane animal health studies to protect, treat, and cure companion animals. Hills Pet Nutrition paired with the Morris Animal Foundation in the 1940s when Mark Morris, DVM, created a special food for a seeing eye dog, Buddy, who had kidney disease. This began the prescription diets now sold through veterinarians and include r/d (weight loss), j/d for dogs with arthritis, t/d a food for tartar control, and the famed b/d for older dogs who are in the beginnings of senility.


One of my very favorite books and videotapes is titled ACalming Signals@.

They say there was no warning–but there always is. For example, in the ATurning of the head@, the signal can be a swift movement, turning his head to the side and back, or the head can be held to the side for some time. It can be just a tiny movement or the whole head clearly to one side. Your dog may use head turning when another dog is approaching him to tell the other dog to calm down. Maybe your dog was approached too fast, or directly head on instead of in a curve. His head may turn if you stoop over him. Maybe he turns his head but stands still, which tells you about his discomfort. You can use head turning yourself when a dog starts to get worried or frightened when you approach him. When a scared dog starts to bark or growl at you, turn your head.@ Once when Dixon was sitting in my livingroom he picked up this book and, while reading it, fell asleep!

May 31, 2008 | Comments are off | "Tramp", Hills Pet Nutrition, Morris Animal Foundation, Pennsylvania SPCA, Uncategorized, calming signals
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