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Sherry’s Corner » Humane Society of the United States

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Heard Around the Water Bowl

HEARD AROUND THE WATER BOWL. “No kill shelters” are “limited access shelters”.  For some shelters a temperament test and a physical are required in order to surrender a pet!  (Some shelters use a foster system only.  This has its drawbacks as well as advantages–just as with foster homes for children!  Foster homes can be subsidized mini-boarding kennels without supervision.)  The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has been called a paper industry!  It has no shelters or foster system.  And, a very reliable source was overheard calling one area shelter “a non-profit puppy mill”.   And last, but far from least, one veterinarian asks, “At the request of a good client, would you inject or dispense an anabolic steroid or a growth enhancing agent for his or her hopeful prize-winning dog?”

      ANTIOXIDANTS seems to be the banner cry of nutritionists.  How do they work and what are they?  GOOD molecules have paired electrons.   BAD molecules or free radicals contain unpaired electrons which attack cells and even scavenge electrons.  Think of these free radicals as thieves trying to steal electrons.  The bad molecules can originate within the body itself or can come from a bad environment–air pollution, exposure to UV light or radiation.  Antioxidants neutralize free radicals either by providing the extra electron needed to make the pair or by breaking down the free radical to render it harmless.  Because antioxidants are used up in this process, the diet needs to have a constant supply.  It is best to obtain the antioxidants through natural food and not supplements or processed food.  Blueberries are a good example.  A recent article in the AKC Gazette noted that blueberries are added to the diet of dogs at Westminster to help combat damage from air pollution, etc.,  etc.  My Springers have a breakfast ration mixed with non-fat plain yogurt and topped with fresh blueberries when they are in season.  Frozen blueberries will work too.  All colorful fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants.  See which ones your pets might like best sprinkled on their usual meal.  And, let’s hope a  pet food store will  bring a farmer’s market to its front door.

      CAGNEY, my senior canine companion, and I seem to be sharing the same or similar supplements.  We both take fish oil and milk thistle.  She takes CosequinD for her arthritis and I take Cosamin DS for mine.  Both are made by Nutramax.  She now takes Relax Caps since she had a seizure and I am wondering if she should share these with me too.

      When I was able to do pet therapy it was always wise to remember never to visit a resident alone.  I remember one team who suffered because someone felt slighted in the room and later reported the dog had scratched her.  Investigation revealed that she had scratched herself with a nail file.  Still it took awhile before therapy dog teams were allowed back into the facility, preventing others from all the benefits of such visitation.  Two teams can witness the events.   Back to pet therapy guidelines as reviewed in the Journal of American Veterinary Medical Association.  They advise that dogs visiting family members in a healthcare facility who do not have therapy dog certification be CONFINED TO FAMILY MEMBERS ONLY–no sharing because he is so cute and everyone wants to meet him!   The Guidelines  also exclude animals who have been fed any raw or dehydrated foods, chews or treats of animal origin within the past 90 days.  The threat is of course salmonella.  Also excluded are animals who are being treated with antimicrobials, animals receiving immunosuppressive dosages of any medications, animals with open wounds, ear infections, or acute moist dermatitis and of course animals in season.  

      I will finish this  quick review of the Guidelines next week.  Until then your veterinarian has access to this article and I am sure can answer your questions.

Aug 10, 2008 | Comments are off | Humane Society of the United States, antioxidants, blueberries, no kill shelters, pet therapy

Pet Food and Animal Crackers, Redux

Those who have felt the effects of the recalled pet food are now organizing into a class action settlement.  If you purchased, used, or obtained, or your pet consumed pet food and/or pet treats that were recalled between March 16, 2007 and the present, because they allegedly contained contaminated wheat gluten or rice protein concentrate you may be eligible to participate in a class action settlement and receive compensation.  For further information, visit the settlement website at www.petfoodsettlement.com or contact the Claims administrator, Heffler, Radetich &Saita LLP / PO Box 890, Philadelphia, PA 19105-0890 1-800-392-7785

Animal Crackers. Once upon a time Dr. George Leighow and I hosted a radio program called Animal Crackers.  We had guests both local and national and covered some very exciting topics.  Among our more famous local guests was of course, Dixon Cuff.  Nationally known guests included Ginny Thornburgh, Max Lang, Nicholas Dodman, Job Michael Evans, Herm David, Ken Marden, Alan Beck, and others.  So it is with considerable interest that I report that the newest reward/reinforcement/treat for those dog owners who use them to train and/or keep the attention of their dogs are ANIMAL CRACKERS–THE KIND WE EAT!  These come in a box, of course, and have the value of being small, crunchy, easy to eat, and safe.  Giant Market has big boxes of these crackers for a dollar each.  Try them.     

ED AND TONI EAMES have long been author/advocates for service dog teams.  In a recent article they report on the services available for these hard-working canines at no charge.  Participating companies include: Bayer Anima Health, Fort Dodge Animal Health, Nestle Purina Nutramax Laboratories, IAMs , Royal Canin USA and Hills Pet Products.  The program is administered by Nutramax; the veterinarian applies for a grant on behalf of his disabled client.  The Eames also report that there is a brisk sales of signs reading, “No petting or feeding”.

PET SERVICES.  The Columbia/Montour Area Agency on Aging offers rides for a minimal fee through a local taxi service.  If the senior is also a pet owner, crated  dogs and cats can also be transported to veterinary hospitals.  The cost is $9 each way but well worth it if that is the only way to make sure a pet gets the medical care he or she needs.  Also, Erie Insurance’s auto policy will insure pets hurt in an auto accident up to $500 per animal, $1000 per loss.  The added coverage will  automatically be applied at no additional charge in most states.  For more information, check with your ERIE agent. 

INTRODUCING — Wayne Pacelle, the head of the Humane Society of the United States, who is tall and handsome–not the usual suspect.  The 47-year-old vegan neither eats nor wears animal products.  He says he is too committed to his work to marry or raise children.  Divorced long ago, he lives in a condo in Washington with his girlfriend, Christine Gutleben, who runs the HSUS program that reaches out to religious leaders and congregations.  When Christine moved in with him she brought her cat, Libby.  Gutleben says he is “interesting with animals”–doesn’t want to invade their space–and so Libby has free run of the place, including the kitchen counters and Pacelle’s chest. 

WHAT ABOUT DOG FOOD?  We began this segment on recalled dog food but what if we could detect spoiled pet food at the check-out in the grocery store?  It would certainly prevent so many emotional as well as financial problems!  Craig Grimes, a professor of electrical engineering at Penn State University Park, has created a practical gadget that can detect bad milk, juice, or soup using a thin iron strip that vibrates in a magnetic field.  When a customer checks out at the grocery store, the scanner can detect when this strip vibrates differently, indicating a change in the consistency of liquid.  The technology has also been used to detect blood clotting characteristics, stressed roadways, and new bridges.  Now if it can just be adapted to pet food!                  

Jul 23, 2008 | Comments are off | Alan Beck, Craig Grimes, Dixon Cuff, Dr. George Leighow, Ed and Toni Eames, Erie Insurance, Ginny Thornburgh, Herm David, Humane Society of the United States, Job Michael Evans, Ken Marden, Max Lang, Nicholas Dodman, Penn State, Wayne Pacelle, animal crackers, radio program, recalled pet food, service dog teams, spoiled food detector