Sunday, June 29, 2008


Let the Yankee "Poodle" Dandy lead you to the end of this week, when we will be celebrating Independence Day, on...the 4th of July!!!

(Picture from:
All American Paws By KaLorDesigns)

To give you a head start on tapping your feet to a couple of rousing and really patriotic tunes, we offer you this first video of the incomparable James Cagney performing the lead song from Yankee Doodle Dandy, a 1942 film:

What would a celebration of Independence Day be without a John Philip Sousa march? The "March King" composed his most famous march in 1896 and it was later declared by Congress as the National March of the USA. Surely, everyone has heard The Stars and Stripe Forever. Watch this video, full of patriotic images, and join all Americans as they honor the day we declared our independence from England:

Thanks to for the American flag:

A few of you have mentioned the fact that, after accessing one of the numerous clickable web sites we refer to, you hit the "X" to get out of the web site and actually remove yourself from the blog pages. This necessitates going back through the process of getting to the blog site. That's not a very smooth way of enjoying the reading, is it? Try this the next time...hit the "<" icon, which will take you right back to the blog page you were originally reading.


1) The American Veterinary Medical Association has released an advisory suggestion for pet owners (mainly dogs) to be especially careful of limiting a dog's exposure to the hoopla of a fireworks display. The text of the release is as follows:

Latest AVMA Podcast Features Fourth of July Pet Safety Tips
The sensory extravaganza of Fourth of July fireworks can be a nightmare of loud, unpredictable sounds and flashes of light for our pets, who are best left safe at home with plenty of water, soothing background noise and, if necessary, appropriate anxiety medication prescribed by a veterinarian.
This is the advice given by Dr. Bonnie Beaver, past president of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), in the Association's latest podcast on pet health and safety tips for pet owners.
The podcast, titled AVMA Animal Tracks, can be downloaded from the AVMA Web site and through an RSS feed, available at

According to the SPCA, more dogs get lost or disoriented on the 4th of July and Halloween than any other time of the, take a few minutes this week to insure a good safety plan for your dog if a fireworks display is in your holiday plans.

2) Last week, we talked about rabies and its ramifications for pets as well as humans. We also mentioned that rabies is still a significant problem in dogs in other countries. This just released news item from the Colorado Veterinary Medical Association is a perfect example of why there must be extensive quarantine periods for any dog that might be infected with the rabies virus (it's several paragraphs long, but makes for very interesting reading):

Dog Imported from Iraq with Other Animals Distributed to 16 States Including Colorado Found Rabid

A dog imported on June 5 from Iraq to the Newark Liberty Airport, NJ via a Federal Express jet with 23 other dogs and 2 cats was diagnosed with rabies, with onset 3 days following arrival. The animals were imported through “Operation Baghdad Pup,” a project coordinated by SPCA International of Washington DC. The animals were housed in an empty warehouse building on the Newark Liberty Airport grounds for approximately 5 days before being redistributed by airplane to soldiers (or their families) living throughout the U.S. Animals were bathed and groomed after arrival and were examined by veterinarians and provided preventive care on June 5 and 6. One of the 2 imported cats developed neurologic signs, was euthanized, and tested negative for rabies at New Jersey Public Health and Environmental Laboratories (PHEL). The cat was ill at the time of transport and had a bite wound of unknown origin on its tail.

“Crusader”, the dog that became rabid, was an 11-month-old, spaniel/Labrador mix that had been cared for by a soldier for 7 to 9 months in Iraq. There were no known bites or exposure from suspect rabid animals to the dog while under the care of the soldier. The dog was healthy when departing from Iraq and did not display clinical signs of rabies during the initial veterinary examinations upon arrival in New Jersey. On June 8, volunteers noticed that the dog was wobbly, showed a change in personality, and had diarrhea. The dog was admitted to a Bergen County, NJ veterinary hospital the following day. On admission to the hospital, the dog had a 103.5 temperature and a tense abdomen, vocalized strangely, acted confused, and was “snappy”. Laboratory testing was negative for parvovirus and distemper virus, and ultrasound, blood counts, and serum chemistries were unremarkable. The dog gradually became weaker, totally recumbent, and continued to vocalize and show agitation, despite being heavily sedated. He was euthanized on June 11.

Tissue specimens from this dog were received by the New Jersey PHEL on June 16 and found positive for rabies on a direct fluorescent antibody assay on June 18. A sample was sent to CDC and was confirmed as positive on June 20.

An investigation by the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (NJDHSS), with assistance of the Bergen County Health Department, and CDC is ongoing to identify persons and animals that may have been exposed to this dog during its infectious period of May 28 to June 11. No bite exposures to humans or the other animals in the shipment have been identified, but several individuals (volunteers, veterinarians, veterinary technicians, groomers) and the involved soldier have been identified as potentially exposed to the saliva of the animal and have begun rabies post exposure prophylaxis. Animals were kept primarily in separate crates, but there are reports that they were allowed to interact when they were walked or exercised.

SPCS International has been cooperating fully with NJDHSS and CDC in the investigation of this event to identify persons and animals known or suspected to have been exposed to the rabid dog.

On Friday, June 20, New Jersey health authorities began notifying public health officials in all 16 states receiving the other dogs and cat from this shipment of this situation: Colorado, California, Texas, Washington, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland (via DC), Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Ohio, and Missouri.

The CDC is following up with public health officials in all states to confirm that the animals have been located according to the records provided by the SPCA. Owners of these dogs will be required to present their dog to a licensed, accredited veterinarian for a rabies vaccine booster and quarantine their animal for 6 months in a suitable environment as required by each state law.

Many thanks to my former partner and his brother, both Buckeyes as well, for making me aware of this story.

3) With more than 8oo wildfires burning in northern California, there has been quite an accumulation of dense smoke in several populated areas. Some veterinary clinics and hospitals have seen numerous pet owners bringing in dogs and cats with symptoms ranging from weepy eyes and irritated skin to difficulty breathing or unusual lethargy. Veterinarians were advising that pets remain inside until the smoke clears. With all the discussion we have had about being prepared for a natural disaster and being able to protect your pets from harm, this is just another example of the Boy Scout motto: Be Prepared!

ANY COMMENTS, please send an e-mail to:


1) OK, this is a big pet peeve of Helpful Buckeye...some dogs can't help whatever disease process they might experience. However, when something bad happens to a dog as a direct result of ignorance or carelessness by their owner, it's time for a discussion. How often do you see a car or pick-up truck going down the road with a dog having its head out the window, the passing air whipping the dog's hair and ears backward? Almost daily, I would presume, because that's been my experience as well. Well, think of it this way...would you do that with your own face at speeds of 20 MPH or more? Of course not, at least not without safety glasses or goggles! Any stone, pebble, large bug, plant seed, or tree debris could hit one of your dog's eyes and do some pretty serious damage. Any direct impact with the cornea of the eye usually results in at least an abrasion of the cornea. These are very painful, although with proper veterinary care, many will heal without too much difficulty. Corneal tearing or rupturing is another matter. These often require surgery and a lot of medical treatment...and sometimes can result in either a blind eye or the necessity of removing the eye. Perhaps a few pictures will help you visualize (no pun intended) the severity of this problem:

Save your dog's eyes from this kind of can drive with the window down part-way so that your dog can still feel some of the breeze, but not be able to stick its head out the window!

2) After last week's tease in WORD OF THE WEEK, I know most of you have been eagerly awaiting our discussion of "Sleigh Riding." Anyone who has had a dog for a while has probably witnessed the dog scooting on the floor, carpet, or grass. If you weren't aware of the significance of this activity, you may have been shocked, curious, or embarrassed at the display. Some people still think this is a sign of the dog having "worms." After experiencing this activity with your dog or cat, you most likely have talked with your veterinarian about it and discussed what might be done to correct it.

Dogs and cats have two fairly large glands (or sacs), one on each side of their rectum, at about the 5 and 7 o'clock positions. These glands are beneath the skin and normally produce a small amount of foul-smelling fluid that is then secreted in small quantities every time your pet has a bowel movement or gets a little excited. The fluid has an odor that is peculiar to the individual and serves as a form of identification amongst dogs or cats. If the fluid is evacuated in this manner at a rate similar to its build-up, your pet might never experience the discomfort that results in the scooting or sleigh riding.

However, most pets aren't that fortunate. Either the fluid builds up faster than it is released, the drainage duct becomes blocked, or the gland becomes infected...all of which lead to a swollen anal gland, which is very uncomfortable to the dog or cat. This discomfort leads to the scooting, sliding, or chewing around the rectum, as your pet tries to make it feel better. These glands can be cleaned fairly easily by someone who knows what they are doing...this will usually be your veterinarian or your groomer. Helpful Buckeye did have several clients who expressed an interest in learning to do this themselves and, after some instructions, they were able to do it at home. The main thing to remember if doing it at home is to have the dog's head properly restrained, so that they can't bite you...the cleaning can be even more uncomfortable than the swelling. Most owners opted to have a professional do the cleaning. A well-done video shows you the main points of getting this done:

If you aren't interested in doing this yourself, the anal glands still need periodic attention. If your dog or cat "scoots" more than once a week, it's time for the clean out! If the accumulation of fluid gets too far ahead of itself, an infection and/or an abscess can form in these glands and this presents further challenges.

Hot packs, antibiotics, and surgical drainage may be necessary. As a last resort, having the anal glands surgically removed is a final option if the problem becomes such a recurrent difficulty...All good reasons to stay ahead of the problem by keeping the anal glands properly cleaned!

ANY COMMENTS, please send an e-mail to:


Susan, from Indiana, has e-mailed a question about her new white powderpuff Chinese Crested mixed dog that is showing some reddish-brown drainage from its eyes.

How many of you have either seen a light-colored dog or owned one with the reddish-brown stains on the hair around and just below the eyes? Or perhaps the staining was also around the lips? Did it look like this?

OK, this is a fairly common occurrence that is associated with excessive tearing. The tears make the skin and hair more moist than normal and this allows any resident bacteria and yeasts to flourish, producing the reddish stain. The first thing to do, even before trying to remove the stain, is to determine why there is excess tearing. Your veterinarian can pinpoint possible causes by examining both eyes and their lids. If a cause can be determined and corrected, then it is time to work on the stained hair. There have been numerous home remedies suggested over the years and most of them were either unsuccessful or toxic in some way to the dog. Today there are several products available either in pet stores or by catalog (online) that can be given orally to your dog. They actually reduce the amount of a certain chemical in the dog's metabolism that is associated with these stains. One source for this product is:

If all goes well, your white-faced dog will return to the right color!

ANY COMMENTS, please send an e-mail to:


Epiphora, noun--excessive tear production usually a result from an irritation of the eye.


During my years of practice, clients would frequently have their own vocabulary for describing what they wanted for their pets. One day, a very distraught woman brought her Pekingese dog to our hospital for attention. When I talked with her in the exam room, she said "Tricky" needed to have his "air holes" cleaned. I thought for a second that she meant to say his "ear holes," so I looked at his ear flaps and the ear canals for something that was "dirty." She very politely directed my attention to Tricky's rear end and said that he'd been "doing that nasty scooting again" and could I please clean his "air holes?" She apparently had heard a only small part of my previous explanation of Tricky's anal gland problems and decided that the anal gland ducts were indeed "air holes." So, I proceeded to clean Tricky's "air holes" and she went home a happy camper!


25 June 1903 was the birthday of George Orwell, the English author who gave us Animal Farm. This is the satire in which is found the line: "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others...."

Since most of us are in the hottest part of the summer, another "cool" product has come to Helpful Buckeye's attention. This Silver Shade Mesh is very adaptable to either your pet or its confined areas and does a great job of screening the rays of the sun. Read about it at:

Someone very familiar with cats and their peculiar behavior has come up with a list of "The Laws of Cat Psychology." We'll present a few of these each week for your amusement and certain understanding:

  • Law of Furniture Replacement--A cat's desire to scratch furniture is directly proportional to the cost of the furniture.

  • Law of Cat Embarrassment--A cat's irritation rises in direct proportion to her embarrassment times the amount of human laughter.

  • Law of Milk Consumption--A cat will drink his weight in milk, squared, just to show you he can.

26 June 1819 was the day the first bicycle was patented at the U.S. Patent Office. Helpful Buckeye was NOT there for the occasion but I am thankful for it every time I ride mine!

You may have read that UGA VI passed away this past Friday, the 27th of June. UGA VI was the most recent in the line of Bulldogs that have faithfully served as mascots for the University of Georgia sports teams. He died at the home of Sonny Seiler, his owner, in Savannah. In 1997, Sports Illustrated magazine named UGA the nation's best college mascot. That part may well be true, even though Helpful Buckeye will always be partial to Brutus Buckeye. As an additional thought on this process of a college or university having a dog as its mascot, how many others can you think of? While compiling your list, enjoy the Beach Boys video of:

Work on that mascot list and send Helpful Buckeye your list at:


Helpful Buckeye ALMOST gave up on the LA Dodgers last week as a result of their poor performances. However, this week, the team invoked a new weapon to help their effort. They allowed themselves to be the victim of a no-hitter...only to go ahead and win the game anyway, 1-0 over the LA Angels. This was only the 5th time in history that has happened! I'll take it because we have now pulled to within 2.5 games of the Diamondbacks.


Well, this is the end of our first FULL month of publishing this blog. It's been a lot of fun putting it together and hearing from many of our readers. Helpful Buckeye and Desperado look forward to continuing with the production of an interesting and informative source of pet news, knowledge, and facts. Since we began the month of June with a tribute to "Junebug", we felt it only proper to end the month with her as well. So, here is one more picture of "Junebug," as submitted by Charlene and Ken, from AZ.

That's it for June...we'll see you again in July...have a safe, happy, and patriotic 4th of July, remembering that the only hot dogs we want to hear about are the ones on the grill!

~~The goal of this blog is to provide general information and advice to help you be a better pet owner and to have a more rewarding relationship with your pet. This blog does not intend to replace the professional one-on-one care your pet receives from a practicing veterinarian. When in doubt about your pet's health, always visit a veterinarian.~~

Sunday, June 22, 2008


Ah, yes, now it's officially summer, since we passed the summer solstice a few days ago. For most of us, the summer season began back around Memorial Day weekend, but there's plenty of room for one more observance, right? Take a couple of minutes right here to enjoy Nat King Cole providing the musical background for the "...azy days of summer", from his big hit of 1963:

The words and the tune are truly infectious and I defy any of you to say that you don't find yourself humming the tune well after the video is finished! Even the dogs have gotten into the spirit of the song:


1) From the American Veterinary Medical Association, this press release of 6/20/08:

At least 25,000 people were evacuated from their homes in Iowa due to severe flooding. Due to the recent flooding in the Cedar Rapids area, a temporary shelter for displaced pets was established at Kirkwood Community College. Approximately 700 animals are being housed at the shelter as of today, Friday June 20, 2008. Most of the animals are dogs and cats. The shelter is expected to be in operation for at least 30 days.The greatest need for assistance right now is for volunteers to assist with the cleaning, walking, and feeding of the animals, as well as answering the phones.

Hopefully, these pets will be reunited with their families...another reminder of the benefits of being able to identify your pet should it become separated from you! I realize that we have sounded repetitive on this theme; however, you can count on this type of scenario being played out somewhere else in the USA again before summer is over.

2) An auction was announced on 6/19/08 for the cloning of 5 dogs by:

Is Fido on his last legs? Well, he may have a second chance, in a manner of speaking, as long as you're sure to collect a DNA sample.BioArts International, a San Francisco-based firm, has announced it will auction off five slots for people who want clones produced of their dogs – plus one more slot for a lucky contest winner. BioArts claims its dog clones will not only match their donor subjects in appearance, but also in personality.The "Best Friends Again" auction will commence July 5, with five separate bidding rounds running in succession. Winning bids will have 30 days to successfully collect and supply DNA from their dogs so BioArts can get to work. Now, before you get too excited, know this: Bids start at $100,000, so you'll need deep pockets to participate in the auction.Also, no cats, you cat-people out there.The BioArts project got its start back in 1998 after the successful cloning of Dolly the sheep was announced to the world the year before. An organization called Genetic Savings & Clone was established to collect the DNA of a dog named Missy, who was both beloved by her family and apparently advanced in age. The so-called Missyplicity project wasn't able to clone the dog before her death, but one of the participants, a South Korean scientist, eventually did clone a dog named Snuppy in 2006. One year later, clones of Missy were created and apparently they look and behave much as the original dog did, even down to the canine's odd preference for broccoli.

Interesting ideas for discussion! Would you do it? For $100,000? Do you expect more or less of this in the future? ANY COMMENTS, please send an e-mail to:


1)Last week we introduced a brief history of vaccines and guidelines for their usage. One of the "Core" vaccines for both dogs and cats is rabies. Rabies is a disease of the nervous system and is caused by a deadly virus. The virus is secreted in saliva and is usually transmitted to people and other animals by a bite from an infected animal. Only mammals can get rabies (birds, fish, reptiles, and amphibians do not) and most cases of rabies occur in wild animals...mainly skunks, raccoons, bats, foxes, and coyotes. Infected animals can show many signs, including:

  • fearfulness,

  • aggression,

  • excessive drooling,

  • difficulty swallowing,

  • staggering,

  • unusual behavior, and

  • seizures.

Rabies is also referred to as "madness, rage, fury, and hydrophobia" by various cultures. Typically, people expect to be confronted by a very menacing animal:

Rabies vaccinations and animal control programs, along with better treatment for people who have been bitten, have dramatically reduced the number of human cases of rabies in the USA. Some forensic scientists have concluded that the inventor of the detective-fiction novel actually died of complications from rabies in Baltimore in that enough information for you to make a guess as to his identity?

Edgar Allan Poe, 1809-1849

Your veterinarian will help you plan the proper and recommended rabies vaccination schedule for you dogs and cats. As for regular booster vaccines, each state has different requirements on the duration of the previous vaccine. Some states require it every year, while other states require boosters at 3 year intervals. In most localities, a valid and up-to-date rabies vaccination is required in order to purchase a dog or cat license. Again, your veterinarian will help you comply with those regulations.

If your pet is up-to-date on the rabies vaccination and has bitten someone:

  • urge the victim to see a physician immediately for proper care,

  • be able to produce the proper documentation of vaccination,

  • report the bite to the local health department and animal control agency...they will confine your pet (quite often in your home) and have it be closely observed for 10 days,

  • don't let your pet stray away from home or give it away during this confinement period.

These recommendations and requirements may vary slightly in different localities, but the thrust of them is to protect the human victim and your pet at the same time. Nancy from PA sent in a question about a neighbor who shot and killed his dog after it had bitten someone, so that he wouldn't have to go through a quarantine period and any of the legal punishment involved in not having an up-to-date rabies vaccination for his dog. The local authorities (health department and police) should have taken quick action to obtain the head of the dog for analysis of its brain tissue...and to punish the owner for non-compliance with the law.

Rabies in humans in the USA is considered to be uncommon today, and most of those involve exposure to rabid bats. In contrast, 55,000 people die annually around the world from rabies. Dogs are still a significant source of rabies in other countries, so travelers should be aware of this risk when traveling outside of the USA. Countries/regions that are considered to be rabies-free are England, Ireland, Scandinavia, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. Americans going to those countries and wanting to take their pets must endure a 6-month quarantine period for their pets before being allowed to take them into the country. For further information on any aspect of rabies, go to:

ANY COMMENTS, please send an e-mail to:

2) A couple of weeks ago, we talked about different types of infectious diseases, focusing on canine heartworm disease at that time. Canine Heartworm Disease is an arthropod-borne parasite that requires a mosquito for transmission to the dog. This week, our discussion will focus on intestinal parasites of dogs and cats, which can be transmitted by either the direct route or the indirect route. The basic and most common of the intestinal parasites seen in most dogs and cats in the USA are roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, tapeworms, Coccidia, and Giardia. The direct route of infection involves the pet coming into direct contact with either the eggs or infective larvae, usually by walking through infective feces of another dog or cat, and then licking their paws and swallowing the infective larvae. Once in the digestive system, these larvae develop into the adult form of the parasite. Of the parasites listed, the first four are in the "worm" category and the last two are in the "protozoan" category. The direct route of infection is the manner of spread of all these parasites except for the tapeworms. Tapeworms are spread by the indirect route, which means that the parasite has to go through another animal (known as the intermediate host), other than the dog or cat, before it can be infective to the dog or cat. The most common tapeworm in dogs and cats in the USA is the one using the flea or biting louse as its intermediate host. The next most common tapeworm is that using the rabbit as its intermediate host.

In future postings, Helpful Buckeye will present further information about each of these parasites, how to treat them, and how to prevent them from occurring.

ANY COMMENTS, please send an e-mail to:


Going along with the "Summer" theme of these recent and current postings, a lot of you have back yard swimming pools or neighbors with pools. It's a lot of fun to be able to jump in your own pool when the weather is hot and you need to cool off, right? Well, your dog is no different in that regard. In our recent posting on heat exhaustion, we described how easy it is for a dog to become overheated on a sunny, hot day. If your dog either jumps into or falls into your pool and you are not in the vicinity, how will the dog get out of the pool? If you have the sloping-type steps, perhaps your pooch can easily get out of the pool. What if there are NO steps or your dog is injured or semi-conscious when it falls into the pool? Then, that dog is in trouble! Dogs drown in backyard pools every day across the country...simply because they can't get out of the pool. Since giving advice is a featured service of this blog, Helpful Buckeye does acknowledge that advice is much easier to give than to receive, as written by Carolyn Wells (1869-1942) US poet: "Advice is one of those things it is far more blessed to give than to receive." However, this advice is well meant and will save your dog's life at some point. Your pool should be protected by a barrier of some type sufficient to keep the dog (and small children)out of the water. The dog should be on a leash or some other type of restraint that will not let it get the whole way to the pool. Finally, to be extra safe in protecting your dog from this very unfortunate mishap, Solutions has a pet ramp which you can install in your pool to provide an exit way for your dog. See it at:


"Sleigh Riding"--The affectionate term for when dogs scratch their butts by dragging them across the floor. Dogs and cats have 2 fairly large anal glands, one on each side of the rectum, which can be very uncomfortable if they become inflamed or impacted. The only options for your pet are to rub that area in some way, so that the pain/itch will be lessened. Dogs, especially, will sit their butt down on the floor and slide some distance to accomplish this. For those of you who still aren't sure what Helpful Buckeye is talking about, look at this video:

A few chuckles are permitted, since this dog is doing it "on command"; however, the underlying cause is not a laughing matter for the dog or cat. We will discuss anal gland problems, which are very common, in the next few weeks.

ANY COMMENTS, please send an e-mail to:


According to research conducted by the American Kennel Club (AKC), a midsize dog show with 1000-2500 entries brings in more than $500,000 of revenue to the area in the form of hotel/motel occupancy, patronizing of restaurants, shopping, etc. for a two-day event.

Possibly, for another sign that the Apocalypse is upon us, consider this new product for dogs: "Bowser Beer"...yes, you read that correctly! Read the article carefully and make your own judgment on this one. Helpful Buckeye urges a bit of caution with this, but this company makes a persuasive argument, especially the part about "pretzels and beer," as our opening song refers to. Perhaps the dog at the beginning of this posting would be happier with this brew than the "Pacifica." read about it at:

After flying out of his cage near Tokyo and getting lost, Yosuke the parrot wound up in a veterinary hospital, where he told a vet his name and home address. The veterinarian then took the parrot to his home.

On 19 June 1945, one of the most famous -- and funniest -- of all comedy sketches, Abbott and Costello's "Who's on first?" routine, made its movie debut in "The Naughty Nineties." Even if you're not a baseball fan, this should tickle your funny bone! Watch it here and enjoy:

On 20 June, this past week, the World's Ugliest Dog Contest was held in Petaluma, CA. Little Gus, a hairless Chinese Crested, has skin cancer, only one eye and three legs. But it was enough to win the top prize at the prestigious canine show Friday. The crowd favorite was crowned World's Ugliest Dog. Jeanenne Teed holds her dog Little Gus, a Chinese Crested who won the 20th annual World's Ugliest Dog Contest in Petaluma, Calif. on Friday. I guess this is proof that everything has its place?


I promise not to bore you any further with tales about the ineptitude of the LA Dodgers. Even though still losing more than winning, we have actually made up 1 game this week on the AZ Diamondbacks. Stay tuned........


Refer to last week's posting about this sign...'nuff said!

Until next of the really great songs of the American West will take you safely home:

~~The goal of this blog is to provide general information and advice to help you be a better pet owner and to have a more rewarding relationship with your pet. This blog does not intend to replace the professional one-on-one care your pet receives from a practicing veterinarian. When in doubt about your pet's health, always visit a veterinarian.~~

Sunday, June 15, 2008



1)In last week's posting, we discussed having a pet missing as a result of a natural disaster. We also suggested preparing a small animal evacuation kit in case you need to get away from a natural disaster. Well, Helpful Buckeye suspects that all of you did read the advice, thought that it made pretty good sense, and then figured it always happens to someone else, somewhere maybe I'll have time to do this later on.

Can you say...FLOODING OF HISTORICAL PROPORTIONS, that was "Beyond What Anybody Could Even Imagine?" The residents of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, had no idea their city would be inundated by so much water this week. No one had much, if any, time to get valuables together before trying to escape the onslaught of water. The pictures coming out of Cedar Rapids, even though quite graphic, cannot measure the depth of loss and devastation felt by the survivors.

Can you imagine how some of them must feel when they think of missing dogs and cats or how much they wish they had prepared some kind of evacuation kit that included some of the items we listed last week? Other people's sufferings can become yours in a heartbeat...hardly anyone in the USA is immune from some type of natural disaster. So, give it another try...take care of IDs and vital information for your pets, plus put together a small pet evacuation kit for that moment when you might experience an event "Beyond What Anybody Could Even Imagine...."

PetSmart, Inc. has sent a large mobile trailer-type facility that will be used as a temporary shelter for the treatment and housing of displaced and lost dogs and cats, as described in this news release:

2)Also, in the news this past week is the removal of most kinds of tomatoes from grocery store displays, due to...possible Salmonella contamination. Salmonella bacteria are the cause of typhoid fever, paratyphoid fever, and certain types of food borne illnesses. The genus Salmonella was named after Daniel Elmer Salmon, an American veterinary pathologist. Salmon, along with Theobald Smith, discovered the organism that also causes hog cholera, a devastating disease of pigs. Helpful Buckeye is hoping the potentially dangerous situation will be corrected soon because tomatoes are a big favorite!

3) You've all seen this road sign before, right? It means, "Two Way Traffic," and indicates that traffic is going in both directions. Well, from now on, this sign will be a symbol for the dialogue that Helpful Buckeye is trying to achieve in the postings of this blog. Understandably, most of the dialogue has been "One Way" in our early issues, as the pace and content are getting established. However, as we've discussed before, a blog will be much more successful with responses from its readers, either by comments or e-mails. So, it's time for the "Two Way Traffic" to begin! Let's talk! Any comments, please send an e-mail to:


Vaccines are medical health products that trigger protective immune responses in pets and prepare them to fight future infections from certain disease-causing agents. The concept of a vaccination has been around for almost 300 years. In 1718, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (yes, you've seen that name before, haven't you?) reported that the Turks have a habit of deliberately inoculating themselves with fluid taken from mild cases of smallpox (a viral disease) and she inoculated her own children. Later that century, in 1796, Edward Jenner (an English physician)used the word vaccination for the first time. Louis Pasteur (French microbiologist and chemist) developed the first vaccine as a protection against a bacterial disease (anthrax in cattle) in the 1870s and then, in 1885, gave the first rabies vaccine to a human. For those of you still wondering, Lady Montagu provided the quote about reading we used two weeks ago on these pages.

Vaccines can lessen the severity of future infections and certain vaccines can prevent infection altogether. Your veterinarian has a variety of vaccines from which to choose when it comes to mapping out a protective program for your pet. Even though some formerly common diseases have now become uncommon, vaccination is still highly recommended because these very serious disease-causing agents continue to be present in the environment. Your veterinarian will tailor a vaccination schedule to suit your pet's needs. Things to consider when making this decision are your pet's lifestyle, access to other animals, and amount of travel to other geographic locations...all of these factors will affect your pet's risk of exposure to disease. Not all pets should be vaccinated with all vaccines just because these vaccines are available. Most veterinarians will offer a "Core" set of vaccines, which are recommended for most pets in a particular area. Then, there are the "Non-Core" vaccines for pets with specific and unique needs.

"Core" vaccines are recommended for all puppies/kittens and mature dogs and cats with an unknown vaccination history. These generally include parvovirus, distemper virus, adenovirus, and rabies (for dogs) and herpes virus, calici virus, panleukopenia virus, and rabies (for cats). The "Non-Core" vaccines are optional choices that should be considered in light of the exposure risk of the pet and, in general, are less effective in protecting against disease than vaccination with the "Core" vaccines. These generally include parainfluenza virus (kennel cough), distemper-measles combination, Bordetella bronchiseptica (kennel cough), Leptospira, and Borrelia burgdorferi (Lyme Disease) for dogs and leukemia virus, immunodeficiency virus, calici virus, Chlamydophila felis, and Bordetella bronciseptica (for cats). Generally speaking, the vaccination plan for each individual pet should be decided by the owner and veterinarian at routine annual examinations, following a discussion regarding the pet's lifestyle in the year ahead.

One area of concern in the vaccination of cats is the appearance of vaccine-associated sarcomas, in particular their association with the feline leukemia virus vaccines and the killed rabies virus vaccines. The frequency of these sarcomas started to increase in the early 1990s and have become the focus of many research projects, by both veterinarians and pharmaceutical companies. If you find a lump at a vaccine injection site, you should have your veterinarian examine your cat as soon as possible. These lumps are almost always of no consequence and will go away after a few weeks. The persistent lumps are the ones that require further evaluation and your veterinarian will work with you on the correct approach.

We will discuss these various vaccinations in greater detail in future issues, as space and subject matter allow.

Of course, if you have any specific questions about vaccines, send an e-mail to:


1)As an aftermath of some of the weird natural weather events we discussed last week, we have the consideration of THUNDERSTORMS and their effect on dogs. Thunderstorms are frequently associated with tornadoes and hurricanes, as well as being of the "normal" summer afternoon variety seen in large parts of the country. Helpful Buckeye got an e-mail last week from Jack in western PA, asking what he could do to help calm his dogs during a thunderstorm. He also wondered about some of the advertised holistic treatments for this and their effectiveness.

A dog's anxiety over a thunderstorm can be manifested by everything from nervousness to extreme destructiveness. Most veterinarians will tell you that tranquilizers or other calming medications are usually going to be ineffective in reducing nervousness due to thunderstorms...for the simple reason that your dog will know well in advance of the actual thunderstorm that something "bad" is about to happen. They can sense the changes in barometric pressure that precede such a weather event and will usually be distraught well before you can give them any medicine. For this reason, veterinarians are more likely to urge you to consider some form of behavioral modification that will acclimate your dog to such stressful situations without being "afraid." Most big cities will have large referral veterinary clinics that might have a pet behavior specialist on staff. A behavioral specialist would work toward desensitization and counter-conditioning of the problem.

Since you asked about homeopathic/holistic products as a treatment for this problem, I should give you my opinion of homeopathic medicine and treatments. Most veterinarians (and physicians) don't feel real comfortable recommending homeopathic products for a couple of reasons: they weren't trained in their usage, and they don't feel comfortable with the lack of proper research into their potency, effectiveness, or toxicity. This being said, there is no doubt that some of these homeopathic products do work, both in humans and animals. There are some "natural" products available in holistic pet stores that don't have toxicity problems and have been reported to provide "calming influences"...these would be the flower essences, such as "Anaflora's Special Stress Tincture." You'll have to use your own judgment on this one.

Unless your dogs have shown the destructive behavior, you might be better off to work on providing them with a familiar, sheltered area, which would help them feel more secure during a storm. In addition, you should be careful not to comfort or coddle them during their distress because they will probably interpret your actions as an approval of their behavior and continue to act that way. And, if the behavior is terribly stressful for them or if they are destructive, you should consider a consultation with a behavioral specialist (preferably one with a veterinary doctor degree in addition to the behavioral specialty training).

2) Traveling with a pet can, and should be, a positive experience for the whole family. Who can forget the Griswold family, in National Lampoon's Vacation, as they vacationed across America...and, yes, that movie is celebrating its 25th birthday this year! At a rest stop, Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) ties the family dog, Dinky, to the rear bumper of the car...forgets that he has done so, drives away, and you can guess the rest. At this point, you should take a moment to reflect and watch the animated video of the theme song, Holiday Road, from the movie, as sung by Lindsay Buckingham:

If your pets will be traveling with you, check out pet-friendly lodging, RV parks, campgrounds, national parks, and outdoor restaurants at the following web sites:

These web sites have numerous categories of interest to choose from as you plan your stops along the road.

Don't forget to pack enough water for your pet and a drinking bowl. Travel induced panting, excitement, and anxiety can lead to evaporation of body fluid and then to dehydration. Also, repeating a suggestion from 3 weeks ago, you should pack a few of the Cool 'N Dry Shammy products, from: , to help with the cooling-off process on those hot afternoons heading into the sun. The humans on-board will also really appreciate the cooling effect of the Sammy Cool 'N Dry Towel, available at the same web site.

Remember to have with you all of your pet's proof of vaccinations and any pertinent medical history, especially if an ongoing treatment is involved. And, as Clark Griswold found out, be very careful at rest stops and any areas that might be unfamiliar to your pet...always have them on a leash (but not tied to the bumper!)...a pet running loose in an unfamiliar area is likely to become a lost pet!

Wherever you are traveling this summer with your pet, it can be a positive experience for all involved, but especially if you've done your homework ahead of time. Helpful Buckeye wishes you safe travels, with or without you pet, this summer. To help you get into a travel mood, enjoy this video of the Nat King Cole version of Get Your Kicks (On Rt. 66): ...the pictures of the old buildings along old Rt. 66 are pretty interesting!

ANY COMMENTS, please send an e-mail to:


Black Diamond--this is sort of a trick phrase, but you'll get it when you read the following news story:

ILFRACOMBE, England - A British woman said she turned her beloved, recently deceased cat into a one-third-of-a-carat black diamond ring with the help of a U.S. firm. Sue Rogers, 45, said she was so distraught over the death of her 11-year-old cat, Sooty, that normal avenues of memorial didn't seem special enough for her beloved pet, The Telegraph reported Monday. Scientists with Chicago's LifeGem said they created the diamond by extracting 2 grams of carbon from 100 grams of the cat's ashes. They placed the carbon in a diamond press, where it was submitted to more than 1 million pounds of pressure and temperatures reaching 5,432 degrees Fahrenheit. Rogers told The Telegraph the black diamond, thought to be the only such jewel in the world made from animal ashes, was cut, polished and set in a gold band. She said the item cost her more than $4,000. "I asked the company if they did black diamonds and they said they had never done one before. But thankfully they were able to and now Sooty is a black diamond," Rogers said to the newspaper. "They use ashes, but not all of them, so it is still possible to scatter some ashes in the traditional way as well." I guess even "Black Diamonds" would be a "girl's best friend!"


When Helpful Buckeye was still in veterinary medical school, it was a good idea to spend some time working in a veterinary clinic in order to gain some practical knowledge. I worked at a small animal clinic in a little town outside of Columbus and got to see a lot of interesting and instructive situations. One evening, a close personal friend of the veterinarian brought in his favorite Labrador Retriever, which had just been hit by a truck outside of his housing development. The man was in tears as we examined the dog to see if we could do anything to save him. As the exam progressed, the man said, "If I could catch the dumb jerk that hit him, I know what I'd like to do!" To this, the veterinarian (who was a crusty sort of guy) put his arm over his friend's shoulder and responded, "Charley, I don't know if we'll ever find the guy who hit him, but I know what I'd like to say to the dumb jerk that let him run loose!" Granted, his table-side manner may have been a little edgy, but the point was that the owner had let the dog run loose...and, therefore, was ultimately responsible for his fate. The dog didn't make it....


On 9 June 1973, Secretariat won racing's Triple Crown with a spectacular victory in the Belmont Stakes, first horse to do so since Citation in 1948.

Also, on 9 June 1934, Donald Duck made his first screen appearance in "The Wise Little Hen."

The National Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum was dedicated on 12 June 1939 in Cooperstown, NY...Hit the ball and touch 'em all!

Desperado saw an interesting bumper sticker this week. It read: WAG MORE, BARK LESS That's a pretty good sentiment for dogs...and people! Which reminds me, if you see a good bumper sticker that fits in with our motif, send it to us in an e-mail (include a picture, if possible) and we'll run it.

With the discussion of heartworms last week and the mosquitoes that carry them, some interest has arisen about the newer forms of mosquito control available on the market (mostly for humans). The following web site has a lot of very current suggestions for your consideration: Click here: Week of 6/8/2008

One of our readers sent in a note they received from their electric power company advising them of ways to keep meter readers safe from dogs in the yard where the electric meter is located. Helpful Buckeye thought this was pretty smart on the part of the electric company, huh? Now, if the dog owners will comply with the request to chain their dogs away from the meter and try to pay attention to the meter-reading date, perhaps we will have more incidents of "being a good pet neighbor" and fewer incidents of dogs getting pepper spray in their face.

On 6/14/1951, Univac I, the world's first commercial computer, designed for the U.S. Census Bureau, was unveiled. A lot of computer brand names have come and gone since then!

Lastly, an interesting water-filled pad for dogs has gotten Helpful Buckeye's attention. It can be used for cooling, as well as for comfort...consider taking it along on your vacation! See it here:

ANY COMMENTS, please send an e-mail to:


The LA Dodgers continue to be the tonic for other teams' improvement! At the rate we're losing games, we won't even be in second place for long!


The Russian Olive trees are now in bloom in our area...the sweet, spicy aroma pervades the neighborhoods along one of Helpful Buckeye's bike routes.

Until next revoir, hasta la vista, auf Wiedersehen...which are foreign dog talk for...see you later, alligator! Close it out by enjoying Bill Haley & The Comets doing the song:

~~The goal of this blog is to provide general information and advice to help you be a better pet owner and to have a more rewarding relationship with your pet. This blog does not intend to replace the professional one-on-one care your pet receives from a practicing veterinarian. When in doubt about your pet's health, always visit a veterinarian.~~

Sunday, June 8, 2008


We had so many positive comments about Tippy in last week's issue that it's only fair to run her picture larger format! Thanks again to Marilyn and Terry in CA!

I'm going to let one of my favorite singers introduce the opening topic this week. Tom Jones celebrated his 68th birthday this week on June 7th and I'm sure he did it with flair! Helpful Buckeye and Desperado saw him in concert back in the early 70s at the Ohio State Fair and again in 2002 in Las Vegas and...he hasn't lost much over the years. Watch Tom Jones as he asks the eternal question... from the 1965 movie of the same name.


1) From the American Veterinary Medical Association, this press release of June 1st:

Is tap water safe for your dog?

With all the concerns about what's in our food and our water, many of us are paying even more attention these days to what we are giving our pets.
You can't blame pet owners for taking a few precautions. After all, pet food recalls raised concerns about chemical contamination; even treats have been scrutinized.
So, should we resort to bottled water for our canine companions? According to a study in the June 1, 2008, Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, that won't be necessary. Tap water, the study suggests, doesn't cause bladder cancer in dogs.
Long-term consumption of disinfected tap water – the stuff that flows from our faucets after being treated with chemicals such as chlorine – has been associated with bladder cancer in people. But the study, which was led by Dr. Lorraine Backer of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found that there is no such association in dogs.
There may be more than one reason why dogs that drink tap water don't have an increased risk of bladder cancer, even though people apparently do. First, a dog's exposure to drinking water disinfection by-products – the chemicals that are produced when things like chlorine interact with natural organic matter – is different from that of its human owners. Dogs don't gulp down a big glass of water like people often do. Their water usually sits in a bowl for hours, which allows the chemical concentrations to decrease over time.
Second, dogs don't take long showers or baths like people do. And showering and bathing are important routes of human exposure to chemical by-products of tap water.
The study focused on 200 dogs living in residential settings, 100 of which had bladder cancer and 100 of which did not. While the results showed that dogs with bladder cancer were exposed to higher total chemical by-product concentrations than the control dogs, the difference wasn't significant enough to draw a connection between tap water consumption and bladder cancer, the study says.

This should be taken as good news for those of you who are concerned about these things.

2) Also, from the AVMA comes this press release of June 5th:

ProHeart 6 returns to U.S. market on limited basis

The Food and Drug Administration announced June 5 the limited reintroduction of ProHeart 6 to the U.S. veterinary market. The injectable canine heartworm medication had been voluntarily recalled in 2004 after the FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine raised serious questions about the drug's safety.
The agency said it is allowing the drug's limited return to the veterinary market as part of a risk minimization and restricted distribution program designed to manage the re-introduction of ProHeart 6 to provide for safe, appropriate use of the product while minimizing risk to dogs.
"This is the first veterinary drug to be marketed under a risk minimization and restricted distribution program. Numerous drugs for use in people have been successfully marketed under similar programs," said Dr. Bernadette Dunham, director of the FDA-CVM. "While we concur with the limited return of ProHeart 6 to the U.S. market, we strongly encourage veterinarians and pet owners to report any possible adverse reactions."
The risk minimization and restricted distribution program is intended to educate veterinarians and pet owners regarding the possible risks associated with the use of ProHeart 6. The return of ProHeart 6 to the market is based on results of additional toxicologic and pharmacologic studies by Fort Dodge coupled with the low adverse reaction frequency in international markets, according to the FDA.
The ProHeart 6 label and Client Information Sheet have been revised to include updated safety information. The new label includes warnings not to administer the drug within one month of vaccinations and to use the product with caution in dogs with pre-existing allergic diseases including food allergies, allergic hypersensitivity, and flea-bite allergy dermatitis. The label also warns against administering the drug to dogs that are sick, debilitated, underweight, or have a history of weight loss. Dog owners who suspect their dog is experiencing an adverse reaction to ProHeart 6 should immediately contact their veterinarian to initiate appropriate veterinary care.

Veterinarians and their clients really liked this product because of its convenience and ease of administration.

ANY COMMENTS, please send an e-mail to:


Last week, we briefly introduced arthropod-borne diseases. Mosquitoes are the culprit for this week's disease discussion...Heartworm Disease. Heartworm Disease has been recognized for over 100 years in dogs and almost 90 years in cats. The parasite is carried by many species of mosquitoes and has been found in all 50 of our states. Of course, areas near any body of water will usually show a greater likelihood of this infection. The important thing to remember right here is that it is easy to find enough standing water for mosquitoes to breed and, with pets traveling so much with their owners, they will be exposed to a mosquito bite at some point in their routine. Only one mosquito bite is necessary to transmit this potentially fatal infection.

Not all dogs and cats will show the same signs of infection, but the typical signs are:

  • A mild-to-severe persistent cough...difficulty breathing
  • A reluctance to move around or exercise...lethargy
  • Fatigue after only moderate exercise
  • Reduced appetite
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Vomiting and/or gagging (Cats)

It's easy to see that these signs could also be indicative of other diseases, so regular visits to your veterinarian become even more valuable as a diagnostic tool. There are several ways for your veterinarian to diagnose a heartworm infection and these can usually be done during a simple office visit. If your pet is shown to be positive for heartworm infection, your veterinarian will probably suggest a few other simple tests to evaluate your pet's general health before moving on to the treatment for heartworms. Treatment of heartworm infection in dogs is usually successful unless the disease has had a chance to reach advanced stages, which would bring the possibility of complications or death. There is no accepted treatment at this time for heartworm disease in cats.

Prevention of this dreaded disease is much safer for your pet and more economical as well. There are a variety of options for you to choose from (for both dogs and cats), depending on which is easier for you to give to your pet. Dogs, in particular, need to be tested negative for heartworms before they are put on any form of preventive because complications could arise if preventive is given to a dog with heartworm infection. See your veterinarian for the exam and test.

If you desire more information on heartworm disease, the American Heartworm Society has three very helpful web sites for your benefit:

ANY COMMENTS, please send an e-mail to:


With all the weird natural disasters happening in almost every part of our country (wildfires, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, blizzards, and floods,), the devastation of losing one's home and possessions is mind-boggling. To make matters only worse, imagine going through any of these disasters and realizing that your cat or dog is missing. There's not much you can do at that point, other than to check out nearby animal shelters and advertise, hoping that someone will be able to help you find your beloved pet.

However, if you are willing to spend a little time preparing for this possibility, you might be able to give yourself a chance to find your lost pet, even in the aftermath of one of these disasters. Put together a plan for helping to identify your pet if the need arises. Include:

  • Having your dogs and cats microchipped or tattooed,

  • Having some type of ID on a properly-fitting collar, including rabies and license tags,

  • Having a water-proof pouch attached to the collar containing your name, address, and cell phone your veterinarian's name, location, and phone number,

  • Taking some recent pictures of your pets for distribution,

  • Making copies of registration information, adoption papers, proof of purchase, and microchip information.

In the event of a required evacuation, including taking your pets with you, you should prepare a small animal evacuation kit and have it ready to go. Include these items:

2-week supply of food (dry & canned)

2-week supply of water in plastic gallon jugs with secure lids

Batteries (flashlight, radio)

Cage/carrier (one for each animal, labeled with your contact information)

Can opener (manual)

Cat/wildlife gloves

Copies of veterinary records and proof of ownership

Emergency contact list

Familiar items to make pets feel comfortable (favorite toys, treats, blankets)

First aid kit


Diet: record the diet for each individual animal, including what not to feed in case of allergies.

Medications: list each animal separately, including dose and frequency for each medication.

Provide veterinary and pharmacy contact information for refills.

Leash and collar or harness (for each animal)

Litter, litter pan, litter scoop

Maps of local area and alternate evacuation routes (in case of road closures)

Muzzles (dog or cat)

Newspaper (bedding, litter)

No-spill food and water dishes

Paper towels

Radio (solar and battery operated)

Spoon (for canned food)

Stakes and tie-outs

Trash bags

Granted, this all involves a certain amount of planning and effort ahead of time, but it will all be more than worth it if you are confronted with one of these disasters and are possibly separated from your pet. The AVMA has a very thorough pamphlet covering this and more at:

An item I saw recently will help to make your pet more visible, especially in the dark. Find these "Pet Blinkers" at:

ANY COMMENTS, please send an e-mail to:


"Elizabethan Collar"--a protective device that is placed around the neck of a dog or cat in order to keep the pet from damaging itself following surgery or treatment for some type of skin lesion. The collar actually protects in 2 different ways, if properly applied:

  • the pet cannot scratch at its face or head and,
  • the pet cannot bite at its legs or torso.

The name is derived from the neck ruffs that were popular during Elizabethan times in England.

When properly used, Elizabethan collars can be helpful for both dogs and cats.

Murphy (from Mary and Jay in PA), on the left, sports a well-placed Elizabethan collar and went on to recover quite nicely.

Last week, we defined anthropomorphism and showed several examples. Well, some people never let a definition get in the way of expressing themselves. The following web site shows some great examples of "reverse anthropomorphism" (does this make any sense?):

ANY COMMENTS, please send an e-mail to:


Today (6/8), we mark the birthday of Francis Crick in 1916, the Brit who teamed with American James Watson and New Zealander Maurice Wilkins to describe the structure of DNA in 1962, for which they were awarded the Nobel Prize for physiology/medicine. Their discovery catapulted the field of molecular biology into the forefront of genetics research.

Through the application of DNA studies, geneticists have been able to determine that all "domestic" dogs are now categorized as Canis lupus familiaris, which actually makes them a subspecies of the wolf line of animals. This change of species designation occurred back in the early 1990s and was the result of extensive DNA analysis. Until then, the domestic dog was classified as Canis familiaris, being its own species. DNA and natural history studies now suggest that the first dog-like animals probably appeared from the wolf line around 100,000 years ago and were then domesticated by humans around 15,000 years ago, probably in eastern Asia. This would make the dog the first animal to be domesticated. It is likely that these domesticated dogs were then brought to North America by the humans who migrated over the land bridge that still existed from Siberia into the Alaska area. Since then, more than 800 recognized breeds have been developed around the world (many of which no longer exist); however, most of the breeds have only been recognized for the last 200 years.

Noted neurologist, physician, and author, Oliver Sacks, has found common ground with the pastor of a Harlem church: Both men believe in the healing power of music. Sacks' most recent book is Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain, which examines the healing effect of music on people suffering from such diseases as Tourette's syndrome, Parkinson's, autism, and Alzheimer's. Doctor Sacks was preceded in this theory by the Doobie Brothers, who recorded "The Doctor," in 1989, which included the following lyrics:

There's a healing in those guitars...And a spirit in the song...No matter what condition your rhythm is in...The message goes on and on...Music is the doctor...Makes you feel like you want to...Listen to the doctor...Just like you ought to...Music is the doctor of my soul.

If you ever wonder...How to shake your blues...Just follow this prescription...And get the cure for what's ailin' you...Music is the doctor...Makes you feel like you want to...Listen to the doctor...Just like you ought to...Music is the doctor of my soul.

Watch the video at:

The new season of Meerkat Manor, on Animal Planet, started this past Friday evening. Meerkats are in the mongoose family, living in South Africa, and have been compared, at least in their social structure, to the prairie dogs of western North America. They are a lot of fun to observe and this recurring show has been very popular. Read about it here:

ANY COMMENTS, please send an e-mail to:


The popular baseball poem, Casey at the Bat, written by Ernest Thayer, first appeared in the San Francisco Examiner on 6/3/1888. The last line of the poem: "There is no joy in Mudville...mighty Casey has struck out," has been replayed in the minds of countless baseball fans ever since as their favorite team loses again. Helpful Buckeye has thought of this poem several times this past week as his Dodgers have given away more games. Again, the only saving grace for us is that the Diamondbacks are also losing and we are only 4 games out of first place.


Helpful Buckeye was finally able to go out and buy his flowers for planting in the pots. We're getting close to the average last frost date, so I think these flowers will do OK.

I have been asked by a few readers how many miles I put on my bike. For the year 2007, I did 4951 miles. The low month was 222 miles and the high month was 605 miles. The months vary depending mainly on the weather, road conditions, and whether or not I'm out of town. Aside from one fairly painful accident in the past 4 years, I have been able to stay away from trouble...including the episode 2 weeks ago during which I was run off the road. Not so fortunate were these bikers (one of which was killed, during a road race in Mexico):

As a parting addition, Helpful Buckeye forgot to mention that, during my nice bike ride last Saturday, I found a quarter......and, only my former partner will be able to appreciate that!

See you next week.

~~The goal of this blog is to provide general information and advice to help you be a better pet owner and to have a more rewarding relationship with your pet. This blog does not intend to replace the professional one-on-one care your pet receives from a practicing veterinarian. When in doubt about your pet's health, always visit a veterinarian.~~

Sunday, June 1, 2008


and for...JUNEBUG!

This photo of Junebug was submitted by Charlene and Ken, from AZ. Ken was an entomologist at Oklahoma State University, before retiring to northern AZ, hence the name...Junebug. She's a real cutie! More about her later.


1) Just recently, a recall bulletin was issued by the Food & Drug Administration for a digoxin product that is frequently prescribed by veterinarians:

May 16, 2008
Digitek® Safety Warning and Recall Notification
Veterinarians who use the human drug Digitek® (digoxin tablets, USP) to treat their patients should be aware of the possibility that the tablet strength may be doubled in the product. This increase in tablet active ingredient could result in life-threatening adverse drug reactions in some animals. Digoxin is used in both humans and animals for the treatment of various heart conditions, namely atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter and sometimes heart failure that cannot be controlled by other medication. Under the Animal Medicinal Drug Use Clarification Act of 1994 (AMDUCA) veterinarians are allowed to prescribe extralabel uses of certain approved animal drugs and approved human drugs for animals under certain conditions.

If your pet is currently taking medication for a heart problem, your veterinarian may have already contacted you to let you know if this applied to your pet. If you're not sure about your pet's heart medicine, you should contact your veterinarian immediately for further information.

2) This past week, it was announced that a group of Dutch researchers have finalized the female human genome:

Dutch scientists claim to map female genome

Dutch scientists have said they have mapped the full genetic sequence of a woman for the first time. "It's the first woman in the world and the first European whose DNA sequence will be made public," the researchers at Leiden University Medical Centre in the western Netherlands said in a statement. "The DNA sequence and its analyses will be published soon, except for some private details," it said. "The sequencing of a woman allows a better understanding of the X-chromosome," the gene thread associated with female characteristics, said Gert-Jan van Ommen, head of the team that carried out the study. Four other genomes had been mapped previously, all of them men. The genome refers to all of the genes that characterise the human species, determining individual traits including a person's proneness to certain diseases.

The completion of the genomes of humans and of domestic animals opens up many avenues of further investigation that, hopefully, will contribute to better health for all of us.


The definition of a disease is: A pathological condition of a part, organ, or system of an organism resulting from various causes, such as infection, genetic defect, or environmental stress, and characterized by an identifiable group of signs or symptoms.

Diseases arising from infection (infectious), can be of the direct animal-to-animal type, which are normally spread by direct contact, coughing, or biting. Some infectious diseases do not require animal-to-animal contact; these would include:

  • infections from organisms that naturally live in the environment, such as fungal infections like histoplasmosis, blastomycosis, and coccidioidomycosis.

  • infections from arthropod-borne parasites, bacteria, and viruses. These vectors (mainly mosquitoes, fleas, ticks, and lice) usually carry the infectious agent in their salivary glands or digestive systems and typically need to bite the host (dog or cat) to accomplish the infection.

  • infections from coming in contact with or swallowing the eggs or infective larvae of intestinal parasites. This normally occurs from exposure to dog and cat stools that are not properly disposed of in a timely manner.

We will talk about all of these at some point in the future. For now, Helpful Buckeye is designating Canine Heartworm Disease as a main topic for discussion in next week's blog issue. Heartworm disease is carried by mosquitoes, which makes it an insect-borne problem. To get you properly prepared for this discussion, I would like to recommend a good book I recently read, called The American Plague, by Molly Crosby. This book deals with yellow fever and its history in the United States, concentrating on the devastation it caused in Memphis, TN in the late 1800s. The important part of this is that yellow fever is also carried by mosquitoes...stay tuned! For those of you who might not be thrilled with a reading suggestion, Helpful Buckeye will leave you with this quote from Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, British writer (1689-1762,): "No entertainment is so cheap as reading, nor any pleasure so lasting." As a tribute to the historical significance this disease played in the growth of Memphis, I give you:

This photo of "Memphis" was submitted by Nancy and Link, from PA. Doesn't she look regal? Almost like one of the Egyptian Sphinx statues located in the original city of Memphis in Egypt.


If any of you watched the "Groomer" show on Animal Planet that we mentioned last week, you saw some examples of professional grooming techniques and what is involved in making a dog look good (and true to its breed specifications). But, what about the mixed-breed dog or mutt you have that has hair long enough to get matted? You might not need to make it look like a French Poodle, a Scottish Terrier, or a Schnauzer; however, you would like to get rid of the matted knots of hair and have what's left be manageable, right? You have two choices: either find a groomer you (and your pet) feel comfortable with or do the job yourself. need to get yourself a few grooming tools from any well-supplied pet store and start practicing! A grooming brush(the kind with the tiny metal needle-like bristles), a pair of grooming scissors, and an electric animal clipper set (with a couple different sized blades) will get you started. You will need an extra set of hands to properly hold your pet still and to minimize any accidental damage you might cause with the grooming tools. Don't try to be over-bearing, but be firm. Brush out what you can to get gentle...matted hair can be really uncomfortable to an anxious pet. Sometimes, the mats are easier to remove by using small cuts with scissors...ALWAYS keep the cutting edge of the scissors away from the skin and visualize the hair you are cutting BEFORE making the cuts. Working your way around the base of the mat in this manner, you should be able to take care of most of the smaller mats. For larger or more densely-packed mats, the electric clippers will probably work better. Again, aim the tips of the clipper blade away from the skin and gradually work your way around the base of the mat. Don't worry about leaving a large area without much hair...the hair will grow back. Don't try to do the whole body in one swoop...take a break periodically...both you and your pet will feel better that way. What if you've tried to do this yourself and it's just not working out?

Every town has numerous pet groomers and you should be able to find one that both you and your pet feel comfortable with. Check with your friends or your veterinarian for suggestions. Have the grooming done, after being specific about what you would like. If you're satisfied with the job and your pet isn't too traumatized, you've found a "keeper"...however, if a problem arises, it's better for all parties if you try a different groomer the next time. If a groomer says they cannot handle your pet, rather than fight the situation, try somebody else. One dog which was "expelled" from a big-store groomer was:

Yes, you've seen her before...this is Junebug, not even 10 lb., and she was too much to handle! Charlene and Ken found a new groomer, Junebug was a model citizen, and everybody is happy now.

Regardless of whether you do your own grooming or have a professional do it, you will be much further ahead in keeping your pet comfortable and looking good if you do regular brushing in between the groomings. Especially if you start brushing when your pet is young, you both will feel a lot more at ease. Give a "treat" as a reward...they remember that!


"Anthropomorphism"--Noun. Ascribing or assigning human form or attributes to a thing or a being that is not human. You've already seen an example of this in the reference to the Sphinx, which usually had the head of a human and the body of a lion. It's OK to go ahead and admit doing this with your dog or cat...most of the time you don't even realize you've done it. You treat them like members of the family, right? I've included some fairly explicit examples of anthropomorphism...view them with caution!

First of all, an anecdote is a short account of an incident or event of an interesting or amusing nature, often used as an instructive illustration. During my first year of practice, I needed to dispense some medication to one of our clients for her dog, which was going through a tough bout of allergic dermatitis (skin allergy). Her dog had developed a large area of very irritated skin over its rump. At that time we were using a clear gel capsule full of medicated granules that was meant to be given orally. After discussing the significant points of the diagnosis, I told her to give two of the capsules every other day to her dog until they were gone. When I saw her two weeks later for a re-evaluation, the dog was no better and I asked her if she had given the medication as directed. She shook her head in dismay and said, "Doc, I tried my best but I just couldn't keep the tiny granules from falling off the skin." She had been opening the capsules and sprinkling the granules over the irritated area! We all need to realize that some people take things very literally and account for that when we give instructions or make a statement. If you're not absolutely sure about something you hear from your veterinarian, take a minute to ask a question and clarify what is intended.


This past week, on May 26th, 8 years ago, Canadian medical researchers reported they had transplanted insulin-producing cells into eight diabetic patients, freeing them from insulin injections...a whole new approach to diabetic management that may have applicability to dogs and cats.

A close friend recently had a death in her family and learned that another friend had sent a memorial contribution to what I feel is a very worthy cause. Dogs for the Deaf, Inc., headquartered in Oregon, places trained dogs with hearing-disabled people all over the country and has enjoyed quite a lot of success in their endeavors. Consider this option when you are thinking about a charitable donation. Their web site is:

Another birthday was observed on May 28th. On that day, in 1892, the Sierra Club was founded by famed naturalist John Muir.

In last week's issue of Questions On Dogs and Cats, Helpful Buckeye suggested using the Cool 'N Dry Pet Shammy from Super-Cool-Products as part of your prevention and/or treatment of heat exhaustion in your dog. This company also has numerous other products that are very useful in cleaning up where pets sleep, where they track in mud or dirt from outside, or where they have had urinary or diarrhea difficulties. Go to their web site for further information (check out the selection of sponges, mops, and buckets):

An interesting video was sent to me this week that should help satisfy the cat lovers who feel they have been slighted on this blog so far. From EVTV1 comes a very unhappy "cat":

Also, since you're already enthused with a "wild" cat, consider these energetic cats, also from EVTV1: If Helpful Buckeye had to keep up with those cats, he would need a lot more than a mountain bike!!!

All this evidence to the contrary, there are some pretty nice and special cats out there:

This is Tippy, part of Marilyn and Terry's family, in CA. Thanks for the photo, guys!

Also, on May 26th, the death of Earle H. Hagen was reported in California. Earle Hagen co-wrote one of the all-time great jazz pieces, Harlem Nocturne, in 1939. Most of you would recognize the melody, even if you didn't recall the name of the has been recorded by a bunch of musicians. Check it out and listen to the Ray Anthony Orchestra at: In addition, Mr. Hagen not only wrote the theme song for the Andy Griffith Show, but also whistled it before each episode. Hear it at: Earle H. Hagen was 88 when he died.

It has come to my attention that some of you, after viewing these clickable web sites and videos, are clicking on the "X" to exit the site. This move then takes you away from the blog site and you have to re-enter it anew. You can avoid this step by clicking the "reverse" icon, the "<", on your browser, usually right above the web site in question. This will simply remove the web site and put you right back where you were on the blog. Try's easy!

In closing this section for this week, Helpful Buckeye would like to respectfully disagree with Mark Bauerlein, who is out this month with The Dumbest Generation. He blames this "dumbness" on the digital age, which he says stupefies young Americans. The digital age has allowed things to happen that would have been considered miracles in years past. One of those miracles is being able to communicate with each other through different media, like we are doing in this blog!


Well, the LA Dodgers have become the team that everybody wants to play. We've been giving away games that were, for all intents and purposes, already won...we have been snatching defeat from the jaws of victory! We lost 3 straight to the Cubbies, followed by 3 out of 4 to the previously stumbling Mets...we have become the medicine for the ills of other teams. And, even with all that negativity, we are still only 4.5 games behind the Diamondbacks. We head home now for a couple of series...ah, home cooking...I can almost smell some wins!

The San Antonio Spurs were not able to keep up with the youth and vigor of the Lakers and lost that series without much of a statement. I'm sure the networks are drooling at the thought of the upcoming NBA Finals between the Lakers and the Celtics...a lot of NBA history has been forged around these 2 teams.


I finished out the month yesterday with a nice, 35-mile bike ride. Along the way, I saw 2 elk, 6 mule deer, a coyote, and numerous prairie dogs...and had NO near-accidents like what almost happened last week! How lucky can a guy get?

A lot of people have asked me over the years, "What's a buckeye?" Of course, the obvious answer would be: any person who went to Ohio State University...however, a buckeye is also any native or inhabitant of addition to the Horse Chestnut tree, which bears the fruit/seed for which the tree is named. There are many Buckeye trees planted on the campus of OSU in Columbus. Their fruit/seed is considered slightly poisonous, but the best example of any difficulty with a buckeye would be the fact that Michigan has choked on an Ohio State buckeye 6 of the last 7 years in football!

Helpful Buckeye would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who have taken the time to read this blog and pass on your comments to me, most of which have been very positive and quite helpful. I have really enjoyed my part in bringing this information to all of you and I hope that you will get to the point at which you really look forward to Monday mornings and the new weekly issue. Remember that our e-mail address for the blog is or you can click on "e-mail me" in the Profile section.

I'll leave you with another quote from Antoine de Saint-Exupery (French author of The Little Prince and Night Flight,)...1900-1944: "True happiness comes from the joy of deeds well done, the zest of creating things new." I can definitely feel the zest of creating a new well that deed will be done depends a lot on my readers and how we are able to interact.

Until next week, keep your nose to the wind and your tail held high!

~~The goal of this blog is to provide general information and advice to help you be a better pet owner and to have a more rewarding relationship with your pet. This blog does not intend to replace the professional one-on-one care your pet receives from a practicing veterinarian. When in doubt about your pet's health, always visit a veterinarian.~~