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.~~

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