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.~~

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