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.~~

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