Sunday, July 27, 2008


After all this discussion of the world's oldest blogger, Helpful Buckeye is exhausted and feeling the need to take a well-earned hiatus. HB and Desperado will be traveling to Virginia and Pennsylvania (the Keystone state) to take care of some business and a family reunion...and don't forget the visit to the Steelers' training camp!

Since this issue is being written ahead of time, there's not much point in including "Current News"...otherwise Helpful Buckeye would also be able to tell you how the stock market will do this week and how badly the Ohio State Buckeyes will beat Michigan in November.


1) Since the topic of fleas was initiated last week in the discussion of tapeworms, this omnipresent external parasite of dogs and cats will be the headliner of our "disease" section this week. For this first part of our discussion on fleas, Helpful Buckeye will begin with the basics of the flea, its life cycle, and appearance.

This electron micrograph of an adult flea has been magnified many times...the adult flea is usually less than 1/8" long. The adult flea can be seen with the naked eye, however, and its body is compressed side-to-side, rather than up-and-down, as is the adult louse (No, this is not what you call someone who irks's the singular form of lice!).

Fleas thrive when the weather is warm and humid. Depending on your climate, fleas may be a seasonal or year-round problem. Your pet can pick up fleas wherever an infestation exists, often in areas frequented by other cats and dogs. Adult fleas are dark brown, no bigger than a sesame seed, and able to move rapidly over your pet's skin.

Adult fleas live their entire lives on or around your pet. Female fleas begin laying eggs within 24 hours of selecting your pet as a host, producing up to 50 eggs each day. These eggs fall from your pet onto the floor or furniture, including your pet's bed, or onto any other indoor or outdoor area where your pet happens to go. Tiny, worm-like larvae hatch from the eggs and burrow into carpets, under furniture, or into soil before spinning a cocoon. The cocooned flea pupae can lie dormant (inactive) for weeks before emerging as adults that are ready to infest (or reinfest) your pet. The result is a flea life cycle of anywhere from 12 days to 6 months, again depending on temperature, humidity, and food (blood) supply.

In future issues, Helpful Buckeye will discuss what happens to your dog and cat when infested with fleas and what can be done for treatment and control of this ubiquitous skin parasite.


Where did your veterinarian go to veterinary medical school? Give yourself extra points if you know the answer to that question! That means you either have taken the time to do a little background research on your veterinarian or you've had an informative conversation with them. Whatever the case, there aren't very many schools of veterinary medicine in the USA. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is our national regulating organization and is charged with accrediting the various schools of veterinary medicine:

"Through the accreditation process the AVMA Council on Education is fully dedicated to protecting the rights of the students, assisting the schools/colleges to improve veterinary medical education, and assuring the public that accredited programs provide a quality education. "
— Accreditation Policies and Procedures of the AVMA Council on Education, 2005

There are currently 28 schools of veterinary medicine in the USA:

  • Auburn University

  • Tuskegee University

  • Univ. of CA-Davis

  • Western Univ. of Health Sciences

  • Colorado State University

  • Univ. of Florida

  • Univ. of Georgia

  • Univ. of Illinois

  • Purdue University

  • Iowa State University

  • Kansas State University

  • Louisiana State University

  • Tufts University

  • Michigan State University

  • Univ. of Minnesota

  • Mississippi State University

  • Univ. of Missouri

  • Cornell University

  • North Carolina State University

  • Ohio State University

  • Oklahoma State University

  • Oregon State University

  • Univ. of Pennsylvania

  • Univ. of Tennessee

  • Texas A&M University

  • Virginia Tech

  • Washington State University

  • Univ. of Wisconsin

When Helpful Buckeye was in veterinary medical school back in the early 1970s, there were only 19 of these schools, so there has been an appreciable increase in opportunity for those who aspire to this profession.

Of course, in Helpful Buckeye's own impartial view, the best of these is Ohio State and there will only ever be just one OSU!


Ubiquitous--adjective; existing or being everywhere; omnipresent. See flea discussion above....


1) For those of you looking for a travel destination with a dog theme (as in, the beagle we highlighted last week), you need go no further than Cottonwood, Idaho...and the Dog Bark Park Inn-Bed & Breakfast.

Check out their web site for further information:

2) Since we're in a traveling groove right now, consider this more luxurious alternative to traditional pet-boarding facilities. Paradise 4 Paws, located near Chicago's O'Hare Airport, includes "private suites" or small rooms instead of cages, a large indoor grass play area, a splash pool, and Webcam access so you can check on your pet while you're away. Unlike most kennels, which are usually only open during regular business hours, Paradise 4 Paws also offers pick-up and drop-off service 24 hours a day. Airport parking and shuttle service for travelers to O'Hare are also available. Think your pooch or cat would enjoy that? Check out their web site (also turn your speakers on for this one...this is a 1st class operation):

3) From the "Weird Facts You Never Knew About Dogs" files:

  • A German Shepherd guide dog led her blind companion the entire 2100 mile Appalachian Trail.
  • Like human babies, Chihuahuas are born with a soft spot in their skull which closes with age.
  • Teddy Roosevelt's dog, Pete, ripped a French ambassador's pants off at the White House. (I wonder if some of our problems with France started then?)
  • President Lyndon Johnson had two beagles named Him and Her. (Did he know which was which?)
  • Franklin Roosevelt spent $15,000 for a destroyer to pick up his Scottish Terrier in the Aleutian Islands. (I don't know if the President could get away with that today!)
  • In Roman times, mastiffs donned light armor and were sent after mounted knights. (That would scare me!)
  • The Russians trained dogs during WWII to run suicide missions with mines strapped to their backs.
  • A dog's mouth exerts 150-200 pounds of pressure per square inch. (Helpful Buckeye has felt this a few times!)...
  • ... with some dogs exerting up to 450 pounds per square inch.
  • A one year old dog is as mature, physically, as a 15 year old human.
  • The U.S. has the highest dog population in the world.
  • France has the 2nd highest. (So, I guess we could rip off more of their pants than they could of ours?)
  • The average city dog lives 3 years longer than a country dog. (This undoubtedly is related to the tendency for owners of country dogs to let them run loose.)
  • 87% of dog owners say their dog curls up beside them or at their feet while they watch T.V. (...and I'll bet they're watching Greatest American Dog on CBS!)

4) How many of you have difficulty keeping your dog and/or cat off the furniture, the kitchen counters, or other off-limit areas? You've probably tried the water pistols, the mouse traps, and the double-stick fly-paper...all to no avail, right? Well, the folks at Solutions, whom we've recommended before, have just what might do the job for you. The "Pet Trainer" will help make those areas a no-landing zone for your pets. See it at:


Helpful Buckeye might be able to visit with you the week of 4 August, if time and the Internet allow...'til then, Happy Trails!

~~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, July 20, 2008


New Mexico's distinctive insignia is the Zia Sun Symbol, which originated with the Indians of Zia Pueblo in ancient times. Its design reflects their tribal philosophy, with its wealth of pantheistic spiritualism teaching the basic harmony of all things in the universe.
Four is the sacred number of Zia, and the figure is composed of a circle from which four points radiate. These points, made up of four straight lines of varying length, personify the number most often used by the Giver of all good gifts.
To the Zia Indian, the sacred number is embodied in the earth, with its four directions; in the year, with its four seasons; in the day, with the sunrise, noon, evening, and night; in life, with its four divisions--childhood, youth, manhood, and old age. Everything is bound together in a circle of life and love, without beginning, without end.
The Zia believe, too, that in this great brotherhood of all things, man has four sacred obligations: he must develop a strong body, a clear mind, a pure spirit, and a devotion to the welfare of his people.
Guided by this historic background, the flag of New Mexico was wisely chosen, with the ancient Zia Sun Symbol in red on a field of Spanish yellow. The symbol's proportions are fixed by legislative act, with the four groups of rays set at right angles , the two inner rays one-fifth longer than the outer rays. The diameter of the circle in the center is one-third the width of the symbol.

With the middle day (the 15th) of the middle month of the three months of summer passing by this past week, the Summer Season of the Zia year is now half over. We are left with a quote from an anonymous educator (that was hopefully, at least, partly in jest): "There are three good reasons to be a teacher--June, July, and August."


1) The city of Phoenix, AZ (which is now the 5th largest city in the USA), has recently experienced an outbreak of Cryptosporidium infestation in some of its city swimming pools. Cryptosporidium is a protozoan parasite that can be a zoonotic disease (there's that word've seen it defined in an earlier issue of this blog). A news account of the situation can be read at: and a description of the illness (from the Center for Disease Control) can be found at: along with an explanation of how your pet may fit into this cycle of infection:

2) Some of you may have read or heard of the account of a military serviceman's dog being lost at Dulles International Airport this past week. For further information on this unfortunate incident, go to: Hopefully, John Weisner will be reunited with his dog soon.

3) Another story involving a lost dog appeared this week on the national media. For those of you who missed it, or those who would like to see a heart-warming story one more time, go to:


1) The next intestinal parasites for us to consider will be the Tapeworms. Tapeworms have a different kind of life cycle than do Roundworms and Hookworms. Theirs is an indirect life cycle, in that it involves (and requires) another form of life in order to complete its cycle, rather than passing directly from dog-to-dog or cat-to-cat. There are two kinds of tapeworms that can commonly infect your dog or cat. The more common of these is the "Flea Tapeworm" and the less common is the "Taenia Tapeworm." Both of these tapeworms live their adult stage in the dog or cat's intestine, sometimes resulting in the dog or cat passing one or more of their reproductive segments.

These resemble a grain of rice and can be found around the rectal area or on the stools.

These segments contain the developing microscopic eggs, which will be released when the segment dries and breaks open. A larva develops, which is then eaten by either the flea or a rabbit or other rodent (Taenia species). When a dog or cat swallows/eats this infected flea or rabbit/rodent, the infective larva then attaches to the intestinal wall and a new adult tapeworm is the result.

Tapeworms are not usually considered to be serious, life-threatening parasites for dogs and cats; however, they do need to be treated due to their possible debilitating nature. Your veterinarian can make the diagnosis of tapeworm infestation simply from seeing the segments around the rectum or in the stools. Further diagnosis of the species of tapeworm involved requires a microscopic exam of a stool specimen or of a crushed segment. This exam is important because it will let you know where the tapeworm came from...even though the treatment will be the same for either species of tapeworm, prevention of further infection will be based on either controlling fleas in your pet's environment or limiting your pet's opportunities to eat rabbits and certain rodents. Your veterinarian will help you determine which type of tapeworm medicine is appropriate for you pet.

There are some public health concerns about these tapeworms, but they would require a human to swallow an infected flea (most likely an infant or young child) or eat an infected rabbit. The segments passed by the dog or cat CANNOT spread the infection directly to a human.

2) Has your veterinarian ever suggested to you that you should consider having your dog or cat evaluated by a veterinary specialist? Veterinary Specialty Clinics have become increasingly popular over the last 25 years and they usually provide a broad offering of veterinary specialties, such as dermatology, surgery, ophthalmology, dentistry, cardiology, neurology, internal medicine, oncology/hematology, specialized radiology, and behavioral studies. Larger towns and cities are obviously more likely to be able to support such a clinic simply due to the number of potential clients available. When Helpful Buckeye first started practicing, a local veterinary clinic/hospital would offer the consultation of a particular "traveling" specialist perhaps once a month. That was better than the client having to travel a distance to a larger city, but it didn't provide specialty care often enough.

Most specialty clinics do not serve as "regular" veterinary hospitals, in the sense that they don't do yearly exams, give vaccinations, or do periodic wormings. Veterinary Specialty Clinics offer a wide range of state-of-the-art diagnostic medicine, delivered by board-certified veterinarians, and treatment for "unusual" problems encountered by your dog and cat. Your regular veterinarian will be able to help you take better care of your pets by offering you the option of visiting a specialist should that particular need arise. Good communication channels between your regular veterinarian and the specialist will help make that experience rewarding for you and your pet.

Some specialty clinics have also incorporated an Emergency Service into their structure. This can be very helpful to clients who live close enough to the facility to use this service. The added availability of various specialists can sometimes benefit and expedite the emergency treatment of a dog or cat.

An example of such a specialty clinic is Pittsburgh Veterinary Specialists, located in Pittsburgh, PA. Take a look at their web site to see what's available (be sure to click on the "Hospital Tour"): If you are fortunate, there will be something similar close to you.

ANY COMMENTS, please send an e-mail to:


1) Two of the items presented under "CURRENT NEWS" are related to our topic of Micro-chipping your pet. Every year, it is estimated that more than ten million pets are lost from their owners and less than 10% of those are able to find their way home. Having a micro-chip implanted into your dog or cat will increase those odds significantly. Other forms of identification, such as tags or ID bands on collars, can easily be separated from your pet; tattoos can become blurry or even be removed. The implantation of the tiny micro-chip under your pet's skin will give you the best chance of seeing them again if they should happen to be lost or stolen.

The 2 most commonly used micro-chips are produced by HomeAgain and AVID and they are a plastic-encapsulated computer chip that is about the size of a grain of rice.

These micro-chips are usually injected under the skin over the shoulder blades, at about the same location that is used for many vaccinations. If your pet tolerates vaccinations well, they will have no problem receiving the micro-chip. The identification number of your pet's micro-chip will be registered with the appropriate database of numbers. Then, if your lost or stolen pet is found or recovered, a scanner will be able to read the ID number and confirm its identity. If you move or change contact information, it is important to update the database with your pet's new data. If you haven't already done this, you should consider talking with your veterinarian about its benefits. You can then have the chip implanted by your veterinarian or by one of your local animal shelters. You probably won't ever need to use this identification process, but if you do suffer the agony of a lost or stolen pet, this will greatly increase your chances of ever seeing them again.

As an interesting sidelight to this subject of micro-chipping, Helpful Buckeye recently assisted in a 3-year research project involving prairie dogs, during which he implanted almost 1000 of these micro-chips into prairie dogs for use in later identification. Nothing negative happened during or following these implantations.

2) So now, in previous issues, we've talked about all the various considerations of selecting a dog. You're getting ready for bringing the new dog home. Go over your last checklist:

  • Prepare an appropriate place for it to eat and sleep.

  • Have ready the necessary accessories such as a collar, leash, food and water bowls.

  • Be sure to pet-proof your home to prevent injury to your new dog or damage to your possessions; be sure that electrical cords and wires are out of reach of a chewing pet.

  • Talk with your veterinarian about any other health considerations for your new dog.

If the new dog is a puppy, you must be prepared for several weeks of housetraining and some initial veterinary expenses for exams, vaccinations, and neutering. Any dog can become bored and destructive if left alone all day without an outlet for its social needs. Therefore, set aside time each day for activities such as walking, playing , petting, and grooming. Dogs are very social animals and isolating a dog in the backyard with no interaction is one of the worst things you can do. Final considerations for your new puppy:

  • 6-10 weeks is considered an ideal age for a puppy to move to a new home.

  • Spaying or neutering your new puppy is an important part of responsible pet ownership. Your veterinarian will discuss with you the best time to do this surgery.

  • If possible, meet the puppy's parents. Their temperaments are often good indicators of what the puppy's temperament will be.

  • If you are getting a puppy as a second pet, remember that some older pets may be less tolerant of a puppy's behavior. You might be able to manage this transition with some suggestions from your veterinarian or you might need to consult with a professional dog trainer.

  • Crate training can be a very effective method for training your new puppy.

Above all, remember that when you acquire a pet, you are accepting responsibility for the health and welfare of that pet. You are also responsible for your pet's impact on your family, friends, and community. Since the pet will probably be a part of your life for many years, you should invest the time and effort necessary to make those years happy ones. Choose your new pet wisely, accept your responsibility to properly care for it, and enjoy one of life's most rewarding experiences.

ANY COMMENTS, please send an e-mail to:


Cat Breeds-Abyssinian

The Abyssinian is a natural breed of domesticated cat originating in Egypt. As the story goes, an Egyptian female kitten, Zula, was taken from a port in Alexandria, brought to England, and bred with an English tabby. The most "Abyssinian" looking kitten of her litter was bred with its mother to splice the Abby gene. It's thought that all Abyssinians in Europe, the Americas, and Australia are descended from Zula. With a distinctly ticked, tawny coat, in what is generally a warm golden color, the Abyssinian has large almond-shaped eyes with a fine dark line around them, and large ears. Abyssinians are active, friendly, curious and playful, and usually not "lap cats" as they're too preoccupied. They're "busy" cats, and can get bored without daily activity and attention...come to think of it, sounds like a good friend of mine!

Dog Breeds-Beagle

On the left is Regal II, from Fran and Drew, of PA and on the right is Ernie, from Dianne and Casey, of AZ.

A medium-sized breed and a member of the hound group, Beagle-type dogs have existed for over 5 centuries. Beagles are scent hounds used primarily for tracking deer, bear, and other game. They are a loyal breed and most often very well tempered and intelligent, but are stubborn and may be hard to train due to their strong will. Playful and energetic dogs who enjoy long walks, if released a Beagle may follow a scent endlessly and, thus, can be quite difficult to walk, especially when distracted by enticing smells. Because of their curiosity and spirited temperament, beagles are famed escape artists, and humane societies and pounds often pick up stray beagles. With thousands of representatives, each having his or her own personality, Beagles are a favored breed across the country.


1) On 20 July, we remembered the first men landing on the moon, back in 1969. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin actually walked on the moon!

2) Also, on 20 July 1940, Billboard magazine published its very first "Music Popularity Chart," topped by "I'll Never Smile Again" by the Tommy Dorsey orchestra with Frank Sinatra. Helpful Buckeye is sure you all know this song...listen to and enjoy the first ever #1 Billboard hit:

3) By now, you may have read about the "world's oldest blogger" passing away this week (No, Helpful Buckeye is NOT the second oldest!). Olive Riley was 108 and lived in Australia. Read about her blogging experience:

4) Since we have talked about dogs and cats getting lost or stolen in this week's issue, here is one more "gadget" that might interest those of you with really "deep pockets." From comes the new RoamEO GPS device, which displays information through a GPS enabled pet collar, pinpointing the location of prodigal pets (at least within one mile of the device). This is advertised as "great for travel" and also includes a feature that can be set to deliver an audible warning if your pooch roams outside of a preset perimeter. The list price is...$ I said, you might need really "deep pockets."

5) With just about every possible display of "talent" known to man or woman being shamelessly showcased on TV, now comes Greatest American Dog, from CBS TV. This is a midsummer replacement series, and, as is frequently the case, this replacement has taken off like a rocket with viewers. It premiered last week and runs on Thursday evening. Dogs and their owners are competing for $250,000 by doing things that dogs don't normally do. So far, there have been no meltdowns by the dogs as we frequently see with humans in these types of contests. Take a look at the show, see what you think, and let us know if it appeals to your TV-viewing appetite.

6) The final "Laws of Cat Psychology":

  • Law of Refrigerator Observation--If a cat watches a refrigerator long enough, someone will come along and take out something good to eat.

  • Law of Bag/Box Occupancy--All bags and boxes in a given room must contain a cat within the earliest possible nanosecond.

  • Law of Cat Magnetism--All blue blazers and black sweaters attract cat hair in direct proportion to the darkness of the fabric.

OK, admit it...all of these laws have been worth a chuckle or two...but, they have all been proven to be true...ask any cat owner!

7) Helpful Buckeye has received a few questions about the ads that are placed with the postings of the blog issues. They usually show up at the beginning and the end of each issue and have been put there by the folks at Google, who sponsor this blogging service. This helps Google to provide this service at no charge to you, the reader, and to Helpful Buckeye, the blogger, for which we are grateful. There is no charge to the reader for clicking into these ads...the only charge would occur if you actually bought something that is, if you're interested in a certain ad, go ahead, click it and read about the product. It's an easy and free way to learn more about what's available for your pets.

ANY COMMENTS, please send an e-mail to:


The LA Dodgers are playing the AZ Diamondbacks as we speak...we have split 2 games with them so far and remain 1 game behind them. Some of our regular players have returned and that should help solidify the team...right? Wait, hold the presses! The Dodgers have just come back from a 3-run deficit in the 9th inning to beat the Diamondbacks!!! We'll leave Phoenix TIED for 1st place. This is a good start to the second half of the season.

Training camp for the Pittsburgh Steelers opens this week at St. Vincent College, in Latrobe, PA. Helpful Buckeye plans to be there for one of the sessions next week. The Steelers will be there...we, the fans, just won't know who owns them, after reports about a sale of the team. However, as long as they are playing in Pittsburgh, sporting the black and yellow, and can beat the Browns twice a year, they'll still be the Steelers!


1) This past week, Helpful Buckeye and Desperado sadly learned that 2 of their best friends, Dianne and Casey, are moving to another state. However, we still have their picture of Ernie and we do know the route to their new location!

2) Quote from an "unknown, anonymous" family dog: "I like to think of myself as a vital link in the homeland security system….." Woof, Woof!

3) With props to the "world's oldest blogger," Helpful Buckeye will exit with this quote from Rosalyn Sussman Yalow (1921- ) US medical physicist: "The excitement of learning separates youth from old age. As long as you're learning you're not old."

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, July 13, 2008


  • A "smoking gun" was originally, and is still primarily, a reference to an object or fact that serves as conclusive evidence of a crime or similar act. In addition to this, its meaning has evolved to uses completely unrelated to criminal activity: for example, scientific evidence that is highly suggestive in favour of a particular hypothesis (or diagnosis) is sometimes called smoking gun evidence. Reminisce with the Robert Cray Band and their rendition of "Smoking Gun," while you ponder how this will lead to a diagnosis:


    1) From the American Veterinary Medical Association, comes this press release:

    Study: 9/11 dogs suffered few health effects
    — A new study in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association reveals that New York Police Department dogs deployed to the World Trade Center after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, have not experienced any long-term health effects.
    The study focuses on 27 dogs that assisted in relief efforts at the site, many of which remained deployed throughout the 37-week cleanup operation. Both short-term and long-term health assessments were conducted.
    According to the study, about 63 percent of the dogs had some type of health disorder during the first week, including fatigue, eye irritation, respiratory tract problems, decreased appetite, dehydration and cuts. What surprised the study's authors, however, was that only mild and infrequent health conditions were identified during a five-year follow-up period. None of the dogs, according to the study, was identified as having chronic respiratory tract disease or any type of blood disorder.
    Nineteen of the 27 dogs were still alive and apparently healthy five years later. In fact, the five-year mortality rate for the 27 working dogs examined in the study was similar to the rate for a control group of household pets and law enforcement dogs that had not been dispatched to the site.
    "The general good health of the dogs studied was an unexpected result," said Philip Fox, DVM, the study's lead author and director of The Caspary Research Institute of The Animal Medical Center in New York City. "The dogs appeared to be unaffected in the long term by their exposure to the smoke, dust and toxins they encountered while working at the World Trade Center site."
    The findings are in contrast to some human emergency responders who worked at the site, as various studies have identified increases in the rates of illness and the severity of various symptoms of respiratory tract disease.
    The reason that the dogs appeared to suffer so few long-term health conditions may be due to differences between human and animal airways and differences in lung defense mechanisms.

    2) In a follow-up to the news story on dogs imported from Iraq, from our 6/29/08 blog issue, Helpful Buckeye's former partner has reported that the 2 dogs from this group that ended up in Virginia have been put into quarantine for 6 months. Hopefully, the dog that was euthanized (and found to be rabid) from the original group will have been the only one to suffer that fate.


    1) The second intestinal parasite for discussion is Hookworms. Hookworms are the second most common intestinal parasite found in dogs, but they are much less commonly found in cats. The adult hookworms live in the small intestine and are much smaller than adult roundworms, actually only about 1/8 inch long, and will most likely never be seen by a pet owner. The adult worms attach themselves to the intestinal wall and feed on the host's blood. The adults lay eggs that pass out in the feces. In 2-10 days, the eggs hatch and the larvae are released. These larvae are excellent swimmers that travel through raindrops or dew on leaves and vegetation and wait for a suitable host animal to come along. The larvae enter a host either by being ingested or by burrowing through the host's skin.

    As part of your veterinarian's diagnostic process, a fecal (stool) microscopic exam will reveal the presence of most roundworm and hookworm infestations. A comparison of the eggs as shown by this exam:

    • The roundworm eggs are darker, larger, and round, while the hookworm eggs are oval-shaped and somewhat smaller.

      From the AVMA brochure on intestinal parasites:

      What are the health risks to pets and people?
      Your pet can become infected when larvae penetrate the animal's skin or the lining of the mouth. An infected female dog can pass the infection to her puppies through her milk, but this does not occur in cats. Hookworms are dangerous parasites because they actually bite into the intestinal lining of an animal and suck blood. As with roundworms, puppies and kittens are at high risk of infection and developing severe diseases. Left untreated, hookworm infections can result in potentially life-threatening blood loss, weakness, and malnutrition.
      Like roundworms, hookworm infections are zoonotic, and infections usually occur by accidentally eating the larvae or by the larvae entering through the skin. In humans, hookworm infections cause health problems when the larvae penetrate the skin. The larvae produce severe itching and tunnel-like, red areas as they move through the skin and, if accidentally eaten, can cause intestinal problems.

      There are numerous medicines available for the treatment of hookworms. After an evaluation of your dog or cat, your veterinarian will determine what treatment plan is appropriate. As with our discussion on roundworms, one of the pillars of treatment is the constant and regular removal of your pet's stools to help break the infection cycle.

      2) Now, for the connection to the smoking gun. When you take your dog or cat to your veterinarian for some type of problem, the veterinarian will work through a logical process of investigation which ultimately will lead to a diagnosis. The veterinarian's diagnostic work-up will consist of:

      • The History--This includes your presenting complaint of what is wrong with your pet. There also may be a lot of questions from the veterinarian related to your presenting complaint. Regular readers of this blog will remember our issue of 5/23/08, in which Helpful Buckeye advised all pet owners to familiarize themselves with how their pet acts when it is "normal." If you know what "normal" looks like, it will be that much easier to know when there's a problem.

      • The Signalment--This includes all the basic factual information about your pet, such as species, sex (neutered, spayed, or not), age, breed, and vaccination history.

      • The Physical Exam--Your veterinarian will examine your pet from nose to tail, taking into consideration information obtained from you during the "history" part and from the signalment.

      • Diagnostic Tests--If the cause of your presenting complaint is not quite obvious from the previous 3 steps, then some type of diagnostic procedure will be discussed with you. By this point, your veterinarian will have decided on whatever disease processes are most likely to have caused what has happened to your pet, and arranged them in order, usually from most-likely to least-likely. Various diagnostic procedures (the above picture of roundworm and hookworm eggs would be an example) will either confirm or eliminate these disease process as the culprit.

      In much the same way that a police detective analyzes clues and evidence from a crime scene in order to solve the crime, your veterinarian will be looking for the "smoking gun" evidence that is obtained from one or more of these four categories in order to arrive at the proper diagnosis of your pet's problem. The art and science of a diagnosis can be a challenge in many cases. Not all diseases appear the same way every time in every animal. Some tests will have false positives or false negatives. A well-trained, experienced veterinarian will usually end up using the right measure of art AND science in determining what the diagnosis is.

      ANY COMMENTS, please send an e-mail to:


      1) OK, now you've perhaps zeroed in on what type of new dog you're looking for. Further defining decisions in Selecting a Dog will include:

      • Puppy vs. Adult Dog--Puppies require additional time for housetraining, socialization, and obedience training. They also need more frequent feeding, exercise, and supervision. Adult dogs may already be housetrained and know some basic commands. However, with a puppy, you will be the one training it to do what you want, which ultimately could be a positive. Also, older dogs could already have acquired some undesirable habits.

      • Affordability--Can you afford the purchase of the new dog AND the cost of veterinary care? Dogs also need decent-quality food, proper housing, toys, licenses, grooming. You may want to consider the purchase of a pet health insurance for your new dog, an additional expense...and a topic Helpful Buckeye will address in a future issue.

      • Where to Find a Dog--Depending upon what type of dog strikes your fancy, your sources for pets will be different. Mixed-breed and purebred dogs can be obtained from animal shelters and numerous rescue organizations. In some larger communities, there are rescue groups dedicated to finding good homes for specific dog breeds (such as racing greyhounds). If you are more interested in a certain purebred dog, check with your veterinarian first for any suggestions they might have about local reputable breeders. Helpful Buckeye used to advise his clients to go to a dog show and look at the various breeds on display. This might help you solidify a choice or it might help you find a whole new direction.

      The last advice for this week's portion of Selecting a Dog would be what to look for in a healthy dog. A healthy dog has clear, bright eyes; a clean, shiny coat of hair; does not appear thin, overly fat; or show signs of illness, such as nasal or eye discharge or diarrhea. When choosing a dog, pick one that is active, friendly, inquisitive, and not afraid of you. The dog should accept gentle handling and not show signs of aggression. Helpful Buckeye will finish this section on Selecting a Dog next week with "Tips on Acquiring a Puppy."

      2) For the cat fanciers, there are some things you should consider when acquiring a new kitten.

      New Kitten Care -Ten Tips For Raising Your Kitten

      You've picked your brand new kitten from a litter, and you're now ready to bring it home. You naturally want to give it the best possible start in life. Here are 10 tips to help it develop into a confident, affectionate adult cat who'll give you years of stress-free pleasure.

      1. Make sure you're fully prepared for his arrival. Have his toys, food, litter box, scratching post and bed all ready for him. This will help him to settle in more quickly.

      2. Handle him - a lot. If kittens are handled a lot when they're young, they get used to it and learn to enjoy it. As a result, they're much more likely to turn into affectionate adults that love to be cuddled and stroked. Your new kitten should always be handled gently. If you have young kids, you'll need to supervise them with Kitty at first, to make sure they don't accidentally hurt him.

      3. Get him used to receiving everyday care from you. This includes grooming him, washing his face, bathing him and cleaning his ears and eyes. If he gets comfortable with all this when he's a kitten, you'll have few problems with it when he's an adult.

      4. Safely introduce him to the everyday things that will form part of his world as soon as possible. This may include other people, kids, other pets, travelling in your car, boarding at your sister's house when you go on holiday etc. etc. Doing this will turn him into a confident, happy, adaptable adult.

      5. Play with him and talk to him every day. Bored kittens and cats often seek amusement in activities that you won't be too keen on, such as destroying the furniture. Playing with your kitten will build your relationship with him and help to prevent boredom.

      6. Feed him a wide selection of foods that are suitable for kittens. This gets him used to a varied diet, and reduces the risk of him becoming a gourmet cuisine snob who'll only eat fresh wild salmon caught in the Scottish Highlands....

      7. Gently and calmly set boundaries. Kittens are like kids - they'll push their luck to see how much they can get away with. Common naughty kitten behavior includes scratching, biting, jumping on the kitchen worktops, scratching the furniture and climbing the curtains. If your kitten is being naughty, stop him, say "no" (don't shout) and move him away from the scene of his crime. It's much easier to train a new kitten to be good than an adult cat, so setting the boundaries while he's young can save you years of frustration in the future.

      8. Don't give in to vocal blackmail. Some kittens try to get what they want by meowing non-stop. If you keep giving in to this, your kitten will turn into a very vocal adult cat who'll drive you nuts with his constant noisy demands.

      9. Keep him safe. Nasty frights - for example falling down the toilet, being tormented by a kid or having a dog bark in his face - will have a negative impact on him. The more unpleasant experiences he has as a kitten, the more likely he is to become a nervous, mistrusting adult.

      10. Accept that your new kitten is a baby with loads of energy. While you can discourage him from acts of willful destruction, you'll need to accept that your house is unlikely to survive completely unscathed. But hey, he's worth it!

      From: Liz Allan, a cat behavior expert with 25 years experience of caring for cats. She lived and worked in a cat rescue center for 3 years, and has fostered hundreds of cats at home.

      "A kitten is so flexible that she is almost double; the hind parts are equivalent to another kitten with which the forepart plays. She does not discover that her tail belongs to her until you tread on it." Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) US writer

      ANY COMMENTS, please send an e-mail to:


      Cat Breeds - Siamese
      The distinctive Siamese have existed for centuries in Thailand (formerly Siam) and are thought to be descended from their sacred temple cats. They were originally, like their descendants today, medium-sized, long-bodied, muscular, graceful cats with moderately wedge-shaped heads and largish ears. Siamese are affectionate and intelligent, as renowned for their social nature as for their persistence in demanding attention with their loud, low-pitched voice which many compare to a baby's cries. Since the Siamese coat is ineffective for camouflage they've developed a unique social orientation related to their lessened ability to live independently of humans. They're less active at night than most cats, as their blue eyes lack the structure which amplifies dim light. And like other blue-eyed white cats, they may also have reduced hearing ability. Helpful Buckeye reports that they can also be a mite cantankerous to handle.

      Dog Breeds - Poodle
      Originally bred by the Greeks for sea sponge diving, Poodles were later adopted by the Spanish colonists in North America where they were employed as lobster divers. Arguably one of the most intelligent breeds, their aptitude has made them ideal for performing. However, they can also become bored easily and can get quite creative about finding mischief. Excellent watchdogs, Poodles don't usually become "one-person" dogs when they are part of a family and tend to be good with children. Adaptable and easy to train, the agile and athletic Poodle appreciates lots of exercise. One of the most distinctive parts of the breed is their unique fur which allows for a wealth of opportunities to sculpt their coats into fun and fanciful patterns. Available in a variety of sizes and colors, the poodle has become very popular in the breeding world of show dogs. This is one of the breeds that requires a fair grooming budget; however, the poodle does not shed as much as other breeds of dogs.


      1) When you think of breeds of dogs around which one has to be wary, which breeds come to mind? When you think of dangerous dog breeds, which animal do you picture: a pit bull or a wiener dog? According to the results of research published in Applied Animal Behaviour Science, the breed most prone to aggression is the dachshund. New research that involved questioning 6,000 dog owners, found that one in five dachshunds have bitten (or tried to bite) strangers, a similar number have attacked other dogs, and that one in 12 have even snapped at their owners. Prior research on dog aggression focused solely on dog bite statistics. Using that data, breeds like Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, and Dobermans were thought to pose the most danger. Researchers now feel prior studies were not painting a full picture, as most dog bites (especially those of smaller dogs) go unreported and were not included in the past. Chihuahuas ranked second on the list of aggressive dogs, while Jack Russell Terriers came in third. Just like with people, it's not fair to stereotype an entire group based on the actions of a few. But it's also good know some small dogs might not be the ideal choice for children.

      2) On 7/10/1925, the so-called Monkey Trial, in which John Scopes was accused of teaching evolution in school, a violation of state law, began in Dayton, Tenn., featuring a classic confrontation between William Jennings Bryan, the three-time presidential candidate and fundamentalist hero, and legendary defense attorney Clarence Darrow. The trial was immortalized in the classic movie of 1960, Inherit the Wind, starring Spencer Tracy and Fredric March.

      3) More "Laws of Cat Psychology":

      • Law of Rug Configuration--No rug may remain in its naturally flat state when a cat is present.

      • Law of Obedience Resistance--A cat's resistance varies in proportion to a human's desire for her to do something.

      • Second Law of Energy Conservation--Cats know that energy can only be stored by a lot of napping.

      4) And speaking of catnapping, from The New Yorker: 5) More dog mascots of colleges/universities:

      • Univ. of Nevada/Reno--the Wolfpack

      • Univ. of Albany--Great Danes

      • Southern Illinois Univ.--the Salukis (an Egyptian racing hound)

      6) "Since we cannot know all that there is to be known about anything, we ought to know a little about everything." - Blaise Pascal, French philosopher and mathematician, 1623-1662.


      1) This Tuesday evening will be the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, played in Yankee Stadium, which will be celebrating its last season in existence. Fans of the Boston Red Sox and the Chicago Cubs will almost feel like they are watching one of their regular games since so many of their players will be playing.

      2) On July 11th, 1859, "A Tale of Two Cities" by Charles Dickens was published. Bear with me as I explain the relationship between this Dickensian tale of life in London and Paris during the French Revolution and the agony of an LA Dodger fan in 2008. The opening line of A Tale of Two Cities is: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..." Desperado and Helpful Buckeye witnessed this phenomenon first-hand last week in Los Angeles, taking in two Dodger games, one of which was a true baseball gem in performance and one of which was a display of shoddy execution and accomplishment. Even so, we are still only 1 game behind the D'Backs, having actually tied them twice this past week. The Dodgers open a series with the D'Backs right after the All-Star opportunity to improve our standing.


      1) "That perfect tranquillity of life, which is nowhere to be found but in retreat, a faithful friend, and a good library." Aphra Behn (1640-1689) English writer. Helpful Buckeye will let you fill in the blanks describing the ''retreat" and the "faithful friend."

      2) On a bike ride this morning, Helpful Buckeye witnessed a coyote racing after a prairie dog, circling and almost catching the little critter, when the prairie dog dived into its burrow with about 5 ft. to spare. What a display of Mother Nature's law of existence...Survival of the Fittest! Today the prey won, tomorrow it might be the predator.

      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, July 6, 2008


      OK, a quick show of hands right many of you thought that the "dog days" of summer were that period of weeks when even the dogs were panting, moping around, and looking for any kind of relief from the oppressive heat and humidity of mid-summer?

      Well, don't feel too badly about being with the rest of our readers on this one. We've all used the phrase and it means just about the same thing to most of us. A casual survey will usually find that many people believe the phrase is in reference to the conspicuous laziness of domesticated dogs (who are in danger of overheating with too much exercise--see the May 23, 2008 issue) during the hottest days of the summer. When speaking of "Dog Days" there seems to be a connotation of lying or "dogging" around, or being "dog tired" on these hot and humid days.

      However,...the term "Dog Days" was used by the Greeks as well as the ancient Romans (who called these days caniculares dies (days of the dogs)) after Sirius (the "Dog Star"), the brightest star in the heavens besides the Sun. The Dog Days originally were the days when Sirius, the Dog Star, rose just before or at the same time as sunrise. The Old Farmers Almanac lists the traditional timing of the Dog Days as the 40 days beginning July 3 and ending August 11. The ancients sacrificed a brown dog at the beginning of the Dog Days to appease the rage of Sirius, believing that the star was the cause of the hot, sultry weather. Popularly believed to be an evil time, Dog Days were "when the seas boiled, wine turned sour, dogs grew mad, and all creatures became languid, causing to man burning fevers, hysterics, and frenzies." Depending upon where you live, it's quite possibly a foregone conclusion that you have experienced some or all of those signs!

      Peripherally related to the hot days showing up around the 4th of July, we are reminded of this patriotic quote by Thomas Jefferson:

      The flames kindled on the 4th of July 1776, have spread over too much of the globe to be extinguished by the feeble engines of despotism; on the contrary, they will consume these engines and all who work them.
      (From a letter to John Adams on 12 September 1821)

      Of further extraordinary interest, involving both Jefferson and John Adams, both of these American founding fathers died on the 4th of July 1826, exactly 50 years after America's Declaration of Independence.


      1) From the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) comes this announcement:

      Parasite Education Tour Kicks off in July
      Parasitologists from the Companion Animal Parasite Council are traveling the country this summer to spread the word about the latest information on emerging vectorborne disease, zoonotic potential, and parasite control for dogs and cats.
      The CAPC education group will be visiting 13 cities in 17 days starting July 22 in New Orleans at the close of the AVMA convention. They will be meeting with veterinarians, veterinary staff, and human health professionals to offer continuing education on parasites, vector-borne diseases, and zoonotic risks.
      Road show topics include the expanding geographic range of vectors and disease; new options for control of vectors and vectorborne disease; parasitic threats posed to dogs, cats, and owners; heartworm risks to pets and people; and the presence of common internal parasites and their zoonotic risk.
      "We know that the geographic range of some parasites and zoonotic diseases is expanding, and veterinary and human health care professionals need to be aware of these issues and the increased risks they present," said Dr. Michael Paul, CAPC executive director. "The education tour will help us spread the word about these parasitic threats and the latest diagnostic and prevention protocols to most effectively manage them."

      More on intestinal parasites in the next section....

      2) You might remember from our issue of June 15, 2008, that we briefly discussed the incrimination of tomatoes in the current spate of Salmonella infections affecting people all over the USA. Well, now the search for the source of the outbreak is being focused on fresh made salsas, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

      Fresh made salsas typically include tomatoes, onions, jalapenos, garlic, scallions, and cilantro, so...the culprit could be any of these. The CDC says the focus does not involve commercially produced salsas, so canned and jarred products are not being investigated. Stay tuned, get in a supply of dipping chips, and a bottle or can of America's favorite condiment (yes, you read that correctly, it's salsa,...not ketchup!) and let's see where this investigation leads.

      3) Last week, on the 2nd of July, it was revealed that real estate mogul Leona Helmsley, who died in August 2007, asked in a "mission statement" that her fortune, worth up to $8 billion, be used for the care and welfare of dogs. But because the document wasn't a formal part of her will or trust, it's not certain all the money will go to the dogs. Two people who saw the statement told the NY Times the document also says the estate trustees may use their discretion in distributing the money. They could, for instance, decide to spend the money for animal rescue groups, veterinary schools or research on canine diseases.


      1) Last week, Helpful Buckeye talked about a pet peeve, involving dogs sticking their heads out the window of a moving vehicle. This week, we'll stay in the realm of moving vehicles, while introducing pet peeve #2...dogs riding loose in the bed of a pick-up truck. You've all seen this many times and you've had to ask yourself, "What happens to the dog if it jumps out of the moving truck," or, "What happens to the dog if the driver has to come to a sudden stop?" The answer to both questions is, quite simply, "The dog will either suffer a very serious injury or be killed." Not to belabor the point but, a dog riding loose in the bed of a pick-up truck also has his eyes exposed to any debris in the air (pet peeve #1 from last week) and, in essence, chances a double whammy of having its eyes damaged while getting ready to be thrown from the moving truck! Most states have now enacted a law making this situation illegal, but beyond that, even common sense dictates that a dog shouldn't be transported in the bed of a pick up truck. They have absolutely no protection from any adverse incident. The Humane Society of the United States has taken a strict stance against this situation:

      Come on, folks, save your dog from this type of serious or fatal injury...let them ride in the cab, properly restrained. It's simply not fair to your dog to expose it to these kinds of risks. If you're feeling particularly macho about having a big dog riding loose in the open bed of your pick up truck, try riding in the bed of your own truck and jumping out at 50 MPH. You'll view things differently...if you survive the impact!

      2) A few weeks ago, Helpful Buckeye gave a brief overview of the infections associated with intestinal parasites. This week's contribution to that discussion will be Roundworms, which are the most common intestinal parasite in dogs and cats around the world. Adult roundworms live in the intestine of dogs and cats, grow to about 6" long, and can be passed in the pet's stools.

      A good description of this parasite comes from an AVMA brochure:

      What are roundworms and how are they spread?
      Animals with roundworms pass the infection to other animals when the worm eggs develop into larvae and are present in the animal's feces (droppings). Your pet can pick up the infection by eating infected soil, licking contaminated fur or paws, or by drinking contaminated water.
      Infected female dogs may pass the infection to their puppies before birth or afterwards when they are nursing. Infected female cats cannot infect their kittens before birth, but can pass on the infection through their milk when kittens are nursing.

      What are the health risks to pets and people?
      Puppies and kittens are the most prone to roundworm infection. Because roundworms live in the small intestine, they steal the nutrients from the food your pet eats and that can lead to malnutrition and intestinal problems. As the larvae move through your pet's body, young animals may develop serious respiratory problems such as pneumonia.
      Roundworm infections are zoonotic diseases, meaning that they are animal diseases that can be transmitted to humans. While direct contact with infected dogs and cats increases a person's risk for roundworm infection, most infections come from accidentally eating the worm larvae or from larvae that enter through the skin. For example, children are at risk for infection if they play in areas that may contain infected feces (such as dirt piles and sandboxes), and they pick up the larvae on their hands.
      Left untreated, roundworms in people can cause serious health problems when the larvae enter organs and other tissues, resulting in lung, brain, or liver damage. If the roundworm larva enters the eyes, permanent, partial blindness can result.

      The two best pieces of advice related to this discussion are to have your dog or cat's stool checked regularly (once a year, if no problems are evident; more frequently, if soft stools or diarrhea persist, presence of vomiting, or unexplained weight loss) and to clean up your pet's stools at least several times per week to break the infection cycle.

      ANY COMMENTS, please send an e-mail to:


      1) Most dog and cat owners freely express their feelings that they wish they could clean their pet's anal glands at home (see last week's issue). However, after having this procedure demonstrated and being frustrated with their results, they usually opt for some type of professional intervention. Running a close second on the "I wish I could do that at home" list would be the ability to cut your own pet's toe nails, wouldn't you agree? Either you have cut the nails too short and they bled or your otherwise very docile pet offers to bite you if you clip just one more nail!

      The best way to get you and your pet used to doing this is to start when you first get your puppy or kitten. Start right away with simple handling of your pet's feet...massage the toes frequently so that they get used to having this part of their body worked on. The toe nails at this age will be smaller than those of an adult and, as a result, may not need much of a trim. However, by using either an emery-type filing board or an actual pet nail trimmer, you will acclimate your pet to the process. Simply rubbing or snipping off the point usually suffices for these immature nails. Once your pet learns that you will not be harming their feet, it will be much more likely to accept the same treatment as it matures. Repetition and giving rewards for good behavior will usually pay dividends down the road!

      If you consider the anatomy of a dog or cat nail, it makes it a little easier to know where to make the cut.

      Most dogs and cats will have at least one nail that is white enough to show the pink area of the blood supply. As long as you cut a short distance from this pink point, there should be no problem with either bleeding or discomfort. Again, this will have been made a lot easier to accomplish if you have worked with your pet from a young age and they don't feel threatened by you working around their feet. There are three basic nail trimming instruments available in all pet stores. The guillotine-type, the pliers-type, and the smaller one for cats:

      The guillotine-type is the easiest to use on small to medium-sized sure to always use one with a fresh, sharp blade. The pliers-type is best for large breeds of dogs. The smaller type, on the right, is intended for tiny dogs and cats since their nails are more fragile. The underlying secrets to successful use of all three are proper restraint of your pet and a good estimation of where the blood supply begins. When trimming the nails, do not forget to trim any dewclaws that are present (dogs only). The dewclaw is the structural equivalent of a fifth digit and is more likely to be found on the front feet. If it continues to grow, without being trimmed, it will grow around on itself, much like a ram's horn, and become ingrown. This becomes a problem that requires professional attention. If you trim the nails regularly, your pet will have few problems with its feet. If you still don't feel comfortable trimming your pet's nails, have your veterinarian or groomer take care of it.

      2) Let's say you're considering getting a dog. Selecting a dog can be a lot of fun for the whole family if you've done your homework. This whole process can take some time if you go about it properly. In the next few weeks, Helpful Buckeye will get into greater detail about the basic aspects of acquiring a new dog. This week, we'll consider the initial types of choices you will need to choose from:

      • size of the dog,

      • haircoat lengths,

      • colors of hair,

      • temperaments, and

      • activity levels.

      For instance, a dog's size may affect its lifespan: the lifespan of a large-breed dog tends to be shorter than that of a smaller dog.

      Secondly, what kind of dog will best fit your lifestyle? Feeding, grooming, exercise needs, and waste elimination are daily needs that must be considered. Consider the following factors:

      • Do you live in the city, suburbs, or country?

      • Do you rent or do you own your home?

      • Do you live in an apartment or a single-family home?

      • Do you live at ground level or on the 21st floor?

      • How long is your work day? Do you frequently have obligations after work?

      • Who will care for your dog in your absence?

      • Do you have other pets?

      • Are there any restrictions on number or types of pets where you live?

      • Are you prepared to meet the grooming needs of a dog...either at home or done professionally?

      • What are you looking for in a dog...jogging or hiking companion, security buddy, cuddly lap dog, or a high-energy companion?

      The answers to these questions will start you in the right direction; however, before finally making the decision, there will be many other factors to consider. Over the next few weeks, Helpful Buckeye will guide you through the rest of the selection process. While thinking about the points to consider for this week, watch and listen to this big video hit from 1953, featuring Patti Page:

      ANY COMMENTS, please send an e-mail to:


      1) Zoonotic, adjective--describes an animal disease that can be transmitted to a human, such as rabies, dog roundworms, or scabies.

      2) Dewclaw, noun--a vestigial digit of the paw of many mammals, including the dog, in addition to the four claws on the ground. Occupies the same position as your thumb, but does not have any function.

      3) Vestigial, adjective--the remnant of a structure that functioned at one time in a previous evolutionary stage of a species, such as the tail bone, appendix, and wisdom teeth in humans, rear leg bones in whales, wings on emus, and the blind eyes of moles.


      1) On 7/1/1874, America's first zoo was opened at the Philadelphia Zoological Society. More info:

      2) Last week, we mentioned the death of UGA VI, the University of Georgia mascot. A picture of him is now available:

      We also wondered about other colleges/universities with dogs as their mascot. How many were you able to come up with? How about:

      • Mississippi State--also the Bulldogs
      • Univ. of Washington--the Huskies
      • Univ. of Connecticut--also the Huskies
      • Fresno State--also the Bulldogs
      • Louisiana Tech--also the Bulldogs
      • Univ. of New Mexico--the Lobos (wolves)
      • North Carolina State--the Wolfpack
      • Northern Illinois--also the Huskies

      That isn't all of them...there are still a few more, some of which might surprise you.

      3) More "Laws of Cat Psychology":

      • Law of Cat Landing--A cat will always land in the softest place possible; often the midsection of an unsuspecting, reclining human.
      • Law of Cat Disinterest--A cat's interest level will vary in inverse proportion to the amount of effort a human expends in trying to interest him or her.
      • Law of Cat Composition--A cat is composed of Matter + Antimatter + It Doesn't Matter.

      4) On 5 July 1946, French designer Louis Reard introduced the bikini swimsuit. The hippopotamus from our 1 June 2008 issue thanks you, Louis!

      5) A few worthy bumper stickers have been reported since we asked for your sightings.

      • We have enough youth, how about a fountain of Smart?
      • Few women admit their age; Fewer men act it.
      • A bartender is just a pharmacist with a limited inventory.
      • There are 3 kinds of people: those who can count & those who can't.


      We've all heard and used the phrase, "the opera ain't over till the fat lady sings." Dan Cook, the longtime San Antonio sportswriter, who covered the Spurs, and first popularized this phrase, passed away on Thursday, 3 July.

      The LA Dodgers have scraped back to within 1/2 game of the Diamondbacks...partly because we're playing a little better and partly because the Diamondbacks have looked terrible! The good news is that we're getting back a few of our regular players from the disabled list next week...and there is still half the season to go.


      Helpful Buckeye will leave you with this quote from Mark Twain:

      It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so. --Mark Twain

      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.~~