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.~~

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