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.~~

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