Contact:Debra Fair(973) 691-3536
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -- Franklin, Tennessee -- September 12, 2008 -- Today, Mars Petcare US announced a voluntary recall of products manufactured at its Everson, Pennsylvania facility. The pet food is being voluntarily recalled because of potential contamination with Salmonella serotype Schwarzengrund. This voluntary recall only affects the United States.
Salmonella can cause serious infections in dogs and cats, and, if there is cross contamination caused by handling of the pet food, in people as well, especially children, the aged, and people with compromised immune systems. Healthy people potentially infected with Salmonella should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. On rare occasions, Salmonella can result in more serious ailments, including arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation, and urinary tract symptoms. Consumers exhibiting these signs after having contact with this product should contact their healthcare providers.
Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Animals can be carriers with no visible symptoms and can potentially infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.
The company stopped production at the Everson facility on July 29, 2008 when it was alerted of a possible link between dry pet food produced at the plant and two isolated cases of people infected with Salmonella Schwarzengrund.
Even though no direct link between product produced at Everson and human or pet illness has been made, Mars Petcare US is taking precautionary action to protect pets and their owners by announcing a voluntary recall of all products produced at the Everson facility beginning February 18, 2008 until July 29, 2008 when we stopped production.
The company is continuing to work collaboratively with the FDA to determine the nature and source of Salmonella Schwarzengrund at the Everson facility. Since it has not yet identified the source of the Salmonella Schwarzengrund at the Everson facility, Mars Petcare US does not plan to resume production out of a commitment to the safety of our pet owners and their pets, customers, and associates.
The top priority of Mars Petcare US has always been and continues to be the health and welfare of pets and their owners. Consumers can continue to have confidence in the quality and safety of the products produced at other Mars Petcare US facilities. Only those products which were produced at the Everson facility are impacted by the voluntary recall.
Many of the brands involved in the recall are national brands produced at multiple facilities. A chart for all products is below. For example, PEDIGREE® is manufactured in numerous facilities throughout the country, and Everson represents a very small portion of the manufacturing base – 2.7 percent of total PEDIGREE® production.
Mars Petcare US will work with retail customers to ensure that the recalled products are not on store shelves. These products should not be sold or fed to pets. In the event that consumers believe they have purchased products affected by this voluntary recall, they should return the product to the store where they purchased it for a full refund. Specific product details and other information can be found at www.petcare.mars.com
Please find recalled pet food UPC information below.
The products listed below are made at our Everson facility on behalf of a variety of retailers. All code dates, with the exception of PEDIGREE®, are listed in a similar format as noted below:Consumers should look for “17” as the first two digits of the second line. Sample:Best By Feb 18 0917 1445 1
For PEDIGREE® the Everson code date format is as follows:
Consumers should look for “PAE” on the bottom line – the sixth, seventh and eighth digits. Sample:PEDIGREE ® Small Crunchy BitesBest Before 02/2009808G1PAE01 12:00
In an effort to prevent the transmission of Salmonella from pets to family members and care givers, the FDA recommends that everyone follow appropriate pet food handling guidelines when feeding their pets. A list of safe pet food handling tips can be found at: www.fda.gov/consumer/updates/petfoodtips080307.html
Pet owners who have questions about the recall should call 1-877-568-4463 or visit www.petcare.mars.com.
Texas Veterinarians Call for Help in Aftermath of Hurricane Ike
—The Texas Veterinary Medical Association Foundation is sending out an immediate call for funding to assist them with the purchase of fuel for generators delivered to veterinary clinics hardest hit by Hurricane Ike. Those wanting to assist in this effort can call the Texas Veterinary Medical Association Foundation at 512-452-4224. Hurricane Ike, the largest hurricane to touch United States soil since Hurricane Katrina, made landfall on the Texas Gulf Coast in the early morning hours of Saturday, September 13, 2008. Due to massive power outages in that area expected to last through the week, the Texas Veterinary Medical Association is delivering generators to veterinarians in hard hit Orange County.
People wishing to help are encouraged to be sure that any organization they donate money to is not just a political organization but one that uses donations to actually help save, treat and house animals and those who take care of them during emergencies. The American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF) is one such group, offering grants to help fund disaster preparedness efforts, educating the public, providing disaster training, and reimbursing veterinarians for their out-of-pocket expenses on medical supplies, and also offering grants to help rebuild veterinary clinics destroyed in a disaster like a hurricane. Make donations to the Animal Disaster Relief and Response Fund by calling the AVMF at (800) 248-2862, ext. 6689 or visit www.avmf.org.
Any Comments, please send an e-mail: email@example.com or post a comment at the end of this issue.
Cancer is an uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells on or within the body. Cancer may be benign or malignant. It may be localized or it may invade adjacent tissue and spread throughout the body.
How Common is Cancer?
Cancer is common in pet animals and the incidence increases with age. Cancer accounts for almost half of the deaths of pets over 10 years of age. Dogs get cancer at roughly the same rate as humans, while cats get fewer cancers.
How is it Diagnosed?
Strong circumstantial evidence of cancer can be attained from x-rays, blood tests, ultrasonography, the pet's physical examination and medical history. Most cancers, however, will require a biopsy (a removal of a piece of tissue) for confirmation that cancer exists and to grade the level of severity from benign to aggressively malignant.
Is Cancer Preventable?
Unfortunately, the cause of most cancers is not known and, therefore, prevention is difficult. Early detection and treatment are the best ways to manage cancer in pets.
Common Types of Cancer in Pets
Skin - Skin tumors are very common in older dogs, but much less common in cats. Most skin tumors in cats are malignant, but in dogs they are often benign. Your veterinarian should examine all skin tumors in a dog or cat to determine if any are malignant.
Breast - 50% of all breast tumors in dogs and greater than 85% of all breast tumors in cats are malignant. Spaying your female pet between 6 and 12 months of age will greatly reduce the risk of breast cancer. Surgery is the treatment of choice for this type of cancer. Follow up treatment may be recommended.
Head & Neck - Cancer of the mouth is common in dogs and less common in cats. Signs to watch for are a mass on the gums, bleeding, odor, or difficulty eating. Since many swellings are malignant, early, aggressive treatment is essential. Cancer may also develop inside the nose of both cats and dogs. Bleeding from the nose, breathing difficulty, or facial swelling are symptoms that may indicate cancer and should be checked by your veterinarian.
Lymphoma - Lymphoma is a common form of cancer in dogs and cats. It is characterized by enlargement of one or many lymph nodes in the body. A contagious feline leukemia virus can be the cause of lymphoma in some cats. Chemotherapy is frequently effective in controlling this type of cancer.
Feline Leukemia Complex - The feline leukemia virus is contagious among cats and will occasionally cause different types of cancer. It is not contagious to humans. While a great deal of research is ongoing, no consistently effective treatment is presently available for virus-positive cats.
Testicles - Testicular tumors are rare in cats and common in dogs, especially those with retained testes. Most of these cancers are preventable with castration (neutering) and curable with surgery if done early in the disease process.
Abdominal Tumors - Tumors inside the abdomen are common but it is difficult to make an early diagnosis. Weight loss or abdominal enlargement are signs of these tumors.
Bone - Bone tumors are most often seen in large breed dogs and rarely in cats. The leg bones, near joints, are the most common sites. Persistent pain, lameness, and swelling in the affected area are common symptoms of the disease.
Many of the above signs are also seen with noncancerous conditions but they still warrant prompt attention by a veterinarian to determine the cause. Cancer is frequently treatable and early diagnosis will aid your veterinarian in delivering the best care possible.
How is Cancer Treated?
Each type of cancer requires individual care and may include a combination of treatment therapies such as surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, cryosurgery (freezing), hyperthermia (heating) or immunotherapy. Once you have a diagnosis, your veterinarian will discuss the best treatment option(s) for your pet. In some instances, your veterinarian may refer you to a board-certified oncologist (cancer specialist) depending upon the recommended course of treatment.
What is the Success Rate?
This strongly depends upon the type and extent of the cancer, as well as the aggressiveness of therapy. Some cancers can be cured and almost all patients can be helped to some degree.
Your veterinarian will have a betterchance to control or cure your pet's cancer if it is detected early.
This brochure was developed with assistance from the Veterinary Cancer Society.
10 Common Signs of Cancer in Small Animals
- Abnormal swellings that persist or continue to grow
- Sores that do not heal
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Bleeding or discharge from any body opening
- Offensive odor
- Difficulty eating or swallowing
- Hesitation to exercise or loss of stamina
- Persistent lameness or stiffness
- Difficulty breathing, urinating, or defecating
Resources for More Information American Veterinary Medical Association http://www.avma.org/
American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine http://www.acvim.org/
Veterinary Cancer Society http://www.vetcancersociety.org/Any Comments, please send an e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org or post a comment at the end of this issue.
Back when Questions On Dogs and Cats first started, Helpful Buckeye asked our readers what it was that drew them to their current veterinarian and/or veterinary hospital. What attracted you to the facility in the first place? What are the reasons that keep you going back to the facility? Many of you responded that you either chose a hospital that was reasonably close to your home or one that an acquaintance recommended. Some of you dug a little deeper and chose a veterinarian because they had a special interest in the breed of dog or cat you have. A few of you looked for a veterinarian who accepted the type of pet insurance you had already purchased. All of these are valid and understandable reasons for making this decision. The AVMA has produced a comprehensive guide for choosing a veterinarian who will most meet your expectations for best helping your dog and/or cat live a healthy life:
Today's pets are living longer, healthier lives thanks to the availability of high quality medical services and pet-owners' careful monitoring of their animals for early signs of illness. With so much attention being given by owners to their pets' daily needs, doesn't it make sense to take some time in selecting the veterinarian who will become that pet's health care provider?
When choosing your family's veterinarian, use the same care and criteria that you would in selecting a physician or dentist. Think about what is important to you. Location? Convenient hours? Range of medical services? Friendliness and commitment of doctors and staff? Payment options? Your goal should be to find the veterinarian who you believe can best meet your pet's medical needs and with whom you feel comfortable in establishing a long-term relationship.
The veterinarian you select will want to maintain an ongoing history of your pet, including health records that detail immunizations, reactions to medications, surgical procedures, behavior traits, etc. He or she will also advise you on the best preventative care program available to maintain your pet's health.
Where to Look for a Veterinarian
Ask a Friend...Animal-owning friends are generally a good source of information. Ask them why they chose their veterinarian. If you believe their expectations of service are similar to yours, you may want to schedule a visit to the facility.
Breed Clubs...If you have a purebred dog or cat, area breed clubs can be a good source of information. They have often established a strong relationship with a practice that is very familiar with the potential health-related problems for your particular breed.
Local Directories/Internet...Turn to the business pages of a phone book or yellow pages for contact information on local veterinarians. Also check the Internet for listings of veterinary association Web sites - many state or local veterinary medical associations maintain lists of area practices.
Your Current Veterinarian...If you are relocating to another city or state, ask your current veterinarian if he or she can recommend a practice where you will be living. Many times they have colleagues in other towns whose practice policies and services are similar to theirs. Your current veterinarian should also give you copies of your pet's medical records to take to the new practice to ensure your pet's medical history is available to the new staff.
When to Look for a Veterinarian
It is a good idea to start thinking about selecting a veterinarian before acquiring a new pet. In fact, a veterinarian can assist you in selecting a pet that complements your personality, work schedule, and home life.
If you have recently moved to a new area, locate a veterinarian before your pet actually needs one. Don't wait until your pet becomes ill or requires emergency care. It is best to have secured a doctor's name and number and become acquainted with the practice and staff in advance of such situations. Consider scheduling an initial visit soon after arriving at your new home. Your veterinarian will suggest ways to help your pet become accustomed to its unfamiliar environment.
Pay a Visit...When deciding on a veterinary practice, first schedule a visit with the veterinarian to discuss your pet and ask questions about fees and services. You may want to visit several practices before making a final selection.
Tips to Keep in Mind When Visiting a Veterinary Practice
What are the regular hours?
Are they compatible with your schedule?
Will they accept e-mails or appointments electronically?
Who covers the practice when the doctor is unavailable?
What is the average wait time for making a non-emergency appointment?
How are telephone calls handled?
Can you request an appointment with a specific veterinarian?
Does the staff dress and act professionally?
Do you feel comfortable talking with the doctor? The technician?
Fees and Payment
What methods of payment are accepted?
Does the hospital treat patients of clients that have pet insurance?
What is the range of medical services that the practice provides?
Does the hospital have educational materials for pet-owners on a variety of topics?
Are there non-medical services such as boarding, grooming, and training classes?
If necessary, does the veterinarian have a network of specialists for referrals?
How are emergency calls handled during regular office hours and after office hours?
Is there an emergency facility in your area should you need it?
Is the building environment clean and orderly?
Are there any unpleasant odors?
Can you take a tour of the non-public areas?
Are the doctors members of a professional veterinary association such as the American Veterinary Medical Association or a state or local veterinary association?
What is the hospital policy regarding continuing education for the professional staff?
Your Responsibility As a Pet Owner
In order for your veterinarian to maintain your pet's good health, it is important for you to schedule regular checkups and practice preventive care at home. At each appointment, be sure to communicate clearly your pet's behavior and habits. Since many signs of illness are subtle, even minor changes in your pet's behavior can give your doctor valuable information on what might become a serious health issue.
Remember that veterinarians care as much about you as an owner as they do about your pets. They are available to give you the information and resources you need to take the best possible care of your animals. By taking the time to select the veterinarian that you feel confident can provide for your needs as an owner and the medical needs of your pet, you will establish a rewarding partnership.
Any comments, please send an e-mail to: email@example.com or post a comment at the end of this issue.
WORDS OF THE WEEK
1) Last week, Helpful Buckeye showed you this picture:
and asked you how the word heterochromia applied to this dog. Heterochromia iridis refers to the pigments of each iris being different from each other, as they are in this dog. Several of our readers had the right idea on this one, but my Aunt Cathy in FL e-mailed the correct answer first.
2) Neoplasia--noun; defined by the National Cancer Institute as "Abnormal and uncontrolled cell growth"
3) Neoplasm--noun; defined by the NCI as "An abnormal mass of tissue that results when cells divide more than they should or do not die when they should. Neoplasms may be benign (not cancerous), pre-cancerous, or malignant (cancerous). Also called a tumor.
PETS OF THE WEEK
Since last Monday was the observance of Labor Day, Helpful Buckeye would like to recognize the working breeds of the dog world. The American Kennel Club divides all registered breeds of dogs into groupings of similar traits, talents, and uses. The AKC group of "working" dogs is described as such:
Dogs of the Working Group were bred to perform such jobs as guarding property, pulling sleds and performing water rescues. They have been invaluable assets to man throughout the ages. The Doberman Pinscher, Siberian Husky and Great Dane are included in this Group, to name just a few. Quick to learn, these intelligent, capable animals make solid companions. Their considerable dimensions and strength alone, however, make many working dogs unsuitable as pets for average families. And again, by virtue of their size alone, these dogs must be properly trained.
You can look at each of the 26 breeds recognized as working dogs by the AKC at this web site: http://www.akc.org/breeds/working_group.cfm How many of these dogs did you recognize?
An alternate view of working dogs is presented by Joseph Sabol, a Doberman breeder:
When someone mentions "working dogs", most people think of the breed group recognized by the American Kennel Club. This group includes Dobermans, Rottweilers, Akitas, Newfoundland, Bullmastiffs and several other breeds. These dogs were developed to perform specific duties, such as guarding and protection, sled pulling, herding and farm work. They are successful because of their intelligence, strength and determination.
Today, the term "working dogs" refers to a much wider variety of dog breeds because of all the different jobs they have been trained to perform. Naturally, different breeds excel in different tasks depending upon their physical abilities as well as temperament. Now working dogs do many different jobs and assist their human counterparts in so many ways. Dogs that will be used as guard or protection dogs require a certain temperament and instincts. Police and military K-9s are trained in Schutzhund, which consists of obedience, tracking and protection. Strong instincts required in guard and protection dogs include, prey instinct, which drives the dog to chase. Active aggression is the fighting drive for defense and self preservation, and reactive aggression defines their protective, territorial nature. Social aggression characterizes the dogs desire for pack leadership and dominance. This is most notable in male dogs. These dogs also must display a pack instinct, which leads to close bonds with handler or family.
One of the most familiar roles of working dogs is in Search and Rescue. The American Rescue Dog Association (ARDA) is the organization that tests and certifies dogs for Search and Rescue. The dogs and handlers of the ARDA are volunteers that work with local law enforcement to find missing persons in wilderness and disaster locations, water search, rescue and recovery, and even help locate human remains. Some of the dog breeds used for these jobs include, German Shepherds, Belgian Malinois, Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, and for water rescue especially, Newfoundlands. The ARDA requires 2 days of tough field evaluations for certification and dogs must be tested every 3 years. Search and Rescue or SAR dogs also work around the world doing avalanche rescue. When skiers are buried under tons of snow, there is not much time to find them and dig them out. If not for the specially trained dogs, it would take rescuers far too long to locate the skier and it would become a recovery rather than a rescue.
We have seen Search and Rescue dogs working many hours alongside their handlers going through the rubble after the World Trade Center towers came down. They showed determination and a willingness to keep going in spite of the danger. The stress of that environment took its toll on the dogs as much as on their handlers. One dog, Worf, found the bodies of 2 missing firefighters the first day. He was so overwhelmed that he lay down, curled up and began shedding profusely, quit eating and would not play with the other dogs. His handler decided that the 12 year old dog would retire right then. Some of the handlers explained that their dogs were trained to find lost people and would be rewarded when the person would praise and pet and thank the dog. In the case of the World Trade Center disaster, the dogs were not finding people alive and became discouraged. The handlers would have to set up a "find" where another volunteer would hide and the dog could find him and be rewarded with hugs and praise. Some dogs were brought in specifically to provide emotional support and stress relief to the men and women working so hard in such a depressing environment. The motto of the ARDA is ..."these things we do so others may live".
Dogs have been trained to track people for miles, sniff out drugs and bombs and some dogs have even been able to detect when a person is about to have a seizure. We are all familiar with guide dogs for the blind and assistance dogs for the wheelchair bound. Dogs have been trained to detect land mines in war torn countries and detect accelerant in arson fires. Dogs are not just our best friends and companions, they help us accomplish things we could never do on our own. They love to work and will work for nothing more than praise and some special playtime. I cannot imagine our lives without these amazing animals.
This cartoon from The New Yorker magazine offers a tongue-in-cheek insight into the success of one of the working breeds, the Bloodhound:
Cat Breeds--Maine Coon
Affectionately referred to as "the gentle giant," the Maine Coon is one of the largest breeds of domestic cat, and is known for its intelligence and playfulness as well as its distinctive physical appearance. They have a tendency to use their front paws extensively and can easily learn to open cabinet doors and get into other mischief. Their extreme intelligence makes them a relatively easy cat to train and may explain their "dog-like" behavior. Playing fetch is a favorite game, where they'll bring their ball, drop it your feet and wait for it to be thrown. They can indeed be large cats, growing up to 40 inches long and even healthy cats can weigh as much as 25 pounds. Maine Coons have medium-long, dense fur, with longer hair, or a ruff, on their chests similar to the mane of a lion. They're also distinguished by their long, bushy tail and large ears which are tipped by tufts of fur.
1) For a example of some "working" dogs doing their stuff, take a look at this video (and try to imagine being on the wrong end of one of these dogs!): http://video.aol.com/video/super-police-dogs/1883247/?icid=VIDURV02
2) We often see TV reporters working with or holding pets that always seem pretty docile. Well, here's one reporter who got more than she expected from this cat (she did, however, admirably retain her composure): http://video.aol.com/video/reporter-with-cat/1882696/?icid=VIDURV07
3) This past week, the 3rd annual Surf Dog "Surf-A-Thon" was held in Del Mar, CA. It is a fund-raiser for the Helen Woodward Animal Center. Watch this short video of some of the competition (some of these dogs are better than humans at staying on the surf board!): http://www.ireport.com/docs/DOC-80127?ref=feeds%2Foncnn
4) In our 17 August issue, Helpful Buckeye reported on the AKC election to choose the dog for the Obama family. The election is now finished and...the winner is...the Poodle, which beat out the Wheaton Terrier by a "(dog) hair." Read the complete story about this "election": http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/08/28/americans-elect-poodle-as_n_122088.html
Since the subject of the upcoming Presidential election has been broached, it is only fair to mention that Helpful Buckeye has heard rumblings from the dog and cat worlds that they will be holding their national conventions soon...and hope to be offering viable candidates from which the American voters can choose. More on this as the story develops.
1) OK, let's get this out of the way right now! The Ohio State Buckeyes were vastly over-matched against USC...whether it was the players or the coaches is open for debate. It is Helpful Buckeye's humble opinion that Pete Carroll (USC's head coach) could have won with Ohio State's players.
2) The LA Dodgers continue their rampage toward the playoffs by winning 12 out of their last 13 games...and taking a 4.5 game lead over the Diamondbacks! It's hard to tell what caused this mysterious turnaround, but having Joe Torre at the helm probably hasn't hurt.
3) The Pittsburgh Steelers played at Cleveland Sunday night and beat the Browns, 10-6, in a hard-fought game.
Helpful Buckeye did successfully complete the climb of Mt. Humphreys, although it was a day later than planned due to inclement weather on the mountain. The day of the climb was a beautiful, sunny day and the arrival on the peak was exhilarating!
~~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.~~