Sunday, October 19, 2008


Ah, yes, the words of Paul Simon serve as a reminder for anyone who deals with the any capacity:

Gee, but it’s great to be back home
Home is where I want to be.
I’ve been on the road so long my friend,
And if you came along
I know you couldn’t disagree.
It’s the same old story
Everywhere I go, I get slandered,
I hear words I never heard
In the Bible
And I’m one step ahead of the shoe shine
Two steps away from the county line
Just trying to keep my customers satisfied,
Deputy Sheriff said to me
Tell me what you come here for, boy.
You better get your bags and flee.
You’re in trouble boy,
And you’re heading into more.

Listen to Simon and Garfunkel perform this song, from 1970:

Helpful Buckeye strives to keep this in mind while preparing each weekly issue of Questions On Dogs and Cats. Our readers comprise our public and a happy reader is a return reader. Likewise, veterinarians must remember that their clients must be kept satisfied, on several levels, in order to assure that they will continue to return. If you are the unsatisfied client, you must consider whether to just "walk away" or to try communicating your feelings of dissatisfaction to the other involved party. Often, these exchanges can be productive and beneficial for both parties. In the arena of politics, "keeping the customer satisfied" qualifies as job #1. Sometimes, for politicians, keeping the customer satisfied and doing the right thing can even be accomplished at the same time!

Since we have an important Presidential election coming up in 2 weeks, a few quotes illustrate the many aspects of keeping the customer satisfied:

"All people are born alike - except Republicans and Democrats"...Groucho Marx

"Idealism increases in direct proportion to one's distance from the problem." (speaking of liberals)...John Galsworthy, British writer

"A conservative believes nothing should be done for the first time"...Thomas Fuller, British writer

"How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg? Four; calling a tail a leg doesn't make it a leg"... Abraham Lincoln....

and this story from 15 October 1860:
Eleven-year-old Grace Bedell of Westfield, N.Y., writes a letter to presidential candidate Abraham Lincoln, suggesting that if he could "let[his] whiskers grow" he could improve his appearance. Lincoln responds to Bedell a few days later suggesting that whiskers are a "silly affectation," yet by his March 1861 inauguration, he had grown a full beard.

Helpful Buckeye suspects that Lincoln had the insight described by former Canadian Prime Minister, Pierre Trudeau, when he said, "The essential ingredient of politics is timing."

Speaking of timing, it has been reported that dogs (not just Boston Terriers) have begun their journey to...Boston...for their convention to nominate the Canine Presidential candidate. The reason given for such a late start is that they have no money and have little hope of raising any in the next 2 weeks. Also, not to be outdone, cats have begun to show up in the...Catskills...for the purpose of selecting their Feline Presidential candidate. Should a viable candidate emerge from either or both of these parties, Helpful Buckeye will be the first to break the news...right here in Questions On Dogs and Cats. Stay tuned...and remember, "Keep The Customer Satisfied!"


1) As reported in The USA Today, 15 October 2008: "A federal judge approved a $24 million settlement Tuesday (the 14th) for owners of dogs and cats that were sickened or died after eating pet food tainted with an industrial chemical. The ruling by U.S. District Judge Noel Hillman clears the way for pet owners with claims to start receiving checks next year. Under the deal, pet owners have until Nov. 24 to file claims. Sherrie Savett, a lead lawyer for plaintiffs in the case, has said she believes that more than 1500 animals in the USA died after eating the food last year. Lawyers say that more than 10,000 people have filed claims. Of the claims analyzed so far, the average for damages is nearly $1500."
2) The American Kennel Club (AKC) has announced this month that the most commonly used names for dogs are "Lady" and "Bear":

Move over "Fido," the American Kennel Club® (AKC®) today announced that "Lady" and "Bear" top the list of most popular male/female dog names in the U.S.
A survey of 2007 AKC registration statistics showed that, in addition to Lady, Belle/Bell/Bella, Princess, Mae/May, Bear, Blue, Max/Maximus/Maxwell, Rose, Daisy, and Duke round out the top ten dog names.
"Traditionally names based on a puppy’s physical appearance or personality, such as ‘Spot’ or ‘Sassy,’ have been popular with dog owners,’" said AKC Spokesperson Lisa Peterson. "Today we are seeing human names, such as ‘Jack’ and ‘Molly,’ and names that reflect a pet’s stature in the home, such as ‘King’ and ‘Princess,’ gain in popularity as more people consider their dog a valued member of the family."
The top male/female dog names, according to the AKC are:
Most Popular Male Dog Names:

1. Bear
2. Blue
3. Max/Maximus/Maxwell
4. Duke
5. Buddy
6. Jack
7. Prince
8. King
9. Bailey
10. Rocky
11. Harley
12. Jake
13. Shadow
14. Lucky
15. Hunter
16. Dakota
17. Lou
18. Midnight
19. Cooper
20. Buster

Most Popular Female Dogs Names:
1. Lady
2. Belle/Bell/Bella
3. Princess
4. Mae/May
5. Rose
6. Daisy
7. Grace/Gracie
8. Baby
9. Molly
10. Maggie
11. Sadie
12. Ann/Annie
13. Star
14. Lily/Lilly
15. Angel
16. Coco/Cocoa
17. Sophie/Sophia
18. Lucy
19. Abby/Abigail
20. Marie

The AKC offers the following rules to consider when naming your pooch:

  • Names often reflect the character of your pet. Observe your dog for a few days and see if his personality suggests a name. Is he regal? Does she always want to be the center of attention? If so, how about "King" or "Star"?

  • Short, sweet and easily recognizable names work best in getting your dog to be responsive. Use a name that is one or two syllables, ending with a vowel, such as "Sadie" or "Rocky."

  • Don’t choose a name that is too long or difficult to say. A name such as "Sir Barks A Lot" will only confuse your dog.

  • Avoid names that sound like commands. Names like "Joe" sound like "no" when called.

  • Pick a name that will fit your dog regardless of his age. For example, a puppy named "Fuzzy" may not be a good fit after he grows into adulthood.

  • Don’t name your dog after a friend or family member without getting their prior permission. You never know who could be offended.

  • Test out the name you would like to give your dog for a day or two. Remember any name you give your dog will be a 10-to-15-year commitment for the life of the dog.

  • After you chose a name for your dog make sure you use it often so he can learn it more quickly.

  • Don’t raise your voice every time you call him, and try to use his name in positive, playful settings, such as when you feed him, play with him or pet him.

Additional information on caring for your dog can be found online at * The AKC’s most popular dog names represent the 157 AKC registered breeds. Information was extracted from 2007 AKC registered dog names. General words were eliminated to reflect the most common name given. AKC allows up to 36 characters in a name.


Toxoplasmosis is a disease that periodically stimulates questions and discussion between veterinarian and client. It is considered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to be the third leading cause of death attributed to foodborne illness in the United States . More that 60 million men, women, and children (of all ages) in the U.S. carry the Toxoplasma parasite, but very few have symptoms because the immune system usually keeps the parasite from causing illness. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has prepared an informative pamphlet that answers the most important questions about Toxoplasmosis:

What is Toxoplasmosis?
Toxoplasmosis is a disease caused by a microscopic parasite called Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii). It is not a new disease, having first been discovered in 1908. Many warm-blooded animals including most pets, livestock, birds, and people can become infected with T. gondii. Approximately 11% of the U.S. population ages 6-49 have antibodies to T. gondii, meaning they have been infected with the parasite. Although infection with the parasite is relatively common, actual disease is rare. Signs of illness include mild flu-like symptoms such as fever, mild aches and pains, and enlarged lymph nodes for a short period of time.
How do people become infected with T. gondii
There are 3 principal ways Toxoplasma gondii infection is acquired:
1. Ingestion of infectious oocysts (pronounced oh-oh-sists) from the environment -- soil or water contaminated with feline feces.
2. Consumption of undercooked or raw meat, or unpasteurized milk from animals that have been infected with T. gondii.
3. Transmission directly to an unborn child from the mother when she becomes infected with T. gondii during pregnancy.
The consumption of undercooked or raw meat is the most common route of infection in North America. T. gondii tissue cysts may be found in meats from sheep, pigs, and goats. They are less frequently found in poultry, cattle, and game meats such as venison. They have also been detected in raw, unpasteurized milk. T. gondii in meat can be killed by cooking at appropriate temperatures (for cooking temperatures for meat, go to
While nearly all warm-blooded animals can have tissue cysts in their meat or milk, cats are the definitive host for T. gondii. This means that they are the only animals that pass the infectious oocysts in their feces. These oocysts must spend at least 24 hours in the environment to develop into an infectious stage before they can infect other animals, including people. Oocysts are very hardy and can persist for months or years in the environment. They can survive freezing — even several months of extreme heat and dehydration. Moreover, oocysts can be carried long distances in wind and water.

What are the dangers of toxoplasmosis in people?
There are two populations at high risk for toxoplasmosis — pregnant mothers and immunocompromised individuals. Women exposed to T. gondii during pregnancy can pass the infection to the fetus (resulting in congenital infection). Although the majority of infected infants show no symptoms at birth, many are likely to develop signs of infection later in life. Children congenitally infected with T. gondii may suffer from loss of vision, mental developmental disability, loss of hearing, and, in severe cases, death. Women can be serologically tested for T. gondii. Women infected prior to pregnancy will have antibodies to the parasite, and are not at risk of passing the infection to their unborn child.
Usually, people that develop toxoplasmosis after infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) were exposed to the T. gondii parasite earlier in life, and the immunosuppression caused by the HIV infection simply allowed the parasite to grow unchecked. Toxoplasmosis in these patients can result in severe neurologic disease, convulsions, paralysis, coma, and death despite appropriate treatment.

How can human exposure to toxoplasma be prevented?
Change cat litter daily before T. gondii oocysts "ripen" and become infectious. Dispose of used litter safely, preferably in a sealed plastic bag. If pregnant or immunocompromised, avoid changing the litter box or use rubber gloves when doing so and wash hands thoroughly afterwards.
Wash vegetables thoroughly before eating, especially those grown in backyard gardens. Boil water from ponds and streams when camping/hiking.
Cover sand boxes when not in use to prevent cats from defecating in them.
Wash hands with soap and water immediately after working with soil or after handling raw or undercooked meat, vegetables, or unpasteurized dairy products. Avoid consumption of raw milk or other unpasteurized dairy products.
Cutting boards, knives, sinks and counters should be washed thoroughly and disinfected immediately after cutting meats.
When cooking, avoid tasting meat before it is fully cooked.
Cook meat to appropriate temperatures to destroy the oocysts. For the appropriate temperatures, go to

How do cats become infected with T. gondii?
The most common way that cats become infected with T. gondii is from eating infected mice, birds, and other small animals.
For indoor cats, the most likely source is uncooked meat scraps. When a cat eats meat or other tissues from infected animals, it becomes infected with T. gondii and can excrete millions of oocysts in its feces each day. This release of oocysts can continue for more than two weeks. After the initial infection and shedding period, most cats will not pass oocysts in their feces again, even if re-infected.
Oocysts in feces become infectious one to five days after being passed in cat feces. Since most healthy cats groom themselves frequently, it is unlikely that feces would remain on their fur long enough for any oocysts to become infectious. Therefore, handling cats is unlikely to pose a risk of T. gondii infection for humans.

Can T. gondii make my cat sick?
Most infected adult cats appear healthy, with no visible signs of illness. However, some cats may develop pneumonia, liver damage, and other health problems. Signs of illness include lethargy, loss of appetite, coughing, difficulty breathing, diarrhea, jaundice, blindness, personality changes, and other neurologic problems. The reason why some cats get sick and others do not is unknown, but immunocompromised kittens and cats (e.g. those also infected with feline leukemia virus and/or feline immunodeficiency virus [FIV]) appear to have increased risk of illness. There is currently no vaccine available for T. gondii, but treatment can be effective if the disease is diagnosed early. A blood test for T. gondii antibodies can help in diagnosis of toxoplasmosis in sick cats.
To help prevent T. gondii infection in cats,
Keep pets indoors - Do not allow cats to hunt rodents and birds.
Feed cats only cooked meat or processed food.

For more information, visit:
Cornell Feline Health Center:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

Remember, awareness is a major contributor to knowledge...and using that awareness will help keep you and your pets healthy and safe!

1) Cat Myths--From cat fancier Rob "Power of the Meow" Stanson

Myth: Cats always land on their feet.
Fact: While cats instinctively fall feet first and may survive falls from high places, they also may receive broken bones in the process. Some kind of screening on balconies and windows can help protect pets from disastrous falls.

Myth: Cats should drink milk everyday.
Fact: Most cats like milk, but do not need it if properly nourished. Also, many will get diarrhea if they drink too much milk. If it is given at all, the amount should be small and infrequent.

Myth: Cats that are spayed or neutered automatically gain weight.
Fact: Like people, cats gain weight from eating too much, not exercising enough, or both. In many cases, spaying or neutering is done at an age when the animal's metabolism already has slowed, and its need for food has decreased. If the cat continues to eat the same amount, it may gain weight. Cat owners can help their cats stay fit by providing exercise and not over-feeding.

Myth: Cats cannot get rabies.
Fact: Actually, most warm-blooded mammals, including cats, bats, skunks and ferrets, can carry rabies. Like dogs, cats should be vaccinated regularly according to local laws.

Myth: Indoor cats cannot get diseases.
Fact: Cats still are exposed to organisms that are carried through the air or brought in on a cat owner's shoes or clothing. Even the most housebound cat ventures outdoors at some time and can be exposed to diseases and worms through contact with other animals feces.

Myth: Tapeworms come from bad food.
Fact: Pets become infected with tape worms from swallowing fleas, which carry the parasite. Also, cats can get tapeworms from eating infected mice or other exposed animals.

Myth: Putting garlic on a pet's food will get rid of worms.
Fact: Garlic may make the animal's food taste better but has no effect on worms. The most effective way to treat worms is by medication prescribed by a veterinarian.

Myth: Pregnant women should not own cats.
Fact: Some cats can be infected with a disease called toxoplasmosis, which occasionally can be spread to humans through cat litter boxes and cause serious problems in unborn babies. However, these problems can be controlled, if the expectant mother avoids contact with the litter box and assigns daily cleaning to a friend or other family member.

Myth: A cat's sense of balance is in its whiskers.
Fact: Cats use their whiskers as "feelers" but not to maintain their balance.

Myth: Animals heal themselves by licking their wounds.
Fact: Such licking actually can slow the healing process and further damage the wound.

2) Cats love warm dark places. A dryer full of fresh warm clothes is an enticing place for a cat to curl up. You may think: so what's wrong with that? Well, a lot of people have killed their cat because they didn't see or forgot she/he was in there, and turned the dryer on. It's sad to think this, but it does happen. We can prevent this but it has to be practiced by the whole family. Always keep the dryer door closed, and anyone who is doing the laundry should check to see where your cat is. If you should happen to find her/him in there, here is a way to prevent this from happening again: If your cat should be in the dryer, shut the door for a second, pound on the top of the appliance and make as much noise as you can, open the door and let her/him out. This may sound cruel but it does work. He/she will really be hesitant about going back in. After all, a cat afraid of the dryer is better than a harmed or dead cat.

3) The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) has published this position statement on the frequency of visits to the veterinarian suggested for pet owners: "For optimum health and wellness, all pets should have a veterinary examination at least annually. For many pets, more frequent visits may be appropriate. Decisions regarding specific frequency of visits are appropriately made on an individual basis, based on the age, species, breed, health, and environment of the pet. The American Animal Hospital Association recommends that pet owners consult their pet’s veterinarian regarding the appropriate frequency of veterinary visits for their pets."

This may sound like unnecessary advice, but it nonetheless bears repeating since there are far too many pet owners who wait too long between visits. This delay can lead to health problems getting out of control for your pet.

Remember to use your awareness and the sense of timing (as described by Trudeau)....


Oocyst--noun; spore phase of certain protozoan parasites such as Cryptosporidium and Toxoplasma. This reproductive state can survive for lengthy periods outside a host and is very resistant to dry conditions and water.


Boston Terrier--

The Boston Terrier is a small, sturdy, round-headed and short-faced canine with large expressive eyes who is not a delicate lapdog. The breed is usually good-natured with people and other pets and has a passion for playing games and chasing balls. While originally bred for fighting, they were later down bred for companionship and the modern Boston Terrier can be gentle, alert, expressive, and well-mannered. Both females and males generally bark only when necessary. Having been bred as a companion dog, they enjoy being around people, and if properly socialized get along well with children, the elderly, and other pets. Some Bostons enjoy having another one for companionship. Boston Terriers can be very cuddly, while others are more independent. Because of their short snouts, they do tend to snort and snore. Due to the Boston's prominent eyes, some are prone to ulcers or other potentially serious injuries to their cornea.


1) The correct answers for matching Presidents and their pets was submitted by Margie, from Chicago. The correct pairings were:

George Washington--36 hounds; John Tyler--Greyhound; Ulysses Grant--Newfoundland; Teddy Roosevelt--Chesapeake Bay Retriever; Franklin D. Roosevelt--Scottish Terrier; Dwight Eisenhower (Ike)--Weimaraner; John Kennedy--cat (Tom Kitten); Lyndon Johnson--Beagles; Richard Nixon--Cocker Spaniel; Gerald Ford--Siamese Cat (Chan); Jimmy Carter--Siamese Cat (Misty Malarky Ying Yang); Ronald Reagan--Cavalier King Charles Spaniel; Bill Clinton--cat (Socks) and Labrador (Buddy); George H.W. Bush--Springer Spaniel....How many did you get correct?

Here is the picture of LBJ holding one of his Beagles, "Him," by the ears, that became such a controversy:

2) The Diane Rehm Show on National Public Radio this past week had an interesting interview with Jon Katz about him using his dogs to help out at a local hospice. The interview lasts for approximately 30 minutes and is a nice follow-up to Desperado's feature on Service and Therapy dogs. When you have the time, go to the NPR web site and click one of the audio choices beside Jon Katz's name: This was a very enjoyable interview and you can also purchase his book about the same topic at:

3) Mountain lion mistaken for large cat

CASPER, Wyo. (UPI) -- A Casper, Wyo., woman said she initially thought the mountain lion resting on her back porch was simply a large house cat. Beverly Hood said the cougar looked well groomed and she assumed it was someone's pet until it stood up and hissed at her, the Casper Star-Tribune reported Wednesday. "I wasn't scared. I just thought, 'Whoops, I'm not going out there,'" Hood said. She reported the 80 to 90-pound animal to authorities as a "big cat," leading Casper Police Officer Mike Ableman to the impression that he was en route to shoo away a "kitty cat." He said the dispatcher assured him he was dealing with a house cat and not a mountain lion. Ableman said the assumption was quickly dispelled after he went into the yard. "It stood up and looked at me, and I ran back in the house," he said. Wyoming Game and Fish Department Warden John Lund shot the mountain lion twice with a tranquilizer gun and took it into custody. "Based on the animal's age and its behavior," he said, "we feel we are going to relocate this lion in suitable lion habitat away from people or livestock."

Apparently, the police officer was smarter than the she could confuse an 80-90 lb. cat with a house cat is beyond imagination (even considering Prince Chunky from New Jersey)....

4) Removing Stubborn Pet Hair from Your Car Carpets JASON FOGELSON AOL AUTOS

To remove stubborn pet hair from your car carpets, put on a pair of latex gloves (readily available in boxes of 100 from any home improvement store) and then rub your hand over the carpet. The static electricity caused by the latex glove will help bring the pet hair up to the surface of the carpet for easy removal by hand or vacuum.

Anybody who ever carried a dog or cat in their car should love this tip....

5) Cat clash in Colorado car causes crash

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - Colorado State Police troopers ticketed a woman for careless driving after she rolled her car while her two cats were fighting in her lap. The feline fracas broke out as the woman was driving along Interstate 70 and caused her to lose control of the vehicle, KKCO-TV in Grand Junction, Colo., reported Tuesday. The swerving vehicle forced another car and a semi-truck off the road and sent the cat-loving driver to the hospital Monday with injuries police said were not life threatening. As for the cats, they ran off, presumably in separate directions, and were still at large Tuesday.

Helpful Buckeye supposes this could have been a relative of the woman in #3 since neither of them was even slightly aware of the dangerous situations in which they found themselves...can you say, "Darwin Award candidates"?

6) Paul Simon, mentioned above, celebrated his 67th birthday this past week...October 13th...he kept a lot of customers satisfied, don't you think?

7) On October 14, 1996, the Dow cracked the 6000 barrier (closing at 6010)...and now, just 12 years later, it seems that the Dow is trying to crack 6000 again...going the other way!!! What's up with that?

8) Helpful Buckeye figures you need a little humor to loosen you up after that last tidbit. Enjoy this entertaining depiction of what your pets might say to you if they could talk: ....and then, go on over to this web site for more humor about a cat's "wake up call":

9) Perhaps with the idea of making a little extra money in this crazy economy, our readers might want to pursue this idea, from The USA Today: might not even need the whole $75 million!

10) Or, if you're happy with just some spending money, then "Fetch! Pet Care" might be just what you were looking for. Fetch! Pet Care is the nation's largest franchised pet-sitting and dog-walking network, with 144 locations in 33 states, and has announced a recruiting drive aimed at retired individuals and older folks with time on their hands. Veteran animal lovers can earn some additional income plus get daily exercise. For more information, visit their web site: This article is from AARP Magazine/Nov&Dec 2008

11) The September 29, 2008 issue of The New Yorker has a very interesting article on "The Legal Battle Over Trust Funds For Pets," by Jeffrey Toobin. Helpful Buckeye wrote about Leona Helmsley in the 6 July 2008 issue of Questions On Dogs and Cats and her $8 billion that was intended for the care and welfare of dogs. Mr. Toobin goes on to describe how some courts are interpreting these trust funds and what the future may hold for these types of bequests. Enjoy the whole report at:

12) Since Halloween is just 12 days away, our readers might be interested in this offer of 50 scary, horror movies on DVD for only $12.99: ...Sounds like a pretty decent deal to Helpful Buckeye! Also, be prepared to be confronted with dogs and cats in costumes over those next 12 days...starting right here!


1) Well, the LA Dodgers have been cleaning out their lockers this past week after falling to the Phillies...however, we made it deeper into the playoffs than anyone expected. The team has already been sending out forms to their fans asking for a $50 contribution toward the "Re-sign Manny Ramirez" campaign.

2) The Ohio State Buckeyes pummeled Michigan State yesterday as they get ready for the big showdown with Penn State this coming Saturday. For what it's worth, the Big 10 title will probably rest on that game.

3) The Pittsburgh Steelers crushed the Bengals today (but, then again, who hasn't?) as they prepare for a string of 4 really tough games in a row.


1) Helpful Buckeye would like to leave you with a famous quote from Harriet Beecher Stowe: "The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone"....this applies to many things--not voting when you should, not telling someone how much they mean to you, and not reading and responding to this blog....

2) Sometimes, you might even have to wait in line to get these important things done, but you need to wait nonetheless...your turn will come and then you can take care of business....

3) Since a lot of our readers live in states where the Fall colors are in abundance right now, take a walk or a drive and experience the idea that: "Colors are the smiles of nature." (Leigh Hunt, English writer)

~~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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