Sunday, January 11, 2009


As Henry Ward Beecher wrote in the late 1800s, "Every man should be born again on the first day of January. Start with a fresh page. Take up one hole more in the buckle if necessary, or let down one, according to circumstances; but on the first of January let every man gird himself once more, with his face to the front, and take no interest in the things that were and are past." We've got a whole new year ahead of us here at Questions On Dogs and Cats, a year during which Helpful Buckeye intends to introduce many new topics for discussion and, hopefully, to encourage the further exchange of ideas with our readers.

There was a very kind comment sent in last week by Susan: "I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often." Thank you, Susan for taking the time to respond with your comment! It's not difficult at all to send a comment. Simply click on "Comment" at the end of each blog issue and follow the easy instructions. You can leave your name or submit it anonymously. Or, you can send an e-mail with your comment to

The blog poll from last week that asked how many of you sign your pets' names on greeting cards showed that 70% of you (who have pets) do so. This was right in line with the posted 72% national number.

This past week, on 6 January, the birthday of Carl Sandburg, American poet and author, was observed. Born in 1878, Sandburg proclaimed: "I am an idealist. I don't know where I'm going but I'm on my way." Questions On Dogs and Cats has had a good start, we're not real certain of our final destination, but we know we're definitely on our way! Thanks for your support...let's enjoy the ride!


1) President-elect Barack Obama says his family is down to two different types of dog breeds in their quest for the next White House pet. The Obamas plan to get either a labradoodle or a Portuguese water dog. They are checking with shelters to see when one becomes available. Helpful Buckeye has addressed this subject in several past issues of the blog, under the label of hypoallergenic dogs. For the rest of the story, go to:

2) A woman in New York City is suing the city for discriminating against her service/therapy dog in a subway station:
Woman's suit claims dog discrimination ----------NEW YORK - A woman's lawsuit against the New York City Transit Authority claims her 120-pound dog is protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Estelle Stamm, 65 -- who won $10,000 in a lawsuit against the city after two police officers gave her a citation for bringing her dog into a subway station -- claims in her federal suit against NYC Transit that the livestock guardian dog is a service animal that helps with her post-traumatic stress disorder stemming from childhood sex abuse, the New York Daily News reported. The suit claims Stamm's civil rights were violated by transit workers who confronted her about the dog. However, the transit authority claims there were no violations as Stamm and her dog were never removed from any buses or trains. Stamm's suit is seeking $10 million in monetary damages and employee retraining for transit workers.

3) The American Veterinary Medical Association has issued a warning to consumers that an "Internet Scam Promises Pets, But Fails to Deliver". The rest of the cautionary statement is:
— The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is warning potential pet owners not to fall for Internet scams that bilk victims of hundreds of dollars and fail to deliver the animals they promise.
Dr. Walter Woolf, owner of Air Animal Pet Movers, a pet moving service, has researched these scams after his company began being mentioned in recent postings by Cameroon-based scammers promising pets at below-market prices.
The scammers post on popular Internet market sites offering the pets to buyers who wire money to Cameroon or a money-drop in the U.K. Air Animal Pet Movers and other animal transport companies in the United States are listed as carriers in the postings, Dr. Woolf says, to add a layer of legitimacy, even though they are not actually involved.
After sending the initial amount to the scammers, pet owners are then asked for follow-up sums for insurance costs, unexpected veterinary services, permits, or transportation costs, Dr. Woolf says. This continues until the victims realize they have been scammed and stop sending money, and no pets are ever delivered.
Dr. Gail Golab, director of the AVMA Animal Welfare Division, says that potential pet buyers should know who they are purchasing their pets from and should meet with the breeder directly before finalizing a purchase; this allows the buyer to see the conditions under which the pet has been bred and raised.
"Many reputable breeders, who are concerned about making sure the pet receives a suitable home, will not sell animals unless they are able to meet and interview their potential owner or owners," Dr. Golab says. "If extenuating circumstances prevent you from meeting with a breeder face-to-face, you should check references and credentials first, and never send money without speaking to the breeder."
If you believe you have been the victim of a scam, you should contact local authorities and file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau (
In the end, Dr. Woolf says that the best advice to remember is the old adage, "If it's too good to be true, it probably is."
For more information, contact Michael San Filippo, AVMA media relations assistant, at 847-285-6687 (office), 847-732-6194 (cell), or

4) The AVMA is also promoting education as the best answer in fighting MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staph. aureus):
Education is key to combating rise in MRSA (Veterinary clinics, pet owners can help prevent transmission among species)
The whole presentation, which focuses on pet owners and veterinary clinics is available at: As a reminder of something we discussed last week, this is an excellent example of "Chance favoring the prepared mind" learn about this dangerous infection so that you can avoid being confronted with it, either personally or with your pet.


Sherri, from Pennsylvania, has sent in a question about seizures in dogs.

How many of you have ever witnessed a seizure, either in a human or a pet? Statistics tell us that approximately 10% of the dog population will experience a seizure at some point in their life. Would you recognize a seizure? What would you do, both during the convulsion (or "fit") and after it has stopped? Seizure disorders can appear at just about any point in a dog's life, depending on their cause. Seizures are described as an uncoordinated firing of the neurons usually within a portion of the brain called the cerebrum. The mechanisms of why these neurons do not function normally is not understood. Probably certain substances called neurotransmitters are not in the proper chemical balance, so the nerves do not behave in the normal coordinated fashion. A patient with epilepsy will exhibit periodic bouts of uncoordinated firing of the neurons within the brain. These episodes are called seizures. Seizures might occur only once in a dog's life or they can be recurrent, which would be referred to as epilepsy.

If you observe closely, you can often recognize three phases to a seizure:

  • Pre-Seizure Phase: The pre-seizure phase is commonly called the aura. Your pet may appear restless, pace, seek affection, salivate, whine, or hide. These signs occur just minutes before the actual seizure begins.

  • Ictus: The seizure itself is called ictus. Your pet may appear excited, vomit, salivate, run in circles, collapse, and have uncoordinated muscle activity. This stage generally lasts less than 5 minutes, even though it might seem much longer.

  • Post-Ictal Phase: After the seizure, the recovery (post-ictal) period begins. Your pet may seem disoriented, uncoordinated, and occasionally blind (temporary). This may last several minutes to days.

Rarely does a patient become vicious during a seizure. In fact, most patients will actually feel the seizure coming on and seek out the owner for comfort. During the actual seizure, a patient is unaware of his surroundings so it does little good for the owner to try to comfort the seizuring patient. It is best to be there for comfort when the pet recovers.

Seizures can be caused by many conditions:

  • Congenital defects

  • Blood glucose levels that are too low (hypoglycemia)

  • Low oxygen levels in the blood that could be caused by anemia, heart problems, or difficulties with breathing

  • Kidney disorders

  • Liver disorders

  • Previous history of infections such as canine distemper

  • Tumors

  • Toxins, like antifreeze, lead, or chocolate

  • Fevers and hyperthermia

  • Brain damage resulting from trauma or poor blood flow to the brain

  • Certain medications

  • Low calcium in females that are nursing young

  • Primary or idiopathic epilepsy

If you are confronted with a seizure, you must remain as calm as possible, while trying to keep your dog from injuring itself. A dog which is thrashing around can hurt itself by banging into furniture or falling off the bed or down the stairs. Try to lay the dog on the floor away from objects. Do not try to pull the dog's tongue out of its mouth...they will not swallow their tongue! The only thing that will happen is that you will most likely sustain a bad bite...remember that your dog will not know you while in the midst of a seizure. A call to your veterinarian would be in order at this time. First, a detailed history is needed. A physical and neurologic exam are performed by your veterinarian, a panel of laboratory tests should be run, and sometimes x-rays (radiographs) are taken. If a cause of the seizure can not be identified, the condition is diagnosed as idiopathic or primary epilepsy. There is no test to diagnose epilepsy per se, with these tests simply confirming or ruling out other causes of seizures. If one of the above-mentioned causes is confirmed, then treatment should commence right away for that problem. Those patients probably will never have to be given medicines specifically for the seizures.

Epilepsy generally starts in animals 6 months to 5 years of age, usually at 2-3 years. Epilepsy occurs in all breeds, including mixed breeds. Epilepsy can be a genetic trait. It can even be familial where the epileptic disorder can pass down through generations within one family. Beagles, German Shepherds, Irish Setters, Poodles, Saint Bernards, Springer Spaniels, Malamutes and Huskies, Cocker Spaniels, Collies, Dachshunds, and Golden and Labrador Retrievers are some of the breeds which have a higher tendency to develop epilepsy. It is recommended that dogs with epilepsy should not be used for breeding, since this tendency can be inherited.

Treatment for epilepsy is usually not begun until a seizure is severe or multiple seizures have occurred and a pattern is observed. It is very important to know the pattern of seizures in your pet so your veterinarian can determine if the treatment is helping. TREATMENT IS NEVER CURATIVE. The goal is to decrease the frequency, severity, and duration of the seizures.
Medications used to treat epilepsy are given orally. Each animal reacts differently to the medications. Your veterinarian may need to try different types or combinations to find what will be right for your pet. Many pets will become sleepy when they first start medication, but this soon wears off after several weeks. There are several epilepsy medications which your veterinarian might consider the best for your dog's situation. This will be determined after considering all the variables involved in the seizure patterns and severity. You will need to work closely with your veterinarian when first starting the medication, in order to establish the proper dosage and time interval between treatments. The type of medicine and/or the dosages may have to be changed as your dog gets older...only do this after consulting with your veterinarian.


1) The folks at Breath-A-Licious are offering you a complimentary medium size Green Bone at no cost. Your dog will love the taste - and you'll love the fact that Breath-A-Licious is made from all-natural ingredients and contains just the right amount of protein, especially for older dogs. Check out this offer at:

2) In one of the more unusual stories of the year, consider having cat groomer, Danelle German, make a handbag out of your cat's fur! Read about her and watch the very interesting video at: Now, be honest, how many of you would be interested in having something made from the fur of your cat?


Have you ever seen any of these breeds before?

Well, neither has Helpful Buckeye! That's why it's important to keep up with current events! The American Kennel Club is pleased to welcome the Irish Red and White Setter, the Norwegian Buhund, and the Pyrenean Shepherd as the 159th, 160th, and the 161st AKC registered breeds. The Irish Red and White Setter will join the Sporting Group while both the Pyrenean Shepherd and the Norwegian Buhund will join the Herding Group. They will be eligible for full AKC registration and competition in their respective groups at conformation shows held on and after January 1, 2009. For a complete description of these new breeds and more pictures, go to:


Congenital--adjective; present or existing at the time of birth.

Idiopathic--adjective; of unknown cause.


1) Even amidst this economic downturn, family-friendly stores such as PetSmart, BestBuy and GameStop (which don't have much in common at first glance) are all expected by experts to do well in the new year for one reason: They sell products that families can use while cocooning at home with kids - or pets. From the AZ Republic at:

2) The Top 10 Dog and Cat names for 2008 have been announced. They are found at: and you may be surprised that the same name is at the top of each list!

3) In last week's issue of Questions On Dogs and Cats, you were told about some upcoming gourmet biscuits and snacks for pets. You can find some to order at: and some you can make at home from Rachel Ray's web site at: which has several pages of recipes. As always, if you aren't sure about the proper usage of any of these recipes or their ingredients, check with your veterinarian first.

4) Most of us have had to deal with a temperamental printer at one time or another. It would have been really nice to have this Calico cat along for the ride (have your speakers on):

5) Conan O'Brien had this to say about the economy and cats: "Because of the bad U.S. economy, many Broadway producers have started taking their musicals to China. In a related story, the entire cast of 'Cats' has been eaten."

6) How to really "mess up" a family picture:

7) Today, 11 January, is the 101st birthday of the Grand Canyon National Monument (later achieved National Park status). It was declared as such by President Teddy Roosevelt, an ardent outdoorsman and western parks enthusiast. SPORTS NEWS

The Ohio State Buckeyes lost to Texas in the Fiesta Bowl, but they waited until the last 2 minutes in the game to do so...not a very good ending to the year!

The Pittsburgh Steelers easily handled the San Diego Chargers today and will advance to the AFC Championship game next Sunday, hosting the Baltimore Ravens...the winner goes to the Super Bowl!


"Celebrate the happiness that friends are always giving; make every day a holiday and celebrate just living." --Amanda Bradley

~~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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