Sunday, March 1, 2009


February went out with a party, Mardi Gras having been this past Tuesday, and the folks in New Orleans are probably still recovering!

Helpful Buckeye and Desperado have enjoyed their jambalaya, gumbo, and etouffee the last 10 days while enjoying Paul Simon sing, Take Me To The Mardi Gras :

and Helpful Buckeye's favorite Cajun song ever, by Professor Longhair, Tipitina, :

Yes, Mardi Gras food and music even makes its way to northern Arizona...and not only this time of the year. We enjoy it all year long!

The month of March is always associated with unsettled weather patterns as most of the USA experiences the final throes of winter mixed with the sometimes boisterous arrival of spring. The old-time saying of March coming in like a lion and going out like a lamb (or vice versa) does have some basis in fact. Here we go into March!

Last week's poll showed that 90% of respondents felt that a specific breed of dog should NOT be penalized because some of its members have shown vicious behavior. Helpful Buckeye commends all of you for having an open mind about not indicting "all for a few." Be sure to answer this week's poll in the column to your left.


1) This is beginning to sound like a broken record, but the American Veterinary Medical Association has released another recall of a pet snack product that might be contaminated with Salmonella. This week's news release is: American Health Kennels, Inc. Announces a Voluntary Recall of Baked Dog Treats Containing Peanut Butter (20 Feb 2009) Be sure to click this link for a description of the product so that you will know if it applies to you and your dog.

As Yogi Berra supposedly said: "It's Deja vu, all over again!"

2) Some of our readers may have read about the big ASPCA raid on a puppy mill in Tennessee in mid-February. The ASPCA has released this update about some of the rescued dogs which found their way to the New York City area:

Earlier this month, the ASPCA led a multi-group raid of a puppy mill in White County, TN, resulting in the rescue of almost 300 small-breed dogs. As promised in last week’s ASPCA News Alert, public adoptions of the dogs who were transferred to the ASPCA’s New York City Adoption Center began last Friday. Thanks to loads of positive publicity, our puppy mill dog-adoption hotline was ringing off the hook with people seeking information in the days leading up to February 20.
And what an adoption day it was! “The scene at the ASPCA Adoption Center on Friday morning was nothing short of incredible,” recounts Anita Edson, ASPCA Senior Director, Media & Communications. “Lines began to form outside the ASPCA well before sunrise, with eager adopters camping out with lawn chairs and blankets as early as 5:00 A.M.! The lobby was teeming—a mix of the bustling crowd and the equally excited Adoptions staff, all ready to help place the Tennessee dogs with the best possible matches. By the end of the day, over 200 adoption forms had been filled out!”
We are thrilled to report that of the 39 eligible dogs, 38 have been adopted. The dogs will leave the ASPCA for their new homes after they have been spayed or neutered, microchipped and given the final “okay” from our veterinarians. The more than 200 dogs whom the ASPCA entrusted to animal welfare groups based in other states are doing well, too, garnering their own share of media attention and admirers eager to provide them with loving homes.
While the Boston terriers, miniature pinschers, Pomeranians, dachshunds, Chihuahuas and other rescued pups are putting their pasts behind them, the ASPCA is still working the case to make sure that justice is delivered. As with most criminal investigations of this large scale, there is much evidence to be gathered, sorted and analyzed. At this time, the ASPCA’s Field Services division is still preparing evidence in conjunction with the White County Sheriff's Department. We will keep you posted on both the legal case and the dogs’ fresh starts as New Yorkers.

Further updates can be found at:

3) The American Kennel Club is following proposed legislation in California that would present an even heavier financial burden on the owners of intact (not spayed or neutered) dogs and cats. The AKC feels this bill is unnecessary, in light of already existing pet laws. For a full reading of this legislation, go to:

4) Questions On Dogs and Cats has referred to Angels of Assisi, in Roanoke, VA, in a previous issue of this blog, about the outstanding work they've done in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley. Now, they have a dog in the running for the MVP Pet Photo Contest 2009, his name is Maverick, and there is a $10,000 award for the winner. You can help Angels of Assisi try to win this award by going to this web site and voting for Maverick before March 3rd: Maverick is a red-merle Australian Shepherd and certainly looks like an MVP to Helpful Buckeye!


After 4 consecutive weeks of discussing pet dental health and care, Helpful Buckeye has become "Hopeful" Buckeye, hoping that all of our readers' dogs and cats will benefit from your home preventive maintenance efforts and regular dental check-ups by your veterinarian. Your pets will thank you and give you an extra year or two of their company!

It's been a while since Helpful Buckeye has discussed an infectious disease of dogs that is preventable by a vaccination. Along those lines, a few readers have sent in questions about Canine Parvovirus.

Canine Parvovirus (CPV) is a very highly contagious and very serious disease that attacks mainly the small intestine of puppies and some mature dogs. It was first identified in 1978, is found worldwide, and even affects wild Canids, such as foxes, wolves, and coyotes. All dogs are at risk of infection with this potentially devastating virus, but puppies less than 4 months old, dogs that have not been vaccinated against CPV, and older dogs with weakened immune systems are the highest risks. Rottweilers, American Pit Bull Terriers, Doberman Pinschers, and German Shepherds seem to have an increased risk, while Toy Poodles and Cocker Spaniels seem to have a decreased risk. The mortality rate associated with CPV is in the 16-48% range...readers will remember that the mortality rate is that portion of sickened animals which die from a disease. The virus is transmitted by direct contact with infected dogs. Indirect transmission, from fecal-contaminated fomites (such as kennel surfaces, food and water bowls, collars and leashes, and the hands and clothing of people who handle infected dogs), is also an important source of infection. The virus is shed in the feces of infected dogs for up to 3 weeks after infection. Recovered dogs may serve as carriers and shed the virus periodically. The virus is resistant to heat, cold, humidity, and dryness, and therefore, can survive in the environment for long periods of time, perhaps years. Viral shedding in the feces begins 3-4 days after infection and peaks when clinical signs appear.

Infected dogs often show no signs at first. The dose of virus required to cause clinical disease may also be a factor. Prolonged contact with a dog shedding high levels of virus increases the likelihood of disease. The incubation period is 3-8 days (period from exposure to beginning of signs). Shedding of the virus in the stools may begin by the third day, before the onset of clinical signs. This means a dog can actually start spreading the virus before it shows any signs of illness. Clinical disease may be triggered by stress (such as boarding the dog), and clinical signs may be exacerbated by concurrent infection with opportunistic bacteria, viruses, and parasites. CPV initially causes lethargy, loss of appetite, and fever. As the damage progresses to the cells lining the small intestine, vomiting and severe watery, bloody diarrhea usually result. The vomiting and diarrhea cause rapid dehydration, frequently leading to death within 48-72 hours of the onset of clinical signs.

Diagnosis of CPV is based on an appropriate history taken by your veterinarian, clinical signs shown by your dog, confirmation by a positive fecal lab test, and further confirmation by several other blood tests (all of which can be run by your veterinarian).

There is no specific treatment for killing the virus of CPV infection. Treatment is more intended to support the dog's body systems until the dog's own immune system can fight off the effects of the viral infection. Treatment should be started as soon as possible, after either suspecting CPV or confirmation of its presence, and consists mainly of efforts to reverse dehydration by the replacement of fluids and electrolytes. Also, controlling vomiting and diarrhea, coupled with fighting any secondary infections are critical. Nursing care is vital at this stage and can increase the expense of the treatments due to the time and medicines required. Despite aggressive treatment, the dog may still die.

Vaccination and good hygiene are critical components of CPV prevention. Young puppies are very susceptible to infection, particularly because the natural immunity provided in their mothers' milk may wear off before the puppies' own immune systems are mature enough to respond to a vaccination and fight off an infection. If a puppy is exposed to CPV during this gap in protection, it may become ill. An additional concern is that immunity provided by a mother's milk may interfere with an effective response to a vaccination. This means even a vaccinated puppy may occasionally become infected with CPV and develop the disease. To reduce these gaps in protection, puppies should have the vaccination beginning at 6 weeks of age, and every 4 weeks up to 16-20 weeks of age. At the same time, these puppies should never be exposed to any unvaccinated dogs or to areas that may be contaminated with CPV (remember, the virus stays in the environment for a long time). Until a puppy has received its complete series of vaccinations, its owner should NOT take it to places other young puppies congregate, such as pet shops, dog parks, puppy classes, obedience classes, doggy daycare centers, kennels, or grooming facilities. Be very careful when walking your puppy to stay away from areas frequented by other dogs.

Regular readers will remember the 5 Paths to a Healthy and Much Longer Life For Your Pet as described by Helpful Buckeye in the 4 January 2009 issue of Questions On Dogs and Cats. By following #s 2, 3, and 4, dog/puppy owners can go a long way toward preventing the disease of Canine Parvovirus. You can reference this article by clicking on "Pet Wellness Outline" under "Labels" in the left column, then looking in the first section of that issue.


The response to last week's column by Greg, from Pittsburgh, has been very gratifying. Many of you have sent e-mails and comments about Greg's accomplishments and his bond with Nala, his service dog. As promised, here is the second part of Greg's experience with Nala:

What’s A service Dog?
Hello, my name is Greg, I have a disability and I have a service dog that helps me through my day. Her name is SSD Nala. The SSD stands for Susquehanna Service Dog. Sometimes I think it stands for Super Smart Dog. Let me tell you a little about how Nala became a service dog. She started off as a soft and cuddly ball of energy like any black Labrador retriever puppy. Soon after Nala was born she went to stay with a family that would raise her for the first year. The family is called puppy raisers. The puppy raisers love and socialize the potential service dog. They take the puppy to weekly obedience classes. At the classes the puppy learns what all puppies should learn, sit, and stay, down, just basic obedience. During this first year the professionals at Susquehanna service dogs were watching Nala and evaluating her all along the way. At the end of the first year Nala was doing so well the professionals thought she may make a good service dog. So they brought her into their kennels to work with professional trainers.The trainers taught Nala many task and behaviors. Some of the tasks Nala can do are:

  • turn a light switch on and off

  • open and close doors, even the refrigerator door

  • pick up anything I drop on the floor

  • find the cordless phone

  • go find a specific person when I need help

  • assist with undressing, she pulls my jacket sleeve

  • to push buttons for elevators or automated doors

Some of the behaviors Nala learned were:

  • Basic obedience classes

  • how to walk beside my power wheelchair

  • not to eat food on the floor

  • to lie down quietly when I am working or in school

  • to ignore loud noises and other animals

After the professional trainers at SSD were satisfied that Nala could perform all of these task and behaviors she was allowed to meet me. I went to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and met several dogs. SSD and I thought Nala would be the best choice as my service dog. I stayed in Harrisburg for several weeks and practiced every day with Nala. SSD was training me to work with Nala in the correct way. After several weeks Nala and I passed a public access test and became a working team. After passing the test she and I went to a graduation ceremony. At the ceremony I was able to meet her puppy raisers. The puppy raisers were so proud of Nala. It was hard for the puppy raisers to give Nala up but they know how important Nala is to my independence. Just like other working dogs in the community; guide dogs, police dogs, search and rescue dogs if you see us you should not try to pet Nala because she is working. If you try to pet her you could distract her. As a person with a disability I need Nala to stay alert to meet my needs. Every year Nala and I go back to Harrisburg to pass the public access test again. Since Nala and I work every day the test is very easy. It's a chance for SSD to see Nala and I and to make sure we are working up to her potential.

Another inspiring and motivating installment from Greg about his relationship with Nala! Here is another picture Greg sent of him and Nala: For next week, Greg has some answers to Helpful Buckeye's questions about Greg's concerns for Nala as she gets older, her general health care, and who helps him with Nala's care. Stay tuned!


Fomite--noun; an inanimate object or material on which disease-producing agents may be conveyed.


The news out of Washington, DC this past week, as related to dogs, is that the Obama family will be acquiring a Portuguese Water Dog. Read the story here:,,20261257,00.html People magazine even has a web site for you to offer your choice for the "First Dog's" name:


1) Remember the picture from last week of the dog giving way to the skunk at the food bowl? Well, the best caption that was submitted by one of our readers is a familiar one.

Holly, from Greensburg, PA, suggested the great line from one of Kenny Rogers' biggest songs, The Gambler. Enjoy the song right here: and say it with Holly: "Know when to hold 'em; know when to fold 'em."

2) Most of our readers will recall Gus, the world's ugliest dog, which we covered in a few issues last year. Not to be outdone with "the ugliest" label, a cat in New Hampshire has now been getting some attention for the award. Go to this site and you be the judge: where you can also vote as to whether Gus or this cat is the ugliest. At the end of the article, there is a short video of this cat and...Helpful Buckeye couldn't help but be reminded of the cover of a John Fogerty album, The Eye of the Zombie, from 1986. Again, you be the judge: 2) Several of you have commented on the 2 web sites that were mentioned last week with really funny pictures of cats. Well, there is one for dogs as well:

This is just a get your attention! Helpful Buckeye and his partner frequently ran into dogs named "Killer," "Caesar," "Cujo," and "Spike," but none of them were as tough as this little dude!

4) On 23 Feb 1997, Scottish scientists introduced "Dolly," the cloned sheep, to the world. She was the first mammal successfully cloned from a tissue cell from an adult animal. She had been born 5 July 1996 and they wanted to be sure she would survive before introducing her to the world.

5) You've all undoubtedly enjoyed the lyric, "standin' on a corner in Winslow, Arizona," from the Eagles' song, Take It Easy. However, as the story goes, Jackson Browne, one of the co-writers of the song (along with the Eagles' Glenn Frey), was standing at a hot-dog stand in Flagstaff, AZ, when a girl in a flatbed Ford drove by. Browne thought "standin' on a corner in Flagstaff, Arizona" just didn't sound quite right, so he changed the lyric to Winslow, which is about 50 miles east of Flagstaff. For those of you who are wondering how this item made the GENERAL INTEREST list of this blog, there is first the "hot-dog" stand, which is now known as The Dog Haus drive through, and secondly, the Eagles are Helpful Buckeye's favorite musical group. Enjoy Glenn Frey and the Eagles, in Take It Easy: and try saying it as "...Flagstaff, Arizona!"

6) Today is the 137th anniversary of the opening of Yellowstone National Park (1 March 1872), established by an act of Congress. It was the first area in the world to be designated a national park.

A Yellowstone bison....

7) Also, since we're talking about national parks, this past week, the 26th of Feb, was the 90th anniversary of the opening of Grand Canyon National Park (1919). For an interesting and informative account of that day, go to: Since Grand Canyon NP is just "up the road" from Flagstaff, Helpful Buckeye has a lot of pictures of "The Canyon."


The Los Angeles Dodgers are still looking for Manny Ramirez....


With the still blustery weather we are seeing in most of the USA, a Mark Twain quote would be the proper closing for this week's issue of Questions On Dogs and Cats: "Shut the door. Not that it lets in the cold but that it lets out the cozyness." - Mark Twain's Notebook

~~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.~~


  1. Hooray! I feel like the week is off to a good start if my caption suggestion made you laugh! Thanks for the thumbs up, and thanks even more for all the great information. Last week was a hard one, we lost one of our family dogs way to soon to a disc gone bad. Nice to have a grin this week.

  2. Hey and the review of Fat Tuesday and all
    the parties was a neat twist.
    Good job as usual.

  3. Lots of work but obviously a work of love!