Sunday, April 19, 2009


No, this is NOT a sequel to the bloody movie from a few years ago, featuring the Oscar Award-winning performance by Daniel Day-Lewis. The main topic for this week in Questions On Dogs and Cats arose from a question that was sent in to the Phoenix newspaper, combined with some questions to this blog by our readers. More on this will follow below....

From time to time, Helpful Buckeye has been fortunate to be able to exchange information with other web sites and blog sites that deal with matters of concern to dog and cat owners. One of these sites, All About Dogs and Cats, , has published one of Helpful Buckeye's recent columns this past week. Go to this web site and right there on the home page under the heading, New Articles This Month, you'll see the topic of Seizure in Dogs, from one of our recent issues. All About Dogs and Cats provides extensive breed rescue information for dogs and cats, Dog Breed list ( 400 +), Health, Nutrition, and Pet Behaviour articles by veterinarians and animal specialists, as well as information on travel with pets and shopping. The site administrator offered this statement: "I am always interested in offering my visitors worthwhile information and advice on caring for their furry friends." Sometime this week, take a few minutes to check out this nice web site...there are numerous options for you to explore from its home page!

Even though this issue of Questions On Dogs and Cats is set to go out to the public late Sunday night, and most of you won't read it until Monday morning or later in the week, Helpful Buckeye has this great recap to offer about 2 nice bike rides over the weekend: Go ahead, turn up the volume on your speakers, and enjoy this hand-clapper and toe-tapper. It's a feel good song from 1972 and its infectious beat was running like an endless loop through my mind as I pedaled away the miles on Saturday and Sunday.

Speaking of an "infectious" beat to that song, it's time to review the difference between infectious and contagious. How many of you can describe the difference and what it might mean when characterizing a disease? Infectious is a term used to describe a disease that is caused by bacteria, a virus, a fungus, a parasite, or a other words, diseases caused by transmissible agents. Contagious is usually reserved for those diseases that can be easily passed from human to human, dog to dog, or cat to cat. If you feel you understand this difference, take a look at this week's poll question in the left column and test yourself. The poll will refer only to those dog and cat diseases that we have already discussed. Last week's poll question about which of the external parasites you or your pets have experienced was top-heavy with fleas, ticks, and ear mites being most represented. Sarcoptic mange was only mentioned a few times and Demodectic mange wasn't mentioned at all.

For those of you who are new to this blog site, you will find a listing in the left column under the heading of "Labels." These topics serve as an index of what we've covered the past year. Click on any of those topics and it will take you to the particular issue with that topic.


1) In this news release from the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Environmental Protection Agency is increasing their scrutiny of topical flea and tick products: In response to more than 44,000 potential adverse reactions to spot-on flea and tick products reported in 2008, the Environmental Protection Agency is intensifying its evaluation of these products. No recalls have been issued at this time. The AVMA will continue to maintain contact with the EPA and monitor the situation, and updates will be posted as they come to our attention. For the rest of this release, go to:

2) By now, most of you have seen the new "First Dog" for President Obama's family. Yes, it's the Portuguese Water Dog, that will be known as "Bo." The AVMA has issued this press release about the occasion, along with a nice overall evaluation of the situation by one of our esteemed animal behavioral specialists, Dr. Bonnie Beaver:


Now, for the question that was sent to the Arizona Republic columnist, Clay Thompson, this past week: "If your dog needs a blood transfusion, where do they get the blood?" To read Mr. Thompson's complete answer, go to:

From time to time, dogs and cats may have need of a blood transfusion. This can arise as a result of either internal or external bleeding caused by trauma, hemorrhaging during surgery, ingestion of certain toxins, and many other diseases that can cause a pet to lose red blood cells and develop a life-threatening anemia.

Red blood cells, among other functions, incorporate the hemoglobin molecule which carries oxygen throughout the body. If their concentration level drops enough, then a transfusion becomes necessary. Blood transfusions must be given with care because they do have the potential for further compromising the recipient dog or cat. The diversity of blood groups in animals make blood-typing and matching difficult, but not impossible. The most serious risk from a transfusion is hemolysis (breaking down and destroying) of the red blood cells, which, fortunately, doesn't happen very much anymore, now that crossmatching is available and there are more accessible blood banks for dogs and cats.

Blood is species specific, in other words, dogs can receive only dog blood and cats can receive only cat blood. Both species do have different blood types, therefore they require blood-typing and crossmatching before the transfusion can proceed. As with human blood donors, animal donors are tested to make sure certain blood values are high enough and no infectious disease is present before the blood is collected. Donor dogs and cats usually have to also meet minimum weight requirements, approximately 50 lbs. for dogs and 10 lbs. for cats.

The different blood components (red blood cells, platelets, and plasma) can be separated if needed. Red cells are given to a patient that may be anemic due to trauma or due to a treatable disease. Plasma is used to build up blood volume in situations where the animal is not making enough protein or is losing too much protein. Platelet-rich plasma is used for those patients whose platelets are depleted or dysfunctional.

Pet blood donation is an essential resource for veterinarians and their patients. Private veterinarians sometimes will use their own pet dogs or cats as blood donors when emergencies arise. Some animal hospitals will maintain a list of prospective donor animals from their regular clients as well. In addition, there now many centralized animal blood banks around the USA which can get blood to a needy patient very quickly.

For more information about pet blood transfusions or blood donation, talk with your regular veterinarian. For a really nice over-view of blood donations and blood transfusions in pets, spend a few minutes watching this very informative video from the Southern Arizona Animal Blood Bank: Another web site, The Pet Blood Bank, has a well-presented set of "Frequently Asked Questions" about blood donations and transfusions at:

Any questions or comments, please send an e-mail to: or make a comment at the end of this issue.


1) The American Kennel Club offers puppy training tips for both the White House and your house!

"All of America has been anxiously awaiting the pitter-patter of President Obama's Portuguese Water Dog in the White House. But now that the Obamas' new dog has arrived, how will they prepare him for his high-profile life in Washington? And, as the Obamas are not only a First Family but also first-time dog owners with the eyes of of the world upon them, what can the public learn from their experience?" (From the AKC) For a sometimes tongue-in-cheek training proposal for the First Family, read the rest of the AKC's list:

2) For the purpose of a nice review about ticks and your pets, listen to this AVMA podcast:

3) The AVMA has also produced a podcast that helps the public understand all the different roles played by veterinarians in our society:


For this week, just a few words about the Retriever breeds of dogs will be the subject. Retrievers are a part of the AKC larger group of Sporting Dogs. Naturally active and alert, Sporting Dogs make likeable, well-rounded companions. Members of the group include pointers, retrievers, setters and spaniels. Remarkable for their instincts in water and woods, many of these breeds actively continue to participate in hunting and other field activities. Potential owners of Sporting dogs need to realize that most require regular, invigorating exercise. Of 27 breeds in the AKC Sporting Dog group, 6 are known as retrievers. These are the Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Curly-Coated Retriever, Flat-Coated Retriever, Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, and Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever. A retriever is a type of gun dog that retrieves game for a hunter. Retrievers were bred primarily to retrieve birds or other prey and return them to the hunter without damage. To this end, retriever breeds are bred for soft mouths and a great willingness to please, learn, and obey. A soft mouth refers to the willingness of the dog to carry game in its mouth without biting into it. "Hard mouth" is a serious fault in a hunting dog and is one that is very difficult to correct. A hard-mouthed dog renders game unpresentable or at worst inedible. The retriever's willingness to please and trainability have made retrievers such as the Labrador Retriever and Golden Retriever popular as Service Dogs. Does this cartoon from The New Yorker illustrate the spirit and performance of a Retriever in the great outdoors?:


1) The ASPCA has been observing April as its Prevention of Animal Cruelty month and it brings to mind this quote from George Bernard Shaw: "The worst sin toward our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them: that's the essence of inhumanity."

2) Regardless of one's opinion of Rush Limbaugh, he does deserve credit for his sponsorship of these messages for The Humane Society of the United States: and

3) The AKC has just recently begun a program designed for mixed breed dogs. "Our goal in creating a program specifically designed for mixed breeds is to share our passion for dogs and our sport," said AKC President and CEO Dennis Sprung. "AKC will broaden its legislative influence by representing more dog owners and achieve greater exposure for our responsible dog ownership messaging. But ultimately, the positive developments that this program creates will benefit dogs the most, and this is what we value above all." For the rest of the details of this interesting program, go to:

4) Walmart has gone "ORANGE" along with the ASPCA during April by offering certain pet supplies at discounts: Take a look at this might find just what you've been looking for!

5) Under the heading of "What was she thinking?," a woman in Colorado was charged by police for taping her boyfriend's dog to their refrigerator! She obviously had issues with the boyfriend, but why does the animal always seem to be what suffers? Here's the whole story:

6) This past week, a 4-month old puppy is being credited for helping to save a 2-year old toddler who had wondered away from his house. As the article explains, the young boy was really fortunate to be found unharmed:

7) On 18 April 1775, young America was treated to the "Midnight Ride" of Paul Revere, during which Paul Revere was heard to be yelling, "The British are coming!" Enjoy a latter day version from Paul Revere & The Raiders, in this 1966 rocker:

8) Also, on 18 April 1906, the San Francisco earthquake decimated the "City By The Bay." If Jerry Lee Lewis had been around at that time, he would have been singing, "Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On!" Join the Killer in this rock and roll classic from 1957:


My former business partner and his wife have been in Boston over the weekend, enjoying a chance to see their beloved Red Sox beat the Orioles.

The LA Dodgers won their 8th game in a row today to take over 1st place in the NL West division. All 11 of our games so far have been against divisional opponents, which admittedly might not be the strongest teams in the National League. On Tuesday, we step out of the division, so we'll start to get a better idea of how good we really are.

The San Antonio Spurs lost their fist game in the playoff round, which was not entirely unexpected since Manu Ginobili is out for the rest of the year.


Our reliable friend, Mark Twain, had this to say about possibly being sick: " far as being on the verge of being a sick man, I don't take any stock in that. I have been on the verge of being an angel all of my life, but it's never happened yet either." --Mark Twain, a Biography

Roger Caras, American wildlife photographer and writer had this to say about dogs: "Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole." How about a show of hands on this one? OK, just what I's unanimous!

Even though it was pretty windy over the weekend here in northern Arizona and tough on bicyclists, the warm temperature made the bike riding a real joy! It reminded me of a popular bumper sticker that I'll paraphrase: "Even a windy day biking is better than a calm day sitting inside and watching TV."

While biking on Saturday, Helpful Buckeye pulled up to a stop sign beside a motorcyclist who had a pug-type dog strapped to his chest by some form of harness. I hollered at the guy to ask him how it worked out with the dog strapped to his chest. He replied that the dog seemed to tolerate it without struggling at all. The harness looked pretty sufficient and the dog also had on a set of goggles. The guy then said that his dog used to be a smallish-sized German Shepherd, but after riding so many miles at high speeds had acquired the face of a pug! At that point, Helpful Buckeye realized that he had just been punked! Was this a conventional way of doggie transport? Probably not! Was the dog adequately protected? Probably....

To close out this week's issue, let's turn to Samuel Johnson, British writer, for this thought on remaining silent: "Silence propagates itself, and the longer talk has been suspended, the more difficult it is to find anything to say." Don't be silent when reading Questions On Dogs and Cats! If you have a thought or a question, please send an e-mail to: or make a comment at the end of this issue, just below.

~~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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