Sunday, October 25, 2009


Desperado and Helpful Buckeye really enjoyed watching the movie, Hotel For Dogs, this past week! It came out within the past year, but we missed it when it was in the theater. When Helpful Buckeye saw it on a list of top ten movies about dogs, we picked it up at the library and we have to agree, it included more well-trained dogs than any other "dog" movie we've seen. We especially thought the lead dog, Friday, was a treat to watch. While watching the movie, with all the dogs going back and forth from the dog pound to the hotel, we reflected on a line from last week's issue of Questions On Dogs and Cats, "mingling dogs with varied or unknown health histories can present health problems for dogs as well as their owners." If you haven't already seen Hotel For Dogs, do yourself a big favor and find a copy. As for the line about health problems for dogs and their owners, the second part of Dogs' Social Lives and Disease Risks appears later in this issue.

Until December 15th, the People's HealthBlogger Award icon will be displayed at the top of the column to the left so that our readers can vote for Helpful Buckeye in the "competition" being sponsored by Wellsphere, the large health interest community on the Internet. Wellsphere has many different health communities for different interests and one of those is a Pet Health Community. That's where Helpful Buckeye spends some time each day, answering many questions from pet owners and exchanging ideas about dogs and cats. Wellsphere is conducting this People's HealthBlogger Award to recognize what they are calling their "Top Bloggers" and they want all of their bloggers to let their readers know about this award. You can vote for Helpful Buckeye anytime up until the 15th of December on their web site by clicking the "Vote Now" box in the newly-added "People's HealthBlogger Award" emblem and proceeding according to their instructions. Since most of Wellsphere's bloggers and readers are related to the human health fields, Helpful Buckeye has no delusions about competing at a high level in this voting. They are just getting started with the Pet Health Community this year. However, it would be nice to see that their readership for pet-related concerns is beginning to grow. Helpful Buckeye is grateful for the votes already received. So, as they say on Dancing With The Stars, please vote! And, if you have a few spare minutes, take the opportunity to move around the Wellsphere web site and sample some of their's all free! Wellsphere can be found at:

Last week's poll went pretty much true to form. With readers being able to choose multiple responses, there were a lot of answers and the most common response was the "boarding kennel." Close behind were dog parks and training classes. Don't forget to respond to this week's poll questions (yes, there are 2 of them) in the column to the left.


1) A pet ferret in Oregon has tested positive for H1N1, swine flu. The owner reportedly had been experiencing some type of "flu" as well. Since ferrets are also susceptible to other types of dog viruses, this is bound to arouse further interest. Read the report at:

2) Helpful Buckeye has publicized Meet The Breeds, the big show of dogs and cat this past weekend in NYC. The turnout for this show was impressive: "This past weekend, the American Kennel Club® (AKC) and Cat Fanciers’ Association® (CFA) hosted 36,000 people over two days at Meet the Breeds™ presented by PetPartners, Inc., in New York City. With the participation of nearly 200 dog clubs and cat councils and the support of over 100 vendors and 16 sponsors, the event was an unqualified success, featuring more than 115,000 square feet of dog and cat festivities." That's a lot of people for a dog and cat show! For the rest of the details, go to:

3) "A pilot program to get disabled military veterans about 200 service dogs and study the impact passed the Senate Thursday as part of the 2010 defense authorization bill. The defense bill now awaits President Obama's signature."

Helpful Buckeye feels that this is a long overdue measure in caring for our returning disabled veterans. The way this story has developed is at:


Dogs' Social Lives and Disease Risks

Decreasing Disease Risks For Dogs, Their Owners, and Common Sense Measures For The Protection Of All

This will be the second part of the commentary compiled by The American Veterinary Medical Association. This information has been prepared as a service by the AVMA. Redistribution is acceptable, but the document's original content and format must be maintained, and its source must be prominently identified.

Intestinal parasites such as roundworms, hookworms, whipworms and tapeworms lay eggs that are passed in the dog's stool and infect other dogs when they eat contaminated soil, lick contaminated fur or paws, or drink water contaminated with the stool from infected dogs. Tapeworms are spread when dogs eat fleas, lice, or rodents infected with tapeworms.

These worms can cause malnutrition (because they steal nutrients as food is being digested) and diarrhea, and hookworms can cause blood loss. There are many products available to treat worms, and you should consult their veterinarian for the appropriate products for your pets.

Coccidia and Giardia are single-celled parasites that damage the lining of the intestine. Dogs can become infected with coccidia by eating infected soil or licking contaminated paws or fur. Puppies are at the highest risk of infection and illness.

Kennel cough can be caused by a combination of viruses and bacteria. It is very contagious and your dog can become infected if it comes into contact with an infected dog. Dogs with kennel cough may not seem ill in the early stages of the disease but they can still infect other dogs. Most commonly, dogs with kennel cough will have a snotty nose and a dry, hacking cough.

There are vaccines for kennel cough, but not all dogs need to receive the vaccine. Consult your veterinarian about whether or not the kennel cough (Bordetella) vaccine is right for your dog.

Leptospirosis is caused by species of the Leptospira bacteria. The bacteria are shed in the urine of infected animals, and animals and people usually become infected by drinking contaminated water or coming into contact with contaminated soil or food. Dogs infected with Leptospira may develop fever, muscle weakness, vomiting, lethargy, abdominal pain, and kidney or liver failure. There is a vaccine for leptospirosis; consult your veterinarian about whether or not the vaccine is appropriate for your dog. Some canine distemper combination vaccines include a Leptospira vaccine.

Any mammal is capable of being infected with the virus that causes rabies. Most dog parks and organized dog gatherings require proof of rabies vaccination, but some do not. Rabies is caused by the rabies virus and is 100% fatal in animals once they start to show signs of disease. The virus is spread by saliva, either by a bite from an infected animal or by saliva contaminating a skin wound. In addition, any contact with wildlife (including bats) can introduce the risk of rabies infection. Raccoons, skunks and other wild animals can carry the rabies virus and may be present in areas where dogs gather.

Fortunately, rabies infection is preventable with vaccination. Many local and state governments require regular rabies vaccination for dogs.

Regional wildlife and feral animals mixing with dogs can increase the risk of diseases, such as rabies and plague, as well as the risk of injury. In some areas of the U.S., prairie dogs often invade dog parks. Prairie dogs carry fleas that can carry the bacteria that causes plague (Dogs are thought to be immune to plague but these fleas can bite their owners and infect them). Skunks, raccoons, foxes, feral cats and pigs, and other wildlife can also carry rabies and other diseases that can infect dogs. Feral dogs present disease and injury risks.

Although its name suggests it's a worm, ringworm is actually due to fungal infection of the skin. It can be spread by contact with an infected dog, its bedding or something that has come in contact with the infected dog. The fungus can also survive in the soil. Ringworm gets its name because it often causes circular patches of hair loss. Some dogs will excessively scratch the areas, while others may not be itchy. Many dogs will recover without treatment, but they are often treated to prevent them from spreading the infection to other dogs or to people.

Tick-borne diseases (hemobartonellosis, babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, rickettsial diseases such as Lyme disease, and others) can infect dogs. Some diseases are more common in specific areas of the U.S. These diseases can cause anemia (blood loss), lameness, weakness, lethargy, organ failure, and even death. The best way to prevent these diseases is to prevent tick bites. There are many products available that reduce tick bites and kill ticks on dogs; consult your veterinarian about the best product for your dog. Check your dog for ticks after any outside dog gatherings and remove the tick(s) as soon as possible.

Toxic plants can cause a variety of illnesses. Some ornamental plants can be very toxic to animals. Cocoa mulch is also toxic to dogs. For more information about toxic plants, visit the ASPCA's Animal Poison Control Center Web site or call them at: 888-426-4435.

Disease Risks For People

People attending dog social events can be at risk of zoonotic diseases, which are diseases that spread from animals to people. Some of these diseases can be spread directly from dogs to people, while other diseases may come from the environment where the dog social gathering is taking place.

Cryptosporidiosis is caused by a single-celled, microscopic parasite that lives in the intestines and can be present in high numbers in the stool of infected animals or people. It is generally spread by the fecal-oral route, meaning that a person or animal comes in contact with the stool (or a surface or soil contaminated by the stool) of an infected animal or person then touches their mouth or eats or drinks something; often, the person can't see their hands are contaminated, and they accidentally eat the parasite and become infected. Infection can also come from swimming in or drinking contaminated water. People infected with Cryptosporidium may develop stomach cramps, diarrhea, vomiting and fever.

Dog bites are always a risk when people and dogs come together. Most people are bitten by their own dog or a dog they know. At dog gatherings, people may be bitten when they try to break up a dog fight. Prevention is the best method for avoiding dog bites. Socialize your dog and train it to be obedient. Neutered and spayed dogs are less likely to bite. Be a responsible dog owner and be careful around unfamiliar dogs.

All dog bites should be immediately cleaned with soap and water and the rabies vaccination status of the biting dog should be determined. If bitten, consult your physician. Some states require animal bites to be reported to local health authorities, so be sure to notify them as well, if necessary.

People can be infected by several species of tapeworms. Echinococcus multilocularis and Echinococcus granulosus can infect people who come into contact with the infected animal's stool (or anything, including the animal's fur, that is contaminated with stool). The symptoms of disease vary with the type of worm, but can include respiratory or digestive problems.

Just like their dogs, people can become the victims of external parasites, such as fleas, ticks and Cheyletiella mites. Itching and bumps with dark/blackened centers may occur with Cheyletiella infestation. Flea bites cause itching and raised, reddened skin. In certain parts of the U.S., certain types of fleas can carry diseases such as plague. Ticks are capable of transmitting tick-borne diseases such as ehrlichiosis, babesiosis, Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and others. People can also become infected with the mange mite that causes sarcoptic mange in dogs and develop itchy, reddened skin.

This concludes the second part of this series on keeping your dog healthy. The third part will appear in next week's issue of Questions On Dogs and Cats. Helpful Buckeye has already discussed several of these problems in further detail in previous issues and those topics can be found in the listing under "Labels" in the left column.

Any questions or comments should be sent to: or entered at the "Comment" icon at the end of this issue.


1) Ken, from Flagstaff, saw this reference and thought our readers would enjoy this video of Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR): Read the short article that is referenced and then click on the play icon for the video of a veterinarian showing how to perform CPR on your pet. Thanks to Ken for contributing to our readers' awareness of this vital tool.

2) The ASPCA has provided these Halloween costume tips for those of you who might be costuming your pets:

If the Shoe Doesn’t Fit: Halloween Costume Tips for Your Furry Friends

Even though our fur kids can look smashing in a pumpkin or pirate costume specifically made for their four-legged frames, many pets can have adverse reactions to a constrictive outfit or its irritating materials. Remember, pet parents, animals are most comfortable hanging out in their birthday suits. But in the spirit of all that’s ghoulish, the ASPCA offers some helpful costume tips to keep you and your pet singing “trick-or-treat!” all the way to November 1.

  • Schedule a dress rehearsal and try on all costumes well before the big night. Please don't put your dog or cat in a costume UNLESS you know he or she loves it (yup, a few pets are real hams!). If your pet seems distressed or shows abnormal behavior, consider letting him go au naturale or in a simple, festive bandana.

  • Does your pet have sensitive skin? Even those with hearty coats can have allergic reactions to the synthetic materials found in many costumes. While you ride a sugar high, your pet might be uncomfortably scratching the night away.

  • If you do dress up your pet, be sure the costume isn't annoying or unsafe, and make absolutely sure it doesn’t limit your pet’s movement, hearing, vision or ability to breathe or bark. Ill-fitting outfits can get twisted on external objects or your pet, which can lead to injury.

  • It’s best to avoid costumes with lots of sequins or other dangling parts that your pet could eat or choke on. If your pet ingests something poisonous, immediately contact your vet or the ASPCA’s 24-hour poison control hotline at (888) 426-4435.


How many of you already have one of these "hottest, must-have" items for your pet? Take a look at this:


1) Last week, Helpful Buckeye told you about termite- and bedbug-sniffing dogs that are getting some attention. Well, "To Troy, Ernie, Chance, and the other muscular, well-fed, and extremely enthusiastic dogs who search for illegal cell phones inside New Jersey's thirteen state prisons, the smell of a cell phone is bliss." Read the rest of this very interesting account from The New Yorker at:

2) Nora, the cat, has been chosen by the ASPCA as their "Cat of the Year." You've read about Nora in a previous issue of Questions On Dogs and Cats and this is your chance to see some more of her piano talent on display...for your listening pleasure: be sure to click on the play icon. Helpful Buckeye suspects that some people can't play this well!

3) This is a great story about a cat, Percy, in England, that rides the train to an aquarium, goes inside to watch the fish, then returns home by train...all by himself:

4) Here's a tale about the development of the "Pooper Scooper" and why it might not be as popular as it once was, from The New York Times:

5) For those of you who are brave (or foolish) enough to have attempted grooming your own dog, look at these before and after photos of how the pros do it: These are sort of the professional and pure breed version of the extreme makeover you saw last week when the 11-lb. dog got rid of 9-lb. of ugly, matted hair in Idaho.

SPORTS NEWSThe LA Dodgers gave up the ghost earlier this week to the Phillies. We had the tying game in the win column when our high-priced closer decided to make it easy for the Phillies...and we disappeared without even a whimper. I won't even say, "Wait 'til next year" because the Dodgers need to earn back my support.

On the other hand, the Pittsburgh Steelers met one of the last undefeated teams in the league today, the Vikings, and really showed the Vikings what a tough defense can do for a team. This big win will be savored for awhile, with our bye week coming up.


Monday, 19 October, 35 MPH gusts, whitecaps on the lake, tough bike ride....

Helpful Buckeye has 2 quotes from Leigh Hunt (1784-1859), English writer, that contribute to our sense of order and appreciation: "Colors are the smiles of nature"

and "It is books that teach us to refine our pleasures when young, and to recall them with satisfaction when we are old."

~~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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