Monday, November 2, 2009


OK, Desperado and Helpful Buckeye sat down to the Oklahoma State/Texas game last night, cheering for the Cowboys to beat the Longhorns so that our 2 favorite Cowpokes would be happy...and the door bell chimed. When Helpful Buckeye went to the door, this is what greeted him:So, I said to the dog, "Hey there, Mr. Labrador, what's up?" And he replied, "If you look at the new arrangement of your pumpkins, you'll see that the Cowboys are being eaten alive by the Longhorns."And so it came to pass that he was right! Sorry about that, Ken and Charlene. Anyway, I gave him two dog biscuits and told him to call me in the morning....

Helpful Buckeye has a confession to make. I did not read the book, Marley & Me, nor did I see the movie when it was in the theaters. It wasn't intentional, but it just didn't fit into my schedule at the time. Well, better late than never! Desperado had read the book and this week she brought home the DVD for us to watch. I must admit that I thought the movie started out a little corny with all the typical training mistakes the couple made with their Labrador puppy. However, I was quickly won over by the numerous dogs playing the role of Marley (22 yellow Labs) and the sincerity of the owners. The movie set a record for ticket sales for a Christmas day opening (2008). If you haven't read the book or seen the movie, pick up a copy and enjoy! There's a lot to learn about the relationship between a dog and its owners and this movie is a perfect place for that learning to begin.

The poll questions last week drew many responses, both here on the site and by e-mail. Of the 21 responses about doing CPR on your pet, 18 said you'd give it a try. I don't know if I'd want to be a dog or cat in the other 3 households! There were 29 responses to having a Halloween costume for your pet. Only 4 of you said you would be doing so. Don't forget to respond to this week's question in the column to the left...and remember, you can e-mail your response to:


1) While watching some of the World Series games, as well as several football games this past week, Helpful Buckeye happened to see several commercials for Progressive Insurance. In one of those, the woman tells us that they will insure your pet as well. I got on their web site to find out more information about the offer. They sent this e-mail:

We know how much our customers love their dogs and cats. So, we’ve re-worked our insurance policy to cover not only the people in the car accident, but also the dogs and cats. Knowing that most people see their pets as family members, this just felt to us like the right thing to do.
Pet injury coverage is provided at no additional cost as part of collision coverage.

This coverage applies to dogs and cats owned by the named insured or resident relatives. The coverage will pay up to $1000 for reasonable and customary veterinary costs for pet injuries sustained in a covered or non-owned auto accident. It applies only if the pet's injury is sustained while the pet is inside the car during the collision. And will pay up to $1000 for loss of life if the pet passed away while in the vehicle at the time of the accident.

I hope this information is helpful.

Sincerely, Katrina F., Progressive Internet Representative

Now, Helpful Buckeye doesn't know very much about Progressive Insurance, but this approach does have some appeal, doesn't it? If you're looking for more information, go to:

2) The American Veterinary Medical Association has made available this podcast on Salmonella infections and concerns. With recurring news stories about food contaminations and the possibility of children contracting Salmonella from pet turtles, this topic needs to be reviewed. Listen to the podcast at:

3) With all the e-mails being received by Helpful Buckeye about Swine Flu and its effects on pets and humans, this question and answer by James M. Steckelberg, M.D., an internist at The Mayo Clinic should be of good use to all of us:

H1N1 flu (swine flu): Can you catch it twice? My children are just getting over the swine flu (H1N1), and I may have picked it up. If I get sick, is there a chance the kids will catch swine flu a second time, from me?
After being infected with the 2009 swine flu virus, your children can't catch the same virus again — not from you, not from anyone else. All flu viruses are that way. Once you're exposed to a flu virus, your immune system develops antibodies and memory cells unique to that virus. Your body can then defend itself if you're exposed to the virus again. This system of defense is known as acquired immunity. You also acquire immunity to flu viruses when you get a flu shot or take the nasal flu vaccine.

For the rest of the questions and answers about Swine Flu by several of The Mayo Clinic's specialists, go to: and keep clicking on "Next Question"....


Dogs' Social Lives and Disease Risks

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

This is the third and final part of the commentary compiled by the AVMA. 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.

Human infections with hookworms and roundworms usually occur when a person accidentally eats the larvae (for example, the person may handle infected soil or an infected dog and then eat without washing their hands) or when the larvae burrow through the person's skin.

Roundworm infection in people can cause serious, even life-threatening, illness when the parasites enter the organs. Lung, liver or brain damage can occur. If the parasites enter the eyes, permanent blindness can result.

Hookworms can cause severe itching and tunnel-like, red areas as they move through the skin. If they are eaten, they can cause intestinal problems.

Like their dogs, people can be exposed to the fungal organisms that cause Histoplasmosis, Blastomycosis, Cryptococcosis, and Coccidioidomycosis. Inhalation of fungal spores is the most common route of infection in people. The symptoms may include flu-like or pneumonia-like symptoms, chest pain, fever, coughing, headache, skin rash or muscle aches. Immunosuppressed people are at the highest risk of infection and illness.

People can become infected with canine ringworm caused by the fungal organism Microsporum canis through contact with an infected dog. Symptoms include itching, scaly skin, hair loss and possibly "ring-like" skin rashes.

Mosquito-borne diseases are associated with any outdoor activity that occurs during mosquito season which puts people at risk of mosquito bites, such as West Nile Virus and the equine encephalitis viruses. Although these diseases aren't spread from dogs to people, people are at risk of being infected with these diseases any time they are outside during periods of mosquito activity. The symptoms caused by these diseases can vary in severity, but include fever, headache, neckache, flu-like symptoms, abnormal behavior, seizures, coma and death.

Tick-borne diseases such as ehrlichiosis, babesiosis, Lyme disease, and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever are of concern. The symptoms caused by these diseases vary, but may include pinpoint (or larger) blood spots on the skin and rashes, joint pain, muscle ache, fatigue and headache.

People who swim in water frequented by any animals (or people, for that matter) can be exposed to water-borne diseases such as Cryptosporidium (covered separately above because it is also spread by contact with the stool of infected animals), Giardia, Shigella and E.coli. The symptoms can vary based on the infection, but can include diarrhea, vomiting and stomach cramps.

People can also develop leptospirosis from exposure to water contaminated with Leptospira-contaminated urine. Symptoms can include fever, headache, muscle aches, diarrhea and vomiting.

Although the possible disease issues to be transmitted from dogs to humans may seem overwhelming, veterinarians are experts on zoonotic diseases and animal-related health hazards. Please consult with your veterinarian if you have questions or need more information about any of the diseases described here. Your veterinarian may also wish to consult with your physician regarding any health issues to ensure that both you and your dog remain as healthy as possible.

Common Sense Measures To Protect Your Dogs, Yourself, and Others

  • Consult your veterinarian about the best preventive program for your dog(s), including vaccinations, heartworm prevention and parasite prevention (deworming and regular stool checks).

  • Until your puppy has been fully vaccinated (it has received all of its vaccinations, including the boosters), avoid taking it to dog gatherings.

  • Do not let your puppy come into contact with other dogs' stools.

  • Make sure you keep your dog's vaccinations up to date so it is fully protected from disease. Consult your veterinarian about the best vaccination schedule for your dog.

  • If your dog has a disease or it is receiving steroids or other medications that suppress its immune system and decrease its resistance to infection, you should not take it to dog gatherings without first consulting your veterinarian.

  • If your dog is ill, do not take it to a dog gathering.

  • Do not pet or handle a dog that appears unhealthy. If contact with an ill dog cannot be avoided, wash your hands thoroughly and change clothes (or cover your clothes) before handling your own dog or another apparently healthy dog.

  • Clean up after you own dog(s) and place stool in appropriate containers.

  • Follow the rules and guidelines associated with the event or area.

  • Teach your dog good leash manners and obedience. If your dog does not behave well around other dogs or people, you should not take it to dog gatherings.

  • Remain in sight of your dog and be aware of its behavior while at a dog gathering. Remember, your dog and its behavior are your responsibility in these situations. If your dog shows signs of aggression, fear or illness, remove your dog from the situation and consider leaving the site altogether.

  • Avoid contact with dogs that appear aggressive and report their presence and behavior to the proper authorities.

  • Before your children accompany you and your pet(s) to a dog gathering, make sure they are aware of safety around dogs. While present at the dog gathering, monitor your children closely to make sure they are safe and protected from harm (e.g., injury, bites, etc.).

  • Do not allow your dog to have contact with any wildlife. This includes rabbits, squirrels and other wildlife that may be present in areas frequented by dogs.

  • If you observe wildlife or other animals acting in an abnormal way, do not approach the animal, do not allow your dog to come in contact with the animal, and call the appropriate authorities.

  • Do not swim in water frequented by dogs (e.g., in dog parks, etc.)

  • Avoid letting dogs drink standing water or water that is obviously not fresh. If possible, bring water for yourself and your dog to the dog gathering.

  • Take appropriate measures to reduce your risk of tick and mosquito bites, including the following: Wear light-colored clothing, wear long sleeves and pants (where practical) and tuck the pant leg hems into socks to prevent ticks from crawling up your legs from the ground, use insect repellent, when practical, avoid being outside during times of high insect activity.

  • Check your dog for ticks after any outside dog gatherings and remove the tick(s) as soon as possible. Prompt removal of ticks is very important because it lessens the chance of disease transmission from the tick to your pet. Remove ticks by carefully using tweezers to firmly grip the tick as close to the pet's skin as possible and gently and steadily pulling the tick free without twisting it or crushing the tick during removal. Do not attempt to smother the tick with alcohol or petroleum jelly, or apply a hot match to it, as this may cause the tick to regurgitate saliva into the wound and increase the risk of disease if the tick is infected. Crushing, twisting or jerking the tick out of the skin while its head is still buried could result in leaving the tick's mouth parts in your pet's skin; this can cause a reaction and may become infected. After removing the tick, crush it in a napkin or tissue to avoid contact with tick fluids that can carry disease.

Allowing your dog to interact with other dogs can provide good opportunities for exercise and socialization that can help your dog's mental and physical well-being. However, these situations are also associated with some risk to dogs and their owners. By using good common sense, you can minimize the risks while still providing for your dog's well-being.

The AVMA would like to thank the Council on Public Health and Regulatory Veterinary Medicine and Dr. Robert Belden for their roles in developing this document.


1) The ASPCA has restructured their pet insurance plans to allow for pet owners to choose from 4 different levels of health coverage. For more about this interesting approach, go to:

2) The ASPCA also has this important information for pet owners about protecting your pets over the winter:

Top Ten Winter Skin & Paw Care Tips

Exposure to winter’s dry, cold air and chilly rain, sleet and snow can cause chapped paws and itchy, flaking skin, but these aren’t the only discomforts pets can suffer. Winter walks can become downright dangerous if chemicals from ice-melting agents are licked off of bare paws.
Says Dr. Louise Murray, ASPCA Director of Medicine, “During the winter, products used as de-icers on sidewalks and other areas can lead to trouble for our animal companions, potentially causing problems ranging from sore feet to internal toxicity. Pet parents should take precautions to minimize their furry friends' exposure to such agents.”
To help prevent cold weather dangers from affecting your pet’s paws and skin, please heed the following advice from our experts:

  1. Repeatedly coming out of the cold into the dry heat can cause itchy, flaking skin. Keep your home humidified and towel dry your pet as soon as he comes inside, paying special attention to his feet and in between the toes.

  2. Trim long-haired dogs to minimize the clinging of ice balls, salt crystals and de-icing chemicals that can dry on the skin. (Don’t neglect the hair between the toes!)

  3. Bring a towel on long walks to clean off stinging, irritated paws. After each walk, wash and dry your pet’s feet to remove ice, salt and chemicals—and check for cracks in paw pads or redness between the toes.

  4. Bathe your pets as little as possible during cold spells. Washing too often can remove essential oils and increase the chance of developing dry, flaky skin. If your pooch must be bathed, ask your vet to recommend a moisturizing shampoo and/or rinse.

  5. Dressing your pet in a sweater or coat will help to retain body heat and prevent skin from getting dry.

  6. Booties help minimize contact with painful salt crystals, poisonous anti-freeze and chemical ice-melting agents. They can also help prevent sand and salt from getting lodged in between bare toes, causing irritation.

  7. Massaging petroleum jelly into paw pads before going outside helps to protect from salt and chemical agents. And moisturizing after a good toweling off helps to heal chapped paws.

  8. Brushing your pet regularly not only gets rid of dead hair, but also stimulates blood circulation, improving the skin’s overall condition.

  9. Pets burn extra energy by trying to stay warm in wintertime, sometimes causing dehydration. Feeding your pet a little bit more during the cold weather and making sure she has plenty of water to drink will help to keep her well-hydrated, and her skin less dry.

  10. Remember, if the weather’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet. Animal companions should remain indoors as much as possible during the winter months and never be left alone in vehicles when the mercury drops.
There will be two more sets of recommendations from the ASPCA about caring for your pets during the winter in the next 2 issues of Questions On Dogs and Cats.


1) The ASPCA store has this interesting gizmo for the endless entertainment of your cat:

2) Here's an interesting web site for pet accessories. Go to: and click on "enter here" to view some of what the site calls "Psychedelic Furs"....


1) Imagine you've left your dog alone with the controller of your Xbox set-up. Do you think it could cost you some money? This guy's dog did just that by adding charges into his Xbox Live account, simply by chewing on the controller:

2) Have any of our cat owners ever tried to build a cat tree? For a low-cost, family-friendly project, check out these simple suggestions:

3) With this being the 125th anniversary of the American Kennel Club, they have been running polls on many topics related to dogs on TV, in movies, and now, in songs. Go to: and cast your vote for your favorite dog song. Helpful Buckeye's favorite of these is Shannon, by Henry Gross. You can follow the lyrics to Shannon in a previous issue of Questions On Dogs and Cats, that dealt with the death of a pet:

4) Anybody with a camera (especially a digital one) and a pet is usually having fun taking photos of their pet. Here are 5 "Cool" ideas for things you can do with those photos:

5) Since diabetes is the 3rd leading killer of humans (behind heart disease and cancer) and is increasing among dogs and cats, this story about service dogs that have been trained to sense when their diabetic owner is having a problem is very informative:

6) Sharon Peters, one of the lead writers on pets for The USA Today, wrote this very enlightening article this past week on pet prosthetic devices:

After reading that article, you should go back to an earlier issue of Questions On Dogs and Cats, in which Helpful Buckeye also discussed pet prostheses:


The Pittsburgh Steelers had the weekend off and that should help many of our injured players.

The San Antonio Spurs have gotten off to a good start in the NBA season.


Tuesday, 27 October, 45+ MPH gusts...had to ride indoors!

Helpful Buckeye came across this anonymous quote about friendship: "Friendship isn't about who you have known the longest...but about who came and never left your side…."

~~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 comment:

  1. Nice looking group of traveling companions. :^)