Sunday, April 18, 2010


Making the transition from Chicago to the Doobie Brothers shouldn't be too difficult....

They both had big hit songs in the 1970s about going to the park.  In last week's issue of Questions On Dogs and Cats, Helpful Buckeye discussed some of the problems encountered by dogs on their visits to dog parks.  This week's issue will focus on some important human concerns of dog owners as they enter the world of dog parks.  As you contemplate what those concerns might be, enjoy the Doobie Brothers and their song from 1974: 

The voting in last week's poll questions couldn't have ended up more evenly split.  Half of 18 responses said they have had a problem with their dog at a dog park...and half of 22 responses said they groom their dogs themselves and half use a groomer.  Be sure to answer this week's poll question in the column to the left.

Kevin, from Denver, was partially correct with his suggestion that the song accompanying the frisbee-playing dog in the video last week was part of the soundtrack from the movie, Pulp Fiction.  Full credit would have been given for the title...Misirlou, by Dick Dale & his Del-Tones.

Helpful Buckeye got an e-mail last week asking if I provide a list of my e-mailers to anyone else.  They were concerned that they might be receiving some unsolicited e-mail from a third party.  I can assure you that your e-mails stop with me and the only time I would use your e-mail address would be to answer one of your questions.  If you do have any questions or comments, please send an e-mail to: or click on the "Comment" icon at the end of this issue and send your comment.


1) The Food & Drug Administration has announced the following voluntary recall: 

Response Products of Broken Bow, Nebraska has issued a voluntary recall of two lots of Advanced Cetyl M® Joint Action Formula for Dogs because the products may have been contaminated with Salmonella. The supplements are sold through veterinarians and online and other retailers. No illnesses have been reported to date. The affected lot numbers include 1210903 and 128010.

Go to this FDA web site link for further information about the product and what to do if you have purchased and/or used the product already: 

2) The ASPCA is involved in a campaign to help eliminate "puppy mills" and the animal abuses commonly associated with them.  Their efforts in Missouri are very important this month:  

Live from Missouri: ASPCA Supports Landmark Puppy Mill Initiative

Home to an estimated 3,000 puppy mills—far more than any other state—Missouri has rightly earned the nickname “Puppy Mill Capital of America.” Puppy mills are large-scale commercial dog breeding operations where profit is given priority over the well-being of the dogs. The overcrowding and lack of basic hygiene, veterinary care and exercise that are the hallmark of puppy mills create puppies with numerous health and social issues—but it is the breeding dogs, the ones who never get to leave, who suffer the most.

However, help is on the way! Missourians for the Protection of Dogs—a coalition made up of the ASPCA, the Humane Society of the U.S., the Humane Society of Missouri and the Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation—is sponsoring a landmark ballot initiative to put the Missouri Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act before the state’s voters in November 2010. If the act reaches the ballot and passes, it will prohibit some of the worst abuses prevalent in Missouri’s commercial dog kennels—but the first step is gathering 130,000 signatures of support from Missouri voters by the end of April.

“The Missouri Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act is a crucial step in combating some of the most horrific cruelty perpetuated by commercial breeders in Missouri,” says Cori Menkin, ASPCA Senior Director of Legislative Initiatives. “It will provide dogs with basic humane care, including sufficient food, water, housing and necessary veterinary care—things that, unfortunately, are sorely lacking in many commercial breeding facilities.”

With only a few weeks left to go before the April 27 deadline, the pressure is on. Several ASPCA staffers have volunteered their time to help count and process the flood of petition signatures, and are currently on the ground in Missouri.

“I am so happy to be part of this historic grassroots effort,” says Tawnya Mosgrove, an Illinois-based member of our Government Relations department. “Our hope is not only to help the dogs in Missouri, but that other states will follow suit with similar initiatives of their own. The work here is hard, but the end result will be worth every blister on my finger!”


In last week's issue of Questions On Dogs and Cats, Helpful Buckeye provided a comprehensive list of many of the health problems dogs can face when they are in a "social" setting with other dogs.  As you saw in one of our poll questions, half of our readers who responded said their dog had suffered some type of problem at a gathering of dogs.  To take this dilemma one step further, what about the dog owners who attend these "social" gatherings with their dogs?  Are they at risk for some type of infection, injury, or unknown ailment?

The American Veterinary Medical Association has followed up last week's topic with:

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

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.

External parasites

Just like their dogs, people can become the victims of 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.

Hookworms and roundworms

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.

Fungal infections

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

Any outdoor activity that occurs during mosquito season puts people at risk of mosquito bites and mosquito-borne diseases 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

Ticks are capable of transmitting tick-borne diseases such as ehrlichiosis, babesiosis, Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and others. 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.

Water-borne diseases

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.

The AVMA would like to thank the Council on Public Health and Regulatory Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Robert Belden, Dr. Ron Schultz, the American College of Veterinary Behavior, and the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior for their roles in developing this document.

All of this information notwithstanding, Helpful Buckeye is not trying to scare any of you away from enjoying an afternoon at the dog park with one or more of your favorites canines.  As long as you are aware of these potential risks, you should be able to minimize your chances of any exposure.


1) Along the lines of enjoying the onset of spring and summer with your pets, it's always a good idea to review some of the safety measures associated with lawn and garden preparation and care...and how they might relate to your pets' health.  The AVMA has a really interesting podcast about this topic at:


1) When I first read about this new device, the Shapoopie, I had some doubts as to its usefulness.  Here is a review that is mostly positive: 

After reading this review, Helpful Buckeye still can imagine a lot of dogs not wanting something like this shoved under their rear end while in the act of defecating.  What do you think?

2) Big Daddy Dog Biscuits appear to be making quite an impression on the dog world.  Read this review of these all-natural, organic dog treats:  and then head on over to their web site for your chance to order some for your pooch: 

3) How many of you have scratched window sills from your dog's paws and nails rubbing there while looking out the window?  Helpful Buckeye suspects this might be more common than we think.  Here's an easy-to-use product that will protect your window sills: 

Read this review about Sill Shield and Door Shield: 


1) The ASPCA has some food for thought as we approach Earth Day this week.  With Earth Day, April 22, just days away, there are plenty of ways to show the planet some love with eco-friendly pet parenting. Just like us, our beloved animal companions love to eat and play—but they haven’t yet mastered the art of recycling or composting. Here are some simple steps you can take to reduce your pet’s carbon paw print:

• Tap is where it’s at! Give your pet filtered tap water instead of bottled to drink. If you must use bottled water, be sure to recycle the bottle.

• Scoop the poop with biodegradable bags instead of plastic bags. Kitty parents, go for eco-friendly cat litters, avoiding brands containing mined minerals.

• Don’t reach for the bleach to clean your pet’s messes. Use vinegar instead—it’s green, removes odors and kills bacteria.

• Get Moving! Walk your dog to the doggie park rather than driving there.

• Buy pet supplies in bulk or the largest available size. You’ll make fewer trips to the store and cut down on discarded packaging.

2) The ASPCA reports that 3 dogs were the victims of strychnine-laced meatballs in the Spokane, WA vicinity: Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service (SCRAPS), an ASPCA community partner, has launched an investigation into the recent deaths of three dogs at two different locations in the South Hill neighborhood of Spokane, WA.

On February 19, a woman reported to SCRAPS that she let her dogs outside at approximately 6:00 A.M., and when she went to feed her horses, saw one of the dogs eating something off the ground. She called her dog away from what was later identified as meatballs. Approximately 30 minutes later, the dog started having convulsions and was taken to an emergency clinic, where he died. Two other dogs were reported dead by another pet parent in the South Hill neighborhood on the same day.

Test results from Washington State University indicated that the meatballs were laced with strychnine, which was most likely from gopher bait or a gopher control pesticide. The gopher bait product was mixed with the meat and then cooked. This type of gopher bait product is a “restricted-use” pesticide in the state of Washington, but it is available for purchase at licensed pesticide dealers by those who are eligible.

“There are many ways an individual could have obtained this product, either legally or illegally,” said SCRAPS Lead Animal Protection Officer Nicole Montano, the primary officer investigating these crimes.

SCRAPS is urging everyone to help spread the word about the poisonings in Spokane, and is advising pet parents to keep a close eye on their furry friends and thoroughly inspect their yards and surrounding properties for foreign or toxic substances.

If anyone has any information related to these incidents, please call SCRAPS’s emergency line at (509) 477-2533. This level of cruelty can lead to a charge of animal cruelty in the first degree, a class C felony that carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Regular readers of Questions On Dogs and Cats will recall that Helpful Buckeye discussed strychnine poisoning in a previous issue.  A review would be a good idea: 

3) Have you ever considered having your dog certified as a Therapy Dog?  The folks at Local Lowdown:  have several suggestions.

You don't need to refer to the countless research studies that have proven the mental and physical benefits that animal companionship can give. You live it. So why not consider sharing your pup's friendly charm and companionship with those who would appreciate it? Consider getting your dog certified to become a Therapy Dog. Opportunities for certification are offered year-round across the country, and once certified, you and your dog can volunteer for rewarding work that helps others. Here's what you need to know:

What do Therapy Dogs Do?

Therapy Dogs and their owners work to help children feel comfortable reading aloud, to assist veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, to simply help brighten the day for those in nursing homes and hospitals, and more. Once your dog is certified as a Therapy Dog, you'll volunteer together at hospitals, libraries, nursing homes, and other places to provide comfort and companionship.

What kinds of dogs can become Therapy Dogs?

Dogs of any breed, size and shape can become Therapy Dogs as long as they have one important characteristic: An excellent temperament. They must be patient, gentle, calm and well mannered, and like all kinds of people. Since they'll be petted and handled, they also must enjoy human contact. Dogs must also be healthy and at least one year old.

What's involved in Therapy Dog certification and training?

Certification and training varies by organization, but typically requires behavioral and obedience tests. Therapy Dogs International (TDI), the oldest and largest therapy dog organization in the U.S., requires a therapy-dog evaluation for suitability, which includes the American Kennel Club's Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Test, among other tests that assess the dog's behavior around people.

What are the kinds of programs that my dog may participate in?

Here are a few examples of animal activity and therapy dog opportunities found in's state-by-state guide to local therapy organizations :

Alabama: Hand-in-Paw in Birmingham has many programs including "Sit, Stay, Read! which helps reluctant young readers who are performing below grade level to overcome embarrassment and improve skills by reading aloud to a non-judgmental therapy animal."

Minnesota: Bark Avenue On Parade in Minneapolis focuses on pet-assisted therapy with people who may be isolated due to age, illness or disability. Bark Avenue's regular visit schedule includes four monthly visits at three area hospitals.

Oklahoma: Creatures and Kids in Edmond, used pets and their handlers to teach "kindness and compassion toward all living things." They offer 37 programs including a "Kind Kids" class for kindergarten and elementary students, "The Power of Empathy" for high school students and an array of adult classes.

How do I find a local Therapy Dog certification program?

In addition to visiting you can also contact one of the national organizations, such as such as Therapy Dogs International or the Delta Society, both of which list upcoming test dates by state.

4) According to AARP Magazine, May & June 2010, a poll titled Ruff Love, has found that 24% of pet owners 55 years and older celebrate their pets' birthdays.  The poll also determined that 57% of pet owners over 55 say their pets are more likely than their significant other to give them welcome-home kisses!  I'm not sure what that's supposed to mean....


The LA Dodgers finally have battled back to the .500 mark by taking 2 out of 3 games from our hated, long-time rivals, the SF Giants.  Helpful Buckeye knows the season is still young, can't let a team get too far ahead of you.

The San Antonio Spurs begin the NBA playoffs against Dallas tonight.  Spurs fans are concerned about age catching up with our three big stars...Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili.

~~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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