Monday, February 6, 2012


We need to give Holly and Argyle a chance to catch their breath as they go through the introduction of a new pet into an already existing canine world.  Also, since Desperado and Helpful Buckeye were on the road this past week...and, getting things ready for our Super Bowl festivities...and, Helpful Buckeye is involved in preparing for a very special, numbered birthday celebration this week for Desperado, this seems like the perfect time for another sampling of the oddities, interesting bits of information, and downright unusual  happenings of the animal world.  Here at "Buckeye Central," we call it...Ramblings.  Holly will be back soon with the next installment of Argyle and his efforts at making a place for himself in the world of Rory and Fiona...sounds like a soap opera intro, huh?


You wouldn't be a normal pet owner if you didn't wonder whether your dog or cat experiences dreams.  We've all imagined some type of chase or frightening event that causes our pets to seemingly "run in place" or whimper in their sleep.  Well, here's an answer:

Do Animals Dream?

Yes. Many pet owners have seen their sleeping dog or cat twitch or paw the air, as if dreaming of bones to bury or mice to chase. Stanley Coren, a psychology professor at the University of British Columbia and author of the book The Intelligence of Dogs, says that canines go through the same sleep stages as we do, only faster.

After about 20 minutes, a dog enters REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, the stage in which most vivid dreams occur. Big dogs dream longer, Coren says, and little dogs dream quickly and frequently. He doesn’t know why, and neither does anyone else. Insects and fish don’t experience REM sleep, but some birds and all mammals do. Reptiles might also experience REM, and some scientists argue that our mammalian dreaming might be a holdover from our reptilian brains.

The purpose of dreaming remains a mystery, but infants (of all species) dream more often. This is probably because the sensory stimulation helps form new neural connections. In adults, the best working theory is that dreams stimulate the regions of the brain associated with memory. Finches replay the melody of their birdsong in their dreams, and lab rats retrace the mazes they have run.

Adapted from:

Why Don’t Cats Like Candy?

People crave sweets — cakes, candies, cookies and sodas galore — but cats are generally unimpressed. A cat's tastebuds are incapable of detecting, appreciating or triggering a craving for foods that we recognize as "sweet."

As "obligate carnivores" (those that need meat protein to survive), cats simply don't need sweets. It's unclear whether the ancestors of cats had the ability to detect sweetness and lost it, or whether cats never developed a "sweet tooth," since they didn't need it.

People eat a much more varied diet, and our taste buds reflect that — we have nearly 10,000 on our tongues. No such variety for cats: They're happy to stick with small prey animals and need fewer than 500 taste buds to figure what's on the menu and what isn't. No doubt their limited abilities in this regard factor into the well-known finickiness of cats. So, feel free to lavish your cat with love. Just save the sweets for yourself.

Adapted from:

If your cat has gotten overweight, you know it isn't from eating too many sugars/carbohydrates, right?

Think you have come up with an interesting name for your pet?  Look at some of these names:

10 Wackiest Pet Names of 2011

Some pet lovers really take their time on pet names. After all, it's a decision your pets will live with their whole lives. The employees at Veterinary Pet Insurance, (VPI), selected the most unusual pet names from the company's database of more than 470,000 insured pets, and narrowed them down by voting for the 50 most unusual names in each category.

For the fourth consecutive year, Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. (VPI), the nation's oldest and largest provider of pet health insurance, released their list of the most clever, creative and quirky pet names across the country.

Here are the results: So drumroll, please... the 10 Most Unusual Dog and Cat Names for 2011:

1. Almost-A-Dog

2. Franco Furter

3. Stinkie Mcstinkerson

4. Sir Seamus McPoop

5. Audrey Shepburn

6. Dewey Decimell

7. Knuckles Capone

8. Beagle Lugosi

9. Shooter Mclovin

10. Uzi Duzi-Du

Adapted from:

Some Truly Obnoxious Pet Names
By Dr. Patty Khuly

How does that nursery rhyme go? Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me?

Well, tell that to the hordes of aggrieved pets living with the outright obnoxious names their loved ones have given them. As a veterinarian I see plenty of demeaning and just plain strange names in my medical records. To be sure, pets named Lola, Zoe, Chloe, Max and Brandy are over-represented but this entry is all about the off-beat and even off-color appellations pets are subjected to in the name of “love.”

Now, don’t for a second think I’m above naming a pet something that truly seems to suit him but is less than charming. After all, I named my Pug mix Slumdog, seeing as he (a) emerged from the Miami slums and (b) possesses no more than two brain cells he might occasionally rub together to maintain his basic bodily functions. (Yes, that’s right, I absolutely adore a ridiculously brainless dog.)

But that less than politically correct moniker is nothing compared to some others I’ve seen in my many years in veterinary practice.

I got to thinking about this topic last week when I read a DVM Newsmagazine feature on the most outlandish, off-kilter pet names its veterinary readership has ever encountered. Here’s a quick rundown of the ones I liked best:


• Chicken Nugget

• Meatloaf

• Bluecifer

• Mr. Chickenwing

• Laundry Blankie

• Mr. Milky Mouth

• Fresno Fair Zucchini Corndog (aka, Zuk)

• Toby Toes McPurr

• Bucket Sprouthead

• Pussy Moo

• Baby Jesus

• Reverend Phatty

• McBisquit

• Fluffy Fusty Feather Fungus

• Dory Fluffenheimersheim

• Mister Tsuemo Bangkok Hipszer

• Yardsale

• Darth Kitty


• Barryzander

• JaMocha Frappuccino

• Kowalski

• Sir Freaks-a-Lot

• Antobia Bandogas

• Portia Snicklefritz

• S.A.M. (acronym for “She’s a Mutt”)

• D.O.G. (pronounced “Dee-OH-gee”)

• Nematode (a veterinarian’s dog, of course)

• Yo Quiero

• Foodworld

• Snarfpolas Skinks

• Easy Wheat

• Snack Attack

Adapted from:

I don't know about you, but I sort of like Sir Seamus McPoop, Beagle Lugosi, Laundry Blankie, and Yo Quiero....

Are pets contributing to the asthma of children?

Dogs, Not Cats, Increase Risk of Some Children's Asthma

Have you been wondering if having animals in your house might make your kids more susceptible to asthma? Recent research suggests that the answer is yes -- but only with dogs and only in certain cases.
 Results of a new study indicate that in families with a higher risk of developing asthma, a canine presence may elevate that risk in children, reports Reuters. The study, led by researcher Dr. Chris Carlsten of Vancouver General Hospital in British Columbia, Canada, showed a three-fold increase in the risk of asthma for children who were exposed to high levels of dog allergen. Interestingly, neither cat nor dust-mite exposure seemed to increase a child's asthma risk.

All of the subjects had an increased risk of asthma due to family history but half of the group was placed on a special intervention program that began when the mothers were pregnant. Those mothers had to breastfeed for at least four months and then limit exposure to dust mites, pets and tobacco smoke, according to Reuters. Carlsten believes that the reason why those exposed to dogs had a higher level of asthma may be due to the high levels of endotoxin on dogs, a microorganism known to cause inflammation in the lungs. The study did not look at families with an average risk of asthma so these findings may not apply to those subjects.

So should you avoid bringing home a puppy? Carlsten doesn't believe the study's findings, which were reported in Pediatric Allergy and Immunology, are definitive enough to make that recommendation. Instead, families should base the decision on their desire to have a pet.

At first, Helpful Buckeye wasn't sure if he wanted to tackle this question...but what the heck, it's all in good fun...and, it's just the opinion of the author:
Should You Date a Cat Guy or a Dog Guy?

by Amy Klein

Most men can be categorized by the pets they own.  I should have known Ian wasn't the one for me after the first date, when he told me he had cats, two of them.

Look, I have nothing to add to the much-documented debate on the virtues of cats versus dogs. But based on my extensive dating experience, I do know that men can be categorized by the pets they own.  So the debate I raise is: Men with Cats (MWC) vs. Men with Dogs (MWD).

I can say with veritable certainty, after dating said cat-guy for a tumultuous year (if you include our three breakups), that I should not date men who have cats.

I'm in no way deeming MWC undate-able.  And I'm not saying that all MWD make great boyfriends.  However, MWC and MWD exhibit specific characteristics that make them compatible with different types of women:

Men With Cats (MWC) are sensitive.

If you don't hear from a cat guy for a day, it's probably because he's mad at you for something you said.  Reconciliation will entail a long conversation about what you really meant, how he felt when you said it and how sorry you really are.

On the plus side, making up with an MWC will be romantic and intense.

MWC are emotional.

These men are not heartless. They might cry during fights, but they'll also shed a tear or two at sappy movies. But hey, they will go with you to sappy movies.

Men who have dogs won't be caught dead at a chick-flick (unless it's the first month, when they will do anything.)

MWC need connection.

They want to stay in touch with you throughout the week, the day, the hour. They want to know how you're feeling, what you're feeling, why you're feeling it. They want to always feel connected.

The plus side is that you never have a doubt where you stand with them. The only one to take space will be you!

MWC are inflexible.

MWC love their neat little cats who do their neat little business in a litter box and don't have to go outside and muck about in the dirt like dogs. MWC are often more Type-A people who like things just so. (One of my exes had to arrange his books according to their height). Even if the MWC is not necessarily organized in the home, his outlook on life doesn't often leave room for much spontaneity.

But they'll be great at making long-term plans and commitments.

On the other hand...

Men With Dogs (MWD) are free spirits.

They have to walk their dogs two or three times a day, and who knows what kind of adventure this will take them on? But they may not be so good with type-A women who like to plan things out way in advance.

MWD are passive.

If they don't call you back, it's never, ever because they're upset at you. It's probably just because they forgot, or were too busy at work, or don't like you. You'll never have to wonder if MWD is mad at you, holding a grudge about something you said a month ago, or plotting an elaborate revenge fantasy.

On the other hand, his lack of drama might set you off kilter.

MWD are independent.

They take their space. They zone out. They're laid back and don't sweat the small stuff. It might be hard to know where you stand with a dog-man.

Of course there is an exception to every rule (especially a man who inherited a cat from his ex-girlfriend, or a man who loves both dogs and cats). But the real reason that I don't date MWC, and really like MWD, is because each resembles the animal they room with.

Bottom line:

MWC are too finicky for me but MWD are refreshingly simple. MWD just want to be played with (you know what I mean here), occasionally snuggled and otherwise left alone. That's the guy for me.

Adapted from:

Helpful Buckeye suspects there will be some varied responses to this theory.

Consider this as a public service announcement:

CDC issues new warning about salmonella from pet turtles

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Pennsylvania Health Department are investigating an outbreak of salmonella associated with exposure to small pet turtles.

Sale of turtles with carapaces (the upper shell) smaller than four inches has been prohibited in the U.S. since 1975 due to their risk of transmitting salmonella, but the CDC says "they are still available for illegal purchase through transient vendors on the street, at flea markets, and at fairs."

This black-market wildlife trade has resulted in 132 reported cases of human salmonella infections across 18 states between August 2010 and September 2011. More than 60 percent of those cases were in children younger than 10. Of the 56 patients interviewed, 36 reported that they had been exposed to turtles. Fourteen of those patients identified "turtles too small to be legally traded," the CDC reported today in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Further investigation found that the water in turtle tanks in the patients' homes tested positive for this particular strain of salmonella.

As a result of this new outbreak, the CDC is warning that "turtles are not appropriate pets in households with young children or other high risk individuals," such as pregnant women, the elderly and people with weak immune systems.

According to the report, small turtles pose a particularly high salmonella risk because they are tiny enough for children to place them in their mouths and handle them like toys.

This is just the most recent outbreak of salmonella carried by small turtles. An outbreak in 2007 infected 44 people in five states. A 3-week-old baby girl in Florida died in March 2007 after being exposed to her family's pet turtle.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration also cautions against owning pet turtles, warning that salmonella can cause "diarrhea, fever, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting and headache."

The CDC offers several tips for reducing the risk of turtle-associated salmonellosis, including thoroughly washing hands and any surfaces that turtles come into contact with. The agency recommends handling all turtles as if they could be contaminated with salmonella and warns that a negative salmonella test does not mean a turtle is not infected, as they do not "shed" the bacteria consistently.

As a result of this latest outbreak, the CDC says that increased enforcement against the sale of small turtles and increasing existing penalties could help decrease the likelihood of future infections.

Adapted from: 

Consider yourself alerted....

If your employer started to offer you a selection of pet health insurance plans as a part of your employee benefits, would you find that an attractive offer?  These folks in Boston seem to be thrilled with the idea:

Pet Health Care A Perk:

The voluntary benefit is a low-cost way for companies to keep their workforces happy

The Liberty Hotel is a pet-friendly place. Staff members bring in their dogs; guests check in with birds, ferrets, even a monkey that stayed for six months during a movie shoot. So when the Boston hotel started offering pet insurance as part of its employee benefits package two years ago, workers saw it as a natural extension of the health care plan.

“People who are dog people or cat people, they love their pets as much as they love their own children,’’ said general manager Rachel Moniz.

Pet insurance offered by companies such as Liberty Hotel is becoming increasingly popular as owners grapple with the rising cost of caring for their animals and employers look for additional, low-cost ways to keep their workforce happy.

For companies, pet insurance is a voluntary benefit, similar to life insurance or financial planning services, that they can offer at a group discount. The cost, however, is paid entirely by employees. Voluntary benefits are becoming more prevalent as consumers seek more options to manage costs and other risks during a down economy, according to the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, and companies look for perks they don’t have to pay for.

Meanwhile, the increasingly sophisticated treatments available to animals, from ACL surgery to pacemakers to chemotherapy, have sent pet bills soaring, making insurance a more palatable investment.

“We’re bonding with our pets the wealthier we get, and once we become more bonded, we see the value more of taking care of their health,’’ said Dennis Drent, chief executive of Veterinary Pet Insurance Co., known as VPI, who once asked his wife how much she would be willing to spend on their longhaired miniature dachshund. “I got to $10,000 and my wife didn’t even flinch.’’

Like health insurance for humans, pet coverage can vary widely, though it typically runs a few hundred dollars a year, depending on plan details and type of animal. It is now a $300 million business in the United States and expanding rapidly, with sales more than doubling from 2005 to 2009, according to the market research firm Packaged Facts.

Still, only 9 percent of companies in the United States and Canada offer pet insurance, according to the employee benefit foundation.

VPI has contracts with nearly 2,000 employers, 172 of them in Massachusetts, including Staples Inc., Comcast, and Massachusetts General Hospital - a 40 percent jump in the past year and a half.

Sean Reardon racked up $1,500 in vet bills caring for a bullmastiff puppy that ended up dying of unknown causes, so when his family got another puppy about a year ago, he signed up for VPI’s pet insurance through the Liberty Hotel.

From the realm of the really strange and unusual comes this story:

Two-Faced Kitten Born Healthy In Port Charlotte, Florida

Many people believe cats have nine lives. This one really has two faces.

This extremely rare two-faced black cat -- appropriately named Harvey Dent after the Two-Face character in the Batman series -- was born healthy and adorable in Port Charlotte, Fla., this week, WWSB ABC-7 reported.

Naturally, the kitten's humans, Nash Hand and his wife Amanda Forsythe, couldn't believe what they saw.

"[She said] 'What are you talking about? What do you mean two faces?' I said it has two faces! This cat has two faces!" Hand said, according to the station.

Forsyth told media outlets that the mini kitty has four eyes, two tiny mouths and two noses -- and they all seem to work.

"They simultaneously work together, the two faces," Forsyth said. "When he eats on one side it looks like he is eating on the other. When he meows it comes out of both sides."

But when the couple asked for help on Craigslist, they received quite the opposite. Forsyth said people told her to kill the cat, that it was a "beast" and an "abomination." But Forsyth, like Harvey Dent's mom, plans on raising the kitty despite veterinary bill concerns.

Two-faced cats, called Janus cats after the Roman god who had two faces, aren't born often and have the odds stacked against them due to health problems, reports.

But there are plenty of cases of Janus cats living through to old age. In fact, the eldest of the two-faced cats is almost 12 years old, according to Guinness World Records.

Adapted from:

With even longer odds against something happening, an 8-year old child has survived rabies:

Eight-year-old Survives Rabies

U.S. health officials said Thursday an 8-year-old girl was hospitalized, ultimately diagnosed with rabies and survived, even though rabies is usually fatal.

A report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report said the girl caught the disease after contact with free-roaming cats.

"To help make recovery possible, a process was initiated that suppresses brain activity in order to help the immune system fight the rabies virus. The girl survived and was discharged after a 52-day hospitalization," the report said. "This is the third reported case of recovery from rabies in a patient who was unvaccinated before illness onset."

Despite these cases, rabies is usually fatal, CDC officials said. However, it is preventable via vaccination of domestic animals such as dogs and cats and avoidance of wild or unfamiliar animals.

"When an exposure has occurred, a preventive vaccine known as PEP can prevent infection," the report said.

In addition, physicians caring for patients with acute progressive encephalitis should consider rabies in the differential diagnosis and pursue laboratory diagnostic testing when indicated, CDC officials said.

Adapted from: 

You already know that Helpful Buckeye is going to point out the contact with free-roaming (feral) cats. 

For your enjoyment, Helpful Buckeye offers this interesting video of...A Cat Betrayed...have your speakers on for this one:

The Ohio State Buckeyes basketball team went to Wisconsin and beat the Badgers yesterday, where we haven't won since 2000.  That puts us in the lead for the Big 10 title.

The NY Giants were able to come back against the Patriots to win the Super Bowl.  Helpful Buckeye didn't have a rooting interest...but Desperado got her wish and she will collect her winnings later on.


When I got up at 4:30 this morning, the bright moon was shining in the window and on my computer was almost enough light to read by!

Desperado and Helpful Buckeye had a really rewarding trip to Phoenix this week.  Out trip featured beautiful weather, historic locations, culinary delights, agricultural marvels, paleontology discoveries, archaeological finds, and some really great music.  It's nice to have good plans, but it's even nicer to have them work out well!

~~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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