Saturday, June 28, 2008

Wounded Soldier Gets Canine Companion

Photo: Army Capt. James Barclay IV bonds with his hunting dog, Bryant. A Williamsburg, Va., trainer donated his services to train Bryant for Barclay, who was wounded in an Afghanistan roadside-bomb attack. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joe Laws

On Aug. 19, 2006, the life of Army Capt. James Barclay IV changed forever.

He was in the lead vehicle of a convoy in a remote area of Afghanistan when a roadside bomb tore through his vehicle. Barclay survived, but suffered burns over 40 percent of his body.

Barclay's life changed again June 24, but this time for the better.

Marc Illman, owner of The Pet Resort at Greensprings here, reunited Barclay with Bryant, a chocolate Labrador retriever specially trained for hunting. Illman spent the last three months training the dog while Barclay underwent treatment for his injuries.

Bryant and Barclay's story began shortly after Barclay started his recovery at the Wounded Warrior Center at the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio. A long-time outdoorsman, Barclay was eager to return to hunting, his favorite pastime. He adopted Bryant in August, but soon found that his injuries prevented him from properly caring for the pooch.

"I had him for about three weeks," he said. "Due to the surgeries, I wasn't going to able to do what I wanted to do with him, and spend as much time as I should with him, so I sent him to my dad's house."

In March, Barclay's father, Army Brig. Gen. James Barclay III, former director of U.S. Joint Forces Command's Joint Center for Operational Analysis, brought Bryant and another pet to Illman for boarding. When Illman found out about the situation, he volunteered to help train Bryant free of charge.

"I'm thrilled to do this, and I hope the dog works out for him and his family," Illman said. "These young men in the armed services really don't have a choice. They're where they're told to go, when they're told to go there, and no matter what your political ideals are, they're committed to serve the armed services, and it's important they know that when they come home, as opposed to other wars we've had, that they have some support."

Bryant's training began with basic obedience training and socialization. Illman then moved on to more hunting and outdoor-specific training such as running through deep undergrowth and proper reaction to gunfire. He specifically trained the pup to hunt both water fowl and upland birds such as quail and pheasant. Illman said Bryant took easily to the training.

"What makes him really special is that, sometimes you have a dog that's great around people [and] becomes a great house dog. We call them 'couch potatoes,' Illman said. "But he also has the ability to switch that off and become a great field-trial hunting dog."

The elder Barclay, who recently left JFCom to become commanding general at Fort Rucker, Ala., said he's grateful not only for Illman's help, but also for everyone who reaches out to wounded servicemembers in need.

"It's great to have Americans who support our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines, and he is prime example of that kind of support that is willing to give and do things for these kids," the general said. "We've got great Americans out there that show their support in different ways for our kids. I think it's wonderful, and folks like that need recognition."

As Barclay reunited with his old friend, the two recognized each other right away and were inseparable from the moment they were reunited.

"It really means a lot to see that people here support me and the soldiers out here," Barclay said. "Hopefully, [Bryant will] be my right-hand man."

In addition to Bryant, Barclay received a free one-year supply of dog food and a weekend hunting trip at a resort in Montana.

With Bryant in tow, Barclay will head back to San Antonio to continue his recovery. He said he hopes to be better in time for the bird-hunting season in the fall.

"Once I get back, I'll start working with him right away to try and create that bond you need in a hunting dog," Barclay said.

(Army Spc. Andrew Orillion serves in the U.S. Joint Forces Command Public Affairs Office.)

Editor's Note: To find out about more individuals, groups and organizations that are helping support the troops, visit www.AmericaSupportsYou.mil. America Supports You directly connects military members to the support of the America people and offers a tool to the general public in their quest to find meaningful ways to support the military community.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Protecting Your Pet: Tips To Prevent Dog Loss

AAAG Note: Having a small GPS attach to a dog's collar was news to us. We suspect it could come in handy for the dog who can climb every mountain (or fence) and go on walk abouts.

(NAPSI)-There are approximately 74.8 million family dogs in the U.S. (APPMA, 2007-2008 National Pet Owners Survey) and the reality is that most are comfortable roaming a territory far more expansive than the average home or backyard. Unfortunately, this natural inclination to explore can often result in a dog being separated from his family. In fact, the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy found family pets are lost nearly every two seconds, resulting in more than 10 million missing pets each year.

Concerned owners can follow three simple tips to help ensure their dog stays safely at home and maximize the chance to find him quickly, should he escape.

• Loss prevention starts at home. All too often, doors, windows and gates are accidentally left open and dogs escape. Dog owners must ensure that all escape routes are secured. Fit external doors with self-closing mechanisms (such as storm doors and gates) and examine fences for gaps or holes.

• Dog tags and chips. Dog tags and implanted microchips are valuable methods that help identify a lost dog once they’re found. In order to work, you’ll have to keep the information up-to-date, including your most recent phone number. While these are important tools, they are passive and depend on others to find and return your lost pet.

• Doggy GPS is affordable and well worth it. Technology can play a powerful role in retrieving your lost pet. Originally developed for the military, powerful GPS tracking has recently been redesigned for monitoring pets and is available nationwide at places like PetSmart and Circuit City. Zoombak (www.zoombak.com) makes a small and affordable lightweight GPS locator that comfortably attaches to your dog’s collar and uses satellite GPS and mobile phone networks to keep track of your pet 24/7. An interactive Web site allows owners to easily set up “safe zones” such as your “backyard” or “park,” and if the pet leaves the zone you’ll receive an e-mail or text message alert on your cell phone, giving you the dog’s location so you can quickly find him. If you have a four-legged escape artist, GPS is definitely a worthwhile investment to help provide peace of mind.

Dog owners must be vigilant in the fight against dog loss. Following three simple tips--minimize opportunities for escape, keep identity tags current, and monitor your pet’s location--will help ensure you and your pet enjoy a long life together.

A family pet goes missing nearly every two seconds. Fortunately, GPS technology makes it easier to locate a lost or missing dog.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Adopt-A-Raptor at Callaway Gardens®

Dedicated to reconnecting man and nature, Callaway Gardens® offers the Adopt-A-Raptor program to provide support for the survival of our feathered friends.

Participants can sponsor the food, training, husbandry and housing of one of our resident raptors. Help support the care of Woodward the bald eagle, a crowd favorite at the Birds of Prey show whose beak deformity prevents him from eating properly in the wild. Also available for adoption are Winston, the eastern screech owl, Vinnie the black vulture and many more raptor ambassadors.

While our eleven resident raptors cannot survive in the wild, the Birds of Prey show at Callaway Gardens allow nature’s feathered ambassadors to provide priceless contributions by teaching visitors the importance of preserving our environment. The Birds of Prey show is available to guests three times each day (depending upon the weather) with the cost of regular garden admission. All of Callaway Gardens’ raptors are presented with the permission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

Adoption fees range from $50 to $500 per year. Each adoption package includes a certificate of adoption as well as a photo of the sponsored bird and its life history. Adoptions also make unique gifts and are an exciting way for a business or organization to make a difference.

To complete an adoption simply visit www.callawaygardens.org. For additional information, call 706-663-5096, 1-800-CALLAWAY (225-5292) ext. 5096 or email development@callawaygardens.org. Begin supporting a Callaway Gardens bird of prey today!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Reptiles Rule during Reptile Day at Fernbank Museum of Natural History July 26, 2008

Meet dozens of fascinating, scaly animals in Fernbank’s Great Hall during the Museum’s annual Reptile Day. Members of the Georgia Herpetological Society and Fernbank educators will be available to answer questions and provide opportunities for visitors to interact with and learn more about reptiles during this popular Family Fun Day.

Special Activities:
Live Reptile Displays
10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Great Hall
Visitors will have the opportunity to observe a wide variety of reptiles courtesy of the Georgia Herpetological Society

Remarkable Reptiles
11 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. and 3 p.m., Auditorium
Live animal presentations with Fernbank scientists. Seating is limited.

Kids’ Meals
11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Fernbank Café
Kids’ Meals will be available in The Fernbank Café, which include lizard- and snake-shaped chicken nuggets, a side item, and a drink for $6.

Saturday, July 26, 2008
10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Fernbank Museum of Natural History
767 Clifton Road, NE
Atlanta, GA 30307
www.fernbankmuseum.org
404.929.6300 info, 404.929.6400 tickets

Included with Museum admission—$15 for adults, $14 for students/seniors, $12 children ages 12 and under, free for members and children ages 2 and under.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Public Health Continues Mosquito Surveillance

District 4 Public Health reminds the public to stay vigilant about preventing mosquito bites. So far this year, surveillance data gathered by the Georgia Department of Human Resources Division of Public Health confirms two horses in Lowndes County and one horse in each Cook, Berrien, Brooks, and Lanier counties tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis. A dog in Ware county was also infected.

District 4 Public Health works to protect residents against mosquito-borne viruses through arboviral surveillance. Dr. Mike Womak will be assisting District 4 again this mosquito season with the collection of potential infected mosquitoes and the enhancement of the vector disease prevention skills of environmental health personnel.

He received his training from the University of Mississippi Medical School’s graduate program and the United States Air Force. He taught in the biological science program at Macon State College for 32 years. From 1999-2006 the Tennessee Valley Authority engaged his entomological services for mosquito surveillance in North Georgia and Western North
Carolina. He also was actively engaged in collecting for West Nile Virus from 2001-2004 in Macon, Warner Robins, Albany, and Valdosta, Georgia.

Mosquito traps are set, in permanent and semi-permanent water areas, and collected beginning in mid-summer and lasting until mid-fall. Once mosquitoes are trapped they are sent to the University of Georgia’s Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study for testing. If they are
found to carry any potentially dangerous viruses District 4 personnel are notified immediately. This type of surveillance allows public health to notify residents of an increased risk in the area.

Locations for setting traps are identified using known breeding areas, complaints from residents about standing water and problems with mosquitoes, and/or dead bird calls. Calls are logged and mapped using GIS to determine placement of the mosquito traps.

Although human infections from mosquito-borne viruses are rare, mosquitoes can infect humans with West Nile Virus (WNV), Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), and Saint Louis Encephalitis (SLE). People can reduce their risk of contracting these viruses by taking steps to
prevent mosquito bites and reducing mosquito habitats around the home.

The following is a reminder of four simple steps you can take to prevent and reduce bites:

1) Areas with standing water are locations where mosquitoes will
lay eggs and breed. Drain or treat standing water with larvicides
(Mosquito Dunks or Mosquito Torpedoes) available at home improvement
stores. Tipping out water twice a week from planters and basins around
the house and yard as well as keeping gutters cleaned and properly
drained can prevent Mosquito problems.
2) Dawn and dusk are the times of day that mosquitoes are most
active. Avoid outdoor activity at these times.
3) Dress appropriately when outdoors for long periods of time or
when mosquitoes are most active. Wear long sleeves, pants, shoes and
socks, and clothing that is tightly woven to prevent mosquitoes from
coming in contact with your skin.
4) Use insect repellant with an EPA-approved active ingredient such
as DEET. Always follow the directions on the package for safest and most
effective use. Do not use DEET on infants or pets. For children, use
repellants sparingly and only use those that contain 10% DEET or less.

“The best prevention for West Nile Virus is to control the breeding sites of the Southern House Mosquito. This is accomplished by reducing standing water. Drain breeding sites such as clogged gutters, old buckets, swimming pools, clay jars, and dog feeding dishes. Almost
anything that will hold water can breed mosquitoes,” said Dr. Mike Womack. “Less than an inch of standing water is enough to produce hundreds of mosquitoes in a very short time.”

Products containing Permethrin can be used to treat clothing, tents, and other equipment using manufacturer specific recommendations. These products are often available in stores that also sell sporting goods.

Equine owners are encouraged to have horses vaccinated against Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). District 4 Public Health currently has no confirmed cases of WNV, EEE, or SLE. In 2006 there were nine confirmed WNV cases of human infection in Georgia, including one death and one fatal confirmed case of EEE human infection in Georgia.

In 2007, Georgia reported 52 confirmed cases of WNV infection, including 1 death. In addition to WNV, two confirmed cases and one suspect case of LaCrosse Encephalitis were reported in Georgia in 2007. One suspect case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis was also reported in
2007.

District 4 Public Health serves Butts, Carroll, Coweta, Fayette, Heard, Henry, Lamar, Meriwether, Pike, Spalding, Troup, and Upson Counties.

Right to Hike Honors Life of Meredith Emerson

AAG Note: What a beautiful way to honor the life of Meredith Emerson. Emerson's dog, who had been micro chipped, was vital in the search to bring her home. Wouldn't it be great if all pets could have that same ability?

To celebrate Meredith Emerson's life and passions, friends, co-workers and concerned Georgians have joined together to create Right to Hike, a nonprofit that promotes not only hiking safety, but also other causes that were dear to the young woman.

Right to Hike will kick off its programs by hosting simultaneous fundraisers at all 40 metro Atlanta Applebee's on June 25 — five days after Emerson's birthday - where participants dine any time during the restaurant's business hours to donate 15 percent of their total bill to the nonprofit.

The money raised will go toward funding Right to Hike's three initiatives:

To provide hikers and outposts with GPS devices that allow emergency personnel to locate hikers in distress;
To offer added security to people with pets by providing micro-chipping for domesticated animals at Right to Hike events
To help other students study abroad in France, as Emerson did, through The Meredith Hope Emerson Memorial Award for Study Abroad which was created by The University of Georgia.

"We want to ensure other hikers can feel safe while doing what they love by giving them access to Satellite Personal Outdoor Trackers, known as SPOTs, so they can send messages for help and be located if lost," says Julia Karrenbauer, Emerson's co-worker, best friend and board member for Right to Hike. "Meredith's dog Ella's micro-chip played a key role in helping us find her, and it's so important to make sure all pets have one in the event they're ever lost."

To participate in the fundraiser, visit www.righttohikeinc.com and print out your invitation before visiting Applebee's to ensure 15 percent of your bill goes toward helping Right to Hike.

The Story of Georgie


Georgie, the Georgia Heartland Humane Society 2007 Doggie Dash poster boy, passed away June 14, 2008 evening from multiple seizures. Georgie and Sofi were born blind and with neurological problems, but their rescue typifies what GHHS is all about, opening our hearts and homes even to those who were not so adoptable. Both Georgie and Sofi were very lucky because they found two angels who were willing to adopt them and deal with the challenges of dogs with multiple handicaps. GHHS's own Christine Kilgore and her husband adopted Georgie and Jana Cogins adopted Sofi. Although we were only blessed with Georgie for too short a time, he brought much joy to both Christine and her husband. Our thoughts and prayers are with Christine and Pat through this very difficult and sad time. And we send our heartfelt thanks to them for giving Georgie a wonderful life even if it was too short.

'The Story of GEORGIE'
by Christine and Thomas Kilgore

GHHS received a call for help....there were five sibling pups in need of immediate care. These precious babies were only 5-6 wks old....and had been a by-product of 'inbreeding'... While in my care, two of the sibling pups started showing signs of 'not so normal' puppy behavior. They would walk into walls-fall down hills-trip over everything in their path and even walk 'through' the water and food pans... These incidents would cause them much frustration, they would actually stomp and run as fast and hard as they could (as if embarrassed).

They wanted so much to play, though could not grasp how...when another sibling would pounce on them -you could hear the screams of fright, this became a 'survival of the fittest' situation. Once the other 'normal' pups realized that these two pups had 'handicaps', they began to torment them, along with attacking them. Separation became apparent. As for giving them affection or even grooming, they would become confused by the 'confinement'-this brought on bouts of extreme wiggling, crying, and even biting to be set free...

A vet visit revealed that Sophie and Georgie had suffered a severe case of roundworms, this neglect showed that they were almost completely blind and from the inbreeding, this caused them to have neurological disorders also.

As the days and weeks went by, one by one the siblings were adopted into new and wonderful homes...even Sophie, the female sibling with her disabilities found someone who could overlook her 'flaws'...then there was Georgie. He remained here, right where he belonged...

After that, Georgie became somewhat of a mascot for GHHS(Doggie Dash 2007)-all who have met him, adores him...especially, his foster parents...

It's now a year later... Georgie with his own disabilities, according to the neurologist, will never learn nor will he understand like a normal dog...so, he will always be a puppy, a 65+lb. puppy. He knows his name-where he eats/drinks-where his 'house' is; we never wanted any dog of ours to be an 'outside dog', but he prefers the outdoors-I guess it's due to the natural light and large fenced in yard where he loves to play with his toys and the many 'companion friends' he has made, roll around in sun and Georgie, he loves to run too!!

He reminds us of 'Forrest Gump'-"Run, Georgie, Run!!".

Although, there have been many challenges, Georgie has thrived and blossomed into the most loving 'puppy' you will ever meet. He now accepts any and all types of attention--so, when you meet Georgie just ask him for "Kisses Georgie" and he will in turn give you the sweetest kisses you've ever been given.....

Every where we turn, it's Georgie...
Our lives revolved around his needs: the ramp to the outdoors has barriers on both sides to prevent him from falling (Georgie never learned steps)-to buying high sided, non-tip bowls, to even canceling appointments, if we knew storms were in the forecast. It was all about him...we accepted this, only to receive his 'sweet kisses'.....

Thursday, June 19, 2008

FDA Requests Seizure of Animal Food Products at PETCO Distribution Center

Today, at the request of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), U.S. Marshals seized various animal food products stored under unsanitary conditions at the PETCO Animal Supplies Distribution Center located in Joliet, Ill., pursuant to a warrant issued by the United States District Court in Chicago.

U.S. Marshals seized all FDA-regulated animal food susceptible to rodent and pest contamination. The seized products violate the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act because it was alleged in a case filed by the United States Attorney that they were being held under unsanitary conditions. (The Act uses the term "insanitary" to describe such conditions).

During an FDA inspection of a PETCO distribution center in April, widespread and active rodent and bird infestation was found. The FDA inspected the facility again in May and found continuing and widespread infestation.

"We simply will not allow a company to store foods under filthy and unsanitary conditions that occur as a direct result of the company's failure to adequately control and prevent pests in its facility," said Margaret O'K. Glavin, associate commissioner for regulatory affairs. "Consumers expect that such safeguards will be in place not only for human food, but for pet food as well."

The distribution center in Joliet, Ill., provides pet food products and supplies to PETCO retail stores in 16 states including Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin.

FDA has no reports of pet illness or death associated with consumption of animal food distributed by PETCO, and does not have evidence that the food is unsafe for animals. However, the seized products were in permeable packages and held under conditions that could affect the food's integrity and quality.

As a precaution, consumers who have handled products originating from the PETCO distribution center should thoroughly wash their hands with hot water and soap. Any surfaces that came in contact with the packages should be washed as well. Consumers are further advised as a precaution to thoroughly wash products sold in cans and glass containers from PETCO in the 16 affected states.

If a pet has become ill after eating these food products, pet owners should contact their veterinarian and report illnesses to FDA state consumer complaint coordinators.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Anthropologists Examine Relatives and Friends, Seeking Both Sides of our Nature


To find out what makes us human, Brian Hare asks our closest relatives and best friends.

As a new and newsworthy assistant professor of biological anthropology and anatomy at Duke, he’s examining the social abilities of chimpanzees and bonobos, the two endangered species of ape with which we share about 99 percent of our genes.

This summer, the focus is on “xenophobia” (ZEE-no-phobia), the fear of strangers.

Bonobos “are extremely tolerant,” Hare says. “They’re very good at cooperating and much more egalitarian, like we are. Chimpanzees are a lot more hostile. They have a lot of problems. They can even kill each other.”

“What a fantastic opportunity! Here we have hallmarks of being human, and they differ between our two closest relatives.”

With his wife, scientist/journalist/blogger Vanessa Woods, Hare is again going to Africa in mid-June as he has for the last four years to study chimps and bonobos in orphanages.

Bonobos are not pets. These animals were orphaned by poachers.They’ll start at Point-Noire in the Republic of Congo, where three graduate students are already hard at work evaluating the behavior and thought processes of a group of orphaned chimpanzees at the Tchimpounga sanctuary. Then they’ll fly to Brazzaville and boat across the Congo River to Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo. There they will study a group of orphaned bonobos at the Lola Ya Bonobo Sanctuary.

This summer’s xenophobia testing will involve showing the apes photos of familiar and unfamiliar animals to see which they prefer looking at. “The prediction is that chimpanzees and bonobos will have different preferences,” Hare says. “Bonobos tend to be very peaceful with neighbors they don’t necessarily know very well. Chimpanzees do not.”

Meanwhile, Woods will continue evaluating “social-sexual behavior” among very young bonobos. Earlier research by Hare’s group and others documented that adult bonobos — unlike chimps — use simulated and real sexual activity to ward off tensions among group members. And Woods’ research has also found “2-and 3-year-old babies are already using these social-sexual behaviors.” Hare says. “The question is: does that require a lot of exposure to adults, or does it matter?”

The orphaned chimps and bonobos are the offspring of parents killed for food or trafficked as exotic pets. They’ve formed their own societies of primate peers at the three African wildlife sanctuaries where Hare has negotiated his group’s access to conduct research. At night the orphans can sleep in enclosures comfortably roofed-off from the rain. And by day they can “escape” from the gaze of human monitors within open, natural spaces of up to 100 acres filled with the plants they know.

“I want to see animals living in as rich an environment as possible, because I want to find out how they express their most sophisticated problem-solving abilities,” he says. “These are microcosms of what they would normally experience in the wild, but they’re up to 20 times larger than the world’s largest zoo facility. Not only that, they’re in primary tropical forests.” In such settings, the animals can develop normally despite being orphaned, he adds. “They show very few, if any, of the aberrant behaviors you see in laboratory animals.”

Hare does research with these subjects by their own invitation. “The idea is coming up with experiments that are fun for the animals, so they’ll volunteer to participate,” he says. “In the morning, we ask them if they would like to play games with us. If they’d like to play the games, then we’re doing our jobs well.” Doing such research on animals living in totally wild settings would be impossible as well as unethical, he adds.

Examples of fun and games include the “double rope” exercise in which animals are tested for their ability or inclination to work cooperatively by pulling on opposite ends of a rope connected to a food tray. Only by pulling together can they get a snack. The test highlights striking differences in the attitudes of chimps and bonobos, which split on our family tree about 2 million years ago. All in all, he has been working with apes for 14 years.

Bonobos play with the scientists only if they want to.Ingenious experiments on animal behavior have been Hare’s trademark since his undergraduate days at Emory University’s Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center in Atlanta. He first attracted attention there by taking up his professor’s challenge to prove that his family dogs could infer human thought in the way they followed a pointed finger to the correct Dixie cup where food was hidden.

“I found it interesting that dogs can do this but chimps can’t,” he recalls. “People think solving this pointing problem is also very important for young children as they develop the ability to think about the thoughts of others.”

Ironically, after graduating from Emory (summa cum laude) with anthropology and psychology degrees, Hare failed to be selected as a graduate student at Duke’s well-respected Department of Biological Anthropology and Anatomy. He ended up attending Harvard instead, which he calls “the Duke of the north for me.” At Harvard he expected to continue studying primates but found himself in Siberia evaluating an amazing breeding experiment that had “tamed” silver foxes.

By breeding only the animals that were least aggressive toward humans for 30 successive generations, scientists had turned them into “cute” foxes that behaved much like fawning retrievers. Hare’s experiments showed that they responded to human gestures — such as pointing — just like his dogs did back in Atlanta. Untamed silver foxes did not.

His Harvard advisor on the project – now a research colleague — thinks the same selection pressure is important in the evolution of the bonobos’ friendly behavior toward each other, says Hare.

Arriving at Duke this spring after making a name for himself as director of the Hominoid Psychology Research Group at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, Hare will be doing some chimpanzee research at North Carolina’s state zoo in Asheboro while also rekindling his canine research.

About 800 square feet of space in the Bioscience Building’s basement has been renovated as “a lab for people to bring their pet dogs in to play some fun games,” says Hare, who also has an appointment at Duke’s Center for Cognitive Neuroscience.

“We’ll be able to look at how dogs solve problems.” He explains. In the process, “we can also offer doggy day care.”

By Monte Basgall

Monte Basgall is senior science writer at Duke News and Communications.


Monday, June 16, 2008

Coping with Foreclosure: How to Ensure Family Pets Receive Care

AAG Note: There are some wonderful no kill animal rescue groups in our area. They are great for finding a new friend who needs a home. Don't let your pet suffer your loss. If you have to give them up, choose a rescue group who will protect the animal.

(ARA) - Times are tight for Americans. Around every corner lurks more news about rising fuel prices, expensive food and families forced to leave their homes to make ends meet. According to RealtyTrac, home foreclosures in the first quarter of 2008 increased 23 percent from the previous quarter and jumped 112 percent from the first quarter of 2007. These increases in foreclosures have given rise to an unexpected problem: pet abandonment.

There are no figures to estimate the number of animals being abandoned or surrendered due to current economic hardships, but animal shelters across the country are taking in more animals every day as families find themselves without other options. Some families are taking advantage of shelters to temporarily board their pets with the hope of picking them up in a few days or weeks. Meanwhile, local authorities are seeing an increase in the number of pets being abandoned by their owners.

In Arkansas, three dogs were found starved to death in their kennels. The homeowners had left the dogs behind when they moved. Two dogs in San Diego were left at a vacant home for several months, but survived. In Downy, Calif., four birds were found abandoned in their cages.

But abandonment is never the answer, animal welfare experts say. “Whether it’s asking a friend to pet sit, finding an apartment that accepts animals, finding a local shelter that can help or asking your veterinarian for low-cost boarding, there’s always a humane option,” says Allie Phillips, director of public policy for the American Humane Association, the 130-year-old child and animal welfare organization.

To help struggling families find options, American Humane has put together a list of tips to help homeowners either relocate with their pets or find other safe placement options for them. Some of those tips include:

* Look for apartments and rental homes that will take pets.
* If you cannot take your pet, ask your veterinarian if you can receive low-cost boarding for your pet or set up a payment plan.
* Check www.petfinder.com for a list of shelters and rescue organizations in your area that can help board your animal or will accept it for adoption.
* Strongly consider taking your pet with you. The comfort and companionship of pets can help ease the strain of a move.

"There's a lot of news about the stock market and a struggling economy lately, but it's not the economy that's struggling. It's you, us, our friends and neighbors," says Marie Belew Wheatley, president and CEO of American Humane. “It’s a tough place for any family to find themselves. Bills need to be paid and in order to make ends meet, sometimes sacrifices have to be made. It’s not easy, but pet abandonment isn’t the answer.”

Tip sheets for homeowners looking for ways to keep or care for their pets during a foreclosure can be found at www.americanhumane.org. Also available online are tip sheets for bank and mortgage companies that may find abandoned pets in vacated homes. In addition, local animal shelters may be eligible for grants from American Humane to help families stay with their pets.

Neighbors Can Help, Too

Often a neighbor can help authorities and animal welfare groups spot an abandoned animal before it’s too late. Neighbors should listen for animal sounds, look in windows, check with other neighbors and be on the lookout for signs that the previous homeowners had pets. If pets are known or suspected to be on the property, animal control should be called immediately. With a neighbor’s help, animal control can get a search warrant to enter the home and check for pets that are abandoned or neglected.

American Humane is quick to point out that animals left behind or simply set free will probably not survive. It can be weeks or months before a bank or mortgage company will visit an abandoned home to make an assessment or a neighbor notices that pets are trapped in a house. That’s too long for any animal to go without food and water. If abandoned, there is also a chance that the state criminal animal-cruelty laws might apply, even if arrangements are made for somebody to feed and water the animals after the home has been vacated.

“It’s a terrible situation for any family to find themselves in, but to leave an animal behind only makes it worse,” says Belew Wheatley. “It seems when times are tough we find the best in our friends, family and neighbors. If they’re unable to help there are always other options, from a vet to a local animal shelter. These are our family pets, and they count on us to take care of them.”

Visit www.americanhumane.org for more information.

Courtesy of ARAcontent


Sunday, June 15, 2008

The HSUS Publishes Collection of Animal Narratives by Colman McCarthy

The Humane Society of the United States Press is pleased to announce the release of At Rest with the Animals: Thoughts over Thirty Years, a compilation of experiences with animals by former, longtime Washington Post columnist Colman McCarthy. The essays, written during the last four decades, explore humans' sometimes cruel and sometimes kind relations with animals.

McCarthy, a well-known figure in the animal protection movement, gives both heart-warming and heart-wrenching accounts of human treatment toward animals. His essays broach a wide range of topics from downed cows, factory farming, circus animals, horse racing to threatened polar bears. Years later, many of these issues, including cruel treatment of downed cows in slaughterhouses, and the drugging and overburdening of race horses, are still prevalent today.

"At Rest with the Animals showcases the extraordinary breadth of Colman's examination of animal questions," said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States. "As we revisit his assembled writings, we can see it was not uncommon for him to provide an original moral framing of issues we've now come to debate in society in a serious way. He's been a soothsayer, and an elegant one at that. I'm proud that Colman agreed to let Humane Society Press, The HSUS' publishing division, share his rich legacy of animal-friendly journalism with a new generation of readers."

Saturday, June 14, 2008

In The Wake of Dog Attacks on Postal Workers, Doggone Safe Urges Dog Owners to Learn to Read Their Dogs

AAG Note: The following story is out of Canada and raises some good points about safety around dogs- both for the owner and the potential victim. Being still when an overanxious dog is acting threatened is good advice. Put out roots and act like a tree.

24-7 - Last week brought news of an increasing incidence of dog attacks on Canada Post workers over the past few years and of several recent attacks. These reports were from the west, but dogs pose a risk to letter carriers across the country. Dog owners can help by abandoning the assumption that their own dog would never bite, by learning to read the signs of a dog that might bite and by taking action to secure the safety of postal workers and others who might visit their property and encounter the dog.

The vast majority of dog owners love their dogs, consider them to be part of the family and do not want them to bite anyone. In fact, most dog owners believe that their own dog will not bite. "Oh, he always barks like that, but he would never bite", or "If he bites, I will put him down" are two statements that dog behaviour specialist and Doggone Safe co-founder Teresa Lewin hears from dog owners on a regular basis. "Dog owners need to get their heads out of the sand and learn to read dog body language and understand a bit about dog behaviour so that they can see how very close many of their dogs are to biting", says Lewin. "My dog bit without warning", is a common lament from the dog owner following a bite incident. According to Lewin, there is always a warning. Dog owners and all people encountering dogs need to educate themselves so that they can see the warnings and take appropriate action before the dog is pushed to the point of actually biting.

Doggone Safe suggests a three-pronged approach to help reduce the bite risk for postal workers:
1. Education for children in schools as a mandated part of the curriculum so that future generations grow up with the knowledge they need to read dog body language, treat dogs properly and act safely around dogs.
2. Education for dog owners so that they can read the signs that dogs send when they are anxious, recognize dog behaviour signs that indicate a bite situation is developing and take appropriate actions to protect others and to reduce fear and anxiety in their dog.
3. Education for postal workers so that they can read dog body language, recognize the environmental signs that may indicate a dangerous situation, avoid contact with aggressive dogs and defuse a dangerous situation should they be confronted with a dog.

"Dogs generally do not want to bite. It is a last resort after the dog has exhausted all means of warning", says Christina LeBreton, Doggone Safe Western Co-ordinator and owner of Ciera Canine Services in Edmonton. "I joined with Doggone Safe because they offer the very best information available and I wanted to give back to my community and to help educate my clients and the public about how to understand dogs better and act safely around them. There are far too many dog bites and the vast majority of them are preventable using very simple techniques and some understanding of how to speak dog".

Doggone Safe urges dog owners to take immediate preventative steps if the dog displays any of the following signs in response to the mail carrier or others: barking/lunging at the end of a rope or chain, barking/lunging at the door or from behind a fence, stiff body posture with tail held high or wagging slowly, barking and retreating, backing away, tail between legs (may be wagging), mouth closed and half moon of white showing in the dog's eye, yawning, licking his chops or turning away. Any of these signs indicate a dog that is uncomfortable with the situation and could resort to biting if the situation is allowed to continue. Steps that dog owners can take include, confining the dog out of sight of the letter carrier, never tying a dog outside, never giving the dog access to a screen door or a door that a child could open, providing a bone or other treat to enjoy in a crate or pen at the time the mail is delivered, abandoning the assumption that the dog will not bite, not forcing the dog into situations where it might feel threatened, learning how to train the dog using positive reinforcement so that it can learn to do something else rather than bark at visitors to the house, learning to read dog body language so that they can understand how the dog is feeling and can intervene before the dog bites.

"Never punish your dog for growling, lunging or barking", says Lewin. This may seem counter-intuitive, but if you suppress the dog's only means of warning, he may go straight to a bite the next time. Yelling, hitting or yanking the dog by the collar in the presence of the letter carrier may stop the dog's overt behaviour for the moment, but it does not make the dog feel better. In fact this will make the dog even more upset and more likely to bite if given the chance when the owner is not there to prevent it. Lewin continues, "the best thing for an owner to do is to change the dog's emotional state. That is, teach the dog to associate positive feelings with the delivery of mail. Happy, confident dogs do not bite. Seek professional help from a trainer who uses positive reinforcement and not punishment to change the dog's attitude and behaviour"

Doggone Safe urges letter carriers to stand still and be a tree if threatened by a dog. This is the best way to prevent a dog bite. Dog behavior experts agree that standing still the moment a loose dog is noticed and remaining still until it goes away is the best advice for anyone encountering a loose dog. Movement triggers the urge to chase and bite in dogs. It is rare for a dog to attack someone that is not moving. If an attack does occur, standing still is the best defense. Trying to fight off a dog will make the bite damage worse and may cause the dog to escalate its attack. Doggone Safe offers safety training to workers who encounter dogs on the job through its "Be Doggone Smart at Work" program.

Doggone safe offers information about reading dog body language, dog training and preventing dog bites as well as an on-line course on basic body language at its website http://www.doggonesafe.com.

The Be a Tree program for dog bite prevention education for school age children is also available for communities across Canada with information at www.be-a-tree.com. This program is supported by veterinary technicians/technologist professional associations across Canada and by the Saskatchewan and Ontario Veterinary Medical Associations.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Heat, Health and Pet Reminders

AAG Note: We thought this article pretty much sums it all up. Remember to think about your pets during the heat.



Summertime Can Be Hazardous to Pets' Health


By Lisa Wade McCormick
ConsumerAffairs.com


This is the time of year when pet owners -- and their animals -- spend a lot more time outside. But some outdoor activities -- along with the soaring mercury in the environment-- can be dangerous.....

Read the story.

Keeping Fido Safe On The Road

AAG Note: While we've not the occasion to think about what would happen to "our best friend" in case of an accident, it appears that others have. Interesting concept by this insurer- and at no extra cost.

(NAPSI)-Pet owners spend a whopping $40 billion on their furry friends each year. That’s enough to buy a gallon of gas for every man, woman and child in the United States...44 times.

Insurance companies haven’t always viewed pets with the same passion as their owners. If you’re in an accident, generally everyone in the car-except your four-legged friend-is covered.

The Progressive Group of Insurance Companies now recognizes Fido and Fifi as family members. A Progressive policy with Collision coverage now extends to cats and dogs. The coverage pays up to $500 if your dog or cat is hurt or dies as a result of a car accident.

And, best of all, the coverage is free.

“We know how much our customers love their dogs and cats. Many of us have pets, too, and we feel the same way,” said Geoff Souser of Progressive. “Progressive has a long history of product and service innovations that prove you can teach an old dog new tricks. Knowing that most people think of their pets as family members, it felt like the right thing to do.”

Progressive’s pet injury coverage is available in most places. To find out more, visit www.progressive.com/pets.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Don’t Let Uninvited Feathered Visitors ‘Fowl’ Your Outdoor Fun

(ARA) – It’s only human: You see a pair of Canada Geese waddling across your yard with half a dozen fuzzy goslings in tow and your heart melts; they’re so darn cute. Until you follow the same path the feathered family took, and realize they’ve left something decidedly unpleasant – and potentially hazardous – in their wake.

Goose feces can put a major damper on outdoor fun at this time of year, especially for properties near water. In fact, the birds can become such a nuisance at outdoor facilities like golf courses that it’s unlikely groundskeepers experience a rush of tender sentiment when they see little feathered fuzzballs hopping across the greens. Not only do bird droppings make an environment unpleasant, they pose a slip-and-fall hazard, and are a breeding ground for bacteria and disease.

“There’s no denying how cute families of geese are at this time of year, so it’s no surprise that most people faced with a goose problem don’t want to harm the birds,” says David Kogan, a technician with Bird-X, a company that has helped convince millions of Canada Geese and other winged intruders to move along during its 44 years of business. “People just want the birds to relocate somewhere that they will not be a nuisance. Plus, killing the birds doesn’t solve the problem, because more will just move in to fill the void left by the demise of the previous residents.”

At any given time, there are 3.5 million to 5.5 million Canada Geese living in the United States. Another 9 million to 11 million migrate through the country every spring and fall. “Many of those migratory birds gladly join their stay-put compatriots to raise families on U.S. soil at this time of year,” Kogan says.

Water, food, lush greens and a safe, easy location for rearing goslings are on the “must-have” list for every house-hunting Canada goose. The key to getting them to move along – safely and effectively – is to cross off one or more of those elements from the list of things that make your location desirable. “An approach that motivates the birds on three levels – sight, sound and taste – will be most effective,” Kogan says.

Sight aversions can include devices like a three-dimensional coyote replica or a Gator Guard - a life-size, lifelike replica of an alligator head – that make birds think a predator has moved into their territory. Actual goose distress calls, broadcast from a Goose Buster sonic device, make birds believe an area is unsafe for their kind. Finally, Goose Chase, a biodegradable food-grade agent made from the bitter-tasting, smelly part of concord grapes, makes food sources such as grass and ponds taste bad.

To learn more about effective goose removal products and techniques that are also environmentally conscious, visit www.bird-x.com/ARA or call (800) 662-5021.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

Nine Lives for Your Cat...and You

(ARA) - Most people know that cats are easy animals to love and care for, and can be wonderful family pets. What you may not know is that owning a cat offers much more than just companionship. Studies show that owning a cat can have numerous benefits on overall mental and physical health for people of all ages. From lowering blood pressure in adults to helping children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), cats are more than just furry friends -- adopting a cat can mean a healthier, happier family.

June is the American Humane Association’s Adopt-A-Cat Month, a perfect time to consider adding a cat to your family. Adopting is easier than ever, thanks to 9Lives’ Morris’ Million Cat Rescue (MMCR). The goal of MMCR is to rescue one million felines throughout the U.S.

“We are committed to saving lives and educating the public on responsible cat care,” says Matt Simon, 9Lives brand manager. “Partnering with American Humane Association’s June Adopt-a-Cat Month was an excellent fit for 9Lives, since we share a similar vision and goal for finding loving homes for animals.”

With the current economic downturn, some people might be hesitant to take on a pet. However, the average costs associated with caring for a cat are relatively low.

“While there may be a small adoption fee, most cats at shelters are already vaccinated and spayed or neutered,” says Dr. Eric Barchas, DVM, and author of the Catster.com Vet Blog. “Additionally, the cost of litter, nutritious food and an occasional toy is relatively low, and cats are comparatively inexpensive.”

There are all types of cats available at your local animal shelters that are in need of loving and nurturing homes -- from cuddly brand new kittens to sweet, lovable and already trained older felines. The trained staff and volunteers at animal shelters are likely to know the personalities of the animals and can help find the best match for you and your family. While you should only adopt if you feel like you and your family are ready to do so, your generous gift of adoption could mean the difference between life and death for a cat and a longer and happier life for you and your loved ones.

9Lives icon Morris the Cat is proof that an animal shelter is a great place to find your new pet. Morris was once a shelter cat; now as the famous spokes-cat for 9Lives, he is one of the most recognizable animal faces in the country. He has starred in television commercials, appeared beside Hollywood stars in major motion pictures and he’s even run for president.

If Adopt-a-Cat month and Morris’ Million Cat Rescue aren’t enough reason to adopt, here are a few more reasons to take home a furry friend.

Cats are Good for the Whole Family

Cats are good for kids
Studies show that positive self-esteem is enhanced in children when owning a pet. The responsibility that comes from owning a pet helps the child develop confidence in performing other tasks in school or interacting with friends and adults. Additional studies suggest that children who suffer from ADHD are able to focus on a pet, which helps them learn how to concentrate. Increased concentration will help them perform better in the classroom as well as complete tasks at home. Pets also give children an opportunity to interact with a live-in playmate rather than playing video or computer games or watching TV.

Cats are good for adults
A recent study reports that pets increase the survival rate of heart attack victims; 28 percent of heart patients with pets survived serious heart attacks compared to only 6 percent without pets. Cats have also been linked to decreased blood pressure and reduced stress levels. One study shows that cholesterol and triglyceride levels are lower in pet owners than in non-owners. Cat ownership is also suggested as a way to help depression.

Cats are good for the elderly
With old age come a number of physical and emotional difficulties. However, researchers are finding that pets truly have the power to heal their owners, especially the elderly. The most prevalent malady for older people is not cancer or heart disease, but loneliness. Cats are an excellent option for the elderly because they can be lifted easily and fit even on the smallest laps. Also, there is only a small amount of work and cost required to care for a cat.

There are plenty of reasons to adopt a cat, but the best way to discover all of the joys and benefits is by adopting one this summer. There are thousands of cats nationwide eager for your visit, so go to your local animal shelter and bring home the newest member of your family today!

For more information on Morris’ Million Cat Rescue Campaign and adopting a shelter cat, please visit 9Lives.com.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

Saturday, June 7, 2008

UGA Given $4.1 Million to Study Disappearing Bees

Almost half the bee colonies in the United States died last winter. Many were the result of a disorder that causes the colony to literally collapse. Using a $4.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, scientists at the University of Georgia hope to find solutions to the problem that is killing bees in 36 states.
“Our long-term goal is to restore large and diverse populations of managed bee pollinators across the U.S. to sustain natural and agricultural plant communities,” said Keith Delaplane, an entomologist with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. Delaplane will direct the four-year Coordinated Agriculture Project (CAP) that is part of a National Research Initiative funded through the USDA Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service.

A multidisciplinary team of researchers and extension specialists representing 17 states will be working on the project. The 19-member team will include specialists in epidemiology, virology, pathology, ecology, toxicology, bee biology, apiculture and integrated pest management.

The team will study colony collapse disorder. First identified in November 2006, CCD expresses itself in bee colonies where foragers have abandoned the nest. This leaves behind large quantities of untended young bees and honey.

Normally, weakened colonies are robbed clean by neighboring bees. When a colony is decimated by CCD the untended honey may remain untouched.

Scientists believe a combination of factors contribute to the phenomenon including pesticide exposure, environmental and nutritional stresses, new or reemerging pathogens and a new virus that targets the bees' immune systems.

“At this point it’s more forensic science than experimental science,” Delaplane said. “We have a set of symptoms but we don’t understand cause and effect.”

Initial research will focus on determining which of the factors are contributing causes of CCD, either individually or in combination.

“We are trying to look at CCD from every angle, address it with research and deliver the knowledge to clientele groups who need answers,” he said. “Expectations are high.”

After research is complete, the research team hopes to have some practical answers for beekeepers and growers of crops that rely on bees for pollination. Plans include developing best management practice guides, breeding strains of bees with genetic resistance to parasites and pathogens, improving the regulatory framework for better protection against pathogens, pests and parasites and creating Web-based distribution of science-based information on bee health and CCD. They are also laying the groundwork for a bee stock registry.

Honeybees pollinate about a third of the nation’s food supply and add $15 billion annually to U.S. crops. They pollinate 130 different fruits, vegetables and nuts including almonds, apples, avocados, blackberries, blueberries, broccoli, carrots, cherries, cucumbers, onions, peaches and soybeans.

Although they are an essential part of crop production, the impact of the honeybee pollination on human beings is not a matter of life or death, Delaplane said.

“More human calories are supplied by wind-pollinated cereals like wheat and rice,” he said. “However, when economies improve we see an increase in the consumption of meat and dairy products and bee-pollinated fruits like melons and berries.”

A comparative example is the difference in U.S. diets and those in countries like Sudan, he said. “That difference is largely explained by bee-pollinated crops,” he said.

While there are other bee pollinators, honeybees are the most prolific and easiest to manage for the large scale pollination the agriculture industry requires. In California, the almond crop alone needs 1.3 million bee colonies, about half of all honey bees in the country.

The number of managed bee colonies has dropped from five million in the 1940s to half that number today. To meet demand, commercial beekeepers truck bees to provide pollination services.

In addition to UGA, the institutions participating in the grant project are Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, Cornell University, Illinois Natural History Survey, North Carolina State University, Kentucky State University, Michigan State University, Penn State University, Purdue University, University of California-Riverside, University of Maine, University of Massachusetts, University of Minnesota, University of Nebraska, University of Tennessee, USDA ARS Weslaco, Texas and Washington State University.

by April Sorrow
University of Georgia

April Sorrow is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

Manure Management Can be Challenging

The term “small farm” brings to mind anything from a couple of horses on several acres to a family dairy or feedlot. Despite the varying definitions, all small farms share the common challenge to properly manage a common problem - manure.

Specialists from across the United States have scheduled an information session to help small farmers manage manure problems. The hour-long seminar will cover challenges for small farmers, environmental issues and how to develop a nutrient management plan.

The national Webcast session is set for Friday, June 20 beginning at 2:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.

The session will be led by University of Nebraska Extension engineer Chris Henry, North Carolina State University waste management extension specialist Mark Rice, University of New Jersey animal scientist Michael Westendorf and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service specialist Fred Kelly.

The seminar is hosted by the Livestock and Poultry Environmental (LPE) Learning Center, part of eXtension, an educational partnership of land-grant colleges across the nation.

The Webcast can be accessed at http://connect.extension.iastate.edu/lpelc/ on June 20. The session will officially begin at 2:30 p.m. EDT, but participants can log on as early as 2:15 p.m. EDT.

For more information about small farm environmental issues, see the national eXtension Web site at http://www.extension.org/pages/Small_Farm_Environmental_Issues_Articles

By Sharon Omahen
University of Georgia

Sharon Omahen is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

Friday, June 6, 2008

New Technology Could Help Prevent Fractures in Horses

BUSINESS WIRE--Researchers are developing a monitoring system similar to those used by earthquake seismologists to detect tiny cracks in bones, a technology that could help prevent fractures in humans and racehorses.

The new monitoring system records "acoustic emission data," or sound waves created by the tiny bone fissures. The same sorts of acoustic emissions are used to monitor the integrity of bridges and other structures, said Ozan Akkus, an associate professor in Purdue University's Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering.

"When a microcrack occurs in a bone it generates sound waves similar to those created by earthquakes," Akkus said. "The goal is to create a wearable device that would alert the person when a stress fracture was imminent so that they could stop rigorous physical activity long enough for the bone to heal."

Catastrophic injuries are rare in racehorses but still remain a major concern to horse owners and racing fans. This problem was highlighted by the recent tragedy involving this year's Kentucky Derby second-place finisher Eight Belles. The 3-year-old filly broke both ankles as she was slowing down at the end of the race and had to be euthanized. Big Brown won both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes and is favored to win the Belmont Stakes on Saturday (June 7).

"The need for new technologies to prevent stress fractures and the many other causes of catastrophic injury to racehorses is great," said Stephen Adams, a veterinarian and professor in the Purdue School of Veterinary Medicine, who specializes in equine lameness and surgery. "These horses are running 40 miles an hour, and if there is a microfracture in the animal there is danger it will become a catastrophic failure."

Shane Fimbel, technology transfer manager for the Purdue Research Foundation's Office of Technology Commercialization, is helping to move the technology to the market.

"This technology is important in many ways, but in particular with horses and other animals because they cannot articulate why they are in pain," Fimbel said.

Such a technology also might protect soldiers, athletes and dancers. Akkus will be visiting West Point this summer to test the monitoring system on cadets going through basic training.

Bones most affected in horses are the cannon bones of the front legs. The most commonly affected bones in humans are those in the feet, legs and hips.

Researchers at Purdue and the University of Toledo have jointly filed patents on the discovery through the Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

FDA Announces Limited Return of Heartworm Drug to U.S. Market

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today announced a limited return of a reformulated heartworm prevention drug for dogs, which had been withdrawn because of serious, life-threatening adverse reactions, including loss of appetite, lethargy; vomiting, seizures, difficulty walking, jaundice (a yellowish appearance); and bleeding disorders, allergies, convulsions, followed in some cases by death.

ProHeart 6 (moxidectin) Sustained Release Injectable for Dogs, NADA 141-189, manufactured by Fort Dodge Animal Health, Overland Park, Kan., is an approved injectable sustained-release heartworm prevention product for dogs. FDA is concurring with its limited return to the U.S. veterinary market under a risk minimization and restricted distribution program designed to manage the re-introduction of ProHeart 6 to provide for safe, appropriate use of the product while minimizing risk to dogs.

"This is the first veterinary drug to be marketed under a risk minimization and restricted distribution program. Numerous drugs for use in people have been successfully marketed under similar programs," said Bernadette Dunham, D.V.M., Ph.D., director, FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine. "While we concur with the limited return of ProHeart 6 to the U.S. market, we strongly encourage veterinarians and pet owners to report any possible adverse reactions."

Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal condition for dogs. The parasite that causes heartworm disease is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito.

The risk minimization and restricted distribution program is intended to educate veterinarians and pet owners regarding the possible risks associated with the use of ProHeart 6. Therefore, Fort Dodge Animal Health is requiring veterinarians who wish to purchase ProHeart 6 to register with the company and participate in a Web-based training program prior to obtaining the product.

The return of ProHeart 6 to the market is based on results of additional toxicological and pharmacologic studies by Fort Dodge Animal Health coupled with the low adverse reaction frequency in international markets.

In 2004, Fort Dodge Animal Health agreed to voluntarily recall the product from the market based upon FDA's concerns regarding reports of serious adverse reactions in dogs following the use of ProHeart 6. In response to FDA's concerns, the manufacturer conducted additional testing of its product, which indicated that residues of the solvents used in the manufacture of ProHeart 6 may cause allergic reactions.

The manufacturer has improved the manufacturing specifications for ProHeart 6 to decrease the presence of those residues and has marketed the product in international markets. Few adverse events have been reported with this reformulated product.

The ProHeart 6 label and Client Information Sheet have been revised to include updated safety information. The new label includes warnings not to administer the drug within one month of vaccinations, and to use the product with caution in dogs with pre-existing allergic diseases including food allergies, allergic hypersensitivity, and flea allergy dermatitis. The label also warns against administering the drug to dogs who are sick, debilitated, underweight, or who have a history of weight loss. In addition, the label’s Post-Approval Experience section has been updated to include information about adverse reactions based on voluntary post-approval drug experience reporting.

Dog owners who suspect their dog is experiencing an adverse reaction to ProHeart 6 should immediately contact their veterinarian to initiate appropriate veterinary care. Veterinarians should contact Fort Dodge Animal Health to report any adverse events at (800) 533-8536.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Help your Dog through Fireworks and Frightful Forecasts

ARA - Summer has arrived and the Fourth of July is just around the corner. For families, that means more fun and festivities, but for pets it can become a stressful time due to increased sudden noise such as thunderstorms and fireworks.

“The summer can be a difficult time for pets with the noise of fireworks and neighborhood commotion. However, recognizing these changes in your dog’s environment, and planning ahead, can decrease the amount of discomfort your pet experiences,” says Debra Nickelson, D.V.M. “Using pheromone-based products such as Comfort Zone with D.A.P. (Dog Appeasing Pheromone), is great for overly-agitated dogs, as it helps them remain calm in unfamiliar or stressful scenarios.”

“My dog Edy is fairly calm overall, but whenever there is thunder or loud noises he shakes uncontrollably, whimpers and hides in our bedroom,” says Eric Kardesh, pet parent of a 2-year-old vizsla. “To make him feel calm, I always make sure his favorite blanket is in his crate, and I give it a few sprays of Comfort Zone which helps him feel safe and less stressed.”

The days following the Fourth of July are often the busiest of the year for many animal shelters recovering lost dogs. To ensure your dog is safe, keep him at home and plan ahead with these simple solutions:

* Keep your dog indoors in a confined and secure area to help him feel safe and secure.
* Put a favorite toy or blanket with your dog for added reassurance.
* Calming products, such as Comfort Zone, can soothe dogs having trouble coping with stress.
* Keep the shades closed and turn on the TV or radio to drown out unfamiliar noise.

“Usually I’ll find someone to pet sit during the Fourth of July,” says Rachel Van Buskirk, pet parent of a 6-year-old pug. “But when I can’t find anyone for the day, it seems to help if I leave some music to distract my dog from outside noises.”

If you’re planning on taking your companion with you for fireworks or neighborhood festivities, it is important to make sure you are prepared. When out and about with your dog this summer season, keep in mind the following tips:

* Keep your dog on a leash or in an animal carrier at all times.
* Do not leave your dog in the car, they heat up quickly and can cause health problems.
* Double-check to make sure your dog is wearing current identification.
* Consider getting a microchip for your dog.
* Make sure to bring some treats and a water bowl to keep your dog hydrated.
* Know your dog’s temperament. If your dog is not good with crowds, leave him at home.

Pet parents looking for additional tips and advice can visit http://www.petcomfortzone.com/dog_behaviors.htm.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

“Kyle’s Miles” Drives NASCAR Fans Crazy For The Cause Of Dog Adoption

NAPSI-In a sport where every lap counts towards the race for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, one of this year’s hottest drivers is making every lap count for a cause close to his heart: dogs.

To help raise awareness and funding for the millions of dogs in shelters and breed rescue organizations, dog-owner and NASCAR-driver Kyle Busch has joined forces with PEDIGREE Food for Dogs--NASCAR Fans’ Best Friend and proud sponsor of the No. 18 PEDIGREE Toyota--to create “Kyle’s Miles,” a program aimed at raising $100,000 for The PEDIGREE Adoption Drive Foundation.

Now through October 15, 2008, NASCAR fans and dog lovers can log on to www.Dogsrule.com to make a monetary pledge to sponsor miles of any of Busch’s Sprint Cup races during that window; a roster which will sport 25 races and more than 10,000 miles. Donations from pledges will directly benefit The PEDIGREE Adoption Drive Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides funding to 501©(3) status animal shelters and breed rescues nationwide. Busch kicked off the program from Richmond, Va., where he raced the No. 18 PEDIGREE Toyota for the first time during the Crown Royal Presents the Dan Lowry 400 on May 3, 2008.

“As the owner of two dogs, I know how happy they can make you, so to me it’s really sad that each year 4 million dogs end up in animal shelters and breed rescue organizations and 2 million never make it out,” said Busch. “Kyle’s Miles hopes to raise money and awareness for the dogs that are so often overlooked and I’m excited to be able to do my part to help.”

As an added incentive to the Kyle’s Miles program, anyone who sponsors miles is automatically entered into a sweepstakes to win a trip for two to Phoenix in November to meet Busch and attend the Checker Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 9, 2008. Those who’d like to enter the sweepstakes but not sponsor Kyle’s Miles can also do so at www.Dogsrule.com.

The fourth annual PEDIGREE Adoption Drive launched in February 2008, with a goal to raise more than $1 million for The PEDIGREE Adoption Drive Foundation. Because of their love for dogs, PEDIGREE Food for Dogs created The PEDIGREE Adoption Drive to help shine a spotlight on the plight of homeless dogs. Through no fault of their own, more than four million dogs end up in shelters every year. Sadly, nearly half of those canines never find a place to call home, a trend that the PEDIGREE Brand and Busch hope to help reverse.

In addition to making a donation to Kyle’s Miles, there are several easy ways NASCAR fans can take part in The PEDIGREE Adoption Drive all year long that help benefit the foundation:

• Anytime you purchase a PEDIGREE product, a donation is made to benefit the foundation.

• Visit Dogsrule.com to browse Dogs rule. gear, a line of merchandise and apparel for dog lovers. Proceeds after expenses from the sale of all Dogs rule. items benefit The PEDIGREE Adoption Drive Foundation.

• Additionally, those who adopt a dog from a local shelter or breed rescue anytime during 2008 are eligible for a free, one-month supply of food as a thank-you from PEDIGREE.

To learn more about adoption and find a shelter near you, visit www.Dogsrule.com. PEDIGREE Brand products are available at grocery, pet specialty and mass merchandise outlets nationwide. For more news about PEDIGREE Brand, log on to www.marsnewsroom.com.

NASCAR driver Kyle Busch posed with local shelter dogs at Richmond International Raceway, to announce “Kyle’s Miles,” a program aimed at raising $100,000 for homeless dogs as part of The PEDIGREE Adoption Drive.

Monday, June 2, 2008

So You Want To Get A Jack Russell: New Book Might Change Your Mind

/24-7PressRelease/ - The Jack Russell terrier is a tenacious breed that was originally bred for hunting. Recently the breed has become a popular house pet and America. Since the advent of shows like Fraser which featured a Jack Russell terrier and the showing of Jack Russell's out and about with celebrities, the breed has become synonymous with standing out from all the others.

What a lot of people do not know is that the Jack Russell is not only a special breed but also has special traits that sometimes make it difficult to join an existing family that has other dogs. This is why Don and Kellie of Sheridan Wyoming has written "The Jack Russell Terrier: Canine Companion or Demon Dog."

This book helps explain the special characteristics of the Jack Russell and the behavior that the breed takes on. The Jack Russell can be a very aggressive dog but at the same time be very loyal to its owner. Introducing the Jack Russell into a family that already has dogs can be a trying experience.

This book not only teaches you how to introduce the dog into the new family but it also teaches the Jack Russell owner how to introduce new dogs into a family that already has a Jack.

If you have never owned a Jack Russell this book is a must to make sure this dog fits the dynamics of either you or your family.

The information is easy to read and covers everything from raising a Jack Russell puppy to showing a Jack Russell at a dog show our agility competition. The authors wrote this book from the love of the breed and their experiences with their Jack Russell, Trixie.

The title can be found on Amazon.com or at the author's site http:www.dkrainwater.com. Signed copies are available on both websites and both Don and Kellie welcome the prospect of outside publishers or affiliations in regards to the book.

If you are a potential owner of a Jack Russell or you have a Jack Russell already this book is a must-read.

Don Rainwater