Friday, October 31, 2008

Tips For Finding A Healthy Puppy

(NAPSI)-If you're in the market for a new dog, it's important to find a good breeder.

That's the advice from experts who say that puppy mills-which are mass dog-breeding facilities that sell puppies through pet stores and over the Internet- often treat their animals cruelly and inhumanely.

According to The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), puppy mills frequently house dogs in shockingly poor conditions, particularly for the "breeding stock" animals who are caged and continually bred for years without human companionship and then killed, abandoned or sold to another puppy mill after their fertility wanes.

An estimated 10,000 of the mills operate in the U.S., forming a billion-dollar industry. The mills sell dogs through many pet stores, over the Internet and sometimes through local newspaper ads. Opponents of the mills say the best way to put them out of business is to not buy the puppies they sell.

Instead, they suggest visiting animal shelters, purebred rescue groups or a responsible breeder. Nationwide, one out of every four dogs in an animal shelter is a purebred, and an estimated 6 to 8 million animals enter shelters annually, with only about half of them being adopted.

The HSUS offers this additional information for prospective pet buyers:

• Be wary of claims that a pet store only sells animals from breeders who are "USDA inspected." The USDA doesn't require all commercial breeders to be licensed, and the group establishes only minimum-care standards, even at inspected puppy mills.

• Some disreputable breeders sell their dogs directly to the public over the Internet and through newspaper ads. These breeders are not required to be inspected by any federal agency and, in many states, are not inspected at all.

• Reputable breeders care where their puppies go and interview hopeful buyers. They don't sell through pet stores or to families they haven't thoroughly checked out.

• Purebred papers do not guarantee the quality of the breeder or the dog.

• Puppy mill puppies often have medical problems that can lead to veterinary bills in the thousands of dollars. In addition, poor breeding and socialization practices at many puppy mills can lead to behavioral problems throughout the puppies' lives.

For more information, including a good breeder checklist, visit www.humanesociety.org/puppy.

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

DogTime.com Picks Top Pet Gifts for the Holidays

AAG Note: Who knew there were so many options available for our pets?

PRNewswire/ -- More than half of dog owners buy a gift for their dog during the holidays. DogTime.com (http://dogtime.com/), the #1 online vertical media network in the pet market with 8.2 million unique visitors a month(1), makes it easier to sort through the myriad pet products on the market via its 2008 Holiday Gift Guide.

"Pets are receiving top billing on holiday shopping lists, alongside family and friends," says DogTime.com editor Amy Gurvitz. "Our top picks for the season range from gifts that are good for the environment and your pet to products that benefit pet charities, rescue organizations and shelters with their sales."

DogTime's 2008 Holiday Gift Guide (http://dogtime.com/holiday-dog-gift.html) includes the top ten dog gifts in the following categories:

Charitable: Many animal charities need donations and the holidays are a great time to support your favorite non-profit. Gifts on DogTime's charitable list truly keep on giving -- first to the recipient, and then to the organization benefiting from the sale, including the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine and the ASPCA.

Eco-friendly: The desire to "go green" has impacted the way people shop for everything from clothing to food to cars to pet products. DogTime surveyed the green scene to round up the top dog gifts that are safe for pets and the environment.

Edible: Tasty dog treats may not last long, but are sure to be enjoyed by most any canine. From doggie "beer" to fortune cookies to gourmet biscuits, DogTime has presented a selection of unique edibles.

Luxury: Whether a gift for the pampered pooch or a splurge for a special dog, DogTime's luxury gift picks celebrate couture for the canine set, including a Gucci harness, Louis Vuitton carrier, and a $900,000 dog collar that features an 8.5-carat sapphire and more than 600 hand-set diamonds.

Clothes: Today it seems dogs have as many wardrobe options as their human companions. From designer polo shirts to hand-knit sweaters, DogTime has selected wearable gifts in all shapes and sizes.

Collar and leash: Featuring designs ranging from giraffe prints to polka dots, DogTime's top accessories are sure to impress every pooch at the dog park.

Toys: DogTime's dog toy category is packed with the best toys to chase, puzzles to solve, and ropes to tug.

Big dogs: Gift items from clothing to toys that are customized to fit the desires and needs of larger dogs, including an "I had a nightmare I was a Chihuahua" t-shirt.

Small dogs: Chihuahuas and Yorkies have different needs than their larger dog friends; captured in this list are mini tennis balls, a care seat, and even a dog stroller.

For dog lovers: Whether shopping for a dog-loving friend, or for something for yourself as a gift from your dog, these picks range from cuff links to books to items for the home and are sure to bring a smile to any dog lover's face.

In addition to DogTime's Holiday Gift Guide, the site offers a range of holiday-related content, including how to plan a dog party and Howliday dog cookie recipes.

Facts About the Holiday Pet Market (2):

-- There are 74.8 million dogs in the United States
-- 56% of dog owners buy a gift for their dogs during the holidays
-- In the past decade, dog owners giving pets a gift has increased by 12%
-- The average amount spent per dog gift is $10. More than $400 million
will be spent on dog gifts this holiday season

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Do You Know What's In Your Pet Food?

(NAPSI)-If you don't know what you are feeding your pet, you have lots of company. A recent survey found that although 85 percent of pet owners want their pets to be healthy, 62 percent don't understand what ingredients are listed on their pet food labels.

That's a bigger surprise when you consider that 73 percent say what they feed their pets should be as high quality as the food they serve their families, and that 56 percent say they always read the label on their own packaged foods.

The survey, conducted by Harris Interactive and commissioned by the WELLNESS® brand of natural food and treats for pets, also found that 91 percent of dog and cat owners sought a balanced holistic approach to pet food and did not want their pet's food to contain ingredients that cause allergies or food intolerance.

Another 66 percent said their preference would be to only feed natural pet food. In reality, though, most consumers are buying pet food that is not natural and that contains many of the ingredients they don't want.

The pet nutrition experts at WELLNESS Natural Food For Pets recommend that before pet parents buy pet food, they should pick up the bag, turn it over and read the ingredient label. They should look for pet food that:

• Contains real meat, poultry or fish as the first ingredient, not meat or poultry by-products;

• Contains no commonly identified allergens (e.g., wheat, wheat gluten, soy);

• Has no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives;

• Contains ingredients you do recognize, such as deboned chicken, fish, whole grains like oatmeal or ground barley, and wholesome fruits and vegetables such as cranberries or sweet potatoes.

A holistic approach to a nutritious pet diet incorporating healthy ingredients can serve as the foundation of a pet's well-being.

For more information, visit www.wellnesspetfood.com.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Mars Petcare US Issues Voluntary Recall of a Limited Number of Bags of SPECIAL KITTY® Gourmet Sold at Wal-Mart locations in Fifteen States due to Pote

Mars Petcare US today announced a voluntary recall of a limited number of bags of SPECIAL KITTY® Gourmet Blend dry cat food sold at Wal-Mart locations in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont, and West Virginia. The pet food is being voluntarily recalled following a positive test result indicating a potential contamination with Salmonella.

This product should not be sold or fed to pets. Pet owners should dispose of product in a safe manner (example, a securely covered trash receptacle) and return the empty bag to the store where purchased for a full refund.

Salmonella can cause serious infections in dogs and cats, and, if there is cross contamination caused by handling of the pet food, in people as well, especially children, the aged, and people with compromised immune systems. Healthy people potentially infected with Salmonella should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. On rare occasions, Salmonella can result in more serious ailments, including arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation, and urinary tract symptoms. Consumers exhibiting these signs after having contact with this product should contact their healthcare providers.

Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Animals can be carriers with no visible symptoms and potentially infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.

There have been no complaints or reports of illness resulting from consumption or handling of the recalled product.

Pet owners who have questions about the recall should call 1-877-568-4463 or visit www.petcare.mars.com.

Recalled Pet Food
Product: SPECIAL KITTY® Gourmet Blend Dry Cat Food
Best If Used By Date: AUG 11 09
Best If Used By Date Location: Back of bag
Production Lot Code: 50 XXXX X (Found on back of bag just after "Best If Used By" date. Consumers should look for "50" as the first two digits of the second line.)
UPC Code: UPC code numbers can be found directly underneath the bar code on the package. Please find recalled pet food UPC information below.

3.5 lb.


SPECIAL KITTY® Gourmet Blend


81131 17546

7 lb.


SPECIAL KITTY® Gourmet Blend


81131 17547

18 lb.


SPECIAL KITTY® Gourmet Blend


81131 17548

Affected Stores: Wal-Mart locations in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont, and West Virginia.

In an effort to prevent the transmission of Salmonella from pets to family members and care givers, the FDA recommends that everyone follow appropriate pet food handling guidelines when feeding their pets. A list of safe pet food handling tips can be found at: www.fda.gov/consumer/updates/petfoodtips080307.html

Pet owners who have questions about the recall should call 1-877-568-4463 or visit www.petcare.mars.com.

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Cat People vs. Dog People ... They Really are Different

PRNewswire/ -- Cat people worship felines like pharos; dog people talk to hounds like people. New research shows that cat and dog people really are different -- in marital status, economic standing and education among other things.

"Our studies have shown that there are some interesting differences between cat owners and dog owners," says James Flanigan, head of marketing at the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). "Our surveys show that single people are more attracted to cat ownership, while dog owners are married with children. While the demographic information is interesting, some of it is concerning, too." http://www.avma.org/

The AVMA conducts surveys of pet owners every five years, and publishes the results in the U.S. Pet Ownership and Demographic Sourcebook. In the 2007 edition, the image of a dog as a family pet is shown to be true: 67.0 percent of dog owners are married compared to 61.8 percent of cat owners, and 52.6 percent of dog owners are families of three or more, compared to 47.0 percent of cat owners.

"One of the most concerning differences among cat and dog owners is cat owners are much less likely to seek veterinary care for their animals, they spend less, and this divide seems to be growing," Flanigan explains.

The Sourcebook shows that 82.7 percent of dog owners made at least one annual visit to a veterinarian, compared to 63.7 percent of cat owners.

As for what is America's favorite pet ... it depends on how you read the most recent pet demographic statistics. There are more cats, 81.7 million compared to 72.1 million dogs, but there are more dog owners, 43 million compared to 37.5 million cat owners. This is because cat owners are more likely to have more than one cat.

For more of these fascinating statistics from the U.S. Pet Ownership & Demographics Sourcebook, visit http://www.avma.org/reference/marketstats/sourcebook.asp.

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Monday, October 27, 2008

Bird-watching May Aid Your Child's Development

(NAPSI)-Backyard bird-watching with your children may pay a number of unexpected dividends.

That's because the early experiences in your children's lives affect how their brains develop and lay the foundation for intelligence, emotional health and moral development, according to the National Association for the Education of Young Children. This healthy development depends on nurturing and dependable relationships.

"Bird-watching helps meet the needs of developing young minds and can start as soon as a child can walk. It can also help improve the bond between parent and child," says Stephen Kress, Wingscapes Birding expert and author of several books, including The Audubon Society Guide to Attracting Birds and The Audubon Backyard Birdwatch.

Here are a few tips to get kids started in backyard bird-watching to help their development:

• Hang a bird feeder in your yard where your kids can easily watch it every day. By helping young kids build their own bird feeder, you give them an additional reason to take interest in watching birds.

• Have your kids keep a list of the birds they see and discuss the list each day or week. You can build memory skills by talking about the birds' characteristics, such as wing color and pattern.

You can teach your children about those characteristics with a bird camera, such as the Wingscapes BirdCam, a weatherproof, motion-activated digital camera that captures high-resolution photos and videos of birds-even if you are not there.

• You can create a scrapbook or even a Web site (using free software) with photos or videos of the birds.

• Get your children to e-mail the images or video clips to a friend or relative or share them on Wingscapes.com, Flickr™, YouTube or other social media Web sites. For more information, visit www.wingscapes.com.

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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Birds of Prey Program at Sams Lake Bird Sanctuary November 8

Winged Ambassadors Environmental will bring an exceptional live wildlife show to Sams Lake Bird Sanctuary on Saturday afternoon November 8th .

Several trained non-releasable birds of prey will perform soaring free flight demonstrations over the wetlands.

Master Falconer Dale Arrowood will showcase the differences and similarities between a variety of raptor and owl families.

Birds may include eagles, hawks, owls, falcons, or vultures . These birds are not “trick animals”, they simply do what comes naturally to them.

Guests will learn about the raptors’ role as environmental indicators and the importance of protecting wildlife habitat as our wetlands, fields and forests transform into concrete and rooftops.

This exciting and educational program begins at 1pm. on Saturday November 8th . The rain date will be Saturday afternoon, December 13th.

Admission is $4 per person. Proceeds will be split between the Trust and Winged Ambassadors Environmental for care of the birds.

Sams Lake is on Old Senoia Road, south of Redwine Road just outside Fayetteville. For more information and directions, visit the Trust’s website sctlandtrust.org or email info@sctlandtrust.org .

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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Robotic Technology Inspired by Service Dogs

Service dogs, invaluable companions providing assistance to physically impaired individuals, are an elite and desired breed. Their presence in a home can make everyday tasks that are difficult - if not impossible - achievable, enhancing the quality of life for the disabled.

Yet with a cost averaging $16,000 per dog – not to mention the two years of training required to hone these skills – the demand for these canines’ exceeds their availability.

But what if these duties could be accomplished with an electronic companion that provides the same efficiency at a fraction of the cost?

Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have engineered a biologically inspired robot that mirrors the actions of sought-after service dogs. Users verbally command the robot to complete a task and the robot responds once a basic laser pointer illuminates the location of the desired action.

For instance, if a person needs an item fetched, that individual would normally command a service dog to do so and then gesture with their hands toward the location. The service robot mimics the process, with the hand gesture replaced by aiming the laser pointer at the desired item.

Employing this technology, users can accomplish basic yet challenging missions such as opening doors, drawers and retrieving medication.

“It’s a road to get robots out there helping people sooner,” said Professor Charlie Kemp, Georgia Tech Department of Biomedical Engineering. “Service dogs have a great history of helping people, but there’s a multi-year waiting list. It’s a very expensive thing to have. We think robots will eventually help to meet those needs.”

Kemp presented his findings this week at the second IEEE/RAS-EMBS International Conference on Biomedical Robotics and Biomechatronics – BioRob 2008 – in Scottsdale, Ariz.

This technology was achieved with four-legged authenticity.

Kemp and graduate student Hai Nguyen worked closely with the team of trainers at Georgia Canines for Independence (GCI) in Acworth, Ga. to research the command categories and interaction that is core to the relationship between individuals and service dogs.

Betty, a Golden Retriever, was studied to understand her movements and relationship with commands. Key to the success is Betty’s ability to work with a towel attached to a drawer or door handle, which allows her to use her mouth for such actions as opening and closing. The robot was then successfully programmed to use the towel in a similar manner.

Her handlers were thrilled at the potential benefits of the technology.

“The waiting list for dogs can be five to seven years,” said Ramona Nichols, executive director of Georgia Canines for Independence. “It’s neat to see science happening but with a bigger cause; applying the knowledge and experience we have and really making a difference. I’m so impressed. It’s going to revolutionize our industry in helping people with disabilities.”

In total, the robot was able to replicate 10 tasks and commands taught to service dogs at GCI – including opening drawers and doors - with impressive efficiency. Other successes included opening a microwave oven, delivering an object and placing an item on a table.

“As robotic researchers we shouldn’t just be looking at the human as an example,” Kemp said. “Dogs are very capable at what they do. They have helped thousands of people throughout the years. I believe we’re going to be able to achieve the capabilities of a service dog sooner than those of a human caregiver.”

While the robot may not be able to mirror the personality and furry companionship of a canine, it does have other benefits.

“The robot won’t require the same care and maintenance,” Kemp said. “It also won’t be distracted by a steak.”

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Friday, October 24, 2008

Preventative Medical Care Is Important For Dogs

(SPM Wire) Keeping your dog healthy means taking good care of him or her before problems arise, much as you should with human members of the family.

Good veterinary care for your dog includes preventative care, according to Dr. Susan Nelson, a veterinarian and assistant professor of clinical sciences at Kansas State University's College of Veterinary Medicine.

Nelson recommends that dog owners take their adult dogs to the veterinarian twice a year for checkups. Dogs in their senior years may need to be brought in for checkups more frequently. Puppies should be brought in for booster shots between six weeks and eight weeks of age, and then checkups every three to four weeks until they reach 16 to 18 weeks of age.

"Frequent wellness screenings play an important part in preventive care," Nelson said. "Big disasters can often be avoided if we can catch a disease early. Often we can make it less severe or even reverse it."

Some problems can't wait for the next checkup, though. There are symptoms and behaviors to look for in your dog that may mean a visit to the veterinarian is needed.

"Most people know the normal routine of their pet," Nelson said. "If you see them lying around more than normal, being more reclusive or they have a diminished appetite, there is probably something wrong. Other signs of possible illness include -- but are not limited to -- vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, limping, scratching, coughing, unusual odors, discharge from the eyes and new or growing lumps in and on the skin."

Nelson said some of the common dog ailments that she treats on a regular basis are eye and ear infections, allergies, skin infections, fleas and ticks, intestinal parasites, lameness, vomiting, and diarrhea. If your dog is exhibiting any of these ailments, it is important that you bring the dog to the veterinarian for treatment, she said.

Owners can do a few treatments at home to care for minor dog injuries, Nelson said.

For small skin abrasions, owners can trim the hair around the wound, wash it with a mild soap and then apply a triple antibiotic skin ointment. However, for more severe abrasions and lacerations, the dog needs to see the veterinarian, she said.

If your adult dog has diarrhea, owners can try giving them a bland diet for a few days, as long as the pet is acting normally and there is no blood in their stool. Nelson said a bland diet is not recommended for young puppies or very old dogs as they can quickly dehydrate and develop a more severe illness than an otherwise healthy adult dog.

For minor limping, you might be able to monitor the dog for 24 hours. If the condition worsens or does not improve, then a trip to your veterinarian is warranted.

Whenever an owner is unsure about their dog's condition, it never hurts to call your veterinarian and ask for advice. But while a veterinarian may be able to give some advice over the phone, do not expect a diagnosis.

When the time comes to bring your dog to the veterinarian, there are ways to make the visit more comfortable for the dog. For larger, more severely injured dogs, lie them down on a towel or blanket and carry them inside. For smaller injured dogs, use a box or pet carrier for transport.

"If dogs are in extreme pain, owners need to be careful handling them because they might bite," Nelson said. "Even the best dogs who have never bitten before might bite when they are in pain. Sometimes it is best to put a muzzle on them if there are no breathing difficulties."

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

UWG: Waring Lecture Series Features Reitz October 24

The Antonio J. Waring Jr. Distinguished Lecture Series will present environmental archeologist Dr. Elizabeth Reitz on Friday, Oct. 24, at 7:30 p.m. at the University of West Georgia.

This must see event for anyone interested in archaeology, history and how people use the environment will take place in the Kathy Cashen Recital Hall where the professor of anthropology will share her experiences in the field and in the lab at this prestigious annual event. The presentation is free and the community is invited to attend.

Reitz is a professor of anthropology at the University of Georgia and is internationally recognized as an expert on human use of animal resources, especially in maritime environments. Her lecture, “5,000 Years of Fishing on the Georgia Coast,” is sure to interest science and history buffs of all ages.

“I would like to encourage people to look to the past as a way to understand the present and as a window into the future,” said Reitz. “And to think holistically about the human experience.”

On her website, Reitz wrote: “I base my research on the study of animal remains from archaeological sites, for which purpose I manage the Zooarchaeology Laboratory. The lab specializes in the identification of vertebrate remains and contains a comparative skeletal collection of 4,200 vertebrate and invertebrate specimens from throughout the southeastern United States and adjacent waters, as well as from the Caribbean.”

The lab and its contents have been used since 1977 in support of archaeological research, service and training, during which time more than 200 archaeological faunal assemblages from the southeastern United States, the Caribbean basin, Peru, and Ecuador have been studied. Faunal Assemblage is an archeological term describing fossils found together in the same layer of rock or soil.

Reitz will spend the day on campus as a guest at the Antonio J. Waring Jr. Archeology Laboratory and in several anthropology classes before the lecture. The Department of Anthropology and the Waring Lab will host the annual event.

The lecture series is funded through the largest endowment given to an anthropology department in the state of Georgia. The Waring endowment also funds the operation of the Waring Lab and an endowed professorship in Anthropology at UWG.

For more information, call 678-839-6454.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Snakes Move In As Foreclosures Mount

(NAPSI)-As if the home-foreclosure mess wasn't bad enough, now there's a new twist to worry about: snakes.

Communities in states like Florida, California, New York, Virginia and Ohio have seen sharp rises in the amount of wildlife-everything from snakes to rats to bees-infesting abandoned properties since the home mortgage crisis began playing out. That's because as people lose their homes, the abandoned properties often go unmanaged. As a result, walls become moldy, swimming pools sit untreated, grass and weeds grow wild and animals soon move in.

And with some analysts predicting that as many as 2.8 million homeowners could wind up losing their homes to foreclosure by the end of 2009, the problem is only likely to get worse.

"Anything that's not maintained creates a potential attraction for a lot of opportunistic wildlife," Scott McCombe, general manager for Critter Control of Northern Virginia, told The Washington Post regarding the problems he's been seeing.

In Brevard County, Fla., for example, 235 new cases of overgrown, abandoned lots have left remaining residents deeply concerned about potential danger to their families.

"I've got grandkids-I have to worry about a snake biting them," says Sara Peterson, who lives next door to one of the foreclosed and abandoned houses. "It's really sad."

Meanwhile, California residents have been warned about a growing risk of West Nile disease as abandoned pools on foreclosed properties become mosquito breeding grounds.

Clearly, part of the $300 billion housing bill recently signed into law by President Bush is intended to address the situation. A total of $3.9 billion was specifically earmarked for communities to fix up foreclosed properties causing blight.

So what's a homeowner to do if confronted by a snake?

"Stay alert and stay away from the snake-don't try to capture or remove it," advises Dr. Rutherfoord Rose of VCU Medical Center and director of Virginia Poison Center in Richmond, Va. He offers these additional tips:

• If you're bitten, contact your local poison center at (800) 222-1222 for advice on hospital care. Immobilize the limb and keep it elevated until you get to the closest hospital.

• In high grass or areas with debris that snakes may be hiding under, make noise so you don't surprise them.

• Wear high-cut boots and long pants for protection when doing yard work.

Finally, never try to suck snake venom out of a wound since it's only likely to make things worse.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Hartz Mountain Corporation Voluntarily Recalls One Specific Lot of Nationwide Chicken-Basted Rawhide Chips Because of Possible Health Risk

The Hartz Mountain Corporation, Secaucus, NJ is voluntarily recalling one specific lot of Hartz Chicken-Basted Rawhide Chips due to concerns that one or more bags within the lot are potentially contaminated with Salmonella. Hartz is fully cooperating with the US Food and Drug Administration in this voluntary recall.

Salmonella can cause serious infections in dogs, and, if there is cross-contamination caused by handling of the rawhide chips, in people as well, especially children, the aged, and people with compromised immune systems. Healthy people potentially infected with Salmonella should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. On rare occasions, Salmonella can result in more serious ailments, including arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation, and urinary tract symptoms. Consumers exhibiting these signs after having contact with this product should contact their healthcare providers.

Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Animals can be carriers with no visible symptoms and can potentially infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.

The product involved is 4,850 - 2 pound plastic bags of Hartz Chicken-Basted Rawhide Chips, lot code JC23282, UPC number 3270096463 which were distributed to a national retail customer. While the normal testing that Hartz conducts through an independent outside laboratory did not detect the presence of Salmonella in any Hartz rawhide products, sample testing conducted by another laboratory did indicate the presence of the bacteria in a sample bag of the Chicken-Basted Rawhide Chips. Hartz is aggressively investigating the difference in test results and the potential source of the problem.

Although Hartz has not received any reports of animals or humans becoming ill as a result of coming into contact with this product, Hartz is taking immediate steps to remove the product from all retail stores and distribution centers. Dog owners who purchased this product should check the lot code on their bag, and, if the code is not visible, or if the bag has lot code JC23282 imprinted thereon, they should immediately discontinue use of the product and discard it in a proper manner.

Consumers can contact Hartz at 1-800-275-1414 with any questions they may have and to obtain reimbursement for purchased product.

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Bird-Watchers Keep Eye On The Web

(NAPSI)-It seems the Web is now for the birds--or at least the bird-watchers.

Many of the nearly 42 million Americans the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says watched birds around their homes last year are also flocking to social media sites on the Web to enjoy their hobby.

In fact, there are now more than 1 million bird pictures on the photo-sharing Web site, Flickr, and about 3,000 bird videos on YouTube. Additionally, site participants at eBird.org--a real-time online birding checklist from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society--have reported more than 21 million bird observations to date.

Similar online birding sites include birdcinema.com and geobirds.com. Birding blogs, such as www.bornagainbirdwatcher.com, www.hawkowlsnest.com, empids.blogspot.com and birdingcouple.blogspot.com are popular as well.

"There's no question the Internet is changing the way people take part in birding," says Wingscapes birding expert Stephen Kress, author of numerous birding books including "The Audubon Society Guide to Attracting Birds" and "The Audubon Backyard Birdwatch."

Getting Involved

So how can you take your birdwatching to the Web? A good first step is to create a "life list," a record of the species of birds you've sighted. Typically, the list is kept in a journal. Each entry notes the bird species, date, location and any notes you want to add. Now you can add a visual component to your life list and store the information on your computer.

Wingscapes BirdCam allows you to add digital images or videos of birds to your life lists. And you can get the shots you need while you're away. It has a built-in sensor that detects bird movement and triggers it to take photos or videos. You can choose the images and videos you like on your home computer, create a digital life list and e-mail the images to friends and family. You can also share the images on social media Web sites.

"It's much more fun to show off your bird sightings with a photo than to just describe them with words," says Kress. "The photos add validity to sightings. It shows you're identifying the birds correctly."

For more information, visit www.wingscapes.com.

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Friday, October 17, 2008

UGA Study Reveals Ecosystem-Level Consequences of Frog Extinctions

In some parts of the tropics, frogs are the most abundant land vertebrates. This peculiar-looking casque-headed tree frog is one of the estimated hundreds of species of tropical frogs.

Photo by Scott Connelly/UGA

Streams that once sang with the croaks, chirps and ribbits of dozens of frog species have gone silent. They’re victims of a fungus that’s decimating amphibian populations worldwide.

Such catastrophic declines have been documented for more than a decade, but until recently scientists knew little about how the loss of frogs alters the larger ecosystem. A University of Georgia study that is the first to comprehensively examine an ecosystem before and after an amphibian population decline has found that tadpoles play a key role keeping the algae at the base of the food chain productive.

“Many things that live in the stream depend on algae as a base food resource,” said lead author Scott Connelly, a doctoral student who will graduate in December from the UGA Odum School of Ecology. “And we found that the system was more productive when the tadpoles were there.”

The results, which appear in the early online edition of the journal Ecosystems, demonstrate how the grazing activities of tadpoles help keep a stream healthy. The researchers found that while the amount of algae in the stream was more than 250 percent greater after the amphibian population decline, the algae were less productive at turning sunlight and nutrients into food for other members of the ecosystem. Without tadpoles swimming along the streambed and stirring up the bottom, the amount of sediment in the stream increased by nearly 150 percent, blocking out sunlight that algae need to grow.

The study is part of a larger effort known as the Tropical Amphibian Declines in Streams (TADS) project, which also involves researchers from Southern Illinois University, Drexel University and the University of Alabama. The project is now in its third round of funding by the National Science Foundation and was initiated by Catherine Pringle (UGA Odum School of Ecology) and Karen Lips (Southern Illinois University) in 2000 through a Small Grant for Exploratory Research (SGER) from the NSF. Connelly and Pringle are monitoring in-stream effects of the population decline on algae, while other team members are studying how the loss of frogs impacts other organisms and the transfer of energy between streams and the terrestrial communities that surround them. Preliminary data show that the number of snakes that feed on frogs, for example, has plummeted after the population decline.

“We were there before, during and after the extinction event and were able to look at the ecosystem and measure how it changed,” said Pringle, Distinguished Research Professor in the Odum School and study co-author. “Very rarely have scientists been able to do that with respect to any organism.”

The chytrid fungus responsible for declines has steadily marched southeast across Costa Rica and through much of Panama like a storm front, killing up to 90 percent of frogs in afflicted streams. In 2003, the team set up research sites on two streams in the pristine and lush highlands of Panama. One study site had already suffered a catastrophic amphibian decline, while the other had a healthy population but, based on its location, was directly in the path of the fungal disease.

In the first stage of their research, Connelly and Pringle assessed ecosystem changes that occur when tadpoles are experimentally excluded from small areas of both the healthy stream and the frogless stream. They found that the absence of the tadpoles resulted in more sediment and less productive algae.

In late 2004, frogs in the formerly healthy stream began dying. The team reassessed the stream and found that impact of the frog die-off was even greater than they had predicted in their exclusion studies. “We predicted the direction of the change,” Pringle said, “but underestimated its magnitude.”

The UGA research team is continuing to monitor the health of the streams to get valuable, long-term data. So far the stream has not rebounded. “It’s still sad going back,” Connelly said, to which Pringle added: “Once the frogs die, it’s like an incredible silence descends over the whole area. It’s eerie.”

To date, scientists have not found a way to stop the spread of the fungus in the wild. Broadly applying a fungicide to an entire watershed, Connelly said, would kill beneficial fungi that are necessary for a healthy ecosystem.

But scientists can cure individual frogs in captivity by simply swabbing them with a fungicide. Connelly has worked to protect frogs through Amphibian Ark, a global effort supported by zoos, botanical gardens, aquariums and research institutions that aims to ensure the survival of amphibians by collecting and breeding them. The Atlanta Botanical Garden is one of the key breeding sites.

“The one speck of hope is that if we’re able to collect some of these rare animals, we can cure them,” Connelly said. “As long as we have the money to keep a breeding program going, in the future it might be possible to reintroduce them into the wild.”

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Save Money on Your Dog Care

24-7 -- Today's economic climate has impacted budgets for every member of the household—including your dog. As grocery prices soar, dog owners see the price of dog food and dog supplies continue to climb as well.

"A dog, like any member of a family, has certain costs associated with him," notes Paris Permenter, coauthor of the How to Put Your Dog on a Budget ebook. "With some creative thinking and some preplanning, though, you can save on your dog's care on everything from food to toys to veterinary care."

The electronic report, published by DogTipper.com, offers practical, easy-to-implement tips for cutting costs ranging from signing up for manufacturer's special offers to shopping around for veterinary care to starting your own dog sitting coop.

Along with saving money, Permenter reports another bonus implementing these budgetary tips. "We found that using even some of these money-saving tips in our everyday lives made us closer to our dogs. In making our own dog treats, for example, we started looking more closely at the foods we were feeding our dogs. By making our own dog toys, we began to think of other ways we could play with our dogs. It's been good not only for our budget but for ourselves."

DogTipper.com features articles and tips covering all aspects of life with your dog, from selecting a dog to raising and training your canine. Published by professional writers (and husband-wife team) Paris Permenter and John Bigley, the site also offers a Celebrity Canines blog featuring red carpet canines, a Dog Tip of the Day, and Dog News covering dog food recalls, new dog products, and more. Permenter and Bigley, who have authored over two dozen books for publishers ranging from Random House to Globe Pequot, live with their dogs in Texas.

To download a free copy of How to Put Your Dog on a Budget, visit http://www.DogTipper.com/budget.

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Pet Owners Eligible For $24 Million in Landmark Melamine Settlement

AAG Note: With all of the recent stories about melamine contamination in our food, here is some evidence about how far the contamination has spread and what one group has done.

By Lisa Wade McCormick
ConsumerAffairs.com

Pet owners whose dogs or cats became ill or died last year after eating melamine-tainted food are now eligible for a piece of a landmark $24 million settlement. But some pet owners say....

Read the story.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Southern Company Sponsoring Operation Migration USA; Unique Program Helps Conserve Whooping Cranes

PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- In a new alliance that extends efforts to restore bird populations in the Southeast, Southern Company is sponsoring Operation Migration USA, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the conservation of migratory species, including the Whooping crane.

The three-year grant to Operation Migration USA was made through the Power of Flight, a partnership between Southern Company and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to protect birds through habitat and species restoration and environmental education.

The support will help Operation Migration USA to increase the number of Whooping cranes it raises and leads south by ultralight aircraft from the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge in Wisconsin to the Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge in Florida.

"Operation Migration, working in association with the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership, has been instrumental in saving the Whooping crane, which once was near extinction," said Chris Hobson, Southern Company senior vice president for research and environmental affairs. "We are pleased that this ongoing effort to ensure the Whooping crane's survival is now among the many outstanding bird conservation programs that are Power of Flight grantees."

Operation Migration hopes to increase the number of new Whooping cranes released annually to 24, with the goal of helping the flock reach a self-sustaining population level in four to five years.

"Operation Migration has a new route this year that will take our team of aviculturists and pilots leading Whooping cranes through Alabama and Georgia on our way to Florida. We are delighted to welcome Southern Company as a major sponsor. Southern Company's commitment of financial support will help ensure we can continue our important work with the endangered Whooping crane," said Joe Duff, Operation Migration USA co-founder and chief executive.

"We are extremely proud to be part of Operation Migration's critical work in restoring the Whooping crane population through our partnership with Southern Company," said Jeff Trandahl, executive director of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. "This is a resounding example of how strong support and leadership from Southern Company and focused conservation investments through the Power of Flight program are achieving meaningful and significant benefits in the southeastern United States for wildlife and the habitats on which they depend."

The cranes for this project are hatched at the U.S. Geological Survey Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Maryland. They are taught to follow a specially designed ultralight aircraft before being shipped to Wisconsin at 50 days of age. Eventually, they follow a team of four ultralight aircraft on their first migration from Wisconsin to Florida.

Once the birds learn the migratory route they can return, on their own, the following spring. Each year a new generation is taught this route and released. Once this flock reaches 125 birds, including 25 breeding pairs, it can be considered self-sustaining.

This year, Operation Migration's ultralights will travel 1,285 miles through seven states, including three -- Alabama, Florida and Georgia -- that are served by Southern Company. The cranes are expected to begin their flight in mid October; their arrival date depends on the weather but the trip is expected to take at least 50 days. Progress reports on the flight are updated regularly and posted on Operation Migration USA's Web site at www.operationmigration.org/Field_Journal.html .

Since 2001, Operation Migration has played a leading role in the reintroduction of endangered Whooping cranes into eastern North America. During the 1940s only 15 birds survived in the world, although the species was not declared endangered until 1971. The primary reason for the birds' disappearance was the destruction of its natural habitat; however, thanks to conservation efforts, more than 500 whooping cranes survive today.

Operation Migration USA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the conservation of migratory species through innovative research, education and partnerships. Launched in 2001, the organization has played a leading role in the reintroduction of endangered Whooping cranes into eastern North America. Operation Migration is a founding partner of the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP), the coalition of non-profit organizations and government agencies behind the project to safeguard the endangered Whooping crane from extinction. For more information, visit www.operationmigration.org .

A nonprofit established by Congress in 1984, The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) sustains, restores and enhances the nation's fish, wildlife, plants and habitats. Through leadership conservation investments with public and private partners, NFWF is dedicated to achieving maximum conservation impact by developing and applying best practices and innovative methods for measurable outcomes. Since its establishment, NFWF has awarded over 10,000 grants to more than 3,500 organizations in the United States and abroad and leveraged - with its partners - more than $600 million into over $1.5 billion for conservation.

With nearly 4.4 million customers and more than 42,000 megawatts of generating capacity, Atlanta-based Southern Company (NYSE:SO) is the premier energy company serving the Southeast, one of America's fastest-growing regions. A leading U.S. producer of electricity, Southern Company owns electric utilities in four states and a growing competitive generation company, as well as fiber optics and wireless communications. Southern Company brands are known for excellent customer service, high reliability and retail electric prices that are significantly below the national average. Southern Company has been listed the top ranking U.S. electric service provider in customer satisfaction for nine consecutive years by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). Visit our Web site at http://www.southerncompany.com/ .

Doggyspace.com Sponsors Halloween Canine Costume Contest to Benefit Local SPCA Chapters

AAG Note: We've been watching and waiting for one of local Fayette County pups to enter. If you decide to enter, be sure to let us know!

(BUSINESS WIRE)--DoggySpace.com is making sure that only treats will be handed out this October 31st. DoggySpace, a social networking site for dogs, is sponsoring a Halloween canine costume contest to benefit local chapters of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals (SPCA). Dog owners can dress their best friend in their Halloween finest and post pictures at www.doggyspace.com/halloween, where site members can vote for their favorite costume. Doggyspace will donate $6,000 to the winning dog’s local SPCA chapter.

“Doggyspace is about doing something fun, interactive and worthwhile, which is why we started this contest,” said Levi Thorton, Doggyspace founder. “Many SPCA’s are privately funded, which means they are under-funded. Prize money from this contest will go directly to a local SPCA to help with the organization’s mission of raising awareness of animal abuse and promoting programs such as good pet care and spay/neuter awareness initiatives.”

Over 75 SPCA chapters have joined the cause, encouraging their local community to participate by disguising dogs as caterpillars, butterflies and even Minnie Mouse. For instance, Blanco the Chihuahua is dashing as a bumble bee, while Missy the golden retriever remains demure and ladylike in her cowgirl outfit.

More than 2,000 votes have already been cast, but dog lovers have until October 31 to push their favorite costume to the winning spot. Please visit www.doggyspace.com/halloween to enter the contest or vote.

Doggyspace is ideal for pet owners that want to share stories or learn about a specific breed, recently relocated individuals looking to create friendships based on a love of dogs, or even people simply interested in finding a play date for Fido. Standard Doggyspace accounts are free.

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Sunday, October 12, 2008

Noah's Ark is in Crisis

The national financial crisis has hit us hard - our donations have all but stopped coming in -and we still have over 1,200 mouths to feed! We are the only family these animals have - and your support makes what we do possible.

Please, if you can, make a donation today. NO GIFT IS TOO SMALL. Every gift makes a difference, whether it be $5.00 or $500.00!

You've given in the past, and we are grateful - and we hope that we can count on you now.

Please take a moment to give so that we can continue to provide for these wonderful animals!

Bless you and thank you.

Jama Hedgecoth and the
Noah's Ark Family
Noah's Ark
712 LG Griffin Road,
Locust Grove, GA 30248
770-957-0888
www.noahs-ark.org

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Beekeeping for Beginners Classes Start Dec. 6 in Athens

Does the thought of honey have you itching to raise bees? Then the State Botanical Garden of Georgia has a series of classes for you.

The Beekeeping for Beginners Series will start on Dec. 6 in Athens, Ga., and will cover the fundamentals of beekeeping. All classes will be held from 9 a.m. to noon. The first will cover beekeeping basics, followed on Jan. 10 with the care and feeding of honeybees and on Feb. 7 with the ABCs of assembling a beehive.

The classes will be taught by Dan Harris, a beekeeper with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and at Booger Hill Farm in Athens.

Pre-registration is required. The series costs $40 for Friends of the Garden members and $45 for non-members. For more information or to register, call (706) 542-6156 or visit www.uga.edu/botgarden.

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Friday, October 10, 2008

Halloween Can Be a Scary Holiday ... for Pets

PRNewswire/ -- Ghosts and goblins walk the streets, approaching homes collecting treats. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) cautions people about keeping their pets safe and preventing dog bite injuries this Halloween. http://www.avma.org/.

While some dogs may understand that costumes and excited children are all part of the holiday fun, many dogs are fearful of common Halloween activities. This creates an increased potential for dog bites.

"Dogs believe they are the guardians of their homes, and they can feel threatened if a stranger enters their space," explains Dr. James O. Cook, president of the AVMA. "If your dog is apprehensive in these situations, you need to be sensitive to that and make preparations before Halloween to keep your dog -- and all the little neighborhood ghosts and goblins-safe."

Dr. Cook explains that costumes can be very confusing for dogs and this can cause them to react in ways that they might not otherwise. For example, some dogs will bark in alarm or show signs of aggression even when an owner or friend puts on a mask or costume.

"What's important is that you be responsive to your dog and prepare ahead of time for the holiday," he says. "If your dog gets nervous when the doorbell rings, put the dog in a place where it will feel safe. This could be inside a crate with a favorite toy or treat, or inside a familiar room with the door closed. This will make the dog feel safer and calmer."

"If your dog appears to be excessively stressed, look to your veterinarian for help," Dr. Cook adds.

Dog bite injuries and stress are not the only hazards for dogs and their owners on Halloween; candy is another common Halloween problem. Chocolate is poisonous to dogs, and so is xylitol, an artificial sweetener found in many chewing gums. Make sure you store Halloween candy where your dog cannot reach it, because most pets will eat it if given the opportunity.

"Children tend to want to share their treats with their pets, and the dog is all too happy to oblige," Dr. Cook explains. "Warn your children beforehand that table scraps are unhealthy for pets, and that candy can be deadly."

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Thursday, October 9, 2008

Diversity of Plant-Eating Fish May be Key to Coral Reef Recovery

For endangered coral reefs, not all plant-eating fish are created equal.

A report scheduled to be published this week in the early edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that maintaining the proper balance of herbivorous fishes may be critical to restoring coral reefs, which are declining dramatically worldwide. The conclusion results from a long-term study that found significant recovery in sections of coral reefs on which fish of two complementary species were caged.

Coral reefs depend on fish to eat the seaweeds with which the corals compete, and without such cleaning, the reefs decline as corals are replaced by seaweeds. Different fish consume different seaweeds because of the differing chemical and physical properties of the plants.

“Of the many different fish that are part of coral ecosystems, there may be a small number of species that are really critical for keeping big seaweeds from over-growing and killing corals,” explained Mark Hay, the Harry and Linda Teasley Professor of Biology at the Georgia Institute of Technology. “Our study shows that in addition to having enough herbivores, coral ecosystems also need the right mix of species to overcome the different defensive tactics of the seaweeds.”

By knowing which fish are most critical to maintaining coral health, resource managers could focus on protecting and enhancing the highest-impact species. In situations where local peoples depend on fishing, they might better sustain the reefs on which they depend by harvesting only less critical species.

“This could offer one more approach to resource managers,” Hay added. “If ecosystems were managed for critical mixes of herbivorous species, we might see more rapid recovery of the reefs.”

Believed to be the first study to demonstrate the importance of herbivore diversity in enhancing the growth of coral reefs, the research was conducted at the National Undersea Research Center in Key Largo, Florida. It was supported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Science Foundation and the Teasley Endowment at Georgia Tech.

Working 60 feet below the surface near the underwater laboratory Aquarius, Hay and co-author Deron E. Burkpile – who is now at Florida International University in North Miami – constructed 32 cages on a coral reef. Each cage was about two meters square and one meter tall and was sealed so that larger fish could neither enter nor leave.

The number and type of fish placed into each four-square-meter cage varied. Some cages had two fish that were able to eat hard, calcified plants; some had two fish able to eat soft, but chemically-defended plants; some had one of both types, and some had no fish at all. The cages were observed for a period of ten months starting in November 2003, and the change in coral cover and seaweed growth was measured.

“For the cages in which we mixed the two species of herbivores, the fish were able to remove much more of the upright seaweeds, and the corals in those areas increased in cover by more than 20 percent during ten months,” Hay said. “That is a dramatic rate of increase for a Caribbean reef.”

Though the percentage growth was impressive, the actual growth in size of each coral was small, Hay noted. Prior to the experiment, the coral reef areas studied had just four to five percent coverage of live coral. After ten months, the corals caged with the two species showed six to seven percent coverage. Corals caged with just one type of fish or no fish lost as much as 30 percent of their cover during the time period.

Hay and Burkepile attempted to repeat their experiment with a different species of fish, but the underwater cages were wiped away by Hurricane Dennis in July 2005 after only seven months of study.

The researchers studied the effects of the redband parrotfish (Sparisoma aurofrenatum) and the ocean surgeonfish (Acanthurus bahianus) in the first experiment, and the redband parrotfish and princess parrotfish (Scarus taeniopterus) in the second. The two fish per cage was at the “high end” of fish density found on present-day Caribbean reefs, but historic densities might have been much higher before extensive fishing of the Caribbean, Hay said.

Just two decades ago, coral coverage in the Caribbean was commonly 40 to 60 percent. Scientists blame many factors – disease, overfishing, pollution, excessive nutrients and global climate change – for the rapid decline, which has also been seen to differing degrees among coral reefs worldwide.

“Some people would argue that coral reefs really don’t exist as functional ecosystems in the Caribbean anymore,” Hay said. “The best reefs we have today are poor cousins to what was only average 20 years ago.”

For the future, Hay would like to expand the experiments to study the effects of additional species, and repeat the studies in different areas, such as the Fiji Islands, where residents are concerned about sustainability of the coral reefs. Though dependent on local fish for their protein, he said the Fiji Islanders may be able to change their fishing habits if researchers can determine which fish must be protected to help the reefs.

“The data we are seeing in Fiji suggests that diversity may be even more important there than it was in the Caribbean,” he said. “There are a lot of different species doing a lot of very different things. These consumers are very important, and in areas where they are over-fished, the reefs are crashing.”

The study provides more proof of how important biodiversity can be to maintaining healthy ecosystems.

“Species diversity is critically important, but we are losing critical components of the Earth’s ecosystem at an alarming rate,” Hay said. “There has been little work on the role of diversity among consumers and the effect that has on communities. This study will help add to our knowledge in this critical area.”

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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Purr-fectly ’Green’ Cat Care Tips

(ARA) – She can jump from the floor to the top of the refrigerator, or bound across your desk without disturbing a single sheet of paper. Your cat personifies the graceful, enviable sure-footedness of her species. But what about her eco-footprint?

With 88 million domesticated cats in the country (according to the National Pet Owners Survey by the American Pet Products Association), the question isn’t just academic. Like their human companions, pets’ modern lifestyles consume natural resources and can contribute to environmental issues like greenhouse gases and the waste stream.

”As consumers and responsible pet owners, we are all looking for ways to care for our pets’ health and their environment,” says Jill Cordes, host of America’s first broadband pet channel www.Petstyle.com. “Many of us are already putting eco-friendly practices into action in our own lives, from buying organic food to shopping with reusable bags and switching to natural household cleaners. Adopting ‘green’ pet care habits is a natural extension of our environmental consciousness.”

You can become a “greener” cat owner with 10 simple steps, Cordes advises:

1. Give them shelter. Overcrowding at animal adoption centers strains resources. You can help ease the problem – and possibly save an animal’s life – by adopting from a shelter rather than buying a cat from a pet store or breeder. You may also save money if you adopt from a shelter where many animals are likely to already be vaccinated, spayed or neutered. Visit www.aspca.com for more information.

2. Use protection. Get your cat spayed or neutered. Unplanned, unwanted ”deliveries” often wind up in shelters, contributing to the overcrowding problem. Plus, spaying and neutering can help reduce your cat’s risk of developing uterine, ovarian, or testicular cancer.

3. Tag, you’re it. Be sure your cat always wears a name tag (or license, if your municipality requires cats to be licensed). If he gets lost, the tag will help any good Samaritan who finds him return him to you. Plus, you’ll conserve the gas you would waste driving around the neighborhood hunting for him, and the paper for those ”missing” posters.

4. Keep it clean – and gentle. Replace traditional pet care and cleaning products that may contain harsh chemicals with gentle, all-natural products.

5. Potty all the time. Choose environmentally friendly cat litter like ARM & HAMMER Essentials Clumping Cat Litter. It’s made with natural biodegradable corn fibers which are sensible for the environment, and absorbs twice the liquid compared to regular clumping clay litter. Plus, the addition of baking soda eliminates odor problems instantly. Visit www.armandhammeressentials.com/litter.aspx to learn more.

6. Food for thought. Just as added hormones or pesticides in your food aren’t good for you, they’re not good for your cat, either. Look for pet food that is natural, organic and FDA-certified.

7. Quench their thirst. Change your pet’s water and food bowl regularly to eliminate potential disease, insect or other pest infestations. Be sure to use filtered tap water rather than bottled water, which weighs on your wallet and the environment.

8. Play ball. Purchase toys made from sustainable fibers or recycled materials, or entertain your cat with homemade toys crafted from recycled materials, like a scratching pole made from old carpeting. And remember, you will always be her favorite – and most eco-friendly – toy.

9. Into the wild ... or not. Try to keep your cat inside as much as possible to avoid exposure to injury, illness and predatory wildlife. If your cat craves the outdoors, however, try to keep his outside time supervised in an enclosed area.

10. Purr-tanical gardens. In an enclosed space, plant a small garden in your backyard for your cat and stock it with cat-safe herbs and flowers. Just be sure kitty is always supervised, and stays in her own yard – otherwise you may find yourself having to explain her embarassing visit to your neighbor’s tomato patch.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Cause for Paws November 1 Raises Funds for Fayette County Humane Society

The 2nd Annual Cause for Paws Silent Auction will be held Saturday, November 1, 2008, at the Flat Creek Country Club in Peachtree City. This auction, for the Fayette County Humane Society, is the largest fundraiser of the year.

Act now to reserve your tickets. This event is sure to sell out soon!

Ticket Request:

Fayette County Humane Society, P.O. Box 244 Fayetteville, GA 30214. Please call 770-487-1073 or email info@fayettehumane.orggg for more information.


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Monday, October 6, 2008

Be Prepared For Pet Emergencies

(NAPSI)-You can protect your precious pets in a time of emergency--if you prepare. Pet care experts at North Shore Animal League America, the world's largest no-kill animal rescue and adoption organization, recommend having a pet first-aid kit that's right where you need it if an animal emergency occurs.

You can buy kits that are pre-assembled or assemble your own. Keep them in different locations, for instance, one kit at home, one in the car, the office, a vacation home, wherever the pet spends time, so you're always ready. If customizing your own kit, use a container that's sturdy, waterproof and easy to spot when you need it in a hurry. Here is what every basic first-aid kit should contain:

Pet First-Aid Essentials

• Phone number and addresses: Veterinarian, emergency vet, animal poison control

• A basic pet first-aid book

• Photocopies of your pet's paperwork: Important medical records, vaccinations, etc.

• Medical gloves: To protect hands and prevent contamination

• Scissors: To cut gauze or the animal's hair

• Bottled water

• A mild antibacterial soap: To clean skin

• Paper towels

• Gauze pads: For cleaning and padding wounds

• Gauze rolls: To wrap wounds and can also be used as a temporary muzzle

• Alcohol prep pads: To sterilize equipment--NOT for use on wounds

• Self-adhesive bandages: Flexible bandage used to wrap and stabilize injuries (do not wrap too tightly)

• A large cloth towel: To wrap animal in

• Hydrogen peroxide: To clean minor wounds

• Eyewash: To gently but thoroughly flush out wounds and eyes

• Antibiotic ointment: For cuts and abrasions (never for eyes)

• Cotton applicator swabs

• Tweezers: To remove foreign objects from skin and paws and for proper removal of ticks.

Always make sure to read directions and warnings before applying any medications, either prescribed or over the counter, to your pet. In an emergency, contact your veterinarian for further instruction.

For more information on pets, including how to adopt and care for them, visit AnimalLeague.org.

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Sunday, October 5, 2008

Did You Know? Cancer Is As Common In Pets As In Humans

(NAPSI)-Many people don't realize that cancer is the leading cause of disease-related death in pets and that proper veterinary care can help ensure your pets get the treatment they need.

Pets develop the same types of cancers as people. Dogs, for example, are 35 times more likely to develop skin cancer than humans, four times more likely to get breast cancer, eight times more likely to succumb to bone cancer and twice as likely to develop leukemia. Insurance claims show lymphosarcoma and skin cancer as the most common pet cancers.

"Dog and cat owners should take their pets in for annual checkups," Dr. Carol McConnell, of Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI) suggests. "Clinical signs of cancer can present themselves in dogs and cats at a very rapid rate."

Cancer causes almost half the deaths of pets more than 10 years old. Here are some signs to watch for:

• A growing lump or a sore that doesn't heal

• Discharge or bleeding

• Your pet is losing weight despite eating normally

• Going more than a day or two without eating

• Difficulty in chewing or swallowing

• Any unusually bad smell coming from your pet

• Tiring easily and unwillingness to exercise.

If you're attuned to your pet's needs and ordinary behavior, you may be able to spot changes that indicate problems. However, in many cases, the signs are difficult to detect. Only a veterinarian can diagnose cancer, so regular preventive examinations are important.

If cancer is diagnosed in your pet, there is hope. Due to rapid advances in veterinary medicine, early detection of cancer in pets can be battled with some success. Sophisticated treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation, immunotherapy and surgical procedures that were once only performed on humans are now available for pets, too.

These procedures may become expensive, but cancer treatment costs can be affordable with financial assistance for pets in the form of medical insurance.

Medical plans from VPI, for example, reimburse for the testing and treatment of common cancers. Pet owners can also purchase a special Cancer Rider as an add-on to their base policy. This plan increases the cancer benefits, resulting in a substantial amount in reimbursement after a claim is filed. Early pet insurance enrollment is important, since pre-existing medical conditions are not eligible for coverage.

VPI reports that cancer claims are the fourth-highest type of feline claim and sixth-highest type of canine claim that pet owners submit. To help in the fight against pet cancer, VPI encourages pet owners to contribute to a special cause. Pet owners can display their support by purchasing a limited-edition Pet Cancer Awareness dog collar adorned with lavender ribbons; all profits from sales go directly to the Animal Cancer Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to pet and human cancer research. Visit www.petinsurance.com/cancer to order yours today.

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Friday, October 3, 2008

Bears? Gators? Must be Land of the Trembling Earth

The Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge is a delightful excursion into nature. Take a trip to Folkston to see some of nature's beautiful wildlife. Whether you are an avid photographer, a fisherman, or just someone who wants to experience nature at its finest, the Okefenokee Swamp will provide the perfect thrill for your adventure.

Look for the alligators sunning themselves on the banks of the swamp, or look closely for a bear feeding on the local berries or acorns.

The early Indians called this land, Okefenokee, or Land of the Trembling Earth. Swampy and filled with wildlife, this land is one of the oldest and best preserved of American freshwater.

Click to learn more.

Fayette Front Page Staff Reports

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Thursday, October 2, 2008

UGA Works to Reverse Food Animal Vet Shortage

Dogs, cats and pocket pets like hamsters, gerbils and lizards aren’t the only animals that get sick and need a trip to the veterinarian. Cows, pigs and other livestock do, too. But the number of food animal veterinarians in the U.S. is rapidly declining.

A University of Georgia incentive program is helping draw the next generation into this declining field.

The UGA food animal veterinary incentive program, which started in 2007, is an early admission program designed for Georgia high school students interested in this practice. So far, all of the allotted 10 slots in the program have been filled.

“Many schools, UGA included, decided that this issue was important, especially since we have a large number of food animal clients,” said Paige Carmichael, associate dean for academic affairs in the College of Veterinary Medicine.

Through the food animal program, Carmichael hopes to gain “a cohort of students who have experience working with food animals. Because of this they are much more likely to stick with food animal veterinary medicine after they graduate.”

Food animal veterinarians work primarily with beef and dairy cows, pigs, sheep, goats and poultry. The older generation of this type of veterinarian is retiring at a rate of 4 percent to 6 percent annually.

UGA freshman Ali Terrell has worked at small animal clinics since she was 12. She was introduced to large animal medicine by a veterinarian in Greensboro, Ga. “I fell in love with it,” she said.

She’s now working her way through the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, the first step in the incentive program. “There’s a lot of support for students in the ag college,” she said. “They care about the success and about building relationships with their students.”

Students in the program major in animal science, avian biology, dairy science or poultry science. After their CAES graduation, they enter the CVM, provided they fulfill admission requirements.

Any incoming UGA freshman who is a Georgia resident is eligible to apply for the incentive program. Special summer studies, research opportunities and internships are available. One, the National Veterinary Medical Services Act, provides loan forgiveness for students in exchange for their work in rural communities, said Sheila Allen, CVM dean.

Job options for food animal veterinary graduates include private practice, corporate agribusiness, university research and teaching, government veterinary medical officer and diagnostic pathology.

Without food animal veterinarians to detect, manage and prevent diseases, “our first line of defense against outbreaks of diseases like foot-and-mouth is compromised,” said Dean Pringle, a CAES animal science professor.

Foot-and-mouth disease is highly contagious and sometimes fatal, affecting mostly cattle, sheep and pigs. In 2001, an outbreak in Great Britain decimated the livestock industry and postponed general elections and sporting events.

But food animal medicine is not just about detecting diseases. These veterinarians also teach producers how to manage their animals, give them better ways to care for their flocks or herds and do background research to help ensure safe and affordable animal products continue to stock grocery store shelves.

“Not only are you impacting the health of an animal, you’re impacting the economic health of the people you’re working for,” Pringle said. “It’s exciting.”

For more information about the incentive program, visit www.caes.uga.edu/academics/FoodAnimalVIP.html.

(Author Stephanie Schupska is a news editor for the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)
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Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Save The Rhinoceros, Not The Rhinovirus

(NAPSI)-If you've ever wondered what a rhinoceros and a rhinovirus have to do with each other, you may want to ask a world-renowned wildlife expert.

Jack Hanna, who has helped preserve the rhinoceros, one of the most endangered species on earth, is taking part in a new campaign to help people better understand the common cold.

The "Save the Rhinoceros; Not the Rhinovirus" campaign, a partnership between Hanna and the makers of a popular cold remedy, will feature media tours, online consumer information and a national sweepstakes with an African safari in Kenya's Lewa Wildlife Conservancy as the grand prize. A portion of sales, a minimum of $30,000, and an additional donation, up to $20,000, based on the number of sweepstakes entries, will be donated to Lewa Wildlife Conservancy (www.lewa.org) and the Wilds rhinoceros conservation program (www.thewilds.org) at the end of the cold season.

According to Hanna, a longtime user of Zicam Cold Remedy, the world rhinoceros population has declined by 90 percent and there are only five species of rhinoceros left in the world. "This campaign is an innovative example of how responsible brands can help consumers, while working to preserve endangered wildlife such as the rhinoceros," said Hanna.

The campaign evolved from research showing many people are unaware that over 100 different types of rhinoviruses are among the leading cause of the common cold.

Zicam Cold Remedy is clinically proven to shorten the duration of the cold and lessen the severity of cold symptoms if used within the first 24 to 48 hours. Also, the rhinoceros, with its large horn and strong presence, is a visual reminder of how tough the common cold can be.

Hanna hopes that through this campaign, people will learn about taking care of themselves, especially how to get over a cold faster, while taking care of wildlife.

"My career and my passion have always been about wildlife conservation," said Hanna. "I have a special place in my heart for the rhinoceros. In the wild, the adult black or white rhino has no true natural predators and, despite its size and antagonistic reputation, it is extremely easy to poach."

He hopes the program will get more people involved in learning about wildlife preservation.

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