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Canine Influenza – Seminar by Maddie’s Fund was informative

May 10, 2015 9 comments

Shelter dogsOn Thursday, I had the opportunity to attend an online seminar put on by Maddie’s Fund. I was already interested in the topic, but expected to learn little new as I had already been reading up on the topic on my own. As it turns out, I learned a heck of a lot more information in the seminar than in the newspapers. Go figure.

The topic? What Animal Shelters Need to Know About the Canine Influenza Outbreak. The seminar was presented by Dr. Sandra Newbury from the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine and UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program. Dr. Newbury has been working closely with shelters since the outbreak and was able to share some details that the media has missed in their rush to join the hype.

Sad Looking Chocolate LabShe shared some of what shelter workers who have been dealing with after the spread of this virus, not only in the  shelters in Chicago, but also in the surrounding areas and states. Wow. I cannot imagine the stress. They deserve our support. What they are dealing with is incredibly overwhelming. I imagine they are exhausted after managing through this for the past two months. They are not only caring for hundreds of sick cats and dogs, but also worrying about exposing their own pets to this virus. Imagine how scary it must be for them.

You can get a copy of the presentation handout here, but I thought I would share a few of the things I learned.

  • The virus currently making dogs sick in Chicago (H3N2) originated in Korea, China and Thailand. It is suspected it came from the Avian influenza and transferred to cats and dogs. In Korea, China and Thailand, the virus also infected cats, who experienced a significant mortality rate when infected (something we have not seen here).
  • Despite what we may think, there is no proof that the virus came in with a dog imported from these countries to the United States. They may never know how it made it to this country.
  • The virus did not originate in a shelter, but started with one dog living in a home. Contraction of the virus most likely started in a training class, vet clinic, or doggy daycare.
  • When it did hit animal shelters in Chicago, it hit them like a tidal wave. Example: One or two dogs started showing symptoms on  Monday. By Tuesday, ten dogs were sick and by Friday, shelters were seeing 50-100 dogs sick. In CACC, they saw 200 dogs sick with the virus.
  • Most of the dogs have had mild to moderate respiratory disease. Very few that have died, but some have developed pneumonia and needed additional treatment.
  • Symptoms usually start with a cough and nasal discharge. Dogs sickened with this virus seem to feel worse than the dogs infected with the known virus, H3N8.
  • This virus differs from the one we have previously seen in the United States (H3N8) in that it has a longer “shedding” period (the virus can still be shed by the formerly sick dog long after they seem well, thus making them still contagious after 19 days). 
  • This has had a huge impact on shelters and shelter workers. Because of the longer shedding period, shelters have had to stop or slow down the release of dogs to  rescues and they have had to turn some dogs away in order to avoid infecting more dogs, sometimes diverting incoming dogs to other uninfected shelters. They are trying to be very, very careful to not spread the virus.
  • Because this virus is new to the United States, many shelters were placing dogs up for adoption after seven days, when they appeared well, but they soon discovered that other dogs were getting infected when exposed to these dogs even though they (the formerly sick dogs) were well.
  • Dr. Newbury said they are now recommending that dogs be isolated for at least 21 days after they were first diagnosed to prevent spread of the disease, but she cautioned that they are not yet positive that 21 days will be long enough, because they thought it would be fine after 14 days and discovered it was not.
  • If a rescue or animal shelter chooses to adopt out a dog who was sick and no longer has symptoms, they should be apply two rtPCR tests and get a negative result from both before allowing the dog to be adopted, and even then, they should gain agreement from the adopter that they will keep them isolated for the full 21 days (no dog parks, no training classes, etc.).
  • Shelters in Chicago are developing plans to release some dogs from their shelters to avoid an increase in euthanasia, but they are giving rescue groups very, very specific instructions on holding the dogs in isolation and away from other dogs. They do not want to move dog to an area that does not have influenza already.
  • Sick dogs are not turning over to recovering dogs as quickly, but they are starting to see more recovered dogs than sick now. That is very good news.

While I still think this is a very serious outbreak, I feel better knowing more of the details. The speed at which this virus spreads and the fact that the shedding period is so long should be a concern for rescues as they import dogs from these sates. They may want to avoid the ones where cases already been confirmed for now.

Kudos to all the shelter workers dealing with this and trying to make sure it is contained. You have a tough job on normal days. This is above and beyond what is “normal.”

 

 

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Post Insulinoma: A Daisy Update

May 3, 2015 16 comments

I need to apologize to all of you.

A couple of months ago I wrote about Daisy’s insulinoma and shared my worries and my fears about her recovery, but I never came back to give you an update on how she was doing. I am so sorry. I was so in the moment of what was going on that I never realized that I had left you hanging on what happened or how she was doing! Duh!

So how is Daisy doing? Well, I will let you see for yourself. In pictures, of course. 🙂

 

She is back to walking with us at the dog park and walking with new energy and vigor.

Walking Miss Daisy #dogpark

The kids

Jasper is back to harassing (I mean, herding) her and she is happy about that.

Jasper harassing his big sister. He obviously knows she is feeling better. #Jasper #Daisy #dogpark

She loves exploring and digging again.

Daisy smiles as she explores the old tree stump.

She and Cupcake are still looking for cheese in the oddest of places.

Looking for the cheese. (A little nosework game tonight.) #Cupcake #Daisy

Cuddling is still a priority (I will never tire of that).

Daisy from above 2

Recently, I took her with me on an extended weekend vacation at a cabin on a lake.

I'm watching you. #Daisy

While there, she enjoyed a couple dips in the lake.

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She also explored the beach.

So many new smells to explore! #Daisy

And, hunted for shells

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Hiked (Twice!)

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Explored the woods.

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Woke to the sound of loons every morning.

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And, relaxed. A lot. 🙂

Daisy really hates being at the cabin.

Me and my dog

She’s looking good, isn’t she?

I rarely get a picture like this. It took cheese to get it.  #Daisy #Lab

Having come through to the other side of things, I can honestly say that I am glad she had the surgery. I had a lot of doubts in those early days immediately following it, but now I am so grateful that I get to enjoy a little extra time with my girl.

I think I would lying if I did not admit that I am also hyper vigilant about any changes in Daisy’s behavior. I know that insulinomas almost always come back. I know that my time with her may be as short as a year or as long as 18 months. That is the reality. But if they really did get it all, and it never comes back, then I have her for as long as she can outlive her aging body. I am hopeful it will be the latter. For now, Daisy is doing well and loving life, and that is the best outcome of all. 🙂

Thank you for caring and sending your prayers and good thoughts. Daisy and I are forever grateful. Truly grateful.

A New Study on Dogs and Lymes Disease May Offer New Insights Into Transmission

April 24, 2013 25 comments

IMG_4843Recently a friend shared the news that one of her dogs had tested positive for Lymes disease. She was completely devastated and felt awful that her dog had gotten it in the first place. I immediately felt the need to respond and reassure her. Why? Because one of my dogs had/has Lymes disease too. 

Jasper was diagnosed with Lymes disease a few years ago. Although, I caught it fairly early, I was still devastated to know that he had gotten it in the first place. Had I missed a Frontline treatment>? Had I missed a day. I was pretty sure I had given all my dogs regular treatment, but somehow a tick had still gotten past it. Thankfully, Jasper was easily treated with antibiotics, but unfortunately it also left him with occasional flare ups. Something I still awful about.

When my friend shared her story, I expected to be the only one admitting that my dog also had also gotten Lymes. Instead, I was surprised to discover that not only was I not alone, but I was not even one among two or three friends. My jaw dropped open as friend after friend admitted that their dog(s) had also gotten Lymes.

To say I was shocked would be an understatement. It never occurred to me that so many people I knew would have dogs who at one time had had Lymes disease too. All this time I had kept my own sense of failure to myself, thinking I had somehow failed my dog, but as it turns out I was not even close to alone. The question is why? Are we all negligent owners? I find that hard to believe. Some people are more diligent than others in applying some sort of protection on their dogs. So, how is it possible that so many of us had dogs who had at one time had Lymes?

Maybe this story on a new study holds some answers: When Dogs Are Most Likely to Pick Up Ticks. 

I encourage you to read the full story, but here is a brief synopsis of what was in the piece:

So is Jasper’s Lymes disease a result of my negligence? Or, were his chances of getting it just as likely as any other dog? I suppose I will never really know, but seeing this study, and knowing how many people I know with dogs who at one time had Lymes disease, makes me wonder. Maybe Frontline isn’t enough. Maybe checking each and every time we return from the park or from a walk is the only way to be certain. It certainly has me thinking.

Walking dogs in the dark. Why I hate the “fall back” time change.

November 14, 2011 17 comments

Lady under the dog park halogen lights

I’m not going to lie. I hate the “fall back” part of fall. Give me Daylight Savings all year round and I’m a happy woman. My dogs are happier too.

Yes, that extra hour of sleep is nice, but then I have to contend with the sun setting at an earlier hour. Not much of a trade off in my mind. That extra hour gave me and my dogs time to go for a nice walk in the evenings, while the sun was still up. Now I get to enjoy daylight all day long while sitting in a cubicle at work – where I can least enjoy it, and by the time I get home it’s dark and cold outside.

Walking with my dogs after dark would not be a huge issue for me if not for the lack of sidewalks and too many fast drivers on our street. It makes me nervous to walk on my street because of those fast cars.

A few times last week, I was able to make it home in time to take the dogs to the dog park just as the sun set. Yes, this dog park is not my favorite, but at least it has good lighting and there are no speeding cars to contend with. Honestly though, most nights I get home and find myself coming up with reasons not to walk the dogs in the dark.

How are all of you dealing with the time change and making sure your dogs get enough exercise? Are there other ways that you are keeping your dogs busy? Or, are you walking in the dark too?

The Missing Link Giveaway!

October 7, 2011 16 comments


I am really excited about this giveaway.

Recently, I was contacted by Missing Link and asked to try out their product on my two dogs and cat. I jumped at the chance. What an opportunity!

I have been hearing about Missing Link for some time now. As a regular listener of Katie K9, I have often heard her recommending it to owners with dog(s) and/or cat(s) with compromised immune systems. I have also heard other pet owners mention that it has helped their dog’s allergies or made their dog’s coat look amazing. You can read a few stories here, and here and here.

Missing link contains Omega 3, Omega 6, and Omega 9, flaxseed lignans, and phytochemicals (phytochemicals have anti-rheumatic, anti-allergenic, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-carcinogenic properties. They are recognized for their disease fighting properties.) In other words, if you’ve got a dog who is suffering from allergies, or has a weakened immune system or is getting older and needs a supplement to help build up their immune system, Missing Link should be something you consider trying. And, here was my chance to try it out!

However, I’ve decided to do something a little different. I am going to share this generous gift with two of my readers and buy my own bags of missing link for my dogs and cat. I am giving away one 1 lb. bag of Canine Formula with Joint Support and one 6oz. bag of Feline Formula.

Here are the rules for the giveaway:

1. “Like” No Dog About It’s Facebook fan page (on the right).

2. Post a picture of your dog or cat on our Facebook page (Don’t forget to include you pet’s name!). This is your “before” picture.

3. If you win, agree to post another picture (the “after” picture) of your cat or dog on our Facebook fan page 40 days from now and share your dog or cat’s results after taking Missing Link.

The contest will run until midnight (12:00 AM Central Time), October 12, 2011. Two winners will be selected at random using Random.org, and will be notified via Facebook. Only those who post a picture of their cat or dog on our Facebook fan page between now and and 12:00 AM Central Time, October 12, 2011, will be eligible to win. Winners will have three days to claim their prize, or another winner will be drawn from the entry pool. I will post the winners on my blog on October 13th. Good luck!

In the fairness of full disclosure, I have chosen to share the third bag of Canine Formula with my client Kelly, and her dog, Clover (see pictures below). Clover has been suffering from severe allergies and has been on Prednisone to help control the itching. She will join the two winners, and my own dogs and cat, in this little experiment. I will share updates about all of the pets in about 40 days.

Want to learn more about what’s in Missing Link? Go here. Also, follow Missing Link on Facebook and Twitter.

Clover - On the Deck


Clover - Top View


Clover at play

And the winners are…

Deb Swan and her poodle Jack
Nicole Bourassa and her cat Boots

Deb and Nicole – Send me an email at nodogaboutitblog.com with your address and I’ll ship them this weekend.

Jack and his other human, Kari


Little kitty, Boots


Welcome to the Saturday Pet Blogger Blog Hop. I encourage you to check out some of the other awesome bloggers out there. Much thanks to our most generous and interesting hosts, Life With Dogs, Two Little Cavaliers, and Confessions of the Plume!

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Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

Daisy – My Stress Gauge-O-Meter

September 18, 2011 24 comments

Roxanne Hawn recently wrote a touching post about how her absence and some very stressful life events are impacting her dog, Lilly. I could so relate to her sadness about how Lilly was reacting to that stress by hiding in dark places.

It’s an awful feeling when you realize that your stress is impacting your dog. You feel both guilty and sad.

Daisy is especially attuned to my emotions and stress (just as Lilly seems to be with Roxanne’s). When I am stressed out Daisy reverts back to a lot of her old behaviors: staying in her kennel (her safe spot) for longer periods of time, pacing back and forth near the back door because she is afraid to come through the doorway to come inside (doorways are often a problem for puppy mill dogs), pacing inside nervously, even hiding out in her kennel and refusing to go outside even though she really has to go potty.

I have learned over time that reading Daisy’s behavior is so very important, not only as a gauge to her own health and well-being, but also to mine.

It makes me wonder how much more dogs have to teach us if we only just pay attention? I’m still learning.

Dogs: What To Expect As They Get Older

January 17, 2010 Leave a comment

Aspen

The hardest part of owning a dog, besides potty and obedience training, is watching them get old. We want them to stay young forever; to be there with us as we get old. I certainly have experienced this with my first Sheltie, Alicia, and my last dog, Aspen. I grew up with Alicia and she with me. I saw her in her youth: running, walking, playing, and demonstrating an enthusiasm for life that I truly envied. Every day was a new day. Everything was fresh and new.

But suddenly, before I knew it, Alicia was moving slower, having difficulty navigating the stairs in our house, taking shorter walks, sleeping more than playing. It was then that I had to acknowledge that yes, my dog was getting older. This can be such a hard thing to accept (it certainly was for me) because when I finally started to admit that she was getting older I also had to admit that one day we would have to say goodbye to one another. For me, this is when the denial started to set in. There is nothing harder than saying goodbye, whether it be to a family member, friends or your furry companion. It’s one of life’s hardest lessons – nothing lasts forever.

So what should you expect as your dog gets older?

A change to her regular bathroom routine – As dogs age, they have a harder time holding it as long as they used to when they were younger. Chances are she will need to go to the bathroom more frequently. My Aspen experienced incontinence as she got older. I was willing to work around it, through mediation, but it’s something you need to be aware as your dog gets older.

Sensitivity to cold or heat – Older dogs have a much harder time with extreme cold or heat. Their bodies just can’t regulate as easily as when they were younger. As an owner, you will want to monitor your dog more closely when they are outside in these conditions and you will want to shorten your walks if you notice she is having a hard time.

Arthritis – In some dog breeds, this can be worse than others, but often you will notice it when your dog tries to get up or lie down or when he or she is going up stairs. He will have a more difficult time doing many other physical activities as well, including getting into taller vehicles. He may also have a harder time walking, and will walk slower than he did when he was younger. Keeping his nails clipped will help ease some walking issues, but consulting your vet about Glucosamine supplements or other options is a very good idea.

Increase in water intake – As your dog gets older, she has the potential to develop problems with her kidneys, liver or other organs. Many of these diseases can cause her to drink more water, so you will want to make sure you provide her with plenty of water as she gets older.

Loss of sight and sound -Just like our grandparents, older dogs often experience a loss of hearing and/or sight or both. Most often you will start to notice these changes when your dog starts sleeping more deeply than she did before. You may also notice that she doesn’t hear you when you enter the room or she may jump up suddenly and bark because she was startled when she didn’t hear you enter. Which leads me to the next change in behavior…

Barking more than usual – As your dog gets older and his hearing starts to go you may also notice an increase barking. Because your dog does not hear as well as he used to, he is more likely to be easily startled, especially if you come up behind him and he doesn’t hear you approaching. It can be scary to have someone suddenly appear behind you when you didn’t expect it! Your dog is going to be more easily startled out of a sound sleep as well. So, if you notice an increase in your dog’s barking, consider his age and whether or not his hearing is the issue.

There are plenty of other behavior changes that you should be aware of as your dog starts to age. Talk to your veterinarian about what to expect and what health issues commonly accompany older dogs.

Here are some great websites and articles for more info:
Caring for Senior Pets
How long pets live and why it matters anyway
Senior Dogs: Common Behavior Changes

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