Analgesic Creams a Danger to Pets

Analgesic creams and lotions often contain NSAIDs that can be extremely toxic to pets. Pets ingest the compounds by licking the owner’s skin, or by licking their own fur after being pet by the owners. The compounds can cause perforating stomach and intestinal ulceration as well as kidney failure. NSAIDs found in these lotions include Diclofenac and Flurbiprofen. Use these compounds with extreme caution because very small amounts can be hazardous and even fatal to animals.

Traveling petting zoo behind rash of E. coli infections

Minnesota health officials traced an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak involving 13 people, two of whom developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, to a traveling petting zoo. Staff and veterinarians with the zoo voluntarily suspended travels and are working to address the problem. Public health officials are reminding people to wash their hands after spending time around animals, noting that even well-cared-for, clean and healthy animals can carry bacteria that cause disease in humans. Read more at the Star Tribune-->

Biologists fight advancing tide of invasive lizard in Everglades

The 24-inch Argentine black and white tegu poses a greater threat to the Florida Everglades than other invasive species, including pythons, according to some experts, and wildlife biologists Frank Mazzotti and Joy Vinci are working to stop the lizards' spread while they still can. Tegus were most likely released by breeders and owners. They thrive in part by eating a generalist diet and demonstrating greater resistance to cold weather than other invasive species. Read more at the New York Times-->

Toxoplasmosis identified in whales

Toxoplasmosis gondii, a zoonotic pathogen transmitted to people in many cases via contaminated, undercooked meat, was identified in beluga whales, a traditional food source for the Inuit people. The same study identified a strain of Sarcocystis as the cause of death for 406 north Atlantic gray seals in 2012. Researchers think climate shifts are contributing to the spread of such pathogens into new areas. Read more at National Geographic News-->

Update: U.K. veterinarians search for cause of deadly canine symptoms

Veterinarians in Britain are being asked for skin and kidney samples from dogs presumed to have died from a newly identified complex of symptoms similar to Alabama rot. Thirteen animals in Britain have died with similar symptoms since December 2012. Symptoms include skin lesions on the extremities and acute kidney failure. The Guardian (London) 1/23/14 Read more-->

Dolphins appear to find puffer fish toxins intoxicating

Big doses of nerve toxins from puffer fish can kill, but dolphins may have discovered that smaller doses coaxed from the fish on purpose can create a pleasant high, according to a new documentary series for BBC One. "After chewing the puffer gently and passing it round, they began acting most peculiarly, hanging around with their noses at the surface as if fascinated by their own reflection," said zoologist and documentary producer Rob Pilley. Read More-->

Service dog protects girl during anesthetic procedure

JJ, a service dog trained to detect allergic reactions at the molecular level, helped safeguard 7-year-old Kaelyn Krawczyk during a procedure under anesthesia at Duke University Medical Center. Kaelyn has mastocytosis, a rare condition in which mast cells release histamines and other signals in response to almost any external stimulus such as heat or cold. JJ was trained to alert Kaelyn and her parents at the onset of a problem, and the dog is so sensitive to triggers that she can detect a reaction long before any overt signs occur. "It sounds silly, in this age of technology, when we have millions of dollars worth of equipment beeping around me, that we had a little dog who was more sensitive than all the machines," said anesthesiologist Brad Taicher. Read More-->

Pet Nutrition Facts and Myths

Pet nutrition facts and myths-->

Tiny turtles can mean serious illnesses

Despite the fact that it's illegal to sell turtles less than 4 inches long, several salmonella outbreaks in people have been traced back to these tiny reptiles. There have been 470 salmonella infections this year in the U.S. linked to small turtles, and in 78 of those cases, people required hospital treatment. "Turtles and other reptiles are not recommended as pets for your family, especially if there are children 5 years old and younger or people with weakened immune systems living in your home," said Michigan public health executive and physician Matthew Davis. Read more-->

Study fuels FDA warning about raw pet foods

Raw pet foods are more likely than other pet foods to contain salmonella and listeria bacteria, according to a two-year study by the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine in which 1,000 samples from 196 raw dog and cat foods were tested. The researchers found salmonella in 15 samples and listeria in 32. The results "identified a potential health risk for the pets eating the raw food and for the owners handling the product," said principal investigator and veterinarian Renate Reimschuessel. Read more-->

FDA calls on veterinarians for help in solving jerky treat mystery

The FDA has issued a call for veterinarians and pet owners to help solve the mystery surrounding a rash of pet deaths linked to chicken jerky treats made in China. The treats have been connected to illness in some 3,600 dogs and 10 cats, and at least 580 of those animals died. The government has tested 1,200 samples, but no clear cause for the illnesses has been uncovered. Animal Health Smart Brief. Read more-->

Undercooked moose meat leads to infant's toxoplasmosis infection

Medium-rare moose meat infected with Toxoplasma gondii led to an infection in a newborn child affecting his heart, eyes and brain. Lauren Hamm ate the moose meat when she was 26 weeks pregnant, passed the parasite to her fetus and delivered the baby, named Bennett, prematurely at 34 weeks due to the infection. Bennett spent weeks in neonatal intensive care. According to a paper on the case written by Hamm's doctor, people contract toxoplasmosis by ingesting undercooked, contaminated meat, via gestation or through exposure to cysts from the environment. Read more-->

Tegu lizards threaten native Fla. species

Argentine tegu lizards, a non-native species with razorlike teeth inside powerful jaws, are threatening native wildlife in South Florida, and officials there say it's too late to eradicate the existing tegu population. The lizards, up to 4 feet long, eat all manner of wildlife, including small mammals such as the endangered Key Largo wood rat, as well as eggs of the American crocodile. Tegus are popular pets and were likely released in the area by owners. Read more-->

Circovirus confirmed in 2 Mich. dogs

Canine circovirus has appeared in Michigan, confirmed through testing at Michigan State University. Samples from two dogs tested positive, but officials noted that in both cases, other diseases -- parvovirus in one case -- were involved, and the AVMA has urged the public to remain calm. "We know that dogs infected with circovirus don't always become ill, but we don't know how much of the virus they may shed in their stool or how much risk these dogs present as sources of infection for other dogs," according to an AVMA statement. Veterinarian Lindsay Ruland called attention to the issue, questioning whether a number of dogs she's treated -- six of whom died -- might have the same illness that is under investigation in Ohio. Experts with the AVMA note that circoviruses are known to infect avian species and swine as well. The Detroit News. Read more-->

Breaking Pet News

We'll keep you posted on important pet topics. Currently on this page you will find information about dog bite liability, war dogs, the feline heartworm threat, the toxic sugar substitute XYLITOL, and even a fun link about how to make web pages easier for cats to surf!

Antibodies from sharks could help fight breast cancer

An antibody believed to be found only in sharks, known as IgNAR, may help treat breast cancer, and University of Aberdeen biologists are conducting a three-year study to investigate. The antibody is thought to inhibit two cancer cell surface molecules, preventing them from initiating growth of cancer cells. Read more-->

Canine Circovirus

Stay up to date on canine circovirus:

Case of rabies in a cow emphasizes importance of livestock vaccination

A cow in Fairfax County, Va., recently tested positive for rabies, and officials there are reminding residents to consider vaccinating livestock for rabies. Sept. 28 is World Rabies Day, meant to bring attention to the global deadly zoonotic disease, and Fairfax County is hosting its own rabies awareness week to highlight the virus. Read more-->

Fungal pathogens threaten the survival of bats, snakes and frogs

Fungal pathogens are responsible for the decimation of frogs, snakes and bats, according to U.S. biologists, but research to combat their spread gets far less funding than diseases with a clearer link to the economy or human health. Pseudogymnoascus destructans, which causes white-nose syndrome, has killed an estimated 7 million bats in the country since it was first identified in the U.S. in 2006. Chytridiomycosis has eradicated 165 species of amphibians worldwide, and Ophidiomyces poses a serious but under-the-radar threat to snakes. Read more-->

N.H.-sold chicken treat recalled after human illnesses reported

Kritter's Kitchen Kreations of Loudon, N.H., is voluntarily recalling its Joey's Jerky chicken jerky pet treats after at least 21 people reportedly became ill from exposure to the food, which may have been contaminated with salmonella. The treats were sold at stores in New Hampshire. Read more-->

Circovirus in Ohio Dog

Preliminary data: Circovirus was present in Ohio dog that died Early findings suggest a virus previously associated with pigs and not known to affect dogs may be linked to the death of an Ohio dog and may have affected others. The circovirus was found in several California dogs that died this spring. In the meantime, area veterinarians are telling owners not to panic and noting that an association does not indicate causation. However, they say any dog exhibiting symptoms of illness should be evaluated by a veterinarian. Read more-->

Why Urban Dogs Need Heartworm Prevention

As part of an owner Q&A column, veterinarian Ernie Ward explains that the rare and mild adverse reactions to heartworm prevention treatment are no reason to avoid the potentially life-saving preventive medication. Responding to a question about whether an urban dog needs the prophylactic care, Dr. Ward says any dog that might be exposed to mosquitoes is at risk. "The treatment [for heartworm] is no fun and has the potential for side effects," Dr. Ward says. "And treatment is expensive. Prevention is best."

Podcast: Dogs Join the Fight Against Ovarian Cancer

Every year, about 20,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer is the eighth most common cancer and the fifth leading cause of cancer death among U.S. women, but early detection can greatly increase the chances of successful treatment. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania are training dogs to sniff out samples of ovarian cancer in an effort to increase its early detection and save lives. In this podcast, Dr. Cynthia Otto, director of the Penn Vet Working Dog Center, talks about how dogs are using their amazing sense of smell in an effort to develop better screening tests for ovarian cancer. Listen to the podcast.

Dog Bite Liability

Dog bite? Could be a real big deal. According to the Insurance Information Institute, the AVERAGE cost of a dog bite claim last year was $26166!! At our clinic we see the problem most often when one or more dogs is off leash. If the event occurs on your property, that is no protection from liability. Most homeowners insurance will cover the first bite, but then they will drop you and you will be blacklisted from getting insurance elsewhere. Please take warning and keep your dog under control.

War Dogs

"Dogs have been fighting alongside U.S. soldiers for more than 100 years, seeing combat in the Civil War and World War I. But their service was informal; only in 1942 were canines officially inducted into the U.S. Army. Today, they're a central part of U.S. efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan -- as of early 2010 the U.S. Army had 2,800 active-duty dogs deployed (the largest canine contingent in the world). And these numbers will continue to grow as these dogs become an ever-more-vital military asset." Read more

Feline heartworm threat

Feline heartworm (HW) infection is an emerging issue in feline medicine. This is due in part to the recent development of improved serodiagnostic tests for cats, and to increased awareness associated with the promotion of HW preventives licensed for cats. The actual incidence of feline HW infection may also be increasing, paralleling the spread of canine HW infection across the United States.

Sugar Substitute XYLITOL toxic

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Fun Link: Essential Design Principles for Cats

Does your cat like the computer? Flop on it when you're trying to work? Then this is a must read: