Daily Paws

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Jerky Treat Mystery: Nearly 600 Pets Dead; Still No Source, FDA Says

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013
courtesy the Mawaka family

Photo courtesy: the Mawaka Family.   Toby, a 6-year-old Boston terrier, died in 2012 after his owners say he was sickened by chicken jerky pet treats made in China.

Nearly 600 pets have died and more than 3,600 have been sickened in an ongoing, mysterious outbreak of illnesses tied to jerky treats made in China, federal animal health officials said Tuesday.

Most of the cases have been in dogs of all breeds, ages and sizes — although 10 cats have been sickened, too — after eating chicken, duck and sweet potato jerky treats. The pace of the reported illnesses appears to have slowed, but federal Food and Drug Administration officials are now seeking extra help from veterinarians and pet owners in solving the ongoing puzzle.

“To date, testing for contaminants in jerky treats has not revealed a cause for the illnesses,” Martine Hartogensis, a deputy director for the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine, said in the new report. “Despite these warnings, we have continued to receive reports of illnesses in both cats and dogs.”

The new numbers are up from some 500 deaths and 3,200 illnesses tallied in January, but the rate of reports has fallen sharply since then, mostly because two of the largest sellers of pet jerky treats announced recalls tied to the presence of unapproved antibiotic residue detected in the products.

FDA officials don’t think that antibiotic residue is the big problem that has stumped the agency since 2007, when pet owners started reporting their animals were suffering gastrointestinal and kidney problems after eating the popular jerky treats.

Instead, it’s likely that the recall of Nestle Purina PetCare Co.’s Waggin Train and Canyon Creek Ranch treats, plus Del Monte Corp.’s Milo’s Kitchen Chicken Jerky and Chicken Grillers home-style dog treats simply resulted in fewer treats being available. Three other smaller retailers also recalled the treats because of the problem.

In fact, FDA officials remain as uncertain as ever about the source of the problem that has led to reports of illnesses and warnings about the possibility of Fanconi syndrome and other kidney problems in animals that ate jerky treats.

“We still are extensively testing treats for a number of things,” Hartogensis told NBC News. “We do seem to be getting some leads, but we still have a little bit of a ways to go.”

Kendal Harr, a veterinary clinical pathologist who has been tracking the problem, says that the specific compound responsible for the illnesses continues to elude experts.

“I think that what it tells us is that the intoxicant is something that we’re not used to dealing with as a toxin in North America,” she said.

Now, in an open letter to US veterinarians, FDA officials are asking the vets to track and send detailed information about any animals sickened by jerky treats, including results of blood and urine tests. In addition, the agency is asking vets to send urine samples from suspect pets for analysis.

“This testing will allow FDA to get a better idea of how many of the suspected cases involve Fanconi syndrome, whether or not the pets display symptoms of kidney or urinary disease,” the report said.

About 60 percent of reports cite gastrointestinal illness in the animals, and about 30 percent flag kidney or urinary troubles, the report said. About 135 cases of Fanconi syndrome, a specific kind of kidney disease, have been reported.

At the same time that they’re seeking help from vets, FDA officials are putting out a fact sheet for owners that can be posted at veterinary hospitals, pet supply stores and other sites.

The agency has repeatedly cautioned that the treats are not necessary for a balanced diet, but the warnings stop short of a recall, Hartogensis said. The agency is still validating tests to detect the same kind of antibiotic residue that New York officials found earlier this year.

“If we do find an adulterated product, we will recall them,” Hartogensis said. “In terms of doing a blanket recall, at this point we don’t have enough evidence to do a blanket recall within the authority that we have.”

Because there’s no formal recall, it’s not possible to list affected brands, although a previous FDA analysis indicated that three of the top-selling brands of jerky treats sold in the U.S. were mentioned in connection with pet illnesses.

That doesn’t sit well with pet owners like Robin Pierre of Pine Bush, N.Y., who contends that Waggin’ Train chicken jerky treats were responsible for the sudden death in 2011 of her previously healthy 2-year-old pug, Bella, who developed kidney failure. She has long called for FDA to crack down on treat makers — and manufacturers.

“I am disgusted that our government continues to protect corporate American and China,” she told NBC News. “They need to start protecting the American consumer so that this does not happen again. As soon as a product is in doubt, a warning label should be placed at the point of sale so that consumers can make an educated choice.”

If a pet does become ill after eating the treats, FDA is asking owners to provide detailed information — up to and including results of a necropsy to test an animal’s tissues after death.

In the meantime, officials are trying to reach pet owners who might still have treats on hand to make sure they know about the potential problems.

“Right now, the focus for us is to make the public aware that these cases are still coming in,” she said.

Pet owners can report problems with jerky treats at the FDA’s consumer safety portal.

Read more information on: NBC News

Happy Lay-Purr Day!

Monday, September 2nd, 2013

Daily Paws for Ashburn Virginia


Cutie Patootie Mammal discovered: Happy Birthday Olinguito!

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

Daily Paws for Ashburn Virginia

Smithsonian researcher announces discovery of new mammal species. The new mammal species discovered is Olinguito It’s a raccoon-sized creature with a teddy bear face called the olinguito (oh-lihn-GEE’-toe).

A Smithsonian researcher says it lives in the mountainous forests of Ecuador and Columbia where it leaps through the trees at night. It eats fruit and weighs about 2 pounds.

The discovery was announced Thursday. Happy Birthday Olinguito!

Happy Birthday Olinguito!

Most Dangerous Pet Dangers of Easter

Sunday, March 24th, 2013

easter-pet-dangersToday is Palm Sunday and many people are getting ready to celebrate the Easter festivities.

However, even though Easter is actually a time of celebration of rebirth for some Christians, their pets might not be ready to be resurrected if they have consumed one in all the five most dangerous pet dangers of Easter.

Easter Lilies

Although the Easter Lilly is one among the most common plants used to celebrate the arrival of Easter, it is the foremost lethal of plants to cats. Even merely ingesting a few of its leaves can lead to grave, acute renal and kidney failure which might result in your cat’s untimely death.

However, it is not simply the Easter Lilly that’s harmful to cats – all plant members of the Lilly family are potentially lethal.

As a friendly reminder stay those darned Easter lilies OUT OF YOUR HOUSE! There are dangerous and benign lilies out there, and it’s important to understand the distinction. Peace, Peruvian, and Calla lilies contain oxalate crystals that cause minor signs, such as tissue irritation to the mouth, tongue, pharynx, and esophagus – this ends up in minor drooling.

Locate a vet or call an emergency vet hotline.

Foil or Plastic Easter Grass

Easter grass is the second most commonly found dangerous part of Easter to pets, especially cats. This is as a result of the brightly colored foil makes an extraordinarily enticing cat toy.

Similar to tinsel used during Christmas time, this plastic and foil grass will cause intestinal distress in cats that needs immediate veterinary care.

Because it is hard to monitor, opt instead to use paper grass, or better yet, cat grass.

Chocolate Bunnies

It’s not Easter without those yummy chocolate bunnies! Just watch out that young children don’t inadvertently feed one to your cat or dog. Make sure that none of these chocolate bunnies, or different chocolate treats, are out of the reach of inquisitive pet noses. Chocolate will be extremely lethal to both dogs and cats and can conjointly require immediate veterinary attention.

Easter Eggs

Brightly colored laborious-boiled eggs will be a child’s delight and their pets too. However, day previous eggs that have not been properly handled or refrigerated will spoil on the inside, creating them lethal to pets.

When hiding these Easter eggs around your house or yard, be positive to stay count of them and build certain that they are all found. Another smart tip is to remind youngsters to throw away the eggs in the garbage after they are done eating them.

Baby Animals

Whilst it may appear tempting, getting a baby chick, baby bunny, or a baby duckling, may not be such a nice idea. Most of those baby animals can carry Salmonella which will then be passed on to your children and alternative pets.

If you actually do want to buy one of those baby animals for your child as a present, it is best if you wait till when Easter and then take your child to go to your local animal shelter or humane society. Here you will most undoubtedly realize a giant selection of baby bunnies, baby ducklings and baby chicks that are abandoned over the Easter weekend.

The best part is that not only can you teach your child about the importance of Easter, however you would conjointly have taught them the worth of pet adoption which is that the ultimate example of Easter rebirth.

House Guests

Since Easter is time best spent with family, take a few further precautions to confirm the security and comfort of your pets when guests come to go to. Create positive your pets have their own room or house in that they will get back when they become overwhelmed. Remind any visiting children to not feed Easter eggs or chocolates to your pets.

Aggressive Treatment Needed for Pet’s Orthopedic Pain

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

Here is an excellent article from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine on what to do about a pets joint pain  by Sarah Netherton

“Orthopedic pain is considered a severe type of pain that any mammal can experience,” asserts Dr. Ashley Mitek, a veterinarian who is completing an internship in small animal medicine and surgery at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine in Urbana. And anyone who has broken their arm or torn their ACL would probably agree.

In pets, acute orthopedic pain can be caused by a traumatic injury, such as being hit by a car or a tear in the cranial cruciate ligament—the equivalent in human medicine being the dreaded “ACL tear.” Orthopedic pain can also occur from a surgical procedure such as limb amputation or fracture repair.

If pain is left untreated, systemic problems can develop, such as increased heart rate and blood pressure and decreased wound healing and immune function. It’s also important to note that, “the longer pain goes untreated, the greater the risk that the animal may develop chronic pain, which can be difficult to manage,” says Dr. Mitek.

With limb fractures, a veterinarian may try to immobilize the fracture with a padded bandage if possible, but the animal should also receive pain medication while waiting for surgical correction or casting. One technique that can be used to provide analgesia for hind limb surgeries is an epidural, a procedure that is similar to the procedure used to alleviate pain during childbirth.

“Epidurals have a low risk of adverse side effects, and a combination of morphine (a narcotic) and a local anesthetic can provide pain relief for 12 to 24 hours,” explains Dr. Mitek. “Epidurals work by limiting pain signal transmission in the central nervous system—the spinal cord and brain—to parts of the brain that recognize pain. A single epidural can be administered prior to surgery or a catheter can be placed to facilitate repeated epidurals to prolong the pain relief for several days.”

If your dog receives an epidural for pain control, you might be surprised to see a small shaved spot where the epidural was administered. Dr. Mitek says not to worry, because the hair usually grows back within a few months – though it can take longer in some breeds, and on rare occasions, grow back as a slightly different color than the surrounding hair.

Pain relief techniques for front limb orthopedic pain can sometimes be a bit more difficult. This depends on the location of the injury or the surgical procedure that is to be performed. Some options include a brachial plexus block, which provides pain relief from the elbow to the tip of the foot, or a ring block that provides pain relief specific to the paw and toes.

Any time a nerve is damaged, whether from trauma or as part of surgery, animals can develop neuropathic or “wind up” pain. This results in the animal becoming more sensitive to pain and could lead to a condition known as allodynia, feeling pain from a stimulus that ordinarily does not cause pain, such as the wind blowing across your face; or hyperalgesia, an increased sensitivity to pain. Aggressive pain management can be implemented to avoid this outcome.

“The best way to treat acute pain and prevent chronic pain disorders is to use preemptive analgesia, administration of pain-relieving medication before pain starts,” says Dr. Mitek, “but unfortunately, most of us do not have a crystal ball to predict when Fido or Fluffy might experience trauma. So, if you can’t prevent pain, the next best thing is to treat it aggressively as soon as possible!”

For more information regarding acute orthopedic pain, speak with your local veterinarian.

An archive of Pet Columns from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine is available online at http://vetmed.illinois.edu/petcolumns/


The results are in….readin Daily Paws and Visiting our Facebook Page will make you 44% sharper!

Monday, October 1st, 2012

We know you love our daily picture of the day.  Hundreds of you write back and tell us how much you do, and we love seeing our photos shared with others too.

We have great news for you.  That time you spend looking at our cute photos are actually made you sharper……up to 44% sharper.  Impressed?  We were.

Recently researchers at Japan’s Hiroshima University found people focus better shortly after they’ve viewed cute images.

Here is more about this study in this article from Plos One:

Researchers performed three experiments where they showed subjects a variety of images that included food, people, and adult and baby animals.

In a fine-motor dexterity test, 48 subjects (all between the ages of 18-and 22 and all right handed) played a children’s game very much akin to “Operation.” For those unfamiliar with the game, you use tweezers to remove plastic body parts from metal-encased “cavities” without touching the edges and setting off a buzzer.

Subjects played the games multiple times and, before at least one session, researchers showed them images of puppies and kittens.

Those images, according to the study, helped them play the game 44% better. Full grown dog and cat images also had a positive effect on performance, but not by as wide a margin: just 5%.

Cute images, however, may not only effect motor abilities, but have a positive cognitive effect, as well.

In another experiment, a new group of 18-to-20 year olds performed a series of visual search tasks where they had to identify text and numbers in images and images comprised of text and numbers. They, too, were shown cute images in between tasks. The results weren’t as dramatic, but their ability to properly identify the images did improve by 2%.

So the lesson here?  Cute pet pictures are good for you and for your friends too!

Go ahead, test yourself….look at the picture below……..

 Now don’t you feel better?

(go ahead….share it with your friends…..it’s a good thing)

Daily Paws Picture of the Day: Woops… Wrong Group

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

Daily Paws for Ashburn Virginia

Children and Pets – Safety Tips

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

Work of a therapy dog: Stella visited her fost...

Children learn wonderful life lessons from pets.  Most parents know this and most experts agree.  So your job is to pick those pets that are right for your children, your household and your life.

When picking a pet,  choose one he can help nurture, feed, and care for.  This helps develop good habits and attitudes in children.

The pet’s safety is also important so consider that too when choosing.

Young children shouldn’t be left alone with a pet because they could unintentionally hurt the animal. A child under five doesn’t have the ability to control his temper and should always be monitored while around the pet.

The best pets for children less than six are fish, gerbils, hamsters, budgies, and Guinea pigs. Rabbits don’t make good pets for smaller children because they are sometimes temperamental. Reptiles aren’t good for children under school age because these kids are more prone to contract salmonella.

The tasks your small child does to help take care of his pet should be appropriate to his age. When younger, he could help you clean the animals bowls or help clean the cage. When your child is older, the responsibility of brushing a cat or brushing and bathing, a dog is more appropriate. When older, he could apply the ear mite medicine to the pet’s ears.

Birds need more daily maintenance like cage cleaning and fresh water and food. They are easy to feed needing seeds and pellets and sometimes fruit.

Fish are also a good choice.  The majority of fish are cheap and easy to maintain and most of them are easy to feed and a simple aquarium will do. Parents will need to be sure that the water temperature, nitrogen level, and the pH balance are correct, when the fish belong to small children and older children can learn to check these things on their own.

Rodent pets such as mice, rats, hamsters and gerbils are basically inexpensive, simple to house, and are low maintenance. Be aware some rodents bite, chew on stuff, and some are escape artists. They are fun to watch and some like human attention.

Have fun choosing a pet, and enjoy it as your children learn the lessons pets help teach.


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Pet Health Care Insurance, What You Need To Know

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

by asterix611

How many times have you heard a pet owner wish he had bought pet health insurance?

Statistics show that people are willing to foot the growing medical bills for their beloved pets, making the need for pet health insurance a real concern. Advances in pet health care can leave owners with big veterinary bills. Pet health care insurance is now affordable and available for dogs, cats and exotics.

If you would not think of being without insurance for yourself and your family, that should include your pet companion as well. Pet insurance is not as expensive as human insurance and might come in handy.

Pet health care insurance is similar to human health insurance. Like all insurance, you hope you never use it. Pet health care insurance will pay or reimburse for veterinary services that are covered under the plan. Medical treatments and technologies used for humans are now being used for pets.

If your pet needs an emergency surgery, it would be nice to know that cost is not a factor, and you won’t have to pay for everything on your own. The insurance is just sensible.

Purchase insurance coverage ideally when your pet is still young before pre-existing conditions develop. You can enroll as young as eight weeks. Some plans only allow enrollment up to age 10 for cats and age 8 for dogs (age 6 for some breeds). Once enrolled, your pet may stay in the plan for the rest of its life.

Because of their natural adventurousness and high activity level, very young pets are famous for getting hurt and needing emergency care.

There are many pet insurance companies to choose from, and many different plans available. Read the fine print. Some companies have veterinarians that belong to their network. Under those particular policies, you pay a co-payment up front and the insurance company pays for the covered services. The downside is you have to find a veterinarian that is in the pet health care insurance “network.” Each policy is different and there is no one plan that fits everyone’s needs.

Services covered under many policies include spay surgery, neuter surgery, annual vaccinations, flea preventative, annual heartworm preventative, heartworm test, annual dental cleanings, accidents, illnesses, cancer, x-rays, and surgeries. In many cases, pet health care insurance will cover even more in maintaining the wellness of your loved pet. Your coverage may also include prescription foods, boarding, euthanasia, accidental death, recovery of lost pets, and micro-chip identification. Pet health insurance can prove to be invaluable.

Additional facts to consider when enrolling.

Are pre-existing conditions covered, and what constitutes a pre-existing condition? If a pre-existing condition is covered, what are the deductibles? Does the pet health insurance policy you are interested in cover prescription costs? Will my premium go up over time, as I file claims, or my pet gets older? Does the plan cover chronic or recurring conditions? What are the financial limits of coverage? How are they applied? Do you have more than one pet that could benefit from insurance coverage and are there multi-pet discounts available? Does your particular policy require monthly or annual payments? Talk to your veterinarian about your pet’s health and question the insurance companies about the limits of the pet health insurance coverage before purchasing a particular plan.

The right insurance plan requires some homework. We’ve brought you the best.

Pet’s & Technology…it’s over the top! [humor]

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

Yesterday while perusing news alerts for pets and vets, I came across a press release about a company that has just launched a new product. Headphones for cats. And these headphones for cats are soooo good, they will set you back $1000.

A thousand dollars!!!

If you are the teeniest bit interested, here’s a sales infomercial you have to see..

“We had to change the housing to accommodate the unique shape of cat ears and to reduce output for sensitivity,” inventor Combs says. “They also have a mic and remote, but I don’t envision many cats using that functionality.”

(And remember, they only have 10 sets so get yours today!)

Technology for pets, like technology for humans seems to be accelerating faster than dog years.

Who would have dreamed 5 years ago that stem cell treatment for pets would become a common occurrence with a high success in reversing limb and joint ailments in dogs and horses?

Medical technology I can understand. Headphones for cats…well, OK. I don’t really see a need but if you want to spend the money on your cat, OK.

Text From Dog

However, this next one is over the top. It’s about a texting dog and he has a new book coming out called “Text From Dog”

Now that’s ridiculous. A dog who texts? I have problems texting and a DOG is so good they are making a book out of his texts?????

Here’s a description and some sample text images (and, by the way these are fictitious text messages – I’m relieved to say – that are very funny. I’ve included a few below)

Tumblr blog Text From Dog, which publishes fictitious SMS conversations between a dog and its owner, is the latest web entity to land a book deal.

U.K. publisher Headline Publishing announced Monday it would release the book Oct. 25.

The blog launched in April with a brief description: “My dog sends me texts. I post them here. Yeah, it’s weird.”