Is It Abuse?

September 13th, 2016

We are all aware of pets dying after being left in hot cars and the sight of animals being physically abused, starved or neglected.  These are obvious examples of animal abuse.  But what constitutes abuse?  How does one know when to interfere or take action?  Legally the definition of animal abuse differs by state.  But below are a five freedoms of animals based on the Farm Animal Welfare Guidelines developed for cattle in the United Kingdom in 1979 which help define whether an animal is considered to be suffering and therefore, perhaps abused.

  1. Freedom from hunger and thirst.  Animals should be provided with adequate fresh water and diet to maintain health and vigor.
  2. Freedom from discomfort.  Animals should be provided with shelter and a comfortable resting area in an appropriate environment.
  3. Freedom from pain, injury or disease.  Animals should have appropriate health care including disease prevention, diagnosis and treatment.
  4. Freedom to express normal behavior.  Animals should be provided with sufficient space, proper facilities and company of its own kind.
  5. Freedom from fear and distress.  Conditions and treatment of animals should ensure that mental suffering is avoided.

According to experts, failure to provide any of these conditions can constitute suffering and could potentially be considered abuse.

Many of these cases may be inadvertent, pet owners not being knowledgeable about animal care or being in a situation where they are unable to care for an animal’s needs.  In those cases perhaps all the pet owners need is some guidance or help in caring for their animals.  We should all be advocates for animals and be mindful of the treatment they receive and the conditions in which they exist.  In cases of true abuse, the authorities should be contacted as soon as possible and as often as necessary to get results.

Remember, as the great Mahatma Gandhi said, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

Honoring Our Military Canines

June 21st, 2016

10 Things You May Not Know About Military Dogs

10 Things You May Not Know About Military DogsPin

1. Dogs have been in combat with US soldiers during every major conflict, but they were not officially recognized until WWII.

sgt stubby

PinSergeant Stubby of the 102nd Infantry, Yankee Division went from mascot to hero during WWI after being smuggled into battle by Private J. Robert Conway. Stubby went on to detect enemy gas, bark out warnings when rival troops were near and locate the wounded on the battlefield. By the start of WWII, the military had recognized the value canine soldiers could bring and began using them primarily for recon. Stubby forged the way for all canine soldiers who followed and remains a symbol of military bravery and heroism to this day.

Check out Stubby’s full story at fallendogs.com

2. They are trained in bomb, weapon and drug detection, tracking, and to attack the enemy.

bomb dog

PinLackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, TX has been training sentry dogs since 1958. K9history.com details the manpower and dogpower that goes into training the amazing pups of the Department of Defense Military Working Dogs Training School (DoD MWD) at Lackland. Today, more than 1,000 dogs are trained at any given time by a staff of 125 from all branches of military service. The complex training techniques are designed to utilize the dogs’ natural gifts for focus and aggression to their advantage. German Shepherds and Labradors can detect weapons, bombs, gases and drugs more accurately than any available military equipment.

3. There are about 2500 dogs in active service today and about 700 deployed overseas.

Soldier-nose-to-nose

PinMilitary dogs play an integral role in the current overseas conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Dr. Stewart Hilliard, Chief of Military War Dog evaluation and training at Lackland Air Force Base told San Antonio Magazine in 2013, “These dogs are among our most effective counter measures against terrorists and explosives.”

4. 85% of military working dogs are purchased from Germany and the Netherlands.

A Belarussian military instructor trains a labrador puppy at a frontier guards' cynology centre near the town of Smorgon

PinThe 2013 article “Canines in Combat” from San Antonio Magazine notes that the bloodlines of these dogs go back hundreds of years, making these pups literally “born for the job.” The Air Force Security Center, Army Veterinary Corps, and the 341st Training Squadron are combining their efforts here in the States to breed suitable dogs for military service. Currently the other 15% of working dogs are USA born and bred, and the military hopes to increase this number.

5. They are extremely valuable, and not just for their service.

Untitled

PinAccording to retired Air Force K9 Handler, Louis Robinson, a fully trained bomb detection dog is likely worth over $150,000. But really, these animals are priceless. With an average of 98% accuracy in their detection skills, the peace of mind they provide to the troops is immeasurable. Robinson resides in Phoenix, AZ and runs Robinson Dog Training. He’s using the extensive skills he learned as a Military Police K9 handler to help civilian dogs learn basic obedience,  search and rescue, therapy skills and advanced protection training.

6. Only about 50% make it through training.

Total Force MWD training

PinMilitary working dogs are not just chosen for their breeding or the keenness of their sense of smell, they must possess several other qualities. They must be free of physical issues like hip dysplasia and be highly reward motivated. Trainers at Lackland use mostly toys like Kongs that can be hidden to represent bombs, but treats are also utilized. Suitable dogs for military service must also be able to attack on command. Pups have actually been dropped from the program due to extreme stress at having to bite a human. Military dogs must have just the right level of aggression and excitability.

7. They aren’t all German Shepherds.

belgian malinois

PinWhen we think about military dogs, muscular German Shepherds tend to come to mind. But several different breeds have shown patriotic heroism over the years. Many branches use the highly trainable Labrador Retriever. The elite US Navy SEALS use the Belgian Malinois, a breed similar to the German Shepherd, but smaller. These dogs are incredibly compact and fast with a sense of smell 40 times greater than that of a human. Their small stature make them ideal for parachuting and repelling missions with their handlers. The SEALS were accompanied by a Belgian Malinois named Cairo during their raid on Osama Bin Laden in 2013.

8. They can get PTSD.

PTSD

PinJust like their human brothers and sisters in arms, pup soldiers are susceptible to the horrors of PTSD. War dogs experience severe emotional trauma during deployment, and for some it becomes too much. Gunner, a Marine bomb sniffing dog became so skittish and unpredictable during active duty that he was declared “surplus” by the military and released from service. Gunner was adopted by the family of Corporal Jason Dunham who was killed near the Syrian border in 2004. He and the Dunhams are working on healing together.

9. They mourn the loss of their handler and vice versa.

lost handler

PinIn Rebecca Frankel’s book, War Dogs she explores the remarkable bond that develops between service dog and handler. One such pair was Marine Lance Corporal Joshua Ashley and “Sirius”. They were the number one team during training at Yuma military base, but tragically Josh was killed by an IED just two months after deploying to Afghanistan. “Sirius” at first refused to take commands from his new handler and showed significant signs of agitation at the loss of his partner. Such stories are all too common among canine and handler teams.

dog bowls

PinIf a dog of war is lost in combat, he or she is honored by the entire squad. Feeding dishes are symbolically placed upside down and a poem called Guardians of the Night is read in their honor.

10. Until November 2000, military dogs were euthanized or abandoned after retirement.

2013 North Dakota Peace Officer Association K-9 Police Trials

PinBefore this time service dogs were considered “military surplus equipment” and deemed unfit to adjust to civilian life. These heroes were thrown away or put down instead of honored. President Clinton passed “Robby’s Law” in 2000 which allows handlers and their families first dibs at adopting military animals at the end of their useful service. The dogs are next offered to law enforcement, then adoptive families. Organizations like Saveavet.org place these retired heroes with suitable families and ensure they are given the honorable discharge they deserve. There are currently long waiting lists of civilians who want to give these veterans a loving home in which to retire.

Featured image via Kevin Hanrahan and H/t via navyseals.compbs.org, and The Wall

“Do” Right by Your 4-legged Valentine!

February 9th, 2016

Valentine’s Day Pet Dos and Don’ts: 5 Tips all Pet Families Need to Know!

By Dr. Charlotte Flint

Senior Consulting Veterinarian, Clinical Toxicology

 

Roses are red

Violets are blue,

My pet deserves

A happy Valentine’s Day, too!

 

Valentine’s Day is all about love, and we know how much you love your pet! Chances are your furry family member is going to get some Valentine’s snuggles this year and maybe even a gift of its own. The human family members of your house may also be getting gifts this year, some of which may be highly toxic to your furry friends. Check out our tips on how to show your love without spending Valentine’s weekend in the ER.

 

Do keep Valentine’s Day chocolate away from pets!

Who doesn’t love a big box of chocolate for Valentine’s Day? Unfortunately, dogs are more than happy to help themselves to chocolate if given the opportunity! Calls involving pets ingesting milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and chocolate baked goods were the top three most common exposures handled by Pet Poison Helpline in February of 2014 and 2015.  Chocolate ingestion by dogs can result in agitation, vomiting, diarrhea, tachycardia, tremors, and seizures, depending on the dose ingested.

 

If your pet gets into chocolate, don’t despair! Know that Pet Poison Helpline’s veterinary experts are available 24/7 to help assess the risk and, if needed, to help your veterinarian set up an appropriate and individualized treatment plan for your love.

 

Don’t forget the less obvious Valentine’s Day dangers!

Cat owners should check all flower bouquets closely for lilies (i.e. Lilium), such as Easter lilies, stargazer lilies, tiger lilies, Asiatic lilies, and Oriental lilies as these flowers can be deadly to cats (although they are safe for dogs). Even exposure to lily pollen and water from a vase of lilies can result in rapid onset kidney failure when ingested by cats. Learn more about lily poisoning by visiting our website, ‘No Lilies for Kitties!’(www.noliliesforkitties.com).  Here you’ll find a short video about lily poisoning, lists of toxic and less-toxic lilies, and safer cut-flower options. Also be careful with ribbons and bows on flowers and balloons, as they can cause dangerous intestinal foreign bodies when ingested by pets.

 

We all know chocolate can be toxic to dogs, but there are other people foods which can also be harmful for our canine companions. Macadamia nuts, coffee beans, grapes, and raisins are particularly dangerous for dogs with the latter two causing kidney failure. The toxicity of these foods increases they’re chocolate covered. Also, be aware of the potential for xylitol in sugar-free candies, chocolates, and baked goods. While this natural sweetener is not toxic to people, it’s highly toxic to dogs, resulting in rapid onset hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and potentially, liver failure.

 

Finally, all pets can be sensitive to alcohol, so keep alcoholic drinks out of reach.  If you overdo it on Valentine’s Day, be certain to put the ibuprofen and other NSAIDs away and out of reach, too. Ibuprofen was a top five toxin in both February of 2014 and 2015.

 

Do find safe gifts to show your pet Valentine’s Day love! 

A new collar, treats, or toys can all be great gifts for pets on Valentine’s Day.  Valentine’s Day can also be a great time to try a new dog or cat treat recipe or make a new toy. Also consider giving toys, bedding, food, or a donation to an animal shelter or rescue group in your pet’s name!

 

Don’t forget that many pets appreciate the gift of time and love more than anything!

An extra walk and some extra time cuddling or playing costs nothing and will be greatly appreciated by your cat, dog, or other pets.  The extra exercise and snuggle time is a healthy, happy choice for you as well.

 

Do share the love!

Valentine’s Day can be a lonely holiday for many people.  This could be a great time to visit an animal shelter and donate your time and attention to rescued pets.  While I do not recommend giving pets as gifts, if you have been thinking about adding a furry friend to your household, Valentine’s Day could be a great time to adopt.  Maybe a visit with your pet could help brighten the day of someone you know who is unable to have their own dog or cat.  This could also be a great time to look into getting your dog certified as a Canine Good Citizen or therapy dog to help others.

 

Happy Valentine’s Day from Pet Poison Helpline!

When ordering Valentine’s flowers for your sweetie, remember ‘No Lilies for Kitties!’

Less than 30% of the 36 million cat owners in the U.S. know that the beautiful stargazer and Asiatic lilies lurking in their Valentine’s Day bouquet can kill their cats.  Ingestion of just one petal, leaf, or even the pollen, can cause kidney failure in less than three days. This lack of awareness, coupled with the popularity of the flowers, results in thousands of feline poisonings and deaths each year. Learn more about lily poisoning from our ‘No Lilies for Kitties!’ campaign (www.noliliesforkitties.com).  Here you’ll find a one minute video about lily poisoning, photos of toxic lilies, and safer cut-flower options.

Pet Poison Helpline, an animal poison control center based out of Minneapolis, is available 24 hours, seven days a week for pet owners and veterinary professionals that require assistance treating a potentially poisoned pet. The staff provides treatment advice for poisoning cases of all species, including dogs, cats, birds, small mammals, large animals and exotic species. As the most cost-effective option for animal poison control care, Pet Poison Helpline’s fee of $49 per incident includes follow-up consultation for the duration of the poison case. Pet Poison Helpline is available in North America by calling 800-213-6680. Additional information can be found online at www.petpoisonhelpline.com.

The New Crime “Pet Flipping”

April 14th, 2015

“To err is human, to forgive, canine.” – anonymous

Pet Flipping.  It sounds like a cute circus trick, dogs jumping in the air and turning somersaults.  But it’s no laughing matter.  The crime of stealing a dog, then selling it or holding it ransom is on the rise.  The trend has increased steadily over the past few years.  Just from January through March of 2014, the incidence of pet flipping rose over 27%!  Many stories are published about this crime.  In some cases, thieves will steal a pet, then contact the owner and demand a ransom for the pet’s return.  In other instances, pets are stolen and put up for sale, usually on Craig’s List, with the thief acting as the owner or breeder.  Either way it’s a crime and a heartbreaking occurrence for the owner.

Breeds that are most commonly stolen are Yorkshire Terriers, Pomeranians, Maltese, Boston Terriers, French Bulldogs, Chihuahuas, Labradoodles, Pit Bulls, German Shepherds and Labradors.  I makes sense that the smaller dogs are among the most likely to be “picked up” literally.  It is an easy grab and a quick get-away and most of these little dogs are very approachable.  Pit Bulls and German Shepherds, while also a high-risk breed for thievery, can be intimidating to approach and difficult to get away with quickly.  While Labradors, due to their affable nature, will pretty much go with anyone.

There are precautions you can take to reduce the chances of you and your dog being a victim of Pet Flippers and Thieves.  1.  Never leave your dog unattended.  This doesn’t mean you have to have your pet attached to you every minute of the day.  But you should not leave them in your yard if no one is home and especially if your yard is not fenced.  Nor should you leave your pet alone in your car, even if your are just going to be gone for a few minutes to run errands.  2.  Be sure your pet is microchipped.  This will help you get your pet back if it is stolen.  Once reported, police and local veterinarians and shelters can be on the watch for your pet and scan any animal that is presented fitting its description.  A unique microchip registered in your name is also an indisputable way to prove that pet is yours.  3. Know which breeds are more susceptible to being stolen.  4. Be prepared with phone numbers and websites of the police, local veterinarians, animal control and shelters.  If your dog goes missing, contact them immediately.  This will save time and increase the odds of you getting your dog back.  5.  Get references for dog-sitters before you hire them.  6.  If adopting or buying a pet, do so from a reputable source, breeder or shelter.  7. If you have pets to adopt out, check out the potential new owners before completing the deal.  Get references from their veterinarian and do a home visit before releasing any dog to a prospective owner.  8.  If your dog is stolen, monitor Craig’s list and other advertising sites to see if an ad turns up for a pet matching its description.

Vigilance and common sense are the weapons against this offense.  You don’t have to be paranoid, just careful.

Until next time keep your tail in the air and your nose in the breeze!

 

 

Ebola and your Pets

November 18th, 2014

Concern is high regarding the outbreak of Ebola virus and its entry into the United States.  The recent patient in Spain whose dog was subsequently euthanized because of the ignorance and fear of the public and authorities is a sad reminder of how little we really know about this disease.  Fortunately the authorities in the great state of Texas are wiser and more informed so that the dog owned by the suspected Ebola patient in Dallas was spared and simply put under surveillance.  In fact, that dog has been of great benefit to the medical community as a test subject for pets owned by persons exposed to Ebola.  So far all tests performed on that dog have been negative, reinforcing the theory that Ebola is not transmitted from people to animals.  Further, the American Veterinary Medical Association has released guidelines for pets owned by Ebola-exposed owners.   I am glad to share with you some facts regarding Ebola and pets brought to you by the Centers for Disease Control and dvm360.com, one of the foremost journals in keeping veterinarians up to date on current issues.  Just click on the image to enlarge or print the two-page handout.  Stay healthy and keep your tail in the air and your nose in the breeze!

TEN POPULAR BREEDS THAT HAVE NEVER WON WESTMINSTER

February 27th, 2014

“Every boy should have two things:  a dog and a mother willing to let him have one.” – anonymous

As you can see, I’m still on the Westminster kick.  It takes me a while to get off the dog show high after witnessing one of the greatest events in dogdom.

And, as usual, each year my family cheers for the breeds that make up the four-legged portion of our clan.  And, as usual, none of them ever win.  Why, I wonder, do these breeds historically not fare well at the WKC dog show?  One article I read online suggested the presence of “breedism.”  I happen to agree with the author, whose name I do not recall (sorry, fella), that while we know very little about the dog show world or what these judges are seeing that we are not, it is odd that many popular breeds have never won Westminster in its 138 years of existence, while terrier breeds have won 46 times or 33% of the time!  What’s up with that?

Not to take anything away from this year’s champion, Sky, a wire fox terrier.  But, in my opinion, by the time they reach that level of competition, all the dogs are superior representatives of their breed.  So what do the terriers have that, say the Golden Retriever, does not?

With that said, I present to you a list of ten popular breeds that have never won at Westminster, followed by 2013’s ten most popular dog breeds according to the American Kennel Club.

 

  1.  Labrador Retriever.  The most popular breed for the past 23 years, according to the American Kennel Club, has not only never won Westminster, but has not ever placed first in the Sporting Group, which would put it into the running for Best-In-Show.
  2. Golden Retriever.  This lovable breed is the third most popular AKC dog.  It has been put up for Best-In-Show by winning the Sporting Group only once, in 2006.
  3. Dachshund.  Despite being the 10th most popular breed in the AKC no Dachshund of any variety – smooth, long-haired, or wire-haired has ever taken top honors despite winning the Hound Group ten times.
  4. Rottweiler.  The ninth most popular AKC breed has also never won Westminster.  Unfortunately I do not have data on Group wins for this breed.
  5. Shih Tzu.  This impressive dog is number fifteen (down from number eleven in 2012) on the AKC’s most popular breed list.  Despite all the fluffing, combing, and spraying – and three Group wins – it has never been Best-In-Show.
  6. Miniature Schnauzer.  This variety of Schnauzer, although, number seventeen (down from number thirteen in 2012) in the AKC, has not enjoyed as much success as its larger counterparts.  Only one Group win and no Best-In-Shows.
  7. Chihuahua.  Neither the smooth nor long-haired Chihuahua has ever won at Westminster and has only won the Toy Group once, despite being the 22nd  most popular dog in the AKC (down from number eighteen in 2012).
  8. Great Dane.  The number 16 dog breed (up from number 17 in 2012) in the AKC has won the Working Group five times, yet has never been crowned the winner at Westminster.
  9. Shetland Sheepdog (Sheltie).  This 21st most popular breed has also won its group five times, yet the Best-In-Show title has still eluded it.
  10. Boston Terrier. One of the few truly American breeds competing at Westminster is number 23 on the AKC’s list of most popular dogs.  Regrettably I have no statistics on its Group wins, but it also has never won Best-In-Show.

And perhaps most disturbing of all to me is that the German Shepherd, the number 2 most popular breed in the AKC, has won only once at Westminster!

To turn the table, let’s look at the top ten AKC breeds of 2013 and their success in the Westminster show ring.

Ironically, the top ten most popular dog breeds according to the AKC for 2013 is exactly the same as 2012.  So what, you say, of the other dogs appearing on the top ten list that have not been mentioned regarding Westminster?

  1.  Labrador Retriever
  2. German Shepherd Dog – One Best In Show
  3. Golden Retriever
  4. Beagle – Who can forget “Uno” the only Beagle to win in 2008?
  5. Bulldog – Has won Best In Show twice
  6. Yorkshire Terrier – One Best in Show
  7. Boxer – Has won Best In Show four times
  8. Poodle – Standard has four wins, Miniature has three wins, Toy has two wins
  9. Rottweiler
  10. Dachshund

And finally, of the breeds represented in my household, as stated previously, the German Shepherd has won only once, the Cocker Spaniel has won three times, and the Australian Shepherd and Labrador have never won.

Why, you might wonder, have these breeds that are so popular with the general public, not so popular with the WKC judges?  That still remains a mystery to all.  But we will continue to cheer them on each year and hope they will one day take the crown of Best In Show at Westminster.

Until then keep your tail in the air and your nose in the breeze…and enjoy your dog, no matter what breed it is!

WRITER’S BLOCK

August 31st, 2013

“All animals except man know that the ultimate of life is to enjoy it.” – Samuel Butler

A sincere apology to all my dedicated fans who have faithfully checked my blog and found no new contributions lately.  I’m afraid I’ve been suffering from writer’s block.  Not that there are not a multitude of topics to discuss concerning pet care and other interesting bits of information about animals…

What, you may ask, can cause writer’s block in a canine of such superior intelligence as I?  Well, I’ll tell you.

First off is the pressure of knowing that I have a blog offering due and cannot, for the life of me, come up with anything moving to write about.

Add to that the fact that I’ve been pretty busy at home.  The lawn fellow has missed a couple weeks of mowing the back yard so it has grown up quite a bit.  It’s great fun to spend evenings outside playing jungle dog…I mean it’s my duty to protect the yard… and hunt field mice.  The grass is just now tall enough to cover me completely so I can go stealth on the hunt.

At the clinic during the day I’ve been busy keeping an eye on some of the other animals that have invaded my turf.  The clinic cats – four of them – are now getting out on a regular basis.  They frequently need to be reminded where their place is.  They seem to be under the impression that they can go wherever they want within the confines of the clinic building.  I have to continually remind them that that is not the case.  They should be in the feline ward watching their kitty TV and playing in their condos.

Then there is Jolene and Dalilah, our tech, Dani’s, dogs.  These two girls are crazy for my brother Paden and me.  They just bug us all day long, like groupies.  And they can’t decide which one of them likes which one of us!  It seems to change all the time.  Girls!  Who can understand them.

Between my antics, I mean chores, at home and my responsibilities at the clinic, I made two more stops on my journey through the world of specialty medicine.  Those blogs will come soon and I will let you know what I learned.

In the meantime, please be patient and keep checking back for new submissions!  And thanks for reading.

Keep your tail in the air and your nose in the breeze!  And your ear to the ground for new stories coming soon.

Top Ten Pet Names of 2012

March 23rd, 2013

“If animals could speak, the dog would be a blundering, outspoken fellow; but the cat would have the rare grace of never saying a word too much.” – Mark Twain

According to PetStreet.com, these were the top pet names for 2012

Dogs

Female                                        Male

10.  Maggie                                Toby

 9.  Coco                                      Jack

 8.  Chloe                                    Duke

 7.  Sadie                                    Bentley

 6.  Sophie                                  Bear

 5.  Lola                                      Cooper

 4.  Molly                                     Rocky

 3.  Lucy                                     Charlie

 2.  Daisy                                    Buddy

 1.  Bella                                     Max

Cats

Female                                       Male

10. Callie                                   Kitty

 9.  Lilly                                      Leo

 8.  Daisy                                   Jack

 7.  Lily                                      Smokey

 6.  Sophie                                Milo

 5.  Luna                                   Charlie

 4.  Chloe                                  Simba

 3.  Lucy                                    Tiger

 2.  Kitty                                     Oliver

 1.  Bella                                     Max

 

Interestingly, but not surprisingly these are the trends that affect pet names…

Pop Culture.  Without even looking at the theater listing or the TV Guide, we could tell what movies or shows are popular.  People often name their pets after characters in movies, books or TV shows.  This is evidenced over the past few years where “Bella” has been the top female pet name.  A few years ago when The Lion King was released “Simba” was a popular cat name.  You can see it is still on the list but has fallen dramatically from a few years ago.  Also popular, are names of public figures or sports stars.  On the west coast “Kobe,” (as in Bryant) is a popular pet name.  In New York it is “Jeter,” (as in Derek) and here in Texas it is “J.J.,” (as in Watt).  Go Texans!!  Steven May, editor of the Daily Growl, attributes the naming of pets after famous people to owners wanting to connect to these people and desiring a constant reminder of them.  Perhaps it’s some kind of homage of respect to these folks we admire.  We have examples of that in our own household and clinic.  My brother is named “Paden,” after the character in the movie Silverado.  And two of our clinic cats are name “McGee” and “Meyer” after the characters created by novelist John MacDonald.

 People Names.  Over the years pets have become more and more members of our families.  As people wait until later in life to have children, or choose not to have children at all, pets have become surrogate children.  In their desire to make pets even more a part of the family people are choosing human names for their pets.  You can see from the list some of these names are Max, Charlie and Jack for the males, and Molly, Lucy and Chloe for females.  We actually have a “Molly” in our household.

 Cutesy.  More often now people are adopting pets in pairs.  As a result “pair” names are becoming more popular.  Some examples of this are Laverne & Shirley, Thelma & Louise, P.B. & Jelly, and my personal favorite, Cuff & Link.

My Travels Through the World of Specialty Medicine – Part 3

February 25th, 2013

The next stop on my journey took me to the veterinary acupuncturist and pain specialist.  In many cases a combination of Eastern and Western medicine is the answer to the riddle of disease.

Veterinary acupuncture is a relatively new and up-and-coming field.  My acupuncturist was Dr. Michelle Ragsdale who is also certified in pain management.  The two disciplines combined gave us much optimism that I would find some relief because, in spite of taking several anti-inflammatory drugs and pain medications, I still was showing signs of weakness and pain. 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI was a little nervous at first but Dr. Ragsdale put me at ease.  She spent a lot of time examining me and talking to me and my pet parents about my condition.  She was very thorough in checking for nerve, muscle and joint pain and weakness.  After that she made a plan for acupuncture, deciding which areas to treat, when, and how often.

She used lots of needles on my back, hip, shoulder, and even my toes!  Oftentimes the “points” for certain areas are located on another part of the body.  The needles looked really long but were not very thick so they didn’t really hurt when she stuck me with them.  There are also different sizes of needles to use for different things but they are all still pretty small compared to a hypodermic needle.

The whole treatment took about an hour and afterward I felt pretty good.  Dr. Ragsdale says about 80% of patients respond favorably to acupuncture so I’m hoping I’m one of them.

I’ll be going back weekly for three more weeks then, if it’s helping, we will decrease the frequency of my visits.  I’m still on some pain medications and anti-inflammatories but we’re going to try to reduce those doses with the acupuncture.

It was a very interesting and educational visit for all of us.  To learn more about veterinary acupuncture or Dr. Ragsdale go to www.painvet.com.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!

January 22nd, 2013

“Children are for people who can’t have dogs.” – anonymous

As most of you know by now, yesterday was my birthday.  I turned ten years old.  I had an appointment in the morning to see one of the specialists in Houston for my hip and back problem (more about that in another blog), but once that was over my pet parents made a special day for me.  I just wanted to share the experience with my readers.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  After visiting the specialist, we went to Jackson’s Place, a doggy bakery located on West Alabama.  What a neat place!  If you’re ever in the area, I highly recommend you stop by, especially if you want treats for a special occasion.  So I got to pick out the treats I wanted for my birthday as well as some to share with my brother and sisters and cousins.  All the treats are made with safe and healthy  ingredients especially for dogs and they are very yummy!  Their website is www.houtsondogdaycare.com.

 

 

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA After that we went out for lunch.  There are many restaurants in Houston that are dog-friendly.  They have nice patios to sit outside and enjoy the good weather and fresh air.  We chose Barnaby’s on  Shepherd.  Not because it was on Shepherd, but because it was conveniently located to the area of town we were in and it’s named after the dog the owner had when he was a boy.  What a great place  that was!  It was very busy because the weather was nice and a lot of people didn’t have to work due to the holiday.  There were many families there with their dogs, too! 

 

 

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA The staff was very friendly and  attentive.  They immediately brought me and my sister, Molly, bowls of water and later brought us bowls to eat our lunch from.  The restaurant also offers special pre- made doggy meals for their canine customers, but we got to order off the menu.  Anyone interested in taking their dog along to lunch with them can visit Dog-Friendly Houston for a list of restaurants  that allow dogs, but be sure and call first to confirm.  Sometimes the list is outdated or incorrect.

 

 

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA From there we went for a walk along Buffalo Bayou near downtown.  Some parts were nice but there was a lot of construction going on so we had to take several detours.  We visited some pretty water  fountains near the Wortham Center and my sister Molly wanted to jump in and go swimming!…but she didn’t.

 

 

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Once we got home, I took a little power nap to get ready for my party.  My brother, Paden, my sisters, Molly and Hannah, my Yorkie cousins, Tigger, Phoebe and Chloe, and   our two cats, Marnie and  Silas were in attendance.  Oh and my parents and my grandma.  I got my very own birthday cake and then another one to share! 

 

 

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA There were other treats for everyone as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 The last event of the evening was the family gathering together to watch my favorite movie, K-9.  It stars a brave and talented German Shepherd who saves his family from some dangerous men.  All the puppies sat with their people around the TV and ate the delicous goodies from the doggie bakery while the people snacked on popcorn. 

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 It really was a great day and a happy birthday for me.  Come to think of it, I wish I could have a birthday every day!