Monday, August 22, 2016

Adoption Monday: Bama, Labrador Retriever, Southington, CT

Bama was pulled into rescue from a southern high kill shelter and placed into a wonderful foster home where she has learned lots of new things.

Her foster mom says she has excelled with her house training and manners

Bama is completely crate trained, which has been utilized as a training tool. She does well on leash and continues to improve as time goes by. Foster mom says she is currently learning some basic commands and doing a great job!

Bama is great with other dogs, cats, and kids (big people too!). Like most youngsters, loves to run around and play hard working off some of her puppy energy. Afterwards she settles in nicely for a well deserved nap.

This sweet little girl also loves playing in the water which is no surprise with those lab genes she's showing off. Of course she loves lots of toys, chew ones are a particular favorite.

Bama is already spayed, up to date on all vaccinations, current on preventatives, and micro chipped. She is ready to go home with her forever family and enjoy blue skies wherever home ends up being. Time to carry our Bama off to meet her new kin. Is she coming home to you?


Best Friends For Life is a privately run, 501 c3 non profit organization, privately funded NO KILL dog rescue. They operate on a strictly volunteer basis out of foster homes.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Teaching Your Dog Take Treats Gently

Another awesome video from Donna Hill's channel.

With many dogs, you really have to watch your fingers when trying to give them a treat. 

Our guys do quite well being gentle taking treats; perhaps partially because they get a lot of practice. Only when she's very excited, Cookie gets grabby, trying to quickly take the treat and get back to whatever she's been focused on. It becomes particularly obvious when I try to use the "Look a that" game to teach her to ignore a squirrel, for example.

Level of arousal is certainly one criteria to keep in mind when trying to get your dog take treats gently.


Donna Hill, Donna Hill B.Sc. B.Ed., has a degree in zoology and a teaching degree. She has 20 years experience in adult and child education and enjoyed teaching people how to observe animals in nature as a nature interpreter, field biologist and train-the-trainer for presentation skills and now applies her knowledge and skills to help people and their dogs. She helps people with disabilities to train their own service dogs and has experience working with autistic and developmentally delayed teens. She uses plain English to explain what you are doing and why and also provides analogies you can relate to. She was also a Girl Guide and earned the highest honor as well as worked in the Tourism industry as a information counselor. She loves to share key information with people!

Visit her blog at Online Clicker Training Tutorials & Coaching.

Check out her two Youtube channels supernaturalbc2009 and supernatural 2008 for more awesome videos. Her motto is "Yard by Yard, Life is hard. Inch by Inch, It's a Cinch!" Break everything down into it's simplest parts and it's achievable!

Don't forget to visit Donna's FB group Observation Skills for Training Dogs or connect with Donna on Twitter.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Top Veterinary Articles of the Week: Toxic Bugs, Helpful Honey, and more ...

Will My Dog Get Sick If He Eats Bugs?

Dr. Marty Becker/vetStreet

Bugs. We certainly get our share of them. Fortunately, apart from grasshoppers, our guys show no interest in eating them.

Does your dog eat bugs? Cookie prefers hunting mice. JD is just a copycat, trying to do what Cookie does. He hasn't caught a mouse yet. Or found one. But he does catch the odd deer fly if they are bugging him too much.

Most bugs make a harmless snack. Some, though are toxic. The rule of thumb is, the more colorful the bug, the more likely it is toxic. And, of course, too many of them can cause a problem from the sheer volume.

Saddleback caterpillar. Pretty, huh? Pretty nasty.
Photo Featured Creatures

Puss moth caterpillar. Photo True Wild Life

Find out which bugs you should keep your dog away from in Dr. Becker's article.

How Honey Can Help Dogs with Allergies

Dr. Ernie Ward/Petplan

So far I've used honey only for wound care. But I have heard of the use of raw honey to help with allergies and it does sound interesting and logical as a form of immunotherapy. For such purpose, obviously, it needs to be local honey as it contains the same pollen spores the dog is subjected to.

Same as immunotherapy, local raw honey introduces these spores in small amounts helping the body to get used to their presence.

It might not be a magic cure but it can help. If my dogs had problems with seasonal allergies, I'd give it consideration.

Find out what Dr. Ward recommends.

Cruciate Ligament Disease: A Comparison of Surgical and Nonsurgical Treatment Outcomes

Dr. Nancy Kay/Spot Speaks

I'm always interested in any new information about cruciate ligament disease and its treatments. You never want to think you know it all. Because you moment you do that, something really important slips through the cracks.

In this article, Dr. Kay highlights results of a recently published study focusing on evaluating owner satisfaction with outcomes of surgical repair as opposed to orthosis (brace). Just as Dr. Kay, I'm surprised that in spite of less impressive objective outcomes, there was a higher level of satisfaction with the brace option.

When Jasmine was diagnosed with partial tears, we too found the brace option attractive and gave it a lot of consideration. At the end, though, we decided we wanted to fix, rather than manage the problem.

Check out Dr. Kay's thoughts and review of the study results.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Veterinary Highlights: Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) in Cancer Treatment

Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) is a new imaging approach to improve accuracy of surgical treatment of cancer.

It works similarly to ultrasound, except instead of sound it uses light waves to visualize tissue in real time. Small Animal Clinic at the University of Illinois is the first one in the US to use it.

The advantage is knowing exactly which tissue needs to be extracted.

If you can see the cancer, you can take it out and leave healthy tissue alone. Some other techniques for identifying cancerous tissue had been tested. Otherwise two things can happen. Without being able to see which tissue is bad and which isn't, either not enough tissue is removed, which results in second surgery, or a bunch of extra tissue needs to be removed in hopes for getting all of the cancer.

That can be tricky, such as in JD's case, where his mast cell tumor was in such a location where there wasn't much tissue to begin with. We decided to take enough even at a cost of having to use a graft, rather than worry about closing the wound and leaving some cancer behind.

More precision would mean more healthy tissue preserved and no cancerous cells left in the body.

Technology being able to extend beyond our the ability of our senses is always great. I'll be watching this one.

Source article:
New Medical Tech Now Saving Local Pets Battling Cancer

Further reading:
Optical Coherence Tomography Advances Veterinary Cancer Treatment

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Veterinary Visit Checklist: Part 2 Before You Leave the Office

Don't ever leave the vet's office unless you're fully satisfied that you understand what is going on with your dog. You should be walking out either with a diagnosis and a treatment plan or at least a plan of action and further diagnostics.

Don't leave the vet's office unless you got all your concerns addressed and questions answered.

When I prepare my list before hand, I make two copies. One for the vet to keep, one for me to make sure nothing gets forgotten. I don't leave until all my points had been checked off.

Make sure you understood everything your vet told you and that you're comfortable with the treatment.

Are there more than one treatment option? Did you discuss them all?

If it's complex, write it down or ask them to write it down so you can research it later. If your dog is sick and needs treatment, it's up to you to comply properly. For that, you need to understand what to do as well as why do it. Because if you don't have faith in the treatment, you're much less likely to go through with it. And no treatment, however great, will work unless it's actually administered.

If you're concerned about your ability to follow through with the plan, let your vet know.

Jasmine's vet always includes a note to contact him if for any reason the treatment plan cannot be followed. He'll then work to find a plan that will work.

Here is one thing I have ever seen only one vet ever do - provide an outline of expected treatment progress.

Should your dog feel better after the first pill? Should they get better by the next day? Is it going to take a week? A month? What should you expect to happen?

Such estimate cannot always be accurate, but it provides a guideline by which to assess whether the treatment is working or not. If your vet doesn't provide this, ask for it. Jasmine's expected progress estimate looks like this:

25 % improvement by day 4
50% by day 6
75% by day 10
100% by day 21

The actual outline, of course, depends on what is being treated. This particular outline was given after Jasmine's neck issues.

Ask not only what the treatment should do, but also what it might do and it shouldn't - side effects.

This is so important and yet with most vets getting this information is like pulling teeth. What side effects you might run into? And even more importantly, what should you do?

How should you give the medications?

Most of the time, the label will include how many pills and how often you should give. However, some medications, such as NSAIDs, have to be given with food. Others should be given on empty stomach. Yet, this is not always indicated. If you give NSAIDs on an empty stomach, you might run into stomach problems. If you give other medications, such as some antibiotics or thyroid supplement with food, it might significantly lower their effectiveness. Ask what is the best way to give them.

Ask about any contra-indications and interactions.

If you got a prescription for more than one medication, or your dog is already on other treatments, will there be some negative interactions? Can they be given together or should they be given apart? Should one follow a certain amount of time after another (such as if you're getting stomach protectant with NSAIDs)?

Same applies if you're giving any supplements. Ask whether any of them could negatively interact with the new meds.

What should you do if you miss a dose?

Find out what you should do if you forget a dose. Also find out what to do if you did give the medication and your dog happened to throw up shortly after.

When should you come for a follow-up?

I many cases, it is wise to schedule a follow-up appointment. You might be able to tell whether the treatment work or you might not. Your vet might need to get their hands on your dog again to evaluate progress or results. You might need to run a follow-up blood work or other labs.

What information do you expect to come home with from a veterinary visit?

Related articles:
Veterinary Visit Checklist: Part 1 Before the Visit
Before Getting a Second Opinion: Something Not Right? Speak Up 
Thinking Outside The Box: Solutions Tailored To Your Dog's Needs 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Happy 3rd Adoptoversary, Cookie!

Cookie, you're one tough cookie. It's been three years of you putting up with your helicopter mommy and sometimes grumpy daddy. You had to withstand a lot of loving and being spoiled. I don't know how you do it. And all that while keeping small rodents of the world in check. On the other hand, you're never alone and never tied up. I suppose things balance themselves out that way.