Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Drinkwell Pet Fountain Review

The Drinkwell pet fountain has proved a huge hit with my four cats. I purchased the Drinkwell 360 as a test to see how my cats would adapt to drinking from a fountain.
Here is what happened: The first night my alpha male ocicat, Cody approached it with his ears forward and watched. After about an hour he started to bat at the water flowing from the top.
Next, his sister Kyla went up to it, looking very curious and watched for a while, then started to play with the water. The most interested was my oldest, Boston. He is an indoor-outdoor cat and is the most "seasoned" soul of all of them. He is like a big "Garfield" cat. We call him "Big Boss". He did like the others at first, but then I caught a glimpse of him, licking the falling water. He then started to play with the falling water, batting at it and then licking. Everyone is completely drinking from the flowing waterfall and sometimes at the circular holding tray. I am ordering the tray and wheat grass next. I really think this is a great product and is a must for any cat owner that has had any urinary tract issues with their cats. I have a small 9 1/2 pound grey cat, Mischa, that has kidney disease and felt this may help her live a longer life by encouraging more drinking. You can find this at my store- http://www.mickeyspetsupplies.com/

Saturday, March 28, 2009

New Cancer Drug for Dogs Nitrosylcobalamin NO-Cbl

Cancer Breakthrough: Tales Of 'Trojan Horse Drug' And 'Miracle Dogs'

ScienceDaily (Mar. 24, 2009) — Diagnosed with an extremely aggressive form of cancer called anal sac adenocarcinoma, Oscar's future seemed bleak. Bedridden and unresponsive to chemotherapy or radiation, he would be lucky to survive three months. But thanks to an innovative new drug treatment, Oscar's cancer receded and he was walking again within two weeks.
Oscar's recovery was extraordinary enough, but his case was unusual for another reason. Oscar is a Bichon Frise, who scientists reporting in Salt Lake City, Utah at the 237th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society on March 23 call "the Miracle Dog." Joseph A. Bauer, Ph.D., and colleagues described promising results with a drug called nitrosylcobalamin (NO-Cbl) in battling cancer in Oscar and three other canines without any negative side effects. While it gives profound hope to dog owners, NO-Cbl also points to a powerful new cancer treatment for humans — one that infiltrates cancer cells like a biological Trojan horse.
"We are one of the few research groups that is offering to treat dogs with cancer that otherwise have no hope," Bauer said. "With no other options available, most people in this situation opt to euthanize so that their pets don't go through the pain of disease and trauma of surgery."
About six million dogs are diagnosed with cancer each year in the United States. According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), pets with cancer provide a win-win opportunity for cancer researchers. Scientists can study new cancer treatments in animals other than lab mice. And pets get access to new treatments that provide hope and in instances like NO-Cbl, additional time.
Bauer put it this way: "The beauty of using a dog or a cat to test a cancer drug is two-fold. First, the animal can get the benefit of the most up-to-date drug in cancer medicine. Second, the NCI gets data on pets that are exposed to the same environmental factors their owners are. They breathe the same polluted air and drink the same polluted water that you and I do every day. If you can find an agent to treat cancer that occurs in a dog with success, there is a higher likelihood that you can take that to the human population and have a much higher response rate than with mice."
Although NO-Cbl has been used in only a few dogs, daily treatments have led to promising results in each case. "In all four dogs, there has been a significant reduction in tumor size without any toxic side effects or discomfort," says Bauer.
Oscar was the first success story. Since then, Bauer has treated two other dogs. A six-year old golden retriever named Buddy was unable to walk due to a spinal tumor pinching essential nerves leading to his right hind leg. After nine months of daily NO-Cbl treatment, Buddy's tumor shrank by 40 percent and he was going on two mile walks. A 13-year-old female Giant Schnauzer with inoperable thyroid carcinoma also showed tumor reductions of 77 percent in less than 10 weeks.
"Our case studies demonstrate anti-tumor efficacy with limited toxicity to normal tissues," Bauer added. "NO-Cbl sensitizes multidrug-resistant cancer cells to the antitumor effects of several different drugs, so it may be valuable when utilized in combination regimes," he added.
The drug targets cancer cells with "biological Trojan horse technology." Cells have receptors for vitamin B12 on their outer surface. The receptors serve as docking ports where molecules of the vitamin, essential for cells to divide and multiply, attach and then enter the cell. In order to divide at their abnormally rapid pace, cancer cells grow extra B12 receptors — 100 times more than normal cancer cells. Scientists have been trying since the 1950s to exploit that vulnerability and make B12-based drugs that attach to the receptors, sneak into the cell, and deliver a knock-out dose of medication.
Bauer and his colleagues from the Cleveland Clinic attached nitric oxide (NO) molecules to vitamin B12. NO kills cancer cells. The B12 acts as the Trojan horse, easily slipping into cancer cells. The subsequent release of toxic NO kills the cancer cells from within.
The team's goal is to successfully treat 10 dogs with NO-Cbl and slingshot the drug into human use as soon as possible. Because of the genetic similarity between dogs and humans, Bauer says his approach should have a much better chance of getting through the FDA's strict drug approval chain.
But Bauer stresses he wants to get the NO-Cbl dog treatment approved, as well. "I'm committed to the animals, and my goal would be to do a dual clinical trial, Phase One human and Phase One dog," says Bauer.
Oscar is still alive and well. Today, Bauer is treating another Golden Retriever named Haley with a spinal tumor.
"This is one of the most rewarding things I've ever done in my life," says Bauer, the owner of a two-year old Beagle. "It gets boring working in the lab, but to see the fruits of your labor in a positive outcome like this and to know you're responsible in some small way, that's pretty cool."
Adapted from materials provided by American Chemical Society, via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Lowest Price on Frontline Plus Flea and Tick Control

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

List of POISONOUS PLANTS to pets

Unknown dangers to your pets-- typical garden and house plants

I want to tell you about my cat, Cody. In the Fall of 2007, I moved all my large outdoor potted plants into the garage at the end of the season. I let my cats in the garage to sit on my potting table in front of the window. One night, as I was fixing dinner I noticed my ocicat Cody vomiting a clear greenish liquid tinged in red. I kept watching him and he was vomiting non-stop. I couldn't figure out what was causing this, but I knew it was serious.

I called the 24 hour veterinary service and tucked him in a carrier with a fuzzy blanket and we were in the car. When I arrived, I told them what was happening and they asked "what could he have eaten?" I quite honestly could not think of anything he could have eaten that was green. They immediately rushed him into the examining room and the vet said that his vital signs were weak and he would have to be on I.V. fluids and I should try and figure out what he ingested. I walked around my house trying to figure out what he chewed on and then I walked into the garage and saw my pots with English Ivy.

I now had a possible cause for Cody's distress. I started doing a search for poisonous plants to cats. I really had a hard time finding a complete list of all the poisonous plants. Finally, I saw that English Ivy is considered a toxin to cats.
English Ivy contains triterpenoid saponins, which when ingested, results in vomiting, diarrhea, hypersalivation & abdominal pain and in some cases--coma and death

Cody was on IV fluids and oxygen for over a day and our family was very worried. Finally, Cody seemed to respond to the treatments and basically came back to life. It was also a very costly lesson.

Since finding any information about poisonous plants for pets is hard to find, I thought I would give everyone a list of those toxic plants.
Aloe,Amaryllis, Autumn Crocus, Azalea, Bamboo, Castor Bean, Chrysanthemum, Cyclamen, English Ivy, Kalanchaloe, Lilies, Marijuana, Oleander, Peace Lily (Mauna Loa Peace Lily), Narcissus bulbs, Poinsettia, Pothos, Sago Palm, Schefflera, Yew.

Also, do not feed your cats or dogs ONIONS or GARLIC! These affect the red blood cells, causing life-threatening anemia. Cats are especially sensitive to these- even onion or garlic powder, so never feed your pets table food.

Lilies are especially toxic to cats, and can cause life-threatening kidney failure even in small amounts.

Whenever an animal is exposed to a possible toxin, time is of the essence....Call your vet or 24 hour emergency veterinary hospital


Go Orange with A.S.P.C.A. this April!

All of you have heard of the A.S.P.C.A. (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), but I bet you didn't know that this non-profit organization was founded in 1866 and was the first humane organization estabished in the Americas. Today it has over 1 million supporters in North America.

Three years ago the ASPCA sponsored an adoption event in NY City and it has grown in to a huge celebration across the nation. Now, the ASPCA has made April --Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month--

They encourage everyone to 'Go Orange For Animals' and support ASPCA this month.

O.K. How do you support them? You can host a bake sale at your church, have a benefit concert, volunteer at your local shelter, do a walk-a-thon, bike-a-thon, car wash or just contribute.

If you are planning an event, visit their site at www.ASPCAAmbassadors.org to enter the community leader contest. They will award the winner with the most extraordinary 'Go Orange" effort a $500 American Express Gift Card and a $1000 grant to the animal shelter or rescue group of their choice.

So, get active, make a difference and 'Go Orange' to support the efforts of the ASPCA.


Monday, March 23, 2009

Stem Cell Treatment for Arthritis in Pets

Stem Cell Treatments Used To Ease Arthritis In Pets
Posted on: Tuesday, 17 March 2009, 14:00 CDT Related Video
A new procedure that uses stem cells obtained from fat is providing relief for pets suffering from the aches and pains of arthritis and other ailments.
The procedure, marketed by a company called Vet-Stem Inc. in San Diego, involves injecting dogs with stem cells obtained from fat. It was initially used in horses in 2003, according to the company’s founder and veterinarian Bob Harman.
"Six years later we treated over 3,000 horses from the United States with every kind of injury, from a bad tear of the tendon or ligament to bad arthritis," Harman told the Austin American Statesman.
The company is the first in the nation to offer stem cell treatments using fat tissue for dogs and cats, according to Julie Ryan of Vet-Stem.
After receiving many requests, the company began providing four-hour training sessions on the procedure to veterinarians a year ago.
Three-year-old Samson, a Newfoundland, was still limping badly on one side after undergoing surgery to remove bone fragments in his front legs.
The fragments had caused arthritis in his right leg, Susie Lynch, his owner, told the Austin American-Statesman.
"He was just pretty much laying around all the time," she added.
Then Lynch saw a program on ABC News' "Nightline" about a procedure for dogs that helped ease arthritis by obtaining stem cells from fat in the dogs’ bodies and injecting the cells into the injured areas.
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Lynch turned to Lynne Boggs, an Austin, TX-based veterinarian trained in the Vet Stem procedure, and Samson underwent the operation last November.
“It worked,” Lynch said.
"It was amazing.”
"In about 10 days it was like he had a whole different personality; he was energetic.”
“After six weeks, Samson was limping less and less.”
"He prances around and runs and plays with other dogs now," she said.
American Veterinary Association spokesman Michael San Filippo said the group is aware of the procedure, and supports the use of stem cells for animal health. While the association would like to see additional research on the procedure, "anecdotally, we have heard from several pet owners that it does work," he said.
The Vet-Stem procedure costs roughly $2,500- $3,500, according to Harman.
Veterinarians obtain fat from part of a dog's body and send a syringe of it to the company in San Diego. Then, in a four-hour procedure, Vet-Stem uses a digestive enzyme that isolates the stem cells from the fat. These stem cells are then shipped back to the veterinarian overnight, so the cells can be injected into the injured part of a dog’s body the following day.
Harman said the procedure helps reduce swelling and creates new blood vessels and tissue.
"We've treated over 1,500 dogs with arthritis," he said.
Boggs, the Austin, TX-based vet who treated Samson, said she removed a clump of fat from the dog’s abdomen for the procedure because that area has a very high concentration of stem cells.
Samson has improved significantly since the surgery but has not been completely cured, she said.
"The limp has gone to something anyone can see to something I can see; it's much more subtle," she told the Austin American Statesman.
Prior the undergoing the procedure, Samson could walk less than a block before he began limping badly, said Lynch.
But now, "I can walk him as far as I want now."
Boggs said that while some dogs respond very well to the Vet-Stem procedure, others don't respond at all. She used the procedure on another dog with hip arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease, and it ended up helping only with the bowel problem, she added.
"There's no way to know before you go into it," she said.
The primary risk for the dog is in being anesthetized for fat removal, she said.
"I haven't used it enough to say it will be the answer to whatever the problem is," Boggs said.
"I'm game to keep on trying it with owners that understand what's going on."
On the Net:
Vet-Stem Inc.
American Veterinary Association

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Dangers of Flea Powders on Kittens

This is an older article, but a must read for cat owners-----
Flea Season is Hopping Around
Friday April 25, 2008
I received a recent email from a heartbroken woman who had lost three 2-week old kittens after dusting them with flea powder. She meant well; she saw that they were covered with fleas and wanted to help them. It is too late to save those kittens, but other readers should know the facts about flea control for cats. I do not personally recommend any flea powders nor flea collars for cats, and definitely not for young kittens. Nor should any flea control product labeled for dogs ever be used on cats of any age.
In 2001, hundreds of cat owners lost their cats after using certain flea products containing either permethrin or methoprene. After hearing hundreds of specific consumer complaints, the EPA investigated the Hartz Mountain Corporation, manufacturer of a variety of pet products, including flea control products. These unnecessary deaths underscore the necessity of reading and understanding labels, not only on food products, but also on flea and tick control products.
Fleas are not only annoying, but they are nasty little critters that carry number of "hitch-hikers" such as tapeworms and the Haemobartonellosis microorganism. I'm sure you'll agree with the importance of stopping flea infestations before they occur, for your cats' comfort and your own peace of mind
Suggested Reading:

Treating Parvo

Treatment for parvoviral infection centers on support. This means that the clinical problems that come up in the course of the infection are addressed individually with the goal of keeping the patient alive long enough for an immune response to generate. We do not have effective anti-virus anti-biotics and must rely on the patient’s immune system for cure.
There are certain basic treatment principles which can be viewed as “must haves” in addressing the parvo puppy. Beyond these basics are some “added pluses” which may or may not contribute to the chance for survival. In order to achieve the usual survival rate of approximately 75-85%, the basics must be delivered. If an owner is less concerned about expense and simply wants to maximize survival chances, some of the optional treatments may be employed.
“Rolly” Flores - Parvo Survivorjust before discharge from the hospital
FLUID THERAPY: One of the ways parvo can kill is via the metabolic derangements that occur with dehydration. It is crucial to replace the vast fluid losses (from vomiting and diarrhea) with intravenous fluids. Fluids are given as a steady drip rather than simply under the skin so that absorption into the circulation is direct. Potassium is usually added to the fluids in order to maintain electrolyte balance. Dextrose (sugar) is also frequently added as the stress of the disease may lower blood sugar especially in a very small puppy.
ANTIBIOTICS: The second way parvo kills is through bacterial invasion of the circulatory system (“sepsis.”) Since the GI tract is damaged, antibiotics cannot be given orally. They are given either as shots or are added into the IV fluid bag. There are a number of antibiotics which may be selected. Some antibiotics you may see in use include:
*Cefazolin *Baytril *Ampicillin *Gentamycin*Amikacin *Trimethoprim-sulfa *Chloramphenicol
Our hospital tends to prefer Cefazolin as a basic choice. For more information on this drug you may wish to read the Pharmacy Center section on its sister drug: Cephalexin.
CONTROL OF NAUSEA: Patient comfort is a very important part of treatment for any disease but is especially important for parvo treatment as these puppies feel extremely nauseated. Again, the GI tract is too damaged for oral medication so medications are given as injections. There are two popular medications for nausea control:
Metoclopramide: (best given as a continuous drip in the IV fluid set up) If used as separate injections, relief tends to be short lasting and does not provide “around the clock” control. If a continuous drip is used, nausea control lasts as long as the drip is running.
Chlorpromazine: a very strong nausea control medication which lasts 6-8 hours per injection and has the added benefit of a drowsiness side effect (so patients can sleep through most of this uncomfortable time).
Injectable antacids (Tagamet, Zantac, or Pepcid) are often used to prevent ulceration of the esophagus of the esophagus should protracted vomited be a problem.
The following tests are helpful in adjusting parvovirus treatment:
Fecal floatation to rule out worms/internal parasites
The last thing these patients need is a parasite burden contributing to their nausea and diarrhea.
White blood cell counts/complete blood counts
One of the first acts of the parvovirus is to shut down the bone marrow production of immunologic cells (the white blood cells). White blood cell counts are often monitored as the infection is followed.
Urine specific gravity/Azosticks
In order to assess the effectiveness of the fluid therapy, some objective evaluation of dehydration is useful. If adequate IV fluids have been provided then the urine produced will be dilute (as measured by “specific gravity”) and azosticks measures of protein metabolites (which build up in the blood stream) should be at normal levels.
Abdominal Palpation
Abnormal motility of the intestines occurs with this infection. Sometimes an area of intestine actually “telescopes” inside an adjacent area in a process called “intussusception.” This is a disastrous occurrence as intussusception can only be treated surgically and parvo puppies are in no shape for surgery. Euthanasia is usually elected in this event.
Total blood protein
Protein depletion is common when there is heavy diarrhea. If blood proteins drop too low, special IV fluids or even plasma transfusions are needed to prevent massive life-threatening edema.
CEFOXITIN (A SPECIAL ANTIBIOTIC) The best antibiotic coverage controls both gram negative and gram positive organisms, both aerobic and anaerobic organisms and does so with minimal side effects. The use of Cefoxitin (brand name Mefoxitin) does an excellent job of covering for the organisms of concern without the kidney side effects of gentamycin or amikacin and without the cartilage side effects of Baytril. Cefoxitin is especially expensive and is frequently reserved for the sickest puppies.
ONDANSETRON (BRAND NAME ZOFRAN) This medication is an especially strong anti-nauseal medication which is useful if the more common medications have failed. This medication is commonly used to control the extreme nausea experienced by people on cancer chemotherapy. While it is highly effective for parvo puppies, it is also very expensive.
SEPTI-SERUM-This product represents anti-serum (antibodies extracted from horses) which binds the toxins of any invading GI tract bacteria. The use of this product is controversial though the veterinary teaching hospital at Auburn University uses it commonly. It is usually given only one time as the equine origin of the product has potential for serious immunological reactions.
PLASMA TRANSFUSIONS In a similar attempt to deliver anti-bodies to the parvo puppy, plasma from a donor dog who has survived parvo is sometimes used. The canine origin of such products reduces the potential for immune reactions but such plasma is not typically available commercially.
ANTI-INFLAMMATORY DRUGS- There have been many studies indicating the benefits of single doses of these medications in the prevention of septic shock. Repeated doses may cause further GI ulceration (which is obviously something a parvo puppy has enough of). Our hospital favors Flunixin meglumine (brand name banamine) for this use.
NEUPOGEN “Neupogen” is the brand name of a genetically engineered hormone called “granulocyte colony stimulating factor.” This hormone is responsible for stimulating the bone marrow to produce white blood cells and its administration easily overcomes the bone marrow suppression caused by the parvovirus. A recent study did not find increased survival with the addition of this product to the parvo regimen; however, in sicker puppies it may make a significant difference. It is very expensive usually adding $100-$200 to the basic treatment cost.
Home treatment for parvo infection is a bad idea when compared to hospitalization and intensive care. Mortality rises substantially and the heavy diarrhea and vomiting lead to heavy viral contamination in the home. Still, if financial concerns preclude hospitalization, home care may be the puppy’s only chance. Fluids will have to be given under the skin at home as will injectable medicines.

Parvovirus Concern & What Is PARVO?

2/25/09 Deadly Disease Spreading - Canine Parvovirus Cases Spike in Pontiac Dozens of dogs have died or been stricken with the Canine Parvovirus
Watch the video as seen on ClickOn Detroit Channel 4

Parvoviruses are a large group; almost every mammal species (including humans) seems to have its own parvovirus. Fortunately, each virus is pretty specific about what animals it can infect (i.e. the pig parvovirus will not infect people, the canine parvovirus will not infect cats etc.) The canine parvovirus will affect most members of the dog family (wolves, coyotes, foxes etc.) and there is a new mutation that can affect domestic cats.
Parvoviruses are smaller than most viruses and consist of a protein coat (a "capsid") and a single strand of DNA inside. It is hard to believe that such a simply constructed organism could be so deadly; however, this virus has proved especially effective at infecting rapidly dividing host cells such as intestinal cells, bone marrow cells, cells of the lymph system, and fetal cells. Parvoviruses are not enveloped in fat the way many other viruses are. This makes parvoviruses especially hardy in the environment and difficult to disinfect away.
While the parvoviruses of other species have been well known for decades, the canine parvovirus is a relative newcomer. The original canine parvovirus, discovered in 1967 and called "CPV-1" or "the minute virus of canines," did not represent much of a medical threat except to newborn puppies but by 1978, a new variant, "CPV-2" appeared in the U.S. This newer version seems to represent a mutation from the feline parvovirus (which is more commonly known as the "feline distemper virus"), though there is some controversy regarding what the parent parvovirus actually was. Because this virus was (and is) shed in gigantic numbers by infected animals and because this virus is especially hardy in the environment, worldwide distribution of the virus rapidly occurred. At this time, the virus is considered to be "ubiquitous," meaning that it is present in EVERY ENVIRONMENT unless regular disinfection is applied.
Attempting to shield a puppy from exposure is completely futile.
In 1978, no dog had any sort of immunity against this virus. There was no resistance and the epidemic that resulted was disastrous. To make matters worse, a second mutation creating CPV-2a had occurred by 1979, which seemed to be even more aggressive. Vaccine was at a premium and many veterinarians had to make do with feline distemper vaccine as it was the closest related vaccine available while the manufacturers struggled to supply the nation with true parvo vaccines.
Over thirty years have passed since then. The current form of the virus is called CPV-2b. Virtually all dogs can be considered to have been exposed to it at least to some extent which means that most adult dogs, even those inadequately vaccinated, can be considered to have at least some immunity. It is also worth mentioning the new particularly virulent strain of parvovirus: CPV-2c, discovered in the year 2000, which is able to infect cats. Cats vaccinated against feline distemper can be considered protected.
Parvoviral infection has become a disease almost exclusively of puppies and adolescent dogs.
Parvoviral infection must be considered as a possible diagnosis in any young dog with vomiting and/or diarrhea. With proper hospitalization, survival rates approach 80%. Still, there are many myths and misunderstandings about this virus, how it is spread, and how to prevent it. The purpose of this web site is to clear up these misconceptions and provide the public with an accurate information source.
Page last updated: 3/20/09

Feline Arthritis

Feline Arthritis

By Franny Syufy, About.com

Symptoms of Feline Osteoarthritis:
  • Altered Gait
  • Stiffness upon arising from rest
  • Reluctance to Jump
  • Obvious Pain When Walking
  • Personality Changes (Increased nervousness, depression, or aggression)


Your veterinarian will take a detailed history of the problem, and perform a physical examination. Since "lameness" may also be associated with other conditions, blood tests, radiographs, ultrasound, or other procedures may supplement the examination.

Medical Treatment:
  • Glucosamine and Chondroitin
    According to Holly Frisbee, DVM, MS, of PetEducation.com, Glucosamine is a major component of cartilage, and Chondroitin enhances the formation of cartilage and inhibits enzymes in the joint, which tend to break down cartilage.
These pharmaceuticals are often combined together in products such as Cosequin, which is available from veterinarians. Cosequin is a palatable powder in capsule form, and can either be given by capsule or sprinkled on cat food. Syn-flex, a liquid product, is said to be even more effective than Cosequin in providing pain relief. Syn-flex is available for purchase online from Activex America, Inc. and www.mickeyspetsupplies.com
  • Corticosteroids
    These anti-inflammatory drugs have fallen into disfavor in recent years because of negative side effects, and is usually used as a last resort.
  • Vitamin C
    There have not been any definitive studies linking therapeutic doses of Vitamin C to pain relief of feline osteoarthritis. Small doses may be safe, but Vitamin C is not recommended for cats who are on special diets for UTIs.
  • NSAIDs (Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs)
    Like steroids, potentially serious side effects limit the use of these drugs, and they are contraindicated in cats with kidney, liver, heart disease, as well as other conditions.
  • Few of these drugs are certified for use in cats, for good reason.
    Other Home Treatments:
    • Weight Control
      Excess weight can only contribute to already overburdened joints, and efforts should be made to reduce a rotund cat slowly and safely.
    • Exercise
      Exercise provides a two-fold benefit: it aids in weight loss, and it helps keep stiff joints warmed up.
    • Provide warmth
      Arthritic cats will gravitate toward a warm spot to lie. There are a number of commercial products that can help, including chemically or electrically heated pads and beds.
  • Gentle Massage
    If your cat will tolerate it, gentle massage will help sore muscles and stiff joints. Here are two excellent resources for learning massage for cats:
  • Conclusion:

    Although osteoarthritis cannot be cured, a planned treatment program in partnership with your trusted veterinarian can help make your treasured senior cat's final years more comfortable.

    Disclaimer: I am not a veterinarian. This article is meant only to give you a starting place to do your own research so you can make an informed decision, should it ever become necessary.

    Friday, March 20, 2009

    Obama Toughens US Line Against Whaling

    Obama toughens US line against whaling
    by Shaun Tandon Shaun Tandon – Fri Mar 6, 10:23 pm ET
    Featured Topics:
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    WASHINGTON (AFP) – US President Barack Obama's administration has admitted it would firmly oppose whaling, delighting environmentalists ahead of a key international meeting with pro-whaling Japan.
    Anti-whaling campaigners said Obama was signaling a tougher US stance leading into the meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) opening Monday in Rome which is set to look at a controversial compromise proposal.
    Japan hunts hundreds of whales a year in the Pacific and Antarctic using a loophole in a 1986 IWC moratorium that allows "lethal research" on the ocean giants. Norway and Iceland defy the moratorium altogether.
    "The United States continues to view the commercial whaling moratorium as a necessary conservation measure and believes that lethal scientific whaling is unnecessary in modern whale conservation management," said Nancy Sutley, chair of the White House's Council on Environmental Quality.
    She said the Obama administration would wait and see the proposals on the table in Rome but stressed: "It is our view that any package, to be acceptable, must result in a significant improvement in the conservation status of whales."
    Japan has repeatedly threatened to leave the IWC if the 84-member body does not shift to what Tokyo believes is its original purpose -- managing a sustainable kill of whales.
    Japan's Antarctic whaling missions infuriate nearby Australia and New Zealand and have been dogged by environmental militants, whose harassment has cut down the total catch.
    Faced with the deadlock, the US representative to the IWC, William Hogarth, who was appointed by former president George W. Bush, launched a drive to salvage the six-decade-old global body.
    In closed-door talks this year in Hawaii, Hogarth -- also the outgoing chairman of the IWC -- floated a compromise to let Japan hunt whales near its coast while scaling down its Antarctic hunts.
    But Australia has demanded a complete end to Antarctic whaling. Japan has said it will not halt research whaling but is expected to make its own proposal in Rome that could reduce the number it kills.
    US Congressman Nick Rahall, who heads the House Natural Resources Committee and has called for Obama to remove Hogarth, applauded the administration Friday for sending "a strong and timely message" against whaling.
    "The United States must stand firm, and serve as a model, in its pursuit to support, encourage and convince countries such as Japan, Iceland and Norway who wish to see commercial whaling continue to join the emerging global consensus for whale conservation in the 21st century," Rahall said.
    Paul Kline, oceans campaigner for Greenpeace USA, said the environmental group was "thrilled" with the Obama stance.
    "It's great to see the United States putting out a strong position and positioning itself to truly be a world leader in whale conservation, which really supports the broad sentiment across America," he said.
    "The past few years US leadership hasn't been there at all and the strongest voice has been taken over by Australia and a block of Latin countries led by Brazil," he said.
    Environmentalists argue either that whale stocks are still too low to support a hunt or that it is immoral to kill the giant mammals.
    Japan says whaling is a tradition and accuses Westerners of disrespecting its culture.
    Despite the whaling stance, Obama has moved quickly to show the US commitment to its alliance with Japan, inviting Prime Minister Taro Aso as the first foreign leader to see him at the White House.
    Whaling by Norway and Iceland has drawn less global attention, in part because they hunt closer to home.
    But the United States last week denounced Iceland after the island's new left-wing government maintained a decision to go ahead with a sharply higher whaling quota.

    Rapid Action To Save Polar Bears

    Rapid action needed to save polar bears from climate change: WWF
    by Pierre-Henry Deshayes Pierre-henry Deshayes – Thu Mar 12, 1:19 pm ET
    AFP/File – A polar bear cub seeks the attention of its mother on the frozen tundra. Environmental group WWF has …
    Play Video Climate Change Video:New eco-friendly store makes sustainable living attainable WHAS TV11 Louisville
    Play Video Climate Change Video:The Green House? Australia 7 News
    Play Video Climate Change Video:'The Note': The 'O'Bama' Green House ABC News
    OSLO (AFP) – Polar bears are in danger of being wiped out unless urgent measures are taken to combat climate change and rapid warming in the Arctic, environmental group WWF warned Thursday.
    "No sea ice equates no polar bears. It's really that simple," WWF polar bear expert Geoff York told reporters.
    York was speaking in Oslo days before representatives of the five countries bordering the Arctic were set to meet in the northern Norwegian town of Tromsoe on March 17 to discuss how to safeguard the bear.
    The WWF insisted the Arctic countries had a special obligation to spearhead efforts to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.
    "People have caused the problem, people have to fix it," said Rasmus Hansson, the head of WWF Norway, adding that several of the five Arctic nations "are also extremely important (to the development of) international climate change policies."
    The three-day Tromsoe meeting grouping Canada, Denmark (with Greenland), Norway, Russia and the United States will discuss how to address threats against the polar bear that have emerged since they first signed a conservation agreement in 1973.
    Back then, hunters were the only known threat against the white bear.
    "Nobody thought about climate change at that time," said scientist Thor Larsen, who helped negotiate the 1973 accord.
    More than three decades after the signing of the agreement however, WWF says climate change is now "the predominant threat" facing the majestic Arctic animal.
    "Speaking about polar bears without addressing climate change is like discussing cod without wanting to speak about the sea," Hansson said.
    As many as two thirds of the 20-25,000 polar bears that roam the Arctic could disappear within the next 50 years due to global warming, according to recent estimates from the US Geological Survey (USGS) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
    And climate change is not the only thing threatening the bears today.
    They are also increasingly exposed to toxic substances like PCB that flow into the region on the back of ocean and atmospheric currents, breaking down the mammals' immune systems and reproductive capabilities.
    This in turn further complicates their ability to adapt to the shifting climate.
    The Tromsoe meeting comes at "an extremely important moment," ahead of the talks on a new global pact on climate change in Copenhagen in December set to replace the Kyoto accord, Hansson said.
    In the United States, President Barack Obama "has sent completely different signals than the previous administration on climate issues," he added.
    According to some estimates, the Arctic sea ice that makes up the polar bear's hunting ground could completely disappear during the summer months by 2020.
    It is not too late to act, said York, who used to work for the USGS.
    He cautioned however that "oil, mining, shipping and military activities did not exist in previous times of warming," calling for all these activities to be reined in across the region.
    WWF also warns that the problems facing polar bears today serve as an indicator for how the ecosystem is being affected, something that will eventually have serious implications for humans.
    "If polar bears run into serious troubles, then we human beings are in for serious troubles too," Hansson said.

    Animal Rights and Circus Lawyers Differ on Opinion

    Animal rights, circus lawyers differ on elephants
    By NEDRA PICKLER, Associated Press Writer Nedra Pickler, Associated Press Writer – Wed Mar 18, 6:03 pm ET
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    AP – In this March 19, 2008 file photo, elephants of the Ringling Bros circus walk through the streets of …
    WASHINGTON – Animal rights activists and Ringling Bros. argued in court Wednesday over the use of metal-tipped prods and chains to control elephants, offering their closing arguments to a federal judge who expressed reservations about regulating circus acts.
    U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan finished hearing a six-week trial over whether elephant handling techniques used by the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus violates the Endangered Species Act.
    Attorney Katherine Meyer, arguing for the animal rights groups, asked the judge to stop the circus from harming the elephants during performances and punishing them for bad behavior. She said she hoped the case would "give voice to these magnificent animals" who are beaten with prods and spend most of their days tethered on chains.
    "For nine minutes of performing, these elephants live a life of misery," she said.
    Feld Entertainment, which owns the circus, argues the animals are not hurt and that the instruments are necessary to keep the pachyderms under control and protect public safety.
    There was no jury, so Sullivan alone will decide the outcome. The judge expressed some reluctance to police circus techniques and asked how the prods and chains are different from spurs used on horses and whips with tigers.
    "Where does all this start and stop?" Sullivan asked. "I mean, I don't think federal judges should be regulating all the acts of the circus."
    Ringling Bros. argues it cannot have elephants without these instruments because there is no other proven way to keep the animals under control and protect their trainers and the viewing public.
    Feld's attorneys say their 54 elephants are healthy, alert and well-cared for, including the 19 that travel with the show and 35 that live at the company's 200-acre conservatory in Florida.
    Some of the elephants at the center of the case were coincidentally just a few blocks from the courthouse, preparing for weekend performances at Washington's Verizon Center.
    Meyer showed the court videos of trainers striking the elephants in the legs, trunk and ears with the metal-tipped prod, called a "bullhook" by the activists and a "guide" by the circus. She held up a prod in court, swinging it over her head as she recalled testimony about elephants who had been hit suffering puncture wounds that could sometimes develop into infected boils.
    She also told how elephants are chained for hours in trains or on concrete at the conservation center, leading to arthritis, cracks in their nail beds that can cause abscesses and bed sores like patients in nursing homes.
    Defense lawyer John Simpson argued that elephant skin is thick enough that the prod doesn't cause harm like it would to a human. He showed a documentary of elephants in the wild with bleeding fly bites next to pictures of bleeding hook marks taken by animal activists. He said the injuries appeared the same, and he compared a boil to nothing more than a pimple.
    Sullivan showed concern with the elephant's conditions, suggesting that the way that elephants reacted to the prods suggested they were afraid they were going to be hit and hurt. Simpson replied that Ringling doesn't use fear or pain to train elephants but accepted techniques of negative reinforcement and punishment.
    "I'm not denying there's a mild sensation" from a prod, he said. "What I am denying is there's a sensation of pain."
    The judge said he was surprised to hear a defense expert testify that train travel satisfies elephant's nomadic urges. Simpson replied by comparing the chains used to restrain elephants on the train to a seat belt that a person would put on to go on a trip.
    "The average person doesn't have to sit in their own feces," Sullivan responded.
    "Unless you are wearing an astronaut diaper, that's true," Simpson said to laughter in the packed courtroom, then argued that handlers keep the box cars clean.
    Sullivan asked whether the circus couldn't shorten the 26 consecutive hours, on average, that the elephants are kept chained on trains while traveling to each event by providing recreation breaks. Simpson said the circus could not control the train schedule. Sullivan then asked whether there should be a regional or stationary circus. Simpson replied that there has been a stationary circus, but it failed because people want to see the show in their own town, a more affordable experience.
    Under questioning from the judge, Meyer acknowledged that not all use of chains and prods would violate the law. She said she hopes that he will require the circus to get permits from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to use the tools. But she could not say specifically what treatment should be allowed or just how long elephants could legally be kept on chains.
    Sullivan also questioned the credibility of a former Ringling elephant handler, Tom Rider, who is a plaintiff in the case and was in the courtroom along with Feld Entertainment CEO Kenneth Feld. Rider is essential to the case — the lawsuit would not be valid without a person who can claim an injury, and Rider gave that standing because he says it hurt him to see the elephants he knew and loved abused.
    Sullivan expressed concern about inconsistencies in Rider's testimony, including the fact that Rider used a prod himself after leaving Ringling and joining a European circus. The judge also pointed out that Rider had not paid taxes on funds he received from the animal rights activists over the years, although he eventually settled the issue with the IRS.
    Meyer responded that Rider is an unsophisticated man with a high school-equivalency degree, yet he has devoted his life to spreading the word about elephant abuse, living out of his Volkswagen van to follow the circus route.
    Both sides agreed to submit their final briefs next month. The judge said he would hold a final hearing in late May or early June, meaning his ruling wouldn't come until the summer. "It's never too late to settle a case," Sullivan reminded them, but both sides said an agreement in the fierce debate would be unlikely.

    Pennsylvania Enacts "Puppy Mill" Laws

    Pennsylvania Enacts New "Puppy Mill" Laws
    On October 9, 2008, Governor Edward G. Rendell signed into law legislation that will help Pennsylvania get rid its reputation as the ‘Puppy Mill Capitol of the East.’ This law:
    1. doubles the minimum floor space for dogs;2. eliminates wire flooring;3. requires access to an outdoor exercise area twice the size of the dog’s primary enclosure;4. veterinary examinations for each dog at least once per year or during each pregnancy;5. and allows for the health and welfare needs of the dogs housed in large commercial breeding kennels will be addressed.
    In related action, House Bill 2532 was passed unanimously by the Judiciary Committee on October 8, 2008, and will now move to the House Floor. It addresses Pennsylvania's animal cruelty laws, and if passed, would require that only veterinarians conduct certain surgical procedures on dogs such as caesarian birth, debarking and docking of a dog's tail 96 hours after birth.
    Requirements are virtually unchanged for other types of kennels, like sporting and hobby dog kennels, because they do not operate with the purpose of breeding large quantities of dogs to sell for profit. Instead, they operate for the purpose of sporting, hobby, boarding or finding homes for dogs.
    Go to House Bill 2525 to read the Bill itself.
    We STRONGLY recommend that you get your dog from a respectable breeder or rescue organization. Pet store puppies may get their dogs from Puppy Mills that normally breed only for profit, not quality or concern for the puppy or its eventual owner.

    Global Stray Dog Problem

    A stray dog on the streets of Colombo, Sri Lanka
    Suffering in Slums: The global stray dog problem
    The stray dog problem is a truly global issue - at this very moment there are millions of dogs on the streets and in slums, outside in all weather, with nothing to call home other than the bare dirty pavement. They fight over the limited amounts of food available and suffer from agonizing diseases such as rabies and distemper.
    In many countries the majority of stray dogs have been abandoned by their owners or are owned but allowed to roam freely. These dogs then breed, resulting in unwanted puppies.
    With a lack of knowledge and resources, communities in developing countries frequently resort to cruel methods of population control like poisoning, electrocution and shooting. These methods are inhumane, causing the
    Of the estimated 500 million dogs in the world, approximately 75% are straysanimals great pain and suffering. They are also ineffective in the long term as they do not address the cause of the problem.
    Without resources for treatment and education about responsible pet ownership, the stray population will keep growing and countless numbers of dogs will continue to suffer in the slums.
    Our international partner, the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) is working in some of the poorest nations of the world to make a difference for stray dogs. In collaboration with the global network of member societies, they are providing practical humane solutions to local communities in countries like:
    India - At least 20,000 people in India die each year from rabies, spread in part by the country’s 30 million stray dogs - 45,000 of which live in the city of Jodphur. WSPA is supporting the Marwar Animal Protection Trust (MAPT) in a large scale Animal Birth Control (ABC) program to humanely reduce the dog population in Jodhpur. Over the past four years they have caught, sterilised, vaccinated and released on average 10,000 dogs per year. They have also provided education on rabies prevention in schools and through puppet shows in low-income areas.
    Sierra Leone - As a result of widespread and extreme poverty, the dogs in Sierra Leone suffer terribly from starvation and disease. Freetown, the country’s capital, has one of the highest population densities of stray dogs in the whole of Africa - around 100,000. WSPA is working with the Sierra Leone Animal Welfare Society (SLAWS) to provide education on responsible ownership as well as neutering and vaccination services to those dogs whose owners have no other access to veterinary care for their
    Girl with her pet dog, awaiting treatment at the mobile clinic in Calianimals. They are also working with the local government authorities to help them take an active role in dog and rabies management.
    Colombia - In the city of Cali, approximately 85% of the total companion animal population are owned pets. WSPA and member society Paraiso de la Mascota are running a project that provides humane education programs on responsible pet ownership for children and adults, and a mobile clinic where owners can bring their pets. Before the organizations got involved in 2003, the government of Cali was catching dogs at night and killing them by electrocution. Now the government works with Paraiso de la Mascota to provide education materials and low-cost sterilization to dog owners in low-income areas.
    Working together with local groups, the WSPA Member Society Network has shown that a humane and comprehensive approach - taking into account animal welfare and human responsibility - can be effective in managing stray populations. To find out more about WSPA, please visit: http://www.wspa-usa.org/

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    Dying Kitten Found In Mailbox Gets Second Chance at Life Thanks to Michigan Humane Society Supportersmore ...

    Michigan Humane Society Valentine's Telethon Saves Dying Kitten Named Glenn

    Dying Kitten Found In Mailbox Gets Second Chance at Life Thanks to Michigan Humane Society Supporters Funds Raised by MHS 2009 Valentine’s Telethon to Help 2,500 Additional Animals
    Today, life springs anew for a young, playful kitten; yet, only recently, it appeared that he had used the last of his nine lives. Just a few weeks ago, staff at the Michigan Humane Society (MHS) Detroit Center for Animal Care came face-to-face with yet another tragic story of animal cruelty, something MHS faces far too often.
    In late January, a Detroit mailman received the shock of his life when he opened a mailbox and found an abandoned 5-month-old kitten. Given the kitten’s severe wounds, it appeared he had been attacked by a dog and stuffed in the mailbox to die. Badly injured and suffering large puncture wounds, frostbite, and significant internal damage including a collapsed lung, Glenn, who received his name after the Glenn Street mailbox he was found in, underwent life-saving surgery.
    Glenn’s heart stopped once during the surgery, and he lost his ear tips and paw pads due to frostbite. After being touch-and-go for quite a while, the little patient has finally rallied and will soon be ready for a permanent, loving home.
    “Weeks later, he acts like nothing ever happened and is as sweet as can be,” said Dr. Amy Koppenhoefer, the MHS veterinarian who performed the surgery and provided foster care to Glenn as he recovered. “I call him my miracle cat.”
    This incredible story is just one of the many that happen at the Michigan Humane Society miracles that are made possible by the generous support of the local community that enables the organization’s life-saving efforts.
    On February 12, the Michigan Humane Society’s 2009 Telethon, which aired on WXYZ-TV Channel 7, raised enough support to provide care for more than 2,500 abused, neglected and abandoned animals in need. With no federal or state funding, it is these donations that are critical to changing lives and providing animals like Glenn another chance at life.
    “Glenn is a single face, but representative of the tens of thousands of animals who depend on MHS each year,” said Mike Robbins, director of marketing and communications for the Michigan Humane Society. “It is why MHS must be relentless in the pursuit of our mission and why each person who picks up the phone, donates online or writes a check has literally become a life saver.”
    To make a donation to help the Michigan Humane Society care for additional animals in need, visit www.michiganhumane.org/telethon or call 1-866-MHUMANE, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

    Use Your Tax Return to Change Lives of Thousands of Animals

    Using Your Tax Return to Change the Lives of Thousands of Animals In NeedWhat YOU can do with “4642” to make a difference in your community
    Are you interested in helping animals in need in your community, but just can’t find the time? This year, there is a solution, and it comes in the form of your tax return. By simply utilizing a new tax form check-off option, Michigan taxpayers can donate to the Companion Animal Welfare Fund, a newly created, interest-bearing fund in the State Treasury. The Fund provides support to local animal shelters and rescue groups throughout Michigan, allowing them to implement innovative adoption and sterilization programs, and continue animal cruelty investigations.
    Donating to the fund is simple and convenient by using Schedule 4642, a voluntary contribution form. The form can be obtained from your tax preparer, or downloaded at www.michiganhumane.org/tax. On the form, taxpayers can either designate a portion of their tax refund, or make a voluntary contribution to one of the listed charitable funds. By selecting Option 2 on the form, “Animal Welfare Fund,” designating an amount of your discretion to be donated, and attaching the form to your individual tax return, you can make a significant difference in the lives of animals in need.
    The collected funds will be distributed through grants to shelters and rescue groups throughout the state. With many areas of Michigan only having small shelters or foster-based animal welfare organizations with limited resources, this funding will allow for critical programs that otherwise could not be afforded. It is programs such as these that are key in achieving the ultimate goal of ending companion animal homelessness.
    The Companion Animal Welfare Fund was signed into law by Governor Jennifer Granholm in November 2007, signifying a major victory for animal welfare organizations across the state. This year marks the first time the fund can be utilized and donated to by Michigan taxpayers. The Michigan Humane Society is proud to have led the development and passage of this bill.

    Check Your Pet Products For Peanut Butter

    Friday, January 23, 2009

    Don’t Forget to Remember the Recall

    This may seem obvious, but better safe than sorry. The FDA’s peanut butter recall, which you may have heard about last week, applies to our animals, too. It traced sources of Salmonella contamination to a plant owned by Peanut Corporation of America (PCA). Please discontinue offering your pets any peanut butter products until further notice.In case you’re wondering if pets even consume peanut products, “Peanut butter is often used in small amounts as an occasional reward for dogs, commonly used in treats and activity toys” said Dr. Pam Reid, Vice President of the ASPCA Animal Behavior Center.If you want more info, here’s our press release, which details Salmonella and how it affects pets—and consequentially, their humans.

    Adorable Cat Named Morris Looking For A Home

    Friday, January 23, 2009

    ASPCA Pet of the Week: Lover Boy

    Chivalry isn’t dead, thanks to a four-year-old orange tabby. Meet Morris. Ever the gentleman, he believes in old-fashioned romance. Head rubs are permitted on the first date, but he is the type to court his adopter before he takes the relationship too far—you know, rolling over on his back and purring.
    And just like some modern-day lover boys, Morris gets cold paws just before he’s greeted at the door. “He’s a little nervous in new situations, but very sweet,” says Katie Watts, Feline Behavior Counselor.
    But don’t worry—he won’t love you and leave you. Morris isn’t interested in playing the field. All he wants is to settle down in a “quiet household, with someone who wants some cuddle time.”
    If you think you are a match for Morris, please call (212) 876-7700, ext. 4120. To see other animals who are waiting for homes, please visit the ASPCA Adoption Center online.