With Help From Angel Fund, Paloma Survives Pyometra

One day in February, Omar Navarro’s Poodle was “perfect” and the next day she was panting and uncomfortable.  “It was weird because it wasn’t even hot, he said.  ‘The next day, she was doing the same thing.”

 “My mom said that this was not normal,” he said.  He decided he should call Little Tokyo Pet Clinic where he had always taken his dog when she needed care.  But the hospital had no appointments available that day.  The receptionist suggested taking her to an emergency clinic. 

Omar tried several emergency clinics but got a call a couple of hours later from the Little Tokyo hospital:  an appointment time was available.  Omar quickly took her there. 

Dr. Mary H. Chung examined Paloma and told Omar that his dog was very ill.  “She said it was bad,” he said.  “Paloma needed surgery real quick or she would get sicker.”  Dr. Chung said that the dog had suspect pyometra with mammary gland tumors, acute diabetes and pancreatitis.

Later that day, Paloma had the surgery.  Dr. Chung removed her uterus and multiple mammary masses.   She also suggested that Omar apply for an Angel Fund grant to help pay the cost of the surgery.

Omar, 28, lives with his parents and three siblings not far from Little Tokyo.  He went home and applied online for a grant of $500.  It was soon approved.  But Dr. Chung messaged the SCVMA Board of Trustees and asked for an additional grant of $500. 

“Paloma is a special girl who came to us yesterday with heavy panting and required immediate treatment, including surgery and hospitalization,” she said.  “The owner is struggling to cover costs and we’d like to help as much as possible.”  Little Tokyo Pet Clinic donated $500 and supported necessary services and medications to assist Paloma’s treatment and recovery, Dr. Chung said.

In his application, Omar said: 

“Paloma is not just any dog.  She was a special dog when I first found her when she was only a baby.  We became best friends. She means the world to me.  She follows me everywhere I go.  We have that special bond and I love her very much. I’m always taking care of her [when there is] any type of danger.  

“Now she’s sick and my heart is hurting me so much.  I’m tearing up all the time.  She needs surgery that is costing $4,800 and, if she doesn’t get it, I will lose her.  I can’t lose my best friend.  She’s my companionship.  I’m asking if you’re able to help with some funds for my best friend.  I’m trying to find money wherever I can.  I’m not working fulltime.  I’m self-employed but not making enough money.  Please help me.”

The additional $500 was approved.  Omar’s family provided the rest of the money needed for Paloma’s treatment.  When he learned he had received $1,000 from Angel Fund, Omar was grateful.  “I was happy.  I was blessed,” he said.

Omar found Paloma on the street when she was a puppy nearly 12 years ago.  Is Paloma doing well now?  “Yeah, perfect,” he said.

He works Saturdays and Sundays at a swap meet selling inserts for “Croc” sandals that provide them with a dash of color through the holes in the footwear.  “It makes them look fancy,” he said.

Puppy and Kitten Vaccinations – How Many??

by Judy Morgan February 8, 2017

Pet vaccination strategies are constantly changing; there is controversy over the ideal protocol. I feel that, unfortunately, most puppies and kittens receive many more vaccinations in their early life stages than are needed. Dogs and cats purchased from pet stores are commonly jabbed every week or two, with multi-valent vaccines that just keep challenging the immature immune system. This sets those animals up for a lifetime of immune system problems, including allergies, leaky gut, and chronic infections and inflammation.

Not that I ever plan on becoming a breeder, but if I did…this would be my approach:

Make sure the parents of the litter are healthy. Negative parasite screens, species-appropriate diets being fed (I’m a fan of raw feeding), positive titers for core vaccines (particularly distemper and parvovirus), no external parasites present, living in a stress-free environment: this is the ideal scenario.

Puppies and kittens, in my opinion, should remain with the mother and littermates for a minimum of ten to twelve weeks. I know, a lot of new owners want the babies sooner and a lot of breeders don’t really want to hang onto them for that long. But the babies learn a lot from their mother and their litter mates about proper social interactions during that time. Weaning is very stressful; when accompanied with vaccinations and moving to a new home without the litter mates, the immune system can have a negative response.

Maternal immunity is passed from the mother to the newborns through colostrum, which is the first milk on which they feed. The colostrum contains a lot of antibodies, which are large molecules that are easily absorbed in the newborns’ gut during the first 24 hours of life. If the puppy or kitten misses out on the colostrum during the first 24 hours, they will not be able to absorb the antibodies later and will be left un-protected from disease.

The maternal immunity will protect the newborn during the first few weeks of life. The immunity derived in this manner will start to decline with time, usually reaching a low point between twelve and sixteen weeks of age. Vaccinations given when the maternal antibody is high will not produce immunization of the puppy or kitten; they will only serve to “poke” an immature immune system. One study showed that only 60% of puppies were able to respond to a vaccination at 16 weeks, but 95% could be immunized at 18 weeks. In my opinion, if puppies were kept in a safe environment and had good maternal protection (based on having a mother with good titers before breeding), waiting until 16 to 18 weeks to immunize would be ideal. I recommend giving one antigen at a time, meaning parvo by itself, then two to three weeks later, give distemper by itself. Run titers one month later to make sure the puppy produced immunity against the viruses.

I like to wait until six to twelve months of age to give the Rabies vaccination.

Obviously, this protocol will not work for everyone. Breeders would need to hold onto puppies and kittens longer. Mothers would have to have good health with protective titers and a strong immune system. Diets would need to be species-appropriate. The majority of breeders are not willing to hold the litters for four months, which is understandable, as new owners also do not want to wait for 16 to 18 weeks to get their precious babies. In the right situations, the puppies or kittens could leave the litter at 10 to 12 weeks, but still wait until 16 to 18 weeks to be immunized. This protocol will not work and should not be attempted if the breeder does not have strong healthy parents for breeding.

When the puppies and kittens are ready for weaning, they should be started on a healthy, species-appropriate diet. I love the fact that Allprovide makes a puppy weaning paste that can be used and then followed by their raw puppy formulation.

Make good choices when breeding or buying your new pets. By starting them out on a healthy path, they will hopefully have a strong start that will help them maintain good health for many years to come.

  • https://drjudymorgan.com/blogs/blog

Condors soar again over Northern California coastal redwoods

From AP News

May 3, 2022

This image from a live web cam provided by Yurok Tribal Government shows California condors waiting for release in a designated staging enclosure, which is attached to the flight pen on Tuesday, May 3, 2022. The endangered California condor has returned to the skies over the state's far northern coast redwood forests for the first time in more than a century. Two captive-bred birds were released Tuesday in Redwood National Park, an hour’s drive south of the Oregon state line. (Yurok Tribal Government via AP)

1 of 4This image from a live web cam provided by Yurok Tribal Government shows California condors waiting for release in a designated staging enclosure, which is attached to the flight pen on Tuesday, May 3, 2022. The endangered California condor has returned to the skies over the state’s far northern coast redwood forests for the first time in more than a century. Two captive-bred birds were released Tuesday in Redwood National Park, an hour’s drive south of the Oregon state line. (Yurok Tribal Government via AP)

REDWOOD NATIONAL PARK, Calif. (AP) — The endangered California condor returned to soar the skies over the state’s far northern coast redwood forests on Tuesday for the first time in more than a century.

Two captive-bred birds were released from a pen in Redwood National Park, about an hour’s drive south of the Oregon border, under a project aimed at restoring the giant vultures to their historic habitat in the Pacific Northwest.

The two male condors were moved into staging area at late morning and a remotely controlled gate was opened. After a few minutes of warily eyeing the opening, the birds stepped one by one through the opening, spread their giant wings and took off.

“They just jumped up and took flight off into the distance,” Tiana Williams-Claussen, wildlife director for the region’s Yurok tribe, said in a webcast.ADVERTISEMENT

Condors were last spotted in the park area around 1892, authorities said. The California condor is the largest native North American bird, with a wingspan of nearly 10 feet (3 meters). The scavenger was once widespread but had virtually disappeared by the 1970s because of poaching, lead poisoning from eating animals shot by hunters and destruction of its habitat.TRAVELOh, rats! As New Yorkers emerge from pandemic, so do rodentsArt exhibit celebrates Lincoln Memorial’s 100th anniversaryExplosion at luxury Havana hotel kills 22, injures dozens3 US tourists die at Bahamas hotel after falling ill

The birds can live for 60 years and fly vast distances in search of carrion, so their range could extend into several states.

Federal and local fish and wildlife agencies are involved in the restoration project headed by the Yurok tribe, which traditionally has considered the California condor a sacred animal and has been working for years to return the species to the tribe’s ancestral territory.

“For countless generations, the Yurok people have upheld a sacred responsibility to maintain balance in the natural world. Condor reintroduction is a real-life manifestation of our cultural commitment to restore and protect the planet for future generations,” tribal Chairman Joseph L. James said in a statement.

Two more condors were set to be released later — after biologists determine that the two birds who took to the skies Tuesday have displayed appropriate behavior, authorities said.

The condors, including one female and three males, are between 2 and 4 years old. Two were hatched at the Oregon Zoo and two at the Peregrine Fund’s World Center for Birds of Prey in Idaho.

In the early 1980s, all 22 condors remaining in the wild were trapped and brought into a captive-breeding program that began releasing the giant vultures into Southern California’s Los Padres National Forest in 1992.

That flock has been expanding its range while other condors now occupy parts of California’s Central Coast, Arizona, Utah and Baja California, Mexico. The total population now numbers more than 500 birds in captivity and in the wild.

Two years ago, California condors were spotted in Sequoia National Park, in California’s Sierra Nevada, for the first time in nearly 50 years.

However, that same year, a dozen adults and two chicks died when a wildfire set by an arsonist ravaged their territory on the Big Sur coast.

AAHA updates guidelines on pain management in dogs and cats


By Katie Burns May 04, 2022

The latest guidelines on pain management in dogs and cats from the American Animal Hospital Association separate out recommendations for cats and dogs while continuing to promote a team approach to pain management that involves the pet owner as well as the practice team.

The 2022 AAHA Pain Management Guidelines for Dogs and Cats appeared in the March/April edition of the Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association. The American Association of Feline Practitioners endorsed the document and planned to publish the guidelines in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery. The previous edition was published in JAAHA and JFMS in 2015.

Dr. Margaret E. Gruen, an assistant professor of behavioral medicine at North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine, and Dr. B. Duncan X. Lascelles, a professor of translational pain research and management at the veterinary college, co-chaired the AAHA Pain Management Guidelines Task Force.

Cat being examined in a clinic
High-quality clinical trials, using validated outcome measures, are helping define therapeutic approaches for treating pain in cats and dogs. (Photo by Nathan Latil/NCSU)

“These guidelines build on the previous guidelines with updates on management of pain, including discussion of proactive and multimodal strategies,” Dr. Gruen said. “Importantly, these guidelines were written to include useful algorithms for treatment and make it easy for busy practitioners to make decisions regarding the assessment tools and treatment options for their patients.”

In separating out recommendations for cats and dogs, the guidelines are laid out to offer in-depth information alongside flow diagrams and decision trees specific to caring for each species.

“I think there has been a continuing movement toward our thinking about prevention of pain—and being proactive in our diagnoses and management,” Dr. Gruen said. “We all know that pain affects quality of life for our patients, and in the guidelines we tried to take a holistic approach to pain management, including exercise and environmental changes.”

The guidelines expand discussion of species-specific needs, such as cats’ need for vertical space, and cover the caregiver burden when making recommendations for pain management.

 “They also include details for taking a team approach across the hospital, emphasizing the importance of everyone’s role in promoting the recognition and treatment of pain,” Dr. Gruen said.

According to the document, “The primary purpose of these guidelines is to help veterinarians and veterinary team members confidently and accurately create a reproduceable pain assessment in cats and dogs, as well as an initial therapy plan with guidance on reassessing and adjusting the plan as needed.”

The document and additional resources are available online.

Your dog might be anxious for the same reasons you are

Our canine pals are good models for human psychiatric disorders, study argues


A mixed-breed puppy looks up with puppy eyes to something out of image frame.
An anxious dog, like the one pictured here, might display unwanted behaviors such as barking or whining.CAPSUKI/ISTOCK

My family’s dog Teddy, a wide-eyed, brown and white spaniel, was a nervous wreck when a thunderstorm rolled in. To calm his shaking and panting, the vet prescribed him lorazepam, a benzodiazepine marketed as Ativan that’s also used to treat anxiety in humans.

Lorazepam is just one of many drugs that dogs and humans take for similar psychiatric problems. Canine compulsive behavior resembles human obsessive-compulsive disorder, for example, and impulsivity or inattention in dogs can resemble attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in us. The risk for these conditions can even be influenced by the same sets of genes. Indeed, a new study based on a survey of dog owners suggests we’re so similar to our canine companions that dogs can—and should—be used to better understand human mental health.

“Dogs are probably the closest model to humans you’re going to get,” says Karen Overall, an animal behaviorist at University of Prince Edward Island, who was not involved with the work.

Many psychologists group human personality into five “factors”: extraversion, neuroticism, openness, agreeableness, and conscientiousness. These traits can be influenced by genetics and can affect a person’s mental health—especially neuroticism, or the tendency to feel negative emotions such as distress and sadness. Research has shown neurotic personalities are more vulnerable to depression or anxiety, whereas traits such as conscientiousness and agreeableness protect against these disorders.

Any dog owner will tell you that our canine pals have distinct personalities just like you and me. Some are bold and others are cautious; some are lazy and others are highly active.

Milla Salonen, a canine researcher at the University of Helsinki, and other researchers have proposed seven personality factors for grouping dogs: insecurity, energy, training focus, aggressiveness/dominance, human sociability, dog sociability, and perseverance. Some of these factors overlap with those in people, Salonen explains. Insecurity in dogs parallels neuroticism in humans, for example.

Twenty years ago, Overall and other experts began to suggest the dog be used as a model for human psychiatry. The same types of mental illness don’t occur naturally in rodents; researchers have to induce them.

In the new study, Salonen and her colleagues wanted to assess how a pooch’s personality might impact its behavior and how this compares with what’s seen in humans. So they devised a 63-question survey for dog owners. It asked about an animal’s health and history, fears, sensitivity to noises, separation anxiety, impulsivity and inattention, and aggression toward humans or other dogs.

Owners used a sliding scale to rate statements like “My dog barks when meeting a stranger,” “My dog hides when she hears fireworks,” or “My dog appears to be ‘sorry’ after she has done something wrong.”

The scientists sent the survey to the homes of 11,360 Finnish dogs from 52 breeds, comprising everything from mastiffs to Jack Russell terriers. They grouped the responses for each dog into the seven canine personality traits. Then they used a set of equations to assess whether dogs that tended to have the same personality traits also shared common unwanted behaviors.

The team found that in dogs, like in humans, personality closely correlates with behaviors. In particular, pups with an “insecure” personality were more likely to exhibit all of the surveyed unwanted behaviors (such as the aversion to strangers, or fear of fireworks), Salonen and her colleagues report in Translational Psychiatry.

“This is quite similar to neuroticism and anxiety in humans,” Salonen explains. Other personality traits were also implicated. Dogs with a low training focus were more likely to have impulsive behaviors such as fidgeting or abandoning tasks quickly, resembling symptoms of attention deficit disorders in humans.

It can be hard for dog owners to provide a clear-eyed assessment of their pet’s problems in survey studies, says Emma Grigg, an animal behaviorist at the University of California, Davis. “How you’re asking the questions is so important,” and respondents can still misconstrue their dog’s behaviors even in the most carefully worded surveys, she says. “But this is a well-done paper with a lot of data.”

The researchers say their results could be used study the genetic basis of psychiatric disorders. Dogs are well suited for genetic research, as they’re nearly genetically identical within breed groups, Salonen says. Looking at the genes of a certain breed that is known to be more insecure or less focused might reveal genetic factors underlying anxiety or attention deficit disorders in both dogs and humans.

But the scientists acknowledge most dog owners just care about keeping their pet happy, healthy, and safe. If your dog barks a lot or is scared of strangers, “that doesn’t necessarily mean that they have serious issues,” Overall says. She suggests taking your pup to a specialist if you’re really worried about its behavior—just like we did with Teddy, who can now make it calmly through a summer storm.


By Greg CimaMarch 17, 2022

Cornell University scientists warn that some commercial dog foods may contain too much copper, which can increase the risk of liver disease for all dogs but particularly in certain breeds.

Food and Drug Administration officials are considering evidence regarding whether the concentrations in dog food could be harmful.

Dr. Sharon A. Center is an emeritus professor of internal medicine at Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine, where she specializes in liver disease. She said chronic consumption of excess copper can lead to copper-associated hepatopathy, signs of which include abdominal swelling, decreased appetite, diarrhea, increased thirst and urination, jaundice, lethargy, and vomiting.

Doberman Pinscher on a white background
Doberman Pinschers are among dog breeds with predispositions toward copper-associated liver disease, but scientists at Cornell University warn that high copper concentrations in dog diets puts other dogs at risk as well.

A veterinarian who is monitoring a pet’s liver enzymes can identify increased alanine aminotransferase as an early sign of the disease, she said, but confirmation requires a liver biopsy. Treatments with chelation can cost several thousand dollars, and affected dogs need to permanently switch to copper-restricted diets.

In a January 2022 announcement from the Cornell veterinary college, Dr. Center said that copper-associated hepatopathy is no longer just a disease of predisposed breeds, such as Labrador Retrievers or Doberman Pinschers, but a potential problem for any dog with a sustained excess of dietary copper.

She also is the lead author of a related commentary article in the Feb. 15, 2021, issue of JAVMA, along with collaborators from Cornell, Colorado State University, Tufts University, the University of Cambridge, and Veterinary Specialty Hospital of San Diego. That article describes rising hepatic copper concentrations in dogs during the past 20 years, associations between elevated concentrations and inflammatory disease, and a shift among pet food manufacturers away from mixing copper oxide into dog food in favor of more bioavailable forms such as copper sulfate.

Dr. Center said in an interview that she hopes to raise awareness among veterinarians, regulators, and pet food producers, and she is encouraging the FDA and the Association of American Feed Control Officials to consider setting upper limits on copper in canine diets rather than only minimum concentrations.

Dr. Joseph J. Wakshlag, a professor of clinical nutrition and of sports medicine and rehabilitation at Cornell, has collaborated with Dr. Center in examining the risks of copper in canine diets. He said the current copper minimums were set to guard against deficiency, and he noted that dog foods sold in the European Union recently became subject to copper limits.

Officials with the FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine said in response to questions that they have been reviewing scientific literature regarding the role and amount of copper in dog foods for the past year.

Anne Norris, spokesperson for the CVM, said the FDA has received some reports of dogs that developed liver disease with suspected links to excess dietary copper. Those complaints have been uncommon, and evidence suggests some dog breeds have genetic predispositions for diseases that affect their ability to metabolize copper.

“The FDA has been reviewing the relevant facts and current scientific literature to assess whether regulatory intervention is appropriate,” she said. “As part of its assessment, FDA scientists are looking at the level of copper in the food, the physiology of the particular animal the food is intended for, how much of the food the animal is likely to eat over the course of a lifetime, and other potential exposures that might add to the animal’s overall dose.

“We are aware of some papers on the topic of copper toxicosis in dogs and will continue to track this issue as the veterinary community advances its understanding.”

Norris said CVM and AAFCO officials have discussed establishing a maximum amount of copper in dog food. In the absence of such a limit, manufacturers remain subject to a regulatory principle that no more of an ingredient should be used than is necessary to provide the intended effect.

“For copper-containing ingredients, this would be no more than is needed to meet the animals’ nutritional requirements,” she said.

Dr. Valerie J. Parker is a professor of small animal internal medicine and nutrition at The Ohio State University. She is an internal medicine specialist and nutritionist and is not connected with the work by Dr. Center and Dr. Wakshlag. She thinks the February 2021 JAVMA commentary made a valid point that it’s worth considering how much copper is in pet foods, whether that amount is justified, and whether it should be lowered.

Dr. Parker said it’s unclear whether dog food generally contains too much copper, though, since the amount can vary by tenfold or sometimes even thirtyfold between two products. She said the low-copper diets available today tend to be general formulations for dogs with liver diseases, including liver failure or hepatic encephalopathy.

“The lowest-copper commercially available diets are not necessarily diets that you would want to feed a 2-year-old otherwise healthy dog because they are lower in protein,” Dr. Parker said.

The Foundation for the Horse Accepts Gifts for Ukrainian Equine Relief

As the devastation unfolds from the war in Ukraine, many in the equine and veterinary communities have asked how they can help. Through The Foundation for the Horse, the charitable arm of the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP), you can make a financial gift to those providing emergency relief and support, including veterinary organizations and the horses and animals they care for.