October 30, 2012 – WellPet LLC of Tewksbury, MA has announced the withdrawal of a limited number of one of its dry kibble products due to possible moisture contamination.
This action affects Wellness Small Breed Adult Health Dry Dog Food in the 12 lbs package and bearing a “Best By” date of August 18, 2013.
No other dates, bag sizes or recipes are affected.
According to a statement made by the company on its Facebook page…
“A small batch of the product with this specific date code was found to be higher in moisture than our recipe calls for. High moisture may cause food to mold before its expiration date, but poses no health risk.”
What to Do?
As far as what to do with your affected product, the company goes on to state:
“We want you and your pet to be completely satisfied, so we are asking those who may have this limited supply of food to contact us for a replacement.”
Consumers with questions may call Wellness Customer Service at 800-225-0904.
You can report complaints about FDA-regulated pet food products by calling the consumer complaint coordinator in your area.
Or go to https://www.fda.gov/petfoodcomplaints.
Thank Dog! Bootcamp is an exercise program geared toward dogs and owners that offers people a chance to slim down with their pets while getting obedience training for their furry workout buddies. The hourlong classes include cardio, strength training and obedience training. The Washington Post (10/23)
Thank Dog! Bootcamp: That’s not drill sergeants barking
The show highlighted the work of Thank Dog!, which was founded in Burbank, Calif., in 2008 by Jill Bowers and her twin sister, Jamie. Bowers, a highly regarded dog trainer, had struggled with her weight until committing to a boot camp. Forty pounds peeled off, but she didn’t like spending all that time away from her Doberman pinscher. Her mission? Create a boot camp they could do together.
Students in L.A. have lapped it up, and as the program has gotten media attention — most recently, on an episode of “Dog Whisperer With Cesar Millan” in August — there’s been demand to expand to other cities.
But replicating Thank Dog! isn’t as simple as learning a few commands. “There’s an amount of organization and creativity needed to keep it safe and interesting. It’s not just running around a park with dogs,” says Noelle Blessey, who took over as Bowers’s partner when her sister decided to pursue transcendental meditation.
The gradual expansion started a year and a half ago, when Thank Dog! was licensed in Toronto. It’s since spread to Chicago, Cleveland, Boston and now the Washington area.
That’s how I came to find myself holding the leash of Rosie, one of Krieg’s two pit bull rescues, learning the basics of dog handling. Typically, new students get a personal one-hour training session before their first class to go over the commands. Because Rosie already knew the drill, I had an abbreviated lesson.
When I said “heel,” Rosie followed me. She sat when I said “sit,” got down when I said “down” and stayed when I said “stay” and walked in a circle around her. I had a bit more trouble following the directions for humans, which include keeping the dog to the left of you at all times and not allowing the dogs to get close enough to socialize.
“This way, there are no dogfights,” explained Krieg, who said focusing on the human-dog relationship throughout class is also important to solidify your bond. “You’re spending quality time together, not just walking and talking on the phone.”
Homesick college students should carefully consider several factors before adopting a pet such as a dog, writes veterinarian Ann Hohenhaus. Dogs can need preventative medical care such as vaccinations and spay or neuter surgery as well as emergency care, not to mention everyday living supplies, Dr. Hohenhaus notes. There are several other factors to evaluate, Dr. Hohenhaus points out, but if students have done their homework and determine that they still want a pet, they will likely benefit from the friendship they’ll forge. WebMD/Tales from the Pet Clinic blog
By Ann Hohenhaus, DVM
For college students, the fall semester is well underway. While undergrads percolate chemistry experiments, burn the library lights late into the night, and strike keyboards as they type out the latest term paper, some will find themselves homesick and missing their family pet. Often on a whim, many students go so far as to take a quick trip to the local animal shelter to adopt a puppy or kitten to fill the void. But is this a good idea?
I asked this exact question of my college best friend when she simultaneously announced her daughter, Colleen, had been accepted to Mississippi State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and was getting a puppy named Fripps as a graduation gift. As you can see, veterinary college suits Fripps and Colleen and they have made lots of friends already.
First, a backup plan
Colleen is lucky — her parents love Fripps. If Colleen’s academic demands become overwhelming, her parents will keep Fripps at their home with their own dogs. Many parents might not be as accommodating as Colleen’s are. So, if you are a college student considering a pet adoption, think about how you will provide for your pet if you have the opportunity for a semester abroad or if your roommate develops allergies. Check with your parents to see if they would agree to provide you with the backup you might need. If the answer is no, you will need to think of another alternative, such as a friend or relative who can take in your pet when necessary.
Since Fripps came before Colleen found a place to live, she leased a pet-friendly apartment. If you already have an apartment, check your lease to determine if yours is pet friendly. Talk to your roommate(s) regarding his or her feelings about having a pet in the shared areas of your apartment. Considering a dog adoption? Investigate doggie day care options for days when you have late classes – or simply want to have a burger out with friends before going home. Fripps goes to the Shaggy Dog three days a week, since there is a three days for the price of two special, and being a college student, Colleen is on a budget. Remind yourself, a pet is a lifetime commitment and those lives can last 10-15 years. A college education is partly about exploring opportunities. Although adopting a pet is a wonderful experience, it may limit opportunities for academic travel and work experiences offered by your college.
Not only does your new furry friend need food, a collar and leash, and a crate or carrier, but preventive healthcare will be a must. A puppy or kitten series of vaccines and a spay or neuter surgery are just the start. Fripps has access to good medical care through Community Veterinary Services at Mississippi State University, but college students on a limited budget must consider how they will pay for routine veterinary care. For some budgets, a prepaid plan might make sense. To help handle the cost of emergency care, college students — and all pet families — should investigate pet insurance. If you are an automobile-less student, investigate how you and your new pet will get home to visit your family and the veterinarian.
Parents listen up!
If your college student sounds pet homesick on the phone, guide them in making a wise decision about adding a pet to their list of college experiences. With some advance planning, your homesick college student may benefit from a friendly furry face greeting him at the door every evening.
By Ian Williams NBC News Correspondent
One of the Sumatran orangutan’s richest habitats, an area of swampland containing the highest density of the red apes on the planet, is being illegally slashed and burned by palm oil companies to make way for palm oil plantations.
“If we can’t stop them here, then there really is no hope,” said Ian Singleton as we stood on the edge of what had once been pristine forest, home to hundreds of orangutans, but now reduced to a charred wilderness as far as the eye could see. As he spoke we could hear the distant sound of a chain saw.
Singleton runs the Sumatra Orangutan Conservation Programme, an organization at the forefront of a battle to save what remains of the forest and the apes.
There are fewer than 7,000 of the critically endangered Sumatran orangutans left in the wild, according to a 2008 survey completed by Singleton and other scientists. The largest number live in a vast area of swampland and lowland forest close to the northern tip of the Indonesian island of Sumatra.
“Orangutan paradise,” Singleton calls the area – but it’s a paradise under threat.
The key battleground for Singleton is the Tripa Peat Swamp Forest, much of which has already been converted to palm oil plantations. The relentless march of the palm oil business is the biggest threat facing the orangutans.
A cheap, edible oil, palm oil is found in almost half of all packaged supermarket products, from instant noodles, to cookies to ice cream, and Indonesia is the world’s biggest supplier.
“Look, look,” said Singleton, handing me a pair of field glasses. In the distance a large male orangutan moved gracefully across the canopy of trees. We would soon see three more.
There is something spell-binding about seeing an orangutan in its natural habitat, and for a while we were glued to that point, watching these high-wire masters at play. But excitement here was quickly tempered by the realization that the area of forest we were looking at was isolated and surrounded on three sides by plantations that were moving ever closer.
Singleton concluded that these apes had just about enough forest to survive – for now.
When he believes an orangutan is in danger, he said, he sends in a team to track and sedate it, transferring the animal to a sprawling rescue center he runs on the edge of the Sumatran city of Medan.
Singleton sometimes refers to the center as a “refugee camp.”
“These are the lucky few,” Singleton told me during a visit there. “They are effectively refugees from forests that no longer exist.”
And like in refugee camps across the world, there was no shortage of agonizing stories of suffering and survival, but also resilience and hope.
Among the 55 orangutans in Singleton’s care was a scrawny and bewildered 2-year-old named Chocolate, the newest arrival. Merely a toddler, Chocolate wrapped his arms and legs around Singleton, who lifted him carefully from a cot designed for a child.
“He’s a bit thin, but otherwise quite fit and feisty,” Singleton said. He believes the mother was probably shot.
“There’s no way a mother would allow a baby to be taken from her, not while she’s still alive – never in a million years,” said Singleton. Among orangutans, the bond between mother and child is one of the strongest in the animal kingdom, a child staying with its mom for as many as nine years.
Most orangutans arrive at the center as toddlers, many lacking even the basic confidence to climb trees. You’d have thought that came naturally to a great ape, but some youngsters will only scale the branches in the presence of a keeper, who acts as a surrogate mom.
That’s not a term Singleton likes. The aim of his organization is to build the animals’ skills and independence for an eventual return to the wild, though initially many are dependent on him and his staff.
He also introduced me to Leuser, a big male, probably more than 40 years old and blind.
“One day he went too near farmers at the edge of the forest and they took pot shots at him. They put 62 air rifle pellets into him, mostly around the head,“ Singleton said. Forty-eight are still there, and the X-ray resembles the speckled roof of a planetarium.
In the top corner of a nearby cage, 9-year-old Bahroeni was sitting inside a large tire, one of his legs dangling, encased in a cast. He, too, had been sold as a pet when he was a toddler and, as he grew up, the nylon rope that tied him to a fence was never removed.
Plantation owners and small holders frequently regard orangutans as pests, though there is profit to be had in illegally selling off the babies as pets.
“The law is very clear, but the enforcement is very weak,” Singleton said, tickling one of the toddlers, who reacts with child-like convulsions.
The center aims to return its refugees to the wild, in an undisturbed part of the forest, as soon as they are able to go.
As we spoke, a group of keepers from the rescue center carried on a stretcher an anaesthetised young male named Dito. They lay him out on an operating table in the medical center and after making a small insertion in his neck, they implanted a transmitter.
The transmitter will help Singleton monitor Dito’s movements, “so you know what they’re doing, where they’re going. That they are OK.”
On the Tripa frontline, Singleton and his team are now deploying a powerful new weapon: a drone, equipped with a small camera that will help them identify illegal forest clearing.
The area is supposed to be a protected forest, and using fire to clear the land as well as converting deep peat are illegal practices under Indonesian law.
Conservationists did have one recent victory, when one of the worst culprits, a company called Kallista Alam, had one of its operating permits revoked. That’s never happened before, since Indonesia has a terrible track record in enforcing its own environmental laws.
And Singleton says satellite imagery shows that burning has continued, even after Kallista Alam’s permit was revoked.
He is now urging criminal action against such companies and others involved in the illegal clearing, asking for their permits to be revoked, and the peat land to be restored.
For all the horrible destruction laid out before us in Tripa, Singleton remains optimistic, believing that the tide may now be turning in favor of Indonesia’s once lonely conservationists, and that the impunity with which the plantations destroyed the forest is at last being challenged.
Before leaving Sumatra, Singleton took me to an area where his refugees are being re-located. He told me that for him nothing can quite match the satisfaction of seeing the often bruised and terrified animals that turn up at his rescue center back in the wild.
“Now they have a second chance of spending 30 or 40 years in the wild, and of having four or five babies,” he told me as we tracked some recently released orangutans days later.
There was a sudden movement of red fur through the thick forest canopy above us.
“I get a real kick out of this,” Singleton said. “It’s as if they never left, and if we’d not been here they’d have died.”
Editor’s Note: Ian Williams’ full report, ‘At What Cost?’ airs Thursday, October 18 at 10pm/9c on NBC’s Rock Center with Brian Williams.
Wounded veterans are getting some much-needed physical therapy and emotional support at the Spirithorse Chisholm Trail Therapy Center in Oklahoma. About 45 soldiers from Fort Sill visit the ranch weekly to work with the horses. Some have been so inspired by their time with the horses that they volunteer to return to help with therapy sessions the center holds for children with special needs. The Duncan Banner (Okla.) (10/14)
October 14, 2012
DUNCAN — There is a passion burning deep inside Jan Smith, and the inferno is spreading.
More importantly, it’s reaching those that need it the most.
Smith owns Spirithorse Chisholm Trail Therapy Center in Comanche, and she is reaching out to those that have served and sacrificed for our country, those that have been part of the United States military.
Primarily that involves soldiers from Fort Sill, just 55 miles from the Spirithorse complex near Comanche Lake.
“We work with the soldiers who have been injured or who have suffered while serving our country,” Smith said. “We are not under the Wounded Warrior project; we are our own private organization, but we do work with wounded soldiers.
“We try to do as much as we can to build the core muscles for those with injuries. We work in mental and physical capacities, and lately, we’ve had more on the mental side.”
The Wounded Warriors Equine Therapy is designed to provide the soldiers with an outlet, a muscle training regimen and an opportunity to find much needed solace.
“Since August, we’ve had about 45 soldiers come over every week, and we tend to get the same three or four each time,” she said. “The suicide rate of the soldiers who have fought for our country is so high, and that’s why I always stress to them that only another soldier, another veteran will know how they feel. All I try to do is have a good, steady program for them to come enjoy the time they’re away from there.”
The project seems to be working.
The key is using horses to help assist in relieving the pain soldiers have suffered, both physical and mental.
A horse’s gait helps the soldiers with balance and core strength and develops muscle tone and self-confidence.
Horse therapy relaxes those with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and provides therapy that can’t be found in a hospital setting.
“The first time I ever went to Fort Sill and saw the passion these guys have for our country, it became our passion to give back just a little bit,” said Smith, who operates Spirithorse with her husband, J.P. “It’s not much of time for them to come over to our ranch for four to five hours a day once a week, but it’s something we can do.”
Spirithorse also reaches out to children with special needs, and only recently has it been working with soldiers. But people have seen the work and have recognized just how important the equine therapy is.
The Wounded Warriors Equine Therapy has been adopted by the Chisholm Trail Ram Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo committee as its charitable beneficiary.
The rodeo, set for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 18 through Saturday, Oct. 20, at the Stephens County Fair & Expo Center, and will feature the top contestants in the Oklahoma-Kansas-Nebraska region.
“The committee took this project under their wings that this will be the charity for the circuit finals,” Smith said. “We’ve been able to use the county’s indoor arena on the cold and windy days, so that’s great. Mike Anderson has opened his arms, and the county commission has donated the building for us to use like that, so we really appreciate it.
“I’m also involved in the rodeo, and Spirithorse is sponsoring the opening each night.”
There fans will see a large military presence, which is important to those associated with the rodeo and the community.
That’s why the soldiers’ involvement in the program is so special to Smith.
“”These soldiers are having the best time,” she said. “They want to learn. They want to learn about the horse and how they’re used in the different events. It opens a door to these soldiers that, in a hospital, they’d never have this kind of setting.”
What the therapy provides goes far beyond just spending time with the animals.
“It’s impacted the soldiers’ lives and our lives,” Smith said. “Some of them even come to help with our special needs children’s programs. They take the time to help out. Even though they’re mentally and physically beat up, they help out. They’re reaching out again.”
That’s the sign of true success.
Although there is a possibility of side effects, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can be effective for treating arthritis in dogs, says veterinarian Robin Downing. Dr. Downing notes that dogs may respond differently to therapies, and regular veterinary visits including blood work are an important part of monitoring a pet’s response to treatment. “The best answer is multimodal therapies designed specifically for each individual,” Dr. Downing says. “In the end, most dogs can live virtually pain free.” This article also addresses arthritis in cats, skin conditions and the best time to spay or neuter. ChicagoNow.com/Steve Dale’s Pet World blog
Q: My dog has bad arthritis in his knee. I’ve read a lot of stuff about Rimadyl that scares me, so I’m thinking of using Zubrin — or do you have any suggestions about what might be safer? — V.W., via Cyberspace
A: Well, you’re not going to use Zubrin. The drug is no longer available. This has nothing to do with safety, but instead with mergers and acquisitions and related business decisions.
Dr. Robin Downing, past president and founder of the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management and a certified pain practitioner, says, “Don’t believe all the untrue hoo-ha on Rimadyl and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for dogs. Each of these (NSAID) drugs are very effective, but like most drugs not without potential side effects. The risk is similar (for each of the NSAID drugs for dogs), though one individual dog might have an adverse event with one drug but not another.”
Though they are all similar, some NSAID drugs might be more effective for some individual dogs than others. “If one drug doesn’t seem to be as efficacious as expected, we often advise another,” adds Downing, of Windsor, CO. She adds that NSAID drugs should never be “given in a vacuum.” Blood work should always be done before prescribing a drug, and over the course of a drug’s use. Regular veterinary visits are important to keep tabs on how the dog is doing.
By diminishing pain, a NSAID drug may make it possible for a dog to exercise (talk to your veterinarian about an appropriate workout). Physical therapy (including underwater treadmill), acupuncture, chiropractic and therapeutic laser may also help. The most important factor may be weight loss.
“The best answer is multimodal therapies designed specifically for each individual,” adds Downing. “In the end, most dogs can live virtually pain free.”
Not all dogs need the influenza vaccine, writes veterinarian Lawrence Gerson, but he says those in contact with other dogs, such as those that spend time at kennels and shows, are more at risk and therefore may be good candidates for the vaccine. The vaccine is not associated with any significant side effects, Dr. Gerson notes, adding that owners should consult with their veterinarian when deciding whether to vaccinate for influenza. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Fall is here and flu season is just around the corner. I visited my physician and was vaccinated earlier in the week. Should your dog have one, too?
News reports about an increase of canine flu in Pennsylvania have prompted calls to my office. Outbreaks in eastern and central Pennsylvania have veterinarians on alert. First noted at greyhound tracks years ago, this infectious respiratory disease was determined to be H3N8 influenza and thought to be a mutation of the same virus in horses.
Vaccinations for canine influenza are not universally recommended at this point. Inquiries at local veterinary clinics and emergency services have not shown the canine flu to be a problem here — yet. However, owners who travel with their dogs, especially to dog shows or field trials, might want to ask their veterinarians for advice on whether to vaccinate. Cats are not normally affected.
The vaccine aids in decreasing symptoms and initially is given twice at a three-week interval and then annually. The vaccine is safe to use without any significant side effects.
Dogs infected with flu get a fever and nasal discharge. Pneumonia can follow infection and has the potential to be fatal. Infections can be severe at a kennel, veterinary hospital or animal shelter. Any coughing dog should be examined by a veterinarian.
Isolation of infected or suspected dogs is critical, and outbreaks can be controlled by preventing additional exposure. I have heard reports of dogs getting ill from attending shows where widespread exposure has occurred.
To get a specific diagnosis, veterinarians can send samples to labs for testing. Statistics from Cornell University show that 25 percent of suspected dogs were positive for influenza from samples submitted by Pennsylvania veterinarians.
Unlike people, who tend to get the flu in fall or winter, dogs have less exposure in the cold weather. Spring would be my guess as to when canine flu would show up. Once dogs start to visit parks and boarding facilities, the close contact increases the potential for infection.
The regular kennel cough vaccine for bordatella is highly recommended for dogs who go to kennels or have regular contact with other dogs at day care, parks, dog shows or field trials. Canine influenza may soon be added to the vaccines recommended for those dogs.
This potentially serious infection deserves to be watched carefully. Vaccination and limiting contact with infected dogs are the best precautions.
Pet obesity is soaring in America, according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, with 53% of U.S. adult dogs considered obese. Various exercise aids, such as treadmills and activity monitors, are helping pets shed excess, unhealthy pounds and are gaining popularity among owners, veterinarians and other pet-centered businesses. Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine recently opened an obesity clinic geared toward helping pets slim down. FoxNews.com/Reuters (10/15)
Puppy Pilates and canine cardio: How pudgy pets are slimming down
As the obesity rate soars among Americans, their dogs are getting potbellied, too, encouraging fitness companies to come up with a range of equipment and classes to get pampered pets back into shape.
From canine-tailored treadmills, to puppy pedometers and group fitness classes, there’s no shortage of tools to trim and tone the sagging paunches of pooches.
“If you can’t lay your hands on them and feel the ribs pretty easily, they’re obese.”
– Dr. Dennis Arn, veterinarian at the Desert Inn Animal Hospital in Las Vegas
As part of his fitness routine, Rocky, a rotund dachshund, traipses a mini-treadmill designed for small dogs.
“When Rocky first came to us, he looked like a small marine animal,” said Dr. Dennis Arn, veterinarian at the Desert Inn Animal Hospital in Las Vegas, Nev. “He’s got a waistline now and his conditioning is significantly better.”
Just like their owners, obesity affects pets’ longevity and quality of life. About 53 percent of adult dogs are classified by their veterinarians as obese, according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention.
To combat the weighty issue, Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine in North Grafton, Mass., announced the creation of the nation’s first obesity clinic last month, geared specially towards pets.
“If you can’t lay your hands on them and feel the ribs pretty easily, they’re obese,” said Arn, adding that too many pet owners reward their charges with treats.
“As a blanket statement, a dog needs at least 30 minutes (of exercise) a day,” said Geralynn Cada, who has been training dogs for more than 30 years. “A dog who is less active is less happy and has more health problems.”
Cada, who is based in Nevada, teaches classes such as dog yoga, puppy Pilates, and a canine interval training course known as Retrieve and Burn.
Physical issues aside, dogs that are denied exercise often develop behavioral problems, she said.
“A tired dog is a happy dog,” Cada said. “If your dog gets bored, they’ll search for purpose and that purpose will be to chew up your wallet.”
To burn off her high-strung husky’s extra enthusiasm as well as calories, Cada runs him regularly on his dog treadmill, dubbed the DogPACER.
David Ezra, CEO of DogPACER, said he got the idea for the canine cardio machine after observing clients at his fitness centers.
“I thought, “Why not a treadmill for dogs?”” he said.
Hundreds of canine treadmills – which sell for $500 and come in regular and mini sizes – have been sold since they hit the market seven months ago.
“We’ve run over 1,000 dogs at this point,” said Ezra, adding that 60 to 70 percent of the treadmills go to dog owners, including seniors whose health problems prevent them from exercising their animals.
Others are purchased by grooming salons, veterinarians, police and government agencies, and animal rehabilitation centers.
“Grooming facilities will throw the dog on (a treadmill) to de-stress them before grooming,” he said, adding that dogs must be supervised and will initially be taken aback by the equipment.
Studies have shown that people who wear pedometers routinely walk more. Perhaps in that spirit, developers of Tagg, a pet location device, developed an activity monitor that makes it possible for owners to keep tabs on their dog’s exercise.
“Tagg’s combination of activity monitoring and GPS location tracking puts pet parents in control of their pet’s well-being,” Dave Vigil, president of Snaptracs Inc. which created Tagg, said in a statement.
Cada is so devoted to keeping animals fit, she has also devised ways to stimulate her dogs mentally.
“I have them doing a mental obstacle course for me,” she said. “I’ll have them sit down, roll over, jump on and off the bed, and do all the tricks they know in a random order.”
The animals will also fetch and engage in a series of rapid-fire hand-to-paw high-fives.
“It’s like a test,” she explained, “for a treat.”