Archive for February, 2013

David and Kiki running the cove

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

David Alvarez has a real love for his minpins.  He got his first dog Coco about four years ago and loved her personality so much that he didn’t hesitate when his cousin called offering to give him another one.  She had two little, active girls and having an active minpin in the house just wasn’t a good fit for her.  So, last summer David brought home his second minpin and promptly named her Kiki.

Sure enough, Kiki has a spectacular personality of her own.  Quiet during the day when she and Coco are home alone, Kiki becomes energetic and up for anything when David arrives home.  As soon as Kiki sees the leash, she goes bonkers with anticipation for the walk to come.  Usually David takes his two dogs for a long walk down to a cove near where he lives and lets them run around.  The favorite part of his day is seeing Coco and Kiki tearing off after each other.

About a week after David brought Kiki home, Kiki began vomiting and stopped eating and drinking.  Concerned, David brought her to his vet at Santa Margarita Animal Care to see if they could discover what was wrong with her.  Dr. Amy Parker was the attending veterinarian on this case and remembers it well.

When I felt her belly, I could feel a little mass effect in her abdomen associated with her GI track,” recalls Dr. Parker. “David had told me that she had torn apart a peepee pad and we worried that perhaps she had eaten some of that.  We wanted to do x-rays, at which point David informed us that he was financially constrained and probably wouldn’t be able to afford much.  Since Kiki was just a four month old puppy, we wanted to find a way to work with her and David, so we went ahead and ordered the x-rays which ended up indicating that she had a foreign contaminant in her body.”

The cost of the surgery was far beyond anything David could afford on his own. Although he just started working at the time he first got Coco, David’s finances were still in a bind.  David didn’t know what to do and couldn’t bear the thought of letting Kiki go.

“I told Dr. Parker I didn’t have any money, says David.  “When they told me that they would help me and that there were some foundations that might be able to help, too, I just couldn’t believe it.  They asked me to fill out paperwork, which I did right away, and I worked out a plan with them to get Kiki the help she needed”.

Between Santa Margarita Animal Care, the Angel Fund, and David, enough funds were collected to enable the surgery that Kiki so desperately needed.  Thankfully, the operation was a success and Kiki is back to running around the cove with David and Coco.

“We were very grateful to be able to help David,” says Dr. Parker.  “We just couldn’t euthanize this four month old baby, and this owner is working and trying to make a great life with his pets.  We wanted to help him in any way possible and we’re thankful the Angel Fund was part of that.”

David echoes the feeling of gratitude and has a message for Santa Margarita Animal Care and the Angel Fund. “I want to say thank you for helping me keep my pet around.”  He says, “She’s my companion, and it means the world to me that there are people out there who are actually willing to help other people with their difficult situations.”

Consumer pet spending projected to increase

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

Pet owners are projected to spend 4% more on supplies for their pets this year than they did last year, according to the market research firm Packaged Facts. “We are certainly seeing more health-related and preventive health products on the market that help pets maintain healthy lifestyles,” said Bob Vetere, president of the American Pet Products Association. Hot items include products geared toward aging pets, pet dental care items and natural and organic pet food. Drug Store News

February 25, 2013 | By Barbara White-Sax

Pet supplies may have had limited growth this past year, but the stars of the segment are healthcare-related products. Pet supplies saw a 2% increase, bringing sales to $11.1 billion, according to Packaged Facts. The market research firm projects that this year, pet supplies will grow 4% over 2012 sales.

Like their owners, the pet population is graying. Pets are suffering from age-related conditions — including joint, coronary, cognitive and immune system-related, as well as diabetes and cancer — and consumers are snapping up products that can make their pets healthier.

“We are certainly seeing more health-related and preventive health products on the market that help pets maintain healthy lifestyles,” said Bob Vetere, president of the American Pet Products Association. The explosion of health-related products coincides with a drop in veterinary visits recorded in the past few years, suggesting that pet owners are preemptively caring for their pets’ health issues with pet OTC products.

Such products as Nylabone — a rawhide chew alternative that is fortified with vitamins and minerals — are driving growth in the pet products category, according to a recent report from Mintel. Mintel expects chews, toys, grooming products made with natural ingredients and other supplies that contribute to the health and well-being of dogs and cats to drive sales in the pet supplies segment.

Dental care products are growing in popularity as consumers become more aware of how important gum care is to a pet’s health. Brian Collier, a spokesman for Naturel Promise, manufacturer of the Fresh Dental line of pet dental care products, said oral care products are the fastest-growing segment of the pet business.

Since 80% of dogs show signs of periodontal disease by age 3 years, Collier said the category has a huge upside because currently only 10% of pet owners purchase pet dental care products. Those who do purchase oral care products buy four to six oral care products a year, a number that significantly outpaces turns on other pet grooming products, said Collier.

Naturel Promise’s line of dental products contains a brushless gel, dental spray, water additive, liquid floss and a brushing gel, which retail for between $6.99 and $9.99. The products contain all-natural ingredients, a key selling point in the category.

In the pet food segment, the fastest growing area of pet food is natural and organic products. “It’s the first section that sold out in our show, and it’s clearly the hot performer in the food arena and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future,” Vetere said.

Vetere said another hot segment within the category is convenience products that allow people more flexibility in feeding and caring for their pets.

Helping Murph

Monday, February 25th, 2013

by Alice Villalobos, DVM at Animal Oncology Consultation Service and founder of Pawspice, hospice for pets.

Since Murph was a special needs dog since puppyhood and neurological issues, it probably took everyone much longer to figure out that something was wrong.

Murph developed a strange awkwardness with his right front foot.  At first he seemed to just be swinging his foot out wider than his normal clumsy gait.  When x-rays were taken, Murph was diagnosed with bone cancer and it had already spread extensively to his lungs resembling a “snow storm”.

We entered Murph into Pawspice right away during our first visit because he had advanced metastatic bone cancer. Murph’s family wanted to help him live as long as possible with no pain and with a good quality of life.  We started gentle combination treatment.  Murph received a few palliative radiation therapy treatments to his bone cancer lesion on his right front foot.  He also received gentle oral and IV chemotherapy and immunotherapy with T-Cyte and supplements.

To our delight and surprise, Murph’s lameness went away and he was feeling great.  It was a joy to see that Murph’s awful pain was gone; the swelling of his right front paw and wrist was gone and he appeared to be back to his normal happy self.  At his 9 week recheck chest x-rays, we had the most amazing and surprising find!  Murph’s new chest x-rays were almost completely clear!

The horrible snowstorm of tumors in his chest had disappeared!  What a happy surprise for all of us to win such unexpected good news for Murph.

Another big bonus was that Murph, who seemed defensive at first, started to always feel just great during his cancer treatment visits at our Pawspice practice at ACCESS in Woodland Hills, CA.  as long as one of his stuffed toys was nearby!

Sadly, after having enjoyed his remission for several months, Murph’s chest tumors returned with vengance.  Of course, we never expected Murph to go into remission and thrive with advanced bone cancer but he did just that for months before his bone cancer was able to complete it’s fatal agenda.

That goodness Murph’s family had th courage and compassion to provide him with the final act of kindness, the gift of a peaceful and painless passing, with the gift of euthanasia when he needed it.

Sibmitted by Murph’s oncologist, Dr. Alice Villalobos, DPANP,


Angel Fund Grant Recipient – Seven, a lucky guinea pig

Monday, February 25th, 2013

Leslie has always had a special place in her heart for guinea pigs. “I’ve been loving guinea pigs since I was a little girl,” she said. “They are the most affectionate, most grateful, cuddly, little animals in the world. I especially love watching them move around when they’re happy, they hop straight up and down and it’s called popping corn. These animals are just so much fun.”

She got her first guinea pig, Nibbles, when she was ten years old. “When I was young, guinea pigs didn’t live very long,” she reminisced. “They never seemed to make it past six months. I know a lot about them now and am much more educated on what they need. I probably give them much better care now than I did when I was young.”

Leslie lavishes a lot of love on her companions. They get fed every morning at 5:00am, in the afternoon, and then later in the evening. Not only does she have them on a regular diet of timothy hay, romaine and endive, and timothy pellets, but she also gives them treats of strawberries, tomatoes, and carrots. She cleans their cages every single day with white vinegar and she puts down fresh fleece for them to enjoy. “I hear there are people who clean their guinea pig cages only once every week, and I think that must be awful for the guinea pigs. They get so excited when they get to go back to their clean cages, so I think they must really appreciate that.” Leslie is also dedicated to administering all necessary health measures. She has to give her oldest guinea pig, Herbert, medicine every four hours around the clock, and her guinea pigs visit the veterinarian on a regular basis. Her animals obviously thrive under her care, Hebert has reached the venerable age of 8, Lucy is 6, and Seven is at least 4 years old.

Leslie’s vigilance in watching out for her animals’ health led her to take Seven to the vet when one morning she discovered that Seven’s bottom teeth were gone and his top teeth appeared to be overgrown. “I took him to see Dr. William Ridgeway at the Long Beach Animal Hospital, but we couldn’t figure out why he lost his bottom teeth,” she said. “I was taking him in to have his top teeth trimmed every four weeks, but one day I looked at his face and it was swollen. He had a huge abscess on the left side of his jaw that needed surgery. He also had to have another surgery when we found that he had a tooth coming out of his neck.”

Unemployed and without the funds to pay for the care Seven needed, Leslie turned to the internet to see if she could find any resources that might be able to provide her with some help. “That’s where I found out about the Angel Fund. I called and spoke with someone very helpful there. They told me to tell my vet about the program and they listed everything he needed to do so I could get the help. I am very, very grateful, because even though I love all three of my guinea pigs, it can be expensive with their health problems.”

But the joy and companionship Leslie receives from her pets is absolutely invaluable to her. “My animals mean the world to me,” she said. “I’m a serious lover of all kinds of animals, but my guinea pigs do genuinely funny things that just always make me laugh. Lucy is a very sweet girl who’s a lot of fun. Herbert is a very feisty pig even though he’s eight, and the bond he and Seven have brings tears to my eyes. I can tell my guinea pigs are grateful for the care I give them, and I’m thankful that the Angel Fund helped me take care of them.”

Pet Food Stamp Program

Saturday, February 23rd, 2013

On August 31, 2020, we call the phone number listed and it belongs to someone else.

The website is still up, but it does not give details.

If you want to apply, there doesn’t seem to be an application online.

Our suggestion is that you email them and see if you get a response.


The Pet Food Stamp program was created to help food stamp recipients and low income individuals who are having difficulty feeding their pets, receive free food. We believe if you are having financial difficulties, you should not have to choose between feeding your family or your pet.

If you are on Food Stamps, in a low income bracket and have a pet and would like to apply for Pet Food Stamps. please visit :; email; call 718.915.4532

The Honest Kitchen® Voluntuntairly Recalls Limited Lots

Saturday, February 23rd, 2013


SAN DIEGO – February 21, 2013 –

The Honest Kitchen today announced that it is voluntarily recalling five lots of its Verve, Zeal and Thrive pet food products produced between August and November 2012 and sold nationwide in the US and Canada via retail stores, mail order and online after August 2012 because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella. No other Honest Kitchen batches, production dates or products are affected.

Healthy people infected with Salmonella should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. Rarely, Salmonella can result in more serious ailments, including arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation, and urinary tract symptoms. Consumers exhibiting these signs after having contact with this product should contact their healthcare providers.

Animals with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some animals will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Infected but otherwise healthy animals can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your animals have consumed the recalled product and have these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.

The Company is taking this action after learning that one of its raw ingredients suppliers has recalled a batch of humangrade parsley that may contain Salmonella. The batch of parsley was shipped to the Company in 2012 and used in the production of five lots of finished Honest Kitchen products.

The Honest Kitchen regularly tests for Salmonella and other pathogens as part of its quality control process and has not received to date any reports of illness associated with these lots of products. Nonetheless, the Company is proceeding with this action in order to ensure the full safety and quality of its products.  “We are committed to providing the highestquality humangrade food available to our customers’ pets,” said Lucy Postins, founder, CEO and CMO of The Honest Kitchen. “While our quality control tests did not find evidence of Salmonella in any of our finished products, we are accountable for everything we make, and are taking precautionary action to ensure the safety and integrity of our products.”

To see the lots being recalled, go to:

New website compares pet product prices for consumers

Saturday, February 23rd, 2013

In an effort to bring order to the vast array of pet products offered online at various prices, David Keh founded DugDug, a website that searches pet products and prices for owners. Currently, the website handles only dog products, but Keh plans to broaden its focus to include items for cats, birds, reptiles and more. The New York Times (tiered subscription model)/Bucks blog

A dog owner with an entrepreneurial bent has started a Web site aimed at making it easier for pet lovers to find the right products at the right price.

DugDug is a new price comparison site that aims to provide pet product information from multiple online retailers in a clear, easily understandable format, said David Keh, the site’s founder.

Mr. Keh, a former hedge fund analyst, said he created DugDug out of his own frustration as a new pet owner. (He owns a standard poodle.) When searching for supplies online, he said, most comparison sites returned information that wasn’t presented in a helpful way. For instance, when searching for medications, searching by the product name most often produced lists that weren’t sorted based on the pet’s weight or by the number of doses supplied, making it difficult to compare prices. “You get nonsensical results,” he said. “It was a huge frustration.”

So Mr. Keh’s site attempts to sort products in a more meaningful way. A search on DugDug, for instance, for Advantix, a killer of canine fleas and ticks, returns a menu of options, based on the pet’s weight. When you click on the proper weight (11-20 pounds, say), an appropriate list of vendors and prices appears.

DugDug also includes any coupons next to each item. That way, users can receive the discount when buying the item, rather than having to scour the Web for potentially available coupon codes, he said. (If users want, they can also use an optional browser tool, called Rover, that automatically notifies them of coupons as they visit different Web sites.)

DugDug doesn’t conduct any sales itself. Rather, once you find the best price, you select the vendor and are taken to that Web site to complete the sale. DugDug receives a fee from some sites if you click through and make a purchase. But the site lists the vendors with the best prices, Mr. Keh said, whether or not the site has a commission deal with DugDug.

(If you are buying a pet medication that requires a prescription, you must eventually provide one from your veterinarian — or, often, the site you buy from will contact your veterinarian to verify it, or to request one on your behalf. In general, though, you need to see a veterinarian in person at some point, to obtain the prescription. Mr. Keh says DugDug screens prescription sites displayed on its searches to weed out disreputable carriers that may be offering counterfeit drugs.)

Mr. Keh said he might be new to pets, but has always been entrepreneurial. While an undergraduate at Stanford, said, he ran a business from his dorm room changing the backlighting on cellphones, earning as much as $150 each.

DugDug focuses on dogs, but will be gradually rolling out other pet categories like cats, birds, fish, reptiles and small pets (including ferrets, guinea pigs, gerbils etc.) over the next several weeks.

Other plans for the Web site include comparison shopping tools for pet insurance, an area Mr. Keh said he saw as lacking in transparency. “We’ll give information on prices and differences in coverage,” he said.

Help save your cat from the tubby tabby trend

Saturday, February 23rd, 2013

More than half of cats are overweight, says the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, and the number of portly felines is up 90% from 2007, according to a report from Banfield Pet Hospital. Obesity can lead to health problems for cats, such as diabetes and arthritis, but the condition is preventable. This article lists some ways to help keep cats fit and trim, including regular veterinary exams, exercise and appropriate diet. Dale’s Pet World blog

Loads of Americans have developed spare tires around their middles, and so have many of our pets. Cats are particularly portly; about 55 percent of tabbies are tubby, says the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention. Some suggest this is a conservative number.

According to the Banfield Pet Hospital 2012 State of Pet Health Report, there’s been a whopping 90 percent rise in overweight and obese cats since 2007. Yet, nearly 70 percent of cat owners say their purring pal is purr-fectly svelte. Cats don’t become hefty overnight, so some owners just can’t tell; without visiting a veterinarian, they have no idea what their pet weights. Other owners have a skewed idea of what cats should look like, thinking tubby is cute. Still other owners are simply in denial.

In any case, the rise of portly cats has become epidemic, and the impact is undeniable. Diabetes and arthritis have never been so prevalent in cats. In fact, behavior problems — which can lead to euthanasia — may be more common in overweight cats. For example, weight gain may contribute to arthritis, so it hurts kitty to step into the litter box or walk up/down the stairs leading to the box. Some pudgy cats can barely fit into a litter box. As a result, some have accidents and are relinquished to shelters or simply left outdoors to fend for themselves.

Some cancers are associated with obesity, and a lack of mental and physical exercise may heighten the probability of cognitive dysfunction (dementia) in older cats. Obese cats also have difficulty grooming themselves.

So, why are there so many tubby tabbies today? There are several explanations:

1. Spay/neuter: More cats than  ver are being spayed or neutered (about 90 percent), which is good. However, there’s a consequence to these procedures, which is seldom discussed. Cats who’ve been “fixed” do experience a drop in energy needs, yet tend to be hungrier. As a result, they have a tendency to beg for table food, or even cat food, often “training” their people to give it to them. This eventually becomes a vicious cycle: The cats pack on pounds as their metabolism slows, making exercise less likely, further boosting weight gain.

2. Free feeding: Leaving food out 24/7 in multi-cat homes makes it impossible for owners to keep track of which cat has eaten what. Cats do train us very well as their automatic food dispensers.

3. Indoors only: Studies show outdoor cats spend about 17 percent of their time traveling/hunting. Indoor-only cats are safer, but do spend far more time catnapping.

So, what to do? Exercise isn’t only important for dogs and people. Use an interactive toy to engage your kitty. Hide food treats in puzzle balls and toys around the house when you’re not home so your little lion can “hunt.” Enrich your cat’s environment by providing toys and lots of places to climb and scratch. Note: Toys can be as simple as an empty box or plastic cap from a milk bottle.

Some indoor cats enjoy walking outside on a leash and harness. “Catios” are the cat’s meow — a trend in New York City and elsewhere whereby patios and porches are enclosed, keeping felines in and potential predators out. Learn more about enriching your pet’s environment in a free handout from the Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine,  Dr. Tony Buffington’s Indoor Pet Initiative.

For spayed/neutered cats yet to win the battle of the bulge, there’s good news. The new Spayed/Neutered cat food from Royal Canin provides a unique blend of appetite-curbing fibers, and the donut-shaped kibble slows down cats’ eating, (There’s a Spayed/Neutered diet available for kittens to senior cats, all age groups.)

Remember that a year in a cat’s life is equivalent to about four or six human years. Make sure your pet sees a veterinarian at least once a year for preventive care, which includes being weighed. Owners are often unaware their cat has become plump. Veterinarians are the best source of advice on weight loss. Beware: Crash diets may cause fatty liver disease, which can be fatal.

Diabetes can be difficult for pet owners to recognize (another reason for veterinary visits). Diabetic cats do require insulin, such as ProZinc, specifically created for cats. It turns out that with exercise and a high protein/low carbohydrate diet, weight loss may follow, and some cats then go into remission.

Through diet and scheduled feedings, even spayed/neutered cats may not be so determined to eat. And for those who are already rotund, veterinarians can create a plan to enhance your cat’s quality of life, and maybe even extend the pet’s life.

Common equine eye emergencies

Saturday, February 23rd, 2013
Veterinarian Anna O’Brien explains the causes and treatment of two common equine eye emergencies: corneal ulcers and eyelid lacerations. Items commonly found in the barn are often the culprit behind these traumatic injuries, Dr. O’Brien writes, but timely and appropriate veterinary care is usually enough to treat them effectively.

Unlike cattle, sheep, and goats, where the majority of eye issues are infectious, the majority of equine eye problems I see are trauma-related and result in corneal ulcerations.
It is my scientific opinion that horse eyes seem predisposed to getting poked out. This is most likely due to their anatomical location, which is namely right on the corners of the head, sticking out like headlights on an old VW Bug. Sharp objects apparently roam the Earth searching for horse eyes.


One of the most common culprits is, unfairly, the very food they eat. Long wiry pieces of hay shooting out of the trough or hay net are almost always in the “Usual Suspect” lineup when we play the game, “Who Poked Out My Horse’s Eye?”
As with cattle and small ruminants with inflamed and infected eyes, horses with corneal ulcerations exhibit similar signs. Horse owners will observe a forcefully closed eye, excessive tearing, with perhaps some head shyness or avoidance of light, depending on the disposition of the horse. As hours pass, the cornea may become cloudy, and white or yellowish discharge instead of tears may weep from the eye.
The beginning of any emergency equine exam starts with sedation and a nerve block of the upper eyelid to allow me to open the eye wide. Then, if I suspect trauma and corneal damage, I’ll apply a special stain to the eye. This stain will glow neon green if the delicate tissue underneath the outer layer of the cornea is exposed due to ulceration. Sometimes the area of ulceration is literally the size of a needlepoint. But no matter what the size, ulceration is ulceration and requires treatment.
Most mild corneal ulcerations can be treated with topical antibiotic ointment and some pain medication. Others are more complicated. If the ulcer is large, healthy epithelial tissue sometimes has difficulty adhering to the cornea, and healing is non-productive. If this is the case, we sometimes have to scrape the eye to remove the old tissue, giving the new tissue something to adhere to.
Other times, the ulceration has allowed bacteria inside the eye, setting up what is called a stromal abscess. These can be very difficult to treat, requiring intensely frequent applications of multiple types of medications. At the very worst, an ulcer can be deep enough to rupture the eye. This is why eye issues are always an emergency, since you can never be sure at first exactly how deep the problem really is.
Eyelid lacerations are another extremely common equine eye problem. Like the ubiquitous hay stalk waiting to cause a corneal ulcer, another common barn object is frequently the cause of dangling eyelids: the hooks at the ends of water bucket handles. These curved metal pieces on the sides of hanging buckets just seem to jump out at horse eyes and grab on to upper eyelids for dear life, resulting in a gruesome find for the owner the next morning.
Luckily, eyelid lacerations usually look much worse than they really are. They bleed a lot and swell a lot, making the horse look like he’s been in a bar fight involving brass knuckles and a switchblade. However, after sedation and nerve blocks and a little careful stitching with very fine suture material and a teeny tiny needle, the horse usually comes out of it looking much better. The only challenge is not letting the horse rub his head once the stitches become itchy a few days later.
Sometimes with an eyelid laceration, the owner will ask why I don’t just trim off the lacerated portion rather than sew it back on. The answer is that horse’s eyes are so big, they need all the lid they can get. Eyelids are the best protection the eyeball has against the pokey world and even a small missing portion can sometimes result in chronic eye irritation.
Although we’ve covered the traumatic cases of equine eye emergencies, we haven’t even touched on things like cancer of the eye and a weird thing only horses get called “moon blindness.” Shall we say, stay tuned?

Kaytee Pet Products Recalls Several of their Bird Treats and Greens

Saturday, February 23rd, 2013
Kaytee Pet Products, a Central Garden & Pet company, has issued a voluntary recall due to possible Salmonella contamination.
Click here to view a full list of recalled products.
According to Kaytee’s website, their parsley supplier was notified of possible Salmonella contamination from the parsley flakes that were utilized during production. Although, Kaytee did not have a positive Salmonella test finding, they feel that a recall is necessary to protect both pets and their owners.
It is important to remember that if your pet had contact with the recalled products, you are advised to watch for symptoms that may develop. Common symptoms associated with Salmonella poisoning include diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. If your pet experiences any of these symptoms, contact a medical professional for further assistance. Owners are also advised to watch for those same symptoms in themselves and family members who may have handled the pet’s food.
Consumers who purchased the affected products are urged to call Kaytee Customer Care at 1-800-KAYTEE-1 (1-800-529-8331). Be sure to have a copy or picture of the UPC Code, Best Before Date, and store receipt from the package ready to verify that the product is part of the recall to receive a Recall Return Response form.