Avian Flu Outbreak is Worst in US History

The current wave of highly pathogenic avian influenza has resulted in the deaths of 50.54 million chickens, turkeys and other commercially raised birds in the US, making the outbreak the worst on record, and officials are studying outbreaks at turkey farms to develop new prevention recommendations, according to the USDA. “Wild birds continue to spread HPAI throughout the country as they migrate, so preventing contact between domestic flocks and wild birds is critical to protecting US poultry,” USDA Chief Veterinary Officer Rosemary Sifford said

Read the full story at Reuters.com

Training – Less Commanding, More Rewarding

From The Whole Dog Journal AND “Chill Out Fido!” by Nan Kene Arthur

Excerpt from Chill Out Fido! by Nan Kené Arthur Dogs are persistently manipulated with verbal commands, equipment, and physical prompting to perform behaviors (such as pushing them into a sit) become reliant on their pet parents to do everything for them. This is equal to doing a child’s homework for him or her.
A child might get better grades if an adult did his homework, but he or she would not learn the skills needed to function successfully in the world. This same concept is also true for your dog. If you have been doing his “homework” via constant reminding or demanding obedience, telling him, “No,” all the time, and/or using leash manipulations and physical prompts to keep him in line, he will not have learned the skills needed to function calmly in life.
Dogs, like children, must learn to problem-solve when life comes at them, and providing your dog a motivation to perform behaviors through rewards will help him learn those skills. In order for that to happen, however, he will need different, and well-practiced behaviors that will give him the answer to the question, “What do I do when (fill in the blank) ________?” If your dog’s current answer to that question is to spiral up and become wild, out of control, inattentive, or reactive, he has very few tools from which to choose.
When your dog has a limited number of tools, he will continue to use the ones that are the most readily available and familiar since those are the easiest to grab. If your dog’s behavior toolbox includes impulsive or reactive behaviors and little else, he has no choice but to use the tools that have served him best in the past.
For training to be effective, your dog needs to learn how to handle different situations without grabbing the old tools from his toolbox. Those old tools will always be there, but as you teach your dog that he will be rewarded for calm and relaxed behaviors, those old tools will be buried deep at the bottom of the toolbox under all the new ones, making access to them difficult and unlikely.
A Note on How Long to Train As you train with your dog, it is important that you don’t overdo the amount of training. Science has shown that animals retain better when taught in short (five to fifteen minutes) spurts, rather than long, drawn out sessions. Dogs not only fill up on treats, they also get bored during long training sessions. If you over train, your dog will not be as excited about doing an exercise the next time. If you stop before he gets full or bored, leaving him wanting more, you will have a cooperative dog the next time you train him
If you find yourself overtraining because you are excited about your dog’s progress, simple count out 20-50 tiny treats and stop when they are gone. That will keep you on track with limiting the amount of time you train.For more advice on training your dog, purchase Chill Out Fido! from Whole Dog Journal.

A Beloved Pet’s Death Can Trigger Real Grief

The death of a beloved pet can cause extreme grief and trigger grief over previous trauma, according to a study in Human-Animal Interactions, but society and even some mental health care providers don’t always recognize how deep the human-animal bond is, says co-author Colleen Rolland, a pet loss grief specialist. People who don’t feel comfortable expressing grief after the loss of a pet due to social stigma may turn inward, and Rolland says health care professionals should consider pets as integral to some patients’ social support systems.

Key Takeaways

A pet loss grief specialist says sometimes the loss of a beloved animal can trigger feelings about childhood grief or other traumas

Fear of stigma keeps many from voicing their sorrow when a pet dies

There’s a segment of the population that doesn’t get it, specialists say

Here is what pet loss grief specialists have to say

Love Aquariums?

We found a place that gives you all of the information you need about taking care of fish and aquariums.

Want to know how to care for any type of aquarium fish? Go to their FISH KEEPING GUIDE section.

Want reviews on the Best Aquarium Supplies? CLICK HERE

Simply Aquarium describes themselves:

Simply Aquarium is run by a group of dedicated aquarists who believe passionately that anyone can set up and maintain a successful aquarium. We strive to cut through the technicalities and keep things simple.

Our experienced writers have put together some of the most comprehensive yet straightforward aquarium and fish-keeping guides on the web. All to help make the best choices for you.


New Cat Friendly Vet Practice Guidlines


AAFP celebrates 10 years of Cat Friendly Practice Program, releases new guidelines

By Katie Burns

November 15, 2022

The American Association of Feline Practitioners established the Cat Friendly Practice Program in 2012 to elevate care for cats by enhancing the environment and experience of a veterinary visit to reduce the stress for the cat, cat caregiver, and veterinary team.

The AAFP has been celebrating the 10th anniversary of the CFP Program this year and recently released new cat-friendly guidelines, which were endorsed by the AVMA on Nov. 11.

On Nov. 2, the AAFP and International Society of Feline Medicine launched the 2022 AAFP/ISFM Cat Friendly Veterinary Interaction Guidelines: Approach and Handling Techniques and the 2022 ISFM/AAFP Cat Friendly Veterinary Environment Guidelines.Cat Friendly Practice logo

Dr. Michelle Meyer, 2021-22 AAFP president, announced the guidelines during her address at the AAFP’s annual conference, Oct. 27-30 in Pittsburgh.

“These guidelines are pivotal,” said Dr. Meyer, who practices at Serenity Animal Hospital in Sterling Heights, Michigan. “They are not only essential for anyone who works with cats, but they also provide every veterinary professional with a foundation to really understand who cats are and other reasons why they behave and react like they do in the veterinary setting.”

As of early November, about 850 practices were designated as being cat friendly through the CFP Program, which is an AAFP member benefit, and about 350 practices were working on their applications. According to the AAFP, earning the CFP designation demonstrates that a practice has committed to provide the highest standards of care for cats and assures cat caregivers that a practice has taken extra time and effort to consider each cat’s experience and care.

The 2021 CFP survey (PDF) found the program benefits cats, cat caregivers, and veterinary teams. Respondents cited the top benefits as less stress for feline patients, a higher client satisfaction rate with the veterinary visit, a dedicated display of care for feline patients, and improved client retention and frequency of visits.

Individual team members can enroll in the Cat Friendly Certificate Program, with AAFP members receiving a discount. The certificate program aims to build knowledge, skills, and best in-clinic practices for feline care on the basis of the individual’s role within a practice. As of early November, more than 13,000 individuals had registered for the program, and nearly 8,000 had earned a certificate.

The new cat-friendly guidelines from the AAFP and ISFM were authored by experts in feline medicine and behavior, who undertook a literature review and drew on experience gained from the AAFP Cat Friendly Practice Program as well as the ISFM Cat Friendly Clinic program, which was also established in 2012.

A veterinary team member approaches a cat in its carrier with a soft hand, including curved fingers. (Courtesy of Ellen Carozza)

Dr. Ilona Rodan, co-chair of the task force that prepared the guidelines on cat-friendly interactions, and Dr. Sarah Heath, another member of the task force, delivered a presentation on the topic at the AAFP conference. Dr. Rodan spoke about why practices should incorporate this approach.

“The No. 1 reason to do so is the welfare of the cat,” said Dr. Rodan, owner of Cat Behavior Solutions out of Wisconsin. “We are responsible for the welfare of our patients, as veterinarians, as veterinary technicians, or whatever your position in the practice, and what that means is we’re taking care of not only the physical but also the mental health of the cat, which is equally important to physical health.”

Dr. Heath, clinical lead at Behavioural Referrals Veterinary Practice in Chester, England, has developed new terminology for cats’ underlying emotions and behavioral responses. Dr. Heath does not refer to negative or positive emotions, for example, but refers rather to protective emotions and engaging emotions. Her terminology and the Heath Model of emotional health are used throughout the cat-friendly guidelines.

The guidelines on cat-friendly interactions and the guidelines on cat-friendly environments together cover all aspects of a cat’s veterinary experience, including the trip to the practice and interactions with veterinary team members, as well as the clinical environment.

Some of the key areas covered include the following:

  • Implementing cat-friendly interactions and minimal handling that allow the cat to have a sense of control and choice.
  • Educating cat caregivers about how to reduce distress when traveling to the veterinary practice, including carrier training.
  • Creating an experience that considers the cat’s natural behaviors and altering the approach to suit each individual cat.
  • Creating an environment that considers and implements ways to reduce fear and anxiety and that promotes emotions and behaviors that cats find comforting.
  • Ensuring the entire veterinary team understands species-specific behavior and individual differences.
  • Understanding how to identify the cat’s emotional state and the subsequent behavioral response—and what to do in each situation.

As of press time, both sets of guidelines had been endorsed by more than two dozen veterinary organizations throughout the world.

The new guidelines and supplemental resources are available in the guidelines section of the AAFP website. Details about the AAFP Cat Friendly Practice Program and the AAFP Cat Friendly Certificate Program are available in the section of the AAFP website about these recognition programs.

Dog Age Calculator

Key takeaways about a dog’s age

  • The 7:1 ratio is flawed —As it turns out, figuring your dog’s age is more complex than multiplying by seven. That old rule of thumb that one dog year equals seven human years is based on the notion that dogs live about 10 years and humans live to about 70.
  • There isn’t a perfect formula — A dog age calculator is a great way to get a better idea of your dog’s age in human years, but parents of rescue dogs may not know their pet’s birth date. There are other ways to estimate if you don’t know your dog’s age.
  • Small dogs typically live longer than big dogs — Dogs under 40 pounds aren’t as prone to conditions such as hip dysplasia that can limit their mobility and increase their risk for obesity and other health conditions.

To calculate your dog’s age in human years, CLICK HERE

4 Tricks to Keep Dogs Away from Fish Tanks

Learn some simple tricks and cues you can use to keep your dog from harassing your fish tank.

by: David Thomas

In this article, you’ll learn four types of cues you can use to break your dog’s attention on your fish tank and keep them occupied with safer, more interesting things.

            Keeping your dog away from your fish tank can be a real challenge. The sights, sounds, motion and especially smells of a fish tank are naturally deeply intriguing to an intelligent, curious animal like a dog, and their deep-seated evolutionary instincts will tell them that fish they smell are prey and therefore food, and therefore very much worth investigating further. This dynamic will be particularly powerful if you have a dog, like a terrier or setter, that was bred to have a high prey drive, or a Labrador or Portuguese water dog that was bred to have an interest in all things wet and splashy.

Luckily, in addition to the precautions you should take in setting up your fish tank, you can also train your dog to leave it alone. This training won’t necessarily be easy, as instituting training that will override your dog’s natural instincts to explore and check out potential food sources is always difficult. However, it will be well worth it when you avoid a catastrophic accident between your dog and your fish, and when you realize the peace of mind that comes from knowing your dog will behave when you tell them to, even if they’d rather keep sniffing the fish tank.

  1. Go to your place. This is probably the most useful skill you can teach your dog, after a strong recall command. You assign your dog a “place” in the house that’s theirs, where they can hang out and stay out of trouble. David Thomas from everythingfishkeeping.com recommends this is a crate or mat; ideally, it’s something you can move and still have your dog recognize and use as their place. To start training a go to your place command, you have to make the place appealing to them by filling it with toys and treats. In the beginning, reward your dog with treats and praise every time they hang out in their place, then every time they go to it, then eventually only when they go when you tell them to. It will take time, but once your dog has this skill down, you will have a perfect command to keep them out from underfoot in the kitchen or far away from your fish tank.
  2. Come. A reliable recall is crucial for your dog for a number of reasons, probably most notably as a safety measure if they start getting into anything dangerous, but it’s also incredibly useful for breaking their attention on something you don’t want them paying attention to – in this case, the fish tank. Having your dog come to you if they’ve been staring at the fish tank too long will break their focus on the tank, and also give them a reward for doing so, in the form of praise and pets for obeying their recall. It will also shift your dog’s focus onto you and what you’re doing, which will hopefully be more interesting to them than a fish tank that has never given them a belly rub or salmon treat.
  3. Spin. If you’ve brought your dog’s attention back to you and they’re still going back to the fish tank, you may have to up your attention redirecting game by introducing an element of play or training – something for your dog to think about other than the fish tank. Remember that however appealing the fish tank is to them, a well-trained dog will always prefer your attention and affection. You can ask your dog to sit, spin, dance, shake – anything that will let them succeed at a simple task and then bask in your praise and love. If you have time, you can turn this into a full-on training session or playtime. This will not only break your dog’s fixation and keep them away from the tank, but it will also tire them out, and a tired dog is much less likely to bother your fish tank. 
  4. Hide and seek. This is another one where the actual command or trick you are asking your dog to perform is not as important as what you’re getting them to do, which is think about something other than the fish tank. When it comes down to it, all of these tricks work mostly by breaking your dog’s focus on the fish tank and redirecting their mental energy elsewhere. If your dog is extremely focused on the fish tank, though, and keeps going back to it, once you have their attention, you may have to assign them a fairly complex task – like playing hide and seek or retrieving a certain object from elsewhere in the house – to break that mental cycle and get them into a new frame of mind. Hide and seek or a retrieval task are good options because they get your dog to focus on objects in the house that aren’t the fish tank. Keep in mind that you want to set your dog up for success with this task, so give them a few simple cues first to make sure their attention is on you and they’re ready to listen and perform.

If you bring a fish tank into a house with a dog in it, or vice versa, the dog is going to be very curious about the tank. All it takes is a little vigilance and a lot of redirection from you before your dog will learn the fish tank has nothing to offer.

Spot and Tango Dog Food Recall

September 6, 2022 — In a private email to customers, Spot and Tango announced it is recalling four batches of its UnKibble Dog Food product line because samples tested positive for Salmonella bacteria.

What’s Recalled?

The lot codes and SKU numbers for affected products listed below can be found on the bottom and back of each pouch.

Spot and Tango Unkibble Dog Food Recall Lot Numbers

No other Spot & Tango products or lot codes are impacted by this recall.

End of Life Decisions

From: The Whole Dog Journal

By Nancy Kerns  –Published:September 7, 2022

I will trust someone whose practice is mostly animals at the end of their lives to help me with this decision.

Three years ago I wrote a blog post about “how to know when the time is right for euthanasia.” A the time, I had three friends and family members who were facing this decision. One dog, Beau, was euthanized not long after I wrote the post. Lena lasted another year before her owner decided that the dog was too disabled to go on. Chaco, the third dog is still living, the last I heard (I don’t hear from that friend very often anymore). But as I said in the post. I hoped it would be at least several years before I was mulling this topic again.

Well, here we are, almost exactly three years later. Guys, I’m having to think hard about this right now, with my nearly 15-year-old heart dog, Otto.

He had surgery on his liver about four years ago, and we keep an eye on that organ with annual abdominal ultrasounds, to make sure that the benign growth that was removed hasn’t grown back. He’s had a handful of teeth extracted for various reasons, including one broken and several cracked. And he’s been receiving an increasing amount and variety of medications for arthritis pain for a couple of years now.

But until recently, he honestly looked pretty darn good for his age. This last year, though, as the arthritis pain has ramped up, he’s moving less, and has lost a lot of muscle tone, especially in his rear legs. His weight is a few pounds less than his ideal “high school weight” and he’s a little on the ribby side – but I’m trying to keep him on the light side, to reduce the burden on his arthritic joints. His worst arthritis is in his elbows and front paws, and the pain seems to be altering his stance – which is probably causing more pain in his shoulders and back. In the past few weeks, all of a sudden (it seems), he just looks awful when he stands around, swaybacked and panting, and with his ears back and face tense.

We’re having a really hideous heat wave in California right now, so that’s not helping as I try to figure out how much of his panting is due to pain and how much is the heat. He’s always hated being hot. Now it’s even too hot for him to find relief, as he’s always done, by digging a hole in his dampened sandbox, in the shade of an umbrella under an oak tree. For the past few days, it’s been over 100 degrees in the shade! I’ve had to make him come in my office and stay with me and the other dogs where it’s cooler – but he hates this, too. He lays down for a few minutes, then gets up, pacing and panting. He scratches at the door, wanting out. I open the door and he gets only halfway through when the wall of heat makes him stop and remember why he’s not already out there. He turns around, stiffly, and stands for long minutes in the middle of my office, panting and with that awful, painful-looking posture, before laying down again. This just breaks my heart! I don’t want him to be in pain.

Is it the dementia that makes him forget it’s too hot to go outside? Absent-mindedness? Stubbornness? Why can’t he seem to get comfortable in my cool office? There are three beds, of varying heights and softness, and he gets first dibs on any of them. But he just doesn’t want to be in here, he wants the heat to go away and he wants to be in his sandbox. I know the heat is temporary, but his arthritis pain is not.

I don’t want him to suffer.

I use several different assessment tools, developed by various experts on hospice and end-of-life issues for dogs, in an attempt to find some objective data points to help me decide whether “it’s time.”

On one, the result translates to, “Quality of life is a definite concern. Changes will likely become more progressive and more severe in the near future. Veterinary guidance will help you better understand the end stages of your pet’s disease process in order to make a more informed decision of whether to continue hospice care or elect peaceful euthanasia.”

On another, the score indicates, “Everything is okay.”

On a third, the score suggests that Otto has “acceptable life quality to continue with pet hospice.”

Assessment Tools for Deciding End of Life Care

Lap of Love Pet Quality of Life Scale

Lap of Love Daily Assessment

The HHHHHMM Quality of Life Scale

I discuss Otto’s condition with close friends who know him. My trainer friend Sarah suggests a consultation with a veterinarian who has a housecall practice and specializes in hospice care for animal companions. Well, why and how the heck did I not think of that on my own? I called and made an appointment for next week. For now, a load has been taken off of my mind. I will trust someone whose practice is mostly animals at the end of their lives to help me with this decision.

dog swimming in lake
Much more comfortable in the lake.
If only I had a lake in my backyard! But 5 or so miles is not too far to drive every day, if it keeps him happy. © Nancy Kerns | Whole Dog Journal

And in the meantime, of course, the goal is to give Otto the best possible daily experience I am capable of delivering to him. I’m trying to make up for his unhappiness with the heat and the unaccustomed confinement in my (cool) office by taking him and my other dogs to the lake every evening. There’s a place that has a sandy, gravelly (but not sharp) bottom and with water that gets only very, very gradually deeper. It’s where I like to bring small dogs, novice swimmers, and now, my old guy, too.

As shallow as it is close to shore, the water is refreshing but not cold. We can linger at dusk, when the other lake-visitors are all gone, and not get a chill. Woody asks me to throw his ball, and he bounds through the shallow water, happily fetching. Boone looks for opportunities to steal the ball from Woody and then play “catch me if you can!” Otto wades back and forth, back and forth – not like his nighttime dementia pacing, but like a happy water buffalo. Every so often he wades into the deeper water and swims a bit, and then comes back, tail wagging slowly on the surface of the water, looking extremely content. When he’s like this, the end feels far away from now, and I find a little bit of hope that it truly is.