Pets Offer True Security To Owners

At this time of year there are nights when the air is still and there’s nothing more peaceful than a quiet stroll in the moonlight – especially if you’re lucky enough to have a dog to accompany you. I find that going for a walk after dark is a very different experience with a dog by my side. For one thing, I relax and breathe more deeply than when I’m alone, which allows me to appreciate the fragrance of new-mown grass or whatever is blooming. Without an animal companion, I find myself walking with my arms crossed and my antennae on full alert. With a dog – whose “antennae,” I’m sure, are a hundred times more sensitive than mine – my arms swing freely and I take in whatever scents and sounds the summer breeze carries my way.

It doesn’t really matter if I’m walking down a country road or on a city street. And it doesn’t really matter if the dog I’m walking is a German shepherd or a poodle. In fact, when we had no dog Continue reading

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A Bloodbank For Hounds?

As an intravenous needle slides into Rowdy’s jugular vein and begins to draw blood, W. Jean Dodds, D.V.M., hugs him tightly and whispers a few soothing words. But if the happy-go-lucky grey-hound is fazed by the four-minute procedure, he doesn’t show it. “He knows a treat is coming,” says Dodds, laughing. And judging by the frantic action of his tail as he scares down the canine cookie, his reward was well worth the donation.

Rowdy is one of about 135 greyhounds–all former racing dogs,–living at Hemopet blood bank in Irvine, CA, while donating blood to help sick canines. “This is more or less a Red Cross for dogs,” explains Dodds, who opened Hemopet in 1991. Thanks to her initiative, countless canines in need of hip replacement, bypass surgery, and other lifesaving procedures can count on healthy, compatible blood transfusions. Shipments are sent out daily around the United States and as far away as Japan.

Dodds, 57, recalls being struck with the idea for Hemopet: “It dawned on me: Dogs have accidents and illnesses the same way people do, and to be properly treated, they also need a safe supply of blood.” Within five years, armed with $250,000 from grants, individual donations, and money Dodds earned from lecturing, Hemopet became a reality. It’s now one of four animal blood banks in the United States, and the only one that’s nonprofit.

But Dodds’s mission goes beyond safe transfusions. The adoption branch of Hemopet, called Pet Life-Line, finds loving homes for greyhound donors who would otherwise have been euthanized after their racing days were over. “Once they can no longer win, they’re out of luck,” Dodds explains. “It’s tragic.”

She’s screened Continue reading

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The RIPsnore Anti-snoring Mouthpiece

Snoring is a loud and disruptive emission of noise caused by an obstructed airway, leading to oxygen deprivation and interrupted sleep. Chronic snoring, or sleep apnea, can result in potentially fatal diseases of the heart including high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke. Chronic snoring is almost always caused by the tongue falling back into the throat and blocking the airway, limiting the amount of air the snorer is able to take in.

In order to help stop snoring, two types of devices have been designed that are worn orally throughout the night and prevent the tongue from falling into the airway so that the snorer can breathe normally as they sleep. Mandibular Advancement Devices (MAD) reposition the lower jaw, bringing it forward to tighten the muscles of the mouth and keep the tongue in place. Tongue Stabilizing Devices (TSD) secure the tongue with a strip that lies at the back of the mouthpiece and retains the tongue, allowing proper airflow.

RIPsnore is an MAD that has an over 98% success rate with over 90,000 customers worldwide, guaranteeing to eliminate your snoring as soon as it is placed in your mouth. It has been produced and distributed for nearly 10 years, allowing the designers to refine the piece to the perfect anti-snoring device. It lasts longer than other MADs available on the market, about 18 months versus the typical 12 month lifespan, because it is made of a medical grade …

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A Tale Of Woe: Renovating Your House

renovatingyhEVEN AS HER HAMPTONS HOUSE WAS BEING TORN apart, Elizabeth Troman (not her real name) tried to stay centered. She taught a daily yoga class, kept up her morning meditation practice and took her two dogs for long strolls along the beach. Of course, as any survivor of a major remodeling job can attest, home renovations have a way of shattering one’s inner peace, especially if, like Troman, you don’t take steps to protect yourself against scurrilous contractors up-front.

By the time her remodeling ordeal was over, Troman had suffered through slow and shockingly bad workmanship, skyrocketing costs, a drug-crazed day laborer who trashed her house and a carpenter who stalked her. “It’s really been the lowest point of my life,” she says of the renovation. “I Still try to look for the good in people, but I’ve become a much more cynical, hardened person.”

Granted, not every remodeling project leads to a major personality change. But there are enough terrifying tales out there that it’s safe to conclude that without the proper legal precautions, a major home renovation can be one of the most wrenching experiences in life. So is it possible to get the job done without getting soaked, or landing in a post-renovation-stress support group?

Due Diligence Is Key Real estate lawyers and other veterans of the home-remodeling wars say yes, but they all emphasize that even when a contractor comes recommended by an architect or decorator, …

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Glaucoma In Horses. And Dogs!

glaucomainhSymptoms of glaucoma include red, cloudy, and/or painful eyes. The redness usually occurs on the sclera (white part of the eye) and the conjunctiva (the mucous membrane covering the sclera). Cloudiness occurs in the cornea and inner part of the eye. Pain usually manifests as squinting and tearing.

The only sure test of whether a horse is suffering from glaucoma is to measure his intraocular pressure (the pressure within his eyeball) with a tonometer; in the case of glaucoma, the pressure will be unusually high. But not all veterinarians have a tonometer–and without it, glaucoma is easy to mistake for equine recurrent uveitis, which is much more common in horses and the leading cause of equine blindness; the symptoms of the two are very similar. Yet because treatments for the two conditions are different-and because glaucoma is harder to treat-an incorrect diagnosis can be very dangerous.

Glaucoma in horses tends to be chronic, but it can be cured if treated early enough. Treatments are similar to those for people: oral and topical medications, and even laser surgery. (Laser surgery for equine glaucoma has been around for more than five years; it costs about $600, depending on the area of the country. Success is related to the individual case and the clinical signs associated with it.)

If your horse’s seeing eye shows any of the above symptoms, have your veterinarian examine it. Both equine recurrent uveitis and glaucoma (primary or secondary) …

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Removing Those Pesky Skin Tags

retpstsIf you’re like most people, you will discover you have a skin tag somewhere on your body at some point in your life. Skin tags are a normal thing: my friend’s new born baby had a skin tag in between his eyes, my grandmother used to have one on her neck.
Skin tags won’t hurt you and they are removable. There are a few ways to remove these pesky little things, affectionately called “teeny floppy bits” by my children.

While they may be strange to look at science is developing more and more ways to remove these unwanted pieces of epidermis.
Some of your options, if you find yourself dealing with these things are:

•    Compound W® now has a skin tag removal system much like what they have for removing warts that involves freezing the skin tag.
•    Revitol® has a cream that attacks the root of the skin tag and removes it from within.
•    Directly cutting the skin tag off is a method not many people opt for due to the cost and concerns involved.
•    You can also ‘thread’ the skin tag: tie a thread around the base of the skin tag and it will eventually kill the cells and nerves and the tag will fall off.

Which option is best for you? That depends on how comfortable you are using a scalpel or how much money you can afford for this.
Some of the pros with the above methods are as follows:

•    Compound W® uses liquid nitrogen to freeze and kill the skin tag. This can be done from the comfort of your own home. Depending on where the skin tag is located, you may need help with this. You might feel a mild burning sensation but after you treat the affected area it will be around 2 weeks before the skin tag falls off on its own.

•    Revitol® uses homeopathic and natural ingredients in their solution. This skin tag removal cream is designed to work within days and does not compromise your body by exposing it to chemicals.

•    Cutting the skin tag can be quick, efficient and allow you to remove the offending floppy bi t right away. You may need to request surgery to have this done in a safe environment or book a special appointment with your doctor to have this done.
•    ‘Threading’ the skin tag is also a safe method that involves wrapping a thread or piece of dental floss around the base of the tag which doesn’t involve sharp objects or any liquids. The tag should fall off within weeks.

So the real question becomes what you, as a person, are comfortable with. Are you able to afford a special doctor appointment to get this skin tag removed? Depending on where you live in the world it may cost too much money for you to have that done. Are you comfortable applying a freezing solution to your skin to remove the skin tag and hope it doesn’t turn a strange colour while you’re waiting for it to fall off? Depending on what your job is and where the skin tag is located, this may not be a viable option for you. Are you comfortable with having a piece of minty-fresh floss tied tightly around the base of the skin tag and hope it doesn’t fall off unexpectedly into your lunch? Again, this option may depend on where your tag is located.

If you’re like me and you prefer to not draw attention to something like this, good skin tag removal creams may be the better option. It’s not attention grabbing, it shouldn’t have you suffer any discomfort and it appears to be a safe discrete way to discard this Continue reading

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Bringing A Pet Into The Home

petinhomeMore than 10 million cats and dogs will be looking for new homes this year–animals now living in shelters, on the streets, and in homes that can no longer keep them. So if you have an animal that you are certain you cannot keep, you will need to market that animal with care and vigor.

In addition to allergies and asthma, reasons people frequently cite for relinquishing pets include behavior problems, moving, and family changes. Dealing with these situations does require commitment–it may mean attending obedience classes, compromising on relocation (as you would for a child’s school zone), or spending extra time with a pet when there’s the excitement of a new baby or partner in your life. In a pinch, maybe a friend could provide temporary housing for your animal while you make adjustments to life’s changes.

When in doubt, ask yourself, What is in the best interest of this animal? A large dog, for example, would much rather move with you to a tiny apartment than be kept in a large yard without you. You’ll just have to rake it for longer walks. But there are cases when a per is better off in another home. If you have as many pets as you can manage, or if your pet is old or especially demanding, adding a newcomer that has landed on your doorstep might be unfair to the existing family–and to the new arrival, who needs …

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Reader Question: Hip Problems In Golden Retrievers

hipproblemsOur 13-year-old golden retriever has had trouble with her hips. I’m worried she’ll have difficulty getting around this winter. Any suggestions?

Many medium-size to large dogs have osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease in their hips, elbows, shoulders or knees. This starts because of joint instability, which gradually leads to changes within the joint and inflammation of the surrounding tissue and will worsen as the dog ages, causing increased pain and loss of mobility. Some of the ways your dog may tell you “It hurts!” include: a reluctance to go for walks or to play favourite games, sudden yelping, a decrease in appetite or difficulty getting up. You may think your dog’s character has changed if she’s less eager to interact with family members or shows aggression when startled.

In older dogs with an underlying problem (such as a torn knee ligament) that can be corrected, surgery will increase the dog’s comfort and slow further degeneration. The cost will vary anywhere from approximately $800 for knee ligament repair to $2,500 for a total hip replacement.

For many older dogs who have a physical condition that increases the risks of surgery, it may not be worth it — for the dog or for you — to put them through a surgical procedure. In these cases, it’s a matter of making the dog as comfortable as possible in her remaining time.


Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ASA, acetaminophen and ibuprofen are …

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No Thanks To The Kiddies

kiddiesKids are too much work. Too much crying. We certainly appreciate our dog more.Don’t get me wrong. Given the choice between hanging out with adults or with kids, I’ll often choose the kids. At the last staff picnic, I spent most of the afternoon picking blackberries with the production manager’s six-year-old daughter, Emily. We were having so much fun looking at spiderwebs and dragonflies that I missed the staff picture. Even though she wasn’t mine, picking berries with Emily still came before the politics of work.

I don’t mind that the women I work with talk about their kids, a lot. They have cute stories, a lot of them. Recently, two of my colleagues were discussing their young sons’ temper tantrums. I listened and laughed and added tantrums to my list of reasons not to have kids. A dog doesn’t lie down in the aisle at Wal-Mart and scream.

I feel bad for my parents and my in-laws. They all would make wonderful grandparents. Thanks to them, my husband and I do have things to offer: healthy bodies, a love of books and animals, artistic inclinations, a sense of humour, a belief we should do more to keep the children of this country safe and healthy and strong. My husband and I will try to do that without having our own offspring.

My own mother actually contributed to my lack of interest in child- rearing. I grew up hearing the …

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Animals More Prone To Allergies Than You’d Think

We all know people whose allergies flare up in the presence of cats or dogs, but did you know that animals suffer from allergies of their own? Veterinarians say that the number of cats and dogs with allergies has grown to epidemic proportions in recent years. Experts suggest that one out of seven dogs and nearly as many cats display allergy symptoms. Certain breeds of dogs, in fact, have become so allergy-prone that nearly half of them suffer from a hypersensitivity to something they touch, inhale, or ingest.

The good news about allergies is that newer, gentler treatments are beginning to show results for many cats and dogs. The bad news is you may have to go to a specialist to learn about them, and treatments for severe allergies can cost thousands of dollars. Worst of all, for some pets nothing seems to work.

“An allergy can be very debilitating for a cat or dog,” says Michele Rosenbaum, V.M.D., a veterinary dermatologist at the Veterinary Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia, and diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Dermatology. Some people don’t think of an allergy as serious, but a pet that is constantly scratching and miserable – the hallmark of pet allergies – often becomes irritable, snappish, Continue reading