May 23, 2016 - Pet Care    No Comments

Close Call with a Miraculous Ending

It is hard to read this without feeling a chill. What a close call:

Vet intern spots tick just before paralyzed dog was to be euthanized

Was the dog suffering from Cancer? A spinal fracture? No…

A tick was found lodged behind Ollie’s ear, and Fate thought he may have picked it up on a recent camping trip.

The parasite was discovered just in the nick of time by a veterinary intern.

“He was in the room about to get put to sleep, and it was just pure grace that the people found something and decided to check it out further,” Fate explained.

“They have a neurotoxin in their saliva that prevents nerve transition to the muscles, and that takes time to build up in the body and cause paralysis like what we saw in Ollie,” Stone said.

In less than 10 hours after having the tick removed, Ollie the Collie was up and about — thank goodness. If there has ever been a more powerful reminder of the value of sharp eyes, of a willingness to run through all the possibilities, we’d certainly love to hear it!

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May 11, 2016 - Pet Care    No Comments

Am I Bad for Getting a Dog from a Breeder, 900th Edition

Another day, another “Am I bad for getting a dog from a breeder?” self-flagellation…

It has become a very tired conversation, but the answer provided in the link above is reasonable (though some of the numbers are questionable), and there is a wise reminder in the final sentence:

“Having a preference for one kind of dog (or person) is not morally equivalent to being hostile to all others.”

There is truth in this. Are you drawn to a specific breed because you have always loved that breed’s traits? Awesome! Does this mean you are hostile toward shelter dogs? It shouldn’t! Is your best friend a dog of unknown heritage that you bonded with while visiting the local shelter? Great! Does this mean you are hostile toward breeders and deliberately bred dogs? Again, it shouldn’t!

And really, we think this may be the ultimate niche issue: there are so many people out there who own — and love — multiple dogs from different backgrounds and sources without feeling a need to beat themselves up over it. It is a shame that otherwise thoughtful dog lovers are wracked with guilt over a simple matter of choice.

At the end of the day, as long as people are informed, behave ethically, and are able to put the interests of their dogs ahead of their egos, there are no bad choices.

 

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May 2, 2016 - Animal Husbandry    No Comments

Shout-out to the Canine Breeder Excellence Seminar at Penn Vet!

Dog breeders attending a conference at the University of Pennsylvania last weekend got one heck of a lesson in the finer points of animal husbandry:

[…] a serious, sophisticated group of about 40 dog breeders who had traveled from as far away as North Carolina to learn about reproduction, genetics, behavior, and the dog microbiome at a scientific conference at the University of Pennsylvania.

Serious and sophisticated? Do those adjectives sound snobby, maybe even a little cold? They shouldn’t — at the heart of the work so many purebred dog breeders put into the dogs they love is the “serious and sophisticated” knowledge offered by seminars like this!

Doing it the right way, with the health and well-being of your dogs and puppies (and their puppies’s puppies!) as prime concern is a lot more complicated than just “throwing two intact dogs together,” especially with the smaller populations many breeds of dogs are working with. How cool it is to see these breeders putting in the time and effort to ensure the best lives for their dogs — and how cool it is that there are so many opportunities like this available today!

 

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NYCLASS subpoenaed

Surprise, surprise…

NYCLASS, a key de Blasio donor, hit with subpoena in mayor fund-raising probe

A key donor to Mayor de Blasio’s fund-raising was subpoenaed Thursday, as it became clear the growing investigation is zeroing in on whether his campaign broke rules pursuing checks from powerful interests seeking favors from City Hall, the Daily News has learned.

For those of you who are out of the loop: NYCLASS is an animal rights organization that has been running a smear campaign against the carriage horse industry for the last 8 years, while de Blasio is the mayor of New York City who came into office inexplicably obsessed with banning the city’s iconic carriage horses (horses that receive excellent care and are loved by the public, we would like to add!). A very, very interesting coincidence indeed…

This is one developing story that is definitely worth following and sharing widely!

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Maryland Legislation: Anti-Research Wolf in Beagle’s Clothing

Unfortunately, due to legislation that is currently being considered, the state of Maryland may place onerous mandates on how institutions handle the adoption of dogs and cats following the completion of research studies.

HB 594

This legislation is duplicative of what is already required by the federal government, creating unnecessary hurdles in the path of the research community and their widely embraced practice of adopting out post-study animals.

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This legislation is also duplicitous. It is alarming that this legislation is being put forward by activist animal rights groups, such as the Beagle Freedom Project — the kind of groups whose threats have forced research institutions to shut down their adoption programs in the past due. This is not about animal welfare. What is happening here, is groups that want to end animal-based research are trying to write themselves into the adoption process as a way to use these animals as props, control the narrative, to pat themselves on the back and raise funds while “forcing” researchers to do something they are already doing! Hey, as long as we’re playing this game, why not pass a law that “forces” Five Guys to sell cheeseburgers?

Research with animals is critical for saving and improving human and animal lives, and helps us understand and treat a variety of cancers and disorders. This is why NAIA partners with Homes for Animal Heroes, which works with the research community to foster, train and place research animals in permanent, loving homes.

Learn more about this dangerous legislation in Maryland that would hinder the research community’s advancement in discovering important cures for our pets and families:

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Mar 29, 2016 - Human-Animal Bond    No Comments

Healing Horses

In a very cool story out of Mississippi, horses are a source of healing for veterans.

Oak View Stables, partnering with the VA, allows military veterans — some without any prior hands-on experience — to a groom, handle, and ride their horses; interactions that not only create a bond between veteran and horse, but have the power to heal:

“Animals have a healing power. They don’t judge. They listen. They’re gentle giants,” said Jeremiah Shields, Army veteran.

Very true.

Dogs so often take the spotlight when it comes to the realms of work, therapy, service, or simply companionship; it can be easy to forget the importance of horses and the amazing bond we share with them… but it is always great to be reminded!

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Mar 25, 2016 - Pet Care    No Comments

Amazing Lifetime Study of 3,000 Golden Retrievers

San Jose dogs, owners join DNA studies to help find cures

3,000 Golden Retrievers and their owners are participating in a lifetime study for the Morris Animal Foundation, with the goal of finding out why (and eventually how to prevent) so many of them get cancer. The dogs will be checked on regularly, their owners tracking everywhere they go, everything they eat, taking samples, and dutifully sending in the data.

GoldenRetriever

This is the kind of thing we love to see! And what an inspiring undertaking! This research coupled with breeders sharing their own data can and will lead to great advances in both canine and human health.

Also worth noting, given the current rhetorical climate as it relates to purebred dogs and canine health:

Despite golden retrievers’ high vulnerability to cancer, Anita Oberbauer, a geneticist at UC Davis, has found that purebreds as a whole are not less healthy than mixed breeds.

Oberbauer’s team analyzed over 27,000 dogs through electronic records and compared the frequency of genetic diseases in mutts versus purebred pups. She found that mixed breeds suffered just as much as pure breeds from 13 disorders, including hip dysplasia and cancer. In a follow-up study, the researchers found that increased vulnerability to other diseases did not apply to all purebred dogs but only to certain subgroups.

For example, the fact that golden retrievers are especially vulnerable to cancer does not mean all purebreds are. Because studies tend to focus on purebred dogs rather than mixed breeds, diseases in mutts get less play.

Fascinating and inspiring stuff!

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NAIA Applauds the Iditarod!

The competitive start of the Iditarod starts in about two-and-a-half hours in Willow, Alaska!

It is more than the “last great race” — as mushers and dogs work as a team braving nature they are also paying tribute to important role sled dogs have played in Alaska’s history (for a great example, read about the Great Race of Mercy). We salute the people who keep, breed, train, and compete with these amazing dogs and the traditions they uphold!

Check out the infographic below for some quick facts about the Iditarod (man, that’s a lot of calories!):

 

Iditarod Infographic-v4

 

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Feb 9, 2016 - Shelter & Rescue    No Comments

Colorado Holding Rescue Transports Accountable

Colorado showing leadership.

With tens of thousands of dogs being imported into Colorado by rescues each year — and a corresponding increase in diseases and illnesses — a well-known rescue transporter has been asked by the Department of Agriculture’s Pet Animal Care and Facilities Act to get a pet handler’s’ license. This is something that adds a layer of basic accountability and humane/health requirements, such as allowing transported dogs out of their crates for a walk every six hours (anybody who sells, transfers, adopts, breeds, boards, trains or grooms, shelters or rescues may need to be licensed, though there has been no pressing need to enforce it until recently). As of today, instead of getting a pet handler’s license, they simply aren’t importing dogs into Colorado anymore. This is a very telling response.

At NAIA, we strongly urge people who are looking to get a rescue dog to choose from their own community (or AKC parent club rescue networks) whenever possible, and we believe regulations that protect public health and the humane treatment of animals should apply to everybody.

Furthermore, we also believe that issues of surplus dogs and owner retention can only be effectively solved when dealt with at the source; transport is, at best, akin to bailing water from a sinking boat, at worst a cynical marketing scheme that perpetuates tragic conditions and outcomes for dogs.

 

No matter your stated intentions, everybody needs to be accountable for the health and humane treatments of the animals in their care.

No matter the stated intentions, everybody must be accountable for the health and humane treatments of the animals in their care.

 

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Remember the Breeders!

In light of the ridiculous outrage over a shelter director *gasp* buying a Collie from a breeder, and the petitions and attacks from online activists (two of whom have now been cited for harassment, by the way), it is easy to get mired in that totalitarian absurdity, to respond with outrage of one’s own, to point out the contradictions and inevitable extinction (usually unintentional) of healthy, well-adjusted dogs that awaits us at the end of the activists’ road…

But do not stare too long into that abyss, move in the positive, hakuna matata (ok, maybe worry a little)… let us never forget that there are so many wonderful things good breeders have to offer! It may be stated regularly, but it can never be stated enough:

Our communities need reputable, responsible breeders. They work hard to screen their dogs for diseases, to eliminate health problems, to protect and preserve the breeds they serve, and they provide us with with healthy, well-tempered dogs. And no matter what the activists try to tell you, remember that these people do not contribute to the number of homeless dogs; a good breeder sells on a contract and will take back a dog from an owner who can not or will not provide proper care. A great many of them also work in breed rescue, which helps keep dogs out of shelters.

People want dogs. You could argue that people need dogs. So guess what? Without breeders, people are still going to sell dogs to one another — the only difference being that pet sales would be driven underground. No regulation, sales taking place in the shadows with no contracts, guarantees, or accountability — the prime concern being to simply “move the merchandise.” Isn’t this exactly what we don’t want?

And speaking of serving their communities, remember that breeders not only provide companions, but also service dogs that help our police, military, and fellow citizens with special needs.

We, too, are appalled by the intolerance of people who would deny a shelter director her choice of dog, but we will never forget to applaud all of the passionate breeders who provide us with loving, healthy pets.

Thank you!

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