TRACIE HOTCHNER: THE NEW DOG FLU – WHAT YOU REALLY NEED TO KNOW

newtraciepic2By now you’ve probably heard about the brand new H3N2 strain of dog flu that has swept through Chicago, sickening and killing dogs. Halo’s own veterinary expert, Dr. Donna Spector, happens to practice in Chicago, where she is a board certified internist so I asked for her help in giving us reliable, up-to-date information.

She generously got out of her own sickbed with the (human) flu to record a special edition of our show THE EXPERT VET. What is actually known at this point is that over 1,000 cases of this flu have been officially reported, but Dr. Donna points out that is likely only a fraction of the actual cases because not all vet clinics take the time to make reports – most are too busy trying to deal with the overload of sick animals seeking care. Five dogs are reported to have died from this flu, but that number, too, is probably under-reported.

Many doggy daycare and boarding facilities in and around the Chicago area are closed down – dogs in close proximity to each other are the ones at risk of passing the disease, which is what happened with racing Greyhounds in Florida with a known strain of dog flu—H3N8—for which a vaccine was developed, but which likely offers no protection against this newly identified virus.

In the pod cast Dr. Donna cautions that this dog flu is so contagious that if you have a sick dog you should not even walk or carry your dog into a vet’s office in order to minimize exposure to other dogs and cats (yes, this virus is capable of infecting cats as well!). It is advised to keep your dog in your car until the clinic staff directs you further. Many vet clinics evaluate and treat affected dogs only in an isolation area or an area specifically set aside for dogs with flu.

DFF-logo-ProudSponsor175x166We do not want to cause panic or unnecessary paranoia, but given the severity of this flu I feel an obligation to give an accurate picture of the seriousness of this outbreak and what we each can do to protect ourselves, our dogs and the larger community.

This flu is way worse than just a “dog cold.” Since the outbreak happened, round-the-clock testing by scientists at many universities, The National Veterinary Services Laboratories and the CDC has unveiled that this heretofore unknown canine influenza was originally an avian flu that has been infecting dogs (and cats, Dr. Donna tells us) in Asia since 2007. Now it has traveled here to the epicenter of the U.S. Will it sweep across the country and endanger dogs everywhere?

The bigger issue, which is why the Centers for Disease Control is involved, is whether humans will eventually be at risk from this flu – given that influenza outbreaks in the human population can be deadly to the very young and the very old. The disturbing fact is that this flu has already transformed and made a “mammalian adaptation:” it went from infecting birds to causing the virus in mammals.

Will this deadly flu become like the previous avian (bird) flu in Asia and the swine flu in England? If you recall, both of those animal illnesses did transform into sickness that could affect people and resulted in the slaughter of millions of chickens and ducks in China and millions of pigs in England and elsewhere.

Please do listen to the special pod cast we made for you at Radio Pet Lady Network:

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Tracie Hotchner is the author of THE DOG BIBLE: Everything Your Dog Wants You to Know and THE CAT BIBLE: Everything Your Cat Expects You to Know.

She is also a renowned pet radio host and producer, having spent 7 years on the Martha Stewart Channel of Sirius/XM with CAT CHAT® and even longer with her award-winning NPR radio show DOG TALK® (and Kitties, Too!) that continues to broadcast in the Hamptons and the Berkshires. Her most recent accomplishment is the pet talk radio network she has created on the Internet called The Radio Pet Lady Network.

Posted in Dr Donna Spector, Guest Blogger, Natural Dog Food, Pet Health, Pet Nutrition, Talk Radio, Tracie Hotchner | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

HALO CUSTOMER REVIEW: VIGOR CANNED CAT FOOD

FullSizeRenderWe recently received this message from Lori about her cat Buddah:

“Just to let you know that this is the only canned food that doesn’t make my cat vomit.

He has food allergies and it was difficult to find hypoallergenic cat food that he would actually eat, but he LOVES Halo Vigor……. And no vomiting!!!!!

You can use my statement as a testimonial to help other cat owners and their beloved pets.

Thank You Ellen!!!!!”

Thank you Lori and we are so happy to hear that Buddah is doing well and enjoying Halo Vigor.

Posted in Caroline Chang, Cat Food, Holistic Cat Food, Natural Pet Food, Testimonials | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

HALO COUPONS FOR APRIL

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For blog readers, newsletter subscribers, Twitter followers and Facebook fans only, we’re happy to offer this month’s store coupons for Halo products!

Remember, these coupons are only valid at stores where Halo is sold.

For Halo store locations, enter your zip/postal code here. Products sell out fast, so please call ahead to make sure your nearest retailer has what you need (if not, they can usually order it for you quickly).

Featured Coupons
$7 off any bag of Vigor
$2 off any can of Vigor
$4 any bag of Halo Grain-Free food
$5 off any 28 lb. bag of Halo Dog Food
$3 off any Halo Grooming product
$3 off any Halo Supplement
$2.50 off any Halo chew or treat

Posted in Caroline Chang, Natural Dog Food, Natural Pet Care, Natural Pet Food, Natural Pet Products, Natural Pet Treats | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

ONE-EARED CAT PAINTS AND RAISES MONEY FOR RESCUE

cat-art-lgWhen a one-eared cat arrived at the Mayhew Animal Home, in Kensal Green, London, the staff named her Van Gogh, after the one-eared artist, Vincent Van Gogh.

But when rescue workers discovered that Van Gogh the cat has a penchant for painting it turns out the name was even more perfect for her!

According to the Telegraph, to protect her paws, Van Gogh paints with fruit juice. The staff jokes, “you could say she’s going through her orange period as an artist.”

Van Gogh’s paintings are available for sale to benefit the Mayhew Animal Home.


Click here to read the complete story
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Posted in Caroline Golon, Pet Stories | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

DR. NICHOLAS DODMAN: SUBMISSIVE URINATION … A WEE PROBLEM THAT IS OH SO EASY TO FIX

101118_4177_dodman154.jpgWhen I adopted my dog Rusty from a shelter at age 8 months it didn’t take me 5 minutes to recognize that he was a submissive urinator. When he greeted me, my wife, or strangers at the door, he would wiggle like a worm – in pure pleasure – as he dribbled urine in interesting and extensive patterns on the hardwood floor.

I knew what that meant – it was really a great compliment; a sign of excitement and flat out respect – but peeing on greeting was not a routine I relished.

Having to get down on your knees and mop up urine every time I came home – or someone came to my house – became quite tedious after a surprisingly short time. Enough already, I was thought to myself and implemented the program outlined below. Sure I was happy to be his fearless master, (in his mind) one to be worshiped and kowtowed to, but I did not want or need such extreme supplication every time I came home.

Submissive urination is a behavior problem that some people just can’t or won’t tolerate. It can even lead to dogs being surrendered to a shelter – or returned post-adoption – yet is so simple to fix.

Here’s how to deal with it:
1. Do not walk directly toward the dog when entering the home or approaching it.
2. Do not look directly into the dogs eyes as direct eye contact is often construed as a challenge or threat by a dog.
3. Do not lean or loom over the dog as this action constitutes a challenge. Remain upright and simply ignore the little feller.
4. Do not reach for the dog’s collar or scruff. That will really intimidate the “you-know-what” out of him.
5. Build your dog’s confidence. I do this using what I call a “reverse dominance program.”
6. For really tough cases, medicines to tighten bladder sphincters can be employed (similar to the ones used to treat bed wetting in children) so that leaking urine is less likely.

Submissive urination should never be interpreted as an act of defiance, because it’s not. Quite the reverse, in fact. It’s clearly not the same as routine house soiling — when dogs have simply not been properly trained to “go” outside. And can’t be trained away using the usual “house breaking” methods. I saw a cartoon that explained submissive urination in a nutshell. The drawing showed a dog on the psychiatrist’s couch saying, “If I’m being honest with myself, they’re not really accidents.” And that’s the way it is with submissive urination – no accident, just sending a signal of respect and deference.


Click here to read the complete article
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Dr. Dodman is a Professor in the Department of Clinical Sciences at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine and Director of the school’s Animal Behavior Clinic. He is also Chief Scientific Officer for the CENTER FOR CANINE BEHAVIOR STUDIES. He has written over 100 scientific articles and several popular press books, including The Dog Who Loved Too Much and The Cat Who Cried for Help.

Posted in Dr. Nicholas Dodman, Dr. Nicholas Dodman, pet adoption, Pet Shelters | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment