This is default featured slide 1 title
This is default featured slide 2 title
This is default featured slide 3 title
This is default featured slide 4 title
This is default featured slide 5 title

As winter leads into spring, there are other safety concerns that you should be aware of regarding your pets. One of the main concerns involves lawn and garden products. Fertilizers can be very harmful and even deadly to pets so be sure to keep these products out of reach. Follow the directions on the fertilizer bag to the T! 

Feline Agility: a Fun New Sport for Cats

Nearly everyone is aware of dog agility, an exciting sport where sure-footed canines race through an obstacle course comprised of tunnels, weave poles, hoops, hurdles, teeter totters and more. It’s entertaining to watch as they maneuver up, over, through and around the obstacles with lightning fast speed and “dogged” determination. Can you imagine cats being trained to run such a course?

Many people can’t, because they think cats are haughty creatures who would never do anything on command, let along jump through hoops or over barriers. I can picture it though, because I’ve seen entire troupes of cats perform all sorts of tricks at cat shows, on television and in youtube videos. I’ve also looked into training catsand have written about it for this blog. Knowing what I know, that cats are definitely trainable, feline agility competitions are not nearly as farfetched as they might seem.

The History of Cat Agility

When dog agility was first introduced more than 30 years ago, as a spectator event at the Crufts Dog Show in London, it was loosely modeled on equestrian stadium jumpers.  Since then, agility has become one of the most popular dog sports, with competitions held worldwide.

Much like dog agility, a cat agility course is designed to display a feline’s speed, coordination, physical prowess and intelligence. It also showcases the trust and depth of the relationship between cats and their owners (handlers) who train them and guide them through the obstacle course.

The first feline agility competition was held in Portland, Oregon in February 2005 as part of a CFA cat show. “Let the Cats Entertain You” had 45 competing felines, both pedigreed and non-pedigreed, from kittens to adults. The novel event was a big hit with exhibitors, participants and spectators alike, and everyone enjoyed cheering on their favorite cat. Because agility events are open to any cat, the household pets compete alongside the grand championship show cats, and often upstage them. When it comes to cat agility, a pedigree is no guarantee of a win.

How Cat Agility Differs from Dog Agility

The obstacles used for cat agility courses are similar to those used for dog agility, but they’re smaller, for obvious reasons. Another difference is that while dogs are expected to navigate an unpredictable obstacle course by following the commands of their handler, cats are led around a circular course by handlers using a toy on a stick or a laser pointer.

Some cats run the course quickly and confidently, while others take their time and thoroughly inspect each obstacle before tackling it. Depending on the curiosity level of a particular cat, they can complete the agility course in just a couple of minutes, to 15 minutes or more.

How to Get Started in Cat Agility

Training cats for agility requires patience, practice, determination, respect and affection, along with a supply of cat treats. The most successful agility cats love to play, have an outgoing personality, and are in tip-top physical condition. You don’t need any special equipment to begin training your cat for agility – you can practice in your home by leading them over the bed and around the table legs, or having them jump from one chair to another.

Take the time to understand the body language of cats, develop good communication with your cat and form a strong bond with them. Most of all, make the agility course fun, like a giant kitty playground. I’ve seen pictures of agility cats in action, and it does look like they are enjoying themselves.

If you’re interested in entering or watching a cat agility event, the CFA show schedule has information on which cat shows will have agility (look for the logo of the three jumping cats). The website for the International Cat Agility Tournament (ICAT) also has information on this cool new sport for felines who are unfazed by crowds, loud cheering and unfamiliar settings. I already know my shy kitties would not put up with any of that, so I guess I’ll have to get my cat agility fix on youtube.

World’s Smartest Dog Jesse performs Amazing Dog Tricks

How to Choose an Acrylic Bird Cage

Acrylic bird cages can be mass produced or custom made. They can be found at local pet stores or large chains such as PetsMart or PetCo. They are also available at department stores, such as Wal-Mart. At times, acrylic bird cages can even be found at discount stores, such as Family Dollar or Dollar General.

Congratulations. Youve decided to buy a bird, and you even know what kind. Youve gone so far as to pick out a name for your new feathered friend. The hard part is over, right? Wrong. You still have to find a cage for little Polly. You will be amazed by the number of bird cages to choose from. Bird cages are available in many different sizes, styles, and price ranges. They come in a variety of materials, such as wood, iron, metal, and stainless steel.

One option for materials is acrylic. Acrylic bird cages are relatively inexpensive and readily available. Though acrylic bird cages are popular, some customers report that they are not as durable as metal or stainless steel. Others say that birds are unable to climb on acrylic bird cages. This could keep your bird from getting an adequate amount of exercise.

Acrylic bird cages can be mass produced or custom made. They can be found at local pet stores or large chains such as PetsMart or PetCo. They are also available at department stores, such as Wal-Mart. At times, acrylic bird cages can even be found at discount stores, such as Family Dollar or Dollar General. Another option for buying acrylic bird cages is online pet stores. They can range from about $20 for a small mass produced cage to over a thousand dollars for a large custom designed cage.

CHIPPED PETS DEVELOP FAST-GROWING, LETHAL TUMORS

Owners, Medical Reports Point to Link Between RFID Chips and Cancers in Canines

SeamusHighly aggressive tumors developed around the microchip implants of two American dogs, killing one of the pets and leaving the other terminally ill. Their owners — and pathology and autopsy reports — have suggested a link between the chips and the formation of the fast-growing cancers.

In the town of Paeonian Springs, Va., a five-year-old male Bullmastiff named Seamus died in February, nine months after developing a “hemangio-sarcoma” — a rare, malignant form of cancer that strikes connective tissues and can kill even humans in three to six months. The tumor appeared last May between the dog’s shoulder blades where a microchip had been implanted; by September, a “large mass” had grown with the potential to spread to the lungs, liver and spleen, according a pathology report from the Blue Ridge Veterinary Clinic in Purcellville, Va.

Originally scheduled to receive just a biopsy, Seamus underwent emergency surgery. A foot-long incision was opened to extract the 4-pound-3-ounce tumor, and four drains were needed to remove fluid where the tumor had developed.

When Howard Gillis, the dog’s owner, picked up his pet the following day, the attending veterinarian stunned him with this question: Did you know your dog had been microchipped twice, and that both chips were in or around the tumor?

“While we knew of one chip, which we had put in him at a free local county clinic, we knew nothing of a second chip,” Gillis said. “We believe one of them was put in Seamus by the breeder from whom we bought him when he was about nine months old.”

By December, the cancer was back — and the energetic, playful 150-pound dog was huffing and puffing, struggling to walk. Seamus “was 150 pounds of heart,” Gillis said in a recent interview. “He wanted to live.”

Gillis said he “got the microchip because I didn’t want him stolen. I thought I was doing right. There were never any warnings about what a microchip could do, but I saw it first-hand. That cancer was something I could see growing every day, and I could see it taking his life … It just ate him up.” To keep his beloved dog from suffering further, he had him put to sleep two months later.
ScottyIn Memphis, a five-year-old Yorkshire Terrier named Scotty was diagnosed with cancer at the Cloverleaf Animal Clinic in December. A tumor between the dog’s shoulder blades — precisely where a microchip had been embedded — was described as malignant lymphoma. A tumor the size of a small balloon was removed; encased in it was a microchip.

Scotty was given no more than a year to live.

But the dog’s owner, Linda Hawkins, wasn’t satisfied with just a prognosis: She wanted to know whether the presence of the microchip had anything to do with Scotty’s illness. Initially, her veterinarian was skeptical that a chip implant could trigger cancer; research has shown that vaccine injections in dogs and cats can lead to tumors.

In a December pathology report on Scotty, Evan D. McGee wrote: “I was previously suspicious of a prior unrelated injection site reaction” beneath the tumor. “However, it is possible that this inflammation is associated with other foreign debris, possibly from the microchip.”

Observing the glass-encapsulated tag under a microscope, he noted it was partially coated with a translucent material, normally used to keep embedded microchips from moving around the body. “This coating could be the material inciting the inflammatory response,” McGee wrote.
Scotty incisionHawkins sent the pathology report to HomeAgain, the national pet recovery and identification network that endorses microchipping of pets. After having a vet review the document, the company said the chip did not cause Scotty’s tumor — then in January sent Hawkins a $300 check to cover her clinical expenses, no questions asked.

“I find it hard to believe that a company will just give away $300 to somebody who calls in, unless there is something bad going on,” Hawkins says.

Having spent $4,000 on medical treatment for Scotty since December, Hawkins accepted the money. But she says it hardly covers her $900 monthly outlays for chemotherapy and does little to ease her pet’s suffering.

“Scotty is just a baby. He won’t live the 15 years he’s supposed to …I did something I thought a responsible pet owner should — microchip your pet — and to think that it killed him … It just breaks your heart.”

Scotty and Seamus aren’t the only pets to have suffered adverse reactions from microchips. Published reports have detailed malignant tumors in two other chipped dogs; in one dog, the researchers said cancer appeared linked to the presence of the embedded chip; in the other, the cancer’s cause was uncertain.
Charlie BrownLast year, a Chihuahua bled to death in the arms of his distraught owners in Agua Dulce, Calif., just hours after undergoing a chipping procedure. The veterinarian who performed the chipping confirmed that dog died from blood loss associated with the microchip.

In another case, a kitten died instantly when a microchip was accidentally injected into its brain stem. And in another, a cat was paralyzed when an implant entered its spinal column. The implants have been widely reported to migrate within animals’ bodies, and can cause abscesses and infection.

In 2007, The Associated Press reported on a series of veterinary and toxicology studies that found that microchip implants had “induced” malignant tumors in some lab animals. Published in veterinary and toxicology journals between 1996 and 2006, the studies found that between 1 and 10 percent of lab mice and rats injected with microchips developed malignant tumors, most of them encasing the implants.

Cookouts and family reunions are great activities this time of year.  However, the food we often enjoy at these events can make pets sick and even cause Pancreatitis, which is a very serious disease.  We want to remind you to bring plenty of food and treats for your pets so they can join in the fun without risking a stomachache or other illness later. 

Unlikely Friends

Christmas Pet Safety

“My pet would never eat food off the table!”
“My pet would never knock over the Christmas tree!”
“My pet would never bite someone!”
We all know our pets pretty well, but what we don’t always realize is that stress can make anybody do crazy things! When you have holiday guests or flashing Christmas lights or loud holiday music—or all of the above—at your house all at once, your pet may get stressed and frustrated, causing them to act out in unexpected ways. Most pet accidents are met with the statement, “He’s never done anything like that before!”

We recommend always making sure that your pet has a safe place to sit and relax during your holidays parties. Just like some people, pets need to get away from the action and de-stress, but most of the time they don’t know how to ask for their space. If your pet is comfortable in their crate, we recommend moving it into a quiet room and letting them spend some time resting during your holiday get-togethers. Your pet will be happier, and by extension, you and your guests will be happier! And holiday disasters will be prevented.  

Teamwork has never been more adorable.

Intro to Weight Pulling, a Fun Sport for Dogs

There are many dog lovers out there competing in various different events. Back in 2009, I found one that sparked my interest: weight pulling. This dog sport has been around for a while, although it’s not as popular as conformation, agility, obedience and dock jumping. Weight pulling involves strength and endurance, but it also creates an amazing bond between an owner and their pet!

Overview

Most dog owners are unaware of this interesting sport. Any breed of dog can compete or just have a good time with it. From the smallest toy poodle to the biggest Great Dane, each dog has fun and gains confidence and athleticism. It usually involves a dog in a specially designed harness, hooked up to a sled, cart or rail type system. The dog is then given a command that the owner chooses to get the dog to pull forward. Typically, the object being pulled has to be accomplished 16 ft in 60 seconds or less.

The Beginning

When I start training my dogs for this sport, they just wear a harness around. This helps them get accustomed to wearing the harness and the noise of it clinking around. From there, I have attached a milk jug to the D ring on the back with rocks inside. That’s a great way to get noise going on back there, while walking them around on leash. A buckle collar is the only one I train with. It is the only collar approved for competition, and it’s safe. Chokers and other types of training collars to me get in the way or cause too much correction. Remember, it should be something happy for the dog. Any negative feedback will cause a dog to not want to pull.

The Next Step

Drag sleds are helpful endurance gaining tools. They are usually metal, with a pole in the middle for an easy way to place weights. Never make your dog drag weight that’s more than what they weigh for long periods of time. When you are out training your dog, always keep the leash on them and step in front of them in the beginning and teach a command. Always keep this command the same. If you switch it up too much or get frustrated, it will just frustrate your dog and confuse them. I like the word “pull” or “work” but whatever works for you and your dog is great.

A drag session should be very light for a young dog, 5 or 10 lbs for bigger dogs and much less for the little guys. If you have a small dog, a simple small chain from your local hardware store will work just fine. But always make sure the dog isn’t struggling. Round weights are needed for a typical drag sled, although I have used a small kids snow sled in the past with weight on top. Puppies have to finish growing, so putting too much stress on their joints at a young age is never a good thing.

Advancing

Do some research online. Try and find a local club in your area and see if they have a set up to train. Talk to other dog owners and network possible training opportunities. There are several well known organizations out there to begin with if you are looking to compete.

Taking your time is very important. Have fun with it and remember about the bond it can create and the fun your dog will have. It is very important to understand how to train and to be positive with your dog at all times! It’s you and your dog on the track together, no one else.

My Experience

My experience with weight pulling started in 2009. My dog Panda was my 1st dog I ever attempted to pull. She wore the harness around for a few months and had some drag weight experience before we went to our 1st competition. Here comes the reason to stay positive! Panda and I attended an event, 3 days of weight pulling on a rail system. She went up for her 1st turn, she stood there, turned around, jumped up on the cart and licked all the cart handlers. She did that all 3 days but I kept it positive, each time walking her through pulling the cart the 16 feet. After that she sailed on!

We started attending more events. She obtained her 1st weight pull title shortly after, then another and another and another! She earned 7 new weight pull titles from January 2010 to January 2011. After that long year of traveling, Panda had earned a Most Weight Pulled award, pulling the most weight for dogs under 60 lbs, and earned a Most Weight Pulled Per Body Pound award, pulling the most weight per body lb than any dog under 60 lbs there. She also finished off 2010 as the # 6 American Pit Bull Terrier UKC Weight Pull All Star. Her personal best pull is 4,213 lbs and she weighs in at 45 lbs.

Other than good training, what got us to this point? CANIDAE ALS has done wonderful, amazing things for Panda and my other dogs. Weight pulling is just one of the sports Panda participates in, and CANIDAE food keeps her healthy, fit and gives her all the energy she needs to compete and just be her happy self. I hope you have gained some new information from this and have happy, healthy dogs!

March is Poison Prevention Month

March is Poison Prevention Month. Did you know that some of the most common household items that poison pets include human medication, both prescription and over the counter? With over 25,000 reported cases of pets poisoned by eating human medicine, it’s important to exercise extreme caution when it comes to storing these items! Keep your medications high up on shelves and closed inside cabinets, where your pet cannot access them. It’s also important to open bottles over counters so that any dropped pills don’t end up on the floor where they can be snapped up by a curious pet. Use precaution, and give your pet a long, healthy life.
 

He loves helping out around the house!

Dogs & Easter Eggs

Easter egg hunts are so much fun for kids, and sometimes even for adults! Finding that brightly colored egg stuffed with a surprise is exciting! But don’t forget the dangers of failing to find an egg that’s been stuffed with candy. Your dog leads with their nose, and if you don’t find it, your pet might! Consider stuffing your eggs with something safe for pets this year. If Fido finds them, he’ll be less likely to break them open and eat what’s inside.
 

Staff Spotlight for July

“Hi, I’m Norma, customer care coordinator.  I’ve been with Brookfield Animal Hospital since moving back to Connecticut in 2003.  I love my job! It’s not often that a person can say they look forward to going to work every morning, but, I honestly can!  The ability to make someones day a little less stressful, by helping ease their concerns for their pets crisis is a very rewarding thing, and one of the many reasons I enjoy working here.”