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Dog Wagging From Left To Right And What It Means

November 1, 2013

You might think a wagging tail is a wagging tail, but for dogs there is more to it than that.

Dogs recognize and respond differently when their fellow canines wag to the right than they do when they wag to the left. The findings reported in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on October 31 show that dogs, like humans, have asymmetrically organized brains, with the left and right sides playing different roles.

The discovery follows earlier work by the same Italian research team, which found that dogs wag to the right when they feel positive emotions (upon seeing their owners, for instance) and to the left when they feel negative emotions (upon seeing an unfriendly dog, for example). That biased tail-wagging behavior reflects what is happening in the dogs’ brains. Left-brain activation produces a wag to the right, and right-brain activation produces a wag to the left.

But does that tail-wagging difference mean something to other dogs? Yes it does, the new study shows.

While monitoring their reactions, the researchers showed dogs videos of other dogs with either left- or right-asymmetric tail wagging. When dogs saw another dog wagging to the left, their heart rates picked up and they began to look anxious. When dogs saw another dog wagging to the right, they stayed perfectly relaxed.

“The direction of tail wagging does in fact matter, and it matters in a way that matches hemispheric activation,” says Giorgio Vallortigara of the Center for Mind/Brain Sciences of the University of Trento. “In other words, a dog looking to a dog wagging with a bias to the right side — and thus showing left-hemisphere activation as if it was experiencing some sort of positive/approach response — would also produce relaxed responses. In contrast, a dog looking to a dog wagging with a bias to the left — and thus showing right-hemisphere activation as if it was experiencing some sort of negative/withdrawal response — would also produce anxious and targeting responses as well as increased cardiac frequency. That is amazing, I think.”

Vallortigara doesn’t think that the dogs are necessarily intending to communicate those emotions to other dogs. Rather, he says, the bias in tail wagging is likely the automatic byproduct of differential activation of the left versus the right side of the brain. But that’s not to say that the bias in wagging and its response might not find practical uses; veterinarians and dog owners might do well to take note.

“It could be that left/right directions of approach could be effectively used by vets during visits of the animals or that dummies could be used to exploit asymmetries of emotional responses,” Vallortigara says.

Content Source: Science Daily

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Dog lost by Air Canada dead

October 28, 2013

Retired dog breeder Jutta Kulic speaks about the death of her dog after it was lost by Air Canada

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600 Dog Deaths After Consuming Treats From China

600 Dog Deaths After Consuming Jerky Treats From China

October 27, 2013

Reports of illnesses in 3,600 dogs and 10 cats in the United States

The Food and Drug Administration is investigating the deaths of almost 600 dogs that ate jerky treats made in China. The F.D.A. said it had received reports of illnesses in 3,600 dogs and 10 cats in the United States since 2007, and that 580 dogs had died from the treats, which were sold under a variety of brand names. Pet owners and veterinarians have sent in reports of kidney failure, gastrointestinal bleeding and a rare kidney disorder, the F.D.A. said. The agency is appealing to pet owners and veterinarians for more information on animals that may have gotten ill after eating the treats. Pets can experience a decreased appetite, decreased activity, vomiting and diarrhea, among other symptoms within hours of eating jerky tenders or strips made of chicken, duck, sweet potatoes or dried fruit.

Read More Follow up from FDA

Contents Source: NYTIMES

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Dog Behaviour Offers Insight Into Owner’s Health

October 9, 2013

Monitoring dog behaviour could be used as an early warning sign that an older owner is struggling to cope or their health is deteriorating.

Experts at Newcastle University, UK, are using movement sensors to track normal dog behaviour while the animals are both home alone and out-and-about.

Providing a unique insight into the secret life of man’s best friend, the sensors show not only when the dog is on the move, but also how much he is barking, sitting, digging and other key canine behaviours.

By mapping the normal behaviour of a healthy, happy dog, Dr Cas Ladha, PhD student Nils Hammerla and undergraduate Emma Hughes were able to set a benchmark against which the animals could be remotely monitored. This allowed for any changes in behaviour which might be an indication of illness or boredom to be quickly spotted.

Presenting their findings at the 2013 UbiComp conference in Zurich, project lead Ladha, says the next step is to use the dog’s health and behaviour as an early warning system that an elderly owner may be struggling to cope.

“A lot of our research is focussed on developing intelligent systems that can help older people to live independently for longer,” explains Ladha, who is based in Newcastle University’s Culture Lab.

“But developing a system that reassures family and carers that an older relative is well without intruding on that individual’s privacy is difficult. This is just the first step but the idea behind this research is that it would allow us to discretely support people without the need for cameras.”

Behaviour imaging expert Nils Hammerla adds: “Humans and dogs have lived together in close proximity for thousands of years, which has led to strong emotional and social mutual bonds.

“A dog’s physical and emotional dependence on their owner means that their well being is likely reflect that of their owner and any changes such as the dog being walked less often, perhaps not being fed regularly, or simply demonstrating ‘unhappy’ behaviour could be an early indicator for families that an older relative needs help.”

How the technology works

In the UK, around 30% of households own at least one pet dog, totaling an estimated 10.5 million animals.

Designed to provide an indicator of animal welfare in an age when dogs are increasingly left alone for long periods of time, the team created a hi-tech, waterproof dog collar complete with accelerometer and collected data for a wide range of dog breeds.

“In order to set the benchmark we needed to determine which movements correlated to particular behaviours, so in the initial studies, as well as the collars, we also set up cameras to record their behaviour,” explains Ladha.

Analysing the two datasets, the Newcastle team were able to classify 17 distinct dog activities such as barking, chewing, drinking, laying, shivering and sniffing.

The team also assessed the system against different breeds.

“This had to work for all dogs,” explains Ladha, “so the challenge was to map distinct behaviours that correlated whether the collar was being worn by a square-shouldered bulldog or a tiny chihuahua.”

Hammerla adds: “This is the first system of its kind which allows us to remotely monitor a dog’s behaviour in its natural setting.

“But beyond this it also presents us with a real opportunity to use man’s best friend as a discreet health barometer. It’s already well known that pets are good for our health and this new technology means dogs are supporting their older owners to live independently in even more ways than they already do.”

Content Source: Science daily

Photograph Credit: © Nataliya Kuznetsova / Fotolia)

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Wayne Klinkel says dog ate his money and U.S. Treasury paid up

October 4, 2013

Klinkel kept the bag of doggy mess frozen in the cold outside

A Montana man who pieced together the remnants of five $100 bills eaten by his one-eyed dog last year is sporting a $500 check he says he received this week from the U.S. Department of the Treasury to replace the digested funds.

Wayne Klinkel said his dog Sundance, a golden retriever, sniffed the wad of bills out of a car cubby space while waiting for Klinkel and his wife to return from lunch, and the canine made the currency his lunch.

Klinkel, a graphic designer from Helena, Montana, who works for the local newspaper, the Independent Record, said he found Sundance had left nothing uneaten but one intact dollar bill and a small piece of a single $100 note.

“He’s been notorious for eating paper products,” Klinkel said about Sundance. “I knew right away what had happened.”

Klinkel rescued Sundance as a puppy from a shelter 12 years ago and the dog later lost his left eye to surgery.

For days after the December incident, Klinkel followed Sundance around in the snow, collecting his droppings in a plastic bag, he said.

Klinkel kept the bag of doggy mess frozen in the cold outside his house, and after weeks of hesitation, he went forward with his plan for retrieving the soiled cash by thawing the droppings in a bucket of soapy water.

Using an old metal mining screen and a hose, he separated the $100 bill pieces from the rest of the matter, then washed and began to assemble the tiny paper fragments.

“It was sort of like putting the puzzle pieces back together,” Klinkel said.

He then took the taped bills to a local bank and the Federal Reserve in Helena but was turned away, he said. Klinkel was eventually directed to the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Mutilated Currency Division, where he mailed the digested bills with a notarized letter on April 15.

“There was no guarantee I was going to get anything back,” Klinkel said.

The Treasury Department offers reimbursement for some proven cases of damaged currency, and a standard claim can take up to two years to be processed, according to the department’s website.

“When mutilated currency is submitted, a letter should be included stating the estimated value of the currency and an explanation of how the currency became mutilated,” the website says.

Klinkel said he didn’t hear a word from the department until Monday, when he received a crisp $500 check in the mail from the Mutilated Currency Division to replace Sundance’s midday snack six months prior.

The Independent Record, the paper that employs Klinkel, has posted a picture on its website of Sundance with the check dangling from its mouth.

An operator with the U.S. Department of Treasury on Thursday said department representatives were furloughed and unavailable for comment on Klinkel’s reimbursement.

Content Source: Metro 41

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Canine Distemper Virus, is your dog protected?

September 28, 2013

Are your dogs up to date on there vaccines? Here is a quick look at the Canine Distemper Virus and how it can affect your pet.

What is canine distemper?

Canine distemper is a virus affecting dogs that is related to measles in humans. It cannot affect humans but causes a serious disease in dogs.

Where does it occur?

Canine distemper occurs worldwide and can affect wildlife, like raccoons and foxes, in addition to dogs.

How is it spread?

It is spread by close contact and aerosol spread. It is most common where dogs are housed together such as shelters, but can affect any dog.

What does it do?

It causes a severe respiratory disease, often with pneumonia, and can also infect the brain of some animals leading to death.

What can I do to protect my dog?

The most important action you can take is to make sure your dog is current on vaccines. There is a very effective vaccine to prevent disease due to canine distemper. It is important that all dogs be vaccinated against it.

Content Source: UT Veterinarian

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Survey attempts to number Detroit’s stray dogs

September 20, 2013

Detroit Dog Rescue captured and found homes for about 100 stray dogs last year.

DETROIT (AP) – It doesn’t matter to Jessie Clarke how many stray or loose dogs are roaming the ruins of Detroit. Even one or two are far too many.

On Clarke’s left arm is scar tissue from dozens of stitches used to close a gash ripped by two pit bulls that attacked the 65-year-old outside her east side home in April. Similar marks are on one of her legs.

“There was a lot of biting. There were a lot of stitches,” Clarke said from her dining room, looking through a window at the spot of the attack.

On Saturday and Sunday, volunteers will scour the city in an attempt to count the number of strays as part of an Internet documentary series. It also is seen as a first step in finding a way to humanely deal with what has become a disease and safety risk for residents as the strays breed, increasing their population even as the city’s population falls.

Detroit became the largest U.S. city to file for bankruptcy protection in July and is pinching pennies. State-appointed emergency manager Kevyn Orr says the city needs to find dollars to hire more “dog catchers.”

“It’s clearly a public safety issue,” he told The Associated Press. “We need to fund them at a higher level.”

Clarke and other city residents are aware that Detroit is home to packs of dogs – some vicious and wary of people – that find haven in vacant houses and buildings.

“If you are not getting rid of them, what are you going to do?” she said. “You can’t round them all up. You can tear down the vacant buildings, but where are the strays going to go? Up and down the street?”

About two months after Clarke was attacked, a teenager reported that she was bitten by three dogs that had escaped a yard. Loose dogs forced postal officials to suspend deliveries for about six weeks in a four-block area of northwest Detroit in 2007.

The department that handles dog complaints and rounds up strays had only six animal control officers at the start of the year, according to the Detroit Police Board of Commissioners. About 970 dogs are confiscated by officers or surrendered by the animals’ owners each year. Another 1,700 strays are captured annually, commissioners were told.

Thousands more are believed to live among the more than 30,000 vacant houses and abandoned buildings that dot Detroit’s 139 square miles, said Tom McPhee, a filmmaker and executive director of the Ann Arbor-based World Animal Awareness Society.

McPhee’s two-day canine survey is part of his American Strays research project, a documentary in syndication on the Internet.

Volunteers will take photos and use smartphones to count free-roaming dogs. Teams will not go onto private property or into abandoned structures to take the count, said McPhee, who hopes to use footage from the survey to produce a feature-length documentary about Detroit’s stray problem.

The Michigan Humane Society is not part of the survey, but some of its volunteers are participating and it’s interested in the results because it has no idea how many strays there are, said Ryan McTigue, society spokesman.

But Daniel Carlisle, founder and executive director of the nonprofit Detroit Dog Rescue, is unconvinced.

“I don’t think that counting – and not rescuing – makes any sense,” Carlisle said. “These dogs aren’t going to stand here and wait for you to count them.”

Carlisle said Detroit Dog Rescue captured and found homes for about 100 stray dogs last year. So far this year, he has done the same for about 150 strays.

Grants and donations pay for shots, spaying and neutering, boarding and feedings.

He blames irresponsible owners and a culture that sees breeding, selling or fighting the animals as a way to make a quick buck.

Detroit’s economic deterioration and high unemployment rate is partly to blame, Carlisle added.

“No one can afford to license their dogs. They shouldn’t have those dogs,” he said.

Content Source: By COREY WILLIAMS
Associated Press

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Toronto Veterinarians Give Murphy A Second Chance

September 20, 2013

Facial tumour removed from Murphy, a seven year old collie-cross

Murphy was brought to Dundas West Animal Hospital in Toronto on September 4, 2013. She had been abandoned by her previous owner who had left her in the care of a friend but never returned. Already having her hands full with a dog of her own, her foster care giver, Vanessa Dewitt, decided the best thing for Murphy was to try and find her a forever home. But Murphy had a distinct feature that made her different from other dogs. Murphy had a tumour about the size of an orange at the front of her mouth. Although Murphy maintained a friendly disposition in spite of it, it made eating and drinking difficult and she was unable to close her mouth. Knowing Murphy would need a special owner who could handle her special medical needs, Vanessa brought her to the Dundas West Animal Hospital to be enrolled in their pet adoption program.

When Murphy first arrived at the hospital, Dr. Scott Bainbridge was amazed at how well Murphy seemed to cope with the size and discomfort of her tumour, a testament to how animals can hide their pain. It was then decided to explore the possibility of removing it. A baseline was established for Murphy’s overall health including a full wellness exam and blood tests. When all of her test results came back favourably, Dr. Bainbridge called on friend and board certified surgeon, Dr. Devon Boyd from Central Toronto Veterinary Referral Clinic (a medicine and surgery referral and emergency hospital) to make the final call on whether or not it would be safe to remove Murphy’s tumour. A CT scan and biopsy confirmed what everyone had hoped, that the mass was indeed operable. On September 17th, Murphy underwent surgery and after successfully removing the mass, Murphy was able to close her mouth and use her tongue properly for the first time in years.the daily dog news Canada petitdogs.com

Dr. Bainbridge feels strongly about making sure pet owners understand the commitment of pet ownership, “Although Murphy is a unique case because of her tumour, there are many pets that lose their homes through no fault of their own. If you are considering pet ownership, please consider adopting from your local rescue group or humane society; and ask your local veterinarian for guidance in choosing the right pet for your lifestyle. Knowing what to expect out of pet ownership can help you make the best decision for you and your potential new family member.”

Murphy is a seven year old collie-cross and is described by the staff at Dundas West as a great dog that plays well with other dogs and is very friendly with everyone she meets. Murphy would do best in a home where she gets plenty of exercise as she still has quite a bit of energy for a seven year old!

Murphy must also have access to veterinary care as she will need weekly rechecks while she recovers from her surgery.

Potential adoptees for Murphy will be interviewed by the Dundas West Animal Hospital and references will be required. If you think you may have room in your home and/or family for this special girl, please email: info@dundaswestvets.comthe daily dog news Canada petitdogs.com

Content Source: Stock House

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Mass Dog Vaccination to Eradicate Rabies

September 20, 2013

Some rabies infections may not be lethal, but be especially wary of dog bites.

Last year a team of researchers from Peru and the U.S. made a discovery that challenged one of the most widely held assumptions about rabies—that the virus is nearly always fatal unless doctors administer a vaccine before it reaches the brain. Based on the results of blood tests, the scientists learned that half a dozen villagers in a remote part of the Peruvian Amazon had previously been infected—probably through bites from vampire bats, which are common in the area. But instead of suffering the agonizing deaths for which rabies is infamous, the villagers had recovered and apparently developed immunity to further infection.

The discovery put the Peruvians on a short list of people who have survived rabies without a vaccine. The best-known member of that select group is Jeanna Giese, a Wisconsin teenager who lived through the disease in 2004, also after contact with a bat. Out of desperation, Giese’s physician improvised a risky treatment that included putting the girl into a controlled coma, which apparently allowed her body enough time to destroy the microscopic intruder. Doctors have since refined the treatment, now known as the Milwaukee protocol, and tried it on at least 39 other never vaccinated patients. Five more people have survived.

The mixed success rates, and the 2012 Peruvian study, underscore how little scientists know about rabies, despite its long history as a menace to humanity. Based on accumulating evidence, though, researchers now recognize that not all rabies infections are equal or universally fatal. Many different animals, including dogs, bats, foxes and raccoons, carry various strains of the rabies virus. The varieties hosted by bats and foxes appear to be weaker, and some people’s immune systems may be able to defeat them without a vaccine. Dogs, however, carry a more virulent strain that has rarely been vanquished without medical intervention. To this day, canines remain the largest and most dangerous group of rabies carriers worldwide.

Even if doctors one day perfect a treatment for the later stages of rabies, the procedure would likely be complicated and expensive. Most public health experts think that the best way to control rabies is to vaccinate the most dangerous hosts: all domestic and stray dogs, particularly in the developing world. One such veterinary program in the Philippines has dramatically reduced deaths among humans, and others are under way in India and Tanzania.

Dreaded Disease

Rabies kills about 55,000 people every year worldwide—an admittedly smaller toll than, say, AIDS or influenza. The virus’s horrific reputation is nonetheless richly deserved. Symptoms emerge slowly in anywhere from a few weeks to—in rare cases—more than a year after contact with a rabid animal. The rabies virus crawls from nerve cell to nerve cell, eventually making its way from the site of the bite or wound to the brain. Fatigue, fever and chills gradually give way to hallucinations, anxiety, violent convulsions and the telltale foaming at the mouth once the virus reaches the salivary glands. Death is painful and terrifying, which is why standard medical practice calls for keeping patients sedated in the last phases of the disease.

Louis Pasteur’s development of a rabies vaccine in 1885 prevented such gruesome outcomes if doctors acted quickly. (More than a century later most rabies deaths in the industrial world—including one or two each year in the U.S.—occur because a bite was not recognized or not taken seriously.) But his success had an unintended consequence: as explained in the 2012 book Rabid: A Cultural History of the World’s Most Diabolical Virus (Viking Adult), rabies became a low priority for the budding field of biomedical research.

So when 15-year-old Giese entered Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in Milwaukee in 2004 with full-blown rabies, one month after a bite from a bat flitting around her church, there was still no successful treatment. She was feverish, semiconscious and jerking involuntarily.

Content Source: Scientific America

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Montreal SPCA seizes 90 dogs from South Shore puppy mill

September 13, 2013

Breeding dogs, puppies transferred to SPCA for medical attention

Ninety dogs seized from a large-scale commercial puppy mill breeding operation on Montreal’s South Shore are now in the care of Montreal’s SPCA, where they will receive medical attention.

The agency’s director of animal advocacy, Alanna Devine, says the animals were being kept in unacceptable conditions, and many have health problems.

The rescued dogs are mainly small breeds, including chihuahuas and Yorkshire terriers.

“Many of these mother dogs had likely been confined here for years, denied their most basic of needs,” said Rebecca Aldworth, executive director of Humane Society International/Canada, whose organization helped the SPCA with the seizure.

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Dogs seized from a commercial breeder on Montreal’s South Shore arrive at Montreal’s SPCA headquarters this afternoon. (CBC)

“When we walked into this facility, the smell of ammonia was so overpowering that it was difficult for us to breathe,” said Aldworth. “Now imagine being a dog, trapped inside that place day in, day out, for years on end — and what that would do to your respiratory system.”

“The dogs had teeth conditions, eye conditions. We saw some with skin conditions.”
SPCA to seek legal custody of dogs

The SPCA said the commercial breeder, working out of an undisclosed location in the Monterégie, already faced fines under Bill 51 — the Quebec law adopted in June 2012 which beefed up the province’s animal health protection act.

The agency is now gathering evidence in the hope of preparing a strong enough case to bring charges under the new law against the alleged puppy mill’s operator.

SPCA officials say they will seek legal custody of the dogs, which would allow them to put the animals up for adoption once they are deemed fit.

Quebec’s agriculture ministry also helped with the seizure.

Content Source: CBC News