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Tag: blood

Where to next: In search of Chupacabra?


As we ponder where to go next on our road trip to nowhere, we’re feeling drawn to Texas — where two stories this week have piqued our curiosity.

First is the tale, told yesterday, of the Methodist pastor who’s calling for a stray dog hanging out behind his church to be shot, and the ire that has raised. Second are the two recent sightings — and subsequent terminations — of alleged Chupacabra, the legendary dog-like creatures who, according to myth, suck the blood of goats (which is what Chupacabra means in Spanish).

In the past week, two of the coyote-like creatures were spotted within 10 miles of each other, outside of Dallas, one of which was bagged by an animal control officer. The other was shot by a rancher. News reports seem to give no reason behind the shootings, other than the fact that the animals were “ugly.”

“All I know is, it wasn’t normal. It was ugly. Real ugly,” said Frank Hackett, the animal control officer who killed one of the creatures.

Reports of Chupacabra sightings are fairly rare; there’s one about about every year — including this one, where a law enforcement official followed and videotaped what he thought could have been one.

Of course, there are plenty of modern-day theories — ranging from them being pets left here by extraterrestrials to them being the result of government experiments gone awry. More often than not, though, they turn out to be coyotes with skin problems.

News reports say neither of the two slain creatures has been identified, though the DNA of at least one of them is being analyzed.

There is no documentation that the species or sub-species exists; instead the word ”Chupacabra” has become a catch-all term for anything dog-like, but not immediately identifiable, kind of like Bigfoot is for anything hairy, human-like and not immediately identifiable.

This won’t be the first alleged Chupacabra to have its DNA tested. In 2007, Texas State University biologist Mike Forstner performed a test on what turned out to be a coyote.

Another strong possibility, I’d suspect, is that some of the ”beasts” that have been spotted are actually Xoloitzcuintle, a Mexican hairless dog breed.

In any event, we’re headed east, and Dallas is on the way. If that’s where we end up, we’ll let you know what we find out.

India establishes its first blood bank for dogs

A blood bank for dogs has been launched for the first time in India.

The blood bank has been set up so that middle class dog owners can get treatment for pets injured in road accidents, which are becoming more prevalent in the country due to increasing urbanization and traffic.

“This is the first blood bank of its kind in the country,” Vice Chancellor P. Thangaraju, of Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University in the city of Madras,  told the BBC.

“Dogs get frequently injured – not only while crossing roads but also in and around the many multi-story apartments that exist across the country,” he said.

Dr. Thangaraju said that the lack of availability of blood has become a major cause of death among dogs, especially when the animals require surgery.

He said that appeals for volunteers to come forward and donate blood from their dogs had been “encouraging”, although he expected it would take some time before a satisfactory reserve had been built up.

Although there are no plans at present to make the blood bank a profit-making enterprise, he said it could happen in the future –  depending upon the availability of blood.

He said that the collection and storing of canine blood was the same as the process used to collect human blood and that stringent measures would be taken to ensure that donated blood is free from infection.

Figures produced by the university show that about 100,000 pets – the overwhelming majority of which are dogs – are treated by veterinary hospitals every year in India.

Experts say that the blood donations, while they will benefit dogs kept as pets in India, will be of little help to the estimated 8 million stray dogs in the country.

Dog takes self to the emergency room

hospitaldogMaybe it was a coincidence, or maybe it was one smart dog. In any event an injured dog in New Mexico walked through the automatic doors and into the emergency room at San Juan Regional Medical Center over the weekend.

Staff and patients were stunned to see the unaccompanied German shepherd mix, about 7 to 8 years old, walk through the doors with blood on his nose and paw, and a small puncture wound on a rear leg.

Animal control officer Robin Loev responded to the hospital, where he found people gathered around the dog, giving him water, according to the Daily Times in Farmington.

Loev couldn’t find the source of the blood and it didn’t appear the dog was hit by a car. The puncture wound, probably from being bitten by another dog, didn’t require treatment.

Loev took the dog to the Farmington Animal Shelter, where it was vaccinated and given water and a warm blanket.

“Some of these situations that come up make you wonder just how intelligent these animals are,” Loev said.

 (Photo: Xavier Mascareñas/The Daily Times)

A mystery unravels in dog trainer’s death

stoverThe body of the Pacific Northwest’s most famous dog trainer still hasn’t been found, but authorities have charged his ex-wife’s boyfriend with his murder.

T. Mark Stover was the Seattle area’s dog-trainer-to-the-stars, with clients that ranged from members of Pearl Jam and Nirvana to  Starbucks chairman Howard Schultz to Seattle Mariners outfielder Ichiro Suzuki, who entrusted Stover with his Shiba Inu.

Last month, employees at the kennel, Island Dog Adventures, 55 miles north of Seattle, found Stover’s dog, Dingo, shot in the face, but authorities could find no signs of Stover, other than smears of his blood in a downstairs bedroom and hallway.

Prosecutors have charged his ex-wife’s boyfriend,  Michiel Oakes, with murder, according to an Associated Press report.

Stover, 57, and ex-wife Linda Opdycke, 45, opened Island Dog Adventures in the early 1990s on an island owned by her wealthy family. Her father was one of the founders of Washington’s biggest winery, Chateau Ste. Michelle.

Read more »

How your dog can help other dogs

The Eastern Veterinary Blood Bank is experiencing a blood shortage and has scheduled a series of blood drives to replenish its supply.

To be a blood donor, a dog must weigh at least 35 pounds, be in good health and be between the ages of 9 months and 7.5 years. Dogs weighing 55 pounds or less give a half pint of blood, while dogs that weigh more than 55 pounds give a full pint. Technicians draw blood from the jugular vein, and do not muzzle or sedate donor dogs.

EVBB is one of a few of private blood banks for dogs in the country.

If you and your dog are interested in donating, call the blood bank staff at 1-800-949-3822, or drop by one of the drives. Here’s the schedule:

Read more »

Another doggie mishap on the Today Show


A pair of puppies livened things up on NBC’s Today Show this morning, bloodying the chin of co-host Lester Holt and shredding the stockings of another.

Holt was promoting what was coming up on the show, when the Rottweiler pup he was holding got squirmy, nipped him in the chin and pawed him in the face.

As Holt continued with the script, blood began flowing from his chin.

“Oh he cut you! Oh my gosh!” Al Roker says. As cohosts wipe his chin, Holt tries saying something about Obama, then gives up. “Nobody’s listening to what I’m saying,” he says.

It was the second canine mishap on the Today Show in two weeks. Last week, on the show’s fourth hour, a dog urinated on stage, leading Kathie Lee, who was already scolding the dog for scratching, to berate the dog even more.

What’s in your mutt? DNA testing might tell

     What manner of beast is this?
     You’ll just have to keep reading to find out, but feel free to formulate your guess as you continue.
     This is Otis, chosen as a finalist for dog of the year in a contest sponsored by Mars Veterinary, makers of the Wisdom Panel, a DNA testing kit that tells you what breeds are in your mutt.
     Determining a dog’s breeds through DNA has come a long way in the year since I swabbed inside the cheek of my dog Ace, sent the sample to the company’s lab and learned that Chow and Rottweiler were the primary breeds he’s made up of.

Not a shepherd, not an Akita — as most veterinarians guessed, but a Chotweiller. It was a tale told over five days, in the pages of the Baltimore Sun, and in an online documentary, “Hey, Mister, What Kind of Dog is That?”

Back then, the test I used cost $65, and tested for the presence of 38 breeds.

Today, most doggie DNA tests cost twice as much, use blood instead of cheek cells, and can determine which of more than 130 breeds are in your mutt.

Their usefuleness and accuracy are still debatable, but, according to a report in the Cleveland Plain-Dealer last week, the tests seem to be catching on.

In November, Petco will introduce its Canine Heritage Breed Test in Ohio stores. The test — it’s the predecessor of the one I used — has been available online and in limited markets since July, and sales have surpassed expectations, a company spokesman said.

Meanwhile, Mars Veterinary, which estimates that half the country’s 70 million dogs are mixed breed, expects a growing market for its Wisdom Panel MX test.

The companies saying knowing what’s in a mutt’s mix can help diagnose and treat medical problems that arise in its lifetime.

Critics say, while that information could prove useful, there are probably better investments for you doggie dollar — such as good food.

The Wisdom Panel test from Mars (the company, not planet) can detect 134 breeds. It’s performed by veterinarians, as drawing blood is required. About 4,000 clinics offer the test. Company officials say the test has an 84 percent accuracy rate.

Okay, back to Otis. To see what breeds turned out to be in him, click here.

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