Using stainless steel salad tongs and simulated doggie drool, a Texas Tech researcher conducted tests on dog toys and determined some of them, under chewing-like conditions, leach chemicals that could harm dogs.
Phil Smith, an asssociate professor of terrestrial ecotoxicology — say that three times fast — presented his findings this week at the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry conference held in California.
Among the toys tested, the worst offenders appear to be plastic fetching batons, or bumpers, which are used to teach dogs how to retrieve, according to a report on his findings by Discovery.com.
Smith, who raises Labrador retrievers, uses bumpers often, and got to wondering whether — with all the reports of dangerous chemicals in plastic — they were causing harm.
“In the process of training a Lab, you do a lot of work with these plastic bumpers,” Smith said in a press release. “I have a lot of bumpers in my garage, and they spend a lot of time in the mouths of my retrievers … Since we all care about our dogs, and we want them to be as healthy and smart and well-behaved as possible, we decided to look into this.”
Smith and Kimberly Wooten, his colleague at Texas Tech University, suspected that bumpers and other dog toys could leach phthalates and bisphenol A (BPA) into the mouths and bodies of dogs. The chemicals are what give elasticity to plastic and vinyl and they are known endocrine disruptors that mimic estrogen or act as anti-androgens, according to Discovery.com.
To test for the chemicals, the researchers created simulated dog saliva, then simulated chewing by squeezing dog toys with stainless steel salad tongs. Toys were also weathered outside to determine if older toys gave off more chemicals.
“We found that the aging or weathering the toys increased concentrations of BPA and phthalates,” Smith said. “The toys had lower concentrations of phthalates than the bumpers, so that’s good news. But they also had some other chemicals that mimicked estrogen. We need to find out what those are.”
Wooten said that BPA and phthalates can have effects on developing fetuses. Studies on humans have resulted in mixed conclusions, but raised enough concern that the U.S. government banning the use of BPA in baby bottles this year.
“The interaction of pet health and environmental chemicals is understudied,” Wooten said. “What may be a safe dose for one species isn’t always a good measure for another species. But the amount of BPA and phthalates we found from the bumpers would be considered on the high end of what you might find in children’s toys.”
Posted by jwoestendiek December 13th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, baby bottles, batons, bpa, bumpers, chemicals, chewing, childrens toys, conference, dangerous, dog toys, dogs, environmental, fetching batons, golden, harmful, hazards, hunting, labrador, leach, pets, phil smith, phthalates, plastic, plastic dog toys, retrievers, safety, science, Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, terrestrial ecotoxicology, tests, texas tech, toxic, toxins, toys, training, warning
Dogs that survived the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster in Japan show symptoms not unlike those experienced by humans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, a new study by a Japanese university says.
The research compared abandoned dogs rescued from Fukushima, site of the nuclear disaster, and Kanagawa, with non-disaster affected dogs abandoned in 2009 and 2010, before the earthquake.
The dogs that lived through the disaster had stress hormone levels five to 10 times higher than the dogs that were simply abandoned or found as strays, the researchers reported in the journal Scientific Reports.
Researchers at Azabu University in Japan took in eight dogs from shelters in Kanagawa Prefecture, where the 2011 earthquake and tsunami led to thousands of refugees being forced to abandon their dogs. The team took in 17 more dogs collected at shelters and rescue centers in Fukushima.
They measured their levels of physical stress by daily monitoring of the hormone cortisol in the dogs’ urine. All the dogs were later adopted by new owners.
The disaster-affected dogs had five to 10 times the cortisol levels of dogs not touched by disaster. When compared with the Kanagawa dogs, the Fukushima dogs were less aggressive toward unfamiliar people but also less attached to caregivers and more difficult to train.
They suggested that, in addition to showing similar syptoms, similar brain chemicals could be at play in dogs and humans trauma survivors.
“Humans affected by the disaster are already recovering and gradually returning to normal life,” the researchers wrote. “However, our results suggest the possibility that stress can induce excessive, deep psychosomatic impacts with implicit behavioral manifestations, such as deficits in attachment and learning ability also in dogs.”
(Photo: Shane was separated from his owner, Kamata-San,during the tsunami, but later showed up at the shelter where Kamata-san was staying. Credit: JEARS)
Posted by jwoestendiek October 12th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: aggression, animals, azabu university, brain, chemicals, cortisol, detached, dogs, earthquake, family dogs, fukushima, hormone, humans, japan, kanagawa, nuclear disaster, pets, post traumatic stress disorder, ptsd, rescues, shelters, stress, symptoms, trainability, trauma, tsunami
(Warning: This video contains disturbing images and profanity.)
A North Carolina grand jury has returned indictments for 14 felony counts of cruelty to animals against four workers at a private research laboratory in North Carolina.
PETA, which first brought to light abuses at Professional Laboratory Research Services (PLRS), said the indictments mark the first time in U.S. history that laboratory workers have faced felony cruelty charges for their abuse of animals in a laboratory.
PLRS was the subject of a PETA undercover investigation last fall.
Those indicted were Mary Ramsey, who had been employed as a PLRS supervisor, and Jessica Detty, who were each charged with five counts, and Christine Clement and Tracy Small, who were each indicted on two counts.
The accused, PETA says, are among those caught on the video above, kicking, throwing, and dragging dogs; hoisting rabbits by their ears and puppies by their throats; slamming cats into cages; and screaming obscenities at animals.
One of those named is the worker seen trying to rip out a cat’s claws by pulling the animal from the fence onto which he or she clung, PETA said.
The state charges follow extensive citations by federal officials for violations of animal welfare laws. The lab was closed last year, and more than 200 dogs and 50 cats were surrendered.
For nine months, a PETA investigator worked undercover inside the facility, located in Gates County, in rural northeastern North Carolina.
PLRS tested insecticides and other chemicals used in companion-animal products for Bayer, Eli Lilly, Novartis, Schering-Plough (now Merck), Sergeant’s, Wellmark, and Merial.
The PETA investigation found that toxicity tests were just part of what the animals endured. Laboratory workers cursed at animals, used pressure hoses to spray water (as well as bleach and other harsh chemicals) on them; and dragged dogs through the facility.
Dogs at PLRS spent years in cages, either to be used repeatedly in tests or to be kept infested with worms for some future study, PETA says.
To cut costs, PETA says, PLRS killed nearly 100 cats, rabbits, and dogs. The company had decided that some of these animals’ six daily cups of food were too expensive.
PETA says the case is only the second criminal prosecution in the U.S. of laboratory workers for animal cruelty. The first also stemmed from a PETA investigation — that of the infamous Silver Spring Monkeys in 1981.
Posted by jwoestendiek July 7th, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: abuses, animal cruelty, animal research, animals, cats, charges, chemicals, christine clement, dogs, drug companies, drugs, experiments, felony, gates county, grand jury, indictments, jessica detty, lab, lab workers, laboratory, mary ramsey, north carolina, peta, pets, plrs, product, professional laboratory research services, rabbits, research, testing, toxicity, tracy small, undercover, veterinary, video, workers
Two western Pennsylvania residents have been charged with animal cruelty in connection with the burning and abandoning of a 1-year-old mixed breed dog named Chance.
Raelynn Van Tassel, 23, and Shannon Clarke, 34, both of Sharon, are accused of keeping the dog in a basement for several days without medical treatment after inflicting what are believed to be chemical burns. Days later, they abandoned him in the streets.
In addition to burns over two-thirds of his body, the dog also was found with three broken teeth and a laceration to its mouth, according to WYTV.
The dog was found by a police officer on April 10 and turned over to the Mercer County Humane Society, which took Chance to a local veterinarian for treatment.
He has since been adopted and is expected to survive.
The Mercer County District Attorney’s office and the humane society conducted the investigation.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 10th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abandonment, abuse, animal cruelty, animal welfare, arrests, burned, chance, charged, chemicals, dog, dogs, mercer county humane society, pennsylvania, raelynn van tassel, shannon clarke, torture
On Friday, the beagles — owned by a research facility in New Jersey whose parent pharmaceutical company went into bankruptcy — were released to the care of animal rescue groups that, after socializing them, hope to adopt them out as family pets.
Beagles are bred especially for use in medical experiments and are used in research because of their affable and passive natures, their relative lack of inherited health problems and their mid-range size. These particular beagles are estimated to be between two and five years of age and have lived their entire lives in a laboratory.
Best Friends Animal Society headquartered in Kanab, Utah, and Pets Alive Animal Sanctuary, based in Middletown, N.Y., and Elmsford, N.Y., worked together on rescuing the beagles, who had been left locked in the facility operated by Aniclin Preclinical Services in Warren County, N.J.
The facility closed in April, after Aniclin’s parent pharmaceutical company couldn’t pay its bills, according to the Times Herald-Record in New York’s Hudson Valley.
A judge ruled that the beagles could be handed over to animal rescue organizations. Fifty-five primates were also removed from the facility and sent to a simian rescue organization
Pets Alive Animal Sanctuary welcomed the beagles to their new home this weekend, decorated in red, white and blue.
Best Friends, according to a press release, was made aware of the beagles’ dilemma through its Community Animal Assistance national helpline, which fields requests to help animals from around the country. Best Friends contacted Pets Alive, a sanctuary in the Lower Hudson Valley region of New York, which offered to take ownership of the dogs. Several other animal rescue organizations have stepped forward, each offering to take some of the beagles.
Best Friends is paying for veterinary care, food and transportation of the dogs from the facility. It will be bringing back as many as 30 dogs to its sanctuary in Utah, including those who may need more time and help before transitioning into family living.
“Best Friends is teaming up with Pets Alive in the New York area to help these beagles get the fresh start they deserve … one that’s long overdue,” said Judah Battista of Best Friends Animal Society.
“These dogs have been in a laboratory, too long without friends,” she said. “Since these dogs have never had the opportunity to discover their true lovable, comical, often boisterous nature, which makes beagles such a favorite family dog, Pets Alive and Best Friends are committed to helping these dogs discover their true personalities.”
“In this case, the cruel and unnecessary practice of animal testing was compounded by the abandonment of these innocent victims,” said Kerry Clair, executive co-director of Pets Alive Animal Sanctuary.
People who live near Pets Alive in Middletown, N.Y., are invited to volunteer their time to help feed, care for and socialize the beagles. To do so contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted by jwoestendiek July 4th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: aniclin, animals, beagles, best friends, best friends animal society, chemicals, dogs, donate, experiments, free, freed, independence, lab, laboratory, new jersey, news, ohmidog!, pets, pets alive, pharmaceuticals, receivership, released, research, sanctuary, utah, vounteer, warren county
The council has filed a lawsuit, asking the federal Environmental Protection Agency to order the removal of two chemicals — propoxur and TCVP, or tetrachlorvinphos — contained in many flea collars. Up until now, the EPA has said exposure to the chemicals in flea collars is insignificant.
The NRDC, in a report released yesterday, says the chemicals left residue high enough to pose a risk of cancer and neurological damage to children that is 1,000 times higher than the EPA’s acceptable levels.
“Just because a product is sold in stores doesn’t mean it’s safe,” said Dr. Gina Solomon, a physician and a toxicologist with the environmental group and an author of the study.
(To see a full list of flea and tick control products, the chemicals they contain and the risks they pose, click here.)
The federal agency had no immediate response to to the petition, or allegations that it failed to safeguard the public and their pets from dangerous pesticides, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
The lawsuit, filed in California’s Alameda County Superior Court, claims 16 retailers and manufacturers, including chain pet supply and grocery stores, failed to warn consumers that they were exposed to unsafe levels of propoxur in violation of state law.
The group conducted tests on nine dogs and five cats. The tests for TCVP were conducted on Hartz Advanced Care 3-in-1 Control Collar for Cats and Hartz Advanced Care 2-in-1 Reflecting Flea & Tick Collar for Dogs. Tests for propoxur were done on Zodiac Flea & Tick Collar for dogs and Bio Spot Flea and Tick Collar for dogs.
Pet owners calling the National Pesticide Information Center have complained that dogs and cats wearing collars containing the ingredients had stopped eating or drinking and showed symptoms including vomiting, twitching, diarrhea. There was no confirmation that the collars caused the problems.
In the tests for TCVP, after three days, 60 percent of the dogs and 40 percent of the cats had residue levels that exceed the EPA’s acceptable level for developing brains of toddlers who spend an average amount of time with a pet. For toddlers who have a lot more pet contact or have more than one pet, residue levels on 80 percent of the dogs and all of the cats would exceed the acceptable level.
In the tests for propoxur, after three days, all of the dogs had residue levels that would exceed the EPA’s acceptable level to for developing brains of toddlers spending an average amount of time with a pet.
You can read the NRDC press release here.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 24th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: bio spot, brain damage, cancer, cancer-causing, chemicals, collar, damage, dangerous, environmental protection agency, epa, flea, flea collars, hartz, hazardous, health, lawsuit, levels, national resources defense council, neurological, nrdc, petition, pets, propoxur, public, residue, safety, tcvp, tetrachlorovinphos, toxic, warning, zodiac
The ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center has put together a list of the top ten poisons that affected dogs in 2008.
1. Human medications. For several years, human medications have been number one source of poisoning cases — both prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs. Pets often snatch pill vials from counters and nightstands or gobble up medications accidentally dropped on the floor. Keep them in cabinets.
2. Insecticides. Bug control products rank number two, and many of them involved misuse of flea and tick products—such as applying the wrong topical treatment to the wrong species. Check with your vet before beginning any flea and tick control program.
3. People food. Grapes, raisins, avocado, onions and certain citrus fruit can harm dogs. One of the worst offenders is chocolate, which, if ingested in significant amounts, can cause vomiting, diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst, urination, hyperactivity, and in severe cases, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors and seizures.
4. Rat and mouse poisons. Last year, the ASPCA received approximately 8,000 calls about pets who had accidentally ingested rat and mouse poisons. Many baits used to attract rodents contain inactive ingredients that are attractive to pets as well. Ingesting them can lead to life-threatening problems for pets, including bleeding, seizures and kidney damage.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 2nd, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal poison control center, animals, aspca, avocado, azalea, bleaches, cats, causes, chemicals, cleaners, detergents, dogs, fertilizer, flea, grapes, health, hotline, house plants, insecticides, lead, list, medicine, mercury, mouse poison, pets, poison, poisons, raisins, rat poison, rhododendron, tick, top ten, toxic, veterinarian, veterinary, vets, zinc