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Tag: emergency

Don’t tell me not to sleep with my dog

A researcher who I’m guessing doesn’t have a dog says pets don’t belong in the bed, and that allowing them to sleep with us can lead to infections, parasites and diseases.

He further advises that anyone who is licked by a dog wash the area immediately.

To me, a guy who has spent the last eight months with my dog nearly constantly at my side during our travels across America — including in whatever bed we happen to be sleeping in at night — that seems a massive over-reaction.

Bruno Chomel, a professor at the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California, Davis, says that, while such cases aren’t common, people have contracted infections from sleeping with, kissing and being licked by their pets. Chomel and fellow researcher Ben Sun, of the California Department of Public Health, express their views in the latest issue of the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.

I don’t subscribe to that publication, because my theory is the surest way to get a disease is not from sleeping with your dog, but from reading about that disease.

Though I sleep with my dog nightly, I’m not so much concerned about Zoonoses, or diseases transmitted to humans by animals, as I am about Merckitis, a chronic case of which I’ve suffered from since childhood.

It stemmed from a big blue book called The Merck Manual, on my mother’s bookshelf, which allowed you to, based on your symptoms, diagnose your medical issue, read about the treatment and determine, in my case, if I was going to live to see 13.

I must have diagnosed myself with a dozen different diseases, many of them fatal, in the course of matching up my symptoms — usually those of a common cold — with the worst  possible maladies.

I remember one night that — congested, unable to breathe through my nose and worried that my throat breathing pipe (non-medical term) might close up – I gathered the necessary supplies to perform an emergency tracheotomy (bic pen, with the ink part removed, pocket knife, duck tape) and kept them under my bed, alongside the book.

The Internet has made it much easier to wrongly self diagnose — just a few clicks and you can jump to the conclusion that you have the most dreaded disease imaginable. The key word there being imaginable. In a way, those medical self-help websites, rather than lessen the need for doctors, only create more of one as we, fueled by our fears, rush to confirm our faulty self diagnoses.

Pulled muscle? I was sure it was a heart attack.

Of course, such concerns are not always entirely baseless, and many of them should be checked out by professionals. But often, they’re only in our heads — having been placed there by WebMD, yourdiagnosis.com, familydoctor.org and the like. Often they are really far-fetched, instilling a fear out of all proportion with reality, which is the case with Chomel’s study, or at least his remarks:

“I think pets can be very nice in the home environment, but certainly, they don’t belong on the bed,” Chomel told LiveScience.

Chomel says humans can contract bubonic plague from flea-infested pets, bacterial infections resistant to multiple strains of antibiotics, and various parasitic worms.

Since 1974, Chomel says, multiple cases of plague have been associated with people in the southwestern U.S. who allowed flea-infested cats to sleep with them. And in a  2008 outbreak, a study found that people infected with bubonic plague were “more likely to have shared a bed with a dog than uninfected counterparts.” (Despite that, I still don’t recommend sharing a bed with uninfected counterparts.)

The authors cite surveys conducted in the U.S., the United Kingdom, France and the Netherlands that show up to 45 percent of dogs sleep in their owners’ bed.

Several reports of bacterial infections have been attributed to sharing a bed with pets, and in “multiple” cases, they report, patients acquired various infections after allowing their dogs or cats to lick wounds or damaged skin.

That’s the total opposite of my philosophy. Whenever I get a boo-boo, the first thing I do is let Ace lick it. Then it feels better. If thousands of microscopic parasites enter my bloodstream by doing so, so be it … join the party, fellas.

Don’t tell me not to sleep with my dog, especially when it’s this cold. That’s like saying, because there may be some impurities in the air, I should stop breathing. I’m going to continue to engage in both risky behaviors.

And if worse comes to worst I can always, after consulting my Merck Manual, perform an emergency tracheotomy.

OUR FAVORITE READER COMMENT: “Pity poor Chomel. He has obviously not enjoyed the delight of a canine companion…I’ve spent the past 50 years sleeping with dogs – most of the canine persuasion – and if anything it must have strengthened my immune system … The plague? Only a plague of comfort and love. Poor Chomel.”

(For all the comments on this post, click the comment button below, and scroll to the bottom to leave one of your own.)

Can’t you just feel the moonshine?

Leave it to us to be in Arizona when the big news is in North Carolina.

Fearing for the safety of his “dawgs,” a rural North Carolina man called 911 to report he’d had a confrontation with Bigfoot; and the one-sided, slightly slurred conversation with the dispatcher that ensued is worthy of the 911 call Hall of Fame.

Authorities in Cleveland County released a recording of the call, made by Tim Peeler, who claimed to have sighted a 9-to-10 foot tall Bigfoot around his home near Casar.

The area, known as Carpenter’s Knob, is the site of repeated sightings of a similar creature in the 1970s, who locals eventually took to calling “Knobby.”

In the call, Peeler describes a “beast thing” whose presence got his dogs a barkin’.

Operator: What did it look like?

Peeler: It looked like a giant ape with a man’s face. But I was afraid to kill it. And it made a whistling sound. But I just wanted ya’ll to know, I have not shot one or killed one.

Operator: Okay, was there more than one or just the one?

Peeler: Just the one.

Operator: Okay.

Peeler: He was about nine, ten foot tall. With real long arms. And…I’ve had experiences with ‘em before in the deer stand. but this one, somehow, I go out there, it gets gone, I come back in the house it gets there again. And my dog’s is just raising… heck.

At one point he asks, ”Would I get in any trouble if I shot and killed this beast? This animal or whatever it is? Would I get in any trouble?”

Throughout the call, Peeler seems most concerned about his dogs.

“I got bear dawg, hog dawgs, this thing for some reason tonight is comin’ down messin with my dawgs, tryin’ to get towards my back porch.”

Cleveland County is located west of Charlotte, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, an area that’s no stranger to moonshine. We’re not saying Tim’s brewing his own, but … still. Maybe we’ll try and stop for a visit on our way back east.

Speaking of coonhounds: Lovebug’s dilemma

 

Lovebug needs some love.

The 13-week old pup was struck by a car on a Missouri Interstate highway.

She suffered in the tall grass for a day, before working up the energy to lift her head. A firefighter and his wife,  passing by, saw her and  stopped, wrapping her in his firefighter’s jacket and taking her to a local veterinarian.

There she was found to have two fractured legs and a broken pelvis — injuries that will require the installation of pins and plates, and cost about $2,000.

“She has charmed everyone with her zest for life and determined attitude. We are a non-profit organization and any help you can give would be greatly appreciated,” writes Cheri Zaiger, of American Black and Tan Coonhound Rescue. “I just know if other people could see her face and hear her story some donations would come in to help her out of this devastating situation,” Zaiger added. The website has a box that can be clicked on to make donations.

American Black and Tan Coonhound Rescue helps all types of coonhounds – Black and Tans, Redbones, Blue Ticks, Red Ticks, Tennessee Tree Walkers. It rescues most of them from kill shelters, keeps them in foster care and seeks to find permanent homes for them.

Baltimore dog attacked with machete

A dog attacked yesterday by a neighbor wielding a machete is scheduled to undergo surgery tomorrow.

On Tuesday evening, a man walked into his neighbor’s yard and attacked the dog in the face and head with the machete, inflicting injuries that went all the way down to the bone, authorities said.

The dog, named Okashia, lives on the 3000 block of Wylie Avenue in northwest Baltimore.

While she lost a lot of blood, the dog is expected to recover, though vets were worried she might lose an eye.

Okashia, a shepherd-pit mix, was taken to the Emergency Veterinary Center in Catonsville, where she was sedated and given intravenous fluids. She was returned to Baltimore Animal Rescue & Care Shelter (BARCS), where she was expected to be evaluated by a surgeon this morning.

As a result of Okashia’s treatment, and other recent emergency cases, BARCS’ Franky Fund — reserved for the most serious cases of sick and injured animals — is seriously depleted, according to officials at the shelter.

Contributions may be made here.

Caroline A. Griffin, head of Baltimore’s Anti-Animal Cruelty Task Force, said that in addition to injuries to her head, the dog has been found to have bruising to her lungs. Because of that, the decision was made to postpone surgery for her facial injuries until tomorrow.

According to police, Levar J. Bailey, who lives several doors down from the dog’s owner, attacked the dog in her own yard. When police arrested Bailey, 33,  he was yelling, “The dog was trying to bite my daughter,” according to charging documents.

The Baltimore Sun reported that Bailey was taken to an area hospital for a psychiatric evaluation and that, according to police, he has a history of mental illness.

The two-year-old dog is owned by Shea-Quan Moore-Williams, who went outside after hearing the dog yelping to find her bloody dog and Bailey in the yard with an 18- to 24-inch black machete.

(Contributions to BARCS are also being collected this week at Captain Larry’s, 601 E. Fort Avenue, in connection with the ongoing photo exhibit, “Hey That’s My Dog!” Checks can be made payable to BARCS or BARCS Franky Fund.)

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)

Dog’s head in pipe was tip of the iceberg

A six-inch wide piece of steel pipe had sat in Kay Simmons backyard in Colorado for a long time, but only this week did her wolf-dog hybrid, Marina, decide, for reasons unknown, to stick her head in it.

The 3-year-old dog is recovering from cuts, scrapes and bruises after spending more than seven hours Tuesday with her skull wedged in the 8-foot-long pipe.

“It was a pretty terrible day,” Simmons, 73, told the Boulder Daily Camera Wednesday before leaving to pick up her pet from the veterinarian.

On Friday, though the Daily Camera reported that Simmons has had a lot of terrible days:

She has a lengthy history of animal violations, and last year authorities killed five of her wolf-dogs after they attacked neighborhood pets, according to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.

Simmons,  who lives on the Boulder County side of the border with Jefferson County, has at least four open “animal violation” cases in Jefferson County, into which her wolf hybrids sometimes wander.

“She has the largest file in the office,” said Camille Paczosa, animal control officer and supervisor.

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office has taken more than 50 complaints about Simmons’ wolf-dogs and charged her dozens of times since 1985. The Boulder County Sheriff’s Office has taken at least 16 reports of “dangerous animals at large” and similar violations since 1986.

One neighbor said he’s glad the animal is OK, but he finds it “ironic, if not insulting,” that the Sheriff’s Office and firefighters spent so much time and money “to save one of these animals but let the documented hazard to humans go on for almost 15 years.”

Simmons told authorities this week that one of her dogs started “making a racket” about noon Tuesday. When she went outside she found Marina squirming to free herself from the pipe.

Nearly 20 people from the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office, the Coal Creek Fire Department and the Boulder Emergency Squad tried to free her, using everything from vegetable oil to a spatula. Finally, one of the firefighters — who also works as a plumber — used a pipe saw to cut off most of the steel, leaving just one foot of pipe covering the dog’s head. That allowed crews to transport her safely to the veterinary clinic.

Once at the clinic, a “grinding tool” was used to cut a triangle out of the pipe. When Marina was finally freed from the pipe she “sprang up” and appeared to be fine. She’s expected to make a full recovery.

But Wednesday’s feel-good story took a turn later in the week.

Steve McAdoo, who has lived near Simmons for about six years, told the Daily Camera he’s afraid for his 3- and 5-year-old children’s lives after four of Simmons’ wolf-dogs “ripped to shreds and almost killed” his 35-pound spaniel, Molly, in August.

After the attack on that same night, according to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, the wolf-dogs attacked other animals and caused property damage. As a result, the Sheriff’s Office killed five of the hybrids.

“Two weeks later, she got five more,” McAdoo said. “And she’s been doing this for years.”

In August 2003, Jefferson County animal control officers took three of Simmons’ wolf-dogs and charged her with having a dangerous dog. In 2000, authorities took a report of a dog being killed by wolves in that area, but they were unable to identify the wolves that attacked, according to Jefferson County officials.

(Photo: Paul Aiken/Boulder Daily Camera)

Animal relief effort coordinated for Haiti

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) have  agreed to head up a coalition of groups to address the needs of animals in Haiti following the earthquake that devastated the country.

In addition to the massive humanitarian crisis, there are an estimated 5 million head of livestock in the country (mostly goats), a large stray dog population, an untold number of companion animals, and native wildlife all adversely affected by the earthquake, according to an IFAW press release.

“This is a massive challenge and animal non-profits need to cooperate as much as possible,” said Ian Robinson, IFAW’s Emergency Relief Director. “We’re already concerned about a possible outbreak of rabies, leptospirosis, or another zoonotic disease. We need to set up vaccination and feeding programs as soon as possible. Finally, we need to get acute, critical care to the animals that need it most. There’s a lot to do. More than we can do alone.”

Currently, a team is staging in the Dominican Republic waiting to get into Haiti to begin work. IFAW and WSPA have also begun to stock a mobile clinic with vaccines, antibiotics, bandages, food, and other supplies in anticipation of bringing direct aid to animals.

“We’re not certain exactly what we’ll be doing, when we’ll start, or what challenges we’ll face,” said Robinson. “But we know a few things: we’re prepared, we’ve set up a system to work together with other groups, and, given the scale of this disaster, we know we’ll be there a long time.”

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) saves animals in crisis around the world. Headquartered in the United States, it has representation in 15 countries and 1.2 million supporters around the world.

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