Ace was born and raised a city dog, and however mean one might consider the streets of Baltimore, they (and its sidewalks) always did a good job of keeping his claws filed down to a less than deadly length.
That was a good thing, because, when it comes to a toenail trim, Ace will have no part of it.
Groomers, vets and I have all attempted it, only to receive the clear message from him that — as much as he likes to have his paws played with, as much as he likes to hold hands — bringing any sort of grooming tool near his claws is a declaration of war.
Ace’s claws, for that very reason, have always been too long.
That poses problems, to himself and others. Ace is quick to shake hands, and sometimes does so unsolicited. In Baltimore, when he was working as a therapy dog, I feared he might inadvertenly and with all good intentions rip apart the small children reading to him, and I monitored him accordingly.
They were too long when we pulled out of the city, for a year-long, John Steinbeck-inspired tour of America. But by being constantly on the go, his claws remained at least at a tolerable length during our travels.
They were too long, despite daily walks around the block, after we ended up in Winston-Salem, N.C. and moved into the apartment of my birth.
Once again, I went out and bought some expensive clippers, having misplaced several old and never-used ones. But the latest attempt didn’t work either. No brand, no style, no method of claw trimming seems to work on Ace.
He doesn’t snarl, or bite, he just bucks and flails and, at 115 pounds, overpowers anyone attempting to trim his nails. What’s much scarier is the immense stress it seems to cause him. His heartbeat speeds up. He pants and drools and squirms. His eyes get a frightened look. Maybe I just imagine it, but he even starts to exude an odor. The smell of fear?
Once, back in Baltimore, I asked Ace’s vet to trim his nails. Ace resisted. The vet muzzled him and tried again. Ace resisted more. Then the vet called two burly men into the room to usher Ace upstairs.
From below, I heard the ruckus. It sounded like a professional wrestling match was underway, and about two minutes later they brought Ace back down, saying they’d been unable to accomplish the task — despite their muscles and whatever implements of restraint were upstairs.
It was concluded then that the only way to do it would be by sedating him. The idea of that scares me at least as much as how stressed he gets.
For my my most recent effort, I bought the most expensive professional nail clippers I could find. I let them lay around the living room for a week so Ace would get used to them. Then I recruited a friend, and had her feed him treats as I attempted the deed. Despite even that incentive, he balked. By the time it was over, I was almost fully sprawled atop him while whispering sweet nothings into his ear. He bucked me off, and not a single nail got trimmed. (Anybody need some expensive professional nail clippers?)
I described all that to Ace’s most recent veterinarian, here in North Carolina, at his check-up last month.
He suggested we start jogging on sidewalks. Then, seeing my reaction, he suggested I find a young and energetic friend to jog with Ace on sidewalks.
He also suggested a complete blood work-up that, in addition to checking for any health problems, might also help determine how well Ace would handle sedation.
We didn’t take him up on the second offer, deciding to wait until Ace turns 9 for that.
We did consider his other suggestion — though not to the point of taking up jogging.
Since moving to historic Bethania, and having our own back yard, Ace doesn’t go for a walk every day. Bethania doesn’t have a lot in the way of sidewalks. Three or four times a week we take a short walk — mostly on the street — to the little post office where I pick up my mail. Two or three times a week we walk the dirt trail that meanders through Black Walnut Bottoms, behind the visitor center.
Once in a while, Ace will hear a hunter’s gunshot there, prompting him to turn around and head home. Ace also fears loud, cracking noises — anything from a bat hitting a ball to the crackle of the fireplace. His fears, as he grows older, seem to become more pronounced, but then maybe that’s true of all species. Whatever little fears we have turn into big looming nightmarish ones. Probably, there is a drug to help deal with that. But I am increasingly fearful of pharmaceuticals.
Given the lack of options, I decided Ace needed to spend more time pounding the pavement — and at a pace quicker than the slow one at which I prefer to move along.
So we took some of the vet’s advice, and reshaped it to fit our lifestyle (OK, my lifestyle). We headed down to the golf course where I work as a bartender a couple of nights a week. (Ace not having appeared in a movie in a while, I took my new camera along, too, to test out its video capabilities.)
I’m thinking of making it a twice-a-week routine. The mile-long trot seemed to make an immediate difference. His claws weren’t really any shorter, but they were much less sharp and pointy.
Ace slept great that night, but then he sleeps great every night, with only occasional scary dreams that makes his paws flutter as he emits little whimpers. I don’t think he’s chasing rabbits in his dreams. More likely, he’s running away from scary monsters that want to clip his nails.
Posted by John Woestendiek November 20th, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: ace, animals, baltimore, bethania, cart, cart paths, city dog, claws, country dog, dog, dogs, golf, golf courses, groom, groomer, grooming, hot to trot, hygeine, jogging, long creek golf club, movie, north carolina, pavement, pet care, pets, problems, refusal, sedation, sidewalks, solutions, stress, toenails, travels with ace, trim, trimming, trot, trotting, veterinarians, vets, video, winston-salem
For an article in an upcoming issue of The Bark on how we choose a veterinarian, we’d like to know what – in your eyes — are the most important factors.
If you’ve found the perfect vet, just what is it that makes him or her perfect? If you’re still seeking that person, just what exactly is it you’re looking for?
As our dogs become more and more like family members, the choice of vet is a decision humans probably take more seriously than they did 50 years ago. Time was one’s choice of veterinarian was based in large part on proximity.
We’re guessing that has changed. Now we seek opinions from friends, question fellow denizens of the dog park, turn to online reviews, and perhaps even make some in-office visits, all in our quest for the perfect vet.
But what makes the perfect vet?
Is it where he or she went to school? Is it a friendly staff, reasonable rates? Is it how quickly you can make an appointment or how long you spend in the waiting room? Is it bedside manner, how much empathy, or compassion a vet exudes? Is it how clearly that vet can communicate? Whether they honor your pet insurance? Is it how the vet connects with you, how the vet connects with your dog, or both?
We want to know what is (or was) the single most important factor in your choice of veterinarian, and how you found the one (if you have) that you can’t imagine ever leaving.
(John Woestendiek, who produces the ohmidog! website, is a frequent contributor to The Bark. His story on finding the ideal veterinarian will appear in an upcoming issue.)
Posted by John Woestendiek September 3rd, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, article, attributes, bark, bedside manner, best, choice, choosing, choosing a vet, communications, compassion, connection, cost, dogs, dream vet, education, factors, great veterinarians, ideal, input, john woestendiek, magazine, perfect, pets, prices, query, rates, reviews, the bark, training, veterinarians, veterinary, vets, waiting, word of mouth, writer
This ad for Trifexis depicts a dog living in a bubble — albeit it one that’s outside and has plenty of tubes to run around in.
It serves to protect him from heartworms, hookworms, roundworms, whipworms, flea infestations and all those other frightening hazards that exist in that place where dogs, for centuries, managed to survive:
What we find most interesting about it, though, are the disclaimers, which seem to have risen with doggie prescription drugs to the same level they have with human ones, where three-fourths of the advertisement are devoted to a listing of potential scary side effects, quickly recited in monotone, in hopes you — or your dog — won’t really hear them.
With Trifexis, it goes like this: “Treatment with fewer than three monthly doses after the last exposure to mosoquitoes may not provide complete heartworm prevention. The most common adverse reactions were vomiting, itching and lethargy. Serious adverse reactions have been reported following concomitant extra-label use of ivermectin with spinosad alone, one of the components of Trifexis.”
On top of the warnings recited, more appear in small print during the ad:
“To ensure parasite protection, observe your dog for one hour after administration.”
“If vomiting occurs within an hour of administration, give another full dose.”
“Puppies less than 14 weeks of age may experience a higher rate of vomiting.”
In their print ads, the makers of Trifexis additionally advise the drug be used with caution in breeding females, and in dogs with epilepsy. Its use in breeding males has not been evaluated. Print ads also list lethargy, depression, decreased appetite and diarrhea as possible side effects.
The chewable, beef-flavored tablets — administered once a month – are a combination of spinosad and milbemycin oxime, and they serve to prevent heartworm disease, kill fleas and prevent infestations and treat hookworm, roundworm and whipworm infections.
The tagline for the ad is “You don’t have to go to extremes to protect your dog from parasites.”
Apparently you do, though, if you’re selling prescription drugs — for canines or humans — to protect your ass from lawsuits.
To see all our “Woof in Advertising” posts, click here.
Posted by John Woestendiek May 21st, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, appetite, bubble, canine, caution, chewable, depression, diarrhea, disclaimers, disease, dog, dogs, drugs, environment, fleas, health, heartworm, hookworm, human, infections, itching, lethargy, loss, mosquitoes, parasites, pets, prescription, prevention, protection, roundworm, safety, side effects, tablets, trifexis, tube, veterinarians, veterinary, vomiting, warning, whipworm
There’s a new way of neutering, and it’s slowly making its way across the country.
This weekend’s stop on the national tour is the New Orleans area, where local veterinarians and animal advocates will get a chance to learn more about ”Zeutering,” which involves an injection into the testicles of a new zinc-based drug, called Zeuterin.
(Warning to the faint of heart, or the faint of scrotum: The process is shown in the video above.)
Zeuterin has been approved by the FDA for use in dogs from 3 to 10 months old, and Ark Sciences says it anticipates the agency will soon approve it for use in dogs of all ages.
For now, the company, and its nonprofit branch, Ark Charities, Inc., are demonstrating the product and training veterinarians in its use in select cities across the country.
In Ponchatoula this Sunday, veterinarians will have a chance to learn more about the treatment at a presentation sponsored by Ark Charities, Inc. and Friends of the Shelter, an organization based in Hammond, according to the Times-Picayune. At least eight area veterinarians will participate, and gain certification to administer the compound.
The shot consists of zinc gluconate and arginine and is adminstered to the testicles, killing sperm-producing cells and reducing testosterone by about 50 percent. Testicles, while shrunk, remain visible. Because a Zeutered dog still has his testicles, each dog injected receives a tattoo on his inner thigh, indicating he has received the procedure.
Unlike traditional neutering, general anesthesia is not required — just a mild sedative. No slicing is involved either, meaning quicker recoveries, less risk of infection and much less expense. It costs about $20.
Zeuterin was used in Japan to control the dog population in abandoned areas after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, and it also met with success in controlling feral dogs in the Philippines.
In the first U.S. clinical study, involving 270 dogs, only 1 percent had adverse reactions to Zeuterin, and half of those were attributed to improper administration.
Zeuterin lowers testosterone rates 41 percent to 52 percent compared to neutering, which eliminates testosterone entirely.
Posted by John Woestendiek May 17th, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animal control, animals, branding, control, demonstrations, dog, dogs, humane societies, injection, male, neuter, neutering, new orleans, non-surgical, overpopulation, pets, population, population control, promotion, rescues, shelters, shrink, shrinkage, surgery, testicles, testosterone, veterinarians, veterinary, zeuter, zeuterin, zeutering, zinc
Bentley, a 2-year-old Great Pyrenees with a torn ligament and an arthritic joint in his back leg, was reinjected with his own stem cells this week — a process veterinarians hope will have him running, or at least walking comfortably again, in a matter of weeks.
The procedure – performed on the 105-pound dog at the American Animal Hospital in Randolph, New Jersey — was described as the first one-day, animal stem cell transplant procedure in New Jersey history.
Vets hope the treatment will stimulate cell regeneration in Bentley, reduce inflammation and ease his pain.
“I just want to give Bentley some relief, just so I can walk him again. I’m not expecting him to be a marathon runner,” owner Erin McGuire, who drove her dog 80 miles from Brielle for the treatment, told the Newark Star-Ledger.
The procedure was overseen by Michael Hutchinson, a veterinarian from the Pittsburgh area who has performed similar ones on about 100 dogs, cats and even horses since 2008.
Although the procedure is approved only for animal ailments such as hip dysplasia, arthritis and ligament injuries, it is being looked at — and used in some other countries — to solve human health problems as well.
“The basic procedure involves taking fat from the dog, extracting stem cells and injecting those stem cells back into the dog,” said Brian T. Voynick, owner and director of the Randolph veterinary hospital.
Voynick was the first veterinarian in New Jersey to use stem cell treatment with animals three years ago — a prolonged, multi-day procedure at the time.
After he removed 60 grams of fat from the dog, he’d have to send it to California to be processed, and wait for the stem cells to be shipped back. Bentley’s treatment, in which the stem cells were separated from the fat on site, took less than four hours at Voynick’s hospital Wednesday.
Voynick and Hutchinson removed 16 grams of fat from under the dog’s left shoulder, mixed it with platelets extracted from the dog’s blood and enzymes, incubated the serum, spun it in a centrifuge and finally exposed it to wavelengths of LED lighting under a process patented by an Australian-based company called MediVet.
Bentley was given a good prognosis Wednesday, but only time will tell if the procedure was successful, the Star-Ledger reported.
Posted by John Woestendiek August 13th, 2010 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, arthritis, bentley, cells, cure, dog, dogs, dysplasia, erin mcguire, fat, great, health, medical, medicine, michael hutchinson, new jersey, pets, procedure, pyrenees, randolph, regenerate, reinject, stem cells, therapy, treatment, veterinarians, veterinary, white
In light of concerns about Salmonella contamination, Response Products of Nebraska has issued a voluntary recall for its Advanced Cetyl M Joint Action Formula supplement for dogs.
The affected products include 120-count bottles and 360-count bottle with lot numbers 1210903 and 0128010.
The bottles were distributed through direct sales, retail stores, veterinarians and online retailers between January and April of this year.
Concerns center on a a hydrolyzed vegetable protein component provided by Basic Foods of Las Vegas, the FDA said in a press release.
Tests conducted by Basic Foods to detect Salmonella produced negative results; however, Response Products has determined to recall the two lots.
Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans.
People who handle dry pet food or treats can become infected with Salmonella, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the products.
The product comes in the form of light brown tablets, about the size of a dime.
Consumers who have purchased the listed lots of Cetyl M for Dogs are urged to contact Response Products (877-266-9757) or the place of purchase for further direction.
Posted by John Woestendiek April 14th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: advanced cetyl, advanced cetyl m joint action formula, animals, basic foods, caution, cetyl m, dogs, fda, health, joint formula, lot numbers, news, ohmidog!, pets, products, recall, response products, salmonella, tablets, veterinarians, veterinary, voluntary, warning
A team of 40 vets and nurses, working around the clock for over two months, helped reassemble a three-year-old dog named Ruby after she was hit by a car.
After a series of operations at a cost of £11,500, Ruby, who remained cheerful and upbeat throughout the ordeal, is recovering, according to the Daily Mail.
Ruby suffered fractures to her two front legs, sternum and toe, a dislocated knee, ruptured ligaments and internal bleeding when she was struck by the car on January 26.
Because she did not have any head injuries, the vets said if she could live through the next 24 hours she had a good chance.
“Her legs will take about five months to heal totally but in herself she is happy, sweet-natured and an inspiration to the rest of us,” said her owner, Vanessa Gillespie. ”The vet said he had never seen a dog so broken still so happy. Most dogs would not have survived but Ruby is a toughie.’
Ruby was run over in the village of Cambourne in Cambridgeshire.
She spent five weeks at Queen’s Veterinary School Hospital in Cambridge, and had two major operations — first a nine-hour procedure in which her broken legs were repaired using four metal plates and screws, then a seven-hour operation to replace the ruptured knee ligaments, carry out skin grafts and amputate the broken toe. The fractured breastbone and internal bleeding were left to heal naturally.
Gillespie said most of the bill was covered by insurance. “If she had not been insured we would have had to put her down,” she said.
Posted by John Woestendiek March 25th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, broken, car, dislocated, dogs, fractured, healing, hit, injured, insurance, insured, knee, legs, news, ohmidog!, operations, pets, queen's veterinary school hospital, reassembled, recovery, ruby, severely, sternum, surgry, survival, survived, team, vanessa gillespie, veterinarians, veterinary
Veterinarians in Boston say a neglected and abandoned Pekingese died from being trapped in his own fur.
The dog was found in Waltham on March 6, unable to move or walk because of severe matting of his fur, WCVB-TV reported. He was taken to Kindness Animal Hospital, but could not be saved and died a few days later.
“This is probably one of the most extreme cases of neglect we’ve encountered in our practice,” said Susan Rosenblatt, chief of staff at Kindness. “We’re concerned that there may be other animals in the same household that are being similarly neglected.”
The Pekingese was between 9 and 12-years-old, tan and blind in his right eye. The left eye had been surgically removed. His fur had become so completely matted around its body that the dog was trapped within itself, veterinarians said.
The dog’s teeth were rotten and his muscles had atrophied because he was unable to move for so long. His nails had grown in a complete circle because they had not been cut in years, the vets said, and he had pneumonia.
The veterinary hospital staff and other animal welfare advocates asked for the public’s help to find the dog’s owners. Anyone with information can contact Kindness Animal Hospital at 718-893-2800 or e-mail email@example.com.
Posted by John Woestendiek March 19th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, atrophy, boston, cruelty to animals, death, died, dogs, fur, grooming, hair, kindness animal hospital, matted, neglect, neglected, news, pekingese, trapped, veterinarians, veterinary, waltham
Facing exorbitant increases in his health insurance payments, Zeigler, a self-employed consultant, called up the pet insurance company that covers his dog Charlie — for $37 a month — and asked if he could get a policy for himself.
“They laughed,” Ziegler, 47, of Mission Viejo., told the Orange County Register. “I knew what the answer would be but in reality I wasn’t joking.”
Ziegler noted that his dog, Charlie, has seen his claims paid promptly and without dispute by Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI) , including those for vaccinations and a trip to the veterinary emergency room.
Ziegler’s dealings with Anthem Blue Cross haven’t been nearly as simple and swift, and the price of his coverage keeps going up — a 34 percent jump this year alone.
And even then, it sounds like he lacks coverage for a major medical event. “One one of our greatest fears is to be in a catastrophic medical emergency,” he said.
Being without health insurance myself I can relate to the problem faced by Ziegler and so many others who have been priced out of the health market. So I’ll share my secret plan, if a major medical problem comes my way: I’m going to go to the vet, get him to give me a bacon-flavored treat, scratch me behind the ears and gently put me down.
Posted by John Woestendiek February 24th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: afford, blue cross, cats, costs, doctors, dogs, euthanasia, health, health insurance, hospitals, insurance, medical, medicine, news, pets, price, put down, treatment, unaffordable, veterinarians, veterinary, veterinary insurance, vets
A recent study by Ohio State University confirms what would seem to be pretty obvious — microchipped pets have a better chance of being reunited with their owners than those without microchips.
Microchipped pets find their way back home about 75 percent of the time; in the case of dogs, that’s about 2.5 times more often than those without microchips, according to the study.
Less than 2 percent of all stray dogs and cats taken to shelters participating in the study had microchips implanted in their bodies. Nationally, experts estimate about 5 percent of pets are microchipped.
Microchips have yet to become widely popular — and they aren’t foolproof, the study notes. That one of every four microchiped pets isn’t reunited with its owner is a function of the number of different microchip companies and registries, and owners who fail to keep those registries updated on address changes.
Still, the study suggest that pet owners should give strong consideration to microchipping their companion animals — a conclusion that isn’t that surprising, either, considering one of the authors is a consultant for a company that, through one of its subsidairies, manufactures microchips.
The study notes that identification tags, with the pet’s name, owner’s name and phone number, are still the most effective way to ensure a lost pet is returned.
Posted by John Woestendiek December 8th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: dog, dogs, found, id, identification, implanted, linda lord, lost, medicine, microchipped, microchipping, microchips, ohio state university, pet, pet owners, pets, registries, registry, return, reunite, reunited, school, shelter, shelters, study, tags, veterinarians, veterinary