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Why canine diabetes patients require insulin injections

canine-diabetesVeterinarian Lee Pickett explains that although some people with diabetes can manage their disease with diet and exercise alone, dogs cannot. Dogs must receive insulin injections because they develop type 1 diabetes, also called insulin-dependent diabetes, when their pancreas stops producing insulin.
BerksPets.com (Reading, Pa.) (10/14)

Dear Daisy Dog: Smokey, my 10-year-old small mixed-breed dog, started drinking excessively and urinating in the house. Her veterinarian diagnosed diabetes mellitus and prescribed twice-daily insulin injections.

Many humans control their diabetes without insulin, by managing their diet and exercise. Does Smokey really need insulin?

Daisy responds: Yes. After your veterinarian teaches you how to inject the insulin, you’ll be amazed at Smokey’s improved energy. Moreover, she should stop drinking excessively and urinating in the house.

Three types of diabetes mellitus afflict humans: 1. Type 1 diabetes, sometimes called insulin-dependent diabetes; 2. Type 2, or noninsulin-dependent, diabetes; and 3. gestational diabetes, which occurs during some pregnancies.

Most humans with diabetes have type 2 diabetes. At least initially, they produce adequate amounts of insulin, but their bodies don’t respond to it properly.

Conversely, diabetic dogs have Type 1 diabetes, a condition in which the pancreas stops producing insulin, so they require daily insulin injections.

Insulin is a hormone that enables cells throughout the body to absorb glucose from the blood. Glucose, a type of sugar, is essential for energy production and normal cell function.

Like people, diabetic dogs do best when they eat and exercise on a consistent schedule. Every day, Smokey should eat the same food in the same quantities at the same times, and she should receive her insulin injections at meal time. Smokey’s veterinarian will recommend the appropriate diet.

Ask the Vet’s Pets appears Friday in the print edition of the Reading Eagle. The animal authors of the column live with Lee Pickett, V.M.D., who practices companion animal medicine. Contact them at www.askthevetspets.com or P.O. Box 302, Bernville, PA 19506-0302.

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Pets Potentially More At Risk If Recreational Marijuana Law Passes

Pets Potentially More At Risk If Recreational Marijuana Law Passes
September 28, 2016 10:30 PM By Cate Cauguiran

(KPIX 5) — On November 8th, Californians will decide whether to legalize marijuana for adult recreational use. But with the latest Field poll showing Proposition 64 ahead by a two-to-one margin, there’s a growing concern about an unintended consequence – more cases of dogs digesting cannabis products.

“Dogs can die from this. It is uncommon but it’s possible,” said Dr. Karl Jandrey, Associate Professor of Clinical Surgical & Radiological Sciences at UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. “We see probably see one a week but some of my colleagues in private practice in the Bay Area may see more like one or two a day.”

The Pet Poison Helpline found that in the past five years, there has been an alarming jump in the number of dogs accidentally poisoned or intoxicated by marijuana – a 330% increase in cases across the nation.

“It was horrifying,” exclaimed Irene Ogus, the owner of Jasper, an 8-and-1/2 year old poodle who accidentally ate some marijuana. “He looked like he was having a stroke. He couldn’t stand up, he couldn’t hold his head up, He couldn’t get up at all. His tongue was drooling out of his head and he looked terrible. It was terrifying.”

“We called up the vet and he said we should bring her in immediately,” explained Nathan Brahms, owner of four-month-old Tule, a German Shorthaired Pointer. “I thought she hit her head maybe. She acted like she was concussed or something.

Both Tule and Jasper were accidentally intoxicated after finding and gobbling up marijuana while out on walks.

“She either ate a marijuana edible, or the end of a joint,” said Brahms.

According to the Pet Poison Helpline, the number one source in dog intoxications are edibles intended for human consumption that are rich in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive cannabinoid in marijuana.

One very potent source of THC used in making baked goods is cannabutter. It’s made by steeping marijuana and butter for hours, straining the plant matter from the butter, and then re-solidifying the THC-infused butter. At least two dogs in the U.S. have died in the past year after eating cannabutter, according to the helpline.

In addition, some THC-rich cannabis edibles are also made with chocolate, raisins or xylitol, all ingredients that compound the toxicity in dogs.

The second main source of pot in these intoxications is the plant itself. The cannabis grown today is engineered to contain as much THC as possible, up to 20%.

“Just keep it away from pets like you would keep it away from children,” said Julianna Carella, founder of Auntie Dolores, a San Francisco-based maker of medical marijuana products.

Carella says her firm puts warning labels on all of her THC-rich edible products. “We took the ‘keep out of reach of children’ and added ‘keep out of reach of children and pets’ on our packaging,” she said.

With intoxications, some dogs get so sick, they’re put on respirators and are in the hospitals for day. As for Jasper and Tule, they were flushed with fluids in the emergency room and treated.

And, while they recovered, the bills sent their owners into shock. “They handed us a bill for $700,” said Ogus.

Dr. Jandrey is getting ready to ramp up triage – and not just for dogs. “I really think that if we do pass proposition 64 we will see more dogs and cats intoxicated,” he said.

Lawmakers Experience Wet Noses, Wagging Tails at Pet Night on Capitol Hill

photo-credit-john-harrington-photographyWASHINGTON, D.C. (PRWEB) SEPTEMBER 21, 2016
The Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) Foundation and the Pet Leadership Council, brought the power of pets to Capitol Hill yesterday, with their inaugural Pet Night on Capitol Hill event, delivering the message that pets are important for human health and quality of life. The Pet Leadership Council and HABRI also conferred Pets’ Best Friend awards on several members of Congress, many of whom own pets as cherished members of their families.
“Pet Night is an opportunity to remind our elected representatives that more than 80 million households have pets, and there is growing scientific evidence that pet ownership leads to enhanced quality of life for both people and animals,” said Bob Vetere, Pet Leadership Council Chairman. “Not only do pets relieve stress, support healthy aging and improve heart health, they also help families dealing with cancer, autism and Alzheimer’s disease.”
Guests at the event in the Cannon House Office Building were treated to “bonding time” with a host of therapy animals, as well as colorful Betta fish in aquarium displays. They also heard from pet industry leaders, the veterinary community, animal welfare advocates and research organizations to learn about the importance of pet ownership in America.
“Research has also shown that communities with more pets have stronger social bonds. Not only can we learn good behavior and important life lessons from our pets, it turns out that pets are also good public policy,” Vetere added.
Pet Night on Capitol Hill is an annual event. For more information, please visit http://www.petnightoncapitolhill.com.
The Pet Leadership Council is made up of pet industry leaders, animal welfare, veterinarians and academia and advocates for pets and those who serve and support them by promoting responsible pet ownership and educating the public on efforts to improve the health and wellbeing of companion animals. For more information, please visit http://www.petleadershipcouncil.org.
The HABRI Foundation maintains the world’s largest online library of human-animal bond research and information; funds innovative research projects to scientifically document the health benefits of companion animals; and informs the public about human-animal bond research and the beneficial role of companion animals in society. For more information about the HABRI Foundation, please visit http://www.habri.org.

Ambulance that carries pets is expanding

k911-pet-ambulance-ambulance-animaux01Bradenton-based service part of a growing trend of specialized pet-focused businesses.

By Maggie Clark
Health Reporter

Pets are valued members of families, and their owners are increasingly seeking specialized medical care to make sure they live better and longer lives.

In this trend, Cheryl Brady saw a business opportunity.

Brady, who had a long career in corporate work, turned a passion for helping animals into a business in 2010 when she opened Vet Care Express Animal Ambulance, a pet ambulance service based in Bradenton.

Six years and 6,500 patients later, she and her team of trained caregivers are expanding their services into Hillsborough and Pinellas counties.

Animals’ lives on the line

Brady’s business is part of a growing industry catering to pet owners who expect the same level of advanced care for their pets as they do from their own doctors and the health care system.

“We’re seeing that people expect on the veterinary side what they’re getting for themselves on the human side, such as MRIs, cancer treatment, surgeries, specialist appointments, acupuncture and treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder,” said Michael San Filippo, a spokesman for the American Veterinary Medical Association.

“There is an expectation that this level of care is available and there’s more of a willingness among pet owners to seek these treatments out,” San Filippo said. “Fifty years ago, the idea of a pet ambulance service might have seemed ridiculous, but now, with the increased bonds forged between people and their pets, we’re seeing that this increases an owner’s willingness to seek out advanced treatment.”

Pet first aid

Brady’s business started small, with just a van and a mission to help pet owners in an emergency. Within two years, she’d purchased a former Sarasota County ambulance and fitted it with large cages, dog gurneys and special oxygen masks.

The ambulance helped people understand her business, Brady said.

“It’s visible, it’s bright red and people immediately understand that we’re helping an animal in an emergency,” Brady said.

Unlike an ambulance for humans, however, pet ambulances are not allowed to use sirens, manipulate traffic signals or speed to reach a hospital.

Brady and her team of four are certified in pet first aid and CPR through the American Red Cross (which stopped issuing certifications last year) and, just like an ambulance for humans, they give whatever help they’re called for.

Cat wranglers

Often, the issues aren’t life or death, but just pet owners needing help and not knowing who else to call.

“We handle a lot of calls about cats and help elderly people who can’t capture their cat or can’t carry a cat,” Brady said. “If it’s something where the owner needs help getting the cat, we can help raise their comfort level.”

The ambulance service also serves as a transportation option from animal hospitals and emergency centers to traditional veterinary offices. Nearly every morning starts with transporting animals from a hospital back to their vet’s office, Brady said. That has filled a critical need.

“Before us, the owners had to transport the animals, so you had to have an owner arrive at the emergency vet at 7:30 a.m. but the regular vet doesn’t open until 8 a.m. and the owner had to handle their very sick pet. Now, pet owners know they can call us anytime so they don’t have to handle their seizing pet or post-operative pet. We’re providing peace of mind for pet owners.”

That peace of mind comes at a surprisingly low cost, considering the high-priced world of specialized veterinary care. For non-emergency transportation, Vet Care Express Animal Ambulance changes $65 for up to an hour; critical emergency pickups start at $125.

“We’ve probably lost business because people think this is in the several-hundred-dollar price range, but we keep it affordable because our mission is to get pets help and to help the owners through a difficult time,” Brady said.

The ambulance service also accepts pet insurance, an increasingly popular option for pet owners who want to keep a handle on their pet medical spending. Unlike human insurance, pet insurance requires owners to pay their pet’s medical expenses up front, then submit the bill for reimbursement later. This means the ambulance company still collects the full payment from the owner, which is different from human health insurance where an insurance company pays the provider a negotiated rate that is often much lower than the rate for a cash-paying patient.

Only about 1 percent of pet owners have pet insurance but the industry is expected to grow quickly in the next few years as more people become pet owners, according to a February 2016 report on pet insurance from market research firm IBISWorld.

Emergency services growing

Veterinary colleges are also predicting a surge of growth in the emergency veterinary care industry in the coming years, with more students specializing in emergency veterinary medicine.

“Students are interested in the emergency side and I see it as a big growth area,” said Dr. Gareth Buckley, chief of emergency and critical care and medical director of the small animal hospital at the University of Florida.

“Part of this is driven by the fact that people don’t want to wait until the next day if their pet is sick, and that’s created a market for emergency practices to be open 24 hours.” Buckley said.

“It also means that the daytime vets can direct some of their nighttime calls to the emergency practice, rather than having someone who has worked all day get up in the middle of the night to care for a sick animal.”

Brady says she and her team receive about eight calls per day and expect demand for their services to increase from owners of every age group.

“The assumption is that elderly pet owners would call us more often, but that’s simply not the case,” Brady said.

“We recently helped a woman in her early 20s who was walking her Shih Tzu when it screamed out in pain. It had tweaked its neck, and if you went anywhere near the dog, it would scream in pain.

“There was no way the owner could have gotten the dog to the vet. She’s 20 years old, she doesn’t have a clue what’s going on and the dog wouldn’t let her handle it. We were able to calm the dog and get it to the vet as quickly as possible. It’s not an elderly service at all; it’s for pet owners all across the age spectrum.”

While there’s no national count of pet ambulance services, veterinary industry groups say they’re growing in popularity, especially in and around larger U.S. cities. In Florida, there’s a pet ambulance company serving Miami-Dade County and another one based in Fort Myers that serves the area between Sarasota and Fort Myers.

With Brady’s expansion, she’ll begin serving St. Petersburg and Tampa, along with continuing service in Sarasota and Manatee Counties.

“People just want the best care for their pet and our business helps them get it.”

9 Types of Food You Should Never Feed Your Dog

stock photo9 Types of Food You Should Never Feed Your Dog
Macadamia nuts, onions and grapes make the list.

By Joan Salge Blake | Contributor Aug. 15, 2016, at 6:00 a.m.

Molly always enjoys her annual birthday celebration with her favorite treats, and Henry dons his designer raincoat and boots when he walks outside in the rain. Both Molly and Henry have one thing in common: They have four legs and a tail. While we often treat our dogs not merely as pets, but rather as an important family member, there are times when we have to remember – for their safety’s sake – that these family members aren’t human.

The Food and Drug Administration recently released consumer health information reminding dog owners that there are numerous human foods that your pooch cannot tolerate, and if consumed, may cause serious medical issues for your pet.

While many dog owners know that giving Fido chocolate can causing poisoning, there other less known but equally important edibles that need to be kept away from your dog. Here are some foods that you should avoid giving to your four-legged friends:

Grapes, Raisins and Currents

While these naturally sweet gems from Mother Nature can be a tasty way to add good nutrition to your diet, they can cause kidney failure in certain breeds of dogs, according to the FDA. While the mechanism for the kidney failure is not known, it can occur if the grapes, raisins and currents are consumed raw or even in cooked products, such as cookies, fruit cake and snack bars.

Macadamia Nuts

Forget sharing your white chocolate chip macadamia nut cookies with your canine buddy. While these nuts are healthy for humans to enjoy, they can be toxic if consumed by your dog. Similar to grapes, the mechanism for the toxicity is unknown.

Onions, Garlic and Chives

While these foods add flavor to any dish, they shouldn’t be in your dog’s dinner dish. Onions, garlic and chives, even the dried powdered forms, contain compounds called organosulfides, which are converted to toxic sulfur compounds in dogs. Cooking or processing these foods will not eliminate the toxins – so forget about spooning salsa, chili or dips containing these foods into your dog’s dinner.


This lower calorie sugar substitute, which can be found in sugarless gum, candies, some peanut butters and diet cookies, can also be deadly to your dog. While xylitol is safe for human consumption, it can stimulate the release of insulin, which causes a rapid drop in blood glucose levels in your dog. Xylitol has also been associated with liver failure in dogs – so keep the sugarless candies out of your dog’s reach.

Raw Meat

To avoid foodborne illness, better known as food poisoning, you should not eat uncooked or undercooked poultry and meat, and the same goes for your dog. Bacteria, such as E. coli and salmonella in raw meat and poultry, can sicken both of you. Also make sure you don’t accidentally cross-contaminate your dog’s foods with these raw foods. For example, if you create hamburgers from raw ground beef or bread raw chicken, don’t dip into the treat jar without first washing your hands, warns the FDA. The pathogens on your dirty hands can contaminate the treat being gobbled by your dog. It’s a good habit to always wash your hands after touching raw meat and poultry.

Joan Salge Blake CONTRIBUTOR
Joan Salge Blake is a Clinical Associate Professor at Boston University and the author of “Nutrition & You,” 3rd Edition, Pearson/Benjamin Cummings (2014), “Nutrition & You: Core Concepts to Good Health,” Pearson/Benjamin Cummings (2010), and “Eat Right The E.A.S.Y. Way,” Prentice Hall Press (1991). She is the co-author of “Nutrition: From Science to You,” Pearson/Benjamin Cummings (2016). Joan has conducted more than 1,000 media interviews and has been quoted in or written for various media outlets, such as the New York Times, Food Network, Newsweek, Washington Post, Forbes, Prevention, WebMD, Consumer Reports, Boston Globe, Newsday, Time, The Atlanta Journal Constitution Readers Digest, and Cosmopolitan, People, Parade, Cooking Light, Parents, Shape, Self, More, Sports Illustrated, Woman’s Day, More, All You and O magazines. She has appeared on CBS, The Early Show, CNN, CBS News Boston, NBC News, Boston, NPR and Fox TV, Boston. In 2012, Joan was named by Good Housekeeping Magazine as the expert to follow on Twitter for healthy eating. She is currently working towards her doctorate. Follow her on Twitter at: @JoanSalgeBlake.