In honor of National Pet Parent’s Day on April 27, Deckers Dogs is teaming up with Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI) to raise money to help fund the rescue, care and training of service dogs for our military veterans returning home with disabilities. From April 22 through Memorial Day (May 26), VPI will donate $5 (up to $10,000) to Deckers Dogs for every free pet insurance quote generated on petparentsday.com.

Deckers Dogs NY Jets Eric Decker

New York Jets wide receiver Eric Decker and his wife, singer Jessie James Decker, established Deckers Dogs in September of 2013 to provide support to Freedom Service Dogs of America’s Operation Freedom. Operation Freedom was developed to help returning war veterans and military personnel transition from active duty and combat to civilian life. Active duty service members and veterans with disabilities are placed with highly specialized service dogs that help them find a new level of independence in their post-combat life.

For a typical service dog, the journey from shelter to service costs approximately $25,000. With the help of the public’s support, Deckers Dogs has already funded the care and custom training for three service dogs in just six months.

“Pet Parent’s Day recognizes the human-animal bond and the commitment pet owners give to their furry family members,” said Eric Decker. “We’re proud to partner with VPI to help build new bonds between those rescued service dogs and our wounded warriors as we free a hero to save a hero.”

Penguin lovers around the world will unite to observe World Penguin Day on April 25th, and The Pew Charitable Trusts is joining the celebration by announcing the launch of the first global effort aimed at protecting penguins wherever they live.

Eighteen species of penguin range from the cold of Antarctica to the equatorial heat of the Galapagos Islands. Interference from humans in the form of pollution, habitat degradation, introduced predators, and overfishing is affecting the health of penguins. Climate change, which melts and shifts sea ice, adds to the challenges facing these birds. Most species are in decline, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Pew Emperor penguins

“Penguin protection is critical, not just for these iconic species, but for entire ocean ecosystems,” said Andrea Kavanagh, director of Pew’s global penguin conservation and Southern Ocean work. “Penguins are sentinels of ocean health, and changes to their populations can indicate trouble for other species that depend on a robust food web.”

Pew will work to restore and protect breeding and feeding grounds in the coastal waters of countries throughout the Southern Hemisphere, as well as advocate to establish large, no-take marine reserves in Antarctica’sSouthern Ocean.

As a member of the Antarctic Ocean Alliance, Pew is actively engaged in the effort to establish large-scale marine protections in the Southern Ocean. Although reserves do not mitigate the impacts of climate change, they help species such as penguins build resilience, abundance and diversity, and provide refuge from increased fishing pressures.

The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, or CCAMLR, is the consensus-based international body charged with governing these waters. Comprised of 24 member countries and the European Union, the commission is considering proposals for marine reserves in the Ross Sea and waters offEast Antarctica. At this October’s annual meeting, CCAMLR will debate the proposals for the fourth time. Pew hopes that this year, decisions will be made.

Last year, the international community could not agree on a plan to protect some of Antarctica’s valuable penguin habitat because of objections from Russia. But these waters and these habitats must be preserved.

“The Antarctic Treaty was signed at the height of the Cold War to protect the entire continent. Now it’s the Southern Ocean’s turn for an international conservation commitment,” said Kavanagh. “We all depend on a healthy ocean for survival. Today’s political differences should not stand in the way of protecting penguins and vulnerable sea life.”

Hyperbaric Veterinary Medicine (hvm) located in Boca Raton, Florida, announces the installation of a small animal hyperbaric chamber in the following states: UtahColoradoArizonaIllinois, and California.


Humans have benefited from Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) for over twenty years. Now our pets can benefit, too. Hvm has made it possible by offering to veterinarian facilities a smaller and more compact hyperbaric chamber exclusively for small companion animals.

Veterinarians are taking notice of the benefits HBOT offers in veterinary medicine. The latest veterinary facilities to partner with hvm and install a small animal hyperbaric chamber include the following: Advanced Veterinary Care (Salt Lake City, UT), Southern Colorado Veterinary Internal Medicine and Referral (Colorado Springs, CO), Integrative Veterinary Oncology (Phoenix, AZ); AV Veterinary Center (Lancaster, CA), and VCA Aurora (Aurora, IL).

Dr. Ravi Seshadri, DVM, DABVP, DACVECC at Advanced Veterinary Care (AVC), has several years of experience in emergency surgery, continuous renal replacement, and critical patient care. As an advocate of hyperbaric oxygen in veterinary medicine, Dr. Seshadri shares AVC’s plans to use hyperbaric oxygen. “Current plans to use hyperbaric oxygen at AVC include: carbon monoxide poisoning and smoke inhalation injuries, clostridal myositis and myonecrosis, crush injury, other acute traumatic ischemia, enhancement of healing in selected problem wounds, exceptional blood loss, intracranial abscess, necrotizing soft tissue infections (necrotizing fasciitis), osteomyelitis (refractory), skin grafts and flaps (compromised), and thermal burns. In the future we may evaluate its use in hypermetabolic states such as pancreatitis/ IMHA/SIRS, etc.”

HBOT used in conjunction with other therapies may enhance the effects of other modalities. Internal Medicine Specialist and Medical Director Dr. Terry Medinger at VCA Aurora is a believer of HBOT in veterinary medicine and results it may achieve. “I am very happy that hyperbaric oxygen therapy has become recognized as an additional and important method of therapy for veterinary patients. I am extremely excited to be able to provide this form of therapy for my patients and strongly believe, given the results achieved in human medicine with hyperbaric oxygen therapy, that I will be able to elevate the level of care I am able to provide my patients and thereby help patients that historically did not respond to conventional treatment. I look forward to being able to provide my clients this treatment option accompanied with a better prognosis for their pets.”

Benefits of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy in Veterinary Medicine
Breathing 100% oxygen under pressure causes the oxygen gas to go into solution and therefore more oxygen will be transported in the plasma. This oxygen-rich plasma is able to travel to tissues with compromised blood vessels. The pressurized environment helps to reduce swelling and discomfort, while providing the body with at least 10-15 times its normal supply of oxygen to help repair tissue damaged by the original vascular compromise or subsequent hypoxic condition.

Boosted by unexpected media support, and rave reviews from book reviewers and web bloggers, Nashville-based author Tom Templeman continues to pile up sales with his first book, My Best Little Buddy; and this means bigger checks to Nashville Cat Rescue.

Tom Templeman Best Little Buddy

“We give Nashville Cat Rescue 20% of the profits from all book sales,” says Templeman. “We depend heavily on word of mouth, Facebook and Twitter posts, and book-signing events at Nashville-area PetSmarts, Pet Supermarkets and special events. Thanks to unexpected media support, we’ve tripled the amount we give to Nashville Cat Rescue each month.” The support has come from articles in local magazines Inside Brentwood,Green Hills Life, and Berry Hill Life, and an appearance on Nashville’s CBS Channel 5′s Talk of the Town daytime TV show. “Apparently, I may be the only non best-selling author to ever be featured on the show, thanks largely to the efforts of Nashville Cat Rescue’s Megan Brodbine Williams,” says Templeman with a grin.

Among upcoming book signings listed on the book’s website (www.mybestlittlebuddy.com) are appearances with world-renowned cat behaviorist Pam Johnson-Bennett at the Cool Springs PetSmart in Brentwood, TN on May 3rd and at the Nashville Pet Expo on July 12th (www.nashvillepetexpo.com).

My Best Little Buddy is the heartwarming story of the 17-year relationship of love and friendship between the author and Tiger, a little grey tabby cat who was anything but ordinary. Here are some brief excerpts from 5-star reviews posted about the book:

This superb and very well written book is in a class of its own! It is a story of love and trust and one that will truly inspire you. It has certainly inspired me.” – Daisy S., Hall of Fame top 10 Amazon reviewer

The story that Tom tells is remarkable and heartwarming…The book itself is well written and edited, and the occasional photo makes it that much more real. I really enjoyed the story…I can tell you that reading it is time well spent.” – Arthur Bradley, Top 50 Amazon reviewer

“Templeman writes from the heart, and his simple but powerful prose and the plentiful photos make the reader feel like he or she was right there with Tiger and his family. Perhaps that is the true magic of sharing such a seemingly ordinary story about a special cat: by sharing Tiger with the world, he becomes everyone’s cat.” –Ingrid King, The Conscious Cat

The paperback edition is priced at $14.95 on the website at www.mybestlittlebuddy.com, and the e-book is available at Amazon/Kindle and Barnes & Noble/Nook (priced at $9.99). Twenty percent of profits from all book sales benefit Nashville Cat Rescue.

For more information and a list of upcoming book signings, visit www.mybestlittlebuddy.com or contact Tom at mybestlittlebuddy@gmail.com.

During this year’s “Be Kind to Animals Week®” (May 4-10), the American Humane Association, the organization that helped found America’s original “Compassion Movement” in the 1870s, is putting out an urgent plea to reach and enlist one million new advocates to help billions of animals facing the daunting challenges of the 21st Century.

“The need has never been greater,” says Dr. Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of the country’s first national humane organization. “We have made gigantic strides in the past century, pioneering many of the key advances in protecting our nation’s children and animals, but there are still huge numbers in critical need of lifesaving care and we need more allies and advocates to give voice to the voiceless.”

American Humane Association Be Kind to Animals

During this 99th year of its “Be Kind to Animals Week,” the charity is seeking to reach and enlist one million new advocates to help ensure the welfare and proper treatment of billions of animals who live in our homes, on our nation’s farms and ranches, and in our wild spaces.

Anyone can help, join the cause and spread the word just by visiting www.americanhumane.org/bekind and taking the pledge to help animals, spreading the word by sharing one of the many fun and colorful “Be Kind to Animals” Facebook graphics posted there, and becoming a member of America’s first national humane organization.

Major Figures in Animal World Join Effort
Major figures joining the effort include well-known animal advocates such as Dr. Marty Becker, who has agreed to be this year’s Celebrity Ambassador for Be Kind to Animals Week.

“We are putting out a call to every American to get involved and make a difference during Be Kind to Animals Week,” said Dr. Becker, who is well-known as “America’s Veterinarian” from The Dr. Oz Show and Good Morning America, and is an American Humane Association board member. “By becoming a part of a new 21st Century Compassion Movement you can help millions of vulnerable animals to be kept safe, protected, and loved – something this veterinarian prescribes for all animals. And you’ll be joining an effort that rescues thousands of animals every year from disasters, hoarding and cruelty cases, protects 100,000 animal actors on TV and film sets every year, works to save more of the 7-8 million pets who enter shelters each year, and ensures the humane treatment of nearly 1 billion farm animals. Don’t keep America’s animals waiting – join us today!”

Other major celebrities, charities, and organizations are posting, tweeting, and otherwise spreading the word, encouraging Americans to get off the sidelines and actively become a voice for the voiceless.

American Humane Associations is also offering a few ways we can all celebrate the importance of our beloved animals during Be Kind to Animal Week – and all year round:

  • Join the cause and become a part of the Compassion Movement at www.americanhumane.org/bekind and sign up for breaking news, alerts, and activities children and adults can do together to help animals in need. Take the pledge, find shareable Facebook graphics here and spread the word!
  • Adopt a pet from a shelter or rescue.  Every year 3-4 million animals are euthanized because they could not be adopted into loving, forever homes.
  • Always treat your pets with love and affection, make sure they are in safe environments at all times and have plenty of fresh water and exercise daily.
  • Spay or neuter your pets and encourage friends and family to do the same.  Many local shelters offer assistance for low-income families.
  • Keep your pets current on vaccinations and make sure they are wearing up-to-date identification tags and are micro-chipped.  Take your pet to the veterinarian regularly and know what it takes to be a responsible pet owner.
  • Report any suspected animal abuse or neglect to local authorities. Animal cruelty is not only tragic for animals, but also an indicator of other forms of abuse such as domestic violence.  If you see something that looks suspicious – a dog chained in your neighbor’s yard that looks underfed, a child putting a cat in a box and kicking it – don’t hesitate. Let someone know.
  • Teach your children that all animals are important and show them how to be kind and respectful to animals both in the home and to those they encounter in parks, zoos or in their neighborhood.
  • Appreciate wildlife.  Plant flowers in your yard that will attract butterflies or hummingbirds.  Drive cautiously through areas populated by wild animals such as deer.
  • Some 10 billion animals are raised each year on our nation’s farms and ranches and some 90 percent of them live without the benefit of audited, science-based welfare standards to ensure their humane treatment. If your family chooses to eat dairy, eggs, or meat, look for products that have humanely raised and certified by independent, third-party programs such as the American Humane Certified™ program.
  • Look for the No Animals Were Harmed® end-credit when you see a movie or television show featuring animals and know that your favorite animal actor’s welfare and safety was ensured by Certified Animal Safety Representatives who protect more than 100,000 animal actors on more than 2,000 film and television productions every year with a 99.98% safety rate!
  • Promote ways to treat animals humanely in your community by speaking out about the importance of respecting animals.

“American Humane Association helped found our nation’s Compassion Movement 137 years ago and we made a huge difference,” said Dr. Ganzert. “Today, we need every American to join in an ambitious new effort to bring hope, help and comfort to millions in need.  What better time to consider joining American Humane Association to help those in need during Be Kind to Animals Week? Please take just a moment and visit us at www.americanhumane.org/bekind.  Thank you!”

Celebrate BATS and learn the facts! U-Haul SuperGraphics is recognizing the true role of bats in our environment.  What’s Fact? What’s Myth?  What do bats really do and why are they worth protecting?

“Often overlooked, or even feared, bats are some of the most diverse, ecologically important and unique mammals on Earth,” stated Rob Mies, director, Organization for Bat Conservation. “Bats are a critical part of our environment. One bat alone can eat up to 5,000 insects in one night!”

U-Haul SuperGraphics Bat Appreciation

That insect control alone has been valued at $23 billion a year in savings to the agricultural industry. This reduction in pesticides not only saves costs but also prevents further negative effects on all of us. Bats are pollinators of hundreds of plants, some of which are exclusively pollinated by bats. Anyone who appreciates tequila should thank the Long-nosed bats.

There are nearly 1,300 kinds of bats worldwide, making up roughly a quarter of all mammalian species. Beyond their role in the environment, bats are involved in key industries including tourism, research and technology.

Over the years, bats have inspired advances in technology, particularly related to echolocation and sonar. Research has also led to the development of Draculin, anticoagulant using bat saliva to help stroke victims.

Current research is being done on the bat’s wing structure in order to identify ways to increase the maneuverability of airplanes.

Threats To Bats
Bats are under threat from a variety of sources, many human-driven. The biggest threat currently is a disease that is spreading across the country called White-nose Syndrome (WNS). WNS was first found in New York in 2006 and has since spread to 26 states. This fungal infection is typically spread bat-to-bat where bats hibernate. This devastating disease has killed more than 6 million bats so far. Researchers are working around the clock to find a cure, yet to date there is no way to control it. Learn more about White Nose Syndrome by visiting: http://www.whitenosesyndrome.org.

Bats are also dying off from the effects of climate change, the loss of habitat and the increased use of pesticides.  Bat conservationists are extremely concerned that these threats combined may lead to the species’ extinction.

What You Can Do
The problem facing bats is big, but all of us can, and should, take easy steps that will help protect these important animals:

Care for bats throughout the year

  • Put up summer roosting, bat houses in your backyard. Visit http://www.batconservation.org/bat-houses
  • Plant native, night-blooming plants and avoid using pesticides
  • Become involved in protection of local forests and wetlands

Avoid possible spread of WNS by humans

  • Stay out of caves and mines where bats are known or suspected to hibernate
  • Honor cave closures and gated caves
  • Stay out of caves when bats are hibernating

Invest in education and research
The nonprofit Organization for Bat Conservation teaches people about the importance of bats and inspires people to become involved in conservation.  Visit us online at www.batconservation.org.

Get free U-Haul SuperGraphic coloring book pages and screen savers at:

About U-Haul SuperGraphics

April marks National Heartworm Awareness Month, a time for pet owners to brush up on how heartworm prevention can keep their pets safe from the serious and potentially fatal heartworm disease. Pet owners should take this month as a reminder to discuss with their veterinarians how to best prevent heartworm disease in their pets. Unfortunately, there is no treatment for heartworms in cats, and the treatment for infected dogs is complicated and costly. An effective prevention plan is the best tool a pet owner has when taking on this life-threatening condition.

In contrast to the seriousness of heartworm infection, prevention is safe, easy and inexpensive. Prevention options include daily and monthly tablets and chewables, monthly topical medications and, for dogs, a six-month injectable product. All of these options are completely effective in preventing heartworm development when administered properly on the schedule recommended by your veterinarian.


“There is no way to predict where or when mosquitos will show up, and that is why we recommend year-round heartworm prevention,” said Nancy Turner, DVM, a member of the Texas Veterinary Medical Association who practices at Vickery Place Animal Hospital in Dallas, Texas.

Heartworm disease has been reported in all 50 states, with a higher concentration of cases in regions of the U.S. with warmer temperatures and higher humidity levels, like Texas. Pets are infected when a mosquito harboring the heartworm parasite feeds on them, allowing the parasite to enter the pet’s tissues and bloodstream. The heartworms migrate to the pulmonary arteries, obstruct the normal flow of blood from the heart as they mature and gradually spread to the heart itself. Signs of heartworm infection in dogs include coughing, fatigue, reduced appetite and weight loss. The signs of heartworms in cats mimic other feline diseases and include vomiting, gagging, difficulty or rapid breathing, lethargy and weight loss.

For more information on the detection, prevention and treatment of heartworm disease, visit the American Heartworm Society web site.

Banfield Pet Hospital®, the world’s largest veterinary practice, released its State of Pet Health™ 2014 Report today, revealing a staggering 48 percent increase in the prevalence of feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) infection in cats and a 21 percent increase in the prevalence of infection with the bacterium that causes Lyme disease in dogs. The report, compiled by Banfield’s internal research team, Banfield Applied Research and Knowledge (BARK), analyzed data collected in 2013 from nearly 2.3 million dogs and 470,000 cats cared for in Banfield’s more than 850 hospitals in 43 states. The State of Pet Health™ 2014 Report focuses on common infectious diseases affecting dogs and cats in the United States, as well as the prevalence and geographic trends of such diseases, including Lyme disease, parvovirus, Giardia and kennel cough for dogs; and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) infection, feline leukemia virus (FeLV), upper respiratory infection and ear mites for cats.

Banfield Pet Hospital Hidden Dangers Cats

Infectious Diseases in Cats, Areas of Potential Infection – Banfield Pet Hospital’s State of Pet Health(TM) 2014 Report focuses on infectious diseases that can threaten the overall health of pets. Download the State of Pet Health(TM) 2014 Report and discover key findings on a wide range of pet health conditions and diseases such as feline immunodeficiency virus and feline leukemia virus, by visiting stateofpethealth.com. (PRNewsFoto/Banfield Pet Hospital)

The report shows in 2013, approximately 1 of every 300 cats seen in Banfield hospitals was found to be infected with FIV, with the highest prevalence of FIV infection in OklahomaIowa and Arkansas. Also in 2013, approximately 1 in every 130 dogs was infected with the bacterium that causes Lyme disease. The report reinforced that the Northeastern states are a hot spot for Lyme disease, with the highest prevalence of infection in New Hampshire where 1 in every 15 dogs seen was infected, followed by Massachusetts and Rhode Island. In contrast, only 1 in 1,000 dogs or less was infected in the Pacific Northwest. Furthermore, the infection was twice as common in large breed dogs as in toy/small breed dogs.

Banfield Pet Hospital Hidden Dangers Dogs

Infectious Diseases in Dogs, Areas of Potential Infection – Banfield Pet Hospital's State of Pet Health(TM) 2014 Report focuses on infectious diseases that can threaten the overall health of pets. Download the State of Pet Health(TM) 2014 Report and discover key findings on a wide range of pet health conditions and diseases such as Lyme disease and canine parvovirus, by visiting stateofpethealth.com. (PRNewsFoto/Banfield Pet Hospital)

“The 2014 report highlights the increase in infectious disease observed at Banfield hospitals nationwide,” saidJeffrey Klausner, DVM, MS, DACVIM, senior vice president and chief medical officer for Banfield Pet Hospital. “It is our responsibility—as a practice and as a dedicated group of professionals who love pets—to provide the best possible preventive care, which leads to early disease diagnosis and management. This care creates a partnership between pet owners and their veterinarian to continuously identify changes in a pet’s overall health and behavior. At Banfield, we believe in creating a better world for pets—and together, we hope to protect pets from preventable diseases, help detect and manage emerging diseases and work to ensure all pets are as healthy as possible for as long as possible.”


FIV infection is typically diagnosed by a veterinarian using a blood test. Banfield’s research shows male cats are three times as likely to be infected with FIV as female cats. Like HIV, FIV is a slow-acting virus spread through close contact with infected individuals. The virus is commonly transmitted during mating, through bite wounds associated with cat fights or from an infected mother to her kittens. FIV infection leads to permanent and progressive infection in affected cats, eventually attacking the immune system and increasing the cat’s risk for other serious infections.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for FIV. A vaccine is available; however, its ability to prevent FIV infection is not fully understood and major vaccine advisory groups such as the American Association of Feline Practitioners either do not recommend it or do not consider it one of the regular vaccines that all cats should receive. Thus, the best way for pet owners to avoid exposing their cat to FIV is to keep them indoors and away from potentially FIV-infected cats.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates approximately 300,000 Americans are diagnosed withLyme disease each year, registering the highest prevalence throughout the Northeastern and upper Midwestern states. Banfield observed a similar geographic trend in pets, determining pets living in the Northeastern states have the highest risk of contracting Lyme disease. The Lyme disease infection is caused by a type of bacteria (Borrelia burgdorferi), and spread through the bite of an infected deer tick. In fact, since 2009 there has been a 21 percent increase in the prevalence of infection with the bacterium that causes Lyme disease in dogs, corresponding to a similar increase in tick infestation over the same period.

Transmission occurs when the tick attaches and feeds on an animal or person’s blood over the course of 24 hours, allowing the bacteria to enter the bloodstream. While the bacteria cannot be transmitted directly from pet to owner, pets with access to the outdoors can bring an infected tick into the home or yard, thereby increasing the chance of humans coming into contact with an infected tick. Owners can protect their dogs from Lymedisease by regularly checking a pet for ticks and using flea/tick collars and preventive medications, such as topical flea/tick products.

For dogs, the most common sign of Lyme disease is recurrent lameness caused by inflammation of the joints, but may also include fever, decrease in activity level and appetite and in rare cases, acute kidney disease. Exposure to the Borrelia bacteria can be detected by a veterinarian using a blood test; however, many dogs that test positive may never develop clinical signs of disease.


The following list illustrates states with the highest risk and prevalence of infection affecting cats and dogs throughout the U.S.

Highest Risk of FIV (Cats)

  1. Oklahoma
  2. Iowa
  3. Arkansas
  4. South Carolina
  5. Indiana

Highest Risk of Feline Leukemia Virus (Cats)

  1. Idaho
  2. Alabama
  3. South Carolina & Louisiana
  4. Arizona
  5. Kansas

Highest Risk of Lyme Diseases (Dogs)

  1. New Hampshire
  2. Massachusetts
  3. Rhode Island
  4. Connecticut
  5. Pennsylvania

Highest Risk of Canine Parvovirus (Dogs)

  1. New Mexico
  2. Texas
  3. Nevada
  4. Arizona & Mississippi
  5. Oklahoma

Banfield is also tracking diseases such as canine influenza, leptospirosis, canine distemper and toxoplasmosis, for which the prevalence of infection on a national scale has not been quantified. Such diseases are either rare, emerging diseases or they cause signs of illness that are not specific to any one disease and/or testing is not routinely performed to detect them. For example, canine influenza is so new that dogs do not have the antibodies to fight the infection naturally. The disease is caused by a fairly new strain of the influenza virus that affects the respiratory system of dogs and is typically spread through the air, or through interaction with an infected dog or contaminated objects. Leptospirosis is an example of a disease that dogs are not routinely tested for but that continues to be a serious health threat to dogs and people alike. The disease, caused by infection of the internal organs, can be contracted through exposure to urine from infected animals such as dogs, livestock and wildlife. Though it exists all over the world, leptospirosis is commonly found in tropical climates, where the risk is even higher after a hurricane, flood or heavy rain.


As the 2014 report suggests, the threat of infectious disease is often closer to home than pet owners realize, even hiding in backyards and neighborhood dog parks. Seemingly innocent and regular activities for pets, such as drinking out of or swimming in a pond, sharing a toy or chasing wildlife may result in serious illness if a pet is not properly vaccinated and protected with anti-parasite medications. For example, dogs can contract leptospirosis by drinking, swimming or wading in contaminated water, or by sniffing or licking contaminated urine. Similarly, cats can come into contact with the parasite that causes toxoplasmosis by eating raw meat from infected animals, such as mice, or by eating items contaminated with the feces of infected cats. A veterinarian can provide additional information for pet owners to protect their pets against the spread of disease, as well as recommend vaccines that may be best for the individual pet based on the pet’s lifestyle and geographic location.

“This year’s report features an exclusive look at the infectious and emerging diseases affecting the overall health of our pet population,” said Sandi Lefebvre, DVM, PhD, an epidemiologist and senior research manager at Banfield Pet Hospital. “In our ongoing commitment to improving the health and well-being of pets, Banfield believes in preventive pet health care as a way to improve the quality and longevity of a pet’s life by reducing the risk of developing serious, costly and sometimes fatal diseases. Our internal research team (BARK) is dedicated to uncovering those trends in illness in an effort to provide even better care for our pet population in the future.”

For the full State of Pet Health™ 2014 Report, please visit www.stateofpethealth.com.

In preparation for more outdoor playtime with pets this spring and summer, Petco’s National Grooming Operations Specialist, Wendy Weinand, shares easy tips for pet parents on DIY dog grooming and at-home bathing between visits to the professional grooming salon.


Proper tools: Before getting started, make sure all the correct tools are on hand. Pet parents should have dog shampoo, a towel, conditioner, a brush and treats. “I would use a shedless shampoo like Espree Naturals Simple Shed Shampoo for Dogs & Cats or Simple Shed Treatment for Dogs & Cats,” recommends Weinand. The natural oat protein and aloe shampoo is specially formulated to release loose hair and undercoat while it cleans and conditions.


Preliminary Brushing: The first step is to brush the dog to loosen and remove the undercoat that many dogs begin to shed in spring. Before brushing a dog for the first time, let them sniff the brush to get used to it. Be sure to give lots of treats during the process so dogs equate it with a positive experience. “For dogs with a heavy winter coat, I recommend using a Furminator Deshedding Tool to help remove the undercoat,” says Weinand. Dogs with shorter coats may do better with a simple slicker brush or rubber curry brush. “Petco store partners can also help you choose the appropriate brush for your pet,” says Weinand.

Bath Time: “Bath time should not be a family activity, as children may excite the pet,” says Weinand. “The person who bathes the pet should be the alpha in the house.” Always test the water before letting the pet in the bath. Much like a human baby, the water should be lukewarm, but not too hot to touch. Weinand suggests beginning at the back end of the dog and working towards the head. “Starting with the head can startle a dog,” she says. “Work your hands in a back and forth motion, creating a lather,” says Weinand. Rinse the dog thoroughly to remove all soap. When wiping down the dog’s skin, it should feel slick and make a slipping noise, which indicates it is soap free.

Drying: Use a towel to dry off the pet until most of the moisture has been removed. Don’t forget the head. “When the dog is mostly dry you can use a hair dryer for the rest,” says Weinand. “Always use the dryer on the warm or cool setting, never hot. Since some dogs may be scared of the noise, be sure to use lots of treats and positive reinforcement.” Again, begin at the back of the dog and work forward so the dog acclimates to the noise. It’s also helpful to spray on an aloe hydrating mist during the drying process to hydrate and moisturize the skin and coat.


Final Brushing: After the pet is dry, use a brush, rubber curry brush or Furminator to brush through the coat one last time to remove any excess hair and add shine. Remember, although DIY dog baths are great for a quick fix, it is important to take dogs to a professional groomer. In addition to caring for their skin and coat, Petco groomers conduct a seven point check-in that also includes the teeth, ears and eyes which can alert pet parents to any potential health issues they may not have noticed.


Nails: Nails should always be included in a pet’s normal grooming routine.  Nails that are too long can damage a pet’s pads, as well as break and cause the pet serious pain, so maintenance is important. “For smaller dogs and cats, you can use human nail clippers, but for larger dogs I recommend dog-specific nail clippers,” says Weinand. However, nail clipping may cause anxiety in some dogs, so do not push them further than what they can handle. “It is okay if you can only clip one or two nails at a time,” says Weinand. “And don’t forget the treats. Making nail trimming a positive experience will help pets become accustomed to the process.” Simply cut the very tip of the nail avoiding the kwik.  The kwik is the living part of a dog’s nail that contains blood vessels and nerves that will bleed if cut.  “If you do trim a bit too low, use a product like Kwik Stop to quickly stop the bleeding,” recommends Weinand. “Ask a veterinarian for tips on how to trim a pet’s nails to ensure you are doing it properly.” For pets that aren’t comfortable with the process or pet parents who are a bit too nervous to do this themselves, Petco’s professional groomers are happy to provide this service.

What about other pets? Although cats and small animals may not need a trip to the groomer, they do need proper care at home. Cats will lick themselves in order to keep clean, but shedding can still be an issue with long and short-haired cats. “Brushing cats regularly with a Furminator Deshedding Tool or other brush can help release their excess coat and cut down on hair balls,” says Weinand. While regularly changing small animal bedding will help keep most critters clean, animals like chinchillas need weekly dust baths and birds need to have a shallow dish of water to bathe or need to be spritzed with water. Birds and some small animals need their nails trimmed as well. Veterinarians can teach pet parents how to trim nails during routine health exams.

For those who would like more information, Petco will be hosting free Skin and Coat Seminars on April 26 & 27, 2014. For more information call your local Petco store or visit www.petco.com/grooming.

The white, trumpet-shaped Easter lily symbolizes Easter and spring for many people, and is a popular decoration in homes at this time of year.

If you have cats, however, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) wants to remind you that these particular flowers, as well as Tiger, Asiatic, Day, and Japanese Show lilies, are a safety threat to your feline friends.


Eating small amounts of plants or grass may be normal for cats. But the entire lily plant (leaf, pollen, and flower) is poisonous to them, according to Melanie McLean, a veterinarian at FDA. Even if they just eat a couple of leaves or lick a few pollen grains off their fur, cats can suffer acute kidney failure within a very short period of time.

McLean says that if your cat has eaten part of a lily, the first thing you’ll see is vomiting soon afterwards. That may gradually lessen over two to four hours. Within 12 to 24 hours, the cat may start to urinate frequently. Then, if kidney failure sets in, the cat will stop urinating because the kidneys stop being able to produce urine. Untreated, she says, a cat will die within four to seven days of eating a lily.

Young cats typically have healthy kidneys, so when a young cat shows signs of acute kidney damage, consumption of a toxic substance is one of the first things veterinarians investigate, McLean says.

Early veterinary treatment is critical. McLean says that even if you just suspect that your cat has eaten a lily, you should call your veterinarian immediately or, if the office is closed, take your cat to an emergency veterinary clinic. The vet may induce vomiting if the cat just ate the lily, and will give the cat intravenous fluids to prevent dehydration and preserve kidney function.

Other lilies, like Calla and Peace lilies, don’t cause fatal kidney failure, but they can irritate your cat’s mouth and esophagus. Lilies of the Valley are toxic to the heart, causing an abnormal heart rhythm. If you think your cat has eaten any type of lily, contact your veterinarian.

Lilies are not a great danger to dogs, McLean says. Dogs may have some gastrointestinal issues if they eat a lily, but nothing considered life-threatening.

Does this mean that you can’t have lilies in your home if you have a cat? Although it’s best not to have them in your home, if you want to enjoy these pretty spring flowers, McLean says to be sure to keep the plant someplace that your high-jumping pet can’t reach.


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