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Pet Health News -- December, 2010


Conservation Program Fits African Wild Dogs with Pheromone Collars
Sentry HC Good Behavior Pheromone Collars are being used on African Wild Dogs (pictured) to help them bond more easily into newly created packs.
Conservation Program Fits African Wild Dogs with Pheromone Collars

Sergeant’s Pet Care Products Inc. of Omaha, Neb., recently reported that its Sentry HC Good Behavior Pheromone Collars are being used to help save the endangered African Wild Dog species.

The effort is part of the KwaZulu-Natal Wild Dog Project, a conservation program in South Africa.

The collars, originally developed to help pets overcome behavioral problems caused by stress and anxiety, are being used to help reduce aggression caused by stress during the initial introduction of wild dogs into newly created packs in protected areas. During the 30 days the collars release pheromones, pack politics settle with less violence, helping ensure that the species continues, according to the company.

“When you’re trying to change male dogs from one pack to another to prevent inbreeding, they often kill each other,” said Peter Oberem, a veterinarian and managing director of Afrivet, who brought the collars to the KwaZulu-Natal Wild Dog Project. “Pheromone sprays had little success because they could not be applied long enough. These pheromone collars have been a great success. They are long lasting and the mobility they provide, traveling on the dogs as they move about, has been a key part of the success.”

Conservationists are now considering replicating the project using pheromone collars in more conservation projects in the future, such as with the African Jackal, according to Sergeant’s Pet Care Products.

Trials are also underway using the Sentry HC Good Behavior Pheromone Collar for cats with African Wild Cats at the Dabchick Wildlife Reserve and Conservancy in South Africa’s northeastern Limpopo Province.


Florida Vets Warn Dog Owners about Chewing Behavior
Drs. Ashley Allen (left) and Robert Armentano stand with Regal, a puppy that was brought to the U.F. Small Animal Hospital after eating sponge-like bedding causing an obstructed airway.
Photo by Sarah Carey
Florida Vets Warn Dog Owners about Chewing Behavior

The University of Florida Health Science Center sent out a media alert in late October warning pet owners to monitor their animals’ chewing behavior.
The alert was prompted by a recent case at the U.F. Small Animal Hospital involving a puppy named Regal. The owner, Faye Johnson, brought the Shih Tzu to the hospital when he woke up one night having trouble breathing.

“Our initial physical examination showed signs of expiratory respiratory distress, meaning he was having difficulty getting air out of his lungs,” said Ashley Allen, DVM, a small animal medicine and surgery intern who worked with Regal. “Chest films showed a suspicious object blocking most of his trachea, or main airway, and severe collapse of the trachea in front of the blockage.”

Veterinarians also found that Regal’s stomach was filled with fluid and gas. An ultrasound revealed the presence of a fibrous-like foreign body in his stomach. With an endoscope, the vets were able to remove the foreign object, which turned out to be stuffing from inside of his dog bed.

This case illustrates that with prompt medical attention, patients with critical needs can have a good outcome, Dr. Allen said.

“I think Regal’s story also serves as a reminder for owners to provide puppies with toys and bedding that they cannot easily chew up,” she added.

In Regal’s case, Johnson didn’t even know he had been chewing on the bedding, according to Allen.

“Now that she knows he has a habit of eating things, I think she will be making some environmental changes at home to try to prevent this from happening again,” Allen said.
Regal is reportedly doing very well and is back to being “a happy, playful puppy.”

Researchers Study Link between Invasive Plants and Tick-Borne Disease

The presence of bush honeysuckle substantially increases the risk of human disease, according to a new study conducted by an interdisciplinary team of ecologists, molecular biologists and physicians from Washington University and the University of Missouri-St. Louis. The conclusion is based on the correlation between the invasive shrub, white-tailed deer and ticks.

The study found that the density of white-tailed deer in honeysuckle-invaded areas was roughly five times that in areas without honeysuckle, and the density of nymph life-stage ticks infected with bacteria that cause human disease was roughly 10 times higher.

The researchers confirmed these results with an experiment near St. Louis that removed honeysuckle in some areas but not in others. When honeysuckle was removed, deer activity was greatly reduced and the density of infected ticks dropped.

“One of the really exciting things about this study is the finding that an invasive plant alters deer behavior in a way that changes how deer and ticks interact, and in a way that promotes spread of disease,” said John Orrock, a co-author of the study and a professor of zoology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The question now is whether what holds for honeysuckle also holds for other invasive plants, said Jonathan Chase, a professor at Washington University.

“This may be something that’s occurring quite broadly, but we’re really just starting to look at the connection between invasive plants and tick-borne disease risk.”

The study was published Oct. 11 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

NASC Cautions Against Misleading Quality Assurance Claims

The National Animal Supplement Council (NASC), a nonprofit industry trade group, has issued a warning advising the public to be on the look out for misleading quality assurance claims for animal health supplements.

NASC said it issued the warning in response to the growing popularity of animal health supplements and recent confusion in the marketplace over marketing-geared quality seals.
“It’s imperative that, as an industry, we continue to act responsibly at every level,” said Bill Bookout, NASC president. “The integrity and future of the animal health supplement industry is dependent on companies disclosing credible, non-biased, verified third-party information about their products and implementing programs to help ensure quality verification and continued vigilance.”

NASC provided several recommendations for pet owners shopping for supplements. Among them, NASC said shoppers should verify that the quality seal was awarded by an unbiased, third-party organizations, not companies, retailers or manufacturers. In addition, quality seals, according to NASC, should require companies to adhere to proper labeling guidelines, including warnings and caution statements suggested by the Food and Drug Administration, Center for Veterinary Medicine and associations recommending regulatory policy.

North American Spending on Pet Insurance Increased in 2009, Report Says

The North American pet insurance market grew 14 percent in 2009 and is expected to experience double-digit annual increases through the next five years, according to a report released in late October by market research publisher Packaged Facts.

“Pet Insurance in North America, 4th Edition” examines the U.S. and Canadian pet insurance markets. Packaged Facts used gross written premiums as the main measure for calculating market size. Also referred to as “earned premiums” or “annualized premiums,” GWPs are the revenues expected to be receive over the life of the contract when a non-life insurance company closes a contract to provide insurance against loss.

The report found that North American revenues (gross written premiums) reached $354 million in 2009, compared to $310 million in 2008.
In the United States, sales totaled $303 million in 2009, up 16 percent from $310 million in 2008, when sales rose 27 percent. Pet insurance sales in Canada accounted for the remaining $51 million, up 8 percent from $48 million in 2008.

Packaged Facts estimates the number of pets insured in North America at more than 1 million as of 2009, with the U.S. accounting for more than 80 percent of the North American total.

Given the slow but steady economic recovery and high level of competitive activity, Packaged Facts predicts that growth in GWPs will climb back to 20 percent in 2010, and that the annual increase will average at this level through 2014. By this measure, North American GWPs will reach $881 million in 2014, according to the report.

Pedigree Dentastix, a brand of oral care dog treats made by Mars Petcare U.S., has named Finnley Binai, a chow-Australian shepherd mix from Walnut Creek, Calif., as the winner of its Denture Your Dog contest.
As the winner of Pedigree Dentastix’s Denture Your Dog Contest, Finnley will appear in an advertisement for the oral care dog treat brand.

Pedigree Dentastix, a brand of oral care dog treats made by Mars Petcare U.S., has named Finnley Binai, a chow-Australian shepherd mix from Walnut Creek, Calif., as the winner of its Denture Your Dog contest. The contest invited dog owners to upload photos of their pooches online and then superimpose dentures onto their pets’ faces. As the grand prize winner, Finnley will appear in an advertisement for the brand in an upcoming issue of People magazine and receive a one-year supply of Dentastix treats.

SMILE CONTEST: Greenies, a brand of The Nutro Co. of Nashville, Tenn., named Bentley the winner of its “Show Us Your Pet’s Healthy Smile” contest. The English Bull Terrier, owned by Christine Cimellaro, will receive free Greenies dental treats for one year. The contest is part of the company’s initiative aimed at educating pet owners about periodontal disease.

After linking seven reported cases of human salmonellosis between April and August in Canada to frozen rodents, the Public Health Agency of Canada in late September advised pet reptile owners to exercise caution when feeding their pets frozen mice, rats and chicks. Precautions include washing hands and preparation surfaces after feeding.

The 1st Annual K9 Cancer Walk in Los Gatos, Calif., on Oct. 10 raised more than $80,000 for Morris Animal Foundation’s Canine Cancer Campaign. This year’s sponsors and media partners included Eukanuba, VCA Animal Hospital, Animal Scan Advanced Veterinary Image, Canidae Natural Pet Food Co., Diva Dogs, Veterinary Medical Specialists and Veterinary Surgical Associates, among others.

Actress Betty White visited Williamsburg, Va., in October to help raise more than $70,000 for the Morris Animal Foundation, for which White is a trustee.
Actress Betty White arrived in Williamsburg, Va., via horse-drawn carriage for a Morris Animal Foundation fundraising event.
BETTY WHITE: Actress Betty White visited Williamsburg, Va., in October to help raise more than $70,000 for the Morris Animal Foundation, for which White is a trustee. She signed a collection of ornaments, called The Pet Set, created by Joy To The World Collectibles, which were then sold with a portion of sales benefiting the foundation. A black-tie fundraiser followed.

CAT CONTEST: Sergeant’s Pet Care Products and the Morris Animal Foundation kicked off the Happy, Healthy Cat Photo Contest in late October. The contest celebrates the Morris Animal Foundation’s annual campaign to bring attention to feline health. Actress Betty White, a supporter of Morris Animal Foundation, will select the grand prize winner and runners up, who all will win Petsmart gift cards and Sergeant’s products. <HOME>


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