The FDA just announced a new recall on Pro-Pet Adult Vitamins.  Here’s the body of the announcement:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE –- June 22, 2010 – United Pet Group, Cincinnati, Ohio is voluntarily recalling all unexpired lots of its PRO-PET ADULT DAILY VITAMIN Supplement tablets for Dogs due to possible Salmonella contamination.  The Food and Drug Administration is aware of this recall.

The product was sold nationally at various retailers.  The product comes in 100-count white plastic bottles with a light blue label, and UPC code 26851-01800.  These products are being removed from retail stores and consumers should immediately stop feeding these supplements to their pets.  The affected products are those with expiration dates on or before “06/13”. The expiration date can be found imprinted vertically on the right side of the product label.

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Watch Tip: Cars are Furnaces

Posted on April 17th, 2010 by Anna Nirva

Watch and listen for dogs trapped inside of vehicles on warm days; they could die of heat stroke. A sunny mild 72 degree day will produce 116.6 degrees in just 60 minutes, a 2005 Stamford University study proved. Opening the windows a crack produced only a slight reduction in temperature. Take action if you see dogs panting heavily. You might save a life.

It’s already happening: dog deaths due to heat stroke in hot cars

I had another tip prepared for this week, but after reading four news articles this week about dogs dying of heat stroke, I changed my plans. Spring is early this year. And as I learned, even the most dedicated animal rescue volunteers can lose track of time with deadly results.

Remember---72 outside? 116 inside a vehicle in 60 minutes. Heat stroke kills dogs. (This is a staged photo, and Austin, the dog, is just fine.)

Nine rescue dogs were waiting in the back of a closed truck without air conditioning while two animal rescue volunteers readied their adoption setup in a Georgia Petsmart on April 2, 2010. It was an unseasonably warm sunny day. When the volunteers returned to the truck to bring the dogs inside, they found unimaginable hell.

They found four dead puppies, one dead adult dog, one adult dog in extreme distress from heatstroke, and the three dogs suffering and deteriorating. They attempted to revive the dogs and then went the vet clinic, where the adult dog in extreme distress was euthanized. Three dogs lived. The volunteers and the rescue operator (who was not present) were devastated and suspended their rescue operations. The two volunteers are each charged with nine counts of animal cruelty. (Staged photo—no animal was harmed.)

Be prepared to take action to help save a dog from dying of heat stroke

What can you do if you see or hear an animal stuck in a hot vehicle? First, observe the situation carefully but quickly. Walk all around the vehicle, looking at all window openings, and notice if the motor is running with air conditioning on. Is there some shade? Is the dog or cat panting heavily and continuously? Or is the panting intermittent and related to the stress of your approach? Look for signs of drool or spittle around the mouth that might indicate prolonged panting.

If the animal doesn’t appear to be panting heavily and the air conditioning is running, leave, taking note of the time. Return in 15 minutes to check to ensure that the air is still running.

If the animal isn’t panting heavily, and the windows are generously open or the vehicle is in shade, leave, taking note of the time. Return every so often to check that the panting has not increased.

If the animal is already laying down, panting heavily and unable to rise, you must spring into action immediately. Act like a rescuer would, because heat stroke will kill this beloved pet in a few minutes. Enlist a passersby to witness your actions and quickly break a window with your elbow or a heavy object. Ask the witness to dial 911, and ask another one to RUN to the store service desk to insist on an immediate public address to the owner (describe the car and animal). Remove the suffering animal from the vehicle to a shady spot on nearby grass if you can do it safely, and fan the air overhead with anything handy. Ask if anyone has a water bottle; if so, dribble water into the animal’s mouth, and wet his ears and neck to speed cooling. Wait for the authorities and owners to arrive. Ignore any theft alarm; you are not a thief. You are a rescuer saving the life of someone’s pet.

If the animal is standing or sitting upright and panting heavily, you have more time. Write down the vehicle make and model, color, and license plates. Enlist a passerby to go to the service desk to request a public address to the owner. Stay with the dog or cat until the owner returns. If the owner doesn’t return in 10 minutes, and the animal is panting more heavily, call 911.

What are the laws that relate to this crime in your state?

The Animal Legal & Historical Center publishes a “Table of State Laws that Protect Animals Left in Parked Vehicles” that is updated yearly. See what the laws are in your state. (The web page will open in a new window.)

Why is heat so deadly to dogs?

They can’t perspire to exhaust body heat like we humans can. The only way they can rid their bodies of excess heat is through panting and limited perspiration through their paw pads. Heat stroke is quick to kill, and very young or old, obese, or unhealthy animals are more susceptible. What are the symptoms outside of heavy panting and drooling? Look for signs of restlessness (laying down and rising again and again), lethargy, dark tongue, lack of coordination, and even vomiting.

If you see dogs playing sports or running with their owners on hot days, be sure to say something! Veterinarians will tell stories of how quickly a happy dog can become overcome with heat stroke and die on a hot day. They will play or run until they drop. Vet clinics see them rushed into care by distraught owners, but only some can be saved.

Watch Tip: Tainted Waste

Posted on March 20th, 2010 by Anna Nirva

Watch for old spoiled garden waste and wild animal carcasses uncovered by spring rains and snowmelt. Clean it up. Even well-fed dogs and cats may attempt to feed on fragrant but tainted waste, and they can be sickened.

A Good Samaritan for animals starts at home

Our shelter dog Austin has a great nose, it goes without saying. And my effort last fall to feed old pumpkins to the neighborhood deer as a neighbor advised seemed like a good idea at the time. Except the deer apparently didn’t like them. Now spring has sprung, as they say, and the snow has melted off the old rotten pumpkins. Guess what. Austin with his talented coonhound nose was gloriously happy to discover them. He thought they were delicious and so he ate. He ate a lot. Guess what’s next: we were cleaning diarrhea for two days! Lovely.

I told this story to another neighbor who runs the front office at a large vet clinic nearby. She said that “this time of year we are overrun with patients who ate bad stuff that showed up as the snow melted.” She went on to say that sometimes “it’s just gastrointestinal,” but other times mold and parasites can create more serious problems. Sometimes dogs or cats get into fights over exceptionally attractive garbage such as an old deer leg, and need medical attention for bites.

Stray or wandering animals that may be underfed are particularly vulnerable to eating “bad food.” Not only will they eat less palatable or safe garbage, but they are perhaps less healthy and less able to withstand a bad bout of diarrhea and resulting dehydration and weakness. Real suffering can result.

It’s time for spring cleaning. Make sure your lawn and property are clear of old garden waste and dead rodent carcasses and other smelly stuff, and keep the compost in a contained area.

Watch Tip: Paw Pads at Risk

Posted on February 13th, 2010 by Anna Nirva

Tip for week of Feb. 14:

Watch for bloody dog and cat tracks caused by cracked and frozen pads. Find the pets and help them get the care they need.

Paw pads do not protect dogs and cats from injury like your winter boots protect your feet

Dogs and cats can suffer from extreme weather just like people can, and their paws are no exception. You might be surprised to learn that injuries to thick paw pads and tender spaces between the pads are actually slow to heal, according to Read about common risks to paws in cold and snowy conditions–which may be especially useful in the wake of recent storms in warm climates.

  • Frozen pads: extreme cold, dry conditions cause pad surfaces to freeze or get overly dry, and they can crack open, causing bleeding. Companion animals who are susceptible to this need improved shelter, or better monitoring during playtime or walks.
  • Ice balls between pads: consider a non-toxic spray “paw de-icer” for pets or try canine boots. Some rub petroleum jelly between the pads. If your dog has a lot of hair between the pads, keep the hair clipped short to prevent larger ice balls from forming.
  • Salt and chemical de-icers: wash off their paws with a wet towel after walks, or use a bucket of warm water for paw-dipping, to ensure your pet won’t ingest toxic chemicals.
  • Cut feet and legs: snow conceals sharp objects, so stay on known paths and walkways to avoid injury to your companion animal.


And a word of caution about antifreeze drips in the garage: it tastes sweet, and your furry friends may lick it; children might also! Even small amounts of antifreeze can be deadly! Wipe drips and spills immediately and clean the cement with a safe detergent. Some state legislatures are considering requiring antifreeze manufacturers to add a bitter flavorings to their formulations to prevent deaths of children and pets. Call your legislator to learn of any efforts in your state.

Watch Tip: Too Cold to Run?

Posted on February 6th, 2010 by Anna Nirva

Weekly Watch Tip for Week of Feb. 7:

Watch for dogs running (exercising) with owners in frigid weather. Paws and lung tissue can freeze and dogs might not show obvious signs of distress. Speak with the owner.

Dogs and cats and other animals are not invincible!

Without thinking too much about it, many people seem to believe that animals have abilities to withstand nature’s worst, just because they are animals. Nothing could be further from the truth. Companion animals, domesticated animals, and wild animals are vulnerable to extreme weather to extents that are determined by type and breed, and also by the individual animal’s knowledge and experience. I’ve written this before: extreme winter weather will kill even healthy heavy-coated buffalo.

Runners in bitter winter weather might wear excellent gear from head to foot, complete with eye, nose, and mouth protection, and not consider for a moment their dog’s paws or lungs. And their valiant dogs might not show obvious signs of distress before collapsing. (Sled dog types are less susceptible to suffering in extreme cold weather.)

These runners might be intelligent, responsible pet guardians in most ways; they might love their companion animals very much. But could they have incorrect assumptions about animal invincibility? Yes, and vet clinics treat the four-legged victims of this misconception often during cold snaps.

Shout out if you see runners and their dogs braving the fierce winter cold to say that dog lungs can freeze. Even if you don’t appear to have an immediate impact, hopefully the runner will watch more closely for signs of discomfort in their dog.

Westie Has Bad Reaction to Canine H1N1 Vaccine

Posted on February 3rd, 2010 by admin

If you’re thinking about having your dog vaccinated against the newly emerged canine H1N1 you might want to read the following letter I just got from one of my neighbors here in St. Louis. The letter is from her sister-in-law. I asked my neighbor Heather to validate it and she quickly okayed its publication.

Just FIY:

Yesterday we went to the vet for Annie’s annual vet appt. The vet told me that she was a perfectly healthy 10 1/2 year old Westie, and he couldn’t believe how “young” she still seemed. She received her normal bloodwork and vaccines, then I was told that this new canine virus was going around and that there is a new vaccine was 100% effective in lowering the severity of this virus H3N8. It is initially a 2 shot procedure followed by a booster once a year. I had no reason to question it, so we went ahead and got this vaccine. After we were home for an hour, Annie started limping, then she became lethargic, she stiffened up, wouldn’t eat or even take a bone (which she LOVES). She stared off into space and started breathing really quickly. I was so scared that I took her back to the vet a few hours later, he examined her and said he thought she was just in pain from her vaccines. She has had 10 years of vaccines and has never acted THIS way afterwards.

Her behavior worsened when we got home, so  I went on line only to find out that this vaccine is BRAND NEW…has only become available in US since 8/09.
The drug company, Schering-Plough says it had been tested on 700 dogs with no side effects. So I guess, we were the 701st dog! The Government approval certificate is “conditional” b/c they seem to be waiting to see what will happen to these dogs. This vaccine is completely optional, and I was just trying to do what I thought was best for Annie. If I knew this, I would have never tried such an “experimental” drug.

We were up with her all night and were ready to take her to the emergency vet if her breathing got any worse. Finally, at about 2am her breathing slowed down and she was able to fall asleep. By morning she seems to be back to normal, no limping, and took her bone. I will not take her back for her follow up shot next week, and I recommend to all of you, do NOT to put your dog through this. I will contact the drug company about this, but I’m not sure it will make a difference, so I wanted to tell all the dog lovers in my life! I really thought we were going to lose Annie last night.


Watch Tip: Extreme Cold

Posted on January 9th, 2010 by Anna Nirva

wwtips_a2URGENT: Extreme cold kills tethered dogs and cats, especially those animals without heavy coats, the malnourished, the very young and the elderly. Watch for animals that don’t have adequate shelter and speak with owners or call the authorities immediately.

Owners remove their bodies immediately to avoid being charged with neglect

Only the truly ignorant get charged, because they don’t think to remove the bodies of their frozen dogs and cats. In Spartanville, South Carolina, a man didn’t remove the bodies of 5 puppies and 1 adult dog, all frozen to death, all showing signs of starvation. He faces charges for inhumane treatment, unlicensed dogs, unlicensed dog breeding, failure to provide rabies shots, and of course, failure to dispose of dead bodies.

If a neighbor of yours finds the family dog frozen to death, you probably will only see an empty doghouse. You might wonder what happened. Your only hope should be that they don’t get another one who may suffer the same fate: hours of bone chilling cold, shivering, hard shivering, hypothermia, and death.

Don’t think that dogs are the only victims. Cats are sometimes tethered too. All animals who are not free to seek shelter from wind, cold, and precipitation, are at risk. Even buffalo can die in extreme conditions.

What can you do? Today? Drive to the doghouses that you know of and check to see if they are insulated with hay or straw. Old blankets, rugs, or newspapers won’t insulate; they don’t trap air. Check for adequate food and unfrozen water. Check for jutting hip bones and ribs. Check for shivering. Take your cell phone and Sunbear Squad Wallet Card with phone numbers to call the authorities. Your state likely has strict laws that require adequate shelter, and these days, neglect laws are enforced more often than not. [Photo from Dogs Deserve Better, a national organization that fights tethering of dogs; please note the frost on his fur and whiskers and his sad expression.]

Watch Tip: Thin Ice

Posted on January 2nd, 2010 by Anna Nirva

weekly-watch-tips-whiteWeek of Jan. 3

Watch for dogs and cats anywhere near or on partially-frozen streams and lakes; they can break through. Keep your pets leashed. Speak with owners who let animals wander nearby.

A beautiful half-frozen New Jersey pond was a death-trap

A few days before Christmas in a New Jersey park, a man and his dog took a winter walk near a mostly frozen pond, but only the man came home. His dog wandered onto the ice and broke through. The man walked on the ice to try to rescue his canine friend, and he also fell in. He somehow managed to scramble out and went for help. He found police nearby, who immediately called the fire department. They used a ladder to pull the dog from the freezing water, and performed chest compressions to try to bring him back from death. But it was too late.

Where was the leash? With a leash, the dog probably could not have walked far on a half-frozen pond to even reach the dangerous thin ice. With a leash, the man might have pulled the dog out of the hole and across the ice, possibly saving his dog.

Did the man think his dog would somehow just “know” not to walk on ice? Or did the man just not think at all? Become fully aware of risks that threaten companion animals and their humans, and speak up when you see a problem. You may help save a life.