Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sunday Pet Peeve

I just visited the Facebook page of a company that makes a premium dog food, of which I am quite fond.  However, today I was dismayed to read a discussion there about feeding a variety of their products, which contain different protein sources, as a way to keep dogs interested in the food.

This probably isn't horrible advice in and of itself, but someone then asked about advice they'd been given by their veterinarian for their own dog, who is young but is beginning to show signs of food allergies (reacting to certain types of treats with hives and itching).  She said she'd been told to stick with one kind of food and not to vary the dog's diet.

Here's the pet peeve part.  The company spokesperson came on and told this person that a varied diet would be healthier for her dog.

I found myself compelled to post and express my dismay that a corporate spokesperson (whom I assume is not a veterinarian) would be giving veterinary advice to a customer, particularly advice that contradicts advice given by an actual vet.  I then went on to explain that dogs who show allergic tendencies often end up needing to be fed a novel protein and the more proteins you expose them to while young, the more difficult it will be to find anything they can eat if the condition flares up.  This is a common path to IBD in dogs, which is very serious and life-threatening.

Now, I'm not a vet myself, but I know this because I've had to deal with these issues in my own dogs (I have two that are atopic) and I know the horrors of trying to do an elimination diet trial with a dog that has eaten just about everything.  Unless you want to be stuck feeding exotic proteins like venison or buffalo for the rest of your dog's life (and even those are not really novel to many diets anymore), you may want to stop and reconsider what you're putting on your sensitive dog's plate every day and what you and your sensitive dog will have to endure if you ever do find yourself on a search for a palatable protein.

The thing that really bugs me here is that the question was asked of a corporation, whose best interest is clearly served by getting you to purchase all their products, and that the corporation was all too happy to trot out the corporate line suggesting nothing could possibly go wrong as long as you feed THEIR products.

This is a company I've respected a great deal, whose products I have used and recommended.  I still love their products, but I'm starting to believe that they've gotten a bit drunk with their own success.

Bottom line in this pet peeve of mine:  If you have questions about your dog's health, and if you want an educated opinion, it's best to talk to vets, to do research on your own, and learn all you can about the condition in question in order to form your own, educated opinion using unbiased resources.  We shouldn't be too trusting of those whose interests are served by providing a certain answer.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Canine Lymphangiectasia Support Group is up with improved load times!

Anyone who may have been frustrated by an attempt to get into the Lymphangiectasia support group (link at top of righthand column) should be pleased to note that the load times have been improved and the site is up and functioning well.  Please join us! 

Saturday, September 11, 2010

A good day to celebrate heroes

This is a good day to celebrate heroes.  I'm not going to get into political discussion this morning, but instead would like to share with you all a video which was created by one of my own personal heroes.

Her name is Sue, and she works in dog rescue.  Those are the people who pull dogs out of shelters and provide foster homes for them until a "forever" home can be found.  Sue has opened her home and heart to countless needy dogs over the years.  She was foster mom to one of my own, bringing him all the way to California from Michigan herself.  I love Sue just for this, but if that were not enough, she also opens her heart to human children, providing a loving home for four refugee children from war-torn nations.

Sue is not wealthy. She works a full-time job to make ends meet, just like most of us.

There are not enough Sues in the world.  I wish I had a tenth of her energy and drive.  Sue made this movie to honor all the foster dogs she's taken in over the years, and I'm proud to share that with you all today, because this is a good day to celebrate heroes, and Sue is one of mine.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Salmonella in Pet Food can Sicken Children

There are many opinions about the presence of salmonella in pet foods, but one thing we can all agree on is that, whereas it may or may not sicken our pets, it does sicken humans.  Now researchers from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, along with researchers from several state health departments, have found a link between contaminated pet foods and illness in children.

You can read more about it here .

Monday, September 6, 2010

Banfield under fire

From VIN News comes this underreported story about legal actions taken by veterinarians working at a Banfield pet hospital in Oregon:
"A lawsuit by an ex-Banfield veterinarian in Oregon alleging unethical medical and business practices by the corporation has been dismissed, but a second veterinarian who once worked at the same clinic has a similar complaint pending before the state Bureau of Labor and Industries....
Like Nix, Esquivel alleges that veterinarians and staff at Nyberg Woods were pressed by their superiors to maximize the clinic’s profits at the expense of patient care and welfare, such as by ordering frequent costly ultrasound images and by presenting the clinic as a night-time emergency-care center when it was not properly staffed and equipped to provide true emergency service. 
Esquivel also alleges that she was under pressure to generate a specific amount of revenue for the clinic — $2,200 a day — but was assigned to handle a large share of free wellness exams for which clients were billed “only for vaccines and other small procedures,” and therefore was unable to meet her quota, according to the complaint.
The complaint states that Nyberg Woods struggled to retain clients and that Esquivel had to skip meal and rest breaks to cover the workload. This paradoxical situation arose because management scheduled fewer people per shift to save money, Shahri said in an interview.

By the end of 2008, according to the complaint, Esquivel had become ill from the working conditions and chronic stress. Following 60 days of medical leave, she gave Banfield notice that she would quit “unless she could be assured that their practices would change,” the complaint states. She did not receive a response, but a termination notice was placed in her employee file, according to the complaint."

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Companion Animal Protection Legislation

This July, the state of Delaware passed comprehensive legislation which mandates that animal shelters must work with rescue groups who wish to help them find homes for shelter animals.

According to the No Kill Advocacy Center:

This law:
  • mandates the programs and services which have proven so successful at lifesaving in shelters which have implemented them;
  • follows the only model that has actually created a No Kill community; and,
  • focuses its effort on the very shelters that are doing the killing.
What do you think?  Could a law like this work in a cash-strapped state like California?  

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Hartz Mountain Recalls close to 75,000 bags of treats

Hartz Mountain Corporation is recalling 74,700 8-oz bags of Hartz Naturals Real Beef Treats for Dogs, lot code BZ0969101E, UPC number 32700-11519, which were imported by Hartz from a Brazilian supplier, Bertin S.A., and which were distributed to a number of customers in the United States.  While regular testing conducted by Bertin (prior to shipment to the US) did not detect the presence of Salmonella in any packages of this product, random sample testing conducted by FDA did indicate the presence of Salmonella.   Hartz is aggressively investigating the source of the problem.
Although Hartz has not received any reports of animals or humans becoming ill as a result of coming into contact with this product, Hartz is taking immediate steps to remove the product from all retail stores and distribution centers.  Dog owners having purchased this product should check the lot code on their bag, and, if the code is not visible, or if the bag has lot codeBZ0969101E imprinted thereon, they should immediately discontinue use of the product and discard it in a proper manner.
Consumers can contact Hartz at 1-800-275-1414 at any time with any questions they may have and for information on how to obtain reimbursement for purchased product.  

Full press release here 

Something New

The failure to pass AB 2000 this week has left me thinking that we need a better way to connect folks who are concerned about pet health and legislation that affects pets and pet health.

Specifically, I need to be more active in networking in order to bring people together who would be willing to act (make phone calls, rattle cages) in the event that action is needed-- what we failed to do for AB 2000.

Yes, some of us did act, but not enough.  Though I posted my link dutifully on Facebook, the number of hits to that link was small, and those from California even smaller, surely not enough to make the statement we hoped for.  And although I'm grateful to those who did take the time to repost the link and make the phone calls needed, I personally believe that I could have done better.  I could have done more.

In that spirit, I'm making a commitment to use this blog as a tool for connecting people who want to be informed when something is going on that might affect the life or health of your pet.  And I've joined the Saturday Pet Blog Hop today to bring people out to take a look at what I'd like to do.