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update on Chicago Canine Influenza outbreak
Read the link below to find out more about the strain of flu in Chicago dogs. There are two flu viruses in dogs in the midwest; one is H3N8 for which there is a vaccine and second virus is H3N2. Whether the vaccine is protective is unknown with speculation that it may reduce the severity of disease from H3N2, based on findings on human & bird responses to flu viruses.
Midwest Canine Influenza outbreak caused by new strain of virus.
Canine Influenza link to excellent info
I just finished reading many sources of information on Dog Flu. I find that the article, in the link, is one of the best to explain all the details.
Canine Influenza | UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program.,
My take on the subject: I will vaccinate my dog but I am not in a panic to do so. Because the virus will cause mild fever and illness in 80-90 % of dogs. The young, old and already ill dogs are at risk of becoming more seriously ill. There has been one confirmed case in WI as of today.
Vaccinating WI dogs now, before the outbreak in So WI, will slow and eventually stop or prevent a serious outbreak. So vaccinate your dog. Avoid groups of dogs until 2 weeks after the 2nd dose of vaccine. Such as; dog parks, doggie daycare, training centers, pet stores, shows, even your neighborhood walk, where every dog pees and sniffs, and dog sport events.
If you have a puppy in classes (which are essential for good behavioral health) avoid adult dogs, or where adults frequent, and wash your hands frequently. Bring your own bowls for water and food for the puppy, do not share. Interview the facility staff to find out if they are disinfecting everything, everyday:
1. With solutions that kill viruses on contact (2-3% bleach or full strength Lysol)
2. Floors, walls, gates, toys, and other surfaces every day.
3. Do they keep puppy areas separate, include the entrance and potty areas from access by adult dogs. If not carry your puppy into the puppy area.
4. Exclude dogs with a fever from classes.
Other tips to think about:
Be kind to service dogs and do not touch them. The fact is that many infected dogs, have no symptoms except a fever. If you’re like me, and enjoy petting every dog you encounter, you can easily spread the virus from one infected dog to another. This is the reason the Federal law prohibits touching service dogs.
Avoid the daily neighborhood walk and exercise your dogs at home, away from where dogs enter your yard, until you have vaccine immunity established.
When you have to go into public areas, prevent your dog from sniffing or licking objects, floors, including outside areas and other dogs. The virus can live for 12 to 24 hours in environment. Have treats on hand, distract your dog with a treat to the end of the nose and give the treat when your dog stops going for the sniff.
For your pets safety at home: If you do touch dogs, or visit friends with dogs that are in the outside world (or they touch you), wash your hands, arms and change clothes including shoes, immediately when you enter your house, before touching things and especially your dog.
I have jackets, jeans or wind pants that I wear for outdoor dog activities. When I get home, I walk directly to the laundry room, strip off my outer layer of clothes, and wash them. I remove my outside shoes and dip them in a half filled bucket of water with a dash of bleach, enough liquid to cover the shoes to the top edge. My outside dog shoes are bleach hardy. Next, I wash my hands & arms up to my elbows plus sometimes my face, with foamy soap. The more bubbles the more the soap will kill viruses.
The vaccine takes 2 shots to produce protective immunity – 14 days after the 2nd shot. Vaccine immunity in dogs will reduce the severity of illness. If your dog gets the flu, once recovered most dogs will have excellent immunity for 1 year. Expect the information to change next year.
BTW – Tamiflu is not recommended for dogs. Has more risks than benefit. If you suspect that your dog has the flu, supportive care is the best treatment. Take your dog to your vet as soon as you recognize the symptoms. Tell the receptionist that you suspect flu, so the staff can advise you how to keep your dog separated from other dogs arriving at the clinic.
Where to find information on the safety of GMO foods
GMO foods- means Genetically Modified organisims.
Below is the best website I have found dedicated to good science on the long term effects of GMO foods and the environment and health effects. No spin just science.
Not to be confused with an industry website called GMO.com with a nice green logo. They say that they are stating the facts only. However, numerous important misstatements of the facts make this website just an industry marking tool. The companies who sponsor this website are the major makers of GMO products, including: BASF, Bayer CropScience, Dow AgroSciences, DuPont, Monsanto Company and Syngenta. Remember these names.
How much to feed your dog. — Podcast, The National Academies of Science.
Great podcast from Veterinary Nutrition specialists. Covers all the important information owners need to know to make intelligent choices about dogs and pet foods.
Sounds of Science Podcast from The National Academies.
I recommend one food company at this time; Drfostersmith.com These recommendation will change over time because the pet food industry is not well regulated and the successful companies are often bought by one of the “Big Two”, multinational food companies, They are Mars and Proctor & Gamble, who are owned by even bigger, multinational, Tobacco Companies.
Allergic to pollen and food. Learn about Oral Allergy Syndrome.
Here is a link to the Wiki page of OAS
These same principles apply even more in our pets with multiple allergies. Pets have more histamine & inflammatory molecules stored in their skin. So, no matter what the source of the allergen, the first sign of an allergy flare up is itching & increased ear wax. Pets who are allergic to fleas, ticks or mites can develop oral allergy symptoms to these pests because they accidentally ingest them while grooming. Probably one of the many causes of eosinophilic mouth ulcers in cats.
More info; about people at Tree pollen allergy reacts with some foods.
Common Cross reactions:
Allergies to a specific pollen are usually associated with OAS reactions to other certain foods. For instance, an allergy to ragweed is associated with OAS reactions to banana, watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, zucchini, and cucumber. This does not mean that all sufferers of an allergy to ragweed will experience adverse effects from all or even any of these foods. Reactions may be associated with one type of food, with new reactions to other foods developing later. However, reaction to one or more foods in any given category does not necessarily mean a person is allergic to all foods in that group.
- Alder pollen: almonds, apples, celery, cherries, hazel nuts, peaches, pears, parsley, strawberry, raspberry
- Birch pollen: almonds, apples, apricots, avocados, bananas, carrots, celery, cherries, chicory, coriander, fennel, fig, hazel nuts, kiwifruit, nectarines, parsley, parsnips, peaches, pears, peppers, plums, potatoes, prunes, soy, strawberries, wheat; Potential: walnuts
- Grass pollen: fig, melons, tomatoes, oranges
- Mugwort pollen : carrots, celery, coriander, fennel, parsley, peppers, sunflower
- Ragweed pollen : banana, cantaloupe, cucumber, green pepper, paprika, sunflower seeds/oil, honeydew, watermelon, zucchini, echinacea, artichoke, dandelions, honey (if bees pollinate from wild flowers), hibiscus or chamomile tea
- Possible cross-reactions (to any of the above): berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, etc), citrus (oranges, lemons, etc), grapes, mango, figs, peanut, pineapple, pomegranates, watermelon
How does one cope! Knowing what you are allergic to helps because you can avoid the foods that go hand in hand with pollen allergies. Thorough cooking to breakdown the proteins in food into smaller bits can eliminate the allergic reaction. (Yes, fruit vegies and grains all have proteins or polypeptides) Cooking in water works the best to preserve the good elements in fruits and vegies, such as: poaching, stewing, baking in water until the food is really mushy like babyfood. Indian cuisine is well know for this method of cooking where any vegie becomes part of the sauce. Breaking down foods in acids like lemon, lime or vinegar can also work if allowed to marinate for hours to overnight.
Allergies to insect bites in pets.
This is an excellent articles on how insect bites lead to allergies in pets.
http://www1.vetmed.lsu.edu/VTHC/Shared Services/Dermatology/Continuing Education Lectures/item42230.html.
Scientists also know that the flea, tick, & mite- type insects can transfer proteins in their saliva that are identical to proteins in beef and Pork. This is how a single allergy to biting insects can develop into a allergy reaction to food. Called Tick-food cross reaction allergy.
So what can be done to prevent food -insect cross reaction allergy? Thorough cooking (at minimum 30 minutes at low boil in water until the meat falls to pieces) is usually enough to breakdown the proteins. Commercial foods and treats are usually not cooked long enough to breakdown the proteins so many hypoallergenic foods fail. In humans this phenomenon is called “tick-food allergy cross reaction”, and cross reactions can also happen with many pollens called pollen-food cross reaction or Oral Allergy Syndrome.
This explains why homemade pet-foods, and a few of the freeze- dried, pressure treated pet-foods can extremely helpful to reduce allergy symptoms.
Anti-inflammatory supplements have also been shown to be very effective. High quality, fish oil with omega 3 fats being the best of all these products. This is the one time I recommend buying fish oil from your local vet. The prescription form of fish- omega 3 FA are filtered, concentrated which removes water, unneeded non-omega 3 fats and both heavy metals like mercury and other chemical contaminates. I have done numerous price comparisons, based on the effective dose of Fish-Omega FA (mgs) and found that the cost per pet is the same as over-the-counter brands.
Most veterinarians can/will sell these products without an appointment because of overwhelming science that shows how high quality fish oil prevents most diseases including teeth & gum disease.
Note to remember: Flax seed or borage oil are not effective in dogs nor cats. Carnivores lack the liver enzymes that convert vegetable Omega 3 fats into a form our bodies use to suppress inflammation. You are just getting expensive poop. These seeds or oils are added in tiny amounts to pet foods and treats to sell more product to health aware consumers.
PetFoodReport what is really in pet food
This is a highly detailed and accurate report into how dog food is made. The first part of the article on the Maillard reaction is of interest to owners of dogs or cats who have had IBD diagnoses.
How to teach ANY dog to Come when called!
I have attached one of the best videos on how to train a dog to come every time.
Video train a dog to come everytime
More indepth info on training
How a change in thinking that will greatly increase your dog training success.
A common way of thinking about how dog’s interact with us is based on a human viewpoint. We wish that dog’s behave because we tell them what to do and motivated by love & desire to please us they do what they are told. A good dog behaves well and bad dog’s don’t. Hence the name obedience training, which has been used interchangeably for dog training for generations.
But, science into how learning happens shows us otherwise. So how do dog’s learn “to come” when called?
I will break down into parts how learning works.
First, the word, “come’. Dogs and most animals respond to words as just sounds. Human speech is hard for dogs to distinguish and sounds like noise to dogs, much as barking does to us. A specific word only becomes a sound signal after the dog figures out the importance and usage of the sound. We decide that certain words are important for training as cues for dogs. The dog does not know about that. Not until the dog learns the use of a word in a training sequence does the word becomes a sound signal. We must also teach the dog, which behaviors go with the signal, the order to act out the behavior and which behaviors do not go with signal. Next, the dog must also learn which sounds are not the one that pairs with “come when called”.
A. Make the signal easier:
1. Use short crisp, distinct sounds. Repeat the word pairing lesson 20 times in each training as one set. Only add difficultly once dog has mastered “come” in the quiet indoors and many rooms. Then practice in different locations, start 6 inches away and increase distance slowly, different peoples voices, with background noises, distractions (fun and scary).
2. Start with an easier signal than sound. Hand or arm signals are easier for dogs because so much of their communication is made up of complex body language. Dogs watch you closely every movement you make in an attempt to pick up on a signal. Make it easier by using hand/arm signals. Keep the rest of your body still. Use one hand/arm. Add sound after the dog is beginning to do it how you want it.
B. The sequence of learning is backwards from the order of doing the final behavior.
Let me explain further….
Dogs learn to use a set of behaviors by trial and error. So if a behavior is followed by something the dog likes, they attempt the behavior again. That is why treats work so quickly with training, especially in puppies. Timing of the reward is very important because dogs are doing behavior all the time. The closer the timing of the dog’s behavior are to the arrival of the treat the easier it is for the dog to understand what they did that resulted in treat delivery. The dog will experiment with body movements to figure out which sequence or posture or behavior gets the reward.
The first part of the video above suggests pairing the sound “come” prior to something the dog likes. He is taking advantage of a dogs natural tendency to approach when we make any sound. It seems simple but the thinking is a 3 step process. The trainer is ready for the dog who will approach, he will give something the dog likes, plus he adds the word “come” before the dog gets to him. This is a great way to introduce the idea of “come” when you first get a new puppy. Something the dog likes can be: praise, ear rubs, and treats whenever the puppy comes to you for any reason. Change up the rewards, so eventually food will not be needed. Make “come” part of everyday life.
C. Make the signal a signal.
The first time you hear a siren it has no meaning. It is just an annoying noise.We watch our parents pull to the side of the road as the noisy vehicle goes by. Later on we learn as someone explains. The signal does not make us drive to the shoulder of the road it is the order that we have learned to do when we hear the sound signal. So it is with dogs. A signal is a good one if it clearly helps the dog predict what to do next to get the final outcome. The sequence is how mammals learn by trial and error. Called the ABC”s of learning. Take advantage of this way of thinking to speed up your training and solve the stumbles that happen along the way to well trained dog.
The sequence is how a behavior happens in real time.
A stands for antecedent. Which simply means whatever comes before the behavior.
B stands for the observed or goal behavior. These are not always the same.
C stands for consequence. Here in is the biggest secret to good trainers. They all know it is “C”, the consequence that determines future behavior. If the consequence is a good one, the dog will try out the behavior again to see if the same consequence will follow. The behavior is a guess at how to get the consequence again.
The A is not always a signal as we wish it to be. It can be any set of circumstances, the dog recognizes, that happened before a they behavior worked to get the big C.
But training happens backwards from execution of a already trained behavior. The sequence of thought is: planning the big C and delivering it close to the behavior. The dog will try out behaviors, until they suceed at getting the big C. The dog also observes what precedes the sequence, B->C trying to figure out when doing a certain behavior gets the big C. The dog will bet on your signal, do the behavior, in the hope of getting the big C.
So training involves manipulating these three things. We add clarity and reliability to the Antecedent which helps the dog recognize it as a signal. We are clear about which behaviors get the rewards and when. We add good quality rewards for the behaviors that we want the dog to do. The dog becomes reliable the more reliably the consequence happens when the dog gives us the asked for behavior.
Chart of genetic tests available for dogs & labs that do the tests.
Here is a link to the OFA website where they keep a list of all the labs that do genetic testing for Dog diseases. The costs for these tests are much lower than ever before. Breeders and owners of purebred dogs will find this very helpful to plan their dogs future.
I have tested my dog for a Collie genetic disease (MDR1) for which he is a carrier and affected. But knowing he has one copy of the MDR1 gene means I can adjust the dose of certain drugs to prevent overdose and avoid other medication completely. In my case knowing avoided allot of possible harm. Since he is a carrier is out as a breeding dog and has been neutered. 70% of Collies have the defective gene causing MDR1 (Multidrug sensitivity) so the only way to reduce how many Collie’s get this genetic disease is to not bred all dog with a copy of the gene. Can’t see this disease on the outside of the dog. The only way is through a DNA test or when in a crisis of drug overdose which can be lethal. I would rather know.
Map of ticks and diseases — dogs and ticks
Link to cool interactive map of numbers of tick infections in dogs.