Mars Petcare US Announces Voluntary Recall of 22 Bags of PEDIGREE® Brand Adult Complete Nutrition for Dogs Sold at Dollar General in Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee and Louisiana
Erin Conn, 312-988-2214
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - August 26, 2014 - Today, Mars Petcare US announced a voluntary recall of 22 bags of PEDIGREE® Adult Complete Nutrition dry dog food products due to the possible presence of a foreign material. The bags were produced in one manufacturing facility, and shipped to one retail customer. The facility production line has been shut down until this issue is resolved.
Affected bags, which were sold between August 18 and August 25 in 12 Dollar General stores* in Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee and Louisiana, may contain small metal fragments, which could have entered the packages during the production process. The foreign material is not embedded in the food itself, but may present a risk of injury if consumed. We encourage consumers who have purchased affected product to discard the food or return it to the retailer for a full refund or exchange. We have not received any reports of injury or illness associated with the affected product. The lot codes indicated below should not be sold or consumed.
Mars Petcare US is working with Dollar General to ensure that the recalled products are no longer sold and are removed from inventory.
Recalled Pet Food
Only 15-pound bags of PEDIGREE® Adult Complete Nutrition dry dog food sold at Dollar General in Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee and Louisiana with the production code shown below are included in this voluntary recall. Each product will have a lot code printed on the back of the bag near the UPC code that reads 432C1KKM03 and a Best Before date of 8/5/15. No other PEDIGREE® products are affected, including any other variety of dry dog food, wet dog food or dog treats.
UPCDESCRIPTION23100 10944PEDIGREE® Brand Adult Complete Nutrition dry dog food in 15 pound bags
At Mars Petcare US, we take our responsibility to pets and their owners seriously. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience caused by this recall. Pet owners who have questions about the recall should call 1-800-305-5206 or visit www.pedigree.com/update
*Affected product would only have been sold in Dollar General Stores in these cities:
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Photo: Product Labels
Recalled Product Photos Are Also Available on FDA's Flickr Photostream.
Both the promises and perils of medical marijuana (MMJ) point to the need for science-based education, regulation and research. Many of us living in Colorado, one of the first states to legalize the sale of marijuana for both medical and recreational purposes, find ourselves touched deeply on a daily basis by stories that both uplift as well as cause grave concern for our veterinary patients.
On the up side, marijuana appears to afford a “lifesaving” alternative for a daunting gamut of difficult-to-treat disorders, including intractable epilepsy (seizure disorders that drugs cannot control). For companion animals, even the American Veterinary Medical Association website carries testimonials favoring veterinary cannabis, in which caregivers attest to significant benefits in their animals, who were unresponsive or intolerant of mainstream pharmaceuticals.
Now that marijuana is becoming legal to buy for humans in a growing number of states, many are trying it on animals. But should you be administering it to your pet? Should your veterinarian?
Unanswered QuestionsBecause of the higher toxicity of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in dogs compared to humans, many cannabis products sold for dogs list cannabidiol (CBD) instead of THC as the main active ingredient. (THC is the substance in cannabis that typically makes human users high.) Websites selling CBD-predominant substances for dogs may claim that their products are “completely safe” but lack reliable research to back those claims. There are, in fact, many potentially helpful chemicals in the cannabis plant, but THC and CBD usually outnumber the rest, although amounts are dependent on the strain of plant. What that means is that the ratio of cannabinoids (i.e., chemicals in the cannabis plant) differs among plants based on their genetics. While the CBD in cannabis does not make someone “high” in the usual sense, it may benefit human patients with various medical problems, including Crohn’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder and multiple sclerosis. CBD reduces pain, inflammation and anxiety as well as seizure activity. Research suggests that CBD has lower toxicity and higher tolerability than THC in both humans and non-humans. However, research has not yet established safe dosing guidelines for either population, partly because of highly restrictive federal laws that prohibit scientists from thoroughly investigating its effects.
A Deadly Uncertainty
Lacking rigorous scientific evidence, veterinarians cannot determine safe dosages and THC/CBD ratios of medical marijuana for dogs, cats and other animals. Veterinarians and owners are left relying on anecdotal reports, trial and error and companies’ claims. If the tolerable and safe dose, whatever that might be, is exceeded, an animal may land in the local veterinary emergency clinic, and there are no antidotes for THC poisoning. While many insist that marijuana overdoses cannot kill, the consequences of cannabis can indeed turn deadly in dogs as the result of THC overdose.
Dogs are most commonly exposed to cannabis through THC-laced edibles they find in the trash or in other opportune places, though some may ingest marijuana through purposeful exposure by their owners to tinctures, vapors and even homemade dog biscuits. The incidence of both intentional and unintended exposure is increasing as legalization spreads throughout the United States. As a cautionary tale, veterinary hospitals in Colorado have witnessed growing numbers of animals admitted for marijuana poisoning. Even before laws passed in Colorado allowing sales for recreational purposes, the number of dogs presenting with marijuana toxicosis quadrupled. Contributing factors beyond increased availability likely include a higher awareness among clinicians of the signs of poisoning, population shifts (e.g., marijuana “tourism” and immigration) and a greater willingness of clients to seek veterinary assistance for the condition.
Depending on the dose and route of administration, problems usually appear within 30 to 60 minutes after exposure. The ASPCA’s Pet Poison Helpline lists 12 common signs of toxicity ranging from coma to seizures and respiratory depression to hyperactivity.
Calls for Caution
Much more needs to be done to make marijuana safe not only for pets but for humans, too. To both pets and people, marijuana-laced foodstuffs are indistinguishable from their innocuous counterparts, raising the risk of accidental ingestion by children, animals and unsuspecting adults. The amount of THC cooked into the cookies, chocolates and other foods can also take those intentionally consuming the products by surprise. For example, shortly after consuming a marijuana cookie, a college student jumped to his death from a motel balcony. In another case, a Denver man shot and killed his wife after supposedly eating cannabis candy.
Those incidents underscore the urgent need for education, regulation and research. Unfortunately, federal restrictions on marijuana research have hampered investigation into both its value and dangers. Decade after decade, advocates of less restrictive marijuana laws have unsuccessfully petitioned the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to rethink the listing of marijuana as a Schedule I addictive drug with no therapeutic value. Delisting cannabis would ease research restrictions and allow studies on safety and efficacy to move forward.
Today, inadequate oversight of the amount of THC that producers are putting into each serving of edible marijuana is resulting in injuries, as is the lack of guidelines for and availability of testing, labeling and protective packaging. Consumers are confused about how much to eat and whether one batch of cookies or candies will produce the same effects as the next, turning self-medicating into a game of wild guessing.
Safety Requires Study
As a result, Colorado is earning the reputation as the Wild West of medical marijuana. Tying the hands of researchers and clinicians who desperately want to begin research is federal law that bars them from studying the safety and effectiveness of medical marijuana. That is putting the safety of people, pets and the public in jeopardy. The cure? Remove restrictions on research so that scientists, physicians and veterinarians can study cannabis carefully and without risking their licenses, federal funding and/or freedom through imprisonment. Only then will we be able to safely determine the benefits and appropriate uses of medical marijuana for veterinary patients.
Dropping to the ground is "a play solicitation,” says Sharon Crowell-Davis, DVM, DACVB, who specializes in pet behavior and is a professor at the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Georgia. Dogs use body language, including several play solicitations, to communicate their intentions.
“One of [these solicitations] is to just drop to the ground, and one of them is what we call a play bow where the fore quarters go down and the hind quarters are sticking up in the air,” explains Dr. Crowell-Davis. “Another is to raise one fore paw either while standing up or in the play bow, and wave it at the other dog — those are all forms of inviting the other dog to play.”
Learning to Socialize
Problems can arise when another dog doesn’t recognize the meaning behind the gesture. “Both dogs and cats are social species, and this means they’re born with the capacity to learn the appropriate species-specific social behavior and appropriate social responses of their species, but they’re not born knowing all of it,” says Dr. Crowell-Davis. Due to this learning curve, Dr. Crowell-Davis stresses the importance of puppy socialization classes and ensuring that your puppy has pleasant experiences with others of its species early and often.
A dog that lacks significant social experiences may be clueless about what a play bow means and could respond with fear, and may even attack the dog that has performed the play solicitation. “But if you have dogs that have grown up with other dogs and have learned dog signaling, dog language and dog etiquette (a dog knowing that if one dog does this, I’m supposed to respond that way), then when one dog does a play solicitation, the other dog would know to play back if they feel like playing.” Or, she adds, maybe the dog doesn't feel like playing, in which case he’ll ignore the play bow or just lie down.
Another potential source of conflict arises when, for example, there is a juvenile dog in the house who likes to play a lot and an older dog who’s fine playing sometimes but not always. “We might have the younger dog coming up and soliciting the older dog, and sometimes the older dog will play and other times it’ll just stare," says Dr. Crowell-Davis. "The younger dog has to learn to back off.”
Featured Breed: Dachshund
The Dachshund is a small scenthound with short legs and a distinctively elongated body. The breed's beginning can be traced to the 1600s, when it was used in Germany to hunt, track and retrieve burrow dwelling animals, mainly the badger. Today it is one of the most popular breeds in the U.S., and can be found in the fields as hunting companions or in homes as a family pet.
The Dachshund can move and enter easily through a tunnel or den because of its long, low-slung body. The dog’s unconstrained and smooth gait is enhanced by its powers of stamina, ease of movement, and dexterity. The muscles should be strong without appearing bulky, and the waist tapered slightly. It is the appearance of slender athleticism. Its trim profile, in fact, was used as a symbol for the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich. The distinctive forward flopping ears protect the Dachshunds ear canals from the entry of foreign objects as it races through brush, and the slightly curled up tail serves to make it visible to trailing hunters.
There are three sizes of Dachshund, each based on the practical purpose of the designated prey. The larger Dachshund, weighing in at 30 to 35 pounds, is used for hunting badgers and boars, and the smaller, standard sized dog, weighing from 16 to 22 pounds, is used for hunting badgers, foxes and hares. The smallest size, the miniature, which weighs under 11 pounds, is more commonly kept as a house pet.
In addition, there are three types of coats that are standard for this breed. The silky long coat can be straight or wavy; the smooth coat is short and glossy; and the wiry coat has hard, thick, tight hair with a fine undercoat. All varieties of coats offer protection from extreme weather conditions. The pleasant and intelligent expression of the dog give it a confident demeanor.
PERSONALITY AND TEMPERAMENT
The daring, adventurous and curious Dachshund is fond of digging, hunting, chasing game, and tracking by scent. It is a true combination of terrier and hound. Although the dog is playful with children, time spent with them should be attended to by adults, since the Dachshund does not have a wealth of patience for being mishandled -- unintentional though it may be.
This breed does well with strangers, but tends to be reserved and shy, and may sometimes snarl at those it is unfamiliar with. If it recognizes what appears to be an attack on its family members, the Dachshund is unreservedly quick to defend against danger. The wire-haired varieties are bolder than the long-haired ones, which are less terrier-like and quiet. Meanwhile, the miniature varieties are even more timid with strangers. However, this independent little dog enjoys spending time with people and in taking part in family activities.
Also of note, in addition to its attentive and protective nature, the Dachshund's loud voice makes it an ideal watchdog.
Because of its size, the Dachshund can adapt to apartment living or city life. Still, this breed needs daily exercise and opportunities to spend its energy. Physical games in the yard or at the park and daily leash walks will keep the Dachshund in top shape, and will allow it to relax when it is at home. This breed especially relishes a good game of catch.
The long-haired Dachshunds need to be brushed and combed at least once or twice a week, with occasional trimmings, and the wire coat breed should be combed or brushed at least once a week. The least grooming is required for the smooth coated breed, though it is a good idea to trim stray hair and strip dead hair about twice a year.
The Dachshund, which has an average lifespan of 12 to 14 years, occasionally suffers from diabetes, gastric torsion, deafness, seizures, patellar luxation, keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS) and Cushing's disease. The major health concern affecting the dog is intervertebral disk disease (IVDD), causing spinal cord problems due to the Dachshund's elongated body. Obesity will increase the risk of spinal injury. Eye tests should be included as part of the regular physical check-up, especially for "double dapples," or Dachshunds with two different colored eyes, which are prone to hearing and visual problems.
HISTORY AND BACKGROUND
First mentioned in 18th-century dog books, the Dachshund breed was referred to as the Badger Dog, Little Burrow Dog, Dacksel or "low crooked legged" breed. The word Dachshund is German, literally meaning "badger hound." This name was given to them because they were used for the extermination of badgers, although they were also very useful for hunting other prey, such as foxes and rabbits, because of their ability to enter burrows to catch them. Used in number, Dachshunds were also used to hunt boar. Their courageous fight to the finish attitude make them worthy opponents, but their apparent lack of self-awareness concerning size can lead them into situations where they are at a distinct disadvantage.
The breed has three sizes (although the larger sizes are combined as one size for breed standard and show purposes). The large, or standard Dachshund is from 16 to 35 pounds, and the smaller, miniature Dachshund is under 11 pounds. The smooth coated Dachshund, specifically, was first developed by crossing the Bracke French pointer and the vermin-killing Pinscher. Meanwhile, the long-haired version is thought to have been the result of crossbreeding between the smooth Dachshund, the German Stoberhund and spaniels. And the wire-coated Dachshunds which were developed in the late 1800s, was a mix of smooth Dachshunds with Dandie Dinmont Terrier and German Wire-haired Pinschers. These three varieties were excellent hunters in their respective climatic conditions and terrain, and were all very strong and powerful dogs that hunted small mammals, foxes, and badgers.
Prior to the 20th century, small Dachshunds, produced by crossing Pinschers and toy terriers, were used for chasing small quarry-like rabbits. However, these miniatures types lacked Dachshund proportion. Strict criteria were taken up for the Dachshund by 1910, and each variety was crossed with various kinds of breeds to get only the best results. Wartime brought some amount of ill repute to the German borne Dachshund, leading to brief declines in popularity, but there have always remained those who have returned the Dachshund's steadfastness and loyalty with the like, and the Dachshund has continued to grow in popularity, standing tall as one of the most popular companion dogs in the U.S.
Well, we have finally done it. Our overuse of antibiotics is selecting for “super bugs” of bacteria that are resistant to antibiotic therapy that threatens world health. As patients, pet owners, and doctors, we are all too quick to treat symptoms with antibiotics rather spend the time and money to work-up cases to find if bacterial infection is really the problem. As consumers and food producers we have been too eager to ensure a cheap supply of animal protein by the use of antibiotics. It appears we are now paying the price for our choices.
Dr. Keiji Fukuda, MD of the World Health Organization (WHO), warns that “common infections and minor injuries can kill” due to antibiotic resistance.
Dr. Fukuda’s Report on Antibiotic Resistance
In 2014 Dr. Fukuda issued a report to the World Health Organization titled “Antimicrobial resistance: global report on surveillance 2014.” This report shared data on the present state of antimicrobial drug resistance and called for more shared data to identify the extent of the problem. His own data surveyed information from 114 countries. The results are alarming. Fifty percent of isolated bacteria in many countries are resistant to antibiotics commonly used to treat these infections. Life threatening bacteria like E. coli, Staphylococcus and Klebsiella are now resistant to the last drug of resort to combat these bacterial infections. One-in-five countries report bacterial resistance to the most common treatment for E. coli bacteria.
The report cites two major causes for this problem: the accelerated use of antibiotic use in humans and animals, and the lack of new antibiotics to replace ineffective ones. The report emphasizes that the use of the same drugs for human disease as animal disease, particularly animals raised for food, contributes to the cross species drug resistance problem. Because we may share the same bacteria with food producing species, genetic resistance to antibiotics in food animals can be transferred to us and our pets. But the problem is not isolated to antibiotic use in livestock. The report states:
“In many countries, the total amount of antibiotics use in animals (both food-producing and companion animals), measured as gross weight, exceeds the quantity used in the treatment of disease in humans.”
Dr. Fukuda calls for “global recognition of the need to avoid inappropriate antimicrobial uses and to reduce the administration of those drugs in animal husbandry and aquaculture as well as reducing their use in humans.
What is Being Done About Antibiotic Resistance?
The FDA has asked pharmaceutical companies to withdraw drug approval for the administration of antibiotic drugs in livestock that promote growth or increased feed efficiency in livestock. They have threatened regulatory action against non-compliance. More than 24 drug companies have agreed to comply.
What Can You and Your Veterinarian Do?
When your veterinarian recommends an antibiotic for a disease symptom ask for a rationale. He/she should be able to tell you the probability of bacterial infection as the cause and the justification for antibiotic use. If the rationale is equivocal and requires further diagnostics, inquire into the cost and relevance of potential findings and the importance of antibiotics for those treatments.
Antibiotics have revolutionized human health worldwide. We have a responsibility to not abuse them. Let the body do what it does best: heal.
Veterinarians often hear owners say that canned food is generally better than dry for cats because the former is higher in protein. Well… research on feline nutrition suggests that In some cases, dry food has more protein than canned, even when comparing similar products made by the same manufacturer.
In one example, a manufacturer's canned variety contains 43.2% protein on a dry matter basis (meaning after the water has been removed, a necessary calculation when comparing dry and canned foods). Their dry version of the diet comes in at 56.8% protein, again on a dry matter basis. To see whether this finding was unique to this particular brand a look at another manufacturer’s prescription, gastrointestinal diet indicates that their dry food is 40% and canned food is 37.6% protein, both on a dry matter basis.
Hmmm. Perhaps protein levels being higher in dry versus canned foods had something to do with the nature of prescription, gastrointestinal diets. But further investigation looking at high quality, over the counter maintenance food for adult cats made by a major pet food company showed that their “salmon” kibble and canned “salmon” diets were 33% protein.
Okay then, what about a brand of food that has a well-earned reputation for being one of the highest protein varieties available over the counter? The company’s dry Turkey and Chicken Cat/Kitten Food (it’s an “all life stages” food) has 55.6% protein while their canned version of the same food has 54.5% protein.
So... the take home message is that owners can’t rely on the overly simplified statement that canned foods contain more protein than do dry.
Furthermore, comparing ingredient lists isn’t all that helpful either. Ingredients are listed in order of decreasing dominance in the food based on their weight which includes water content. The first few ingredients listed on the labels of the Turkey and Chicken Cat/Kitten Food mentioned above are:
There’s no way around doing some math when it comes to comparing the protein content of dry and canned cat foods. Thankfully, the calculation involved is simple:
Keep in mind, however, that protein level is not the only characteristic that should be evaluated when picking out a cat food. In fact, the very attribute of canned foods that limits how high their protein levels can be — their high water content — is very beneficial for feline health.
10 Herbs to Enrich Your Cat's Life
HERBS FOR COMMON CAT AILMENTS
If you’re lucky enough to have a garden, a balcony, or even just a sunny window sill, then you can grow your own herb garden. Herbs grow easily, are delicious, and certain herbal cat remedies are not only adored by your kitty, but can also be very good for her health (not to mention yours), and useful for treating certain ailments she might have.
Even if you don’t have a green thumb, herbs tend to be easy to grow and are worth the minimal effort. Plus, you can grow some for your own cooking pot too! Just remember: every cat is different so it's best to discuss the use of any herbs with your veterinarian.
Ah, the king of cat herbs. Catnip is beloved by felines the world over, and for good reason, it makes them very happy. It’s sort of like an after work cocktail for cats, relieving them of stress and nervousness. Also, if your cat is always scratching, and seems to have itchy skin, a catnip "tea bath" can soothe kitty’s skin.
If your cat doesn’t react to catnip, then cat thyme may just be you and your cat’s best friend. That is, if you can withstand its awful odor. Cat thyme has the same soothing effects as catnip, with the attendant feelings of contentment. And everyone loves a content cat. If you do go for cat thyme, however, you may want to pot a few plants, as they are very slow growing.
This pungent herb is best known for helping people to relax and get a good night’s sleep. Not so for Mr. Whiskers. Valerian works as a stimulant on cats; good for transforming lazy, fat cats into exercise machines. Pair this with the fact that cats actually like eating the plant and you’ve got the perfect formula for a healthy, furry feline.
Chamomile, Calendula and Echinacea
While not quite the right combination (or the right amount of herbs) for a Simon and Garfunkel song, these three herbs have many purported medicinal properties, including the alleviation of certain skin issues such as itching. Discuss with your veterinarian how they best serve your cat and in what form. Many veterinary herbalists prepare chamomile, calendula and echinacea as tinctures.
Not only does it taste good to your cat, licorice root is good for you, too. As a natural cortisone, licorice root can be used to soothe itchy kitties with allergies, endocrine (the endocrine gland affects metabolism, growth and mood) and digestive issues, as well as respiratory problems like colds, since it soothes mucusmembranes. Other benefits of the licorice root include blood cleansing and anti-inflammatory properties, so it can be very useful for cats with arthritis.
Cat’s Claw and Dandelion Root
Both of these herbs are good for you and your cat. A tincture made out of dandelion root and cat’s claw can help with itching for cats, especially those with allergies, as it contains natural cortisone. If kitty is trying to watch her figure, try making her a salad with dandelion leaves.
No, this isn’t the title of a new James Bond film, but an herb that’s useful for your cat. Goldenseal can be used as a natural disinfectant on wounds, and, in conjunction with saline, may help shrink swollen eyes due to infections and allergies.
Don't forget to consult your vet prior to using herbs. You can also check in with your local holistic pet store for advice, and read our how-to guide for growing an indoor or outdoor herb garden. Like you, your cat should benefit from these natural wellness boosters, but only under professional supervision. Happy herb growing.
Featured Breed: Beagle
The Beagle is a medium-sized breed belonging to the hound sporting group. Though many variations of this breed have existed throughout history, the modern breed emerged in England in the early 1800s. The Beagle is a popular choice for pet owners because of its size and calm temperament, and is useful for hunters because of its sharp sense of smell.
Having a solid structure, the Beagle resembles a Foxhound. Hunters can follow the dog on foot, and the tuneful bay of the Beagle aids hunters in locating the dog from a distance. Because of its moderate size, the Beagle can even be carried to the hunting site, where it can then scurry into the dense undergrowth to look for the target. The dog receives protection against the thick underbrush from its coarse and close coat. And being an amicable dog makes it a great pack hunter, mixing well with other dogs.
PERSONALITY AND TEMPERAMENT
Known to be among the most friendly of the hound breeds, the Beagle was developed to be a pack hunter. The best qualities in the Beagle are its fondness for exploring the outdoors and its enthusiasm for trailing. This independent breed barks, howls, and sometimes runs off on a trail on its own. Because it is also an incredibly tolerant, calm and adventurously playful dog, the Beagle also makes a perfect pet for families with children.
The Beagle is a social dog that is particularly well suited to the company of humans and other dogs alike. It also needs to spend equal time in the yard as it does in the house. Regular exercise, such as a romp at the park or in a spacious yard area, along with regular leash-led walks are great outdoor activities for the Beagle. This breed can withstand temperate climates and live outdoors most seasons, as long as it has bedding and an enclosed, warm shelter. With its short, close coat, the Beagle does not require extensive grooming. An occasional brushing to encourage turnover of hair, and to minimize hair buildup in the house is all that is needed to keep your Beagle looking healthy and vibrant.
The Beagle has an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years. While this breed is generally healthy overall, some specific ailments that are known to affect the Beagle breed are patellar luxation, glaucoma, epilepsy, central progressive retinal atrophy (CPRA), hypothyroidism, distichiasis, chondrodysplasia, cherry eye, and keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS). Deafness, cataract, hemophilia A, demodicosis, and umbilical hernia are some other health problems that affect the breed, while some major ailments include primary carnitine deficiency (CUD) and intervertebral disk disease. Some exams used to identify these conditions include hip, thyroid, and eye tests.
HISTORY AND BACKGROUND
The word “beagle” is thought to have come from certain old French words meaning an open throat, a possible connection to the dog’s musical bay. It is also speculated that the dog’s name might have derived from old French, Celtic or English words meaning small. Beagle-like dogs were probably used for the popular sport of hare-hunting in England during the 1300s, but the term "beagle" was not used until 1475. Hunters would follow the dog on foot and sometimes even carry one in his pocket. There were several sizes of Beagles in the 1800s, but the pocket-size dogs were most popular. These small dogs measured only about nine inches and required the hunter's help while crossing rough fields. Because the smaller Beagles were slower and easier to follow on foot, they appealed especially to women, the elderly, and those who otherwise did not have the stamina or inclination to keep up with an active dog.
The first mention of the Beagle in the United States occurred in the town records of Ipswich, Massachusetts, in 1642. Before the American Civil War, people in the South used Beagles, but these dogs did not resemble English Beagles. However, when the war was over, English Beagles were imported for crossbreeding and to develop the modern American Beagle we know today. The last part of the 19th century saw the emergence of Beagles as popular competitors on the field and in exhibitions. Soon thereafter, this little hound dog with the melodic howl came to be amongst the most preferred family pets in the U.S.
No owner wants to sicken their pets with their own good or bad habits. Yet, when it comes to the health risks our pets face as a result of consuming human drugs (prescription or recreational or over-the-counter) or nutraceuticals (supplements), the potential for serious consequences is quite high (both figuratively and literally).
There were plenty of occasions where prescription, over-the-counter (OTC), and recreational drugs are ingested by a curious canine or feline who just happened to be given the right opportunity, including:
The Huffington Post’s Cat Who Ingested Heroin Saved By Overdose Drug brings to light the use of Naloxone, an antidote to opoids, in pets.
Naloxone (N-allylnoroxymorphone) is a synthetic chemical that interferes with the binding of opiate drugs to specific nervous-system receptors (an opoid antagonist). It thereby reverses the effects of opiates.
Naloxone isn’t just used to reverse the effects of inadvertently-consumed opoids. It also counteracts the effects of properly-used opoids that are used to relievepain (morphine, hydromorphone, buprenorphine, butorphanol, etc.), or to inducevomiting (apomorphine).
Sometimes pets don’t show the responses we veterinarians would like to pain-relieving drugs (including decreased respiratory rate and blood pressure, sedation, etc.) and their best interests are served by reversing the opiate with Naloxone.
Reportedly, the cat in the above mentioned story was found by police with a rope around its neck under the owner’s apparently abandoned car in suburban Philadelphia. The cat had been physically abused as evidenced by several teeth being knocked out, and bundles of heroin and syringes were found in the car. The attending veterinarian treated the cat with Narcan to reverse the effects of heroin.
The owner is being charged with animal abuse and drug possession. When a pet is exposed to heroin or other illegal drugs, it makes for an ethical quandary for the overseeing veterinary practitioner in dealing with the legalities of the case.
Hopefully, the cat involved in the heroin toxicity made a full recovery and is now in a safe forever home.
If you suspect or know that your pet has been exposed to or consumed a toxin, immediately contact your veterinarian or emergency veterinary hospital. Additional resources include the ASPCA’s Poison Control Center (888-426-4435) or Pet Poison Helpline (855-213-6680).
Ebola Virus and our Pets
Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the information they have to offer on Ebola.
Here’s what the CDC says:
Ebola virus is the cause of a viral hemorrhagic fever disease. Symptoms include: fever, headache, joint and muscle aches, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, lack of appetite, and abnormal bleeding. Symptoms may appear anywhere from 2 to 21 days after exposure to ebolavirus though 8-10 days is most common.
Here’s what the CDC has to say about the transmission of the disease:
Ebola is transmitted through direct contact with the blood or bodily fluids of an infected symptomatic person or through exposure to objects (such as needles) that have been contaminated with infected secretions.
The CDC goes on to state that Ebola is not a food-borne or water-borne illness and cannot be transmitted through the air. They also make note that individuals who are not symptomatic of disease are not capable of transmitting the disease. In other words, to actually get Ebola from another infected person, that person has to be sick with the disease.
The CDC does not, however, mention pets such as cats in relation to Ebola. They do make note of the fact that non-human primates, bats, and rodents are suspected to be capable of carrying the disease, and contact with blood or secretions from these animals, or the ingestion of infected meat, may lead to transmission of the disease to a person. Bats are the most likely source, according to the CDC, at least in the case of the most recent disease outbreak being experienced in West Africa. However, the actual natural reservoir for the disease does remain unknown at this time.
In the interest of keeping panic about Ebola to a minimum, it’s worth noting that, as of August 10, 2014, the CDC has received no evidence of any infections that have occurred within the U.S. They also state that “Ebola does not pose a significant risk to the U.S. public.”
The veterinary literature (through clinical studies or any reputable source) has no evidence that cats or dogs can be infected and/or can be a source of transmission. The bad news is that there is no evidence to the contrary.
Based on what we know about the disease, the virus, and how Ebola is spread, it seems unlikely that our pets are at risk. Of course, when dealing with living breathing beings, nobody can ever truly “never say never.” Still, I see little cause for worry, particularly for pet cats that are housed indoors and do not eat raw meat.
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