Archive for the ‘Veterinary/Medical’ Category

Introducing Pet-Lover Job Search On Itchmo

Monday, July 23rd, 2007

We’re releasing a new feature for all Itchmo readers. If you love dogs and cats, you may have a career in the rapidly growing pet industry. In partnership with Simply Hired, we’re providing a database of jobs across the country for the pet lover. From grooming, to veterinary, to shelters, pet sitting and more! Take a look at

Employers! Post your job on Itchmo for just $5. Go to

What Goes In A Travel Bag For My Dog

Sunday, July 22nd, 2007

A puppy on a sandy beach

We recently went on a long 3-day road trip and brought along our mutt — as we usually do. To ensure his safety and comfort, we usually pack the dog’s travel bag first and go through a checklist. We wanted to share with you our little tips and tricks. Our focus is on safety, then we add lots of the comforts of home. Properly preparing for the road helps you avoid expensive emergencies. Here’s the checklist we use to pack for our dog and our reasons why.


Natural Balance Recalls Food Due To Botulism Risk

Saturday, July 21st, 2007

Natural Balance Eatables Cans

Natural Balance has announced that it is recalling it’s Natural Balance Eatables for Dogs due to a supplier’s recall. The affected formulas include 15oz cans of: Irish Stew, Hobo Chili, Chinese Take-Out and Southern Style Dumplin’s with Gravy. The supplier, Castleberry Foods, found one instance of botulism in improperly sealed cans of human food.

The recall information was only sent to subscribers of their newsletters. This information is not yet available on the Natural Balance website. (Update: The message has been posted on the Natural Balance site as of Sunday.)

Full recall details below:


Dog Donates Blood To Save Lives Of Other Dogs

Thursday, July 19th, 2007


Hogan is one brave hero. Every eight weeks he makes the hour long journey from his Illinois home to an animal hospital where he donates his blood. And this eight-year-old Australian Shepherd doesn’t seem nervous about doing it.

Hogan’s owner, Kim Sipple, first took her dog to donate blood four years ago when she learned about the demand at a pet fair. She says that now, people are more willing to spend the necessary money to provide treatment for ailing pets. This means there is more of a need for blood donations from canines.

When Hogan enters into the animal hospital, he jumps onto a chair in the waiting room. His collar has a pink tag in the shape of a heart that says he is a blood donor. The blood donor coordinator does a quick physical on Hogan and checks his red blood cells. She checks the color of his gums and his heartbeat and pulse.

A few minutes later, this brave hero is on his side while a circular spot is shaved around his neck. As the needle goes into Hogan’s vein, he does not even flinch.

Hogan donates 450 milliliters, or one canine unit of blood. He saves four lives with each donation. The hospital has said that they have used every bit of blood that Hogan has donated. They say that this dog has saved many lives.


June A Busy Month For FDA Veterinary Warnings

Thursday, July 19th, 2007

Heartgard boxes

Over the last 12 months, the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine has issued a total of 5 warning letters to pet drug manufacturers. Four of the five were issued in June — almost a fifth of all FDA warning letters for that month.

We notified you of the Bayer flea medication warning yesterday. Today, we’ll provide you with a summary of the other three warnings, including a repeat violation by the makers of the Tri-Heart Plus brand and Heartgard brand. Both brands have been flagged by the FDA for misleading statements.

Itchmo will continue to report on any new FDA warning on veterinary products. To stay informed, sign up for our safety alerts.

PS. Here’s yet another veterinary drug warning, this time on the Reconcile separation anxiety drug.


Elanco Animal Health Warned On Dog Anxiety Medicine Advertisement

Thursday, July 19th, 2007


The FDA has issued a warning letter to Elanco Animal Health about misleading advertisements, sales brochures, and product website for Reconcile, a medicine used to treat separation anxiety in dogs.

The June warning letter states that these promotional pieces have incomplete information concerning the effectiveness of the drug. The FDA states that the company is claiming that Reconcile is more effective than it has demonstrated, thus the drug is being misbranded.

The article “Separation Anxiety: A Brief Overview” contains the following statement:

“In a clinical field trial, 73 percent of dogs receiving ReconcileTM showed significant improvement within eight weeks, compared to placebo-treated animals, and 42 percent of dogs receiving ReconcileTM showed significant improvement within one week compared to placebo-treated animals.”

The above-quoted statements fail to disclose that the dogs in the comparison group were treated with behavior modification and did not just receive a placebo. The article “Separation Anxiety: A Brief Overview” additionally fails to disclose that the dogs receiving Reconcileâ„¢ in the study had also been treated with behavior modification. Moreover, the materials do not state that for the dogs in the comparison group, which received a placebo and were treated with behavior modification, 51% showed significant improvement by the end of the eight week study and 18% showed significant improvement within the first week.

We’ve posted the full warning letter.

(Thanks Irene)


Parvovirus Outbreak Affecting Dogs In Several States

Thursday, July 19th, 2007

Last week, we posted about a canine parvovirus outbreak in Lebanon, Pennsylvania. The deadly disease was affecting certain parts of the city and the Humane Society of Lebanon County. At least 27 dogs in the area have died from the virus in the past few weeks.

Now, more parvovirus outbreaks are spreading in several other states. In Wake County, North Carolina, there has been a spike in cases of parvovirus in the area. Nine puppies tested positive for this virus last week.

In Grand Rapids, Michigan, the Kent County Animal Shelter remains closed after a wave of parvovirus swept through the facility. The health department says the shelter was forced to euthanize more than 2 dozen dogs that were infected and had to completely disinfect the building.


Bayer Drugs Warned On Dog And Cat Flea And Heartworm Advertisement

Wednesday, July 18th, 2007

Bayer Advantage Multi Tick and Flea

The FDA has issued a warning against Bayer Health Care about potentially misleading advertisements for its Advantage Multi-brand flea and heartworm medication for cats and dogs. The June letter states that the TV advertisement produced by Bayer makes the drug seem safer than it actually is.

The TV ad “Field Trip” fails to adequately communicate the risks associated with Advantage Multiâ„¢ For Dogs. Specifically, while the TV ad mentions that in avermectin sensitive dogs more severe adverse effects may be seen, the possibility of coma and death, which is stated in the boxed warning, is not mentioned, thereby minimizing these risks

We’ve also posted the full warning letter.

(Thanks Irene)


Dog Becomes First Pet To Be Fitted With Prosthetic Paw

Tuesday, July 17th, 2007

Prosthetic Paw

Storm, an eight-year-old Belgian Shepherd dog, had an aggressive tumor diagnosed in his foot in April. His owners decided to have his foot amputated instead of putting Storm down.

Now, this Belgian Shepherd dog is the first pet to be fitted with a prosthetic paw. This false limb is special because Storm’s skin can grow into the metal. This provides a resilient seal for the attachment of a prosthesis.

The veterinarian that performed the surgery on Storm says that: “Because it has been implanted into the radius of the forearm of the dog, it will act as a model for human amputees in the future and provides hope for people without feet or hands. It will have major implications for amputees.”

Storm’s owners say that it will be several weeks before the bandages come off. By then Storm will be ready to walk again.

Source: Daily Express

Full Moon May Lead To More Injuries Among Cats And Dogs

Tuesday, July 17th, 2007

Cat and Full Moon

Does your dog get a little antsy when there is a full moon out? How about your cat’s inexplicable howling? The full moon may affect our four-legged friends and scientists are trying to figure out why.

A study reported in the July 15 issue of the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association finds emergency room visits for cats and dogs increase during or near the full moon. Dr. Raegan Wells, a veterinarian, and researchers studied 11,940 cases at the Colorado State University Veterinary Medical Center. They found the risk of emergency room visits to be 23% higher for cats and 28% higher for dogs on days near full moons.

The types of emergencies ranged from cardiac arrest to epileptic seizures and trauma, and the increase was most pronounced during the moon’s three fullest stages - waxing gibbous, full and waning gibbous.

“If you talk to any person, from kennel help, nurse, front-desk person to doctor, you frequently hear the comment on a busy night, ‘Gee, is it a full moon?’ ” said Wells, who is an emergency and critical care medicine resident in the Department of Clinical Sciences at the university. “There is the belief that things are busier on full-moon nights.”

“While the results of our retrospective study indicate that there is an increased likelihood of emergency room visits on the days surrounding a full moon, it is difficult to interpret the clinical significance of these findings,” Wells writes. “Many studies have investigated the effect of the moon on human nature, behavior and various medical problems, with evidence both supporting and refuting the effect.”

While the increase in percentages seem high, the correlation to an actual number of animals is actually quite low. The university’s Veterinary Medical Center’s critical care unit may see a few cats and a few dogs on a night without a full moon, and data showed an increase by about one cat or one dog during fuller moon days.


Greed, Lax Regulation, Conservatism — A Deadly Recipe?

Friday, July 13th, 2007

Baby and Dog Sharing Food

An editorial in The Nation says the drive to protect corporate profits in the guise of conservatism is killing our cats and dogs — and people. The sweeping editorial, written by Itchmo reader and Seattle’s KIRO Radio host David Goldstein, blames not the lack of resources, but the lack of will power to stop the flood of dangerous goods for cats, dogs — and people — pouring over the border.

Goldstein also points out FDA’s backtracking over the statement that there is “no acceptable level” of melamine or cyanuric acid human food. After learning that rejected pet food was fed to chickens and pigs, the FDA changed their tune — saying some amounts are just fine, while asking their own staff to take protective measures when inspecting possibly tainted goods. We live blogged the FDA’s statements.

Food safety has been a problem for a long time and continues to become a larger part of our lives, says Goldstein. In fact, he says 10 times the number of people have died from food-borne illnesses compared to 9/11 in the days since.


Parvovirus Outbreak Affecting Dogs In Lebanon, Pennsylvania

Friday, July 13th, 2007

A parvovirus outbreak is spreading through the city of Lebanon, Pennsylvania. This deadly dog virus has affected certain parts of the city and several dogs at the Humane Society of Lebanon County.

This virus attacks a dog’s gastrointestinal tract. This disease is commonly spread from an infected dog to another through fecal matter.

At least 26 dogs have been killed by the virus in Lebanon during the past two weeks. 32 total cases of parvovirus have been confirmed during this same time. One vet said it’s typical to see only 3 cases of parvovirus a year.

Most of the dogs that have been affected are strays or abandoned dogs. The virus has also spread to the Humane Society because a dog that had the disease was brought to the shelter, and the virus spread throughout the facility. The shelter is decontaminating everything in the facility. They are currently only accepting strays and not dogs that are being surrendered by their owners.

The Humane Society recommends to dog owners to get their pets inoculated and to properly clean up after their dogs. The Humane Society of Lebanon County is offering a free vaccination clinic on Saturday.

Source: Lebanon Daily News

Male Dog Contraceptive Implant May Soon Be Available In The US

Thursday, July 12th, 2007

Have you had the birds and the bees talk with your dog? Now you can tell your dog to be a responsible adult and take his contraceptive. Yes, there may soon be a contraceptive implant for male dogs in the US. They all can rest a little easier that their “manhood” may not have to be removed. (If their manhood has already been removed, they can always try Neuticles.)

The contraceptive implant was developed by an Australian company. It halts testosterone and sperm production for months at a time. The implant contains a drug called deslorelin or Suprelorin, which binds to GnRH receptors and overstimulates them so they become desensitized to the hormone. The dog becomes temporarily infertile. Also deslorelin blocks testosterone production which curtails aggressive behavior.

The six-month implant was launched in Australia in late 2004. The cost of the implant ranges from $52 to $77 a dose. The company will also be launching a similar implant for cats and female dogs. The male dog implant is expected to be approved in Europe within weeks. Also steps are being taken for this drug to be sold in the US.


Humane Society In Wisconsin Issues Quarantine And Adoption Ban On Cats Due To Virus

Thursday, July 12th, 2007

CatA mutant strain of the calici virus has been discovered at Washington County Humane Society in Wisconsin.

Due to the cats’ close proximity to each other in the shelter, the virus spread quickly. The Humane Society director said that 15 cats currently have the virus and another 8 cats are suspected of having died from the virus. Some of the symptoms they have seen in the cats are oral ulcers, nose ulcers, and upper respiratory infections.

To prevent the spread of this virus, Washington County Humane Society has suspended adopting out or receiving cats. The ban is expected to last at least 5 weeks. They have also vaccinated all of the cats, so they will not get the virus.

Veterinarians are worried about this virus becoming an epidemic because most cats are not vaccinated against the mutant strain of calici virus. There is a new vaccine that does protect against the mutant strain.


South Korean Lab Looks To Clone Drug-Sniffing Dogs

Wednesday, July 11th, 2007

Drug-Sniffing DogsA South Korean lab that produced the world’s first clone dog is trying to get into the business of cloning canines. They will begin by first cloning drug-sniffing dogs.

The laboratory at Seoul National University has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Korea Customs Service to clone drug-sniffing dogs. The government funded lab is focused on cloning animals that provide services to humans such as guide dogs or dogs that help in law enforcement agencies.

The team has already obtained somatic cells from drug-sniffing dogs to start cloning them this month or in August. At the earliest, the puppies could be obtained by late this year.

The researcher who heads the cloning project said that there could be a possibility that they make look into cloning pets. But, at this time, there isn’t enough of a demand for it. It also is estimated that it would cost anywhere from $50,000 to $100,000 to clone a pet dog.


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