Spring 2011 Magazine


Good News - For a Change: DOLPHINS SAVE DOG

A Doberman Pinscher named Turbo, who was stranded on a sandbar in Florida, got some much-needed help from two dolphins.

Audrey D'Alessandro and her husband, Sam, left their home on Marco Island to go fishing. "We saw two dolphins in the canal splashing and making this big commotion. They were just there in one place, splashing water against the canal wall" she said.

When they investigated, they saw an 80-pound Doberman Pinscher standing on a sandbar, half-submerged even at low tide. The dog, which disappeared from a nearby home some 12 hours before, was too weak to bark and could not get back onto land because of the canal wall.

As soon as Audrey D'Alessandro lowered herself into the canal to get onto the sandbar, the dolphins left. Firefighters helped the D'Alessandro's hoist the dog out of the water. Turbo, who was shaking and unable to stand after being rescued, was quickly reunited with his owner -- who got the happy news while putting up lost-dog posters.

How beautiful to see cross-species interaction resulting in such a happy ending.



People in Utah better keep their companion cats inside or they might be shot.

On February 25, 2011, HR210, sponsored by Rep. Carl Oda passed the Utah House and went to the Senate. The so-called "feral cat" bill allows animals deemed pests to be shot.

The bill says a person may humanely shoot an animal in an unincorporated area of the county if the shooter "has a reasonable belief" the animal is feral.

Of course, 'humanely shoot" is a contradiction and "reasonable belief" is difficult to determine. Deciding which cats are feral and which are just afraid is difficult for experienced animal care workers to ascertain. How much more difficult to do so outside? This bill basically gives license to people to shoot any cat they want to - even the neighbor's pet.

A similar bill was proposed in Wisconsin in 2005. Mercifully that proposal died and the Utah one should, too.



The Morris Animal Foundation (MAF) will launch a 13-year veterinary study this year to examine canine cancer in Golden Retrievers. In fact, the Canine Lifetime Health Project, set to begin this year, will ultimately enroll some 2,500 Golden Retrievers from ages 2 to 7 in an effort to better understand the genetic, nutritional and environmental risk factors for cancers and other canine diseases.

The study's objective will be to determine "the true incidence of canine cancer in Golden Retrievers in the United States. The long-range study offers researchers a chance to characterize the pathogenesis and explore other associations with the development of cancer and other diseases. The study will involve thousands of dogs, owners and veterinarians and will result in the identification of new ways to diagnose, treat and even prevent cancer and other diseases in dogs.

The hope, according to MAF officials, is that the study will also serve as a platform to help researchers better understand the progression of disease and offer a novel framework to conducting long-term research like this.

If you want your dog considered for this study, visit www.morrisanimalfoundation.org/our-research/major-health-campaigns/clhp.html for registration information.



Wellness is recalling canned cat foods with certain dates. You can read more about the recall at this link: www.wellnesspetfood.com/letter.aspx


There has been a lot in the news lately about how dangerous it is to sleep with your pets. It is based on the study "Zoonoses in the Bedroom" by Bruno B. Chomel and Ben Sun , Author affiliations: University of California, Davis, California, USA (B.B. Chomel); and California Department of Public Health, Sacramento, California, USA (B. Sun), www.cdc.gov/eid/content/17/2/167.htm

According to Joan Raymond, msnbc.com commentator, Chomel and co-author Ben Sun, combed through medical journals to find examples of pets making people ill after sharing a bed. Among them: a 9-year-old Arizona boy developed plague after sleeping with his flea-infested cat. (Fleas are notorious plague carriers, especially in western states.) And then there's the 60-year-old British woman who contracted meningitis after repeatedly kissing the family dog. Add in some cases of nasty parasitic and drug-resistant staph infections and it's enough to make one purchase a futon for Fluffy and Fido.

At greatest risk are the young, elderly, and those whose immune systems are compromised, such as transplant patients, diabetics and people who are HIV-positive.

The American Veterinary Medical Association doesn't have a formal recommendation about pets sleeping with their humans. But "a little common sense will go a long way," in reducing risk, says AVMA president Larry Kornegay, who affirms that zoonotic diseases are "uncommon, if not rare."

"I've been in practice for 40 years and I see the bond between people and their pets and the positive effects pets can have on humans, which I believe outweighs any risk, whether you sleep with a pet or not," says Kornegay, who admits his own teenage daughter sleeps with the family's miniature Schnauzer.

Common-sense approaches include regular wellness exams for pets, parasite control, vaccinations appropriate for your geographical area, and dental care. "If people would remember to wash their hands, that would help, too," Kornegay says.


(Personally I can't imagine not sleeping with my animals. Can you?)

Lots of Spring animal-related dates to celebrate on the PETroglyphs Annual Calendar!

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