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Leaf Peeping Season 2016 Central NH & VT

Unraveling The Mystery Of Your Pet’s Diet The Demon Cat! Just When You Thought Your Vet Heard It All... Celebrate Fire Prevention Month With Your Pet To Leash Or Not To Leash?

603-448-3902 800-696-7841

Inside this issue of 4 Legs & a Tail


3. 4.

The Upper Valley Humane Society's 10th Annual Benefit Auction & Gala Get set for a formal and fun night at the Hanover Inn How to Rescue an Animal, Part 2, John Peaveler A must read if you're the one who stops at the side of the road to help an injured animal

6. Alternatively Speaking: Are All Grain-Free Diets Created Equal?, Anne Carroll, DVM,CVA 8. The Perfect Meal, Serena Peeters, DVM

Do you want your pet to live longer and healthier AND spend less money doing it?

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10. The Most Expensive Medical Mishaps Dogs Face in Parks, Emma Orr The dog park is great, but keep an eye on your pet at all times 11. To Leash or Not to Leash...That IS the Question, Paula Bergeron When is the right time to take your dog off leash 12. Seemore! Meet the new mascot for the Vermont Lions Club 13. Fall Safety Concerns for Animals Large and Small, M. Kathleen Shaw, DVM As the weather changes, so do the potential dangers to your pet 14. Your Pet Loves a Quitter, Jane Harrell

November 17 is the Great American Smoke-Out. If there is a smoker in your household, this is a must read

After a suspicious fire is when Biscuit goes to work

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15. Meet Biscuit, Vermont's Arson Dog October is National Fire Prevention Month.

17. Fire to protect your home for your fur-babies, Vickie Howell 19. The Demon Possessed Cat Cured by Extractions, Sandra Waugh, VMD, MS

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The ghoulish tale of a black cat and her return to "the good side."

21. Protecting Birds from Windows, Catherine Greenleaf

They say it brings bad luck when a bird hits your window. If true, here are some tips to avoid these mishaps (and maybe win the lottery.)

The stinking truth pertaining to when a skunk will spray

24. To Spray or Not to Spray, Scott Borthwick

25. Why Does My Rabbit Do That? Part One, Susan Tullar, DMV

Understanding the sounds and behavior of rabbits

27. From the Clubhouse to the Doghouse, Farewell Big Papi As Red Sox great David Ortiz retires, we look his and former Red Sox

involvement with pets

Some great local trails to take your dog this fall

29. Hike Activities to do With Your Dog, Mike Robertson 31. Hiking with your Best Friend: A Beginners Guide to Hike with a Canine Buddy, Mike Eigenbrode Fall 2016 1

Inside this issue of 4 Legs & a Tail


33. Purrs in the House Again, Maggie Thompson

The magic when adding a cat to the family

35. Nova: The Perfect Imperfect Dog, Brianna Marino

Read what happens when a Type-A person adopts a Type-A dog

37. 4 Legs & a Tail In the Home Office, Tonya Sousa

If you're a pet owner who works at home, we're sure you can relate

41. Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall: Dog Lovers, Kate Kelly

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They were the Hollywood power couple of the 1940's and 50's. Then along came Harvey the dog

43. Western Dressage: A Growing Sport, Jessica Stewart Riley

Learn why the fundamentals of dressage for the working western horse has become wildly popular in the Northeast

A horse riders guide to sports massage therapy

46. The Aches and Pains of Riding,

Steve Guyatt

48. The Benefits Classroom Animals Learn how pets can stimulate learning in our schools 50. New Law in Vermont What to do when you see an endangered pet in a vehicle 51. And the Winner is... A look at some Guinness World Record

holders from the animal world

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52. Degenerative Myelopathy in Dogs, Catherine MacLean, DVM

It is the Lou Gehrig's disease of dogs. What to look for and solutions to manage this affliction

54. 15 Outrageous Pet Owner Requests of Vets, Andy Roark, DVM, MS 56. Cool Pet Products A look at some of the latest products from the Las Vegas Pet Expo 57. Avian Influenza Update, Elisa Speckert

Bird owners beware!

58. Golfing for Pets Join your friends this fall to benefit The New England Foundation of Animal Health 59. Whole Foods for my Pet?, Lindsay Meyers, BS, CVT

Why it's important to consider live raw fresh foods for our 4 legged companions

4 Legs & a Tail Volume L.316 P.O. Box 841 Lebanon, NH 03766 603-727-9214 2 4 Legs & a Tail

Publishers: Tim Goodwin, Tim Hoehn Senior Editor: Scott Palzer Graphic Design: Kristin Wolff, Lacey Dardis Sales: Karyn Swett, Scott Palzer, Barry deSousa

If you have a tale about a tail or a photo that will make us smile, we’d like to hear from you. 4 Legs & a Tail is published quarterly and distributed free of charge throughout Central VT & NH. 4 Legs & a Tail, Inc. is locally owned and operated and acts as a moderator without approving, disapproving or guaranteeing the validity or accuracy of any data or claim. Any reproduction in whole or part is prohibited.

Fall 2016

Upper Valley Humane Society’s 10 th Annual Benefit Auction & Gala T

his year, the Upper Valley Humane Society (UVHS) will hold its 10th Annual Benefit Auction & Gala on Saturday, November 12th at the Hanover Inn. Imagine a glamorous event with more than 150 animal lovers all raising money for the animals! Because “A Night for Paws” is one of the Upper Valley’s most fun and impactful community fundraising events, auction guests return every year and even bring new friends with them. A Night for Paws, a dressy affair, includes a silent auction, a live auction, a gift card grab and a lively party game, Heads or Tails. Our professional auctioneer, Kathy Kingston, is a crowd favorite – funny, vibrant, and exceptionally entertaining. To celebrate this special 10th anniversary of the auction, there will be some perennial favorites to bid on, such as the ever-popular photo safari to South

Fall 2016

Africa. You can also expect amazing new items including fabulous vacations, oneof-a kind event packages, and custom heirloom furniture. This year’s theme is “Happily Ever After” and reflects UVHS’s dedication to animals and to helping pets stay with their families during life challenges. For over 50 years, the Upper Valley Humane Society has been compassionately connecting people and pets. UVHS’s vision is to achieve excellence in animal welfare through a progressive approach to humane sheltering, humane education, community engagement and support services. UVHS is at the forefront of a growing movement in animal welfare by serving our communities through care and resources for companion animals and families. The UVHS auction started in 2007 and was held at the Juniper Hill Inn in Windsor for three years before moving to Mount Sunapee Resort for three years and then to the Woodstock Inn. In the early years, only hors d’oeuvres were served. Today, the auction has expanded to a full sit-down dinner. For the first time, in 2015, A Night for Paws was at

the Hanover Inn. This year’s benefit gala and auction will once again be at the Hanover Inn. A Night for Paws is a wonderful opportunity to meet UVHS’s new Executive Director, Ayeshah Al-Humaidhi. Under Ayeshah’s leadership, UVHS has become even more welcoming, is saving more animals than ever before and making a difference all across the Upper Valley for animals and the people who love them. Prior to joining UVHS in 2015, Ayeshah, who is Kuwaiti-American, founded and led K’S PATH, the Kuwait Society for the Protection of Animals and their Habitat. K’S PATH was Kuwait’s first animal shelter and sanctuary and provides services for animals including shelter, farm and equine sanctuary, wildlife rehabilitation and sanctuary, wildlife management, stray animal control, environmental clean-up, and education. For information about becoming a sponsor or to purchase your tickets, visit our website,, or call or email Carrie at (603) 448-6888 or 3

How To Rescue an Animal, Part 2

John Peaveler

A few years ago I was out for a morning run, crossing one of the

many bridges over the Vltava River in the Czech Republic capital of Prague, when a flightless swan made its way into traffic. By coincidence, there was a police car there within moments with two officers, doubtless more comfortable with criminals than displaced birds. I explained in broken English that I am an animal professional, a coincidence they seemed happy to embrace. I set them to work blocking traffic while I went about trying to catch this poor terrified swan. I

kept my body between the swan and any point of danger, and then grabbed her neck just below the head in a lightening quick movement. I carefully supported her body and carried her down the bank to the river she had obviously wandered away from. For part two in this animal rescue series, I want to focus on three lessons from the story of this swan. Lesson One: You need to always ensure that the place you are working is safe. That means safe for you, safe for other people, and safe for the animal. None of these is optional. The police had secured the road so that I could concentrate on safe and effective handling. You cannot manage traffic alone, and you can’t maintain scene safety in busy areas without proper measures. Always make sure your vehicle is not blocking traffic or otherwise posing a danger to others. Handling requires focus, so take steps in advance to make sure you don’t end up somewhere dangerous. Take a look around before you start, and remember where it’s safe and what areas to avoid. For the swan and I, that meant the space between stopped cars and between the rails on the bridge.

John Peaveler

Lesson Two: I had enough experience to know how to capture a bird effectively. I hadn’t worked with swans before, but I had worked with birds of prey, ducks, chickens, and flamingos. I was confident and capable because I was experienced. If you want to be prepared to rescue animals when the need arises but you don’t have the skills, then it’s time to build your resume. Volunteering at an animal shelter is a great place to begin. You can get experience on a farm, in wildlife centers, and with wildlife rehabilitators. Keep in mind that you usually have to earn the right to handle animals, working your way up through various important, but perhaps less interesting jobs. Stick with it. Those jobs are vital to animal care organizations, so just keep watching, learning, and volunteering. There is no substitute for experience in animal care and animal rescue. Lesson Three: Learn from my mistakes. My actions that day certainly kept a swan from being hit by a car or being roughly handled. However, nothing addressed the root of the trouble, the swan could not fly. There was clearly some medical reason the swan ended up in traffic, and for all I know the same bird ended up hit by a car later the same morning. Continued Next Page

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Obviously, I had a few obstacles: no local phone, no vehicle, no place to bring the swan in the interim, no local acquaintances or friends of any kind, and not speaking the language. It was an unusual scenario, and was not much more I could reasonably have done. However, northern New England is vastly more hospitable for rescuing animals, whether pets, farm, or wild animals. State warden services maintain lists of licensed rehabilitators, and it’s not difficult to find out which animal shelter services any given area. If you intend to help the next time you see an animal in need, research now where you would take them. Finally, a few tips on how to actually catch a small animal. Handling birds and small mammals does not need to be difficult, with the right tools and training. Whether a cat, woodchuck, or a swan, your basic equipment should include gloves long enough and thick enough for the species, a cage, and a towel or light blanket. One more step would include an animal appropriate net (not a fishing net). Be aware of injuries and always take precautions against disease, particularly rabies. Many animals can be immobilized simply by throwing a towel over them and using gloved hands to pick them up, towel and all, and place them in a crate or safely in a vehicle. Want to know more? Get involved in animal rescue through an established organization, and look for one of my Humane Animal Handling and Capture courses. Final tip: when appropriate, take pictures of the animal you are rescuing. Before and after photos can make

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a real difference in helping organizations fundraise and can make sure more animals get rescued in the future. Be safe out there. Part One of this article can be read on our archive at John Peaveler is an Animal Welfare Consultant with over ten years experience working with all types of animals on three continents He lives with his wife and two children in West Fairlee, VT and continues to work and write at home and abroad. 5

Alternatively Speaking:

Are All Grain-Free Diets Created Equal? Dr. Anne Carroll, DVM, CVA


y mother recently got a kitten, an orphan brought into our hospital who nearly froze to death last winter. My staff named him Yeti. After getting him into good health, my daughter convinced Grandma to take the kitten. When we brought him to his new home, we made a trip to the store to help her pick out some ‘good’ food. We specifically wanted a grain-free diet for our little carnivore. I don’t visit the big pet stores often, and this was an eye-opening experience. There was aisle after aisle of shiny pet food bags and cans claiming to be the best and too many to count were grainfree. We left with a bunch of cans and a pounding headache from reading all that fine print, and an understanding of clients who want to know what really ‘good food’ is.

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The majority of people know that eating well is the foundation for health and therefore an important part of our pet’s health care. As pet owners we want to feel good about what we feed them, but it’s a multi-million dollar industry. Companies attract the consumer’s eye and say some things on their bag that sets them apart while meeting what the consumer is looking for. One such niche is ‘grain-free’ Yeti is eating well at Grandma's. food. Originally a high end specialty, grain-free foods today are tinued much as before. It was divided as common as special protein foods like into many smaller amounts of grain lamb and venison, which 10 years ago meals, grain glutens, and other forms were never seen on our grocery shelves. of grain often listed numerously, and Why did “grain-free” food become the lower on the ingredient list. With some latest rage? Dogs and cats are biologi- smart advertising on the front of the bag, cally designed to eat meats and not the consumers thought this was an upgrade carbohydrates and grains historically which worked for a while. As consumers in dry pet foods. Corn and wheat, were became educated label-readers, and raw stressful to the digestive tracts, immune and low-carbohydrate dry diets gained systems, and overall health of our pets popularity, the bar was raised. To remain parallel to their affects in people. When appealing, the focus was turned away changing the diet became the first step from carbohydrates in general and just in so many holistic medical plans, peo- on grains. This way grains could be ple started taking a harder look at what traded for other starches such as rice they were feeding. Home cooking and and potatoes, now lentils, chick peas, raw diets were excellent options, but for peas, sweet potatoes, and even canola convenience and economics, dry foods meal. But are these diets really better remained the first choice, so the demand than the grains we were trying to avoid for better dry food increased. New and in the first place? smaller pet food companies met this Conditionally, yes. Feeding our pets nutritional goal in several ways. Some more meat and less processed carbofocused on raw feeding, dehydrated, and hydrates, we do have a wider variety of freeze dried meals. Others created tech- diets that do better than they used to. nology to be able to make a low carb, high Remember that the front of a bag of pet meat kibble that kept its shape. Between food is advertising, the buyer beware. the cost of higher meat content and the “Grain-free food” covers an enormous processing technology, the choices were range including frozen raw, super low carb/high meat foods, and diets that can few and expensive. Larger pet food companies saw the contain up to 60% carbohydrates. Feeding demand and could keep costs down a grain-free food to avoid a wheat allergy, by placing meats higher on the labels simply not having wheat will achieve than grains, advertising meat as the your goal. Looking to provide a less gly‘first ingredient’. The use of grain conContinued Next Page Fall 2016

cemic meal for your pet, then knowing if your diet has 20% or 50% processed starches becomes a big deal. That needs to be taken into consideration in your overall feeding plan. Unfortunately, carb content is not listed on the nutrition label and manufacturer claims can be worded very misleadingly. Compare foods by adding up the percentages for protein, fat, and moisture (not fiber) listed, subtracted from 100% roughly estimates the carbohydrate content. Paired with reading the list of other ingredients, you can tell if the diet meets the goals outlined for your pet’s health. So to choose balancing health ideals with budget and lifestyle? While eating well does have a price, it doesn’t have to be crippling and should save in health care costs. First, identify your pet’s needs with your veterinarian. Holistic evaluates the patient’s strengths and weaknesses, and diet certainly can strengthen and not aggravate those baseline tendencies. If dry food is part of your pet’s diet, read the label, know the carbohydrate content, and use less processed foods to keep the carbs to a minimum. Cats are more sensitive to meat and water content in their food than dogs, overall how much processed food and carbohydrates are right is an individual assessment. Each pet’s ability to handle processed food varies. In the end, after you’ve come up with a plan, let your pet be the judge. Grass eating, passing gas, and stools that end soft are all signs that your pet is not processing its diet well. Have a conversation with your veterinarian before braving the pet food aisle to hunt for the next ‘good food’. Dr. Anne Carroll is owner of the Chelsea Animal Hospital where she practices both conventional medicine and surgery as well as several alternative modalities including traditional Chinese acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine. Her associate Dr. Betty Jo Black brings classical homeopathy to the practice. For more information on alternative veterinary medicine visit their website at

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Perfect Meal Serena Peeters, DVM

“Y ou are what you eat,” or so the saying goes. Well versed in this old adage,

many of us have spent hours in the pet store browsing through kibble and getting buried in the myriad of options available. Should we be selecting all natural, or grain free? Do cats need a hairball diet? How much should we be feeding anyway? Many people have asked me about Purina’s Life Span Study of Dogs, which indicates that leaner dogs live longer. This study has sparked a lot of debate about how we should be feeding our pets and I think it’s worth taking a closer look at the results. Purina researchers began by taking 48 Labrador Retriever puppies and splitting them into two groups. The first group of dogs served as a control group while the second group of dogs, referred to as the lean-fed group, underwent diet restriction. Each group had 15-minute daily feedings and every dog received the same diet during the entire study. However, dogs in the control group were allowed to eat an unlimited amount of food while dogs in the lean-fed group were fed 25% less food in comparison. It’s important to note that dogs in the lean-fed group were not being underfed; they were simply fed less compared to the

dogs in the control group who were allowed to eat as much as they wanted. Researchers noticed that the dogs in the control group were far more likely to be overweight and exhibited more visible signs of aging such as graying muzzles and reduced activity at an earlier age. The median life span, or age at which half the dogs had passed away, was also evaluated for both groups. The lean-fed group had a median life span of 13 years compared to only 11.2 years in the control group. This means that dogs in the lean-fed group increased their median life span by 15 percent! The data from this study indicates two major things. The first is that many dogs will overeat if you let them, and the second is that obesity impacts health and life span. Research shows that obesity in pets increases the risk of various medical conditions such as joint disease, high blood pressure, respiratory issues, and diabetes. We already know that maintaining a lean body weight is important for the overall wellness of our pets, the real question is how to accomplish that. The first step is choosing a diet that complements your pet’s life stage and nutritional requirements. Unless your pet has a specific medical issue, an over the counter diet should be adequate. Regardless of the brand or style of food you prefer, there are some key factors you need to look for on the label. The first thing you should check for is the AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) statement. This statement indicates that the food is complete and balanced for a particular life stage such as growth, reproduction, or adult maintenance. If the label says “intermittent or supplemental feeding purposes only” this diet is not complete and balanced and will not meet your pet’s minimum nutrient requirements. It’s also important to remember that diets formulated for growth or reproduction will be much higher in calories compared to maintenance diets. You may see some foods labeled for “all life stages.” This technically means that they can be used either for maintenance or for a growing or lactating animal. However, if a diet is high enough in calories to meet the needs of a growing animal it’s probably too caloric for the average pet and may lead to weight gain. In general, spayed and neutered pets over a year of age should be eating a diet specifically formulated for adult maintenance. Once you’ve chosen a diet you feel comfortable with, the real key to maintaining a lean body weight is following the feeding chart on the bag. These charts are careContinued Next Page

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fully formatted based on the calorie content of that particular diet and will tell you how many cups of food your pet should eat per day based on body weight. It’s very important to be precise and use an exact measuring cup. Adhering to these feeding charts will allow you to provide for your pet’s nutritional needs while preventing them from over-consuming calories and subsequently gaining weight. If you’re feeding a balanced diet and following the feeding chart you should be in pretty good shape (no pun intended). However, if your pet is struggling with weight loss or weight gain, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with your veterinarian to rule out medical concerns. Your vet is always there to help you troubleshoot any issues that arise and to make sure you feel confident about the feeding plan for your pet. Serena Peeters, DVM started working at Pleasant Lake Veterinary Hospital in Elkins, NH in 2014 shortly after graduating from Tufts. She decided at a young age that she wanted to be a veterinarian despite never having any pets growing up. Serena lives with one cat who terrorizes the household. She enjoys writing, knitting, reading, kayaking and horseback riding in her free time.

Assessing Your Dog’s Weight

M aintaining a healthy weight is one of the most important concerns when

it comes to your dog’s health. Factors like diet and exercise in the right amounts can help keep your dog at an ideal weight. DO YOU NEED TO ADJUST YOUR DOG’S DIET? Here are 3 simple ways to tell if your dog’s diet needs an adjustment. Rib Check: Place both of your thumbs on your dog’s backbone and spread both hands across his rib cage. You want to be able to feel his ribs. Actually feeling your dog is important, as the coat of many dogs will make a visual check difficult. Profile Check: Examine your dog’s profile – it’s best if you are level with your dog. Look for the abdomen to be tucked up behind his rib cage - this is ideal. Overhead Check: Looking at your dog from overhead, identify whether you can see a waist behind his ribs. Most dogs at a healthy weight should have an hourglass figure. If you find that your dog’s ribs and waistline aren’t where they’re supposed to be, adjust the amount of food offered accordingly. Hopefully these tips will help you keep your dog healthy and fit. Fall 2016 9

The Most Expensive Medical Mishaps Dogs Face in Parks Emma Orr

Head trauma is the most costly

medical mishap to treat for pets hurt at dog parks, according to Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. The average expense is $591 for such an injury, which can occur when a dog crashes into an object or another pet, the Columbus, Ohio-based insurer said in a statement. That compares with $361 for the category of lacerations or bite wounds, and $143 for insect bites. Hypothermia or heat stroke costs $579. Nationwide, which is better known for insuring cars and homes, has been expanding into pet coverage and seeking to highlight the offerings, as people with more disposable income spend on animals that are often considered family members. Last year, Nationwide members spent more than $10 million on dog parkrelated medical conditions, according to the statement. The injuries can be more common in warmer weather. “The dog park is a great place for dogs to socialize and exercise, but there are safety measures dog owners need to be

aware of,” Carol McConnell, Nationwide’s chief veterinary medical officer, said in the statement. “Many of the medical conditions on our dog park-related injury list can be avoided by taking necessary precautions.” Soft tissue injuries and sprains were the most common mishap, affecting almost 24,000 Nationwide-insured dogs in 2015, according to the statement. They cost $225 on average. SALIVA, GLASSY EYES The insurer recommends that people keep large and small dogs separated at parks and bring water and a bowl for their pets. Owners should also look for signs of overheating such as bright red tongues, thick drooling saliva, glassy eyes and a lack of coordination. Policyholder-owned Nationwide is among the 10 largest home and auto insurers in the U.S. The company covers creatures including dogs, cats and birds against risks such as accidents, illnesses and injuries. Nationwide insures more than 575,000 pets.

Dangers of the Dog Park

U.S. Dollars

Average cost of physical injuries sustained by dogs 600 550 500 450 400 350 300 250 200 150 100 50 0

Sprains & Soft Tissue Injuries

Insect Bites

Lacerations or Bite Wounds

Head Trauma

Source: Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co.

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Fall 2016

To Leash or Not To Leash….. That IS the Question! W

Paula Bergeron - Grafton, NH

hen and where is it OK to have your dog off leash? Is my dog ready to be off leash? These are questions I hope every dog owner asks themselves. The following are guidelines to safely decide if you are ready for off-leash walk and play. Let’s begin with the basics…. are unleashed dogs allowed in the area you would like to have your dog be free? Too many dog owners do not consider this question, thinking that because they own a happy-go-lucky dog, the rule “dogs must be leashed” does not apply to them, after all their dog poses no threat to anyone. However, those whose dogs need the structure of the leash rely on every dog being leashed in these designated areas, because if a dog bounds up to a their over reactive dog there is almost always an incident of barking or lunging leaving the owner feeling deeply embarrassed and discouraged, and their dog having practiced once again inappropriate behavior. The happy-golucky dog also runs the risks of being bitten or frightened, both of which can cause negative behavioral changes. So if the trail sign, or park signs, or the town law states, Dogs Must Be Leashed, be responsible and leash your dog for the good of everyone. If off leash dogs are allowed, then the next question to consider is how responsive is your dog to commands, the most important one being the recall. You need a reliable recall to ensure the safety of everyone when dogs are off leash. Good natured playtime can escalate, as excitement can cause someone to get nipped or shoved too vigorously and suddenly…. you have a dog fight. Your ability to call your dog away from excitement can make the difference between a safe environment for dogs to play and walk, or the potential of a dangerous dog fight, followed by a costly vet visit. What exactly is a reliable recall? Reliable recall is the ability of your dog to immediately come when called no matter what they are doing, 9 times out of 10. If you are not able to trust that your dog will return to you in an emergency 90% of the time, then you my friends are not yet ready to have your dog off leash. YUP… that is what I am saying… if you cannot call your dog off of another dog, a child with food, a bicycle racing by, or a deer bounding into the woods, then you do not have the right to have your dog off leash! Plain and simple, it is not safe to have dogs running free if we cannot call them away from excitement. Please: be a responsible owner, and keep your dog on leash when outdoors, Fall 2016

Do you need help with your dog’s difficult behavior?

unless or until you are in an off leash zone, and you have developed a solid reliable recall. We, your fellow dog owners and dog lovers, thank you! What should you do if you have not yet achieved a reliable recall? Keep your dog leashed, contact a local dog trainer for help, read a reliable training book and look for Good Dogma’s next 4 Legs and a Tail article entitled; Come When Called: How to teach a Reliable Recall. Have a Wonderful Autumn. Paula Bergeron and the gang at Good Dogma embrace a holistic approach to bringing balance to your dog’s behavioral issues. Exercise, training, relaxation, massage, grooming, play, socialization and energy healing are incorporated into your dog’s routine.

603-523-4197 11


In 1925 Helen Keller challenged the Lions Club to be

Seemore in Brandon, VT

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her ‘Knights for the Blind.’ Now in 205 countries, the Lions Club International Foundation is the world’s largest service organization, providing millions of dollars of sight and hearing assistance. Fast-forward to this past spring where the Vermont Lions Clubs introduced Seemore the Dog, as the official Walk for Sight mascot. His mission is quite simple - HELP SEEMORE help others SEE MORE. Since his debut at the Brandon 4th of July parade, Seemore has been a hit! Now that school is back in session, the VLC will be very visible in Vermont classrooms. Thanks to fundraising and the purchase of three vision screeners, volunteers will again canvas the state providing free vision screening to students. A program that has already proven to be an investment with great returns. One such case is that of Cora Westervelt of Montpelier. The little girl had no noticeable signs of vision impairment. But after the screening, which took less than a minute, the test indicated there was something “significantly abnormal” with Cora’s vision. Her parents, both medical professionals, were skeptical until a visit to a pediatric ophthamologist indicated she suffered from severe hyperopia. In other words, extreme farsightedness. Early detection was key in preventing a long term problem. Many of us take our vision for granted. As the VLC makes their rounds to help others, they now have Seemore by their side.

Fall 2016

Fall Safety Concerns for Animals Large and Small

M. Kathleen Shaw, DVM Vermont Veterinary Medical Association

W ith dazzling colors on the trees and harvest festivals abounding, many people love the autumn season. But, with the holidays and cooling temperatures, the fall brings some potential dangers to our animals-large and small. As we winterize cars, houses and barns, remember that antifreeze is highly toxic to pets. Just one or two licks of antifreeze can cause kidney failure and death. Look for the newer, safer version of antifreeze which does not contain the sweetener so tempting to pets. Another toxin, rodenticide (rat poison), is formulated to be tasty to rodents, but is also appealing to dogs, cats, and wildlife. These poisons prohibit blood clotting, leading to fatal blood loss and death. If you must use these products, put them up high or in a place where dogs and cats and larger wildlife cannot reach them. Every year veterinarians see cases where owners have forgotten that they put out the poison or where they put it. Don’t assume that “out of sight” means the dog or cat won’t find it-- they have an excellent sense smell and, given the chance, will make a beeline to it once they detect it. Fall decorations including stringy fake spider webs (cats like to eat them), candles (burns), and potpourri (toxic to cats) can present serious dangers to pets. Most people are aware that chocolate is toxic to cats and dogs, but many don’t realize that xylitol is also toxic. Xylitol, used to artificially sweeten gums and other candies, causes a potentially fatal drop in blood sugar. The easiest way to help prevent accidental exposure to these dangers is to keep all people food out of reach of pets. Also, keep a close eye on pets around household decorations to minimize the temptation to chew or eat them. Mother Nature also produces health risks for pets: mushrooms and other fungi. With the cooler, damper weather, mushrooms sprout, and many can be toxic to pets, causing liver and kidney damage, and seizures. Dogs seem irresistibly drawn to the compost pile, where they often gorge on decaying food of all sorts. Rotting debris often leads to vomiting and diarrhea, requiring a trip to the Fall 2016

veterinarian. Compost piles contain an additional, more serious hazard: mycotoxins. These toxins, produced by the fungi growing in the compost as it decays, cause seizures. It is often necessary to keep the poisoned pet in the hospital for a day or two to treat the seizures with intravenous medications. With the fall comes hunting season. Although hunters try to be safe, accidents occasionally happen. Animals and humans should take precautions to avoid being mistaken for game. Hikers and horseback riders should wear bright colors to make themselves more visible. Dogs should wear bright orange collars or vests. Keep horses and small ruminants close to home, and post “Hunter Safety Zone” signs to make hunters aware that there are domestic animals in the area. These common sense precautions during the fall season can help keep you and your animals safe. For more information, contact your veterinarian, or go to The Vermont Veterinary Medical Association (VVMA), founded in 1898, is a professional organization of more than 330 veterinarians dedicated to compassionate animal care and quality medicine. For more information, visit or call (802) 878-6888. 13

Your Pet Loves a Quitter Jane Harrell, Associate Producer -


t seems like a nobrainer that smoking around your pet is bad. But how dangerous is secondhand smoke to pets? After all, your pet’s not getting that much exposure to cancer-causing chemicals, right? Wrong. Pets spend a lot more time than you do in your home - increasing their exposure to carcinogenic substances. And those substances are just as dangerous for pets as they are for humans. “Dog and cat lungs are virtually identical to human lungs,” says Dr. Jan Bellows, DVM, a veterinarian at All Pets Dental Clinic in Weston, FL. Here’s what recent studies have to say about the dangers:

Dogs and secondhand smoke

Studies suggest that muzzle length plays a role in the type of cancer a dog is likely to develop from secondhand smoke. According to a survey of recent research on LiveScience. com, dogs with long muzzles are more likely to develop nose and sinus cancers, since their noses and sinuses have more surface area on which carcinogens can accumulate, while dogs with short and medium-length muzzles are more likely to develop lung cancer.

Cats and secondhand smoke

Cats are more prone to develop cancers of the mouth and lymph nodes because of secondhand smoke. When cats groom themselves, they lick up the toxic substances that have accumulated on their fur. “This grooming behavior exposes the mucous membranes of their mouth to the cancer-causing carcinogens,” veterinarian Carolynn MacAllister of Oklahoma State University tells In fact, a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that cats living in homes where someone smokes a pack of cigarettes or more each day are three times more likely to develop malignant lymphoma than cats living with nonsmokers. And a study published in Veterinary Medicine found that cats exposed to smoke from one to 19 cigarettes a day are four times more likely to be diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma — the most common and an aggressive type of oral cancer in cats.

Small animals and secondhand smoke

Birds are extremely sensitive to air pollutants and are at risk for lung cancer and pneumonia when exposed to secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke has also been found to cause heart problems in rabbits. The nicotine in cigarettes is also highly toxic to pets if ingested, so keeping cigarettes out of the house entirely is always the best bet. Fortunately, in a 2008 study in the journal Tobacco Control, nearly one third of pet-parent smokers surveyed said information about the dangers of secondhand smoke to their pets would motivate them to try to quit smoking. So be sure to share this info with anyone you know who smokes. Believe me, they don’t want to one day get the call from their vet that we all fear - saying, “It’s malignant.”

The folks at 802 Quit put it best, “Vermont is a pet-loving state, in fact, we have the highest percentage of pet ownership in the nation. It’s important for people to know that caring for your “best friends” includes protecting them from the danger of exposure to secondhand smoke. All of us, and especially children and our pets can suffer serious health effects from secondhand smoke. We encourage everyone to take steps to protect their furry loved ones.” 14 4 Legs & a Tail

Fall 2016

Meet Biscuit,

Vermont’s Arson Dog I thought, wouldn’t it be cool to have a picture in the next issue of 4 Legs & a

Det Sgt David Sutton & Biscuit

Fall 2016

Tail of one of Rutland’s Police Dogs? I had just driven by a K-9 unit and wrote myself a note to swing by the barracks on my lunch break. I expected to meet a big German Shepherd and hear about them chasing down bad guys and detecting drugs. Instead, I met a very sweet 7 year old Black Lab named Biscuit. Biscuit and her handler Det. Sgt David Sutton are constant companions. Biscuit is an Arson Dog. Arson Dogs, or Accelerant Detection Canines, are trained to sniff out minute traces of accelerant (gasoline, lighter fluid, etc.) that may have been used to start a fire. Each dog works and lives with their handler, a law enforcement officer or firefighter trained to investigate fire scenes. The canine and handler are required to complete 200 hours of training. Every 3 months they must also travel to the Connecticut State Police K9 Academy, and train with the staff. They stay for approximately three days working various fire scenes. While Trooper Sutton talked to me about the continued training and job responsibilities, Biscuit spent her time close to me enjoying being petted and meeting a new friend. She was quiet but ever alert to everything around her. If a fire occurs and there is a question about its origin, Biscuit gets a call. When an accelerant is used to start a fire, the fire is actually burning the vapors of the accelerant. No fire will ever burn off all of the accelerant and minute traces are left behind. Once the area where the fire began is found , Biscuit is brought to that area to find the exact spot it started. When she detects the spot, she will sit and look at her handler. The handler will display an open hand held high as a signal for “show me.” Biscuit will quickly point to the spot and then sit back down. Without Biscuit, a large area where the fire was thought to have begun would need Continued Next Page 15


n October 24, 2013 one of Rutland’s most distinguished residents arrived to the scene of the Church Street Congregational Church in Burlington. Just one day earlier, the historic downtown landmark was engulfed in flames, in what fire officials deemed as suspicious. This is when Biscuit went to work. As Vermont’s only trained arson dog, she has been a part of the investigation team of several fires. In the case of the Congressional Church fire, a lighter was discovered at the site. Soon after Aliaksandr Bychkou of Burlington was charged with arson.

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to be sent to the lab to find out exactly what accelerant was used. Biscuit can identify a much smaller area, that will be cut out and sent to the lab, saving the state a lot of time and money. Biscuit travels the whole state of Vermont working day and night. Sometimes she even gets called to the neighboring states when they need her expertise. Biscuit also has a lot of fun doing demonstrations at local schools. A little accelerant will be put on a teacher’s or student’s shoelaces. Biscuit will then search the whole class until she finds it. I was lucky enough to observe her as Trooper Sutton did a demonstration for me. Biscuit searched the entire room until she found the spot where the tiniest drop of accelerant was present. In under 30 seconds, she had found the spot and was sitting, staring at her handler. The bond between these two is very tight. 24/7, they are side by side working. There is no question that they are lucky to have each other, and that Rutland and the whole state of Vermont are lucky to have them and the services they provide.

State Farm Arson Dog Program

Since 1993, State Farm has provided fund-

ing towards the acquisition and training of more than 360 arson dog teams in 44 states, 3 Canadian provinces and the District of Columbia. The State Farm Arson Dog Program is the only program outside of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) that trains arson dogs for law enforcement. No other company in North America has this type of program. Every year we train 10 - 20 new teams and place Sean Plumber and Pal them in departments across the country. The use of dogs has revolutionized fire investigation because of the time savings and the reduction in sample collection. An arson scene may take a human days or even longer to investigate. During this time the arson investigator will collect numerous samples from the fire scene for lab testing to identify possible accelerants. Because canines have a superior ability to discriminate among scents at a fire scene, an arson dog can investigate a scene in minutes and take fewer samples to the laboratory for testing. This not only speeds up the investigation, it also saves money for the investigating department – fewer lab samples means less cost for taxpayers. For example, the average lab charges $60 per sample for testing and verification when an accelerant is suspected. Human investigators will take an average of twenty samples for testing to identify the presence of an accelerant. (20 samples x $60 = $1,200) An accelerant detection canine team will take an average of three samples for testing once the canine has indicated the presence of an accelerant. (3 samples x $60 = $180) Arson canine teams investigate an average of 90 - 100 structure fires each year so based on laboratory costs alone, communities can save a considerable amount of taxpayer dollars when an arson dog team is available. An arson dog team is only a tool that provides invaluable assistance to investigators because they can work through an entire fire scene in a matter of minutes. A human investigator may take days, sometimes weeks, to investigate a scene. Many times this results in overtime pay or worse, deterioration of evidence. • First class was in February 1993 • State Farm has provided funding for the acquisition and training of more than 360 arson dog teams • Currently 90 active teams in the United States and Canada • All teams are trained by Paul Gallagher and Maine Specialty Dogs • Program is only available to public entities such as police or fire departments. • State Farm covers all expenses for the acquisition, training, and travel of the dog and the handler at a cost of $25,000 per team Fall 2016


How to protect your home for your fur-babies A ccording to American Kennel Club (AKC), it is estimated 500,000 pets are

Vickie Howell - Plainfield, NH

affected by home fires every year, we lose about 40,000 of our pet family members as a result of that exposure. While we are twice as likely to experience a fire in our home on Thanksgiving, an open flame or burning candle also increase our odds of a home fire by more than 15%.

Preparation: Prevention and Planning

• Install smoke detectors on every level of your home and test once per month, replacing the batteries every year (HINT: when you change the clocks for Daylight Savings, change those batteries). • Post emergency numbers by the phone and have fire extinguishers in your kitchen, laundry room, upstairs, near each fireplace, and in the garage. • Have a fire escape plan, a designated place to meet outside your home and a pet evacuation kit outside of your home. Don’t forget to include your fur babies when you are practicing your fire drills and escape routes, at least every six months. • Paint your kennel with two coats of flame retardant latex paint. • Finally, use a pet-alert window cling or decal to tell the firefighters that there are pets in your home, how many, what kind and how to reach you. Scope out your home… room by room, ceiling, walls, and floor, left to right. Depending on your breed of fur-baby you may need to address items such as swag lights, air conditioners and window blinds. Don’t forget to get down on their level and look at electrical or extension cords. Replace any cords which are frayed or broken and consider taping loose cords to the wall or floor. Check out those surge protectors and outlet’s too, be careful not to overload a circuit and ensure you are using a ground-fault circuit interrupters near sinks and outdoors. Thinking ahead, ALWAYS keep those space heaters three feet away from anything that can burn, and ensure they are equipped with an auto-shutoff device if they are accidentally knocked over. Ensure that any small appliances that could be knocked off the counter or items you use on your pets such as clippers or dryers are UL approved and grounded. Wrapping frayed cords with electrical tape is not a safe repair. Never leave an open flame, those 4 legs and a tail simply navigating your home could knock over a candle. Inquisitive and hungry pups have been known to jump up and accidentally turn stoves on, simply remove the control knobs from your stove or install child protective covers. Fall 2016

If you happen to have a fire in your home, what should you do first? First and foremost, ensure that every member of your family is safe and sound. Property and possessions can be cleaned or replaced. Take your pet to the veterinarian, be sure to relay all of the symptoms you’ve noticed and if you are aware of any smoke inhalation. Symptoms of short term smoke inhalation and soot exposure for humans and their pets include upper and lower airway injuries, extreme coughing and wheezing, lethargy or weakness, difficulty breathing, vomiting, singed or burnt hair, red or irritated eyes. Soot is the incomplete burning of organic materials, which could include not only wood, but plastics,

petroleum fuels and oils which become very caustic particles easily damaging your pet’s lungs, fur and their feet/pads. Smoke inhalation treatment can vary from Oxygen Therapy for a couple of hours to a couple of days and may include antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medications. It is important to monitor their oxygen levels, the healing of the airways and overall activity for several weeks after such a traumatic event. Once your pet has been stabilized, the soot needs to be removed from their fur. The best product on the market to remove this toxic particle is Dawn dish detergent, the plain blue stuff. Bathe your pet in Dawn twice and follow up with their favorite shampoo. Continued Next Page 17

What’s next? While we focused on prevention and planning, please remember to review your Family Communication Plan. It should include information such as Family Physician and Veterinarian, a list of medications taken by each family member and where filled. Who your Homeowner’s Insurance Policy is with and agent, include local and toll-free numbers. For an example of a Family Communication Plan or more information regarding what to do after a fire in your home, call Mascoma Renovation & Restoration, your local Fire Damage Restoration Contractor. Vickie Howell is Co-owner of Mascoma Renovation & Restoration. Vickie and her partner Kevin Marcom left the big-box franchise world of restoration companies and, relocated the business from Enfield to Plainfield, NH. Giving back to the community is evident in how they interact with their customers and their volunteer work in the Upper Valley. They hold multiple industry accreditations and pride themselves on assisting homeowners to close the gap not just apply a band-aid to the situation. Restoring Order to Your Chaos

The Liable of an Innocent Cow T

he Great Chicago Fire destroyed 3.3 square miles of Chicago, Illinois, burning for two days in 1871—between October 8th and October 10th. It killed hundreds of people, left more than 100,000 homeless (nearly one third of Chicago’s residents at the time), destroyed roughly 17,000 buildings, and caused a couple hundred million of dollars in damage (about $4-$5 billion today). A popular story often told about how of the Great Chicago Fire started is that a cow owned by Kate O’Leary kicked a lit lantern over and that started the flames. The story has even been the subject of a children’s song:

Late one night, when we were all in bed, Mrs. O’Leary lit a lantern in the shed. Her cow kicked it over, Then winked her eye and said, “There’ll be a hot time in the old town tonight!” It may come as a disappoint to some to learn that the cow story isn’t true— the man who wrote the O’Leary story for the Chicago Republican, Michael Ahern, later admitted that he had made the cow angle up in order to create a more interesting tale. But the fire certainly did start in the vicinity of a barn owned by the O’Learys. However, the exact cause of the fire was never determined, though Catherine O’Leary was used as a scapegoat of sorts.  O’Leary was an Irish Catholic immigrant—despised by many people at the time—so she made an easy target. In addition to Ahern’s retraction of his cow story, t h e O ’ L e a r ys claimed to have been asleep by the time the fire started, so there would have been no lantern in the barn for a cow to kick. 18 4 Legs & a Tail

Fall 2016

The Demon Possessed Cat Cured by Exorcism Extractions Sandra L Waugh VMD, MS - Windsor, VT


n honor of Halloween herein is the tale of Quinn, a black female cat who was pre-sented as a Valentine’s Day gift, but who had a few quirks to her personality, to say the least. Things started out normally but then progresssed to a nightmare at about 7 months of age in July 2012. Quinn was agitated all the time, unfriendly, even attacking her owner. She would sit on the countertop screaming and yelling (then would swat the owner if she came near). She would whip her head back and forth - if she could have spun it around on her neck, she would have!! Then she would smash the side of her head onto the sink or into the cupboards. The owner could hear her teeth grinding onto the sharp corner of the cupboard. The complete “exorcism” required several dental procedures. In January 2013 Quinn had an area of swollen, red gum near the right lower molar. The area was

Fall 2016

Quinn giving the “evil eye” as a kitten.

Quinn in her “demon days”.

biopsied and was found to be inflammatory in nature, cause unknown. The area healed but then returned, and it became apparent that the gum was coming into contact with the sharp point of the upper fourth premolar. In July 2013 this tooth was extracted and Quinn became much happier for a short while, then began hitting her head on the cupboards, this time specifically on the right side. On Halloween in 2013 dental radiographs were taken which showed a fairly subtle change in the periodontal ligament space on the upper right canine tooth, indicating early periodontal disease. The Continued Next Page 19

upper left canine was normal. When the upper right canine was extracted a small hole (called an oronasal fistula) was found in the bone that sits between the tooth root on the mouth side and the nasal passage on the nose side. This small hole allowed fluid and bacteria to travel into the nasal passage which can be very annoying to some animals. Unfortunately oronasal fistulas are not apparent on radiographs and are found only after extraction. They are caused by various diseases but most commonly by periodontal disease. Below is a comparison of a normal upper right canine tooth in an almost 4 year old cat and Quinn’s radiograph from 2013 when she was almost 2 years old. The angle of the radiographs is slightly different which changes the appearance of the tooth. The black line that outlines the tooth is called the periodontal ligament space because the periodontal ligament lives there. This ligament attaches to the bone of the skull and the root of the tooth. It provides support to the tooth, nutrition to the root and allows the tooth a small amount of “give” when encoun-tering something hard. Periodontal disease causes the ligament to disappear.

Normal tooth in 4 year old cat. The periodontal ligament space is well defined around the entire root.

Quinn’s tooth showing loss of definition of the peridontal ligament space at the end of the root (red circle).

Cats are such wonderfully fascinating creatures! Normally one would expect to see signs of periodontal disease (bone loss and widening of the periodontal ligament space) in the area indicated by the yellow circles. But not in Quinn’s case. The area affected by periodontal disease was at the end of the root, indicated by the red circle. Comparison of the normal tooth with Quinn’s tooth shows a loss of definition in the outline of the tooth. Things were great for a while, then Quinn began banging the left side of her head onto the cupboard. Time for more dental surgery! In April 2014 dental radiographs were taken and the upper left canine tooth now had early periodontal disease changes. After it was extracted a small oronasal fistula was found. Since then Quinn has had an entire change of personality. Now she picks up toys and carries them around in her mouth. She loves to play with the plastic pull tab from milk jugs and especially the safety seal on Half and Half cartons. She eats like a champ. She occasionally sleeps in the bed with the owner which she had not done before. She is much more lovable. She did not want her head touched before, now she wants lots of rubbing everywhere and particularly on the top of her head. And should she start banging her head on the cupboards again her mouth is the first place to look! The moral of the story is that seemingly small changes in the teeth can cause big changes in behavior and personality. If Quinn could only talk (English) she would cer-tainly have communicated her distress about her teeth. In fact, she was communicating her distress but sometimes it takes humans a while to get it right. Most cats are not as obvious in demonstrating pain. Many cats keep a “stiff upper lip” when in pain and become less active, more inclined to hide or have a change in a normal routine, all of which can be quite subtle. With pain the posture may change from relaxed or slightly curled up to tense or crouched and/or hunched. The facial expression may change from bright and alert to a head down posture with squinting, slanted, and/or closed eyes. A very nice reference for helping owners in evaluating pain in the cat and the dog is available from Colorado State University Flint Animal Cancer Center. Search for “feline acute pain scale” and “canine acute pain scale” in your favorite web search engine and look for in the title. A one page document with pictures and text can be downloaded or printed.

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Dr. Waugh is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. She also holds a Masters Degree from Washington State University of Veterinary Medicine and is owner of Windsor Veterinary & Dental Services. Fall 2016

Protecting Birds From Windows Catherine Greenleaf


he first snap of cold weather is the signal for birds to start their southern migration to warmer climates for the winter. But it is a perilous journey. Up to One Billion birds die from flying into windows in the U.S. each year, and migrating birds are the most common victims, according to the American Bird Conservancy. The major reason? “Birds can’t see glass,” said Christine Sheppard, Bird Collision Prevention Program Manager for the ABC. “A bird has eyes on the sides of its head. That makes for great precision flying in between trees and branches, but it gives them lousy depth perception.” Glass reflects the image of trees and sky in a person’s backyard, fooling the bird into believing they are flying toward open space. The worst offender? A giant picture window. To make matters worse, some of the newer brands of windows and sliding glass doors are highly reflective, making them very efficient killers. The good news: “There is a great deal a homeowner can do to reduce the number of bird collisions on one’s property,” says Sheppard. The number one solution is keeping your bird feeder away from windows, she said. At least fifty feet would be ideal. “If you have a bird feeder, you’re going to be drawing a lot of birds to your yard, so make sure you have windows with screens on the outside so birds will bounce, or use bird tape to break up the reflection on the glass. Place the tape on the outside of the window. If you place it on the inside, the birds won’t see it,” she said.

A popular solution with homeowners is a weatherproof solar shade which is operated by a remote. “The solar shade is made of a synthetic material that is attached to the outside of the window and is operated with a motor,” she said. “You just hit the remote to lower the shade and it blocks the sun and keeps your room cool. But it Continued Next Page

Fall 2016 21

also keeps birds away from the window.” You can apply sheets of transparent film to reduce the sun’s reflection, install shutters or awnings, or use decals. However, decals are only effective in large numbers, and they must be placed on the outside of the glass, no more than four inches apart. Otherwise they will not be effective because songbirds can turn sideways and fly through two inches of space, according to Sheppard. Should the worst happen, place the bird in a small cardboard box (you may need to punch some small air holes in the box for adequate ventilation) on a

22 4 Legs & a Tail

soft towel and bring the bird indoors. A garage, porch, or basement will not be warm enough because when a bird is injured it loses its ability to thermoregulate. A bird’s core body temperature is 105 degrees, so imagine an injured bird trying to keep itself warm in 30-degree weather outdoors. In fact, a songbird or raptor with a window strike injury during the fall or winter can succumb to hypothermia in a matter of minutes. An indoor temperature of 65 degrees will keep the bird alive while you contact help. Bringing the bird indoors will also protect it from predators like cats. Call your local wildlife rehabilitator for further instructions. You can contact New Hampshire Fish & Game dispatch at (603) 271-3361 or go to the New Hampshire Fish & Game website at to find the closest wildlife rehabilitator. Vermont Fish and Wildlife can be reached at (802) 828-1000 or at The conventional wisdom for years has been to wait 45 minutes and if the bird appears to have revived to release it back into the wild. However, new research is showing window-strike birds immediately allowed back outside often do not survive. “A lot of people think, ‘Oh, good. It flew away,’ but many of those birds die later in the woods from internal bleeding or brain hemorrhaging,” said Sheppard. Some very effective bird deterrent products are now available in the U.S. and are highly recommended by the American Bird Conservancy. These include: ABC Bird Tape; Acopian Bird Savers Curtains; Collidescape Window Film, Feather Friendly Adhesive Dots; Solyx Bird Safety Film, and Window Alert UV reflecting safety squares. Commercial businesses can significantly reduce collisions with Evonki Industries Acrylite Sound Stop BirdGuard (acrylic plexiglass embedded with polyamide threads); Guardian Glass SW68 1/8” Dark Line Patterned Glass, as well as Walker Glass’ Aviprotek Bird Friendly Glass Patterns. If each of us made safety modifications to just one window, imagine the collective impact we could have in keeping birds safe. Catherine Greenleaf is a licensed wildlife rehabilitator and director of St. Francis Wild Bird Hospital in Lyme, N.H. If you find an injured bird, please call (603) 795-4850, or go to Fall 2016

Fall 2016 23

To Spray or Not To Spray T

Scott Borthwick - Canaan, NH

he first skunk I ever caught was back in 1975. I caught it in a foothold trap and it was very much alive. All the stories I had heard on the best way to dispatch a skunk, was to be at least 10 feet away before shooting. I played it safe and shot from 15 feet away. The skunk sprayed and died. Being 15 feet away I knew I was scent free, and headed off to school. While I was opening my locker the girl next to me started screaming that there must be a skunk in the school and I was sent home. Turns out the essence was on my boots.

24 4 Legs & a Tail

There are a lot of myths pertaining to when a skunk will spray. So let’s address a few. A skunk won’t spray in a cage trap especially if you put a tarp over it: This is true about 95% of the time. However there are exceptions. I caught a skunk in a Hav-A-Hart and successfully wrapped it up with a tarp and placed it in the back of my new pickup with a cap on it. No way this skunk is going to spray right? Well that is what I thought, so I proceeded to my next stop. The next stop was a friend’s woodshop where I picked up wood shavings for bedding for my wife’s horses once a week. When I pulled into the yard my friend’s dog started barking and jumped up against the truck. Needless to say I did not get my shavings that week. Baby skunks don’t spray: Yes they do, and are more likely to spray than an adult, as they are not yet in full control of their functions. A skunk needs both hind feet on the ground and tail in the air: A basement restaurant located in a nearby town called. The panic stricken employee said there was a skunk trapped in the stair well and it was the only entrance he had a key for and they needed to open in two hours. I rushed

over and was able to coax the skunk into a solid plastic trap designed specifically for skunks. When I picked it up vertically the skunk fell further into the trap and sprayed. Fortunately, the essence was contained in the trap and the smell left with me. Unfortunately, there were no nearby parking spots, so I had to carry the smelly guy down the main street through crowds of unhappy shoppers, to my truck. If you pick up a skunk by the tail it won’t spray: This I have not tried on a live skunk, however one fall a customer called with a dead animal smell in their basement. After searching awhile I found a pile of chewed up insulation behind the oil tank. I looked through it and found a dead skunk in it. The scent glands on a skunk are located next to the tail. The skunk was starting to decay, so I picked it up by the tail and the tail came loose, unleashing the wrath of God right into the forced hot furnace which was running. On the bright side I did solve the dead animal smell problem. Man likes to believe that animals will behave in a certain way, however no one tells the animals. My advice is if a skunk is not bothering you, leave it alone. If it is bothering you call a professional. Scott Borthwick owns Estate Wildlife Control. He lives in Canaan, NH with his wife Donna, two dogs, a couple of horses and one tough old chicken named Henrietta.

Fall 2016

Why Does My Rabbit Do That? PART ONE Susan Tullar, DVM - Bradford, VT

R abbits are a unique pet and understanding the behavior of these animals can involve a lifetime of learning. They are not just little dogs or cats. Being a highly social and prey animal, they have many behaviors that are linked to these two traits. I will attempt to address a few of the behaviors you may see in your own pet rabbit. There are vocalizations as well as actions your pet may be using that are telling you many things, just as humans use both body language and words to express their feelings. This article will address the many sounds rabbits can make and the intent behind them. "Grunting/Growling: Indicates anger or disapproval of a human's or another rabbit's behavior (invasion of their territory, for example) and may be followed by scratching or biting. Translation: "Back off. Leave me alone. Put me down."  Honking: A soft, almost inaudible sound associated with courtship behavior; it is often accompanied by circling. Translation: "Hey, hey, baby, would you be my girl or guy?"  Snorting: A request for attention or a statement that the rabbit does not like something. It could also be a symptom of an upper respiratory infection. Translation: "What do I have to do around here to get some pats? I'm annoyed. I may be sick."  Whimpering, squealing, and squeaks: Are associated with pain and distress.  Translation: "That hurt! I don't feel well."  Some squeaking is done in close, intimate situations and is an indication of closeness.  Screaming: Indicates mortal terror or severe pain. Translation: "I think I am going to die and I'm terrified." Tooth clicking or "purring": A light grinding or clicking of the teeth that indicates pleasure and contentment. Translation: "I am a happy rabbit. I am completely relaxed and comfortable in my environment. I'll give you six hours to stop this wonderful stroking and petting."  Tooth grinding: Indicates severe pain, discomfort, or distress. Translation: "I'm in great pain and need help." This last behavior, the tooth grinding, is a key sound in recognizing that your pet needs veterinary care. A tooth grinding rabbit is one that may stop eating and can die if not treated quickly. Rabbits have a large number of sounds they can make to communicate with their "warren", i.e. you! The key is recognizing all of these many signals so that you can experience all that your rabbit is telling you. Dr. Susan Tullar (formerly Dr. Dyer) DVM, sees rabbits, dogs, cats, birds, and other exotic pets at Bradford Veterinary Clinic in Bradford, VT,  802-222-4903 We here at 4 Legs & a Tail would like to extend our Best wishes to Susan Tullar DVM (formerly Susan Dyer DVM) on her recent nuptials. Congratulations Susan!

Fall 2016 25

A New Home for High Horses A

Sue Miller , Program Director

t long last, High Horses Therapeutic Riding Program has purchased our own facility! Nestled just off Faye Brook Road at 138 Horse Farm Road, Sharon, High Horses TRP will be easy to get to as the facility is near the interstate 91 & 89 interchange. The new facility will allow High Horses to expand days and hours of operation. For years High Horses has only been able to run from Monday through Thursday. Now we will be able to run Monday through Friday and possibly expand to Saturday as well. Our new facility has two large outdoor rings to use as well as a spacious indoor arena and two round pens. Now lessons that run simultaneously, can have their very own ring or round pen to be in. High Horses TRP has plans to add a viewing room to the indoor arena so that families may sit in comfort to watch their riders participate in our programing. There is a nice track that goes around much of the property and High Horses has plans of making a sensory trail to take riders on. The sensory trail will give riders a chance to experience hands on objects, sounds, smells, and stations for activities all while horseback. High Horses is pleased to announce the launch of our capital campaign to help us fund the purchase of our new facility and improvements to the property. Pledges of support have come from very generous supporters of High Horses, including a matching grant of funds raised. Please consider making a donation to help the program reach its two-million-dollar goal. You can reach out to a board member or Executive Director, Nicole Jorgensen for more information. High Horses currently offers programs such as: Therapeutic Riding highly emphasizes the combination of learning a rewarding activity (horseback riding) while achieving the best physical and functional levels possible. This approach includes working toward goals in the areas of sport, recreation, education and communication. A specially trained therapeutic riding instructor directs either a group lesson or a private lesson depending on the needs and goals of the client. Hippotherapy is defined by the American Hippotherapy Association, Inc. as a physical, occupational, or speech therapy treatment strategy that utilizes equine movement. Hippotherapy addresses impairments, functional limitations and disabilities in patients with neuromotor and sensory dysfunction. This modality is used as part of an integrated

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Visit the new High Horses facility during their open house Labor Day Weekend Friday the 2nd from 5-8pm, Saturday the 3rd from 11am-2pm, and Sunday September 4th from 1- 4pm. Closed Monday the 5th

treatment program to achieve functional goals and is prescribed by a physician. Emphasis is placed on achieving therapy goals, rather than on achieving horseback riding, educational or social skills. Connections is an hour-long session combining equine facilitated activities and experiential learning. The unique relationship formed with the horse can lead to increased trust and self-worth. This relationship can also decrease stress overcome anxiety and relieve depression. It provides the participant with opportunities to enhance self-awareness, to practice adaptive behaviors, to explore thoughts and feelings, and experience support. We offer special programming for Veterans and others involved in healing from crisis situations and trauma.  Equine Services for Heroes offers equine assisted benefit for veterans for help in dealing with the physical and psychological effects of war and the after effects of their service time. Working with horses can help people with many types of abilities meet and overcome physical, mental and psychological barriers including PTSD. We also offer The Grey Horse Program which is tailored to riders 50 years and over wanting to enjoy horseback riding to increase balance, flexibility and as a form of exercise. Riding quickens reflexes and memory. Horseback riding, utilizes the horse’s variable, repetitive and rhythmic movement to provide a base of support for those senior citizens experiencing balance problems, impaired coordination, decrease of mobility, and poor postural control. As the horse changes gaits, riding trains clients on the subtle muscle control necessary to maintain a stable position in the saddle. It also teaches clients timing, coordination and respiratory control. Please visit High Horses TRP’s website at to find out more there you will find information on volunteering as well as an application form for inclusion in our programming as well as their donation page. You can call Executive Director Nicole Jorgensen or Sue Miller the Program Director at 802-356-3386. Fall 2016

From the Clubhouse to the Doghouse,



s Red Sox Nation says farewell to David Ortiz, the future hall of famer will soon begin the next chapter of his life. While plenty of golf and fishing may be on the agenda, his passion for dogs and pets are certainly near the top of the list. Over the past few years, Big Papi has been a regular visitor to animal shelters throughout New England and a vocal advocate for animal adoption. “Dogs are the best thing that can happen to a human and are true friends that never go away,” says Ortiz. In fact, his dogs Foxy and Happy are often seen with the Red Sox slugger. “I take them everywhere, to the field, the beach, and David Ortiz with his rescue

Fall 2016

picnics in the park. They’re like my kids.” It’s no secret that the Red Sox are huge fans of World Series titles and dogs, even their Portland, ME minor league affiliate are named The Sea Dogs! Fenway Park also welcomed fans and their pets to the park earlier this summer for priceless photo opts atop the historic Green Monster. Like Ortiz, many former Red Sox players and executives have used retirement to actively supports pets and animals. Long before he stepped in as President of the Red Sox, Larry Lucchino and his wife Stacey were active members of Canine Companions. For more than a decade, the couple volunteered and helped bring service dogs to those in need. Fred Lynn, the 1975 MVP/ Rookie of the Year (the first player to ever win both titles in the same year), also has a soft underbelly for dogs. Although the former Red Sox great now spends much of his time in San Diego, he is the spokesperson for The Foundation for Animal Care and Education (FACE). He and his wife Natalie spend much of their time as advocates of euthanasia for economic reasons and providing necessary medical care for pets. Speaking on behalf of all Red Sox fans, we will miss the late inning heroics of David Ortiz and the fun he brought to “The Nation.” I’m sure our loss will be a shelter pet’s gain. 27

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Fall 2016

Hiking Activities To Do With Your Dog by Mike Robertson


HIDE AND SEEK This game works best with two or more people, but can be easily adapted to solo travels. With multiple people, one person will hang back from the group. After a few hundred feet the group will stop and ask the dog “where’s (hang back person’s name)” at which point the hang back person will HILL HELPER call the dog’s name once. Everyone should You’ve been taught since the beginning remain silent while the dog searches. of dog-on-a-leash-walking, that allowing the When the dog locates the person, an dog to pull is bad. Pulling - can - be good excited praise session should ensue. If tug (and useful), as long as it is controlled toy trained, this is a great time for a little by a command. Before any pulling work of that. with your dog, please check with your If you’re on a solo adventure with your veterinarian that your dog is fit enough dog, and you allow the dog to forge ahead of you, it is simple to slip behind a tree to start pull work. To begin, you will need a weight pull and call the dogs name once. If the dog harness. We like the Canine Equipment is leashed or reluctant to leave your side, one ( toss a toy or treat ahead of you, then hide You never want to use a regular neck collar, walking harness or any accessory other than a weight pull harness, as they lack pressure distribution and can cause injury to your dog. To begin conditioning your dog to pulling, tie a four foot rope to two gallon milk jugs that are ¼ filled with sand. Attach the other end of the ropes to the metal loops on each side of the harness. Give your dog the command “Pull” and begin walking forward. Stop after a couple of feet and repeat. As your dog becomes comfortable with the weight, add a few cups more sand to each jug. The total weight should never cause the dog to strain, but only provide gentle resistance. Practice the pulling exercise on flat ground, as a downhill slope can cause the jugs to move faster than the dog and potentially result in injury. After working with the sand filled jugs for a few days, replace the jugs with a handle. This can be as simple as a short stick, its function is to provide a place for you to hold on to. The dog should be familiar with the “Pull” command by this point, so while holding the handle ask the dog to “Pull” and hold back on the handle slightly. Your dog should be pulling against your resistance and moving you forward. Next time you find yourself at the bottom of a steep hill, hook up your dog, give the “Pull” command, and enjoy the assistance! Fall 2016 njoying nature with your dog is the essence of living away from the city. Hiking with your dog, already a relaxing activity, can be easily made canine-enriching and human-useful. Here are two ways to add frosting to the outings with your dog:

while your dog runs off to get it. A walk in nature with your dog, even without any extra fun stuff, is both emotionally and physically healthy for your dog. Allow them to sniff and scratch and explore alongside you. One great feature of the natural world, is that it’s never the same twice. Mike Robertson is a certified animal trainer and certified behavior consultant located in Plymouth NH. He is the owner of White Mountain College for Pets, with two locations: 661 Mayhew Turnpike and 594 Tenney Mtn Hwy in Plymouth NH. View upcoming class schedules or contact him at: or by phone 603-369-4PET. 29

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Fall 2016

Hiking with your Best Friend: A Beginners Guide to Hikes with a Canine Buddy Mike Eigenbrode

T here is nothing quite so rewarding as the feeling of reaching the summit of a mountain after a long day-hike, and sitting down to enjoy the view. This feeling multiplies ten-fold when you have a dog there with you to share the experience, each of you exhausted from the work you both just put in. I’ve recently sat atop Mt. Cube in Orfordville NH, taking in the view with my dog Rusty; it’s the ultimate bonding experience. New Hampshire and Vermont offer up many gorgeous hikes that can range in difficulty. If you have an interest in getting your dog into the hiking game, you’ve come to the right place! The first step on your journey is to make an informed decision regarding whether your beloved pet really should be joining you on your hiking adventures. You’ll need a pooch that is well trained onlead and off, and that is obedient and easy going around both humans and other dogs. No matter the hike, most trails are very narrow and surrounded by undergrowth, creating a lot of close encounters. I’ve never been on a trail and not passed by at least one other person or group. Your dog should react appropriately in these situations; even overly friendly animals can come off the wrong way towards other hikers. You must feel confident in your dog’s obedience level and his or her response to recall and other commands in order for the hike experience to be safe and enjoyable for all. Time to pack up! Depending on the length and difficulty of your trip, there are a few necessities that you should bring. A critical item that you’ll need to have is proper ID tags on your dog. You’ll often be traveling to unfamiliar areas to hike; take care to make sure that if your dog does get lost he has a much better chance of getting found. You’ll want your dog either wearing a collar or a harness; make sure it’s something that won’t chafe. Backpacks are another great option; they allow your dog to carry his own water, food, or other supplies. Plus they double as a great harness. Always make sure you bring plenty of water for the both of you, and do your Continued Next Page

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research beforehand to see if the area you’ll be hiking has any streams or rivers to help stay cool. Your dog can’t drink out of a water bottle like you, so travel bowls are crucial! Insect repellent is also a must, as things can get a little buggy out on the trail. I prefer a DEET based repellent, but some animals can react negatively to the chemical. There are many natural repellent options available at your favorite local animal supply store. If you plan on a strenuous hike with rocky terrain, trail booties for dogs are an option you may want to look into as rougher hikes can wear heavily on the dog’s pads. As mentioned, always be sure to research your hike beforehand so you bring the proper

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equipment and are totally prepared. And be sure to remember the poop bags! There are around 50 plus dog friendly trails between New Hampshire & Vermont. It’s always best to start easy with a new hiker. Mount Kearsarge is an easy/moderate hike with some great views and won’t be super tough for your hiking companion. This three mile hike won’t take you more than three hours, leaving plenty of time to relax at the bare summit with your dog, soaking up the 360-degree view. Bring food for the both of you and make it a picnic! Another popular beginner trail is Mount Cardigan in Orange, NH. This quick two hour hike is fantastic if you’re pressed for time. It’s usually very busy, so expect encounters with families, children, and other dogs. If you feel ready to tackle something a little more strenuous, Mount Ascutney is a great hike. There are four total routes up the mountain. The last time I enjoyed this (admittedly difficult) hike, I parked at the Windsor Trailhead, and walked a mile or so on the road to the Brownsville Trailhead. The main attraction here is the trip through an abandoned granite quarry; cables, giant beams, and huge blocks of granite are strewn about. It’s truly something to see. If you’re taking your dog, bring plenty of water, and plan on a 4-5 hour total hike time. Another ambitious hike is also one of my favorites: Mount Cube in Orfordville, NH. It’s a nice 6.6 mile hike with an amazing view; plan on about 4 hours of total hike time. There are a bunch of streams and water sources on this trail for your pup to cool off in. One stream early into the hike will turn into a full-on river after heavy rainfall, so be prepared! The summit isn’t completely bald, but the view is incredible. Hopefully this intro to hiking in the Upper Valley has provided you with the basics to start your adventures with your canine companion. Nothing will bring you closer together than working to climb a tough mountain. For more information and a complete list of hiking locations I recommend the book “Best hikes with dogs: New Hampshire & Vermont”. It’s a great resource and expands heavily on the information I’ve provided in this article. If you still have questions about equipment, be sure to ask at your next visit to West Lebanon Feed & Supply…your Canine Outdoor Adventures start here. Now get out there and experience all the GREAT things the Upper Valley has to offer!

Fall 2016

Purrs in the House Again By Maggie Thompson

Heading into cold weather is the perfect time to adopt a good "mouser" like Periwinkle.


t had been over five months since Coffee Bean died, our seventeen-year-old cat. I sensed another cat in our future, but knew I had to get beyond grieving Beanie, beyond looking for a cat just like her. Many evenings before bed I’d review the pictures and profiles of available cats on the Central Vermont Humane Society website. Could I imagine myself with this one? That one? Sometimes I just needed reassurance that when I was ready, there would be cats. I liked looking at the photos, reading about their known histories and personalities. I felt wistful just driving by the Humane Society, knowing cats were in there. I waited until after the holidays. I wanted to make sure my husband Ron wanted another cat. After all, life was easier without one. We could sleep through the night undisturbed, reclaim the living room chair that Beanie had usurped, and be relieved of hairball incidents and worse, that had cropped up in Beanie’s elder years. Yes, it was easier without a cat. But with “easier” came a gnawing absence. We lacked an important, even sacred, dimension that animals offer. They live in the present and are expert at settling me into a more balanced perspective. Then there’s the joy animals invite with their playfulness, curiosity and affection. Continued Next Page

Fall 2016 33

They are unencumbered by regrets about the past or worries about the future. One Thursday in February, I visited CVHS. I spent time with Abbey, Hermione and Peanut, acknowledged Molokai and Kahoona. But it was Periwinkle who caught my eye – a petite silver gray with soft stripes and big blossom eyes, about three years old. Timid, she winced when I reached gently to pet her. However, no hissing or scratching. She was just afraid, no doubt from the recent upheaval in her feline life. Though she was not comfortable being held, she maintained riveting eye contact with me, following my every movement. Later in the lobby, I filled out the inventory used to match cats with families. Periwinkle was on the other side of the window, her gaze still fixed on me. I realized I was filling out the questionnaire with her in mind, her blue-green eyes and sweet face pulling at my heart. As I pulled out of the parking lot, tears surprised me. Grieving Coffee Bean anew? Struck by the loss of all the cats, dogs and cows I have loved? The next day, Ron and I were on the doorstep when CVHS opened. An hour later, Ron was on his way back to work and Periwinkle and I were headed home. Was it unwise to adopt a stray cat that nothing was known about prior to ten days ago? No. I was ready to love her with my whole heart and give her all the time she needed to learn to trust us. She spent the first two weeks under the dining room hutch, allowing us to reach under and pet her, nuzzling our hands and purring. Little by little she ventured out. Now, she romps with toys. She plays catch, batting her ball right to me so I can roll it back to her. Seventy-four times back and forth in one session is our record! She is fascinated with fabric, tossing napkins and dishtowels. Recently she has begun blanket diving, semi-somersaulting into her fleece throw. She likes to rub against my legs when I’m cooking. She often bounds from room to room for no apparent reason. Home alone one afternoon, I heard notes from our piano, played with tentative paws. Some mornings I’m greeted by my computer mouse on the floor – her mouser instinct. In quieter times we lie on our sides in the sun together on the living room floor. Periwinkle does half-mast sultry blinks, a sign of trust, and stretches a front paw toward me, gently spreading her toes. I do slow blinks back to her and imitate her paw. She’s settling in, and so are we, happily. Maggie Thompson, a farm girl from Illinois, lives in Calais, Vermont. Periwinkle is the fifth Thompson cat, following in the pawprints of Coffee Bean, Callie Cat, Pumpkin Eleanor, and Princess Elijah. 34 4 Legs & a Tail

Fall 2016


The Perfect Imperfect Dog

Thousands of Australian Kelpies like Nova are herding livestock in Australia, Canada and the United States

Brianna Marino - Newbury, NH

I am a Type-A person. Ask anyone. In my opinion, even the

smallest of events are worth a laminated planning binder. When I decided to adopt my first dog eight years ago (as I was finally a “real” grown up with my own home), I eagerly armed myself with “How to Train Your Puppy” and “The Everything Dog Book.” I devoured every word, mastered every concept and eagerly searched through the Petfinder pages looking for the perfect dog. With all the preparation, attention to detail and love that I had to offer, I was ready to fulfill the romantic vision that is adopting a dog. After all, what could possibly go wrong? Oh boy – was I naïve. It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with Nova. Freshly trucked up from the shelters of Arkansas, this stray had landed in a house full of other dogs, children, and what must have been 20 cats. I went to pet him and he quickly rolled onto his back. At the time, I didn’t have the experience to realize he was terrified. Like many adopters, I was elated at the misguided thought he wanted belly rubs. I may not have been right about that, but even I knew there was no way I’d leave without him. Nova came home to a relatively quiet house, nice big yard and a big of loving family. It didn’t take long to realize that this dog had been through a lot. Like many Continued Next Page

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rescuers, I didn’t know his story and took it on faith that my love and goodwill would wash away any behavioral issues he may have developed. As it turns out, that wasn’t quite the case. As I got to know Nova a little bit better, I realized a couple things: He was smart and he was damaged. Quickly shying away from petting, he didn’t trust. He was frightened by anything new, and barked incessantly at the cause. A person standing up from a seated position happened to qualify as something new. A person coughing; yes, that would be something new too. And, let me tell you, for anyone who doesn’t think animals watch TV, you’re wrong. Nearly every part of daily

life seemed to set Nova on edge. For those that have read the basic dog owner’s books, there’s plenty of worthwhile and valid information. However, when you get to the part about rescuing a neurotic, high-energy Australian Kelpie, I swear they all say, “Find a behaviorist. Good luck.” According to my vet, Australian Kelpies and other cattle dogs are well known for OCD. I needed a therapist and a behaviorist. As it turned out, my studious approach to dog care and training was not enough to help Nova and restore some level of peace in the household. So, find a behaviorist I did. A wonderful local dog trainer, Fiona, came to visit and we subsequently attended many of her classes. I learned that Nova was sensitive to SEC (Sudden Environmental Change). He was also the type of breed (and by his own personality) that needs a routine and a job to perform. So, I set about to be consistent in Nova’s schedule and, more importantly, the interactions he had with everyone. It does no good to teach your dog not to jump on people, if other folks permit it. I learned how to properly execute clicker training and discovered that Nova wants to please (and get treats) more than anything. He has an overwhelming desire to be with people and responds very positively to praise, which, in many cases, has been more useful than even his beloved treats. Many of the techniques from long ago are still in play today. When he paces, we assign him an area to sit and he receives a treat. When visitors arrive, he gets a nice chewable toy with which to occupy himself. When we leave, a peanut butter filled Kong arrives making goodbye time a much happier event. Some of his behaviors have completely abated and some return; but then, so do our training techniques. Most importantly, in this adventure, I learned that every dog is different and you need to learn what motivates and calms your furry friend to apply the most effective training. Today, Nova is a happy, well-trained(ish) dog that knows left from right when we walk, barks every time people arrive (but then stops!) and most importantly trusts. He eagerly awaits his belly rubs, knows what to expect and what is expected of him. As it turns out, this high-strung Type A dog is the perfect companion for a high-strung Type A person. I guess you could say we understand each other. Brianna is owned by Nova the Dog and Ollie the Big, Orange Cat along with a menagerie of livestock. She enjoys spending time with her family and restoring their 1880’s farmland to its former glory. You can reach her by email (thequill@

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Fall 2016

In The Home Office Tanya Sousa - Orleans, VT


sually, home is where people go after work. If you have pets (and if you’re reading this, of course you do!), they might greet you at the door, ask to be fed, snuggle with you – in other words, you enjoy attention from each other as a reward to a long day apart. When you’re a writer with a home office, things are different – very different. t t honey, bu ’re so swee ou Y e! te it “Oh, K es out.” re e.” it’s 92 deg You’re fin in shorts. re r’ my feet ou “Y on your fur , y ll a u ct a “Well, hot.” ty sure feels pretty on. I’m pret have shoes ’t on d ou “Y .” t all. I’m you’re cold not cold a ually, I’m rees out.” ct eg A d o. 2 9 oo “N eaty. It’s sw d n a ot pretty h ot?” , r feet are h then. Yes “So you derstand n u ou Y ! es Y ! “Yes lap re hot.” my feet a t on your I’ll just si ! m le ob “No pr ” instead…

Continued Next Page

Fall 2016 37

hat are of water. W r a drink fo ft le st air?” “I ju on my ch over your you doing of looking sentence y rt be li e e h th T . g I did “I took d. a good thin simplifie article. It’s ridiculously over troduction is in structure many adverbs. The o There are to g” You n opinion. is confusi for your sk a ’t .” n ir a id that ch “I d even be on shouldn’t .” ve si defen “Don’t be sive.” en ef d being “I’m not ensive…” being def “You’re

“Excuse m e! I need to pe e. I need to eat. I want to snug gle. Do you love me? Do you love me more than your laptop? I should be th e laptop. I w ant to be the lapt op. Make me the laptop. I wan t the lap…”

is empty.” “Excuse me, my food bowl .” full half It’s t. isn’ “No it Fill it please.” “Well, it’s nearly empty. there first.” “It isn’t empty. Eat what’s “Fill it please.” bow l is ful l. “Ok ay! Ok ay! The ” Are you happy? “Excuse me!” “What now?” “I want something.” “What?” want it…” “I don’t know, but I really

idn’t…” “You d ” ffee?” “What? g my co ou lickin y ee s ffee.” I “Did as my co ffee. ht this w g ive you co ou th I on , I d ’t g st thing you ow “Oh n k ou la wasn’t. Y . Now tick. The “No, it dy like a pogo s e last of the coffee ea th lr s a w .” t ot a p You’re a h ffeine. T w another need is ca ore I have to bre m t n a little.” a w if I ly licked p earlier on I . it k icken poo rin eating ch -poop-coffee.” e “Just d er w ou Y en o thanks. ’t care for chick bagel “Uh, n g. I don ken-poop in ic h n c or e m th d this in m n’t ” you did “Well, you before this… r fo I licked

Ah! But the companionship is worth it all. 38 4 Legs & a Tail

Fall 2016

The Pigskin

W ith the NFL season here and Deflate-Gate finally behind us, it is now

safe to ask the question, “Why do they call footballs a pigskin?” It may surprise you to learn that footballs were originally inflated with the bladders of animals, including those from swine. In later years, these animal bladders were placed inside a leather cover, giving rise to the term “pigskin.” The bladder of pig (or another animal) was inflated into more of an oval shape than the familiar pointed tips of today’s game balls. The process of inflating these early pigskins was fairly distasteful as you might imagine. Straw and other material would oftentimes be stuffed in the pig bladder instead, but this tended to create balls with lumps and strange shapes that made official game play difficult. Fortunately, blowing up pig bladders fell out of fashion for both pro and recreational football players with the invention of vulcanized rubber in the 1860s. Ironically, though they are still called “pigskins,” nowadays all pro and collegiate footballs are actually made with cowhide leather. Recreational and youth footballs, on the other hand, are often made with synthetic material or vulcanized rubber.

Fall 2016 39

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Fall 2016

Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall: Dog Lovers KATE KELLY


oth Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall loved dogs. She was partial to cocker spaniels and had two of them–one named Droopy and another, Puddle. Bogart owned several breeds during his lifetime including a Newfoundland terrier, a couple of Scottish terriers, and a Sealyham terrier (a breed that originated in Wales).

MET ON FILM SET The couple met in 1944 while filming the Howard Hawks film, To Have and Have Not.  Humphrey Bogart (1899-1957), already a star fromCasablanca, played the leading male, and Lauren Bacall (19242014) was a newcomer in the role of the ingénue. Both Bacall’s mother and Howard Hawks were dead-set against the budding romance between the two stars. Hawks felt it interfered with their work. Bacall’s mother was opposed to her daughter dating a married man 25 years her senior—particularly one who was known to drink heavily.

LOVE CONQUERED ALL But disapproval did not deter the couple. They were again paired to work together in Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep (1945). During this time, they decided to marry. Bogart got a divorce from his second wife, and the two were married on a friend’s farm in Ohio. Since both Bogart and Bacall were “dog” people, it was only natural that their friend presented them with a oneweek old boxer puppy, born on the farm just days before their nuptials. From that time forward, the boxer breed became the household’s breed of choice. They named the puppy Harvey after the invisible rabbit in Mary Chase’s 1944 play of the same name (later made into a motion picture).  Harvey proved to be a very smart dog. Lauren Bacall reported that since he wasn’t allowed on furniture, he was quite accommodating about the rule—he just put two paws on the couch Continued Next Page

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The Boxer is part of the Molosser dog group, developed in Germany in the late 19th century from the now extinct Bullenbeisser, a dog of Mastiff descent, and Bulldogs brought in from Great Britain.

at a time. If the couple had a fight, then the no-furniture rule went out the window and Harvey sat between them until they were ready to make up.

BOGART AND BACALL AND THEIR BOXERS Shortly, two more boxers came to live with them—George and Baby. But Harvey was always the alpha dog. If you see just one boxer in photos with the movie stars, you can be sure it’s Harvey. Throughout their 12 years together, Bogart and Bacall shared a happy if not perfect marriage. Part of their joy in being together was their love of dogs and the pleasure they took in raising their two children. Harvey was part of the family through to the very end.  He died just 6 months after Bogart passed away in 1957.

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This article first appeared on the website, www.americacomesalive. com  During the summer, America Comes Alive publishes more stories about American dogs and other animals. Visit the website and sign up for “American Dogs” to receive the stores in your In Box. Or email Kate Kelly at Fall 2016

Western Dressage: A Growing Sport Jessica Stewart Riley

“Lori Berger competes Calyxa in the Champlain Valley Dressage Schooling Series at Cloverfield Farm in Colchester, VT”. Photo Credit: Ron Hoague.


f you haven’t yet heard of western dressage, you probably will soon. This sport, which emphasizes dressage fundamentals for the working western horse, has caught on considerably over the past few years in the Northeast. As a passionate western rider who has grown up with considerable dressage influence, western dressage is appealing to me for a variety of reasons. First off, the focus on traditional dressage principles like improving upon the natural rhythm and cadence of the horse’s gaits, while also emphasizing relaxation and suppleness resonates with me. But then, there is the comfort and appeal of a western saddle, and the fact that any breed of horse can be trained and competed in western dressage. And one of the overarching goals in training western dressage is that the horse be safe, pleasurable, versatile, and useful. These goals are similar to those of traditional dressage, but western dressage, especially from a competitive perspective, seems more accessible to the everyday rider with the everyday horse, than some of the modern dressage seen today. Because of this, it seems to appeal to a wider range of riders, not just those who would consider themselves “dressage riders.” Fall 2016

Due to the increasing popularity in our region in recent years, there are a variety of clinics and competitions to choose from, and in addition to myself, I have noticed many of my horsey friends have started riding and competing in western dressage. One of those people is both a colleague and a friend, Lori Berger of Tunbridge, VT. Lori and her sporthorse mare Calyxa, a flashy, 16+ hands tall black and white pinto, began competing last year in the Champlain Valley Dressage Schooling Series, and have done quite well, earning a year-end championship and some of the highest dressage test scores of their competitive lives. They have continued competing this year, and plan to attend the Western Dressage World Championship Show in Guthrie, Oklahoma, September 29 through October 2, 2016. Lori is an avid traditional dressage competitor, riding instructor, and trainer, as well as faculty member in the Vermont Tech Equine Studies Program with me, but had not ridden much western before last year. Because we have been working closely together with our horses to school in, and compete in western dressage, and I will be accompanying her to the World Show in Oklahoma this fall, I thought it would be interesting to also share her perspective on western dressage. Continued NEXT PAGE 43

JSR: How did you get started riding western dressage? LB: My interest in western dressage was a natural outgrowth of my classroom teaching at Vermont Tech, where I emphasize the commonality of riding disciplines and history of the horse and riding disciplines. Students (in the VTC Equine Program) come from all different backgrounds with horses, and many come from a world in which riding is divided into two “flavors,” “English” and “Western” and the two seem worlds apart. Part of my job is to get students to see that good riding stems from a few core concepts that are biomechanically sound; a horse that is in self-carriage, who is supple and responsive, regardless of the discipline it is ridden in. These core concepts, which are emphasized in western dressage and dressage, both go back to the training that occurred in renaissance Europe, one example being the Spanish Riding School. If we look at the saddles used on modern baroque-type breeds, like Lusitanos, Andalusions, Lippizans, etc. those saddles are clearly a common ancestor of modern dressage saddles and modern western saddles. On a personal level, Calyxa, aka “Lexi,” my 3rd level dressage horse had physical problems that made it difficult for her to work in the frame and selfcarriage required of horses at such levels and I was looking for something that my horse could be comfortable with and excel in. I love my horse and just wanted her to be happy! I read a couple articles about western dressage and thought I should give it a try. I immediately found that Lexi was happy and relaxed on the looser contact and received higher test scores than ever before. JSR: What appeals to you most about Western Dressage? LB: I am drawn to the subtlety and lightness of contact, and that it requires the rider use his or her leg and seat even more than traditional dressage because the reins cannot be relied on as much. I also like the lower pressure on the horse than competitive dressage; that it requires more of the rider but puts less physical burden on horse. I was pleased to hear that Lori shares the same feelings about western dressage that I do, and hope that you will too. Western dressage is a growing sport that, in my opinion, has a bright future. Whether you are a western rider looking to add some lightness and suppleness to your riding, or a dressage rider looking to try something different, the goal of the discipline is to provide a systematic and correct training progression that promotes the best qualities of both western riding and dressage. I encourage you to learn more about this sport at: or Happy Riding! Jessica Stewart Riley is an Assistant Professor and the director of the Vermont Technical College Equine Studies Program in Randolph Center, VT. She is a graduate of Johnson State College, UVM, and Vermont Tech, as well as a member of the American Quarter Horse Association Professional Horsemen and an American Riding Instructor Association Certified instructor in Western, Huntseat on the Flat, and Stable Management. Fall 2016 44 4 Legs & a Tail

Fall 2016 45

The Aches and Pains of Riding Steve Guyatt


" efore I became a Sports Massage Therapist I did not realize how demanding horse riding was on the body!" Common Horse Riding Injuries Horse riding, I have found out, is a dangerous sport! Being thrown from a horse can lead to serious spinal cord injuries and fractures needing medical attention. I have seen bruising, back and neck pain – shoulder injuries are very common with soft tissue damage, i.e. tendons, ligaments, muscles strains (common to the abductors) etc. As with all sports, horse riding can cause pain and trauma to the body. The joints in the hips, ankles and knees can take a serious battering while riding due to the continued and repetitive forceful vibration with pressure placed on them. This can generate an overload on the intervertebral disk causing degeneration etc. The tendons that connect the bones to surrounding muscles can also suffer in much the same way. Over time, this can lead to a repetitive strain injury. Exercising proper body mechanics, stretching and allowing the body regular rest intervals can also help to avoid repetitive injuries. Aside from the injuries which can occur as the result of a fall from a horse and the RSI’s mentioned above, the most common injuries suffered by equestrians are pulled or strained muscles. The equestrian adductors suffer the most. A muscle tear or rupture in the adductors is typically referred to as a groin strain. There are five muscles in the adductor group. A groin strain can affect one or more of these five muscles and are graded 1, 2 or 3 depending on their severity. With a grade 1 strain, the athlete will experience some discomfort but the pain is generally tolerable and regular daily activities such as walking and bending can typically be managed. There will usually be a feeling of tightness in the muscle and the area may be slightly tenContinued Next Page

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der to the touch. Riding on a cold day without sufficient warm up makes pulled muscles more common. Grade 2 strains result in much more discomfort than a grade 1, as there is typically a tear in the fibers of the tendons. There is often some swelling or bruising in the area. The muscle(s) will feel weak when contracting, and walking may be uncomfortable. There is a sudden sharp pain in the groin area or adductor muscles during exercise, and tightening of the groin muscles that may not be present until the next day. There will be discomfort or pain on stretching the muscle. Walking may be affected and running is painful. A grade 3 strain is the least common and most painful as it involves a complete rupture of the tendon with severe pain during exercise and inability to adduct the groin muscles. A grade 3 will require medical attention whereas a sports therapist can normally deal with a grade 1 & 2. Other Injuries – heavy lifting of saddles and heavy and repetitive yard duties like mucking out, can produce lower back pain. Other foot and arm/ forearm/hand/shoulder injuries are common from handling boisterous or young horses that pull away from the equestrian, or the horse standing on feet or kicking. Muscles Groups Affected Horse riding actively engages many of the body’s muscle groups. The hip flexors (Psoas and iliacus) allow the body to bend in to the hips, and the hips to be pulled in towards the torso. These are used when riding to hold the trunk of the body in a vertical position and prevent the rider from shifting back. The hip flexors work in conjunction with the rectus abdominis as well as the muscles in the lower back to keep the torso properly aligned, keeping the rider firmly positioned and anchored in the saddle. The psoas and iliacus attach to the lesser trochanter of the femur which is why it’s possible that a strain to the psoas can be felt as pain in the thigh area. The other muscles that are engaged while riding are the quadriceps, sartorius, gracilis, adductors, and pectineus, making the thigh the area with the highest concentration of active muscles while riding. This group serves to not only grip the saddle, but also to flex and extend the leg allowing the rider to rise up and down as the horse is trotting. Injury Prevention Strategies As there are so many muscle groups used in horseback riding, the following is after-care advice recommended for injury avoidance: Warm up before a ride or mucking out etc: Warming up helps prevent injuries, increases blood flow, reducFall 2016

es potential for pulled muscles and decrease severity of muscle soreness. Stretching: stretch before as well as after a ride. Flexibility plays an important role in prevention. Strength & Conditioning: Strength training can improve the overall function of the body’s joints. Weight and resistance training. Pilates gives a good strong core impacting balance and riding performance. Regular Massage Treatments: An ideal way to prevent some of the repetitive injuries that you may not notice developing. I use a range of advanced massage techniques to stretch muscles and provide advice for home stretches etc. Groin Strain Treatment Groin strain is very common, things a horse rider can do if they suffer a strain: Apply R.I.C.E. (Rest, I c e, Compression, Elevation) immediately. Gently stretch the groin muscles provided this is comfortable to do so. See a sports injury massage professional If a suspected grade 3 strain seek professional help immediately. Summary Horse riding puts the whole body under strain, many clients need a whole body check over and treatment. Falls to shoulders, common and complex to treat as many other muscles can also be affected. Traumas to the gluteal and

adductor muscles are also common. An experienced sports massage therapist can advise on an injury and treat many common problems, often before they become apparent to the client. Steve Guyatt is an experienced Sports Massage Therapist who runs a Remedial, Sports and Hot Stones Massage practice in Newbury, Berkshire and Andover, New Hampshire. You are welcome to call text Steve anytime at 07881 652847 for any massage-related advice or help, or visit 47

Benefits of Classro o m Animals C

lassroom Pets Stimulate Learning - Classroom animals are wonderful resources for teachers to make learning fun in all subjects! Pets Bring so Many New Ways to Learn: Whether it’s Math (“how much does a hamster weigh?”) or Science, (“what does a snake eat?”) Geography (“what part of the world do ferrets come from?”) or Grammar (“what words would we use to describe a goldfish?”) students will approach learning all these subjects with a new enthusiasm and interest. Other classes can even come visit your classroom pets and your students can create special presentations about the animals. Pets Enrich the Classroom Experience: • Even kids with no exposure to animals or nature in their home environment can see, feel, touch and make connections to the wide world of animals. • Observing and caring for an animal instills a sense of responsibility and respect for life. • A pet brings increased sensitivity and awareness of the feelings and needs of others - both animals and humans. • Kids learn that all living things need more than just food and water for survival. • Students will see directly how their behavior and actions affect others. • Studies show that the presence of animals tends to lessen tensions in the classroom. A Child’s Health, Education and Welfare: Caring for pets in the classroom is one way of improving school attendance and teaching children about responsibility. Health & Education It’s official. Studies show that children from families with pets are better equipped to fight off infection than kids from non-pet households, showing significantly higher levels of immune system performance. When school attendance records were compared side by side, researchers discovered that kids with pets averaged more days at school every year than their pet-free counterparts. Welfare The study also showed that kids turn to their pets for emotional well-being, with 40% of children choosing pet companionship when feeling down. Kids were also found to seek out their pets when feeling tired, upset, scared or lonely, and 53% of respondents said they enjoy doing homework with pets nearby. “Being around animals is extremely good for Continued Next Page

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children,” says Dr. Harvey Markovitch, pediatrician and editor of The Archives of Disease in Childhood. “They’re good for morale, and teach children about relationships and about the needs of another living being – learning to care for a pet helps them to learn how to care for people.” Studies show caring for pets aids in improving school attendance and teaching children about responsibility. Kids and Pets - A winning combination! Pets Encourage Nurturing Nobody enjoys being treated roughly. Kids soon learn that if they want to be liked and trusted by the family cat, they’ll need to treat her carefully and kindly. This sort of training benefits all kids, but is especially important to small boys who don’t often get the chance in our society to practice nurturing skills as girls do. Pets Build Self Esteem Helping to take care of a pet gives a child a sense of pride and accomplishment, especially if the animal is able to return the affection. Shari Young Kuchenbecker, Ph.D., research psychologist at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, says, “The child who cares for a pet knows that what he does matters, and so he’ll want to do more of it. The more successfully he feeds, walks, or emotionally bonds with the pet, the more confident he’ll feel.” In fact, studies conducted by the Waltham Centre have shown that children with pets have higher levels of self-esteem than those without pets. Pets Teach Responsibility Even a small child can begin to learn to care for the needs of another living being. Whether helping to empty a cup of dry kibble into the rabbit’s bowl, or filling the hamster’s water bottle, it’s never too early to start teaching kids proper animal care. Of course, parents or teachers must monitor all pet care that the child carries out. Kids should be expected to fulfill their responsibilities, but when the inevitable slip-ups occur, we shouldn’t make too much of a fuss; we should just point out that the pet was counting on him. Pets Become Friends Lots of animals such as cats, dogs and guinea pigs love human contact and can become a child’s best buddy. Kids can even develop strong human - animal bonds with non-responsive animals such as fish or turtles. These relationships help to strengthen a child’s social skills, giving them the potential to do better in a school setting.  (

Fall 2016 49

New Law

in Vermont A

s of July 1, “Forcible Entry of Motor Vehicle for Rescue Purposes” is now legal in Vermont. The law allows a person to break into a car for the purpose of rescuing a person or animal without fear of liability for damages. “There are a few things people need to be aware of,” said Gretchen Goodman of the Rutland County Humane Society. “First, you really do have to be sure that the child or animal is in immediate danger.” Then, you have to make sure the car is, in fact, locked. Once that has been determined, call the police before you forcibly break into the car and use no more force than necessary. Once you have freed the pet or child, stay with the pet or child in a safe location until help arrives. Citizens need to leave a note on the vehicle.

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An And nd d t the he

is... is...


ne hundred balloons were no match for Twinkie the Jack Russell terrier. The California pup broke the Guinness World Record this summer for the fastest time for a dog to pop 100 balloons. She plowed through them in 39.08 seconds, besting the old record by nearly 2 seconds. You can see the video of the feat on the 4 Legs & a Tail Facebook page.

Here are just a few of the current record holders from the animal world:

Most Tennis Balls in a Dogs Mouth- The world record for the most tennis balls held in the mouth by a dog at one time is five. Augie, a golden retriever owned by the Miller family in Dallas, Texas, USA, successfully gathered and held all five regulation-sized tennis balls on July 6, 2003.

Tallest Dog- The tallest dog ever is ‘Zeus’ (USA) a Great Dane, who measured 1.118 m (44 in) tall on 4 October 2011 and is owned by Denise Doorlag and her family, of Otsego, Michigan, USA

Shortest Cow- The shortest cow is Manikyam, owned by Ashkay N.V. (India), in Kerala, India. She measured 61.1 cm (24.07 in) from the hoof to the withers on June 21, 2014.

Tallest Horse- The tallest living horse is Big Jake, a nine-year-old Belgian Gelding horse, who measured 20 hands 2.75 in (210.19 cm, 82.75 in), without shoes, at Smokey Hollow Farms in Poynette, Wisconsin, USA, on January 19, 2010.

Smallest Dog- The smallest dog living, in terms of height, is a female Chihuahua called Milly, who measured 9.65 cm (3.8 in) tall on February 21, 2013 and is owned by Vanesa Semler of Dorado, Puerto Rico. Milly’s full pedigree name Miracle Milly. She was born on December 1, 2011. Fall 2016 51

Degenerative Myelopathy in Dogs Catherine MacLean, DVM - Grantham, NH

A nyone who has been blessed with a pet that has made it into the golden years of life knows that as time progresses, things can become more

Rusty is never late for his acupuncture appointment

difficult for our beloved furry friends. One thing that some dog owners may see with their dog is a disease called degenerative myelopathy. Degenerative myelopathy is a spinal cord disorder that is slow to progress. It looks very similar to Lou Gehrig’s disease in humans. Degenerative myelopathy commonly affects older dogs and for a long time it was thought that only German Shephard dogs were affected by it. We now know it can affect any breed of dog. It is caused by a genetic mutation in the affected dog’s DNA. This genetic mutation inhibits neurons in the spinal cord from transmitting signals from the dog’s brain to the rest of the body and vice versa. Degenerative myelopathy usually starts with the affected dog being uncoordinated in the hind legs (ataxia); dragging its hind legs, which causes these dogs to have worn toe nails; and general hind end weakness. Over the course of months to sometimes years these symptoms will progress. Owners may see their dog knuckling over on their hind paws (weight bearing on the tops of the paws instead of the bottom), having difficulty walking without support, and difficulty supporting weight on their hind legs. These signs eventually progress to loss of use of the hind legs and possible weakness in the front legs. As horrible as all of this sounds, degenerative myelopathy is not painful. That being said, dogs that suffer from degenerative myelopathy may become sore from overuse of other areas of their body while trying to compensate for their hind end weakness. In the perfect world, to “correctly” diagnose degenerative myelopathy an owner would take their dog to a neurologist, have their dog’s spinal fluid analyzed, and have an MRI done to rule out other possible causes of the clinical signs mentioned above. In reality, most owners can’t afford the expensive diagnostics mentioned, and most general practitioners can confidently diagnose degenerative myelopathy with a thorough physical and neurological exam. Unfortunately, there is no treatment for degenerative myelopathy and the long term prognosis is poor. Most owners are lucky if they get a year with their dog after it’s been diagnosed. Quality of life for these dogs can be maintained with good nursing care. This means keeping sores that may occur on hind paws or limbs clean, physical therapy, acupuncture, and even wheelchairs. There is also a physical toll that takes place on the owner since dogs affected with this disease need a lot of lifting and support when moving. Over the past year I have managed three dogs with degenerative myelopathy in three different ways. One dog was a Burmese Mountain dog. The first time I saw her for degenerative myelopathy was when her owner noticed that she was walking with her back paws knuckled over which was causing abrasions on her hind paws. We treated her with nursing care, kept her Continued Next Page

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moving, and gave her pain medication. Almost a year after her initial diagnosis of degenerative myelopathy, she lost control of her hind legs and we sent her over the rainbow bridge. The second dog I treated was a 15-yearold Old English Sheepdog. When I first started seeing him, he only had arthritis in his hind end. Eventually his owner started noticing that his dog was ataxic in the hind end and he was diagnosed with degenerative myelopathy. This patient was already on pain medication for his arthritis. The owner opted for treating his dog with laser therapy. I can’t say for sure if the laser therapy was helping this patient more with his arthritis or his degenerative myelopathy. We found that if he received laser therapy every other week his clinical signs seemed less severe and he was able to move better in general. Unfortunately, after about seven months of treatment, this patient’s quality of life began to deteriorate and he was also sent over the rainbow bridge. My third patient, Rusty, was more recently diagnosed. Rusty is a 13-year-old mixed breed dog that was diagnosed by his regular veterinarian. The owner sought me out for acupuncture treatment. Overall Rusty is in great shape and there are no obvious signs of arthritis or back pain on physical exam. He has been receiving acupuncture for about three months and both the owner and I can see a big difference. He comes every other week for his treatment and usually leaves with a spring in his step. The owner has also noticed that Rusty is more willing to go for walks. Time will tell how well acupuncture will manage his degenerative myelopathy. The important thing to remember with degenerative myelopathy is that the condition itself is not painful to the dog, but is more “painful” for the owner to watch. If you have a dog with degenerative myelopathy it is important to remember that it’s about the quality of your dog’s life and not the quantity of the days. Even though there is no cure for degenerative myelopathy, this disease can be managed for a while. It takes dedication from the owner and an understanding that time is limited. Dr. MacLean completed her Bachelor of Science from Penn State University, her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from Atlantic Veterinary College, and her pet acupuncture certification from Chi Institute. Her areas of special interest include general practice and acupuncture. She opened Sugar River Animal Hospital in 2013, and she has been practicing veterinary medicine since 2010. Dr. MacLean’s family consists of her husband Matt, her daughter Katarina, and their three pets: Jack and Misty, two cats, and Arrow, a dog. Fall 2016 53

15 Outrageous Pet Owner Requests of Vets Dr. Andy Roark DVM, MS


s the man pulled off his shirt and draped it over his dog, I remember thinking, “I hope my technician comes in right about now. No, wait. I don’t.” The appointment had been uneventful until I informed the dog’s owner that his dog had a heart murmur. The man replied, “If you think he’s got a heart murmur, listen to this!” and off came his shirt. While the request was odd, I have to admit I was intrigued. It turned out the man did indeed have a much more impressive heart murmur than his dog. In fact, he was just a week away from surgery to have the heart defect corrected. As he retrieved his shirt and his dog, I couldn’t help but notice a look of almost paternal pride on the man’s face. It was as if he was considering his dog’s mild heart abnormality and thinking, “Yep, that’s my boy.” While I’m glad that I got a chance to bring this little family closer, the incident did cause me to stop and consider some of the more unusual interactions between pet owners and veterinarians. 54 4 Legs & a Tail

Above and Beyond As a profession, veterinary medicine is one in which we are used to going to great lengths to meet the needs of the families we serve. Being asked to make a house call, visit a sick patient outside in the owner’s car or stay past closing time are all quite common in our line of work. Still, even in this business, while we strive to make pets and their people as happy as possible, there are some requests that strike us as a bit much. On my Facebook page, I asked veterinary professionals to tell me some of the most bizarre requests they’ve gotten from pet owners. Here’s what they reported: 1. We had a client who wanted us to neuter her dog instead of spay her because it was cheaper.

2. A client was boarding a dog at the clinic and requested that we keep a photo of the family in the kennel with the dog. And not only the photo, but a frame that you can record messages into. The family requested that we play the message at least six times a day.

3. We once had a woman who wanted Continued Next Page

Fall 2016

us to take a look at her duck because it “wasn’t swimming.” Her chicken was fine, but it sure wasn't a duck!

4. We had a client claim that the reason her cat kept getting sick was because it was urinating on mothballs and that the urine added to the mothballs was making meth, so the cat was high.

15. We had a client ask if she could hold her kid’s birthday party in our hospital during work hours. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. See the complete list of more than 500 submissions on Dr. Andy Roark’s Facebook page.

5. I had a client ask for a copy of my license so she could open up a veterinary account at a distributor to get “flea medicine.” She promised not to buy controlled drugs.

6. I was asked if I could provide a list of veterinary medications that could be used by humans and if I could help procure these medications in case of a doomsday scenario. (This client is a “prepper.”)

7. We were asked to perform a private cremation for a cat's tail after he had a tail amputation. We did it, too! 8. We had a client bring in a cat to be neutered. He asked if, prior to the surgery, we could place his cat in a kennel with a female cat for one final ... . Our sharp receptionist politely responded with, "I'm sorry, sir, but we no longer offer that service."

9. We had a client insist we refer to her pet as “Mister” until he got to “know” us. He would then let us know when it was OK for us to use his given name.

10. A pet owner asked for testicles from his dog back (after the dog was neutered) so he could keep them in a jar at his office. When his daughter was old enough to date, he planned to bring the boyfriend in the room and explain what happened to the last boyfriend who didn't treat her well. 11. Umm, we’ve had more than one person lift a shirt to show us a rash.

12. A client asked the male doctor to dress like a woman and wear a wig because the dog didn’t like men. 13. We had a client come in the other day for an exam, worried about the two large lumps on their “female” dog’s underbelly. Turns out the dog was not a female after all!

14. New clients requested that I cover the windows and turn out the lights when they arrived for their pets’ appointments — because they were vampires. (They ended up being wonderful pet owners.) New staff members thought I had lost my mind when I informed them of this client’s special needs. Fall 2016 55


Cool Pet Products

very summer Las Vegas hosts the second largest pet expo in the country. Thousands of retailers flock to the city to see and buy the latest pet merchandise. On a recent stroll down the aisles at West Lebanon Supply, we noticed a few of the new goodies they brought back to the Upper Valley. Petsafe Automatic Ball Launcher: Give your arm a rest! This unit launches standard size tennis balls, has multiple distance and angle settings, and a sleep

mode to prevent the dog from over-playing. Dynatrap Electronic Insect Traps: These propanefee electronic traps protect you and your pets from mosquitoes and other bugs by attracting them via light and Co2 emissions. Insects are attracted and sucked into the trap by a quiet, high speed fan! Push-to-Mute Dog Toys: The newest innovation in dog toys. Push the button at the top of these toys to silence them for quiet time, pull for louder play sessions! Alcott Collars & Leashes: Alcott Adventurer Collars are brightly colored, reflective, and padded with soft black neoprene. We offer their full line of highly attractive collars & leashes. Primal Frozen Bones: We’ve had some additions to our frozen section: marrow bones, lamb femurs, chicken backs, and turkey necks. Plenty of recreational treats and non-recreational feeding solutions! Aussie Naturals Dog Chews: All-natural Bully Horns, Tails, Aussie Ears, and more. These nutritious treats come from freerange, grass-fed water buffalo! Ciao Cat Filet Treats: Whole, vacuum sealed fish filet treats for cats. Made from 100% human grade, dolphin safe ingredients; your cat will love them! COMING SOON TO WLFS! ALSO CHECK OUT:

1) New food and treats from OPEN FARM: sustainable, humane, and the code on the bag lets you scan and see where every ingredient was sourced. It’s perfect for the discerning pet owner who likes to be aware of every ingredient our pets are eating. 2) “Snack Station” pet treats that incorporate the candy-store concept of bulk treat buying, allowing you to easily select and purchase a delicious variety of tasty snacks for your pet. 3) The new “GISMO” from Dog Gone Smart is a revolutionary new dog-walking accessory that allows you to bring the attachments you need in the palm of your hand. 4) Check out the Cat-It Wellness Center… coming soon to WLFS!

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Please note that you can find all of these exciting new products at West Lebanon Feed & Supply! Find us online at or facebook, twitter, youtube: /wlfsonline! Fall 2016

Avian Influenza Update Elisa Speckert


vian Influenza (Bird Flu) has become a concern in the United States. It is considered an exotic disease, but is slowly working its way across the country and will eventually reach the East Coast. There is a highly pathogenic strain (HPAI H5) that spreads quickly and causes high death rates. This disease is easily spread from bird to bird as well as via clothing and equipment. It is spread primarily through waterfowl that carry the disease, but do not get sick from it. There are several ways to help prevent the spread of this disease and signs to watch for. Biosecurity is an important aspect in decreasing the spread of any disease. New birds should be obtained from reputable sources and kept separate from current birds for 30 days before introducing them to the flock. All equipment, including egg containers and transportation equipment should be cleaned and disinfected regularly and should not be shared between groups of birds. Clothing should be washed and changed as well. Clinical signs to watch for include: sudden death, nasal discharge, difficulty breathing, lethargy, discolored wattles/combs, drop in egg production, and misshapen eggs. The State Veterinarians highly recommend obtaining a federal premises ID number so they can provide you with up to date information to help prevent outbreaks and, in case of an outbreak, they can help you manage your flocks appropriately. The VT and NH State Veterinarians, as well as the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) are good resources for more specific information on avian influenza. Here are some ways to contact them if you would like further information or are concerned you may be dealing with this disease: VT Department of Agriculture State Veterinarian: 802-828-2421 NH Department of Agriculture State Veterinarian: 603-271-2404 Elisa Speckert is a graduate of the University of Vermont with a degree in Animal Science and a veterinary technician at River Road Veterinary Clinic in Norwich, VT. Fall 2016 57

Golfing for Pets G

et set for a great day on Sunday, September 18 as The Woodstock Resort Golf Course plays host to the 8th Annual New England Foundation for Animal Health Golf Tournament. This is the biggest event of the season for the local foundation whose mission is to help pet owners and rescue groups with medical financial assistance. Established in 1998 by Brad Burrington, D.V.M. and Mr. Ted Keith, NEFAH always seeks to create a winwin-win outcome for the pet, the pet owner, and the veterinarian, NEFAH asks that all parties contribute. The pet owner has to make some financial contribution. The veterinarian is asked to discount the cost of the needed service or procedure, and then NEFAH covers the difference. According to Dr. Burrington of Veremedy Pet Hospital in Woodstock and White River Junction, “ In the last few weeks we have had requests for money for rescued dogs that needed emergency care at SAVES, requests for money for a dog with a hundred stones in its bladder whose family just lost a child, and a request for money for a dog owner who can no longer work due to a cancer diagnosis.” Your $95 fee includes 18 holes, lunch and a bucket of balls. Registration begins at 11:30 with a shotgun start at 12:30. If you missed last year’s event, it was a great day of golf sponsored by some great local companies with a ton of fantastic prizes and auction items— please consider playing this year. For more information visit

People helping people helping pets

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Whole foods for my pet?

Why it’s important to consider live raw fresh foods for our 4 legged companions. Lindsay Meyers BS CVT


s a species, we teach our human children early the importance of “real food”. Fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats are part of our daily lives. We understand these whole foods to be necessary for our health. Regardless of the amount of processed or unhealthy foods we consume, we understand that there is still a benefit to eating fresh real foods. “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Somehow we have not translated this idea to our four legged counterparts. We have been trained to “scoop and serve” and we rarely investigate just what exactly is in these convenience foods, kibble and canned diets, for our pets. We should first discuss the differences between our digestive tracts and that of our canine and feline companions. Humans are omnivores, intended to eat a wide variety of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates for fuel. Our dogs and cats are carnivores, intended to use primarily protein with a small amount of fat. There are a few biological features of the dog and cat that clue us in to this difference:

• Pointed teeth with no flat molars for grinding • No ability to move jaw side to side for chewing • Saliva that lacks the enzyme (amylase) for the breakdown of starch • Large, acidic stomach for breaking apart high levels of protein • Short digestive tract with extremely limited ability to break down starches, large amounts of fat, and ferment grains If they are carnivores they should primarily be eating meat, correct? That’s what is advertised on the front of the bags, but what is actually in our pet food? It is so important to read the ingredient labels as well as the guaranteed analysis which gives us the breakdown of protein, fat, and moisture. Interestingly carbohydrate content is not listed on pet food labels at all. Because there is no dietary requirement for carbohydrates in the dog or the cat, the regulatory agency that oversees pet food labels does not require those percentages to be printed. On average, kibble diets are around 50% carbohydrate. Carbohydrates or starches can be grain based (corn, wheat, soy, rice, oats, barley) or they can be grain free (potato, tapioca, peas, lentils, legumes). Dogs and cats are commonly sensitive or allergic to the proteins in grain based carbohydrates. Some nutritionists believe this is because dogs and cats are not intended to break down plant based proteins for fuel and their bodies are unable to do so efficiently. They believe that these proteins enter the blood stream in large pieces that the body then treats as foreign invaders causing sensitivity to future exposure to them. Continued Next Page

A simple calculation to determine the carbohydrate content of your kibble pet food! Add up the printed/known nutrient percentages: Protein, Fat, & Moisture (don’t include fiber as it is part of the total carbohydrate count) Ash is not usually printed but you can estimate that the ash content is around 8%

Add those values up and subtract from 100 to get your carbohydrate % For example: 25% protein + 12% fat +10% moisture + 8% ash = 55% 100%-55% = 45% carbohydrate

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Grain free diets are a great starting point for a dog who is struggling with any type of allergy or sensitivity. Be careful though, that when you are choosing a grain free diet that you are checking the carbohydrate content! It’s easy to be fooled by advertising into feeding a kibble with a very high percentage of carbohydrates. Those high levels of carbohydrates need to sit in the intestinal tract in order to be broken down and utilized by the carnivore. Remember that their intestinal tract is shorter than ours and that they don’t start the breakdown of those starches in their mouths like we do.

Wild canines and felines eat an incredibly varied diet that is loaded with moisture, enzymes, probiotics and raw macronutrients rich in bioavailable vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. We can imagine that by feeding our dogs and cats the same highly processed dry food diet every day we could be disrupting their normal body functions. Thinking about the potential cost and inconvenience of feeding our pets a fresh food diet is often a deal breaker. It’s important to remember that it’s not “go big or go home”! We know that a little bit of salad or an apple a day goes a long

way in preventing disease in our bodies. Let’s treat our companions the same way! There are several pet food companies who have figured out how to make convenient and safe raw food diets for dogs and cats. They can be freeze dried or frozen and come in a variety of formulations to fit a consumer’s needs as well as a dog or cat’s palate. Topping a quality kibble with a bit of safe raw food will improve digestion, skin, eye, and brain health as well as providing your pet with natural whole food sources of probiotics, enzymes, and antioxidants to prevent disease. Lindsay Meyers is the New England Territory Manager for Primal Pet Foods. She is also a nutritional consultant at Unleashed in New London, NH

Don’t forget the moisture! Because dogs and cats don’t sweat, they have not adapted to drink large volumes of water like horses and people do. Their tongues very inefficiently splash water into their mouths. Their natural diet, of primarily fresh raw meat, is extremely moisture rich (around 70%). When we give them dry kibble (under 10% moisture) it very quickly dehydrates them. Imagine eating a bowl of dry cereal with no milk and then only being able to drink your orange juice by splashing it to your mouth with your tongue! Adding moist food to your dogs’ and cats’ meals improves their digestion, urinary tract, and overall health. It’s easy and inexpensive to make a gravy with a freeze dried raw topper or add a bit of raw goat milk for the probiotics and enzymes. 60 4 Legs & a Tail

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603-448-3902 800-696-7841



Leaf Peeping Season 2016 Central NH & VT

Unraveling The Mystery Of Your Pet’s Diet The Demon Cat! Just When You Thought Your Vet Heard It All... Celebrate Fire Prevention Month With Your Pet To Leash Or Not To Leash?

4 Legs and a Tail - Lebanon Fall 2016  
4 Legs and a Tail - Lebanon Fall 2016