Southern NH & VT Mud Season 2019
Rehabilitating Wildlife Hyperthyroidism in Cats Acclimate Your New Dog Equine Management Options Keeping Your Pet Healthy This Spring
Inside this issue of 4 Legs & a Tail
2. Precious A hero dog who saved a couple from burning home in
Barnstead, NH now needs help herself.
2. Grooming Tool Gets Back to Basics Cheryl Dauphin A "must have" for every pet owner
3. The Four-Legged Friends Behind the Co-op’s Products: Thelma of Mayfair Farm Jen Risley 4. Surrendering Your Pet Starr Royce, MHS Shelter Technician Alternatives you may want to consider BEFORE you surrender your pet 5. A Pet's View Christine Merantza A poetic tribute from a forever friend 6. Is Your Dog Right For a Raw Diet? Kim Welch Some expert tips before you begin this growing trend Pg. 10
8. Where The Wild Things Are: A Local Woman Goes Above and Beyond to Rehabilitate Wildlife Cathy White 10. Tools for New Dog Introduction Karen Sturtevant Step
by step tips when you get that new dog.
12. Pop Goes the Weasel Scott Borthwick Last
year it was squirrels. Could this be the year of the weasel?
13. Cornucopia or Specialty? Dorothy Crosby Tips to help you navigate the multitude of horse management options 16. Understanding Girthiness Jennifer Brooks PT, MEd 18. Equine Metabolic Syndrome Nicole Sicely EMS
is a group of abnormalities that lead to a risk of laminitis. Learn the signs and treatments
20. Teeth Don’t Always End Up Where They Should When a Puppy Grows Up Sandra Waugh, VMD, MS 22. Biofilm… The Health Risk Lurking in Your Pet’s Food and Water Bowl Jill Feinstein 24. Hyperthyroidism in Cats Catherine MacLean, DVM How
a simple blood test can treat your feline friend to all nine lives.
25. Beaver Fever! John Eustis, DVM Keeping
your pet healthy this spring
26. Brownie the Town Dog of Daytona Beach Kate Kelly Follow the adventures of the King of Spring Break
4 Legs & a Tail Volume K.119 P.O. Box 841 Lebanon, NH 03766 603-727-9214 KarynS.4LT@gmail.com Spring 2019
Publishers: Tim Goodwin, Tim Hoehn Sales Manager: Karyn Swett Graphic Design: Kristin Wolff, Kate Kurtz
Pg. 26 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 Southern NH & VT. 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.
A Hero Dog Who Saved a Couple from Burning Home Now Needs Help Herself
his winter, our friends at WMUR TV told you about a deaf dog who alerted her owners that their Barnstead, NH home was on fire. Now that dog needs help, after saving something else from the rubble of the burnt house. “How do you turn your back, literally, on a dog that just saved your life?” said Donna Gagnon.
Her home on Beauty Hill Road burned to the ground on Dec. 29. Gagnon says saving her 3-year-old border collie, Precious is not an option, it’s a duty. “We credit Precious more than you could ever imagine,” she said. The dog alerted her and her significant other that their home was on fire. “That dog came up, woke up all the other dogs, woke us up and, literally, she’s the reason we got out of the house, and I mean that. She is totally the reason we got out of the house,” Gagnon said. Now, Precious needs help herself. Gagnon said Precious made her way to the rubble of their home on their property and started digging. Gagnon’s significant other went to see what the dog was doing. “He found a kitten that debris must’ve moved and the kitten was trapped in that spot,” she said. Now, not only had their dog saved them but their kitten, too. But Precious also got severely injured in the process, skinning her leg on the debris.
She will require a lengthy stay at a Portsmouth animal hospital, skin grafts and lots of care with a price tag of $9,000 to $12,000. Now, a family who watched their home burn to the ground has a hero animal to save. “She’s beyond everything,” Gagnon said. If you’d like to help cover the cost of Precious’ surgery, you can send donations made out to Donna Gagnon, 491 Beauty Hill Road in Center Barnstead, NH 03225. Donations can also be made to a GoFundMe campaign set up for Precious. How to help: GoFundMe for Precious the Dog
Grooming Tool Gets Back to Basics D
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ander in dogs and cats can become a problem especially in multiple pet households, and while routine grooming reduces the amount of loose hair, regular grooming also cuts down on the amount of dander produced. Dander contains proteins that can cause allergic reactions and are all around us. They cling to our clothes and seem to maintain their strength for weeks so it makes sense to control the amount of dead hair that’s shed. Even those who don’t have allergies can be affected by a high build-up of debris in the air. Keeping your pet’s coat free of dander helps them too! By stimulating the skin and hair follicles you encourage regeneration of skin cells which will help prevent dry, itchy skin. Regular grooming will keep the coat in tiptop condition, especially for cats and dogs that shed continuously throughout the year. For pet owners who own dogs that produce a thick undercoat and invariably shed tumbleweeds of hair in the spring and fall, daily grooming is a must. Bring on the EquiGroomer! Originally designed as a grooming tool for horses, the EquiGroomer is also perfect for dogs, cats, even rabbits! It can be used on a wide variety of coat types and in each case will seek out the loose hair, dander, and debris from the coat quickly and gently which means that even the bony, prominent areas and fronts of legs can be groomed without any distress to the animal. Unlike most shedding tools that can tug on the fur or irritate the skin if too much force is used, the colorful wooden handle is easy to maneuver and, because your hand is directly above the blade, lets you know just how hard you are pressing. The EquiGroomer’s simple design feels warm and comfortable in the palm of your hand and the action is so similar to stroking that animals who are a little worried by large brushes and combs tolerate this much better. This useful little gadget will quickly become a favorite in your grooming bag and your pets will appreciate it too! Spring 2019
The Four-Legged Friends Behind the Co-op’s Products:
Thelma of Mayfair Farm
Jen Risley - Keene, NH
love shining a light on all the farmers and producers who provide a bounty of local food and other locally made products to our community. In this article, however, I move the spotlight over and down, from the business person to their four-legged friends -- the working dogs, cats, and other animals who also make these local products possible. Our first Four-Legged Farm Friend Feature highlights Thelma, a seven-year-old Maremma sheepdog at Mayfair Farm in Harrisville, NH. Farmers Craig Thompson and Sarah Heffron share that Thelma’s main job at Mayfair Farm is to guard its flock of sheep. Thelma protects the farm’s flock from predators by barking and scent-marking her territory. She doesn’t attack any threat but instead deters the intruder from approaching her guard. “Thelma sleeps outside the sheep barn year-round. She comes to our house to have breakfast with our dogs in the morning and to be petted,” Sarah said. “Then she just freelances until the day ends and repeats the cycle again. It’s quite a good gig!” She is also the official greeter of visitors to the farm’s store, though her jobs don’t end there. She’s often spotted “guarding” the farm’s commercial kitchen. “She happily guards cakes that are cooling off outside in the winter,” Sarah continued. Thelma was born on a farm in northern Vermont, coming to Mayfair Farm as a six-month-old pup along with a small flock of Dorset sheep and another puppy. “We started out with Thelma and her full sister in the beginning and so named the pair Thelma and Louise (Weezie),” shared Sarah. Her breed goes back 2,000 years to the Abruzzo region of Italy and was introduced to the US in the 1970s. Sarah adds, “Thelma is smart and independent, but not being as large as some other similar breeds and easily fits into the car or truck.” Maremmas don’t boss their flock around like other sheepdog breeds, but instead form strong bonds with the animals under their watch, considering them part of their pack. That bond can apply to both wooly and feathered friends. For example on a small island in Australia, an environmental scientist trained Maremma sheepdogs to protect Little Penguins, the smallest penguin species from foxes and other predators. “Thelma is indispensable and it’s hard to imagine ever having as perfect a dog again,” finished Sarah. “If you stop by the farm, you’ll likely meet her and we expect you will agree that she is the most loveable dog ever.” Learn more about Mayfair Farm at mayfairfarmnh.com. Know of a farm animal I should highlight in a future article? We want to hear from you! Please email me at marketing@ monadnockfood.coop. Jen Risley is Marketing & Membership Manager at the Monadnock Food Co-op in downtown Keene, NH. Shamu, her fourteen-year-old tuxedo cat, adopted her about four years ago. He’s rooting for a farm cat feature in a future article from Jen. Spring 2019
Sarah, Craig and Thelma
Surrendering Your Pet Starr Royce, MHS Shelter Technician
e love our pets dearly. But, sometimes life happens and we cannot keep our furry friends. There’s a stigma around surrendering a pet - a lack of understanding. Surrendering a pet is actually an act of love and sacrifice. I’d like to share some thoughts with you about why surrendering a pet in some cases is the best option, and to also offer some alternative ideas. First, consider if re-homing your pet might be a better option for you. Re-homing could be a long process but can give you some peace of mind that you personally are in control of placing your pet into their new home. Asking your friends and family if they might be interested in adopting your pet is a great option as you know where your pet will be staying. Always use caution when re-homing your pet to someone you don’t know. While we may want to avoid surrendering our beloved pets to a shelter, giving them to someone you know very little about may not be the best option. If finances are a roadblock for you in keeping your pet, there are options for you to explore. The MHS Pet Food Pantry
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offers food for the pets of families going through tough financial times. The MHS Pet Food Pantry is stocked with donations from individuals and businesses. Recently, a 15-year-old girl was able to utilize our Pet Food Pantry. She was battling cancer and her mother was working three jobs to pay for her treatments. The girl’s dog had been part of her life since the girl was seven and was playing an essential role in her healing. But, the family was struggling to pay for dog food, and the girl was devastated at the thought of having to surrender her dog. MHS provided her family with free dog food for as long as she needed it. She recovered, and was so thankful she did not have to give up her beloved friend. The MHS Animal Safety Net (ASN) is a program that offers a safe haven for pets and provides peace of mind for people who are displaced from their homes by emergencies. The MHS ASN provides free boarding and medical care for the pets of those who are homeless until they are able to find shelter and can reclaim their pet. It also helps victims of domestic violence and those who are hospitalized and have no one to care for their animals while they’re away. Recently, a local domestic violence shelter called MHS for help for a client who was in danger. MHS provided free boarding and medical care for this client’s dog until the client found a safe place to live and could reclaim her dog. Emergency Pet Boarding is available at MHS. A local family recently lost their home to a fire. They had to stay in a hotel during the transition, but they had no one to care for their 2 cats. Having lost so much already, they feared they would also have to lose their cats, but MHS provided free boarding until they found a new home. They were thankful to have another option.
If, after considering all the options you decide to surrender your pet, there are a few things you should know. Here at Monadnock Humane Society, we do ask owners of pets who are being surrendered for a small fee. We ask twenty-five dollars if your animal is spayed/neutered, or fifty dollars if your animal is unaltered. Fees for small animals vary depending on species. While we ask for this surrender fee, we do not want financial need to be the reason why someone does not surrender their pet to MHS, so if a person is unable to pay the amount we will work with you to come up with a solution. When you are ready, you may stop in to our adoption center or give us a call. Together, we’ll complete a questionnaire that will help our staff get the best behavior profile on your pet. Knowing everything we can about your pet is extremely helpful during the adoption process so we can place him/her in the most successful home possible. Then, we will schedule a time for you to bring your pet in, asking that you bring any items/food that would make your pet’s adjustment a bit easier. Surrendering a pet can be extremely painful, and not knowing the future of your pet can make the decision process even more difficult. We want to assure you that adopters come into the shelter with the intention of looking to give a homeless pet a second chance at happiness. Their hearts are filled with love and generosity as they make this life decision. We are here for you – we have a trained staff and a group of devoted volunteers to care for your pet and provide medical care if needed. We always want what is best for your pet and will provide them with the finest care as they wait. We understand that this may be the last resort for you and will be here to support you. One thing you can be sure of – your pet will be loved here at MHS until they find their new family. Spring 2019
ou brought me home when I was small or rescued me when I was tall and hadn’t found the perfect match that was meant for me when I had hatched. When at last we found each other and you became father or mother, to thank you and return your love was my whole reason for living. So I licked your face or nipped your toes, rubbed my head against your clothes so that my smell and yours could mingle and I would be no longer single but could pick you out of a crowd. When you were sad I knew it and hoped to ease your pain by a gentle paw or headbutt to bring sun instead of rain. When I was sad and ailing you treated me so well, you rubbed my head and held me close because you knew I couldn’t tell. I had no words that you could hear but looks and subtle signs would tell my truth to those that knew how to make me fine. So I thank you lovely human for being there for me, for the treats and naps and kisses and the way you set me free. For when our time together is determined to be done, I’ll see your face before me in the life that’s yet to come. Christine Merantza is a lifelong pet lover. When she’s not helping pets at VCA Windham Animal Hospital, she’s enjoying time with Lizzie and Rusty, her furry companions.
Christine & Lizzy
Nola is ready for spring!
Is Your Dog Right For a Raw Diet? Kim Welch - Swanzey, NH
came to the world of raw food diets in the winter of 2018. We lost two of our dogs to cancer within six months of each other in the fall of 2016 and winter of 2017, and our then 12-year-old Lab had been diagnosed with Melanoma, Hypothyroidism and Cushings disease. He also suffered from seizures throughout his life. I happened to see Dr. Karen Becker’s Dog Cancer Series on Facebook at that time. She talked about all the factors that she thinks could be causing cancer in our pets. I had already made changes to their environment and medical care, so feeding a fresh homemade diet was the next natural step. I was completely overwhelmed at first. There is so much information out there, and so many ways to fail. And different ways of feeding raw. First, you need to determine if you'll follow a Prey Model Raw(PMR) diet or a Biologically Appropriate Raw Foods(BARF) diet. I've done both. PMR diets are easier since it includes only meat, bone, and organs on an 80/10/10 ratio and occasionally including raw eggs and oily fish. This seemed to work well for my two adult dogs. They looked great and were healthy and happy. Then, in January of this year, we adopted a mixed breed puppy from a rescue. She was eating kibble when we brought her home so, we slowly transitioned her to a commercial raw diet to ensure that she was getting all the nutrition that her growing body needed. The general rule of thumb is, you feed your dog between two and two and a half percent of his/her ideal weight for healthy adult dogs. For puppies, of a known breed, you feed them anywhere from four to eight percent of their ideal adult weight. Since we have no idea what our puppy’s lineage is, it took me a few weeks to get her eating enough food so that she doesn’t look like she’s starving to death. We are feeding her between eight and ten percent of her current weight. She’s very active, so she is staying quite trim. At this point, all three of my dogs are on the BARF diet. Once you get the math out of the way you’re ready to shop for supplies. Before you start, you’ll need to determine what equipment you’ll need for meal prep. I recommend a good quality cleaver. Cutting up large chunks of meat isn’t easy, but a clever will do half of the work for you. We also purchased a heavy duty meat 6 4 Legs & a Tail
grinder. This is a bit of an investment as they usually start at about $200 and go up to over $600. We found one online in the mid-price range that works great. A freezer, if you don’t have one already, is a must. You’ll want to prepare your dog’s meals in advance to save yourself some time. We do “prep day” every couple of weeks. Each dog’s meals are portioned out into plastic storage containers (Ziploc or Rubbermaid brands work well. They are inexpensive, re-useable and recyclable) and then frozen. Then we take out each day’s meals to defrost the night before. In my area, sourcing the organs is the hardest part. Unfortunately, we no longer have any local butchers in our area. Gone are the days when you could walk into the butcher shop and find almost any cuts of meat, organs or bones you desired. I’ve found talking with the meat department at my local grocery stores and food coop’s yield’s most of what we need. I will sometimes travel to neighboring states for things like beef heart and kidney. Finding what I need at a price I can pay takes a little research, but it usually works out. Ideally, you will want to feed four or more proteins to ensure that your pet is getting a good variety of nutrients. We usually feed Turkey, Beef, Pork and when we can afford it, Lamb. But don't shy away from wild game such as Venison or Bear if you have friends or family that hunt. Be forewarned though, that fish and wild game must be frozen for three weeks before feeding to kill off any parasites that it may have. Some people will even raise Rabbits and Meat Birds to feed to their dogs. The recipes I use for my dog’s meals are from Dr. Becker’s book “Real Food for Healthy Dogs and Cats”. I follow these because they are complete and balanced. On prep day, we make three different batches of pureed fruits and veggies grind all the meats, organs, and bones if we're using them1. Then we mix everything together and portion it out into serving size containers. At feeding time, I add vitamin and mineral supplements (recipes also in the book) to fill any gaps there might be in their diet. Lastly, make sure you wash your dog’s food bowl daily, which you should be doing even if you feed him a kibble diet. Kim Welch is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, Owner of Kim-K9 Kompanion, LLC. She lives with her husband and three dogs in Swanzey. When not helping others to train their dogs, she continues her education by attending seminars and webinars and by reading books by industry leaders. In her free time, she enjoys hiking with their dogs. 1 If you don’t feed raw bones, you must add bone meal, so that your dog gets calcium and phosphorus.
Where The Wild Things Are: A Local Woman Goes Above and Beyond to Rehabilitate Wildlife Cathy White - Walpole, NH
“Dang, I hit a car.” “I was bitten by a Chihuahua.” “I was IN the grille of a car.”
o, this isn’t some weird support group. These are “quotes” from animals, furred and feathered, on Winchester Wildlife Rehabilitation Center’s FaceBook page. Their commonality is their bad luck in interacting with humans, their vehicles, and their pets. Yet if you’re a wild animal that fits that description, your chances improve dramatically if you find yourself at WWRC in the capable and caring hands of Deb Gode, director/owner of the 10-plus acre facility. As a licensed NH wildlife rehabilitator treating mammals and birds, Deb is a lifeline for many an injured or orphaned animal. She’ll tell you that “wildlife doesn’t have a lot of options”; so when an animal is in need, people throughout the Monadnock region and beyond look to her for help. Within WWRC’s wooded acreage you’ll find spacious cages that house Deb’s healing charges along with a rehab facility in her basement for animals that need more warmth. The outdoor cages are located at a distance from each other and are filled with things that would replicate a natural environment. This serves both to prepare animals for release once they’ve recovered and to provide enrichment (which occasionally includes not-found-in-nature stuffed animals and other toys) while they’re in her care. The basement also houses freezers, incubators, and a fridge - though you won’t want to look for a midnight snack there; the cold storage contains food that the animals require, including frozen “mousesicles”. (Yes, they’re exactly what you’re imagining.) Deb and her husband, Rob
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Torok, along with their dedicated team of rabies-vaccinated volunteers (required by NH for rehabilitators and staff) check-in constantly with every animal. People connect with Deb when they encounter wildlife in trouble, and she works extensively with regional law enforcement as well as NH Fish and Game. Dispatchers throughout the area know to reach out to her with animal issues, and she’s available 365/24/7 to help. Funded solely by donations, and requiring a seemingly endless amount of effort, WWRC is a genuine labor of love for Deb, Rob, and their devoted staff. NH doesn’t allow rehabilitators to take in deer, moose, or bears. But Deb’s mammalian charges are many, including skunks, porcupines, bobcats, foxes, raccoons, rabbits, squirrels, and ermines. If it’s native to New England, chances are that she’s nursed it back to health. Incoming animals are subject to a triage protocol: Warm. Examine. Evaluate. Hydrate. Feeding tubes, bottles, sub-Q hydration and heating devices are some rehabilitator’s tools, but sometimes further intervention is needed. Large lacerations, orthopedic and eye issues require veterinary care, and Deb knows exactly where to go in those cases: Keene’s tightly-knit trio of doctors at Court Street Veterinary Hospital; where Deb herself is a surgical tech. She knows she can rely on the expertise of Drs. Estabrook-Russett, Hewitt, and Allsop, as well as their committed staff to assist with tougher cases. (Recently Dr. Estabrook-Russett performed orthopedic surgery on a barred owl who arrived from Jaffrey with a splintered, fractured wing.) Deb accompanies all of her animals into surgery, monitoring their vitals, respirations, and anesthesia accordingly. And while she handles more mammals than birds, her feathered patients generally require more care to heal. Raptors (owls, hawks, and falcons) are generally fed mice. Songbirds receive what they would normally eat in the wild; seeds and berries for some, insects and worms for others. “Every species is their own thing,” says Deb, so not only do nutritional needs vary, but medications and how each animal absorbs and tolerates them also come into play. Mammals are initially quarantined and then raised with their own species when possible. Raccoon babies fare well together, as do gray squirrels - but red squirrels and grays prefer not to mix. Oddly, red and gray foxes also don’t commingle. Anyone in a car this past year will have noticed, unfortunately, that there were a tremendous amount of gray squirrels out and about; many of which ended up roadside well beyond anyone’s aid. Deb states that the last time gray squirrels were this prolific was in 1968! Spring 2019
At the time of this writing, WWRC’s population consisted of 7 owls, 3 waxwings, 4 gray squirrels, 3 flying squirrels, 3 opossums, 2 raccoons, and 1 ermine. This varies by the day and season. One might think that spring, bursting with young of all species, would be WWRC’s busiest time. But according to Deb, there is more need for wildlife aid in summer and early fall, as juveniles venture out on their own, and make unfortunate choices that more mature animals wouldn’t. Deb’s best hope is to release her animals back into the wild. Yet some suffer injuries that don’t make them good candidates for that. These animals will live
their lives comfortably and safely at educational centers, wildlife parks and such, with the intent of helping the public to better understand them. Wildlife’s best hope is for us to become enlightened and educated about the animals that exist alongside us. Visit WWRC’s FaceBook page. Be aware of the roadside when driving. And maybe keep an eye on your Chihuahua? Cathy White lives in Walpole with her husband Jeff and Labradors Harry and Pippa. Cathy is a Boston University alum, with a degree in Journalism.
Tools for New Dog Introduction Karen Sturtevant
tatista reported an astounding 89.7 million dogs lived in households in the United States during 2017. As an overthe-top dog lover (and owner and rescue volunteer), I unequivocally understand how much we love our pups and wasn’t that surprised at this number. However, I do wonder at the doggie dynamic of households with two or more canines. Chances are both dogs did not arrive on the same day. When two dogs meet for the first time, the outcome could be positive, disastrous or long-term work in progress. Rarely do dogs immediately become fast friends. Like all connections, even canine relationships require proper introduction and slow cultivation. We will put a few tips and tricks in our canine toolbox to help ensure a safe and successful foundation for canine companionship. Resident dogs are instinctually protective of their turf. When introducing a newcomer, meet on neutral ground, a place where neither dog will feel territo-
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Penney and Tilley
rial. Each dog should be on a leash with the handler exhibiting a calm and focused state of mind. Dogs are very intuitive. The more relaxed the person, the more the dog will be at ease. A tense owner translates into an anxious dog. A leisurely, side-byside walk with a safe distance between the two is an excellent first step. This method is meant to acclimate them to each other, with no perceived threat. During the walk, allow the dogs to sniff each other (the equivalent of a human handshake). If they show friendly behavior or show little interest, move the duo in an enclosed area. Keep the leashes secured and allow them to move closer to each other. Watch their body language to determine the level of hostility and friendliness. If either tries to bite, snap or lunges with teeth showing, separate them immediately and conclude the lesson. Some uncertainty with either dog is typical and can be sorted out without any of our interference. However, if the action becomes concerning, a break will be called for. One of the biggest mistakes enthusiastic dog owners make is to immediately allow both dogs full range of their yard and house. Meeting in this manner may be fine for some, but dreadful or harmful for others. Keep the first few meetings controlled and supervised. Dogs listen to our voices and the inflection of our words. They may not understand English or French, but they will react to the tone of voice. A high pitched and happy, “Good boy,” compared to a low, loud “No,” get different results. Our words have power. We tend to say too much when training and teaching. Think about what are the most important words you want your dog to hear and do away with the others. Instead of, “Come here, little buddy, so Mommy can give you a hug!” to “Come.” Simple is best. Choose your words carefully. Spring 2019
When a newcomer dog is brought into the house, some trainers suggest giving the resident dog first dibs on everything from entering the house, getting fed, and receiving pats of attention. Sharing toys and resources is a skill we teach toddlers, not dogs. The canine pack, whether two or twenty, will determine their hierarchy system and will tell you who is top dog.
Tips for the Canine Tool Box • Secure leashes on both dogs inside the house during the early days. If a scuffle ensues, a grab of the leash and correction can be done quickly and efficiently.
The addition of a new scruffy friend takes patience and knowledge for a winning outcome. Ask friends for trainers or behaviorists they recommend. You may experience no issues during a time and then, of out of nowhere, fights and aggression rear their ugly heads. Having a professional’s information for your toolbox is a wise move. All dogs will have occasional disagreements (even the most mild-mannered), but if these acts escalate to putting your family and other pets at risk of injury, call the professionals. Dogs are like potato chips, we don’t want to stop at just one. If a solo pup gives us unlimited pleasure, two must be just about as much as our hearts can imagine, right? Possibly. Having a sense of what will be needed to properly indoctrinate a newcomer to a resident dog can be a lot of work and a continuing project. The outcome of having well-adjusted, social, and content canines is a pat on the head to the owners. With knowledge on how to handle situations before they start, having professionals in the toolbox and a good dose of patience and realistic expectations, including multiple dogs as part of a family can be very rewarding on many levels, including the heart.
• Add a crate for each dog (in separate rooms), complete with a water bowl, toys, and cozy blanket. Keep the door open and allow the dog to retreat to this safe space when he feels threatened. • Know the body language of dogs. A wagging tail doesn’t always mean carefree and happy. • Invest in a trainer or behaviorist. • Keeping dogs separated by a gate or barrier that neither can jump is often a safe, gradual way of introduction. They can sniff through the openings without fear of confrontation. As strongly as we want that instant firework of doggie friendship, don’t be dismayed if it doesn’t suddenly happen. • To eliminate fighting over food, consider feeding dogs in individual crates. • Accept that one dog will want to establish his dominance. This is a necessary step in the canine to canine connection. • Are the dogs spayed or neutered? Dogs that are, tend to be less aggressive and challenging. • Be patient and observe interactions until you feel comfortable both have found their place in the home and have established their natural order. • Keep a jar of coins and a spray bottle filled with water handy. If the dogs get in an altercation, never try and grab collars or harnesses to separate. Their sharp teeth won’t discern between your hand and their opponent. The risk of injury is too high. Instead, distract by spraying water in their faces or shaking the jar near them to change their focus. Immediately separate and place them in their crates or separate rooms to allow them time to decompress. Spring 2019
Goes the Weasel Scott Borthwick - Canaan, NH
ast issue I wrote about the squirrel population growth increase due to an increase in food sources and how an increase in the prey population increases the predator population. No predator has proved this more than the Short-Tailed or Least Weasel. I have never had as many calls in all my years of Nuisance Wildlife Control work as I have this year about weasels in people’s houses. This tiny predator can follow a mouse into a house with ease. Anywhere a mouse can go, they can go. Measuring a mere 12” or less and weighing between 2 to 4 oz. gives them the ability to go
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pretty much anywhere they want. If you want to protect your chickens you should use a ¼” to ½” galvanized screen for fencing. Chicken wire will keep out many predators just not weasels. Weasels are the patriarch of the weasel family which includes skunks, fisher, mink, marten, wolverines, and otter. Of this bunch only the skunk is omnivorous. The rest are pure meat eaters preferring fresh meat. They are all furbearers as well. Weasel fur is called Ermine because no one wants a weasel coat just like a skunk is called Alaskan Sable for the same reason. Ermine pelts were used in Europe for centuries as ornaments on the robes of Monarchs. These creatures are the ultimate hunters. Brown in the summer months and white in the winter they blend in perfectly. Like most predators, they cover a large area in search of prey. However, they will stay in one area if there is a large food source. Which is why they are in people’s homes. One caller told me they have been seeing this weasel in their house for over a month. When people call the first thing I ask is do you have pets smaller than a cat and/or chickens? If the answer is no then I suggest leaving it alone. There is no better or more natural way to remove mice from your house than a weasel. They do not get trapped in the house. They come and go as they please and will leave when the food source is gone. Far more efficient than a cat and far cheaper than paying someone like myself. Finally, when a weasel pops up in your house, consider what I have said. If you are uncomfortable with a weasel in your home, we can remove it however you may want to wait until the mice are gone. 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. Spring 2019
Cornucopia or Specialty? Dorothy Crosby - Stoddard, NH
owadays there are so many horse management choices out there: does my horse look better in blue or red? string, rope, or wire? Is there a better saddle for my horse’s shape and size? Will I keep my horse in or out, shed or not, pasture buddy or alone? round or square bales? Is my trailer safe; can I drive it efficiently? The list goes on and on…. Riding and groundwork are the same way; there are innumerable instructors, methods, programs, DVD’s, clinics, books…Everyone has something to offer: master this and solve your problem, speak equine, become better partners with your horse, learn a new skill, or simply be “in charge”. Of course, many of these things are good – excellent, in fact. This list is also never-ending… As you search for the “right” thing for you, there may be a huge smorgasbord of opportunities to try: jumping, cattle work, dressage, eventing, endurance, roping, showing, trail riding, groundwork, vaulting, long lining, driving, round penning, or gaming – and that’s not all. You may find clinicians focusing on communication or western dressage, Centered Riding or clicker training, Classical training or trick riding, or some other method you’ve never heard of before. It’s sometimes like the “flavor of the month” out there with so many things to try. In the past, everyone had their main discipline and specialized in it. People often ask me how they should choose; some want to try everything, concerning themselves only with the availability of an opportunity and the funds. Many barns are inviting in the experts to cover a plethora of experiences, hosting clinics and workshops and demos on anything and everything popular at the moment. It’s like an ongoing Equine Affaire, hosted in a multitude of places throughout the area; some are repeated, some have follow-ups, some have a following of the same people going from place to place. Honestly, there is no perfect method that determines the best way to choose. The cornucopia is vast, and the personal experiences are neither right nor wrong; everyone has to find what is right for themselves and their horses. After an assessment of the practical (how much does all this cost? Do I have a trailer/someone to truck and all the equipment needed?), the question becomes one of fitness (are we both up to the task and the amount of work or riding involved? Is my horse too old or arthritic, or too young and undeveloped?), experience (are there requirements and do I meet any and all of them? Is my horse too green to have had the level of training he needs? Do I have the exposure and knowledge to be able to perform these tasks?), preference (do I dislike certain pieces of apparel or tack? Would I like to know more about this or be proficient at it? Do I like cows? Or trails? Or?), and riding/handling ability (am I a beginner, balanced, confident? Do I have the skills to ride or do this at the Continued Next Page
indicated proficiency level? Am I independent enough to perform in a group without holding anyone back, including the horse?). Of course, the whole point is to learn new skills and have a new experience; I am not suggesting we should be proficient or advanced in order to participate! Truthfully, many clinics are geared towards those who are just getting started, those who are new at this thing, and interested in experiencing it with the guidance of one who knows. But I admit, no insult intended, that I often see people who are overmounted or lack the skills to ride the type of thing they are attempting; for whatever reason, they have not been able to make an honest assessment of their own abilities or those of their horses. There is certainly a great deal of fun and excitement in trying new things, and in learning and honing those skills; one has to start somewhere! Working as a team with our horse can be one of the most challenging and rewarding things we do. For many people, hours spent in the saddle are the ones that count the most in their day; it’s the reward for all the other “stuff” they must do. I am not negating that at all, nor judging those who want to try and play and enjoy; I do think it is reasonable to set goals, improve riding skills, and work in advance toward those goals in preparation for any new experience - and keep yourself and your horse as safe as possible for a new adventure! The expression “happy trails” certainly has more extensive meaning these days. May you find those things that give you and your mount great pleasure and partnership! And, should you decide to specialize – at least you’ll know why! Owner of Equi-librium and based in Stoddard NH, Dorothy Crosby is certified as both a Level III Centered Riding ® Clinician/Instructor and CHA English and Western Instructor. Director of the Riding Program and Barn Manager at Southmowing Stables in Guilford VT, she loves working with riders and horses of all ages and abilities. Recently certified with Conformation Balancing, a program for fascia release in horses, Dorothy loves the softening and changes in the horses. Dorothy offers clinics, lessons, workshops, and fascia release bodywork sessions both on and off the farm. 14 4 Legs & a Tail
Understanding Girthiness Jennifer Brooks PT, MEd - Hollis, NH
irthiness is the behavior seen when horses express their irritability or unhappiness with getting saddled/ tacked up, or even brushing, blanketing and specifically to having the girth or cinch tightened. These behaviors can be disconcerting and even dangerous to equestrians that deal with horses known to be “girthy”. Horses can exhibit these behaviors, repeatedly, and often get worse over time, with lack of intervention. Many believe that horses develop these behaviors due to pain, poor saddle fit, “cold back” irritability with being ridden, to name a few. The behaviors can have a wide range from: • head nodding • turning and looking • attempting to bite at the person tacking up, or surrounding objects such as a doorframe, cross ties or stall door • the swishing of the tail • pinning ears backward • sucking in air • kicking out, to name only a few
Goff, physiotherapist; finding that some of these afflicted horses present with tissue changes of the girth area, specifically the pectoral muscles (placed on the lower chest wall ribs attaching to the forelimb) to have small nodules, known as trigger points, that can be painful to touch, and provide refereed pain throughout the surrounding area upon pressure. Other research indicated fascial (connective tissue) restrictions can be present, again causing pain and tissue restriction in this area. The secondary problem of girthiness is the learned behavior the horse starts to exhibit. Learned behaviors are repetitive in nature, having a cause an effect relationship. They can be very hard to “un-learn”. Think about how you brush your teeth every day. You probably have a “pattern” that you have adopted, starting with how you put the toothpaste on your brush, which hand do you use, where do you start on what side of the mouth, do you keep your lips closed or open, etc. Something we have done over and over Some research has been done on the becomes a habit of movement patterns, etiology of this nuisance behavior by Leslie referred to as engrams in the brain. This author proposes that there are two sets of motor patterns that are concurring when we tack up our horse. The first one is the predictable pattern in which we as equestrians, start the tacking up process. Most of us start with placing the horse on cross ties to begin grooming, brushing, hoof picking-out, etc. Then we move on to placing saddle pad, adjusting it, then saddle, adjusting that, then girthing up. This becomes a known predictable pattern that your horse learns too. Think of the hundreds of times you have repeated this process with your horse. They learn what is coming next. If there is any saddle mal-fitting, girth irritation, or riding discomfort, they will know that pain or associated discomfort is coming along with this process. The second motor pattern is the responses the horse exhibits, upon our pattern of tacking up. The horse, being a passive participant in this process, usually being asked to stand still and captive on cross ties, has minimal ways of communicating that something is bothersome to them other than the list above of negative actions, we all know too well. Thus, this becomes a cause and effect of this girthiness scenario- the horse has learned it’s groom’s behaviors and anticipates discomforts, so he starts the second engram of exhibiting anxiety by negative behaviors in response to the grooms’ approach of tacking up. 16 4 Legs & a Tail
Many times, probably in the name of self-defense and wishing to train the horse, riders resort to negative reinforcements during this conflicting process, towards the horse’s contrary actions such as tail swishing, biting and kicking, by verbally yelling at the horse, slapping, hitting. This author has even witnessed owners “kneeing” the horse’s horses chest wall or striking them with a crop. Actions such as these can only further reinforce the horse’s aversion for this entire process of being in their rider’s presence. How can this pattern be broken? This author has spent the past two years studying and observing a multitude of girthy horses and their owner’s behaviors. I suggest that first, we need to change our behaviors in order for the horse to change theirs. Rather than do the predictable pattern described above of cross ties, grooming, pad, saddle, girthing up, etc. Change YOUR pattern of grooming and tacking up! Step One: Maybe try placing your horse in the stall and allow them to eat some hay. This is also ideal for horses struggling with ulcers or in the prevention of ulcers, by having some food in their bellies during ridden (stressful) work, to offset acids sloshing around on an empty stomach lining. If your girthy horse is accustomed to trying to bite you, I suggest tethering them via halter and loose lead rope, to control their head swing in the prevention of them making contact with you. Neither you nor the horse should experience pain or damage during this process for positive re-learning to occur. Now change up your grooming habits, by only brushing the saddle and girth areas first. Then gently put the saddle pad on, but do not adjust it. Just let it lie, then go back to brushing the other parts of the horse, legs, tail. Take a break, then quickly adjust the saddle pad, then walk away. Then return with the saddle, but try approaching your horse from the right side to don the saddle - you too will need to learn a new motor pattern; it does feel a bit awkward to use one’s right arm to place the saddle from the right side of the horse! Once the saddle is placed, resist the urge to fiddle with it, but rather again quickly walk away and ignore your horse’s negative behaviors Spring 2019
if present. Now go back to other tasks you may still need to address such as picking out hooves- change that pattern too! Stop after only 2nd hoof cleaning, to put one billet into the buckle and only put minimal pressure on girth. Return again to another task not yet taken care of by continuing brushing, hoof picking, putting on leg wraps and bell boots, brushing tail and mane, etc.
across trainers, novel tasks, and over long periods of time (eg. Sankey, 2010). So be sure to have plenty of healthy treats (or peppermints if you insist) by having lots of apple and carrot tidbits cut up and in your pocket. Every time you approach your horse to do something you know they have a negative reaction to, slip them a piece of treat first, to give their brain something positive to focus on, just prior to putting that saddle pad on, just prior to putting Step Two: saddle on, just prior to adjusting, just prior Secondly, we need to make this a to first girth tightening, and so on. You more pleasant experience for the horse will notice as you practice this, every time by incorporating a reward system rather you walk towards your horse during this than negative punishments. We want to process you will start to be greeted by ears re-circuit their experience by first changup, positive facial expression and eagering our patterns ( as above) but now also ness rather than ears back negativity. give them pleasure and positive reinforcements during the process. This is based on Seek professional help operant conditioning behaviors founded 1. Get your horse vetted: ulcers, lameby BF Skinner. Operant conditioning is a nesses, back evaluation, pectoral trigger method of learning that occurs through points are all real physical problems that rewards and punishments for behavior. should be evaluated and treated for best Through operant conditioning, an assoresults and health care for your horse. ciation is made between a behavior and 2. Hire a physical therapist or massage a consequence for that behavior. therapist to assess and treat fascial Studies show that positive behavrestrictions and or trigger points with ior training is more effective with both manual therapies. animals and humans than negative rein- 3. It is essential to have a professional forcements. Horses trained with positive saddle fitter evaluate and adjust your reinforcement learn more quickly, retain saddle to properly fit your horse. There the learned tasks longer, experience less is nothing worse than wearing somestress, react to humans more positively thing induces pain due to poor fit. Get and are able to generalize this training your best fit possible.
Jennifer Brooks PT, MEd., is a licensed physical therapist and founder of Horse â€™N Hound Physical Therapy. She is certified in both Equine and Canine Rehabilitation through the Un. Of Tennessee. She has been a PT clinician and educator for over 30 years focused on musculoskeletal and neurological recovery of humans, horses, and small animals. She has spoken nationally at American P.T. Association and the American Association of Equine Practitioners conferences. She worked at the state level in NH to make animal physical therapy legal in 2012.
Equine Metabolic Syndrome Nicole Sicely - Custom Equine Nutrition
quine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS) is defined by a group of abnormalities that lead to a risk of laminitis. The American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIN) states that EMS is defined by meeting the following three criteria: Generalized obesity in specific locations, Insulin Resistance (IR) and a predisposition toward endocrinopathic laminitis. Let’s break these three criteria down.
No visual appearance of a crest (tissue apparent above the ligamentum nuchae). No palpable crest.
No visual appearance of a crest, but slight filling felt with palpation.
Noticeable appearance of a crest, but fat deposited fairly evenly from poll to withers. Crest easily cupped in one hand and bent from side to side.
Crest enlarged and thickened, so fat is deposited more heavily in middle of the neck than towards poll and withers, giving a mounded appearance. Crest fills cupped hand and begins losing side to side flexibility.
Crest grossly enlarged and thickened, and can no longer be cupped in one hand or easily bent from side to side. Crest may have wrinkles or creases perpendicular to the topline.
Crest is so large it permanently droops to one side. Source: Carter et al., 2009
#1) Obesity The most common system used to score a horse’s body condition is the Henneke System. A horse is given a score from 1 (emaciated) to 9 (obese). The definition of obesity is a body condition score of >7. Adipose (fat) tissue located on the neck (cresty neck) or tail head can be indicative of laminitis risk. In the early 1960s, a geneticist named James Neel had a theory that certain ethnic groups had a propensity towards diabetes so it would be easier to store body fat for times of short food supply. This was coined the “thrifty gene theory”. Specific breeds are prone to this thrifty gene (AKA easy keepers); Welsh ponies, Morgans, Tennessee Walkers, Saddlebreds, Arabs, and Paso Finos. #2) Insulin Resistance Horses with Insulin Resistance (IR), have a low body response to insulin. The pancreas secretes higher levels of insulin to trigger the body’s response. But the cells are resistant to insulin’s signal to take up glucose. In normal cells, insulin transports glucose into the cells via thousands of receptors. When insulin attaches to a receptor, it opens a door to allow the glucose into the bloodstream. When a horse is IR these receptors are not working correctly. Resulting in high levels of circulating insulin. The body becomes “resistant” to insulin.
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#3) History of Laminitis In a perfect world, a horse will be diagnosed with EMS prior to having a “History of Laminitis”. Spring 2019
Diagnostics EMS is diagnosed by having a history of laminitis, a physical exam, and blood tests. History of laminitis can include a fullblown laminitic episode or signs of subclinical laminitis. Laminitic rings visible on the hoof wall may indicate previous episodes of laminitis. The reduced concavity of the sole dropped soles and widened white line are all other potential indicators of subclinical laminitis. For physical exams, the Henneke Body Condition Score and amount of adipose (fat) tissue located on the neck or around the tail head. The most common blood test is Baseline Insulin. This test can have a lot of influences: stress, pain, recent feed change, schedule variations etc. Elevated levels are highly indicative of IR. Low insulin values do not rule out IR. If the insulin levels are normal, yet the horse shows clinical signs such as adipose tissue, it is recommended to try a dynamic test such as the Oral Sugar Test (OST).
should be soaked, or alternative safe hay should be used. Soaking in cold water for 60 minutes can help reduce carbohydrates by 30%. As for concentrates, there are currently enough products on the market labeled “low starch” to make your head spin. But this is all relative, one company’s “low starch” feed may still be too high for an EMS/IR horse. Look at the guaranteed analysis for sugar and starch, these need to be under 10% combined. If a company does not list this on their label or website, call and ask. Pasture should be avoided for EMS/ IR horses. If you feel you must put your horse on pasture turn out at a safe time, early morning. Remove your horse from pasture in the afternoon when the sugar/starch content is higher. Spring and fall pastures are the most dangerous. Katy Watts (www.safergrass.org) has written a fun jingle to help remember when it a good time to let your horse on pasture: Exercise Exercise has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity in healthy horses for as long as 24hr after a single bout. Medication Diet remains the cornerstone of treatment for EMS. If diet and exercise (if your horse is able) alone are not showing improvement, then medication would be a reasonable next step. Metformin and Levothyroxine are most often prescribed.
Can this be prevented? Lets recap: EMS is defined as having the three following phenotypes: Obesity, insulin resistance, and a history of laminitis. It is unfortunate that a history of laminitis is considered a risk factor. Ideally, EMS should be identified prior to any laminitic episodes. What if we could change the definition of EMS by taking control of certain factors? What factors are in our control? It would benefit horses and owners to access their risk and proceed accordingly. If your horse is a breed that tends Treatment Preventing insulin surges is the pri- to be genetically predisposed, an easy keeper with a cresty neck, turned out ority for treatment. The gold standard for treatment is diet and exercise (if the on pasture and enjoys 3lbs of grain per day, you have a very high-risk horse and horse is able). its time to take control. Diet Start by removing your horse from The goal of treating EMS through diet pasture. Create a dry lot or track system is controlling blood glucose levels. The (paddock paradise). Test your hay and lower glucose levels stay, the less insulin soak if it’s over 10% sugar and starch. the pancreases will produce. If your horse is not in pain, exercise as Foods with high sugar and starch safe often as possible. forage cannot be predicted by the type Nicole Sicely owns Custom Equine of hay or appearance. Forage analysis Nutrition, LLC. Nicole is an equine is the only way to know how safe your nutritionist offering consulting services hay is. Test the ESC (sugar) and starch levels. Combined ESC and Starch should and formulated Vermont Blend forage be under 10%. If hay is above 10%, it balancer and Omega-E. Spring 2019
ecently I have seen a number of puppies with teeth and/or jaws that are growing incorrectly. I would really like to see these puppies as soon as the problem starts to occur, which means both the owner and the veterinarian being diligent in observing the mouth. For the owners, teach your puppy to let you touch all the teeth and pull up the lip, in addition to doing the same with the feet. For veterinarians, take a look inside the mouth every time a puppy comes in for vaccinations. I know, puppies squirm and resist, but if problems arise the sooner they are corrected Sandra L Waugh VMD, MS the more likely a good outcome will result. Big changes occur every week. In the short time of 5 months, a puppy goes from having no teeth to having baby teeth appear, to having a mixture of baby teeth and adult teeth to eventually having a full set of adult teeth. Most dogs manage to grow and loose baby teeth, grow and retain adult teeth, and grow the jaws in a normal fashion and have a mouth that closes properly. Dogs and cats have 4 jaws: a right and a left upper jaw and a right and a left lower jaw. Each of these jaws grows independently of the others. In a dog with a normal shape to the skull and a normal bite, the position of the lower canine teeth between the upper canine and the corner incisor is called dental interlock. If this normal positioning is maintained while the skull grows and teeth are erupting, the teeth act as a natural retainer system. If the upper jaw starts to push forward, its growth is retarded by the pressure of the lower canine teeth on the upper canine teeth. At the same time the upper canine teeth are pressing forward on those lower canine teeth, prompting the lower jaw to grow as well. Conversely, if the lower jaw pushes forward, it will put pressure on the upper incisors, pushing the upper jaw to grow forward while at the same time that same pressure will retard the growth of the lower jaw. This Lower constant Push-Pull of the jaws on one Canine Tooth another keeps them in synchrony. These are adult teeth and are a good example of how close the upper canine, lower canine and corner upper incisor are when the mouth is closed. In many dogs there is 1mm of clearance between these teeth! The lower canine teeth are very long and can be very painful if they are positioned inside of the mouth.
Teeth Don't Always End Up Where They Should When a Puppy Grows Up
Upper Canine Tooth
Upper Corner Incisor Tooth
Of course, it does not always go perfectly and then problems can arise. The problems that do occur divide into three basic groups: The jaws are in a normal position but one or more teeth are in an abnormal position, the lower jaw is shorter than the upper jaw, or the lower jaw is longer than the upper jaw. In veterinary medicine we are concerned that the mouth close with no pain, rather than creating a perfect bite. If teeth are not in perfect alignment but are otherwise not causing any pain then it is perfectly OK to leave them alone. Baby teeth are meant to fall out as soon as the adult tooth pokes through the gum. If they do not fall out promptly they can put pressure on the erupting adult tooth and push it into an abnormal position. The baby teeth that are most likely to not fall out (be persistent) are the baby canine teeth. Since the canine teeth are so important in keeping those 4 jaws in good alignment as the puppy grows, persistent baby canine teeth can cause big problems. The baby canine teeth on the lower jaw are positioned to the side of the adult tooth, and will push the adult tooth inside of the mouth. These adult teeth will then be hitting the roof of the mouth, even if the lower jaw is the correct length. 20 4 Legs & a Tail
This dog is 5.5 months old. The adult incisor tooth erupted awhile ago and is fully erupted. The adult canine teeth have just erupted. It will take 2 months for them to have their full length. The lower canine tooth is hitting the gum inside the mouth. The lower jaw may be too short when compared to the upper jaw. If the lower jaw does not move forward in synchrony with the upper jaw, the lower incisors and canine teeth will start to impact the roof of the mouth (hard palate). Baby teeth have very sharp points, will dig into the tissue and will actually anchor the lower jaw and stop its forward growth. This can be seen in puppies as young as 8 weeks of age so it is important that the mouth be checked continuously as the puppy grows. This can result in lower canine teeth that are inside the mouth and hitting the roof of the mouth. These dogs cannot close the mouth without pain.
Lower Canine Tooth
Upper Canine Tooth
Upper Corner Incisor Tooth
This puppy is 3 months old. The lower Lower Canine Tooth jaw is severely shortened in comparison with the upper jaw. Both baby lower canine teeth are impacting the roof of the mouth on the inside of the upper canine teeth. The hole created by the impact of the lower left canine tooth was already quite deep. The lower jaw may be too long when compared to the upper jaw. These dogs will Impact Hole Upper Canine Tooth have lower canine teeth that are hitting the upper incisors and upper incisors that will hit the roots of the lower incisors. Again, the dog is unable to close the mouth completely. This is not as painful as lower canines that are hitting the roof of the mouth but it does create discomfort. This dog is 5.5 months old. The adult incisor tooth erupted awhile ago and is fully erupted. The adult canine teeth have just erupted. It will take 2 months for them to have their full length. The lower canine tooth is hitting between the middle and corner upper incisors. There are also two baby canine teeth which should have fallen out (red arrows) Lower Canine Tooth
Upper Corner Incisor Tooth
Upper Canine Tooth
This is a small sample of the kinds of problems that arise. If you have a growing puppy, keep an eye on those teeth and seek prompt attention if the teeth are not lining up correctly. If you are not sure, have your veterinarian examine the teeth as well. All of these dogs had procedures performed to correct the various problems. 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. Spring 2019
Biofilm… The Health Risk Lurking in Your Pet’s Food and Water Bowl Jill Feinstein
well-balanced diet and readily available water are critical to the health and well-being of our pets. They are the sustenance that keeps them happy and healthy. As pet owners, we work hard to be sure our pets not only survive but that they thrive. But could it be we are overlooking a potential danger in their food and water bowls? Something that could make them and us sick? If you aren’t thoroughly cleaning those bowls, the answer is yes. Do you know that slime you feel when you rinse out the bowl? That’s called biofilm, and it has a lot of bacteria that can cause illness if you’re not careful. What is biofilm? Biofilm is defined as a thin, slimy film of bacteria that adheres to a surface in a wet environment. It can form on almost any surface exposed to bacteria and water, like a food or water bowl. Those microbes excrete a glue-like substance that helps them to thrive. It keeps them attached to the surface which helps the bacteria to survive and reproduce. Biofilms can be found all around us. We come in contact with these colonies of bacteria every day. Where are biofilms found? Not only is your pet’s bowl a breeding ground, but your bathroom is too. Do you know the slime at the bottom of the shower curtain? That’s a biofilm. The slime in your sink drain… yup, biofilm. Your own mouth is fertile ground for biofilm. In
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fact, dental plaque is nothing more than a biofilm that builds up on teeth. It too contains disease-causing bacteria, bacteria that can lead to cavities and gum disease.
systems that younger adults do. And you certainly don’t want your pet to get sick because their water and food bowls are laden with bacteria.
What are the risks? Our pets don’t have clean mouths. Dogs eat all kinds of things they’re not supposed to. They lick the bottoms of their paws. That’s like licking the bottom of your shoe. And the germs they pick up are harbored in their mouths. Cats, even if they’re not outside, put their mouths where they shouldn’t. They lick their paws too… and other body parts. It’s inevitable when our pets eat and drink, the bacteria in their mouths end up in their bowls. This is how that gooey biofilm forms. The bowl is wet from their tongues giving the microbes a nice place to call home. The biofilm can contain many species of bacteria including Salmonella, Listeria, E. coli, and Legionella. These four can make you and your family very sick. And if allowed to excessively build up in those bowls, can pollute your dog’s food and water and make them sick too. But there are also some good bacteria in the biofilm that can be beneficial to your pet’s immune system and digestion. But because we don’t have the immune systems our pets do, we must take precautions. Particularly if our kids feed and water our pets. If you have elderly relatives living with you, the same concerns exist. Older people don’t have the resilient immune
Minimizing the biofilm risk There are things you can do to keep everyone healthy and minimize the biofilm risk. First, avoid plastic bowls. They scratch making it more difficult to get them clean. Most importantly, clean those bowls well. Here are 4 tips to be sure no one gets sick. • Clean bowls regularly - Your pet’s food bowl should be washed after every meal and the water bowl, twice a day. • Don’t wash the bowls in the kitchen sink - Germs can be transferred to your dishes and utensils. The bathtub’s not a good idea either because you don’t want to be soaking in these bacteria. Use a bathroom or utility sink. • Scrub with an abrasive first - The biofilm needs to be broken up before you disinfect. You can use something as simple as salt on a sponge (but not the sponge you use on your dishes), or the scruffy side of a two-sided sponge. • Disinfect - Mix 1 Tbsp household bleach to one gallon of very hot water. Fill the pet bowl with the solution and wipe around the outside of the bowl with it too. Let it soak for 2 minutes. Wash out well to remove all bleach residue. If you would rather not use bleach, use the sanitize cycle on your dishwasher. If you’re using the sanitize cycle you can wash the bowls with your dishes. Also, it’s important to clean the floor where your pet eats, and any stand or mat under your pet’s bowls. Bacteria can grow in these areas too. And always be sure to use designated sponges and dish towels for your pet’s bowls, never the ones you use on your dishes and utensils. Some might say don’t sanitize the bowls daily because the good bacteria can be beneficial to a healthy dog. But the downside of all the bad bacteria may outweigh any benefits from the good bacteria… something to discuss with your vet. Spring 2019
Hyperthyroidism in Cats Catherine MacLean, DVM - Grantham, NH
yperthyroidism is the most common hormonal abnormality diagnosed in cats. It typically affects cats 7 years of age and older. The most classic clinical sign of hyperthyroidism is a cat that is losing weight despite an excellent appetite. Other clinical signs include restlessness, vomiting, increased water consumption, increased urination, a hair coat that looks unkempt, agitation, and increased vocalization. The thyroid hormone is comparable to an engine in a car. It tells the body systems how fast or slow to go. When a cat is hyperthyroid it speeds everything up. Their appetite is increased and so is their metabolism. That is why despite eating well, the affected cat will continue to lose weight. If hyperthyroidism goes untreated it can lead to serious side effects such as kidney and heart issues. To confirm hyperthyroidism in cats, blood work needs to be done. Most likely your veterinarian will do a full blood panel that will not only look at your cat’s thyroid level, but will also look at your pet’s red and white blood cells, major organ function, and a urine sample. Occasionally after blood work is run, the most common thyroid level that is checked may be in what is called the grey zone. This is where the thyroid level that was checked is within the normal range, but on the higher end of normal. If your veterinarian is suspicious that your cat has hyperthyroidism, she may suggest testing additional thyroid levels. The good news is that if your cat is diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, it is a treatable condition. There are several treatment options involved. These include: • Daily oral or topical medication. This will help reduce your cat’s thyroid hormone levels. Your cat will need to be on the medication for life and will need blood work monitoring to access if your pet is getting the right dose and if his body is handling it ok. • Therapeutic diet. There is a prescription diet available. This diet restricts the amount of iodine in your cat’s diet. It must be fed exclusively and often means cutting out most treats. • Surgery. This would involve removing the thyroid. There are side effects and complications that can occur. • Radioactive iodine treatment. This is considered the gold standard of treatment. This is not inexpensive. It involves your pet going to a clinic that is allowed by state law to administer the radioactive iodine (there is one located in Concord, NH). Your cat will be given an injection under the skin of the radioactive iodine and then stay at the hospital for up to five days. After this treatment, your cat will no longer need medication. Most cats with hyperthyroidism when treated, get to have a happy ending. If you suspect your cat may have hyperthyroidism or is diagnosed with it, you and your veterinarian can discuss which treatment option is best for you and your cat.
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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. Spring 2019
Beaver Fever Dr. John Eustis, DVM - Orchard Veterinary Hospital
pring is here, and with the warmer temperatures we start to see many dogs that are either vomiting, have diarrhea or both. A few years ago I think I figured out why we seem to see this epidemic of GI problems in the spring. My theory is that all the birds, mice, chipmunks and anything else that has died over the winter, in addition to various animal feces that had been frozen for the winter, has now thawed. For many dogs this is a treat they just can’t resist! Many times these tasty little treats are badly decomposed and contain many different forms of pathogenic bacteria. Also, all of the ponds and lakes thaw, and dogs start drinking out of them again. Finally, there are several diseases that affect puppies and are more easily transmitted between dogs in the spring when they are outside and mingling more with other dogs. Most of the time, the first thing that you will notice is vomiting, diarrhea or both. This usually occurs within 6-24 hours of ingestion of the contaminated material. Sometimes the dog just vomits the material up and that is the end of it. Unfortunately, what usually happens is the dog vomits at first and then begins to have runny, watery and sometimes bloody diarrhea. At this point it is a good idea to get your four-legged friend to the veterinarian as soon as possible. When a dog is vomiting he’s not able to keep anything like water or food down long enough for it to be absorbed. When he is simultaneously vomiting and having diarrhea, he can become severely dehydrated very quickly. Puppies can be even more quickly and severely affected, as they have little reserves of fat to call on when they can’t eat. Dehydration can lead to kidney failure and death very quickly if left untreated. Diarrhea in dogs can be caused by many different types of bacteria, several different types of parasites and several types of viruses, some of which can be fatal. Besides eating putrefied remains and feces, dogs drinking from puddles, ponds and streams can get organisms that can cause diarrhea. One of the parasites that commonly causes diarrhea is call Giardia. It is also known as “beaver fever,” and is the reaSpring 2019
son that you are told not to drink the water from lakes and rivers when you are camping. While not all dogs that drink from these sources will get sick, some may, and occasionally it can lead to severe and even life-threatening diarrhea and vomiting. There was a vaccine for the prevention of Giardia, but in my experience it didn’t work very well and has been taken off the market. Giardia can be prevented by commercial filters used for camping or by drinking only bottled or tap water. With some dogs though, it is impossible to prevent ingestion, as they are swimming dogs and will be ingesting the water no matter what. In these cases I recommend just monitoring your dog. As I said, most dogs will not have any problems. In puppies there is a virus called Parvovirus that can cause severe diarrhea, vomiting and even death very quickly. Fortunately, Parvo is a very preventable disease, and is one of the core vaccines that all puppies should get every 3-4 weeks beginning at about 6-8 weeks of age, and continuing until they are 16-20 weeks old. Regardless of the pup’s vaccine status, if your puppy begins having any of these symptoms, get him to your veterinarian immediately. As I said, puppies have very little reserves and can get very sick, very fast. Treatment for any of these diseases will depend on what your veterinarian finds when they examine your dog, as well as examining a fecal sample. Many times all that is needed is antibiotics or an anti-parasitic, for mild to moderate cases. In more severe cases where there is dehydration and severe vomiting and diarrhea, the dog may need to be hospitalized and given intravenous fluids, injections of antibiotics and anti-nausea medications. Prevention of these infections can be as simple as a vaccine for Parvovirus, but can be more problematic in some dogs that insist on eating anything they find on the ground, or drinking out of every puddle or pond they come across. I have several patients that, unfortunately, need to wear a basket muzzle every time they go outdoors. They will eat anything they find, and become sick almost every time. One owner tells me that whenever her dog is in the woods,
he comes back with the basket muzzle packed with dirt and leaves! Cats can also have most of these same problems, but fortunately cats seem to have them less often. I think because it’s true what they say about cats, they’re finicky eaters. While not every dog will get sick every time it eats something off the ground, many will. Diarrhea and vomiting is no fun for the dog, and no fun for the cleaning crew! If your dog is showing these symptoms it is VERY important to get them to your veterinarian as soon as possible. You can speed the diagnosis and become one of your vet’s favorite clients, if you bring a fresh fecal sample along with you.
Brownie the Town Dog of Daytona Beach T
he stray dog must have been about a year old when he wandered down Orange Avenue to Beach Street in Daytona Beach in 1940. The junction of these two streets brought him to a central location in town right across from the marina. White sands…beautiful weather…a few people nearby…nothing wrong with this. An additional attraction at that corner was the presence of the Daytona Cab Company, owned by Ed Budgen, Sr. who was having his lunch when the dog stopped by. Ed offered to share. All these elements were enough to say “home” to Brownie, as the taxi drivers began calling him. Brownie the Dog Brownie (1939-1954) is described as a short-haired brown dog with a white chin. Some locals felt he had a bit of Labrador retriever or Rhodesian ridgeback in him. While he headquartered at the cab company, he patrolled several blocks along Orange Avenue and Beach Street. There was a pool hall, Liggett’s drugstore, a barbershop, and a bank. There was also
a bus stop at that corner so there were always people around. Brownie got to know his new neighbors and let them know he was always available to help with anything they weren’t going to eat. As the weeks passed, Ed Budgen decided that if Brownie was staying he needed a house. He and a couple of drivers used an old moving box and created a decent-sized dog house.
Daytona Cars Even in the 1940s, Daytona Beach was place where people brought their fancy cars and enjoyed driving them. In 1947, Brownie—who had a tendency to wander into the street—got hit by a car. A taxi driver saw the accident, immediately stepped out of his cab and scooped up Brownie to take him to the vet. When the taxi driver returned to the taxi stand, he posted a note: “Brownie has been hurt and is at the veterinarian’s. Would you like to help out with his hospital bill?” According to a write-up in the local paper, $32 came in during the first 30 minutes the note was up. The funds continued to grow, so there was plenty of good news: Brownie was getting better, and he was going to be able to pay for the care he received. Real Doghouse While Brownie was in the hospital, the taxi drivers opted to make a “real” doghouse for their favorite mutt. They built a new house out of plywood with his name written large across the front. It was Brownie’s house indeed. A few days later when it was time for Brownie to leave the vet, the drivers drew lots to see who got to bring Brownie home. When the winning driver escorted Brownie back to his favorite corner at Orange and Beach, a small crowd waited to greet him. There were dinner scraps and a pork chop or two, all with a “Welcome Home” feeling to it.
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A Bank Account for Brownie As a responsible caretaker, Ed Budgen knew that a time might come Spring 2019
when Brownie needed funds again. He took the remaining money from the donation box and established a bank account for Brownie at the Florida Bank and Trust Company down the street (account number 3318, complete with Brownie’s own bank book). When there were vet bills or Brownie needed some dog food, the money was there for Brownie’s use. Package shop owner, C.P. Miller always took care of Brownie’s dog license, and of course, it was important to the town that Brownie get License #1. At some point the town put out a proclamation making Brownie the official Town Dog. Did he have to go to a city council meeting to be so honored? He might have, if there were treats. With the business of life taken care of by others, Brownie was free to live up to his official responsibilities of patrolling his streets. There were always people around, going in and out of stores or sitting on the bench waiting for the bus. Brownie liked to lie in the shade under the bench, his head was within easy reach of hands that could give him a pat or an ear scratch. The taxi company ran an all-night service and both Brownie and the night drivers were happy they were there together. As one local said, “He was nobody’s dog but he was everybody’s dog.” Brownie’s Fame Grew Daytona Beach draws tourists throughout the year, and soon visitors realized that Brownie was a “town regular.” He was written about in newspapers and magazines nationwide, and visitors arrived looking for him. They sent him Christmas cards and packages, too. An enterprising local businessperson realized that Brownie needed something to send in return, so he created a postcard with Brownie’s picture on the front. Of course, these also sold well to tourists, adding a little additional cash to Brownie’s bank account. There was also a Christmas version of the card so Brownie had a way to thank all who remembered him. In 1949, a local columnist for the Daytona Beach Morning Journal, Fred Langworthy, reported that a nurse rushed into the cab stand one morning shortly after her night shift ended at 7 a.m. She always waited for the bus at that corner and was greeted by Brownie. Today he was just lying in his house. Was he OK? Brownie was fine… it was February. He probably saw no need to make an early start to the day. Elsie Borden and her Calf Come to Town Daytona Beach was a popular community, but who would have guessed that among the visitors would be the Borden cow and her offspring? The Borden family must have come in for several guest appearances, but the Fort Lauderdale News (12/30/50) noted that Elsie, Elmer and their calf Beauregard were “vacationing in Florida for the winter.” While Elmer may have been relaxing, Elsie and Beauregard were out and about. One afternoon the press was invited to Brownie’s corner. Elsie was bringing Beauregard to meet Brownie. It was planned that Brownie and Beauregard would walk down the street together. Beauregard would wait while Brownie stepped into the bank to withdraw a few bucks. Then calf and dog walked on to Liggett’s Drugstore where Brownie purchased a vanilla ice cream soda for each of them. Perfect! Reports as Brownie Aged As Brownie grew older, the local reporters seemed to pay more attention to how he was doing. In 1951, columnist Fred Langworthy reported (12-27-51) that over the course of the year, two aggressive mutts picked a fight with Brownie This sent him to the vet for a couple of days, drawing down a bit Spring 2019
on his bank account. But as December came along, Brownie seemed fine. He was sporting a red ribbon someone had tied around his collar, and another friend left him a poem: “Trusting old Brownie, you’ve done all a dog can do. Faith to your highest instinct, ever loyal, kind and true. And I think when you have ended your career of canine cares, I shall hear your pattering footsteps as you climb the Golden Stairs. Then I think that some bright angel at Heaven’s gate will bear you through. For you never were disloyal, that’s as well as any dog can do.”
Langworthy concludes: “Old Brownie, canine king and patriarch…has weathered another year and passed another jolly Christmas.” Another Year, Another Report A year and a half later, Langworthy was back with another report: (May 11, 1952): Brownie was under the weather. It turns out Brownie had heartworms but was never adequately treated. The vet was starting a series of 14 treatments to try to make the town dog better. Langworthy writes that the first treatment seemed to help. Brownie was back patrolling the street again. He ”tagged along at the heels of police patrolmen,” watchfully sniffing at the warm sounds and smells of Orange Avenue, and keeping everything well under control. The End Comes Brownie became ill in early October of 1954. For 20 days there were regular reports in the local paper as to how he was doing. As we all know, dogs never live long enough. Finally, Brownie breathed his last. It is estimated that he was 15 years old by that time. Led by the taxi drivers, the citizens of Daytona did right by Brownie. The remainder of his bank account was used to settle his vet bill and cover funeral expenses. Two taxi drivers built Continued Next Page
a small casket for the body. He was to be buried across the street in Riverfront Park. That Saturday morning about 75 mourners came to pay respects. The mayor gave the eulogy. He had many nice things to say about Daytona’s loyal citizen, concluding with “Wherever it is that good dogs go, Brownie has already gone.” Life Moves On Like all towns, the people of Daytona Beach moved on. A Brownie #2 took up a home at the post office and is buried there, but over time, the townspeople forgot about Brownie the Town dog. Brownie Grave Re-Discovered Then in 1994, members of the Daytona Civic Association were cleaning up Riverfront Park. Some volunteers found Brownie’s grave site and decided the old dog deserved to be remembered. Several years later, a local woman, Brenda Gibson, took responsibility for maintaining Brownie’s grave. From that time on, it was always well tended and often decorated for an upcoming holiday. Gibson died in June of 2017, but fortunately, good people come along when needed. Two weekend residents of Daytona Beach, Eddie James and Alvin Almodovar, decided to move to the community full time. Alvin is a scientist and Eddie is a technology consultant, but they shared a love
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of animals. Between them they always have several dogs and cats, and often, rabbits and chickens, too. They felt Daytona Beach could use a specialty dog store, named after Brownie of course. Brownie’s Dog Boutique Brownie’s Dog Boutique was born in July 2016. Eddie describes it as a home store for people with pets. While they sell practical supplies like leashes, collars, and Florida-made dog treats, they also feature crafts and vintage items that are attractive to dog owners. With the store’s name honoring Brownie, Eddie and Alvin have taken on other Brownie-related responsibilities. They are working on a website that will have Brownie’s full story, the grave-tending is now something they see to, and they are also working with the town council. They would like funds for two statues—one statue will be Brownie the Town Dog; the other will honor Post Office Brownie. Then and now, Brownie is a great town representative and builder of a community. As Fred Langworthy wrote in the 1950s: “There’s something mighty wholesome about a City whose people can pause … to remember an old and beloved dog.” I am indebted to Eddie James for telling me about Brownie. I’ve always said, “If dogs just left diaries…” Eddie has sent me so much material on Brownie (and Brownie was so loved during his lifetime) that I almost feel like Brownie did leave a diary. If you are in Daytona Beach, please stop and say hi to Eddie and Alvin! This article first appeared on the website, www.americacomesalive.com America Comes Alive publishes more stories about American dogs and other animals. Visit the website and sign up for “American Dogs” to receive the stories in your In Box. Or email Kate Kelly at kate@ americacomesalive.com Spring 2019
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