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Northern VT & NH Winter 2019

Controlling Your Pet’s Weight This Winter Help for Vermont Equine Business Owners Preparing Your Pets for Guests Inspirational Stories from Around the World

Inside this issue of 4 Legs & a Tail


2-5. Inspirational Stories From Around the World 6. Liz Makes a Comeback Suzanne Allard The almost miraculous recovery thanks to CDB oil

8. The Note How the new homeowners discovered a way to pay it forward

9. Animal Drug Safety Warning 10. Not My Dog, Karen Sturtevant The mystery of a walk gone bad

12. The Only Fear Free Certified Practice in Vermont, Samantha Gauthier

Onion River Animal Hospitals initiative and training program to lower fear, anxiety, and stress in the lives of your furry companions

Pg. 12 14. Charity Begins at Home Pat Jauch

Be aware of who's asking for your donation

15. New Study could Help VT Horse Business Owners Jessica Stewart Riley The Vermont Horse Council looks at the impact of the equine industry on the state

16. Reiki Sue Miller

Understanding the holistic healing system, that treats the whole being on all levels, physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.

17. Winter Water Nicole Sicely

The importance of proper equine hydration during the winter months

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18. Cold Weather Safety for Pets Erin Forbes 20. Alternatively Speaking: A Holistic Look at Matters of the Heart Dr. Anne Carroll DVM, CVA

22. Common Myths About Dental Disease in Dogs and Cats Sandra Waugh, VMD, MS 24. Weight Control for Dogs in Winter Months Patrick Sturgeon & Ben Burroughs A comprehensive plan to keep your pet fit

25. Our Favorite Blueberry Dog Biscuit Recipe 26. Home with Your Dog for the Holidays Maria Karunungan and Megan O’Hara

27. Polar Bears

Fun facts that will blow your mind

28. The Fairy Dogmother – and Other Classic Tails Tanya Sousa

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4 Legs & a Tail Volume N.418

Publishers: Tim Goodwin, Tim Hoehn

P.O. Box 841

Senior Editor: Scott Palzer

Lebanon, NH 03766

Office Manager: Beth Hoehn


Graphic Design: Kristin Wolff, Kate Kurtz

Sales: Scott Palzer, Ashley Charron

Winter 2019

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 Northern 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. 1


eo is a charming half-breed of German Shepherd and Collie who saved the life of his ten-year-old owner, Charlie Riley. Charlie was playing on the street with his pet when suddenly a truck rushed onto the pavement at high-speed, racing straight at the boy. The dog instantly pushed Charlie aside and took the brunt of the blow from the advancing truck. Geo was thrown onto the road, and the truck, trying to escape from the scene, ran down the poor animal one more time. The brave dog miraculously survived, but he received several internal injuries, and his legs and spine were broken. Thankfully, timely veterinary care saved Geo from death, but he had to undergo lengthy treatment and rehabilitation. Now, the dog is completely healthy. He enjoys life among his family that is infinitely grateful to him for saving their son.

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Winter 2019

Dolphin Lifeguard T

odd Endris, a professional surfer, narrowly escaped death thanks to the help of some dolphins. In August, while conquering the waves, Todd was attacked by a great white shark which was almost 16.4 ft (5 m) long. After several attempts to get away from the fierce predator, Todd almost lost the strength to keep fighting, but suddenly a group of dolphins came to his aid. They formed a protective ring around the injured surfer, keeping the shark at a distance. This amazing team of unexpected rescuers accompanied Todd to the shore, allowing him to get first aid.

Winter 2019 3

photo by Jill Canillas Daley

The Just Lions I

t turns out that even a ruthless predator like a lion can show empathy towards other animals or even people. In Ethiopia, a group of men kidnapped a 12-yearold girl in order to marry her forcibly to a member of their community. A week later, the girl was found in the jungle under the protection of three lions. It turned out that when the lions saw the men beating the girl, they kicked away the intruders and guarded her. When the police found the little girl, the lions retreated. However, they went back to the jungle only when the girl safely returned home. In her testimony, she said that lions protected her until the police came. 4 4 Legs & a Tail

Winter 2019

Rudolph and Crew Given Green Light to Fly I

Dr. Kimberly May

t’s officially ON! Dr. Rene Carlson, AVMA past president and current president of the World Veterinary Association, recently trekked to the North Pole to perform veterinary exams on some very special patients: Santa’s reindeer. Just like any animal traveling across state or country borders, Santa’s reindeer need to have health certificates and a clean bill of health. Given their rapid rate of travel around the globe and the number of stops they make, if any of Santa’s reindeer were carrying an infectious disease, we could have an outbreak of disastrous proportions! In addition, if any of the reindeer were not healthy enough to travel, it would put them at higher risk of illness if exposed to an ill animal, and they could become ill and also put the other reindeer at risk. In other words, keeping the reindeer healthy not only protects them, but also protects the other animals of the world. And let’s not forget the people – reindeer can carry some diseases, such as brucellosis and tuberculosis, which can also infect people. Fortunately, all nine reindeer – including that famous red-nosed one – are perfect specimens of health, and were given full RTF (Ready To Fly) status. We’ve posted the official Certificate of Inspection, and there’s a short video of Dr. Carlson’s exam. We’ve also got more resources, including a press release, photos and a longer video from a previous visit, and answers to frequently asked questions about Santa’s reindeer. Winter 2019 5

Liz Makes a Comeback! Suzanne Allard


hat we know of Liz before she came to us is an all too common story of abuse and neglect. She had been sold to be a fighting dog, she then passed to drug dealers, was stolen and ransomed, she survived a house fire only to pass to an owner who kept her locked in a small room and fed sleeping pills so she would be a “good companion”. She was aggressive at times, but mostly fearful; It took many months for her not to cower whenever one would try to pet her head. It took a lot of love and a lot of hiking. My husband loves the peace and breadth that walking into the forest imbues, and he goes for miles every

day. It was Liz’s second chance, every day a dog’s paradise. Imagine a giant pit bull leaping over log after log like a deer with that pibble smile ear to ear. Grace and power. She also loved the water. Oh, she loved to swim, and I with her. Everyone says their dog is so smart, but I swear, we have to spell certain words. Silly bone, swim, and bath are on that list. We can’t even spell w a l k without her getting excited. Now I can’t say CBD without her getting excited. Three years ago we noticed her limping, but thought not too much of it, then I noticed the difference in the size of her back legs. In her puppy-like excite-



Pit bull lovers and the internet at large have mobilized to rebrand the maligned breed—they're saying "Pit bull" is out; "Pibble" is in! Urban Dictionary defines Pibble as “the more refined and less aggressive form of pit bull". 6 4 Legs & a Tail

Winter 2019

ment to go for her w a l k, she had hidden it from us. She had a torn MCL. The vet gave us three options. Amputation and surgery were both out of the question, the first for obvious reasons, the second came with an “it might not work”. We went with the least invasive, carprofin (ibuprofen for dogs) which ended up being ineffective and very expensive, not to mention a short-term solution. She never stopped walking, she just didn’t want to go as fast or as far. She began to walk three -legged after a time, and there were days she couldn’t even stand up without help. Her leg began to atrophy. We kept telling ourselves she’s more than just her leg pain, she’s happy and alive... We were heartbroken to take her anywhere. We were heartbroken to leave her. Every day she would get so so excited to go where we went, only to return in obvious pain. In a cost/benefit analysis, we still thought outdoors and exercise were better for her whole well being. Last fall we had a friend who was making CBD massage oil, and had stopped her place by to pick some up for my bad shoulder. Her dog was the shiniest happiest bounciest dog. We asked if she had gotten a new rescue. Nope, same dog, and Orbit was eight! We asked what she was feeding him and she said it was the CBD massage, no change in diet since last time...We had nothing to lose. I’ve been massaging Liz with a CBD beeswax and coconut oil blend since October 2017. She now stands tall again, and the energy she has is almost immeasurable. I can only imagine how joyous it is to be free from that pain. The healing took time, but we noticed the effects immediately. We swear at nine years old she’s getting to live those puppy years her sad start never gave her. We have our treatment time about every two days, and each time the jar comes out she thumps her tail and gets into super dog position. Thuuuper doooog! I massage her bad leg, then her good one and all around her shoulders. I get under her armpits in the summer when they get red and chafed, and if she has a sore or bite I just rub a little bit on. She licks the areas she can, and I give her just about a 1/4 teaspoon on her tongue. Happy puppy. CBD is an affordable palliative medication. It is far less expensive than all those supplements we tried. It far less frightening than sedation and surgery. Our Liz jumps with all her feet off the floor when we spell w- a- l- k, now with that pibble smile ear to ear. Winter 2019

Suzanne & Liz 7

The Note

A young couple recently moved into their first home. As they walked into

the kitchen, they found a note from the previous owners. It wasn’t long after the moving boxes were unpacked that the young couple met the new “neighbor.” They were more than happy to continue the tradition.

Welcome to your n ew home! We ho p e you buil

d years of here as w memories e did . Yo u are und er no obligation , but we d o ask one favor. I n th e backyard there is a brown , fer cat . For a al l m os t 1 0 years , we have fed h twice a da im y and lef t him wate r on the back porch . Nex t to the garag e , we built little hou him a se to prov ide shelte r from th winter an e d a pl ace to go on r ainy days We wil . l miss ou r home an d this cat Please ta . ke care of bo th .

Enjoy! 8 4 Legs & a Tail

Winter 2019

Animal Drug Safety Communication: FDA Alerts Pet Owners and Veterinarians About Potential for Neurologic Adverse Events Associated with Certain Flea and Tick Products


he U.S. Food and Drug Administration is alerting pet owners and veterinarians to be aware of the potential for neurologic adverse events in dogs and cats when treated with drugs that are in the isoxazoline class. Since these products have obtained their respective FDA approvals, data received by the agency as part of its routine postmarketing activities indicates that some animals receiving Bravecto, Nexgard or Simparica have experienced adverse events such as muscle tremors, ataxia, and seizures. Another product in this class, Credelio, recently received FDA approval. These products are approved for the treatment and prevention of f lea infestations, and the treatment and control of tick infestations.

Winter 2019 9

NOT MY DO G Karen Stur tevant


ike most pet owners, I work full-time. Mornings are a blur to get out the door; evenings are a rush to unpack, repack and assemble something that resembles dinner. Weekends are also busy, but in a different way. End-of-week chores and errands need to be done, the house pleads to be put back together and odd and ends finished. Saturday and Sunday are relished by most, me included. During the week prior to going work, I start my day at Vermont English Bulldog Rescue (VEBR) in Williston. Along with other volunteers we ready the dogs for the day long before the sun rises. The same chores are done on weekends, but not beginning at 5 a.m. We allow ourselves a bit of a break and start around 6:15 a.m.––such luxury. On these coveted days, one treat I allow myself is a morning before-the-

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world wakes walk with my shadow, my little dog, Mommachi, an adopted rescue from VEBR. She’s a spunky spirit and helps me get in my recommended number of daily steps. It was a typical summer Sunday morning, just after 4 a.m. (did I mention Mommachi is a morning dog?) and off we went on our trek. My little Chihuahua/Corgi blend is a sniffer, scratcher and snacker. She sniffs everything within reach, scratches dirt in search of protein-filled insects and grazes all day on bits of kibble and fruit. This Sunday was like a host of others, until it wasn’t. Our walk was uneventful, peaceful in the pre-dawn air. We followed our usual path to a close-by park, through the woods, and returned home––I to my computer, she to her beloved stuffed heggie to chew on his limbs. She has a few favorite lounge spots, but her abso-

lute number one choice is by my side or on my face (in the case of bedtime). So, when she was out of my sight for a number of minutes I went looking for her. I found her lying on her side at the bottom of the stairs, not moving. I feared she had fallen, landing on the hardwood floor. She’s a tiny sixteen pounds––a lot of harm can come to that little body. I tried to stand her up, she slid back down. Her breathing was shallow; all she wanted to do was lie motionless. Some folks I know are cool under pressure, I am not one of them. However, knowing that she could have internal injuries or broken bones, I needed to help her. I gingerly picked her up, still wearing my disheveled sleeping and walking clothes and bedhead (I must have been quite the sight) and gently set her in her spot of the passenger’s seat in my car. We broke every speed limit to get to the emergency vet by 5 a.m. Fortunately the parking lot and waiting room were empty as I carried her in. With a shaky voice I announced, “I think she may have fallen down the stairs.” A cursory vital check showed a decreased heartrate and blood pressure (unheard of for a nervous Nelly like Mommachi). I recalled our morning adventure and answered routine questions. No, I didn’t hear her thump down the stairs. No, I don’t see how she could have gotten into medication or cleaning agents. Yes, she ate breakfast and did her business. Yes, we walked a familiar route. Wi t h e x p e r ie nc e d h a n d s , Mommachi’s spine, legs, head and belly were examined–– nothing out of the ordinary. Due to her low vital readings, a urine test was recommended to test for ingestion of marijuana. Marijuana? Mommachi? Surely the veterinarian was kidding. Winter 2019

Much to my utter surprise, my innocent, demure canine tested positive for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the chemical found in the now-legal drug. On July 1, 2018, Vermont became the first state in the nation to legalize marijuana by way of legislation. During the time of debate, I didn’t pay much attention. What did I care what my fellow citizens did behind closed doors in the privacy of their own world? Mommachi’s system was flushed with IV fluids and she was given an anti-vomiting medication. Upon discussion, we surmised that our little adventurer found a marijuana edible and helped herself. Edibles contain a more concentrated amount of THC than dried does. Did she find it on the side of the road on the way to the park, along the jogging path through the woods? We will never know. She just knew it smelled good and gulp, it was gone. Since this incident, I’ve done a bit of research and learned that situations such as this have been steadily increasing over the past few years. Our canine companions have more cannabinoid receptors in their brains than we do, making the effects more pronounced and potentially serious. There is no doubt the dog is in distress when the drug is in their system. The majority of cases are mild and call for evaluation, supportive observation and care. However, dogs who ingests butter or oils infused with a high concentration of THC can find themselves with a serious case of pancreatitis. With the state legalization and cultural acceptability of cannabis, the stigma of using has been somewhat softened, making the drug more accessible for humans (and their animals). If you suspect your dog has consumed marijuana and observe any of the following symptoms, a trip to the emergency vet is in order. • Dribbling urine • Staggered walking or falling • Lethargy • Low heart rate and blood pressure • Wide, dilated pupils • Easily startled by sudden sounds and movement Reasonable deduction for the canine brain is: if it smells good, it must taste good. On our dark walk Sunday morning, I couldn’t see what was on the ground––Mommachi couldn’t either, but she could smell it. When Monday rolled around, I had a story to share and pet insurance forms to submit. This type of claim would be a first for us. In my little pup’s case, three full days were needed in order for her to get back to her weird, lovable self. Even the most responsible dog owners find themselves in situations not easily explained and complete vigilance doesn’t always prevent an accident. I know. In hindsight, we chuckle at the whole thing. At the time, it was anything but funny. The upside? I learned the fine art of explanation to the pet insurance company, and Mommachi has a first-hand (or in this case, paw) account of a tale to tell her fellow fur friends. Winter 2019 11

ORAH; The Only Fear Free Certified Practice in Vermont Samantha Gauthier - Berlin, VT


ur mission is to prevent and alleviate fear, anxiety, and stress in pets by inspiring and educating the people who care for them.” What is Fear Free? Here at Onion River Animal Hospital, we get asked that question often, if not daily. The straight forward answer is that Fear Free is an initiative and training program to lower fear, anxiety, and stress in the lives of your furry companions. Over the years, veterinary medicine has undoubtedly changed. In 2016, Dr. Marty Becker created the Fear Free program to help veterinary professionals and pet owners take the fear out of vet visits. Generally speaking, our pets don’t jump for joy at the mention of taking a trip to the vet, whether routine or emergent. Fear Free is working to change that.

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At ORAH we have 25 individually certified Fear Free Certified Professionals. In 2018 ORAH became the only Fear Free Certified Practice in Vermont and one of 40 Fear Free Certified Practices in the country. In order to become a Fear Free Certified Practice, ORAH has to meet certain standards in multiple categories, ranging from how our staff is trained, to how we write our medical records. That’s exciting, but what does that mean for you as a pet owner? It means that we’re reducing, if not eliminating, the stresses your pet feels when they come to see us. If your pet is less stressed, that likely means you will be less stressed, too! A Fear Free visit starts before you pull into our parking lot. If your pet is extremely stressed here, your visit actually starts at home. In these cases we’ve provided you with calming supplements and medications to administer the night before your pet’s appointment, and the morning of. With the medications on board, you load your calm, relaxed pet into the car and head to our new location in Berlin. Once here, your walk your pet calmly inside or come check in without your pet. Upon arrival, dogs are greeted with a hand-made bandanna sprayed with calming pheromones and cats are covered with a towel sprayed with feline calming pheromones. Our scale is even built into the floor, with a non-slip mat, so dogs don’t have to

step up onto a slippery surface. Dogs are led into a dog specific waiting area or dog specific exam room, while cats are offered the same cats-only waiting and exam room experience. Each of our dog and cat rooms are equipped with pheromone diffusers that fill the room with the same calming pheromones they’ve already been introduced to. Our Fear Free Professionals are trained in ways to approach, touch, and examine your pet in a way that is less intrusive and fully dependent on the signs of fear, anxiety and stress that your pet is displaying. We offer a variety of distractions and treats (read: spray cheese, peanut butter cups and toys) and often we find that pets leave our office happier than they came in. Each experience is curated to your pet and their specific needs. Vaccines, what vaccines? There have been a handful of cases where a pet was simply too stressed to enter the building. Having a Fear Free staff means we were able to safely and non-stressfully examine and vaccinate the pet outside, where they were most comfortable. We meet pets where they are, and go from there. Fear Free is a way to make the most stressful part of your pets lives stressfree. Samantha Gauthier is a Client Care Representative at ORAH. She shares her home with two rescue dogs, three cats and three reptiles, as well as various litters of foster kittens. Winter 2019

Winter 2019 13


CHARITY BEGINS AT HOME Pat Jauch - Caledonia Animal Rescue, Inc.

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nyone who has contributed to a national charitable organization can attest to the huge quantity of unwanted trinkets that follow the initial gift. Even some of the most reputable groups will eventually inundate your mailbox with address labels, t-shirts, umbrellas, stationery and other assorted items designed to entice an unwary animal lover to up the ante and make a greater financial donation. While many of these groups provide great services for animals, it is wise to verify where your funds are going and what programs they support. Many organizations have excessive overhead costs associated with their fund raising either because of their practice of hiring “professionals” to target certain individuals or because of the “free gifts” that accompany their solicitations. Others may simply be a sham, claiming to support animals in need when, in fact, they do no such thing. One source to check before making a contribution to a large organization is This website has researched various charities and rates them based on their actual services, rate of overhead, and legitimacy. Not all charities are listed but the ones that do appear are reliable and worthy of consideration. Recently a new scam has appeared in the guise of making purebred puppies available to loving homes. Apparently it is another one of the Nigerian scams designed to appeal to animal lovers. Beware of this and do not fall victim to the heart-wrenching stories that may accompany the request for funds. When contributing to any charity it is important to do your homework. Research the organization. Find out what it does. Learn about its fund raising efforts and how much of its income goes directly to the programs that it represents. Better yet, look toward your local, state and regional groups that are making a difference on behalf of the animals in your area. Many of these groups have volunteers who administer the funds and have no paid employees. This allows your full contribution to go directly to the programs that benefit the animals in your town, county and state.

Winter 2019


Phase 2 of o you the project will know how many be starting this horses there are fall. The second in Vermont? Or study will look at how much money individual horse the equine indusow ner sh ip in try brings in to Vermont and the Vermont? How economic impact about how much it h as on t he money is spent on state. This study horse feed, veteriis important for nary and farrier several reasons. Grazing horses at the Vermont Tech Equine Studies Facility. care, horse trailThere has not been ers and towing a study of this vehicles, and farm type ever conductequipment? What ed (other states are the employhave this data). ment opportunities A similar study for someone interwas conducted in ested in owning or 1996 and a demoworking in a stable, graphic study was breeding, or trainconducted in 2003. ing horses? There Therefore, t he are many of us that data is quite outwould find that dated. The study information useful, w ill also help Jessica Stewart Riley and a new study gather informabeing conducted tion pertaining to by the Vermont Horse Council aims to information to support legislative and outdoor recreation and working lands. discover the answers to these questions regulatory efforts. The steering committee is in the and more. The Vermont Horse Council A collaborative steering committee process of raising $15,000 to fund this is a 501c3, non-profit organization estab- has been created with individuals rep- phase. Numerous applications have lished in 1975, and focused on providing resenting a diverse population of horse been submitted to a variety of foundaa unified voice for all horse owners in owners, non-profit organizations, and tions, as well as the USDA in the hopes the state. The organization does this businesses in the state of Vermont, of receiving donations, but these are not through providing educational oppor- including officials from the Green guaranteed. This information is critical tunities and scholarships, establishing Mountain Horse Association, Vermont to support the equine industry as the and helping to maintain public trail Hunter Jumper Association, Vermont most recent information is nearly two access, and enhancing public awareness Morgan Horse Association, Vermont decades old and does not include any ecoof legislation and regulation that affects Farm Bureau, and the Vermont Large nomic information. The Vermont Horse horse owners, as well as many other Animal Clinic. Council needs your help. If you would valuable initiatives related to safety and The study is comprised of two phases like to learn more about the Vermont support of the industry. At the conclu- – in Phase 1, a volunteer corps surveyed Horse Council’s Equine Economic Impact sion of the VT Equine Industry Summit over 400 people at 25 events this sum- Study or make a donation, you can find in 2016 and 2017, the attendees, equine- mer, including the Vermont Summer more information at related business owners and members Festival in Dorset, the Vermont Morgan Every donation, however large or small, of equine organizations, identified an Heritage Days Horse Show in Tunbridge, contributes to a study that could benefit economic impact study as their number the Festival of Eventing at GMHA in South the hardworking horse person living just one priority. Little information exists Woodstock, weekly Rodeos held at Pond down your street! about the equine industry in Vermont– Hill Ranch in Castleton, as well as some no data about the number of horses in smaller events throughout the state. These Jessica Stewart Riley is an Vermont, how many jobs exist in this events bring many people into the state Assistant Professor and the sector, or how the industry impacts with their horses. They spend money on director of the Vermont Technical one of Vermont’s most prized assets, competing, housing, dining, fuel, etc. The College Equine Studies Program in its working landscape or Vermont’s University of Vermont Center for Rural Randolph Center, VT. She is a economy. Data gathered as a part of the Studies was contracted to develop the graduate of Johnson State College, current study will provide information survey tool and to manage the data and UVM, and Vermont Tech, as well needed to support business financial create a final report of this survey. Phase 1 as a member of the American decisions (should a new business be funding was provided by Vermont equine Quarter Horse Association started? Should an established business businesses, individuals, and organizations Professional Horsemen and expand or close?), support organiza- including the Farm Bureau, Vermont an American Riding Instructor tions providing therapeutic or rescue Morgan Horse Association, Yankee Farm Association Certified instructor in services, as well as equine-related aca- Credit, Northeast Agribusiness and Feed Western, Huntseat on the Flat, and demic programs (what is the need for Alliance. The Vermont Horse Council Stable Management. these types of services?), and provide provides administration for the project. Winter 2019 15

New Study could Help VT Horse Business Owners

Reiki Sue Miller

For those who don’t believe, there is never enough proof, and for those who believe, no proof is necessary.


~ Chinese Maxim

eiki is an invitation to wellness. Reiki does not attack or treat disease. Rather reiki supports well-being and strengthens the ability to heal by encouraging balance. Being balanced helps to maintain normal functioning. Reiki only flows according to the need of the recipient. Reiki is a holistic healing system, meaning that is treats the whole being on all levels, physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. Reiki can be used to heal all life forms. In Japanese Rei means universal. Ki means a nonphysical energy. Reiki is thought of as a universal pulsation. There are three levels of training. First Degree Reiki is healing through proximity – hands-on, light touch or hands just above the client. Second Degree is distant, non-touch healing, much like prayer though no religion is

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needed. Third level training is to become a Reiki Master. Only Reiki masters can train others. The reiki is accessed through initiations, sacred symbols and distant treatments. Reiki is accessed through, but not by, the practitioner. Although it makes sense to classify reiki as energy medicine this term more accurately refers to such interventions as Qigong, Shiatsu and Therapeutic Touch which reorganize the biofield. The experience of reiki is closer to meditation than other techniques of energy medicine. The word energy is vague and doesn’t apply to reiki as well as more descriptive words such as pulsation, vibration or oscillation. Human recipients of Reiki notice a gentle shift toward relaxation. Breathing becomes slower & more comfortable. Some recipients feel warm tingling where Reiki hands were placed. Others feel soft waves of subtle pulsations flowing through their bodies. Some feel nothing – except they are very relaxed afterward and have a sense of enhanced well-being or homeostasis. In animals you might see them become calmer, head drooping, deeper breathing, licking, chewing, yawning or even passing gas. Reiki originated in Japan with a lifelong spiritual aspirant named Mikao Usui. During a three-week fasting retreat, Usui came back to deliver Reiki to the world. Hawayo Takata, a first-generation JapaneseAmerican brought Reiki to America. Reiki is not religious in anyway. It developed instead out of a spiritual tradition and sits at the intersection of science and spirit. You don’t need to believe in anything to benefit from Reiki. Reiki is a multilevel state of harmony and integrity both within (body/mind/spirit) and between the environment (physical/social/spiritual). Reiki can be administered to pets and humans alike. Reiki is a safe treatment in any situation and cannot be over dosed. There is nothing invasive about how Reiki is administered. There is no wrong dosage. There are no known contraindications to using Reiki. Reiki does not override the healing process of a conventional or complementary intervention and can be used in conjunction with medications and other modalities of healing. Reiki goes to the source of the problem, even if it is unknown, and heals at a level of intensity that the being is open to receiving. Reiki is being used in hospitals, nursing homes and hospice care. Reiki is excellent for animals and is being used at animal shelters, sanctuaries and in veterinary clinics. Many veterinarians now practice Reiki as well, check to see if yours does. Sue Miller is a Path Registered Instructor & ESMHL, PATH Vermont State chair and Vice President of VHSA. Winter 2019

Winter Water Nicole Sicely Custom Equine Nutrition, LLC


inter is the most important time to ensure your horse has access to a constant supply of clean water. A horse’s weight consists of 70% water.  For your average 1,000lb horse, that is 700lbs of water! Horses naturally drink less water in the winter, leaving it up to us to ensure adequate intake.  This reduction, combined with the increased dry matter of hay, reduction of lush pasture, decreased exercise and sometimes reduced turn out, it’s no wonder that vets see an increase in impaction colic through the winter.  If a horse has inadequate water they will reduce the amount of dry matter they consume, leading to weight loss.  This can spell disaster for your hard keepers already struggling to maintain weight through the season. Not only does lack of water intake increase the risk of impaction, but mild dehydration can cause muscles to get tired and tie-up.  Keep an eye on your horse’s manure, if it looks drier than normal, you will want to increase your horse’s water intake. Having access to water in a pasture or turnout area can be difficult in New England, but it is essential. Horses cannot rely on snow as a water source. This bears repeating, horses cannot rely on snow. The first problem with using snow as a water source is the sheer volume they need to consume.  The snow to water ratio is 10 parts snow to 1 part water.  For a horse to get 10 gallons of water through snow, they would need to eat 100 gallons of it!  The second problem is that calories are used to melt snow, when these calories are needed to keep your horse warm instead.  Increased snow intake can lead to hypothermia, causing our horses to have a hard time staying warm.  Again, this can be very hazardous for those hard keepers.  Our Winter 2019

horses already have a hard time staying warm in New England! Horses drink less when the water temperature is cold. Ideally, water temperature should be kept around 40-60 degrees Fahrenheit.  In one study, horses drank 38-41% less cold water compared to water at 66 degrees. Salt will also help encourage drinking.  A horse at maintenance (not in work) requires 10g (10,000mg) of sodium per day.  1oz of salt provides 14g (14,000mg) of sodium.  Horses should have access to a plain white salt block.  However, if a 5lb salt block is not completely consumed with in two months, your horse is not meeting his sodium requirements, and salt should be added to his meals.  Two level tablespoons will provide 1oz of salt.  A horse in exercise will require 2-4x this amount.  You can purchase a 50lb bag of plain salt at any local feed store for around $12, costing less than a penny per day. Compare that to the cost of a vet bill for impaction colic, cheap insurance! Expensive “Designer Salt” is not necessary, nor recommended.  Don’t be fooled by the claim that these salts provide needed nutrients.  The amount of

these nutrients are so miniscule that they might support a fly. Provide your horse with an adequate amount of salt, and 24/7 access to water at 40-60 degrees Fahrenheit to keep his body functioning property and reduce the chance of impaction this winter. Nicole Sicely owns Custom Equine Nutrition, LLC. Nicole is an equine nutritionist offering consulting services and formulated Vermont Blend forage balancer. 17

COLD WEATHER SAFETY FOR PETS Erin Forbes, DVM - Vermont Veterinary Medical Association


inter has come to Vermont and this means colder weather, snow, and ice. And importantly, winter’s cold means potential dangers for our pets. Pets are susceptible to the cold, just like people. Some pets are more at risk if they have certain medical conditions, less body fat, or shorter coats. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to help make winter enjoyable for everyone. • IF POSSIBLE, KEEP YOUR CATS AND DOGS INSIDE DURING COLD WEATHER: It is a common misconception that pets are more resistant to the cold because they have fur. Cats and dogs can get frostbitten, become hypothermic, and get seriously ill if they are outside for too long. Even dogs with thicker coats, such as Huskies, should not be left outside for long periods of time in below freezing weather. • IF YOU ARE NOT ABLE TO HOUSE YOUR DOG INSIDE, MAKE SURE THEY HAVE THE RIGHT RESOURCES OUTSIDE: your pets should have access to a warm solid shelter and fresh, non frozen water (either change water frequently or use a pet-safe heated bowl). The shelter floor should be off the ground and have thick, dry bedding: this helps keep the pet warm and dry. The shelter’s door should be located away from prevailing winds. • BE MINDFUL BEFORE STARTING YOUR ENGINE: When you are getting ready to leave in the morning, always look underneath your car and bang on the hood. Warm engines are very appealing to outdoor and feral cats, so making noise will make sure any cats who may have taken shelter under your car will abandon their temporary bed. • KEEP THEM WAGGING ON YOUR WINTER WALKS: When you take your dog for a walk check their paws frequently and wipe their feet at the end of the walk. If you check your dog’s paw pads, you will catch weather injury right away--paw pads can crack and bleed or ice can accumulate between their toes. If your dog seems to routinely have issues with his or her paw pads consider getting dog boots for them to wear. If your dog has a short coat or seems bothered by the cold weather, consider a sweater or dog coat. • PRACTICE POST-WALK HEALTH: When out for a walk, your dog may acquire antifreeze or other dangerous chemicals on their fur so make sure to wipe your dog down when you return from a walk. This way your dog won’t be able to lick these chemicals off their fur. It is also recommended to use pet-safe de-icers on your property to protect your pets. • BE MINDFUL OF OLDER PETS: If your pet seems to slow down in the winter, they may have arthritis. Colder weather can exacerbate the pain of arthritis and you may see your pet less willing to go on a walk, not able to jump as well as they used to, or seeking more comfortable bedding. If you see the signs, or are concerned at all, speak to your veterinarian. These are just a few pieces of advice to help make winter a little safer for dogs and cats. If you have any concerns about your pet this winter or need information, please contact your veterinarian.

18 4 Legs & a Tail

The Vermont Veterinary Medical Association (VVMA), founded in 1898, is a professional organization of 375 veterinarians dedicated to compassionate animal care and quality medicine. Winter 2019

*We will not sell or give your information to a third party N418 Winter 2019 19

Alternatively Speaking :

A Holistic Look at Matters of the Heart Dr. Anne Carroll DVM, CVA


umans are used to constantly hearing about heart health in the news, but this is not a typical focus for animals since it is a far less common issue for them. However that changed this July after the FDA issued a statement regarding a possible dietary link to heart disease in dogs. Veterinarians are still investigating this mystery and it may turn out not to be diet related, but now seems a good time to look at how diet is related to heart health, what breeds are prone to heart conditions, and how to prevent and treat heart disease holistically in both dogs and cats. Before we get into the dietary connection, let’s look at the bigger picture of heart function in our furry friends. The heart is certainly an amazing organ. With each heartbeat, the left muscular side of heart pumps oxygen and nutrient-rich blood around the body and back to the heart, while at the same time the right chambers are sending returned

20 4 Legs & a Tail

blood back to the lungs to re-oxygenate. An electrical system in the heart muscle synchronizes contractions and valve openings to rapidly move blood. We can compare this modern description to the Chinese portrait of the heart, which has its roots in intuition and observation. They equally recognized the heart’s vital role in maintaining life but more poetically describe it as “the shape of a closed lotus flower”, situated underneath the lung and above the liver, where it functions as Master of the blood and vessels. Emperor of the body, it has a dual function of also being the seat of consciousness and intelligence, or ‘”shen”. Both Western and Eastern perspectives agree that the heart provides essential circulation to feed the entire body, including the heart itself, which needs a good supply of oxygen and nutrients to be able to exercise nonstop. The heart’s need for nutrition increases in disease since it is working harder to pump blood when it is weakened by damage and trying to heal itself. Even before damage occurs, nutrition affects the development of heart disease. Certain breeds such as Newfoundlands, Boxers, Great Danes, Dobermans and Cocker Spaniels can have trouble assimilating taurine, an amino acid found in meat. Affected dogs need higher levels of dietary supplementation to avoid damage to their heart muscle. In contrast, smaller breeds like Miniature Poodles, Yorkies and Beagles tend to develop problems with their valves as they age. In either group, part of this genetic tendency may involve a tendency to have inflammatory damage to their hearts. Studies have found a link between inflammation markers and heart disease in cats and dogs, and that inflammation is often a result of dietary stresses. Because of these links, nutritional supplements and therapeutic foods are a mainstay of holistic treatment of heart disease. As an example we can look at the case of “Kellyn , an 8 ½ year old Doberman who seemed tired, and was diagnosed with heart failure. Dobermans are especially prone to heart disease, and like other large dogs the disease is silent until the heart muscle is so damaged they go into failure. His cardiologist started him on medications, and advised


his owner that his expected survival was 6 months. We started him on nutritional supplements specific to supporting the diseased heart. At his recheck ultrasound a month and a half later, his cardiologist was amazed at how much improvement he had, beyond the effects his heart drugs would have on his condition. Kellyn continued on supports for a year and a half before his liver failed as a result of his heart disease at the age of ten. Alfie

Alfie was a cat determined to use up all of his nine lives. Adopted in middle age, he was allergic, and then diagnosed with heart failure when poor circulation created fluid build-up in his lungs and weakness from lack of blood supply. His heart did better on medications for several months but his kidneys declined, so they had to cut back and in the meantime the new meds for his allergies aggravated his liver. So he came to us on six medications trying to juggle all his issues but he was still very itchy and not eating or feeling well. Over a period of time we used herbs, medications and nutrition to alleviate the allergies, and as those helped we slowly removed or reduced some of the drugs we felt may be bothering him. From a Chinese perspective, heart failure is a stagnation of Qi (energy), Blood Winter 2019

and fluids in the Upper Burner (chest). So we used Chinese herbs to address that pattern and Alfie was able to feel better on fewer drugs, which also helped his kidneys and liver feel better. He lived a year and a half longer with a good quality of life overall, far exceeding our expectations given where he started from. As important as nutrition is, without improved circulation those nutrients can’t reach the heart well. As in Kellyn’s case of heart failure, often drug therapy is needed to restore circulation to give us time to use other therapies. But sometimes the drugs can cause problems too, so in our practice we use acupuncture and Chinese herbs with or to replace drugs when needed. “Alfie” the cat and “Sana” the Pomeranian are good examples of this.


Sana the little Pomeranian was seen for a routine checkup, but in listening to her heart a murmur was heard. Murmurs are the sound of blood turbulence created when the valves are allowing blood to flow backwards in the heart. She was feeling well but the ultrasound of her heart showed that her heart was close to failure and the cardiologist gave her medications to use if she began to cough. When she started the heart medications, like Alfie she did not tolerate the drugs and her kidney failure was suddenly worse than her heart disease. She was not eating, her weight dropped dangerously, and she would fall over trying to walk. We used nutrition, acupuncture, and herbs for her heart and kidneys, and it took months but she slowly stabilized and eventually returned to her old self. At her recheck a year later her murmur was improved and since she could not take any other medications, her cardiologist felt she did not need another ultrasound. She did finally pass at the age of 16, almost three years after she began treatment. These cases all involved advanced disease, and we always encourage early diagnosis or better yet prevention when possible to improve success. Especially if you have a breed at risk, prevention is invaluable with heart disease! Starting when young we encourage nutritional supplementation and a diet including fresh ingredients to reduce inflammation. Knowing the effects of emotional stress on Winter 2019

the body, we address anxiety, timidity or anger in all patients since those are signs of imbalances that affect health over time, not just the heart. Annual checkups are very important to detect murmurs, allowing us to start early supports to minimize the use of drugs. As little dogs age, owners can watch for coughs or reduced ability to exercise. For at-risk large breeds we suggest an ultrasound between the age of 4 and 6 to see if the heart muscle is showing signs of disease before failure occurs that is seen outwardly. For cats, disease is often unpredictable and silent until it reaches advanced stages. The best prevention is avoiding processed dry cat foods and obesity to reduce the metabolic stress and inflammation in a carnivore trying to process starchy materials they are not designed to eat. So as usual, we end up talking about diet as a major factor in health. This brings us full circle to that FDA statement about diet and heart disease. The reason these handful of cases are drawing attention is that the dogs affected were not the typical breeds, but instead Retrievers, Whippets, a Shih Tzu, a Bulldog, Miniature Schnauzers, and even some mixed breeds. Veterinarians are focusing on a possible dietary cause because we saw the same issue in cats getting inadequate taurine in the first diets made in the mid 60’s. Dogs have never had that issue, but the trend

in dog food today is to feed unheard of quantities of potatoes, peas, chickpeas, and lentils in place of undesirable grains. So far, we have no idea why these dogs developed heart disease, since most of them had normal taurine levels when tested. It may be that there is a limit to how many non-animal proteins you can use in dog food, or something unrelated to diet at all. In the meantime, no matter what dry or canned foods you feed your pet, consider some form of fresh meat as part of their diet, or a taurine supplement. Talk to your holistic veterinarian about what would be appropriate for your pet’s individual needs and how to introduce that. And until the time when advances in science can explain this and the other medical mysteries out there, we can rely on the poetry of Chinese medicine and the inherent knowledge of whole food nutrition to promote health for not just the heart, but the whole. Dr. Anne Carroll is owner of the Chelsea Animal Hospital where she and her associates practice conventional medicine and surgery as well as several alternative modalities including traditional Chinese acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine. For more information on alternative veterinary medicine visit their website at 21

Common Myths About Dental Disease in Dogs and Cats Sandra L Waugh VMD, MS


n my practice of veterinary dentistry I hear, over and over, these same myths from my clients. Many of the conditions that I see in dogs and cats would, if present in a person, cause complaint and an urgency for treatment. Unfortunately, dogs and cats do not complain about dental pain. Or, they do complain, but in a way that is not very obvious to their owners. They most certainly feel pain from and are adversely affected by dental disease. In my practice of veterinary dentistry I hear, over and over, these same myths from my clients. Many of the conditions that I see in dogs and cats would, if present in a person, cause complaint and an urgency for treatment. Unfortunately, dogs and cats do not complain about dental pain. Or, they do complain, but in a way that is not very obvious to their owners. They most certainly feel pain from and are adversely affected by dental disease.

MYTH #1: “Dogs and cats do not feel dental pain the way people do. They have a higher pain threshold.” Basis for Myth: Serious dental problems are often found on a routine physical examination, and the owner will say that they have had no indication that anything was wrong. The pet still eats and may even still chew on hard toys.


Dogs and cats feel dental pain in the same way and to the same degree as humans. It has been shown that dogs and cats have the same pain threshold and tolerance as humans. Then why do they continue to eat? The simple answer is that eating is necessary in order to survive. The dog or cat will often adopt various strategies, such as preferring canned food over dry, chewing on the less painful side of the mouth, or eating small amounts of food numerous times per day. And why not complain? I wonder, sometimes, exactly how a dog or cat should “complain” about pain in the mouth. If a leg hurts a limp will result. But what is the corresponding action with dental pain? The signs are often subtle and often increase slowly over a long time and thus are not as apparent as a limp. A general decrease in enthusiasm, drooling, pawing or rubbing the mouth, decreased enthusiasm for games, discharge from the eye, sneezing are some of the signs that are seen. Also, because dogs and cats still have behaviors left over from prior to domestication, there is a in-born desire to look strong and pretend that everything is fine. A display of weakness can make one vulnerable to becoming a meal to another predator. So, “stiff upper lip” and “fluff out that fur” to look as big and strong as possible. Recommendation: If you see a condition that would cause pain in your mouth, assume that it is causing pain for the pet. If you see a condition that would cause you to seek dental care for yourself, then seek out dental care for the pet. MYTH #2: “If a broken tooth does not seem to be bothering the pet, there is no need to treat it” or “it is ok to just wait and watch it.” Basis for Myth: Teeth that are fractured or worn with exposure of the in-side of the tooth (the pulp) are commonly seen in dogs and cats. Yet the owner will often state that the tooth is not bothering the pet. (see Myth #1).


If a tooth has been broken or worn to allow pulp exposure, it is a problem that must be treated. A tooth with an open pulp chamber becomes a direct pathway for bacteria to enter the inside of the tooth and then to eventually exit out the bottom of the root and infect the bone. I know from personal experience that this can cause excruciating pain! These teeth need to be treated with either a root canal procedure or an extraction. To “wait and watch” the tooth makes no sense. When I hear this I wonder “For what are you watching?” Since dogs and cats often do not show signs of dental pain, then watching for the appearance of pain is an unreliable indicator that the tooth needs treatment. Recommendation: A fractured tooth, a worn down tooth or a discolored tooth with an intact crown are all likely to be non-vital teeth and should be treated with a root canal procedure or an extraction. Antibiotics often will temporarily relieve pain, but will not cure the problem.

Fracture upper right canine. The darker area surrounding the tip of the root was due to an infection in the bone. (red arrow).

MYTH #3: “For minor tartar accumulations and mild gingivitis, a simple scaling without anesthetic will often be sufficient.” Basis for Myth: Owners may be reluctant to put a pet under anesthesia. Some groomers and veterinarians will offer this service. When finished, the visible parts of the teeth will look clean and there may be some reduction in odor.


Proper dental care requires general anesthesia. A dental cleaning includes the removal of all of the plaque and tartar, including underneath the gum. There is a space where the gum meets the tooth, and it is this space that is the most important part to clean. All the teeth should be probed. A polishing is necessary to create a smooth surface that will easier to keep clean. Under general anesthesia every tooth can be fully examined and dental radiographs taken to determine if the entire tooth, meaning the crown and the root, are healthy. In the awake pet, most of this is not possible. Only the outside Winter 2019 22 4 Legs & a Tail

surface of the tooth can be cleaned, leaving behind all the plaque and tartar on the inside of the mouth. Subtle problems will be missed, leaving them to become worse over time. Recommendation: Have your pet’s teeth cleaned under general anesthesia. Concern about anesthesia is reason-able, so ask about the monitors used, what parameters are being monitored and if a technician will monitor the anesthesia continuously. MYTH #4: “Old animals are not suitable candidates for dental treatment.” Basis for Myth: Generally, older patients have higher anesthetic risks and so some veterinarians feel the benefits of treatment do not justify these risks. In the past, anesthetic risks were higher and the level of dental treatment available lower and so the risks might not have been justified. Things have changed!


It is true that some patients are too systemically ill to be candidates for a general anesthetic, however, I feel that no animal should be denied the benefits of proper dental care merely because they were born a long time ago. As a veterinarian, I was sworn to prevent and relieve animal suffering (see the Veterinarian’s Oath). Many dental conditions are not only sources of chronic pain, but also serious sources of chronic infection. These situations have significant negative impact on both the quality and quantity of life for the patient. With our present re-sources for pre anesthetic diagnostics, risk management during anesthesia and post anesthesia care, the risk of loosing a patient to a general anesthetic has been greatly reduced (there is always a risk with any procedure in any patient). Also, the level of dental care available has increased incredibly over the past fifteen years. It is now safe to say that the risk to the quality and quantity of life associated with dental treatment is less than the risk associated with dental neglect. Recommendation: If you hear yourself thinking or are told that your pet is too old for a needed dental procedure, find a veterinarian who will take all factors into account, not just the age of your pet. MYTH #5: “Doggy Breath or Kitty Breath is normal” Basis for Myth: Treatment of periodontal disease has not always been emphasized by veterinarians and owners were not made aware of dental disease in their pets. I am often told by owners that the dogs and cats they had in the past did not have any dental disease. This, of course, is not true, rather dental disease was prevalent in the past but was not diagnosed and treated.


Bad breath is a sure sign of significant infection in the mouth, and while there are other causes, periodontal disease is by far the number one cause of bad breath (halitosis). Periodontal disease has a “rotten egg” or “swamp gas” type of odor, while plaque has mildly unpleasant odor. If the odor from the mouth makes you gag or want to run away, then significant periodontal disease is highly likely. Recommendation: Have your pet’s teeth examined and dental x-rays taken under general anesthesia. This can usually be immediately followed by performing whatever dental procedures (extractions, etc) need to be done in order to return the mouth to a healthy state.

Teeth do not have to end up in this state! This dog lost most of these teeth at 7.5 years of age.

MYTH #6: “Periodontal disease is an inevitable consequence of aging.” Basis for Myth: Many old dogs and cats have severe periodontal disease.


Periodontal disease is entirely preventable. Through the judicious use of abrasive foods and toys (nothing too hard), appropriate home-care programs and timely professional oral hygiene procedures, it is very possible for a dog or cat to live a long life and lose no teeth to periodontal disease. They may lose teeth to other conditions, such as broken teeth or tooth resorptions. Recommendation: Adopt a preventative approach to oral health by starting dental care before disease is established. 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. Parts of this article were adopted from “Dental Mythology” by Fraser Hale, DVM, FAVD, Dipl AVDC at and “Pet Dental Health Month: Debunking Common Myths About Periodontal Disease” by Brook A. Niemiec, DVM, FAVD, Diplomate AVDC at

Winter 2019 23

Weight Control for Dogs in Winter Months

to closely monitor your dog’s activity. Accurately tracking your pet’s activity levels is possible with one of many pet activity monitors available today. These small devices mount on Fido’s collar and can double as a GPS to locate Patrick Sturgeon & Ben Burroughs a lost pet. Most devices generate simple reports and even offer pet parents s the leaves change and the first Step 2: Monitor & Plan for Activity: reminders if too much time has elapsed dusting of snow sets in, we often notice Once you understand your pet’s since their dog was active. This is a our four-legged friends are not as excited physical status, then you can evaluate simple way to track Fido’s activity and to run outside first thing in the morning. activity needs encourage additional playtime. Then, the temperature drops further, we based on breed, have less daylight, and these trips out- age, and behavStep 3: Assess Lifestyle & side become shorter and less frequent. ior. We all know Nutritional Needs: This can be a bad combination for many “that dog” – the Dogs who live predominantly indoors pets as it can lead to weight gain. It can one smiling and vs. those who spend most of their time also compound health & joint issues in bounding through outdoors regardless of the temperamany older pets. A variety of steps can be snow with a thick ture have very different caloric needs. taken however to ensure our four-legged coat of fur. Not all Experts explain that dogs who spend friends maintain a healthy weight with- our pets possess most of their time outdoors during wina robust coat, but out sacrificing on nutrition. ter months shiver just like humans. they want to go Shivering can have a massive caloric out regardless of Step 1: Assess your Dog’s Health: impact on your dog. So, understanding This step considers many variables, the cold. So, by this need may result in more feedings. such as your dog’s age, breed, and ten- understanding breed and behavior, a Consult with a veterinarian or pet food dencies. When in doubt, consult a pet parent can invest in winter coats nutritional expert before changing your veterinarian. Veterinarians can do more to ensure even short hair breeds can pet’s meal plan. than give you the eyeball test; they can enjoy the snow if they have a drive to If your four-legged friend spends let you know whether your dog is at a venture out. more time indoors during the winter, healthy weight or potentially flag Fido If an unbridled desire to run free is feeding less for regular meals is not the as overweight. Together, you can create not in your dog’s nature and the thought answer. However, cutting back on treats a plan for increased activity and better of walking your pet in the cold gives you early in the seathe chills, you may need to develop a plan son may offer nutrition during the winter months.


caloric savings to offset the lower activity levels. Or, if you cannot resist treating your four-legged friends, seek out low calorie training treats. Zuke’s and Fruitables “minis” training treats offer generous portions at a low-calorie point. If you still have concerns about diet, consult with a veterinarian. A lower calorie diet may be needed. Lower calorie over the counter (OTC) diets can include lean proteins such as chicken, turkey, and fish and have lower added fat contents. Brands such as Merrick, Annamaet, Blue Buffalo, Weruva, and others manufacture lower calorie diets that meet all other nutritional requirements. In drastic situations a veterinarian may suggest a prescription diet which takes many of the previous OTC formulas and layers in added fiber to promote satiety. These diets are also backed by extensive clinical trials. If you follow these steps, your dog should emerge from the winter cold in peak health and ready to run through the mud come April!

24 4 Legs & a Tail

Winter 2019

Blueberry Dog Biscuits • 1½ cups King Arthur Oat Flour • 2½ cups King Arthur Quinoa Flour • ¾ cup King Arthur Golden Flax Meal • ½ cup frozen organic, unsweetened blueberries • ¼ cup olive oil • 1 large egg

DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 350° and line a baking sheet with a nonstick baking mat or parchment paper. In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients with 1 cup water to form a dough. Roll out mixture to ¼ inch thick between two sheets of plastic wrap or parchment paper. Remove the plastic wrap and cut out biscuits with a cookie cutter. Space biscuits 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, until nicely browned and firm. Transfer biscuits to a wire rack.  Winter is the season of dandruff and dry skin, and these treats are full of nutrients that will help keep your dog’s skin and coat soft and healthy.


trea These are a part of yo ur dog, not the daily diet. plenty! One biscuit is 25

Home with Your Dog for the Holidays Maria Karunungan and Megan O’Hara

P lanning a wonderful, memorable get-together with family or friends

this holiday season? Worrying if your dog will behave around great-aunt Suzie? Worry not! Here are some tips to ensure your dog stays on Santa’s nice list this holiday season: Just as you would never try out a new hair style on the day of a major event, you may not appreciate discovering at the last minute how well (or poorly) your dog behaves when your guests arrive dressed in their holiday finest. If you’re not sure how your dog will react, it might be a good idea to rehearse arrivals with a neighbor or local friend ahead of time. That way you’ll have plenty of time to polish your dog’s manners before your long-lost sister-in-law arrives with her new kitten, Pipsqueak--just in case your dog thinks she looks like fun to chase around the house. While you’re deliberating on what ingredients to buy for the holiday meal, don’t forget to make sure your dog’s “pantry” is full as well. Stock up on longlasting consumables and treats, such as

26 4 Legs & a Tail

frozen Kongs, bully sticks or pig’s ears, to help your dog settle quickly when guests arrive. This gives you the added benefit of keeping him out of trouble while you’re entertaining your guests. Dogs enjoy working on chew toys in the same way you or I would get engrossed in a good book or movie. If your dog has never seen holiday decorations before, she may think they look like a tasty snack! It’s a good idea to set up your decorations several weeks in advance, and place a pen or gate between your dog and the tree or other decorations, and let your dog get used to these being around. Otherwise Fifi may decide to help herself to the presents under the tree early if not carefully supervised! Providing your dog with more interesting and meaningful things to do, such as rousing games of tug with her own toys, may help mitigate her interest in the holiday décor and allow the tinsel and candy canes to lose their novelty. The old adage, “a tired dog is a good dog,” has stood the test of time for a reason – it’s generally very true, particularly for young dogs or high energy breeds. Consider taking your dog for an off-leash romp through the woods or give them a chance to blow off steam at the dog park earlier in the day before important events such as your guests’ arrival, a big family dinner, or the exchange of gifts. Or send the dog and the kids out to the backyard to play in the snow while you’re baking the pie – they’ll wear each other out and come in tired and hungry!

If you really want to impress your guests, here are a few training exercises you can practice ahead of time with your dog to help him be on his best behavior for the big day. Teach Sparky to sit when greeting people at the front door so he isn’t knocking over your threeyear old niece. Stash treats by the door so that when the doorbell rings you can ask him to sit and stay. When he does, reward him with a treat for a job well done! Another useful skill is teaching your dog how to stay on his bed during dinner. This prevents him from drooling on your guests’ laps and possibly scoring some of Aunt Sally’s stuffing. The easiest way to train this habit is to give him a special, long-lasting chew toy, such as a stuffed frozen Kong or a bully stick, after he lays down on his bed. “Leave it” is another super handy cue for those times when guests are milling about with a drink in one hand and a cookie in the other to prevent Lassie from jumping up to nab the cookie. And lastly, train a cute trick such as offering a paw to “shake” or rolling over to “play dead” to amuse your guests and give your dog a fun way to participate in the festivities. These are skills your dog can learn at home with the help of a private trainer, or through training classes if you’re planning in advance! Maria Karunungan and Megan O’Hara of Fetch the Leash encourage everyone to take their upcoming class, “Impress Your Guests” at their training facility on Pearl St in downtown Burlington! Winter 2019


Polar Bear


olar bears live at the periphery of the northern polar ice cap, in the Arctic circle. Polynyas (water areas surrounded by ice) or patches of unfrozen sea, along with shore leads (patches of water between ice sheets and coasts) are their favorite hangouts, as these places are populated by seals. No polar bears are found at the South pole and the surrounding Antarctic region. That’s where penguins reside.

weigh more than 1400 pounds. Their average weight is about 352 to 680 kg (770 to 1,500 lb), which is just about half a ton! Adult females are about half the size of male polar bears.

Polar bears are the largest bears on earth. They are also the largest land carnivores (meat-eaters) in the world. Newborn polar bears are as small as rats, but as they grow up, they tower up to 10 feet in height and

The polar bear fur is also oily and water-repellant, so that it can easily dry itself. Contrary to popular perception, the color of polar bear skin is in fact black, which is well disguised by their fur.

Now you may be wondering how polar bears manage to stay warm and alive in such freezing temperatures. The reason is a 4 inch thick layer of blubber fat, which lies under their skin. It is like a layer of insula Polar bears are champion swim- tion which protects them from the mers. They can swim at a rate of 6 cold, helping them maintain their miles per hour in sea water at sub-zero body temperature. In fact, the laytemperatures. None of our gold medal ers of fat lock down the heat in their winning Olympic swimmers would body so efficiently, that they almost stand a chance against a polar bear. don’t show up on an infra-red sensiThese bears have been known to swim tive (night-vision) camera! for hundreds of miles non-stop, on the Polar bear’s fur is not white, even trot, resting on ice sheets for a while though it may appear to be so. Each in between. On land, polar bears can hair in the polar bear’s fur, is in fact travel at top speeds of 40 kilometers transparent. They look white because per hour. they reflect the white color of the ice.

Winter 2019 27

The Fairy Dogmother – and Other Classic Tails Tanya Sousa


ittle Pogo bounces all day. She digs in the dirt and sniffs in the grass. She jumps and bumps people hello and races the train along the fence of her yard. When the day is over, Pogo and Dear Person snuggle in bed. Pogo’s eyelids are heavy as she rests on her back. She tucks her head under Dear’s chin. “Do you want to hear a bedtime story, Pogo?” Dear asks every night. Pogo wiggles. She loves to hear

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bedtime stories! “What will tonight’s story be about?” Pogo asks, but Dear Person can never seem to hear her. Little Pogo can only wait for…

end of it. She sniffed the other end. She sniffed the middle. It didn’t smell like any other dog. It was her first wonderful toy! She bit down on the soft end, and it did make a mighty squeak! “Now you may go to the Play Ball,” the Fairy Dogmother said. When Pretty Little Pogo arrived at the Grand Yard Gate, she showed the Dobermans her toy and was immediately allowed in. She had never seen so many dogs! So many toys! So much running and jumping and playing and squeaking. There were barks and play-growls and play-bows everywhere she looked. “That’s a fine toy!” A voice said behind her. Pogo whirled around and saw none other than Prince Barkley. He play bowed and she pretended to pull the toy away. He grabbed one end and they tugged and tugged until they finally had to each drop their ends and lay down panting and happy. The two dog sisters saw Pretty Little Pogo playing with Prince Barkley and pranced over. “That is one of our toys! You can’t have it! Give it back to us now!” The first sister sniffed. Prince Barkley narrowed his eyes. He sniffed the sisters and then sniffed Pretty Little Pogo. He sniffed the toy. “This toy only smells of Pogo,” he announced. “The toy is hers.” The sisters’ ears drooped low. If they drooped lower they might have dragged on the ground. “That looks like a better toy than any of ours,” the second sister whimpered. “I will happily share my new toy with both of you,” Pretty Little Pogo said. “But we have never shared our toys with you,” the sisters both whined. “I know, but I will still share this toy anyway.” Prince Barkley’s eyes twinkled. “That’s what the Play Ball is all about! Sharing our toys and having the time of our lives!” The three sisters played together with the new toy. They had contests to see who could tug the hardest or find the squeaky part first. Sometimes Pogo won. Sometimes one of her sisters won. They took turns with the other toys, and invited Prince Barkley and many different dogs to play too. By the end of the Play Ball they knew what happily ever after meant.

ONCE UPON A TIME… a spotted puppy named Pretty Little Pogo was adopted into a home with two sisters. The sister dogs were jealous. They didn’t like that she wanted to share their toys. They didn’t like to share their soft, warm dog beds. Instead of a soft warm bed, Pretty Little Pogo spent the first year sleeping in the ashes of the hearth. One day a message came to the house by hound dog howl that all the dogs in the kingdom were invited to a Play Ball. Each dog was asked to bring a toy to gain entry into the Grand Yard. Pretty Little Pogo bounced around her sisters. “We will go to the Play Ball! Which toys should we bring?” The first sister pointed her long nose in the air. “We will go?” She sniffed. “These are all our toys and we will not let you take any of our squeakies or pullies or chewies or bouncies. You’ll have to bring one of your own toys or stay home!” Pogo looked around and saw many wonderful things to play with…but none that were hers. She hung her head as her sisters chewed and tossed them all to see what would be best to bring to the Play Ball. “This one will surely impress Prince Barkley!” The first sister sniffed again. “He’ll like mine even better!” The second one yipped. The two sister dogs lifted their heads high, each of their mouths full of a toy to present at the Grand Yard Gate. They pranced off and left Pogo standing in front of the house. No sooner were the selfish sisters gone than Pretty Little Pogo saw a bright cloud of white fur flashing in the sunset. There in front of her stood a dog with a glowing coat and kind eyes. Pogo perked her ears. She shivered with fear and excitement all at once and fought the urge to sniff the newcomer. “Who are you?” “I am your Fairy Dogmother of course! I’ve come to help you go to the Play Ball.” “I can’t go to the Play Ball like my sisters,” Pretty Little Pogo explained. “I don’t have my own toy to show at the Grand Yard Gate.” The Fairy Dogmother threw back her Tanya Sousa is the author of many head and howled a laugh. She began to wag magazine articles and several chilher tail faster and faster. It started whirling. It started twirling. It moved so fast Pogo dren’s picture books. She is also a almost couldn’t see the lovely long white painter and photographer. Her environmental novel, The Starling God, made hairs anymore. Then there was a POP! the short-list for the national “Green There on the green grass was a new toy. It had a long rope middle with a knot at Earth Book Awards,” in the Young Adult one end. The other end was soft. It looked Fiction category.  Contact her at tanlike it would make a mighty squeak if Pogo Find her art and writing at down on it. But was it really a new toy? ket/natureartsexpressed. Pogo lowered her nose. She sniffed one Winter 2019



Northern VT & NH Winter 2019

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4 Legs & A Tail North Winter 2018