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Mud Season 2017 Western Vermont

Miranda Lambert and Her Dogs Money Saving Tips for Pet Owners What To Do When Dogs Really Fight Is Your Cat Overstimulated? Bring Out the Best in Your Horse

4 LEGS & A TAIL FUN! What's Different?

Dog’s Leg Missing, Tip of Umbrella Missing, Buckle on boot missing, Umbrella handle now green, Reflection missing in Water

TEACHER’S PET On the last day of kindergarten, all the children brought presents for their teacher. The florist’s son handed the teacher a gift. She held up the box and said, “I bet it’s some flowers!” “That’s right!” shouted the little boy. Then the candy store owner’s daughter handed the teacher a gift. She held up the box and said, “I bet it’s some chocolates!” “That’s right!” shouted the little girl. The next gift was from the liquor store owner’s son. The teacher held up the box and saw that it was leaking. She touched a drop with her finger and tasted it. “Is it wine?” she asked. “No,” the boy answered. The teacher touched another drop to her tongue. “Is it champagne?” she asked. “No,” the boy answered. “What is it?” she said. “A puppy!”

LOOK AGAIN! Alicia Goodwin

Inside this issue of 4 Legs & a Tail


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2. 3. 3. 4.

Service Volunteers Milne Travel announces a new program to help non-profits such as pet rescue groups What's New at the Rutland Humane Society Do You Have Obsessive Dog Disorder Going to School for a Unique Equine Clinic Take advantage of the Morgan Horse Heritage

Foundation’s 5th Annual Unique Equine Clinic. Coming this April, a horseless clinic 6. Bring Out the Best in Your Horse World Renowned Trainer Linda Parelli outlines the basics for becoming a good horseman 7. Third Annual Caws for Paws Pet Expo in Barre June 3rd JD Green does it again with close to 100 vendors, DOCK DOGS, behavior training demonstrations and More! 8. On Earth Day Celebrate Cats Alley Cat Allies celebrate the role of cats in the environment, along with the people and programs that help them.

9. Lynx Spotted in Southern Vermont The first confirmed evidence of lynx in Vermont outside of the

Northeast Kingdom in decades 10. Money Saving Tips Follow these tips to come out ahead with your pet 11. Miranda Lambert...A Dogs Best Friend Meet the country music superstar in an exclusive 4 Legs & a Tail interview

13. Here a Snip, There a Snip, Everywhere a VSNIP in Vermont

Learn about this spay/neuter assistance program 14. Is Your Dog a Good Host? Paula Bergeron Over Eager Greeters, Reluctant Receivers, and Bouncers; is your dog one of these? How to give your dog the tools they need to be good hosts to your visitors 15. Heartworm Prevention and Treatment, Elisa Speckert A little prevention now can save your dog from complicated and expensive treatments later

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16. Cat Senses, Mike Robertson Overstimulation can cause nipping, “Whisker Fatigue” and how to prevent it 17. Dog Fights!, John Peaveler What to do when dogs “tangle” 18. A Healthy Gut Means a Happy Pet The secret behind probiotics 20. Improving Your Pet's Oral Health, Kristin Esterbrook, DVM 21. Alternatively Speaking: When What You Need is More Time, Anne Carroll, DVM 22. How to Help an Injured Wild Bird, Catherine Greenleaf Confidently know what to do if you come

across an injured wild bird

23. Bunnies and Chicks for Easter, M. Kathleen Shaw, DVM

They are “cute” at Easter, but a handful by Mothers Day

24. Feline Urinary Obstruction, Catherine MacLean, DVM Act quickly for your cat’s sake 25. The Bond of the Box: Pet Parents Identify with Human Trends in Pet Food Packaging Holly McClelland and Patrick Sturgeon Making sense of your bag of pet food 26. How to Attack Fleas, Millie Armstrong, DVM They’re BACK! And this is the way to combat this

recurring problem

28. Happy Anniversary Cat in the Hat! We fondly remember Dr. Suess and his mischievous cat and

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the origins of this favorite story of millions.

4 Legs & a Tail Volume R.117 P.O. Box 841 Lebanon, NH 03766 603-727-9214 Spring 2017

Publishers: Tim Goodwin, Tim Hoehn Senior Editor: Scott Palzer Office Manager: Beth Hoehn Graphic Design: Kristin Wolff, Lacey Dardis Kerry Rowland Sales: Tim Goodwin, Karyn Swett

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 Western 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. 1

Scott Milne and Vince at the Appalachian Trail


olunteering is the foundation of mos t s uc c e s sf u l non-pr of it organizations. Every year thousands of folks take time to support causes and charities that make a difference in our communities. Milne Travel’s Service-Volunteers program is designed to inspire and honor volunteers and the organizations they serve. According to company President, Scott Milne, “Milne Travel is all about service- to our clients, among ourselves and our communities. Our focus on service started with our founders-my parents, Don and Marion Milne.” In response to this commitment, Milne Travel has launched a new program designed to reward those groups and volunteers who give of themselves.

Service - Volunteers... Milne Travel’s Prog ram to Promote Volunteering

How to Win Travel Prizes n Volunteers must log their time volunteering for an eligible non-profit, in order to be eligible and recognized as part of the Service-Volunteers program. Hours will be logged by registering on their website. n Monthly recognition will be given to the top volunteers. n Quarterly, a Service-Volunteers winner will be awarded a prize. Winners will be authenticated by our proprietary database to verify the person’s claim (log) before announcing the winner. n Share points are the credits that volunteers receive for logging and sharing their volunteer activity. An hour of volunteering counts for 4 Share points. Activity volunteers post to Facebook (via Service-Volunteers) are awarded one point each for likes and comments. More Shares = more chances to win! n Winners will be posted via Milne Media streams. Be sure to follow them on Facebook! n Minimum logging hours to qualify: 4 hrs per month/50 per year. n At the end of the yearlong campaign, one of the twelve monthly winners, as well as the top three total time contributing volunteers, will be put into a random drawing for a grand prize. n The grand prize award to be named the “Marion Milne Service-Volunteers Recognition Award.” As Milne explains, “We’ve partnered with our friends at Cabot Creamery Co-operative to also give you the opportunity to win monthly prizes through the Reward Volunteers program. By logging your time with us you will automatically be eligible for these great monthly prizes!”

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For more information or to register, visit Spring 2017

Do You Have Obsessive Dog Disorder? Recently we received a lot of comments on a Facebook post regarding obsessive dog disorder. It seems many of us can be a little over the top when it comes to dogs. Here are some of our favorites and a few others you came up with: - You have more than one dog - You greet your dog before your spouse - You realize you gave your dog the perfect name before you had your first child - You like spending more time with your dog than going out with friends - You snowblow a path to your dogs favorite pee spot - You go home during the day to check on the dogs - If your dog is sleeping on the couch, you sit on the floor instead - You’re not a big meat eater, but you order the 20 oz sirloin because your dog likes the leftovers - Your phone has more photos of your dog than your children - It’s been years since you went to the doctor, but you take your dog to the vet annually - Your house is littered with dog toys

Spring 2017

- You spend your lunch hour walking the dog - You say “bless you” whenever your dog sneezes - Congratulated your dog for doing their business outside, several years into hem being housebroken - Take it personally when your dog sits next to someone other than you - Listen to people talk about their dog while secretly thinking about how your dog is better

What's New at the Rutland Humane Society


tafford Technical Center students dropped of several boxes of donations as well as a cash donation of $900 at the Rutland County Humane Society recently. Kira Simonds and Alexa Moyer of Otter Valley Union High School along with along with Jessika Scott of Fair Haven Union High School, organized and carried out a fundraising effort that included a raffle, a bake sale, and collection of donations. The STC students are members of the organization FCCLA ( Family, Career and Community Leaders of America) and community service is one piece of the work they do. All three students are enrolled in the Human Services program at Stafford. Coming up this spring is the RCHS on-line auction 4/14-4/24. Also mark your calender for the Annual Yard Sale on May 20. For more info visit 3

Going to School for a Unique Equine Clinic

Past speakers John Greenall, Luman Wadhams, Richard Boule, and Steve Davis (left to right)


chool days, school days, good old golden rule days…” not quite, “no readin’, writin’ or ‘rithmetic,” for this school. Just lots of horse talk. This popular horse-less equine clinic is in its fifth year of bringing professional expertise for person-to-person encounters. Have questions on a training problem? Want to know more about equine acupuncture? Do you know how greatly your horse

Gifford Morgan Jr son of Gifford Morgan

will respond to a massage? Are you interested in turning your horse into a dancing partner? Take advantage of the Morgan Horse Heritage Foundation’s 5th Annual Unique Equine Clinic. In April of 2012, the Morgan Ho r s e He r i t a g e Fo u n d a t io n President, Marilyn Childs, brought up a fundraising idea: a Spring horseless clinic to be held at the Sharon School, Sharon, VT. The clinic would bring in top horse professionals for a series of classroom presentations, to be followed by a convivial family luncheon. What could be better to shrug off the winter blues and get into the swing for a new equine season? This year’s 5th Annual Spring Continued Next Page

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Spring 2017

Clinic on April 1, 2017, in Sharon may surpass expectations – Richard Boule makes his 5th appearance. Richard is a USEF Judge, manager/trainer extraordinaire for Taylor River Farm. He fields training, exhibiting and judging questions. John Greenall is making his second appearance. Also a USEF judge, John is an international authority on all things carriage and endurance riding/driving. Lori Berger is a second timer, bringing her knowledge of dressage and western dressage – the newest challenge to developing a well trained partner. Then there is Doctor Randy Frantz, who has many years of experience in the veterinary field. Have a horse that is sore, or stiff? Randy can help pin point problem areas and offer assistance in overcoming these hidden problems. The morning starts at 9:30 a.m. with a welcome coffee and baked goods meet-and-greet with the Foundation sponsors: Joy Smith, Judy Mosman and Nancy Plimpton, as well as the speakers. Many of the Foundation members will be there to introduce themselves and assist in answering questions as well. At the stroke of 10:00 a.m. the classrooms start filling up, so make sure you grab a chair. The speakers have separate assigned classrooms, giving attendees the opportunity to pick a favorite presenter or the topic of most interest. Bring your questions; this is the time to ask the experts! Are you ready for more? At 11:00 a.m. attendees can change rooms for a different speaker/ topic and take a seat. Following the presentations a home made lunch awaits. Lunch is officiated by the ‘Sharon Sprouts’, 5th and 6th grade students, who will serve each person a plate of delicious hot food. The Sharon Sprouts is an active school program that raises money for the school’s food services. Chef Liann Perry and Sharon School Principal, Barrett Williams, coordinate the program. Food is grown in the school’s on-site garden, or is locally sourced – a food to plate experience. The students help prep and serve the lunch with much aplomb. The Foundation is more than happy to hire the Sprouts for your dining pleasure. Your host, The Morgan Horse Heritage Foundation, is a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to educating the public about the Morgan Horse, and protecting and preserving the history of the Morgan horse. Are you interested in Morgan horses, Vermont histor y, or becoming involved in great projects? Then fill out a MHHF membership form – the MHHF has something for everyone. Come and join us for the MHHF 5th Annual Spring Indoor Clinic. See you there. For more information contact: Anne Brown, 802 878-4128, 1380 Old Stage Road, Westford, VT 05494 Spring 2017

Bulrush son of Justin Morgan 5

Bring Out the Best in Your Horse O

Linda Parelli

ne of the worst things that happens when you first get into horses is that you think all you have to do is just get on and ride. No wonder there are so many failed relationships with horses! Most horses have a justifiably negative opinion of humans and have learned behaviors that range from frustrating to downright dangerous. What if, from the first day you dreamed of having a horse, you were taught that your job is to learn how to bring out the best in your horse? That sometimes riding cannot be your major focus, that you might have to act as a trainer — or psychologist or behaviorist or all of the above — first? Then it would make sense that you have to learn to become a horseman, because a horseman is part rider, part trainer, part psychologist and part behaviorist. A horseman is way more than just a rider, but is a great rider too.

an excellent rider, sometimes takes longer than it should. Part Trainer A trainer is a teacher, and it is your responsibility to teach your horse what you need and want him to know. As his teacher you need to be a good communicator, have a plan, and be knowledgeable, disciplined, patient, and focused. You need to be able to blend consistency and variety in the right proportions, to solve and prevent problems, and to make progress as soon as your horse is in a learning frame of mind.

Linda Parelli is an equine Part Psychologist educator and co-founder of Parelli In the Parelli program you learn a Natural Horsemanship, a program lot about how to use equine psychology which offers a systematic and fun to influence your horse’s mind, rather way to learn to think like a horse. She than manipulate him against his will is especially well-known for her using physical force. It’s about getting work on horse psychology and her your idea to become your horse’s idea, development of the concept of but understanding your horse’s idea Part Rider Horsenality™, or horse personality. first. Essentially this means you need There are two components to riding: Along with licensed psychologist Dr. 1. Not falling off, going with the flow. know what strategies calm or motivate Patrick Handley, she has developed 2. Developing and advancing your skills. a horse, when to retreat or use reverse a h o rs e/h u m a n p e rs o n a l i t y psychology, and when to advance and matching system, the Horsenality™/ It’s the second one that is key, make rapid progress. Humanality™ Match Report. because it’s not until your horse is Part Behaviorist A lifelong enthusiast of the sport calm, confident and willing that you Understanding horse behavior of Dressage, Linda enjoys learning can work on yourself to improve your takes the mystery out of horses, and from classical masters and applying feel, posture, position, technique and the key to understanding the individual their concepts to her own work. advance your skills. horse is “Horsenality.” Not only does Linda’s experiences as a student of This is also why “school masters” are this allow you to understand why the legendary dressage trainer Walter so valuable. They have their act together, your horse behaves in a certain way, Zettl resulted in her development of a they know their job and they can put up it informs you of potential behavioral Game of Contact course, a step-bywith the mistakes riders make as they patterns. You’ll know how to design step program that helps riders achieve are learning. Pat Parelli expresses this productive training sessions, when to in #7 of the Eight Principles: “Horses speed up or slow down, and you’ll stop mental, emotional, and physical teach humans and humans teach horses” bringing out the crazy, unpredictable, connection with their horses. because he knows how valuable it is lazy or naughty side of your horse. for riders to learn from experienced horses. Unfortunately not all of us are Be a Horseman lucky enough to have access to that By using all your skills as a horseman kind of horse which is why becoming you’ll bring out the best in your horse by slipping effortlessly from one role to the other exactly as needed. When your horse is afraid or loses trust and confidence, you’ll understand him and help him regain his confidence and trust in your leadership. When your horse resists or shuts down, you’ll know how to encourage his ideas or wait until he asks you a question. When your horse is calm, trusting, motivated and willing, you’ll get to work on the subtleties of becoming an excellent rider. Even though “rider” is first on this list, for the good of the horse it’s the thing you get to focus on last. One day it will all be seamless — you’ll do it all, all of the time. And then, in your horse’s eyes, you are a real horseman. Spring 2017 6 4 Legs & a Tail

JD Green with a big fan of the Caws



for every pet owner —from nutrition to obedience and behavior, to doggy daycare, apparel and beyond. The sky’s the limit really,” he says. Ian Grant, Owner & Head Trainer from Vermont Dog Boarding & Behavior will be in attendance to offer dog training demonstrations. “The better we understand dogs, the better relationship we have with them,” says Grant. Clients come from Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, and Connecticut to have their dogs trained by Ian and his staff. He was recently featured on WCAX’s “Made in Vermont” segment. Green’s goal however, is to focus on the cause of countless pet adoption organizations in New England. He welcomes clubs, rescue and therapy groups from all over New England and last year even had several from as far away as Georgia and Florida. “The word is out. It’s back this spring, and better than ever. Those who attended last year will be there again with their dogs. Those that travel from anywhere in Vermont and New England for that matter won’t be disappointed. Don’t leave your dog at home. Hop in the car and bring them with you. It’s a giant win-win for the community and the local economy and I couldn’t be more proud of what it has become already,” he closes.

his June, local radio personality JD Green brings his annual pet expo, “CAWS 4 PAWS” back to Barre, VT. This year’s event will take place on Saturday, June 3rd from 10am-3pm. The last two years have seen record crowds at the BOR ice arena, and this year Green plans for an even larger event. The vendor list last year topped sixty-five, a third larger than the inaugural event in May of 2015. Green’s inspiration behind his CAWS 4 PAWS expo is rooted in his To learn more, or get involved as a vendor or volunteer on June 3rd, get in love for animals, mostly his passion for dogs and even more specifically his touch with Green who says he’s already been contacted by several attendees from last year. Make sure to visit the CAWS 4 PAWS Facebook page. beloved partner of sixteen years, Buddy. “This is something I have wanted to do for a long time, but when I lost Buddy I decided to start it up in his memory,” says Green, who adds that Vermont has one of the largest population of dog owners in the country. With over four thousand attendees last spring, Green wasn’t surprised by the turnout, especially considering the debut of the world famous DOCK DOGS. “People turned out in droves to see what so many of us in Vermont have never witnessed — dogs that can leap upwards of twenty feet or more across the water to retrieve their favorite toy,” he says with a grin. “It was huge. Like nothing I’ve ever seen before. The trophies and ribbons, the competition, the entire show was a real treat for so many families,” he adds. DOCK DOGS, the world’s premier canine aquatics competition featured various competition events such as “Big Air”, “Speed Retrieve”, “Extreme Vertical” and more, with final rounds of the three day event on Sunday. Well behaved dogs ARE welcome at CAWS 4 PAWS. Last spring, many tried out their aerial skills for the first time in the novice jumping division. This spring Green hopes to move closer to his goal of 100 vendors, while teaming up with his radio station 101 THE ONE to promote. His aim this year is to expand the crowd from the reaches of Rutland, St. Jay, Middlebury, St. Albans, Burlington and even New York. “There is something Spring 2017 7





lley Cat Allies marks Earth Day 2017 by celebrating the role of cats in the environment, the work that caregivers, advocates, animal control officers, and shelters are doing to help them, and the widespread success of Trap-Neuter-Return programs. “As animal advocates, we want what’s best for cats and for all animals,” said Becky Robinson, president and founder of Alley Cat Allies. “Cats in every community live alongside wildlife now just as they always have, and the best way to help all of them is through humane care. Spay/neuter and vaccination, delivered through a TrapNeuter-Return program, is best for cats, wildlife, and the people who live nearby.” CATS AND WILDLIFE COEXISTING Many communities worldwide have chosen to allow cats, people and wildlife to coexist. For example, more than 570 communities in the U.S. alone have adopted a Trap-Neuter-Return ordinance or policy as a means of managing community cat populations. Trap-Neuter-Return is a humane and effective approach to stabilize community cat colonies and improve the lives of cats, wildlife and people. Cats are spayed or neutered, “eartipped” (a small portion of their ear is removed while the cats are anesthetized), vaccinated, and returned to their outdoor home. Trap-Neuter-Return is proven to stop the breeding cycle of cats – litters of kittens are no longer born. TNR AS A MAINSTREAM APPROACH “People everywhere tell us how much they love cats and welcome them into their neighborhoods,” Robinson said. “Earth Day reminds us that TNR programs help communities understand how to enjoy cats by respecting them as a vital part of the community. This is why it has become such a mainstream approach in the U.S.” Cats make their neighborhoods more enjoyable, peaceful places to live when managed in TrapNeuter-Return programs. Behaviors associated with mating, and calls to authorities about the cats halt. Because of the open discussions about cats that accompany a TNR program, another result is that residents enjoy improved communication and better understanding about cats and the environment. Visit to learn more about how TNR can help cats become great neighbors.

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Alley Cat Allies, headquartered in Bethesda, Md., is the only national advocacy organization dedicated to the protection and humane treatment of cats. Founded in 1990, today Alley Cat Allies has more than 600,000 supporters and helps tens of thousands of individuals, communities and organizations save and improve the lives of millions of cats and kittens worldwide. Its website is www., and Alley Cat Allies is active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and YouTube. Spring 2017

Lynx Spotted in Southern Vermont A

lone Canada lynx was spotted in the southern Vermont town of Londonderry last spring, marking the first confirmed evidence of lynx in Vermont outside of the Northeast Kingdom in decades. Lynx are listed as ‘threatened’ under the federal Endangered Species Act and ‘endangered’ in the state of Vermont. The lynx was seen in the back yard of a rural Londonderry home. Biologists with the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department confirmed the identification of the animal from the photos and visited the site to confirm the location of the photos.   Since that time, a wildlife camera photo has emerged that biologists suspect is also of a lynx in nearby Searsburg, Vermont. The photo was taken in May shortly before the Londonderry sighting, but was only recently noticed by the University of Vermont student who had set the camera trap out as part of her wildlife research. The animal was photographed while it was passing under Route 9 using a wildlife underpass created in partnership with Vermont Fish & Wildlife and VTrans. Spring 2017

“This was very exciting news for Vermont,” said Chris Bernier, a wildlife biologist for the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department who is in charge of lynx conservation. “The fact that this animal chose to travel such a long distance demonstrates why it is vitally important to maintain healthy and well-connected habitat in Vermont. We were thrilled to see the animal using a wildlife underpass that was created for the express purpose of allowing animals to pass safely under the road.”   Male lynx are known to disperse long distances, so Bernier believes that there is a strong chance this may be the same lynx in both sightings. Biologists regularly monitor lynx habitat in the area and have not picked up other evidence of the animals locally, indicating that it is unlikely that lynx have established a resident population in southern Vermont. Lynx are strongly tied to large, unbroken forests of spruce and fir trees with high numbers of snowshoe hares, their primary prey species. Forests of this type are mostly found in Vermont in Essex County, and are less common elsewhere in the state. 

The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department actively monitors for lynx in the Nulheegan Basin of Conte National Wildlife Refuge and at the Bill Sladyk and Victory Basin Wildlife Management Areas in partnership with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and Plum Creek Timber Co. Survey work in 2016 was unable to detect a resident population anywhere in Vermont despite increased survey efforts. “Vermont has never had a large or stable lynx population. Records of lynx in Vermont were extremely rare even at the time of the earliest colonists, and have remained infrequent,” said Bernier. “We believe lynx may have dispersed into Vermont following a boom in Maine’s lynx population in the early 1990s. Maintaining appropriate habitat is vital to ensuring that lynx can exist in this state, even if only as transients.” 9

Money $aving Pet Tips I

t’s tax season and there is no better time to look at the family budget than now. Your pet is an important part of your family (although you can’t claim them as a dependant), and probably account for more expense than you think. If you’re interested is saving money and improving your pets quality of life, here are some important money saving ideas:

1. Brush Teeth Daily

Dental problems are more common than you think. Imagine if you never brushed your teeth! If you don’t already have the supplies, get a specially-made pet toothbrush and toothpaste (they come in various flavors), and make it a routine. Pets suffer from the same dental problems as people (plaque, tartar, gingivitis, etc.) and should have their teeth brushed daily to avoid costly veterinary procedures. Perhaps instead of needing a $500-1000 intensive dental cleaning every year, your veterinarian will recommend it every two or three years.

2. Choose a Long-Lasting Flea and Tick Preventative

Over the past few years, fleas and ticks have been the #1 problem facing New England pet owners. Fortunately, there are many types of preventatives to choose from these days. Discuss with your veterinarian which type best fits your needs, and consider preventatives that are longer lasting. Some preventatives can offer your pet protection against nasty flea and ticks for up to 12 weeks. This can be both convenient and economical for you in the long run.

3. Invest in Quality Food

Feeding a high quality pet food is one of the simplest yet most important things you can do. A properly balanced diet will help ensure that your pet will remain in good health with a shiny coat and a strong immune and digestive system. You may end up spending a little more at the check-out line, but the overall investment should save you hundreds!

4. Avoid Overfeeding

Portion-control is not only crucial in maintaining your pet’s health but cost effective. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, over 50% of dogs and cats are overweight or obese. A big part of the problem is excess calories due to overfeeding. Portion sizes will vary depending on the age, size, and activity level of your pet. Read the pet food label and discuss with your veterinarian how many calories your pet should consume daily. Then portion out the meals using a measuring cup.

5. Exercise Regularly

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spent on treating pets for accidents and poisonings. Pet-proof your home in order to avoid common pet emergencies such as poisonings and electrocutions. Start by walking your entire house imagining what a pet could eat, climb, or pull down, and then secure those things. Your yard should also be pet-proofed. Check for loose boards along the fence, unlocked gate latches, and trash, recycle bins and other potentially dangerous containers that may not be properly sealed or stored.

7. Start a Health Saving or Pet Insurance Plan

Setting up a savings plan for expected pet care costs like vaccinations, heartworm testing and annual exams is not only possible but also practical. For unexpected or catastrophic events, you may want to consider shopping for a pet insurance plan. Either way, plan wisely. Borrowing money to pay for your pet’s healthcare can end up increasing the real price of your pet care exponentially.

8. M aximize Discounts and Rewards Visit the website of your favorite local pet supply store. Many offer loyalty reward programs, coupons and rebates that can help save you money on things you were already going to buy for your pet. It is, however, important that you don’t chase savings by continually switching certain items like pet food and medications. Often pets become accustomed to a certain type of food or medication and may suffer from adverse reactions when making an abrupt change. If you are considering making a change, consult your veterinarian on how to best approach the situation.

An overweight or obese pet can be more prone to suffer from expensive and life-threatening health issues such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Exercise with your pet regularly to help avoid encountering such problems. Often all it takes is 15-30 minutes a day of physical activity (combined with a proper diet) to ensure your pet remains at a healthy weight. Discuss with your veterinarian As New Englanders, we are renowned about how often and how long your pet should exercise, especially if the dog or for our common sense. Remember the saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth cat already is overweight a pound of cure.” The best money tip is a 6. Pet-proof Home and Yard visit to your vet for an annual wellness Every year thousands of dollars are exam. Spring 2017

Miranda Lambert...

A D o g's B e s t F r i e n d

Miranda, Bel lamy & Delta Daw Photo credit to Jamie Wrig n ht


hen she was in her 20s, Miranda Lambert emerged as one of country music’s rising stars. She grew up in Lindale, TX, a small town where her parents ran a private detective agency. Her father was also a guitarist and songwriter, and she grew up listening to such country music greats as Merle Haggard and Guy Clark. At the age of 10, Lambert entered her first country music talent show. Her budding career got a boost from performing on Johnnie High’s Country Music Revue, a weekly variety show in Arlington, Texas. This program helped launch the careers of several other country music stars, including LeAnn Rimes and Lee Ann Womack. Another talent contest led to some acting work, appearing in a commercial and the teen comedy Slap Her She’s French (2001). She got a big break when she passed the auditions for a new country music reality show, Nashville Star. She moved to the country music capital to compete for a recording contract among other prizes. While she didn’t win, Lambert still landed a major label contract with Sony Music after becoming the show’s second runnerup. “I was hoping not to win,” she said in a statement on her website. “The winner had to go in right after the contest and make a record in a couple of weeks, and I wasn’t ready.” Miranda continues her reign as one of country’s most popular performers. In Continued Next Page

Spring 2017 11

2014, she released Platinum, which featured such hit tracks as “Automatic” and “Somethin’ Bad.” The record also earned several CMA Awards, including single of the year and album of the year, and won a Grammy in 2015 for Best Country Album. As the Highway Vagabond Tour got off to a great start this year, Miranda is rallying the support of pet lovers by calling on concertgoers to support her passion and to “Fill The Little Red Wagon” at her tour stops with food and supplies to help animals in need. The country superstar is offering up the chance for one lucky fan and a guest to meet her before her performance. To enter, all you have to do is drop off pet food, treats or toys into the “Little Red Wagon” that is set up at the entrance of the venue on the evening of her shows. All donations benefit local shelters. Recently, 4 Legs & a Tail caught up with the country music superstar and dog enthusiast between shows. 4 Legs & a Tail - Your passion for dogs is well known. In 2009, you and your mom, Bev started Mutt Nation. What was the inspiration behind this? ML: All my life I have felt such a strong connection with dogs and never lost the passion for wanting to find homes for them. When I was younger I volunteered at a local shelter where I saw how much money and work it took for a shelter to run efficiently. My mom, Bev, and I wanted to help them so we put together a charity event called “Cause for the Paws” where all the proceeds would be donated to that specific shelter. The event continued to grow every year, so we decided to start working on a program that could help animals on a national level. We decided to start the MuttNation Foundation in 2009 to give it a proper framework and accountability. 

off and on, and four of my dogs are way too big for the bus on a longer run, that would definitely not be very comfortable for them. 4 Legs & a Tail - What kind of dogs do you currently have? ML: They run the gamut. Jessi and Waylon are Golden mixes and they are sister and brother. My 2 Great Pyrenees Thelma and Louise are also girl siblings. Bellamy is a Comfort Retriever, Delta is a Chihuahua/Pug mix and Cher is a Deer Chihuahua.

Miranda Lambert with Bellamy Photo credit to Stephanie Diggs

is through rescue missions and charity events. We love helping dogs and it made sense to create a product line where it would help fund those rescue missions and charity events. The product line also has a rescue dog plush toy collection and we’ve personalized each dog with a tag that has their story where you can learn more about them. We hope that customers will share those stories, encouraging others to adopt, and in some way become involved with helping to save dogs.

4 Legs & a Tail - Animal homelessness is rampant in many southern areas. What do you see as the most effective solution to this problem? ML: Many people believe shelters are not a great place to find a dog, but I truly believe shelters are a great way to find your forever furry friend. Most shelters I visit do a great job taking in animals and rehabilitating them to give them a chance at getting adopted. When those dogs go home with their new owners, they are so grateful because their entire life just changed and they know it. This is MuttNation Foundation’s main focus along with educating people, about how important and beneficial it is to adopt a pet rather than buy one. 4 Legs & a Tail - As a country superstar, a successful entrepreneur and philanthropist, how do you manage your time? ML: I try to live a normal life and take down time at home as much as possible to stay grounded. I truly love what I do for a living and getting to create things that I can be proud of, that also brings happiness to others, animals included! So I purposefully make sure that any work related or hobby projects reflect who I am, so I continue to have a good balance in my life.

4 Legs & a Tail - Two years ago your 50 States/50 Shelters helped fund the Animal Rescue League of NH. On June 2 & 3 you have performances at the Bank of NH Pavilion. Do any of your dogs accompany you on tour? ML:  My smaller dogs, Bellamy, Delta and Cher, go out on the road with me all the time. They are my “road dogs.” It makes 4 Legs & a Tail - The foundation has grown me feel more at home to have them out 4 Legs & a Tail - Can you share your with on-line and retail pet products. Can with me. favorite dog story? you tell us more? ML: MuttNation Foundation’s main 4 Legs & a Tail - When you’re on the road, ML: So many! One that really stands out is how Jessi and Waylon became mission is educating the public and bring- who takes care of your dogs at home? ing awareness to how important and ML: I have some good people that help part of my family. One day my mom Bev rewarding it is to adopt a shelter pet, and watch over them while I’m gone. With and I went on an errand in town and drove some of the most effective ways to do that seven dogs you need help walking them over a bridge, when I thought I saw something move. It was pouring rain and we stopped and backtracked to see if there was really something moving on the side of the road. Turned out there were these two very soaking wet but beautiful little puppies, and we took them to the vet immediately. For a couple of days it was touch and go, but luckily both of them pushed through and have been by my side for the past 9 years. They are such amazing and loving dogs, I’m so lucky to have found them. I love hearing stories about how rescue dogs have become a part of people’s families and changed their lives for the better. A rescue getting their happy ending is what really matters. Don’t forget, love a shelter pet! Spring 2017 12 4 Legs & a Tail



he VT Spay Neuter Incentive Program aka "VSNIP" is under the administration of the VT Department for Children & Families, and administered by VT Volunteer Services for Animals Humane Society (VVSA). VSNIP is a low cost spay neuter assistance program for those on a specific state program or whose income is at or below 185% of federal poverty level to help spay and neuter their cats and dogs. The fact is that one cat and all her offspring, in seven years, has the potential to multiply to 420,000 offspring and dogs to 62,000! We know how important neutering an animal is to an overpopulation problem, and for the health of that animal who otherwise is more likely to develop certain forms of cancer later in life. Our humane society, VVSA, started a statewide low cost spay/neuter program in 1984 with a single veterinarian office, that grew over time to have over 70 participating offices. Knowing that our service needed to remain viable and sustainable for years to come, VVSA helped draft legislation in 1995 creating what is now known as "VSNIP". In our first seven years as administrator, VVSA approved over 18,500 vouchers. First offered to the public in July 2006, VSNIP enables low income eligible households providing care for cats and dogs to utilize money received from a $4.00 fee that is added to the registration cost for dog licenses. This small fee goes into a designated fund allowing those eligible to have their animals neutered and vaccinated at a substantial reduced cost to them. To obtain applications, one may go to VSNIP.VT.GOV to download and print an Application, Frequently Asked Questions, and a list of Participating Veterinarians. Or if unable to print out a document, send a self addressed stamped envelope (SASE) to: VSNIP, PO Pox 104, Bridgewater, VT 05034. Forms can also be found at participating veterinary offices, social service agencies, humane societies, and town offices. Once completed, the application will be sent to the address above for consideration. Based on the financial disclosure, the applicant will be approved or denied, and a voucher will be sent to the applicant. If approved, the applicant will proceed and schedule an appointment with one of VSNIP's participating veterinary offices. At the time of surgery, the client will provide the voucher and a co-payment of $27.00 per animal. If denied, they are provided with a list of low cost spay and neuter clinics held throughout the state. There is always a solution! The voucher and co-payment represent payment in full for the services: the pre-surgical examination, surgery, anesthesia, peri-operative pain medication, discharge of the animal, removal of sutures, one series of distemper vaccinations and one rabies vaccination. Euthanasia is no longer the solution to this once long existing problem of over population. The answer is public access to sterilization and the education of those who provide care for animals. We're happy to report that euthanasia as a routine means of population control has become a solution of the past. This is due to the understanding and efforts of veterinary offices across the state that worked for the last 10 years to neuter animals for those unable to afford this critical procedure through VSNIP. The difference in the lives of thousands of animals and their care providers is measurable, helping assure that no cat or dog animal is euthanized for lack of space in a shelter or the inability to find a good home due to overpopulation. We thank our altruistic veterinarians for making this important program a reality! For more information visit or call 802-672-5302 Spring 2017 13

Is Your Dog a Good Host? Tips on helping your dog greet guests that won’t leave them running for the door. Paula Bergeron - Grafton,NH


here are three typical scenarios when someone knocks on the door of a home who has dogs. There are the OVER EAGER GREETERS who are wiggling and jumping at the door ready to lick, paw, and knock down anyone brave enough to cross the threshold. There are the RELUCTANT RECEIVERS, skittish pups who are not sure if they should rush the door barking, or run and hide, sometimes they do a bit of both with a little snap thrown in just to confuse you. Then there are the all endearing BOUNCERS. There is no mistaking these dogs, they rush the

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door growling barking and showing their teeth, sending all but the hardiest of souls heading for the hills. No matter the dog, there are three things you can do to make having guests more comfortable for everyone. BE IN CHARGE OF YOUR DOOR. If your dog is always the first one to the door and dominates every entrance they believe they have become the gate-keeper. Silly dogs allow everyone to pass, albeit covered in slobber and dog fur. Shy dogs overreact because they have neither the know-how or confidence to fulfill the gatekeeper role. Bouncers will take joy in striking fear and rejecting everyone who dares step foot on your doorstep. There are ways to take back control. Give your dog somewhere to go other than the door. When there is a knock guide your dog to his or her crate, or if your dog has learned a reliable “PLACE” command guide them to their dog bed or designated area while you go answer the door. You can even train your dog to automatically go to their “PLACE” when they hear a doorbell or a knock on the door, Whether they go to their crate, or to place they must stay there until you release them. BE IN CHARGE OF YOUR GUESTS. Too many times you have your dog all

ready to greet someone…and when I mean ready, it probably means you have hold or their collar and are straining for control, only to have your guest come in the door and cry…. “PUPPPY! PUPPY! PUPPY!” shattering any sense of calm you might have achieved. If you want your dog to be calm with your friends, then your friends have to learn to be calm with your dog. Start with posting a sign on your dog that says DOG IN TRAINING PLEASE HELP BY FOLLOWING OUR INSTRUCTIONS. This helps everyone to know you are changing how things usually happen, and you will be asking them to do something, or in this case NOT do something, when your guests come in the door, let them know your dog is waiting to greet them in the crate or on “place” and they are to ignore them until you tell them it is ok. They are not to give any attention to the dog including eye contact. Let them know that the calmer they are the more success you will have. When the excitement has settled walk your dog on leash among your guests. Allow the dog to sniff while the human is still and silent, when he is finished sniffing make the decision as to whether there can be some attention, if there is still too much excitement keep your dog walking . As the excitement in the house dissipates your dog will relax and be able to act like the dog you know and love around anyone in your home. If you want to change your dogs greeting behavior you have to take the time to show them what to do and practice. Don’t expect your dog to conform to a new ritual next time you have company. Set up a training time every day where you role play someone coming to the door, and walk your dog through the new desired behavior. It may feel impossible at first because your dog is so accustomed to over excitement when there is someone at the door, but if you take it slow, walk your dog through the steps, reward with joyful praise and well timed treats, your friends and family will not only enjoy coming to your home, but you will have trained them to a new and loving way to greet your dog. I believe they call that a win - win. Happy Training! Paula Bergeron and the gang at Good Dogma embrace a holistic approach to bringing balance to your dog’s behavioral issues. Exercise, training, relaxation, massage, grooming, play, socialization and energy healing are incorporated into your dog’s routine. Spring 2017

Heartworm Prevention and Treatment Elisa Speckert


nnual heartworm testing is one of the most important things you can do to ensure that your dog lives a long and healthy life. Even though we do not encounter heartworm disease nearly as much as they do in the Southern United States it is certainly still a concern in our area. Last year we treated four dogs for heartworm disease at our clinic, two of them had never left the state. The number of dogs being brought to our area from the South makes this a risk that is only going to increase over time. The best way to avoid this devastating illness is to give your dog a monthly heartworm prevention (Heartgard)– the cost is between $8-12 per month depending upon the size of your dog. In addition, yearly screening, at a cost of $45-50 annually, offers the benefit of early detection and the likelihood that treatment will be successful and without complication. Treatment of heartworm disease is lengthy, complicated and expensive. Ideally, this treatment involves a long course of twice daily oral antibiotics, chest radiographs, complete blood work, an echocardiogram, three sets of intramuscular injections, hospitalization, observation, pain medication, a repeat heartworm test and extremely restricted exercise. This treatment is usually unpleasant for your dog and costs around $1,500. With the $1,500 it would cost you to treat your dog for heartworm disease, you could buy any of the following:

12 ½ years of year-round heartworm prevention for your dog A week-long cruise to the Bahamas Two round trip plane tickets to France An African Safari 12 Field Box Boston Red Sox tickets 1 adult and 1 youth season pass to Killington 18 months of membership at a Gym Burton snowboard, boots, bindings, jacket and snowpants 15 pairs of Nike sneakers 4 pairs of Gucci sunglasses Spring 2017

So even though the $8-12 per month it costs to give your dog heartworm prevention certainly adds up, it can end up saving you significantly in the long run. If you have any questions regarding heartworm testing, treatment, or prevention please do not hesitate to contact your veterinarian. 15


Mike Robertson - Plymouth, NH

Overstimulation Can Cause Nipping in Cats


ost cats will simply walk away when they have had enough attention from you. Others, however, will nip at your hand. Why do they do this? You aren’t hurting them, just stroking, it can be confusing. Some cats become over stimulated easily. The stroking causes a building of nervous tension and the bite relieves some of that tension. Others just never learned that biting was inappropriate behavior.  With cats that have a tendency to bite, it is good to follow what has been dubbed the “Seven-stroke rule.” Allow yourself to stroke (avoiding the whiskers, see below for information on “whisker fatigue”) your cat only seven times, then stop. This is usually short enough not to create agitation. Eventually you can add another stroke and then another, but do it slowly over time. This will give your cat time to build up a tolerance to, and hopefully enjoyment of, being stroked.  

WHISKER FATIGUE At the base of each whisker there is a sensory organ called a proprioceptor whose purpose is to send messages to the cat’s brain and nervous system, related to what is going on around it. With such sensitivity, the cat’s whiskers can easily become stressed by repeated contact with an object. Deep food or water bowls are the most frequent source of whisker fatigue. When the cat moves their head down into the bowl to eat or drink, the whiskers contact the side of the bowl and get pulled pack. A possible comparison of this sensation might be that of repeatedly poking an ingrown hair.  Here are a few signs that your cat might be experiencing whisker fatigue: • Paws food out of the bowl and eats from the floor • Drinks by dipping and licking their paw • Leaves food in the bowl but still seems to be hungry • Avoids food on the perimeter of the bowl • Stands or paces around the filled bowl • Will only eat when the bowl is filled to the very top The solution is very simple; a wider food and water bowl. Ideally allowing a space at least twice the width of the cat’s head, including the whiskers.  Mike Robertson is a certified animal trainer and certified behaviour consultant located in Plymouth NH. He is the owner of White Mountain College for Pets, with two locations: 661 Mayhew Turnpike & 594 Tenney Mtn Hwy in Plymouth NH. View upcoming class schedules or contact him at: or by phone 603-369-4PET.

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Spring 2017

DOG FIGHTS John Peaveler


og fights happen. Just as conflicts arise among humans, dogs too have altercations that sometimes result in physical violence. I’d like to be clear upfront on this topic that I am not a dog behaviorist. I am a professional animal handler and instructor. Dog behaviorists and trainers should be your first stop if you have a fight prone dog, particularly one who poses a risk to humans or other animals. My job is to give you some options for those hopefully rare occasions when you need to stop a fight in progress. However, the absolutely best way to deal with a fight is to prevent it. There are a whole host of things we do in our lives which require adequate education, from reading to driving, yet it’s no exaggeration to say that the majority of dog owners have had no formal or even informal instruction on canine behavior. Barbara Handleman, a certified canine behaviorist based in Norwich, VT wrote an incredible book I recommend called Canine Behavior: A Photo Illustrated Handbook. This book is quite comprehensive and will prove an excellent reference for anyone wanting to know what their dogs’ behavior means. Once you know what your dog is communicating, it’s much easier to get the root of problems. Safety is the most important element of fight intervention. Most of us love our pets, so our first instinct is often to get in the middle of a fight in order to stop it at all costs. Those costs, however, can be profound and include emergency and reconstructive surgery for both humans and dogs as well as rabies quarantine and euthanasia depending upon ordinances. Getting into the middle of a fight is simply not an option. If for instance, as is common, you were to pull two dogs apart by their collars, you may physically pull the animals apart but the farther you pull them the more your face ends up Spring 2017

between them. This happens all the time and very often results in severe injury for the person who does it. Dog fights can be minor altercations or true emergencies, so in controlled settings where fights are likely to occur, such as animal shelters, boarding facilities, and doggy daycares, it’s important to have the same level of preparedness as a you would have for medical emergencies or fires. Fight response options depend upon the severity of the fight and preparedness of the people involved. Your first recourse should be sound. In minor fights, a loud clap and shout of ‘hey’ repeated as necessary will often suffice. If this is insufficient, escalate to an air horn or pet deterrent spray (such as Premier brand compressed air or air with citronella). These are great options because they are portable and effective in the average fight. Water is your next best option. A bucket kept ready offers a high volume in a short time, but a hose is more realistic in most settings. Your goal is to soak the heads of both animals and startle them out of the fight and back into voice control. For professional animal care organizations, I recommend that a “Y” pole be an integrated piece of equipment for fight response. This is a passive restraint tool, but it also works very well as a wedge to drive between two dogs. “Y” poles require additional training. Finally, physical barriers are required for some fights, particularly the rare one that doesn’t end after trying everything else above. A livestock sorting panel is great, a piece of plywood will work, and in uncontrolled situations, any item can be used to physically separate the dogs: a chair, cardboard box, crate, bike, table, whatever is present. The point is to put a barrier other than your body between two fighting dogs. Now let’s say you’re out for a walk in a field and your dog gets into a fight.

You basically have two options depending upon the severity of the fight and assuming you’ve tried shouting with no success. Your best option is wheelbarrowing. If there are two owners, work together simultaneously on this. Grab both hind legs of the more dominant dog or the dog that is winning and raise the entire hind end up off the ground, dragging the dog away from the fight. This works well in large breed dogs, but keep in mind a smaller dog like a Jack Russel can likely reach around for a bite. The other option isn’t nearly as nice. Never put your hands or face in a dog fight, but if you absolutely must use your body, use your legs. I’m not advocating kicking, but your shoe is much more durable than your face. These are the basics of dog fight response, paired down to fit in 800 words, but the condensed version may not leave you feeling well equipped. If you’d like more information, I regularly teach day long animal handling and capture classes. I would also be happy to write more on this subject for the next issue. If you’re interested in either of these, just drop me a line at Finally, dog fight intervention is dangerous, and I cannot accept any liability should you attempt any of the techniques I have described. 17

A Healthy Gut Means a Happy Mutt! Contributed by ForeFront™ Nutrition


s pet owners we’re always concerned about what goes into – and comes out of – our beloved dogs. The wrong thing going “in” can certainly have dire consequences on what comes “out”. One ill-gotten meal and you’re either dealing with an unhappy dog at best, a series of terrible messes, or at worst a trip to the vet. It’s not surprising then, that what goes into a dog can have tremendous impact on their overall well-being. The gut represents the largest immune organ in the dog’s body, roughly 70% of the canine immune system resides in their gastrointestinal tract. When the gut isn’t processing the absorption of food and nutrients, it’s working on blocking bacteria and toxins. But, when the body’s natural defenses in the gut breakdown, like after consuming a food or treat that doesn’t necessarily agree with them, digestive upsets including vomiting, diarrhea and constipation can unfortunately occur. Having the proper gut flora, both in type and quantity is critical to, not only get your dog through these times of gastric stress, but to also reduce the impact of the illness, as well. Though many premium dog food blends claim to include probiotics in their ingredients, there is no way of knowing the type of probiotic that is included, and most importantly, whether it is still viable by the time it gets into your dog’s bowl. Most probiotics used in pet products today are derived from bovine, 18 4 Legs & a Tail

human or yeast sources. For probiotics to have the desired effect they should be species specific, e.g. canine-specific probiotics. Even when dealing with premium dog food blends claiming to contain added probiotics, there is no guarantee what the probiotic source is. Furthermore, the natural enemy of probiotics is heat, water and pressure. Most commercial dog foods go through a heating and pressurization process when the kibble is extruded, which essentially kills off the beneficial bacteria. To combat this, some of the brands have begun spraying a probiotic blend on their kibble following baking. However, the quantity of food you buy, the manner in which it’s stored and how long it has been on the shelf are all factors which can all impact the viability of the probiotic contained within the food. Canine Digest by ForeFront™ is a meat-flavored, all natural powder supplement designed to be sprinkled atop your dog’s daily meal. One to two daily

scoops are recommended depending on your dog’s size, age, condition and health. Each scoop of ForeFront Canine Digest™ provides a minimum of 500 million CFU’s of Probiotics. ForeFront’s Canine Digest™ not only contains a blend of four canine-specific probiotics but also includes prebiotics, as well. Prebiotics are the nutrients probiotics require to stay alive and flourish. Because ForeFront Canine Digest’s™ probiotics are fueled by prebiotics plus are host-specific, they can withstand the rigors of the canine digestive tract. ForeFront’s Canine Digest™ is designed to not only soothe the digestive system, but also to encourage nutrient absorption while simultaneously supporting overall health. Another key ingredient in ForeFront’s Canine Digest™ is BeneCell®. BeneCell® is a proprietary blend of purified nucleotides, along with other essential nutrients designed to support cellular growth and promote healing and recovery. Simply put, BeneCell® promotes healing by naturally accelerating the dog’s normal cell proliferation process. The production of new cells allow your dog to more quickly recover from a variety of stresses, including those that can come in the form of illness, injury, disease or even as a result to anxiety from emotional or physiological situations. BeneCell® is particularly helpful for pets in less-than-optimal health or for breeds typically known for having food allergies and sensitive digestive systems. Remember, not all probiotics are alike. Do your homework and ensure the digestive support you’re giving your dog contains the nutrients they can actually benefit from. For more information on ForeFront and its line of premium canine & equine products visit About ForeFront Nutrition: ForeFront Nutrition™ is a family owned and operated business out of Vermont who understand the level of devotion and energy it takes to properly care for horses and dogs. By recognizing the increasing need to provide premium quality supplements, ForeFront’s team embarked on a passionate and extensive industry research journey. Since then their team of professionals with over 75 years of animal nutrition experience, have sourced, formulated and manufactured a selection of the highest quality animal supplements available. All ForeFront™ products are independently tested and certified prior to blending and are manufactured from all natural ingredients exclusively in the United States., (888) 772-9582 Dealer Inquiries Welcome. Spring 2017

Spring 2017 19

Improving Your Pet’s Oral Health I

t can be daunting to consider the task of brushing your pet’s teeth daily, but the many benefits make the effort very important to their health. Brushing helps reduce the accumulation of plaque and tartar, which are associated with bacteria and cause periodontal disease and halitosis. Left untreated, periodontal disease progresses causing soft tissue attachment loss, then bone loss, and finally tooth loss. This is a gradual process and can mean years of deep infection, inflammation and pain. Periodontal disease has also been linked to disease and infection in other parts of the body such as the heart and kidneys. Bacteria laden plaque accumulation on the tooth will begin to harden into tartar in as little as 24 hours. While plaque can be brushed away, tartar cannot and this is why brushing the teeth once a month or even once a week is ineffective. Daily brushing is the most effective way to keep your pet’s mouth healthy. The best time to introduce a toothbrush to cats and dogs is around 6 months when the adult teeth are in place. Although it is a good idea to acclimate your pet to handling the lips and mouth when they are young puppies and kittens,

Kristin Esterbrook,DVM

brushing while pets are still teething may cause pain, and therefore cause a negative association with the toothbrush. When beginning the process of brushing your pet’s teeth, start slowly and use treats and a lot of praise. Use a toothbrush designed for pets, or a small head, soft bristled human brush. Use flavored pet toothpaste or plain water. NEVER use human toothpaste. Pets will swallow the toothpaste and fluoride in human toothpaste is harmful to the stomach lining. Start by brushing one tooth and then treating and praising. You may find it helpful to allow your pet to lick the toothpaste and chew the brush at first, then slip

the brush to the tooth surface and give a few quick brushing strokes. Concentrate near the gum line, where most plaque and tartar accumulate. When your pet seems to accept this readily, gradually over days or weeks increase the number of teeth you are brushing until all teeth are included. The outer surfaces are the focus. There is no need to brush the inner surfaces that face the tongue and palate, or the biting surfaces. These surfaces do not accumulate the heavy tartar that the outer surfaces do. The entire mouth should take less than 10 seconds to brush. A lot of praise, petting, and treats during and after brushing help your pet enjoy the experience. While regular brushing is not a substitute for professional oral assessment and treatment under anesthesia, it can certainly help reduce the frequency of this type of veterinary visit. The breed, diet and genetics of your pet also play a role. Some pets require professional dental treatments every 6 to 12 months, while others can go several years between treatments. There are also several products on the market that have been tested in clinical trials and proven effective in reducing

plaque and/or tartar, and can be used in addition to brushing. These products include foods, chews, treats and water additives. They have the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) seal of approval. For a list, go to the website There are some cases where brushing your pet’s teeth is not advised. These are situations where brushing could be painful such as when your pet has advanced, untreated periodontal disease, fractured teeth or tooth resorptive lesions. Schedule a visit with your veterinarian before you start brushing your pet’s teeth to determine if it is appropriate for your pet, and to determine if an oral assessment and treatment under anesthesia prior to beginning a brushing program is needed. Dr. Esterbrook has been practicing Veterinary Medicine for fourteen years. She received her Veterinary Medical Degree from Ross University. Her special interests include dentistry and internal medicine Riverside Veterinary Care & Dental Service in Rutland and Ludlow,VT. 20 4 Legs & a Tail

Spring 2017

Alternatively Speaking: When What You Need Is More Time


Dr. Anne Carroll, DVM, CVA


llnesses are like accidents, arriving unplanned and at the most inconvenient times. Between family, work and day-to-day needs, we are stretched thin more often than not. On a good day, even the simplest medical issue for our pets can be stressful to handle. Even more difficult, is when that trip to the vet uncovers something serious and suddenly a lot of choices need to be made in a fairly short window of time. Families can suddenly be left with little hope and the possibility they could lose their companion in a very short period of time. Moments like these are difficult, there is no right choice in these situations. There are decisions regarding extensive and expensive testing or whether to seek the opinion of a specialist. Should your pet, who is not feeling great already, have to endure more procedures and office visits. Finally you and your family want answers to justify your decisions, but most of all, you want a little more time. As a veterinarian that practices alternative medicine I meet patients with families that are hoping for more time. They have received a dire diagnosis, and are not ready to give up or give in. Perhaps western medicine may be too invasive or not offer a therapy at all. They are willing to try any route for that all elusive cure. First we discuss expectations. Of course a cure would be the goal, but realistically when a body has suffered greatly, what I feel I can offer is time. First, holistic is not minimalistic. When we can, we like to do a thorough western work up to maximize integrative medicine. But in reality we can’t always have a diagnosis. Sometimes tests fail to give us answers, or we chose not to do them due to expense or invasiveness, especially if we will have no better options whether their condition has a name or not. Sometimes there are still Western therapies to try, based on a best guess. But alternative methods rely on their own diagnostic approaches and do not require Western testing. While they too can address acute symptoms, they also are aimed to slow down the root of the disorder that allowed the illness. Alternative therapeutic options can be much more specific and effective with fewer side effects than treating with drugs alone. Take Nika, a 6 year old Yellow Lab who had breast cancer removed six months Spring 2017

before she developed a limp, followed a week later by a swelling on her rib. X-rays suggested she may have a return of her cancer in her rib and leg. Awaiting biopsy results, she went to a veterinary oncologist to discuss options. By her appointment days later, the cancer had triggered an autoimmune destruction of her own blood cells, she would bruise or bleed from the slightest bump like a hemophiliac. The family could leave her in the hospital to try aggressive transfusions and drugs to stop the immune disease if possible. The odds of success were poor, and even if she did stabilize she was facing a terminal cancer with limited treatment options. They felt they needed more time to say goodbye, so they brought her home. Her family felt that choice was the kindest for Nika. Familiar with alternative medicine, they asked if we could help her feel better until it was time. From a Chinese perspective we started several herbs to address her bleeding, as well as Western herbals, nutritional supplements and a homeopathic remedy. Nika felt better within a day, but what followed was quite unexpected. She continued to feel better. She stopped having spontaneous bruising, her normal appetite was restored and her limp was much better too. Other than medication for pain, she was not on any drugs. Her follow up blood work showed the bleeding abnormalities, not totally normal, were out of the crisis zone and stable. Nika enjoyed 5 good weeks of quality time with her family before her cancer spread to other areas and her family had to say goodbye. Olive was an 8 year old Black Lab with the energy and appetite of her breed and routinely would jump her families couch. From end to end! She was brought in acting very uncomfortable and not eating. Her owner thought her seizure condition was acting up. Her x-rays and blood work showed a problem in her liver. An ultrasound revealed extensive cancer in her liver and the specialist offered to do biopsies with the knowledge this disease was likely too aggressive to respond to any Western therapy. Olive’s owners did not pursue such a hopeless situation and just wanted her comfortable to share some more time with her. Open to doing

alternative supports, they felt her not well enough to have time to try those. However, when she responded pain medication they reconsidered. She started on Chinese herbs, nutritional supports for the immune system and a homemade diet for her liver. Soon her owners stopped the pain medication, within five days they could not tell that there was anything wrong with her. They enjoyed over 5 months of quality time together before her liver went into failure and they decided it was time to let her go. As a veterinarian I know some of my patients from puppy or kitten to senior. There are others, though our relationship is short, our bond is just as strong and I am grateful to be a part of that and offer what help I can. Some diseases are not curable, given the state of the patient and their ability to overcome a disease long in the making. The key to providing temporary relief, especially in terminal illnesses, is to address not just the acute condition but also the underlying disorder in the body that allowed the illness to develop. Western medicine is fast and effective for alleviating acute symptoms of illness, but it does not attempt to identify or address the problems that led to the illness’s development. Alternative management focuses on that core issue and sometimes turn around a condition that seems beyond treatment. Better yet, when that core issue is addressed as part of a wellness program before it has culminated in a life threatening condition, our hope and goal is that we avoid having to say goodbye too early all together. Dr. Anne Carroll is owner of the Chelsea Animal Hospital where she practices both conventional medicine and surgery as well as several alternative modalities including traditional Chinese acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine. Her associate Dr. Betty Jo Black brings classical homeopathy to the practice. For more information on alternative veterinary medicine visit their website at 21

How to Help an Injured Wild Bird I

Catherine Greenleaf

t’s often hard to know what to do when you find an injured wild bird. But don’t panic. The following tips will help you figure it all out: When you find an injured bird, the first and most important thing to do is remove the bird and get it to a safe place. Remember the acronym D.W.Q., which stands for dark, warm and quiet. Put on some leather work gloves or gardening gloves, bring the bird indoors and place it in a cardboard box on a soft towel and keep it in a quiet room. Birds stress out very easily but keeping the bird in a dark box where it cannot see out will help keep it calm. Please do not give the bird food or water, since it may have internal injuries and ingesting anything could cause the bird to die. When a bird is injured, it is a true emergency and time is of the essence.

22 4 Legs & a Tail

The next step is to call your wildlife rehabilitator. You can find out who that is by going to www.wildlife. html if you live in New Hampshire or (type in the search words ‘wildlife rehabilitators’) if you live in Vermont. Some wildlife rehabilitators may ask you to drive the bird to their facility or others may send volunteers to pick up the bird or meet you half way. The sooner you get the bird to a wildlife rehabilitator, the better its chances of survival. When transporting the bird to a wildlife rehabilitator, please keep the animal in the back seat of your car, and not the trunk or bed of a pickup. Try to keep noise and disruption to a minimum and keep in mind that cigarette or cigar smoke can permanently damage a

bird’s delicate air sacs. If your children are involved in the rescue, please explain to them that holding and petting a wild bird can stress it out to the point where you may well end up with a D.O.A. on your hands. If you have found a nestling songbird, and it appears uninjured, you can place the bird back in the nest. Birds in general have a very poor sense of smell and it is not true that touching a baby bird will cause the parent birds to reject it. However, if you find a baby bird that has not yet grown feathers, is covered in dirt, is bleeding, is attracting flies or has a broken leg or wing, then it is important to get that bird to a wildlife rehabilitator for medical treatment as soon as possible. Another common injury to birds is a concussion due to flying into a window. If you find a bird that has hit a window, place it into a cardboard box, bring it inside, and call your local wildlife rehabilitator. While it has been quite common in years past to wait 40 minutes and then release the bird, the latest studies are showing many of those birds perish hours later in the woods. There are new medications rehabilitators are using that can quickly reduce brain swelling and internal hemorrhaging. A bird that has been grabbed by a cat has most likely also been bitten and needs immediate attention. It can be very difficult to detect bite wounds on a bird due to their thick skin and heavy feathering. Cat saliva contains Pasturella bacteria, which is 100% fatal unless the bird receives special antibiotics within 12 hours of the bite. A wildlife rehabilitator can provide this vital, life-saving medicine, provided you get the bird to a facility as soon as possible. If you find a hawk, owl or eagle standing by the side of the road, then most likely it has been hit by a car and needs immediate attention. You can call New Hampshire Fish & Game Dispatch at (603) 271-3361 or Vermont Fish & Game Dispatch at (802) 828-1529 or call local law enforcement to help you rescue the bird (especially if it has been found on a busy road or it is dark). Loons sometimes mistake asphalt parking lots for bodies of water, especially if it is rainy or foggy. If you see a loon stranded on land, again please call your wildlife rehabilitator. Never hesitate to call us! We are happy to offer tips and suggestions. You may not realize it, but your willingness to help a bird in distress makes you a “Bird Angel” in the eyes of wildlife rehabilitators. Without you we could not do our work! Catherine Greenleaf is the director of St. Francis Wild Bird Center in Lyme, N.H. If you have found an injured bird, please call 603-795-4850 or go to Spring 2017

Bunnies and Chicks for Easter: Buyer Beware M. Kathleen Shaw, DVM


ith Easter approaching, many pet stores stock up on “hot” items including live chicks and rabbits, which are often purchased and given to young children as presents. There is no doubt, young chicks and bunnies are impossibly cute, but the fact is they grow into adult rabbits and chickens who have housing, feeding, and handling requirements that many people do not know about. Many folks think rabbits are low maintenance pets that only require a small cage and some lettuce. The truth is, they have dietary requirements that include a balanced diet of pellets, fresh lettuce and other vegetables, and grass hays. They also require daily exercise and space enough to perform three consecutive hops in a cage. Young children tend to be rougher and not understand that rabbits can easily break their backs when handled. It is heartbreaking to have a child mishandle that new bunny and accidentally break its back. In addition, rabbits have long toenails that leave deep scratches, especially if handled improperly. Chicks are another incredibly cute baby, but they ultimately grow into Spring 2017

chickens which require care. Roosters, when they hit sexual maturity, have the potential to become aggressive. Chickens, and all wild birds, can carry the potentially deadly Salmonella and E.coli that can cause serious diarrhea and possibly death to young children. After Easter, many shelters are overwhelmed by the number of relinquished rabbits and many are euthanized. In fact, rabbits are the third most relinquished pets to animal shelters, (which are usually equipped to handle only a few rabbits and rodents at a time). A serious misconception is that rabbits can be released into the wild to fend for themselves. The fact is they often starve to death or become easy prey for predators in the wild. So before purchasing that cute bunny or baby chick, remember they grow up into adult rabbits and chickens with their own essential requirements for care, housing, and nutrition for many years. You must commit to properly caring for them year round. Talk to your veterinarian if you have questions or are considering buying a bunny or chick for Easter. If you can’t provide the necessary care for your bunnies or chicks, just

say no to live bunnies and chicks: stick to chocolate bunnies and peeps. They are easy to care for and don’t stay around long. The Vermont Veterinary Medical Association (VVMA), founded in 1898, is a professional organization of 340 veterinarians dedicated to compassionate animal care and quality medicine. For more information, visit or call (802) 878-6888. 23

Feline Urinary Obstructions Catherine MacLean, DVM - Grantham, NH


eline Urinary Obstruction (FUO) is a very common disease in male cats, often overlooked or missed by owners until the cat is very sick. Common clinical signs in male cats are frequent visits to the litter box with very little or no urine production, urinating small amounts of bloody urine, excessive grooming of the penis, lethargy, decreased appetite, vomiting, yowling (especially while in the litter box), or trying to urinate in strange places (i.e. on the carpet, in potted plants, etc.). Feline urinary obstructions are more common in male cats than female cats because male cats have a long narrow urethra that can easily get blocked. Unlike male cats, female cats have short and wide urethras that allow them to pass urinary crystals and small urinary stones much easier. Urinary obstructions can happen in dogs, but it’s not as common as in cats. What causes the urethra to become obstructed? Commonly, the urinary obstruction is caused by urinary crystals or small urinary stones. The two most commonly seen urinary crystals and stones in cats are calcium oxalate and struvite. Both form when the pH of the cat’s urine is either too acidic or basic. The pH determines which type of urinary crystal or stone the cat will get. Cats also get urinary obstructions from mucous plugs and blood clots. Both mucous plugs and blood clots are usually formed secondarily to an underlying issue such as crystals, stones, cystitis, etc. When a cat gets a urinary obstruction, it becomes a life threatening emergency. 24 4 Legs & a Tail

Left untreated, your cat will die. The earlier it is recognized and corrected, the better the prognosis for the cat. When a urinary obstruction occurs, urine backs up into the bladder since the cat is not able to urinate. This can lead to acute kidney failure, electrolyte abnormalities, possible life threatening cardiac arrhythmias, and in extreme cases rupture of the bladder. If your cat may be exhibiting signs of a urinary obstruction, the first thing to do is call your veterinarian. Your veterinarian will most likely see you right away. At the veterinary clinic, your veterinarian will get a thorough medical history and do a physical exam. Cats with urinary obstructions will often have a very large firm bladder. Your veterinarian will probably do blood work on your cat. Many cats will have abnormalities in their kidney and electrolyte values. It’s important to get the starting electrolyte values. After blood work, they will most likely place your cat under general anesthesia in order to pass a urinary catheter in the urethra and remove the urinary obstruction. Once the bladder is able to empty, a urine sample will be collected to see if there are urinary crystals and what type they are. Most cats will be hospitalized to monitor urine output and to receive IV fluid therapy to help return the cat’s kidney and electrolyte values back to normal. In cases where the cat has had a urinary obstruction for a long time, permanent damage to the kidneys can occur. Since most cats get urinar y

obstructions from urinary crystals, a special life-long diet will be needed. Several prescription urinary diets help dissolve struvite crystals and prevent the formation of struvite and calcium oxalate crystals. With calcium oxalate stones, surgery may be needed since this type of stone cannot be dissolved with diet change alone. Prescription urinary diets help regulate the pH of the cat’s urine and increase drinking so that the bladder is being flushed out more often. Every now and then there will be a cat that chronically has urinary obstructions. A special surgery, Perineal Urethrostomy, essentially reroutes the urethra so that the cat has a short and wide urethral opening like a female cat. We don’t know why some cats are more prone to urinary obstructions than others. In my experience, it tends to happen in young male cats (typically between 2-7 years of age). I’ve seen it with cats fed anything from cat chow to very expensive high end food. My own cat, Jack, was on a high end food and got a urinary obstruction. Luckily for Jack, I caught it early because I was studying for third year veterinary school midterms. Ironically one of the midterms was my Renal class and one topic was urinary obstructions. While I was studying, Jack kept going in and out of the litter box and producing nothing. After an hour, I took him to the vet school emergency (of course it was Saturday night). Successfully unblocked and treated, Jack has been managed with a prescription urinary diet for eight years. Urinary obstructions can be life threatening if undetected. If you notice the clinical signs above, call your veterinarian right away. The worst (or best case scenario) is that your cat only has a urinary tract infection. Feline urinary obstruction shouldn’t be ignored. Don’t “wait - and - see” since it could cause permanent damage to your cat’s kidneys and potentially cost him his life. 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 2017

The Bond of the Box: Pet Parents Identify with Human Trends in Pet Food Packaging Holly McClelland and Patrick Sturgeon


og and cat parents who peruse the pet food section at any retailer may feel overwhelmed by the high volume of products that are available. Regardless of whether pet owners visit their local mom and pop shops or browse online, they will be surrounded by a wide spectrum of food choices, ranging from the traditional dry kibble and wet can forms, to freeze-dried and dehydrated items. In order for pet food brands to stand out from the crowd in a heavily saturated market, it is critical for manufacturers to be creative from a packaging perspective. One effective technique is packaging humanization, which is intended to appeal to humans’ senses, values, and ethics through pet food packages that have similar features to human food packages. While packaging humanization techniques continue to evolve, there are three notable strategies that are prevalent in 2017.

1. Unique Containers: Most pet parents are familiar with the 30 lb. bag of dry kibble and the 12 oz. can of wet food. While these formats have been trusted for decades, it is difficult for one bag or can to gain prominence given that hundreds of brands use these types of containers. A few eye catching containers that truly capture attention due to their packaging humanization are Caru’s broths and stews for dogs and cats, and Tucker’s Raw Frozen Cru Congelé for dogs of all life stages. Caru’s products are packaged in cardboard containers that look similar to human soup and broth/stock containers. Tucker’s pork-bison and beef-pumpkin frozen items are packaged in plastic containers that look almost identical to human packages of ground meat. Pet owners are naturally drawn to these products because they resemble human food containers, which further increases the bond between them and their dogs and cats.

2. Product Messages: Countless pet food manufacturers are adding concise messages to their food packages that are

similar to the health claims seen on human food packages. One common messaging strategy is to focus on the absence of harmful ingredients. For several years, quite a few companies have offered grain-free and gluten-free products, and items that do not contain fillers, by-products, or rendered meats. However, recently we’ve seen the designation of “carrageenan-free,” which can be found on Nulo’s Freestyle products. Lotus also offers several stews and pâtés for cats and dogs that are described as “no carrageenan, no guar gum, and no xanthan gum.” Carrageenan, guar gum, and xanthan gum have been used as binding agents and thickeners in human foods since the early 1900s. But, many health researchers believe these ingredients can lead to severe health problems, including cancer, inflammation, colitis, and immune suppression. Pet parents have become equally concerned that these ingredients may negatively impact their pets’ health by causing chronic and fatal conditions. Another messaging strategy is to state the inclusion of functional ingredients, such as superfoods, that offer health-promoting benefits beyond simply providing energy. Redbarn Naturals offers canned foods with flaxseed oil for a healthy coat and skin, green-lipped mussels for healthy joints, and dandelion greens for a healthy digestive system. Nutram centers its messaging on “Optimum Combinations,” including pomegranate plus turmeric for immunity boost, and flaxseed plus salmon oil for a shiny coat. This aligns with the human dietary trend of consuming superfoods that are purported to have similar health benefits as those achieved by the ingredients in pet food. Adding functional ingredients to pet food creates stronger links between pets and their parents by allowing owners to feel confident that their pets are receiving the same superfood health benefits that they are achieving in their own diets.

3. Recyclable Materials: A number of pet food manufacturers have succeeded in making pet packages recyclable, which appeals to environmentally-conscious pet parents who look for recyclable packaging in their own foods. TerraCycle, a global leader in the recycling of challenging items across all industries, has been instrumental in allowing some pet food manufacturers to make their packages recyclable. WellPet was the first pet food manufacturer to partner with TerraCycle in 2015 to allow customers to recycle their packages through TerraCycle’s Wellness Pet Food Brigade. Pet parents can ship their Wellness pet food items to TerraCycle and earn rewards points that can be redeemed for a range of charitable gifts. Earthborn Holistic and Open Farm have also partnered with TerraCycle to increase recycling and improve the health of the planet. We can only expect that packaging humanization will manifest itself in other ways as brands continue to compete in a crowded market. While this technique is used for manufacturers to differentiate and stand out, it’s great that it’s breeding even stronger relationships between pet owners and their favorite furry friends! Spring 2017 25

How to Attack Fleas “I

Millie Armstrong, DVM

tried flea medicine, but it didn’t work!” Veterinarians hear this all the time from folks who are battling fleas in their household. In many cases, it is not that the product failed, but that the flea’s life cycle was allowed to progress, leading to hundreds of new fleas in the environment. The key to battling fleas is to understand how fleas reproduce and at what stages in the flea’s lifecycle the flea product is designed to work.

Hatch in 2-3 Days


FLEA LIFE CYCLE Adult fleas lay 25-40 eggs per day in their environment. These eggs are small, white and less than the size of a grain of sand. They will drop off the pet throughout its environment and molt in 2-3 days into small larvae. Larvae are white, legless and blind. They are found in dark areas and feed on flea feces and other organic debris in the environment. In about 5-10 days, they will begin to form a hard-shelled cocoon, entering the pupa stage. The outer shell of the pupa is made of a hard material, similar to that of a cockroach shell, which cannot be penetrated by chemicals to kill them. The cocoon is also covered by a sticky substance that allows it to attach to deep carpet fibers and makes it difficult to remove by vacuuming or sweeping. The shell protects the developing flea until the environmental conditions are right for hatching, which can sometimes take up to 6 months. When the young adult emerges, it is hungry and begins to feed on blood from a person or pet within a few hours. The fleas will soon begin to lay eggs, starting the entire process over again. “My dog is itchy but it’s January; he can’t have fleas.” Adult fleas prefer warm, humid weather and tend to hatch outside in mid-summer. Depending on environmental temperature and humidity levels, they survive outside until late fall. However, those fleas that have gained access to the house have laid eggs in the home and set the stage for the progression of the lifecycle inside the house. These eggs, larvae and pupae stages will survive in the house and hatch into adults during the winter months. “I cannot see fleas so I know my dog does not have fleas.” It is possible to have a flea infestation without seeing fleas on the pet. Adult fleas only need one blood meal every 6 months. Once they feed, they may drop off the animal and begin to lay eggs in their environment. Because they are so small and 26 4 Legs & a Tail

Go thru 3 stages in 5-10 days before pupating

Emerge and live on 1 host for up to 2 months

Live from 5-10 days to 6 months in a cocoon

only feed for a short time, it is not always possible to find adult fleas in the hairs of the pet. Sometimes, the only evidence of fleas on the pet is the fecal material they leave behind: small, pepper-like grit. Because fleas feed on blood, their excrement is dried blood. Initially, this appears black, but when placed in water, it will turn red again. One way to check for fleas is to use a very fine-toothed comb, a flea comb, to actually catch fleas or their flea “dirt” in the teeth of the comb. Remove the fleas from the comb and place them into a small container of rubbing alcohol to kill them before they have a chance to escape and start the process over again. “Where did my cat get fleas? She doesn’t go outside.” Fleas are mobile; they can jump 4-6 feet at a time. It does not take much for them to jump from the ground outside onto a pant leg and hitch a ride into the house. Also, they can latch onto purses, backpacks, bags, etc. and gain access into the home this way. Pet owning people can transfer fleas when visiting a friend, going to the dog park, or walking through the grocery store. Also, fleas are small; they can wiggle their way through a screen and enter the house. “How do I get rid of these things?” With so many different flea products available, it is critical to understand a few key factors: Product Safety: Not all flea products are safe for all animals. Read the package carefully to be sure the product is safe for the species you are treating. NEVER use a dog product on a cat; this could be fatal to your cat. Is it safe for the age of your pet? Certain breeds of animals are more sensitive to different types of flea products. Always consult a veterinarian. Product Use: Always follow the label instructions to be sure the product is used properly. Is it to be applied topically or given orally? How often should it be used? Will bathing or swimming affect the efficacy of the product? Are there any environmental concerns when using this product? Is it safe if there are young children, tropical fish, birds, or other species in the home? The label should include a phone number to call about safety of the product. Which stage in the flea’s lifecycle will the product kill? Fleas have 4 different stages in their life cycle, and even the best flea products can only kill 3 of the 4 stages. Most flea products on the market today are designed to kill adult Continued Next Page

Spring 2017

fleas. However, there are 3 other stages that are alive and waiting to become active, hungry adults. Therefore, many flea control products have been designed to kill adults, eggs and larval stages. These interrupt the life cycle and reduce the number of pupae available to hatch into adults. However, nothing on the market kills the pupae. WE HAVE TO ATTACK FLEAS WHERE THEY LIVE: ON AND OFF THE PET. “What can I use for my pet?” There are several options for treating pets. Oral products will kill fleas and ticks when they bite the dog. Depending on the product, some will last only 48 hours while others last 30-90 days. Topical products are available that will kill on contact and also last form 30 to 90 days. Some of these topical agents are absorbed through the skin and can create medical concerns in some animals. There are a few flea collars that are effective against fleas and ticks and can last up to 8 months, depending on the product. “How can I kill fleas in the environment?” There are products that can be used in the house to kill fleas. Again, read the label carefully for safety and try to use a product that kills 3 of the 4 stages of the lifecycle. “Flea bombs” do not tend to work as well because they do not penetrate the areas where fleas like to hide: under tables and behind furniture. Premise sprays work best because they can be applied directly to the areas where fleas concentrate. Fleas are attracted to high traffic areas like entrance ways and hallways; the motion and activity in these areas stimulate the pupae to hatch into adults. Using the vacuum prior to applying the product will stimulate the fleas, bringing them into contact with the product and killing them quicker. Empty the vacuum bag often to prevent fleas from escaping. It is important to treat hard wood floors and baseboard areas because fleas can live deep in small cracks. Wash any bedding pets use, including human blankets, bed spreads, pillows, etc. in hot water to wash away fleas and their eggs. “Bottom line: what is the best product to use for fleas?” There is simply no easy answer to this question. It is best to consult a veterinarian. Each product works differently and some can have unwanted side effects. One last word of advice: treat all the pets in the household. It is not uncommon for a family to apply flea control to the dog and neglect to treat the cat, regardless of whether it goes outside. These other pets can harbor fleas and be the silent missing link in flea control. For more information, visit the American Veterinary Medical Association at Dr. Millie was born in Burlington and grew up in Pennsylvania. (Go Flyers!) She worked in pharmaceutical research before going to veterinary school at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Dr. Millie worked in various small animal clinics in Vermont before settling into Petit Brook Veterinary Clinic in 2000.

Spring 2017 27

Happy Anniversary to The Cat in the Hat Tim Hoehn


he sun did not shine, it was too wet to play, so we sat in the house all that cold, cold wet day. I sat there with Sally. We sat here we two and we said ‘How we wish we had something to do.” It was the 1960’s when my mother first shared the magical adventures of the Dr. Seuss classic. I knew every word and often fantasized what it would be like to spend an unsupervised day with such a special feline. When my children came of age, The Cat in the Hat became a bedtime standard. As this literary classic turns 60 years old this year, and I share the tales of Sally, Thing One and Thing Two, a fish and The Cat with my granddaughter, the genius of Theodore Geisel jumps off the pages as if it were penned yesterday. Theodore Geisel, writing as Dr. Seuss, created The Cat in the Hat in response to the May 24, 1954 Life magazine article by John Hersey, titled “Why Do Students Bog Down on First R? A Local Committee Sheds Light on a National Problem: Reading.” In the article, Hersey was critical of school primers: In the classroom boys and girls are confronted with books that have insipid illustrations depicting the slickedup lives of other children. [Existing primers] feature abnormally courteous, unnaturally clean boys and girls. . . . In bookstores, anyone can buy brighter, livelier books featuring strange and wonderful animals and children who behave naturally, i.e., sometimes misbehave. Given incentive from school boards, publishers could do as well with primers. H e r s e y ’s a r g u m e n t s w e r e enumerated over ten pages of Life Magazine, which was the leading periodical during that time. After detailing many issues contributing to the dilemma connected with student reading levels, Hersey asked toward the end of the article: Why should [school primers] not have pictures that widen rather than narrow the associative richness the children give to the words they illustrate — drawings like those of the wonderfully imaginative geniuses among children’s illustrators, Tenniel, Howard Pyle, “Dr. Seuss”, Walt Disney? Dr. Seuss responded to this 28 4 Legs & a Tail

Beth and Willow sharing some time with a couple of favorite cats

“challenge,” and began work. His publisher supplied him with the sight vocabulary of 223 words, one that was in harmony with the words the child would be learning in school. In an interview he gave in Arizona magazine in June 1981, Dr. Seuss claimed the book took nine months to complete due to the difficulty in writing a book from the 223 selected words. He added that the title for the book came from his desire to have the title rhyme and the first two suitable rhyming words that he could find from the list were "cat" and "hat". Dr. Seuss also regretted the association of his book and the "look say" reading method adopted during the Dewey revolt in the 1920s. He expressed the opinion that “... killing phonics was one of the greatest causes of illiteracy in the country.” Seuss had already published nine books for children. The first, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, came out in 1937. The tenth, Horton Hears a Who!, would appear in the fall of 1954. He had received some acclaim for his books, winning Caldecott Honors for McElligot’s Pool (1947), Bartholomew and the Oobleck (1949), and If I Ran the Zoo (1950). But Dr. Seuss was equally famous for “Quick, Henry, the Flit!” — his slogan for Flit insecticide. After first appearing in an ad in 1928, it quickly became a national catchphrase. His work in the field of advertising was his primary source of income.

The Cat in the Hat would change all that. Seuss wrote the book to teach children how to read, and its success allowed him to write full-time for children. Indeed, the Cat made “Dr. Seuss” a household name. With the publication of The Cat in the Hat in the spring of 1957 and of How the Grinch Stole Christmas! later that year, Dr. Seuss became an icon of American children’s literature. Theodor Seuss Geisel was born on March 2, 1904, in Springfield, Massachusetts, to Theodor Robert Geisel, a successful brew master, and Henrietta Seuss Geisel. At age 18, Geisel left home to attend Dartmouth College, where he became the editor in chief of its humor magazine, JackO-Lantern. When Geisel and his friends were caught drinking in his dorm room one night, in violation of Prohibition law, he was kicked off the magazine staff, but continued to contribute to it using the pseudonym “Seuss.” O n A p r i l 4 , 2 01 2 , t h e Dartmouth Medical School was renamed the Audrey and Theodor Geisel School of Medicine in honor of their many years of generosity to the College. Though the brick and mortar of the Hanover, NH facility is bound to stand well beyond our lifetime, it is certain that it will not endure nearly as long as that mischievous Cat in the Hat. Happy 60th Anniversary! Spring 2017

4 LEGS & A TAIL FUN! What's Different?

Dog’s Leg Missing, Tip of Umbrella Missing, Buckle on boot missing, Umbrella handle now green, Reflection missing in Water

TEACHER’S PET On the last day of kindergarten, all the children brought presents for their teacher. The florist’s son handed the teacher a gift. She held up the box and said, “I bet it’s some flowers!” “That’s right!” shouted the little boy. Then the candy store owner’s daughter handed the teacher a gift. She held up the box and said, “I bet it’s some chocolates!” “That’s right!” shouted the little girl. The next gift was from the liquor store owner’s son. The teacher held up the box and saw that it was leaking. She touched a drop with her finger and tasted it. “Is it wine?” she asked. “No,” the boy answered. The teacher touched another drop to her tongue. “Is it champagne?” she asked. “No,” the boy answered. “What is it?” she said. “A puppy!”

LOOK AGAIN! Alicia Goodwin



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