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Dog Days of Summer 2018 Rutland & Addison County

Is your dog a good citizen? Summer Pet Events Hit the Open Road with Your Cat Alternative Pet Diets Dogs of the Titanic

Inside this issue of 4 Legs & a Tail


2. August 15th is National Check the Chip Day Erin Forbes, DVM Is your pet's chip up to date? 3. Support the Rutland County Humane Society and Get Your Paws Wet This Summer! 4. TRACKING - A Wonderful Sport For You and Your Dog Emily McDermott 5. What is a CGC Test? Judith Suarez

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Is your dog a good citizen?

7. The Fluffy Bunny Rabbit Sanctuary

Looking for a family friend? Take a short hop to Panton, VT

8. 3 Simple Tips for Teaching Your Dog NOT to Pull on the Leash Chet Womack 9. Five Surprising Things You Didn't Know About Dogs Marty Becker, DVM 10. 10 Reasons to Get a Dog When You’re Over 50 11. RVing With Cats: What You Need to Know Heather Marcoux Some helpful tips when you hit the road with your favorite feline 14. Pasture Strategies for Horses with Metabolic Disorders Nicole Sicely 16. Alternatively Speaking: Are Raw Foods Right For You? Dr. Anne Carroll, DVM, CVA 18. New Puppy FAQ's Elisa Speckert

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20. Overgrooming in Cats Catherine MacLean This is something that a lot of owners discover by accident or it’s

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found by a veterinarian on a cat’s physical exam much to the owner’s surprise

22. Your Pet's Chipped Tooth Kristin Esterbrook, DVM 23. An Improbable Friendship For one small town in Minnesota, a dog and duck make for an interesting pair

24. An Ode to Pen Karen Sturtevant A touching story of the love of an English Bull Dog 26. Dogs of the Titanic: Three Who Survived Kate Kelly 28. A Yankee Doodle Dandy Tim Hoehn Fireworks lead to an unexpected stroke of luck

4 Legs & a Tail Volume R.218 P.O. Box 841 Lebanon, NH 03766 603-727-9214 Summer 2018

Publishers: Tim Goodwin, Tim Hoehn Senior Editor: Scott Palzer Office Manager: Beth Hoehn Graphic Design: Kristin Wolff Kaleb Edmonson, Kate Haas Sales Manager: Ashley Charron

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

August 15th is National Check the Chip Day Erin Forbes, DVM Vermont Veterinary Medical Association


icrochips greatly increase the chances that pets will be reunited with their families if they are lost or stolen, and the majority of veterinarian offices can give one to your pet. A microchip is a tiny object, no bigger than a grain of rice that can be injected under the skin of your pet. The procedure is no different than a vaccination. Using a special scanner, the microchip can be detected and a number unique to your pet is shown, along with the company that made the chip. An animal control officer, shelter, or veterinarian can then call the company and track down the owner using that number. Statistics show that one in three pets will become lost at some point during their lives, and cats and dogs with registered microchips are much more likely to be returned to their family. Microchips only work if the information on the chip is kept up to date. If an owner does not know if their pet has a microchip, they should make an appointment to have their pet scanned by their veterinarian. If they do have a chip but are unsure of who it is registered to, owners can go to and access the Universal Pet Microchip Lookup Tool provided by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). The tool allows users to enter the code from the microchip and will direct owners to participating microchip registries associated with that microchip’s number and manufacturer. Owners can then update the information associated with the chip as needed. In a recent study published by the Journal of the AVMA research showed that microchipping greatly increased the chance a lost dog or cat would be reunited with their family. In dogs without a microchip there was a 22 percent chance of being returned to their family but with a microchip that rose to 52 percent. For cats, better results were obtained: about one in 50 cats are returned to the owners, but when microchipped, two of five cats were reunited with their family. Implanting a microchip is a simple procedure: the chip is embedded under the skin using a hypodermic needle, similar to those used for vaccinations. No surgery or anesthetic is needed and this procedure can be done during a routine visit. The chip will then be scanned, added to the medical record, and owner’s will be given information on how to register the chip. If your pet gets lost, an office or shelter can scan for a chip, and if found can contact the owner associated with the chip. The VVMA urges pet owners to talk with their veterinarians to learn more about proper identification for their pets, schedule an appointment to have their pets microchipped, and make sure their pets’ microchips have up-to-date information that will ensure a happy reunion if their pets ever become lost. The Vermont Veterinary Medical Association (VVMA), founded in 1898, is a professional organization of 360 veterinarians dedicated to compassionate animal care and quality medicine. 2 4 Legs & a Tail

Summer 2018

Support the RCHS and Get Your Paws Wet this Summer with these TWO Fun Filled Events! 2018 Annual Dock Diving Competition Location: The Palms at Prospect Bay on Lake Bomoseen, VT Date: September 16th Time: Registration and practice jumps begin at 11am


2018 Annual Dog Days of Summer Pool Party Locations: White’s Pool Time and Date: TBD


oin us for a fun day of doggie jumps and splashes! There will be prizes for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place along with the longest jumps in categories from Novice to Pro. There will also be fun prizes for the funniest jump and more! No experience is necessary! Stop by to watch or compete, and enjoy an afternoon of excitement on beautiful Lake Bomoseen and support the Rutland County Humane Society.

ool your dogs off and let your favorite pup enjoy the end of summer with a dip in the pool! Stay Tuned for details! All proceeds go to the Rutland County Humane Society to help care for the sick and homeless animals of Rutland County. All of the proceeds will be used for anything from spay/neuter operations, to food and vaccines for the animals.

For more information or questions visit The Fly Dogs on Facebook

For more information please contact Amelia at 802-483-9171 ext 208 or

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Tracking - A Wonderful Sport for You and Your Dog Emily McDermott - Amherst, MA


racking is a sport in which a dog follows a human scent trail - the track - and locates articles placed there by the human track layer. All dogs naturally have a keen sense of smell and love using their noses to follow interesting scents through fields and woods. In tracking, the handler must teach the dog to stay on a specific scent on a specific track until the dog finds the articles left by the track layer and gets to the end of the track. Unlike Obedience and Rally and Agility where the dog must respond to the handler’s commands, in a Tracking Event the dog is completely in charge, for only the dog knows how to use his nose and follow the track to the end. The American Kennel Club offers four tracking titles: Tracking Dog (TD), Tracking Dog Urban (TDU), Tracking Dog Excellent (TDX), and Variable Surface Tracking (VST). A Champion Tracker (CT) is awarded to those dogs that have earned titles at all three levels: TD or TDU, TDX, and VST. TD and TDX tests are held in fields and woods, while TDU and VST tests are held on college campuses or industrial parks. To earn a tracking title a dog needs to pass the test in a particular level only once. At a tracking test each dog has its own track, and tracks for each dog entered are plotted by the two judges and the tracklayer the day before the test. On test day the tracklayer officially walks the track at the appointed time leaving an article like

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a sock with the tracklayer’s scent at the start flag and a final article, for example a leather glove, at the end of the track. In the TD there is only a start article and end article, in the TDU there is an additional article left somewhere along the track, and in the TDX and VST there are two intermediate articles left along the track. The dog must find all the articles. In a TD test, for example, when dog and handler approach the start flag all the handler sees are the start flag and a directional flag and a very large imposing field. It is up to the dog to take the scent at the start and follow the track to the glove at the end. The dog is on a harness with a long line attached. The handler must stay at least 20 feet behind the dog and follow the dog, without any guidance, watching for corner indications by the dog until the dog finds and stops at the end article. There is nothing more thrilling and exciting than finding that final article at the end of the track and earning the TD!! Since all dogs have a natural ability to follow a scent, any breed is capable of learning to track with proper instruction. The first step, then, in teaching a dog to track is to find someone experienced in tracking to work with or to contact a tracking club. This area of Vermont is fortunate to have the TRACKING CLUB OF VERMONT (TCV) ready to help dog and owner get started in tracking. TCV was established in 1991 and currently has about 80 members. Most are from Vermont, but a few are also from New York, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Jersey. Meetings are held the fourth Thursday of each month in the Rutland area, and these meetings are open to the public. It would be hard to find a club more active and supportive of tracking than TCV. TCV encourages and supports the sport of tracking by offering tracking instruction for all levels including a Beginner’s Clinic in spring and clinics for more advanced dogs in spring and summer. In addition to formal clinics, informal tracking sessions are often held by TCV members who get together to track in local

fields and woods or on college campuses. Whether a person trains and works for AKC titles or trains for the sheer pleasure of being outside in the fields interacting with dogs and friends, one quickly realizes that tracking is a fascinating and wonderful sport. The camaraderie among the tracking community can’t be beat. In addition to clinics, TCV also holds four and sometimes five tracking tests a year: two TD/TDX combined tests, one TDU test, one VST test, and sometimes an extra TD test. The TD and TDX tests are held at Smokey House Center, Danby, VT, and the TDU and VST tests are at Castleton University, Castleton, VT. These tests are held in April, June, October and December. The April test was April 22, and the dates of the remaining 2018 tests are below. Anyone interested in tracking should feel free to come and watch these tests. To hold this many tracking tests in a year requires a tremendous amount of organization and a large and active number of members willing to do all the jobs necessary for a successful test. TCV is an outstanding club with wonderful and amazing members always willing to step up and do whatever is asked. Anyone wanting to learn more about tracking should contact the club secretary Joyce Pedone, vtterrier@gmail. com for further information. There is also a website Below are the dates for the remaining 2018 TCV tracking tests: June 23, TDU test, Castleton University; October 14, TD/TDX test, Smokey House Center; November 11, VST test, Castleton University; December 2 possible TD or TDX test, Smokey House Center. Come and watch some of these tests! You will be amazed and fascinated!! Emily McDermott is a retired high school chemistry and biology teacher and lives in Amherst, MA with husband John and English Cocker Spaniel Archer. They retired to Amherst from Bethlehem, PA in 2003. Emily is a member of the Tracking Club of Vermont and has been tracking English Cockers since 1984. Summer 2018

What is a CGC Test? Judith Suarez

I s your dog a “good citizen?” Most of us would like to think of our

dogs as great companions, who also have excellent manners. But if asked by an insurance company or a landlord, we might have trouble proving our point. That is one of the driving forces behind the American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Test. It is a super way to demonstrate to others that our dogs have what it takes to be responsible and well behaved. Started in 1989, the CGC Program is designed to reward dogs who have good manners at home and in the community. It is a two-part program that stresses responsible pet ownership for owners and basic good manners for dogs. Since its inception, it has had an extremely positive impact in many of our communities. This is a program that can help us assure that the dogs we love will always be welcomed and wellrespected members of our communities. Many dog owners choose Canine Good Citizen training as the first step in training their dogs. The Canine Good Citizen Program lays the foundation for other AKC activities such as obedience, agility, tracking, and performance events. But perhaps more importantly, CGC training for humans and their dogs helps keep dogs from entering the rescue system. And astounding 98% of dogs who have passed CGC tests, according to AKC research, remain in their homes. It is a pleasure for both dogs and those around them to have a solid background in what “being a good dog” actually means. Having skills like walking on a loose leash around other people and dogs, being able to sit on command, waiting for a minute or so while the human walks a few feet and returns, coming when called, and staying calmly with a stranger are all elements of having good manners – and are all elements in a CGC test. When you work with your dog to teach the CGC skills, you’ll discover the many benefits and joys of training your dog. Training will enhance the bond between you and your dog. Dogs who have a solid obedience education are a joy to live with – they respond well to household routines, have good manners in the presence of people and other dogs, and they fully enjoy the company of the owner who took the time to provide training, intellectual stimulation, and a high quality life. All dogs, including both purebred and mixed breed dogs, are welcome to participate in the AKC’s Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Program. Dogs must simply be Summer 2018

old enough to have received necessary immunizations such as rabies vaccines. After passing and registering the testing, the AKC provides a certificate. Many insurance companies accept proof of CGC testing as the qualification for homeowners insurance. Landlords, who do not always take companion animals, also accept proof of good manners from a CGC test before renting their property to dog owners. Best of all – it is fun. Whether you take a training class or do the work on your own, the feeling of success when your dog can complete the ten elements of a CGC Test is amazing. And the dogs all seem to know they have done something brilliant, as well. Oddly enough, even for those of us who go on to do many other “tests” with our dogs in obedience or sports like agility, the feeling of passing a CGC is a fond memory. CGC Tests feel like a “real world” experience. There are other people and other dogs around. The elements are practical and clear. And the cheering from observers and helpers is a real ego boost. The AKC website has a wealth of

information on the CGC Program. You can check it out at dog-owners/training/canine-good-citizen/ what-is-canine-good-citizen/ Judith Suarez is the Training Chairman for Pioneer Valley Kennel Club, an allbreed AKC club based in Greenfield MA and offering year round training in Brattleboro VT. 5

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t all started when our first bunny needed a friend. Then we were given a third bunny, so that third bunny needed a friend, but that fourth bunny had two sisters and we didn’t want to break up the family... Well, it progressed from there. After we r e s c u e d f ou r rabb it s f r om sub -zero temperatures at the end of 2017, we decided to make things official! Fun fact: Did you know that bunnies make excellent house pets? They are affectionate, playful, will use a litter box, live into their teens, and don’t need a cage or hutch. (They prefer to be proper house pets without a cage!) They have the loyalty and devotion of a dog, the independence of a cat, and their own brand of sassy mischief, all wrapped up in an extremely pettable little armful of fluff. Bunnies are extremely food motivated, and relatively easy to clicker train. They are extremely social creatures and when properly introduced will often bond with the other house pets. Rabbits make very few noises which is great for apartment dwellers. They grind their teeth in a bunny purr when you’re rubbing the base of their ears just right, and will occasionally thump the floor with a back foot if they are alarmed. They are corpuscular creatures, which means they are most active in the morning and afternoon/evening, and spend most of their days and nights snoozing. (side note - they often nap with their eyes open) Jessie Jerry and John Diegel, along with board members Erin Hurlburt and Carole McBride, are the humans behind Fluffy Bunny Rabbit Sanctuary, located in Panton, Vermont. We take in all the Summer 2018

love these bunnies as much as the healthy ones, and we do not believe in putting any rabbit to sleep while they can still have quality of life. We plan to expand our facilities this summer into a small barn on the property to allow us to care for more occupants and make it easier for visitors to interact with the buns. The barn already has electricity and water, but it needs some s p r uci ng up, exterior pens added, and a lot rabbits we can, as space allows, with of insulation before it will be ready for the aim of ensuring they are physical- bunnies. If you are interested in helping ly and emotionally well, neutered or with this project, send Jessie an email spayed, and provided a forever home. at caretaker@fluffybunnyrabbitsanctu Adoption is our main goal, but unfor- tunately not all the buns that come to Fluffy Bunny are able to be rehomed. For more information, bunny adoption, and lots of pictures, check us out on Some come to us with ongoing health issues that demand a lot of time and vet Facebook @fluffybunnyrabbitsanctuary or our website www.fluffybunnyrabbitexpenses that would be too much for a future home to take on. Others come We welcome donations to us with emotional issues that mean of time, food & bedding, building materials, and of course money. they are not able to be rehomed. We 7


for Teaching Your Dog NOT to Pull on the Leash Chet Womack


o many dogs these days do not have any leash manners. They pull while on the leash, choking themselves, and making the walk miserable! But, there are a few simple tips you can use to teach your dog to NOT pull on the leash, so you both will be able to enjoy your walks. Here Are My Top 3 Tips to Teach Your Dog to NOT Pull on the Leash: 1. Teach Your Dog How Long His Leash Is! First off, this means DON’T USE RETRACTABLE LEASHES!! Retractable leashes are unfair because the dog doesn’t know if the leash is 3 ft, 10 ft or 25 ft. A dog needs to know how long his leash is to learn not to pull. So, find a leash that is about 6 ft long and stick with it for training. I often “let my dogs be dogs” by allowing them to have the length of the leash to wander while we are walking. However, my #1 rule is that you don’t pull me, EVER!!!! And, to achieve this, I must teach my dogs how far they can go on their leash before they pull (about 5 feet). So, I put them on a leash, and if they are not paying attention to me, I change my direction. Yes, the dog hits the end of the leash. But, in my opinion, the dog is “correcting” himself, and I am teaching him how much room he has on his leash before this happens. This also teaches the dog to pay attention to me. Yes, you can sniff and wander and have a good time and still have an idea of where I am and what I am doing. Whenever my dog appears not to be paying attention, I change my direction and make a 180-degree turn. This helps the dog learn how long his leash is, and teaches him to pay attention to me. 8 4 Legs & a Tail

2. Reward Attention Very few people ever recognize when their dog looks at them. Even fewer people reward it! This is one of the biggest mistakes people make! Your dog should be praised for looking at you, and paying attention to you. Paying attention to me is NEVER wrong! I want my dog staring up at me or looking back at me; always checking in with me. If your dog is paying attention to you, he probably isn’t pulling on the leash. When I teach puppy classes, 100% of those puppies will look up at their owner, on their own (even when they haven’t been taught eye contact). It is a given. It is something I wait for during class, so I can point it out and have them reward it. However, if you don’t recognize it and reward it, the behavior will disappear and turn into pulling and paying attention to everything else. 3. Stimulate His Mind Dogs often pull because they are bored! He doesn’t have really anything else to do, or anything else to think about, so he pulls you from one thing to another. Give him something else to do! Stimulate his mind!! I rarely walk with a total purpose of getting somewhere fast. When I am walking with my dog, I am walking AND training. I change my direction. I change my pace. I have my dog sit. I have my dog “down.” I ask him to find heel. I bring his tug and play with him when he does something right. I ask for eye contact. I ask my dog to do push-ups (sit and down in succession). I make circles to the right and circles to the left. I want my dog’s mind stimulated. I want my dog to pay attention to me. And, I recognize that just walking at a slow pace is not stimulating for my dog, and, without me providing him with stimulation, he is more likely to pull! Follow these three tips, and your walks will significantly improve! Chet Womack is the founder of

Summer 2018

Five Surprising Things You Didn’t Know About Dogs Dr. Marty Becker DVM


hile most of the country will have a hot streak or two this summer, they weren’t officially “dog days” unless they occurred in late July or August, at least in the Northern H e m i s p h e r e. That’s because the term “dog days” refers to a period when Sirius - the “dog star,” part of the constellation Canis Major, rises and falls with the sun. The ancient Romans marked these days from July 23-24 to August 23-24, noting that they were typically the hottest days of the year. Eventually, the phrase “dog days” came to mean any hot streak in the summer. The origin of dog tags: Putting collars on dogs is an ancient practice, but dog licenses are much more recent. In the United States, at least, the practice is a little more than a century old, and it started in Cincinnati, Ohio. Charging dog owners to license their pets caught on with other cities as well and was so common that by the time American soldiers

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in World War I were issued ID tags, they reminded everyone so much of what dogs wore that they were humorously called “dog tags,” a term that sticks to this very day. Guard dog on duty: The phrase “Beware of Dog” is so old that its Latin equivalent, “cave canem” has been found on signs in Roman ruins. The word “watchdog” isn’t quite so old; the first mention of it is by Shakespeare, in The Tempest. First-aid cream is better: The idea that a dog›s saliva has healing powers has been around at least since the ancient Greeks and Romans, whose physicians believed it to be an antidote for poisoning. Later, St. Roch was often pictured with a dog licking a sore, reflecting the belief that the patron saint of plague victims knew something about a cure and that his dog’s saliva made him healthy. Modern medicine, no surprise, doesn’t look kindly on such theories. And by the way: Dogs are attracted to open wounds because the

serum from them is sweet. Doggie dreads: If you let the hair of Poodles grow, it will form dreadlocks. While not common, Poodles with “cords” do turn up at dog shows now and then, and they always attract attention. While pet Poodles are typically kept in a short “puppy clip” and show Poodles are groomed for fluffy, big hair, there are breeds who cannot be shown competitively without their cords: the Puli and the Komondor. In Europe, the Bergamasco is shown not only corded but also matted, with what look like large pieces of felt hanging from his pelt. Cords are impractical for pet dogs, which is why these breeds are often shorn of their distinctive coats when they’re retired from showing. A few years back, a top-winning American Komondor was shaved down, losing 2,700 cords and 15 pounds in the process. Fleas aren’t picky: When dogs have fleas, it’s more likely they’ll be what are called “cat fleas,” or Ctenocephalides felis. As for cats, they’re more likely to have cat fleas, too. There is a “dog flea,” but it’s nowhere near as common. The reason “cat fleas” are named after our feline companions is pure coincidence: They were found on a cat when they were first named, in 1834. And, yes, modern flea control from your veterinarian will control these heinous hitchhikers on both cats and dogs. 9


f your nest is empty — by circumstance or by choice — think about getting a dog. Known for their devotion and happy dances, dogs can take a big bite out of isolation. Just hanging out with a furry friend, studies show, has a revitalizing effect. Here are 10 benefits of later-life dog ownership. Dogs Keep You Fit Adopt a dog and ditch that pricey personal trainer. A study in The Journal of Physical Activity and Health found that dog owners walk approximately one hour longer per day than those without a fetching friend in their lives. They Make You Healthier Studies show that dog-owning seniors have lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol than their petless peers. Having a dog also reduces the risk of heart attack — and boosts your chances of long-term survival if you have one.   Dogs Are Social Mediums A natural-born icebreaker, your dog will introduce you to everyone from next-door neighbors to perfect strangers. It’s impossible to pass a dog without making a “pat stop.” So head for the park — Bowser will take it from there.   They Organize Your Day A dog may keep you sane, showered and solvent. Studies show that dog owners exhibit higher degrees of self-discipline than those without. Makes sense: Dogs, like humans, thrive on structure; they need to be fed, walked and nurtured at regular intervals. Dogs Get You MRI scanners showed that the canine brain reacts to voices and sounds, such as crying or laughter, in the same way the human brain does. Dogs are also the only nonhuman animals who scan the left side of a face — the process whereby people, too, “read” emotions.  They Boost Quality of Life For many older Americans, a dog means the difference between a life lived and a life merely endured. Dogs help you stay safe and independent: They provide ears for the deaf, eyes for the blind and an early warning system at the approach of dangers (both real and imagined, of course!).  They Can Be an Old Friend No need for housebreaking and training when you adopt an older pooch. Studies show you can teach an old dog new tricks — or simply take it for long, calm walks. They Help You Volunteer When is a dog like a grandchild? When you can play with it during the day and then head home! Shelters and rescue organizations are desperate for volunteer help. And you’ll get a boost from that tailwagging mood elevator. Dogs Make You a Better Person Consider this: Ozzy Osbourne, the bat-chomping rocker not known as an SPCA poster child, once wrestled a coyote to the ground to pull his pet Pomeranian, Pipi, from its jaws. As the “bumper snicker” exhorts us, “Be the person your dog thinks you are.” They Let You Be a Hero The Humane Society estimates that 6 to 8 million dogs and cats wind up in animal shelters every year. The majority would make loyal and loving companions, yet at least half of that number are euthanized annually. Visit a local shelter; maybe some buddy needs you. Summer 2018

10 Reasons to Get a Dog When You’re Over 50

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RVing with Cats: What You Need to Know T

he highway is calling your name, but you don’t want to leave your cat behind while you go road tripping in your RV or van. Luckily, if your cat is an adventure cat, you don’t have to be separated. Not all cats are good candidates for life in a home on wheels, but if you’ve got a leash-trained kitty who is accustomed to car rides and confident in a harness, your cat may be the “purrfect” road trip companion. With the right preparation you can make sure your cat enjoys RV travel as much as you do.

Heather Marcoux

usual bedding, toys and scratching post in their new environment will help cats feel safe as they figure out their new surroundings. It will also introduce familiar scents into the vehicle. “The goal is for the cat to feel like the RV is a comfortable zone,” says Dr. Tran, who recommends using Feliway diffusers, sprays and wipes in your cat’s new mobile home.

this isn’t very practical unless you want to be moving the litter every time you take a shower (although some RVers do just that). Luckily, creative use of space in RVs — and even vans — opens up a ton of litter location possibilities. RV dwellers have put litter boxes under beds, in empty cargo compartments and in cabinets outfitted with cat doors. Things can be trickier in a van, where space is even more limited, but litter and van life can mix. One Australian couple reports success securing their cat’s litter box under one of the back seats with Velcro. As for Vladimir — a kitty who’s traveled to all the U.S. national parks — his humans keep his litter box in the shower.

Plan for medical emergencies While your kitty is busy sniffing around your caravan, you can get busy making a plan for any medical needs that may come up during your road trip. A well-stocked feline first aid Spend time in the space The first step to planning an RV kit could come in handy and should adventure with your cat is introduc- definitely include any medications your ing them to the vehicle. Put your cat might need. A hard copy of your motorhome in park, because it’s best cat’s veterinary and vaccine records Buckle up When your cat is comfortable in the not to leave the driveway until your cat are good to have, too. space it’s time to begin your road trip, is fully adjusted to and comfortable in but a cat should not be left loose in an MORE: Essentials for hiking their new surroundings. RV or van when their new home is in According to veterinarian Dr. Alisha with cats Tran, this process could take anywhere “Have a list of vets or emergency vets motion. from a few days to weeks or longer you can contact quickly or can navigate “While the vehicle is moving I would straight to in case something does hap- recommend that the cat is confined in depending on the cat. “It would be best to very gradually pen,” says Dr. Tran. “Especially if this case of an accident,” notes Dr. Tran, accustom the cat to the RV, as if it were is going to be a trip where cell phone who suggests cats ride in a large crate a new home since it will essentially be service is spotty [or] non-existent, or secured by a seatbelt. [a new home] at least temporarily,” she veterinary care is not easily accessible.” Loose cats can not only be injured in the event of an collision, but they tells Adventure Cats. “This means giving can also inadvertently cause one if they [your cat] enough time to be comfort- Consider the litter able with just being in the RV or van There are as many places to put are roaming near the driver. without it even moving.” a litter box in an RV as there are RVs When your RV is stopped and you’re on the market. ready to explore outdoors, make sure In larger motorhomes, placing the your cat wears his or her harness, collar Make it theirs Dr. Tran suggests bringing some of litter box in the bathroom beside the and leash. your kitty’s things into the RV during toilet can be a good option, but in small- A long line secured to the RV or the adjustment period. Having their er RVs with wet bath-style washrooms, van is perfect for allowing your cat to explore the campsite while you supervise from the fireside, but a collar with ID and a microchip are also necessary just in case your cat does slip outside without her harness on.

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Enjoy life on the road Traveling with a cat means going slow and taking precautions, but whether you’re hauling an Airstream or living that #vanlife, if there’s room in your heart for a cat, there’s also room in your vehicle. 11

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Pasture Strategies for Horses with Metabolic Disorders Nicole Sicely - Cambridge, VT


anaging a horse with a metabolic disorder is a lifetime dedication. Like a child having a peanut allergy, it will always be something you need to be cautious of. There is no such thing as a safe pasture for horses with metabolic disorders. However, there are strategies to reduce the risk. At risk horses, such as those who are over-weight, have EMS, PPID, or insulin resistant (IR), cannot tolerate free choice grazing due to the excess intake of sugar and starch during certain environmental conditions. Pasture management strategies can reduce the risk of high sugar and starch intake. Know your horse’s risk level and exercise caution. If your horse’s insulin level is not in the normal range (Cornell:10-40 uIU/ml), has a Cresty Neck Score of three or more, or is hoof sore, use a dry lot or tract system. Cresty Neck Score System Score Description

Source: Carter et al., 2009


No palpable crest.


No visual appearance of a crest, but slight filling felt with palpation.


Noticeable appearance of a crest, but fat deposited fairly evenly from poll to withers. Crest easily cupped in one hand and bent from side to side.


Crest enlarged and thickened, so fat is deposited more heavily in middle of the neck than towards poll and withers, giving a mounded appearance. Crest fills cupped hand and begins losing side to side flexibility.


Crest grossly enlarged and thickened, and can no longer be cupped in one hand or easily bent from side to side. Crest may have wrinkles or creases perpendicular to the topline.


Crest is so large it permanently droops to one side.

In Vermont and New Hampshire we have Cool Season Grasses (C3). Cool Season grasses thrive in temperatures between 65-75° F. Growth begins in C3 grasses when the temperature is 40-45°F. Many factors affect the sugar and starch

content of forage including: species of forage, light, light duration, temperature, nutrients and water, stage of growth, and grazing management practices. Grass accumulates sugar and starch through photosynthesis. During the day, sugar and starch are produced peaking in the afternoon. Once the sun goes down, respiration begins, the sugars and starches produced from photosynthesis during the day are utilized for continued growth. By early morning the sugar and starch has been used up, leaving the time between 3am and 10am a safer grazing time. When nighttime temperatures drop below 40°F respiration is not active, therefore sugar and starch is not used up for growth. However, it is still accumulating during the day, making grass a large holding pot of sugar and starch. This makes spring, fall and early winter a dangerous time to graze. C3 grasses can adapt so well to cold that a low rate of photosynthesis can continue under a light layer of snow. Most susceptible horses should be kept completely off green grass during periods with freezing nights. Even an insulating layer of snow may not be enough to create a safe turnout. Check your pastures in the winter, if the base of the grass is still green, then the sugar and starch will have accumulated at an unsafe rate, don’t turn your horses out.

Photo courtesy of

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C3 grasses store sugar and starch in the stem base. Ever seen a horse nibbling on an over grazed section of the pasture with lovely tall blades of grass being completely ignored? Horses can be selective grazers and prefer the shorter, sweeter blades of grass. C3 grasses have a higher genetic potential to accumulate sugar and starch under stressful conditions. Stress, just like temperature, can cause respiration to shut down before photosynthesis. In these situations, even morning grazing can be dangerous. Examples of stress are drought, over grazing, or lack of soil nutrients. On cloudy days photosynthesis is reduced creating less accumulated sugar and starch. Planting trees around a paddock, or setting one up next to buildings helps provide shade and limit photosynthetic rates. With two cloudy days in a row, it is safer to let your horse out to graze a bit longer on the second day, as very little sugar and starch will have accumulated. Maintaining your pastures in a vegetative (growing) state will also prevent sugar and starch from accumulating. Seed heads are very high in sugar and starch, and pastures should be mowed prior to it going to seed. A recent study found that mowing pasture during seasons when sugar and starch concentrations are the highest; spring and fall, can maintain forage in a “re-growth” phase that consumes stored sugar and starch. In this study pastures were mowed to a height of 5.9” prior to seed heads forming. Continued Next Page

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Additional ways to help your overweight Week One Week Two and/or metabolic horses are exercise, Resting muzzles, strip grazing, track systems or Resting dry lots. Grazing Exercise is the #1 insulin buster there is. Grazing Resting It will help induce weight loss and increase insulin sensitivity. Week Four Week Three Week Two Muzzles can be beneficial in restricting Resting Grazing Week One intake by 80%. They restrict intake, and only Grazing allow access to the tips of the leaves which Resting Starting paddock are lower in sugar and starch. Turning your Resting horse out during safe grazing times with a Single-fence strip grazing, where the fence is Dual-fence strip grazing, where two fences are muzzle, along with exercise, is a good option moved every week to gradually in crease grazing moved at the same time over a 4 week period, paddock size. The grazed paddock is not rested. allowing previously grazed areas to rest for over-weight horses. Strip grazing restricts the amount of grass Strip grazing photo courtesy of Inside-Out Hoofcare. horses have access to by use of a portable fence. Every few days you move the fence to a new section to limit the amount of grass they have access to. Moving the grazing sections limits damage to the previously grazed areas and allows for re-growth. When pasture turn out is not a safe option, as on a sunny afternoon, dry lots are your best friend. They should be completely bare dirt with no short grass. A small overgrazed pasture is not a dry lot. Remember, over grazed grass is under stress and accumulates sugar and starch in the grass stem closest to the ground. Create a safe dry lot using dirt, manufactured sand, or pea gravel. Take Home Highlights • Introduce all new pastures more gradually with at-risk horses. • Turn out early morning between 3 - 10am. • Avoid sunny afternoons • Longer turnout may be possible on cloudy days. • Shaded grass will accumulate less sugar and starch, being a safer grazing location. • Spring and fall are the most dangerous seasons. • Don’t turn out when night temperatures drop below 40°F. • Access to grass in the winter is only safe when the grass is completely dead. If it is still green near the base of the stem, then sugar and starch are still present in high quantities. • Avoid grass that may be stressed due to drought or overgrazing. • Mowing pastures keeps grass in a state of re-growth so less sugar and starch accumulates. • Seed heads are extremely high in sugar and starch, mow prior to heads forming. • Use a muzzle to restrict intake during safe turn out times. • Use a dry lot or track system for periods that are unsafe to graze. • And the #1 thing you can do for your horse….Exercise! Nicole’s passion for equine nutrition started in 2002 the day her Tennessee Walker gelding “Chance” was diagnosed with PPID (Cushings Disease). Stumbling across the “Equine Cushings and Insulin Resistance” Yahoo group opened the door to a complete fascination (some would say obsession!) with the benefits of nutrition for PPID and IR horses.  Chance lived to the wonderful age of 31yrs old.  Diagnosed at age 18, Nicole contributes these years to a tightly balanced diet, amazing vet and farrier. Summer 2018

*Information in this article may not be copied or reproduced without consent from Custom Equine Nutrition, LLC. 15

Alternatively Speaking: Are Raw Foods Right For You? Dr. Anne Carroll, DVM, CVA


ur family loves food, who doesn’t? Eating is a source of pleasure, and hopefully good health when we do it right. Our family includes our pets of course, so it is really no wonder that we want our furry friends to equally enjoy their food and our pursuit for the ‘perfect’ dog food is driven by that desire to have happy, healthy pets. As that search leads more people to fresh or raw foods, I thought it would be a good time to revisit the topic of raw feeding. We have addressed the pros and cons of processed food in previous articles, so we will not revisit that debate, but instead just take a look at how to evaluate whether raw feeding may be a good fit for your family pet. Before we start, remember that no matter how potentially valuable any one type of

food may be, there are no one-size-fits-all when it comes to nutrition. One dog’s perfect meal is another’s digestive upset, so always check with your veterinarian about how to safely evaluate diet choices and make diet changes. Why do we consider raw feeding, when dry dog and cat food is so convenient, requiring no warming, thawing, prep work or planning – just scoop and serve? In modern times we are recognizing what we have given up for convenience and are looking for fresh ingredients that match what dogs naturally would have eaten, like cartilage and ligament tissues, and organ meats. The appeal of mimicking a ‘natural’ eating experience is not a small trend. The raw food industry was doing $65 mil-

lion in sales in 2013, as of last year that number had risen to $195 million. While still less than 5% of the overall pet food market, raw food sales are growing three times the rate of the rest of the pet food industry. Some have argued this is all a fad or an unfounded theory, but years later too many dogs are healthier on raw foods and that makes fresh feeding likely to continue to be a major growth area in the pet food market. A growing market means more choices and more ways to add fresh food to our pet’s diet, but that comes with the price of needing to be educated to know how to choose. Some elect to start slowly and simply add fresh ingredients on a small scale to the current diet, and this can be an easy way to try out fresh feeding. Appropriate foods that agree with your pet’s digestion can be added to a balanced base meal plan, and it gives the flexibility to focus on certain nutrients that kibble tends to lack or to address specific needs your pet may have. Options include complete meals of quality local meats to use with a supplement balancing mix, making small batch raw or cooked meals to add to dry food, or just supplement commercial food with choice items to augment health. As long as the additions are mindfully chosen and make up less than a quarter of the diet, this approach can really brighten your dog’s menu with nutritional benefits. For those wanting a larger part of the diet to be fresh food, or even all of it, then making sure it is balanced is much more important. Simply providing a buffet of lovely fresh food does not mean it is magically complete. Humans use multivitamins, fortified foods like Iodine in salt and Vitamin D in milk, so why would we not expect to need some effort to complete our pet’s food? Raw meat alone is not a balanced meal, and too much meat without an appropriate balance of other nutrients can actually be detrimental over time. Balance is even more important for growing puppies and kittens, where too little or too much of certain nutrients, especially calcium, can have a huge impact on their proper development. Another consideration is that it takes a lot of metabolic energy to break down raw food, and that can be too much for some animals, no matter their age. Younger animals may find this more of a challenge given everything their digestive systems and immune systems are facing – intestinal parasites passed on by their mothers, getting all those baby shots, diet change from mother’s milk to solid foods and then new foods as they join Continued Next Page

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a new household. Plus at this age, there is a lot less room for replacing dry food and still keeping nutritional balance. At our practice we usually recommend sticking to commercial and cooked foods for most juveniles until they are older and on solid footing to handle raw foods, but if used homemade diets must meet AAFCO nutritional standards for your pet. Elderly animals may have similar needs for an ‘easier’ diet to digest given the decline of digestive capabilities as they age. Consulting with your vet is important for any diet plan, but even more so for the young and old. Once you have talked to your vet and tried out some fresh feeding to check that it agrees with your pet, you may be ready to take the plunge and make some larger diet changes. The first decision is whether you will make it yourself or buy commercial. Making it yourself gives you more control over ingredient quality and sources, and can allow you to meet any dietary restrictions your pet may have. It does require a legitimately balanced recipe and do expect to have to use some supplements. It is virtually impossible to provide the variety of tissues, including organs, hair, and glands that animals eat in their prey, not to mention the other nutrients dogs would look for from the stools of plant-eating animals (yes, there

Summer 2018

is a reason they want to go out and eat poop!). Like all things worthwhile, there is a learning curve and it is not a bad idea to have your veterinarian double check your recipes For those that aren’t up for making petfood themselves, commercial diets are abundant, both frozen and dried. However, this still requires some education since there are many choices and not all raw diets are created equal. There are dried fresh foods that are served soaked to return them to a reconstituted state and frozen raw foods. The same rules apply as for dry or canned foods, ignore the advertising on the front of the packaging and read the ingredient list. Many raw foods and even canned or pouches are meant for ‘supplemental’ feeding which is not a balanced meal and will not meet your pet’s nutritional needs if fed exclusively. The package should be clearly labeled but also look at the ingredient list – is not going to be balanced if it only has 3 or 4 ingredients and no supplementation. The other slightly tricky part in feeding complete commercial raw diets is the idea that raw vegetables are a good source of vitamins and minerals. Raw vegetables, unless diced super small or pureed, often have too much fibrous cellulose

that dogs simply can’t break down, and cats can’t utilize. A quick look at your dog’s stool will tell you if all that vitamin A in the carrot is feeding your dog or fertilizing your lawn! Dogs would eat pre-digested plant materials in the viscera of their prey, but it is questionable how much they can extract from raw materials. The more fresh feeding you do, be educated. But don’t be intimidated by needing a little information, talk to your veterinarian about the endless options for fresh feeding because even small amounts can go a long way in providing a benefit. Who knows, your whole family may benefit from a little experimentation in home cooking, and keep everyone excited for their next healthy meal. Dr. Anne Carroll is the 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 17

New Puppy Frequently Asked Questions Elisa Speckert - Norwich, VT


ummer is always an exciting time at River Road Veterinary Clinic, often because we get the opportunity to meet new puppies (and kittens) who have found their new forever home. Getting a new puppy can be an overwhelming experience, especially if a long time has passed since you last had a puppy in the house. To help you overcome these hurdles, we’ve compiled a list of our most frequently asked puppy questions: How Should I Introduce My New Puppy to Our Home? Introducing a new puppy to your household should be done carefully and under close supervision. Young children should be seated on the floor and the young pup placed on the floor beside them. The environment should be as calm and quiet as possible and your new puppy should be allowed to approach the children at his/ her own speed. Treats can often help to speed up the interaction if your puppy is nervous or unsure. Introducing your puppy to the other animals in the home should be done in a similar manner. The environment should be calm and quiet, and the puppy should be placed on the floor with your other pet. If you have more than one animal already at home, separate introductions can be much less intimidating and less likely to result in aggression. As difficult as it may be, try not to be overly protective of your new puppy, as this can facilitate a negative introduction experience. As long as your puppy is not in danger of being hurt it is best to watch from the perimeter as your pets interact. Should I Crate Train My New Puppy? Although many puppy owners feel guilty for putting their new companion in a crate it is important to remember that crate training has some important benefits. As long as your puppy is provided with an adequate amount of exercise and socialization, crate training is a great tool. It provides a safe environment for your new puppy, makes house training easier, keeps your home and belongings from being chewed, provides your pet with a safe place to escape to, and makes boarding in a kennel or staying in a veterinary hospital much easier on your pet should those situations ever arise. 18 4 Legs & a Tail

How Can I Stop My New Puppy from Biting? It is important to remember that all puppies bite and chew. It is a normal part of development, and does not necessarily indicate aggressive tendencies.* Your job as the owner of a new puppy is to provide him/her with the correct outlet for play biting and teething/chewing. If your new puppy nips or bites you, try correcting him/her with a firm “No” and redirecting the behavior to an appropriate chew toy. If this is not effective, a loud screech or shaking a can of pennies can often startle the puppy into stopping the undesired behavior. Always provide a suitable outlet for play biting by then providing them with a toy. Remember that consistency is vital and many puppies require months of consistent training and correction before they learn what is appropriate. How Often Will My New Puppy Need to Come to the Vet? Most new puppies will need to be seen every 2-4 weeks from the time they are 8 weeks old to the time they are about 16 weeks old. This depends upon the vaccinations that you and your veterinarian decide are appropriate for your dog and what treatments and vaccines he/she may have had prior to their first visit with the veterinarian. Most vet clinics will require that your puppy have an examination each time they are seen, due to the rapid rate of growth your new companion will experience over their first 6 months of life. *If your puppy lunges or bites out of fear or while protecting or “guarding” a favorite toy or food bowl, this can be a more serious problem that should be addressed as soon as possible by an experienced behaviorist. If you have any questions about whether or not your puppy’s level of biting is appropriate, please consult a trainer or veterinarian. Summer 2018

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Overgrooming in Cats Catherine MacLean - Grantham, NH


vergrooming in cats is something that a lot of owners discover by accident or it’s found by a veterinarian on a cat’s physical exam much to the owner’s surprise. The most common place overgrooming occurs is on the cat’s stomach near the hind legs, and sometimes on the insides of the hind legs. In cases of overgrooming, the hair shaft is broken and not completely missing. The broken hair shafts can make it look like the hair is missing, but upon closer inspection it looks more like “peach fuzz”. Causes of overgrooming include stress, psychological issues, allergies, fungal or parasitic infection, underlying endocrine disease, or some other underlying medical issue. Overgrooming due to fungal, bacterial, or parasitic infections can be ruled either in or out with testing. Testing

may include cultures, cytology, and skin scrapings. These tests can help rule out diseases such as mites, mange, ringworm, or a bacterial infection. If tests are positive, your veterinarian will prescribe treatment and hopefully resolve the issue. Endocrine diseases, such as hyperthyroidism, can be ruled in or out with bloodwork. If an underlying issue is found, medication may be prescribed. Other underlying diseases may be more difficult to find, but bloodwork can be useful. Treatment would depend issues found. Allergies can be more difficult to diagnose since there could be food and/ or environmental factors involved. Food allergies can be ruled in or out with a prescription food trial. A food trial often involves a novel protein diet or

a diet where the ingredients are made so small that the body can’t recognize the source. This is called a hydrolyzed protein diet. Both hydrolyzed and novel protein diets are made under strict conditions where there is no chance for cross contamination with other ingredients. A food trial with these diets usually occur for 12 weeks. During this time the cat can’t be fed any other foods or treats. If the cat gets into something that is not the prescribed diet, the food trial is set back to day one. If the cat’s clinical signs improve on the food trial, then a food allergy is most likely the underlying cause for the hair loss. The cat will have to stay on the special food for life. If no improvement, another cause needs to be investigated. For environmental allergies, allergy testing needs to be done. If the cat has a positive response to any of the environmental allergens, a special serum can be developed for the cat. This is often given as an injection over a set period of time. The serum helps to build the cat’s immune system up towards the allergen in question. Over time the cat should become less sensitive. Stress and psychological issues can also cause overgrooming in cats, and is usually the underlying cause in most cases that I see. Overgrooming can start due to a skin irritation and become a habitual or obsessive-compulsive issue for some cats. Or, a stressor within the household may cause the start of overgrooming. The addition of a new human or pet to the family or some other factor may be making the cat unhappy. Often the root of the issue is not clear. Overgrooming from psychological or stress issues can often be managed with short term or long term anti-anxiety medications. Our clinic cat, Olivia, recently went through a period of overgrooming. Olivia was also the subject matter a couple of years ago regarding inappropriate urination, due to stress. Olivia lost her Continued Next Next Page Page Continued

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initial home and was known to urinate inappropriately if I was away from the clinic for more than a few days. I had the audacity to go on maternity leave for three months, though Olivia saw me at least once a week while I was doing book work, this was not good enough for her. I was not around for her to ignore me. That was unacceptable in her eyes. A month into maternity leave, I received an email that Olivia’s hair was “missing” on her belly and the insides of her back legs. Having ruled out other issues, and knowing how sensitive she is about my schedule being different, we started her on anti-anxiety medications. This helped tremendously. Since my return in February, she is off medication and her hair is growing back nicely. It’s important to remember that most overgrooming cases aren’t as straight forward as Olivia’s. Her trigger was my absence. In many cases, the trigger can be unclear. It’s also worth mentioning that owners often don’t see their cats to find the underlying reason, but once the cause is known, overgrooming can grooming themselves more than nor- often be corrected. mal. When I find overgrooming on exams, usually the owner states that Dr. MacLean completed her Bachelor of Science from Penn State University, they never see their cat grooming more her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from Atlantic Veterinary College, and than normal. Remember, cats can be her pet acupuncture certification from Chi Institute. Her areas of special sneaky, most people are not with their interest include general practice and acupuncture. She opened Sugar River pets 24/7. Animal Hospital in 2013, and she has been practicing veterinary medicine Overgrooming in most cases is treat- 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. able. It may take some detective work

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hen presenting their feline or canine family members, our clients will often direct our attention to the teeth. Chipped, broken, fractured, or worn teeth can be a source of pain and infection for pets, and should be evaluated by your veterinarian promptly. A minor chip may only involve the enamel of the tooth, and in a large breed, may not need immediate treatment. But the tiniest chip from the tip of a canine tooth in a cat, almost always involves the deeper pulp chamber of the tooth. This part of the tooth includes the blood supply and nerves of the tooth, and exposure to the oral cavity may lead to bacterial infection of the tooth and pain for the cat.

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Kristin Esterbrook, DVM

Some tooth fractures are more obvious. When a large portion of the crown is suddenly missing, there has almost certainly been a traumatic event causing a fracture. Usually, the pet has chewed or bitten something hard such as a bone or rock or metal. Even ice cubes have caused tooth fractures. As a rule, if an object is too hard to make an imprint with a thumbnail or if you could plausibly use the object to drive a nail into a wall like a hammer, it is too hard for your pet to chew. A very common scenario, especially with larger breeds, is a mouth full of teeth that appear to all be fractured. But on close inspection, these teeth are often actually worn. Wear, or abrasion occurs gradually. The culprit many times is a tennis ball. Because the wearing occurs gradually, teeth have time to protect themselves by producing tertiary dentin which is layered between the enamel of the crown and the sensitive pulp chamber. This extra layering of dentin can protect the tooth from infection, and also the nerve endings from pain. However, sometimes the wearing occurs too rapidly for this protective layer to be completed, and areas of sensitivity, and bacterial access occur.

Fractured upper left 4th premolar.

In all of the above situations, it is very difficult and often impossible to thoroughly evaluate the tooth in the exam room. Even with the most compliant patient, our eyes are not able to see the entire picture. Anesthesia with a well lit field and magnification, dental instruments such as a dental explorer, and dental x-rays are almost always necessary to differentiate the benign enamel chip or the gradually worn tooth that is not a source of pain from those that need treatment. A large fracture always needs some form of treatment. With the help of your veterinarian will decide the best treatment for your pet taking into consideration your pet's demeanor and lifestyle, your valuable time, and finances. A referral to a veterinary dental specialist may be necessary for certain treatment options. Although accidents happen and some tooth fractures are unavoidable, there are steps we can take to decrease the chance of tooth trauma in our pets. No hard chews! Use the thumbnail rule. Even ice cubes or those cow hooves we see in pet stores are too hard for pet's teeth. No tennis balls. Use rubber balls for those games of fetch. The fuzz of the tennis ball is abrasive and over time will wear you pet's teeth. If you are unsure if a toy, treat or chew is appropriate for your pet's teeth, ask your veterinarian for advice on the best products to maintain oral health including strong, intact teeth. Kristin Esterbrook, DVM is a Rutland native who has recently relocated back to Vermont from Massachusetts. 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. Summer 2018

An Improbable Friendship Between a Dog and a Duck Is the Good News Story We All Need Right Now S

Chelsea Adelaine Hassler

ick and tired of only hearing about the bad things going on in the world? We’re right there with you — and, thankfully, we’ve got the cure for exactly what ails you.

sion transcends all of that which may traditionally divide us. It’s not impossible to buck tradition and create a bond with someone who may not be exactly the same as you. As such, the pair is often used as a symbol of how to “put aside differences” among the residents of the town in which they reside. Symbolism aside, it’s hard not to have your heart melt at the sight of these delightful animals trotting along in unison. And you can bet that we’ll be bookmarking this video of Max and Quackers and be watching it all year long, because it’s exactly the kind of thing that we need a little more of in our lives right now. Best-Friends-Max-Dog-QuackersDuck-Minnesota-44244906

Meet the unlikely pair of Max, a 12-year-old Husky, and Quackers, a 4-year-old duck. Against all odds, the two animals — both owned by Patrick and Kirsten Riley — are inseparable best friends, and they’re the pride and joy of the teeny-tiny town of Strout, MN. The town boasts a population of just 25 people, so Max and Quackers are well-known to all the residents and can frequently be seen out patrolling their domain. “Sometimes on my way home, I actually hope they’re out there because they’re just too precious to look at,” Strout resident Alisa Godejahn told CBS affiliate WCCO-TV. In the interview below, the Rileys describe how they adopted Max when he was 5 and he became fast pals with the couple’s other dog, Sasha, and after she died, he was left without a friend. “He was without any friends, and Max would sit next to Quackers’ pen all the time, I think they just bonded that way,” Patrick Riley says, adding, “after we let him out, they just never left each other’s side.” Kirsten Riley goes on to say, “they sleep together, they eat together, they drink together, they go for walks together down the road . . . everything is together.” The improbable friendship between a dog and a duck provides a poignant reminder that kindness and compasSummer 2018 23

An Ode to Pen W

Karen Sturtevant

hen I was a kid living in a small Vermont rural town, I thought going to the sprawling city of South Burlington was a life-changing event. On occasion my mom would take my sister and me to the University Mall. A big outing to be sure! I don’t remember the school clothes we purchased or the lunch ordered at Papa Gino’s, but I do remember hoping I could sit on the floor of The Pet Menagerie and play with the

puppies when they were taken out of their cages. As a kid, my thinking capacity went only as far, “Oh, they are so cute. I wish we could have one.” Not a deep thinker at that tender age. I will always cherish the joy of patting those pups and getting their wet kisses. What I didn’t realize was that these fluffy, innocent beings were the product of a puppy mill operation. Their parents were bred strictly for the goal of earning money, big money. As with most bred-forprofit animals, little if any humane care was afforded them. Medical care, nutritious food, shelter, and compassionate attention, in all likelihood, were something their parents never had. Abuse and neglect was. When their money-making abilities were done, they were probably discarded in the dumpster beside yesterday’s trash. If I only knew. From being a wide-eyed little girl to today, a middle-aged (somewhat evolved) woman, that feeling of tenderness towards dogs, and all animals, has not faltered. When not working or sleeping, I’m typically at the Vermont English Bulldog Rescue (VEBR) in Williston volunteering. In my new role I met a recently rescued puppy mill survivor renamed Penelope, Penney for short. Penney yanked at my heartstrings, she officially became mine in October 2014. English bulldogs, on a good day, are medical nightmares. On a bad day they will drain the bank and the owner will forgo mortgage payments to give them the care they need. Prone to allergies and respiratory issues, extremely heat sensitive, requiring special nutrition, susceptible to changes in routine and environment, bulldogs are not for the weak of heart or casually committed. I found this to be accurate as Penney and I teamed up for entropion and soft pallet surgery, dentals and extractions, bouts with alopecia, a cornea scratch and more. We shared an air mattress. She would hold our stare after coming inside from ‘doing her business’ if we forgot to give her a cookie for her remarkable achievement. Penney was our ambassador at VEBR fundraisers. She was patient and kind with new rescue arrivals. My commitment to her never waned. I was in love. Her personality: sweet and gentle. Her gait: think Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh. Her attitude was ‘go with the flow’ if she could nap 18 hours each day on her mountain of blankets, chewy bones within reach. Her greeting was her signature, yet subtle, bulldog butt wiggle, similar to a bowl of jiggly Jell-O. All, with two-legs and four, agreed that she was one special soul. So with weakness Continued NEXT PAGE

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in her back legs, we assisted in getting her outside, brought her to our vet and she was diagnosed with arthritis in one hip and one knee – opposite sides. A manageable fix with medications to treat the pain and inflammation. Not too long after, something was very wrong, as she could not manage to support any weight on her hind legs, didn’t want to get up, and making the trek outside was not an option. Off to the emergency vet, Dawna her surrogate mom, and I, went on a Sunday night. We agreed a CT scan was needed. The call came Monday afternoon, a tumor in her spine. Penney had bone cancer. We are challenged with certain bumps along our human lifeline. This was such a time. With Dawna’s council, handholding, and shoulder, we formulated a plan to keep Penney comfortable until we needed to make the impossible decision. We brought Penney (all 70 beautiful pounds of her) upstairs where she could have a view of the snow-covered backyard through the sliding glass door. Dawna made her steak and gave her extra treats. We lined her area with potty pads and plastic. She had her toys within reach and her friend, Peter, visited often. Penney was stoic, proud. My shaky composure was broken while lying face to face with her, weeping and talking, she licked my face, my tears. She knew it was time and it was okay. The world stopped the following Sunday. With heavy hearts we said goodbye. The doctor talked to us with each step. “She’s gone,” time stopped. My breath caught. My energy drained. My Penney was gone. Penney’s early life was fear and uncertainly. Her universe changed when Dawna and I met her. I am humbled by the time we had together. She taught me lessons. Taught me to be a better person, a kinder person. I still hear Penney’s bark during my sleep and wake inclined to run down to her. When my brain catches up with my mind I realize she’s gone. Some people say that when an animal passes, they go over the rainbow bridge. I don’t know about that, but I do know that Penney and I will meet again and when we do, we’ll lie face to face and cry tears of joy instead of sorrow. For information on Vermont English Bulldog Rescue, please visit, www. and find us on Facebook.

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Dogs of the


Three Who Survived Kate Kelly


he fact that there were dogs traveling on the Titanic with their owners would come as no surprise to anyone who considers it. However, with all that has been written about the 1912 sinking of the Titanic, little has been written about the dogs who were passengers. Dedicated research by J. Joseph Edgette, Ph.D., Widener University professor emeritus, has revealed the story of the canine passengers. Dogs of First Class Passengers Only Only first class passengers were permitted to travel with their animals.  Most of the dogs were kept in kennels on the F deck and were fed and exercised by members of the crew. Truly devoted dog owners certainly visited the animals regularly; Miss Ann Elizabeth Isham was known to regularly visit her Great Dane. A few of the dogs were small, and they were kept in the cabins with their owners, perhaps surreptitiously.  The dogs who survived were ones kept with their owners, though the attempt was made to save others. While a count of the dogs on board the ship cannot be verified, Professor Edgette has found documentation of several of them: The dogs on board included a King Charles spaniel, two Airedales; a chow; a Great Dane; a champion French bulldog, newly purchased in England; a Pekingese, and a “toy dog” owned by Helen Bishop, a 19-year-old bride. Another passenger, Charles Moore of Washington, D.C. had intended to bring on board 100 English foxhounds that he planned to use to inspire Americans to enjoy English-style fox hunts.  He had to make other arrangements for those dogs, which proved life-saving. Continued Next Page

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Other Animals On Board In addition to dogs, there were also birds on board. Ella Homes White of New York had with some poultry—a rooster and several hens—that she was importing them from France in order to mix in with her stock.  Another woman had 30 cockerels that were coming to the United States with her. There may also have been some canaries, a popular pet of the day. Ships generally had cats to keep down the mouse and rat population. One cat had given birth to a new litter of kittens just before the Titanic docked at Southampton. For some reason, the cat and her kittens were left in Southampton.  While one would assume there were other cats on board, there is her dog, but she was told the dog was going to have to be removed. She left the lifeboat with him. It is said that her body and the dog’s body were found later no known mention of them. by a rescue boat. The Night of the Sinking Insurance claims were placed on several animals: the prize bulldog, the chow, Because the Titanic was considered the King Charles spaniel, and one of the Airedales as well as the lost poultry. “unsinkable,” movement toward life A story circulates about a dog helping to rescue passengers. That story is boats was slower than it might have said to have been fabricated by a crew member who sold the story to a New York been.  In addition, a lifeboat drill, sched- newspaper and then subsequently disappeared. uled for April 14—the day before the All in all, the Titanic was a tragedy for all involved. sinking—was cancelled for some reason. When the ship began listing decidThis article first appeared on the website,  edly to one side and the staff finally America Comes Alive publishes more stories about American dogs began getting out the lifeboats, chaos and other animals. Visit the website and sign up for “American Dogs” reigned. Someone went down to the F to receive the stories in your In Box. Or email Kate Kelly at deck and opened the kennels so while it proved impossible to save these animals, the last sight of the dogs reportedly was of them running along the upper deck. The dogs who were saved were all ones who were kept with their owners.  Margaret Hays’s Pomeranian boarded a lifeboat in Hays’s arms and both were saved; Elizabeth Rothschild refused to board Lifeboat 6 without her dog (also a Pomeranian) and they, too, survived.  Henry Harper (scion of Harper & Row Publishers) and his wife Myra were rescued. Myra was carrying their Pekingese in her arms and so Sun Yat Sen was saved. Other Dogs and People Weren’t So Fortunate Of the 2224 people on board the Titanic, 1500 of them lost their lives.  There were not enough lifeboats, and some lifeboats were not fully filled before they pushed off, adding to the tragedy. A few other dog-related stories are worth mentioning.  Helen Bishop’s toy dog had been kept with her in her cabin, but with great sadness she left him there when they went to board a lifeboat. At a Senate inquiry she said:  “there would be little sympathy for a woman carrying a dog in her arms when there were lives of women and children to be saved.” Miss Ann Elizabeth Isham, 50, who had regularly visited her Great Dane was said to have boarded a lifeboat with Summer 2018 27

A Yankee Doodle Dandy L

ife was good. Work was booming, the kids were growing, and we had just moved into our first house. At some point, it was either my wife, our five year old daughter, or even Michael Jr. who uttered the dog word. My first response was, “Life is good. A dog could only make it worse.” Clearly, I didn’t understand the persuasiveness of begging eyes, or the fact that in the history of mankind, this was not an argument ever won by a lone man. When we finally found the newest member of our family, a purebred mutt of Lab and something, the smiles on our faces (yes, even mine) could be measured with a yard stick. It turned out that ours was from a dog named Martha Washington… and born on the Fourth of July. While the name Yankee Doodle Dandy was an easy name to come up with, Dandy was indeed, a star-spangled dog. I firmly believe that if we could harness the energy of a Lab’s tail, we could generate enough power to light up the world. Certainly Dandy was one of those dogs whose tail could crank more kilowatts than a power plant. Over the years, we did make two discoveries about Dandy. She was the only black Lab that does not like the water, and although she was a 4th of July dog, she did not like Independence Day. Like many dogs, the sounds of fireworks and celebration would send Dandy into the most secluded corners of our home. One year, we returned from a neighbor’s party and found that Dandy had actually jumped through the living room window screen. After an extensive search of the neighborhood, it was my brother-in-law who spied our Dandy in a field almost two miles from home. This was a dog who wanted to get away. As the fireworks began, we enjoyed the thrill the show until I received at text from my neighbor. YOUR DOG IS 28 4 Legs & a Tail

AT CUMBERLAND FARMS. I responded quickly that our dog was at home but she said, I KNOW YOUR DOG AND THIS IS HER! We never saw the fireworks that year. Quickly, I gathered the chairs while my wife corralled the kids, and we made a mad dash to confront our party-pooping mutt. Of course, my wife was less than ten seconds into her, “It’s not the dogs fault” speech, when I realized she was right. When we pulled into the parking lot of the store, there was Dandy with the wagging tail. I was happy Dandy was OK, but here’s the kicker. Since I was at the store anyway, I decided to buy a couple of lottery tickets. It hadn’t been a lucky year so far, maybe I was due for a lucky day, at least. No, we didn’t win the million dollar jackpot that day, but when my wife uncovered a $1,000 winner with her final scratch, we were as excited as our Yankee Doodle Dandy!

Summer 2018



Dog Days of Summer 2018 Rutland & Addison County

Is your dog a good citizen? Summer Pet Events Hit the Open Road with Your Cat Alternative Pet Diets Dogs of the Titanic

4 Legs & a Tail Rutland Summer 2018  
4 Legs & a Tail Rutland Summer 2018