Page 1

FR

EE

site a r a P p o o P t a C s Doe cer? n a C g in r u C n I Play A Role

A Winter Wonderland Southern NH & VT

Winter Fun W it

Yes, Dog’s Ge t

h Sled Dog’s!

The Flu Too.

ed r e h t a e F d r ckya a B r u o Y p Kee ter n i W s i h T py Friend Hap Ski Jorning Anyone? (Just Add Snow, Skies A nd A Horse)


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

Dog’s Leg Missing, Dog’s Tail Missing, Women’s Purse Missing, Dog’s Bandana Blue, Women’s Fingernail polish blue, Women’s shoes red

A pet shop owner had a parrot with a sign on its cage that said “Parrot repeats everything it hears.” A young man bought the parrot and for two weeks he spoke to it and it didn’t say a word. He returned the parrot, but the shopkeeper said he never lied about the parrot. How can this be? The parrot was deaf.

A cat and mouse die and go to heaven. One day St. Peter runs into the mouse and asks, “How do you like heaven so far?” “It’s great! But it’s so big I wish I had roller-skates,” replied the mouse. “No problem,” said St. Peter. A few days later, St. Peter sees the cat and asks how he likes heaven. “It’s fantastic,” said the cat, “It even has mealson-wheels.”

Some dogs are more graceful than others


Inside this issue of 4 Legs & a Tail

2. Bravo for Bravo, Sarah Tuck Gillens

The true Antarctic adventure of Bravo and his owner, Dartmouth graduate Jack Tuck

4. Vermont Prison Pups,

Springfield, VT will soon be home to service dogs in training for Vermont veterans

5. Taking a Bite out of Obesity, Millie Armstrong, DVM

$34 million in vet bills for overweight pets, want to save some money this year?

7. Brushing Your Dog, Linda Claflin

Good grooming is especially important during the winter months.

8. Ski Jorning Anyone?

Brooke Smith

A great recipe for winter fun, just add skies, snow and a horse?

9. My Last Trip to the Vet, Tim Hoehn

Some people just can’t take a joke!

10. Does Cat Poop Parasite Play a Role in Curing Cancer?

How a tiny “bug” can stop cancer in its tracks as a vaccine

11. Oh, the Weather Outside is Frightful…For Pets, Too! M. Kathleen Shaw, DVM

Cold weather dangers for pets

12. 13. 15. 17. 18.

Winter Tips for Our Feline Friends, Jennifer Lesser, DVM Keeping Your Horse Fit for the Winter, Dorothy Crosby Sweater Weather, Rev. Betty Berlenbach - Where do sweaters come from? Late Night with Letterman - Kids, pets & celebrities, one can dream Dog’s Get the Flu too, Stewart Ketcham, DVM

Questions and answers about Canine Influenza Virus

18. Helping the Birds in Your Backyard, Catherine Greenleaf

Tips on keeping your feathered friends happy this winter

20. Winter Fun with Sled Dog’s,

Consider a day with a team of sled dog’s. Mush!

22. Abraham Lincoln’s Dog, Fido, Kate Kelly

With Presidents Day on February 16, we take a look at the Great Emancipator’s dog

23. Canine Point of View, Michelle Grimes

Help your pet deal with Cabin Fever this winter

24. February is Pet Dental Health Month, Sandra Waugh, VMD

Why your pet’s dental health is so important

26. Donnie & the Hay Piles, H.M. Howard

Even horses can be bullies.

27. The Bear & the Branch, Jackie Finethy

What happens when a 300 lb bear takes on a bird feeder.

28. The Tiki Chronicles, Francesca Bochner

A cat with FIV and way past nine lives

Inside back Cover - Fun Page 4 Legs & a Tail vol. K414 KP Publishing, LLC 135 Old Homestead Hwy, #104 Keene, NH 03431 603.369.4700 office 603.209.1870 cell CharleyP.4LT@gmail.com Winter 2014

Publishers: Charley & Kathy Paskus Editors: Tim Goodwin, Tim Hoehn and Scott Palzer Graphic design: Monica Reinfeld, Shane Lichtsinn and Charley Paskus Sales: Charley and Kathy Paskus

If you have a tale about a tail or a photo that will make us smile, we’d like to hear from you. 4 Legs & a Tail is published quarterly and distributed free of charge throughout Southern NH & VT. KP Publishing, LLC 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.

www.4LegsAndATail.com 1


Bravo for Bravo By Sarah Tuck Gillens

I

n 1956, I was just a pup. I woke be flown in by ski planes and our supup one morning six feet from the floor, plies will be dropped from the air. cradled in the warm hands and silky October is the start of summer here so we beard of a tall man, John Tuck, Jr., a Naval can expect temperatures to rise to around Seabee officer known as Jack. My name zero degrees. We will have some blizzards is Bravo. I was born at McMurdo Station but the sun will be visible until March.” in the Antarctic. Jack’s job was to han- “What’s the first building to be erectdle sled dogs. My job was to follow Jack ed?” asked Jack. “We’ll build a Quonset hut with a around. “How’s that pup of yours?”asked heater and cook stove. Some men may an older trainer, Dutch Dolleman. “Bravo’s growing bigger every day, watches everything like he knows something important is going to happen.” Jack replied setting me down in the dog pen. Jack smelled like leather, he and Dutch were making sled dog harnesses. I ran over to Mom who sniffed Photo by: Cliff Dickey. NSF 1957. John Tuck with Bravo in front row. me all over. She said that Dutch knew a lot about dogs and sleep in tents and some will sleep inside,” surviving in cold climates. Settlements Dick answered. “We’ll use the bulldozer would be built around Antarctica as the to even out the ice and snow for the bases International Geophysical Year was of all the other buildings, if it drops from starting, the first worldwide scientific the plane safely.” survey of our planet. Scientists would “Heater and cook stove,” sounded come from all over the world to study the good to my puppy ears. I wasn’t sure climate, the environment, and atmo- about bulldozers falling from the sky, sphere. My brother and I do our own stud- that sounded scary!. Our mom taught us ies of the environment at our dog hut, survival skills such as digging into the “Dogheim”. We sniff the frosty air and snow to keep warm in a blizzard. I was smell penguins. We dig the hard packed hoping these men knew how to dig in too! ice and find more ice. We watch the sky The time of departure for the pole come alive with shooting, waving colors arrived, but so did bad weather. After several days of frantic activity, the men and at night, it makes our hair stand on end. “Mom, what’s your job when you are equipment settled down like new fallen done raising us?” I asked as I burrowed snow. Piles of bags were everywhere and the sled dogs, going to the pole, were into her thick fur. “We dogs are here just in case,” Mom snoozing. said, “If any transport planes land and “Why aren’t they more excited?” can’t get back to McMurdo, then drivers, I yipped to my brother, as I paced in dogs, and sleds would be dropped by para- my pen pleading to go. I wanted to be with the guys; Jack, Bowers, Bristol, chutes for a rescue operation.” “Yikes! I’m glad we’re not sled dogs Woody, Montgomery, Nolen, Randall, and Powell. No one had ever lived at the yet!” I wandered outside and listened to pole, it was an awful place. Now these Jack and Dutch. Jack had graduated from men were going to build places to live for Dartmouth College and studied reindeer the winter and carry out science projin Greenland. When he heard about this ects like: movement of glaciers, gravity opportunity, he wanted the Navy to send experiments, seismology studies, the airhim. He worked with the other Seabees glow and auroras, geomagnetism, ionogathered around Dick Bowers, the build- sphere physics, and cosmic rays. ing leader. I loved listening to the plans I sensed that these brave men were for the pole. Dick was warning the guys anxious, but they were strong and smart about the dangerous, difficult adventure too. I loved to watch them work together, joking as they got a lot done. I wanted to ahead. “No one has attempted this before. be part of the fun and work with Jack! We’ll be about 850 miles inland from here and 9000 feet about sea level. We’ll Continued Next Page 2 4 Legs & a Tail

Winter 2014


On November 20, 1956, I watched two ski planes with Jack, Lt. Bowers and his crew of builders, and eleven sled dogs take off. A third ski plane carried more men, and big Globemaster planes flew along to help locate the Pole, drop the dog food, sled and harnesses, and heavy equipment. I thought my heart would break when Jack climbed into the plane and disappeared. I ran in circles in my pen until Old Dutch came over and held me tightly against his big jacket. “He’ll be back. He’ll be OK,” Dutch kept telling me. “29 degrees below zero at the pole, the men are in tents and the dogs are sleeping outside,” I heard the radioman report to Dutch. Brrrr! Supplies were streaming onto the pole damaged, because the ropes tying them to parachutes broke when released from the supply planes. One bulldozer buried itself thirty feet in the snow. Parachutes would land and sail away across the snow because of high winds. I love to chase things, but the men were getting tired of chasing them down, and wanted to solve the problem. A week later the scientist, Dr. Siple, came to visit Dutch. He said that mail was delivered for the first time at the South Pole. Dr. Siple was a big man, a leader. I sat and behaved myself when he was around. He told Dutch that Jack had been asked to be the Navy officer in charge at the pole “You’re mighty lucky,” he told Siple, “Jack’s as fine as they come. This pup Bravo, you’ve been eyeing as mascot for the Pole Station will be all yours now. He’s really Jack’s dog, and Jack will insist on having him.” Jack came back to McMurdo to work out a solution for the wrecked supplies. I turned myself inside out, I was so glad to see him! Jack let me roam around with him and played tug of war with me. He tied supplies onto wooden pallets and wrapped them in canvas. Hopefully these pallets would drop safely. Besides Bravo-A Malamute Husky building materials, delicate scientific equipment would be flown in by ski planes along with nine scientists led by Dr. Paul Siple. “I just heard the admiral has appointed you as the Navy support officer in charge at the pole this winter. Long, dark days in that awful cold, what are you going to do for entertainment?” Dutch said, smiling at Jack, but winking at me. “Dutch, we’ve seen most of the movies by now. The men like to read and we plan to give lectures.” Jack turned and looked at me. I sat very still except for my tail, which couldn’t help but wag. “What do you say, Bravo? Do you want to spend the winter with eighteen guys and a lot of cold weather?” Jack asked as he hugged me. I licked his bearded face and howled in delight. All I needed was to be with Jack. We were off on a great adventure! Sarah Gillens lives in Plainfield, NH, is an Medical Technologist and writes stories that will interest children in science and history. Finding her distant relative, Jack Tuck, led to this story about Jack’s dog, Bravo

Winter 2014

www.4LegsAndATail.com 3


Vermont Prison Pups

In a recent issue of 4 Legs & a Tail, we shared the story of Lt. Melissa Stockwell. She was the first officer wounded in Afghanistan. Upon her return stateside, she was teamed up with a service dog, trained by an inmate in one of the many prison-based “puppy raiser” programs here in the US, to help with the new challenges she faces as a civilian. “A veteran is someone who, at one point, wrote a blank check, made payable to ‘The United States of America’ for an amount ‘up to and including their life’.” ~ Author Unknown

W

ith many of our family and friends returning from a long war, the Vermont Department of Corrections will be addressing the needs of our veterans, thanks to the efforts of the Blue Star Mothers of Vermont. According to program coordinator Terri Sabens, inmates at the Southern State Correctional Facility in Springfield, VT will begin training service dogs this winter, to assist returning military personnel. As a former volunteer with Soldiers Angels, Sabens spent more than a year reaching out to the Vermont Dept. of Corrections. “PTSD is a widespread issue that many of our veterans face. There were just too many related suicides that can’t be ignored.” This fall, Mazie (the first of two dogs to be trained at the facility) visited the facility for the first time. A second dog, Beetle Bailey, will join the team in February to begin a 12 month training program specifically designed for assisting a vet with

cations from inmates so far, and as word spreads I’m sure there will be more,” said Clarke. Each inmate will be screened extensively by both corrections officials and trainers, with each dog spending Monday through Friday with the inmate/ trainer. “I think we’re the perfect facility for this program. We even have a large, open yard that the dogs will love.” As a detailed training program begins to take shape before Mazie Mazie and Beetle Bailey arrive, it is important to note that this program is special needs, including turning lights funded privately. Each dog can cost up on and off and waking them up durto $5,000 which includes vet bills, food, ing a nightmare. Dog trainers, including Sabens, Wanda Chapman and Jim Daignault will teach inmates the proper techniques, and supervise the on-going training at the prison. Tara Clarke, Living Unit Supervisor at SSCF and a dog lover, is thrilled to see the program implemented at the Vermont facility. “I have a stack of appli-

Beatle Bailey

training and the purchase of the dog itself. So far, the Blue Star Mothers of VT has raised a few thousand dollars for this specific program, with a goal of another $6,000. In addition to financial contributions, the Vermont based non-profit group is also looking for volunteers/ donations, including: a veterinarian, Lamb Kibble dog food, weekend fosters for Mazie and Beetle Bailey, trainers and a grant writer.Terri Sabens says it best, “It’s Paw-some!” For more information or to help, visit www.BlueStarMothersofVermont.org 4 4 Legs & a Tail

Winter 2014


TAKING A BITE OUT OF OBESITY Millie Armstrong, DVM - Colchester, VT

A s a veterinarian, I see a lot of obese patients. One of my most recent patients gained 12 pounds this past year. He could hardly get on the exam table, his belly was drooping to the floor. If he didn’t go on a diet soon, he was on the verge of developing very serious health risks, some of which might be life shortening. The patient, a beagle named Snoopy, should ideally weigh 25 pounds, but tipped the scales at 48. Fortunately, his human friends were willing to listen to my advice and we planned a course of action to regain Snoopy’s waistline. By his first weigh-in one month later, he had lost 2 pounds! As he continued to shed weight, he became more active, more eager to be involved in family outings, and was a much happier member of the family. With animals, a common axiom is “Food is Love.” Unfortunately, people take this to the extreme and really pile on the love when it comes to the dinner bowl. Well-wishing friends add to the problem by saying, “One cookie won’t hurt him.” How accurate the phrase “killing them with kindness” can be. A recent survey of veterinarians indicates that between 25 to 44% of dogs are obese. The Body Condition Scoring Chart designed by Nestle-Purina makes it relatively simple to determine where pets fit into the scale of body condition. Looking at pets from above reveals a definite shape to the body. Ideally, this should be an hour glass, where the waistline indents nicely in front of the hips. Some pets are more tube-like, forming a long continuous shape from neck to hips. Others appear more round, bulging outwardly at the midsection. When petting these rotund animals, it is not possible to feel any features, like ribs, along the outside of the body. Some dogs will even develop proverbial “love handles!”

REASONS FOR PET OBESITY People feed their pets too much, and supplement their food with table scraps or fatty snacks. Many brands of lower cost pet food are full of fillers, animals can be overweight but nutritionally imbalanced. Some dogs and cats are driven to eat non-stop until they find the bottom of the food dish. Certain medical conditions can cause obesity in pets, such as hypothyroidism and Cushing’s disease. Health risks associated with obesity in pets are a major concern. Obese animals pose greater anesthetic risks during surgery. Fat buildup around the heart makes it harder for the heart to pump efficiently, potentially leading to cardiac arrest. Managing the health effects of obesity increases the costs of veterinary Continued NEXT PAGE

Winter 2014

www.4LegsAndATail.com 5


care. Painful back, hip, and joint problems are often treated with pain medications that carry risks of kidney and liver impairment. If pain cannot be controlled, euthanasia may have to be considered. As in people, obesity predisposes animals to diabetes, another disease that is potentially challenging to manage and increases the cost of care. Obese cats that stop eating for a few days, for whatever reason, risk developing fatty liver disease. This life threatening form of liver failure is often much more serious than the original problem that caused the cat to stop eating. An annual health exam performed by a veterinarian will identify areas of concern and determine if additional testing is necessary.

HOW TO HELP YOUR PET LOSE WEIGHT Speak to your veterinarian about an appropriate course of action for your pet’s unique situation. Often, simply reducing the amount fed and replacing table snacks with appropriate low calorie treats will reduce the weight. Other tips include: Changing to a lower calorie weight loss diet. Mix the new food with the old food slowly to allow time for the pet to adjust to the new diet. Feed the amount of food specified for the animal’s ideal or target weight, not its current weight. Use treats such as low-calorie biscuits, low fat rice cakes, hard vegetables or fruit. Do not feed grapes, raisins, onions or chocolate, as these can be toxic to pets. Exercise to burn off calories and increase “quality time” with your pet. Playing fetch, swimming, walking - all burn calories and keep the bones and joints in good working order. Cats can be more challenging to stimulate; feathers, ping-pong balls, catnip toys and laser lights will trigger outbursts of energy. (Do not play with strings, yarn or rubber bands, as these may be swallowed and lead to an obstruction in need of surgery.) Involving children in pet exercise and games adds to the enjoyment and instills a sense of responsibility. Do not expect great changes in 1-2 months. It is best to lose weight gradually over the course of 6-12 months to avoid drastic changes in metabolism. Regular weight checks will follow the course of success. If the weight is not coming off, adjustments can be discussed with the veterinarian. Once the weight is off, a maintenance-feeding program can be developed. Dr. Millie Armstrong is a small animal veterinarian at Petit Brook Veterinary Clinic in Colchester,VT. She is a member of the Vermont Veterinary Medical Association. For more information visit www.vtvets.org. 6 4 Legs & a Tail

Winter 2014


Brushing Your Dog B

Linda Claflin

rushing is essential to your dog’s comfort. The experience of brushing can deepen the bond of trust you share with your pet. It is a necessary part of your dog’s health, but untangling knotted hair can be painful, so start and stop as your dog’s tension level guides you to pause or proceed. To start, have your tools ready. These include a slicker type brush with wire pins close together and sometimes bent at the end, a wide toothed comb, undercoat rakes and a detangling spray. Lightly spray your dog with a detangling or conditioning spray from a distance of about 12 inches. This makes it easier to glide the brush through the coat. Using the slicker brush, start along the spine from the base of the tail and move toward the neck brushing with the grain of the coat. Brush in layers, starting close to the skin and moving out to the end of the hair. In order to avoid missing areas, it is helpful to mentally divide each of your dog’s legs into four sections for: outside, inside, front, and back. Short strokes either with or against the direction of the hair with a slicker brush will remove the dead hear. Remember to keep track of the sections as you move around your dog. For the side coat, mentally divide each section into horizontal rows. Using vertical strokes, start along the top row near the spine, then lift the brushed hair up out of the way and move on to the next row. If you prefer, you can start from the bottom of the ribs in reverse order. Your dog will become familiar with your organizational pattern. Give him or her reassuring praise or a pat on the head for cooperating. When you have finished the legs and both sides of your dog, it’s time to move on to the tail. If your dog has a lot of hair on its tail, hold it in one hand as you brush the hair on one side from the base to the tip before switching to the other side. For the head, brush the hair forward from behind the eyes to the back of the skull. For dogs with hair around their cheeks, brush in forward strokes from the nose to the ear. Hold the ear leather with one hand, protecting the ear, and gently fan out the hair with your brush on the backside. You can then move to brushing the inside of the ear. If there is snarled hair anywhere, you will have to untangle it. To break it apart, hold the snarl between both hands, using your thumb and index finger to fan it apart. You may also use the corner of your brush or the end of your comb to do the same thing. Common areas for snarls are behind the ears, under the arms, the outside middle of the rear legs, the back of the hind legs and the belly. If these areas become too matted, your groomer can shave them out and you can start fresh again without hurting your dog. If your pet is shedding, proceed in the same pattern with an undercoat rake. Start with a coarse rake continuing down to finer teeth. Use a short stroke; not more than about four inches, always going with the grain of the coat. Sometimes you can stretch the skin a bit to give a firmer surface to work with. Follow up with the comb using the same pattern. If your dog struggles, stop at the place they resist and reassure them, but try not to let go. When they relax, continue where you left off. Brushing should be done every other day if possible. I hope this has been helpful to you as these techniques have served me well for over thirty years of pampering pets. If you have any questions you can follow up by watching my instructional video on YouTube. Give your pet a pat from me. Love, Linda cc Currently, Linda is challenging herself as the Show Coordinator for the New England Pet Grooming Professionals (NEPGP) and was one of three Executive GroomTeam USA Board members for the 2007-2009 term.“Linda cc” is one of the Training Partners for the online educational series: Learn2Groom Dogs.com. She also was the first recipient of the “Groomys” Spirit Award in 2011. Winter 2014 www.4LegsAndATail.com 7


Ski Joring Anyone? Equestrian Ski Joring Makes Its Mark In New England By Brooke Smith

W

ith winter here, I find myself getting excited about the upcoming Ski Joring Season. If you are like most people you ask, what is ski joring? I asked that same question myself, about 8 years ago, and haven’t looked back since. I discovered that during the Yuan and Ming dynasties (1271-1644) in China, ski joring behind an animal was first documented. The Norwegian word Skikjoring means skiing behind a horse. As a general term this can mean being pulled by an animal such as a dog, horse or reindeer, as well as a motorcycle, car and yes, even an airplane! As ski joring became more popular as a fun past time in Europe, the town of St. Moritz, Switzerland held the 2nd Olympic Winter Games. This was a chance for competitors to demonstrate ski joring. The style was performed rider less with the skier driving the horse from behind and racing head to head with the other competitors. Ski Joring is not new to New England. Dartmouth College held a ski joring competition each year as part of the Winter Carnival from 1916 until 1934. Newport’s

Karen Torres, K.M Torres Photography kmtorres.com

Winter Carnival in 1918 held a ski joring competition down Main Street. The University of New Hampshire also held the first ski joring event at UNH’s Winter Carnival, in 1928. The sport of ski joring as we know it today was developed by two friends, Tom Schroeder and Mugs Ossman. They traveled to Steamboat, Colorado for the Winter Carnival. This was the first time they saw ski joring, right down the center of town. They were so excited that they had the event as part of the Leadville, Colorado Winter Carnival in 1949. This

event has continued to be enjoyed each year in March. Currently, equestrian ski joring is a highly specialized competitive sport, where competitors navigate a course of jumps, gates and sometimes spear rings. As the sport grew out west the competitors found a need for a set of standards that would bring a commonality to all the competitions. In 1999 directors from almost every major ski joring organization in the country rendezvoused in Jackson Hole, Wyoming to begin a process that would change the sport of ski joring forever. The North American Ski Joring Association (NASJA) was developed, for the first time in history equestrian ski joring became a sanctioned sport. My husband and I were excited to bring equestrian ski joring competitions to New Hampshire. We developed the North East Ski Joring Association (NESJA) with a group of friends and held the first sanctioned ski joring competition as part of the 2005 Newport Winter Carnival. The following year the first international sanctioned race was held at St-Donat Airport in Canada. NESJA is celebrating their 8th Season of ski joring competitions in New Hampshire this year. Ski joring brings all disciplines of horses and riders together with people who love to ski, to form a team and compete for the overall title of Champion Rider and skier. There are several course designs ranging from straight, horse shoe and J hook that are anywhere from 600 to over 1,000 feet long. As far as equipment: You will need a 33 foot cotton rope that is 5/8” in diameter. One end gets attached to the saddle using a carbineer for easy release if needed, the other end is for the skier to grab on to. Most competitive horses have borium (tungsten carbide) applied at the toe and/or heel of their shoes for added traction on the snow packed course, pads keep the snow from packing into the hooves. The skier Continued NEXT Page

8 4 Legs & a Tail

Winter 2014


needs alpine ski equipment, along with helmet and goggles, to protect themselves from snow and ice balls thrown up by the horse’s hooves. There is a lot of technique involved for a skier to work their way up and down the rope, as they are being pulled down the race course at speeds that can exceed 45 miles per hour. The skier starts out by tripping the start gate, then goes around the gates, spearing jousting rings on their arms and going over all the jumps, without dropping any rings or missing any of the gates as fast as they can, to trip the finish gate in an upright position, rope in hand and on at least one ski. Time is added to a team’s score for any missed gates or rings. 5 second penalty for any missed gates and 2 second penalty for any missed rings. The goal of the rider and horse is to race down the course as fast as they can, while keeping their skier in tow, so that the skier can make all the gates and rings to complete the course with the fastest time. It is also the responsibility of the rider to keep their horse on track, so as not to get a 5 second penalty for breaking the plane of any timing device, or disqualification for entering the marked boundaries of any jump. There is a lot of coordination between the rider, horse and skier to work as a team and complete their run successfully. The divisions are; Open (Pro division), Sport for people not ready for the Open, Novice and PeeWee, for children who would like to ski behind a horse. An important part of any ski joring event is the time and commitment involved to organize and make safe courses for the horses. The volunteers that give their time on and off the course, are truly amazing. Ski joring events

could not be held without the dedication of these people. This sport brings people out in the winter months to watch the competitions, and gives them something different to do. As a spectator you can cheer for your favorite team, as a volunteer you can experience the excitement first hand. Dressing warm is essential for comfort throughout a day of racing. The camaraderie that is formed during the ski joring season is like being in a big family. Everyone is welcome to join in the fun. My husband and I travel to Montana, Colorado and Canada every year so he can compete and we can enjoy the different ski joring venues and people. NESJA holds a clinic every year at the Myhre Equine Center in Rochester, NH in January for people and horses to learn the sport of ski joring. This is a great way to learn from the pros. Riders are taught the basics from training your horse, equipment and traveling down the course. Skiers learn rope handling and how to negotiate the jumps, gates and rings. For more information on ski joring and a complete list of upcoming events visit NESJA’s website at www.nesja.com NESJA is always looking for volunteers to help with the competitions. What a great way to meet new people and be a part of a fun winter sport. Contact us through the website and we’ll help you get started. Hope to see you at one of our events this winter. Grab a Pull and Go! Brooke Smith is a co-founder and Treasurer of The North East Ski Joring Association, a National Technical Delegate and an officer on the National Board of the North American Ski Joring Association (NASJA).

My Last Trip to the Vet Jasper was our family cat for nearly two decades. We’ve had other cats and still do for that matter, but he was, by far our favorite. A Maine Coon, he tipped the scale at one point, at 19 pounds and although his size could be intimidating, his disposition was that of an in-door playmate with personality. He came to us as a two year old which worked out well, as our youngest daughter was also two. Along with her four year old sister, Jasper took to the girls quickly, and never shied away from being the subject of “dress up” or the catnapper in their baby carriage. Even at bed time, Jasper was always there. But like all cats, last winter during one of the many ‘Nor’easters, Jasper exhausted his nine lives. Nestled by the fireplace, surrounded by family and friends both two and four legged, we said our final farewells to Jasper. Soon he would take his place in a special urn on the mantle, next to all of the others who had brought us joy and laughter. The only obstacle this time was the snowstorm. It was Thursday evening and our veterinarian had already cancelled office hours for Friday. In fact, the storm was so intense that non-emergency appointments on Saturday were also cancelled. I gently placed Jasper in a box and planned on a Monday morning trip. If you’ve ever been to a Phish or Grateful Dead concert, you can imagine the vet’s office after being closed for three days in a row. There we stood, shoulder- to- shoulder, me, my wife and a shoebox. After more than an hour an exacerbated receptionist finally called us. “Sorry for the delay. It’s been like a zoo today.” she said. “What can I do for you?” Maybe it was the long wait, but I replied, “My cat is a little listless. Can you take a look at him?” When the poor girl opened the box, it took her no time to exclaim, “Sir, your cat is dead!” My wife rolled her eyes at me, as she quickly apologized to the receptionist. She swore that it was the last time I would go to the vet. Winter 2014

www.4LegsAndATail.com 9


Does Cat Poop Parasite Play a Role in Curing Cancer? How a Tiny “Bug” Can Stop Cancer in its Tracks as a Vaccine

T

Norris Cotton Cancer Center, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center

oxoplasma gondii (T. gondii) is a single-celled parasite that is happiest in a cat’s intestines, but it can live in any warm blooded animal. Found worldwide, T. gondii affects about one-third of the world’s population, 60 million of which are Americans. Most people have no symptoms, but some experience a flu-like illness. Those with suppressed immune systems, however, can develop a serious infection if they are unable to fend off T. gondii.

An Anti-Cancer Agent in Nature? A healthy immune system responds vigorously to T. gondii in a manner that parallels how the immune system attacks a tumor. “We know biologically this parasite has figured out how to stimulate the exact immune responses you want to fight cancer,” said David J. Bzik, PhD, professor of Microbiology and Immunology, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. In response to T. gondii, the body produces natural killer cells and cytotoxic T cells. These cell types wage war against cancer cells. Cancer can shut down the body’s defensive mechanisms, but introducing T. gondii into a tumor environment can jump start the immune system. “The biology of this organism is inherently different from other microbe-based immunotherapeutic strategies that typically just tickle immune cells from the outside,” said Barbara Fox, senior research associate of Microbiology and Immunology. “By gaining preferential access to the inside of powerful innate immune cell types, our mutated strain of T. gondii reprograms the natural power of the immune system to clear tumor cells and cancer.”

Engineering T. gondii as a Cancer Vaccine Since it isn’t safe to inject a cancer patient with live rep-

licating strains of T. gondii, Bzik and Fox created “cps,” an immunotherapeutic vaccine. Based on the parasite’s biochemical pathways, they delete a Toxoplasma gene needed to make a building block of its genome and create a mutant parasite that can be grown in the laboratory but is unable to reproduce in animals or people. Cps is both nonreplicating and safe. Even when the host is immune deficient, cps still retains that unique biology that stimulates the ideal vaccine responses. “Aggressive cancers too often seem like fast moving train wrecks. Cps is the microscopic, but super strong, hero that catches the wayward trains, halts their progression, and shrinks them until they disappear,” said Bzik.

Laboratory Success in Melanoma and Ovarian Cancers

Toxoplasma gondii, the parasite that causes toxoplasmosis, is being used by Geisel researchers as a possible way to stimulate the immune system against tumors.

Published laboratory studies from the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth labs have tested the cps vaccine in extremely aggressive lethal mouse models of melanoma or ovarian cancer and found unprecedented high rates of cancer survival. “Cps stimulates amazingly effective immunotherapy against cancers, superior to anything seen before,” said Bzik. “The ability of cps to communicate in different and unique ways with the cancer and special cells of the immune system breaks the control that cancer has leveraged over the immune system.”

A Promising Future for a Personalized Cancer Vaccine This new weapon against cancer could even be tailored to the individual patient. “In translating cps therapy to the clinic, we imagine cps will be introduced into cells isolated from the patient. Then Trojan Horse cells harboring cps will be given back to the patient as an immunotherapeutic cancer vaccine to generate the ideal immune responses necessary to eradicate their cancer cells and to also provide life-long immunity against any future recurrence of that cancer,” said Bzik. Fox and Bzik say a lot more study is needed before cps leaves the laboratory. They are trying to understand how and why it works so well by examining its molecular targets and mechanisms. “Cancer immunotherapy using cps holds incredible promise for creating beneficial new cancer treatments and cancer vaccines,” said Bzik. 10 4 Legs & a Tail

Winter 2014


Oh the Weather Outside is Frightful… For Pets, Too! Cold Weather Dangers for Pets M. Kathleen Shaw, DVM- North Bennington, VT

T

emperatures are dropping, and with the colder weather, it’s time to think about the dangers this presents for our pets, both indoors and outdoors-only ones. By taking a few common sense precautions, you can help reduce the cold weather dangers to your pets. Although some pets are conditioned to cold weather, veterinary experts agree that you should bring outdoor pets indoors if the temperature drops below 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Puppies, kittens, and short haired pets should not be left outside for extended periods anytime the temperature goes below 40 degrees. For pets with long hair, proper grooming is essential to help them maintain a layer of warming air within their coat. Pets who are heavily matted cannot keep themselves warm. If your pet must stay outdoors, be sure to provide shelter for them, they can suffer from frostbite and hypothermia just like we do. A pet’s outdoor house must have at least three enclosed sides, be elevated off the ground, and contain generous amounts of bedding, such as straw or hay. In cold weather, bigger is not always better. A house just big enough for your pet will warm up faster and retain heat better than something that is too big. Your outdoor pet will need access to fresh water that isn’t frozen. Use heated water bowls and replenish them frequently.

Pets and vehicles can be a dangerous combination in the winter

Cats love to warm up underneath car hoods. If cats have access to your car outdoors or in your garage, be sure to pound on the hood of the car prior to starting it. Many cats are killed or grievously injured by fan belts and moving engine parts. Another danger that cars present to pets

SAFER ANTIFREEZE Not Only Is Regular Automotive Antifreeze Poisonous To Pets, Causing Kidney Failure And Death, But It Tastes Sweet And Attractive To Them. What A Terrible Combination! But There Is A New, Less Hazardous Antifreeze Option. Find Out What Kind Of Antifreeze To Buy To Help Keep Your Pets Safe. The Toxic Element In Traditional Antifreeze Is Ethylene Glycol. The New Kind Of Antifreeze Contains Not Ethylene Glycol, But Propylene Glycol, Which Is Somewhat Safer. In Fact, Propylene Glycol Is Found In Pet Foods, Cosmetics, And Over-The-Counter Preparations. One Brand Of This Newer Type Of Antifreeze Is Sierra, Made By Safe Brands. A 50/50 Mixture Of Sierra And Water Will Protect A Car’s Engine To -26F; Greater Protection Can Be Obtained By Increasing The Ratio Of Antifreeze To Water, According To The Company. Sierra Is Available Nationwide For About A Dollar More Per Gallon Than Traditional Antifreeze. Many Of Us Feel The Price Is Little To Pay If It Eliminates A Serious Threat To Our Pets. To Be On The Safest Side, However, Keep Any Antifreeze Well Away From Your Companion Animals! Winter 2014

in cold weather is antifreeze poisoning. If you suspect your pet has consumed any antifreeze at all, call your veterinarian immediately. Consider keeping dogs on a leash when they go outside. Each winter we see cases of dogs that have gone off exploring “frozen” lakes or streams and fall through the ice into the frigid water. Inside the house, monitor all pets around wood-burning stoves, fireplaces, and space heaters. These can cause severe burns. Younger pets romping through the house can knock objects into these heat sources and cause a fire, so make sure to “pet-proof” the areas around them. With the colder darker months, many people like to use candles in the home. Make sure to place them where pets (especially cats) do not have access. They can not only tip over the candle, they can set their fur on fire leading to serious burns. Our pets can suffer from arthritis in cold weather, just like humans do, and it is just as painful for them. If you are unsure if your pet has arthritis, want to know ways to keep your older pets comfortable during the cold weather, or if you have questions about cold weather issues with your pets, talk to your veterinarian. The Vermont Veterinary Medical Association (VVMA), founded in 1898, is a professional organization of 340 veterinarians dedicated to compassionate animal care and quality medicine. www.4LegsAndATail.com 11


Pets and Ice Melting Products D

uring cold winter months, our pets can come into close contact with a variety of ice melting compounds during walks, some of which can cause serious illness. These products include calcium chloride, potassium chloride, magnesium chloride, rock salt, and urea. The chloride salts are used for melting ice in colder temperatures (down to -25 F), and these tend to cause problems when coming in prolonged contact with the skin. When we walk our dogs on the pavement or even some driveways, the salts can get in the space between the toes and pads and cause irritation. The most commons signs are redness and swelling. Your pet may lick at the irritated paws. If the dogs ingest a large amount of these salts, they can become ill. Rock salt is simply sodium chloride, which is the same as table salt. It can be harmful to metal, concrete, and plants and is generally only helpful in temperatures above 10 F. It can cause some redness and irritation to the paws but is unlikely to harm pets unless large amounts are eaten: a toxic amount for a ten pound dog is 1/2 cup. Urea, a common fertilizer, is used in some areas to melt ice. It is useful in temperatures down to - 21 F. It can pose an environmental hazard as it adds nitrates to run off water. Safe Paw Ice Melter is an ice melting product that combines the best of all of these products. It contains an amide/glycol mixture that is not corrosive to metal, nor does it contaminate the water with nitrates. It is used down to -2 F and doesn’t cause skin irritation like other ice melting products. (The company does mention that it could cause stomach irritation if ingested.) Because outside of your own drive, you can’t be sure which salt was used to melt the ice, it’s a good idea to wipe down your pet’s feet after returning inside. If your pet has a large amount of any ice-melting product on his fur (from rolling or walking through it), bathe the pet and monitor the contacted areas for redness, swelling, or irritation. A safe alternate for your drive may be to simply use cat litter or sand for traction combined with the ice melting products for the best of both worlds.

Winter Tips for Our Feline Friends A

Jennifer Lesser, DVM- Norwich, VT

s you get home from work, a swirl of cold winter air announces your arrival, waking your feline housemate. She does not share your motivation to leave the warm indoor comforts. Being a cat, she almost imperceptibly acknowledges your return, takes a deep breath and resumes her nap snuggled deeply in your favorite sweater. Even for cats who normally savor the adventure of being outdoors, icy ground and single digit temperatures generally dissuade all but the most avid feline hunters. Being indoors is warm and cozy. Cats adapt to winter. They create pastimes, such as puppeteering you the owner (who owns whom?) to present the “right” food. “Hm, tuna, chicken, salmon, rabbit or liver? Shredded pate on dry kibble, please.” Working up an appetite climbing screens, mauling a pillow, cruising the kitchen counter for crumbs, and attacking your slippers as you wander the kitchen: it’s all in the hunt. Cats are playful, intelligent, social creatures who thrive on mental and physical stimulation. These needs require attention, whether the Winter finds kitty temporarily or permanently inside. Food dispensing toys are great, either do-ityourself, like a plastic container inside plastic container, each with holes, or purchased from West Lebanon Supply. Kibble designed to minimize dental plaque is a great filler for these games. Look for Tartar Shield treats, Purina DM, Hills T/D or Royal Canin dental prescription kibble. Another favorite toy is the Panic Mouse, a battery operated chase/hunt game. Or, place a ping-pong ball in an empty bathtub -more entertaining for you or the cat, who knows? Cats love to hunt: feed this desire by allowing her to hunt for food hidden in random nooks of your house. If your cat is enjoying outdoor time during the winter days (and why not?), you should bring her inside by nightfall. Great Horned Owls, coyotes, foxes, fishers, and even malicious people and automobiles pose nighttime threats. Given a choice, foxes are less likely to chase a nimble rabbit than to nab a docile and wellfed house cat, more calories for less energy. Beyond being odoriferous, skunks, along with raccoons, bats and foxes may also carry the rabies virus. These potential traumas, plus poisons such as antifreeze, frostbite, and infectious diseases, are very real concerns for cats who spend the night outside. In addition to fun activities and shelter from the cold and predators, please feed your kitty well. Cats thrive on canned food, though (being cats!) some felines insist on only eating crunchy kibble. Cats are true carnivores; the optimal diet is a commercial cat food high in protein and moisture. Lower on the scale are colorful food and treats made from corn meal and red dye number 30. . . Though if you add green 55 and yellow 28, you may have Fruit Loops, which my kids think are yummy! Winter is a less active time, so be vigilant about overfeeding. Your veterinarian and local feed store are both happy to help, and would gladly provide advice. Whether your cat found you on a walk, at the Humane Society, through a friend, or was flown in from Russia --yes, this happens-- he needs a bit of special care during these winter months. Even in winter, watch for fleas; ours is on preventative year-round. Test annually for intestinal parasites, consult your vet to establish the best vaccination schedule, and examine kitty’s mouth for inflammation and bad breath: cats are prone to dental disease. Oh yes, and give them lots of love! Cats return it in spades.

Caring Tips:

• Keep kitty active during indoor Winter months • Moderate feeding if your cat is less active • Keep cats indoors at night • Fleas are a problem year-round, use a good preventative • Canned foods and tartar-preventing treats are great for nutrition, kidney health, and dental health, areas for vigilance in all cats

12 4 Legs & a Tail

Dr. Lesser is happily settled in Norwich with her three children who attend the wonderful Marion Cross Elementary. Following her work with the Human Genome Project, she earned her veterinary doctoral degree in May 2000. Norwich Regional Animal Hospital is owned by Dr. Lesser and further supported by Dr. David Sobel, DVM, MRCVS and surgical specialist Dr. Paul Howard, DVM, DACVS whose work is made possible by a highly valued staff. Winter 2014


Horsing Around this Winter Dorothy Crosby- Stoddard, NH

K

eeping your horse fit and finetuned through the winter can be a challenge, especially when we don’t want to be out in the cold ourselves! But sometimes the best thing we can do for our equine friends – and even ourselves – is to get a little exercise, engage our brains, and liven up the hum-drum scene. Whether riding is possible or not, mounted or unmounted walks in the snow can be great exercise and a good way to get out of a rut - or at least out into different scenery for a while! Working in the snow, especially deep snow, is difficult, and keeps muscles and joints moving and in shape. Being careful not to overdo it is important, but with some caution, keeping in mind your horse’s fitness for the task, it’s an excellent way to maintain some condition through the winter. However, ice and cold temperatures, as well as deep snow can make working in the winter treacherous and near impossible. For those of us without an indoor arena, taking advantage of the barn aisle, your parking area (with no ice) or some other empty space can work too. Horses will benefit greatly from any exercise involving movement of the joints and the muscles that move those bones; in-hand work can be fun when riding or lunging are not possible and there are many great exercises that don’t have to be just the usual “boring” stuff. With the popularity of agility these days, you could set up some obstacles or games to play with your horse. Our horses are very curious and enjoy a ball bouncing – they like to send it back – or some cones to maneuver around. The key is to introduce the objects in a non-threatening way and encourage your horse’s curiosity; safety is still number one but entirely possible. Observe how your horse responds to each object or command, and introduce them with confidence and patience. Using a combination of rein or lead rope and hand, you can perfect your “aids” (both your communicating them and your horse’s receiving and obeying them) by doing 1⁄4 turns, turns on the forehand and haunches, leg yields, and side passes on the ground-- all of these will set the stage for better rides, more supple horses, and brains and bodies more tuned in when spring finally comes! Riding, teaching, and caring for horses which is Dorothy’s life passion. As a Centered Riding and CHA certified instructor, Dorothy manages a barn in Stoddard NH and offers a personalized lesson program, clinics and workshops for adults and children both on and off the farm. Winter 2014

A January thaw makes for a great time to saddle up.

www.4LegsAndATail.com 13


14 4 Legs & a Tail

Winter 2014


Sweater Weather Betty Berlenbach - Waitsfield,VT

C

old New England mornings are here. Every morning, before doing chores, I reach for a sweater. You too? Do you know where that sweater comes from? I don’t mean Kohl’s or Walmart or Macy’s. I mean the fiber…Perhaps from petrochemicals, now acrylic, nylon, fleece or microfiber. Perhaps it’s from plants: cotton, linen, or rayon. Or from animal fiber: wool (sheep’s fiber), alpaca, llama, Angora rabbit, mohair (Angora goat), musk ox, camel, or other fibers from animals. As a shepherd, I hope it’s from wool! So do my sheep, since it justifies their existence and purpose in life, aside from being meat for my table.

How does that sheep fiber, which looks so fluffy and warm in winter, get from the sheep to your back? It’s a satisfying story, if you raise sheep and spin yarn. The shearer comes, your friends gather early, there is hot coffee as it’s 30 degrees. You want to get that wool off before lambing, so the mothers don’t give birth outside at 10 degrees. You want the babies to have only two things to suck on, not bits of fleece stained with feces or urine. The shearer arrives, either on time, or late (shearers have reputations for being one or the other!) They set up the shearing machine, put a piece of plywood on the floor so sheep aren’t sitting on anything that messes up the fleece, and call for the first sheep. They have been corralled with no food that morning, so that full stomachs will not add to their “ordeal”. The sheep is brought to the shearer, who seems to effortlessly turn it up and into a sitting position. In minutes the sheep is naked, and there is a big lump of fiber on the plywood. A helper picks up the fleece in a special way and throws it up into the air,

Sheep Before Shearing

“Wool” is a big category, there are many, many breeds of sheep in this country and the world over. They may be Romney, Merino, Shetland, Jacob, Corriedale, Coopworth, or any number of other breeds, each with their own characteristic fiber: some fine, some coarse; some soft enough to make underwear Sheep After Shearing out of, some great for outerwear you wouldn’t want next to your skin; white, black, grey, brown (moorit), or caramel colored (mioget), even mixtures of several colors or shades of one color, over a skirting table, an 8’ x 4’ frame with chicken wire for dirt to fall through. It lands (on a good throw) in one piece spread out so that it looks tweedy or heathery. over the table. Folks surrounding the table go to work, picking off bits of hay, burrs, spots that are stained, or seem too coarse for handspinners or the wool pool (a big truck that can collect wool for industrial preparation). The fleece is rolled up, put in a bag, weighed, and put aside. A dog is for life, not just for Three minutes since the last sheep was shorn, there’s another Christmas. Many fleece ready to “skirt”. From there, the fleece goes into a workroom where small lots are immersed in very hot water. You people have thought cold, right? Wool felts and shrinks if put into hot water, a potential then cold, then agitated. If you keep the rinse water the same temp as the wash water, it gets clean and doesn’t felt. "sheep" right After soaking for a half hour in the hot water with dish soap in their house. In or shampoo, it is rinsed and spun in pillow cases (just spun!) in North America, indigenous tribes were spinning the washer, and laid out on window screens all over the house or the porch to dry. dog hair into yarn long before the Spaniards Then, every lock is pulled apart to release dirt or plant matter still caught in the fibers. After that time consuming process, introduced sheep. Chiengora (pronounced sheis “carded” with hand cards or a drum carder (infinitely fastan-gora), or dog yarn, is up to 80% warmer than iter). wool, very soft, similar in appearance to Angora, Next, you spin it, and then ply two or three strands together to make yarn, then knit it, and finally, wash and block it, and and sheds water well. To collect, simply save wear it, making sure to say thank you to all who compliment you on such a beautiful sweater! the brushings from your dog!

A Little Hair of the Dog

Continued NEXT PAGE

Winter 2014

www.4LegsAndATail.com 15


Now, there’s one more step. The above gives you a sweater the color of the sheep. You want red, or three different colors? Then, somewhere along the line, either as washed fleece before picking, or as roving/batts, the fiber off the carder (which combs the fleece fibers in the same direction), it must be dyed. As yarn, or after it is knitted. Each way of dyeing produces different effects in the yarn/sweater. It takes a lot of tries to get the dyeing part right. You could get a sweater made of wool, from the store. If so, it has generally been prepared industrially. The wool has been cut in short pieces, dipped in an acid to eat up vegetable matter, then machine carded, spun, and knit. This is what makes a sweater scratchy, the quality of the wool, the cleaning agent and acid bath, and number of ends per inch of the fibers. Fibers cut into l/2 inch pieces, have many more ends per inch than, fibers that are six inches long. Acid baths and “scouring agents” are much more drying than dish soap or shampoo. Every step of the way, a process can make a sweater yummy soft and luxurious, or scratchy - blech! Buying sweaters made the old fashioned way, means you are paying for all that work on an individual basis. When I make a sweater, it works out to about 25 cents an hour. However, raising sheep and knitting is very satisfying and therapeutic, so I guess I save on my healthcare bills with the mental and physical benefits. Acrylic: A neighbor of mine used to make acrylic mittens for her grandkids. One frigid morning, she put on her acrylic mittens, walked 800 feet for the mail and back, her hands were red and freezing cold. She threw away all the acrylic mittens and replaced them with wool ones! Wool is warmer, AND, gives off heat when drying. It is said that Maine lobstermen have felted wool gloves they dip in water on the way out to sea in winter, to keep from getting frostbitten. Down jackets, though warm, are useless when wet. Wool jackets keep you warm, wet or dry. Even if more costly, think about wool, next time you buy a sweater! You won’t regret it, and my sheep will be grateful!

16 4 Legs & a Tail

The Rev. Betty Berlenbach is a retired Episcopal priest who has raised Jacob and Coopworth sheep in Weathersfield, VT for 18 years. She lives on a farm with her husband along with their smiling border collie, Elizabeth and Eloise the purring lap cat. Winter 2014


Local Dog to Appear on Late Show with Letterman T

he butterflies in my stomach felt more like the beating of black crow’s wings. We had contacted the producers of David Letterman’s Stupid Pet Tricks on a whim, never really expecting to hear back. But, here we were in the green room, which by the way is not green, except for the emerald throw pillows. “You have five minutes,” said the young-faced associate producer, as he darted in and out. I couldn’t believe this was really going to happen. As my case of nerves continued to grow, I looked across the table at my “co-stars”, who appeared oblivious

Unlike most babies, Willow’s first words were not, “Mama” or “Dada.” Instead, her first word was “Ruff.” In fact, any dog in the neighborhood would elicit an exuberant, “Ruff-Ruff-Ruff” from Willow. And then the darnedest thing happened. One day, Willow and Bailey were playing on a particularly warm summer afternoon, when Willow said, “Hot.” I had heard her say it before, but my astonishment stirred when I heard the word repeated, not by Willow, but Bailey! I couldn’t believe my ears. I called to my family and neighbors and babbled about this miraculous feat to a small group of skeptics. As I was telling the story, mouths dropped as Willow uttered the word “Bird,” and almost on cue, Bailey mimicked “Bird,” to the amazement of all. In no time at all, Willow and Bailey developed quite a vocabulary which grew on a daily basis. One day, a friend suggested doing Late Night with David Letterman’s “Stupid Pet Tricks”. The next thing we knew, we were heading to New York City. “You’re up next. Follow me.” I was scared as we headed to the stage. What if Willow decided to play shy? What if the people didn’t find it as amusing as we did? After all, there have been other dogs that have barked words before. I looked at Bailey and asked, “Nervous, girl?” “Naw, this is just the studio audience, and the entire thing is videotaped. If "Bailey" and Willow talkin' it up there’s a problem, they can always edit it.” As Willow, Bailey, and I walked to it all. Then again, why wouldn’t they be? There was Bailey down stage-left, I heard an abrupt familiar blare. It grew loudThe Wonder Dog, trying to get another guest of the show (some er. I jolted upright suddenly. My eyes quickly zeroed in on author of a book about something, I don’t remember), to toss the source of the loud noise. The alarm clock beside my bed! the ball one more time. And there was Willow, my two year old Willow lay asleep in her crib next to the bed, Bailey was lying daughter who was enthralled with the tassels of the writer’s next to the crib. Though I realized it was just a dream, I couldn’t shiny shoes. help but wonder if the warm body next to me was my spouse, or “Two Minutes!” DaaaavvidLLLettermannn! Since the day Willow came home from the NICU unit at Dartmouth Hitchcock, she and Bailey were inseparable. A six year old German shepherd and first timer around children, we weren’t sure how the dog would react, but we followed all the professional advice on acclimating newborns to pets. During Willow’s infant months, Bailey slept at the foot of the crib and gave us the 2 and 4am nudge when it was time to warm another bottle. As Willow began to crawl, it was Bailey who cleared the path. In some sense, Bailey was mother, protector, and as we would soon discover, teacher. Winter 2014 www.4LegsAndATail.com 17


dogs these symptoms are mild, but in severe cases, the flu can develop into pneumonia. Fortunately, fewer than 5 percent of dogs die from CIV. Dogs with short noses (and narrow airways), or dogs that are already sick with another illness may have more difficulty fighting the infection, and are likely to get sicker.

Dogs Get The Flu Too Stewart Ketcham, DVM. Upper Valley Veterinary Services, Lebanon, NH

I’m sick as a dog, with this cough and a sneeze When trying to bark it comes out like a wheeze. I noticed at day care that hound went, “Achoo” Oh goodness, it could be a case of dog flu!

The influenza season has begun and many of you have already gotten your

flu vaccine or are thinking of it. Dogs have their own variety of flu; its formal label is the H3N8 Influenza Virus, also called Canine Influenza Virus, or CIV for short. It lived in horses for 40 years and in 2004 underwent a change and infected dogs for the first time. First appearing in Florida, it has spread to 39 states, including all of the New England and eastern seaboard states. CIV in dogs is spread only to other dogs, much like the Bordetella Kennel Cough organism. There has been an approved vaccine for CIV since 2009. We have been lucky so far in the Upper Valley to have experienced no major outbreak. However, every day dogs move here from all over the country, sometimes with their owners and sometimes as rescue dogs coming through shelters. It is reasonable to expect our day will come. Since this is a new disease, any unvaccinated dog which is exposed to the virus is at risk for infection. Dogs that are in contact with other dogs are at greatest risk. Outbreaks have been reported in shelters, boarding kennels, dog daycare centers, dog parks, veterinary clinics and other places where dogs tend to congregate. The symptoms are identical to those of kennel cough: coughing, sneezing, lethargy, fever and loss of appetite. For most 18 4 Legs & a Tail

Here are a few Frequently Asked Questions that pet owners have:

Q: How can I tell if another dog is infected?

A #1: You can’t in the early stages, or in the 20% of dogs who have no symptoms. A #2: Dogs are MOST CONTAGIOUS during the incubation period before they develop symptoms (2-4 days after exposure), and they continue to shed virus (LESS SO) for a week or more after they have symptoms.

Q: What are the symptoms when they do occur?

A: A soft, moist cough (but can be dry like kennel cough), runny nose or eyes, fever, malaise are all symptoms.

Q: How can I protect my dog?

A #1: Keep your dog well nourished, well exercised and generally healthy. A #2: Avoid contact with other dogs (your dog AND yourself, because you can transfer the virus on your hands or clothes, although you won’t get it yourself) if you hear of a Flu outbreak in the upper valley area— even if those dogs have no outward symptoms, but especially if they do. A #3: Vaccinate your dog with CIV vaccine if it has contact with other dogs! If you will be boarding your dog over the holiday season, “Why wait, vaccinate!”

Q: Can I get the flu from my dog?

A : No, since CIV jumped from horses to dogs in 2004 the virus is now considered a new dog-specific lineage of H3N8. There is no record of it spreading to other species, nor does it go back to horses, or to your other pets. Dr. Ketcham is a graduate from Cornell University, earning a BS from the College of Agriculture and DVM from the College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Ketcham shares his life with his wife Toni, two dogs, a cat and two LaMancha goats. His two legged children have flown the nest. A near daily pleasure is a hike with the dogs over the hills behind their home.

HELPING THE BIRDS IN YOUR BACKYARD DURING THE COLD MONTHS By Catherine Greenleaf

T

his is the time of year when we watch the many birds that visit our backyards pack their bags and migrate south to warmer climates for the winter. However, a good number of bird species attempt to tough it out here in New Hampshire & Vermont. These species include Cardinals, Nuthatches, Juncos, Redpolls, Tufted Titmice, Evening Grosbeaks, Purple Finches, American Goldfinches, and Pine Siskins. There is a great deal you can do to help these birds survive: 1. Don’t be too fastidious a gardener! Many gardeners chop down all of their perennial plants after the frost. Leaving some of your plants standing will offer hungry birds delicious seed heads to feast on. Sometimes, seed heads are the major source of food that keeps birds, like the Black-Capped Chickadee, alive through the freezing winter. 2. Don’t rake all your leaves. By allowing some leaves to stay put, you provide shelter for insects, a rich source of protein for birds. Insects have a tendency to hide under leaf litter, and birds need to eat protein-rich insects to survive, especially young birds. 3. Create a branch pile. Instead of carting off all your dead twigs and sticks to the dump, start building a brush pile in your backyard. This pile will provide a much-needed warm and dry place for birds to roost during major snow and ice storms. It’s also a perfect hiding place to stay safe from predators. 4. Don’t cut those dead trees! One of the best sources of tasty insects and warm Continued NEXT PAGE

Winter 2014


8. There is some amount of controversy about bird feeders in New Hampshire & Vermont because of the bears that can be attracted to your yard. Many local residents are solving this problem by converting their yards back to native trees, shrubs and perennials. It’s the native plantings that provide the insects, berries and seeds that birds need. The more non-native, ornamental trees and shrubs you have on your property, the more the birds will struggle to survive, since these plantings offer little or no nutrition to birds. If you are concerned about bears, let Mother Nature be your bird feeder by planting natives, and resort to birdfeeders only in the dead cold of winter, when birds need it most.

Some birds will eat only 25% of their daily winter food from feeders.

holes to hide in, is a dead tree. If the tree poses no safety hazard, allow it to stand, and you will benefit species from owls to the tiniest songbirds. In fact, keeping dead trees on your property will prevent woodpeckers from drilling for insects in the wood frame of your house. 5. Birds need water, especially during the winter. You can place a shallow bowl of clean, warm water outdoors, in an elevated location safe from predators. You can even go high luxury with your birds by providing a heated birdbath! Birds need water to stay hydrated and digest their food. They also need the water to clean their feathers, since soiled feathers can prevent the bird from maintaining adequate protection from the cold and rain.

This overwintering bird is often referred to as the sentinel of the garden. They emit their loud cry to warn other birds of the presence of predators in the yard. 11. Did you know owls can catch prey even if they have to thrust their legs through several inches of snow? However, once a crust of ice forms over the snow, owls begin to starve. You can help owls by breaking up the ice on backyard pathways and shoveling snow to create some grassy patches. Please remember, it is not normal to find an owl standing on the ground. If you see a starving owl, please call St. Francis Wild Bird Hospital.

12. Lastly, enjoy your birds! Watching the antics of our feathered friends provides 9. Install bird feeders at least 30 feet away hours of fun and enjoyment for chilfrom any sliding glass doors or windows. dren and adults alike. So make yourself Many birds die each year from flying into a big cup of hot chocolate, throw in a few glass. In warmer weather, if the injury marshmallows and sit by the window to is mild, the bird may recover in just a watch the show. few minutes. However, in cold weather, a bird with even the mildest of concussions quickly succumbs to hypothermia. Catherine Greenleaf is state-licensed with the New Hampshire Fish and Game 10. Don’t shoo the Blue Jays away! Blue Department as a wildlife rehabilitator. Jays, unfortunately, have gotten a bad rap She is Director of St. Francis Wild Bird over the years, often portrayed as bullies Hospital in Lyme, N.H. If you find an who eat the hatchlings of other birds. The injured bird, please call 795-4850 or truth is, Blue Jays will only resort to eating go to www.saintfrancisbirds.blogspot. other birds when there is an inadequate com to read about the biology and number of native plantings in your yard. behavior of New Hampshire birds.

6. Provide roosting pockets or shelves. Roosting pockets are tiny, little huts made of braided grass that you can hang up on tree branches. These huts provide a warm place for cold birds to hang out in while a storm is raging. Roosting shelves are made of wood and attached to trees. They have a roof with a deep shelf inside. Often you may see half a dozen or more birds huddled together inside to stay warm during a sub-zero cold snap. 7. If you elect to hang birdfeeders in your yard, you’ll want to make sure the feeders are clean. Birdfeeders can collect dirt, feces and mold, which can make birds sick. Scrub the inside and outside of your feeders with a long-handled brush, using a diluted bleach solution, and then rinse thoroughly. Only fill the feeder when completely dry to avoid mold contamination. Be sure to buy seed only from the highest quality companies. Always give your bag of birdseed the sniff test. If it smells moldy, put it in the garbage can. Winter 2014

www.4LegsAndATail.com 19


A

Winter Fun with Sled Dogs

lthough mushing sled dogs is officially recognized as Alaska’s state sport, the sport’s roots grow deeply in Canadian soil. When modern dog sled racers aim toward the finish lines of the North Country’s great races, they are following the long obscured tracks of the Canadian hivernants (wintering voyagers). If the prize money of Minnesota’s “John Beargrease Dog Sled Marathon”, Alaska and Yukon Territory’s “Yukon Quest”, and the world famous Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Classic were all combined, it would pale in comparison to the vast profits earned by the dog drivers of the historical North American fur trade. No one knows who might have been the first human to harness a dog to a sled. The earliest evidence of dog harnesses and other specialized equipment for dog traction occurs in Canadian Thule sites, it may have been these people who invented this mode of transportation greatly increasing the range of winter hunting and travel between AD 1000 and AD 1600. Historical records of the use of sled dogs in the Siberian Sub Arctic appear in Arabian literature of the tenth century; in writings of Marco Polo in the thirteenth century; and of Francesco de Kollo in the sixteenth. (Coppinger L) An illustration taken from the 1675 edition of Martin Frobisher’s “Historic Navigations” show a dog in harness pulling what appears to be a canoe-like sled. (Noel) Today, dog sledding can be found in many corners of northern New England with organized clubs such as the New England Sled Dog Club and the Yankee Siberian Huskey Club (the oldest in North America). Winter permitting, you can get to know dog sledding up close! Over the next several months, spectators can witness the speed and excitement of organized dog sled races, as mushers compete with teams of highly trained Alaskan Huskies, Siberians and Malamutes. You will see packs of dogs move as a graceful team and in complete control, on a single mission…to glide as fast as possible. Of course, after seeing a race for the first time you’re immediate reaction is to move into the mushers “seat. Unlike NASCAR racing, dog sledding can be a first-hand winter experience, you and your family will remember for years to come. Dog sledding tours can be found throughout New Hampshire & Vermont at www.dogsledrides.com Here are just a few area tour providers:

Barking Brook Sled Dog Adventures, Plymouth, NH Seal Cove Kennel, Canaan, NH Great Northern Moose Lodge, Dummer, NH Valley Snow Dogz LLC Waterville, Valley, NH Muddy Paw Sled Dog Kennel, LLP, Jefferson, NH Hardscrabble Mountain Sled Dog Tours Sheffield, VT Eden Mountain Lodge, Eden, VT Peace Pups Dog Sledding, Lake Elmore, VT Adventure Guides of Vermont, N. Ferrisburg, VT Continued NEXT PAGE

20 4 Legs & a Tail

Winter 2014


Ken is a musher and owner of Peace Pups in Lake Elmore, VT. Although his focus is not on racing, he tries to do a few races each season to see how the training is going, and to visit with other New England mushers. Ken really enjoys being out in the woods with his canine family, and exposing visitors to the exciting world of dog powered sports. So we asked him: How much weight can the dogs actually pull? We have a weight limit 375#, of course I am on the sled at around 180#, plus the 50# sled so a maximum weight tour could be up to 600#.With a team of eight that’s a mere 75# per dog. They could actually pull much more weight than that for a short distance and the limit is also affected by the size of the hills they need to scale. Do you really yell mush! Mush!? I do not, generally the sled and dogs are attached to an immovable object such as a tree or our truck by a line called the snub line that has a quick release on it. I will sometimes say “let’s go” or “ok”, but all it takes is for them to feel the line release and they will take off. “Mush” is a derivative of the French “ mar chon” meaning walk or march on. How to you get the dogs in shape for dog sledding and keep them in shape? You might get a different answer from every musher you ask. We start out slow by doing short runs with a cart on the dirt roads, without a lot of weight, in the fall once it’s below sixty degrees. As the dogs become stronger we increase the weight and distance. Once we start using a sled they are able to run farther because the sled is easier to pull than the cart. Keeping them in shape over the winter is a matter of running them regularly and feeding them well. Increased calories, more fresh meat, and closely monitoring their health is the key. In the summer we relax. How do you train the dogs to pull you around? Training a Siberian Husky to pull is an easy thing to do. Typically just put a harness on them, attach a tug line and hold on. Pulling is an instinct for these dogs. The main issue is training the lead dogs to listen to your commands. This involves either a lot of work with the dogs you want to be leaders or buying an experienced leader and having that dog teach your other dogs by example. How fast can the dogs run? They can run up to around 20 mph on a flat or downhill early in a run. We average around eight to ten miles an hour over the course of a run. With a dog team you can only go as fast as the slowest dog in the team. Is a dogsled ride bumpy? Generally not. We spend a lot of time and energy trying to keep our trails as smooth and Winter 2014

firmly packed as possible for the comfort of our guests as well as the safety of our dogs. Tours are appropriate for all ages, we’ve had children at four months and a 94 year old. What is the difference between an Alaskan & Siberian? Alaskan Huskies are not an “official AKC” breed, they are a mixed breed and can be crosses of any number of breeds They generally have some Siberian in their blood lines somewhere which gives them the pulling instinct. The hound crosses generally have shorter coats, larger muscle mass, higher metabolism, and a faster top end speed. Size varies greatly from thirty pounds up to seventy five pounds. Siberian Huskies are an AKC breed originating in Siberia. They have some variation in their coats, colors and size as well, but generally have thicker double coats, lower metabolism, and lower top end speed. Siberians used to be the main race dogs, but have been replaced for the most part in sprint racing by Alaskans and there is a shift toward many more Alaskan teams in distance races as well. You usually don’t see Siberian teams doing very well in sprint races but they seem to still be in contention in longer distance races.

Almost one of a kind. Kiva is a New Guniea Singing Dog living the good life in Bellows Falls. In 1995 only 300 of the breed remained. Photo by Amber Thomas, Bellows Falls

www.4LegsAndATail.com 21


Abraham Lincoln’s Dog, Fido By Kate Kelly

W hile living in Springfield, Illinois, the Lincoln family had sev-

eral animals including a dog named Fido (ca. 1855-1865). Fido was a yellow, mixed-breed dog who was said to accompany Lincoln when he went into town, sometimes carrying a parcel home from the market for Lincoln, or Fido would wait outside the barbershop while Lincoln went in for a trim. When Lincoln was elected president, the occasion was acknowledged locally with great celebration. Fido was quit terrified by the booming cannons, the fireworks, the ringing of the local church bells and the sounds of the excited community.  This gave Lincoln pause when he considered taking Fido with the family to Washington. The family ultimately decided to make an arrangement to leave Fido in the care of another family. A carpenter, John Roll, who had done some work for the Lincolns, had two sons who were a little younger than Tad and Willy. The Roll family agreed to take responsibility for Fido.  They also promised the Lincolns that the dog would be returned to them when the Lincolns came home from Washington. Fido Was Accustomed to the Run of the House Fido was very much a “house dog” and the President specified that Fido was to be allowed to come into the Roll family home; if his paws were muddy, Fido should not be scolded for it.  The Lincolns had always shared table scraps with Fido at mealtime, so the Lincolns

also asked that Fido be permitted to join the Roll family at mealtimes as well. Fido slept on a favorite sofa. Arrangements were made to leave this horsehair sofa with the Roll family so that Fido would have every reason to feel at home. It is unclear when the photo of Fido was taken. It may have been taken before the Lincolns departed for the White House. Perhaps they wanted a memento of their beloved dog. However recently, it has been speculated that Fido’s photo was taken after the assassination. The town was overrun by people who arrived for the funeral, and visitors wanted to buy items related to Lincoln. A townsperson may have decided that that a photo of Fido would sell well. Either explanation leaves us with the undeniable fact that we have the first photo ever taken of a Presidential dog. A couple of years after Lincoln had assumed the presidency, the barber wrote a letter to the president, filling him in on local happenings. He added: “Tell Taddy that his (and Willy’s) Dog is alive and Kicking, doing well, he stays mostly at John E. Roll’s with his Boys who are about the size now that Tad and Willy were when they left for Washington.”

Fido at the Funeral Fido was still living with the Rolls family when Lincoln was assassinated. When the funeral was held, mourners stopped in at the Lincoln family home in Springfield to pay their respects. The Roll family brought Fido there to say good-bye to his master, too. At the time, photographs were sometimes copied and made into carte-devisite (calling cards of a sort which were

very popular during the Civil War when family members wanted to be remembered). Shortly after Lincoln’s death, the photo of Fido was reproduced as a cartede-visite and sold to souvenir collectors. Fido is Killed Within the year of Lincoln’s death, Fido himself was killed. John Roll wrote of Fido’s sad fate: “We possessed the dog for a number of years when one day the dog, in a playful manner, put his dirty paws upon a drunken man sitting on the street curbing [who] in his drunken rage, thrust a knife into the body of poor old Fido. He was buried by loving hands. So Fido, just a poor yellow dog met the fate of his illustrious master- Assassination.”  Other Animals in the Lincoln White House Nanny and Nanko were two goats kept at the Lincoln White House.  The boys liked hitching the goats to carts—or even kitchen chairs—and being pulled around.  The goats were not always popular with the White House staff as they tended to chew up things that they weren’t supposed to. The boys also had ponies and some white rabbits, and Tad became very attached to a turkey that was being raised for Christmas dinner.  At Tad’s behest, Lincoln had little choice but to spare the turkey. The turkey lived on with the Lincolns as a pet, and Tad gave him full run of the White House.  (Lincoln’s own childhood was filled with fear and disappointment, so he chose to raise his boys with much more leniency.) Lincoln himself was particularly fond of cats. According to the staff at Abraham Lincoln’s birthplace, if Mary Lincoln was asked about whether her husband had a hobby, she was very likely to answer “cats.” In March of 1865 as the Civil War was winding down and all the requirements of rebuilding the country were being presented to the President. He would frequently sit at the telegraph office in Washington so he could send and receive messages easily. While there one day, Lincoln became distracted by three stray kittens.  When he was informed that the kittens’ mother had died, he sat with them on his lap for a few minutes and then before he left, he made certain someone there committed to taking care of them. Lincoln called his horse, Old Bob.  In the funeral procession, Old Bob, wearing a mourning blanket with silver fringe, walked immediately after the hearse carrying the President’s body. For more stories like this one, please visit www.americacomesalive.com where many other dog stories have been published. On the website, you may also sign up for regular mailings of upcoming dog stories.

22 4 Legs & a Tail

Winter 2014


Canine Point of ViewCabin Fever? Michelle Grimes

T

his is the time of year many of us have come to dread; particularly if you have an active lifestyle involving a 4-legged friend. For many breeds exercise is extremely important, and getting outside may be the only outlet for their energy. Sometimes cold weather makes it tough for dogs and humans alike to go out for park romps, walks or playtime with other dogs. I tend to call it Cabin Fever. It’s not unheard of for normally well-behaved dogs to start feeling the effects of Cabin Fever. Fights may develop between family pets and inappropriate behaviors such as chewing may begin. Sometimes it may feel like the Indy 500 at your house as your ordinarily quiet and calm pup starts racing around the house like a racecar. Because of the overwhelming feeling of staying inside curled up in a warm blanket, it may be time to get a bit more creative than your normal daily walk(s). Here are some fun, easy exercise options for most anyone – those who prefer the thought of hibernation and those eager enough to face the elements head-on. If you’re not familiar with “brain toys”, now’s the perfect time to learn and incorporate them into your dog’s daily routine. “Brain Toys”, are very popular interactive toys. What started as something as simple as the KONG we all love, has expanded to hundreds of options. An interactive toy is different than that of a squeaky toy or a hard bone many dogs love to chew. Interactive toys require the dog to truly think about what they are doing in order to be rewarded. They need to use their mouth, nose and or paws to get the reward. My favorites require the dog to nose the toy around on the floor, as it rolls around it releases random food pieces. This is how I tend to feed my dogs on a daily basis. Instead of a minute to eat, it takes more like 10 minutes of true interaction between dog and toy for them to retrieve their entire meal. Once your dog starts to understand interactive toys, the possibilities are endless. Mental stimulation can come from playing hide-and-seek inside. It keeps your dog moving and thinking. It’s a game quickly learned by most. Ask your dog to stay, or have someone hold them and then go “hide.” Choose a hiding spot and call your dog, who will then use their nose to find you! Hide bits and pieces of your pup’s favorite treats and teach them to “find it.” They never know where the treats will be hidden and finding random Winter 2014

Each pound of weight on a dog is equal to 5-7 pounds on a human. For cats one pound is equivalent to 7-10 pounds.

treats is a great incentive to keep them working. Other indoor activities include setting up a small agility type course in your living room. Objects such as foot stools and low chairs with a broomstick placed over the chairs can be part of the course. Indoor tug-of-war sessions are a fun way to burn off excess canine energy and teaching a few new tricks is a great way for them to use their brains as well. Invest in a good trick training book and teach away! For those us of you who enjoy the being outside, I’ve got a few ideas as well. Outdoor activities can be exciting and offer amazing mental stimulation. If you can walk, you can snowshoe. Find snow shoes for reasonable prices online and via classified ads. A fun new sport if your pup has some basic obedience training already. Cross-country skiing can give your pup a work out (and yourself!) Good off-leash control is required to ensure safety for him and others you are bound to come across. Take him with you next time you hit the trails. Looking for a little more excitement and have an energetic dog that weighs 30 pounds or more? Look into Skijoring. An adaptation of cross-country skiing, Skijoring allows your dog to do the heavy pulling. Besides your regular cross-coun-

ty gear, you’ll need a skijoring belt, sleddog racing harness and a tow line (all available online or at local sports-supply stores). Decent obedience skills, (and a good ski skill level from yourself) will ensure you both have a great time. There are a few good books about Skijoring out there. Remember that activities in the snow can be very taxing and can lead to dehydration. Prepare yourself as you would, when taking your dog on a summer hike. Fresh water is important as is weather protection, such as coats and booties for your pup. Even with their own coats they may need extra protection and warmth from the elements. Overall, winter exercise is a key component to living with a healthy, easygoing, well-behaved dog. As I always say, a tired dog is a good dog. Michelle Grimes CPDT-KA, of K9 Insights is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer & Behavior Consultant specializing in Positive Reinforcement Training for all breeds. Co-founder of Long Trail Canine Rescue, works locally at SAVES and Stonecliff Animal Clinic, and is proudly owned by 3 rescue “Bully Breeds”.   Michelle@k9insights. com or  www.k9insights.com  www.4LegsAndATail.com 23


February is Pet Dental Health Month Sandra L. Waugh VMD, MS Windsor Veterinary & Dental Service in Windsor,VT

W

Happy Valentine's Day February 14th

hat’s so important about Pet Dental Health? I have written about various dental diseases and conditions in dogs and cats for 4 Legs & A Tail, hoping that readers would be impressed with the variety of diseases, and how much these affect our pets. February has been designated as Pet Dental Health Month, so it seems timely to take another look inside our pets’ mouths. I have three young dogs in my house - two Schipperkes, that just turned one year old, and a black lab, 5 months old. With young dogs and cats, note how white and clean their teeth are, how their breath has no odor. With time, the teeth get covered with tartar, the gums start to bleed, and a bad odor starts. This odor is sometimes described as “doggy (or kitty) breath,” as if normal, or at least inevitable, a state that has no bad consequences. Nonsense, this is NOT an inevitable state for the mouth, nor is it benign. The odor, described as “swamp-like” or “rotten egg,” is a product of bacteria that cause periodontal disease. Periodontal disease in a nutshell: When you wake up, there is a sticky substance on your teeth. That substance is plaque, made up of saliva, live bacteria, dead bacteria and other debris. If plaque is allowed to accumulate, some of it is pushed up under the gum-line, where oxygen is not available. The lack of oxygen allows “Bad Guy” bacteria to enjoy a population explosion. YUCK! These “Bad Guy” bacteria produce toxins, the body responds by removing tissue from the presence of these bacteria. The tissue removed includes gum tissue, bone and the ligament that supports each tooth. Over time the tooth becomes looser and looser, and at some point will fall out. This process takes years to go from a healthy tooth to the loss of the tooth. In the meantime, periodontal disease causes the gum to swell, bleed and tear. These “Bad Guy” bacteria can enter into the bloodstream and travel throughout the body, affecting vital organs such as the heart, liver, brain and kidneys (and the developing fetus in humans). YIKES!! If this sounds like a bad thing to happen, it most definitely is. Dogs have 42 teeth (some small breeds are missing some of these, but have all of the big teeth) and cats have 30 teeth. Humans, for comparison, have 32, if all 4 wisdom teeth are present. Periodontal disease can be present on none, one, a few, or all of the teeth. It may or may not be painful, or may change in pain over time. Progression of Periodontal Disease Normal tooth

Stage 1 Periodontal Disease crown (visible part of tooth) gum (gingiva) root

Stage 2 Periodontal Disease

Plaque and tartar extend down root. Pocket forms.

Plaque and tartar on tooth Gingivitis starting tion)

Bone recedes.

bone

Stage 3 Periodontal Disease

Stage 4 Periodontal Disease

Plaque and tartar extends further down the root.

Extensive plaque and tartar.

Deepening pocket.

Pocket ever deeper. Severe bone and gum loss.

More extensive bone loss.

42 teeth (some small breeds are missing some of these, but have all of the big teeth) and cats have 30 DogsIfhave your pet has a bad odor coming from its mouth, is there any hope? Definitely, your pet can get back to a healthy mouth, but may need to have some (or many, most, or all) teeth extracted. Most important, the entire mouth must be evaluated, not only visually, but with x-rays as well, to determine the health of every single tooth. Once an evaluation on each and every tooth has been done, all diseased teeth need to be

Continued NEXT PAGE

24 4 Legs & a Tail

Winter 2014


treated or extracted. If bone loss is not too severe, teeth can be saved by packing products that promote bone growth around the roots. Sometimes bone loss is too severe, and the tooth must be extracted. Many owners are concerned their pet will not be able to eat adequately. Loose and diseased teeth are not really functioning as true teeth, the pet is better off without them. Once healed from the dental surgery, pets routinely go back to eating dry food, even with no teeth at all! And, your pet has you to provide food that they enjoy eating.

How To Keep That Mouth Healthy:

are a number of diets available specifically designed to help keep the teeth clean. 1. Learn to brush the teeth of your dog or cat. Cats are most easily trained as kit- These are complete diets and are meant tens, most dogs can be trained at any age. to be fed as the main diet, not as treats. I If you are going to brush, do so every day. use Hill’s™ t/d in both dogs and cats. Plaque turns into tartar in as little as 72 hours, it needs to be removed routinely. 5. There are a number of additives that can be added to your pet’s drinking Once a day brushing is sufficient. water. To be most effective, other sources of drinking water need to be eliminated. 2. Use products with Veterinary Oral For instance, many dogs will drink out Health Council seal. of toilets. Healthy Mouth (www.healthymouth.com) has the VOHC seal. 3. Be aware that anything listed below that requires your pet to chew to make 6. OraVet is a barrier sealant applied it effective will only work if your pet is once a week to the outside of the teeth of actually chewing!! Pets will avoid chew- both dogs and cats. Not the same as the ing on one side of the mouth if there is sealant a dentist applies to your teeth, pain. like a thick ointment that is placed along the gum-line. It makes teeth slippery and 4. Feed a diet that helps to keep teeth harder for plaque to accumulate. It will clean. While regular dry foods do keep stick to the teeth for a week, and you can the teeth cleaner than canned food, there brush as well.

7. Chew toys that have surfaces that interact with the teeth and provide a scrapping effect. Kong toys would be an example. 8. Rawhide chews. Make certain USA manufactured. Avoid bone shapes with big knobs on the ends, these can cause intestinal blockage. Your dog must be a “chewer” not a “gulper” to avoid problems with rawhide. I use Tartar Shield® Soft Rawhide Chews. 9. Treats such as Greenies® dogs or cats, or Purina Veterinary Diets® Dental Chewz™ brand Dog Treats. Dr. Waugh is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. She also has a Masters Degree from Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Visit www.vetsinwindsor.com for videos of her brushing my dogs and cats teeth.

Wild Moment Photos

David Perra

There’s nothing quite like the mist rising on a pristine pond in the moments when the sun peeks over the horizon and lights up the beauty and mystery that was hidden by the darkness of night just moments ago. It is these moments when the world awakens and nature comes alive. Countless hours were spent in the woods, on trails, and on the waters of the Monadnock region to capture what I call “moments in nature”. Here is the world as I see it. I worked three jobs and seemed to only have an hour or two on a good day and weekends, to make the best of it. I went where I knew animals, birds, and nature’s beauty thrived. I took picture after picture, getting intimately familiar with my camera’s features, controls, and settings. I’m a quick study and saw my pictures improve weekly. I carried a Nikon with a short lens for landscapes, macros, and the bigger picture, and a Canon with a long lens for the in your face close-ups, and set out to capture the world around me. On the first day with my new Canon setup, I was driving home and noticed a brown lump out of place in a snow-covered field of brushy growth. As I drove by I contemplated what it was. Knowing nature, I concluded that it was a large coyote foraging for the rodents that may be hiding in the grassy cover. I parked my truck behind a large bank of plowed snow nearby and carefully grabbed my new camera, which I knew little about. Excitedly, I rushed in a crouch along the length of the snow bank. Light was fading and coyotes generally stay moving, so I rushed to the spot where I estimated to have my best photo opportunity. I knelt on the wet, snowy ground, still in my work clothes, and peeked up over the snow bank. The coyote was there, 60 yards uphill from me in the dense brush. I thought to myself, the light is low, the auto-focus probably is useless, and the coyote isn’t going to wait for me to figure it out. I chose my camera settings to over-expose two stops and to focus on one point only and hoped for the best. I placed the focus point on the eye of my subject and calmed my breathing the best I could. I held as still as you can in freezing cold and wet conditions and gently pressed the shutter release halfway. The coyotes eye came into crystal clear focus and I pressed the shutter all the way, capturing my first “sellable” photo! I was hooked. Winter 2014

www.4LegsAndATail.com 25


Donny and the Hay Piles by H.M. Howard

F

or several years, in order to help offset the cost of feed and hay, I have boarded a couple of extra horses at my farm. The mix of breeds, ages and sizes makes for quite an eclectic but homogeneous herd that all turnout together in one large pasture. One boarder’s horse named Donny is a dark bay “old type” Morgan; the type you seldom see anymore. Donny is NOT a horse built for speed or beauty. He is almost as wide as he is tall with short legs, a large body, thick cresty neck, and a long roman nose. Somehow, though, the whole package is kind of endearing in an “ugly duckling” sort of way. Donny’s dominant herd personality is not, on the other hand, endearing to his pasture mates. Regardless, this attitude manages to serve him well, especially in the herd we have. He insists on always being the first one out in the morning and the first one in to be fed at night— perks awarded as tokens of respect for being leader of the herd. Donny dictates where the other horses go, where they eat grass and when they will all get a drink from the water tub. For the most part he is a benevolent dictator if just a little pushy, especially when it comes to food. My usual winter morning routine involves trudging through the snow to the barn at a very early hour to check on everyone and feed the much-anticipated breakfast. The satisfied munching sounds I hear heading back to the house tell me how appreciated my efforts are. After grabbing a quick cup of coffee and taking my daughter to school, I return to the barn to let the horses out. Then I go up into the loft and throw down hay to put out on the snow. I am careful to space evenly sized piles of hay at least 15 to 20 feet apart; one more pile than the number of horses. This democratic method makes sure that no single horse (a dark bay “old type” Morgan, who shall remain nameless) can guard or hog more than one pile of hay for himself. The extra pile also serves as a safety measure for the inevitable chasing that goes on to determine who finally eats where. Being the boss, Donny is the sort who has to taste each hay pile to determine which has the choicest most flavorful flakes; driving off the poor soul who haplessly chose to eat there in the meantime. 26 4 Legs & a Tail

One winter morning the horses went out as usual but the phone rang and I became involved in a conversation. I didn’t put the hay out for quite a while. By the time I finally tossed it outside the horses had pretty much given up on waiting and wandered off down the hill looking for whatever green shoots were available poking up through the snow. As I went through the “pile” ritual, one by one, each of the horses noticed my activity and slowly wandered back up the hill to start munching. Donny was the furthest away, facing downhill, with his back towards the barn. He was so intent on pawing through the snow for grass that he hadn’t noticed when the other horses left him. Unfair as it might seem, I didn’t yell to him, I just waited and watched, wo n d e r i n g w h e n he would figure out that the toothsome hay was finally available. After the rest had all been eating hay quietly for several minutes, Donny finally picked up his head to calmly look around. Then he saw the rest of the herd up the hill at the barn eating hay—without him! It was a hilarious case of “feet don’t fail me now!” He went into panic mode trying to gallop up to the barn. But, with the soft snow, slush underneath and no shoes, poor Donny just couldn’t get any traction! He looked like a Saturday morning cartoon come to life where the character’s body is perfectly still and all you see is a whirlwind where his legs and feet ought to be. The more Donny tried, the more he couldn’t get anywhere. It took soooooooo long—an eternity—before he made any headway at all. The footing was just too slick. During all this, he should have landed right on his nose, I can only assume that his center of gravity was so low—that couldn’t happen. I was laughing to myself “see, wider is better.” Once he finally got a foothold—lookout! He came barreling into the piles of hay and his stablemates and hay went flying in all directions! He chased each one out of a hay pile at least three times just to make his point, before finally settling down to make up for lost time to eat. I was still laughing as I made my way back into the house for a second cup of coffee! Winter 2014


Bears are bowlegged to give them better grip and balance.

The Raiding y u G h g e Tou n Rindg Feeder I

THE BEAR AND THE BRANCH! A

Jackie Finethy- Rindge, NH

nyone who lives in rural New Hampshire and has a bird feeder in their backyard, has probably witnessed a bear raiding their feeder from time to time. Living in Rindge, New Hampshire, with 18 acres of woods, a pond, apple trees , wild berries and bird feeders, I have been blessed with numerous animal sightings. I’d like to share with you one sighting in particular, of a bear- I named him “Tough Guy”. Tough Guy weighs in at about 300 pounds of stubborn determination. He’s healthy and strong, curious and cautious. His walk is a confident swagger. I can single Tough Guy out from other bears by the large, white patch on his chest. His singular motivation for all he does is survival. In order to keep my feeder out of the reach of bears and squirrels, I have learned to toss a plastic coated wire cord, with a weight on one end way up high over the thin branch of a tall thin tree. I then fix the bird feeder to that end and wrap the other end around the tree trunk; a pulley of sorts. With this feeder in place, up high enough so the bear can’t stand up and pull it down, I really thought I had it made. I mean, what bear is going to climb a tall, thin, tree and go out on a thin branch to get the feeder? Tough Guy , that’s who! Last May, about dusk, I spotted Tough Guy circling that tree, eyeing my bird feeder. After sniffing the air with his Winter 2014

nose straight up, he climbed that tree in a matter of seconds! Then he perched himself close to the trunk of the tree, on the branch with the bird feeder hanging from it. First, he tried to reach out and grab the cord, but it was too far out, so he began to shake the branch-- trying to shake the feeder loose, a trick that had worked for him in the past. When that didn’t work, he started to bend a smaller branch near the one with the feeder on it. He continued to pull the small branch up and down, over and over, until he could use it to whack at the feeder! I couldn’t believe my eyes, Tough Guy had just made himself a tool! He whacked that feeder with the small branch 6 or 7 times, all the while precariously perched on the small limb, and becoming more and more agitated. Next, Tough Guy decided to hold on with all fours and use his mouth to manipulate the thinner branch and hit the feeder, which didn’t work at all. Now, his impatience was getting the best of him, and he started making all kinds of noises- little grunts, snapping sounds and huffing, generally, just complaining. Finally, Tough Guy slid down the tree and wandered back into the woods. I was elated! I’d not only just watched a bear make and use a tool, but my feeder was still there. I won! After two years of Tough Guy outsmarting every attempt I’d made to keep my feeders from him, I had finally won! Now I could take my

coffee outside in the morning and watch the Chick-a-Dees, and cardinals, and all would be well. I was wrong! I had forgotten that bears, foxes and other critters often make a second pass through their routes in the night. This is exactly what Tough Guy did! Less than an hour later, he was back, nose straight up in the air again ready for one more try. Up the tree he started, when he felt the cord wrapped around the trunk . Back down the tree with a little thump, Tough Guy simply unwrapped the cord, and down came the feeder, nearly hitting him on his big stubborn head! Wait a minute, he won? In spite of my ingenious pulley, he won? I was beside myself, I didn’t know exactly how to feel about Tough Guy’s victory. I’d seen a lot of bear behavior in this yard over the years. Everything from courtship in early June to cubs wrestling in midsummer, to all out nonstop feeder raiding in the fall. But never had I watched a bear make a tool to get what he wanted. Maybe on second thought, Tough Guy wasn’t the only winner. How often do we get to witness something like this, and how blessed am I to watch these animals in nature, in real time, doing what they need to do for their survival? Yeah, I guess we both won, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for us next year. See you in the Spring, Tough Guy. www.4LegsAndATail.com 27


The Tiki Chronicles Re-home, Rebound, Re-birth By Francesca Finch Bochner

The story of how my 17-year old cat crossed the entire East Coast, and beat the odds to be here with me today

I

arrived in Florida a week before Christmas to start a working student position at an Olympic Dressage barn. On my second day there my boss’s daughters and another working student conspired to move one of the 6 barn cats into our house. His health had been deteriorating for months and this would be a last ditch effort to save him. Technically, working students were forbidden to have pets, but seeing as we were all animal lovers we were more than happy to sneak a cat into our house. When I first saw Tiki he was stumbling to the barn barely able to move his little legs. He looked like someone had locked him in a closet with a swarm of moths, and then left him out overnight in a Vermont winter. He was so skinny that you could see his spine under his matted coat, a horrible cough shook his whole body, and he approached the barn looking around like he expected to be attacked from any angle. My boss’s daughter had rescued Tiki seven years earlier when he was hit by a car. Apparently Tiki had been completely feral and did not like people. Thankfully by the time I met him he had mellowed into the most affectionate barn cat of the bunch. Tiki moved into the working student house and we started administering banana-scented cat medicine twice a day for his cough as well as feeding him a limitless amount of food. He ate heartily, crouching over his heaping bowl of dry food, and would eat from top to bottom in one sitting. Then he would drink, turn around to look at us, and meow until we filled it again. Tiki had never had the luxury of eating in peace; apparently he had been bottom rung of all the cats in the barn. A devoted creature of habit; he slept in exactly the same spot on the couch every night, and the same spot on an armchair during the day. When it was bedtime he would shift from his Egyptian cat stance to a curled up ball of orange fur. There he would stay until the next morning when he would get up and eat breakfast with us, meowing and purring with delight as he gobbled down his food. When my housemate had to go home because of an injury, Tiki completely latched onto me. Over my remaining months we became so attached that I could depend on him to join me at the dining room table—on his own chair of course— for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The other 28 4 Legs & a Tail

working students that moved into the house all ate breakfast in their rooms, but Tiki and I would sit together in the kitchen and watch the sun rise over the back field every morning. When I too, was injured a few weeks into my stay, Tiki spent the entire day sitting next to me while I iced my back and leg. The next couple of months were spent struggling with pain in my neck and shoulder, to the point that some nights it was all I could do to eat a couple bites of dinner with Tiki sitting next to me. He was the best company I could have hoped for—he was affectionate, calm and utterly devoted. As he went through his daily pattern of oscillating between the couch, the chair, his food bowl and the dinner table, he was always watching me as if to say: “you’re not alone here.” And somehow that made the long days more bearable. A few weeks before I left I was sitting on the couch sending e-mails. I looked up to see Tiki staring at me from his chair. Every time I glanced his way he would start to purr, a deep chortling sound like an expensive car that hadn’t been tuned up in a while. We played the purr game (I looked away he’d stop, I looked at him he’d start) for a couple of minutes, and I thought to myself: “this is one special cat.” The next day I asked my boss’s daughter if I could bring Tiki home with me. His fur had grown back, his cough was gone, he was practically fat, and we loved each other so dearly that I couldn’t imagine leaving him behind. While she was sad at the idea of losing her favorite barn cat she agreed it was in his best interest. Even my parents acquiesced and said that I could bring him home on the condition that he saw a vet first. The next week I took a trip to the vet proudly bearing my purring, chubby, glistening orange cat. As the test results started to come back I was horrified; he had a significant heart murmur, cataracts obstructing his vision, tumors in his ears and worst of all, he was positive for FIV. FIV is the feline version of HIV, it is not transmissible to humans or any other species. Tiki had been such a good sport during his appointment; he lay on his back and purred while they drew blood, he didn’t

budge an inch as they listened to his heart or looked in his eyes, and he even let them poke around his belly. The vet and her tech both commented that he was surely their easiest patient of the day. I couldn’t wrap my head around how this kind creature could have such a devastating prognosis. I was tearing up while they explained that he would have to be kept away from other cats and that he could live with FIV, but something as minor as a common upper respiratory infection would be fatal. I nodded along, clutching Tiki to my chest and tried to figure out how I would convince my parents to let him come home when we already had two other cats. On my drive back to the barn I decided that I couldn’t put my family’s cats at that kind of risk, regardless. But leaving Tiki behind wasn’t an option either. The other girls in the house didn’t want to take care of him. My boss’s daughter had cats at her house, her parent’s house and the barn, so he couldn’t live in any of those places. He had nowhere to go. And so I decided it: Tiki was coming to college! Francesca Finch Bochner is a Dartmouth alum who fell in love with the Upper Valley and decided to stay in the area after graduation.

FIV By Dr. Timothy M. Brown FIV stands for feline immunodeficiency virus, just as HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. Both viruses are similar in terms of how they affect the body, but FIV is a cats-only infection. Since FIV is species-specific, a cat cannot give it to a human, and felines can only get it from other felines. The primary mode of transmission of FIV is through bite wounds. Therefore, free-roaming or stray cats are at greater risk of infection. Early signs of FIV are often subtle. Symptoms can include a decrease in appetite and self-grooming, lethargy, poor coat condition, and chronic but progressive weight loss. FIV will eventually lead to a weakened immune system, which impedes the body's ability to protect itself from secondary infections. As the virus becomes more advanced, recurrent illness and susceptibility to secondary disease, can manifest anywhere throughout the body. FIV is easily diagnosed through a screening test at a veterinarian's office. Early detection will help owners support and maintain the health of infected cats as well as prevent spreading the infection to other cats. It is difficult to predict life expectancy of cats with FIV, but with appropriate care many cats can remain in seemingly good health for years.

Winter 2014


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

Dog’s Leg Missing, Dog’s Tail Missing, Women’s Purse Missing, Dog’s Bandana Blue, Women’s Fingernail polish blue, Women’s shoes red

A pet shop owner had a parrot with a sign on its cage that said “Parrot repeats everything it hears.” A young man bought the parrot and for two weeks he spoke to it and it didn’t say a word. He returned the parrot, but the shopkeeper said he never lied about the parrot. How can this be? The parrot was deaf.

A cat and mouse die and go to heaven. One day St. Peter runs into the mouse and asks, “How do you like heaven so far?” “It’s great! But it’s so big I wish I had roller-skates,” replied the mouse. “No problem,” said St. Peter. A few days later, St. Peter sees the cat and asks how he likes heaven. “It’s fantastic,” said the cat, “It even has mealson-wheels.”

Some dogs are more graceful than others


FR

EE

site a r a P p o o P t a C s Doe cer? n a C g in r u C n I Play A Role

A Winter Wonderland Southern NH & VT

Winter Fun W it

Yes, Dog’s Ge t

h Sled Dog’s!

The Flu Too.

ed r e h t a e F d r ckya a B r u o Y p Kee ter n i W s i h T py Friend Hap Ski Jorning Anyone? (Just Add Snow, Skies A nd A Horse)

4 Legs and a Tail-Keene  

A magazine for pet and animal lovers.

Advertisement