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What it means to be a ‘no-kill’ shelter

FALL | WINTER 2019/20

Answering the call

The Bedford County Wilderness Search Team is always ready to lend a hand

‘Don’t Stress Out’

Anxiety and stress in our companion animals

CONTENT Published and distributed by the Altoona Mirror 301 Cayuga Ave., Altoona, PA 16602 www.altoonamirror.com

Publisher Edward W. Kruger Advertising Sales Manager Tracy Brooks 814-949-7021 tbrooks@altoonamirror.com Marketing Manager Candance Holliday 814-946-7542 cholliday@altoonamirror.com Editor Amy J. Hanna-Eckenrode 814-946-7469 ahanna@altoonamirrror.com Layout and Design Nick Anna

Central PA Pets magazine is published by the Altoona Mirror. Copyright 2019 Altoona Mirror.  All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part without permission is prohibited.

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Somehow dogs just know

6 Feats of strength and stamina 8  Answering the call


The Bedford County Wilderness Search Team is always ready to lend a hand

Bottom line on CBD Oil: It’s elusive

12  Candle making flames 13 14

12-year-old’s passion for cat rescue The benefit of pumpkin for pets

‘Don’t Stress Out’ Anxiety and stress in our companion animals


Dealing with ticks and tick-borne diseases 18 What it means to be a ‘no-kill’ shelter

21 Reality of caring for ‘gifted’ pets setting in soon 22 Keeping an eye out for dangerous foods for pets









Jessica U. Stanek, D.V.M. Kendra D. Itle, D.V.M., 801 Walnut St., Hollidaysburg

22 Bob Pennington Broker/Owner

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FALL | WINTER 2019/20 • 3


dogs just know By Jill Brubaker Reigh Central PA Pets


annah was not just a golden retriever; she was a Certified Pet Therapy golden retriever who, along with her twin sister, Gretchen, certainly lived up to the name, “Golden Girls.” These two amazing creatures gave of their talents to save and enlighten human lives. Golden Girls Pet Therapy’s (GGPT) owner, Christine Fogle, recalls Hannah’s most dramatic success story that took place in a nursing home where Christine’s grandfather resided. Being frequent visitors to the home, Christine and Hannah got to know Mary, a patient whose family all lived out of town. Mary got very ill one day and Christine and her golden girls were called to come visit. As soon as they arrived in the room, Hannah walked over to Mary and pushed on Mary’s IV med line. Christine shouted at Hannah, saying, “Stop Hannah. You know better than to mess with her IV!” Hannah looked at Christine and pushed it again. Suddenly Christine realized that Hannah was trying to tell her that something was terribly wrong. And it was. The medication was incorrect and had Hannah not signaled trouble, it would have killed Mary. “Hannah knew,” Christine said. “She just knew.” Golden Girls Pet Therapy started in 1999 when Hannah and Gretchen were eightmonth-old puppies. Christine took them, in a basket, to that same home to visit her grandfather. She was amazed at the reaction those puppies had on people. All three of them found their calling on this Earth, and they visit nursing homes, hospitals, Hospice units, schools and colleges. Hannah and Gretchen worked diligently at the Pet Therapy Certification training to become “Canine Good Citizen” certified by the American Kennel Association (AKC). The courses focus on both obedience and temperament training that tests the reactions of the dog to various potential

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problems they may face while in public performing therapy. The twins, along with their mixed breed rescue, Josiah, also received extended training through Therapy Dogs International (TDI). “These dogs were born to offer pet therapy by God, Christine said. They were so easy to train.” AKC Certification training can begin when dogs are six months old, TDI at one year. Dogs can be retested but must pass all accreditations to hold the needed certification for pet therapy. Some “Bully breed” dog owners have their dog achieve the certification to reduce the cost of homeowner’s insurance, that can have higher premiums without this training. College students, stressed out at test time, benefit from GGPT visits. Students will patiently wait in a long line just to sit with one of the dogs, have a good cry over missing their own dog, and maybe take a selfie. They forget for a while that it’s testing time, and leave visibly more relaxed and joyful. At the Windber Hospital, Christine can see patient heart monitors slow to a healthy rate when the dogs are visiting. “It’s the dogs, you can see the countenance change in a hospital room after doing it for so long. Dogs are doing a job that matters. They have an extra sense

inside and know who in the room needs comfort.” For Christine, Golden Girls Pet Therapy saved her life. She was searching for a way to help people and boost her self-esteem. Adopting Hannah and Gretchen helped her find her calling and purpose. Her end-game would be to get enough others involved with pet therapy so that anyone who wants it could have pet therapy. Christine has helped many teams, and is always willing to help others get started. Visit her “Golden Girls Pet Therapy” Facebook page. Although Hannah and Gretchen have since passed over Rainbow Bridge, a new furry contingency is working to fulfill their legacy. Gracie, Mahlah and Gucci are now filling their paws and working in their place. Just the other day, a friend of Christine called to ask if Gucci could come to the funeral home for the viewing of a friend. Upon arrival, and definitely not on cue, Gucci went over to the casket, gently stood up on her hind legs, laid her paws on the casket, leaned in and kissed Christine’s friend’s sister. The grieving sister smiled through tears at the amazing gesture. Somehow dogs just know.


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Feats of


and stamina By Jessica Vamo Central PA Pets


t the fundamental base of weight pulling a dog wears a padded harness, which is attached to a trace, which connects to a weighted vehicle that is loaded with weighted objects and proceeds to test his or her strength and stamina through his or her ability to pull weights. Laurel Highlands Working Dogs actively promotes the sport of weight pulling in Western PA through not only their physical location at B&D Creekside Activity Center in Latrobe, but also their continued presence at surrounding expositions and competitions. Unless an experienced dog sport aficionado, the average individual may not understand the purpose of weight pulling or even be aware that such a dog sport exists. I was one of those average individuals until I learned of Laurel Highlands Working Dogs at the Pittsburgh Pet Expo. Their exhibit welcomed attendees and their dogs to try weight pulling for the first time. As I observed these dogs and handlers, I noticed dogs of all shapes and sizes. And I noticed dogs of distinctively separate degrees of fitness. I noticed dogs with different levels of confidence. And, ultimately, I observed how weight pulling positively affected both the dog and handler physically, mentally, and emotionally. After this encounter, I found myself personally involved with Laurel Highlands Working Dogs as a handler of an adoptable dog. Dottie Rose, a two-yearold American Staffordshire terrier, and I together learned weight pulling. Our first step was fitting Dottie for a harness, introducing the harness, and allowing her to feel comfortable in the harness. We walked, and sometimes ran, through a field next to the B&D Creekside Activity Center to find our comfort zone. Dottie’s wagging tail and panting tongue expressed her delight in our activity and release of physical energy. We slowly added smaller weights to our routine in the field. I was amazed by Dottie’s ability to make


this technique look so effortless as she would outrun me in the field as if she had no weight attached to her harness. She returned from each run a little happier and a little more tired. Our next step was to take things inside where we secured a rolling cart to Dottie’s harness to transition into the proper weight pulling procedure and to introduce heavier weights. As a nervous dog, this step was more difficult than the last one. This wouldn’t be the first, and certainly not the last, nervous dog Laurel Highlands Working Dogs assisted. In fact, weight pulling is a method of building confidence in skittish or nervous dogs. And, as Dottie and I practiced over and over I slowly started to see determination in her eyes and in her body language. She started to worry less when we walked into the room, sat while I hooked up her harness, and waited for my command, “Work!” All of her body weight would lean forward, together we would make the run, and together we would celebrate after crossing the end line. Our relationship, our trust was growing in these moments. Our final step was to test Dottie on the track, which added a whole new element to weight pulling, noise. The element of noise effects each dog differently. Some are not bothered by it, and others are terrified of it. Dottie demonstrated the latter. Although a small set back in our weight pulling journey, the noise is now something for us to work towards with one another. My experience with weight pulling and Laurel Highlands Working Dogs has been fun and rewarding. I believe I speak for Dottie when I say that she ends each class physically tired, mentally stimulated, and emotionally satisfied as I can say the same for myself. We have grown a closer bond and secured a trusting relationship. For those individuals interested in learning more about weight pulling in general and Laurel Highlands Working Dogs specifically please visit their website: https:// bndcreeksideactivitycenter.com/ working-dogs.

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the call

The Bedford County Wilderness Search Team is always ready to lend a hand By Jill Brubaker Reigh Central PA Pets


ou don’t have to live in Bedford County to tap the resources of the Wilderness Search Team. Specializing in wilderness rescue during lost person incidents, success should be part of this non-profit team’s name. Twelve current team members and five current K9s are trained for work in wooded areas including state and national parks, rural, suburban and urban areas. This team takes the call from any agency — local law enforcement, fire departments, DCNR, civil air patrol, and other agencies — that request them for the skills that the team specialize in, from search management, K9, medical, swift water rescue, and high angle (rope) rescue. Carol Thompson, one of the Team’s founding members, called it a success when they were called out to help locate a man with Alzheimer’s who walked out of his house in the middle of the night in a rural area of Bedford County. Carol, her dog, Jessie, and a teammate, responded. Carol gave Jessie an article to sniff with the man’s scent. With Carol on the other end of a 20-foot lead hooked to her trailing harness, Jessie picked up his scent and

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trailed him to the end of his road, which ended at a heavy fence. Carol said, “There was no sign that he got through the fence into the muddy field on the other side. Jessie turned toward a fast-moving stream that ran behind the houses along the road. There was a steep embankment down to the stream. She wanted to continue along the stream, but the officer in charge of the search decided to have a person search the stream and sent us across the road to search a field instead.” Working parallel to the road, in very tall grass, away from the fence at the end, Jessie worked to pick up the man’s scent through the grass. As they came out of the tall grass at field’s end, Jessie’s nose went into the air, and she almost yanked Carol off her feet to turn to cross the road. Carol continued, “She ran behind the house ahead of us, up onto the front porch, and there he stood! I greeted him and told him we had been looking for him. He calmly told me he was watching me play with my dog in the field. We had driven by this house on our way to his, four houses down. He was not on the porch then. Given Jessie’s behavior at the end of the road (wanting to follow scent along the stream bank behind the houses), he had walked behind the houses

to the porch where he was watching us “play.” In addition to Carol, Kelly Hedman and John Boburchuk are the three founding members still active. Current K9 members include Spencer, Ditto, Roman, Wulf and Ruger. In addition to Jessie, Burke and Molly were all founding K9 members who have crossed the Rainbow Bridge. The Bedford County Wilderness Search Team is a volunteer organization who love to give presentations for community organizations, schools and scout troops. They receive no funding from state or local sources. Each member pays for their own equipment, training, K9 expenses, travel, and more. They are required to carry workers’ compensation and liability insurances. Those insurance policies cost approximately $1,500 per year. They hold small fundraising events throughout the year and rely on donations to pay the premiums. As a 501(c)(3) organization, donations are tax deductible. Donations accepted currently by mail to Post Office Box 264, Fishertown, PA 15539 and follow them on Facebook.


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Bedford Wilderness Search Team K9 member Spencer testing out his sniffing skills near a tree.

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Dr. John R. Walter, Jr. has been providing companion animal veterinary services in the Tyrone area for 37 years. He joined Tyrone Veterinary Associates after graduating from The School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in 1983. Dr. Walter purchased the current practice in 1994. Office hours are provided Monday through Saturday by appointment. Dr. Walter and his staff welcome new clients, and thank all their current clients for 37 years of allowing us to provide your pet’s veterinary care.


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FALL | WINTER 2019/20 • 9

Bottom line on CBD Oil:

It’s elusive By Jill Brubaker Reigh Central PA Pets

Editor’s Note: As with any pet wellness trend, when it comes to CBD (Cannabidiol) oil for dogs, there’s a lot of information floating around and little research to back it … yet. Pet exposure to cannabis containing products —both recreational and medicinal — continues to increase. While there’s no definitive scientific data on using CBD to treat dogs, there’s anecdotal evidence from dog owners suggesting it can treat pain, especially neuropathic pain, according to akc.org. The AKC Canine Health Foundation (CHF) is sponsoring a study, through the Colorado State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, that will evaluate the use of CBD in treatment-resistant epileptic dogs. The CHF hopes that this will be the first study to gain scientific data on the use of CBD in dogs with this condition. You will find some veterinarians who are working with CBD and some who are not. The bottom line is that the verdict on CBD use is still out. Even for veterinarians. Because the safety and risks of using CBD 10 • FALL | WINTER 2019/20

for dogs have not yet been researched, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved CBD and has not issued a dosing chart. As always check with your veterinarian first.


iggy passed away on Jan. 5. He suffered from anxiety, spastic bladder, intervertebral disk disease, muscular spasms, chronic bladder stones, and Idiopathic canine epilepsy, according to his Fur Mom, Diana Wilkins. “Because of his bladder stones, he couldn’t take Benadryl, Diana said. He was terrified of rain storms and even worse if it thundered. He was also terrified of loud noises from fireworks. He could hear the fireworks that the Curve puts off and we live in Greenwood. I would have to stand holding him and rock him back and forth while he held on to me for dear life. If I knew storms were coming, CBD helped keep him calm to where he would just bark some and check the doors but would lay back down. It also helped keep him calm and reduced some of his seizures. I can say overall, it (CBD) calmed Ziggy but didn’t make him so calm that he was groggy and couldn’t enjoy his life.”

According to Healthline.com, Cannabidiol or CBD, is a popular natural remedy used for many common ailments. CBD is a chemical compound known as cannabinoid found in the cannabis or marijuana plant, cannabis sativa. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the main psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis, and causes the sensation of getting “high” that’s often associated with marijuana. However, unlike THC, CBD is not psychoactive. This quality makes CBD an appealing option for those who are looking for relief from pain and other symptoms without the mind-altering effects of marijuana or certain pharmaceutical drugs. CBD oil is made by extracting CBD from the cannabis plant, then diluting it with a carrier oil such as sesame. Sounds simple enough, yet choosing which CBD oil to purchase remains elusive. Dr. Fred Metzger DVM, MRCVS, DABVP, of Metzger Animal Hospital, State College, prescribes CBD oil for patients, but urges caution to pet owners. He said, “The future of CBD is here but pet owners must be aware that all products are not created equally! There are many products on the CENTRAL PA PETS

Courtesy photos

Top: With a slew of medical issues, Ziggy benefitted greatly from CBD oil. Right: Though CBD oil is beneficial to some dogs, Diana Wilkins’ other pet, Pixie, couldn’t stomach it. market that have zero safety and efficacy tests. To my knowledge, Ellevet (that he prescribes) is the only one that has had rigorous testing. Do not buy products that have not been tested or have COA’s Certificates of Analysis.” Before choosing a CBD product, check that it has been a certificate of analysis and testing results for pesticides, heavy metals and THC levels. Ellevet tests their products for these compounds. THC, a natural byproduct of cannabis, can be toxic to dogs and cats in large amounts. Especially for older dogs, components of CBD are anti-inflammatory, not just a pain reliever. One of Metzger Animal Hospital’s experienced veterinary technicians was ready to euthanize her beloved geriatric dog who lived on pain medications. The multiple pain medications no longer worked so she tried Ellevet as a last resort. Her dog lived another 1 1/2 years on the hemp product. Dr. Metzger has seen many cases of dogs with severe arthritis whose owners thought it was time to euthanize because CENTRAL PA PETS

standard medications including NSAIDs, tramadol and gabapentin stopped offering relief. In the two years his hospital has administered Ellevet, he estimates that it helps in 85% of cases of pain and arthritis in dogs. The staff are amazed in its overall performance and safety. Diana Wilkins knows firsthand the success of CBD with Ziggy. But Diana’s dog, Pixie, became more ill on CBD so she no longer takes it. Diana tells anyone that asks, “Don’t be afraid to try it but keep an eye on your dog to see how he or she reacts to it. Do your research and be careful where you get it from. Not all CBD is the same.” Because CBD is an over-the-counter medication, retail shops across Central Pennsylvania are selling CBD in both treat and oil form. Mike and Catherine DeAngelo, owners of “Your CBD Store of Altoona,” have been in the CBD business since April. So far, their experience has been very positive. Customers write Facebook comments thanking them for saving their dog. They

return to the store, crying, to thank them for what they’ve done. Mike admits that CBD oil is not FDA approved, but they have seen no adverse effects with their customers. Rather, he refers to CBD as providing a “sense of wellness,” and helped the DeAngelo’s dog, Hailey, aka BooBoo, who was injured from jumping off the couch. CBD oil given to a customer’s ferret stopped it from biting. At PoocheyChef in Duncansville, Chris and John Schezzini carry Creating Better Days brand oil and treat form CBD for dogs. Chris said that Creating Better Days revolves around research and development in order to produce the best and most versatile hemp extracts. Poocheychef customers report back on the calming effect CBD gives pets, especially those afraid of thunderstorms and fireworks. One customer’s dog was so arthritic that he lost his drive to go on walks that he used to love to do. After using the CBD, the dog is now walking again.

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Candle making flames 12-year-old’s passion for cat rescue By Amy J Hannah Eckenrode Central PA Pets

She made her first local donation to “Yard Kitty,” otherwise known as Linda Straub of Hollidaysburg, who has a strong ome people are thrilled to fulfill their following on Facebook and helps to orgaentrepreneurial dream of having nize food and shelter giveaways for pet their own business by adulthood. owners in need. Straub also has spearMadison “Madi” Cocho, of Loretto, is headed a group of citizens addressing the only 12 years old and has successfully feral cat problem in her town by trapping, started her own candle business — Nine spaying/neutering and finding homes for Lives Candle Company — with the goal the strays. of donating part of her proceeds to help “My mom follows ‘Yard Kitty’ on Facelocal cat spay/neuter groups. book and would always tell me about Madi, an active sixth-grader, loves to what she did for cats,” Madi says. “I doplay basketball, volleyball, piano and go nated some toys to her last spring camping, but her passion is helping for one of her yard sales to make cats in need. money and I wanted to continue to “I called [my business] Nine Lives donate to her to help as many cats Candle Company because 9% of as I could. Mainly because I love the money I make will go to help cats.” cats have a better life,” she says. “I got to meet the lady who runs “What isn’t donated goes back into ‘Yard Kitty’ in December and sit and supplies for making more candles.” Amy Hanna talk with her. She makes a huge Eckenrode Currently, she only sells her candifference in the life of so many Paws & dles at Moonshine Mine Distillery cats and is a great example to other Reflect (www.moonshineminedistillery. people,” she adds. com), near Nanty Glo, a business Madi notes that when you spay/ owned by her grandfather and dad. neuter one cat you’re preventing overShe got the idea from attending a local population of cats that could end up sick, craft show last summer. A similar crafter homeless, cold and hungry. — The Purrfect Candle Company — which “I’m only 12 and I have limits because I also donates part of its proceeds to the still have to worry about school and pracMending Hearts Animal Rescue, sold Madi tices but I hope that other people realize some wax melts and was nice enough that if a 12-year-old can do something to give her some pointers about candle to help, that they can do it too,” she says. making. “I just want people to donate any food, “A few weeks later, we went to Old blankets, towels or anything they have Bedford Village and I got to make a candle that animals can use to any animal shelin the candle shop. That day I started to ters/rescues.” look up information about how to make Madi says she’ll keep doing candles and I started ordering supplies,” her part. she says. “ Right now I have some “My candles are 100% natural soy wax. new scents. And some I look through the scents on the website I day I want to start selling use and pick scents that I think will smell wax melts too,” she says. “I good. I do seasonal scents and scents already have more money that I will keep making year-round. My toward my next donation.” dad helps me so we always do it in the evening when he isn’t at work.”


Courtesy photo

Madison Cocho holds up some of the candles she’s made to help local cat spay/neuter groups.

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The benefits of pumpkin for pets By Amy J Hannah Eckenrode Central PA Pets

A friend of mine makes the most delicious bite-sized pumpkin pup cakes that her and every dog goes crazy over. umpkin! Pumpkin! Pumpkin! When I make my Aunt Amy’s Fur I admit it. I’m caught up Baby Biscuits, pure natural pumpkin in the craze and find myself is a mainstay ingredient for many a addicted to pumpkin everything – batch of treats. candles, pie and coffee. According to PetMD.com, canned Perhaps those aren’t the healthnatural pumpkin is a great source of iest forms of pumpkin, but pure fiber and helps with digestive regpumpkin (without additives and ularity. If your dog or cat is experiAmy Hanna sweeteners) can not only offer encing constipation or diarrhea, mix amazing health benefits for us hu- Eckenrode a tablespoon of pumpkin straight Paws & mans, but our dogs and cats, too. from the can into their normal food. Reflect The important thing to reNot only will they love the taste of member is that canned, natural pumpkin but it may also ease stompumpkin is what you’re looking for when ach issues. it comes to your pets (NOT the pre-spiced Oils found in pumpkin seeds and flesh is pie filling).


believed to support urinary health. Dogs with urinary incontinence, in particular, might benefit from a little pumpkin puree in their diet. Your dog will thank you for this yummy snack, too! Is your dog overweight or obese? Ask your veterinarian if replacing a portion of your dog’s regular diet with canned pumpkin — which is low in calories — will help your pooch trim the waistline. Whatever you decide concerning your pets, always consider their best interest and check with your vet first. Also, don’t forget to hide the toxic chocolate, candies, candles, glow sticks and other festive seasonal tricks that pets can mistake for treats.

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‘Don’t Stress out’

Anxiety and stress in our companion animals Dr. Rebecca Jackson, DVM Central PA Pets


any of us are aware of the extreme manifestations of stress and anxiety in pets such as destroying the house, inappropriate urination and/ or defecation, shaking, vocalizing, or any combination of these behaviors. The more subtle signs of stress in our pets are a little more difficult to recognize. Did you know that frequent yawning, aggression, and changes in posture or ear position are also signs of stress and anxiety in pets? What sorts of things cause stress and anxiety in our pets? Many of us are familiar with the idea of separation anxiety (anxiety that is expressed when an owner or owners leave the house — even for a minute) and storm phobias (thunder — AHHHHH!), but pets can also experience stress and anxiety with changes in their environment (relocating, new pets or humans moving into or out of the house, furniture changes, remodeling, new food, new litter boxes, etc.), or changes in the outside world

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(stray animals, weather/season changes, construction, etc.). As resilient as our pets seem to be at times, they can also be very sensitive creatures. As I am sure you can imagine, stress and anxiety are incredibly individualistic conditions, as each animal has their own stressors and methods of expression. Some pets never seem to experience a moment of stress in their entire lives, while others seem to experience immense stress at the thought of getting up in the morning. As with any condition, your veterinary team is the best resource to discuss any suspected anxiety and/or stress that you feel your pet may be experiencing. Sometimes what seems like a new stress behavior is actually an indication of an underlying medical condition, so make sure to let your veterinarian know about any concerns you have about your furry family member. And don’t fret; there are all kinds of possible therapies and behavior modifications that can be used to address stress and anxiety concerns in pets. There are sup-

plements, specialized diets, medications, pheromone products, special vests, and lots of great at-home behavior modifications that can be implemented depending on what your pet is experiencing. Again, the best resource is your veterinary team so that an appropriate therapeutic plan can be implemented to address your furry family member’s unique needs. The most important thing to remember is that living under a high level of stress and anxiety is not good for anyone — including our furry family members, so don’t be afraid to discuss your concerns with your veterinarian. We are here to help! Dr. Jackson of Blair Animal Hospital, grew up spending time at her family’s veterinary hospital in Indiana. After graduating from the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2006. Jackson moved and practiced all over the country (a wonderful result of her husband’s military service). Jackson and her young family have since settled into State College. Jackson thoroughly enjoys practicing veterinary medicine, but when she is not working, she enjoys going to sporting events with her family and traveling.



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Dealing with ticks and tick-borne diseases Dr. Phil Aquadro Central PA Pets

How would I know if my dog has a tick-borne disease? A blood test (4dx) can be done to detect if your animal has been exposed tick-carried diseases (including Lyme Disease, Anaplasmosis, or Ehrlichiosis), as well as mosquito-transmitted Heartworm disease. This test can be done at a veterinary clinic and generally takes a short time for results. The test can be done 2-3 weeks after seeing a tick on your pet. Annual testing is the best way to know the status of your pet from year to year.

What are some signs of tick-borne disease in dogs? Many infections may be “silent,” meaning that your pet may not show any signs for a variable period of time. Clinically affected pets may have well-defined clinical signs including fever, lameness, pale gums, swollen joints or kidney disease, or they may have more vague signs including lethargy, not acting like themselves, or decreased appetite.

but it can be considered evidence of infection. If your pet is positive for a tick-borne disease(s), make an appointment to discuss the disease(s) with your veterinarian to discuss further testing and treatment options for your pet. Research has demonstrated that treating infected dogs with appropriate antibiotics may reduce the likelihood of serious consequences of the infection. Therefore, a course of antibiotic (typically Doxycycline) is often prescribed. The dose and duration of treatment vary with the specific disease, as well as symptoms or lab abnormalities present. A urine sample, and sometimes additional bloodwork, may also be tested to assess kidney involvement in making decisions about treatment and management.

borne disease. There are many topical medications, and some oral products, available. Some work better, and/or faster, than others. Remember to treat all your pets with species-appropriate products (please note that products for dogs may not be safe for cats). Consult your veterinarian on which products would work best for you and your pet(s). Once you have treated your pet(s) initially, keep in mind they will most likely become re-exposed if left unprotected. Continue to treat your pet(s) with the recommended medications at appropriate intervals for best results. Unfortunately, these days it’s almost certain that your pet will be exposed to ticks at some point. Ask your veterinarian for help protecting your pet from the diseases these ticks can carry.

How do I reduce the risk of ticks and tick-borne diseases?

Dr. Phil Aquadro has been a part of Town and Country Animal Hospital since 1990. He completed undergraduate studies at Penn State, and received his veterinary degree from Cornell University in 1988.  His interests include all aspects of mixed animal practice, with special interests in ruminant medicine and surgery, dairy herd health, and small animal surgery. He feels fortunate to have been able to pursue his fascination with animals in a profession that also involves working with, and helping, the people who care for them.  He lives near Warriors Mark with his wife, Maureen, their children, Maria and Ambrose, and an assortment of dogs, cats, and sheep.  Dr. Aquadro enjoys photography, fly-fishing, grouse-hunting, ice hockey and roller hockey, canoeing/kayaking, and just exploring the hillsides, woods and streams with his dogs and family. 

• • •

My dog has tested positive for a tick-borne disease … Now What? A positive test indicates antibodies in the dog’s blood as a result of exposure to the disease(s). This does not mean that your dog has been diagnosed with the disease,


• •

Avoid areas with high tick populations if possible. Check your pet for ticks after it has been outside. Use effective topical or oral tick-preventive medications. Talk with your veterinarian about the best options available to protect your pet from tick-borne diseases. Consider having your dog vaccinated for Lyme disease. See your veterinarian if your pet is exhibiting possible symptoms of tick-



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What it means to be a

‘no-kill’ shelter

By Jessica Vamos Central PA Pets


hat does it mean to be a “no-kill” Animal Shelter?” Do a Google search, and you will receive over 100 million results. But, for us at the Humane Society of Cambria County that term, that status, is much simpler than 100 million results. “no-kill” is at the center of our every day. The recent decision to become a “No-Kill Animal Shelter” was a long time coming for Cambria County. With a history of a high kill shelter and little to no community support, the resolution of “no-kill” was natural. While the “no-kill” evolution continues to become a sweeping movement across the nation, we continue our transformation right here in Johnstown. For us, “no-kill” looks like Buster, a three-year-old American Staffordshire Terrier who was abandoned by his original owner, tested positive for heartworm, and had suffered

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For us, “no-kill” means compassion and devotion. It means extra attention like an orthopedic bed for a senior animal or a quiet space for a pregnant mom. It means extra time for a timid animal to find confidence or a behaviorally challenged animal to learn manners. an injury to his back legs after being hit by a car. Buster received medical treatment for his heartworm, and continued to get around our shelter all right. But, there was something more we could do for him. Through the power of shelter networking, we were put in touch with a group called Joey’s P.A.W., and they were willing to donate a wheelchair to help Buster get around better and to improve his overall quality of life. The day his wheelchair came was an exciting one for our staff, volunteers, and Buster’s new adoptive family. He was now ready to go home. For us, “no-kill” looks like the 50 cats and kittens we took in from a hoarding

situation in the City of Johnstown. Our staff, volunteers, and board of directors scrambled to prepare for these cats and kittens ranging in age from newborn to just a few years old. When they arrived, everyone involved had one goal in mind: save these cats and kittens. There was a long road ahead for some of these animals, they required medical attention and social interaction. Tireless hours were spent to get these animals to the adoption floor. The unfortunate reality was that a few suffered medical conditions that were beyond treatable and did not survive. But, in the same breath, there were cats and kittens finding new homes in just two CENTRAL PA PETS


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Volunteers and staff at the Humane Society of Cambria County worked with Tippy to show him human compassion. weeks. Today, four cats in total from this occurrence in 2017 are still searching for their permanent homes, two in foster care and two at the shelter. When the time is right, Ash, Twinkle, Reiley, and Josie will find their new families, but until then, they will remain residents of the Humane Society of Cambria County. For us, “no-kill” looks like Tippy, a fouryear-old Husky who had been used for breeding all of his life with little to no human interaction. He was nervous and he was scared. Tippy would cower in the back of his kennel, stay very low to the ground when on a leash, and dodge the individual attempting to bring him in from our outside yards. Our staff, volunteers, and dog trainer were on a mission to teach him human love and affection but on Tippy’s terms. Slowly but surely Tippy became more interested in us. He started to wait for us at the front of his kennel, and when we acknowledged him he would playfully jump around. He grew confident, and the sight of a leash made him excited


for the possibility of a walk. He loved his time outside to run, but also loved to see his new human friends waiting for him to come back inside. After six months, Tippy had found normalcy and, more importantly, a new family. For us, “no-kill” means compassion and devotion. It means extra attention like an orthopedic bed for a senior animal or like a quiet space for a pregnant mom. It means extra time for a timid animal to find confidence or a behaviorally challenged animal to learn manners. It means extra expense for an animal to receive routine care like a spay or neuter surgery or for an animal to receive special care to improve quality of life like an eye enucleation. Because, at the Humane Society of Cambria County “nokill” is at the center of our every day.

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Reality of caring for ‘gifted’ pets setting in soon By Amy J Hannah Eckenrode Central PA Pets


uring the holidays I watch all the Facebook posts of people getting puppies for their kids. While I should be filled with joy at all these cute unions, I am sadly filled with more despair, knowing what might become of many of these new pets. Then a good friend of mine who works for a local rescue made a very poignant post and summed up my fears all in one short paragraph: “After-Christmas Warning: In about four to 12 weeks after Christmas, we are going to be seeing the ‘We need to re-home our pet’ posts. These are the folks who purchased/ adopted puppies/kittens as Christmas gifts who now are suddenly allergic, moving, having babies, don’t have time, their kids won’t take care of it, didn’t think they’d get so big (etc..).” She went on to discuss all the reasons those excuses don’t work, but that doesn’t keep unwanted pets from ending up in shelters and rescues. When I was 7, my dad brought home a new ball of fur on Christmas Eve as a surprise, saying, “I needed a puppy.” Let me just


say, the most surprised person was my mom and that the whole event went over like a lead balloon. Why? Not that the puppy wasn’t sweet or that it wouldn’t be loved, but because my dad never consulted with my mom first (a big no-no), and she knew that when it came right down to it, she was the one who was going to end up being the caregiver, even as I pleaded that I would take care of the puppy. My promises failed to last even one night. As the puppy cried in her makeshift box next to my bed, my mom eventually came to her rescue when I exclaimed I couldn’t sleep. Mind you, I was 7, but that event became engrained in me as I got older. Puppies and kitties aren’t always the best gifts for children or for many adults when it comes right down to it. To gift a pet is to gift a lifelong commitment — the lifetime of the pet. It is not to be taken lightly. Our puppy, Snowball, lived a month shy of her 14th birthday. She became part of our family after my mom’s short-lived tantrum that Christmas Eve. She embraced Snowball, and Snowball truly became her dog.

Snowball went everywhere with us, whether we were traveling to visit family or camping on vacation. If my mom was somewhere, you can be sure Snowball was there, too. And her care did fall on my mom as I grew up, got involved in school activities and eventually went off to college. My friend ended her post by saying she hoped simply to “open eyes and have people take responsibility for those without a voice that had no choice in being a gift for Christmas.” Let’s hope people who got pets this holiday did so for all the right reasons and with the intentions of caring for their pets their whole lives. And for those who gifted a pet, realize that the responsibly falls on them just as much to ensure that the pet is loved and cared for. Amy is the author of the new children’s book “Oakley’s Great Cape Escape,” as well as “Have Dog Will Blog.” She also is editor of the Central PA Pets magazine and director of the Central PA Pet Expo. She can be contacted at ahanna@altoonamirror.com or by mail: Paws and Reflect, c/o Amy J. Hanna-Eckenrode, Altoona Mirror, 301 Cayuga Ave., Altoona, PA 16602.

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Keeping an eye out for dangerous foods for pets By Amy J Hannah Eckenrode Central PA Pets

W pantries.

ith the holidays near, we can never educate fellow pet parents enough about danger foods that lurk in our

Are you aware of the following toxic foods for dogs? • • •

Onions and garlic — large amounts can destroy red blood cells and cause anemia. Raisins/grapes — can cause kidney failure. Xylitol – an artificial sweetener found in chewing gum and used for baking — can cause liver damage and a life-threatening drop in blood sugar. Alcohol — can cause vomiting, diarrhea and seizures. (So can uncooked, store bought yeast like that used to make pizza crusts, which can ferment in your dog’s stomach and cause the same damage that the fermented

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ingredients in alcohol can.) Chocolate — although the amount determines the toxicity, the darker the chocolate the more serious the poisoning

Don’t feel guilty for not sharing table food with your pet. This is a bad learned habit we humans teach our pets because we inherently feel we’re sharing our love by sharing our food. More often than not human foods are too greasy, acidic and overall unhealthy for our pets. •

Let’s talk turkey … skin, gravy and ham. All are too greasy for your pet. Never give your dog a poultry or ham bone. They are too porous and can easily splinter in your pet’s mouth, throat or intestine.

Show your love with attention or even a frozen green bean for a healthy treat. One of these days, we’ll discuss the time a veterinarian gave me “the talk” about how I was aiding and abetting in my dog’s weight

gain. He suggested substituting frozen green beans for dog treats and revealed that the calories and fat content in a dog treat can equate to a regular sized candy bar. That was an eye-opener for newbie dog owner me. Keep the counters and unattended tables clear of people food if you have a persistent, counter-serving pooch. Ask your veterinarian about a list of foods that you and your children should and should not feed your pets. Shower your pet with love during the holidays and forego the human delicacies in which we humans tend to over-indulge. Your pet’s digestive system will thank you. Amy is the author of the new children’s book “Oakley’s Great Cape Escape,” as well as “Have Dog Will Blog.” She also is editor of the Central PA Pets magazine and director of the Central PA Pet Expo. She can be contacted at ahanna@altoonamirror.com or by mail: Paws and Reflect, c/o Amy J. Hanna-Eckenrode, Altoona Mirror, 301 Cayuga Ave., Altoona, PA 16602.


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Central PA Pets - Fall/Winter 2019-20  

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