LCDM June/July 2013

Page 1

volume 9, issue 4



june/july 2013

reasons to spay & neuter canine surgery non-profit assists seniors with pets

Summer Lovin'


Publisher Leah England (843) 478-0266


Advertising Information (843) 284-3094 Communications Gillian Nicol Contributing Writers Kelly Rae Smith Staff Photographers Laura Olsen Dana Cubbage Accounting Carrie Clark Financial Services (843) 367-9969 Lowcountry Dog Magazine PO Box 22 Mt. Pleasant, SC 29465 Web: Twitter: Facebook:



june/july 2013 fido’s friends 4 David Bouffard and Bill Bowick reasons to spay and neuter 6 mental agility 8

This magazine is printed on 100% recycled paper. Continue the green process by recycling this copy. Lowcountry Dog’s mission is to be the leading local resource for dog owners regarding regional events, health and wellness information, trends, style and lifestyle choices. We also strive to be a mouthpiece to the public for various dog related non-profits and promote pet adoption and other responsible pet care practices. Dog lovers can pick up the bimonthly magazine for free at most area veterinarians and pet stores throughout the lowcountry, as well as numerous restaurants, coffee bars and retailers. A full distribution list is posted to the magazine’s web site, Subscriptions are also available. Please call 843-478-0266 for more information. The entire contents of this magazine are copyrighted by Lowcountry Dog Magazine with all rights reserved. Reproduction of any material from this issue is expressly forbidden without permission of the publisher. Lowcountry Dog Magazine does not endorse or guarantee any product, service, or vendor mentioned or pictured in this magazine in editorial or advertising space. Views expressed by authors or advertisers are not necessarily those of the publisher.

diah goes mobile for seniors in need 10 canine surgery 12 summer lovin 14 calendar of events 21 training 22 Food for Thought health & wellness 24 Heartworm Prevention shady dogs and frosty paws 26

Our cover dog, Bugsy, is photographed by Laura Olsen Imagery. All Table of Contents photos by Laura Olsen as well.



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F ido’s Friends:

David Bouffard & Bill Bowick Occupation: former architects - now owners of Sugar Bakeshop Dogs in Household: One Na med: Ginger Lives: Elliotborough/Cannonborough

1. What’s the best thing about owning a dog? Because a dog needs daily exercise they help us get out into the world. We've met so many interesting people because of our dog.

2. What do you find the most frustrating about your dog, or struggle with as a dog owner?

Balancing the needs of our small business with the attention our dog requires. Fortunately living next to our shop makes it easy to visit with her during the day.

3. All time favorite memory of your dog?

The night we got her. We had been talking about getting another dog, since our much beloved basset hound Hawthorne passed away. We went to a Spoleto fund-raiser auction and "rescued" her from the auction.

4. Favorite place to hang out with your dog in Charleston? Sullivan's island. She is in her element there, photos by Laura Olsen Imagery

and it is therapeutic for us too.

5. With what aspect of your dog’s personality do you most identify? She is a happy dog who always smiles. We try to live a happy life.

6. In your opinion, what’s the one item all dog owners must have? A chuck-it and a bag of tennis balls

7. If your dog were some other sort of animal, what would he be? A kangaroo. Sometimes we call her hoppy.

8. How does your dog inspire you? Or what has your dog taught you about life and work? Every day must include some play. good for people and for dogs.

9. How do you KNOW you and your dog are best friends? Sometimes at night she will see her own reflection in a window and growl. Then she'll come sit next to our feet with her back pressed protectively against us.

10. What’s your favorite thing about Lowcountry Dog Magazine? It's sophisticated and sleek, while being neighborly and informative.

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Reasons to Spay & Neuter

cancers. It can reduce marking behaviors, the likelihood of contracting communicable diseases, and decreasing the urge to roam or runaway. Yet, for me, the best reason is simple: it saves lives. Even if your pet lives in the house and you have no plan to breed it, please still pursue spay/neuter surgery. You might be gobsmacked to hear the number of calls we receive at Pet Helpers to take in a litter of puppies and hear from the bewildered owner “I have no idea how this happened, she’s never around other dogs.” The reality is the biological urge may overwhelm the obstructions we think we put in place. The truth is the only way to halt overpopulation is through the responsible act of altering your pet. Hopefully the reasons to spay or neuter your pets are apparent and overwhelming (hopefully your pet is already altered - if so, help spread the word to your friends and neighbors). Again, the data is decisive. Yet, we of course hear the objections. There is no clinical or on-the-ground evidence to support this claima decrease in hunting drive, or a change in personality. The truth is, the surgery is now minimally invasive and most animals recover more quickly than you can imagine. Data suggest that spay/neuter surgery is in fact a procedure that reduces any number of health issues and can help your pet live a longer, healthier life. Let’s once more talk about numbers. I’ll be brief, I promise. As I’ve noted, in Charleston our euthanasia numbers are dramatically lower than the national average. In fact, last year the Charleston community saved more than 76 percent of the animals that entered the sheltering system - and thus far in 2013 the rate is even significantly higher. There are a host of reasons why we are able to save so many in our community, and many people worked diligently to make that way, though unquestionably one of the most powerful interventions has been our focus on and our success in the area of spay and neuter. In fact, in the past two years, we have spay and neutered more animals in Charleston than we have taken into the sheltering system. This is both a symptom of, and a reason why, we are achieving such altitudinal outcomes. Spay and neuter programs work. The data is clear: Both nationally and here at home, spay/neuter programs are a key element is reducing -- and one day ending -- the plague of pet overpopulation. We cannot (cannot!) adopt our way out of this problem. So get your pets spay or neutered, volunteer at your local animal organization, urge friends and family to spay or neuter their pets, engage in feral trap/neuter/return programs in your community. In short, be part of a simple solution to a heartbreaking problem. Call your veterinarian or your local low-cost, high-quality spay/neuter clinic (Pet Helpers and Charleston Animal Society are two examples) today for more information or to make an appointment. A lot of lives depend upon it. Learn more about Pet Helpers live saving mission at www.

by Kevin Ryan

I don’t know about you, but I like numbers. I like information expressed numerically. I like descriptive statistics and I like inferential statistics. I like trend analyses; I like percentages and I like graphs. I am, proudly so, a nerd. Data gets me up in the morning. I know this may not be everyone’s cup of tea and I understand that I when I begin ranting about numbers, many in the crowd’s eyes roll back in their heads and they begin recalling old episodes of Seinfeld just to pass the time. In animal welfare, we collect a lot of data. We analyze it, we break it down, we look for successes to celebrate and areas in which to seek improvement. At Pet Helpers, we do this continually, searching a happy day. and expand the impact of our mission for"Hap" ways toon not only augment but also for ways to tell our story. Many organizations operate like this, from large national organizations to local non profits like Pet Helpers. Sometimes data can lead us toward the idea that a local problem requires a specialized solution. Sometimes data can lead us in the direction of a universal fix for a widespread issue. I use the word “fix” somewhat tongue-in-check as it leads me to my point. During my time in animal welfare, I have often been surprised by people’s reactions. Most often I have been awed by the humanity and compassion I have witnessed, especially here in the Lowcountry. Other times, I have been taken aback by their attitudes toward animal welfare, especially when talking about spay/neutering. I’ve seen the evidence and I know spaying and neutering works. I know it is the most profound and substantiated way to end the overpopulation of companion animals, and, in turn, end the unnecessary euthanasia of adoptable animals. Most importantly for me, I have seen the data (see, I had a point!) For me, the most simple and poignant numerical reality is this: As noted on the ASPCA’s website “every year, 3 to 4 million rejected cats and dogs - of all ages - are euthanized in the U.S. These high numbers are the result of unplanned litters that could have been prevented by spaying or neutering.” It’s that simple. We could prevent the killing of 3 to 4 million animals every year by being responsible stewards of companion animals. About five to seven million animals enter shelters in the United States every year; sixty to 70 percent are euthanized. (The euthanasia rate is exponentially lower in Charleston.) These come, in almost equal measure, from owners’ surrendering their pets (sometimes as a result of unwanted litters) and from animal control agencies picking up stray animals. Only 10% of animals received by shelters are spayed or neutered. There are any number of other really powerful reasons to spay or neuter your pet. It reduces the risk of your pet developing uterine or ovarian cancers, pyometras, and testicular or mammary




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Goes Mobile for Seniors in Need by Kelly Rae Smith

Coming across people like Daniel Island Animal Hospital’s Dr. Lynne Flood sure is refreshing. During a time when our attention quickly sweeps from one ugly crisis to another, it is nice to see some humanity happening. Even better that it’s so close to home. Dr. Flood recently began the charitable organization DIAH on Wheels, an initiative to help homebound seniors living in poverty to receive low to no-cost food and medical care for their pets. DIAH has the mobility to do so due to a retired ambulance truck that they have repurposed into a vet clinic on wheels. The idea was born

from a combination of interests. Dr. Flood not only has a passion for animals, but also for the elderly. She recently earned a graduate gerontology certificate and was especially concerned with the social science aspect and the concept of aging in place. “Aging in place is a term that is used in gerontology circles,” she says, “and it’s just an initiative to help seniors live in their home for as long as possible. And it’s better for them because they can stay in their home and keep their pets. I want them to keep their pets because I think that’s a huge factor when it comes to their quality of life.” After some thorough research, she and the DIAH practice manager, Abby Suiter, realized that the real need for assistance of this type is great within Berkeley County, specifically the Cainhoy/Huger area. And now DIAH on Wheels has joined up with Berkeley Seniors, an organization that does what they can to support the physical, emotional, and mental well being of their older residents. Inside 85 to 90 percent of the homes they visit are seniors living below the poverty line. Most of them have pets, and it is a concern that the residents are sharing their meals with the animals that they cannot afford to feed. DIAH on Wheel’s first mission is to collect enough pet food for Berkeley Seniors to deliver along with their meals for seniors, so even all four-legged residents are properly nourished. Then, they photos by Laura Olsen Imagery



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will begin immunizations for these pets for those who can’t get out of the house to get petcare and can’t afford a mobile groomer. All the while, Dr. Flood and volunteers will gradually realize the scope of the need and let their mission evolve from there, eventually taking the truck out to the communities in need to give these animals and their best friends even more attention. “After the food and immunization processes,” she says, “I want to do some public health stuff. I want to deworm, treat these pets for fleas or intestinal parasites or skin problems, or whatever they have. I think it’ll be fun. It’ll be fun for me to get out there, and it’ll be something that will help my county.” Look out for ways to help the initiative by tuning into the DIAH on Wheels Facebook page, where updates will be posted regarding their GoFundMe plans as well as a DIAH loyalty card that will donate a percentage of profits to DIAH on Wheels. Additionally, volunteers are needed to come along and keep the residents company while their pets receive care.

photos by Laura Olsen Imagery



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Canine Surgery:

What Every Pet Owner Should Know by Jennifer Au, DVM, DACVS, CCRT

It’s a very stressful time. Your dog has jumped off a sofa or caught a ball and landed wrong and now your family veterinarian informs you your best friend has one of the most common canine orthopedic injuries. It could be a cranial cruciate ligament injury (torn ligament in the knee), patellar luxation (kneecap out of place), a dislocated joint or a fracture in the forelimb above the wrist or perhaps the outer part of the elbow. Whatever it is, it’s bad news and your dog probably needs surgery and your family veterinarian will refer you to a veterinary orthopedic surgeon. It’s important for you to know that not all orthopedic surgical facilities or surgeons are created equal and in order for your dog to have the best chance for a full recovery and return to normal activity, you should know it does make a difference where you take them. Here are the things you should consider when making a decision about where your dog will have surgery and who will perform the operation. • Find out your surgeon’s background. The decision about which surgeon to use should be made with as much care and consideration as you would take for a human family member. Veterinary surgeons require years of extensive training and practice, and you should not be shy about asking about their background. It’s preferable if they are board certified. Ask where they served as an intern and as a resident, and what that training 12


entailed. What type of patient volumes did they see? What kinds of surgeries were they doing and training on? In my case, my surgical internship was at a veterinary practice in Connecticut before I spent three years in a small animal surgery residency at Texas A&M University. Then I became an assistant professor at Michigan State and The Ohio State University before coming to Charleston Veterinary Referral Center. I’ve also had extensive experience performing surgeries on racing greyhounds and find that treating their very unique injuries has greatly enhanced my training. • Ask if your surgeon is fully trained in minimally invasive surgeries, including extensive experience in arthroscopic surgeries. Minimally invasive surgeries, versus traditional cutting and opening up of the entire injury area, allow us to accomplish the same repair without damaging as many blood vessels, muscles, tissue and nerve endings. Because of that, the surgeon doesn’t interrupt the healing the body is already doing on its own and in many cases, recovery time can be shortened significantly for many patients. We evaluate every patient as a candidate for minimally invasive surgeries and perform them when appropriate. • Always ask about the facility and the team! Are there doctors and technicians there 24 hours a day? This is crucial when discussing post-op or patient care in general, and can greatly affect outcomes. I will often have my patients monitored as

frequently as every fifteen minutes for several hours, depending on the case. Excellent pain management requires a cohesive, well-trained team, so the veterinary technician can accurately assess and report findings to the doctor, the same way nurses assess patients at bedsides in human hospitals. Medications and protocols are often changed in the middle of the night depending on how the patient is doing. This requires great communication between doctors and technicians. We have some of the best trained and most dedicated technicians I have ever worked with at CVRC. • Find out if your surgeon or the facility has a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Therapist (CCRT) or Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner (CCRP), and an in-house rehab department. I have a CCRT and it has made me a better surgeon. Why? Because I consider the rehabilitation and rehabilitation that will be done after I perform the surgery and can adjust what I do in the operating room, depending on the injury. I can affect a better outcome for your pet. Here, I work alongside Dr. Artise Stewart (CCRP) at our full, on site rehabilitation department. It’s critical after surgery that you follow the prescribed rehab instructions for your pet. It will help them regain use of the injured limb and get them up and around faster. photo by EuroMagic

Our goal for CVRC’s Center for Orthopedic and Minimally Invasive Surgery is to offer unparalleled care with the team and equipment to handle any and all injuries that may come through the door. Our emergency room is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week or you can simply request your family veterinarian refer you to us for elective appointments. Charleston Veterinary Referral Center is a specialty referral and 24hour, 7-day-a-week emergency and critical care veterinary hospital. More information may be found or on Facebook at or (843) 614-VETS (8387).

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Summer Lovin' text by Kelly Rae Smith photography by Laura Olsen Imagery

The Siegel story is beautiful. It’s full of heartbreak and loss, but hearts are also mended and filled, joy is restored, and souls are rescued all around. As we listen to a violin’s song emanate from a neighboring garden party, Karen and I settle ourselves on the back porch of the Siegels’ downtown home to discuss their furry family— past and present, hurts and all. At the moment, Karen and Bob Siegel are experiencing a conflict of emotions. You see, Lowcountry Dog had originally planned to speak to them about, and personally meet, Mukai—the Siegels’ beloved black and white Great Dane who joined the family three years ago. The magazine auctioned off this cover story at the annual Furball Gala to benefit Pet Helpers. Karen, not only a long-time supporter of Pet Helpers, but also a now 15-year volunteer for the Charleston animal charity, won last November’s auction. She wanted it to promote rescue and to honor her beautiful Mukai, who had rescued her family upon his arrival several years ago. Unfortunately, Mukai passed away in January of this year. Mukai had been a saving grace to help them recover from the loss of Stella, their Great Dane for 12 years. But Mukai would eventually get prostate cancer and only live to be seven-years young. Although I had the misfortune of never meeting him, I was certainly introduced to Mukai through story. And I did get to meet Bugsy Siegel. He’s their new 65-pound, four-month-old Great Dane puppy, who is turning out

to be another savior. “Mukai taught me a lot of stuff,” Karen says, “But the first thing he taught me was the only way you’re going to heal a broken heart when you lose an animal, is with another animal.” Speaking about Mukai isn’t easy. There may be a puppy nearby to distract her by playfully eating every flower in the garden, but it’s still so soon. Karen reflects slowly and in pauses as she longs to perfectly recall their time with him from the very beginning. With emotion in her voice, she starts again. “We actually found Mukai because he was in Lowcountry Dog,” she says, “and that was the month that they ran the Great Dane rescue page. I didn’t even know we had a Great Dane rescue in South Carolina. But I saw Mukai on there, and I thought he was beautiful. “I watched him on the Pet Helpers website for a year. And then we lost Stella. A week later I saw he was still on the website, and I thought, we’ve got to go meet him. So I did, and I was absolutely terrified of him. He was the biggest Dane I had ever seen. I thought, that is so not my puppy,” she laughs. “But I went to pet him, and I realized he was terrified. He barked and growled because he was petrified of everyone. And it just broke my heart.” And that is when the mutual rescue began. Although he was lovingly cared for at Pet Helpers, Mukai needed his own home, where he could be better nurtured, and where he could sooner forget his Lowcountrydog


life before the rescue. Mukai spent the first year of his life tied up and beaten in his backyard, by a “vet tech” no less. He was bumped out of three different homes before Karen found him. Although she wasn’t sure if they were quite ready so soon after losing Stella, she did know this: Mukai couldn’t wait anymore. And he didn’t have to. Their bond had already begun. “There was something about us,” she recalls. “We just clicked. When we decided to take him, [the Pet Helpers employee] said, ‘I’m so happy. After watching him with you for about 15 minutes, I thought please, God, let this woman want this dog, because this dog really wants that woman.’” And from that point forward, he became a special fixture in the Siegel house, although those first few hours were slightly shaky. “It was frightening taking in a 200-pound dog that had a history of abuse and neglect,” she admits. “When they brought him here, he was pacing from the front to the back door. I was kind of scared to get up, but I just looked at him and said, OK, buddy, we have to make this work.” Her nervousness would soon subside, as did his. And so she remains a champion for rescues, and this is why. It brought them joy to watch this confident, loving, sweet-spirited dog evolve from that once-timid creature. “It was like a miracle,” she remembers. “After about six months, he was just a completely different dog. He would drag all his toys



out of the foyer, and there would be 15 toys and bones. I think it was because, being a rescue, you don’t have your own. You drop it, somebody’s gonna take it. He was over 200 pounds playing with toys.” As he healed before their eyes, the Siegels soon realized Mukai was healing them, too. “He made us remember the Stella that we had for ten years,” she says, “and not the Stella we had for the last year when she was sick and she couldn’t get around. Once he got comfortable, he would start goofing around, and we thought, doesn’t he remind you of Stella? So he brought back the happy memories of Stella. That’s the first thing he taught me.” Remembering this lesson, she sought out another Dane when Mukai passed earlier this year. Although she wasn’t keen on a puppy, another gut feeling told her she and Bugsy would need each other, too. They expect Bugsy to grow to Mukai-like proportions, so reminders are sure to stay with them for the duration of Bugsy’s life. And that’s a great thing. So is the garden destruction, the necessary supervision, the constant mischief. They laugh it all off because, after all, what else would you expect of a Great Dane puppy? “There’s puppies,” Karen says, “and then there’s puppies on steroids.” Today, she gets satisfaction from watching this swiftly growing Bugsy enjoy a puppyhood, the kind that Mukai was denied. “I think it was the fact that Mukai was a rescue,” she says, “that

you could see in his eyes the gratitude, the love, more so I think than any other dog we’ve had. The most rewarding thing was to see this giant dog who just went from a terrified, and terrifying, 200 pounds of dog to romping around like a 20-pound puppy, which is just the most rewarding thing. We gave him a puppyhood, and he brought Stella’s puppyhood back to us. It was a good deal.” Fancy a mutual rescue yourself? Contact Pet Helpers to see who needs a nurturing home today: Pet Helpers 1447 Folly Road James Island (843) 795-1110



hot weather tips from the aspca On an 85 day, it only takes ten minutes for the inside of your car to reach 102 even when the windows have been left open an inch or two. Within 30 minutes, a car’s interior can reach 120. When the temperature outside is a pleasant 70 the inside of your car may be as much as 20 degrees hotter. Shade offers little protection on hot day and moves with the sun. Pets most at risk for hyperthermia (overheating): young animals, elderly animals, overweight animals, those with short muzzles and those with thick or dark-colored coats. Many states and local governments have laws that prohibit leaving an animal unattended in a motor vehicle under dangerous conditions, which include hot days. Under these laws, police, animal control agents, peace officers and others may be authorized to enter by whatever means necessary to remove the animal. You could have your car damaged, be charged with a crime, and fined or imprisoned. It’s not worth it—don’t leave your pet in the car! Please leave your pet at home in hot weather! If your dog is overcome by the heat bring down body temperature by soaking the animal in cool (not ice) water, but make sure water does not get into the mouth or nose of an unconscious animal. Seek immediate veterinary care. Get a veterinary checkup before traveling and make sure you have the necessary vaccination certificates for the area you will be visiting, as well as flea and tick treatments. Carry a gallon thermos of cold water or bring along a two-liter plastic bottle of water you froze the night before. Exercise your pet during the coolest parts of the day (dawn and dusk), and never immediately following a meal. Hot asphalt and tar can burn sensitive paw pads. Walk your pet on grass or dirt when possible. Provide shade when your pet is outside on a hot day.


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upcoming events every saturday & sunday pet helpers adoptions at petco, west ashley. every saturday cas adopt-a-thon at petsmart mt pleasant.

office items, raffle. Food by Bad to the Bone Catering. Lucky Puppy - Gourmet dog cookies/treats and ice cream. Ask the vet" - Dr. Jan Crowe - Creekside Vet Clinic. Ask the trainer" - Purely Positive Dog Training. Proceeds to benefit ARR and Daisy's Place Rescue

Questions? Comments? Call 843-478-0266. Want to submit event information? Visit and click on Add an Event. We will do our best to include your event as space allows. Our online calendar lists all events in full.

june and august yappy hours Dog lovers, after a long day at work, pick up your pooch and join the fun at James Island County Parks. Yappy Hour returns June 6th and August 22nd. Mingle with friends old and new while your dog visits with his favorite pals. Come out starting at 4 p.m. to enjoy beverages and live music in the park with your dog! The event is free with general park admission ($1 per person or free with Charleston County Parks’ Gold Pass)! Beverages and food are available for an additional fee. Outside alcohol and coolers are prohibited. www.

cas volunteer orientations June 7th & 22nd, July 16th and 20th. Learn to become a volunteer by attending one of our two-hour volunteer training sessions. It’s easy and we will give you all the tools and training you need to become a successful volunteer! Visit www. for more information and times.

second sunday on king June 9th and July 14th 1:00-5:00pm. The 2nd Sunday on King Street has something for everyone. From Calhoun to Queen walk the street! Bring your pooch and stroll down King Street! enjoy the street activities, outdoor cafes, incredible shopping and wonderful people. Your dog will meet the nicest dogs and people in Charleston at this event! FREE parking vouchers! Ask at our info booth. Contact: susan@ More Info: secondsundayonkingstreet/

saturday, june 22nd, 9:00am fetch doggy day care yard sale & bazaar Collars, leashes, crates and many other dog items. Yardsale items and

As we head into Hurricane Season, it's important to have an emergency plan for your pets. Here's some handy tips and things to consider as you prepare your entire family for this dangerous season. IN PREPARATION Make sure that your pets are current on their vaccinations. Pet friendly shelters require proof of vaccines.

DURING THE DISASTER If you are able, leave early. Don't wait for a mandatory evacuation order. An unnecessary trip is far better than waiting too long to leave safely with your pets. If you wait to be evacuated by emergency officials, you may be told to leave your pets behind.

Have a properly-sized pet carrier for each animal. Pet friendly shelters require them. Practice putting it together quickly.

Animals brought to a pet shelter are required to have: proper identification collar and rabies tag, proper identification on all belongings, a carrier or cage, a leash, a muzzle for dog aggressive dogs, an ample supply of food, water (1 gallon for every 10lbs.), food bowls, any medications, specific care instructions and newspapers or trash bags for cleanup.

Plan your evacuation strategy and don't forget your pet!

Bring pets indoors well in advance of a storm - reassure them and remain calm.

Contact hotels and motels outside your immediate area to check policies on accepting pets. Ask about any restrictions on number, size, and species. Ask if "no pet" policies would be waived in an emergency.

Pet shelters will be filled on first come, first served basis. If phone lines are still up, call ahead and determine availability.

Have a current photograph. Keep a collar with identification on your pet and have a leash on hand to control your pet.

Make a list of animal-friendly places and keep it handy. Call ahead for a reservation as soon as you think you might have to leave your home. Check with friends, relatives, or others outside your immediate area to see if they would shelter you and your animals or just your animals, if necessary. Make a list of boarding facilities and veterinary offices that might be able to shelter animals in emergencies; include 24-hour telephone numbers. Ask your local animal shelter if it provides foster care or shelter for pets in an emergency. This should be your last resort, as shelters have limited resources and are likely to be stretched to their limits during an emergency.

AFTER THE DISASTER Walk pets on a leash until they become re-oriented to their home - often familiar scents and landmarks may be altered and pets could easily be confused and become lost. Also, downed power lines, reptiles brought in with high water and debris can all pose a threat for animals after a disaster. If pets cannot be found after a disaster, contact the local animal control office to find out where lost animals can be recovered. After a disaster animals can become aggressive or defensive - monitor their behavior.

with any reward. If you show your dog the leash and then ask him to sit, then leash him up and go for a walk, you have actually just bribed him. I make it a point to teach my students to use real life rewards such as going for a walk as a reward for sitting or even coming when called, however I don’t teach them to bribe their dogs with the leash by showing it to them first. If they sit or come when called, or whatever we are working on, I teach them to then pull out the leash and go for a walk as a reward. Please keep in mind, your dog has to see the walk as a reward for it to actually be a reward. Most dogs do, but some fearful or under-socialized dogs might see a walk in a different light. I also want to dispel the myth that using “human food” in training will teach a dog to beg for your food while you are eating. It does not. Feeding a dog from your plate or where you are eating will teach a dog to beg for food while you are eating. You could feed your dog his kibble from the table he will continue to come back to get fed. So it’s not what you are feeding him, it’s when and where. One more note about Positive Reinforcement training – it doesn’t mean the dog is allowed to do whatever he wants to do. There are still rules and boundaries, but don’t forget they need be taught those rules and boundaries. Also don’t forget that you don’t need to use harsh punitive methods to teach them either. In a nutshell, Positive Reinforcement training means that we use rewards instead of punishment to teach the dog. We teach the dog to work for things he likes instead of working to avoid punishment.

Photo by philhearing Flickr Creative Commons

Food for Thought by Kristie Allen

If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say in frustration, “She’s only sitting because she expects a treat,” I would be a millionaire. Why is it that we have such a hard time with using food as a reward to train our dogs? Positive Reinforcement Training uses rewards to teach desired behavior so the dog will repeat the desired behavior. Dogs learn by association and repetition. It’s not always about food because I know many dogs who prefer other rewards; however, if the dog considers food a high value reward, what’s the problem with using it? Not to mention, they need food to survive, which is usually why it’s a great motivator. It’s not about using extra food either; we should encourage our dogs to work for food they would have been given anyway. It’s imperative to use a reward your dog deems to be high value, otherwise it’s not a reward. The key is to know your dog and find out what he deems rewarding, not what you think he should deem rewarding. Rewards differ between dogs – some dogs will do anything for liver, some turkey, some a ball, some a game of tug, some a belly rub. I actually worked on this with 2 dogs in group class recently. Once the dog’s person saw how rewarding it was to the dog to be allowed to “sniff” 22


after giving a Sit/Stay, they (the humans) got really into it and were so pleased. In this particular scenario and environment, sniffing where other dogs had been was more rewarding to the dog, that’s why we used it as the reward. Had turkey dogs or liver or a ball been deemed more valuable to the dog, we would have used that as the reward. You can usually tell by your dog’s response to a particular reward, what they deem to be more rewarding. Jean Donaldson, a world class dog trainer explains, "What always goes unspoken is that if dogs have an inherent desire to please us, avoidance training - i.e. special collars - should also be unnecessary." ... "The attitude of a non-conforming dog can be adjusted with some corrections, can't it? But this is simply using aversives to motivate. Liver would have also worked. So, why does liver cheapen the humananimal bond where pain does not?" Now don’t get me wrong, using Positive Reinforcement still requires skill because rewarding is much different than bribing. If you are bribing your dog every time, then you will find yourself with a dog who needs to ‘see’ the reward before he gives behavior, but not because he is being stubborn, or dominate, but because that is what you taught him to do. A bribe is a bribe….not just with food; it can be

Kristie Allen is a certified pet dog trainer and the owner of The Learning Canine. Learn more at

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Heartworm Prevention

up and treatment. This plan will be tailor made for your pet. Possible options for further work up in dogs includes checking the blood for microfilariae, performing chest x-rays to evaluate the heart and lungs, performing blood work to evaluate your pet’s overall health, and sometimes an echocardiogram can be performed to visualize the worms in the heart itself. Treatment for dogs will always include strict restricted activity (for months on end) and a heartworm preventative safe for their disease state. You veterinarian will also likely recommend oral medications (antibiotics and steroids) and injections given to kill the adult heartworms. After the final injection to kill the adult heartworms is administered, a recheck for microfilariae should be performed in 30 days. 6 months after the end of treatment, a heartworm test will need to be rechecked to make sure there is no lingering infection. With cats, due to the nature of their disease process, we do not have as many clear-cut options for further work up and treatment. This is something your veterinarian can help to answer for you in detail. It is never recommended to forego prevention with the plan of treating the animal once the animal becomes heartworm positive. The further diagnostic testing and treatments are not inexpensive. Over a 6 month period of time you may spend anywhere between $800 and $1500. Also, the amount of veterinary visits you will need to make can be taxing to anyone’s schedule. Restricting a dog’s activity level even for short periods of time can be very close to impossible, so ask yourself if restricting your dog’s activity level for months while treatment is taking place is possible? If you cannot restrict their activity level appropriately, they may die as a result. It is important to note that heartworm treatment itself is not wholly benign and can lead to serious consequences. Let us also not forget how the disease is transmitted in the first place. As long as your animal is positive, it is acting as a reservoir for the disease;

by Melissa A. Roth, DVM

Spring in the lowcountry means warm days, lush foliage, and the unmistakable scent of jasmine, magnolia, and honey suckle in the air. Unfortunately, this wonderful time of year also sees highlights the presence of that most unwelcome of guests, the mosquito. For most, this ubiquitous parasite is a nuisance, but for our dogs and cats, a mosquito bite can potentially lead to severe illness and death. The mosquito is a vector, or carrier, of heartworms. A mosquito becomes dangerous once it feeds on an animal that has microfilariae, baby heartworms, present in that animal’s blood. Although typically it is dogs that provide the mosquitoes with this infection, cats may also be a reservoir for this parasite. The microfilariae continue to develop inside the mosquito and is then deposited into a dog or cat, once the mosquito feeds. While the microfilariae continue to mature inside our companion animals, they migrate through different tissues to make their way to the heart and lungs. Once microfilariae reach sexual maturity they begin to reproduce, creating higher burdens of the worms in our four legged friends. In dogs, dysfunction of the heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys may be noted. With cats, the respiratory system seems to be most heavily affected by this disease process. So, what can someone do to protect their furry family members? First, if your little one has not been on prevention, or has not been on it consistently, your pet will need a physical exam and a heartworm test. With dogs under 6 months of age, or with cats who appear to have no signs of the disease, you veterinarian will discuss the value of heartworm testing your friend. If your animal yields a negative result, there are a number of relatively inexpensive products your veterinarian

can recommend. These products may be oral or topical, and some do not just prevent heartworm disease, they may also prevent fleas, and/or intestinal parasites. If your pet has been on heartworm prevention consistently, it is still highly recommended to have him or her tested once a year. None of us are perfect, and mistakes can happen. A heartworm positive animal may be the result of the preventative given incorrectly, the preventative may not have been given on time, perhaps the preventative was stored improperly, maybe the animal vomited up the oral preventative or the topical was removed too quickly via bathing, etc…To take for granted that an animal is negative is to potentially put that animal into harm’s way. If an animal is heartworm positive, it should be started on treatment immediately. Quicker diagnosis and treatment can lead to a decrease in side effects from and a more favorable prognosis. If you pet has never been tested, or has never been placed on prevention, it is not recommended to start heartworm prevention without consulting a veterinarian. If an animal is heartworm positive, serious side effects, including death, can result from being placed on certain types of heartworm prevention. Is there value in placing an inside kitty, or a mostly inside dog on heartworm prevention? Absolutely. Mosquitoes, being the disrespectful creatures they are, do not respect the borders of your house. Whether a door is only open for a second, or there is a tear in your screen, that is enough for a mosquito to sneak in. It only takes one mosquito’s bite to potentially have serious ramifications for our pets, and by extension, us. What if your pet is diagnosed with heartworm disease? Your veterinarian will formulate a plan for further work

continued on page 29 24


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Shady Dogs and Frosty Paws

By Dr. Shannon Barrett, Island Veterinary Care Boating, swimming and ice cream, oh my! That sounds like a great summer for you, but what about your dog? Luckily, these are all activities that you can both enjoy as long as appropriate precautions are taken. Taking your dog to the beach is one of the best parts about living on the islands. Since both Isle of Palms and Sullivan’s Island allow dogs on the beach, letting your pooch go for a swim is a great way to keep cool and get exercise. Swimming is one of the greatest forms of exercise for dogs prone to hip issues. It allows for low impact exercise while building muscle strength around their hips. Although swimming provides great exercise and a good way to cool off, it can lead to skin problems such as ear infections and “hot spots” on their skin. To help prevent ear infections, ensure you clean your dogs ears with a good ear cleaner after swimming. It helps keep them dry since wet ears serve as a great breeding ground for infections. I find that many owners are cleaning ears as directed but often using ear medications from a previous prescription. This does not clean the ears and can lead to resistant infections so if your doggie plans to swim, make sure you have a good ear cleaner at the ready! Since wet skin can also lead to increased skin infections such as hot spots, make sure you dry your dog well after swimming. One way to keep your dog’s skin clean is to dilute your favorite dog shampoo and keep the bottle handy so you can give Fido a quick bath after swimming. An additional swimming related hazard is known as “limber” or “swimmers” tail. Dogs tails are like rudders above the water – swishing back and forth. This can lead to a painful swelling at the base of the tail. Dogs will tuck their tail down and yelp when the base of their tail is touched. It is often mistaken for a broken tail; fortunately, it can be treated by your veterinarian with pain medication and rest. Whether boating or swimming, ensure your dog has plenty of fresh



water available. Dogs see the ocean and the intercoastal waterway as one big water bowl so if you don’t provide fresh water, they will start sipping the Atlantic! This can lead to vomiting and diarrhea, which, if left untreated, can cause severe dehydration and possible hospitalization. Another way to avoid dehydration is to provide shade for your canine companion. Dogs only sweat through their paw pads and this provides little relief from the heat. Therefore panting provides their main mechanism for cooling off. To help them stay cool, provide a shaded area for your pooch – either a beach umbrella or bimini top – depending on your water sport preference. This can also save your dog from burning his paw pads on hot surfaces. Since most of us would not head to the beach or boat without refreshments, your dog deserves the same consideration. Freeze bottled water (skip the vodka and soda) to keep him from drinking out of the ocean. You can also bring his favorite treat dispenser such as a Kong and place a small amount of peanut butter inside. Freeze this and then bring it along for a cooling, yummy treat. Frosty Paws is a dog-specific ice cream and another good treat to bring along on summer outings. Just as much as we like playing in the sand, so do most dogs. Although cute to watch, it can be dangerous. I have seen dogs ingest too much sand and need hospitalization to help them pass it. Monitor your dog if he insists on helping with the sandcastle. If you notice vomiting or reluctance to eat after a day on the beach, contact your veterinarian. With a little planning, your summer adventures can be safe and fun. So grab your dog and head to the water. Just remember to keep their paws cool and their ears dry! For more information on Island Veterinary Care, a housecall service, visit or call 843-628-1941.

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Hi I’m Addison, and I’m as delicious as an Oreo cookie! I’m a fiveyear-old retriever mix. It would be a treat to meet you at the Charleston Animal Society. www.

Why hello there, I’m Gracie, a good hound dog mix available through the Francis R Willis SPCA. I’m approximately one year old and in hunt of a good home. Will I find it in you?

Bailey is a sweet 9 year old boy whose owner died. The family decided to keep him, but put him in a shed where he barely had room to lay down. Contact gratefulgoldensoflc@ or visit to learn more about adopting a Golden in need of a home!

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Mickey came into rescue as a 7 years young boy who loves to play with the younger dog in his foster home as well as other dogs in the neighborhood. It’s hard to imagine that he’s actually 7 – he acts much younger! Contact or visit to learn more about adopting a Golden in need of a home!

Hi up there! I may be a little guy, but I definitely have a big personality! I was a part of a Jack Russell rescue gone bad; however, you would never know I came from such rough beginnings! Please visit me at Pet Helpers

Dan is a great dog who is just waiting for his forever family. He is around 2 years old and is super sweet. He does fine with kids and other dogs but probably would do best in a cat free home. Learn more at www.

Hi I’m Gentry, a two-year-old golden retriever mix. Won’t you let me be the gold in your life? I’d love to meet you at Charleston Animal Society. www.

Meet Phoenix. This is a 2 year old, happy and energetic boy who loves to run and play, but knows how to chill out when playtime is done. Contact www.lowcountrylabrescue. org or aefabri@lowcountrylabrescue. org for more info about adopting this handsome boy.



jelly bean




continued from page 24 you are putting other animals lives at risk. Lastly, due to the tough nature of diagnosing heartworm disease in cats, you may never know your favorite feline is ill. This may mean your kitty’s quality of life, and/or life span, may be compromised without anyone being the wiser. With all the wonderful things are animals do for us, they deserve to have their guardians protect them against this ghastly, and very common disease. Check back through your records and if your pet has not had consistent prevention and an annual heartworm test, then it is time to get reacquainted with your veterinarian. Let us all get out and enjoy the lowcountry this spring. For you, pack your sunscreen and your bug spray, and for your pet, make sure to keep them on heartworm preventative year round. Melissa A. Roth, is a veterinarian at The Animal Hospital of North Charleston.

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