Metro Pet Mag - July 2010

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July/August 2010






Feature Articles

In Every Issue

Pet Insurance


Publishers Message Our 2nd Anniversary Issue!

Learn more about pet insurance before you buy it.


The Season of Kittens


Enjoy this pawzlle!

Do you know about Kitten Season!


The Showdown is On


Career Day for Your Pet


Making the Case for Fixing Pets Better individual and pet population health when you spay and neuter your pet.


General’s Ride for the Wall For the third year, General salutes Americans who serve in the military.


Barking = Lack of Exercise? Can exercise really reduce the amount your dog barks?



How Cute is Your Pet? The winners of this month’s contest.

Learn About the Old English Sheepdog How much do you know about the Old English Sheepdog breed?


Upcoming Events Check out these upcoming events.

Pet unemployment is through the roof — how you can help.


Ask A Vet Traditional vs Alternative Veterinary Care — What do you know about these treatment types.

Are you tired of fighting with your pet to give her medicine?


Chip’s Corner

The Plight of The Shelter Cat

METROPET PICK-UP LOCATIONS MetroPet Magazine can be found in 100 FREE Magazines racks in the KC metro area. Blockbuster Stores: All KC area locations CVS Stores: Most CVS locations Sears/K-Mart Stores: Most KC area locations Grocery Stores: Many metro locations

Adult cats in shelters face a tough time finding a home. J ULY /AUGUST 2010 •


Publisher’s Message

METROPET IS TWO YEARS OLD!!!! It was just two short years ago when the first issue of MetroPet hit the newsstands! Can you believe how fast time flies? We continually hear from readers about how much they love the magazine. Thank You for your support! Please remember to support our advertisers. We are pleased to be the only Kansas City print magazine dedicated to pet lovers! Read and enjoy!

THE HOT SUMMER DAYS ARE HERE! Take care of your pets during the hot days of summer. If they have long hair, keep it clean and groomed. Extra time spent grooming your pet can reap huge rewards! Or treat them to a trip to the groomer, everyone will be healthier and happier. Please remember to give your pets plenty of water and a cool, dry place to rest. Morning and evening are the best time for outdoor activities If you want a fun activity with your dog, consider going to a dog park. There are several located around the KC area. Always remember to be a responsible pet owner.

TERRIFIC ARTICLES As always, this issue includes many great articles. Thanks to our writers, we are meeting our mission to provide educational and informational articles to pet lovers. Being a responsible pet owner means have your pet spayed or neutered — see article on page 18 regarding the benefits. If you need a chuckle, check out the Career Day for Your Pet on page 14. Learn more about how traditional and alternative veterinary practices can work together, page 26. Finally, read about the third ride to the wall by General and his driver, page 22.

FALL PET EVENTS! Since July and August are so hot, there are only a few outdoor pet events, Animal Haven’s Paw-ty on July 17 and Tails on the Trails, in Lenexa on August 14. Beginning in September, the big events start again. MetroPet looks forward to Wayside Waif's Strutt your Mutt; the Excelsior Springs Friends of Animals Dog Retreat at the Elms Hotel; the Royals’ Bark at the K; the Wizards’ Kicks for Canines; and Dogtoberfest! More details about these and other events on page 33 and at Have a great summer — see you in September!


Staff & Contacts Publisher Barbara Riedel

Editor/Production Manager Dan O’Leary

Magazine Layout ROI Marketing 816.942.1600 •

Advertising Sales Eric Novak Ad Sales: 913.579.3815

Webmaster Michael Justice 913-645-2597

Contributing Authors Gabrielle Bassin, DVM Mike Death Tina Marie Frawley Lindsay Haake Pat Hennessy Mike Jones Heddie Leger Ashlee Parker Jennifer Rao Michael Tarrant, DVM, CVA

Photographers Eric Novak Dan O’Leary

Contact MetroPet PO Box 480065 Kansas City, MO 64148 Phone: 913.548.1433 Ad Sales: 913.579.3815 Fax: 816.941.4655 Publishing Policy: Articles printed in the MetroPet Magazine express the opinions of the individual authors and do not necessarily represent the formal position of MetroPet Magazine. Acceptance of advertising does not necessarily constitute endorsement by MetroPet Magazine. Articles: Readers are invited to submit articles for consideration for publication to All materials are subject to editorial review.

Barbara Riedel, Publisher 4

MetroPet Magazine • J ULY /AUGUST 2010

© 2010 MetroPet Magazine. All rights reserved. Request reprint permissions at MetroPet Magazine is owned and published by ROI Marketing Services, all rights reserved.

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Pet Insurance for you and your pets? by Tina Marie Frawley Once upon a time employees weighed potential employer benefit packages by how goodl the family health insurance coverage was and what retirement plans were being offered. Now, there is a new trend in covering the family healthcare wise. As the amount of money spent on pet healthcare increases steadily at an alarming 40% a year per pet, employees are starting to look for employers who also offer pet insurance. As pets become more like family, pet owners are looking to spend a little more for their canine and feline companions. One nice aspect of pet insurance is that it does not have to come from an employer to be affordable (which is most often the case with insurance for the family’s human counterparts). Some basic plans start at just $10.00 per pet each month, while more extravagant plans cost upward of $400.00 a month. The question is how much is the pet insurance worth? With no two plans exactly alike, you as a pet owner will be forced to ask several questions of each policy before making a choice that best fits your needs

KEY QUESTIONS What is Covered? Look over plans from several different companies before selecting one. Make sure the plan you choose defines clearly what is and what is not covered. For some pet owners, pet insurance is just a safeguard for future catastrophes, such as accidents or serious illness. For others, the coverage they desire pays out for each 6

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visit to the vet, including annual checkups. It is also important to find out if pre-existing conditions are covered.

What is Not Covered? It is not as easy as finding out what is covered by insurance and being done with the selection process. You need to also know what is not covered so you can compare plans to one another and so you will know what to expect when your dog needs a test or procedure not covered. While X-rays may be covered, CAT scans might not be. Though they are both considered to be a form of radiology, it is important to be clear when large expenses are not covered.

Are Hereditary Illnesses & Conditions Covered? If you own a purebred dog, chances are they have some breed specific conditions. For example, German Shepard’s are prone to hip dyspasia due to their breed design. Labrador Retrievers commonly have eye problems. This does not mean because you own a certain breed they will develop these issues. Every living creature has deformities in their genes, some more prevalent than others. Your Dalmatian may never have a hearing problem, but since the breed is prone to these issues you might have trouble finding a policy to cover these conditions.

What is the Deductible? Is there a Co-Pay? You need to be clear on what you are expected to pay for and how much. There is no more frustrating feeling than having insurance that covers little if anything. For some pet owners, the

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out of pocket costs in addition to the monthly premium are just not worth the cost.

What is the Age Limit? What (if any) is the age limit for a covered pet? The best time to purchase pet insurance is when your pet is young. As pets get older they require more care, especially later in their lives, and the premium goes through the roof or they cannot be covered at all.

Who is Pet Insurance For? Pet insurance will benefit you the most if your pet is young and healthy. Other people who might seriously consider pet insurance are people who: • Have multiple pets • Take in stray animals to help shelters

• Breed dogs • Take their pet with them on vacation and through daily activities • Have an otherwise healthy dog Many dogs can live long accident free lives today, but no owner can guarantee their little ball of fur will not eat a sock, swallow a rock, or get hit by a car in the driveway. Some dogs will unfortunately develop illnesses such as cancer and diabetes.

Most pet insurance companies require you to pay the entire veterinarian bill at the time of service HOW MOST INSURANCES WORK Unlike human health insurance, most pet insurance companies require you to pay the entire veterinarian bill at the time of service. You as the owner are then responsible to turn over itemized bills or invoices from the veterinarian to the pet insurance company for reimbursement of qualified costs. The insurance will not reimburse your deductible or co-pay since you are responsible for it and have already paid it to the veterinarian. This form of processing does not involve the veterinarian or animal hospital. The amount of time it takes for the reimbursement money to come back to you depends on the insurance company itself and their current client load.

Remember, pet insurance is not for everyone and if you choose not to carry insurance for your pet it does not mean you are anything less than a great parent. There are ways to take care of your pet without shelling out hundreds of dollars each month, “just in case.”

HOW TO FIND PET INSURANCE The best way to find the right pet insurance for you and your family is to start by researching some highly reputable pet insurance companies around (see sidebar). Ask for detailed plan information and a specific price quote for your pet. Review each plan, what it covers, what it doesn’t cover, and the cost. Be sure you can continue to see your own veterinarian and can use a local emergency hospital for weekend and evening emergencies. 8

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If you have any PET INSURANCE OPTIONS questions about the Veterinary Pet Insurance coverage you are planning on purchas(800) USA-PETS ing, contact the insurance company Premier Pet Insurance and be sure all of your questions are (877) 774-2273 answered to your satPetCare Insurance isfaction before ing up. If you have (866) 275-PETS questions about certain types of tests or Petshealth Care Plan procedures (or any medical questions), (800) 807-6724 make an appointment to talk to your veterinarian, even if by phone, to find out how they feel about certain questions you have and why. Your veterinarian may also be able to help shed light on which insurance company and plan is best for you and your pet. Tina Marie Frawley is a freelance writer from Charlotte, NC where she lives with her husband Jay, also a freelance writer, their yellow Lab, Buck, and black cat, McCabe. Her website is

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The Season of Kittens A

by Ashlee Parker

t two-months-old Alexander, Christopher and Cassandra are bright-eyed, curious and absolutely adorable. Little MC Hammer, Sinatra and Usher are equally cute. They are all precocious, loving and intelligent. They are also homeless. Approximately four million cats end up in shelters across the United ...precocious, loving States every year, intelligent and including thousands homeless! born every spring and summer during “kitten season.” Alexander, MC Hammer and their littermates are just six of the more than 1,000 kittens local animal shelters will receive this summer. “Summer brings about the end of the breeding cycle for cats, when new kittens are born,” explains Courtney Thomas, Director of Operations, Wayside Waifs.

HUNDREDS TO CHOOSE FROM There are hundreds of cats and kittens, every breed, age and size, awaiting adoption at Kansas City’s animal shelters. Dozens more are in foster care. Another 300 cats and kittens are waiting for space to open up at a shelter. Finding new homes for all of these friendly felines poses a major challenge. Despite the wide variety of kittens and cats available for adoption, many people still get their cats from sources other than a shelter. Some take in a neighborhood stray, while others adopt a kitten from a friend whose cat recently gave birth. “It’s a lot easier for someone in the market for a cat to get one at a place other than a shelter,” says Thomas. “The ‘free to a good home’ concept is more abundant in the cat population than the dog population.”



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If you are thinking about adding a cat to your family, consider the advantages of adopting from a local shelter or rescue group. These animals have been medically evaluated by veterinarians and screened for diseases. They are also spayed or neutered before adoption and are current on all vaccinations.

Consider adopting an adult cat. Adult cats have a tough time competing with adorable kittens and get overlooked. That is exactly what happened to Annie, a four-year-old cat who arrived at a local shelter during the peak of kitten season. One year later, she is still looking for her forever home, and is once again competing with all those cute, cuddly kittens. To help all of these friendly felines find loving homes this summer, many local shelters are offering special cat adoption programs. Cat and kitten adoption fees are reduced or even eliminated for a second cat/kitten.

BEFORE YOU ADOPT Bringing a new pet into your home is a major decision. Before you adopt, do your homework. Research which pet best suits your lifestyle. Then, make it a family decision and spend a lot of time with your prospective pet to get a good sense of its personality. Most importantly, look to your local shelters first; there are hundreds of wonderful pets waiting for a second chance. Ashlee Parker is the Communications Manager at Wayside Waifs. Before pursuing her passion in animal welfare, she worked as television news producer at TV stations in Kansas City and across the country. Ashlee is the proud pet parent of Truman the Miniature Schnauzer and Gretzky the Scottish Fold. Ashlee can be reached at

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Showdown is On! by Jennifer Rao

The showdown is on! Human vs. Feline. Mary, strong minded and crafty, weighing in at 140 pounds faces down the haughty Tabby, Jazz, weighing in at a light a spirited 8.5 pounds. Eyes locking, Mary approaches the Tabby, dinner in hand, one quarter of a tablet cunningly buried in the gourmet halibut. Jazz stares and swishes his tail mockingly as if to say, “Bring it!” Jazz eats and Mary waits. Jazz finishes and suddenly remembers he has an appointment and bolts out of the kitchen. Mary then inspects the food bowl and spies the tablet fragment lying at the bottom. Mary hangs her head in defeat.

A FAMILIAR SCENE? Is this a familiar scenario with your pet? No matter the animal, it can be a grueling fight to get the medication down them. There is an answer for most pets that are too smart for their own good. The answer is pharmaceutical veterinary compounding. and, there are many options from which to choose. Transdermal creams — applied to the inside of an animal’s earflap. The cream’s special design drives the medication through the skin into the bloodstream. Many medications can be compounded in this form and it is among the easiest to administer. Flavored chewable treats — provide a tasty way for your best friends to take their medicine. The medication is evenly dispersed throughout the treat allowing it to be cut for partial dosages. Many flavors are available such as beef, tuna, chicken, seafood and liver. Flavored suspensions — a popular choice for pet owners. Medication is compounded into a liquid form and flavored with chicken, tuna, ham, peanut butter or other flavor. This form can be administered to the pet with a small oral syringe or mixed with a small amount of wet food. For the more tolerant pets, medication can be compounded 12

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into tiny capsules and given to your pet whole or opened and emptied over a small amount of food. Some medications, such as anticonvulsants, are better administered in suppository form.

ACCURACY Regardless of dosage form, compounded medications are prepared in a manner that provides an accurate dose to your pet each time. Compounded medications can ease the stress of administering medication to your pet and maintain the harmony between you and your best friends. Jennifer Rao, CPhT, born and raised in the Kansas City metropolitan area. She has served the public as a pharmacy technician since 1990. She is currently the Director of Compounding for Stark Edler Apothecary, specializing in human and veterinary compounded medication. Avid animal lovers, she and her husband are the proud owners of an Australian Shepherd, Alaskan Malamute, and two cats.

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Career Day for Your Pet

by Pat Hennessy


ne popular theory is that wolves came around human gathering places to feed off of our scraps. The less frightened ones evolved faster as they would stay closer to human groups. As we befriended each other, we came to a common understanding because we had a common goal: survival. Our dogs helped us hunt game, herd livestock, guard flocks, eliminate vermin, etc., and we returned the favor with food and social interaction. We worked well together and it was a win-win situation.

Many breeds evolved due to their talent and the predisposition they had for certain functions. Their services were invaluable for our species to flourish. Early man’s relationship utilized dogs for: • Hunting (rabbits, boar, etc.) • Guarding (flocks for shepherds or palaces for emperors) As Western civilization evolved dogs took on more jobs: • Herding livestock • Retrieving And more recently we have seen the use of our canine friends in occupations such as: • Police work • Contraband detection such as drugs, bombs, plants, etc. • Guiding the blind • Search and Rescue • Medical detection such as cancer, seizures, etc. 14

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JOBLESS PETS What we have today are more dogs, living in our homes, who are jobless. With the canine unemployment rate skyrocketing, it is causing problems in households across the country. Dogs get bored; they get into trouble, and then the next thing you know they are out on the street trying to scramble for a meal. They get caught and thrown in the pen. Once in the pen, their chances aren’t so good. So, the best thing we can do for our dogs is to give them jobs. Give them back their self-esteem and a chance to be functioning in our society. After all, we brought them in to this world. We domesticated them. They are now dependent on us. It may not solve the national deficit, but it will make for happier homes.

Here are a few to try (but the possibilities are endless). • Watch the house and let you know when someone comes. Many dogs like this task. The key to success is to acknowledge a “good job,” then ask for an alternate behavior, such as “place” by teaching her to go to a rug and reward the alternate behavior. This will teach your dog to do her job and stop vs. continuous barking.

PICK A JOB FOR YOUR DOG How we can best serve man’s best friend? Get to know your breed and find a job (or two) that best serves his skills. If you don’t know his lineage, try looking at breeds to see what you see in your dog. Physical traits can be one indicator toward the propensity for that breed’s characteristics. Try a few different jobs until you find one that he responds to and that might be the best indicator of his breed.

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• Round up squirrels (and if you don’t have squirrels you can toss toys around). This is a good job for retrieving breeds and some herding breeds. It is a good way to get toys picked up around the house, as long as you teach him to pick up the toys and drop them in a certain spot or container. You will need to reward this one with a high value treat at the end, so he knows the task has been completed. • The “round up” task could be something as simple as following you to collect clothes and do laundry. It gets your dog involved in a task and creates interaction between you and your canine partner. You can teach her to alert you when the laundry timer goes off. How many times have you gotten side-tracked and let the clothes wrinkle? • You can even ask your dog to help you with non-dog tasks just to keep him involved in family activities, such as “Let’s go give Billy a bath.” Your dog can follow you to get the bath going and watch while you bathe little Billy. If your dog is watching what you are doing (or lying next to you with a chew toy), he is not getting into trouble and is spending more time with you. • For dogs that like to dig, such as Terriers, you can set up a small sandbox and let them bury toys. You could play games inside by tossing a toy under a desk or bed and encourage your dog to get it out.


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Back in the 1950’s or 60’s, Ward Cleaver might have taught his dog to fetch his slippers or the newspaper, and there is something to be said for that. It gets your dog engaged, gives him a job and is something helpful for you at the same time. If you can find interesting activities for your dog — that will keep his mind engaged and keep him occupied. Jobs aren’t restricted to those around the house. Options to consider would be taking your dog to classes or events that utilize her skills, such as Agility for active breeds, Herding for herding breeds, Earth Dog (running through underground tunnels to find prey) for Terriers, or Tracking for just about any breed. Once you learn a little about those activities you will find bits and pieces which you can use around your home, like hiding a glove and asking your dog to “find it!”, or hiding a toy under a pile of dirty clothes and letting your dog dig it out.

DON’T FORGET YOUR CAT! What about man’s other best friend? Cats were domesticated approximately nine to ten thousand years. Cats have been everything from revered as magical beings to considered community pests. They are one of the most popular pets, not just because of their personalities, but due to their versatility at adapting to many human situations from small apartment living to roaming the streets and cafés of Key West. It is believed that their domestication was due to people tolerating them as they hunted vermin, which were plentiful in villages where people settled. It is important to provide your cat with plenty of environment Provide your cat enrichment, such as places to with plenty of... climb or jump up, but it also important to give them scratching posts and toys (or household items, like paper wads) for entertainment. However, you won’t have much luck at giving them jobs. If your cat sprawls across the newspaper when you are reading it, she isn’t looking at the Classifieds. You have probably heard the phrase, “dogs have masters and cats have staff.” Don’t expect your cat to work for you. Don’t think that if she catches a mouse or chipmunk that she was doing you the favor. At your house, the cat probably thinks she is the CEO. Giving our animal companions jobs makes them an important part of the household. So if you don’t want your cat to be CEO, she will just have to be a member of the Board. But for your canine coworker, look around the house. If you were to hold a Career Fair, ask yourself, “Isn’t there some way I can put my dog to work?” Then ask your dog, “Are you more of an individual contributor or do you like to work as a team?” The answer might surprise you, so be prepared and keep your options open. Pat Hennessy, is the founder of N2paws, LLC, an organization that provides companion animal attunement through behavior education, energy work, and positive training methods. Pat is a certified Level 2 TTouch practitioner, CPDT and member of the IAABC, IAATH and AWA. You may contact N2Paws via email, phone 816-522-7005, or visit the website J ULY /AUGUST 2010 •


Why It’s Hip to Snip:

Making the Case for Fixing Pets by Gabrielle Bassin, DVM


’m sure I’m not the only one who has had to fight back tears during the ASPCA’s TV commercials featuring Sarah McLaughlin’s “In the Arms of the Angel” and dozens of sad, sweet faces behind the bars of animal shelter cages. Until relatively recently, animal shelters of all types across the country were the lone crusaders in the management of epidemic-scale companion animal homelessness. Finding themselves constantly overwhelmed in their attempts to do right by the animal victims of irresponsible pet ownership and a tragically “throw-away” society. More recently, the shining light of hope in this ongoing fight has been provided by spay and neuter efforts, particularly by organizations that provide high-volume, low-cost spay and neuter, and target these efforts at animals that are at highest risk of repeatedly reproducing and ending up in shelters. Today, it is widely accepted that high-volume spay and neuter is the most proactive, most effective and most humane way of reducing companion animal overpopulation, homelessness and euthanasia in our communities.

WHAT IS SPAY AND NEUTER? A spay surgery (ovariohysterectomy) is a procedure in which the ovaries and uterus are removed through an incision in the abdomen. A neuter (orchiectomy) is the removal of the testicles through an incision either in the scrotum or just in front of the scrotum. Both procedures require general anesthesia and pain control. The result of both surgeries is permanent infertility and a variety of significant health benefits that ultimately translate into a longer lifespan for spayed and neutered animals.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF SPAY AND NEUTER? I like to emphasize the benefits of spay and neuter by dividing them into two categories: benefits for an animal’s individual health and benefits for population health. 18

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Individual Health Benefits Ah, one of my favorite topics — there are just so many to discuss! The most impressive is the prevention of mammary (breast) cancer in female dogs. Recent studies have shown that female dogs that are not spayed, or that are spayed after their second heat cycle have about a 27% (greater than 1 in 4!) chance of developing malignant mammary tumors during their life. When dogs are spayed before their second heat cycle, this chance drops to about 8%, and when they are spayed before their first heat cycle, the risk drops (drum roll, please) to nearly 0%! So those “old school” claims that it is good for dogs to have one litter or even one heat cycle before being spayed have been completely scientifically debunked. Following that outdated recommendation can actually be very harmful. Furthermore, sterilizing With so many benefits, female dogs how can you not spay and cats prevents them and neuter your pets? from developing ovarian and uterine cancers and also prevents a potentially fatal uterine infection called pyometra. When intact female animals develop a pyometra, they must undergo a very expensive hospitalization and emergency surgery (often costing upwards of $1,500) and can have a poor prognosis for recovery. So, spaying pets early in life not only is best for their health, but it will save your family money in the long-run. Neutering male dogs and cats eliminates the risk of them developing testicular cancers. Additionally, removing the testicles, and thus the source of testosterone, reduces the risk of developing certain types of prostate problems later in life. For males and females of both species, spaying and neutering eliminates the drive to find matesj20 and therefore decreases roaming behavior, escapes from homes and yards, and to some extent, aggressive behaviors. When dogs and cats escape and roam less, they are less likely to be hit by cars and picked up as strays and put into animal shelters.

Population Health Benefits Every year in the United States, 6-7 million dogs and cats enter animal shelters. Tragically, over 3 million of them (about 50% of dogs and around 70% of cats) have to be euthanized simply because there are not enough adoptive homes for all of them. Plain and simple — homelessness due to overpopulation, is the single biggest cause of death of dogs and cats in the US, more than any sort of trauma, infectious disease, cancer, metabolic disease, or any other health problem. Large-scale spaying and neutering means that far fewer animals are reproducing, which means fewer animals entering shelters, more families adopting homeless animals instead of buying from breeders, and ultimately, lower euthanasia rates of homeless animals. This makes for a smaller and healthier companion animal population. Since animal health and human public health are intertwined in many ways, this also has implications on the health of the human population. J ULY /AUGUST 2010 •


WHAT IS THE BEST TIME TO SPAY OR NEUTER? As early as possible! As discussed, the health benefits are much more dramatic when spays are done prior to the first or second heat cycle. Surgeries are less extensive and less traumatic when done on young animals, and surgery and anesthesia recovery times tend to be shorter for younger animals.

HOW MUCH SHOULD I EXPECT TO PAY? Cost varies greatly depending on where the procedures are done. At a full-service veterinary hospital, clients may pay more, but the cost will depend on the gender, age and size of the animal. Costs may be significantly lower in a high-volume spay/neuter clinics where these surgeries are the only service provided. These organizations may offer lower costs for some clients because fees may be subsidized with money from grants. Even though the surgery is similar, the greater expense of a full-service veterinary hospital may be due to more extensive anesthesia monitoring and intra-operative supportive care (e.g., blood pressure monitoring, pulse oximetry, inhalant anesthesia, intravenous fluids, etc) that are usually not possible in high-volume clinics. I encourage pet owners to make informed decisions about where to seek veterinary services.

HOW WE CAN DECREASE PET OVERPOPULATION? If the sweet faces of shelter puppies and kittens in those heart-wrenching television commercials make your eyes fill with tears, please do these simple things in your own community. • Spay and neuter all of your pets! Think you can’t afford it? Call your local low-cost spay/neuter clinic, we want to spay and neuter, so we’ll work with you to make it possible. • Support your local high-volume spay/neuter clinic by donating money, resources or volunteering your time. • Instead of buying an animal from a breeder or a pet store, adopt one (or two!) from your local shelter or rescue group. • Educate your family and friends, and encourage them to spay, neuter and adopt as well. A California native, Dr. Gabrielle Bassin received her bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley and her DVM degree from the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, where she had the privilege of working closely with the renowned UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program. Dr. Bassin is the veterinarian at Spay & Neuter Kansas City, a nonprofit organization that provides low-cost spay, neuter and wellness services in order to decrease companion animal overpopulation and euthanasia in the Kansas City area. SNKC’s targeted spay neuter program has resulted in a 35% drop in shelter intake for the Kansas City Missouri Animal Shelter which has also contributed to a 55% decline in euthanasia. Dr. Bassin lives in Lawrence with her husband Charles, a herpetologist and evolutionary biologist, and and their two beloved shelter mutts, Toby and Rudy. 20

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What to know before acquiring an

Old English Sheepdog

The Old English Sheepdog (OES) generally has a happy, rough and tumble disposition. He is always ready for action. He makes an ideal house pet not given to roaming. If your preference is for an outdoor dog to be left alone, this is not the breed to choose. The OES is a hardy, intelligent herding dog, which prefers to spend time with his family. Once a week thorough grooming will keep the dog relatively mat-free. Some people will collect the combings and spin them into an yarn suitable for either knitting or hand weaving. Without regular grooming, the dog can quickly become dirty, matted, and unpleasant to have around. The coat of an unkempt dog is a trap for dust, debris, fecal matter, urine and moisture, an very unhealthy condition.

OLD ENGLISH SHEEPDOG — HISTORY The origin of the OES is open to many theories. There is evidence that places the origin in the early nineteenth century, in the area of the Southwestern Counties of England. The OES is often referred to as a “drovers dog,” used primarily for moving sheep and cattle to market. Like other breeds it is speculated that these drover’s dogs were exempt from taxes due to their working status. To prove their occupation, their tails were docked, leading to the custom of calling the sheepdog by the nickname “Bob” or “Bobtail.” Since this dog has been used more for driving than for herding, the lack of a tail to serve as a rudder, so to speak, did not affect its ability to work with heavier kinds of sheep or cattle. Most working OES did not have the coats of their counterparts in the show-ring. Their coats were kept cut short. It was the practice with sheep farmers to shear and dip their dogs with the sheep. Many would argue that the name is a misnomer, as the breed was originally and until comparatively recently, an all-round versatile stock dog. When, driving cattle they would go steadily with calves, but they would make young spirited stock move fast.

FINDING AN OLD ENGLISH SHEEPDOG One place to find a purebred OES is from a reputable breeder. You may also be able to find one at a shelter. If you buy from a breeder make sure he is reputable and interested in producing sound, healthy dogs A responsible breeder has signed a copy of the OESCA Code of Ethics and it is on file. He is concerned about health issues of the breed, and screens his buyers for their suitability. Pets and show dogs can come from the same litter, each require the same care and attention. By purchasing a puppy from a breeder who is consistently placing his dogs under the scrutiny of the judges in the show ring, your chances for acquiring a good disposition, well-bred pet are enhanced. There is no excuse for buying a puppy from someone who is exploiting the breed. Compliments of the Old English Sheepdog Club of America.

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General’s Run for the Wall and Blue Ridge Parkway Ride 2010 G

by Mike Jones

eneral and I are back on the road for our Third Run for the Wall. Our first leg of the trip will be a short ride to Oklahoma City. We waited for the morning rush hour traffic to subside then departed, choosing to take Highway 71 South. There were only two items that stand out during this leg of the ride. I was behind an 18 wheeler and he went over a claw hammer in the middle of the lane. I was very glad that it was not kicked up in the air. Several miles down the road a van decided that he needed my lane more than I did. As he pulled in front of me, he hit a 4 foot long piece of 2 x 4 that was split to a point. Since I always ride in defensive mode I quickly made sure there were no vehicles in the left lane and moved into it just as the piece of wood went sailing past us.

ONWARD TO TEXAS In 2008 we were FNG’s (since this is G-rated we will just say that FNG stands for Fun New Guy) and met up with the Run in Weatherford, Texas. That year we also stayed in OKC the first night and went to the local movies and watched Iron Man. Well guess what, two years later we are back in OKC and went to the same theater and saw Iron Man 2.

I don’t know what it is about traveling by motorcycle but it seems there is always something going on. We had two near bird strikes. I thought one was going to land on the windshield. The other one came so close that I could have slapped it. We arrived in Weatherford with time to spare. Went by the American Legion where the riders would gather. I wanted to record the riders exiting the highway so we went out to Exit 409 and waited. The riders finally showed up and the Run that General and I have been waiting a year for had arrived.

PART OF THE ADVANCE TEAM General and I will be riding with the Advance Team again this year. There are about 25 to 30 of us riding in a very tight formation at highway speeds of 70 to 75 mph. The only word that comes to mind it “Trust” — you have to trust the riders around you. We made our way to the next fuel stop and then onto Longview, Texas. I had a personal mission there. I needed to find the gentleman that gave me the side box from his motorcycle, so that I would have one for the remainder of last years ride after our accident. I had his name and phone number last year but on the way 22

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home I got rained on and could not read it. I did find him and thanked him for his generosity and also gave him my 2008 XX Anniversary Challenge Coin.

PAYING OUR RESPECTS At our fuel stop in Minden, Louisiana me and 15 other riders were asked if we would like to pay our respects to a local family whose son was killed in Iraq the week before. It was an Honor that cannot be described by words. We were given a police escort through the back roads of Minden to the family’s modest home. The family members were outside waiting for our arrival. The soldiers name was Josh and his Father had a photo. We all walked up, expressed our condolences, then came to attention and saluted his son. We made our way down the line of his family. The remainder of our trip to Washington, D.C. was uneventful. This year I carried two memorial items. One was from a Patriot Guard mission for a returned and identified Vietnam MIA, John Q. Adam. The other was a dedication memorial for Kurt La Plant. General and I also stopped by to touch the name of 1 Lt. James R. Bohlig at Panel 19W Line 65 for whom I wear a bracelet.

THE SKYLINE DRIVE RIDE This trip General and I took an extra week off to ride Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway. We left D.C. on Sunday morning and headed for Front Royal, VA. That is where you enter Shenandoah National Forest. Skyline Drive is 105 miles long with a speed limit of 35 mph. This will be our third ride on Skyline Drive. We made our way to the first stopping place called Skyland. There is a restaurant there that looks out over the Appalachian Mountains. There is nothing better than having breakfast looking out over the mountains. After breakfast we traveled the remainder of Skyline drive to the beginning of the Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP). The northern terminus of the BRP starts at Rockfish Gap. This is the 75th anniversary year for the start of construction of the BRP. It is 469 miles long and has a speed limit of 45 mph. There are no commercial vehicles allowed and no commercial signage. There is a concrete mile marker for each mile. For guardrails they have guard walls built of stone from the area. The rails built from wood are also constructed from materials from the area. This will be our 4th trip down the BRP. We ride it from the north end to the south end every even year. If you ride a motorcycle you have to add the BRP to your B-list. You can travel for miles without crossing paths with other motorists. In the morning we headed for Memphis. Since General was born on Elvis’ 70th birthday I thought he should see Graceland. The hotel we stayed in had a menu from a local barbeque restaurant. They came and picked us up in a pink limousine took us to the restaurant then took us back to the hotel. What a hoot. It was an awesome end to an awesome trip. This year’s trip General reached a mile stone for a dog that rides a Harley. He has earned his 100,000 mile patch. When Mike is not traveling around the country with General, he is a Structural Engineering Technician with Shafer, Kline & Warren in Lenexa, KS. J ULY /AUGUST 2010 •


Chip’s Corner


by Heddie Leger

Across: 2. 5. 7. 9. 11. 13. 16. 17. 18. 21. 22. 24. 26. 27. 28. 24

What is the minimum number of times a week an Old English Sheepdog (OES) should be brushed or groomed? Trims the nails Both Show Dogs and ___________ can come from the same litter. Item used to groom a dog A reputable breeder is interested in producing this type of puppy One job the OES is good at doing A group of dogs running loose can form a ___________ The OES should have a _____________ temperament. Nickname for the OES ___________ cattle was a very important job for the OES If you do not groom your dog it will be ____________________. The OES breed is thought to have originated in ______________. It is important to ___________________ train any dog. An item made from the dogs hair Dog’s wag these

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Down: 1. A reputable breeder will adhere to the breed _________________. 3. A reputable breeder will screen for ________ issues 4. If you purchase a dog, make sure the breeder is ___________________ 6. A dog’s foot 8. What you teach your dog when you don’t want him to move. 10. A safe place for animals 11. A homeless dog 12. A method to train a dog that is kind and gentle 14. When a dog does the right thing we call him a __________ dog. 15. A word to describe the OES 19. If you want an ____________ dog, the OES is not the dog for you. 20. A temporary home for a dog 23. The OES is know for its ____________ disposition 25. Dog’s use this to find their way around

June Pawzzle Answers

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Traditional vs. Alternative

Veterinary Care

“It matters not whether theories be eastern or western, so long as they prove to be true.” Jen Hsou Lin, DVM, PhD by Mcheal Tarrant


o what exactly is the difference between traditional veterinary care and alternative veterinary care? There are many different ways that we, as veterinarians, can treat our patients and the real difference between traditional and alternative care is simply the approach used to treat a specific illness or ailment. Here is a brief overview of some of the treatment options that are available.

TRADITIONAL VETERINARY PRACTICE Firstly, there is the traditional veterinary practice which includes the majority of veterinarians in the Kansas City area. In these practices, through physical exams, bloodwork, x-rays and others diagnostics we try to find out what is causing the problem. We then use things like surgery, antibiotics, antiinflammatory drugs and other medications to address the problems. This is what most people think of when they think of taking their animal to the vet.

ALTERNATIVE PRACTICES So you’re asking what exactly are the other options and alternative treatments? There are four main areas that I would like to address in this article. These are herbal medicine, acupuncture, chiropractic, and nutritional therapy. These treatment options have the most credibility and are more widely accepted in the veterinary community as valid treatment methods than other alternative treatment options such as color, sound, light therapy, reiki, qi gong, reflexology, therapeutic magnets, and homeopathy.

Herbal Medicine Herbal medicine includes the use of both western herbs and Chinese herbs. Herbs can be used for any condition that could be treated by conventional western pharmaceuticals. In my experience however, there are some diseases/ailments that respond better to pharmaceuticals and some that respond better to herbs. Herbal medicine, in general, takes a bit longer to start working but can address the underlying cause of the issue instead of masking the symptoms. When the root cause of the problem is treated the secondary symptoms will resolve accordingly. Herbal therapy is usually continued for weeks to months by adding powders or tablets 26

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to the dog/cat food and is changed according to the needs of the animal.

Acupuncture Acupuncture is the insertion of needles into specific points of the body to elicit physical or chemical changes. Some of the changes include change in pain sensation, decreased inflammation, decreased blood pressure, muscle relaxation, and the release of hormones. It can be used for a wide variety of issues such as pain, arthritis, urinary incontinence, allergies, chronic GI problems, immune system disorders, and intervertebral disk disease (IVDD). There is a recent veterinary article in JAVMA citing dogs treated for back problems (IVDD) that shows better results with acupuncture than with surgery.1. Acupuncture can be used as the sole means of treatment or in conjunction with other types of therapy. It varies from patient to patient and depends on their response to the needles. Treatments are initially performed from once daily to once weekly, and then taper off. Acute sprains or strains will often resolve in a few days to weeks and chronic conditions such as arthritis or allergies will often require maintenance treatments that vary from once a month to every six months.

Chiropractic Chiropractic therapy is also used in veterinary medicine. It is mainly used for musculoskeletal pain and follows a schedule similar to that of acupuncture, with more frequent visits at first and tapering off as indicated by the patient.

tive medicine. These are the conditions that have not developed overnight and are not going to be resolved overnight. Arthritis or hip dysplasia is a great example of where traditional and alternative/complimentary medicines can join together to benefit our patients. Use of anti-inflammatory drugs such as Rimadyl or Deramaxx can decrease pain and inflammation; nutrition changes can promote weight loss; supplements such as glucosamine/chondroitin can protect cartilage in the joints; and acupuncture can decrease pain and reduce inflammation to relax the surrounding muscles. Many people are not aware that there are alternative options for treating their pets. As both human healthcare and veterinary care evolve, many of the “alternative” treatments will become more mainstream and gain acceptance in the United States. Dr. Michael Tarrant practices an integrative approach to veterinary medicine for dogs, cats, small animals and exotic species. For more information call Arbor Creek Animal Hospital at 913764-9000 or visit 1. Reference: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, June 1, 2010, Vol. 236, No. 11, Pages 1225-1229 doi: 10.2460/javma.236.11.1225. Comparison of decompressive surgery, electroacupuncture, and decompressive surgery followed by electroacupuncture for the treatment of dogs with intervertebral disk disease with long-standing severe neurologic deficits.

Nutritional Therapy Nutrition is the last “alternative” treatment modality to be covered in this article. There has been a lot research in the U.S. in the last 20-30 years regarding nutritional requirements for animals. This has lead to the prevention of a number of nutritional diseases such as heart disease in cats caused by taurine deficiency and the formulation of therapeutic diets that will help with dissolution of crystals or stones in the bladder. These diets have helped countless numbers of animals. There are also many animals that are getting too many carbohydrates and fats. Along with a lack of exercise these diets lead to an increasing number of obese pets and weight related health problems, such as arthritis and diabetes. By providing high quality nutrition: food, vitamins, minerals, and supplements many diseases can be successfully controlled or even reversed.

WHICH OPTION IS BEST? So the question — when to use traditional medicine and when to use alternative medicine. For acute conditions or very severe medical conditions such as infections with high fevers, congestive heart failure, or seizures, I tend to reach for western pharmaceuticals because they are very powerful and will have an immediate impact on the patient’s condition by relieving pain, suffering and possibly saving their life. For more chronic conditions such as recurrent skin and ear infections, allergies, hip dysplasia or arthritis, I prefer to use herbal medicine or a combination of both traditional and alternaJ ULY /AUGUST 2010 •


Barking = Lack of Exercise? by Mike Deathe So, now we have arrived at the other big reason dogs bark…exercise (or lack thereof). Let’s be honest, most of us do not give our dogs enough exercise, let alone mental stimulation (boredom anyone?). If you are not walking your dog at least an hour a day, at least six days a week, you are not even going to touch their energy level! Since we have jobs, spouses, kids, dinner and of course the boob tube to contend with, what do we do?

SHOULD YOU OWN A DOG? Besides us walking our own dogs, which we should all be doing anyway since it’s good for us as well, we can use doggy day care or professional dog walkers! If you own a dog and cannot afford the $10-$20 a day for doggy day care or professional dog walker and if you don’t have the time to exercise the dog because of the hecticness of your life, I really need to ask the question “should you own a dog?” I know that is a cruel question, but it is not fair to relegate a social animal, such as a dog, to solitary confinement 18-20 hours a day! This is a question you and your family must answer on your own, unfortunately not everyone should own a dog.

Could lack of exercise lead to barking? Sorry… off my soapbox and back to doggy day care. Facilities such as this will not only give your dog exercise, but will allow the dog to, well, be a dog! I am a big believer in the fact if dogs are not allowed to interact with their own kind (outside of the pack they have at home) they forget how to speak dog. Doggy day care is a great way to keep them proficient at their native tongue, while properly socializing them. It also allows dogs to spend some quality time away from Mom and Dad, realizing that being away from the family is not a bad thing, but is actually fun! It can actually help prevent and even help with separation anxiety! This being said, doggy day care is not be a good fit for every dog, and any reputable facility will tell you if your dog is anti-social. Dogs, like people, have different personalities, just like some people don’t like being around other people, some dogs don’t like being around other dogs. 28

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WORN OUT DOG = HAPPY DOG! One of the first things I teach in my classes is “A tired dog is a good dog!” Exercise alone will have a marked difference on all sorts of problem behaviors, including barking. If not, you can at least work with the dog since their attention will be more focused because of the exercise and socialization, from doggy day care. Think of it this way, we have kids in one First Grade class who don’t get recess and are given 2 lbs of chocolate and Mountain Dew to drink! Do you want to even try to teach them arithmetic? The kids in the second First Grade class get physical exercise with 2 recesses a day, socialization with Gym class and a healthy lunch. Now, who do you want to even try arithmetic? I’m pretty sure I would choose the second group of kids! So the next step is to get started with some cues/commands (now that we have the edge off with exercise) that can help you get barking and even some other problem behaviors more under control. Think about it this way…our kids have had recess & now it’s time to learn our ABC’s. Mike Deathe is a stay-at-home dad who found his passion as a dog trainer in 2008. The author of the Keep It Simple Stupid (K.I.S.S.) Pet Blog. Mike has had dogs since he was four years old! In 2009, he and his wife Kate founded Muttz “R” Us, a t-shirt and pet product company with a philanthropic motto of “Adopt a Pet, Save a Life.” In 2010 Muttz “R” Us also launched KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID DOG TRAINING! Visit us at facebook or twitter or follow the blog @http://muttzmembers. or check out the website for details.

J ULY /AUGUST 2010 •


The Plight of the Shelter Cat by Lindsay Haake

This is the story at many shelters. Family after family walks through the door, wide-eyed and ready to adopt…. and the adorable kitten catches their eye. Unfortunately, the adult cat is overlooked. Each and every summer, hundreds of kittens come into shelters. “Kitten season” often means that adoption rates for adult cats drop dramatically.

ADULT CATS IN SHELTERS Approximately 4 million cats end up in shelters every year, and when an adult cat enters an animal shelter or humane society, only one in four of them will ever find a home. And, because so many cats are not microchipped or have identification tags, the majority of those that become lost are never reunited with their families. “Animal Haven has more than 100 wonderful adult cats that need homes. It is heartbreaking to see so many of them remain in the shelter when they would be the perfect family pet,” states Christie Tant, Animal Haven’s Web Marketing and Special Events Manager. Across the country, many shelters are implementing creative marketing strategies to bring in more potential adopters. From discounted adoption fees to themed events, shelters are working hard to give adult cats the attention they deserve. Fee-waived adoption promotions are being done in other parts of the country with great success. Wisconsin Humane Society tried the promotion for one year and found it to be so successful they never reinstated the fees. Through five years of follow-up studies, they found that the lack of an adoption fee does not “devalue” the cat in the adopter’s eyes. “Animal Haven will be screening our adopters as thoroughly as ever. Our cats deserve to be in the best homes. Waiving an adoption fee is not going to change that,” Christie Tant mentions. 30

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Nationally, a collaborative effort by The Humane Society of the United States, Maddie’s Fund, and the Ad Council has also launched The Shelter Pet Project — a nationwide marketing campaign to promote pet adoption and combat stereotypes about shelter pets. This campaign hopes to change the way Americans view shelter pets and boost adoption rates of homeless cats (and dogs) across the country. “The commercials

Cats end up in shelters due to no fault of their own. show that many pets, especially cats, end up in shelters due to no fault of their own. The campaign stresses a simple message: there’s nothing wrong with shelter cats and many cats are brought to shelters for issues such as death of an owner, lack of time, allergies, divorce, or bankruptcy,” said Teresa Johnson.

MANY WONDERFUL BENEFITS Adopting an adult cat has wonderful benefits. In fact, pet cats are the most popular companion animal in the United States, outnumbering dogs by some 15 million. If you are looking to add a new furry family member, consider an adult cat. Cats are perfect pets for apartments and smaller homes. And — cats get plenty of exercise living indoors. Just 15 minutes of playtime each day will satisfy a cat. If you would like to welcome a new feline friend into your home, there are a couple of things to keep in mind. Choose a cat whose personality will fit best with your lifestyle. Energetic, playful cats will probably work best in a household with children, while older, mellower cats may be better suited for older adults. Two cats are indeed better than one, and adopting a threesome might even work if you’re dedicated to their care and are willing to receive three times the love. If you take home more than one, you may be keeping together littermates, lifelong companions or even cats who have become pals in the shelter. Most cats, particularly kittens, flourish with a friend. Shelters and rescue groups are great resources to help you find just the right personality you are looking for. By giving an adult cat a loving home, you are giving them the second chance they all deserve. Lindsay Haake is the Communications & Public Relations Specialist for Animal Haven, located in Merriam, KS. She can be reached at 913-944-4199 or Visit the website at J ULY /AUGUST 2010 •



MetroPet Magazine • J ULY /AUGUST 2010

Upcoming Events Shelties Rescue Adoptions What: Adoption Events Where: Petco, 75th and Metcalf, OP, KS When: Sat, July 10, 24 • 10 am - 2 pm Sat, Aug 14, 28 • 10 am - 2 pm Sun, Aug 1 • 11 am - 3 pm Details:

Animal Haven What: Paw-ty in July Where: 3895 State Line Road, KC, MO When: Sat, July 17 • 12 - 5 pm What: Silpada Party Where: Town Center Plaza, Leawood, KS When: Sat, July 31 • 11 am - 3 pm Details:

Animals Best Friends What: 2nd Annual Dazzling Dogs & Dinner Where: Independence, MO When: Sat, Aug 14 6:30 - 8:30 pm What: Santacaligon Days Where: Historic Independence Square, Independence, MO When: Fri-Mon, Sept 3 - 6 • Events All Day Details:

Tails on the Trails What: Outdoor fun with your dog Where: Lenexa, KS When: Sat, Aug 14 • 9 am - 2 pm Details:

American Cancer Society Bark for Life What: Dog walk and activities Where: Mission, KS When: Sat, Aug 21 • 8:30 pm Details:

Midwest Kids Fest What: All day activities Where: Overland Park Int’l Trade Center When: Sat-Sun, Aug 21 & 22 • 10 am- 5 pm Details: J ULY /AUGUST 2010 •


Is Your Pet the

Cutest in KC?

Belle — This is our new addition Belle! Just being adorable, as always. Submitted by Sophie White Ziggy — Ziggy is quite a character. He has the most intriguing looks, but they are really hard to capture because he moves so quickly! Submitted by Megan Romer


Indygirl — Indygirl was adopted 5 weeks ago from the Grandview Animal Hospital. She gets her name because she loves to race around the house chasing the other cats. Submitted by Mark Romer

MetroPet Magazine • J ULY /AUGUST 2010

Snap a photo of your pet and submit it at