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August 2013 • Vol. 1, Issue 12

PetConnections Magazine

Take One!

Join PPC, Shorty & Hercules for the

3rd Annual

PAWS FOR THE CAUSE Benefitting Western PA Police Benevolent Foundation Mission page 6

The HumanAnimal Bond Pig Wisdom Page 4 3 Tips to Train Like a Pro Page 10 Pet Food Labeling Tricks Page 16

Serving the Greater Pittsburgh Area August 2013 • Vol. 1, Issue 12

“Pit Boss” Shorty Rossi and Cristian Garcia | Photo: Drew Volchko

Take One!

ANGEL RIDGE AD GENEROUSLY SPONSORED BY J&D HOME IMPROVEMENTS From decks and fencing to bathroom remodeling, J&D has done it all!

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• Offering Surgery, Radiology, Laboratory, Pharmacy and much more • Monthly Educational Events

“Your Pet, Our Priority”

Jess Spung, Dr. Katti Stoller, Brie Duez, and Savannah Fleming Dr. Katti Stoller, DVM - Head Veterinarian and Owner Dr. Katti Strahsmeier-Stoller is the owner and head veterinarian of BelaCoop Animal Hospital. Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Dr. Stoller had a love for animals and by the age of seven she knew she wanted to be a veterinarian. Growing up with 14 beagles she cherished going along with her dad to the vet and in high school she worked in kennels and animal hospitals. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Biology as an Animal Science/Pre-Vet major and a master’s degree in Poultry Nutrition both at Virginia Tech University. She relocated to the island of St. Kitts and attended Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine, returned to the United States to finish her clinical year of study at Purdue University, obtaining her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree in 2006. From there, she worked on Cape Cod at Sandwich Animal Hospital for three years. Moving back to Pittsburgh she obtained a job working emergency medicine for three years and married her husband, Sam and went on to do relief work in shelter medicine for the Western PA Humane Society and White Oak Animal Safe Haven. Katti and Sam opened their own animal hospital named in the memory of their two dogs, Bela and Cooper; Katti’s beloved dog, Cooper, inspired her special interests including oncology, exotic medicine, emergency medicine and seizure disorders. Sam and Katti currently have two cats that were rescued from the island of St. Kitts and are also fostering a Golden Retriever/Hound mix named Pepper, who they are hoping to keep. Dr. Stoller’s hobbies include gourmet cooking, interior decorating, shopping and spending time with her family. Dr. Stoller has also been featured in the hit TV show “My Dog Ate What!” on National Geographic Wild. She has had honorable mention in Veterinary Practice News magazine as well as Pittsburgh Magazine.

724-939-7062 |

Brie Duez - Head Receptionist and OHSA Manager Brie grew up in Southern Florida and in 2005 moved to Pittsburgh to be near her family. While living in Florida, she worked as a kennel attendant for three years and though she wanted to work in veterinary medicine she enlisted in the US Army, serving her country for three years transporting hazardous material throughout Europe. Once back in the US, she started an office job but left her job and everything she knew and came back to the veterinary field. She has been fully enjoying her work in veterinary medicine and is excited to take on a new position. She comes from an emergency clinic as one of the top client service employees. Brie currently has three cats and a dog, all of which are rescues. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends as well as relaxing at the lake and watching movies. Jess Spung, LVT - Head Technician and Office Manager Jess has been working as a certified veterinary technician for eight years. She started her career working at a pet hotel then a pet store. She left for school earning her bachelor’s degree in Biology from Carlow University and then an associate’s degree in Veterinary Technology from Western School of Health and Business Careers. She has worked in several small animal hospitals as well as an emergency clinic where she was a shift supervisor. Jess and her husband, Dan, have 3 dogs and 3 cats. She enjoys reading, watching stand-up and sketch comedy, writes comedy sketches and loves spending time with family and friends. Savannah Fleming - Technician and Marketing Manager Savannah has been working with the ones she loves the past 11 years. She started her veterinary career as a teenager volunteering at the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium then was hired as a veterinary assistant in a small animal hospital. Savannah has continued her education in the veterinary field by working at an emergency practice as well as other small animal practices in the Pittsburgh area while earning a bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies from Duquesne University. Savannah and her fiance Tony, have five cats and one dog, all of whom are rescues. In her spare time, Savannah enjoys being outdoors with her dog “Little Bear” and enjoying time with family and friends.

2232 We st Hardies Road | Gibsonia, PA 15044 August 2013



Mon-Sat: noon to 8 • Thursday: appt. only • Sun: noon to 6

I n T h i s Issu e: The Human-Animal Bond . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4

Health & Wellness for Guardians . . . . . . . . .22

Pig Wisdom

The Importance of a Balanced pH

Event Calendar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5

Tanks and Terrariums . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .23

Upcoming Pet Events

Animal Health & Wellness . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8-9 MRI and CT Imaging in Animals

Animal Behavior . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10-11 3 Tips to Train like a Pro; Q & A with Judith Levy: My Cat is Keeping Me Awake at Night!

Hermit Crabs 101

Equine Affairs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .24-27 Out of Balance; Forward, “Tracking Up,” or “Ground Covering”

In Remembrance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .28 In loving remembrance of Gwenie and Lexie

Holistic Care . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16-17 Pet Food Labeling Tricks; Awareness is the First Step to Change

Advertiser Locator Map . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14-15

Featured Rescue . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21 In Care of Cats: A Sanctuary for Cats with Feline Leukemia


©Pittsburgh PetConnections

August 2013

FROM THE PUBLISHER WELCOME TO OUR AUGUST VOLUME 1 ISSUE 12! PPC Magazine August News: PPC Magazine is proud to have been a sponsor for the Steel City Pet Expo. We had a blast and the event was a huge success! Educational seminars featured Dr. Suzanne Mullings from Allegheny South Veterinary Services speaking on CPR, Top Dog Eileen Proctor speaking about canine separation anxiety, Therapy Dogs, Inc. gave a great presentation on the capabilities and roles of therapy dogs, John Lege, “That Guy with the Birds”, talked about parrot care and Shorty Rossi & Hercules, star of Pit Boss on Animal Planet shared his special passion championing the cause of pit bulls. See our feature in this issue of the 3rd Annual Paws for the Cause hosted by the WPA Police Benevolent Foundation featuring Shorty! The Animal Rescue League and Wildlife Center, Animal Friends, Beaver County Humane Society, CARMAA, FurKids, Guardian Angels Pug Rescue, Parrot Education and Adoption Center and Hope Haven Farm Sanctuary were among the many rescue organizations present. The talent show and agility demonstrations were also amazing! Also, the Lucky’s Southside Dog Festival was great fun and we’ll be there next year, too!

Carla Mader and Shorty Rossi at the Steel City Pet Expo

This Issue: Our August issue features local pet events, featured rescue In Care of Cats and informative articles from our contributing writers! Please see the event calendar page in this issue on page 5. Our website also has an event calendar and additional event listings. We welcome you to upload an event for your organization at no cost. PPC Magazine supports the missions and events of our area shelters and rescue groups, and therefore, recommends contacting one of those to find an addition to your family that is a good fit! We are committed to raising awareness on adopting and fostering rescued animals and you can visit our online directories on the home page of our website for an organization near you. My background of over 25 years as a veterinary technician, veterinary hospital administrator and non-profit founder has led me to create Pittsburgh PetConnections Magazine. My goal is to lead, share and heal through the Human-Animal Bond (HAB). I would like to personally thank all of thank you for picking up PPC Magazine. Take care of yourself, as well as your animals and be well! Warmly, Carla Mader CEO & Publisher Pittsburgh PetConnections, LLC.

Please submit any correspondence to: Please check us out on the web & subscribe at: Follow PghPetMag on Twitter and “Like” us on Facebook! Pittsburgh PetConnections Magazine Disclaimer: “The views expressed in PPC Magazine are those of the authors and does not necessarily reflect the position or policies of Pittsburgh PetConnections Magazine. All view points are welcome.”

Pittsburgh PetConnections Monthly Published By: Pittsburgh PetConnections, LLC. Pittsburgh PetConnections, LLC. was formed in 2012. Our mission is to publish a high quality, informative and Human-Animal Bond focused publication. We support local businesses and also assist local non-profit businesses for pets and people, to give back to our great Pittsburgh communities.

MAGAZINE PUBLICATION STAFF Managing Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Carla Mader Chief Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Bernadette E. Kazmarski Sales . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Carla Mader, Savannah Fleming Distribution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Martin Mader Graphic Artist . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Patricia Sutkowski Photographer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Kara Jones Photography Contributing Writers: Our contributing writers have many years of combined experience and expertise in the fields of veterinary medicine and the Human-Animal Bond.

ADVERTISING: 724-503-8695 Contact: All Rights Reserved Copyright 2013

August 2013 Subscribe, Submit, Upload! Submit your business or rescue organization’s info for a FREE listing on our directory. No website for your small home-based pet or wellness business? Add a Featured Listing on the PPC online Directory for a small yearly fee and upload photos and detailed info about your business!

Become a Media Partner with PPC Magazine! A Media Partnership with PPC includes: • Ad in print or online (free design) • A Free Featured directory page on our website with your business info, photos and link to your website • Your logo in our monthly newsletter • PPC promotes your business at our events • A subscription to PPCMagazine and copies for your business • Community Calendar link to your website or MeetUp site • We accept content contributions (print or web articles promoting your business)

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noticed the scar as soon as she sat down – it stood out like a red beacon over her heart. It quickly faded out of my sight as I talked with the person whose life revolved around this seemingly insignificant concentration of tissue.

emotional broken hearts are no coincidence. They are energetically and spiritually linked.

As she told me about her most recent surgery – a valve replacement and the cause of her scar – I said, “Let me guess, it was a pig valve”. We chuckled about her love of pigs, and how her life was saved by the very animal she took care of as a child. Now it was time for her to learn to empathize in a healthy way. Her physical heart was better, but it risks further damage from her emotions. Compassion and caring without taking on the pain is one of the most difficult lessons of anyone in a healing or service profession. I find that by Dr. Susan Wagner resisting the sadness doesn’t help – it only makes it worse. If we are able to experience the grief, open our hearts and share it, the energy Sarah is trained in veterinary nursing, and is also a gifted energy shifts, and a peace envelops us. We come to feel the universal love that practitioner and speaker. Her passion is to bring energy therapy into surrounds all suffering creatures, and know that they are not alone. mainstream veterinary medicine. Sarah wanted my advice on how to proceed, because she believed she didn't have the credentials to be I knew pigs had more to teach Sarah, so we talked about what other accepted in the professional world. How could she encourage people things we could learn from them. On the surface, pigs smell, they love to hear her, and help them understand how important energy medicine to roll around in the mud, have very bad table manners, and make is to animal healing? loud, snorting noises. Most people wouldn’t choose to cuddle up next to a pig. But the truth is that pigs are very intelligent animals and make As she told her story, the animal connection was hard to miss. Sarah loving companions. And how many hearts have been physically healed grew up on a pig farm. Her family saw pigs as income, but Sarah because their valves are so similar to humans? connected with them on a deeper level. She would sob, and her heart would break when a piglet didn’t make it. Sarah talked about the pain I suggested Sarah take on some Pig Wisdom. When she can get past of being empathic, and how she now chooses to do her energy work the need for approval, and speak her truth no matter what people from a distance. It’s easier than being caught up in the emotions think, her professional path will open up. Pigs don’t care if people are surrounding a sick animal. If she isn’t careful, each case makes her heart turned off by their noises, they snort anyway. They don’t care if they ache a little more. smell, and they certainly don’t trouble themselves over appearances. Those of us in complementary healing fields also need not worry about Sarah’s first heartbreak didn’t occur because of the piglet. She was born how people see us, or if our words will be received. It is the act of being with a congenital heart defect – a bad valve – and that caused her many true to ourselves and speaking up that is important. Of course that’s touch and go moments due to heart failure. Her physical and true for everyone – it’s about loving ourselves for who we really are.

Pig Wisdom

In the immortal words of the Muppet character, Miss Piggy, “There is no one on the planet to compare with moi.”

Dr. Susan Wagner is a board certified veterinary neurologist whose pioneering work acknowledges the bioenergetic interaction between people and animals. She is an advocate for change in the area of interpersonal violence and animal cruelty, and works toward a greater understanding surrounding the health implications of the human-animal bond. Dr. Wagner is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at The Ohio State University Veterinary College, a Level IV Healing Touch for Animals practitioner and co-author of Through A Dog’s Ear.


©Pittsburgh PetConnections

August 2013

August 2013 Pittsburgh Pet Event Calendar Sunday




Thursday 1



Saturday 3

Visit for more information. 4












22 23 24 Bingo! 2nd Annual Smoking Animal Rescue League – see inside front cover with Shorty benefitting and Hello Bully Golf Paws for the Cause WPPBF Missions Outing with Shorty Rossi – see below – see website – see page 6



10th Annual Sample of Station Square – see page 20




do? Looking for something to 18

Don’t fo19rget to visi20t your local dog park!

a or West Park Off Leash Are Allegheny Commons Park Off Leash Area Bear Hollow Park sh Dog Area Bear Hollow Trail Off Lea n 27 Ru g Bernard Do 25 26 k Par g Do n Ru Bradys Carnegie Dog Park Dog Area Chambers Park Off Leash Park g Do as ugl Do e arli The Ch Doglogic Indoor Dog Park Playground Dogs Rule Dog Store and g Park The Dog Stop Indoor Do Area Duff Park Off Leash Dog k Par g Do ew Fairvi Lakes Park) Franklin Dog Park (at Twin g Park Do gh rou Green Tree Bo g Park Hartwood Acres County Do eville nro Mo Heritage Dog Park ture Park K9 Kingdom’s Indoor Adven Keystone State Park g Area Kovalczik Park Off Leash Do sh Dog Area Lea f Of ve ser Re e Lillian Kellman Natur Dog Area (East) Lower Frick Park Off Leash and Pool k Par g Lucky Paws Do sh Dog Area Mingo Creek Park Off Lea k Par g Misty Pines Do North Dog Park sville Comm. Park) Ru Paws on the n (at Murry Dog Area sh Pedora Park Off Lea Penn Hills Dog Park Raccoon Creek State Park Riverview Dog Park erry Comm. Park) Rotary Dog Park (in Cranb Park See Spot Run Dog k Settlers Cabin County Par Leash Area f Of k Par gh rou Bo ts igh Sewickley He k Par g South Do Park South Side Riverfront Dog g Area Do sh Summervale Park Off Lea k Off Leash Area Thornburg Conservation Parsh Dog Area Townsend Park Off Lea est) Upper Frick Dog Park (W k Par g Do k Oa White

August 2013


31 Free Fur-All – see page 7

WPPBF and Smoke present

2nd Annual Smoking with Shorty August 22, 2013 • 6pm till ??? Smoke Cigar and Lounge 1118 Washington Pike, Collier Township, PA (by Pittsburgh Bottleshop)

Featuring Animal Planet’s Pit Boss Shorty Rossi with Hercules Finest Cigars around! $25 Entry • Food, Beer and 1 Cigar All proceeds benefit the Western PA Police Benevolent Foundation to continue helping law enforcement officers and families.

Visit for more details or on facebook site for WPPBF


Benefitting WPPBF Mission “No officer or family shall ever walk alone.”

Shorty Rossi & Hercules

Meet “Pit Boss” Shorty Rossi from the Animal Planet’s hit show, Pit Boss. And meet artist, Dawn Tarr, who creates all of Shorty’s canine portraits and custom swag.

Saturday, August 24, 2013 8:30 am -2:00 pm Collier Township Municipal Park #6 Lobaugh Street, Oakdale, PA

$15 registration fee includes all of the day’s activities and a custom Paws for the Cause t-shirt On Aug. 24, the Western PA Police Benevolent Foundation will be hosting the 3rd Annual Paws for the Cause. The event features two well known personalities in the Canine world. The first is Shorty Rossi, the Pit Boss, from Animal Planet’s hit show Pit Boss. The second is an incredible artist who routinely creates incredible works of art, either custom portrait work for the owner and companion or unique items such as bowling pins or wine glasses with your friend painted on. Dawn Tarr is known far and wide as the artist who creates all of Shorty’s canine portraits and custom swag. Dawn will be taking orders for custom artwork, portraits and canine art.

Attention Shorty Fans! The WPPBF will have on hand raffle tickets for a chance to win a private luncheon with Shorty and Friends on Sun. Aug. 25. Tickets are $5 each or 6 for $25.

EVENT SCHEDULE 8:30-9:30 Registration and Setup 9:45-10:30 Paws Walk - Collier Park 10:45 Welcome to PAWS 11:00-12:30 Demonstrations 12:30 Shorty Rossi, Key Speaker 1:00-2:00 Demonstrations & Vendors

Visit for more details or on facebook site for WPPBF WPPBF and Smoke present

2nd Annual Smoking with Shorty Aug. 22, 6pm - ??? Smoke Cigar and Lounge, Collier Township See ad on page 5


ANIMAL HEALTH WELLNESS MRI AND CT IMAGING IN ANIMALS By Gerald Frye, VMD Medical Director PetsDx Veterinary Imaging, Pittsburgh, PA


RI and CT Imaging have become an integral part of veterinary medicine over the past 10-15 years. Prior to 2006, animals requiring advanced imaging in Pittsburgh and surrounding areas would need to travel with their owners to universities in Philadelphia and Columbus. Through a partnership with Pittsburgh Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Center, PetsDx Veterinary Imaging is proud to provide the area’s only high field MRI system for animals as well as CT imaging. In order to understand the capabilities of MRI and CT imaging, we need to understand some basics. Both produce pictures similar to an x-ray yet much more detailed. They are also similar in appearance while using two totally different methods to gather images.

A particular area of interest must be selected for the scan. A MRI of the entire animal at one time is not possible for three reasons: 1. Field of view – by opening up the “picture frame” detail is lost and subtle problems could be missed 2. Anesthesia time – scanning the entire patient would require 3 or 4 hours or more. Since all patients are under anesthesia, many will go directly to surgery after the MRI 3. Cost – $$$

MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging and involves a magnetic field rather than radiation. MRIs are measured in Tesla (magnetic strength). Most urban human hospitals have 1.5 Tesla magnets or larger. The stronger the magnet, the faster the images can be completed and the greater detail. Any magnet that is 1.0 Tesla or stronger is considered to be a “high field” magnet. Anything below 1.0 Tesla is considered “low field”. Magnets are also classified as “Open” or “Closed”. “Closed” Magnet

“Open” Magnet

A closed magnet has a circular tube that the patient is placed inside (the bore of the magnet) and the magnets rotate around them inside the tube. An open magnet is just that…open on the sides with magnets above and below. Closed magnets create better quality images than open magnets. Open magnets were designed and implemented for


two specific reasons in people, claustrophobia and obesity. Since all animals receiving a MRI require general anesthesia, claustrophobia is not an issue. Anesthesia also helps to minimize movement. Any movement during the scan can lead to blurring of the images just as it would with a camera.

MRI in animals is primarily used for brain and spinal cord issues. One of the major benefits is the capability of enhanced detail with soft tissues such as the brain, spinal cord and intervertebral discs. Muscles, tendons and ligaments can also be examined in depth with MRI. Animals that have exhibited changes in behavior, sudden blindness, seizures, generalized imbalance, head tilts or circling may be recommended for a brain scan. Those that have exhibited signs of back or neck pain, weakness of one or more limbs or even paralysis may be recommended for a spinal cord scan. The average MRI for an animal will last about 1 hour and pictures are taken from three different angles. CT stands for Computed Tomography and involves exposure to low levels of radiation. Since radiation is involved, exposure time of the patient has to be considered. One CT is the equivalent of approximately 400 x-rays. CT is composed of a small tube with a flat table that moves in and out of the tube. An x-ray tube then rotates around the patient creating a 2 dimensional image. CT creates images in “slices” of the area imaged…similar to a loaf of bread. Multiple cross-sectional x-rays are taken during the rotation of the x-ray tube. Once again, all animals require some type of anesthesia to acquire the necessary images. CTs will usually require less anesthetic time and may take one third to one half the time of an MRI. Its primary use is geared toward skeletal problems but can be used for some soft tissue related issues.

©Pittsburgh PetConnections

August 2013

Possible areas to be imaged with CT: • Skull – chronic sneezing and/or nasal discharge, bleeding from the nose, fractures, tumors of the head or jaw • Neck – spinal fractures/malformations • Chest – primary tumors of the lungs or spread of tumors to the lungs, other masses of the chest wall or heart region, fluid around the lungs • Abdomen – tumors of the liver, stomach, spleen, intestinal tract, kidneys, adrenal glands, bladder • Skeleton – arthritis, dysplasia, chronic lameness, fractures, tumors Although MRI and CT imaging can be very helpful in diagnosing certain issues, it is extremely important to understand that some initial diagnostics must be performed in order to create a complete picture.

Preliminary tests such as bloodwork, x-rays and/or ultrasound should not be bypassed and many times will be sufficient to diagnose a problem. These initial tests may also pinpoint issues that need addressed prior to any anesthesia. For example: liver, kidney and heart function all play major roles in how Jaw tumor of the mandible in a dog an animal handles anesthetic (lower left) drugs. When additional information is needed of certain areas, MRI and CT can be invaluable tools to the veterinarian.

Gerald Frye, VMD

Sagittal view (side)

Coronal view (top)

Medical Director PetsDx Veterinary Imaging 807 Camp Horne Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15237 412.366.3400

Axial view (cross-section)

The Rogan Rexford Animal Blood Bank

“Pets Giving Pets the Gift of Life” Please volunteer your dog to be a “Blood Donor Hero” DOG DONOR ELIGIBILITY • Between 1 and 7 years of age • Weight: 50 lbs. or more • Healthy with a gentle temperament • Current with vaccinations • Never had a blood transfusion

• Tested negative for blood-borne diseases (free testing by blood bank) • Must be on heartworm, flea and tick preventative • Not pregnant or currently nursing

Read more about The Rogan Rexford Blood Bank at: For questions, or to make an appointment call: 412-348-2588 or e-mail: August 2013


ANIMAL BEHAVIOR 3 Tips to Train Like A Pro By Tena Parker, Success Just Clicks Dog Training


o you wish that you could train your pup as effectively as a professional trainer? Well, here are 3 tips to help you improve your training skills and train more like a pro!

BE CLEAR, BE CONSISTENT Set clear criteria (what it takes for him to be successful) for your dog and hold him to it. If sometimes pulling gets Fido to a sniffing spot and sometimes it gets him scolded, how is he to know what you want? If you don’t want Fido to pull on leash, you have to make sure that pulling never gets him anywhere while also showing him what you want. Preventing him from pulling is a key piece to being successful – to start, set the dog up in a situation where he is not likely to pull. Instead of going for a walk where Fido typically pulls, spend the same amount of time going for a training walk in a boring location, like a driveway, where you focus on teaching him leash manners. When the dog is successful in the driveway, slowly expand the walk to new environments.

INCREASE YOUR RATE OF REINFORCEMENT It is well known that a high rate of reinforcement (rewarding behavior frequently) impacts how quickly a skill is learned. This is something that most dog guardians do not take advantage of in their training. With a dog who is a jumping maniac, a trainer may reward “four on the floor” 20 times in a minute to create a dog who is choosing the floor over jumping up (because the floor pays out big time!). In only a few

sessions Fido has learned that four on the floor pays out and even as we slow the reinforcement rate, he remains on the floor. Using Fido’s meals to reward him or tiny treats (smaller than a pea even for large dogs) will prevent him from being over fed.

BE A “SPLITTER” NOT A “LUMPER” Humans have the tendency to be “Lumpers” – once we know what a behavior should look like at the end stage, we try to train all the pieces simultaneously. Unfortunately, this tends to backfire. In training, it is much more effective to be a “Splitter” (breaking a behavior down into its smallest components) because it is easier for the dog to learn. If you want Fido to lay on a bed while you eat dinner, it is best to break it into its small components and teach each one separately (with building up each skill): lay on the bed, stay on the bed for a duration of time, stay on bed while human moves further away, stay on bed while human(s) sit at the table, stay on mat in the presence of food. Once these can be done individually, you can start to put two of them together, then three of them, and eventually all of them put together.

OPTIONS FOR PETS THAT WILL NOT TAKE THEIR MEDICINE Many pet owners are able to dose their animals’ medicine in the forms that are already available, and some are not so lucky. Finding the untouched tablet or capsule around the house or in the food dish is a common theme among many. One solution we are able to provide is making the oral dose a suspension and concentrating the liquid so that the smallest amount possible would need to be given at any one time. This works well for many drugs used to treat a variety of conditions, for example; methimazole for thyroid, prednisone/prednisolone, a steroid often used in dogs and cats, or enalapril for heart issues. We are able to flavor the liquids chicken, beef, tuna, or liver to make the medicines palatable for your animal. Another option we offer is the ability to make the medication a transdermal gel, meaning that the We now stock generic Rimadyl. prescription would be filled by putting the active ingredients in a topical cream/gel that would be rubbed Carprofen is available in 25mg, 75mg, into the front inner side of the ear and would be absorbed through the skin. We recommend wearing gloves and 100mg tablets. By choosing the or covering your hand with a plastic bag because the medicine could easily be absorbed into the owner’s skin as well. The amount applied is very small and alternating ears is best for absorption. This is generic you can save up to 25-30% per month based on a twice a day dosage. a great option for the cats that can easily get away. Some examples of medications that can be formulated this way are: methimazole, amitriptyline, Buspar, and tramadol.


©Pittsburgh PetConnections

August 2013

ANIMAL BEHAVIOR My Cat is Keeping Me Awake at Night!

Q&A with Judith Levy By Judith Levy M.Ed.,CEHP, RMT

My cat is keeping me awake at night! She comes and jumps on me until I either play with her or feed her some canned food!! I used to use a spray bottle but it no longer works. She is great at dodging the water! How can I stop this behavior? Tired Person

also want to purchase some interactive toys for your cat to play with independently during the day. An animal needs to exercise and have stimulation. The expression is, “A tired dog (or cat) is a well behaved dog (or cat)!” If they are not tended to in this way, they will develop undesirable ways to vent. Much like us – if we exercise, we are less likely to develop unhealthy conditions and habits.

HI. I am wondering if you can help. My young cats play on my bed at night and they keep me up. If I try to put them out, they scratch under and at the door. I don’t want to be mean to them and I am so frustrated. Thank you. Carrie from North Hills

LEVEL OF LIGHT IN YOUR HOUSE: Some folks have a night light in their bedroom or they leave on the TV when they fall asleep. If your cat is easily aroused or if you have kittens, that stimulation may be enough to get them going at night.

Q. Q.

STOP GIVING ATTENTION WHEN THE CAT IS BEHAVING INAPPROPRIATELY: The most reliable and sometimes the ONLY treatment for attention getting behavior is extinction. This means that you MUST ignore the cat when she bothers you! It may be difficult for a week or so but you must ignore unwanted behavior. Intermittent attention strengthens a behavior. So this means that if you ignore your cat for 30 minutes and then yell at her or pet her or even push her off the bed, she will know that she just accomplished getting your attention. If you consistently 100% of the time ignore this behavior, your cat will realize that you are not willing to do it her way. Ignoring demands for attention along with these others suggestions can yield great success!! Go for it! If you are having a behavioral issue with your cat, visit Judith’s website at PLEASE NOTE: The suggestions here are in regard to cats that regularly disturb you during sleep. IF YOUR CAT IS OLDER OR IF THIS BEHAVIOR IS UNUSUAL FOR YOUR CAT, I SUGGEST THAT YOU HAVE YOUR VETERINARIAN EVALUATE THE PROBLEM. While it is true that a cat’s natural active state is at dusk and at dawn, it is also true we are able to either strengthen behaviors in one direction or another. That is, we can teach our cats and develop their inclination to play and ask for attention during the hours that are convenient for us or we can “feed into” their tendency to develop the desire to be active and receive attention during our sleep time. So let’s look at the ways in which we can encourage them to settle and rest during the night or at least to refrain from disturbing you!


CHANGE FEEDING SCHEDULE: Instead of feeding your cat all of her food early in the day, use a measured amount of food and withhold some of it until the evening. Your cat having a full belly at your bedtime will reduce the probability that your cat will awaken you during the night for food. And what you’re feed your cat matters as well. I suggest avoiding chemical additives as much as possible and make sure your cat food has some type of meat (not the word meat but fish, chicken, beef etc.) listed as the first ingredient. PLAY THERAPY and ATTENTION BEFORE BED AND DURING THE DAY: Play with your cat in the evening and before bed to vent some of that playful and predatory energy. There are many wonderful toys and stimulating games on the market. Go on the internet and explore…What would be appealing to your cat? You may August 2013


Holistic approach to behavior Specializing in treating fear and trauma in cats and dogs

Judith Levy M,Ed., CEHP, RMT Educator Feline and Canine Behavioral Consultant Certified Energy Health Practitioner



HAAWC is a 501(c)(3) organization that honors the Human Animal Bond as a source of wellness for individuals, families and communities. Schedule an underground dog fence installation with us before December 31, 2013 and we will give you $100 off!

Guided by the belief that animals are a gateway to human healing, HAAWC intends to develop both urban programs and rural sanctuaries designed to impact community health, safety and wellness. HAAWC is raising funds for upcoming animal-related programming.


ŠPittsburgh PetConnections

August 2013

PAWS HERE AWHILE State-of-the-art facility • Themed vacation dog & cat rooms TV • Stereo • Patios • Air/Heated We offer your dog the most comprehensive enrichment program while boarding with us. Our knowledgeable staff will provide activities and exercise that matches your dog’s drive. PROFESSIONAL PET GROOMING Day and Evening Appointments


It’s A Great Day to be a Dog!

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August 2013


“Taking steps to improve your pet’s well-being” gs “Walking the do on gt hin as of W County” Dog walking, with extended services of pet transport to vet and groomer, and occasional pet-sitting for established clients. Insured and bonded, and trained in pet CPR and first aid. Call to reserve your spot!

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©Pittsburgh PetConnections



August 2013

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August 2013


All About Dogs (see ad pg 14) All Natural Hoof Care (see ad pg 25) American Veterinary Charitable Fund (see ad pg 17) Angel Ridge Animal Rescue (see ad on inside front cover) Answers Pet Food (see ad pg 19) Chris’s Canine Club (see ad pg 14) Contain-A-Pet (see ad this page) Coventry Equestrian Center (see ad pg 24) DogWatch (see ad pg 12) HAAWC (see ad pg 12) Holistic Care for Animals (see ad pg 19) Jeffrey’s Drug Store (see ad pg 10) Judith Levy (see ad pg 11) J & D Home Improvements (see ad on inside front cover) KS Jones Photography (see ad pg 26) Nicole Begley Photography (see ad pg 14 ) Paws Here Awhile (see ad pg 13) Portraits of Animals (see ad pg 12) Renee Takacs, M.A., Intuitive Healer (see ad pg 17) The Rogan Rexford Blood Bank (see ad pg 9) Sample of Station Square (see ad pg 20) Success just Clicks (see ad pg 14) The Working Paper Horse (see ad pg 24)



e all realize that proper nutrition is the foundation for health. Choosing the best diet is one of the most important factors for a pet’s wellbeing. Every pet food claims to be superior to the rest in their flashy ads and packaging can be quite enticing. It is important to read the pet food label carefully and not be taken in by pretty pictures. But choosing the right pet food is tricky because the labels themselves can be very misleading.

Pet Food Labeling Tricks

Most pet owners know that dogs and cats are carnivores. In fact, these pets do not require starch-laden carbohydrates in their diets at all. And yet, most pet foods are loaded with carbohydrates. There are two main reasons that pet foods contain a lot of starch. The first is that carbohydrates are a cheap source of calories. The second is that convenient, dry food requires carbohydrates to bind it into kibble. Cost and convenience, not nutritional soundness, are the reasons for excessive carbs in pet food. Many people relate carbs in pet food to the grains the diets contain. It is certainly true that most pet foods supply the carbohydrates in the form of grain. However, “grain-free” does not mean “carb-free.” If it is dry pet food it contains starch in some form. Look closely at the label and you’ll find potatoes, tapioca or some other carbohydrate source. Pet food manufacturers often manipulate the raw materials in the food so the ingredient list looks good to the consumer. The companies know that conscientious pet owners are looking for foods with the meat component at the top of the ingredient list. There are several clever ways to accomplish this. For example, “whole chicken” on the ingredient list of a dry dog food sounds good. However, whole chicken is 70 percent water. This water is removed during the processing of dry food, reducing whole chicken to chicken meal. Three pounds of whole chicken cooks down to one pound of chicken meal. Now, the ingredients are listed on the label in order of pre-processed weight. So having “whole chicken” on the list, as opposed to “chicken meal,” is just a ploy to move that meat up on the list. Here’s another trick: wheat flour and ground wheat can be listed as two different ingredients even though the only difference between the two is the size of the ground particle. The only logical reason to do this would be to make the label look like the food contains less grain because if the total amount is split in this way, then it falls lower on the ingredient list.

Doug Knueven, DVM, CVA, CVC, CVCH component comes from a rendering plant and may contain pentobarbital (the drug used to euthanize animals). In fact, two separate studies found traces of this drug in major brands of pet foods. It truly is a dog-eatdog world. If you look carefully at any pet food label you will see that the amount of “Crude Protein” is listed. However, this is not a measurement of the actual protein in the food – thus the name “Crude Protein.” The way this ingredient is actually measured is by looking at the nitrogen level of the food since protein is high in nitrogen. So an unscrupulous supplier of wheat gluten (a common source of pet food protein) could adulterate their raw ingredient with some other compound that is high in nitrogen – such as melamine – and make their gluten look especially nutritious while in reality it is more toxic. This is how thousands of dogs and cats were poisoned by the food they were fed a few years ago. On another front, no one wants to see preservatives in their pet’s food. Unfortunately, the label may not be much help with evaluating this. You see, if the pet food company buys an ingredient, such as chicken fat, and adds a chemical to preserve it, that chemical must be on the ingredient list. However, if they buy fat that is already chemically preserved, the preservative does not go on the label. Just because there are no preservatives on the ingredient list does not mean the food is preservative free. This scam is used in some “holistic” and “natural” pet foods. I wish I could give you a straightforward way of choosing the best pet food based on the label besides being aware of the tricks of the trade. At a recent veterinary nutrition conference I attended, the nutritionist told us that “You cannot tell the quality of a pet food by reading any company material or even the pet food label.” He recommended that we veterinarians take note of the pet food each patient we see is being fed and the animal’s health. Over time, correlations can be made between specific foods and health.

It is important to read the pet food label carefully and not be taken in by pretty pictures.

Another ploy is to include several grains so there is proportionately more meat than any one grain. Both of these techniques allow the meat component to be brought to the top of the ingredient list and this makes the food look more healthful. Speaking of grains, one of the most common grains in pet foods is soy. Soy contains chemicals called phytoestrogens that mimic the body’s estrogen. It has been found that some dog foods contain enough soy that they can wreak havoc on an animal’s endocrine system when fed long term. Another study linked excessive soy in cat food to hyperthyroidism – one of the most common hormone diseases in cats.

Hopefully there is meat listed somewhere on the ingredient list. Unfortunately, you cannot easily tell the quality of that meat from the label. Here’s a tip about the meat in pet food. Stay away from any food that lists “meat and bone meal” as an ingredient. This “mystery meat”


Based on my experience, dogs and cats that are fed a balanced, raw diet are the healthiest. This evolutionary diet includes raw meat, ground raw bones, organ meat and shredded veggies. Frozen, pre-made diets are available. In my opinion, Mother Nature is smarter than the smartest veterinary nutritionist and the closer we stick to the animal’s natural diet, the better off they are.

©Pittsburgh PetConnections

August 2013

On a Wing and a Paw…



Awareness Is The First Step To Change

nce we become aware of an imbalanced or unhealthy situation, then can we change it. As we allow change to flow within our lives, without resisting it, we can help ensure our pet’s well being along with our own.

both she and I learned that plastic bowls can give off formaldehyde which apparently can cause all kinds of health problems. I continued to run into more situations like this. I learned that ceramic bowls can contain lead which can cause heavy metal poisoning. One of my clients currently consults with a naturopath – Oprah Winfrey who is working to remove the heavy metals from her dog in order to alleviate the root cause of her dog’s seizures. Thankfully, they are having success with the process.

“When we know better, we can do better.”

In this dance of life, we encounter vibrant, life-sustaining situations, and we encounter harmful, life-draining situations. I’d like to mention a few of the unsuspecting harmful situations I’ve encountered through my conversations with animals. My intention is to expand your awareness and to continue ensuring our pets’ well being.

Let’s start with some obvious objects like toys and food bowls. I recently learned that my own cat’s toy contains benzene. It was her favorite toy that she had played with for years. It is a felt strip of material knotted onto the end of a stick. Benzene is a petroleum derivative. It has contributed to the health imbalances that she has been experiencing lately so into the garbage it went. Years ago while conducting an animal communication over the phone, a person asked me why her dog wasn’t eating. The dog told me it was hungry and liked his food. However, he told me the reason he wasn’t eating was because he didn’t like the odd smell coming from his food bowl. Intuitively, I could smell a plastic-like odor. The dog’s person confirmed that the bowl was plastic. She decided to switch out the plastic bowl for a safe, healthy stainless steel bowl. Some time later,

Has your dog ever had sinus problems? During a conversation with a dog several years ago, I remember intuitively seeing a “mushroom” in his nose, which is my symbol for fungus. The dog’s person said her dog was having sinus problems, and her vet was planning to do invasive surgery. She chose to consult with a naturopath for a second opinion. The naturopath confirmed the sinus fungus and identified the source of the fungus. It was coming from the residue of peanut butter that was placed inside of the dog’s Kong toy ball. This was an innocent enough pleasure, yet, awareness was certainly her first step to change. She chose an herbal remedy process to heal her dog’s condition, and the dog’s sinuses were restored within three months. Oprah Winfrey once said, “When we know better, we can do better.” Loving our pets and being as aware as we can about these potential risks assures quality of life for both our pets and ourselves. Listening lightly, Renee

Offering illumination, comfort and clarity for both you and your animal friends.

AVCF provides veterinarians with a unique opportunity to join together under one charitable entity designed to assist them raise funds to support their generous giving. Appreciative clients and caring individuals can now help veterinarians in their charitable endeavors by supporting an individual veterinary practice or the AVCF General Fund. Donors can rest assured that 100% of their charitable giving to the AVCF goes directly to improving the quality of life of pets and their people.

email: For more information: August 2013

Renee Takacs, M.A. Intuitive for People and Pets



Cat litter is just Cat litter, right? Not at all! Here are a few questions to ask yourself when choosing a litter: • Is it free of chemicals, perfumes and dyes? • Is it flushable? • Does it produce a minimal amount of dust and/or tracking? • Is it safe for you, your cat and the environment? • Does it have a texture that appeals to your cat? Ninety percent of cat litter today is made from clay. The problem with clay litters is that they are made from sodium bentonite. This chemical produces a lot of dust-containing silicon particles. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has proven that silicon is a known carcinogen in humans! Since this type of litter is dusty, your cats are breathing it in and even licking it off of their fur. Breathing in silicon can lead to respiratory infections. Even more detrimental is when your cats lick themselves clean and ingest the clay, which prevents nutrient absorption and can cause intestinal blockage as Toni and Meg

Is your current cat litter safe for you, your cat and the environment?

it swells after being exposed to intestinal liquids. Lastly, from an environmental perspective traditional clay litters contain substantial amounts of sodium bentonite. Sodium bentonite is heavily striped mined leaving in its wake tracts of land devoid of all nutrients and viable natural habitat. What’s the good news? Fortunately, there are many alternatives to clay litter, including litters made from recycled newspaper, plant-based litters and wood shavings or sawdust. Recycled newspaper has no added chemicals, perfumes or dyes, which makes it biodegradable, flushable, dust-free and safe. Simple as that. Plant-based litters, which are becoming more common, are environmentally friendly because they are made from renewable resources. The most popular and effective plant-based litters are made from corn and wheat. Litter made from corn is naturally absorbent, clumping and safe. Cats convert well to it because of its similarities to clay-based litters. Although slightly more expensive, it will last longer than clay litters. The only negative to corn-based litter is you do have to scoop out your litter box on a regular basis because mold likes to grown on corn in moist, dark environments.

clumpability is minimal. You may have to look for a different type of scooper for this litter. Frequent changing of the box is also necessary. If you’d like to switch from clay litter to something more natural, safe and healthy, I recommend doing it slowly. First try one that fits into your budget and add 25 percent new litter to 75 percent old litter for a few days, and see how your cat responds. If he or she refuses the box, then it’s not the right litter. However, if your cat takes to the box right away, try bumping up to 50/50 for a few days. If this continues, go to 75 percent new with 25 percent old and then bingo! You should have your cat using the new litter. I realize that cats are reluctant to change, but I highly advise you to at least attempt to switch from clay-based litter for the long-term healthy and wellness of yourself, your cat and even Mother Earth.

Wheat is another plant-based option, which has a naturally pleasant smell that helps with odor control. It’s clumpable, flushable (but only in small quantities), natural and safe. Again, the only negative is scooping daily to help with odor control. LItter made from pine or cedar wood shavings, or even sawdust, is also natural, biodegradable and environmentally friendly, making it a safer choice. It is not dusty and odor control is excellent, but


Specializing in Raw Feeding! ©Pittsburgh PetConnections

SOUTH HILLS: Crossgates Plaza 1742 Washington Rd. Upper St. Clair, PA 15241 (Next to Model Cleaners)

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Find us on August 2013

Don’t give up yet, call DrChiroVet! Mysterious weight loss, limping, parents worried about cancer... Ridley~8 years old, in early May of 2013 he came in from the yard limping. His veterinarian diagnosed a possible bulging disc and he was put on steroids and muscle relaxers. Even more concerning for his parents was the fact that he had been losing weight, 7 pounds in the previous 2 weeks. Mom and dad are scared about cancer. When I saw him for initial consultation on June 8, 2013 he was still a little off with his gait, but he was no longer holding his paw up. His weight was 57.4 pounds.

DC, CCSP, CVCP Dr. Savko works with the following veterinary clinics: Meadowlands Veterinary Hospital, Washington, Pa Suburban Animal Clinic, Butler, Pa, Delmont Veterinary Hospital, Delmont, Pa, Fox Run Equine Center, Apollo, Pa

We found strong reactions (which indicate neuromuscular interference or stress) in his mid-lumbar region and the left side of his neck. One week later on our follow up visit at the Meadowlands Veterinary Hospital he weighed 58.5 pounds! His parents reported he was “walking further, he is more alert, no limp, he is eating and drinking and seems much happier, more himself.” “He is not on any medications and he gained 1.1 pounds!” “And he has even been much more active this past week!” Ridley has now gained about 4 pounds, he is off all medications, and he continues to be more active with fewer symptoms. When static is removed from the nervous system, the body is able to heal much more efficiently; which so far has worked astonishingly well in Ridley’s case.

August 2013

Over 13 years experience



Photo: Bernadette E. Kazmarski


n Care of Cats informally began in 1978 when Risé Chontos lived with her children and first husband in what amounted to a hunting lodge in the woods in Elizabeth, PA, providing food and veterinary care to cats who approached their house. The family also noticed street cats living in abandoned buildings in the town of Elizabeth along the Monongahela River, south of Pittsburgh. As the mills closed and unemployment rose more cats were abandoned to the streets and generations of street cats were born.

“Cats were everywhere, the need was so great,” Risé remembered of that time. “I had this idea I would take alley cats and fluff them up and find new homes,” she laughed. The reality was quite different as they found many of the cats on the streets had become distrustful of humans and were not only resistant to being “rescued”, but even when rescued they could hardly be fluffed up into adoptable cats, some simply frightened and some truly feral, born generations away from human contact. The only option at that time for a cat who couldn’t be tamed enough to be adopted was death. Death for these frightened cats was not an option for their rescuers so, while they did work to find homes for any cat who was adoptable, they kept the unadoptable ones. But it was when Risé met Ichabod, a rail-thin black cat who came to her from the woods, that saving cats diagnosed with feline leukemia virus became a focus and a passion. “I couldn’t get near this cat at first, you know, you work so hard, it was months before I just touched his cheek,” Risé recalled as her right hand absently made the motion of stroking a cat. “I took him to the vet and he was diagnosed with FeLV. The vet took him away and said he had to be euthanized immediately.” Not knowing what to do, she let it happen, as many did in those days. “It was a devastating experience,” she continued, “so I started keeping the sick ones too.” And so the sanctuary was born, and as the years progressed and the number of cats increased they added to the little cabin. They still weren’t a public rescue, just a bunch of people helping cats in need, and then came the first big step in their evolution. “Towns came up with ordinances and we had too many cats, so we came out of the shadows and became what we are,” said Risé. “We had plenty of criticism for saving these unwanted cats,” she said. “People asked us why we were wasting our resources on them since they could never find a home. They had a home,” she said. “They have a home here, and if they are alive and well enough to get through each day, they deserve to live.” They incorporated in 1994 and through the years the little hunting cabin became less their home and more their cats’ home. A donated trailer became their office and temporary home as the original cabin was slowly gutted and rooms were added; eventually they built a little house for themselves as an addition to the original building.

A Sanctuary for Cats with Feline Leukemia by Bernadette E. Kazmarski Cats have buckets of water available, changed twice each day, in numerous places on each floor and in the cat yard as well as buckets of dry food also available in various places indoors, and they receive canned food once daily. The sanctuary typically has around 150 cats in a “floating population” as Risé describes it. The cats are ill and live shorter lives even with care, three years being the typical lifespan although some have lived ten years. The cages are only for observation or intensive treatments; each cat spends a little time in a cage until Risé and her daughter Janine Sudy, who is the main caretaker in the sanctuary, and Risé’s husband Leonard Chontos get to know the cat’s patterns and habits. They can stabilize an unhealthy cat on intake but each cat sees one of three vets, one of whom makes house calls to the sanctuary. If a cat needs treatment for any condition it stays in the cage until it’s healthy enough to move around. Once each cat is out of the cage it is free to roam the building and the cat yard. Janine checks each one of them at morning feeding, monitors in person during the day and does a checklist each night for where cats are and how they are doing. “These cats get the same things cats without FeLV get,” Risé said, “colds, intestinal viruses, even chronic illnesses like diabetes and heart disease, so they may go into a cage for intensive care.” Some cats also have permanent damage from the effects of FeLV, such as ulcerated eyes and scar tissue in their sinuses. Eventually each cat succumbs to the effects of the illness. “When they stop responding to everyday love and care, we consult with our vet,” Risé said, for humane euthanasia. Each cat is cremated and its cremains added to the urns in the quiet fenced cemetery, which also houses a few dogs who’ve joined them through the years. Local shelters and rescues appeal to ICC for an animal who is FeLV positive, and Risé will often organize to trap and rescue cats and bring them in for assessment, treatment, and spay and neuter, finding a foster for cats who are not FeLV positive. ICC also houses five rescued dogs and two chinchillas. Through the years many volunteers have helped with daily care and with larger projects and are also added to the daily schedule. “If it weren’t for all the people helping, I’d never be able to keep this going,” Risé said. As a registered 501(c)3 they also apply for grants wherever possible an doffer charitable donation credentials for those who donate. A large mobile “Spay Shuttle” stands on the property, donated from an organization who’d had it donated to them, but who couldn’t use it. It’s one of Risé’s goals to get this set up to provide low-cost spay and neuter services to her community. “Even if it just sits here and we don’t try to drive it anywhere, veterinarians have offered to volunteer their time to provide surgery and veterinary care here when needed,” she said. “And cats who are well are almost a problem because I have no place to keep them long-term,” she said. “I’d love to add a ‘well cat’ room.” “I feel I’ve not only helped these cats but cats in general,” Risé said.

The sanctuary building has two stories and a basement, the main floor with the laundry, containment cages and pharmacy, second floor with a spiral staircase for feline access, and a basement with access to the outdoor cat yard.

August 2013

More detail about the facility and more photos are available on the Pittsburgh PetConnections website.




ur digestive system plays such an important role in our health. If our gut is not healthy, we are not healthy, and that goes for our pets too.

The Importance of a Balanced pH

By Sharon Satterfield, ND

Keeping the pH balanced is extremely important. It takes a little time to get it where it needs to be but once we do keeping it there is easy. The pH of both the urine and saliva should be 6.4/6.4. Many people only test the urine pH but that only gives half the picture. You need to test both. The best way to find out how your digestion is working is to test your pH about an hour and a half after finishing your meal. This gives time for the food to move out of the stomach and into the intestines. The urine is the top number, the saliva the bottom number. The urine tells us how well the liver is working and the production of our enzymes. The saliva or bottom number tells us how well our colon is working. If the pH falls under 6.4 on both numbers your body is too acid, which creates inflammation anywhere and everywhere in the body including joints and muscles. The lower the number the worse the condition. If the pH goes above 6.4 on both urine and saliva then the body is getting too alkaline. Again the higher the number the worse the health gets. Too much acid after too many years can lead to cancer, not to mention many other health conditions such as all kinds of digestive issues, insulin resistance, arthritis, osteoporosis, muscle pain, auto immune problems, fibromyalgia, thyroid problems and the list goes on. If the

Back to Basics

pH stays too alkaline this causes a whole other set of problems, constipation being at the top of the list, along with bloating and gas on a regular basis, and allergies of all sorts, especially outdoor, and joint pain. Being too alkaline can also lead to cancer at some point down the line. Being too acid or too alkaline presents many health issues, so it is best to keep it balanced. I don’t expect everyone to be testing their urine and saliva all day long, a couple times is enough for 5 or 6 days to see what the pattern is, then we act on it and find a solution to the problem. If the top number is higher than the bottom number then this affects the kidneys and heart with high blood pressure, capillary problems and heart palpitations to mention a few conditions. If the top number is acid and the bottom alkaline this creates digestive issues too. The food is leaving the stomach too quickly and exiting the colon too slowly. If you do not have a gallbladder you must work extra hard to keep the pH balanced. I know as I don’t have one. Wish I’d known then what I know now, I would have cleansed out my gallstones instead of having it removed. Which, by the way, can be done. Adding probiotics is the first thing to a healthy digestive tract and immune system. Second, eating a diet of 80% alkaline foods and 20% acid foods daily is the best way to keep the pH balanced. If your pH is acid then you need to eat alkaline foods only until the pH comes into proper range. If your pH is too alkaline then eating a diet of acid foods until the pH balances out is best. After that the 80/20 diet is best. I know this is a lot of info and you may not totally grasp it right now, but feel free to call me at 412-343-8156 and I will be happy to assist you. We also have a small book we give out with the proper diets and information to help balance out your pH. The best way to keep your pets digestion in order is to give them Probiotics daily. Add Aloe if necessary.

We’re not just any vitamin store...

We carry all natural, food based, excipient-free vitamins, herbs and supplements & personal products. We also have a variety of herbal teas and local honey from Bedillion Farms. Our other services include: • Ion Detoxification Cleanse • Consultations with Sharon Satterfield, ND • Featuring the Zyto Select Biocommunication Scan • Consultations for the whole family and your pets!

412-343-8156 Lebanon Shops | 300 Mt. Lebanon Blvd.


©Pittsburgh PetConnections

Photos: Bernadette E. Kazmarski

Did you know that your business (including non-pet related) can sponsor an ad for a non-profit Rescue group? Call us at 724-503-8695 to find out how you can support your favorite local ANIMAL charity! August 2013


hen I was five years old, my dad took me to the beach for the first time. As amazed as I was by the biggest sandbox I had ever seen, I was fascinated by these small creatures in shells. Having allergies all of my life, I was never able to get the dog I wanted, but my dad saw the perfect opportunity to teach me a little bit of responsibility, and bought me a hermit crab. I quickly fell in love with this creature that loved to climb on everything.

The best secret, though, is their food. When we bought our crab, the pet store on the boardwalk sold us small pellets that we were supposed to

Hermit Crabs 101

Wonderfully creative at age five, I named him Mr. Crab. Like most other people who buy hermit crabs, we thought that he would last six months, maybe a year if we were lucky. I’ve now had him for fifteen years. He’s still the crazy climber that he always was, and hasn’t slowed down one bit. I’d love to share with you my few simple secrets to making your hermit crab a long-time companion. First, water is very important to these little guys, so I always make sure that he has fresh water. I bought a water dish from a local pet store that’s a little over an inch deep, but my trick is to put a sea sponge in the dish. You can get these from pet stores and craft stores, but make sure they haven’t been coated or treated with anything that might harm your crab. The sponge is great because it prevents tiny hermit crabs

from getting stuck in the water dish, and humidifies the air, which is important for the crab’s breathing.

We’ve also found that while he adores sand straight from the beach sand from your local pet store works fine, too. Whatever you do, however, don’t buy children’s play sand from your hardware store, as this can be treated with chemicals that your crab will not enjoy living in. We use an old aquarium tank with a mesh lid and keep pieces of driftwood inside for him to climb on. For his home, we cut a coconut in half, hollowed it out, and cut a small door in it for him. He loves this. He sleeps in it every day (he rmit crabs are nocturnal) and climbs all over it.

August 2013

give him every few days. We also purchased a wonderful little book, Hermit Crabs as Pets by Daniele Scermino, which recommended the opposite feeding regime. The book said that our crab would be much happier if we fed him human food, and that scraps from our dinner table would be enough. At first we were surprised because the store had sold us the ubiquitous food pellets, but we decided to trust the book. It makes sense, too, because hermit crabs are naturally scavengers. Through some trial and error, we have found that he loves fruits and cooked vegetables and the occasional piece of shrimp, but more than anything, he adores peanut butter. It’s easy to tell when they’ve eaten something or not by the telltale tiny marks that they leave in the food. We change his food every night, and every time we give him peanut butter, he always eats it. The book we had purchased was also very helpful because it warned us that our crab would molt from time to time. Since hermit crabs have a hard outer shell or exoskeleton, they have to shed it every once in a while in order to keep growing. They’ll dig underneath the sand (my crab loves the humidity underneath his water dish) and stay there for about two weeks. They’ll shed their exoskeleton and hide their newly-pink bodies deep within their shell. This is very important because the exoskeleton looks exactly like the crab so it will appear as if your crab has died. But before you worry, carefully check inside the shell for a fragile, scared crab! Leave him with his exoskeleton for a few weeks, making sure to keep his water dish full, and he’ll turn dark again. Good as new!

DID YOU KNOW? • Hermits crabs need fresh and saltwater to thrive. • If your home is cold they really benefit from a heating pad. • Mix your purchased sand with Coconut Fiber and Crushed shells and mist on a regular basis; the sand should stay wet but not soupy wet.

By Sarah Richards

Basically, the key to keeping your crab happy is to recreate his natural environment. But that being said, my crab loves to crawl around my house or my yard. I always stick close by, though, because he loves to wander off or crawl up underneath furniture. Hermit crabs are a perfect pet if you have allergies or don’t have enough time to devote to a larger pet. And their name couldn’t be more of a misnomer; my crab is definitely not a hermit and he’s seldom crabby. If you have any hermit crab questions or comments, feel free to email me at Good luck!


EQUINE AFFAIRS Out of Balance By Nancy Frishkorn CHCP, BA


o you worry that your horse’s hooves have too much flare? Do they trip or clip together when you ride? Have you lost points because you couldn’t clear the last pole, make the last barrel or are simply are afraid to trail ride because your horse might stumble and fall? Does your riding just feel “out of balance?” It is only when we have some understanding as to WHY the hoof capsule distorts that we can begin to find not only their balance… but our own. For the hoof capsule to function normally, it is important to make sure that the hoof is trimmed to its proper proportions and kept in balance; this means that the hoof is symmetrical both medially/laterally, or from side to side, and in the anterior/posterior position, or front to back. When considering the medial/lateral balance (side to side) a barefoot trimmer will balance the sole to the center of the frog and not attempt to alter the conformation of the horse. I cannot speak for those who do corrective shoeing, and this article is not to address those differences, but rather provide the reader with a basic understanding of equine conformation and its effect on the hooves. We do not attempt to change the bony structures because epiphysis closure and conformation are genetic, and sometimes a result of environmental factors, which cannot be altered without causing harm once the equine has reached full growth. A practitioner (trimmer) will consider flare and determine whether they are natural or unnatural and balance accordingly. The feral horses (our model for the barefoot trim) also exhibit flaring at times, but if the lamina is well connected and without visible separation or deviation, then this is a natural flare that should not be altered. When observing a horse’s conformation, they can be straight, base wide, meaning they are loading the outside of the hoof wall more than the inside, or base narrow whereby they will exhibit flare to the inside or medially. It is rare to see any equine that is perfectly balanced but it too is possible. Regardless, these are all considerations that determine the proper trim for that specific horse. Unless the foal or young horse has been under

veterinarian care to correct any conformational abnormalities, the natural approach is to provide adequate movement and minerals and most often the end result is the foal will straighten on its own. Wear is also a key factor, and the heel/quarter area that shows the least growth is bearing the most weight. The opposing side will tend to grow more (or appear to because it is wearing less) and subsequently cause imbalance if not trimmed regularly. Basically, if your horse has a wide stance he will more than likely flare to the inside, and if narrow will have outside quarter flare. The dorsal palmer balance, meaning front to back (anterior/posterior) should ideally bear weight directly over the center of the bony column above, which is about the center of the visible frog. If there is imbalance, it will load either in front of this area, as seen in upright or club foot horses, or behind, as seen in those with long toes and low or even crushed heels. The longer the toe and lower the heel, the more strain applied to the tendon and consequently the less sound your horse will become. This is why it is so very important to keep your horses trimmed regularly so that the balance can be maintained and ultimately, the soundness. Heel angle should match toe angle but this is often not what we see in the field. Unnatural horse keeping practices, long periods between trim appointments and improper riding techniques all contribute to eventual breaking down of the capsule and sometimes irreparable damage such as ringbone, side bone, navicular syndrome and even fracturing or chipping of the coffin bone itself. An upright hoof, or conformation, will transfer weight toward the front of the bony column and this transfer will cause more wear at the toe, and more growth at the heel; low angles do the opposite and increase weight resulting in crushed heels. Many times a balance can be acquired with several trims but sometimes trying to make the hooves symmetrical to each other causes more harm than good, in these cases it’s best to accept that one hoof is either wider, steeper or otherwise and trim accordingly. Any attempt to change an angle more than a few degrees in one trim may result in lameness and possible splints, strained tendons, or even damage to the lateral cartilage should you (or your hoof care professional) change medial/lateral load too quickly. Front hooves exhibit the same issues as the hinds, but you will typically hear them referred to as toe in or pigeon toed and toe out or splay foot. The result of these conformations is visible from the widest part of the foot (the quarters) to the toe area. The side that bears the most weight will have little growth (more wear) and the opposing side will grow and subsequently flare. In my experience there is only one time when this is not the case, and that is when the hoof has been so imbalanced that the coffin bone has tilted inside the capsule.

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August 2013

EQUINE AFFAIRS Typically, the frog is a center point of the hoof and it does not move, but rather the capsule will distort around it. In the cases where there is a tilt in the coffin bone, the heel bulb on one side will be shoved up and that is the side that has lowered within the capsule. This means, if you see a bulb shoved up, and you had a radiograph taken from the palmer view, what you would see is the bone is lower on the side that has the bulb shoved upwards. In these cases, it is sometimes possible to trim it back into place but often times the opposing quarter will blow out – or produce a slit in the wall just below the coronet band in the quarter area. This Medial/lateral imbalance – one side higher is not always a bad thing, but many times than the other people see a hole or any deviation in the wall and panic. These blow outs are from pressure and cause no lameness, but rather a more sound horse almost immediately because, after all, bearing weight on the side of the bone could not have been Anterior/posterior imbalance – Excess growth comfortable for the horse to begin with. I don’t see this often, and it is typically only when the hooves have been neglected for some time and the balance left uncared for over a long period of time.

Any distortion in the capsule is typically due to the conformation of the horse, in other words, the wear patterns will result from the forces being applied above the hoof, not from it. I once heard a farrier say most horses do well in spite of us, and to some extent I agree. The best course of action is to get a good balance on the hoof and keep it there by providing adequate movement and natural wear. The hoof should be trimmed short enough to provide natural wear of the sole so that it does NOT need to be pared away with a hoof knife at regular intervals. If your horse has chips or cracks, it is even more important to provide a timely schedule according to their growth rate to ensure this balance and avoid any unnecessary sole removal due to a long trim schedule. My vet, who is also a farrier, recently said the best quote I’ve heard in a long time: “I tell all my clients to hold the lead in one hand, a long whip in the other, when the farrier (trimmer) is working on their horse’s hooves – anytime they see them start cutting away at the sole with their knife just give them a good hard crack with that whip…maybe that’ll teach them.” Keep this in mind though – in order to not have excessive sole growth that is flaky or plated with compaction, you need to schedule according to growth and wear. I typically trim every five weeks from May to August when they grow faster, and seven to eight in the winter when the growth has slowed down; some others schedule every six weeks all year around, which is fine, as long as the hoof has not exceeded growth that can provide natural wear. Bottom line, don’t let imbalance become the force that throws your riding time out of balance.

Broken quarter from excess length – this is too long between trims!

Balance is equal distance from all sides

All Natural Hoof Care Nancy Frishkorn CHCP-Field Instructor

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August 2013


Forward, “Tracking up,” or “Ground covering”


n the last article, entitled “Off the Wall Riding”, we learned that riders need to ask horses to go forward to put them straight. Horses do not travel straight any more than they should go forward on their own accord with a rider. The horse should wait for the rider to ask to them to go forward. Simply, this is part of controlling or harnessing the horse’s energy. A rider does not want to get on a horse and have the horse decide what to do. The horse should wait for the rider’s command! “Forward” for a horse may seem simple since they are foraging animals and may travel up to fifty miles a day if left to roam and range in the herd. However, asking the horse to move forward with a rider aboard and perform on command is totally different. In this situation, the horse needs to go forward and slow down and/or halt when asked. All of this has to be trained into the horse. Riders cannot just mount an untrained horse and expect it to know that a leg aid means move forward and a seat or hand aid means slow down or stop!

In this photo you can see how the horse’s hind legs are stepping under the rider to lift and carry the rider with its back. The horse is moving forward while “tracking up,” and maybe a little bit of “over tracking.” This horse looks very relaxed in its way of going.

Asking the horse to go forward means that the horse is stepping or reaching under the rider’s seat with its hind end, and the rider then receives the forward stride with their rein aids. A better way to describe forward is to say that the horse is tracking up, under tracking or over tracking. These horse terms

forward before attempting to maneuver its body. This only makes sense, as I often tell my students, that a horse is like a bicycle – it has to be rolling forward before a rider can maneuver it.

Asking the horse to go forward is best if it is kept in a rhythm. We have already discussed rhythm in a previous issue of Pittsburgh PetConnections. A horse that is willingly moving forward needs to move in a rhythmic pulse that the rider harnesses and controls. Forward does not just mean covering ground as fast as one can muster. Although, in my experience, this is the idea of forward for some riders! Randomly riding forward without rhythm is not a good way to train the horse to perform, nor would it be called training. Different rhythms of forward are expected from the varying schools of training horses. For example, an English trained This horse is moving forward and “over horse is expected to cover more tracking.” Over tracking means the hind end ground when striding forward, and of the horse is stepping beyond the hoof print a Western trained horse will under the front hooves leaves. By over tracking so track with a rhythmic jog while still well you can see how the horse’s shoulders moving forward. Both styles of are lifted. This horse is “under tracking.” Meaning the hind end is not training will require the horse to stepping under the rider and the horse’s body to lift, support and describe how a horse moves forward. be forward while maintaining a carry the rider with its back. This horse may not cover as much Tracking up means the horse is stepping into fluid rhythm. ground, or be as forward as the another horse. But we expect it the hoof print the front legs leave, as a result, is still moving forward in rhythm. the horse is using its whole top line or back. Nothing can be taken for granted Under tracking means the horse is taking a shorter stride and is not using when gymnastically training and educating a horse to respond to the its whole back, and over tracking means the horse is going way beyond rider’s cues. Getting the horse and rider to merge and work as a the call of using its back and hind end. A horse that over tracks is really partnership takes years of perfect practice! Asking your horse to move covering ground while moving forward. forward is only one step on the training scale of training. Next month, applying a half halt will be discussed. Asking your horse to go forward Covering ground is another term equestrians use when describing the is great, but being able to control it while going forward is even better! horse moving forward. A horse that covers the ground while moving forward is a pleasure to ride and a rider wants a horse to be moving August 2013


IN REMEMBRANCE IN MEMORY OF: Gweneth Soldressen, May 19, 1999 - April 22, 2013 Gweneth came to our home after retiring from her life as a racing greyhound. Her racing record was short and spotty. She won a few races, but just stopped running in others. Clearly, the racing game was not for her. Instead she enjoyed sleeping on one of her five cushy beds, taking short walks to the park to stare at bunnies (but never chase them!), or having her velvety belly rubbed over and over. She was a shy and quiet dog, barking only three times in eleven years. She loved people and appeared offended if someone didn’t pet her when she approached them. Gwenie was always so happy to see us that she greeted us with a toy in her mouth and her Gwenie “twirls”. Gwenie gave us nothing but love and devotion until the end in late April. Almost 14 years old, her legs could no longer be counted on to support her and it became clear she was dealing with pain. We miss her so much but her memory lives on as we think and talk of her every day. Linda and Dick Soldressen


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August 2013

Dr. Doug The Holistic Vet

Holistic and Conventional Care: • Full Service Animal Clinic • Preventive Health Care • General Surgery • Radiology • Dentistry • Holistic Care • Acupuncture

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Dr. Doug Knueven practices an integrative approach to pet care. He is well versed in conventional veterinary medicine and has been licensed since 1987. He is also certified in acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, and chiropractic. He is a member of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association and has advanced training in natural nutrition, massage therapy, homeopathy and a host of other alternative therapies. At Beaver Animal Clinic, Dr. Doug offers a full range of options for the treatment of disease and the maintenance of health. Western medicine tends to focus on fighting disease while holistic medicine strives to strengthen the body. These two goals are not necessarily mutually exclusive. An integrative practitioner works with the best of what these two philosophies have to offer picking and choosing from the full menu of options to put together a treatment plan that is ideal for the individual pet and her caregiver.

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Dr. Ingrid Rhinehart earned her veterinary degree in 2011 from Cornell University. During her time in veterinary school, she focused on such things as bringing veterinary medicine to low-income families, helping people cope with the loss of a pet by volunteering on the Pet Loss Hotline, organizing community education events and helping to bring holistic and complementary medicine to the college and the veterinary students. She is a Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist and looks forward to expanding her training in integrative modalities. She shares her life with her husband and their three fabulous Great Danes (Aurora, Lucky and Harry), one smart and sassy Doberman (Ace), and a very entertaining Hermann’s tortoise (Scooter).

Petconnections aug2013 final  
Petconnections aug2013 final  

Pittsburgh PetConnections Magazine August 2013 Vol. 1 Issue 12 Digital Issue