Aboard Noah's Blog

News, information, and chatter about collectible items with animal themes, as well as some facts, figures and fun related to pets and wildlife.

Location: Mentor, Ohio, United States
Noah's Blog Sponsors

Friday, July 28, 2006

Melanoma Awareness For Pets

Source: http://keyetv.com/seenon/local_story_209181842.html

(CBS 42) While you know the importance of checking yourself and your kids for melanoma to make sure you're all cancer free, experts say there's one member of the family you may be skipping.

Pet lover Lesly Beck rushed her pug Tarzan to the vet after finding blood in his water bowl.

"I was scared, I was really scared," Beck said.

An exam showed Tarzan had a mass in his mouth.

"It was oral melanoma. The worst of the worst,” Beck said. “I didn't know they could get melanoma."

While it's shocking to many pet owners, it's actually not that uncommon.

Veterinary oncologist Mary Kay Klein says she sees it all the time, and melanoma can be just as deadly in pets as in people.

"The most common site for dogs and cats to develop malignant melanoma is in the oral cavity and in the nail beds," Klein said.

Then it can spread to the lymph nodes and lungs. As with all cancers, early detection is crucial. Klein says pet owners need to regularly check for lumps.

"Go ahead and get your hands all over them,” Klein said. “Take a look in their oral cavity when they're playing with their toys."

Lumps are either flesh tone or black. Other warning signs are blood in the water bowl or unusually bad breath. If you find anything suspicious, go to the vet right away.

"When we treat our melanomas aggressively, we can still have our patients live a very long time," Klein said.

Tarzan had surgery to remove the tumor along with several chemotherapy treatments. He's doing just fine now, but Beck does everything she can to keep a close watch on her precious pug.

"We keep our fingers crossed,” Beck said. “Now it's up to him to stay healthy."

Klein says, unlike in humans, the sun is not thought to be a major risk factor since pets usually get melanoma in areas that don't get much sun exposure.

Pets Don't Have to Stay Inside to Stay Cool

Alison Struve

A stretch of hot weather really takes its toll, so we have to take care of ourselves and keep an eye on our furry friends as well. But that doesn't mean you have to keep them cooped up inside an air conditioned house.

This stifling heat won't stop some tails from wagging, but veterinarians still see those pets that get a little light on their paws.

"You always do," says Dr. Karla Sathre, Associate Veterinarian at Wausau Animal Hospital. "Actually, with any being when it gets hot."

Dr. Sathre says staying cool is pretty simple.

"Water's the biggest one, making sure there's always plenty of water available and some kind of shelter."

If you have a pretty rambunctious dog, you don't have to keep him inside just as long as you're careful."

"I've seen a lot more heat stroke problems with the bigger, high-energy dogs because they don't know enough to stop," Dr. Sathre says. "So we, as their owners, have to take responsibility and make sure that they're not doing more than they should."

If you see your dog slowing down or panting a lot, it's time to take a break, especially in the midday heat.

"That's when you don't want to be doing your walks or exercising. You want to do early morning or late evening, that type of thing."

And when it's time for a ride, leave your pooch at home if you have to park your car.

"Even if you crack the windows. I mean, that makes it get to maybe 130 instead of 150," Dr. Sathre says. "Still not good."

Dr. Sathre says keeping your pets cool comes down to common sense so tails will have plenty to wag about. If you don't have a dog, Dr. Sathre says any pet can be stressed by the heat, so keep them out of the direct sun as well.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Rescued pets getting a second chance

Animals adjust nearly a year after Katrina

By Heather LaRoi
Post-Crescent staff writer

Harry, a standard poodle-mix, has seen a lot in what's guessed to be his two years of life.

Rescued from flood-ravaged New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, where he was either separated from or abandoned by his family, he was eventually picked up by volunteers with Best Friends Animal Society and ended up at their home base in Kanab, Utah, with hundreds of other animal refugees.

Alas, somewhere along the way, poor Harry, no doubt traumatized by the hell that pretty much destroyed the world as he knew it in August, had picked up a few bad habits. Things like aggression around food and aggression toward anybody trying to pet him, things that pretty much made him undesirable as an adoptable pet.

Enter Joanne Hjella of Larsen.

Hjella, a dog trainer and behaviorist for about 30 years, took up Harry's cause. Looking at the skinny, scruffy, lovelorn Harry, she saw a dog not to be written off, but a dog to be saved.

"So many dogs are being euthanized for absolutely the wrong reason when they can be rehabilitated. And people are not giving them a chance," Hjella said. "I just want people to know these dogs can be rehabilitated.

"These dogs are not born screwed up. They're born very stable and balanced, but it's the people who mess them up. They make matters worse, too, and they don't realize it because they try to communicate with (their dogs) like they're people. They use human psychology when they're not humans, they're dogs."

Hjella, who runs Canine Academy, and husband John have five other dogs, but Harry's her first foster dog. They eventually hope to find a permanent home for him.

"Harry's a special case, a special guy," she said. "We've only had him a couple weeks, but he's already doing a lot better. We can actually pet him when he's eating now and he doesn't growl as much. He's doing real well."

Harry is regaining some of his bounce — literally. When visitors enter the backyard, Harry repeatedly leaps high into the air in greeting, a trait that has earned him the nickname "Boing-Boing."

"He was a pistol, let me tell you, when we first got him," Kjella said. "I put him on the grooming table because he had hair hanging in his face. They had shaved him because he was all matted, but you couldn't see his face or his eyes and of course I can't train him unless I can see what he's thinking. I reached for him to brush the hair on his face and he about tore my face off. He missed, but he was like a vicious junkyard dog.

"Nobody could pet him on the head. He would just reach out and bite. I think, really, it stems from fear. And the food aggression you can almost understand. He was probably roaming the streets of New Orleans for quite a while, trying to find food. It must have been so scary."

Hjella figures she has another couple months of work with Harry before he's ready to be placed in a new home, but she's confident he'll get there.

"I couldn't touch him before but now I can hug him and pet him. He's really an extremely sweet dog."

Hjella, too, wishes Harry could talk.

"It'd be so much easier to train him," she said, with a laugh. "And you could reason with him like a person or a child. I tell him all the time, I say, 'Harry, you don't have to worry about where your food's coming from. You're always going to have food. Nobody's ever going to hurt you again, right, Harry?'"

Harry's long tail, with its lion-like tuft at the end, wags.

Heather LaRoi can be reached at 920-993-1000, ext. 238, or at hlaroi@postcrescent.com.