Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Pet food Recall

I found this piece of distressing news at MSNBC:

WASHINGTON - A massive pet food recall has touched a nerve with pet-loving Americans, many of whom see their pets as family members.

The recalled products — 60 million cans and pouches of wet dog and cat food manufactured by Menu Foods of Ontario, Canada — account for 1 percent of pet food sold in the United States, the Food and Drug Administration has said. But in a country where more than half the people in a 2004 survey said they would risk their lives for their pets, the thought that food could kill their animals sent fearful consumers scrambling for information about affected products.

You can read the rest of the report here. Am a bit worried about what I feed my little Buffdog. Will see what else I can find and posts updates.

Update: I found a website where you can find a list of recalled products: Recalled Dog Product Information. Looks like it only covers wet foods for dogs and cats.

Saturday, March 17, 2007


(I got this info from This may save your beloved dog's life.)

Ehrlichiosis is caused by the rickettsial organism Ehrlichia canis. Other examples of rickettsial organisms are Riskettsia rickettsi, which causes Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Ehrlichia risticii, which causes Potomac Fever in horses. These orgainisms tend to be carried by ticks and other insect vectors, in some cases. For ehrlichiosis, the most common vector is the brown dog tick. For this reason, ehrlichiosis occurs anywhere this tick occurs. At present, it has been reported in 34 states, with the northern states being spared in most instances. The southeastern and south central states are the most heavily affected. A few cases of Ehrlichia canis infection have been reported in people after tick bites.

Ehrlichia infection can cause a number of clinical signs. It can be extremely hard to diagnose due to the wide range of symptoms that can occur. Most dogs infected with this organism will have be lethargic, lose weight, show less interest in food and become anemic. Other possible clinical signs include hemorrhages under the skin or in around the gums, swollen lymph nodes, muscular or joint soreness, nasal discharges or nosebleeds, severe neck or back pain, blood in the urine and eye problems ranging from exudates to severe inflammation of the internal eye structures. Neurologic signs such as seizures and difficulty walking can occur. Respiratory or heart related signs can occur due to hemorrhaging and compensation for anemia if it becomes severe. Hemorrhaging occurs primarly due to decrease in platelet counts from the infection. While most dogs show a number of symptoms when first infected with Ehrlichia, there is also a chronic infection that can occur if the acute infection is not treated. In this case, the dog may appear to be normal or may show vague signs of illness occasionally. This is one cause of the complaint that "my dog just isn't doing right". The chronic illness can suddenly become very severe again if the dog is stressed in some manner or become less immune competent for some reason.

The best method of diagnosing this disease is through testing of serum from the dog using an immunofluorescent antibody (IFA) test. Unfortunately, a positive test only indicates exposure. Still, in the presence of clinical signs or if the titer rises after treatment or stays consistently high, infection is strongly implied by the lab results.

Ehrlichia canis is normally susceptible to treatment with tetracycline antibiotics, including doxycycline. In some situations the organism will not respond to these antibiotics or their use is contraindicated due to the young age of a dog or pregnancy. In this case, chloramphenicol can be used and there is anecdotal evidence of success using cephalosporin antibiotics. The bleeding tendencies in this disease are related to a drop in platelets (thrombocytopenia) so it can be necessary to use corticosteroids to treat this condition if the platelet counts are low. While this can be life saving, the use of corticosteroids should be discontinued as quickly as possible so that their immunosuppressive effect does not interfere with successful treatment. Extensive supportive care, including intravenous fluids, administration of blood products and hospitalization may be necessary to treat this problem in some dogs. The survival rate is good if the disease is recognized and treated aggressively.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Switching Dogfood

Taking the cue from Buffy the JRT who obviously loves this food, we are switching all our dogs to Eukanuba lamb and rice dog food.

So far so good.

Friday, March 02, 2007


Does your dog have leptospirosis? This article might be helpful:


In acute infections, a fever of 103-104°, shivering, and muscle tenderness are the first signs.

In acute infections a fever of 103-104°, shivering, and muscle tenderness are the first signs. Then vomiting and rapid dehydration may develop. Severely infected dogs may develop hypothermia and become depressed and die before kidney or liver failure has a chance to develop.

In subacute infections, the animal usually develops a fever, anorexia, vomiting, dehydration, and increased thirst. The dog may be reluctant to move due to muscle or kidney pain. Animals with liver involvement may develop icterus. Dogs that develop kidney or liver involvement may begin to show improvement in organ function after 2 to 3 weeks or they may develop chronic renal failure. Despite the possibility of severe infection and death, the majority of leptospiral infections in dogs are chronic or subclinical. Dogs that become chronically infected may show no outward signs, but may intermittently shed bacteria in the urine for months or years.


A positive diagnosis can be made through a blood test. A blood sample of the suspected animal is drawn and sent into the laboratory where a microscopic agglutination test is performed. This can test for individual serovars (strains) and the level of antibody (titer) against these strains. Depending on the level of the titer, a positive diagnosis to the specific serovar can be made. Titers may be negative in the first 10 days after initial infection, so many times additional samples must be drawn and tested to get a positive diagnosis. Previous vaccination can give an elevated titer and this must be taken into consideration when interpreting the titers.

Acutely infected or chronically infected dogs will most likely be shedding Leptospira organisms in their urine. It is possible to culture a urine sample and get a positive diagnosis. However, because of intermittent shedding and bacterial contamination this is not always the best way to diagnose the disease.


Treatment consists of antibiotics, fluid replacement, and controlling the vomiting and the problems associated with the corresponding kidney or liver infections. Penicillin, or one of its derivatives is the antibiotic of choice for treating the initial infection. After the initial infection is controlled, doxycycline is often used to cure and prevent a potential long-term carrier state. Intravenous or subcutaneous fluids are often given to correct dehydration while the corresponding liver or kidney problems are treated.

Read the rest of the article HERE.