Blind Dog Has Her Own Seeing-Eye Dog

These two dogs are more than just best friends, they share a rare bond.

Ellie, a young cavalier King Charles spaniel in England, is almost completely blind. While her owner and a local animal organization are working to raise money for a vision-restoring operation, a German shepherd named Leo has taken matters into his own paws, and is protecting and guiding her.

“Ellie has cataracts on both eyes and is only aware of shadows,” explains Jean Spencer, manager of Rochdale’s Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, in an interview with the Manchester Evening News. “But Leo, who’s an absolutely massive dog, has become her eyes. It’s touching to watch them together. She follows him around and snuggles up to him.”

Ellie was part of a litter of five puppies rescued from harsh conditions by the RSPCA, says Julie Lander, an RSPCA volunteer and Leo and Ellie’s owner. “As well as having cataracts, Ellie’s eye muscles haven’t developed as they should have as she’d been kept in the dark. The puppies had no light or heating. I felt so sorry for her when she arrived, and knew she’d need a special home. But I also knew she would be all right with Leo, as he just loves little dogs and they took to one another straight away,” Lander tells the Manchester Evening News.

Lander goes on to explain how Leo’s almost 90 pounds of bulk helps keep his new charge safe. “I take them for walks in the park and Leo guides Ellie around. He is so protective and herds the more boisterous dogs away from her,” Julie says.

No one has commented on whether Leo can actually tell that Ellie is disabled or if he is caring for her based solely on her size. If Ellie’s problem is ever fixed, it will be interesting to see whether she will continue to share the same bond with Leo.

Although they already have had at least one fundraiser, the RSPCA does not yet have enough money to pay for Ellie’s operation. If you would like to donate, go to www.rspca-rochdale.org.uk.

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USDA Approves First Canine Flu Vaccine

After nearly one million doses sold to veterinary clinics and shelters throughout the U.S. in the past year, the USDA now has granted full license to the first vaccine against canine influenza virus.

Known as Nobivac Canine Flu H3N8, the vaccine was given a conditional license on May 27, 2009, and has since been shown to reduce the signs, severity and spread of CIV infection, while also lowering the rate and severity of lung lesions.

The USDA approval now confirms the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine, where field experience data shows it is well-tolerated and has adverse effects comparable to those seen for other canine vaccines.

According to Steve Shell, Companion Animal Business Unit Head of Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health, makers of the vaccine, more than 9,000 small animal practices nationwide have the vaccine in clinic.

“Though not considered a core vaccine, Nobivac Canine Flu is commonly recommended by veterinarians for at-risk social dogs, such as those regularly receiving Bordetella vaccination, because they are frequently in contact with other dogs,” Shell said.

CIV is a highly contagious respiratory disease in dogs caused by an influenza A virus, H3N8.

“In general, any dog that is in a closed room with other dogs for at least six hours or more can be considered at risk, particularly those that are boarded frequently, go to dog shows, dog day care and training classes, or are in shelters,” said Dr. Ronald D. Schultz, professor and chair of Department of Pathobiological Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“Other dogs that may be at risk include those in rescue groups and those that travel with families, particularly to endemic areas, are housed in breeder facilities or belong to animal healthcare personnel,” continued Crawford.

Cases of canine influenza have been identified in 33 states and the District of Columbia. During 2009-2010, outbreaks occurred in shelters, kennels, dog day-care centers, veterinary clinics and other facilities in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Colorado, Connecticut and Virginia.

The cost of treating CIV and the potential for serious secondary infection, led the American Veterinary Medical Association to call for the development of a vaccine in 2006.

Now, Nobivac Canine Flu H3N8, made from inactivated virus, is intended as an aid in the control of disease associated with canine influenza virus infection and is administered by subcutaneous injection in two doses, two to four weeks apart. It may be given to dogs six weeks of age or older and can be given annually as a component of existing respiratory disease vaccine protocols to ensure more comprehensive protection.

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How to Help Scaredy Dogs That Hate Storms

Some dogs become terrified during storms. Is it the electricity, the vibration, or the noise? Can’t say for sure, but creating a safety ritual can help.

A new product just made available is the ThunderShirt. Whatever the situation that makes your dog anxious, fearful, reactive or over-excited, Thundershirt’s gentle, constant pressure can bring calm and focus back to your dog. A terrific solution for many types of anxiety including thunder, fireworks, separation, travel, and crate anxieties. And a terrific solution for eliminating “bad leash manners” such as barking, pulling or reactivity towards other animals and people.

If you have a house with a cinder block basement, taking your dog down there to sit with you often will make him feel more secure. Keeping a tent in the basement for him to crawl in completes the safety cave. If you do not have a basement, try taking your dog in the shower stall or letting him sit in the tub. Tile walls and ceramic structures seem to have a calming effect.

If you consistently help your dog refuge in the same safe spot, he’ll learn to go there himself when he needs to calm down.
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Pet Health Alert: Iams Announces Voluntary Recall of Cat and Kitten Food

On June 9, Procter & Gamble announced that it is recalling specific lots of Iams canned cat food as a precautionary measure. The affected products include all varieties of Iams ProActive Health canned cat and kitten food in 3- and 5.5-ounce cans and with expiration dates—printed on the bottom of the can—from 09/2011 to 06/2012.

Tests indicate the recalled cat food contained insufficient levels of thiamine, also known as vitamin B1. Thiamine is an essential vitamin for cats—it supports the central nervous system—and an ongoing dietary deficiency can lead to neurological problems from mild loss of balance to life-threatening seizures. Other symptoms of thiamine deficiency include lethargy, loss of appetite, vomiting, mental dullness, dilated pupils, increased respiratory rate and low body temperature.

The ASPCA urges all pet parents to make sure they are not feeding the recalled products to their cats, and to discard any cans with the aforementioned characteristics. If you suspect your pet may have ingested a recalled product, please contact your local veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435. For information about a product refund, please call Proctor & Gamble at (877) 340-8826.

To learn the latest news about pet food recalls, please visit the FDA online.

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Rottweilers

The Rottweiler, or “Rottie,” is a large, muscular and rugged dog with a hard-working and confident demeanor. The breed is intelligent and very loyal to its family. The Rottie can be an excellent working dog, watchdog or guard dog. Though it has a bit of a reputation as a “dangerous breed,” this is an unfair generalization – most Rotties are calm and affectionate.

The Rottie has a short, somewhat coarse, but shiny hair coat. This breed has a moderate shedding rate, and and requires little more than basic grooming care.

The Rottie has a drive to work, high endurance, a commanding presence and a potential for territorial behavior. Ideally, a Rottie should get vigorous exercise on a daily basis. Many Rotties will benefit from some type of “job,” such as guarding the home, obedience competition, or tracking. Few Rotties have an aggressive nature, despite what some people think. They are usually very calm, loyal and loving companions. However, all Rotties should be put on a strict training program to best utilize their intelligence and energy, thus keeping them happy, healthy and safe.

Though the exact origins of the Rottweiler are not known, it is believed that the breed derived from the Mastiff and that its ancestors can be traced back to ancient Rome. Later development of the breed occurred in the German town of Rottweil, where it worked as a cattle dog and sometimes a police dog before its popularity diminished. At one time, the breed was referred to as the Rottweil Metzgerhund (butcher dog).In the early 20th century, the breed was once again used as a police dog and began gaining popularity in the U.S. The hard-working nature of the Rottweiler has made its popularity grow over the years.

Size:

Males: 95-130 pounds
Females: 80-115 pounds

Colors:

Black with Tan, Rust or Mahogany

Health Problems:

Responsible breeders strive to maintain the highest breed standards as established by kennel clubs like the AKC. Dogs bred by these standards are less likely to inherit health conditions. However, some hereditary health problems can occur in the breed. The following are some conditions to be aware of:

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