Category Archives: Dogs

Wordless Wednesday, part 51

Photo courtesy of Annie Thorne

Photo courtesy of Annie Thorne

Blog Hop

Dog waste and waterway contamination

Credit: Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Thinkstock

Credit: Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Thinkstock

Americans love their dogs, but they don’t always love to pick up after them. And that’s a problem. Dog feces left on the ground wash into waterways, sometimes carrying bacteria — including antibiotic-resistant strains — that can make people sick. Now scientists have developed a new genetic test to figure out how much dogs are contributing to this health concern, according to a report in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology.

Orin C. Shanks, Hyatt C. Green and colleagues explain that our waterways are susceptible to many sources of fecal contamination, including sewage leaks and droppings from farm animals and wildlife. Contamination from dog feces is a concern because it can harbor antibiotic-resistant strains of E. coli and other bacteria and parasites that can infect humans — and there are nearly 70 million domesticated dogs in the U.S. Scientists have had few tools to determine the extent to which waste from dogs is adding to the pathogens in rivers, lakes and beachfront surf. Current methods look for certain genes from gut bacteria that end up in dog feces. However, this is not foolproof — the microbiota of humans and the canine pets they live with often overlap, making the analysis complicated. So Shanks’ team set out to create a more specific test.

The researchers developed a new genetic testing method to specifically detect canine fecal contamination in water. They identified 11 genetic markers that were common among most of the dog samples but missing from the human ones. To determine whether their method would work for real-world monitoring, they sampled storm water from a rain garden where people often walk their dogs. The technique successfully detected some of the same markers they had identified as evidence for canine waste.

Source:  ACS news service

All American or Mutt? What to call our mixed breed dogs

This article by columnist Britt Peterson lends some interesting perspective on what to call our mixed breed dogs – now that even the Westminster Kennel Club is allowing them to compete in dog shows.

Good cur! – Ideas – The Boston Globe

Teddy’s journey: core strength

Teddy continues to be a happy boy.  During his appointment this week, we discussed two aspects of Teddy’s rehabilitation:

  • Variety/mental stimulation
  • Core strength

Jill remarked that she and Teddy now have a routine, but it means the same walk every day in the same location, and of course adjusting to limiting his activities to avoid stress and strain on his joints.

The solution:  variety!  Teddy’s is a smart boy and he needs jobs to keep him mentally active.  Little things like distributing food around the house and garden for him to find will provide Teddy with stimulation and something else to do.  Changing paddocks for Teddy’s walks and even getting other dogs to visit with him for play dates will also give Teddy variety in his day-to-day life.

And, as mentioned last week, Teddy needs greater core strength.  I showed Jill the value of supervised balancing exercises using a large peanut-sized ball from the FitPaws range.  These exercises, done on a soft surface that ‘wobbles’ slightly, require Teddy to balance on his 3 remaining legs.  In doing so, it means he works on his core muscles to keep his body steady.

I want greater core strength in Teddy before progressing to exercises for his proprioception.

And in case you missed it, I’ve already answered What’s proprioception?

Teddy concentrates as Jill helps him to balance

Teddy concentrates as Jill helps him to balance

 

Teddy core strength photo

Teddy’s a little unsure about these exercises, but trusts Jill

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

IKEA and pet adoption

Furniture company IKEA has used its profile with consumers to help spread the word about shelter pets.

Starting in Singapore with the Home for Hope initiative, life-sized cutouts of adoptable pets were displayed in stores.  The cutouts had two purposes:  Firstly, they gave perspective on how a pet of that size would look in a home.  Then, a QR code on each cutout allowed people to download more information about the animal and its care needs – thus giving insight into the costs and responsibilities of pet ownership.

Really innovative idea, IKEA!

Stores in the USA have begun to adopt similar programs.  Here’s a photo of an adoption event in Tempe Arizona:

A cardboard cutout of Daisy, an Arizona Humane Society shelter dog, on display at Ikea Tempe (photo by Ikea Tempe)

A cardboard cutout of Daisy, an Arizona Humane Society shelter dog, on display at IKEA Tempe (photo by IKEA Tempe)

A Home for Hope display in Singapore

A Home for Hope display in Singapore

This YouTube video gives background to the initiative in Singapore:

There are ways we haven’t even thought of yet to encourage adoption and responsible dog ownership, but it is wonderful to a big corporate like IKEA using their influence over consumers to help shelter pets.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

Paws and Relax

British Airways is the airline to fly if you are an animal lover.  They’ve launched a new inflight entertainment channel, Paws and Relax, for selected long haul flights.

British Airways’ in-flight entertainment manager, Richard D’Cruze, said: “It might sound barking, but there’s lots of research to suggest that watching pets can enhance overall wellbeing. We have sniffed out some fantastic content that is cute, comforting and sure to appeal to travellers of all ages.”

The channel will also feature animals for adoption at the Battersea Dogs & Cats Home.

This YouTube video clip gives you a taste of the new channel:

The dogs that conquered space -The Guardian

Space walkies … a postcard of Belka and Strelka in their rocket. Photograph: Fuel Publishing

Space walkies … a postcard of Belka and Strelka in their rocket. Photograph: Fuel Publishing

In the Soviet era, space travel was a major goal and stray dogs collected from the streets were the first explorers in the space program.  This article, by Oliver Wainwright, provides some insight into the propaganda behind the program and how they matched with reality.

It is a rather sad tale of how dogs were exploited in the name of progress, but such exploitation still occurs today in the name of science (arguably, with varying degrees of success, with more standards and controls in place).  Read the story by clicking on this link:  The dogs that conquered space | Art and design | The Guardian.

I have previously blogged about Laika the space dog; so be sure to check out that column for more information on Laika.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand