Tag Archives: paws

Pawprints on my heart

Many of you will be familiar with the phrase “Dogs leave pawprints on your heart.”  I don’t think there is a dog parent or former dog parent that would argue with it.

One of the ways I have kept my dogs in my heart is to preserve their paw prints for display in my home.  As a young child, I remember going to a local family day at our school.  At that event, each of us had our hand prints taken in plaster and they were painted in gold afterwards.  For many years, these handprints remained on the wall in our family room.

I decided to do something similar for my dogs (the first dogs I could claim were mine as a pet parent).

At the time I was taking Izzy’s print last year, I had to take everything off our walls in preparation for new wallpaper and painting.  It was an ideal time to decide about alternative ways of displaying my paw prints.  I really wanted them grouped together without having to place individual holes/hooks for each.

Here’s how it came together from the day I started on Izzy’s print:

 

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After taking Izzy’s paw print in the modelling clay and letting it dry thoroughly, I painted it with gold craft paint

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I then bought an ornament hanger that is actually designed for things like small plates. The adhesive fixes to the back of the paw print and then in permanent marking pen, I wrote her name, age 9 and 2018 (Ebony’s was taken at age 8 in 2002; Daisy at age 4 in 2004)

So here’s the crafty bit.  I bought a belt at a secondhand store for $3 and some ribbon also at a secondhand store for $2.50.   Here’s what the belt looked like at the beginning, with its pin removed:

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I then cut down the belt to a suitable length (removing the rivets at the top and length at the bottom) and wove black satin ribbon through the cutouts on the belt – affixing the ends of the ribbon to the back of the belt with glue using a hot glue gun.

I then attached each paw print to the new display using macrame cord. (If I have other dogs in the future, there is room to cut the cords, and re-position the prints to add at least two more on this hanger)

Voilà – my unique wall hanging with the pawprints on my heart.

wall hanging

Kathleen Crisley, Fear-Free certified professional and specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

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Dogs absorb lawn chemicals

Dogs exposed to garden and lawn chemicals may have a higher risk of bladder cancer. iStockPhoto

Dogs exposed to garden and lawn chemicals may have a higher risk of bladder cancer.
iStockPhoto

 

Dogs are ingesting, inhaling and otherwise being exposed to garden and lawn chemicals that have been associated with bladder cancer, according to a new study.

The paper, which will appear in the July issue of Science of the Total Environment, also found that wind could carry the chemicals to untreated properties. The researchers also found that dogs, once contaminated by the chemicals, can transfer them to their owners.

The chemicals are common herbicides containing the following: 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D), 4-chloro-2- methylphenoxypropionic acid (MCPP) and/or dicamba.

“The routes of exposure that have been documented in experimental settings include ingestion, inhalation and transdermal exposures,” lead author Deborah Knapp of Purdue University’s Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, told Discovery News.

“In the case of dogs,” she added, “they could directly ingest the chemicals from the plant, or they could lick their paws or fur and ingest chemicals that have been picked up on their feet, legs or body.”

Scottish terriers, West Highland white terriers, Shetland sheepdogs, beagles and wire hair fox terriers are all at particular risk, the researchers suggest, because these breeds have a high genetic propensity for bladder cancer.

Knapp and her colleagues first conducted an experimental grass plot study that involved spraying various defined patches with the chemicals under different conditions. These included spraying the herbicides on plots that were green, dry brown, wet or recently mowed. The researchers next measured how much of the chemicals remained on the grass up to 72 hours post treatment.

Co-author Angus Murphy, also from Purdue, explained that dead or dying plant material does not readily absorb the chemicals, “so the herbicide can remain longer on the surface of the plant.”

He continued, “If an excessive amount of herbicide is applied, then the capacity of the target plant to take up the compound may be overwhelmed.”

In a second experiment, the researchers analyzed urine samples of dogs from households that either used herbicides or didn’t. The majority of dogs from homes that used the chemicals were found to have these same herbicides in their urine. Some dogs from untreated homes also had the chemicals in their urine.

Knapp explained that wind could cause the herbicides to travel up to 50 feet away from the application site. Neighbors who use the chemicals might therefore impact other individuals in the area.

“There are industry guidelines for restricting lawn chemical application based on wind speed, although homeowners may not be aware of these,” Knapp said.

Once contaminated, dogs can pass the chemicals on to their owners and to others. The study only looked at dogs, but the researchers suspect that cats and other pets could also be affected.

“Dogs can pick up the chemicals on their paws and their fur,” Knapp said. “They can then track the chemicals inside the house, leaving chemicals on the floor or furniture. In addition, if the dog has chemicals on its fur, the pet owner could come in contact with the chemicals when they pet or hold the dog.”

John Reif, a professor emeritus of epidemiology at the Colorado School of Public Health, told Discovery News, “The paper presents important information since exposure to 2,-4-D, a widely used broad leaf herbicide, has been associated with increased risk of cancer in pet dogs and humans.”

Reif added, “This study has potentially important implications for human health since it demonstrates widespread exposure to pet dogs. The likelihood that children, who share the local environment with their pets, are similarly exposed to these chemicals is high and thus additional studies should be conducted to evaluate this possibility.”

The researchers suggest that if owners still must use herbicides, they should follow manufacturer guidelines, allow gardens and lawns to dry before allowing pets out, wash their dog’s feet each time the dog comes inside, and consider treating the back yard one week before the front (or vice versa) so that pets will have an area of less potential chemical exposure available to them.

Source:  Discovery.com

 

Better paws for Brutus

When Brutus was just a puppy, his breeder left the young Rottweiler outside in freezing temperatures.

The pup suffered frostbite in all four paws, and the breeder tried to salvage the puppy’s paws with an at-home amputation. But Brutus was maimed and couldn’t walk without pain.

Brutus

Brutus

Now 2 years old, Brutus is living with a new and dedicated owner in Loveland, Colorado, and has become the second dog ever known to receive four prosthetic limbs. He is learning to walk again with help from OrthoPets, an animal prosthetics developer in Denver, and pet orthopedics experts at Colorado State University’s James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital.

“I believe prosthetics will play a big role in the future of veterinary orthopedics,” said Dr. Felix Duerr, an assistant professor in the Department of Clinical Sciences who practices small animal orthopedics and sports medicine at the university’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital.

“Brutus shows how we can explore new technologies to find solutions, and how our partnerships with companies like OrthoPets really help.”

Brutus' paw

Brutus’ paw

Laura Aquilina, the dog’s owner, has provided a caring home for Brutus for seven months in an attempt to find “better paws” for the young rottie. She began fostering Brutus, and more recently adopted him, after he had trouble navigating hardwood floors and stairs in his first foster home, and the family couldn’t meet the disabled dog’s needs.

Aquilina and a pet rescuer in Canon City joined forces to raise nearly $12,500 for Brutus’ prosthetics and physical therapy through Go Fund Me, an online fundraising site. The crowdfunding project was aptly named “Better Paws for Brutus.”

Brutus with his prosthetics

Brutus with his prosthetics

In preparation for prosthetics, Brutus underwent corrective paw surgery with Dr. Trent Gall, a CSU veterinary alumnus working in Longmont. The procedure removed bone fragments, dew claws, and two toes left from the botched amputation.

After recovery from surgery, Brutus and Aquilina worked with Denver-based OrthoPets, the world’s largest veterinary orthotic and prosthetic company, to undergo the process of prosthetics fitting. OrthoPets adapts the same technologies used in the field of human orthotics to care for animal patients.

Martin Kaufmann, company founder, partnered with Colorado State’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital for its research and rehabilitation services.

“I don’t want to be part of a world that settles for ‘fine,’ and neither does CSU,” Kaufmann said. “There’s a common mission between CSU and OrthoPets to return animals’ lives to ‘great.’”

Since the collaboration began, CSU and OrthoPets have successfully developed techniques to treat Achilles tendon injuries in dogs and are investigating how specific injuries correlate with successful orthotic techniques and long-term prosthetic use.

Kaufmann compared the Rottweiler’s story to that of Nakio, the other dog known to live with four prosthetics. “We learned a lot from Nakio’s story and were able to apply that knowledge to Brutus’ case,” he said.

OrthoPets veterinarians learned that both of Brutus’ wrist joints had collapsed. “It’s similar to a human rolling his ankle completely to the side, left grossly unstable,” Kaufmann said, noting that the dog also has a troublesome callus that makes movement difficult.

The unique prosthetics have three purposes: to protect and make Brutus’ limbs more comfortable, to support his front collapsed legs, and to realign each leg to an equal length.

As his devices are refined, Brutus has entered a new phase of rehabilitation with physical therapy guided by Sasha Foster, CSU’s certified canine rehabilitation therapist.

“We’re working with Brutus to help him adjust to wearing his new prosthetics,” Foster said. “He’s learning how to move with them on. Once he’s mastered that, we will help him achieve higher-level functioning activities, like hiking and playing with other dogs.”

In upcoming months, Foster will use underwater treadmill therapy, balance activities, exercise balls and other neuro re-education therapies to help Brutus adjust to his new limbs.

Foster said her work is motivated by helping her patient – and the animal’s family. “When you improve the quality of life for a dog, you improve the quality life for the entire family,” Foster said.

It’s likely Brutus will need physical therapy intermittently for the rest of his life. But Aquilina is hopeful.

“You need a good team behind you, and we found that at CSU,” she said.

Follow Brutus’s recovery on Facebook and Instagram at @BetterPawsForBrutus

Source:  CSU media release

Doggy pedicures?

It’s important to keep your dog’s nails trimmed to avoid injury to their paws and general irritation.  Some dog owners find that walking on urban/suburban pavements means that the only real concern is the dew claws.  Other owners, such as those on lifestyle blocks and farms, find that their dogs need regular nail clipping.

But beyond that – do our dogs want/need pedicures?

I’m talking decorative colouring of the nails.  Products like this one from Warren London – Pawdicure Pens – which decorate the nails in colours…

Pawdicure pens from Warren London come in a variety of colours

Pawdicure pens from Warren London come in a variety of colours

I love my dog and I love to include her in my daily life and activities.  But would I colour her nails?  Never!!!  I think that is over to the top and exposes her to chemicals she doesn’t need.  Looks like this one don’t excite me:

Dog nail polish photo

What do you think?  Would you polish your dog’s nails in colours and designs?   If so, why?