“Kitten Bowl” vs “Puppy Bowl”

excerpted from an Associated Press article of 4/23/2013…

It’s a Super Bowl matchup for the ages: cats vs. dogs.  The Puppy Bowl, a fixture on Animal Planet during the Super Bowl for nearly a decade, will have new competition next year from the Kitten Bowl, the Hallmark Channel announced this month.

Win or lose in the ratings, all the animals stand to benefit. Hallmark will use between 50 and 100 kittens from animal shelters around the country, and Abbott vowed to place each one in a home.  Animal Planet placed every dog and cat on this year’s show — 63 puppies and 21 kittens. (Cats serve as halftime entertainment for the two-hour Puppy Bowl.)

The annual Puppy Bowl has a football theme, with the dogs scoring “touchdowns” if they cross a goal line with a chew toy.  Kittens in the Kitten Bowl will compete on an agility course set up with hurdles, scratchers, tunnels, hoops and weave poles. Laser pointers and toys on strings will be used to entice the kittens.

Judges will look at each kitten’s ability to cuddle and win the hearts of viewers.  ”We had to develop some kind of framework to show what wonderful animals they are. They are their own little souls,” Abbott said. “Many people don’t realize how entertaining cats are and what great companions they are for people.”

Most of the competition will be unscripted. Kittens can’t be expected to figure out a timed course, so not doing it in the cutest way will determine the winner, Abbott said. The Most Valuable Kitten will be the cutest of them all.

The show is part of Hallmark’s Pet Project Initiative and will be done with a partner, the American Humane Association.

Animal Planet and Hallmark have a good relationship.  ”We’re just happy that pet adoption is being promoted and more animals are finding their fur-ever homes,” Animal Planet’s statement said.

This year, a record 12.4 million people watched during the 12-hour Puppy Bowl X broadcast. By comparison, the Super Bowl was watched by 108.4 million people to become the third most watched show in TV history.

The National Football League also supports the efforts to raise awareness about animals and shelters.  ”The Super Bowl brings families together, and we love the idea that it includes the adoption of dogs and cats on Super Bowl Sunday,” spokesman Greg Aiello said.  ”We love animals here at the NFL, including cats and dogs,” spokesman Brian McCarthy added. “We also love Dolphins, Ravens, Bengals, Colts, Jaguars, Broncos, Eagles, Bears, Lions, Falcons, Panthers, Cardinals, Rams and Seahawks.”

Woof!

 

Hyperbaric Chambers and Pets…

excerpted from an Associated Press article of 2/26/2013…  

Hyperbaric chambers have been used for decades to treat divers with the bends, burn victims and people with traumatic injuries, but in the U.S. they’re increasingly being used on ailing pets.

Doctors at the University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine have recently used an oxygen chamber on dogs, cats, ferrets, rabbits and one monkey.  Veterinarian and professor Justin Shmalberg said the capsule has been used to treat animals that have been bitten by rattlesnakes, hit by cars and those with infected wounds, among other things.

“Any place we have swelling of tissue, we oftentimes are thinking about the hyperbaric chamber as something we could do to decrease that,” he said.  Shmalberg said the chamber’s high-pressure atmosphere of pure oxygen appears to help reduce swelling and aid healing time. He added that the school will begin clinical trials this summer to determine how – or even if – the hyperbaric chamber really is effective in speeding recoveries and healing animals.

There is little research on hyperbaric treatments and pets, although veterinarians who use the chambers note that most of the research for human hyperbaric treatments comes from trials done on rabbits and rats.

In humans, insurance companies will pay for hyperbaric treatment for several conditions, including carbon monoxide poisoning, crush injuries and bone marrow infections, among other things. Some insurance companies won’t pay for hyperbaric treatment for wounds or ulcers, saying that it’s an “unproven” therapy — but some people swear by the treatment and seek out private clinics.

It’s the same with pet owners; veterinarians with oxygen chambers say that people with sick pets often will often research the treatment and request it after becoming familiar with it through human medicine.  “It is a very new modality for treatment in veterinary medicine,” said Dr. Andrew Turkell of Calusa Veterinary Center in Florida.

“I find that it’s really very effective for any kind of trauma,” he said, adding that he’s seen improvements in pets that have been hit by cars that have been subsequently treated in the chamber.

McCullough said that his employees deliver and train veterinarians on how to use the capsule. Working with 100 percent oxygen can be dangerous, which is why pets going inside the chamber are patted down with water before the treatment so their fur doesn’t conduct static electricity and cause a fire.

In 2012, the high-oxygen chamber of a Florida equine sports medicine center exploded and caused part of a building to collapse, killed a worker and the horse inside the chamber.  The machine that exploded wasn’t one of McCullough’s chambers; it was a larger contraption made for horses. The horse inside the chamber apparently struck the side of the machine with its foot, which caused the spark and fire. It underscored the potential danger of the capsules.

Dr. Dorie Amour, the director of Emory University’s wound care clinic, suggested that hyperbaric therapy in pets be a last-resort treatment. It “has to be a therapy used when there is no alternative. Or a therapy used for a very serious problem for which there hasn’t been a solution.”

Clean Those Teeth!

by Jim Harrington

Ever gotten close to your favorite four-legged friend and gotten a whiff of something nasty?!  Similar to how our mouths function, pet bad breath typically stems from anaerobic bacteria that thrives in areas such as gums and in between teeth.  Once that bacteria transforms into plaque and accumulates, that wonderful stank becomes more noticeable.

A combination of patience and a willing pet can enable teeth to get brushed.  Generally, dogs are a bit easier to do teeth cleaning than cats.  Most dogs feel more of a need to please and bond.  A cat’s mouth is typically smaller and their teeth are also smaller and sharper – plus they choose when they feel like engaging with their human.

Brushing is an unnatural act for your pet, especially since they also cannot rinse, spit or floss on their own.  If your pets (or you) get too stressed by trying to utilize some of the traditional oral hygiene approaches, it may be best to consider alternative products.  Take a ride to your favorite pet store and you’ll see the ever-expanding teeth cleaning options that are available.  Products range from special chew toys and ropes to hard treats and cookies.  If none of those work, you can also ask your veterinarian about special foods and diets that support good oral health.

Make sure you do NOT use human toothpaste though…  the foaming action and an inability to spit leaves only one option for our furry friends – they swallow it.  Once that happens, plan on an upset tummy – or worse.  If your pet cooperates with the brushing concept, be sure to purchase a foamless flavored gel specially designed for animals.  These gels are safe for pets to swallow.  Brushing once a day should be sufficient to maintain good oral health for your dog or cat.

Lastly, be aware that oral care products for animals are not specifically regulated by any federal agency.  The FDA does provide some general oversight of products that make claims of cleaner teeth, fresher breath, etc, but it doesn’t do specific testing.

Woof!