Gentle Care Animal Hospital

Gentle Care Animal Hospital

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Purdue Professor Links Gum And Heart Diseases In Dogs

Purdue University study has recently demonstrated a link between gum diseases and heart problems in dogs.

"Our data shows a clear statistical link between gum disease and heart disease in dogs," said Larry Glickman, a professor of epidemiology, who conducted the study. "We knew from previously published research that there was growing evidence of a link between gum disease and heart disease, diabetes, birth defects and low birthweight among humans. So we thought it was time to assess whether such a link existed in dogs. The research is important because gum disease occurs in up to 75 percent of all dogs by middle age."

Glickman's study was published in the February edition of the Journal of American Veterinary Medical Association.

For his research, Glickman examined records of 59,296 dogs with gum disease and matched them to those of a similar number of dogs without gum problems. He followed the dogs over time to see which ones developed heart diseases and the type of heart disease that developed. He then did statistical tests to see if the incidence of heart disease would increase as the severity of the gum disease increased.

Moving forward, Glickman wants to understand how gum and cardiac diseases are related.

"We'll first evaluate whether gum disease in dogs causes systemic signs of inflammation and identify the specific bacteria in the mouth that are responsible for inflammation," he said. "Knowing the mechanism is important because it'll allow us to develop preventive drugs and then examine their effectiveness. We can also get pet food companies to develop foods that will prevent gum disease in dogs and cats."

Gum diseases can be prevented by good oral hygiene and regular visits to a veterinarian who can scale and clean the dog's teeth, Glickman said. But many pet owners don't realize that gum disease causes more than just bad breath, he added.

Glickman was assisted in his research by George Moore, a veterinarian at Purdue University's Small Animal Hospital, Gary Goldstein, a veterinary dentist at the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Minnesota at St. Paul, Minn., and Elizabeth Lund at the Banfield Pet Hospital in Portland, Ore.

Writer: Soumitro Sen

Purdue University

Labels: , , ,

Soy May Aid In Treating Canine Cancers

Researchers at North Carolina State University are looking to soy as a way to make traditional canine cancer therapy more effective, less stressful for the dog and less costly for the owners.

Dr. Steven Suter, assistant professor of oncology, and NC State colleagues studied genistein - a molecule found in soy that has been shown to be toxic to a wide variety of cancer cells in humans - to determine whether it would also inhibit the growth of canine lymphoma cells.

The researchers found that a commercially available form of genistein called GCP was effective in killing canine lymphoid cells in a laboratory setting, and that GCP is "bioavailable" in canines - meaning it is absorbed into the bloodstream where it can affect cancer cells in the body. The researchers hope that their findings will lead to the use of GCP for their canine patients in conjunction with traditional cancer treatments like chemotherapy.

The researchers' findings were published in Clinical Cancer Research.

"Humans have been using soy in conjunction with traditional chemotherapy for some time as a chemo potentiator," Suter says. "This means that the GCP makes the chemotherapy work more efficiently and faster, which translates to less stress on the patient and less money spent on chemotherapy."

Since dogs absorb GCP in much the same way that humans do, Suter hopes that veterinarians will be able to offer this therapy to canine patients in the near future.

"Since GCP is a dietary supplement, it is harmless to patients," he adds. "Plus it's inexpensive and easy to administer in a pill form. There's really no downside here."

Tracey Peake
North Carolina State University

Labels: ,

What Does Your Dog Say About You?

Yes, you can match a dog to its owner. But the match is only skin deep. This is the finding of a study presented at the British Psychological Society Annual Conference in Brighton.

In the study, carried out by Charis Hunter and Dr Lance Workman at Bath Spa University, a group of 70 people who do not own a dog were asked to match photos of 41 dog owners to three possible breeds - labrador, poodle or Staffordshire bull terrier. Owners were correctly matched to their breed of dog above the level of chance.

Dr Lance Workman said: "This suggests that certain breeds of dogs are associated with particular kinds of people. The non dog owners used stereotypes to match the dogs to their owners. These stereotypes persisted into judgements of the dog owners' personalities: non dog owners considered the owners of each breed to share certain personality traits.

"But when we tested the dog owners' personalities, we found no strong links between any particular personality trait and choice of dog breed, so any shared qualities are only skin deep."

British Psychological Society


Tobacco Is Toxic For Toto Too

The American Legacy Foundation(R) is challenging pet owners to quit smoking for their pets during the month of April, which kicks off Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month. A growing body of research shows there are no safe levels of exposure to secondhand smoke -- for humans or for animals. And one new study shows that nearly 30 percent of pet owners live with at least one smoker -- a number far too high given the consequences of exposure to secondhand smoke ("SHS").

"Secondhand smoke doesn't just affect people," said Dr. Cheryl G. Healton, DrPH, President and CEO of the American Legacy Foundation(R), the national independent public health foundation dedicated to keeping young people from smoking and providing resources to smokers who want to quit. "While most Americans have been educated about the dangers of smoking to their own bodies, it is equally important that pet owners take action to protect their beloved domestic pets from the dangers of secondhand smoke."

An estimated 50,000 Americans lose their lives to secondhand smoke annually and 4 million youth (16 percent) are exposed to secondhand smoke in their homes. A number of studies have indicated that animals, too, face health risks when exposed to the toxins in secondhand smoke, from respiratory problems, allergies and even nasal and lung cancer in dogs and lymphoma in cats. In addition, the ASPCA, one of the largest animal rights groups in the U.S., lists tobacco smoke as a toxin that is dangerous to pets.

"Nicotine from secondhand smoke can have effects to the nervous systems of cats and dogs," said Dr. Sharon Gwaltney-Brant, Medical Director of the ASPCA's Animal Poison Control Center. "Environmental tobacco smoke has been shown to contain numerous cancer-causing compounds, making it hazardous for animals as well as humans. Studies have shown increases in certain types of respiratory cancers in dogs that live in homes with smokers. In addition, exposure to secondhand smoke has been shown to cause many of the same harmful inflammatory changes in the airways and lungs of dogs as their human counterparts. For these reasons, owners should not expose their pets to secondhand smoke in order to minimize the risk of their pets developing lung disease or cancer."

According to a study published in the February 2009 edition of Tobacco Control, 28 percent of pet owners who smoke reported that information on the dangers of pet exposure to SHS would motivate them to try to quit smoking. These findings, coupled with the research on the effects of SHS exposure to animals, signals a new front in the public health community's battle to save lives from tobacco-related disease.

In order to better protect dogs, cats or other pets, the foundation and ASPCA recommend that smokers -- who often consider their domestic pets a part of the family -- "take it outside" when they are smoking. The foundation also provides resources and information to smokers who want to quit for their own health through a national campaign called EX(R), including a Web site for smokers who are quitting just for their pets:

-- EX encourages smokers to approach quitting smoking as "re-learning life without cigarettes"

-- The resources from the campaign help smokers consider the "triggers" that make them want to smoke each day. The program is based on helping people understand that if they can get through each part of their day without a cigarette, they can quit for good.

-- The campaign features, a state-of-the-art Web site with interactive tools and information to help smokers prepare for quitting by developing a personalized plan. The EX Web site offers a virtual community and forums where smokers can share stories and best practices about their quit attempt.

The American Legacy Foundation(R) is dedicated to building a world where young people reject tobacco and anyone can quit. Located in Washington, D.C., the foundation develops programs that address the health effects of tobacco use, especially among vulnerable populations disproportionately affected by the toll of tobacco, through grants, technical assistance and training, partnerships, youth activism, and counter-marketing and grassroots marketing campaigns. The foundation's programs include truth(R), a national youth smoking prevention campaign that has been cited as contributing to significant declines in youth smoking; EX(R), an innovative public health program designed to speak to smokers in their own language and change the way they approach quitting; research initiatives exploring the causes, consequences and approaches to reducing tobacco use; and a nationally-renowned program of outreach to priority populations. The American Legacy Foundation was created as a result of the November 1998 Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) reached between attorneys general from 46 states, five U.S. territories and the tobacco industry.

Source: American Legacy Foundation

Labels: ,

ProLabs Launches USDA-Approved LTCI To Aid In Treatment Of FeLV And FIV

Veterinarians and Cat Owners Get Help in Treating Killer Diseases. Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) and Feline Immunodeficiency virus (FIV) are the most common life-threatening infectious diseases of cats. Until LTCI's introduction, there was no approved treatment for these widespread, incurable viruses that, like HIV/AIDS in people, suppress the immune system.

About 3% of all US cats are infected with FeLV, and a similar number suffer with FIV. These rates are dramatically higher in stray cats and house cats that go outside.

As news of the availability of LTCI's (Lymphocyte T-Cell Immunomodulator) groundbreaking technology spread, excited cat owners were buzzing about it well before most veterinarians had an opportunity to read about it in their professional journals.

"As soon as we announced the launch of LTCI, concerned pet owners and hopeful veterinarians -- who have been looking for a treatment for FeLV-FIV for decades -- have been calling and e-mailing with questions about how LTCI works and where to get it," reports Brian Reardon, Brand Manager for ProLabs, Ltd., the marketers of LTCI. "It's a great product to talk about: It's safe, and as the only FeLV/FIV treatment that has ever been granted a conditional license by the USDA, ProLabs is in a very enviable position within the pet animal health world."

Until LTCI became available, veterinarians who diagnosed feline patients with FeLV and/or FIV had no approved treatment for these disorders. "LTCI provides veterinarians with an approved treatment option beyond anything previously possible. Telling clients that 'there is nothing to be done' for their cat should no longer be in a practitioner's lexicon when it comes to treating cats with FeLV/FIV," commented ProLabs Technical Services Manager, Dr. Joel Ehrenzweig, at a recent meeting of the American Association of Feline Practitioners.

ProLabs and Tradewinds, divisions of AgriLabs, Ltd.

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Make a Pet-Safe Carpet Deodorizer

It isn't hard to find carpet powders at most grocery and home improvement stores, but finding one without a lengthy list of chemicals inside is another story. Keep Fido and Whiskers happy with a DIY mixture.

Having a pet increases the odors in your home, especially on the carpets and upholstery they spend all day lounging on. While strongly scented carpet powders can most certainly help you get the smells outs, most store bought powers have all sorts of compounds in them you may not want your pets sniffing up. Fortunately over at the home design blog Re-Nest, they've shared a simple and pet-friendly alternative to store bought powders:

Baking soda is an ever-popular deodorizer and it's pet-safe. Crush up a handful of dry lavender and mix with a cup of baking soda, and sprinkle that over your carpet. If you'd like to use essential oils, mix a few drops of your favorite(s) in with baking soda (not enough to make it wet), and then break up any clumps and sprinkle that over your carpet.
Let it sit for a bit, vacuum it up, and you've got fresher and fido-friendly carpets.

Labels: , ,