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Talkin' Pets News

January 23, 2021

Host - Jon Patch

Co-Host - Gino Sassani - Lost World Reptiles - Tampa, FL

Producer - Lexi Adams

Network Producer - Darian Sims

Social Media - Bob Page

Special Guests - Shannon Bex is the Chief Communications Officer of Vooks, nationally acclaimed performing artist as a singer, dancer, choreographer and a multi-platinum recording artist will join Jon & Talkin' Pets 1/23/21 at 5pm ET to discuss the benefits of Vooks 

Oregon Trail of Dreams is owned and operated by Rachael Scdoris. Rachael is a world-renowned athlete and had her first Iditarod finish in 2006. She will join Jon & Talkin' Pets 1/23/21 at 630pm ET to chat about sledding...


PLEASANTVILLE, NY — What happens when your previously healthy pet eats something he found in your yard and wakes up the next morning completely unresponsive? That nightmare became a reality for Awilda Cadet, whose 80lb dog Davidson (affectionately known as Davey) started vomiting and displaying strange symptoms several hours after she caught him eating a wild mushroom. Following a visit to Veterinary Care of Mount Pleasant, identification of the type of mushroom from Prospero Nursery in White Plains and multiple consultations with the experts at Pet Poison Helpline, it was confirmed that Davey had ingested a highly poisonous fungi known as a Destroying Angel mushroom (Amanita bisporigera). It turns out the name is very descriptive.

Cadet and her fiancé, Pepi Blanco, were out in their yard when Cadet noticed Davey eating something. She immediately pulled it from his mouth but realized he had ingested some of the mushroom. The dog did not have an immediate reaction but started vomiting approximately seven hours after exposure and was “not moving” the next morning. That is when they realized it was serious.

“We have a big backyard, with deer and other animals, so we keep a very close watch on Davey when he’s out there,” said Blanco. “You’ve got to be really careful. If he had eaten the whole mushroom, he’d be gone.” Cadet and Blanco ended up finding more than 20 other Destroying Angel mushrooms in the yard and removed them.

“The Destroying Angel mushroom is one of the deadliest mushrooms to grow in nature,” said Dr. Ahna Brutlag, a board-certified veterinary toxicologist at Pet Poison Helpline. “It contains toxins known as cyclopeptides, or more specifically amatoxins. These basically target how the body makes life-essential proteins, with the main target organs being the liver and kidneys. Ingestion of small amounts can lead to severe and very rapid liver failure and death.” The veterinarians and board-certified toxicologists at Pet Poison Helpline are highly trained to assist in all types of toxicities, including Davey’s potentially fatal ingestion.

Animals that ingest these mushrooms will develop signs within 6-12 hours, which initially include vomiting and diarrhea. Next, they enter a 12-24-hour period of “false recovery” where they appear to be improving before they go into acute liver failure. At the end stage of the poisoning, their kidneys may fail as well. Death often occurs within several days of ingestion.

Davidson was incredibly lucky. After 17 rounds of a liver protectant, along with IV fluids, vitamin K1 (to help blood clotting), anti-vomiting drugs, and round-the clock care, the veterinary staff at Veterinary Care of Mount Pleasant were able to save Davidson’s life. His liver values and blood clotting ability began to improve significantly, and they were able to take him home after seven days.


Tampa has officially gone to the dogs. Honest Paws ranked 50 cities to find the best and worst U.S. communities for your canine-pals and found Tampa was number one!

The site took nine factors into account when ranking the cities:

1. Number of Pet-Friendly Restaurants (Per 100K)
2. Number of Pet-Friendly Breweries (Per 100K)
3. Number of Pet-Friendly Hotels (Per 100K)
4. Number of Pet-Friendly Beaches (Per 100K)
5. Number of Pet-Friendly Rentals (Per 100K)
6. Number of Dog Parks (Per 100K)
7. Number of Veterinarians (Per 100K)
8. Number of Hiking Trails (Per 100K)
9. Breed-Specific Legislation Ban (BSL) by State

Honest Paws says Tampa has 15 dog parks, 52 pet-friendly breweries, and six dog-friendly beaches nearby with a few allowing dogs to frolic in the water and roam off-leash, helping it secure the number one spot on the list. Hillsborough County does not have a breed-specific legislation ban, also contributing to the ranking.

Orlando followed closely behind as the second-best city to be a dog, with Las Vegas, Richmond and Pittsburgh rounding out the top five.

The top five worst cities to be a dog according to Honest Paws were Milwaukee, Louisville, Columbus, Memphis and Detroit.


GCHP CH Pinnacle Kentucky Bourbon, a Whippet known as “Bourbon,” triumphed over more than 4,000 competitors to earn a $50,000 cash prize and the title of Best in Show at the AKC National Championship presented by Royal Canin, held Dec. 12-13, 2020, in Orlando, FL. “Bourbon,” owned by Justin and Cheslie Smithey, K. Latimer, J. Descutner, and N. Shaw of Sugar Valley, GA, and bred by Justin Smithey and Yvonne Sovereign, was crowned “America’s National Champion” by Best in Show judge James A. Moses after a weekend of intense canine competition.

The overall show totals, which include the AKC Agility Invitational, the AKC National Obedience Championship, the AKC Rally National Championship, the AKC Royal Canin National All-Breed Puppy and Junior Stakes, AKC National Owner-Handled Series Finals, the AKC Fast CAT Invitational, and the Junior-handler events, topped 8,000 entries.

The show aired on ABC on January 17th, and the live stream of all the weekend events is available for replay at

Reserve Best in Show and Group Winners:

  • Reserve Best in Show: GCHS CH Pequest Wasabi, a Pekingese known as “Wasabi,” owned by D. Fitzpatrick, S. Middlebrooks, I. Love, and P. Steinman of East Berlin, PA and bred by David Fitzpatrick.

AKC Fast CAT Invitational: The fastest dogs in the country were named Fastest Dog USA and Speed of the Breeds Champion, which brought together 117 dogs from across the country.

Fastest Dog USA: Wailin’ Phelan The Bearded Lass CAX FCAT3, an All-American Dog known as “Phelan,” owned by Krista Shreet and Ted Koch of Crownsville, MD.

Speed of the Breeds Champion: Safranne’s Make Mine M”Ag”Nificent MX MXJ T2B BCAT, a Poodle known as “Elliot,” owned by Deborah Burnett of Gray Court, SC.

AKC Breeder of the Year: Gail S. Wolaniuk and Joan E. McFadden were presented with the 2020 AKC Breeder of the Year Award for Unique Standard Poodles at the AKC National Championship on Sunday, December 13, 2020. The annual award honors breeders who have made an impact on their breed and dedicated their lives to improving the health, temperament and quality of purebred dogs.

The second annual posthumous Breeder of the Year was awarded to Samuel Evans Ewing, III for his devotion to the Irish Wolfhound breed.

For a complete list of winners visit our news section at


After winning Best of Breed competitions the following top dogs went on to win in their respective groups and compete for Best in Show:

  • Sporting: CH Kan Trace Very Cheeky Chic, a Lagotto Romagnolo known as “Orca,” owned by Sabina Zdunic Sinkovic and Ante Lucin of Mims, FL and bred by Sabina Zdunic Sinkovic and Kalecak Zdunic Sinkovic.
  • Hound: GCHP CH Pinnacle Kentucky Bourbon, a Whippet known as “Bourbon,” owned by Justin and Cheslie Smithey, K. Latimer, J. Descutner, and N. Shaw of Sugar Valley, GA and bred by Justin Smithey and Yvonne Sovereign.
  • Working: GCHP2 CH Cinnibon’s Bedrock Bombshell, a Boxer known as “Wilma,” owned by Keith & Cheryl Robbins, B Wagaman, and D Caywood of Aubrey, TX and bred by Bonnie Wagaman and Nicole Manna.
  • Terrier: GCHG CH Brightluck Money Talks, a Welsh Terrier known as “Dazzle,” owned by Keith Bailey and Janet McBrien of Knoxville, TN and bred by Janet McBrien.
  • Toy: GCHS CH Pequest Wasabi, a Pekingese known as “Wasabi,” owned by D. Fitzpatrick, S. Middlebrooks, I. Love, and P. Steinman of East Berlin, PA and bred by David Fitzpatrick.
  • Non-Sporting: GCHB CH Hightide Tarquin Venus, a Standard Poodle known as “Venus,” owned by Missy Ann Galloway, R. Corbin, and C. Manelpoulos of Ponte Vedra Beach, FL and bred by Christian Manelopoulos, Rachel Corbin, and Ann Galloway.
  • Herding: GCHS CH Stonehaven Bayshore Secret Sauce, an Australian Shepherd known as “Sketti,” owned by K Mallory, Margeson, Baylis, Rhoads, Margeson, and Bialozor of Lovettsville, VA and bred by Jeffrey M Margeson, John Dale-Margeson, J Frank Baylis, Alexandra Bialozor.

Other top dogs awarded during the two-day event included the following:

  • Best Bred-By-Exhibitor in Show: GCHS CH Pequest Wasabi, a Pekingese known as “Wasabi,” owned by D. Fitzpatrick, S. Middlebrooks, I. Love, and P. Steinman of East Berlin, PA was awarded Best Bred-By-Exhibitor in Show out of 769 dogs (repeat winner).
  • AKC Royal Canin National All-Breed Junior of the Year: CH Nauti Leighway Send More Boodles, a Havanese known as “Boodles,” owned and bred by Elizabeth Omeara and Ashleigh Rutzel of Portsmouth, RI, won Junior of the Year out of 931 dogs.
  • AKC National Owner-Handled Series Finals Best in Show: GCH CH Eclipse Hive Talkin’, a Berger Picard known as “Beegee” owned by Katie Garrett and Donna & Michael Beadle and bred by Julia Foster and Donna & Michael Beadle won the AKC National Owner-Handled Series (NOHS) Finals Best in Show, prevailing over an invitation-only entry of 611 dogs.
  • Best in Miscellaneous Group: Irish Jazz Dzhaga-Dzhaga CM6, a Biewer Terrier known as “Donny,” owned by Michele Lyons and Daniel Yona of Woodland Hills, CA and bred by Irena Belova won the Miscellaneous Breeds competition.
  • Junior Showmanship: In the Junior Showmanship competition, for handlers from between 9 to 18 years of age, Jacob Waters with his Miniature Pinscher, GCHG CH Eagle’s The Wolverine, was awarded the coveted title of Best Junior Handler, along with a $2,000 scholarship.
  • Agility and Obedience Competitions: The 2020 AKC National Obedience Championship, the AKC Rally National Championship and the AKC Agility Invitational were held in conjunction with the AKC National Championship. These events demonstrate the highest level of training and teamwork between dog and handler. Agility competition for junior handlers was held for the tenth year.
  • AKC National Obedience Championship: One dog/handler team was crowned the National Obedience Champion, which brought 124 dogs from around the country.
  • The 2020 AKC National Obedience Champion is: OTCH14 RHUMBLINE’S ALL OR NOTHING UDX8 OGM, a LABRADOR RETRIEVER known as “ZEAL,” handled by PETRA FORD of WASHINGTON, NJ.
  • AKC Rally National Championship
    One dog/handler team was crowned the Rally National Champion, which brought 411 dogs from around the country.

AKC Agility Invitational: Five agility dogs and their owners – one dog/handler team in each of the five height categories – were crowned as the 2020 winners of the AKC Agility Invitational, which brought together 608 dogs from across the country.

Placing first in their height division (8″, 12″, 16″, 20″ and 24″ respectively) were:

  • 8″ – AGCH MACH16 Croswynd Making Mavericks MXB5 PDS MJB5 PJG MFC TQX T2B5 CA THDN CGC TKP (Maverick), a Pembroke Welsh Corgi handled by Sally Slade of Grand Blanc, MI
  • 12″ – CH AGCH MACH13 Eaglehill Right On Tyme CDX BN GN RM RAE MXC3 PDG MJG4 PJC MFB2 TQX T2B7 CGC TKA (Ty), a Poodle handled by Cathi Winkles of Bloomfield Hills, MI
  • 16″ – CH MACH3 Top Shelf’s Joyful Lee JH MXC PAD MJB2 PJD MFS TQX T2B3 (Joyful), a Brittany handled by Andrea Lee of Syracuse, NY
  • 20″ – MACH3 Cedarwood’s Dedicated To The Craft MXB2 MJC MXF T2B CGC TKI (Sculpin), a Australian Shepherd handled by Chris Brewer of Caseyville, IL
  • 24″ – MACH Cogshalls Wylie Rake Of Lanruvi MXS MJS (Rake), a Whippet handled by Jennifer Smith of Milwaukee, WI

AKC Juniors Agility Competition: Juniors who participated in the AKC Juniors Agility Competition competed in either the Junior Excellent or Superior Classes, depending on whether they had achieved an agility title.

Placing first in their height division (8″, 12″, 16″, 20″ and 24″ respectively) in the Junior Excellent class were:

  • 8”- Kayangee Winner Takes All AX AXJ NF (Coconut), a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel handled by Carly Kreiser
  • 12”- Rockstar It’s A Wonderful Life MX MXJ XF (Zuzu), a Shetland Sheepdog handled by Kaylee Cundiff
  • 16”- Burning Gold MX MXJ MJB (Grin), a Border Collie handled by Allison Hill
  • 20”- Zonkers Brewing Up A Party CDX BN RM2 RAE2 MX MXJ MJB NAP NJP MFB CGC TKA (Java), a Golden Retriever handled by David Frasca
  • 24”- Rowe Just Turnin (JT), a Australian Shepherd handled by Sterling Wanninger

Placing first in their height division (8″, 12″, 16″, 20″ and 24″ respectively) in the Junior Superior class were:

    • 8”- WHF Little Bitty Hazelnut NAJ CGC TKI (Hazel), a Miniature American Shepherd handled by Sarah Ford
    • 12”- Schnepp’s Lil Red Hot Lava (Denali), a Miniature American Shepherd handled by Sarah Ford
    • 16”- MACH2 Pyc G2 Squid MXC MJC MFS TQX T2B2 (Squid), a Border Collie handled by Colbie Foster
    • 20”- AGCH MACH10 Sunlight Brace Yourself G2 MXS3 PDS MJB3 PJS MFG TQX T2B5 (Toad), a Border Collie handled by Colbie Foster
  • 24”- RACH Bentlee Sawhney CD BN RM3 RAE3 MXP MJP XFP CGCA TKI (Bentlee), a Golden Retriever handled by Jada Sawhne
  • -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Salmon recovery in Washington isn’t happening fast enough. In fact, a new biannual State of the Salmon report reads more like the Titanic’s famed warning, “Iceberg right ahead!” It’s not a potential iceberg we’re heading toward, though. Rather, it’s a viable threat of salmon extinction. “Overall, the news is not good,” said Kaleen Cottingham, director of the Recreation and Conservation Office, as she kicked off a media briefing of the latest findings. “Salmon are in crisis.” Cottingham explained there are success stories, but they’re being outpaced by a slew of issues that have created a crisis scenario for several salmon species in Washington state.

If you’re looking for good news, it’s possible to find. It’s just that the scale at which solutions are implemented need to be expanded, which costs a lot of money. Back in 2011, a study showed the cost to restore habitat throughout the state by 2020. That report pegged the cost at around $5 billion — roughly 22% of that amount has been allocated at that time.

The state has a lengthy list of habitat restoration projects that show promise. The latest report highlights how the Confederate Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation restored habitat along the Entiat River. It also looks at work by the North Olympic Salmon Coalition and the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe to connect Oak Harbor and Killisut Harbor — a connection that was blocked decades ago when state Route 116 was built. “Unfortunately, we can’t restore the habitat fast enough,” said Erik Neatherlin, executive coordinator of the Governor’s Salmon Recovery Office. “Currently, the ability to fix the problem is being outpaced by the loss of habitat.”

In addition to restoration work, Washington also underwent a “dam diet” in 2020 with dams on the Nooksak and Pilchuck removed. Culverts that are either too small or blocked are being steadily removed around the state to improve the chances of salmon navigating streams where roads have been built. Though, roughly 20,000 known blockages remain. As Neatherlin noted: The pace of habitat loss looms large. Washington is growing. Since 1990, the state has grown by 55% — an additional 9 million people are expected to be added to our population in the next two decades. That growth exacerbates the problems we already face: climate change, warming rivers and diminishing habitat.

It’s not an unwinnable fight, but there’s no shortage of ominous concerns. Salmon rely on cool, clean water to survive — that’s difficult to offer when people build close to shorelines. Homes and businesses built on shorelines for decades have created hundreds of miles of sea walls and bulkheads. This, in turn, eliminates beaches, which salmon rely on for food and spawning. That process, referred to as shorelines armoring, is often done to protect what’s built near the shore.

Building close to the water can also eliminate natural barriers to rivers, streams and estuaries too. It increases the likelihood of oil, pesticides, manure, garbage and more making their way into streams — not to mention it eliminates woody debris that typically falls into rivers, creating natural habitats that salmon rely on. The State of the Salmon report lays out strategies for what can be done, noting that saving salmon also means ensuring a food source for our resident orca whales while improving our own quality of life. Among the recommendations: fully fund salmon recovery, work with Indian tribes to establish healthy streams/rivers, ensure cold water by reconnecting flood plains and streams and adapt regulations that accommodate salmon. ------


The FDA has announced the approval of ThyroKare (levothyroxine sodium tablets, Neogen Corp), a replacement therapy for hypothyroidism in dogs.

Hypothyroidism is a common hormone imbalance in which progressive destruction of the thyroid gland leads to diminished thyroid function and insufficient thyroid hormone levels. The condition is typically seen in middle-aged to older dogs and occurs more commonly in medium to large breeds.

According to the announcement, the safety of ThyroKare in dogs was established based on several sources, including a comprehensive literature review on the use of levothyroxine in dogs; pharmacovigilance data voluntarily reported to the sponsor when the drug was previously marketed as an unapproved drug, and reports of accidental overdoses of natural or synthetic thyroid hormone products in dogs.

Both safety and effectiveness of ThyroKare were demonstrated in a field study in client-owned dogs. Owners of dogs that had been diagnosed with hypothyroidism but never treated with levothyroxine sodium were dosed with ThyroKare orally twice daily at home. On day 84, 87 of 107 study dogs (81.3%) evaluated for effectiveness were considered a treatment success based on thyroid hormone levels. On day 168, the same number of dogs were considered a treatment success, although the cases considered successes were not necessarily the same at both time points.

Clinical signs of hypothyroidism also improved during the study. The most common adverse reactions were polyuria/polydipsia, tachypnea, lethargy, anorexia, vomiting, and muscle tremors or shaking.

ThyroKare is available by prescription only. The starting dose is 0.1 mg/10 lb (0.01 mg/lb, 0.022 mg/kg) body weight twice daily. To minimize day-to-day variations in serum total thyroxine concentrations, ThyroKare should be administered consistently either with or without food.

Monitoring typically includes regular evaluations of thyroid hormone levels to ensure the prescribed dose of the product remains at an appropriate level to manage the disease. Monitoring is also important when switching to another levothyroxine sodium product due to potential differences in recommended doses and in bioavailability.

ThyroKare is available in 9 strengths of color-coded tablets ranging from 0.1 to 1 mg, in bottles of 180- and 1000-tablet counts.


A K9 officer that was shot twice while on duty is back on his feet after undergoing eight hours of complex surgery at Oregon State University’s (OSU’s) Carlson College of Veterinary Medicine.

Arlo, the newest member of the Thurston County Sheriff Office K9 unit, was first rushed to Newaukum Valley Veterinary Services in Chehalis, Wash., after suffering two bullet wounds during a police chase in Washington State on Jan. 13.

Once there, the three-year-old German shepherd received surgery from Brandy Fay, DVM, for a through-and-through bullet wound to his leg. He was then referred to OSU for treatment of the second bullet, which was lodged near his spine.

It was soon learned the bullet had traveled through the dog’s shoulder, chipping his shoulder joint before landing in his neck, OSU says. Further, the projectile had mushroomed inside his body, dragging hair, dirt, and debris deep into the tissue, which required extensive and careful cleaning.

Once admitted to the college’s Lois Bates Acheson Veterinary Teaching Hospital, Arlo’s orthopedic repair was handled by Jen Warnock, DVM, PhD, DACVS. Katy Townsend, DVM, DACVS, worked on his soft tissue damage, while Sandra Allweiler, DVM, oversaw anesthesia. Heading into surgery, Arlo was given a 60 percent chance of surviving the procedures, OSU reports.

Ultimately, the team fused the dog’s C6 and C7 vertebrae with six screws and surgical cement, saving his life.

“It’s a miracle Arlo’s still alive,” Dr. Warnock says. “The C6 vertebra was shattered; the bullet missed an artery that would’ve killed him by a millimeter. It could’ve destroyed his carotid artery.

“He’s unlucky but lucky at the same time.”

Arlo will likely develop arthritis due to the damage to his neck and shoulders and will not be returning to active duty with the Thurston County Sheriff Office, OSU says.

“The shoulder that had all the bullet damage is the weakest,” Warnock says. “He’s still weak, but he’s improving by leaps and bounds.”

Arlo has been on the job with the K9 unit for more than a year, OSU reports. In that time, he has amassed more than 1.2 million followers (and counting) on a TikTok account run by his handler, Deputy Tyler Turpin.

“He’s an amazing dog,” says K9 unit supervisor, Sergeant Rod Ditrich. “He’s just so enthusiastic, and he’s one of our most vocal, energetic dogs that we’ve got—he just is always happy, wants to please, just an amazing animal.


The US Food and Drug Administration announced yesterday the conditional approval of KBroVet-CA1 (potassium bromide chewable tablets, Pegasus Laboratories Inc) to help manage seizures in dogs with idiopathic epilepsy.

The first conditionally approved idiopathic canine epilepsy treatment to be granted under the reauthorized 2018 FDA’s Animal Drug User Fee Act, KBroVet-CA1 stabilizes neurons in the central nervous system to reduce the chances of having a seizure. Available by prescription only, KBroVet-CA1 is administered orally daily. Potassium bromide has long been used to control canine seizure disorders. However, prior to the FDA’s new authority, no veterinary drug sponsor had applied for approval.

“We are pleased to see animal drug sponsors respond to the expanded conditional approval authority by bringing forward applications to treat serious, life-threatening diseases for which there are no approved therapies available,” says Steven M. Solomon, DVM, MPH, director of the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine, in this FDA release.

Conditional approval, which is an option for drugs intended for minor use in major species, provides veterinarians with access to necessary treatments while the pharmaceutical company gathers additional efficacy data.

The expanded authority allows for the conditional approval of drugs intended to address “a serious or life-threatening disease or condition, or an unmet health need, but for which demonstrating effectiveness would require complex or particularly difficult studies,” according to the release.

Initial conditional approval is valid for 1 year with the potential for 4 annual renewals. During this period, the drug sponsor must demonstrate that it is actively working toward collecting the remaining effectiveness data to support full approval.

KBroVet-CA1’s reasonable expectation of efficacy was demonstrated in a retrospective study of the medical records of 51 client-owned dogs with idiopathic epilepsy, all of whom were treated solely with potassium bromide at the same dose for at least 60 days to control their seizures.

According to peer-reviewed articles, the most common adverse reactions associated with potassium bromide administration are neurologic (including behavioral changes), gastrointestinal (including inflammation of the pancreas), reproductive, endocrine, dermatologic, and respiratory. Increased thirst and urination may also occur. Dogs with decreased kidney function appear to be at greater risk for bromide intoxication, the signs of which can include depression, behavioral changes, ataxia, hind limb paresis, mydriasis, stupor, and coma.

The FDA advises owners of dogs with idiopathic epilepsy to work closely with their veterinarians to monitor clinical signs to help control potential seizures that may result from bromide intoxication. The agency also recommends avoiding abrupt diet changes in dogs receiving potassium bromide, as this could compromise seizure control or raise safety concerns.


Ensuring the safe transport of canines and preventing the spread of disease is central to a newly published resource from the American Heartworm Society (AHS) and Association of Shelter Veterinarians (ASV).

The groups have jointly issued revised guidelines on transporting heartworm-positive dogs. The resource, which serves as an update to a document released in 2017, is designed to help veterinarians, shelter personnel, and others who work in animal rescue to safeguard the health of infected dogs while ensuring infected animals do not become vectors for heartworm transmission.

“After three years of implementation and evaluation, AHS and ASV reviewed the transportation guidelines for scientific accuracy, clarity, and feasibility of use,” says Brian DiGangi, DVM, ABVP (canine/feline practice, shelter medicine practice), an officer on the board of directors for AHS.

The updates address timing of the heartworm testing prior to transport, use of doxycycline prior to transport, and expansion of treatment options to ensure heartworm-positive dogs do not become transmission reservoirs.

The principles of the new recommendations for dogs being transported include:

  • Test all dogs older than six months for microfilariae and heartworm antigen. Knowing the health status of dogs undergoing transport (whether it is a homeless dog being relocated, a companion animal accompany its owner on vacation, or a show dog traveling for exhibition) is essential.
  • Determine which steps of the heartworm treatment protocol should be performed before and after transport. Because some medications used to treat heartworm infection can be associated with side effects and/or complications, the timing of administration and transport is critical. Further, dogs exhibiting clinical signs of heartworm infection should not be transported.
  • Once heartworm-positive dogs have been safely transported, complete heartworm treatment according to the AHS Guidelines. Ensuring dogs with heartworm infection are treated as soon as possible helps ensure the best possible outcome.

Heartworm disease is complex and requires multiple steps to ensure adult heartworms are safely eliminated, complications are minimized, and community transmission is avoided, Dr. DiGangi says.

“While the best-case scenario for an infected dog is to remain in place in order to administer treatment medications and facilitate post-treatment rest, many source organizations lack the resources to provide such treatment,” he says. “In such cases, the ultimate survival of infected dogs may be dependent on responsible relocation. The AHS/ASV recommendations provide practical recommendations veterinarians and shelter personnel can follow to help ensure patient safety and avoid further heartworm transmission.”

Elective onychectomy (declawing) procedures will no longer be permitted at designated Cat Friendly Practices (CFPs).

The American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) enacted the policy change on Jan. 1, aligning with its 2017 Position Statement that strongly opposed declawing of cats as an elective procedure.

Under the policy, newly certified CFPs will not be permitted to perform elective onychectomies and AAFP’s 1,015 current member practices will have to stop doing them within six months.

The association awards CFP designation to clinics that take extra steps to make veterinary visits easier for cats, AAFP says. These practices are expected to maintain specific standards in working with feline patients, including education on cat needs and behavior, handling, stress reduction, and proper equipment.


Vitamin E is an essential nutrient for horses. This antioxidant helps maintain normal neurological function by limiting the damage caused by oxidative stress and free radicals. The best source of vitamin E is fresh green grass. Horses that graze on lush green pastures often have adequate access to vitamin E. However, many stabled horses are not maintained on pasture. Vitamin E levels decrease and eventually are lost as soon as grass is harvested, so even the highest-quality hay will not meet vitamin E requirements. Some horses maintained on diets deficient in vitamin E can experience significant health consequences.

Vitamin E helps a horse’s muscles and nerves function properly. A dietary deficiency can lead to three specific diseases: (1) equine neuroaxonal dystrophy/equine degenerative myeloencephalopathy (eNAD/EDM), (2) equine motor neuron disease (EMND) and (3) vitamin E deficient myopathy (VEM). These diseases are typically diagnosed based on clinical signs, exclusion of other disorders, and low concentrations of vitamin E in the blood.

Equine neuroaxonal dystrophy/equine degenerative myeloencephalopathy occurs in young animals and has a genetic predisposition. Affected horses may stand with forelimbs too far apart (or too close together), have difficulty navigating curbs or hills, or lack coordination while walking and making tight turns. Signs of the disease can vary, some horses show mild performance issues, while others are severely debilitated. Although the exact cause of the degeneration is unknown, a specific interaction between genetics and nutrition during the first few years of life is required for this disease to manifest.

Equine motor neuron disease typically occurs in older horses that have been vitamin E deficient for more than 18 months. The disease affects lower motor neurons, which are nerves that supply the direct neurological input into all muscles. In their absence, the associated muscles atrophy, resulting in the clinical signs of weakness and weight loss characteristic of this disease. Affected horses may carry their heads low and lie down for longer periods. Research from Cornell University has shown that approximately 40% of horses affected by EMND improve with vitamin E supplementation, 40% stabilize but remain disfigured, and 20% progress in disease severity.

Vitamin E deficient myopathy is typically found in horses with a shorter duration of vitamin E deficiency. Affected horses exhibit muscle weakness, low muscle vitamin E concentrations and mitochondrial alterations (i.e. changes to the “power house” energy storage unit of the cell) in skeletal muscle but show no evidence of neurologic impairment. With proper supplementation, affected animals are generally able to recover within three months.

These diseases are currently the only conditions definitively associated with vitamin E deficiency. In humans, the same enzymes that metabolize vitamin E also metabolize approximately 50% of therapeutic drugs, so supplementation with vitamin E could potentially alter the effects of other drugs if a horse is on multiple therapies.

Since there are no effective treatments for most diseases caused by vitamin E deficiency, prevention is key. If horses are not able to access fresh pastures to graze, vitamin E must be supplemented in their diets. Owners should consult with their veterinarians regarding supplementation and the correct dosages. ---------------------------------------


Once a foal is born, the placenta passed, and the chorus of oohs and ahs have quieted, the next step is to ensure the foal ingests sufficient colostrum, which contains infection-fighting proteins called immunoglobulins. While immunoglobulin G (IgG) has been considered the most important component in colostrum in the past, some experts suggest that immunoglobulin A (IgA) actually reigns supreme.* In fact, IgA is the most abundant immunoglobulin in milk, not IgG.

Foals absorb both IgG and IgA from colostrum during the first 24 hours of life. After absorption from the gastrointestinal tract, the IgG molecules circulate in the bloodstream to fight disease-causing organisms called pathogens. In contrast, IgA molecules congregate in mucosal membranes, areas of the body that form a barrier between the outside world and the body, such as the lining of the oral cavity, the nasal passages, and the layer of cells lining the intestinal tract. IgA is therefore described as playing a role in “mucosal immunity.”

“Many pathogens attack foals through respiratory and gastrointestinal mucosa. Up to half of all foals suffer from diarrhea at some point in their lives prior to weaning. IgA helps block the ability of those pathogens to attach to mucosal surfaces and invade the foal’s body,” said Kathleen Crandell, Ph.D., a nutritionist for Kentucky Equine Research.

After the first day or so of a foal’s life, neither IgG nor IgA can be absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract into the bloodstream.

“If the foal does not ingest sufficient levels of either IgG or IgA in the first day of life, they are at risk for infection until their own immune systems can produce immunoglobulins, a process that takes about three weeks,” explained Crandell.

To ensure foals ingest high-quality colostrum that contains sufficient IgG and IgA, follow these management strategies:

  • During their last trimester of pregnancy, mares should be fed a balanced diet, complete with key nutrients for the developing fetus;
  • Supplement mares with fish oil, as omega-3 fatty acids boost colostrum quality;
  • Stay with foals until they have definitely nursed from their dams, preferably from both teats;
  • Intervene promptly to find alternative sources of colostrum or milk if the foal did not nurse; and
  • Enlist a veterinarian to pull blood to check for immunoglobulin levels if there is any doubt the foal received sufficient colostrum.

“In addition, consider offering broodmares Nano-E, a water-soluble form of natural vitamin E,” Crandell advised. “This vitamin has been found to improve circulating immunoglobin levels in the mare and pre-suckle levels in the colostrum.”


Finding yourself in the position of providing care to a starved horse can be an emotional situation for any horse enthusiast. The desire to do everything possible to return the horse to full health, including providing ample nutrition, can be the initial impulse. Sadly, the desire to feed the horse well can have catastrophic consequences resulting in a refeeding syndrome that may result in the need for euthanasia. While it may be tempting to provide unlimited access to feed, when it comes to feeding starved horses, less truly should be the rule of thumb.

Horses rely on body stores of inert carbohydrate and fat to fuel the large number of metabolic processes within the body. These stores are constantly replenished through the diet. In a horse that is starved, these stores become depleted and so instead, protein is utilized for energy. All protein in the body is actively contributing to important functions and is not stored for the purpose of providing energy. In this scenario, the body is not picky about what source of protein gets used for energy. Therefore, as protein is burned as a fuel source, skeletal muscle and vital organs become negatively impacted.

When a starved horse is “refed” and provided carbohydrates, in particular glucose, blood insulin increases. This helps move glucose from the circulation into cells and, with it, electrolytes. This can result in inadequate levels of key electrolytes such as phosphorus, potassium and magnesium in the circulation as well as leaving red blood cells without adequate energy. These red blood cells are then unable to adequately release oxygen to various tissues resulting in heart, kidney and respiratory organ failure and ultimately death. Research studies have shown that a greater success rate is achieved when starved horses are rehabilitated using forages containing low nonstructural carbohydrate (NSC) as this limits the insulin response. If using grass hays, they should be tested for NSC content and ideally have an NSC content of less than 10%. If only untested grass hay is available, feeding alfalfa may be a better choice as alfalfa has a low NSC content and also tends to provide good amounts of magnesium and phosphorus.

Very small amounts of feed should be fed that provide no more than about 50% of the horse’s calculated daily digestible energy (DE) requirement. Different research studies have used different feeding protocols. One fed alfalfa at 50% of the calculated daily DE requirement for the first 3three days of refeeding and then increased the amount to 75% for days four and five before increasing to a full 100% on day six. Another study fed frequent handfuls of grass hay for the first day and then provided netted hay that was hung outside the stalls so that the horses had to eat the hay through the bars. These researchers introduced 0.5 pounds of complete feed and increased this by the same amount every three days until they were being fed no more than 3 pounds at any feeding.

Refeeding syndrome can develop as quickly as the first day of refeeding or may not become apparent for three to four weeks. The keys to successful rehabilitation lie in starting off with very small meals that provide limited calories and utilizing forages and feeds with an NSC content at or below 10%. Sticking to these guidelines despite the natural desire to want to lavish the horse with food will provide the greatest chance of success in nursing the starved horse back to health.


Equine-assisted therapy (EAT) and its effect on adults diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease (PD) is set to be explored in a new research project, funded by the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI).

The study, led by researchers from the Texas Woman’s University (TWU’s) School of Health Promotion and Kinesiology, will compare bradykinesia (or slowness of movement) severity and functional outcomes before and after eight weeks of EAT in adults with PD and characterize the resulting human-animal interaction, HABRI says.

“While research studies examining the physiological benefits of horseback riding have been conducted before, there is a lack of published research regarding the physical adaptations of EAT in adults with PD,” says the study’s principal investigator, B. Rhett Rigby, PhD. “We hope the results of this study will further the efficacy of EAT as a novel treatment modality for this population, and lead to a more widespread acceptance by healthcare practitioners.”

Researchers will work with 30 men diagnosed with PD, aged 40 to 80 years. Fifteen participants will complete eight weeks of EAT, while the remaining 15 will complete a similar protocol on a horseback riding simulator, HABRI says. The EAT intervention will contain 17 total sessions over a period of eight weeks, with a licensed physical therapist overseeing and conducting all EAT sessions. Similar protocols will be in place for the simulated riding sessions.

While preliminary data in the form of two pilot studies suggests an improvement in postural sway and balance after EAT in older adults with balance deficits, the new study seeks to determine if these adaptions will lead to improvements with other hallmark features of PD pathophysiology (i.e. bradykinesia, posture, balance, and gait).

“By promoting interaction and engagement with horses, this study has the potential to positively impact an understudied population while fostering human-animal bonds and improving physical and occupational therapy practices,” says HABRI’s executive director, Steven Feldman.

“With a greater understanding of the physical effects of equine-assisted therapy for these individuals and greater acceptance by healthcare practitioners, we hope to also see an increase in demand for EAT that will ultimately result in EAT becoming more affordable and accessible,” Dr. Rigby says.


An American Veterinary Medical Association Council on Education working group is reviewing how its U.S. accreditation standards address diversity, equity and inclusion of underrepresented minorities in veterinary education, and whether more attention should be devoted to the issue. 

Before submitting its findings, the working group has asked the public to weigh in on the topic. The public has until Jan. 22 to submit comments to the COE, the nation's sole programmatic accreditor of U.S. and Canadian veterinary programs.

The call for introspection comes amid a national reckoning with inequality and systemic racism in America — a reckoning intensified by the death last year of George Floyd, a Black man, while he was in police custody. From corporate America to the sports arena, much of the country has awakened to the inequities experienced by marginalized groups. Veterinary medicine, one of the whitest professions in the United States, is paying renewed attention to diversifying its ranks. 

The profession has been grappling for years with diversity and inclusion. In 2016, the COE appointed a different working group to address ways to incorporate diversity and inclusivity language into its 11 accreditation standards. In March 2017, the COE amended six of the standards, per the working group's suggestions.   

At that time, the COE elected to embed diversity, equity and inclusion language in several accreditation standards rather than add a standard solely devoted to the topic, based on a belief that it should be an integral part of all aspects of veterinary education. Most notably, standard 7 concerning admission processes was amended to read: 

"The college must demonstrate its commitment to diversity and inclusion through its recruitment and admissions processes, as consistent with applicable law. The college's admissions policies must be nondiscriminatory, as consistent with applicable law."

AVMA officials at the time relayed that it was not the COE's intention to require colleges to admit specific numbers of underrepresented minorities. Rather, the mandate is designed to "promote the recruitment and retention of a diverse academic community."

"The council believes that a college that fosters a climate of diversity and inclusion will have a rich learning and social environment that promotes the development of graduates prepared to deliver a broad array of veterinary services to a diverse population," AVMA officials stated.

Now the COE is considering whether the existing language goes far enough. Comments should be emailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and include the subject line "AVMA COE DEI Comments."

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