Happy National Puppy Day!

 

Evie

Today is National Puppy Day!

In honor of this important holiday, we are sharing just a few pictures of the many adorable puppies that FACE and our veterinary partners have helped save in the past few months.

Enjoy the cuteness!

Luna

Koi Koi

 

Scientists Find Genetic Link Between Human and Canine Mental Health Issues

A study of anxiety and fearfulness in German Shepherd dogs has identified a genetic connection with certain mental health disorders in humans.

Researchers at the University of Helsinki studied noise sensitivity and general fearfulness (such as fear of new people and situations) in a group of Finnish German Shepherd dogs.

They found that generalized anxiety in dogs can be located to an area of the canine chromosome that corresponds to a similar area of the human chromosome which has been linked to such conditions as schizophrenia and bipolar affective disorder.

The researchers note that it has been more difficult to identify a genetic cause of noise sensitivity in both dogs and humans.  They think that noise sensitivity may be related to flaws in certain receptors for neurotransmitters, such as oxytocin.

The genetic basis of fearfulness in this group of German Shepherd dogs shows that, in some cases, fearfulness in dogs may be hereditary.  Of course, environmental factors can also play a role in canine anxiety.

You can read the full text of this study HERE.

CDC Traces Campylobacter Outbreak to Pet Store Puppies

Animal advocates have been warning potential dog owners to avoid getting puppies from retail pet stores because they come from large scale, for profit breeding operations known as puppy mills.

Now there’s another reason to say no to pet store puppies.

A report on the American Veterinarian website notes that 118 people in 18 states have become infected with the Campylobacter jejuni bacteria after being exposed to pet store puppies.  These puppies were traced to multiple puppy mills and distributors.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which has been monitoring the outbreak, virtually all of the infected humans have had direct physical contact with pet store puppies, including several pet store employees.

The Campylobacter bacteria causes diarrhea, abdominal pain, and fever.  No human fatalities have been reported with this outbreak, although there were several hospitalizations.

The CDC reports an added concern with this outbreak…the bacteria has shown a resistance to all the antibiotics commonly used to treat Campylobacter.

The CDC recommends that people wash their hands thoroughly after touching pet store puppies (employees should wear gloves for cleaning) and avoid eating around the animals.

They also note that overuse of antibiotics in commercial breeding facilities can contribute to drug resistant bacterial strains, and the use of antibiotics should always be supervised by a veterinarian.

 

The Pibble: How a New Name Can Help the Misunderstood Pit Bull

Many Pit Bull parents will tell you that they’ve never owned a sweeter dog, but the Pit Bull suffers from a scary reputation, due in large part to some irresponsible owners who have cultivated aggression in their dogs.

The word Pibble is being used more and more to help rehabilitate the Pit Bull brand.  According to a recent article in The New York Times, Pibble is joining the word Pittie and some other cute nicknames to help convey the sweet and gentle nature of this loyal and loving breed.

According to dog breed experts, the public perception of the Pit Bull has improved since the years when dog fighting rings were often in the news.  But people can still be afraid of them, and unfortunately some are still raised to be intimidating guard dogs.

Pit Bull advocates are eager to spread awareness about the true nature of this misunderstood dog, and feel that the smile-inducing name Pibble can help win over hearts and minds.

Need some proof that the Pibble is a big love bug?  Meet adorable Willie, who spent years as a chained dog, before finally finding a real home:

 

Is Pet Insurance the Right Choice for You?

The start of a new year is the time when many us of make resolutions to take better care of our health.  But what about our pets?  Do your wellness plans for your best friend include getting pet health insurance?

Many dog and cat owners consider pet insurance, and some employers even offer it as part of their employee benefits package.  But is it the right option for you?

The decision to get insurance for your pet depends on many individual factors.  Here are some questions you can ask yourself—and any potential insurance companies—before you buy.

What is the annual cost of pet insurance?

This can depend on your particular situation, including the cost of living in your area and the breed and age of your pet.  Consumer advocates warn that the cost of your annual premium may be higher than the benefits you receive.

One study found that while the cost for coverage is around $500 a year, most pet owners saw only around $275 in paid claims.

Do you own a “high-risk” dog breed?

Cats are generally less expensive to insure than dogs, but not all dogs cost the same to insure.  Some breeds are much more expensive than others.

The experts at the website I Heart Dogs report that some large breed dogs like the St. Bernard and Irish Wolfhound are especially pricey to insure.

They recommend choosing a plan that covers inherited and chronic health conditions (such as hip and elbow dysplasia).  Make sure the plan covers all aspects of treatment for an illness or injury (like overnight care).

What’s covered and what’s not covered?

Make sure you understand what each insurance plan covers and what is excluded.  All plans vary but there are some general guidelines to keep in mind.

According to the website Wag! you should be prepared to cover a lot of preventive care yourself.  This includes things like dental cleanings, parasite prevention, vaccinations, spay/neuter, non-traditional therapies, and prescription diets.

What should be covered under a good plan?  Farmers Insurance notes that plans should cover treatment for accidents and injuries, and certain illnesses like cancer, arthritis, and diabetes.

Remember to review plans carefully for details on coverage of hereditary and pre-existing conditions.

How can you compare insurance plans?

Ready to look into getting pet health insurance but not sure where to start?  Check out this veterinarian-reviewed, comprehensive guide to pet health insurance plans from the website lendedu.com.