FDA wants to hear from you on pet food early warning recall questionnaire

BSPPetFoodBowlGreenThe FDA is looking for citizen/consumer input on a proposed early warning system for pet food recalls.

Think you might have something to say about that?

I thought so.

Get yourselves over to this government docket information page and try to decode its secret instructions, and tell them what you think. Or, in a nutshell:

You can submit written or electronic comments by January 29, 2010.

Electronic comments are submitted at http://www.regulations.gov, and written comments go to:

Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305)
Food and Drug Administration
5630 Fishers Lane, rm. 1061
Rockville, MD 20852.

Docket number must be included and is:

Docket No. FDA-2008-N-0546

Confoozled? You can try contacting point person Denver Presley Jr. in the Office of Information Management at 301-796-3793.

What do they want from you?

Review the proposed reporting document at the link I gave before, and tell them what you think. Don’t just tell them you want the system; take the time to see what they’re considering and give feedback on that.

But it’s not a bad idea to also remind them that pet owners need to know before all the stones are turned if there is a risk to our pets’ health, and FDA’s job is to protect us and our animals, not the pet food or any other industry.

Be gracious.


December 30, 2009 at 5:47 pm Leave a comment

‘Tis the season for pet emergencies: True stories from the veterinary ER

BSPXmasCatI asked if any of our Pet Connection readers had spent a holiday night in the ER with a pet, and boy howdy, had you ever! So had our own Dr. Tony Johnson, albeit on the other side of the stethoscope during his years as a critical care specialist in private practice.

It’s hard to say which story is the most heartwarming, but any one of them could be the perfect antidote for hard times and winter storms. From the column:

It was Christmas Eve, and a UPS driver arrived with a package from (Rori) Saxl’s sister just as she was going out the door. She threw it inside and headed out for a fast pre-holiday trip to the grocery store.

When she got home, the box had been ripped open. It contents were missing, but the wrappers told the tale: One pound of dark chocolate Frango mints, and nine bars of scented soap.

Her four-year-old dog, Sissy, a beagle/terrier mix, and her two-year-old German shepherd/Rottweiler mix, Jack, both smelled of mint and perfume. Saxl searched the house and yard, but couldn’t find any sign of either soap or candy — and it was the candy that really worried her.

Although it takes a lot of chocolate to kill a big dog like Jack, Saxl had lost her Chesapeake Bay retriever, Katie, to what her vets had suspected was chocolate poisoning only a few months before.

“The vets who tried to save Katie were the ones who got me to adopt Jack,” Saxl told me. “They’d taken him from the local shelter to be a blood donor for other dogs in their hospital, and the whole staff had fallen in love with him and wanted to find him a really great home.”

Knowing she’d just lost Katie, the vet clinic staff lobbied Saxl to adopt Jack. And now she was bringing him in for overdosing on the very thing they thought had killed Katie. “I was so embarrassed,” she said. “They trusted me with Jack.”

You’ll have to read the column to see how everything turned out, and of course, to get the full effect of Jack’s projectile vomiting.

Pet Connection reader Katie Bruesewitz shares the story of her Flat-coated Retriever, Kody, and a difficult Christmas holiday when he was diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma during emergency surgery:

Bruesewitz and her husband were supposed to be at his family’s house for Christmas dinner while Kody was in surgery. Instead, they stopped off to borrow their minivan so they could transport Kody to an overnight critical care facility.

“I sat on the floor of the van holding his poor groggy head up on the drive to the emergency clinic,” said Brueswitz. “He was in really rough shape. Knowing that he had a horrible cancer lurking inside probably made it seem much worse.”

The next day, however, the clinic told them he could go home. “The thumping of his tail wagging like crazy against the counter as he waited for us to get him was like music to our ears,” she said. “It felt like some corny TV movie about a Christmas miracle.”

And finally, Dr. Tony, who shares his insight throughout the piece, wraps it up with the story of Cupid, a kitten shot through with an arrow who came into his ER one Christmas Eve (and by the way, was still sitting on his lap all these years later, while I interviewed him):

“When I was an intern in Sacramento in 1997, the local animal control officers brought in a kitten on Christmas Eve,” he told me. “She had been shot clear through with an arrow — it went in her neck and came out her thigh.”

The kitten couldn’t move, but she was alive, and Johnson and a colleague made the decision to save her.

“We anesthetized her and cut the arrow at one end and pulled it out,” he said. “We figured she’d bleed out or get a collapsed lung, but she did fine.” So fine, in fact, that he took her home. “The local news picked it up, and called her a Christmas miracle,” Johnson said.

It’s all here… I hope you enjoy it, even with the projectile vomiting — which my editor wanted to cut and I had to beg for, so be sure to leave a comment there that it was your favorite part!


December 30, 2009 at 4:11 pm Leave a comment

New Acoustic Tools to Study Marine Mammalsand Fish

Over the past decade, scientists have developed a variety of reliable real-time and archival instruments to study sounds made or heard by marine mammals and fish. These new sensors are now being used in research, management, and conservation projects around the world, with some very important practical results. Among them is improved monitoring of endangered North Atlantic right whales in an effort to reduce ship strikes, a leading cause of their deaths……..

December 30, 2009 at 1:38 pm Leave a comment

New Year’s resolution: Making the world better for animals

It’s another New Year, and another chance to do something good for the world’s animals. From Dr. Marty Becker and Gina Spadafori in this week’s Pet Connection newspaper feature:

Are pets on your list of New Year’s resolutions? They should be, along with plans for making the world a little bit better not only for your own animals, but also for others in need. With this in mind, we’re again sharing some of the best ideas of our readers.

Although problems can seem overwhelming, especially when it comes to animal cruelty or homeless pets, the fact is that every little bit helps. After all, if every one of us animal lovers did one small thing a couple of times a year, the total effort would be grand indeed.

Check out Dr. Becker’s and Gina’s suggestions for making the world a better place for animals here.

From Dr. Marty Becker and Mikkel Shannon Becker, some straight talk on the truth about canine aggression:

An owner’s influence rather than a dog’s breeding largely determines whether or not a pet will be aggressive. A study published in the Journal of Animal and Veterinary Advances found that external, modifiable and owner-dependent factors influence a dog’s aggression to a greater degree than a dog’s breed, contradicting widespread beliefs that dogs such as pit bulls or Rottweilers are hard-wired for aggression. The researchers found that factors leading to aggression include first-time ownership; failure to provide obedience training; spoiling or pampering the dog; buying a dog as a present, a guard dog or on an impulse; spaying female dogs; leaving the dog with a constant supply of food; or spending little time with the dog in general or on its walks. More than a third of dominance aggression in dogs stems from a lack of obedience training or for doing only the minimum amount of training. The study also found that male dogs are more likely to be aggressive; however, dog-related factors are minimal compared to the factors that owners can control.

Want more? Read the entire Pet Connection for this week, or download the PDF file here to see it just as we submit it to our client newspapers!


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December 30, 2009 at 1:38 pm Leave a comment

Jimmy The Cocker Spaniel Dog

jimmy cocker spaniel dog
This is Jimmy, the 2 year old Cocker Spaniel dog from Sevenoaks in Kent, United Kingdom. Photo sent by Rick.

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December 30, 2009 at 9:41 am Leave a comment



December 30, 2009 at 7:52 am Leave a comment

Richland dog training club plans courses – TheNewsTribune.com

Richland dog training club plans coursesTheNewsTribune.comColumbia Basin dog training Club plans a series of training classes starting Jan. 4, with classes open to AKC registered and mixed breeds. …and more » More: continued here

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December 30, 2009 at 7:52 am Leave a comment

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