Articles: Uncategorized

Dog Flu Outbreak Hits Oakland Animal Services

Ignoring the dog flu or canine influenza virus can lead to consequences. And right now Oakland Animal Services is paying the price with occurrences of the fu. To be clear this is a factor of not enough individuals vaccinating in the community; the shelter did nothing wrong. If on intake they accept a dog harboring…

Dog Scared to Death of Fireworks? What Happened in Toledo?

Can a dog be scared to death, literally? On May 31 during a dog-friendly event called “Paws and Pints”at Firth Third Field in Toledo, fireworks followed the minor league baseball game. On the spot, an 18-month-old Samoyed, named Stella, dropped dead. According to a report in the Blade, the dog’s owner said “We don’t blame…

John O’Hurley on WGN Radio: Beverly Hills Dog Show Presented by Purina

I kick off my Steve Dale’s Pet World WGN radio show with John O’Hurley, one half of today’s broadcast team of the Beverly Hills Dog Show presented by Purina, seen today – Easter Sunday – on NBC, 1 PM ET, Noon CT, 10 AM PT. Listen HERE as O’Hurley tells me why he’s talking to…
Cats have not always had it so great In Mexico, considered by some historically to be vermin or just an annoyance. “Indeed, many people in Mexico and have historically treated cats like the very vermin they help to control,” says Janice Chatterton, founder of the SPCA Puerto Vallarta. Cats weren’t spay/neutered, much less taken indoors. However, that’s changing through much of the country, particularly in urban areas. One way to tell is simply to walk into a pet store in Mexico City or Leon – two larger Mexican Cities. Or area where lots of Americans and Canadians visit and live, such as Cancun or Puerto Vallarta. These pet stores are selling lots of cat litter. Obviously, you only require litter if cats are indoors. Dr. Cesar Morales, director Veterinary Congress de Leon adds, “And people are being educated to offer behavior remedies, which in the past were only available for dogs.” Of course, most truly indoor only cats are spay/neutered. The secret to population control is spay/neuter – and that remains a challenge, both for cultural reasons and costs. Increasingly, there are no cost and low cost options available And culture is changing, though that doesn’t occur overnight. Trap-Neuter-Vaccinate-Return (TNVR) has been shown around the world to be the right thing to do. By “fixing” and vaccinating cats, humane population control occurs. The cats are fed and often looked after by caretakers. Feral or community cats live around the world, often thriving at resorts – including many resorts in Mexico. At the El Dorado Royale resort in the Riviera Maya region of Mexico’s Gulf Coast has taken TNVR to a new level. El Dorado Royale got ahead of the game, proactively doing the right thing for cats.. General Manager Clay Sawyer explains that they call their concept the Cat Café: “Coco’s Animal Welfare is a nonprofit organization focused on promoting animal care through awareness and hard work. They have their clinic at Playa del Carmen, and they work on a daily basis to spay/neuter street cats and dogs and promote adoption and good practices. They were invited to establish a cat café at El Dorado Royale, so the feral cats in the area do not reproduce and are well cared for.” This began by humanely rounding up all the cats living at the resort. They were spay/neutered, vaccinated for rabies, and even de-wormed. Next, Coco’s Animal Welfare came up with a novel idea: allowing cats to stay in first-class accommodations. Bungalows were designed and built to mimic the buildings where visitors stay. Clearly, visitors are enthralled that the cats have such cool digs. Signage explains the Cat Café cat village, which is easy to find, located pretty much dead center at the resort (albeit on a back road). Their cool digs are also practical. Cats are provided cat food, which is kept out of the elements, and the bungalows offer cats a dry place off the ground and shelter from storms. Do the cats use their cool digs? “Of course,” says Sawyer. “Cats are smart, aren’t they?” Today, there are about 15 adult cats on the sprawling property. The cats take advantage of their meals, so native wildlife—like lizards and birds—are more likely to be left alone. Ricardo Pimentel toils in the trenches. Tourists see a part of Cancun, but not typically the outskirts where Pimentel operates a sanctuary called Tierra de Animales, where aside from dogs and cats he even saves turtles, goats, sheep or whatever comes along. “There’s lots of ignorance about cats,” says Pimentel. “People get them as kittens, they never spay or neuter them. There are thousands of cats on the street, most of them are feral, and most of those cats have FIV or (feline) leukemia, and they spread it to other cats.” In Puerto Vallarta cats over-populate in lots of places, including a popular park near the River Cuale. Local store owners and restaurateurs around the park reportedly pay kids about ten pesos a piece to kill as many cats as they can, however they can Nancy and David Goldstein are retired snowbirds in Puerto Vallarta, wintering from the Minneapolis/St.Paul area for three months at a time. Nancy says, “Not only do these cats (killed in the park) die a horrible death, but I’m worried about the not-so-humane education these children are being taught. They’re encouraged to kill.” However, Mexicans aren’t alone. Cats are arguably – in some ways second class citizens in the U.S, notes Puerto Vallarta resident is Suzanna Persa, who some call “the crazy kitten lady.” Persa bottle-feeds the kitties, gets them spay/neutered – usually paying a low cost from her own pocket, as a local veterinarian offers her a discount. And she eventually sends the cats on their way to friends or friends of friends back in the U.S. or adopts them locally. “Good work is being done throughout Mexico,” Persa says. David and Nancy Goldstein were all in when their daughter Jill founded Pause4Paws a few years in Puerto Vallarta, a non-profit welfare group with a feline focus. They’re an umbrella group which helps to fund local financially strapped non-profits. Pause4Paws helps to fund spay/neuter, emergency surgeries and vaccinations. The result of their organized funding has made a difference in thousands of cat lives. Pause4Paws has also delivered well over 100 cats from Puerto Vallarta to America. They insure the cats are spay/neutered and checked for potential infectious disease and/or parasites. And the cats are indeed adopted. “Education is changing this (in Mexico), particularly with younger people,” adds Lola Cortina of San Miguel de Allende, where she founded a sanctuary for cats, Sancuario Feline Rey Ashoka, a no-kill facility. She regularly appears on local radio informing cat owners about needed veterinary care, behavior issues and busting myths along the way. Morales adds that in Leon for every three cats seeing a veterinarian, there are seven dogs These numbers aren’t all too different that the U.S. However, Morales adds that cat caretakers in Leon actually are willing to spend far more on felines compared to canine, and that’s not typically the case in the U.S. Morales adds, “For many young couples, cats are the new dog.” Persa adds, “In the end Mexico is a large country with a lot of people who simply have little education or resources – but the good news is that cat welfare is gradually changing. If cats can be considered real members of the family, they will be cared for – because in this culture family is where it’s at.”

Cats In Mexico: Times Are Changing

Cats have not always had it so great In Mexico, considered by some historically to be vermin or just an annoyance. “Indeed, many people in Mexico and have historically treated cats like the very vermin they help to control,” says Janice Chatterton, founder of the SPCA Puerto Vallarta. Cats in Mexico weren’t spay/neutered, much less taken…

Cats with FIV May Help People with HIV

When we think comparative medicine, how animals can be used to study medical issues that impact people, we typically think about dogs. Indeed, increasingly, dogs are being used to study cancers.  In general, dogs are far better models than lab rats.   In the 1980’s the fear about HIV-AIDS was so extreme that cats with FIV…

Queen of Poop and Puppy Mill Project on WGN Radio

Cari Meyers of the Puppy Mill Project offers a quick update on the efforts of Illinois’ Will and DuPage counties to move to prohibit the sales of dogs and cats at pet stores HERE on WGN Radio. She also explains why that’s important. And, the ultimate goal is to go state-wide with this type of…

Aeris, Movie About a Kitten with FIP, Screened at Lincoln Center

The Lincoln Center has rooms to screen films, often documentaries or art films. I suspect with the hundreds or more films presented over the years, this is the first one ever about a kitten with feline infectious peritonitis (FIP). These young and clearly outrageously talented New York City-based actors, Paul Castro Jr. and Aly Miller,…

Now is the Time to Vaccinate for Dog Flu

The dog flu outbreak in Ohio continues, but the influenza virus doesn’t pay attention to state lines. As recently as 10 days ago, the bug began to creep into Michigan. Now, it’s settled into the Saginaw County Animal Control facility to such an extent that they’re being forced to temporarily shut their doors. In various…

Treating Canine Cognitive Dysfunction

Older dogs have older brains, and as our dogs are generally living longer, there’s an increased risk of canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome, which is nearly identical to Alzheimer’s in people. In fact, as veterinary behaviorist Dr. Valarie Tynes points out, cognitive decline in dogs is so similar to cognitive decline in people, researchers are using…

Steve Dale and Bill and Wendy Go Wild for Gorillas, and Learn About Leptospirosis

I love being on the radio with Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder on WGN radio. I always have much to talk about, often commenting on my own blog posts. And that is just what I did here. Listen HERE as I kick off with World Gorilla Day, which was September 24. I recall my experiences…

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Steve Dale is a certified animal behavior specialist who has been a trusted voice in the world of pet health for over 20 years. You have likely heard him on the radio, read him in print and online, and seen him speaking at events all over the world. His contributions to advancing pet wellness have earned him many an award and recognition around the globe.

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