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Recall: Brutus & Barnaby Pig Ear Treats for Dogs

August 29, 2019 — All package sizes of Brutus & Barnaby pig ear treats for dogs have been recalled due to possible salmonella contamination, the Florida-based company says.

The 8-, 12-, 25- and 110-count packages are labeled “Pig Ears 100% Natural Treats for Dogs” and were sold online across the U.S. through Amazon.com, Chewy.com, Brutusandbarnaby.com, and also sold at the Natures Food Patch store in Clearwater, Florida.

Dogs that eat the treats and people who handle them could be at risk for salmonella infection. Consumers who bought the treats should destroy them and contact the place of purchase for a full refund, Brutus & Barnaby said.

For more information, contact the company at 1-800-489-0970.

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Brain Games: Mental Stimulation Keeps Dogs’ Minds Sharp

By Jodi Helmer

man playing with dog

Long walks and romps at the dog park keep your dog in top physical shape, but what about her mental health? Like their owners, dogs can have mental decline, says Leticia Fanucchi, DVM, a veterinarian and clinical instructor at Washington State University in Pullman, WA. “Dogs shouldn’t stop being mentally and physically active just because they get older,” she says.

A decline in thinking skills often affects dogs older than 8 years. Signs of canine mental decline include disorientation, changes in sleep/wake cycles, housetraining accidents, higher anxiety, and less desire for physical activity and social interaction. Dogs that have memory loss may have forgotten routine commands such as “sit” and “stay.”

Medications can help slow this decline, but a 2018 study found that mental stimulation could also improve brain health. Researchers at Messerli Research Institute in Vienna used a touchscreen to teach dogs simple computer games; the dogs received treats for getting the answers correct.

“These kinds of mental games help wake up areas of the brain that have been inactive,” Fanucchi says. The combination of sight, scent, and spatial orientation required to solve the puzzle helped make connections between different parts of the brain. The tasty reward motivated the dogs to stick with the activity.

While the touchscreen games used in lab research aren’t sold in stores (yet), Fanucchi suggests creating your own brain games at home. Offer your dog interactive toys that require her to move a puzzle piece or roll a cube to release a treat. And get your pet outside. Regular walks allow her to explore new sights, sounds, and smells, which can be mentally stimulating, and keeping her active during daylight hours can also help reset a confused sleep/wake cycle.

Don’t wait until your pet starts showing signs of doggie dementia to introduce brain training. “Mental stimulation benefits dogs of all ages and is especially important for older dogs,” Fanucchi says.

4 Questions

Worried about your older dog’s brain health? “Tell your vet about recent changes in your dog’s behavior,” says Fanucchi, and consider these questions.

Does your dog show signs of mental decline? Don’t assume that ignoring commands and having accidents in the house are signs of a defiant dog.

Could other health issues be causing these symptoms? Before diagnosing mental decline, Fanucchi says your vet will want to rule out endocrine issues, heart disease, and other medical conditions that could cause similar symptoms.

Is medication available? There is a medication approved to treat mental decline in dogs. Fanucchi suggests talking to your veterinarian about whether it’s right for your pet.

Will changes in diet help? Research shows that kibble made for senior dogs could help improve mental skills and slow decline. Ask about brain protection blends that contain triglycerides, B vitamins, and antioxidants.

Find more articles, browse back issues, and read the current issue of WebMD Magazine.

Sources

SOURCES:

Leticia Fanucchi, DVM, Washington State University, Pullman, WA.

Chapagain, D. Gerontology, February 2018.

Wallace, L. Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference on Animal-Computer Interaction, November 2018.

Szabo, D. Behavioural Processes, December 2018.

Pan, Y. Frontiers in Nutrition, December 2018.

© 2019 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Which Dogs Are More Likely to Bite Your Kids?

THURSDAY, June 6, 2019 — No parent wants their child to suffer a dog bite, and new research offers some guidance on which dogs are the riskiest around young kids.

The body size and head shape of dogs affect the bite and injury risk they pose, the researchers found.

For the study, the investigators examined 15 years of visits for facial dog bites at two emergency departments, and more than 45 years of data from different dog bite studies.

“Because we often didn’t know what type of dog was involved in these incidents, we looked at things like weight and head shape,” explained study author Dr. Garth Essig, an otolaryngologist at Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center, in Columbus.

“We wanted to provide families with data to help them determine the risk to their children and inform them on which types of dogs do well in households with kids,” Essig explained in a medical center news release.

Certain dog breeds are known to be more likely to bite and to cause more serious injuries, but the breed was unknown in about 60% of dog bite cases analyzed by the researchers.

Bite injuries from pit bulls were the most frequent and most severe, followed by mixed-breed dogs and German shepherds, the findings showed.

The researchers also identified the physical traits of dogs that pose a higher bite and injury risk.

For example, dogs weighing more than 66 pounds and those with more of a square-shaped head — such as a chow chow or pug — were more likely to bite and cause serious injury.

Each year in the United States, nearly 5 million people suffer dog bites, and children have a much higher risk than adults.

Children should be taught how to safely interact with dogs, the study authors said.

Meghan Herron is an associate professor of clinical services at Ohio State’s College of Veterinary Medicine. She explained that “people often think that leaning forward and reaching out their hand for the dog to smell is the right thing to do, but in reality that can actually be threatening to the dog.”

Herron suggested that, “instead, ask the dog owner for permission to pet their dog, then turn to the side, crouch down on your knees, pat your leg and let the dog come to you.”

The study findings were published recently in the International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology.

More information

The American Veterinary Medical Association has more on preventing dog bites.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: June 2019

Drugs.com – Daily MedNews

Treat Your Dog’s Pain and Lameness

By Christina Boufis

old dog

Pet health experts estimate that about one in five adult dogs have a form of arthritis called osteoarthritis, an often painful condition affecting the joints. But your dog can’t tell you when he’s hurting.

Maybe you’ve noticed your older dog isn’t as eager to climb the stairs or jump into the car as he once was. Or perhaps he’s limping, sleeping more, and playing less. These could be signs of osteoarthritis, says Alicia Z. Karas, DVM, an assistant professor of clinical sciences at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University.

“Osteoarthritis is an inflammatory condition of the joint,” she says. “It can result from overloading the joints or from injury. Then the inflammation persists.”

Osteoarthritis is a chronic disease in which cartilage, the protective covering on bones and joints, wears down, leading to pain. Just like in humans, the disease can affect any joint in the body. Your dog may have pain or breakdown in the front or back legs, hips, elbows, shoulders, spine, and even toes, says Karas. It’s probably the most common reason for lameness in older dogs, she notes.

What can you do if your dog shows signs of lameness or pain? First, get him thoroughly checked out by your vet, says Karas, as there could be many reasons for lameness, from muscle pain to a torn ligament or even cancer, which is important to get diagnosed right away. And though osteoarthritis can’t be cured, you can help your dog feel better and prevent further injury. Here’s what our veterinary expert recommends.

Keep your dog at its best weight.Obesity is associated with an increase in lameness and problems with mobility,” says Karas. “Part of that is because the dog’s joints are overloaded. Another part is that fatty tissue is pro-inflammatory and will make joints hurt more.” Know your dog’s body condition score (BCS), which is similar to a body mass index (BMI) for humans, Karas says. Avoid giving treats and overfeeding to either help your dog lose weight or stay at its best weight.

Trim toenails. “Long toenails are the equivalent of wearing shoes that don’t fit,” says Karas. When nails are long, they can affect how your dog walks, changing the way the muscles and joints work. Keep nails trimmed.

Continued

Create traction. “Picture the floors in your house being an ice rink,” says Karas. It’s hard for your dog to get a grip when walking on hardwood floors or those with high-gloss finishes. Put runners, yoga mats, or carpet tiles down that you can pick up and move, so that your dog has a textured surface to walk on. This will help prevent slipping or splaying, which can injure muscles as well as joints, says Karas.

Avoid the weekend warrior syndrome. “Your dog will follow you off a cliff,” says Karas. If you take your dog for a long hike on the weekend, he’s not going to tell you he’s tired and you should turn around, she says. Keep exercise time within reason for your dog’s fitness and comfort level.

Also avoid high-impact activities like running and jumping, which can increase joint pain and inflammation, advises the American College of Veterinary Surgeons. Stick to regular leash walks that help build muscle around the joints.

Consider a supplement. Several small studies show that fish oil supplements may help ease pain and lameness in dogs with osteoarthritis. Because supplements aren’t regulated and vary in quality by brand, talk to your vet first if you’re considering giving a supplement, says Karas.

Try acupuncture. The American Animal Hospital Association recommends acupuncture as a safe treatment for pain in animals. Ask your vet for a recommendation for a veterinary acupuncturist, someone trained to use the needles that may help ease pain and increase blood flow to muscles.

See a specialist. Like sports medicine doctors in humans, a specialist trained in canine rehabilitation could help your dog. Rehab might involve massage, stretching exercises, or even water therapy. While studies on alternative therapies are scarce, body work done by a specialist may help make your dog more comfortable.

“If you’re helping the muscles to relax, you’re going to get them to work better,” explains Karas, “and that’s going to support the joint better, so if the joint was painful, fixing the muscle might really help.”

4 Questions

Ask your vet about your dog’s pain to get the right treatment, says Karas.

  • What is causing my dog’s lameness? Limping could be caused by many conditions, including osteoarthritis. Your vet may order an X-ray (with or without sedation) and do a thorough physical exam to find the cause, says Karas.
  • Would pain medication help my dog? Your vet may prescribe anti-inflammatory medications to help ease your dog’s pain. She may also recommend bloodwork to rule out conditions (such as elevated liver enzymes) that could mean certain medications can harm your dog. Never give your dog human pain relievers, as these may be toxic.
  • Is my dog overweight? Your vet can tell you how much your dog should weigh and calculate how many calories he needs each day for weight loss or maintenance, says Karas.
  • Should I give my dog a supplement? Not all supplements are created equal, so talk to your vet about brands, what to expect from supplements, and what research there might be to support them, she says.

Continued

By the Numbers

  • 56%: Percentage of dogs that are overweight or obese, according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention.
  • About 6% to 8%: Percentage of weight loss in dogs that significantly cut lameness in obese dogs with hip osteoarthritis, according to one small study.
  • A score of 4 or 5: Total out of 9 on the body condition score that is ideal for dogs.

Find more articles, browse back issues, and read the current issue of WebMD Magazine.

Sources

SOURCES:

InPractice: “Investigation and management of canine osteoarthritis.”

Alicia Karas, DVM, assistant professor, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University, North Grafton, MA.

American College of Veterinary Surgeons: “Osteoarthritis in Dogs.”

Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine: “Systematic review of efficacy of nutraceuticals to alleviate clinical signs of osteoarthritis.”

American Animal Hospital Association: “2015 AAHA/AAFP Pain Management Guidelines for Dogs and Cats.”

Journal of Small Animal Practice: “Therapeutic options for the treatment of chronic pain in dogs.”

American Veterinary Medical Association: “Senior Pet Care.”

Association for Pet Obesity Prevention website.

Veterinary Research Communications: “The effect of weight loss on lameness in obese dogs with osteoarthritis.”

The World Small Animal Veterinary Association, Global Nutrition Committee: “Body Condition Score.”

© 2019 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Are Some People Using Their Dogs to Get Opioids?

By Dennis Thompson

HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Jan. 15, 2019 (HealthDay News) — To fight America’s opioid epidemic, lawmakers and regulators have clamped down hard on doctors’ prescribing practices.

But one avenue for obtaining prescription opioids appears to have been overlooked, according to a new study.

Veterinarians are prescribing large quantities of opioids to pets, raising concern that some people might be using Fido or Snuggles to feed their addiction.

Opioid prescriptions from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine rose 41 percent between 2007 and 2017, even though the annual number of visits increased by just 13 percent, researchers found.

Penn Vet handed out 105 million tramadol tablets, 97,500 hydrocodone (Hycodan) tablets, and nearly 39,000 codeine tablets during the study period, results show.

“I think it would come as a surprise to everyone, the quantities,” said senior author Dr. Jeanmarie Perrone, director of medical toxicology at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine.

Not Just For Pets

It’s very likely at least some of these drugs wound up being used by humans, said Emily Feinstein, executive vice president of the Center on Addiction.

“There’s a small percentage, I’m sure, of people in this data who are using their pets and an encounter with a veterinarian as a means of getting themselves opioids,” Feinstein said.

The U.S. opioid crisis led to roughly 50,000 overdose deaths in 2017, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Americans now are more likely to die from an opioid overdose than from a car or motorcycle crash, a fall, drowning or choking on food, a report issued Tuesday by the National Safety Council concluded.

Perrone initiated her study after vet school colleagues complained that they’d been getting a lot of after-hours calls from patients about filling opioid prescriptions for pets. They asked her advice about how to handle these requests.

“Before I went to talk, I asked them to pull all of their opioid prescriptions so I’d have an idea how often they actually prescribed opioids,” Perrone said. “To their shock and our shock, there were about 3,000 prescriptions a month.”

Perrone thought back to when she’d had her own dog spayed, and the vet handed her a bag of supplies to care for her recovering canine. She went looking for that bag.

“I found a bottle of tramadol I was given when my dog got spayed four years ago. It was still in the cabinet with all the dog stuff,” Perrone said.

Continued

Following general trends

After looking at Penn Vet’s prescribing practices, Perrone’s team obtained statewide prescription data kept by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency for all Pennsylvania veterinarians.

Between 2014 and 2017, Pennsylvania vets doled out 688,340 hydrocodone (Hycodan) tablets, 14,100 codeine tablets, 23,110 fentanyl patches, 171,100 tablets of hydromorphone (Dilaudid) and 7,600 doses of oxycodone (Oxycontin), the federal data showed.

The findings were published Jan. 10 in the journal JAMA Network Open.

The opioid epidemic stems from a shift in medical philosophy, in which pain‘s role as a symptom to be treated became more prominent and the risks of opioid addiction were not fully appreciated, Feinstein said.

“Veterinarians live in the same society as the rest of us,” she said. “It’s not surprising to see the same trends happening in veterinary medicine as were happening in the rest of medicine. All of medicine was prescribing more opioids and thinking they were safe.”

Beyond the risk of people “vet shopping” for drugs, Feinstein said the numbers suggest pet cabinets across the country might contain opioids ripe for misuse.

“If there is someone with an opioid use problem in your circle, those leftover pills can become a temptation if they’re not safely locked up,” she said.

Dr. John de Jong, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association, said he hasn’t seen any data to suggest that what was found in Pennsylvania is occurring elsewhere.

“First, this is a survey of veterinarians at a veterinary teaching hospital to which complex cases are referred and for which more extensive pain management is often needed,” de Jong said. “It is inappropriate to extrapolate results from a practice like that to primary care practices across the country.”

Second, pain management is a rapidly emerging field in veterinary medicine, de Jong said.

“The period of this study overlaps a period of significant growth in understanding pain and its impact on veterinary patients,” he said. “It is reasonable to expect that as knowledge grows, so will efforts to address related concerns. So, it’s very possible that this study doesn’t reflect overprescribing, but instead reflects appropriate prescribing representing better pain management in veterinary patients.”

Continued

Better Monitoring

At the same time, vets are starting to keep a closer eye on their opioid prescriptions, de Jong added.

“There appear to have been few confirmed cases of owners deliberately injuring their pets to obtain opioids,” he said. “We have heard more veterinarians share that they suspect some pet owners may be using their pet’s medications and asking for refills in advance of when those should be needed, or that they’ve lost or spilled medications, but this is anecdotal.”

These results suggest vets need to be urged as strongly as other doctors to prescribe opioids with care, said Dr. Harshal Kirane, director of addiction services at Staten Island University Hospital in New York.

“Our national response to the opioid epidemic should leave no stone unturned,” Kirane said. “This work highlights that contemporary veterinary medicine uses a significant volume of opioid medications, yet lacks a systematic framework for safe opioid-prescribing practices. While the apparent scale of opioid medication management in animals is drastically smaller in comparison to humans, it still represents a powerful opportunity for practice improvement.”

In the meantime, pet owners should secure any opioids prescribed for their animals, and dispose of the drugs safely when they’re no longer needed, said Dr. Scott Krakower, assistant unit chief of psychiatry at Zucker Hillside Hospital in Glen Oaks, N.Y.

“I feel like sometimes you don’t even think of it. It may slip your mind that the medication is there in the cabinet,” Krakower said. “Sometimes it’s not clearly marked as a human medication may be.”

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New Drug Treats Dogs Scared by Loud Noises

Dec. 5, 2018 — A drug to treat dogs that are frightened by loud noises has been approved for use in the United States.

Pexion (imepitoin tablets) is for dogs scared by loud noises such as fireworks, street/traffic racket, and gun shots, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said.

Clinical trials show that the drug reduced noise-averse dogs’ reactions to fireworks. The drug was approved by the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine and will be available by prescription only.

The drug is given to the dog twice daily starting two days before an expected noise event and treatment continues through the event.

The most common side effects were difficulty standing and walking, increased appetite, lethargy, and vomiting. But three of the 90 dogs that received Pexion in the trial became aggressive, including growling at a young child and lack of restraint or self-control towards other dogs.

The drug’s label information advises owners to carefully observe their dogs during treatment, the FDA said.

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FDA Hopes to Spare Dogs in Veterinary Drug Trials

By EJ Mundell

       

         HealthDay Reporter        

FRIDAY, Nov. 16, 2018 (HealthDay News) — As part of a new effort to cut the use of dogs in drug trials, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday launched an initiative to keep canines out of studies for certain veterinary medicines.

The project is aimed at “bioequivalence” trials — studies conducted to test whether a new generic version of a drug is equivalent in effectiveness and safety to an existing medicine.

Often, these drug tests involve live dogs who are treated with the drug and then euthanized and autopsied, to examine how the medicine affected tissues and organs.

But under the new plan, such trials may become obsolete, FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said in an agency news release.

“Our goal is to do one single study involving a small number of dogs where the dogs will only be subject to minimally invasive blood sampling, and adopted as pets at the completion of the short trial — to eliminate the need for the use of dogs in certain types of future studies, some where they might have been euthanized,” Gottlieb explained.

The new research is aimed at validating that approach, so that bioequivalency studies could dispense with the need to use live canines.

Gottlieb said the move away from live animals would be especially important for the testing of veterinary medicines like anti-parasite drugs, which need to be absorbed internally.

“For anti-parasitic drugs that act locally within the gastrointestinal tract, this has historically required data gathered from terminal studies, meaning the animals were artificially infected with gastrointestinal parasites and then euthanized at the conclusion of the study,” Gottlieb said.

This was done “so that researchers could physically examine the GI tract for parasites or parasite damage, to evaluate whether the drug was effective,” he noted.

However, the proposed new study might get around the need for euthanization altogether.

In the new trial, three groups of dogs will each receive three pills over the course of several months. Blood tests will be drawn to see if concentrations of the medicines are equivalent to those seen in the dogs treated with a similar, already marketed drug.

Continued

That should “establish a clear benchmark for how these drugs are absorbed in the dogs’ blood,” Gottlieb explained. Once that data is known, calculations can be made that simply “model the absorption of drugs [by dogs] in the future, rather than requiring the drugs to be tested on live dogs,” he said.

The dogs involved in this breakthrough study will be treated well, Gottlieb added.

“Because we know that it’s important to prepare the dogs to be calm for their blood draws, and to give them a head start on their transition to life as pets, the research staff will work with the dogs to socialize and acclimate them to their environment for at least two months before this study begins,” he said.

“The dogs will receive regular veterinary care, including vaccinations and other preventive care, so that they remain happy, well-socialized and healthy,” according to Gottlieb. “At the conclusion of the study, the dogs will be retired for adoption as pets.”

The FDA has recently re-focused its efforts on reducing the need for animal trials generally, creating its own Animal Welfare Council in January 2018. The council provides “centralized oversight of all animal research activities and facilities under its purview,” he said.

Gottlieb stressed that, in some cases, animals are still vital to research that could save people’s lives. But, “we’re committed to exploring ways to help FDA scientists and product developers reduce reliance on this practice,” he said, and the newly proposed study “is a big part of that effort.”

The FDA says it is accepting public comment on the new canine trial over the next 60 days.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCE: U.S. Food and Drug Administration, news release, Nov. 16, 2018

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.


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Under New Plan, FDA Hopes to Cut Use of Dogs in Veterinary Drug Trials