Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Protect Your Dog (and Cat) During Dog Days

With dog days and their accompanying high temperatures upon us, Georgians are doing their best to keep cool. Agriculture Commissioner Tommy Irvin is reminding pet owners that their cats and dogs need assistance in order to stay safe and healthy on sweltering days.

Here are a few tips to help your pet beat the summer heat:

Keep a fresh water supply available. Change the water daily. This helps ensure that it remains clean and prevents mosquitoes from breeding in it.

Keep it in the shade so it doesn’t get hot.

Do not leave your pet in a parked car – even with the windows cracked. The temperature can become dangerously high within minutes.

If your dogs are outdoors, make sure that they have a shaded, well-ventilated place to get out of the sun’s harmful rays. Place doghouses in the shade. (Cats are better kept indoors year-round for their health and safety as well as to protect songbirds and wildlife.)

Limit strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day. Take walks in the morning or evening. Bring your dog inside to the air-conditioning if it seems too hot. Dogs with short snouts such as Pugs, English bulldogs and Pekineses are especially vulnerable to the heat.

Avoid prolonged contact with asphalt or concrete. These surfaces may burn paw pads.

Fleas and ticks are more active during the summer months and can cause serious health problems. Talk to your veterinarian about how to keep these from infesting your pet.

Keep your pet’s vaccinations up-to-date. This is especially important during summer to protect against mosquitoes and disease-carrying insects.

Spay or neuter your pet. This keeps animals closer to home and helps them avoid potential life-threatening situations, decreases their disease susceptibility and improves their overall health. For information on how to receive a discount on your pet’s spay or neuter procedure through the Dog and Cat Sterilization Program, visit the Georgia Department of Agriculture at or call 404-656-3667.
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Keep Newnan Beautiful Installs First Pet Waste Station in the City

Keep Newnan Beautiful is proud to announce the City’s first pet waste station has been installed at Temple Avenue Park. The Newnan- Coweta Historical Society’s generous donation made the first pet station possible in the city.

Citizens are encouraged to use this station when walking their dogs in the area. The station is located in Temple Avenue Park near the Male Academy Museum.

“Keep Newnan Beautiful is making new goals for the city every day in the fight against litter. Installing this station is another step in the campaign to reduce litter and waste in our city,” says Carol Duffey, Keep Newnan Beautiful Director.

There are other possible locations in the city identified by the Beautification Department that pet waste stations may go in the future. If your business or group would like more information on how to donate for a pet station, please contact Carol Duffey at
About the Pet Waste station

The Gladiator bin and dispenser is made from commercial grade, anti-vandal, heavy gauge rust free aluminum. The bin has a unique chute which allows only small articles to be deposited restricting its use to dog waste bags. A unique drop down front makes emptying the can a simple, mess-free task. Each station comes with a Gladiator can, post, dispenser, sign and hardware.

About Keep Newnan Beautiful

Keep Newnan Beautiful was created to educate, motivate and empower the individuals of Newnan, Georgia, to take greater responsibility for improving our local community environments through litter prevention, beautification, and waste reduction.” For more information or to volunteer visit or email Carol Duffey at
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Sunday, July 19, 2009

One Boy, One Turtle, A World of Difference

One extremely passionate seven-year-old boy, one very sick sea turtle, four garage sales, three craft shows, 500 homemade turtle chocolates and numerous 10-cent bottle refunds add up to a winning combination for patients in the South Carolina Aquarium's Sea Turtle Rescue Program. Ethan, inspired by a behind-the-scenes tour of the South Carolina Aquarium's Sea Turtle Hospital, has worked diligently for over two years raising funds to support the hospital patients. To his honor, on July 26, 2009, Ethan will join Aquarium staff in releasing Wadmalaw, the Kemp's ridley whose story first inspired him to educate others about the plight of sea turtles and work towards raising money for their treatment. Two other rehabilitated sea turtles, Kiawah and Winyah, will also be released on Sunday, July 26 at 3 p.m. at Beachwalker County Park located on the west end of Kiawah Island, S.C. (Parking is limited and Beachwalker County Park parking fees will apply).

Meet Ethan
Ethan, a resident of Caledonia, Ontario in Canada first came to the Aquarium when he was five years old to deliver $214 he had raised for patients in the Sea Turtle Hospital. On his initial visit, Ethan met Wadmalaw, a critically ill patient. Inspired by his encounter, at home, he continued to educate others and raise money to aid in the medical care of these threatened and endangered species. His passion to-date has added up to enough money to feed eight sea turtle patients for an entire year or to cover a year's worth of medication and procedures for a patient in the Aquarium's Sea Turtle Hospital.

On July 26, Ethan plans to present a $1,000 donation to the Aquarium during the beach release on Kiawah Island. With the July 26 planned gift, Ethan's donations total $2,274. He continues to raise money for the hospital through his own fundraising ideas and has most recently "asked for turtle donations in lieu of gifts from his friends for his birthday" said his mother Shelley Harrison. In school in his hometown of Caledonia, Ontario in Canada, Ethan uses show-and-tell to educate his peers about sea turtles asking them to stop using plastic bags "because sea turtles eat them thinking they are jellyfish" he said. He purchased a reusable bag for each child in his class and asked them to use the reusable bag instead.

In June, Ethan won his school's 'Principal's Award for Student Leadership' due to his conservation efforts for sea turtles and the environment. He was also nominated for both a 'Junior Citizen' award and for an 'Amazing Kid' contest on a local radio station.

About Wadmalaw (Kemp's ridley sea turtle)
Wadmalaw was admitted into the South Carolina Aquarium's Sea Turtle Hospital on July 11, 2007 after being caught by a fisherman on hook and line on Wadmalaw Island, S.C. The hook was lodged deep in the turtle's mouth and the fisherman was unable to remove it. On the day of Wadmalaw's arrival, under full anesthesia, surgery was performed and the hook was successfully removed. There were also additional complications with this patient. Wadmalaw was floating, not interested in food and was very lethargic. With an unknown future and poor prognosis, staff held out hope and proceeded with treatment for the small turtle which included antibiotic and antifungal injections, vitamin injections and tube feeding. Physical therapy was initiated to keep its flippers from becoming atrophied. In late September, Wadmalaw started to show interest in food and in January 2008 began getting movement back in some of the flippers. By May 2008 after undergoing five sets of radiographs, a CT scan and multiple medications, Wadmalaw started showing signs of great improvement. Sea Turtle Rescue Program Coordinator, Kelly Thorvalson wrote on her blog, "time is this animal's friend," and so it was, as now it is healed and ready for release.

About Winyah (Kemp's ridley sea turtle)
On September 22, 2008 Winyah was found comatose after getting entangled and trapped underwater in a channel net used to catch shrimp in the Winyah Bay in Georgetown, S.C. Upon arrival at the Aquarium's Sea Turtle Hospital, staff kept the animal at an angle to drain the fluid from the lungs. An antibiotic regimen was initiated to prevent pneumonia, which would have been likely without treatment. Due to the large amount of fluids, it was evident that while caught in the net the turtle was unable to come to the surface to breathe. Healthy, Winyah is now ready for release.

About Kiawah (loggerhead sea turtle)
Found washed up on Kiawah Island, the juvenile debilitated loggerhead was admitted into the Aquarium's Sea Turtle Hospital on March 28, 2009. The turtle was hypoglycemic, moderately emaciated, dehydrated and covered in small barnacles, algae and skeleton shrimp indicating it had been lethargic for a long time. Fluid therapy, antibiotics, and dextrose were immediately administered. Supportive therapy continued and Kiawah began showing signs of improvement. By May 2009 the turtle was eating well and very active. Having added necessary weight and the bloodwork analyzed, Kiawah is ready for release.

The public is invited to come and join the Aquarium Sunday afternoon July 26 at 3 p.m. at Beachwalker County Park located on the west end of Kiawah Island, S.C. for the sea turtles Wadmalaw, Winyah and Kiawah's beach release. Additionally, Wednesday, July 22 through Saturday, July 25 the Aquarium's Sea Turtle Hospital will be offering additional behind-the-scenes tours at 1 p.m. and 2 p.m.

For more information or if weather for the release may be questionable please visit For advance bookings for the Sea Turtle Hospital tour, please call the Aquarium at (843) 577-FISH (3474).

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Friday, July 17, 2009

Rabies: How to Protect Yourself and Your Pets

/PRNewswire/ -- Rabies is a virus that occurs in mammals and infects the central nervous system; the disease can cause death in humans if it is not treated. Nearly 90 percent of cases occur in wild animals (raccoons, bats, foxes etc.); less than 10% of cases occur in domestic animals like dogs or cats. Humans usually become infected when they are bitten by an infected animal.

Early symptoms of rabies are fever, headache and general malaise. Since these are similar to other illnesses, infected persons often do not seek treatment because they are unaware they have rabies.

Progressive symptoms include:
-- Insomnia
-- Anxiety/confusion
-- Partial paralysis
-- Agitation
-- Hallucination
-- Excess saliva
-- Difficulty swallowing
-- Fear of water

If you have been bitten by any animal you should seek medical care immediately. After possible exposure to rabies, the wound should be washed thoroughly with soap and water. Treatment for someone who has contracted rabies is called post-exposure prophylaxis or PEP. PEP treatment consists of one dose of a substance called immune globulin and five doses of the rabies vaccine over 28 days, both of which help your body fight the virus. Treatment must be given as soon after exposure as possible for the best chance of recovery.

If you see an animal you suspect of having rabies, you should call your local health department or animal control agency. These agencies will have ways to safely remove the animal from the area so that no one becomes infected. Infected animals often display symptoms similar to those listed above and may seem to be acting strangely or seen somewhere outside their normal habitat.

The best way to prevent the spread of rabies is to have all your pets vaccinated against the virus. This will also help prevent them from being infected if they come in contact with an infected animal.

Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
NC Health Info

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Pew Brings Survivors to Congress to Seek Protections for Sharks that Attacked Them

/PRNewswire/ -- Today, nine shark "attack" victims from around the nation joined advocates in pushing for the Shark Conservation Act of 2009 (S. 850/H.R. 81), which would strengthen the ban on shark finning in U.S. waters and encourage shark conservation programs around the world.

"Sharks have evolved over 400 million years to become an 'apex predator' in the marine ecosystem, yet our fears help paint a grave picture for their future. It's time to replace fear with understanding and action, just as we have for lions and other apex predators," said Debbie Salamone, an Orlando, Florida resident and communications manager at the Pew Environment Group who was bitten by a shark at the Cape Canaveral National Seashore in east Central Florida in 2004.

The market for shark fins, highly valued for use in the Asian delicacy shark fin soup, is a major driving force in the overfishing of sharks. Shark meat is usually much less valuable, leading too often to shark "finning": slicing off a shark's fin and dumping the rest of the body back into the ocean. This wasteful practice is banned in the U.S., but loopholes in the law hamper its effectiveness, and many other countries still allow finning.

"You are more likely to be killed by lightning than a shark," said George Burgess, whose work at the Florida Museum of Natural History has highlighted the paucity of shark attacks in the world. "If only the sharks were so lucky. Up to 73 million sharks are killed around the world annually. In contrast, only a handful of people die every year from the 50-70 shark attacks worldwide."

A recent report from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) classified 35 out of 64 known pelagic (open ocean) shark and related ray species around the world as Threatened or Near Threatened with extinction. According to the report, overfishing is the primary reason for the threatened status of a number of shark species in U.S. waters, including great whites, three species of thresher sharks, makos, porbeagles, oceanic whitetips, and three species of hammerheads.

In advocating for the Shark Conservation Act, introduced by Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) in April and passed by the House of Representatives by unanimous consent in March, the survivors hope that their unique voices will make a difference.

"The media makes sharks out to be monsters, some people make them out to be huggable little creatures, but neither is completely true," said Al Brenneka, of Raleigh, North Carolina, who lost his arm after being bitten while surfing in Del Ray Beach, Florida, in 1976. Brenneka now runs a shark attack survivors network and also tags and releases sharks for research. "Sharks are wild animals that deserve our respect, not our retribution."

"The repercussions from overfishing sharks are severe; it is critical to look at the big picture," said Robyne Knutson of Santa Cruz, California, an artist who was bitten in the leg off the Maui shore in 1999.

"They're at the top of the food chain and everything else depends on them," said Mike Coots, who lost a leg to a shark while surfing off the Hawaiian island of Kuai in 1997. Coots, who still lives in Kuai, now surfs with a prosthesis.

"I don't want to swim around and play with them, but just because you don't like them doesn't mean you want to see them exterminated," said Charles Anderson of Summerdale, Alabama, who was bitten in the arm at Gulf Shores, Alabama, in 2000 while training for a triathlon. After losing his arm, Anderson has gone on to finish 17 triathlons.

Other survivors came from New York, Rhode Island, Florida and California. All of them highlighted the need for Senator Kerry's legislation, which would prohibit the removal of shark fins at sea, eliminate loopholes, strengthen enforcement in the current U.S. shark finning ban and promote the conservation of sharks internationally.

"We need Congressional action to further shark conservation and strengthen the U.S. shark finning ban," said Matt Rand, director of the Pew Environment Group's Global Shark Conservation Campaign. "If we don't act now, too many shark species will face extinction."

The Pew Environment Group is the conservation arm of The Pew Charitable Trusts, a non-governmental organization that applies a rigorous, analytical approach to improving public policy, informing the public and stimulating civic life. .

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Making Life Easier For Your Senior Pet

(NAPSI)-Arthritis can make it difficult for cats and dogs to get around, but there are many steps you can take to help ease your pet's suffering.

Here are a few tips to help you make life more comfortable for your pet:

• Keep your pet moving. Regular exercise is an important part in preventing arthritis flare-ups--whether it means taking your dog for regular short walks or giving your cat a toy to encourage play. Light exercise lubricates the joints.

• Watch their weight. Don't overfeed your pets or allow them to eat too many scraps as extra weight raises their chances of developing arthritis. Extra weight can strain a pet's joints and eventually cause cartilage to degenerate.

• Keep them comfortable. Arthritis can get worse if the pet sleeps in an awkward position, so make sure your senior pet has a comfortable bed to sleep in; an orthopedic bed, if possible. Some orthopedic beds even deliver heat to soothe affected joints.

• Make adjustments to their environment. For example, think about where you place a pet's food bowl. Raising the food bowl can reduce neck strain. A pet with advanced arthritis might find steps difficult. A ramp or special pet steps may help.

• Supplement their diet. You can also make your pet more comfortable by giving him a supplement such as Cosequin DS. The scientifically researched nutritional supplement is dispensed by thousands of veterinarians to help cats and dogs maintain healthy joints. It's the only over-the-counter supplement to help prevent and treat joint conditions that can be used on both cats and dogs.

Early action is best as the supplement works gradually and it may take a while to see results. If you notice limping, stiffness or a change in gait, ask your veterinarian to examine your pet and advise you on supplement use.

Your veterinarian may also suggest using the supplement as a protective measure to prevent arthritis from developing or flaring up.

For more information, visit

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Friday, July 10, 2009

Unique Dolphin Research Effort, Staffed by Trained Volunteers, Completes 20 Years of Work

Public invited to celebration July 18, near Savannah

Citizen-naturalists of The Dolphin Project (TDP) have completed 20 years of work in the nation’s longest-running dolphin research program staffed by volunteers.

According to Beau Cutts, founder and first president of The Dolphin Project (TDP), more than 4,500 trained volunteers from Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina and 16 other states have collected population and other information on dolphins for scientists during the past two decades.

"TDP members have donated their skills and labor -- hundreds of thousands of hours so far -- and have contributed approximately $1 million from their own pockets to pay for boat fuel, photographic film, record-keeping and other costs," he said. Personnel of the U.S. government and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources have given technical assistance, educational classes and nautical charts. The volunteers’ work is conducted under a federal research permit.

"We use family-style motorboats on sections of coastal Georgia and South Carolina," Cutts said. "Identifying and keeping up with individual dolphins through photography is a major part of our work. We have identified approximately 850 individual dolphins."

A 20-year celebration and evening program will be held Saturday, July 18, 2009, in Richmond Hill, near Savannah. The public is invited. [And so are news reporters. See below for details.]
Cutts said members of The Dolphin Project, a nonprofit research and education organization, have taken a staggering number of photographs, approximately 600,000 from 1989 to 2009, to identify the health and travels of individual dolphins.

When a bottlenose dolphin, Tursiops truncatus, surfaces to breathe, the fin on its back is momentarily visible in the air. The trailing edge of this dorsal fin has unique indentations and marks enabling researchers to identify an individual dolphin like a fingerprint can identify a person. With each photo of a dolphin, TDP members record the date, time, latitude and longitude.

"The trick is to get a clear photo from the side when the animal is up for air," said Peach Hubbard, the 2009 president of The Dolphin Project. "We are able to compare multiple photos of a particular dolphin over time and learn the extent of its range and often the other dolphins it associates with."

Cutts said many of the animals stay within a fairly small area, never photographed over the years more than 10 miles from their first sighting. Other dolphins are migrants, traveling north and south along the U.S. east coast and also from shallow to deep water, then returning.

The idea of training ordinary citizens -- a science background is not required -- to go on the water and collect basic data for marine-mammal scientists caught on immediately, said Cutts.
"I've watched the progression of public interest from our first meeting on Dec. 19, 1988, through the education classes and training in the early months of '89 to the first on-the-water research July 15, 1989," he said. "As more and more people participated, I recognized a deep motivation to work -- perhaps a bit sweaty in summer or chilly and maybe wet weather in winter -- on behalf of dolphins."

Early TDP leaders committed to completing 10 years of scientifically useful data on dolphins, said Cutts. "Now, with the hard work of many people, we've reached 20 years. It's an exciting accomplishment for all the people who have participated."
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Thursday, July 9, 2009

Warnell researchers help discover smallest salamander in U.S.

Researchers from the University of Georgia Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources weren’t looking for anything new when they went exploring in the northeast part of the state. But they ended up making a big discovery of a tiny animal, finding a new species of salamander that could change what scientists know about some amphibians.

The newly discovered salamander, which is the second-smallest salamander species in the U.S. and one of the smallest in the world at just two inches long, is now under study by a diverse group of researchers from several U.S. colleges. The team is searching for more of the salamanders, which are detailed in a new paper appearing in the Journal of Zoology.

The discovering research team consists of Carlos Camp, professor at Piedmont College; Joe Milanovich, Warnell graduate student; Bill Peterman, University of Missouri graduate student; Trip Lamb, professor at East Carolina University; John Maerz, assistant wildlife professor at Warnell; and David Wake, professor at the University of California Berkeley.

The initial discovery came in spring 2007 near Toccoa, Ga., when Peterman and Milanovich stumbled across it while collecting another species of salamander in Stephens County. They knew they’d found an animal not known in that region but did not yet know it was a new species. Milanovich works with Maerz, a Warnell assistant professor of wildlife, and called him. Maerz advised them to take the salamander to Camp at Piedmont College, who recognized it as a new species. Lamb, a professor at East Carolina University, used genetics to confirm the new species and establish its relationship to other species in the region.

After the students found the first salamander, a female with eggs, in a creek, researchers went back repeatedly looking for others. That is when Maerz’s then 10-year-old son Jack and Milanovich found the first male specimen. The research team has found several individuals at the original site, including larvae, and they have found the new species at two other nearby locations in Georgia. Collaborators also found the species at a nearby site in South Carolina.

This discovery, according to Maerz, could yield exciting new information on the evolution of stream salamanders in this region.

“Whenever you find something new, it has the potential to change what we know about a range of related species,” he said. There are more than 560 species of salamanders worldwide, and approximately 10 percent are found in Georgia.”

But that’s not the only reason Maerz is excited. The new species was found in a well-traveled area in the middle of a creek right next to a road, almost hidden in plain sight.

To make such a find in an area with extensive human activity, Maerz said, proves that “there are still things out there to discover. It makes you wonder, what else is out there?”

With funding from The Environmental Resources Network (TERN), Milanovich and Camp are leading research efforts to describe the ecology of the tiny creatures.

“It is truly a once-in–a-lifetime opportunity to be involved in such a big find, particularly one right in our backyard,” Milanovich said. “The fact that it is such a unique animal makes it all the better and gives us more opportunity to continue to learn about the species. One of the best parts of being involved with this project is the collaboration that has come out of the species description, so I am excited to continue working with the other coauthors as we keep unpeeling the onion of U. brucei.”

The research team’s suggested common name is patch-nosed salamander, based on the lighter coloring on the tiny salamander’s nose. The formal Latin name is Urspelerpes brucei for Richard Bruce, professor emeritus at Western Carolina University and a well-respected, longtime salamander researcher who has connections to many members of the research team.

“Dr. Bruce has done much of the foundational work on stream salamander ecology in the region and on the evolution of miniaturization in salamanders, so naming this species after him is a good fit,” Maerz said.

Camp marveled at the find.

“This animal is so distinct that it belongs in its own genus, a taxonomic level used for grouping closely related species,” he said.“The real significance of this find is that it represents the first new genus of four-footed creature discovered in the United States in 50 years.”

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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Zoo Atlanta's "Give So They Can Stay" Campaign

Does a global network of fans want to keep giant pandas in Atlanta? The answer is a resounding yes, according to an update from Zoo officials regarding the progress of the Give So They Stay campaign.

Since the campaign’s launch on June 17, 2009, donations of $43,000 have been collected in support of keeping giant pandas in Atlanta. Zoo officials report that the global grassroots initiative continues to generate an outpouring of popular support from individuals and businesses alike, with two exciting corporate partnerships now in place to provide friends of the beloved black-and-white bears with new and convenient ways to participate in the campaign.

HomeGrown Restaurant Concepts, the managing company of four popular intown dining spots, will donate 15 percent of sales to Zoo Atlanta on Tuesdays in July: July 7 at Stella Pasta Pizza and Spirits in Grant Park; July 14 at Doc Chey’s Noodle House in Virginia-Highlands; July 21 at Osteria 832 Pasta & Pizza in Virginia-Highlands; and July 28 at Doc Chey’s Noodle House in Emory Village.

Giant panda lovers can also show their support through magazine subscriptions, thanks to a new partnership with American Publishers Hearst Corporation. Now through December 31, 2009, Hearst will donate 40 percent of sales by shoppers who enter the code “ZOOATLANTA” while purchasing or renewing periodicals on

The Give So They Stay campaign is geared toward ensuring that giant pandas continue to have a home in Atlanta, where they have become beloved by thousands around the world. Zoo Atlanta President & CEO Dennis Kelly announced this grassroots effort with news that Zoo Atlanta’s giant panda family would return to China without significant worldwide support.

Friends are encouraged to visit for ongoing announcements, program information, ways to give and answers to frequently asked questions. The campaign will continue through December 31, 2009.

Zoo Atlanta
800 Cherokee Avenue, S.E.
Atlanta, GA 30315
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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Scratching the surface of canine allergies

(ARA) - Most people consider their dog to be more than just a pet. Dogs are true members of the family. So when your dog is itching uncontrollably, it is frustrating not to know what’s wrong. Once owners rule out the possibility of fleas, they are often left with questions unanswered. One problem frequently overlooked is a skin disease caused by environmental allergies.

Like humans, dogs can be hypersensitive to common airborne allergens such as pollen, mold and dust mites. But instead of showing symptoms such as sneezing, watery eyes and a runny nose, dogs present symptoms on the skin that they try to relieve through constant scratching, licking and gnawing. These symptoms are typically signs of an allergic skin disease known as canine atopic dermatitis.

More than an itch
According to Kadence Research, canine atopic dermatitis affects about 16 percent of the canine population. As with human allergies, symptoms are often seasonal but can develop into a year-round problem if not properly treated. Dogs with atopic dermatitis usually start showing signs of the disease between the ages of 6 months and 3 years old, but some will show signs later due to changes in their environment.

Atopic dermatitis is characterized by intense scratching or chewing of the skin, hair loss and a foul odor resulting from the nonstop chewing and licking. The continual scratching can be bothersome to owners when their dogs are restlessly itching. It can also make the dog lethargic because they are unable to sleep due to constant irritation.

“Sam has had allergies for five or six years,” said Marj Voorhees, owner of Sam the Siberian husky. “He was doing lots of scratching, licking and itching. He lost a lot of hair around his face, eyes and ears.”

Voorhees tried using traditional medications and shampoos, as well as immunotherapy and zinc supplements in attempts to end Sam’s suffering. Sam’s therapy made him hungrier than normal and he gained 20 pounds. He also continued to itch.

There are numerous methods used to try to control the symptoms of canine atopic dermatitis. Veterinarians regularly try everything from antihistamines to steroid injections to keep their clients’ dogs from itching.

“Symptoms range from mild to severe,” said Steve Milden, VMD. “But the quality of life for a dog with atopic dermatitis can be diminished if the symptoms go untreated.”

Without a proper diagnosis and treatment plan, dogs with atopic dermatitis will continue to live in pain and discomfort; they won’t simply “grow out of it.” Anyone with active allergies can attest to how miserable life can be with an itchy throat, clogged sinuses and red eyes, so one can only imagine how unhappy dogs are when they have unstoppable itching. Luckily for dogs and their owners, there is a solution for the symptoms of atopic dermatitis.

Not your average backscratcher
The solution for dogs with atopic dermatitis comes in the form of a prescription product called Atopica (Cyclosporine capsules, USP) MODIFIED that specifically targets the immune cells involved in the allergic reaction. Similar to humans taking allergy medicine year-round to prevent flare-ups and misery, the same concept can be applied to treating dog allergies.

“I’ve been prescribing Atopica to dogs for about five years,” said Milden. “My clients couldn’t be more pleased. Their dogs seem to be happier now that they don’t itch all the time and their owners are thankful to have finally found relief for their best friend.”

Like Milden’s clients, Voorhees was able to find relief for her dog. Once Voorhees’ veterinarian prescribed Atopica, Sam was completely different.

“It made a tremendous difference almost immediately,” said Voorhees. “All of his hair grew back. It took care of the itching, too. He’s noticeably more comfortable.”

Owners should speak to their veterinarians if they think their dog may be suffering from allergies. The veterinarian will be able to answer questions and recommend a proper treatment. For more information on canine atopic dermatitis and ways to treat the disease, visit or the Novartis Animal Health home page at

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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Monday, July 6, 2009

Angolan Colobus Monkeys Debut at Zoo Atlanta

George and Kinshasa, two Angolan colobus monkeys, began cruising the treetops of their new home in Zoo Atlanta’s Ford African Rain Forest during Independence Day weekend. The recent arrivals, George from Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Kinshasa from Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo, will be part of an exciting mixed-species habitat introducing Zoo guests to the diverse lifestyles and behaviors of African primates.

Angolan colobus monkeys are visually stunning animals, easily recognized by their black faces framed by long locks of snow-white hair. Native to forests throughout much of central Africa, the species is not currently listed as endangered.

Other great incentives includes an offer to “Beat the Heat,” a discount that allows visitors who arrive before 11 a.m. to enjoy $5 off general admission per guest. The promotion is valid on Saturdays and Sundays through July 26.

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Saturday, July 4, 2009

Summer pet protection from heat and fireworks

(ARA) - With summer upon us, warmer weather beckons everyone outdoors to enjoy the sunshine. When family and friends gather for backyard barbecues and outings in the park, it is natural to want to include the pets. It is wise, though, to consider the health and safety of pets before taking them out into the heat for prolonged periods.

Pets cannot tolerate heat the same way as people. One big reason is that dogs don't sweat, thereby lacking a natural way to cool down. To help ensure your pets don't suffer from the heat, veterinarian Tracy Chase-Thompson, department chair of the veterinary technology program at Brown Mackie College in Michigan City, Ind., offers advice. "Heat exhaustion is one of the big things that can occur," she says. "It happens more with dogs than cats, but it can occur with both."

Heat exhaustion is a dangerous condition in animals that occurs due to lack of protection from hot weather and humidity. "It doesn't take much time for heat exhaustion to develop," says Chase-Thompson. "A dog can overheat in a hot vehicle in just 10 minutes." Symptoms of heat exhaustion include heavy panting, drooling and labored breathing. "Gum color is another indicator. If gums appear red instead of pink, that's a sign of an animal in distress."

If it happens, Chase-Thompson recommends moving the animal to a cool spot immediately. "Give the dog water to drink, and wipe a cool washcloth over the fur. Don't just dump water over the animal. It helps to place the paws in cool water as well," she says. She does not recommend an ice bath. "If an animal cools too quickly, it can go into shock."

Normal body temperature for a dog is between 101 F and 102 F. "A temperature higher than 105 F signals heat exhaustion," says Chase-Thompson. In this case, the dog would require veterinarian care with IV fluids for hydration, and close monitoring of body temperature.

Pet owners can take a number of precautions to prevent heat stress and exhaustion in pets. If your dog will spend any amount of time outside, Chase-Thompson advises providing a shelter so that the dog can access shade at all times, and walking your dog before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m. when sunlight and humidity are less powerful. "It is safer to leave your pet at home on hot or humid days rather than in the car, even with the windows cracked. If you must take your pet, park in the shade, open the window, and don't leave for more than 10 minutes," she adds.

Another concern among pet owners is how to protect a pet that is afraid of the noise from fireworks and thunderstorms. "Some pets have a fear of noise at a young age. Others are fine when they're young, yet become bothered by loud sounds as they grow older," says Chase-Thompson. "It's impossible to make the noise go away, but there are ways to minimize or disguise the noise.

"If you leave the dog alone, it could help to leave music playing. Turn on the radio or TV, or even a loud fan or air conditioner," she advises. "If the animal's reaction is really bad, I recommend staying with your pet to provide reassurance. There are anti-anxiety medications that a veterinarian can prescribe." Chase-Thompson advises discussing with your veterinarian whether your pet is a good candidate. "Medications can help, but they don't always work. It is important to lessen your pet's fear with other types of comfort," she says.

Try to give your pet a safe place where they won't hurt themselves. And forget about reprimanding behavior that results from fear of loud noises. "They can't simply change," Chase-Thompson says. "Some pets like an item of the owner's for comfort, like a T-shirt or old shoe." A little knowledge can go a long way in protecting your pet from the pitfalls that summer brings.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Cerulean Warbler Success: Long-Term Conservation at Work

When surveys this spring confirmed Cerulean warblers singing in north Georgia forest openings created to attract them, the news was music to Nathan Klaus’ ears. It was also confirmation for Klaus and others that some conservation efforts take years to see results.

Klaus, a senior wildlife biologist with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, and U.S. Forest Service biologist Jim Wentworth had patches of trees cut on 20 sites in two Chattahoochee National Forest areas in the winter of 2004-2005. Some Cerulean warblers were documented at a few sites soon after. But it wasn’t until this spring – four years later – that the birds were reported using seven of 10 cuts along Ivy Log Gap near Blairsville, one of the two areas targeted. No Cerulean warblers had been heard or seen at the sites before.

“This is the first real glimmer of hope we have to turn around that species,” Klaus said.

The glimmer of hope for the continent’s fastest declining warbler comes from far-searching research. To accommodate breeding requirements for these small, sky-blue birds state-listed as rare in Georgia, Klaus and Wentworth, working with the Audubon Society’s Important Bird Areas program, wanted to create a diverse hardwood canopy. Their aim: Mimic the forest canopy conditions -- including small gaps -- found in mature forests and needed by the warblers, instead of the more prevalent younger tree stands that lack a diverse canopy.

But the biologists suspected the new growth needed years, maybe even decades before it would become good habitat. Klaus, Wentworth and others, including volunteers, surveyed the sites for three years before – to make sure none had Cerulean warblers – and made plans to monitor them for at least five years after the cuts.

The long-range look is critical to many conservation projects. Examples vary from surveying sea turtle nests, done daily along Georgia’s coast since 1989, to restoring canebrakes in the Piedmont region. Years of data yield more effective recovery plans and clearer measures of management impacts.

But such science poses challenges. Land ownership can change. Careers, too. Researchers must plan and set sample sizes according to what they expect. They and their organizations also must be committed to this longer vision, said Klaus, who works with the Nongame Conservation Section of the DNR’s Wildlife Resources Division.

The payback can be sizable, however. “There’s an opportunity to learn how the landscape works,” he said. “Not all solutions are quick or easy, and understanding the issue may take time and patience.”

The work along Ivy Log Gap will likely spur further research into forest cuts to support Cerulean warblers, found in only two populations in Georgia. Meanwhile, the lack of Ceruleans so far at the other test area, Duncan Ridge on Coopers Creek Wildlife Management Area, may reveal the inability to draw these birds to forests where they have never been found. Ivy Log Gap has long been a haven for the species, although not at the test sites.

Klaus is confident that Cerulean warblers will continue to use the Ivy Log Gap sites. But he may check the Duncan Ridge areas for another five years, or longer.

And after that? “I’ll probably check in on this site occasionally for the rest of my career,” he said. “Forests change very slowly over time. Twenty or 30 years is a relatively short time in the life of an oak forest.”

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