Wednesday, January 27, 2010

American Kennel Club Reveals Atlanta's Top Dogs

/PRNewswire/ -- The American Kennel Club® (AKC) announced today the "Top 5" most popular AKC-registered dog breeds in Atlanta for 2009.* Once again, the Labrador Retriever took Atlanta's top spot.

"Atlanta has remained loyal to its favorite dogs over the past two years, with the same breeds remaining in the top five," said AKC Spokesperson Lisa Peterson. "The German Shepherd Dog and Boxer have also tussled playfully in their rankings since 2007, but this year, the German Shepherd Dog triumphed."

Atlanta's Top 5 breeds for 2009 compared to 2008:

Atlanta's Most Popular Breeds 2009 Atlanta's 2008 Ranking
1. Labrador Retriever 1. Labrador Retriever
2. Golden Retriever 2. Golden Retriever
3. German Shepherd Dog 3. Boxer
4. Boxer 4. German Shepherd Dog
5. Yorkshire Terrier 5. Yorkshire Terrier

* Registration data pulled from Atlanta zip codes as specified by U.S. Postal Service

The AKC also announced their nationwide registration statistics today, revealing that for the 19th consecutive year the Labrador Retriever is the most popular purebred dog in America. But, the AKC notes that this year the German Shepherd Dog made a move for the top spot by overtaking the Yorkshire Terrier and is now ranked second most popular in the nation for the first time in more than three decades.

Most Popular Breeds Nationwide 2009
1. Labrador Retriever
2. German Shepherd Dog
3. Yorkshire Terrier
4. Golden Retriever
5. Beagle

Dog lovers can see and learn more about all of their favorite breeds on Saturday, February 6, 2010, when the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship -- where the country's top dogs compete for $225,000 in prize money and the title of "National Champion" -- airs on Animal Planet and the Discovery Channel, 8-11 p.m. (ET/PT). You can also catch the AKC Humane Fund Awards for Canine Excellence honorees, which include the Golden Retriever "Robin" in the Law Enforcement category.

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American Humane Association Joins On-the-Ground Animal Response Team in Haiti

/PRNewswire/ -- The American Humane Association's program manager for Animal Emergency Services has deployed to Haiti to assist in an international effort to help animals affected by the earthquake. Tracy Reis, an expert responder who has participated in the rescue and sheltering of more than 12,000 animals, will arrive in Port-au-Prince Thursday as part of the Animal Relief Coalition for Haiti, which is jointly led by the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).

Reis will join ARCH team members in the Dominican Republic and Haiti to begin implementing a feeding program for the community dogs and to assist with immediate veterinary aid to animals in Haiti. That effort will be conducted in cooperation with the Haitian government and, in particular, with the Ministry of Environment.

"We had not considered including animals in the plans we're working up now, but after meeting the ARCH team, we can see that it would be good to do so," said Jean Marie Claude Germain, the Haitian Minister of Environment. "In addition to preventing deforestation and protecting our water reserves, we are also discussing the need for a vaccination program in order to prevent the spread of diseases amongst the animal populations."

ARCH received an official request from the government of Haiti (made to WSPA on Jan. 21) asking for immediate assistance and that human resources be deployed to help with the emergency relief operation "as soon as possible."

Efforts by American Humane include:
-- Deploying Tracy Reis, program manager for American Humane's Animal
Emergency Services, to join relief efforts in Haiti, at the urgent
request of ARCH's lead agencies. Reis will arrive in Port-au-Prince on
Thursday, Jan. 28.
-- As the coalition's U.S.-based resource unit leader, American Humane
has responsibility for identifying volunteers from each organization
in the coalition and gathering skill and resource information on each
of them, in order to send the most highly effective teams to Haiti for
animal response.
-- American Humane was the first professional animal welfare organization
to join the coalition, has donated an initial $25,000 to help fund the
coalition's efforts, and expects to provide additional funding to this
response.
-- American Humane's Red Star Animal Emergency Services(TM) volunteers
are preparing for deployment to Haiti by updating their vaccinations
and receiving other medical assessments to ensure that they are fully
prepared to respond.
-- American Humane has notified more than 200 trained and FEMA-certified
animal rescue responders on its response roster. A smaller subset of
highly qualified responders will be hand-picked and may join teams on
the ground in Haiti, once long-term mission objectives are determined.

ARCH's activities to date include:
-- ARCH team members arrived in Port-au-Prince on Jan. 23 and spent the
day meeting with governmental authorities and local animal welfare
agencies.
-- ARCH members on the ground have begun assessing the state of health,
well-being and needs of the animals.
-- ARCH members expect to begin missions focused on vaccinating street
dogs and assisting with the care of livestock.
-- More than $150,000 has been raised to support the work of the
coalition, including the funding donated by American Humane and other
animal welfare groups that have joined the coalition.
-- A vehicle has been purchased and outfitted as a mobile veterinary unit
to support the response effort.

Many challenges face the team in Haiti:
-- According to a veterinarian who lives and works in Port-au-Prince, the
walls around many of the yards have fallen, and dogs that usually
return to their owners' homes are now displaced.
-- A rough estimate, according to the veterinarian, is that about 150,000
dogs live in the Port-au-Prince area, many of which are now wandering
the streets.
-- He also confirmed there was a substantial population of livestock in
the areas affected; most of them housed in "backyard" farms.
-- A lack of security has hindered some efforts to aid animals.
-- Securing a suitable site for food, water, medical supplies, etc., for
animals may take time while the needs of human consumables are
addressed first.

Statistics and Information:
-- About 150,000 dogs live in the Port-au-Prince area.
-- An estimated 600,000 head of cattle, believed to be mainly in rural
areas.
-- Livestock includes goats, chickens, swine, donkeys, horses and mules.
(FAOSTAT, © FAO Statistics Division 2010, 21 January 2010)


"Many partners in the coalition, and those of us who were aiding animals after Katrina, are well aware that the issues the Haitian people and animals face will be long term," said Debrah Schnackenberg, vice president of American Humane's Animal Protection Division and director of its Animal Emergency Services program. "It is our hope that the experience we all gained after Katrina, and the partnerships we have been building since then, will be demonstrated in the number of animals' lives we save and the Haitian families we help in the coming weeks and months."

American Humane, in addition to more than a dozen of the world's leading animal protection agencies, brings extensive experience in handling and rescuing animals after disasters. Animal rescue teams on the ground in Haiti are prepared to provide everything from direct rescue and veterinary care for injured animals to longer-term vaccinations to prevent outbreaks of disease, such as rabies and leptospirosis. For information on what leptospirosis is and how it affects animals, go to http://ahavod.com/watch_video.php?v=ce973dde9dcae75.

People who want to support these vital efforts and help other animals in disasters can donate at www.americanhumane.org/aes-donate. For more information, and to read our frequently updated blog on our efforts to help in Haiti, please visit www.americanhumane.org/haiti.

Animal welfare organizations formed the Animal Relief Coalition for Haiti (ARCH) to work together to bring aid to as many animals, and in as short a time, as possible. At present, ARCH partners include: International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA), American Humane Association, Best Friends Animal Society, RSPCA (UK), In Defense of Animals, American Veterinary Medical Association, American Veterinary Medical Foundation, Antigua & Barbuda Humane Society, ASPCA, United Animal Nations, Kinship Circle, One Voice, Swiss Animal Protection, Palo Alto Humane Society (PAHS), People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), Finnish Federation for Animal Welfare Associations, and Animal Medical Care Foundation (AMCF).

American Humane will be actively updating its website and social networks to inform people on the status of the coalition and how to be of help. Find us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/americanhumane and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/americanhumane. The information contained in this release can be reused and posted with proper credit given to the American Humane Association.

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Monday, January 25, 2010

Hawkinsville Horse Auction to be Held Sat., Feb. 6

Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Tommy Irvin has rescheduled the horse auction in Hawkinsville that was postponed in January due to freezing temperatures.

More than 24 rehabilitated horses will be sold to the highest bidder beginning at noon, Saturday, February 6, at the Lawrence L. Bennett Harness Training Facility in Hawkinsville. Prospective buyers will be able to inspect the horses at 10 a.m.

The horses to be auctioned include grade mares, fillies, geldings and one AQHA registered gelding.

Proceeds from the auction will go to the care and rehabilitation of impounded horses. The Department of Agriculture -- which is mandated to care for neglected horses -- receives no state funds to provide this service. The care is funded through donations, volunteer support and the proceeds from periodic auctions.

“These auctions are a win/win for everyone,” says Irvin. “The public is able to purchase a healthy horse, the impounded horse gets a fresh start at a new loving home and our rescue program obtains much needed funding to continue its efforts.”

For photos of horses to be auctioned and for additional information, visit www.agr.georgia.gov or call (404) 656-3713.
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Help Mother Nature Network Find the Green Dog of the Year

/PRNewswire/ -- Is your dog the most eco-friendly dog in the country? Can you prove it? The environmental website Mother Nature Network http://www.mnn.com/ is looking for the fabulous photos of four-legged environmentalists - from Akitas to Yorkies to pound pups and every breed in between - doing their part to minimize their carbon paw prints.

The winner will be named Green Dog of the Year, be featured on the home page of MNN.com, and win a year's supply of Eukanuba's Naturally Wild Formula dog food. "Pet lovers are always taking photos of their furry friends," said Emily Murphy, Managing Editor at MNN, who finds creative ways to reduce her own pup's impact on the Earth. "Green dogs enjoy the outdoors, use natural toys and pet-care products, and, if they are so inclined, sport organic clothing. Some of the greenest dogs are adopted from animal rescue groups and shelters."

Send in your best dog pictures no later than February 12, showing MNN how your pup is a friend to the environment. Still not sure what that means? Check out the Green Dog of the Year galleries at http://www.mnn.com/green-dog-of-the-year-contest for some inspiration and direction.

Atlanta-based Mother Nature Network, launched in 2009 by celebrated environmentalist and dog-lover Chuck Leavell, longtime keyboardist for the legendary Rolling Stones, offers the latest in environmental news and encourages ecologically responsible behavior. MNN is intended to help the average person - whether you're going green or have been there for years - figure out which choices to make, a one-stop guide to greening your daily routine as big or as small as you want.

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Friday, January 22, 2010

SPAY DAY 2010 Launches Annual Pet Photo Contest

The Humane Society of the United States, the nation's largest animal protection organization, and its global arm, Humane Society International, are pleased to announce that the 2010 Spay Day Online Pet Photo Contest has begun. Presented by Visa Inc. and Zazzle, the Spay Day Online Photo Contest has proven to be one of the most popular features of Spay Day, the organization's annual campaign to inspire people to save animal lives by spaying or neutering pets. Participants can upload digital photos of their beloved companion and tell the world how their pet has improved their lives.

Entrants are encouraged to share their pet's photo and story with their friends and family and ask them to vote for their pet (each vote is just a $1 donation toward the eligible organization of the entrant's choice). Every vote their pet receives will help spay and neuter animals around the world — and increase their chances of winning the Fundraisers Category. More than 600 pets with the most votes will win stellar prizes. The Grand Prize winner of the Fundraisers Category — the entrant that raises the most money for spay/neuter efforts — will win a four-night trip for two to Hollywood, Calif. for the 2011 Genesis Awards.

Even without votes, entrants will be in the running to win big. A panel of four professional photographers will award prizes to their favorite 36 entries. The judges will choose one Grand Prize winner to receive a studio session with Amanda Jones, one of the country's premier pet photographers; a $500 shopping spree at Humane Domain, The HSUS' official online store; and a copy of "Pet Photography 101: Tips for taking better photos of your dog or cat" by Andrew Darlow.

Darlow is also one of four professional photographers who will judge the contest this year. Joining him on the panel will be Nigel Barker, renowned photographer and judge on "America's Next Top Model," and pet portrait photographers Lori A. Cheung and David Sutton.

For detailed information about these prizes and prizes for international winners, see our contest rules. To enter the contest, please visit: humanesociety.org/photocontest.

The HSUS and HSI coordinate Spay Day by working with shelters, humane organizations, veterinary clinics and individual volunteers around the world to offer special spay-neuter events, deploy mobile spay-neuter clinics, raise money to subsidize spay-neuter surgeries, and increase awareness about the importance and benefits of spaying and neutering. Spay Day 2010 will take place on Feb. 23. For more information about the event, please visit: humanesociety.org/spayday.

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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Canine Disaster Search Team Finds Three Children Alive Under the Rubble

/PRNewswire/ -- A firefighter and his Search Dog located three girls trapped alive since Tuesday in the rubble of Haiti's devastating earthquake. Bill Monahan and his Border Collie, Hunter, were searching a neighborhood near the Presidential Palace, concentrating on a large bowl-shaped area of rubble which was all that remained of a 4-story building.

After criss-crossing the area, Hunter pin-pointed the survivors' scent under 4 feet of broken concrete and did a sustained "bark alert" to let Bill know where the victims were. Bill spoke with the survivors, then passed them bottles of water tied to the end of a stick. As they reached for the water one of the girls said, "Thank you." Highly trained rescue crews from California Task Force 2 pulled the girls from the wreckage and provided first aid.

Bill and Hunter were trained by the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation -- the only non-profit in the nation that recruits rescued dogs, partners them with firefighters, and trains them to find survivors buried in the aftermath of disasters. The teams and their ongoing training are provided at no cost to Fire Departments throughout the country.

In his report this morning from Haiti, SDF Handler Bill Monahan stated, "It would have been a reward to find one person alive. Finding multiple survivors is a huge victory for everyone on the Task Force. It's a giant team effort. From the canines, to the logistics team, to communications, everyone is working at full capacity, using everything we've been trained to do to find survivors. It's an honor to be here."

At Search Dog Foundation headquarters in Ojai, CA, SDF Founder Wilma Melville received the news with quiet gratitude. "This moment is what SDF Search Teams train for -- week in and week out -- throughout their careers together. When one SDF team succeeds, ALL of our teams succeed. Our thoughts are with our teams in Haiti, who continue to comb the rubble into the night. Their perseverance, skill, and strength in the face of extreme challenges make us all proud, and give us hope."

Added SDF Executive Director Debra Tosch: "All our handlers are experts in reading their canines, pacing them throughout their shift to ensure the dogs are kept safe, healthy, happy and motivated. The canines are literally the Task Force's most precious tool in the hunt for survivors: their well-being is mission-critical."

Bill and Hunter continue to search, as do all seven SDF Search Teams on the ground in Haiti with California Task Force 2 and Florida Task Force 1. Follow their progress at www.SearchDogFoundation.org, twitter.com/searchrescuedog, facebook.com/NationalDisasterSearchDogFoundation.

About the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation (SDF)

SDF is a non-profit organization whose mission is to strengthen America's emergency response network by producing the most highly-trained canine-firefighter disaster search teams in the nation. SDF recruits rescued dogs and partners them with firefighters, providing the canines and the training at no cost to their departments. The organization receives no government funding and relies solely on support from individuals, private foundations and companies to produce these highly-skilled teams.

Since its founding in 1996, SDF has rescued hundreds of dogs, many on the brink of euthanasia. They have trained 105 Search Teams, 72 of which are currently active. SDF Teams have been deployed to 66 disasters including the World Trade Center attacks and Hurricane Katrina and state and local emergencies such as earthquakes, mudslides, building collapses, train derailments and missing person searches. Eight of SDF's teams are members of CA-TF2 and are ready at all times for immediate deployment overseas when called upon by the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance.

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Dallas-Based Philanthropist Teams Up with The Humane Society of the United States to Save Haitian Animals

/PRNewswire/ -- Vice Chairman and CEO of ATI Career Training, Arthur Benjamin, announced on Friday a $50,000 challenge grant through his animal rescue organization that will help bolster and bring awareness to the donations needed to aid domesticated animals affected by the Haitian disaster.

American Dog Rescue, a Dallas-based non-profit group, is supporting The Humane Society of the United States, by matching donor contributions dollar-for-dollar for up to half of the $100,000 initial goal.

"The devastation is so great as is the need that the animals - as in Katrina - are being lost to the greater needs," said Benjamin, who hopes to achieve $1 million in support.

"Someone needed to step forward, to 'prime the pump,' to help these animals and the people who love them -- the Haitian people," he said.

All funds raised will be made available to Humane Society International, the international arm of The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), which is currently in contact with veterinarians on the ground in Port-au-Prince to begin the process of assessment. A lead veterinarian with disaster certification has been dispatched to the Dominican Republic and will join a humanitarian convoy as soon as it is cleared to enter Haiti.

"We are grateful to American Dog Rescue for devoting funds to the crisis in Haiti," said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States. "Whenever people are in this kind of distress, you can be sure that animals are suffering, too. We hope to be able to put boots on the ground to help the people and animals in their greatest time of need."

Any donations submitted to ADR, or its website, www.americandogrescue.org by clicking on the "Help The Animals of Haiti" button, can participate in the match.

"HSUS is a national and international established relief organization with the knowledge and know-how to deploy the funds raised to the greatest benefit of the animals as soon as logistics make this possible," said Benjamin. "They are working with partner groups in Haiti and the Dominican Republic in an effort assess the situation to determine the best way to begin saving lives and averting pain and suffering by our four-legged friends there."

Benjamin's efforts to build additional support for the Haitian animals is evidenced in his professional networking as a senior executive North Richland Hills-based ATI Career Training, a 24-campus, 16,000 student education company. Benjamin has reached out to other senior executives in the adult education and training community to campaign for additional aid.

"I wake up each morning excited in supporting two personal initiatives- adults seeking to improve their lives through education; and homeless animals that deserve a second chance at life," said Benjamin, who spends his time between Dallas, Boca Raton, and Salt Lake City operating a series of businesses and philanthropic efforts.

American Dog Rescue (www.americandogrescue.org) is a tax-exempt, non-profit 501(c)3 organization committed to finding a home for every adoptable dog in the United States. In instances of international tragedy, its support transcends national borders. American Dog Rescue is committed to placing healthy dogs in permanent homes that are the right fit for the animal and its family. Donations can be made by visiting www.americandogrescue.org/donate or calling 801-944-3023.

The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization -- backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty -- on the web at www.humanesociety.org .

ATI Schools and Colleges (www.aticareertraining.edu) is a multi-campus institution offering specialized training in a variety of skilled career programs within such areas as automotive repair, business, electronics, English as a Second Language, fitness, health and wellness, HVAC/refrigeration, information technology and welding. ATI offers more than three decades of training experience and commitment to individuals aspiring to better their lives through career education.

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Friday, January 15, 2010

American Humane Association Supports Animal Relief Efforts in Haiti Through International Coalition

/PRNewswire/ -- The American Humane Association is part of the Animal Relief Coalition for Haiti (ARCH), an international group of professional animal welfare organizations committed to aiding animals in the earthquake-stricken region. American Humane is the first organization to join and commit significant resources to ARCH, which was created by the World Society for the Protection of Animals and the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

Currently, this international coalition is preparing a mobile animal clinic and staff to perform outreach work in Haiti, with training provided by ARCH. The coalition also will be assessing and assisting with the needs of animals belonging to people displaced by the disaster, as they move into temporary camps. Plans include providing food and clean water, as well as vaccinating companion animals against rabies.

As of today, coalition personnel are not on the ground in Haiti, due to restricted access in the country. The coalition expects to have professional animal rescue responders arrive in Haiti in the coming days to begin assessments of animal needs and provide initial assistance. Naturally, the situation may change quickly, and the coalition will adapt its plans and efforts to best meet the needs of the animals.

People who want to support these vital efforts and help other animals in disasters can donate at www.americanhumane.org/aes-donate.

American Humane will be actively updating its website and social networks to inform people on the status of the coalition and how they can help. Find us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/americanhumane and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/americanhumane. The information contained in this release can be reused and posted with proper credit given to the American Humane Association.

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FDA Health Alert for Merrick Beef Filet Squares Dog Treats Packaged and Distributed by Merrick Pet Care

The U. S. Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers not to use Merrick Beef Filet Squares for dogs distributed by Merrick Pet Care with a package date of “Best By 111911” because the product may be contaminated with Salmonella.

The product was distributed nationwide through retail stores and Internet sales.

Although no illnesses associated with these products have been reported, the FDA is advising consumers in possession of these products not to handle or feed them to their pets.

In December 2009, the FDA conducted routine testing of Merrick Beef Filet Squares and detected a positive finding for Salmonella. A follow-up inspection found deficiencies in the packaging and manufacturing processes.

Salmonella can affect both humans and animals. People handling dry pet treats can become infected with Salmonella, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the treats or any surfaces exposed to these products. Consumers should dispose of these products in a safe manner by securing them in a covered trash receptacle.

Healthy people infected with Salmonella may experience some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. Although rare, Salmonella can result in more serious ailments including arterial infections, endocarditis (inflammation of the lining of the heart), arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation, and urinary tract symptoms. Consumers exhibiting these signs after having contact with this product should contact their health care provider immediately.

Pets with Salmonella infections may become lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever and vomiting. Some pets may experience only a decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Infected, but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed any of the affected product or is experiencing any of these symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately.

The affected Merrick Beef Filet Squares were packaged in a 10-ounce green, red and tan re-sealable plastic bag. The “best by” date is imprinted on the top portion of the bag, which is torn off when the bag is opened. The FDA recommends that consumers who are unable to determine the “best by” date discontinue use of the product.

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

American Dog Rescue Provides Aid to Displaced Dogs Following House Fire of Atlanta's 'Dog Next Door' Animal Rescuer

/PRNewswire/ -- Responding to the call for assistance, American Dog Rescue has tapped its national animal rescue network to provide financial and logistical support of 15 dogs saved after their Atlanta-based shelter was destroyed by fire on January 11. The caregiver for the dogs, Deborah Wood, is known locally as the "The Dog Next Door Rescuer" and nationally recognized for her passionate efforts to caring for homeless pets.

"I am totally exhausted and I lost everything," said Wood, founder of The Dog Next Door, a private, home-based canine assistance group. "By profession I am a paralegal, and by passion I have a dog rescue company. I tried to get all dogs out of my house. One is in doggie heaven, one is critical injured, all others, need foster homes today. I will probably be staying with Red Cross as I don't have family here and few friends."

A local animal hospital is temporarily caring for the displaced animals. All surviving animals are in good condition and awaiting foster care or adoption.

Arthur Benjamin, founder and president of American Dog Rescue, and the entire ADR team was immediately moved to help someone who "has an incredible heart". They have reached out across the country to their network of groups like HSUS, No More Homeless Pets, Best Friends and Paws In the City. "We are committed to Deborah and her 15 fosters to see them through this incredible tragedy and find them all places to stay short-term (fosters), and their long-term future (happy homes)."

"Ms. Wood's story touched my heart deeply," said Benjamin. "Here is a woman that has devoted her personal time to saving dogs and when disaster struck, her focus has been and remains on the welfare of her sheltered animals. American Dog Rescue has taken a leadership role in gathering national and local support to ensure these animals are given a chance."

American Dog Rescue (www.americandogrescue.org) is a tax-exempt, non-profit 501(c)3 organization committed to finding a home for every adoptable dog in the United States. American Dog Rescue is committed to placing healthy dogs in permanent homes that are the right fit for the animal and its family. Donations to support PROJECT GEORGIA FIRE can be made by visiting www.americandogrescue.org/donate or calling 801-944-3023.

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Monday, January 11, 2010

New test may help address costly parasite in sheep industry

Researchers at Oregon State University and the University of Georgia have developed an improved, more efficient method to test for the most serious of the parasitic worms in sheep, a problem that causes hundreds of millions of dollars in losses every year to the global sheep and wool industry.

This technology is now available, and will allow a faster, easier and less expensive way to test for the presence and quantity of Haemonchus contortus, or “barber pole” worms, a species that is very pathogenic to sheep, goats and llamas. This will help sheep ranchers deal with this problem more quickly and effectively, optimize their management practices, and sometimes avoid costly therapies.

Findings about the new test were just published in Veterinary Parasitology, a professional journal.

“This particular parasite is much more pathogenic in sheep than other worms, and previous methods to detect it were very labor intensive and often not commercially practical,” said Michael Kent, an OSU professor of microbiology. “Now ranchers and veterinarians can test for this problem and target their management or treatment strategies much more effectively.”

This parasite causes significant production losses, and in some cases it’s the limiting factor to sheep production on pasture lands. The nematodes can cause internal bleeding, which in turn can lead to anemia, poor food conversion and growth, low protein levels, reduced lamb production and wool yield, and in some cases death.

Known as the barber pole or wire worm, Haemonchus contortus is a blood-sucking parasite that pierces the lining of the sheep’s stomach. It’s a prolific egg producer, releasing up to 10,000 eggs per day, and often causes problems in warmer climates or during the summer. Once an infection is demonstrated, expensive treatments or complex management strategies are often needed to address it.

The new lectin staining test is based on a peanut agglutinin that binds to eggs of the parasite and can be easily visualized with a microscope using ultraviolet light. It’s an improved version of previous technology developed by scientists in Australia that was slower, less effective, more expensive and required more advanced training to perform, researchers say.

The relatively inexpensive test was developed by microbiologists and veterinary doctors at OSU and UGA, and is now available through those institutions. Its use should continue to expand and become more readily available around the world, Kent said.

The test may also be of special value to ranchers interested in organic production of sheep, goats and llamas, who try to avoid use of chemical treatments in maintaining the health of their animals.

“One of the current testing tools commonly used by sheep and goat farmers in dealing with H. contortus is the FAMACHA© method, in which the farmer compares the animal’s lower eyelid color to swatches on a card to determine the animal’s anemia status,” said Bob Storey, a UGA researcher who co-developed the lectin staining test. “This method only works in situations where H. contortus is the primary parasite in a given herd’s worm population. The new lectin staining test allows for a faster and less expensive method of determining the predominance of H. contortus in a herd worm population, thereby making it easier for producers to determine if FAMACHA© can be a useful tool for them. Additionally, for the veterinarian dealing with an anemic animal and a heavy parasite burden, the lectin staining test provides quick feedback as to whether the anemia is parasite-based or may be due to another cause.”

The test requires only a small amount of feces, and results are available in as little as two days. Anyone interested in obtaining the test can get information on sampling, test results and fees from the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at OSU (http://oregonstate.edu/vetmed/diagnostic or 541/752-5501), or Bob Storey (Dept. of Infectious Diseases, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, Athens, Ga., 30602 or 706/542-0195). FAMACHA© information can be obtained through Bob Storey or by sending an email to famacha@uga.edu.

As with any animal health concerns, results should be reviewed with a veterinarian so that proper treatment programs can be put in place, researchers said.

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Saturday, January 9, 2010

Sea Turtles Endangered by the Cold Weathr

AAA Note: We just love our sea turtles and thought you'd be interested in this story as well.

93 stunned sea turtles rescued from chilly lagoon, Georgia Sea Turtle Center to house 10

Reposted from FloridaToday.com, article by Sara Camodeca

MERRITT ISLAND — Nearly 100 sea turtles found floating in the Mosquito Lagoon were rescued Wednesday after cold water shocked their tropically inclined systems.

The 93 “cold-stunned” turtles — all endangered green sea turtles, with the exception of one loggerhead — will be sent to research facilities today, where they can be cared for and warmed up, said Dorn Whitmore, chief ranger at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.

With chilly winds and water temperatures dipping into the low 40s, the sea creatures became lethargic, rendering them helpless, Whitmore said. Three had been rescued Tuesday, he said.

“These turtles just kind of shut down,” said Whitmore, adding that most of those rescued were juveniles. “It’s important we launch rescue efforts to try and save them.”.....http://blog.jekyllisland.com/diversions/nature-connection/93-stunned-sea-turtles-rescued-from-chilly-lagoon-georgia-sea-turtle-center-to-house-10/

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Monday, January 4, 2010

Third Time's a Charm for BISSELL's Most Valuable Pet Contest

/PRNewswire/ -- BISSELL Homecare, Inc. today launched its third annual Most Valuable Pet Contest, inviting pet lovers to enter their furry friends in the search for America's most photogenic pet. BISSELL's Most Valuable Pet (MVP) entries are open from January 1 - March 25, 2010, with pet hopefuls competing for the grand prize - the opportunity to be featured on the BISSELL® Pet Hair Eraser vacuum packaging, a $10,000 donation to the winner's pet charity of choice and a "Perfect For You And Your Pet" $500 shopping spree, courtesy of BISSELL.

"Since we are a pack of pet lovers, the Most Valuable Pet Contest is our favorite time of the year at BISSELL and we love to showcase our customers' furry friends on our pet clean-up products," said Jim Krzeminski, BISSELL's executive vice president and chief customer officer. "The MVP contest is testament to our commitment to pet parents, and this year we're offering an extra prize for the 'parent' of the 2010 Most Valuable Pet - a $500 shopping spree on us!"

More than 100,000 pets were entered into the contest during 2008 and 2009, and 2010 is bound to attract more entrants than ever. After submitting their pets' photos, entrants gather votes from fellow pet lovers, family and friends, striving to be among the week's top voted pets. The five pets with the highest number of votes from each week of the contest will move on to the semi-finals, from which the grand-prize winner and second through fifth prize winners will be selected. BISSELL will be announcing the weekly winners and offering exclusive contest news through Twitter and Facebook. To help pet parents garner votes for their photogenic pets, BISSELL created a series of custom widgets that can be uploaded to blogs and social networks such as Facebook, helping to win the votes and hearts of the pet's family and friends.

The 2009 BISSELL MVP grand prize winner, golden retriever Norman, is a breeder for a Columbus, Ohio service dog program - 4 Paws For Ability. He and his "foster pet parent," Tara Driscoll, used the $10,000 prize to obtain a seizure dog to assist two special needs children in their community. Tara, a substitute teacher in the local school system, taught the pair of brothers at their special needs preschool, and has remained in touch with the family as they've grown. Now ages six and eight, the boys have been in need of a seizure dog for several years, but the cost of their medication has hindered them from obtaining one. Thanks to Tara and Norman, they now have an additional four paws to assist them!

In addition to the MVP Contest grand prize, runners up prizes include a $5,000 donation to a pet charity for the second-place winner, and $1,000 donations for each of the third-, fourth- and fifth-place winners. All of the top five winners will also be featured on a BISSELL pet product package and receive their choice of BISSELL's pet clean-up products.

For further information on BISSELL's MVP Contest or to enter your own pet, please visit www.bissell.com.

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Friday, January 1, 2010

Include Your Pets in New Year's Resolutions

/PRNewswire/ -- A new year is upon us and, as is tradition, resolutions are made to do more and better in our lives. Pet experts at North Shore Animal League America, the world's largest no-kill animal rescue and adoption organization, encourage pet owners to include their animals when committing to these inspired goals. Dr. Kathleen Dunn, Veterinary Chief of Staff and Vice President of Medical Services at the Animal League's Alex Lewyt Veterinary Medical Center and Pet Health Center, says that adhering to resolutions intended to keep your pets happy and healthy can add years to their lives, fun to their days and much joy to a home.

"By taking a proactive stance in regard to your pet's well-being, you can often ward off illness or have an early alert to a condition with the potential to threaten your dog's or cat's health. In addition, a routine health-check up helps build that all-important relationship between you, your pet and the veterinarian," advises Dr. Dunn.

Here are the Animal League's Top 10 resolutions for pet owners:
1. I will take my pets to the vet for a routine check-up and make sure all
my pet's vaccinations and treatments, such as flea, tick and heartworm,
are up-to-date.
2. I will make certain that my pet is spayed or neutered, so that he is
not contributing to the pet overpopulation that leads to millions of
innocent animals euthanized each year. (www.spayusa.org)
3. I will pay more attention to my pet's oral care and begin a
teeth-brushing regimen, as oral care is integral to my pet's whole
well-being and dental problems have been known to lead to other
illnesses in pets.
4. I will keep my pet groomed for good health: brushing his coat, cleaning
his ears and trimming his nails.
5. I will keep my pet on a proper nutritional plan that's balanced,
age-appropriate and suited to any existing medical conditions.
6. I will make sure my pet gets sufficient exercise to keep him healthy
and fit.
7. I will stimulate my pet's mind. Teaching him a new trick, devoting time
to interactive playtime and introducing a new toy can help keep him
vibrant.
8. I will hug my pet every day, assuring him that he is an invaluable part
of my life.
9. I will not buy a pet from a pet store or through irresponsible
breeders.
10. When adding a pet to my family, I will adopt from a shelter to help
reduce pet overpopulation and euthanasia, and most importantly, to
save a precious life. (www.AnimalLeague.org)


Animal lovers can learn more about pet adoption, health and well-being and North Shore Animal League America's mission to rescue, nurture and adopt homeless pets at www.AnimalLeague.org .

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