Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Diary of a puppy farmed dog

Please link this and forward to anyone thinking of getting a puppy. It gets the message over in a new way.
Remember Puppy Awareness day September 19th.
Well done Mutthouse, wouldn't it be great if we could get the Wallace and Grommit guy to make something similar?

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Too much of a good thing?

We've just got back from a lovely long walk around Virginia Water Lake. I'm tired and Oscar was dragging his feet and had his head down for the last mile. Tess must have run at the very least three times as far as we did, plus she'd been swimming so many times doing her weird version of the doggie paddle where she tries to keep her ears out of the water! My husband says that's a six mile walk for us, so she did 18 and it still wasn't enough to even slightly tire her!
So what did she do as soon as we popped the back of the car open when we got home?
Jumped the fence.
She's been getting crafty recently and she knows that if she doesn't go far but equally doesn't quite come home even though we've got the gates open to make it easy, my husband will come out to look for her (for she is always his dog when she is bad!).
And Tess will then appear just a little way ahead down the path and do an impression of Lassie saying "follow me". She will then take him for a walk to MacLaren's head office on the common - a good half an hour away.
Then she will concede to answer his calls and allow him to put her lead on and walk her back.
She is obviously a very clever dog who is totally addicted to exercise!
Does anyone have any ideas how we can stop her doing this how to get extra time on a walk scam - apart from an 8 foot high fence?
We always reward her for coming back - but the extra walk seems to be an even greater reward. Plus on walks we do recall and release.
Open to suggestions other than shooting her!
I've registered at a new vet so maybe we'll ask them what they think. Is this part of her weird turns. She's not been quite so bad lately, only one postman and a boiler repair man growled at.
Maybe she's not getting enough exercise? But I get the feeling all day and all night still wouldn't be enough!

Saturday, 27 June 2009

Could this save the Cavalier?

Some of you will already have heard of estimated breeding values, some of you won't. But here is a guide that will hopefully explain what they are and how significant they can be for breeds with more than one significant hereditary problem to conquer.
Thank you so much to dedicated Cavalier owner and campaigner Carol Fowler and Sarah Blott and Tom Lewis from the Animal Health Trust.

A way to breed away from inherited disease in all dog breeds?

Groundbreaking research for dogs is taking place at the Animal Health Trust, under Dr Sarah Blott and Dr Tom Lewis, to provide Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) for all Cavalier King Charles Spaniels in the UK.
The aim of this project is to develop strategies for breeders for selection against disease while safeguarding the long term health of a breed by maintaining genetic diversity. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel breed suffers from two very widespread and serious genetic diseases: Heart Disease (Mitral Valve Disease, MVD) and Chiari-like malformation/Syringomyelia (CM/SM) The breed also has lower incidences of Episodic Falling Syndrome, Dry Eye Curly Coat Syndrome, Epilepsy, Deafness, Eye Disease (Multifocal Retinal Dysplasia, MRD) and Pancreatic Disease. With so many inherited health problems and the two most serious at such a high level of incidence, attempting to eliminate them would reduce the gene pool to a dangerous level. The work at the AHT aims to provide breeders with tools to ‘optimise’ the choice of dogs so that there is low risk of serious genetic disease in the offspring and genetic diversity is maintained at a sustainable level.

How is this done?
In order to provide the Cavalier breed with EBVs for its entire registered population, a huge amount of health data needs to be collected and the pedigree of the dogs known The health data is correctly termed ‘phenotypic measurements’. A dog’s phenotype is what we see in the dog. It includes its physical characteristics, clinical signs, and also heart test results, eye test results and MRI scan (Syringomyelia) information.

The DNA research of Dr Clare Rusbridge and Penny Knowler collated over several years has provided a large database of phenotypic information, DNA and pedigrees for Syringomyelia. The database holds 11,800 related dogs, including over 700 MRI confirmed dogs and over 1,500 DNA samples. Building on this database, additional health data and DNA is currently being collected by Drs Sarah Blott and Tom Lewis. Initially EBVs will be provided for Syringomyelia and Mitral Valve Disease but as data on other health problems builds up, other diseases will be taken into account as well.

Identifying the genes for Syringomyelia
At the same time Dr Guy Rouleau and Dr Zoha Kibar at the University of Montreal, Canada, are using the Rusbridge/Knowler database and DNA to identify the causative genes for Syringomyelia. Finding the SM genes (or gene markers) could enable breeders to use a DNA test to identify at birth the dogs carrying the defective genes. The genetic information could also be fed into the EBV program, enhancing the accuracy of the breeding values.

Analysis of genetic diseases
Some canine genetic diseases are caused by single recessive genes, so that you have a healthy non-carrier of the gene, a healthy carrier of the disease gene (the dog has one copy), and a diseased carrier (the dog has two copies of the disease gene). Other diseases are more complex in that several genes are involved, so depending on how many of these genes are inherited, a dog is severely, moderately or mildly affected by the condition. Expression of the disease may be moderated by environmental factors as well, depending on the nature of the particular disease. Hip dysplasia is good example of a condition which is complex and also influenced by environmental factors. Syringomyelia and Mitral Valve Disease are also complex diseases likely to involve more than one gene, and are further complicated by the fact that they are variable onset diseases. Dogs may be affected at a young age or they may not be affected until middle or old age

A complex statistical technique can be used to estimate the genetic variation between dogs. The heritability of a disease (how much is caused by genes and how much by environmental factors) tells us how quickly selection away from one disease will work; genetic correlations (genetic risk of disease A and disease B and whether breeding away from one disease will lead to an increase in another); and an individual dog’s breeding value. Syringomyelia is reasonably highly heritable which means that reducing its incidence and severity could be achieved within a few generations.

What are Estimated Breeding Values?
An Estimated Breeding Value reflects the genetic risk for an individual dog with regard to disease. It removes the effect of environmental factors and is the most accurate measure of breeding potential. An offspring’s score is the sum of its parents’ score divided by two. The EBV indicates where an animal is in the population’s scale of risk and enables more accurate and sensitive selection against those diseases.

In the current program, EBVs will be given for Syringomyelia and Mitral Valve Disease. Other diseases which are inherited in Cavaliers, such as Epilepsy, Episodic Falling Syndrome, Multifocal Retinal Dysplasia, and Dry Eye Curly Coat, can also be added in at a later date.

Improving the accuracy of EBVs
For EBVs to be accurate you need to have health information on as many family members as possible and as many Cavaliers as possible throughout the UK. This will come in the main from breeders but the contributions from pet owners are also extremely valuable. When the DNA markers/genes for Syringomyelia (and perhaps eventually Mitral Valve Disease, Episodic Falling and Dry Eye Curly Coat) are identified the genetic information will also be added to create more accurate breeding values. Gene markers identified by a DNA test will give a more accurate prediction of a dog’s disease risk without having to wait for the information from the dog’s offspring. It is very important to note, however, that EBVs and DNA tests must be used as part of a breeding program where inbreeding is controlled. Genetic ‘bottlenecks’ such as that produced by the over use of popular stud dogs (so called ‘popular sire syndrome) must be avoided to maintain genetic diversity and keep the breed as a whole healthy.

Can EBVs change?
Most certainly, yes. As more information from the dog itself, or its relatives, becomes available, the EBV can change as the accuracy of the estimate improves. And since the EBV represents a dog’s genetic risk of disease relative to the rest of the breed, if selection away from a disease is successful then the EBV will fall slightly. This will also affect the average breeding value for the breed as a whole. Puppies born to sires and dams with breeding values which are better than average will lead to a shift of breeding value distribution, with a new, better average – meaning the breed is getting healthier. For example, a dog previously in the best 20% is now only in the best 40%, since selection has improved breeding values throughout the population.

Mate selection program

An online mate selection program will be provided for breeders and owners whereby they can enter their dog’s pedigree name and know what the estimated breeding value is for their dog, that is, how healthy their dog is in genetic terms. A breeder who is a bitch owner will be able to enter the bitch’s pedigree name and the names of five or more possible mates. The program will be able to give each one a score below, average or above the average for the breed. Alongside each will also be given an indicator of how accurate the score is for that particular dog. The top ranking dog according to its genetic health status will also be provided. It will also be possible to evaluate matings based on both EBVs and projected inbreeding, allowing breeders to select matings that reduce the risk of disease while at the same time restricting inbreeding.

Carol Fowler
Sarah Blott (Animal Health Trust)
Tom Lewis (Animal Health Trust)

Monday, 22 June 2009

Let sleeping dogs and cats lie

These photos were sent to me on an forwarded email and I have no way of knowing who took them, but hope the photographers are happy to spread a bit of joy!
Seeing these obviously much loved pets sleeping so peaceful somehow makes me even sadder about the brood bitches in puppy farms who sleep on the hard floor. Please see my previous blog...

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Click and Treat dogs as Pizza

Would you be outraged if you could buy a pup on ebay?
How about a website where you can click on a pup, pay by Paypal and have it delivered the same day - a bit like ordering a pizza?
You can choose between 18 breeds.
Just one click and a real live puppy goes into your shopping basket.
But don't worry it's not exactly like buying a pizza! Each pup has a six month guarantee, just like buying a fridge or a hairdryer. Plus there's an insurance cover note, too.
In case you don't believe me, check it out for yourself...
Something has got to be done to protect pups from being treated with the same disposability as a thin crust Pepperoni Passion.
Puppy Day is September 19th.
Until that day, and on this day we need to change the way the law treats pups. They are treated like any other possession we purchase.
We wouldn't have human adoption online - just one click and the baby is delivered... well not unless you're Madonna obviously!

We contacted PetPlan for a comment and have just received this from them:


Thanks very much to you and a few of your readers who have brought it to our attention that someone has been using an unauthorised advert. Unfortunately, this happens from time to time and with the web being seemingly endless it is almost impossible to know when this happens all the time. It is great that people are happy to bring this to our attention.

We have also looked at this particular organisation and have requested that they do not use Petplan cover notes for the animals sold to new owners. Their terms of business to not comply with our Puppy Charter. I have written to them today to communicate this and would hope that you will see references removed very quickly.


Alison Andrew
Allianz Animal Health

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

World-breaking dog bark recorded yesterday

... and no, it wasn't Oscar waking us all up at 5.30am because a leaf fell off a tree. The winning dog was a German Shepherd called Daz, pictured above.
Dogs from across the capital, with their owners in tow, went walkies into the Guinness Book of World Records yesterday (Monday) when they broke the record for the loudest bark in history.
From pedigree pooches to mixed bred mutts, dogs of all shapes and sizes converged on Finsbury Park to follow in the pawprints of fictional superdog Bolt – the new Disney hero whose comedy adventure launched on Blu-ray and DVD yesterday.
And far from making a dog’s dinner of taking the title from the current American holders, the Brits’ collective bark rose to 115 decibels, four decibels louder than the existing record set in Vermont, USA, last year.
Top dog at Guinness World Records Marco Frigatti was on hand to oversee the record attempt and declared the attempt a success.
He said: “Dogs bark for a variety of reasons, to attract attention or to express excitement. Today they barked to become Guinness World Record holders – congratulations!”
German Shepherd ‘Daz Lightning’ also broke the world record for the loudest ever individual bark with a woof of 108 decibels.
Bolt’s super bark is especially impressive on the high-definition Blu-ray disc which not only delivers five times the picture quality of DVD but also unbelievable sound.
Academy Award nominated BOLT (2008, Best Animated Feature Film) is the first Disney feature to be conceived and produced under the guidance of Oscar®-winning director John Lasseter - the studio’s Chief Creative Officer and the brains behind Toy Story, A Bug’s Life and Cars.
Voiced by two times Academy Award nominee John Travolta, Bolt is the star of the biggest show in Hollywood. The only problem is, he thinks the whole thing is real. When the super dog is accidentally shipped to New York City and separated from Penny - voiced by Miley Cyrus - his beloved co-star and owner, Bolt springs into action to find his way home.
Together with his hilarious new sidekicks Rhino – Bolt’s #1 Fan – and a street-smart cat named Mittens, Bolt sets off on an amazing journey where he discovers he doesn’t need super powers to be a hero.
Don’t miss Bolt’s great adventure on Disney Blu-ray and DVD now.

Some good news!

Just received this email from the wonderful Demelda Penkitty:

Hi Beverley,
We have just received the good news that we have won our appeal for the rescue kennels at Ty Cwn to stay open.
We have been granted a two year “probationary period” in which we will have the opportunity to prove that we can run the site efficiently and without excess noise or disruption to the environment. My understanding is that if this proves to be the case after the two years we would be granted the appropriate permission to stay.
We still need to clarify the position as regards our living accommodation, however, we hope that under the circumstances that may also be granted a similar stay of execution.
This is obviously great news and we are very happy with the outcome.
I am trying to get the news to as many people as possible and wonder if you could just mention it on your blog please.
Thank you all for your support.
Demelda x

If you want to know more about the remarkable history of Home-A-Dog and Demelda's altruism click here, here, here, and here If anyone deserves a bit of luck it's Demelda.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Post accounts fatigue

Sorry to have been slow to blog, my brain is yet to recover from yesterday's intense burst of accounts.
Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible!
As an aside, on Twitter I'd hinted strongly that I'd like to try a Furminator - the grooming tool that's meant to take out a load of dead undercoat so it doesn't go all over your clothes.
Head office in the US responded and a box of goodies landed on my desk today. Oscar has such long fur that I didn't think he'd be a fair test, so Tess was the lucky one!
She loved it and afterwards she looks so shiny and my bin is overflowing with fluff. It really is weirdly effective. Tess very rarely moults but she obviously had loads of dead hair stuck in her coat.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Sorry I've been quiet

...some of you might have guessed.
I'm doing the accounts.
It's dull.
It's even duller when you're on a diet as I normally need a hell of a lot of chocolate to get me through a three month bank reconciliation.
So apologies if I'm not Tweeting, blogging or indeed full of the joys of the spring!
Plus my little boy woke me up at 5.30am this morning as he was so excited about his school trip to the zoo.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Does your dog have a loud bark?

Dog owners across the country are being urged to “bolt” down to London’s Finsbury Park next Monday, 15 June, to help set a new Guinness World record for the loudest bark in history.
Disney is attempting the record to mark the DVD release of Bolt – the canine super dog with a supersonic bark – which is available to buy on the same day.
Hundreds of dogs are needed to turn fiction into fact by recreating Bolt’s super bark.
The current record holders are based in the US. Last September, 224 dogs in Shelbourne, Vermont, achieved a collective bark of 111 decibels. Now the Brits are biting back!
And who better to ensure the record is accurate than the top dog at Guinness World Records. Marco Frigatti, Head of Global Records Management and adjudicator on TV’s Guinness World Records Smashed, will be on hand to hopefully confirm the event a howling success.
To take part, dog owners should e-mail superbark@wired.uk.com. Full details will be sent to anyone who registers and everyone participating on the day itself will be rewarded with a soft toy of Rhino – the movie’s much-loved hamster character – and an official certificate.
Academy Award nominated BOLT (2008, Best Animated Feature Film) is the first Disney feature to be conceived and produced under the guidance of Oscar®-winning director John Lasseter - the studio’s Chief Creative Officer and the brains behind Toy Story, A Bug’s Life and Cars.
Voiced by two times Academy Award nominee John Travolta, Bolt is the star of the biggest show in Hollywood. The only problem is, he thinks the whole thing is real. When the super dog is accidentally shipped to New York City and separated from Penny - voiced by Miley Cyrus - his beloved co-star and owner, Bolt springs into action to find his way home.
Together with his hilarious new sidekicks Rhino – Bolt’s #1 Fan – and a street-smart cat named Mittens, Bolt sets off on an amazing journey where he discovers he doesn’t need super powers to be a hero.
Kieran and I really loved this film when we saw it at the movies. So we give it the thumbs up!

National Unnecessary Vaccination Month?

This month is Intervet's National Vaccination Month. The scheme offers a discounted 'starter' series for pets whose vaccines have lapsed by 18 months or more.
But do pets really need to start all over again with their shots after a gap? Won't the vast majority have certainly retained enough immunity to just need at the most a booster?
I thought that vaccines had been proven to last very much longer than we'd all been led to believe and that some more enlightened manufacturers have even changed their data sheets to say clearly that theirs were effective for three years.
Some vaccines are better than others - for example Lepto shots tend to be very poor and often don't last even six months - plus they only cover a fraction of the strains. But other more modern vaccines are incredibly effective and could last a lifetime in some cases without any reboosting.
So is blanket annual vaccination a waste of money and potentially bombarding our pets with unnecessary challenges to their immune system? Is this national attempt to convince people to start their vaccinations again from scratch with a full course a step too far?
Thirty three vets and doctors have signed a letter to outlining their concerns with Intervet's vaccination campaign.
Canine Health Concern's Catherine O'Driscoll says, "We understand that everyone wants their pets to be protected against deadly viral diseases. But we are asking that vets stop promoting and administering unnecessary boosters."
Concerned pet owners have signed another letter, asking that the veterinary profession, regulatory bodies, pet charities and government stop promoting or facilitating unnecessary and potentially harmful vaccines. Many of the signatories have signed on behalf of the dogs who they believe were made ill, or died, as a result of unnecessary shots.
Although three-year vaccines are now licensed, many vets are sticking with vaccines that have been licensed for only one year.
Here is the letter from the vets:

Dear Beverley

We are writing in connection with a current marketing campaign by Intervet, a veterinary vaccine manufacturer, supported by veterinarians throughout the UK. The campaign – National Vaccination Month – promotes the vaccination of dogs, cats and rabbits and is to run throughout June.

We are concerned that, within the promotion, animals can be given a full ‘restart’ vaccine series for the price of a booster. For example, dogs whose vaccines have not been boosted within the last eighteen months are offered a full puppy series for the price of a normal booster. This seems to imply that if a pet is six months ‘overdue’ on its annual booster, they have to start again.

We, the undersigned, query the science and safety of such a promotion, refute the need for annual vaccination, and call for the proper education of vets in practice so that animals are not needlessly subjected to potential vaccine reactions. We also call for long-overdue legislation in this matter from the British government.

Pet vaccines are effective for at least seven years, and probably for life

The World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA), the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) have announced publicly that annual vaccination is neither necessary nor without harm. These pronouncements are based upon the known and current science, namely that dogs and cats, once immune to viral disease, are immune for years or life. No added protection is conferred by re-vaccination. These statements are supported by scientific duration of immunity studies.

We must point out that the veterinary associations named above, by publicly announcing that annual vaccination is unnecessary, are potentially significantly reducing the booster income of their members, and so they would not make these pronouncements lightly.

These organisations recommend that “vaccines should not be given needlessly”.

The government fails to act

The British government, through the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) and the Veterinary Products Committee, has allowed veterinary vaccine manufacturers to hide behind licenses that require only minimum duration of immunity studies. Thus, for years, the manufacturers have been facilitated to sell unnecessary and potentially harmful annual boosters simply because annual boosters haven’t been tested for longer by manufacturers. This is despite the work that has been done internationally by independent scientists, and despite correspondence with the VMD and successive Defra Ministers to alert them to the known science. Latterly, a few of the veterinary vaccine manufacturers have licensed their products for three years – but even this is an arguable practice, since independent studies show that the MLV vaccines protect for many years longer.

As a result, vets in practice routinely encourage clients to bring their pets for unnecessary annual boosters. The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, as well as the British Small Animal Veterinary Association, appear to do nothing to educate their members with regard to the known duration of immunity for viral vaccines.

Similarly, insurance companies and boarding kennels frequently demand that animals are vaccinated yearly, despite the fact that this practice is neither necessary nor safe. Kennels, in turn, are forced by local councils to demand proof of annual vaccination from pet owners. Councils, who grant licenses to kennels, are themselves advised by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.

Pet owners are therefore forced from several directions, despite the known science, to subject their pets to unnecessary vaccine risks.

The science

The WSAVA guidelines recommend: “We should aim to vaccinate every animal, and to vaccinate each individual less frequently.” These international guidelines also recommend that, “we should aim to reduce the ‘vaccine load’ on individual animals in order to minimise the potential for adverse reactions to vaccine products”.

The WSAVA guidelines advise that dogs properly vaccinated with MLV core CDV, CPV-2 and CAV-2 vaccines (distemper, parvovirus and adenovirus) “would have 98% protection from disease. Similarly we would expect a very high protection from infection”. They recommend that dogs should not be vaccinated more frequently than every three years, but that immunity to viral disease lasts for at least seven years, but probably for life. This is based on direct challenge studies, and on serology.

It should be noted that a small percentage of the dog population, notably amongst the black and tan breeds, are unable to acquire immunity, whether or not they are vaccinated. Neither does it matter how many times you vaccinate these dogs – they just don’t acquire immunity.

The WSAVA guidelines also define non-core vaccines, which are “those that are required by only those animals whose geographical location, local environment or lifestyle places them at risk of contracting specific infections. For example, dogs boarded at kennels may need additional vaccination for kennel cough. However, given the possibility of adverse reaction to vaccination, pet owners should consult with their veterinarian to assess risk-benefit ratios, and consider very carefully if their pet actually needs any non-core vaccines.”

According to the Fact Sheets for the WSAVA Dog and Cat Vaccination Guidelines, duration of immunity after vaccination with MLV core vaccines is 7 years or longer, based on challenge and serological studies, for Canine Parvovirus Type 2 (CPV-2), Canine Adenovirus (CAV-2) and Canine Distemper Virus (CDV) vaccines.

The WSAVA guidelines also note: “Most vaccinated dogs will have a persistence of serum antibody (against core vaccine antigens) for many years. For core vaccines there is excellent correlation between the presence of antibody and protective immunity and there is long DOI (duration of immunity) for these products.”

Dr Ronald D Schultz, head of pathobiology at Wisconsin University, and the man behind the DOI studies, has stated that, in his view, dogs can be considered safe if vaccinated as puppies and then once after the age of six months of age, at which time their immune systems are mature. They need not be vaccinated again. Dr Schultz does not support the use of the Leptospirosis vaccine (deemed a non-core vaccine), as it is known to be ineffective and comes with the most severe adverse reactions.

When pet owners over-vaccinate their pets, they spend their money unnecessarily and they are frequently then required to spend even more money dealing with the after-effects of unnecessary vaccinations. Money, of course, is not the main point: human beings are making dogs and cats ill, and promoting early death.

Vaccine damage

We attach an article which gives scientific references with regard to vaccine adverse events.

Vaccines are known to cause vaccinated dogs (but not non-vaccinated dogs) to develop autoantibodies to their own DNA (Larry Glickman et al, Purdue University). This means that vaccines cause dogs to attack their own genetic blueprint. Each time we vaccinate, we risk introducing further genetic defects into dogs, which are passed down the line.

Vaccines are known to cause T cell immunodeficiencies, which are also inheritable and associated with heart disease. Combine T cell immunodeficiencies with B cell immunodeficiencies (which are also inheritable), then you have animals which are predisposed to respond to vaccines with inflammatory/allergic and immune-mediated conditions like dermatitis, arthritis, epilepsy, brain damage, digestive problems, and cancer.

It is well known by the veterinary profession that cats are prone to vaccine-site sarcomas, but few vets seem to be aware of the research which shows that dogs also develop vaccine site sarcomas (Journal of Veterinary Medicine, August 2003). Ferrets do, too.

Vaccines are also known, and accepted, to cause encephalitis – inflammation of the brain (Merck Manual). Encephalitis is a spectrum disease. It can be mild and invisible, all the way through to brain damage and death. It is a symptom of, or a word used to describe, the inflammation that is a known sequel to vaccination. Epilepsy is also a symptom of encephalitis, and around one in every hundred dogs in the UK is epileptic.

Other studies show that vaccines can cause arthritis; others that vaccines can cause diabetes; others that vaccines can cause autoimmune haemolytic anaemia. Paresis (paralysis of one or more limbs) is a sequel to encephalitis, which is an acknowledged vaccine reaction.

Therefore, on two counts, unnecessary vaccination should not be promoted or legally acceptable. Financially it is unjustified, and it is potentially harmful to the animals who are needlessly vaccinated. Blood (titer) tests also exist to determine circulating antibody, and these are a safer option for vets to offer.

Yours faithfully

Trevor E Adams BVSc CertBR MRCVS VetMFHom
Richard Allport BVetMed, VetMFHom, MRCVS
Ihor John Basko, DVM, CVA
Stephen Blake BS, DVM, CVA, CVH
Dr Kim Bloomer VND
Laurie S Coger DVM
Christopher Day VetFFHom, Cert IAVH, MRCVS
Rosario Delgado-Lecaroz,DVM
Jeffrey Feinman BA, VMD, CVH
Michael W Fox BVetMed, PhD, DSC, MRCVS
Jean Hofve DVM
Patricia Monahan Jordan DVM, CVA, CTCVH & Herbology
Nicholas Larkins BVSc DSc MRCVS
Roger S Meacock BVSc MRCVS
Clare Middle BVMS CVA CertIAVH
James Newns Bvet Med MRCVS
Barbara Noeldner DVM
Lynn S. Peck, DVM, MS
Richard Pitcairn DVM PhD
Susan Pollen DVM
Darla Rewers, DVM
John Saxton B Vet Med, VetFFHom, IAVH, MRCVS
Cheryl Sears MVB VetMFHom MRCVS
Martin J Schor M.D. F.A.C.S., Diplomat, American Board Of Urology
Fellow, American College Of Surgeons
Charissa Smith BVSc DipAc, DipStrucBal, CertHom,
Suzannah Stacey MRCVS
Paula Terifaj DVM
Lyn Thomson BVSc DipHom
Keith Weingardt DVM, CVA, CTCVM (herbology), Member of AVMA, AHVMA, IVAS, AAVA, Chi Institute
Douglas R. Yearout DVM
Erin Zamzow DVM

Here's the letter from concerned dog owners:

Dear Beverley

We, the undersigned, are dog owners who are losing faith in the veterinary profession and in our government. Many of us believe that our dogs were made ill or killed by unnecessary vaccines. We have signed our names in memory of our dogs, our family friends, who were damaged by vaccines, and we have added their names to our signatures so that they can be counted as mattering. Others of us are signing because we have read the science relating to annual vaccination, and we feel strongly that change is required.

We are not suggesting that pet owners leave their pets unprotected against viral disease. We also understand that many dogs appear to withstand annual vaccination without apparent harm. Others, though, do not.

We are simply stating a known scientific fact – that annual vaccines are not necessary, and they are not without harm. Many of us have blamed ourselves for not knowing this fact, and for following veterinary advice without question. Our dogs look at us with love and trust in their eyes, and we betrayed them through our ignorance.

We are signing this letter so that other dog owners, and cat owners, can be informed of the known science, so that they do not have to stand over the bodies of their dead animals and ask, “why did nobody tell me?” We are calling for informed consent for pet owners, and asking that vets in practice warn pet owners of the known possible side-effects of vaccines, namely allergies, organ failure, brain damage, arthritis, paralysis, epilepsy, and a wide range of immune-mediated diseases including cancer and autoimmune haemolytic anaemia. Sudden death, described as anaphylactic shock, is another acknowledged vaccine reaction that pet owners should be aware of before consenting to potentially unnecessary shots.

We are dismayed that veterinarians and veterinary vaccine manufacturers are allowed by law to promote veterinary products such as annual vaccines, which come with known side-effects, when there is no scientific evidence to say that they are necessary.

We understand that vets are required to follow datasheet guidelines, and that the VMD has allowed veterinary vaccine manufacturers to hide behind duration of immunity studies of only one or three years. It has taken independent scientists to show that vaccines protect for much longer. We are grateful to these independent scientists for doing this work.

We also understand that vets, MPs and political parties receive money from pharmaceutical companies; that professors in veterinary teaching establishments, and the establishments themselves, receive funding from industry; and that most if not all of the large animal charities in the UK are also in receipt of funding from veterinary vaccine manufacturers. We are also concerned that officials within our government departments might also receive pecuniary advantages from veterinary pharmaceutical companies.

We, the undersigned, ask that protective measures be instigated so that pet owners can make informed decisions; that they are told the full truth so that they can choose wisely on behalf of their pets.

Yours faithfully

Catherine O’Driscoll, Canine Health Concern, for Oliver, Prudence and Samson;
Robert Ellis, Canine Health Concern, for Samson and Jazar
Jan Rasmusen, Dogs4Dogs, award-winning author Scared Poopless
Chrissie Mason PhD
Liz Jay BA(Hons), for Lulu
Lisa Lister, for Puzzle
Terry and Satu Bateman, for Baron, Eiger and Brogan
Jens and Christina Diron, for Tallinn
Eve Kueh for Trekkie
Maggie Marshall, for Fleur and Brucie
Gill Aitken VN PhD, for Bill
Elizabeth Smith, for Hoocha and Bertie Bull
Julie Arnold, for Jess
Barbara Halliday for Nora
Alison Ingram BA(Hons), for Oskar
Heather Peterson, for Ben
Pat Nightingale, for Lady
Julia Roth Nicholson, for Poppy
Mandy Payne, for Gunner
Eileen Tuulos, for Tia Maria and KC
Christine Rogers, for Sasha
Victoria Herbert, for Luna and River
Linda Bland, for Cully, Freya and Rosie
Bet Hargreaves, for Ailsa
Christine Bailey BA, for Tasha
Wendy & Garry Galt for Bailey, Sandy, Sarah, Carson, Sage
Jytte Smith, for Zoe
Barbara Burgess for Zilzie and Patch
Antonia Bancroft for Bandit, Fay and Hamish
Jan Vallance BA(Hons) MSc, for Gunn
Anne van Poelwijck, for Chatter, Rose and Mandy
Judith Coveney BA/Ed, for Elsie
Barbara Clark AAMET, for Rosie
Anne Aitken PASIACT , for Tansy
Jennie Wilcock-Bates, for Poacher
Veronica Steel, for Millie
Debbie Hill, for Max
Judith Longman, for Shah
Trisha Scott, for Hannah
Madeline Pook, for Barnaby
Sylvia Walker, for Tailor
Steve and Alison Pearce, for Minx
Sally Cronk, For Sadie
Joyce McDowell, for Bailee
Gail Gwesyn-Price APDT, BIPDT, ACA, NCAB, CSI, for Abel
Kath Rayson, for Oliver
Douglas M Decker SLC, for Alex, Casey and Nikko
Edward McKenzie-Clark, for Hamish
George and Christine Ridley, for Shem
Sarah Rutherford BA Hons, for Kerrie
Christine Wyndham-Thomas, for Lucky
Lisbeth Gjetnes RN, for Zoe and Pippa
Chris Salter, for Dexter and Leo
Pat White, for Sabre
Nick and Lisa Healing, for Jake
John and Sheryl Kobel and Family, Kingdom Cavaliers, for India
Morgana Washington, Welcome Home Sanctuary, for Samson
Janis Mattson, for Mocha Joe
Liz Levelle ND Dip Hom, for Pepper
Bruce and Jean Hellingsworth, for Morgan
Debbie Sutherland, for Mojo and Rocky
Barb McKee, for Bailey, Vegas and Muggins
Anne Grose, for Merrie and Stitch
Judy Williams RGN NDN MAR, for Teifi
Gary Robert Smith, BSc Hons MAPM
Deborah Molwuka BSc(Hons)
Sandy and David Bridger
Andrea Kirk
Linda Johnstone
Alison Poulton
Doreen Simpkins RGN, SCM, RHV, CSWM BA
Debbie Newman
Linda Johnston
Pat Baxter
Christine Crawford
Maurice Lea
Mari-Carmen and Edward Carson
Alexandra McGough BSc
Ren Astley
Naomi Black
Sean Crabtree
Gabbie Slade
Jason Tully
Mary Carlin
Caroline Nash
Sarah Hold BHSAI
Kathy Roberts
Donna Saunders
Tracy Southern
Robert P Warwick
Jackie Field
Sally Walters
Christine Maylor
Cheralyn Lewis BSc BA
Christine Eldridge
Stella Coombes
Diana Hamilton-Andrews
Helen Roberts BSc Hons
Brian Cleghorn
David and Patricia Bryan
Rev Peter Cawood
Marilyn Erbe
Penny Craig
Kelly Hodgson
Alison Frost
Martin J Schor M.D. F.A.C.S., Diplomat, American Board Of Urology, Fellow, American College Of Surgeons
Anne Peter
Deborah Gornall MBIPDT KCAI, Tinklebury Papillons and Chihuahuas, A.P.D.T.
Sharon Hardwicke
Fiona McCann
Sandra Brigola, Von Hapsburg Danes
Shirley Robinson
Alison Merryfield
Veronica Merryfield
Lesley Pegg
Zita Wells
Patricia Sears, BIPDT (Advanced Instructor) APDT FDTCB
Joan M. Anderson, for Bene
Edie Downey
Do you want to add your name to this letter? Email your name and address to catherine@carsegray.co.uk

Monday, 8 June 2009

We fixed the flooding - but now there's the plague...

Yesterday, our ad sales guy rang in sick. But not your regular sick, suspected Swine Flu.
Last weekend he was in New York and when he developed flu symptoms he phoned his doctor's out of hours service and triggered a major health panic.
One of the other people on his return flight was already being tested for Swine Flu. A man gowned up with mask and everything came to his home to take samples and he was put on Tamiflu and told to stay indoors.
As he's been in the office I was told to warn everyone that it was possible they'd come in contact with Swine Flu and if they had any cold or flu symptoms to get them to stay home until the tests were back.
Everyone's fine apart from my husband who says he has hay fever. But as no one knows the incubation period - who knows! Everyone (apart from our ad sales guy) is coming in - true (Victorian?) Bulldog spirit!
So again we are awaiting tests. Our guy can still work from home, but it sometimes feels like we're living in a soap opera as each month we seem to be set another outrageous challenge when we try to put our magazine to bed!

He's got the all clear from the public health department! Hooray.

Friday, 5 June 2009

Results and conclusions

The Animal Health Trust pulled out all the stops and beat their own record for turning around a DNA test, aren't they wonderful?
Tess does not have the fucosidosis gene, so that wasn't the problem, thank god as that would have been incurable and very depressing.
In the last couple of weeks Tess has been incredibly level and it's easy to try and forget her strange lapses. Who knows maybe whatever the problem was has alleviated?
We're still not taking any chances, she's under my desk at work. The kids know not to bend down to pat her, to keep their faces out of the way at all times. I stopped the postman patting her yesterday - just seems safer somehow.
For some reason I'm holding back on phoning the vet and pressing on with the neurological tests. I think we're both enjoying a bit of semi-normality, although it could be the calm before the storm. Will phone on Monday. But for now I'll pretend it's the same old lovely Tess at my feet and nothings wrong.
Here's an office snap for of Oscar, too. "My dog's got no nose...! How does he smell? No idea, he can't see where he's going either most of the time!"

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Every puppy farmed dog should have its day

In America September the 19th is Puppy Mill Awareness day. (Puppy farms in the US are called puppy mills, don't ask me why.)
Isn't it a great idea?
Shouldn't we join in? Share the date and DIY our own campaign?
Let's have a brainstorm about things we could all do on that day to raise the public's awareness of the misery caused by the puppy farm trade.
The Americans do a 'March for the Mills'. A proper demo with placards and dogs walking.
They have fetes too, calling for the public to boycott stores selling pups, encouraging people to sign petitions to get the sick trade banned.
Wouldn't it be great if we could come up with a catchy name for our day - any suggestions?
How about something really simple...

Puppy Day - instead of Poppy day?
Lest we forget ...all the pups who die in puppy farms and pet shops.

We could have a poster or an advert, maybe have car stickers?
Have a photo of field of poppies with a little grave for a pup called Poppy. With the text...
Please don't buy pups like me out of pity from the pet shop or the dealer.
You mean well, but your money will mean more of my relatives will be tortured.
My lovely mum is still a prisoner. She has lived a life devoid of human affection and home comforts. She's so scared and confused, she runs in circles for hours on end.
My brothers and sisters died of a virus, which we all caught in the van that brought us and the others on the long journey to the pet shop.
My new owners spent £1,500 at the vet's, trying to save me.
I wish they'd saved their tears for my poor old mum and all my new brothers and sisters.
By buying dogs like me you fund this vile trade.
Sign the petition, ban puppy farming and you could save more dogs like me from this misery.

September 19th is Puppy day. Ban puppy farms now.

Anyone else got any bright ideas? Here are some links to get you thinking...


Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Waiting is testing

Tess hasn't done anything odd for a while, she's loving and happy just like there's nothing wrong. But waiting for her fucosidosis DNA result means we've stalled in our quest to find out what makes her a Jeckyl and Hyde dog. The vet doesn't want to go to neurological tests until we've got this DNA test back. We're just holding our breath. And we're not going to behaviourists until we rule out physical problems.
I've just phoned the Animal Health Trust to see what the wait time for results is likely to be. It's not going to be days, it's going to be weeks - they expect two to three.
They've made a note that it's not a routine test that the dog is potentially poorly, so they promise to go as fast as they can - but the best turnaround they've ever had was 12 days.
Imagine if that was the case in CSI, wouldn't it be very dull slow moving TV!
Maybe she'll be fine, maybe whatever it was has miraculously past?
She's not head butted anyone in over a week.

Small is beautiful

Still getting loads of ideas for charities that our lovely reader could leave her money to. I've been looking at the links that people are following to get to this blog and I think some charities may have got the wrong end of the stick. It's not a case of getting as many people to nominate a charity as possible, it's more a case of explaining why the charity is special and needs the money.
One of the latest posts starts off with an apology as the person posting actually runs the little charity themselves. No need to be shy, I'd love to hear more from these lean little charities. Tell us how the money would be used and tell us what you do already.
The only criteria is, they must be registered charities.

Here's the example that I would say is a good example of the sort of posts we'd like more of. I'd never heard of this charity before but 300 dogs off death row is a brilliant record, but I would like to know what the extra money would enable them to do...

I would like to nominate our dog charity Plantation Dog Rescue. I know you probably aren't supposed to nominate yourself but we definietly fall into the category that the donars are looking for.
We are a small dog charity rescuing dogs from death row in the pounds in Yorkshire. We are a registered charity and are entirely donation run. Since opening in Jan 2005 we have rescued and successfully rehomed over 300 dogs. All the dogs are assessed, fully vaccinated, neutered, chipped and flead and wormed up to date before going to suitable vetted homes. If for any reason the homing doesn't work out or circumstances change we always take our own dogs back.
For more details on our dogs, our charity and what we do please visit www.plantationdogrescue.co.uk