http://www.petmd.com/news/rss en Grange Co-Op Recalls Rogue All Purpose Rabbit Pellets http://www.petmd.com/news/alerts-recalls/grange-co-op-recalls-rogue-all-purpose-rabbit-pellets-35301  
The following product is being recalled:
 
Rogue All Purpose Rabbit Pellets in 25# (25RP) 50# (50RP), 1,500# Tote (RP). There are no lot codes associated with these products.
 
The recall is being initiated because samples tested by the Oregon Department of Agriculture discovered these products may contain higher than acceptable levels of vitamin D.
 
Rabbits that are fed diets with high levels of vitamin D are at risk of developing hypercalcemia. Symptoms of hypercalcemia include increased thirst, increased urination, weakness, decreased appetite, and possibly death.
 
Consumers that purchased Rogue All Purpose Rabbit Pellets during these dates should return the unused portion to any Grange Co-op location for a full refund. Any questions regarding this recall may be directed to Brian Wilkerson, director of agricultural operations, at (541) 664-1121 or productrecall@grangecoop.com.
 
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Blue Ridge Beef Voluntarily Recalls Raw Turkey Pet Food http://www.petmd.com/news/alerts-recalls/blue-ridge-beef-voluntarily-recalls-raw-turkey-pet-food-35293  
The affected product is sold in 2-lb chubs and can be identified with the following manufacturing codes:
 
Turkey with Bone
Lot #103 mfd12716
UPC code 854298001887
 

 
The affected products were sold to retail stores in North Carolina, Florida, South Carolina, and Georgia.
 
Listeria can affect animals that consume contaminated products and humans that handle contaminated products. Symptoms of Listeria infection in humans include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping, and fever. Animals may experience similar symptoms as humans.
 
Consumers exhibiting these signs after having contact with this product should contact their healthcare provider. If pets are displaying similar symptoms, they should be taken to the vet.
 
People who have purchased the above lot of turkey for dogs are urged to stop feeding them and dispose of the product or return it to the place of purchase for a full refund. Those with questions can email the company at blueridgebeefga@yahoo.com.
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Puppy Hit By Car Rescued From Snowy Ditch is Safe and Healing http://www.petmd.com/news/dog/puppy-hit-car-rescued-snowy-ditch-makes-full-recovery-35289  
The 7-month-old German Shepherd—who has been named Nutmeg— spent an estimated 12 hours out in the open, all while in terrible pain from the accident. Ariana Lenz, RVT, the medical manager of AARCS tells petMD, "Nutmeg was unable to stand on her own so rescuers were unsure of the extent of her injuries. "
 
Nutmeg was rushed to Southern Alberta Veterinary Emergency (SAVE). "She was assessed by several veterinarians, along with a surgeon and it was determined that she had a left ilial fracture, ischial and pubic fracture along with a right minor calcanceal avulsion," says Lenz.
 
Despite her injuries, things could have been much worse for the pup. "Nutmeg was very fortunate in the sense that the last few days have been considerable warmer," says Lenz. "Had it been the week prior, the temperatures were extremely cold. Luckily upon intake Nutmeg was not suffering from hypothermia or any other injuries relating specifically to the cold, the extent of her injuries were from the trauma itself."
 
The staff determined that the best course of action for Nutmeg to have a smooth recovery was to have her on strict rest for six weeks. She was also given oral medication to control her pain before she could be discharged. But even when she was dealing with terrible discomfort, Nutmeg's spirits were always high. "Nutmeg is a very sweet and gentle girl," says Lenz. "Even when she was in extreme pain, she was very approachable, lovable, and her tail just continues to wag."
 
Nutmeg, who is currently happy and healing in a foster home, is still on rest but in a few weeks time doctors will conduct radiographs to determine if she is well enough to be adopted. Lenz believes that this lucky and sweet dog would make an amazing addition to any family. 
 
If you do notice an injured dog on the side of the road—whether hit by a car or otherwise—Lenz notes that people who want to help should be careful and take the proper precautions. "You want to assess the situation safely, as many animals are in significant pain and their temperaments can be unpredictable," she explains. "We recommend to call local authorities or a veterinary hospital that will be able to help safely support the situation."
 
Image via Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society 
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Helping Your Dog Understand the Loss of Their Canine Companion http://www.petmd.com/news/view/helping-your-dog-understand-loss-their-canine-companion-35287  
I vocalize my pain and look through photographs to remember how much Wynne has been in my life. Then, I look at my other dog, Remy, studying my face with a confused look. He watches me clenching the toys Wynne played with. I had to make the decision to let her suffering end, and even if my head knows I did what was best, my heart will always question it. Now I’m left to question how Remy and Indy, my other dog, will handle the loss. How do I tell them she's not coming home? Am I humanizing my emotions on them? How do I know if they are grieving?
 
I have seen a lot of sadness in my 16 years as a registered veterinary technician. I have been there for clients that put their beloved family member to rest. I have also been there to see the surviving members grieve, even the furry ones. Some pet parents have brought the other dog to say "goodbye," but the other dog never seems to really understand what is going on. I don't think the concept of dying is something that dogs really know or understand, but they do understand the lack of the presence of the now deceased dog in a familiar space that is at home. 
 
How My Dogs Processed Loss
 
Dogs may not be able to talk or cry but they show sadness in their own way. Indy became very clingy. She followed me around and didn’t know how to make me happy, which upset her. She tried to play with Remy, but he would walk away. She became the court jester trying to please me and doing tricks to get Remy to play. When nothing worked, she was sad she failed and went off sulking.
 
Remy, however, became truly sad because he wanted his friend to return. One day Wynne was there, and now she isn't anywhere to be found. I found him wandering the house, waiting by doors and going to strange locations. He was isolating himself and not sleeping in his normal spots. He lost interest in playing with his toys and didn’t have much energy at all. Dogs don't have the ability to reason or understand so I couldn’t sit down and explain what happened. I couldn’t read him a book or take him to therapy.
 
I didn’t know what to do to help him so I researched and tested multiple different theories. The day after Wynne passed, I collected anything that reminded me of Wynne and put it in a box in the basement. I thought that, if dogs have short term memory, they might forget her. I realized after a few days of Remy looking for her and acting depressed that idea didn’t work. One day, I came home from work and found Remy in the basement (an off-limits spot for the dogs) sniffing the box of Wynne’s belongings. His desire to get Wynne’s scent was stronger that obeying the rules. I brought up her favorite blanket and bed they used to share. I let the dogs have access them, if they wanted to. The next morning, Remy pulled down the blanket and snuggled with it. He took the dog bed to the bedroom where it originally was. The scent was comforting him. He stopped wandering and looking.
 
 
How to Move Forward
 
 
Returning to work after losing Wynne made me more aware of the surviving dogs, and I began offering advice to other pet parents on how to help their dogs cope and knowing the signs of dog grieving. Many determined which type of grief their pet was having, based on hearing about Indy and Remy’s reactions. The “Indy grief plan” needed owners to stick to a routine and try to stay active with them. The “Remy grief plan” required a scent from the deceased pet and grieving time. Both of my dogs did better after I forced myself to get more active. More walks, car rides and pet store visits.
 
So, what can we do to help our pets deal with the loss of a canine companion? Don't rush to throw out items that belonged to the deceased pet. Keep a blanket or other reminder that belonged to the pet that died. Pay extra attention to your grieving pet, but don't go overboard and create a larger problem. Try and stick to regular routines, if possible. Give your dog some time to adjust before making a decision about bringing another dog into your family. If you bring another pet home while they are still missing their friend, they will resent the new family member. Behavior problems and fighting will develop.
 

 The pain and sadness we feel may be displayed differently in our pet family members, but it does exist. Being able to see the signs and determine how we can help them cope may help us too. You can develop additional hobbies and friendships by taking your dog to the dog park or on outings. They should have other fun things in their life they can still enjoy after their “Wynne” is gone. 
 
Find out more information on pet loss and grief:
 

Argus Institute Counseling and Support Services
Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine Pet Loss Support Hotline

 
 
Image: courtesy Naomi Strollo
 
Naomi has been in the veterinary profession for 24 years. She became a Registered Veterinary Technician in 2000 and has over 10 years of experience working with trauma and critical care. She equally enjoys client education and prevention training techniques and has a special interest in behavioral training. She has personally trained therapy dogs, as well as show dogs, and has passed the 10-step test to earn her Canine Good Citizen Certification.
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Overcoming the Fear of Pit Bulls: Where Do We Go from Here? http://www.petmd.com/news/view/overcoming-fear-pit-bulls-where-do-we-go-here-35265  
Meeting Pits at Work
 
Working as a registered veterinary technician in an emergency clinic, I encountered many Pit Bulls. The Pit Bulls I saw where brought in by animal wardens and police officers. These dogs were attacked, wounded and even shot. Of course those dogs were aggressive, they had been through a lot and were in pain. The Pit Bull that changed my mind was the one a police offer brought in that was shot in the head. I heard the report, ran up front with the gurney, and there he was standing and wagging his tail at me. His x-ray showed a bullet lodged in his skull. I was with that dog all night while he was being given oxygen, taking his vitals, and he never showed an aggressive sign. That's when I realized how strong this breed is, but how nice it could be.
 
So, I was willing to take a look at this potential new addition to our home, as long as Remy was there to approve.
 
Bringing Home Indy
 
James answered an ad on Craigslist. As we pulled down the street, there were many dogs running all over the neighborhood. As I got out of the car, I was immediately approached by a dog who sat in front of me. The owners were sitting on the step.
 
"You here for the Pit? There she is,” they said. “We don't have time for her, she lives in a cage." As we approached the owners, she followed me the whole way there. When we stopped to talk to the owners about her past life and history, she was running free in the street. They would just yell at her to get out of the road when cars passed. I clapped my hands and she ran over. I sat on the ground and she jumped in my lap and covered me with kisses. It was time to see what Remy thought.
 
I insisted James hold the leash and warned the owners that if they fight, I know where the closest veterinary clinic is. That Pit Bull ran up to Remy and they were nose to nose. I turned my head in terror. I couldn't see this. Two dogs known for fighting, I thought, it's going to be a blood bath. I heard James yell and I had to look. Remy was pulling him around trying to run and play with the Pit. James insisted we keep her. I was out of excuses.
 
Life with a Pit Bull
 
We named her Indy and she is now 4 years old. She is the most affectionate dog I've ever owned. Indy and Remy are best friends (Wynne, meanwhile, didn't care what we brought home as long as she had her spot on the couch). Indy follows Remy around and looks for his direction. I never left them alone for fear of fighting, but Indy just wants to fit in. I see why the breed is used to fight, they only want to make their owners happy. She is constantly looking for our approval. We brought Indy home, and with rules and obedience (just like every other dog, regardless of its breed), she’s become a wonderful dog.
 
Re-Thinking the Pit Bull Bias
 
So, what can we do to change the image surrounding Pit Bulls? According to DogsBite.org, over 1,052 cities across the nation have Breed-Specific Laws (BSL). When we create bans and laws it draws public attention. Criminals are drawn to breaking the law. Individualists are drawn to making a statement and law-abiding citizens make a scene when the law is not abided by. When prohibition ended in 1933, the government was the first to reap the benefits. The government received tax benefits, jobs and a decrease in police force.
 
I asked James Kaplan, a volunteer at Parma Animal Shelter in Ohio, how we should work towards changing the perception of Pit Bulls.
 
“I have watched people take a pause when seeing [Pit Bulls at the shelter] They don't always see the personality of the dog or are not really astute to dog communication,” he says. “It should be the citizen’s decision to enact a BSL, not the politicians who will cave to pressure because they don't want to appear weak to the people pushing the BSL. I think the biggest thing is to work to get rid of the slang name and start calling them by their AKC name."
 
Abolishing BSLs nationwide will change everyone’s view of the breed. Owning a Pit Bull wouldn't make you a cool "bad ass" anymore. Back-yard breeders would decrease because the popularity would go down, while law-abiding families would be able to adopt one. According to the ASPCA, 2,800 Pit Bulls and Pit-mixes are euthanized every day. If we stopped paying attention to what these dogs look like, and instead care only about their personalities, more dogs like Indy would have families to come home to.
 
Image: Courtesy Naomi Strollo
 
Naomi has been in the veterinary profession for 24 years. She became a Registered Veterinary Technician in 2000 and has over 10 years of experience working with trauma and critical care. She equally enjoys client education and prevention training techniques and has a special interest in behavioral training. She has personally trained therapy dogs, as well as show dogs, and has passed the 10-step test to earn her Canine Good Citizen Certification.
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How Do Canines Actually Respond to Human 'Dog Speak' Language? http://www.petmd.com/news/lifestyle-entertainment/how-do-canines-actually-respond-humans-dog-speak-language-35255  
But does your dog respond differently when you greet them with a "Doggy woggy I looooooove you!" than if you're greeting is delivered in a normal cadence? A study that was conducted by researchers (Nicolas Mathevon, Tobey Ben-Aderet, Mario Gallego-Abenza, David Reby) and published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B shared their surprising findings. 
 
The study—titled "Dog-Directed Speech: Why Do We Use It and Do Dogs Pay Attention To It?"—analyzed and recorded the speech patterns of participants and how they spoke to photos of puppies and then to photos of adult dogs. 
 
"We found that human speakers used dog-directed speech with dogs of all ages and that the acoustic structure of dog-directed speech was mostly independent of dog age, except for sound pitch which was relatively higher when communicating with puppies." 
 
From there, the researchers played the audio of the participants for puppies and adult dogs and found that puppies "were highly reactive to dog-directed speech" and that it influences their behavior. But the results were different in older, adult dogs. According to the study, the older dogs, "did not react differentially to dog-directed speech compared with normal speech."
 
So while your sweetie-weetie puppy-wuppy talk has a function for younger dogs, it appears to have no impact on older dogs. 
 
Still, something to consider that the study does not mention: a "kinder" way of speaking to a dog does have a positive impact when it comes to training dogs to be support animals.
 
"Companion animals are highly sensitive to the emotionality of sound. So if you want to encourage the animal, you make your voice inviting to make it obvious that this is going to be a fun interaction and it will pay off," Elisabeth Weiss of New York City's DogRelations explains to petMD. "Harshness isn't welcoming and therefore will not aid you at all in getting the dog to try something different and new." 
 
Image via Shutterstock 
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Study Finds That Feral Cats Now Cover Nearly 100% of Australia http://www.petmd.com/news/cat/study-finds-feral-cats-now-cover-nearly-100-australia-35238  
The cats (who are not native to the region) are mostly found in Australia's "highly modified environments" such as farms and urban areas. Additionally, the research shows that feral cat densitites are higher on small islands than on the mainland. 
 
This finding is an urgent matter, both when it comes to humanely handling the feral cat populations and trying to save and sustain the continent's wildlife population. The study links the feral cats to recent mammal extinctions and explains that the high number of cats continue to "threaten native species." Some species that have been hardest hit by the feral cat populations include the Australian fauna. 
 
"Australia is only one of 17 'mega-diverse' nations on earth and is home to more species than any other developed country. Our wildlife is unique—yet we have the dubious honor of having the worst mammal extinction rate in the world," says Rebecca Keeble, the senior campaigns and policy officer for the International Fund for Animal Welfare. "Given that the well-being of humans and animals is inherently linked, we advocate the protection of Australia’s biodiversity through the application of management programs that are precautionary and ecologically sustainable, ensuring the humane treatment of all animals including pest species." 
 
The matter of figuring out how to control the feral cat population has become a "high-profile priority," according to the journal article. Although the cats post a threat to Australian wildlife populations, many experts and advocates are hoping the problem can be solved in a compassionate way.
 
"Many of Australia's unique wildlife species—including small ground dwelling mammals, reptiles, and small birds—are susceptible prey for stray and feral cats, and feral cats recognised as a key threat to a number of listed threatened species," Keeble says. "Whilst acknowledging the impact on native wildlife, IFAW believes that control of feral cats must be undertaken humanely and under the strictest of protocols. No animal, regardless of whether it is native or feral, should be subject to cruelty under a population management program." 
 
According to an article in The Guardian, conservationists are proposing to rebuild habitats for small marsupials so they can escape the cats. Other researchers are suggesting an increase in the dingo population in outback areas to help control the cat populations. Trap-neuter-and-return (TNR) programs that are popular in the U.S. and other countries are not currently being considered given the extremely high numbers of feral cats and the level of difficulty and resources it would take to trap the felines and spay or neuter them. At this time, there is no definitive and comprehensive action plan for addressing the skyrocketing feral cat problem in Australia. 
 
Keeble explains that it's important for the human population to take responsibility for domestic animals and the impact they may potentially have on the environment. "It is critical that people understand the impact of domestic animals on native wildlife, and not allow domestic animals (cats and dogs) to stray and become predatory and feral," she says.
 
The story has made waves with activists in the United States as well. Becky Robinson, president and founder of Alley Cat Allies, states to petMD that the efforts to stop this issue is unfairly pointing the finger at cats, and not focusing elsewhere. "The Australian government has repeatedly indicated that they understand that human development is the primary cause of species loss, but rather than address those issues, they are allowing mining and development in sensitive areas."" 
 
PETA Australia’s Associate Director of Campaigns Ashley Fruno notes, "Every single scientific study tells us that lethal control doesn’t provide a long term solution to invasive animal populations and, in fact, can backfire, since it causes a spike in the food supply, creates a vacuum, and so prompts accelerated breeding. Australia needs to embark on a vast sterilization campaign in order to protect native wildlife. This problem also highlights why cats should never be allowed to roam outdoors without supervision." 
 
Image via Shutterstock 
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When Both Pet and Owner Are Fighting Cancer http://www.petmd.com/news/view/when-both-pet-and-owner-are-fighting-cancer-35191  
Sparky was diagnosed with a form of skin cancer that was removed about eight months ago. Since recovering from the operation, I see him every month for routine examinations. Though his type of cancer wouldn’t typically spread to distant sites in the body, the probability is not zero, therefore routine monitoring is important.
 
“It looks like we last checked for spread of his tumor about three months ago. This would be a good time to see if anything has changed. We could perform the x-rays today, or during his check up next month,” I say.
 
“Let’s do the x-rays now,” Mrs. Baker states emphatically.
 
I’m grateful for her dedication to Sparky’s care. One of the biggest struggles I have with owners of pets with cancer is relaying the importance of monitoring for recurrence or spread of disease.
 
As I’m finishing up with writing my notes about the checkup, Mrs. Baker casually adds, “You know, they found another lump and I need to go for more testing.” My pen stutter-steps along the page as I immediately look up, unable to find the words to express my concern.
 
I knew Mrs. Baker was previously diagnosed with breast cancer over 30 years ago. We had discussed her disease numerous times over the course of Sparky’s visits. She’d told me all about the invasive surgery she underwent and the subsequent six weeks of daily radiation therapy she’d endured.
 
I heard details of the horrendous long term side effects she had from her treatments, including persistent lack of sensation along the right side of her chest, a chronic cough, and an intolerance to strenuous activity.
 
I knew she was as diligent monitoring her own health as she was about her dog’s. She underwent regular mammograms and CT scans and previously always received encouraging news that her cancer was non-existent.
 
However, over three decades after her initial diagnosis and treatment, she’d developed not only one but two new tumors. One in each breast. Her treatment would be a double mastectomy followed by chemotherapy. Her prognosis was unknown, but the initial biopsies suggested the two tumors were not related to each other and were each likely aggressive.
 
How an Owner’s Cancer History Affects the Decision to Treat Pet’s Cancer
 
In some cases, owners of animals with cancer who are diagnosed with cancer themselves are reluctant to pursue treatment for their pets. Their own experiences negatively influence their perception of what their companion would experience.
 
While there are many similarities between a diagnosis of cancer in animals and people, and the drugs I prescribe are the same used to treat humans with cancer, the dosages are lower and the interval between treatments is extended so as to avoid side effects in pets. This conservative plan of action affords a much lower cure rate for most veterinary cancers. However, we consider this an acceptable consequence because animals with cancer experience an exceptionally low rate of treatment related complications.
 
More frequently, I encounter owners such as Mrs. Baker, who search for options for their pets on par with what they’ve experienced themselves. I don’t have to go into the details of chemotherapy, or the importance of staging tests or monitoring with cancer survivors. They are already acutely aware of which information is crucial for making optimal decisions about their animal’s care.
 
While I’m prepared for discussing cancer care in animals, I lack confidence in my capabilities for providing the same support for the human beings attached to those pets facing a similar diagnosis. I’m humbled and honored when owners of pets with cancer open up to me about their own diagnosis. Whether doing so helps them to better understand their pet’s diagnosis, or simply provides them with a sounding board to express their own concerns and fears, I’m appreciative of their disclosure.
 
I was thrilled to let Mrs. Baker know Sparky’s x-rays turned out to be clear. We spent several additional minutes discussing how happy we were with how well he was doing and joking about his propensity to ingest acorns before she could pry them from his tiny, genetically stunted jaws. We concluded the appointment as we always do, with a quick hug and a few parting sentiments about Sparky’s cuteness, and with me letting her know I looked forward to seeing the both of them next month.
 
As Mrs. Baker and Sparky exited the hospital, given the recent news regarding her health, I felt just a tiny bit guilty knowing I’d be happier to see her rather than him at their next visit.
 
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J.M. Smucker Company Recalls Select Lots of 9Lives, EverPet and Special Kitty Canned Cat Food http://www.petmd.com/news/alerts-recalls/jm-smucker-company-recalls-select-lots-9lives-everpet-and-special-kitty-canned-c  
J.M. Smucker Company is voluntarily recalling select lots of its 9Lives, EverPet, and Special Kitty canned cat food due to possible low levels of thiamine (Vitamin B1).
 
According to a company release, “the affected products were distributed to a limited number of retail customers from December 20 through January 3, 2017.”
 
Additional Impacted Products/Codes (updated Jan. 6, 2017)
 

 
Original Impacted Products/Codes (announced Jan. 3, 2017):
 

 
 
The issue was discovered by a company Quality Assurance team during review of production records at their manufacturing facility. As of yesterday, no illnesses related to this issue have been reported.
 
Cats fed diets low in thiamine for an extended period may be at risk for developing a thiamine deficiency. “Early signs of thiamine deficiency may include decreased appetite, salivation, vomiting, and weight loss,” according to the J.M. Smucker Company release. “In advanced cases, neurological signs can develop, which include ventroflexion (bending towards the floor) of the neck, wobbly walking, circling, falling, and seizures.”
 
Pet owners who have cans of recalled cat food are advised to stop feeding it to their cats immediately and contact their veterinarian immediately if their pet displays any of the symptoms mentioned above.
 
If you have any questions, call company representatives at 1-800-828-9980 Monday through Friday 9:00 am to 6:00 pm EST or via e-mail at consumer.relations@jmsmucker.com.
 
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The Cone of Shame: Why E-Collars Get a Bad Rap (But Are So Important) http://www.petmd.com/news/view/cone-shame-why-e-collars-get-bad-rap-but-are-so-important-35201  
“Does he really need that thing?”
 
“But we will watch him!”
 
Regarding e-collar use, I’ve heard it all. Although they may seem extreme and look ridiculous, e-collars play a very serious role in veterinary medicine. The purpose of the dreaded cone is to deter your pet from licking, biting, rubbing, or traumatizing a sensitive area. It may be applied post-operative so that a pet doesn’t get to their surgical site. It may even be applied to a pet with allergies or a hot spot to stop them from scratching at the area and causing more damage.
 
Why are they so important? Say, for example, that your dog has just undergone surgery. Chances are, the experience was not only stressful on you, but also on him. He had to spend a day in an unfamiliar place, with lots of strange noises and smells, different people he doesn't know or trust, and then fall asleep unexpectedly and wake up (possibly) missing body parts, disoriented and with a weird plastic lampshade on his head. That must have been some party!
 
Meanwhile, you altered your schedule to drop your dog off at the hospital, worried all day about him, then paid for a procedure you may not even fully understand the purpose of AND got your pet back with a plastic satellite dish on his head. As your veterinary technician, I explain to you that if your dog gets to his neuter site, chances are, we may have to re-anesthetize him for another surgical procedure to repair the damage. You will understand, at that moment, the financial penalization of this and will want to do everything in your power to avoid this scenario. Then, I bring your dog out to you and the questions begin. Not, “is this recovery hard on him?” or “what are the effects of anesthesia we should look for?” but “how many channels does he get?”
 
Once you are told that the e-collar is necessary until his recheck in two weeks, you start to panic. How is he going to eat? How is that going to work in bed with us at night? And then it happens. Your dog comes running at you full force and the cone takes you out at the knees. Or he tries to walk through the door and the cone hits the door frame and he gets stuck. Though funny, you feel bad. And do the inevitable ... you take the cone off.
 
Now your dog is happy and so are you. Then, you turn your back for one second to take the garbage out to the curb. Or to answer the phone. It is at these moments of distraction that it will happen (Murphy’s Law) and your dog will do everything in his power to lick at that neuter site because it’s just so darn itchy from being shaved, sore from being poked and prodded and smells of funny antiseptic used during surgery. Next thing you know, you're back at the veterinary hospital, checking your dog in for his next procedure, a neuter site repair. And we begin all over again. The truth is, you cannot keep your eyes on them at all times. You must eat, sleep and go to the bathroom (not to mention work!).
 
Still not deterred from taking off that e-collar? Fortunately, there are other options available. There are soft e-collars, inflatable ones, Bite-Not collars, body stockings, even clothing that can serve the same purpose of deterrence if necessary. Even with an e-collar (or e-collar alternative) on, it is important to examine the area of concern a couple of times a day, just to make sure your pet is not getting to it, or using other things (like furniture or the floor) to satisfy that itch.
 
 
Consult with your veterinarian to see which is the best option for your pet, and what they will tolerate and provide the best outcome – a speedy, happy, healthy recovery for both you and your pet.
 
Natasha Feduik is a licensed veterinary technician with Garden City Park Animal Hospital in New York, where she has been practicing for 10 years. Natasha received her degree in veterinary technology from Purdue University. Natasha has two dogs, a cat and three birds at home and is passionate about helping people take the best possible care of their animal companions.
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How to Make a Vet Appointment: Tips From the Other Side of the Desk http://www.petmd.com/news/view/how-schedule-appointment-veterinary-clinic-tips-other-side-desk-35200  
That’s if it all goes well. There are certain circumstances that occur commonly in a veterinary practice that the client doesn’t think of. These tips may make your next experience a little better:
 
Be Prepared
 
When scheduling your pet’s appointment, ask the customer service representative what you should bring. A poop sample? Pee sample? Previous medical records from another vet you forgot you even went to because it was almost a year ago, and you were out of town, and your dog got diarrhea from your mother in law feeding him too many table scraps? Records you may have from PetSmart, when you just stopped by to get a toy and ended up getting his nails trimmed and then there was a vaccine clinic, and then, and then?
 
You may think it’s no big deal to mention, but the doctor needs to be aware of any and all medical treatments performed on your pet in the past. If it’s a new pet, bring everything you have from the place or organization where you acquired your pet—including all certificates, tags, anything and everything!
 
Get the Customer Service Agent’s Opinion
 
Ask the representative what the best time for your pet’s needs are. Friday nights and Monday mornings are the busiest times in an animal hospital, and are prime time for most emergencies. This may not be the best time to bring you skittish elderly cat in for a check up.
 
Additionally, the day after a holiday are by far the busiest and least predictable days in a veterinary clinic, so is probably not the best time to request a bath and ear cleaning for your dog. There are emergency turkey-eating dogs, tinsel-swallowing cats and stressed people just trying to recover from the holiday.
 
Here are a few other no-gos when it comes to making an appointment:
 
Never on a Sunday: Not only a traditional Greek song, but also good advice. Many veterinary hospitals are not open on Sundays and those who are carry all the weight for those that aren’t. Although it may be convenient to get your errands taken care of, have the dog’s nails trimmed or just stop by to chat with the veterinarian about the latest food recall, Sundays are usually a very busy day of unexpected emergencies.
 
Late-Day Routine Appointments: Bad things are often discovered when people get home from work. The dog got into the trash can. The cat peed outside the litter box. Someone threw up all over the house (and I have five dogs, so I have to bring them all in to find out who got sick!). When scheduling a routine appointment, try not to ask for the last appointment. Not only are these time slots often held to accommodate late day emergencies, it is very possible that you are going to have to wait ... a while. The doctor may have been in appointments for four hours, and each one ran just a few minutes long. Then those five dogs showed up.
 
For your own sanity and convenience, be open with the customer service representatives at the front desk. Keep an open mind, and if you think of it, call before you leave the house to double check that everything is running smoothly at the clinic. It may save yourself some aggravation and keep everyone with happy tails. 
 
Natasha Feduik is a licensed veterinary technician with Garden City Park Animal Hospital in New York, where she has been practicing for 10 years. Natasha received her degree in veterinary technology from Purdue University. Natasha has two dogs, a cat and three birds at home and is passionate about helping people take the best possible care of their animal companions.
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Michigan Federal Court Rules Police Can Shoot Moving or Barking Dogs http://www.petmd.com/news/care-safety/michigan-federal-court-rules-police-can-shoot-moving-or-barking-dogs-inside-home-35-35192  
According to an NBC Columbus affiliate, "The decision stems from an incident in Battle Creek, Michigan where police shot and killed dog[s] while executing a search warrant on a home looking for drugs." 
 
NBC4i.com uploaded the court documents, in which Mark and Cheryl Brown filed a petition to hold both the city and police of Battle Creek responsible for the deaths of their two Pit Bulls back in 2013, when their property was seized. 
 
In the petition, the Browns maintain that the police acted unreasonably when they fatally shot both Pit Bulls during the home search. But the responding officers in the case state that at least one of the dogs "lunged" at them, and they did not have the ability to "safely clear the basement" of the house with the dogs present, according to the court papers.
 
The City of Battle Creek Police Department policy states: "Officers may use response to resistance when the officer reasonably believes that the action is in defense of human life, including the officers own life, or in defense of any person in imminent danger or serious physical injury." They also define a "dangerous animal" as one that "bites or attacks another person or animal." 
 
The Fourth Circuit decided that the officers acted reasonably in the situation. As the document notes, "[W]e are not saying the officers’ responses in these cases were the best possible responses. We are only saying that, under the circumstances existing at the time the officers took the actions and in light of the facts known by the officers, their actions were objectively reasonable....Even dog owners can find their pets to be unpredictable at times."
 
Judge Eric Clay wrote in the ruling, "Given the totality of the circumstances and viewed from the perspective of an objectively reasonable officer, the dog poses an imminent threat to the officer’s safety." This decision will give other police in similar situations the right to shoot a dog that they perceive as a threat to their safety and the safety of others. 
 
The ruling has upset and concerned many pet parents and advocates in the region who want to ensure the safety of both officers and animals alike.
 
The Michigan Humane Society spoke to petMD regarding the decision.  "The Michigan Humane Society has a long history of collaboration with law enforcement. In addition to training law enforcement personnel in animal behavior, MHS works directly on cases involving animal cruelty and provides support to police in other activities," says Matthew Pepper, president and CEO of MHS. "While we unquestionably support law enforcement, MHS is disappointed by a recent federal court ruling allowing police to shoot a dog if it moves or barks when an officer enters a home. The Michigan Humane Society believes that law enforcement should only shoot a dog when there is a true and real threat to personal or public safety."
 
Many animal welfare supporters believe that law enforcement officials would benefit from specific training in how to peacefully handle animals in these situations. "Proper training in basic animal behavior and other animal-related topics can provide law enforcement the foundation it needs to interact with animals on the job and in a manner that is safe to the personnel involved and the animals encountered," says Pepper.
 
Image via Shutterstock 
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Can You Over-Vaccinate Your Pet? http://www.petmd.com/news/view/can-you-over-vaccinate-your-pet-35190  
We veterinarians must heavily weigh our patients’ lifestyle, previous history of vaccination, and overall health status before simply giving a vaccine because “it is due.”
 
Industry Guidelines for Pet Vaccines
 
Industry guidelines exist to inform veterinarians about how to provide the most-appropriate vaccination strategies for their patients. The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) and World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) have established a standard to give veterinarians and others who administer vaccinations (veterinary technicians, breeders, etc.) an understanding of the vaccinations that should be given at certain points in an animal’s life and at what intervals.
 
Core Vaccines for Dogs and Cats
 
Core vaccinations are those that are recommended for pets having no or an unknown vaccination history (puppies, kittens, pets entering the shelter system, etc.).
 
For dogs, core vaccines include:

canine parvovirus (CPV)
canine distemper virus (CDV)
canine adenovirus (CAV)
rabies

 
For cats, core vaccines include:

feline herpesvirus type 1 (FHV-1)
feline calicivirus (FCV)
feline panleukopenia virus (FPV)
rabies

 
The diseases to which these core vaccines create immunity to have a high likelihood of causing morbidity (illness) and mortality (death) and are widely dispersed throughout the U.S. Additionally, core vaccinations reliably create a protective level of immunity.
 
Optional Non-Core Vaccines for Dogs and Cats
 
Non-core vaccinations are those that are considered optional and should be administered pending our pets’ potential for exposure to the infectious organism based on their lifestyle and the disease’s geographic distribution. Additionally, non-core vaccinations are less reliable for producing a protective level of immunity as compared to core-vaccinations.  
 
Non-core vaccinations for dogs include:

canine parainfluenza virus (CPiV)
canine influenza virus (CIV)
Bordetella bronchiseptica (one causative agent of “kennel cough”)
Leptospira spp. (causative agent of Leptospirosis or “Lepto”)
Borrelia burgdorferi (causative agent of Lyme disease)
Crotalus Atrox Toxoid (CAT, or rattlesnake vaccine)

 
Non-core vaccinations for cats include:

feline leukemia virus (FeLV)
feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV)
virulent feline corona virus (FCV, causative agent of feline infectious periodontitis or FIP)
Chlamydia felis
Bordetella bronchiseptica (one causative agent of “kennel cough”)

 
Legally Required Vaccines for Pets
 
There are also state-mandated legal requirements for certain vaccinations, like rabies. As a zoonotic disease, rabies can transmit from animals to humans, which makes the need to vaccinate our pets a crucial public health practice to keep people free from exposure to this potentially fatal disease.
 
The Fallacy of Keeping Pets’ Vaccines ‘Up to Date’
 
Many owners bring their canine or feline companion to the veterinarian for fear of their pet getting sick if vaccinations are not kept “up to date.” Such fear can be real for some pets that have greater potential for exposure, such as dogs going to parks or daycare, cats going to boarding facilities, any animal coming into contact with other animals recently exiting the shelter system, etc.
 
Commonly, the owner consents to the pet being vaccinated because of the perception that doing so will improve the pet’s health. Meanwhile, insufficient effort is placed on resolving the actual disease that is present in the pet’s body. Often the pet receives its shots while existing ailments like periodontal disease and obesity, which negatively impact the immune system and other body systems, are overlooked or not sufficiently addressed.
 
Booster Vaccines and Titer Tests
 
Studies exist proving that the immunity for common pet vaccines can carry on for years longer than the recommended booster date. The ability of some vaccinations to provide immunity beyond the recommended booster interval is described in the 2011 AAHA Vaccination Guidelines for the General Practice Veterinarian.
 
Additionally, studies have shown that administering a vaccine booster for a disease against which a pet already has sufficient protective antibodies does not further enhance immunity. Giving more than one vaccination in one setting also potentially increases the likelihood of Vaccine Associated Adverse Events (VAAE). According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Vaccination Principles, “while there is evidence that some vaccines provide immunity beyond one year, revaccination of patients with sufficient immunity does not necessarily add to their disease protection and may increase the potential risk of post-vaccination adverse events.”
 
As a result, I recommend my clients seriously contemplate their pets’ need for booster vaccines and pursue a blood test called an antibody titer to determine their pets’ response to previous vaccinations when deemed appropriate.
 
Antibody titers do no harm to the patient beyond the mild discomfort created by drawing the blood sample. On the other hand, administering a vaccination may cause irreparable harm to any patient as the harmful potential is greater if the pet has previously experienced a VAAE, or if ailments like cancer, immune-mediated diseases (immune mediated hemolytic anemia [IMHA], immune mediated thrombocytopenia [IMTP], etc.), kidney and liver disorders, or others are present.
 
What approach do you take to your pet’s vaccination strategy? Feel free to share your perspective in the comment section.
 
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Rescued Cat with Badly-Matted Fur Gets a New Look and a New Home http://www.petmd.com/news/strange-but-true/rescued-cat-badly-matted-fur-gets-new-look-and-new-home-35167  
The 14-year-old cat—who now goes by the name Hidey—was brought in by a relative to the Animal Rescue League (ARL) in Pittsburgh, where she was covered in excess fur and grime.
 
According to the ARL Facebook page, "She suffered from severe matting—dreadlocks, really— the likes of which had been neglected for years." Caitlin Lasky of the Western PA Humane Society tells petMD. Additionally, Lasky said that "Hidey is overweight and will need to lose weight to be in better health. She also has severe dry skin." 
 
The ARL medical team shaved off nearly two pounds off Hidey's excess fur, which will help her begin to heal. When it comes to matted fur on cats, Lasky said it can cause extreme discomfort. "Mats can grow around limbs causing them to atrophy [and] moisture held within the mats can often create bacterial skin infections, [and the matted fur] can cause skin sores, lesions," she says.
 
Since her ordeal, Hidey has since been placed in a new, caring and able household, where the freshly-shorn feline is thriving. 
 
The Western PA Humane Society reports via their Facebook page, that "Hidey's new owners have told us she was originally hiding under the bed in her new home, but now is snuggled on a warm cat bed on an open floor. She also begins purring while being held." 
 
While Hidey's story could have been a tragic one, Dan Rossi, CEO of the Animal Rescue League Shelter and the Western PA Humane Society, hopes it serves as a reminder.
 
"The companionship of a pet can bring many positive benefits to the elderly, however, owning a pet is a large responsibility. If a family member, friend or neighbor owns a pet, please help them to make sure there is a support system in place if/when mental faculties begin diminishing," Rossi said in a statement. "Open door shelters such as Animal Rescue League Shelter and the Western PA Humane Society do not turn any animal away if there are no other options for the pet."
 
Donations can be made to Animal Rescue League/ Western PA Humane Society to help animals like Hidey get the second chances they deserve. 
 
Images via Animal Rescue League/ Western PA Humane Society 
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45 Cats In New York City Shelter Infected With Rare Bird Flu http://www.petmd.com/news/health-science/45-cats-new-york-city-shelter-infected-rare-bird-flu-35135  
According to a press release, "This is the first time this virus [influenza A virus, known as low pathogenic avian influenza H7N2] has been detected and transmitted among domestic cats. It is unknown how the cats contracted the virus. So far this virus causes mild illness in cats and is thought to pose a low risk to humans." 
 
It is unknown how the infected cats contracted the virus, which only has two documented cases in the United States, the last of which was from an unknown source back in 2003. 
 
The NYC Department of Health tells petMD that the infected cats, who have shown mild symptoms, are not being medicated because there are none currently approved for use with this infection. (As reported in the release, "One infected cat, who had underlying health problems and advanced age, died" and a representative for the Department of Health assures the cat was "humanely euthanized.") 
 
As the the Department of Health and the ACC looks to find a quarantine facility for the infected cats, they are also "advising persons who adopted Manhattan shelter cats during this period to call the Department at 866-692-3641 for care instructions, including keeping their cat separated from other cats or animals, if their cat is showing signs of persistent cough, lip smacking, runny nose, and fever."
 
Other signs pet parents should look out for is fever with a sore throat, fever with a cough, or red, inflamed eyes. The Department of Health has also "distribute[d] instructions to all new and recent cat adopters to monitor their cats, which includes guidance on checking animals for upper respiratory illness."
 
While no humans have yet been infected, nor have 20 dogs at the shelter who have been tested, the virus, which is being spread from cat to cat can affect people, as well as animals. "Testing of other animals, including rabbits and guinea pigs, is ongoing," according to the press release. "There have been no reported cases of this virus among cats outside of the ACC shelter system."
 
The influenza is unlikely to impact cats from other shelters, but "owners whose animals show signs of influenza should contact their veterinarian for care instructions and hand washing precautions should be taken to prevent spread of the virus on hands and clothing." 
 
Image via Shutterstock 
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Can Stem Cells Treat Canine Osteoarthritis? http://www.petmd.com/news/view/can-stem-cells-treat-canine-osteoarthritis-35133  
What is Osteoarthritis?
 
Osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease, is a condition that results in the loss of the cartilage that lines the joints. OA can be caused by general aging of the joints, abnormal wear – prevalent in active agility, or working dogs – trauma or even a genetic predisposition. Obesity is another factor that can lead to increased stress on the joints. Symptoms of OA included a decrease in activity, occasional lameness and/or a stiff gait that may worsen with exercise. A veterinarian will diagnose OA through a complete medical history, physical exam and even radiographs of the joints. Treatment of OA ranges from conservative joint supplements and weight loss to moderately aggressive treatments like lifelong use of NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), weekly physical therapy and even extreme measures (for the most severe cases) of joint removal or replacement.
 
The most common problem with these treatments is lack of owner compliance. Daily medications for our pets sometimes gets overlooked. NSAIDs can cause side effects (such as vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite) and require special bloodwork, vet visits and monitoring to prevent long term side effects like kidney and liver damage and even gastrointestinal ulcers. Weekly therapy fees, medications, and supplements can add up and eventually become cost prohibitive.
 
Why is This Study Revolutionary?
 
It is the largest, peer-reviewed study to use a blinded placebo method for the use of stem cells—which are derived from fat cells—to treat canine osteoarthritis while also measuring safety methods. Forty-seven dogs were treated with stem cells and 46 were treated with a saline (placebo). The stem cells used were harvested from the fat tissue of a single canine donor, and after treatment and manipulation, injected directly into the affected joint. Treating veterinarians and owners had no idea who was in the treated group and who was in the placebo group (randomized and blinded). Dogs had either the saline or stem cells injected into the affect joint(s) and were monitored over a 60-day period. Owners and treating veterinarians performed pre-treatment assessments of the dog’s mobility and comfort as well as evaluations during and after the 60-day study.
 
The Results
 
Based on the veterinarians and owners’ assessment, the authors of the study reported that, overall, there was a marked improvement in comfort and decrease of pain noticed by vets and owners. A marked placebo effect was noted (which is present in most, if not all, placebo studies), but not enough to negate the results.
 
After reading the entire study, I could find places for methodological improvement, but largely, this study highlights the continued medical advancements for canine health. Stem-cell therapy is by no means new to the veterinary community, it has been used for several years in the equine industry, but is now becoming more advanced and cost-effective in small animal health.
 
As more of these studies are published, I believe that veterinarians will start making stem-cell therapy a normal suggestion as a part of their treatment plans for OA. Technological advancements will begin to make treatment accessible nationwide, and the upfront cost of treatment will be less than the lifetime use of prescription medications. This single, or even yearly (yet to be determined), treatment may drastically improve the health and wellbeing of our canine and feline companions. Stem-cell therapy could decrease the amount of potentially harmful side-effects from traditional OA medications, and lead to additional advancements in human medicine.
 
For more information, or to see if stem-cell treatment is appropriate for your pet, please consult with your pet’s veterinarian.
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Pregnant, Abandoned Dog Rescued in Snowstorm Gives Birth to Healthy Puppies http://www.petmd.com/news/dog/pregnant-abandoned-dog-rescued-snowstorm-gives-birth-healthy-puppies-35132  
On December 11, Pound Buddies Animal Shelter & Adoption Center in Muskegon, Michigan, received word that in the early hours of the morning, a concerned citizen called 911 about a dog they saw wandering out in the bitter cold and snow. 
 
According to the Pound Buddies Facebook page, "Staff member, Robert Pringle, (just as he was nodding off for a good night sleep....) responded to the call without hesitation. Little did Robert know, his call to action was the determining factor between life and death for what he was about to discover." 
 
With the help of Muskegon Heights police officer Chris Stoddard, who responded to the 911 call, the men discovered that the dog, who was huddled in a ball in the snow was actually covering and comforting her newborn puppies. In the midst of terrible winter weather, outside and alone, this amazing dog gave birth to four healthy pups. 
 
Pringle and Stoddard quickly and safely got the brave dog and her babies into a warm car and brought her to Pound Buddies. The Facebook post continues, "Robert arrived at Pound Buddies just before 1:00am and set up a warm, soft, safe kennel for mama and babies, complete with a much needed meal for mama. The whole time, mama seemed to know exactly what was going on and she allowed Robert to guide her and her babies to safety." 
 
Since that fateful evening, mama and her puppies have been at Pound Buddies, where shelter director Lana Carson tells petMD, they are "warm and comfortable." 
 
"Mama is very attentive to her babies," Carson says of the canine family, who will eventually be up for adoption through the organization. 
 
Carson knows that given the extreme weather, the puppies, and most likely their mother, would not have survived if they weren't rescued. Any dog outside in freezing temperatures and snow can experience dangerous threats such as hypothermia and frostbite.
 
She says that it's important for people to act quickly if they see an animal out in the cold. "If someone sees an abandoned animal at any time they should do exactly what happened in this situation: call 911."
 
Image via Pound Buddies Facebook 
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Blue Ridge Beef Issues Recall for Raw, Frozen Pet Food Products http://www.petmd.com/news/alerts-recalls/blue-ridge-beef-issues-recall-raw-frozen-pet-food-products-35130  
The recalled products can be identified by the following manufacturing codes:
 
Beef for Dogs
Lot #mfd ga8516
UPC Code: 8542980011009
 
Kitten Grind
Lot #mfd ga81216
UPC code 854298001016
 
The affected products were sold in 2-lb chubs and were distributed to retail stores in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Arizona, and Texas.
 
The recall was initiated after the FDA received one complaint of two kitten illnesses and one complaint of a puppy death. Testing by the FDA of a 2-lb chub of beef for dogs and kitten grind collected at a veterinary office revealed the presence of Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes. However, there is no direct evidence linking these illnesses and the dog’s death to the contaminated products.
 
Common symptoms associated with Salmonella poisoning in pets include fever, lethargy, lack of appetite, diarrhea, bloody diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, or abdominal pain.
 
Humans who have handled the contaminated pet products are also at risk of contracting Salmonella and Listeria, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands.
 
Healthy people infected with Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes should monitor themselves for the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping, and fever.
 
Consumers who have purchased the above lots of beef for dogs or kitten grind are urged to stop feeding them and dispose of them immediately or return the products to the place of purchase for a full refund. Those with questions can email the company at blueridgebeefga@yahoo.com.
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Cat Cruelly Thrown From Balcony Miraculously Lives http://www.petmd.com/news/cat/cat-cruelly-thrown-balcony-miraculously-lives-35128  
According to NJ.com, Lassiter threw the cat from the balcony because it was "bothering her." The report also mentions that "laughter can be heard" in the video as the suspect throws the cat. 
 
The clip, which outraged many citizens, allowed police to track down and arrest Lassiter. Miraculously, the cat survived and only sustained minor injuries to her paws. The awful video caught the attention of animal welfare volunteer Yasmin Rivera, who tracked down the injured feline and turned the cat over to the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NJSPCA). 
 
Matt Stanton of the NJSPCA tells petMD that the cat is currently in care with a veterinarian in "good condition" and "will remain under our care pending the outcome of the court case."
 
The disturbing video has since been removed from YouTube.
 
Image via Shutterstock 
 
 
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Intermountain Farmers Association Recalls 50-Pound Bags of Rabbit Feed Due to Formulation Error http://www.petmd.com/news/alerts-recalls/intermountain-farmers-association-recalls-50-lb-bags-rabbit-feed-due-formulation-35126  
The initial investigation discovered higher than acceptable levels of vitamin D in the feed pellets, which was then traced to an error in the formulation. Rabbits that have consumed the affected feed may show signs of hypercalcemia, which includes symptoms such as increased thirst and urination, decreased appetite, weakness, and in severe cases, death.
 
The recalled rabbit feed pellets were distributed through IFA country stores and independent dealers in Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico, Nevada, and Utah.
 
The product comes in a 50-pound poly paper package marked with a lot number containing #1220 and a date between 03/15/16 and 09/15/16 on the side of the blue label. The listed dates delineate the first use of the pellet formula and the last date the formula is known to have been used before the error was discovered.
 
According to the FDA, IFA has quarantined all of their unsold rabbit feed pellets from the manufacturing period listed above. Rabbit pellets manufactured by IFA after 09/15/2016 have been confirmed to contain appropriate vitamin D levels and are safe to feed to rabbits. The company will continue to work with the FDA to ensure that the problem has been fully resolved.
 
Consumers who have purchased 50-pound bags of #1220 Rabbit Pellets with the above manufacturing dates are urged to return them to the place of purchase for a full refund.
 
Consumers with questions may contact Dr. Jamie Allen, PhD Quality Assurance/Compliance Manager directly at 801-619-1367, Monday through Friday, from 8 am to 5 pm, except holidays.
 
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