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Spot Flea Treatments

March 22, 2010

Instead of  the  Mutt Watch this week, I will be focusing on the EPA news about  spot flea treatments.

From the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

” Due to a significant increase in adverse incidents, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is taking a series of actions to increase the safety of spot-on pesticide products for flea and tick control for cats and dogs. Immediately, EPA will begin reviewing labels to determine which ones need stronger and clearer labeling statements. Next, EPA will develop more stringent testing and evaluation requirements for both existing and new products. EPA expects these steps will help prevent adverse reactions. In dogs and cats that can include skin effects, such as irritation, redness, or gastrointestinal problems that include vomiting or diarrhea, or effects to the nervous system, such as trembling, appearing depressed or seizures—from pet spot-on products (more)”

The Center for Public Integrity has in-depth information on the problem in several articles. “Last June Diane Bromenschenkel applied a flea-and-tick product to her English pointer, Wings, so the dog wouldn’t get ticks while hunting pheasant in the tall grasslands of western Idaho. Wings, a healthy five-year-old with a sleek white coat and a chocolate brown mask, enjoyed long walks in the woods, bacon treats, and burying things in the yard. But three months after the pesticide (Bio Spot Spot On Flea and Tick Control for Dogs – containing 45 percent solution of the active ingredient permethrin) was applied, the animal was dead (more)”

“. . . .At least 1,600 pet deaths related to spot on treatments with pyrethroids were reported to the EPA over the last five years, according to an analysis of EPA pesticide incident exposure data by the Center for Public Integrity. That is about double the number of reported fatalities tied to similar treatments without pyrethroids, such as Frontline and Advantage — although these products also have critics. . . .

. . .The concentrations of pyrethroids in over-the-counter spot on pet treatments range from a 40 percent to an 85 percent solution, eight to 17 times stronger than the strongest pyrethroid product currently approved for use on humans . . .

. . .But for some pet advocates, the misapplication explanation misses the point. The Humane Society of the United States has heard this reasoning before, but still recommends pet owners avoid over-the-counter spot on products and only use treatments recommended by veterinarians, according to Stephanie Shain, the organization’s director of outreach. “With the number of complaints we get it seems like an extraordinarily high rate of problems,” she said. “Even if it is owner error much of the time, something is not working the way it should be. I think at the very least there need to be much stronger warnings on those products cautioning pet owners about the dangers involved with using them.” . . .

Other articles by the Center
Cautionary Tales Bad Reactions and Frantic Trips to the Vet
Pet Owners Find Little Comfort in Court Tough Cases, Modest Payments
Flea Poisons: The Danger to Humans EPA Believes Risks Are Acceptable; Others Aren’t so Sure

Dr’s Foster and Smith provided a web page with a “brief description of the various categories of active ingredients found in today’s flea and tick preventives.” They also have a Flea & Tick Products for Dogs Comparison Chart which provides a more detailed overview of products containing these ingredients.

Pyrethroids (permethrin, phenothrin, etofenprox, fenvalorate) – “Pyrethroids are synthetic relatives of natural pyrethrins. They are made in a laboratory and have a longer-lasting effect than pyrethrins. Examples of pyrethroids include permethrin (found in Bio Spot SPOT ON® for Dogs and K9 Advantix) and etofenprox (found in Bio Spot SPOT ON® for Cats). Pyrethroids are often used in the environment to kill and repel ticks, fleas, lice, and mosquitoes. Many pyrethroids cannot be used on cats, so be sure to check the label for safety. Etofenprox (Bio Spot SPOT ON® Cats) is a pyrethroid that is labeled safe to use on cats.

Fipronil – “Fipronil (found in Frontline and Frontline Plus) is the most commonly used ingredient in a relatively new group of synthetic insecticides called arylheterocycles. These compounds block the passage of chlorine through cells in the insect’s nervous system, causing paralysis. In Frontline and Frontline Plus, fipronil is mixed with an oil carrier, and collects in the sebaceous (oil) glands of the skin, then is slowly released. Because of this, it is water-resistant. Fipronil gives excellent protection against ticks, and adult fleas, but does not prevent flea eggs and larvae from developing. For protection against all stages of the flea life cycle, we recommend Frontline Plus, which contains fipronil plus the Insect Growth Regulator methoprene, described below.”

Others from their website: Insect Growth Regulators (methoprene, pyriproxyfen (Nylar™), fenoxycarb), Insect Development Inhibitors (lufenuron, diflubenzuron), Imidacloprid, Amitraz, Selamectin, Nitenpyram

SAFETY TIPS  for pet owners from the EPA:

Consult your veterinarian about the best way to to protect your pets from fleas and ticks and whether pesticides are even needed.

Use extra care before use on weak, aged, medicated, sick, pregnant, or nursing pets, or on pets that have previously shown signs of sensitivity to pesticide products.

If you use a spot-on product or any other pesticide on your pet, carefully read and follow the product label.

Use flea and tick control products only on the animal specified by the product label – for example, dog products for dogs only and cat products for cats only.
Follow any label prohibitions against use on weak, aged, medicated, sick, pregnant, or nursing pets, or on pets that have previously shown sensitivity to pesticide products. Apply only the amount indicated for the size of the animal being treated.

Do not apply to kittens or puppies unless the product label specifically allows this treatment. Pay attention to the age restrictions for puppies and kittens on the label.

Monitor your pet for side effects or signs of sensitivity after applying the product, particularly when using the product on your pet for the first time. Do not apply spot-ons to pets known to be sensitive to pesticide products.

If your pet experiences an adverse reaction, immediately bathe the pet with mild soap and rinse with large amounts of water.

Keep the package with the product container (such as individual applicator tubes). Also keep the package after treatment in case adverse effects occur. You will want to have the instructions at hand, as well as contact information for the manufacturer.


Mutt Tunes – Dog Dreams

March 19, 2010

Dog Dreams as performed by The Story from the album Grace in Gravity 1992

Dog Dreams – The Story


Me and Rex took the car,
Ha, ha, stay home . . . stay.
We’re gonna run over
All the neighborhood cats,
‘Cause they tease us from
The other side of the fence.
We’re gonna go in the swamp
And you can’t hose us off.
Dog dreams, dog dreams,
Please don’t wake us up!

No bad dog, no stay,
No basement, no way,
No choke chain, no dry food,
No fetch game, no, no, no . . .

no sit, lie down, roll over, shame…shame on you.

Me and Rex took the car
ha, ha, stay home. Stay.
We’re gonna go through everyone’s garbage
And have the dinners we deserve.
We’re gonna find some great smelling bitches
and see if they meant what they said from the end of the leash.
Dog dreams, dog dreams, please don’t hose us off.


And…not my tickle spot.

Mutt Watch – Week of 3-14-10

March 15, 2010


USA Today / The Indianapolis Star

Dogs’ lives may offer answers

By Dan McFeely
Purdue University researcher David Waters hopes a bunch of old dogs will be able to teach scientists news tricks about aging and cancer. Waters has embarked on a 23-day trek across the country to meet face-to-snout with 15 of the oldest-living Rottweilers in the United States. Waters, head of the Gerald P. Murphy Cancer Foundation at the Purdue Research Park, West Lafayette, Ind., has been leading a research team that studies aging and cancer in pet dogs. Over the past three years, the team has compiled a database of scientific data on 140 Rottweilers through breeders and fan clubs. Only 15 are still alive, prompting Waters to put together his “Old Grey Muzzle tour.”  “These dogs have lived 30% longer than average,” Waters said. “They have dodged cancer and we believe studying them can shed light on what it takes to live well (more)

St. Louis Today

FDA looks into complaints about dog treats made in Mo.

The Food and Drug Administration is reviewing concerns that a Missouri-produced pet treat has caused serious illness or death in dogs, a spokesman said Thursday.  The FDA is looking into complaints about Real Ham Bone for Dogs, sold throughout the U.S., an agency spokesman said. If warranted, he said, it will take appropriate action and notify the public. The product — a smoked pig femur sold as a dog treat or chew bone — is distributed under the Dynamic Pet Products label of Frick’s Quality Meats in Washington, Mo (more)

The Guardian

Hachiko: A Dog’s Tale

Philip French

Richard Gere is a musicologist in Lasse Hallström’s saccharine shaggy-dog story . . .There’s a statue in Edinburgh to Greyfriars Bobby, the Skye terrier who sat by his master’s grave for 14 years in the 1860s. His tale has been filmed, as has that of his Japanese equivalent, an Akita dog called Hachiko, whose years of waiting for his late master at Shibuya station in the 1930s is also commemorated by a bronze statue. For no very good reason Hachiko’s story has been re-created in an idyllic Rhode Island community, where a Japanese puppy turns up one day by accident and is adopted by commuting musicologist Richard Gere and his wife (more).


PC World

FujiFilm’s Latest Camera Aims at Dogs, Cats

Martyn Williams – ‎Mar 12, 2010‎

If you own a dog or a cat then there’s a good chance you’ve spent hours with a camera trying — and probably failing — to get a perfect picture of them. Now, technology is coming to the rescue.  FujiFilm’s Finepix Z700 features a face-detection function that can recognize canine and feline faces, and it can snap a picture automatically when they look towards the camera lens. . .

Mutt Tunes – Bugler

March 12, 2010

This song is performed by The Byrds and appears on the album Farther Along (1971) and on the box set The Byrds (1990).

Bugler – The Byrds

The video features a cover of the song by John Howie Jr. & The Rosewood Bluff

Back when cattle creek used to sing
It’s waters were sweet and it’s banks were green
And sunny days, went on forever
Me and old bugler, we’d run wild
Bluetick hound and the redneck child
We thought we were, birds of a feather

Ah the fish would bite, my how they’d bite
We’d catch them possoms in the pail moonlight
For ma, just to please her
Bugler’s voice like gabriel’s horn
Up in the cypress, all down through the corn
Golden sounds, yes to treasure

Bugler, bugler, bless your hide
Jesus gonna take you for a chariot ride
Say goodbye, say goodbye

One day ma she brought the news
She said, honey young bugler’s done paid his dues
He’s been hit down, yes on that highway
Dry your eyes and stand up straight
Bugler’s got a place at the pearly gates
Say goodbye sugar, oh say goodbye

Repeat chorus

Every Friday, Mutt Tunes showcases songs with or about dogs. Email your suggestions

I Like My Water On Tap

March 10, 2010

Taste Great – Less Filling

Mutt Watch – Week of 3/8/10

March 8, 2010

What to Read, Watch or Read


The Dallas Morning News

The darker side of dog parks: abandoned pooches
By LORI STAHL March 7, 2010

“. . . But a new breed has emerged. You can sometimes see them when the park closes at night. Their owners have removed the dog collars and walked away. Jim Christian, 76, a regular at the park with his three large dogs, estimates as many as 50 dogs have been abandoned at the park during the past 18 months. Once he tried to confront a man who was leaving his pet. When that didn’t get a response, he flagged down police officers patrolling the lake on bikes. “The policeman looked at me like I was crazy and said, ‘We don’t have any laws against dumping dogs,’ ” Christian said.  . .  (more)

When we lived in Seminole Heights, occasionally dogs would be dumped in the Giddens Park dog run.  I don’t know if this has occurred in the Lutz Dog Park.

Daily Telegraph

Crufts on alert for dogs in make-up
By Alastair Jamieson

“Organisers of Crufts have warned dog owners not to break competition rules amid concerns some are resorting to using make-up and beauty treatments such as coat dye and hair removal creams on their animals. . . .One British company, HUB International, based near Reading, now offers nose paint, black and white dyes to change the colour of the dog’s coat, as well as hairspray and make-up. . . (more)”

San Fransisco Chronicle
Tails of the City blog

By Amelia Glynn
The Pawscars: best animal performances
“Before we get too caught up in Sunday’s much-anticipated Hollywood hoopla, I thought an animal-centric spin on the Oscars was in order. This year, several of the nominated films received the American Humane Association’s “No Animals Were Harmed” disclaimer, including Avatar, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Certified animal safety representatives monitor the use of animals on more than 1,000 productions each year to ensure these four-legged actors stat healthy and free from harm. . .Trainers speculate that Uno, the Neapolitan mastiff rookie animal actor had been abused by a previous owner because she would cower around loud noises and crouch to the floor when someone approached her too suddenly. But, while working on the set of “Harry Potter,” surrounded by a patient training crew and affectionate cast, she gained confidence and trust and adored the attention everyone gave her. Trainers believe Uno is destined for stardom. . . (more)”

Clarksville Leaf Chronicle

Dogs on chains draw complaints in Clarksville
By Mark Hicks

“. . .On Monday, county commissioners are expected to vote on a resolution that would change regulations for restraining dogs, effectively making it illegal to chain a dog to a fixed point for more than an hour. The proposed change does not mean outside dogs can’t be chained, but rather it means the restraint method will need to be different to allow more movement. . . There are variety of reasons to not restrain dogs 24/7. Among them are statistics showing that chained dogs are five times more likely to bite children and are three times more likely to bite adults. Because dogs are territorial animals and possess a fight-or-flight instinct, when they are chained and confronted, they are unable to flee so they respond aggressively.  Chained dogs experience “social isolation,” which can result in excessive barking and howling. Additionally, restraining dogs with a chain or tether, or even confining them in a close space, is considered inhumane by many people. . . . (more)

This is interesting.  Perhaps we could get this law passed here.


The Whole Dog Journal

We just received our latest Whole Dog Journal with great articles as usual.   Of all the dog publications out there, this should be your first choice.

Unwanted Dog Food Guarding Behavior
Canine resource guarding may be a natural, normal dog behavior, but it’s alarming when your own dog growls – or worse, snaps – at you over his resource. Resist your first impulse to snap back at your dog. Whatever you did that caused your dog to growl, stop doing it. Immediately. If you were walking toward him, stand still. If you were reaching toward him, stop reaching. If you were trying to take the toy or bone away from him, stop trying. Your next action depends on your lightning-fast analysis of the situation. If your dog is about to bite you, retreat. Quickly. If you’re confident he won’t escalate, stay still. If you aren’t sure, retreat.

Less Stressful Veterinary Visits
“A training friend suggested that I read Low Stress Handling, Restraint, and Behavior Modification of Dogs and Cats, by applied animal behaviorist Sophia Yin, DVM, MS. As an owner whose dogs have taken their fair share of visits to vet clinics, I really liked what I read. Dr. Yin’s text takes a critical look at how our pets are often handled in veterinary clinics – and it’s not pretty, as you may have seen yourself. Fortunately, she also offers common sense advice on approaching veterinary care so as to make it as stress-free as possible for our pets. Popular myths abound that force is needed to get animals to behave. Instead, Dr. Yin focuses on how to modify behavior quickly in a veterinary setting using a systematic and positive approach. Her methods involve classical conditioning to change the pet’s emotional state; setting up the veterinary environment to ensure the pet’s comfort; teaching us how to handle animals with appropriate, rather than stronger, restraint; and how to behave around animals so as to avoid creating problems.”

This works.  We had an an episode with Hobbit where he lost it and tried to bite our vet.  We did a session with our trainer Jacque Munera of Courteous Canine and she taught me the positive training I needed to use. After some  work Hobbit goes to the vet now without any issues.

Letting Your Dog Sleep on Your Bed With You
Contrary to the strongly held opinion of some training and behavior professionals, I’m generally pretty comfortable with allowing canine family members on their humans’ beds. In our family, two of our five dogs sleep with my husband and me. Scooter, a Pomeranian, routinely sleeps with us; Dubhy, our Scottish Terrier, graces us with the privilege of his presence on our bed only from time to time. Trainers who adamantly oppose dogs on the bed mostly fall into the old-fashioned training camp, and often, they also buy into all the dominance stuff that’s been pretty much discredited by behavioral scientists. Chances are good I would differ with them on many dog training and philosophical issues, not just this one. The dog who wants to sleep on your bed isn’t trying to take over the world. He just wants to be close to his humans -and comfortable!

I nap on the couch with the dogs.  I like it and they love it.  However we like our sleeping space so our bed is for us.

Canine Hospice Care Options
When we first adopt that pudgy puppy, or spring that delinquent adolescent canine out of a shelter, our new dog’s senior years and final days are far from our thoughts. But if we’re lucky enough to enjoy a long life together, eventually, we’ll spend a number of months or years caring for him as a senior dog – and sometimes, a challenging and emotionally difficult time seeing him through to a peaceful death. Fortunately, there are many resources available to help us support our beloved canine companions – even those who have been diagnosed with chronic or terminal illness – in maintaining the best possible quality of life before they die. Hospice care, or “pawspice,” the term coined by Alice Villalobos, DVM, former President of the American Association of Human Animal Bond Veterinarians (AAHABV) and founding member of the Veterinary Cancer Society, is supportive assistance in evaluating and managing our pets’ quality of life as they near the end of their days, a time period that can span from days to months.

Credible Canine Health Information on the Internet

When you or a loved one develops a medical issue, chances are you’ll be inclined to do some Internet research. While I say, “More power to you!” other medical professionals might roll their eyes at the thought of “wasting” valuable time discussing potentially whackadoodle notions gleaned from cyberspace. Whether veterinarians like it or not, the Internet is here to stay. What can you do to make your online research more productive and your discussions about it with your vet more palatable? Here’s how to find instructive, accurate, credible Internet information while avoiding “online junk food” -and how to comfortably discuss what you’ve learned online with your veterinarian in a way that promotes collaborative discussion. By the way, although I’m a veterinarian teaching people how to better care for their dogs, this information is also applicable to your own healthcare! So, let’s begin. How can you determine whether or not a website is dishing out information that is worthy of your time?

Canine News You Can Use: March 2010
Arkansas canines and their humans have very good reason to celebrate the start of the new decade. That state’s new rule allowing for a three-year rabies vaccine became effective January 1, 2010. This means dogs in Arkansas will need to be vaccinated only every three years (after their initial first-year booster) instead of annually, as was previously required. The majority of states in the U.S. now allow for the three-year vaccination schedule. Despite a slightly premature announcement from the Rabies Challenge Fund ( last August that all 50 states had accepted a three-year protocol, a few still do not. Rhode Island’s Rabies Control Board approved a change in April of 2009 accepting the three-year vaccination, but as of yet no effective date has been set. Until that happens, Rhode Island dog owners are still required to vaccinate their canine companions every two years. West Virginia also requires vaccination bi-annually. There may be a few others. Still, every state that approves a three-year schedule is one step closer to that 50-state goal.

Mutt Tunes – Old King

March 5, 2010

This week we feature “Old King” by Neil Young from the album Harvest Moon

The song was written about his dog Elvis who went with him on tour (more).

Play song from



King went a-runnin’ after deer
Wasn’t scared of jumpin’
off the truck in high gear
King went a-sniffin’
and he would go
Was the best old hound dog
I ever did know.

I had a dog and his name was King
I told the dog about everything
There in my truck the dog and I
Then one day the King up and died.

Then I thought about
the times we had
Once when I kicked him
when he was bad
Old King sure meant a lot to me
But that hound dog is history.

King went a-runnin’ after deer
Wasn’t scared of jumpin’
off the truck in high gear
King went a-sniffin’
and he would go
Was the best old hound dog
I ever did know.

That old King was a friend of mine
Never knew a dog
that was half as fine
I may find one, you never do know
‘Cause I still got a long way to go.

I had a dog and his name was King
I told the dog about everything
Old King sure meant a lot to me
But that hound dog is history.

King went a-howlin’ after deer
Wasn’t scared of jumpin’
off the truck in high gear
King went a-sniffin’
and he would go
Was the best old hound dog
I ever did know.

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