January 30, 2010

Dogs and cars... travel safely

I was reading about unrestrained dogs in cars today - and how they are a safety issue.

Your pet dog could literally become a dangerous missile in a car crash if it’s left unrestrained.
Police and the SPCA are urging people to restrain animals in cars while driving to prevent harm to both passengers and pets.
Serious crash unit sergeant Paul Latham says unrestrained animals become "projectiles" in crashes, whether they’re in the front seat or back.
"If your pet’s on your lap you are more likely to do more damage to the animal as it will hit the windscreen," he says.
"If it’s unrestrained in the back it becomes a real hazard to the driver. "If the pet’s an alsatian or a labrador, that’s a lot of weight coming from the back and if you’re travelling at 50kmh that weight’s going to be heading towards you at that speed."
One of the things I like about my wagon is the fact I can tie Saff and Jess into the boot area when we are driving. It never used to worry me having a dog loose in the car, until the day I was cruising along in my mini, top speed 80k, large black lab sitting behind me and the backpack from my passenger next to her... all good until the backpack fell over. Next thing I have paws flung around my neck and I am trying to drive with her climbing over my head. Not a good plan and I am pleased it didn't result in an accident.

As vets, we often hear tales of accidents caused by cats trapped under brake pedals, and small dogs thrown through windscreens...  and recently, the tailgating at the lights which triggered the airbags and made a sorry mess of the Bichon Frise sitting on it's owners lap! The driver survived!

One of my students told me that they carefully clipped their dog to their ute in the legal manner, but this time, they had a second dog along. All went well until the dogs got tangled and the carabina became unclipped, resulting in their own dog flying off the ute into oncoming traffic where she was killed. So often we see dogs being hung off the sides of trucks, or dragged along, degloving their limbs and facing long and expensive treatment or euthanasia. We see plenty who lose a limb, and many who don't survive.

So, there are a number of ways you can restrain your dogs while driving, and they are not all about cages and grilles for station wagons or trailers or dog boxes hanging above the back bumper! Your dog can travel in style and comfort :)


“In an interesting turn of events, cars are now chasing dogs,” said John Mendel, executive vice president of American Honda. “Factory integration of a cushioned pet bed, restraint systems and other components is intended to transform the Element into the ultimate dog car.” You can read more at:
Honda - dog friendly cars

The Dog Friendly™ components will likely include:
* a cushioned pet bed in the cargo area with an elevated platform;
* second row and cargo area pet restraint systems;
* an extendable cargo area load-in ramp;
* a 12V DC rear ventilation fan;
* second-row seat covers with a dog pattern design (matches the bed fabric);
* all-season rubber floor mats with a toy bone pattern;
* a spill-resistant water bowl; and
* Dog Friendly exterior emblems.

The future of dog travel looks bright :)

Rescued dog joins ship crew

Always good to read about happy endings. The only thing missing from this is that the dog is unlikely to be reunited with his family because he did not have a microchip in... sad to think there are people looking for him. Hoping he is happy and cared for anyway.
New Zealand has been reeling about the latest horror of the man who shot his neighbours' 33 dogs... disturbing news reports of the massacre do not help us all cope with it.
We badly need tougher laws for these situations. Prolonged frenzied killing of animals does not say a lot for the man's personality! The dilemma is always working out the two sides to the story - and I am not sure why the man had 33 dogs, and whether we would all be outraged if they had attacked a visitor. The main issue is that if it was required, the dogs should have been rehomed or killed humanely, not slaughtered in fear.

January 25, 2010

Robo-cat! Missy back on the prowl after becoming world's first feline with metal knee

Veterinary medicine may lag behind human medicine, but the range of surgeries available for animals is slowly increasing... whether spinal surgery, hip replacements, kidney transplants or heart valve replacements, it can be done. So I was really pleased to see that a total knee replacement has been pioneered in a cat. Impressive that they were able to create the joint in miniature.
I was lucky enough to be in practice when the cardiac surgeons were using dogs to practice heart valve surgeries, so many of our clients were able to get operations performed on their pets using heart lung machines... in fact, humans have a lot to thank dogs for as they pioneered the development of this. You can read more about it at :
It also says-
" Because dogs have a high incidence of kidney disease, they are a natural choice for this research. The first successful kidney transplant was performed in dogs in the late 1950's. Dogs currently aid research to prevent the rejection of transplanted organs.

Dogs have also made contributions to the study of aging. Like humans, aging dogs have skin that sags, eyes that lose vision and hair that turns gray.

Advances regarding aging have thus benefited dogs, making it possible for them to have long lives, many living well past the age of 15 years.

Artificial hips and joints for the handicapped, injured and aged were designed and tested in dogs. The most common treatment for human cataracts, the intraocular lens, was developed in dogs."

Is this why we call them "man's best friend? "

Posted via web from Fiona's posterous

January 24, 2010

Puppy rescued from train track

Just to make you feel good... meet "Track".. one lucky puppy !
You can read the article to see more lovely photos via the link above
or click here:
He was frozen to the track!!! And Facebook found him a home :)

It is still too cold here to be classed as summer, but it is not raining, yet - I think that is in store for us tonight. No long warm days for us - and I am officially back to work tomorrow :( I spent the last two weeks of my leave working anyway - so will try to ease back in slowly!

On a brighter note, we had a lovely day celebrating my father's birthday yesterday and next week, James and Jess return home - this week they are enjoying a return to the warmth in Brisbane, after a few cold weeks in Vancouver, Colorado and New York! They may as well enjoy it as New Zealand is not getting it!

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January 22, 2010

Spanish Riding School Vienna - Airs Above the Ground

Today I visited my friend who returned from 5 weeks in UK and Europe yesterday - what a winter to visit!
One of the highlights of her tour was visiting the Spanish Riding School in Vienna where they landed up sitting in the Royal Box.
"The Spanish Riding School in Vienna is the only institution in the world which has practiced for over 430 years and continues to cultivate classical equitation in the Renaissance tradition of the haute ├ęcole.
The objective of classical equitation is to study the way the horse naturally moves and to cultivate the highest levels of haute ├ęcole elegance the horse is capable of through systematic training. The result creates an unparalleled harmony between rider and horse, as only Vienna's Spanish Riding School achieves. "
I was entranced by the booklet about them - we have both always been fascinated by training of these Lippizaner stallions, attending one show together that visited here some years ago, in fact we still have the poster in our office, but this was the high point for her.
She sent me this link to an official video in which you can see the dressage, the long reins, and of course, the wonderful leaps and jumps from the famous "Airs Above the Ground".
Read more here:
See videos of the leaps: http://www.lipizzaner.com/airs.asp
or Wikipaedia: http://www.srs.at/index.php?id=265
If you are in America, they are touring there in 2010..
If you want a bit of fiction that includes these horses, try reading Mary Stewarts book - http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/s/mary-stewart/airs-above-ground.htm

January 18, 2010

Surrogate mums...


Great to read this about one of my recent students... and it takes me back to when I used my own Labrador, Jenny, as a surrogate mum... although Jenny never produced any milk the way Jezebelle is! With the need for two hour feeding, I would have found that very useful, but after rearing a litter last year with out the aid of a dog, the thing I missed most was the tongue! Jenny was a diligent mum who cleaned them thoroughly for me.. and as you have to do this to get them to pass urine and faeces, the nappy duty became a breeze. I also rarely had to bath them which saved a lot of time.

When "her babies" were 10 days old, I did a spey on a late pregnancy and a lovely ginger male kitten was the only offspring.As the owners did not want it, I decided that three kittens would be no bigger problem than the two we had, and after a quick feed and clean up, popped it into the basket with the others, leaving them in a warm sunny spot in the office. Later, after morning surgery had finished, I went back to check it... no kitten. We searched every inch of that room, finding nothing but a small blood speck to tell us it had ever lived. With growing horror, we realised that Jenny had removed it from "her litter" and disposed of it, She was innocently curled up with her usual babies. With some sadness and trepidation, I removed the kittens and fed them - taking a few days to realise i could still trust her with them - I should have known better than to assume she would love an intruder!!! Lesson learned. I can say she loved her own kittens passionately and they grew up together, all of them eventually dying of old age.

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January 16, 2010

Feral Cats

Yesterday we drove out to Cheviot and Gore Bay to visit friends. Along with good company, in idyllic surroundings, with superb wine, home made rich and wonderful Christmas cake and fresh coffee, we met a kitten called Puski...who was the only kitten left from a wild cat. The rest had to be destroyed as they were unmanageable... but Puski is now a delightful tabby kitten, much cared for and loved.
I saw this picture today and it reminds me of her. The blog it is from is a great one for cat lovers - do check it out... :)

I was also impressed with the wonderful Cathedral Cliffs and the wild beauty of the Gore Bay surf beach!
You can see what I mean here:

Colder here today - might have to wear a jumper! Still, at least the temperatures are in the high teens, and there is no snow, which is more than can be said for the top hemisphere of the world right now!
Take care :)

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January 14, 2010

"Animals In Casts"

Careful use of a "cast" or splints or just special strong bandages can help many animals when they have injuries like damaged tendons or fractured bones. Sometimes they are just put on to keep a limb still when there are postoperative wounds and dressings.

Casts are not without problems as they can get wet, slip off, rub the skin, and the pet requires a lot of rest, ideally in a cage. Not always easy for theri owners!
Also, they may need to be on for many weeks to ensure bone healing where there is a fracture.

This site shows you a wide range of animals that have casts on.... just click to see them all. At least we now have a wide range of colours to choose from....

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January 11, 2010

Now that's what I call Whale Watching!

I was treated to a whale fluke appearance when I went whale watching and I was impressed, despite being surrounded by 14 vomiting students.... but imagine seeing this out there!

Posted via web from Fiona's posterous

January 9, 2010

Fat Cats

I just hope your cat doesn't look like this... one of mine has an eating disorder and could easily get this big!

If you do have an overweight cat at home, please talk to you vet and atrrange a prescription diet to elt it lsoe the weight slowly. There are health risks associated with this problem, particularly diabetes, let alown the fact they can't wash themselves.

However, if overweight cats are suddenly deprived of food, they can get severe liver damage, which can befatal. It is something vets have to take into account when obese cats become ill or injured, and is a big risk for the cat if they get trapped somewhere! Here is a good article about it:
or here: http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=1+1327&aid=217

I ran a boarding cattery for many years. The sight of these monster cats arriving was always a challenge...the stress of a changed environment often triggers a period of refusing food, and we had to really watch them.
If your cat is ever off its food, for any reason, try these tips to encourage eating:
Warm the food slightly,
Make sure it is strong smelling,
Stroke the cat above the tail and offer small pieces by hand.
Try something different - or just add something like beef stock, sardine oil etc.
It can be anything - the eating is the most important part to keep their nutrient levels up.
Always keep their fluid intake up too. A syringe is ideal but an eye dropper can also help.

Most importantly, talk to your vet - they will need to work ot why it has stopped eating and if the cat is this size shown, it is far more urgent. A well placed feeding tube or assisted feeding method can save their life. There are some great special prescription foods available that offer all they need in a palatable, concentrated form.
Read more here: http://cats.about.com/cs/healthissues/a/fatty_liver_2.htm

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South China Tiger Cub

All the chat on my comments about cougars recently made me notice this other big cat photo. I wondered why this cub was in an incubator - it looks large and healthy! But there is no story....
So i read a bit more from Dr Google and found they are very rare now, bred mainly in captivity.

This cub is the first successful case of the group of multiple births due to artificial breeding in this center in four years...

Now, on my next post.. I have another cat for you... one we need to avoid!

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England under snow

Pictures of the day: 8 January 2010 - Telegraph

I really can't believe that the UK is getting so much snow... and seeing this picture certainly makes it clear! Many people have pointed out that countries that get snow regularly have the equipment to deal with it... ploughs and gritters and chains and snowmobiles. I know here in Christchurch, we don't, and the city grinds to a halt. Even when we got heavy snow down in Queenstown, the following ice that formed brought the town to a standstill for a week. Later, after the crisis, which inconvenienced many tourists, they found three grit trucks hidden in some disused piece of land - they forgot they owned them.

Meanwhile, my friends are currently making their way around Paris.... and they report it is Brass Monkey weather. I just hope they can see and experience it all ... and as I once did Paris over New Year, I know it will still be fascinating.

Meanwhile, I am enjoying the sun in the garden... with rain forecast tonight. Hopefully snow is a few months away still.

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January 7, 2010

Dogs found marooned on ridge

Two pet labradors are lucky to be alive after being found exhausted and malnourished following 11 days stranded on a steep river ridge.

The Eastment family woke on Christmas Day to discover their dog Shannon and her daughter Mya missing and the gate open. A search of the area failed to turn up any clues.

This scenario is always my biggest fear when my dogs take off - as they did last year at Spencer Park Beach. ELeven days must have felt an eternity for this couple, the dogs too!

Just clcik on the link http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/3212504/Dogs-found-marooned-on-ridge to readabout Shannon and Mya...
and remember what happened my two here: http://fourpawsandwhiskers.blogspot.com/2009/06/lost-dogs.html

Now - back to my book - still holidays - still hot - still lovin' it...

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January 6, 2010

Horseshoe Lake....wildlife reserve.

There are some compensations to living where we do.... even if our house needs a lot of work as it is the original farmhouse for the area! Driving home to see this and knowing it is at the end of the driveway makes up for many problems... we took the dogs for a walk along the lakefront and fed the ducks last week. No shortage of interesting birds as it is a local wildlife reserve.

Love the picture of Phoebe striding out. She will be 15 months next week!

January 5, 2010

Holidays.... loving it!

Been quiet on the blogging as been busy with the holidays... but the visitors have, sadly, all gone, so been forced to enjoy alternative activities, particularly today, falling asleep on my new swing chair :) We are left with great memories and a quiet home but it has been a wonderful Xmas and New Year. Not much more to add, but can leave you with a few photos.

Phoebe was her usual happy self....

her sisters keeping her well entertained...

The girls bonding with my daughter... with the dogs waiting for breakfast.

and Bailey, discovering a special new place she can sleep in....

It was great.... and in four weeks, James and Jess return, a year to the day they left. Looking forward to seeing them and hearing all the news.

So, sorry to hear so many people are having a very cold winter... but excuse us while we enjoy a lovely hot summer! Our roles will be reversed far too soon.


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