Latest Tick News

Tick count shows increase of 13 percent over previous record
It's a record-breaking year for deer ticks in Rhode Island, according to preliminary results from the University of Rhode Island's Tick Encounter Resource Center. This is the 20th year the center has been sweeping the woods at 60 sites around Rhode Island.
Read more on The Providence Journal

Senator Schumer supports bill to fight tick-borne illnesses
The bill, called the Lyme and Tick-Borne Disease Prevention, Education, and Research Act expands research to help medical professionals improve diagnosis and treatment of these conditions. National Monitor, Rina Shah | August 12, 2013 

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Eye And Heart Disease in Dogs

Eye disease is very common with Golden Retrievers. Most Golden’s will generally have hereditary cataracts, which is a common eye problem. At an early age, with affected Golden’s, one type of hereditary cataract will appear. Even though it may not cause interference with the vision of the Golden Retriever, some dogs will progress into total and quite possibly severe loss of vision.

Sometimes, Golden Retrievers can get affected by non hereditary cataracts, although an examination by a board certified veterinarian can determine just how bad the cataracts really are. If cataracts are indeed suspected with a Golden Retriever, then breeding won’t be recommended. Breeding a Golden who has this condition can lead to serious problems, such as passing it on to the pups.

Several families of the Golden Retriever breed have been known to carry genes for CPRA (Central Progressive Retinal Atrophy), which affects the retina, and can result in permanent blindness for Golden’s at a young age. There are other types of eye defects as well, such as retinal dysplasia, which prevents a Golden from breeding.

Trouble with both the eyelid and eyelashes are also a possibility with Golden Retrievers, with some being the result of hereditary factors. The eyelids rotating in or out, or the eyelashes rubbing on or in the eye are both common problems with the breed. Even though surgery can help to fix these types of problems, dogs that are experiencing this type of problem shouldn’t be allowed to breed nor compete in shows under any type of AKC rules.

You should always have your Golden Retriever checked annually for eye disease, as it can develop during any age. When you take your Golden to have him examined for eye disease, you should have a veterinary ophthalmologist do the exam. He has all of the necessary equipment, and the proper training needed to make sure that your dog gets the best examination possible.

Heart disease

SAS (Subvalvular Aortic Stenosis) is the most common and widespread form of heart disease within the entire Golden Retriever species. Before you breed your Golden Retriever, you should always have him examined for heart disease by a certified veterinary cardiologist. If the cardiologist detects a heart murmur, he will recommend additional tests for your dog.

In the event that the results prove negative, it doesn’t necessarily rule heart disease out, as some milder forms may still be present, although undetectable. If a Golden Retriever is diagnosed to have any type of heart disease, he should not breed. Breeding Golden Retrievers who have heart disease can lead to serious and sometimes fatal results. To be on the safe side, you should always have your Golden tested for his disease before you plan on breeding.
Welcome to The Top Dog Blog!

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There is a deadly algae that blooms in ponds and lakes in late summer (right now!) that can actually kill a dog who drinks that water!

This blue green algae can be anywhere and is a serious threat to livestock and to pets. I certainly paid attention when the Vermont Veterinary Medical Association issued a warning in my state about the dangers of cyanobacteria (the proper name for this algae “blue green algae) how it produces a poison that is deadly and has no antidote.

I asked Dr Donna Spector what she could tell folks about this on our radio show THE EXPERT VET and she said blue green algae is found across the country. It blooms on the surface of many types of water and looks cloudy, like foam or scum or forms mats on the water’s surface.

Dr. Donna explained that the poisons produced by cyanobacteria are some of the most powerful natural poisons that are known; while most blue green algae do not produce the toxin, it’s impossible to know which water is deadly. Because there is no known antidote, you cannot take the least chance of having your dog drink this water or lick herself if it gets on her. The signs of poisoning occur within fifteen minutes and survival is rare once a dog shows signs of neurological symptoms like weakness, stumbling, difficulty breathing or seizures.

Prevention is your only defense- which means if you are walking your dog with or without a leash, you absolutely need to have the “Leave it” command well ingrained. My book “The Dog Bible” and any dog trainer will tell you the vital importance of the “Leave it!” command, which gives you the ability to reliably call your dog away from anything she is approaching that you don’t want her near.

And what is the fundamental way that you can teach the “leave it” command and depend upon it? You have to be able to offer your dog something better – more tempting – more appealing – than the thing she is headed for. And that’s where the freeze-dried deliciousness of Halo Liv-a-Littles comes into the picture as your “life savers!” Whenever you leave your house, I recommend putting a little bag of Liv-A-Littles in your pocket, and at the beginning of your outing, ask your dog to “Sit” and give her a Liv-a-Little.

You are “priming the pump” – reminding her that you have something delicious-beyond-compare in your pocket and when you call her – or tell her to wait – or to sit – and most of all to “leave it” – she is going to do that with the happy expectation that she will get a pure protein, super tasty treat as her reward. Halo Liv-a-Littles are the true doggy Life Saver because there’s not really anything more delicious!

Tracie Hotchner is the author of THE DOG BIBLE: Everything Your Dog Wants You to Know and THE CAT BIBLE: Everything Your Cat Expects You to Know. She is also a renowned pet radio host and producer, having spent 7 years on the Martha Stewart Channel of Sirius/XM with CAT CHAT® and even longer with her award-winning NPR radio show DOG TALK® (and Kitties, Too!) that continues to broadcast in the Hamptons and the Berkshires. Her most recent accomplishment is the pet talk radio network she has created on the Internet called The Radio Pet Lady Network.


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Snoring Dog Sends Baby Into Giggling Fit [VIDEO]

Watch as this darling baby goes into absolulte hysterics when a napping French Bulldog begins snoring! Amazingly, the babies' shrill giggles fails to wake the slumbering pup.

Snoring french bulldog happy baby


The Daily Treat: Animal Planet

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What product currently on the market is considered best for a topical pain relief?

Question by Susan W: What product currently on the market is considered best for a topical pain relief?
My mother has back and hip pains that keeps her in tears. She is on pain killers but sometimes she feels like if she rubs icy-hot, bengay or aspercream it takes the edge off and allows her to at least sleep. I was wondering if there are any topical creams out there that work better. I realize that these creams won’t make the pain totally go away, but she needs help .

Best answer:

Answer by Tom
theragesic works quite well for me

Add your own answer in the comments!

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I never understand why people feel like dogs shoul…

I never understand why people feel like dogs should have to put up with more than they would put up with themselves. When my kids start to play inappropriately with my animals (whether it's my "pit bull" type dog that I got from a shelter when she was 8 years old or the cats) I stop my child and ask him if he'd like to be treated that way. I say "would you like someone to get in your face/pick you up/play with your ears/whatever while you're sleeping/eating/whatevering? No? Well, then they probably don't appreciate it either". My dog is about as tolerant as a dog can be (definitely more tolerant than me) but there's no reason why she needs to put up with whatever they feel like doing (they're not malicious, just typical boys). On another note, the thing I ask my kids to do when they have disagreements is to "use their words"…well, dogs can't do that so they have their ways of letting us know when they've had enough. It's not their fault that much of the human population is too ignorant or unwilling to learn their language. I don't know the details of the accident leading to this little boy's tragic death, but it really sounds like it could have been avoided with a little bit more human knowledge, attention and intervention…which is probably true with most dog bite situations…especially the ones involving children.

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Equipment Specifically For Dog Training

Equipment Specifically For Dog Training

dog trainingTo train your dog you need some good equipment to do it! It’s easy enough to find places that sell dog training equipment these days. You can find stores in your local phonebook or on the internet. The internet has everything these days and is usually a lot less expensive. So I suggest having a look there first. Dog training equipment comes in all shapes, sizes and colors so there is something to suit everyone.


Dog training equipment can be used anywhere, at home, at a friend’s house or even in a field in the middle of nowhere. The equipment is usually lightweight and portable and very easy to pack so you should have no problems carting it around. Not only can you get dog training equipment for dog agility but you can also purchase items for dog obedience.


Dog obedience items are simple things like clickers, treat balls (which are amazing), extendable leashes and other similar items. They are a lot easier to get than agility items. When you decided you want to compete with your dog you usually pick one or the other, dog agility or dog obedience. For dog obedience you only concentrate on dog obedience, for dog agility you need your dog to be obedient so there is a little bit more training involved.


Dog training equipment can be funky or old fashioned, bright or dull it’s up to you. Many stores cater for individual needs so you can specify what you would like your equipment to be like. Dog training equipment is sometimes needed for obedience when you have a stubborn dog, and for dog agility training equipment is essential.


Dog training equipment needn’t only be for competition purposes. You can get equipment for fun training to. When you want to teach your dog to come, sit and stay and some other commands toys are always a great help. You and your dog need to enjoy special moments together to make a bond with each other, why not make a bond and train at the same time? The better the bond the more fun it will be!

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Fear Me: Fear Free Practice and You

My resting blood pressure, I assure you, is completely normal. I have to state this fact again and again every time I wind up at the doctor’s office, when the nurse places the cuff and then pulls it off with a thoughtful wrinkle in her forehead. “It’s not normally 200/140!” I plead, hoping she doesn’t direct me to the closest ER. “I just get this way when I’m in the doctor’s office.” She nods, and we get on with our day. I have no idea why it happens, but apparently it’s A Thing. I blame it on the scale. I hate going to the doctor and avoid it as often as possible.

Sound familiar?


It happens at the vet, too. “The cat’s temperature is 103.8,” the tech will say, shrugging. “I think. She was trying to bite me most of the time, so I didn’t get a heart rate.” White coat syndrome in pets can be so significant that some behavior experts counsel the veterinarian to leave the coat in the back room, so as to trick the pet into thinking you aren’t the dreaded vet. We accept this as a reality of practice, our years of blood sweat and tears in service of our love of animals being reduced to this: told, on a daily basis, “Ha ha! My dog hates you.”

“Fear is the most damaging thing a social species can experience.”

I was talking to Dr. Marty Becker the other day (I know, right? I am so excited to actually say that I am a person who talked to Marty Becker the other day) and he was sharing a conversation he had with Dr. Karen Overall about the effect of stress hormones on physical health. It’s not some theoretical thing; fear causes permanent change to the brain. It is damaging in a profound and terrible way.

I think of my mother, who had such horrible experiences at the dentist as a child that she refused to go back for years until the advent of sedation dentistry. I think of my own memories of childbirth and hospitals and how simply seeing the maternity ward from the side of the freeway gets my heart pumping. Fear is an awful feeling. And what we do to pets in the hospital can only be described in many cases as a terror inducing, fear of death experience. Slapping a cat on a cold exam table, sticking needles in their neck like a predator sinking their teeth into prey, staring at them through the bars of the cage. It can take them days or weeks to recover from the stress of a hospitalization, and as soon as they get put in the carrier for a follow up, it starts all over again. No wonder cat visits to the vet are so infrequent. And we are supposed to be their health champions.

As vets, we often blame clients for not caring enough about their pets. “Don’t you know,” we ask sagely, “how important these visits are?” And we shake our heads at the pet owners, blaming them for not having their priorities straight, for not wanting to spend the money on visits. We have done this for years, without ever looking at ourselves and wondering what part of the blame we shoulder ourselves for making the vet hospital pretty much the worst environment possible for pets. “Shelters are so stressful and sad,” we say, ignoring the PTSD we are inducing in the cat with a urinary catheter in the back who has nowhere to escape the prying eyes of the Husky across the room.

When I really started to think about it, I was mortified.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Some people get it. I worked with a technician who loved cats, like, in a self professed ‘cat lady’ sort of way. She was always sneaking into exam rooms to place a microwaved towel under a cat, or sprinkling catnip in their cage, making little hidey boxes out of recycled cardboard. It was tolerated. It should have been celebrated.

A lot of people in the profession, like that technician, are intuitively doing what they can to make things easier on pets. After hearing Dr. Margie Scherk lecture on this topic years ago,  I started keeping a yoga mat in the back for cats to sit on, on the table. Dr. Becker is taking it one step further: he wants vets to re-envision practice from the ground up, to change them from a vet-friendly hospital to a pet-friendly one. He calls it “Fear Free Practice,” and I love it.

When I was in school, veterinary behavior as a specialty was just getting off the ground. It was scoffed at. It’s not ‘real medicine’ was the prevailing attitude. They were wrong. It is, in my opinion, our biggest oversight as a profession. We blame backyard breeders and lack of affordable spay/neuter for pet overpopulation while neglecting to address behavior issues that eventually result in a pet being relinquished. We make the clinic so unpleasant people would rather let their pet suffer in pain at home than come see us and miss the chance for interventions that can save a life.  The consequences: less visits, more health issues, more behavior issues we never got the chance to address.

The veterinary community needs to do a better job, from start to finish, of addressing and incorporating behavior into practice.

Fear Free Practice: Real Life Implications

Anyone who has spoken to me in the past year or two knows I am passionate about encouraging our profession to take a more active role in maintaining a pet’s healthy role in the family. To me, preserving that relationship is just as important as maintaining a good weight. It is vital. As is, I think, this concept of fear-free practice.

While Dr. Becker and other like minded vets work on our colleagues, I encourage you to advocate for your pet’s mental well being at the clinic. Bring a mat or towel. Spray them with Feliway. Ask the vet to give your dog some of his favorite treats before jumping into the exam, or if they can take the heart rate while the cat stays in your lap. Making a visit less stressful doesn’t have to involve rebuilding the clinic from the ground up; it can start with these little steps. It’s a philosophy more than a set of prescriptives.

Has fear kept you and your pet from the vet? Had a vet that went out of their way to make you comfortable by embracing a fear free approach?

Pawcurious: With Pet Lifestyle Expert and Veterinarian Dr. V.

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Cool Mange Mites images

A few nice mange mites images I found:

Léon mange les mites
mange mites

Image by andrefromont/fernandomort
moth-eaten Léon

Demodex Mange Mite
mange mites

Image by Animal Kingdom Pet Hospital

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I SO wish that I lived closer that I could thank a…

I SO wish that I lived closer that I could thank all these volunteers, meet some wonderful dogs and get involved!

I hope it's a terrific event and well attended – good luck.

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