Archive | Pets

Pet Allergies Exacerbate Other Allergies

KINGSTON, Ontario, Oct. 8 (UPI) — Those with allergies to pets may develop ragweed symptoms earlier in the season than those who don’t have pet allergies, Canadian researchers say.

Study leader Anne Ellis of Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, and colleagues exposed 123 study participants to ragweed and note that pet allergy sufferers reported symptoms differently than their non-animal allergic counterparts.

The study, published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, also finds dust mite allergy patients developed symptoms more quickly after ragweed exposure.

Ellis suggests patients with animal allergies limit their exposure to their pets. Pets should not be allowed access to the bedroom of the allergic individual, especially children suffering from asthma. This step could help prevent the development of irreversible lung damage caused by ongoing inflammation, Ellis says.

“The study results helped us develop a theory of ‘pre-priming’,” Ellis says in a statement. “If you have ongoing symptoms from perennial allergies, as soon as you add another allergen into the mix your symptoms develop much faster, and you may have a harder time dealing with it than others.”

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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Veterinarians: Prepare Pet Disaster Plan

SCHAUMBURG, Ill., Sept. 18 (UPI) — The American Veterinary Medical Association produced a video to remind people to make plans for their pets and animals in case of a disaster, officials say.

Dr. Ron DeHaven, chief executive of the American Veterinary Medical Association, says the entire video can be viewed at www.avmatv.org or www.avmamedia.org. The video is open for free use on any Web site, DeHaven says.

“In 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and taught us many important lessons, one of which was that many people are completely unprepared to evacuate with their pets in a disaster,” DeHaven said in a statement.

“As a result, many animals died during Hurricane Katrina, and many more were displaced.”

DeHaven explains in the video how evacuating or protecting animals in a hurricane or any disaster such as a house fire, tornado or forest fire can be difficult.

For example, if a natural disaster strikes and animal owners flee with their pets, they may find that many hotels and shelters will refuse animals over a certain size — or in general, DeHaven says. However, some shelters do provide for pets and it is important to have identity them and prepare for their requirements in advance.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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AAA Discounts Also Healthcare-related

ORLANDO, Fla., July 20 (UPI) — Some of the 52 million U.S. AAA members may not know the AAA’s Show Your Card & Save program includes discounts for healthcare costs, officials say.

The newest AAA Show Your Card & Save partner is Newport Audiology Centers, which will provide AAA members with a 40 percent discount on hearing aids, complimentary hearing exam, 2-year supply of hearing aid batteries, a 2-year warranty, free follow-up visits and an AAA price match guarantee.

AAA members should call 1-800-AAA-HEAR, or 1-800-222-4327 to be directed to the nearest location for a complimentary hearing evaluation, AAA officials say.

Health-related AAA discounts include a 24 percent discount on prescriptions at more than 59,000 participating pharmacies nationwide — including CVS/Pharmacy, Walgreens, Target Pharmacy, Walmart Pharmacy and Rite Aid — for those who do not have prescription coverage, take lifestyle drugs not covered by insurance or need prescriptions for family pets. Members can obtain a free Prescription Savings Card at 1-866-AAA-SAVE, or 1-866-222-7283.

In addition, AAA members can receive discounts on eyeglasses at participating LensCrafters, Sears Optical, Pearle Vision and Target Optical. There is a 30 percent discount on eye exams and a 10 percent discount on contacts, AAA officials say.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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Allergist: How to Rid a Home of Mold

AUSTIN, Texas, July 12 (UPI) — Lots of rain and lots of summer humidity can increase exposure to allergenic mold spores — an important trigger of allergies, a U.S. allergist says.

Dr. Henry Legere of Greater Austin Allergy in Austin, Texas, says mold can be found inside and outside the home, but mold can be brought inside the home on skin or pets, clothing, shoes or indoor potted plants and once inside it needs only a food source, warm environment and moisture to grow.

Large infestations of mold can usually be seen — black stains or specks of black, white, orange, green and brown on surfaces — or smelled. However, mold can be invisible.

“Mold spores contain allergens, substances that some immune systems recognize as dangerous,” Legere says in a statement. “Exposure to mold can trigger allergic reactions such as nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing, coughing and hay fever-like symptoms.”

Mold can be found in basements, crawl spaces, near windows, under sinks, near leaky pipes, heavy vegetation, in piles of leaves and in grass.

To rid a home of mold, Legere suggests:

– Repair leaking roof and pipes.

– Maintain a low level of humidity — between 35 percent to 40 percent. If necessary, use a de-humidifier.

– Use a solution of warm water, liquid detergent and 5 percent bleach to clean mold on washable surfaces.

– Use exhaust fans in the bathroom and wipe down the shower.

– Remove items such as carpeting or wallpaper if mold is visible.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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Chef: Outdoor Cooking Needs Safety

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind., June 25 (UPI) — As the outdoor cooking season gets in full swing, backyard cooks need to keep safety in mind, a professional cooking instructor says.

Cooking on a grill or in a deep fryer presents hazards to the unwary, Ivan Petkov, a clinical professional instructor in hotel tourism and management at Purdue University, said in a release Friday.

If flames in the grill get too hot or high, Petkov says, don’t use water — cover it and cut oxygen to the fire.

Make sure to drain meats completely before grilling, he says, since fats in marinades can drip onto the fire and cause large flames.

“There also are a lot of safety issues when it comes to deep frying,” Petkov said.

Don’t overfill a deep fryer, don’t use it on a wooden deck or near the house, keep children and pets away and don’t leave the fryer unattended, he says.

Food safety is another important part of outdoor cooking and eating, Petkov said.

Cooked meat left out for two hours in the “danger zone” — between 39 degrees to 141 degrees Fahrenheit — should be microwaved for a minute and a half or grilled for two minutes to kill all germs. As soon as it reaches a temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit, it should be safe to eat, Petkov said.

Petkov’s final tip: “Take good care of your cook — that’s the rule!”

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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Pro-Pet Dog Vitamin Tablets Recalled

WASHINGTON, June 23 (UPI) — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced the recall of Pro-Pet-brand adult daily vitamin supplement tablets for dogs because of possible contamination.

The FDA said the United Pet Group of Cincinnati initiated the voluntary recall of all unexpired lots of the tablets due to possible salmonella contamination.

The recalled product was sold nationally in 100-count white plastic bottles with a light blue label. Laboratory testing indicated only one lot was contaminated with salmonella bacteria, but the company said it was recalling all unexpired lots of the product “out of an abundance of caution.”

Pets with salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever and vomiting, the FDA said. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals and humans.

Consumers can contact the company for additional information at 800-645-5154, Extension 3.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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Some 'Natural Balance' Dog Food Recalled

WASHINGTON, June 21 (UPI) — Natural Balance Pet Foods Inc. announced the recall of its Natural Balance Sweet Potato & Chicken Dry Dog Food because of possible bacterial contamination.

The company said a U.S. Food and Drug Administration test detected salmonella bacteria in a random sample. Salmonella can affect animals, and people handling dry pet food can become infected with salmonella, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with surfaces exposed to the product.

Pets infected with the bacteria can become lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Infected, but otherwise healthy, pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans.

The Pacoima, Calif, company said the recalled dog food was distributed by pet specialty stores in Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Officials said only Natural Balance Sweet Potato & Chicken Dry Dog Food sold in 5- and 28-pound sizes with a “Best By” date of June 17, 2011, is involved in the recall.

Consumers can return the recalled product for a refund or contact the company for additional information at 800-829-4493.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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New Test to Detect Melamine in Milk

MIAMI, April 9 (UPI) — A 15-minute test using gold nanoparticles is a quick way to detect melamine, which was found in pet food and dairy products, U.S. researchers say.

Na Li, an assistant professor at the University of Miami, says melamine is an industrial substance used in plastics and fertilizers, which is high in nitrogen, and when added to foods can make products appear higher in protein in testing.

In 2007 and 2008, melamine tainted dairy products sickened thousands of people, especially children, and caused a recall of Chinese dairy products worldwide. It was also found in pet food that sickened pets and was fatal in some, Li says.

The researchers separated the casein-based milk component, which can interfere with melamine detection and added gold nanoparticles to the solution. The interaction between the gold nanoparticles and melamine causes the solution to change color from red to blue in seconds, Li says.

“Current methods of melamine detection in milk are costly and time consuming,” Li says in a statement. “Our work represents a significant step towards the rapid detection of melamine, which addresses a critical global issue.”

The findings are published in the journal Applied Physics Letters.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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PETA Makes 'Octomom' Ad Offer

LA HABRA, Calif., March 24 (UPI) — A prominent U.S. animal rights group says it wants to help California “Octomom” Nadya Suleman with finances by placing an ad on her front lawn.

A spokeswoman for Virginia-based People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said the organization sent a letter to Suleman’s lawyer offering to pay for an ad to be placed in front of her La Habra home as a means of helping her avoid foreclosure on the house, the Orange County (Calif.) Register reported Wednesday.

“When you gave birth to octuplets to bring your total number of children to 14, you grabbed headlines and got

the world talking about your controversial decision,” the letter reads. “Now will you help turn some of that attention to another important matter — the dog and cat overpopulation crisis? Unlike humans, dogs and cats cannot decide for themselves how many offspring they will have.”

“Taking us up on our offer is a win-win situation: It would help you and your children to keep your home and also reduce the number of homeless dogs and cats,” PETA wrote.

Suleman’s lawyer, Jeff Czech, said he has been in contact with PETA’s legal department and is awaiting an offer.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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Bill to Ban Imported Large Snakes Advances

WASHINGTON, Dec. 11 (UPI) — A bill approved Thursday by a U.S. Senate committee would ban the importing of large constrictors like the Burmese pythons that have invaded South Florida.

The measure was sponsored by Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla. In addition to Burmese pythons, it lists reticulated pythons, two types of African pythons, boa constrictors and three species of anaconda, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported.

Burmese pythons, which can grow to more than 20 feet long and weigh 200 pounds, are known to be breeding in the Everglades, with a population estimated at 100,000. The snakes are believed to be descended from pets released when they became too large for their owners to handle.

“As steward of our country’s vast public lands and natural resources, we have to deal with the threats posed by invasive species,” Nelson said in a statement after the committee vote.

The Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council has been lobbying against the bill, arguing the problem can be dealt with by regulation and education. The Humane Society and environmental groups support a ban.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

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