New Lyme test available from Cornell

June 27, 2011

The earlier you diagnose Lyme disease, the better the chances of tackling it. Unfortunately, catching it early is easier said than done. Previously, tests either haven’t been sufficiently sensitive or accurate. Last week, Cornell University announced a breakthrough. Researchers at the College of Veterinary Medicine’s Animal Health Diagnostic Center (AHDC) have developed a breakthrough multiplex procedure. Bettina Wagner is the Harry M. Zweig Associate Professor in Equine Health, and is also the test’s lead developer. She tells us the new test can

detect three different antibodies produced in response to the bacteria associated with Lyme disease using a single test on the sample, [and thereby] eliminates the need for separate tests. In addition, it requires smaller samples and answers more questions about the disease. Multiplex technology has been used for the last decade, but the AHDC is the first veterinary diagnostic laboratory to use it to test for Lyme disease.[...]

The bacteria that cause Lyme disease are particularly difficult to detect, according to Wagner, because after infection they tend to hide where they can’t be found. They bury in the joints of dogs, causing arthritis or lameness. Serious kidney disease has also been associated with Lyme infections in dogs. In humans and horses, they also burrow into the nervous system, in the spine or the brain, causing pain, paralysis or behavioral changes. By the time such clinical signs appear, the bacteria are usually not in circulation anymore.

Thanks, CathyA

Bionic doggie: Almost precisely one year ago, I told you about a cat who had prosthetic (bionic, I said at the time) paws installed for him in England. Today, it’s time for the canine version. In this ABC News story, Dr. Becker comments on the new veterinary trend:

Veterinarian Marty Becker said prosthetics are becoming increasingly common on disabled pets.

One prosthetic can cost anywhere form $1,000 to $3,000.

“It’s really heartwarming,” said Becker. “Dogs just soldier on. They could be in incredible pain but still greet you with their tail wagging.

Between you and me, I personally wish he had quoted Oscar Goldman’s famous line from my favorite 1970′s tv program. “Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology.”

Dogs iz smarter than you: It really doesn’t matter if you can’t distinguish between identical twins. Chances are good your dog can. ScienceNow has the details. (tip of the cap to Marge Wright)

Joplin Adopt-a-thon: In Joplin, Missouri this past weekend, nearly four hundred cats and dogs were placed by the Joplin Humane Society Animal Adoption Resource Center’s Adopt-A-Thon.

Though the event was set to begin at 10 a.m., people began arriving as early as 5 a.m. and long lines quickly formed.

Tim Rickey, senior director with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said they expected a good turnout, but the estimated 2,000 people interested in adoption “far exceeded expectations.”

Melissa Wallis and her daughter, Kaylee, traveled from Vinita, Okla., to adopt a small dog because “Daddy finally said ‘yes,’” she said.

“We heard about all the pets in need of a good home, and they’ve been through enough,” she said.

Thanks to the Joplin Globe for the details.

Labradoodle regret: Wally Conran is an elderly Australian gentleman who thinks he may have made a big mistake. What did he do? Mr. Conran is the man responsible for what we know today as the labradoodle. What does he regret? Read this piece from the NY Daily News and find out.

Heartworm medication update: In the wake of the Merial contretemps, there’s a growing question as to whether the problem Dr. Kari Blaho-Owens identified with respect to Heartgard Plus is or is not symptomatic of a broader issue. The Companion Animal Parasite Council released a statement saying it will be continuing to monitor research results, though it stops short of saying that medication currently on the market needs improvement.

Attacking FIP: Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) is both incurable and fatal. Our own Ingrid King’s blog Conscious Cat reports on the Winn Feline Foundation‘s 33rd annual Feline Symposium, held last week in Reston, Virginia.

UCDavis Vet Med surveys: The University of California Davis School of Veterinary Medicine is running a survey, and they would very much like to hear from Pet Connection readers. Want to help? Details below:

  • Behavioral Interactions Between Children and Cats
    • A project to understand more about the interactions between cats and children from 3 to 12 years of age. If you have at least one cat of 1 year of age or older, and a child between the ages of 3 and 12, currently residing in the home with the cat, we would greatly appreciate your taking about 10-15 minutes to complete this anonymous survey. The results will help us to counsel people about cats and children.
  • Dog Behavior: The Rest of the Story
    • Most dog caregivers have heard about how to train a dog to sit, stay and come, and many have heard about preventing aggressive behavior, separation anxiety and house soiling. But there are several unanswered questions, such as why dogs eat strange things, why they howl at fire engines and if they “catch” human yawns. At the Companion Animal Behavior Program in the Veterinary School at the University of California at Davis, we are conducting a voluntary web-based survey of the primary caregivers of dogs to gather information about the rest of the story. If you are the primary caregiver of an adult dog, your cooperation in taking about 10 minutes to fill out this confidential survey will be appreciated by thousands of dog caregivers.
  • Cat Behavior: The Rest of the Story
    • Most cat caregivers are bombarded with talk about toys for entertainment, new types of appealing litter, ideas for upholstered climbing trees, and other products of commercial value, and which may give some insights into cat behavior. But there are several unanswered and unexplored questions, such as why and when cats purr, why they yawn and why some cats eat plants. At the Companion Animal Behavior Program in the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California at Davis, we are conducting a voluntary web-based survey of the primary caregivers of cats to gather information about the rest of the story. If you are the primary caregiver of an adult cat, your cooperation in taking about 10 minutes to fill out this confidential survey will be appreciated by thousands of cat caregivers when we disseminate the information gained from this survey.

The 2011 Banfield Report: Our own Dr. Nancy Kay’s blog Speaking for Spot has a summary of the 2011 survey from Banfield Pet Hospital, reporting on key trends in veterinary health today. The data comes from more than two million dogs and 450,000 cats seen during 2010. Dr. Kay notes highlights, covering dental disease, flea infestation, diabetes, heartworm and others. Please take the time to read the entire report here.

I always like to hear from readers, especially if you have tips, and links for interesting stories.  Give me a shout in the comments, or better yet, send me an e-mail.

Image credit: Tick, treeandlawncare.com.

12 Comments »

  1. We purchased a leg for our sanctuary dog Vinnie. http://a5.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash2/36446_137887142894291_125472710802401_402064_1719084_n.jpg Regrettably, this was before we realized that the home amputation was done with a hacksaw. He has one more surgery at least before he can use it all the time. He needs to have the bone smoothed and fat added. Now we just need to get him actually walking on it and not using it to bean his house mates over the head.

    Comment by Cindy Steinle — June 27, 2011 @ 6:36 am

  2. As I am always interested in supporting competent surveys to collect information about people and pets, I embarked on the UC-Davis survey. Alas, I had to abandon the effort; it asked only about dogs that were “adopted” by their owners (I assume that means dogs sold by shelters or given away by someone who did not want or was unable to keep it). All my dogs were either bred by me or purchased from their breeders. Too bad the views/experiences of dog breeders and owners who bought dogs from breeders or retailers are not valued by the developers of this survey.

    Comment by elaine — June 27, 2011 @ 3:25 pm

  3. “Who bought dogs from retailers”????

    You mean like the “puppies as products” sold by Petland???

    Or am I missing something here?

    Comment by The OTHER Pat — June 27, 2011 @ 3:57 pm

  4. Tried to go back to the survey as I could have sworn there was a section for purchasing a dog from a breeder (there was for the cat section, which I did first), but it won’t let me.

    Elaine, you’re on your own for “buying dogs from retailers” — that’s just not something many (most? ;-D) of the commentors on this blog.

    Personally, I’m way hopeful that this was intentional on the part of UC-Davis researchers as it would appear to me that puppymill dogs have waaaaaaaaaaaay more difficult habits than yawning when their people yawn! ;-)

    Comment by Dorene — June 27, 2011 @ 4:17 pm

  5. elaine, I think you’re mis-remembering what’s on the survey.

    There’s one question that asks, “At what age did you adopt this dog?’ with seven choices ranging from “Less than 2 months” to “Over 6 years of age.” The eighth choice is “I cannot recall…”

    If I had bred my bitch and kept a puppy, I would have answered, ‘Less than 2 months.” I interpreted the question as, “How old was the puppy/dog when you began taking care of it?’

    I found the next question an important one: “What do you know about your dog’s mothering?”

    “Orphaned from mother and litter mates before 2 weeks of age
    Away from mother and litter mates after 2 weeks but before 7 weeks
    With mother for greater than seven weeks
    I do not know”

    elaine, if you want to complete the survey, delete your cookies and empty your cache. When you click on the survey link in David’s post it will let you in again.

    The problem I had with the survey was the link at the end to a dog spay/neuter survey. It wouldn’t let me go to it, just took me back to Survey Monkey’s homepage.

    Comment by Marge — June 27, 2011 @ 5:16 pm

  6. @ Dorene: “Elaine, you’re on your own for “buying dogs from retailers” — that’s just not something many (most? ;-D) of the commentors on this blog.

    “Personally, I’m way hopeful that this was intentional on the part of UC-Davis researchers as it would appear to me that puppymill dogs have waaaaaaaaaaaay more difficult habits than yawning when their people yawn! ;-)”
    ———–
    I was acknowledging reality, not stating my personal preference, in mentioning that people do buy puppies at retail. I haven’t, and wouldn’t, but some people do. Why is there less value to finding out about their experience. It might support your theories – or implode some myths.

    FWIW, Turid Rugas, in her book “Calming Signals,” explains that a dog’s yawn is most often a request from the dog that the person it’s engaging with should calm down. I don’t know why that would be considered a “difficult habit.” I have intentionally yawned at dogs to communicate that things are really OK, no need to be worried or nervous. They get it.

    Comment by elaine — June 27, 2011 @ 5:52 pm

  7. @Elaine: By “adopt,” we didn’t mean to exclude dogs purchased from breeders, retail stores, bred by you, etc.

    @Marge: Thanks for pointing this out. I’ve corrected the URL, which sould be: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/IntactVsNeuteringDogs.

    Comment by Alisha — June 29, 2011 @ 1:40 am

  8. Then perhaps “How and where did you obtain your dog?” would be more inclusive than “adopt”.

    Comment by The OTHER Pat — June 29, 2011 @ 6:20 am

  9. Alisha, why not change your language to the neutral and more-inclusive “acquire?”

    For example, I *acquired* one of my dogs as a foster at the age of ten months. I *adopted* him many months later. The behaviorally relevant moment is the day he came to live here, not the day I filled out the paperwork and sent the check. Two others were born here; I owned them, but did not decide to become each one’s permanent owner for weeks or months.

    Comment by H. Houlahan — June 29, 2011 @ 6:23 am

  10. (I assume that means dogs sold by shelters

    Interesting terminology. Interesting in that every time I’ve encountered it and the conversation has continued long enough, it’s come out at some point that the person using it is a miller or BYB.

    Comment by Lis — June 29, 2011 @ 7:35 am

  11. Lis, I see it in the branch of the show world that has swallowed the Rick Berman kool-aid and believes that the only way to protect our dogs and our breeds is to get in bed with the factory farmers, including millers. An alliance between the dog fancy and the rescue/shelter world would undermine the “divide and conquer” strategy he employs, so it’s important to drive these wedges hard.

    Comment by Christie Keith — June 29, 2011 @ 8:02 am

  12. Sadly, that doesn’t surprise me.

    Comment by Lis — June 29, 2011 @ 8:10 am

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