Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Mange and Motor Oil

What is mange? Mange is a chronic skin disease caused by parasitic mites and characterized by skin lesions, itching, and loss of hair.

What kind of mites cause mange in dogs? Demodex canis, Demodex gatoi, Demodex injai and Sarcoptes scabei. All dogs have Demodex mites on their skin but a normal, healthy immune system provides resistance to infection or disease. Dogs with genetically and/or environmentally compromised immune systems offer less resistance to active mite populations which can create ideal conditions for infection and disease to thrive.

Is mange contagious?
Mange caused by Demodex mites IS NOT contagious to other dogs or humans. Mange caused by Sarcoptes mites IS contagious to other dogs and humans, though the mites don't survive long on human skin.

How do I know if my dog has mange?
Loss of hair, itchiness, skin lesions and secondary infection are all symptoms of mange. A skin scraping by a licensed veterinarian is the best way to determine if a dog has mange. Note, however, that mites may or may not always show up in skin scrapings so several scrapings several weeks apart may be necessary.

What's the best treatment for mange?
Treatment for mange should be overseen by a licensed veterinarian. The veterinarian may prescribe antibiotics to fight off secondary infection caused by excessive scratching. To boost the dog's immune system, the dog should be fed a premium diet with human-grade ingredients. Stress to the dog should be minimized.

Antiparasitics commonly used to treat Sarcoptic mange include Ivermectin and Selamectin (Revolution®).* Ivermectin may be injected or given orally. Selamectin is applied topically and is absorbed into the body and circulates through the blood stream.

Weekly Amitraz (Mitaban) dips preceded by a benzoyl peroxide baths to open the hair follicles are still commonly prescribed as a treatment for Demodex. Oral or injected Ivermectin, however, is the latest treatment of choice for generalized Demodex.

Why do some people use motor oil?
Misinformation abounds and some folks are willing to try
untested 'home remedies' that result in making the dog miserable and can kill the dog. Motor oil adds to the dogs discomfort by causing rashes on the skin and increases the dog's susceptibility to infection. Dogs absorb hydrocarbons from the oil through the skin and may lick the motor oil; injestion can result in kidney and/or liver damage.

Please don't dip your dog in motor oil.

*Ivermectin is known to be harmful to herding breeds including, but not limited to, Collies, Shetland Sheepdogs, Australian Shepherds, Old English Sheepdogs and mixes of these breeds.

References: Mar Vista Animal Medical Center - marvistavet.comPet Place - petplace.com

Friday, October 24, 2008

You Win Some

One of the most depressing parts of our job here at PBRC is reading reports of newly enacted breed-specific legislation. As last summer’s battle in Lakewood, Ohio illustrated, such laws are based on little more than personal opinion, flat-out untruths, and a total unwillingness to accept empirical evidence. In Lakewood, for example, Councilman Brian Powers publicly admitted that he had no proof that pit bulls were more dangerous than other breeds, then went ahead and pushed through an unpopular ban. In the process, he managed to insinuate that the entire field of veterinary medicine is lying about pit bulls, because they don’t want to offend anyone. The gist of his message was this: nobody—including the AVMA, the CDC, and the AKC—knows the truth about pit bulls except for me, Brian Powers.

It's encouraging to hear, then, that a twenty-year-old breed-specific ordinance will be repealed in Canton, Illinois, where a little bit of knowledge, a whole lot of legwork, and old-fashioned gutsiness are winning out.

Back on September 25th, Canton resident Joy Ashwood e-mailed us with a request:
I am looking for information on ordinances that state that "pit bulls" have to be muzzled if they are off the owners property. Canton is enforcing this ordinance by issuing tickets to owners. The City Attorney said she is unsure if it is enforceable, however, she is looking forward to proscuting the first case.

My son has a pit bull that is a big baby and I would hate to see him labled as a "vicious dog," which is what the ticket is for. Are there any websites that you know of that deal with this type of thing, or any insight you can give me?

Thank you.
Apparently, for a long time, Canton has had an ordinance requiring pit bulls to wear a muzzle in public. Such laws do nothing but stigmatize and shame owners who are responsible enough to exercise their dogs on a leash, making it less likely that pit bull owners will socialize and exercise their dogs. Public health studies show that dog bites rarely occur when dogs are on leash in public. In fact, you are most likely to be bitten on private property by a dog that you know (say, your neighbor’s dog or your friend’s dog). Attacks that cause serious injuries overwhelmingly involve dogs that are chained, penned, or roaming around.

For this very reason, Illinois has one of the country’s better state-level dangerous dog laws. HB184, more commonly know as “Ryan’s Law,” prohibits breed-specific legislation while laying down strict guidelines as to how dangerous dogs should be classified and handled. (Incidentally, Senator Barack Obama supported this bill as an Illinois State Senator. He is the first presidential candidate to have signed off on legislation prohibiting BSL.)

We wrote back with the following:
Hi Joy,

As far as I know, Illinois has a law, "Ryan's Law," that prohibits breed specific legislation. I'm not sure of the specific language of the law, but you can read it here:

This would supersede any local ordinances. I believe it also sets the criteria for which dogs should be labeled vicious (being a "pit bull" isn't one of them).
Good luck, and please keep us updated.

, PBRC Volunteer
Some Illinois municipalities have gotten around Ryan’s Law by claiming “home rule,” so we weren’t sure how it would work out. But a few weeks later, we heard back from Joy:
Hi Josh,

Thank you so much for your information. My son contacted the humane society of Illinois and through his local chapter a law suit was filed against the City of Canton. I have attached the article out of the local paper. Once again, without you bringing this law to our attention we would not have known about it. So, on behalf of all pit bull owners in Canton (several received tickets) thank you!

Joy Ashwood on behalf of Jonsey, my Son’s beloved Pit Bull
So Canton’s breed-specific legislation was unconstitutional, but the law was severely out-of-date, and nobody had bothered to challenge it. According to The Canton Daily Ledger, at the urging of about two-dozen concerned dog owners, the city council immediately repealed the section of the ordinance defining pit bulls as vicious: “Citations for violating that section of the ordinance will not be enforced, and anyone who has received such a citation will not have to appear in court.”

This is great news for the dog owners of Canton, and it’s one hearting example of how courage and the right information actually works sometimes. PBRC thanks Joy Ashwood, her son Bill, and the other diligent pit bull owners in Canton, as well as the Human Society of Central Illinois, for taking action against an unfair and ineffective law. Pit bull owners everywhere should take a second to thank Alderman Jason Strandberg for lending a sympathetic ear to his constituents and for taking action to remove the unconstitutional section.

— Josh

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Blondie's story

My name is Blondie and I don't like other dogs. Trainers, behaviorists and owners always get to do all the talking on dealing with dog aggression, I think it's only fair that since I have had to live with it on a personal level, that I give my thoughts on the issue.

My pupp
yhood and young adult years are prior to my "new life" and what my old life was, I don't like to revisit. I will say that I have physical scars from dog bites and my ears were poorly cropped in home crop job. I also have had puppies.

I entered my new family's life dog reactive and dog aggressive. I lived at a veterinary hospital for over 2 years, I was not allowed to be with the other dogs, but seeing and hearing them on a daily basis slowly helped to reduce my reactivity towards them.

A change in my family's career meant I had to leave the veterinary hospital and come home to live. My house is a nice house, but it is small and has a very open floor plan, and there are TWO other dogs that live there. We worked out a separate room and rotate plan that works for us. When my family is at work, the
other two dogs have run of the house. I spend work days in my room.

Don't feel sorry for me, I have many beds, toys, a nice sunny window, a fish tank to watch and TV or radio to keep me company. When my people are home I come out of my room and the other dogs stay in the master bedroom. We rotate back and forth during our family's awake time at home, and at night I sleep in my room (door closed for my privacy!) and the other 2 dogs have run of the house (although I KNOW they get to sleep with the people in the master bedroom).

I also get to go on
a couple of walks a day to the people park, where sometimes I see other dogs and some of them aren't on leashes and sometimes we have to leave the park because of them! My family and I have worked out some words that they say to me to keep me calm and safe in these situations.

My dog aggression doesn't keep me housebound. I am able to travel to places with my family, we go hill climb racing, to the mountains, I go to work and to visit family. I am lucky that our people friends and family are aware of my issue and understand that dog aggression doesn't have anything to do with people aggression.

In fact I LOVE people, especially kids. On our trips, our friends come to see me before they come to see my people and they always bring their kids by just to see ME! I even am able to volunteer with our auto hill climbing club (OK, I sit in the timing vehicle and eat snacks, but that counts!). Just as my family always is, our people friends are always on "other dog" watch and help me to avoid these situations. In fact at times they are more reactive to dogs than I am! I wish I wasn't dog aggressive, but I understand it's not my fault and I am happy with me and with my life.
~ Blondie

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

BSL not just for Marines/Push for Worldwide!

Well, the cat is out of the bag so now might be the time to let you all know it's really a Tiger!

In May, Ft. Bragg put word out to their residents in military housing that several breeds would be banned. There was a grandfather clause for existing dogs, but new residents would not be allowed to move into housing with their dogs of the listed breeds, even if they were moving from other bases. Upon learning of this from a close friend (it was not published anywhere but a flyer to residents), I immediately contacted a few folks and we began recruiting the "best of the best" of the BSL fighters around the country. I contacted the Garrison Command office at Ft. Bragg and they started their bureaucratic run around. They initially indicated that their decision was based on the input of the base veterinarian and the AKC 20 year bite report. Only problem, there is no such report??? They initially stated that they were open to information and would examine anything that was sent to them as long as it was 1. A published report (nothing just cited from the internet) and 2. The authors/authorities would be available to verify the findings.

We began contacting authors and experts in the dog world and much appreciation goes out to them, as not one person declined to get involved. The list was long and impressive and first up to bat was our personal hero, Ms. Karen Delise. Imagine my dismay when the CSM would not even take her call. Karen was able to reach the base veterinarian and learned that no report was used, in fact, her only input was that she was asked which breeds were most commonly banned and she replied "pit bulls and rottweilers".

It started to become clear very quickly that the officials at Ft. Bragg were not open to discussion. Even worse, when speaking to CSM Sheehan I learned that the military was planning to implement BSL military wide - this means every base in the world! I was utterly dumbfounded that one woman would make this decision that would hurt so many of our brave men and women in uniform. I prepared a letter citing all of the states that prohibit BSL as well as the Supreme Court (state and federal) decisions that had struck it down. We maintained that these soldiers are only residing on military bases to defend this country, and at the very least, they should be afforded the same protections given to them by their home states of residence. When asked if she had read and reviewed the letter, CSM Sheehan's reply was, "The Military does not have to abide by The Constitution"!

What ensued at Ft. Bragg following the ban can only be described as chaos and any one with one iota of common sense would think that they would not even attempt to pass this at other bases. Neighbors began calling the MPs and the Housing Office to report other residents hiding banned dogs. What was quickly learned is that the dogs were either properly registered before the ban or that, in some cases, the people did not even own dogs but that disgruntled neighbors or other soldiers were just trying to cause them trouble. People walking their dogs were told that their dogs were banned, even though they were not even the breeds on the list. People began calling with annoyance reports right and left and rather than investigate fairly, the base just started adding dog breeds to the banned list. An official list is hard to come by (as it's changing so quickly) but at this point these breeds are banned or are being discussed being banned:

Pit bulls (Amstaff, Bull terriers and APBT)
Great Danes
All dogs over 50 lbs must have their CGC certification (this is already in effect)

The flawed thinking of CSM Sheehan was that if they banned these dogs on Ft. Bragg first then people would not acquire the dogs and then they would not be impacted when they moved. WRONG! Most military families move every 2-3 years so the number of dogs already owned and loved that will have to be surrendered is astonishing. Hard estimates are hard to come by, but to say that the numbers will reach the hundreds of thousands is not an exaggeration based on the registration numbers of these breeds on bases that released the info.

Last month, Ft. Hood, TX passed the bans, followed by Ft. Riley. The ban was already in place at a handful of bases but now the Marine Corp is considering encompassing their bases in one fail swoop as are the Air Force and Navy.

Now, the initial thinking might be that unless you live on a military base this doesn't affect you - think again. This hits every state and country in the world and the ramifications are wide reaching. The most detrimental effect will be on the morale of our fighting men and women at a time when we need them most. In so many cases, the dog of a soldier may be all that they have left. The wars have caused divorces and separations to skyrocket. Even for couples that have managed to stick together, the family dog is often the greatest source of stress relief and therapy they have. To thank these men and women for serving their country by taking away their loved family pets is despicable!

Additionally, this can be interpreted as the Federal Government putting their stamp of approval that some breeds are inherently dangerous. Cities surrounding these bases may start to pass BSL on this notion. Once those cities fall, the ones next to them might pass it and then the next and so on and so on.

None of these reasons even addresses the thousands of dogs that will now be surrendered to an already drowning rescue system. Cities around military bases are utterly inundated with surrendered dogs as it is. This does not bode well for the adoption chances of these family pets. There is absolute NO chance for the pit bulls in this area as the shelters do not adopt them out due to the horrible blight of dog fighting in the area. This holds true in many areas ,especially in the South where some of the largest bases are located.

This leads to the obvious question of "What can we do?" It has become clear that the military has no interest in democracy when it comes to this issue. This is going to have to be taken out of their hands and put to our elected officials if we hope to make any headway. Now is the opportune time to contact those officials up for re-election as well as those opposing them (all Senate seats are up this year). Call them, write them, stop them while they are out stumping and tell them what is happening. Let them know that to allow this to happen to our soldiers is unacceptable to you as an American and as a voter! Recruit your friends and family to do the same. This is no longer about dogs - this is about protecting those that protect us!

Keep in mind that our soldiers can't fight this alone and in some cases not at all. There is no free speech on a military base. When soldiers here were attempting to organize an off-base, out of uniform protest, they were told that they would be facing an Article 32 (the military jargon for free speech equates to causing trouble). Simply moving off-base is not an option for some. Many of those in base housing here have come with their families to go through selection for Special Forces or to attend special schools. They are not in a position to sign a lease, as their time here is unpredictable (the same holds true for Ft. Hood where soldiers go for medical schools). There are many people who prefer base housing for the security it provides when their spouses are deployed as well. They should not be forced to choose between that security and keeping their dogs.

I know this post is extremely long but I actually have given you a very abbreviated version of what has transpired and been exchanged.

Please tell your Congressional Reps and Senator how you feel - tell them today!

Find your legislators by clicking here!

~ Lynn

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Jeb's Rules

Okay, so I'm a cat, not a pit bull. But I live with pit bulls and other assorted mutts, along with a couple of female feline followers and the occasional foster dog, and we all manage to get along. What is The Secret, you ask?

Here are my Top Three Rules for a Harmonious Household:
1) Training, training, training: Not for me...I'm a cat, remember? I do my part when foster dogs arrive to teach them proper dog-cat relations, but most of the dog training responsiblity falls to our resident human. The Human makes sure that each dog is trained on its own, so that they can bond and so the dog knows how to listen to her. (Dogs may have great hearing, but let me tell you, hearing and listening are two different things!) She doesn't stand around giving them commands all day, but she does reinforce good manners and doesn't allow bad manners like pushy behavior, destroying the house, or (most importantly, if you ask me) chasing the cats.

2) Personal Space: Ever try to share one bedroom, 24-7, with your
whole extended family? Even if you like them, enough is enough. Most of us (kitties and pitties alike) are cuddlers, but that doesn't mean we should live on top of each other. Our house is set up with baby gates so that there are rooms that the canines can't get to, where we cats can go to get a break from dog breath when we need it. This is especially handy for those new dogs that come in who haven't quite read through the Dog-Cat Peace Treaty. There are also crates in the house where some of the dogs go when The Human is not home and at night, or if someone is need of a time-out. Some of my siblings - dogs and cats - like to put themselves in the crates for a bit of cozy peace and quiet. If a dog comes in who is a bit of rabblerouser, The Human has him stay in his own room, at least for awhile, so he doesn't try starting a coup. A little one-on-one time goes a long way, too.

3) Personalities: Even under the best Human-Cat administration, not
all multiple pet households can get along as well as we do. So it's a good idea to know the likes and dislikes of everyone in the house (human, feline, and canine) before adding another pet. We're a laid back bunch, so a neurotic little terrier or a hyperactive hunting dog would upset everyone. If you, the human, have fallen in love with a new dog that your other animals have, well, not, then you need to be realistic about how you'll keep the peace in your new household. It may require a crate and rotate system and lots of extra training time. Also remember that some dogs need more attention and training than others and that's okay. Everyone should get what they need, and you have to spend lots of time with your pack to get to know those specific needs and meet them. Lots of pets = lots of commitment.

Time for me to go - I've got a puppy that needs training and catnip that
needs sniffing. Good Luck, Jeb