Monday, June 30, 2014

FDA’s Advice: Know the Risks of Feeding Raw Foods to Your Pets

FDA’s Advice: Know the Risks of Feeding Raw Foods to Your Pets

Dog and Cat Eating (350x218)
Dogs and cats aren’t exempt from the dangers of foodborne illness. To minimize risk, FDA suggests consumers carefully consider the risks of feeding a raw pet food to their pets.
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Food poisoning isn’t only a human problem: our four-legged friends are also at risk if they eat foods that are contaminated with disease-causing bacteria. Two of these bacteria—Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes — are particularly dangerous to both pets and humans. Here is one way to avoid them—and why.

Knowing the Risk to Your Pet

Raw pet food consists primarily of meat, bones, and organs that haven’t been cooked, and therefore are more likely than cooked food to contain organisms that can make your dog or cat sick, says William J. Burkholder, DVM, PhD, Veterinary Medical Officer in the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) Division of Animal Feeds. Moreover, raw food can make you sick as well if you don’t handle it properly. FDA does not believe feeding raw pet foods to animals is consistent with the goal of protecting the public from significant health risks.
The agency therefore recommends cooking of raw meat and poultry to kill harmful bacteria like Salmonella andListeria monocytogenes before you give the food to your pets. And as always, when working with food, you should follow FDA’s instructions on how to handle it safely.
Salmonella bacteria are commonly found in such foods as raw or undercooked meat, poultry, eggs and egg products. Salmonella can also contaminate raw or unpasteurized milk and other dairy products, as well as raw fruits and vegetables.
Burkholder says people who choose a raw diet for their pets often point out that feral dogs and cats catch prey and eat it raw. “That’s true,” he adds, “but we don’t know how many of these animals get sick or die as a result of doing that. Since sick feral animals are rarely taken to a veterinarian when they’re ill, there’s no way to collect that information.”
Symptoms of salmonellosis in animals include:
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea (which may be bloody)
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Decreased activity level
Listeria bacteria are commonly found in uncooked meats, vegetables and unpasteurized milk and soft cheeses. Unlike most bacteria, Listeria like cold temperatures and can grow and spread in the refrigerator. So if you refrigerate Listeria-contaminated food, the germs not only multiply at the cool temperature, they could contaminate your refrigerator and spread to other foods there, increasing the likelihood that you and your family members would be exposed to Listeria and get sick.
Symptoms of listeriosis in animals include:
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Neurological disease can happen in a small percentage of situations

Raw Foods Can Also Affect Human Health

Consumers also run the risk of getting sick if they handle contaminated pet foods and accidentally transfer the bacteria to their mouths.
“If you’re going to handle raw foods, you need to pay particular attention to good hygienic practices,” Burkholder says. “Wash your hands and anything else that comes into contact with the product with hot, soapy water for at least 20 seconds.”
Feeding raw food to a pet also increases the risk of contaminating food contact surfaces and other places.
“Even if the dog or cat doesn’t get sick, they can become carriers of Salmonella and transfer the bacteria to their surroundings, and then people can get the disease from contact with the infected environment,” Burkholder says.
Once Salmonella gets established in the pet’s gastrointestinal tract, the animal can shed the bacteria when it has a bowel movement, and the contamination will continue to spread.

Symptoms of Salmonella and Listeria Infection in Humans

Salmonella infection (salmonellosis) symptoms in humans include:
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea (which may be bloody)
  • Stomach pain
  • More rarely: entry of Salmonella into bloodstream from intestines, followed by spread to joints, arteries, heart, soft tissues, and other areas of body
Symptoms associated with salmonellosis most often begin 12 hours to 3 days after ingestion of the bacteria and can last 4 to 7 days without treatment. All consumers are at risk for contracting salmonellosis from contaminated foods, but pregnant women, children under five, the elderly and those with weak immune systems are at risk of developing severe symptoms.
Compared to salmonellosis and other foodborne illnesses, infection with Listeria monocytogenes (listeriosis) is rare, but has serious and potentially fatal risks.
Listeria can infect multiple locations in the body:
  • The brain
  • Membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord
  • Gastrointestinal tract
  • Bloodstream
Symptoms associated with listeriosis begin 11 to 70 days after coming in contact with the bacteria, with a mean (or average) of 31 days, and they can last up to a few weeks. Listeriosis occurs almost exclusively in pregnant women and their fetuses, newborns, the elderly and those with weak immune systems. Listeriosis can cause life-threatening infection in a fetus and newborns, as well as in persons with weakened immune systems, although the infection can often be treated with antibiotics.
“Feeding raw foods to pets increases the risk that both the pet and the people around the pet will encounter bacteria that cause foodborne illness, particularly if the products are not carefully handled and fed,” Burkholder says. “This is certainly one factor that should be considered when selecting diets for your pet.”
This article appears on FDA’s Consumer Updates page, which features the latest on all FDA-regulated products.
June 30, 2014

Related Consumer Updates

Yesterday's adventure

I am tired, I need my nap, leave me alone, the pantry is the perfect place for a quiet nap. I tried slowing this down... It would not do that. UGH....

I am going back to the pantry

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Black and WHITE Sunday: MAX MAIL!

Arlington, Va
 From Master MAX B. [Bialystock] G.

Dear White Dog Cottage family, 

First and foremost, let me apologize for having been remiss in staying in touch, but in my own defense I have to tell you, this adjustment to my new life has been "a process".  A good process, but  "a process" just the same.

I don't want this to go to my person's head, but I LOVE IT HERE! Here are my top 20 reasons why:

1. MY person is MY WHOLE person.  I don't have to share her. Belly rubs, scritches, snuggles, snarfs, massages, you name it.... alllllll MINE on demand. And you can bury your nose in her hair, it's great.
2. She cooks for me. Honestly! Delicious stuff. Every day. 
3. Now that we have a routine I pretty much know what is going on, which makes me feel secure. MY person is pretty reliable.
4. WE DO STUFF! We walk, we play, [got my person trained to throw stuffies until her arm falls off! Just a joke] We do tricks, we do agility we go to parties and we give parties!  We even go on vacations.
5. We go places!  We even have our own favorite restaurant. I don't mind telling you... I WORK the cute factor.  I tried directing her into this yummy smelling restaurant, by throwing my stuffie inside... but she did not understand, apparently because she just retrieved the stuffie and kept walking... I am working on her. She will learn.  I am confident, it's a process for her as well.
6. I now have developed my own friendships with both four leggeds and two leggeds and it's nice to see  friends when we go for our daily walks. [Yes world, WALKS as plural, many]
Lucky for me, my Dowi is into walking and I know my way around our neighborhood pretty well by now.  Well enough that I can actually direct my hooman to go visit The Adam.
7.  Yes!  The Adam is another perk of my new life. Love seeing him. He always has new stuffies for me, and he gives scritches and rubs and we have our own little gig going.  He asks me if I am still here, I ask him why he is still here... Ha! 
8. I have this great park that we go to that is full of live stuffies. I am fully confident that sooner or later I will catch one. 
9. Please don't hate me, but I have so many toys that my [did you get that? MY] place is a functional toy box! And I have full run of it. 
10. I have a wardrobe. With raincoats, harnesses, shirts, ties, and all the things that a dog about town should have. 
11. I have marked every inch of my territory outside and I am now a local celebrity. People stop and ask to take my picture. I guess the fact that I walk carrying a stuffie in my mouth makes for good press. I have trained my person to hold my stuffie when I have "other things" to do.
12. The elevator and the lobby and the courtyard!  Yes I have all three and it is wonderful to get instant oohs and ahhhs just by going there. 
13. For some reason my being 8 years old is a source of much amazement. Hoomans, go figure them!
14. I now have a new nickname and I like it: I am  "the FUZZY OVERLORD".
15. I hosted my first pawty.  It was a blast, and I am compiling a list of pawty tips. And no matter what you heard about me and the Corgy... It is probably true... you know, what goes on in Arlington stays in Arlington.
16.Check out my bow tie! And yes, I have a balcony and patio and I am grooving on my new seating. Thank you JD for  that tip. Upholstery is wonderful.
17.My hooman has 2 vacuum cleaners!  I love air biting!  I love that game.  I love the fact that I get to play it whenever she  "cleans"  I think clean is a fancy word for play.
18.  Speaking of words! Two words: TURKEY JERKY. To die for. YUM. Grandma and grandpa, make more!
19. I have three blankies. ALL MINE and I have 3 dogs beds and a huge hooman bed that I allow Dowi to share!
20. I have window sills and I walk on them and they are like observation towers! You would not believe my views. 

Those are some of my top reasons for loving my new life.  I do wish and pray that each and every resident at White Dog Cottage will get to experience a new life with someone wonderful like my hooman.  But the Dowi is MINE. Just to be clear. And I am keeping her. Get that?

Auntie Robin, thank you.  Uncle Jack, thank you. 

licks and wags to all my buds, I am getting ready for brunch and a walk, so I have to go now.

Stay in touch

MAX B, aka the Fuzzy Overlord!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Sad SEPIA Saturday

Dear auntie Marsha and uncle Sam,
momma told us that Puff has now joined Andy at the Rainbow Bridge. Momma sat us down and told us and we watched her leak from her eyes.  I know she is sad, and know you are sad, and that makes me sad. But I have to tell you it is entirely a selfish sadness.

You loved Puff enough to let him go when his time here became all about the pain.  You helped him to a better place. How lucky for him. You loved him this much. For now, grieve. It is what we all must do. But do not let your grief question your love.  You loved enough to place Puff's needs above your own feelings. Thank you for that.  Puff would thank you himself  for that.

Sadness is for the empty space he left behind.  Space that memories, nostalgia and love will fill and keep. The sadness will eventually become woven into that fabric of memories and while it is will be there, it will be a single strand in an otherwise rich tapestry of what will be known as "the Andy and Puff time".

I bet Andy was there at the gate waiting with his tail wagging and what a blitz must have followed! The TBFR contingency must have been there in full force, both two leggeds and four leggeds TBFR family welcoming home one of their own.  I bet we missed one heck of a party.

Uncle Sam, hang in there. Our whole Tidewater Bichon Frise Rescue family is grieving.  If you need an extra snuggle, I am available.

Auntie Marsha, you know you can come by anytime, no questions, no discussion, we will take care of you.

much love,
'vie and family

Friday, June 27, 2014

Do you want to dance?

JD asking me to dance... no, begging me to dance.

"just one dance "- he begs, Momma is playing music and JD suddenly got dance fevah.

I can't take it anymore, I will give him his ONE dance.

Here I am doing my best MILEY! and look at JD, he is completely confused.  Confused enough to ask me "What are you doing?"

Me: "I am twerking! What are you doing?" 

JD: "What the heck is twerking?  I wanted to dance, I was doing the Bossa Nova!"

Yea, we are done.  It's a generational theng.

'vie who needs a younger dude to get down and pawrty!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Thoughtless Thursday Summertime....



Hey did anyone order drinks?  Mommmmmmmmma, please, drinks all around.

Is fish really jumping?  Where?  I wanna see that!

'vie and Da gang.  Chillin

Monday, June 23, 2014

FROM THE FDA Safe Use of Flea and Tick Products in Pets

Safe Use of Flea and Tick Products in Pets

Man smiling and petting dog (350x233)
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Fleabites may be more than an itchy annoyance to some dogs and cats. They can cause flea allergy dermatitis—an allergic reaction to proteins in flea saliva. And a pet’s constant scratching can cause permanent hair loss or other skin problems. Fleas feasting on your pet’s blood can lead to anemia and, in rare cases, death.
Ticks can also harm your pet, transmitting infections such as Lyme disease. And pets can bring ticks into the home, exposing you and your family to illness from a tick bite.
Hundreds of pesticides, repellents, and growth inhibitors are available to protect your pet from flea and tick bites. Some of these products are available only from a veterinarian; others can be bought over the counter.
Flea and tick products range from pills given by mouth to collars, sprays, dips, shampoos, powders, and “spot-ons,” liquid products squeezed onto the dog’s or cat’s skin usually between the shoulder blades or down the back. A few spot-on products are available for flea control in ferrets, and fly and tick control in horses.
Pet owners need to be cautious about using flea and tick products safely, says Ann Stohlman, V.M.D., a veterinarian in the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Veterinary Medicine. “You need to take the time to carefully read the label, the package insert, and any accompanying literature to make sure you’re using the product correctly.”

Regulation of Flea and Tick Products

Flea and tick products for pets are regulated by either FDA or the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
FDA is responsible for regulating animal drugs; however, some products to control external parasites come under the jurisdiction of EPA. FDA and EPA work together to ensure adherence to all applicable laws and regulations. In general, flea and tick products that are given orally or by injection are regulated by FDA.
Before an animal drug is allowed on the market, FDA must “approve” it. Before a pesticide can be marketed, EPA must “register” it.
Both agencies base their decision on a thorough review of detailed information on the product’s safety and effectiveness provided by the manufacturer or other product sponsor. The sponsor must show that the drug or pesticide meets current safety standards to protect
  • the animal
  • people in contact with the animal
  • the environment
The sponsor must also show that the drug or pesticide produces the claimed effect, and the product must carry specific labeling so that it can be used according to the directions and precautions.
After a product is allowed on the market, manufacturers are required by law to report any side effects of their flea or tick products to the regulating agency.

Caution with Spot-On Products

In spring 2009, EPA noticed an increase in pet incidents being reported involving spot-on pesticide products for pets. EPA received a large amount of bad pet reaction information reported to the companies that hold registrations for these products. EPA formed a veterinarian team with the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) and Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) to review this information. The team studied incidents involving cats and dogs, looked at the ingredients, studied labeling, and discussed data needs for the future to improve analyses and regulation.
Based on its analysis, EPA determined that some changes need to be made in how spot-on products are regulated, how companies report data on pet incidents, and how packages are labeled for cats, dogs, and size of animals to ensure the safety of these products. Based on reported incidents, EPA also concluded that many but not all pet incidents took place because the products were misused.
In September 2011, EPA required the following actions in response to the analysis of spot-on treatments:
  • Requiring manufacturers of spot-on pesticide products to improve labeling, making instructions clearer to prevent product misuse, including repeating the word “dog” or “cat” and “only” throughout the directions for use and applicator vial, and detailed side effect language.
  • Requiring clear marking to differentiate between dog and cat products and more precise label instructions to ensure proper dosage per pet weight.
  • Restricting the use of any inert ingredients that EPA finds may contribute to incidents.
  • Launching a consumer information campaign to explain new label directions and to help users avoid making medication errors.
Spot-on flea and tick products can be effective treatments, and many people use the products with no harmful effects to their pets. EPA does not advise pet owners to stop using spot-ons, but asks them to use caution and make informed decisions when selecting treatment methods.
EPA advises pet owners to
  • carefully follow label directions and monitor their pets for any signs of a bad reaction after application, particularly when using these products for the first time
  • talk to a veterinarian about responsible and effective use of flea and tick products

When to Treat

It's best to treat your pet at the beginning of flea and tick season, says Stohlman. The length of flea season, which peaks during warm weather months, varies depending on where you live. “It can last four months in some places, but in other places, like Florida, fleas can live all year long,” says Stohlman. And fleas can live inside a warm house year-round no matter where you live.
Ticks are found in some places year-round. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that in most parts of the United States, the greatest chance of infection by a tick bite is spring and summer.

Tips for Using Flea and Tick Products

  • Read the label carefully before use. If you don't understand the wording, ask your veterinarian or call the manufacturer. “Even if you’ve used the product many times before,” says Stohlman, “read the label because the directions or warnings may have changed.”
  • Follow the directions exactly. If the product is for dogs, don't use it on cats or other pets. If the label says use weekly, don't use it daily. If the product is for the house or yard, don't put it directly on your pet.
  • Keep multiple pets separated after applying a product until it dries to prevent one animal from grooming another and ingesting a drug or pesticide.
  • Talk to your veterinarian before using a product on weak, old, medicated, sick, pregnant, or nursing pets, or on pets that have previously shown signs of sensitivity to flea or tick products.
  • Monitor your pet for side effects after applying the product, particularly when using the product on your pet for the first time.
  • If your pet experiences a bad reaction from a spot-on product, immediately bathe the pet with mild soap, rinse with large amounts of water, and call your veterinarian.
  • Call your veterinarian if your pet shows symptoms of illness after using a product. Symptoms of poisoning include poor appetite, depression, vomiting, diarrhea, or excessive salivation.
  • Do not apply a product to kittens or puppies unless the label specifically allows this treatment. Use flea combs to pick up fleas, flea eggs, and ticks on puppies and kittens that are too young for flea and tick products.
  • Wash your hands immediately with soap and water after applying a product, or use protective gloves while applying.
  • Store products away from food and out of children's reach.
Source: FDA and CDC

Reporting Problems

Keep the product package after use in case side effects occur. You will want to have the instructions available, as well as contact information for the manufacturer.
  • To report problems with spot-on flea or tick products, contact the National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC) at 1-800-858-7378.
  • To report problems with FDA approved flea or tick drug products, contact the drug manufacturer directly (see contact information on product labeling) or report to FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine on a Form FDA 1932a.
  • If your pet needs immediate medical care, call your local veterinarian, a local animal emergency clinic, or theNational Animal Poison Control Center at 1-888-426-4435. The NAPCC charges a fee for consultation.
This article appears on FDA's Consumer Updates page, which features the latest on all FDA-regulated products.
Updated: June 23, 2014

When enough is enough!

I need to air out some dirty laundry. Yuh, it is time.

Remember how momma went on and on about the Temple of Yumminess- The Excalibur dehydrator, being "for us". Her babies. Meaning moi, JD and Wendy.  For our SAFE food and treats. She lied. Flat out lied. She had a secret agenda.

Yes, daddy is good, he uses it to make our turkey jerky and we love him for that. But behind his back, when he is not here, that momma is doing unspeakable things in OUR Temple of Yumminess.

This morning she made the house smell like Chicken named after a country day {Thanksgiving}... and there was no TURKEY! Just the smells of it. She said she was drying some sage and thyme and rosemary and oregano and green stuff like that... Talk about unfair. My mouth was all watered up for nothing.

Then she went that one step too far. She used our Temple of Yumminess to make poison. RAISINS. UGH. Who is going to eat those ugly toxic shrivels? NOT US.

 I tell you she just about has rubbed my last nerve raw with this kind of abuse. If it weren't for my new gel mat which is wonderfully comfy, I would not be keeping my cool. I would be way hot under my collar.

And those siblings of mine? Nothing.  They are oblivious to it all. Lost in their own little dramas.  The Wendy is stalking JD who is working on his breakfast chewie.  He is a very slow, deliberate eater.  She is a woffer.
Her nickname is "Hoover".

Well I am not that easy.  Clearly, I have to do the thinking and negotiating and policing for all of us.

It is the burden and responsibility I bear for having been born beautiful and smart. Sigh. No. False modesty is a wasted emotion and I have no time to waste. Don't ask me to fake it.

If momma wants to continue to "borrow" equipment intended for us, I can offer her some simple compromise and a way to redemption. If she is willing to work with me that is. I can let  all this go... say... for a guaranteed 6 extra chewies per week, per dog.

Ohhh vicious woman. I am not looking to win the pot bellied dog competition! OK, how about negotiating for something we both like, say.... extra weekly trip to my fav store and one new something to be named when I find it? How can I possibly "cap" the cost of something I have not yet found! She is so unreasonable.

Wait, I have the perfect thing. You know how much we love going to Oyster Point?  How about each time you use the Temple of Yumminess for a profane use, you agree to

1. CLEAN IT SPOTLESS [ I don;t want second hand poison from raisins]
2. You take us to Oyster Point for a full  walk around the laguna  and we get to determine the pace.
3. And how about you get us some yogurt for treat before coming home?

Deal?  It is my bestest offer or I go public and tell daddy what really goes on when he is not here.

I am not a terrier!  What is this not negotiating with terriorists stuff??? I am a Bichon!  Look at me!  Really look at me:

Don't make me call Auntie Robin! I am so angry right now!  Hoooooooomans!