Pets

10 Plants That Are Toxic for Your Pet

Plants add color, texture and beauty to your home and yard, but some are toxic for your pets, so watch out for these varieties. If you suspect your cat or dog may have ingested a potentially toxic substance, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. You may like to keep an aloe vera plant around to treat sunburns, but the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) says aloe vera can cause vomiting, lethargy and diarrhea in both cats and dogs. According to Rover.com, “Topical use of the gel found inside the leaves is no problem, but there are other proponents of the plant that can irritate the digestive system if ingested.” Click here to see 11 household items that are seriously hazardous to pets.

Pets can judge time, study says

If sometimes you wonder if your dog is angry with you for staying out late, you might be right. New evidence suggests that animals have a clear sense of time, using previously undiscovered neurons that seem to switch on to count off minutes as they wait. The discovery was made by a team from Northwestern University while studying the medial entorhinal cortex of mice. Located in the mid-temporal lobe, it’s the part of the brain associated with memory and navigation. And since it encodes spatial information in episodic memories, lead study author Daniel Dombeck theorized that it could function as a sort of “inner clock” as well. “There are many similarities between the brains of mice, cats, dogs and humans,” Dombeck told Fox News. “We all have a medial entorhinal cortex (the region we found that may act as an inner clock), so it’s logical to think that this brain region serves a similar function in all of these different species.” To test his theory, Dombeck and his team put a mouse on a physical treadmill in a virtual reality environment. The mouse would run (on the treadmill) down a hallway to a door. After six seconds, the “door” would open and the mouse would get a (non–virtual reality) treat. They would repeat this a few times before making the door invisible. Dombeck was surprised to find that the mouse would still run and stop at the invisible door, waiting for six seconds for it to “open” so it could eat. Since the mouse didn’t know whether the door was open or closed and waited exactly six seconds, the team concluded that it had to have used its inner clock. The researchers also monitored the mouse’s brain activity, finding that the mouse’s neurons would fire as it ran. When it stopped at the door, those neurons would turn off before a new set began firing. These newly discovered neurons only fired when the mouse stopped, keeping track of the time the mouse was resting. Dombeck believes that dogs and cats more than likely have the same neurons that encode time. “There’s evidence that humans and monkeys can estimate time intervals using some form of an ‘inner clock’ and now with our work we know that mice also can explicitly represent time intervals in their brains and can perform timing tasks,” he explained. “Therefore, it’s logical to think that animals in between mice and humans in the hierarchy chain, like our pets (dogs and cats), can also use their brains to estimate time intervals.” The team’s research could have an impact on humans. The entorhinal cortex is one of the first regions of the brain affected by neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, and researchers could study how these diseases affect the new time–encoding neurons. “When doing basic research like we are, it’s always difficult to know where or how your findings will make an impact, but it’s really results from basic research like ours that eventually lead to better treatments or understanding of diseases, and sometimes even provide insights into how things like designing better computer software (by mimicking brain function),” Dombeck said. “Since the medial temporal lobe (the larger brain region that includes the medial entorhinal cortex) is one of the first regions affected by Alzheimer’s disease, and since the time keeping properties of this part of the brain were previously unknown, it’s not unreasonable to think that clinicians could soon be asking patients to estimate different amounts of elapsed time as part of the battery of tests to look for early signs of dementia.” The study can be found in the journal Nature Neuroscience.

Paid ‘fur-ternity leave’ for new pet owners offered by Minnesota company

A Minnesota digital marketing company is making going to work less ruff for employees with new pets. Nina Hale in Minneapolis is offering a “fur-ternity leave” policy that allows employees to work from home for one week when they get a new dog or cat, WTVR reports. Two workers inspired the new policy after asking if they could stay home and work so they could be with their new pets, Inc. reports. “We had other employees that were talking about getting a pet, so we just thought, why not make it an official policy?” Robinson told the business magazine. “If it’s important to the employee, it’s important to us.” Nontraditional benefits like a pet leave policy are especially appealing at Nina Hale, which has a young workforce, according to Inc., which placed the firm on its Best Workplaces list in 2017. Account manager Conner McCarthy was able to work from home after adopting a 5-month-old Goldendoodle. “When [Bentley] first came home, he was definitely a lot more nervous about the new environment, which is where the ‘work from home’ really came in and helped us out,” he told WCCO-TV. Nina Hale has about 80 employees.

Definitely a creative benefit..    🙂

Cuddling kittens can kill you, warn scientists

Cuddling a kitten may always make you feel better – but it could be dangerous to your health, according to experts. Doctors from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US conducted a large-scale survey of the cat-borne bacterial disease cat scratch fever. They found the scope and impact of the potentially deadly disease was larger than they thought. The disease causes fever, pustules and in extreme cases, the complications from the illness can cause death. The doctors have warned that hands should always be washed after touching cats, and to avoid kissing felines where possible. They also advised cat owners ensure their pet is protected from fleas. Dr. Christina Nelson of the CDC said: “The scope and impact of the disease is a little bit larger than we thought, “Cat-scratch is preventable. If we can identify the populations at risk and the patterns of disease, we can focus the prevention efforts.” Kittens and strays are more likely to carry the disease. The disease is spread when you are scratched by an infected cat, or when you don’t wash your hands and touch your mouth after stroking an infected cat. Kissing and rough play with stray cats and kittens should also be avoided where possible. Cat owners should also be careful about their animals interacting with stray cats where possible. However, the disease is relatively rare, with the survey finding that annual incidence was 4.5 outpatient diagnoses/100,000 population. This is more than expected, but is rare enough to mean you aren’t putting your life hugely at risk by kissing a kitten.

Ahh…  But, you just might be!  And here I thought Uncle Ted’s (Nugent’s) song was about some fictitious disease..

Bereaved Coloradans told they may have to rebury their pets

Owners who buried their pets at the Denver Pet Cemetery in Commerce City will have to pay hundreds of dollars to move the remains if a new owner finds a new use for the property. KUSA-TV reports (http://on9news.tv/1EaO2su ) that cemetery owner Tom Hart broke the news to concerned clients Tuesday that he is selling the property and the new owner could repurpose the land. Other pet cemeteries in the area are already jumping on the opportunity. One has begun distributing fliers advertising a special rate for Denver Pet Cemetery clients: $345 for a single re-internment. Though Hart said he is advertising the property as a pet cemetery while trying to sell, the land is zoned C3, making it available for commercial use.

This story out of the AP is actually kinda big out here in the greater Denver area.  Commerce City is an industrial town just north of Aurora.  This is awful.  Glad I had my last two dogs cremated..

PETA’s Dirty Little Secret: Shelter Puts Down 80% of Animals in Its Care

In a remarkable turn of events, Virginia legislators reportedly have had to step in to protect animals from PETA, which runs a gulag-style animal shelter at its headquarters on the banks of the St. Elizabeth River that euthanized over 80 percent of the animals in its care in 2014. Virginia lawmakers found that rate so abnormally high that they passed a bill in February to redefine a private animal shelter as “operating for the purpose of finding permanent adoptive homes.” The law will squeeze PETA whose primary service to animals in Norfolk has not been adoption, but rather a quick exit from the world. The bill, put forward by Sen. William M. Stanley Jr. (R-Franklin), passed the House of Delegates in a landslide 95-2 vote, after the Senate had approved the measure by 33-5. This despite the fact that PETA hired lobbyist Stephen Haner to try to kill the bill. According to the Virginia Department of Agriculture, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) took in 3,017 animals in 2014. Of these, a mere 162 were adopted, while 2455 were “euthanized.” This rate of 81% was not exceptional, since in prior years the rate has risen above 90%. A website documenting PETA’s killing record claims that the organization has euthanized more than 33,000 animals since 1998. “It’s just impossible to consider that they are making an attempt to adopt out animals with that failure record,” said Debra Griggs of the Virginia Federation of Humane Societies. She said that the new law codifies what “all shelters in Virginia are already doing — except for PETA.” PETA’s shelter, in fact, stands alone in its draconian policy, with a kill rate more than three times that of other shelters in the state. Combined, Virginia animal shelters took in 210,599 animals last year, of which only 49,302—less than 25%—were euthanized.

Doesn’t that make you want to vomit?!?  What a duplicitous, arrogant, brazenly hypocritical, and disgusting organization PETA is.  I’ve adopted my last three dogs from the Denver version of the Humane Society (ddfl.org).  And it does some great work!  They certainly put PETA’s adoption rates to shame.