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Health News

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Chinese Remedies May Contain Illegal Substances
Australian Study Reports

Some traditional Chinese medicines contain toxic chemicals and animal parts from endangered and protected species, according to a recent study conducted by Australian researchers. The researcher used second-generation DNA sequencing to analyze traditional Chinese remedies and determine their animal and plant composition. The researchers identified toxic plant species such as ephedra and asarum, along with vulnerable endangered or critically endangered animals including the Asiatic black bear and saiga antelope.

Incontinence Drug OK'd

A natural estrogen hormone designed to control urinary incontinence in female dogs has been approved by the FDA.

Incurin (estriol) is the first drug approved for urinary incontinence in dogs, according to it's manufacturer, Intervet Inc. (Summit, N.J.) Urinary incontinence can be caused by many different medical conditions, but middle-aged and elderly spayed female dogs commonly are troubled by hormone-based urinary incontinence. These dogs can urinate normally, but leak while resting. Physical exams and blood and urine tests usually are normal in these pets. Hormone-responsive incontinence can occur months to years after a dog is spayed. It will be available thru veterinarians.

Treating Canine Cancer

A new vaccine, tests, and Web site are helping to fight canine cancer. Cancer effects a third of the canine population - and a cancer diagnosis for a pet that's considered part of the family can be devastating. Recent advances are helping dogs live longer.

One advance is Oncept, a therapeutic vaccine that extends the lifespan of dogs diagnosed with stage II and stage III oral canine melanoma. Approved earlier this year by the US Dept of Agriculture, the vaccine was developed through a partnership between Merial and Memorial-Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
The common and often fatal form of canine cancer starts in the mouth.

10 Cancer Warning Signs:

1. Lumps and bumps
2. Abnormal odors
3. Abnormal discharges.
4. Wounds that won't heal.
5. Weight loss.
6. Change in appetite.
7. Coughing or difficulty breathing.
8. Lethargy and depression.
9. Changes in bathroom habits.
10. Evidence of pain.

Jerky Treats Under Fire

Through blogs, websites and local media reports, dog owners are pointing fingers at chicken jerky treats manufactured in China for making their pets sick. Yet no official cause has been identified.

The FDA is actively investigating problems associated with the consumption of chicken jerky treats As well as possible origins of the problem. The reports number roughly 900, and no specific products have been recalled because a definitive cause has not been identified. Samples have been subjected to DNA testing to confirm the presence of poultry.

The FDA continues to urge pet owners to use caution with regard to chicken jerky products. To report product related cases to the FDA in your state

Go to for phone numbers
or file an electronic report at


DOT May Expand Pet Incident Reporting for Airlines

Prompted by letters from U.S. Senators and a petition submitted in 2010 by the Animal Legal Defense Fund, the U.S. DOT in late June proposed expanding its reporting requirements for airlines that transport animals.

Proposed changes include extending the mandate to an additional 21 U.S. airlines (currently only the 15 largest U.S. airlines are required to report animal losses, injuries and deaths) and to require reports for all cats and dogs transported (current rules only apply to animals transported as pets by their owners but not those transported commercially by breeders and distributors).

The rule would also require a year-end summary report of the total number of losses, injuries and deaths in the airlines December reports. The department is accepting public comments on the proposed rule through Aug. 28, 2012 at Docket ID No. DOT-OST-2010-0211

Sleepypods Put to the (Crash) Test

Pet carrier manufacturer Sleepypod of Pasadena, Calif. submitted it's entire line of pet carriers to a crash test using a weighted test dog dummy, and each of the carriers passed the test. Videos of the simulated crash tests are available at

Dog to Human Disease Transmission
A new study shows that pet dogs may play a role in the transmission to humans of diarrheal disease worldwide of all age groups. The study, published in the Journal Of Clinical Virology, showed that the human noroviruses can survive in the canine gastrointestinaltracts, but whether or not the noroviruses can reproduce there is still unknown.

Dog Mouth Myths  
  Nearly one half od petowners believe the myths that dogs' mouths are cleaner than humans' mouths and that any type of chewing is good for a dog's teeth, according to a study commissioned by the Greenies Brand.
    The study also found that almost 40 percent of owners think it is normal for pets to have stinky breath, and about one-third believe that a dog's saliva can help cure human wounds, both of which are also myths, according to Jan Bellows, DVM incoming president of the American Veterinary Dental College.


Adoption News

Petsmart Launches
High-Five Pet Adoption Campaign

Petsmart Charities in June launched a multi-faceted pet adoption campaign called "High-Five" that celebrates its 5 millionth pet adoption while attempting to drive more pet adoptions. The campaign, which tapped Josh Duhamel as its celebrity spokesperson, aims to boost awareness of pet adoption and raise $250,000 for the organization, funds that would help save 10,000 homeless pets. the organization reported. The campaign celebrates Petsmart Charities' adoption of its 5 millionth pet, a 5-year old Siberian Husky named Dodge adopted by retired U.S. Marine George Little at the Boynton Beach, Fla., Petsmart store.


State Canine Law Updates

     Governor John Kitzhaber signed House Bill 4021 into law in late March, allowing the state police to commission employees of humane investigation agencies as "humane special agents" to enforce animal welfare laws.

     Companion bills that would have established a Maryland Abuse Registry did not survive the current session of the Maryland General Assembly. The Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) had testified that the legislation would have imposed excessive burden on pet dealers by requiring them to check the registry prior to selling or adopting out any animal. (Editors note: Legitimate Rescues have been doing so for years in any adoption transaction.)

     The Illinois Senate is considering the Dangerous Animal Acts of 2012 (SB 3264), legislation that would prohibit the ownership of certain types of animals without a permit, and would ban the, buying and bertering of animals defined as dangerous.To get a permit, pet owners would need to provide proof of at least $100,000 liability insurance for each "dangerous" animal owned, plus pay a $250 permit fee. The legislation also lists "dangerous" animals, subject to additions by a Dangerous Animal Advisory Council that would be established if this legislation is approved. The listed "dangerous" animals include large cats, wolves and wolf-hybrids, kangaroos, wallabies, mongooses, non-human primates, Gambian pouched rats, prairie dogs, venomous reptiles (regardless of whether they have been surgically altered), all members of the Boidae family (such as boas, pythons and anacondas).

       The Vermont state Senate is considering a bill that would allow pet owners to recover noneconomic damages for emotional stress resulting from the death of a pet.
The bill, SB240, introduced in January by Sens. Vincent Illuzzi and Dick McCormack reads. "If a person intenionally or recklessly causes the death of a domestic pet...the court may hold the person liable to the pet owner for noneconomic damages for emotional distress resulting form the loss of the reasonable expected companionship, love and affection of the domestic pet".  The bill has been placed in the Senate Judiciary Commettee, but a hearing has not been set.
         The Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council opposes the bill, stating it could subject breeders, pet profuct manufacturers, retailers, veterinarians and others to excessive claims and would raise the cost of companion animals for the public. The council advised interested parties to contact the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee and voice their opposition to the measure. (We think that interested parties should voice their approval!)

   The Hawaii Senate is considering two seperate bills that would each ban the sale of unsterilized dogs and cats and require pet sellers to microchip all dogs and cats prior to sale.Two key differences between Senate Bill 2504 and 2198 is that SB 2504 would make each violation of the legislation's provisions a petty misdemeanor and SB 2198 would subject pet sellers violating the legislation with a fine of up to $1,000 for each date of violation.  The bills exempt animal shelters and rescue groups from the definition of pet seller. SB 2504 was set to be heard by committee on Feb. 7, 2012. Each bill would go into effect upon its approval.