Interesting Pet Briefs for the New Year


The following summaries are some interesting pet tidbits I read recently on a veterinary news website. I thought our readers might find interesting.

Service Dog Protects Girl during Anesthetic Procedure

JJ, a service dog trained to detect allergic reactions at the molecular level, helped safeguard 7-year-old Kaelyn Krawczyk during a procedure under anesthesia at Duke University Medical Center. Kaelyn has mastocytosis, a rare condition in which mast cells release histamines and other signals in response to almost any external stimulus such as heat or cold. JJ was trained to alert Kaelyn and her parents at the onset of a problem, and the dog is so sensitive to triggers that she can detect a reaction long before any overt signs occur. “It sounds silly, in this age of technology, when we have millions of dollars worth of equipment beeping around me, that we had a little dog who was more sensitive than all the machines,” said anesthesiologist Brad Taicher. The News and Observer (Raleigh, N.C.)

Make the Holidays Merry for Pets Too

The AVMA urges owners to take steps to keep pets safe during the holidays, a time when many hazards surface in the form of sweet treats and festive decorations. Chocolate, seasonal holiday plants and meat from the feast can all be harmful for pets. Decorations including lights, tinsel and even the tree itself can pose threats to pets, too. “Veterinarians often see an increase in the number of emergency calls during the holiday season. Whether it’s exposure to chocolate or fatty foods, or pets injured through exposure to festive decorations such as electric cords, ornaments, tinsel, etc., the holidays can present hazards for pets,” said AVMA President Dr. Clark Fobian. The Seattle Times

Zoonotic Diseases – transmissible between humans and animals

More than half of all known diseases and 75% of emerging diseases are zoonotic, according to this overview, and changes in travel, land use and climate patterns can add fuel to the fire. Influenza, SARS and hantavirus are among some of the most prominent known threats, but others are sure to surface. Physicians are encouraged to keep zoonotic diseases on their radar and maintain relationships with other health professionals, including veterinarians, to develop a One Health approach to patient care. Medscape