ASPCA Happy Tails: There’s Something About Curry

Animals rescued from abuse are often fearful and shy, but past experience has taught us that the right home can go a long way for victims of cruelty. In the case of a cat named Curry, a first-time adopter proved to be just what the doctor ordered, and now these two are both experiencing the singular joy of human-pet companionship. Here is Curry’s Happy Tail.

ASPCA Happy Tails: There’s Something About Curry

Eric K. had been thinking about adopting a cat for a very long time. He had never had a pet before, much less visited an adoption center, but, he says, “I knew that there are a lot of animals who need homes.” In November, as the New York City air grew colder, Eric decided it was time. “I wanted a cuddle buddy and an animal to play with,” he recalls. Fortunately, Eric’s cousin, a former ASPCA volunteer, pointed him in our direction.

At the ASPCA Adoption Center, Eric arrived with the hope of finding a senior grey cat. He and his roommates played with almost every adoptable feline at the center, but none of them felt like “the one.” On his way out, he stopped by another floor of the building, and that’s where he met Curry.

ASPCA Happy Tails: There’s Something About Curry

Curry was nothing like what Eric had envisioned: The 10-lb. brown tabby was less than two years old and very, very shy. In August, he had been rescued from extreme cruelty by the NYPD, and spent the following months in and out of the ASPCA Animal Hospital receiving treatment for a painful urinary obstruction. What’s more, he was quite fearful around new people, so he’d been having a hard time getting adopted. But for Eric, there was just something about Curry.

“Volunteers told me that he had had a pretty tough life. They told me that he had a urinary tract problem and that no one would adopt him because of that. He wouldn’t even come out of a cardboard box to play with us,” Eric remembers. But he had a feeling about Curry, and patiently tried to lure him out of his carrier with treats. “Without even showing his face, he reach his paw out of the cardboard box, grabbed the treat and took it into the box with him,” he laughs. “I knew I liked him at that point.” Eric then reached his hand into the carrier, assuming that Curry would try to swat or bite, but was surprised to find that the kitty rested his head on his hand. “That was when I knew for sure that he needed to come home with us,” Eric says.

ASPCA Happy Tails: There’s Something About Curry

Back in his apartment, Eric gave Curry a new name: Graham. “Graham and I fell in love pretty quickly,” he tells us. “The first night he would hardly come out of his travel carrier, and the following week he would constantly hide underneath our couches, but after that he grew accustomed to us and now he can’t stand when we leave.” Eric was also unfazed by Graham’s medical issues, and was pleased to report that the sweet kitty underwent urinary tract surgery and is drastically improved!

Despite a tough start to life, Graham proved to be an ideal pet. Eric tells us, “He loves lap time and napping with us during the day, and he loves to sit with us when we watch movies.” For both this formerly-abused cat and his new adopter, it seems that the first time was the charm. Congrats! 

Graham taking his customary after-breakfast nap in his new home.
Graham taking his customary after-breakfast nap in his new home.

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ASPCA-Supported Food Program Adopted by San Francisco Schools

ASPCA-Supported Food Program Adopted by San Francisco Schools

Yesterday, the nationwide movement toward local adoption of the Good Food Purchasing Program (GFPP) gained even more ground as the San Francisco Unified School District became the latest institution to sign on. The San Francisco Board of Education voted unanimously to adopt the GFPP, which the ASPCA is actively supporting in cities around the country.

The goal of GFPP is to help school systems, municipalities, and other entities with massive purchasing power source food that meets five value criteria: animal welfare, nutrition, support for local economies, worker justice and safety, and environmental sustainability.

The GFPP’s animal welfare aspect addresses the conditions in which farm animals are raised for meat, milk and egg products. It relies largely on third party-audited animal welfare certification programs, which are important for ensuring both welfare and transparency, and has the potential to beneficially impact millions of animals’ lives.

The ASPCA is collaborating with many other sectors—including health, environmental, educational, and labor—to pass the GFPP in cities and school systems around the country. Last year, we helped secure a renewed GFPP commitment by the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). To date, both the LAUSD and the City of Los Angeles have adopted the GFPP, and conversations have begun in other cities as well.

Please stay tuned for further news about GFPP efforts in particular cities. If you’re not already signed up, be sure to join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade so we can alert you should we need support for GFPP in your home city!

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ASPCA Helps Researchers Demonstrate Differences between Accidents and Abuse

ASPCA Helps Researchers Demonstrate Differences between Accidents and Abuse

Most ASPCA supporters are familiar with our life-saving rescue operations and cruelty intervention initiatives for animals. But what many of you may not know is that we are also deeply involved in veterinary research, forensic investigations and the study of animal abuse. In fact, much of our behind-the-scenes work has paved the way for breakthroughs in public policy, legal advocacy and other fields within the animal welfare community. That’s why we want to share the news of significant findings in a recent study of blunt-force trauma and accidental and non-accidental animal injuries.

The joint study, conducted by the ASPCA and the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, was published online in the Journal of Forensic Sciences and will appear in print in September, and the ASPCA’s own Forensic Science Supervisor, Dr. Robert Reisman, D.V.M., is a co-author.

Comparing data from 50 criminal cases of animal abuse provided by the ASPCA and 426 motor vehicle accident cases from the Foster Hospital for Small Animals at Cummings School, researchers demonstrated different injury patterns in abused animals and animals hit by cars. This means that, without having witnessed the incident, veterinarians presented with injured animals can more readily determine whether the animal was a victim of an accident or of cruelty.

According to a press release issued by Tufts, the study found that abused animals generally had more damage to their head, ribs, teeth and claws. Pets involved in motor vehicle accidents tended to suffer skin abrasions, lung collapses and bruising and hind end injuries. They also found that victims of non-accidental injury were more likely to have evidence of older fractures, a pattern that is similarly seen in human abuse cases.

“The forensic veterinarian’s job is to use scientific evidence to tell the story of an animal victim of cruelty. This study serves as a valuable tool in that process,” said Dr. Reisman, who leads the five-person veterinary forensic sciences team that supports the NYPD/ASPCA Partnership. “This study contributes to the expanding body of research in the growing field of veterinary forensic medicine and will help forensic veterinarians continue to give a voice to the voiceless.”

Although the Journal of Forensic Sciences is primarily dedicated to human forensic sciences, the findings of this study are quite significant for both animals and the scientific community at large. Visit Tufts.edu for more information on this important research.

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X-ray Shows Cat Swallowed Sewing Needle

X-ray Shows Cat Swallowed Sewing Needle

When two-year-old Oreo arrived one morning at the ASPCA Animal Hospital, she was lethargic, hypothermic and dehydrated. Her owner, Rosa A. of Manhattan, reported that she had been vomiting and not eating for several days. ASPCA veterinarian Dr. Felicia Magnaterra also noticed a string, or thread, protruding from Oreo’s rectum. “It was no surprise. String-type foreign objects can get stuck in cats and dogs, and do all the time,” said Dr. Magnaterra. Items like thread and dental floss are among the most common mistakenly ingested by cats.  

But Oreo’s x-rays soon pointed to another culprit: a sewing needle lodged in her colon, which had made its way through her gastrointestinal (GI) tract, attached to thread. “That was a total surprise!” Dr. Magnaterra exclaimed.

Oreo's x-Ray

Oreo was soon anesthetized and, using careful digital—finger—manipulation, another ASPCA veterinarian, Dr. Marisa Altieri, gently re-positioned the needle from a perpendicular position to a parallel position in line with Oreo’s colon wall. “The process took carefully planned movements to avoid puncturing the colon wall with the sharp ends of the sewing needle,” explained Dr. Magnaterra. Once the needle was in the correct position, Dr. Altieri gently applied traction until it was exteriorized through the rectum. The entire procedure took 30 minutes.

“It’s very uncommon, but impressive, that the needle had made its way all the way through the GI tract without causing significant damage to tissue,” Dr. Magnaterra said.  Doctors speculate the needle may have come out with Oreo’s next bowel movement, but pulling on the string would have likely changed the needle’s position once again—from parallel to perpendicular to the colonic wall—causing it to lodge in her colon.

Oreo

“It could have perforated her stomach, small intestine or colon,” Dr. Magnaterra explained. “Had this happened, GI contents would have leaked into the abdomen causing a septic peritonitis, or infected abdomen, a very serious condition and surgical emergency that comes with a very guarded prognosis for full recovery.”

Oreo, however, was lucky. Because of the needle’s shape and size, and because the GI contents were able to pass around it, her body was able to move the needle through her GI tract. A day later, she was back to her normal self and went home. 

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Five Years Later: The ASPCA Revisits the Joplin Tornado

Five Years Later: The ASPCA Revisits the Joplin Tornado

In May 2011, a devastating tornado tore through the town of Joplin, Missouri, and left a path of destruction in its wake. The ASPCA deployed to the area—a town of about 50,000—and provided emergency sheltering and assistance for approximately 1,300 animals displaced during the disaster. We helped reunite nearly 500 animals with their families and found loving homes for 800 more. This past weekend, we were honored to return to Joplin to participate in Joplin Proud, a four-day event commemorating this community and the incredible progress they have made in the five years since the storm.

2011: A crowd of thousands from 24 states came to Joplin to adopt animals displaced during the storm.
2011: A crowd of thousands from 24 states came to Joplin to adopt animals displaced during the storm.

In honor of Joplin Proud, the ASPCA and Joplin Humane Society held a “Paws in the Park” free microchip clinic and adoption event at Parr Hill Park this past Saturday, May 21. While there, we met a number of Joplin residents whose lives were impacted by the tornado—many of whom will never forget the ASPCA’s assistance in its wake.

One resident, Murray Fields, recalls the day of the disaster vividly. “I was taking a nap, when suddenly I was awakened by what sounded like electrical transformers exploding,” he says. When the tornado passed, Murray set out to gather his eight dogs. He found three-legged Norton on the floor, covered in debris, as well as Beagles Mitsy and Maxie, and Starkers, an Australian shepherd mix. “I assumed the others had been crushed in the rubble.” 

Murray Fields visited his dogs daily while they were boarded at the ASPCA’s emergency shelter
Murray Fields visited his dogs daily while they were boarded at the ASPCA’s emergency shelter.

The next day, church volunteers dug three of the dogs out from the wreckage—Pinky, a stout, white pit bull; and mixed breeds Plumpkin and Janna. Skunknose, a Shepherd mix, was found days later at an emergency animal shelter being operated by the ASPCA next to the Joplin Humane Society (JHS). “That we all were unscathed is a miracle,” he says.

Janyce Prier was another Joplin resident whose house was destroyed. Her beloved cat Gus also went missing. But 16 days after the tornado, she spotted Gus on a local television broadcast from the ASPCA’s temporary shelter and was able to positively identify him by the mole on his nose.   Today, the 15-year-old feline is “living large, just as healthy and strong as he was five years ago,” says Janyce, who moved to northwest Arkansas a year after the tornado. 

Janyce Prier after reclaiming her cat, Gus, who was lost in the tornado.
Janyce Prier after reclaiming her cat, Gus, who was lost in the tornado.

The events in Joplin also served as an important reminder for pet parents everywhere. “Fewer than five percent of the animals we rescued after the tornado were micro-chipped,” said Tim Rickey, a Joplin native and Vice President of ASPCA’s Field Investigations and Response team. “We’ve learned that a microchip can be a pet’s only ticket home if they become lost or disaster strikes again.” At Saturday’s event, the ASPCA and JHS provided nearly 200 free microchips or vouchers for microchips, and helped nearly a dozen animals find new homes.

“The Joplin tornado displayed nature at its most destructive, but also people at their most compassionate,” said Matt Bershadker, ASPCA President and CEO. “Even though our approaches to animal protection and rescue have improved in the past five years, we still draw strong inspiration from the commitment and heroism that brought so many of those lost animals and people together.”

Joplin resident Murray Fields in the wake of the tornado, 2011.
Joplin resident Murray Fields in the wake of the tornado, 2011.

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ASPCA Happy Tails: Baskets of Love

At the ASPCA, we know that every animal has a story to tell. Each day, we meet dogs and cats who have been rescued from cruelty, abuse or neglect, but because they can’t speak, we don’t always know where their injuries and ailments come from. Despite this, our expert medical team is adept at giving a voice to these victims—and at making difficult decisions based off of limited information. In the case of one cat named Augustine, the loss of one limb translated into hope for a better life. Here is his Happy Tail. 

ASPCA Happy Tails: Baskets of Love

Augustine arrived at the ASPCA Animal Hospital on February 2. The 11-month-old tabby had been found as a stray in the Bronx, New York, and was suffering from severe wounds on his hind end. Because of the nature of his rescue, we had few clues as to what had happened or why, but our veterinarians knew that they had to act fast. In order to protect Augustine from severe, painful scarring and long-term discomfort, they amputated his left hind leg and also performed a neuter operation. He spent the next week in the hospital recovering, and was then transferred into a temporary foster home where he could receive extra attention and get used to his new anatomy.

ASPCA Happy Tails: Baskets of Love

Around this same time, Jamie B. and his wife, Deborah, were contemplating pet adoption. They had recently lost one of their two beloved cats, 16-year-old Rory, to cancer, and were finally ready to open their heart and home to a new feline friend. Ironically, they passed by the ASPCA’s Mobile Adoption Center in Union Square on their way to the ASPCA Adoption Center on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. There, they spent an hour or so meeting all of the cats, but nothing was clicking. “We were told, however, that there was a sweet young male named Augustine out on the Mobile Adoption truck, and that we could wait for the truck to return and meet him,” Jamie recalls. “So we sat in the lobby of the Adoption Center and waited, watching as happy new owners walked out with excited new pets, wondering whether or not we would soon be joining them.”

Fortunately, their patience paid off: Shortly after the Mobile Adoption vehicle returned, Jamie and Deborah met Augustine and felt that “click” they had been looking for. “Everyone had such great things to say about him—how charming, friendly and loving he was,” Jamie says, “and everyone was right!” After spending less than ten minutes with Augustine in the play room, Jamie and Deborah were certain that the sweet orange kitty was meant for them.

ASPCA Happy Tails: Baskets of Love

Back at their home in Brooklyn, the couple planned to ease Augustine into his new life slowly. They began by setting him up in their bathroom so he could get comfortable before meeting their other cat, ten-year-old Miss Velvet, but the transition was easier than expected and the two cats were eager to meet face to face. It was clear that Augustine was ready to begin his new life as a pet, so the couple gave him a new name to go with it: Baskets.

Jamie says that Baskets did encounter one bump in the road early on, when his leg injury began acting up. “He was showing signs of pain—limping, falling, and biting at the area where his leg used to be. He had been so excited, running around in his new home while still getting used to life on three legs that he hurt himself,” Jamie says. They took him back to the ASPCA Animal Hospital, where veterinarian Dr. Maren Krafchik helped remedy the situation. “She was great—knowledgeable, compassionate and understanding, and she sent us home with some pain meds and followed up with us the next day.”

ASPCA Happy Tails: Baskets of Love

After that, it was smooth sailing for Baskets. Jamie says that he has continued to grow and improve day by day. “In fact, he amazes us with his speed and agility,” he says proudly. “Sure, he’s a little clumsy at times, but aren’t we all?”

We are so happy that Baskets has found the loving home of his dreams. If you would like to help give more animals like Baskets a second chance, please consider making a gift to the ASPCA today.

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Mayor de Blasio Provides Critical Funding to NYC Animal Shelters

Mayor de Blasio Provides Critical Funding to NYC Animal Shelters

The ASPCA is commending Mayor Bill de Blasio for allocating a total of $ 10 million over the next two years to support New York City’s homeless animals. Mayor de Blasio proposed $ 2 million be allocated this year and $ 8 million the following year to create two full-service animal shelters in Queens and the Bronx, giving homeless animals across New York City access to life-saving services and the opportunity to be adopted into loving homes.

“This important funding will go a long way toward helping Animal Care Centers (ACC) deliver a level of care and protection that New York City animals both need and deserve,” said Matt Bershadker, President and CEO of the ASPCA. “In particular, this money may finally bring full-service shelters to the Bronx and Queens, dramatically improving the chances for local animals to get adopted and find safe and loving homes. As longtime supporters of ACC and the city’s vulnerable animals, we thank the Mayor for including the funding in his executive budget.”

Currently in these two boroughs—home to nearly 3.6 million people—dogs and cats are taken in, but soon moved to other boroughs. This adds to the populations in those shelters, and reduces the chances of lost pets from Queens and the Bronx finding their ways back home. The lack of full-service shelters also puts an obstacle in front of potential adopters in Queens and the Bronx, which is unacceptable given the lives at stake.

“The ASPCA’s work with ACC over the past several years to drastically reduce euthanasia rates and increase adoption numbers demonstrate how much we can accomplish for New York City’s homeless animals through diligent work and effective collaboration,” added Bershadker. “We are grateful to Mayor de Blasio for recognizing the value of investing in our sheltering infrastructure and look forward to making the most of this opportunity with the goal of ending animal suffering across the city.”

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A Home to Grow Old In: Thelma’s Happy Tail

It’s no secret that senior pets have a harder time finding a home, and that victims of cruelty are similarly hard-pressed. So when we met Thelma, a Wheaten terrier who is both of those things, we knew that it would take a special kind of adopter to see her potential and take her home. Luckily, it wasn’t long before this sweet dog met Rachel O. and her boyfriend, Sam. Here is Thelma’s long-awaited, much-deserved Happy Tail!

A Home to Grow Old In: Thelma’s Happy Tail

Last August, the ASPCA and the NYPD rescued Thelma from unspeakable cruelty in Brooklyn, New York. At nine years old, the Soft-Coated Wheaten terrier was underweight, undernourished and in fragile mental condition. Not only was she incredibly fearful around people, but she was also suffering from mammary tumors and dental pain resulting from neglect. At the ASPCA Animal Hospital, Thelma underwent an operation to remove the masses—which were fortunately benign—and had to have 12 teeth extracted. She remained in the hospital for nearly two months.

By late September, Thelma had recovered enough to be transferred to the ASPCA Adoption Center to begin her search for a home. We worried that given her age and anxiety, the shy senior dog would have a difficult time finding an adopter. The poor girl had already suffered so much, and we wanted nothing more than for her to wind up in a happy, loving home. Thankfully, we soon met Rachel and Sam.

A Home to Grow Old In: Thelma’s Happy Tail

Rachel and Sam are both avid dog-lovers who grew up with pets. After moving in together last year, the couple quickly decided that it was time for a dog of their own. “We knew how greatly our quality of life would be improved with a canine addition,” Rachel says. She began searching on the Internet, and that’s when she came across Thelma’s photo and bio in the “Adopt a Pet” section of the ASPCA website. “I instantly thought she would be a good fit.”

A Home to Grow Old In: Thelma’s Happy Tail

At the Adoption Center, Rachel says that they were immediately smitten with Thelma. “She was very mellow and sweet,” she recalls. “We knew that she had come from a tough situation, and loved the idea of providing her with a comfortable environment to grow old in.” The couple was also moved by Thelma’s “expressive face” and felt that there was something special about her. “Once we met her, we couldn’t imagine not having her,” Rachel says.  

So it was official: On September 24, after a lifetime of waiting, Thelma was finally going home.

A Home to Grow Old In: Thelma’s Happy Tail

Rachel admits that it took a bit of time for Thelma to adjust to her new life. Given her history, this came as no surprise, but the situation was exacerbated by the fact that Thelma was still on medication from her dental work. “It was a lot of change at once,” Rachel remembers. “We could tell she just wasn’t feeling very good. But as she learned that she was now in a place where she would be fed every day, cared for consistently and loved unconditionally, she showed facets of her personality we had no idea even existed.” As it turns out, there was a playful, goofy dog just beneath Thelma’s shy exterior!

A Home to Grow Old In: Thelma’s Happy Tail

As time went on, Thelma continued to grow by leaps and bounds. Rachel says that she even goes on short runs with Sam, and that when they come home from work, “she literally busts down the door and runs laps back and forth down our building’s hallway.” Now when approached, Thelma wags her fluffy tail, and its rhythmic sound has earned her the nickname “Thumper.”

A Home to Grow Old In: Thelma’s Happy Tail

It’s amazing what a difference a loving family can make, and we hope that Thelma’s story inspires others to open up their heart and home to an older pet. Rachel says, “We know that since Thelma is an older girl, we will not have as much time with her as we would if we had adopted a puppy or young adult. However, she is the perfect fit for us, and it is our hope that we provide her with so many good memories that eventually they are all she remembers.” We’re pretty positive that for this once-neglected dog, Rachel and Sam’s love is the highlight of a lifetime.

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A Safe Bouquet for Mother’s Day

A Safe Bouquet for Mother's Day

Nothing would ruin Mother’s Day faster than a trip to the veterinary emergency room because Mom’s furry friend got into her beautiful bouquet and became sick. Though any plant material can cause some mild stomach upset, there are safer options of flowers for pet parents. Here are some common plants found in bouquets that are considered to be non-toxic:

View our full list of toxic and non-toxic plants to keep your pet safe all year round.

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Baby lemurs make their debut at Philadelphia Zoo

PHILADELPHIA – Four baby black-and-white ruffed lemurs named Maddie, Lincoln, Teddy and Quincy climbed and jumped in their enclosure during their debut at the Philadelphia Zoo on Friday. The lemurs were born at the zoo on Feb. 21. Black-and-white ruffed lemurs get their name from the long thick fur that runs from their ears to their chin. In the wild they live in Madagascar and are a critically endangered species due to poaching and deforestation.
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Sonic Sea screening evidence of good partnerships

Wed, 05/04/2016

We are GRATEFUL to be a part of this evening’s showing in New York of Sonic Sea, a collaborative effort between IFAW, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and Imaginary Forces.

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Sea Lion Goes Shopping at Souvenir Shop

An unusual customer showed up at a souvenir shop in La Jolla, California, recently. A sea lion climbed 145 steps from the beach to browse at The Cave Store just before closing one night last month. Store manager Rachelle Agosti shared photos on Facebook of the animal checking out the store’s trinkets and making a stop at an ice cream freezer. He didn’t buy anything, and returned to the water with Agosti’s guidance. “He wandered around the store for nearly 10 minutes, confused and scared before I got him out the back door, through the garden gate, and heading back to the ocean!” — Read it at Buzzfeed

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Cat Stars in Viral Video for NBA All-Star Bid

The Minnesota Timberwolves want the Internet to vote Karl-Anthony Towns (whose initials are KAT) into the NBA All-Stars. So, what better way to woo the Internet than with a CAT? The team has put out a clever video showing KAT all over the world (or, in front of a green screen) with a gray-and-white cat. Its message is, “KAT and his cat have been all around the world. Now help send them to Toronto.” Toronto, of course, is the site of next month’s All-Star tournament. Voting closes in four days, so we’ll soon see whether KAT’s cat helps his cause. — Read more at SB Nation


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6 Fun Ways to Get Fit With Your Dog

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Who says that exercise must be limited to sweating at your local gym, fighting for the only unoccupied elliptical machine, or failing to keep pace in a spinning class? You can stay in shape — and have fun — by teaming up with a playful workout partner: your dog.

Regular exercise provides pets and people with physical and mental benefits. Exercise releases endorphins, helps maintain proper weight, improves coordination and balance, and it helps improve strength. Plus, studies show that people are more likely to continue with a weight-loss program if they exercise with their pets.

Warming Up

Before starting an exercise program with your pet, book appointments with your doctor and your pet’s veterinarian for complete physical examinations. Discuss the best workout plan for your pet, based on his health, age, body shape and likes and dislikes. After all, your Basset Hound may surprise you with very Retriever-like behaviors by insisting on fetching a tennis ball again and again. Dr. Marty Becker notes, “Remember to allow a few minutes for you and your dog to warm up, increase exercise gradually as fitness improves and always follow exercise programs recommended by your pet’s veterinarian and your doctor.”

Getting Out the Door

Our experts have identified several terrific options for getting fit with your canine pal:

Walking. Progressively work up to 20 to 45 minutes of walking at a brisk pace with your dog every day, if possible. Vary the route to offer new challenges (and new scents), such as hills, bark-filled paths and sandy beaches. Use this time to reinforce basic obedience commands such as “sit” and “down.” Encourage your dog to walk backward and move in a circle to work various muscles and enhance flexibility. If you notice your pup slowing down or lagging behind, return home and shorten the next session. Your dog should always be out in front of you or beside you — not trailing behind. And, be on the lookout for heavy panting or other signs that your partner is working too hard.

Fetching. For dogs that love to chase, find a safe place for them to be unleashed and let them zoom after their favorite ball or other object. Help prevent injuries to your throwing arm by using a ball tosser that can fling the ball farther than you can on your own. Keep your dog’s interest by flinging the object in different directions and to a variety of distances.

Swimming. Exercising in the water offers a good workout for muscles without the jarring impact that is associated with jogging. Seek a clean pool or body of water free of undertows and currents. Make sure your dog always wears a canine life preserver when he’s in the water. When finished, always rinse off your dog with water and a mild dog-safe shampoo.

Hide-and-seek. Reinforce your dog’s recall skills by playing this game indoors or in an enclosed outdoor area. Start by getting your dog in a sit-and-stay position. Then, hide and call your dog by using his name and saying, “Come.” Make a big to-do when he finds you and offer praise and small treats. The goal behind this game is to teach your dog that fun things happen when he heeds the “come” cue.

Agility. Dogs are not the only ones who need to be in shape to participate in this popular obstacle course sport. Their human teammates must also be able to turn, pivot and run while offering hand and verbal signals to their dogs to climb ramps, dash through tunnels, leap through tires and wriggle through weave poles.

Dancing dogs. Whether in the privacy of your living room or before a crowd at a canine musical freestyle competition, doing the cha-cha and other dance steps with your canine dance partner offers a fun workout.

Surprise Benefits

When it comes to making your pet your favorite workout buddy, consider this added bonus: Pets that exercise regularly tend to exhibit fewer behavior problems. “They are less likely to chew shoes, scratch furniture, bark excessively or commit other misdeeds because they have appropriate outlets for their energy,” says Dr. Becker.

Ageless Advice

Dogs of all ages need regular exercise to help keep their heart, lungs, joints and digestive and circulatory systems healthier. As pets get older, however, they often need their owners to modify their activity levels. Consider:

  • Rather than taking your senior dog on one brisk, 30-minute walk, switch to two 15-minute walks at a moderate pace — once in the morning and once in the evening — to be less taxing on his aging joints.
  • Swimming can also be a good exercise for older pets, especially if they have arthritis.

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Firefighters Free Kitten Stuck in Plastic Toy

A fluffy white 4-week-old kitten named Frosty found himself in quite a predicament on Monday night at his foster home in the U.K. His foster family called in fire crews to help after the little guy got his head stuck in a plastic toy. The Dudley Fire department used ring cutters, which are meant to remove a ring stuck from a person’s finger, to free Frosty from the toy, reported the U.K.’s Express and Star. Frosty was then happily reunited with Rebecca, age 5, and Evie, 3, who are helping to care for him. — Read it at People Pets

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5 Reasons an Australian Shepherd Might Be the Right Dog Breed for You

Image: Australian Shepherd AP-1PDD8F 335

A talented and hard-working member of the Herding group, the Australian Shepherd often likes to be busy and usually wants to be a part of whatever you’re doing. Learn more about this dedicated dog and whether he might be the right breed for you.

They’re usually devoted to their humans.

The Aussie is a dog who tends to love his people. Expect him to be as close to you as possible — you may find him sitting on your foot, leaning against your leg or trying to curl up in your lap.

They’re generally super-smart.

Considered one of the smartest dog breeds, the Australian Shepherd usually responds well to training and is capable of learning tricks, commands and games. But you’ll also need to pay attention to him unless you want to find yourself outsmarted. Keep him occupied by giving him jobs to do, such as bringing in the paper.

They’re often energetic.

Most Aussies need an active lifestyle to be happy. Keep him busy with dog sports like agility, flyball, flying disc games, herding trials, obedience and tracking. Or, take him for daily walks, jogs or hikes, provided your vet gives the OK to the exercise regimen.

There are two types of Aussies.

Some Australian Shepherds are bred strictly for their herding talents. Others are bred for the show ring and AKC performance events. The herding dogs tend to be smaller and thinner than show dogs and have shorter coats. Those traits can make them more agile as they move stock, and the shorter coat is less likely to snag on brush.

They can be protective.

If you’re looking for a watchdog, the Australian Shepherd can be a good choice. Like many Herding breeds, the Aussie tends to be wary of strangers. And If he sees anything out of the ordinary, he’ll usually alert you with a bark. But keep in mind that he may not be friendly with everyone he meets, even if he’s had plenty of socialization.

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10 New Year’s Resolutions You Can Make for Your Dog

It may be hard to believe, but once again the time has come to make our New Year’s resolutions. And since many of the promises we make ourselves might eventually fizzle out, we recommend trying something new this year: Make resolutions for your dog!

Whether you need to get back on track with his daily exercise or make that vet appointment you’ve been meaning to schedule, we’ve got plenty of ideas for goals to help your dog have a happier and healthier 2016. And, hey, maybe accomplishing your dog’s resolutions will inspire you to keep yours this year!

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Canine Resolutions to Tackle in 2016
1. Get healthy.: 2. Learn something new.: 3. Do something positive for others.: 4. Discover a new hobby.: 5. Take a trip.: 6. Kick bad habits.: 7. Send an update.: 8. Get a fresh do.: 9. Meet new friends.: 10. Most importantly, go to the doctor.:

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Video: Why Does My Cat… Meow?

Dr. Patty Khuly answers a frequently asked question: “Why does my cat meow at me?”
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4 Common Household Staples That Clean Pet-Stained Carpets

It’s every pet owner’s nightmare: You step into a fresh, wet "accident," and you’re out of your go-to carpet cleaner. Not to worry — there are actually quite a few household staples that work wonders on pet-stained carpeting!

Whether you’re house-training a puppy or caring for a cat who’s having trouble with the litterbox, click through the gallery below to learn which kitchen and laundry room standbys can be used for cleaning urine spots.

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White Vinegar: Club Soda: Baking Soda: Bleach:

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Pet Scoop: Study Finds Genetic Reason Labs Crave Food, Police Department Adopts Dog

May 4, 2016: We’ve scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it’s all right here.

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Study: Labs Genetically Food-Driven

Owners of Labrador Retrievers might not be surprised to hear their lovable dogs are hardwired to be more obsessed with food than other breeds. Researchers found Labs sometimes have a mutation of the POMC gene, which leads to more food-motivated behaviors like begging and scavenging for food. In studying lean versus overweight Labs, they found many of the heavier dogs had a POMC gene that looked “scrambled at the end,” hindering the dog’s ability to produce compounds to switch off hunger after a meal. Not all of the 310 Labs in the study who had the DNA variation were obese, and some who didn’t have the mutation were obese, but the mutation was associated with greater weight. The good news is that these food-motivated dogs might be easier to train, since they respond well to food rewards. In fact, of the 81 assistance Labs in the study, 76 of them had the POMC deletion. “You can keep a dog with this mutation slim, but you have to be a lot more on-the-ball … you have to be more resistant to your dog giving you the big brown eyes,” said study co-author Eleanor Raffan, a veterinary surgeon and geneticist at the University of Cambridge. The study was published in the journal Cell Metabolism. — Read it at Discovery News

Rare Wallaby Joey Surprises Keepers

Keepers at the Taronga Zoo in Australia were delighted to see an endangered brush-tailed rock wallaby joey peeking out of its mom’s pouch, more than a year after its father had left the zoo. “We weren’t planning for another joey, so it was quite a shock when we started seeing something moving inside the pouch,” said keeper Tony Britt-Lewis. The birth is the result of embryonic diapause, a phenomenon that enables some mammals to extend their gestation period and time the birth of their young. The joey appears to be healthy and about 6 months old, but the keepers don’t yet know its gender. — See photos at Zooborns

Scientists Say Cheetah Estimates Are “Guesswork”

A new study finds that the population of the cheetah stronghold in Maasai Mara, Kenya, is lower than previously thought. The authors say current estimates on the number of cheetahs in the wild are “guesswork” given the difficulty of counting them accurately. A team of scientists has now developed a new method to count them. During a three-month period, the researchers extensively covered the area and photographed each cheetah they saw to identify them based on their unique coat. As a result, their estimate for the number of cheetahs in the Maasai Mara was about half of previous estimates. They argue that accurate numbers are vital to conservation efforts. The study was published in the journal PLOS ONE. — Read it at Science Daily

Image: Ohio police department adopts dog


Police Adopt Stray Dog

In March, police in Kirtland, Ohio, found a stray dog and “tried to find the owner of this marvelous animal to no avail,” the police department wrote on Facebook. They didn’t want to send the dog elsewhere to be adopted — and now they’ve decided to give him a permanent home themselves. “With the permission of the Chief and the Mayor, JD has been adopted by the Kirtland Police Association but they also share the warmth this stoic animal has brought with City Hall and the Fire Department,” the post reads. JD, short for John Doe Dog, “fit into the environment as though he were here always. We are happy to have him in our department and our lives. He loves everyone and we love him.” — Read it at People Pets

Kitten and Cop Have Matching Mustaches

JD isn’t the only animal to find a new home thanks to law enforcement. In Spartanburg, South Carolina, a police officer with a soft spot for animals has made a tiny kitten his partner. “Another officer had found her in the rain under a trash dumpster and brought her into the department,” said Officer Cody Garrett, 28. “I offered to take her because I have another rescue at home who is currently nursing her four kittens.” Now, a selfie Garrett shared on Instagram of Squirt perched on his shoulder in his patrol car — with the two sporting matching mustaches — has gone viral. Squirt joined seven other pets at the animal-loving officer’s home. — Read it at ABC News
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Serena Williams Mourns the Loss of Her Beloved Jack Russell Terrier

After spending nearly half of her life with her beloved Jackie, heartbroken tennis star Serena Williams shared an emotional tribute to her 16-year-old dog on Instagram. Williams said she was 17 when she brought the Jack Russell Terrier home, just two weeks before she won her first Grand Slam. “She had a way of telling me it was time for me to be brave and let her go. With my dad by my side we were able to say a loving goodbye … I feel so lucky to have such a special friend. Give your dog, cat, pet a big hug,” she posted Tuesday, with several photos of Jackie. Condolences have been pouring in from her followers. — Read it at People Pets
 
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The Honest Kitchen Embark Grain Free Turkey Dog Food

The Honest Kitchen Embark is excellent for dogs that require a low carbohydrate or gluten free dog food. It is suitable for all life stages ranging from puppies to adult dogs. Embark Grain Free Turkey Dog Food is high in protein and fat, plus it is created with high-quality ingredients such as apples, spinach, celery […]
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You NEED To Hear This Husky Testing Out His Vocal Cords

This little Husky has a LOT to say, and we’re all ears because it is adorable.
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Check Out PETA’s Life-Changing iPhone App

Check Out PETA’s Life-Changing iPhone App

You love animals, and you love your phone. Combine the two, and what do you get? The easiest way to take action in PETA’s campaigns and the single greatest tool in the history of animal rights—PETA’s iPhone/iPad app!

Got one minute to spare? Ask retailers to stop selling animal skins, tell the circus to get out of your town, and even demand that the U.S. Department of Agriculture pay attention. Yup, it’s that easy!

Check out this video and see just how powerfully effective—and simple—it is:

But if you’re still not convinced, just take a look at what people are saying:

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PETA’s app is a quick, easy, and extremely effective way to help animals. Get it now!

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PETA Statement: SeaWorld’s Earnings Confirm That Orca Prisons Are Sinking the Ship

PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman released the following statement regarding SeaWorld’s quarterly earnings, released this morning:

It’s crystal clear that the overwhelming majority of the public opposes the use and abuse of captive wild animals for entertainment. If SeaWorld is to stay afloat, it must do more than end its orca-breeding program—it must now build seaside sanctuaries where the orcas can live in penned-off areas in the ocean while under the stewardship of humans, offering them adequate space in which to swim and dive, novel and dynamic natural elements, the possibility of communicating with wild orcas, the chance to learn how to hunt, and the freedom to make choices. SeaWorld’s CEO has stated that it’s now apparent that the choice is “either a SeaWorld without whales or a world without SeaWorld,” and PETA wants the orcas out now, not after 40 years of continued captivity.

PETA’s motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment.” For more information, please visit SeaWorldOfHurt.com.

The post PETA Statement: SeaWorld’s Earnings Confirm That Orca Prisons Are Sinking the Ship appeared first on PETA.

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Pet Scoop: Boaters Save Dog From Gulf of Mexico, Officer Rescues Puppy From Tunnel

May 5, 2016: We’ve scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it’s all right here.

Image: Dog saved from Gulf


Overboard Terrier Found

A lucky Jack Russell Terrier was reunited with his owner on Sunday, thanks to two couples celebrating birthdays on a boat in the Gulf of Mexico. They were about five miles offshore when Bruce Knecht spotted something in the water. At first he thought it was a buoy, but when they got closer, they realized it was a dog wearing an animal life vest. The little dog swam right toward the boat after they got closer, and Michael Sahr pulled him on board. "It’s like a needle in a haystack and the waves were pretty choppy," he said. The boaters radioed the Coast Guard and discovered that someone had reported a dog overboard three hours earlier. The owner had apparently gone down to the ship’s hull to check something, and when he came back up, the dog was missing. The Sahrs and Knechts brought the pooch to the Coast Guard station, and witnessed the emotional reunion between Jagermeister and his owner. "He had tears. He said, ‘I had given up. I had searched as long as I could and we just couldn’t see him, and we just thought we lost him,’" said Shawn Sahr. The boaters agreed the life vest had saved the dog’s life. — Watch it at Tampa’s Fox 13

Leopards Found to Be More Vulnerable Than Thought

A new study suggests that leopards have lost up to 75 percent of their historical range since 1750. The research, in part, prompted the International Union for the Conservation of Nature to recommend they be reclassified as “vulnerable” because stronger conservation efforts are needed. Many wildlife experts previously thought they were relatively abundant in the wild because they’re reclusive and adapt well. Humans pose the primary threat to leopards, because of their destruction of the animals’ habitat, hunting of animals the leopards prey on and revenge killings by farmers, among other threats. The study was published in the journal PeerJ. — Read it at The New York Times

Study Shows Why We Call Family Members by the Dog’s Name

It’s common for people to call friends by other friends’ names, or family members by other family members’ names — including the name of the family dog. Why? “It’s a cognitive mistake we make, which reveals something about who we consider to be in our group,” says Duke University psychology and neuroscience professor David Rubin, one of the study authors. “It’s not just random.” Lead author and PhD student Samantha Deffler said the study “does seem to add to evidence about the special relationship between people and dogs.” The slip of the tongue didn’t happen with other pets. “The dog’s name seems to become more integrated with people’s conceptions of their families,” Deffler said. The study was published in the journal Memory and Cognition. — Read it at Futurity

Image: Officer saves puppy from culvert


Officer Rescues Pup From Culvert

A Good Samaritan in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, called the police for help on Saturday when a lost puppy got trapped in the culvert she ran into when she was frightened by a passing car. Police Officer Joseph Brazil didn’t waste any time. He took off his shoes and rolled up his pants to wade inside the tunnel and save the 5-month-old Yorkshire Terrier and Shih Tzu mix, who was “clinging to the side and just shaking,” Brazil said. The woman who called for help, Peggy Edwards, caught a sweet photo of Brazil holding the puppy as they emerged from the tunnel, and shared it on Facebook to thank him. “He went in without hesitation and came out with a very wet, scared little dog. Great guy, Lucky dog. We are very happy he was able to save the little gal,” Edwards wrote. Cece was later happily reunited with her relieved owner, who said she’d just gotten the puppy and she escaped from a back door. — Read it at Rhode Island’s Turn to 10

Bloodhound Tracks Down Missing 89-Year-Old

Connecticut State Trooper Kerry Halligan and her 2-year-old Bloodhound, Texas, were called in to help locate an 89-year-old woman with Alzheimer’s disease who went missing from her home on Sunday night. Thankfully, Texas and Halligan located the woman in thick brush about a quarter mile from her home, after about 40 minutes of searching. She was transported to a local hospital by ambulance to be evaluated. — Read it at NBC Connecticut

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A dog who was wearing a life vest was rescued from the Gulf of Mexico three hours after he went overboard.
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Smart Girl Lorin Hancock of World Wildlife Fund Makes Every Day Earth Day, and You Can Too!


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Devastating: Scientists say the Great Barrier Reef is experiencing its worst coral bleaching event on record

Coral bleaching on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef appears to be far worse than originally thought, according to one of the world’s leading coral reef scientists.

The Reef’s most pristine northern section now has been 95% bleached, according to a survey undertaken by Professor Terry Hughes. Professor Hughes has said that huge levels of bleaching have occurred in the top 1,000 kilometers of the World Heritage-listed Reef.

“This will change the Great Barrier Reef forever,” Professor Hughes told the ABC. “It’s too early to tell precisely how many of the bleached coral will die, but judging from the extreme level even the most robust corals are snow white, I’d expect to see about half of those corals die in the coming month or so.”

“Imagine the public outcry if the Amazon rainforest turned snow white because of climate change. That’s essentially what we are seeing on the Great Barrier Reef,” said World Wildlife Fund Senior Scientist Gabby Ahmadia. “It’s just that it’s taking place underwater.”

“Widespread bleaching events like this one are an ominous reminder that the effects of climate change are already here,” Ahmadia added. “When you lose large parts of the foundation of the reef ecosystem, you’re bound to see biological repercussions across a huge swath of the local aquatic community.”

“We call on Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to travel to the Great Barrier Reef, so he can see for himself why his government needs to show real leadership on climate change,” said WWF-Australia CEO Dermot O’Gorman. “The Prime Minister cannot allow his Government to continue its complacency on climate change, or on action to protect the Reef from pollution.”

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5 remarkable animal moms

It’s important to remember humans aren’t the only ones who take extraordinary steps to protect, nurture and raise their young. The animal kingdom is flush with moms that take the time to teach their babies how to find food and protect themselves against the elements. Here’s a look at five outstanding animal mothers going the extra mile for their young:


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An Amazing 103 Wild Tigers Counted in Bhutan

Bhutan is home to an amazing 103 wild tigers—an increase from a previous estimate of 75 that was not based on actual field surveys—according to the country’s first-ever tiger survey released on Global Tiger Day.

Conducted entirely by Bhutanese scientists, the survey spanned habitats ranging from snowy, cold mountains in the north—where both tigers and snow leopards roam wild—down to dense, subtropical forests in the south. Tigers are identified by the pattern of their stripes, which are much like human fingerprints in being unique to each individual. WWF worked closely with the government of Bhutan to provide technical support and funds for the count.

Counting on conservation
Bhutan is the most recent country to conduct a survey of its wild tigers. India, Russia and Nepal have all conducted national tiger surveys and reported encouraging increases in tiger numbers on previous estimates. Bhutan’s results come days after Bangladesh released the results from its first national tiger survey. While Bangladesh announced a lower figure than its previous estimate, tiger experts believe earlier numbers were over-estimated and applaud the country’s first systematic tiger survey.

“This is a critical milestone in the global effort to save tigers,” said WWF’s Barney Long, director of species conservation. “Bhutan is one of only 13 tiger range countries, and knowing how many tigers exist is the first step towards effectively protecting them. We applaud Bhutan’s efforts to set this tiger population baseline.”

This year, experts from Malaysia suggested that tiger numbers have fallen from their previous estimate of 500 in 2010 to as few as 250 individuals, which can only be confirmed through rigorous surveys in the field. There are thought to be no breeding populations of tigers in Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos, and tiger numbers are unknown for Indonesia, Thailand and Myanmar.

As few as 3,200
Poaching and habitat loss threatens the last of the wild tigers in many Southeast Asian countries, from Myanmar to Indonesia. If these countries don’t act now, they could lose their tigers forever. And the first step in protecting these magnificent animals is to count them and determine where they live.

Tiger surveys are expensive, labor intensive and often take place in difficult terrain with challenging weather conditions. All these factors are barriers to governments completing the work. However, the returns outweigh the investment and NGOs are willing to work with governments to share technical expertise and explore potential funding sources.

WWF calls on the remaining tiger countries to count wild tigers as a critical step in monitoring progress toward the Tx2 goal to double the number of wild tigers worldwide by 2022.

There is hope
Government officials in Thailand are meeting to assess the status of wild tigers. The Malaysian government recently announced the country will conduct its first national tiger survey. And with WWF’s support, the Cambodian government plans to reintroduce tigers in the Eastern Plains landscape.


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The Humane Society of the United States Urges Vote on Ivory Ban Bill and Applauds Senator Duff for Shining Spotlight on Cruelty of Trophy Hunting

A coalition led by The Humane Society of the United States applauds efforts for a ban on sales of ivory in Connecticut. HB 5578 has 30 co-sponsors, including Rep. Phil Miller, D-36, and Sen. Marilyn Moore, D-22, who are leading the charge in helping to fight the rampant poaching of elephants and rhinos by ensuring that Connecticut does not play a role in the ivory rhino horn trafficking crisis.
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How to Teach a Puppy to Walk on a Leash

A dog-training expert offers tips for owners on leash-training your puppy and troubleshooting potential problems along the way.
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Are They Playing or Fighting? A Guide to Evaluating Rough Pup Play

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Kennel Cough Symptoms, Treatment, and Prevention

Learn about the common canine condition kennel cough, including symptoms, how it’s treated, and how to prevent it.
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`Gods, Ghosts, And Black Dogs’ Offers Enthralling Mix Of Dog Folk Tales

For Picks Of The Litter, a regular book review series, Ranny Green critiques “Gods, Ghosts, and Black Dogs: The Fascinating Folklore and Mythology of Dogs.”
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4th Grader with Cerebral Palsy Leans On His Great Dane Service Dog

Hunter VanBrocklin, an active 10-year-old with cerebral palsy, relies on his Great Dane, Wendy, to live a life as close to normal as possible.
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Congressional Resolution Designates May 1st as National Purebred Dog Day

The day highlights the crucial role that purebred dogs and breeders of purebred dogs have played in United States history and spotlights the many ways purebred dogs have served U.S. citizens.
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PetSmart® and Arizona Diamondbacks Team Up to Set GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ Title for Most Dogs Attending a Sporting Event

1,000-Plus Dogs Expected at Chase Field for D-backs vs. Rockies Game This Sunday       WHAT: PetSmart, the Arizona Diamondbacks, Nylabone® and AvoDerm® Natural Pet Foods have teamed up with D-backs fans to set a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title for the most dogs attending a sporting event — 1,000 dogs needed to set world record. The attempt will be officiated by a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS adjudicator and takes place Sun., May 1, when the D-backs host the Colorado Rockies. This Sunday is also the national kick-off of Bark at the Park, a traveling 12 game dog-friendly program where dog-loving fans can bring their best friends to a baseball game at stadiums across …
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Reward Offered in Rockingham County, North Carolina Cat Cruelty Case

The Humane Society of the United States is offering a reward of up to $ 5,000 for information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the deaths of cats found in Madison, North Carolina, and other county locations.
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Drew Barrymore Honored at ASPCA Bergh Ball

Drew Barrymore Honored at ASPCA Bergh Ball
Drew Barrymore and Martha Stewart

The ASPCA was excited to honor esteemed actress and humanitarian Drew Barrymore at its 19th Annual Bergh Ball on Thursday, April 14, at the Plaza Hotel. Emceed by two-time Tony Award winner Nathan Lane, the event raised nearly $ 1.4 million for the continued efforts to improve the lives of animals nationwide. The annual black-tie gala featured music by Grammy award winning musician and producer Mark Ronson while guests celebrated the ASPCA’s 150th anniversary.

After a glowing introduction from ASPCA President and CEO Matt Bershadker, business woman, author and TV personality Martha Stewart presented Barrymore with the ASPCA Compassion Award, which recognizes noteworthy individuals in entertainment and the arts who have made outstanding contributions to animal welfare.

DJ Mark Ronson
DJ Mark Ronson

In her acceptance speech, Barrymore shared her thanks for being recognized by the ASPCA for her hard work to give animals better lives, which started when she was 19 years old. She spoke about writing her latest book, Wildflower, and the hardest chapter to write was the one about her adopted dog because she was writing through tears.

“You have a relationship with pets that is unspoken; it is without words. And sure we could all deal with a little less words in a relationships sometimes. We should just follow the dogs!” Barrymore joked. “There is such profoundness in connectivity and energy and altruism that we have with our animals, especially rescue animals, and they feel it back. And there is some level of symbiotic gratitude because you do save each other.”

Left, Drew Barrymore and Matt Bershadker. Right, Nathan Lane.
Left, Drew Barrymore and Matt Bershadker. Right, Nathan Lane.

The Bergh Ball is a cornerstone of the ASPCA’s fundraising efforts to directly impact the lives of homeless, abused and neglected animals across the country. Sotheby’s senior auctioneer C. Hugh Hildesly hosted the live auction portion of the evening, which featured several high-end items and experiences, including a trip to Turks and Caicos, which sold to Barrymore and two other lucky supporters, and a Chopard watch. Generous support for the 2016 ASPCA Bergh Ball was provided by Chopard.

Thanks to everyone who attended and supported, and congratulations to our 2016 award recipient!

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Putting Muscle Behind the Animal Welfare Mission

Putting Muscle Behind the Animal Welfare Mission

By ASPCA President & CEO Matt Bershadker

Large-scale animal cruelty—like the kind you find in puppy mills and animal fighting—is not just illegal; it’s unfathomable. Because of this, it’s tempting to see these crimes as rare and isolated, and disassociated from human-on-human crimes.

Sadly, our work tells a different story. In the first four months of 2016 alone, the ASPCA has participated in no fewer than eight large-scale animal cruelty cases, involving more than 1,000 animals.

They include a January rescue of over 700 animals in North Carolina, a February rescue of 52 dogs in Florida, a March rescue of 24 dogs in Georgia, and April rescues of 45 dogs in Ohio, 64 dogs in Illinois and Iowa, and nearly 50 dogs in Wisconsin.

Each of these cases involved different situations and participants, but two things they have in common are victimized animals and dedicated action from local law enforcement.

That second part—law enforcement action—is critical, and we’re happy to see local agencies not only stepping up case-by-case, but forming their own concentrated animal cruelty divisions and task forces.

Some model examples:

What’s clear is that strong animal cruelty laws and dedicated enforcement go hand in hand with the elevation of public attitudes about the seriousness of these crimes. Each inspires and activates the other, and both are necessary to effectively tackle this problem.

You can help by being aware of and reporting possible signs of animal fighting and abuse in your communities, by tracking important legislation on the state and federal levels, and by refusing to purchase anything at pet stores that sell animals, which only feeds the market for puppy mill dogs.

If you think loud voices and strong law enforcement can’t make a significant change in society’s views, consider our contemporary stances on drunk driving, domestic violence, and bullying – three offenses that transformed from passively prosecuted, lesser crimes to movements with stronger police participation and clear-cut cultural rejection.

This gathering of efforts—from government agencies, rescue organizations, and members of the community—reveal a similar roadmap for the future animal welfare. We will hopefully follow it to a time and place where animal cruelty is finally seen by everyone as the deep stain on our national character it truly is. 

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Guess Who Isn’t Covered By Obamacare?

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Federal court rejects U.S. plan for restoring embattled Northwest salmon

By Eric M. Johnson SEATTLE (Reuters) – The U.S. government’s latest plan for offsetting the harm to migrating salmon from a series of dams in the Columbia River watershed violates the Endangered Species Act, a federal judge ruled on Wednesday. The ruling in a case stretching back 15 years marks a victory for environmental advocates, the Nez Perce Tribe, anglers and others who sued government agencies over their plan for aiding salmon and steelhead that travel between the Pacific Ocean and the upper reaches of the inland Northwest. The battle is centered on how the dams the federal government says generate electric power crucial for the region effects the more than a dozen groups of salmonids that are listed as endangered or threatened under U.S. law that must traverse the barriers along their arduous path to reproduce.
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WATCH: Six Russian bear cubs progress to open air enclosure

Wed, 05/04/2016

Now that the bear cubs have made the transition from bottle feeding to eating from a bowl and the temperatures are milder in Russia, they’re ready to move to a new phase of life in the open-air enclosure.

Before the move the bear cubs were bathed, which was much needed after the long arduous process of training them to eat porridge out of bowls.

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Hawaii says “No More!” to wildlife traffickers

Wed, 05/04/2016

Hawaii was likely the biggest remaining market in the US ivory trade, and passage of this bill means that the top three markets are now crossed off the board.The Hawaii legislature has just passed a bill to restrict sales of ivory and other wildlife products from imperiled species, making it the f

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Sneak Peek of Super Bowl Ads Starring Animals

We’re all friends here, so we have a confession to make: We’re really attending Super Bowl parties only for the commercials and the snacks. Whew. Glad we could get that off our chest.

If you’re like us and had to be reminded of who’s playing — the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers, by the way — then you’ve probably accepted that you’re in it for the ads. And here at Vetstreet, the ads we love most are the ones featuring animals! Check out our roundup below for a sneak peek at the commercials that we’re most excited to see on the small screen Sunday.

Heinz: "Wiener Stampede"

Of all the ads we’re about to show you, we think this one is getting the most hype — and deservedly so. Filming a jolly pack of Dachshunds dressed in hot dog costumes dashing across a meadow is pure gold. Mashable reports that a shorter version will run during the third quarter of the Super Bowl, but you can watch the extended cut here.

Honda: "A New Truck to Love"

If you’ve ever watched a Super Bowl, you know there’s never a shortage of car commercials. Still, we can’t help but think that this spot from Honda will stand out on the lot. Singing sheep? A Herding dog narrator? With all these animals, what’s not to love?

Marmot: "Meet the Marmot Soon"

This teaser from outdoor gear company Marmot really piques our interest. There’s not much to go on with just 15 seconds of a campfire scene, but color us intrigued. We’re interested to see what direction this ad takes when it broadcasts during the big game. 

Doritos: "Doritos Dogs"

We can’t say for sure whether this Doritos ad will run during the Super Bowl, but we’re crossing our fingers! It’s one of three finalists in Doritos’ famous Crash the Super Bowl contest, which is celebrating its final chapter this year, according to AdWeek. For beating out 4,500 other fan-submitted ads, the creators of the winning commercial will receive $ 1 million and the bragging rights of their submission airing during Super Bowl 50. Obviously, we’re rooting for the "Doritos Dogs" to follow in the footsteps of 2012’s winning Doritos ad featuring Huff the Great Dane.

Subaru: "Puppy"

OK, so technically this commercial won’t air during the actual Super Bowl, but it’s so cute that we had to include it here! You’ll thank us after you watch it. It’s one of five new ads in Subaru’s "Dog Tested. Dog Approved." campaign — and all five commercials will play during the Puppy Bowl XII broadcast on Animal Planet. Now excuse us while we go grab some tissues!
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Ellen DeGeneres Names New Puppy “Kid”

Headlines flooded social media Thursday with comedian Ellen DeGeneres’ news that she and her wife Portia De Rossi had adopted a 9-week-old “kid.” But it quickly became clear that the new addition was actually a puppy — who they named Kid. “I named him Kid because, ya know, people, there have been rumors forever. When are you and Portia gonna have a kid?” DeGeneres joked on her talk show. “So, now I can say we have a Kid. So it can just stop.” Still, it sounds like DeGeneres has had plenty of sleepless nights, much like she really does have a kid. Luckily, Kid fits right in with the couple’s two older dogs, Augie and Wolf. — Read more at People Pets
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Contact Lenses for Dogs? 5 Eye Procedures That May Help Make Your Dog’s Life Better

Image: Dog getting eye exam ThinkstockPhotos-500947663 335

Dogs may not be able to read eye charts (yet). But there are times when dogs may need a visit to a veterinary ophthalmologist for expert care. Check out some of the ways these board-certified specialists provide help for canine eyes. 

1. Eye Lens Replacement to Help Restore Vision

Dogs can develop cataracts, or an abnormal opacity in the lens inside the eye, due to factors such as diabetes, genetics or aging. More common in dogs than cats, cataracts can appear in one or both eyes and seriously impair vision. 
Removal of the cataract can improve a dog’s ability to see, according to Dr. Dennis Olivero, a board-certified veterinary ophthalmologist in Minneapolis, MN.
If tests show that the retina, or nerve layer in the back of the eye, is healthy, surgery can be performed. Once the cataract is removed, an artificial lens can often be implanted. With that, many dogs can recover about 90 percent of their vision.

2. Canine Contact Lenses to Protect the Eye

Unlike their human friends, dogs aren’t usually prescribed contacts to correct vision — though they can have that benefit.
“Contact lenses are often used as a bandage for dogs that have slow-healing ulcers,” according to Dr. Olivero. Corneal ulcers are open sores on the clear outer surface of the eye. Because the cornea contains numerous nerve endings, ulcers can be extremely painful. Often, ulcers can take weeks to heal, and if left untreated, they can become infected or lead to a perforation, which requires surgical repair.  
That’s where a contact lens made specifically for dogs comes in. “The lens provides comfort, keeps the lids from rubbing over the open area and may help hold water-soluble antibiotic eye drops over the ulcerated area,” says Dr. Olivero. The lenses don’t include power correction so they have no impact on vision. 
There are a few cases, however, where contact lenses may be used to correct vision. For example, some dogs with cataracts may be unable to have a lens implant due to genetics or other eye conditions. Although cataract removal offers better vision than blindness, “studies show that dogs with no lenses are farsighted and have relatively poor near vision,” says Dr. Olivero. While most dogs can learn to adjust for the farsightedness, in select cases, a contact lens may provide some vision correction.

3. Eyelid Surgery to Remove Tumors 

Many older dogs develop tumors on their eyelids. Although the tumors are generally benign, they can rub against the eye and cause irritation, redness and discharge. Owners are often hesitant to do anything because they worry about anesthesia risks in older pets. 

The good news is that often, these tumors can be removed without hospitalization and general anesthesia. The protocol involves giving a sedative (instead of total or general anesthesia), using a nerve block to numb the eyelid and freezing the tumor with liquid nitrogen to remove it, according to Dr. Olivero. “This requires about 30 minutes and is done on an outpatient basis.” The vast majority of small to medium tumors that are removed this way never recur.

4. Eye Prosthetics for Blind Dogs

Some chronic eye conditions, such as severe glaucoma, infections and cancerous tumors can be painful and may result in blindness. If the eye is not amenable to medical therapy, removal of the eye may be an option to help relieve pain. Often, an implant is placed in the eye socket and the eyelids are permanently closed over the implant.
If there’s no tumor or serious infection in the eye, an artificial eye may provide a more natural appearance. “The eye tracks with the other eye, blinks with the other eye and looks close to normal,” says Dr. Olivero. While it doesn’t restore vision, it helps relieve the pain. “Most dogs are medication-free and comfortable after a month,” he adds.

5. Eyelash Removal to Help With Eye Irritation

While some breeds, like Cocker Spaniels, are famous for their long eyelashes, in other cases, eyelashes can be problematic. Distichiasis, a common condition in dogs, occurs when eyelashes grow toward the surface of the eye and rub against it. 
If the lashes are soft, there may be no irritation. “Dogs that have stiff eyelashes will usually need treatment because of chronic irritation to the cornea,” says Dr. Olivero. “The hair follicle is treated by freezing it with liquid nitrogen and the lash is then removed,” he adds.

Do you have any concerns about your pet’s eyes? If so, talk to your veterinarian, who may refer you to  a board-certified veterinary ophthalmologist. While pets may not be getting prescription eyeglasses any time soon, a lot can be done to help support your dog’s vision and eye health and improve his quality of life.

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Most Common Obese Exotic Pets: No. 1 Parrots

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Does Polly want a cracker? Maybe. But should Polly have a cracker? The answer is no. Polly, like many pet birds and other types of exotic pets, is prone to obesity. With little exercise and too much time to sit around and eat out of boredom, too many captive animals become overweight. With the extra pounds, these animals, like overweight people, can develop numerous health problems. The battle against the bulge has become the litany not only of physicians but also of veterinarians across the U.S., and it’s not a problem limited to pet dogs and cats. Species of all kinds can suffer from being fat, and as an exotic animal veterinarian, I constantly tell my patients’ owners to increase their pets’ exercise and limit their junk food consumption. As everyone tries to make good on their resolutions for a happier, healthier life in the New Year, let’s not forget our exotic friends. This week, we’ll look at the top five species I treat for obesity.

In my weeklong countdown, No. 1 for today are parrots!

The Feathered Shouldn’t be Fat

Many bird species, particularly Amazon parrots, African gray parrots, budgerigars and Quaker parrots, tend to gain weight, especially as they age. Their sedentary lifestyles; lack of purposeful activity; and consumption of high-fat, often all-seed diets lead them to overeat and gain weight. The problem is worse in birds as they reach their late teens and 20s and hard to correct unless their owners are willing to change their pets’ diets and encourage them to exercise. Like obese people, these obese birds are prone to developing significant, often life-threatening health problems, such as atherosclerosis (the deposition of cholesterol within major blood vessels exiting the heart that can obstruct blood flow, predisposing to heart attacks, and break off, blocking oxygen delivery to tissues and leading to strokes). In addition to circulatory issues, obese birds can develop joint problems, such as arthritis, from the stress of extra weight on the joints, and metabolic problems, such as fatty liver disease and diabetes.

To help combat obesity in their pets, bird owners must convert their pets to a predominantly pelleted diet, supplemented with some fresh produce and little to no seed, and increase their birds’ exercise level by allowing them to fly around the house or at least to walk around and flap if their wings are clipped. Weight loss in birds should be a slow and gradual process, and good eating and exercise habits must be maintained lifelong, or weight gain will recur, just as it does in people. It’s often hard to tell just by looking at birds if they have gained or lost weight as they can fluff up their feathers and look “big” even though they might be thin. Weighing birds on a scale that measures in one-gram increments is the best way to monitor weight gain or loss. For help with this and before starting any diet or exercise plan with your feathered friend, be sure to consult with your veterinarian first, so you know how to help your pet bird lose weight safely. 

Tomorrow: hefty hedgehogs!

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Orphaned Puppy Adopted Into Litter of Cats

A tiny Chihuahua puppy was just days old when his mom was fatally hit by a car in Detroit. Bobby was taken in by the Michigan Humane Society, which quickly found a surrogate mom for the orphan: a new mama cat who was nursing her litter. The puppy fit right in with his new mom, Gwen, and siblings. The young family is living with a foster family, where they’ll get the care they need. Once he starts eating solid food, Bobby will head to a new foster home with other dogs so he can be socialized. He and his littermates will all be available for adoption when they’re big enough. — Learn more at the Detroit Free Press

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