I get an astounding number of messages in my inbox each week about animals. Some are story pitches, questions about pets, new product announcements and warnings about pet food recalls. This is just a sampling.
Canine cannabis: A Los Angeles veterinarian has come out in support of giving terminally ill dogs medical marijuana to relieve pain in their final months of life.
Vet Guru veterinarian Doug Kramer said the active ingredient in pot, THC, won’t cure any disease, but could help an animal feel better before succumbing to its illness.
Other vets warn that the toxicity levels in marijuana could do more harm than good. They say without long-term studies, testimonials from people who feed their pets marijuana are anecdotal. There are many reports of pets dying from overdoses of the drug.
Beacon Journal pet expert Dr. Elizabeth Feltes from the Animal Behavior Clinic of Northeast Ohio weighed in on the topic:
“I am a firm believer that there are many ‘on-label’ anti-inflammatory and analgesic medications, and before veterinarians reach for ‘extra-label’ medications the former should be exhausted. Too many complications and side effects are at risk with the use of marijuana in pets in my opinion,” she wrote.
Kramer reportedly has personal experience with using the drug, claiming it gave him six extra weeks with his Siberian husky before he had to euthanize her.
While some may commend Kramer for his fearless approach to end his dog’s suffering, it should be noted that his volunteer services are no longer welcome in some clinics because of negative response to his unorthodox position.
Do not feed bears: Young male black bears have been spotted locally in recent weeks. It goes without saying — don’t feed or approach them — just enjoy the view while it lasts. Bears are usually fearful of people and don’t attack unless they feel threatened.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources offers these safety tips if you encounter a bear: Do not run (you can’t outrun a bear whose brain has clicked into “chase prey” mode.) Warn the bear in a calm, firm voice that you are near (startling a bear is never a good idea). Step aside and slowly back away. Leave space between you and the bear so it does not feel threatened. Raise your hands above your head to appear larger if the bear approaches. Clap your hands and shout to scare the bear away. Exit the area.
Feeding raw: Lots of you have expressed an interest in the raw pet food movement. A cautionary note: Feeding your animals a raw diet requires a great deal of research and education. The process is more involved than throwing a chicken neck or a hunk of hamburger at your animal. To ensure your pet gets the nutrition it needs to survive, read what other pet owners and experts are saying.
National Veterinary Cancer Registry: Pets (particularly dogs) get many of the same types of cancers that humans do. Dr. Theresa Fossum, executive director of the Texas A&M Institute for Pre-clinical studies, has founded the online registry to identify and register pets diagnosed with cancer to share information and stories.
The national forum will help to spread information about the disease through newsletters and stories. The point of the registry is to advance the science of cancer treatments and dramatically improve the quality of life for pets and humans suffering with cancer.
To learn more about the program and/or register your pet, visit www.nationalveterinarycancer registry.org/about-pet-cancer.
Paw Pods: Billed as eco-friendly biodegradable burial pods, this organic burial system makes cardboard pet caskets a thing of the past. The pods, made from bamboo and rice husks, range in price from $19.95 to $199.99. They come with a sympathy card and seeded leaf that can be planted over the burial site to produce flowers as a memorial to your loved one. For more information or to purchase a pet pod, visit www.PawPods.com on the Web.
Kathy Antoniotti writes about pets for the Akron Beacon Journal. She is unable to help locate, place or provide medical attention for an individual animal. If you have an idea or question about pets, write her at the Beacon Journal, P.O. Box 640, Akron, OH 44309-0640; call 330-996-3565; or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.