Sunday, March 30, 2008

Waldi Update

Just an update for interested parties: Our new dachshund, Waldi (history and pictures posted here), is doing fantastic. Though he will always be smaller than the average mini dachshund, he is doing great! He turned 6 months old this month (and now weighs almost 7 pounds!), and it is amazing to compare the pictures of him from then!

Bat Spy

No matter who technological we get, it seems we still can't do better than what was created first and end up returning to it.
Sensors for Bat-inspired Spy Plane Under Development

Derby Contenders Getting Ready

This year's Kentucky Derby is fast approaching. Here is a short article about some of the preparations that are taking place.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Don't Let Your Dogs Attack

My legally minded brother forwarded this on: Dog owners have responsibility to stop attacks, court says.

"Texas' "first free bite" rule — allowing dog owners to escape most legal liability if a previously gentle dog attacks — does not free owners from the responsibility of stopping an attack once it begins, the Texas Supreme Court ruled Friday.

The unanimous and emphatic opinion reversed two lower courts, which ruled that Genevia Bushnell could not sue the owner of three dogs that attacked her in Fredericksburg in 2001, leaving wounds on her legs, arms and back that took more than two years to heal.

"We're ecstatic at the result," said Bruce Bennett, Bushnell's Austin-based appellate lawyer. "It's your dog, you have a responsibility to try to stop the attack. That's what the court recognized here."

Bushnell claimed the dogs' owner, Janet Mott, watched the attack from several feet away, did nothing to intervene and even scolded Bushnell's son for trying to calm the dogs so he could rescue his mother.

Mott and her lawyers argued that prior court rulings excused dog owners from responsibility to stop an attack or render aid afterward — if the owner had no previous indication that the pet was potentially violent. The so-called first-free-bite rule penalizes owners who know their pet is dangerous but limits legal liability for those who reasonably believe their dog poses no risk to others."

Read more here

I would have thought that would be something of a no-brainer, but apparently not....

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Amazing Picture

I came across this picture, and it is pretty amazing. I don't know if it is doctored, but it is pretty amazing looking even if it is!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Dubuque Dog Show

Last weekend I attended some of the Dubuque Kennel Club Dog Show. Here are a few pictures from that event!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Dancing Walrus

This critter has moves! Thanks to my sister for forwarding this on.

Take Note: No Horses Allowed in Human Hospitals

article from the AP

"A man hoping to cheer up an ailing relative at Wilcox Memorial Hospital hadn't considered one of the visitation rules: No horses allowed.

The man thought the patient would enjoy seeing his stallion, said Lani Yukimura, a spokeswoman at the hospital. He and the horse entered the hospital earlier this month and rode an elevator up to the third floor, where they were met and stopped by security personnel.

Security managed to get the man and the horse out of the hospital, with "just a few scuff marks," she said.

The hospital has a pet visitation policy, but it's for dogs and cats, not horses.

"On Kauai, we have a very warm inviting atmosphere at Wilcox," Yukimura said. "We just hope people understand this is not a place for a horse."

The man's good intentions were further dashed when his relative was brought out to see the horse.

"That's not my horse," the patient said to hospital staff." (source)

Chihuahua Praying for Treats

Buddhists clasp their palms together to pray for enlightenment, but Conan, a chihuahua, appears to have more worldly motivations.

The dog has become a popular attraction at a Japanese temple after learning to imitate the worshippers around him.

"Conan started to pose in prayer like us whenever he wanted treats," said Joei Yoshikuni, a priest at Jigenin temple on the southern island of Okinawa.

"Clasping hands is a basic action of Buddhist prayer to show appreciation. He may be showing his thanks for treats and walks," he said.

Conan, a two-year-old male with long, black hair and a brown collar, sits next to Yoshikuni in front of the altar and looks right up at the statue of a Buddhist deity.

When the priest starts chanting and raises his clasped hands, Conan also raises his paws and joins them at the tip of his nose.

Visitors to the temple look on with curiosity.

"It's so funny that he does it," said Kazuko Oshiro, 71, who has frequented the temple for more than 25 years.

"He gets angry when somebody else sits on his favourite spot. He must be thinking that it's his special place," Oshiro said.

Conan, originally a temple pet, has become so popular that people come in to take pictures almost every week, the priest said.

Yoshikuni estimated that the temple receives 30 percent more visitors, especially young tourists, than it would otherwise.

"I'm glad that people feel more comfortable visiting the temple because of Conan," he said as he jokingly joined his hands and bowed to the dog. (source)

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Tuscan Dogs

Tuscany has greatly reduced the restrictions as to where you can take your dog.

"Tuscany is about to become a dog-owners' paradise, with a new law allowing pets into art galleries, theatres, restaurants, cinemas, post offices, museums and beaches."

Read more here.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Filly Freed From Frozen Fissure

The title says it all! "Don and Carol Ivey Ratcliffe, who live in Ontario, Canada, began looking for their homebred 3-year-old Paso Fino filly named Kayla at feeding time one morning, but were unable to find her. Finally they heard the filly whinny and found her trapped in a hole under a 1,200-pound metal feed bin in freezing cold temperatures. The owners exhausted their options within an hour and called in the local fire department, who managed to save the freezing filly using the jaws of life." For more, click here.

Friday, March 14, 2008


The world "explore" typically brings to mind images of fun and adventure, or -- at the very least -- something interesting and new. Unfortunately, the word has a slightly different connotation in veterinary medicine.

An "exploratory surgery" is when we go into surgery in an attempt to investigate what is going on with a particular case. Sometimes, we have a fairly good idea of what we will find. Other times, we have no idea. Sometimes we do find something interesting. Other times, we don't find a thing which means the surgery ruled out a lot of possibilities, but didn't actually answer any of the questions we were hoping it would. Sometimes you find something you can fix. Sometimes, you find something that you don't.

I had an exploratory this week that was depressingly predictable. A dog had presented 2 months ago for one bout of diarrhea. The dog was an outdoor dog, so the owners weren't certain if he had gotten into anything, and didn't know if he was vomiting. When they brought the dog in, we found that he had lost 20 pounds over the last 4 months, a pretty substantial amount of weight for a dog that had been 80 lbs.

Long story short, he had some abnormalities in his bloodwork that was corrected by a night on IV fluids, but there was something not right. The dog would not eat (wasn't even interested), and had no other abnormalities on physical exam. Abdominal radiographs were unremarkable, and the owners did not want to spend the money on an ultrasound. They took him home to see what they could do.

Over the next two months, the owners called several times with reports that they had gotten the dog to eat some random thing, but it had promptly vomited it back up. We all encouraged them to return for more diagnostics, an exploratory surgery or -- at the very least -- an abdominal ultrasound, to no avail. Then, one day this week, the dog showed up for an explore.

He had lost an additional 10 pounds since his last weight, and looked like a rack of bones. However, his attitude was surprisingly bright, and his abdomen was not painful. I knew this would not be a fun explore. My prediction was a foreign body or an intussusception (where the intestine folds in onto itself) at this point.

It didn't take long to confirm that diagnosis...both parts. The dog had both a foreign body (some carpet impacted with grass) and an intussusception. And, so severe was the tissue damage, that as I handled the grossly swollen, dark intestine, I knew this dog would not be waking up from surgery. Best-case scenario: dog survives surgery, losing 4 feet of intestine along the way. The owner was called, and the decision was made to euthanize.

Looking back, I expect the carpet was there for awhile and the intussusception was a later development. Either way, the dog was definitely having problems for awhile.

That kind of exploring is not fun.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Most Pathetic Picture You'll See Today

Tell me this isn't the saddest picture you have seen! This little fella met the business-end of another, much larger dog. He had multiple puncture wounds on his head that required extensive flushing and placement of drains. And, as you can see, he had quite a bit of swelling. Fortunately, he is doing fantastically now and the report is that he is back to his happy self. He may not even have any visible scars. But he sure looks miserable in the picture!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

One for the Bird List

This weekend my family and I traveled to Texas for a wedding. Time was fairly tight, so there wasn't any opportunity for strictly critter-related capering, but Mother Nature decided to deliver a treat.

My mom and I spent a morning shopping and, on our way back to the hotel, we saw a peculiar bird pounce on something in a field by the feeder road we were on. Those who know my mom will know that she has a natural reflex which attracts her to critters of all sorts, so our van was quickly diverted on to a questionable dirt "road" that lead to a place near where we had seen the bird go down.

This is the sight we were greeted with:This is a Caracara, more specifically a Crested Caracara (Polyborus plancus), a species of Mexican raptor in the same family as falcons (with a tasty rodent meal). I had seen one flying earlier in the trip, and had not known what it was. They are smaller and lighter than a bald eagle, but larger than a red-tailed hawk. From what I have been able to find, it seems that this was about as far north as one can expect to see this species. What a treat!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Knut is All Grown Up

No longer the little fur-ball that captured the hearts of millions, Knut the polar bear is all grown up....and ferocious! Daily Mail Story. He is a polar bear...I'm not sure what people expected.

Marine Puppy Resuce

Thanks to my brother for forwarding this story!

Marine Send Home Love -- The Iraqi Puppy Rescue

There are some highly adorable pictures in the story.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Skiing Threatening Wood Grouse

The capercaille (wood grouse) is fairly common in central Europe, especially in the mountainous southern state of Bavaria. It appears skiing is threatening its habitat. I have little doubt that the Germans will respond en mass to protect this symbol of Germany.

Genetic Cancer Link Found between Dogs and Humans

Another interesting article: click here

ScienceDaily (Mar. 2, 2008) — Cancer researchers at the University of Minnesota and North Carolina State University have found that humans and dogs share more than friendship and companionship -- they also share the same genetic basis for certain types of cancer. Furthermore, the researchers say that because of the way the genomes have evolved, getting cancer may be inevitable for some humans and dogs.

Conservation Battlefields

In the face of impending global change, some regions are more in need of protected lands than others. The map shows regions color-ranked by how much area is projected to change by 2100 in relation to how much area is currently protected (“Conservation Risk”). Many of the tropical, but not temperate regions with greatest risk (red) are also of highest conservation value as indicated by their higher number of globally unique amphibians, birds, mammals and reptiles. (Credit: Image courtesy of University of California - San Diego)