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Wellness: Healthy Living
Can Diet Overcome DNA?
Scientists investigate the new field of nutrigenomics.
Have you ever had problems losing weight and wondered if you’re just genetically fat and doomed to your pudgy fate? If so, you may be in luck. Scientists studying nutrition and genetics in dogs are helping to debunk the myth that your genes set your physiologic fate in stone. “Your DNA tells you everything you could be. It doesn’t tell you everything you are going to be,” says Dr. Steven Hannah,...
Blog: JoAnna Lou
Weight Loss Resolutions
Vet hospital encourages cats and dogs to lose weight in 2011
It’s that time of year when everyone is making their New Years resolutions, many related to losing weight. In recent years, obesity has been a problem among both humans and pets, which can lead to a myriad of health consequences, including a shorter life span. To encourage pet weight loss resolutions, the Vinton Veterinary Hospital in Virginia is sponsoring a Biggest Loser competition for dogs...
Wellness: Healthy Living
Rash Action
Vet school team solves the mystery of Max’s skin problem
Plant
When we impulsively rescued an eightweek- old ball of yellow fur from the back of a pickup truck headed for the pound, we had no idea how much our lives would change. This Lab/German Shepherd mix, whom we named Max, grew quickly. Before we knew it, we had a 108-pound ballistic missile with a wet tongue and four paws — and, in his second year, a severe allergy to an unknown substance. We tried...
Blog: JoAnna Lou
Toxic Holiday Plants
Watch out for dangerous mistletoe this December
For years I’ve avoided Poinsettia plants around the holidays because I’d always heard that they were highly toxic for animals. But according to Veterinary Medicine magazine, the toxicity of Poinsettias has been greatly exaggerated.  Research estimates that the average animal would have to ingest 500 to 600 Poinsettia leaves to surpass toxic levels. The most common symptom is irritation to the...
Wellness: Food & Nutrition
Career Change: From Human Resources to Holistic Hound
Profiling notable second acts: Heidi Hill
Heidi and Pearl
When Heidi Hill was growing up, she dreamed of becoming a veterinarian. As so often happens, that dream was put aside; instead of going to vet school, she earned a degree in accounting and embarked on a successful career in corporate finance and human resources. Then one day, as she was casually leafing through a magazine, she read an article on homeopathy. Intrigued, she began to explore the...
Wellness: Healthy Living
Get Smart about Pet Allergies
Let’s start with some tough truths. “Non-allergic” or hypo-allergenic dogs do not exist (sorry, Bo Obama). You can’t eliminate dog’s allergens with special shampoos, topical sprays or oral agents. And there’s little evidence steam-cleaning carpets and upholstery helps control pet allergies.   That’s the myth-busting word from the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI). But...
Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Don't Let Bedbugs Bite Your Dog
Although once nearly eradicated in developed countries, bedbugs are on the rise. These tiny bloodsuckers don’t transmit diseases, but can leave itchy welts on you and your warm-blooded pets. It’s important to routinely check any place you or your pets sleep for the telltale dark stains of bedbug activity. Dogs aren’t taking this bedbug business lying down, either. Some companies are training dogs...
Blog: Karen B. London
Velcro Dogs
Picking up allergens a hazard
Usually when people talk about “Velcro dogs,” they mean the kind who are clingy and extremely emotionally attached to their guardians. That sort of Velcro dog makes sure you never feel alone, much less lonely, and keeps you from ever having to go any place, such as the bathroom, all by yourself.   There’s another kind of Velcro dog, which is perhaps of greatest interest to people with allergies....
Blog: Karen B. London
Cutting Nails
Reducing the stress for you and your dog
There are few parts of dog guardianship that are less agreeable than cutting nails. In fact, the only task that I dislike more is picking up poop, and depending on the dog, clean-up duty may even be preferable to nail trimming.   I worked for almost a year as a dog groomer, so I know a few tricks about getting nails trimmed no matter what. Whether it’s keeping a dog occupied with treats or a...
Wellness: Health Care
Small Organ, Big Trouble
When rich food appears, pancreatitis lurks
Dog
’Tis the season for family gatherings, gift giving and food galore. Veterinarians know that this is also the season for canine pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), a painful, potentially life-threatening condition most commonly caused by overindulgence in foods that are particularly rich or fatty. And what kitchen isn’t overflowing with such foods this time of year? The pancreas is a...

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