Dog News January Round Up

Christmas Canine Miracle Abandoned Dog Survives Months In Freezing Countryside

A stray dog that unwittingly found herself in the middle of a county-wide search was finally rescued by Dogs Trust Newbury. The elusive Mink Hound, named Angel, survived freezing conditions by building dens and foraging for scraps – her survival was described as a Christmas miracle.

Concerned locals raised the alarm after initially spotting the runaway in Axford but her travels did not stop there as she was spotted in Ramsbury, Enborne, Speen, and Hungerford meaning she travelled miles and miles in one month alone.

Maureen Iggleden, Dogs Trust Newbury Manager explains:

“Where Angel came from will probably always be a mystery as she wasn’t microchipped, however she will now have a happy future and a safe home for Christmas thanks to my assistant manager Jenny’s sheer determination to rescue her. I would like to thank residents for helping to find her by reporting sightings – the Christmas spirit of giving is certainly alive and well in Berkshire!

We named her Angel as we believe a guardian angel must have been watching over her, I hope her luck continues and that the new year will bring her a new home.”

Paula Boyden, Deputy Veterinary Director at Dogs Trust adds:

“Given the weather conditions that we have experienced over the past few weeks I am surprised to hear that she survived and was picked up in such good condition. However, with temperatures due to plummet to well below zero again, the challenge of finding food and shelter may well have proven to be an impossible task if she had not been rescued.”

The infamous Berkshire bounder is now safe and local residents can rest easy knowing she is receiving lots of festive love and care at Dogs Trust Newbury. If you would like to offer Angel a home please contact the Rehoming Centre directly on 01488 658 391.

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Free Eye Exams For American Service Dogs

Guide dogs, handicapped assistance dogs, detection dogs and search and rescue dogs selflessly serve the public. So, for the month of May 2011, the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists (ACVO) is launching the 4thannual ACVO/Merial National Service Dog Eye Exam Event to help serve these dogs who dedicate their lives to serving the public. More than 180 board certified veterinary ophthalmologists throughout the U.S., as well as Canada and Puerto Rico,traditionally elect to provide free sight-saving eye exams to thousands of service dogs. Registration for service dog owners and handlers begins April 1, 2011.

During the complete ocular exam, the veterinary specialists will look for problems including: redness, squinting, cloudy corneas, retinal disease, early cataracts and other serious abnormalities. Early detection and treatment are vital to these working dogs. “Our hope is that by checking their vision, we will be able to help a large number of dogs better assist their human friends,” says Stacee Daniel, Executive Director of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists. Last year, more than 3,200 active service dogs received free eye exams throughout the month of May.

A sampling of groups served since the ACVO/Merial National Service Dog Eye Exam Event launched in 2008 include: Transportation Security Agency (TSA) and military working dogs from Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, Puppies Behind Bars, an organization providing psychiatric service dogs to soldiers coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan, local fire, rescue and police agencies, and also individual service dog owners and handlers who rely on these amazing animals daily.

Jenny Logan’s three-year-old poodle, Mishka, is an active Search and Rescue dog in Tampa, Florida. Mishka participated in the 2009 and 2010 events. “It’s a wonderful thing to have offered to you,” says Logan. “It’s preventative medicine and if anything is wrong and you can catch a condition early, you can treat it. And there’s no charge for the free exam. That’s phenomenal in this day and age.

How To Register

To qualify, animals must be “active working animals” that were certified by a formal training program or organization or currently enrolled in a formal training program. The certifying organization could be national, regional or local in nature. Other service animals are welcome to participate (i.e. horses, cats, etc.), as long as they meet the stated qualifications. Additional registration details can be found at www.ACVOeyeexam.org

Owners/agents for the animal(s) must first register the animal via an online registration form beginning April 1, at www.ACVOeyeexam.org Registration ends April 29th. Once registered online, the owner/agent will be allowed access to a list of participating ophthalmologists in their area and may contact a specialist to schedule an appointment. Appointments will take place during the month of May. Times may vary depending on the facility and are filled on a first-come, first-served basis.

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2011 is World Veterinary Year – Off To a Great Start

World Veterinary Year is off to a fantastic start in the UK with the recognition of three veterinary surgeons in the New Year’s Honours.

Dr Lydia Akrigg Brown, President of the Veterinary Benevolent Fund has been awarded an MBE for services to the veterinary profession;

Lewis George Grant, former veterinary manager in the Meat Hygiene Service, Food Standards Agency and animal welfare representative of the Veterinary Public Health Association (VPHA) has also been awarded an MBE;

Professor Quintin McKellar, Principal of the Royal Veterinary College has been awarded a CBE for services to science;

BVA Honorary Member the Earl of Selborne was also recognised with a GBE for services to science.

These honours recognise the enormous breadth of work undertaken by vets in the service of the country. It is this work that World Veterinary Year 2011 seeks to celebrate and publicise across the globe.

Here in the UK the BVA will be working with its divisions and the RCVS to mark Vet 2011 by championing the achievements of the veterinary profession.

BVA Congress 2011 will be held in London on 22-24 September under the theme ‘Vets in a changing world’. It will include sessions giving a global perspective on veterinary medicine and the Wooldridge Memorial Lecture will be delivered by the eminent veterinarian Dr Peter Roeder on the eradication of rinderpest; one of the veterinary profession’s greatest achievements.

Commenting, Harvey Locke, President of the BVA, said:

“On behalf of the BVA I would like to congratulate Dr Brown, Lewis Grant, Professor McKellar and Lord Selborne on their fantastic achievements. These national honours underline the importance of veterinary medicine.

“As well as recognising the work of these individuals, World Veterinary Year 2011 provides an opportunity for the veterinary profession as a whole to celebrate its achievements.

“The profession has changed a huge amount over the last 250 years but many of the principles upon which it was founded are still strong today. Claude Bourgelat had a vision for veterinary medicine which was science-based and he was one of the first scientists to relate animal and human pathology and biology. Both of these ideas remain at the heart of the profession in 2011.

“The theme for my presidential year is ‘Vets in a changing world’ which fits very well with World Veterinary Year. We are seeing change at an ever faster pace, but the past 250 years have revealed that the profession is more than capable of adapting.”

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Youth Group Release Single For Dog Charities

The K9 Crew, a group of five young people from East Cambridgeshire, are the latest to make a bid for music fame. However, they don’t have the might of the X Factor machine behind them, and their only motivation is to raise money for charity. This was a brave project for the group who had never stepped foot in a recording studio, or even sung for an audience before, plus their two lead singers have only just turned thirteen years old.

As the name suggests, the K9 crew are dedicated to man’s best friend. They have chosen two dog related charities to benefit from any money made, namely Canine Partners and Nowzad dogs.

The song, called ‘One Dog One Life’, celebrates the relationship between dogs and people. The group also hope to raise awareness of the large number of dogs who are abandoned in the UK each year, something particularly relevant in the new year.

The K9 crew is the innovation, and just one of the schemes run by The K9 Project. The K9 project is a complementary education programme for young people, many of which lack confidence or have special needs. The scheme uses the power of working with animals, in this case dogs, to develop a wide range of positive life skills. Working individually or in small groups. The K9 Project students learn how to communicate with dogs, and how to get the best responses from them.

The K9 project is run by Chris Kent, and her husband Kevin, who are supporting the group all the way: “We are very proud of these young people. When they first attended K9 Project Activities they were very shy, they have now learnt new skills and found new interests. They are all continuing to try and make the world a better place for people and animals.”

The track lyrics were written by the group one afternoon, with the music and backing track being composed and recorded by Maria Daines and Paul Killington professional musicians who are very active in making music for animal related causes. Maria and Paul have actively supported the project since it began. The project was made possible by the East Cambridgeshire Community Development Fund.

Jenny Moir, Head of PR for Canine Partners says: “I am thrilled The K9 Crew have chosen to donate some of the track’s proceeds to Canine Partners. Their kind gesture will help us to train more dogs and therefore help more people with disabilities. It is a very brave of them to take on such a challenge, and the sentiment behind the track is wonderful.”
Pen Farthing, founder of Nowzad Dogs charity, says: “This is a fantastic effort by the lads and lasses of the K9 team. They should be extremely proud of what they have achieved and the positive impact it will have on our work as a charity in promoting companion animal welfare in Afghanistan”.

“One Dog One Life” is available to hear at http://iacmusic.com/artist.aspx?ID=146364 The track can be purchased as a CD or as an mp3 by making a minimum suggested donation of £2.50 to the group’s justgiving page at www.justgiving.com/chris-kent

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Dog Undergoes Amputation World First

Mitzi Davis, the first dog in the world to have an ankle amputation prosthesis was today introduced to the media at Fitzpatrick Referrals in Surrey, as she was let off her lead for the first time since the procedure. Mitzi, a three and a half year old white German shepherd dog from Dorchester in Dorset was trampled by a horse which crushed her foot, tearing off all blood and nerve supply back in October 2010. In a pioneering procedure, Dr Noel Fitzpatrick fitted a titanium implant to the bone below her joint – the first time a prosthesis has been put in a fully articulating bone of a dog – meaning that the foot can move like a normal dog.

As Dr Fitzpatrick unclipped her lead, a few anxious moments ensued before Mitzi took her first few strides, walking with a normal gait and confirming to all eyes watching that the operation had indeed been a huge success. The ITAP implant (which stands for Intraosseous Transcutaneous Amputation Prosthesis) is a revolutionary means of attaching prosthetic limbs and involves the implantation of a titanium rod in the bone, onto which skin can attach just like a deer’s antler, leaving a “peg” sticking out of the skin which can’t get infected because of the resilient seal – a totally unique and revolutionary development for animal and human amputees.

This technology was developed for dogs by Professor Gordon Blunn at University College London (UCL) in association with Dr Fitzpatrick. This is the first time anywhere in the world that such a prosthesis has been applied to a fully moving bone. The “exo-prosthesis” or foot is then screwed onto the peg and can be changed and modified as necessary. First Mitzi’s gait had to be modelled on a computer, much like in a CGI movie; then a foot was made using computer finite element analysis such that the material of the foot would absorb shock from the ground – and, most importantly would snap and break before the implant in the bone or the bone itself, much like a boot coming off a ski before your leg is broken.

Commenting on the procedure, surgeon Dr Noel Fitzpatrick commented; “Today could have gone either way. There was always a risk that the exoprosthesis could actually break when Mitzi ran off her lead so this truly was a nail biting moment for me and for the design team as it could have failed spectacularly. What we’ve seen today is remarkable. Mitzi is walking with an entirely normal gait, with her foot moving exactly the way it should and today marks day one of Mitzi’s return to living life like a normal dog.”

He added; “Today of course has implications not only for animals but for human amputees in the future and I will continue to work closely with Professor Blunn and the Stanmore Implants team to advance this technology to improve the quality of life for animals and eventually, for humans.” The ITAP technology is being tested in humans and has already been used to create a prosthetic for a woman who lost her arm in the July 2005 London bombings.

Professor Blunn commented; “Humans and other animals share a large number of degenerative musculo-skeletal conditions. The repair process of the musculoskeletal system is essentially the same whether in a dog, cat or human being. Reconstruction of the musculoskeletal system share common problems and the interchange of information between both veterinary and human orthopaedics is very important. Therefore treating animals is not only ethical in its own right but is a useful paradigm for human orthopaedics.

He continued; “Treating Mitzi with an ITAP device has proved to be beneficial and the information learned from this case has been directly applied to human surgery. Mitzi’s ITAP is made from titanium alloy which is attached to the residual bone. The surface of the implant is coated with hydroxyapatite which enhances bone attachment, securing the implant in place. Part of the implant just underlying the skin has a surface which encourages dermal and epidermal attachment. This ties the skin into the implant and produces a seal preventing infection. This implant has been adopted for human use.”

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