Coonhound paralysis, also known as acute canine idiopathic polyradiculoneuritis, struck 4-year-old Labrador retriever Kahlua seemingly without warning, but she persevered with the help of veterinarians and her family. The cause is unknown, but the disease involves an immune-mediated attack on the nervous system that may be triggered in some dogs by contact with raccoon saliva. The condition can debilitate dogs, and intensive physical therapy and supportive care are needed to give dogs a shot at recovery. Kahlua's case has a happy ending.
The AVMA's National Dog Bite Prevention Week, which starts Sunday, calls attention to the importance of responsible pet ownership, training and other safety precautions. "Understanding how dogs behave and how to behave around dogs could save countless people from the serious physical and emotional consequences of a dog bite," said AVMA President Dr. Douglas G. Aspros. New data released in partnership with the AVMA shed light on dog-bite claims and costs by state, finding that overall claims are down but payouts per claim are up.
Firefighters rescued a dog from the icy waters of a lake in Pennsylvania after neighbors reported seeing the dog struggling in the frigid water. Firefighters said that as the dog was walking across the ice, it fell in and became trapped. "Makes me feel good. If it was my dog out there, I'd hope that people would come and help him out," said Bessemer Borough firefighter Michael Craycrayft.
Vermont is the state with the highest percentage of pet owners, according to the AVMA's recently released U.S. Pet Ownership & Demographics Sourcebook, which catalogs pet ownership trends. Nearly 71% of homes in the state include a pet. The report also notes that visits to the veterinarian's office are down since 2006 for dogs and cats.
It's important to have both cats and dogs microchipped, notes pet columnist Steve Dale, who shares an AVMA video that demonstrates how veterinarians insert the device under a pet's skin. Dale notes that it's essential to ensure the microchip is registered, and he says pet owners should not forget to have the device implanted in indoor cats, who often escape and may bolt away when they do so.