A Leash Above

Exceptional pet care under your "woof"...

Canine Degenerative Myelopathy

Yesterday, I said goodbye to a friend, Inga. She was the fur-kid of my good friend and I had known her since she was puppy. We spent a lot of time together this past year-and-a-half. Although Inga was incredibly smart and playful, she also seemed to have the ability to read my mind. We enjoyed walks together, sitting out in the backyard and watching the sun setting, then going inside and playing with her squeaky toys, especially her octopus. I will always remember the time I was laying on the floor and she pounced on my head like she did her octopus. It was a riot and made me laugh so hard.  When the lawn people would come to mow, when she was let outside the first time after they left, she would run to the side gate because she knew they were stupid enough to leave it open and she could get out (she would always come back when told to, but it was like a game to her).

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Me trying to get a selfie of me & Inga but Inga kept trying to kiss me.

I saw her on October 10th when I was visiting my friend. Inga was wobbly in her hind legs, but not any more than usual. When I went to care for her yesterday, I noticed a dramatic difference in her functioning.  My friend decided today that she would take her into the vet and let her forever rest.  It was hurting her to see Inga this way even though Inga was not in any pain. She was worried Inga would break her legs.

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The last pic I took of Inga on Wednesday.

What did she have? Canine degenerative myelopathy. Below is a video of what it is all about. If you have any of the larger breed dogs, especially German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, etc., get to know what the symptoms are.

 

Recently, researchers have made a connection between canine degenerative myelopathy and human amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) sometimes referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease that may help them discover treatment methods to help both. Read more here.

I will never forget Inga. She had such a unique personality. Blessings in your life come in all forms. She came into mine full-force on all fours. Be at peace my sweet friend.

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Happy Birthday My Sweet Baby

Happy 6th Birthday Baby Girl! It was 6 short years ago that we first fell in love with you.

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She loved her monkey

It was nice to have a puppy around again. She was a sponge, learning quickly.

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After a swim

She always approached my son, Patrick, very cautiously (he has severe autism). Patrick is a rock star to her.

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Can you read me a story?

She loved our hot tub (don’t worry, it wasn’t really hot–it was the same temperature as the pool):

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Hot tub hottie

She loved her time with Santa.

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So today I am thanking the universe for bringing her to me.  Tonight, the cake is an extra special creation from Barker Street:  A cake with yogurt ganache.

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Remembering All Our Soldiers

A Leash Above would like to take this opportunity to remember all the men and women who died to protect the freedoms we are enjoying on this Memorial Day. Please let us also remember the dogs who were soldiers side by side with these service men and women. Thank you and we remember you on this day.

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Canine Hip Dysplasia

Twenty-five to thirty percent of all dogs in the United States suffer from canine hip dysplasia. Hip dysplasia is a genetic progressive disease associated with abnormal hip formation which causes laxity in the muscles, connective tissue and ligaments that support the hip joint and keep it in place.

Symptoms include difficulty getting up from and down into a lying position; reluctance to walk, run, climb and descend stairs, jump or play; frequent sitting during long walks; “bunny hopping” gait in which the legs move more together when running rather than swinging alternately; reluctance to extend rear legs; inability to stretch; shifting weight; vocalization on handling.

Many of the large and giant-breed dogs are susceptible, but also smaller breeds like bulldogs, French bulldogs and Shih Tzus are vulnerable. Obesity is a major risk factor.

Diagnosis is made by your vet based on observations, physical exam and radiology. A new screening method called PennHIP developed by the University of Pennsylvania can determine the potential for hip dysplasia in dogs as young as 16 weeks of age.

Treatment can be as conservative as controlled exercise and conditioning, weight control, heat and nutritional therapies. Surgery is also sometimes indicated which include total hip replacement, femoral head osteotomy and double and triple pelvic osteotomy. Prolotherapy is a noninvasive surgical alternative. This involves injecting dextrose and vitamin B12 in combination with lidocaine or something similar into the tendons and ligaments. The solution stimulates the body’s immune system to rebuild new tendons or ligaments. Prolotherapy has been used in humans for quite some time so it is not a new approach to healing.

Prevention: If your dog shows symptoms later in life, it is too late to prevent joint degeneration. The best approach is early screening of dogs at risk and lifestyle measures.

As with all health issues, discussion with your vet is the key for prevention and treatment. For more information about hip dysplasia, see the ASPCA’s web site: http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/dog-care/dog-care-hip-dysplasia.aspx

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Credit Card Processing Fee Not Legal in Texas

You may have heard about a settlement last summer with retailers and credit card companies that would allow a business to charge you a credit card processing fee. At the end of January, that became law. Of course, many businesses will continue to believe it is just the part of doing business and you might not have the cost passed on to you (in the states where it is legal to assess the fee).

While this may be valid in many states, TEXAS is NOT one of them. In fact, the other states are California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, New York and Oklahoma have some sort of law either limiting or restricting these fees. Recently I have been told that some pet sitting businesses in Texas, including some in The Woodlands, are charging you not only a fee, but sometimes even more than the 4% maximum of the transaction (if you happened to live in a state that allowed it, which again Texas does NOT).

In the state of Texas, the only entity that can charge you a credit card processing fee is the government (for example, for property taxes or other fees). It is not just for businesses located in Texas. No business, including those in other states, can charge a resident of the state of Texas a credit card processing fee. Retailers in the United States cannot assess these credit card processing fees to buyers in other countries either.

We promise to stay on top of laws that might affect businesses and our customers. We value and appreciate you.

To read more about this, visit Visa’s web site at: http://usa.visa.com/personal/using_visa/checkout_fees/index.html

To read more about this from the State of Texas Office of the Attorney General, please visit their site at:
https://www.oag.state.tx.us/consumer/credit_cards.shtml

If you are a resident of Texas and have been charged a credit card processing fee, please use this link to register a complaint. https://www.oag.state.tx.us/consumer/complain.shtml

Cleaning Your Pet’s Teeth

February is National Pet Dental Health Month. People shy away from doing this with their pets, but it is just as important as brushing your teeth with the same risks to their health as it is to yours. Here is a great instructional video on how to go about doing this. It’s never too late to start.

Why You Should Scoop The Poop

In changing over the “going-green” consciousness, the top reason I am finding people do not scoop their yard of dog poop is to let the sun break it down naturally. Actually it is quite the opposite. Ecofriendly dog owners should be picking it up.

The poop contains viruses, bacteria, and other microbes. They will end up in your/our water supply. A heavy rainstorm and water-outlet run-off will end up in the water table. Any water that flows into a sewer goes into a body of water without being treated. Imagine a deer coming up to drink from the stream where your dogs’ waste now resides. Kids might also play in these bodies of water and they are notorious for not being germ conscious. They think, “its water, therefore it is clean.”

Putting it in the garbage is also not an eco-friendly idea as it will wind up in a landfill somewhere. You could use biodegradable bags that are compost friendly. You can always just come home and put the poop in your toilet. Your poop is good enough to be there, so why not your dogs? It then can be treated in the same fashion as human waste.

The Environmental Protection Agency has classified pet waste as a dangerous pollutant, a classification made over 20 years ago. The CDC confirmed that dog poop can spread parasites. Even if the poop is picked up, eggs linger for years. So your dog, your dogs’ toys, your kid, and even you could come into contact with it and risk getting a parasitic infection.

People think dog poop is a great fertilizer. It’s actually toxic to your lawn (just look at the grass and the discolorations), having a high amount of nitrogen. It also likes to form cooperative relationships with other harmful bacteria like E. coli.

If the health side of the equation doesn’t move you, there are communities taking this a step further by imposing a ticket to anyone who lets their dog poop without picking it up. Fees vary per community, but upwards of $1000 can be common.

It might surprise you that in Texas, a state that is heavily Republican and Republicans scream over governmental interference in private lives, an apartment complex in Plano, Texas is keeping track of the dog poop DNA to match it up with your canine. It is not the first community to do it. Some places in New Hampshire and Florida have been doing it for a few years now. The apartment complex in Plano gave residents a time period where they needed to come in and have their dogs swabbed and DNA registered (for free). If your dog has pooped and the DNA matches, you can be fined $250.

We are part of a global community and even though you believe that what you do in your yard should be your business, when it comes to water it is a shared resource. What affects one affects all.