Achieve Your Dream of Getting a Small Swine Companion

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There are few things that make me squeal more than the sight of piglets, or any well-kempt and reasonably sized pig, really. I’ve wanted a miniature “teacup” pig ever since I first learned they existed. And I’d always heard great things about pigs: They’re smarter than the average pet, affectionate, social, hypoallergenic (also, they don’t shed), and very similar to dogs and cats. They can learn tricks, be walked on a leash, and even be litter box-trained! But pigs are also highly intellectual animals that require a lot of attention and care that dogs and cats don’t, and they can become destructive if they aren’t properly tended to or don’t get the activity they need. They should never be kept in a small pen, or left alone with free range of the house. While they love to lounge around with you, they also need space and a yard to graze, run, roll around, and be a pig in. For pet owners who can provide all that, they can be great indoor/outdoor companions for the suburbs and even the city (just make sure to check the zoning restrictions in your area).

But after doing a bit more research about how to acquire a tiny pig, I was crushed by what I found: innumerable articles with headlines like “Never Buy a Teacup Pig” and “Why I Cringe When People Buy Teacup Pigs.” As it turns out, the terms “micro mini” and “teacup” are merely referring to the size in relation to full-grown farm pigs, and not to actual breeds. A company on the internet selling “teacup pigs” could very well be part of a popular marketing scheme in which dishonest breeders sell tiny piglets (all baby pigs are tiny!), which then grow to be much larger than promised, and are often just regular potbellied pigs. When the pig reaches maturity or an owner decides it’s too much work, many decide to surrender the animal to a shelter.

Portlander Megan Chasteen says her family’s beloved potbellied pig, Bentley Oliver, was an unexpected blessing. “We had a potbellied pig several years ago, but lost her too soon and weren’t planning on another pet until this little guy kind of fell into my mom and dad’s lap,” she says. Chasteen says they have no idea who the breeder was.

“My mom got him from a regular customer (my parents own a pub in Roseburg) whose daughter and son-in-law changed their minds about wanting him,” she says. “Their customer knew my family had had a pig before, and it was pretty much love at first sight.”


Pigs are simply not meant to be that tiny.


That’s one way to ethically adopt. Full-grown potbellied pigs can be the size of a dog, but will weigh between 80 and 150 pounds. Paris Hilton, who’s known for popularizing pigs as pets and often scrutinized for using animals as accessories, bought a “Dandie Extreme” piglet from Royal Dandies, a breeder in Oregon. Paris expected her piglet to be around 25 pounds at full maturity, but a recent photo of the $3,500-plus pig shows that Miss Pigelette is much bigger than that. To her credit, Hilton also lands on the side of pet owners who already love the pig and end up keeping it regardless of its size. The “teacup pig” phenomenon has otherwise resulted in shelters reaching their capacity of full-grown homeless pigs.

There’s also a lot of crossbreeding going on to achieve smaller pigs’ more manageable size. Though there’s debate as to whether they’re even a breed, Juliana pigs are said to originate in Europe, and are naturally small (around 40 pounds) due to selective breeding. The folks at Heart2Heart Farms—a family-owned business in Sherwood that prides itself on organic products, sustainable practices, and humane treatment of animals—has four kinds of pigs, including a “City Pig,” which is a cross between a runt American Guinea Hog, Kune Kune, and Juliana. They also offer a “Foster Piglet Program” every year as an option for those who are on the fence about having a city pig as a pet. It started as a way to prevent runt piglets from being culled, but now has become a great way to increase piglet health and survival. After applying, paying a $50 registration fee, and a $50 refundable deposit (when you return the piglet in sound health), you have the opportunity to take care of a piglet for five weeks (it needs to be bottle-fed raw cow and goat’s milk every few hours for the first few days). Then you can choose to either adopt the pig or return it to the farm, where it’ll either become a domestic pet or breeding stock.

Potential pig owners should also be aware of the amount of misinformation that some breeders give about proper diet for teacup pigs, recommending special food in small amounts in an attempt to keep it under a certain weight. Too often, this results in little pigs dying of starvation or malnutrition. Pigs are simply not meant to be that tiny. In addition to feed, pigs should be snacking on fruits and vegetables and grazing throughout the day. Needless to say, buying a “teacup” pig from a place on the internet touting “some of the world’s smallest pigs” is not a wise idea. read more…

Shop your Swine Supplies here.

Vaccinate horses against Hendra

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EQUINE Veterinarians Australia is urging horse owners to vaccinate their horses against the deadly Hendra virus following three new confirmed cases in just four weeks.

President of EVA, Dr Ben Poole, said it’s critical that horses located in and around high-risk Hendra areas are vaccinated against Hendra virus.

“Another three horses in NSW have died from this preventable disease, which poses serious health risks not just to horses, but humans as well,” Dr Poole said.

From 1994, when the virus was first identified, to August 2017, there have been 60 known Hendra incidents resulting in the death of 102 horses.

During this period, Queensland has recorded 40 incidents and NSW has had 20.

“Every one of these horses that has died because of Hendra represents one more compelling reason for horse owners to vaccinate their horses,” Dr Poole said.

“The risk this disease poses to human health is also very real and it is important that the equine community remains vigilant in protecting horses and people from Hendra,” Dr Poole said.

Since the first outbreak was recorded in 1994, there have been seven confirmed cases in people, all of whom had significant contact with horse body fluids.

Of those who tested positive for Hendra, four sadly died from the disease, including two veterinarians.

Dr Poole said the vaccine is the most effective way to minimise the risk of Hendra virus. The vaccine is fully registered by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority.

“Vaccination is the most effective way to ensure high standards of horse health and welfare while also protecting veterinarians, horse handlers and owners from contracting this deadly virus.

“Hendra virus is impossible to diagnose without laboratory testing. The signs of this disease can be extremely variable. When your horse is vaccinated against Hendra virus, the probability of your horse having the disease is extremely low and therefore is more likely to receive timely and appropriate therapies.

“We need to remember that right across the country, there are thousands of equine events every year. These events bring together a large number of horses from a wide range of geographical locations, and this compounds the risks associated with Hendra virus infection if horses have not been vaccinated,” Dr Poole said. read more…

Shop your Horse Vaccines here.

Trendiest Spices – Turmeric

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  • Curcumin, a chemical contained within the wildly popular spice turmeric, is drawing R&D interest in food and beverage applications, according to Frost & Sullivan’s visionary science team. It’s ability to be used as a natural food color is of special interest.
  • Extract and ingredient manufacturers are exploring ways to incorporate curcumin in the formulation of nutraceuticals, dietary supplements, herbals, cosmetics and functional foods and beverages.
  • “Its demonstrated utility in disease prevention and pain relief in inflammatory disorders such as rheumatism and osteoarthritis, as well as its anti-cancer properties, greatly enhance its profile and draw investments,” says Frost & Sullivan Visionary Science Principal Analyst Raghu Tantry.

Turmeric is one of the trendiest spices in the rack right now for a reason. The bright orange ground root of the turmeric plant has the potential to have an incredibly positive affect on our health. According to research conducted by Dr. Michael Mosley of BBC’s “Trust Me, I’m a Doctor,” it can improve a gene that causes depression, asthma, eczema, and even cancer, when eaten every day. University of Central Florida and Nemours Children’s Hospital researchers said this week that curcumin could be used to treat Neuroblastoma, the leading cause of cancer in infants.

Still, the relatively inexpensive spice is most often found in South Asian cuisine. It’s what gives curries that pop of color and flavor. Consumers intrigued by turmeric’s potentially powerful healing abilities bought a bottle for home use, making it a “rising star” when it came to functional food searches using Google in 2016. An added interest in sampling international cuisine has only aided turmeric’s rise. Many of the searches focused on ways to incorporate the spice in recipes.

Consumers who don’t want to cook with turmeric won’t be hard pressed to find ready-to-eat options featuring the ingredient. Rebbl beverage company makes an organic coconut milk drink with turmeric, Theo produces a chocolate coconut turmeric sweet snack, and Pukka tea offers a special blend featuring the spice. Expect to see this field of food and beverage items with turmeric on the ingredient list increase in the next year. While many consumers are aware of the health benefits of turmeric, they may feel limited by the strong flavor profile. The processed foods solve that problem. read more…

Shop Your Turmeric Supplements here.

Protecting yourself from mosquitoes

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The Cayuga County Health Department is encouraging people to “fight the bite” this summer, since mosquitoes found in Oswego and Onondaga counties tested positive for West Nile virus and Eastern equine encephalitis.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about eight out of 10 people do not develop symptoms when infected with West Nile virus. Those that do, however, may experience fever, headaches, joint pains, diarrhea and vomiting, to name a few. Few people, too, experience symptoms of Eastern equine encephalitis, but severe cases may cause headaches, high fever, chills and vomiting.

To reduce the likelihood of being bit by mosquitoes, the health department said in a release that residents and visitors should use personal protection measures.

When spending time outdoors, precaution measures can include:

  • Wearing shoes and socks, long pants and long-sleeved shirts;
  • Using a mosquito repellent containing 20 to 30 percent DEET or Picardin. Follow label directions and wash treated skin with soap and water after returning indoors;
  • Screening windows and doors and making sure they are free of rips, tears and holes.

Property owners can also reduce mosquito breeding by eliminating standing water. Ways to do that can include:

  • Cleaning clogged rain gutters;
  • Turning over wheelbarrows and wading pools when not in use;
  • Changing water in bird baths every four days;
  • Maintaining swimming pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs, and draining water from pool covers;
  • Landscaping to eliminate low spots where standing water accumulates;
  • Throwing away outdoor containers, ceramic pots or containers that hold water;
  • Removing all tires from the property; 
  • Drilling holes in the bottoms of recycling containers that are kept outdoors.

read more…

Thank You – Mobile veterinarians

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Whether you are taking your animal in for their regular check-up or making an emergency visit, being evaluated by a veterinarian is a critical part in your pet’s health. But what if an animal is too sick or injured to be transported to the clinic? Some animals, such as livestock, may even require a trailer for transport. Luckily for pet and livestock owners, mobile veterinarians are there to help.

Leslie Easterwood, clinical assistant professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, explained the important role mobile veterinarians play in animal health.

“The most common reason for an owner to use a mobile veterinarian is so that they do not have to transport their animal to a hospital,” Easterwood said. “There could be a variety of reasons why having the veterinarian come to the farm or home is better, such as situations where there are several animals to be treated or the owner does not have access to a livestock trailer.”

Though mobile veterinarians are available for home-visits, they may also see patients in a clinic. With each day being different than the last, mobile veterinarians are kept on their feet.

“A typical day for a mobile veterinarian may include appointments in the office with a few farm calls and even surgeries,” Easterwood said. “Some days a mobile veterinarian may not leave the office, and other days they may leave early in the morning and not return until after dark.”

Despite mobile veterinarians’ busy schedules, they are prepared to perform an array of procedures and surgeries for different species. Though some procedures and surgeries are best performed in the hospital setting, most routine work can be performed on the farm as well as in the hospital.

Mobile veterinarians care mostly for large animals, but there are still small animal veterinarians who will make house calls.  Easterwood added that there are also an increasing number of small animal veterinarians who are willing to make house calls for physical therapy and perform an at-home euthanasia.

But before you call a mobile veterinarian, ask about any additional charges, such as travel fees. Otherwise, Easterwood said the costs are generally the same. read more…

Shop your Livestock Supplies here.

Therapeutic diets can be lifesavers for pets

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Pet owners have many choices when buying dog and cat food. Some are basic foods providing an economical choice that is nutritionally complete; others are premium or super-premium foods. This trend will continue as owners seek the best nutrition available for their pets.

Pet nutrition has come a long way. As a veterinarian, I see significantly fewer problems with urinary tract stones than when I first started in practice. Dry, flaky skin that was common years ago is less so now.

There also are therapeutic diets that require veterinary supervision. My second Bernese mountain dog, Vern, had abnormal kidney values that I noticed when he was neutered. The problem increased over the next few months, and I thought we were going to lose him. After a medical work-up that including a kidney biopsy, he was diagnosed with renal dysplasia.

We gave him medication that controlled his high blood pressure and started a special kidney diet with low total protein and a high-quality protein component. He lived longer than average for a Bernese mountain dog.

Special veterinary diets are also used for pets predisposed to bladder stones. These foods are formulated to help prevent and even dissolve some types of stones.

My cat Daisy vomited all the time. Her weight and blood chemistry were normal, but clearly something was wrong. After consultation with a feline specialist, we tried a high protein/​low carbohydrate diet designed for diabetic pets. It worked like a charm, and she lived a long happy life.

Diarrhea is a common complaint in pets, but it will usually self-correct in a few days. We always check a stool sample in these patients and sometimes treat for parasites. Often a special diet is prescribed for the short, or even long, term.

Chronic loose stool also can be a big problem. Before an involved medical work-up with endoscopy and biopsy, we try a therapeutic high-fiber diet. Diets that are very low in fat may be used for pets that are prone to pancreatitis.

A pet with a food allergy may benefit with a super purified, limited antigen diet. Changing the protein fraction may help control itching and intestinal distress. Older dogs or dogs that have seizures may benefit from new diets that are designed for improving brain health.

My current dog, Millie, began limping as she aged, so I started her on a new diet designed for joint health. It has worked so well that I have yet to give her any medication for pain.

High-calorie pudding-type diets can help pets that have a feeding tube or need supplemental feeding while recovering from illness. Weight loss foods are used for pets at unhealthy excessive weights. Used incorrectly, these diets can be problematic, but with veterinary supervision, they can be lifesavers.

While commercial food is appropriate for the majority of pets, therapeutic diets can be a tremendous benefit for those who have specific needs. read more…

Shop your Pet Supplies here.

 

Vitamins and micronutrients is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle.

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For the most part, all of these dietary requirements can be obtained from a balanced diet, but recently dietary supplements have become a popular resource for balancing dietary nutrition. Dietary supplements are especially recommended to elderly people as nutritional insufficiency is commonly seen in this age group. Supplements can go a long way towards building longer, healthier lifespans by protecting against health decline and disease caused by insufficient nutritional intake.Despite the added health benefits, use of dietary supplements increases the risk of exceeding the recommended doses for vitamins and nutrients. Previous studies reported contradicting evidence on the benefits of vitamin use; some showed evidence of improved health while others have observed a higher risk of mortality for multivitamin users compared with non-users.These reports raised safety concerns for long term multivitamin use. A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition looked at dietary supplement use in an Icelandic elderly population to identify how supplement intake contributes to the risks of exceeding recommended nutritional values, and to investigate whether supplement use is associated with mortality.

This study included5764 Reykjvik residents;58% female and 42% male with an average age of 77 at the beginning of the study. Prior to the study, scientists assessed the general health of all individuals in order to account for other factors that could influence mortality. Researchers recorded the educational status, smoking patterns, alcohol consumption, degree of physical activity, and other lifestyle characteristics that have an impact on human health. Participants filled out questionnaires explaining their dietary patterns and frequency of supplement use and submitted their supplements to a registry. To calculate the nutritional content obtained for each individual, scientists looked up the nutritional contents of each specified supplement in a database and multiplied nutritional content by the frequency of weekly use.

Results indicate that 77% of study participants used at least 1 dietary supplement.The most popular vitamin was fish-liver oil, used by 55% of the participants, followed by multivitamins, used by 31% of the participants. There were very few instances where vitamin and mineral consumption exceeded the recommended daily dose; the only notable exceptions were that 22% of the participants who used B6 supplements exceeded the recommended intake, as did 14% of participants who took Zn. Overall, patterns showed that vitamin users were less likely to smoke, were more educated, consumed less alcohol, and had a lower prevalence of diabetes than non-smokers. However, no correlation was found between dietary use and hypertension. Within a 7 year period, there was a total of 1221 deaths among the registered participants, but no significant correlation was identified between the use of vitamins and mortality rates. read more…

Shop your Vitamin Supplements here.