Vaccinate Horses against West Nile Virus


It’s that time of year again. West Nile virus (WNV) has been detected in mosquitoes in Salt Lake County, Utah. Now is the time for area horse owners to call their veterinarian for appropriate vaccinations for your work, pleasure, and companion equine partners.

West Nile is transmitted to horses via bites from infected mosquitoes. Clinical signs for WNV include flulike signs, where the horse seems mildly anorexic and depressed; fine and coarse muscle and skin fasciculation; hyperesthesia (hypersensitivity to touch and sound); changes in mentation (mentality), when horses look like they are daydreaming or “just not with it”; occasional somnolence (drowsiness); propulsive walking (driving or pushing forward, often without control); and “spinal” signs, including asymmetrical weakness. Some horses show asymmetrical or symmetrical ataxia. Equine mortality rate can be as high as 30-40%.

There are a multitude of vaccinations available for equids, but that doesn’t mean your horse needs all of them. It is best to develop a program or plan with your local veterinarian that reflects what your animals’ specific needs are based on risk of disease even if you vaccinate them yourself. Some basic parameters to consider are the animal’s use, location, age, and lifestyle, such whether they travel to shows and other venues or remain on the ranch or farm.

The American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) considers several vaccines “core,” meaning nearly all horses should receive them each year. These vaccines include those that protect against tetanus, Eastern and Western equine encephalomyelitis, WNV, and rabies. The AAEP considers other vaccines “risk-based.” Veterinarians recommend risk-based vaccines depending on the horse’s region, population, and disease risk. These include: anthrax, botulism, equine herpesvirus type 1 and 4, equine viral arteritis, equine influenza, Potomac horse fever, rotaviral diarrhea, snakebite, and strangles.

If your animal has never had a particular vaccination, he or she might require more than one shot to build the proper immune response and then receive periodic boosters after the initial series. The vaccinations should be given at least two weeks before exposed to an anticipated risk. It is important to remember vaccines are designed to reduce disease but not necessarily eliminate them. They should be used as “one tool in the toolbox” to accompany good management strategies and biosecurity practices. read more…


#Cheatgrass can be a health risk for #dogs


Whether it’s hiking, camping, or fishing, most of us are spending a lot of time outdoors this time of year, and in most cases, we take our dogs along with us. But there’s something out in those open spaces that you might not have thought about, that could cause injury to your pet.

Roaming the foothills trails with our pets is one of the things we love about living in the Treasure Valley. But there are some hidden dangers you need to be aware of that could put your pet at risk.

“So the valley’s full of them, and all the places we like to play with our dogs are loaded with them,” said Dr. Jeff Rosenthal.

We’re talking about the seedheads from a plant that is common throughout southwest Idaho: cheatgrass.

“These get up in between their toes and form these nasty abscesses,” said Dr. Rosenthal. “They get in the ears and cause ear infections. They get in the eyes and cause ulcers in the eyes. And the valley, of course, is full of them.”

After a wet winter and spring, wild grasses in the foothills are growing quickly, and something like cheatgrass can quickly turn into a devastating wildfire. It can also be a major issue for your pets’ health.

“The cheatgrass and all the various grasses that we have growing through the valley, they’re pretty hazardous to dogs, especially this time of year,” said Dr. Rosenthal.

Dr. Jeff Rosenthal, with the Idaho Humane Society, says that almost every veterinary hospital in the valley sees lots of dogs and cats this time of year with cheatgrass and other seeds lodged in their bodies, causing infections in their ears, eyes and noses. and often it requires surgery to remove those seeds, a painful experience for the pet, and an expensive one for the pet owner.

Cheatgrass grows tall tassels, and as they dry out with the heat of the summer, these tassels start to break apart, and when a dog brushes up against them, it comes apart as a little dart, or arrow, that will actually stick into their skin and into other areas of their body.

“These little missiles, they’re just designed by nature to stick in things,” said Dr. Rosenthal. “They’ll only move forward. They won’t ever move back unless they’re grasped and removed. They’re like the barbs on an arrow.”

There are several places on a dog’s body where cheatgrass and other seeds can get stuck and cause injury.

“So, number one, is between the toes,” said Dr. Rosenthal. “And up in between each of the toes is a little pocket up in the top here. And that’s where that grass seed will get lodged and start working its way in, right in between the webs here.”

“The other common place is in the ear canal.”

“It doesn’t matter if they have upright ears, floppy ears, a lot of fur, no fur. These little guys, when they run through the grasses, they’re just bombarded with hundreds and hundreds of grass seeds, and sooner or later one will get down in the ear canal and cause a lot of discomfort and infections. Usually that means a trip to the vet and have them removed.”

The eyes are also a vulnerable spot.

“Dogs have a third eyelid. So if I push on the eye here, you’ll see that third eyelid pop up from the inside. So if your dog comes back inside and that third eyelid is elevated that way, there’s a really good chance there’s a grass seed stuck behind that gland.”

“And then the nose. We see cheatgrass get up in the nose, and if your dog starts sneezing, just incessantly, over and over again, even sneezing up blood, there’s probably a grass seed stuck up in that nasal cavity.”

“Then in the mouth as well, back in the tonsils. We get cheatgrass in there.”

“Probably, cheatgrass and the other grass seeds, they can end up just about anywhere in a dog’s body.”

So what can you do about it?

“So it’s hard to prevent, except that examining between your dog’s toes whenever you get back from a walk, and removing those things early rather than let them burrow in there. They’re pretty painful.”

“So this time of year it’s just really good to be on guard and wary, and really look over your dog after every walk.”

Cheatgrass isn’t just in the foothills. It can pop up in vacant lots and even in your own yard. And if you do see issues with your pets, be sure and get them to a veterinarian immediately.

Cheatgrass and other seeds don’t contain any toxins, but any plant material that gets stuck in an animals’ tissues can cause strong reactions and almost always leads to infection. So it’s best to see a veterinarian. Read more…

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These #dogs are separated by fences — but that doesn’t stop their sweet #friendship

Very interesting

Messy and Audi are two dogs who live across the street from one another in Thailand. For the last year or so, they’ve had as close a friendship as can be — without ever having actually met face to face.

Oranit Kittragul noticed that Audi would often cry when left alone outside in his yard. So Kittragul would dispatch her dog — the sweet, friendly Messy — outside into their yard to provide some comfort.

Messy would bark a little, which seemed to help Audi feel better. “I don’t know what they are communicating,” she told The Dodo “But he stops crying.”

Oranit Kittragul

When Messy and Audi finally met face to face, they embraced.

Then one day, Audi got loose. He seized the chance to finally have contact with Messy, who welcomed the sweet embrace.

“He ran to my dog and they hugged each other,” Kittragul said.

Oranit Kittragul

Oranit Kittragul luckily caught a photo of the sweet embrace.

Kittragul shared the photos on social media. While the hug actually took place in February, in the last couple of weeks, the dogs have been featured in publications across the world. read more…

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Consider these 5 points before jumping into Labrador Parenting


If you’re considering buying your first puppy, learning as much as you can about the breed can be extremely helpful. Labs are outgoing and friendly dogs who will always try to please their owners. They can be a great addition to your family and a beloved companion for your field trips, or even as a show dog. Labs are also known to be intelligent, easy to train and full of enthusiasm. However, owning a lab isn’t just about fun and games, as it comes with many other responsibilities. Consider these 5 points before you look for Labrador puppies for sale:

  1. Time – Puppies need a lot more time and attention than older dogs and therefore, you must consider your schedule before you buy a Labrador puppy. They are highly energetic and need lots of exercise and daily walks and training, so make sure you can save up ample time to raise a happy and obedient dog.

  2. Space – Dogs need a lot of space, both inside and outside your homes. Labradors are fairly large and lively breeds and they will need open spaces to stretch their legs and run. Also, make sure you remove all fragile decorations from lower shelves inside your homes as they tend to knock over items with their thick and long tails.

  3. Affordability – Apart from the initial cost of buying Labrador puppies for sale, you must also consider the cost of raising the dog in your home. As Labs are relatively larger breeds, they will need more food compared to the smaller dogs. They also need regular vet check-ups to ensure their good health and vigor. Other costs include their toys, kennel or dog house, crate, dishes, training devices, etc. Consider the overall costing for at least 10 years before you make your decision.

  4. Family – Labradors tend to grow quickly and what might seem like a small puppy initially will soon grow into a big dog. Make sure your family can adjust with the new member, especially if you have children below the age of 5. Though many parents have enjoyed giving their toddlers a pet buddy right from the beginning!

  5. Health – When you choose a puppy, make sure to ask about its health and its parents to know its health history. Also, check the puppy and see if it looks happy and healthy. A weak looking pup may have a bad case of worms or some other physical ailment. Though Labs aren’t susceptible to much diseases, it is better to do a thorough health screening and regular check-ups later to be sure.

Last but not the least, is the consideration of whether you should get a male or a female puppy. If looks are important for you, you might want to go with a male dog as they are muscular and larger. It is also easier to neuter males than spaying females. Female dogs have 2 heat cycles in a year when they behave differently and tend to shed more. Based on your exact requirements and your family’s needs, you can choose the perfect Labrador puppy to join your family! Read more…

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Antibiotic abuse in livestock



Antibiotics are increasingly used in farming systems in Kenya as famers give them to animals and chicken to prevent them from getting sick.

The law requires that the drugs are only given to the farmer after prescription from a registered veterinary surgeon but they end up in famers hands from shops that sell them to farmers illegally.

Dr Tuimur blamed this on the veterinarians.

“The fate of microbial resistance is as much in your hands as animal owners, as it is in the hands of the professionals who serve you, and the people who supply antibiotics to you illegally,” said the Livestock PS in his speech.

Prof Kariuki said veterinarians also fall prey to the pressure from farmers who demand that they are given antibiotics.

He said: “The farmer tells the vet that the last time the animals showed those signs they were given a certain drug and they got well and so they demand for that particular drug.”

Dr Indraph Ragwa, from KVB said prescriptions for anti-biotics are usually accompanied with directions on how to use them.

“Using antibiotics on animals comes with instructions such as not to take milk or meat from that animal for a certain period of time, and only a qualified person would know that,” he said.

However, Dr Ragwa said, science has not directly linked cancer to the consumption of meat and milk from animals that have been exposed to antibiotics.

Dr Ragwa added that farmers lose their animals in the hands of quacks, especially when performing complex procedures such as Caesarian section on cows.

“They want money, and when the animal dies, the famer loses a livelihood as well as the money,” he said.

Livestock play a huge role in food security and thus more exposure to people.

read more….

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Investing Lessons You Can Learn From Your Cat

cat-staring-at-coins-investing-money-stock-market-getty_largeAre cats better stock pickers than humans?

In 2012, The Observer, a British newspaper, ran a contest that allowed three separate groups of participants to invest an imaginary 5,000 British pounds, which is the equivalent of about $6,080 based on today’s U.S. dollar-British pound exchange rate. The three “groups” were as follows:

  • A trio of professional money managers (Justin Urquhart Stewart of Seven Investment Management, Paul Kavanagh of Killick & Co., and Andy Brough of Schroders).
  • A group of schoolchildren between the ages of 11 and 18 at John Warner School in Hoddesdon, England.
  • A domestic house cat named Orlando.

Clearly the seasoned stock pickers who get paid a pretty penny to offer their advice to their clients should win, right? At the end of the one-year contest, the stock pickers had indeed generated a gain of 3.5% from where they’d begun. The schoolchildren didn’t fare nearly as well, with their portfolio down 3.2% from the beginning. However, Orlando, who chose his stocks by throwing his favorite toy mouse on a number grid that was associated with popular companies, left everyone in the dust with a year-end gain of 10.8%.

Allow that to sink in for a moment: a cat beat three professional stock pickers.

read more…



I wanted to come home and start farming


Veteran retires to raise cattle

Growing up on a dairy and beef farm, Pete Berscheit of Grey Eagle knew from a young age that he wanted to have his own beef herd one day.
“I just really liked beef cows,” he said.
He joined the Army when he was 17. About the same time, his dad, Lester, bought a farm south of Grey Eagle for $1,000 an acre.
Berscheit said the plan was to save up enough money during his Army years to buy his own farm. When he departed from the Army, he asked his dad to help him find a farm.
“I wanted to come home and start farming,” he said.
The two found a 160-acre farm and since it was during the 1980s farm crisis, the asking price was only $250 an acre.

“Even though it was a good price, it didn’t seem like a good time to go into farming. Guys who had been farming for 30 years were going broke,” Berscheit said.
He tried to figure out how the farm would pay for itself, but through research discovered it didn’t matter what he would grow. Because of the farm crisis, there was not a single buck to be made.
“Everything was just so tough, so I decided not to buy it even though as cheap as it was,” he said.
Berscheit returned to what he knew — the Army. When he was stationed at Fort Carson near Colorado Springs, Colo., he helped a ranch owner tend to his herd of antelopes on the weekends.
“I found it when I was looking for a place to hunt antelopes,” he said.
Even though helping out on a ranch wasn’t the same as owning his own farm and herd, it was a way to be closer to his dream. However, that too ended when he received orders to leave Fort Carson to serve at Fort Hood in Texas.
It was in Texas Bersheit met his wife, Rosemary. She was teaching a first grade class. read more…