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Little Bits of All Sorts continued

This week I am continuing with more of the smaller items of interest that I have been unable to absorb into other previous topics.

UK Pet Passport system

I took Winston to the Vets the other day, as I was returning to the UK and then travelling onto Romania. Unfortunately with yet another Spanish holiday the sign on the vet’s door said closed so I could not give Winston the Rabies jabs. I think he was happy about that.

When I first came to Spain to retrain Winston he was originally supposed to have been going to a new home in Switzerland so I thought did he have a passport already. I telephone Andrea Ropolthy of APASA to learn that for travelling to Switzerland he only needed to have an up to date anti-rabies certificate. It seems transport within the EU is not quite as difficult as taking dogs back to the UK.

Another dog owner was telling me that the test result delay is only part of the problem. It also has to do with when you can apply to the Spanish equivalent of Maff (Ministry of fisheries and food). One piece of advice to pass on to you is that when you do apply for your Pet passport, photo copy everything, as once you attend the agricultural office they will only send you away to do this anyway. To pay for the passport you will have to take your money to a specified bank and return with the receipt.

Lack of advice from English vets regarding bringing pets to Spain

I did receive a letter the other day as well as e-mails asking me where they can purchase the Scalibor collar in the UK. Yet again, they all found that none of their vets had any knowledge of the collar or of the disease. One vet, after being shown the page from the CBN, did find that the collar is now licensed in the UK but only available from September 2004.

I have spoken to Paula Boyden BvetMed MRCVS of Intervet who manufacture the collars and she confirmed they have the UK licence for both the collar and the shampoo but you will have to pressure your vet to obtain them for you, as it is not obtainable in pet shops. Unlike here in Spain it is only sold under prescription and only obtainable from your vet.

There are some concerns expressed that we are using too many chemicals on our pets and are we being overly protective. Looking at the collars and drops I have used on Winston I wondered what is the list of items we need to safeguard and which products protect against which problem.

The Scalibor has an anti-feeding effect from sand flies and ticks for 6 months. It also protects against fleas for 4 months. The advice is not to use the collar on pregnant bitches nor puppies below 7 weeks. It can also cause some irritation in a few dogs. This means that to protect against heartworm there is the need to use something else.

I did ask about two small dogs that had showed symptoms of poisoning three weeks from first wearing the collar and could this be to blame. I have checked this with Intervet and Spanish vets and they are of the option that this is unlikely.

The alternative to the Scalibor is ExSpot or the more Expensive Advantix and these work against both the sand fly and the mosquito that infects heartworm. This means something else like Frontline for ticks and fleas.

It would seem that to cover for all pests and parasites you must seek advice from your vet. They are best able to offer you the most efficient combination that gives your pet the best overall cover without turning them into a chemical hazard.

I have found an interesting article in the Our Dogs web site about Leishmaniasis called the facts. It is written by Dr Bob Killick-Kendrick PhD, DSc, FIBiol and if you would like to read it or your vet then you will find it at http;//www.ourdogs.co.uk/News/September2003/News050903/canine.htm.

It is very similar to the information I have already written here in the CBN but maybe English vets would prefer to read an article from one of their colleagues on this subject.

The Halti Experiment

Roger Mugford sent me one of his new leads to try on Winston. It looks very much like the old leather Police training leads that so many civilian clubs adopted for normal obedience training. The problem with them though was because they were leather they were stiff and bulky and certainly why I and many other handlers preferred the lighter rope slip leads.

This new lead is very light and soft but made from a very strong material making it ideal for this experiment. One end can clip onto the halti and the other end to the normal collar. This will not create a heavy load on the Halti making it an additional irritation for the dogs as handlers gradually increase the use of the head collar over a period of two weeks or so.

It is a very nice lead but too good for Winston. When we are walking and he becomes bored, he likes to play pull with the lead. My normal rope lead now looks like it suffers from warts because where his teeth have penetrated the outer sheath the inner shock cord material has squeezed out. No way is he having one of these posh leads.

The Bioflow magnetic collar test

Over six months ago Bioflow sent me two magnetic collars for use on dogs. They asked me to test for myself the effect on dogs suffering skeletal or muscular problems. One important point is the dogs do not know what is happening so they cannot influence the result the way we humans do. Secondly, the owners of the dogs did not have to pay for the collars so they too would not feel intimidated into thinking it is working simply because of its cost.

The first dog I chose suffered from hip Dysplasia. The owner considered if her dog could eventually jump into the back of her car again then the collar works.

The dog had been wearing it for about 2 months but as the weather began to get colder, so the symptoms of pain from the dog’s hips were becoming more evident. The owner thought the collar was not a success and she would have to start using Metacalm again. I suggested she kept the collar to give it a good test and to keep it for the time being.

It was only the other week the owner said she has not had to use any medication on her dog at all over the winter months. She had administered what little medicine she had left but as the symptoms decreased, she never had to purchase any more.

My sceptical question would be was this a mild winter. Only those people who suffer from arthritis could help confirm this if they too have had to use fewer medicines for themselves during this winter. If you can answer this question, please do contact me.

The second dog I chose was initially suffering from separation anxiety so a local dog trainer advised them to take the dog to his training class. The problem was that when it came to letting all the dogs off their leads to socialise them this dog showed the others major aggression. The type and body stance of this aggression was indicative of a medical problem that after a visit to the vets showed it has at sometime in the past suffered a broken hip that had not healed correctly. The first time I went to visit this dog it was possible to see a slight limp even though it could run about and walk long distances.

The reason for the show of aggression to the other dogs is most preditors will usually seek out any game that shows signs of infirmity, as they are easier to catch. All this dog was trying to do was protect itself by warning the other dogs in the class that though it was injured it could still effectively defend itself if necessary and for them to leave it alone.

A similar question was e-mailed to me the other week from an owner in Vancouver. His dog had sustained an injury to its rear legs and their vet advised them to walk their dog on a lead for a month. Previously the dog had shown no aggression to other dogs but whilst on the lead it became very aggressive. Now healed the dog is back to its old self again and friendly to most dogs that show a similar friendly stance.

The question was does their dog have an aggression problem. Again I asked did their dog display the same front-end bow down with head directed upwards towards the other dog’s with its teeth bared and growling at them but not actually wishing to attack. They confirmed that this was the case and I replied that this stance is simply a warning to all dogs not to think it was injured and fair game to other dogs.

So back to the test and with the second collar in hand I called round to the owner’s house and I set the size correctly and placed it on the dog’s neck. Because of the apparently poor result from the first dog, I forgot all about the test until I heard the recent good news relating to the first dog. I therefore thought I should telephone to see how the second one was getting on.

It had now worn the collar for about 4 months and everything seemed normal until the other week the owner took the collar off to wash it and failed to put it back on. After 3 days, the owners noticed the dog limping once more so they had to replace the collar.

My own hope for the conclusion of this test was that the owners would not wish to return the collars, which is the case here. I am pleased with the result and I now wear a Bioflow band on my wrist to see if it will cure my shoulder problem. This I feel sure is from my sitting too long in front of my computer. A friend of mine has a similar problem so she too is trying one and we will see if they work. Watch this space.

Romania trip

To help solve the problem of roaming dogs and cats in Europe and in particular the number of dogs in Romania I have learned that an official here asked if I have traced the American Pharmaceutical firm that is researching into a chemical sterilisation agent. This was for the use in animal bait in order to sterilize them without the need for surgery. Apparently, the question was not to use it for its intended purpose but in order to reduce the number of politicians. I must admit that I wonder if they are really aliens from another planet. Maybe Guy Faulks was right after all.

I will have some further little bits of all sorts for you next week.

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