Wednesday, February 27, 2013

To Show or Not to Show

Well, this past weekend we were a definite No Show at a show.  And this is why.

Last Wednesday was a seemingly normal day until, shortly after midnight, I began vomiting and showing signs of abdominal pain. We spent a few hours in an emergency clinic to rule out bloat and pancreatitis. A couple of hours after we returned home, we received the results of the blood test that showed my liver enzymes were at dangerously high levels. Off to an emergency hospital for more specialized testing and to be admitted. I was put on IV to replenish fluids and to administer several antibiotics, pain meds and a liver protectant.

A week later, we still do not know what caused this crisis. This occurred on the 9th day of consuming a new kibble. The new food had been introduced slowly over the course of 7 days. This very serious illness struck on the second full day of the new food. Since the timing of this cannot be ignored, the new kibble is being sent to the lab at Cornell University to be tested for the presence of various toxins. Unfortunately, there is none of the old kibble left to be tested so the best we can do is to contact the manufacturer and ask if there have been any other illnesses reported to them.

I have been home for a few days now and will be on a number of medications for quite some time.

Yesterday, there was news of a recall in Minnesota due to aflatoxin contaminated kibble sold in several states. The recall notice states that there have been no reported illnesses due to this recall. Considering that aflatoxin (and other mycotoxins) can take weeks or months to produce symptoms of illness it should not be assumed that the health of dogs has not been affected.

I truly hope that this discovery does not signal the beginning of another wave of illnesses and food recalls. The massive 2005-2006 problem was due to corn which was contaminated by aflatoxin. This mold, which can affect several types of crops, proliferates under conditions of stress such as excess moisture or excess drought (this past summer was characterized by the worst and most extensive drought in decades).   

Last year, there was a wide-spread problem of salmonella-tainted kibble sold under several brands (all having been processed in the same plants). The manufacturers and media emphasized the danger to humans of salmonella exposure while downplaying the danger to dogs.  A dog encountering salmonella in the environment may not fall ill but a dog being fed salmonella-tainted kibble on a daily basis, in my opinion, is not on a path to good health as salmonella bacteria can infiltrate other areas of the body including the bloodstream.

In light of the current MN recall, since there are a limited number of suppliers of ingredients and a seemingly small number of processing plants, PLEASE monitor your kibble-fed dogs carefully for unusual changes in behaviour (going off their food, lethargy ...) or physical signs of illness (jaundice, vomiting, bloody vomit or stool, mucus or black stools ...) or silent pain (adopting unusual postures, seeking out quieter areas of the home ...). Please familiarize yourself with the full list of symptoms (through government, university or veterinary websites, for instance) of food-borne illnesses that can affect your dog, cat or human members of your family.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Wednesday's Work

February 2nd
Wildwood Kennel Club Show
Woodstock, ON
 Judge Lynn Storeshaw (Alberta)
Expertly Handled by Edgar Rojas
Group 3rd

Driving in Ontario in February can be challenging! We spent about 18 hours in the car over 4 days. Since the temperatures and windchills were COLD, it was nice to have something fun and exciting to do indoors. Being awarded a Group 3rd for 43 Top Dog points on Saturday was very very exciting! A few candid shots from the ring:

Since we were finished by noon on Sunday, I got to enjoy a country romp in the snow (icing sugar compared to the amount of snow on the ground in Woodstock).

I don't think we were on Abbey Road!