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Grrrrrrreat Reads – Not Just For 1st Time Adopters

 

It is exciting to find so many good books about pet adoption on the market. Those of us who live with adopted pets know how much they mean to a family.

 

If you have ever opened your heart to an older pet, here’s a book you’ll want to check out:

 According to William Hageman, Reporter for the Chicago Tribune,  “If you read My Old Dog: Rescued Pets With Remarkable Second Acts (New World Library) and don’t want to run out to a shelter and rescue a senior pet, you have a heart of flint.”  The book, written by Laura T. Coffey and photographed by Lori Fusaro, champions a sometimes-forgotten segment of the animal shelter population.  It contains some truly beautiful photographs of senior dogs and a very nice resource section for folks who make older dogs a part of their life. http://www.myolddogbook.com/

 

 

Perhaps the writer of My Old Dog will follow up with an equally well-built version about senior cats? Let’s hope so. In the meantime, we have an excellent book available now, offering the latest information on Senior Cat Care. Written by Susan Easterly, Your Older Cat – A Complete Guide to Nutrition, Natural Remedies and Veterinary Care is a veritable Bible of good information for anyone whose cat is reaching its sunset years. With easy to follow tables, resource lists and helpful hints, this book will help any reader get a grip on old-cat topics like the aging process, preventive care, natural healing options, chronic diseases and senior cat nutrition. The suggested reading list is most helpful and the photos are just beautiful.

 

At the opposite end of the spectrum, there’s an excellent book on how to raise a great puppy written by Dr. Sophia Yin. Dr. Yin died a few years back, but she left behind her a tremendous wealth of writings about positive methods in pet training based on the latest research. Being a veterinarian, Dr. Yin also tempers her writings with the physical drivers behind behavior. Illustrated profusely with photos and drawings that are easy to interpret, Perfect Puppy in 7 Days – How to Start Your Puppy Off Right not only can help someone raising a puppy to do it right. It also can help the owner of a young dog understand the reasons behind behaviors they may be seeing in their pet, and how they can best modify those behaviors without ruining the dog.

 

Since we like to be even handed in our reviews, we owe it to the felines and their families to mention an equally interesting and well-designed how-to book about cats by Pam Johnson-Bennett: Think Like A Cat – How To Raise a Well-Adjusted Cat – Not a Sour Puss  From how to choose a new cat or kitten to how to kitten-proof a home to how to help your vet diagnose your cat’s ailments, this book is the one cat owners will turn to again and again over the lifetime of their cat. There’s some exceptional material in here about how to not only train a cat, but how to modify and even eliminate undesirable behaviors your cat may have developed. Personally we might have liked to have seen a few more illustrations in this book to break up the text a bit and help the more visual learners in our midst to get the message; but with so much valuable information in this book, we can forgive the lack of images and appreciate the treasure between its covers.


Legislative Corner – What is Animal Cruelty?

TASP gets our share of calls from folks concerned about this or that animal’s welfare in their neighborhood. Whether it’s a neighbor’s dog tied out in weather extremes, or dairy heifers with hip bones protruding in springtime, it’s commendable that people care enough about animals to seek help on their behalf. Sometimes what they’re seeing is actually not cruelty, according to NY State law, and sometimes it is. In the previous TASP newsletter, we talked about how to make change happen at the federal level. I thought it might be a good idea to take it back a notch and talk about state level matters, especially concerning animal cruelty.

When the topic of animal cruelty comes up, sometimes I lose a friend when I explain what TASP can and can’t do, legally. After all, TASP is not the official Animal Control officer for any jurisdiction. We’re educated in Animal Law so we can recognize it when we see it and share information on the topic with concerned members of the public. We’re glad to communicate what we’ve learned to enlighten others, but we don’t have the authority to remove animals from premises without the permission of the animal’s owner or of law enforcement officials responsible for the location where the suspected cruelty is taking place. We also don’t have the legal authority to demand that law enforcement remove an animal from its owner, even when cruelty is suspected. And we can’t legally represent you to law enforcement and make a formal complaint on your behalf about something you’ve witnessed and we haven’t.  All we can do is what YOU can do if you suspect animal cruelty:

Look carefully at the big and small picture and compare what you see to Article 26 of the NY State Agriculture and Markets Law. Remember, not everything that looks like cruelty is legally cruel under our existing laws. In this state, animals are still considered the property of their owners, just like a car or a ladder. Companion animals have a bit more protection under Article 26, but even at that, the protections are in some cases vaguely worded and up to the interpretation of officers, attorneys and judges.

Not all cruelty or neglect is intentional and not all cases of neglect are considered by law enforcement to be prudent to prosecute, from a resource-availability perspective. An elderly pet owner who isn’t able to trim their pet’s nails or whose dog/cat’s fur is matted isn’t necessarily intending to hurt their pet. On the contrary, they may be distressed, embarrassed and/or ashamed that they aren’t able financially or physically to keep up with the animal’s care. It may be their only companion and so they may be reluctant to let it go. There may be no relatives or neighbors nearby who can/will help them with the tasks, or they may not understand the physical discomfort that long nails or matted fur can cause an animal.  The owner’s arthritis, poor eyesight, lack of resources or the onset of their or their loved one’s illness may also be legitimate reasons for a lapse in a pet’s care. Swooping in to judge/accuse/publicly shame the owner in such cases without knowing the backstory adds to the tragedy instead of helping overcome the issue for the long term. Those are the cases where TASP might be able to help by paying for grooming or vetting for that pet. Or, if the situation is a sinking ship, TASP may even offer to help the owner place the pet in a more secure home so the owner can move on to assisted living. But before you set us on that pet owner, why not drop by with a cup of coffee, a little tray of cookies or some animal-related trinket that shows you care, so you can get acquainted and learn more about why your neighbor’s animal looks the way it does and how we outsiders might be trusted as worthy to help?

I actually had a very nice lady call me once with great concern about abused dairy cattle on a farm near where she lived. It was spring and she said she was seeing the female cattle standing outside with hip bones protruding. She said they looked starved and were all muddy and she was sure they were being horribly neglected. She didn’t stop in to talk with the farmer and she didn’t research on the internet to learn more about how to judge a cow’s body condition score. She just drove past the farm day after day on her way to and from work and with each pass, she got herself more and more worried about these poor cows. When she called me to talk about it, I assured her I would take a look, but that these cows were probably fine, given it was calving season. I gave her a brief rundown in what makes cows look the way they do so she could understand why what she was seeing might be expected at this time of year. And when I drove over to take a peek, my hunch was confirmed; there was no shortage of food available to those cows and they were happily chewing cud when I got there. This lady was a very well meaning person unfamiliar with dairy farming. She was judging the appearance of these cattle against the condition of her pet dog and saw a disturbing contrast. But those familiar with dairy farming will tell you the cow’s physical structure is far different from any dog’s (let’s start with just the number of stomachs for an example) and a heifer’s body condition fluctuates with the time of year and her calving/lactating cycle. As it turns out, these cows were in fine condition; they had just been calving and that takes alot out of the system so the Moms all naturally looked a little droopy around the hip bones at that time.  There was no law broken here.

So here’s a test for you…. a couple of photos of a suffering dog. Is it a case of animal cruelty/criminal neglect?

 

 

 

 

Answer: Not. This dog had a loving owner who spent thousands of dollars in her attempt to overcome her dog’s allergies. She trusted her veterinarian to diagnose and treat this dog, but unfortunately, this particular vet was having difficulty getting a grip on the case. The stack of invoices and reports in this little guy’s vet history attested to a year’s worth of repeated trips to the vet, each time with a new proposed treatment that was supposed to stop the tormenting itch. By this time, the dog had ulcers from too many steroids, an antibiotic-resistant staph infection from too may antibiotics and he was half his normal weight. At the recommendation of her vet, his owner was about to euthanize the 2 year old West Highland Terrier when she reached out to her coworker who reached out to TASP.  We had the dog properly diagnosed and treated by another vet with more experience in helping animals with severe allergies. The dog’s Mom gratefully surrendered him to TASP because she didn’t feel equipped to deal with the care he would need going forward. He’ll always need allergy shots and carefully controlled diet and environment, but here’s a recent photo of Spencer …..he actually needs regular haircuts now!

If we pass judgement just by what we see without digging deeper to obtain more context, we can deceive  ourselves. But let’s say you did your homework. You’ve made unsuccessful attempts to clarify/rectify the situation. Perhaps, in spite of your asking your neighbor to clean up their yard, the smell of feces and/or garbage coming from the person’s back yard where their dog is tied is enough to gag a maggot; so you know Article 26 Section 353b.3.b has been violated. Or worse yet, you’ve witnessed the animal being beaten or otherwise abused (Article 26 Section 353 and/or 353a). In other words, you are convinced that you have a case of unjustifiable cruelty. Here’s what you need to do next:

First, do NOT change the condition of any of the animals on that property. Don’t groom the matted one, don’t trim the nails or make any improvements to the suffering animals. Sound cruel? Wellllll, if you change the condition of any of the suffering animals before they can be witnessed and professionally documented by a vet/officer, you’ve changed the evidence of the crime. Instead, start documenting the cruelty you suspect. In a perfect world, this would entail taking photos or video of the situation. But the important thing you need to know is, you aren’t legally allowed to step onto the property of others of whom you suspect cruelty without their inviting you to do so. This reality may be the factor that determines you aren’t able to gather images of the animal you think is suffering. If that’s the case, write down the dates and times when you witness cruelty occurring and write detailed descriptions of the incident: what kind and how many animals and how are they being abused? What evidence are you seeing? Be specific. Try to match up what you’re seeing with the actual section and subsection of Article 26 that applies. List any other witnesses present and try to be objective in your description. These notes may be reviewed by law enforcement and may eventually be considered evidence in a trial if the case gets that far.

With your evidence in hand, call 911 or visit the local police department and report the suspected cruelty. You need to file an official complaint with the local police, and you may need to insist that they take your complaint, depending on how animal-friendly the officer on duty is. After that, the case will be reviewed and an officer may visit the suspect’s home, or they may send the dog control officer (if it’s a dog that you are concerned about) to see if they see any evidence of a cruelty issue.

Don’t be surprised if the officer/DCO points out to the suspect that they are in violation of one or more sections of Article 26, and offers the suspect an opportunity to correct the situation. This is akin to an officer offering you a warning instead of a citation for speeding in your car…..and based on what the officer learns when visiting the suspect, he or she may feel it makes good sense to give the suspect a chance to get things back under control over a given period of time instead of immediately drawing them into the criminal justice system. Now, some people may say, “How can you equate suspected animal cruelty with my innocent speeding violation?” The answer is, your vehicle weighs ALOT, and when it’s going faster than recommended, the chance of your imposing cruelty on an innocent animal/human who happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time is actually quite high. That’s one reason why we have speeding laws. But if an officer looks you in the eye, communicates with you, looks around your vehicle, checks your past record and feels you would change your behavior after a warning, then they’re entitled to make that judgement and give you the opportunity to self-correct. This saves valuable police and court resources for the really heinous cases that absolutely require immediate prosecution: the person who lights the stray cat on fire, the person who beats a pet to death with a shovel, the person who slashes their neighbor’s pet horse in its stall, or the person who blatantly refuses or is unable to heed the warning of an officer who has already given them official warning of their violation.

The New York State Humane Association wrote the  book on investigating animal cruelty. Literally. CLICK HERE to read their indepth procedural layout for animal cruelty investigators. This is the book by which many police departments learn how to investigate Animal Cruelty, so in becoming familiar with this manual, you can help your officers do the best job of bringing an animal abuser to justice with a case that isn’t likely to be thrown out of court.

We’re a nation of laws. They’re certainly not all perfect but they’re part of a system that attempts to provide at least a bare minimum of protection for the vulnerable. The tricky part of all this from the perspective of law enforcement is protecting the rights of animals without violating the rights of humans. As animal lovers, it’s easy for us to confuse our own standards of care for our pets with what is legally required. This is one of the root causes of misunderstandings and polarization among the community. By becoming more educated ourselves about the legal side of animal welfare, we can help law enforcement do a better job and we can also offer our law makers concrete suggestions for new bills that can update and improve laws. And that’s how we can make our community a better place for all species.

 


Concierto

Concierto
Concierto stood by the round bail feeder,
withered and wet, spring mud clinging to his hocks
ribs protruding hard and knobby
like the exposed roots of a stricken tree.
“I think it’s cancer,” Aunt Mary said.
“he’s lost three hundred pounds this week”
I nodded and stepped up
reached out a pale hand and scratched
the center of his neck through the fence
for the thousandth time.
He rolled back his muddied eyes,
tilted and lifted back his head.
I stepped closer to him
smelled his neck and mane
and he rested his chin on the crown of
my head.
He gently moved his muzzle to my shoulder
and I ran my hands over his nostrils and
lips, still soft and velvet as the day he was born,
and rubbed the white star between his eyes.
“Happy Easter, old man.” I whispered.
I took his chin in my hands and
kissed him below the forelock.
pulled out my phone
captured a final portrait
of a proud warmblood
and watched him in the mirror as I drove away.
He returned to the feeder,
buried his nose in the hay all
headed out, pale-green and perfect
his jaw still strong,
his methodical chewing
a reassuring reminder
that horses live and love
unburdened and
ever present.


Tip o’ the Day – The Biggest Mistakes New Animal Owners Make

We’ve all seen the movies and read the books about animals and people living happily ever after. And animals really do enrich our lives, no matter what the species. But all living things have physical and emotional needs.  They’re not appliances we can turn on and off as we find necessary. They need the right food, the right medical care and the right enrichment to live an acceptable quality of life…..and most importantly, they need our time and attention. Once we bring a pet into our lives, we become their primary source of these things. They depend on us to know what they need because they can’t always tell us themselves. In this issue of our newsletter, we thought it might be helpful to use the internet to learn in advance what others have to tell us about the animals we want to make a part of our family.

The most common mistakes new animal owners make…….

Thinking of acquiring a cat? CLICK HERE to learn how to avoid the most common mistakes new cat owners make.

You say you’re smitten by the puppy you just met at the shelter? CLICK HERE to learn from the mistakes of others.

You always wanted an equine and now you’ve got the opportunity to achieve that dream. Before you do, CLICK HERE to prepare yourself in advance.

Ferrets, rats, snakes, lizards, turtles……are they all low maintenance pets? CLICK HERE to find out.

Exotic birds are entertaining, colorful, and some can even talk to us. But there’s more to owning a bird than just putting food and water in a cage. CLICK HERE to find out what you may not have considered about owning a bird, before you bring one home.

 

 


The Next Chapter – Update on Mitch’s Dogs

With 2018 nearly over, we realize what a challenging year this, our tenth year, has been. Losing Mitch Valerien in March was the worst thing that ever happened to our little group, and it was so totally unexpected, the cause still not fully understood, even the most optimistic of us probably felt like the floor was pulled out from under our feet. So it is easy to imagine how much worse that horrible event was for Mitch’s dogs. Without the ability to understand even what little we knew about Mitch’s death, these animals went through a life-altering change in 2018. Living alone, Mitch was everything to these dogs: mother, father, nurse, chef, janitor and UBER service….TASP owed it to Mitch to do our best to help her animals get to the next chapter in their lives as painlessly as possible. And thanks to the kindness of our community and the resilience of these dogs’ spirits, we have some very positive news to report to all of you.

Andy: “The Flower,” is now living a loved, safe and joyful life with Lea, a local veterinarian who has a soft spot for senior dogs. And BTW, she also has a very friendly, sweet black lab mix female for Andy to play and snooze next to. This gentle guy was very bonded to Midnight, Mitch’s little black lab mix female, so it was especially gratifying to have Andy find a home with another friendly female who resembles Midnight so much. Andy’s new Mom is a “foster failure,” just as Mitch was when she originally adopted Andy from Labs4Rescue so many years ago. The first time we contacted Lea to bring Andy to an adoption clinic, she asked to adopt him because he had grown so content in her home and she’d grown so fond of him. Lea writes in her latest update, “He’s doing great, a real sweetie and has adjusted to life with me very well. Everyone loves him. His sister is forever pestering him to play, sometimes he’s happy to and other times he just patiently ignores the biting at his head and feet (Hadley can be a pill!)” Andy’s new life is truly what Mitch would have asked for if she could.

Click on Andy’s portrait to watch a video of him and Hadley playing together.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Benjamin: “The Forever Puppy,” was the first of Mitch’s dogs to be adopted, and the oldest! Thanks to Tracy, Mitch’s childhood friend in Rhode Island, Ben lounges on the carpet next to Tracy’s desk while she’s working from home, just as he did at Mitch’s house while she worked from home. Ben’s got a family who adores him and makes him a part of everything they do. And he has a little girlfriend to snuggle up and flirt with whenever he wants to. Tracy’s latest report: “Ben is doing great. He has been a great addition to our family. We love taking him for rides and he loves just being with us. We are truly lucky to have him.” Can you imagine how happy this would make Mitch?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Billie: “Sweetheart,” Billie was the dog who seemed to suffer the most when Mitch passed away. For awhile, we couldn’t figure out why Billie was physically failing. But once she settled into Lynn’s home in farm country, just outside of Fort Edward, Billie’s condition began to turn around. We discovered Billie’s physical decline was just a symptom of her grieving! Lynn happened to be her Vet Tech at Borador Animal Hospital when Mitch was still alive. After Mitch’s death, Lynn’s heart went out to the old dog with the huge benign tumor on her back, who suffered so profoundly from the loss of Mitch. In a recent email, Lynn told us, “Everyone in my family just loves her. She fit in here like she had always lived here.
Although I am sorry that it was necessary to rehome her I am honored to have her as it is the only thing I could do for Mitch.” It’s clear Lynn adores Billie and Billie’s physical improvement since moving in with Lynn testifies to how happy she is there. Lynn even prepares home-cooked meals for this noble old dog! Now, Billie’s latest chapter is truly a happy tail.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Midnight: “The Little Sister,” also hit the lottery. She was adopted by Ally, who works at Upstate Veterinary Specialties. Midnight has a much smaller pack now: just her and a dog-friendly cat, so she gets loads of attention and love, and doesn’t have to share her Mom with a lot of other dogs. She even gets to go to work with Ally, who tells us, “Midnight is doing wonderfully. And feels like she has always been a part of my life. I love her already!….. I am so glad that I found her. It’s been such a positive experience and I am looking forward to giving her a perfect home after going through so much. Her story truly touched my heart.” Ally’s update really touched all of our hearts at TASP. Little Midnight is surely blossoming in this new life of hers.

Mallory: While the “Little Mama” is waiting for her own forever home, she’s fostering with the Plasse’s, sharing the front zone of the house with Hammond (Rich & Melinda’s senior Rottie mix) and Desi, the deaf senior Jack Russell Terrier from TASP’s hospice program. Mallory enjoys her role as the only chick in the crowd, and the male dogs seem very willing to have Mallory direct the day’s activities. Rich tells us, “Mallory’s showing us every day what a terrific gal she is by walking to and from the play yard without even being leashed. She barks when company comes and loves lounging on the self-heating dog bed Hammond loaned to her. She’s such a cheerful girl…. her tail wags so hard when she sees me, it sounds like she’s beating a drum. She’s a really good dog!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sadie: “Cover Girl” is now officially a Canine Good Citizen thanks to her foster Mom, Lucinda. While she waits to be adopted to her forever home, Sadie shares the foster home with two cats and two male mini dachschund mixes. She enjoys the daily walks Lucinda takes her on in their quiet neighborhood and one of her favorite things to do is to snooze with her dog and cat friends on Lucinda’s big front window seat. With her good manners and her magnetic personality, it’s just a matter of time before Sadie finds her special person to adopt her; but in the meantime, she’s thinking foster life is mighty sweet at Lucinda’s. “Sweet Sadie is an eager-to-please girl. She relishes car rides and outdoor walks and hikes, but is also content to nose around the back yard or sit by the window to watch the world go by,” according to Lucinda. Sadie  certainly has matured and is nothing like the wild-child she was years ago when Mitch took her in. She’ll make someone a fantastic companion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zach: The dog we were most worried about being adopted was our “Wingman.” With his separation anxiety, Zach presented a big dilemma for anyone who worked outside the home. Fortunately for him, Bill came with his family to the Petapalooza adoption event at Curtis Lumber in Hoosick Falls earlier this year. Bill had just suffered the devastating loss of his wife. And being retired, he found himself with way too much alone time. Zach’s larger-than-life personality caught Bill’s eye from the get-go and before long they both knew they needed each other. The rest of the story is better than anything we could have written for Zach. Bill and Zach are a team now, doing everything together at home and on the road. Bill’s minivan is the perfect vehicle for these two bachelors to cruise to the park for a nice walk or to run errands in town. And Bill says Zach is like his shadow, always right behind him and ready to participate in any activity, especially climbing into bed at the end of the day. Bill says, “Sometimes he even beats me to bed and I have to ask him to move over so I can get in!” Bill’s daughter, Dawn adds, ” I would like to thank you for giving my Dad the opportunity to adopt Zack. I believe they are a perfect match! They are inseparable, great therapy for each other.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Time only moves in one direction and no amount of money on earth can buy time back once it’s spent. The old adage says, “Change is good.” But some changes are so sudden and irreversible, they can upset even the most level-headed of us. All of us at TASP are glad that Mitch’s dogs are finding their own lives now. It wasn’t easy for them to adapt after all the years they shared with Mitch, but thanks to the commitment of Mitch’s circle of friends and the response from the community, all of her dogs are safe and loved. We hope to report on the final placements for Sadie and Mallory soon, and with that, we will all know Mitch can finally rest in peace knowing her “kids” are going to be alright.


Blood Test Basics

When the Vet tells you they’re going to do some bloodwork, what does that really mean? We all know it means a tech will probably come into the room and hold your pet steady while the vet draws one or more syringes worth of blood from the animal’s vein. It may be taken from a front or a rear leg, depending on the pet’s size and disposition and the quality of the veins.

But what happens after that blood leaves the exam room? What kinds of tests can be done on blood and how do we know why certain tests are necessary? And how can we learn to interpret blood test results ourselves, so we can better understand our pet’s condition and participate more effectively in treatment when it’s required?

One of the most common and most essential blood tests done on dogs is the 4DX snap test. That’s slang for a chemical test done with a plastic disposable device that has a bit of fresh blood applied to it. The 4DX tests for four different conditions that are now common in our region: Heartworm, Lyme Disease, Anaplasmosis and Ehrlichia. The last three in that list are tick-borne viruses; they result from the injection of tick saliva into the animal’s bloodstream. Heartworm is spread by a bite from a mosquito.

Caught early, all the tick-borne diseases discovered by a 4DX can be treated by antibiotics and brought under control. If these viruses are not caught early and treated, serious disability, organ damage and even death can follow. Heartworm caught early can also be treated effectively, but it is a much more involved treatment and far more costly than treating the tick-borne viruses. The bottom line: a simple 4DX test every year or two saves money and lives.

When it comes to blood tests common to most species, we need to think about the CBC and the Blood Chemistry tests.  These are the tests that help a vet determine what may be happening inside the animal. After all, a vet is at a disadvantage in attempting to uncover the cause for your pet’s overt symptoms. If Fluffy is suffering from chronic diarrhea, or is lethargic, or urinating rainbow colors, she can’t tell us verbally that she drank from a stinky puddle this morning or has been infected by a parasite. But conditions like anemia, infection, inflammation, dehydration, cancer, immune-mediated disease, kidney and liver deficiencies are all signaled by the blood. A blood test is a snapshot in time of the animal’s internal chemistry. It may need to be run more than once over time to reveal trends in recovery or decline of the animal’s condition. And sometimes follow-on testing needs to be done to further describe a condition; but it’s the CBC and Blood Chemistry panels that are the first-line detectives.

There are five parameters the vet is evaluating in the CBC & Chemistry: red blood cells, white blood cells, serum (AKA plasma), fibrinogen, and platelets. The results will usually show two columns or graphics: one lists your pet’s level for each parameter, the second lists the normal ranges for those parameters so you can compare your pet’s results with what we consider normal. Here’s a crash course in what the results of each parameter can mean:

Red Blood Cells: too many of these is typically associated with dehydration; too few usually means anemia. Red blood cell shape and size also can tell a vet about underlying conditions that may be at work in your pet, and some parasites can also be detected in the red blood cells.

White blood cells: too many? Infection likely; too few? Auto-immune disease possibility. The shape of white blood cells can signal certain blood cancers as well.

Platelets:  Too few platelets can indicate presence of a tick-borne virus like anaplasmosis or ehrlichia or an auto-immune disease like immune mediated hemolytic anemia (IMHA).

Fibrinogen:  Elevated levels indicate infection or inflammation.

Serum/Plasma: Altered levels can indicate kidney or liver damage, metabolic abnormalities, or tissue damage. Changes in electrolytes, glucose, proteins, bilirubin, enzymes, BUN (blood urea nitrogen) and creatinine are all measured and compared to what are considered the normal levels.

Of course, this is just a “Ten Cent Tour” version of the meaning of bloodwork. Your vet has many years of schooling and practice under their belt. They use their knowledge and experience to interpret the subtle chemical interactions represented by your pet’s blood test results. They also combine these test results with the animal’s history, appearance and behavior, and possibly even other tests like X-Rays and urinalysis, in order to diagnose your pet’s condition. But hopefully, armed with this basic explanation of the components of a blood test, you will be able to more effectively communicate with your vet to obtain the best possible outcome for the pet who’s depending on you.

Don’t hesitate to ask your vet to show you your pet’s blood test results on paper. And make sure they help you understand any of your pet’s blood test results that come through outside the normal ranges. A good vet wants their client to understand their pet’s condition so they can be an effective partner in treating the patient’s condition. They know it’s the pet’s owner who will be responsible for administering meds and tracking changes in the pet’s appearance and behavior once the appointment is over. This is best done with a basic understanding of the underlying mechanisms bloodwork can detect and describe.  So ask questions. Take notes. You’re part of a team dedicated to healing an animal that can’t speak for itself.


Project Outcome Followup: Puppy and Gail

Remember these two ladies from our last newsletter?  That was Puppy and Gail back in 2017. Back then, Puppy was keeping Gail’s spirits up after Gail lost her husband and her son. The two were inseparable and TASP made sure Puppy received the care she needed to remain healthy. After all, she had an important job to do as Mom’s primary companion.

It was a rough winter for Gail and Puppy. Gail’s health continued to fade and the little mobile home suffered from frozen pipes and way more snow than Gail could deal with. Meantime, Puppy needed occasional modification of her heart meds to keep her coughing under control. Over the long winter, Gail made a couple of emergency trips to the hospital for her breathing problems and ultimately, her invitation to heaven came. She reluctantly left Puppy and went to be reunited with her son and husband, her beloved goats and all the others who left this world before her. That left Puppy alone for the first time in her life.

Before Gail was loaded into the ambulance for her last trip to the hospital, she gave her house keys to a kind neighbor and asked her to watch over Puppy and to call TASP if she didn’t return. It was the neighbor who notified us of Gail’s passing and Puppy’s new status. The next day, a TASP volunteer visited Puppy and taught the neighbor all about the medicines Puppy took three times each day. For the next few days, this good neighbor visited Puppy regularly, feeding & medicating her, running the TV and keeping the little dog company until Gail’s daughter could arrive from Florida.

What a wonderful moment for Puppy when Sis walked in the door! She remembered Sis from the old days, and what’s more, Sis has the same distinctive voice as Gail! After what seemed like the loneliest time in Puppy’s little life, being gathered up into Sis’s arms and hearing her voice made the world seem beautiful again. A new chapter had begun!

Again, the TASP volunteer visited Puppy’s home, this time to meet with Sis and teach her how to administer Puppy’s meds. TASP provided a month’s supply of meds and a spreadsheet listing each medication, dosage and other important information for Puppy’s future care.

Over the next days, Sis closed up the little old mobile home and took care of Gail’s final business; and then she and Puppy left for Sis’s home in Florida. Puppy flew with Sis right in the cabin, as a VIP comfort dog, and she made it through the flight like a real pro. Now, little Puppy lives the pampered life and travels everywhere with Sis in the land of sunshine. She has a human family, a cat and other dogs to cuddle with and the warmer climate and more active lifestyle have done wonders for her heart & lungs.

Puppy knows that someday she’ll receive her invitation to heaven and will eventually get to be with her Mama, Pop and Bro again. But for now, she’s enjoying the benefits of her new life and family. It feels good to know Puppy remains loved and is getting the excellent care she deserves. As Gail’s loyal little companion, she gave her all. Now it’s all coming back to her in spades!

                                       


We’ll be there……….will YOU?

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Can You Help Hoss?

HossMy name is Hoss. I am a very large 3 year old Great Dane. I was born with wobbler’s syndrome. It’s caused by compression in my spine, near my neck. My wobbler’s causes me to randomly lose control of my feet and legs, so I walk funny and I fall alot. As if that weren’t bad enough, my owners were taken me on July 4, 2013. The animal support project brought me into their program the very next afternoon. They are helping my heart heal from the sadness of losing my family.and they are trying to help me obtain the veterinary assistance I need to overcome my disability.

I will need to have some tests, including an MRI, to determine whether I am a good candidate for surgery to repair my spine, relieve my pain and help me live a normal life.

Hoss' X-rayThe tests will cost a lot of money and the surgery will cost even more. But it’s my best chance for a future. Without surgery, I will soon have to leave this world of pain through the mercy of euthanasia. I am a good, gentle boy who loves everyone. I love to snuggle and kiss and place my giant head in your arms. I am clean in the house and kind to the little ones. I am not ready to die.

Can you help the animal support project raise the funds to pay for my veterinary needs? If you care and if you can spare a dollar or more, could you please donate to hoss’s fund? Every penny you donate will be applied to my vet bills because the Animal Support Project people are all unpaid volunteers who are doing this because they love me.

The Animal Support Project is opening a special account at First Niagara bank (FNFG) for me. You can donate to my fund through PayPal or Razoo or you can mail a check to:
Hoss’s Fund,
c/o The Animal Support Project
PO Box 68
Cropseyville, NY 12052

If you have questions about me or my situation, you can call: 518-727-8591

For More information on how Hoss came to TASP click on WTEN banner below
WTEN STORY ABOUT HOSS

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