Is Your Child Stressed? Get Them A Dog

We tend to associate stress with adult responsibilities, such as work deadlines or raising a family. However, children can feel stressed too, and long-term stress can have negative effects on their health just as it does on that of adults. New research investigates the effect of having a pet on how children experience stress.
[boy with dog]
New research suggests that pet dogs can help to lower stress levels in children.

A small amount of stress can be a powerful motivator, driving us to complete tasks and perform better at work. Too much stress, however, is known to have a negative effect not only on our mental health but also on our physical wellness.

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) warn that prolonged stress can lead to severe mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, as well as to physical health problems including heart disease and diabetes.

Children are no strangers to stress, either. One of the surveys carried out by the American Psychological Association found that nearly a third of the children interviewed had experienced a stress-associated physical symptom in the previous month, whether it was trouble falling asleep, headaches, or stomach aches.

How we respond to stress is, of course, an individual matter. The NIMH explain that some people can deal with stress more effectively than others, and different people use different coping mechanisms.

Some people turn to animals for social support. Studies have shown that pets help adults to calm down and therefore reduce stress, but does the same go for children?

Researchers from the University of Florida (UF) in Gainesville set out to investigate. Their team was led by Darlene Kertes, assistant professor in the psychology department of UF’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

The findings were published in the journal Social Development.

Do pets provide children with emotional support?

The study included approximately 100 families with children who owned a pet. The participants totaled 101 children aged between 7 and 12. To test the children’s stress levels, the researchers asked them to complete two tasks: public speaking and mental arithmetic.

These tasks are known to cause stress and raise the children’s levels of cortisol, which is a steroid hormone secreted by the adrenal glands and helps the body to respond to stressful or dangerous situations. Also known as the “stress hormone,” cortisol is a marker for stress, meaning that the more stressed we are, the higher are the levels of cortisol in our bodies.

For this study, researchers randomly assigned the children to complete the stressful tasks. They had either their dog present, their parent present, or no one there to support them.

To assess their cortisol levels, Kertes and team collected saliva samples from the participants before and after completing their task.

Interacting with their dog makes children feel less stressed

The results revealed that the children’s stress levels did vary depending on the kind of social support they received, but also on how much they engaged with their pet. The study’s author explains the results:

“Children who actively solicited their dogs to come and be pet or stroked had lower cortisol levels compared to children who engaged their dogs less. When dogs hovered around or approached children on their own, however, children’s cortisol tended to be higher.”

Darlene Kertes

The results shown by the cortisol tests were also backed by children’s accounts. “Children who had their pet dog with them reported feeling less stressed compared to having a parent for social support or having no social support,” Kertes says.

She also points out that how we cope with stress as children set the stage for how we cope with stressful situations as adults.

“Middle childhood is a time when children’s social support figures are expanding beyond their parents, but their emotional and biological capacities to deal with stress are still maturing. Because we know that learning to deal with stress in childhood has lifelong consequences for emotional health and well-being, we need to better understand what works to buffer those stress responses early in life.”

Darlene Kertes

Reverse Zoonosis: Can You Make Your Pet Sick?

For good reason, there is a great deal of interest in the transmission of diseases from animals to humans. Recently, however, medical researchers have started to ask the opposite question: can we make animals sick?
[Kitten being checked by doctor]
The transmission of diseases from humans to animals is a growing area of concern.

Swine and bird flu are two of the most recent and startling examples of animals passing diseases to humans.

Other unpleasant pet-to-human medical problems include ringworm, roundworm, and hookworm, as well as beaver fever, toxoplasmosis, and rabies.

Although these animal-to-human transmissions are relatively well described, pathogenic traffic in the opposite direction is much less well understood.

In this Spotlight feature, we will investigate whether pathogens can travel from humans to animals in a process referred to as reverse zoonosis, or anthroponosis.

A review of current literature on this topic, published in PLOS One in 2014, identified a wealth of examples. They found cases of bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi jumping from human hosts to animal-kind to occur across 56 countries on every continent with the exception of Antarctica.

The importance of reverse zoonoses

Reverse zoonosis is not just an interesting concept; it is an important global issue. Animals bred for food are transported far and wide, interacting with wild species that they would never naturally have encountered. With a rapid growth in animal production and an increase in the movement of both animals and people, a human pathogen within an animal could potentially move thousands of miles in just 24 hours.

For instance, during the H1N1 influenza pandemic of 2009, the virus was able to travel the breadth of the planet and from pigs to humans in a matter of months.

On top of the increasing animal trade, we have an ever-growing pet industry. An estimated 68 percent of people in the United States owned a pet in 2015 and 2016, up from 56 percent in 1988. Humans, animals, and disease are more entwined than ever.

Understanding how diseases work across all scenarios is essential for the future success of the human food chain and our survival as a species.

Although guidelines, protocols, and legislation attempt to keep on top of the increased movement of animals across the planet, the size of the issue is immense. Above and beyond legal farms and markets, zoos and aquariums, there is also an illegal meat trade that has the potential to affect the situation significantly. For instance, some estimate that 5 tons of illegal bushmeat move through Paris’ Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport every week in personal luggage.

Early research into human to animal pathogens

The fact that diseases can pass from humans to animals is, perhaps, not such a surprise. An estimated 61.6 percent of human pathogens are regarded as multiple species pathogens and are able to infect a range of animals. Also, over 77 percent of pathogens that infect livestock are multiple species pathogens.

Although investigating these interactions is not a new endeavor, interest in the field has grown and developed over recent years. One of the earliest studies demonstrating reverse zoonosis was conducted in 1988 and looked at dermatophytes – fungi that cause superficial infections of the skin, nails, and hair – including Microsporum and Trichophyton. The authors found that these fungi could be transmitted from animal to animal, human to human, animal to human, and human to animal.

In the mid-1990s, focus moved from fungal reverse zoonoses to bacteria, such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

In the late 1990s, interest in viruses picked up, peaking during the 2009 H1N1 swine flu pandemic. From 2000, studies began to emerge investigating the ability of certain parasites to pass from human to animal, including Giardia duodenalis (the parasite responsible of giardiasis) and Cryptosporidium parvum (a microscopic parasite that causes the diarrheal disease cryptosporidiosis).

Below, we outline a selection of pathogens that have been observed jumping the gap between human and animal.

MRSA transferred from humans to their pets

MRSA is sometimes called a “superbug” because of its resilience to antibiotics. Infections caused by MRSA are notoriously difficult to treat and have the potential to be fatal.

Although cases of MRSA in the U.S. appear to be declining, it is still a significant public health concern.

A study, published in the journal Veterinary Microbiology in 2006, looked at MRSA in pets and its transmission between humans and animals. They concluded that:

“Transmission of MRSA between humans and animals, in both directions, was suspected. MRSA appears to be an emerging veterinary and zoonotic pathogen.”

The paper mentions a specific case in which a couple was repeatedly infected with MRSA. The re-infections only stopped once their dog was identified as the source and treated. It is presumed that the dog was initially infected by the couple and then passed the infection back to them each time they had been successfully treated.

With the inherent difficulties of treating MRSA, it is a genuine concern if animals – and particularly pets – are able to contract and transmit the pathogen. As the authors write: “The emergence of MRSA in household pets is of concern in terms of animal health, and perhaps more importantly, the potential for animals to act as sources of infection or colonization of human contacts.”

Tuberculosis in a Yorkshire terrier

[Yorkshire terrier panting]
Humans are capable of spreading TB across the species barrier.

A paper, published in 2004, describes the case of a 3-year-old Yorkshire terrier who arrived at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine with anorexia, vomiting, and a persistent cough.

After running a barrage of tests – including, sadly, an eventual postmortem – the authors concluded that it had contracted tuberculosis (TB) (Mycobacterium tuberculosis). The dog’s owner had been receiving treatment for TB for 6 months. This was the first documented transmission of TB from human to canine.

Cats are also susceptible to TB, but they most commonly catch cattle TB (M. bovis) or, more rarely, a version of the disease carried by birds (M. avium).

Dogs are not the only animals that can be affected by human borne TB. There have been a number of documented cases of elephants contracting TB from humans, including three from an exotic animal farm in Illinois.

Cats catching flu from humans

In 2009, the first recorded case of fatal human-to-cat transmission of the H1N1 flu virus occurred in Oregon. The owner of the cat had a severe case of influenza and had to be taken to the hospital. Her cat – an indoor cat with no exposure to other people or animals – later died of pneumonia caused by an H1N1 infection. Details of the case were published in the journal Veterinary Pathology.

In 2011 and 2012, researchers identified more than 13 cats and one dog with pandemic H1N1 infection that appeared to have come from human contact. Interestingly, the animals’ symptoms were similar to those experienced by human carriers – rapidly developing respiratory disease, a lack of appetite and, in some cases, death.

Fatal respiratory illnesses in chimpanzees

Of all the animals, gorillas and chimpanzees are perhaps most susceptible to human ailments, thanks to their similar genetic and physiological makeup. They are known to be vulnerable to a number of human diseases, including measles, pneumonia, influenza, a range of viruses, bacteria, and parasites.

Due to poaching, habitat loss, wildlife parks, zoos, and bushmeat hunting, humans more frequently come into close proximity with primates. Because of this, cross-species transmission of diseases is becoming a pressing concern.

In 2003, 2005, and 2006, outbreaks of fatal respiratory disease struck the wild chimpanzees at the Mahale Mountains National Park in Tanzania. Although measles and influenza were both considered, no evidence to support them as the cause could be found.

Researchers analyzed stool samples from affected and nonaffected individuals, and they identified that a human-related metapneumovirus – a virus that causes an upper respiratory infection – was to blame.

This dwindling population of chimpanzees was being decimated by a cold transferred to them by humans.

Similarly, in 2009, an outbreak of human metapneumovirus infection in Chicago, IL, spread from infected zookeepers to a group of captive chimpanzees. All seven became ill, and one died as a result.

African painted dogs

African painted dogs are an endangered species of wild dog. As part of the conservation effort, a study published in 2010 investigated the parasites present in the species’ feces.

Infection by Giardia duodenalis, a parasite that lives in the small intestine, was found in 26 percent of wild animals and 62 percent of captive animals.

Although common in domestic cats and dogs, G. duodenalis is not a parasite naturally found in African painted dogs. Additionally, the strains of parasite found in the dogs’ feces were of a subtype commonly associated with humans, rather than the subtypes usually seen in pet dogs.

Symptoms of the disease can include diarrhea, nausea, abdominal discomfort, and reduced appetite.

The authors concluded that the parasites had entered the population from human-dog interactions and, from then on, were passed from dog to dog, becoming a new potential threat to their already uncertain future.

Although research into reverse zoonosis is relatively scant, it is an important and urgent field of study. If human pathogens are able to infect other species, and these species are able to interact with humans and travel great distances, it is a pandemic waiting in the wings.

We already know that the flu virus can mutate quickly, and by living in different species, it has the chance to change and mutate in ways that it could not in humans. As these pathogens change, they might become less dangerous to humans. On the other side of the coin, however, some might become increasingly deadly.

Scientists Develop New Flu Vaccines for Man’s Best Friend

It’s that dreaded time of year – flu season. And we humans aren’t the only ones feeling the pain. Dogs can get the flu, too.

Scientists at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry have developed, for the first time, two new vaccines for canine influenza. This research is not only important for improving the health of our furry friends but for keeping us safe, too. Dogs that have been infected with multiple influenza viruses have the potential to act as “mixing vessels” and generate new flu strains that could infect people. This hasn’t happened yet, but experts say it’s possible.

Today, veterinarians use vaccines that include inactivated or killed flu virus, but experts say they provide short-term limited protection. Scientists led by Luis Martinez-Sobrido, Ph.D., associate professor in the department of Microbiology and Immunology created two “live-attenuated” vaccines against H3N8 canine influenza virus, which is currently circulating in dogs in the U.S. Past research shows that live-attenuated vaccines, made from live flu virus that is dampened down so that it doesn’t cause the flu, provide better immune responses and longer periods of protection.

Martinez-Sobrido’s team, including postdoctoral fellows Aitor Nogalez-Gonzalez, Ph.D. and Laura Rodriguez, Ph.D. used a genetic engineering technique called reserve genetics to create a live vaccine that replicates in the nose, but not in the lungs. The nose is where the virus first enters a dog’s body, so generating an immune response there could stop the virus in its tracks. If the vaccine were to get into the lungs it could create unwanted inflammation in response to the live virus. The study, published in the Journal of Virology, found the live vaccine was safe and able to induce better immune protection against H3N8 canine influenza virus in mice and dog tracheal cells than a commercially available inactivated vaccine.

In a second study highlighted in the journal Virology, the team used reserve genetics to remove a protein called NS1 from the H3N8 canine influenza virus. Previous studies have shown that deleting the NS1 viral protein significantly weakens flu viruses so that they elicit an immune response but don’t cause illness. This approach has been used with human, swine and equine flu viruses to generate potential vaccines and was also safe and more effective than a traditional inactivated H3N8 influenza vaccine in mice and dog tracheal cells.

Both studies were performed in collaboration with Collin Parrish, professor of Virology at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University and Pablo Murcia, a professor at the University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research.

The team is planning to test both live-attenuated vaccine approaches in clinical trials with dogs. The hope is to come up with new options to stem the spread of flu in shelters and kennels and to avoid the transmission of a dog flu virus to people. As many dog owners and animal lovers are in close contact with dogs on a regular basis, Martinez-Sobrido believes its best to prevent dogs from getting the flu in the first place.

The team is using this research to tackle other dog flu viruses, too. They’ve used the safety of these approaches to engineering a live-attenuated vaccine for the H3N2 canine influenza virus, which was introduced in the United States in 2015. Early results show that similar to the H3N8 vaccine, the H3N2 live-attenuated vaccine is able to protect against the H3N2 canine influenza virus and is more effective than the only currently available inactivated vaccine.

The research was funded by a Technology Development Fund (TDF) from UR Ventures, a branch of the University of Rochester that helps transfer ideas and technologies from the Medical Center and the River Campus to the private sector for commercialization.

Article: A temperature sensitive live-attenuated canine influenza virus H3N8 vaccine, Aitor Nogales, Laura Rodriguez, Caroline Chauché, Kai Huang, Emma C Reilly, David J. Topham, Pablo R. Murcia, Colin R. Parrish and Luis Martínez-Sobrido, Virology, doi: 10.1128/JVI.02211-16, published online 7 December 2016.

Anxiety {Dogs}

Is there any difference in the homeopathic remedies we give anxious ­animals versus anxious people? No, it’s just a little harder to deduce the right remedy for an animal—not unlike choosing a remedy for an infant or young toddler. You can help animals suffering from mild or short-term, acute anxiety by using one of the homeopathic remedies described below. For animals with serious, ongoing anxiety problems, it’s best to consult a qualified homeopathic veterinarian.

  • Aconitum:  Fear and restlessness following a frightening event. This remedy may help gun-shy dogs who were not properly habituated to gunfire, or
    dogs who had a frightening experience at the kennel or the vet’s office.
  • Argentum nitricum: Anticipatory anxiety, often with trembling and loose bowels. This is useful for “show nerves” in horses and dogs (and people).
  • Belladonna:  Extreme fear with dilated pupils and aggressive behavior. This
    is the classic picture of a feral cat caught in a trap, or an agitated animal crouched in the corner of a room or an animal carrier.
  • Ignatia: Hypersensitivity, muscle twitches, and moodiness; the animal may have a history of recent grief, loss, or rehoming (i.e., changing families). These animals may sigh or whine a lot, and they can be irritable.
  • Lachesis: Restless, sensitive to all stimuli, “talkative,” and jealous. Some ­animals, especially dominant ones, behave like this with a new addition ­(animal or human) to the household.
  • Natrum muriaticum: Moody outbursts, depressed, and withdrawn. The ­animals don’t play well and often have a history of rehoming or loss.
  • Nux vomica: Impatient, fearful, and sensitive to stimuli. These animals may be the “boss” of the house in many situations, bullying the other animals and being demanding of people; yet a thunderstorm or a strange package
    in the house can cause them to tremble.
  • Staphysagria: Gentle animals with angry or fearful outbursts. They are ­typically the low animal on the totem pole that wouldn’t hurt a fly, so their outburst is all the more surprising.

It should go without saying that many frightened dogs and cats will use those sharp pointy teeth. If in doubt, be safe and don’t intervene directly. Homeopathic remedies can be added to drinking water or sprayed on animals in a trap or on feral cats.

Cat Scratch Fever: Everything You and Your Cat Need to Know

Cat scratch fever occurs when a person is bitten, scratched, or licked by a cat infected with the bacteria Bartonella henselae.

The infection doesn’t usually cause severe complications. However, it’s possible that it can in people with weak immune systems. Knowing the causes and symptoms can ensure a person receives swift treatment.

Cats can transmit several types of infections to humans. Some of these diseases can be severe. Carrying out routine care for a cat often reduces the risk of many of these diseases.

Causes of cat scratch fever

A person can get cat scratch fever if they are scratched or bitten by an infected cat. The B. henselae bacteria live in a cat’s saliva, and can also be passed to a person through an open area of skin.

People are most likely to experience cat scratch fever in the fall and winter when they’re inside and play with their cats. Kids are more likely than adults to have the condition. They can play with cats more roughly, making them more likely to be scratched.

Symptoms of cat scratch fever

Cat scratch fever doesn’t usually cause symptoms in the first few days after a person is exposed. During this time, the bacteria are multiplying in the body.

About 3 to 10 days after a person is scratched, they may notice a small bump or blister on the affected area. Doctors call this an inoculation lesion. These lesions are commonly seen on the:

A cat has scratched a hand.
Cat scratch fever symptoms appear a few days after the bite, lick, or scratch has happened.
  • Arms
  • Hands
  • Head
  • Scalp

A few weeks later, a person will usually see the lymph nodes near the lesion swollen or tender.

Lymph nodes are responsible for filtering bacteria and other particles as well as creating immune system cells. They usually feel like small, spongy, round or oval bumps.

If a person was bitten or scratched on the arm, the lymph nodes under the arm or near the elbow may be especially tender.

Sometimes, the lymph nodes swell as much as 2 inches across. They may be warm to the touch, pus-filled, or red in color. The lymph nodes may remain swollen for anywhere from 2 to 4 months after the initial infection.

Most people only have swollen lymph nodes as a symptom. Other symptoms associated with cat scratch fever include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever, typically no higher than 101°F
  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Joint pain
  • Rash
  • Sore throat

Complications of cat scratch fever

Cat scratch fever doesn’t usually cause severe symptoms. However, some people may develop a high fever that doesn’t seem to go away with time.

Some people can also experience infections in the bones, joints, liver, lungs, or spleen. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the most severe symptoms usually occur in children ages 5 and under.

While cat scratch fever isn’t a condition that usually requires emergency care, there are always exceptions. A person should contact their doctor immediately if they experience the following symptoms:

  • A cat bite or scratch that is not healing or is getting worse
  • The red area around a bite or scratch is enlarging
  • A high fever that lasts more than 2 days after being bitten or scratched
  • High levels of pain

Diagnosing cat scratch fever

Cat scratch fever can be hard to diagnose as the symptoms are similar to a lot of other conditions. A doctor will ask about a person’s medical history and any interactions a person may have had a cat.

A doctor will then conduct a physical examination, looking at the scratched area and any swollen lymph nodes. Examination and medical history are often enough to make a diagnosis.

The doctor may order additional tests to make sure another condition isn’t causing the symptoms. They could take a sample of blood and send it to a lab to determine what type of bacteria is growing.

Doctors can also order a blood test that specifically tests for cat scratch fever.

Treatments for cat scratch fever

As most cases of cat scratch fever are mild, a doctor won’t always prescribe a treatment. If symptoms are moderate to severe, they may prescribe an antibiotic.

At-home treatments for the condition include bed rest and an over-the-counter pain reliever if the lymph nodes are painful or especially tender.

While children don’t have to stop playing, they should avoid hitting or interfering with the affected lymph nodes.

Once a person has had cat scratch fever once, they’re unlikely to get the disease again.

Preventing cat scratch fever

While cats can transmit cat scratch fever to people, people don’t usually pass it to others. If one family member is affected, others should practice caution around the family cat as the cat could infect them too.

An episode of cat scratch fever also doesn’t mean a family should necessarily get rid of their pet. However, they can practice the following preventive techniques:

A cat scratches itself.
Preventing a cat from getting fleas can help reduce the risk of cat scratch fever.
  • Adopting a cat that is older than 1 year if a person is at high risk for adverse symptoms of cat scratch fever (kittens are most likely to carry the disease)
  • Avoiding rough play around a cat or kitten
  • Never allowing a cat to lick wounds or open areas of skin
  • Never petting stray or feral cats
  • Washing hands and any other affected areas after playing with a cat
  • Vacuuming a home frequently to avoid fleas
  • Practicing flea prevention to reduce the risk a cat could get the infection
  • Contacting a pest control company if a lot of fleas have been identified in a home

Recognizing the condition in your cat

According to the CDC, an estimated 40 percent of cats carry the B. henselae infection at some point in their lives. Most of the time, cats that carry the infection don’t show signs of illness.

Symptoms

Cats get the infection when they scratch and bite at fleas that infect them or fight with cats that are infected. If a cat has fleas or visible scratches, these could be signs a person should practice caution when handling their cat. Once a cat is infected, it can carry the disease for several months.

In rare cases, cat scratch disease can cause severe symptoms in cats, including inflammation of the heart. Cats may have difficulty breathing due to this. Upon examination, a vet may also identify inflammation in the eyes, mouth, or urinary system.

Diagnosis and treatment

A vet can inspect a cat for fleas and make recommendations regarding flea prevention and avoiding scratches and bites.

While there is a blood and fluid test available for the Bartonella bacteria, doctors don’t usually recommend it for cats that don’t have symptoms. The bacteria are very common, and the test can be unreliable.

Cats aren’t usually treated with antibiotics unless they have noticeable symptoms.

Prevention

Taking steps to reduce fleas in a cat can reduce the likelihood of cat scratch fever. People can care for their cats by doing the following:

  • Applying or administering a vet-approved flea treatment on a regular basis
  • Keeping a cat indoors to avoid contact with stray or infected animals
  • Keeping a cat’s nails trimmed and neat
  • Scheduling and maintaining regular check-ups with a vet

Vaccines aren’t currently available against cat scratch disease bacteria.

Other conditions cats can spread

Cats can carry and spread additional diseases besides cat scratch fever. These diseases include:

  • Campylobacteriosis: An intestinal infection caused by bacteria
  • Cryptosporidiosis: A parasite that causes diarrhea and abdominal cramping
  • Plague: This condition isn’t common in the United States, but can occur if a cat is taken to another country
  • Rabies: According to Seattle and King County Public Health, cats are the domestic animal most likely to experience a rabies infection
  • Ringworm: Kittens are especially likely to carry this disease that causes bald patches on the skin
  • Tapeworm: Most common in children, this infection occurs when a person swallows a flea from a cat that is infected with tapeworm larvae
  • Toxocara infection: While the condition doesn’t always cause symptoms, it can be associated with serious complications like blindness
  • Toxoplasmosis: Toxoplasmosis is of special concern to pregnant women because it can cause complications like miscarriage, affected fetal growth, and eye problems

Could Your Dog Give You Norovirus?

Norovirus is the leading cause of foodborne illness in the US. You can also catch it from infected people and contaminated surfaces. Now, new research raises the question of whether humans can catch it from dogs.
dog and young girl
The study raises enough evidence for a further investigation into whether dogs can pass norovirus onto humans.

Writing in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology, veterinarian Sarah Caddy and colleagues explain how they found some dogs can mount an immune response to human norovirus – a strong clue that they have been infected by the bug.

Caddy, who is working toward her Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge and Imperial College London in the UK, says:

“We also confirmed that human norovirus can bind to the cells of the canine gut, which is the first step required for infection of cells.”

Together with evidence that human norovirus has been isolated from domestic dogs in Europe, the findings raise concerns that people could catch the bug from animals.

Norovirus is a leading cause of gastroenteritis, or “stomach flu,” causing vomiting and diarrhea in both adults and children. It is very contagious and can infect anyone. You can catch it from an infected person, contaminated food or water, or from contaminated surfaces.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in the US every year norovirus is responsible for 19-21 million cases of acute gastroenteritis and contributes to 570-800 deaths, mostly among young children and the elderly.

Human norovirus particles can bind to dog intestinal tissue

For their study, Caddy and colleagues used noninfectious human norovirus particles – comprising just the bug’s outer protein coat, or capsid. The capsid is the part of the virus that binds to host cells. Capsids alone cannot cause infection because they lack the internal machinery of the virus.

The team studied the ability of capsids to bind to tissue samples from dog intestines in test tubes. They found evidence that seven different strains of human norovirus may be able to bind to canine gastrointestinal tissue. This suggests “that infection is at least theoretically possible,” they note.

The researchers also carried out other tests to discover if dogs can carry human norovirus.

While they found no trace of the virus in stool samples from 248 dogs (including some with diarrhea), they did find evidence of antibodies to human norovirus in blood samples from 43 out of 325 dogs.

It is currently not known whether human norovirus can cause clinical disease in dogs. Assuming that it can, the study found no evidence that dogs can shed it in sufficient quantities to infect humans. However, the authors note that other studies have suggested as few as 18 virus particles can cause human infection.

There is also little evidence that dogs or animals are involved in spreading norovirus among people when large outbreaks occur, such as on cruise ships and in hospitals.

Evidence from this study is sufficient to warrant further investigation

Nevertheless, the authors conclude that their study provides sufficient evidence to warrant further investigation into whether human norovirus can survive in nonhuman animals and spread from them to people.

Caddy says she got interested in doing the study through her experience as a small animal veterinarian and dog owner. She says in her practice, dog owners often ask her if their dogs can pass infections on to them or whether they can pass them to their pets. She adds:

“There are plenty of anecdotal cases of dogs and humans in the same household, having simultaneous gastroenteritis, but very little rigorous scientific research is conducted in this area.

Until more definitive data is available, sensible hygiene precautions should be taken around pets, especially when gastroenteritis in either humans or dogs is present in a household.”

Smoking Is Damaging Your Pet’s Health, Researchers Warn

If you made a New Year’s resolution to stop smoking and are already struggling to stick to it, a new study may offer a further incentive: quitting the habit can benefit your pet’s health as well as your own.
[A cat paw on an ashtray]
Pets in smoking households are at greater risk for weight gain, cell damage, and some cancers, according to researchers.

Smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the US, accounting for around 1 in 5 deaths annually.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), smoking causes around 90% of all lung cancer deaths in men and women, and it is also a risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and numerous other illnesses.

But it is not only smokers themselves who are at risk of such conditions; since 1964, around 2.5 million non-smokers in the US have died from exposure to secondhand smoke.

With this in mind, it is perhaps unsurprising that pets living in households where someone smokes are at greater risk for poor health.

Previous research from Clare Knottenbelt, professor of small animal medicine and oncology at the University of Glasgow in the UK, and colleagues has shown that dogs living in a smoking household ingest a high amount of tobacco smoke.

For this latest study – which is ongoing – the team set out to investigate how tobacco smoke exposure impacts the health of cats and dogs.

Cats at greatest risk from smoke exposure

Prof. Knottenbelt and colleagues analyzed the nicotine levels in the animals’ fur and looked at whether such levels were associated with any health problems. Additionally, they assessed the testicles of dogs following castration in order to identify any signs of cell damage.

Compared with pets living in non-smoking households, the researchers found that those living in smoking households may be at greater risk of cell damage, some cancers and weight gain.

Cats are most at risk, according to the researchers, because they ingest more smoke than dogs – regardless of whether or not they have access to outdoors. The team speculates that this may be down to the extensive self-grooming cats engage in, causing them to ingest more tobacco toxins.

When analyzing the testicles of castrated dogs from smoking households, the researchers identified a gene that represents a sign of cell damage that is related to some cancers.

Furthermore, they found that dogs that lived in smoking households gained more weight after being neutered than dogs from non-smoking households.

Stopping smoking completely ‘best for pets’ health and well-being’

However, the researchers also found that these risks reduced when owners smoked outside, therefore reducing the amount of smoke their pets ingested.

While owners who reduced the number of cigarettes they smoked per day did reduce pets’ smoke exposure, it was not eliminated completely; cats from households that reduced their cigarette intake to less than 10 daily still had higher nicotine levels in their fur than those from non-smoking households.

The team suggests that pets may even be at greater risk of health problems from smoke exposure than children in smoking households, noting that because pets are lower in height, they are more likely to ingest third-hand smoke – that is, tobacco chemicals present in carpets and other surfaces.

While the research is ongoing, the team believes the results to date should act as a warning to smokers with pets. Prof. Knottenbelt says:

“As well as the risk to the smoker, there is the danger of secondhand smoke to others. Pet owners often do not think about the impact that smoking could have on their pets.

Whilst you can reduce the amount of smoke your pet is exposed to by smoking outdoors and by reducing the number of tobacco products smoked by the members of the household, stopping smoking completely is the best option for your pet’s future health and well-being.”

So, the next time you get the urge to light up and break that New Year’s resolution, just spare a thought for the health of your four-legged friend.

Bach Flower Remedies For Dogs

Becoming aware of our emotions and seeking to balance them has a fundamental and positive impact on our relationships with our four-legged friends.Essences of flowers are most appropriate to deal with issues related to any animal’s emotions as well as behavior. In fact, the most important aspect of their effective usage involves understanding your dog well. You will comprehend specific issues and also find out what is apparently prompting them by observing her more and more. This will help you to select the most appropriate essences for her from several hundred available options.

In addition, the understanding towards the behavior, as well as the response of your dog, is vital for assessing the consequences of administering a flower essence to him. Provided that you are on the same wavelength as that of your dog, you may possibly observe some fine, but distinct changes. However, you are likely to miss these fine distinctions in case you have not spent some time to find out the root cause of the troubles. You ought to realize that flower essences are unlike huge sledgehammers that strike your dog on his head and change her in just a few days. On the contrary, the consequences of administering essences are slow as well as mild and usually it may take a prolonged period to notice the remarkable results using the flower essences.

While administering flower essences to your dog, it is important that you should only try one of them at one time, and observe the consequences over the next some number of days. As far as the dosage of these essences in concerned, the frequency at which you administer the essences is vital compared to the amount. Precisely speaking, you may possibly find that administering just four drops of the selected essence four times daily may work better than administering eight drops of it twice daily.

Although people often use flower essences to deal with problems related to the behavior of an animal, you ought to be aware of the fact that these essences are certainly not antidotes or universal remedies. If you find that your dog is showing indications of being threatened by himself or others around him, it is important that you talk to an experienced veterinarian to exclude the medical cause first and subsequently consult an animal behaviorist (who should not be a simple trainer). Talking from the behavioral point of view, flower essences have the aptitude to aid in prodding an animal in the appropriate direction. However, the flower essences are not a replacement for appropriate professional medical assistance.

To help you to get started, below are brief synopses of some Bach’s essence. Always bear in mind that these are not all the essences that are available, but they are among those that are most widely available commercially. They are described in an alphabetical order, not essentially in the order of their importance or availability. The essences mentioned below are available in the majority of the stores selling health foods and are available in small amber bottles that save them from harms caused by the actions of light.

Rescue Remedy
In principle, Rescue Remedy is not an essence, but a blend of essences of five flowers that the English bacteriologist, homeopath, and pathologist Dr. Edward Bach believed worked excellently for treating severe cases of stress. In fact, the Rescue Remedy is among the best accepted and familiar among all the essences created by Dr. Bach. In fact, lots of people find this Bach creation to be extremely effectual when employed in a combination with a different basic essence. In other words, it has been found that the Rescue Remedy more or less works to strengthen the effects of other essences. Dissimilar to other remedies, you can obtain the Rescue Remedy in the form of a cream that is used externally to treat cuts, burns, rashes as well as other different external sufferings.
You may consider using the Rescue Remedy for any dog that has been suffering from tremendous trepidation, nervousness and/ or response to nervous tension.
Agrimony
This Bach remedy is especially meant for the animals that are very impassive and also those that are not very much in contact with their emotions and, hence, they generally repress their nervous tensions by expressing exaggerated affability.
You may think about administering this particular essence to dogs that are extremely enthusiastic to entertain, to the extent of ignoring their personal requirements as well as health and well-being.
Aspen
Aspen is a Bach essence that deals with fear. In fact, fear or terror may come in various forms and Aspen is generally administered when the cause of fear is unidentified. Similar to human beings, animals too may experience panic attacks and may delve into pacing, gasping, shuddering as well as going around.
It is advisable that you consider Aspen for healing any dog that becomes nervous and astonished for reasons unknown. It may also be administered to dogs that are wary of others.
Beech
Beech is a Bach remedy suitable for animals that are unable to adjust to change properly or get easily irritated by the actions as well as the weirdness of other household members. This remedy helps to restrain such annoyance towards other household members’ behaviors and, at the same time, helps them to be more tolerant to as well as flexible to such activities.
You may think about administering this Bach remedy to dogs that are always whining or refusing to accept any newcomer in the family, irrespective of the newcomer being a human or an animal.
Centaury
Centaury is possibly the most appropriate essence that deals with a wimping animal. This essence is administered to animals that are extremely less confident regarding their personal identity and, therefore, are also very reluctant to affirm their desires and requirements. Animals requiring this essence are those that always follow the rules and abide by those who they consider stronger as well as more authoritative compared to them. However, such wimpy behavior may always not be beneficial for such animals.
You may consider administering this flower essence to subordinate animals that are always following the commands of a stronger and authoritative animal in your household or the weakest among a set of offspring who require learning the means to support as well as defend themselves.
Cerato
Somewhat like in the case of Centaury, this essence is most suitable for trying on animals that have leadership problems. Cerato helps such animals in restoring their confidence as well as assured and, at the same time, prevents them from looking for self-esteem or their personality by depending on others. The flower essence is helpful in curing doubt about oneself and supports the animal to believe in his/ her individual opinions and natural feelings.
You may think about administering Cerato to a dog that is unwilling to take part in any appealing activity, for instance recreating with others of his species just because doing so takes him away from his master. In addition, you may also administer this essence to any aging dog who might be acting all the more immature as well as reliant.
Cherry Plum
There are times when some animals may act in a frenzied manner and there appears to be no reason at all for such behaviors. The Bach essence Cherry Plum deals with the basic problem that results in this type of impulsiveness, irrespective of the fact of whether such behavior makes itself apparent in the form of an attack that has not been incited or as a distressed attempt to escape. Cherry Plum is most effective in dealing with this type of complete as well as thorough submission to fright.
You might think about administrating this flower essence to any dog that easily loses its strength of mind or responses to usual events in a violent manner – something like being tie up in a coop. This essence may possibly also be useful for any animal that has been abused and bears the memories that had provoked panic. And these memories may be revoked quite easily for the dog to act in such a manner. Cherry Plum is also useful for a dog that suffers from phobias that have their roots in trepidation and horror.
Chestnut Bud
Humans, as well as animals, often get trapped in bad practice and persistent patterns. Using the essence Chestnut Bud helps in laying open one’s capability to realize their past and also to alter their actions/ deeds that have turned out to be embedded as well as impulsive.
You may try this flower essence for any dog that rejects learning the training required to be in the household, or a dog that is suffering from a mental blockage regarding carrying out a specific order in an appropriate manner. Chestnut Bud is also beneficial for puppies that are trailing behind their other mates in the litter as far as his/ her development is concerned.
Chicory
Basically, flower essences actually deal with too much deprivation, assisting an animal to be further self-reliant and less insecure or dependent on others. Chicory is a Bach essence that is also beneficial for those that have a domineering behavior towards humans, occasionally having an overpowering impulse of taking care of them and this is manifested by aggression and an authoritative behavior. Chicory has the aptitude to cure another trait in these animals – exaggerated possessiveness that is encouraged by the lack of confidence and self-interest.
You may try this Bach flower essence for any dog that is always attached to you, may understand any other individual’s approach towards you like an intimidation, or demonstrate improper behavior while guarding. In addition, Chicory may also be an effective remedy for dogs that are extremely defensive, barking almost at all the onlookers or even any leaf that might drop on the driveway.
Clematis
The flower essence Clematis is most suited for animals that find it difficult to be present in that particular moment – usually, they may be absentminded or appear to in a state of dreaminess. In fact, this type of feeling of being not in touch actually goes further than just lacking focus or simple distraction. In reality, this is a type of looking inside the inner self of the animal, discarding whatever may be happening in the existent world around.
Consider administering this Bach essence to dogs that turn out to be so cut off that they often fall asleep, or may even lack concentration while they are being trained.
Crab Apple
Animals having a poor hygiene may find the essence Crab Apple beneficial, as it has a cleansing impact. In addition, this essence is also effective in stopping compulsive grooming actions or imprudent food habits, for instance eating stool (also called coprophagy), rock in addition to soil.
You may try using this essence for any dog that happens to be an obsessive licker, is recuperating from any type of infection or has come in contact with environmental toxins.
Elm
This flower essence is most appropriate for animals that believe that they would never be able to meet the standards or those that are beleaguered by expectations. Such animals have a feeling that they are responsible for performing specific roles, but at some level, they do not feel that they possess the knowledge and expertise or even the capability to execute them with success.
If you wish you may try this essence on any animal that is generally confident and competent but is faced with a high tension situation, for instance, bitches having very problematic litters, service dogs that have been given a recent partner or the dogs used for search and rescue operations when they are in a scene of disaster.
Gentian
Gentian is a popular Bach flower essence that facilitates in lifting one’s mood, especially indolence, and gloom while inducing an optimistic feeling. This essence is useful when life imposes several impediments that we are compelled to fight back in search of motivation to make another try.
You may think about administering Gentian to any dog that has suffered the ordeal of being sent back from any shelter time and again and who is suffering from depression from finding a permanent home. In addition, this essence may also be given to a dog that has lost his companion or beloved owner.
Gorse
 Gorse deals with the same issues addressed by Gentian, this Bach flower essence is ideally suited for animals whose hopelessness has gone further by another step. Such animals actually do not have any hope whatsoever and their despondency has made them numb. These animals have become so insensitive that they do not seem to be concerned about their life and death anymore. The hollow gaze in their eyes will help you to understand their feelings.
Gorse may be considered for any dog that has been thrown away by his sole caretaker whom he knows for any reason and has given up all hopes in life.
Heather
A lot of animals have a tendency to show off and remain in the limelight all the time, even to the detriment of spoiling their rapport or association with others. In such situations, the flower essence Heather assists in controlling this type of ego-mania in order that the dog is able to be conscious of the basic fact that any relationship is basically a two-way affair.
You may think about administering this Bach flower essence to a dog that is touching all the time at his owner or barking to draw attention. In effect, this type of dogs may show signs of anxiety related to some kind of parting, but not essentially because he is missing his owner. Actually, the dog is trying to draw the attention of someone or anyone whom he may be craving for.
Holly
Imagine the leaves of holly, an evergreen shrub, that may pinch and poke. Precisely speaking, these are the main problems that the essence of Holly deals with, facilitating in driving out jealously as well as extreme loathing. Another essence, Vine also helps to restrain domination and it is frequently employed in combination with Holly.
You may mull over employing this Bach flower essence for any dog that is bearing feelings of resentment, besides apparently behaving in a manner that is stimulated by some kind of blatant abhorrence or jealousy. In addition, this essence may also be administered to dogs that are mistrustful regarding the latest member in their pack.
Honeysuckle
As we all are aware, in our life, we have too often made several adjustments, and this flower essence has the aptitude to make the transition seem effortless for any animal that is facing problems in adjusting to a new situation – or, may be feeling an attachment with his associates who have been left behind. When you pick the flower of this robust vine and remove its stamen in the appropriate way, you will find a single drop of nectar concealed inside. In fact, this is the basic lesson imparted by honeysuckle – all new associations as well as the stages of life have their own sweetness, provided we are eager to discover it.
You may consider administering Honeysuckle essence to any dog that has been finding it difficult to adjust to any new situation and does not seem to be able to settle in the changed circumstance and may be feeling homesick for all that has been left behind.
Hornbeam
This Bach flower essence actually passes on oomph or a gush of energy that helps any animal to move along following a break or period of recovery. In addition, Hornbeam also deals with mental inactivity – the type of lassitude or indolence that may often result in putting off things and hesitate in following motivating activities.
Think about employing this flower essence for any dog that is unresponsive and rather than taking a stimulating walk would prefer to doze off. It may also administer to a dog who requires perking up following an ailment that has made him weak, for instance, distemper or parvo.
Impatiens
Impatiens is a popular annual herb that loves to grow in the shade and, as its name suggests, it is used for dealing with impatience. The Bach flower essence helps to improve concentration and helps the animal suffering from edginess to be consistent and not be diverted by any or every small thing happening around him.
You may try to administer this flower essence to any dog that is unable to keep his focus on an obedience class or is having problems in hearing the commands of his master, as there might be something else that is further interesting for him to whiff in the area.
Larch
Larch is one essence that helps one to enhance his confidence level. In fact, provided Larch has a video recording, it would certainly be the old rhyme regarding the ant with the rubber plant. This Bach flower essence helps to regurgitate our self-belief regarding our competence to be prepared and face a situation when it is required. In effect, this enables us to stand up and proclaim, ‘Yes, I am able to do this’. It provides us with the self-belief to move ahead and put forth our most excellent effort, at no time being in slightest doubt about our capability.
This essence may be given to a dog that is extremely weighed down by the absence of confidence and self-worth that he will not even try to do things as he fears that he might fail or commit some error.
Mimulus
This flower essence has traditionally been used to deal with specific frights – for instance, fear of water, men or being indulged or spoiled from above. Irrespective of the concerns, Mimulus helps the dog to concentrate so that it may overcome this fright.
You may think about administering this Bach flower essence to any dog that is shy as well as terrified about being approached or handled. It may also be given to any dog that has undergone a harrowing experience which has made him frightful of any particular thing.
Mustard
Mustard is a Bach flower essence that remedies profound depression – the type that is evident in an all-encompassing gloom with no apparent reason or provocation. Just recall the Christian fable concerning the mustard seed – the manner in which the minutest of all seeds is able to develop into one of the tallest plants – regardless of how impartial it may appear. Therefore, this flower essence also assures us the same reality – when you place your trust even in the smallest particle of optimism or hope, it will ultimately result in growth as well as regeneration.
You may consider administering this flower essence to a dog that appears to be suffering from an intense depression without any clear cause.
Oak
In the primeval period, the oak tree was considered to represent might as well as toughness. While these are definitely admirable attributes, a drawback of such endurance and fortitude also exists. When any animal is always very strong, it may imply that he may not be able to recognize his weakened condition and, therefore, will not spend any time to rest, heal and recover.
This essence may be considered for administration of a recuperating dog that does not want to remain still, drags the stitches and presses on to go on a walk or to play though he may be close to exhaustion and may possibly collapse finally. Oak may also be used for any dog that does not pay heed to his physical problems and continues to work despite the obvious signals of pain sent by his body.
Olive
This Bach flower essence helps one to rejuvenate, thereby assisting animals that have been driven to their maximum mental or physical limit to bounce back. In fact, this essence is a cure for complete overtiredness.
You may think about employing this Bach flower remedy for any dog that has been performing any task that is very demanding both physically as well as mentally. This type of dog may be engaged in protecting livestock or even looking for a person gone missing.
Pine
The primary reason why most household cleaners possess the fragrance of the pine is that this tree possesses the attribute to cleanse profoundly. Even the essence of this tree possesses the same properties. While Pine deals with the pessimistic sentiment of culpability, it may possibly be difficult to say whether your dog is undergoing this kind of experience at all, rather than fright and surrender.
This Bach flower essence may be administered to a dog whose behavior may seem to have its origin in a feeling of shame or guilt, or any dog that may possibly be affected by your own negative feelings. You may try giving this essence to puppies, especially those that are housebroken, with a view to finding whether they are having any such negative feeling.
Red Chestnut
This Bach flower essence is a remedy for worries, especially for animals that are all the time apprehending what may go in the wrong next. The prevailing impetus of such animals is basically fright and worries over losing their control and this aspect frequently become apparent in their over-protective attitude.
You may think about administering this flower essence to any dog suffering from anxiety and who generally becomes worrisome when you are not around and they become calm only after you return.
Rock Rose
The Bach flower essence Rock Rose deals with the feeling of fright. Irrespective of what is responsible for this feeling – normally there is a particular aspect that activates terror – Rock Rose may be employed to help terrified animals to come across a calming center within them.
You may think about using this flower essence for any dog that is intensely fearful of particular individuals and/ or events, for instance, any individual who has a resemblance to the dog’s earlier owner who was abusive or fireworks. In fact, dogs requiring this essence become hysterical whenever they think of combating the object of their fear.
Rock Water
As we all are aware that agility, as well as suppleness, are vital aspects that help us to adapt to different situations. In the absence of these attributes, the animals break akin to the dried-out branch of a tree when they come under pressure. The essence Rock Water deals with the lack of ability to adjust to situations, physically in addition to emotionally. Rock Water cures rigidity in one’s attitude and also assists in promoting naturalness and loosening up.
Try this flower essence on a dog that has stiff and unyielding muscles and who becomes annoyed when there is any alteration in his routine, be it the environment or diet. It may also be administered to the dog that is reluctant to pick up new performances. This essence is also useful for a dog that is obsessed with his status and is excessively prevailing as well as protective, as he turns down the idea of compromising with others, especially those he has to share his space with.
Scleranthus
We are familiar with people as well as animals that experience mood swings – happy and satisfied at one moment and brooding and harsh at the very next moment. The flower essence Scleranthus aids in easing this type of unpredictable or inconsistent actions, and promotes emotional stability and balance. In addition, this essence also deals with indecisiveness, especially in animals that are unable to calm down, as they have several options at the same time, or animals that make their masters wild since they are unable to understand what these animals actually want.
Consider using Scleranthus for any dog that has an erratic character or that suffers from notable highs and lows owing to hormonal changes. As this flower essence helps to reinstate balance, it may possibly also be helpful in putting off imbalance in the inner ear, which is responsible for motion sickness.
Star of Bethlehem
While talking about the flower essence Star of Bethlehem, we need to bear in mind that it deals with shock. This essence is employed in any condition where events have occurred in such quick succession, without any prior notice and also depressingly that the animal becomes immobile.
You may think about using this Bach flower essence for any dog that has undergone distress, either physical or emotive – such as, dogs that have recently lost their masters or new mothers, and have endured deep physical hurting or had to undergo anesthesia.
Sweet Chestnut
Occasionally, some animals endure so intensely pain and tormenting that they may even prefer submission or death to combating and being defeated in the struggle. When employed in such cases, the flower essence Sweet Chestnut helps to reinstate the willpower to keep trying and endure in spite of what may appear to be too overwhelming obstacles. It cures extreme fatigue, physical as well as mental, and rekindles the optimism that there is light after darkness.
Try administering this essence to a dog that has been abused cruelly or persistently and one that has spent much period in spirit-breaking surroundings of any puppy mill or a dog that mourns the loss of his companion or owner. Often, this flower essence is employed for curing physical conditions in animals that are susceptible to a frightening and apparently erratic health condition related to the intestine – bloating.
Vervain
The Bach flower essence Vervain is meant for individuals who are desperate to go and continuously require to be mobile. The use of Vervain assists such keen animals in restraining their edginess.
You may consider employing this flower essence for any dog that is usually excited, frequently to the extent of apparently being hyperactive or high strung.
Vine
This flower essence is meant for those who are domineering, bullying and prevailing by nature and always like to have things in their own way.
Think about administering this flower essence to any dog that behaves brutally on the comparatively lesser overriding members of the house and wants to achieve things by means of the utter strength of their will and those that are too worried about defending their turf.
Walnut
One good thing about life is that it is never stagnant, but changes quite frequently. Such changes enable us to grow and become mature. However, often allowing the familiar things to go may cause problems as well as uneasiness or confusion. Walnut is a Bach flower essence that assists us in withstanding all the changes that are natural as well as normal, in addition to facilitating the adjustment to these changes when we accept them.
This flower essence may be considered for dogs that are passing through a changeover – for instance, changing homes or their owners, giving birth, receiving a new member to the family or boarding for the very first time.
Water Violet
There is several animals that are basically reclusive; apparently not keen on any interaction with humans or even other animals who may love them. Generally, they choose to endure their hurting mutely and all by themselves. In fact, when anyone caresses or pets them, they are likely to shrink back from such affections. In such cases using the flower essence, Water Violent facilitates in promoting better relationships, thereby enabling an animal that is self-contained and standoffish to become more prepared to share his feelings.
Try using this flower essence on any dog that may be facing problems in becoming attached to its new owner, or maybe has begun to live in isolation from humans and, therefore, has discovered that he should not be very concerned emotionally.
White Chestnut
The Bach flower remedy is ideal for restlessness. In addition, this flower essence is also beneficial for animals that need to calm down their mind and give up compulsive as well as fixating thinking that may result in unhelpful practices and recurring actions. White Chestnut is also helpful for animals to give up training modules that have become outdated and accept new training patterns.
You may consider giving this flower essence to heal any dog that may be requiring to give up persistent habits, for instance, compulsive chewing or inflicting injury to him or to help the dog to put an end to the old training patterns and take up new training that has become redundant. You may give this flower essence to a dog suffering from sleeplessness or a restive dog that finds it difficult to rest or settle down.
Wild Oat
Wild oat is a Bach flower remedy that is administered to any animal that apparently does not endeavor to attain his full potential and, by some means, is obstructed from attaining things that his human companions are aware that he is competent to achieve. Wild Oat is also called the pioneering essence and assists in driving out the absence of relationship and offers a feeling regarding direction.
You may try this flower essence on any dog that is simply not able to locate its position or one that is abandoning a career, for instance, a lengthy as well as a successful career engaged in search and rescue or performance in shows, which has largely been responsible for the dog’s identity.
Wild Rose
The Bach flower remedy Wild Rose fights the lack of concern in an individual and, at the same time, it helps to bring back one’s love for life. In addition, it is also effective in restoring a person’s keenness as well as concern to connect to the world outside.
You may try administering this flower essence to treat any dog that appears to be apathetic to anything happening around him or too grown-up dogs that are complaining the introduction of a new puppy into the house. Wild Rose is also an appropriate remedy for dogs recuperating from any chronic ailment or those that appear to be suffering from a depression that deteriorates without any detectable cause.
Willow
Similar to some persons, a number of animals always appear to have got out of the bed on the wrong side. Such people as well as animals are irritable, brooding and frequently malicious, especially when they have a feeling that they have not been able to have their way. On the other hand, they may possibly just be too emotional and take all things personally, in addition, to react excessively.
You may consider using this flower essence for curing any dog that appears to strike back by tearing down or devastating something in the household or by refusing to be affectionate. In addition, this Bach flower essence is also an appropriate option for curing a dog that requires overcoming bitterness regarding the manner he has been dealt with previously.

Contagious Canine Cancer: How It Evolved Over 2,000 Years

The canine transmissible venereal tumor is a contagious form of cancer that is common in dog populations across the globe. In a new study, researchers have uncovered surprising information on how this cancer has evolved, and the findings could shed light on the evolution of cancer in humans.
[A dog with a stethoscope]
CTVT is primarily spread in dogs through mating, though it can also be spread through licking, sniffing, or giving birth.

Canine transmissible venereal tumor (CTVT) is cancer that is most commonly passed between dogs through mating.

CTVT most commonly arises in the form of genital tumors. When an infected dog mates, it passes on living tumor cells. These tumor cells can also be passed on through licking, sniffing, or giving birth.

Arising more than 11,000 years ago from the cells of a single dog – referred to as the “founder dog” – CTVT is one of the oldest known cancers.

According to researchers from the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, all CTVT tumors consist of DNA that belongs to the founder dog.

By analyzing the CTVT tumors of dogs across the globe, researchers can pinpoint and analyze mutations that these tumors have acquired over time, enabling them to determine the origins of the disease and when and how it spread.

Building an ‘evolutionary family tree’ of CTVT

For this latest study – published in eLife – co-first author Andrea Strakova, of the Department of Veterinary Medicine at Cambridge, and colleagues analyzed the DNA of mitochondria in the CTVT tumors of 449 dogs from 39 countries.

Mitochondria are commonly referred to as the “powerhouses” of cells, providing cells with the energy they need to function.

According to Strakova and colleagues, previous studies have suggested that among dogs infected with CTVT, there have been occasions when mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) has transferred to their tumors.

As such, this mtDNA has been transferred to the tumor cells of dogs that are subsequently infected.

The team’s latest analysis of CTVT tumors revealed that the mtDNA transfer process between CTVT-infected dogs and their tumors has occurred at least five times over the past 2,000 years – a process that the researchers suggest may have arisen to aid tumor survival.

This discovery enabled the team to create an “evolutionary family tree” consisting of five branches known as “clades.” Each clade represents a point in time when mtDNA was transferred between CTVT-infected dogs and their tumors.

Identifying the geographical location of the tumors within each clade enabled the researchers to pinpoint how CTVT has spread worldwide.

CTVT-infected dogs accompanied humans on travels at sea

The evolutionary family tree suggests that – because of the distance and speed that CTVT spread – dogs often accompanied humans on their sea travels.

“The extensive and recent global expansion detected in the CTVT lineage is consistent with signals of widespread admixture observed in worldwide populations of domestic dogs, highlighting the extent to which canine companions accompanied human travelers on their global explorations,” the authors explain.

They point to one clade of the evolutionary tree that suggests CTVT may have spread from Russia or China approximately 1,000 years ago.

However, it is likely that the disease only arose in the Americas around 500 years ago, which suggests that European colonialists – known to have traveled with dogs – brought it with them.

Additionally, the evolutionary tree suggests that CTVT arrived in Australia at the beginning of the 20th century and that it was likely brought into the country by infected dogs that accompanied European settlers.

‘Recombination’ process identified in cancer for the first time

As well as shedding light on the evolutionary history of CTVT, the researchers uncovered interesting information on the mechanisms by which mtDNA transfers to the tumors of dogs with CTVT.

The team found that mtDNA molecules from the healthy cells of CTVT-infected canines that have transferred to tumor cells sometimes mix with the mtDNA within tumor cells – a process referred to as “recombination.”

According to Strakova and colleagues, such a process has never before been observed in cancer, and the discovery indicates that it may not only be the cancer cells of dogs that are subject to recombination.

“Mitochondrial DNA recombination could be happening on a much wider scale, including in human cancers, but it may usually be very difficult to detect,” says co-first study author Máire Ní Leathlobhair, of the Department of Veterinary Medicine at Cambridge.

“When recombination occurs in transmissible cancers, two potentially very different mitochondrial DNAs – one from the tumor, one from the host – are merging and so the result is more obvious,” she explains.

“In human cancer, the tumor’s mitochondrial DNA is likely to be very similar to mitochondrial DNA in the patient’s normal cells, so the results of recombination would be almost impossible to recognize.”

At present, the researchers are unclear what significance this recombination discovery has. Still, they are planning to investigate whether it plays a role in cancer cell survival and whether inhibiting the process could halt cancer cell growth.

“The genetic changes in CTVT have allowed us to reconstruct the global journeys taken by this cancer over 2,000 years.

It is remarkable that this unusual and long-lived cancer can teach us so much about the history of dogs, and also about the genetic and evolutionary processes that underlie cancer more generally.”

Senior author Dr. Elizabeth Murchison

Dog Sledding Offers A Healthy Dose Of Adventure For Children With Cancer

A team of sled dogs racing through the snowy forests of northern Canada conjures up the timeless spirit of exploration. But the intrepid youths on the sleds may not be exactly what you’re picturing – they’re young girls and boys with cancer.

Young Patient Bonds with Sled Dog
A young cancer patient bonds with a sled dog as part of an expedition organized by Sourire à la Vie
Credit: Credit to Emmanuelle Compte emmanuelle@sourirealavie.fr

A common perception of the pediatric cancer patient is a frail youth whose childhood experiences are tragically curtailed by the disease. Now, the results of a new preliminary study published in ecancermedicalscience show that children with cancer may benefit from a different kind of treatment – a healthy dose of adventure.

The study follows eleven children aged 10-18 years, and five chaperones including doctors and nurses, on an expedition organized by the French non-profit Sourire à la Vie, which supports the use of adapted physical activity for young cancer patients.

“What I learned from this study is that we doctors have the false belief that kids with cancer cannot practice sport because they are too tired or weak from their treatments,” says the corresponding author of the study, Dr. Nicolas André. He’s a pediatric oncologist at the Assistance Publique Hôpitaux de Marseille, France.

“These perceptions are at least partly wrong,” Dr. André says. “Adapted physical activities can be performed by most children with cancer even during their treatment, and can bring a lot to children.”

All of the eleven children received adapted physical training and exercises before the expedition. The children successfully completed the program without harm – and they demonstrated statistically significant improvement in both physical and psychological health.

The children participated in other activities, such as snow exercises, as well as caring for the sled dogs.

“One of the main reasons why we chose dog sledding was to create a unique sportive experience based on the change of scenery and building a strong relationship with animals,” explains study author Frédéric Sotteau, founder of Sourire à la Vie.

The health and safety of the children were of paramount concern, Sotteau says. “We did not compromise regarding security, so we carefully prepared the expedition hand-in-hand with Canadian associations and doctors.”

“Based on our work over the last eight years, we all are convinced that practicing adapted physical activity is very positive for children with cancer,” comments study author Professor Laurent Grélot, a researcher at Aix-Marseille University, France. “It avoids cardiovascular and muscular deconditioning can decrease treatment-induced fatigue, and can help maintaining social integration.”

“It is now time to demonstrate these results.”

Based on the success of this study, the researchers have collected enough funding to initiate a randomized trial to evaluate the benefits of adapted physical activities for children with cancer. But perhaps the best take-home message comes from the children themselves.

“Before my cancer diagnosis, I used to do a lot of sport, but then I lost self-confidence and my body was not able to cope with physical efforts,” says Merwan, an 18-year-old patient. “This trip in Canada transformed me. I am in shape again, and now I know I am able to practice sport again.”

“I have been dog sledding for 6 hours a day,” adds Nell, a 12-year-old patient. “I am very proud, and I feel so good now.”

Pilot evaluation of physical and psychological effects of a physical trek program including a dog sledding expedition in children and teenagers with cancer. ecancer 9 558 / DOI: 10.3332/ecancer.2015.558

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Source: EurekAlert!, the online, global news service operated by AAAS, the science society