Foxtail Barley: A Threat to Your Dog

Foxtail barley is a short perennial grass from 30 to 60 cm tall that grows in dense clumps or tufts. The species has an extensive root system that is fibrous and lacks rhizomes. Rhizomes are horizontal underground stems that store carbohydrates and send up new grass plants or tillers, which are above-ground stems. Each tiller has an inflorescence or flower with many awns or bristles giving the plant its distinctive appearance. The colour of the plant ranges from green with purplish awns when flowering to light brown when seeds have matured later in the summer and autumn.

The awns are capable of invading the body of your dog through the mouth, anus, feet ears, or through any point on the body surface. Once the awns penetrate the skin they move in one direction because of the orientation of minute barbs attached to each larger bristle (e.g., similar to the barbs on the larger quills of a porcupine). Awns can travel throughout the body in the blood. The awns are capable of killing your dog and as some autopsies reveal, the awns may accumulate in the heart. Awns can also penetrate the ears and become embedded in the eardrum. Similarly, awns can enter through the nose and become lodged in the nasal passageway. Awns entering through the mouth can become lodged in the lungs, spinal cord and/or chest cavity. Secondary effects from infections are also a problem. Partially penetrated awns that are visible should be removed immediately, preferably by a trained professional. You should contact your veterinarian for a list of possible symptoms and treatment methods.

To read more, please go HERE.

Published in: on April 5, 2011 at 4:24 PM  Leave a Comment  

Outdoor Ferrets

I’ve Googled and I’ve contemplated and I finally came to a decision.

I ordered an outdoor setup for my two ferrets, Akai and Domino.  It consists of a hutch, which has a nesting box and an open area next to the box, as well as a run underneath.  I also got the extended run, so they will have more room.  I will modify the setup slightly by adding a cover for the top of the run.

The setup will be on my deck in a small cubby-area.  I will put flat boarding up on the deck bars, so the enclosure will be blocked from wind on three sides  (two are deck, one is the house).  This will also prevent people from the street seeing the setup, beyond a bit of the hutch’s top.  The bottom of the run will be the exposed deck.

Now, I’ve read plenty of controversy on housing ferrets outdoors.  I know that in the UK and parts of Australia, this is much more common.  The US, particularly Iowa, has colder winters than both, although Australian summers can get a bit above us.  I did find one person, a Canadian, that commented on a forum about keeping their ferrets outside year-round.

Gathering this information, I feel confident in ignoring the nay-sayers.  I understand that in the winter, a properly insulated nest box is necessary.  I understand that in the summer, plenty of water and shade is necessary to keep cool.  I would also like to create a soil dig box and use straw in the nest box.

I will monitor the ferrets strictly as the spring turns to summer, and as the fall turns to winter.  I want to get them outside soon (spring) so they can adjust to the rising temperature and later falling temperature naturally.

I will update with photos and information as time goes on.  I am determined to debunk that it’s unsafe to house them outside.

Published in: on April 2, 2011 at 9:27 PM  Leave a Comment  

Why Old Dogs Are the Best

Be sure to read it all HERE.

In our dogs, we see ourselves. Dogs exhibit almost all of our emotions; if you think a dog cannot register envy or pity or pride or melancholia, you have never lived with one for any length of time. What dogs lack is our ability to dissimulate. They wear their emotions nakedly, and so, in watching them, we see ourselves as we would be if we were stripped of posture and pretense. Their innocence is enormously appealing. When we watch a dog progress from puppy­hood to old age, we are watching our own lives in microcosm. Our dogs become old, frail, crotchety, and vulnerable, just as Grandma did, just as we surely will, come the day. When we grieve for them, we grieve for ourselves.

Published in: on March 11, 2011 at 8:09 PM  Leave a Comment  

It’s That Time of Year Again

Yearly exams are coming due, as well as vaccines.  The ferrets got their rabies shots early last month, Rico got neutered last month, and Zeros got neutered yesterday.

So what’s next?  All four cats get their exams on April 23rd, as well as Zeros getting his rabies shot.  He finally can get his three-year shot, like the others have.  On April 2nd, Cooper and Liberty will be going in for exams, anal gland expression, distemper shots, heartworm tests, plus Liberty will need her rabies shot.  I will also order Revolution for all three dogs.

In the near future, I plan to take Rico in to get a microchip.  Luckily, Cooper and Liberty already have chips.  The cats will follow soon after.

Taking multiple pets in at once has pros and cons.  It’s nice to only have one day to worry about per “group,” but it can be a hassle dealing with them all at once in an environment they aren’t fully comfortable with.  The cats tend to be easier because they go in carriers.  This will be Liberty’s first time at my vet and I’m curious how she will behave, especially while trying to control Cooper as well.

The good news is, after all the planning and financing, this will all soon be handled and the rest of the year is usually void of vet visits.

Published in: on March 3, 2011 at 6:26 PM  Leave a Comment  

Clipping a Cat’s Claws (Toenails)

A very detailed and informative page on clipping your cat’s claws yourself.

Published in: on March 2, 2011 at 9:59 PM  Leave a Comment  

Euthanized Puppy Rises From the Dead

Read the whole story HERE.

The black-and-white pooch was one of five young dogs “put to sleep” Saturday at a shelter in Sulphur, Okla., News 9 in Oklahoma City reported. Each dog was checked and confirmed to be dead, then the 3-month-old and his four siblings were placed in a trash bin.

On Sunday morning, an animal control officer looked into the bin and discovered that the one pup somehow survived.

Published in: on March 2, 2011 at 9:30 PM  Leave a Comment  

[WARNING] SWAT Raiders Shoot Two Dogs


Please read information on this case at The PitchThe Columbia Tribune, and Riverfront Times

The man in the video is named John E Whitworth.  He was convicted of extremely reckless drunk driving in 2008.  He had been dealing coke for at least 5 years, pleading guilty to dealing cocaine in 2005 at age 19.

The raid took place in February of 2010.  The cops had reason to believe he was selling drugs again.  The dog that was killed was a pitbull and was not caged.  The other dog that was injured was described to be a corgi, or a corgi/pitbull mix.

In my opinion, the breed of the dog does not matter.  If you watch the video and read all of the information, the dog(s) were in no way aggressive and did not deserve to be shot, nor did the situation require such hostility.  What was found was a very minute amount of pot and the only reasons to believe this man may be dealing again is based on his past, which he already dealt with.

Published in: on March 1, 2011 at 6:12 PM  Leave a Comment  

FUN: Sarah Donner and the Sleep Kitten

Published in: on February 28, 2011 at 6:57 PM  Leave a Comment  

When Man’s Best Friend is Obese

Be sure to read the full article.

The main culprit: owners who routinely overfeed pets, don’t exercise them enough and are unaware of the severe, and costly, health problems caused by excess weight. Common woes include diabetes, arthritis, kidney failure, high blood pressure and cancer. Research also suggests that pets fed less over their lifetime can live significantly longer.

One hurdle: people’s idea of what constitutes a fat pet often differs from clinical reality. A study by Pfizer Inc.’s Animal Health business showed that 47% of veterinarians felt their canine patients were obese, while only 17% of dog owners agreed. For instance, a 90-pound female Labrador retriever is roughly equivalent to a 186-pound woman who is 5-foot, 4-inches tall—a human body-mass index that’s considered obese, Dr. Ward says.

Similarly, he says, a fluffy, domestic short-haired cat weighing 15 pounds is comparable to a 254-pound man who is 5-foot-9. (Recommended weight range is eight to 10 pounds.)

Knowing how much to feed pets can be confusing. Many cat owners leave out full bowls of food for pets to graze, but feeding just 10 extra kibbles of a typical dry cat food could add up to one pound of weight gain annually, says Dr. Ward.

Manufacturers aren’t required to list caloric content on labels unless the product bills itself as low calorie, according to the Food and Drug Administration, which says there’s now a proposal circulating to change that. Meantime, feeding directions are listed for the “most demanding” life stage for which the product is intended, such as reproduction. Subsequently, “feeding directions can overfeed by 25%,” says Dr. Elliott of Banfield.

Published in: on February 28, 2011 at 6:56 PM  Leave a Comment  

Cats Adore, Manipulate Women

Read the whole article here.



  • Relationships between cats and their owners mirror human bonds, especially when the owner is a woman.
  • Cats hold some control over when they are fed and handled, functioning very similar to human children in some households.
  • While the age, sex and personality of owners affect these relationships, the sex of the cat doesn’t seem to matter.

The study is the first to show in detail that the dynamics underlying cat-human relationships are nearly identical to human-only bonds, with cats sometimes even becoming a furry “child” in nurturing homes.

Published in: on February 24, 2011 at 8:13 PM  Leave a Comment  

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