Articles

Finally, an article that proves my Dad’s observations from 1966-68:

Isoprene Rises During Hypoglycemia

If you don’t read anything else on this website – please read the above Isoprene article.

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Ebola Virus & Dogs: Where Do We Stand?

  1. Scott Weese, DVM, DVSc, DACVIM

Editor in Chief, Clinician’s Brief

The recent euthanasia of a dog owned by a Spanish nursing assistant infected with Ebola virus has raised much concern about the canine role in Ebola virus transmission and the risks dogs may pose to humans. As is common with emerging diseases, there are many gaps in our knowledge—and these gaps can create fear.

The following key points should be understood:

  • There is limited concern about dogs playing a role in natural transmission of Ebola virus in areas where the virus is endemic.
  • The likelihood of a dog being exposed to Ebola virus outside of endemic regions in Africa is very unlikely; this would require contact with bodily secretions of a human with symptoms of Ebola virus infection.
  • There is evidence that dogs can become infected with Ebola virus, but there is no evidence that they develop disease.[1]

This information comes from a study of dogs in a community where an Ebola virus outbreak was underway; 27% of healthy dogs had serumantibodies against the virus, but none had detectable virus in circulation.

Evidence of exposure was not surprising, as some dogs scavenged the bodies of animals that had potentially died of Ebola virus infection and had direct contact with humans with active disease.

This situation is profoundly different than that of a household pet with transient exposure to a human that has been exposed or has early infection.

  • Irrespective of whether dogs can be exposed to the virus, there is currently no evidence that infected dogs shed the virus.
  • In the unlikely event of a pet dog outside of West Africa is exposed to a human with Ebola virus infection, veterinary and public health personnel can investigate the type of contacts between the dog and human (eg, when contact occurred with respect to the presence of symptoms, types and duration of contact) and determine whether exposure to the virus may have occurred.
  • Coordinated efforts are underway to develop guidance for management of dogs exposed to individuals with Ebola virus infection.

The lack of information about Ebola virus in dogs makes development of evidence-based practices difficult. Yet, given the available information about Ebola virus in dogs and the broader understanding of Ebola virus and containment practices, reasonable recommendations can be developed for the very unlikely event that more pet dogs become exposed.

Concerns about dogs and Ebola virus cannot be dismissed, and consideration of the role of pets in transmission of this virus is consistent with efforts to promote One Health.

At the same time, the risks must be kept in perspective—and reason must outweigh paranoia—to optimize human and animal health and welfare.

About J. Scott Weese:

Scott Weese, DVM, DVSc, DACVIM, is veterinary internist and microbiologist, chief of infection control at University of Guelph Ontario

Veterinary College Health Sciences Centre, and Canada Research Chair in zoonotic diseases. As editor in chief of Clinician’s Brief, Dr. Weese provides quintessential expertise on infectious and zoonotic diseases (particularly of companion animals), infection control, and antimicrobial therapy.

[1] Ebola virus antibody prevalence in dogs and human risk. Allela L, Bourry O, Pouillot R, et al. Emerg Infect Dis. 11: 385–390, 2005.

Sugar Dogs International is thankful to Dr. Sam Fassig of Idaho for sharing with us.

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10 Secrets to Lose 25 Pounds NowPatience is an important part of the successful weight-loss formula. The pounds didn’t get packed on overnight; it’s going to take some time to establish healthy eating and exercise habits, and shed the not-so-healthy ones.

  1. Be a detective – Identify the most likely culprits of the unwanted weight.
  2. Get moving – It’s difficult to lose weight by just cutting calories. It’s ideal to develop a regular exercise routine of three to four times a week.
  3. Plan Ahead – Everyone has their weak moments-situations where they find it tough to make healthy choices. Make a list of those occasions and settings where your diet tends to take a detour.
  4. Fill up on fruits and veggies – You can eat large portions without loading up on calories.
  5. Don’t drink your calories – Stick to calorie-free beverages like water or hot tea.
  6. Don’t do anything drastic – Everyone wants to get thin now. But crash diets that promise to help you do that-by limiting you to a small group of foods, drastically reducing your calorie intake, or requiring you to buy certain engineered foods, don’t work.
  7. Set smart calorie targets – Eating three meals each day keeps your metabolism revved, keeps you burning calories, and prevents you from getting so ravenously hungry that you eventually eat everything that’s not tied down.
  8. Keep track – Studies show that people who track the calories they consume lose weight and keep it off more than those who don’t.  People diagnosed with diabetes or pre-diabetes who track the carbohydrates they consume manage their blood glucose (BG), lose weight and keep it off more than those who don’t.
  9. Do not make weight the only measure of success – Even as you get fitter, you may not see results on the scale. Keep in mind: muscle weighs more than fat, and hydration, hormones, time of day, and other factors can all have an impact on the numbers on the scale.
  10. Just practice – Don’t try to be perfect. Realize that it’s okay to indulge on occasion; one extra treat will not doom your dieting efforts.

Make your Pool Kid-Safe

For a lot of us, the summer season means outdoor fun and relaxation – often around the pool area at home. But there is a checklist of safety precautions you should consider before planning those summer pool parties for your kids and their friends.

  • Use a cover over the pool that meets safety standards.
  • Always have children carefully supervised by someone paying attention.
  • A fence is one of the best ways to protect children from accidentally falling into a pool.
  • Ensure all pools and spas have safety-tested covers over drains.
  • Keep toys away from the pool when the pool is not in use.
  • Install a door alarm from the house to the pool area.
  • Do not allow diving in shallow water, particularly in above-ground pools.
  • Finally, set rules and insist that they’re followed.

You can never know which safety precaution will save a life.

Additional sources: American Red Cross; U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

Have a Safe Summer

It’s easy to be casual about many things  in the summer; it’s not good to be casual about safety. With warm weather comes the risk for certain injuries and health problems some serious enough to be life-threatening. Here are some suggestions on how to keep you and your family safe:

  • Watch out for heatstroke – As the temperature rises, so does the risk of heat-related illness.
  • Make helmets a priority – Make sure your child wears a helmet anytime they hop on their bike.
  • Keep home windows secure – Every year thousands of kids in the U.S. are killed or injured by falling out of windows.
  • Know the signs of anaphylaxis – This is a potentially deadly allergic reaction.

Sources: American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Safe Kids USA; U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

Compliments of Watson Clinic, LLC, Lakeland, FL

Top 5 Independence Day Picnic Tips from the ASPCA

Nothing says Independence Day like driving to the mountains or the beach for an old-fashioned barbecue or picnic. But with these carefree days comes an increased risk for illness or injury for our furry pals.

The ASPCA recommends keeping your pet indoors as much as possible during outdoor parties. From toxic foods to fire hazards, our animals are exposed to all sorts of unusual things during Independence Day, and your pet is counting on you to keep him safe.

Check out our top five tips for keeping your animal secure this Independence Day and beyond.

• Skip the spray. Avoid lathering your pet with any insect repellent not intended for the four-legged kind.

• Avoid scraps from the grill. Stick with your pet’s normal diet—any change, even for a day, can result in an upset stomach.

• Be cool near the pool. Don’t leave pets unsupervised around a pool or lake—not all dogs are expert swimmers!

• Stay fire smart. Keep your pet away from matches, citronella candles and lighter fluid, which if eaten can irritate the stomach, lungs and central nervous system.

• Keep it fresh. Bring enough water to keep yourself and your pup hydrated. “Nature’s dog bowls”—puddles, ponds and streams—may contain parasites.

 A special tip for Sugar Dog teams:  Always ask your host or hostess if it is OK for you to bring your Sugar Dog to a private home because YES, they really can refuse you.  It’s better to ask first and explain your Sugar Dog’s a diabetic alert service dog.  The Americans With Disabilities Act only applies to public places.  Private home, private cars can refuse you and your Sugar Dog.
Help Your SUGAR DOG Team Have A Happy Holiday
       It’s been said many veterinarians dread the day after Thanksgiving.
       Why?
       Because their waiting rooms are packed with poor dogs with sick tummies – or worse.
       A check with a trio of vets who work with FloridaPoodle Rescue.org confirmed that fact.
       “It never fails. Every year we get around 20 to 30 sick pets the days following Thanksgiving and Christmas,” wrote Dr. Javier Vicente of Haines Road Animal Hospital in an email.
         “Almost all of the patients are showing gastrointestinal signs related to humans sharing their holiday meals with their pets. The most life-threatening conditions that we see are intestinal blockage due to ingestion of bones, and pancreatitis … due to ingestion of a fatty meal such as ham or fried food.”
       Dr. Gary Berkowitz of Veterinary Associates of Jacaranda says that pet owners who neglect to clean dirty dishes from the table run the risk of a pet who can get hold of the dreaded, but tasty, turkey bones.
       “Clean everything that’s edible off the table after the meal,” he suggests, ” and be sure to put all garbage in a closed trash can. Make sure the lid is on properly and that it can’t be opened by a food-focused pet.”
     And don’t underestimate the lengths that a determined pet will go to in order to get a tasty holiday morsel, says Dr. Ram Prasad of Bay Pines Veterinary Hospital.
     “I once had to operate on a dog that had ingested aluminum foil that was covered in gravy,” he recalled. “The owners didn’t know what was wrong with the dog when they brought him in, so we had to do X-rays and when I realized that he’d eaten foil, I had to surgically remove it.”
      Dr. Vicente suggests that pet owners put their best friends away during family gatherings.
     “Guests are the ones that usually share their meals with your pets or accidentally drop food that the pet can ingest,” he notes.
     Too many treats can cause another problem for pets, Dr. Prasad says.
       “They look at you with sad eyes, so you give them a treat of cake or a cookie, something they don’t usually get. Then they go to someone else and look at them. They get another treat. And so it continues.
       “The next thing you know, they’ve put on some weight. And if they’re overweight to start with, that can be a real problem. Overweight can stress joints, the heart, lead to diabetes and kidney problems.’
       “If you want to give your dog a treat, take him for a walk. Spend more time with him. Those are real treats.”

Get up and go for a walk.  It’s good for YOU and Your Sugar Dog!

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Dental Health and Your Dog
  
      Oral health isn’t just important for people, it is also essential to your dog’s health.  Dogs can suffer from some of the same mouth diseases as humans including gingivitis and periodontal disease.  And just as with humans, poor oral health can lead to more generalized health issues including heart disease.  It is imperative that good oral hygiene become part of your dog’s regular health routine.
     If you don’t know what to look for or where to start for this routine, here are some tips to help you begin:
1. Check your dog’s breath.  Ok so it doesn’t smell like a meadow full of spring flowers, that’s normal; however, if the smell is extremely offensive, that maybe a sign of disease.

 2.  Check your dog’s mouth. Look at the gums and teeth. The gums should be pink not white or red. White gums are a sign of anemia and red gums are sign of gum disease.   The teeth should look clean and be free of brownish tartar, and they should not be loose.

3.  Watch your dog for other signs of oral distress, which include excessive drooling, tumors in the gums, and cysts under the tongue.
     Once you have inspected your pup’s mouth, teeth, and gums, it is important to get proper treatment if needed.  There is NO substitute for regular dental cleaning by your veterinarian.  The vet will clean Fido’s teeth in a similar manner to what a dentist does to your teeth.  He will use special tools to scrape away plaque and tartar, and will finish by polishing the teeth.
     After your dog’s teeth have been cleaned professionally, it is important to have a maintenance routine for in between cleanings.  A few of the things you can do to prevent dental issues at home are give your dog chew toys, brush his teeth with a toothbrush and tooth paste formulated for dogs, and give him treats approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council.  Please NEVER use human toothpaste as it is toxic to dogs.
     If you think your pup is in need of a professional dental check up, please call a reputable veterinarian.  Not all vets are dental veterinarians, ask about their credentials in this regard.

How to Get Rid of Fleas and Ticks 

Summer is here, people, and fleas and ticks are ready to get the party started by setting up shop in your Sugar Dog’s fur. In addition to just being plain uncomfortable, fleas and ticks can cause some serious health problems for our diabetic alert dogs. Fleas can consume 15 times their own body weight in blood and cause anemia, skin allergies and tapeworms. Ticks transmit diseases to pets that can lead to fever, lack of appetite, jaundice and severe anemia. Ticks can also transmit Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain spotted fever to humans.

These little parasites are tough to fight, but the we are here to help. Check out the ASPCA’s advice for keeping your pets itch-free this summer.

    • Know your enemy. Confirm your pet has fleas by identifying signs such as droppings or “flea dirt” in your pet’s coat, excessive scratching and scabs. Most ticks, on the other hand, are visible to the naked eye. Though they can be found anywhere on your pet’s body, they prefer to attach themselves close to the head, neck, ears and feet.
    • Go fishing. Treat all of your pets for fleas, not just those who show outward signs of infestation. During warmer months, it’s also a good idea to check your pet regularly for ticks. If you do spot a tick, take care when removing it to avoid spreading disease.
    • Ask a doc. Talk to your vet about choosing the right, species-specific flea and tick treatment for your pet such as a topical, liquid insecticide applied to the back of the neck. Never use products for dogs on cats, and vice versa.
    • Trim nature’s gifts. Fleas and ticks love long grass and shady outdoor spots, remember to maintain your yard. Ensure a pest-free lawn by mowing it regularly, removing tall weeds and making it inhospitable to other common tick hosts, including rodents, by keeping garbage covered and inaccessible.
    • For more information about getting rid of parasites, and other summer pet tips, please visit the ASPCA.com

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Hurricane Season

With hurricane and tornado season upon us, many Americans will go through an annual ritual preparing to keep their possessions and their loved ones safe.  This season, experts are encouraging families in the nation’s storm belt to make pet preparedness part of their annual storm safety habit.

“During the chaos of a storm or an evacuation, pets are at great risk of running away or being left behind,” says Dr. Nick Saint-Errne, PetSmart’s veterinarian in residence.  “The best way to keep you pets safe is simply to prepare, just as you would for the rest of your family.”

Dr. Nick recommends pet owners:

  • Know where to go:  Not all emergency shelters accept pets and animal shelters and boarding kennels often have limited space.  Contact local humane societies or local chapters of the American Red Cross for a list of emergency shelters that accept pets.  Families should keep a list of nearby shelters and veterinarians in an emergency kit.
  • Keep medical records on hand:  Many kennels and shelters will not take pets without proof of vaccinations, and if a pet is injured or becomes ill during the storm, access to medical records will help vets provide better care.
  • Make sure your pets wear ID tags:  If a pet becomes lost or escapes during the confusion of an evacuation situation, proper identification will increase the chances of a safe return home.  In addition to a collar, tags, consider permanently identifying your pet with a microchip.  Almost every animal rescue agency scans lost pets for microchip identification now.  (We trust Home Again as they have returned Sugar Boy to us in the past when he dug under a cousin’s gate and escaped from her backyard.)
  • Get a pet carrier:  An individual carrier for each pet in the family will make transporting pets safe and give them a feeling of security.  Make sure the carrier is approved for airline travel.  (We like the Sherpa travel carriers and yes, they are approved for airline travel although the Sugar dogs don’t have to be contained in them for an airline flight.)
  • Create a “Pet Preparedness Kit” that includes:  Bottled water, extra food, a soft muzzle, collars, leashes, and a first aid kit, plus a week’s supply of any special medication and dosage instructions.

While this valuable information is for PETS, please know that service animals have been refused in emergency shelters during storm conditions.  Just as people don’t know the laws about service animals being allowed in restaurants, they won’t know in the rush of people to storm shelters in an emergency either.  Properly trained people will be in short supply.  You will be dealing with volunteers who won’t know that your service animal IS allowed.  Come prepared with as much paperwork as you can.

I’m enrolled for the handicapped shelter at the SunDome at USF in Tampa and they have already told me that service animals are not allowed.  Every year, I go through the same letter writing campaign with them and finally at the end of the hurricane season, I receive a letter indicating that they have 2 service animals listed with my name on their forms.  Where will that letter writer be when/if I have to go to a shelter?  Probably not at that shelter, that’s for certain!

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10 Things That Will Poison Your Dog

As a one of our diabetic teenager’s Sugar Dog had emergency surgery recently to remove some trash she consumed out of a garbage can, we believe it is important to share this information again.

The veterinarians at Pet Poison Helpline compiled a list of the 10 most frequently reported dog poison emergencies in 2011.

1. Foods (chocolate, xylitol, and grapes/raisins)
We have all heard that chocolate is toxic to dogs. What some may not know is that xylitol, the sweetener used in many sugarless foods including gum and candy is highly toxic. According to the vets at Pet Poison Helpline, “When ingested, even in small amounts, it can result in a life-threatening drop in blood sugar or even liver failure.” Also important to note, grapes and raisins are among the most toxic foods to dogs and can cause kidney failure.

2. Insecticides (sprays, bait stations, and spot on flea/tick treatment)
Pay particular attention to products that contain organophosphates, often found in rose-care products, which can be life-threatening even in small amounts.

3. Mouse and rat poison
For obvious reason, these products are toxic and can cause severe issues in dogs including internal bleeding, brain swelling, kidney failure, or severe vomiting and bloat, according to the veterinarians. Your dog can even be poisoned by eating dead rodents that ingested rat poison! What to do if you dog eats rat poison.

4. NSAIDS human drugs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and naproxen)
NSAIDS can cause stomach and intestinal ulcers, and kidney failure. Do not give these drugs to your dog unless recommended by a veterinarian.

5. Household cleaners
These are bad for your kids and bad for your pets. Pet Poison Helpline reminds us that just because a cleaner says “natural” does not necessarily mean it is safe.

6. Antidepressant human drugs
Antidepressants account for the highest number of prescription medication-related calls to the Pet Poison Helpline. According to their veterinarians, “When ingested, they can cause neurological problems in dogs like sedation, lack of coordination, agitation, tremors, and seizures.”

7. Fertilizers (including bone meal, blood meal, and iron-based)
The problem with fertilizers is that, to a dog, they smell heavenly and probably taste good. However, ingesting fertilizer can cause severe pancreatitis or form concretion in the stomach, which obstructs the gastrointestinal tract.See plants poisonous to dogs.

8. Acetaminophen human drugs
Like other drugs, acetaminophen can cause severe liver failure in dogs. It can also cause dry eye. A single Tylenol tablet can be fatal to a cat.

9. Amphetamine human drugs
According to Pet Poison Helpline, “medications used to treat ADD and ADHD contain potent stimulants…even minimal ingestions by dogs can cause life-threatening tremors, seizures, elevated body temperatures and heart problems.”

10. Veterinary pain relievers
Just like with us, it’s not good to overdose your dog on painkillers. The result can be severe gastric ulceration and acute kidney failure. Make sure you follow your veterinarian’s recommended dosage. If you think your dog is still in pain, take him back to the vet, don’t up the dosage yourself.

The best way to prevent dog poisoning is to be diligent. Dog-proof your home in the same way you would baby-proof. Put medications in high cupboards that dogs cannot reach.

Make sure the garbage has a tight lid, or better yet, is in a cabinet with a child lock on it so your pet cannot get into it while you are gone. If it is impossible to put something out of your dog’s reach, do not leave your pet unaccompanied.

Pet Poison Helpline reminds us to never medicate a pet with human drugs without consulting your veterinarian first.  It also reminds us to be aware of cigarette butts, which are harmful to dogs and any poisonous plants in the houses or yard.

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As an independent non-profit, we can’t raise capital like a regular business does.  Our successful launch of Sugar Dogs International, Inc. was only possible with the financial backing of supporters like you.  

Your donation funds important projects that will benefit Sugar Dog teams for years to come.  When you support Sugar Dogs International, you’re investing in a staff of professional people who volunteer with us and who are deeply committed to our mission.  You’re investing in an entrepreneurially oriented non-profit with a proven track record of successful initiatives.  You’re investing in the future of Sugar Dog teams worldwide.  100% of the teams who follow our training method exactly have improved A1c lab results!!!  Great results.

Of course, you may note which Sugar Dog team benefits from your assistance.

Your donation, big or small, makes ALL the difference.  To support our work, please click on the DONATE button below.

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Disclosure:  We recommend that you seek medical care from a board certified endocrinologist, tax advice from a certified public accountant or a board certified tax lawyer, and legal advice from a board certified attorney as nothing contained on this website is offered as medical advice, tax advice or legal advice.
Sugar Dogs International, Inc. is an all volunteer Not for Profit organization. Our federal tax ID number is 27-0988608. A copy of the official registration and financial information may be obtained from the Division of Consumer Services by calling 1-800-435-7352 within the State of Florida. Registration does not imply endorsement, approval or recommendation by the State. CH44762