Diamond Pet Food recall infects both animals and people

I just read some interesting information on the recent Diamond Pet Food recall regarding humans who were also sickened from touching pet food bags produced at the plant in Gaston SC.

16 people in 9 states became infected with a rare form of salmonella that was detected through routine sampling.  The US Food and Drug Admin inspection revealed unsanitary conditions including failure to provide hand washing facilities (what does this mean…they had no bathrooms there??); the use of non-cleanable surfaces, i.e. cardboard and duct tape; and also damaged equipment that promoted the growth of microorganisms.  Production was temporarily suspended but was resumed shortly afterwards.

As in all these recalls, I wonder about the follow-up.  Did anyone check to see if these conditions were fixed??

Statistics on dog and cat diabetes

I read some interesting statistics on diabetes from the JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation).  According to this report, diabetes has been increasing at a 5% rate per year in both people and pets.

It is 1 of the 5 most common diseases in dogs and 1 in 3 in cats.

I feel really fortunate that when Chloe’s glucose level tested so high last year, we were able to get it in the normal range just with diet.  I am now investigating higher quality diets that will keep her in the normal range but provide better nutrition.  I test her every 3 weeks of so with ThePetCheckup and she is not spilling any glucose in her urine.  That’s the way to go Chloe!!

Home test your dog and cat for peace of mind

Another point we make when talking about using ThePetCheckup monthly is that we hope you never find an imbalance.  That’s the goal! Good health. But as we all know, illnesses can come up quickly and without warning, so routine checking of your pet’s urine between routine veterinary visits will provide a new level of caregiving for you.

There is something about performing these tests…knowing what your dog and cat’s nitrite, leukocyte, pH, bilirubin, glucose  etc. etc. values are that makes most people feel even closer to their animals!  It’s such an easy and inexpensive way to protect your pet’s health.

Practice early detection healthcare for yourself and for your animal companions

WebMD has a nice concise description of the benefits of early detection. The same criteria applies to both people and animals:

Early disease detection is the use of:

  • Screening tests to find health problems before symptoms appear.
  • Diagnostic tests, medical exams, and self-exams to find a disease or other health problem early in its course.

Why should you think about early disease detection?

Often, the earlier a disease is diagnosed, the more likely it is that it can be cured or successfully managed. Managing a disease, especially early in its course, may lower its impact on your life or prevent or delay serious complications.

Petsmart Charities 5 million adoptions!

Our shelter is  a member of Petsmart Charities so I have seen first-hand what a great organization they are.  They pick up our dogs here in rural Iowa and bring them to bigger shelters in the midwest where they have excellent adoption rates.

So I was really moved by the video below about the 5 millionth dog who was adopted.  Dodge, a beautiful 5 year old husky found his forever home.

See for yourself!


Leukocyte reading on pet test strip

We were asked today what a ‘trace’ value on the leukocyte reading could mean when all the other parameters on the test are negative.  Generally, trace values on any of the parameters of the urine test strip should be repeated within the week.

If an infection is present, the leukocyte value will usually be higher (you will get a ‘moderate’ or ‘large’ reading) and the nitrite value will also be positive.

A trace value in this case means that the body is having an immune response to something.  It could be one of many things and also very short-lived.

This is good information to know. Record the reading on the results chart so you will have this information to refer to and also to report to your veterinarian during any future visits.

Non-absorbent cat litter for urine collection

Some people prefer to use non-absorbent cat litter for collecting urine samples.

In this case, you would just replace the usual litter you use (or use a separate litter pan) with the new litter pellets and let your cat use the box as usual.  Take your sample and proceed with the test.

Some of our clients use these pellets only when doing ThePetCheckup test and others use them as their regular litter.  You can buy the pellets and also a cleverly designed litter box which enables the urine to flow into a collection unit underneath the pellets.  Check out http://www.smartcatbox.com for further information.

Collecting a urine sample from a cat

The best method I have found for collecting a urine sample from a cat is to cover the top of the litter box with a plastic bag.  Just lay the un-opened bag over the top. Those white garbage bags work great.  Your cat may wonder what is going on at first, but they willwuickly feel the litter under their paws and proceed.

When they are finished, just use the dropper and take a few dropperfulls for the test…remember you only need 10 drops for ThePetCheckup test.

Let me know how this works for you.  Tomorrow I’ll have a suggestion if you  want to use non-absorb cat “litter”.

But I have done many tests with the plastic bag method (actually Chloe and Kate are so used to it now, that I just hold some plastic under their butts when they are peeing) and have found it to be quite simple.  Remember to have a calm, matter of fact attitude when collecting urine for the test.  Your cats will pick up if you are feeling anxious about it.

Another hint in the beginning it to collect the sample right after you have changed the cat pan.  Kitties love fresh litter and will often use the pan as soon as it is full of clean litter.