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Don’t Get Ticked Off By Lyme Disease

Summer is upon us and for many folks that means spending time outdoors,  hiking, camping, walking and exploring forests and wooded areas. It also means working and playing in your own backyard.Tick Warning

No matter where you live in the continental United States, you are at risk for the tick-borne illness known as Lyme disease. Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. Deer ticks harbor these bacteria and spread it when feeding on animals and humans. People in the Northeast, Midwest and Northwest are at highest risk, but these ticks can be found in any grassy or heavily wooded area — even your own backyard!

Signs and Symptoms

Most cases of Lyme disease start with a rash that looks like a bump, and then grows into something like a bull’s eye, as illustrated below. lime

This rash is called erythema migrans, and can start where the tick bite occurred. It happens in 70-80% of Lyme disease cases. Flu-like symptoms can also occur, such as fever, chills, fatigue, body aches and headache. The symptoms and pattern of Lyme disease can vary from person to person because the illness can affect many different body systems.

If you develop a rash and flu-like symptoms and feel that you may have contracted Lyme disease, you should seek medical attention. At this point in time, treatment is easy and can prevent the serious and sometimes severe complications of Lyme disease. Your doctor can fully evaluate and examine you for the illness. There is a blood test that can check to see if you have Lyme disease, but this test does take a few weeks after exposure to show a positive result.

If your doctor feels you have the early stages of Lyme disease, he or she will probably offer you a 10-14 day course of oral antibiotics to kill the bacteria and prevent complications. As the blood test can take some time before it becomes positive, oral antibiotics are recommended as a preventative.

If Not Treated…

What are the complications? It is amazing that a tick-borne illness can produce such serious issues. If not treated, severe joint pain can develop associated with swelling and redness. The knees are the most common joints affected, but the pain and swelling can move from joint to joint, a condition known as migratory arthritis.

People with untreated Lyme disease also can develop neurological problems. These include meningitis, Bell’s palsy (facial nerve paralysis), and numbness and weakness in the arms and legs. These problems can persist for months, even years, in an untreated infection, and can be very debilitating. Some people also develop an irregular heartbeat, eye problems, hepatitis and very severe chronic fatigue.

Take Precautions

You may be bitten by a deer tick and not even know it because it doesn’t hurt or sting. The tick attaches to your skin and eventually the Lyme disease bacteria will get into your bloodstream. This usually takes 48 hours. Common sense precautions include wearing protective clothing when in wooded/grassy areas and using a tick repellant containing a strong concentration of DEET —10 to 30%. Oil of lemon eucalyptus can also be used as a preventive. Do not use these products on children under the age of 3.

Checking yourself for ticks after possible exposure and removing the tick greatly lessens your chance of getting Lyme disease. Just grasp the tick with tweezers and remove as much of it as possible. Lastly, maintaining your yard by keeping the grass mowed and brush trimmed will keep the tick population down.

Your pets are also at risk for deer tick bites, and they should be checked carefully for ticks and/or a rash after being outdoors. Also, there have been cases of Lyme disease where people weren’t in the woods or grassy areas, so be aware of your risk just spending time outdoors.

Using these precautions and preventive strategies, you greatly reduce your chance of getting a deer tick bite and developing Lyme disease. If you are bitten by a tick, you now know what the signs and symptoms of Lyme disease are and can seek early medical attention to prevent the serious complications of the disease.

So, enjoy this summer and the great outdoors to the fullest…and protect yourself against Lyme disease!

By Lisa Forgione, MD

[Ed. Note: Lisa Forgione, MD, is an Emergency Medicine Physician, a Diplomate of ABFM and a Member of AAFP and NCAFP.  She has received several Physicians Recognition Awards for teaching from the AMA and AAFP.  Dr. Forgione was recently selected as one of the Top Family Doctors of 2009 by the Consumers’ Research Council of America.]

Source:  True Health Is True Wealth  

Posted: Just One More Pet

May 15, 2009 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, animals, Just One More Pet, Pet Health, Pets, responsible pet ownership | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Caught On Tape: Alleged L.A. Animal Shelter Abuses


Shelter surveillance cameras capture employees abusing a dog  Photo: CBS2.com

LOS ANGELES (CBS) ― Animal Shelters are supposed to care for lost pets. But we found some LA County workers caught on tape allegedly abusing dogs. CBS 2 Investigative Reporter David Goldstein obained the videos and has this exclusive report. 


These surveillance videos — obtained by CBS 2 News — show what some L.A. County animal shelter employees do when they think the public’s not watching. 

“How do you pull a defenseless dog through the facility like that, dragging it, and you have nothing to say at all.”We have the videos and obtained documents showing a hidden culture at the county shelters, where animals are allegedly euthanized and abused by employees, sometimes for kicks. 

“There were quite a few of them who high-fived each other when they got certified to put the animals to sleep, as if it was a major coup.” 

L.A. County’s Animal Care and Control claims to be one of the largest and progressive shelter systems in the nation. Their slogan is “care with compassion.” 

But our investigation found that is not always the case. 

Animal control officers are watched from dozens of surveillance cameras set up all around the six shelters across L.A. County, watching them when no one else may be watching. 

In a video from the backroom of the Downey shelter, an animal control officer is seen putting his foot on the dog he just brought in. While it’s fully restrained on what is called a catch pole, he pins the dog down, jabbing the pole in its throat. 

In this video from the Baldwin Park shelter last December, the officer drags the dog all the way down the long corridor, pulling it by a rope, as the animal spreads out on all fours. When he stops, the friendly dog wags its tail, only to be dragged along even further. 

The day before at Baldwin Park, a camera catches another officer doing the exact same thing — dragging a dog by a rope down a corridor. 

In March at Baldwin Park an officer is seen flinging a Chihuahua into the cage. The tiny dog is tossed in like a piece of meat. 

And finally in Baldwin Park in 2006, a dog is appears unsteady on its feet, having just come back from the vet with a hip injury. But that didn’t stop the officer, who has been identified as Felix Reyes, from first pulling the dog, then dragging it by a rope. 

As a family of five walks by, Reyes drags the dog across the compound. 

After a short time, the dog finally succumbs to the pressure and gets up, only to have Reyes captured by another camera, as he walks it along and yanks the injured dog across the threshold and into a cage. 

“Every animal has a story and they can’t talk,” said Cathy Nguyen. 

Nguyen is an animal lover and frequent critic of the shelter system, who has troubled by the videos. 

“The dog could be someone’s dog. They didn’t know. If this is how they treat my dog it wouldn’t be acceptable,” Nguyen said. 

It was almost sadistic? 

“Sadistic. Absolutely.” 

“Hey Felix, I’m David Goldstein with CBS 2 News.” 

I tried to question Reyes. 

“You were pulling that defenseless dog down through the whole place. What were you doing that for?” 

But he never said a word. 

“How do you keep quiet about that? How do you live with yourself at night? You’ve got nothing to say?” 

Critics of the shelter system say the videos bring to light the sometimes dark side of what goes on goes behind the cages — a culture that can breed cruelty, neglect and even torture. 

These investigative reports, obtained by CBS 2 News, document dogs that were intentionally or mistakenly euthanized, killed in the shelters after being put on hold for adoption or the return to their owners. 

“There were definitely people working there who didn’t even like animals.” 

This former shelter employee, who would only talk if we concealed their identity, says the euthanizing of animals was sometimes a sought after position. 

“They enjoyed putting the animals to sleep?” 

“Yes. Some of them volunteered. They wanted to be the ones doing that.” 

“What kind of person is that?” 

“Narcissistic. Lack of compassion. It wasn’t uncommon at all.” 

But the head of L.A. County’s shelter system says three instances is just a small amount. 

“We take in 90,000 animals a year, three incidents over the numbers of thousands of animals that have come in during that period of time I think is very minor.” Reporting – David Goldstein

Hmmm… 3 incidents that were found out about.  How many were not?  Who lets volunteers euthenize animals?  And what if it were your pet that someone Euthenized?

It is time that cruelty to animals was punished much more severely.  And it is also time that we stop euthenizing healthy animals !!

May 15, 2009 Posted by | Animal Abandonement, Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Rights And Awareness, animals, Just One More Pet, Pet Abuse, Pets, Political Change, Stop Animal Cruelty, Stop Euthenization, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chimp Owners Struggle To Say Goodbye

Primate Sanctuaries Fill Up As Caretakers Rethink Decision To Keep Wild Animals At Home

“Jody” is a chimpanzee who was used for breeding and biomedical research at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest in Cle Elum, Wash.  (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

(AP)  Russ Cochran fondly recalls the fun he had with his chimpanzee when the animal was younger, taking him for rides in the car and to his cabin on the river. Boaters would stop to see Sammy, who would jump in canoes and help himself to food and drinks from the cooler. 

“That would be the price of admission for him,” Cochran says. “He would drink beer if you let him. He liked beer.” 

Now Sammy is a powerful 19-year-old with strength many times that of a human. He recently got into a vicious fight with Cochran’s younger chimp, Buckwheat. That fight and news accounts of a savage chimpanzee attack in Connecticut that nearly killed a woman this year convinced Cochran that he didn’t want to have two male chimps – the new pet, Buckwheat, had to go. 

But finding a new home for Buckwheat and other unwanted chimps isn’t easy. Animal experts say dozens of chimp owners in the U.S. are actively trying to find new homes for their chimps, who are more dangerous than adorable when they reach maturity. 

The nation’s sanctuaries are full with more than 600 chimpanzees, according to April Truitt, who runs the Primate Rescue Center in Kentucky. 

“There needs to be a place for these animals,” said Cochran, who lives in West Plains, Mo. “I don’t think people should have chimps as pets. I say that having had three of them.” 

Some sanctuaries say they have received more calls since a 14-year-old chimp named Travis suddenly attacked Stamford, Conn., resident Charla Nash. She lost her eyesight, hands, nose, lips and eyelids in the attack and is now at Ohio’s Cleveland Clinic in critical but stable condition. Travis, who starred in commercials when he was young, was kept as a pet and weighed 200 pounds when he attacked Nash on Feb. 16. He was shot and killed by police. 

There are about 235 known, privately owned chimps in the United States, according to Truitt, who did a census in 2003 and has continued to closely monitor the number. Owners of about 70 chimps would give them up if they could find a good home for them, Truitt said. She says she has gotten more calls from owners looking to give up their chimps since the Connecticut attack. 

Seven sanctuaries issued a statement last month saying they need more funding so they can offer a safe place to private owners who want to give up their chimps. They also called for states to ban the private ownership of chimpanzees and for the entertainment industry to stop portraying them as “cute hairy little people.” 

“We cannot take in these individuals without a significant contribution to their lifetime care, so tragedies like the one in Connecticut will likely keep happening,” the sanctuaries said. “In substandard facilities, they pose a significant public safety danger.” 

One owner who spoke on condition of anonymity because she feared her neighbors’ reactions said she has been trying for years to find a facility for her two chimps. 

“Travis was chimp 9/11,” she said. “We have no life. We basically take care of them 24/7.” 

The Connecticut attack was the latest in a series of incidents in recent years involving chimps escaping and biting people. In 2005, two chimps in California nearly killed a man, chewing off his nose, testicles and foot and biting off chunks of his buttocks and legs before they were shot to death.

This spring in Missouri, authorities responded to a call to help capture an angry chimp running loose on a state highway. When officers arrived, the chimp opened the patrol car door and grabbed the leg of a deputy, who fatally shot it, police said. 

Chimps can live 60 years and cost about $15,000 per year to care for, according to sanctuaries. Zoos are normally not able to accept hand-reared chimps because of difficulty integrating them. 

Experts blame a handful of breeders and the entertainment industry for contributing to the problem. 

Travis starred in TV commercials for Old Navy and Coca-Cola when he was younger. At his Connecticut home, he watched television, ate at the table, drank wine from a stemmed glass, brushed his teeth and was toilet trained, according to a police report filed when he escaped in 2003.

Legislation has been proposed in Congress to ban the transport of monkeys and apes across state lines for the purpose of selling them as pets. The importation of primates for the pet trade has been outlawed since 1975, but bill sponsor Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., has said 30 states allow the keeping of the animals as pets and it is easy to purchase a primate from exotic animal dealers or over the Internet. 

“When you’re holding a 2-month-old baby chimp in your arms and feeding him out of a bottle, it’s a very special thing,” Cochran says. “You think at the time it will be all worth it.” 

Cochran, who spent about $25,000 for cages in his home, said one facility in Florida wanted $200,000 to care for his chimp. Cochran wound up finding a place in Texas that took Buckwheat for $10,000. 

The first six or seven years were wonderful, Cochran says. 

“Then puberty starts,” he says. “When the hormones start to fly, it makes them unpredictable.” 

Sammy bit off the tip of Cochran’s little finger when the animal was 9, Cochran said. 

Cochran says he no longer thinks it was worth it to own the chimps. 

“On a retirement income, it’s an expensive hobby” says Cochran.

May 15, 2009 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Rights And Awareness, animals, Just One More Pet, responsible pet ownership, Success Stories | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Mixed Breeds are Stars at Nuts for Mutts Dog Show

Non-profit animal rescue group New Leash on Life will host their 8th Annual Nuts for Mutts Dog Show and Pet Fair Sunday, May 17, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., at Shepard Stadium at Pierce College, 6201 Winnetka Ave., Woodland Hills.

Hundreds of mixed breed dogs are expected to compete before a panel of celebrity judges in categories such as, “Fastest Mutt,” “Most Ear-resistible Ears,” “Most Toy/Ball Crazy,” and, of course, “Best in Show.” 

This year’s fundraiser event will be emceed by MADtv’s Debra Wilson Skelton, and will feature pet adoptions, a silent auction, pet-related vendors, children activities, live music, and much more.

Scooble.com, the online resource for finding the best pet food and services, will join the festivities, and will be giving away goody bags of pet-friendly treats as well as raffling off two $75 TLC 4 Pets boarding and Catsaway Hotel gift certificates.

Mutt Reading“We wanted to do something special for the participants and attendees of Nuts for Mutts,” said Scooble.com’s Rob Chell. “What’s more special than a stay at a luxury pet hotel?”

To register your mutt, visit www.NutsForMutts.org. Your dog must be a mixed breed, non-aggressive, and be spayed or neutered.

Posted:  Just One More Pet

May 15, 2009 Posted by | animals, Just One More Pet, On The Lighter Side, Pet Events, pet fun, Pets | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment