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Service Dogs Get Own Bathroom

On April 21 the Detroit Airport introduced a new service dog relief area complete with real grass and miniature fire hydrants. The facility, being called “Central Bark” by airport employees, features two boxes of grass–one artificial and one with real grass–and tiny fire hydrants for a doggie target, of sorts.

After the doggies are done doing their business, owners can push a button that releases a shower of water to clean the patches. Owners are responsible for picking up solid wastes, though.

Before the new facilities were installed, owners of service dogs had to take their helpers outside the terminal, an inconvenience at best and a security bother at worst.

“When you can’t get outside, when you don’t have enough time to go through TSA coming back through, it’s a wonderful convenience for our dogs,” said Deb Davis of Paws with a Cause.

$2 Million Puppy

For $2 million, hopefully this dog comes with a complimentary mansion. A Chinese owner reportedly paid that hefty sum to get his hands on a one-year-old golden haired Tibetan mastiff in what could be the most expensive dog sale ever. The breed, which can look like a baby lion if you squint really hard, has become a status symbol.

Weighing in at 200 pounds and nearly three feet tall, Tibetan mastiffs are just as nationally treasured as pandas. The puppy purchased was one of a pair who “have lion’s blood and are top-of-the-range mastiff studs,” said the dog’s breeder. Both pups, whose names weren’t released, are said to be loyal and protective of their owners. The record-breaking pup is on the left in the photograph.


More than a year after losing their beloved pet during Sandy a New Jersey family made an amazing discovery during a visit to an animal shelter: their missing dog.

Reckless, a 3-year-old brown and white terrier- mix, escaped from the James family home during Sandy. The family said the fence in the yard got mangled in the storm, and Reckless ran off. His collar got caught on the fence, so he had no identification when he fled. The family spent months desperately searching for him.

“It was like losing a family member,” said Chuck James. “My kids were upset, my wife was upset, I was upset.”

Although they never gave up hope, James and his wife knew it was time to move on. They went to the Monmouth County SPCA to get a new dog and ended up with a gift beyond their wildest dreams.

“Sitting in the first stall in front of the doors, I looked over and I thought it looked a lot like Reckless,” said James.

Reckless was picked up as a stray just blocks from the family’s house and was microchipped and cared for by the shelter for six months. James believes the dog was trying to find his way home. “He’s ours. I don’t think he is letting us out of his sight.”

Good to know…

You probably look at your pet’s eyes every day.

While relaxing in the evenings, before settling into bed, while giving those ears a good rubbing, you probably look deeply into his or her eyes, and see devotion, affection, love… and hopefully nothing abnormal.

But pets can and do develop problems with their eyes. These can manifest in many ways, from a change in the eye appearance, color, position or size, excessive squinting or blinking, rubbing the eyes, abnormal discharge, or a change in vision. Eye disease in animals can range from a simple scratch or infection, to more complicated problems like glaucoma, cataracts, and retinal disease. But what can be done for these conditions?

Getting a proper diagnosis is critical to identifying the best treatment–there’s no way to know what therapy is appropriate, or what the prognosis might be, without knowing what the problem is. Once diagnosed, many ocular diseases are responsive to medical treatment–that is, topical (drops, ointments) and/or systemic (oral) medications. Then there are other conditions in which surgery is the only way to go.

A common eye problem that any animal can develop is corneal ulceration, which is a break in the “skin” of the cornea (the windshield of the eye). Although a corneal ulcer is often called a “scratch”, they don’t always arise from an injury. A normal eye can usually heal a small ulcer with basic medical care, but there are many types of complicated ulcers that can cause severe pain, refuse to heal, or even lead to loss of the eye. In such cases, identifying the type of ulcer is essential to finding the most appropriate treatment, be it a change in medications, surgery, or other procedures.

Some dogs are prone to glaucoma, a disease of excessive pressure within the eye. Glaucoma often causes pain, sometimes severe, and can quickly lead to blindness. Medications can be helpful especially in the earlier stages, but when medications are not enough, surgery becomes necessary. Laser surgery can be helpful in providing pressure reduction in certain cases, sometimes combined with other procedures such as shunt or valve placement. A surgery commonly done for end-stage glaucoma is intrascleral prosthesis placement, which is excellent at providing a cosmetic and comfortable solution to this difficult problem, and virtually eliminates the need for ongoing medications as well.

Cataracts are another significant cause of vision loss, especially in dogs. Older dogs, dogs with diabetes, and sometimes dogs of certain breeds can develop cataracts which can become white and blinding. Such cataracts can markedly affect a dog’s quality of life–playing with toys, walking outdoors and even walking inside a familiar home can become very challenging to the point of abandonment. Fortunately, just like for humans, cataract surgery may be able to restore vision if the eyes are otherwise healthy. This is done using the same method as for humans: ultrasound energy is used to liquefy the cataract before vacuuming it of the eye via a small opening. Once the cataract has been removed, a replacement lens can often be placed back into the eye for better focus after surgery. This procedure, called phacoemulsification and IOL (intraocular lens) replacement, is a routine surgery performed by veterinary eye specialists (ophthalmologists). Proper care after cataract surgery is important, but the procedure can be very successful in restoring vision.

There are many conditions that can affect the eyes of dogs, cats, and other species. So next time you look into your pet’s eyes, soak up the love and devotion–but make sure those eyes also look normal and comfortable. If something doesn’t look right, it may or may not be a problem–but a prompt visit to a veterinarian can help you find out for sure. And don’t you want your pet to be able to look back at you and see the love in your eyes too?

Dr. Cho earned her DVM from Cornell University. She completed an internship at the Animal Medical Center in New York before returning to Cornell for a 3-year residency in Comparative Ophthalmology. Specializing in ophthalmology for over 14 years, she has also published in both veterinary journals and in veterinary ophthalmology textbooks. Currently Dr Cho can be found at Veterinary Eye Specialists PLLC, in Ardsley, NY.


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