There'll be many cooks in the kitchen next Thursday--but don't spoil your pet by giving him bread dough. According to veterinarians at the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC), when bread dough is ingested, an animal's body heat causes the dough to rise in the stomach. As alcohol is produced during the rising process, the dough expands. Pet's who've eaten bread dough may experience abdominal pain, bloat, vomiting, disorientation and depression.

Take the case of the Labrador retriever who ingested several rolls that his owner had placed on the oven to rise. The owner didn't think much of this, and was more upset that the dog ate part of the holiday feast. But a few hours later, the owner noticed that the dog looked very lethargic. It wasn't long before the canine was reluctant to move and was retching.

As the symptoms intensified, the owner brought him to an emergency clinic, which contacted the APCC. Unfortunately, the dog's stomach was so severely distended that the only option at the time was to surgically remove the dough; he was also treated for alcohol toxicosis, caused by fermentation of the dough. The Labrador was kept at the clinic for the weekend and recovered completely.

Although this dog had ingested quite a bit of dough, an animal needs to eat only a small amount to cause a problem, because bread dough can rise to many times its size. Take care not to let Fluffy or Fido in the kitchen unsupervised when you're baking this holiday season--especially if you've got a professional chowhound who's always on the lookout for food.

In addition to offering poison prevention tips online, the APCC also runs an emergency hotline--1-888-426-4435--that provides round-the-clock telephone assistance.

Are there any young animal lovers in your life? Wish them a happy Thanksgiving with our awesome animated e-card, created especially for ASPCA Animaland, our website for kids who love animals. (P.S. We think animal lovers of all ages will love it, too!)


Humane Society is seeking 'foster parents' for military pets

      The Humane Society of Utah is seeking "foster parents" for well-cared-for pets that members of the military are having to leave behind.
      As the conflict in Iraq continues to escalate, more and more members of the military are being called for active duty. Many of these individuals have companion animals who have to be left behind. So, the Humane Society of Utah is seeing an influx of socialized, well-cared for pets.
      "We're seeing enough of these cases that we'd like to be able to offer soldiers the option of being able to retrieve their animals when they return from active duty, but to do this we would have to ask the public to help out by serving as temporary foster parents," HSU Executive Director Gene Baierschmidt, said. "People would have to be willing to commit to taking an animal for as much as six months or more, depending on how long the war continues."
      Foster parents for these cats and dogs would be screened by the Humane Society and should at least have safe, appropriate space and facilities to care for the animals. They should also be willing to provide the quality time and attention that pets need. They would also be responsible for feeding the animals properly.
      For more information in the foster program, call Oliver Shmidt at 261-2919, ext. 207.




“If you have a dog that is ball driven, well behaved, energetic and loves to run, you just might have discovered a new hobby for you and your furry friend. Size and breed are not important.”

Here are some “goings-on” with the local Tail Blazers Club:

1. Fundraiser yard sale on Saturday, April 19, from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the home of our Treasurer, Denise Apperson, 664 4th Avenue, between Avenues J and K. Raising money for equipment and an upcoming tournament on June 7 and 8 in Denver Colorado (first tournament for Angel).

2. Flyball demonstration on Saturday, May 10, at approx. 3:00 p.m. (start time is still being considered) at Herman Franks off-leash park at 700 East 1300 South.

If this sounds interesting to you, or for more information, check out these sites:



What causes heartworm disease?

Heartworm disease (dirofilariasis) is a serious and potentially fatal disease in dogs. It is caused by a worm called Dirofilaria immitis.

Heartworms are found in the heart and large adjacent vessels of infected dogs. The female worm is six to 14 inches (15 to 36 cm) long and 1/8 inch (5 mm) wide; the male is about half the size of the female. One dog may have as many as 300 worms.

How do heartworms get into the heart?

Adult heartworms live in the heart and pulmonary arteries of infected dogs. They have been found in other areas of the body, but this is unusual. They survive up to five years and, during this time, the female produces millions of young (microfilaria). These microfilaria live in the bloodstream, mainly in the small blood vessels. The immature heartworms cannot complete the entire life cycle in the dog; the mosquito is required for some stages of the heartworm life cycle. The microfilaria are therefore not infective (cannot grow to adulthood) in the dog - although they do cause problems.

As many as 30 species of mosquitoes can transmit heartworms. The female mosquito bites the infected dog and ingests the microfilariae during a blood meal. The microfilariae develop further for 10 to 30 days in the mosquito and then enter the mouth parts of the mosquito. The microfilariae are now called infective larvae because at this stage of development, they will grow to adulthood when they enter a dog. The mosquito bites the dog where the hair coat is thinnest. However, having long hair does not prevent a dog from getting heartworms.

When fully developed, the infective larvae enter the bloodstream and move to the heart and adjacent vessels, where they grow to maturity in two to three months and start reproducing, thereby completing the full life cycle.

Where are heartworms found?

Canine heartworm disease occurs all over the world. In the United States, it was once limited to the south and southeast regions. However, the disease is spreading and is now found in most regions of the United States and Canada, particularly where mosquitoes are prevalent.

How do dogs get infected with them?

The disease is not spread directly from dog to dog. An intermediate host, the mosquito, is required for transmission. Spread of the disease therefore coincides with the mosquito season. The number of dogs infected and the length of the mosquito season are directly correlated with the incidence of heartworm disease in any given area.

It takes a number of years before dogs show outward signs of infection. Consequently, the disease is diagnosed mostly in four to eight year old dogs. The disease is seldom diagnosed in a dog under one year of age because the young worms (larvae) take up to seven months to mature following establishment of infection in a dog.

What do heartworms do to the dog?

Adult worms: Adult worms cause disease by clogging the heart and major blood vessels leading from the heart. They interfere with the valve action in the heart. By clogging the main blood vessels, the blood supply to other organs of the body is reduced, particularly the lungs, liver and kidneys, leading to malfunction of these organs.

Most dogs infected with heartworms do not show any signs of disease for as long as two years. Unfortunately, by the time signs are seen, the disease is well advanced. The signs of heartworm disease depend on the number of adult worms present, the location of the worms, the length of time the worms have been present, and the degree of damage to the heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys from the adult worms and the microfilariae.

The most obvious signs are: a soft, dry, chronic cough, shortness of breath, weakness, nervousness, listlessness, and loss of stamina. All of these signs are most noticeable following exercise, when some dogs may even faint.

Listening to the chest with a stethoscope will often reveal abnormal lung and heart sounds. In advanced cases, congestive heart failure may be apparent and the abdomen and legs will swell from fluid accumulation. There may also be evidence of weight loss, poor condition, and anemia.

Severely infected dogs may die suddenly during exercise or excitement.

Microfilariae (Young worms): Microfilariae circulate throughout the body but remain primarily in the small blood vessels. Because they are as wide as the small vessels, they may block blood flow in these vessels. The body cells being supplied by these vessels are deprived of the nutrients and oxygen normally supplied by the blood. The lungs and liver are primarily affected.

Destruction of lung tissue leads to coughing. Cirrhosis of the liver causes jaundice, anemia, and general weakness because this organ is essential in maintaining a healthy animal. The kidneys may also be affected and allow poisons to accumulate in the body.

How is heartworm infection diagnosed?

In most cases, diagnosis of heartworm disease can be made by a blood test that can be run in the veterinary hospital or by a veterinary laboratory. Further diagnostic procedures are essential, in advanced cases particularly, to determine if the dog can tolerate heartworm treatment. Depending on the case, we will recommend some or all of the following procedures before treatment is started.

Serological test for antigens to adult heartworms: This is a test performed on a blood sample. It is the most widely used test because it detects antigens (proteins) produced by adult heartworms. It will be positive even if the dog does not have any microfilaria in the blood; this occurs about 20% of the time. Dogs with less than five adult heartworms will not have enough antigen to turn the test positive, so there may be some false negative results in early infections. Because the antigen detected is produced only by the female worm, a pure population of male heartworms will also give a false negative. Therefore, there must be at least five female worms present for the most common test to be positive.

Blood test for microfilariae: A blood sample is examined under the microscope for the presence of microfilariae. If microfilariae are seen, the test is positive. The number of microfilariae seen gives us a general indication of the severity of the infection. However, the microfilariae are seen in greater numbers in the summer months and in the evening, so these variations must be considered. Approximately 20% of dogs do not test positive even though they have heartworms because of an acquired immunity to this stage of the heartworm. Because of this, the antigen test is the preferred test. Also, there is another microfilarial parasite which is fairly common in dogs; on the blood smear, these can be hard to distinguish from heartworm microfilariae.

Blood chemistries: Complete blood counts and blood tests for kidney and liver function may give an indirect indication of the presence of heartworm disease. These tests are also performed on dogs diagnosed as heartworm-infected to determine the function of the dog's organs prior to treatment.

Radiographs (X-rays): A radiograph of a dog with heartworms will usually show heart enlargement and swelling of the large artery leading to the lungs from the heart. These signs are considered presumptive evidence of heartworm disease. Radiographs may also reveal the condition of the heart, lungs, and vessels. This information allows us to predict an increased possibility of complications related to treatment.

Electrocardiogram: An electrocardiogram (EKG) is a tracing of the electric currents generated by the heart. It is most useful to determine the presence of abnormal heart rhythms.

Echocardiography (Sonogram): An echocardiogram allows us to see into the heart chambers and even visualize the heartworms themselves. Although somewhat expensive, this procedure can diagnose heartworms when other tests fail.

How are dogs treated for heartworms?

There is some risk involved in treating dogs with heartworms, although fatalities are rare. In the past, the drug used to treat heartworms contained arsenic so toxic effects and reactions occurred somewhat frequently. Now a newer drug is available that does not have the toxic side-effects of the old one. We are able to successfully treat more than 95% of dogs with heartworms.

We see some dogs with advanced heartworm disease. This means that the heartworms have been present long enough to cause substantial damage to the heart, lungs, blood vessels, kidneys, and liver. A few of these cases will be so far advanced that it will be safer to just treat the organ damage rather than risk treatment to kill the worms. Dogs in this condition are not likely to live more than a few weeks or months.

Treatment to kill adult worms: An injectable drug to kill adult heartworms is given for two days. It kills the adult heartworms in the heart and adjacent vessels.

Complete rest is essential after treatment: The adult worms die in a few days and start to decompose. As they break up, they are carried to the lungs, where they lodge in the small blood vessels and are eventually reabsorbed by the body. This can be a dangerous period so it is absolutely essential that the dog be kept quiet and not be allowed to exercise for one month following treatment. The first week after the injections is very critical because the worms are dying. A cough is noticeable for seven to eight weeks after treatment in many heavily infected dogs.

Prompt treatment is essential if the dog has a significant reaction in the weeks following the initial treatment, although such reactions are not common. If a dog shows loss of appetite, shortness of breath, severe coughing, coughing up blood, fever, and/or depression, you should notify us. Response to antibiotics, cage rest, and supportive care, such as intravenous fluids, is usually good in these cases.

Treatment to kill microfilaria: Approximately 1 month following treatment to kill the adults, the dog is returned to the hospital for administration of a drug to kill microfilariae. Your dog needs to stay in the hospital for the day. Seven to ten days later a test is performed to determine if microfilariae are present. If they have been all killed, the treatment is complete. If there are still some present in the blood, treatment for microfilariae is repeated.

In some cases, the heartworm infection is "occult," meaning that no microfilariae were present. In this case, a follow-up treatment at one month is not needed.

Other treatments: In dogs with severe heartworm disease, it may be necessary to treat them with antibiotics, special diets, diuretics to remove fluid accumulations, and drugs to improve heart function prior to treatment for the heartworms.

Dogs with severe heart disease may need lifetime treatment for the failing heart, even after the heartworms have been killed. This includes the use of diuretics, heart drugs, aspirin, and special low salt, low protein diets.

Response to treatment: Dog owners are usually pleasantly surprised at the change in their dog following treatment for heartworms, especially if the dog had been showing signs of heartworm disease. The dog has a renewed vigor and vitality, improved appetite, and weight gain.

Are changes made in the treatment protocol for dogs that have severe heartworm disease?

Yes. The state of heart failure is treated as described above. However, we also treat the adult heartworms in a two stage process. Only one treatment with the drug to kill the worms is given initially. This causes the death of some of the worms. One month later, the full treatment is given to kill the remaining worms. By killing them in two stages, the severe effects on the lungs are much less likely to occur.

How can I prevent this from happening again?

When a dog has been successfully treated for heartworms, you cannot sit back and relax because dogs can be reinfected. Therefore, it is essential to begin a heartworm prevention program. There are three drugs which can be used to prevent heartworm infection. One is a daily, chewable tablet; the others are chewable tablets that are given only once monthly. All three products are very safe and very effective. Their costs are essentially identical. One of these should be started immediately after the treatment is completed.


The Federal Aviation Administration has just released its proposed regulations to implement safe air travel for animals. With your support of our letter-writing campaign, they can be effectively implemented. If adopted, airlines will be required to:

Unfortunately, many airlines and commercial animal breeders are vigorously opposing these regulations, so it is imperative that everyone concerned about the humane treatment of animals show their support. Comments are currently being accepted by the U.S Department of Transportation and must be received no later than December 27, 2002. Please visit our online Advocacy Center to learn how to submit your views.


When a dog's thirsty, he'll drink from whatever source he can find--including that large porcelain bowl in your bathroom. According to veterinarians at the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC), "eau de toilette" can irritate a pet's gastrointestinal tract--particularly if you use drop-in cleaning tablets in the tank, which contain corrosive agents that can cause mild vomiting and nausea.

The APCC's Dr. Jill A. Richardson handled the case of a thirsty golden retriever who returned from a long walk with his owner and, after emptying his regular bowl, went on to the next available water source--the toilet. The owner had placed a cleaning tablet in the tank earlier in the week, and her husband had forgotten to close the lid. When she heard her dog lapping up some of the blue water, she immediately contacted the APCC. "Once we received the dog's health history and product information, we were able to assess the case," says Richardson. "If the tablet itself had been chewed on, it could have caused chemical burns, but fortunately, when these products are put into the tank and diluted, they become more of an irritant. In this case, the dog was completely normal, so we recommended a very small amount of milk and water to dilute the effects still further."

The easiest way to prevent this from happening to your dog or cat (yes, there have been cases involving felines) is to simply keep the lid down on all the toilets in the house. As a common-sense caution, adds Richardson, "We always tell pet owners to never allow their pets access to areas in which cleaning agents are being used or stored." If you suspect that your animal companion has drunk from a toilet in which a tank drop-in has been placed--or gotten into any other potentially toxic substance--call your veterinarian or the APCC's emergency hotline at 1-888-4-ANI-HELP for round-the-clock telephone assistance. For more information on poison prevention, visit APCC online.


A new professional baseball stadium that will host a minor league team for the Cleveland Indians franchise, as well as various other events, is slated to open in Eastlake, OH, in Spring 2003. Many of these events will include the use of professional high-grade explosive fireworks--not so good news for the companion animals who live in this densely populated residential area.

"Many animals, especially dogs, are terrified of these noises, and many break free or jump fences to try and escape the terror. The explosives also release poisonous chemicals and particle-laden smoke, posing a significant hazard to wildlife living nearby," states David P. Sickles of the Ohio Animal Defense League (OADL), which has started a petition to ban the use of fireworks in the stadium.

Among the organizations to endorse the petition are the National Humane Education Society, Massachusetts SPCA, In Defense of Animals and the ASPCA. "We know that fireworks have a very detrimental effect on all animals," says Dr. Larry M. Hawk, ASPCA President and CEO. "The animals are sensitive to the loud noises, the smell of the explosives, and even the effects the fireworks have on humans."

Because the preparation of the petition is in its final stages, OADL is asking for the support of all animal-related and environmental groups and individual veterinarians who haven't already added their names to it. Interested groups, send a SASE to OADL Petition, PO Box 5832, Eastlake, OH 44095-0832 for a copy; you'll be asked to sign and return it as soon as possible. For more information, please contact


Congress continues to debate whether to include the provisions of the Puppy Protection Act (S. 178), sponsored by Senators Rick Santorum (R-PA) and Richard Durbin (D-IL), in the 2002 Farm Bill. The Puppy Protection Act will help alleviate the suffering of thousands of dogs at puppy mills. The Act would require larger-scale breeders to wait until females reach at least one year of age before they can be bred, and limit how often they can be bred to no more than three times within a two-year period. The legislation also requires that puppies produced for retail sale be socialized. Breeders opposed to the bill have waged a tremendous fight to defeat the legislation, based on misinformation and fear--and as a result, some members of Congress are reconsidering their position.

ASPCA News Alert readers, letters to your two United States senators and House representative are urgently needed. Please ask them to support the Puppy Protection Act as well as increased funding for the USDA to enforce the Animal Welfare Act. To find out how to contact your legislators, visit our Advocacy Center online.

SB 48, which would make the torture or mutilation of an animal a Class 6 felony, has passed the Senate and is in the Colorado House of Representatives. The bill is scheduled to be heard by the House State, Veterans & Military Affairs Committee today, Thursday, April 25. The vote is expected to be close, so every call, fax or e-mail can make a difference. Colorado residents, please contact your representative this morning and ask that he or she support SB 48. To find out how to contact your legislator, or if you'd like us to e-mail a letter on your behalf, visit the ASPCA Advocacy Center online.

What would you do if you saw an animal--wild or domestic--being abused? To help get the word out about how people can better protect animals, the ASPCA has been stepping up educational efforts all throughout April--also known as Prevention of Animal Cruelty Month. "It is unfortunate that many people who witness or hear about acts of animal cruelty are unaware that legal action can be taken to help stop the problem," says Dr. Larry Hawk, ASPCA President and CEO. "Education and activism are the keys to solving this battle--and therefore we are urging all Americans to spend some time this month to educate themselves and others about existing animal cruelty laws in their state and support pending legislation."

The ASPCA offers the following advice to those who wish to make life more humane for animals:


  • If you witness or hear about animal cruelty taking place--examples of these horrendous acts include stories of neighborhood children torturing cats, blood sports such as cock fighting and dog fighting, and companion animals being denied food, water and shelter--report it to your local humane organization or call your local police. Visit our website to find a Humane Law Enforcement Agency near you.



  • To find out what animal-friendly legislation is pending in your state--and what you can do about it--please check our online "Lobby for Animal Welfare" section.



  • Interested in taking a more active part in passing humane laws? You're invited to join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade; please e-mail for more information.



  • Teach the children well--by making sure that schools in your town include humane education as part of the curriculum. Contact or visit ASPCA Humane Education online for classroom resources:

Last week, Ground Zero workers recovered the remains of Sirius, the yellow Labrador retriever believed to be the only working canine to perish in the September 11 attack. The four-year-old bomb-detection dog was trained to search vehicles coming into the trade center.

Sirius' handler, Officer David Lim of the New York Port Authority, was in his office in the World Trade Center when he heard the explosion on an upper floor. Assuming that Sirius would be safe in the basement kennel, Lim went to investigate and, as it turned out, assist in rescue efforts. The officer was helping to evacuate a woman on the fifth floor when the building collapsed on them. He escaped to the sixth floor--which had become the top of the rubble--and was rescued five hours later.

Doctors forbade Lim from searching Ground Zero because of the emotional toll it could have taken on him, but the officer closely followed the rescue efforts, and he was immediately contacted when his partner was found last Tuesday. "There was a flag over his bag and I carried his remains out with another officer, John Martin," Lim told the New Jersey Record. "Everyone saluted. All the machinery was stopped--the same thing that is done for human police officers and firefighters." Lim also plans to hold a memorial service in April.

On September 11, Sirius, a 4 1/2-year-old yellow Labrador retriever working as an explosive detection dog in the World Trade Center's Tower Two, lost his life for his country. "The story of Sirius made us cry and at the same time made us do something to make a difference in this place we call home," says artist and friend of animals Ron Burns, who created a poster to commemorate Sirius. Burns, the 2001 artist for ASPCA's Adopt a Shelter Dog Month,  generously offered to donate proceeds from the sale of the 36 x 24-inch print to the ASPCA to help fund pet therapy projects. As Burns told ASPCA Animal Watch magazine, "Any funds will support what Sirius stood for, what he lived for, and what he died for."

To order Sirius' commemorative poster--and for more on his story--please visit our ASPCA Store online. To ensure that proceeds will go to ASPCA pet therapy programs, please type "ASPCA" in the Comments box when ordering.





Search out the situations and people that make your dog react aggressively. As soon as the person appears, you will immediately start feeding the dog the treats one at a time. Continue feeding the dogs these treats until the person leaves the sight of the dog, then put the treats up and no more for the dog until another person the dog normally shows aggression towards appears. If you’re standing outside watering your lawn and it’s going to take 20 minutes for the person on the other side of the street to walk past and go out of sight, then feed your dog the smelly, greasy teeny-weeny (is that a word) hot dog treats one at a time for 20 minutes. If you are close to the person and the dog can’t stop fixating on the person for the treat, then back off a little. Once you have the dog’s attention, move a little closer in very small increments in separate training sessions.


While you are doing this training, you have to make sure that the dog does not have the chance to show aggression towards these certain types of people unless you are around with the food. Manage the situations and the dog to eliminate any opportunity of the dog to show aggression. This is a very important step.

This method takes about 3 to 4 weeks of daily training to really see results, but what you will see is the dog’s fear and aggression response replaced with the anticipation of food. The dog will see the type of person that used to evoke the response (man, child, uniformed person) and will immediately look to you for treats.

Once you have that behavior in all different types of situations, i.e. in your yard, down the street, in parking lots, anywhere else you can think of…then what you will do is start asking the people to give your dog the treats, just a few, no eye contact, no petting and then they walk off. You should only have to do this for a couple of weeks and you will have a dog that looks forward to meeting the types of people it used to be aggressive towards. This process should take another 4 to 6 weeks of regular work for optimum results.                                 





If a Rattlesnake bites your dog, you should take him or her to the vet immediately. You should try and keep your dog calm too. It may be a good idea to call your vet now and find out if they typically stock rattlesnake antivenom. Many vets do not stock it because it is very expensive and does not have a long shelf life. Typically, antivenom is in short supply - even for humans. If you know who does stock the antivemon beforehand it could save valuable time. Apparently, there are some other medications that can be administered in lieu of antivenom as well. These medications are sometimes used when you cannot get to the vet in a timely manner.

Some Utah vets that will, or currently do, stock rattlesnake antivenom are:

University Pet Clinic

965 E. 900 South


Central Valley Emergency Clinic

55 E Miller Ave (Between State & Main)


Cottonwood Animal Hospital (Emergency)

6360 S. Highland Dr.

If there's a companion canine in your life, you may be wondering if Rover is at risk of contracting West Nile Virus (WNV). Good news--the vast majority of dogs are not in danger. Because there have been very few reported cases of canines suffering from WNV-related illness, dogs do not appear to be particularly susceptible to the virus. But to set minds at ease and educate dog owners on how to minimize exposure to mosquitoes that transmit various diseases, including WNV and heartworm, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) offers the following suggestions:
  • Keep pets indoors during times when mosquitoes are most active--dawn, dusk and early evening. Eliminate areas of standing water that can serve as breeding grounds for mosquitoes, and remember to recheck after each rainfall. Be sure to change outdoor water bowls daily to prevent mosquitoes from using them to lay their eggs.
  • The APCC does not recommend the use of mosquito-control products that contain DEET. Dogs--and cats, too--are extremely sensitive to DEET and may develop neurological problems if a product formulated with DEET is applied to them.
  • Avoid using pest-control products with concentrated essential oils such as tea tree, pennyroyal and d-limonine. Not only can concentrates of these products cause weakness, paralysis, liver problems and seizures in pets, their effectiveness has not been proven.

If you suspect that your pet has been poisoned by pesticides or any other potentially harmful substance, call your veterinarian or the APCC at (888)426-4355. For more information on WNV and pet poison prevention, visit APCC online




click to go back to Kids Program