Welcome back to "The Animal House." I'm Sam Litzinger with Dr. Gary Weitzman. We want to hear and read your pet questions at 1-877-610-3647. Our email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Again, that number is 877-610-3647. Our email address is email@example.com. You can check out our Animal of the Day at facebook.com/wamuanimalhouse. How are you?
I'm good, how are you?
I have a little cold, so you have to do all the heavy lifting today.
Okay. Wait, I should I get you some tea and honey. I think that happened to me a few months ago.
I was gonna sing a lot today...
….but now I can't. I can't because I don't have the high range.
So we're all lucky.
(laugh) Yes, you are.
You don't know how lucky you are.
Let's take a telephone call if we can from Carol. Carol, glad to have you with us in "The Animal House." Question for Dr. Gary?
Hi, Dr. Gary.
We have a six-year-old German Short-Haired Pointed named Summer.
Oh, those are great.
And the problem is, is that she wants to enter into my telephone conversations by barking and refusing to stop.
And I've tried petting her and tried asking her to stop and...
So what does she do? She just -- she interrupts, she barks at you when you're on the phone?
Oh, interesting. Has this always happened, or is it new?
Well, it started escalating since I retired because I'm home more now. I think that because people call during the day...
She got used to it. You're home, you're giving her attention, and she doesn't appreciate it when someone interrupts that.
I think that's what it is.
So what's happened? Are you able to actually get through a phone call? Are you now just emailing and on Facebook instead of getting on the phone?
Well, it depends. If it's a short phone call, and it's not every phone call. It tends to be when it's longer phone call, and also, what I find is that she -- now, for instance, right now she's curled up asleep.
Okay. And you are on the phone. (laugh) So, okay.
And I'm on the phone.
But we only have about 10 more seconds I assume, Carol...
...before she starts barking.
We have to hear her in action. Okay. Well, you actually -- you've already figured this out. It does sound like you're home, and she wants your attention. You get on the phone and she doesn't appreciate it. You know, my favorite thing is actually using a clicker. Do you know what I'm talking about, those little snap...
...things you get them -- I think they're like .69 cents. You can get them at every single pet store. You can get them at animal shelters. You don't have to use it, but it's a really good way to focus a dog. Get a big bag of treats, get your clicker, and then start before you get on the phone call and do some role playing and some pretending with her, and just get her used to you clicking and treating her so that she'll be quiet.
So you have to time it really well. You got to have great reflexes. But you do with training dogs anyway. But you have to click, treat her when she's quiet, and honestly, a German Short-Haired Pointer, they're kind of -- they're smart dogs. You ought to in about 15 to 20 times be able to get her to just sit and focus on without making nose, and then see how it goes. But you ought to be able to get this dog to refocus on something besides you being on the phone.
The other thing you could do is you could have a stack of jerky treats or actually they're those Flips, where's my knowledge going, Sam?
Like bacon Flips or something?
Well, you know, the rawhide ones...
...that can actually take your dog a little bit of time, although my dogs now are finishing those things in about three-quarters of a second.
And just inhaling them.
I mean, they can look like the Flintstones and that, you know, but they'll inhale it. But that's really kind of dodging the question. That's really just sort of avoiding it by giving her something to put in her mouth because she's vocal.
And here's a quick question from me. If Carol's on the phone and Summer starts barking, what should Carol's response be?
It should clicking and treating.
It's only when she's quiet. So that's why you've got to do the practice before the phone call happens, so quiet, you get a clicker and a treat, and the whole thing about clicker training is eventually you can rid of the clicker.
Yeah. So pair it with a hand signal, or even better, because this is the way the world works, our dogs will associate a particular activity with something pleasurable, i.e. food. So she will start to associate you get on the phone and food's a comin'.
Oh, I see.
That's what I was thinking though, because I think she's bright enough that when she hears the phone call -- or the phone ringing, she may expect a treat.
Yeah. And that's okay, as long as she expects a treat and she pays for it by being quiet.
Let us know. Give us an update.
So as Gary was saying, not many times, but a few times, so after you've done this for a while, give us a call back and let us know how it goes.
I sure will.
All right. Very good, thanks.
Assuming you can actually have the conversation, (laugh) we'll know how it goes.
I was thinking -- what I was thinking is we'd leave Carol on hold for the rest of the program...
...until Summer starts barking, and then we put Summer on the line and as what the problem was.
That's the way to do it.
Our telephone number is 1-877-610-3647. Our email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. If you like to send us an email we would encourage you to do that. We have an email question from Chris. "My cat, Jake, has a habit I totally don't understand. While he drinks water he put his left front paw in his water dish no matter how full or deep it is. Any clue why?"
Oh, interesting. Okay. Left front paw.
Left front paw.
Not the right front paw. You could answer it if it were...
I can answer water...
If it were the right front paw you would know.
Absolutely. Well, we all know that. Yeah.
Chris wouldn't even have to email that question.
You know, it's interesting because what I can answer is that cats, in spite of what we think, actually love water, and we've grown up thinking that water and cats is like oil and water -- well, oil and water, and it's really not.
Or cats and water.
Or cats and water, exactly. But they actually do like water. We've got -- our whole shelter is water. Our cat room has a wall of water with perches that the cats actually sit on and play with the water, and bat the water with apparently their left front paw. So I'll have to go back and check that when I get to the shelter.
But they do like water. So this whole thing that we think they don't like it is kind of not true.
Hmm, all right.
But why the left one, I don't know.
Cats apparently like water, as Gary suggested. 1-877-610-3647. Animalhouse@wamu.org is our telephone number. Joe's on the line. Hi Joe, glad to have you with us in "The Animal House." Question for Dr. Gary?
Yes, thank you. We have lost two Poodles to bloat over the last 15 years.
Cassie, and eight-year-old, 75-pound female, and Scout, a 13-year-old male.
Really? Were they related?
Same breeder or anything like that?
They came from different breeders. Different breeders.
Okay. All right. Oh, that's an awful disease. Well, so for those who don't know, bloat, what gastric dilatation and volvulus, actually, with our without volvulus means twisting, is the most horrific thing that can happen to your dog because your dog's healthy up until that happens. And you had no idea this was happening, right?
Right. The morning he died, he wouldn't eat, he stayed by my side all morning. We went out for about three hours, came back and found him in full bloat, just moaning with his head against a wall.
Oh, yeah. It's awful. Absolutely awful. And what happens to these poor dogs, and often it's a Poodle or a German Shepherd, you know, I've got a Shepherd. The, what we call, deep-chested breeds, so the ones with a very large thorax. And the reason I ask you if the dogs were related is we think there may be a genetic propensity for this. I'm not sure if that's been verified or not. It doesn't matter.
We really don't know what causes it, but we do know a few things that might contribute. One is potentially overfeeding, or a dog's just natural tendency to gorge themselves, and that can happen with a lot of influx of food, or exercise immediately after feeding. Don't go on a big run, but I don't even know how verifiable that is anymore. Those have been the classic ways that we thought bloating could happen. But we really don't know, and all that we do know is that anatomically, there's the tendency for the stomach to engorge and bloat with gas and food, and then it gets to a point that it can actually twist and cause horrific results, and even if we can fix these dogs, it's a really terrible prognosis. Do you have dogs still?
We don't. We just lost Scout about four months ago, and we want to get another standard Poodle, and wondered if there's anything we can do to prevent bloat once we get the next dog.
Yeah. Well, one thing is obviously like I said, don't overfeed and don't exercise before or after a meal immediately. It's the things our mothers used to tell us. Don't go swimming after you just ate. And again, we don't know how verifiable that is, but at least I wouldn't do that. But the second thing is, if you get a female, ask your vet to do what we call a gastropexy and actually tie that stomach wall to the wall of either the thorax or abdomen and actually stabilize it so it can never twist.
They can still bloat, but they can't twist, and that's something to do at a spay. So I think since you've had two dogs -- and I'm really sorry to hear about that -- you've had two dogs that have suffered this, I would say definitely if you get a female, since there's gonna be probably a spay surgery there, just have your vet do a quick tacking. If you get a male, do it anyway just so that this doesn't happen. But I'm glad you called because I think people should know if they see their dog standing looking uncomfortable or gagging and maybe look at the abdominal cavity, and if it looks distended at all, this is a terrible issue and go to your vet right away.
And really sorry to hear that you went through this, but I would definitely talk to your vet about ways to avoid it, and -- and try that gastropexy.
Okay. Thank you.
Thank you, Joe. Yeah. That's terrible.
And both circumstances, because, I mean, one's bad enough, but then to lose two dogs...
Two, I know. Awful.
Our telephone number is 1-877-610-3647. Our email address is email@example.com. Let's take a telephone call from Jill. Jill, glad to have you with us in "The Animal House." Question for Dr. Gary?
Yeah. I wanted to ask a question about my dog, Teddy. He had a ruptured disc...
...and we were really lucky to rush him to the neurological hospital, and he had disc material removed, and he is doing great.
Oh, that's good. What kind of dog is Teddy?
He's a Cockapoo.
A Cockapoo, okay. Has this been a problem for him and he just had surgery, or it just all of sudden happened?
He had had something similar that didn't require surgery a few years ago.
And he was out running after balls in the parking having the time of his life. A few hours after he came home, he started looking weak...
...and that's when we realized that he was in trouble.
Oh, okay. Did he lose function of his back legs?
Oh, poor guy. Okay. Well, good for you. I'm glad you did the surgery. How's he doing?
He is doing so great that now we're worried we're not gonna be able to follow the recommendations of his surgeon.
Oh, he's doing too well. Okay.
So is he trying to jump up and run upstairs and so on?
All right. Let me ask you, when did the surgery end?
The surgery was four weeks ago.
Okay. You still had a month of healing, so he's got a -- probably a month or more to go. All right. Are you using a crate to keep him quiet?
We are. We're using a crate when we leave the house...
...and he just hates it.
Yeah, I know. Nobody likes bed rest, and dogs definitely don't understand it, but he's getting better, so it sounds like you're managing to get him healed regardless of his own inability to follow the prescription.
Yeah. Yeah. Any problems with him? Is he having any trouble?
No. He is actually -- he is walking well, and he actually has tried to jump. He's tried to go up the stairs, but our surgeons told us that they recommend lifelong exercise restrictions. No jumping of stairs for life.
Really? I would...
Four paws -- four paws on the floor.
Okay. Well then your surgeons are the ones for you to listen to, because they're the ones that actually examined and did the surgery on this guy. He must have had a really complicated disc, and they might be worried about other areas. So if that's the case, and of course, you probably have a six-story home.
It's -- it never -- okay. Three, that's bad enough.
I would say, yeah, you've got to invest in some baby gates. You can train him not to use those stairs and to stay away from them, but it's kind of tough. How old is Teddy?
Oh, yeah. It's gonna be tough if he's been used to going up and down, but I'd say what your doctor has told you -- what your vets told you was really good preventive care, and I -- I would really follow their instructions. Get baby gates up there, keep him on one level. You can get him used to stopping at the top of the stairs so you have a chance to grab a towel and help him get down or pick him up. Hey, at least he's a Cockapoo and not a Great Dane.
I know. I know.
Yeah. Yeah. It could be harder.
But it's more work for you, mom, because you're gonna have to keep an eye on him and, as Gary was suggesting, maybe rearrange the house.
How about jumping on furniture, because I'm concerned if we don't crate him, that he'll jump on the furniture.
Yes. Yeah. Good idea. Okay. I would do what we do for a lot of animals we don't to that, either get a carpet runner, a rug runner, and flip it over so that that rubbery part is on there, and put that on your furniture, like his favorite sofa, so he knows not to go up there. You can also get those little noise -- electronic noise things that actually make a noise when a dog is thinking about doing that, but you do not want to startle this guy and have him fall backwards. So I would say...
...until you can train him and start doing that positively with treats, get him used to that he doesn't go on furniture anymore. You can also use tin foil and put that on the furniture, because dogs don't really like to touch that, and keep him off the furniture that way. But I'd say for now, you're gonna have to do a lot with crating and just watching this guy like a hawk.
A lot of work ahead, Jill. I'm sorry about that...
...but you're up for it, I'm sure.
But the wonderful thing is, he can walk.
Thank you, Jill.
Dr. Gary Weitzman will rejoin me later to answer more of your pet questions. Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can call us at 1-877-610-3647.
This is "The Animal House" Dateline. I'm Karen Munson.
That's an excerpt from the new TV series "Wicked Tuna," which documents the controversial hunt for Blue Fin. The show's producer, National Geographic Television, is in hot water with conservationists who say the program glorifies the overfishing of a threatened species. A spokesperson at Nat Geo says the series will also have a message about the importance of preserving the species. Meanwhile, the price of Blue Fin has skyrocketed. One recently sold in Tokyo for $736,000.
Science News reports that rising human carbon dioxide emissions may be affecting the brains and central nervous system of fish species with serious consequences for their survival. Carbon Dioxide concentrations predicted to occur in the ocean by the end of the century will interfere with the fish's ability to hear, smell, turn, and evade predators. The main impact is likely to be felt by some crustaceans and by most fishes, especially those which use a lot of oxygen.
Animal rights groups are praising the U.S. government for adding the Dama Gazelle, and two other exotic antelopes native to Africa, to the list of animals protected under the federal endangered species act. Well, in keeping with an upcoming segment on animal intelligence, in Deadwood, a South Dakota town, authorities investigated an apparent break in at a public library. The culprit was a 20-pound turkey.
Deadwood Police Sergeant Ken Mertens said he didn't see any footprints near the broken window and figured a snow blower has tossed up a rock. A closer inspection revealed the winged defender which promptly fled on foot after it was escorted outside. More information about these stories is at wamuanimalhouse.org.
There's new information regarding the intelligence and sensitivity of certain animal species, and we'll hear the details coming up in "The Animal House."
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