Regulars and Shorts

Animalia: October 2012

By catalyst

Ideas, profiles, products & news for all things animal.
—by Carol Koleman

How about those eyes? A few months ago, I took Joe in to the vet and was informed that he had an eye condition common with pugs. He gets daily drops now and the condition is stabilized, but it got me thinking about issues surrounding our pets’ eyes.

Flat-faced dogs with prominent eyeballs are vulnerable to doors (if they’re dorks), shrubbery and such. Head hanging out an open car window, tongue lolling, eyes squinting, may look cute, but it is the cause of many an injury, also. Your pet may enjoy the thrill, but highspeed rocks and even bugs are no fun.

Joe’s eye vet, Amy Knollinger, DVM, DACVO at Eye Care for Animals, says other common eye injuries include encounters with porcupine or cats, and toy-related trauma. Cataracts are the most common eye disease.

What can we do to keep our pets’ eyes in good health? Dr. Knollinger recommends the antioxidant vitamin OcuGlo. She also says to provide corneal lubrication for your dogs if they sleep with their eyes open and also to lubricate their eyes before bathing—soap is caustic to the cornea—but use a product made for dogs: Contact lens solution and Visine are detrimental to a dog’s eyes. Corneal lubrication may be found over the counter as drops or gel.

Speaking of vision: Dr. Knollinger says that, contrary to the commonly held belief, dogs do see in color. Their visual spectrum is similar to a human who is red/green colorblind which means they see more blues and yellows on the color spectrum scale.
Eye Care for Animals
1021 E. 3300 S.

News Bites

Sage grouse are famous for their elaborate courtship dance, where the males strut and inflate their air sacs, and make booming sounds that can sometimes be heard for miles, all to impress a potential mate.

Some 16 million sage grouse once lived in the west. Today, due to depleting habitat, as few as 200,000 remain. This is significant as sage grouse are an umbrella species, meaning that if their habitat is destroyed, other important animals such as pronghorn, mule deer and pygmy rabbits will also be at risk. Yet sage grouse have been deemed not important enough for federal protection. The National Wildlife Feder­a­tion is stepping up and organizing protection measures. For more information and to donate to this cause:

READ: Dog is My Copilot by Patrick Regan. For anyone interested in animal rescue, this book is an inspired example of what can grow from one spontaneous act of kindness. The organization Pilots N Paws partners with volunteer pilots to transport dogs from high kill shelters, mainly in the south, to rescues in parts of the country were dogs are more likely to be adopted. In just four years, Pilots N Paws has grown from one original pilot to more than 2,000. This collection of rescue stories by the pilots who donate their time, planes and fuel, and their counterpart rescuers on the ground, shows a side to humanity that we don’t always see: absolute compassion and generosity toward other living creatures.

Product recommendation

The Dog Miracle Puzzle was tested on our resident dogs; Joe was dispassionate (as he is about almost everything except mangoes); Grace, in her old age, really couldn’t quite figure it out; but Stella! Stella was exuberant about this busy toy. It took a few minutes of encouragement before she had it down, and now she’s an expert.

This interactive toy keeps dogs busy for a time (how long depends on how smart they are) as they push and prod for treats concealed beneath the puzzle pieces. Aside from being fun for the dog, I imagine this puzzle would help with separation anxiety for high-strung animals; they may not even notice that you’ve left.
$30. Available online.

This article was originally published on September 28, 2012.