Guest Post: differently-abled dogs and people

Dr Riggs shows us that dogs help us see beyond the obvious to the human behind the disability.


We live in a world where it seems like we need to put labels on everything and everyone. We need to pigeon-hole people according to race, sex, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, able bodied and disabled. We do the same to animals. Why do we do that? Do we classify animals and people so we can justify our perception of a particular group and expectations of them? I don’t know.  I do know when it comes to “so called” disabled people and pets, many assumptions just are not true.

Canine Companions for Independence girl with new dogI have had the pleasure to have been involved for many years, with a wonderful organization, Canine Companions for Independence. Canine Companions provides highly-trained assistance dogs for children and adults with disabilities, free of charge. The assistance dogs are Goldens and Labradors, specifically bred to be service dogs.

The recipients of these special animals, truly have their lives transformed. Most no longer feel disabled. These dogs allow them to do almost anything you can do. One recipient told me that before he had his new companion, people rarely approached him in his wheel chair. Now with his new dog he said people treat him like… a person. Imagine that!

We all have our limitations and challenges in life. Some are more obvious than others. The “disabled” are people too, and many have never seen themselves as disabled. So don’t be afraid. Interact. You too may be as fortunate as I have been, and gain a whole new circle of friends.

For you that have read my previous blogs, you have already been introduced to Pixie Stardust. Pixie was a special little creature that was discarded due to her condition. Due to the incredible love and dedication of a good friend, Carolyn Paxton, she was able to walk and play with other dogs and people.

Pixie Stardust recently passed away, but what a wonderful short life she lived. Here are a couple of new videos that I know will bring a smile and probably a few tears.

 

Related Posts:
May is All About Differently-Abled Pets at Embrace Pet Insurance
Guest Post: differently-abled dogs and people
Guest Post: Pixie the Chihuahua Mix - a remarkable story of love and dedication
Podcast: Dr Patrick Mahaney on Differently-Abled Pets
Life with Differently-Abled Dogs


Other posts by Dr Riggs


Dr_RiggsDr. Rex Riggs grew up in Wadsworth, Ohio, near Akron. Dr Riggs is co-owner of Best Friends Veterinary Hospital in Powell, Ohio. He is also on the board of the North Central Region of Canine Companions of Independence, a board member of The Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine Alumni Society and Small Animal Practitioner Advancement Board at The Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine.

Dr. Riggs lives in Lewis Center, OH with his wife Nancy, their dogs Maggie and Ossa, and cat Franklin. Outside of work, Dr. Riggs is an avid golfer and cyclist, and enjoys travel and photography.

Call to action: Dr Riggs is participating in Pelotonia, raising money for cancer research. In fact, in its first four rides, Pelotonia has attracted over 11,100 riders and raised over $42 million for cancer research. Check out Dr Riggs' profile page where you can learn about and support his efforts. Thank you!

 



May is All About Differently-Abled Pets at Embrace Pet Insurance

IMG_3189 rotatedWe are having fun with Brutus in the office today. He's an enthusiastic black lab who loves to hang out with Lindsey on the phones. He also happens to have only one eye but that doesn't seem to bother him one bit.

And so we start the theme for this month - differently-abled pets. Pets such as those who are blind or have limited-sight, those with fewer than 4 limbs, those who wobble to get around. And of course, those that can opera sing too!

Do you have a differently-abled dog or cat you'd like to share with us? Email me (Laura) photos, stories or just post a few words in the comments and we can share our love for these pets.

Related Posts:
May is All About Differently-Abled Pets at Embrace Pet Insurance
Guest Post: differently-abled dogs and people
Podcast: Dr Patrick Mahaney on Differently-Abled Pets
Life with Differently-Abled Dogs



Claim example: German Shepherd Dog first wellness visit

If you ever wondered how expensive a puppy can be, here's a sample for a puppy's first visit that cost over $400. And it's not even from NY City; it's from Wrightsville PA.

This Wellness Rewards claim is for Turbo, a German Shepherd Dog puppy with several more visits to come. Now that's worth having an Embrace Wellness Rewards policy for.

Description Billed Amount
Puppy Series Full Bundle $349.35
Examination -Preventive Care $45.50
Fecal Wellness $29.85
Initial Puppy/Kitten Deworming $10.00
DHLP Vaccination $20.50
Initial Puppy Heartworm Dose $12.00
Pre Op Screen Panel $58.70
Vectra Puppy Pack Dose $0.00
Discount -$117.80
Total $408.10

I wonder how many people would get a dog if they saw this bill first. Was your first vet bill an unwelcome surprise?

 



Podcast: Dr Patrick Mahaney on Pet Wellness

Continuing our theme of pet wellness this month, Dr Patrick answers some questions from our very own Embracers on wellness topics. Amongst other things, he talks about:

  • Dr Patrick's recommendation for frequency of wellness checkups for dogs and cats
  • Darcy: What are good tests to run/questions to ask for a senior kitty cat who is a perfect little angel kitty? 
  • Darcy follow up: Also, I take my perfect little angel senior cat to the vet twice a year - should the same things be done every six months, or are there things that should be done differently each time, etc.?  Basically, what's the best wellness prevention you can give a senior cat (who is a perfect little angel kitty)
  • Sara: Do you recommend routine fecals every year for all pets?
  • Katie: What are some items addressed at wellness visits that people aren't aware a veterinarian looks for during a physical exam? -Why wellness?
  • Adrienne: How about vaccine requirements and any changes in how often pets should get them. Also vaccine vs. titer information.
  • Sara: Some vets seem to be recommending bordatella every 6 months while others say yearly.  How long does it really last?
  • Kate: I recently started jogging with Beau and since he's a 6.5yr old Doberman, I'm wondering if there's a certain age when I should retire his running shoes and go back to walking in order to prevent orthopedic issues.

Click on the link below for the audio podcast with the answer to these questions.

Laura Bennett & Dr Patrick Mahaney Wellness 2013

Related Posts:
April is Wellness Month at Embrace Pet Insurance
Guest Post: thinking about the food you feed your pet
Podcast: Dr Patrick Mahaney on Pet Wellness

Other posts by Dr Patrick Mahaney

 



Guest Post: thinking about the food you feed your pet

Dr Riggs is sure to stir up some controversy with his post on pet food. All I say is educate yourself as best you can and make the decision you deem best for your pets.


It seems every day we hear about yet another recalled pet food. Why is this happening you ask? I really feel there are a number of reasons but here are the few that I think contribute the most.

The first one is actually a good reason. The pet food manufacturing plants are under scrutiny. They are being inspected more thoroughly, not only for our pets, but for better public health. Many of the recalls have been due to salmonella contamination from poor hygienic practices. Other recalls have been due to unbalanced diets that result in toxicities.

So what is the biggest reason I think we are seeing more problems? Money. Clear and simple.

The pet food industry is a multi-billion dollar business, with everyone getting their niche in the market. They use whatever is needed, even false science and words with undefined meanings to promote their often over-priced products. “Organic”, “holistic” and “natural” have no definition in pet foods, therefore these terms can be used to describe anything.

The current “big fad”, a term I am sure will offend some people, is the "high protein low grain" diets. There is no scientific basis to support these diets, just unsubstantiated claims. One theory as to how these diets came to be is due to the increase of gluten intolerance diagnosed in humans. Dogs or cats rarely have allergies to grains; the vast majority of allergies are due to proteins!

The disappointment is that these diets are marketed to people who are concerned about what they are feeding their pets, and they are being misinformed unintentionally or intentionally. The sales force representatives who are selling these products in your local pet store are giving recommendations they often feel are best, they are good people , but they too are misinformed and repeating the company line. I have always been a critical thinker and I look into claims before I buy.

Here are some questions you should ask about a pet food company before you buy.

  • Is there a veterinary nutritionist on staff?
  • Does the company archive its ingredients? This is done so they have a way to test ingredients if a problem arises.
  • Does the company do AAFCO feeding trials on any of their foods? This is not a federal requirement but one that good companies do feeding trials to insure quality control.
  • Where are the diets made? Many of these pet food companies don’t have their own plants and farm the manufacturing out to other companies who make many of the foods on the shelves.

Iams, Science Diet, Purina and Royal Canin all make their own dry diets and can answer yes to all the above questions. We as Veterinarians do not get any kickbacks from the companies as the pet stores would have you believe. We only sell prescription foods, so we have no conflict of interest.

Ultimately, what I am saying is make sure you get the facts. The internet has no editor so… people can and will say anything so find credible sources. Look to internet sites that are university based. You do not need to spend in excess of $50 or more on your pet’s maintenance food.

Be that critical thinker and ask questions and demand documentation of their claims. I want the same thing for your pet that you do… a happy, long and healthy life.

Related Posts:
April is Wellness Month at Embrace Pet Insurance
Guest Post: thinking about the food you feed your pet

Other posts by Dr Riggs


Dr_RiggsDr. Rex Riggs grew up in Wadsworth, Ohio, near Akron. Dr Riggs is co-owner of Best Friends Veterinary Hospital in Powell, Ohio. He is also on the board of the North Central Region of Canine Companions of Independence, a board member of The Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine Alumni Society and Small Animal Practitioner Advancement Board at The Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine.

Dr. Riggs lives in Lewis Center, OH with his wife Nancy, their dogs Maggie and Ossa, and cat Franklin. Outside of work, Dr. Riggs is an avid golfer and cyclist, and enjoys travel and photography.

Call to action: Dr Riggs is participating in Pelotonia, raising money for cancer research. In fact, in its first four rides, Pelotonia has attracted over 11,100 riders and raised over $42 million for cancer research. Check out Dr Riggs' profile page where you can learn about and support his efforts. Thank you!