A dog flu going around Silicon Valley this winter is serious stuff, according to veterinarian Kyle Frandle of the Los Gatos Dog & Cat Hospital.
The Mercury News reported that Frandle and his clinic had confirmed cases of canine influenza H3N2, or dog flu, causing some dogs to become very ill from the highly contagious virus. The symptoms are usually fever, lethargy, loss of appetite, runny nose, coughing, and vomiting, but not all infected animals show symptoms.
Frandle said there are two strains of the dog flu virus, H3N8 and H3N2, which are found worldwide and diagnosed in more than 36 states including Colorado, Pennsylvania, Florida, and California.
“We used to think that we really didn’t have the flu here in California, but obviously, it’s like the flu with humans – once it gets started, it just spreads,” he told The Merc. “About six days ago, we started getting calls about dogs with the flu from kennels and boarding facilities; now many of them have shut down to limit the spread. In the meantime, we are vaccinating dogs as quickly as we can.”
The flu doesn’t spread to humans and it doesn’t usually cross over species, though cats can catch it from infected dogs; there is no flu vaccine for cats. Dogs can be exposed to the virus at parks, grooming salons, boarding facilities, or doggie daycare, and other public places. There is a vaccine for H3N2, and Frandle recommends it. Dog owners should limit their pets’ public exposure.
“We are taking this outbreak very seriously, as infected dogs are getting very ill,” Frandle said. “If your dog is already coughing, it’s too late for the vaccine. Please call your veterinarian if your dog is coughing. They may benefit from medication and supportive care. You will need to quarantine your dog from other canines for four to five weeks to prevent the spread of this flu.”
About 35 dogs were confiscated Jan. 10 from Rosie’s Enterprise Pet Shop by Oakland Animal Services, SF Gate reported recently. OAS spokeswoman Rebecca Katz said the pet store, at 10814 Bancroft Ave., had been under OAS investigation for four months, beginning in September. The dogs were expected to be medically examined, but Katz would not comment on their health or condition. Oakland police authorities were assisting but no arrests had been made.
A study from Illinois Wesleyan University shows dogs may be smarter than we realize, WJBC TV reported in Bloomington.
Ellen Furlong, an assistant professor of psychology, is the leader of a study on dog intelligence that has canines solve problems to get a treat.
“We give them these problems, we look at how they solve them, we watch the videotapes of them doing these things, and then we learn something about how their minds work,” said Furlong. “So it’s a lot of fun and full of surprises.”
Furlong noted some dogs have shown an ability to count, with one test indicating dogs can tell the difference between a plate with 50 small treats versus one with 60. The study is also looking at dogs’ self-control and social reasoning as well as comparing a dog’s cognitive thinking process to that of a wolf.
Pet Translator Coming
With the help of artificial intelligence, scientists are learning how to translate animals’ vocalizations and facial expressions into something understandable, and Amazon has predicted a translator for pets will be available within a decade, NBC News reported recently.
Professor emeritus of biology Con Slobodchikoff at Northern Arizona University is the author of Chasing Doctor Dolittle: Learning the Language of Animals. He has spent 30 years studying prairie dog communication. With help from a computer scientist colleague, he developed an algorithm that turns prairie dog vocalizations into English. Now he has founded Zoolingua to develop a similar tool to translate pet sounds, facial expressions, and body movements.
“I thought, if we can do this with prairie dogs, we can certainly do it with dogs and cats,” Slobodchikoff said.
The work is far from complete, but Slobodchinoff wants to build something to point at a dog to translate its sounds into English words such as “I want to eat now” or “I want to go for a walk.”
Communication with animals could make their care easier and perhaps uncover what makes them be fearful or aggressive, enabling humans to help them overcome such behavior.
A dog is being used at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston to detect moths and pests that damage textiles and wood, The New York Times recently reported.
The dog, a young Weimaraner named Riley, will be using his nose to suss out artwork-harming insects after hours. If he recognizes a specific bug’s smell, he’ll sit in front of the artwork in which he detects the offending scent, allowing humans to follow up. If the plan works, other museums might be interested in trying it.
Grey Muzzle Grant
The Grey Muzzle Organization funds shelter and rescue programs that benefit senior dogs and will enable the South Jersey shelter to expand its Senior Society to include community outreach and owner surrender prevention. The shelter currently gives medical care to its senior dogs. The grant expands assistance to residents who have seniors they want to keep at home but require monetary help. Such money could help with flea control, health issues, medication, special food, hospice, or other animal welfare concerns.
All Dolled Up
Aspen knows now to put on a dog show, Aspen Public radio reported recently.
As part of the 67th Winterskol celebration, the community hosted Winterfest’s Canine Fashion Show, which drew about 50 dressed up to Wagner Park where they competed in categories like “Most Adorable,” “Best Dog-Owner Look-Alike,” “Best Celebrity Look-Alike,” and “Best In Snow.” Judges had to pick the most fashionable pooches.
“This is a chocolate lab from Lucky Day Rescue,” said Shelley Spaulding from downtown Aspen about her dog Rosey. “She’s wearing a black evening dress straight off the runway from the red carpet over at the Golden Globes. And you’ll see she’s got a bone collar that says #metoo around her neck. So I think she’s probably the most politically-charged dog that we’re seeing here today.”
Needless to say, pets and people enjoyed the spotlight.
Like hanging out with your dog? Turns out, according to a Link AKC survey, half the dog owners asked said they’d forego time with their friends to be with their pups instead, The Sun reported.
Additionally, a whopping 80 percent of 2,000 respondents said they’d break off a relationship if the significant other didn’t like their dog. And those who did ditch their human pals noticed they felt better mentally and physically when they chilled with their dog, which the survey found can help owners through frequent stressful events during the week. What else did the survey show? People tell their dogs secrets and talk over their relationship problems.
Want to be a master at understanding the human-dog bond? Electric Lit recommends these recent novels and memoirs to help you get it right: Afterglow (a dog memoir) by Eileen Myles about Rosie, Myles’ beloved pit bull; The Friend by Sigrid Nunez on Apollo, a Great Dane; Fetch: How a Bad Dog Brought Me Home by Nicole J. Georges about Beija, a shar-pei/corgi rescue dog; Fifteen Dogs by André Alexis about sentient dogs; Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley starring Lily, a dachshund; Jonathan Unleashed by Meg Rosoff with Sissy the spaniel and Dante the border collie; and Just Life by Neil Abramson about a veterinarian.
Two New Breeds
The American Kennel Club recently announced recognition of two new purebred breeds, the Nederlandse kooikerhondje and the grand basset griffon Vendeen. The first is a Dutch duck-luring dog, and the second is a French rabbit hound. They’re the first breeds added to the roster since 2016 and can compete at the Westminster Kennel Club show in 2019.
The Nederlandse kooikerhondje (NAY’-dehr-lahn-seh KOY’-kehr-hahnd-jeh) is a smallish, brown-and-white, spaniel-style dog trained to attract ducks into net-covered canals. The grand basset griffon Vendeen (grahnd bah-SAY’ grihf-FAHN’ vahn-DAY’-ahn) or GBGV is a short, low-to-the-ground basset breed with cousins the petit basset griffon Vendeen and the long-eared basset hound long recognized by the AKC.
Annually, Rover.com compiles a list of the 100 most popular names for male and female dogs, information derived from pet-sitter generated data. About 44 percent of all dog names on the 2017 list are human names, and more than half of them, perhaps no surprise, are also trending in the top 100 baby names. Here’s what Rover.com reported in the top 10 male-female name game:
1. Max, Bella
2. Charlie, Lucy
3. Cooper, Daisy
4. Buddy, Luna
5. Jack, Lola
6. Rocky, Sadie
7. Bear, Molly
8. Tucker, Bailey
9. Oliver, Maggie
10. Duke, Sophie.
Gone to the Dogs
The IFC Center, an indie art house movie theater in Greenwich Village, and film publicists joined forces recently to raise money for Muddy Paws Rescue, a New York shelter and dog adoption agency, Variety reported recently. The Dec. 19 event featured a red carpet, popular dogs on Instagram, adoptable dogs looking for homes, and an auction, as well as a screening of the mockumentary Best in Show.
IFC Films publicist Lauren Schwartz and Cinetic Media publicist Emilie Spiegel, two longtime friends with rescue dogs, came up with the idea. Schwartz adopted two pit bulls, Huck and Maisie; Spiegel has a rescue, Holden.
“We’d like to try to do this in different cities and partner with local rescue organizations across the country,” Schwartz said.