#DogChronicles; Saving Jackie the Boerboel

It was a busy day at work. The mountainous paper work on my table succeeded in keeping me engaged until one of the prettiest Boerboels ever, walked into the clinic. On enquiry, I discovered that the Boerboel’s owner wanted to register his dog and start it’s routine vaccination immediately. While registering, I was told his Boerboel puppy was named Jack and that Jack was a Rottweiler.

A Tan Rottweiler??? That couldn’t be! The dog was OBVIOUSLY a Boerboel. Apparently, Jack’s owner was an uninformed first time owner who had been deceived by the seller that the dog was a Rottweiller. He was finally convinced otherwise when I showed him a chart displaying pictures of different breeds. He was livid! He told us to stop the registration, insisted that he had been duped and so was returning the puppy. Thankfully, I was able to persuade him to keep Jack arguing that Jack would make a great dog and deserved a loving home too. 

So I proceeded to examine Jack. To my surprise, I discovered that “Jack” was actually a female dog. I asked Jack’s owner why he named a female dog, “Jack”, he replied saying “Jack” was the only dog name he knew. I explained to him that Jack was a nice name but masculine and inquired if he wouldn’t mind naming her “Jackie” instead. He agreed. Thus, my love story with the pretty but shy Jackie began.

A few weeks afterwards, I got a call from Jackie’s owner stating that she was vomitting and having bloody diarrhoea concurrently. I asked a few more questions and asked him to bring Jackie to the clinic as soon as he could. My heart sank. 

There was an ongoing outbreak of the highly contagious parvoviral infection (a fatal disease of puppies) and though Jackie had gotten 1 out of the 3 shots of the DHLPP vaccine, I knew very well that wasn’t enough to protect her. 

She came, we carried out a quick lab test and our worst fears were confirmed.

Jackie had parvo! Jackie’s owner almost cried. I gave him the grave prognosis (50-50 chance of survival) and promised to do our best to save her.

Then the support therapy started. Jackie was admitted and placed on infusions for about 3 days. By the 4th day, she could get up and drink water by herself but she was so weak, she would barely lap some water before lying back down, fatigued. She was so pale and had lost her joie de vivre. I was worried. Jackie had become so dear to me, I didn’t want to lose her. 

The days her owner couldn’t come around, he would call to find out how she was doing. He loved her so much and would continually “harrass” me saying, “Doc, Jackie mustn’t die o.” I always told him we would try our best but was honest enough to give him a true picture of events. Many times too, I encouraged him to pray. I prayed as well.

By the 7th day, I tried semi solids, she ate very little and that gave me hope. After that she continued to improve each day. After 2 weeks, she was ready to go home. 

Jackie’s long recovery defied all expections as many didn’t expect her to make it most especially because of the high mortality that is common with Parvovirus infection.

For this, I am glad she stayed strong enough to pull through. 

 

Dr Gloria Bakare-Adesina  (fondly called Dr. Gbaks) is a small animal veterinarian who enjoys interactions with furry creatures.  She can be contacted via email bakaregloria@gmail.com. She is also on Instagram: @DrGbaks

Introducing Your Pet to a New Baby

Is there a Baby coming soon? Congratulations!

With a new bundle of joy on the way, the “to do’s” might seem endless, but if you’ve already got a four-legged “baby” at home (commonly pet dog or cat), preparing for the transition is an important item to add to the list. This is especially important if your pet stays with the rest of the family inside the house.

Dogs and cats are particularly sensitive to any changes in routine and surroundings, including sights and smells, so you’ll need to plan accordingly. Know what to expect from your pet when you’re expecting – check out our tips before the big day arrives, and make sure keep your household remains a happy one!

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Basic Obedience Training

Use the next nine months to address any obedience concerns, or even just to reaffirm the basics. What might have seemed like minor infractions before, such as jumping up on the couch or on guests, will be an even bigger No-No once the baby arrives. Best to nip any lagging behavioral issues in the bud now – and don’t be surprised if you have to make a return visit to the trainer down the road as well.

Veterinary visit for Medical Check-up

Take your dog or cat in for their medical exam before the baby arrives to make sure your pet is in top shape and has no dangerous parasites or bugs. These parasites may include but are not limited to ticks, mites, worms. You can also work on grooming their toenails to avoid any accidental scratches.

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Set the Stage

Prepare your baby supplies in advance of his/her arrival to give your pet enough time to get used to the furniture, toys and other supplies. These may include baby cot, nursery (if you are having one), baby powder and diaper rash cream (kept out of reach, of course) etc. This will give your pet a head start on some of the new smells that the baby will bring.

Dress Rehearsal? Yes!

If you have friends or family members with infants, see how your pet reacts to their presence. Never allow your pet to show any signs of aggression, and heap on the positive reinforcement for any and all good behaviors around any “practice” babies.

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Meet and Greet

Once baby is born, first have a family member or friend bring home something such as your infant’s blanket or beanie to familiarize your pet with his or her scent. For the initial face-to-face meeting, your pet will likely be most eager to see the new mommy first, so have the proud papa hold the baby during this reunion. This might also be a perfect opportunity to bring home a new toy for your pet, to further mark the special day in a positive way.

Be Careful with the Poop

It’s commonly known that expecting mothers need to avoid the cat litter box as the feces can be dangerous, particularly if it’s carrying a parasite called toxoplasma gondii, which can result in toxoplasmosis. While this disease does not pose a serious threat to adults because of their established immunity, children who are born with it or contract it as infants can suffer greatly, including hearing loss, mental retardation and blindness. Cat owners must continue to take precautions once the baby is born – always wear gloves when changing the litter, wash hands thoroughly and, of course, always keep your baby away from the cat box. Also make sure you dispose of diapers in a pet-proof container – otherwise they could easily become a new play toy for your pet and make them sick or, at the very least, create a big mess!

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Private Pet Time

Once the baby is born, it’s particularly important to make time JUST for your pet every day, even if it’s only a 15-minute play break, belly rub or one-on-one walk, sans the stroller. This will help curb jealousy and bad behaviors that could come as a result. And remember above all, positive reinforcement goes a long way – praise your pet each and every time they exhibit good behavior with your baby (and on the flip side, correct any bad behaviors immediately). The repetition will catch on quickly, and condition your pet to recognize that minding its manners yields the most rewards!

 

This post was adapted from Animal Planet

#DogChronicles – A Scary Day With Rico

It was the 26th of April, 2015. A Sunday.  A routine vaccination appointment with Rico – an adult mixed dog – turned into the proverbial day I will never forget!

I remember the first time I met Rico. He was a big but nervous dog that hated vet visits. He exhibited this nervousness by being so aggressive towards everyone when a vet was around that even his owner found it difficult to restrain him. It usually took about three guys to hold him down except of course when ‘Uncle Kay’ was around which wasn’t often. Being used to having dogs, Uncle Kay was the only one who could restrain Rico singlehandedly.

Over time though, Rico got used to my visits especially as I became family friends with his human family and  Rico eventually figured out that not every visit was targeted at him. This made him relaxed and we became good friends. On my visits, I made sure we always had playtime. He especially enjoyed a good rub and I obliged him often.

It became my custom to trick Rico by playing with him and cleverly muzzling him whenever it was time for his routine treatments until that unfortunate day.

That Sunday as I arrived early evening to give Rico his annual vaccinations, I noticed that he was nervous. He was so nervous he wouldn’t allow his human restrain him. Since we had become chummy friends, I resolved to vaccinate him unmuzzled. That was my first mistake!

So I started our little ritual. I rubbed him, patted him, then stealthily gave him the first injection. There was a little twitch then nothing. Rico gave me a look that said: “did-you-just-do-something-doc?” But I quickly stroked him and he looked away seemingly distracted.

By now I was carefully trying to study Rico’s body language as I patted him and when I felt he was distracted enough I attempted to give the second vaccine. I never did! In one powerful moment, Rico turned and the next thing I knew I was flying backwards trying to escape his strong jaws. It happened so fast, I was surprised. For a second it seemed his mouth had contact with my left arm but I wasn’t sure.  So I inspected and saw two tiny holes on the sleeve of my shirt. When I pulled up the sleeve to check, I was dismayed!!! A huge ugly gash was starring up at me.

I looked over at Rico (who by now was quietly observing me with a solemn look on his face, I must add) and ran to the nearest tap (which happened to be in the Kitchen), flushing the wound with water and soap. Rico’s owner who was inside all the while came out to ask if I had finished, saw my arm and screamed. He ran outside and gave Rico a beating he wouldn’t forget.

At this point, I honestly felt for Rico. It wasn’t his fault. I knew better and had acted against my better judgement. I knew Rico regretted his actions. He was just trying to warn me off. He was just a dog afraid of injections like most humans.

Over the course of many weeks, I received wound treatment as well as post-exposure rabies vaccination with the help of a good medical doctor and friend., so the wound gradually healed.

Did my experience change my attitude towards dogs? You might wonder. Did it make me scared of them? No, it didn’t. I still love canines fiercely. I chose not to allow such  fear paralyze me or prevent me from doing what I love professionally. However, this experience definitely made me more cautious and wiser on handling of animals.

Now, I’m a strong advocate of what my lecturers always reiterated in school, “Never assume that a dog won’t bite no matter it’s disposition.” THE END

 

Dr Gloria Bakare-Adesina  (fondly called Dr. Gbaks) is a small animal veterinarian who enjoys interactions with furry creatures.  She can be contacted via email bakaregloria@gmail.com. She is also on Instagram: @DrGbaks

 

Animal Cruelty: Top 5 acts that must Stop!

Animal cruelty is also commonly known as animal abuse or animal neglect. It occurs where there is intentional infliction of suffering or harm by humans upon any animal, regardless of whether the act is against the law or not. Animal cruelty is considered a serious issue (even criminal offence) in most western countries already. It should be similarly tackled in Nigeria due to the common actions of abuse on animals perpetuated here and the lack (or lack of enforcement) of laws.

Animal cruelty occurs because a lot of people do not appreciate the existence of pets and animals, while some are even totally ignorant of their actions of abuse in the first place. Also, people are well able to perpetuate these acts because the veterinary laws that address animal cruelty (if at all in existence) are not enforced.

As a pet owner, animal farmer or animal care-giver, it is important for you to understand that animals are also living beings. Though they do not talk (in our language) and are not as developed as humans are, they do experience basic varied emotions such as pain, suffering, contentment and even joy.

Listed below are 5 common acts of animal cruelty that we all need to watch out for and speak out against when perpetuated. In fact, anyone who is fond of doing any of the below-listed is not deserving of owning an animal.

  1. Starving an animal of food and/or water

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Unarguably, the first needs of any living thing are food (nutrition) and water. It is callous to deprive an animal of food and water, whether out of forgetfulness or to punish the animal (as some people are fond of doing). Ensure that any animal under your care is given an adequate measure of food and water EVERYDAY.

  1. Beating/bruising/stoning an animal

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This is common occurrence here in Nigeria and usually happens out of anger at the animal or to correct/punish an animal or just out of callous playfulness. Some people even beat or stone an animal as a pre-emptive defense even when the animal is not attacking. Commonly, most cattle herders also beat their cattle with sticks to control cattle movement and to prevent them from straying away from the herd.

As much as possible, especially when you are not under attack from the animal, do not beat/stone/bruise/hit an animal. There are other more productive ways of exerting control or correction on an animal without resorting to violence.

  1. Delaying or failure to visit veterinary care during illness, injury or parasite infections on an animal

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This is infact extremely common among Nigerians here and it happens for various reasons.

  • Some animal owners do not appreciate their animals and the importance of animal health,
  • Some assume quality veterinary care would be too costly and therefore resort to self-treatment or cheap quackery (which worsens the case most times)
  • Some just don’t care enough, or are too “busy” to make time and are ignorant about the animal so they don’t even notice the animal is sick in the first place.

All the above reasons are NO excuses to delay taking an animal to the clinic for quality veterinary care. Some people are fond of delaying treatment until the animal’s health gets even worse, even to the point of near-death, before rushing off to get treatment. By this point the animal’s health is almost irreversibly bad and the animal may eventually die, despite intervention. (… and then even throw the blame on the veterinarian for the animal’s death)

As an animal owner or care-giver, it is your responsibility to ensure that you immediately take care of any ill-health, infection, fracture, bruise, parasite infestation, and any abnormality, by taking your animal to quality veterinary care.

  1. Placing an animal in permanent captivity/caging/chains

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Animals should not be caged or placed permanently in captivity and chains. Doing this diminishes the quality of life of the animal and makes the animal highly unproductive.

Even if the animal is aggressive and needs to be contained so as not to injure people, it is important not to allow this containment to be permanent. For example, an aggressive dog may be chained or caged during the day when human activity and movement is high, but can be released and given free movement at night.

  1. Lack of provision of adequate shelter during extreme weather conditions

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It is your responsibility as an animal owner to provide good sheltering for your animal. It is totally wrong and cruel to expose your animals to extreme weather conditions such as rain, cold, sun, extreme dryness, sandstorm etc. Doing this greatly affects their health and predisposes them to various infections and parasites.

Ensure that before you even acquire an animal, you have a good place established for shelter/housing of the animal. Also, don’t put too many animals in one space, cage or shelter. Animals also need their space for them to be healthy, productive and to prevent fights or injury.

 

Dear animal owners, remember, animals do feel emotions too.

If you would consider how the above actions may affect you as a human being, then you would be able to understand how it affects your animals too.

More importantly, if you do not have the time and resources to care for an animals, then do not acquire an animal

Let’s endeavor to give our animals great quality lives. Let’s treat our animals well. Let’s stop Animal Cruelty

New Feature: #DogChronicles with Dr Gbaks on MyAnimal,MyHealth

 MyAnimal,MyHealth is excited to announce that starting from this sarturday, we will be featuring a new weekly blog series titled #DogChronicles by Dr Gbaks.

#DogChronicles will give us an inside and personal look into the real-life day-to-day activities of a veterinarian Dr Gloria.

Dr Gloria Bakare-Adesina  is fondly called Dr. Gbaks by many. She is a small animal veterinarian who enjoys interactions with furry creatures.  #FunFact though;- One of her worst nightmares is being trapped in a room with a flying cockroach.

She can be contacted via Instagram: @DrGbaks or on Facebook: Gloria Bakare Adesina

FAO publishes Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance

The Food and Agriculture Organization has published a 28-page action plan on supporting the food and agricultural sectors to prevent and minimize antimicrobial resistance and to implement the Global Action plan on Antimicrobial Resistance.
The abstract summarizing the document details is as follows;
“This document outlines the FAO Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance, which describes how the Organization will implement Resolution 4/2105 (Annex 1). The Plan was developed by a multidisciplinary FAO team to ensure that all relevant dimensions, including terrestrial and aquatic animal health and production, crop production, food safety, standard setting and legal aspects, are considered and that it is embedded within the Strategic Programme of FAO. Framing FAO’s work on AMR, it informs FAO Members and partners of the Organization’s approach and goals over the next five years”.This publication is a welcome development in tackling the widesprea global health issue that antimicrobial/antibiotic resistance now represents. In the past, we have previously discussed antibiotic resistance especially with reference to its effect on integrated animal and human health.

To get a copy of this Action Plan in both English and French languages, visit  this page

Application: Edinburgh Global Online Distance Learning Masters Scholarship

Deadline: 2nd June 2017

The University of Edinburgh will offer 4 scholarships for distance learning Masters programmes which will cover the full tuition fees and is tenable for three years.

Eligibility

Scholarships will be available for students commencing in session 2017-18 any distance learning Masters programme offered by the University. Applicants should already have been offered a place at the University of Edinburgh and should have firmly accepted that offer or be intending to do so.

The scholarship will be awarded broadly on the basis of academic merit. Candidates must have, or expect to obtain, a UK first class or 2:1 Honours degree at undergraduate level or the international equivalent.

How to Apply 

For more information and application, visit this page

Smoked Catfish? Lets talk Buisness!

Catfish business still remains one of the most viable animal food businesses in Nigeria. Who doesn’t enjoy the delicacies that catfish can produce including catfish pepper-soup and smoked catfish.

It is common for catfish farmers to diversify into smoking catfish also for various beneficial reasons. Smoked catfish requires easy-to-get resources, the major part of which is already available – the Fish!!! Also, it requires basic intermittent monitoring and can be done at scheduled time and convenience. However, it is also important to know that this is a food business, therefore efforts must be made to achieve the best quality as much as possible so that nutrition and health is not lost to consumers.

Smoking catfish requires skill and practice so you must be willing to see it through even when you make a few mistakes.

Note that you don’t have to be a catfish farmer; both fish farmers and non-fish farmers can go into the business.

Just before you start… smoking catfish
The first step in your fish smoking business is to obtain some fresh fish. If it doesn’t look FRESH or smell FRESH or feel FRESH, it probably isn’t, and it will make your finished product taste bad. Use fresh fish. Smoking will not hide old fish because the quality will be reflected.

Also, categorize your catfish by weight and corresponding price. The two common weight categories include “300-600g” and “600g and above”. You can then price your catfish using those weight categories. However, you don’t strictly have to follow this. Understand your market first before pricing.

Processing the Catfish

After harvesting (as a farmer) or purchasing (as a non-farmer) your fresh catfish, you could put them in a container and add a reasonable amount of cooking salt. Cover the container with a lid and place a heavy object on the lid to prevent the fish from getting out of the container. Leave for about 30 minutes after which all the fish must have been dead then you can start the steps mentioned above.

Afterwards, clean the fish by removing the gills and intestines and washing thoroughly in clean water. Then you take the fish through a process called “brine and cure” in which you soak the fish in concentrated salt water. This will firm up the flesh to be less mushy, draw out any old blood, improve the taste and add some desired saltiness and flavoring to the fish, and inhibit the growth of deadly bacteria as this is a relatively low temperature cooking environment.

Smoking and Drying

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Next steps for these are listed below;

  • Prepare the smoker or oven (There are different types of ovens, most of which are quite affordable – some you can even build yourself! Do not smoke fish with firewood and sawdust, this is because these two generates a lot of smoke that is very toxic to human health.)
  • Remove fish from the brine and rinse with cold water.
  • Place fish skin side down on oiled smoker rack.
  • Keep the fire low, for the first two hours.
  • Increase heat after the first two hours. (Note that the length of time will depend on the thickness of the fish, and on your preference for dry or moist smoked fish.
  • Continue smoking until fish is flaky and cooked through.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool, then weigh before packaging

 

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Advantages of smoked fish

  • It prolongs the “shelf life” of the fish once it has been smoked. A smoked catfish can be stored in the freezer for sixty days
  • It enhances the flavor when used in sauces and soup.
  • If you harvest a number of fish at a time, you can decide to smoke some to increase your income.  .
  • Smoked fish is a great way to get omega-3 fatty acids. There are numerous studies showing positive effects of these acids on the prevention of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

 

FAO and OIE launches global campaign to eradicate PPR

On 28th October 2016, the ground was broken on a major international initiative to rid the world of Peste des petits ruminants (PPR) – also known as sheep and goat plague – a highly contagious viral animal disease that causes major losses in regions home to millions of the world’s poorest people.

PPR has spread to some 70 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, causing annual damage estimated at $1.4 to $2.1 billion

The $996.4 -million plan launched by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) today is the first phase of what will be a 15-year effort to eradicate PPR by 2030.

“Wiping out PPR will have a major positive impact on the lives of pastoralist communities in all developing countries and directly support global efforts to end poverty and hunger by 2030,” FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva said about the plan. “When it comes to viral animal diseases, much attention falls on the threats they pose to human health — but their effects on economic growth, human livelihoods, quality nutrition and food security can be equally devastating. That’s why this campaign needs wide support,” he added.

“We have international standards for surveillance and diagnosis of PPR, a global system to report outbreaks, and standards for vaccines that are highly effective when applied appropriately,” OIE Director-General Monique Eloit said. “We also have international standards to prevent spread through trade, to officially recognise the control programmes of our Members, and their status as free when those programmes achieve success,” she added. “So all the tools are available to us, and are integrated into the plan. Its successful implementation now relies on the capacity of Veterinary Services at national level — the OIE is committed to provide them with ongoing support.”

Major losses 

Since it was first identified in Côte d’Ivoire in 1942, PPR has spread to some 70 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia — in September 2016, Mongolia reported its first-ever case of PPR. Over 80 percent of the world’s sheep and goats are found in these regions, where many families rely heavily on products like goat milk, mutton and wool for their nutrition and livelihoods. FAO estimates some 300 million small-scale farming families worldwide depend on small ruminants for food and income.

To illustrate, a recent outbreak in India alone caused $180 million in losses, while a series of epidemics in Kenya in 2006-2008 killed 1.2 million small ruminants, causing losses exceeding $23.5 million and a drop in milk production of 2.1 million litres.

In all, the annual global damage due to PPR is estimated to be between $1.4 and $2.1 billion.

While the disease is highly lethal to small ruminants —killing up to 90 percent of infected animals— it is easily preventable with inexpensive vaccines that can be administered at low cost and will protect the animal for its entire life.

The virus also has a relatively short infectious phase and does not survive for long outside a host, making it an ideal candidate for a concerted eradication effort.

The plan for the first five-year phase of that effort is now ready to be put into action and consists of a global strategy backed by nine regional road maps.

How it works

The initial portion of the campaign is focused on countries where PPR is known to exist or where its status has never been assessed. It will involve activities to raise awareness among farmers, build their capacity to prevent and contain the disease, strengthen national veterinary health services and systems for control of PPR and other diseases, and implement targeted vaccination campaigns.

But the plan goes beyond disease eradication alone- it also aims to improve national production models and help herders build the strongest, most resilient livelihoods with their animal resources.

With this approach, the agencies are looking to harness the potential of animal husbandry as a path out of poverty and valuable source of nutrition for poor families.

Together, FAO and OIE will coordinate the global efforts of governments, regional organizations, research institutions, funding partners and livestock owners through the Joint PPR Global Secretariat, based in Rome.

Replicating the success of the rinderpest strategy

It is not the first time FAO and OIE join forces to rid the world of a costly plague. The PPR initiative is modelled on the successful effort to eradicate rinderpest, a similar disease affecting cattle, buffalo and wildlife, with global declaration of freedom in 2011. It was the first time an animal disease had been eradicated worldwide.

The agencies’ work on rinderpest not only showed that eradication of a major animal disease was possible and cost effective but also increased interest globally in how such efforts could be replicated to address other high impact diseases.

Meeting growing demand

With the world population set to rise to over 9.7 billion by 2050, small ruminant production is expected to rise with growing demand for meat and milk, growth that is generating new opportunities for producers, processers, and sellers. With that comes stronger interest from governments and industry to make supply chains more reliable and the movement of animals safer.

A pledging conference to secure financial support for the first five-year plan will be organized early next year.

Culled from FAO