Pet Scoop: Goats Go for a Ride-Along With Cop, NBC Pundit Seated Beside Dog on Plane

April 25, 2017: We’ve scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it’s all right here.

One of the pygmy goats picked up by police in Maine peeks his head out of the patrol care window.

One of the pygmy goats picked up by police in Maine peeks his head out of the patrol care window.

Lost Goats Picked Up By Police

Two pygmy goats were taken into custody by the Belfast, Maine, police on Sunday — and spent the morning riding around in the back of a patrol car. “Got goats? We do, and they do not belong to us. We had these two little ‘kids’ turn up on High Street near the parking lot for the rail trail,” the department said in a Facebook post Sunday morning. “They are currently riding around with Sgt. Fitzpatrick, serenading him in goat music. Though he is thankful for the company on this cool Sunday morning, he would gladly return them to their owners. He is running out of vegetables to feed them.” Just a couple of hours later, the police said the kids were identified as Louis and Mowgli, and safely returned to their owner. “Louis and Mowgli enjoyed their day trip with Sgt. Fitzpatrick but alas, all good things come to an end. Perhaps in the next budget year we can inquire as to getting some patrol goats,” the department said in a Facebook update. — Read it at UPI

Eaglet Rescued and Returned to Nest

Last week, viewers of the live cam on the National Arboretum nest belonging to bald eagle couple Mr. President and The First Lady noticed that 3-week-old eaglet DC4 had become perilously lodged in a hole on the outside edge of the nest. When it was clear that the baby couldn’t free itself after a considerable period of time, experts with the American Eagle Foundation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service made the decision to carefully intervene. The eaglet was freed and removed from the nest so it could be examined by veterinarians. DC4 was returned to its home in less than 24 hours and was welcomed back by its parents and sibling. “We could all clearly see how much the eaglet was struggling and how human intervention might make the difference between life and death,” said AEF president Al Cecere. “We had the power in our hands to help, so that’s what we did.” — Read it from the American Eagle Foundation

Twin Otter Pups Born in Chicago

Two adorable North American otter pups were born on Feb. 23 to mom Charlotte and dad Benny at Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo, officials announced last week. The brother and sister pups will remain behind the scenes for a bit longer as they bond with their mom and learn how to swim. They are expected to make their public debut later this month. — See photos at the Chicago Sun Times

Charlie, a Bernese Mountain Dog and Poodle mix, caused a stir on Twitter after she was seated next to NBC pundit Mark Halperin on a Delta flight.

Charlie, a Bernese Mountain Dog and Poodle mix, caused a stir on Twitter after she was seated next to NBC pundit Mark Halperin on a Delta flight.

NBC Pundit Starts Twitter Feud Over Canine Seatmate

NBC political analyst Mark Halperin created a bit of a feud on Saturday when he Tweeted a photo of a cute, bow-tie-wearing dog who was seated next to him as he boarded a flight, with the caption, “Seriously, @delta??!?” As Halperin started to get backlash from dog lovers, he backpedaled, saying his point was that it was a long flight and the airline seated the dog apart from his owner. “We were abt to take off on redeye. Dog was cute. I was sharing pix & expressing surprise owner/dog hadn’t been put 2gether.No time for essay,” he said in part of a series of Tweets that followed. However, the Bernedoodle’s owner, Delta flight attendant Anthony Pisano, said the dog was only seated with him next to Halperin at takeoff, and Halperin refused to sit next to the dog. Still, Pisano made it clear there are no lingering hard feelings when he Tweeted a photo of Charlie holding a message for the TV personality: “Dearest Mark, It was a pleasure meeting you, too! Warmest regards, Charlie.” — Read it at the Observer

Cat Who Lost Both Ears Becomes Instagram Star

When Molly Lichtenwalner started looking for a companion to help her cope with her anxiety, she decided she wanted to find a special needs animal who was considered less adoptable. That’s when she found a sweet white cat who had lost both of his ears due to a condition called Otitis externa, which his previous owners left untreated. The kitty had been named Otitis after his ordeal. “He has been nothing but amazing. He immediately adjusted to his new home with me and he truly saved me from my own anxiety. He loves to play and snuggle, and nothing is better than coming home to him and experiencing true unconditional animal love,” Lichtenwalner said. And the kitty has become a star on Instagram, with more than 17,000 people following his adventures. — Read it at People Pets

Do I Need to Worry About Plague and My Pets?

Prairie dogs


Wild rodents, prairie dogs, rabbits, bobcats and coyotes can all carry plague.

When most people think of plague, they usually conjure up images of rats, fleas and the medieval ages, but what many pet owners don’t realize is that cats, dogs and people in certain regions of the U.S. are still at risk for various kinds of plague today.

A Working Vet’s Perspective

Here in Colorado where I live and practice veterinary medicine, plague is a real threat to people and pets. In 2014, a Colorado dog caused the largest outbreak of pneumonic plague — also called the Black Death — in the United States since 1924. Four people, including the dog’s owner, ended up contracting the rare and potentially deadly infection. The humans survived, the dog was euthanized.

If I diagnose plague in one of my patients, I must report it to the Department of Public Health and Environment within 24 hours. Practicing veterinarians play an integral role in helping protect humans from diseases like plague that can be acquired from animals. They do this by educating clients on infectious diseases they can acquire from their pets, working on preventing those diseases — and, as with plague, reporting certain diseases to the local public health department.

Bubonic plague, commonly called just ‘plague,’ is caused by a bacterium called Yersinia pestis. Without treatment, it can be fatal to both humans and pets. Plague is found in the western region of the United States and is sometimes present in local wildlife, mainly rabbits and prairie dogs. Plague can, for example, spread through prairie dog colonies or rabbits and often ends in mass die-offs. This results in hungry, infected fleas looking for their next blood meal, which can increase the risk to humans and other animals.

Humans can get plague by getting bitten by a flea that is carrying the bacteria or by handling an infected animal. Bubonic plague is the most common form, where patients show symptoms two to six days after infection. Symptoms include fever, swollen lymph nodes, chills and weakness. Pneumatic plague, which is much more rare, can be spread among people when the bacteria becomes aerosolized through coughing.

As a USDA-accredited veterinarian living and working in a state that is inhabited by plague-infected wildlife, here are key things I believe you should keep in mind.

Where in the U.S. should people be concerned about plague?

Plague is present in rural western United States. Areas with plague include Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming, west Texas, Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, California, Oregon and Washington. Plague is common from May through October. Although rare, about seven human plague cases are reported each year to the CDC in the United States.

What animals carry plague in the wild, and how do pets get infected?

Wild rodents, prairie dogs, rabbits, bobcats and coyotes can all carry plague. Pets can be infected when a flea harboring Yersinia pestis bites the dog or cat or when a pet ingests an infected rodent. Humans contract plague from infected fleas, and they can become infected from infected pets via bites, scratches or sneezed droplets from the respiratory system.

What are the signs of plague in cats and dogs?

Although dogs can exhibit mild signs, such as fever and lethargy, cats are highly susceptible to the disease. Bubonic plague in cats can cause swollen sores (think Medieval Ages and boils) around the head and neck. Additional signs may include fever, enlarged lymph nodes, lethargy, vomiting, loss of appetite, dehydration and diarrhea, if the cat survives long enough. Cats can also get pneumonia or the bacteria could spread to other parts of the body through the circulatory system. If you see any of these signs, take your cat to the veterinarian as soon as possible and limit your contact with your cat.

Is plague treatable in pets?

When caught in time, all types of the plague can be treated with antibiotics. However, in cats, the disease can be deadly if treatment is not administered right away.

Will my dog or cat be quarantined if he or she develops plague?

While it is not required to quarantine any pet infected with plague, public health officials frequently recommend hospitalizing pets sick with plague in isolation (no visitors) until the pet has been on antibiotics for at least 48 hours, as the animal is considered very infectious to humans in the early stages.

How can I help prevent my pets from getting plague?

If you live near a prairie dog colony, keep your pets away from the colony and if the colony goes silent, keep your pet away from the die-off area and call the local health department. Unusual mass die-offs of wild rabbits should also be reported.

Store pet food and feed in rodent-proof contains and talk with your local pest-control experts on how to eliminate any habitats for wild rodents near your home.

Neutering cats can help limit hunting behavior and roaming, which can also help keep your pet safe. Treat pets that roam outdoors for fleas. Dips, spot-ons or oral products that kill fleas fast are often recommended for this purpose. Flea collars are often not recommended, as they may not be sufficiently reliable for prevention of flea bites. Be sure to ask your vet if you need more than one flea-control product.

In general, just remember that if you live in an area where plague may be found, be sure to consult your veterinarian and your human doctor for the best ways to protect your pet and yourself. And if your pets do bring any fleas home with them, take your dog or cat to the vet immediately and get recommendations for eliminating fleas from your household. (You’ll need to treat the pets and the household probably for at least three months, due to the potential of developing flea eggs, larvae and pupae in the home environment.)

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Mama Shelter Cat Adopts Stray Kitten

A young kitten got a second chance at life at an animal shelter in Arlington, Virginia. Firefly was very pregnant when she arrived at the Animal Welfare League of Arlington, and gave birth to five adorable kittens. Not long after, the shelter took in an orphaned kitten who was about the same age as Firefly’s litter, and decided to see whether the new mom would accept the little guy into her family. “It was immediately clear that Firefly didn’t mind having a new kitten one bit — she let him nurse right away!” the shelter said in a Facebook post with a video of the cat family.


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5 Things That May Trigger Your Pets Allergies

It’s allergy season for humans, and many of us are carrying tissues and rubbing itchy, swollen eyes. But did you know that your pet could be suffering from allergies, too?

Environmental allergens, like the things that bloom at this time of year, can bother your pet, and there are several other things you might not realize they can be allergic to as well.

We talked with Dr. Andrea Lam, Clinical Assistant Professor of Dermatology at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, to find out about pet allergens — and how we can help our furry friends cope.

But first, how can you tell if allergies are getting to your pet? “Itching is the main symptom,” says Dr. Lam. “However, pets show they are itchy in a variety of ways. Dogs and cats will scratch, rub against furniture, shake their heads or overgroom.”

If you notice your pet is doing these things, you should talk to your your vet. She can help diagnose what’s causing the signs and potentially run some basic lab tests to check for secondary yeast or bacterial infections (a common problem for allergic pets) as well as prescribe the appropriate treatments to help relieve itching and/or treat the infection, says Dr. Lam.

Below, take a look at a handful of things you might not have realized your cat or dog could be allergic to.

What Could Your Pet Be Allergic To?

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Fleas and Ticks: We’re Not Out of the Woods Yet (Or Ever)

Dog Being Treated for Fleas


Ticks are a year-round problem and a threat to not only your pets but your family as well.

Every day in the exam room, I discuss parasites with my clients. Every client, every patient, because no pet lives in a bubble, totally separated from the outside world. Even indoor pets on the 8th floor of a high-rise are at risk. Fleas and ticks, although the most “visible,” are often not seen by pet parents and, as a result, this increases risk for their pets and even the pet’s human family. So let’s take a look at these ugly little buggers.

What We Know About Fleas

Fleas like warmth and humidity: around 70°F and 70% humidity are ideal. So if the temperature drops, they often make it into houses where the central heat is on by hitchhiking on pets and on people’s clothing. Once inside, they can become a year-round issue and a potential household infestation. After they jump onto a host and take a blood meal, fleas become obligate ectoparasites (“obligate” means they don’t tend to jump from pet to pet [they have their free meal, so why move?], and “ectoparasite” means they live on the outside of the host). The adult female then starts laying eggs. The eggs behave somewhat like little ping-pong balls and fall off the pet, typically where she rests or sleeps (including your bed, if Fluffy sleeps with you!).

Here’s what the rest of the flea life cycle looks like:

  1. An egg hatches into a maggot-like larva.
  2. The larva feeds in the environment, molts a few times, then spins a cocoon and becomes a pupa.
  3. The pupa hatches as an adult flea.
  4. The adult flea then looks for a host.

The pupal stage is the hardest stage to kill and is the reason fleas live through the winter so easily. Fortunately, with the help of your veterinarian, a flea infestation can be conquered. Your veterinarian can recommend a parasite control product that will break the flea life cycle.

What We Know About Ticks

Ticks, on the other hand, spend less than 10% of their entire life on the host, and the ticks in North America have a 3-host life cycle, which means that 3 of the tick life stages feed on a host. Each female tick lays up to 18,000 (yes, thousand) eggs in the environment.

Here’s what the tick life cycle looks like:

  1. An egg hatches, and a larva emerges.
  2. The larva quests for (seeks) a host, feeds, drops off into the environment, and molts into a nymph.
  3. The nymph quests for a host, feeds, drops off, and then eventually molts into an adult.
  4. The adult quests for a host, feeds, and is ready to drop off. Then the female lays up to 18,000 eggs.

For some tick species, this life cycle can last longer than 3 years!

As you can see, most of the tick’s life is spent in the environment and on different hosts — mammals (including cats, coyotes, deer, dogs, mice, opossums, raccoons, rats, and squirrels), birds, and amphibians. That’s why there is no easy way to break their life cycle, like there is with the flea. Adding to that, although ticks do not feed 365 days of the year, ticks feed 12 months of the year. Even when there is snow on the ground, if the temperature rises to 40°F, ticks are seeking a host!

This makes ticks a year-round problem and a threat to not only our pets but our families as well. Ticks can transmit diseases, such as Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ehrlichiosis, and anaplasmosis, to cats, dogs, and humans. And although most people associate ticks with the outdoors, one species — the brown dog tick — actually prefers to live indoors and has been known to cause infestations in houses! (Think 18,000 eggs hatching. This is the stuff of Hollywood horror movies!)

How We Help Protect Your Pet Against Fleas and Ticks

There are many good products available now to help protect your pet against fleas and ticks. But some are categorized as drugs (so they’re approved by the FDA), some are considered insecticides (so they’re approved by the EPA), some are over the counter, some are by prescription only, some are for dogs only, some for cats only, and some should be used with caution around children … deciding on the right product for your pet can be quite confusing!

Let’s clear up the confusion. Most pets should be on a flea and tick control product year-round. All year round. Your veterinarian knows and understands the products, which are the safest, the most cost-effective, the proper application/administration, and whether there could be interactions with any other medications your pet is taking. We rely on you to make sure we understand your pet’s and family’s lifestyle so we can help you select a product that will work best for you. If you have an infestation, we can guide you through how to eliminate it. And if your pet has contracted a flea- or tick borne disease, we know how best to treat her.

Cooperation and communication between you and your veterinarian are vital for choosing the optimal parasite control regimen for your pet. Consult with your pet’s veterinarian. This is what we do — and do well. Don’t try to go it alone!

This article originally appeared in the Fall 2016 issue of HealthyPet magazine.

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4 Cat Books to Read While You’re Stuck at Home

Raise your hand if you’re spending a lot of time reading at home these days. Us too. Here are some books for cat lovers to read while self-isolating. We hope you enjoy.

Cats Rock: Felines in Contemporary Art and Pop Culture
The cat has beguiled artists for generations with her beauty, mystery, grace and, let’s face it, her cattitude. Today, the cat has taken over the internet and popular culture. This gorgeous collection edited by Elizabeth Daley features contemporary art by artists obsessed with felines. The art in this book runs the gamut from simple and sophisticated to downright creepy. There’s truly something for everyone.

Here are just a few of my favorites: Mark Ryden, whose blend of pop culture and surrealism creates beautiful (and somewhat unsettling) work; photographer Hugo Martinez and his quirky photo series that centers around his beloved cat Princess Cheeto; Yuko Higuchi, whose fantastical and bizarre illustrations of cats and other creatures have gained her a cult following; and Claire Belton, the creator of Pusheen the Cat, the sweet and plump kitty who loves adventures. And just a note — some of the work is a bit risqué and might not be appropriate for kids. Published by Cernunnos.

Tell Tail Heart
Cat café owner Maddie James finds her business at risk of becoming a crime scene in this latest installment of the Cat Café Mystery series by Cate Conte. All Maddie wants is some downtime during Daybreak Island’s off-season, so she can tackle her to-do list: Her grandfather’s house-turned-cat-café is under construction, she’s looking for places to open a new juice bar, and her relationship with dog groomer Lucas has taken a good turn. But on the same day that a big-name writer, who’s on the island working on a new project, ends up floating in the canal, an eccentric woman shows up at the café claiming that Maddie’s cat, J.J., is hers. As the investigation into the dead writer heats up, Maddie realizes that even neighbors she’s known her entire life might be keeping dangerous secrets — and there’s a killer on the prowl. Published by St. Martin’s Press.

Read and Buried
In the latest installment of Eva Gates’ Lighthouse Library mystery series, the Bodie Island Lighthouse Library Classic Novel Book Club is reading Jules Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth. As coincidence would have it, workers are digging into the earth to repair the Lighthouse Library’s foundations. But the digging is halted when librarian Lucy Richardson unearths a battered, tin box containing a Civil War-era diary, along with a hand-drawn map of the Outer Banks and a page written in an indecipherable code. Later that night, Lucy finds the body of historical society member Jeremy Hughes inside the library, and the map and coded page are nowhere to be found. After finding out that a fellow librarian had a past with Jeremy, Lucy reluctantly becomes involved in the case. And when a second break-in occurs, it becomes clear that someone is determined to crack the code. Published by Crooked Lane Books.

Hats Are Not For Cats
When a big, bossy dog declares that “Hats are not for cats,” the feline star of this cute children’s book by Jacqueline K. Rayner is determined to prove him wrong. This fun, new twist on an age-old rivalry features playful watercolor illustrations and a story told entirely in speech bubbles. It will take one determined cat and a lot of hats to bring this standoff to a peaceful (and satisfying) conclusion. Published by Clarion Books.