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Mission Valley Pet Sitting Services

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MVP Blog


Great News on Shelters

Posted on March 2, 2017 at 10:53 AM Comments comments (103)
     Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine recently completed a survey on shelters across the country to try to determine the number of intakes, adoptions, returns to owners and euthanasia performed. The results are incredibly exciting.

“Woodruff and Smith, with the help of the Social Science Research Center’s Wolfgang Frese Survey Research Laboratory, surveyed 413 animal shelters across the country. The survey was limited to brick-and-mortar shelters and those that adopt out dogs. They also compared animal shelter lists from different sources to estimate the number of shelters in the U.S. The survey results were extrapolated to create a nationwide picture of the movement of dogs into and out of shelters.
The study found that shelters take in 5.5 million dogs every year, 2.6 million dogs are adopted from shelters, 969,000 are returned to an owner, 778,000 are transferred and 776,000 are euthanized.”

“When you consider that it’s estimated as many as 20 million dogs were euthanized a year in the 1970s, it’s truly astounding to see how effective the efforts of shelters and the responsible pet industry have proven,” said PLC Chairman Bob Vetere in a press release. “We believe this new research demonstrating the progress we have made will inspire an increasingly strong demand for and focus on efforts to ensure responsible breeding and opportunity to meet the growing desire for dogs in our country.”

   These results are so promising. Hopefully every adoptable dog will be able to find a forever home in the very near future.

Ground-Breaking Legislation in Alaska

Posted on February 23, 2017 at 8:39 AM Comments comments (97)
 PetMD passed on this wonderful information in their newsletter this morning. Up until now, pets have been considered "property" in divorce proceedings and basically treated like other property, ie furniture, art work etc. But Alaska has broken that precedent and now has legislation where judges consider what is in the best interest of the animal regarding custody.

  "As reported by the Animal Defense League, as of January 17, 2017, "Alaska has become the first state to empower judges to take into account the 'well-being of the animal' in custody disputes involving non-human family members." 
It is the first law of its kind in the United States which "expressly require[s] courts to address the interests of companion animals when deciding how to assign ownership in divorce and dissolution proceedings." The law also takes joint ownership of the pet into consideration. It's a big step forward in how animals are seen in the eyes of the courts. 
Penny Ellison, an adjunt professor of law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, recently wrote an article for The Legal Intelligencer asking the very question, "Can Courts Consider the Interests of Animals?"  In the article, she notes that in instances where both parties want to keep the family pet, "Alaska courts will now be taking evidence on issues like who took responsibility to care for the pet and the closeness of the bond the pet has with each 'parent' in determining what type of custody arrangement is in the best interests of the animal." 
Ellison and Culhane both agree that other states are likely to follow in Alaska's footsteps, and should. "I think that the approach that is being [done] in Alaska—a provision in state law—really is the solution here," Culhane says, noting that people think of pets as much more than just property. 
"Anyone who has had an animal knows, without question, that they have interests and preferences and, in general, the law does not recognize that at this point," Ellison tells petMD. "A first step could be simply permitting courts to enforce agreements between former spouses about living arrangements for family pets. As it stands, many states won't even take action if one party breaches an agreement like that. Where parties can't agree, I would hope that more states would allow courts to decide what is in the best interest of the animal." 

Well done Alaska!!

Alternative to Castration

Posted on February 20, 2017 at 8:52 AM Comments comments (194)
Dr. Nancy Kay of "Spot Speaks" has enlightened us with another one of her informative blogs. Here it is below.

Canine Vasectomies 
                              by Nancy Kay, DVM

"Do you know that vasectomy surgery can be performed on dogs? Indeed this is true, and, as we learn more and more about the impacts of traditional canine neutering (castration), vasectomy surgery is becoming increasingly popular.What exactly is a vasectomy?Whether performed on a human or a dog, vasectomy surgery involves clamping, cutting, or ligating (tying off) the vas deferens, the duct that transports sperm out of the testicle and into the semen. Local anesthesia is all that is needed to accomplish this surgery in men. (Most men will lie still when told to do so.) Vasectomy surgery is performed in dogs using general anesthesia. Vasectomy versus castration. Castration is referred to as “neutering” because the reproductive organs (testicles) are removed. With vasectomy surgery, the testicles remain in place, so the dog is not considered to be “neutered.”Whether castrated or vasectomized, the end result is a sterile dog. And, there is a period of surgical recovery with both procedures. Castration tends to be a “bigger deal” surgery in that the incisions are larger and there is more overall tissue trauma. Performed by someone with significant experience, a vasectomy tends to be considered a relatively minor procedure.The testicles are where testosterone is produced. So, it makes sense that castration (removal of both testicles) reduces testosterone production to almost nil. A very small amount of testosterone continues to be produced by the adrenal glands. Vasectomized dogs maintain normal testosterone production.Choosing whether or not your dog should live his life with or without testosterone is a big-deal decision these days. There is mounting evidence (pun intended) that removal of testosterone, particularly in dogs under a year of age, might be associated with negative health implications. There are plenty of pros and cons to consider, and they should be discussed at length with a veterinarian you hold in high regard. Be sure to do some investigating yourself. I have compiled a bibliography on canine spay/neuter research, including that which is most current. Please shoot me an email if you would like a copy.Be forewarned. If you opt to sterilize your dog via vasectomy, here are some things to consider:– There is no “Vasectomy 101” course being taught in veterinary schools (yet). Most veterinarians who perform vasectomies are somewhat self-taught. While this surgery is pretty darned simple, be sure that you are working with a surgeon who has several vasectomies under his or her belt (pun intended). If you are having difficulty finding an experienced surgeon, look for a surgical specialist. He or she will be able to handle your request.– If ever you become unhappy with the role testosterone is playing in your vasectomized dog’s life (he’s humping everything in sight, he’s jumping the fence to be with the neighbor’s dog who is in heat), you can always opt for castration at a later date.– Following vasectomy surgery, a male dog can successfully breed for up to two months. Do not let your vasectomized dog interact with a female in heat during this time period.– You might be ostracized and/or interrogated at dog parks and other public venues where only neutered dogs (those without reproductive organs) are allowed.– Proprietors of doggie day care facilities may refuse your vasectomized dog because they hold negative and sometimes inaccurate impressions of testosterone-driven behaviors."

Lots to think about here but it is great to have an alternative..

An update regarding Support for responsible breeding

Posted on February 7, 2017 at 12:34 PM Comments comments (91)
Great news! The Board of Delegates approved the policy on "Inherited Disorders in responsible Breeding of Companion Animals".

" At its 2017 Winter Session today, the AVMA House of Delegates (HOD) amended and approved a new policy on responsible breeding of companion animals. The policy reads as follows:Inherited Disorders in Responsible Breeding of Companion AnimalsTo maximize the health and welfare of companion animals, the AVMA supports research in genetic and inherited disorders to better educate the profession and breeders on identifying and minimizing inherited disorders in companion animal breeding programs.  To assist with this, the AVMA encourages veterinarians to pursue continuing education in the emerging area of genetic disease in companion animals. The AVMA also encourages veterinarians to educate breeders, companion animal owners, and the public on the responsibilities involved with breeding and selecting companion animals.The proposed policy was developed by the Animal Welfare Committee, which is comprised of members who represent varied species and practice areas, as well as those who share perspectives from the Student AVMA (SAVMA), state VMAs, and Veterinary Medical Association Executives. The proposed policy was amended during discussion in reference committees and was passed unanimously by the House of Delegates.  The new policy is consistent with existing policies or guidance provided by the American Animal Hospital Association and the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association.The new policy addresses responsible breeding for all companion animals, not simply dogs and cats. The purpose of this policy is to support responsible breeding practices that reduce or eliminate the health and welfare concerns associated with inherited conditions, not to condemn or stigmatize specific breeds.". 

This is wonderful. So many breeds that have been negatively affected by genetic disorders that could have been prevented with appropriate breeding, will now be able to live long healthy lives not condemned by their genetic make-up. 

Stop feeding your dog Evangers until you have read this report!

Posted on January 30, 2017 at 12:30 PM Comments comments (0)

This news from Susan Thixton today, a pet food advocate and the creator of

Test Results Show Pentobarbital in Evangers Dog Food 

On New Years Eve 2016, 3 pug dogs became ill – another died – believed to be linked to Evangers Pet Food. Lab results provided by the pet owner show the pet food contained pentobarbital – a drug used to euthanize animals.  

Please check out this link.


New Treatment for dogs with Lymphoma

Posted on January 30, 2017 at 8:20 AM Comments comments (179)
Great news today from Dr. Nancy Kay, animal advocate and writer of Speaking for Spot. There is a new treatment approved for dogs with Lymphoma that has been getting great results. The following is Dr. Kay's blog:

"For the first time in a very long time, a new drug has been approved for dogs with lymphoma. The drug is called Tanovea-CA1 and it is produced by VetDC Inc., a startup company associated with Colorado State University. Earlier this month, Tanovea-CA1 received conditional approval from the Food and Drug Administration for treatment of dogs with lymphoma.What is lymphoma?Lymphoma is one of the most commonly diagnosed forms of cancer in dogs. Golden Retrievers are the unfortunate poster-puppies for this disease. Lymphoma arises from lymphocytes, normal white blood cells involved in the immune system. In dogs, lymphoma most commonly arises within the lymph nodes, spleen, and bone marrow, but because lymphocytes circulate virtually everywhere, it makes sense that lymphoma can grow anywhere within the body.Lymphoma cells tend to be quite responsive to chemotherapy and radiation therapy, and it’s not unusual to achieve complete remission (no obvious trace of the cancer remaining) in response to treatment. What is very rare, however, is for lymphoma to be cured. Invariably, there is relapse of the cancer. While “rescue chemotherapy protocols” are often capable of zapping the cancer back into remission, over time those crafty lymphoma cells figure out how to develop significant drug resistance. With rare exception, lymphoma is a terminal disease.Tanovea-CA1The active ingredient in Tanovea-CA1 is rabacfosadine, first developed for use as a cancer-fighting drug in people. In dogs rabacfosadine has been documented to have anti-tumor activity in “naïve” lymphoma patients (those who have not yet been treated) as well as in those with a relapse of their cancer following treatment with other chemotherapy drugs. Tanovea-CA1 is an every-three-week treatment administered intravenously for up to five dosages. For now, Tanovea-CA1 has received “conditional” FDA approval, meaning it can be given to a dog for up to one year. The conditional approval may be extended with ongoing evidence of effectiveness. How does Tanovea-CA1 compare?The gold standard treatment for canine lymphoma utilizes a drug called doxorubicin that is often combined with three other drugs (cyclophosphamide, vincristine, and prednisone) in what is called a CHOP protocol.In a study combining Tanovea and doxorubicin in 54 dogs with lymphoma, an 81% positive response rate was observed. This Tanovea/doxorubicin one-two punch was found to be generally safe and well tolerated.The rate of response and duration of remission using the Tanovea/doxorubicin combination were both comparable to CHOP regimen results. Here’s the big difference. The CHOP protocol typically requires 12 to 16 treatment visits to complete. The Tanovea/doxorubicin treatment protocol was accomplished in only six visits. What a monumentally positive difference this would make, not only for the dogs, but for their human companions as well. I don’t yet know how pricing of the two protocols compares.From my point of view, this is really great news on the canine lymphoma front. I’m on board with anything that makes effective treatment of this disease more efficient and less taxing for everyone involved."

PET FOOLED- A must see video for every pet parent

Posted on January 27, 2017 at 10:18 AM Comments comments (100)
  Last evening I watched an incredible documentary on the pet food industry. This film, produced by Kohl Harrington, attempts to uncover the truth about the food that we have been feeding our  dogs and cats. I say attempts because it appears he is thwarted on many fronts by pet food manufacturers, AAFCO, and the FDA. It appears that the regulations we assume protect our pets from "bad things" being put in their food, do not really exist. The marketing and labeling of pet food is regulated but not the quality of the ingredients that the food contains. 
Susan Thexton, a pet food consumer advocate, established a website at that is loaded with information on the industry that makes and distributes the food which we give our "furry kids".
Since knowledge is power, I suggest every responsible pet parent who wants to ensure their loving companion is getting the highest quality food and not just hype, watch this film. It is available through and also check out Susan's website. If you are like me, you will be angry and shocked to learn the truth about the pet food industry, but this awareness will empower you to do something about it.

Learn Life-Saving CPR for your Pet

Posted on January 24, 2017 at 8:40 AM Comments comments (40)
Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine has created an online CPR course that is open to anyone and takes about one hour to complete. The fee is $45.00.

In the Pet CPR Course, you will learn how to determine if your pet needs CPR, how to do chest compressions to get blood flowing and to do mouth to snout ventilation to get oxygen into the blood while you’re transporting your pet to the vet.

Pet CPR is authored by Daniel J. Fletcher, PhD, DVM, DACVECC, Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine’s Associate Professor of Emergency and Critical Care. Dr. Fletcher is also co-chair of the RECOVER Initiative, which published the first evidence-based veterinary CPR guidelines in 2012, and has taught CPR courses all over the world.

I believe CPR is an essential skill every pet owner should have. It could make the difference between life and death for your furry kid.

To access this course visit

End of use of live animals in training paramedics

Posted on January 22, 2017 at 10:31 AM Comments comments (77)
I want to share some exciting news with you. This is from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

 "Immediately after the Physicians Committee brought public attention to the use of live animals in a Houston-area paramedic training program, the institutions responsible announced an end to the practice. Officials at Baylor College of Medicine and the Montgomery County Hospital District (MCHD) stated that human-based training methods have replaced the use of pigs and they "do not have any live animal training planned in the future."
The announcement comes two months after Baylor defended the animal use and the same day that the Physicians Committee filed a federal complaint alleging that the practice was in violation of the Animal Welfare Act. Baylor was using live pigs to teach procedures to MCHD paramedics, but the recent decision to stop using animals means that none of the 47 paramedic programs in Texas uses live animals any longer.
In its announcement, MCHD cited its commitment to nonanimal training methods: "We believe it’s in the best interests of our patients and the community to provide our staff with the most up to date tools and methods of training..." The statement also pointed to the changing norms of medical education that eschew animal use.
To all of our Texas supporters who called and e-mailed Baylor and MCHD: Thank you so much for your help! Shortly after our members began placing their calls, Baylor contacted us to confirm the animal training labs would be ending.
Please join us in taking action to end live animal use in the University of Washington's (UW) paramedic program. It only takes a minute to e-mail UW leaders and urge them to replace the use of animals in the school's paramedic program with human-based methods.
With your help, we will modernize UW's program too!
Yours truly,

John J. Pippin, M.D., F.A.C.C.
Director of Academic Affairs

Support for responsible breeding

Posted on January 9, 2017 at 8:56 AM Comments comments (303)
Dr. Nancy Kay had some great news to share on her blog today and I am sharing the information with you as it is wonderful news. If any of you have a British Bulldog, King Charles Cavalier spaniel or any other breed of dog with inherited health issues , you will be happy to read this.

     Support For Responsible Breeding by Nancy Kay, DVMThe American Veterinary Medical Association’s (AVMA) Animal Welfare Committee has proposed a policy pertaining to breeding of dogs, cats, and other companion animals. The policy titled, “Inherited Disorders in Responsible Breeding of Companion Animals” is up for approval when members of the AVMA House of Delegates meet later this month.The policy reads as follows:The AVMA supports the responsible breeding of companion animals such that only animals without deleterious inherited disorders are selected for breeding. Companion animals exhibiting inherited characteristics that negatively affect the animal’s health and welfare should not be bred, as those characteristics and related problems are likely to be passed on to their progeny. This would include inherited conditions such as brachycephalic syndrome, some joint diseases, bone deformation (e.g., radial hypoplasia “twisty cats”, munchkin), heart and eye conditions, or poor temperament (e.g., Springer rage syndrome). The AVMA encourages veterinarians to educate breeders, pet owners and the public on the responsibilities involved with breeding and selecting pets to ensure that they are not contributing to poor welfare issues.The potential impact of the policyAssuming the AVMA will adopt this policy in January (they darned well better!), how will this policy statement be put to use? It’s not as though the AVMA has any direct control over the actions of people who want to breed their animals.It sounds like the intent of this policy is to give veterinarians a kick in the pants to have more intentional conversation with their clients about breeding their pets (or not breeding them). Every veterinarian has exposure to irresponsible breeding yet, goodness knows, most of us have been far too silent on this topic. Guaranteed, there’s not a veterinarian whose been in practice for more than a few years who hasn’t been in the exam room with a sobbing client while euthanizing a beloved pet because of an inherited defect. And we’ve all examined animals with faddish extremes of conformation that we know will ultimately result in pain and suffering. How many of us have performed artificial insemination and cesarean sections on dogs who are unable to breed and whelp normally on their own?Without question the majority of veterinarians could be doing a much better job advocating for responsible breeding practices. Perhaps this AVMA policy will help us step closer to this goal.It’s about time!While I’m certainly pleased to see that the AVMA is considering this policy, part of me wants to ask, “Where have you been all my life?” To my way of thinking, not only is this policy a “no brainer” now, it would have been so when my career began some 30 plus years ago. Call me impatient, but I can’t help but wonder why good things take so friggin’ long to come to fruition within large organizations. The bottom line is, whether now or then, anything that favors responsible breeders and removes others from the gene pool makes really good sense.How do you feel about this policy? Thumbs up or thumbs down?If you would like to respond publicly, please visit: wishes,Nancy Kay, DVMDiplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Author of Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life
Author of Your Dog's Best Health: A Dozen Reasonable Things to Expect From Your Vet
Recipient, Leo K. Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award
Recipient, American Animal Hospital Association Animal Welfare and Humane Ethics Award
Recipient, Dog Writers Association of America Award for Best Blog
Recipient, Eukanuba Canine Health Award
Recipient, AKC Club Publication Excellence Award