May 2013
Pet Circkles.

"I am in favor of animal rights as well as human rights. That is the way of a whole human being." ~ Abe Lincoln.

Ditch the Fly Sprays. Try Horse Scents.
By Circkles Staff Writers.

Fly season is here again. We have yet to find a commercial fly spray that actually works to keep flies off of horses, and none that work as well as garlic or rosemary. In the past, many people have fed their horses garlic to deter flies, which some people swore to be very effective. However, recent research has come up with a very alarming and dangerous side effect to feeding garlic to any animals. Garlic and onions have been found to be toxic and very dangerous to most animals because a chemical in them called N-propyl disulfide has been found to destroy blood cells, the effects of which may not be immediately noticeable in your animal but will cause anemia over time and can cause death. Onions are much more toxic to animals than garlic and should never, ever be fed to dogs, horses, cows or any animal, including the wild onions that grow in some pastures. Animals cannot process the N-propyl disulfide chemical in onions and garlic like a human can, which is why we can eat them without incident but animals cannot. So also make sure your dog never has the opportunity to pick them out of your compost pile either.
Some sources suggest that very small doses are okay for animals, but the studies vary so greatly and the condition can become so dangerous and severe, why take any chances? Just knowing that garlic or onions has the potential to cause blood cells to burst, is enough of a reason to not even take the risk.

Garlic Spray: You can make your own fly spray by mincing 3-4 cloves of garlic and adding it to a spray bottle that contains 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water. Let this brew sit in the bottle for 1-2 weeks and then strain out the garlic so it doesn't clog up the spray mechanism in the bottle. The vinegar is usually enough of a preservative, and garlic is also anti-bacterial, so this homemade fly spray should last all summer without spoiling. This formula seems to work on some flies but not all types of flies. But deterring some is better than nothing.
Some people wonder why anyone would go through all the bother to keep flies off of a horse. Well if you have ever seen sand flies lay their eggs in a horses ears, or giant horse flies that bite so deep they leave blood running down your horse's legs, you will consider it, because they can really aggravate horses and cause some health problems regarding the ears and eyes. can be a bit of a hazard if your horse is kicking and swatting at flies when you are trying to trim them.

Ode de ' garlique: While nobody would think of a garlic-smelling sachet or perfume to be pleasant, the point is, the flies don't either, and in a barn, who cares. You can also hang large garlic braids or mesh bags full of garlic bulbs around your stalls and barn area. If you mince or crush the garlic and throw it in a cloth bag with some wood shavings and hang it around the barn it will work better. Make garlic decor like in our photos for a fun summer project if you like. Get your kids to help.

Fly Masks: Of course, fly masks are the best alternative to keep flies out of a horse's eyes and ears, but many horses do not tolerate having the masks put on them. Also, the masks cannot prevent your horse from kicking and swatting while you are trying to work around them or trim them, or while you're at shows. A combination of both a mask and a spray seems to be the best solution for now until somebody invents a better fly spray.

Rosemary Oil: Some flies are very repelled by rosemary. You can rub a rosemary sprig in your hair and it does keep the flies at bay for a while. Buy some rosemary essential oil and add 1 tsp to a spray bottle of water. Make sure to shake up the bottle well before using it as the rosemary oil tends to float on the top of the water and won't mix well with it. To help it mix a little better, you can add a couple drops of mild dish soap, but it usually isn't necessary if you just shake up the spray bottle mixture well right before spraying horses. Put some of the oil in your hands and rub it around their face and ears being careful not to get it too close to the eyes since just the fumes of the rosemary are strong enough to irritate the eyes. This also works well for dogs. Put some of the rosemary oil in your hands and rub it all over your dog.

Flies are pretty persistent. After all, livestock is their number one food source. So all these little tricks may or may not work. All you can do is try them. If anybody had found a really good, effective fly repellent, you can bet they would have patented it and sold it like crazy by now.


Coping With a Blind Dog.
By Circkles Staff Writers.

Some people will simply have a blind dog put to sleep. But in a young dog, or one you dearly love, this isn't necessary. With the right skills as an owner of a blind animal, you can teach them how to cope, and many blind animals adjust amazingly well to go on and live full, quality lives. There are rescues and shelters set up specifically for dealing with and adopting blind animals that have support groups and training information. "You don't throw a whole life away just 'cause he's banged up a little bit." As in this famous quote from the movie Sea biscuit.

Knowing what to look for in the most common causes of blindness in a dog may just save your animal's sight or help you to prepare them beforehand.

Many dogs suffer from PRD Progressive retinal degeneration (PRD) also known as progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) and refers to retinal diseases that cause blindness. Some breeds are affected by blindness because of abnormal development of the retina; this is called dysplasia. Other breeds have a slowly progressive degeneration or death of the retinal tissue; this is degeneration. PRD has been seen in almost every registered and mixed breed dog. In general, it is thought to be inherited, but inherited differently in each breed, and can be passed to offspring by parents that have normal eyes. Therefore, identification of breeding animals with PRD is essential to prevent spread of this condition and when looking for a dog breeder, ask them if they have had their breeding dogs checked before purchasing a puppy from them.
PRD is not a painful condition, so dogs affected by it do not have a reddened eye, increased blinking or squinting. For this reason, most owners do not notice the early stages of the condition. Some owners notice an abnormal shine coming from their dogs’ eyes. This abnormal shine is because the pupils are dilated and don't respond as quickly to light as the pupils of normal dogs.

The earliest signs of PRD include night vision difficulties that, in most cases, progresses to day blindness. After diagnosis, many owners comment that their dogs have seemed disoriented when going out to the yard at night, or that they had started leaving lights on for them. Night blindness may also manifest as fear of dark rooms, and occasionally dogs with PRD in early stages will get lost in their own home after the lights have been turned off.

PRD will progress at different rates in different breeds. In some breeds PRD causes little or no early changes, and the eyes of these dogs may appear normal until they are in the later stages of the disease. This variation makes it difficult for the vet to determine just how long any particular dog will continue seeing. There is no possible treatment for PRD, although a number of vitamin therapies have been suggested. At this time, none of the vitamin treatments have been scientifically proven to be effective.

Cataracts may occur in some animal with PRD, and generally occur later in the disease. Formation of cataracts may interfere with the ophthalmologist's direct examination of the retina and make other tests such as an electroretinogram (ERG) essential for diagnosis.

Glaucoma: One of the primary problems in dealing with glaucoma in dogs is the difficulty in diagnosing the disease in the early stages, when the prognosis for retention of sight is most favorable. It is frequently misdiagnosed in the early stages and is most frequently identified only after irreversible changes in the eye have led to a total irreversible loss of vision. If you know that your breed is susceptible to glaucoma, you may be able to recognize the early signs of the disease in your dog and help your veterinarian take the necessary measures.
The early signs of glaucoma may consist of mild conjunctival inflammation, which can mimic conjunctivitis; increased tearing and pain; and photophobia (sensitivity to light which results in some "squinting" of the eye). Visual impairment is rarely observed at this stage, even when both eyes are involved. The cornea begins to become cloudy as well. The general practitioner is not always aware of the early signs or of the predisposed breeds, and that is where you can be of help, by requesting that your vet measure IOP (intraocular pressure) as a part of the examination of the eye.

- Glaucoma occurs more frequently in northern regions and during winter months.
- The left eye is the first to be affected in approximately two thirds of the cases.
- The disease is nearly three times more frequent in bitches than in male dogs.
- It appears to be greater in Bassets, Samoyeds, Siberians, Chows, American & English Cockers and Poodles than in other breeds. Open angle glaucoma is seen in Beagles and Norwegian Elkhounds. Narrow angle glaucoma is most frequently seen in American & English Cockers.
- Glaucoma can be precipitated by immune-mediated eye diseases, such as uveitis.
- Average age for glaucoma in the Samoyed is between 2 and 5 years of age.
- The second eye is usually affected from 5 months to two years after the first eye.

Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome (SARDS) is a condition seen in dogs which results in complete vision loss over a few days to a few weeks the cause of which is unknown. It has been shown that it is not a genetic disorder and thinking is that it is a toxic reaction in the retina possibly related to fat by-products, hormonal and immune-mediated causes.
The disease normally occurs in middle-age to older dogs which are commonly overweight. Female dogs are affected more often than male dogs. SARDS may occur in any breed including mixed breed dogs, however, of the pure bred dogs, dachshunds and schnauzers appear to be predisposed. The disease is often associated with an increase in thirst, urination, and weight gain. SARDS may be associated with Cushing’s disease, a condition associated with overproduction of corticosteroids by the adrenal gland. If symptoms are suggestive of Cushing’s disease blood testing is recommended.

SARDS is usually confirmed by performing an electrical function test of the retina called an Electroretinogram (ERG). Since the retina appears normal on initial evaluation the test is necessary to distinguish SARDS from other causes of blindness. If a dog has SARDS, the ERG will show an absence of retinal activity. If the retinal activity is not extinguished, additional diagnostic testing may be required to determine the cause of the blindness. There is no known treatment available for SARDS. In pets that are positive for Cushing’s disease, treatment of the Cushing’s disease is recommended because this disease can have adverse effects on other body systems but this will not improve vision.
Since pets with SARDS have rapid vision loss, initially adjustment to their sudden blindness can be challenging to them and you.

The following factors determine how well or poorly a dog responds to the onset of blindness:

In general, dogs that go blind gradually, young in life, and are not the pack leaders make a faster and easier adjustment to blindness. Older, frail, dominant dogs, and those that lose their vision suddenly, can sometimes experience more difficulty. Blind dog owners report this adjustment can typically take three to six months, but there are instances where it has taken much longer. You can help to ease your canine companion's transition. Some tips for working with blind dogs include:

- Try to avoid moving furniture or other items in the house or yard area and always keep water and food dishes in the same location. Your dog will learn to "map" home and yard in his mind when ready, but you can also put him on a short lead and encourage him to walk around room to room, and around around the yard using treats if needed. The dog will be able to move throughout familiar settings with minimal problems as long as everything is kept the same.

- Place baby gates at the top and bottom of stairs to prevent the dog from trying to use the stairs without supervision.

- A wind chime near the back door (or doggie door) can be helpful to your dog in getting headed back to this door after going outside. Door mats at all outside door entrances and under their food dishes are also very helpful. Use both real and silk plants in the house and yard as “feelers” – that have long, gentle stems and leaves to touch the dog before running into something hard. Use around porch posts, on cabinet corners, around trees, etc. There is commercial protective eye wear for dogs called doggles. Start getting your dog used to them gradually by only putting them on a few minutes a day and then gradually increase the time.

- Always keep the dog on a leash when outside of familiar settings. Blind dogs may still try to chase other animals that they can smell and this can, of course, be deadly if they run onto roads or in front of traffic. If you have other pets at home you can get small bells at any craft store to put on their collar so your blind dog can easily tell where they are.

- Allow a blind dog to hear and smell you or anyone else before you pet them. They may naturally be more startled if someone simply touches them so try to give the dog enough time to be aware of your presence before approaching them. Try to have something familiar to the dog -- toy, blanket, bed, etc. -- for comfort when going to a strange new place

- Talk to the dog as you approach to help them understand that you are there.

- Many blind dog owners say their dog seems to be "deaf" as well as blind sometimes, but usually they are just very involved in "listening" to more going on around them and may not hear you at first. If your blind dog seems to bark much more than before, this is not unusual.

- Never punish a blind dog for accidents in the house. He or she may have become disoriented looking for the doggy door or may simply be aging and loosing control of his or her bladder or bowels. Doggy diapers or more frequent trips out to the yard are usually all that is required.

- Crawl around on your hands and knees to look for anything at your dog's level that they may get hurt on. Limiting your dog's risk of getting hurt or finding sudden obstacles will help to boost his confidence that he can indeed still survive with his new condition. Trim low branches in the yard etc. Add bark chips, mulch or landscape rocks around trees or other dangers in the yard to let your dog feel a texture difference on the ground to warn that something is ahead.

- Guide your dog up and down any steps while he is on a leash until he learns to comprehend where the steps are himself. This is going to be like teaching him a new language. Start teaching your dog new "help words" (your choice of words) like "Stop" - "Step up" - "Careful" - "Danger" - "Right" - "Left" etc. Keep them short and easily distinguishable between words.

The best thing we've ever seen for blind dogs is the "blind dog walking stick" or "blind dog hoop harness." Unfortunately, we could not find any retail suppliers of such a handicapped aid for dogs. However, you can easily make one yourself and this will boost your dog's confidence and ability to lead a quality life. Here are the instructions.

Photos from top: 1.) a blind dog wearing doggles and a hoop harness or walking stick. 2.) Some owners notice an abnormal shine coming from their dogs’ eyes. This abnormal shine is because the pupils are dilated and don't respond as quickly to light as the pupils of normal dogs. 3.) a cocker spaniel using a blind dog walking stick or harness. Also note the bubble wrap on the sharp corner of the wire shelf used to raise the dog dish.

© 2013 All images and articles.


Pets who look like their owners:


A little gas is a natural part of the digestive process and usually passes quickly. Excessive gas, however, especially when it is foul-smelling and accompanied by other symptoms, may indicate that something is wrong in your pet’s digestive system.

Causes: Low-quality foods with ingredients that can’t be fully digested can cause gas. So do random table scraps and foods containing lactose. Some animals may also have food sensitivities and allergies, so it’s important to find out what your dog’s stomach can and cannot handle. A sudden change in diet will cause stomach upset in almost any pet. When changing a pet's food, always start by mixing it a little at a time with their old food and then gradually start adding more of the new food to it over a course of 1-2 weeks.

Remedies: Change the dog’s food to a highly digestible, low-fiber diet, and avoid giving table scraps. Feed three small meals instead of one large meal to keep the dog from gulping food and swallowing air. Plant enzymes work really well to help older pets who may start having digestive problems. Just add a capsule or two to every meal - they are very safe to use and the better you pet can digest, the less waste you will have and the less gas and stomach problems they will have.

If after trying all of the above the condition persists, it’s important to take them to a vet to rule out any malabsorption syndrome or inflammatory bowel disease.


DOG BREEDS- Characteristics and Concerns.
(We will get to cat breeds later.)

American Foxhound:
The Foxhound is gentle, easy going, and gets along with children and other animals, however, they may act reserved when around strangers. The American Foxhound is a very active breed and very high energy. They require a lot of exercise and do best in habitats where they have room to run. If they live in a suburban area such as a neighborhood, they should have a fenced in yard and be taken on multiple walks daily. Obedience training is essential for this breed due to their independence and natural instinct to follow a scent. A Foxhound who picks up a scent will follow it while ignoring commands; training requires patience and skill because of the breed's independence and occasional stubbornness. Because of its strong hunting instinct, American Foxhounds should not be trusted off-lead. The Foxhound does not make a good watchdog.

Life Expectancy:
The breed's lifespan is generally 10–12 years.

Health Concerns:

This breed is not generally a breed that carries genetic disorders. However they can easily become overweight if being overfed. A minor health risk in American Foxhounds is thrombocytopathy, or platelet disease. This comes from poorly functioning blood platelets and can result in excessive bleeding from minor bumps or cuts. The treatment is usually based on the severity of the disease. Owners will often have their American Foxhounds undergo blood tests so that the condition can be caught early on. While dysplasia was largely unknown in Foxhounds, it is beginning to crop up occasionally, along with some eye issues. It is not typical or customary for Foxhound breeders to screen for any hereditary disorders at this time.

Looking for an American Foxhound? Use our Petfinder tool below and search for an adoptable dog that needs a home in your area now.

To view breeds we've already written about, view our Dog Breeds on The Hangout. (Must be a Circkles member to view The Hangout.)

April is

Please share
Elsie's Story to inform people of a form of animal cruelty many people never think of.






Isaac's Story

"Share to Care"
with other
pet owners
about the need
for more
vaccine research
as part of our
Vaccine Research Awareness Campaign.




FDA 2013 Pet Product Recalls and Safety Alerts:

April 19, 2013 Natura Pet Expands Voluntary Recall of Dry Pet Foods Due to Possible Health Risk Salmonella

April 18, 2013 Merit Bird Company, LLS Recalls Vitae Because of Possible Health Risk Salmonella

April 03, 2013 Bravo! Issues a Voluntary Recall for Three Raw Frozen Food Diet for Dogs and Cats Because of Possible Salmonella Health Risk Potential to be contaminated withSalmonella

March 29, 2013 Natura Pet Expands Voluntary Recall of Dry Pet Foods Due to Possible Health Risk Salmonella

March 18, 2013 Natura Pet Issues Voluntary Recall of Specialized Dry Pet Foods Due to Possible Health Risk Salmonella

March 13, 2013 Bravo! Recalls 2 lb Tubes of Chicken Blend-Raw Frozen Food Diet for Dogs and Cats (One Lot Code) Because of Possible Salmonella Health Risk Potential to be contaminated with Salmonella

March 10, 2013 Premium Edge, Diamond Naturals and 4health Dry Cat Food Formulas Voluntarily Recalled Due to Possibility of Low Levels of Thiamine (Vitamin B1) Low level of thiamine (Vitamin B1)

March 07, 2013 Diggin’ Your Dog Recalls Strippin' Chicks Pet Treats Distributed in Colorado and Nevada Due to Possible Salmonella Hazard Salmonella

March 07, 2013 Steve’s Real Food Recalls Turducken Canine Recipe Patties Because of Possible Health Risk Salmonella

March 06, 2013 Jones Natural Chews Co Recalls Woofers Dog Treats Because Of Possible Salmonella Health Risk Salmonella

March 05, 2013 Cargill’s animal nutrition business conducts voluntary recall of select mineral product used in ruminant feedDeficient in vitamin A, D, and E

February 27, 2013 United Pet Group Inc., Voluntarily Withdraws "Ultra Blend Gourmet Food for Parakeets," "eCotrition Grains & Greens Nutritional Supplement for Parakeets," "eCotrition Grains & Greens Nutritional Supplement for Canaries and Finches," and "eCotrition Grains & Greens Nutritional Supplement for Cockatiels" Due to Possible Salmonella Contamination Salmonella

February 22, 2013 Hy-Vee Issues Voluntary Recall of Certain Dog Food Products Elevated levels of a chemical contaminant

February 21, 2013 Kasel Associates Industries Recalling Certain Pet Treats Due to Salmonella Contamination Salmonella

February 21, 2013 The Honest Kitchen® Voluntarily Recalls Limited Lots Of Verve®, Zeal®And Thrive® Products Due To Possible Health Risk Salmonella

February 20, 2013 Nutri-Vet, LLC Recalls Nutri-Vet and Nutripet Chicken Jerky Products Because Of Possible Salmonella Health Risk Salmonella

February 19, 2013 Kaytee Recalls Bird Treats and Greens Due to Possible Salmonella Contamination from Parsley FlakesSalmonella

February 19, 2013 Kasel Associated Industries Recalls All Products Manufactured at its Denver, Colorado Facility from April 20, 2012 thru September 19, 2012 Because of Possible Salmonella Health Risk Salmonella

February 15, 2013 Nature's Variety Issues Voluntarily Recall of One Batch of Instinct® Raw Organic Chicken Formula for Dogs & Cats Due to Possible Health Risk Plastic pieces

January 28, 2013 The Hartz Mountain Corporation is voluntarily withdrawing its Hartz Chicken Chews and Hartz Oinkies Pig Skin Twists wrapped with Chicken for dogs Antibiotic Residue

January 09, 2013 Milo’s Kitchen® Voluntarily Recalls Chicken Jerky and Chicken Grillers Home-style Dog Treats Unapproved antibiotics found in finished product

Search our Article Archives: