Golden Retriever Foundation Partners with Morris Animal Foundation

The Golden Retriever Foundation and Morris Animal Foundation  have teamed up to announce a new major canine cancer study titled Discovery and Characterization of Heritable and Somatic Cancer Mutations in Golden Retrievers, or the MADGiC Project (Making Advanced Discoveries in Golden Cancers).

This is a three-year, $1 million project slated to start in the summer of 2010. This jointly funded project is part of Morris Animal Foundation’s Canine Cancer Campaign, a worldwide effort to prevent, treat and, ultimately, cure this disease in dogs. Learn more at

The study will be led by premier canine cancer researchers Jaime Modiano, VMD, PhD, at the University of Minnesota; Matthew Breen, PhD, at North Carolina State University; and Kerstin Lindblad-Toh, PhD, at the Broad Institute of MIT and Uppsala University, Sweden.  They will work together to investigate mutations that are involved in risk and progression of the two most common cancers affecting Golden Retrievers, hemangiosarcoma and lymphoma.  This research will be of interest to all dog owners because these cancers affect every breed and cause the deaths of tens of thousands of dogs each year.

It is expected that this research may directly benefit humans too, because the genes involved in cancer are sometimes the same in dogs as in people, although these mutations can be more difficult to discover in people.  Therefore, identifying these genes may also advance scientists’ understanding of common human cancers such as lymphoma.

In addition, researchers will seek to identify genes that predispose some dogs to cancer so that breeders may someday be able to reduce cancer risk through breeding selection.  DNA tests may also be used for diagnosis and possibly to guide treatment choices in the future.  The scientists will also investigate mutations that occur in the tumors themselves and will profile the susceptibility of specific tumor types to various chemotherapy compounds, which may lead to improved therapy options.

Owners of Golden Retrievers diagnosed with lymphoma or hemangiosarcoma can support this research by donating a small tumor and/or blood sample; blood samples from healthy Goldens over 12 years of age are also needed.  More information about sample donation can be found at,, or contact Rhonda Hovan at or 330-668-0044.

About The Golden Retriever Foundation

About Morris Animal Foundation


Canine PTSD

This article is a very sad commentary on the utilization of innocent dogs for quite dangerous endeavors. While I do realize the life-saving that takes place via our canine friends at times such as earthquakes or on the slopes due to avalanches, I could never engage a dog of my own in such a field.

Dr. Bauer’s Biological Trojan Horse – A Great New Cancer Treatment

In the Greek tale of the Trojan horse, soldiers hid inside a large wooden horse, which was then placed outside the walls of Troy. Thinking it a gift, the citizens wheeled the horse inside the city. Once inside, the soldiers sneaked out and overtook the city. Think of that same strategy in terms of battling cancer. What if something could hide until it has made its way deep inside a tumor, then suddenly become active and kill off all the cancer cells from the inside out? This Trojan horse anecdote is one that cancer research scientist Joseph Bauer, Ph.D. uses to illustrate how his approach to chemotherapy works.

While in graduate school and reading a biochemistry book about vitamin B-12, it hit him. Why not get the vitamin to secretly carry a deadly chemotherapy agent into the tumor? Dr. Bauer’s invention uses B-12 to deliver the anticancer drug, nitric oxide, to the tumor. Cancer cells love B-12, actually having receptors to draw it into the tumor. They are completely fooled because they have no idea that a deadly agent lurks inside. “The nitric oxide that’s released inside the tumor cell has a half-life outside the cell on the order of milliseconds. It doesn’t have time to kill the surrounding cells, so it just kills the tumor cell,” Dr. Bauer explains. “Then, with the cancer cells dead and the nitric oxide no longer active, the vitamin B-12 can get out into the blood stream and help the body heal.”

Dr. Bauer’s “biological Trojan Horse” may be one of the best things to happen in cancer research in recent years. Preliminary National Cancer Institute testing noted its anti-cancer effects, showing inhibition of the growth of human tumor cells on 60 different types of cancer. This vitamin B-12 based compound, nitrosylcobalamin (NO-Cbl), preferentially targets cancer cells with minimal side effects to normal cells. Learn more here.


Tales of the ‘Trojan horse drug’ and the ‘miracle dogs’
American Chemical Society Press Release

SALT LAKE CITY, March 23, 2009 — Diagnosed with an extremely aggressive form of cancer called anal sac adenocarcinoma, Oscar’s future seemed bleak. Bedridden and unresponsive to chemotherapy or radiation, he would be lucky to survive three months. But thanks to an innovative new drug treatment, Oscar’s cancer receded and he was walking again within two weeks.

Oscar’s recovery was extraordinary enough, but his case was unusual for another reason. Oscar is a Bichon Frise, who scientists reporting here today at the 237th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society call “the Miracle Dog.” Joseph A. Bauer, Ph.D., and colleagues described promising results with a drug called nitrosylcobalamin (NO-Cbl) in battling cancer in Oscar and three other canines without any negative side effects. While it gives profound hope to dog owners, NO-Cbl also points to a powerful new cancer treatment for humans — one that infiltrates cancer cells like a biological Trojan horse.

“We are one of the few research groups that is offering to treat dogs with cancer that otherwise have no hope,” Bauer said. “With no other options available, most people in this situation opt to euthanize so that their pets don’t go through the pain of disease and trauma of surgery.”

About six million dogs are diagnosed with cancer each year in the United States. According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), pets with cancer provide a win-win opportunity for cancer researchers. Scientists can study new cancer treatments in animals other than lab mice. And pets get access to new treatments that provide hope and in instances like NO-Cbl, additional time.

Bauer put it this way: “The beauty of using a dog or a cat to test a cancer drug is two-fold. First, the animal can get the benefit of the most up-to-date drug in cancer medicine. Second, the NCI gets data on pets that are exposed to the same environmental factors their owners are. They breathe the same polluted air and drink the same polluted water that you and I do every day. If you can find an agent to treat cancer that occurs in a dog with success, there is a higher likelihood that you can take that to the human population and have a much higher response rate than with mice.”

Although NO-Cbl has been used in only a few dogs, daily treatments have led to promising results in each case. “In all four dogs, there has been a significant reduction in tumor size without any toxic side effects or discomfort,” says Bauer.

Oscar was the first success story. Since then, Bauer has treated two other dogs. A six-year old golden retriever named Buddy was unable to walk due to a spinal tumor pinching essential nerves leading to his right hind leg. After nine months of daily NO-Cbl treatment, Buddy’s tumor shrank by 40 percent and he was going on two mile walks. A 13-year-old female Giant Schnauzer with inoperable thyroid carcinoma also showed tumor reductions of 77 percent in less than 10 weeks.

“Our case studies demonstrate anti-tumor efficacy with limited toxicity to normal tissues,” Bauer added. “NO-Cbl sensitizes multidrug-resistant cancer cells to the antitumor effects of several different drugs, so it may be valuable when utilized in combination regimes,” he added.

The drug targets cancer cells with “biological Trojan horse technology.” Cells have receptors for vitamin B12 on their outer surface. The receptors serve as docking ports where molecules of the vitamin, essential for cells to divide and multiply, attach and then enter the cell. In order to divide at their abnormally rapid pace, cancer cells grow extra B12 receptors — 100 times more than normal cancer cells. Scientists have been trying since the 1950s to exploit that vulnerability and make B12-based drugs that attach to the receptors, sneak into the cell, and deliver a knock-out dose of medication.

Bauer and his colleagues from the Cleveland Clinic attached nitric oxide (NO) molecules to vitamin B12. NO kills cancer cells. The B12 acts as the Trojan horse, easily slipping into cancer cells. The subsequent release of toxic NO kills the cancer cells from within.

The team’s goal is to successfully treat 10 dogs with NO-Cbl and slingshot the drug into human use as soon as possible. Because of the genetic similarity between dogs and humans, Bauer says his approach should have a much better chance of getting through the FDA’s strict drug approval chain.

But Bauer stresses he wants to get the NO-Cbl dog treatment approved, as well. “I’m committed to the animals, and my goal would be to do a dual clinical trial, Phase One human and Phase One dog,” says Bauer.

Oscar is still alive and well. Today, Bauer is treating another Golden Retriever named Haley with a spinal tumor.

“This is one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done in my life,” says Bauer, the owner of a two-year old Beagle. “It gets boring working in the lab, but to see the fruits of your labor in a positive outcome like this and to know you’re responsible in some small way, that’s pretty cool.”

The Bauer Research Foundation was established to promote the drug discovery work of Joseph A. Bauer, Ph.D. Their mission is to promote and provide ethical and equitable therapies to fight cancer in animals.

Currently, the Bauer Research Foundation is working with local veterinarians as well as veterinary offices in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Georgia, and Florida to treat dogs and cats with a vitamin B12-based chemotherapy agent, nitrosylcobalamin (a non-toxic drug, patented in 1999). Animals will be accrued (informed consent) through the offices of local veterinarians and animal hospitals. Eligibility requirements include 1) Animals must have a reasonable performance status (can walk and eat on their own), 2) No prior anti-tumor therapy is preferred but animals with a minimum of 6 weeks since last treatment may be considered, 3) Tumor size of 7 cm diameter or less is preferred, 4) Tissue biopsy is required to establish the diagnosis, 5) Eligibility decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis.

Once eligibility requirements are met baseline imaging (MRI preferred) will be performed. The animal’s veterinarian will demonstrate, to the owners, the technique for subcutaneous (under the skin) injection. This allows the owner to administer NO-Cbl to their dog on a daily basis in the comfort of their own home. Monthly blood draws will be taken at the veterinary office to ensure the health and safety of the patient and to monitor for any signs of toxicity. The blood draws will analyze basic blood chemistries including liver enzymes, GGT, and BUN, creatinine (to assess kidney function), serum nitrate, serum B12, and complete red blood cell and white blood cell count, including differential counts. If the drug is well-tolerated after three months, with the consent of the veterinarian, the blood draws can be limited to every other month. A follow-up MRI will be required every 6 months.

From Ken & Marti Johnson of Akron, OH, here is the story of Golden Retriever Buddy. He is definitely a wonderful success story as a result of receiving this cancer targeting therapy.

Buddy – Meet Dr. Bauer!

Buddy now enjoys his daily walks, almost limp-free, and constantly retrieves silly things, as only a Golden can. We would never have got to where we are, had it not been for Dr. Bauer’s care and persistence. His research means the world to us; we only hope expanded use of this therapy will lead to even greater results, and not just for the canine community.

A visit to the Pittsburgh clinic on Feb. 27, 2009 confirmed that the tumor has shrunk again, now having shrunk by 70% of what it was when the treatment began.

Buddy showed no ill effects from the drug; his activity and appetite were unaffected, and we slowly but surely noticed a change in his general demeanor. His limp got slightly less pronounced over the first few months, and his movement in general seemed more like the ‘old’ Buddy. He also seemed to be pain-free. As the months went by, these changes became even more pronounced. A follow-up MRI in August of 2008 brought some wonderful news: his tumor had shrunk by about 40%. Our enthusiasm was matched by Dr. Bauer’s: we continued with the drug regimen, which continues to this day.

When our normally bouncy Golden Retriever, Buddy, began balking every time I tried to take him for his daily walk back in the late spring of 2007, I thought it was time to call in the ‘dog whisperer’. What had been one of his favorite activities to that point became an effort in futility. He’d just stop a few steps into the walk, plop on his hind end, look up at me, as if to say, ‘It wouldn’t be prudent to continue, not at this juncture’.

At that time, he seemed to be showing no other signs of physical discomfort, but to be on the safe side, we took him to our family vet, hoping for a simple explanation of what might be going on. Nothing was evident, and when Buddy then began to develop a slight limp in his right front leg, our vet suggested some X-rays. These also proved negative, but then during a follow-up exam, a point of tenderness was found deep in Buddy’s shoulder. An MRI was suggested, and a trip to PetsDX in Pittsburgh ensued. The results were devastating to us: a large tumor was discovered, and Buddy was given little chance to survive beyond six months or so.

We brought him home, realizing by now the cause of his reluctance to walking all this time, and tried to keep his environment as comfortable and safe as possible. He showed few other effects of the tumor, other than the pronounced limp which by now had gotten significantly worse. His love for people, however, was unaffected, and that’s when fate intervened. One afternoon, a normal ‘potty’ break outside was interrupted when Buddy suddenly spotted a familiar face down the street, one of our neighbors enjoying a walk with her two dogs. He limped on down to say hello, as only he can, setting in motion a chain of events which has brought us to where we are now.

Naturally, a conversation ensued, and Buddy’s health became the primary topic. The neighbor, Kari Bauer, mentioned that her brother, Dr. Joe Bauer, was engaged in canine research specifically related to carcinomas, and might be able to help us.

From that point on, Buddy’s world, and our world, changed dramatically. After reviewing the X-rays and MRI results, Dr. Bauer concluded that Buddy would be a good candidate for his current research, and the drug therapy associated with it. We got Buddy started almost immediately, and with a little help from our vet, learned how to administer Buddy’s twice-daily injections prescribed by Dr. Bauer of nitrosylcobalamin (NO-Cbl) based on vitamin B12, in February of 2008.

New Hemangiosarcoma Research

SAR Brady (certifications: NAPWDA Area Search, NASAR SAR TECH II, NASAR Canine SAR TECH II, Canine Good Citizen

This is Brady, one of the dogs that we are following and who has received a grant from our foundation to help with his hemangiosarcoma’s treatment costs.

A new study jointly conducted by Oregon State University College of Veterinary Medicine and the Oregon Health & Science University Cancer Institute may one day help both canines and humans with this form of cancer.

Brian Druker, M.D., director of the OHSU Cancer Institute who discovered the targeted therapy drug Gleevec for chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), is teaming up with OSU veterinary oncologist and researcher Stuart Helfand, D.V.M. Dr. Helfand was one of the first to discover abnormalities in hemangiosarcoma growth pathways similar to those responsible for CML in humans.

Hemangiosarcomas strike all dog breeds, but is more often noted in German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers. It is a rapidly growing, highly invasive cancer. Thanks to this grant, the Druker Laboratory is now studying a cell line developed in Helfand’s laboratory from a German Shepherd that died of this sarcoma. The researchers want to see what drugs can be developed to treat this disease. In turn, this research may ultimately benefit people with similar cancers.

Keeping our Furry Companions Healthy – Probiotics, Fruits and Veggies

Watermelon Sam photo by Geoff Hendrickson

Our Golden Retriever Alfie is a true chow-hound and definitely lives to eat. Anytime we are cooking in the kitchen he is lying flat, spread-out on the floor watching the proceedings. He is also a drooling fool and you cannot eat a morsel without his imploring big brown eyes and a stream of drool hanging from both sides of his mouth. It is simply pitiful. But, you would be amazed at what gets him going.

First of all, Alfie gets nonfat plain yogurt every day due to their beneficial probiotics. Here is physician, Elizabeth Smoots, speaking to its importance:

Whenever I open a container of yogurt in the kitchen, my golden retriever, Terra Cotta, comes running from across the house. She loves to eat it as much as I do. What Terra probably doesn’t realize, though, is that the probiotics contained in yogurt are very good for dog and human health.

Probiotics are defined as live, microbial food ingredients that have beneficial health effects. Certain bacteria and yeasts have been used for this purpose in many cultures around the world. Common examples include yogurt, buttermilk, sour cream, kefir, tempeh, miso, raw sauerkraut, and other cultured or fermented foods. A growing body of evidence suggests that there are several good reasons to add more probiotics to your diet.

The average human gut is home to trillions of microbes. Most of the bugs are “friendly” bacteria that live there while performing important roles. They do jobs like crowding out harmful germs, improving digestion, protecting the lining of your intestinal tract, and keeping your immune system functioning in tiptop form. In maintaining a healthy balance of microbes in your body, it helps to consume “good” bacteria from food. This helps to cut down on the “bad” bacteria in your body. Evidence suggests that the healthier shift may help alleviate certain disease conditions.

I have to admit I am not that exotic in my tastes but my guy actually loves when Gary opens up a mango or papaya or avocado. Did you know, however that all of these were actually good for dogs? Fruits and vegetables are not just good for us. They are good for our dogs as well. This is what Animal Wellness dog health writer, Audi Donamor, has to say about these wonders that both Gary and Alfie enjoy:

Avocados contains protein and fibre and they are a good source of potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, sodium, iron, selenium, manganese, copper, and zinc. To top it off, avocados also contain Vitamins A, C, B-1, B-2, B-6 niacin, folate, and pantothenic acid.

Mangos are a good source of fibre and they also contain a small amount of protein. Mangos are an excellent vitamin and mineral profile. They contain potassium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, selenium, copper, zinc, and manganese. They are rich in Vitamins A, C, folate, and B-6.

Papayas contain papain, an enzyme that supports the digestive process. Papayas are a rich source of dietary fibre, and also contain potassium, magnesium, pantothenic acid, folate, and Vitamins A, C, flavonoids, E, and K. Papayas are considered heart smart.

Click here for a print-ready PDF of her special, informative article from Audi Donamor on the Top Ten Fruits and Veggies for Your Best Friend. It is packed with GReat information, as well as two fantastic recipes for Easier-than-pie Baked Granola Apples and Carrot Flan.

Alfie gets all of the top 10 and many more besides. To tell you the truth, he probably eats better than any of us lol.


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Golden Hunter’s Stem Cell Life – Updated

On Jan 9th Nightline featured the story of Hunter and the use of his own stem cells to provide relief from debilitating arthritis due to hip dysplasia. For those that missed this incredibly interesting program, I now have video of it below.

Hunter has severe arthritis in his left hip but has shown quick improvement after being injected with his own stem cells.

“His leg, it’s almost like it’s lifeless and it’ll drift back,” Linda said, referring to Hunter’s tendency to favor his right leg.

X-rays show that Hunter has hip dysplasia, a common ailment in purebred dogs that causes the ball of the leg bone to loosen from its socket, causing painful wearing on the joint. “You can see that the edges of the bone are very worn away. They’re not nearly as smooth,” said veterinarian Jerry Bausman.

Facing the possibility of a shortened life for Hunter, the Rihas were considering a $10,000 hip replacement, when the doctors offered something new, different, and much cheaper. For only about $2,500 they could treat Hunter with his own stem cells, the healing and regenerative cells that live in both humans and animals. …

“We’re kind of reverting the body back to a younger age or a younger stage when we were more of a regenerative stage,” said Bausman. In a fairly easy procedure, Hunter’s stem cells will be recovered from his body fat, isolated in a laboratory, and re-injected into his hip in greater concentration than his own body could accomplish.

Stem cell therapy is in regular use for animals, where there is less regulation than that for humans. This has helped research progress far more quickly.

cuttingh.jpgVetStem has pioneered the application of the technique, already having treated about 3000 horses for joint problems. In the same way that Vet-Stem Regenerative Cell (VSRC) therapy has demonstrated successful therapeutic outcomes in horses with tendon and ligament injuries, fractures, and joint disease, it is now being used to treat osteoarthritis in dogs.

Since 2005, selected clinics have treated dogs with osteoarthritis and orthopedic soft tissue injuries. Initial studies demonstrate that intra-articular administration of VSRCs significantly decreases pain and improves comfort in the majority of cases. Duration of the benefit from a single injection varies from several months to more than one year.

Besides the overwhelming scientific data demonstrating the clinical efficacy of regenerative cellular therapy in animal models of osteoarthritis, osteochondral defects, tendon repair, and fractures, many additional studies are now demonstrating success in treating systemic disorders such as cerebral and myocardial infarction, muscular dystrophy, and immune-mediated disorders. Based on these studies, Vet-Stem is developing protocols to treat internal medicine conditions.Vet-Stem Regenerative Cell Therapy is limited to veterinarians who have completed a Vet-Stem Regenerative Cell medicine credentialing course. Their services are only available from your veterinarian. However, a Vet-Stem veterinarian is able to discuss regenerative stem cell therapy with your own veterinarian.

There are trained veterinarians in the states of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, and Wisconsin. There are also trained vets in Fergus and Toronto, Ontario in Canada.

Click here for a list of vets who have been provided with training and have experience in utilization of Vet-Stem Regenerative Cell Therapy.

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Genetics and the Shape of Dogs

Chihuahua-toy poodle mix and Scottish deerhound

These playful companions—a chihuahua–toy poodle mix and a Scottish deerhound—are both representatives of the species Canis familiaris. How a single species can exhibit such immense variation in size and other attributes has become a compelling question for mammalian geneticists. Recent sequencing of the dog genome has provided new insights into what a dog breed really is and has contributed to new techniques for mapping genes controlling body shape and size. Photograph courtesy of Tyrone Spady and Elaine A. Ostrander.

Check out Elaine A Ostrander’s wonderful article, “Genetics and the Shape of Dogs: Studying the new sequence of the canine genome shows how tiny genetic changes can create enormous variation within a single species”

Just click here to read this important work.

Golden Retriever Princess is now safe at home

This story from Bill Cornwell, editor and publisher of The Facts, has a happy ending but it brings up some very tragic circumstances related to dog-fighting and how weaker and mild-mannered dogs are used as bait for aggressive breeds ready to fight in the ring.

Golden Beginnings Golden Retriever Rescue, a not-for-profit organization that rescues retrievers, helped with this golden ending.

It is an understatement to say reuniting Princess with her family was gratifying. There wasn’t a dry eye among the adults present when Princess bounded into her family’s car and happily rode away.

Certainly, identification tags would have made our search for Princess’ owners much easier, and perhaps a microchip implant might have directed her owners to us much quicker. Still, it is impossible to guard against every scenario. In the case of Princess, her owner thinks it was loose fence boards and noise from nearby construction that caused her to bolt from her yard.

Losing a pet to the unknown is perhaps one of the most painful feelings a pet owner can experience, and with people the likes of Michael Vick out there, the unknown just got a lot more worrisome.

Golden Retriever Chance — a definite No Go! — Updated

This was not the picture that took place this morning on CBS’s Early Show. This photo above comes from our Foundation’s site where we detail the new sport of Dock Diving.

This morning Dave Price, the weatherman for the show, attempted to get his Golden Chance (as in “Chance of Showers”), to dive off a dock cold turkey. It seemed like poor Chance had never even seen water like this before, and no way was he going off that dock. And, how funny was Dave trying to lure his boy with a bagel, no less …. which Chance got a big chunk of before even going near the water. That’s what happens when you’re trying to manage doing a live show, holding a microphone and a bagel and Chance at the same time lol.

I think Dave knew Chance would not go into the water as most dogs would perform the same way when confronted with such a different challenge like this. It really does take some special steps to acclimate most dogs to water.

Chance was adorable nonetheless, and I loved seeing Dave holding and cuddling his new little Golden pupper (I wonder what his name will be).

This is such a wonderful tale of how Dave came upon his Golden and gave him

A Second Chance

Dave Price had been asking the ASPCA for months to look out for a “Golden Retriever type” dog that needed a home. Dave has never had a dog of his own and has always wanted one — and wanted to rescue a dog in need from a shelter.

Chance had a rough start in life — he was rescued from a junk yard situation by the ASPCA’s Humane Law Enforcement agents, where he was infested with ticks and severely neglected. After one month at the ASPCA’s Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital, Chance quickly won the hearts of the ASPCA staff, and was ready to be placed in a very special home. Valerie Angeli, ASPCA Director of Public Information and Special Projects, knew that Dave and Chance would be an ideal match, and that Dave’s active and athletic lifestyle would be perfect for a retriever type dog. As a spokesperson for shelter animals and adoption, Price knows the commitment and responsibility involved in bringing a new pet home. He admits that he was never quite ready to make such a huge commitment, due to his hectic TV schedule, but has recently decided that he has the time and proper resources to provide a wonderful life for a shelter animal.

Already a “neurotic Doggie Dad,” Dave has prearranged deliveries of the very best dog food, treats and toys available and has scheduled Chance for Doggie Daycare and runs in Central Park with friends. The ASPCA wants to wish Dave and Chance a long, active and happy life together. Chance wishes to tell anyone who wants to bring a pet into their life, to please look no further than their local shelter for their new best friend.

I have written to CBS to ask about getting some video from this morning’s show so maybe I will hear back later and be able to add it for everyone. In the meantime, I found this video clip from the show where they did DNA testing on all the members’ of the morning team’s dogs. It was pretty funny as the only dog that came back with conclusive results was Dave’s and he got his Chancie from a pound.


(could not get it to work in Firefox, only Internet Explorer)




You can see here that Chance is having no parts of getting in the water. Is this photo funny or what? Finally, CBS put up the video of Dave Price at the Dock Dogs Big Air Competition, where dogs jump for a chance at the national championships. Once you get past the intrusive 1 minute ad there will be a 5 minute clip. Do stay til the end, though, to see Chance and then finally Dave cuddling his new furkid.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

The gift of life, for a cookie

Animal blood bands first began in the late 1980’s and are critical now given the advances in veterinary medicine and folks willing to pay for life-saving treatments.

When Munju, the 11-year-old golden retriever owned by Evelyn Kamitomo, of Spokane came down last month with an ailment that caused her to create antibodies against her own blood, Kamitomo thought they’d lost her. A local vet transfused Munju with some blood from Jesse, the family’s other dog, but it wasn’t enough. Real help arrived only after Kamitomo drove Munju to WSU, where she received blood from donor dogs.

Drawing blood from an animal is a lot like a human donation. Technicians tap the jugular vein, partly because it’s accessible and partly to speed up the process. After donating, dogs receive treats and petting as positive reinforcement for their effort.

Golden Retriever Learning of the Day: August 29th


Dogs with cancer may help take a bite out of human disease. Understanding the important of research in comparative oncology.

Meet 12-year-old Golden Alex, a hero of cancer research.

Dr. Patty Khuly has some great articles on the lowdown to how vets recommend pet food. Check out Part I: Industry and Part II: Education.

Golden Retriever Learning of the Day: August 23rd


Ever wonder about pain management for our furkids to handle post-surgical pain? I know it is an area that has evolved slowly and one that we must be diligent about with respect to having our companion animals get the most humane and intelligent care. Check out this article from a registered vet tech, and her great links to a 4-part article by Robert Stein, DVM AAPM.

There’s new research done in Chicago that’s taking pet therapy to a whole new level. Check out this video. (I could only get this work in Internet Explorer.)

Just in case you wondered why pesticide exposure is such a serious topic for both people and their dogs.

Read and watch a report on dogs shedding new light on cancer genes in humans

Meet Golden Bailey and learn how her mom’s site is making locating lost pets less hairy.

Comparative Oncology: A Win-Win for both Dogs and their People

Tucson dogs are helping in the search for a cancer cure. Dogs spontaneously suffer from the same cancer as their human family members and we are gaining much information from research with them, so benefiting both dogs and people.

Click here to learn more about the promise of vaccines for melanoma.

Dogs are as smart as we thought

Dogs Copy Other Dogs’ Actions Selectively, The Way Humans Do

Science Daily — A distinguishing feature of human intelligence is our ability to understand the goals and intentions of others. This ability develops gradually during infancy, and the extent to which it is present in other animals is an intriguing question.

New research by Friederike Range and Ludwig Huber, of the University of Vienna, and Zsofia Viranyi, of the Eötvös University in Budapest, reveals striking similarities between humans and dogs in the way they imitate the actions of others. The phenomenon under investigation is known as “selective imitation” and implies that dogs–like human infants–do not simply copy an action they observe, but adjust the extent to which they imitate to the circumstances of the action.

Go here to learn more . . . .

I feel like digging a hole big enough to hide in, just like Golden Amber

I feel like digging a hole and hiding just like Golden Amber when I read articles such as this, Lax FDA allows us to be food guinea pigs.

It lets us know we now need to add another ingredient to be on the lookout for with respect to avoiding: milk protein concentrate And, until we get Country of Origin Labeling, we are at the mercy of the many self-serving corporations out there controlling all that we eat.

Golden Retriever Chewy – A Blueberry Facial to Pet Food Crisis

I just did not know how to approach this particular post. How the news piece blends a blueberry facial with the pet food crisis is rather interesting. It seems a woman with a Golden named Chewy has a store that only carries the more premium kibbles (no wheat gluten, soy, corn), including those that are organic. But, then the piece gets into home cooking your dog’s diet as well.

It must be a pretty posh place as it begins with Chewy getting the blueberry facial, which honestly, I have never heard of or seen before. While blueberries are a top antioxidant for both humans and dogs, and an ingredient in the home-cooked diet that Alfie gets, I have not seen it used externally.


Healthy Pet Food Can Be Found In Store (Or Cooked)
By CBS4 producer Vicki Hildner, Molly Hughes Reporting

(CBS4) DENVER When a golden retriever named “Chewy” gets blueberry facials and has a pet store named after her, you know she eats right.

Chewy (short for Chewbaca) and her brother, Obi (you don’t have to be a Star Wars fan to get the theme here …) spend their days at Chewy’s in the heart of the new Lowry downtown.

Their owner, Julie Neva, stocks the store with pet foods you may not have heard of: Wellness, Nature’s Logic, Merrick, Karma and Nature’s Variety. “These are small companies,” says Neva, as she hoists a large bag of dog food down from a shelf. “So they don’t have the marketing dollar to get their name out.”

They are also companies that use organic products and avoid pet junk food. So when the recent recall started, Neva had one thought. “I’m saved,” she says, with a smile and sigh of relief. “I knew my foods did not include wheat gluten.”

But worried pet owners suddenly discovered Chewy’s. “The phone ran off the hook,” says Neva. Neva heard the same refrain from worried dog owners who were suddenly reading labels. “They all said the same thing: I can’t believe I’m feeding my dog this stuff.”

Alameda East Veterinary Hospital’s pet nutritionist Carol Rosenfield advises her clients to look for good sources of protein on labels, like organic chicken or fish. She advises pet owners to avoid ingredients like wheat gluten, corn, soybeans, byproducts, artificial chemicals, additives, coloring agents, preservatives and any product labeled “hulls,” like peanut hulls. And, she says, don’t assume that feeding your dog an organic or natural pet food will cost more. Because those foods are more nutritious, you can feed your animal smaller portions, and in the end, you may even save money.

If the true the way to do your dog’s heart is through his stomach, though, you might want to cook your own pet food. With Rosenfield’s help, CBS4’s Molly Hughes tried doing just that. Just five minutes after starting, her bulldog Rocky was happily chowing down on a mixture of cooked chicken, cooked rice, peas, pumpkin, salt and a multivitamin.

There’s more with a cool video clip . . . .

Pet Food Crisis: Senator Durbin and the ‘food czar’

Durbin and the ‘food czar’
Chicago Tribune Editorial, Published May 12, 2007

Used to be that the word “czar” conjured up images of dashing Russian royals and their glamorous trappings — Faberge eggs and glittering jewels. These days, though, “czar” has morphed into Washington shorthand for a government job with a flashy title but little authority.

There’s much more . . . . . 

Golden Retriever Guide Dog folks – Ed & Toni Eames

Ed and Toni Eames have been highlighted at our site for many years now. If you have not done so, be sure to check out our information on Guide Dogs and their fabulous articles.

Toni just passed on this wonderful article. I often wondered how money was handled by the visually impaired. Well, now you will know.

Time to break the mold of paper money for the blind
By Eddie Jimenez / The Fresno Bee

Ed and Toni Eames, both blind, each have their own systems to distinguish denominations of paper money once they’ve separated the bills.Ed keeps dollar bills flat, folds $5 bills in half width-wise and $10 bills length-wise. Toni also leaves her dollar bills flat, but folds $5 bills in half twice width-wise and $10 bills in half, but keeps them in a different part of her purse.

They try not to carry around anything larger than $10. That makes it easier to keep track of their money. “If somebody does cheat you, intentionally or unintentionally, you don’t lose a lot of money,” Toni said.

The Fresno couple and other blind and visually impaired people will no longer have to go through this exercise if Pete Stark, a Democratic congressman from Fremont, has his way.

Read on to see what Pete Stark has in mind . . .

It just never ends

As Pet Food Recall Expands, ASPCA Warns Crisis Not Over: More Cases May Be Seen

NEW YORK, May 3, 2007—With Menu Foods yesterday greatly expanding its recall of pet food products due to new evidence of cross-contamination, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today warned pet parents that this crisis is far from over, and urged them to watch their pets closely for any symptoms that may be related to the recall.

“Given the fact that there is new evidence of cross-contamination in ingredients that may have been considered safe prior to this news, we need to be much more aware of where the ingredients in our pets’ food are coming from,” said Dr. Steven Hansen, a board-certified toxicologist and senior vice president with the ASPCA, who manages the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center (APCC), located in its Midwest Office in Urbana, Ill.

“We are strongly recommending that pet parents immediately investigate, via their pet food manufacturer’s Web site or by calling them directly, where the ingredients—specifically protein supplements—are sourced from.”

Given the current situation and until this crisis is resolved, the ASPCA is recommending pets be fed products containing U. S. -sourced protein supplements only.

Pet Food & Human Food Crisis …. Saga for years to come (with continuing updates)


If only this mess could be relieved by the calming sucks on a pacifier ….

Here are some wonderful articles and a marvelous link to an evolving page that has created a summary of the current crisis:

1. Wikipedia’s 2007 Pet Food Crisis Outline

2. The Coalition for a Stronger FDA

3. Rise and shine: the GM wake-up call

4. U.S. Contaminated Pet Food Investigation Update: Phantoms at large in the poisoned pet food tragedy

5. YOUR WHOLE PET: Is Your Pet’s Food Safe Yet? Why pet owners are worried, and why that’s not likely to change soon

6. Washington Post Article Collection: Pet Food Recall

7. Pet Deaths Spur Call for Better FDA Screening: Imports Raise Concern About Human Foods

8. Senate back tighter pet food standards

9. Hey, FDA, here’s a tip for you

10. Senator Dick Durbin on Pet Food Recall & FDA

Food Safety? Sorry to say but there is none …. for any of us!

FDA widens Chinese import alert
By Elizabeth Weise and Julie Schmit, USA TODAY


The Food and Drug Administration is enforcing a new import alert that greatly expands its curtailment of some food ingredients imported from China, authorizing border inspectors to detain ingredients used in everything from noodles to breakfast bars. The new restriction is likely to cause delays in the delivery of raw ingredients for the production of many commonly used products. …

The agency for the first time also said it has received reports, which it has yet to confirm, that approximately 1,950 cats and 2,200 dogs died after eating contaminated food. The only number of pet deaths that the FDA has confirmed thus far is 14.

An import alert of this breadth is rare. Before this new FDA action, only products from two Chinese companies that exported the melamine-tainted wheat gluten and rice protein concentrate had been detained.

Now for the products to reach U.S. foodmakers, the importers will have to prove to the FDA that they are safe. The ingredients restricted include wheat gluten, rice gluten, rice protein, rice protein concentrate, corn gluten, corn gluten meal, corn by-products, soy protein, soy gluten, mung-bean protein and amino acids.


From the above article, you’d think that the FDA was finally getting to work. But, after reading the remarks below, maybe you will think again.

1. Did you know that the FDA does no testing to prevent adulterated imported food from entering the US?

2. Did you know that when food is actually denied entry it is often brought to another U.S. port and then admitted?

3. Did you know that FDA’s current practice is to tell food importers whether their shipments will be inspected even before the shipment is put on a boat or a plane for delivery to a U.S. port of entry?

4. Did you know that the FDA lacks the authority to “trace back” food borne illness beyond the border?

5. Did you know that the FDA does not have mandatory recall authority? That is, if a recall is believed appropriate, the only thing it can do is ask the states to use their recall authority to take a particular food article out of commerce.

6. Did you know we have no mandatory country of origin labeling (COOL) for meat, poultry, seafood and fresh produce? A voluntary program is a joke as every major packer and retailer is not participating and labeling their products.

7. Did you know that the FDA is unable to prohibit importation of food from foreign food firms or foreign governments that deny it the ability to perform an inspection there? They also are unable to prohibit importation from countries, such as China, that do not provide the same level of food safety protection as the U.S.

8. Did you know, that as of 2002, there were only 150 FDA inspectors covering the 307 ports of entry where food now enters the U.S.?

Just read this … and weep … because our Republican congress has sat on needed food safety legislation.


APRIL 23, 2002

Thank you for inviting me to speak today before the 25th Annual National Food Policy Conference sponsored by the Consumer Federation of America. I salute the members of CFA who dedicate themselves to advocating for, and educating consumers on, a wide range of issues, both nationally and at the state level.

This is the largest group of food safety advocates I have ever had the opportunity to address, and for that I want to sincerely thank you. For the past five years, I have had the pleasure of working with Carol Tucker Foreman, Caroline Smith DeWaal and other consumer food safety advocates on improving the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) inspection and regulation of imported food.

This conference is particularly relevant to the current work of Congress, in particular defending our Nation’s food supply against threat of terrorist attack. Important work is being done in the House-Senate conference on bioterrorism, and I hope that you will lend your voice to the urgent need for additional resources to improve the safety of our food system.

We knew that something as important as strengthening the Nation’s food safety system would not be an easy task. But the difference now is that the issue is finally getting attention, from the public, the press, from government, and from both proponents and opponents of strong food safety measures. My hope is that this attention will translate to action.

All the past work done by this great organization of consumer advocates, and by all those represented here today, is now paying off. You have an audience that is listening. Much more will be demanded of you in the future as we fight to keep food safety at the forefront of public attention.

In each of the past two congresses, most of my Democratic colleagues on the Committee on Energy and Commerce have joined me in sponsoring legislation aimed at improving the safety of imported food that Americans eat.

Unfortunately, few others have shared our enthusiasm for acknowledging and taking steps to address the threats to food safety generally, and in particular threats to the safety of imported food. The legislation I have introduced in this and past Congresses has not received so much as a hearing. Then came September 11th, and instantly our vulnerabilities as a Nation were exposed to the alarm of everyone. For the first time, we had a Secretary of Health and Human Services say there is a need to take steps to detect the intentional adulteration of food coming into the United States and to prevent entry of food which presents risk of injury to American consumers.

From that came the bioterrorism bills that passed both the House and the Senate. The bioterrorism legislation is clearly the most important food safety legislation to be considered by the Congress in years. It has new money and much needed new authorities for FDA to improve its regulation of imported food. This legislation, for the first time, gives FDA authority to act independently at the border. FDA would no longer need to rely on the Department of the Treasury either for information about food at the border or for the ability to detain shipments it suspects are adulterated.

For those of us who advocate stronger food safety protections, our first and most important challenge is to make sure Congress passes the bioterrorism bill with the strongest possible food safety provisions. Although I am generally pleased with the work the conference is doing, I would be less than candid if I did not say I’m more than a little concerned at how long the conference is taking. And the longer it is before agreement is reached, the more opportunity there is for those who don’t want a strong food safety bill to undermine our work.

Furthermore, it should be remembered that the bioterrorism legislation is a big bill. Food safety is only one of several titles in the legislation. While the conference is closer to agreement on food safety than on some other titles of the bill, agreement on the whole bill must be reached before the food safety provisions can be enacted into law.

All who care about food safety should now be making your voices heard. The conferees need to know that you have high expectations for the work they are doing and very long memories should they fail. American consumers have for too long been treated like guinea pigs. A successful bioterrorism conference is critical to defending our food supply.

But, the bioterrorism legislation is only one step in the right direction. Once the bioterrorism legislation becomes law, and I am hopeful it will become law, much will still need to be done on food safety. A high priority for all food safety advocates must be building on and sustaining the concern about food safety that last year’s horrific events created. Active grassroots support will be needed to maintain the momentum for greater food safety.

This afternoon, I want to give you an overview of my food safety goals in the bioterrorism conference. Before I do, however, it’s important to understand what the regulation of imported food looks like today. And I know you will not be surprised that it is not a pretty picture.

As bad as you may believe FDA controls are at the border, the reality is they are much worse than you think. As a result, imported food that is intentionally or unintentionally adulterated is much more likely to end up on America’s dinner table than it is to be detected and held at the border. This is true largely because FDA doesn’t have enough inspectors at ports of entry, but FDA’s own practices and lack of authority make matters worse.

FDA does no testing to prevent adulterated imported food from entering the United States. It should. And when food is actually denied entry it is often brought to another U.S. port and admitted.

FDA’s current practice is to tell food importers whether their shipments will be inspected even before the shipment is put on a boat or a plane for delivery to a U.S. port of entry. This must stop.

FDA lacks authority to “trace back” food borne illness beyond the border. Congress must provide that authority.

And FDA often lacks timely information. Consider this: 54 percent of the fresh fruits and vegetables that come into the U.S. enter at either the Canadian or Mexican border. Yet FDA gets no documentation on more than 10 percent of all food imports entering the United States from Mexico or Canada until 10 days after the food arrives in this country. By then, the food very likely has been eaten. That is almost certainly true in the case of fresh fruit and vegetable imports. We must do better.

But the most pressing problem is straightforward — resources. Currently, there are only 150 FDA inspectors to cover the 307 ports of entry where food now enters the U.S. If there is no FDA inspector present when imported food arrives at a U.S. port, that food is allowed into the U.S. and is eaten by American consumers without FDA so much as reviewing its paperwork.

It would take six times the current number of inspectors just to put one FDA inspector at each port on a full-time basis. It is clear that we cannot detect adulterated imported food at the border unless we have inspectors at the border to inspect and examine shipments of food coming into the United States. More inspectors are needed, and they are needed now.

Over the last five years, the volume of food imported into the U.S. has almost doubled, forcing FDA to admit it is “in danger of being overwhelmed by the volume of products reaching U.S. ports.” With more imports reaching U.S. ports, FDA’s inspection rate for imported food has fallen from eight percent in 1992 to less than one percent last year. At a minimum, FDA needs to be inspecting 10 percent of food imports, and that can only happen if FDA is given greater resources than even the bioterrorism bill envisions.

That’s what things look like today, and here are my goals for the bioterrorism conference:

FDA must have the ability to detain food, at the border and elsewhere, on its own authority. And when no inspector is present at a port of entry, FDA needs the ability to order food held until an inspector can be dispatched to the location. Before imported food can be seized now, FDA must first convince the Justice Department to initiate a case on its behalf, and then Justice has to convince a judge that the seizure is warranted. That’s unacceptable, and the bioterrorism legislation must give FDA this needed authority.

FDA needs to know in advance when food is going to be presented for importation. At the same time, notice must not be given so far in advance that shippers learn whether their shipments will be inspected even before they are ready for transport to the U.S. Unless FDA receives adequate advance notice that a shipment of food is coming to port, it faces a serious handicap in being able to determine whether that shipment should be detained. FDA needs to know what is being imported, the manufacturer and shipper of the article being imported, and if known, the grower of the article, the country of origin, the country from which the article is shipped, and the anticipated port of entry. Without this basic information submitted sufficiently in advance of the food’s arrival, FDA cannot effectively evaluate when a shipment of imported food may present a threat of serious illness or death.

FDA needs to have inspectors present when food comes through a U.S. port of entry. There is no substitute for on-site examination of product and product documentation that can only be performed effectively by a trained, inquisitive, inspection professional. The Administration says it can hire 600 new inspectors with the funds authorized by the bioterrorism legislation. That’s a big increase over the 150 FDA inspectors who must now cover 307 ports of entry. But even this sizeable increase in the inspection force will ensure that only one inspector will be on duty at all times at all 307 ports. That’s a good start, but it’s not enough. And it’s not at all clear to me that the 600 new inspectors will actually be hired. We will need to address the adequacy of FDA’s inspection force again in the future, and I hope I can count on your support for making sure FDA has the inspectors it needs to do a thorough and effective job at the borders.

FDA also needs to know who it is regulating. Today it does not know this. Sounds like a simple enough proposal, but it has caused much controversy. To remedy this deficiency, both the House and Senate bioterrorism bills provide that every food warehouse, factory, or establishment must register with the FDA and provide its name and address. Access to records gives FDA its best chance of identifying food that is adulterated, intentionally or not. For this reason, a strong recordkeeping and records access provision must be retained in the conference bill.

Other important new powers I expect the conference bill to provide include the ability for FDA to “debar” importers who are convicted of felonies in connection with the importation of food into the U.S. or who repeatedly offer adulterated food for importation. FDA also needs the authority to mark food it does not permit to be imported with a “refused entry” stamp so that if the importer tries to bring a rejected shipment of food through another U.S. port, inspectors can readily identify it as having already been “refused entry.” And to make sure food that has been refused entry stays out, such food must be deemed to be adulterated, allowing FDA to bring legal action to stop the food itself.

We must also develop rapid test technologies that will allow inspectors to detect contaminants on imported food right at the border. Currently, inspectors don’t even bother to test imported food because it can take up to two weeks to get test results back, and by that time the food has most likely already been eaten by American consumers.

These new authorities and resources that I expect to be included in the bioterrorism bill will be a great start. But in the coming years, more will be needed.

My ongoing goals for food safety include the following:

FDA needs, but does not have, mandatory recall authority. If FDA believes a recall is appropriate today, the only thing it can do is ask the states to use their recall authority to take a particular food article out of commerce. It is very interesting that all but one state has food recall authority, but FDA does not.

FDA needs a user fee to fund the additional cost of inspecting imported food. This would insure a steady revenue stream for much needed inspectors and tests to detect pathogens at the border.

Imported food regulated by the FDA should be labeled to identify its country of origin. American consumers have a right to know whether their food was grown halfway around the world or at the local farm down the street.

FDA needs, but does not have, the ability to file a seizure action without the Department of Justice. The Department of Justice does not always have the same priorities as FDA, and as a result, FDA enforcement suffers along with the safety of our food supply.

If a foreign food firm or foreign government denies FDA the ability to perform an inspection in a foreign country, or if the foreign country does not provide the same level of food safety protection as the U.S., then FDA should be able to prohibit importation of food from that country. Either FDA can establish with some certainty the safety of imported food, or it cannot. And if it cannot, the food should not be allowed into the U.S.

These deficiencies, which we were unable to resolve in the bioterrorism bill, must be addressed in the future. The legislation my Democratic colleagues on the Committee on Energy and Commerce and I have introduced contains many of these additional authorities that FDA very much needs. H.R. 3075, the “Imported Food Safety Act” that so many in this room have supported, needs your help. I urge you to contact your Members of Congress and encourage them to cosponsor this important legislation.

The key to being able to do these important things in the future lies right here in this room. You must not let the American people, the Congress, or the Administration forget how vulnerable our food supply is. We must not wait for the unthinkable to happen again before we do what is needed to protect the safety of our food, both imported and domestic. Our window of opportunity to do something important is still open. Don’t let it close without getting the job done. I pledge my efforts to this cause. Together we can make it happen.

Thank you.

Prepared by the Democratic staff of the Energy and Commerce Committee
2322 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515

Trying to solve the mystery

A race to solve pet food mystery
Fears for humans – Scientists find substances but not the mechanism sickening cats and dogs
By Richard Read and Lynne Terry, The Oregonian

Ebel and other scientists from New York to California asked how melamine — a substance made from ammonia and used in glues and laminate flooring — could cause acute renal failure, when chunks of it fed to dogs in one study merely made them urinate a lot.It’s a question that still confounds U.S. Food and Drug Administration officials as they ask farmers to euthanize 6,000 hogs on farms that received tainted pet food.

It’s now a puzzle vexing scientists studying cyanuric acid. That substance has been found in stricken pets and by FDA investigators in rice protein concentrate at the same North Plains warehouse where melamine from China showed up.

Each day, members of the Cornell team, in Ithaca, N.Y., have discussed these questions with an expanding number of scientists across North America. They’ve searched for hundreds of potential culprits, helping rule out a rat poison, aminopterin, fingered by another New York lab. They still don’t know what led publicity-shy Procter & Gamble scientists to melamine.

The Cornell group has been impressed by the collaboration among high-octane experts from government, industry and universities. Together the scientists have scrambled to contain whatever, in Oregon alone, may have killed 46 dogs and cats and sickened 78 more.

There is much more . . . .