- 1. Inside the ASPCA ER: Dog Ingests Toxic Pennies and Survives
- 2. Meet Dog of the Year and Other ASPCA Humane Award Winners
- 3. Pet Health Notice: FDA Issues Alert on Pet Insulin Product
- 4. Victory! NY Bans the Gassing of Stray Pets
- 5. Winners Announced! Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Photo Contest
- 6. ASPCA Pet of the Week: What Walter Wants!
1. Inside the ASPCA ER: Dog Ingests Toxic Pennies and Survives
On September 29, when Keiver Guacane of Manhattan brought his five-month-old Cockapoo, Gordo, to ASPCA Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital, his beloved pup was in dire straits. The fuzzy, light-brown pooch was in critical condition, suffering from severe anemia and dangerously low blood pressure. ASPCA veterinarian Dr. Geruza Paiva examined Gordo, and immediately suspected the cause of the pup’s distress. “She was worried he may have eaten coins because he had hemolytic anemiaanemia due to red blood cell rupturewhich can be caused by zinc toxicity from eating pennies,” says Dr. Louise Murray, Director of Medicine at the ASPCA. “Dr. Paiva took an x-ray and saw the coins in his stomach.”
Pennies minted after 1982 contain a zinc core surrounded by copper and are the only U.S. coins in circulation that pose a toxicity hazard to pets. Unfortunately, these toxic, late-model pennies are commonly ingested by our furry friends. The stomach provides an exceptionally acidic environment and aids in the rapid distribution of zinc into the blood stream, which can cause life-threatening anemia and kidney failure.
Luckily, Gordo was in good hands. He immediately received a blood transfusion, and then ASPCA veterinarians passed an endoscope (fiber optic technology attached to a tiny camera) through the dog’s mouth, down his esophagus and into the GI tract to locate the pennies and retrieve them with a long, grabbing instrument. The non-invasive procedure was a success, but the evidence was startling. The handful of retrieved coins included several gnarly, partially decomposed pennies and others that appeared almost new.
“If you look at the pennies we took out, the pure copper ones from before 1982 are perfect, intact and shiny,” reports Dr. Murray. “The newer, zinc ones are all eaten away.”
Of course, this interesting disparity in coin metals is probably of little consolation to mischievous little Gordo. His pet parent, too, was just relieved to see his furry friend recover well, and no doubt will forevermore watch what Gordo eats!
As always, if you suspect your pet has ingested pennies or any other toxic item, please contact your veterinarian immediately or call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center hotline at (888) 426-4435.
2. Meet Dog of the Year and Other ASPCA Humane Award Winners
On October 29, during the ASPCA annual Humane Awards Luncheon at the Pierre Hotel in New York City, we honored a heroic guide dog, a piano-playing Tabby and eight extraordinary people who’ve made a big impact on the lives of animals. In the hotel’s newly restored ballroom, winners and guests gathered to celebrate the contributions of those who devote their lives to animal welfare and, according to ASPCA President & CEO Ed Sayres, to honor “those who have demonstrated extraordinary compassion, bravery and commitment to furthering the human-animal bond.”
Indeed, the recipient of the 2009 Dog of the Year award could be the “poster pooch” for the human-animal bond. A true four-legged hero, Archie is an eight-year-old black Labrador Retriever who serves as an assistance dog and social lifeline for another kind of hero, Sergeant Clay Rankin. Sgt. Rankin suffered spinal injuriesas well as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorderfrom serving in Iraq, and Archie is his primary caregiver and social safety net. Archie's loyalty and perseverance in helping Sgt. Rankin accomplish his daily tasks has allowed the veteran to regain his confidence and independence, move forward with his life and continue serving the country he loves.
Before and after the awards ceremony, Archie comforted and guided Sgt. Rankin, who graciously accepted the award with Archie by his side. Archie deftly navigated the ballroom’s maze of tables, enjoying the excitement surrounding his human companion. This get-along pooch even posed for photographs with the other award winners. These included four brave men from Missouri who worked on the frontlines of the largest dog fighting raid in U.S. history; Alayne Marker, who along with her husband, Steve Smith, runs the Rolling Dog Ranch for disabled animals in Ovando, MT; the animal-friendly Hingham (MA) Fire Department; and a truly remarkable young girl, Monica Plumb of Powhatan County, VA, who raised funds to purchase pet oxygen masks for fire departments across the country.
Read more about this year’s winners!
3. Pet Health Notice: FDA Issues Alert on Pet Insulin Product
On November 2, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Veterinary Medicine issued an alert warning pet parents and veterinarians to keep a close eye on animals receiving the insulin product, Vetsulin, to treat animal diabetes. The product, which is manufactured by Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal, may contain varying amounts of crystalline zinc insulin, and could cause a delay in insulin action and an overall longer duration of insulin activity, according to the FDA.
“Pet parents whose diabetic dogs or cats are currently being treated with Vetsulin insulin should contact their veterinarians to discuss appropriate measures,” says Dr. Louise Murray, Director of Medicine at the ASPCA. “Examples of alternative insulin choices include Humulin N and Levemir insulins for dogs, and Lantus (glargine) insulin for cats. These insulins require different syringes than those used to administer Vetsulin, and it is essential that pet parents work closely with their veterinarians when making any changes.”
Veterinarians should monitor their patients who are receiving Vetsulin, and consider transitioning them to the insulin products outlined above.
For more information about diabetes in cats and dogs, please check our pet care pages. To read the FDA’s official alert about Vetsulin, visit the FDA online.
4. Victory! NY Bans the Gassing of Stray Pets
An especially challenging political climate in the New York State Legislature has slowed the progress of a variety of pro-animal welfare bills this year. However, hard work by legislators, committee staff, the ASPCA and New York’s animal advocates brought the humane euthanasia bill (NY A. 999B) over the finish line!
Introduced in January, the bill sat dormant until the ASPCA, working closely with Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, Senator Suzi Oppenheimer and staff, helped revive it and secure passage in the Legislature in the fall. On October 9, it was signed into law by Governor Paterson.
The new law, which goes into effect in one year, will:
Prohibit carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide poisoning (gassing) of stray and shelter animals.
Require that the euthanasia of stray and shelter animals be performed by injection.
Require that such euthanasia be performed by a certified euthanasia technician, licensed veterinarian, or licensed veterinary technician.
Prohibit intracardiac euthanasiaa painful injection right into the hearton unsedated shelter animals.
Require that veterinarians who perform intracardiac euthanasia on unsedated animals not under the care of a shelter do so only if it is the most humane option and that they document the event and rationale.
“The ASPCA recognizes the necessity of humane euthanasia as a last-step option to spare animals further suffering,” says Debora Bresch, Esq., ASPCA Legislative Liaison to New York State. “We thank the bill’s sponsors, Assemblywoman Paulin and Senator Oppenheimer, for their tireless efforts to assure that animals receive humane treatment at the end of their lives, and look forward to the day when euthanasia of unwanted animals is an infrequent occurrence."
*Never miss an advocacy alert againsign up for the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade to receive free legislative emails.
5. Winners Announced! Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Photo Contest
This October, we put out a call for photos of your pooch romping with some of his favorite palsother than you, that isand you did not disappoint. We saw pictures of pooches hanging with birds, horses, kitties, other pooches and, yes, even amphibians. Our judges had the hard work of choosing only five winners from among the landslide of fabulous photos and here they are!
But don’t get too comfy gazing, people! We need your opinion. Take a nice long look at our winners’ page and vote for your favorite dynamic duo. The photo receiving the most votes will be announced in December.
6. ASPCA Pet of the Week: What Walter Wants!
Looking for a kitty who knows the best things in life are fuzzy? Walter’s your guyhe’s a handsome, green-eyed, sweet-as-pie feline who will stand by your side in good and even better times. A young buck at two years old, he’s chomping at the bit to be a steadfast sidekick for the right two-legged companion.
Since wee Walter tested positive for the Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), he’s hoping to live in a single-cat household or with some other FIV-positive kitties. He would also like to spread the word that cats can and do live long, happy, normal lives with this virus. So give this lil’ fuzz ball a chance! Our Animal Placement department is waiting to hear from you at (212) 876-7700, ext. 4120. Or to check out other animals looking for homes, visit our Adoption Center online.
****Got Facebook? Won’t you please donate your status to Walter today? Just copy and paste the following message onto your profile status to help spread the word that this kitty needs a home!
[Name] is donating my status to Walter http://www.aspca.org/walter, a cat at the ASPCA who needs a new home.