Off the Leash Off the Leash

Many urge caution until there's better science behind it.

By Associated_Press Jun 5, 2013 9:02PM

By Sue Manning

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Until she introduced "magic cheese" to her sick and aging bulldog, Laura Bugni-Daniel watched him suffer for two years. He'd spend his days lying down or throwing up.

Today, at age 12, he plays like a puppy through the day, his fur is soft and he sleeps at night, soothed not by magic but by the dose of marijuana in that cheese.

Bugni-Daniel is part of a growing movement to give medical marijuana to pets in pain. Many urge caution until there's better science behind it. But stories abound about changes in sick and dying pets after they've been given cannabis — even though it isn't a proven painkiller for man or mutt, and it's an illicit drug under federal law despite being legal for people in 19 states and the District of Columbia.

Leading the charge is Los Angeles veterinarian Doug Kramer, 36, known as the "Vet Guru," who thought it was his duty to speak out while he has no family who would feel a verbal or financial backlash.

"I grew tired of euthanizing pets when I wasn't doing everything I could to make their lives better," he said. "I felt like I was letting them down."

Photo: Cover of the book 'Sweet Serenity' written by Dr. Doug Kramer (www.vetguru.com)


A new study looks at the effects shelter dogs can have on teenagers fighting drug and alcohol issues.

By Vetstreet Jun 5, 2013 8:28PM

A new study at Washington State University is looking at how shelter dogs can help teens struggling with drug and alcohol dependency.

Photo: A participant at Excelsior Youth Center in Spokane, WA, gives treats to a shelter dog from the Spokane Humane Society (Courtesy of Washington State University) "We found one of the most robust effects of interacting with the dogs was increased joviality," said Lindsay Ellsworth, a doctoral candidate in animal sciences at WSU. "I was surprised, during the trial period, how calm the boys were around the dogs and at how outbursts and hyperactivity diminished.”


Canine escapes death, saves puppies.

By Vetstreet Jun 5, 2013 5:04PM

Bertha, a pregnant 2-year-old Rottweiler mix, was saved by Indiana rescue group Second Chance 4 Pets Network just hours before she was to be put down, but sadly all eight of her puppies were stillborn.

Photo: Second Chance 4 Pets Network, FacebookThe silver lining? They put out a call that they had a lactating dog and were contacted by a local PAWS group with six newborn puppies who had been orphaned by the Oklahoma tornadoes.


Kitty has an adventure and gets a new home.

By Vetstreet Jun 5, 2013 4:44PM

Animal Control officers in Guntersville, Ala., got a strange call when customers at a Big Lots heard meowing from the inside of a vending machine.

The officers responded and, using a scope, rescued the frightened kitten from the Dr. Pepper dispenser. The kitten now has a new home.  

Photo: Still of the kitten that was rescued from a vending machine (WAFF, http://aka.ms/rescuedkitten)


Researchers have identified dimensions of chimpanzee behavior not unlike human tendencies.

By Vetstreet Jun 4, 2013 3:51PM

In a study published in the American Journal of Primatology, researchers say there are five universal personality dimensions in chimps: reactivity or undependability, dominance, openness, extraversion and agreeableness.

Photo: Chimpanzees / Manoj Shah/Getty Images A possible sixth factor is methodical, which needs more investigation.


The two dogs are credited with keeping dangerous prey at bay.

By Vetstreet Jun 4, 2013 3:19PM

Seven years ago, a pair of Maremma sheepdogs got a new assignment: to keep invasive red foxes away from endangered Little Penguins on Australia’s Middle Island. And it’s working.

Photo: Two Maremma sheepdogs have helped keep foxes from endangered penguins on an Australian island. / Middle Island Maremma ProjectSince 2006, the population of the world’s smallest penguin species has skyrocketed from 10 to 200.

According to a report by the Nature Glenelg Trust, which monitors the project, no foxes have killed penguins during that time.


Feline had cellphones and chargers taped to its body.

By Associated_Press Jun 3, 2013 7:59PM

MOSCOW (AP) — Inmates at Russia's prisons have been known to bribe guards to obtain cellphones, but this may be the first time they have used a cat as an accomplice.

Guards patrolling a prison colony in Russia's north saw a cat on the fence and it seemed to be carrying something. On a closer look, they found a few cellphones and chargers taped to the cat's belly.

Photo: Cat walking on fence / Christina Reichl Photography/Getty Images


Emotional K9 image stirs support.

A heartwarming photo of police officers in Plymouth, Mass., saluting Kaiser, a police dog, in his final moments last week was posted on Reddit and shared widely on the Internet this weekend.

Photo: Plymouth Police Working Dog Foundation / Plymouth, Mass., police honor Kaiser, a K9 officer.Sadly, the 2-year-old German shepherd, who was donated to the police by a local family in 2011, was recently diagnosed with severe kidney disease. The bittersweet photo was taken when the officers gathered in support as Kaiser’s handler, Officer James Lebretton, brought him to be put down on Friday.

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