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FETCH a Cure during Pet Cancer Awareness Month and every month

Pet Cancer Awareness Month is celebrated every May, when vets, scientists, pet owners and more shed light even more on the tragic number of cancer-related deaths that happen to our pets each year in the US and worldwide. The statistics on cancer in dogs are startling– an estimated 6 million dogs are diagnosed with cancer each year in the United States.

Best Bully Sticks reached out to a wonderful non-profit in Richmond, VA, FETCH a Cure, to find out how this local organization is helping the fight against canine cancer.  We spoke with Rosemary Seltzer, Companions in Crisis Coordinator at FETCH a Cure, to learn more about their programs and hear an AMAZING success story or two.

BBS: How did FETCH a Cure come about and how do you help pet owners whose dogs have been diagnosed with cancer?

Rosemary: “FETCH a Cure is a from-the-heart grass-roots organization founded and run by pet owners who faced cancer and aging issues in their own pets. Our mission is to ‘improve quality of life by connecting people and pets through accessible, compassionate treatment and education.’ FETCH a Cure’s Companions in Crisis (CiC) program offers financial assistance to pet owners who cannot afford cancer care and treatments for their beloved pets. In order to be considered for approval, all applicants must be Virginia residents and the pet must have a confirmed diagnosis of cancer.  If approved by the medical advisory board, FETCH a Cure will generally pay somewhere between twenty and forty percent of the total treatment cost. The pet owner is expected to pay the remainder.  FETCH a Cure requires that all CiC recipients volunteer for FETCH a Cure for 10 hours a month for one year from the time that funds are awarded.

BBS: Can you tell us one of your recent Companions in Crisis (CiC) success stories?

Rosemary: “Yes, a recent Companions in Crisis recipient is a four-year old mixed breed named Kudjoe. He weighs a whopping 125 pounds and is thought to be part Lab, part Chow and part Great Dane.  His owner, Jennifer, said that despite his huge size, Kudjoe is really a gentle giant and somehow manages to capture the heart of everyone around him, even people that don’t claim to be dog lovers, like her dad. Kudjoe is always by her side and senses when she is sad or is not feeling well.

At Christmas, Jennifer and her family noticed that Kudjoe’s appetite was off.  He seemed to be drinking excessively and did not want to play.  Jennifer took him to the vet to make sure everything was okay, but unfortunately, it was not.  He was diagnosed with T-cell lymphoma and cancer was found in his spleen.  He had his spleen removed and developed a kidney infection a week later.  He had his first treatment of chemotherapy in January.

The estimate for Kudjoe’s treatment was very expensive. Fortunately, FETCH a Cure was able to assist Jennifer and Kudjoe and paid half of the total treatment cost.  Jennifer just wrote to tell me that Kudjoe is doing fabulous and is currently in remission.  ‘Kudjoe and I are doing WONDERFULLY!  He is a chemo champion!  All of his lab results show that he is healthy as can be! He has three more chemo treatments and then will just be in for monthly check-ups.  He is 100% back to his normal self and we both couldn’t be happier!  I am so thankful to FETCH a Cure for giving me this time with my angel. I am hoping and praying for much more time to come as he is in remission!  Fetch saved his life! Thank you doesn’t even begin to cut it!’”

Best Bully Sticks thanks Rosemary and the other staff at FETCH a Cure for sharing their story! To learn more about FETCH a Cure, see their website at www.fetchacure.org and Fetch a Cure Facebook page.

Through scientific studies and organizations like FETCH a Cure, we hope to combat pet cancer mortality rates in coming years!

Dog Care 101: Caring for a Sick and Dehydrated Dog

Got Water? Water is essential to humans and pets for a healthy & happy life. When dogs becomes ill, it’s very easy for them to become dehydrated & lethargic.

Canine dehydration is a serious issue that can become life-threatening if not properly treated. It is important to constantly hydrate your dog back to health.

Here are some simple tips on how to care for a dehydrated sick dog and get him on the road to recovery & back to his old tricks again:

1. Seek out a certified vet. Your dog may be too ill or dehydrated for you to nurse her back to health and may need vet observation of emergency assistance.

2. Ready, Set, Hydrate! Place your dog on a strict water diet by hydrating your sick dog every 1/2 hour to an hour. If your dog refuses to drink, it is important for you to be persistent. Your dog may be to weak to drink on his or her own, so bringing your sick dog water throughout the night is important.

3. Electrolytes to the Rescue! Make your dog a 5o/50 mixture of Gatorade & water. Gatorade contains sugar and electrolytes that help your dog’s body better hydrate.

4. Hydrate with a dropper. You can use a store bought plastic dropper to administer fluid. Your dog may be too weak to suck on the dropper. One trick: place the dropper in the corner of her mouth and push it in about 1/2 an inch. Squeeze the dropper and release the fluid in the back of the throat. Hold your puppy’s head up for a second or two after each squirt to make sure she gets all of the fluid.

5. Chicken & Rice Diet. Stick to a very simple diet of rice that has been really saturated with chicken or beef broth. Giving your puppy regular food could cause him to develop diarrhea and become even more dehydrated.

6. Revisit the vet if health does not improve. If your dog ‘s condition worsens, make sure you go to the vet immediately as a precaution.

Here are some Frozen Treat Ideas to Keep Your Sick Dog Hydrated

  1. Watermelon Slush Recipe
  2. Berry Chicken Pupsicles
  3. Frozen banana slices

National Pet First Aid Awareness Month

Emergencies do happen. Making it to the vet can be difficult, especially in the middle of the night. That is why being familiar with Basic First Aid procedures for pets is a great way to minimize harm and prevent emergency situations.

First and foremeost: Advanced veterinary first aid should only be administered by certified individuals or a veterinarian. Even if you’re certified to administer first aid on people, don’t try to play veterinarian! The American Red Cross is a great resource for education on the subject and even offers courses in Pet First Aid. Here are some basic steps you can take to ensure that both you and your pet prepared for anything.

First Aid Supplies

Keep a list of phone numbers on hand including your veterinarian’s number, and others like the Animal Poison Control Center: 888-4ANI-HELP (888-426-4435) and a local emergency veterinary clinic. In the event something happens to you, keep a friend’s number handy who is capable of caring for your pet in your absence. It’s also a good idea to maintain your pet’s medication and vaccination history for reference. The American Veterinary Medical Association has compiled a comprehensive list of pet first aid supplies that should be in your emergency kit.

Basic Procedures and Treatments

As important as these supplies are, proper knowledge of their use is crucial. BestBullySticks encourages all pet owners to become familiar with basic pet first aid. To get you started, we’ve put together a brief guide below outlining some common pet-related emergencies and treatments.

Choking

One of the most common emergencies, symptoms include difficulty breathing, coughing and an excessive pawing of the mouth. First, look into your pet’s mouth to see if any foreign objects are present. If there is something blocking their airway, use tweezers or a pair of pliers to gently remove the object. However, be careful not to push the object further down the throat or spend too much time trying to remove it; you might be better off seeking immediate medical attention.

Animal First Aid AwarenessFractures

Limping or an outright inability to use a limb is usually an owners first sign of fractures or breaks. Pets should be immediately muzzled and checked for any bleeding. Carrying your pet can cause further damage and they should be placed on a stretcher for transportation. Never try to set a break or fracture yourself. Done improperly, this may cause irreparable damage.

Seizures

Do not attempt to restrain your pet during a seizure. Doing so may injure you and your pet. Move any heavy objects your pet could bump into such as furniture and be sure to time the seizure (usually 2-3 minutes). After your pet has come back around, contact your veterinarian.

Bleeding (External)

After muzzling your pet, identify the injured area. Using gauze or a clean bandage, apply firm pressure to the affected area for at least 3 minutes or until bleeding stops. If bleeding is severe and located on your pet’s legs, use an elastic band or clean t-shirt as a tourniquet between the wound and body. Once you’ve stopped the bleeding, seek veterinary attention.

Poisoning

More difficult to identify, there are a wide range of symptoms exhibited by an exposure to toxins. Vomiting, convulsions,  diarrhea and weakness are among the most common. Do not induce vomiting. Instead, identify the source of poisoning and contact poison control.

sick dog

Animal CPR

If you ever discover you pet to be unconscious, administering CPR can save a life. The American Animal Hospital Association has assembled a thorough guide for performing pet CPR.

Of course, not everyone needs to be certified — or even take courses for that matter — but knowing how to respond and care for animals properly in an emergency situation is important. BestBullySticks hopes you never run into an emergency. Being prepared never hurts, though. From our selection of dog apparel — essential for extreme climates— to custom dog tags and leashes, we’ve got you covered! So take the time to review the information above and if you are interested, enroll in the American Red Cross’ first aid course.

For even more information, check out our four-part series on animal first aid covering first aid kits and disaster preparedness, treating dog burns, treating dog bites, and CPR and Heimlich for canines.

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