Paws please!, It’s a Dog’s Year & Be lucky, Our Kid!

Taken from Lynne’s weekly column ‘Green Scene’ for the Western Mail. 17th February 2018 
 Paws Please!

I was mortified to hear that a deadly dog disease has spread further into Wales after two new cases were confirmed recently.

It’s the first I have heard about Alabama Rot, and it’s got to be a worry for all dog owners as there is no known cure and nor is it known how dogs contract the often fatal disease.  9 out of 10 dogs with the disease have died, and within a week or the first symptoms.  That’s terrifying.

It is thought that it can be picked up on the dog’s paws and legs during muddy walks and could possibly something that is found in rotting leaves.  The dog then licks it’s paws or legs and whatever it is, is ingested and results in kidney failure.  The disease affects all breeds of dogs and is prevalent in wet conditions.

Often the very first signs of Alabama Rot include a sore on the skin, commonly under the knee, and which is not caused by a known injury.  The skin can become red and the sore can look like an open ulcer.

Within just one week pets can start to show physical signs of sudden kidney failure including vomiting, loss of appetite and unusual tiredness.  Other symptoms include discolouration in their eyes, gums or nostrils.

In Wales previous reports of Alabama Rot have been found in Wrexham, Caldicot and Buckholt Wood in Monmouthshire but just last month an 11-year-old Jack Russell, Bilbo, from the Rhondda died from complications related to the disease.  And a case of Alabama Rot was found in Brecon after a dog was walked around the Brecon showground and on the Mynydd Illtyd.

Currently the only way to test for the deadly disease is from tissue obtained after death, so with no known cause or cure, vets are advising not to take your dogs for walks in muddy, wooded areas – especially if there’s recently been heavy rainfall but if you absolutely have to, make sure you wash your dog’s paws and legs thoroughly when you get back from the walk and regularly check for any signs of Alabama Rot.  I have always cursed having to bath Yogi when she gets particularly muddy after a walk, but now will be washing her ‘under-carriage’ off as part of the routine.

I always think awareness is essential in cases like this so please tell all your dog-owning friends and know the warning signs, they’re essential to catching it early.

And contact your vet if you have even the slightest concern that your dog has caught it.  Please let’s keep our ‘best friends’ safe.

It’s a Dog’s Year

Staying with the canine theme, yesterday was the Chinese New Year and 2018 is the Year of the Dog. Although I suspect Yogi thinks every year is her year!

The Chinese Horoscope predicts that 2018 is going to be a good year in all respects, but it will also be an exhausting year. You will be happy, yet frustrated, rested, yet tired, cheerful, yet dull!  Sounds like my life! Planning, postponing and negligence are words you will need to remove from your vocabulary during this year.

Whilst it will be a good year regarding the financial aspects, it could be a little difficult for most from a health point of view. In the Year of the Dog, all zodiac signs will want to pay special attention to their health. 2018 is the ideal time to start eating healthy, doing sports and getting rid of bad habits.

It’s also expected that some of us shall experience short periods of loneliness or transient melancholy, which should however nourish the most sensitive and most creative minds amongst us. For others, these moments can result in a flutter in the implementation of their life plans, which will then be delayed until the following year.

In Chinese astrology each zodiac year (rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig) is not just associated with an animal sign, but also one of five elements: Gold (Metal), Wood, Water, Fire, and Earth…the year of 2018 meets element of Earth, so 2018 is a Earth Dog Year.

Rather than being a good omen as I’d assumed, the dominant Chinese zodiac year for those whose birthdates match up to the animal in the 12-year cycle is actually supposed to be  unlucky. Born in 1946, this includes Donald Trump, who apparently despite being born in the Year of the Dog, is the only US President never to have owned a dog.  Now that is an omen in itself!

Be Lucky, Our Kid!

Lucky flowers for those born in the Year of the Dog include roses and orchids, so you may want to visit the orchid Exhibition at Kew Gardens which is on until the 11th March.  Whatever your Chinese Zodiac Sign, Kew’s 23rd annual Orchids Festival, will warm the cockles of your heart in the tropical paradise of the Princess of Wales Conservatory. You can immerse yourself in a celebration of Thailand’s vibrant colours, culture, and magnificent plant life, admire handcrafted Thai umbrellas, an exquisite Bang Pa-In inspired orchid palace and a special Thai cart on loan from Thailand’s embassy in London and learn about the significance of orchids in Thai cuisine, medicine and culture.

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