Archive for June, 2010

Please Support This Puppy Mill Bill

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

by Lisa Stahr

     My dog Belle is a wonderful, sweet, and oh-my-god-so-timid black Lab who was pulled out of a high-kill shelter in Georgia by Golden Gate Lab Rescue in California.  Belle has been a card-carrying member of our family for over two years now and we love her wholly, deeply, and without reservation.. The problem, though, is that Belle is afraid of everything, including parked cars, garbage cans, telephone poles, even falling leaves.  The behaviorist we take Belle to, a veterinarian who specializes in animal behavior, thinks our girl might have been a breeder dog in a puppy mill, which is why she’s so fearful; being kept in a crate all her life with no time out for exercise or play made Belle unfamiliar with–and thus, deathly afraid of–all the things that the rest of us take for granted, like parked cars, garbage cans, telephone poles, and falling leaves. 
     I’m familiar with the horrors of puppy mills; I did an episode on puppy mills and animal hoarders on Scout’s House’s Internet radio show, Special Pets, Special Needs (to listen, please go to and listen to Episode 6:  The Making of Special Needs Pets).  It’s a truly horrible life these animals live, plain and simple.  And as an animal lover, I would love to see puppy mills shut down for good.  
     So it should come as no surprise that I strongly support S. 3424/H.R. 5434, the Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety (PUPS) Act, introduced by Representative Sam Farr–and I urge you to support it to by signing this ASPCA petition:

And here is a nice summation of the S. 3424/H. R. 5434, courtesy of Anna Eshoo, congresswoman for California’s 14th District:

H.R. 5434 is designed to shore up restrictions on commercial dog breeders who evade animal cruelty regulations by marketing dogs directly to consumers. The bill would ensure that any high-volume breeder is required to provide dogs with sufficient space to exercise, humane and safe living conditions, and protection against forced activity unrelated to medical treatment.

Please take a moment to sign the ASPCA petition  Belle thanks you for it.  And so do I.

The Downside of Home-Cooked Meals (And Other Startling Facts About Pet Nutrition)

Monday, June 28th, 2010

by Lisa Stahr

   I’ve spent a fascinating day today reading some of the (many) publications issued by our July 6th podcast guest, veterinary nutrition guru Dr. Andrea Fascetti of UC Davis, and I can say with confidence that I am really looking forward to our show. 
     Dr. Fascetti is considered one of the leading veterinary nutritionists in the country and as such has strong opinions about what to feed your pet.  For example, did you know that in most cases it’s in the animal’s best interest to eat a commercially available food?  Or that home-cooked diets, although almost always delivered with the best of intentions, can be harmful to your pet?  Or that there are risks to adding nutritional supplements to a complete and balanced commercial diet? 
     Yeah, neither did I.
     So if you want to learn more about things like “diet drift” and the value of “feeding trials,” then don’t miss our next show on July 6th at 1pm Pacific time with Dr. Fascetti.  And bring your questions!

What To Feed Your Dog or Cat

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

     True confessions:  I work in veterinary medicine, I talk with veterinarians and researchers all the time for Scout’s House’s radio show about pet care, including pet nutrition, and yet I still am not sure I’m making the best food choices for my own pets. 
     Is the fish and potatoes kibble I give my dog with cancer the right choice?  Sure, it helps her allergies, but are there PCBs in the fish?  How much food should I be serving my tubby tabby everyday to get some weight off him?  It’s hard to know since there’s no caloric information about the cat food on the bag or can.  Is the premium cat food I buy for my cats really good for them or am I just putting out a lot of money for a bag full of chicken beaks? 
     So you can understand why I was so pleased to read about the new book Feed Your Pet Right: The Authoritative Guide to Feeding Your Dog and Cat by Marion Nestle and Malden Nesheim.  Nestle, a New York University nutrition professor and author of food industry exposés What to Eat and Food Politics, teamed up with Nesheim, a professor of nutrition emeritus from Cornell, to help pet owners decode all the confusing (and often conflicting) information that’s out there about pet nutrition so that we can make intelligent, informed choices about the food we feed our pets.   
     For more information about the book, click the links below.  And don’t miss our podcast on Tuesday, July 6th, when we talk with acclaimed veterinary nutritionist Dr. Andrea Fascetti from the University of California at Davis about the role of nutrition in the management and prevention of disease in dogs and cats.  To listen live–and to ask Dr. Fascetti your questions–go to at 1pm Pacific time on July 6th. 

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New Hope for Arthritic Pets

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010


We’ve been promising to do this for ages and now it’s finally here: our first e-newsletter. Our goal is to help keep you up-to-date on some of the amazing advances being made in veterinary medicine—and how those changes might help your special needs dog or cat live a better life.

In this first issue, we focus on arthritis because it’s such a common disease in dogs and cats, particularly in our older pets, and there are many new and exciting treatment options available.

If you’re a current Scout’s House client, be sure to read about our new Referral Program so that you can score a free rehab session for your pet.

And meet our Director of Rehab Therapy Krista Niebaum, who’s “In The Spotlight” this issue. Once you read about her credentials, you’ll understand why she’s considered one of the top rehab therapists in the country.

As always, we’re here to help—and heal!



New Hope for Arthritic Pets

As dogs and cats age, they become more likely to develop osteoarthritis, or OA. A progressive degenerative joint condition, OA—or, for simplicity’s sake, arthritis—can cause stiff and painful joints, decreased range of motion, limited activity, muscle atrophy, and a diminished quality of life for your pet. For years, veterinarians have treated arthritis with medication, lifestyle changes, and surgery. But today there are some exciting new treatment options available:

1005_feature01A study published in the March 2010 issue of the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association reports that omega-3 fatty acids can reduce the dose of carprofen (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories marketed as Rimadyl® and Novox®) needed for pain relief in dogs with chronic osteoarthritis. And research showed that dogs whose diets were supplemented with omega-3 fatty acids showed significant improvement in their ability to get up and move around after 12 weeks of supplementation over dogs who did not receive the fish oil. Because other studies have found omega-3 supplements can have high levels of toxic PCBs, we offer only Nordic Naturals Omega-3 Pet at Scout’s House, a product we’re confident is among the purest fish oil supplements available today. Shop now >>

At Scout’s House, we’ve treated many hundreds of pets with arthritis, most of them older dogs or dogs who’ve had surgery sometime in their lives (can you say “TPLO”?). Not only can rehab therapy help reduce the severity of your pet’s arthritis pain, but it can also reduce his or her reliance on pain medications.

Using a variety of modalities, including hydrotherapy, low-level laser therapy, e-stim, acupuncture, and PEMF, rehab therapy can improve the range of motion in a dog’s (or cat’s!) affected joints, increase muscle strength and endurance, and decrease the pain of arthritis. If you think rehab therapy can help your pet, call Scout’s House at (650) 328-1430 for an appointment, or click here to find a rehab therapy center near you.

An exciting new option for arthritic pets is stem cell therapy, which has proven to be especially effective in helping alleviate the pain of arthritis in dogs. Using your pet’s own fat (taken from an area behind your pet’s shoulder blades, chest wall, or abdomen), companies such as Vet-Stem separate the adult stem cells from the fat and then return the cells to your veterinarian, who injects them into the arthritic area(s). In one owner survey, the therapy was shown to improve the quality of life for more than 75% of dogs, including those with arthritis in the hips and in the elbows.

Finally, if your dog or cat has decreased mobility or functionality due to the pain of arthritis, consider getting a ramp or steps for getting into cars or up onto beds or sofas, and a harness with a handle (we recommend the Ruff Wear WebMaster harness) to make it easier to move her from place to place.

If your dog or cat is slow to get up, walks stiffly, or exhibits symptoms of pain, talk to your vet today. As you can see, there are many ways you can help your pet cope with osteoarthritis and live a more comfortable and more functional life.


Good for You

1005_feature03Announcing our new Referral Program for Scout’s House rehab clients. Just refer a friend to Scout’s House for rehab therapy for her/his pet and your pet’s next rehab session is free. That’s right: free—as in doesn’t cost you a cent!

Just tell your friends to give us your name when they come in for their initial exam and your pet’s next rehab session is on us. With gratitude!


In the Spotlight

1005_feature04Krista Niebaum, MPT, CCRT
Director of Rehabilitation Therapy

When we started Scout’s House five years ago, we knew we needed someone with a unique educational and prof- essional background to head up our rehab therapy program. And that’s exactly what we got when we met Krista. A licensed physical therapist for humans, Krista had significant experience treating human patients with spinal cord injuries and other neurological dysfunctions, as well as in geriatric medicine and orthotics/prosthetics—all of which gives her an especially solid background in treating many of the dogs and cats we see.

“While I always enjoyed working with my human patients,” Krista says, “there’s nothing more rewarding than receiving a tail wag, a happy bark, or a contented purr at the end of a treatment session.”

Krista is a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Therapist, having completed the Canine Rehabilitation Therapy certification program at the Canine Rehabilitation Institute (CRI) in Florida in early 2006. And she’s also on the faculty of CRI, teaching veterinarians, physical therapists, and registered veterinary technicians how to perform rehab therapy in their own clinics.