<![CDATA[NBC 6 South Florida - ]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcmiami.com/feature/all-about-animals http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC+6+LOGO+GOOGLE.png NBC 6 South Florida http://www.nbcmiami.com en-us Thu, 27 Nov 2014 15:49:45 -0500 Thu, 27 Nov 2014 15:49:45 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Miami-Dade Animal Services Adoptable Pets - Nov. 28, 2014]]> Wed, 26 Nov 2014 08:25:10 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/160*120/Lady+A1660489.jpg Miami-Dade Animal Services Adoptable Pets - Nov. 28, 2014]]> <![CDATA[Local Shelters to Offer Black Friday Adoption Specials]]> Mon, 24 Nov 2014 15:51:47 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/shelter+black+friday+112214.jpg

Two Broward shelters are teaming up to find homeless pets new families for the holidays.

The Humane Society of Broward County and Broward County Animal Care will hold a "Name Your Price" pet adoption event on Black Friday, November 28th.

Both shelters will open an hour early at 9:30 a.m. with "door busters," where adoption fees will be waived for select pets. After the first hour, adopters will be able to name their own adoption fee for any pet over the age of 5 months. Regular adoption fees range from $25 to $100.

All pet adoptions from the shelters include spaying or neutering, preliminary vaccinations, microchips, heartworm tests for dogs over seven months, and feline leukemia tests for cats.

While the two shelters are not affiliated with each other, they say they are teaming up with the common goal of finding homes for animals in their care.

On Friday, November 28th, the Humane Society of Broward County will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., while Broward County Animal Care will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

To learn more about the Black Friday deal, visit the Humane Society's website here, or Broward Animal Care's website here.

Thanksgiving Safety Tips

1. Keep your pet on his regular feeding schedule and feed your pet only his regular food. DO NOT give your pet any part of the turkey. While people may think that turkey is safe, often the seasoning from the turkey drippings, along with the skin and gravy can cause pancreatitis — inflammation of the pancreas. In particular, DO NOT feed your pet turkey bones! Turkey bones are particularly dangerous since they can splinter and cause intestinal damage.

2. Secure the garbage pail! Table scraps, food wrappings, bones and other items can be tempting to your pet. Even simple items like aluminum foil and the string from the turkey can be harmful if consumed. Be sure that all trash containers, both inside the house and outside, are securely closed so that animals cannot tear through the garbage for a private Thanksgiving feast.

3. Keep your pet in another room during dinnertime, so they can't sit and beg at the table. This way guests will not be tempted to give them any food.

4. Do not give pets chocolate, alcohol or eggnog! Chocolate is toxic and can affect the heart and nervous system, and eggnog can give them diarrhea.  Alcohol can cause coma and even death. Make sure your pet has plenty of fresh water to drink.

5. Most importantly, make sure your pet is wearing proper identification. Pets can easily escape through the front or back doors when guests come into your home. Remember that all dogs and cats (even “indoor cats”) within Broward County must be registered and wear the Broward County Rabies Registration tag on their collar. This is the best way to ensure that your pet is reunited with you if he or she becomes lost during the Thanksgiving holiday or any other day.

For more animal news, check out our new All About Animals page.



Photo Credit: Humane Society of Broward County and Broward Animal Care and Adoption]]>
<![CDATA[Featured Pet: Sabrina]]> Sun, 23 Nov 2014 17:53:12 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/WTVJ_000000015684431_1200x675_362524227835.jpg Sabrina is an energetic puppy from the Humane Society of Broward County who is looking for a forever home.]]> <![CDATA[Featured Pet: Sabrina]]> Sun, 23 Nov 2014 16:12:58 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/214*120/sabrina+featured+pet+112314.PNG

Our featured pet from the Humane Society of Broward County is Sabrina, a 3-month-old Papillon/Jack Russell Terrier mix puppy.

Sabrina is only about four pounds now, and should be 8 to 10 pounds full-grown. She is a sweet, adorable pup that is full of energy. She is playful and loves toys. Sabrina needs a family with a lot of patience and plenty of energy to keep up with her.

For more information on how to adopt Sabrina or any other animal, call (954) 989-3977 or visit the Humane Society of Broward County's website here.

For more animal news, visit our new All About Animals page.

]]>
<![CDATA[Pet of the Week: Max]]> Sat, 22 Nov 2014 15:11:37 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/216*120/potw+max+112214.PNG Our pet of the week from the Humane Society of Greater Miami is Max, a 2-month-old Chihuahua mix puppy.]]> <![CDATA[Pet of the Week: Max]]> Sat, 22 Nov 2014 15:12:03 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/216*120/potw+max+112214.PNG

Our pet of the week is Max, a 2-month-old Chihuahua mix puppy from the Humane Society of Greater Miami.

Max is a very sweet and well-behaved dog. He loves other dogs and even cats. Max won't get much bigger, and would make a great family dog.

All adoptions include spay or neuter surgery, vaccinations and microchipping. For more information on how to adopt Max or any other animal, call 305-696-0800 or visit the Humane Society's website here.

For more animal news, visit our new All About Animals page. 

]]>
<![CDATA[Tallest, Oldest Giraffe at Zoo Miami Dies]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 17:17:30 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/tallest+giraffe+dies.jpg

Zoo Miami's tallest and oldest giraffe has died.

The 17-year-old male giraffe named Fezzik died during a veterinary exam Friday at 11:30 a.m.

Zoo officials said Fezzik had started to show difficulty in using his front right leg to walk. Zoo veterinarians sedated him to take a closer look at his leg. About a half hour into the procedure, the 2,263-pound giraffe arrested. Veterinarians tried to reverse the anesthesia and resuscitate him, but they were unsuccessful.

Fezzik was born at the St. Louis Zoo on May, 17, 1997. He was transferred to Zoo Miami on May 23, 1998. He was sharing an exhibit with six other giraffes and fathered numerous calves during his time at Zoo Miami.

Veterinarians are conducting additional exams to further investigate the death.



Photo Credit: Zoo Miami]]>
<![CDATA[Pregnant Dolphin Found Shot to Death on Florida Beach]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 16:52:38 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/042214+baby+dolphin+miami+seaquarium+panama.jpg

Wildlife officials say a pregnant bottlenose dolphin was found shot dead on a Florida beach.

The dolphin, who was within weeks of giving birth, was found on Miramar Beach in the panhandle.

Necropsy results showed a bullet lodged in her lung and that she was shot on the upper right side, likely with a small caliber firearm. Officials said it's possible the dolphin was shot one to two days before she was found.

Officials said similar cases have been seen in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama in the last several years. Dolphins have been found strangled or shot, and one was found with a screwdriver lodged in its head.

"Unfortunately, these dolphins face many threats, including the continued impacts from the Gulf oil spill, fishing gear entanglements, and habitat loss," said Courtney Vail, Whale and Dolphin Conservation's Campaigns and Programs Manager, in a press release. "It is disheartening that they are also subjected to brutal attacks and targeted vandalism.”

The Whale and Dolphin Conservation is offering a $2,500 reward for information that may lead to an arrest. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Office of Law Enforcement is investigating the case. Anyone with information is urged to call the NOAA Enforcement Hotline anonymously at 1-800-853-1964.



Photo Credit: Miami Seaquarium]]>
<![CDATA[All About Animals]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 13:01:08 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/WTVJ_000000015668920_1200x675_361822275950.jpg Roxanne Vargas talks to Miami-Dade Animal Services about the importance of not forgetting shelter pets this Holiday season.]]> <![CDATA[Broward Humane Society's Adoptable Pets - Nov. 21, 2014]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 12:37:55 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/180*120/Apple+Pie+519108.jpg This week's adoptable pets from the Broward Humane Society.]]> <![CDATA[Miami-Dade Animal Services Adoptable Pets - Nov. 21, 2014]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 11:50:06 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/160*146/Skippy+A1659919.jpg Miami-Dade Animal Services Adoptable Pets - Nov. 21, 2014]]> <![CDATA[Featured Pet: Buster]]> Sun, 16 Nov 2014 18:19:41 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/WTVJ_000000015572791_1200x675_359462979668.jpg Our featured pet is Buster, a 1.5-year-old American Staffordshire Terrier mix who is looking for a forever home.]]> <![CDATA[Featured Pet: Buster]]> Sun, 16 Nov 2014 16:18:28 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/214*120/featured+pet+buster+1116.PNG

Our featured pet is Buster, a 1.5-year-old American Staffordshire Terrier mix who wants to find a forever home.

Buster is a friendly dog with a sweet personality. He is housebroken, walks well on a leash, and is well-trained already. Buster would make a great family dog.

Buster's adoption fee is only $50 and includes neutering, vaccinations and microchip. For more information on how to adopt him or any other animal, call (954) 359-1313 or visit Broward County Animal Care's website here.

For more animal news, visit our new All About Animals page. 

]]>
<![CDATA[Pet of the Week: Homer]]> Sat, 15 Nov 2014 16:30:46 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/WTVJ_000000015569567_1200x675_359177795565.jpg Our pet of the week is Homer, a 3-4 year old bulldog mix who is looking for a loving home.]]> <![CDATA[Pet of the Week: Homer]]> Sat, 15 Nov 2014 16:31:19 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/214*120/potw+homer+1115.PNG

Our pet of the week is Homer, a 3 - 4 year old bulldog mix who is looking for a loving home.

Homer is a gentle, easygoing dog. He was found begging for food on Lincoln Road, and a Good Samaritan brought him to an animal hospital. Saving Sage Animal Rescue took him in, and is now looking for a new family for Homer.

If you are interested in adopting Homer or any other animal, contact Saving Sage Animal Rescue at (305) 298-8346 or visit their Facebook page here.

For more animal news, visit our new All About Animals page.

]]>
<![CDATA[All About Animals: Picking the Perfect Pet]]> Fri, 14 Nov 2014 13:12:01 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/WTVJ_000000015558764_1200x675_358293059757.jpg The experts from Miami-Dade Animal Services share some insight on picking the perfect pet for your home.]]> <![CDATA[Broward Humane Society's Adoptable Pets - Nov. 14, 2014]]> Fri, 14 Nov 2014 11:51:16 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/180*120/111314Lilly+518548.JPG Adoptable cats, dogs and bunnies from the Humane Society of Broward County.

Photo Credit: Humane Society of Broward County]]>
<![CDATA[Dogs Suffering Mysterious Seizures in SoBe]]> Fri, 14 Nov 2014 18:54:09 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/rocco+for+web.jpg

Concern is growing among dog owners in Miami Beach after several dogs have suffered mysterious and sometimes fatal seizures.

Last week, dog owner Lorenzo Ramos said he was having lunch at Las Olas Cafe on 6th Street and Euclid Avenue when his 2-year-old French bulldog started having a violent seizure.

"He was getting really stiff," Ramos said. "It felt like he was burning from the inside."

Ramos said his dog Rocco had walked into some bushes earlier on Euclid at 5th Street and had possibly eaten something from the bushes.

He took Rocco to Miami Beach Hospital on Alton Road where he died just an hour later.

"I really miss him a lot," Ramos said.

Another four dogs have become sick in the same area and two of those have also died.

While the cause of the seizures is still unknown, the City of Miami Beach is beginning to investigate. Police are now honing in on the 500 block of Euclid Avenue to see if anything in the area could be causing the dogs to become ill.



Photo Credit: Lorenzo Ramos]]>
<![CDATA[Miami-Dade Animal Services Adoptable Pets - Nov. 14, 2014]]> Fri, 14 Nov 2014 09:14:29 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/160*127/A1174715+Dukie.jpg Miami-Dade Animal Services Adoptable Pets - Nov. 14, 2014]]> <![CDATA[Help! My Cat Is Peeing Everywhere!]]> Wed, 12 Nov 2014 10:09:02 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/212*120/8c39561954574202b9482d48102e0ea0.jpg

Many cat owners have had the unfortunate experience of living with a cat who suddenly decides that her litterbox is no longer to her liking. For reasons known only to the cat, beds, furniture, and carpets become fair game for answering nature’s call. While this behavior is often dismissed as spiteful, fussy, or eccentric, the truth is that our cats may be trying to tell us something. Let’s take a look at some of the causes of this frustrating behavior.

Your Cat May Be Sick

Cats who are suffering from urinary tract infections, diabetes, or kidney disease may be unable to get to the litter box in time. Before addressing any behavioral issues, take your kitty to the vet for a thorough checkup. An analysis of her blood and urine will determine if she is dealing with a medical or behavioral problem. In my experience, I have found that resolving any underlying medical problems almost always stops the unwanted behavior.

You May Not Have Enough Litter Boxes

Households with cats should contain one litter box per cat, plus one extra box. For some of us, that’s a lot of litter boxes, but just making this one change can prevent or eliminate the problem completely. Each box should be scooped daily and the litter changed at least once per week. When changing the litter, wash the box thoroughly with a mild, non-citrus based cleanser. Nobody likes a dirty, high-volume public restroom. And neither do our cats.

Our Cats Do Not Share Our Tastes

Cat owners are big fans of covered litter boxes. They keep odors out of our environment, and discourage dogs and young children from going exploring. However, those same covers trap odors inside the box, making for a very unpleasant experience our cats! The same holds true for perfumed cat litters and heavily scented cleansers. You may also have to try several different types and textures of litter before finding one your kitty likes. Remember, what works in our world might not necessarily work for our cats. Make sure all litter boxes are as long as your cat from the tip of her nose to the tip of her tail, and that she can get in and out of the boxes easily. Shallow boxes are a better choice for young kittens and senior cats. Be mindful of the placement of boxes as well. Cats appreciate peace and privacy when nature calls, so place boxes in low-traffic areas, away from noisy appliances and rumbling garage doors.

Your Cat May Be Stressed

While it may seem to us that cats have the perfect life, once again, we need to look at the environment from their point of view. Changes we take in stride can be confusing and upsetting for a cat. A new partner, a new pet, a new baby, a new work schedule - these are just a few of the things that can wreak havoc on a cat’s sense of security. An anxious cat may respond to Feliway, a synthetic pheromone that mimics the scent of a lactating mother cat. While odorless to humans, the scent is very powerful to cats and can give them the sense of well-being and calm that stems from knowing that “Mommy is here.” Feliway is available as a spray or diffuser and can be found on Amazon.com. Stress can be managed by enriching your cat’s environment with food puzzles, extra play sessions, and Cat Sitter DVDs that can be played while you are not at home. A shelf mounted to a window sill can provide hours of entertainment and relaxation, especially if the window faces a bird feeder or butterfly garden. These simple changes do wonders for alleviating boredom, which is yet another source of stress for our cats.

Your Cat May Feel Threatened

If you live in a multi-cat household, you may have a bully in your midst. Inter-cat intimidation can be very subtle, so watch out for staring contests and resource guarding. A bully cat may even guard the litter boxes! If you suspect your cat is being bullied, the bully needs to wear a cat-safe collar with a bell on it. This will warn your other cats of his presence and give them ample time to move away. Give your cats access to high places such as shelves and kitty condos, as height gives them a sense of security, as well other options for avoiding or escaping bullies.

It also helps to evaluate the outside of your home. South Florida is home to a large population of free-roaming and feral cats. Ferals may be visiting your yard while you are sleeping or away from your home. While their presence can easily go unnoticed by humans, our cats are acutely aware of theses uninvited guests. Outdoor cats may be hissing or glaring at your cat through sliding glass doors, or marking their territory just outside your home. This can cause tremendous anxiety for your cat, and can drive her to mark her territory inside your home. Discourage outdoor cats from eliminating near your home by replacing dirt with rocks or concrete. If you don’t want to tear up your gardens, place plastic forks with the prongs pointing up in the soil to prevent digging. And if you’re not growing edibles, a generous sprinkling of cayenne pepper will quickly and humanely let ferals know that your garden is not their bathroom. If you feed outdoor cats, make sure they are all spayed and neutered and feed them as far away from your home as possible.

Inappropriate elimination is the most common reason adult cats are surrendered to shelters. And adult cats with behavioral problems rarely make it out of shelters alive. With a little proactive management and a lot of empathy, we can help our fabulous felines live the rich, fulfilled life that they deserve.

Do you have a question for Dr. Kupkee? Send it to (link to email). Click here for special offers and discounts exclusively for NBC 6 fans!
 


This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Featured Pet: Bambi]]> Sun, 09 Nov 2014 13:43:43 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/bambi+featured+pet+nov+9.PNG

Our featured pet from the Humane Society of Broward County is Bambi, a 6-month-old Chihuahua.

Bambi is only about 6 pounds. He is a sweet dog, but is a little shy. He loves cuddling and being a lap dog. Bambi would do best in a quiet home.

For more information on how to adopt Bambi or any other animal, call (954) 989-3977 or visit the Humane Society of Broward County's website here.

For more animal news, visit our new All About Animals page.

]]>
<![CDATA[Pet of the Week: Ace]]> Sat, 08 Nov 2014 14:09:35 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/WTVJ_000000015462352_1200x675_355510339530.jpg Our pet of the week is Ace, a five-year-old Chihuahua mix who is looking for his forever home.]]> <![CDATA[Pet of the Week: Ace]]> Sat, 08 Nov 2014 14:09:54 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/00CD35F2.jpg

Our pet of the week is Ace, a 5-year-old chihuahua mix from the Humane Society of Greater Miami.

Ace is a very sweet and relaxed dog. He would love to be someone's lap dog, and would need very little training. Ace would make a great family dog.

For the month of November, all dogs over four years old and all cats over two years old at the Humane Society of Greater Miami have all of their adoption fees waived for Adopt a Senior Pet month.

All adoptions include spay or neuter surgery, vaccinations and microchipping. For more information on how to adopt Ace or any other animal, call 305-696-0800 or visit the Humane Society's website here.

For more animal news, visit our new All About Animals page. 

]]>
<![CDATA[Broward Humane Society's Adoptable Pets - Nov. 6, 2014]]> Thu, 06 Nov 2014 13:50:58 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/180*120/110614Albert+397961.jpg Broward Humane Society's Adoptable Pets - Nov. 6, 2014]]> <![CDATA[$500 Offered for Molly's Safe Return]]> Tue, 11 Nov 2014 10:45:43 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/160*160/8c31dc98253f4bdc9d0edcc28cce13e8.jpg

A family is heartbroken after having lost their 10-year-old, black and tan, 5-pound Yorkie.
Molly went missing on Friday, October 31st in the area of Miami Children's Hospital -- Schenley Park.
"Please help us find her," says Lourdes Milian. "She is in urgent need of medication."
If you have seen Molly, or know of her whereabouts, please call 305-490-4827.
The family is offering a $500 Reward for Molly's safe return.



Photo Credit: Lourdes Milian]]>
<![CDATA[Miami-Dade Animal Services Adoptable Pets - Nov. 7, 2014]]> Thu, 13 Nov 2014 16:02:59 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/160*120/Kosmo+A1655877.jpg Miami-Dade Animal Services Adoptable Pets - Nov. 7, 2014

Photo Credit: Miami-Dade Animal Services]]>
<![CDATA[Wildlife Officials Arrest "Gator Whisperer"]]> Thu, 06 Nov 2014 22:57:36 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/gator+whisperer.jpg

A self-proclaimed "gator whisperer" is out of jail Thursday night after wildlife investigators said he was getting too close to the creatures.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission said they received a tip last week that a man calling himself the "Gator Whisperer" was offering potential customers the opportunity to get in the water with alligators for $250.

Undercover FWC officers responded and found 51-year-old Hal Kreitman in the southern Everglades, getting in the water with a mask and fins and swimming with the alligators, officials said. Kreitman allegedly had customers with him in the water, swimming with the gators.

Investigators arrested Kreitman and charged him with violating fish and wildlife regulations and harassment of a protected species.

"I knew FWC was going to do something, maybe give me a fine or something, had no idea I was going nto be out in handcuffs for that," Kreitman told NBC 6.

He later posted a $2500 bond and got out at the Monroe County jail on Plantation Key. It is unclear if he has an attorney.

"I know the law book on alligators like a priest knows a Bible. There is nothing mentioned in the FWC regulations that touching is harassing," Kreitman said.

The FWC says licenses are available to those with the proper training, experience and facilities to possess alligators and exhibit them to the public. Permits are also available to harvest alligators in the wild at certain times of the year. Officials warn that handling and exhibiting alligators without the proper licensing is illegal and a danger to the public.

"They're afraid I'm going to condition the animal to be more tolerant to animals," Kreitman said. "Do you know any humans who are going to step in the water to touch animals?"

When asked if Kreitman was going to go back to what he was doing, he answered, "Absolutely."



Photo Credit: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission via Facebook]]>
<![CDATA[Woman With Alzheimer's Seeks Help Finding Lost Dog]]> Wed, 05 Nov 2014 14:42:27 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/lost+dog+maltese.jpg

An elderly woman named Beverly needs your help finding her four-legged friend.

Buddy, a Maltese and Poodle mix, escaped from the backyard of Beverly’s home on Sunday. He was last seen on 26th Avenue in Hollywood.

Neighbors say they saw a man picking Buddy up and putting him in a car.

Beverly has Alzheimer's and her daughter recently had to move her from California to South Florida so she could be closer to her mom.

The family is desperate to find Buddy because he is the only one who can keep Beverly calm.

Buddy has a California tag with a blue collar.

If you have seen him, please contact Diane Ayers at 954-270-0503. A reward is being offered.

]]>
<![CDATA[Broward County Animal Care's Last Chance Dogs]]> Tue, 04 Nov 2014 14:35:16 -0500 here Personality: Short and stocky, Applesauce is a sweet treat of a girl. Found with another dog in a warehouse, Applesauce’s friend was adopted quickly but since Applesauce is a little shy, she has yet to find a home. Applesauce really needs someone to step up for her now; she is incredibly sweet and doting. If you can help, please stop by Broward County Animal Care and Adoption, 1870 SW 39th Street, Fort Lauderdale. We are open for adoptions Tuesday through Friday from 1 to 6 p.m. Also, Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. ]]> here Personality: Short and stocky, Applesauce is a sweet treat of a girl. Found with another dog in a warehouse, Applesauce’s friend was adopted quickly but since Applesauce is a little shy, she has yet to find a home. Applesauce really needs someone to step up for her now; she is incredibly sweet and doting. If you can help, please stop by Broward County Animal Care and Adoption, 1870 SW 39th Street, Fort Lauderdale. We are open for adoptions Tuesday through Friday from 1 to 6 p.m. Also, Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. ]]> http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/181*120/Applesauce-A1704470+%286%29.JPG These dogs are classified as "urgent" because they have been with the Animal Care department longer than most other dogs.]]> <![CDATA[Can My Pet Get Ebola?]]> Mon, 03 Nov 2014 19:08:42 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/AP787652208192.jpg

At the time of this writing, there are two epidemics spreading throughout the globe: Ebola and Ebola hysteria. While some pet parents have asked if they should be concerned about Ebola as it relates to their pets, I swore I was not going to write an article on this topic. I told my wife there was too much hype. I was not going feed the fear-mongering beast. Surely by setting an example of calm and composure, the veterinary community could help ensure that cooler heads prevailed.

On Oct. 8, a 12-year-old dog named Excalibur was euthanized by health officials in Spain. His owner was a nurse who had contracted Ebola while caring for one of her patients. Her husband broke down and wept when health officials gave the order. I don’t blame him. The case made me angry, and I’m still angry. So here it is, the article I swore I would never write.

Why all the fear?

In 2005, a French research team conducted the only scientific study to date on the Ebola virus in dogs. Their test subjects were dogs living in the vicinity of the 2001-2002 outbreak in Gabon. Clinical signs of Ebola were not observed in any of the dogs in the study, nor have scientists in Africa seen dogs manifesting clinical signs during the current outbreak. In other words, none of the dogs got sick. Some of the dogs in the 2005 study, however, tested positive for Ebola antibodies. The presence of antibodies suggests a history of some sort of exposure to the disease. From there, scientists began to wonder if dogs could transmit Ebola to humans, without getting sick themselves.

How is Ebola transmitted?

In a statement released just last week, the Center for Disease Control reiterated the ways in which the Ebola virus is transmitted. The virus spreads through direct contact with the blood or other bodily fluids (including, but not necessarily limited to urine, sweat, semen, feces, saliva, vomit or breast milk) of a person who is sick from the virus. Such fluids would have to make contact with broken skin or mucous membranes (such as those found in the eyes, nose or mouth) in order to cause infection in another person. Contaminated needles can spread the disease as well.

So how did the dogs in the French study get exposed?

It is important to note that dogs in rural West African villages do not live the same carefree lives as their American counterparts. The dogs in the study lived exclusively outdoors, and were not owned by any one family or individual. Think of them as friendly, neighborhood strays. Sometimes they were fed, other times they had to fend for themselves. They were regularly observed feeding and scavenging from the carcasses of animals and humans that had died of the Ebola virus. Let that last part sink in a little: dogs who tested positive for Ebola antibodies fed on the corpses of animals and humans who died from Ebola. Sorry for the mental picture. Hence another reason I did not want to write this article - there’s just no way to present this material without invoking the queasies.

Are American dogs and cats at risk?

According to the CDC, “The risk of an Ebola outbreak affecting multiple people in the United States is very low. Therefore, the risk to pets is also very low, as they would have to come into contact with blood and body fluids of a person with Ebola.”

Scientists are continuing to study Ebola, and the veterinary community is staying on top of their findings. We have already learned from the haste of the Spanish authorities, and handled the dog owned by an Ebola patient in Dallas much differently. We will notify pet parents as any relevant new findings emerge. For the latest information from the Florida Veterinary Medical Association, please click here. In the meantime, keep calm, and enjoy your pets!

Do you have a question for Dr. Kupkee? Send him an email here. Click here to check out deals and discounts exclusively for NBC 6 fans!



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Officials Investigating "Suspicious" Alligator Death]]> Mon, 03 Nov 2014 17:40:23 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/022211+alligator+generic.jpg

Investigators are looking into what they are calling a suspicious alligator death.

The 6.5-foot alligator was found floating on the west end of the Seven-Mile Bridge near the boat ramp on Wednesday in Monroe County, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

FWC officers removed the alligator from the water, took its measurements and disposed of its body.

Investigators say it is likely that a vehicle backed up into a set of parking spaces and dumped the alligator carcass into the water.

Alligators are federally protected but eligible for state-approved management and control programs. They can only be legally taken by individuals with proper licenses and permits.

Anyone with information on the death of this alligator is asked to call the FWC at 888-404-FWCC (3922).



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Featured Pet: Rojo]]> Sun, 02 Nov 2014 12:54:24 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/WTVJ_000000015356635_1200x675_351407171905.jpg Our featured pet this week is Rojo, a 2-year-old lab mix who is looking for a loving home.]]> <![CDATA[Featured Pet: Rojo]]> Sun, 02 Nov 2014 12:54:47 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/210*120/00CC6588.jpg

Our pet of the week is Rojo, a 2-year-old lab mix who wants to find a forever home.

Rojo is a friendly dog with a sweet personality. He is housebroken, walks well on a leash, and would make a wonderful family dog.

Rojo's adoption fee is only $50 and includes neutering, vaccinations and microchip. For more information on how to adopt him or any other animal, call (954) 359-1313 or visit Broward County Animal Care's website here.

For more animal news, visit our new All About Animals page.

]]>
<![CDATA[Pets of the Week: Joey, Hank and Petey]]> Sat, 01 Nov 2014 16:23:56 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/214*120/joey_poochesinpines.PNG

Our pets (yes, plural) of the week are Joey, Hank and Petey. These 9-week-old puppies are looking for loving homes.

All three pups are incredibly sweet and friendly dogs. They love kids and other dogs, and get along with cats as well.

Pooches in Pines is helping Joey, Hank and Petey find forever families. Their adoption fees include vaccinations, neutering and microchipping.

For more information on how to adopt any of these pups or any other animal, visit the Pooches in Pines website here or on their Facebook page.

For more animal news, visit our new All About Animals page.

]]>
<![CDATA[Halloween Hazards and Your Pets]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 13:13:57 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/180*120/60621689230149ca818b9f9bfb67a1cc.JPG.jpg

No matter how old you are, or whether or not you have kids, Halloween is fun! But just like during other hectic holidays, fun and games need to be tempered with a little due diligence. Here are some tips to keep your fur kids safe this Halloween.

Keep candy away from pets

While cats are not generally drawn to candy, dogs will eat it with gusto. Chocolate contains theobromine, an alkaloid that is toxic to companion animals. Clinical signs of theobromine poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, and increased urination. These signs can to progress to irregular heartbeats, seizures, internal bleeding, cardiac arrest, and even death. While the amount of theobromine found in dark chocolate or baking chocolate is much higher than amounts found in milk chocolate, all chocolate candies can pose serious risks to your pet. The high fat and sugar contents can lead to gastrointestinal upset or life-threatening pancreatitis.

In addition to chocolate, nuts can pose problems for pets as well. Their shape, size, and texture make them difficult to digest, and in the worst case scenario, they can cause an obstruction that requires a surgical repair. Walnuts can contain toxins produced by fungi that can lead to neurological symptoms, and macadamia nuts have been linked to muscle tremors, hindquarter paralysis, high fever and rapid heart rate. As of this writing, veterinary researchers have not identified the substance that causes these symptoms. Raisins must also be kept away from pets. While scientists do not know why, raisins and grapes have been linked to kidney failure in dogs. And it only takes a small amount to make a dog seriously ill.

It is important to make sure children know about the doggie dangers in their trick-or-treat bags. Make sure they know that candy is never to be shared, and must be stored out of your pet's reach. Ask them to bring any unwanted candy to an adult so they will not be tempted to get rid of it by sharing it with your pet. If your pet has a habit of getting into the trash, try to find a creative solution for unwanted candy.

Remember that Halloween is scary

While many pets are happy to join in the fun, some find it absolutely terrifying. Constant ringing of doorbells, strangers at the door, loud noises, freaky costumes - all of these things can be frightening to dogs and cats. Since the front door is likely to opening and closing often, the best place for your cat may be in another room, behind a closed door, with access to food, water, and a litter box. If your dog is not having fun, it's okay to put her in her kennel. Frightened animals can bolt through open doors. Additionally, a frightened dog is statistically likely to bite. Keep a watchful eye on both dogs and children, and calmly remove dogs from situations that may trigger them to bite.

Clean up after crafts

If you are making Halloween costumes this year, clean up all crafting debris as soon as possible. Shiny needles and wispy threads are irresistible to cats. When swallowed, they present a life-threatening emergency. Ribbons and strings can cause problems as well, so keep your kitty away from the crafting supplies.

Keep pets inside

As Halloween approaches, our neighbors may decide to head out for a bit of mischief. Do not leave pets unattended outside where they can be teased, harassed, or frightened.
Most importantly - have fun! By taking a few simple precautions, we can save our pets from a scary Halloween trip to the vet!



Photo Credit: Mary Gales
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Adoptable Pets]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 11:48:15 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/broward+pets+thumb.jpg This week's adoptable pets from the Broward Humane Society.]]> <![CDATA[Puppy in Need of Reconstructive Surgery After Hit-and-Run Crash]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 07:42:02 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/puppy+run+over.jpg

A 5-month-old puppy is in need of reconstructive surgery after he was found bleeding on the side of the road over the weekend.

The puppy, a tan-colored lab mix, was found Saturday after he was hit by a car at 174 NW 2nd Avenue in Florida City. Officials said the puppy, which they named Ken, dragged himself from the middle of the road onto a nearby grassy area using only his two front legs because the back two were injured.

A passerby saw Ken and called Miami-Dade Animal Services just before 6 p.m. on Saturday. Animal Services and Miami-Dade Police arrived at the scene to investigate and to treat the puppy.

Officials took Ken to an emergency clinic where veterinarians gave him pain medication and emergency treatment. He was hospitalized until Monday morning when he was taken to Pou Veterinary Group in Kendall.

Preliminary exams show Ken did not have internal injuries, but he will need reconstructive surgery for his two back legs, one of which was shattered by the crash.

Non-profit organization No Paw Left Behind is asking for donations to pay for Ken's emergency care and surgery costs, which total at least $5,300. Ken will also need follow up and recovery care.

Ken will be in the hospital for the rest of the week and will be ready to go to a foster home by the weekend. To find out how to donate, or how to foster or adopt Ken, visit NoPawLeftBehind.org.



Photo Credit: No Paw Left Behind]]>
<![CDATA[Firefighters Rescue Ducklings With Vacuum]]> Wed, 29 Oct 2014 10:38:45 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/102914+fort+lauderdale+firefighters+rescue+ducklings.jpg

Fort Lauderdale firefighters devised an ingenious way to save a group of ducklings found trapped in a drain pipe.

The firefighters from Fire Rescue Haz Mat 88 were out training Sunday when they came across an adult duck in distress near a drainpipe.

Chirping noises were coming out of the 4-inch pipe which was about 4-feet deep and turned sharply into a building at a right angle.

To get the ducklings out, firefighters decided to use a shop vacuum to suction the ducklings out to safety.

When they were finished, the firefighters had pulled nine ducklings out. Their mother sat by and greeted each one as it was taken out.



Photo Credit: Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue]]>
<![CDATA[Tortoise X-Ray Shows Tiny Turtle Pendant Inside]]> Wed, 29 Oct 2014 07:18:37 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/160*120/turtleinturtle.jpg

Veterinarians see a little bit of everything in their day-to-day work, but Dr. Don Harris got a bit of a surprise when he X-rayed a tortoise on Monday.

Harris was examining Lola the tortoise after his owner brought the male tortoise into Avian & Exotic Animal Medical Center because he was acting poorly over the weekend and wasn’t as hungry as usual. It turns out, Lola had been having stomach problems for about a month, so Harris sent the tortoise for an X-ray.

“When I saw the X-ray, I thought the staff was playing a joke on me,” Harris said. “What I saw in the tortoise’s intestines was a little metallic sea turtle. I thought they had slipped a pendant under the tortoise. But somewhere along the way, this guy ate a little metallic sea turtle.”

Harris said tortoises graze like cattle and eat the grass, plants, and other things; so it’s not uncommon for them to eat rocks and other objects. But, the vet said this was the first time he’s ever seen a turtle eating a turtle pendant.

The vet said Lola is in good health and that the small turtle pendant should be digested soon.



Photo Credit: Dr. Don Harris]]>
<![CDATA[Exotic Bird Stolen From Flamingo Gardens]]> Sun, 26 Oct 2014 17:32:46 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/160*130/snappy_flamingo_gardens.jpg

An exotic bird was stolen from Flamingo Gardens in Davie Saturday night.

Snappy, a 35-year-old African Grey parrot, has resided at the wildlife sanctuary in Davie for 15 years. Officals believe the thief scaled a fence, cut the bird's enclosure and snatched the parrot sometime between 11 p.m. Saturday night and 7 a.m. Sunday morning. Caregivers arrived to feed the bird, only to discover a hole cut into the exhibit and the screen ripped away from the structure.

Laura Wyatt, Curator of wildlife at the sanctuary, hopes the bird will be returned.

"He's not a particularly social bird, and has been living here happy and comfortable for so long," Wyatt said. "It pains me to think of him stressed out in a small or crowded cage waiting to be sold."

Staff at Flamingo Gardens said Snappy is known to mimic cellphone ringtones, a "wolf" whistle, and the song Stars and Stripes Forever. They are asking anyone with information to call Flamingo Gardens at (954) 473-2955 or notify Davie Police.



Photo Credit: Flamingo Gardens]]>
<![CDATA[Pit Bull Awareness Month: Dispelling Myths]]> Sun, 26 Oct 2014 16:35:24 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/WTVJ_000000015253569_1200x675_348094019531.jpg Dr. Ian Kupkee from Sabal Chase Animal Clinic wants to dispel popular myths about the pit bull breed.]]> <![CDATA[Pet of the Week: Archie]]> Sat, 25 Oct 2014 15:48:48 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/211*120/00CB8AE1.jpg Archie is a 1-year-old terrier mix from the Humane Society of Greater Miami who is looking for a loving home.]]> <![CDATA[Pet of the Week: Archie]]> Sat, 25 Oct 2014 14:48:55 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/211*120/00CB8AE1.jpg

Our pet of the week is Archie, a 1-year-old terrier mix from the Humane Society of Greater Miami.

Archie is very sweet and good with other dogs. He has plenty of energy, and walks well on a leash. Archie would make a great family dog.

All adoptions include spay or neuter surgery, vaccinations and microchipping. For more information on how to adopt Archie or any other animal, call 305-696-0800 or visit the Humane Society's website here

For more animal news, visit our new All About Animals page. 

]]>
<![CDATA[Kitten Needs Donations to Repair Leg]]> Tue, 28 Oct 2014 14:19:48 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/160*284/Crushed+kitten+leg.jpg

A good Samaritan, who rescued a two-month-old kitten named Jasper, needs your help.

Jasper was nearly crushed by a wooden panel in Miami and escaped with a broken leg. He now needs surgery to repair the fracture, but his rescuer, Achliann Gallardo, doesn't have enough funds for the procedure.

The Animal Welfare Society of South Florida's estimates the surgery and follow up care will cost $1,776.

Gallardo has set up a fund to help offset the cost. Click here if you’d like to help.
 

]]>
<![CDATA[Adoptable Pets]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 10:13:03 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/180*120/102314Scrappy+517160.jpg This week's pets available at the Humane Society of Broward County.]]>