Coyotes in Suburbia: How to Protect Your Pets

Written by Jan on January 10, 2016 – 3:26 pm


At 9:15 AM one recent morning, two coyotes followed me and my two small dogs down the Southern California street we live on. Fortunately, one of my dogs alerted me as they stalked us from behind bushes. Later that afternoon, I spotted a coyote happily (hungrily?) trotting up the street. A neighbor spotted another nearby at 3:50 PM a few days later.

Nighttime coyote sightings are not uncommon in my suburban hillside neighborhood, but two coyotes tracking me and my dogs on a bright, sunny morning was something new. Afraid for my dogs’ lives, and not knowing exactly what to do, I called my husband to come pick us up and walked swiftly to a nearby house. We were safe … this time. I decided to research the subject and see how I could better protect my sweet dogs from injury or death.

Thankfully, no pet attacks have been reported in our community yet, but daytime aggression, coupled with more and more coyote droppings (scats) on our sidewalks and in a neighbor’s backyard, suggest that our coyotes are losing their fear of humans. Experts say now is the time for us start “retraining” our coyotes – for our sake and even theirs. Read more »

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Rabies Vaccine Titers: A Word from the AHVMA

Written by Jan on October 8, 2015 – 10:57 am

The American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association (AHVMA) is being proactive in trying to prevent rabies vaccine reactions. Together with amazing work from the Rabies Challenge Fund and Kansas State University, there is hope we will someday — although not yet — be able to change rabies laws to allow for blood titer testing to supplant revaccination of dogs that already have immunity to the virus. Please read this press release for some excellent information about the virus and on what’s happening. And send a copy to your own veterinarian.  — Jan

American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association


Contact: W. Jean Dodds, DVM,

October 6, 2015

The American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association (AHVMA) became the first national veterinary organization to support efforts by Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (KSVDL) to improve rabies testing with a modified screening test to determine if veterinary patients need to receive rabies booster vaccinations to maintain protective immunity. The AHVMA and its members have long expressed concern over animal vaccination practices. Read more »

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New Book on Nutrition by Veterinarian W. Jean Dodds!

Written by Jan on February 6, 2015 – 10:42 am



My good friend, veterinarian W. Jean Dodds, and Diana Laverdure, have written a new book called Canine Nutrigenomics: The New Science of Feeding Your Dog for Optimum Health. Dr. Dodds, as most of you know, is a world-famous expert in vaccination, hematology, titer testing, canine thyroid disease and more.  She is also co-founder of the amazing Rabies Challenge Fund study of the rabies vaccine. I interviewed Dr. Dodds at length for my own book Scared Poopless: The Straight Scoop on Dog Care and together we have twice fought dangerous legislation affecting California dogs.

I’ve ordered her book and can’t wait to read it. If you click Canine Nutrigenomics: The New Science of Feeding Your Dog for Optimum Health to buy the book, I’ll earn a very small commission that I will donate to the Rabies Challenge Fund. Otherwise, find Canine Nutrigenomics on or

Here’s a portion of the Dogwise press release.

Secrets to Feeding Dogs for Optimum Cellular Health and

Longevity Revealed in Groundbreaking New Book

Vibrant health begins in the cells. Learn how to transform your dog’s cellular health with the power of nutrigenomics in this ground-breaking new book. Nutrigenomics (a combination of the nutrition and genome) is the study of how the foods we and our pets eat “speak” to our cells to regulate gene expression, which in turn plays a huge role in determining whether a person or animal will live a life of vibrant health, or one plagued by illness. Read more »

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Spaying and Neutering: New Warnings About Health Problems

Written by Jan on February 3, 2015 – 10:42 pm


Cute little husky puppy isolated on white background Veterinarian Patricia Jordan sent me an excellent article recently that summarizes the new thinking on the negative medical consequences of spaying and neutering dogs, especially when surgery is performed on immature dogs.  This article, written by H.B. Turner, posted with her permission, and previously posted on her blog, is from her ‘Healthful Dog’ magazine

Though restricting indiscriminate breeding is vital to curb overpopulation of pets, we must learn to spay or neuter, whenever possible, when it won’t harm the dog’s health. As with many medical procedures, the risks must be weighed against the many benefits of sterilization. Talk with your veterinarian and decide what to do.


The Spay/Neuter Health Denigration

Sterilization will naturally serve to prevent any unwanted litters. In bitches, spaying will greatly reduce the risk of breast cancer, pyometra, perianal fistula and cancers of the reproductive organs.5

Spay surgery itself carries a somewhat high rate (around 20%) of complications such as infection, haemorrhage and even death.5

Spaying significantly increases the rate of urinary incontinence in bitches….about 20-30% of all spayed bitches will eventually develop this problem. This is believed to be most likely caused by the lack of estrogen that results from being spayed.1

Sterilization of males may reduce some unwanted sexual behaviours, but there are few other proven benefits to neutering a male dog. Testicular cancer is prevented, but the actual risk of that cancer is extremely low (0.1%) among intact dogs. Contrary to popular belief, studies show that the risk of prostate cancer is actually HIGHER in neutered dogs than in their intact counterparts.5

Several studies prove significant health risks associated with sterilization, particularly when done at an early age. The most problematic is a delayed closure of the bony growth plates. This results in an abnormal, skeletal development that increases the incidence of orthopaedic problems like hip dysplasia and patellar luxation. Working and performance dogs, if neutered before maturity, risk the inability to perform the jobs they were bred for.10 Read more »

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Don’t Let Your Vet Vaccinate Blindly: Test Titers

Written by Jan on January 26, 2015 – 11:59 pm

Someone (I’ll call her Ann) wrote me last week asking: Is there any recent info I can pass along to my Vet – he says titres are not reliable and he will not do them.

Yikes. He-will-not-do-them? Titer testing — a simple blood draw to test immunity to a disease — is an absolutely safe procedure. You can test titers (antibody) levels to determine if an animal (or human) already has immunity to particular diseases and doesn’t need “boosters.”  The most commonly tested titers are for parvovirus and distemper, the two most important diseases, and also rabies in certain instances. Don’t waste your money on anything else.

Even if Ann’s vet thinks titer testing is unreliable and a waste of time and money, it is her money and her responsibility to keep her dog healthy. Not his. His job, in this instance, is to draw blood and offer advice if asked. After testing, it is up to Ann to determine the weight to give to the results. She can then allow her vet to vaccinate if he wants. Or not.

Incidentally, Ann could have any vet or vet tech draw blood. She could send the blood sample to a lab (like my favorite, They’ll perform the test and an expert will interpret the results. From that point on, she can solicit her vet’s input. Or not.

Although most enlightened veterinarians will happily test titers, too many, like Ann’s vet, refuse to test or will belittle results. Others avoid confrontation by charging astronomical rates. A parvovirus/distemper titer test should cost around $50-60; a rabies titer (not for export) should cost around $100. Add to this, around $25 for a blood draw; some tests in some locations may also require a shipping expense. If your vet is charging much more than that, he/she is just trying to discourage (and/or take advantage of) you.

But isn’t vaccinating cheaper than testing? 

Read more »

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