Thursday, April 30, 2009

More protection for orangutans

says Sir David Attentborough. More here.

Is your pet safe from swine flu?

The answer seems to be yes. Read more here.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Blown away Chihuahua

Tinker Bell, a six pound chihuahua has been reunited with her owners after a 70-mph gust of wind picked her up and tossed her out of sight. A pet psychic guided her owners to a wooded area nearly a mile from where 8-month-old Tinker Bell had been last seen. The brown long-haired dog was dirty and hungry but otherwise OK.
The cherished pet "just went wild" upon seeing her.

Thanks To Sami at 2UE for this one!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

More about that flu...

The top ten animals that carry flu...
an interesting read and not always what you imagine.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Flu basics

With the outbreak of Swine Flu,readup on flu basics.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Cat cafe

Get your caffeine and cat fix all at once in this Japanese concept - a cat cafe. Perfect if you don't own a cat but need regular contact with these fascinating felines.

There are some rules that all who enter must follow, including no children under the 5th grade , cats too young to be held have scarves around their necks, customers may not hold or stroke a cat if it resists, must let napping cats lie, and never bring cat nip or cat food to the café.

It would seem that one hour of communion with a loving fur-ball at the cost of about $9 US dollars, is a bargain that many cannot resist.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Red-Tailed Hawk Web Cam

Two Red-tailed Hawks have built a nest on a window ledge at The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. The nest sits just outside a window where a camera has been positioned to create this video stream. The camera looks through the glass window pane which is 61 cm. No artificial lighting has been added, so the nest is only visible during daylight hours.
click on title to view webcam

Friday, April 24, 2009

Fluorescent puppy

A cloned beagle named Ruppy – short for Ruby Puppy – is the world's first transgenic dog. She and four other beagles all produce a fluorescent protein that glows red under ultraviolet light.

The team, some of which produced the world's first cloned puppy, Snuppy, created Ruppy by first infecting dog fibroblast cells with a virus that inserted the fluorescent gene into a cell's nucleus. They then transferred the fibroblast's nucleus to another dog's egg cell, with its nucleus removed. After a week dividing in a Petri dish, researchers implanted the cloned embryo into a surrogate mother.

Transgenic dogs will give researchers another potential tool to understand disease.
New Scientist

Thursday, April 23, 2009

On the brink of extinction

Everyone should know about these 10 animals on the brink of extinction - and what yu can do to help.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Fun with dogs...

Just some fun today...
Command this dog to do some tricks. Try jump and kiss -so cute!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Radio radio 21Apr09

Dr Jo answers listens questions including an overweight cat, digging dog, cat and rabbit interaction, bunny poop and a dog that's not eating. Listen here.

Yowie on the prowl

Dr Jo says "A Yowie? Really???"

Friday, April 17, 2009

Airline for pets - a first

The World's first airline just for pets will suit be up and running. Pet Airways will have flights going to five major cities: New York, Los Angeles, Denver, Chicago and Washington, D.C. and hopes to expand to 25 cities within a few years.
An attendent will be with the animal at all times during the flight and animals will be secured in cases. This should reduce the number of pet injuries when being transported as cargo.

Dr Jo says "I'm guessing it may be a while before we see this in Australia. Qantas? Virginblue? Jetstar?"

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Posties want dogs locked up

Posties (mailmen) are urging owners of cranky canines to keep them locked away to help make their job safer, according to reports in today. Even smaller breeds were to blame in attacks on postal delivery people, with confrontations including nipping at heels, chasing bikes down the street and barking ferociously.

Apparentlyof the 340 injuries to postal workers in NSW last year, 170 were linked to dogs. Along with reversing drivers, the life of a postie is never easy!
More reports here.

Dr Jo says "Try giving the dogs a treat each day.This way a postie will be a friend for life, not an enemy to bark at or chase and send away."

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Snakes on the rise

Apparently more snakes are being sighted around homes in Queensland. After seeing a red bellied black snake in my back garden in suburban Sydney, I conclude it's not just Queensland!
It seems that the snakes, after heavy rainfall, are looking for places to campout and for potential nest sites. More here.
ABC news

Decided to capture and relocate our snake. Called a snake handler and while he saw it, it managed to hide either in our pond or in the bushes nearby. Still a snake lurking!

More news about snakes...
Snakes on a plane
Biting back!

Dog eats underwear

A NORTHERN Territory dog's knickers fetish almost cost him his life when he swallowed his owner's g-string over the Easter long weekend. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel put his life at risk by stealing his owner's undies from the floor of her laundry as she was doing her washing.
The Daily Telegraph

Dr Jo says "Problems involving owner underwear is actually quite common in our pets. Most simply enjoy being near it when left alone. It reminds them of us as this is where our scent is concentrated most. Occasionally some will even ingest it. Some dogs have been known to raid the laundry basket and parade your g-string or larger granny-style undies in front of your entire dinner party!"

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Radio radio 14Apr09

Dr Jo talks Presidential pets, Portugese Water Dogs and answers listener questions on Radio 2UE in Sydney 954AM at 2pm. Listen at or download podcast

Presidential pets

A nice pictorial look at the pets kept by the various US Presidents over the years. Click here...

Pampered pets

The Sydney Morning Herald has reported that pets are being pampered. But we pet owners all knew that already:) Full story here.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Veggie cat... surely not good for cats

A cat rescued from an alleyway two years ago refuses to eat meat. Her owner says that she has tried fresh meat and fish and canned foor but the cat continues to prefer a plate of veggies. More here.
Dr Jo says... "Cats need taurine in their diet.They also need a high concentration of protein. I wonder how much this cat is getting. Perhaps she should try a good quality dry food. The cat may not taste this as meat but he will get the nutrients he needs."

rabbits under sydney harbour bridge

A family of rabbits is living under the Sydney Harbour Bridge... in time for Easter. More here

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Just what is a chuditch?

Just what is a chuditch?
Well I guess you wouldn't know because there haven't been any around for 20 years. The Chuditch, otherwise known as the Western Quoll is a carnivorous marsupial about the size of a cat. It used to occur over a large area of Australia but hasn't been sighted in 2 decades... until recently, when a male appeared.

It is thought that they may reappear due to a reduction in the number of foxes.

Unfortunately, the male chuditch that was sighted was badly injured by a rabbit trap and had to be euthanized.
Dr Jo says " I guess one male Chuditch hasn't been around for 20 years, so populations are hiding out somewhere. Good news for Aussie native animals!"

Pretty flamingo

Sadly Sydney's Taronga Zoo has had to say goodbye to one of their eldest inhabitants. Yellowband has been ia resident of the zoo since 1948 and is the last of his kind, given Australian restictions on imprting birds due to avian flu.
On a lighter note, a post mortem of Yellow band discovered that she was in fact a he!!
Full story here
Daily Telegraph

Climate change affects pets

Increasing temperatures will expose pets to new infectious diseases spread by ticks, fleas and mosquitoes, according to new research in Europe.

  • The European dog tick is transmitting a malaria-like disease into countries where it was once rare and increasing numbers of Ixodes ticks increase their risk of passing tick-borne encephalitis to horses and dogs.
  • Cat flea typhus, still a rare disease, may also become more common in both cats and dogs.
    Dogs in central Europe will increasingly become vulnerable to the roundworm dirofilaria spread by mosquitoes.
  • Increasing spread of sandflies due to climate change may also increase canine leishmaniosis
Original source:; Veterinary parasitology journal

Watch out for Goannas

Fraser Island visitors used to have to look out for dingoes. Now dingo fencing has proved so effective that digoes are unable to chase off the goannas. As a result goannas are now entering campers' tents and joining their picnics. Apparently, the island's dingo management strategy is now being reviewed
Original source:

Dog friendly cars

Check out dog friendly cars. Do we have these in Australia? (Click on title)
Pet Connection

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Rabbits not such cute Easter bunnies

Easter bunnies may be cute but the wild kind, feral rabbits in Australia, eat their way through $600 million to $1 billion annually. That's the cost of damage the introduced pest causes Australian farmers. Keeping rabbits as pets in Queensland, where they are banned, can incur fines of up to $30,000.

Cats threaten fish

An Australian scientist claims that the global gourmet cat food demand is threatening fish populations. Deakin University's Dr Giovanni Turchini claims that "Our pets seem to be eating better than their owners."

Dr Jo says "Can't argue with that statement!"

Ferrets in the news

An inaugural Australian Ferret Health Symposium was held recently with ferret specialists addressing case studies, evolutionary history, ferret-specific diseases and statistics. Melbourne tops the nation in ferret loving, a case of 'love at first bite".

Dr Jo says "No one asked me to talk about my ferrets :("

Banned cat worth $2 million?

A Gold Coast couple say they will seek up to $2 million compensation following the Australian Federal Government's decision to ban savannah cats from the continent.
Savannah cats, a cross between a domestic cat and a serval, a medium-size wild cat from Africa, can weigh up to 12 kilograms and pose a risk to native wildlife.

Sydney Morning Herald (click on the article title to read more)

Dr Jo says "oops... my Maine Coon may grow just as large... but I won't let him hunt!"

Why romance doesn't rate in the pet world

Check out Pet Talk Radio archives for some interesting stories about pets including this one from Dr Jo.
Pet Talk Radio

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

dog aggression caused by...

Canine management techniques that are predictors of canine aggression according to a recent study (O'Sullivan et al,2008) include:
  • owners reprimanding the dog by physical and verbal means
  • owners allowing the dog to initiate play and to win tug-of-war games
  • allowing the dogs onto household furniture
  • feeding the dog directly from the family table
  • not being trusted with children
  • not responding to basic commands
  • variable obedience to different people
  • variable degrees of obedience depending on the location
  • displays of problem behaviours such as destructiveness and barking only when family members were present
  • displays of fearful reactions in specific circumstances and excessive displays of specific behaviours
  • owner tolerance of significant degrees of aggressive behaviour
  • inadequate or ineffective obedience training
  • biting of adult household members
  • possible influence of ad libitum feeding


O'Sullivan et al.(2008). The management and behavioural history of 100 dogs reported for biting a person. Appied Animal Behaviour Science, 114: 149-158.

Confrontation elicits canine aggression

When owners seek help for their dog's behaviour problems they have often already tried a few techniques in an attempt to solve the issues. These "solutions" are suggested by a variety of sources including friends and some "professionals" of the pet world. Aversive techniques often used in an attempt to correct behaviour problems include yelling 'NO' or an alpha roll where the dog is turned over and held down.

A recent study (Herron et al, 2009) has shown that such aversive techniques result in the dog being more aggressive towards their owner. Dog owners need to learn that aversive techniques can put them in danger and find other more appropriate solutions to their pet's behaviour problems.

N.B. Next time you watch an 'educational' television show about dogs, look out for aversive techniques being used!


Herron, M.E. et al (2009). Survey of the use and outcome of confrontational and non-confrontational training methods in client-owned dogs showing undesired behaviors. Applied Animal Behaviour Science Vol. 117: 47-54.

Also see this article

Dogs do get jealous

For many years I have been telling dog owners that we have no idea if dogs can feel jealousy. But it does appear that they can. They have a sense of fair play. If another dog is given treats for an activity they perform and they are not, then they cease to perform that activity as often. It seems that this may be linked to their cooperative society.
So yes, dogs can be "jealous"
New Scientist

Dogs and owners match

A new study has confirmed that people match their dogs looks or is it the other way around?). Subjects (non-dog owners) had to match Poodles, Staffys and Labradors to their owners and guess what -they answered correctly more often than due to chance. It seems that people fit the stereotypes of their breeds.

Dr Jo says "I own a mixed breed - what does that say for my looks!!"

Monday, April 6, 2009

Canine castaway

Canine castaway survives five months on island... living off goats and koalas to stay alive
Dr Jo says "Bet her family were glad to see her home"

Could your dog survive as a castaway?
Consider this:
  • A dog's main aim in life is to find food and shelter. OK, nowadays its not antelope and caves. It's more like gourmet cuisine and your sofa. But it's an inbuilt survival strategy.
  • Feral dog populations do well in most countries. These animals have learnt to scavenge. They may be hungry but generally their survival instincts kick in when abandoned.
  • Your pampered pooch has teeth and will defend himself when required. When he is hungry or threatened, he will ensure he survives. He will compete with others for his precious resources,especially when these are in limited supply.

Thanksfully most dogs never need to use these instinctive skills. Could you be living with a wild dog?

Crocodile hunting

Agree or not?
Should we hunt crocodiles?
ABC news

meet the bilby...

Australia's answer to the Easter bunny

Animals at work

Fantastic job - workplaces that are pet-friendly.Do you take your pet to work?I tookmy puppy on Friday to Purina.Not sure about productivity but cuddles levels were high:)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Disappearing quolls...

A marsupial expert says Townsville, in north Queensland, is one of the last places in Australia where quolls can be found in large numbers.
ABC news

Camels train themselves...

THIRSTY Northern Territory camels have acquired the knack of turning on taps.
The dry desert heat can make anyone thirsty, but the marauding pests - who some estimate now roam the outback in their millions, are causing havoc in their pursuit of a drink.

Lion training

April 2, 2009
Pride of the pride...Asali the lioness was the smartest of the pride and gets a reward.
IT'S an act of feline co-operation that would put many a moggie owner to shame. The keepers at Taronga Zoo have trained an irascible, 125-kilogram lioness to volunteer her hip at the edge of her cage so they can administer vaccination injections - no sedation, no drama, no claws before bedtime.
Sydney morning Herald

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Horse stress reduced...

Increasing the fat content in diet may be a valuable tool to reduce horse stress and the risk of accidents.
Science Direct

Woman guilty of murder over barking dog

A Sydney woman has been found guilty of fatally stabbing a man after he complained about her barking dog.
Sydney Morning Herald

Dogs (Not Chimps) Most Like Humans

March 26, 2009 -- Chimpanzees share many of our genes, but dogs have lived with us for so long and undergone so much domestication that they are now serving as a model for understanding human social behavior, according to a new paper.
Discovery News

Canine tail chasing linked to...

Dog tail chasing linked to high cholesterol
March 24, 2009 -- A team of veterinarians has found a surprising link between compulsive tail-chasing in dogs and high cholesterol, according to a study published in the March issue of the Journal of Small Animal Practice.
Discovery News

Pet gyms...

Obesity need no longer be a problem for pets
The Sun

Laptop for dogs...

Petbook K9
The world's first laptop for pets

Dog and puppy rescue

A dog and a puppy were rescued from a ledge at the bottom of a cliff in Scotland
BBC News

People petition for lifeguard dog

A lifeguard dog that was banned from a Cornish beach will be back on duty this summer after hundreds of people signed a petition to get him back.
BBC Newsround