Volume I, Issue IV

October 2005


        Tips for Halloween & House Pets

        Galax Euthanizes 2,653 Dogs & Cats in 2004

        New Vaccine Creates Hope of Eliminating BVD for Good


Tips for Halloween & House Pets


Halloween has its own special ways for resulting in troubles for dogs and cats.  Here are a few tips for learning from other people’s troubles.


1.      Don’t give them candy.  Chocolate is not good for dogs or cats.  Sugary foods in general are bad for their teeth, especially since they do not brush every day. 

2.      Keep your bowl of candy under close guard or well out of reach.  When scoring treats without your permission, dogs have a tendency to consume the wrapper with the treat.  Depending on the type and quantity, wrappers can cause intestinal blockage, intestinal bleeding, and/or intestinal perforation.  If your dog consumes wrappers, watch it closely for 24 hours.  Contact Healing Springs immediately if the dog throws up, has blood in stool, or refuses to eat again over 24 hours.


3.      The flickering light of a real candle inside a carved pumpkin intrigues some cats.  They have been known to play with it and be burned or singed.  Keep an eye on cats if they express interest in your Jack-O-Lantern.

4.      If costuming your pet, be conscious of choking hazards.  Dogs, indignant over being costumed, sometimes seek retribution by shredding the outfit.  Small bells, buttons, balls and other bite size objects can easily end up in an animal’s windpipes.

5.      We have never encountered a case of Halloween animal abuse here, but animal groups nationwide report a rise around the holiday.  Unsupervised youths have been known to harass and injure pets.  As much as possible, keep your pets inside while foot traffic is high.

6.      Even inside your home, only the most social pets should be faced with a parade of ghouls and goblins.  Most pets should be kept in a separate room during peak trick-or-treating hours.

7.      Halloween is a great night for indoor pets to wear their collars with ID tags.  All the visitors may stress your pets, the door will be opening frequently, and the chances of your pet making a break for it are increased.

8.      Feel free to serve your pets their kinds of  treats around Halloween, to play with them, and to let them in on the holiday in pet appropriate ways.


What about Pets and Chocolate?  Chocolate contains a substance poisonous to dogs, theobromine.  More bitter chocolate, such as baker’s chocolate or dark chocolate, has more theobromine than sweeter chocolate such as milk chocolate.  Unsweetened chocolate contains seven times more theobromine than milk chocolate.  While dogs often ingest chocolate without problems, as little as a ¼ ounce of baking chocolate has been shown to cause serious health problems in a 10 lb dog.  Dogs reacting to chocolate may exhibit vomiting, diarrhea,  seizures, hyperactivity, increased thirst, increased urination, and/or increased heart rate.  If you know that your dog has ingested chocolate and your dog exhibits one of these signs, call Healing Springs.


Xylitol, a sweetener commonly used in candies and gum, can also be toxic to pets when ingested in large quantities.  Xylitol can cause a rapid drop in a pet’s blood sugar resulting in depression, incoordination, and seizures.  Packaged treats designed specifically for your type of pet are usually the best treats for their health and safety.  Treats showing real meat products as the first ingredient are a good choice.


Halloween Pet Costume Contest

Healing Springs Animal Hospital Invites YOU.

Monday, October 31.  8 AM to 5 PM.  All costumed pets will be photographed and given a Halloween treat bag.  Costumes will be judged and prizes awarded as follows: Canine winner gets a free bath, pedicure, and toy; Feline winner gets a free deworming, Lupine collar, and kitty treats; Other Companion Pet winners receive treats and a special gift certificate.  Judges will also pick one Grand Prize Winner!


2,653 Dogs and Cats Euthanized in Galax in 2004


Terry Woods, Chief Animal Control Officer for Carroll County, laid out the facts of a very disturbing picture on September 20.  At the new Crossroads Institute, Officer Woods volunteered his time to speak to a meeting of the Twin County Humane Society and its guests.  In his short, fact-filled presentation, he described exactly what is going on at the Galax, Carroll, Grayson Animal Shelter in Galax, VA.   


87% of animals taken to the Galax shelter are euthanized, but numbers are improving says Animal Control Officer.



Officer Woods said that in his 17 years on the job, he picked up an average of 160 dogs per year.  That totals more than 10,000 dogs that he has personally collected.  He said that an estimated 50% of Carroll County residents own pets.  That’s roughly 15,000 people.  However, Carroll County has only 5,900 pet licenses on the books.


A great many dogs left at the shelter are turned in by their owners.  In 2004, Carroll County officials took 582 dogs to the shelter in Galax.  Galax officials turned over 169 dogs, and Grayson captured 306 dogs.  A whopping 718 dogs, 41% of the dog total, were turned in by their owners.


The Galax, Carroll, Grayson Animal shelter euthanized 2,653 dogs and cats in 2004.  Only 13% of the animals taken to the shelter avoid euthanasia.  By state law, dogs wearing collars must be held for at least 10 days.  Dogs brought in without collars need only be held five days.  Dogs turned in by their owners can be euthanized immediately.  The good news is that the euthanasia rates for 2005 are down six percent from 2004.  Officer Woods believes that the work of the Twin County Humane Society may play a role in the improving numbers.


In 2004, 176 dogs and 72 cats were adopted from the shelter.  Amazingly, 141 of those adopted dogs and 22 of those adopted cats were returned to the shelter.  In other words, two out of every three animals adopted end up back at the shelter where they again have about an 85% chance of being euthanized.  Officer Woods said the number one reason for returning a dog to the shelter was the unexpected expense of taking care of a pet. 


Officer Woods believes that if we are to improve the lives of dogs and cats everywhere, we will have to change the thinking of residents in our counties.  He said that many people believe that neutering a pet is not justified.  Officer Woods believes that if more people would neuter their pets, it would significantly alleviate the problem of massive euthanasia.  For this to happen, more people will have to believe that neutering dogs and cats helps create better lives for the population in general.


The other thing that people can do to help is to make the local animal shelter the first stop when considering a new cat or dog.  The Galax – Carroll – Grayson Animal Shelter is located on an easy-to-miss lot behind Felt’s Park in Galax. 


Adopt Your Pets at

Galax – Carroll – Grayson Animal Shelter

Open Tuesday – Saturday

(276) 236-8501



Be Part of the Solution!


The Twin Co. Humane Society helps the situation described above by providing financial assistance for spays and neuters, promoting shelter adoptions, and educating the public about pet population problems.  Your membership helps.  It’s easy to join.

Visit their website and click on membership.



Bovi-Shield® Gold FP™

Creates Hope of Beating BVD for Good


Healing Springs sponsored a lecture for cattle owners this past month.  At Galax Elementary School, Kenneth Redman from Pfizer Animal Health, described a new vaccination that immunizes unborn calves, that stopped 100% of BVD deaths in controlled trials, and that could realistically prevent all future BVD deaths on farms.

Modified Live vs. Killed: Since Bovi-Shield® Gold FP™ is a modified live vaccine, and since many producers are still on the fence about modified live, Redman started by describing how and why modified live works better.  He described the immune system as having three main players:

1.     Antibodies: Antibodies catch viruses in the blood stream and neutralize them.  Killed vaccines help the body produce antibodies. 

2.     Macrophages: Macrophages eat the remains neutralized by antibodies.

3.     Killer Cells: Killer cells recognize infected cells, break their walls, and enable antibodies and macrophages to digest and clean-up the contents of infected cells.  Modified live vaccines help the immune system create both antibodies and killer cells specific the disease targeted by the vaccine.

The big shortcoming of antibodies is that they can only attack viruses free-floating in the blood.  Antibodies cannot reach viruses inside cells.  Viruses live inside cells.  They only get in the blood stream when they are trying to infect more cells.  Some viruses can even create bridges between cells.  With these bridges, viruses can infect neighboring cells without getting in the blood stream and without exposing themselves to antibodies.


This is why killer cells are so important.  Infected cells put of proteins that killer cells “smell.”  Each killer cell has one disease that it seeks out.  When it encounters a cell that smells like its disease, the killer cell breaks the walls of the infected cell.  The contents of the cell spill into the blood stream where antibodies and microphages can neutralize and consume the viruses.  Both killed vaccines and modified live vaccines teach the body to create antibodies.  Only modified live vaccines teach the body to create killer cells.  Modified live vaccines allow the animal to have a more robust immune response.


Bovine Viral Diarrhea (BVD): BVD compromises reproductive performance.  Persistently Infected (PI) calves are the largest reason for the spread of BVD.  Calves become PI calves in the womb.  PI calves are formed when the cow has or is exposed to the BVD virus.  Even a very small amount of the virus can create a PI calf.  The cow does not need to be sick to create a PI calf.  When the unborn calf is exposed to BVD, the calf’s immune system learns to recognize BVD as a normal part of its own body.  It does not fight the BVD as a normal immune system would.  For this reason, a PI calf will always be a PI animal, and there is nothing anyone can do about it.  The PI calf can spread BVD to other members of the herd, undetected for a long time. 


Bovi-Shield® Gold FP™:  This new vaccine works by protecting both the cow and the unborn calf.  When a pregnant cow is vaccinated with Bovi-Shield® Gold FP™, the unborn calf also receives the BVD immunity.  When used consistently and correctly, Bovi-Shield® Gold FP™ is supposed to eliminate the problem of PI calves for good.  The vaccine was shown to be safe at 1,000 x the recommended dosage.  The vaccine provided 100% protection from BVD-PI in Pfizer’s controlled study. 


A pregnant cow should not be vaccinated with Bovi-Shield® Gold FP™ unless she was vaccinated with it once before she was bred.  The first dose must be delivered while the cow is open.  It provides 12 months of protection.  No booster shots are required.  With this vaccine, it is safe to re-vaccinate pregnant cows.  Do not give calves on the ground modified live, unless their dams were previously vaccinated with modified live.  If a calf receives a modified live vaccination while nursing a dam that did not receive modified live vaccination, the vaccine could revert to the virus and get back up in the cow through the teat. 


For reasons noted above, the vaccine will do no good for an animal that is already a PI animal.  At the meeting, Jamie Cassell, DVM stated that PI animals receiving BVD vaccinations will become terribly ill.  These animals should be culled. 


Modified live vaccines are less stable than killed vaccines.  They must be used within 24-hours of being mixed.  Keep them refrigerated until delivered.  Keep them in a cooler, on ice, when vaccinating.


Healing Springs Animal Hospital is uniquely dedicated to farming and farmers.  Anytime you have questions on herd health, call Healing Springs.





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(276) 236-5103

107 Nuckolls Curve Rd

Galax, VA  24333


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