“Paws for News”

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					     School of Veterinary Science

         “Paws for News”
                                                  Pets give unconditional love...
                     Newsletter of the Centre for Companion Animal Health – Issue 5/Winter 2008
                                         An investigative arm of the Small Animal Clinic and Hospital
                     Ginger                                                                                   Bob

     Turn the tide on Australia’s unwanted pets
     Groundbreaking research to understand                                                        The statistics are much worse for council
     why so many pets in Australia become                                                         pounds, with euthanasia rates frequently
     unwanted has the potential to solve a                                                         over 50% for dogs and 70–90% for cats.
     problem of enormous magnitude.
                                                                                                      The great tragedy is that the vast majority
     In spite of continued efforts, in the past                                                        of these animals are young and healthy,
     7 years there has been no reduction in                                                             able to give unconditional love and
     the number of unwanted cats being                                                                  share their lives with people.
                                                                                                           But now, research partially funded by
     Animal shelters around the country,                                                                   donations may be cause for hope. Be-
     such as the RSPCA, do their best                                                                      cause the figures for cats are twice as
     to find new homes for as many of                                                                      bad as those for dogs, Corinne Hanlon,
     these abandoned animals as possible.                                                                a PhD student at the Centre, is focusing
     However, with the rising numbers of dogs                                                         her research on developing strategies to
     and cats entering shelters, it has become                                                     reduce the increasing numbers of cats being
     impossible to find homes for all of them.                                                      euthanised.
     The tragic consequence of this, and one                                                            ‘Without evidence-based solutions,
     that many people are unaware of, is that        Corinne Hanlon and Rosie, who was part of the   little progress will be made in reducing
     more than 35% of dogs and 60% of cats           adoption program through UQ’s Small Animal         the disturbing number of Australia’s
     entering Australian shelters are euthanised.       Clinic and Veterinary Teaching Hospital.                   unwanted pets.’

     Corinne saves lives                                                    researchers working for 3–4 years to input and analyse millions
                                                                            of data points relating to 60,000 cats. To date, half the funding
     Corinne’s passion for the health and well-being of animals has         for the project has been confirmed.
     taken her from studies in zoology and animal welfare, to manage-       Comprehensive data on unwanted cats entering shelters has
     ment of animal research at Griffith University, and now to her cur-     never been collected and analysed on such a scale in Australia.
     rent studies at the University of Queensland. She is researching       Corinne believes that without evidence-based solutions, little
     why so many cats are euthanised.                                       progress will be made in reducing the disturbing number of
     At Griffith University she introduced an adoption program for lab-      Australia’s unwanted pets. It is hoped that the findings of her
     oratory animals, and reduced euthanasia by 50%. She believes           study will lead to implementation of policies and educational
     that some of the same strategies can be used to save cats.             programs which will dramatically decrease the number of cats
     Corinne’s research at the Centre for Companion Animal Health           which are destroyed.
     will focus on identifying factors which put cats at risk of being      Without a doubt, the results of this study could save the lives
     homeless and subsequently destroyed. She hopes to gather               of many loving and once-loved pets. The Centre is seeking a
     data from all east coast Australian states, however, this depends      major gift to fully fund this research. If you can help, please
     on funding. This is a large project which will require a team of 3     call Professor Rand on (07) 3365 2122.

         The unprecedented research that Corinne is undertaking                            In this issue:
         would not be possible without the invaluable generos-                             •   Dogs help Australia’s elderly                    2
         ity and support of the Centre’s donors. Together we                               •   Working to help dogs with diabetes               2
         can make a real difference. Our shared passion for the                            •   Puppies help prisoners                           3
         welfare of animals can prevent cats being disposed of                             •   Thanking our donors                              4
         simply because they are temporarily without a home.                               •   ‘Keyhole’ surgery now available for your pet     4

Tugger      Mylo              Mia        Missy            Casper        Lorry           Burney       Tootsie                Star               Austin
                                    Rescued animals help the Centre find answers – We help them find new homes.
“Paws with Jacquie”                                                    Pets give unconditional love...

                                                  been treated by the local veterinarian, but     research, the lifespan of cats after diagno-
                                                  had not improved over 3 months, and was         sis has more than doubled. The gratitude
                                                  still showing distressing signs of diabetes.    that has been expressed by owners of pet
                                                  Within days of being put on the new             cats we have helped around the world has
                                                  insulin regimen and special diet, Smokey’s      been overwhelming.
                                                  symptoms of diabetes and intestinal
                                                                                                  The Centre is also being recognised na-
                                                  problems disappeared and his behaviour
                                                                                                  tionally and internationally for its work in
                                                  improved dramatically. The owner was so
                                                                                                  reducing the number of unwanted pets and
                                                  grateful that she wrote to me not only to
                                                                                                  I have been invited to speak in Australia,
                                                  convey her heartfelt thanks, but to offer
                                                                                                  New Zealand and Thailand this year on this
                                                  to share her experience with other cat
                                                                                                  issue. We are applying the same high stan-
                                                  owners. Smokey has now been able to
                                                                                                  dard research principles to the problem of
  Centre for Companion Animal Health              stop insulin, and the owner has become
                                                                                                  abandoned animals, but unfortunately our
         Founder and Director,                    a valued international supporter of the
                                                                                                  progress is slow because of lack of fund-
       Professor Jacquie Rand.                    Centre’s work.
                                                                                                  ing. Our goal is to make a real difference to
                                                  The Centre is internationally known for our     the lives of pets and owners, but we simply
I was recently contacted by the owner of          work improving the health of diabetic cats.     cannot do as much as we would like with-
a diabetic cat in Canada who was over-            Prior to our work, 75–80% of diabetic cats      out your continued support. I look forward
joyed by her cat’s improvement in health          needed insulin injections twice a day for       to keeping you informed of our progress in
after only 2 weeks using a new treatment          the rest of their lives; now less than 10%      diminishing the suffering of animals.
protocol developed by the Centre for              of newly diagnosed cats require life-long       Jacquie Rand,
Companion Animal Health. Smokey had               insulin. As well, because of the Centre’s       Professor of Companion Animal Health

Dogs help Australia’s elderly
Research into the effects of canine com-          The results of the study so far are very        dogs and the elderly residents. One person
panions on residents in aged care facilities      encouraging. There has been a very posi-        declared “While I had Golly on my lap, I
looks like having a major impact on the           tive impact from the loving relationships       didn’t feel the pain in my hip” and another,
way dementia patients are treated.                that have developed between the therapy         “While I was stroking Lady I felt the pain
                                                                                                  in my leg go”. Even those whose previ-
With a rapidly ageing population, dementia
                                                                                                  ous experience with dogs had not been
is predicted to be the leading cause of
                                                                                                  positive showed signs of overcoming their
disability in Australia within 8 years, result-
                                                                                                  reluctance, asking to be included in the tri-
ing in many people living with memory
                                                                                                  als and to play with and pat the dogs.
and attention loss. As well, there will be a
corresponding decline in language skills,                                                         The dogs, Golly, Lady and Rinnie,
and increased feelings of insecurity and                                                          responded with the warmth that is so
vulnerability.                                                                                    characteristic of these adoring pets. The
                                                                                                  residents also formed close relationships
The benefits of having a pet are well-docu-                                                        with other members in their trial group. In
mented, and Jackie Perkins, a PhD student                                                         this way, they regained some of their lost
at the Centre, wanted to help dementia                                                            communication skills.
patients by taking this one step further,
asking: What place do dogs have in reduc-                                                         Current medical treatment for dementia is
ing the effects of this debilitating disease?                                                     largely ineffective. The success of this proj-
                                                                                                  ect would mean that dogs could become
Jackie’s research, which is generously                                                            part of accepted therapy in the palliative
funded by the Wicking Trust, is examining          Jackie Perkins with Golly, Lady and Rinnie.    care of elderly Australians and contribute
how dogs can have a therapeutic effect                                                            to improving their quality of life.
on dementia sufferers. She has developed           “Golly, Lady and Rinnie show the love
questionnaires to better understand the                                                               “A dog is one of the remaining
                                                    and warmth that has a therapeutic
relationship between people in aged care                                                              reasons why some people can be
                                                      effect on dementia sufferers.”
facilities and therapy dogs.                                                                          persuaded to go for a walk.” Anonymous

  Working to help dogs                             Linda’s investigation into the best diet for   racts, and ways to prevent them forming
  with diabetes                                    diabetic dogs, combined with the most
                                                   appropriate dosing regimen for insulin,
                                                                                                  in diabetic dogs.
                                                                                                  This groundbreaking research, led
  Hope, a lovely Labrador cross, was               produced a complete turnaround in              by Professor Rand and funded by
  one of the lucky beneficiaries of Linda           Hope’s condition. She regained puppy-like      WALTHAM, has resulted in practical
  Fleeman’s PhD research into canine               energy, a zest for life and began to put on    recommendations to improve the man-
  diabetes.                                        weight. In addition, her coat lost its dull-   agement of canine diabetes, resulting in
                                                   ness and became soft and shiny. Hope’s         thousands of much happier dogs.
  Hope had been diagnosed with diabetes            owner was overjoyed that his pet had
  and was referred to the Centre because           become so much better.                         Linda has accepted a senior lecturer
  the treatment available had not been suc-                                                       position at Sydney University, and will
  cessful in controlling her symptoms. When        Sadly, 80% of dogs with diabetes develop       continue to do collaborative research
  she was referred, Hope was lethargic and         cataracts within 18 months of diagnosis.       with the Centre for Companion Animal
  losing weight. Her coat was dull and lus-        One of the projects funded by the Centre
                                                                                                  Health at the University of Queensland.
  treless and she became tired very quickly.       is investigating the cause of diabetic cata-

                   Support by our donors and industry partners helps dogs like Hope to lead happy and healthy lives.
                                                                                “Paws for News”
Puppies help prisoners                                                                        “An animal’s eyes have the power
                                                                                              to speak a great language”    Martin Buber

We’ve written before about the Centre’s involvement in the Pups       The prisoners involved in the project also seem to have re-en-
in Prison project, a partnership with Queensland Corrective Ser-      gaged their social skills that are not commonplace in an institu-
vices and Assistance Dogs Australia (ADA), an organisation that       tional environment. A member of the prison staff stated “from an
trains dogs to help people with disabilities. Now,                                  offender perspective, it has taught many prisoners
early results are giving us a clearer picture of how  “I love being a part of it. to display genuine affection. It has improved their
the puppies are helping long-term prisoners reclaim    Knowing what it is for.      social skills because it provides common ground
a sense of worth as members of the community.         Helping someone to have for communication. It also allowed offenders to do
                                                             a better life.”        things for other people.”
The project began in January 2007 and research is
being conducted by postgraduate student Claire                                                   The prisoners are extremely proud of their work
Eddie. Her study will determine how training puppies                                           and the contribution they are making. They feel their
can help prisoners develop skills that may assist                                                 time in jail has been productive, and that they are
their rehabilitation.                                                                                able to give something back to the community.
The effect of                                                                                             A prison officer’s view was that “prisoners
unconditional love                                                                                         are given the opportunity to put something
                                                                                                            into the community, as well as getting
The prisoners provide for the puppies’ care                                                                 something for themselves. It’s a big win-
around the clock. “He lives with me 24/7.                                                                   win.”
It has been unreal. It is like a calming influ-
                                                                                                          If the final analysis concludes that the train-
ence. Having him around makes me hap-
                                                                                                         ing of assistance dogs by prisoners is worth
pier,” one prisoner said. These lovable pups
                                                                                                        pursuing, then this could lead to a similar
have had a significant impact on the behaviour
                                                                                                      program whereby homeless dogs or those with
of some of the offenders. Claire said that she had
                                                                                                    behavioural problems could be rehabilitated and
observed the prisoners showing care and concern for
                                                                                                    saved from being euthanised.
not only the puppies, but also the disabled recipi-       Toomba at his graduation
ent. Many of them said that they had not needed to       ceremony with his prisoner                 This project is very important because very little
think about anyone else for a long time, and they       handler. Toomba will shortly                research has been conducted to quantify the ben-
had never before considered what life may be like         start his final 6 months of                efits, or identify where the greatest benefits occur
for a person with a disability. “I love being a part of     specialist training with                in prisoners’ behaviour and attitude.
it. Knowing what it is for. Helping someone to have     Assistance Dogs of Australia.
a better life,” one inmate declared.
Claire also commented on the development of communication                             The Centre has not received any funding yet
skills in the prisoners involved in the training program. One pris-                   for this project and is desperately looking for
oner was shy, anxious and lacking in self-confidence. However,                         a sponsor so that the huge amount of data
some months later when this prisoner was approached for com-                          collected can be processed more quickly. If
ment on progress, he responded confidently. He was proud of                            you are interested in sponsoring this project,
his dog’s achievements and eager to explain how his puppy had                         please contact the Centre on (07) 3365 2122.
developed in terms of training and skills.                                                                                                                      ✃
                “Please donate or make a bequest today so we can continue our valuable work helping animals”

Yes! We/I would like to support the Centre for Companion Animal Health’s groundbreaking work!
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        ❑ monthly ❑ quarterly ❑ half yearly ❑ yearly                              Centre for Companion Animal Health, School of Veterinary Science,
                                                                                                                                                                Issue 5/Winter 08

If you would like to designate where your donation is used, tick a box below,     The University of Queensland, Brisbane Qld 4072
otherwise it will go to the area of greatest need.
                                                                                  or call the Centre during office hours (07) 3365 2122
        ❑ Centre for Companion Animal Health OR
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        ❑ Small Animal Clinic and Hospital

                         Under current legislation, gifts to The University of Queensland of $2.00+ are tax-deductible. ABN 63 942 912 684
                                 < Professor Jacquie Rand with her pet, Mescha who is a reserve therapy dog for the Alzheimer’s study.

                                   “Thanking our Donors” – with Jacquie Rand, Director, CCAH
                                    We are very excited to announce that Hill’s Pet Nutrition has formed a partnership with the
                                    University of Queensland’s School of Veterinary Science to establish the “Hill’s Clinical Nutrition
                                    Support Service”. This service will provide comprehensive nutritional management for all patients
                                    of the Small Animal Clinic and Veterinary Teaching Hospital. Importantly, it will also enhance the
                                    knowledge of clinic staff and veterinary students.
                                    The sizeable funding commitment for this service comes in addition to a significant donation which
                                    was recently made by Hill’s Pet Nutrition to the Centre for Companion Animal Health in support
                                    of the Centre’s ongoing projects. Hill’s Pet Nutrition is committed to improving the health and well-
                                    being of our pets, and is a perfect partner for the Centre’s work.

                                              News Update – Small Animal Clinic and Veterinary Teaching Hospital

                                            ‘Keyhole’ surgery now
                                            available for your pet
                                            Continuing with our commitment to of-
Bob and his friends                         fer the best service for our clients and
                                            patients, the University of Queensland’s
thank our donors and                        Small Animal Clinic and Veterinary Teaching
industry partners                           Hospital is proud to offer the first minimally
                                            invasive laparoscopic surgical service in
Some of you know the story of               Queensland.
Bob, our poster boy. Bob was
                                            The dedicated laparoscopic tower and
a healthy young dog who was
                                            harmonic (ultrasonic) scalpel helps pets
facing certain death at the council         recover from their operations far more
pound because he simply did not                                                                     Dr Burgess performing keyhole surgery
                                            quickly, and with less pain than by tradi-                     with the new equipment
have a home to go to. He came               tional surgery.
to the Centre and was involved in
one of our dietary studies to in-           Sammy is a 14 year old Tibetan Spaniel              Thanks to the hospital’s new laparoscopic
vestigate which diets help prevent          who was recently a patient at the Clinic.           equipment, major surgery was unneces-
                                            When Sammy was having major surgery to              sary, and because there were only two tiny
obesity. Because we re-home the
                                            fix a dislocated hip, sadly a malignant skin         incisions, it meant that there was much
animals in our studies, Bob now             tumour was found. On ultrasound exami-              less risk of infection and wound complica-
has a devoted new owner and a               nation of his abdomen, some suspicious              tions. Happily Sammy was able to go home
new name – Bodge.                           lesions were seen in his liver and pancreas.        with his family on the same day and fortu-
It is dogs like Bodge who help              To give Sammy the best chance, it was               nately the lesions proved to be benign.
us find answers to improve the               vital these suspicious lesions be biopsied
                                            to determine if they were part of the ma-           Procedures currently available at the
health of companion animals, and                                                                hospital include desexing, gastropexy (a
                                            lignant tumour, or were just benign lesions
we help homeless animals find                sometimes found in older dogs. Normally             procedure to prevent potentially life-threat-
homes. Bob (or Bodge) is just one           this would involve a major operation, and           ening “bloat” in susceptible breeds) as well
of many dogs and cats that we               considerable postoperative pain. After such         as other advanced diagnostic and surgical
have helped find a loving home as            invasive surgery, normally Sammy would              techniques.
a result of our studies. We thank           have had to stay in hospital until he fully         For more information, please contact
our valued donors and industry              recovered. Not only would his owner have            David Burgess, Surgical Registrar, at
partners who support our work,              had to cope with her pet’s tumour, but she          the hospital on (07) 3365 2110.
and make it possible to help                would also have had the additional burden
unwanted pets.                              of hospitalising Sammy.

OUR VISION                                      OUR BEST PRACTICE                                  Centre for Companion Animal Health
To be an international leader improving the     A profound respect for animal life and excel-      School of Veterinary Science
health and welfare of companion animals,        lence in studies are guiding principles of the     The University of Queensland
and enriching the lives of pets, their own-     Centre for Companion Animal Health. The            Brisbane QLD 4072
ers and our communities.                        values are demonstrated by a commitment            Telephone +61 7 3365 2122
                                                to:                                                Facsimile: +61 7 3346 9822
OUR MISSION                                     • Only conducting non-terminal and                 Email:
To partner with individuals and industry in         minimally invasive studies in healthy
studies to find answers to give companion            animals.
animals and their owners a healthy and          • Never creating disease in healthy animals            Thank you for your
happy life; to identify ways a loving pet can       and re-homing rescued animals.                        investment in
best assist the elderly, children and people    • Always treating animals in the Centre’s                the health and
with disabilities; and to find solutions to          studies with respect, dignity, kindness and         happiness of pets!
prevent unwanted and problem pets.                  the very best of care.


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