Posts Tagged ‘
Monday, April 29th, 2013
An autistic 8-year-old boy from Georgia has found companionship and therapeutic help in the form of Xena, a rescued dog who survived unspeakable abuse but survived to bring hope and healing to one family. More from Today.com:
It’s not that Jonny can’t talk. He knows how to speak, and he can read with proficiency. But autism left him closed off and isolated. Most of his social interactions result in painful awkwardness; unfamiliar situations can trigger terror, tantrums or both. Seeking comfort and predictability, he’d embrace solitary activities; on a typical day after school, he’d spend hours playing with marbles in silence.
Then, about two months ago, everything changed. Jonny forged a connection so unlikely that people familiar with it describe it as a miracle. His new confidante brings out the best in him — his playfulness, his cute singing voice, his verbal assessments of everything he sees and experiences.
Jonny connected with a dog.
“He is non-stop chatter now!” Jonny’s mother, Linda Hickey, 44, told TODAY.com. “He has so much to say about his math, about what he did in P.E.
“He is the happiest child that I’ve ever seen him be in eight years.”
Jonny’s transformation begins with the miracle that the dog survived to meet Jonny at all.
Mere months before she bounded into Jonny’s world, the pup was brought to the DeKalb County Animal Services’ shelter in Georgia after she collapsed in someone’s yard. When staff members saw her, they recoiled in shock.
“I’ve been doing rescue probably for about 12 years, and I had never seen a dog that young in that sort of condition,” said Chrissy Kaczynski, who works for Animal Services and is a founding member of the rescue group Friends of DeKalb Animals. “I brought her home with me and I didn’t think she’d make it through the night.”
But with fluids, nutritional supplements and an urgent vet visit, the puppy began to perk up.
Tuesday, March 12th, 2013
A common pet frog, the African tree frog, may be the culprit in an outbreak of salmonella, a potentially deadly bacteria that causes severe intestinal upset. An investigation by public health researchers the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and published in the journal Pediatrics, found the link. More from CNN:
A group of health professionals make up the Salmonella Typhimurium Outbreak Investigation Team, which is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Recently, the team has been examining the effects of African dwarf frogs on people’s health.
“Amphibians and reptiles should never be kept in homes with children less than 5 years old or with people who have immune deficiencies,” said lead author and CDC public health advisor Shauna Mettee Zarecki. This includes day care settings and nursing homes, she said.
This investigation is the first to report a nationwide Salmonella outbreak associated with amphibians.
The team examined an outbreak of that strain from 2008 to 2011 and identified 376 cases of Salmonella in 44 states to use in a matched case-control study. The control group was made up of people with recent Salmonella infections other than the outbreak strain, and the cases group included people with the outbreak strain infection. About 70% of those infected were children younger than 10 years old.
Image: Tree frog, via Shutterstock
Tuesday, July 10th, 2012
Having a dog or cat in the house when children are less than a year old may mean the kids face fewer health problems later in their childhoods, a new study conducted in Finland has found–with dogs offering greater potential protection than cats. CNN.com has more:
The study, published in next month’s issue of Pediatrics, followed 397 children from before birth to age 1, and noted the number of times they had contact with either a dog or cat each week.
Although it’s a pretty common thing to see newborns with minor respiratory issues and ear infections, researchers found those babies who had more interaction with animals seemed to have fewer of these problems and needed less medication, even when they were sick.
Even though babies living with cats were still protected, their protection was not as strong as those babies who lived around dogs. And kids living in homes in which dogs went in and out of the house more often seemed to have the lowest risk of infections.
Although doctors acknowledge more research is needed, they say there’s something about animals that affect an infant’s immune system which can protect against certain childhood infections.
Image: Baby with dog, via Shutterstock.
Thursday, July 21st, 2011
The Centers for Disease Control is tracking incidences of salmonella poisoning that are linked to an African dwarf frog that is sold as a pet. The outbreak has sickened 241 individuals–61 percent of whom are children under 10–since 2009. The outbreak can be traced to a single frog breeding facility Madera County, California, Blue Lobster Farms, a CDC release stated.
Blue Lobster Farms had voluntarily stopped shipping the frogs in April, but resumed distribution in June, shipping frogs to pet stores, educational stores, toy stores, fairs, carnivals, from online retailers and other venues. The resumed distribution has prompted public health officials to work with the facility to conduct more thorough testing of the animals before they ship, although the CDC said the tests’ effectiveness has not been proven. The CDC cautioned parents to be especially vigilant to stopping the salmonella outbreak, which can cause diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramping:
CDC is warning parents that children under 5 years old are at high risk for serious Salmonella infections and should avoid contact with water frogs, their water and their habitats (e.g. tanks or aquariums). Others who are at high risk and who should avoid contact with water frogs, their water and their habitats include: pregnant women, people who have weak immune systems, such as cancer patients, and those undergoing chemotherapy or organ transplants.
(image via: http://www.cdc.gov/)
Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011
A new study has found that when children are exposed in their first year of life to dogs or cats, they are significantly less likely to develop allergies to those pets. The study, published in the journal Clinical and Experimental Allergy, followed 566 boys and girls from birth to age 18, conducting annual interviews to track the kids’ exposure to pets. When the children turned 18, a blood sample measured their allergic sensitivity to dogs and cats.
Boys who had dogs at home in their first year were half as likely to be allergic to dogs as boys who did not have dogs at home (researchers aren’t sure why, but the results were slightly less pronounced with girls). Both male and female 18-year-olds who had been exposed to indoor cats during infancy were also about half as likely to be allergic to cats.
The decisive factor, researchers concluded, is early exposure during the first year of life. The authors concluded, “The first year of life is the critical period during childhood when indoor exposure to dogs or cats influences sensitization to these animals.”
If you’re thinking of getting a pet, check out this feature on how to choose the best pet for your child.
More on childhood allergies from PNN:
(image via: http://www.babble.com)