Showing posts with label distress. Show all posts
Showing posts with label distress. Show all posts

Thursday 2 May 2024

Owners trick dogs with lemon slices in new animal exploitation trend on TikTok

A veterinarian, Dr. Anna Foreman, is yet another who has expressed concern about videos on TikTok in which animals are abused and exploited. TikTok has acquired a bit of a reputation for animal abuse videos; videos to attract viewers at any cost and the animal is there as a convenient subject to be used for this goal.

Owners trick dogs with lemon slices in new animal exploitation trend on TikTok
Owners trick dogs with lemon slices in new animal exploitation trend on TikTok. Screenshot.

On TikTok there is a hashtag  "#DogVSLemon" which has amassed 20.1 million views on the social media platform. That said, we should recognise the fact that TikTok statistics are heavily distorted by the way videos are looped to replay immediately after you've stop viewing it. I would estimate that all TikTok videos have received accurate views which are somewhere near a quarter of that which is stated adjacent to the video.

In one video which has apparently been viewed 16 million times, we see an uncomfortable puppy after its owner throws a lemon into its mouth. There has been a 65% increase in online searches for "dogs eating lemons".

It would seem that the amusing aspect of these videos is to see a dog's discomfort when they chomp down on a bitter lemon. Dr. Anna said that: “Many dogs will eat anything thrown at them (or grab any food on the floor etc.) without a second thought, often not even sniffing or tasting it first. “This can be good in a few scenarios, for example with giving a dog a tablet, however, it can be quite dangerous in many others.”

She added that “Sour citrus fruits such as lemon and lime tend not to be palatable to dogs, however if eaten in anything more than minimal quantities can cause gastrointestinal upsets or more severe clinical signs like collapse.

“Throwing food at a dog for them to catch is a choking hazard, particularly if the piece of food is too large to swallow whole.”

Owners who do this might at least slightly erode the relationship between themselves and their dog. They might undermine the trust that the dog has in them.

And it is also worth saying that this trick cannot be repeated with the same dog over and over again because they will learn that if they participate they'll be uncomfortable. It is a good example of negative reinforcement or punishment to alter behaviour. It is a clear-cut case of owners exploiting their companion dogs.

We have seen on numerous occasions owners exploiting companion cats in the same way. They are called "funny cat videos" but they aren't so funny for the cat because a study found that more than a third of cats in these videos are stressed.

Finally, a cat or dog might become stressed when performing the lemon throwing trick for a social media video. This may lead to aggression and that aggression might, on rare occasions, be directed at their owner or somebody else in the vicinity.

It is unwise behaviour and TikTok should stop it. They do promise to moderate videos but as usual for successful platforms like TikTok, the administrators have an impossible task. 

There are too many uploaded videos and they are therefore reliant upon other users to notify them of animal abuse or other policy breaches. This doesn't happen enough and never will. It is a failure within social media.


P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Thursday 28 December 2023

Diary of a female Palestinian in Gaza recording taking a cat to a veterinary clinic

The Guardian newspaper online is publishing extracts of a diary from a 35-year-old Palestinian man living in Gaza by the name of Ziad. The diary provides us with some insights into life in Gaza under this terrible Israeli onslaught. Note: I first believed the diary was written by a woman because I misinterpreted the name's gender! Hence the title to the article.

Diary of a female Palestinian in Gaza recording taking a cat to the vet
A dystopian scene of shattered and destroyed Gaza. Image: UNICEF/UNI453255/EL BABA

We all understand that Israel has a right to retaliate in response to the terrorist attack on October 7 which was horrendously brutal. But to many, Israel have gone too far and they seem to be bent on destroying Gaza. Although I won't get into a political debate on that.

But Ziad is writing his diary within this context; a shattered Gaza were the inhabitants are struggling to survive and remain alive. Within his diary is a little extract of a cat that she rescued and how he deals with her. The cat's name is Manara. The name is Arabic for "Light". I've taken the name to be female.

I hope The Guardian don't mind me republishing a short extract from Ziad's diary:

Saturday 4 November 9.30am: "We finally find a vet where we can take Manara to have the remaining injections. It is 45 minutes’ walk away....I go with Ahmad with Manara in the bag. She does not resist..We finally reach the vet, and he tells us there is no need to give the remaining shot to Manara. He says that her eye is ruined, and all we need to do for the other one is to use eye drops. 

He does not approve of giving her anti-flea medicine because she has scars all over her body...The vet has no food left or cat litter, but he directs us to another shop, which takes another 10 minutes of walking to reach. When we arrive, I feel shocked; there is a lot of destruction around the place. I am scared.

We go into the shop and buy the food and litter. I see a number of birds, fish and one hamster. The owner tells us he has lost many animals because of the bombing....Noon Since Manara has chosen to sleep in an old carton, I go to buy her a box. Finding a box is easy but finding a blanket to put in it is not. There are almost no blankets or covers left."

He goes on to recount that only one shop has the facility where she can withdraw cash with a Visa card but at a very high commission. He goes in search of a blanket for Manara. He walked for an hour visiting every shop on his walk looking for a blanket. One seller offers to provide him with a blanket from his own home. He refuses and thanks him. He eventually finds a bed cover that came with two pillowcases.

RELATED: No cat food in Gaza since the war began on Oct 7. This means cats will become ill through a lack of proper nutrition.

Comment: my comment on the above extract is that it is surprising to me that a veterinarian's clinic remains open but barely. How many are there? Very few I expect which means many companion animals will not be receiving treatment. 

It also tells us that Manara was badly injured and is blind in one eye. She has scars all over her body presumably from injuries suffered in the collapse of a building or a bomb blast. You wonder how Manara feels emotionally. You wonder whether she'll cope emotionally. She must be enormously anxious because of the disruption, noise, irregularity of human movement and activity. 

Domestic cats love calm and regularity, routines and predictability as it reassures them. This cat is suffering the exact opposite while carrying injuries. I don't have much hope for her in the immediate future bearing in mind that Benjamin Netanyahu has committed to bombing and shelling Gaza for months to come. 

And there will be Israeli troops on the ground trying to find and kill Hamas terrorists. That'll mean more destruction of infrastructure and homes and more destruction of children. It is said that around 8000 children have been known to be killed with a possible added 3000 under the rubble.

I don't take sides. But I see a wrong being carried out here which is an over-reaction by Israel. They are using dumb bombs half the time. These are not guided missiles but from simply dropped injected from warplanes. The bombs have not been programmed to hit a certain target.

I wish Manara and Ziad well. I wish them all of God's blessings and all the luck in the world to survive the next months.


P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Thursday 8 June 2023

Is cat euthanasia guaranteed always to be totally humane and painless?

 The question in the title, I think, is a fair one. 99.9% of the general public believes that euthanising a pet is painless and the humane thing to do when the animal is chronically ill and suffering persistent pain. Of course, we know that many pets are euthanised at the convenience of their owner or because they are unwanted. That, incidentally, is a symptom of the failure of cat and dog domestication but it is another story.

I am asking the question whether euthanising a cat with sodium pentobarbital is genuinely painless. When this drug is delivered to humans in 84% of cases their lungs fill up with a frothy liquid which causes pain and distress indeed panic because it is like waterboarding torture. How do cats feel when this drug is delivered to them? Image in public domain.

Perhaps the two words "painless" and "killing" simply cannot live together. It seems unnatural that we can kill animals painlessly because being killed would seem to be automatically painful in the natural world. At least in some way or other. Can it be entirely painless? We like to think it is. My research indicates that it isn't.

Even the best veterinarians, much-loved in their community, might occasionally screw up and make a botch of the euthanasia of a loyal customer's cat or dog. And some veterinarians do not follow sound procedures.

There are different ways to euthanize a pet at a veterinary clinic. You can employ the one jab injection of barbiturate anaesthetic, sodium pentobarbital, that's the simple route. But it can go wrong because the hypodermic needle might be misplaced or the vein might burst. The sodium pentobarbital might spill out into the body tissue which I'm told is painful. It may be very painful.

That's the first issue. And in any case, simply injecting a cat in a vein of itself is going to be at least potentially painful and probably actually painful.

We shouldn't forget, by the way, the distress/pain of the pet's owner who should really be present in the consultation room when their beloved companion is being humanely dispatched.

The way to avoid the above-mentioned difficulty in administering the killing drug is to apply an intravenous catheter to the animal and then you administer the drug through that catheter. It is a more controlled and predictable way of proceeding.

The problem here is that it can be difficult to apply the catheter. The animal might struggle. The owner won't like it and be distressed. They take the animal into a back room which I think is going to also distress the owner because they won't know what's happening.

Then they bring the cat or dog forward into the consultation room to administer the killing barbiturate anaesthetic. There could be a third step which is to apply a painkiller and sedation drug which renders the cat or dog unconscious before the final injection is applied.

In short, this could be or should be a three-stage process to guarantee that it is painless. That is: a catheter, a knockout drug which renders them in conscious, and then the third stage is the final barbiturate injection.

That's what the best veterinarians do to humanely euthanise a companion cat. However, as I understand it, most veterinarians don't do it this way. They might use the single injection which is I think problematic. Although they might use a two-stage process and avoid using the catheter which of itself is potentially problematic.

The point I'm making in this post is that it requires considerable care and a good method to ensure that the euthanasia of a companion animal at a veterinary clinic is genuinely painless and therefore humane. Sometimes it isn't on my understanding having researched the matter on the Internet. We don't have numbers to rely on to tell us if this is a big problem or a non-problem. I can't find the statistics. 

There is also the issue of the drug sodium pentobarbital which I have highlighted in the caption to the photo above.

Of course, you should know that I'm not a veterinarian and therefore reliant upon research. But I use the best sources and, in this case, these were veterinary websites.

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