Profanity Branded Dog Gets Cosmetic Surgery

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — A young dog that was found branded with a profane word has undergone cosmetic surgery in Kentucky to mask part of the word that was chemically burned into her.

The dog, a pit-bull mix named Felicity, was taken in last month after being found tied to a fence. Lexington Humane Society officials say they have found her a home but wanted to do surgery to try to hide the four-letter word.

Several people have donated money for a reward to find the dog’s abuser. The local animal control office is offering a $3,500 reward.

The surgery was performed Thursday by Liz Ubelhor, the staff veterinarian. Ubelhor says the people who burned Felicity likely used some kind of chemical paste or liquid that stuck to her fur.

Fleas and Winter

Fleas and Winter

Always treat your dogs for fleas in the winter

Treat your yard year round for fleas, also


Fleas are a nasty, tiny bug that lives off the blood of humans and animals. Although not life threatening in single bites or a few bites … we have seen an infestation so bad that the fleas had actually overwhelmed the blood reproductive system of a dog that the had become weak, the gums of the dog turned white and the dog had to have immediate veterinarian attention.

Some believe that if their dog has fleas, that the fleas will die off in the winter and this is very untrue. Fleas can survive very cold temperatures, especially if they have a host to feed on. It is important to treat your dog regularly with some sort of flea and tick solution. Flea and tick medicine can be purchased at nearly any grocery store, department store and sometimes even at your local pharmacy. Flea and tick treatment can also be purchased from your local veterinarian.


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Fleas are the insects forming the order Siphonaptera. They are wingless, with mouth parts adapted for piercing skin and sucking blood. Fleas are external parasites, living by hematophagy off the blood of mammals and birds.


Some flea species include:

  • Cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis)
  • Dog flea (Ctenocephalides canis)
  • Human flea (Pulex irritans)
  • Moorhen flea (Dasypsyllus gallinulae)
  • Northern rat flea (Nosopsyllus fasciatus)
  • Oriental rat flea (Xenopsylla cheopis)


Over 2,000 flea species have been described worldwide.



Morphology and Behavior

Fleas are wingless insects (1/16 to 1/8-inch (1.5 to 3.3 mm) long) that are agile, usually dark colored (for example, the reddish-brown of the cat flea), with tube-like mouth-parts adapted to feeding on the blood of their hosts. Their legs are long, the hind pair well adapted for jumping: a flea can jump vertically up to 7 inches (18 cm) and horizontally up to 13 inches (33 cm), making the flea one of the best jumpers of all known animals (relative to body size), second only to the frog hopper.

Researchers with the University of Cambridge in England found that fleas take off from their tibiae and tarsi (the insect equivalent of feet) and not their trochantera, or knees. It has been known that fleas do not use muscle power but energy stored in a protein named resilin, with researchers using high-speed video technology and mathematical models to discover where the spring action actually happens.

Their bodies are laterally compressed, permitting easy movement through the hairs or feathers on the host’s body (or in the case of humans, under clothing). The flea body is hard, polished, and covered with many hairs and short spines directed backward, which also assist its movements on the host.

The tough body is able to withstand great pressure, likely an adaptation to survive attempts to eliminate them by mashing or scratching. Even hard squeezing between the fingers is normally insufficient to kill a flea. However, rolling them back and forth a dozen times disables their legs, resulting in death.
Micrograph of a flea larva.

Fleas lay tiny white oval-shaped eggs better viewed through a loupe or magnifying glass. The larva is small and pale, has bristles covering its worm-like body, lacks eyes, and has mouth-parts adapted to chewing. The larvae feed on various organic matter, especially the feces of mature fleas. The adult flea’s diet consists solely of fresh blood. In the pupa phase, the larva is enclosed in a silken, debris-covered cocoon.
Life cycle and habitat

Fleas are holometabolous insects, going through the four life cycle stages of egg, larva, pupa, and imago (adult). Adult fleas must feed on blood before they can become capable of reproduction. Flea populations are evenly distributed, with about 50% eggs, 35% larvae, 10% pupae, and 5% adults.


Flea Eggs

The flea life cycle begins when the female lays after feeding. Eggs are laid in batches of up to 20 or so, usually on the host itself, which means that the eggs can easily roll onto the ground. Because of this, areas where the host rests and sleeps become one of the primary habitats of eggs and developing fleas. The eggs take around two days to two weeks to hatch.


Flea Larvae

Flea larvae emerge from the eggs to feed on any available organic material such as dead insects, feces, and vegetable matter. In laboratory studies, some dietary diversity seems necessary for proper larval development. Blood only diets allow only 12% of larvae to mature, whereas blood and yeast or dog chow diets allow almost all larvae to mature. They are blind and avoid sunlight, keeping to dark places like sand, cracks and crevices, and bedding.


Flea Pupae

Given an adequate supply of food, larvae will pupate and weave a silken cocoon within 1–2 weeks after 3 larval stages. After another week or two, the adult flea is fully developed and ready to emerge from the cocoon. They may remain resting during this period until they receive a signal that a host is near – vibrations (including sound), heat, and carbon dioxide are all stimuli indicating the probable presence of a host. Fleas are known to overwinter in the larval or pupal stages.


Adult Fleas

Once the flea reaches adulthood, its primary goal is to find blood and then to reproduce. Their total life span can be as short as one year, but may be several years in ideal conditions. Female fleas can lay 5000 or more eggs over their life, allowing for phenomenal growth rates. Average 30–90 days.

A flea might live a year and a half under ideal conditions. These include the right temperature, food supply, and humidity. Generally speaking, an adult flea only lives for 2 or 3 months. Without a host for food a flea’s life might be as short as a few days. With ample food supply, the adult flea will often live up to 100 days.

Newly emerged adult fleas live only about one week if a blood meal is not obtained. However, completely developed adult fleas can live for several months without eating, so long as they do not emerge from their puparia. Optimum temperatures for the flea’s life cycle are 21 °C to 30 °C (70 °F to 85 °F) and optimum humidity is 70%.

Adult female rabbit fleas, Spilopsyllus cuniculi, can detect the changing levels of cortisol and corticosterone hormones in the rabbit’s blood that indicate it is getting close to giving birth. This triggers sexual maturity in the fleas and they start producing eggs. As soon as the baby rabbits are born, the fleas make their way down to them and once on board they start feeding, mating, and laying eggs. After 12 days, the adult fleas make their way back to the mother. They complete this mini-migration every time she gives birth.




In the past, it was most commonly supposed that fleas had evolved from the flies (Diptera), based on similarities of the larvae. (Some authorities use the name Aphaniptera because it is older, but names above family rank need not follow the ICZN rules of priority, so most taxonomists use the more familiar name). Genetic and morphological evidence indicates that they are descendants of the Scorpionfly family Boreidae, which are also flightless; accordingly it is possible that they will eventually be reclassified as a suborder within the Mecoptera.

Their evolution continued to produce adaptations for their specialized parasitic niche, such that they now have no wings and their eyes are covered over. The large number of flea species may be attributed to the wide variety of host species they feed on, which provides so many specific ecological niches to adapt to. In any case, all these groups seem to represent a clade of closely related insect lineages, for which the names Mecopteroidea and Antliophora have been proposed.

Flea systematics are not entirely fixed. While, compared to many other insect groups, fleas have been studied and classified fairly thoroughly, details still remain to be learned about the evolutionary relationships among the different flea lineages.

  • Suborder Pulicomorpha
    • Superfamily Pulicoidea
      • Family Hectopsyllidae—sticktight and chigoe fleas (“chiggers” of Latin America)
      • Family Pulicidae—common fleas
    • Superfamily Malacopsylloidea
      • Family Malacopsyllidae
      • Family Rhopalopsyllidae—hosts
      • Family Vermipsyllidae—hosts: carnivores
    • Superfamily Coptopsylloidea
      • Family Coptopsyllidae
    • Superfamily Ancistropsylloidea
      • Family Ancistropsyllidae
  • Suborder Pygiopsyllomorpha
    • Superfamily Pygiopsylloidea
      • Family Lycopsyllidae
      • Family Pygiopsyllidae
      • Family Stivaliidae
  • Suborder Hystrichopsyllomorpha
    • Superfamily Hystrichopsylloidea
      • Family Hystrichopsyllidae—hosts: rats and mice. Includes Ctenopsyllidae, Amphipsyllidae
      • Family Chimaeropsyllidae
    • Superfamily Macropsylloidea
      • Family Macropsyllidae
    • Superfamily Stephanocircidoidea
      • Family Stephanocircidae
  • Suborder Ceratophyllomorpha
    • Superfamily Ceratophylloidea
      • Family Ceratophyllidae


Flea Relationship with Host

Fleas feed on a wide variety of warm-blooded vertebrates including dogs, cats, humans, chickens, rabbits, squirrels, rats, ferrets, and mice.


Direct Effects of Flea Bites

Fleas are a nuisance to their hosts, causing an itching sensation which in turn may result in the host attempting to remove the pest by biting, pecking, scratching, etc. in the vicinity of the parasite. Fleas are not simply a source of annoyance, however. Flea bites generally cause the formation of a slightly raised, swollen itching spot with a single puncture point at the center (similar to a mosquito bite).:126

The bites often appear in clusters or lines of two bites, and can remain itchy and inflamed for up to several weeks afterwards. Fleas can also lead to hair loss as a result of frequent scratching and biting by the animal, and can cause anemia in extreme cases.:126


Fleas act as a Vector

Besides the problems posed by the creature itself, fleas can also act as a vector for disease. Fleas transmit not only a variety of viral, bacterial and rickettsial diseases to humans and other animals, but also protozoans and helminths.:72–73

  • Bacteria: Murine or endemic typhus.:124 Fleas have helped cause epidemics by transmitting diseases such as the bubonic plague between rodents and humans by carrying Yersinia pestis bacteria. Fleas can transmit Yersinia pestis, Rickettsia typhi, Rickettsia felis, and Bartonella henselae.
  • Virus: myxomatosis.:73
  • Helminth: infestation of Hymenolepiasis tapeworm.
  • Protozoa: Trypanosome protozoans such as those of the subgenus Herpetosoma, use a variety of flea species opportunistically as vectors.:74

Fleas that specialize as parasites on specific mammals may use other mammals as hosts; therefore humans are susceptible to the predation of more than one species of flea.

A misconception concerning the carrying/transmission of the HIV/AIDS by fleas has been debunked by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC 2003), which stated that fleas cannot carry the virus and spread it to other humans.


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Flea Treatments

For Humans

Fleas can settle in a person’s hair in less than ten minutes, causing soreness and itching. The itching associated with flea bites can be treated with anti-itch creams, usually antihistamines or hydrocortisone. Calamine lotion has been shown to be effective for itching.


For Pets

Modern flea control is approached using Integrated Pest Management (IPM) protocols at the host (pet) level. IPM is achieved by targeting fleas during at least two separate life stages, with at least two separate molecules. This is typically achieved using an adulticide to kill adult fleas and an insect development inhibitor (IDI), like lufenuron, or insect growth regulator (IGR), like methoprene, to prevent development of immature stages.

Flea adults, larvae, or eggs can be controlled with insecticides. Lufenuron is a veterinary preparation (known as Program) that attacks the larval flea’s ability to produce chitin, necessary for the adult’s hard exoskeleton, but does not kill fleas. Flea medicines need to be used with care because many of them also affect mammals.

Flea treatments that are meant for dogs can be hazardous to cats. Flea and tick ointment is also hazardous to humans; the label of a commercial preparation warns: “First aid: If on skin or clothing, take off contaminated clothing, rinse skin immediately with plenty of water for 15 – 20 minutes; call a poison control center or doctor for treatment advice. . . Although (the product is) applied only between the shoulder blades and at the base of the tail, the dog’s skin and hair oils carry the product over the entire body . . . Wash thoroughly with soap and water after handling . . .”

Cedar oil, a non-toxic natural substance, has been proven effective in the eradication of infestations in pets.[dubious – discuss] However, use of some essential oils can be hazardous to cats, especially those containing phenols.

Since more than three-quarters of a flea’s life is spent somewhere other than on the host animal, it is not adequate to treat only the host; it is important also to treat the host’s environment. Thorough vacuuming, washing linens in hot water, and treating all hosts in the immediate environment (the entire household, for example) are essential and if possible must be performed on a regular basis.

Contemporary commercial products for the topical treatment of flea infestations on pets contain pesticides such as imidacloprid, permethrin, and (S)-methoprene. All flea control products are recommended to be used at least half-yearly because the life cycle of flea and tick can last to up to 6 months, and by using one of the flea and tick control products for so long, the infestation is highly prevented and, in the end, stopped. Although all these products are effective in fighting against flea and tick infestations, they have different active ingredients and, because cats cannot metabolize some of the compounds of the product, care must be taken in their use.


For the Home

Combatting a flea infestation in the home takes patience because for every flea found on an animal, there could be many more developing in the home. A spot-on insecticide will kill the fleas on the pet and in turn the pet itself will be a roving flea trap and mop up newly hatched fleas. The environment should be treated with a fogger or spray insecticide containing an insect growth regulator, such as pyriproxyfen or methoprene to kill eggs and pupae, which are quite resistant against insecticides.

Frequent vacuuming is also helpful, killing 96 percent of adult fleas and 100 percent of younger fleas. The vacuum must be used around everything the animal frequents, to pick up all the larvae and eggs.

Diatomaceous earth can also be used as a home flea treatment in lieu of acetylcholinesterase inhibitory treatments or insecticides which carry with them a risk of poisoning for both humans and other animals. However, diatomaceous earth dust is harmful to pets and people when inhaled, so use of a dust mask is recommended when applying it. Application is effective on both the interior and exterior of one’s property, but the efficacy of Diatomaceous earth is diminished when introduced to water. Diatomaceous earth is commonly available in (amorphous silica) food grade quality; the grade used for pool filters (crystalline silica) should never be used for flea control, as it is not as effective and causes silicosis when inhaled. It is also effective to simply leave it exposed in areas typically vulnerable to fleas and other insects.

Bathing can dramatically reduce the flea population on a badly-infested animal, especially when in combination with a mild detergent or shampoo, and brushing or combing.

Baking soda can be used to kill fleas via dehydration. It is available in large amounts as a food grade material and is safe for family and pets when used inside the home on carpets and floors. A layer can be sprinkled onto a carpet and worked into the fibers down to where the larvae and eggs are, and will dehydrate and kill them. The soda can be easily vacuumed up afterwards on the condition of safe disposal. Often multiple weekly treatments will be required to remove an infestation completely. Table salt can also be used inside the home in the same way as, or in combination with, baking soda as a low cost and safe method of breaking their life cycle. Pulverizing or grinding the salt with a coffee grinder will make it more effective as it will stick to the flea, killing it quicker through dehydration.

Dried penny royal has been suggested as a natural flea control, but is not recommended in homes with pets due to its high toxicity to mammals.

Borax is sold as a “Natural Laundry Booster” and can also be used as another home treatment for flea infestations. Borax contains sodium borate which kills fleas by dehydrating them, but its safety for pets is untested.

Laundering any items that may be harboring fleas with soap and water will drown the adult fleas. Fleas cannot withstand high temperatures, so a turn through the dryer on medium or high will kill the fleas as well.

To collect living fleas from a room or space, eliminate lighting as much as possible while focusing a single source of light just above the floor and directing the light downward. This is best done at night or by covering windows. A sticky bug pad can be placed under the light, or a plate of water mixed with typical soap for the fleas to fall into. The fleas will be drawn to the light and die in the water or be trapped on the sticky pad just below the light.


Eliminating Fleas – Vacuuming, Temperature and Humidity

A combination of controlled humidity, temperature, and vacuuming should eliminate fleas from an environment. Altering even one of these environmental factors may be enough to drastically lower and eliminate an infestation.

Vacuuming on a frequent basis, not only the places where the pet lies, but extensively, is particularly effective. A laboratory study done at the University of California showed that vacuuming catches about 96% of adult fleas.

In arid areas, less than 5% of flea eggs complete the life-cycle. Because humidity is critical to flea survival, eggs need relative humidity of at least 70–75% to hatch, and larvae need at least 50% humidity to survive. In humid areas, about 20% of the eggs survive to adulthood. Dehumidifiers with air conditioning and vacuuming all may interrupt the flea life cycle.

Lower temperatures slow down or completely interrupt the flea life-cycle. Fleas thrive at higher temperatures, but need 21° to 32 °C (70° to 90 °F) to survive.

Cost of Training

Cost of Training vs Replacing Home Furnishings


It always amazes us that some will choose to pass on training due to the cost, when their dog is tearing up everything in the house. It is most certainly cheaper to have your dog trained than replace the things your dog is destroying. We understand that some just aren’t able to afford training and we will always try to work with all size budgets … but for those that can, it is baffling as to why they choose to skip the training for their dog.

We get several calls each week with people telling us their dog has chewed up their furniture or has peed on their carpets or furniture or even chewed holes in the wall. Like with all potential clients, we perform an evaluation of their dog and a demonstration of our training to show them their dog is able to change. We even get those who signup, then call us back within hours to cancel because they thought about it and “right now just isn’t a good time”. So, we are curious … when is a good time to save your home from being destroyed?


Number 2

Number 2


Have you ever noticed that when a dog needs to go number 2, they begin circling? Why do they do this? Are they looking for just the right spot? Are they just being picky about going to the bathroom?

There has been several studies about why dogs do this. Studies show the amazing homing abilities of the dog. So lets get to the answer …

Dogs circle before they poop, because they are geo-mapping their piles. They orientate themselves north and south if you notice, so that they can better map the areas of their last pile.


This is an article written by Columnist John Kelly & co-authored by Burda Hynek

“Dogs are sensitive to small variations of the Earth’s magnetic field.”

When a dog poops, it’s likely to align its spine along a north- south axis. It’s why when we walk our dogs, plastic bag in hand, we often can be heard muttering, “Come on. Poop already. What are you waiting for?” They may be waiting for their inner GPS to recalculate.

Burda Hynek … A zoologist at the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany: wrote the following … “There are anecdotal reports of their extraordinary homing abilities (just remember Lassie come home) and there is also a well-known common behavior — circling before excretion or before sleeping — which is enigmatic and for which there is no scientific explanation.”

To find out, volunteers enlisted 70 different dogs. They observed 1,893 instances of defecation and 5,582 instances of urination. They made sure the dogs were off-leash, out of their back yards, and away from power lines and buildings.

Now, the Earth’s magnetic field is not stable. While its fluctuations aren’t enough to set a compass needle spinning, they are measurable. What the researchers found was that in periods of magnetic stability, dogs were more likely to align themselves along a north-south axis while doing their business, with a preference for facing north.

You are possibly wondering why a dog would do such a thing. The authors aren’t sure. Nor do they know whether the dogs do it consciously — somehow detecting the specifics of the magnetic field — or whether they are reacting on a more primal level. Does a dog just feel better when aligned in a certain direction?

Hynek thinks the magnetic ability might be connected with territory marking. “A dog who is outdoors, out of his backyard, marks his home range or an unfamiliar region,” he wrote. “Perhaps you have also noticed that the dog knows well (and can remember) not only where he hid a bone but also where are his marking cornerstones. He has a mental map of his home range or creates such a map whenever in an unfamiliar region. Our hypothesis is that he uses these short stops to store the location (‘coordinates’) of marking cornerstones in his memory. Doing so, and/or calibrating his magnetic compass, is probably easier for him when being aligned with the magnetic field.”

Hynek doesn’t own a dog. He borrowed a neighbor’s dog — an 11-year-old bearded collie named Freda — for the study. Other dog breeds included Airedales, beagles, terriers and dachshunds — lots and lots of dachshunds. (There were a few mutts, too.)

Research continues. Hynek and his team are soliciting volunteers for a worldwide project to collect even more data.

“We need to analyze behavior of many more dogs to be able to find out whether there is some effect of breed, age, sex, diseases, other sensory capabilities,” he wrote. “Blind and deaf dogs are welcome to participate in the project.”

Calm & Assertive Energy

Calm & Assertive Energy


Being a great leader to your dog … or a great Alpha, means that you are always in control. This doesn’t mean being in control of your dog per say. But being in control of yourself. Controlling your energy and emotions will show your dog that you deserve that leadership role.

When walking into a clients home, we are confident that we will not only be able to train their dog, but we know that we can also show the owner how to properly command and correct their dog. What makes things a bit tough sometimes, is knowing that we cannot teach our client how to control their energy. Many times, we will hear “wow … my dog has never done that” … and this is normally after the dog has either rolled over and submitted to us, has bitten or snapped at us or completely obeys everything we have commanded.

We know that dogs will do some pretty odd things when we first arrive and this is because of our energy. Some of our trainers project a dominant energy and others project an easy or friendly energy. Our dominant energy trainers will sometimes be met with a dog trying to challenge us due to the fact the dog feels like they have to fight to keep their alpha role. The more laid back energy trainers will sometimes be met with a dog who tries to run the show or just wants to be obnoxious and this is because they feel they can. No matter the energy of the trainer … our trainers know they must always remain calm and assertive. By the end of the evaluation, the dog will always know that the trainer is in control.

It is very important that you practice a calm assertive energy. Although we can not show you how to be in control of your energy … it is important that you research and try to understand how energy effects the dog. Understanding energy will help tremendously with raising and owning your dog.

Consistent Dog Training

Consistent Dog Training


It is imperative that you, as the owner and handler of your dog, be consistent. Being inconsistent is what confuses your dog. Dogs look to their master for the leader they need in their life. Dogs need a true leader in their life. When you fail to be the leader they require … the dog will always try to step into that leader or “alpha” role. Just because you are the human, doesn’t mean that the dog will automatically give you the alpha role or give you the respect we demand.

Just like humans … respect is earned and this is the same in the dog world. Once you have the respect of the dog, they will follow you through the gates of Heaven or Hell, should it come down to that. Being consistent sends a clear message to your dog that you are confident in your decisions, that you will ead them in the right direction, that you deserve the role as alpha and that you are their master.

Being inconsistent in your role as commander in chief, will not only confuse your dog, but will slow the bonding process. Being consistent also allows you to train your dog so much easier as well. Being that dogs are masters of association, they will always look for the consistency and when it isn’t provided, you will quickly lose their attention.

Follow Through with Commands

Follow Through with Commands


Never give a command your not willing to follow through with, should your dog not do what you command them to do.

No matter how busy the work is … no matter how good the food is … no matter how great the movie is … no matter what your doing, if your dog doesn’t do what you command them to do … don’t give that command if you are not willing to get up and make them do what you command them to do.

Some people will say “oh, well … I’ll make them do it later” … When you do this, you are telling your dog you are full of it and if they simply call your bluff, they will get by with it. This is how dogs begin to get out of hand. It is the human that allows their dog to become unruly or even aggressive.

Repeating Commands

Repeating Commands


When giving your dog a command, you should never repeat the same command twice in a row. For example, when you give the “Sit” command … you never want to say “sit … sit … sit … no, no .. sit”. At this point, you are no longer telling your dog what to do … you are asking. Repeating commands does not show leadership … it shows that you are willing to beg. Repeating commands also shows that you are willing to put up with waiting for your dog to respond.

When giving a command, your dog should only be given about a 1/2 a second to respond. For example, if you give a “sit” command, your dog should only have about a half a second, to a full second, to respond. That does not mean that your dog needs to be in the sit position within a half a second, it means your dog needs to acknowledge and respond within a 1/2 of a second. When the command is given, the dog should instantly begin to move toward the given command. The longer you allow, the longer your dog will take.


A Properly Given Command

A proper given command should be given as followed …

“Sit … No .. Sit”

A verbal and/or physical correction should be given in between all commands given.