The new must have item for dog owners

Stix Dog Coats have created an innovative new must have item for dog owners across the country.

The innovative new company have created a coat for dogs from recycled plastic bottles, which are hand made in England.

Dogs have fast become a treasured member for millions of families in the UK, and more and more dog owners have recognised the need for a functional coat that fits their dog properly keeping them clean and warm.

Made from Polartec Fleece, a technical fabric, they are waterproof, quick drying, durable and machine washable. They tick all the right boxes in addition to looking good too.

The staple colours of our own wardrobe are mirrored in their range of Grey, Navy and Earth Green, with the signature neon zips making them easy to spot, and simple to pop on and off even the wriggliest of hounds.

Walking is one of our most enjoyed pastimes, and the weather shouldn’t hinder our outings. Good for the body and more importantly the mind the Stix dog coat allows you to get outside whatever the weather.

Co-founders Jo Murray and Desi Heptinstall comment: “We love the great escape that outdoor life can offer us, and our mission is to keep our customers dogs warm, dry and happily on the move with minimal fuss. With our pack of dogs at STIX, these coats have been relentlessly tried and tested. Nothing makes us happier than satisfied customers and wagging tails.”

For more information on the Stix Dog Coats range you can visit https://stixandco.co.uk/.

 

 

 

 

 

Vets4Pets share the usual side to vet life

National veterinary group, Vets4Pets highlight the weird and wonderful cases that are rarely seen in a veterinary practice.

As in human health care, vets often treat a diverse range of weird and wonderful cases in their practices – but what are some of the more unusual ones?

From dogs swallowing foreign objects and parrots with bad breath problems, to an owner who said that her dog detected her breast cancer, 2019 has provided vets with a wide range of challenging and interesting clients.

Vets4Pets has compiled a list of strange and memorable cases that its teams have treated during the last twelve months.

Dr Huw Stacey, vet and director of clinical services at Vets4Pets, said: With hundreds of practices spread across the UK, our hardworking vets and nurses see thousands of pets every year, so there were bound to be some more unusual cases amongst them, that really tested the skills and expertise of our veterinary professionals.

“Although, we were definitely surprised by a few of the cases we heard about from our practices, one of the more common issues we found was vets having to remove foreign objects from inside pets, mainly after they had swallowed something they shouldn’t have.”

This was the case with mischievous young Beagle Benson, who, unbeknownst to his owners managed to ingest 14 drawing pins. Luckily, they were removed, and he escaped with no internal damage.

Black Labrador Monty (pictured above) also required emergency surgery after he ate a lump of jagged coal, that travelled through his system before it became stuck and perforated a hole in his intestines. If vets hadn’t removed the coal in time, it could have led to a fatal infection.

Milo with Tanya Crawley at Vets4Pets Swindon

Dr Stacey added: “Some pets, and dogs in particular will eat almost anything they come across, as they don’t have the understanding that we humans do of what the consequences of such an action can be.

“Pets can often consume items left lying around the house, garden or outdoors, so it’s important that owners are aware of what their pet is doing in case of an emergency. If a pet ingests a foreign object, it can sometimes lead to serious issues if it isn’t removed quickly. But as long as owners act fast once they realise what has happened, then their vet will be able to remove the item and ensure the pet is fit and well before returning them to their owner.”

However, Vets4Pets’ findings show that vets can also end up performing operations a bit more ‘out of the norm’ from their usual surgeries, with one case involving putting a goldfish under general anaesthetic to remove a lump from its back.

Vets in Wrexham also had to remove the majority of a dog’s jaw recently due to cancer, whilst vets in Swindon are currently treating Milo, a Weimaraner with acupuncture to help with its muscle problems.

“Just like us humans, pets can suffer from a variety of illnesses throughout their life, from cancer to diabetes, or are born with, or develop, rarer conditions which then need more long-term ongoing treatment and care,” explained Dr Stacey.

“During consultations vets can also hear stories if how pets have helped owners with their own medical conditions, with one of our clients claiming that her dog smelt breast cancer before it was diagnosed. The owner then underwent successful treatment and is now recovery.

“This was definitely one of the more unusual cases we heard about from one of our practices, and shows the remarkable abilities our pets have, particularly dogs, whose senses are hundreds of times better than our own.”

As a pet-loving nation, there are millions of dogs, cats, rabbits and guinea pigs across the UK. But it’s not just the everyday pets that vets treat.

This was the case with vets in South Wales, who were puzzled by an African Grey parrot with garlic bad breath. Only after a long process of diet changes was it found that sesame sticks were the culprit of causing the issue.

Dr Stacey concluded: “Every animal has its own unique personality and quirks, which can lead to them being weird and wonderful cases for the UK’s vets and nurses to treat, and they all certainly make the job very interesting indeed.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RSCPA showcase some rats hoping to find new homes this Chinese New Year

The rats in RSPCA care are hoping the Chinese New Year may bring them some luck and a new home.

The Year of the Rat begins on January 25 and as the first sign in the 12-year cycle of the Chinese zodiac, it is associated with new beginnings.

The rats at RSPCA are desperate for a new beginning of their own this ear, having come into the charity’s care after often being unwanted or victims of neglect or cruelty.

The RSPCA recorded 807 incidents involving rats across the country in 2019, with 54 being related to the neglect of rodents. In 2019, the RSCPA took 80 rats into its care and rehomed 51.

RSPCA pet welfare expert Dr Jane Tyson said: “Sadly, rats can be misunderstood animals and often aren’t as popular as other smaller pets like rabbits and hamsters. However, they can make really rewarding pets, they are very intelligent animals and have their own personality traits.

“Please be sure to do your research before adopting a small animal it is important to consider how much time and space a small animal needs as well as ensuring you have the right accommodation and location for that accommodation.

“If you think you can find the space in your heart and your home this year for a new pet please look at the RSPCA’s find a pet page to find a rescue animal in need of a forever home.”

Samuel Whiskas is currently at RSPCA Derby branch

Pip and Ratilda are two young rats available for rehoming at the RSPCA Godshill Animal Centre, we believe they may be sisters and are strongly bonded and will be rehomed as a pair.

They are hand tame and inquisitive yet remain a little shy of new people. Pip and Ratilda love feeding time and come out to play when they see people. Our volunteers love to hang out with them, and they are now our longest stay animals in the shelter. We would love to see these two adorable girls find their forever home.

Samuel Whiskas is available for rehoming at the RSPCA Derby branch. Samuel loves to snuggle under his blankets in his hammock and he would be best suited to an adult home or one with older children where he can build his confidence being handled. Like larger pets, small animals require plenty of love and attention too.

Saturday and Sunday (pictured above) are two boys that are believed to be between three and found months of age. They are from a home that was overrun with rats and the situation had got out of control. Saturday and Sunday are the best of buds and really friendly characters. They are super speedy when they come out to play but with regular handling it should see them settle with their caregiver in no time.

They are in tip top health and have great appetites for fresh veg and Science Selective rat food. They can be introduced to an existing group or adopted as a pair. If you can offer them a home, you can get in touch with RSPCA Manchester and Salford branch with photos of your set up and details of existing pets in the home.

Ben is currently at the RSPCA’s Derby branch looking for his forever home. One-year old Ben would be looking for a quiet home with older children as he is not very confident being handled. For more information about Ben, please contact the branch.

Over the last few years, the RSPCA has worked on a ‘Love Rats’ campaign to try and raise awareness of the traits of these remarkable animals. This has been done both through myth busting and working to effect real change in the world of science.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some of the nation’s snooziest pets in pictures

Snoozy pets have stolen the hearts of the nation, as photos flood in for a competition to find the UK’s sleepiest animals.

Recent research revealed that over a third of Brits don’t let their pets sleep in or on their own bed, meaning they often need to find somewhere else to sleep, regularly dozing off in some bizarre positions.

That’s why online bed and mattress specialist, Bed SOS, encouraged Brits to submit photos of their furry companions, fast asleep in unexpected positions or locations, in a bid to find the UK’s sleepiest pet and has so far had over 400 entries.

Danny Richmond, managing director of Bed SOS, said: “We’ve been inundated with entries already and the competition isn’t over yet. It’s going to be tough choosing a winner; it seems household pets love a snooze everywhere from our beds to around the house, and owners love to take snaps. After all, who doesn’t love seeing cute photos of pets sleeping in hilarious positions?”

The nationwide competition closes at 12pm on Monday 27th January, so you haven’t got long to get your entries in to be with a chance of winning a brand-new bed worth £400.

Entrants are asked to send in a photo of their sleepy pet and a selection of entries can be found below:

1 Karen Parker finds it hard to get any work done with her dog Lucy around

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 Hayley Collier’s eight-year-old daughter Khloe, from Windsor, loves taking a nap time with their new puppy Isco

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 Charlie Brunton’s four-year old cat Chizzy loves sleeping in the wok

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 Pooches Dynamo and Nelly much prefer Lisa Fletcher’s bed to their own

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Karen Wilson, from Cumbria, found her cat Bradley (age 15) asleep in a cool bag

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6 Jacquelyn Burton’s Beagle Maisy likes to give Poppy the Chihuahua a comfortable place to rest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7 Amy Carbarns shared this photo of her cats Leo, Honey and Mittens snuggled together

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8 Clare Baskott found her horse Milie taking a nap in a field

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9 Sonia Chandler, from Chichester, rescued her five-year old dog Marley from a shelter in Romania. As you can see, he likes to guard the TV remote in his sleep!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 Terese Hulse from Pontefract’s 13-year-old dog Lily doesn’t choose the most comfortable positions to sleep in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To enter the competition yourself to be in with a chance to winning a brand-new bed worth up to £400 you can visit https://www.bedsos.co.uk/blog/2020/01/sleepy-pets-competition/.

 

 

 

 

First dogs of 2020 go to new homes from Dogs Trust

The new decade got off to a paw-some start for four lucky dogs, who were among the first to be rehomed by Dogs Trust in 2020.

Snow, a four-month old Maltese Terrier, was the first to leave the charity’s Evesham rehoming centre, going to his forever home with Marcello Cossali-Francis in Malvern, Worcestershire.

Others to find new happy homes in the first few days of the year include Happy, a one-year old Crossbreed, a two-year old Staffordshire Bull Terrier called Dory (pictured above) and a four-year old ex-racing Greyhound called Sally.

These dogs are the first of the many thousands that Dogs Trust will rehome from its 20 centres all over the UK this year, following an incredible year of success in 2019.

Dogs Trust staff and volunteers walked on averaged 5,824 miles, washed 4,794 loads of bedding and dished out 7.25 tonnes of dog food for our pooches at each rehoming centre last year.

In total, the charity rehomed 11,079 dogs last year and welcomed almost 220,000 visitors to its 20 rehoming centres in the UK.

The most popular names were Bella, Lola, Daisy and Poppy for female dogs and Max, Alfie, Teddy and Charlie for male dogs.

It’s clear that 2019 was the year of the Crossbreed – with 1,356 crossbreed dogs rehomed over the course of the year. Other popular breeds included Jack Russell Terrier (830), Lurchers (662) and Terrier Cross (576).

Adam Clowes, Dogs Trust’s Operations Director, said: “It’s fantastic to see dogs leaving our rehoming centres so early on in the year and going home with their new families and owners. We had a very busy 2019 but it’s always so rewarding when you see dogs of all breeds, ages, shapes and sizes finding their forever homes.

“It’s set to be another big year for the Dogs Trust, as we expand Dog School and get ready for the opening of our new Cardiff rehoming centre in 12 months’ time.”

Dogs Trust Dog School, which provides training classes and behaviour advice to dogs and their owners, also enjoyed another successful year, with around 18,000 attendees in 2019, and thousands more expected to take part in 2020.

For more information on rehoming or other ways to support Dogs Trust visit www.dogstrust.org.uk.

 

 

 

 

PDSA offers top tips for ‘socialising’ your pet

Taking on a puppy or kitten is an exciting time and a learning curve, and in order for them to become happy and confident adults, it’s important your pet has a variety of positive experiences when young.

Encouraging lots of socialisation with other pets, people and situations is incredibly important so they don’t become nervous or aggressive as they grow up.

PDSA Vet Nurse, Nina Downing, says: “Socialisation has a big impact on your pet as they grow into adults. When they’re young, they can easily take things they come across in their stride and learn that there’s nothing to fear from new situations. Early experience can help shape their character for the rest of their life.

“A well-socialised pet is more likely to grow up to be friendly and confident. A pet that doesn’t experience everyday sights and sounds or have positive interactions with strangers and other animals when they’re young, may be fearful and anxious as an adult. In some cases, this can lead to fear or even aggression if they feel unsafe, so positive socialisation can help to prevent the development of these problems.”

PDSA advise that if you are thinking of getting a puppy or kitten, always look for a reputable breeder that will have started the socialisation process for you.

Nina adds: “Buying a puppy from a reputable breeder means they will already be familiar with a family home environment. Your vet will be able to give you further advice and can recommend classes, such as puppy parties in your local area.”

A checklist for socialisation:

To make sure all the new experiences your pet has are positive and they stay relaxed through the encounter. Below, the PDSA offer a list of experiences which are good to introduce from a young age.

  • A wide variety of friendly pets – such as healthy, well-socialised, vaccinated pets belonging to family or friends.
  • Children and young people (always under supervision).
  • People of different ages and appearances, wearing different seasonal clothes, and specialist or sports equipment (think hiking hear or motorcycle helmets).
  • Loud or sudden noises, such as vacuum cleaners, washing machines, thunder and fireworks. A sound desensitisation CD can be useful for this to make sure you don’t accidentally scare your pet by starting off too heavy.
  • Experience different environments (e.g. countryside trails, city streets, parks, busy and quiet roads). Start this process with your pup in your arms or in a pet carrier until they’ve had their jabs.
  • Travelling in the car – let them spend a short time in a stationary car in a safely secured cat carrier/dog harness a few times, then go on a short journey. You can gradually increase the length of journeys.
  • Being alone – gradually get them used to being left alone at home for increasing lengths of time starting with just a few minutes and building up to a couple of hours. Although, remember that dogs should never be left alone for more than four hours at a time.

It’s best to build up new experiences gradually. For example, get them used to quieter sounds before louder ones and be sure to praise good, calm behaviour so they develop positive association that they can take with them for the rest of their lives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What does Brexit mean for your dog?

When millions of people voted for Brexit in 2016, the impact it would have on taking your pet on holiday was probably the last thing on anyone’s mind.

Several years down the line and with Britain finally due to leave the EU on the 31st January, the experts at Gudog have highlighted all you need to know about travelling with your beloved pooch. Post-Brexit.

Travelling could be tricky

If the UK leaves with a deal, it will fall into the listed country category which means owners will either have to apply for a new pet passport or official for their dog.

But if the UK leaves without a deal it will become an unlisted third country in terms of pet travel, placing it alongside countries with higher rabies incidence, those lacking robust veterinary systems and countries that have never applied for listed status.

This would mean that current pet passports for UK pets to travel around the EU will no longer be valid and dog owners will face additional rules on taking pets to Europe.

Make early preparations for a no-deal Brexit

If you want to travel with your canine companion in the event of a no-deal Brexit, you’ll need to visit the vet at least four months before you plan to travel so you can start the process to get the right documentation in place.

If you’re going on holiday within the EU shortly after the Brexit deadline, your dog must be microchipped and vaccinated against rabies before they can travel. Your four-legged friend must also have a blood sample taken at least 30 days after its rabies vaccinations and if the sample gets the all clear, you must wait a further three months from the date the sample was taken before you can travel with your dog.

If you have your dog’s vaccination, microchipping date and proof of a successful rabies antibody blood test, you must take your pet to an official vet no more than ten days before travel to obtain an animal health certificate.

Leaving with a deal requires preparation too

If the UK leaves the EU with a deal and becomes a Part 1 listed country, the UK will operate under the same rules. This means that your pooch’s passport is still valid as long as you keep their rabies vaccination up to date.

If the UK becomes a Part 2 listed country, your furry friend will need to be microchipped and vaccinated against rabies at least 21 days before you travel. You must also obtain a health certificate confirming this by visiting your vet no more than 10 days before you travel.

Put money aside

According to the British Veterinary Association (BVA), dog owners could be forced to pay up to £150 more than they currently do to travel with their furry friends if we leave the EU without a deal. If your heart is set on holidaying abroad with your pooch, consider setting some money aside in case of the even you’re hit with an additional bill.

Consider a staycation

While the political uncertainty rolls on, you might decide to keep things simple and book a dog-friendly holiday in the UK. A staycation gives you the best of both worlds – a relaxing getaway and the chance to hang out with your dog – what more could you want?

For more information you can visit www.gudog.co.uk

 

 

 

New milestone in state-of-the-art Kettering veterinary hospital project

Improved facilities for treating poorly pets are a step closer for a Kettering vet practice thanks to progress on a £1.3 million new hospital project.

External works on the new home for Northlands Veterinary Hospital in Station Road are now complete and the internal fit-out is due to begin.

Once finished the three storey centre will offer four theatres – two general, one orthopaedic and one dental – three separate wards for cats, dogs and exotics, a diagnostic lab, a large waiting room with dedicated areas for cats and dogs, four consulting rooms (one just for cats), a bereavement room, dispensary, laser treatment room, general office space, client toilets, night-team accommodation and outside exercise yard.

There will be independent rooms for the practice’s ultrasound machine, digital x-ray and £150,000 CT scanner. Ten on-site car parking spaces will make for hassle-free customer access.

It will be a major upgrade for Northlands, and its local sister practice, The Avenue Veterinary Clinic, part of the VetPartners veterinary group, providing expansive and modern care space for clients and state-of-the-art working environment for colleagues.

The project, which has a budget of around £1.3 million, is part of a £20 million investment in new practice sites by VetPartners in 2020.

Karl Walker, practice manager said: “This is a very exciting venture for Northlands to be moving into a much bigger building which will provide enhanced facilities to give better care to pets and provide an improved environment for climate and colleagues.

“I’ve been here for five year and ever since I arrived, I have wanted to move premises simply because we have been in our current building on Northampton Road since the 1960s and have explored all our options to refurb and expand.

“Northlands joined VetPartners in 2017 and being part of the VetPartners group has made the dream of this new hospital a realty. This is a massive springboard for us.”

The Station Road site is leased from a local developer who sympathetically renovated the exterior of the building, including adding a new two storey extension.

Further investment has come through VetPratners to fund the hi-tech internal fit-out and ancillary fixtures and fittings. The Victorian building was a former SureStart nursey which had lain empty for around 12 years.

Netherlands hope to retain as many of its original feature as possible during the transformation. It is expected that the new hospital will be open by summer with both Northlands and Northampton Rad site and The Avenue Veterinary Clinic merging and moving their services into Station Road.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RSPCA sets out its ‘red lines’ at UK’s last ever EU animal welfare meeting

The RSPCA has set out five important recommendations for animal welfare amid fears that standards could be under threat in a free trade agreement.

As the EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill nears completion, it contains no references to animal welfare, despite the government’s manifesto promises. This means there is no legal guarantee that animal welfare standards will be written into any future trade deal between the UK and the EU.

Following the UK’s final EU animal welfare meeting this week, the RSPCA has set out five ‘red lines’ for a free trade agreement, which ensures animal welfare standards are protected:

  • Tariff-free trade should continue, especially on food;
  • Both sides agree not to lower their standards – if one side improves theirs, the other side should reciprocate;
  • Both sides should recognise the others’ regulatory processes. This means, for example, that products tested on animals would not need to be tested twice for the UK and the European market, raising the risk of increased animal testing;
  • A common veterinary agreement between the EU and UK. This would make movement of animals, between the two smoother, reducing checks and delays which could compromise welfare;
  • A transparent process for resolving any trade issues that arise.

David Bowles, the RSPCA’s Head of Public Affairs said: “The UK finds itself at a crossroads on animal welfare. So, we have set out our ‘red lines’ on what a free agreement with the EU should include. The government has to deliver ten promises from their manifesto to improve animal welfare once we leave the EU. But look at the Withdrawal Agreement and you will find no mention of animal welfare at all, let alone any commitment not to let standards fall.

“So, the direction which the government takes could depend on the whim of ministers rather than the rule of law. Will they go towards the American deregulated model allowing imports of food produced under practices such as hormones injected into beef, chicken washed in chlorine or pigs kept in sow stalls or keep and improve our standards and retain parity with the EU, our biggest market and partner for food?

“We believe that tariff free trade, mutual maintenance of standards, mutual recognition of regulations, a common veterinary agreement and a transparent process for resolving any trade issues are important principles for a free trade deal.

“We know there is a public support for this – polls have shown 67% of the public do not want products to be imported at standards illegal in the UK and 81% said they wanted our animal standards to be maintained or improved.”

During the 47 years of UK membership, the EU has adopted 44 different pieces of animal welfare law, from banning the import of dog and cat fur to regulating how animals are tested and used in laboratories.

While all are now part of UK legislation, many contain standards well above other countries, which the UK hopes to have trade agreements, including Australia and the USA.

David Bowles continued: “Even if these animal welfare standards remain in UK law, it is vital that in any trade deal, the UK does not agree to import products which are produced at lower standards whether it is food, products tested on animals or how fish are caught. The result would be undercutting our own producers or industry and would be a race to the bottom for animal welfare.”

The RSPCA’s principles were laid out at a meeting of the European Parliament’s Intergroup on Animal Welfare this month (January 2020). With 100 members from 26 countries, the group meets monthly to discuss and agree ways of improving animal welfare, but the January meeting was the last one for UK members after 37 years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New study reveals hip and elbow screening improves long-term dog health

A new study has revealed a marked general improvement in hip and elbow scores for some of the UK’s most commonly health-screened dog breeds.

Th research, carried out by the Kennel Club’s Health team, examined the importance and impact if health schemes for hip or elbow dysplasia on the long-term health of dog breeds.

The study specifically examined date from six commonly hip and elbow-scored breeds (Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever, German Shepherd Dog, Rottweiler, Bernese Mountain Dog, and Newfoundland).

Hip and elbow dysplasia are both complex inherited diseases that cause a dog’s joints to develop incorrectly, which can result in pain, arthritis and lameness as they get older.

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) and Kennel Club (KC) run two health screening scheme to assess the health of a dog’s hip and elbow joints. X-rays of the dog’s joints are taken by a vet and sent to the BVA to be closely examined, measured and given a grade or score.

These results can then be used by breeders to help identify the most appropriate dogs to breed from, and so reduce the risk of producing puppies affected by dysplasia. Results from these health schemes are recorded and published by the Kennel Club.

Researchers analysed data from the BVA/KC Hip and Elbow Dysplasia Schemes and found that not only have the proportion of dogs screened for hip and elbow dysplasia increased over time, but that the grades and scores of dogs used for breeding have also been improving too.

In the majority of the reviewed breeds, there was a notable decline in severe hip scored and a more modest, but still notable, decline in severe elbow scores.

In addition, the study examined data from Estimated Breeding Values (a resource that links hip scores and elbow grades from family/pedigree data) and found that recent generations of dogs in the six breeds studied are generally at a lower risk of dysplasia than dogs bred 30 years ago.

Dr Tom Lewis, Quantitative Geneticist Genetics Research Manager at the Kennel Club said: “Our research shows that these screening schemes have become more widely used, resulting in fewer puppies being born from untested parents. Breeders are increasingly choosing breeding stock with better scores and this careful consideration is significantly helping to improve dog health, demonstrating the significant positive impact that responsible breeders can have, and have had, on the health of dogs.

“Health screening is instrumental in reducing the incidents of these painful conditions and we will continue to support and collaborate with breed clubs to ensure that this trend endures.”

Bill Lambert, Senior Health and Welfare Manager at the Kennel Club added: “The Kennel Club closely collaborates with breed clubs, vets and researchers as part of our Breed Health and Conservation Plans project which aims to identify, prioritise and tackle inherited breed-specific diseases.

“This research will be used to help the six breeds studied develop strategies for continuing to reduce the risk of dysplasia in future generations and also demonstrates to other breeds – particularly those that are currently trying to tackle hip and elbow dysplasia – how their concentrated efforts can make a significant difference to dog health and welfare.”