Click inside for the weekly family rail, with tips on dogs and the flu, a review of “It's Kind of a Funny Story,” a scary Halloween book and more. Or check out these links:

Tip of the Week


If you haven't heard of the canine influenza virus, or the dog flu, you are probably not alone - the disease was first identified in 2004. While humans typically line up for vaccinations in the fall to protect them during the colder months, dogs can get the disease at any time. For most dogs, it is a mild illness, but some get very sick and the disease can cause lingering health issues. Here are some things you should know about canine influenza:


- It's highly contagious. Most dogs have not built up immunity to the disease because it's relatively new. Dogs can get the disease by being exposed to dogs that have it, as well as playing with toys or drinking from bowls used by other dogs.


- Humans cannot contract the disease. But they can spread it through their clothing or other items that have come in contact with infected dogs.


- The virus has been detected in 34 states so far. Since it was first identified in Florida racing greyhounds in 2004, the disease has spread rapidly. Most states report some incidence of the disease, but it can be difficult to track because it's hard to diagnose. To view where the dog flu has been found, visit www.doginfluenza.com.


- Dog flu is difficult to detect. Dogs become sick before they start showing symptoms, like coughing. Because it's a relatively new disease, many veterinarians are not yet experienced in identifying it.


- The disease can be really serious. Most dogs recover from the dog flu, but some suffer secondary infections like pneumonia, which can be fatal. Many dogs suffer lung damage that may not be detectable in clinical examinations.


If you think your dog might have canine influenza, contact your veterinarian.


- ARA


Family Screening Room


“It's Kind of a Funny Story”


Rated: PG-13 (for mature thematic issues, sexual content, drug material and language)


Length: 1:41


Synopsis: A clinically depressed teenager gets a new start after he checks himself into an adult psychiatric ward.


Violence/scary rating: 3


Sexual-content rating: 3


Profanity rating: 3


Drugs/alcohol rating: 3.5


Family Time rating: 3.5. Not too bad overall, but the themes probably make this a movie for more mature teenagers.


(Ratings are judged on a five-point scale, with 5 being “bad for kids” and 1 being “fine for kids.”)


Book Report


“A Taste for Red,” by Lewis Harris


Ages: 9-12


Pages: 169


Synopsis: A sixth-grade Goth girl who thinks she’s a vampire encounters her greatest nemesis when she enrolls at Sunny Hill Middle School in this hilarious and entirely original take on the vampire genre for middle-graders.


Did You Know


According to a study in the International Journal of Epidemiology, children who have three or more x-rays are at a greater risk of developing leukemia.


GateHouse News Service