The staff of Marbach Road Animal Hospital encourages
the adoption of greyhounds as house pets.
Click here for information about the medical problems of Greyhounds.
Polar bear pregnancy test results Zoo staff at 14 facilities across
the country have pregnancy test results for their polar bears, thanks to
a hard-working dog nose. A beagle named Elvis, trained to detect a
pregnancy protein in polar bear feces, has evaluated the samples,
finding just a few mama bears are expecting cubs. The Cincinnati Zoo's
Berit is not among them, according to the zoo.
Baby panda's attempts to stand are adorable The National Zoo's roly-poly, still unnamed panda tried to stand this week. The video of the 3-month-old cub's attempt to get onto her feet is a welcome antidote to difficult news from zoos earlier this week, including a zebra attack on a staff member at the National Zoo and the death of a female lion in Dallas after she was attacked. National Journal
In praise of bats: Even though bats can harbor many serious zoonotic diseases such as rabies, Ebola and SARS, veterinarian William Karesh argues bats are also valuable protectors of human health and emphasizes the need to preserve the many species of the animal. Human health could benefit as scientists work to unravel the secrets behind bats' ability to harbor deadly human disease while remaining unaffected. Bats also help protect crops by ingesting billions of insects and aiding pollination and seed dispersal, yet habitat loss and diseases such as white-nose syndrome are crippling some bat species, Dr. Karesh notes. "We have little to fear from bats but they have much to fear from us," he writes.
Scientists document how ticks hang on Ticks transmit zoonotic diseases while they take a blood meal over the course of days, and a new study sheds light on how they settle in for their extended meals. The research takes a close look at the anatomy of the female tick's mouth parts and shows how the insects are able to embed in the skin and hang on without expending energy while they eat, making them difficult to extract.
Dedication set for U.S. monument honoring military dogs The U.S. Military Working Dog Teams National Monument, the first national monument honoring military dogs, will be dedicated next week on the Texas military base where many of them are trained and receive veterinary care. The effort to create the monument was led by former military dog handler John Burnam, who served alongside dogs in Vietnamhttp://www.mysanantonio.com/default/article/Monument-for-dogs-used-in-military-to-be-dedicated-4917706.php
Is it time for Stubbs to step down? Stubbs the cat has reigned as honorary mayor of Talkeetna, Alaska, for years, but recent troubles may end his time in office. He has suffered injuries and insults in recent years, including being shot with a pellet gun, having an incident with a garbage truck, tumbling into a food fryer -- filled with cold oil -- and most recently being attacked by a dog. He's been slow to mend from the recent assault, and constituents think it may time to consider a new mayor.
Wolves return to mountains outside Madrid Pack of wolves colonise area in Sierra Norte, mountain range north of Madrid, almost 70 years after species was wiped out across Spain
Preventing obesity starts with pet owners Human and animal health intersect at many points, including the waistline, according to experts who attended the Waltham International Nutritional Sciences Symposium. Owners contribute to pet obesity through excessive feeding coupled with insufficient activity, experts say. They also may exacerbate the issue with a generally indulgent style of interacting with their animals or other styles of pet care, said veterinarian Alex German. "If veterinarians can predict (pet owner) parental style, perhaps they can more effectively prevent obesity," Dr. German said. Also on the agenda were the future of food animal production and topics related to pet diets.
Protecting penguins from malaria. Zoos across the country are waging a relentless battle against malaria in penguins, caused by a species-specific, mosquito-borne parasite that does not infect humans but can decimate a penguin population. "[Malaria is] probably the top cause of mortality for penguins exposed outdoors," said veterinarian Allison Wack of the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore. Mosquito control, anti-malarial drugs and careful monitoring of birds are important tools for zoos.
Antibodies from sharks could help fight breast cancer An antibody believed to be found only in sharks, known as IgNAR, may help treat breast cancer, and University of Aberdeen biologists are conducting a three-year study to investigate. The antibody is thought to inhibit two cancer cell surface molecules, preventing them from initiating growth of cancer cells.
Zoo bans animal-print clothing to protect the animal residents Officials at Britain's Chessington World of Adventures Resort banned visitors from wearing animal-print clothing and accessories in an effort to avoid aggravating the animals housed there. Since the facility started a new program that brings people in close contact with animals, officials noticed animals reacting to people sporting animal prints either by acting overly friendly or running away in fear.
Lincoln Park Zoo receives accolades for Serengeti rabies prevention work Since 2003, Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo has facilitated the administration of more than 1 million doses of rabies vaccine to dogs living near Serengeti National Park in Tanzania as part of the zoo's Serengeti Health Initiative. The Association of Zoos and Aquariums gave the zoo its Top Honors in International Conversation award for the program, believed to have saved up to 150 human lives annually.
Dogs trained to detect human cancers using scent Dogs have been trained to use their noses to detect human cancers including lung and ovarian cancer with reliability, and one U.K. organization is training dogs to detect bladder cancer by sniffing urine samples. Dogs have a keen sense of smell thanks to their abundant olfactory cells, and since they can communicate with humans better than animals such as mice, they are useful for detecting cancers, said veterinarian Cynthia Otto, director of the Penn Vet Working Dog Center.
Newly discovered shark species "walks" on the ocean floor Lincoln Park Zoo welcomes newborn rhinoceros Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago announced the birth of a male Eastern black rhinoceros to 8-year-old mother Kapuki and 27-year-old father Maku. The Eastern black rhinoceros is endangered, with about 5,000 in the wild and 68 in North American zoos. They were hunted to near extinction in the 1990s for their horns, mistakenly thought to contain healing properties.
Back-to-school time affects pets, too; here's how to prepare
Birds observe the speed limit on roads
How City Living Is Reshaping the Brains and Behavior of Urban Animals
Older animals make good pets, too Photographer Lori Fusaro is compiling photos of older animals for a book she hopes will inspire people to think about adopting older pets from shelters. Fusaro's idea for the book coalesced when she met Sunny, an ailing 16-year-old mixed-breed dog, at a Los Angeles shelter. Fusaro adopted her, and a year later, they are still together. Fusaro knows letting go will be difficult. "I didn't want to open my heart for that kind of pain, but how much sadder and more horrible for me would it be to leave her at the shelter," said Fusaro. "It will be terrible to lose her but much worse to leave her to die alone."
1st S.C. rabies death in 5 decades prompts calls for better education
Vaccinating world's strays will curb human rabies, experts say To help prevent the 55,000 human rabies deaths that occur annually around the world, most caused by bites from infected dogs, experts recommend mass rabies vaccination for canines. A vaccination campaign on the Philippine island of Bohol reduced the number of human rabies deaths from 10 annually to one since 2008. Properly storing, transporting and administering the injections to strays may be a roadblock, but oral vaccines for dogs are under development and could provide an efficient means for mass vaccination.
Black Cat Appreciation Day: Do You Know Your Melanistic Cats?
Twin giant panda cubs are born at Zoo Atlanta in Ga. Staff at Zoo Atlanta in Georgia were caught by surprise when 15-year-old giant panda Lun Lun gave birth to twin cubs instead of just one on Monday. This event is the zoo's first twin panda birth, said spokeswoman Keisha Hines. The cubs, which will likely be on public display in November, together weighed a total of 8.6 ounces.
How do you know when it's time to say goodbye? In an effort to assist other pet owners struggling with end-of-life issues regarding their animals, Tina Ferner developed a package of information designed provide guidance for decisions during a pet's final days. Ferner consulted with veterinarian Alice Villalobos, a founding member of Veterinary Cancer Society who developed an end-of-life assessment for owners. "The scale offers some objectivity while remaining sensitive to the caregiver's wishes," Dr. Villalobos writes on her website. "It will relieve guilt feelings and engender the support of the veterinary team to actively help in the care and decision-making for end of life."
High-speed cameras unlock secrets of animal movements
Cats may not be as aloof as they seem Despite the common belief that some cats are indifferent to their human caretakers, new research indicates cats are more likely to respond to their owner's voice than a stranger's. However, the response is, in typical cat fashion, subtle: ear or head movement or pupil dilation. The study contributes insights into cats' cognition and shows how their natural tendency to mask their responses to stimuli translates into the home environment.
Cats Adore, Manipulate Women
Pets Vital to Human Evolution
Tumor drug shows promise for Tasmanian devils, pets and maybe humans A new plant-derived drug, EBC-46, was associated with regression or palliation in cancerous tumors in four Tasmanian devils, which have suffered massive losses to a contagious cancer. Veterinarian Jack Ayerbe, a director with the company that developed the drug, says he's used it successfully to treat some dogs and cats in his practice. Veterinarian Stephen Pyecroft, who helped develop and test the drug, says it may help treat captive devils and improve survival of their young, but it won't be a feasible treatment for wild animals. Human trials are planned as well.
Does Sterilization Lead to a Longer Life?
Many dog owners have their pets spayed or neutered to help control the pet population, but new research from the University of Georgia suggests the procedures could lengthen pet lives
and alter the risk of specific causes of death. The researchers found that sterilized dogs lived about 1.5 years longer than intact dogs. They also found that the causes of death differed between those dogs that were sterilized and those that were not. The findings are valuable not only for learning about dogs, but also for studying reproductive effects in humans, researchers say.
Experts share tips for keeping pets cool in summer heat Summer means taking extra care to keep pets from overheating, an especially dangerous situation for brachycephalic breeds including pugs, bulldogs and others with short snouts or flat faces, experts advise. Other tips: Don't leave pets in parked cars, where temperatures quickly soar to life-threatening levels; make sure animals have plenty of shade and cool water when outdoors; and walk pets early or late in the day to avoid the heat of the full sun.
Denver Zoo bids farewell to aging lion with lymphoma Denver Zoo officials said a sad goodbye Wednesday to their South African lion Rian, who at 15 was battling an aggressive form of lymphoma. Veterinarians at the zoo and Colorado State University were treating Rian with chemotherapy developed for domestic cats, a first that they had hoped would help develop a protocol for other big cats with cancer. "Originally we did see incremental levels of improvement in Rian, but in the last couple days it became evident his quality of life was quickly diminishing and we decided it was time to say goodbye," said veterinarian Betsy Stringer. "We hope some of what we learned with Rian will help another lion down the road."
Many animals may be smarter than they get credit for, studies show Chickens can plan ahead and may have better spatial skills than young children; sheep can recognize colors and shapes; pigs and monkeys can use mirrors to find hidden food; and even flies can remember their destinations and get there despite distractions, according to a variety of studies from the past few decades. "Finding sophisticated learning and awareness in animals can alter the way people think about the species and may result in better welfare in the long run," said rhttp://www.guardian.co.uk/science/shortcuts/2013/jun/19/animals-know-more-than-you-thinkesearcher Donald Broom.
Veterinarians to test contraceptive vaccine in wild dogs Two Western American Indian tribes are working with veterinarians to study the use of a contraceptive vaccine that's been used in wildlife to keep populations under control. Under the program, veterinarians will capture 300 wild female dogs and administer the government vaccine GonaCon. The animals will also be microchipped, collared and tattooed before being released. They'll be recaptured after a year to assess their response to the vaccine. The research is a collaboration between the USDA National Wildlife Research Center and Oklahoma-based Spay First.
Research explores the ways dogs help people heal In findings that support what many animal owners already know, Washington State University researchers conclude that spending time with dogs is good for people. So good, in fact, that canine companions can help address mental health disorders among humans. The study looked at teens in residential treatment centers for substance abuse. The participants' mood and attentiveness improved after spending time with dogs, and symptoms of depression, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder dropped dramatically. Researcher Lindsay Ellsworth said canine companionship may stimulate the release of opioids.
As the North Carolina Zoo eagerly awaits the birth of a baby gorilla, keepers and head veterinarian Michael Loomis answer some questions about gorilla pregnancy, birth and infant care in this article. Acacia, the 18-year-old female gorilla whose pregnancy was confirmed with a human pregnancy test, will likely deliver on her own, without assistance from staff. Veterinarians may not have an opportunity to examine the infant until it's at least 6 months old, but they'll be keeping a close eye on the pair to ensure the baby is thriving.
A dolphin in Florida underwent a procedure never before used in the species to help her breathe easier. The 29-year-old therapy dolphin named Sarah, who specializes in making children with disabilities smile, underwent a procedure similar to human angioplasty in which her airway was dilated with a balloon-like device. After her trainers noticed Sarah was having difficulty breathing, a CT scan showed her airway was 80% blocked. Following the procedure, "we immediately got her back into the water and we immediately saw that she could breathe better," said veterinarian Robert Stevens.
Cat beards take social media by storm
Wildlife cameras document beauty, power of Java's endangered leopards
Dogs bring bacteria home, but that's not necessarily bad Homes with dogs have more bacteria and greater diversity of bacteria than those without dogs, according to a North Carolina State University study, but that doesn't necessarily mean people living with canine friends face any additional health risks. Most of the bacteria identified were not pathogenic, and they may even have some benefits for humans. "We know we have all these bacteria in our home," said researcher Holly Menninger. "Let's learn to live with them."
Veterinarians find giant hairball in tiger's gut. Veterinarians at BluePearl Veterinary Partners in Clearwater, Fla., surgically removed a 4-pound hairball from the stomach of a 17-year-old male tiger Wednesday. The tiger, named Ty, hadn't eaten for two weeks. Veterinarians diagnosed the hairy obstruction with a camera attached to a scope. The 400-pound cat lives at the Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation in Seminole.
Animal friends appear to help human hearts Pet owners can add "heart health" to the list of reasons they love their animals. According to the American Heart Association, owning a pet is associated with more physical activity, lower blood pressure, better lipid levels and better acute coronary syndrome survival. "Pet ownership is an important nonhuman form of social support and may provide cardioprotective benefits in patients with established" cardiovascular disease, according to the AHA.
Behavioral characteristics of dogs obtained as puppies from pet stores versus noncommercial breeders It has long been suggested that dogs obtained as puppies from pet stores have a higher prevalence of health and behavioral problems than do dogs obtained from other sources, but few empirical studies of this relationship are available. In a cross-sectional study in which owners of dogs obtained as puppies from pet stores (n = 413) or a breeder (5,657) were asked to complete the online version of the Canine Behavioral Assessment and Research Questionnaire, dogs obtained from a pet store received significantly less favorable scores than did dogs obtained from a breeder on 12 of 14 behavioral variables. Importantly, causes of the unfavorable differences were not identified.
Aging bunkers to harbor bats in fight against white-nose syndrome Scientists have renovated two Cold War bunkers at a former Air Force base in Maine to serve as artificial hibernacula for bats in an effort to protect the animals from white-nose syndrome, a killer fungal disease that has spread across 22 states and five Canadian provinces, killing some 6.7 million bats. Unlike caves, the bunkers can be disinfected after the bats leave. The move reflects a shift in efforts to fight the disease, said endangered species biologist Ann Froschauer: "Our best bet now is to work towards how we can contain the disease."
Research demonstrates baboons' math prowess A recent study of olive baboons found they did as well as human children at accurately comparing quantities, providing the first evidence that baboons use analog reasoning. "A lot of people don't realize how smart these animals are," said researcher Jenna Bovee. "Baboons can show you that five is more than two. That's as accurate as a typical 3-year-old, so you have to give them that credit."
Lyme disease isn't responsible for high autism prevalence, study finds A study of 120 children does not support claims that exposure to Lyme disease is linked to the high rate of autism in the U.S. "The data do not address whether Lyme disease may cause autism-like behavioral deficits in some cases. However, the study's sample size is large enough to effectively rule out the suggested high rates of Lyme disease amongst affected children," the researchers wrote.Dog with 4 prosthetic limbs is one of a kind Naki'o, a mixed-breed dog, is believed to be the first dog to have four prosthetic limbs. He was abandoned as a puppy in a foreclosed home, and rescuers found him with his tail and all four paws frozen in a puddle. Veterinarians were unable to save his feet, leaving Naki'o to shuffle along on his belly. Veterinary technician Christie Pace adopted him and led the effort that helped obtain four prosthetic limbs and a new life for Naki'o.
Colo. veterinarians note uptick in canine marijuana toxicity Between 2005 and 2010, cases of marijuana toxicity in pets in Colorado increased fourfold, mirroring the uptick in human medical marijuana users, according to a study by the Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital and Wheat Ridge Animal Hospital. Colorado veterinarians continue to see more dogs ill after ingesting marijuana, which the state now allows people to possess in small amounts. Marijuana in dogs causes agitation, incoordination and may lead to seizures, coma or death in severe cases. "Put it away, out of reach," veterinarian Natalie Adams said of the drug. "Once [dogs] got into it once, they will be repeat offenders."
Pets suffer from allergies, too Dogs can suffer from allergies to fleas, environmental allergens and more, and the issues may manifest as skin problems. Cats also develop allergies, but they usually exhibit gastrointestinal symptoms, according to veterinarian Jules Benson of Petplan. Allergy testing is available for pets, and treatments are aimed at alleviating the discomfort associated with allergies, since, just like in humans, they can't be cured.
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Wounded war dog who saved many lives has new role Lucca, a military dog trained to locate explosives, lost her left foot and subsequently her leg after one of the devices she found detonated in Afghanistan last year. Despite the violence she's witnessed and suffered, Lucca maintains a loving spirit, according to her handler and now owner, Marine Gunnery Sgt. Chris Willingham. "She's been through a lot. Through firefights, been close to mortars and she was that close to an IED and she's still got the same spirit, same personality," Willingham said. Lucca is now retired, but she and Willingham are traveling with the National Military Working Dog monument before it comes to rest in Texas.
Dual therapy could improve vision in dogs and people Veterinary ophthalmologist András Komáromy has found that combining gene therapy with treatment using the protein CNTF can help improve vision in dogs, and possibly people, with inherited retinal disorders. "Based on our results, we are proposing a new concept of retinal therapy," Dr. Komáromy said. "One treatment option alone might not be enough to reverse vision loss, but a combination therapy can maximize therapeutic success." This article also summarizes a discovery in mice that could help alleviate post-traumatic stress disorder in people and research focused on language and monkeys.
Animals use nature to prevent infections; humans may benefit Whether intentionally or as a result of innate behavior, animals regularly use natural compounds to prevent and address health problems, and studying their habits could lead scientists to new drugs to treat human diseases, researchers say. "When we watch animals foraging for food in nature, we now have to ask, are they visiting the grocery store or are they visiting the pharmacy?" said ecology professor Mark Hunter. "We can learn a lot about how to treat parasites and disease by watching other animals."
Dogs and owners share bacteria People living with dogs harbor betaproteobacteria and actinobacteria, microbes that normally inhabit the tongue and feet of dogs, as part of their microbiome, according to a recent study. Whether the bacteria pose health concerns was not addressed in the research, but previous work has found that exposure to bacteria can help humans prevent infection and even allergies by priming the immune system.
Emu oil found to have healing properties In laboratory tests, researchers in Australia found that emu oil decreases inflammation and supports intestinal crypt repair after injury. The findings may lead to new treatments for intestinal problems commonly seen in human chemotherapy patients.
Modified poultry virus could help treat prostate cancer Researchers at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine developed an injectable recombinant form of Newcastle disease, a poultry virus, that kills human prostate cancer cells without harming healthy tissue. An estimated 238,590 cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed among U.S. men this year, and 29,720 patients are expected to die of the disease, according to the American Cancer Society. Newcastle disease does not pose a threat to humans, but it is of serious economic concern in the poultry industry.
Preventing salmonella transmission from pets to kids Children handling pets that may carry salmonella are at risk of contracting the bacteria that can cause severe nausea, diarrhea and vomiting, and the CDC has linked several recent salmonella outbreaks to pets including hedgehogs, turtles and frogs. In this blog post, veterinarian Nicole Wyre and microbiologist Shelley Rankin discuss how to protect children from contracting salmonella from pets, emphasizing proper hygiene. They note that a negative salmonella test does not mean an animal is not carrying the bacteria, so caution is always warranted.
Slime from bottom-dwelling hagfish: Fashion's next big thing? Scientists are studying the strange, protective slime produced by a 500-million-year-old species to fend off predators. The hagfish, a bottom-dwelling sea creature, releases a slime that forms a strong, stretchy layer when mixed with ocean water. The slime consists of small proteins that could be copied artificially, researchers say. Scientists think the material could be used for athletic clothing and even bulletproof vests.
Understanding seizures in pets Witnessing a seizure in a pet can be upsetting, but veterinarian Michaela Esteban says the pet likely isn't suffering or even aware the seizure is occurring. Dr. Esteban recommends having any pet that has had a seizure evaluated by a veterinarian. The most common cause of seizures in a young, otherwise healthy dog is epilepsy, which is associated with a chemical and electrical imbalance, not a structural problem, Dr. Esteban writes. Medication is often prescribed to help prevent seizures, but it isn't always indicated right away for a pet that has only one mild seizure, she notes.
Modified diet improves performance of detection dogs, study finds Veterinarian Joseph Wakshlag, chief of nutrition at Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine, and his team found that decreasing protein intake to 18% and increasing fat intake improved dogs' sniffing abilities. Less protein results in a faster return to normal body temperature after activity, which translates to better olfactory ability, according to Dr. Wakshlag. The study used a new research technique, completely evacuating residual fumes from testing areas, that contributed to higher detection accuracy, suggesting dogs' detection abilities are better than previously thought.
At the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, a team of human surrogates has been working around the clock to care for Gladys, an 8-week-old female western lowland gorilla. Human caretakers have been showing Gladys the ins and outs of being a gorilla since she arrived at the zoo on Feb. 22. The plan is to introduce Gladys to the zoo's gorillas so one of the females will "adopt" her. Gladys' natural mother rejected her soon after birth.
In the news: Will bromethalin become a bigger issue? An increase in bromethalin toxicity among pets could be on the horizon. Bromethalin is the active ingredient in Assault, Fastrac, Gladiator, Rampage, Talpirid and Vengeance, and it causes brain and spinal cord swelling characterized by weakness, incoordination, seizures, paralysis and death.
What's your dog really thinking? Humans are highly capable of reading dogs' facial cues, according to researchers from Walden University in Minneapolis, who tested a group of 50 volunteers using different pictures of the same dog. In some cases, volunteers who had limited experience with dogs did the best at categorizing facial expressions, suggesting the ability is innate.
Natura Pet issues recall of several brands of food for cats, dogs Natura Pet has issued a recall of dog and cat foods available under the EVO, Innova, Healthwise and California Natural brands, driven by concerns about possible Salmonella contamination. The contamination was detected by the FDA, and no human or animal health problems have been reported, the company said.
New saber-tooth cat genus surfaces in Fla. Researchers in Florida have identified a new genus and species of saber-tooth cat that's related to the well-known Smilodon fatalis. A collection of 5-million-year-old fossils led to the identification of the big cat, which is believed to have evolved in North America. "When people think of saber-toothed cats, they think of it as just one thing, as if the famous tar pit saber-toothed cat was the only species, when in fact, it was an almost worldwide radiation of cats that lasted over 10 million years and probably had a total of about 20 valid species," said Richard Hulbert of the University of Florida.
The Gunnison sage-grouse, a bird with an unusual “bubble pop” mating call and display, could be America’s rarest bird, according to avian experts.
Veterinary medicine's central role in public health Veterinarians are known by most as compassionate practitioners of animal medicine, an important role, but veterinarian Joan Hendricks explains that they are also uniquely poised for crucial roles in public health. Veterinarians are the only medical professionals comprehensively trained in comparative medicine and human-animal interactions, she writes, and they have a deep background in infectious disease. This contributes to treatments for humans, solutions to global hunger, improved food safety and production, and surveillance and prevention of potentially devastating infectious diseases.
Penguin chicks are victims of vampire bats A team filming in the Atacama Desert in southern Peru has captured video of vampire bats feeding on penguins. The bats can expose penguin chicks to infectious diseases including rabies and cause blood loss in the birds, harming their health.
Chicago zoo gorilla infant treated for facial injury The Lincoln Park Zoo's baby gorilla Nayembi is recovering from surgery after staff noted a severe facial injury. Young gorillas are fragile, according to zoo President Kevin Bell, but Nayembi is playing and sleeping well. "These are good signs," Bell said.
Study: Raw meat falls short on feline nutrition New research has found that raw meat diets do not meet the full spectrum of feline nutritional needs for captive and domestic cats. The study evaluated horse, bison, cattle and elk meat. All the diets were short on linoleic acid, and the horse meat did not contain sufficient arachidonic acid for kittens or for gestating or lactating females. A raw diet fed to domestic cats often omits necessary fat and important fatty acids and exposes cats to pathogens that may be in raw food, and it can also promote a change to the gut flora.
Help save your cat from the tubby tabby trend More than half of cats are overweight, says the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, and the number of portly felines is up 90% from 2007, according to a report from Banfield Pet Hospital. Obesity can lead to health problems for cats, such as diabetes and arthritis, but the condition is preventable. This article lists some ways to help keep cats fit and trim, including regular veterinary exams, exercise and appropriate diet.
Rescued bobcat recovering after
6 root canals Houston Zoo veterinarians performed six root canals on a bobcat found emaciated near a Texas town six weeks ago. The Wildlife Center of Texas has been nursing the cat back to health. The animal has been successfully treated for fleas, sarcoptic mange and a bacterial infection, in addition to gaining 15% of its body weight since it was found.
Dogs may grasp how people think, study suggests Dogs in a recent study demonstrated flexible thinking, which would allow them to understand a human's perspective, according to researcher Juliane Kaminski from the University of Portsmouth in the U.K. In the study of 84 dogs, animals were four times more likely to eat food they had been ordered to stay away from when the lights were turned off, even though the owner was still in the room. Kaminski said the findings mean dogs understood that their owners couldn't see them when the lights were off.San Francisco Zoo heralds birth of Sumatran tiger cub Mother and cub are bonding after a 9-year-old Sumatran tiger gave birth to a cub at the San Francisco Zoo, officials say. "All signs seem to be positive so far," said Corinne MacDonald, curator of carnivores and primates at the zoo. The cub appears active and to be eating well. It will be at least two weeks before the cub is examined.The oddest of odd couples: Dogs and cheetahs In an effort to draw attention to the plight of cheetahs, whose numbers are rapidly declining in the wild due to habitat loss and poaching, some zoos and cheetah breeding programs pair the big cats with canine companions. Wild cheetahs also benefit from dogs such as Anatolian shepherds that help keep cheetahs away from livestock, reducing conflict with farmers. "It's a love story of one species helping another species survive," said Jack Grisham of the Saint Louis Zoo. Grisham coordinates the species survival plan for cheetahs in North America. Research in recent years has finally revealed the genius of dogs.Driving with a dog in the car? Here's what to know If owners take their pet along for a car ride, experts recommend properly restraining pets and purchasing veterinary medical insurance for animals who may be injured in a car accident. Some 56% of dog owners in an AAA survey reported they brought their dog in the car at least monthly within the previous year. Unraveling the secret of the "Birdmuda triangle" Research shows the ability to detect infrasound, or ultra-low-frequency sound waves, is the third factor allowing pigeons to navigate, in addition to their internal compass and use of the sun. Jersey Hill, near Ithaca, N.Y., is known as the "Birdmuda triangle," an area where local pigeons never return once they migrate, except for one day: Aug. 13, 1969. Researcher Jon Hagstrum used weather data and a computer model to uncover a kind of sonic shadow that deflects infrasound, effectively blocking the birds' ability to find their way. Unusual conditions on that 1969 day allowed pigeons to navigate successfully.How to keep your Super Bowl party from harming your pet Even the most football-obsessed owners have to remember their pets may need special attention during the Super Bowl, according to veterinarians Debra Horwitz and Marty Becker. The noise and activity, coupled with all the guests and food that often accompany the Super Bowl, can cause stress for pets, and owners should take time to pet their animals, take them out for bathroom breaks, avoid feeding them human food and give anxious pets a quiet room away from the festivities if needed, they advise.Cornell simulation center preps students for real emergencies The new Veterinary Simulation Center at Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine provides students the opportunity to practice and develop confidence in the emergency and critical care skills needed during a pet medical emergency. The center began with a robotic dog created by Cornell veterinarian Daniel Fletcher, who designed it after human robotic models, and has grown into its own space including exam rooms and observation areas. "Working with the robotic pet models in the simulation center helps students bridge the gap between learning in the classroom and working on actual patients," Dr. Fletcher said.MRI could be used to identify the most promising military canines In an effort to ensure the roughly $20,000 spent per human-canine military or law enforcement pair is well used, the U.S. government may use MRI brain scans to pluck the best dogs for the job out of the pack. The government has released a call for proposals that include a training program combined with brain scanning.Zebrafish are latest and greatest medical research model While rodents far outnumber any other research model in use today, zebrafish are rapidly gaining ground among scientists studying human diseases such as skin cancer, narcolepsy and muscular conditions. The zebrafish's transparent body, rapid reproduction rate and low cost of maintenance make it an attractive research model.Compared to technology, the dog's nose still knows German scientists are working to develop high-tech devices that might out-sniff dog noses. The goal is to detect minute traces of exhaled gases to locate live humans trapped in rubble. Despite the promise of technology, the combination of a dog's sniffing prowess, instincts and ability to process and make decisions based on wind speed and direction mean search-and-rescue animals aren't likely to be replaced soon. Confessions of an owner who underestimated the danger in a cat bite When her new cat fought with the resident feline, owner Marie Joyce tried to intervene and ended up with two deep puncture wounds to her arm from a bite that landed her in the hospital for four days on intravenous antibiotics. In retrospect, Joyce admits she made a series of mistakes. "[People] don't realize, being bitten by a cat, you've got a 1-in-2 chance of getting infected," said infectious disease specialist Princy N. Kumar of MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. DNA, diet shed light on dog evolution Dogs evolved from wolves some 11,000 years ago to live and work -- and apparently eat -- alongside humans, according to a new study. Genetic analysis has revealed that dogs possess more genes that code for production of the starch-digesting enzyme amylase than wolves, which helps dogs digest a more humanlike diet. Dogs also produce a longer form of the enzyme maltase that is more characteristic of plant-eating animals. "Dogs are different from wolves and don't need a wolflike diet,"Flight genes may explain bats' remarkable disease resistance Bats have the capacity to survive infection with deadly zoonotic pathogens such as Ebola, Hendra, Nipah and SARS, something that could be explained by their ability to fly, according to the results of a recent genetic study. The genes involved in flight appear to have the added benefit of conferring disease resistance and longevity, the authors suggest, and delving into this line of research may one day help humans with illnesses including infectious disease and cancer. Understanding and preventing hip dysplasia Hip dysplasia is a developmental disorder without a cure, but there are strategies to limit risk, writes veterinarian Ann Hohenhaus. Research has shown that having good body condition and exercising on soft, level ground as puppies may help prevent hip dysplasia. Obtaining a puppy from parents whose hips have been certified by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals or PennHip may lower the animal's risk of developing hip dysplasia, although no one can predict the condition of a dog's hips with absolute certainty.Releasing pet fish threatens native ecosystems Pet fish and the plants they are housed with pose a serious threat to native species when they are introduced into marine waters, according to a new report that finds representatives of 102 aquarium species enter the U.S. through two California ports each year. Thirteen of those species have been introduced to California's ocean waters, and more than two-thirds are established there. Aquarium species are particularly prone to becoming invasive in a new ecosystem, experts say.Fat cat stuck in fence puts health issues in spotlight After a cat named Midnight was found lodged between fence posts, Santa Cruz, Calif., animal control officials took the opportunity to point out the dangers of overweight pets. "Feline obesity is nothing to laugh about," said shelter field services manager Todd Stosuy in a statement.
Pet obesity: Our animals need our help to be healthy A pet obesity epidemic is under way in the U.S., according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, which reports that some 88 million U.S. cats and dogs are overweight or obese. Veterinarian Ernie Ward, the organization's founder, says owners do not understand animals' caloric intake requirements, tend to overfeed and under-exercise pets and would benefit from clearer food labels. "The public perception today is that a fat cat is a healthy cat," Dr. Ward said. "But we must bust that myth. It's what's killing our pets and costing untold dollars."Cold-weather tips to keep pets safe this season Veterinarian Susan Nelson, a clinical associate professor at Kansas State University's College of Veterinary Medicine, offers tips for keeping pets safe in cold weather, such as letting them gradually get used to the cold. Dr. Nelson says smaller, less furry dogs such as Chihuahuas have a lower tolerance for cold than larger, well-insulated breeds such as huskies. Coats, boots and other winter gear designed for pets may help keep them warm but can also pose some hazards if not properly used and monitored, she adds. Life lessons from dogs You might be happier and healthier if you acted more like a dog, writes publishing executive Marjory Abrams. Humans can learn much from certain canine behaviors such as playing, relaxing and greeting visitors with boundless enthusiasm. Panda blood contains antibiotic compound Researchers in China studying pandas have discovered a peptide with antibacterial properties in panda blood. The compound, cathelicidin-AM, destroys bacteria in an hour, compared with the more than six hours needed by other antibiotics. This isn't the first time antibacterial peptides have been identified in animals. "More than 1,000 antimicrobial peptides have been found from animals, plants and microorganisms," said lead researcher Xiuwen Yan. The findings may lead to new antibiotics for humans. Pet chicken saves family from fire Cluck Cluck's noisy calls from two floors below woke a Wisconsin couple in time for them to escape their burning house. The chicken became the Murawska family pet after wandering over from a neighboring farm; instead of killing the bird, who wasn't producing eggs, the couple built her a coop and brought her inside when the weather got too cold. "I spent way more money than I ever should've. I guess it paid off," Dennis Murawska said. Along with the couple, the chicken and a cat survived the blaze. We never actually established why birds suddenly appear every time you are near. It might just be because you are one of the terrible, horrible people who throws cigarette butts on the ground everywhere. When a little bird waddles out and picks one up and uses it to build a nest, though, you are sort of redeemed, in that the world becomes a better place for its bird family. Israeli company trains mice to sniff out contraband Mice are effective at sniffing out explosives, drugs and other contraband, and they're faster to train than dogs, according to Israel-based BioExplorers. The company has devised a system that directs a blast of air at a person and then into a chamber containing eight mice, who move into a second chamber when they smell contraband.Controlled environment keeps fat feline Tiny Tim on track Fat cat Tiny Tim tipped the scales at 35 pounds when he started his 300-calorie-per-day diet regimen and exercise plan at Houston's Southside Place Animal Hospital back in January. He has since slimmed down to 27.6 pounds, although his progress briefly stalled when he was apparently sneaking late-night snacks. Owners and veterinarians concur: Preventive care is the best care Owners and veterinarians are similarly focused on preventive care, including vaccinations and parasite control, writes veterinarian Ann Hohenhaus, who discusses the results of a survey. Owners expressed concern over pet medication costs, but Dr. Hohenhaus endorses veterinary-grade medications, noting the medications are specifically designed for animals.Therapy dog eases fears at pediatric dental practice Pediatric dentist Paul Weiss' newest staff member makes a visit to the dentist a little more fun for his young patients. Brooke, Dr. Weiss' 4-year-old golden retriever, became a certified therapy dog and makes the rounds at the dental office two mornings a week, calming the nerves of the littlest patients.Dogs' intuition may surprise you Veterinarian Stu Robson says dogs are more perceptive than some people may think. Dr. Robson cites studies that suggest dogs can sense sadness, unfairness, anger, fear, generosity and distractedness in their owners.Dog born with 3 paws inspires children Pirelli, a golden retriever born without a back left paw, will receive a prosthetic paw thanks to donations from admirers. Pirelli visits schools in Georgia to spread the message that "it doesn't matter what your body looks like or how it functions. What makes you important as a person is what you are on the inside," said Jennifer Arnold, founder of the nonprofit Canine Assistants. Pirelli will receive a carbon-fiber foot from the Hanger Clinic, a human prosthetics company.Tufts veterinarian corrects reindeer's luxating patella Tufts University veterinarian Robert McCarthy surgically corrected a luxating patella in a one-and-a-half-year-old female reindeer who normally resides at the Stone Zoo in Stoneham, Mass. Dr. McCarthy expects the deer, named Willow, to fully recover. Superpowers of the animal world Humans with superpowers may be the stuff of science fiction, but in the animal world many species exhibit out-of-this-world capabilities. This photo series documents animals with superpowers including geckos and their Spider-Man-like climbing ability, a shape-shifting octopus and a salamander that can regrow limbs and even some internal organs.Canine post-traumatic stress recognized as disorder Veterinarians and dog handlers at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas who work with and train combat canines believe dogs are susceptible to post-traumatic stress disorder. Veterinarian Walter Burghardt Jr. estimates that at least one-tenth of dogs returning from active duty have the disorder, which is characterized by sudden attitude changes and inability to perform tasks that were previously routine. Many of the dogs can be rehabilitated with treatment ranging from behavioral training to medication, but some must be retired from military work.Mountain gorilla numbers up, according to recent census The global mountain gorilla population has reached 880, according to a recent Wildlife Conservation Society census, thanks in part to improved conservation efforts. Because important mountain gorilla habitat crosses the borders of three African nations, the animals' survival depends on continued collaboration among those countries. Stop and think before giving a pet as a holiday gift, experts say While a puppy or kitten under the Christmas tree may seem like the quintessential holiday gift, experts warn that pets given as gifts don't always have a happy ending. Veterinarian Mollie Hurley advises against surprising people with animals as gifts, as they may not be prepared for the commitment. Animal shelter educator Deeann Schaefer notes that recipients of pets may not be financially or emotionally prepared for the responsibilities and often end up surrendering those animals to already overburdened shelters.Children need closure when dealing with loss of pet, survey suggests According to a survey of 1,000 previous pet owners, people's memories of pets they had as children and the loss of those pets influence their decision to own animals as adults. Some 20% of previous dog owners and 17% of people who had owned cats reported that losing that pet was so traumatizing that they are not inclined to get another, and 40% of respondents say they are still affected by the loss of a childhood animal. VIDEO: Tips for adopting a dog Adopting a dog can be one of the great joys in life for pet owners, but it's also a big decision that should be taken very seriously. In the latest AVMA video, Dr. Julie Dinnage, co-founder and executive director of the Association of Shelter Veterinarians, offers some advice on finding the right dog for you and everyone in your home. Anesthesia-free dental cleaning not in pets' best interest Removing tartar from the teeth of an animal that is not anesthetized is literally only scratching the surface of the problem, writes veterinarian Christie Long. While a tooth may look healthy once the tartar is chipped off, advanced dental disease may be present beneath the gum line, and only a thorough exam under general anesthesia will reveal the extent of the problem and allow it to be addressed, notes Dr. Long.How smart is your dog? Africa’s population of mountain gorillas rises to 880, giving hope to conservationistsHolidays bring hidden dangers to pets The holidays are upon us, and that means increased threats to the health of our pets, veterinarians warn. Among the most common problems are gastrointestinal upset from eating human food and intestinal foreign body obstruction from eating holiday items such as tinsel and ribbonUniversity using genetic engineering to improve cattle West Texas A&M University scientists have used somatic cell nuclear transfer to produce two cloned cattle in an effort to create a new breed that has the most desirable traits seen across breeds and crosses. The work will improve the quality of human food, but it will also help keep cattle healthy. Next semester, the Eliot−Pearson Department of Child Development will offer a new course titled “Special Topics: Human−Animal Interaction (HAI) in Childhood and Adolescents” on a trial basis. The course will explore the nature and potential benefits of human−animal contact by looking at varied research in relevant fields.Pet trends serve as indicator of economies and attitudes In a study of 53 countries including the U.S., Euromonitor International found that dog ownership and the amount spent on dogs indicated economic health and cultural attitudes toward pets. With one dog per four humans, the U.S. has the largest absolute and per capita canine population, but India's dog ownership rate is rising the fastest. Veterinary education comes at a high price Pet owners may be surprised to find that veterinarians graduate with an average debt load of $125,000, according to The New York Times. IV and subcutaneous fluids can benefit pets Fluids are administered to animals for several conditions, including low blood pressure and dehydration, writes veterinarian Ann Hohenhaus. Although they appear clear, fluids contain compounds such as sodium, potassium and sometimes sugar that are designed to match the patient's blood as closely as possible to prevent damage to internal organs. Fluids can be given intravenously or through the skin, also called subcutaneously, where the fluid slowly absorbs into the pet's blood vessels over time.Classical music soothes dogs, study finds Classical music such as Mozart or Beethoven relaxes shelter dogs more than heavy metal music and music composed specifically for dogs, according to a recently reported study. Colorado State University psychologist Lori Kogan and colleagues exposed shelter dogs to the three forms of music and recorded thousands of behavioral data points over four months. Dogs choose favorite toys based on play with humans Why do dogs prefer some toys over others? A recent study found the critical component was human interaction with the dog and the toy. Other features of the toys offered to the dogs such as size, shape, color, texture and sounds were important points of interest, but they mostly resulted in only transient attention. "For an animal as social as a dog, toys only become really exciting when they are part of a game with a person," said John Bradshaw, a researcher in the University of Bristol's Veterinary School.Texas A&M veterinary students train for disaster preparedness The disaster preparedness rotation for fourth-year veterinary students at Texas A&M University is the first of its kind in the nation, according to Angela Clendenin, the Veterinary Emergency Team's public information officer. The program combines real and simulated experiences in which students are charged with constructing a command center that will serve as a triage, treatment and housing area for two weeks. How Dolphins Stay Awake For Two Weeks StraightSinging fish sheds light on evolution of vocalization Scientists have gleaned a plethora of information regarding vocalization and hearing from the plainfin midshipman fish, a species that emits a sound so loud that it can wake people sleeping on houseboats. Studies of the species' unique sound-making capacity have implications for understanding sound communication in other species, such as bats, and may help advance research into hormone-related hearing loss in humans. Honeybee bite may be better than its sting, study finds While researchers have long known that honeybees release a substance known as 2-heptanone, they believed the secretion was used as a type of scent marker for bees. However, new research suggests the secretion is actually an anesthetic. The researchers were studying moths whose larvae can decimate beehives when they serendipitously discovered the anesthetic nature of the bees' secretion. The findings may lead to a new local anesthetic for use in human and veterinary medicine.Diabetes in cats: Good quality of life is possible November is American Diabetes Month, and veterinarian Ann Hohenhaus writes that obese cats and those with recurring bouts of pancreatitis are at risk for the condition. A cat with diabetes usually needs insulin injections twice daily, something most owners report they are able to do even though they don't like adhering to a set schedule for the therapy, according to a survey. Dr. Hohenhaus says the injections allow some animals to achieve remission, and most owners report their animal's quality of life is good, fairly good or as good as possible.San Diego Zoo panda cub is thriving, veterinarian reports The San Diego Zoo's panda cub born July 29 is robust and healthy, zoo senior veterinarian Tracy Clippinger said after the cub's 11th physical exam since his birth. His body condition is above average, "his belly is good and full," he is showing signs of beginning to walk and he even has one tooth, Dr. Clippinger noted.Brain study may lead to ways to deter sharks Kara Yopak, a University of Western Australia shark researcher, says visual repellants may be the best way to stave off shark attacks after she found that a large portion of a great white shark's brain is dedicated to visual input. Five fatal attacks on humans in 10 months off the coast of Australia led the government to enforce killing of sharks that venture too close to shore as well as fund research into possible attack deterrents.Halloween can leave pets stressed Don't dress up animals in Halloween costumes only to leave them unattended, the AVMA is reminding pet owners. While 15% of owners say they will dress up their pets, according to the National Retail Federation, costumes can be frightening for animals, whether they're wearing them or are in the company of people who are.Military dogs to be honored with national monument In two months, a national monument will be dedicated to all the dogs that have served the country in combat since World War II. The bronze monument, designed by John Burnam and created by sculptor Paula Slater, features a handler flanked by four dogs representing breeds commonly used in wars. Burnam, who served in Vietnam with military dogs and wrote two books about the topic, spent years pursuing the idea of a national monument for dogs before legislation authorizing the monument was introduced in 2007 and signed into law the next year.Animals have a variety of strategies for weathering rainstorms An animal's species, personality and access to shelter and supplies all influence its strategy for dealing with heavy rains, experts say. In nature, orangutans fashion protective canopies or hats from leaves, but those living at Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo are more inclined to wrap up in burlap bags, a spokeswoman said. Terrestrial and even aquatic animals may retreat to shelter, but some such as grizzly bears may remain out in the open. "We've learned that, for certain animals, it's better and safer to leave them out instead of in," said Nick Hanna, assistant curator of New Orleans' Audubon Nature Institute. "When confined, ostriches tend to run into walls. African antelopes sometimes get so spooked that they will also run into walls." Dog posthumously honored for work in Afghanistan Theo, a springer spaniel who served in the British military as a bomb-sniffing dog in Afghanistan, is to be posthumously awarded Britain's highest honor for animal bravery, the Dickin Medal. The dog died after a severe seizure the same day his handler, Lance Cpl. Liam Tasker, died in a firefight with Taliban insurgents. Tasker's mother believes Theo died of a broken heart after her son's death because the dog and Tasker were inseparable.Scientists work to crack Lyme disease's genetic code Researchers at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston are working to identify the factors that explain the virulence of Borrelia burgdorferi, the spirochete that causes Lyme disease, which affects animals and an estimated 30,000 people in the U.S. per year. Using advanced technology, the team is testing the pathogen's 1,739 genes in an effort to find the ones responsible for its ability to spread so readily. The findings are expected to help develop vaccines, diagnostic tools and treatments. It's in pets' best interest to have a veterinary dental cleaning A dental cleaning by a veterinarian, or by a trained technician under the supervision of a veterinarian, is the best way to care for a pet's teeth and protect its overall health, writes veterinarian Michael Watts. An appropriate dental cleaning includes giving general anesthesia, doing a thorough exam of the mouth and throat structures, cleaning above and below the gumline, and polishing the teeth to smooth imperfections that lead to future problems if not addressed. High-protein diet alters bacterial flora in kittens, study findsKittens
fed a high-protein diet have lower levels of two beneficial intestinal
bacteria, bifidobacterium and lactobacillus, than kittens fed a diet
containing balanced amounts of protein and carbohydrates, according to a
recent study. A lack of bifidobacterium has been associated with
irritable bowel syndrome in people, and lactobacillus may be involved in
cholesterol and appetite levels. The findings may help humans because
intestinal bacterial populations are similar in humans and cats.Why Imported Dogs Could Hurt Your Health
How to Poison Proof Your Home“There is only one smartest dog in the world and every child has it.”
Children often need help dealing with the loss of a pet. Click the quote above to help a child deal with pet loss.The Houston Chronicle recently ran a story that describes how the new Texas A&M Diagnostic Imaging and Cancer Treatment Center, home to one of the country's two animal TomoTherapy units, is working to treat tumors once considered untreatable in dogs. I thought I would share this story with you: http://tx.ag/aqpu8m
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Texas A&M veterinary team helps animals in Texas wildfireCat's weight loss may signal serious health conditions More than half of U.S. cats are overweight or obese, but owners shouldn't always celebrate when their fat cats suddenly start losing weight. Unexplained weight losses may be a cause for concern, writes veterinarian Heidi Bassler, as this may be the only obvious sign of the early stages of serious health conditions including diabetes, hyperthyroidism and kidney disease, all of which can be treated if diagnosed in time.Summertime tips for pet safety
Veterinarian gives advice on caring for aging pets: Dogs' aging patterns vary based on their size, with bigger canines becoming seniors at about six years and smaller dogs staving off old age for about nine years, writes veterinarian Kristel Weaver. Dr. Weaver advises owners on caring for pets as they begin to show physical signs of aging, which can include arthritis, nuclear sclerosis and various lumps and bumps that may be benign or signal a serious health condition.
Adopting puppies too young leads to behavior problems, study says A new study backs up the idea that puppies should not be separated from their litter before two months of age. Puppies weaned too early can display a host of behavior problems including destructiveness, excessive barking and aggression toward strangers that can hurt their relationships with owners and put them at greater risk of abandonment later on, researchers found.
Prevention the key to reducing veterinary bills
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