When nature gives you Zika virus ... cure cancer with it!
New research shows that Zika kills the kind of brain cancer cells that are hardest to treat.
Brain cancer stem cells (left) are killed by Zika virus infection (image at right shows cells after Zika treatment). A new study shows that the virus, known for killing cells in the brains of developing fetuses, could be redirected to destroy the kind of brain cancer cells that are most likely to be resistant to treatment. Photo courtesy of Washington University School of Medicine. How often have you thought, “There is no good reason for mosquitoes!”?
They make veterinary patients pruritic and carry heartworm microfilariae and West Nile virus. In humans, they spread afflictions such as malaria, yellow fever and Zika virus infection. So when researchers look at one of those mosquito-borne illnesses and say, “I can make lemonade out of that,” it makes one want to stand up and cheer.
A recent release from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis states, “While Zika virus causes devastating damage to the brains of developing fetuses, it one day may be an effective treatment for glioblastoma, a deadly form of brain cancer. New research … shows that the virus kills brain cancer stem cells, the kind of cells most resistant to standard treatments.”
Each year, glioblastoma is diagnosed in about 12,000 people in the United States (including Senator John McCain). After surgery, chemotherapy and radiation treatment, a small population of glioblastoma stem cells often survives and soon begins producing new tumor cells. Because of their neurological origins and ability to create new cells, glioblastoma stem cells reminded the researchers of neuroprogenitor cells. Zika virus is known to specifically target and kill neuroprogenitor cells.
The researchers tested whether the Zika virus could kill stem cells in glioblastomas removed from human patients. The virus spread through the tumors, infecting and killing the cancer stem cells while avoiding other tumor cells. This suggests that Zika infection and chemotherapy-radiation treatment could be used as complementary treatments, with one killing the bulk of the tumor cells and Zika attacking the stem cells.1
If Zika virus were used in people, it would need to be injected directly into the brain. If the virus were introduced elsewhere, the immune system would clear it before it could reach the brain, the release states. The idea of injecting a virus known to cause brain damage into the brain is disquieting, but its targets—neuroprogenitor cells—are rare in adult brains. Other studies using brain tissue from epilepsy patients have shown that the virus does not infect noncancerous brain cells. As another safety measure, the researchers introduced mutations that weakened Zika’s ability to combat cell defenses against infection. The mutant strain still succeeded in killing the cancerous cells.
At the fifth American Veterinary Medical Association Economic Summit, held Oct. 23-24 in Rosemont, Ill., the latest AVMA pet demographic survey highlighted interesting findings regarding ownership and veterinary income. According to the report, which will be released in 2018, the number of dog-owning households is the highest since the AVMA began measuring pet ownership, the number of cat owners has dropped drastically, horse and pet bird ownership are declining, and backyard poultry ownership is increasing.
In the scheme of ups and downs, Frederic Ouedraogo, Ph.D., assistant director of the AVMA Veterinary Economics Division, said that real veterinary income has been declining for more than seven years. Further, veterinarians are likely to experience peak income of about $125,000 annually by age 59, and those who become practice owners soon after graduation earn more than those who become owners later in their career.
“If you’re not an owner after 10 years postgraduation, continue being a nonowner,” he said. “Owners make money in the first years after graduation … nonowners have low income initially, but after 30 years, their income is equal to owners’.”
Charlotte Hansen, a statistical analyst in the AVMA Veterinary Economics Division, compared the value of obtaining a veterinary degree versus a bachelor’s degree.
“Female veterinarians (on average) earn $300,000 in today’s dollars over their lifetime more than they would have had they stopped at a bachelor’s degree, while men (on average) make less money with a DVM than if they had just taken a bachelor’s degree,” she said.
Starting salaries for male and female veterinarians continue to increase, with men earning roughly $2,500 more than women, Hansen said. Further investigation of veterinary unemployment revealed the current rate to be 0.5 percent, not 1.5 percent as previously thought, she added.
“The low level of unemployment is an indicator of the vigor of the market,” Hansen said. More than 3,000 full-time–equivalent veterinarians are needed to satisfy the work hour preferences reported by practitioners, she added. However, during her research, she found more veterinarians are reporting low compassion satisfaction, she said, and added that high educational debt and declining real income could be to blame.
Save the date The 2018 AVMA Economic Summit is scheduled to take place Oct. 22-23 at the Renaissance Chicago O’Hare Suites Hotel.
Vet saves dog bitten by coral snake
Veterinary Partners hospital encountered their first coral snake bite case and saved Elvis too
Elvis still has plenty of No. 1 hits coming thanks to the veterinary team at the Veterinary Partners hospital in San Antonio, Texas.
That’s because Elvis, a 7-year-old Cairn terrier, was bitten by a coral snake while playing outside. When Elvis came inside though, his owner, Steve Lara, noticed blood in his mouth but didn’t think much of it. It wasn’t until around an hour later, after Elvis started vomiting and becoming lethargic, that his owners knew something was wrong. After finding the coral snake dead outside, they immediately rushed Elvis to the vet.
There, he was immediately rushed in for treatment and put on a mechanical ventilator. That was needed because the venom of the coral snake contains a neurotoxin that affects respiratory muscles, explained Tracy Gati, DVM, the senior emergency veterinarian who tended to Elvis.
“That’s what makes the snake so dangerous,” Dr. Gati said.
After 24 hours, Elvis started to show signs of improvement and was taken off the ventilator. When he started eating on his own and regained some movement in his limbs, the veterinary team started physical therapy. They did motion exercises with his limbs and used a sling to help him stand.
While Elvis will need additional treatment, Gati believes he’ll make a full recovery. “The biggest problem now is that he has some ulcers on his corneas because he wasn’t able to blink his eyes,” she said. “But we’re treating those with medication and they’re expected to heal.”
This was Gati’s first time treating a coral snake bite, as they are incredibly rare.
Elvis’s family was grateful for the work Gati and her team did to help save Elvis.
Olive Oil for Dogs
An awesome addition to your pooch’s diet, olive oil packs a nutritious one-two punch. Ever wonder why? When it comes to homeopathic remedies for dogs, there are a variety of “people foods” that can provide some valuable benefits. A superstar in the category is olive oil – a wonderful source of monounsaturated fatty acids (aka healthy fat). We know that it’s great for humans, but what can olive oil do for dogs? Here are a few fabulous benefits.
It Boosts General Health In addition to providing specific benefits for your dog’s brain and immune system (see below), olive oil can help to boost Fido’s overall health. Olive oil contains healthy monounsaturated fats which can reduce your dog’s risk for heart disease and diabetes. And it’s loaded with oleic acid, a compound that has been shown to reduce the risk for cancer.
It Defends the Immune System In addition to moisturizing your dog’s skin and coat, olive oil can be beneficial for his immune system. Olive oil is rich in polyphenols and carotenoids which have been demonstrated to improve immune system health. A strong immune system will give your dog a better chance of fighting off infection. A robust immune system is important in transitioning from one season to the next. Like you, dogs can get sick when the weather changes, so add a little olive oil to prepare him/her for the transition.
It’s a Brain Food You’ve already learned that olive oil is rich in antioxidants, but you may not realize just how important antioxidants are for your dog’s health (yours, too!). A number of animal research studies have confirmed a link between olive oil and brain health. In one study oleocanthal, a type of polyphenol found in olives (and extra virgin olive oil), was linked to risk reduction for Alzheimer’s disease. We’ve read that Mediterranean-style diets continue to be linked to lower levels of dementia in humans. It would seem that adding olive oil to your dog’s diet can help to protect his brain from cognitive decline. This is especially important for senior dogs.
It’s a Beauty Treatment Fancy (aka overpriced) pet shampoos and conditioners are not a sure-cure for dry, flaky skin. The answer may be the addition of a bit of olive oil to your dog’s diet. Olive oil is rich in Vitamin E and other antioxidants, and it is a good source of natural chemicals (phytonutrients) that protect against germs. Pet owners have reported seeing improvements in their dogs in as little as one week! And by continuing to add omega-3 fatty acids rich olive oil, you may just keep that flaky skin at bay. Check with the veterinarian to see what the proper amount should be. Now you know the benefits of this kitchen staple. Just a little bit in your dog’s diet may contribute to your pet’s health, happiness, and mental well-being—a part of your family for many years to come. The content is not medical advise, nor is it intended to be a substitute for veterinary treatment or care. First, consult with your veterinarian before use.
Why You Should Consider a Barn Cat
The farm cat, also known as a barn cat, is a domestic cat, usually of mixed breed, that lives primarily out-of-doors, in a feral or semi-feral condition on agricultural properties, usually sheltering in outbuildings.
Have you seen stray cats hanging around the barn or home? Wish they’d go away? Don’t be so sure they can’t lend a helping paw. Here’s what we’ve observed of our feline farm friends…
- Cats make the barn a happier place. Cats make people happy. Perhaps it’s the fact that they live their own independent lives. Or the fact that they seem to know just when you need your leg rubbed.
- They eat bugs. It’s a hunting thing. Like it or not, cats enjoy the hunt and the kill.
- They are gold medal-winning exterminators. Indoors and outdoors, you can count on a cat to keep rodents from feed bins, garbage cans, etc. Obviously, the humans must do their best to fend off these pests (covers, metal bins, traps, etc.). But sadly, that probably won’t do the trick at keeping them away for good. This is where having a barn cat around comes in handy.
You’ll just need to keep a couple of cats around your property, and you’ll likely find that your rodent population will begin to decline.
- They save money. Sure you’ll need to feed them and provide proper care. But consider this, for each bug or rodent they discourage…it’s one less pest consuming your feed. Feed or human food—it’s all expensive. The cost of keeping a barn cat healthy is small compared to the cost of the food.
- They make great friends. Maybe not always for the humans, but they make great animal companions, depending on their temperament. There are pictures across the internet of dogs and cats, goats and cats, pigs and cats, etc. Consider it a bonus to a barn cat.
- They are low maintenance. Barn cats are low maintenance. They require a few shots to keep them disease free. And perhaps some nutritious food. They need very little and usually give a whole lot back. So you don’t get a whole lot lower maintenance than keeping cats around your barn.
- They are orphans who need a home. Most barn cats are strays or orphaned cats that have nowhere else to live. Yet, if you give them a home in your barn or around your home, you give them a purpose. And it’s an amazing thing to watch this animal grow and thrive as a productive member of your farm.
There are a number of organizations with programs detailing feral cat adoption and barn cat training. Check with your local vet, animal society or rescue organization for more details.
Cockroaches are nocturnal creatures often appearing in the dead of night in search of food, water and a possible mate. With burning all this midnight oil, do cockroaches ever get a chance to grab some “shut eye?” Let’s find out in this month’s fact or fake.
With the constant hustle and bustle of “working the night shift” in the search for food, cockroaches are bound to get tired and need rest. The nocturnal pest does need its rest, and they do “sleep,” just not in the sense of closing their eyes and hopping underneath the covers. While cockroaches have eyes, they don’t have eyelids to shut them and sleep as humans do. Instead, most species of cockroach operate with specific circadian rhythms of activity (like almost all living creatures).
During the daytime hours, cockroaches will become inactive (or “sleep”) in preparation for their big night out. Finding a dark place to rest up during the day, cockroaches enter a state of immobility as if they’re playing dead. This period of paralysis is the cockroach’s equivalent to sleep. If left undisturbed, they’ll wait about four hours or so after the lights go out before they make their emergence into the nightlife. In areas with a highly concentrated cockroach population, you may see them scurrying around during the day in search of food to beat out the competition that only searches in the wee hours of the night.
A baby had to undergo surgery after being attacked by a raccoon inside a North Philadelphia home earlier this week. CBS Philadelphia reports that four-month-old Journi Black is on a long road to recovery after a raccoon attacked her inside a home on the 2100 block of North 22nd Street.
"It's just ridiculous," said Samuel Black, the girl's father. "My daughter could have lost her life." Journi Black underwent surgery at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children after being attacked by a raccoon.
Animal control officers set a trap for the raccoon to prevent this from happening again. Doctors told the family it will take at least a year for the baby to fully recover.
"My daughter was laying on the bed sleeping and I went to take my son to the bathroom. We heard a sound upstairs and we see a raccoon run down the steps," said Ashley Rodgers, the child's mother. "When I finally got to her, she was laying on the floor so it had dragged her off the bed, across the room, and she was bleeding and crying and her whole face was red."
It's been mere days since Rodgers moved into the home with her daughter and 6-year-old son, Jordan. Other tenants also reportedly rent rooms there, though no one inside would come to the door or speak on-camera.
A spokeswoman for the city's Licenses and Inspections Department tells Eyewitness News the homeowner, who purchased the property in May, does not have a rental license and that if he is renting rooms, he is doing so illegally.
"It needs to be shut down. Everybody needs to leave out of there," Rodgers said.
Rodgers says she contacted her landlord after the first raccoon sighting earlier in the evening, something neighbors say is common, especially with trash in the area.
Rodgers says her landlord told her he had chased the raccoon out. But after the raccoon attacked the baby, the landlord rushed her to the hospital. The family says it intends to pursue legal action.
"It is his responsibility. There's no reason an animal should have gotten into the house with minors," Black said.
CBS Philadelphia reached out to that landlord; he first hung up on us then called back to say everything has been resolved and to contact his lawyer. However, he would not provide his attorney's name or number. Meantime, the baby is still in recovery at St. Christopher's Hospital and has had her rabies shots.