Every year, billions of animals migrate across the globe, carrying parasites with them and encountering parasites through their travels. Now, a team of researchers at the University of Georgia's Odum School of Ecology discovered that animals known to migrate long distances are infected by a greater number of parasite species than animals that do not migrate.
The researchers used parasite records from a database called the Global Mammal Parasite Database 2.0, and focused on ungulates, also known as hooved animals, a group that includes deer, wildebeests, caribou, antelope and gazelles. Claire Teitelbaum, a doctoral candidate at UGA, spearheaded the project in collaboration with former UGA doctoral student Shan Huang. Migrants can experience environments that better support parasite transmission year-round through their annual movement cycles.
Teitelbaum grouped ungulate species based on whether they migrate seasonally, move unpredictably, or not at all. This allowed the team to compare the number of parasite species in nomadic, resident and migratory species. Previous research on parasites in migratory animals has focused mostly on birds and butterflies, so the team chose to focus on hooved animals instead.
"We wanted to look at a slightly less well-represented group of mobile animals," said Richard Hall, an assistant professor in the school of ecology who helped oversee the project. "We also wanted to compare across host and parasite species and see whether there were any general patterns." The study's findings can help researchers understand whether migrants are at greater risk from parasites, discover better ways to protect migrants whose populations are declining, and learn more about parasites living in cattle and other animals that are important food sources for people.
"Sheep, cattle, goats, pigs, these are also hooved animals," said Sonia Altizer, the UGA Athletic Association Professor of Ecology who also worked on the project. "Wild animals can share parasites and infectious diseases with their domesticated animal relatives, and if these migrants are moving around through diverse landscapes, it's important that we understand how much they are exchanging parasites and infectious diseases with livestock and domesticated animals."
"We were expecting that fewer of these animals that move around more would be infected, because they leave behind habitats where they might pick up parasites, and because when animals are infected with parasites and try to fight off the infections while migrating, some of them die in the process." Hall said. "What we found in this study was kind of the opposite in the hoofed animals."
Hall and Altizer helped put together the framework for the paper and develop the hypotheses that the team tested, and Altizer helped to build the Global Mammal Parasite Database, which pulls data from previous studies about parasites and their animal hosts. Still, the fact that migrants have more parasites does not mean they are sicker than non-migrants.
"The number of parasites that they have doesn't necessarily mean that they are suffering more from disease," Teitelbaum said. "They could be infected by parasites that are less harmful. But from a conservation perspective, migratory animals are particularly in bad shape because of our actions and because of climate change. They require these big areas and we keep changing things."
Kindred Biosciences Inc. has received approval from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration for Mirataz (mirtazapine transdermal ointment) for the management of weight loss in cats.
Mirtazapine, which blocks specific serotonin and histamine receptors that play a role in appetite and nausea, demonstrated a 3.9 percent increase in body weight in cats with unintended weight loss in as little as 14 days, according to San Francisco-based Kindred.
To help improve owner and patient compliance, Mirataz will be available in a topical formulation applied to the inner pinna of a cat’s ear. Research shows daily topical application for 14 days resulted in measurable plasma concentrations of mirtazapine in cats, the manufacturer stated.
Mirataz offers the confidence of a product approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration Center for Veterinary Medicine, convenience of transdermal application, Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) production quality, known stability, manufacturer technical support, and a practical way to manage feline weight loss without administration of oral medication, according to Valentine S. Williams, DVM, DACVS, director of veterinary affairs at Kindred Biosciences.
Commercial sales are expected to begin in summer 2018.
Horses don’t restore muscle glycogen after heavy work particularly quickly, however—it can take up to 72 hours to fully replenish this important fuel source. The tactics human athletes use—such as “carb loading”—don’t work particularly well in horses. Not only has research found carb loading horses relatively ineffective at increasing muscle glycogen, loading with carbs such as starch could lead to colic.
One thing that does help improve glycogen replenishment is making sure the horse is adequately hydrated. Muscle glycogen requires water for storage, so a dehydrated horse is less able to generate new muscle glycogen stores. Hydration measures should begin well before cross-county day. Many horse travel long distances to events, and these long journeys cause surprisingly large amounts of sweat loss. Even when you can’t see the sweat, horses can lose very high levels of electrolytes during transportation. This puts them at a disadvantage before the competition even starts. Feeding salt every day and adding a well-formulated electrolyte while traveling will help horses remain hydrated. Consider arriving a day early if travel is particularly long, so your horse has time to fully rehydrate and recover from the journey before competition starts.
Horses that drink saline solution after exercise have been shown to consume more water in the subsequent hours than those that drink plain water. Consider acclimating your horse to drinking water after work with either salt or electrolytes so this is a normal practice at events.
Hard-working horses might be muscle-sore after cross-country, and supporting recovering muscle might help your horse come out on Day Three with a little more spring in his step. Vitamin E is an extremely important antioxidant for muscle health. Oxidation of glycogen and fats to create energy for muscle contraction causes the formation of free radicals. These oxidizing compounds are unstable and damage cell walls if not removed. Vitamin E helps stabilize them by donating an electron so that a cascade of free radical damage is prevented.
Horses need to get adequate vitamin E every day and, because of individual variation, some horses—even when receiving enough vitamin E to meet the National Research Council guidelines—are vitamin E-deficient. The best way to know your horse is getting enough vitamin E is to ensure his base diet is meeting the stated requirement. Then have your veterinarian test his serum vitamin E levels. This will tell you whether you need to supplement additional vitamin E daily. Providing extra natural vitamin E after particularly heavy work such as cross-country day might aid in recovery.
During recovery from exercise, muscle protein synthesis increases in order to repair muscle tissue damaged during work. If adequate dietary amino acids are available in the 24 to 48 hours post work, a net protein gain might occur. The most important amino acid for this process is leucine, which is a branched chain amino acid (BCAA). For this reason, administering a supplement that provides BCAAs after especially heavy exercise might help shorten recovery.
In general, after strenuous exercise, ensure your horse has access to good-quality forage (this is a safe way to replenish carbohydrates and encourages water intake), increase electrolyte intake to replace losses and encourage water consumption, ensure adequate natural vitamin E, and provide BCAAs. Incorporating these into your program will help your horse be at his best for the third day as well as recover from the overall event as quickly as possible.
There are many different types of flea and/or tick preventatives on the market today. We understand that it can be difficult to keep up with all of the brands, application methods, and pros/cons of them all. When choosing a flea/tick preventative it is important to consider lifestyle—both yours and your pet’s. Age, species, breed, health status, and any current medications should all be considered. All of the flea/tick preventatives are medications and any new products should not be started without first talking with your veterinarian.
The most popular and effective form of flea/tick preventative is a topical medication, often referred to as a “spot on” product. These are usually applied at the base of the neck or between the shoulder blades. They contain ingredients that kill fleas and ticks. Some products also contain a repellant quality that adds an additional layer of protection of keeping the pests off your pet in the first place. Topical preventatives spread over the pet’s body either through sweat glands or by using a bioadhesive. It is generally convenient to use, and once dried, the pet is able to go swimming or be bathed. It is important to note that the product should be allowed to dry. Possible side effects include itching/scratching, redness or swelling of the skin, or hair loss.
Oral medications continue to gain popularity, due to ease of use. None of the oral medications available have the ability to repel fleas or ticks, requiring the parasites to bite/attach before they will be killed. There is a risk of stomach upset or the pet refusing the medication. Possible side effects include vomiting and diarrhea, as well as some skin reactions like redness, itching, and/or hives. Depression and a decreased appetite have also been reported.
Collars are also popular since they can just be put on the pet and the owner doesn’t have to worry about a liquid product drying or giving the pet an oral medication. Collars contain a concentrated chemical that can kill and repel fleas and ticks. These are relatively inexpensive, but some of them can be smelly or irritating. There is also risk in humans touching the collars, especially children.
Sprays can be difficult to apply for complete coverage. The pet has to stay dry, so no baths, swimming or walks in the elements. It is important to remember when applying these to avoid the pet’s eyes and mouth.
Powders are dusted over and rubbed into the fur. Again, it can be difficult to get complete coverage and it is important to avoid the pet’s eyes and mouth. Side effects can include vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, depression, and decreased appetite.
A non-preventative solution to a flea problem is shampoo, designed to wash away adult fleas and their eggs. The pet can still get fleas later on. Allow shampoo to sit on the skin and coat for at least 15 minutes before rinsing well. Be sure to avoid the pet’s eyes and mouth. Dips are similar to shampoos, whereas they are not a preventative, but a short-term solution. They are usually a very concentrated liquid that is diluted with water and applied to the pet. They do not get rinsed and need to air dry. Dips cannot be used on very young pets or on pets if they are nursing or pregnant. It is usually advised to have a dip done by a professional (vet, dog groomer, etc.), as they are very concentrated and should be used with extreme caution. If you are administering a dip, it is important to protect both your and your pet’s skin, mouth and eyes while applying to the pet.
American Airlines has announced new restrictions for its emotional support animal policy. The company said it will no longer allow certain animals under the policy. Among them are insects, hedgehogs and goats.
American also said it will now enforce its existing 48-hour advanced notice and pre-clearance policy for emotional support animals, but will have procedures in place for emergency travel booked within 48 hours of departure, according to a press release. The new requirements will take effect July 1.
American said it, like other airlines, has experienced an increase in customers transporting a service or support animal onboard its aircraft — more than 40 percent from 2016 to 2017. Before settling on its new policy, it met with disability groups including American Association of People with Disabilities, Paralyzed Veterans of America, American Council for the Blind and My Blind Spot, according to the release.
"We support the rights of customers, from veterans to people with disabilities, with legitimate needs for a trained service or support animal," the company stated. "Unfortunately, untrained animals can lead to safety issues for our team, our customers and working dogs onboard our aircraft."
These creatures won't be allowed under the emotional support animal policy:
- Sugar gliders
- Non-household birds (farm poultry, waterfowl, game birds, & birds of prey)
- Animals with tusks, horns or hooves (excluding miniature horses properly trained as service animals)
- Any animal that is unclean/has an odor
For the first time ever, WWF and research partners are now tracking river dolphins in the Amazon using satellite technology—a tool that will provide new insight into the animals’ movements, behavior, and threats they face.
Scientists successfully attached small transmitters to 11 dolphins—including both Amazon and Bolivian river dolphins—in Brazil, Colombia, and Bolivia. The information gathered from the tags will help us create stronger conservation plans, better advocate for the protection of river dolphins and their habitats, and prove these animals depend on connected river systems for survival.
Despite the iconic status of river dolphins, little is known about their populations and habitats. Data from the tags will help us to better study what dolphins eat and how far they migrate, among other crucial information.
“Satellite tracking will help us better understand the lives of this iconic Amazonian species more than ever before, helping to transform our approach to protecting them and the entire ecosystem,” said Marcelo Oliveira, a WWF conservation specialist who led the expedition in Brazil. “Tracking these dolphins is the start of a new era for our work because we will finally be able to map where they go when they disappear from sight.”
The safe capture and tagging of river dolphins follows a rigid protocol that prioritizes the welfare of the animals. None of the dolphins were injured during the process and none displayed ill effects after release.
The Amazon is one of the world’s last strongholds for pristine, free-flowing rivers, but the region faces a variety of threats. Unsustainable development, such as poorly planned dams, deforestation for agriculture, and mercury pollution from mining puts the rivers—and all the life that depends on them—at risk.
“Now is the time to act,” said Jordi Surkin, WWF`s director of the Amazon region coordination unit. “These dolphin populations are still strong, and their habitats are in relatively good shape. If we address the threats now, we can ensure a future for all.”
Once thought to be globally extinct, black-footed ferrets are making a comeback. For the last thirty years, concerted efforts from many state and federal agencies, zoos, Native American tribes, conservation organizations and private landowners have given black-footed ferrets a second chance for survival. Today, recovery efforts have helped restore the black-footed ferret population to nearly 300 animals across North America. Although great strides have been made to recover the black-footed ferret, habitat loss and disease remain key threats to this highly endangered species.
In the Northern Great Plains, the black-footed ferret—North America’s rarest mammal—feeds almost exclusively on prairie dogs and depends on their burrows for shelter. But both species are susceptible to sylvatic plague, a fast-spreading bacterial disease that can decimate entire prairie dog colonies in just weeks.
To inoculate prairie dogs against the disease and ensure that black-footed ferrets have a reliable prey base, the University of Wisconsin and the United States Geological Survey National Wildlife Health Center developed a peanut butter-flavored oral vaccine bait. The vaccine helps prairie dogs build immunity against the disease, which could significantly improve survival rates during plague outbreaks.
Now WWF, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and drone product manufacturer Model Avionics have developed innovative ways to quickly and efficiently disseminate the bait. Using all-terrain vehicles, a multi-rotor drone, and a remote-controlled helicopter, the team is testing ways to drop bait across thousands of acres of prairie dog colonies. The long-term goal? To immunize prairie dog populations in all black-footed ferret reintroduction sites across the Northern Great Plains.
Approximately 370 in the wild
18 -24 inches
There are more volcanoes in the U.S. than many might realize.
In fact, there are a total of 169 that are possibly active within the country, The New York Times reports, citing the U.S. Geological Survey. And out of those, about 50 are ranked "high priority" or "highest priority" to watch across six states, the newspaper adds.
Outside of Hawaii, America's most dangerous volcanoes are all part of what's known as the "Ring of Fire," a row of 450 volcanoes spread across several continents that sit on tectonic plates.
"All our mountains are considered active and, geologically speaking, things seem to happen in the Northwest about every 100 years," John Ufford, preparedness manager for the Washington Emergency Management Division, told The Associated Press. "It's an inexact timeline."
As all eyes are on Hawaii, and 9 other volcanoes that are considered the "most dangerous" according to the USGS, by way of the Associated Press.
1. Kilauea, Hawaii
2. Mount St. Helens, Washington
3. Mount Rainier, Washington
4. Mount Hood, Oregon
5. Mount Shasta, California
6. South Sister, Oregon
7. Lassen Volcanic Center, California
8. Mauna Loa, Hawaii
9. Redoubt, Alaska
10. Crater Lake, Oregon
Over the weekend, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay’s rides, restaurants, and streets came to a screeching halt for several hours as the park suffered a massive power outage. And it was all thanks to one pesky visitor.
According to ABC Action News, the park’s lights went out after a little squirrel somehow made his way into the park’s substation breaker. Luckily, the outage started in the morning, before guests entered the park.
Karen Varga-Sinka, a spokesperson for the park, told the Tampa Bay Times that power was restored to some parts of the park by 1:20 p.m. and then was fully restored about an hour later.
While an odd story for sure, it shouldn’t really be that surprising considering squirrels have long been wreaking havoc on the United States electrical grid. According to The Washington Post, the American Public Power Association even tracks outages caused by the critters on a “squirrel index.” As it further reported, while storms cause longer and larger outages across the nation, squirrels are actually responsible for far more outages than weather. (You too can track global squirrel outages at http://www.cybersquirrel1.com/.)
And though the outage at Busch Gardens was certainly a pain for guests, people still couldn’t help but have a little fun at the park’s expense on social media.
Adult dik-diks aren't very big, so a baby is something small indeed.
A Kirk's dik-dik born Jan. 20 at the Kansas City Zoo is expected to go on public exhibit with his parents on Friday afternoon, the zoo announced Thursday. The temperature needs to reach 50 degrees before the baby can be allowed outside.
"He is so tiny, yet so adorable," the zoo said in a birth announcement.
Dik-diks are small African antelopes that run in zigzag patterns and make sounds through their nostrils that sound like "dik-dik."
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The new addition to the zoo's collection has been named Krackle by volunteer zoo docents. The mother is a 6-year-old named Snaps, and the father is a 2-year-old named Dasher.
Dik-diks are nocturnal herbivores. Their exhibit is in the African area near the aviary.
Adult dik-diks weigh only about 16 pounds and stand just 14-18 inches tall. The female is slighter larger. The male has horns.
A dog dressed as a bridesmaid pooped on the beach during her owner’s first dance to her new husband.
Golden retriever Hazel stared at groom Luke Bishop, 24, during the ceremony in Treasure Island, Florida, while guests burst out laughing.
The three-year-old pooch, who belongs to the bride, Demi, trotted behind the couple and then squatted for an unscheduled toilet break — all while giving Luke the stink eye.
The snaps of Hazel, decked out in a tutu, veil and crown, doing the deed and the mortified expression on Demi’s face is one the 22-year-old says she’ll treasure forever.
Demi, 22, said: “Hazel has a funny thing with my husband. When he came along she wasn’t used to boys being around and was always giving him the evil eye.”
“Even now she doesn’t really listen when he says something but does as I ask straight away.”
“She was looking him in the eye when we were dancing and she was pooping. Luckily we had poop bags to hand just in case she needed to go.”
Demi said the mutt was “protective” of her.
“After the poop, she went into the ocean and on the spur of the moment, I joined her while still wearing my wedding dress. I’ve never seen her so happy, we live close to a beach but the water isn’t as nice.”
“She was in there with me for about 15 minutes having the time of her life.”
“I wanted her to be a part of our special day and between that and the pooping she certainly contributed.”
The Ocala high school teacher involved in the controversial drowning of raccoons with his agriculture class students has retired, Marion County Public School officials said .
The school district was investigating claims that the Forest High School teacher drowned two raccoons and an opossum that were killing chickens with students from his agriculture-science class.
Pictures and video recorded by a student show a raccoon in a metal wire trap, which the teacher and students then lifted into a garbage bin while they filled the bin with water from several hoses.
The teacher, who has been with Marion County schools for 31 years, was placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Florida Department of Health are also investigating the complaint.
Marion County Public Schools Superintendent Heidi Maier slammed the actions of the teacher and recommended the district fire him.
The teacher submitted his letter of retirement to the district.
His decision to retire ends the school district’s investigation. However, the investigations by FWC and the health department continue.
Law enforcement is determining whether this teacher’s actions were criminal or not.
According to the FWC website, raccoons are classified as "nuisance animals," which are still to be euthanized humanely.
The FWC refers to the Guidelines for Euthanasia of Animals, prepared by the American Veterinary Medical Association. According to its latest publication, acceptable forms of euthanizing an animal include a single shot to the head. Unacceptable forms include drowning.
Even after the teacher was removed from the classroom, school board members said they have been inundated with phone calls from all over the U.S.
"They're just appalled. They just think it's horrific," Marion County School Board chair Beth McCall said. "They don't understand how anybody could be so cruel to animals. That all life has value and that this is just unacceptable."
The Fund for Animals Wildlife Center, an affiliate of the Humane Society of the United States, was contacted by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) last month after a female coyote with a tube around her neck had been observed by a San Diego land owner. It is believed that the coyote had been hunting around a construction site within her territory and got the tube stuck while chasing prey.
To assist in helping the animal, the land owner set up digital cameras which capture pictures of animals after they cross infrared beams in front of the device. The conclusion was that the tube itself was not causing any irritation or adverse effects at the time. As these sightings were at the start of coyote breeding season, she was suspected of already having had a litter of pups which was evident in the pictures. There was also no suggestion of pain or suffering and CDFW decided that any attempts to capture her and remove the tube should be delayed until her pups were weaned, but monitoring her would continue.
Last week, CDFW contacted The Fund for Animals Wildlife Center again with follow up photographs showing that the female coyote had been bleeding and developed swelling as a result of the placement of the tube.
Matt Anderson, director of The Fund for Animals Wildlife Center, said: “Given this new information, we decided it was imperative to attempt to save this adult female coyote with the hope that her mate would continue to fend for their new offspring. In cooperation with the land owner, staff from the Wildlife Center placed a baited live trap on her property hoping to capture the injured coyote. Although coyotes are typically difficult to capture, the live trap was re-set by our staff over several consecutive nights.”
The coyote was spotted by the landowner several more times and only once attempted to enter the trap; a raccoon was also interested in the trap on the same night and the landowner observed a small altercation which she believes left the coyote reluctant to enter the trap again. The Wildlife Center staff visited the property after sunset to be prepared to net the coyote if she appeared again, which she did not. After several days, the landowner asked the Wildlife Center to remove the trap.
“If and when the female coyote is caught, we will immediately transport her to our Wildlife Center to properly remove the tube from around her neck. We will perform a complete medical assessment and treat her accordingly. It is our hope that she can be rehabilitated with us and that we can subsequently release her back into her native habitat,” added Anderson.
In addition to specializing in the rehabilitation and release of coyotes, the Wildlife Center provides protection and care for all native predator species (more than 800 per year) when orphaned, injured or suffering from a variety of other ailments. The 13-acre facility has helped more than 7,000 animals since 2005 when they became an affiliate of the Humane Society of the United States.