Saturday, 28 December 2019 17:58

Talkin' Pets News Featured

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Talkin' Pets News

December 28, 2019

Host - Jon Patch

Co-Host - Dr. Linda Register - East West Animal Hospital

Producer - Daisey Charlotte

Network Producer - Darian Sims

Social Media - Bob Page

Special Guest - Jerry Grymek - Doggie Concierge - Hotel Penn NYC at 621pm ET


The owner of a German shepherd in Lathrop, CA, had to call 911 when the dog chased a cat and got stuck in a tree.

Firefighters arrived on the scene and used a ladder to reach the 2-year-old dog named Baby, CBS Sacramento reports.

“It’s not your typical everyday call,” firefighter Marty Ortiz said. “I think in my 10 years of experience of being in fire/EMS, that’s the first I heard of a dog in a tree.”

The dog was returned to her owner, Sharon Thurston. The cat came down on its own.


The first Ebola vaccine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is a single-dose injection called Ervebo.

The vaccine from Merck & Co. is approved to protect against the Zaire ebolavirus in people 18 and older.

In the United States, Ebola infections are rare. Confirmed cases have involved people in other countries who became infected and then traveled to the United States, or health care workers who were infected while treating Ebola patients, according to the FDA.

"While the risk of Ebola virus disease in the U.S. remains low, the U.S. government remains deeply committed to fighting devastating Ebola outbreaks in Africa, including the current outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo," said Anna Abram, the FDA's deputy commissioner for policy, legislation and international affairs.

"Today's approval is an important step in our continuing efforts to fight Ebola in close coordination with our partners across the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, as well as our international partners, such as the World Health Organization," Abram added in an FDA news release.

Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said Ebola is "a rare but severe and often deadly disease that knows no borders." Vaccination is essential to preventing and stopping Ebola outbreaks, he added.

"The FDA's approval of Ervebo is a major advance in helping to protect against the Zaire ebolavirus as well as advancing U.S. government preparedness efforts," Marks said in the news release.

The world's second-largest Ebola outbreak is ongoing in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The largest outbreak occurred from 2014 to 2016 in the West African nations of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. More than 28,000 people were infected and more than 11,000 died.

The FDA said Ervebo's approval is supported by a study done in Guinea during that outbreak, as well as studies in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Canada, Spain and the United States. Ervebo was shown to be highly effective in preventing infection in people exposed to the virus.

The disease spreads through contact with body fluids and tissues of infected people or animals or with contaminated surfaces. Early symptoms include fever, fatigue, muscle pain, headache and sore throat, followed by vomiting, diarrhea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function, and sometimes internal and external bleeding.

Campylobacter infections are believed to be the reason for the outbreak, thought to be brought on by interacting with pet store puppies, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


Puppies, beacons of cuteness and adorability, could also be sickening people across the country, according to a recent report.

On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a notice to dog lovers as well as the rest of the general public about 30 cases of people becoming ill in 13 U.S. states. The reported sicknesses, which have thus far resulted in four hospitalizations and zero deaths, are believed to be linked to those who had recently come in contact with puppies.

Some of the states impacted include Minnesota, Ohio, Nevada, Utah and Kentucky, according to the report.

Comparing the current situation to a similar multi-state outbreak between 2016 and 2018, the CDC believes the culprit behind the infections is Campylobacter bacteria, which can be carried by dogs that otherwise seem healthy and clean.

To prevent catching the illness, the CDC suggests thoroughly washing one’s hands after touching a dog, and also after cleaning up after the animals. It is also recommended to not let pups lick around a person’s face or mouth, as well as any open wounds or broken skin.

Noticeable indicators of a puppy carrying the illness include an apparent sluggishness, lack of appetite and abnormal breathing, says the CDC. Symptoms among humans include bloody diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps, lasting for about one week and often treatable with antibiotics in severe instances.

The CDC also reminds pet owners to take their dogs for regular veterinary visits to ensure their canines are healthy, preventing any diseases from spreading.


Can’t get enough puppies? Good! Neither can Disney +.

The streaming service is premiering a new show all about the baby animals, called Pick of the Litter, on Dec. 20.

Pick of the Litter is a docu-series based on a 2018 documentary film of the same name. The film followed five puppies as they worked to become guide dogs through Guide Dogs for the Blind‘s training program.

In the Pick of the Litter series on Disney +, viewers follow six (!!!) puppies — Paco, Pacino, Tulane, Raffi, Amara, and Tartan — as they go through the same process as their predecessors at Guide Dogs for the Blind. The show will go in depth into the fascinating, furry and adorable journey each of these pups paws through in hopes of graduating as a certified guide dog.


Dogs may not be able to count to 10, but even the untrained ones have a rough sense of how many treats you put in their food bowl. That’s the finding of a new study, which reveals that our canine pals innately understand quantities in much the same way we do.

The study is “compelling and exciting,” says Michael Beran, a psychologist at Georgia State University in Atlanta who was not involved in the research. “It further increases our confidence that [these representations of quantity in the brain] are ancient and widespread among species.”

The ability to rapidly estimate the number of sheep in a flock or ripened fruits on a tree is known as the “approximate number system.” Previous studies have suggested monkeys, fish, bees, and dogs have this talent. But much of this research has used trained animals that receive multiple tests and rewards. That leaves open the question of whether the ability is innate in these species, as it is in humans.

In the new study, Gregory Berns, a neuroscientist at Emory University in Atlanta, and colleagues recruited 11 dogs from various breeds, including border collies, pitbull mixes, and Labrador golden retriever mixes, to see whether they could find brain activity associated with a sensitivity to numbers. The team, which pioneered canine brain scanning (by getting dogs to voluntarily enter a functional magnetic resonance imaging scanner and remain motionless), had their subjects enter the scanner, rest their heads on a block, and fix their eyes on a screen at the opposite end (see video, above). On the screen was an array of light gray dots on a black background whose number changed every 300 milliseconds. If dogs, like humans and nonhuman primates, have a dedicated brain region for representing quantities, their brains should show more activity there when the number of dots was dissimilar (three small dots versus 10 large ones) than when they were constant (four small dots versus four large dots).

Eight of the 11 dogs passed the test, the team reports today in Biology Letters. Intriguingly, slightly different brain regions lit up in each dog, likely because they were different breeds, Berns says.

“These findings support our understanding of the Approximate Number System; previously, these effects had only been demonstrated behaviorally in dogs, so this is an important contribution to our understanding of canine cognition,” says Krista Macpherson, a canine cognition researcher at Western University in London, Canada. And, she adds, the study is likely to be of interest to dog trainers, because it suggests dogs may pay more attention to the number of items—as a reward, for example—presented rather than the volume of items.

Dogs and humans are separated by some 80 million years of evolution, Berns notes. So this discovery “provides some of the strongest evidence yet” that most mammals are born to count, if not to do higher math.


If you traveled for the holidays, you may be grumbling about the hours on the road.

You’ve got nothing on the gray whale.

About 20,000 of them have begun their 5,000-mile southern migration from the icy waters off Alaska, where they’ve been fattening up for months on a diet of invertebrates sucked up from sea mud and strained out by the bristly baleen in their huge mouths.

The whales pass within a few miles of shore, so spectators and volunteer counters have gathered for decades to count their telltale plumes. Oregon’s Whale Watch Week, for example, began this week.


The whales are bound for Baja California, where higher temperatures are more suitable for giving birth. The calves have only a thin layer of the blubber that protects adult whales.

But the Baja mud offers little sustenance, so the whales return north within months, babies in tow.

The 10,000-mile round trip ranks as one of the longest of any mammal, rivaled only by another baleen whale, the humpback.


A federal judge has temporarily blocked a California law banning the import and sale of alligator and crocodile products. U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller also scheduled an April 24 hearing on Louisiana’s request for a longer-lasting order called a preliminary injunction.  “The temporary restraining order is the first step in protecting Louisiana’s alligator industry, which creates jobs, supports our economy and contributes to much-needed coastal restoration efforts,” Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said in a news release from the state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

Both sides agreed to the temporary order, the California federal judge wrote. It was signed Sunday and made public Monday in online court records. Mueller noted that California is not conceding anything by agreeing to the temporary restraining order and may continue to enforce laws barring the importation of alligator and crocodile bodies and body parts that are forbidden under the Endangered Species Act.

American alligators are one of only two alligator species. Chinese alligators are one of the world’s most endangered crocodilians but American alligators are thriving, partly with help from alligator farmers. Their harvest and sale remains regulated, both for their own sake and, under an international treaty, because they look like some species that are endangered or threatened. American alligators were removed from the U.S. endangered species list in 1987. The alligator business has played a key part in bringing back the animals and is important in protecting marshes and swamps and other species that depend on wetlands, according to Louisiana’s lawsuit.

The big reptiles don’t breed well in captivity, so farmers get permits to collect eggs from the big heaps of plants that alligators pile up as wetland nests. When the alligators hatched from those eggs are 3 to 5 feet (0.9 to 1.5 meters) long, the number that would have survived to that length in the wild must be returned to the wild, where most hatchlings get eaten if the eggs don’t get eaten first.

“California has nevertheless attempted to destroy the market for American alligator products notwithstanding the fact that no such alligators live in California,” the lawsuit said.  According to The Times-Picayune/the New Orleans Advocate, California banned alligator skins and meats in the 1970s but repeatedly issued exceptions that allowed sales. The most recent exemption expires on Jan. 1 and this time California’s legislature did not pass another exemption. The alligator ban was backed by a coalition of animal rights and environmental groups.

Louisiana has nearly 3 million alligators in the wild and on farms, and more than 300,000 are harvested each year, officials say.  The lawsuit argued that the state has no control over privately owned coastal wetlands, which make up most of the total. However, it said the alligator business creates an incentive to protect areas where gators live. California’s ban would leave landowners unable to continue erosion control, “resulting in irreparable harm to their property as well as harm to Louisiana’s sovereign environmental interests in wetland preservation,” the suit argued. “I hope the courts will understand the unique combination of the industry’s effort to care for the alligator population and the need to be good stewards of the environment where the alligators live,” said Jack Montoucet, secretary of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.


Firs. Pines. Spruces. Cedars. 

Millions of these prickly evergreens are chopped, shipped, sold and decorated every holiday season. In fact, roughly 96 million American households are expected to put up a Christmas tree during the holidays, according to an annual survey from the American Christmas Tree Association, and 19% of those are live trees. 

But what happens to the lonely trees with sparse spots and broken limbs that never make it to a toasty family room corner? Many are chopped up, ground down and fed to plants and animals, according to Rocco Malanga, the owner of Cedar Grove Chrismas Trees in Cedar Grove, New Jersey. "On a commercial level, they become wood chips that are made into mulch," Malanga said. "That's very common. Aside from that, they go to farms for livestock. But if we've done our job correctly, there's not a lot that we have to deal with." 

Cedar Grove Christmas Trees is a retail and wholesale company that is involved in the "entire lifecycle" of the holiday tree, Malanga said. He's a third-generation owner of the business that provides over 50,000 trees and wreaths to much of the East Coast. The company sells trees to local retailers, Home Depot and Walmart. 

Malanga said that after the holidays are over, some unsold trees take a trip to the beach. In coastal areas that get ravaged by hurricanes and erosion, left-over Christmas trees can be fastened together, staked down and used to trap sand.

"A dry Christmas tree is a perfect foundation for the creation of sand dunes. Over time, the tree will break down, but it gives time for plants around them to take root," Malaga said. Healthy sand dunes are the first line of defense during tropical storms because they are able to absorb the impact of destructive winds and waves.

After the coastline of New Jersey and some of New York was hit by Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and Hurricane Irene in 2011, Cedar Grove Christmas Trees donated some of the stripped-down holiday logs to shoreside towns. 

"We have a wholesale yard that has trees leftover always," Malanga said. "If there's any need we are happy to get involved."  The afterlives of Christmas trees can vary greatly depending on the location. 

In Louisiana, some leftover trees are used to help restore coastal marshes. In parts of Illinois, old Christmas trees have been used to create nesting structures for endangered herons. In South Dakota, trees have been dropped into a lake to improve fish habitats. And in San Francisco, spare Christmas trees have been fed to goats. 

According to the National Christmas Trees Association, there are more than 4,000 local Christmas Tree recycling programs throughout the United States and approximately 25 to 30 million are sold each year. 


Tens of thousands of Atlantic salmon escaped a Canadian fish farm that caught fire Dec. 20, north of Vancouver Island. Mowi Canada West, released a statement confirming there were 21,000 non-native salmon in the pens at the time of the blaze. It downplayed threats to wild stocks.

“Judging by the number of sea lions congregating near the involved farm it is likely many have already been eaten by predators,” the statement said. “That said, we take our responsibility to prevent any impacts seriously, and will take every reasonable action to do so.”

The Vancouver-based Watershed Watch Salmon Society’s science advisor Stan Proboszcz says this latest escape off Robertson Island — and a recent mass die-off nearby — highlights the risks of raising salmon in sea-based pens.

“Farmed fish can harbor parasites and viruses that can be spread to wild fish,” Proboszcz said. “So that’s one of the big risks that we see with an escape like this.”

The environmental group advocates moving B.C.’s fish farms onto land. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party pledged during the recent federal elections to make that happen by 2025.

“So we’re hoping that given the frequency of these escapes and die offs, that that kind of be fast tracked as soon as possible,” he said, “to give our wild fish a fighting chance.”

Finfish aquaculture is outlawed in Alaska. In 2017, hundreds of thousands of Atlantic salmon escaped from a fish farm in Puget Sound. The following year Washington state passed a law ordering that state’s salmon farms to shut down by 2022.

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