Friday, 17 April 2020 21:20

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Talkin' Pets News

April 18, 2020

Host - Jon Patch

Co-Host - Jillyn Sidlo - Celestial Custom Dog Services

Producer - Zach Budin

Producer in Training - Kayla Cavanaugh

Network Producer - Darian Sims

Social Media - Bob Page

Special Guests -  Paolo Bray Founder & Director of Friend of the Sea / Friend of the Earth & Director of International Programs for Dolphin-Safe project / Earth Island Institute will Join Jon & Talkin' Pets 4/18/20 at 5pm ET to discuss an upcoming Webinar / Pangolin

Adam Bacho, COO of Tickless Ultrasonic Tick and Flea Repeller will join Jon and Talkin' Pets 4/18/20 at 630pm ET to discuss and give away his product

 

A rescue group in the Washington, DC, area is helping to match foster families with dogs otherwise facing euthanization.

Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation has received a large number of requests from people wanting to foster or adopt an animal amid the coronavirus pandemic, People reports. There’s been a push for pet fostering as a way to stave off loneliness (and help animals) in a time of social distancing.

Many shelters are struggling as they’re short on staff and resources. In many cases, they’ve closed due to COVID-19-related restrictions.

People reports that Lost Dog and Cat “has joined forces with southern partners in Mississippi, Georgia, and the Carolinas whose members have been plucking dogs from death’s door.” They’re bringing animals from kill shelters in the South to DC, where there’s a critical mass of people looking to adopt them.

“As each day in March became more dismal and terrifying, we began to see an increase in people wanting to adopt a new family pet,” said Pam McAlwee, co-founder of Lost Dog and Cat.

McAlwee said the organization is adopting out 60 to 70 dogs per week, which is double the usual number.

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Dogs might be able to play a role in preventing the spread of COVID-19. That’s because of their super-sensitive noses, say researchers at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Medical Detection Dogs and Durham University.

The team has begun preparations to intensively train dogs so they could be ready in six weeks to help provide a rapid, non-invasive diagnosis towards the tail end of the epidemic. Increasing coronavirus testing is key, and the team has approached the UK government about how dogs can play a role in the fight against the disease.

The team believes that the dogs could supplement ongoing testing by screening for the virus accurately and rapidly, potentially triaging up to 250 people per hour.

“Our previous work demonstrated that dogs can detect odours from humans with a malaria infection with extremely high accuracy – above the World Health Organization standards for a diagnostic,” said Professor James Logan, head of the Department of Disease Control at LSHTM and director of ARCTEC.

“It’s early days for COVID-19 odour detection. We do not know if COVID-19 has a specific odour yet, but we know that other respiratory diseases change our body odour so there is a chance that it does. And if it does, dogs will be able to detect it. This new diagnostic tool could revolutionise our response to COVID-19.”

Dogs searching for COVID-19 would be trained in the same way as those dogs already trained to detect diseases like cancer, Parkinson’s and bacterial infections – by sniffing samples in the training room and indicating which contains the disease or infection.

They are also able to detect subtle changes in temperature of the skin, so could potentially tell if someone has a fever. Once trained, dogs could also be used at ports of entry to identify travelers entering the country infected with the virus or be deployed in other public spaces.

Claire Guest, CEO and co-founder of Medical Detection Dogs, said: “In principle, we’re sure that dogs could detect COVID-19. We are now looking into how we can safely catch the odour of the virus from patients and present it to the dogs.

“The aim is that dogs will be able to screen anyone, including those who are asymptomatic, and tell us whether they need to be tested. This would be fast, effective and non-invasive and make sure the limited NHS testing resources are only used where they are really needed.”

Professor Steve Lindsay at Durham University said: “If the research is successful, we could use COVID-19 detection dogs at airports at the end of the epidemic to rapidly identify people carrying the virus. This would help prevent the re-emergence of the disease after we have brought the present epidemic under control.”

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With sickness and/or hospitalization due to COVID-19 looming as a real possibility for many pet owners in the United States and across the world, Pet Sitters International (PSI) is encouraging pet owners to plan ahead for pet-care arrangements, just in case.

PSI, the world’s largest educational association for professional pet sitters and dog walkers, encourages pet parents to contact their local professional pet sitter to discuss their pet-care plan.

“Pet parents—particularly those who live alone—should have a plan in place to ensure their pets are cared for in the event that they become seriously ill or hospitalized due to COVID-19—or any other illness, for that matter,” said Beth Stultz-Hairston, president of PSI. “While no one wants to think about emergencies or illness, it is wise to always have a plan in place for the safety and protection of your pets.”

Professional pet sitters have long asked clients to provide emergency contacts and to fill out Emergency Pet Guardianship documents in the unlikely event they were delayed or unable to return home from work or travel, but now professional pet-sitting businesses are also working with clients to determine a plan of action if they were to fall ill from COVID-19 and/or be hospitalized. Pet owners should check with their pet sitters to see if they would be available to care for their pets in that situation and to finalize a plan, including how frequently pets should be visited, payment plan, who would care for the pets long-term if needed, etc.

For pet owners who are in good health but still need pet care, many professional pet-sitting services are still available to provide essential services where permitted, whether clients need someone to walk their dogs while they work long hours or need someone to pick up pet food or take their pets to the vet.

“During this time of global uncertainty, professional pet sitters and dog walkers continue offering vital services in their local communities, providing pet owners with peace of mind that their pets are receiving the best care,” Stultz-Hairston said. 

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What do you do when you’re a professional sports commentator but there are virtually no sports going on because of a global pandemic?

If you’re the BBC’s Andrew Cotter, you get creative at home. He recently took to Twitter with voiceovers of his two dogs’ daily jostling.

He narrated an eating competition between Olive and Mabel for a video posted to Twitter. “I was bored,” he wrote.

The video proved massively popular. So far it’s attracted 9.8 million views on the platform along with nearly 340,000 likes and over 90,000 retweets.

It went over so well, in fact, that Cotter made another video, this one featuring the same labradors but a different event. “Some sports are slower. More about the strategy,” he wrote of the contest in which the dogs vie for a toy.

The second video attracted even more attention, garnering 17.6 million views on Twitter along with 645,000 likes and nearly 180,000 retweets.

Cotter told Telegraph Sport: “I did it for my own amusement essentially, but thought I might get a few retweets.”

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Scallops disappeared from the cushiony seagrass beds of the Tampa Bay in the 1960’s. Poor water quality resulting from dredging operations and municipal waste was the cause of their collapse. But today, due to the restoration efforts of many partners, including RAE member group Tampa Bay Watch (TBW), these bay scallops are slowly making a comeback. As a keystone species, scallops can be used to measure an ecosystem’s health and signal changes in water quality.

Tampa Bay’s water quality and seagrass beds have since improved to levels that will once again support the bay scallop population. In fact, the most recent research by scientists with the Southwest Florida Water Management District’s Surface Water Improvement and Management state that Tampa Bay now supports 40,652 acres of seagrass. This continues the success of the previous mapping efforts reported in 2015, supporting the largest amount of seagrass measured since the 1950s.

Since 1993, TBW has led the Great Bay Scallop Search, a resource monitoring event held each summer. With support from the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conversation Fund and the Tampa Bay Estuary Program, TBW recruits volunteers to snorkel in search of scallops. Approximately 40 boats and 200 volunteers participate each year.

Variations in the scallop population can indicate changes to water quality in the Bay. In 2019, 51 scallops were discovered within the search perimeters, indicating that water quality was recovering after the previous year’s Red Tide events.

“We can witness the health of the bay by tracking the number of scallops found each year”, says Peter Clark, President of Tampa Bay Watch. “Every year we hope the number of scallops found increases, which means that water quality and habitat are also improving in our estuary.”

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The identification of a genetic variant in dogs may soon provide insight into a fatal lung disorder in human infants.

This is according to a recent study conducted by the University of Helsinki with support from the Wisdom Health Labs.

The findings, “Recessive missense LAMP3 variant associated with defect in lamellar body biogenesis and fatal neonatal interstitial lung disease in dogs,” identify LAMP3 as a gene associated with a lethal developmental lung disease in Airedale terriers.

While the neonatal lung disorder is novel to this specific breed, the condition resembles the most serious forms of human surfactant dysfunction, a lung disease found in human infants, Wisdom Health Labs says.

“By understanding the symptoms, pathology, and the specific genetic variant causing the disease in puppies, we will be able to not only assist in the development of a veterinary diagnostic test for this disease and promote responsible breeding practices, but the findings can also help human health researchers better understand the fatal disease affecting human infants,” says Jonas Donner, PhD, Wisdom Health’s discovery manager.

Researchers used transmission electron microscopy to examine diseased lungs in Airedale puppies and found the animals had defects in their lungs’ secretory organelles, which caused respiratory distress and, ultimately, failure.

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Through a genome-wide association study and whole exome sequencing, researchers identified a recessive variant in the lysosome associated membrane LAMP3 gene.

“This discovery has significant potential value for both veterinary and human medicine alike because of the similarities between canine and human genetics,” Dr. Donner says. “The study of lung disease in Airedale terriers provides clues to identifying genetic causes of human disease.”

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Animal health professionals should be on the lookout for the potential misuse of a human- and animal-prescribed antiparasitic drug thought to be a possible treatment for COVID-19.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) issued a statement regarding the recent “increased public visibility” of ivermectin following the pre-publication of research paper, describing the effect of the drug on SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in a laboratory setting.

The Antiviral Research article, “The FDA-approved drug ivermectin inhibits the replication of SARS-CoV-2 in vitro,” documents how the virus responded to the drug when exposed in a petri dish.

Ivermectin, FDA clarifies, was not given to people or animals in this study. The agency says additional testing is needed to determine if the drug might be safe or effective to prevent or treat COVID-19.

The agency fears the paper could lead individuals to use animal-intended ivermectin products, and is reminding health professionals not to condone the use of drugs for purposes not outlined by FDA.

“FDA is concerned about the health of consumers who may self-medicate by taking ivermectin products intended for animals, thinking they can be a substitute for ivermectin intended for humans,” the agency says.Kennel, Grooming & HandlingPawFriction

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“People should never take animal drugs, as the FDA has only evaluated their safety and effectiveness in the particular animal species for which they are labeled. These animal drugs can cause serious harm in people.”

For humans, ivermectin tablets are approved for the treatment of some parasitic worms, while topical formulations can be prescribed for the treatment of external parasites (e.g. head lice) and skin conditions, such as rosacea.

Likewise, the drug is approved for use in some small animals for prevention of heartworm disease, as well as for treatment of certain internal and external parasites in various animal species.

FDA asks health professionals to report any unapproved use of ivermectin to the agency by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or calling 1-888-463-6332.

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Pet cats should be kept inside if they live in a household where someone is suffering with the new coronavirus, veterinary scientists have said.

In a statement on Wednesday, Daniella Dos Santos, president of the British Veterinary Association (BVA), said cat owners who were self-isolating or displaying symptoms of COVID-19 should stop their pets leaving the house where possible.

“There have been a tiny number of cases of COVID-19 in animals and in all cases, it is likely that the transmission was human to animal,” she said. “There is no evidence that pets can pass Covid-19 to their owners. From the small number of cases it appears that dogs do not show symptoms, but cats can show clinical signs of the disease.”

Dos Santos added that it was not advisable for all cats to be kept inside, however, noting that some cats have to be let outside due to stress-related or medical reasons.

According to the BVA, cats can also act as fomites — meaning the virus can linger on their fur and be transmitted through touch in the same way it can be picked up from surfaces like tables and doorknobs.

The BVA advises pet owners to practice good hand hygiene to prevent the spread of the virus, but has noted that there is no evidence the coronavirus can be passed from animals to humans.

Meanwhile, the Australian Veterinary Association also advised cat owners on Saturday to keep pets within households affected by COVID-19 if they had been exposed to a human case.

Other steps they advised cat owners to take included minimizing contact with their pets and maintaining good hand hygiene before and after handling a cat or its food and water bowls.

Last week, the Bronx Zoo confirmed that a tiger had tested positive for COVID-19, with the zoo saying it believed the animal caught the infection from an employee. Meanwhile, a pet cat in Hong Kong tested positive for the virus in March after being in contact with a coronavirus patient. However, the Hong Kong government said in a statement that there was “no evidence pet animals can be a source of COVID-19” in human cases.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), there is “little to no evidence” that cats become ill if infected with the new coronavirus, and “no evidence that those that may be naturally infected spread (the virus) to other pets or people.”

“Out of an abundance of caution and until more is known about this virus, if you are ill with COVID-19 you should restrict contact with pets and other animals, just as you would restrict your contact with other people,” the AVMA advises.

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Speak to any experienced horseperson and they will share their struggles associated with managing wounds on the lower limbs. Often caked with dirt and debris by the time they are discovered, setting the stage for infection, these wounds can be expensive to treat. Further, limited tissue often precludes closing the wound fully with stitches, and excessively enthusiastic healing attempts by the body can produce proud flesh, which inhibits healing.

“Wound healing is a carefully orchestrated process involving many inflammatory mediators that direct the ‘flow of traffic.’ These mediators tell skin and blood cells where to go during the repair and regeneration phases and help fight infection,” explained Kathleen Crandell, Ph.D., a Kentucky Equine Research nutritionist.

Veterinarians have tried multiple approaches in an effort to expedite wound-healing with aesthetically pleasing and functional outcomes: soaps and salves, antibiotic-impregnated bandage materials, placental dressings, manuka honey, hyperbaric oxygen chambers, and fly larvae.

“Evidence also exists that dietary omega-3 fatty acids can exert anti-inflammatory effects, attenuate systemic inflammation, and may decrease susceptibility to wound infections,” Crandell relayed.

Like other fields of equine medicine, more research is certainly needed to determine the exact role of omega-3 fatty acids in wound healing. Given the benefits associated with omega-3 supplementation and the safety profile of these products, exploring this avenue of wound management appeals to horse owners.

EO-3, developed by Kentucky Equine Research, is a palatable marine-derived source of the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA. In addition, biotin supplementation may support wound healing,” advised Crandell.

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Animal welfare advocates are crediting coronavirus-connected community lockdowns and social distancing with a reduced number of animal cruelty crimes reported in some jurisdictions. In response, they’re preparing to answer a surge in animal cruelty crime reports after the COVID-19 pandemic has passed. According to animal welfare advocate Tinia Creamer, founder and president of Heart of Phoenix Equine Rescue, in West Virginia, reports of suspected animal cruelty traditionally rise in the spring.

“The time between March and May is usually the busiest time of the year for us because horses are coming off the winter,” and reports of malnourished horses start to flow in, Creamer said. “Currently, the number of calls is down because of the coronavirus, but that does not mean that the horses are not there.”

That’s because the individuals who would report suspected cruelty have had their movement restricted, said Jim Boller, executive director of Code 3 Associates, which trains law enforcement personnel, animal welfare investigators, veterinarians, and others to spot and respond to animal welfare cases. In response to the decrease, some jurisdictions have redirected resources that would have been used in animal cruelty responses to general law enforcement activities. Others have placed animal cruelty crime investigations on the back burner altogether, said animal welfare advocate Marty Irby, executive director of Animal Wellness Action. “We had some specific trouble with the pandemic as a factor last week, when my colleagues in one state couldn’t even get the police to help with (an animal welfare) call,” Irby said. “Basically, the police told us that the call wasn’t important enough to deal with.”

Still, most animal welfare investigators remain on the job, even in jurisdictions that are prioritizing cases differently. Complications can arise when cases get bottlenecked at the court level, said Creamer. “The problem has not been carrying out the investigations, the problem has been getting warrants because the courts are closed,” she said. “So the process is getting longer.”

In any case, investigators believe the decline is reports is only temporary, and they are bracing for an influx of cases once COVID-19 movement restrictions are lifted and the pandemic’s real impact on cash-strapped horse owners is revealed. “Economically, people who have livestock can’t afford feed,” he said. “Fortunately, we’re going into the summer, and pastures are coming back.” “I fear what will happen if there is a major event – a disaster such as a hurricane,” Irby said. “Resources are already stretched so thin. I think we have not seen the real effect of this yet.” --------------------------------------------------------------------

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The North American Veterinary Community (NAVC) today launched a grassroots advocacy and awareness campaign to engage veterinary professionals and the broader pet-loving community in support of legislation to better prevent and respond to the spread of zoonotic disease and diseases that arise with our interaction with wildlife like the coronavirus.

The largest publisher in the veterinary profession and the world’s largest provider of continuing education for veterinary professionals, the NAVC is utilizing its diverse platform, network and community of more than 500,000 animal health professionals to promote awareness and support for the One Health Act. A key component of NAVC’s advocacy and awareness campaign is a podcast with Florida Congressman and Veterinarian Ted Yoho, who introduced the One Health Act last year along with fellow Veterinarian and Congressman Kurt Schrader of Oregon. NAVC is also reaching out to its broad network of animal healthcare leaders in pharmaceutical, hospital and clinic management, associations and innovation companies, and is activating a grassroots campaign that engages pet owners and pet lovers everywhere to join this effort.

“As veterinarians, we have dealt with the coronavirus for four-to-five decades in cattle, horses, dogs, cats and other animals,” said Congressman Yoho. “We are always focused and tuned into the prevention side and by being prepared, we can get ahead of the curve, anticipate these diseases and better respond.”  The One Health Act requires the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Agriculture, in coordination with other specified agencies and departments including the Centers for Disease Control, State Department and Department of Commerce, to create a plan for addressing zoonotic disease outbreaks like coronaviruses. This plan, called the One Health Framework, will outline how agencies share information and engage in fieldwork to help better prevent, prepare for and respond to zoonotic disease outbreaks.

“Zoonotic diseases -- or illnesses that spread between animals and humans -- can be fatal. We cannot wait for another catastrophic disease such as the coronavirus to come about before taking unified action to prevent and address these illnesses,” said NAVC CEO Gene O’Neill. “Human health, animal health and the environment are all interconnected. We need a national framework that interconnects all of our federal agencies and departments to better prepare for, respond to and ultimately prevent the spread of diseases. NAVC is leveraging its platforms and community to support legislation that does just that.”

NAVC launched its national advocacy program, "Embrace," in January at its annual Veterinary Meeting and Expo (VMX), the world’s largest continuing education conference. Since then NAVC has engaged the veterinary community in support of the Puppies Assisting Wounded Service members Act and with plans to support a National Animal Rescue Day. Earlier this month, NAVC Embrace launched its One Health podcast series with “COVID-19 and the One Health Act.” NAVC encourages the pet community and all members of the public to visit NAVC.com/Embrace to send a message to their elected leaders in Congress in support of the One Health Act.-----------------------------------------------------------------

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