Saturday, 22 August 2020 15:21

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Talkin' Pets News

August 22, 2020

Host - Jon Patch

Co-Host - Gino Sassani - Lost World Reptiles

Producer - Lexi Lapp Adams

Reporter - Dan Adams

Network Producer - Darian Sims

Social Media / Consultant - Bob Page

Special Guest - Author of "Unlikely Friendships", Jennifer S. Holland will join Jon & Talkin' Pets 8/22/20 at 5pm ET to discuss and give away her new book

 

Astronomers have determined the cause of the dramatic dimming observed last year and earlier this year of one of the brightest stars in the night sky, a colossus called Betelgeuse that appears to be on its way toward a violent death.

Based on Hubble Space Telescope observations, scientists said they believe Betelgeuse ejected a huge hot, dense cloud of material into space that cooled to form dust, shielding the star's light and making it appear dimmer from the perspective of viewers on Earth.

Betelgeuse is classified as a red supergiant, the largest type of star. It is more than 10 times the mass of our sun. If it resided at the center of our solar system, its surface would extend to the planet Jupiter.

Scientists suspect Betelgeuse - pronounced "beetle juice" - is nearing the end of its life cycle when it will use up its nuclear fuel and explode, relatively soon in cosmic terms, in an event known as a supernova.

"Frankly, we don't know for sure how soon Betelgeuse will go supernova," astrophysicist Andrea Dupree, director of the Solar Stellar Planetary Sciences Division at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and leader of the research published this week in the Astrophysical Journal, said on Friday.

"It is likely not in our lifetimes. But, we do not know how a star behaves the week before, the night before it explodes," Dupree added.

In a supernova, huge stars like Betelgeuse expel large amounts of heavy elements, including carbon, oxygen, calcium and iron, into space that become building blocks of new generations of stars.

Betelgeuse is located relatively near our solar system, about 725 light-years away. A light year is the distance light travels in a year, 5.9 trillion miles (9.5 trillion km).

Its dimming began last October and by mid-February had lost more than two-thirds of its brilliance. It returned to its usual brilliance by April but may be dimming again, which researchers are working to confirm.

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As we enter new stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, Steve King, CEO of the American Pet Products Association (APPA), announced findings from the Second Volume of the APPA COVID-19 Pulse Study of Pet Ownership During the Pandemic. The First Volume reflected research conducted in May of 2020. As more and more states began opening back up in June, the second wave of research conducted during that time shows slightly more relaxed attitudes and behaviors among some segments of the population. Volume Two of the Study takes a deeper dive into the data to reveal subtle shifts that are happening within various demographic groups from May to June as government response to the pandemic changed.

“In a world where COVID-19 information is changing daily, it’s important that we navigate this pandemic with real-time information and pay attention to the effects it’s having on various aspects of pet ownership,” said King. “We’re lucky to be among the few industries expected to be positioned for growth during this time, but we must work together, continue the research and remain nimble.”

The latest study finds a higher percentage of younger pet owners taking part in shopping in-person, with fewer owners indicating they are first-time users of pick-up services to procure pet supplies. The research also shows that more Gen X pet owners are expressing concern about the expense of having pets during COVID-19, with more implying they may switch brands to save money or plan to spend less money on pet food/supplies than they did in May. At the same time, a higher percentage of Gen X pet owners report they actually spent more money on their pet in the past month.

Volume Two of the APPA COVID-19 Pulse Study of Pet Ownership During the Pandemic reveals trended insights into consumer attitudes and behaviors as we navigate this unprecedented time, including:

  • Changes to pet ownership
  • Current shopping behaviors
  • Outlets visited
  • Pet products purchased
  • General attitudes toward the pandemic, including personal financial impact

“It’s reassuring to see that pet ownership has not been negatively affected, as pet owners are spending more time with their pets and they remained focused on caring for their pets as they continue to appreciate the enjoyment of having pets in their lives,” said King. “However, as concerns grow surrounding when life will get back to normal, financial stability in the long run and when the economy will bounce back from this pandemic, it’s important to stay informed.”

APPA is offering the full results of the Studies- Volumes One and Two- free of charge to anyone interested. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

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The Trump administration is taking the final steps to let oil and gas companies drill in the Arctic national wildlife refuge – which environment advocates call the nation’s “last great wilderness”. The US interior department will auction leases before the end of the year, secretary David Bernhardt told the Wall Street Journal. That could make it harder for Democrats to reverse the decision if Joe Biden wins the election in November.

The 19-million-acre refuge in north-east Alaska, known as ANWR, is a wellspring for wildlife. The move will open up the 1.6 million-acre coastal plane, where polar bears and foxes reside and to or through which millions of migratory birds fly. The porcupine caribou herd is critically important to the indigenous Gwich’in people, many of whom make their homes on or near its migration route.

“This is our nation’s last great wilderness,” said Adam Kolton, the executive director of the Alaska Wilderness League. “Nowhere else in the five-nation circle polar north do you have such abundant and diverse wildlife.” The lease sales will set off legal battles. Environmental groups and tribes argue that the administration’s assessment of environmental risks was flawed. Bernadette Demienti, executive director of the Gwich’in steering committee, said her tribe has had a spiritual and cultural connection to the porcupine caribou “since time immemorial”.

“This area they just opened is their calving grounds. This is a place that is so sacred to the Gwich’in that we don’t go there. Our creation story tells us that we made a vow with the caribou that we would take care of each other. They have taken care of us, and now it is our turn to take care of them.” The caribou are already changing their migration paths because of global heating caused by fossil fuel use, which is happening at a much faster rate in the Arctic than the rest of the world, Demienti said.

The announcement comes as Democrats open their virtual convention, in which Biden’s climate plan will be a central focus. Biden spokesman Matt Hill reiterated that Biden would “permanently protect ANWR and other areas impacted by President Trump’s attacks on federal lands and waters”. Trump, meanwhile, has been touting his “energy dominance” agenda, rolling back methane standards for the oil and gas industry last week. Republicans in Congress changed the laws to require leasing in part of the refuge in their tax bill in 2017, when they controlled both chambers. The refuge has been protected since 1980.

It is unclear if oil companies will be interested in drilling in the area any time soon, because oil is cheap and abundant elsewhere. Five of the largest US banks have said they will not finance ANWR projects. Kolton said any company considering bidding on leases needs to be “cognizant of the enormous reputational, political and financial risks”. Polls show a majority of Americans oppose drilling in ANWR.

“There’s no good time to open up America’s largest wildlife refuge to drilling, but it’s absolutely bonkers to endanger this beautiful place during a worldwide oil glut,” said Kristen Monsell, an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity’s oceans program. “An oil spill in this special sanctuary could devastate polar bears and caribou and cause irreparable harm to a pristine Arctic ecosystem. We’ve reached a dangerous new low in the Trump administration’s obsession with expanding the extraction of dirty fossil fuels.” ---------------------------------------

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Death Valley was the hottest place on Earth on Sunday. If verified, it could be the hottest temperature recorded in the world since 1913.

The hottest, driest and lowest national park in California and Nevada recorded a preliminary high temperature of 130 degrees Fahrenheit on Sunday, according to the National Weather Service (NWS). The all-time high of 134 degrees, reported over 100 years ago, was also recorded in Death Valley.

The agency is warning people who live in eastern California, Nevada, Arizona and Utah to limit their time outside to between 5 a.m. and 8 a.m.

Usually, the West and southwestern US experience the North American monsoon during this time of year, said Daniel Berc, warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Las Vegas.

But the monsoon hasn't developed as it typically does so instead of heavy rainfall Death Valley is getting hotter under high pressure, Berc told CNN.

It's been a sweltering summer for much of the US -- last month was the hottest July on record for seven states along the East Coast, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Not to be outdone, Death Valley reported a high of 128 degrees last month, too -- its hottest temperature (until this month) since 2013, NOAA reported.

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A Japanese cargo ship that ran aground in late July off the coast of Mauritius has broken in two.

Most of the 4,000 metric tons of fuel oil and diesel on the ship had already been pumped out over the past week, as environmental groups warned of potentially irreversible damage to the area's coral reefs. Still, at least 1,000 metric tons of oil had already been spilled into the Indian Ocean, endangering coral and marine life, and causing what some ecologists call the worst ecological disaster in the island nation's history.

Mauritius officials had warned that the ship, the MV Wakashio, could split in two. The break on Saturday caused some of the residual oil to spill into the ocean, but as of Thursday, only 150 cubic meters of hydraulic fluid and lubricant remained on the ship, officials said.

The next task for workers will be to tow the front part of the ship hundreds of miles into the sea, where they plan to sink it. After bad weather delayed their efforts earlier in the weekend, two tug boats were underway Sunday, officials told the local newspaper Le Mauricien. There are still approximately 30 cubic meters of fuel oil left in the engine room, but continued poor weather will make it difficult to remove, officials said.

Crews have cordoned off the nearby Blue Bay Marine Park, installed three layers of floating dams in the lagoon, and placed several kilometers of diversionary dams to further protect the area from oil contamination. Indian authorities have also sent 28 tons of material, including river dams, barges and skimmers, to help mitigate the environmental damage.

By midday Sunday, officials said they had collected 841 metric tons of liquid petroleum waste, and 419 metric tons of solid waste sludge and contaminate debris, Le Mauricien reported.

Scientists warned that the damage could affect the local ecosystem for years.

"This oil spill occurred in one of, if not the most, sensitive areas in Mauritius," oceanographer Vassen Kauppaymuthoo told Reuters. "We are talking of decades to recover from this damage, and some of it may never recover.'

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North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has reportedly ordered citizens to give up their pet dogs so that the canines can be converted into meat for restaurants amid a shortage of food supplies during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

North Korea is currently facing a massive shortage of food supplies; to quell discontent among his people, the Supreme Leader has ordered people to hand over their pet dogs. He used class difference as an excuse to justify the move, which has been described as brutal and inhuman.

According to a report by The Mirror, he said that the ordinary people raise livestock and cattle while only the rich and elite have pet dogs. He called having pet dogs a sign of "capitalism" and "bourgeois ideology."

Dogs in North Korea have always been associated with capitalist notions and the rule banning pet dogs has been implemented on and off since the 1980s, reports NY Times. According to the South China Morning Post, in 2018, North Korea asked its people to give up their dogs' fur ahead of the Party Foundation Day (one of North Korea's biggest and most important holidays). If they refused, they would have to hand over the US equivalence of $148 worth of rice to the state.

The reports suggested that the pandemic had led to "drastic economic hardship" which has been worsened by the 90% fall in trade with China. The United Nations said a few weeks ago that many families in North Korea were starving and that some can only afford one meal a day.

Amid such dire circumstances, the Supreme Leader feels that some families owning dogs as pets is a sign of opulence and wealth which is unfair for the lower strata of the society.

Confiscation of the pooches will begin in Pyongyang, the capital city. Authorities have been appointed to identify families in North Korea with pet dogs. According to a report by NY Times, some of the dogs will be sent to state-run zoos while some will be sent to restaurants for meat. Dog meat is considered to be a delicacy in North Korea and amid food shortages, this has presented as a viable food source for many families.

It is unlikely that the pet owners will be able to refuse, since Kim Jong-un runs a tight ship in North Korea, and it can only be described as dictatorial. Many families are upset and unwilling to give up their beloved pets, but beyond that, their hands are tied.

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Utilizing the unique skill sets of veterinarians within the field of biomedical research is the focus of a postgraduate training program at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine (VMCVM).

The college’s Animal Model Research for Veterinarians (AMRV) program has received a $1.4-million, five-year T32 graduate training grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

AMRV, which is spearheaded by professors X.J. Meng, MD, MS, PhD, and Ansar Ahmed, BVSc, PhD, aims to prepare veterinarians for careers in biomedical research.

“Veterinarians are uniquely trained in the context of comparative and One Health medicine, allowing them to have a better conceptual understanding of cellular and molecular mechanisms of human disease processes, especially using spontaneous animal disease models,” Dr. Meng says. “However, this forte is largely untapped, as DVM students are typically not exposed in a focused, purposeful fashion to ‘hypothesis-driven’ biomedical research with animal models for human diseases.”

“The foundation of broad training in veterinary medicine with the springboard of specific training in biomedical research within a thriving research laboratory is so very valuable,” adds the college’s dean, M. Daniel Givens, DVM, PhD, DACT, ACVM (virology). “This combination will produce clinical scientists who create breakthroughs and identify innovations that will advance health and well-being in years to come.”

After successfully completing the program, veterinarians receive a PhD in biomedical and veterinary sciences. Former AMRV trainees are currently employed as professors in academia and as biomedical scientists in federal government and industry, VMCVM says.

“There is a pressing need for trained DVMs with doctorates to tackle emerging health challenges, such as infectious and chronic diseases, by serving impactfully in academia, government, and the biotech industry,” Dr. Ahmed says. “With this grant, we hope to fill this vital need.”

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Heavier mixed-breed dogs are at greater risk of health complications if neutered or spayed early.

This is according to new study by researchers at University of California, Davis (UC Davis), which analyzed 15 years of data from thousands of dogs at the university’s Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital.

The study, researchers say, found mixed-breed canines weighing more than 44 lbs. (19.9 kg) as adults were more likely to develop one or more joint disorders if neutered before the age of one.

Researchers examined common joint disorders, including hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and cranial cruciate ligament tears (a knee injury), in five weight categories.

They found the risk of these disorders in altered large mixed-breed dogs to be a few times higher compared to dogs left intact. For example, for female dogs weighing more than 43 lbs., the risk jumped from four percent for intact dogs to 10 to 12 percent if spayed before a year of age.

Standard practice in North America and much of Europe dictates spaying/neutering dogs by six months of age, UC Davis says. Additionally, neutering/spaying prior to adoption is a common requirement or policy of humane societies, animal shelters, and breeders.

This study suggests a need to review and modify these policies, researchers say, particularly for young mixed-breed dogs that will grow large in size.

“The study raises unique challenges,” says the study’s coauthor Lynette Hart, PhD. “People like to adopt puppies from shelters, but with mixed breeds it may be difficult to determine just how big the dog will become if you don’t know anything about the dog’s parents.”

“Most dogs are mixed breeds,” adds lead author, Benjamin Hart, DVM, PhD. “We hope this study will influence the spay or neuter process to give people wishing to adopt a puppy the time to make an informed decision on when to spay or neuter.”

The findings especially relevant for people and organizations raising service dogs, Dr. Hart explains.

“They need to take a serious look at this,” she says. “Joint disorders can shorten a dog’s useful working life and impact its role as a family member.”

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On Aug. 12, California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) officials confirmed the state’s third case of West Nile virus (WNV) for 2020. The affected horse, an unvaccinated 17-year-old gelding from Merced County, experienced onset of clinical signs on Aug. 7. Signs included fever, depression, ataxia (loss of control of bodily movements), and dragging his hind feet. The horse is deceased.

Other horses confirmed with WNV this year were from Amador and Stanislaus counties. Two were unvaccinated and one had a vaccination history that was unknown. The other two horses are still living.

WNV transmission occurs when infected mosquitoes feed on animals, as well as humans, after having fed on infected birds.

Clinical signs of WNV in horses include:

  • Mild anorexia and depression
  • Fine and coarse muscle and skin fasciculation;
  • Hyperesthesia (hypersensitivity to touch and sound);
  • Changes in mentation (mentality), when horses look like they’re daydreaming or “just not with it”;
  • Occasional drowsiness;
  • Propulsive walking (driving or pushing forward, often without control); and
  • Spinal signs, including asymmetrical weakness; and
  • Asymmetrical or symmetrical ataxia.

West Nile virus has no cure; however, some horses can recover with supportive care. Equine mortality rates can reach 30-40%. The American Association of Equine Practitioners includes WNV as one of the core diseases all horses should be vaccinated against at least annually.

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Like equine athletes in all disciplines, Thoroughbred racehorses face hoof-related challenges, including quarter cracks. In an effort to better understand this hoof wall abnormality, researchers investigated the incidence, clinical presentation, and future racing performance of Thoroughbreds with quarter cracks over a nine-year period.*

A quarter crack is a full-thickness failure of the hoof capsule between the toe and heel that extends the entire height of the hoof, from coronary band to ground. The separation often results in unsoundness due to instability of the hoof wall or infection of the deep dermal tissue, though many horses remain free of lameness despite the presence of a quarter crack.

Quarter cracks are thought to arise for many reasons: innate hoof weakness; improper hoof balance; injury or trauma to the coronary band; or infection of the corium, part of the internal vascular network of the hoof. Poor farriery may contribute to hoof imbalance, which could contribute to crack formation. A common finding among horses with quarter cracks is sheared heels, an unevenness of the heels that causes unequal weight-bearing on the bulbs and creates a shearing force absorbed by the hoof capsule.

During the nine-year study period, just over 4,500 horses in a training center were followed. Seventy-four horses had at least one quarter crack during the study period. Twenty horses had two or more quarter cracks. Almost half of all horses with quarter cracks were lame at the onset of the defect.

An overwhelming number of cracks occurred in the fore hooves, and there was a proportional difference in the number of cracks in the left rather than right fore hooves. Most of the cracks came about on the inside of the hooves.

The quarter cracks identified in this study were treated in various ways, though the principle treatments included corrective shoeing with a heart-bar shoe, wire stabilization, and the use of epoxy or acrylic. Treatment goals centered around correcting the hoof imbalance and eliminating uneven movement.

Racing performance following treatment was available for 63 of the 74 horses. Of the 63 horses, 54 horses had at least one start after treatment. When compared to control horses, there was no significant difference in the number of career races, career wins, and career placings for horses with quarter cracks.

As mentioned previously, horses genetically predisposed to weak hoof walls might be susceptible to quarter cracks. Racehorses are generally well-nourished, as trainers know the importance of sound nutrition in conditioning an athlete. Aside from high-quality forage and fortified concentrates, horses inclined to poor-quality hooves should be given a research-proven hoof supplement. Biotin should be a primary ingredient in the supplement, but other ingredients will further support hoof health. A high-quality hoof supplement also contains methionine, iodine, and zinc.

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Lancashire Farm Dairies (LFD), a yoghurt brand which launched the class with Paradise Farm in Leyland last week, described it as ‘a great way to enjoy the countryside and roam with these wonderful animals’. Yoga enthusiasts were invited to practice amid ‘the grounding effects of nature, natural sounds and music of the cow comrades’ and offered a yoghurt smoothie afterwards.

Rajan Zed, who heads a Hindu advocacy group in the US state of Nevada, wrote to LFD to remind them cows are considered sacred among Hindus and ‘should not be used as a prop for human entertainment’.

He also accused the company of ‘frivolity’ and ‘diluting the profound, sacred and ancient discipline of yoga’, urging them to stop before it became a ‘trendy fad’. Mr Zed has also criticized a dairy farm in Pennsylvania which set up cow yoga sessions of its own earlier this month, although it has yet to cancel the program. The cleric added: ‘We do not want herds of people flocking to dairy farms to do yoga alongside cows, with many visualising it as an Instagram opportunity. ‘Real yogis should not attend such events where cows are inappropriately used, causing unnecessary disturbance to cows and putting them in stressful situations.

A recent study revealed that during the pandemic, UK adults spent 40 percent of their waking hours in front of a screen streaming or watching television and the amount of physical activity they undertook between March and June fell by over a quarter, with many concerned about the impact this will have on their health. On the other hand, cows - who have long been maligned as a lazy species ??? have been consistently, racking up distances of up to 10km a week.

Moreover, unpredictable cows could be a distraction in a path of self-discovery that draws the yogi inward.’ A spokesperson for LFD said: ‘We hosted an intimate yoga class for six people at one of our farms as a fun way to encourage UK adults to exercise outdoors and experience the tranquillity of the vast 500-acre farm. ‘We can only apologize if the recent fitness activity has caused offence, as you can imagine this wasn’t our intent. ‘There are no plans to hold any further yoga events. Mr Zed thanked LFD for ‘understanding the concerns of Hindu community’ but suggested its senior executives should be sent for ‘training in religious and cultural sensitivity’.

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