Saturday, 14 November 2020 15:42

Talkin' Pets News Featured

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Talkin' Pets News

November 14, 2020

Host  - Jon Patch

Co-Host - Jillyn Sidlo - Celestial Custom Dog Services

Producer - Matt Matera

Network Producer - Darian Sims

Social Media - Bob Page

Special Guests - Cindy -Lou Thompson author of A Masterclass in Needle Felting Dogs will join Jon & Talkin' Pets 11/14/20 at 5pm ET to discuss and give away her book

Tavor White, Chew Executive Officer of Chews Happiness will join Jon and Talkin' Pets 11/14/20 at 630pm ET to discuss and give away his delicious and healthy Barkaron dog treats



President Trump was the first president not to have a White House pet in more than 100 years. Mr. Biden will bring two German shepherds, one of which was adopted from a shelter. President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. with his adopted dog, Major, in 2018.

President Trump was the first president in more than a century not to have a pet of any kind, Andrew Hager, the historian-in-residence at the Presidential Pet Museum, said. In 2008, the Biden family got a German shepherd puppy from a breeder after Mr. Biden was elected vice president, according to Politico. The Bidens named the dog Champ because Mr. Biden’s father had told him growing up, “Get up, champ,” when his life was challenging. In 2018, the Biden family adopted their former foster dog, Major, from the Delaware Humane Association. Mr. Biden would not be the first to have an adopted dog in the White House. President Lyndon B. Johnson’s mixed-breed dog, Yuki, was found by his daughter at a Texas gas station.

In 2016, Lois Pope, a philanthropist for veterans and animals in Palm Beach, Fla., said she had offered Mr. Trump a goldendoodle puppy named Patton, after George Patton, the World War II general that Mr. Trump has said he admires, The Washington Post reported. At a February 2019 rally in El Paso, Mr. Trump said that he didn’t have a dog because he didn’t have time, and felt it would be “phony” for him to get one for political reasons.

Mr. Biden’s dog Major reflects a broader trend of Americans adopting pets from shelters and how they feel about animal rights, Mr. Hager said. “In a way, I’ve made the argument that you can look at the history of Americans and animals by looking at the president and their pets,” he said. Mr. Biden occasionally posts about Champ and Major on social media. “No ruff days on the campaign trail when I have some Major motivation,” Mr. Biden wrote on Instagram last month.

There was even a separate campaign called Dog Lovers for Joe. Its slogan: “Choose your humans wisely.” “Red state or Blue state, we all can agree on the power of dogs,” the website said. “It’s time we had a dog-lover back in the White House.” From the earliest days of the country’s formation, pets have been a tradition for presidents.

President Theodore Roosevelt owned dozens of animals, including a one-legged rooster, snakes, guinea pigs, kangaroo rats and horses, said Jennifer B. Pickens, the author of “Pets at the White House.” One of the oddest White House pets was a raccoon later named Rebecca that was sent to President Calvin Coolidge to be served at Thanksgiving dinner. In November 1926, Mr. Coolidge pardoned the raccoon and adopted it.

Pets humanize the presidency and help people relate to their owners. Dogs make for cuddly presidential props and provide companionship when presidents make tough decisions, Ms. Pickens said. During President Richard M. Nixon’s vice-presidential bid in 1952, he weathered a financial-improprieties scandal, partly because he spoke about his dog, Checkers. President Herbert Hoover’s stuffy, stilted image improved when he humanized himself by releasing a photograph in which he held his German shepherd, King Tut. President Barack Obama and his family brought Bo, and then Sunny, Portuguese water dogs, into the White House. They were beloved, even after Sunny knocked down a 2-year-old visitor. “Americans have always had pets, so the White House has always had pets,” Ms. Pickens said.


McDonald’s will test a meat-free burger in several markets next year as it adds plant-based menu offerings, which it has coined “McPlant.”

International President Ian Borden said that McPlant was created “by McDonald’s and for McDonald’s.” Borden said that the McPlant line could also include chicken substitutes.

McDonald’s has not yet disclosed the supplier for the line. A company spokesperson declined to identify their supplier but said that McDonald’s will not be manufacturing the products.

But a spokesperson for Beyond Meat said in a statement to CNBC that the company co-created the plant-based patty that will be available as part of the McPlant line. Shares of Beyond rose as much as 4% in afternoon trading after falling as much as 6% earlier on Monday. The stock, which was briefly halted for volatility in both morning and afternoon trading, is currently down less than 1%.

McDonald’s began testing a meatless burger that used a Beyond meatless patty in several dozen Ontario restaurants in September last year. By April, the chain had ended the pilot and has since said that it has no plans to bring back its P.L.T. burger at this time.

Former McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson, who was an early investor in Beyond, sits on the plant-based meat maker’s board. Investors have speculated that the connection between the two companies could mean a long-term partnership and make Beyond a supplier for the largest U.S. restaurant chain by sales.

Other international McDonald’s markets have found more success with meatless burgers. Restaurants in Germany, for example, have added veggie burgers made by Nestle to their menus.

McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski told investors that markets will choose if and when to add McPlant items to their particular country. He added that the exact pace will be dictated by consumer demand.

Rival Burger King, which is owned by Restaurant Brands International, released a plant-based Whopper in the U.S., with a patty made by privately held Impossible Foods last year.

Shares of McDonald’s rose less than 1% in afternoon trading. Earlier, the company reported third-quarter earnings and revenue that topped analyst estimates. It also released an investor update, predicting systemwide sales growth in the mid-single digits in 2021 and 2022 and sharing more about its strategy for boosting sales.

Beyond is expected to release its third-quarter results after the bell Monday.


An animal rescue group that took in 15 French bulldog puppies found, neglected and in poor health, in an O'Hare International Airport warehouse says it will not return the puppies to the Middle East. A truck driver discovered the puppies in crowded crates, bleeding from their paws, with burn marks from sitting in their own urine and feces, and without food or water, four days after they had arrived in Chicago from Jordan. The Chicago French Bulldog Rescue took them Aug. 31, and they've been in quarantine at various veterinary clinics since then, the Daily Herald reports. The CDC says the puppies' paperwork is fraudulent and it's not clear whether they'd received important vaccinations, including rabies shots; it gave the rescue organization a Monday deadline to get them on a flight back to Jordan, WGN-TV reports. The group did not comply.

"Out of ongoing concern by Chicago French Bulldog Rescue for the health and welfare of the 15 puppies rescued from a warehouse at O’Hare International Airport, I have informed all relevant agencies of the government and Royal Jordanian Airlines earlier today that the rescue will not be turning over the 15 French bulldog puppies to anyone tomorrow, Monday at 9:00 am," reads a statement from the group posted to Facebook. It says the puppies were likely illegally trafficked, and could be euthanized if returned to Jordan. An attorney for the group is working to keep the dogs in the US, and elected officials including Sen. Tammy Duckworth are urging the CDC and the Jordanian government to allow that to happen. The rescue group, which has spent $45,000 on the dogs so far, says thousands have reached out to adopt the puppies if they are allowed to stay.


The mysterious death of 350 elephants in the Okavango Delta between May and June baffled conservationists, with leading theories suggesting they were killed by a rodent virus known as EMC (encephalomyocarditis) or toxins from algal blooms.

“Our latest tests have detected cyanobacterial neurotoxins to be the cause of deaths. These are bacteria found in water,” Mmadi Reuben, principal veterinary officer at the Botswana Department of Wildlife and National Parks, said in a news conference on Monday. “However, we have many questions still to be answered such as why the elephants only and why that area only. We have a number of hypotheses we are investigating.”

Local sources suggest 70 percent of elephants died near water holes containing algal blooms, which can produce toxic microscopic organisms called cyanobacteria. Toxins were initially ruled out because no other species died, except for one horse, but scientists now think elephants could be particularly susceptible because they spend a lot of time bathing and drinking large quantities of water. Reuben said the investigation looked at how mortality affected the elephant population and injuries on carcasses, as well as testing water samples at laboratories in Botswana, South Africa, and the U.S. He said the cause was a “combination of neurotoxins” but declined to give further details, and declined to say at which institutions tests had been carried out.

“I hope that what the government has said is true, because it rules out some of the more sinister things,” said Niall McCann, director of conservation at the U.K.-based charity National Park Rescue, who initially suggested the elephants may have been poisoned or died from an unknown pathogen. Tissue samples need to be kept in specific conditions and quickly transported to specialized laboratories, but this was not done in Botswana, which fueled speculation about potential causes.

In July, the government’s official count was 281 deaths, but this has now risen to 330. Reuben said he would be monitoring waterholes for blooms next rainy season to avoid another die-off. Climate change is increasing both the intensity and severity of harmful algal blooms, making this issue more likely to reoccur. McCann confirmed he was working with officials to set up regional early-warning systems. Across the border in Zimbabwe, more than 20 dead elephants were found between Hwange National Park and Victoria Falls in August, with concerns that the two incidents could be linked. Authorities currently believe this die-off was caused by a bacterial infection.

One leading theory is that it was caused by a strain of a bacteria called pasteurella, which killed 200,000 Saiga antelope in Kazakhstan in 2015, says McCann. “There are various options. Thankfully, the U.K. government has collaborated with the government of Zimbabwe to export these samples and now they’re going to be tested in the U.K.,” he said. If it is something relatively common, scientists should be able to detect it. “However, new emerging infectious diseases are happening all the time, and the more we look into epidemiology, the more we discover we don’t know. So it could be a complete mystery again,” said McCann.   A spokesperson from the U.K. government’s Animal and Plant Health Agency said: “Our world-leading scientists are currently running tests on samples sent from Zimbabwe, and will share findings with Zimbabwe Parks as soon as possible.”


“Eye spots” are an evolutionary feature employed by various species to deter predators. Insects use them to misdirect birds, and some fish feature false pairs to intimidate larger fish, but no animal has ever been known to successfully deploy eye-spots against larger mammalian predators. Today, however, several hundred cattle in northern Botswana with eyes painted on their butts would beg to differ. The “eye-cows” are the result of a four-year study released earlier this month by an international team of scientists seeking the coexistence of cattle farmers and lions. And while butt-faced cows may seem like a joke, the problems they stand to solveThe team’s research took place in the village of Shorobe, on the outskirts of Botswana’s Okavango Delta region, which contains the Moremi Game Reserve—a 1,900-square-mile wildlife sanctuary home to leopards, hyenas, and, most importantly, lions. While the reserve creates jobs and fuels regional tourism, the ambush predators therein threaten the neighboring cattle farmers’ livelihoods.

A government reimbursement plan for those who lost cattle to the money-making predators only reimbursed about 10 to 20 percent of the cost of a cow, according to Radford. “The farmers feel kind of disenfranchised by the whole thing,” says Radford. “It’s their livelihood right there. They’re angry, and they’re going to find that lion.” Retaliatory killings by cattle farmers not only devastated an already endangered species—one that plays a crucial role in balancing a fragile ecosystem—but threatened the local economy as well. A team of researchers led by UNSW’s Dr. Neil Jordan theorized that in the same way that smaller predators can be deterred by eye-spots, attacking lions may similarly feel they’ve lost the element of surprise when cows grow eyes on their butts.

What started as a trial experiment on one herd in 2015 expanded with Radford’s assistance to cover 14 different herds with more than 2,000 cows. “We chose herds that had previously reported higher depredation rates, so we knew lions were a problem for them already,” says Radford. Of the group, roughly a third were given a pair of furrowed, acrylic-painted eye-spots (“We were going for the intimidation factor,” says Radford), another third were left unmarked, and the remaining third received simple cross-marks. While 15 unmarked cows and four cross-marked cows were killed by predators, not one of the cows with eye-spots over the four-year study became big-cat food.

The low-cost method is readily accessible to all cattle farmers While the findings speak for themselves, Radford is quick to explain that it may not be a silver bullet. In theory, the lions may eventually habituate to prolonged exposure to eye-spots (as India’s Sundarban tigers grew wise to the jungle’s loggers, who tried to fend off attacks by wearing masks on the back of their heads), but according to Radford, Shorobe’s lions are migratory enough to be fooled for the long run. Dr. Jordan also admits in a statement that it’s “unclear whether painting would still be effective if these proverbial ‘sacrificial lambs’ were not still on the menu.” For the time being, the researchers recommend that farmers reserve the eye-spots for only their most valuable heifers. While a local NGO hired a “co-existence officer” to ensure the practice persists upon the team’s departure, a swell of online attention has led to unexpected copy-cat trials abroad. “It’s being adopted in India for leopards, in South America for jaguars, and elsewhere in Nepal as well,” says Radford.It’s all too rare that an outside-the-box solution proves a boon to the economy and the environment in one fell swoop. But wherever cats need food and cows have butts, the eye-cow method may just do the trick.


As the holiday season arrives, pet owners plan to show their companions some extra love, American Pet Products Association. Forty-six percent of pet owners surveyed plan to purchase a holiday gift for their pet this year, regardless of the pandemic or economic state, compared to 47 percent of pet owners who bought gifts for pets in 2019. “It is clear that people still plan on including their treasured family pets in this holiday gifting season, but what is unexpected is how much they plan to spend on them,” said Steve King, president and CEO of APPA. Pet owners plan to spend an average of $41 on gifts for their pets this holiday, APPA reported. Moreover, demographic groups planning to spend $50 or more include pet owners in Gen Z, Millennials, those with young children, and those who live in urban communities.

The findings are from the third volume of the APPA COVID-19 Pulse Study of Pet Ownership During the Pandemic.  The first and second volumes reflect research conducted in May and June of 2020.  Volume 3 reveals research conducted in September and covers many aspects of pet ownership as well as consumer attitudes and trends surrounding holiday spending for 2020. Eighty-three percent of those surveyed report their pet ownership has not changed due to COVID-19, and it appears spending will hold steady this holiday season. While not directly related to pet ownership, a notable shift was respondents’ feeling that the pandemic will continue longer than most anticipated earlier this year.

“Even though we may not get back to a pre-COVID ‘normal’ in the foreseeable future, our pets are helping us get through these challenging times,” King said. “With 74% of owners reporting that pets are helping to reduce stress and increase our sense of well-being, it comes as no surprise that Study respondents overwhelming said they don’t plan on making changes to their approach to routine pet care.”

Aside from the anticipated spend this holiday season, two-thirds of all pet owners say their pet spending has not changed in the past month. Pet owners are able to get the items they want at the outlets where they wish to shop. Over half of pet owners consider themselves to be very brand loyal when shopping for their food, and 72 percent agree their pet’s diet is very important to them so they do not plan to make any changes regardless of their financial circumstances. More than 60 percent of pet owners are shopping for pet care items in brick and mortar stores while the percentage of those shopping at online-only outlets remains consistent at 15 percent. Volume three of the APPA COVID-19 Pulse Study of Pet Ownership During the Pandemic reveals additional trended insights into consumer attitudes and behaviors, including:

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

APPA is offering the full results of the Studies — Volumes 1, 2 and 3 — free to anyone interested.  The holiday spending data captured in the third volume of APPA COVID-19 Pulse Study of Pet Ownership During the Pandemic is also available. For more information, visit the APPA website or contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Three men have been banned from Yellowstone National Park after a park ranger caught them cooking chickens in a hot spring.

Back on Friday, Aug. 7, a park ranger was alerted that a group of men with cooking pots were hiking toward's the park's Shoshone Geyser Basin, the East Idaho News reported. Shortly after that, the ranger found two whole chickens in a burlap sack in a hot spring and a cooking pot nearby.

According to the Associated Press, when defendant Eric Roberts, of Idaho Falls, Idaho, was asked about what the group was up to, he said they were making dinner.

Of West Valley City, Utah, Dallas Roberts and Roberts were ordered to serve two days in jail and pay $540 in fines and fees, and Eric Romriell, of Idaho Falls, paid $1,250 in fines and fees, the AP reported.

According to the AP, the men are banned from Yellowstone while serving two years of unsupervised probation.

As for whose idea it was, Eric Roberts said it was a "joint thing," the AP reported.

According to the park's website, the hot springs have "injured or killed more people in Yellowstone than any other natural feature." The park urges guests near thermal areas to stay on boardwalks and trails and if you have children, you're advised to keep them close and not let them run.


A recent New York Times article about sound in the deep ocean briefly mentions the work by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) acoustic scientist Ying-Tsong “YT” Lin and his work developing an “acoustic telescope.” The telescope, which will see its first operational deployments later this year in the vicinity of the Ocean Observatories Initiative Pioneer Array, takes advantage of the fact that, although seawater absorbs most electromagnetic energy (light, radio waves, etc.), it is extremely good at transmitting sound energy. YT’s device will be able to listen in on distant acoustic phenomena—such as whale calls, schooling fish, crashing waves, rainfall, and earthquakes—all of which produce distinctive acoustic signatures, enabling scientists to map the complexity of sounds in the ocean and provide a more nuanced, holistic view of both the natural and human-generated underwater soundscape.

Lin’s work doesn’t end there, however. In June, he became the twelfth person, and the first of Taiwanese descent, to dive to the deepest part of the ocean, Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench. He made the trip with Caladan Oceanic’s Victor Vescovo aboard the submersible Limiting and took a specialized hydrophone recorder with him to record ambient sound as well as acoustic signals transmitted from an underwater speaker deployed near the ocean surface from the ship. In addition to improving scientists’ understanding of how sound refracts in the deep ocean, Lin’s shipboard experiments will provide greater clarity on how acoustic communication and geo-location could be improved at extreme depths.

Animal Defenders International (ADI) is warning the public about animal suffering in circuses and calling on venues not to host acts involving wild and exotic animals. As restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 slowly ease, circus trucks with caged tigers, lions, bears, and elephants in chains have started to roll into towns and cities in Florida. Garden Bros kicked off their tour November 5th in Tampa and has 53 shows scheduled this month, 45 of which are in Florida, while American Fun Circus continues performing throughout the state.

ADI President Jan Creamer said: “Animals in circuses suffer a life of deprivation, confinement and abuse – animals perform out of fear, they are not having fun. Wild animals are denied all that is natural to them, no freedom of movement, nothing of interest to engage their intelligent minds. Unlike them, venues get to choose whether the show and the suffering goes on – and we urge them not to host animal acts.”

Studies of the use of wild animals in traveling circuses show that circuses cannot meet the physical or behavioral needs of wild animals. Animals are confined in small spaces, deprived of physical and social needs, spending excessive amounts of time shut in transporters. These animals are often seen behaving abnormally – rocking, swaying, and pacing, all indicating that they are in distress and not coping with their environment. ADI’s video evidence has shown how these animals are forced to perform tricks through physical violence, fear, and intimidation.

Florida veterinarian Betsy R. Coville MS, DVM said: “The circus is coming to town – bringing with them USDA convictions of animal abuse. The Garden Bros, has been cited for cruelty to animals, failing to provide: veterinary care, nutritional needs, sanitary conditions and unsafe transport. The knowledge and compassion we have gained regarding animals no longer allows us to feel comfortable knowing the “tricks” are performed from fear and violence.

“Wild animals are not meant to travel confined, deprived of physical and social needs and days trapped in trailers. Watching the suffering of animals is not entertaining OR educational – it is animal abuse clear and simple. The circus sneaks in and out of towns, keeping a low profile, gone are the welcoming crowds, replaced by the rejection of protesters. For the same reasons Ringling ended its circus, it is time for all animal circuses to be in our past.”

When the circus is off the road, the animals are no better off.  ADI investigations have revealed that, even when circuses are not touring, animal trailers are generally parked with the animals inside and elephants, camels, and zebras warehoused in barns.

 With an opportunity to help stop circus suffering in the state, ADI is calling on Floridian venues to adopt a ‘no wild/exotic animals’ policy for their events.

  In the United States, 102 jurisdictions in 33 states have taken action to restrict wild/exotic animals from traveling circuses; Hawaii, New Jersey, and California have statewide bans. The Traveling Exotic Animal and Public Safety Protection Act (TEAPSPA; HR2863/S2121), a federal bill to ban wild/exotic animal acts nationwide, is gaining support in the House and Senate.  


A California company stands accused of manufacturing and distributing adulterated animal drugs, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ).

A civil complaint filed against Med-Pharmex, Inc. (MPX) alleges multiple inspections by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) showed a failure to conform to current good manufacturing practices (cGMPs), including maintaining sterility of its animal drugs, DOJ reports.

According to the complaint, the FDA issued a warning letter to MPX in 2017 regarding what is says were numerous deficiencies at the company, including failure to clean and disinfect areas used to manufacture sterile medications.

The complaint further alleges MPX did not adequately investigate reports regarding the death or illness of animals that had been administered its drugs.

“Ensuring FDA-approved animal medications are safe, effective, and manufactured using current good manufacturing practices is an important part of FDA’s mission to protect human and animal health,” says the agency’s chief counsel, Stacy Amin.

At the request of FDA, DOJ filed the complaint on Oct. 27 through the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. The agency seeks “permanent injunction” against MPX and employees Gerald P. Macedo and Vinay M. Rangnekar to prevent the manufacturing and distribution of animal drugs under current alleged conditions.

“Americans depend on animal drugs being safe and effective,” says Jeffrey Bossert Clark, the acting assistant attorney general of DOJ’s civil division. “We will continue working with FDA to ensure all drug manufacturers abide by public safety requirements.”

The case is being handled by Rachel E. Baron, the trial attorney of the civil division’s consumer protection branch, with the assistance of James C. Fraser, associate chief counsel of FDA’s office of the chief counsel.


For many veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), waiting years for a service dog is not uncommon. To combat the extensive waiting lists, Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine scientist and associate professor of human-animal interaction, Maggie O’Haire, is unveiling quantifiable data for these veterans as they wait for their animal companion.

With an increasingly growing waitlist for service dogs, O’Haire made it her mission to show the physiological and behavioral benefits service dogs have on veterans with PTSD, according to a Purdue press release.

“We continue to hear that service dogs are saving veterans’ lives,” she says, in the release. “Our research is intended to measure this. We see that the dogs are helping, but now the challenge is answering how exactly service dogs are helping and what to expect once you have one of them in your household. Service dogs for PTSD are not a cure, but for some veterans, they can offer benefits that make PTSD symptoms easier to manage.”

O’Haire led a preliminary study from 2015 to 2016 of 141 veterans— 76 of them had service dogs. With the help of K9s For Warriors ­­– a nonprofit organization providing veterans with service dogs – O’Haire was able to successfully conclude her research, revealing that overall symptoms of PTSD were lower among veterans with service dogs.

Furthermore, the study results shed light on the scientific evidence of mental health benefits of service dogs for veterans with PTSD. “The findings during that study also went beyond behavioral benefits and assessed cortisol levels because it is a biomarker in the stress response system,” says O’Haire.

Cortisol levels in veterans with service dogs was higher in the morning compared with those without them or on the waiting list. Healthy adults without PTSD exhibit rising cortisol levels in the morning as a natural occurrence after waking up. O’Haire’s research also revealed that veterans with service dogs experienced less anger, anxiety, and better sleep.

O’Haire recently replicated her initial service dog research using a larger sample study, and found that service dogs were associated with decreased PTSD symptom severity. She also conducted a trial to find out how couples are affected by veterans’ service dogs. Study findings showed that service dogs may improve resilience and relationship satisfaction.

To learn more about O’Haire’s most recent research, go to


The veterinary community may soon see an improvement in the respiratory health of shelter animals, new research suggests.

A recent field trial conducted at Arizona Humane Society in Phoenix, Ariz., explored the potential impact of using ultraviolet (UV) germicidal irradiation air disinfection systems in animal shelters.

The study, which has been published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA), demonstrated an 87.1 percent decrease in upper respiratory infections (URIs) in cats living in the Arizona facility’s kitten nursery after these systems were installed. This suggests a need to address the airborne transmission of viral and bacterial pathogens when establishing disinfection protocols in multi-animal facilities.

“Our findings suggest the airborne component of feline respiratory infections may be more significant than previously recognized,” says the study’s lead author, Robyn A. Jaynes, DVM. “Further, even in well-ventilated spaces already outfitted with air filters, more may need to be done to clean the air, which is why, given these results, animal facilities may want to consider UV air disinfection as an addition to their existing infection control protocols.”


Revered for their refulgent fall foliage and ease of cultivation, red maples stand out in both urban and pastoral settings, both in splendor and bounty. However beautiful in the fall they may be, when leaves drop from the tree and begin to dry, they become deadly to horses, no matter the season. Though usually referred to as red maples (Acer rubrum), these trees are known also as scarlet maples, swamp maples, soft maples, and Caroline maples. They thrive throughout the entire eastern half of the United States and Canada in a variety of habitats, including both wet and dry soil.

Problems arise in horses one to two days after eating wilted red maple leaves. In spring and summer, this usually occurs when horses have access to felled limbs left in grazing areas after storms or pruning. Parenthetically, fresh, green leaves, like those plucked from a healthy tree, pose little to no risk to horses, though consumption should not be encouraged. Once wilted, however, leaves remain poisonous for as long as 30 days. Ingestion of 1.5 lb (0.75 kg) of leaves is toxic, and ingestion of 3 lb (1.5 kg) of leaves can be fatal in mature horses, though less may cause problems in smaller equids. The bark of red maple trees is also toxic.

While the identity of the specific toxin in red maple leaves is unknown, the toxin causes oxidative damage to red blood cells that results in serious illness or death. Clinical signs include lethargy, pale mucous membranes, elevated respiratory and heart rates, and red-brown discoloration of the urine. A diagnosis of red maple poisoning can generally be made when horses develop an acute hemolytic anemia with Heinz body formation, and when environmental evidence reveals they had access to the leaves. Heinz bodies are indicative of oxidative injury to red blood cells. Death occurs due to profound oxygen deprivation of tissues secondary to severe anemia and methemoglobinemia, a blood disorder in which too little blood is ferried to cells.

Because there is no reliable treatment for horses with red maple poisoning, prognosis is generally guarded to poor. Supportive care comes in the form of intravenous fluid therapy and blood transfusions. Horses with the best care sometimes develop complications during recovery, including acute renal failure, laminitis, and colic.

Prevention of red maple poisoning is best accomplished by astute management. Here’s a place to start:

  • Remove all red maples that horses can contact. Even horses with access to abundant forage will often gnaw on tree bark, exhibiting natural investigative behavior. If sufficient tree bark is actually consumed, it can be as fatal as wilted leaves.
  • Carefully manage trees that stand outside of paddocks or pastures but are situated nearby. Promptly remove all fallen limbs and branches from turnout areas, taking care to rake up and discard leaves that drop off the limbs during cleanup.
  • Provide horses with plenty of good-quality, palatable forage so they are less likely to consume red maple leaves. It is important to offer sufficient forage when pastures are not productive, such as during winter or drought. Horses on forage-only diets should be fed a well-formulated ration balancer or vitamin and mineral supplement.
  • Any leaves in hay should be carefully inspected. If red maple leaves are discovered, the hay should be discarded or given to other livestock, which seem to be unaffected by the toxin in wilted red maple leaves.      ---------------------------------------------
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The San Diego Zoo Global (SDZG) announced last month the birth of the world’s first cloned Przewalski’s horse at Timber Creek Veterinary Hospital in Texas. The foal, born to a surrogate mother, was cloned from a male Przewalski’s horse whose DNA was cryopreserved 40 years ago at the SDZG Frozen Zoo, according to an SDZG release. SDZG and ViaGen Equine (a division of ViaGen Pets and Equine) collaborated on the effort with assistance from Revive & Restore, a wildlife conservation organization that promotes the use of biotechnology in conservation practices.

“This birth expands the opportunity for [the">Times Colonist newspaper that this is more of a wildlife management idea. 

“Learning about individual animals and their life stories can really have positive effects on public engagement and really help with conservation efforts,” Melanie Clapham said.

Besides, it’s uncertain whether the trail runner who bounced off a grizzly at Glacier National Park in July would want to know the history of the bear anyway.

She might just be happy that the bear didn’t rip her head off. 

Same goes for the Montana man in August who snuck up on a grizzly bear in an abandoned shed and nearly did have his head ripped off. 

He probably is not interested in knowing where the grizzly was born.

But for wildlife management workers, it could be helpful.

The authors of the study say instead of capturing and tagging bears, “camera traps” would be used.

“We could capture many more individuals with this method and track them, observe their movements in relation to food, and do much better population assessments,” Clapham said.

If this sounds way too far-fetched, it’s not.  It’s already in use with chimpanzees and gorillas (for what, we have no idea).

Orca whales may be next (of course).

“It would help a lot of people if we could easily say whether a whale is transient or a resident as the rules for watching them are different, but the average person can’t tell the difference,” a Canadian biologist said.


Walmart announced an expansion of its pet offerings with Walmart Pet Care.

The retailer “is leveraging industry-leading providers to bring customers trusted pet care programs in one place, including Walmart Pet Insurance and convenient pet care services like dog-walking and pet sitting,” according to a press release.

“We’re on a mission to help families live better — and that goes for pets, too,” said Melody Richard, merchandising vice president, Pets. “Especially as adoption rates soar as a result of the pandemic and more people become pet owners, this was the perfect time to launch expanded services in Walmart Pet Care for our customers. As the most shopped omnichannel retailer for pet products, our new pet care services and support offer our customers trusted, convenient services that provide the exceptional care their pets deserve.”

Walmart is offering Walmart Pet Insurance, which it describes as “an accessible insurance solution in the same place customers buy their pet food and fill their pet’s prescriptions.” In collaboration with Petplan, Walmart customers can save up to 10% on their policies and can sign up for an insurance plan that provides coverage for veterinary fees due to accident, injury or illness, including chronic and hereditary conditions, according to the release. Walmart Pet Insurance also makes it easy for customers to file claims and schedule appointments through Petplan’s digital service. Each policy also includes access to $1,000 worth of online virtual vet appointments at no additional charge.

Walmart Pet Care will also include pet sitting and dog walking services through Rover, a website and app providing access to neighborhood care. Through Rover, pet parents can quickly and easily book pet sitters and dog walkers from over 300,000 providers in their communities across the country. As a perk for pet owners who book services through Rover, Walmart customers will receive a $20 Walmart gift card for their first completed service and another $20 Walmart gift card if they complete their fifth service within six months, according to the release.

Walmart Pet Care includes Walmart PetRx, in-store and online pharmacy services introduced by Walmart in 2019.

Walmart Pet Care “is just one of the recent investments the retailer has made in the Pet category, joining its growing assortment of over 1,800 premium and specialty pet products and the expansion of in-store vet clinics that offer Walmart customers quality pet care, conveniently where they shop,” according to the release.

For more information on Walmart Pet Care, visit


Drivers rounding a prominent traffic circle in the Turkmen capital of Ashgabat can now take in a rather unusual sight: a gilded statue of a dog standing 19 feet tall.

The towering effigy represents a breed favored by Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov: the alabai, also known as the Central Asian shepherd. Berdymukhamedov unveiled the statue in an extravagant ceremony this week, revealing a dog perched atop a column embedded with screens playing footage of another dog frolicking through grass.

Video from the grand presentation shows Berdymukhamedov waving to onlookers as he walks down a street lined with people holding Turkmen flags. A band plays live music. A group of women dance. And a small boy appears to lift a real-life alabai puppy into the air.

Berdymukhamedov published a book about the alabai breed last year and once gave an alabai puppy to Russian President Vladimir Putin as a gift. Footage from that encounter shows Berdymukhamedov grinning as he lifts the stoic puppy — which he described as a belated birthday gift for the Russian leader — by the scruff of its neck.

Berdymukhamedov is also an avid equestrian. Turkmenistan celebrates an annual holiday to honor horses. This year, Berdymukhamedov announced he had spent $680 million over an undisclosed period to improve horse and breeder conditions in the nation, Radio Free Europe reported.

In 2015, he unveiled an even more massive gilded statue — one that was supposed to represent him riding a horse. It is perched atop a huge pile of marble, making the entire structure nearly 70 feet tall.

That monument was first put on display around two years after Berdymukhamedov dramatically fell off a horse at a prominent race — and still won first place. Footage of the awkward moment was censored inside Turkmenistan but was viewed widely outside the country.

Berdymukhamedov was named president of Turkmenistan in 2006 and has since solidified his reputation as an ardent animal lover. He was preceded by Saparmurat Niyazov, who led the country for 21 years until his death in 2006. Two years later, Berdymukhamedov announced he would reverse Niyazov’s decision to rename all the calendar months with references to himself, his family and a book he had written.

Freedom House describes the Central Asian nation as a “consolidated authoritarian regime” and reported that the government clamped down further in 2019.

Berdymukhamedov “showcased his skills as an athlete, horse connoisseur, writer, singer, and so forth,” the group says in its country profile. “However, he failed to accept responsibility for the country’s plummeting economy and instead identified convenient scapegoats among the country’s public officials.”


We were all so excited for the 2020 Masters to tee off early on Thursday after we've waited months for the delayed major to be played.

Then, we had to wait longer because a lot of rain was coming down in Augusta.

But fear not! There was something golf-related to help you pass the time. From the same site that has brought you a monstrous alligator on a golf course, another giant gator on a South Carolina golf course and some gators battling on a golf course comes …

A giant gator just casually taking a walk on a golf course in Naples, Florida.


The United States is one of the world’s largest destinations for illegal wildlife products. Each year, traffickers smuggle in millions of dollars’ worth of items from poached animals, including shark fins, pangolin scales, ivory trinkets, animal trophies, and live animals like monkeys, parrots and snakes for the pet trade and entertainment.

This week, in a move designed to strike a body blow to our nation’s participation in this multibillion-dollar global trade that is driving thousands of animal species to extinction around the world, the State Department announced it will deny visas to known wildlife traffickers trying to enter the United States.

The new policy treats wildlife trafficking as the extremely serious crime it is, by putting wildlife traffickers in the same league as money launderers, arms runners, and drug and human traffickers. It closes a troubling loophole in current visa practices and includes protections to prevent any discrimination based on a person’s religion, nationality and other non-relevant factors.

We commend the State Department for making this welcome, and long-overdue, policy change. Wildlife trafficking is a global, multi-billion-dollar industry with deep links to other criminal syndicates, including drug smuggling and terrorism, and it has depleted the world’s wildlife at an unsustainable rate.

An estimated 20,000 African elephants are poached each year to meet the demand for ivory trinkets and ornaments. Rhinos continue to be killed for their horns, which are used in bogus tonics and aphrodisiacs and carved ornamental cups. More than one million pangolins have been trafficked in the last decade for their scales used in traditional medicine. The list goes on, including some of the world’s most beloved animals like giraffes, tigers and sea turtles.

There is a heavy cost to human life as well: it is estimated that each year, poachers and traffickers kill an average of 100 park rangers who are protecting wildlife on the front lines around the world. The global trade in wildlife has also been implicated in disease outbreaks in humans, including the current coronavirus pandemic.

Both the Obama and Trump administrations worked to elevate wildlife trafficking as a serious crime through executive orders and other policy initiatives. In 2016, Congress took steps to fight the illegal wildlife trade by passing a law designed to end poaching and wildlife trafficking. That law has already been effective in helping capture wildlife traffickers and disrupting the trade, and the new State Department policy announced this week came on the heels of recommendations made by a task force set up under this law.

We are calling on Congress to permanently reauthorize this law by passing the Eliminate, Neutralize, and Disrupt (END) Wildlife Trafficking Reauthorization and Improvements Act of 2020, introduced by Sens. Chris Coons, D-Del., and Rob Portman, R-Ohio. The State Department policy sets us on a promising path toward ending this nefarious trade on our soil, and now is the time to ensure that we use every tool at our disposal to crack down on those who exploit the world’s most iconic animals. --------------------------------------

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