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Talkin' Pets News

January 9, 2021

Host - Jon Patch

Co-Host - Dr. Suzanne Topor - Livingston Animal & Avian Hospital

Producer - Matt Matera

Network Producer - Darian Sims

Social Media - Bob Page

Special Guests - Bas Huijbregts African Species Director, Wildlife Conservation Program will join Jon and Talkin' Pets 1/09/21 at 530pm ET to discuss the extinction of the White Rhino

DR. INGRID TAYLOR, veterinarian and research associate for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals will join Jon and Talkin' Pets on 1/09/21 at 621pm ET to discuss animal sentience and the end using animals in experiments


American Airlines says it will no longer allow emotional support animals starting next week.

The change matches a new Department of Transportation regulation that says airlines aren't required to treat emotional support animals as service animals.

The DOT defines a service animal as a dog "trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a qualified individual with a disability."

American says on January 11, when the new DOT rule comes into effect, it "will no longer authorize new travel for animals that do not meet that definition, such as emotional support animals."

Emotional support animals are prescribed by mental health professionals to provide comfort and support, but unlike service animals, they are not required to have training in specific tasks.

Animals that previously traveled as emotional support animals may travel as carry-on or cargo pets, the airline said.

"We're confident this approach will enable us to better serve our customers, particularly those with disabilities who travel with service animals, and better protect our team members at the airport and on the aircraft," said Jessica Tyler, president of cargo and vice president of airport excellence for American, in a news release.

Concern that passengers were fraudulently passing off their pets as the more loosely defined and fee-free category of emotional support animals is part of what prompted airlines to ask the DOT to review this issue.

The DOT rule was also prompted by an increase in service animal complaints from passengers with disabilities, misbehavior by emotional support animals, a lack of clarity around the definition of "service animal" and disruptions caused by "requests to transport unusual species of animals onboard aircraft," according to the DOT.

Pigs and peacocks are among the unexpected animals that have previously flown as emotional support animals.

American says existing bookings for emotional support animals will be honored only through the rest of the month.

Starting February 1, American will require passengers traveling with service animals to electronically submit a DOT form in advance of a flight outlining the dog's behavior, training and health. Authorization is valid for one year or until the expiration of the animal's vaccinations.

American isn't the first airline to update its policies to align with the DOT. On December 29, Alaska Airlines announced that it will no longer accept emotional support animals.


At least 28 dogs have died and another eight have become sick after eating dog food that contained high levels of a toxin called aflatoxin, the Food and Drug Administration said, as some pet foods were recalled Wednesday.

The FDA is investigating these reports, and alerting pet owners and veterinarians that certain Sportmix brand pet foods "may contain potentially fatal levels of aflatoxin."

Aflatoxin is produced by the mold Aspergillus flavus, the FDA says. This mold can grow on corn and other grains used in pet foods. At high levels, it can be deadly for pets.

Sportmix Energy Plus dog food is one of the products being recalled by Midwestern Pet Foods.FDA

On Wednesday, Midwest Pet Food Inc., which manufactures the Sportmix brand of pet foods, announced a recall of nine lots of the pet food. A list of recalled products can be found on the FDA's website,

The FDA and the Missouri Department of Agriculture are working with the manufacturer to determine whether additional products contain high levels of aflatoxin.

"Although this pet food recall is still unfolding, we are sharing the facts we have so far because the levels of aflatoxin found in the recalled pet food are potentially fatal," Dr. Amber McCoig, deputy director of the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine Division of Compliance, said in a statement.

People should stop feeding their pets these foods and contact their veterinarians.

Symptoms of aflatoxin poisoning in pets can include sluggishness, loss of appetite, vomiting, jaundice (a sign of liver damage) and/or diarrhea, the FDA says. If your pet has symptoms, contact your vet immediately.

Pets are particularly susceptible to aflatoxin poisoning because they generally eat the same food every day, the FDA says. If the food contains aflatoxin, the toxin can accumulate in their bodies over time.

Pet owners, however, are not thought to be at risk from handling the pet foods.


Thirty-one animal and fish species have been declared extinct and more than 300 species of sharks and rays are now threatened with extinction, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Among those at risk are four hammerhead shark species, four species of angel shark and the giant manta ray. The organization’s report — its first comprehensive global update since 2014 — paints a grim picture of the health of the world’s oceans and their inhabitants, and highlights, in particular, the threat of overfishing.

“These findings are sadly predictable,” Andy Cornish, head of the World Wide Fund for Nature’s shark and ray conservation program, said in a statement. “Twenty years have passed since the international community recognized the threat of overfishing through the International Plan of Action for Sharks. Yet, obviously, not nearly enough has been done to halt the overfishing that is pushing these animals to the brink of extinction.”

The International Union for Conservation of Nature regularly documents the state of the world’s animal and plant species and provides the most authoritative reports on those that are threatened, critically endangered or extinct.

In the group’s update, a total of 316 species of sharks, rays, skates and chimaeras are now classified as “threatened,” or at risk of extinction in the wild. All of the world’s freshwater dolphin species are also now threatened with extinction, according to the assessment.

The lost shark, Carcharhinus obsoletus, a native of the South China Sea and last recorded in 1934, may already be extinct as a result of overfishing in one of the most heavily trafficked marine regions on the planet, the report found.

Cornish said the update should trigger “alarm bells” and motivate governments to take action to reduce overfishing of sharks and rays.

“Failure to do so will inevitably result in a wave of extinctions happening on our watch,” he said in the statement. “We must seize the moment to stop that from happening.”

The International Union for Conservation of Nature also found some glimmers of hope. The European bison, the largest land mammal in Europe, is showing signs of recovery, with its population in the wild growing from 1,800 in 2003 to more than 6,200 in 2019. The species was reintroduced to the wild in the 1950s and has been the focus of long-term conservation campaigns in the decades since. There are now 47 free-ranging European bison herds, according to the organization, with the largest numbers found in Poland, Belarus and Russia.

Twenty-five other species recoveries, including a type of tree frog native to Mexico, were documented by the group. These successes “provide living proof that the world can set, and meet, ambitious biodiversity targets,” Jane Smart, global director of its biodiversity conservation group, said in a statement.


The world’s largest iceberg is closing in on a South Atlantic island and has the potential to cause major damage to wildlife if it becomes grounded near the island.

The “A68a” iceberg — which NASA estimates to be roughly the size of Delaware — broke off from the Larsen C ice shelf in Antarctica in 2017. Currently, it is making its way through the Southern Antarctic Front towards the island of South Georgia, according to the Government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.

The islands, roughly the size of Rhode Island, are a U.K. overseas territory about 800 miles southeast of the Falkland Islands. While there are scientific research bases located on the islands, it is an inhospitable environment and there are no permanent residents.

Government officials have been tracking the 4,200-square-km iceberg closely with the help of the British Royal Air Force, who conducted a reconnaissance mission over the iceberg capturing photos and videos of the large mass.

“The sheer size of the A68a iceberg means it is impossible to capture its entirety in one single shot,” British officials said in a statement.

As of now, the iceberg is just 150 kilometers from the territory, according to BBC News. If it does collide with South Georgia Island scientists warn that it could threaten the wildlife ecosystem and animals' access to food. A large number of whales, seals, and penguins feed off the coast of South Georgia.

“Ecosystems can and will bounce back of course, but there’s a danger here that if this iceberg gets stuck, it could be there for 10 years. An iceberg has massive implications for where land-based predators might be able to forage,” said Professor Geraint Tarling, an ecologist at the British Antarctic Survey.

Based on water currents and weather conditions the iceberg is poised to strike the territory this month, according to the Royal Navy.


A goldfish weighing nine pounds came under the spotlight Monday after being discovered during a fish population survey at a lake in South Carolina, park officials said.

Ty Houck, an official with Greenville County Parks, said the “massive” fish was found swimming on Nov. 16 in a 12-acre body of water in Oak Grove Lake Park in the county of Greenville.

Greenville Rec, which oversees the park where the fish was discovered, posted a photo of the golden spectacle on Facebook on Monday.

“Anyone missing their goldfish? This 9lb goldfish was found in Oak Grove Lake during some recent testing at our lakes,” the organization wrote in a post. “The work included electrofishing, a method of measuring the health of the fish population.”

Wildlife officials were conducting a fish population survey analogous to a “fish sticking its finger, or fin, in a socket,” Houck said. “A weak electrical current is run through the water and stuns them for a few minutes.”

Houck said he believes the giant goldfish is the only one swimming in the lake because park officials did not encounter any others in their survey.

He added that while the goldfish is non-native to South Carolina, it was not considered an invasive species to the lake.

The average lifespan of goldfish is between six to seven years, while those found in the wild can live up to 30 years, according to the United States Geological Survey.

According to the agency, goldfish can grow upwards of six pounds — far below the weight of the nine pound pond fish found in South Carolina.

As for the goldfish's current whereabouts, Houck said he placed the fish back in the water after snapping a photo of the large creature.

“At the advice of professionals we decided to leave the bachelor, or bachelorette, back where we found it,” Houck said. “Obviously, they’re really happy here.”


Four lions at Barcelona Zoo have tested positive for Covid-19, veterinary authorities said on Tuesday, in only the second known case in which large felines have contracted coronavirus.

Three females named Zala, Nima and Run Run and Kiumbe, a male, were tested after keepers noticed they showed slight symptoms of coronavirus.

Two staff at the zoo also tested positive for coronavirus, the authorities said, after the outbreak was first detected last month.

Keepers carried out PCR tests on the lions in the same way as humans are tested as the animals are accustomed to contact with the zoo staff.

The Veterinary Service of Barcelona contacted colleagues at the Bronx Zoo in New York, where four tigers and three lions tested positive for Covid-19 in April. It is the only other zoo where large felines are known to have contracted coronavirus. All recovered.

"The Zoo has contacted and collaborated with international experts such as the Veterinary Service of the Bronx Zoo, the only one that has documented cases of Sars-CoV-2 infection in felines," the Barcelona zoo said in a statement.

"The lions were given veterinary care for their mild clinical condition - similar to a very mild flu condition - through anti-inflammatory treatment and close monitoring, and the animals responded well."

The four-year-old male and the females, who are all 16 years old, have had no contact with other animals at the zoo, which is open to visitors.


The deaths of countless puppies might soon be prevented, thanks to a newly announced agreement.

Elanco Animal Health is set to acquire the global rights to Kindred Biosciences’ proprietary KIND-030, a monoclonal antibody being developed for the treatment and prevention of canine parvovirus (CPV). The global license includes an upfront payment of $500,000, as well as additional milestone payments based on successful completion of development targets, including efficacy, formulation, and manufacturing, Elanco says.

“[This] announcement brings us a step closer to saving hundreds of thousands of dogs exposed to this deadly disease each year,” says KindredBio’s CEO, Richard Chin, MD. “We believe KIND-030 can transform the way parvovirus infections are treated and prevented.”

Banfield Pet Hospital estimates there are approximately a quarter of a million parvo cases in the U.S. annually, according to Elanco. Additionally, the company says, BluePearl noted a 70 percent increase in cases at its hospitals amidst the COVID pandemic.

At this time, there are no approved treatments for CPV, Elanco says.

“With parvovirus on the rise, it’s more important than ever to bring a new treatment option to veterinarians for this devastating and deadly disease,” says Aaron Schacht, Elanco’s executive vice president of innovation, regulatory, and business development. “We’re excited to establish this important partnership with KindredBio to develop and commercialize this novel monoclonal antibody.”

KIND-030 is currently being pursued for two indications in dogs: prophylactic therapy to prevent clinical signs of CPV infection and treatment of established parvovirus infection. Completion of an upcoming pivotal efficacy study for the therapeutic indication is expected in the first quarter of 2021, Elanco says.

A study conducted by Kindred Biosciences earlier this year demonstrated 100 percent efficacy in the prevention of CPV, as well as a mortality benefit in the treated group.


Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC), and canine distemper virus (CDV) may soon see new treatments, thanks to Morris Animal Foundation.

The group is set to fund several studies the coming year aimed at improving the health and welfare of dogs, cats, and other animals.

The OSCC treatment will be tackled by the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands. Researchers have developed a nanobody-targeted photodynamic therapy, which uses tiny nanoparticles as a drug delivery system to target the aggressive feline cancer. Once the particles are in place with the tumor, they are activated with specialized light, Morris Animal Foundation says. The team hopes the minimally invasive treatment will improve quality of life and overall survival rates in cats diagnosed OSCC. Currently, the average survival time after diagnosis is approximately three months.

Meanwhile, researchers from the University of Florida (UF) will be testing CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) technology as a treatment for DCM. Regarded as a “revolutionary tool” in gene therapy, CRISPR is able to correct a mutation in the genetic code to treat specific diseases, Morris Animal Foundation says. Researchers will be exploring the feasibility of using it to correct mutations in heart cells isolated from Doberman pinschers with DCM. The condition is the third most common type of heart disease in dogs, and Dobermans are a high-risk breed for developing it. If successful, findings will inform future studies toward the development of gene therapies for dogs with DCM and other heart diseases.

Other funded studies scheduled for 2021 will look at:

  • extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT) to treat canine lower back pain;
  • vaccination strategies for canine distemper virus (CDV) in endangered African wild dogs; and
  • Cytauxzoon felis, an emerging tick-borne parasite in cats.


A rise in body temperature is a natural way for horses to fight off disease and is often the first sign of a health problem. As a treatment tool, veterinarians track fever to assess treatment efficiency. In both private barns and hospital settings, however, recording of rectal temperatures is oftentimes unreliable. Because of this, researchers have found a way to accurately and consistently record body temperature that hinges on modern technology.

To gather body temperature, researchers used a disposable sensor, affixed to the underside of the tail, to read body temperature data and send it via Bluetooth to a tablet computer. This is a technique similar to axillary, or armpit, temperature measurement in humans. With the concept in place, researchers pinpointed a group of horses in which fever was expected, in this case immediately following routine vaccination for influenza. Nineteen Thoroughbreds were fitted with body-temperature sensors immediately before vaccination, and the sensors were kept in place for 32 hours. In addition, rectal temperatures were taken prior to vaccination, eight hours after vaccination, and 22 hours after vaccination. Researchers compared the two sets of values.

The sensor stayed in place on 16 of the horses, so temperature data from those horses were used in the final statistical analysis. Nine horses developed fever 10-21 hours following influenza vaccination. While the sensors recorded lower temperatures than rectal temperature measurements, sensors detected all cases of fever. Of importance, the sensors detected fever overnight, when rectal temperatures were not taken.

In sum, the researchers concluded that “the sensors represent a reliable alternative method of monitoring the temperature of horses. The technique of continuous remote measurement significantly improves the current best practices advised for manual rectal-monitoring intervals commonly used in the industry.”   Fast facts about your horse’s body temperature:

  • A body temperature at or below 101.5° F (38.6° C) in mature horses is considered normal. Foals, on the other hand, generally have a slightly higher normal temperature.
  • Temperature readings above 101.5° F (38.6° C) may be problematic. While exercise can elevate a horse’s temperature, it should be back to normal within 90 minutes of finishing exercise. If the temperature remains above that threshold, the horse could be developing a health problem.
  • Horses with anhidrosis may have trouble cooling and maintain a higher body temperature following exercise than other horses.
  • All horses should be comfortable having their temperature taken. Before making a farm call, most veterinarians will ask for the horse’s temperature as a matter of course when discussing a problem such as colic or laminitis.

Fever frequently accompanies inappetence in horses. “When faced with a horse that refuses to eat, consider taking its temperature to be sure something more sinister than mere fussiness isn’t brewing,” advised Catherine Whitehouse, M.S., a nutrition advisor for Kentucky Equine Research. “A horse may back off its feed for many reasons, of course, but if the horse normally eats with gusto and suddenly refuses its feed, then it’s time to look more closely for a cause. Getting a body temperature is a quick way to determine if the horse is fighting off an internal problem.”   ---------------------------------------


On Dec. 20, an attending veterinarian in Rocky View County, Alberta, Canada, confirmed a 5-year-old grade gelding with equine influenza (EI). The gelding began showing signs, which consisted of fever, coughing, and nasal discharge, on Dec. 20. His vaccination status is unknown. He is reported as recovering and is under voluntary quarantine.

Four additional horses at the affected horse’s boarding facility were exposed.

Equine influenza is a highly contagious respiratory disease that infects horses, ponies, and other equids, such as donkeys, mules, and zebras. The virus that causes it is spread via saliva and respiratory secretions from infected horses. Horses are commonly exposed via horse-to-horse contact; aerosol transmission from coughing and sneezing; and contact with human’s contaminated hands, shoes, or clothes or contaminated tack, buckets, or other equipment.

Clinical signs of equine influenza infection can include a high fever (up to 106°F); a dry, hacking cough; depression; weakness; anorexia; serous (watery) nasal discharge; and slightly enlarged lymph nodes. Consider monitoring your horse’s health at shows by taking his temperature daily, which can help you pick up on signs of infection early and take appropriate measures to reduce disease spread.

Vaccination is an important and inexpensive way to protect your horse. US Equestrian requires proof that horses have had an equine influenza vaccination within the six months prior to attending organization-sanctioned competitions or events. Your veterinarian can help you determine what other vaccines your horse might benefit from.

In addition to vaccinating, following strict biosecurity protocols can help reduce your horse’s chance of infection and disease. Such measures include quarantining new equine arrivals at barns, disinfecting buckets and equipment, and preventing nose-to-nose contact between horses.


Revered historical figures, a celebrated author, and a popular chicken curry dish were among those immortalized by pet owners in 2020.

Nationwide Pet Insurance has published its rankings of 2020’s most imaginative and unique dog and cat monikers. Names were selected from the company’s database and voted on by its clients.

A hairless Chinese Crested dubbed “Scarlett No Haira” took the top prize in the canine category, while first place in the feline category went to “Edgar Allan Paw.”

“While we all love a descriptive name like “Goldie,” or those that captured the zeitgeist like “Rey” or “Bella,” pet parents who take a unique approach to pet naming are also very much appreciated at Nationwide,” says the company’s chief veterinary officer, Jules Benson, BVSc, MRCVS. “Whether the moniker is meant to be funny, ironic, or just plain nonsensical, giving an intentionally uncommon name shows a special thoughtfulness about a pet’s place within a family.”

The 10 dog names to take the top spots were:

  • Scarlett No Haira
  • Anakin Tailwagger
  • Andre Igoudogla
  • Joan of Bark
  • Madame Squishy Van Wrinkleface
  • Stella Barktois
  • Sugar Bubbles Fancypants
  • The Other Dude
  • Trillium Points Jacobs Ladder
  • Zoe Max Berger Sacks

Meanwhile, the top cat names were:

  • Edgar Allan Paw
  • Admiral Turbo Meowington
  • Captain Sushi
  • Copurrrnicus
  • Ella Whiskers Oreo Hurst
  • Fernsbane the Inquisitive
  • Macaroni Bob
  • Mingus Pookiebutts
  • Neville Furbottom
  • Tika Meowsala


The American Kennel Club, the world’s largest purebred dog registry, announced that the Biewer Terrier has received full recognition and is eligible to compete in the Toy Group. This addition brings the number of AKC-recognized breeds to 197.

“We’re thrilled to have the Biewer Terrier join the registry,” said Gina DiNardo, AKC executive secretary. “This wonderful little dog makes a great companion for a variety of people, and we’re excited to introduce dog lovers to another fantastic breed that may be a perfect match for their family. As always, we encourage people to do their research to find the right breed for their lifestyle.”

Joining the Toy Group, the Biewer Terrier is a happy-go-lucky dog with a childlike, whimsical attitude. Their purpose is to love and be loved, making them excellent companions. These dogs are loyal and a friend to all they meet. Their long coat requires daily brushing to keep it free of mats. Biewer Terriers are easy going and don’t need a great deal of exercise. Daily walks and playtime will give them the activity they need.

AKC Recognition offers the breed the opportunity to compete at all levels of AKC-sanctioned events.  Recognition does not necessarily mean that the breed is a newly created breed. Many of the breeds that gain full AKC-recognition have existed for many years, and some are ancient. To become an AKC-recognized breed there must be an active following and interest in the breed by owners in the U.S. as well as an established breed club of responsible owners and breeders. There also must be a sufficient population of dogs in the United States geographically distributed throughout the county. Breeds working towards full recognition are recorded in AKC’s Foundation Stock Service (FSS). Additional information on the process can be found at

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