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Talkin' Pets News

February 6, 2021

Host - Jon Patch

Co-Host - Jasmine the Dog Trainer - Tampa Bay, FL

Producer - Kayla Cavanaugh

Network Producer - Darian Sims

Social Media - Bob Page

Special Guests - Dr. Marty Goldstein, author of THE SPIRIT OF ANIMAL HEALING will join Jon & Talkin' Pets 2/6/21 at 5pm ET to discuss & give away his new book

Cindy Lukacevic ~ Owner of Dinovite, Inc. will join Jon and Talkin' Pets 2/6/21 at 630pm ET to discuss Dinovite and the benefits to our pet family


Israeli agri-tech startup Edete Precision Technologies for Agriculture is due to begin commercial scale field trials of its artificial pollination technology in almond orchards covering dozens of hectares in the Australian state of Victoria. This follows the signing of an agreement with one of Australia’s largest almond growers. The field trials are due to commence in August when the almond trees begin to blossom.

Edete successfully completed field trials in almond orchards in Israel using its unique mechanical pollen harvesting and robotic pollinator system resulting in substantially increased yields. The company is also planning to set up an operational array in California, that will serve the state’s 7,400 almond growers.

“Australia is the second largest almond producer in the world and continues to increase acreage under cultivation in a way that makes the country a key proving ground for us,” said Keren Mimran, co-founder and VP for Business Development and Marketing at Edete. According to Mimran, Edete’s system can also pollinate pistachios, apples, cherries, pears, plums, among others. 

The decline of natural pollinators, namely insects and specifically honeybees, has led to an intensified search for a solution to protect crop yields and solve the challenge facing farmers who need to grow more fruits while facing a shortage of beehives for pollinating their orchards. This problem must be solved to meet the food security needs of the world’s growing population. About 75% of the world’s crops rely on insect pollination for yield and quality. Without an alternative pollination solution in the coming years, food security is at risk, food prices are likely to climb sharply, and certain foods might become scarce.

The global almond market is estimated at over $7 billion annually. With growers spending hundreds of millions of dollars annually on beehive services alone, costs are rising. The market structure in Australia is similar to that in California, where less than 10% of the growers account for more than half of the acreage under cultivation.

Edete’s system starts with mechanical collection of flowers, separation of pollen from the anthers and other flower parts and producing pure pollen. The company’s proprietary method enables maintenance of good viability rates of pollen stored for over one year. The best genetically fit pollen is applied on the target trees using the company’s unique robotic pollination system, which uses a combination of technologies to disperse an optimal dosage of pollen on the target flowers for effective pollination. The application units can work during day or night and independent of ambient temperature.


Brace yourself for six more weeks of winter.

That is, if you like to get your weather prediction from a groundhog in Pennsylvania.

Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow Tuesday morning and, as legend holds, that means six additional weeks of heavy coats and mittens.

Phil was awakened at 7:25 a.m. and made his prediction in front of about 16 members of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club at Gobbler's Knob.

"Now, when I turn to see, there's a perfect shadow cast of me. Six more weeks of winter there will be," one of Phil's handlers announced on his behalf at the ceremony.

The celebration, which is over a century old, looked a little different this year. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, there were no crowds in attendance or guests present. It was streamed live.

The first Punxsutawney Groundhog Day celebration was recorded in 1886, according to the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club's website.

Phil is not new to the forecasting game. The ceremony has been going on since 1887.

Scientifically speaking, winter will officially come to an end on the equinox on March 20, regardless of what Phil predicts. But Mother Nature doesn't always follow the timetable.

In fact, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, and South Dakota actually have their snowiest time of year after Groundhog Day.

For the last two years in a row, Phil has not seen his shadow, predicting an early spring.

In the past, Phil has been way more likely to see his shadow than not. He has reportedly seen his shadow 104 times, but not seen his shadow only 20 times. Statistically speaking, Phil has been correct in his forecasts about 50% of the time in the last 10 years.

Phil is not alone in his prognosticating skills. In fact there are many others like him.


Ohio, North Carolina, New York, Georgia, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Illinois, Maryland, West Virginia and Michigan all have their own groundhog to use for predictions.

There's also Unadilla Bill from Nebraska, who boasts one of the highest accuracy ratings in the prediction business.

This means that if you don't like Phil's forecast, chances are one of the other groundhogs will predict something you do like.


Some scientists are urging veterinarians to weigh the potential environmental risks of spot-on flea treatments against their animal-health benefits, citing mounting evidence that the products' active ingredients are contaminating waterways. Concerns about the ecological impact of certain flea controls have been stoked by new British research, which backs findings from recent studies in the United States but is contested by a study funded by spot-on manufacturer Elanco Animal Health. Researchers involved in the British and supportive American studies are calling for tighter regulations that could include making prescriptions by a veterinarian mandatory or even banning the use of certain parasiticides. The British investigation, funded by the United Kingdom government's Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD), identified high concentrations of the insecticidal chemicals fipronil and imidacloprid in thousands of samples taken from 20 English rivers. 

The chemicals are active ingredients in many topical flea treatments, including in popular brands such as Advantage and Frontline Plus, that are applied to the skin of dogs and cats. The products long have been valued by the veterinary community for their effectiveness, ease of use and low toxicity in mammals, including humans. In addition to killing disease-causing fleas and ticks, however, their active ingredients also can kill tiny aquatic insects that are a crucial food source for fish and birds.

The toxicity extends to beneficial terrestrial insects, as well. Imidacloprid is a neonicotinoid, a class of pesticides implicated in harming bees. Fipronil, classified as a phenylpyrazole, is said to be similar to neonicotinoids in toxicity, physicochemical profiles and presence in the environment.  Some researchers hypothesize that the treatments contaminate waterways after being washed down drains when pets are bathed, owners clean their hands or pets swim in rivers. While work is underway to more definitively identify the pollution sources, the researchers believe flea treatments are likely a large contributor, partly because the use of fipronil and imidacloprid for agriculture is either restricted or otherwise uncommon in many places, including the U.K.

The magnitude of the problem is "very big," Dr. Martin Whitehead, a veterinarian at the Chipping Norton Veterinary Hospital in England and contributor to the British study, told the VIN News Service. "We regard this paper as an alarm call to the profession." Another study, published in October and led by Colorado State University aquatic ecologist Janet Miller, found fipronil and related compounds were more toxic to stream communities than previous research had shown.  High levels of fipronil and imidacloprid also have been detected in eight San Francisco Bay water treatment plants, according to research published in 2016. A separate study in 2017, also conducted in California, found that spot-ons washed off pets as long as 28 days after they were applied.

Environmentalists added, and others concurred, that while flea treatments likely are a significant contamination culprit, further research measuring what proportion of chemicals are entering waterways from other possible sources, such as ant poisons, would be valuable information for regulators. "They've got a smoking gun here, but the researchers haven't definitively shown where this contamination is coming from," Richard Wall, a zoologist and veterinary parasitology expert at the University of Bristol, said of the British research. "At the same time, when applying the precautionary principle, I think this issue has got to be taken really seriously." ----------


Hill's Pet Nutrition has agreed to pay $12.5 million to settle a consolidated class action lawsuit brought by owners of animals affected by canned dog foods recalled in 2018 and 2019 for containing toxic amounts of vitamin D.  The preliminary settlement, approved Tuesday by Judge Julie A. Robinson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas, is set for a final approval and fairness hearing on July 27. 

The deal is more than a year in the making, mediated by retired federal Judge Wayne R. Andersen. Lawyers on both sides of the case say $12.5 million (minus legal and administrative expenses, fees and taxes) should be enough to fully reimburse hundreds of claimants for their out-of-pocket expenses, whether for veterinary care or reimbursement for the food. If it's not, claimants will get a fraction of what originally was intended.  The Hill's vitamin D-related recall involved approximately 675,000 cases of canned dog food sold between Sept. 1, 2018, and May 31, 2019. According to court records, the batches of foods were contaminated by excessive levels of vitamin D in a premix made by DSM Nutritional Products Inc., a worldwide vitamin supplier. 

It's unknown how many dogs were sickened, some fatally so, as a result of eating the affected dog food. Signs of vitamin D overdose in dogs range from drooling, constipation and/or vomiting, to seizures. Other common indicators include increased urination and thirst. While vitamin D is an essential nutrient, too much can cause hypercalcemia, or abnormally high calcium levels in the bloodstream. Elevated calcium can lead to bone loss and kidney or bladder stones, in addition to other maladies. Left untreated, the condition can lead to renal failure and death.

The incident — reminiscent in size and breadth to the melamine scandal of 2007, which similarly resulted in a legal payout of more than $12 million — spurred more than 30 class actions on behalf of hundreds of pet owners against the company, most of which were consolidated into a single nationwide case and narrowed to 71 class representatives, all seeking economic relief for injuries including death.  The next steps toward compensating owners require the court's approval of a class action notice, claims administrator and the development of a website where claims can be filed and expenses submitted for reimbursement. The claims process is to be divided into two groups: class members who have dog injury claims and class members who have food purchase claims. 

A concern raised during Tuesday's hearing involved how to mitigate fraud by phony claimants trying to tap the settlement funds. Hannah Chanoine, an attorney for Hill's, said that in her experience, fraud is a "ubiquitous problem in consumer class actions." As an example of how this can happen, Rachel Schwartz, an attorney representing the plaintiffs, speculated that some veterinarians who have been reimbursed directly by Hill's for expenses related to investigatory testing and medical care of patients might also demand "reimbursement from the pet owner for that exact same bill." Schwartz added that she has no reason to believe such a scenario exists, but if it were to arise, she said, the claims administrator is empowered to investigate and evaluate claims. Other attorneys remarked that the issue was not a high priority, and the judge agreed. "Hill's knows who they paid," Robinson said.


Mars Inc. has become the latest pet-food maker to recall products containing dangerous levels of vitamin D, a problem it says is limited to three types of kibble sold in the United Kingdom. Britain’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) last week issued an alert on the products, which are sold under the brand names Pedigree and Chappie and have best-before dates ranging from February 2022 to May 2022. Dry foods identified by 11 different batch codes are affected.

Mars has been contacted by a "small number" of pet owners claiming their dogs have been unwell after eating the food, according to a company statement emailed in response to questions from the VIN News Service. The world’s biggest pet-food company said it is working with the pet owners to determine whether any cases of illness are directly linked to the recalled batches.

"We have conducted a detailed investigation including finished product testing, and our data clearly shows that the raised vitamin D levels only appear in the specific products we are recalling," the company stated. Mars declined to answer several other questions, including the volume of product recalled, when the company became aware of the problem and the identity of its raw-materials supplier. The FSA also did not answer the questions, saying the information was commercially sensitive, and directed VIN News to Mars.

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that helps animals regulate their body’s balance of calcium and phosphorus. However, ingesting too much vitamin D can cause vomiting, diarrhea, drooling and increased urination and thirst. At excessive doses, vitamin D can cause hypercalcemia, or abnormally high blood-calcium levels, leading to bone loss and kidney or bladder stones. Untreated, the condition can cause renal failure and death. Because vitamin D is fat-soluble rather than water-soluble, excess amounts are not rapidly excreted in urine but are stored in fat tissue and the liver.

Mars warned that its recalled products could harm pets if consumed "over several weeks." Mars has not disclosed how its raw material was sullied, or whether there will be any recriminations with its supplier. "We launched the recall after identifying that a raw material supplied to us — an ingredient mix, custom made specifically for these products — was out of specification," the company stated. "We have acted quickly to recall all items that could potentially be impacted and to try and reach as many pet owners as possible with the information."

A tidal wave of class actions filed by pet owners against Hill's accused the company of negligence, fraud, false advertising and being too slow to respond to the problem. Thirty or so of the suits have been consolidated into multidistrict litigation and transferred to the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas. Hill's is based in Kansas.

Attorneys close to the case told VIN News that a preliminary settlement has been reached and will be considered next month by Chief Judge Julie A. Robinson, who is presiding over the litigation. Other pet food makers involved in recalls for excessive vitamin D since 2018 include Sunshine Mills (multiple brands), ELM Pet Foods, ANF, Natural Life Pet Products and Nutrisca, according to a listing of recalls by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 


Refining the cat-handling skills of team members can help get feline patients through the door and on an exam table.

This is according to the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP), which recently published the results of its 2020 Cat Friendly Practice (CFP) survey.

Established by AAFP and the International Society for Feline Medicine (ISFM), the CFP program is a global initiative aimed at improving the health and welfare of cats by reducing stress for the animal, its caregiver, and veterinary teams.

The survey, which polled 364 CFPs, saw a 99 percent satisfaction rate among participating practices. Further, 81 percent reported seeing increased visits from cat patients since implementing the program, which they attribute to improved feline handing, and 70 percent said they had seen a boost in revenue.


  • 99 percent said they would recommend the CFP program to other veterinary professionals;
  • 92 percent reported an improvement in feline knowledge and care among practice staff;
  • 80 percent said the program had positively impacted their team dynamic when handling, treating, and caring for cats; and
  • 76 percent received positive feedback from clients on being a CFP.

Currently, there are more than 1,000 CFP practices in the U.S., Canada, and Latin America.


Antibiotics can be life-saving for many horses, given to either treat a current infection (e.g., joint, soft tissue) or to prevent infection prior to surgery. Those antibiotics, however, can disrupt the normal, healthy population of microorganisms that make up the intestinal microbiome. In fact, antibacterial-induced dysbiosis (microbial imbalance) can result in antibiotic-associated diarrhea (AAD) that can potentially be as, or even more, life-threatening than the original infection.

“Virtually every antibiotic used in equine medicine has the potential for causing diarrhea due to dysbiosis,” said Carolyn Arnold, DVM, Dipl. ACVS, of Texas A&M University, during her presentation at the 2020 American Association of Equine Practitioners’ Convention, held virtually. “The bacteria being disrupted all have important biological functions that can, when interrupted, cause disease. Further, the diarrhea can develop not only with the start of antibiotic administration but also when the medication is discontinued.”

To more clearly identify which bacteria antibiotic therapy disrupts, Arnold and her colleagues compared data from horses that were treated with antibiotics and developed diarrhea to horses on the same antibiotics that did not develop diarrhea. As a control group, they also included data from healthy, nonhospitalized horses with no antibiotic or anti-inflammatory drug.

The team collected and analyzed naturally voided fecal samples for bacterial composition and abundance. They found:

  • Horses treated with antibiotics have significantly less diversity (fewer bacterial species) than healthy controls, and
  • Important differences in the type of bacteria in the fecal samples. Horses in the AAD group, for instance, had decreased Verrucomicrobia (a specific phylum of bacteria).

“Verrucomicrobia play an important role in the formation of the barrier between the contents of the lumen of the large intestine and the inner lining of the gut,” explained Arnold.

This layer is home to many “good” bacteria that fight off infection-causing bacteria, such as Salmonella spp., found in the intestinal contents. If this layer and its associated commensal (good) bacteria is disrupted, then the pathogenic (disease-causing) bacteria can cause diarrhea.

“This finding may represent a potential mechanism by which antibiotics induce colitis (inflammation of the colon) in horses,” said Arnold.

This information is especially important considering that anywhere from 22-94% of horses in a hospital setting can develop severe AAD resulting in mortality rates as high as 50%.


Past studies identified an association between certain intestinal parasites and colic in horses. Considering the routine use of deworming products, whether or not these parasites continue to play a role in colic remains unclear.

To help clarify the incidence of colic attributable to intestinal parasites, German researchers selected 620 horses, all of which were patients at a veterinary clinic, and determined tapeworm, small strongyle, and large strongyle burdens in each.* Of the 620 horses, half were chosen because they presented to the clinic with colic.

“Despite identifying relatively high infection rates of these parasites in all horses included in the study, the researchers were surprised to find no association between parasite burden and colic,” explained Kathleen Crandell, Ph.D., a nutritionist for Kentucky Equine Research.

The researchers noticed one noteworthy trend: horses that had been chemically dewormed in the week prior to hospitalization had a 2.4 times higher risk of developing colic than horses that had been dewormed at least 8 weeks before admission.

Despite the increased risk of colic associated with deworming, the researchers wrote, “The high large strongyle and considerable tapeworm seroprevalences encountered in this investigation should prompt veterinarians, farm managers, and horse owners to maintain effective parasite control measures.”

Owners should use recommended deworming practices and be certain to maintain consistency with their feed management when deworming. “Any medication can potentially disturb the large intestinal microbiome. Thus, minimizing any disruption of the microbiome is important for decreasing the risk of colic, especially when administering chemical dewormers,” said Crandell.

To support the intestinal microbiome in the face of deworming, Crandell recommends the following:

  • Avoid changing feed management practices directly before or after deworming;
  • If changes are necessary, then proceed as gradually as possible; and
  • When adding new supplements, make sure to start with a small amount and work up to the recommended daily amount to minimize intestinal disruption.

“Harmful changes to the microbial population of the cecum and colon can be modulated through the use of a hindgut buffer to maintain proper pH. This preventive would be particularly important when the gut is challenged by medications like antibiotics and dewormers,” advised Crandell.


A fungal disease that has killed millions of bats in eastern and central North America has made its way west.

A newly published study suggests the fungal pathogen that causes white-nose syndrome (WNS) in hibernating bats has, indeed, reached several western U.S. states. The transmission, researchers say, is likely due to bat-to-bat spread and poses an imminent threat to western species.

First detected in 2006, WNS presents as a fungus growing on the nose and wings of a bat. The infection, researchers say, triggers a higher frequency of arousals from hibernation. These arousals involve an increase in body temperature from near freezing to an active mammalian body temperature, requiring a significant amount of energy.

Bats, researchers say, have limited fat stored for the winter. If this is used up prematurely, death by starvation occurs.

To determine which species faced high mortality and risk of extinction if infected with the disease, researchers combined field data collection a mechanistic model that explains how bats consume energy during hibernation and how the fungus impacts this consumption.

Spanning a period of three years, the research team looked at 946 bat captures (all released after measuring), collecting data from nine different species and predicting the survival outcomes for each.

The study revealed threats to all small Myotis species examined, including M. ciliolabrum (western small-footed bat), M. evotis (long-eared bat), M. lucifugus (little brown bat), M. thysanodes (fringed myotis), and M. volans (long-legged bat), as well as Perimyotis subflavus (tricolored bat). By comparison, larger species (including the cave bat, Townsend’s big-eared bat, and the big brown bat) were predicted to be less impacted by WNS.

“This study demonstrates the value of collecting baseline data to preemptively understand a threat posed by a wildlife disease, like white-nose syndrome to western bats, so more proactive conservation measures can be taken to protect these species,” says principle investigator, Sarah Olson, PhD. “Here, an all-hands-on-deck approach is needed. Western states can take steps now to put protections in place before anticipated severe declines are observed, like reducing habitat loss and restricting access to hibernacula, as well as investing in research and surveillance.”

“Our results indicate the need to take a holistic view on conservation, as it is not just one thing that determines survival from white-nose syndrome, but rather the combination of bat, environment, and disease variables,” adds the study’s lead author, Catherine Haase, PhD.

The findings of the four-year study have been published in Ecology and Evolution.


Join the Westminster Kennel Club for Westminster Celebration Week, a social gathering around the #WKCDogShow with fun, interactive, dog-loving content across Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Because the 145th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show will not be held on its traditional February date due to the pandemic, the club is hosting this online showcase of livestreams, videos, behind the scenes features, and a Fox Sports Westminster television marathon from Saturday, Feb. 12 through Friday, Feb. 19, 2021.

Highlights include:

  • An online showcase of agility videos, archival footage, educational offerings, and trivia
  • Untold Stories, from Westminster’s presenting sponsor Purina Pro Plan®, features videos where handlers recall the emotion of their Westminster Best in Show and Group moments as they stepped onto the green carpet at Madison Square Garden
  • Embark Health Summit’s Facebook Live webinar “Collaboration is Key: How Breeders and Veterinarians Shape the Next Generation of Healthy Dogs” will be on Monday, Feb. 15 at 4 p.m. EST
  • CBS Sunday Morning correspondent Martha Teichner as she talks about her new memoir When Harry Met Minnie, a heart-warming story involving Bull Terriers
  • Fun content from Westminster sponsors Cosequin and Trupanion
  • AKC Museum of the Dog on-demand event honoring longtime WKC member and past Westminster Show Chairman Ron Menaker
  • Celebrating people and their pets during American Heart Month with our friends at the American Heart Association
  • FOX Sports Westminster television marathon

For a complete schedule for Westminster Celebration Week—@WKCDogs on Twitter, @westminsterkennelclub on Instagram, @WKC360 on Instagram, and @WKCDogShow on Facebook

The 145th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, the 8th Annual Masters Agility Championship, and the 6th Annual Masters Obedience Championship will be held outdoors at the Lyndhurst Estate, a property of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, in Tarrytown, New York, from Friday, June 11 through Sunday, June 13, 2021, with TV coverage on the FOX broadcast networks.

For more information on #WestminsterWeekend visit:


Danilo Schwarz (Astrologer) and Meire Matayoshi (Origamist) from São Paulo, Brazil celebrated the New Year with a Guinness World Records title for the largest display of origami dogs. With a total of 1,010 pieces, the display represents the vast number of homeless dogs without families to share their unconditional love, companionship, and loyalty.

This labor of love took 60 days to assemble, using a variety of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and purple colored paper.

With the goal to highlight the value and importance of animals, in particular dogs, Danilo and Meire see this as a remarkable achievement, “[dogs] represent protection, kindness, the ultimate companion and man’s best friend, an animal who expresses and shares pure, unconditional love with humans.”

Origami is an art form that originated in Japan and consists of meticulous paper-folding to create animals and other recognizable shapes. Ranging from basic to complex designs, artists transform paper into a multitude of shapes and sizes, all without cutting or gluing. This folding technique allows individuals' creativity and imagination to soar - and sometimes, even leads to record breaking. 

Initially intimidated by the number figures they needed to create, neither record holder anticipated how enjoyable the experience would be. The practice of folding became therapeutic, one which helped them to feel a sense of calm and connection with the present moment, which has been crucial during these times.

“Folding is a therapy. You start the initial folds and, before you know it, you already have the piece ready. Maybe at the beginning, the folding does not go exactly the way you want, but you have to keep trying, and it will become easier with practice,” said Meire.


Beloved beagle Snoopy and his friends from the Peanuts gang are starring in a new animated series for the streaming TV era. Just don't expect them to be texting or watching TikTok.

"The Snoopy Show" debuts globally on Friday on the Apple TV+ streaming service, where viewers can watch via mobile phones, tablets or televisions. Yet the show itself will stay grounded in traditions that have charmed fans for 70 years, said Jean Schulz, widow of Peanuts creator Charles Schulz.

Plot lines are mined from decades of Peanuts comic strips. Some reveal the backstories of well-known characters, including how Charlie Brown and Snoopy met and how Snoopy and Woodstock became pals. Each episode will contain three, seven-minute vignettes.

Charles Schulz’s comic strip debuted in 1950 and ran until the day after his death in February 2000 at age 77.

Jean Schulz said the show intentionally avoids modern devices, to stay true to the comic.

"We always felt that to put a cell phone in Charlie Brown's hand ... just didn't fit," she said. In the new series, "it's the old handset on the table when the phone rings."

Viewers will see familiar exclamations of "Good grief!," blunt psychiatric advice from Lucy and friends including Linus, Franklin and Peppermint Patty grappling with everyday challenges at school and in the neighborhood.

"The characters represent a humanity that is embodied in all of us - our hopes, our fears, our tears, our laughter," Jean Schulz said in an interview with Reuters. The TV series "still embodies all these characteristics that people recognize and love."

Snoopy's many alter-egos appear in the series, from the hip Joe Cool to World War I flying ace The Red Baron and arm wrestler Masked Marvel.

"Snoopy is irrepressible and never stops coming up with new, animated antics," Jean Schulz said.

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