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Talkin' Pets News

July 31, 2021

Host - Jon Patch

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

Producer - Kayla Cavanaugh

Network Producer - Paul Campos

Social Media - Bob Page


The American Kennel Club® (AKC®) is preparing for the 19th annual AKC Responsible Dog Ownership Day (AKC RDO Days). This summer and fall hundreds of clubs and dog organizations around the country will host free events to educate the dog-loving public about the responsibilities and boundless pleasures of dog ownership.

“Since the inception of the AKC RDO Days initiative, AKC clubs and pet-related organizations have held countless events to educate current and potential dog owners about the responsibilities that come along with owning a canine companion,” said AKC President and CEO Dennis B. Sprung. “These events, big and small, are a great way for dog lovers to celebrate the unconditional human-canine bond, while learning about the obligations we have to our dogs in return. We are grateful to those who join us each year and we encourage organizations that have not yet held an event to give it a try in 2021.”


All efforts are appreciated and welcomed, from hosting a public education table at a dog show or dog run to creating a day-long festival. The first 500 clubs and organizations that register at will receive a kit full of free giveaways and a searchable event listing on the AKC website. Some giveaways for 2021 include car decals and RDO wristbands.  

The AKC will host the flagship Responsible Dog Ownership Day on September 11th from 10am-2pm in Raleigh, NC at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds. Dogs and their owners will be able to enjoy a lovely day of demonstrations, giveaways, games, tests and more. Canine Good Citizen and Trick Dog tests will also be available at this action-packed event.


To learn more about AKC Responsible Dog Ownership Days and sign up to hold an event, please visit the AKC Responsible Dog Ownership Days website or contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Breed clubs, sponsors or vendors interested in participating in the Flagship RDO Day should contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



It’s common for pets to acquire COVID-19 from owners who are sick with the infection, scientists have found.

And sometimes the animals become sick, too, Scientific American reports.

Two studies presented at the 2021 European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases looked at the issue. The research has not yet been published in an academic journal.

One study came from the University of Guelph in Ontario and involved 198 cats and 54 dogs. The researchers found that “two out of three cats and two out of five dogs whose owners had COVID had antibodies against SARS-CoV-2,” according to Scientific American.

The other study was led by a scientist at the Utrecht University in the Netherlands and included 156 dogs and 154 cats from households with human COVID-19 patients. According to Scientific American, “animals in one in five of these households had become infected with the virus.”

“The findings are consistent: it’s just not that hard for these animals to get infected,” said veterinary epidemiologist Sarah Hamer, who is working on similar research at Texas A&M University.


New research on the feeding habits of the Western bean cutworm has found that careful consideration of pest control is needed when growing dry beans next to corn to prevent resistance development to insecticides and toxins.

Normally, refuge crops are planted so that pests such as the Western bean cutworm, which is actually a moth, that manage to survive toxins or insecticides on corn or beans, may mate with moths that were not exposed to them. This results in a new generation of weaker moths that are less resistant to insecticides. Dry beans are sometimes grown near corn fields because of soil nutrient requirements, and Illinois Institute of Technology Ph.D. candidate Dakota Bunn wanted to see if these crops were an effective co-refuge for each other.

Bunn examined how the populations of the moths that fed on beans as larvae were interacting with the moths that fed on corn as larvae. He and his colleagues captured more than 3,200 moths over two summers in central Michigan, froze them, and then conducted a stable carbon isotope analysis on their wings and heads, which revealed whether the adult moths fed on corn or beans in the larval state.

“Overall, we found that very few moths that we captured developed on dry beans, and almost all moths that we captured developed on corn,” Bunn says. “We were able to determine that corn and beans are not suitable as co-refuges, and that mainly adults that developed on corn are contributing to the next generation of Western bean cutworm in Michigan.”

In a paper published earlier this year, Bunn says that the results “demonstrate that beans and corn cannot be used as mutual refuge in insect resistance management (IRM) in central Michigan, and that further research is needed to determine proper IRM for areas where corn and dry beans are grown in close proximity.”

The findings underscore the need to continue to closely monitor the cutworm’s resistance to the control methods used for corn.

Western bean cutworms can cause significant damage to corn crops, affecting both the overall yield and quality. The moths are native to the western plains but have expanded their territory eastward and are now in 25 states and four Canadian provinces.

The research was published in the February 2021 issue of Environmental Entomology, in a paper titled “Contribution of Larvae Developing on Corn and Dry Beans to the Adult Population of Western Bean Cutworm in Michigan.”


Monkey gangs are battling for scraps of food as there are no tourists to feed them in Thailand.

Traffic was held up for four minutes as they faced off in front of the ruins of a Buddhist temple in Lopburi, central Thailand.

The fight ended with one group being chased away, but the monkeys are growing increasingly desperate during this latest lockdown.

They are usually well fed by visitors, but a domestic travel ban imposed earlier this month, along with more people staying indoors, has caused another food shortage.

Officials have also tried to control the number of monkeys by rolling out mass sterilisation programs. Onlooker Khun Itiphat said: ‘I was in a building near the temple when I heard the monkeys squealing. ‘There were so many of them all stood together. ‘I could see they were having an argument. Then they all ran onto the road and began wrestling.’

One of the gangs is believed to roam the grounds of the temple, while the other is from an abandoned cinema.

A similar monkey brawl erupted in March last year when two gangs from opposite sides of a railway track began squabbling over food.

Before the pandemic, the town, around 100 miles north of Bangkok, was visited regularly by tourists who would feed the famous population of monkeys.

Supakarn Kaewchot, a government veterinarian, said: ‘The monkeys are so used to having tourists feed them and the city provides no space for them to fend for themselves.

‘With the tourists gone, they’ve been more aggressive.

‘They’re invading buildings and forcing people to flee their homes.’ Thailand brought in tighter lockdown measures in the capital, Bangkok, and 12 provinces, last week.

Most domestic fights were suspended and curfews rolled out as officials try to curb the spread of the Delta variant. Thailand has just reported a record-breaking number of daily Covid cases, with 15,376 new infections and 87 new deaths.


An obscure, legless amphibian, referred to by some as a 'penis snake,' is the latest invasive species to make its way to South Florida.

Formally known as a caecilian, these creatures are native to Colombia and Venezuela, but several have been pulled from the Tamiami Canal near the Miami International Airport.  Caecilians can range in size from a few inches to five feet long and have extremely poor eyesight - their name translates to 'blind ones' in Latin. 

However, the 'penis snake' has a pair of sensory tentacles between its eyes and nostril that helps it detect food, which it snatches up with dozens of needle-like teeth. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conversation Commission says caecilians are harmless. 

The first caecilian that was found in the same canal two years ago allowed scientists to conduct a DNA comparison several other specimens recently pulled from the shallow water outside the Miami International Airport - proving the new creatures were of the Typhlonectes natans species.

The eel-like amphibian found in 2019 measured two feet long but died shortly after being taken into captivity – it starved itself to death.

Caecilians live on both land and freshwater, and typically consume worms and termites – but they have been known to snatch small snakes, frogs and lizards.

Although they look more like snakes, caecilians belong to the Gymnophiona order of amphibians, more closely related to frogs, toads, salamanders and newts.

Formally called caecilian, these creatures are native to Colombia and Venezuela. The 2019 specimen was the first-known caecilian in the US, though fossil records dating back more than 170 million years have been found in North America. Apart from the caecilians recently introduced to South Florida, no representatives of this lineage are presently known to live in the US.

Coleman Sheehy, Florida Museum's herpetology collection manager, said in a statement: 'Very little is known about these animals in the wild, but there's nothing particularly dangerous about them, and they don't appear to be serious predators.

'They'll probably eat small animals and get eaten by larger ones. This could be just another non-native species in the South Florida mix.'

As this species is generally kept in aquariums indoors and cannot easily escape, experts suspect someone discarded their unwanted pets in the canal 'Parts of the C-4 canal at Tamiami appear to resemble their native habitat and may provide an environment where this species could thrive were it to become established.'


In Pontiac Michigan, A 31-year-old woman is recovering after she accidentally set herself and her car on fire this week while trying to kill bed bugs. According to Fox 2 Detroit, the woman was treated at McLaren Oakland Hospital for second-degree burns caused by setting rubbing alcohol on fire inside her vehicle in hopes of killing the bed bugs.

The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call Tuesday for a reported car fire on Perry Street around 1:40 p.m. When they arrived, deputies found the woman and discovered she’d had a panic attack after finding bed bugs in her car. In an effort to kill them, she poured the rubbing alcohol in the car and set it on fire.


Greenland is experiencing its most significant melting event of the year as temperatures in the Arctic surge. The amount of ice that melted on Tuesday alone would be enough to cover the entire state of Florida in two inches of water. It's the third instance of extreme melting in the past decade, during which time the melting has stretched farther inland than the entire satellite era, which began in the 1970s. Greenland lost more than 8.5 billion tons of surface mass on Tuesday, and 18.4 billion tons since Sunday, according to the Denmark Meteorological Institute. While this week's total ice loss is not as extreme as a similar event in 2019 — a record melt year — the area of the ice sheet that's melting is larger.

"It's a significant melt," Ted Scambos, a senior research scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado, told CNN. "July 27th saw most of the eastern half of Greenland from the northern tip all the way to the southern tip mostly melted, which is unusual."

As human-caused climate change warms the planet, ice loss has increased rapidly. According to a recent study published in the journal Cryosphere, Earth has lost a staggering 28 trillion tonnes of ice since the mid-1990s, a large portion of which was from the Arctic, including the Greenland ice sheet.

"In the past decade, we've already seen that surface melting in Greenland has become both more severe and more erratic," said Thomas Slater, a glaciologist at the University of Leeds and a co-author on that report. "As the atmosphere continues to warm over Greenland, events such as yesterday's extreme melting will become more frequent."

Although the current ice meltdown in Greenland isn't record-setting, the magnitude at which these events occur is a clear signal of how climate change is creating more melt periods.

"Overall, we're seeing that Greenland melts more often," said Scambos, who also authors the National Snow and Ice Data Center's Greenland updates. "In previous decades or centuries, it's extremely rare to get above freezing temperatures at the summit of Greenland."

In 2019, Greenland shed roughly 532 billion tons of ice into the sea. During that year, an unexpectedly hot spring and a July heat wave caused almost the entire ice sheet's surface to begin melting. Global sea level rose permanently by 1.5 millimeters as a result.

Warmer coastal water melts the Greenland ice sheet around the edges, breaking off massive icebergs that contribute to sea level rise.

As Greenland's surface continues to thaw, Slater said coastal cities around the world are vulnerable to storm-surge flooding, especially when extreme weather coincides with high tides. Melting from Greenland is expected to raise global sea level between 2 and 10 centimeters by the end of the century, he added.

Massive ice sheets can melt rapidly when the air temperature is warm. But warmer ocean water is also eroding the ice sheet around the edges.

As humans release heat-trapping greenhouse gas, the warming atmosphere thaws the fresh white ice — which reflects the sun's energy back into space — on the surface. That exposes the darker ice below which absorbs solar energy and causes more melting.

Additionally, warmer coastal water melts the ice sheet around the edges, breaking off massive icebergs that contribute to sea level rise. Scientists say the trends at which climate change is accelerating are quite clear, and that unless emissions are curbed, such extreme events will continue to occur more frequently.


The question: Is it legal to drive while holding a dog in Springfield, MO? The answer is --- YES.

However, Missouri State Highway Patrol Sergeant Mike McClure says it’s not a good idea. And you could get a ticket.

Here’s that scenario. If there’s a dog in your lap and it’s obvious that dog is causing you to weave all over the road that’s going to catch a trooper’s attention. And, more than likely you will get a ticket and a fine.

“We don’t look at it any different than any other type of distraction, whether it’s, you know, reading a cell phone, phone usage of some sort. Anything that could potentially inhibit you from an evasive maneuver,” advised Sergeant McClure.

If you get ticketed, it would be for careless and imprudent driving. That’s a class B misdemeanor unless there’s a crash involved. Then, you have bigger problems.

If you can do it keep the pet in the passenger seat, the back seat or better yet put your dog in a pet taxi.


Man is dog’s best friend! In North Park Hill, Denver, residents are disgusted by a man who has been seen pooping in their neighborhood. One neighbor said she caught him on surveillance video and then called police.

One neighbor says the man, who appears to be exercising, will pull his pants down in broad daylight and use the alleyway as his toilet. She said this has happened twice over the past few weeks in the same location.

“They’re coming prepared with toilet paper, but not a bag, and not coming back to clean up,” the neighbor, who shared surveillance still photos on Facebook, said. This person needs lessons from responsible dog parents.

This isn’t the first time public defecation has attracted outrage in Colorado. In 2017, a woman who gained the nickname ‘the Mad Pooper’ was accused of repeatedly pooping in public. 

Denver Department of Public Health & Environment (DDPHE) confirmed a feces complaint associated with the address where the man was captured on surveillance video. A DDPHE spokesperson emailed the following to FOX31 concerning public defecation:

“Ordinarily, we would investigate, but because of continuing restrictions on our bandwidth from COVID, we must prioritize complaints starting with encampments, then rodents, then alleyways, then individual feces complaints. With the majority of feces complaints, we provide clean-up guidance to property owners on how to safely remove feces.”


As Amarillo Texas grapples with a rise in COVID-19 cases, another deadly illness is striking the city's dogs. An outbreak of distemper has prompted a temporary halt on surrenders and in-person adoptions at Amarillo Animal Management and Welfare to help curb the spread, since the disease is so easily transmitted.

“It can be on the bottom of your foot,” said Victoria Medley, Director of Amarillo Animal Management & Welfare. “If you reach down and pet one through the cage and then touch another one, you can pass it.”

Medley says the virus can live for 3-4 hours at room temperature.

Dr. Ryan McKnight with Hope Veterinary Clinic said he's seeing five to ten cases a week of distemper.

“Most obvious signs that we see are dogs or puppies that develop a green ocular or nasal discharge,” said Dr. McKnight. “[They] have a lot of sneezing or coughing, but then also get a lot of hardening of the keratin and their skin. (The) paw pads and their nose becomes very hard and kind of cracked.”

If left untreated, it can infect the dog's nervous system.

“They start having seizures or uncontrollable twitching or tremors. At that point, when we have a dog like that, the prognosis is very poor and usually is recommended to euthanize," said Dr. McKnight.

Dr. McKnight said this appears to be the worst outbreak of distemper in at least ten years.

The only way to ensure your pet's safety is to vaccinate them. McKnight suggests, after the six-week round of shots for puppies, they get a booster every one to three years.

For now, limit your dog’s contact with other pets and keep an eye out for those symptoms, which could take days or weeks to develop.


Residents who live on the water along Longboat Key, near Sarasota, Florida, are used to seeing all sorts of marine life in their backyard canals, but the view they had last week was unlike anything they’ve seen before — and experts say it’s because of the red tide bloom impacting the area.

Countless sharks started to appear in the canals near Buttonwood Harbor. They varied in size and species including bonnethead, black tip, nurse and lemon sharks.

Some residents guessed there were hundreds of sharks.

“You saw fins at first just like popping up and then you would look down the canal and with a little bit of the sun, you just saw more and more and you were like, ‘Oh, that is not good,'” said Longboat Key resident John Wagman.

Some locals thought there may have been thousands of sharks.

“You literally could have walked across the canal on the backs of shark — that’s how many there were,” Longboat Key resident Janelle Branower said.

Experts with Mote Marine Laboratory started getting calls from Longboat Key residents early last week. They went out to investigate for themselves.

Jack Morris, a senior biologist with Mote’s Sharks and Rays Research Program, explained why so many sharks ended up in the same location.

“When the red tide comes around, the animals don’t like it so they are seeking areas that don’t have red tide. In this particular case, it happened to be the canal where these people live,” said Morris. “They are basically avoiding the red tide, seeking a safe haven into these canals in this estuary.”

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission continues to report high levels of red tide off the coast of Longboat Key and medium concentrations in Sarasota Bay.

WFLA asked Morris about the outlook for the sharks seeking safety in the canals. He explained that it could be grim.

“As long as we have a persistent red tide in the area, it is going to keep them contained into those canals which don’t have red tide. If it goes long enough, they are going to run out of food and they are going to run out of energy. Unfortunately some of them, if not all of them, might die,” explained Morris.


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