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Talkin' Pets News

June 11, 2022

Host - Jon Patch

Co-Host -Jillyn Sidlo - Celestial Custom Dog Services, Tampa Bay

Producer - Matt Matera

Network Producer - Kevin Lane

Special Guests -Jaguar Health Announces Launch of the First U.S. Canine Cancer Registry and Canine Cancer Care Index and Dr. Terry Fossum will join Talkin' Pets on June 11, 2022 at 5pm ET to discuss the Registry

Dr. Emily Trunnel Senior Scientist PETA to discuss on June 11, 2022 at 630pm ET,  "Free the Animals" 30th Anniversary - Expert Tips to Replace the Use of Animals in Deadly Experiments

Last week, an Arizona homeowner encountered a rather unusual visitor on their porch.  According to the Arizona Game & Fish Department, a mother elk had left her calf on the Pine resident’s doorstep.

Fortunately, the residents did the right thing and left the calf alone, choosing to call wildlife officials for advice about the proper way to handle the situation. The agency explained what happened:

Although calves are usually left in a more natural setting such as a grassy meadow, the responding AZGFD Officer jokes, “Mom left it there for ‘daycare’ in the early morning, and came back to pick it up after lunch”

The agency used the rather comical situation to remind everyone that calves should be left undisturbed if they are found alone, explaining the problem with reuniting calves who have been moved by people with good intentions:

It is usually difficult to reunite them with their parents in these cases. In addition, a cow elk watching from a distance may become aggressive when defending her young, which can quickly put those with good intentions in danger.AZGFD urges Arizonans to leave baby wildlife – including elk calves – alone.

Advising of the proper protocol if an animal is sick or injured:

If you encounter an animal that appears to be sick or injured, is unresponsive or lethargic, please contact your nearest licensed wildlife rehabilitation facility or call your local AZGFD office first.

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A fire that engulfed a large egg laying barn in Wright County, Minnesota, has reportedly killed thousands of chickens, according to a Forsman Farms spokesperson. Fire departments from all around the area spent all night battling the fire that started Saturday night at the facility in Howard Lake.

“Overnight, a fire destroyed one of our barns at our Howard Lake farm. No one was injured and we are grateful that first responders were quickly on the scene to put out the fire,” the spokesperson said. “Unfortunately, chickens were lost because of the fire. We are evaluating the extent of the damage – which appears to be confined to a single structure – as well as investigating the cause of the fire.”

Wright County Sgt. Troy Wachter told KARE 11 the facility housed an estimated 200,000 chickens.

The Forsman Farms spokesperson told KARE 11 that at least tens of thousands of chickens were killed and possibly up to a couple hundreds of thousands were lost in the fire. Additionally, chickens in adjacent buildings were also affected due to smoke inhalation.

The Wright County Sheriff's Office said the fire is believed to have been accidental, but the state fire marshal is conducting an investigation.

Forsman Farms sells over 3 million eggs per day in the form of shell and liquid egg to some of the nation’s largest retailers.

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The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced this week that two of America's Great Lakes, Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, are at their lowest water levels since recording began in 1918. The lakes were 29 inches below their long-term average, and down 17 inches since this time last year. "We're in an extreme situation," the Corps' Keith Kompoltowicz told USA Today

The causes are threefold:

* Below-normal levels of rain and snowfall

* Record-high temperatures

* Dredging (the process of deepening navigational channels by removing layers of the bottom sediments)

Why should we be concerned? First of all, the Great Lakes store 84 percent of the nation's freshwater, so their decline should be cause for some alarm. Second, "a long-term decline in water levels threatens coastal habitats, especially wetlands," says Robert Glennon at the Detroit Free Press. Plus, lower water levels are bad for the local economy. For every inch the water level falls, cargo ships have to lighten their loads an average of 100 tons to avoid running aground. This dramatically boosts the costs of shipping.

Researchers are eager to find a way to prevent water from leaving the lakes. One option: Tightening regulations on groundwater pumping, which sucks up runoff that feeds the lakes. "The state can't control precipitation, but it can control diversions from streams and pumping from wells that reduce flow into the Great Lakes," says Glennon. The Army Corps has suggested placing "speed bumps" in the surrounding rivers to slow down lake drainage, which could be put in place over the next few years. But what the lakes really need is several consecutive years of above-average rain and snowfall — and there's no magic wand for that.

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A seven-year-old mastiff named Henry was recently honored as the first patient to ring Texas A&M Small Animal Teaching Hospital’s (SATH’s) new “BTHO Cancer” bell.

Modeled after a similar tradition used in human medical institutions, the bell, which was built by SATH veterinary technician, Julio Peraza, signifies a patient’s completion of either chemotherapy or radiation treatment.

“The completion of therapy is always the most emotional day for our owners,” says Jaclyn Christensen, a veterinary technician in SATH’s oncology service. “The bell signifies they’ve done it—they’ve hit this milestone and started a new chapter. Most owners feel pretty defeated by the cancer diagnosis, so this is an opportunity for us to turn their mindset around.”

Henry was first examined at the clinic in October 2021 after his owners, Robin and Derrick Newkirk, noticed the 210-lb dog had swollen lymph nodes. They ended up getting an appointment to get more work done at Texas A&M and, two weeks later, they confirmed he had multicentric lymphoma.”

Additional shock followed, as it was discovered Henry’s cancer was most likely stage five. This gave him just four to six weeks to live if he did not receive treatment, Texas A&M reports.

“We just sat there and couldn’t even talk for a minute,” Robin says. “We were listening to the doctor, but I think I just blanked it all out because afterwards, I’m like, ‘I have no idea what just happened.’ I don’t really remember the rest of that day.”

Henry received his first round of chemotherapy on Nov. 1 and returned to SATH for treatment at least once a week for the next six months. He experienced several side effects from the treatment, including infections and gastrointestinal issues. Despite this, Henry remained in good spirits, Texas A&M reports.

“If he was suffering or not doing well with chemo, we would’ve stopped to preserve his quality of life, but he stayed happy, loving, and sweet,” Robin says. “Even though he had a lot of side effects, they were short—just a day or two. There were only a couple days in the past six months when he didn’t feel well enough to play.”

The lymphoma disappeared in December and has not returned, Texas A&M reports. Henry finished his last treatment April 6 and celebrated the ringing of the bell with the SATH staff.

With Henry’s treatment completed, Robin looks forward to his routine returning to normal.

“I think he’s going to be really happy, and hopefully, the cancer stays away as long as it can,” she says. “Henry’s not ready to go anywhere.”

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The sage advice of veterinary professionals goes a long way toward ensuring clients’ safe handling of pet food and dishes, as well as reducing contamination.

This is according to North Carolina State University (NC State) in Raleigh. A newly published analysis of 417 dog owners found most are unaware of—and do not follow—guidelines on safe pet food and dish handling recommended by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

“This study actually came from watercooler-type conversations among veterinary nutritionists,” lead researcher, Emily Luisana, DVM, ACVN, tells PLOS One. “We realized that, when it came to our own pets, we all had different pet food storage and hygiene practices.”

Improper pet food and dish handling creates potential health risks for both dogs and people, especially those with compromised immune systems, NC State reports. While FDA has issued guidelines on protocols for safe practices, researchers say the information is limited and the effects of these recommendations have been unclear.

The analysis conducted by Luisana and her colleagues found less than five percent of those surveyed were even aware of the guidelines, and most pet owners did not follow several of the agency’s recommendations. For example, only one third of those surveyed reported washing their hands after feeding.

To better understand the effects of the agency’s recommendations, researchers tested 68 household dog food dishes for bacterial contamination. After initial testing, owners were divided into three groups, each with different instructions for implementing food handling guidelines. The dishes were tested again after one week.

Researchers found significantly reduced contamination of dishes from owners who instituted FDA’s pet food handling guidelines (either alone or in combination with the agency’s human food handling protocol) as compared to dishes from owners who were not asked to implement either protocol.

The findings suggest better education and implementation of the agency’s guidelines could reduce contamination and improve the health of pets and humans.

“Pet owners should know pet food bowls can harbor bacteria and recommendations exist for minimizing this risk,” Luisana says. “Although we need further studies to assess the implications of our findings, I hope veterinarians will consider the potential impact feeding hygiene may have, for example, in cases of zoonotic disease, in immunocompromised patients, and those with decreased appetite that could be worsened by improper food storage or unclean bowls.”

The findings have been published in PLOS One.

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Prevalence of a severe digestion disorder often seen in German shepherds may soon be reduced, thanks to a new discovery. Researchers at Clemson University have developed a genetic test for the breed to help in predicting congenital idiopathic megaesophagus (CIM), an inherited disorder whereby a puppy develops an enlarged esophagus that impedes its ability to swallow.

CIM is often discovered when puppies are weaned at about four weeks of age. Dogs with the condition regurgitate their food, which can cause serious complications. “They don’t have swallowing activity,” says the study’s coauthor, Sarah Bell, PhD, a graduate research assistant in genetics. “When the puppies swallow food, it just sits in their esophagus and doesn’t trigger those sequential contractions that normally occur to help push the food into the stomach.”

To consume food and water, puppies with CIM must eat and drink while sitting upright in a dog highchair. Some outgrow the condition, but many require lifelong symptomatic management with upright feedings, small liquid meals multiple times a day, gelatin cubes, and drug therapies, Clemson University reports. “Because a dog’s esophagus is horizontal instead of vertical like ours, gravity doesn’t aid the transportation of food into the stomach,” Dr. Bell says.

To identify the genes associated with the disorder, researchers performed a genome-wide association study, which revealed a repeating DNA sequence on canine chromosome 12 and a variant within melanin-concentrating hormone receptor 2 (MCHR2). This affects appetite, weight, and how food moves through the gastrointestinal tract, Clemson reports.

The study also found male puppies are twice as likely as females to develop the disease. Researchers believe lower estrogen levels may explain why males have a higher risk. “What they’ve found in people is estrogen has the effect of relaxing the sphincter that connects the esophagus to the stomach,” Bell says. “By having more estrogen, the smooth muscle there is naturally more likely to open. This increases the motility of food into the stomach.”

While German shepherds have the highest incidence of CIM, other breeds (including Labrador retrievers, Great Danes, dachshunds, and miniature schnauzers) are also susceptible. It is not yet known if the same genetic variation is involved in disease development in other breeds. The MCHR2 variant, along with the dog’s sex, can predict whether a dog will develop a megaesophagus with 75 percent accuracy, the university reports. The test, says lead researcher Leigh Anne Clark, PhD, an associate professor in Clemson’s department of genetics and biochemistry, can be used by German shepherd breeders and, ideally, reduce the risk that puppies in future litters will develop the disease.

“One thing I stress with any disease in any breed is don’t make a problem where there isn’t one,” Dr. Clark says. “If you’ve been breeding German shepherds for 20 years and you’ve never bred a megaesophagus puppy, then don’t use this test, but if you’re a breeder and you’ve had megaesophagus puppies, you may benefit from the test.” The findings have been published in PLOS Genetics.  The research was supported, in part, by funding from the Collie Health Foundation, the American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation, the Upright Canine Brigade, the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, and the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health.  

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Many stallions experience periods of decreased fertility, a natural occurrence, during the breeding season. Semen protein analysis recently identified 38 proteins that fluctuate during periods of high and low fertility. One group of proteins called caseins piqued the interest of researchers as their levels increased when stallions were most fertile.

“The abbreviated breeding season, delayed pregnancy diagnosis (about two weeks after breeding), and natural fluctuations of stallion fertility during the breeding season can all contribute to impaired breeding parameters, resulting in economic losses and welfare issues for breeding stock,” explained Kathleen Crandell, Ph.D., a nutritionist for Kentucky Equine Research.

Many research groups are exploring various techniques to determine what causes the transient periods of stallion subfertility during the breeding season. One group recently used “proteomic technology” to identify specific proteins present in semen samples, with the goal of determining which proteins change in abundance during various phases of fertility.

That team collected 1,030 semen samples from dozens of stallions over several breeding seasons. Comprehensive protein analyses, called proteomics, identified 38 proteins that were significantly different between times of high and low fertility.

The research team was particularly intrigued by a group of proteins called caseins that were more abundant during times of high fertility.

“According to the study, caseins preserve membrane stability, including support of the outer membrane of the sperm that must remain intact to successfully fertilize an egg. During periods of high fertility, caseins protect spermatozoa from reactive oxygen species as well as deleterious proteins like seminal plasma proteins,” explained Crandell.

Together with other key proteins, caseins play a role in short-term fluctuations in stallion fertility and open new avenues to improve reproductive parameters.

“Being able to rapidly identify a stallion’s subfertile periods during the breeding season would allow breeders the opportunity to change strategies: identify the need for an alternate stallion more quickly or arrange for repeated breedings by the subfertile stallion during the same estrous period,” explained Crandell.

For nutritional support of stallions during the breeding season, Crandell recommends marine-derived omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, such as those found in EO-3.

“Research shows that these fatty acids improve the performance of subfertile stallions by increasing sperm concentration, motility, and viability,” Crandell said.

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The wild Assateague Island horse who was removed from the Maryland tourist attraction by the National Park Service last month, is settling in seamlessly at Black Beauty Ranch, part of the Humane Society of the United States. The 13-year-old horse named Delegate’s Pride—also known as Chip—is currently acclimating to his own four-acre pasture. Once he clears the mandatory quarantine for new sanctuary residents, he will move to a 1,000-acre pasture and join hundreds of other equines living their happily-ever-after at Black Beauty.

Noelle Almrud, senior director of Black Beauty Ranch, said: “When Chip arrived, he calmly walked off the trailer with the ease of an experienced world traveler. He dropped his head and started grazing to his heart’s content. He meanders around and when his caregivers check on him or when he sees other horses in surrounding pastures—like Dino and Durango—he takes a quick look and then goes right back to tasting every blade of grass. He appears lean and fit and we are carefully examining him to make sure he is healthy, including that he has no damage from eating inappropriate human snacks constantly available from Assateague visitors. Chip seems happy, alert and very responsive, and we are honored to provide for him everything he needs for the rest of his life.”

Chip is not the first resident at Black Beauty who came from Assateague. In 2011, Fabio—now a sanctuary senior at 29 years old—arrived under similar circumstances. Fabio had also learned to associate people with food rewards. The result is dangerous to the animal and the public.  

Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, said: “Chip had to be removed from his home in the wild, through no fault of his own. He had become conditioned by tourists to come too close to people for food, which created a dangerous situation. This should have never happened. When people entice wild animals, like Chip, with treats, they are endangering their well-being and disrespecting their wild nature. That’s why it’s so important to properly store garbage and always keep your distance from wild animals. We are so glad to be able to offer Chip a safe home at our sanctuary, and yet it is a bittersweet arrival, since he never should have had to leave his wild home in the first place. People need to respect and appreciate wild animals so that we can safely co-exist with them and ensure that they thrive.”

There are nearly 800 animals living at the 1,400-acre sanctuary. In addition to the 400 equine residents, there are 40 other species including tigers, bears, primates, bison, kangaroos, exotic hoof stock, farm animals and more. These animals were rescued from testing laboratories, the exotic pet trade, roadside zoos and other circumstances of neglect and cruelty.

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Astronomers have detected a mysterious, repeating fast radio burst emanating from a dwarf galaxy located 3 billion light-years away. The cosmic object is distinctive when compared with other detections of radio bursts in recent years, according to new research.

Fast radio bursts, or FRBs, are millisecond-long bursts of radio waves in space. Individual radio bursts emit once and don't repeat. But repeating fast radio bursts are known to send out short, energetic radio waves multiple times. Astronomers have been able to trace some radio bursts back to their home galaxies, but they have yet to determine the actual cause of the pulses. Learning more about the origin of these bright, intense radio emissions could help scientists understand what causes them.

Astronomers detected the object, named FRB 190520, when it released a burst of radio waves on May 20, 2019. The researchers used the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope, or FAST, in China, and discovered the burst in the telescope data in November 2019. When they conducted follow-up observations, the astronomers noticed something unusual -- the object was releasing frequent, repeating bursts of radio waves.

In 2020, the team used the National Science Foundation's Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array, or VLA, of telescopes to pinpoint the origin of the burst before zeroing in on it using the Subaru Telescope in Hawaii. Subaru's observations in visible light showed that the burst came from the outskirts of a distant dwarf galaxy.

A study detailing the findings published in the journal Nature

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NASA announced Thursday that it’s launching a scientific study of reported sightings of UFOs, the latest in a wave of federal agencies trying to understand the nature of a series of unidentified aircraft flying in protected airspace in recent years. The goal of the study, which is due to be wrapped up in nine months, is meant to improve aircraft safety while gaining a better overall understanding of the aircraft, which the government refers to as “unmanned aerial phenomena,” or UAPs.

“NASA is uniquely positioned to address UAPs,” said Daniel Evans, the agency’s assistant deputy associate administrator for research. “Who other than us can use the power of data and science to look at what’s happening in our skies?” NASA plans to recruit some of the nation’s leading scientists and aeronautics experts to participate in the study.

“There are phenomena we don’t understand,” said David Spergal, leader of the study and president of the Simons Foundation, a New York-based academic organization. “How do we start to make progress on a very limited set of observations? We start by trying to figure out what data is out there.”

The project is separate from the Pentagon’s effort, which is gathering information from a host of federal intelligence agencies on the phenomena over the past few years. NASA plans to share its findings publicly once the study is complete.

“It’s extremely important to us that this remains a fully-transparent, open and therefore unclassified study,” Evans said.  NASA stressed the project will be conducted no differently than any other scientific investigation the space agency undertakes, and will cost no more than $100,000.

The announcement comes amid soaring interest in UFOs by Congress, the administration and the American public. In May, Defense Department officials testified before a House Intelligence subcommittee on the progress of the Pentagon’s Airborne Object Identification and Management Synchronization Group.

Scott Bray, deputy director of naval intelligence, testified that the group has received more than 400 UAP reports, noting that the stigma for reporting incidents has been reduced. Bray also testified that the Pentagon observed an increasing number of UAP sightings since the early 2000s, a fact that has puzzled lawmakers as questions emerge whether the phenomena present a national security threat by a potential adversary.

Like the Pentagon, NASA also hopes its efforts will help reduce the stigma associated with reporting UAPs. While the findings may also help in the agency’s search for alien life, more data likely will be needed to draw those conclusions as the organization has no evidence UAPs are extraterrestrial in origin.

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson has already made public comments about the sightings, emphasizing their mystery may be cause for concern. “We hope it’s not an adversary here on Earth that has that kind of technology,” Nelson said at an October virtual discussion at the University of Virginia. “But it’s something.”

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A sloth bear mauled a couple to death in a forest in central India's Madhya Pradesh state last weekend and then spent hours eating their remains in a gruesome attack that wildlife conservationists say was unusual for the species. While sloth bear attacks on people are relatively common, they are not generally known to feed on human flesh.

The attack took place on Sunday when a man and his wife were returning home from a temple visit early in the morning. The sloth bear first attacked the woman as the couple walked through the Panna National Park forest, killing her. Her husband was killed when he tried to rescue his wife.

Divisional Forest Officer Gaurav Sharma was quoted by India's NDTV network as saying the attack happened around 6:30 in the morning after the couple went "to offer prayers at a temple" in the area.

Eyewitnesses told the Times of India that a crowd of villagers gathered at the spot and tried to scare the bear away by firing gunshots in the air, but it wouldn't budge, and continued eating the victims for three hours until forestry workers arrived.

"This is very unusual," Neha Sinha, a conservation biologist and author, told CBS News. "Usually, sloth bears eat honey and insects."

Sloth bears are found in India and other South Asian countries, including Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Bhutan. They are about the size of American black bears and can grow to weigh more than 300 pounds.

Escalating deforestation has been depriving species including bears of their natural habitat and putting them into closer proximity of towns and villages for at least two decades, and incidents of violent human-animal confrontations have been on the rise in India .

"Generally there is conflict during mahua season, when people go to collect flowers and the bears are feeding," Sinha explained to CBS News. The mahua is a tree that grows across many parts of South Asia and flowers in the late spring and early summer. The flowers are prized by both people and sloth bears.

Residents often venture into the forests to collect the flowers for sale at this time of year.

Uttam Kumar Sharma, field director of Panna National Park, was quoted by the India Today news outlet as saying the "bear seems to have been afflicted with rabies, and was in its last stages." Regional authorities said the couple's family would be given 400,000 Indian rupees ($5,100) in compensation for their loss.

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An active-duty member of the US military based in Stuttgart, Germany has been identified as having the military's first known case of monkeypox, a US European Command spokesperson told CNN in a statement.

The service member "recently tested positive for monkeypox," Captain William Speaks, USN, said in a statement. "The individual was seen and treated at the Stuttgart Army Health clinic and is currently in isolation recovering in their quarters off-base," Speaks said.

He continued: "Public health officials have determined that the risk to the overall population is very low. As a precautionary measure, contact tracing is being done for clinic staff who interacted with the patient. The case in Stuttgart is of the West African strain, which is generally mild and human-to-human transmission is limited."

The US military is complying with all applicable host nation laws and regulations, the spokesperson said.

Military infectious disease experts had been watching for monkeypox cases for some time, officials say the Pentagon recently asked the Army's Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases what testing capabilities are available should there be a large outbreak.

The virus spreads primarily through direct contact with an infected person's bodily fluids or sores or can spread through contaminated materials like linens, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Researchers are still learning about other potential transmission methods such as contact with an infected person's semen or contact with an infected person who doesn't have symptoms.

As of Thursday, the CDC has reported 45 probable or confirmed cases of monkeypox in 15 states and the District of Columbia. There have been 1,356 cases of monkeypox and orthopoxvirus -- the family of viruses monkeypox belongs to -- in 31 countries where the monkeypox is not endemic, the CDC also reported.

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Recently, Draper Animal Services (DAS) reported an increase in rattlesnake encounters this year, particularly in and around the area of the Orson Smith Trail. 

In order to prevent getting bit, DAS is reminding residents to avoid the snakes if they find themselves in contact with one. 

If you do find a snake in your yard during weekdays, you should contact Animal Services, whereas any snake encountered over the weekend should be reported to the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR). 

There are multiple steps you should take when coming into contact with a rattlesnake. According to the DWR, it’s important to:

  • Remain calm and stay at least five feet away from the snake.
  • Don’t try to kill the snake! It’s illegal and will prompt the snake to bite.
  • Avoid throwing things at the snake. Rattlesnakes have a tendency to move towards someone or something threatening them, not shy away. 
  • Notify other parties of the snake’s locations.
  • Keep children and pets away from the area.
  • Keep all dogs on a leash while hiking or camping. 
  • If you hear a rattle, don’t panic. Try to locate the snake so that you can avoid it. 

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