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Talkin' Pets News

October 15, 2022

Host - Jon Patch

Co-Host - Jillyn Sidlo - Celestrial Custom Dog Service - Roan Mountain, TN

Producer - Devin Leech

Network Producer - Jayla Green

Social Media - Bob Page

Morris Animal Foundation, in partnership with Revive & Restore, is now accepting proposals for studies on genomic sequencing and/or biobanking for the protection and management of wildlife in kelp forest ecosystems.

Wild Genomes funding calls are topic-specific; this call is for proposals focused on species that live within kelp forests. From fish, to invertebrates, sea birds, marine mammals and kelp, all species belonging to kelp ecosystems qualify. Proposals should describe a conservation-oriented effort that will benefit substantially from genomic sequencing and biobanking.

“Critical wildlife species in key ecosystems like kelp forests face myriad threats due to habitat degradation and climate change,” said Dr. Kathy Tietje, Vice President of Scientific Operations at Morris Animal Foundation. “The Wild Genomes program in partnership with Revive & Restore aims to place innovative conservation tools into the hands of wildlife managers, with the goal of achieving measurable and significant improvement for the health and welfare of wild species around the world.”

Wild Genomes is designed to accelerate the genomic sequencing and biobanking of species with a clear conservation need. Potential projects will be evaluated according to timeliness and urgency (e.g., at-risk species), the ecological role of the targeted species (e.g., keystone species), the species’ potential role in providing ecosystem services, and the potential impact of the project.

Applications for the Kelp Forest Ecosystems topic are due December 16, 2022, at 5:00 p.m. ET. 

Interested researchers should apply at wildgenomes.aibs-scores.org and can learn more at Revive & Restore. All proposals submitted in response to this RFP will undergo administrative and scientific review by a Scientific Advisory Board. Additional information, including award types and funding levels, can be found at Morris Animal Foundation Apply for a Grant.

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After nearly a year in transit, NASA's experimental Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission, which sought to answer the questions, "Could you potentially shove a asteroid off its planet-killing trajectory by hitting it with a specially designed satellite? How about several?" has successfully collided with the Dimorphos asteroid. Results and data from the collision are still coming in but NASA ground control confirms that the DART impact vehicle has intercepted the target asteroid. Yes, granted, Dimorphos is roughly the size of an American football stadium but space is both very large and very dark, and both asteroid and spacecraft were moving quite fast at the time.

"It's been a successful completion of the first part of the world's first planetary defense test," NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said after the impact. "I believe it's going to teach us how one day to protect our own planet from an incoming asteroid. We are showing that planetary defense is a global endeavor and it is very possible to save our planet."

NASA launched the DART mission in November, 2021 in an effort to explore the use of defensive satellites as a means of planetary defense against Near Earth Objects. The vending machine-sized DART impactor vehicle was travelling at roughly 14,000 MPH when it fatally crossed Dimorphos' path nearly 68 million miles away from Earth. 

Whether future iterations of a planetary defense system brimming with satellites willing to go all June Bug vs Chrysler Windshield against true planet-killer asteroids remains to be seen. Dimorphos itself is the smaller of a pair of gravitationally-entangled asteroids — its parent rock is more than five times as large — but both are dwarfed by the space rock that hit Earth 66 million years ago, wiping out 75 percent of multicellular life on the planet while gouging out the Gulf of Mexico. 

The DART team will likely be poring over the data generated by both the impactor and cameras released before the spacecraft made its final approach for days to come. However the team will consider shortening the orbital track of Dimorphos around Didymos by 10 minutes an ideal outcome, though any change of at least 73 seconds will still be hailed as a rousing success. The team will have to observe Dimorphos' orbit for half a day to confirm their success, as the moonlet needs nearly 12 hours to complete a circuit around Didymos.

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No need to worry if a black cat crosses your path – it’s twice as likely to bring you good luck as bad luck, new research suggests. According to a recent survey of 2,000 American cat owners only 21% believe that black cats bring bad luck, while twice as many (41%) associate them with good luck instead. But at least one pop culture stereotype does hold true – black cats really do love to talk.

In fact, half of black cat caretakers described their pet as “extremely vocal” (48%), compared to only one third (36%) of the overall panel. They were also considered just as “affectionate” (63%) and “curious” (66%) as the average cat as well.

Conducted by OnePoll and ACANA® pet food in advance of National Black Cat Day (October 27), the survey also looked for patterns and similarities not just in cat behavior, but among their owners as well.   Contrary to common stereotypes, black cat owners don’t favor the actual color black more than everyone else, although they were noticeably less likely to cite white as a favorite color (28% vs 32%).

Where their own personalities were concerned, black cat owners believed themselves to be more “extremely shy” (40% vs 24%), “extremely introverted” (32% vs 21%) and “extremely quirky” (25% vs. 18%) than others polled.  Speaking of “quirky,” black cat owners were just a bit more credulous of the supernatural, including ghosts (61% vs 59%), cryptids (48% vs 43%) and aliens (50% vs 48%).

Least surprisingly of all, respondents were even more likely to list Halloween as a favorite holiday if they owned a black cat (25% vs 21%) – although Christmas (32%) and Thanksgiving (28%) still took first and second place respectively.

“Portrayals in movies and unfounded stereotypes and superstitions have not always shed a positive light on black cats,” said Billy Frey, Director of Marketing for ACANA. “ However, with a few precautions — such as keeping them indoors in the evenings, especially around Halloween where their natural camouflage to trick-or-treaters can put them at risk — cat lovers agree that black cats make wonderful lifelong pets.” With that in mind, it’s no wonder black cat owners are still more likely to keep their cats as indoor-only pets (37% vs 27%).

Regardless of fur color, 76% of cat owners said their feline friend has vastly improved their life, and 77% consider their cat to be as important as any family member.  “The truth is, while a cat’s appearance may contribute to certain stereotypes, it has no bearing on the impact they have on their human counterparts,” added Frey. “Cat lovers know that a warm home and proper care and nutrition will yield unconditional love and companionship from cats of all shapes, sizes and colors.”

MOST POPULAR CAT COLORS

  1. Solid white - 32%
  2. Tabby - 14%
  3. Tuxedo (black and white) - 13%
  4. Solid black - 10%
  5. Harlequin (mostly white) - 10%
  6. Orange - 7%
  7. Calico/tortoiseshell - 9%
  8. Blue/gray - 4%

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There's a new champion brown bear in Alaska's Katmai National Park & Preserve.

After an online cheating scandal disrupted the semifinals, a winner was announced Tuesday night, October 11, in the park's annual Fat Bear Week contest.

Bear 747 collected the most votes, triumphing over his worthy challenger 901.

The Twitter announcement excitedly announced: "THIS 747 IS CLEARED FOR LANDING. Introducing your 2022 Fat Bear Week champion."

This is not 747's first big win. He also took the title in 2020.

Few bears ever reach 747's girth, according to his online profile on Explore.org, the organization that runs the contest. It says he's one of the biggest brown bears on Earth, possibly weighing as much as 1,400 pounds (635 kg). He's been working hard at fattening up: he fished at the park's Brooks Falls nearly every day from late June to mid-September.

Some bears might resort to aggression to exert dominance. Not so much for this big bear. "747 typically keeps his status by sheer size alone," his profile says.

"He shows that skill and size influence success in the bear world."

Runner-up Bear 901 was first identified as a 2.5-year-old in 2018. According to her online profile, "she fishes throughout Brooks River and sometimes is keen to defend her fishing spots from other bears. As a young adult in 2022, she continued to refine her fishing and social skills.

"This is a lifelong process for brown bears, but it is particularly important for young adult females. Bear 901 may soon experience a new challenge: raising cubs."

It's crucial for pregnant female bears to pack on ample body fat to support survival in hibernation and to give birth to healthy cubs.

This all might have been a different story if officials hadn't detected the vote tampering. "A Fat Bear Week scandal for the ages. Someone stuffed the ballot box!," Explore.org said on Twitter.

Officials got suspicious when 747's semifinal opponent, 435 Holly, roared back from trailing by 6,000 votes in just a couple of hours, Explore.org's Candice Rusch told CNN Travel via email.

"While not unheard of, it is very uncommon for a bear to come back late in the day like that. We ended up finding just over 9,000 spam votes," Rusch said. There were some spam votes for 747 as well, "maybe to throw us off?" Explore.org added a captcha feature to the poll, Rusch said.

The fake votes were discarded, and previous days' votes were reviewed. In the end, 747 prevailed over 435 Holly.

The annual contest is "a way to celebrate the resilience, adaptability and strength of Katmai's brown bears," Katmai said last week on its website.

Each year, brown bears congregate on the salmon-packed Brooks River before hibernating for the winter. The live cam from the river is a popular online feature.

All 12 heavyweights in the 2022 contest had been in training for the big event since emerging from hibernation, foraging on all the salmon and other food nature provides at this park in coastal southwest Alaska.

Explore.org provided colorful bios and informative before/after photos of the adorable (but nevertheless formidable) brown bear contestants on its website.

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Melissa Paradise, 43, of West Barnstable, Massachusetts was sentenced on June 15, 2022, in federal court in Boston for stealing hydrocodone—an opioid and Schedule II controlled substance—from the veterinary clinic she was employed at.

She was sentenced by US District Court Judge Richard G. Stearns to time served (about 1 day in prison) and 1 year of supervised release. According to a US Department of Justice news release,1 on February 10, 2022, Paradise pleaded guilty to 6 counts of obtaining a controlled substance using a registration number allotted to another individual and 8 counts of obtaining a controlled substance by misrepresentation, fraud, forgery, deception, and subterfuge.

Investigators were suspicious of an abnormally large amount of hydrocodone being ordered by that animal hospital in late 2018 and 2019.1 Therefore, in June 2019, they conducted an audit and Paradise was found as in charge of managing record keeping surrounding prescriptions.

When Paradise entered the office on the day of the audit she confessed to investigators that she used the DEA registration number assigned to a veterinarian in the clinic without the veterinarian’s knowledge or consent to order controlled substances which she then stole for personal use. Additionally, she admitted she forged another veterinarian’s signature on other prescription documents and used the drugs for herself.

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Long-term daily use of cannabidiol (CBD) appears to be “well tolerated” in healthy canines.

Mars Petcare has published the results of a six-month long, placebo-controlled, and blinded study, exploring the safety of daily CBD use in dogs.

The aim of the research, which was carried out by the Waltham Petcare Science Institute, was two-fold:

  • To demonstrate tolerance of a once-daily oral dose (4 mg/kg of body weight) well characterized, broad-spectrum THC-free CBD distillate over a six-month period to healthy adult dogs.
  • To quantify the level of CBD in the dogs’ fasted plasma, urine, and feces over the same period.

Participants of the 40-dog study included 17 Labrador retrievers, 15 Norfolk terriers, and eight beagles, all of which were clinically healthy.

For the study’s duration, researchers assessed a broad range of health measures, including biochemistry, hematology, and urinalysis. Participating canines also received monthly veterinary examinations, twice-daily well-being observations, and a daily quality-of-life survey. These measures were taken before the study began, then after two, four, 10, 18, and 26 weeks of CBD feeding, followed by four weeks of washout. CBD concentrations were measured at the same intervals in plasma, feces, and urine.

The findings, researchers say, provide evidence a once-daily oral dose of this measure is well tolerated in clinically healthy dogs for a duration of six months.

“I’m heartened to see this study on the safety of CBD for dog health,” says the company’s chief medical officer, Jennifer Welser, DVM, DACVO. “We continue to receive questions from pet owners on whether it’s safe to give their pets CBD. We hope, with continued research, to be able to provide science-based guidance our clients expect and rely on.”

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Helping veterinary professionals make early diagnosis of a deadly disease seen in cats and kittens is the goal of new resource, published jointly by the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) and the EveryCat Health Foundation.

The 2022 AAFP/EveryCat Feline Infectious Peritonitis Diagnosis Guidelines detail characteristics and pathogenesis of feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), a fatal but difficult-to-detect disease caused by feline coronavirus (FCoV).

The user-friendly resource offers numerous diagnostic factors to understand when testing for FIP, along with clear clinical images, diagrams, and tables to help the reader better understand and build a case for FIP. It also includes an extensive supplemental library of videos, figures, instructions, and a printable health questionnaire.

“First recognized more than 50 years ago, feline infectious peritonitis has been one of the most important infectious diseases and causes of death in cats, especially affecting cats younger than two years old,” says task force cochair, Vicki Thayer, DVM, DABVP (feline). “FIP can be challenging to diagnose in some cases and is often considered an enigma by the veterinary profession. Today, diagnosis relies upon evidence from signalment, history, physical examination findings, and diagnostic testing.”

FIP is a viral disease which can affect any organ in the body and is fatal when untreated.

“These guidelines were written with the intent of providing the most current knowledge available in one comprehensive format combined with extensive supplemental resources all in one location,” says task force cochair, Susan Gogolski, DVM, PMP, DABVP (canine/feline). “[This] will be an invaluable resource to veterinary teams around the world as a clinician builds the index of suspicion of FIP, brick by brick.”

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On Oct. 7, The Donkey Sanctuary announced the appointment of Marianne Steele as the charity’s new permanent chief executive following a thorough, rigorous, and competitive global search.

Marianne joined the charity in 2010 as director of fundraising and communications, where she oversaw a period of rapid growth.

More recently, she stepped into the role of acting CEO, successfully steering the charity away from any negative impact of the COVID pandemic while moving forward to develop a new five-year organizational strategy.

Paul Lunn, BVSc, MS, PhD, MRCVS, Dipl. ACVIM, chair of trustees, said, “I am confident that, in Marianne, we have found an outstanding leader who is the right match for our charity.

“Her passion, commitment, and vision for The Donkey Sanctuary won through and, I believe, under her guidance, we can move forward with a clear sense of purpose.”

With a brief to launch the charity’s new organizational strategy early next year, Marianne added, “I am delighted to lead The Donkey Sanctuary on the next stage of its journey.

“For five decades the charity has been a powerful and enduring force for good, driven by an extraordinary heritage of scientific and veterinary excellence to make the world a better place for both donkeys and the communities who depend on them.

“It’s a privilege to lead our cause and to serve the phenomenal staff, volunteers, and partners who help deliver it.”

The Donkey Sanctuary is the world’s largest equine welfare charity. Our vision is a world where donkeys and mules live free from suffering and their contribution to humanity is fully valued. We run 10 sanctuaries around the UK and Europe, giving lifelong care to more than 7,000 donkeys and mules. Our hospital treats sick donkeys and trains veterinarians nationwide and worldwide. Our donkey-facilitated learning program helps vulnerable children and adults develop life skills by connecting with donkeys on an emotional and physical level. The charity operates programs worldwide for animals working in agriculture, industry, transportation, and meat and skin production.

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Q: My horse came in from the field with what appears to be a puncture near his fetlock joint. His ankle is puffy and I can’t tell how deep the wound is, or if it goes into the joint. He does sometimes swell up over small scrapes. My veterinarian is coming to look at him tonight, but what should I do until then? Should I give him any medications, cold hose it, wrap it, or something else?

A:  First, it’s great that you have already contacted your veterinarian. Wounds near joints should always be treated as emergencies. Joints comprise smooth cartilage that covers the bony surfaces, a thick capsule that surrounds the joint, and viscous synovial fluid that lubricates the joint as it moves. If the joint capsule is penetrated, bacteria are introduced into the joint. When a joint becomes infected, it is imperative to initiate treatment quickly. Otherwise, the cartilage surfaces sustain long-term damage and severe arthritis will develop.

When your veterinarian arrives, he or she will perform an exam to determine the depth and direction of the puncture wound. Your veterinarian’s strong working knowledge of anatomy helps him or her determine the risk of joint involvement. Based on the exam, he or she will decide if further diagnostics, such as sampling the synovial fluid, are warranted.

While it is critical to rule out joint involvement, in many cases swelling seen around a wound is due to cellulitis—an infection of the deep layers of the skin. Cellulitis still requires prompt medical attention but has a much better prognosis than an infected joint. Additionally, we all know horses can choose some rather creative ways of injuring themselves, so some of the swelling might be due to trauma associated with the injury.

There are a few things you can do while you are waiting to see your vet. You can gently clean the area around the wound with soap and water. Betadine scrub is great to have on hand for these situations. Then you can apply an antiseptic ointment such as silver sulfadiazine cream, cover the wound with a nonstick pad, and apply a standing bandage. The horse should be left in a stall until the vet can examine him. Your proactive care will help your horse have the best possible outcome.

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Prolonged use of phenylbutazone, commonly known as “bute,” causes equine glandular gastric disease (EGGD), one of the two manifestations of equine gastric ulcer syndrome. From a traditional medicine standpoint, research suggests that licorice, Glycyrrhiza glabra, has anti-ulcer properties. One study supports this contention, showing that equids offered licorice had a reduced severity of phenylbutazone-induced gastric ulcers.*

In that study, 12 donkeys were divided into three equal groups. One group served as untreated controls, a second group was treated with phenylbutazone at a dose of 4.4 mg/kg by mouth twice daily, and a third group received phenylbutazone as well as 17.6 mg of Glycyrrhiza glabra root extract (GGRE) by mouth once daily. All animals were treated for seven days.

After seven days, severe EGGD lesions were observed via endoscopy in the stomachs of all donkeys included in the phenylbutazone group. In contrast, only mild changes in the stomach wall were seen in the donkeys treated with both phenylbutazone and GGRE.

The research team therefore concluded, “GGRE was able to reduce the severity of EGGD caused by phenylbutazone in donkeys.” Further, GGRE appeared safe during the seven-day study period as no side effects attributable to the licorice product were noted.

According to the study, Glycyrrhiza glabra has been used in traditional medicine for over 4,000 years and is currently used to treat peptic ulcer disease in people. Potential mechanisms of action of GGRE include:

  • Increased blood supply to the lining of the stomach, called the mucosa;
  • Stimulation of mucosal cell proliferation (growth);
  • Reduced mucosal cell exfoliation;
  • Increased prostaglandin-2 levels that protect the gastric mucosa from injury; and
  • Increased antioxidant properties that protect the gastric mucosa.

“Research-proven recommendations for managing and preventing EGGD in horses include decreasing exercise and stress, potentially limiting grain intake, increasing pasture turnout, and providing drugs such as omeprazole with or without sucralfate or misoprostol,” explained Catherine Whitehouse, M.S., a nutrition advisor for Kentucky Equine Research.** Australian horse owners should look for Sucralox for gastric and intestinal support.

She added, “The overall health of the gastrointestinal tract can also be supported by one of the research-proven digestive supplements offered by Kentucky Equine Research.”

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Two animal activists—Amy Soranno and Nick Schafer—were each sentenced to 30 days in jail. Soranno and Schafer, who were convicted at trial in July of one count of break-and-enter and mischief for their role in exposing animal cruelty at Excelsior Hog Farm, will begin their sentence on October 21 at the Okanagan Corrections Centre. Both were also sentenced to a year probation and a prohibition on making contact with Excelsior, its owners, or any animal farm during this period.

Soranno and Schafer are appealing their conviction and sentence. Their legal counsel will also be filing an application for bail pending appeal. If the bail application is granted by the BC Court of Appeal, Soranno and Schafer may have their sentence deferred until after the appeal is heard.

Soranno and Schafer were arrested in 2019 along with Roy Sasano and Geoff Regier, who together are known as the Excelsior 4. All four were arrested in 2019 following a mass protest at the Abbotsford hog farm and charged with more than 20 indictable offences. All of Regier's charges were dropped after a pretrial hearing in May, and Sasano was acquitted at trial.

During the trial, BC Supreme Court Justice Frits Verhoeven blocked the defence from showing the jury any of the video footage of animal cruelty at Excelsior, including the footage the activists were accused of exposing. Justice Verhoeven also prevented the defence from arguing the hog farm had engaged in unlawful animal abuse, the reason for their acts civil disobedience.

During the sentencing hearing in August—normally a time when defendants can make statements to the court—Justice Verhoeven refused to allow Soranno to talk about the animals inside the hog farm or to make a statement explaining why she engaged in civil disobedience that day. The statement that Soranno was prevented from making in court can be read here: https://excelsior4.org/amystatement.

"This case shows in stark terms the utter failure of the animal agriculture industry and law enforcement to protect farmed animals from abuse," said acquitted Excelsior 4 defendant Roy Sasano. "The Crown is more interested in criminalizing and jailing nonviolent activists than holding animal abusers accountable." Excelsior Hog Farm has never had to answer for its well-documented criminal animal cruelty.

The Excelsior 4 case is rife with official negligence and misconduct. The Abbotsford police lost important video evidence and destroyed multiple cameras found inside the hog farm, which formed the basis of the break-and-enter charges. Instead of recommending charges against Excelsior after being provided ample video evidence of animal cruelty, the BCSPCA turned Regier—a whistleblower—over to police, in violation of its confidentiality policy. And, the Crown withheld key evidence until the trial, putting the defence at a considerable disadvantage.

Soon after Soranno and Schafer were sentenced, dozens of supporters staged a peaceful protest at Excelsior Hog Farm in an effort to keep attention on the animal cruelty that activists argue should have been the focus of this case. "With nonviolent activists being sent to jail for exposing animal cruelty, the priorities of government and industry are clear," said Zoe Peled, a supporter of the Excelsior 4. "The system is designed to protect the animal agriculture industry and let animal farms like Excelsior continue their abusive practices with impunity. We’re here to say, 'Enough is enough!'"

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