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Talkin' Pets News

August 5, 2023

Host - Jon Patch

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

Producer - Kayla Cavanaugh

Network Producer - Ben Boquist

Social Media - Bob Page

Special Guest - Micah Halpern, Founder, Owner and principal Scientist of GenSol will join Talkin' Pets at 630pm ET to discuss their genetic testing for dogs with one special give away to a lucky listener.

Scientists have revived a worm that was frozen 46,000 years ago — at a time when woolly mammoths, sabre-toothed tigers and giant elks still roamed the Earth.

The roundworm, of a previously unknown species, survived 40 meters (131.2 feet) below the surface in the Siberian permafrost in a dormant state known as cryptobiosis, according to Teymuras Kurzchalia, professor emeritus at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden and one of the scientists involved in the research.

Organisms in a cryptobiotic state can endure the complete absence of water or oxygen and withstand high temperatures, as well as freezing or extremely salty conditions. They remain in a state “between death and life,” in which their metabolic rates decrease to an undetectable level, Kurzchalia explained.  “One can halt life and then start it from the beginning. This a major finding,” he said, adding that other organisms previously revived from this state had survived for decades rather than millennia.

Five years ago, scientists from the Institute of Physicochemical and Biological Problems in Soil Science in Russia found two roundworm species in the Siberian permafrost.  One of the researchers, Anastasia Shatilovich, revived two of the worms at the institute by simply rehydrating them with water, before taking around 100 worms to labs in Germany for further analysis, transporting them in her pocket.

After thawing the worms, the scientists used radiocarbon analysis of the plant material in the sample to establish that the deposits had not been thawed since between 45,839 and 47,769 years ago.

But still, they didn’t know whether the worm was a known species. Eventually, genetic analysis conducted by scientists in Dresden and Cologne showed that these worms belonged to a novel species, which researchers named Panagrolaimus kolymaenis.

Researchers also found that the P. kolymaenis shared with C. elegans — another organism often used in scientific studies — “a molecular toolkit” that could allow it to survive cryptobiosis. Both organisms produce a sugar called trehalose, possibly enabling them to endure freezing and dehydration.

“To see that the same biochemical pathway is used in a species which is 200, 300 million years away, that’s really striking,” said Philipp Schiffer, research group leader of the Institute of Zoology at the University of Cologne and one of the scientists involved in the study. “It means that some processes in evolution are deeply conserved.”

And, Schiffer added, there are other actionable insights which can be gleaned by studying these organisms.  “By looking at and analyzing these animals, we can maybe inform conservation biology, or maybe even develop efforts to protect other species, or at least learn what to do to protect them in these extreme conditions that we have now,” he told CNN.

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Police described a heartbreaking scene when they arrived at a Lake Station gas station, with a report that 19 German shepherds became overheated while being transported to a training facility.

Ten of them died.

The Humane Society of Hobart Indiana was called to the scene and shot video.

Police said the driver, who picked the dogs up from a flight at O'Hare airport and was bound for a training facility in Michigan City, was unaware that the air conditioning in the cargo area of the truck had failed in the sweltering heat.

Humane society officials said when they arrived to help, they were turned away.

"We had cooling vans and animal care and control vehicles ready to transport, and, because we were asking for that paperwork, it seemed to make the owner mad, and he said he would not allow us to help," said Jenny Webber, with the Hobart Humane Society.

Lake Station police would not comment, but posted a narrative of the situation on Facebook, calling it a freak event and not a matter of neglect on the part of the truck's driver.

They went on to write the scene was chaotic, and took an emotional toll on all that were involved in trying to save as many canines as possible.

The humane society said they believe the dogs were in route to a Michigan trainer to become police dogs.

"This is truly a sad day for all of us," Webber said.

Five of the German shepherds being transported remain hospitalized. The humane society is taking custody of them, and said the owner is welcome to come pick them up if he can show the proper paperwork.

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The American Kennel Club (AKC®), a not-for-profit organization, the world’s largest purebred dog registry and leading advocate for dogs, is pleased to announce the formation of the AKC Purebred Preservation Bank, a 501 C3, not-for-profit canine genetic material repository primarily focused on frozen semen.

The mission of the AKC Purebred Preservation Bank (AKCPPB) is to ensure the viability of purebred dogs both now and in the future, particularly in low population breeds. While coordinating efforts with non-profit breed-specific clubs, the AKCPPB will educate breeders, clubs, and the public about the importance of safeguarding frozen semen and protecting purebred dog breeds for future decades.

The project began in 2021, with the recommendation from AKC’s President and CEO Dennis B. Sprung that AKC explore establishing a frozen semen program which would increase gene pools, ensure saving of quality producers, and make it easy for each Parent Club to take this step for their breed. There is no cost to the owner/donor or Parent Club to donate genetic material.

“The preservation of purebred dogs is at the core of the AKC’s mission,” said Dr. Charles Garvin, Chairman of the AKCPPB. “Preserving the genetic materials of our dogs, via frozen semen, will undoubtedly prove valuable for breed preservation, reducing the risk of extinction in breeds with lower popularity and allow us to do the important work of improving our breeds. The AKC is pleased to offer this valuable service and look forward to the many ways it will enhance the legacy of our beloved breeds.”

Preservation of genetic material is not just for the breeds with lower-than-average levels of breeding activity. Any breed could be susceptible to genetic bottlenecks or difficulties as the discovery of new diseases emerges or other crises arise. Storing diverse genetic material could address unknown future health concerns and rejuvenate breeding programs.

To learn more about the AKCPPB, please visit: https://akcppb.org

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An 8-year-old camper survived being attacked by a cougar at Washington's Olympic National Park on last Saturday evening, officials said. 

The attack happened around 6:30 p.m. local time at Lake Angeles, the National Park Service said. The cougar "casually abandoned its attack" after the child's mother yelled at the animal, leaving the 8-year-old with minor injuries, according to the National Park Service. 

All other campers in the area were evacuated after the attack and access to the area was shut down "due to the extreme nature of this incident," Olympic National Park wildlife biologist Tom Kay said in a statement.

Law enforcement and wildlife personnel went into the park early Sunday morning to find the cougar, authorities said. The cougar will be euthanized and removed from the park for a necropsy if it's located. 

"This may provide clues as to why the animal attacked since cougars are rarely seen and attacks on humans are extraordinarily rare," the National Park Service said.

Since 1924, state authorities have recorded around two dozen cougar-human encounters that resulted in a documented injury, including a deadly attack in 2018, according to the state Department of Fish and Wildlife. A 9-year-old girl survived a cougar attack in Washington last year.

All of Olympic National Park is considered cougar territory. Visitors to the park are advised not to hike or jog solo. Adults should keep children within sight and pets should be left at home. 

Park visitors who spot a cougar should not run because it may trigger the animal's attack instinct. Experts advise that people should instead group together to appear as large as possible and make lots of noise/

"The idea is to convince the cougar that you are not prey, but a potential danger," according to state Department of Fish and Wildlife guidelines.

Cougars are the largest members of the cat family found in Washington, with adult males weighing an average of 140 pounds. Adult females rarely weigh more than 110 pounds. They are most active from dusk until dawn.

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Coral researchers have been warning it would happen, and now the bleaching has begun on South Florida reefs.

“It just looks horrific, it looks like this could be the worst bleaching event ever to hit Florida,” said Bill Precht, formerly of NOAA and a veteran coral scientist.

Researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration documented extensive coral bleaching on reefs in the Florida Keys a few days ago. Bleaching is a stress response that can be caused by disease, pollution, or high water temperatures.

Precht says it’s often, but not always, fatal to the coral.

We spoke to him on July 18, and at the time, he warned that bleaching caused by high sea temperatures was imminent, but didn’t expect to see it for a few more weeks. 

“So what’s changed is the temperatures have increased as they were expected to but they’ve been so high that the corals reacted faster than we imagined,” Precht said.

“This is the earliest and the strongest temperature event that we’ve seen here, so there’s no script for this, we have not seen anything like this,” said Sarah Fangman, the superintendent of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, which covers more than 3,000 square miles.

“Obviously in some places, it is very concerning but we are already seeing mortality which is very early for this kind of temperature stress,” Fangman said. “Earlier and faster mortality.”

The bleaching is moving from the Keys north toward Miami-Dade and Broward. Fangman says it’s not everywhere. She saw normal reefs on a dive Sunday, and there’s an effort ongoing by NOAA, the University of Miami, and non-profit groups such as the Coral Restoration Foundation to rescue corals by moving them to cooler waters.

“Obviously we’re not able to move the whole reef into deeper, cooler water but we are actively saving a lot of corals, and those are the future, those are the rootstock that will become the reefs of our future,” Fangman said.

But for the near future, Precht says the outlook is grim because the forecast calls for continued high ocean temperatures. “We’re looking at potentially losing greater than 50% of our corals and maybe as much as 100% of our corals at some sites,” Precht warned.

“We can’t overstate how important these reefs are and why it is so critical that we do everything we can to help protect them,” Fangman said.

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Morris Animal Foundation celebrates dogs everywhere this month with its annual National Dog Day campaign, aimed at raising funds for vital canine health studies.

In addition, gifts will be matched up to $75,000 thanks to a generous donation from the Golden Retriever Foundation®.

“National Dog Day is an occasion I look forward to each year,” said Ryan Welch, Morris Animal Foundation Chief Development Officer. “It serves as a reminder of the immeasurable joy dogs bring to our lives. I am thrilled about the incredible research we can support and the potential breakthroughs in canine health we can achieve with the unwavering generosity and support of our donors.”

To further raise awareness and funds for canine health research, a virtual walk will take place on National Dog Day, Aug. 26.

Morris Animal Foundation has been actively funding canine health studies since its establishment in 1948. Ongoing studies include:

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The Delaware Riverkeeper Network filed a Petition with the U.S. Department of Commerce and the National Marine Fisheries Service urging that the Delaware River population of Atlantic Sturgeon be recognized as its own Distinct Population Segment (DPS) pursuant to the federal Endangered Species Act.  According to the organization, this recognition will provide increased protections essential for preventing the genetically unique population known to only exist in the Delaware River, from going extinct.

When the Atlantic Sturgeon of the Delaware River were listed as endangered in 2012, along with all other populations nationwide save for one that was identified as threatened, they were identified as being a part of a DPS called the New York Bight. The New York Bight DPS includes both the Delaware River population of Atlantic sturgeon, as well as those that inhabit the Hudson River.  The Delaware Riverkeeper Network petition demonstrates that combining the Delaware River and Hudson River populations into a single DPS distorts the status and recovery of the Delaware River sturgeon which are at perilously low levels.
According to the Maya van Rossum, Leader of the Delaware Riverkeeper Network:

  • "The Delaware River population of Atlantic Sturgeon has been identified by scientific study as being genetically unique. And while estimates placed the population size at 180,000 adult females in the 1890s, recent estimates place the annual spawning population at less than 250 spawning adults, that includes both males and females. This represents at least a 1,000-fold decrease in the Delaware River population.  
  • The misguided decision to lump the genetically unique and independent populations from the Hudson and the Delaware Rivers into a single DPS stands as a major barrier to recovery for the dwindling Delaware River population.
  • The Hudson River’s population of Atlantic sturgeon is estimated to be among the largest remaining U.S. populations and has seen important signs of recovery in the last decade.  By contrast, the Delaware River population is among the most imperiled in the world.  Combining the two rivers into a single DPS and management unit undermines the ability of all government agencies to protect and recover both populations, and most certainly compromises the ability to properly reflect upon, and protect, the Delaware River population.
  • A key consequence of the decision to lump the Hudson River and Delaware River populations into a single DPS is that permitting decisions and consultation under the Endangered Species Act allow for expansion of the unsustainable 'take' and increased mortality of Delaware River sturgeon because it is nearly impossible to trigger a 'jeopardy' decision when the Hudson River population is expanding. Even if the Delaware River population were forecast to go extinct, the DPS can be said to remain viable because of the stronger Hudson River population.
  • Time is running out for the Atlantic Sturgeon of the Delaware River. If our government agencies do not step up and put in place critical protections from ongoing and increasing river pollution, fossil fuels, dredging, proposed port projects, and the new political pressure for LNG exports that science shows will and are inflicting devastating harm, then the Delaware River’s Atlantic Sturgeon population could be lost from this earth in our lifetime. Once they are lost we can never get them back” 

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Louisville, Colorado – Five baby bobcats have been rescued after they were orphaned. According to the Greenwood Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, the local police received a call from a homeowner who reported the kittens hanging around their backyard; a lactating female Bobcat was found deceased on the road nearby.

Animal Control Officer Kenney, and the homeowner who reported the kittens to the authorities, captured the first kitten after a live trap was set. The following day, two more kittens were captured, and a fourth was caught after someone saw him “shaking” in a tree. The agency said:

A caring citizen noticed the baby in the tree, clinging to the bark and shaking. He was likely beginning to weaken after days without his mother.

It is with great satisfaction that we announce the final Bobcat kitten was captured and brought to Greenwood! Thanks to tips from the community and efforts from Officer Kenney of Louisville Animal Control, this little one was reunited with her siblings.

The first kitten captured passed away. The agency explained:

Sadly, despite receiving the best nutrition and medical care possible, the first kitten that came to us passed away overnight. However, she was the runt of the litter and much lighter than her littermates. We suspect that there may have been some underlying health issues that contributed to her rapid and unexpected decline.

The surviving kittens will be vetted and rehabilitated, with the ultimate goal to return them to the wild. The wildlife agency has requested that people do NOT call them for updates about the kittens, writing:

***We will update everyone on the Bobcats’ progress. Please do not call the Center for updates. Our emergency lines need to remain open for calls about animals in need. Thank you!***

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Riverside, CA – Efforts are underway to help save the life of a mother left at a busy California animal shelter after a rescue group pulled her puppies. An advocate writes of the danger this dog is in:

I don’t have tears anymore but ANGER????A rescue pulled her puppies and left Mama #A1748438 TO DIE! IN THE EUTH ROOM so it’s a long shot but we did it in the past !!!

Shelter notes reveal that the young dog is named Gabby, and she is not even two years of age:

Animal ID: #A1748438 Gabby??
Gender: Female
Color: Brown and White
Breed: Alaskan Husky
Age: 1 year, 6 months old
Located At: Riverside Shelter
Kennel Substatus: MEDICAL
Comments: History of focal hair loss — resolving.

As of Tuesday morning, Gabby’s adoption profile is still active – which means there is still time to save her life.

Time is of the essence to save Gabby’s life.

ID#A1748438
Located At: Riverside County Animal Control – Riverside Shelter
Description: I am a female, 48.30 lbs, brown and white Alaskan Husky mix.
Age: The shelter staff think I am about 1 year and 7 months old.
More Info: I have been at the shelter since Jul 03, 2023.

Location: Riverside County Animal Control – Riverside Shelter
Phone Number: (951) 358-7387
Address: 6851 Van Buren Boulevard
Jurupa Valley, CA 92509

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A zoo in China is facing a burning question from the internet: Is one of their bears actually a human in a bear suit?

The intrigue began when footage of Angela, a Malayan sun bear, standing on her hind legs at Hangzhou Zoo in the eastern province of Zhejiang spread on Douyin, a TikTok-style social media site, last month.

A video of a sun bear standing on her hind legs at a zoo in China had some viewers thinking the animal was actually a person in a bear costume.TODAY

Commenters speculated the animal was really a person in a bear suit due to its upright, human-like posture and folds of fur that resembled clothing. Another angle showed a bear appearing to wave to visitors. The videos have been viewed millions of times.

Hangzhou Zoo officials denied the allegations and insisted their bears are real.

"I promise it’s real," the zoo’s deputy director said on TODAY, according to an NBC News translation. "People are welcome to come see for themselves."

A sun bear stands in its enclosure at Hangzhou Zoo in Hangzhou, China. The zoo has denied the animal in the social media video is a human in a costume.

The zoo also issued a statement on its official social media account, written from the perspective of Angela.

"Some people think I stand like a human, and it seems that you don’t understand me that much," Hangzhou Zoo said. "Previously, some tourists thought that I was too tiny to be a bear. I have to emphasize again: I am a Malayan sun bear! Not a black bear! Not a dog! A sun bear!"

Experts also told NBC News the animal appeared to be a Malayan sun bear and not a person in costume.

"Sun bears could be very human-like," Wong Siew Te, a wildlife biologist and the founder of the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre in Malaysia who has been researching the animals for about 25 years, told NBC News. "They stand like humans and walk like humans." 

Ashleigh Marshall of the Chester Zoo described how Malayan sun bears are much smaller and slimmer than other bears, and have unique features like huge claws for climbing and skin folds.

"The extra skins are a really important adaptation for sun bears … so it’s actually to avoid predators," Marshall said on TODAY.

Still, people want to bear witness all the hype for themselves: Attendance at the zoo has jumped 30% due to people wanting to see Angela with their own eyes.

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Morris Animal Foundation announced a new call for research proposals focused on the health and overall welfare of domestic cats, including community and pet cats.

This request for proposals encompasses four award types: Established Investigator, Pilot Study, First Award and Fellowship Training. This call is exclusively for projects involving domestic or community cats. Proposals involving wild cat species will not be considered.

Interested researchers can find more information, including proposal documents, on the Foundation’s Grants page. The submission deadline for proposals is 4:59 p.m. ET, Oct. 11, 2023. 

Award categories are as follows: 

  • Established Investigator awards are designed to provide funding for research by individuals and teams with a previous record of research and publication.
  • First Award grants assist new faculty in establishing a successful research program.
  • Pilot Award grants provide funding for innovative ideas to accelerate discovery and advance Morris Animal Foundation’s mission.
  • Fellowship Training grants are designed to assist new investigators in launching a successful research career by providing salary support in a quality mentoring environment.

All applicants must convince the scientific and animal welfare reviewers that they clearly understand the health problem, possess sufficient expertise to conduct the study, can implement a scientifically sound approach, and consider the overall environmental impact of their research.  Visit www.morrisanimalfoundation.org

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A newly funded study will evaluate the potential of a cancer drug to control tumor growth and improve outcomes for dogs with histiocytic sarcoma, an aggressive and typically fatal canine cancer.

The multi-center clinical trial is being conducted at Michigan State University, University of Florida, University of Wisconsin and Virginia Tech, and funded by the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America through Morris Animal Foundation's Donor-Inspired Study program. Histiocytic sarcoma was first described in Bernese mountain dogs in the late 1970s but has since been noted in many other breeds.

“Histiocytic sarcoma is a devastating disease, and traditional chemotherapeutic drugs have shown limited success in improving treatment outcomes, especially with the disseminated form of the disease,” said Dr. Vilma Yuzbasiyan-Gurkan, Principal Investigator of the study and Professor of Microbiology, Molecular Genetics and Small Animal Clinical Sciences at Michigan State University. “Based on our studies of the molecular pathways driving tumor growth, we now have an opportunity to use a targeted approach in the treatment of this deadly cancer.”

According to Yuzbasiyan-Gurkan, the drug trametinib targets and inhibits the molecular pathway responsible for tumor growth. Extensive testing has demonstrated the drug’s effectiveness against canine histiocytic sarcoma cell lines and in mouse models replicating canine tumors, as well as its safety and tolerability in dogs.

“We are hopeful that the treatment will have a significant and positive impact on the affected dogs,” Yuzbasiyan-Gurkan said. “We are always guided by data and look forward to seeing what the study will show.”

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Waves are getting bigger and surf at least 13 feet (about 4 meters) tall is becoming more common off California’s coast as the planet warms, according to innovative new research that tracked the increasing height from historical data gathered over the past 90 years.

Oceanographer Peter Bromirski at Scripps Institution of Oceanography used the unusual method of analyzing seismic records dating back to 1931 to measure the change in wave height. When waves ricochet off the shore, they collide with incoming waves and cause a ripple of energy through the seafloor that can be picked up by seismographs designed to detect earthquakes. The greater the impact, the taller the wave is.

Until now, scientists relied on a network of buoys by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that collect data on wave height along U.S. coasts, but that data along the California coast only went back to 1980.

Bromirski gathered a team of undergraduate students to analyze daily seismic readings covering decades of winters. It was a slow, painstaking process that took years and involved digitizing drums of paper records. But he said it was important in learning how things have changed over nearly a century along California's coast.

They found that average winter wave heights have grown by as much as a foot since 1970, when global warming is believed to have begun accelerating. Swells at least 13 feet tall (about 4 meters) are also happening a lot more often, occurring at least twice as often between 1996 to 2016 than from 1949 to 1969.

Bromirski was also surprised to find extended periods of exceptionally low wave heights prior to about 1970 and none of those periods since.

“Erosion, coastal flooding, damage to coastal infrastructure is, you know, something that we’re seeing more frequently than in the past," Bromirski said. “And, you know, combined with sea level rise, bigger waves mean that is going to happen more often.”

The study, published Tuesday in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, adds to the evidence that climate change is causing massive shifts in the world’s oceans. Other studies have shown waves are not only getting taller but also more powerful.

As sea levels rise and storms intensify, bigger waves will cause more flooding in coastal communities, erode away beaches, trigger landslides and destabilize remaining bluffs, he said.

These issues are of particular concern along the California coast, where sea cliffs have already started crumbling and brought down homes in recent years. Because of sea level rise, projections at the end of the 21st century indicate even moderate waves might cause damage comparable to that of extreme weather events, according to the study.

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Antibiotics have been used in human and animal health since the early 20th Century. Since their introduction, inappropriate use and overprescription has led to antibiotic resistance.1 Antibiotic resistance can be transferred to humans from animals that have been treated with antibiotics, leading to outbreaks of dangerous infections. This has led to the FDA banning of most classes of antibiotics for use in livestock in 2019.2

The United States is the leading chicken producer in the world, and second only to China in chicken egg production. In a review of emerging issues in poultry farming, published in Poultry Science, the authors found that consumer awareness has led to the demand for chicken raised not only in an environmentally stable manner, but also in a way that promotes the animal’s welfare. This has led to the increase for more organic, cage-free poultry.2

Although chickens raised in these open-environment pastures have been deemed more ethical, they are also more susceptible to pathological bacterial contamination compared to conventional “factory farms.” This is because of the increased interaction with other chickens, and exposure to potential airborne pathogens. Since organic farms are not allowed to use antibiotics or synthetic chemicals or antimicrobials for therapeutic or preventative use, researchers are looking into other methods for preventing infections in chickens.2

Bacteriophages–viruses that only replicate in bacterial cells–are one of the most widely available methods of infection prevention against specific bacterial strains. Due to their specificity, they do not disturb the chicken’s natural microflora and can be administered via aerosols. Due to each bacteriophage’s specificity, the aerosol would need to contain a cocktail of different bacteriophages, this could lead to a larger increase in horizontal gene transfer.2

Vaccines are already used in protecting poultry from disease by preparing their immune defense mechanisms. However, like bacteriophages, vaccines are also highly specific and take significantly more time to develop and produce. While extremely successful at preventing disease, it is not a cost-effective method.2

The most promising option to date is using a substance called “synbiotics.” Synbiotics are defined as the combination of probiotics such as L casei and prebiotics found in food products like cacao and blueberries. Previous studies have shown that probiotics are more effective in producing their antimicrobial agents when in the presence of a prebiotic substance. Synbiotic preparations have also been shown to increase the population of beneficial bacteria in the gut microbiome.2

Synbiotics’ long-term effects are unknown, as are the best ways to deliver both the prebiotic and probiotic elements. While microencapsulation has proven moderately successful, more methods are in demand. Future studies on this method of microbial protection should investigate the mode of delivery that can ensure the survivability of probiotics while investigating the long-term effects of consistent synbiotic use.2

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Officials with the FDA are seeking feedback from the public on a report1 outlining a potential framework for establishing a public-private partnership (PPP) to collect and analyze antimicrobial use (AMU) data from food-producing animals. The report was prepared for the FDA by the Reagan-Udall Foundation and summarizes the work completed over a multi-year cooperative agreement funded by the FDA.2

Antimicrobials are pharmaceuticals that kill or curb the growth of microorganisms. This makes them critical tools for preventing and fighting diseases in both people and animals. However, antimicrobial resistance can occur which threatens public or animal health by making it difficult or impossible to treat the diseases caused by these microorganisms.3

According to the report, AMU is recognized as a growing global threat. The FDA does not currently have the authority to require end users to report AMU data.2 The FDA considers this a threat in need of immediate action in new product research and development and greater stewardship of antimicrobial use in human and animal health. The report states, “For the purpose of this effort, the definition of ‘antimicrobial use’ is the amount of antimicrobial prescribing, authorizing, administering, and delivering for administration in a defined animal species or population."1

The FDA is accepting public comments on the latest report through October 31, 2023. Although the FDA is interested in receiving comment on all aspects of the report, the agency is requesting additional information on the following:2

  • Cost estimates for external data partners to develop and sustain the collection of AMU data in animals, recognizing diversity of data sources across animal sectors.
  • Cost estimates for the setup and maintenance of the AMU data repository under the PPP framework that is described in the report.
  • Descriptions or suggestions on the type of organizations most appropriate to coordinate a national AMU data repository.
  • Descriptions or suggestions on how the Steering Committee should be structured and membership roles and responsibilities long-term.

To electronically submit comments to the docket, visit www.regulations.gov and type FDA-2022-N-0824 in the search box. The FDA expects to make more future announcements on this framework’s progress within the next calendar year and any future iterations of the framework will be shared for public comment before being finalized.

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At the 2023 American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM) forum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Fernanda Vieira Amorim da Costa, DVM, Msc, PhD, associate professor at The Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil, presented a poster entitled “A Restrospective Study of Venom Animals Accidents in Cats in South Brazil.”1 According to the Journal of Human Growth and Development,2 there are approximately 115,000 cases per year involving venomous animals poisoning humans, so to fill a gap, this research focused on venomous animals attacking companion animals, particularly cats.

There is a lack of reports of cats getting poisoned by venomous animals and though it is uncommon, it’s an important area of knowledge as these incidents can be fatal. The study’s objective was to retrospectively examine accidents with venom animals in cats in South Brazil from 2010 to 2020. There were 51 cases registered by the Rio Grande do Sul State Toxicology Information Center (CIT/RS) were included.1

It was revealed that there were 13 accidents with snakes (11 cases involving Bothrops and 2 cases involving the Micrurus genus); 13 accidents with centipedes; 9 cases with spiders (5 out of 9 caused by the genera Phoneutria) and (4 out of 9 caused by Loxosceles); 8 cases with insects of the order Hymenoptera; 4 involving bees (Apis mellifera), and 2 cases involving wasps (Polistes spp). In 2 cases out of 8, the insect species of the Hymenoptera order couldn’t be determined. The remaining accidents involved: frogs of Bufo genus (4 out of 51), scorpions (3 out of 51), and a moth of Hylesia genus (1 out of 51).1

In conclusion, though venomous animal accidents with cats occur less than those with humans and perhaps other pets, more research is needed in this area, especially regarding treatment.1 Typically, cats have physiological and behavioral differences that must be considered during emergency care for exposure to toxins.

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Inflammation is typically considered a negative process in horses, and therefore, some horse owners choose to feed their horses supplements to counteract this process, such as spirulina, an edible blue-green algae which is thought to have anti-inflammatory effects.

However, some level of inflammation is needed to help increase bone density, especially in young horses. Without proper bone density, horses are more prone to injuries and poor performance as they age, said Wendy Pearson, PhD, associate professor at the University of Guelph, in Ontario. Ultimately, inflammation is a normal process and necessary result of any activity that will help the horse adapt to future exercise, she said during her presentation at the Equine Science Society’s Symposium, held June 6-9 in Grapevine, Texas. “Increased nitric oxide (a result of inflammation) helps with tissue adaptation and is essential for mitochondrial (the energy source for the cell) function,” Pearson added.

Owners often use spirulina as a top-dressed nutritional supplement for horses due to its anti-inflammatory properties; however, researchers haven’t confirmed whether these types of supplements interfere with tissue’s ability to adapt to exercise, she added. Spirulina is known to decrease systemic inflammation and, therefore, might inhibit this desired inflammatory process.

Pearson and her team designed a study involving a cartilage explant model (in vitro, or in the lab) to simulate the effects of dynamic compression and hypoxia (reduced levels of oxygen in the blood), which would normally occur during exercise in horses and create an inflammatory response.

The researchers took cartilage explants from swine and stimulated them to behave arthritically by introducing lipopolysaccharides (large molecules that are bacterial toxins) and low oxygen to mimic the physiological changes of exercise such as inflammation. They then added the simulation digested product of spirulina, and cultured it for 72 hours until it stabilized. 

“Our results showed that spirulina had a possible protective effect on the structure of the cartilage,” said Pearson. “A complete analysis is still needed, and we have an in vivo study coming soon,” meaning the researchers are studying the supplement’s effect in live horses. The researchers expect that this top dressing application will also increase blood flow to the joint which is necessary for improved joint recovery.

For horse owners seeking natural ways to support their animals’ joint health, performance, and exercise recovery, this study points toward spirulina as a potential supplement option to help improve their horses’ soundness and career longevity.

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Radiographs are often just one part of a prepurchase examination when buying a horse, so how should equine veterinarians judge their significance when they do not match the clinical findings? And how do they advise the potential buyer?

“Horses can be unfairly penalized for radiographic findings, even if they don’t necessarily keep them from doing their job,” said Natasha Werpy, DVM, Dipl. ACVR, in her presentation at the inaugural American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation, held April 27-29, 2023, in Charleston, South Carolina. “However, if radiographs are not taken during the prepurchase exam, it means the buyer has missed an opportunity to gather more information about the horse—information that could play a role in their decision-making process.”

Many horses with radiographic abnormalities do not necessarily show clinical signs of lameness, and many can continue doing their job without problems, she added. Radiographs cannot always show a definitive source of pathology, and the practitioner must consider breed- or development-associated diseases.

“For example, many off-the-track Thoroughbreds have very successful second careers, but they also have a higher prevalence of dorsal spinous process impingement (also known as kissing spines),” said Werpy. “The message is starting to change; we understand that radiographic abnormalities (here) are not always associated with back pain.”

Including radiographs in the prepurchase exam can help veterinarians gather general information about the horse for the potential buyer. Horses with abnormalities will likely be more susceptible to environmental and management changes, said Werpy, increasing the risk to the buyer; having that information from radiographs might help the new owner support the horse through these changes. This information can also be used to treat the horse if an issue does arise after purchase.

Imaging after a recent purchase and finding abnormalities that could have been identified and discussed at the time of purchase can be very frustrating for new owners, cautioned Werpy. It is better to have that information at the time of purchase so an informed decision can be made.

A veterinarian’s ability to diagnose certain spinal abnormalities in horses via radiographs is limited, she added, and it can be challenging when the findings in the images do not match the clinical signs in prepurchase exams. Standardizing head and neck position for radiographs can help them capture accurate images and, often, changing the horse’s position can be helpful for detecting abnormalities.

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Read 119 times Last modified on Thursday, 03 August 2023 22:56
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