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Talkin' Pets News April 3, 2021 Host - Jon Patch Co-Host - Jasmine the Dog Trainer - Tampa, Bay, Florida Producer - Matt Matera Network Producer - Darian Sims Social Media Adviser - Bob Page Special Guest - On April 3, 2021 at 635pm ET Cheryl Nelson, Lifestyle Expert and Cat Mom will join Jon & Talkin' Pets to discuss the rise of pet adoptions and simple tips for both first-time and experienced pet parents
There’s a new Cadbury Bunny for 2021, and it’s not like any bunny you’ve seen before. It’s a frog named Betty. The pet amphibian from Florida won the third-annual Cadbury Bunny Tryouts and will be featured in a new commercial. The 2020 winner was Lieutenant Dan, a two-legged dog. Here’s this year’s press release from Cadbury: HERSHEY, PA — America, you voted and the results are in! The 2021 Cadbury Bunny is Betty the Australian White’s Treefrog from Stuart, FL. Betty is the winner of the much-loved Easter brand’s third-annual Cadbury Bunny Tryouts and will be the new star of the iconic Cadbury Clucking Bunny Commercial, set to air on TV nationwide this spring. Born less than a year ago, this is Betty’s first Easter, and she’s very excited to represent her amphibian friends. Betty sleeps during the day, but when the lights go out, the real fun begins. She enjoys snacking, bathing in her favorite bowl, jumping around and hanging out with her fellow frog friends. Aside from being the contest’s smallest winner to-date and a natural at the bunny hop, Betty is also making history as the first amphibian and first female winner. “Betty’s been a great addition to our home and we are so glad we get to share her with the rest of the world!” said Kaitlyn V., Betty’s owner. “She has been a wonderful companion at college and thanks to the support of my friends, family and the amphibian community, I know she’ll make Cadbury proud as she inherits the bunny ears.” With over 12,000 entries nationwide, 2021 was a record year for the Cadbury Bunny Tryouts. Together, the Cadbury team judges and last year’s winner and guest judge, Lieutenant Dan, narrowed the contenders down to the most diverse 10 finalists ever, including a frog, donkey, miniature horse and goat. For the second year in a row, the winner selected by the judges was also chosen by America and this year, Betty was the fan favorite! “Thank you to all of our amazing finalists in the Cadbury Bunny Tryouts this year and congratulations to Betty the frog, our newest Cadbury Bunny! We are so excited to pass the coveted ears to her and know that she is going make a great addition to our Cadbury Bunny ‘hall of fame,'” said Trevor Jakubek, Senior Associate Brand Manager, Cadbury Brand team. In celebration of her win, Betty will not only star in the 2021 Cadbury Clucking Bunny Commercial, set to appear this Easter season, but will also receive a $5,000 cash prize. To honor animals nationwide, the Cadbury brand is also donating $15,000 to the The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals® (ASPCA®), continuing its partnership with the nation’s leading animal welfare organization. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ A few months of quarantine during the coronavirus pandemic? That’s nothing for a swarm of cicadas that have been underground since 2004. In the time that the United States has seen the Boston Red Sox break an 86-year World Series drought, five presidential elections, a deadly pandemic and an insurrection, these creatures have been minding their own business, burrowed in the soil. Now billions of cicadas, from a group known as Brood X, are expected to emerge in the next few weeks, just in time to help orchestrate the soundtrack of summer. Brood X is a group of periodical cicadas that emerges from below ground every 17 years. Other cicadas have 13-year life cycles. Cicadas, which feed from the sap of trees and plants, count freeze-and-thaw cycles as an “internal tally system” that tells them when it’s time to surface, said Matt Kasson, an associate professor of forest pathology and mycology at West Virginia University. Brood X is one of the largest groups, and this year’s emergence could mean tens of billions of cicadas, he said. They are ready but waiting for the soil to be warm enough. The ideal soil temperature for cicadas is about 64 degrees, Kasson said. For the Mid-Atlantic region, that usually comes by about the third week of May, but it could be sooner. “Usually, you have stragglers on either side,” he said. Brood X is expected to emerge in about 18 US states, Kasson said. In the past, Brood X cicadas have been spotted as far north as Michigan, as far south as Georgia, and as far west as Illinois. Other states where they might emerge include Kentucky, Ohio, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Tennessee. Brood X, which is also known as the Great Eastern Brood, has three epicenters across portions of the country. One will be in the Washington, D.C., area, including Northern Virginia and parts of Maryland. Another will be rooted in Indiana, and there will be a smaller one in and around Knoxville, Tennessee, Kasson said. Because they feed off plants, cicadas can injure small trees and shrubs but cause no harm to humans, Kasson said. If anything, he said, Americans should consider themselves lucky to witness the phenomenon. “It’s really something to marvel at,” he said. They can, however, be annoying because of the sharp buzz they make when they’re looking for mates. Sounds up to 90 decibels could be measured standing directly under a tree filled with cicadas. A motorcycle, by comparison, can put out sounds up to 95 decibels, which can damage hearing after about 50 minutes of continuous exposure, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Brood X won’t be buzzing for long. Once they emerge, the cicadas will be out for about four to six weeks, Kasson said. After the cicadas have mated and the eggs hatch, the nymphs, as cicadas are called before they are fully grown, will emerge, Kasson said. The nymphs then begin their 17-year cycle, feeding underground. After this year, those nymphs will emerge as cicadas in the next Brood X, the class of 2038. Anyone who is interested in more than just listening to the cicadas’ soundtrack can help researchers by reporting sightings online at or Cicada Mania, or by using the app Cicada Safari. For those interested in trying new foods, cicadas are edible, said Kasson, who compared the taste to tofu. “It takes on what you cook it in,” he said. They are gluten free, high in protein and low in fat and carbs, according to National Geographic. Although Kasson said he typically spends more time researching cicadas than eating them, he said he knows of people who sauté them. “I feel sorry for them, growing up for 17 years, then someone eats them,” she said. +++++++ The White House laid out an ambitious strategy to raise the first fleet of American offshore wind farms, announcing specific plans that could boost an eager, but nascent, industry and help the administration meet its climate targets. President Biden mandated a wind energy lease auction in the New York Bight — a triangle of ocean between Long Island and New Jersey — as early as this year. The administration also committed to approving 16 offshore wind projects by 2025 and said it would direct $230 million in federal transportation dollars to fund port infrastructure and dedicate $3 billion in loan guarantees from the Department of Energy. In addition, the Interior Department will begin the environmental review process for a major wind farm off the coast of New Jersey, the third project the federal government is currently advancing. This announcement is the most detailed public plan the administration has offered so far on how it would advance offshore wind, which stagnated during the Trump years, bogged down by the federal permitting process, political uncertainty and growing conflicts with fishermen. "This offshore wind goal is proof of our commitment to using American ingenuity and might to invest in our nation, advance our own energy security, and combat the climate crisis," Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said. The Biden administration began with a promise that offshore wind will be a critical piece of its game plan to combat climate change and goose the transition away from fossil fuels. Biden signed an order shortly after taking office that mandated a doubling of offshore wind capacity. Earlier this month, the Interior Department released its final environmental analysis for Vineyard Wind, the first full-scale offshore wind farm in the country. The funding and permitting speed announced today underscores a larger goal to deploy 30 gigawatts of offshore wind power by 2030, enough energy production to power 10 million homes and offset 78 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, according to a White House fact sheet. But the administration also argued that its actions will create jobs by energizing the supply chain of businesses to support offshore wind, like manufacturing parts and servicing the wind farms. The White House asserted moving swiftly to deploy offshore wind will drive the creation of several U.S. manufacturing facilities for parts like turbines and nacelles and drive significant demand for U.S. steel. It estimates four to six turbine installation vessels will be built in the U.S. to support the industry, each valued at $250 million to $500 million. This activity will generate $12 billion per year in capital investments and employ more than 40,000 offshore wind workers by the end of the decade, with an additional 33,000 indirect jobs, according to the White House. "President Biden has declared very clearly that when he thinks of climate, he thinks of people and jobs — good-paying, union jobs," Gina McCarthy, the president's chief climate adviser, said in a statement. She added: "Nowhere is the scale of that opportunity clearer than for offshore wind." +++++++ After five years, a federal judge in the District of Columbia ruled that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service can no longer withhold valuable wildlife trade data—such as tracking the imports of at-risk species killed by trophy hunters—into the U.S. The ruling to make that information available resulted from a lawsuit filed by Humane Society International in 2016. LEMIS data, which stands for “Law Enforcement Management Information System,” is a source that tracks every import and export of wildlife into and out of the United States. This includes hunting trophies like those of imperiled giraffes and leopards; live animals like birds and reptiles imported for the exotic pet trade; monkeys used for experiments at research facilities; and animal skins such as those from snakes and lions. Organizations like the Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International use this data to track trends in wildlife trade, petition the government for increased domestic and international protections for species threatened by international trade, and hold the government accountable for its actions. “The Fish and Wildlife Service should have never removed access to this information and has been unlawfully withholding imperative data that impacts wildlife, conservation and global health. Transparency and justice prevailed this week,” said Laura Smythe, a staff attorney for the Humane Society of the United States, representing Humane Society International. “The United States is the world’s largest importer of both legal and illegal wildlife parts and products, and it is critical that the public has access to the full picture of the role our country plays in this destructive industry.” Transparency is critical as scientists and the public are acknowledging the link between the wildlife trade and the threat of future global pandemics. The full extent to which the wildlife trade contributes to the spread of diseases is still unknown—but this information is crucial to solving those missing links and preventing future outbreaks. Humane Society International has used LEMIS data to petition the Fish and Wildlife Service for Endangered Species Act protections of species such as African elephants and giraffes, which are at extreme risk of extinction from trophy hunting and trade in their parts. Humane Society International also used the data to petition for Endangered Species Act protections for pangolins. Access to this data allows Humane Society International to measure the United States’ demand for imperiled wildlife products such as pangolin scales and identify where increased protections are urgently needed. Humane Society International also needs this information to work towards increased global protections for these and many more animals through CITES—an international agreement that regulates trade in imperiled species. The data is critical to knowing the role the United States plays in the destructive trophy hunting industry. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Matthew Collis, IFAW’s Deputy Vice President, Conservation, issued the following statement regarding the WHO report on the likely source of the COVID-19 pandemic: “IFAW welcomes the World Health Organization (WHO) investigation into the source of the COVID-19 outbreak. We note the conclusion that introduction from a wild animal through another intermediary animal host is “likely to very likely” the way the virus reached humans. While the precise conditions of the emergence and spread of the virus are yet to be determined, we are not surprised that wild animal farms are referenced as a possible source for the global pandemic. Many of these farms involve large numbers of wild animals, sometimes of different species, being bred and kept in close proximity to each other and often in poor animal welfare conditions, which leads to elevated stress levels and increases the risk of viruses spreading. “The legal trade in wildlife presents a significant risk of disease emergence and zoonotic spillover. Since the pandemic began, the focus of many governments has been limited to illegal wildlife trade. However, spillover of pathogens from wildlife to other species, domesticated animals and humans is independent of whether the species concerned are obtained and traded legally or illegally, taken from the wild or bred in captivity, used for food or medicine or for fur. “We were pleased to see positive efforts by China in the wake of the pandemic to tackle the problems of wildlife farms by closing down many facilities where wild species are bred for consumption. We encourage China to consider expanding the trade ban to include commercial farming operations breeding wild animals for other purposes. We also urge other nations to follow China’s lead and take meaningful steps to address the legal trade in wild animals. “The wildlife trade, legal and illegal, is a global phenomenon. It is important to remember that regardless of the origin of this outbreak, it is the commercialisation of - and demand for - wildlife products that is driving these farms and their clear potential to spread zoonotic diseases. We have seen similar examples in Europe and North America with outbreaks of COVID-19 in mink farms. “To better protect human and animal welfare and meaningfully reduce the risk of a future pandemic, governments must reverse the status quo and instead start from a precautionary standpoint where it is assumed trade in wild animals is not permitted; subject to limited exceptions that safeguard biodiversity, public health and safety, animal health and welfare, and are well-regulated and enforceable. Such measures should be accompanied by scaled-up efforts to conserve and restore natural habitats, protect biodiversity, combat wildlife crime, reduce consumer demand and transition those dependent on the trade in wild animals to alternative and sustainable livelihoods.” ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ An uncrewed SpaceX Starship prototype rocket failed to land safely on Tuesday after a test launch from Boca Chica, Texas, and engineers were investigating, SpaceX said. "We do appear to have lost all the data from the vehicle," SpaceX engineer John Insprucker said in a webcast video of the rocket's flight test. "We're going to have to find out from the team what happened." The webcast view was obscured by fog, making it difficult to see the vehicle's landing. Debris from the spacecraft was found scattered five miles (eight km) away from its landing site. The Starship was one in a series of prototypes for the heavy-lift rocket being developed by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk's private space company to carry humans and 100 tons of cargo on future missions to the moon and Mars. The complete Starship rocket, which will stand 394 feet (120 metres) tall with its super-heavy first-stage booster included, is SpaceX's next-generation fully reusable launch vehicle - the center of Musk's ambitions to make human space travel more affordable and routine. A first orbital Starship flight is planned for year's end. Musk, who also heads the electric carmaker Tesla Inc, has said he intends to fly Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa around the moon in the Starship in 2023. Starships SN8 and SN9 previously exploded upon landing during their test runs. SN10 achieved an upright landing earlier this month, but then went up in flames about eight minutes after touchdown. "Looks like engine 2 had issues on ascent & didn’t reach operating chamber pressure during landing burn, but, in theory, it wasn’t needed," Musk tweeted on Tuesday, after SN11's test flight. "Something significant happened shortly after landing burn start. Should know what it was once we can examine the bits later today." +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ PETA has condemned ABC’s “Pooch Perfect,” telling TheWrap that the Rebel Wilson-hosted dog-grooming competition show “can encourage people to restrain their dog and reach for the dye.” And reaching for that dye — a very prominent component of “Pooch Perfect” makeovers — can be deadly, the animal-rights group warned. “Dogs are smart, loyal individuals — they’re not here for human amusement, and unfortunately, shows like ‘Pooch Perfect’ can encourage people to restrain their dog and reach for the dye, even though doing so runs the risk of causing an allergic reaction that could even be fatal, in addition to stressing the animal,” Lauren Thomasson, PETA’s senior manager of animals in film and television, told TheWrap. “PETA reminds animal guardians that dogs love us just the way we are — and we should respect them enough to do the same for them.” ABC did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s requests for comment on the criticism, which did not start with PETA. A number of viewers were outspoken on Twitter Tuesday night about the content of the freshman program, with several going so far as to call it “abuse.” Ahead of the series launch, at the latest Television Critics Association (TCA) press tour, Wilson, “Pooch Perfect” producers and the show’s judges were asked about the dogs’ experience on the show and if there will be a “Do not try this at home” disclaimer. “Some dogs like it more than others. Some find it uncomfortable. So we made sure we had the kind of dogs that were used to the entire process,” executive producer Elan Gale said. “And, yes, there will definitely be disclaimers both on camera and off about making sure not to try it at home, generally speaking.” +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ The top Agility dogs in the nation were crowned from an overall combined entry of more than 1,100 dogs this past weekend at the AKC National Agility Championship. Competitions were held March 26-28, 2021 at the Built Ford Tough Livestock Complex and Central Park Hall at Expo Square in Tulsa, Oklahoma. “After the cancellation of last year’s championship, it was even more exciting to see all the competitors come out this year and show off their honed skills,” said Doug Ljungren, AKC Executive Vice President of Sports and Events. “These canine athletes are the best of the best in the sport, and we’re proud to celebrate them and their talented handlers.” The 2021 Winners: AKC National Agility Champions Placing first in their height division (8", 12", 16", 20", 24” and 24C" respectively) were: 8”: - MACH4 Aerilee's Songbird MXC PAD MJC DCAT (Lark), a Papillon handled by Betsey Lynch of Delaware, OH 12”: MACH Blue Moon's Grand Prix Perfect MXB MJS (Prix), a Manchester Terrier handled by Beth Mathews-Bradshaw of Haymarket, VA 16”: NAC MACH2 Breezyblue's Get This Party Started MXG PAD MJS PJD NF (P!nk), a Border Collie handled by Jennifer Crank of Columbus, OH 20”: Pride Creek's Now We'Re Talking AX MXJ (Hallelujah), a Border Collie handled by Jessica Ajoux of Wyncote, PA 24”: GCH CH MACH5 Shorelands Explosion On The Darkside MXB2 PAD MJB2 XF T2B DJ (Kaboom), a Border Collie handled by Amber McCune of Bedford, NH 24C”: Hob Nob Knack For Knowing MX MXB MXJ NF (Knack), a Border Collie handled by Soshana Dos of Durham, CT AKC Preferred National Agility Champions Placing first in their height divisions (8”, 12”,16”, and 20” respectively) were: 8”: MACH3 Oak Knoll I Have A Dream MXG MJC MXP2 MXPB MJP3 MJPB NF (Dreamer), a Shetland Sheepdog handled by Abigail Beasley of Centerburg, OH 12”: MACH Brighteye Fancy Feet CD MXS MJB (Jive), a Border Collie handled by Amanda Edstrom of Zumbrota, MN 16”: AGCH MACH5 PACH3 Sagehill Spot On MXB2 PDS MJB2 PJS MXPS PDSP MJP7 MJPS PJSP PAX3 MFB TQX MFPB TQXP T2B5 T2BP (Graphite), a Border Collie handled by Paulena Renee Simpson of Berkeley Springs, WV 20”: MACH PACH Mack's Strider MXB MJB MXPB MJPB PAX CA CGC (Strider), a All- American Dog handled by Hayley Mack of Hesperia, CA The Preferred Finals can be viewed any time, on-demand, on The Regular Finals will also have encore broadcasts across the ESPN networks. Check your local listings for updates. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ A man who went shopping in New Mexico returned to a car filled with 15,000 honey bees who had apparently got in through an open window while he spent 10 minutes buying groceries. Astonishingly, the man – who was not named in the New York Times report detailing his unexpected travel companions – did not notice the sudden presence of a giant swarm of buzzing insects on his vehicle’s back seat until he was driving away. “Then he turned back and looked and like was ‘holy cow’,” Jesse Johnson, an off-duty firefighter and paramedic whose hobby is beekeeping, said of the man’s reaction in an interview with the paper. “He called 911 because he didn’t know what to do.” Johnson, and his fellow firefighters, helped the man remove the bees and put them in an empty hive box. He said the bees were likely swarming with a queen and looking for a new home – which makes them more docile and easier to handle as they are not defending their turf. The whole incident passed largely without injury – but not entirely. “One guy got stung on the lip, and we made fun of him the next morning,” Johnson told the Times. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Morris Animal Foundation announced last week the establishment of a Feline Scientific Advisory Board (FSAB) that is responsible for awarding grants for research projects focused on feline health. Before 2020, when the foundation tested the concept of a feline-specific board, grants for feline studies were approved by a Small Animal Advisory Board. “We want to reinforce our dedication to their [cats] well-being by continuing to increase the number and impact of feline submissions we receive in our annual call for proposals and ensure those are reviewed by experts with a feline focus,” says Janet Patterson-Kane BVSc, PhD, FRCVS, Morris Animal Foundation’s chief scientific officer, in this press release. The FDAB, the foundation’s sixth scientific advisory board, consists of 9 members with a wide range of scientific expertise. As with the other advisory boards, the FDAB was put in place to ensure that the foundation supports the highest-quality research by evaluating grant proposals and recommending which should be funded based both on scientific merit as well as their potential to advance veterinary care, preserve health, and save lives. The founding members of the FSAB are: • Joshua Stern, DVM, PhD, DACVIM (Cardiology) • Sara Bennett, DVM, MS, DACVB • Gregg Dean, DVM, PhD, DACVP • Timothy Fan, DVM, PhD, DACVIM (Oncology, Small Animal Internal Medicine) • Annette Litster, BVSc, PhD, FANZCVS (Feline Medicine), MMedSci (Clinical Epidemiology) • Jessica Quimby, DVM, PhD, DACVIM • Sheilah Robertson, BVMS (Hons), PhD, DACVAA, DECVAA, DACAW, DECAWBM (WSEL), MRCVS • Paulo Steagall, DVM, MSc, PhD, DACVAA • Jenessa Winston, DVM, PhD, DACVIM (Small Animal Internal Medicine) For more information on the Morris Animal Foundation and the FSAB ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Nearly half of all horse owners routinely offer treats to their horses. How do these owners select treats, based on their own senses or those of their horses? A recent study set out to evaluate the appeal of two different treats from contrasting perspectives, from that of horses and that of humans.1,2 Two treats were used in this study: a cinnamon-flavored, flax-based, disc-shaped treat and an apple-flavored, oat-based textured treat. Ten stock-type horses were used in the preference trial. The treats were placed in identical rubber feeding pans, each with an olfaction plate (a fitted lid with holes) that allowed the aroma of the treats to escape. The lid was removed after 15 seconds and consumption began; the consumption period ended when one treatment was finished. A trained observer recorded first treat sniffed; first treat consumed; first action (sniff vs. consume); aversive behaviors, such as treat refusals, dropping treats from the mouth; and excessive salivation. Twenty-three human participants rated the two treats on physical attributes, like appearance, size, texture, and aroma, using a nine-point scale, with one denoting extreme dislike and 9 signifying extreme like. Purchase intent was then evaluated on a five-point scale, with one denoting no intent to purchase and 5 signifying definite purchase. While horses did not prefer one treat over another in terms of first sniffed, consumed, or finished, researchers noted positive correlations for first sniffed and consumed as well as first consumed and finished. The human participants proved far more opinionated, rating the apple-flavored treat lower in appearance, texture, size, and purchase intent than the cinnamon-flavored one. What does this mean? According to these researchers, “these data indicate that consumer acceptance and purchase intent of horse treats do not accurately reflect horse preferences.” One explanation for this disparity could be simply that humans depend on visual cues far more in food selection than do horses, which rely more heavily on aroma and taste. The nutritional content and quantity of treats offered should be considered as part of the total diet, particularly for horses suffering from metabolic disease. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Starvation of otherwise healthy horses remains a widespread welfare concern. Veterinarians must administer care and assess survival chances of starved horses, as rehabilitation requires considerable time and financial resources. A recent study set out to determine if certain clinical markers at first veterinary assessment could reliably predict a survival outcome after 100 days of refeeding.* In this retrospective study, researchers from the University of Tennessee’s College of Veterinary Medicine reviewed medical records of starved horses presented to their clinic over an 11-year period. To be included in the study, horses had a body condition score of 3 or less on the 1-9 Henneke scale and a diagnosis of malnutrition at admission. Other data recorded, if available, included vital signs, complete blood count data, blood chemistry panels, parasite burden, and refeeding information. Body condition score proved the only clinical marker associated with probability of survival after hospitalization. According to researchers, “for every one whole number unit increase in the body condition score, the odds to live increased 14.6 times.” All of the horses with a body condition of 2.5 or 3 survived, and all but one of the horses with a body condition score of 2 lived. Researchers, however, observed reduced survival rates for horses with a body condition score of 1 and 1.5, both near 60%. This result coincides with an earlier study that identified body condition score as a potential indicator of death in malnourished animals.+ “I encourage horse owners to be familiar with the body condition scorecard and to score their own horses every week or so. For horses prone to metabolic disease, for example, recognizing weight gain and implementing strategies to defer further gain prove critical,” said Catherine Whitehouse, M.S., a nutrition advisor with Kentucky Equine Research. “On the opposite end of the spectrum, as this study shows, assessing body condition of neglected horses acts as an accurate measure of whether a horse can overcome starvation. When a horse owner is familiar and comfortable using the scorecard, then she has an opportunity to act when a horse slips from a score of 5 to 4 or, worse, from 4 to 3. There’s time to re-evaluate the diet and make necessary changes without placing the horse in peril,” she said. One obstacle in nourishing horses back to health is the possibility of refeeding syndrome, a condition that occurs after a period of starvation or fasting particularly when high amounts of nonstructural carbohydrates are fed in the beginning days of recovery. Refeeding syndrome causes irregularities in fluid balance and glucose metabolism as well as whole-body mineral imbalances, including phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium deficiencies. To avoid refeeding syndrome, malnourished horses should be placed in the care of a veterinarian. If access to a nutritionist is available, they too may become a valuable part of the care team. “Few people have to deal with horses on the low end of the body condition scorecard, the 1s and the 2s,” said Whitehouse. “Not all starved horses are lost cases. Despite the hardships placed upon them, some make full recoveries, as this study demonstrates, and become companions and useful working horses.” Research such as this provides veterinarians with valuable information that can be passed on to animal advocacy groups, law enforcement, and court officials, all of whom must interact with owners or caregivers in an effort to make the best decision for the horses. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Eliminating the administration of illicit, gene doping therapies in racehorses and other equine athletes is the driving force behind a new development out of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine (Penn Vet). Researchers have created and validated a quantitative test to detect the presence of a potential gene-doping agent in the joint fluid and blood of a horse. The research, which was supported in part by the Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association (PHBA) and the Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission (PHRA), offers a “significant breakthrough” in the fight to advance the welfare and integrity of sport, both for horses and humans, Penn Vet says. “As breeders, protecting the health, safety, and wellbeing of our horses is a deeply profound and personal priority for our membership,” says PHBA’s executive secretary, Brian Sanfratello. “These scientific discoveries get us one step closer to our dream of someday keeping equine sport completely clean.” Gene doping agents trigger cells to produce performance enhancing proteins, according to Penn Vet. These proteins are often elusive due to their similarity to those that naturally occur within the body, making it difficult to determine whether or not an animal or human has had gene therapy administered. Penn Vet’s research team, led by Mary Robinson, PhD, VMD, DACVCP, director of the Equine Pharmacology Laboratory at the college’s New Bolton Center, has developed a real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test to detect whether a specific gene therapy agent has been injected into the joint of a horse. Additionally, the test can perceive the agent in the animal’s blood up to 28 days after administration. This window, researchers say, could be useful before races, as well as out of competition testing. “The ability to detect the presence of these gene doping agents in blood after local administration to joints just magnifies the implications of this game-changing development,” says Joanne Haughan, DVM, one of the study’s leads. “The science is closing in on those who seek to use these advancements for wrongful means; the more we learn with each study, the harder it will be for individuals who seek to cheat the system using gene doping strategies.” Researchers hope to expand and refine their testing methodology to create screening tests that would successfully identify multiple gene doping agents for even longer periods of time, Penn Vet reports. “We still have a lot of work to do to better understand the nature of biomarkers and how to fully harness their capabilities, but the science for detecting gene doping is getting there and much more quickly than any of us could have anticipated when we started this research,” Dr. Robinson says. +++++++++++++++++++++++ Legislation aimed at implementing a nationwide, One Health approach to tackling zoonotic disease has been reintroduced in both chambers of Congress. The Advancing Emergency Preparedness Through One Health Act (S.861 /H.R. 2061) would establish a coordinated federal framework where government agencies would work together to help better prevent, prepare for, and respond to zoonotic diseases, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) says. “COVID-19 has clearly demonstrated the need for our nation to take a One Health approach to disease outbreaks,” says the association’s president, Douglas Kratt, DVM. “Animals, humans, and the environment are more interconnected than ever, and this legislation is an important step to fully implementing One Health principles into our public health approach.” The bill was reintroduced in the House by Reps. Kurt Schrader, DVM (Oregon), and Dusty Johnson (South Dakota), co-chairs of the Veterinary Medicine Caucus, and then in the Senate by Sens. Tina Smith (Minnesota) and Todd Young (Indiana). If enacted into law, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) would coordinate with other agencies to develop a comprehensive federal One Health Framework, AVMA says. This framework would: • Advance workforce development related to preventing and responding to disease outbreaks in animals and humans. • Improve coordination between federal agencies that study human and animal health and the environment. • Advance scientific understanding of the connections among human, animal, and environmental health. AVMA is asking members of the veterinary community to contact Congress and voice their support for the bill. “AVMA urges Congress to pass the Advancing Emergency Preparedness Through One Health Act so we can better prepare, detect, and respond to zoonotic diseases in the future,” Dr. Kratt says. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ The 146th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show and the Masters Agility Championship, both presented by Purina Pro Plan®, will return to New York City on January 22 and 24-26, 2022. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s rescheduled Westminster dog show and trial are being held on June 11-13, 2021 on the grounds of historic Lyndhurst, a National Trust for Historic Preservation property in Tarrytown, New York. As New York State continues to open event venues, the club looks forward to returning to its longtime home of New York City. The Masters Agility Championship precedes the dog show each year and the club intends to host that popular event on January 22, 2022, at a pending location. At the same venue, the daytime breed judging and the Masters Obedience Championship will be held over three days from Monday to Wednesday, January 24-26, 2022. The evening Group and Best in Show competitions will return to Madison Square Garden, the world’s most famous arena, on Tuesday, January 25 and Wednesday, January 26, 2022. All event information will become available at ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Grizzly bears in the lower 48 states should retain their current protections under the Endangered Species Act, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the primary federal agency that makes decisions on the conservation of wildlife species. This is encouraging news for these native carnivores who have been under attack from trophy hunting interests in the states they live in, and who need all the help they can get to survive. The USFWS recommended that grizzly bears retain “threatened” status based on a five-year scientific status review. Under the previous administration, the USFWS, in 2017, sought to prematurely delist grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem as a handout to trophy hunters. We stopped this effort—and with it the first trophy hunting season on grizzlies in decades—in its tracks with a federal court victory in 2018 followed by an appeals court victory in 2020. There are fewer than 1,800 grizzly bears now in the lower 48 states—a small number, by any measure. These animals were nearly wiped out of existence in the United States between 1915 and 1975. Today they occupy less than 2% of their original range in the United States. Grizzly bear populations increase slowly. Female bears do not reproduce until they are between three and eight years of age and they produce small litters, with many years between each litter. Not all of the cubs survive to adulthood. That is why every bear must count, and why it may take a decade for a female bear to replace herself in the population. And the threats to their survival are many, including poachers, ranchers and state wildlife agencies who continually target these animals and kill them over fear and exaggerated claims that they kill cattle—claims we debunked using USDA data. In its report, the USFWS pointed to tremendous threats grizzlies continue to face, including “limited habitat connectivity, management of access by motorized vehicles, human-caused mortality and uncertainty surrounding future conservation efforts in some ecosystems.” The USFWS report also correctly recognized that the long-term survival of grizzly bears depends on establishing populations in parts of their historic range where they remain absent, like Washington’s North Cascades and Idaho’s Bitterroot ecosystem. States that are home to these bears should be doing all they can to protect them but instead they have chosen to sell them out to trophy hunting interests. We recently told you about Montana’s state legislature passing a host of bills in anticipation of a federal delisting. Those bills would have, among other atrocities, allowed ranchers to shoot grizzly bears they “perceived” as a threat to their livestock. They included measures such as barring the relocation of grizzly bears to promote their recovery. These bills also allow hound-hunting of black bears in early spring and expanding wolf snaring and trapping, which could also harm grizzly bears and cubs. Fortunately, continuing federal protection will shield grizzlies from some of the worst impacts of these bills if they become law. The Montana and Wyoming delegations in Congress are also engaged now in efforts to delist these bears—a shortsighted approach because grizzly bears and other wildlife contribute heavily to these states’ economies, with thousands of tourists flocking there each year to catch a glimpse of these animals in the wild. We are encouraged by the USFWS recommendation today, but so long as these other threats to grizzly bears continue our work is far from done. +++++++
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