Four-month-old kitten Midas was born with two sets of ears and a defective jaw due to a recessive genetic mutation. But this hasn’t stopped her from becoming an internet star with over 73,000 followers.
Midas was adopted by Canis Dosemeci in the Turkish capital Ankara after being born in a friend’s backyard with six other siblings.
“Midas is a very playful cat. She likes to cuddle and sit on my lap and sleep on my lap,” Canis said. “She goes along with the dog, Suzi, and Zeyno, we have another dog. We are a big family.”
Dosemeci said she and her husband fell in love with her at first sight and decided to take her in, believing her chances of adoption are lower than her siblings due to her unique condition.
“We have never thought of buying a cat, we just wanted to rescue a cat from the street and we wanted to adopt her. I hope Midas’s popularity can raise an awareness of adopting not buying,” she added.
According to her vet, the additional ears do not affect her health or hearing in general. What makes her special from other cats with similar genetic abnormalities is that all four of the earlaps are connected to the ear canal.
“Midas was born with four auricles as a result of a genetic mutation,” said veterinarian Resat Nuri Aslan in Turkish. “But unlike the other four-eared cats, both of Midas’s auricles are connected to the ear canal. In addition, her lower jaw is slightly wider on the sides, so her tongue is constantly visible outside. However, this mutation has no effect on the general health of Midas. She is able to continue her life like any other cat.”
Midas is currently living with two golden retrievers, Suzy and Zeyno. Her name comes from the mythological king of Phrygia who was cursed with donkey ears.
Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit collapsed and died after a workout Monday at Santa Anita.
The 3-year-old colt trained by Bob Baffert had just completed five furlongs in his second workout since finishing second in the Breeders' Cup Classic a month ago at Del Mar, according to Craig Robertson, Baffert's attorney. Baffert said in a statement that the horse suffered a heart attack.
"My entire barn is devastated by this news," Baffert said. "Medina Spirit was a great champion, a member of our family who was loved by all, and we are deeply mourning his loss. I will always cherish the proud and personal memories of Medina Spirit and his tremendous spirit."
Santa Anita released a statement saying the track veterinary team took blood, hair and urine samples from Medina Spirit and sent them to the California Horse Racing Board. The colt will undergo a full necropsy, as required by the racing board, to try to determine the exact cause of death.
Medina Spirit tested positive after the May 1 Derby for betamethasone, a legal medication that is not allowed on race day. It was Baffert's record seventh win in the Derby. In the wake of Medina Spirit's failed test, Baffert was suspended by Churchill Downs and barred from entering horses in the 2022 and 2023 Kentucky Derbies. He also was banned by the New York Racing Association from entering horses at its Belmont, Saratoga and Aqueduct tracks.
Last Friday, Robertson released a statement saying that tests done by a New York lab have "definitely confirmed" Medina Spirit tested positive for the steroid - not through an injection but due to an ointment used to treat a skin rash. The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission has been investigating the case, and has yet to hold a hearing that could possibly disqualify Medina Spirit.
In the $6 million BC Classic, Medina Spirit couldn't muster the necessary late kick to threaten winner Knicks Go. "I'm very proud of him. He ran a great race," Baffert said last month. "To me, he's the best 3-year-old. He showed it today. That's what racing is all about, proving it on the racetrack. And he proved it today that he's the real deal."
Baffert was allowed to enter horses in the season-ending world championships, but the event's money-leading trainer had to meet certain conditions, including stricter out-of-competition testing of his horses and greater security at his barn. He agreed to the extra scrutiny and was required to pay for it out of his own pocket.
Medina Spirit had five wins in 10 career starts and earnings of $3,545,200, according to Equibase. The colt was owned by Amr Zedan, who competes as Zedan Racing Stables.
"Our most sincere condolences go out to Mr. Amr Zedan and the entire Zedan Racing Stables family," Baffert said in his statement Monday. "They are in our thoughts and prayers as we go through this difficult time."
Historically, the U.S. pet industry has been canine-centric, and not without reason. Dogs significantly outnumber cats and tend to be more lucrative in terms of products and services, market research firm Packaged Facts notes.
Unfortunately, when asked whether they believe that cats are “sometimes treated as second-class” by the pet industry, most cat owners responded in the affirmative to some degree, said David Lummis, pet market expert at Packaged Facts.
Cats represent 30% (or $13.1 billion) of pet food sector sales, according to Packaged Facts’ just-released Cats: U.S. Pet Market Trends and Opportunities, compared with a 31% share of non-food pet supply sales and a 28% share of veterinary sector revenues.
In line with dog owners, over 9 in 10 cat owners consider their cats to be part of the family. And as with dog owners, a large majority of U.S. cat owners believe that their feline friends have beneficial impacts on their physical and emotional health.
To the credit of many pet industry participants, the treatment of cats as an afterthought is beginning to change. Retailers, marketers, product developers and investors are paying more attention to felines.
Market growth and development opportunities span the pet industry sector. For example, minimally processed frozen and refrigerated products are at the forefront of today’s natural pet food thrust, but marketers in this fast-growing niche remains distinctly dog-focused, according to Packaged Facts.
Similarly, although many marketers offer cat treats, historically the selections have been less robust than for dogs, and some cat food marketers have sidestepped cat treats completely. The situation has changed in recent years, however, in tandem with a steady increase in usage for cat treats.
DOGTV is premiering its first programming geared toward pet owners with a new docuseries that begins December 9.
“Paws for Love” is a show that follows Nashville couple Sean and Christina Conlon — and their golden retriever therapy dog Nash — who sold 90 percent of their possessions to begin a quest to travel around America helping others through therapy dogs.
In the Fall of 2019, they went through training and certifying Nash as a therapy dog. Immediately, they started serving around the Nashville area in schools, fire stations, and police stations. They saw people light up around Nash in a genuine and unique way, and knew therapy work was exactly what they were meant to be doing as a family.
But once COVID hit, everything came to a screeching halt. Sean and Christina couldn’t serve with Nash any longer, but they knew they had to do something. So they launched Nashies, a single ingredient dog treat company that financially supports therapy dog organizations across the United States. However, they realized it wasn’t just a financial problem these organizations were facing in the pandemic, it was an awareness problem. And in a time where the world needed therapy dogs more than ever, they felt called to do something bigger and more hands-on.
In late 2020, they sold 90 percent of their stuff, got an RV, and started traveling the U.S. on the @PawsForLove Tour, volunteering with Nash and creating positive, encouraging content to share on their social media that brings a smile to people’s faces.
“We heard very clearly that we needed to shine a bright spotlight on the incredible work that these therapy dog organizations do day in and day out for our communities,” said Sean Conlon. “The reality is that every single one of us needs more love and compassion than we ever have before, and there’s a lot we can learn a lot from our canine companions. And we reacted by doing the only thing we could think to do because of how strongly we felt about this calling.
The couple embarked on a 15-city tour starting in January 2021. “Paws for Love” tracks their journey through 10 weekly 30-minute shows starting on December 9, with new episodes every Thursday. Beke Lubeach, general manager and chief marketing officer of DOGTV, said the show is an ideal and entertaining foray into new territory for the network.
DOGTV will donate $1 per view of Episode 1 of “Paws For Love” up to $5,000 to the Alliance of Therapy Dogs Junior Handler Program. The program is aimed at educating the younger generations on the benefits of volunteering with their dogs so that they can learn early and have a life of service.
DOGTV is now available in the US, Mexico, Brazil, Portugal and S. Korea via cable and satellite providers and Direct To Consumer through their app available on Roku, AppleTV, Amazon FireTV, iOS and Android devices everywhere. The channel also has a robust online and social media presence as well.
Behold the fearsome Tyrannosaurus rex — all swaddled in a cozy Christmas sweater.
The replica T. rex at the Natural History Museum in London is an enormous, ferocious-looking beast that was built to scale, standing about 60 percent the size of the 40-foot-long prehistoric creature.
The animatronic attraction, which features roaring sound effects, often startles visitors, but on Monday, the predatory edge was somewhat softened when visitors found the T. rex bedecked in a giant blue, red and green holiday sweater, replete with cheerful Christmas trees and snowflakes.
The turtleneck, created by a British company that has also dressed members of Parliament, fit snugly around the T. rex’s wide upper body and neck, then tapered into sleeves short enough to encircle the dinosaur’s wee arms.
“There is nothing more funny than a jumper fitted for a dinosaur that has the tiniest arms in the world,” said Carla Treasure, a buyer and product developer at the museum. “I think it makes it slightly less scary.”
The museum has recently moved toward selling more sustainably made products, Ms. Treasure said. Mr. Patel’s company makes sweaters from recycled cotton and plastic bottles. But Mr. Patel suggested going “a bit bigger” than just a gift-shop sweater.
“Let’s just put a Christmas jumper on a dinosaur,” he recalled suggesting.
Ms. Treasure proposed the idea to the museum’s board of trustees, which approved it. Ms. Treasure said she specifically recommended that the T. rex wear a Christmas jumper — a garish staple of the holiday season that self-deprecating Britons have come to embrace.
The sweater will stay on the T. rex until Christmas Eve.
Mr. Patel said he expected to get the sweater back. It will then be shredded into material that can be reused for something different, like carpet underlay. But Ms. Treasure said she was hopeful that the sweater could be converted into another product that could be donated to charity.
Mr. Patel said that after successfully styling an animatronic dinosaur, he felt equipped to outfit other massive animal displays with Christmas sweaters.
“If the New York museum wants to do something next year,” he said, referring to the American Museum of Natural History, “we are ready.”
A new trend on TikTok has owners barking in their dogs’ faces in hopes of a funny reaction.
But animal behavior experts say this is a terrible idea, Newsweek reports.
Dogs have displayed a wide range of reactions. Behaviors have included “widening their eyes, barking back, licking their owners’ faces or even baring their teeth,” according to Newsweek.
The videos have proven very popular. One clip, shared by user @adrianchateau, racked up well over 34 million likes.
But experts told the publication that barking at a dog makes it anxious and confused and is asking for trouble.
“The majority of dogs wouldn’t understand the intention behind the bark or in some cases where it has come from,” said Joe Nutkins, a dog trainer and behaviorist based in England.
In some cases, the dogs may show signs of discomfort that the owners miss.
“We read a lot about ‘unprovoked’ dog attacks but, when we delve deeper, we actually find there were plenty of indicators preceding this event,” dog sports and behavior specialist Kamal Fernandez was quoted saying.
A record-high number of Florida manatees died so far this year, most commonly from starvation. Climate change and polluted waters are mainly to blame for the reduction of their food supply, the Associated Press reported.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reported Wednesday so far in 2021, there have been 1,003 manatee deaths beating the previous record of 830 in 2013. Last year 637 manatee deaths were reported.
Boat strikes account for some deaths and many injuries to the population. The majority of deaths are attributed to starvation from the diminishing seagrass supply. State officials and environmental groups say polluted water runoff from agriculture, sewage and other man-made development has caused algae blooms in estuaries, choking off the seagrass. Climate change is worsening the problem.
"Manatees are in serious trouble," ZooTampa at Lowry Park, one of four main manatee critical care centers in Florida, said in a statement Wednesday. "The loss of more than 1,000 manatees this year is deeply concerning and will have serious repercussions for years to come."
The commission is asking state lawmakers to approve $7 million for seagrass restoration, manatee rehabilitation centers and other projects. Lawmakers approved $8 million last year.
The wildlife commission estimates there are currently about 7,500 manatees, also known as sea cows, living in Florida waters. Manatees were listed as an endangered species beginning in 1966, but their status was changed to threatened in 2017. There's a push to return their label as endangered species to bring in more resources and attention to the problem.
"We've had [a] high number of moralities in past years, but this year has been very unprecedent[ed] because of how widespread it is and the year's not over with yet," Senior Research Scientist at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium Research Institute Monica Ross said. "I have been working with manatees for over 30 years now and this is the highest mortality and very wide impact that we've seen for manatees. It's disturbing," WFLA reported.
More than 1,000 manatees have died in Florida so far in 2021, eclipsing a previous record as the threatened marine mammals struggle with starvation due to polluted waters.
To compound the problem, manatees are slow to reproduce, one calf is born every two to five years after a manatee reaches sexual maturity at about age 5. Twin births are rare.
Authorities expected another bad year for manatees, with more deaths to come as Florida enters the winter months when the animals congregate in warm-water areas where food supplies have dwindled. Seagrass beds on the state's eastern coast have been hit especially hard.
A Washington zoo has welcomed its very first armadillo pup in its 116-year history.
Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium's southern three-banded armadillos Vespa and Scooter became parents to a female pup in late October. The pup is the first armadillo birth in the zoo since its establishment in 1905.
Zookeepers monitored mother Vespa 24/7 in the lead up to the birth, and both mother and baby have been kept under watchful eye in the time since too.
The pair are being kept behind the scenes for the time being, while the two-week-old pup bonds with her mother, but visitors will be able to see her once she is old enough.
At the moment, the pup is only just beginning to open her eyes. "She is a healthy and perfect little replica of her parents," said head veterinarian Dr. Karen Wolf.
Newborn southern three-banded armadillos often appear just like miniature adults and litters consist of just one pup.
During her pregnancy, armadillo Vespa was reportedly open to help from the zookeepers, allowing ultrasounds and for people to feel her belly.
"Vespa was trained to allow us to give her voluntary ultrasounds throughout her pregnancy," assistant curator Maureen O'Keefe said, adding that she would "even let us feel her belly without curling up in a ball, allowing us to give her the care she needed."
"Vespa is a natural at parenting and caring for her pup," said O'Keefe.
The southern three-banded armadillo is classed as "near threatened" on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species, with the species being in "significant decline" due to widespread habitat loss.
The animal is close to qualifying for "vulnerable" status according to the IUCN.
The pup's birth is the result of a breeding recommendation for Scooter and Vespa by the Species Survival Plan (SSP) for southern three-banded armadillos.
The SSP considers the genetic makeup of each parent before making the recommendation, in a bid to ensure diversity of armadillos in North American zoos.
Unlike other armadillo species, the southern three-banded armadillo is the only one to be able to roll into a ball. They also do not dig burrows as most species do, and instead take refuge in abandoned burrows made by other animals.
The Humane Society of the United States, Humane Society Legislative Fund and the Personal Care Products Council issued the following joint statement today on the introduction of the Humane Cosmetics Act of 2021 in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives:
“The cosmetics and personal care products industry, the Humane Society of the United States and the Humane Society Legislative Fund have long advocated for government recognition and acceptance of non-animal testing methods for product safety. Today marks a momentous occasion with the introduction of the Humane Cosmetics Act in the U.S. by Sens. Cory Booker, D-N.J.; Rob Portman, R-Ohio; John Hickenlooper, D-Colo.; Susan Collins, R-Maine; and Jacky Rosen, D-Nev. A companion bill was introduced in the House by Reps. Don Beyer, D-Va.; Vern Buchanan, R-Fla.; Paul Tonko, D-N.Y.; Ken Calvert, R-Calif.; and Tony Cárdenas, D-Calif. In the true spirit of collaboration, the Humane Society of the United States, Humane Society Legislative Fund and the Personal Care Products Council encourage expeditious bipartisan passage of the legislation.
“Our precedent-setting support brings together the cosmetics and personal care products industry and animal advocacy community. We stand firm in our shared goal to eliminate new cosmetic animal testing and promote recognition and acceptance of non-animal approaches to cosmetic safety assessments.
“We applaud these members of Congress for driving a significant bipartisan effort to introduce the Humane Cosmetics Act. Consensus among a diverse group of stakeholders demonstrates widespread support for legislation that ensures a uniform standard for animal welfare and the development of safe and innovative cosmetics and personal care products.
“We look forward to working with this bipartisan group of Congressional leaders and other key stakeholders to help enact the Humane Cosmetics Act in this Congress to eliminate animal testing for cosmetics, while also ensuring the safety of the products consumers trust and rely on every day.”
The Dekalb County Sheriff’s Office K9 Maverick will receive a bullet and stab protective vest thanks to a donation from a non-profit organization. Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. will provide the vest that is sponsored by Geraldine Shannon of Connecticut. It will be
embroidered with the sentiment “In memory of Babe Muksian”. Delivery is expected within eight to ten weeks. Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. accepts tax-deductible contributions in any amount, while a single donation of $960 will sponsor one vest. Each vest has a value of $1,744-$2,283 weighs an average of 4-5 lb., and comes with a five-year warranty.
Improving diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) within the veterinary sphere is the goal of a new round of academic funding, gifted to Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine (TUCVM).
The college, which is the only veterinary program located on the campus of a historically Black college or university (HBCU) in the U.S., has received a $175,000 donation from Royal Canin. The funding, which is part of a five-year commitment, will help promote diversity in the veterinary field by providing discretionary financial support for Tuskegee veterinary students.
“Of the thousands of veterinarians in the United States, only two percent are African Americans, and, of this number, we are proud that 70 percent are our graduates,” says TUCVM dean, Ruby L. Perry, DVM, MS, PhD, Diplomate-ACVR. “Together, we are positioned to provide meaningful support to TUCVM veterinary students to sustain the legacy of training and educating underrepresented minorities as veterinarians in the veterinary profession.”
In 2020, Royal Canin became a founding member of the Diversity Veterinary Medicine Coalition, which aims to increase equity, inclusion, and diversity among veterinary professionals.
“At Royal Canin, we’re driven to create the world we want tomorrow,” says the company’s North American president, Cecile Coutens. “To achieve this, we must ensure the veterinary talent pipeline more accurately represents our diverse and changing population. We’re proud to support Tuskegee University in its efforts to increase representation in the veterinary industry.”
The Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine has received a $30 million gift from Margaret and Richard Riney to accelerate its canine health center’s launch. The facility has recognized this generosity by honoring the donors in its new name as The Cornell Margaret and Richard Riney Canine Health Center.
What's more, the funding is essential to advancing canine health-related research through world-class studies, outreach, and interaction with dog lovers.
“We know personally the importance and benefits of the relationships humans form with animals, especially with our pets,” said Richard Riney. “We wanted to support far-ranging research initiatives that may help dogs live their best lives, while recognizing that research into the canine condition can help to advance human medicine.”
According to a university release, the canine health center’s launch is timely as the pandemic enabled people— particularly pet owners—to spend more time at home, thus strengthening the bonds with their beloved animals. Innovations and developments in telehealth, diagnostics, and therapeutics have set up the potential for greater-than-ever canine research advancements.
In addition, the donation puts Cornell Riney Canine Health Center on the path to becoming a top source of canine research-based information. The funding will initially provide a substantial internal grants program for canine health-related research, adding on to Cornell’s current program strengths by focusing on studying cancer, genetics and genomics, infectious diseases, and immunology.
The center strives to establish itself as the most trusted source on canine health. Its website will include health-related videos, online seminars, stories, and explainers that address the needs of dog lovers and owners, plus breeders and veterinary healthcare providers. Online venues will allow 2-way communication between the center’s experts and content developers and the public.
While dogs are often celebrated for their cognitive abilities, new research suggests cats might, too, be nuanced communicators.
A Purina-conducted study reveals cats may adjust their behavior to appeal to the attentional state of their caregiver.
To test the social communication skills of felines, researchers presented individual cats with a solvable task (i.e. a treat in a container with a loose lid) and an unsolvable task (i.e. a treat in a closed container) while in the presence of either an attentive or inattentive human.
In solvable task conditions, cats were found to easily figure out how to obtain the treat themselves without having to “ask” for human help. When unable to access the treat, however, the animals were observed as using behavioral strategies to communicate intention to their caregiver (e.g. repeatedly looking at the treat and then at the person, vying for attention, etc.).
Further, cats were found to modify these behaviors depending on the perceived availability of the human. When the caregiver was looking at them and paying attention, for example, the animals were more engaged (e.g. looking to them sooner, approaching the treat container more often, etc.). Conversely, when caregivers were not paying attention, the cats adjusted their behavior accordingly.
This identified ability to “read the room” counters previously held assumptions that felines have limited interest and/or communication skills as compared to dogs, Purina reports, and could influence understanding of pet behavior.
“A key part of any relationship is communication, and this study shows that cats are perhaps better communicators than we’ve given them credit for,” says the project’s lead, François Martin, MA, PhD. “The more attentive a cat owner is, the more engaged their cat will be in return, making their relationship stronger.”
Monitoring the health of horses means assessing what goes in and what comes out. Well-formed manure is one hallmark of health in horses, and unusual manure can be a sign of impending trouble. Horses with free fecal water syndrome (FFWS) usually have normal manure, but produce and expel liquid either during defecation or at other times. While FFWS isn’t life threatening like diarrhea could be, it is abnormal and may be related to feeding practices.
“Horse owners could easily confuse FFWS with diarrhea, making it imperative to understand the causes and management of this innocuous, yet equally messy, condition,” said Catherine Whitehouse, M.S., a Kentucky Equine Research nutritionist.
The exact causes of FFWS remain unclear. To learn more about this syndrome, researchers identified 50 horses diagnosed with FFWS on 50 privately owned farms in Sweden and Norway.* Fifty horses without FFWS on each farm were also included in the study to act as controls. The researchers collected demographic, management, and feeding data.
The data clearly demonstrated that ration composition, but not management practices, differed between horses with and without FFWS. For example, horses with FFWS were fed lower amounts of straw and alfalfa (lucerne) and about twice as much concentrate than control horses.
“If concentrates reach the hindgut without being processed in the small intestine, they undergo fermentation and produce lactate in the hindgut. An increase in lactate can have an osmotic effect because it draws water into the lumen of the colon,” explained Whitehouse.
Feeding concentrates, however, does not fully explain FFWS as not all affected horses included in the study were offered concentrates. Further, changing forages without altering the concentrates helped resolve FFWS in some cases.
Case and control horses were fed similar types of forages. Nonetheless, several cases of FFWS diminished or resolved after changing the forage.
“Plant maturity at harvest, cutting, and botanical composition may influence crude protein and the type of fiber content, potentially affecting digestibility,” said Whitehouse.
According to the study, fiber composition and degradability of the forage in the hindgut may influence the water-holding capacity of the ingesta. If the bulk of the fibers in the diet, and therefore the hindgut, have a low water-holding capacity, then free fecal liquid may become more evident.
“Though the differences in diets between horses with and without FFWS seem minor, the study suggests that even small adjustments to forage could help resolve the problem. Forage analysis may prove valuable in managing free fecal liquid in these horses,” Whitehouse recommended.