Since the war broke out, Humane Society International has been working on the ground in Poland, Romania, Germany and Italy, helping people with their animals when they got word about a Ukrainian woman named Larysa who was in the U.S. (Arkansas) when the war started. Her cat named Persik (which means Peach in Ukrainian) was in Odessa staying with Larysa’s cousin Alexander while she was in the U.S. He managed to safely evacuate Persik from Ukraine with a friend who fled to Warsaw.
Kelly Donithan, director of animal disaster response for Humane Society International, was about to head out of Poland to fly home to the U.S. She connected with Larysa in Arkansas. Kelly then got airline approval to have Persik safely in his carrier, with her for the flight to the states. The cat was fully vaccinated, had his pet passport and was microchipped. All went smoothly and grateful Larysa could not be happier to have Parsik in her arms and safe with her in Arkansas, where she now lives.
Donithan explains: “This single story of one cat, Persik, is emblematic of what Humane Society International has seen through the chaos and trauma of this war: strangers and communities coming together to help one another however they can, including beloved animals. Larysa nearly lost hope of ever seeing Persik, but someone always jumped in to assist and bring this cat out of the war and ultimately to his mom. I am grateful that I was able to help finally get him home. While incredibly special, this is not a unique story. We are seeing compassion every day across Urkaine, Europe and around the world. It is a painful and horrific time, but all of these small acts of kindness are keeping and bringing families together when they need it most. Even during the darkest times, it is clear how much pets mean to their families.”
Larysa said: I want to express special gratitude to the people who took part in saving my cat from the war in Ukraine, to everyone who provided help and care in Warsaw for several weeks. Heartfelt gratitude to those who were able to bring my cat to USA -- team Humane Society International for their work in saving and protecting animals and for bringing my cat to me, and to everyone who participated in the rescue in saving Persik. With the outbreak of hostilities on February 24 in Ukraine, it was hard to believe how this could happen, my plans collapsed with the advent of the war to return home to Ukraine and visit my relatives and take the cat with me. I had to make a lot of efforts in order to find a person in difficult circumstances during the hostilities in Ukraine who agreed to take the cat out of Ukraine and now, by the grace of God, the cat is in my home with love and care. I pray for the people of Ukraine, for my father in Ukraine, for relatives and friends.
On the forest edges of eastern India, people stumble upon hungry, frightened marsupials they don’t recognize. The animals are kangaroos. Wildlife experts say the animals were almost certainly born at breeding facilities in Southeast Asia and smuggled overland to India, where they were likely destined to become exotic pets. Some social media users have demanded the arrest of whoever trafficked them. But no arrests have been made so far.
India essentially has “no law” under which people can be arrested or prosecuted for possessing exotic species, said Belinda Wright, a wildlife activist in India’s capital New Delhi. The authorities can only cite customs rules that prevent people from smuggling animals without having import duties or permits for them, she added.
Kangaroos have never been domesticated. The marsupials are native to Australia, where they number in the tens of millions and have been hunted for generations. They were removed from the US List of Threatened and Endangered Wildlife in 1995. The animals are not common pets in India, but in recent weeks kangaroos have been spotted walking along roadsides in the northeastern state of West Bengal, a known hotbed of animal smuggling.
In a recent kangaroo sighting, Sanjay Dutta, a forest ranger in West Bengal, was patrolling a protected area when residents of a nearby village called to say they had discovered unknown wild creatures. The three animals were “terrified and injured, and seemed to be looking for something to eat,” Mr Dutta said of the creatures he found in the village of Milanpally. They were dehydrated and malnourished when they were taken to the North Bengal Wild Animals Park, a safari center, according to wildlife specialists who cared for them. Customs officials in the country have seized many thousands of alien species in recent years, including falcons, finches, orangutans, monkeys and macaws. Some were threatened; many were intended for sale as exotic pets.
The conservationists who found the kangaroos this month are working in a narrow landlocked corridor in northeastern India bordering Bangladesh and Nepal. The corridor is known as a major transit point for smugglers transporting exotic animals from Southeast Asia. India was one of the first signatories to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or CITES, a 1975 treaty to ensure that trade would not endanger the survival of endangered and threatened species .
But India is lagging behind other countries in giving CITES a “proper legislative structure” in its legal system, said Debadityo Sinha, a senior resident fellow at the Vidhi Center for Legal Policy in New Delhi. A proposed amendment to India’s Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972 would place the possession of exotic species under the purview of conservation authorities rather than customs officials. the draft law, currently on commission, is expected to be adopted when introduced in Parliament. Mr Sinha said it would most likely “address to some degree the legal vacuum in regulating exotic species in India”. But for now, India’s patchy rules around imported animals have attracted smugglers seeking wealthy clients in New Delhi, Mumbai and other major cities who are willing to pay a premium for unusual pets. As for the three kangaroos found alive in West Bengal this month, one died later. The two that remain are slowly recovering and are likely to be sent to a zoo in the city of Kolkata, a few hundred kilometers away, said Dawa S. Sherpa, the park’s director.
Late last week, a young zebra died in a tragic incident at Disney World. Animal Kingdom park visitors who witnessed the incident told news agencies that the zebra got spooked when two ostriches were let into the safari area.
The frightened animal bolted…running at full speed into a gate. Park officials desperately tried to save the injured zebra, but they were unsuccessful.
In an email to WESH News, a Disney spokesperson said:
“We are heartbroken over the loss of our Hartmann’s mountain zebra that passed away, and we ask that you keep our dedicated animal care Cast Members in your thoughts.”
A dog is lucky to be alive after falling into a river in North Carolina and getting trapped in debris. The frightening incident happened on Tuesday night when the pooch tumbled into the cold water of the Neuse River.
The Knightdale Fire Department posted images of the rescue effort on Facebook, explaining what had transpired:
Tonight around 6:15 our crews along with Raleigh Fire Engine 26 were dispatched to a dog that had fallen in the river and was trapped in some debris. Upon our arrival crews quickly assessed the situation and the decision was made to deploy our boat for a rescue. The dog was quickly located and pulled from the rising and cold Nesue River.
Judging by photos, the tired dog was relieved to be out of the cold water and safely inside the rescuers’ boat. According to the Facebook post, the pup was reunited with his owners after he was back to shore – he is expected to be okay.
Check out AnimalVictory.org for more stories and news
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control reported that animals with rabies have recently been found in the state, with several pets potentially being exposed.
The agency confirmed that a bat found in Elgin, SC, tested positive for rabies. No people are known to have been exposed. Four cats were potentially exposed and will be quarantined as required in the South Carolina Rabies Control Act, according to a press release.
A raccoon also tested positive for rabies in Bamberg County. The animal was found in Ehrhardt, SC. No people are known to have been exposed. One puppy that is too young to be vaccinated against rabies was exposed, according to the release.
“Out of an abundance of caution and due to the risk associated with a known exposure to a pet that has never been vaccinated, the owners have chosen to have the puppy euthanized,” the agency stated.
The Richland County bat was submitted to DHEC’s laboratory for testing on April 21, and the Bamberg County raccoon was submitted to DHEC’s laboratory on April 20. Both were confirmed to have rabies on April 22.
Around five million honeybees, which were set to be shipped to Alaska from the United States, died after they were left on a hot tarmac in Atlanta. The crates carrying the bees were left unattended for hours, The Independent reported.
Alaskan radio station KTOO said that beekeepers who were waiting for the shipment to arrive termed the loss as “devastating”.
“We had a load that was going to Fairbanks, and then we had somebody else that was going to distribute from Wasilla to Talkeetna,” Sarah McElrea, who runs Sarah's Alaska Honey, was quoted as saying.
She was waiting at Anchorage airport for a shipment of 800 pounds of bees.
Two hundred packages of bees were supposed to be flown directly from Sacramento to Anchorage, Alaska, four days ago, but somehow ended up at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, according to the Metro Atlanta Beekeeper's Association.
When Ms McElrea got to know that the flight bringing the bees has been changed and that the bees have been put outside, she connected with Atlanta beekeeper Edward Morgan, who went to the airport.
Mr Morgan found that most of the bees were already dead from the heat.
KTOO reached out to Delta Airlines, which were supposed to bring the bees, and its spokesperson Catherine Salm replied saying, “We have been in contact with the customer directly to apologize for the unfortunate situation.”
According to the website of Alaska's Department of Fish and Game, there are no native bees in Alaska that gather in hives and produce honey. Alaska's native bees are more solitary in nature, so beekeepers in Alaska import European honeybees for making honey. Interesting fact: These swarms of bees form colonies in the wild and produce honey, but are not able to survive Alaska's cold winter.
Canine heartworm prevention is a common client conversation topic. In the contiguous U.S., the nematode parasite causing heartworm, Dirofilaria immitis, is endemic, and elsewhere (globally) it is an increasing concern due to climate change, subsequent vector (mosquito) abundance, and range expansion.1,2 Similarly, canine importation can prompt heartworm (HW) disease concern by way of infected dogs imported to non-D. immitis endemic countries.
Dogs infected with Dirofilaria immitis, and its common bacterial co-pathogen (Wolbachia spp.), are frequently subclinical on presentation. However, if they do not receive treatment, dogs progress to apparent cardiovascular and respiratory signs, including cough, dyspnea, exercise intolerance, and in severe cases with high worm burdens, right-sided heart failure or caval syndrome.1,2
Despite the dog’s high susceptibility to heartworm, disease is entirely preventable, provided puppies in endemic regions (or at high risk due to travel) are begun on macrocyclic lactones prior to eight weeks old.1,2
Pet owners may challenge the need for preventive care, especially if indicated for lifelong use or in regions not considered heartworm-endemic, for varied reasons. Even without the strain of the continued COVID pandemic, communication in day-to-day practice can be tough. The consideration of individual pet owner needs is evermore essential in the current delivery of veterinary care. Incorporation of spectrum of care, defined as evidence-based veterinary medicine (EBVM) options along the socioeconomic spectrum, within these dialogues can be helpful for clients, patients, and veterinarians alike.3,4
Morris Animal Foundation is now accepting proposals for research focused on finding nonsurgical sterilization methods to humanely control populations of free-roaming community cats.
“We are excited to announce a funding opportunity that has great potential to contribute to thoughtful feline population management,” said Janet Patterson-Kane, PhD, BVSc, Morris Animal Foundation chief scientific officer, in an organizational release.1
“Successful proposals will attempt to tackle a problem that contributes to shelter intakes and leaves far too many cats and kittens exposed and vulnerable,” she added.
According to the release,1 proposals may consist of medication, vaccines, and additional interventions for feline population control only. Those will not be accepted that focus on other species or projects proposing use of laboratory animals. The maximum project length is 36 months, with a project budget limit of $75,000. The deadline for grant applications is July 1, 2022, at 4:59 pm ET.
Applications will be evaluated and ranked based on impact and scientific rigor by a scientific advisory board consisting of subject matter experts.1 Learn more and apply for grant funding at Morris Animal Foundation.
This initiative is supported by the Foundation’s Donor-Inspired Study program.
Some owners find tranquility in watching their horses graze. Others size up the same scene with uncertainty, even worry, as they tally the potential dangers that lurk in fields and fencerows: buttercups, acorns, red maple leaves, and black walnut bark. Which level of concern is most fitting? A new study on “poison preference” suggests that the reality may lie somewhere between blissful ignorance and unflagging vigilance.* Meadow saffron, also known as autumn crocus because of its fall-flowering habit, is widely dispersed throughout Europe and in many areas of the United States, notably Kentucky, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Vermont, New Hampshire, Oregon, and Utah.** The meadow saffron is not a true crocus, like those that come as signals of spring. As meadow saffron grows, broad leaves erupt from the ground, similar to those of the more familiar garden tulip. In early fall, once the leaves have died back, flowers erupt from the corms. As this photograph taken by Enrico Blasutto shows, each stalk is four to six inches long and produces a single flower that is typically light pink or purple. All parts of the plant are toxic. The plant contains a substance called colchicine that inhibits cell division when eaten, potentially causing severe clinical signs. Many signs of toxicity are associated with the gastrointestinal system, including excessive salivation, difficulty swallowing, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.+ Bloody urine and coughing has also been observed in horses. In the study, a veterinary research team offered hay contaminated with meadow saffron to six mature horses, expecting them to avoid the poisonous plant. To their surprise, none of the horses included in the study steered clear of the meadow saffron despite having clean, uncontaminated hay available at all times. “The behavior of these horses shows sharp contrast to the widely held belief that horses will voluntarily avoid toxic plants when safe plants are available,” said Catherine Whitehouse, M.S., a Kentucky Equine Research nutritionist. “Free-choice good-quality hay was offered in this study, suggesting that the intake of meadow saffron was likely not due to hunger but perhaps curiosity,” Whitehouse explained. “Most horses investigated and consumed the meadow saffron at the beginning of the feeding period and less so as the study progressed.” Why were those horses enticed by the meadow saffron? According to the study, a variety of sensory cues, taste preferences, and experiences all influence what a horse will and won’t consume. “The bitter taste of meadow saffron may be palatable to horses,” she said. Colchicine and similar plant products have bitter flavors, often considered a protective mechanism for plants against grazing animals. Some studies show that horses seem to prefer—or are not put off by—bitter flavors, like fenugreek. “It is also possible that horses were attracted to the odor of meadow saffron. During the study, horses displayed investigative movements with their nostrils before ingesting the meadow saffron,” Whitehouse said. Feed composition may provide another potential explanation why the horses preferentially consumed the poisonous plant. Horses reportedly prefer feeds rich in carbohydrates (sugars) and protein. The meadow saffron used in this study had higher crude protein and lower fiber fractions than the safe hay, which potentially increased palatability. “In addition to the willingness of horses to consume toxic plants, this study shows that owners should carefully evaluate pastures and hay prior to feeding their horses,” Whitehouse advised. In one case report from Europe, three horses developed colic within a few days of consuming hay that was heavily contaminated with meadow saffron. One of the horses died, and the necropsy revealed an abundance of hemorrhagic fluid in the thorax and abdomen. Toxicology uncovered colchicine overload.++ In addition to worrying what is in dried hay, be sure to consider what isn’t. “Dried forages are frequently low in vitamin E, so horses fed all-forage diets that do not include fresh forage should be supplemented,” explained Whitehouse. “When choosing a vitamin E supplement, look for a product with proven bioavailability.”
Horses can acquire the coronavirus responsible for COVID-19, but they don’t develop disease and are “very unlikely” to contribute to the spread of the current pandemic, noted a leading expert.
By contrast, the relatively elusive equine coronavirus (ECoV)—which does not infect humans—can have “explosive” spread among horses and cause serious disease. With a 9% mortality rate, it’s “not a virus to be disregarded,” said Nicola Pusterla, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVIM, an associate professor in the Department of Medicine and Epidemiology at the University of California, Davis. “The ‘real stuff’ (for horses) is equine coronavirus,” said Pusterla during the 2021 American Association of Equine Practitioners’ convention, held in Nashville, Tennessee, and virtually last December.
Scientific models have suggested horses might be susceptible to SARS-CoV-2, the COVID-19 virus. And researchers have shown that dogs, cats, minks, and other animals acquire SARS-CoV-2 from humans and possibly contribute to the virus’ spread. In some cases—with minks in particular—the virus can mutate within the species before reverting back to humans in a mutated form.
So far, the horse’s role in the current pandemic has been unknown. So Pusterla and his fellow researchers decided to test more than 600 horses exposed to people with confirmed active COVID-19 infections. The researchers determined that horses can, in fact, become seropositive for SARS-CoV-2—meaning they show specific antibodies to the virus in their blood, suggesting infection—from being around seropositive humans.
However, seropositive rates in horses are rare—less than 7% despite being surrounded by COVID-19-positive humans—and the horses don’t have detectable viral antigens in their nasal secretions. Furthermore, the virus doesn’t appear to make the animals sick, as none of the seropositive horses showed clinical signs, he said. For these reasons, horses having any significant contribution to the current pandemic is highly unlikely, Pusterla said.
“If we look at cats and dogs that share households with a COVID-19 patient, it is up to 40% of these companion animals that will acquire the infection and show seroconversion, and the biggest risk factor is having the companion animal sleep with you,” Pusterla said. “Luckily that practice is not done commonly in the equine field, so I think we’re fairly safe there.”
Equine coronavirus, on the other hand, can cause serious disease in horses, he said. Infected animals can develop fever, lethargy, anorexia, and a variety of other signs, including watery diarrhea and neurologic issues. While most horses survive ECoV infection with supportive care, including anti-inflammatories, antibiotics, and fluids, Pusterla reiterated that about 9% must be humanely euthanized.
“If you think about it, 9% is not much, but that’s higher than what the global human population is experiencing with SARS coronavirus, so this is not a virus to neglect,” he said.
Cambridge University researchers recently suggested that stem cell vesicles—small membrane-bound particles spawned by stem cells—may be all that is needed for stem cell therapy, not the entire cell.* Should this theory hold, many of the drawbacks and adverse effects associated with stem cell therapy could be avoided while still benefiting horses with osteoarthritis and other musculoskeletal injuries.
Osteoarthritis is a common economic and welfare issue affecting horses, especially those engaged in athletic activity. Aggressive research efforts have yet to identify a cure or disease-modifying drugs (i.e., those that can alter the course of disease to restore cartilage). Instead, owners of horses with osteoarthritis are reliant on drugs and biologics that help control clinical signs of disease, such as pain, heat, joint swelling, and lameness.
“Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, intra-articular medications, and oral joint supplements such as those containing glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate are popular ways of preventing and controlling the inflammation that leads to articular cartilage degeneration,” explained Kathleen Crandell, Ph.D., a nutritionist for Kentucky Equine Research.
Osteoarthritis is also amenable to stem cell therapy. According to the Cambridge University research team, stem cells secrete vesicles that play vital roles in cell-to-cell communication. Vesicles pinch off from the stem cell and transport genetic material and proteins to target cells, such as chondrocytes, or cartilage cells. Target cells absorb the vesicles complete with the genetic material and proteins contained within them. The vesicles are believed to “recapitulate” or reproduce the therapeutic effects of the injected stem cells.
“There are multiple concerns associated with using stem cells. For example, transient inflammation of the joint frequently develops following intra-articular injection of stem cells. Further, stem cell survival, immune rejection, instability, and loss of function may all affect the success of stem cell therapy for osteoarthritis,” explained Crandell.
Considering these inherent drawbacks to stem cell therapy, Hotham and colleagues suggested that the vesicles alone, rather than the entire stem cell, could effectively manage osteoarthritis.*
To test this theory, the researchers collected vesicles produced from stem cell cultures in the laboratory. Those vesicles were subsequently labeled with a fluorescent tag so their location could be tracked during subsequent experimentation.
Microscopic analysis revealed that cartilage cells absorbed the tagged vesicles, and those vesicles had anti-inflammatory effects on cartilage cells.
“These findings support the hypothesis that vesicles alone may be sufficient for exerting the beneficial effects of stem cells without the untoward side effects often seen following administration of stem cells themselves,” Crandell concluded.
Ten thousand veterinary professionals in Georgia, New York, and Texas now have improved access to mental health resources, thanks to a newly launched pilot program from the Veterinary Medical Association Executives (VMAE).
The organization, in partnership with wellness platform Listeners On Call (LOC), has launched Veterinary Wellbeing Alliance, an initiative aimed at helping veterinary professionals reduce stress and burnout.
“Veterinary well-being has been a growing concern in recent years, and the pandemic has made it all the more urgent,” says VMAE chief executive officer, Adrian Hochstadt. “With increasing levels of burnout as practices face higher client demand than ever, it’s vital veterinary professionals have ready access to support.”
Through the pilot program, approximately 10,000 veterinary professionals in Georgia, New York, and Texas will gain complimentary access to the LOC platform. Members of each state’s veterinary medical association will be offered four hours per month at no charge to connect over the phone with one of LOC’s trained listeners, with whom they can share their challenges, frustrations, and concerns.
Founding patrons for the project include Antelligence, ASPCA Pet Health Insurance, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), AVMA Trust, Banfield Pet Hospital, CareCredit, Circa Healthcare, Covetrus, Dechra, DVMetrics, Felix Pharmaceuticals, Lap of Love, Merck Animal Health, MetLife, Midwest Veterinary Supply, and Zoetis.
“We hope members can benefit from these resources, and we look forward to learning from the pilot how the Alliance can be of even greater service in the future,” Hochstadt says. “We’re also grateful for the support from our founding patrons, without whom this effort wouldn’t be possible.”
A baby squirrel is lucky to be alive after getting completely covered in foam that hardened over his entire body. On April 23, the Detroit Animal Welfare Group (DAWG) posted a shocking image of the baby, explaining the daunting task at hand:
We have our work cut out for us tonight with this poor baby squirrel that either fell in foam or was sprayed and it has hardened all over his body. He is very feisty despite the trauma and eyes, feet, mouth and penis all covered. Prayers for this little one.
Though the situation appeared dire, the animal welfare agency accomplished the seemingly impossible, freeing the baby from the hardened foam. A day later, the sanctuary posted a new photo of the baby squirrel, writing:
Foamie❤️ is starting to look like a baby squirrel again. He is very active, eating and drinking and cuddled with some other orphaned friends for comfort.
A puppy who was discovered in a dumpster earlier this month has been adopted to a new home, where he is doing “great.” The six-month-old pup, now known as Duke, was found in an apartment dumpster by Division of Refuse operator, Dave Carlson.
According to the Columbus Ohio Department of Public Service, Carlson could see the puppy struggling to free himself from the trash. The agency said that he “immediately contacted Refuse Collection Supervisor Logan Sieg to inform him of the situation. Mr. Sieg immediately responded to the complex, where he entered the dumpster to dig the puppy out and rescue it.”
After being pulled to safety, the Franklin County Dog Shelter was contacted and arrangements were made for the pup to be taken in – but before Duke left, he was treated to some peanut butter crackers and allowed some exploration time at the station.
The city commended the employees, writing:
Thank You, Dave Carlson and Logan Sieg for going Above and Beyond in Service