The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) announced funding for a new research project at Colorado State University to study the impact of temperament and stress on the health and success of working dogs.
This pilot study aims to measure the Allostatic Load (AL) of dogs, which is understood as the ‘wear and tear’ on the body due to chronic or frequent stressors. Widely published in human health literature, AL in humans is affected by genetics and personality, and high AL is a predictor of negative health outcomes including heart disease and cognitive decline. After successfully validating AL in primates, the research team seeks to validate canine AL for the first time.
“Developing a reliable method of measuring chronic stress will help ensure we are taking proper care of working dogs as well as pet dogs,” said the Principal Investigator of this project, Barbara Wolfe, DVM, Ph.D., DACZM, Colorado State University. “If successful, this tool could be utilized to predict success in working dogs and identify when working dogs are experiencing unhealthy levels of stress.”
This study will analyze early life events and lifestyle factors that may influence AL in Labrador Retrievers raised to be trained as guide dogs as well as Labrador Retrievers raised as pets. Researchers will use blood sampling to compare biomarkers associated with AL to these lifestyle and event factors to determine any association between AL and potential stressors. While many studies to date have used a single biomarker, such as cortisol, to determine canine stress, measuring AL tests multiple biomarkers of stress which allows for a more accurate measure of the accumulation of stress over time.
“This project reflects HABRI’s deep commitment to animal care and welfare,” said Steven Feldman, President of HABRI. “Understanding how to improve the lives of our canine companions is crucial to strengthening the human-animal bond.”
All West Coast abalone species are listed as critically endangered (red, white, black, green, pink, and flat abalone) or endangered (northern abalone, also known as threaded/pinto abalone) by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.
These listings were based on a West Coast abalones assessment led by Laura-Rogers Bennett, PhD, of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and University of California, Davis (UC Davis).
Abalones have provided nourishment, cultural significance, and ecological benefits for people, wildlife, and the environment. Red abalones have been a mainstay of West Coast shellfish aquaculture industry with a beloved recreational diving fishery in Northern California.
Along the West Coast, these giant sea snails have been impacted by overfishing, the decline of the kelp forest, warming ocean temperatures, and other environmental factors.
Restoring kelp forests and reducing climate impacts are key to helping abalone recover, Dr. Rogers-Bennett says. Kelp is their main food source, and its decline is intricately linked with the abalone population. When weakened by starvation, species are more susceptible to environmental changes like landslides following fires, ocean acidification, and increased storms.
“These populations’ vulnerabilities have increased due to climate change, and that’s what’s pushed them into threatened categories on the IUCN Red List,” Rogers-Bennett says.
The IUCN Red List is considered the world’s most comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of species. While the listing does not carry a legal requirement to aid imperiled species, it helps guide and inform global conservation and funding priorities, UC Davis reports.
A two-year-old Labrador retriever named Hugh is the 18,000th dog to be paired with a human through The Seeing Eye.
The pooch graduated the nonprofit organization’s program earlier this month alongside 31-year-old triathlete Kyle Coon, a motivational speaker, author, and member of the U.S. Paratriathlon Resident Team in Colorado Springs, Colo.
“From the time I was a little kid, I dreamed of being able to cruise around independently with a dog,” Coon says. “Now I’ve been matched with Hugh, my third Seeing Eye Dog, and I can’t begin to express how much confidence I have when we’re out and about.
Established in 1929, The Seeing Eye provides specially bred and trained dogs to guide people who are blind. The non-profit organization is supported by contributions from individuals, corporations and foundations, bequests, and other planned gifts.
“As Team USA athletes, we dedicate a certain portion of our lives to being the best in our chosen sport,” Coon continues. “Hugh is dedicated to making sure we travel smoothly and safely. I’m extremely honored and humbled to be part of the 18,000th match in The Seeing Eye’s history, and I can’t wait to see what adventures Hugh and I experience together from here on out.”
“How amazing it is to pair Kyle with Hugh, to help guide him on all of the journeys life takes them on,” adds The Seeing Eye president and CEO, Peggi Howard. “Just like every team that came before, their partnership was created with careful consideration, and support from countless individuals throughout the community. We are so grateful for the graduates who choose our dogs, the puppy raisers and staff who lovingly care for our dogs, and all of the volunteers and donors who came together to play a part in creating 18,000 Seeing Eye partnerships over the last 94 years.”
Tooth resorption, cognitive dysfunction syndrome, and oral squamous cell carcinoma are among the topics of six newly funded feline-focused studies.
Morris Animal Foundation has announced grants for veterinary researchers at Colorado State University (CSU), University of Wisconsin-Madison, and others. The projects, which are slated to begin in 2023, will focus specifically on feline health issues.
“Cats are an important part of so many people’s lives,” says the foundation’s vice president of scientific operations, Kathy Tietje, PhD, MBA. “Investment in research advancing their health and well-being continues to be a priority for the foundation. We’re proud to contribute to the science of feline health everywhere by providing financial support for these innovative studies.”
- Anne Avery, VMD, PhD, of CSU, who will investigate the origin and pathogenesis of feline intestinal lymphoma
- Susannah Sample, DVM, MS, PhD, DACVS, of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who will investigate the genetic foundation of tooth resorption in cats
- Maciej Parys, PhD, of the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom, who will look at genome-wide CRISPR knockout screening to identify novel therapeutic targets of feline oral squamous cell carcinoma
- Gillian McLellan, BVMS, PhD, DACVO, DECVO, DVOphthal, MRCVS, FARVO, of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who will investigate delineating age-related neuropathology and correlations with behavioral abnormalities in feline cognitive dysfunction syndrome
- Terza Brostoff, DVM, PhD, of the University of California, Davis (UC Davis), who will explore foundational steps toward a novel feline infectious peritonitis mRNA vaccine
- Shirley Chu, DVM, PhD, DACVIM, of the University of Missouri, who will begin phase one (of two) of a clinical trial evaluating tolerability, efficacy, and immune modulation with spatially fractionated lattice stereotactic radiation therapy in feline oral squamous cell carcinoma
According to a story by animalvictory.org, a senior cat is alive today thanks to a good Samaritan who took action after finding him frozen to the ground in Muskegon, Michigan. The cat, dubbed Elliot, was saved by a woman named Kelly, who rushed him to Big Lake Animal Clinic for life-saving care.
The veterinary clinic writes:
Kelly found this poor older boy frozen to the ground at Laketon and Wood St. this morning. She brought him to Big Lake Animal Clinic for them to check for a chip and help in saving him.
When Elliot was first examined at the clinic, his eyes were crusted shut, and his temperature had plummeted to just 94 degrees. The veterinary team immediately began administering life-saving treatment. With the help of warm IV fluids, Elliot’s body temperature was raised and he was able to rest comfortably.
The veterinary clinic provided an update on Elliot’s condition, writing:
This is the latest update on Elliot. We are so happy to say he is doing much better and was monitored during the night. He reaches out his paw to the vet tech that has been caring for him over night, showing her just how happy he is that he is being helped. He still has a long way to go, but we won’t give up.
The clinic is hoping to learn more about Elliot:
If anyone has any info or knows this boy, which we are calling “Elliot” (for the storm), please contact Big Lake Animal Clinic at 231-799-1074, or to help with medical costs.
Days before 2022 drew to a close, a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, animal shelter assured the owner of an elderly, blind and deaf cat, that their former pet was safe. On December 29, ACCT Philly shared a photo of L’il Mama and the heartbreaking note that her owner included with her cat carrier that was left outside of a shelter.
The animal welfare agency said:
To the person who previously cared for Lil Mama? and wrote this note to help her get her medicine, and attached it to the carrier she was left in outside of a shelter, we want to let you know that we have her and she is safe.
Though L’il Mama was abandoned, it was clear that her former owner loved her. Not only did the person include the senior cat’s name, but they outlined the health conditions that ultimately made caring for her financially impossible for them. The agency said:
It is clear you loved her very much to have written down everything she needed in this letter, and are facing several very difficult hardships? Thanks to your note, we know that Lil Mama is a 17 year old who is blind and deaf but is also suffering from hyperthyroidism, kidney disease and anemia, and we know her name.
The shelter staff quickly fell in love with L’il Mama and posted her information to social media with the hope that it would reach her prior owner. The agency assured the person that the cat was receiving medical attention and that they were searching for a rescue group or adoptive home capable of giving her the care she needs for the remainder of her life.
An update to the original posting indicates that L’il Mama has been placed with a rescue organization:
We’re happy to share that one of our fabulous rescue partners, City of Elderly Love: Save a Senior Pet, is taking Lil Mama into their care. To her owners, please know COEL is a wonderful group and if you reach out to us we are happy to put you in touch with them.
ACCT Philly’s post resonated with thousands of people, who left nearly 500 comments and shared it 1.4k times. The agency used this situation to remind pet owners that there are options available, aside from surrendering during hard times:
We hope this posts reunites them, and also spreads the word about alternatives to surrendering that people may not be aware of. If you’re considering surrendering your pet, please don’t wait until it is an emergency to start looking for resources.
You can privately rehome your pet through www.rehome.adoptapet.com
American Dairy Association North East, in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, revealed the highly anticipated butter sculpture, a tableau that showcases the importance of the dairy industry's traditions and its focus on sustainability.
"Pennsylvania Dairy: Rooted in Progress for Generations to Come" is the theme for the 32st butter sculpture. The sculpture depicts several generations of a dairy farming family, enjoying a moment together amid the background of their family farm, celebrating how they work together to produce wholesome food for their community in a sustainable way.
Dairy farmer Steve Harnish of Central Manor Dairy in Washington Boro, said, "The butter sculpture is a creative way to showcase the important role agriculture plays in our lives. Producing nutritious milk and dairy products, and feeding people, is what I love most about being a dairy farmer."
"This sculpture could be my own family," Harnish said. "This is a meaningful way to show how dairy farmers work with their loved ones on land where they have deep roots, but always farming for the future."
The sculpture was constructed over several weeks by artists Jim Victor and Marie Pelton of Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, using more than 1,000 pounds of butter donated by Land O' Lakes in Carlisle, Cumberland County.
"Creating art that showcases the hard work of dairy farmers is an immense source of pride for us," said Jim Victor. "We also enjoy knowing that the sculpture tells an impactful story about the importance of dairy farming," added Marie Pelton.
The butter sculpture is on display in the Farm Show's Main Hall. Following the Farm Show, the butter will be moved to the Reinford Farm in Juniata County to be converted into renewable energy in the farm's methane digester.
Half a million people are expected to visit the butter sculpture at the PA Farm Show during its eight-day run from January 7th through January 14th.
There are many dog lovers in the world and most of them express their adoration for canines by owning one or more pups, but that wasn't enough for one man in Japan. He calls himself Toco and since he was a child, he always dreamed of becoming an animal. Now that he is an adult, he's spent two million yen, the equivalent of $15,000, to make his dream a reality, and bought a hyper-realistic human-sized collie costume.
Toco has a YouTube channel with videos of him as a dog, but when it comes to his identity, he keeps it secret. He explained to the Mirror, "I rarely tell my friends because I am afraid they will think I am weird." As for the few he did tell, he said, "My friends and family seemed very surprised to learn I became an animal."
According to Toco, he most enjoys "doing things that only dogs do" since it makes him truly feel like a pet. Videos show him doing everything from walking on all fours to rolling over for belly rubs to lifting up his paws, however he also does some things that you might be surprised to witness a collie doing, like drinking soda through a straw and playing ping-pong.
Toco chose a collie because it is his favorite breed of dog. He enlisted Japanese company Zeppet to create it for him. Zeppet, which typically makes extensive models for movies, took 40 days to fabricate Toco's collie. They discussed their process saying, "We collect photographs taken from various angles so that the beautiful coat of the collie can be reproduced and devised so that the coat will flow naturally."
Many commenters on Toco's videos are moved by them, writing things like, "You inspire us to fulfill our dreams too," and, "I hope I become the animal I want to be as well. You're an inspiration to us." Others encourage him to not be so secretive about his passions, saying, "Don't be nervous of people seeing you! You're just a guy with a quirky hobby. There's nothing wrong with that!"
According to UnchainedTV, New York, NY has become the 6th state in the nation to adopt a new law making it so that pet stores can no longer sell dogs, cats, or rabbits. New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed the legislation in December of 2022 with a goal to end the pipeline between puppy mills and pet stores in the hopes of stopping abusive breeding practices. The New York law takes effect in 2024. California became the first state to pass a similar law in 2017, followed by Maine, Maryland, Illinois, and Washington.
What Does This Mean for Animals?
While the law includes cats and rabbits, it is aimed primarily at puppy mills. These mills are large, commercial breeding facilities that are mostly unregulated and known for their abusive, inhumane treatment of animals. Dogs are often kept in small, crowded, wire cages, unable to move around, and deprived of fresh air and sunlight. These mills make money by supplying puppies to pet stores. The new law prohibits pet stores in New York from selling puppies from these mills. Instead, if they want to continue to profit from putting dogs, cats, and rabbits in the hands of humans, the stores have the option of renting their space for adoptions from animal shelters or rescue organizations. Supporters of the new law say this will help curb America’s homeless pet crisis.
The Humane Society Estimates That There Are At Least 10,000 Puppy Mills Currently Operating in the United States.
“This is a very big deal. New York tends to be a big purchaser and profiteer of these mills, and we are trying to cut off the demand at a retail level,” said New York State Senator Michael Gianaris, who supported the bill. While less talked about than puppy mills, rabbit and kitten mills also exist, with similarly cruel environments. The New York State Humane Association estimates that 50% of rabbits die before even reaching pet shops.
Adopt, Don’t Shop!
Now that New York pet stores can no longer sell dogs, cats, or rabbits, animal rescue organizations are working hard to remind people that there are an incredible amount of companion animals in this country who need homes. The ASPCA estimates that, each year, 3.1 million dogs and 3.2 million cats enter the animal shelters in the U.S., and approximately 920,000 shelter animals are euthanized. The city of Los Angeles has been struggling with a pet overpopulation crisis that has led to scandalous conditions inside its shelters, with critics charging dogs can go for weeks without being walked and shouting matches erupting at public hearings on the issue. And, say animal activists, many of these now unwanted dogs are originally from puppy mills.
The National Park Service issued a proposed rule that, if finalized, would ban some of the most extreme and cruel methods of hunting and trapping bears and other wildlife on Alaska’s more than 20 million acres of pristine national preserves.
Among these practices that many hunters themselves deem unnecessary: killing black bears, including sleeping mothers and cubs, under artificial light at den sites; shooting bears over bait like bread, pastries, dog food and bacon grease; killing wolves and coyotes (including pups, parents and their extended pack members) at their birthing dens; shooting swimming caribou; and using dogs to chase black bears.
By taking this step to issue a proposed rule, the Biden administration is reaffirming the federal government’s commitment to preventing cruel and unsporting trophy-hunting practices in Alaska. It would again prohibit practices that had been banned by the Obama administration. But unfortunately in June 2020, NPS under the Trump administration issued a final rule which rolled back the 2015 Obama-era rule that prohibited these cruel hunting practices on Alaska’s preserves.
Today the Humane Society of the United States and the Humane Society Legislative Fund issued the following statements about this proposed rule:
Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States said: “We have long argued that our government must protect our nation’s treasured wildlife and not be working hand-in-hand with trophy hunters to sanction some of the most ruthless killing methods targeted at defenseless animals. There is nothing ethical about this assault—using piles of food to lure bears only to shoot them while the bears are eating, or killing hibernating mother bears and their tiny, dependent cubs in their dens. We will continue to fight against this carnage, and we won’t stop until this rule is finalized.”
Sara Amundson, president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund, said: “What happened today is a victory for Alaska’s iconic wildlife species, and we thank the Biden administration and the National Park Service for taking this commonsense step to reinstate their protections. The last two years have seen our government placate trophy hunters by privileging their blood sport practices while ignoring the voices of both biologists and the majority of Americans, who abhor such shocking animal cruelty and constant disruption to fragile Arctic ecosystems. Polls have shown clearly that allowing these kind of hunting practices are against the wishes of the public and quite frankly, no one should be shooting hibernating mother bears or wolves during their denning season. Baiting bears just to blast them over a pile of donuts is just wrong. It is about time the government moved to stop placing special trophy-hunting interests over those of the American people.”