Humane Society International has learned about a male elephant who was killed in a deeply distressing and tragic trophy hunt at a local game reserve on September 3, 2023, in the Limpopo Province of South Africa. The elephant suffered through eight gunshots over an extended period of time before finally succumbing to his injuries. This tragic episode contradicts the prevailing South Africa High Court interim interdict, a court order issued after a successful legal challenge brought by Humane Society International/Africa in 2022 against the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment and others. The court order explicitly prohibits the allocation of permits for trophy hunting of African elephants, leopard and black rhino in South Africa.
The elephant was killed at the Maseke Game Reserve, situated within the Balule Nature Reserve, by a hunting party consisting of a client, a hunting guide, a reserve representative and a backup rifleman. According to a publicly released letter issued by Balule Nature Reserve, the client discharged the initial gunshot, wounding the elephant. The reserve representative and the hunting guide fired subsequent shots to bring the elephant down, however these efforts also proved ineffective. The injured elephant sought to escape into the neighbouring Grietjie Game Reserve, an ecotourism reserve, where trophy hunting is prohibited. The injured animal was followed on foot and a helicopter was called to the scene. The elephant was eventually located and was chased back into Maseke Game Reserve by the helicopter where he was finally killed by more gunfire. It is reported that approximately eight shots were discharged into the elephant before the harrowing ordeal was over.
Tony Gerrans, executive director for Humane Society International/Africa said, “We are horrified by this unnecessary tragedy. Given the High Court’s interdict prohibiting the permitting of elephant hunts, the letter’s conclusion that this hunt was lawful is incorrect. Furthermore, no animal should ever experience the pain and suffering that this elephant endured. The practice of trophy hunting is not only profoundly inhumane, but also poses a grave threat to our biodiversity and tarnishes South Africa's global reputation as a sustainable and responsible tourist destination. To injure, chase and kill any animal in this way, is unacceptable."
Balule Nature Reserve is a member of the Associated Private Nature Reserves, a group of privately owned nature reserves bordering Kruger National Park. Animals can move freely across the borders of neighbouring reserves. Within the APNR there are some reserves that allow trophy hunting and others that do not, which means that protected animals from one reserve, or even the Kruger National Park, could possibly be killed by trophy hunters within another reserve.
Sarah Veatch, director of wildlife policy for Humane Society International, said, “This incident is a serious cause for concern beyond South Africa: it calls attention to the rampant mismanagement, lack of oversight, and cruel nature in the global trophy hunting industry. This is a harsh reminder of Cecil the lion’s tragedy in Zimbabwe who suffered from arrow wounds for over 10 hours before he was killed by a trophy hunter, and it happens far more often than these two instances. Permit violations and documented instances of suffering like for this elephant and Cecil, are manifestations of the industry’s much larger, dangerous culture of wilful disregard for animals and the law.”
"This incident once again demonstrates the inhumanity of hunting sentient animals merely for bragging rights and to display parts of their bodies as trophies on a wall. Too many endangered and threatened animals continue to suffer and die within so called ‘nature conservation reserves’ in what is best described as a blood sport, Gerrans continued. “HSI/Africa has challenged the way this horrifying activity is permitted by the government, and we call on all South African wildlife administrators to abide by the High Court order which prohibits the permitting of elephant, leopard and black rhino hunts until such time as the court can rule on the merits of the permitting process.”
(ROSHARON, TX) – Parvo Treatment Center, a local nonprofit organization dedicated to providing low-cost, high-quality treatment for dogs and puppies affected by parvovirus, celebrated a grand reopening at their new treatment facility. Parvo Treatment Center, formerly known as Pearland Parvo Recovery Center, was originally founded in 2019 as an inpatient rehabilitation resource for animal rescues and shelters to treat puppies and dogs with parvovirus. After a brief hiatus during which they were forced to shut down, they received a $75,000 grant procured by Houston PetSet to resume their vital services to the animal welfare community.
Canine parvovirus is a highly contagious virus that can affect all dogs, but unvaccinated dogs and puppies younger than four months old are the most at risk. This deadly but preventable virus is extremely difficult to kill and there is no cure; only intensive symptom management can save a dog diagnosed with parvo. Parvo Treatment Center provides this incredibly specialized protocol in their facility so that rescues and shelters can keep their other animals safe.
The Parvo Treatment Center, located at 15060 Hwy. 6 in Rosharon, Texas, currently limits their services to dogs in the care of rescues and shelters, and their paid staff of nine and handful of dedicated volunteers will see an average of 40 to 50 dogs pass through their doors each month. They also work to provide community education about the prevalence of parvovirus, as well as the importance of regular vaccination.
“The generous donation from Houston PetSet and its supporters has enabled Parvo Treatment Center to relocate to a larger facility, provided expanded services to the community, and ultimately care for and treat more dogs suffering from parvo,” said Parvo Treatment Center founder, Jeanette Savage. “The continued support from Houston PetSet has helped PTC to save over 902 dogs and puppies to date. We are looking forward to increasing those numbers significantly in the future, and to the day when our services will no longer be needed.”
Recent findings from the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study confirm the enormous impact of hemangiosarcoma on golden retrievers. To address critical gaps in disease detection and treatment, Morris Animal Foundation announced it is funding six studies focused on this deadly form of canine cancer.
“We are committed to providing resources to the top research teams in the world that can advance our understanding of hemangiosarcoma," said Dr. Kathy Tietje, Chief Program Officer at Morris Animal Foundation. "These innovative research projects represent the best of the best. All who have contributed to the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study deserve to see progress in addressing this devastating disease.”
The six studies will explore a range of approaches to prevent, diagnose and treat hemangiosarcoma, and include the following:
- Dr. Erin Dickerson, University of Minnesota – Investigate whether different hemangiosarcoma subtypes influence how affected dogs respond to treatment.
- Dr. Andrea Pires dos Santos, Purdue University – Examine the feasibility of using molecules called microRNAs as an early detection tool for hemangiosarcoma.
- Dr. Jong Hyuk Kim, University of Florida – Investigate the role of a genetic mutation found in about 1/3 of dogs diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma in effort to find new therapies for dogs affected by hemangiosarcoma.
- Dr. Frances Chen, University of Massachusetts – Develop statistical breeding models to help reduce hemangiosarcoma incidence in dog breeds.
- Dr. Jiho Kim, Protein Advances Incorporated Life Sciences – Explore whether a protein found in some human cancers is also present in hemangiosarcoma tumors and is a feasible therapy target.
- Dr. Alexandre Le Roux, Schwarzman Animal Medical Center – Use a technique called single-cell RNA sequencing to identify surface markers specific to canine hemangiosarcoma cells as a first step toward the development of an effective and precise radiation therapy.
Scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks and the University of Montana studied how climate change affected trout fisheries across 3,100 miles of rivers in Montana from 1983 to 2017. They found that over the past several decades, Montana’s trout fishing economy was resilient in the face of climate extremes. However, they also found that 35% of Montana’s cold-water habitats may no longer be suitable for trout by 2080, resulting in the loss of $192 million per year in state revenue.
"Trout fisheries have enormous cultural, economic and ecological importance in Montana and worldwide, yet even Montana’s resilient trout fisheries could be vulnerable to future climate change," said Timothy Cline, a USGS scientist and the study’s lead author.
The study found that several extreme droughts reduced stream flows and increased water temperatures, causing stressful conditions for trout and numerous fishing site closures in Montana. Anglers responded to droughts by moving to cooler fishing locations that were more favorable to trout during extreme conditions.
“By moving to other fishing areas that were more favorable during drought, visitors kept trout fishing revenue in the state rather than choosing to travel elsewhere,” Cline said. “Trout fishing in Montana has been remarkably resilient to changing conditions.”
The concentration of anglers fishing in the region doubled during the study period. Cold-water sections of river, where trout were dominant, had 10 times the number of anglers than nearby warmer-water sections, and most of those anglers were visitors from out of state. These findings demonstrate that trout fishing was a significant recreational draw and economic contributor to Montana despite drought conditions.
However, the continued loss of suitable trout habitat could further test the resiliency of the state’s fishing economy in coming decades. Montana could lose almost $200 million per year in angling revenue, or about 30% of its current trout fishing economy, according to the study.
“Our findings underscore the importance of maintaining a diversity of cold-water habitats and streamflows that provide options for anglers to move to as conditions change,” said Clint Muhlfeld, a USGS scientist and co-author on the study. “Such diversity could help mitigate the socioeconomic impacts of climate change on valuable freshwater fisheries.”
Australian and British scientists recently published the study in the journal Scientific Reports.
It explains how the new species was discovered after teeth fossils at the Pwerte Marnte Marnte fossil site south of Alice Springs.
They date back 25 million years.
Flinders University PhD student Arthur Crichton said in a statement: "The new species, which has been named Lumakoala blackae, weighed roughly 2.5 kg (about the size of a modern day brushtail possum, or a small domestic cat), and probably ate mostly soft leaves, but wouldn’t have turned down an insect given the chance." In comparison, modern-day koalas can weigh anywhere between four to 15 kg.
Crichton continued: "Our computer analysis of its evolutionary relationships indicates that Lumakoala is a member of the koala family (Phascolarctidae) or a close relative, but it also resembles several much older fossil marsupials called Thylacotinga and Chulpasia from the 55 million-year-old Tingamarra site in northeastern Australia."
The species mentioned above are thought to be ancient ancestors of a group called Diprotodontia.
Diprotodontia refers to a group of around 155 species of marsupials that are alive today including koalas, kangaroos, and wombats.
Crichton explained: "If our hypothesis is correct, it would extend the diprotodontian fossil record back by 30 million years.
"We would really expect early diprotodontians to have been around at the time; molecular information suggests koalas, wombats, kangaroos and possums split off from other marsupials between about 65 million and 50 million years ago."
The study raises more questions about where this koala species lived and how many there were.
Today, only one species of koala exists and they're endangered in much of Australia.
We now know that tens of millions of years ago, multiple koalas and koala-like creatures existed.
Professor Gavin Prideaux, who also worked on the study, said: "While we have only one koala species today, we now know there were at least seven from the late Oligocene – along with giant koala-like marsupials called ilariids. "
Ian Wilmut, the cloning pioneer whose work was critical to the creation of Dolly the Sheep in 1996, has died at age 79. The University of Edinburgh in Scotland said Wilmut died Sunday after a long illness with Parkinson’s disease.
Wilmut set off a global discussion about the ethics of cloning when he announced that his team at the university’s Roslin Institute for animal biosciences had cloned a lamb using the nucleus of a cell from an adult sheep.
Initially referred to as “6LL3″ in the academic paper describing the work, the lamb was later named Dolly, after the singer Dolly Parton. The lamb’s cloning was the first time scientists were able to coax a mature adult cell into behaving like a cell from a newly fertilized embryo in order to create a genetically identical animal.
While Dolly’s creation was heralded as a revolution by some scientists, it unnerved many, with critics calling such experiments unethical.
The year after Dolly’s creation, U.S. President Bill Clinton imposed a ban on the use of federal funds for human cloning but stopped short of banning all cloning research.
Dolly’s creation prompted other scientists to clone animals including dogs, cats, horses and bulls. Dolly also spurred questions about the potential cloning of humans and extinct species. In recent years, scientists have proposed bringing back the woolly mammoth by using a mix of gene editing and cloning.
Dolly’s creation was part of a broader project by scientists to create genetically modified sheep that could produce therapeutic proteins in their milk. About six years after Dolly’s birth, it was euthanized by scientists after she developed an incurable lung tumor.
Wilmut, a trained embryologist, later focused on using cloning techniques to make stem cells that could be used in regenerative medicine. His work was critical to research that aims to treat genetic and degenerative diseases by helping the body repair damaged tissue.
The Roslin Institute said Wilmut was knighted in 2008 and retired from the university in 2012. He later researched Parkinson’s disease after he was diagnosed with the condition, it said.
“We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Sir Ian Wilmut,” Bruce Whitelaw, the institute’s director, said in a statement Monday. Whitelaw described Wilmut as a “titan” of science and said his work in Dolly’s creation transformed scientific thinking at the time.
He said the legacy of Wilmut’s work in cloning Dolly continues to be seen. “This breakthrough continues to fuel many of the advances that have been made in the field of regenerative medicine that we see today,” he said. Wilmut is survived by his wife, three children and five grandchildren, the University of Edinburgh said.
The new limited podcast series Hooked on Freddie delves into a decades-old, riveting tale of a dolphin named Freddie who unexpectedly disrupts life in Amble, Northumberland in the UK. Hosted by award-winning journalist Becky Milligan, the six-episode series explores the complex relationship between lifelong animal rights activist Alan Cooper and Freddie the dolphin. Cooper’s deep bond with Freddie turns into a headline-grabbing scandal when he is accused of a heinous act against the dolphin, leading to a unique legal battle.
Wondery’s Head of UK Podcast Content, Rich Knight, and Blanchard House’s Creative Director and Co-Founder, Rosie Pye, both express their excitement for the project. Milligan, who once swam with Freddie as a student journalist, has full access to all key players sharing their stories for the first time. This marks Wondery’s sixth original podcast from the UK and the first collaboration with Blanchard House. The series promises to be a compelling narrative about friendship, scandal, and how we interact with wildlife.
Rich Knight commented, “Hooked on Freddie is an extraordinary story which is both joyously uplifting and deeply poignant. It’s about a magical friendship between species and a bitter rivalry between humans. At its heart, it is a story about how we should treat wild animals.” Rosie Pye said, “This is a truly incredible story that has to be heard to be believed… everything that happened here will leave you astonished! It’s not only a story about the power of wild accusations, it is also extremely poignant, as we hear someone’s worst nightmare unfold.”
Morris Animal Foundation announced a new call for research proposals centered on the health of animals inhabiting sagebrush and grassland ecosystems.
Sagebrush ecosystems can be found in arid and semiarid conditions throughout the world. Grassland ecosystems span all continents except Antarctica and include areas such as savannas, prairies, steppes and Pampas.
This call for proposals encompasses two award types:
- Established Investigator: awards designed for researchers with a track record of expertise demonstrated through peer-reviewed publications
- Pilot Study: awards designed to fund proof-of-concept studies within the realm of animal health research
All applicants must convince the scientific and animal welfare reviewers that they clearly understand the health problem, possess sufficient expertise to conduct the study, can implement a scientifically sound approach, and consider the overall environmental impact of their research. Interested researchers can find more information, including proposal documents, on the Foundation’s Grants page. Proposals are due by 4:59 p.m. ET, Nov. 29, 2023.
The annual To the Rescue! gala supporting the work of the Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International will take place Nov. 3, 2023, at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City. Actress, author, producer and rabbit lover Amy Sedaris and actor and activist Justin Theroux, along with Theroux’s beloved rescue dog Kuma, will serve as the evening’s hosts.
“Saving animals is a cause that is near and dear to my heart. Kuma and I are thrilled to be hosting the annual To the Rescue! gala this year, alongside one of my dearest friends and fellow animal advocate, Amy Sedaris,” said Theroux. “This is a wonderful opportunity to shed light on the critical work the Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International are doing to protect animals in the U.S. and all over the world, providing access to care and supplies. I’m honored to be a part of this event.”
“I am so excited to spend the evening celebrating victories for animals and raising funds to pave the way towards a more humane future,” said Sedaris. “The money raised at the To the Rescue! gala will help make pet care more affordable, available and accessible for everyone. Co-hosting with Justin and Kuma is the icing on the cake, and I look forward to working with the Humane Society of the United States to make the world a safer place for animals.”
This year's gala will feature an inspiring look at the Humane Society of the United States’ efforts to strengthen the bond between people and animals. This work includes making veterinary care, pet food and essential supplies such as leashes and collars more affordable, available and accessible for everyone—no matter their economic or geographic situation. The organizations also work to reduce populations of free-roaming cats and dogs, to rescue animals from cruelty, neglect and disasters, and to prevent cruelty.
“The bond between people and companion animals is unlike any other, and we believe that no one should have to give up their pet because they cannot access or afford vital care. The sad reality is that millions of companion animals in the U.S. are living in poverty with their families, which is why it is critical that veterinary care and essential supplies are accessible to every family with a pet, regardless of circumstances,” said Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States and CEO of Humane Society International. “It’s an honor to highlight our access to care work, a critical part of our mission, during our annual To the Rescue! gala. Together with our partners, we are making a meaningful difference for animals and their families.”
To The Rescue! includes a cocktail reception, a gourmet plant-based dinner curated by vegan chef Leslie Durso, special guests, entertainment and a live auction.
For tickets, visit humanesociety.org/totherescue.
Indiana – On September 7, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Indiana issued a press release announcing the indictment of 21 people involved in a “deeply disturbing” dogfighting ring that involved not only brutality to countless dogs forced into the ugly bloodsport, but a slew of other illegal activities, including drug trafficking, money laundering, and illegal possession of firearms.
Miami-Dade, FL – A middle-aged dog at the Miami-Dade Animal Services facility is in desperate need of help. Her name is Luna and she has been labeled “code red.”
Luna appears to have led a life of neglect. Her coat is unkempt and she looks disheveled.
On Wednesday, an advocate wrote:
MUST HAVE RESCUE COMMITMENT BY 9/16/23 OR WILL BE EUTHANIZED!! Geriatric, covered in urine and matts. Ocular disease; otitis externa. Has microchip.
Luna needs a hero. Please share her adoption information and her find the help she needs to survive.
Animal Name: LUNA
Located At: Miami-Dade Animal Services
Kennel Number: TG02
Description: I am an unaltered female, black German Shepherd Dog.
Age: The shelter staff think I am about 7 years old
Location: Miami-Dade Animal Services
Phone Number: (305) 884-1101
Address: 3599 NW 79 Avenue
Doral, FL 33122
Note: All inquiries about this dog must be made directly to the shelter.
SOUTH COVENTRY TOWNSHIP, Pa. (CBS) -- The search for escaped prisoner Danelo Cavalcante came to an end Wednesday on the 14th day of the manhunt in South Coventry Township, and a furry friend played a huge role in ending the search.
Yoda, a 4-year-old Belgian Malinois, bit Cavalcante as he tried to escape while tactical units closed in on the convicted killer, officials said in a news conference following the capture.
Yoda is a part of the BORTAC K9 unit with the U.S. Border and Customs Patrol.
Border patrol agents from Buffalo, Detroit, Blaine, Washington, Swanton, Vermont and El Paso, Texas helped in the search with other federal, state and local law enforcement to catch Calavante with Pennsylvania State Police leading the manhunt.
Earlier in the search, a different K-9 suffered heat exhaustion as the Philadelphia area dealt with a heatwave.
Law enforcement took Cavalcante, who was wearing an Eagles hoodie at the time, back into custody without incident, police said.
Officials said a combination of aircraft with thermal imaging and K-9s led to bringing Cavalcante back into custody.
Cavalcante escaped from Chester County Prison back on Aug. 31.
The manhunt spanned in several different locations in the rural county, from the south region in Longwood Gardens to the northern part of the county in South Coventry Township.
A video released by officials showed how Cavalcante, who was also wanted for murder in his native county of Brazil, escaped the prison by climbing up a wall and then getting past barbed wire.
Before escaping, Calvacante was sentenced to life without parole for fatally stabbing his ex-girlfriend, Deborah Brandao, 38 times in the Phoenixville area in 2021 in front of her two young kids.
Cavalcante was immediately examined by medics after he was recaptured and transferred by a SWAT vehicle to the state barracks in Avondale, according to state police.
The convicted killer will then be reprocessed and taken to a state institute to serve his life sentence.
Brazilian scientists have found some new species of spiders that will hopefully live long and prosper. Researchers with the Emilio Goeldi Paraense Museum have identified the three new species and named them after some iconic characters from Star Trek.
The researchers published their findings in the European Journal of Taxonomy earlier this month. The spiders are aptly named after Kirk, Spock, and McCoy and were found across Latin America—R. kirk was found in Costa Rica, R. spock was found in Campeche, Mexico, and R. mccoy was found in Big California Sur, Mexico. Co-authors Alexander Sánchez-Ruiz and Alexandre B. Bonaldo identified both male and female specimens of R. kirk while only observing female R. spock and male R. mccoy. The researchers were inspired by Star Trek after noticing how the arachnid anatomy resembled that of spaceships seen on the show.
“They somewhat resemble Star Trek spaceships,” Bonaldo said to the New York Times in an interview. “Arachnologists have a long tradition of giving interesting scientific names for new genera and species, as most of us believe it is a great opportunity to acknowledge people or draw parallels with pop culture and local customs.”
The spiders belong to the Roddenberryus genus, which is named after screenwriter Gene Roddenberry, the mastermind behind the Star Trek television series. Roddenberryus is a novel genus established by Sánchez-Ruiz and Bonaldo, which includes the three Star Trek-inspired spiders as well as two additional species known as the R. sargi from Guatemala and the R. pelegrina from Cuba. These two species were previously placed in the Caponina genus.
Scientists have a long tradition of naming new species after famous characters and people, alike. In April 2022, researchers named a newly identified species of millipede after American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift, calling the specimen Nannaria swiftae. Harrison Ford of Indiana Jones fame was also honored with the gift of having a snake species named after him. Tachymenoides harrisonfordi was discovered in Peru’s Otishi National Park.
A couple, who was initially arrested for narcotics possession, now face charges of felony animal cruelty after their Pitbull puppy showed signs of fentanyl overdose after exposure to the drug inside the couple’s car.
The incident happened last September 6 at a Walmart, according to a Facebook post by the Irvine Police Department. The police officers arrested Caleb Aaron Gibson, 29, of San Juan Capistrano, Calif., and Katherine Marylou Menke, 27, of Santa Ana, Calif., for fentanyl possession. Upon discovery of the puppy inside the couple’s car, the police officers administered a dose of opioid-overdose treatment, Narcan, to the dog.
In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Irvine Police Department spokesperson, Kyle Oldoerp says Menke knew immediately that the eight-week-old puppy was overdosing when they were taken to the police station. “She knew the symptoms because it was the second time the dog had overdosed,” says Menke. The Irvine Police Department confirmed in the online statement that the puppy is fully recovering, and the department’s Animal Services Unit will take possession of the dog. Further, the department had asked the Orange County district attorney’s office to file charges in the case.
Ensuring “dogs with jobs” receive top-notch training is the driving force behind a recent donation. In honor of National Service Dog Month (September), nonprofit organization Canine Companions has received an $85,000 contribution from consumer financial services company Synchrony. The donation supports Canine Companions’ ongoing commitment to enhance the lives of people with disabilities by providing them with expertly trained service dogs at no cost.
“The partnership between a person with a disability and their service dog is a lifetime relationship,” says Boo Larsen, vice president and general manager of Synchrony solution, CareCredit. “By expanding our partnership with Canine Companions, we can help provide independence to people with disabilities by matching them with their cherished companions.”
Synchrony began its relationship with Canine Companions more than eight years ago and has since donated more than $250,000 to the organization. “Synchrony and Canine Companions have a partnership rooted in a belief of the transformative power of the human-canine bond,” says Canine Companions CEO, Paige Mazzoni. “We are grateful for its marketing and financial support of our mission to enhance the lives of people with disabilities through expertly trained service dogs.”
Established in 1975, Canine Companions pairs service dogs with people who have physical and developmental disabilities, as well as adults with hearing impairments. Additionally, the group provides task-trained service dogs to professionals working in health care, visitation, educational, or criminal justice settings. It has six training centers across the country, which serve all 50 states.
The decline in public confidence in vaccines during the pandemic seems to have cast a shadow of mistrust over various aspects of vaccination, including those designed for pets.
A recent study, led by a researcher from the Boston University School of Public Health, highlights the concerning levels of canine vaccine hesitancy (CVH) in the U.S. Published in the journal Vaccine, the study reveals over half (53 percent) of dog owners express some level of skepticism about vaccinating their pets, citing concerns about safety, efficacy, and necessity.
The study found nearly 40 percent of dog owners believe canine vaccines are unsafe, more than 20 percent consider them ineffective, and 30 percent perceive them as medically unnecessary. Most alarmingly, about 37 percent of dog owners believe canine vaccination could cause autism in their pets, despite a lack of scientific evidence supporting this claim.
The study identifies a “vaccine spillover” effect, indicating how individuals who hold negative attitudes toward human vaccines are more likely to exhibit the same skepticism toward pet vaccinations. This alignment of views extends to opposition to policies promoting widespread rabies vaccination in dogs. Such beliefs could have dire public health consequences, as rabies remains a deadly threat globally, with around 59,000 human fatalities annually.
“The vaccine spillover effects that we document in our research underscore the importance of restoring trust in human vaccine safety and efficacy,” says study lead and corresponding author Matt Motta, PhD, assistant professor of health law, policy & management at Boston University’s School of Public Health.
“If non-vaccination were to become more common, our pets, vets, and even our friends and family risk coming into contact with vaccine-preventable diseases,” adds Dr. Motta.
The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) recommends all dogs receive a core set of vaccines for rabies, distemper, adenovirus, parvovirus, and parainfluenza, and advises that many dogs receive additional “non-core” inoculations for Lyme disease, Bordetella, and other diseases.
A new oral treatment indicated to control nonregenerative anemia in cats with chronic kidney disease (CKD) has been launched on the veterinary market.1 Molidustat oral suspension (Varenzin-CA1; Elanco Animal Health) was conditionally approved by the FDA in May 2023.2,3 It is the first drug for cats to receive the conditional approval designation, which serves as a pathway for development of innovative treatments that target conditions that are uncommon, life-threatening or serious, and those without existing or adequate therapies.2
To receive conditional approval, molidustat oral suspension was evaluated in a 2-phase multi-center, randomized, placebo-controlled field effectiveness and safety study. The first phase was double-masked, while the second phase was an unmasked, optional continuation of the investigation. Both study phases enrolled 23 cats from age 4 to 17 years, of various breeds and mixes that were diagnosed with nonregenerative anemia associated with CKD.3
Anemia from CKD can make feline patients lethargic and reduce their appetite, and lead to a rapid heart rate and difficulty breathing, in severe cases, according to Elanco Animal Health.1 Additionally, CKD-related anemia often contributes to death or euthanasia of cats with the condition because of their poor quality of life. Current therapies used to address CKD-related anemia often include extra-label use of a human drug, blood transfusion, and supplemental iron therapy.2
CKD is common among mature and senior cats, occurring in about 15% to 30% of feline patients over the age of 12 years. Furthermore, anemia is common in more than half of all cats diagnosed with CKD.4 “Chronic kidney disease is not curable, so veterinarians and pet owners are focused on improving quality of life and slowing disease progression in affected cats,” said Melinda Wood, DVM, specialty consulting veterinarian at Elanco, in an organizational release. “[Molidustat oral suspension] is an innovative, needle-free oral suspension option for cats that can be given at-home—no in-clinic injections needed. This innovation sets a new standard of care for cats suffering from the debilitating effects of this disease. It represents a paradigm shift in the early-treatment of CKD-related anemia and helps CKD cats feel more like their feline selves.”1
In a series of studies, molidustat oral suspension was shown to have a reasonable expectation of efficacy in managing anemia in CKD cats. By day 28, 50% of cats given the drug had increased their red blood cell count, and by day 56, 75% of cats had increased their red blood cell count, which improved oxygen and nutrient delivery to their bodies. The most commonly reported adverse reactions included vomiting, increases in systolic blood pressure and mild transient increase in serum potassium.1
While discussions related to nutrition might sometimes take the back seat during wellness checks, veterinarians should play a proactive role in their patients’ diets.
This is according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP).
Specifically, they strive to address the growing issue by informing veterinary professionals, as well as the pet-owning public, about the trajectory of pet obesity trends and the importance of obesity prevention and management.
“Since we began tracking pet obesity incidence rates in 2006, the percentage of overweight and obese pets has steadily increased,” says APOP president, Ernie Ward, DVM. “Turning this trend around will take the combined efforts of veterinarians, veterinary staff members, pet owners, and the pet food industry itself.”
In APOP’s 2022 pet obesity pet owner survey, 59 percent of dogs and 61 percent of cats were classified as overweight or having obesity.
“Given our knowledge of pet nutrition and its role in the pet-owner relationship, as well as our commitment to reducing the incidence of pet obesity, we look forward to supporting APOP in its expanded efforts to reach veterinary professionals and pet owners,” says Jason Gagné, DVM. “Through our combined efforts, we hope to make a measurable difference in pet obesity awareness and implementing practical strategies to address it.”
As summer winds down in some parts of the world, many horse owners launch into hay-buying mode, some joyfully reconnecting with tried-and-true dealers and others frantically placing orders with hay growers new to them. Choosing the right hay has much to do with the horse it is intended for—age, workload, energy requirements, and metabolic status, among other points. All horse owners run into red flags when doling out hay, leaving them to ask, “What is that in my hay?”or “Should I feed this to my horse?” Here are three hay-feeding situations that call for closer inspection of the forage and a decisive plan of action.
Dust or mold. Dusty or moldy hay should not be fed to horses. Chronic inhalation of dust and mold increases mucus production and weakens air passages in the lungs, causing them to narrow and spasm. These changes describe the disease known as recurrent airway obstruction or heaves, which is part of the “equine asthma” umbrella of diseases. Horses diagnosed with heaves typically do not breathe normally during exercise, thus limiting their performance. Some horses with advanced disease breathe abnormally at rest and may not be able to exercise at all.
Aside from its effects on the respiratory system, mold can adversely affect the gastrointestinal tract, causing colic. Horses generally will not ingest moldy feedstuffs if given a choice, but moldy hay can be deadly if the horse is forced to eat it because no high-quality alternative is available. Horses cannot tolerate the gastrointestinal tract insult inflicted by certain molds or the toxins they produce because, like humans, they have a simple, single-chamber stomach. Cattle. on the other hand, are ruminants and possess a multichambered stomach more capable of handling molds.
Unusual plants. One feature of high-quality hay is purity. Hay made from a single forage species, such as timothy or alfalfa, would be considered pure hay, as would hay made from the intentional mixing of forage species (a grass-legume mixture). Hayfields are not impervious to weeds, so it is normal for horse owners to find occasional weeds in good-quality hay. Weeds should never overwhelm a bale of hay, though, as excessive weeds are often a hallmark of poor hayfield management. Though many weeds found in hayfields are harmless, others are poisonous or possess structures that can injure the soft tissues of the mouth. Finally, as forage analysis becomes more popular among horse owners, uniform hay—meaning one bale of hay is nearly identical to every other bale of hay in a load—allows for more accurate ration balancing.
Dead rodents and reptiles. Hayfields are a natural habitat for rodents and reptiles, so they are sometimes accidentally baled with hay during harvest. Decomposing carcasses incubate the spores of the bacterium Clostridium botulinum, and these spores can spill out into the surrounding hay. Ingestion of spores may cause botulism in horses. Though botulism is often linked to the feeding of round bales, carcasses are just as frequently found in square bales. If a dead animal is found in a hay bale, discard the entire bale. Consult with a veterinarian about the USDA-approved vaccine that prevents botulism.
Hay producers often do the best they can to eliminate weeds and other foreign material from their product. They know that clean hay is the best hay for horses. Once you find a reputable hay producer or dealer, work with him when you encounter a problem with your forage. He will likely be just as interested to hear your concerns as you are to impart them.
An orangutan at a zoo in Australia found an unwanted visitor in its treehouse. The ape’s solution? To quite literally throw the visitor out
A video shows a possum flying out of a treehouse and through the air. People can be heard screaming as the possum disappears over the enclosure’s exterior wall. The camera pans back to the treehouse and shows an orangutan climbing out. The large, orange ape appears to look in the direction of the long-gone possum, the video shows.
The anonymous poster told 7 News, an Australian outlet, that the orangutan threw the possum “like a frisbee.” Perth Zoo reassured McClatchy News that “the possum was sighted scurrying off after being evicted. They are a very robust species.” The Perth Zoo said that “the orangutan habitat is an outside environment and possums, who also live at height, just like the orangutans, have been known to inhabit the above-ground territories.” “Whilst every effort is made to prevent (possums) from entering, the sheer height provides some challenges and sometimes the orangutans evict the odd possum themselves,” zoo officials said.
“This possum took advantage of the (cozy) warm orangutan nest during the cooler weather, and on this occasion, the orangutan was alarmed to find an unknown occupant in their bed,” Perth Zoo said. A Reddit commenter described the possum as being “yeeted.” “That was like an Olympics level discus throw,” another user commented, who declined to identify themselves by name, told McClatchy News that Perth Zoo employees “are wonderful, and the animals are treated very well.” Perth is a city on Australia southwestern coast, about 2,285 miles west of Sydney.