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Talkin' Pets News

May 11, 2024

Host - Jon Patch

Co-Host - Dr. Anne Lampru - Animal Alternatives - Tampa, Florida

Producer - Kayla Cavanaugh

Network Producer - Alex Garth

The AKC Canine Health Foundation (CHF), a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the health of all dogs, marks Canine Cancer Awareness Month in May to highlight the impact of its funded canine cancer research. The Foundation’s active cancer research portfolio represents a substantial $3.6 million investment, underscoring CHF’s commitment to the fight against this devastating disease.

CHF recently introduced two pilot studies aimed at unraveling the complexities of malignant melanoma and bone cancer in dogs, both of which could also unlock new pathways for human cancer treatments. The studies are:


CHF’s commitment to cancer research is unwavering. Since 1995, CHF and its donors have invested more than $18.1 million to study cancer at the molecular level, conduct clinical trials for new treatments, and understand how the immune system interacts with cancer cells. Approximately one quarter of CHF’s active research portfolio is dedicated to these studies which explore more accurate diagnostic tests and new treatments for canine cancer. Additional cancer research proposals are under review as CHF strives to continually invest in novel technologies and approaches to fighting cancer.

“By investing in scientific innovation, we can honor the lives of dogs touched by cancer and build a brighter future for our cherished companions,” says Dr. Stephanie Montgomery, CHF Chief Executive Officer.

To learn more about the Foundation’s enduring commitment to canine cancer research, including educational resources and ways to participate in canine cancer research, please visit akcchf.org/caninecancer.

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WildEarth Guardians is delighted to announce the promotion of Chris Smith as the organization’s new Wildlife Program Director.

 

Smith grew up in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of northern New Mexico where he developed a deep appreciation for wild nature and ecology. He joined WildEarth Guardians in 2017 as the Southern Rockies Wildlife Advocate.

“Chris has been a dedicated and fierce advocate for wildlife in the Southwest for many years and I’m excited to have him bring his passion and strategic insight to the broader Wildlife Program campaigns,” said Lindsay Larris, conservation director at WildEarth Guardians.

Prior to joining Guardians, Smith began his career in the Pacific Northwest where he became a community organizer and environmental activist, advocating for coastal forests, rivers, and the communities of people and wildlife that rely upon them. He returned to the high desert landscapes of his upbringing to help protect the resilient wildlife of the area. Smith has a formal education in Religious Studies, and thinks about humans’ relationship with wildness from an ethical perspective.

“Wildlife are on the frontline of the climate crisis and the culture wars. Both the charismatic big species like grizzlies and wolves in the news and the less-heralded critters knit our ecosystems together, and need protection and respect if our own species is going to have a thriving future,” said Smith. “I’m eager to weave a strong ethic of coexistence into the ongoing story of the American West.”

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Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill on Wednesday banning the sale of lab-grown meat in the state. The legislation is a clear handout to the state’s cattle industry: the state’s commissioner of agriculture said it was about protecting “our incredible farmers and the integrity of American agriculture.” But DeSantis’ statements make it clear that, like many of his other pet causes, the lab-grown meat ban is a culture war issue.

“Today, Florida is fighting back against the global elite’s plan to force the world to eat meat grown in a petri dish or bugs to achieve their authoritarian goals,” DeSantis said in a statement the day the bill was signed. A press release declared Florida was “taking action to stop the World Economic Forum’s goal of forcing the world to eat lab-grown meat and insects,” hinting at a fringe conspiracy theory that has taken hold among some on the right.

In reality, lab-grown, or “cultivated,” meat isn’t even available to most consumers yet. Unlike meat alternatives, cultivated meat is made from animal cells. The Food and Drug Administration has only approved lab-grown meat from two companies — Upside Food and Good Meat — neither of which sell their products in stores. In 2023, two restaurants started serving lab-grown meat: China Chilcano, chef José Andrés’ high-end Peruvian restaurant in Washington, DC, and Bar Crenn, a Michelin-starred restaurant in San Francisco. Both restaurants have since stopped serving it, according to Vox. In other words, no one in Florida was eating lab-grown meat before the state banned it; the nascent industry is not yet competing with Florida’s farmers. 

The ban could be thought of as a preemptive effort to make sure things stay that way — and it likely is — but it’s also a dog whistle to a certain subset of DeSantis’ base that believes in a conspiracy theory about so-called “globalists” forcing us to eat bugs and live in pods. The theory, often referred to as the “Great Reset,” first took off in 2020. It’s named after a World Economic Forum initiative that urged governments to use the pandemic to promote sustainable development. Right-wing commentators conflated the Great Reset initiative with a 2016 World Economic Forum blog post about bug protein and a 2013 book about insect farming published by the United Nations. 

Ultimately, Florida’s ban on lab-grown meat has nothing to do with insect protein or the World Economic Forum — but DeSantis certainly wants voters to think it does.

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Robert F Kennedy Jr, the third-party candidate for US president, said a health problem he experienced in 2010 “was caused by a worm that got into my brain and ate a portion of it and then died”, the New York Times reported.

Two years before the deposition, the paper said, Kennedy experienced “memory loss and mental fogginess so severe that a friend grew concerned he might have a brain tumour”.

Neurologists who treated Kennedy’s uncle, the Massachusetts senator Ted Kennedy, before his death aged 77 from brain cancer in 2009, told the younger man he had a dark spot on his brain scans, and concluded he too had a tumour.

But, Kennedy reportedly said, a doctor at New York-Presbyterian hospital posted another explanation: a parasite in Kennedy’s brain.

Speaking this winter, the paper said, Kennedy told the Times that at around the same time he learned of the parasite in his brain he was also found to have mercury poisoning, which can cause neurological problems, probably due to eating a lot of fish.

In the 2012 deposition, Kennedy reportedly said: “I have cognitive problems, clearly. I have short-term memory loss, and I have longer-term memory loss that affects me.”

In his recent interview, the Times said, Kennedy said he had recovered from such problems. The paper also said Kennedy’s spokesperson, Stefanie Spear, responded to a question about whether the candidate’s health problems could compromise his fitness to be president by saying: “That is a hilarious suggestion, given the competition.”

Now 70, Kennedy has suffered other issues including a heart problem for which he has been repeatedly hospitalised and spasmodic dysphonia, a neurological condition that affects his voice.

Doctors eventually concurred that the spot on Kennedy’s brain was the result of a parasite, Kennedy said, according to the Times. Kennedy reportedly said he thought he might have contracted the parasite in southern Asia. The Times said experts who did not treat Kennedy thought the parasite “was likely a pork tapeworm larva”.

“Some tapeworm larvae can live in a human brain for years without causing problems,” the Times said. “Others can wreak havoc, often when they start to die, which causes inflammation. The most common symptoms are seizures, headaches and dizziness.”

Kennedy’s deposition also included discussion of his heart problems, which he said began in college, the Times reported. Saying the condition was triggered by stress, caffeine and sleep deprivation, Kennedy reportedly said: “It feels like there’s a bag of worms in my chest.”

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A homeowner in Australia was shocked after finding a snake sleeping on their toiletNewsweek reported.

OzCapture Snake Relocation shared a story about finding the "highly venomous" snake at a home in Greenbank, Queensland.

"Occasional you get that new situation or scenario on a callout that instantly becomes one for the memory bank and a story to tell down the track. Does it honestly get any more 'Aussie' than this?" snake wrangler Ozzie Lawrence wrote. "What made this callout so different for myself at Greenbank was that this wasn't your typical snake in a home, bathroom, or toilet."

Lawrence said that the snake was a red-bellied black snake, which is relatively common along the eastern coast of Australia. The snake is highly venomous, and its bite can cause numerous symptoms, including "bleeding and/or swelling at the bite site, nausea, vomiting, headache, abdominal pain, diarrhea, sweating, local or general muscle pain and weakness, and red-brown urine (due to myoglobin being released from damaged muscle tissue)," according to the Australian Museum.

However, the bites are rarely fatal to humans. The museum noted that red-bellied black snakes rarely attack humans and will freeze or try to slither into hiding when they come near people. The snakes will only attack if they are cornered or attacked first.

Lawrence shared photos of the snake sleeping on the toilet in the Facebook post.

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All dogs coming into the U.S. from other countries must be at least 6 months old and microchipped to help prevent the spread of rabies, according to new government rules published Wednesday.

The new rules require vaccination for dogs that have been in countries where rabies is common. The update applies to dogs brought in by breeders or rescue groups as well as pets traveling with their U.S. owners.

"This new regulation is going to address the current challenges that we’re facing," said Emily Pieracci, a rabies expert at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who was involved in drafting the updated regulations.

The CDC posted the new rules in the federal register on Wednesday. They take effect Aug. 1 when a temporary 2021 order expires. That order suspended bringing in dogs from more than 100 countries where rabies is still a problem.

The new rules require all dogs entering the U.S. to be at least 6 months, old enough to be vaccinated if required and for the shots to take effect; have a microchip placed under their skin with a code that can be used to verify rabies vaccination; and have completed a new CDC import form.

There may be additional restrictions and requirements based on where the dog was the previous six months, which may include blood testing from CDC-approved labs.

The CDC regulations were last updated in 1956, and a lot has changed, Pieracci said. More people travel internationally with their pets, and more rescue groups and breeders have set up overseas operations to meet the demand for pets, she said. Now, about 1 million dogs enter the U.S. each year.

Dogs were once common carriers of the rabies virus in the U.S. but the type that normally circulates in dogs was eliminated through vaccinations in the 1970s. The virus invades the central nervous system and is usually a fatal disease in animals and humans. It’s most commonly spread through a bite from an infected animal. There is no cure for it once symptoms begin.

Four rabid dogs have been identified entering the U.S. since 2015, and officials worried more might get through. CDC officials also were seeing an increase in incomplete or fraudulent rabies vaccination certificates and more puppies being denied entry because they weren't old enough to be fully vaccinated.

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More than half of cats around the first Texas dairy farm to test positive for bird flu this spring died after drinking raw milk from the infected cows, scientists reported this week, offering a window into a toll the virus has taken during its unprecedented spread through the cattle industry. The report, published Tuesday in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Emerging Infectious Diseases journal, chronicles the early investigation by veterinarians and academic laboratories into a disease that started spreading through cows across the region earlier this year.

Cats at the Texas farm had been fed raw milk from cows that turned out to be infected with  highly pathogenic avian influenza, or HPAI H5N1. A day after the farm first started noticing cows were getting sick, the cats started getting sick too. By the end, more than half of the cats had died.

"The cats were found dead with no apparent signs of injury and were from a resident population of [approximately] 24 domestic cats that had been fed milk from sick cows," the scientists wrote. Tests of the samples collected from the brains and lungs of dead cats yielded results suggesting "high amounts of virus." Autopsies of the cats also revealed "microscopic lesions consistent with severe systemic virus infection," they said, including to the eye and brain.

Around 1 in 5 samples of milk the Food and Drug Administration checked from U.S. retailers tested positive for H5N1, though the agency said last week that studies so far show that pasteurization is working to kill off the virus in milk; only harmless fragments remained. Officials have repeatedly urged Americans not to drink raw milk. While the spread of the virus from cows to cats through raw milk is new, cats have long been known to scientists as one of the species especially vulnerable to severe disease from H5N1.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture has said that deaths and neurological disease in cats have been "widely reported" around farms with outbreaks of the virus.

By contrast, only a fraction of cows — up to 15% —developed signs of illness in herds with the infection, the scientists said. Officials have said that cows largely recover within a month after their infections. The virus has been devastating for poultry flocks that faced widespread deaths or had to be culled after contracting the virus from wild birds.  But the recent infections prompted the CDC this month to issue new guidance for veterinarians treating suspect H5N1 cases in cats, urging stepped up measures like donning respirators and goggles to avoid contracting the virus.

"While it's unlikely that people would become infected with bird flu viruses through contact with an infected wild, stray, feral, or domestic cat, it is possible — especially if there is prolonged and unprotected exposure to the animal," the agency said in its guidance. Some cases in humans have also been suspected to have been caused by consumption of infected birds, like in Cambodia earlier this year. 

Meanwhile, authorities have been racing to curb further spread of the virus in dairy cattle, which is believed to have been spreading from cow-to-cow since a single initial spillover from wild birds earlier this year.  "As of April 30, 34 dairy herds have been impacted by H5N1. For context, there are more than 26,000 dairy herds nationwide," the spokesperson said in a news statement.

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An Ohio man pleaded guilty to violating the Clean Water Act by dumping pollutants and hazardous substances into waterways that killed thousands of fish in the Scioto River.

According to court documents, on April 17, 2021, Mark Shepherd, age 72, Kenton, Ohio, negligently, and without a permit or in violation of a permit, discharged into the Scioto River near Kenton, Ohio, approximately 7,000 gallons of a substance containing ammonia, a pollutant and hazardous substance. The substances originated from Shepherd’s facilities—Cessna Transport Inc. and A.G. Bradley Inc.—which he owned and operated in the Northern District of Ohio, Western Division.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources determined that the discharge killed 43,094 fish, including black bass, flathead catfish, sunfish, and minnows, valued at $22,508.60. The contaminants flowed approximately 18 miles downstream from where Shepherd illegally dumped it.

“This type of behavior is unacceptable,” said U.S. Attorney Rebecca C. Lutzko for the Northern District of Ohio. “The Scioto River is home to abundant fish and other wildlife, and it is a valuable community resource, flowing through more than 230 miles of Ohio. As the guilty plea demonstrates, anyone caught illegally discharging substances into our district’s waterways that harm our environment will face prosecution. Our office is committed to preserving our natural resources for Ohio communities to enjoy for generations to come.”

The fish kill was originally reported by a local fisherman in Hardin County. The area in which the dumping occurred is routinely used for recreational fishing. According to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, in 2009, a water quality sample not far from the fish kill site listed the area as “Generally High-Quality Water.”

“Illegal dumping of pollutants into the Scioto River in Hardin County, Ohio not only violated the Clean Water Act, but also harmed aquatic species,” said Special Agent in Charge Tyler Amon of EPA’s Criminal Investigative Division in Ohio. “This guilty plea illustrates EPA’s and its partners commitment to protecting the environment and ensuring accountability for those that fail to abide by our nation’s environmental laws.”

Sentencing is slated for Aug. 12, 2024.

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It’s not unusual to see the occasional wild fox trotting about town in the UK — but a man in Weston, England got more than he expected when one of the animals chomped down on his leg.

In a clip circulating social media, a group of guys are seen gathered on the street discussing a local fox that’s been wandering around the neighborhood.

“But it comes up to you, and you feed it,” one of the lads explained, to which his mate interrupted by saying the animal is likely “full of fleas.”

“No no, it gets vetted,” the other man insisted. “There’s a vet on the thing. Look, look, see?” 

Right at that moment, the fox trotted up to the man and bit his leg right on the top of his shin, sparking some laughter from his friends who couldn’t help but roast the guy as the animal skittered off into the road.

The critter managed to draw blood with its teeth — something the man pleading its case couldn’t believe.

“The worst part is, I was giving it vibes!” he said. “Bigging it up and everything.”

The humorous clip has been reposted numerous times online since April 2024, leaving viewers both amused and concerned for the man after receiving the injury.

“Think he needs a rabies jab,” one netizen suggested.

“Fox needs people to be scared of him!” another wrote.

“Good luck for the infection now!” yet another advised.

Despite viewers’ concerns, there is very little risk of getting a disease from a fox bite in the United Kingdom. In fact, neither parvovirus nor distemper have been recorded in foxes, as per The Fox Project, a wildlife charity in the UK.

For those worried about contracting anything from a potential fox bite or scratch, experts claim that the animals have “less potential for infection than a domestic cat bite or scratch,” which are actually more prone to transmitting infection than foxes are.

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She’s gobbling up city life.

A rare wild turkey was spotted strutting her stuff around Manhattan Wednesday — dodging traffic and roosting in a tree after an epic journey across the East River from Queens, sources said.

The brassy bird spent a full day foraging for food in the urban jungle, near 49th Street and Madison Avenue, beginning Tuesday — causing onlookers to squawk with confusion and delight, according to footage and local birders.

“It’s so extremely uncommon for a turkey to be in a place like Manhattan,” said David Barrett, who runs a popular birding account on X. “This is a healthy bird that can fly 40 or 50 miles an hour. She won’t be easy to catch,” said Barrett, who filmed footage of the feathered critter. “She’s a survivor.” The gutsy gobbler was first reported hightailing it around Long Island City on May 2 via the bird tracking database ebird.org, Barrett said.

Despite only being able to fly short distances, she miraculously made it three miles across the East River before strolling into Midtown — where she was caught on camera weaving around traffic in a busy crosswalk next to a construction site.

“There’s a traffic risk, but so far she’s doing well, she’s staying on sidewalks and off of streets,” Barrett said.  “A rescue may be needed if she can’t make it to Central Park for food.” He said the turkey may have walked across the Queensboro Bridge or used Roosevelt Island as a flyover “stopping off point” from Queens.

Despite only being able to fly short distances, she miraculously made it three miles across the East River before strolling into Midtown. Once in the Big Apple, she perched on several planters, drank water and munched blueberries provided by bird buffs at Fasano Restaurant on 49th Street. “If we rolled the blueberries towards her, she would gobble them up quite delightedly,” said Barrett, adding that food sources were scarce for the bird.

At sunset, she flew over 49th Street into a tree, where she spent the night roosting without sparking fowl play.

“Turkeys have a reputation for being irritable but this turkey is mellow, and seems to be relaxed,” Barrett said. “It’s a special treat for Manhattanites to have a turkey. It’s a connection with the wild.”

Turkeys can survive in Manhattan greenspaces such as Central or Battery parks, where they are able to forage for insects and acorns. Between 2003 and 2014, a wild turkey named Zelda famously lived in Battery Park.  A turkey hasn’t been spotted in Central Park since 2017. A rep from Animal Care Centers of NYC said the agency had no plans Wednesday to bag the bird.

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A pair of peregrine falcons is back at the Sault Ste. Marie International Bridge, nesting on the U.S. side this year after nesting on the Canadian side in 2023.

Karl Hansen, bridge engineer for the International Bridge Administration (IBA), said the peregrines laid three eggs in the U.S. side nest box.

Nest boxes were installed on the bridge in 2010, placed at locations that had evidence of past nesting activity. Over the years, 39 falcon chicks have been hatched since IBA staff started counting the birds.“Since both nest boxes were installed, until last year the birds had never nested in the Canadian box, as far as we’re aware,” Hansen said. “This year, they’re back in the U.S.A.”

A team from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) typically bands the birds at the IBA mid-summer. Color-coded bands attached to the legs of young birds allow scientists to track the movements, reproductive behavior, and population growth of the falcons. Peregrines are a migratory species; pictures of at least one of the birds banded at the International Bridge have been captured as far south as the Dominican Republic.

Michigan lost its peregrine falcons in the 1960s and 70s due to DDT and other environmental contaminants. Since conservation efforts started in the mid-1980s, the number of peregrines has generally increased, according to the DNR.

Of all the active peregrine falcon nesting sites monitored by the DNR in the Upper Peninsula, the International Bridge is the second most productive behind Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

The IBA’s live video stream of the U.S. nesting box, the “FalCam,” is viewable at www.saultbridge.com/falcam

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