Weekly News Roundup 2/3 – 2/9

Nominations open for American Humane award

Nominations are now open for the fourth annual American Humane Hero Veterinarian and Hero Veterinary Technician Awards™, sponsored by Zoetis. The purpose of the awards is to “honor the heroes who dedicate their lives to making a difference in animals’ lives through delivery of outstanding veterinary care.” Anyone can nominate their favorite veterinary professional for one of two categories: veterinarian or veterinary technician. Nominations are open until April 6. More information can be found at the award website.

Evanger’s voluntary recall

On February 3, Evanger’s Dog & Cat Food announced a voluntary recall of specific lots of its Hunk of Beef product, which is potentially contaminated with Pentobarbital. Affected lot numbers start with 1816E03HB, 1816E04HB, 1816E06HB, 1816E07HB, and 1816E13HB, and have an expiration date of June 2020. The second half of the barcode reads 20109, which can be found on the back of the product label. Consumers with questions can call 1-847-537-0102 between 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM CST, Monday through Friday.

USDA removes public access to animal welfare information

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) removed public access to inspection reports documenting whether animals are being treated humanely under the Animal Welfare Act and the Horse Protection Act. These reports are created from routine inspections by USDA officials of research labs and other facilities. These reports have been used to identify cases of animal abuse in the past and detractors argue it makes animal abuse easier to hide. According to a statement from the USDA, the information can still be obtained by submitting a Freedom of Information Act request. In an update to the department’s statement on Feb. 7, it claimed, “These decisions are not final. Adjustments may be made regarding information appropriate for release and posting.”

Benefits of service dogs presented at NAVC

Researchers at Purdue University are studying the benefits service dogs provide people with disabilities. The physical benefits are well-known, but the new study shows, “service dogs also contribute significantly to emotional and psychosocial well-being.” The preliminary results were presented this week at the North American Veterinary Community (NAVC) Conference in Orlando, Fla. This research is part of a four-year, primary research study of the emotional and health impacts that service dogs have on their recipients and family members.

Dogs prefer people who help their owners

A recent study looked at the extent of dogs’ social cognition. Researchers at Kyoto University used 54 dogs and their owners, instructing the owners to struggle opening a jar and then ask an actor in the room for help. The actor either helped or ignored the request. Then, the actor and a neutral person would offer the dogs treats. If the actor helped the owner, dogs were more likely to take the treat from them. If they were unhelpful, the dog was more likely to a treat from the neutral person. The study was published in Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews.