Weekly News Roundup 5/18–5/24


Working dogs are forgotten victims of the opioid crisis

It’s hard to overstate the magnitude of the nation’s opioid crisis, which claims more than 100 lives each day due to overdoses. But the impact goes beyond direct users: secondary exposure to opioids can harm first responders such as police officers,firefighters, and even working dogs, who use their perceptive noses to find illicit drugs. Researchers at the Penn Vet Working Dog Center in Philadelphia have been studying the effect of opioid exposure on drug-detection dogs who work with law enforcement teams. One researcher said, “The really big issue is that fentanyl [which is often found in heroin] can be absorbed across mucus membranes. When dogs are out there sniffing, if they get into a pile of powder, fentanyl can be absorbed across [the] mucous membranes in their nose, and they can face a life-threatening overdose.

An American beagle in Queen Elizabeth’s court

The image of Queen Elizabeth going walkies with her corgis has been an iconic emblem of British culture for nearly three quarters of a century. But now there’s a new top dog at Buckingham Palace, and he’s about as un-British as it gets. When American Meghan Markle married into the royal family last Saturday, so did her rescue beagle, Guy. At age three, Guy was found wandering alone in the woods and taken to an open admission shelter in Kentucky. When no one claimed him, it looked like he might be euthanized. That’s when a nonprofit organization that specializes in rescuing beagles in Kentucky and Ohio swooped in to save him. The next weekend, he captured Markle’s heart at an adoption event at an Ontario, Canada, pet store and he’s been with her ever since.

Kansas City parents can rent a “discreet” drug-detecting dog to raid their teen’s bedroom

A Kansas City, Missouri, business called Metro K9 Detection Services rents drug-detecting dogs to detect marijuana, PCP, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and other drugs in private homes. Metro K9 lets clients, usually parents who suspect their kids might be using drugs, rent a “drug dog” by the hour. Metro K9 owner Ray McCarty says the idea came to him after hearing about drug sweeps at his own kid’s school and seeing how many students were being sent to juvenile detention centers. He wanted to give parents a way to handle suspected drug use without involving law enforcement. According to the company, “When a sniffer dog detects an odor (residual or otherwise), [he] is trained to let the handler know with a passive signal. This allows drug discovery to be managed at our client’s discretion.

Labrador retriever doesn’t get the same love overseas

The Labrador retriever may have just been named the most popular dog breed in the United States for the 27th year in a row, but he doesn’t carry the same kind of clout in Europe. According to new research, Europe’s most popular dog breed is the cane corso, which barely cracks the Top 40 in the US, slotting in at number 37 in the American Kennel Club’s rankings. The US and Europe are closer to finding common ground in their love of the rottweiler, which currently ranks as the second most popular breed in Europe and the eighth most popular in the US.  

New York State to invest $12 million in veterinary education

New York State will contribute $12 million to fund a new college of veterinary medicine at Long Island University (LIU) in Brookville as part of a $40 million project to establish the first school of its kind in the New York metropolitan area, said Governor Andrew Cuomo. While there are 30 schools of veterinary medicine across the United States, only 3 are located in the Northeast, and none are in the New York metropolitan area. LIU’s College of Veterinary Medicine, which is expected to begin classes in September 2019, will effectively fill this academic gap. The college will enroll 100 students in the four-year doctorate program annually and create at least 100 staff positions.

NEWStat Interesting/unusual