Weekly News Roundup 5/4–5/10


Animal welfare tops list of causes Americans care about

Americans say they care more about animal welfare than children’s education and hunger. That’s according to the findings of a new study on causes that Americans care about. The study gathered responses from 1,000 adults, 41% of whom chose animal welfare as their number one cause. Children’s education ranked second with 38% of respondents, followed by hunger, chosen by 33% of respondents. The top five causes Americans care about in 2018 is rounded out by disease research at number four and disaster relief at number five. Those 35 and older were more likely to identify animal welfare (43%) as a top cause, while young adults ages 18 to 34 chose children’s education (44%) over animal welfare (37%).

Bald eagle treated for lead poisoning

A bald eagle suffering from lead contamination is soaring free once again thanks to the quick action by the staff at the Veterinary Health Center at Kansas State University. After the bird was admitted to the Health Center, a physical examination and testing found that he was suffering from lead poisoning. Birds acquire lead poisoning most commonly by consuming dead animals who were shot by lead bullets, said James Carpenter, DVM, DACZM, professor of wildlife and zoological medicine, adding that lead toxicity is a common ailment in eagles. “Once in the bloodstream, lead can affect numerous organs, resulting in clinical signs of disease, including neurologic signs,” he said. “Most eagles with lead toxicity will die or, even if rescued, may be euthanized if they are profoundly ill.”

“Kittens used as test tubes”

A Republican lawmaker wants answers from the Unites States Department of Agriculture (USDA) about taxpayer-funded research experiments at a Maryland facility that have allegedly led to the deaths of hundreds of cats and kittens. Citing documents reviewed by his office, US Rep. Mike Bishop (R-Michigan) described a decades-old research project at the USDA Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, in which hundreds of kittens were bred, fed meat infected with Toxoplasma, and later killed and incinerated. In a letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, Bishop wrote that he was “shocked to hear that the USDA, the very organization set out to enforce animal welfare laws and regulations, was treating the life of animals with such contempt.”

Amazon launches pet food line

With the launch last week of Wag, its private-label dry dog food, Amazon is living up to its promise to grow its pet business overall—and is posing a greater threat to pet market players both online and in-store. While the Wag brand is kicking off with dry dog food, Amazon plans to expand the selection to include other pet supplies. The brand is available only to Amazon Prime subscribers, who pay monthly or annual fees in exchange for fast delivery. “Pet products are among the fastest-growing online retail categories and Amazon is leading the way,” said David Sprinkle, research director for market research firm Packaged Facts. “The scariest part for competitors is that recent news indicates the e-commerce juggernaut is still coming on strong and unabated in the US pet industry, reaffirming its commitment to pet products and now pet food.”

Study finds tramadol ineffective against osteoarthritis in dogs

A report funded by the Morris Animal Foundation out of the University of Georgia has found tramadol to be ineffective in alleviating signs of pain associated with osteoarthritis in dogs. “The data shows conclusively that tramadol is not an effective drug in treating the pain associated with arthritis in the dog, despite its common recommendation,” said Steven Budsberg, DVM, MS, DACVS, professor of orthopedic surgery, and director of clinical research at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine. “This use of tramadol is a classic example of failing to acknowledge and control for bias when evaluating a potential treatment.”

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