Weekly News Roundup 9/21–9/27

Man catches rare illness from cat

A Missouri man caught a life-threatening disease from his pet cat that left him with huge bulges on his face and neck, according to a new report. The horrifying case, published this month in The New England Journal of Medicine, detailed how a sick cat infected its owner with a rare illness called Francisella tularensis, a toxic bacterium. Physicians said the unidentified 68-year-old patient went to visit his doctor after suffering from a week-long fever, which then was followed by two months of swelling on the right side of his neck. He reportedly told the physician that his cat died from what a veterinarian diagnosed as feline leukemia about two days before the man fell sick. Physicians, however, now suspect that the cat was also infected with Francisella tularensis. They believe the disease may have been transmitted when the man tried to help treat his cat.

New skills center at Ohio State veterinary school gives students hands-on experience without the risk

Ohio State veterinary students will be able to practice their hands-on skills—without the hands-on risk—thanks to a new clinic equipped with sophisticated simulators and realistic models of patients. The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine’s new Veterinary Clinical and Professional Skills Center provides students with field experience before entering the workforce. Students are able to familiarize themselves with the anatomy of animals, such as cats, dogs, and horses. They can also prep procedure areas, practice mock surgeries, and act out possible scenarios that focus on communicating with owners about their animal. Emma Read, DVM, MVSc, associate dean for professional programs, said it gives students a chance to hone their skills. “They have the chance to learn those things and to practice them over and over on simulator models before they have the chance to do them on a live patient in the hospital environment,” Read said. The 9,000-square-foot center opens next week.

Scotland Yard solves the baffling case of the Croydon cat killer

Curiosity didn’t kill these cats—but neither did a serial kitty killer. The deaths and decapitations of more than 400 cats in a London suburb—long suspected to be the macabre handiwork of a deranged human who obviously wasn’t a cat person—were actually caused by vehicles and foxes. That’s the conclusion reached by Scotland Yard after a three-year probe costing thousands of dollars. The felines were flattened by passing vehicles, then had their heads and tails gnawed off by scavenging foxes, detectives have finally determined, after roughly a decade of the mysterious kitty carnage in the south London town of Croydon.

Pet sitting in paradise: Final job search update

When Joan Bowell, founder of God’s Little People Cat Rescue, posted a job opening for a cat sitter on the shelter’s Facebook page last month, the ad went viral, generating nearly 40,000 applications. Not surprising, given that the job comes with a small house on a beautiful Mediterranean island, a car, all expenses paid, and a salary of $590 per month. Bowel diligently went through every application, and kept updating the Facebook post, emphasizing that the job was indeed real, and clarifying that the tiny house provided to the manager would not accommodate families or pets brought from home, and that it is a job that entails scooping poop, cleaning vomit, and making heartbreaking decisions about gravely wounded or sick cats. Now she’s finally whittled that mountain of applications down to one: a 62-year-old Californian named Jeffyne Telson, whose husband sent her the link to the ad in August, got the job.

Purdue gets $3.18 million grant to increase diversity in veterinary medicine

With help from a new federal grant, the Purdue College of Veterinary Medicine is stepping up to expand access to the veterinary profession for talented individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds, address the need for more veterinarians serving rural areas, and to protect food safety. The Health Resources and Services Administration, an agency of the US Department of Health and Human Services, has awarded Purdue University’s College of Veterinary Medicine a $3.18 million grant to launch Vet Up! The National Health Careers Opportunity Program Academy for Veterinary Medicine. The Vet Up! program will address a national shortage of veterinarians in public health and rural and food animal practice in the state and beyond, as well as a significant lack of underrepresented individuals entering the veterinary profession.