Weekly News Roundup 6/14 to 6/20


More dogs are getting sick as climate change pushes diseases into new parts of the US

As if this year’s storms, floods and heat waves weren’t enough to worry you, some experts fear climate change is also expanding the distribution of diseases that can sicken or even kill dogs, putting more pets at risk for diseases their owners have never had to deal with before. While diseases in dogs are not tracked as intensively as those in humans, veterinary epidemiologists and biologists say Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, a bacterial disease that can cause fever, joint pain and vomiting, is moving into California and Texas. Heartworm, which can damage the cardiovascular system and clog the heart, is spreading beyond its traditional home in the South and southeast. Lyme disease, which can cause joint swelling and lameness, is now affecting dogs as far north as Canada. . . . more

Thai veterinarians nurture lost baby dugong with milk and sea grass

A baby dugong, a large ocean mammal, who has developed an attachment to humans after being separated from her mother and getting lost off southern Thailand is being nurtured by marine experts in hopes that she can one day fend for herself. The estimated 5-month-old female dugong named Marium has become an internet hit in Thailand after images of marine biologists embracing and feeding her with milk and sea grass spread across social media. The dugong is a species of marine mammal similar to the American manatee and can grow to about 11 feet in length. Its conservation status is listed as vulnerable by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Marium was spotted alone near a beach on Ko Poda island in Krabi province in April. Officials later tried to release her into a dugong habitat off the coast of another island but she swam away. . . . more

Alexandria, Virginia, tops list of heartworm cities for June

Alexandria, Virginia, is the number one city for heartworms in June, the Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) reports. The ranking was revealed in the group’s monthly Top 10 Cities Heartworm Report, which warns pet owners, veterinarians, and pet-related service providers of US metropolitan areas with highest percentage increase in positive heartworm tests from the last 30 to 45 days. Nationally, prevalence rates for heartworm have steadily risen in the last five years and are up 20 % from 2013 levels, CAPC reports. These statistics emphasize the need for annual testing to ensure dogs and cats are protected no matter where they live or travel. . . . more

New Hampshire dog owner charged with drowning dog

A New Hampshire woman is accused of intentionally drowning her golden retriever. 66-year-old Nancy Bucciarelli faces a misdemeanor animal cruelty charge after Merrimack Police say she pushed her elderly golden retriever off a dock and watched him drown. “I’m just overwhelmed with it. It’s disgusting,” said Paul Woods, who lives nearby the woman. “When I heard about it, I almost got sick.” Although the suspect was arrested last Friday, police say the incident happened more than a week ago on Naticook Lake. “It is a sad story. It’s unconscionable to think what this defendant is charged with,” said Merrimack Police Chief Denise Roy. Police say the 11-year-old dog, named Bailey, was winded while walking around before the drowning. Bailey’s owner allegedly did nothing to help as the animal struggled in the water. . . . more

Meet the “cat-fox,” a mysterious mammal found in Corsica that could be a new species

A feline once thought to be a myth has been identified on the French island of Corsica, according to wildlife officials. The “cat-fox,” known as the “ghjattu-volpe” in Corsican, is longer than a domestic cat with larger ears, highly developed canine teeth and a tail with two to four rings and a black tip, officials from the National Hunting and Wildlife Office told the French news outlet Agence France-Presse. “The cat-fox is part of our shepherd mythology. From generation to generation, they told stories of how the forest cats would attack the udders of their ewes and goats,” said Carlu-Antone Cecchini, the wildlife office's field agent in charge of forest cats. . . . more