Weekly News Roundup 7/12 to 7/18

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Washington State University shuts down pet-loss hotline after people misuse the service

Losing a pet can be extremely hard. For some, it’s so tough they need extra support from a helpline. Washington State University (WSU) veterinary students had a hotline to call for people who were grieving for an animal. But now, that number is disconnected because too many people were misusing the line. According to WSU, some callers needed more emotional and mental help than these students could offer; when students referred them to professional help, people would instead continue to call the hotline. . . . more

Bring cat food, not cash to pay parking tickets in Muncie

Muncie, Indiana, police are letting residents pay off their parking tickets in exchange for cat supplies. Muncie Animal Care and Services is overwhelmed with cats. They start getting an influx of kittens in their shelter in the spring, and they currently have 350 cats. The animals are in dire need of cat food and litter, and the shelter needs paper towels to clean the cages every day. In an effort to get more donations to help the cats, the clerk’s office at the city hall agreed to exchange parking ticket fees for cat supplies. . . . more

AI startup develops facial-recognition software for dogs

An AI startup better known as a supplier of facial-recognition software used by the Chinese government has developed software that can identify dogs by their noses. The facial-recognition software developed by Megvii can identify one dog from another by using nasal biometrics. The company developed the software on the basis that dogs have unique nose prints. David Dorman, DVM, PhD, DABVT, DABT, professor of toxicology at the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine, has previously said that, “like human fingerprints, each dog has a unique nose print. Some kennel clubs have used dog nose prints for identification.” . . . more

Belgian researchers aim to find out how dogs predict epileptic attacks

A team of researchers at the University of Ghent in Belgium is working on a project to discover how certain dogs are able to detect the oncoming of an epileptic attack in their owners, warning them in time to prevent accidents and avert danger. Some epilepsy sufferers experience what is known as an “aura” in the lead up to an attack, which can range from a vague feeling of unease to full-blown visual hallucinations as an attack comes on. Others have no aura and no warning and an attack could come on unexpectedly in a dangerous location (e.g., in the bath or on stairs). There are, however, dogs who are able to predict an attack and warn the owner in time, but no one knows exactly how or why they can do so. . . . more

Man says dog dewormer cured his cancer

After an Oklahoma man claimed a dewormer medication meant for dogs cured him of small-cell lung cancer, some cancer researchers now want to learn more about the mysterious drug that is piquing patient interest. Joe Tippens was only given three months to live. But doctors later enrolled him in a clinical trial they hoped could give him more time. Tippens said he received a tip from a veterinarian who suggested he try a dog dewormer drug called fenbendazole, which was believed to display cancer-fighting properties, according to cell studies. After receiving his fourth cancer-free diagnosis at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston last April, the results indicated that his cancer was gone after two years of treatment. . . . more