Weekly News Roundup 8/2 to 8/8

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Investigating alternatives to opioids for dogs in pain

Opioids are among the most effective pain relievers for dogs and cats, but amid the US opioid crisis, it has become much more difficult for animal hospitals to access these drugs. This, coupled with the potential for abuse of opioids by pet owners and others, makes it increasingly imperative that veterinarians pursue alternatives. In one promising approach, the Henry and Lois Foster Hospital for Small Animals at Tufts University is now recruiting dogs who need back surgery for a clinical study to compare pain-management options. The research team hopes to demonstrate that postsurgical opioid-sparing techniques are just as effective as the opioid-dependent one predominantly used in veterinary practice. . . . more

The curious tale of the cancer parasite that sailed the seas

Canine transmissible venereal tumor is a contagious canine cancer that conquered the world by spreading between dogs, primarily during mating. It likely arose around 6,000 years ago in Asia and spread around the globe through maritime activities, according to scientists. A detailed genetic study published in Science reveals some surprising—and even mysterious—findings about how this cancer, which has survived for thousands of years, has mutated and evolved over time. . . . more

Hiker being stalked by cougar blasts Metallica to scare cat away

It’s no secret Metallica’s music can be kind of intense—so much so that one hiker says it scared off a curious cougar on Vancouver Island, Canada. Dee Gallant, 45, was on a hike in South Duncan with her dog, Murphy, on July 23. She said she was only a few miles into the woods when she turned around and realized they had company: They were being stalked by a cougar. At first, she was intrigued; she’d never seen one that close before. But then she realized the animal was approaching her. She yelled, and the cougar stopped moving. But it didn’t retreat. Gallant tried waving her arms and yelling at the cat, saying things like “bad kitty!” and “get out of here!” but the cougar stood its ground. . . . more

Low-cost animal clinic finds veterinarian, avoids closure

North Carolina is among the top-five states in the nation when it comes to the euthanasia of adoptable animals. Much of that ranking is attributed to shelters being overrun with unwanted and abandoned dogs and cats, local animal advocates said. Spay Today, Inc., a nonprofit specialty clinic located in Pitt County, opened in May of 2006 with the purpose of reducing such deaths by controlling the pet population. Since it began providing low-cost spay and neuter services to residents of Pitt County and the Pitt County Animal Shelter—its biggest client—the number of stray and homeless animals intakes at the Pitt County Animal Shelter has been cut in half, from 6,000 to 3,000, according to officials. . . . more

Report: Reducing dog shootings in police encounters

National awareness and concern over shootings of dogs by law-enforcement officers is growing. At the same time, law-enforcement leaders acknowledge that their agencies’ legitimacy and reputation are tied to community members’ perceptions about fairness, trust, and confidence in the police. When pet dogs are shot by police, this can erode public trust and legitimacy and result in increased risks to bystanders and officers. A new report, An Evidence-Based Approach to Reducing Dog Shootings in Routine Police Encounters: Regulations, Policies, Practices, and Training Implications, from the National Police Foundation and Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Los Angeles, aims to shed light on this critical issue. . . . more