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Weekly News Roundup 2/21 to 2/27

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California bills aim to shut down dog blood banks accused of abuse, negligence

California-based animal welfare activist Robyn Black wasn’t ready to say goodbye to her beloved corgi, Sir Winston, when he suddenly came down with an autoimmune disease six years ago. She told her veterinarian to do whatever was needed to save the five-year-old dog’s life. Black dropped off Winston at her Sacramento veterinarian’s office on a Friday afternoon. By Sunday evening, the animal hospital was running low on its supply of canine donor blood. She frantically called other veterinarians in the area and finally found a hospital with blood in stock. But there was a catch. . . . more

Where are the quokkas? New study explains what happened to the happiest animal in the world

Australia, recently devastated by severe wildfires, is no stranger to the consequences of climate change, habitat destruction, and invasive species. The quokka, a small marsupial native to Australia, is one such example of a species vulnerable to extinction in the country’s harsh surroundings. Known as the “happiest animal in the world” due to its cute and friendly appearance, these creatures are now only found in a few isolated forests and small islands. A new study finds that invasive species, most notably foxes, were likely responsible for the dramatic decline of quokkas over the past century. . . . more

Number of leptospirosis cases decreasing in Southern Utah

Vaccines for leptospirosis have become part of the normal protocol at Red Hills Animal Hospital after veterinarians began treating dogs for the disease during the summer of 2019. As of September 2019, approximately 50 to 60 cases of leptospirosis were confirmed in the St. George area, said Red Hills associate veterinarian Caleb Gwilliam, DVM. Gwilliam said the hospital began using the vaccine for the disease in August. “We’ve got pretty good success as far as clients being receptive to that and understanding the need for it, and we get most of our clientele, probably 80% or more, vaccinated for it,” Gwilliam said. He suspects the disease originated from a dog visiting from out of state. . . . more

Western Veterinary Conference has a new name and a wider focus

During its 92nd conference last week in Las Vegas, Western Veterinary Conference (WVC) announced that the name of the organization that hosts the annual event will now be known as Viticus Group. The rebrand spotlights the organization’s new focus on human as well as veterinary healthcare education. “We’re excited about the expansion to include human health education as a focus along with veterinary education because it means we can influence more lives for the better,” says Viticus Group CEO Andrea Davis. The new name comes from the Latin “medicus” (doctor) and “vita” (life). The annual veterinary conference will still be known as WVC. . . . more

Super Bowl ad prompts donations to Wisconsin veterinary school

Every dog has his day, and for Scout the Golden Retriever, that day was February 2. He and the University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Veterinary Medicine—and by extension, the veterinary profession—were at the center of a 2020 Super Bowl commercial. The 30-second spot told the story of Scout and the cancer treatment he received at the veterinary school. The commercial prompted several large donations to the UW Foundation’s Pets Make a Difference Fund, which benefits the veterinary school and its work to improve animal and human health. The fund reported that it had received thousands of gifts from donors across the US, Europe, and South America after the commercial aired. The gifts ranged from $5 to a $250,000 donation from the Petco Foundation. . . . more