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Weekly News Roundup 2/28 to 3/5

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Australian veterinarians extract beach towel from python

Veterinarians at an Australian animal hospital performed an extraordinary extraction on a three-meter-long python: removing an entire beach towel she had swallowed. Monty, an 18-year-old jungle carpet python, was rushed to the Small Animal Specialist Hospital in the Sydney suburb of North Ryde on February 19. Staff say they anesthetized Monty and a flexible endoscope was placed down her gastrointestinal tract, which allowed them to spot the end of the towel in her stomach. . . . more

New sense discovered in dog noses: the ability to detect heat

Dogs’ noses just got a bit more amazing. Not only are they up to 100 million times more sensitive than ours, they can sense weak thermal radiation—the body heat of mammalian prey—a new study reveals. The finding helps explain how canines with impaired sight, hearing, or smell can still hunt successfully. “It’s a fascinating discovery,” says Marc Bekoff, PhD, an ethologist, expert on canine sniffing, and professor emeritus at the University of Colorado. “[It] provides yet another window into the sensory worlds of dogs’ highly evolved cold noses.” The ability to sense weak, radiating heat is known in only a handful of animals: black fire beetles, certain snakes, and the common vampire bat (thought heretofore to be the only such mammal), all of which use it to hunt prey. . . . more

Supply, demand changing for veterinarians in rural areas

Kristine Kozak, DVM, has a long career in front of her as a rural veterinarian. She also has a hefty debt load that will likely hang around for years. The 2018 graduate of the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine is typical among her peers, who face a future of changing demand and shifting priorities. “Overall, it’s quite a significant burden,” said Kozak, who works out of an office in Thompsonville, Illinois, a rural community of about 550. “I have a payment plan I’m following.” Like many veterinarians in rural areas, she splits her time between farm animals and pets. That is becoming more and more common today, as relatively few new grads work only in agriculture. . . . more

UC Davis claims top world rank in veterinary science

The University of California, Davis, tops the world in veterinary science, according to the 2020 QS World University Rankings by Subject released this week. QS, or Quacquarelli Symonds, is considered one of the most influential international university rankings providers. The firm also ranked UC Davis second in the world and first in the nation in agriculture and forestry. . . . more

Pet insurance provider passes $1 billion milestone in payouts

Last week’s claim filing for a tibial-plateau-leveling osteotomy (TPLO) in British Columbia pushed pet insurance provider Trupanion past the $1 billion threshold in veterinary invoices processed. Surgery for the patient, a six-year-old golden retriever named Paddington Bear, totaled $3,982, which the company paid directly to the veterinary hospital. “Paying out more than $1 billion in veterinary invoices on behalf of our members and their beloved pets is a tremendous accomplishment, and one I am very proud of,” says Trupanion CEO Darryl Rawlings. The company says it has processed claims for more than 1.3 million pets over the past 20 years, adding that some invoices were more memorable than others. . . . more