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Weekly News Roundup 8/14 to 8/20

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Free-roaming dogs prevent giant pandas from thriving in the wild

Before China declared giant pandas a protected species in 1962, hunters in pursuit of the black-and-white bears used dogs to track them. Since then, measures have been put in place to protect the vulnerable pandas, but, more than half a century later, dogs are still jeopardizing their safety, according to new research. Scientists began to investigate the problem after two captive-born pandas, who had been released into China’s Liziping Nature Reserve, were attacked by dogs. The researchers found that dogs are still menacing giant pandas in part because nature reserves in China are often closely connected to human settlements where dogs roam free. Dogs can roam more than 10 kilometers in a night and some feral dogs have even set up permanent residence in the reserves. . . . more

Study reveals pheromones are key to harmonious pet relationships

Animal behavior scientists from the University of Lincoln, UK, have discovered that filling your home with appeasing pheromones could be the key to a happy cat and dog household. The new research, led by Professor Daniel Mills, BVSc, PhD, DECAWBM, and Miriam Prior, MSc, VetMB, MRCVS, explored the effects of two different pheromone products on cat-dog interactions in homes where owners could see room for improvement in their pets’ relationships. The results show that both products used—one product emits pheromones that are calming for cats, and another does the same for dogs—had a positive impact on the interactions between cats and dogs living in the same home. . . . more

Researchers plan to turn invasive species into dog treats to help Lake Tahoe’s clarity

The key to controlling the numbers of Lake Tahoe’s invasive Mysis shrimp, which have been linked to a decline in water clarity, might be as simple as rewarding the family dog with a treat. Researchers and a team of students from the University of California, Davis, Graduate School of Management have identified the shrimp as an ingredient for high-end dog treats and are currently in the early phases of developing an initial product. “What we have in the Mysis is a potential opportunity to create a dog treat that is not only exceptionally high in EPA and DHA omega-3s but also lower calorie, relatively, than anything else comparable on the market,” said Yuan Cheng, a second-year MBA student, who is leading the project. “That’s a potential winner right here.”. . . more

Sybil the camel enjoying new life after hip surgery at Texas A&M’s Large Animal Hospital

Sybil and her new baby, Ivan, are enjoying life at their home in Jasper, Texas, grazing the hedgerows and pastures with their growing herd. But that all seemed like a slim hope just months ago. Sybil suffered a dislocated hip while pregnant with Ivan, and her owners, Joanna and Ron McMurry, worried they might lose both camels. Thanks to a rare procedure performed at Texas A&M University’s Large Animal Hospital, both camels have a new chance at life. . . . . more

UC Davis puts up 5 tents for fall semester; more are possible

Five tents have “come up like mushrooms” at the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine, and more may populate the campus as it prepares to start the fall quarter and support physical distancing to fight the spread of COVID-19. The use of tents is in keeping with California’s guidance for institutions of higher education issued on August 7. As a way to implement distancing on campus, the guidance advises them to “consider use of nonclassroom space for instruction, including regular use of outdoor space, weather permitting.” Veterinary Medicine Dean Michael Lairmore, DVM, PhD, said the school will be monitoring heat and air quality daily to determine if outdoor activity is allowed. The school has contingency plans to move activities indoors if necessary. . . . more