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Weekly News Roundup 8/21 to 8/27

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Veterinary staff unionize

Workers at Columbia River Veterinary Services in Vancouver, Washington, announced Thursday that they have ratified their first union contract with the hospital’s parent company, PetVet Care Centers. The vote was 53 to 1 in favor of ratification, according to a press release from the union. The workers are part of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 5, which represents about 600 workers in the Portland, Oregon, metro area, including staff at The Oregon Historical Society and Powell’s Books, according to union spokesman Ryan Takas. The contract has been under negotiation for about two years, and the union describes it as the first-ever private sector union contract in the veterinary industry. . . . more

Study: SARS-CoV-2 could infect endangered species

Humans are not the only species facing a potential threat from SARS-CoV-2, according to a new study from the University of California, Davis. An international team of scientists used genomic analysis to compare the main cellular receptor for the virus in humans—angiotensin converting enzyme-2, or ACE2—in 410 different species of vertebrates, including birds, fish, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals. ACE2 is normally found in many different types of cells and tissues, including epithelial cells in the nose, mouth, and lungs. About 40% of the species potentially susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 are classified as “threatened” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and may be especially vulnerable to human-to-animal transmission. . . . more

Which pups will make the grade as a service dog?

Large organizations have honed the use of breeding and training to produce calm and obedient service dogs, but only about 50% make the cut. By that time, nearly two years and as much as $50,000 have been spent on one dog. This year, the National Institutes of Health funded a $1.6 million study to help untangle a question long asked by breeders and trainers and now increasingly scrutinized by scientists: What makes a successful service dog—and can it be predicted early in a puppy’s life? . . . more

Active dogs have less fear

A new study from the University of Helsinki has demonstrated that active dogs are less fearful. A behavioral survey of nearly 14,000 dogs revealed that nonsocial fears among dogs are related to their living environment, lifestyle, and breed. Active dogs who were well trained as puppies are less likely to exhibit fear of fireworks and other loud noises, unfamiliar situations, or varied walking surfaces. The survey responses indicated that puppies who were not sufficiently socialized and introduced to new environments were much more likely to be afraid of those things. The fear of fireworks and walking surfaces was most prevalent among dogs who belonged to first-time owners, and there were differences between dogs who lived in the country and the city. . . . more

Veterinary school adds tending beehives to the syllabus

Many bee species are under threat of extinction from pollution, disease, and other factors. The University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine has joined the fight to save the bees by building a set of hives on campus. The new program will give residents and senior veterinary students in clinical training experience caring for these insects and is led by Joerg Mayer, DVM, MS, DABVP, DECZM, DACZM, associate professor of zoological medicine at the college. The addition of bees cements the college’s residency program as the first and only in the country to offer a such a wide spectrum of training, from invertebrate to megavertebrate care—creatures ranging from bees to whales. . . . more