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Weekly News Roundup 10/16 to 10/22

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Pandemic demand challenges Pennsylvania’s dog industry and oversight

For years at her home in southern Pennsylvania, Barbara Schwab has bred and sold goldendoodles for $3,000 each. Even before the coronavirus pandemic, she had barely been able to keep up with customer demand for the popular designer dog. Now, she has joined thousands of breeders nationwide who tell customers—many of whom are at home with time now to care for a pet—that they likely won’t have more puppies for months. Many animal shelters have observed shortages, too, and new and inexperienced breeders are jumping in to grab a share of the market. As dog ownership has risen, it has placed mounting pressure on Pennsylvania’s financially strapped Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement, which is responsible for ensuring the welfare of breeding dogs and puppies in commercial breeding facilities. . . . more

The scimitar-toothed cat: DNA reveals insights about a deadly long-distance hunter

Researchers from the University of Copenhagen have mapped the entire nuclear genome of a saber-toothed cat. The genetic study reveals new insights about a socially intelligent pack animal, specialized in endurance-based hunting over long distances. Along with the woolly mammoth and the giant ground sloth, the saber-toothed cats were probably among the most famous animals that lived during the Pleistocene Epoch and went extinct before the end of the last ice age. Over the years, saber-toothed cats have also been the subject of many research projects. Now, for the first time, researchers from the University of Copenhagen have succeeded in mapping the entire nuclear genome of a saber-toothed cat, the scimitar-toothed cat, Homotherium latidens. Their DNA study reveals which genes were highly selected upon and important in the evolution of the species. . . . more

Researchers develop small-animal PET scanner with high spatial resolution and high sensitivity

Positron emission tomography (PET) is an important tool for studying the animal model of human diseases and the development of new drugs and new therapies. A research team from the Shenzhen Institutes of Advanced Technology (SIAT) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences developed a small-animal PET scanner named SIAT aPET with high spatial resolution and high sensitivity. Due to the uncertainty of the depth of interaction of traditional PET detectors, most small-animal PET scanners cannot achieve a high spatial resolution and a high sensitivity simultaneously. The new scanner solves that problem. . . . more

State veterinarian confirms Pennsylvania’s first COVID-19-positive cat

Pennsylvania medical officials say a 16-year-old cat from Cumberland County is the state’s first COVID-19-positive feline. According to State Veterinarian Kevin Brightbill, DVM, the cat lived with multiple people diagnosed with coronavirus. The case was diagnosed in October and the cat was eventually euthanized because of respiratory distress. The case remains under investigation, and the primary cause of death is unconfirmed. Brightbill says this cat is just “one of a handful of COVID-19-positive pets from the US who died or were euthanized while infected.” All the infected pets, officials said, had prolonged exposure to coronavirus from a person diagnosed with it and none of them appear to have died from the virus. . . . more

Counterfeit pet meds pulled from Amazon

Three hydrocortisone-based pet medicines have been withdrawn from sale on Amazon after the manufacturer of the products confirmed they were counterfeit. In a statement, Pet King Brands says it was notified that Amazon had sold consumers counterfeit Zymox products that “were not manufactured by Pet King Brands nor supplied directly to Amazon.” The company says it is “working closely” with Amazon to understand how the online retail giant “could have made this error”—as it is not an authorized reseller of any Pet King Brands products. . . . more