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Weekly News Roundup 10/23 to 10/29

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Number of veterinary school applicants soars 19% over last year

The number of applicants seeking admission to veterinary medical college during the 2020–2021 admissions cycle rose an astonishing 19% year over year. Preliminary data shows that a total of 10,273 applicants submitted applications this year, compared to 8,645 last year. Over the past several years, the number of applications has grown about 6% to 7% year over year. Applicants in the 2020–2021 cycle each applied to an average of 4.89 different schools. A significant rise in the application submit rate was also noted during the cycle. The submit rate, which is the number of applicants who begin and complete the application process with the Veterinary Medical College Application Service rose to 79%. That has historically averaged about 72–73%. . . . more

Do all dogs go to heaven? Pet owners increasingly think so, says study

The definition of dog heaven is straightforward enough: bottomless biscuits, walks on demand, squirrels you can actually catch. According to a new study, owners of all kinds of domestic animals have become more likely to believe in a pet afterlife—and have used gravestones and memorials to express their faith that they will one day be reunited. A new analysis published in the journal Antiquity examined the history of pet cemeteries in Newcastle and London from the Victorian era to the present and found an increase in the proportion of graves that reference the animals’ immortal souls. . . . more

First murder hornet nest in US found and destroyed

Eleven months after murder hornets were first discovered in the United States, entomologists have tracked down and destroyed the first nest of this invasive, venomous species. The Asian giant hornet nest was found on private property in Blaine, Washington, on Friday, October 23. The next day, Washington State Agriculture Department crews donned protective suits and vacuumed the stinging insects out of the hive. Asian giant hornets are nicknamed “murder hornets” for their nasty sting, which has been described as feeling like a hot nail driven into flesh. The hornets can also spray venom from their stingers, which can cause serious eye injuries. But the real threat from the invasive species is to honeybees; the giant hornets feed on honeybees, which are already declining in population. . . . more

Rare 2-headed snake discovered by Florida house cat

What has two brains, no legs, and the best profile pic on Facebook? That would be this rare, two-headed racer snake recently discovered by a house cat in Palm Harbor, Florida. The cat’s family was rudely introduced to the serpent about a month ago when their cat, Olive, dropped the critter on their living room floor. The family was bewildered to see that a small, speckled snake with two heads attached to the same body, each one able to move its eyes, neck, and tongue independently. This condition—known as bicephaly—is an uncommon abnormality that occurs during embryonic development, when identical twins fail to fully separate. . . . more

American Humane announces 2020 Hero Veterinarian and Hero Veterinary Nurse Award winners

Heroic canines were not the only honorees last week at the American Humane Hero Dog Awards: Tenth Anniversary Celebration. America’s first national humane organization also honored a couple of human beings—with the American Humane Hero Veterinarian and Hero Veterinary Nurse Awards, presented by Zoetis Petcare. After a nationwide search and tens of thousands of public votes, Katherine Polak, DVM, MPH, MS, DACVPM, DABVP, from Boston, Massachusetts, was named 2020’s American Hero Veterinarian, and Julie Nettifee, RVT, VTS (Neurology), from Raleigh, North Carolina, was declared 2020’s American Hero Veterinary Nurse. They received their awards in a special ceremony during the Hero Dog Awards, which was broadcast nationally on the Hallmark Channel. . . . more

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