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Weekly News Roundup 11/26 to 12/3

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Florida veterinary school uses novel approach to save seahorse

In February, a Florida woman purchased a seahorse for her home aquarium as a reward for marking five years of being cancer-free. She named the little black-and-silver fish Louie. In September, Louie seemed to have trouble swimming. He moved horizontally and appeared listless. Even more troubling were the small, pearl-like bubbles clustered on his tail. The woman had done a lot of research on seahorses and suspected he had gas bubble disease, which is similar to a human scuba diver getting the bends from surfacing too quickly. She knew she had to act quickly. First, she called her local veterinarian’s office. But the staff said they didn’t have the knowledge to help Louie. Feeling that 2020 was bad enough without the possibility of her fish dying, she put Louie in a temporary tank and drove him an hour to the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine. . . . more

World’s first elephant hospital still going strong after 27 years

Elephants have always played an important role in Thai culture: they’ve been worshipped as lucky charms, used for transport and riding purposes, and today, they’ve become indispensable in the tourism industry. All too often, however, the gentle giants suffer their entire lives due to poor working conditions. Even though elephants were allowed to work in Thailand until the end of the last century, there was no place to treat them in the event of illnesses or injuries. That changed in 1993, when Soraida Salwala opened the world’s first elephant hospital in the Thai city of Lampang. . . . more

Face masks pose a health risk to animals

Betsy Kehoe is not sure how King, her two-year-old Labrador retriever, managed to eat two face masks sometime in mid-October. The dog is always supervised and leashed outdoors, except when playing in his backyard pen in Harvard, Massachusetts. But when King began vomiting, Kehoe brought him to his veterinarian. Blood tests and an X-ray didn’t initially suggest anything alarming. However, two weeks later, King was still vomiting off and on. And although his energy and personality seemed normal, she got nervous when King began refusing even homecooked chicken. By the time King was referred to the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, X-rays revealed two bright lines—suggesting thin pieces of metal—where his stomach met his small intestine. . . . more

Escaped minks could spread the coronavirus to wild animals

Escaped minks carrying the virus that causes COVID-19 could potentially infect Denmark’s wild animals, raising fears of a permanent SARS-CoV-2 reservoir from which new virus variants could be reintroduced to humans. Minks are known to regularly escape fur farms in Denmark, and the risk that infected minks are now in the wild was confirmed last week. “Every year, a few thousand minks escape. We know that because they are an invasive species and every year hunters and trappers kill a few thousand wild minks. The population of escaped minks is quite stable,” said Sten Mortensen, DVM, PhD, veterinary research manager at the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration. . . . more

Oregon State University veterinary hospital team performs surgery on lioness saved from Tiger King zoo

A five-year-old lioness who was previously a resident of an infamous big cat facility is receiving the care she needs in Oregon. According to Oregon State University (OSU), doctors at the university’s veterinary hospital performed surgery on Chobe the lioness on Monday. In 2018, Chobe was rescued from the Oklahoma exotic animal park run by Joe Exotic, the well-known zookeeper from the Netflix docuseries Tiger King. She has lived at the WildCat Ridge Sanctuary in Scotts Mills, Oregon, since mid-2019. On Monday, Chobe had a computed tomography scan, which revealed a distended uterus caused by an infection. Pyometra is a fairly common infection among female big cats in captivity, according to Katy Townsend, BVSc, MS DACVS-SA, associate professor of small-animal surgery at OSU, and the surgeon who operated on Chobe. Chobe’s surgery involved removing both her uterus and ovaries. . . . more

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