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Interesting & unusual

  • August 20, 2015

    Wild cats had a negative impact on ancient dog species

    Are cats more skilled at getting what they want than dogs? A new study suggests that at least in ancient times, that may have been true. Researchers from the Universities of Gothenburg (Sweden), São Paulo (Brazil) and Lausanne (Switzerland) studied over 2000 North American fossils and concluded that felids (wild cats) who migrated from Asia into North America spelled doom on the diversity of the dog family. They contributed to the extinction of up to 40 dog species. The findings were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) on May 30.
  • July 29, 2015

    Pet carriers, crash tests, and animal airline miles

    Summer travels include road trips and air travel, often with pets in tow. But just how safe is Fido in that carrier? Given that the pet carrier industry is unregulated, a partnership between the Center for Pet Safety and Subaru of America sought to find out. The results of their study, released on July 24, identified the three top pet carriers and crates, and debunked some myths about other carrier products.
  • July 23, 2015

    Summertime at the zoo: elephants and sounds

    Elephants at the Paira Diaza Zoo in Belgium were treated to a string quartet this summer, reported the New York Times on June 26. And they were picky about the music they liked. “When they played the tango, [the elephants] walked off,” Tim Bouts, DVM, and Paira Diaza’s zoological director, told the New York Times. “Then they played the rumba and they all came back.” Elephants, it appears, have an ear for sounds. They use it, along with non-vocal gestures, to communicate.
  • July 9, 2015

    Animal-assisted therapy includes unusual partners

    Pigs and horses and chickens, oh my. That seems to be part of the animal-assisted therapy (AAT) equation today for Alzheimer's and dementia patients. They number 5.3 million in the United States, cost taxpayers $226 billion, and result in high caregiver burnout, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. But two pot-bellied pigs, a miniature horse, and a chicken named Clementine are helping.
  • June 11, 2015

    Gaga for animals: the pet proclivities—and power—of the famous

    Famous people—and animals—have influence, and that influence is emerging everywhere. On the hill, a new caucus was launched to strengthen the bond between people and animals. In the skies, American Airlines has added pet cabins. Out of the closet comes Lady Gaga's new pet clothing line. And on the way to jail, Chuck Blazer 'fessed up not only to taking bribes for the World Cup, but also to keeping an apartment in Trump Tower for his cats.
  • May 7, 2015

    Another global vote that animals feel

    Is an animal a sentient being, that is, can it feel, perceive, and experience emotions? Many in the veterinary community, including pet owners, would say, “Yes.” New Zealand agrees. Yesterday, New Zealand passed the Animal Welfare Amendment Bill, which brings greater clarity, transparency and enforceability to the country’s animal welfare laws. It also now recognizes animals as sentient beings.
  • April 2, 2015

    Rabbits: hopping forward in veterinary practices

    Tonight, in New York City, the annual Bunny Beauty Pageant, part of a five-day Full Bunny Contact carnival, takes place at 8 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, a sign, perhaps, of increasing rabbit pet ownership among the educated.
  • February 3, 2015

    Veterinarians love their alma maters

    The Journal of the American Veterinary Medicine (JAVMA) recently asked veterinarians to share why they loved the veterinary schools they attended so much. The reasons for alumni devotion vary.
  • January 28, 2015

    Super dogs spotlighted in honor of the Super Bowl

    This video was shot at half-time during a 2014 Philadelphia Eagle's game. In honor of the Super Bowl this week, and all the Super Dogs out there, we share it with you.
  • January 22, 2015

    Medieval cat grave marker goes on display in Taunton, Somerset, England

    On January 17, an Anglo-Saxon limestone carving of St. Peter, dating back to AD 1000, went on display at the Museum of Somerset, located in Taunton Castle, in Taunton, Somerset, England. The 18-by-17-inch sculpture had been discovered some time ago by Johnny Beeston, a stonemason, who had installed it in his rock garden and used it to mark the grave of Winkles, a stray cat he had adopted.