Dogs can be kid magnets. So bringing therapy dogs in to a hospital to cheer up sick kids seems like a great idea. But sick kids with weakened immune systems can be superbug magnets. And bringing an outwardly healthy therapy dog who might be carrying antibiotic-resistant bacteria into a children’s cancer ward can suddenly seem like a really bad idea.
What do dogs and babies have in common? We tend to talk to both in silly voices. Turns out, there are good reasons for that.
We’ve entered the peak moving season in the US. On average, more than 40 million people move each year in the United States, with an estimated 80% of those moves occurring between April and September. And, according to an oft-quoted study on pet relinquishment at US animal shelters, the number one reason pet owners give for relinquishing pets is moving (7%). Does that mean we’ve also entered the peak season for pet relinquishment?
Fifteen percent of unused human medication gets flushed down the toilet. But only about 8% of pet medications get flushed. So, are veterinarians doing a better job of educating their clients on how to properly dispose of unused medication than physicians? Maybe, but it’s still not good enough.
Even responsible pet owners do it all the time.They’ll take their dog for a walk in the woods and won’t bother picking up his feces, an oversight they’d never consider on a walk around the neighborhood. Maybe they think, “Hey, it’s the woods, nobody’s going to step in it.” Or, “Hey, it’ll decompose and help fertilize the ground.” Or, “Hey, bears go in the woods and nobody picks up their poop. What’s the difference?”
Raw food diets are rooted in the notion that dogs and cats are carnivores who crave protein and evolved to eat meat. But is meat what they really want to eat? Maybe only if it tastes good. A new study shows that when food is altered to remove the appetizing taste, dogs and cats will pass up protein in favor of other macronutrients. Specifically, dogs prefer fat, and cats like carbs.
That seems to be the general consensus when it comes to companion animals and COVID-19. Reports that a dog in Hong Kong repeatedly tested “weak positive” for the COVID-19 virus fueled worldwide concern that pets could indeed get the new superbug. While that concern appears to be groundless (at least so far), it does raise a question.
This week: Man bites dog, cat wins lawsuit, and monkeys get cloned
Minks at fur farms in Utah have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, marking the first time the virus has been found in minks in the US.
If you’re a veterinary professional, empathy for animals could be hardwired into your DNA, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Edinburgh’s Roslin Institute and Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC). And not just veterinary professionals—the study, published in the journal Animals,showed that people who display a greater-than-average compassion for animals are genetically different.