This week: A service dog summits Mount Rainier, a cat door that prevents cats from bringing home dead things, and a cure for HIV—in mice.
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?
If we want to save seabirds, banning plastic straws alone won’t cut it. We need to ban plastic balloons. A recent study of more than 1,700 dead seabirds showed that the deaths of more than 25% were linked to eating plastic.
Usually, scientists discover cures for human health conditions by testing them on animals. This time, it’s the other way around. In a refreshing change of pace, a veterinary cardiologist and her colleagues have discovered a way to cure a rare but life-threatening heart arrhythmia in dogs by adapting a treatment pioneered in humans.
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.
Researchers at a Canadian university used 3D printing technology to replace the majority of a dog’s cancer-ridden skull. The patient, a nine-year-old dachshund named Patches, had a tumor that had grown so large it was weighing down her head, growing into her skull, and pushing dangerously close to her brain and eye socket. The procedure is thought to be the first of its kind in North America.
There’s a new tick in town, and nobody’s sure how it got here. A team of researchers at Oklahoma State University’s (OSU) Center for Veterinary Health Sciences has confirmed the existence of an exotic species of tick in the United States. The particular tick they examined was found on a dog in Arkansas.
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.
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.
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?”