Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Amy Leveque and Pet Partner Annie

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

Amy and Annie

Heathrow Animal Reception Centre handles traveling animals great and small

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

Every year, London’s Heathrow Animal Reception Centre handles 37 million animals traveling to or through the London area, working to ensure the animals are comfortable while traveling, properly vaccinated and microchipped. The center encounters all manner of species from elephants and poisonous snakes to dogs, cats and even four cheetahs in need of a microchip check. The Guardian (London)/Shortcuts Blog

Whether it’s pets, elephants or cheetahs being flown in legally, or dangerous wild animals being smuggled, the animal centre at London’s major airport must deal with them.

A confiscated dwarf crocodile at the Animal Reception Centre, Heathrow.<br />
A confiscated dwarf crocodile at the Animal Reception Centre, Heathrow. Photograph: Graham Turner for the Guardian

On an industrial estate less than a mile from Heathrow, an anonymous yellow-walled building echoes with barks, mewls and shrieks. The Heathrow Animal Reception Centre (HARC) is the first stop for every one of the 37 million animals that pass through the airport every year, whether it is an elephant moving between zoos, or an impulsively purchased gift someone has tried to sneak through customs.

“We’ve had a couple of tortoises down a man’s pants,” says the centre’s deputy manager Susie Pritchard, “and some turtles in someone’s bra.”

Turtles, it turns out, are particularly prevalent. Animal welfare officer Chris Sampson explains that snapping turtles, such as the one lurking beneath a log in one of HARC’s rooms, are often abandoned when they become too difficult to look after. Next door is a cayman, seized by police from an owner without a licence to keep dangerous wild animals. Both the cayman and his neighbour are now used as part of the centre’s hazardous animals training programme.

HARC houses around 20 dangerous reptiles. Alongside an innocuous-looking chameleon and a pair of monitor lizards, two huge pythons lie curled in the corners of their tanks. One was discovered roaming around Heathrow’s car park, and the other was given up by an owner who found it too aggressive. Exotic pets are increasingly popular in the UK – the RSPCA dealt with 7,073 calls about 32,426 exotic animals in 2011 – and for the authorities who have to deal with them, HARC is an invaluable training resource: “It’s about explaining to people what you need to do if you go into someone’s house and there’s a room full of rattlesnakes,” says Pritchard.

A confiscated Yemen chameleon. A confiscated Yemen chameleon. Photograph: Graham Turner for the Guardian

Most of HARC’s visitors enter the UK legally, and the centre reunites 17,000 cats and dogs with their anxious owners every year. “It’s like arrivals at terminal four,” says Pritchard. “People react like they’ve not seen their pets in a decade.” In reality, they are normally only in the centre a few hours, long enough for staff to scan the animals’ microchips and confirm rabies vaccinations (both legal requirements for pets entering the UK), and in the case of long-haul flights, let them get some exercise. Regulations governing animal transit are strict – unlike budget-airline passengers, dogs and cats need to be able to sit, stand and turn around – and the City of London, which operates HARC, is responsible for ensuring airlines meet those welfare guidelines.

The glass-walled reception has seen its share of famous faces, and a signed headshot above the door marks out Orlando Bloom’s dog Sidi as a frequent visitor. “That always gets the girls quite excited,” says Pritchard. “You’ll get staff appearing on shift who aren’t on the rota.” But for Pritchard, Hollywood stars are far less interesting than some of HARC’s more highly strung arrivals: “I got a call last Christmas asking if I might chip-read four cheetahs. That was a bit of a handful.”

Dr. Joe Cortese Dog Park Dedication

Monday, September 9th, 2013

On August 17th, the city of San Juan Capistrano dedicated their new dog park in honor of beloved local veterinarian Dr. Joe Cortese, also know as “Dr. Fleas”Dr. Joe Cortese.The dog park welcomes small and large dogs and features picnic tables, benches, and an access ramp for people with disabilities. Enjoy the beautiful mature oak, avocado, and Valencia orange trees that are being preserved as part of this wonderful new park. The area will include drinking fountains for both people and pooches.

Dr. Cortese was a past president and member of the Animal Health Foundation’s Board of Trustees.  He passed away suddenly in 2008 while visiting friends in New Mexico with his wife, Goldee.

The AHF is proud to have made a donation to the park to honor such a dedicated and loved individual.

Troops reunited with dogs they cared for in Afghanistan

Monday, September 9th, 2013

Sheba and pupsA litter of puppies and their mother, Sheba, who befriended U.S. troops stationed in Afghanistan, have been transported to the U.S. The puppies will be adopted by the service members, while Sheba may be trained as a service dog and placed with a veteran in need. Staff Sgt. Edwin Caba and others were elated to see the dogs again. “We just built a bond you can’t even describe,” he said. CBS News/The Associated Press

For the story, pictures and video, CLICK HERE



Newly discovered mammal is first species in Americas to join Carnivora in 35 years

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013



Goats groom airport grounds while helping endangered species

Monday, July 15th, 2013
goatFor the past five years, San Francisco International Airport has brought in goats to clear brush near a runway to prevent fires and protect nearby homes. It’s an eco-friendly plan not only because machinery is not needed, but also because it allows the clearing to proceed without disturbing two endangered species. Goats R Us supplies some 400 goats as well as a herder and a border collie to keep them in line, and the crew takes about two weeks to clear the area. The Huffington Post/The Associated Press (7/5)

Passengers flying out of San Francisco International Airport recently might have caught a glimpse of something bizarre: goats munching away at overgrown weeds.Mr. Fuzzy, Cookie, Mable, Alice and nearly 400 other goats were chomping on brush as part of the airport’s unique – and environmentally friendly – approach to fire prevention.Airports are mini cities, often with their own firefighters, baristas, doctors and even priests.But goat herders?Brush in a remote corner of the airport property needs to be cleared each spring to protect nearby homes from potential fires. But machines or humans can’t be used because two endangered species – the San Francisco garter snake and the California red-legged frog – live there.So for the past five years, the airport has turned to Goats R Us, which charged $14,900 for the service this year.”When passengers takeoff and fly over the goats, I’m sure that’s a thrill,” said Terri Oyarzun, who owns and runs the goat-powered brush removal company with her husband Egon and their son Zephyr.The goats travel 30 miles each spring from their home in Orinda, Calif. to the airport in a 16-wheel truck that Oyarzun calls her “livestock limo.” With the help of a goat herder and a Border Collie named Toddy Lynn, the goats spend two weeks cutting away a 20-foot firebreak on the west side of the airport.When Oyarzun’s goats aren’t clearing brush at the airport, they are busy doing similar work on the side of California’s freeways, at state parks, under long-distance electric lines and anywhere else with overgrown vegetation. The family has about 4,000 total active goats.Working at an airport does come with its own set of challenges, namely loud, frightening jets constantly taking off.”There was an adjustment period,” Oyarzun said. “But they have a lot of confidence in their herder.”At least one other airport has taken note. Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport has requested bids for goats to clear brush in a remote area of the airport’s 7,000-acre property and expects a here to be at the airport sometime this summer.When goats become too old to work, they are typically sold for meat. But fear not, Mr. Fuzzy, Cookie, Mable, Alice won’t end up at the slaughterhouse. The Oyarzun family lets its goats peacefully retire at its farm.At least one part of air travel is still humane.

Many animals may be smarter than they get credit for, studies show

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

white chickensChickens can plan ahead and may have better spatial skills than young children; sheep can recognize colors and shapes; pigs and monkeys can use mirrors to find hidden food; and even flies can remember their destinations and get there despite distractions, according to a variety of studies from the past few decades. “Finding sophisticated learning and awareness in animals can alter the way people think about the species and may result in better welfare in the long run,” said researcher Donald Broom. The Guardian (London)/Shortcuts Blog (6/19)

Perhaps it is no coincidence that the animals we think of as being the most stupid – pigs, chickens, sheep – are also the ones we don’t always treat too well. However, humans might be the ones who have to rethink the definitions of “bird-brain” and “pig ignorance”.

According to a new report, chickens appear to be much more intelligent than previously thought, with better numeracy and spacial awareness skills than young children. “The domesticated chicken is something of a phenomenon,” Christine Nicol, professor of animal welfare at Bristol University, told the Times. “Studies over the past 20 years have revealed their finely honed sensory capacities, their ability to think, draw inferences, apply logic and plan ahead.”

When we underestimate the intelligence of animals we already consider clever – for instance, last year, researchers at the University of Manchester who had been studying orangutans in Indonesia found the apes built complex nests in trees, using a wide variety of specially chosen materials – it is hardly surprising that those considered to be at the low end of the smart scale can surprise us.

We know that flies can remember their destination, even when a distraction is put in their path. Researchers have found that fish can be trained to associate a sound with feeding times, and even remember this when released into the wild; an earlier study suggested the idea that a goldfish had a three-second memory was unfounded – goldfish could learn to press a lever for food, something they would be able to recall months later.

Sheep have been found to be far more intelligent than their unfair reputations suggest. In a series of tests involving learning how to get food from differently coloured buckets and recognising different shapes, carried out by researchers at Cambridge University, sheep performed as well as monkeys, and better than rodents. Sheep have also been found to recognise and remember the faces of 50 individual fellow sheep, as well as human faces.

It is only relatively recently that pigs have become more widely regarded as highly intelligent, following a number of studies. One, published by researchers at Cambridge in 2009, found pigs could use a mirror to find a bowl of food that had been hidden (something monkeys can also do). “Finding sophisticated learning and awareness in animals can alter the way people think about the species,” Professor Donald Broom told Wired magazine, “and may result in better welfare in the long run.”

One Health: Dog walking in an era of overweight and obesity: Strategies for both ends of the leash

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

finalAHF_PawLogoRebecca A. Johnson, University of Missouri, USA (Co-Author of “Walk A Hound, Lose A Pound)

ABSTRACT for AVMA Convention, 2013, Human-Animal Bond Track

A large share of the industrialized world is recognizing and struggling to address an epidemic of overweight and obesity which has also extended itself to companion animals. Creative strategies are needed that transcend species and help to facilitate physical activity. The nature of human-animal interaction (HAI) as a key facilitator of physical activity for both ends of the leash will be explored. In particular, what components of HAI and the human animal bond are most likely to facilitate cross-species physical activity, what role dog walking can play when it is incorporated into treatment plans for people and companion animals, and what arethe theoretical and empirical bases for advocating dog walking?

The potential for dog walking as a communities-wide intervention and its applicability across cultures will be discussed. Attention will be paid to clinical implications around dog walking and its potential for advancing One Health practice in a variety of disciplines.  This work grew out of my research on relocation of older adults in which I found that physical limitations were common reasons for them to relocate to a nursing home. In our first study we achieved significant weight loss among participants. Subsequent studies showed that older adults’ normal walking speed increased
significantly after dog-walking and that dog walking was associated with increased physical activity outside of the dog walking. The findings show that HAI can have important implications for health and well-being.

Rebuilt CSU equine center thriving after fire

Monday, April 29th, 2013

CS Equine CenterClinicians at Colorado State University’s Equine Reproduction Laboratory, which reopened in March after it was destroyed in a 2011 fire, wasted no time in getting back to work even as construction continued around them. “Literally the day we moved into the facility, we were examining mares,” said veterinarian and facility director Jerry Black. The new space, bigger and filled with state-of-the-art equipment, is central to the effort to develop an Equine Institute at the school. The Coloradoan (Fort Collins, Colo.) (tiered subscription model)

It burned into the ground only to be reborn from the ashes — a home to new life.

After it was demolished by an early morning fire in July 2011, Colorado State University’s Equine Reproduction Laboratory was rebuilt in its former place at the Foothills Campus in west Fort Collins. Just days after final inspections, the now-larger and updated facility opened to eagerly awaiting employees and clients in early March.

“Literally the day we moved into the facility, we were examining mares,” said Jerry Black, appointed the new lab director at the year’s start. Black, a veterinarian and associate professor in the Department of Animal Sciences, also kept his title as director of CSU’s undergraduate equine sciences program.

As construction got under way, CSU continued providing services in temporary Equine Reproduction Laboratory buildings scattered among barns and other facilities unharmed by the fire. And while work never stopped, Black and others are excited for what came next.

“With the tragedy came an opportunity,” he said Wednesday, sitting in a new office that still smelled of fresh paint. The fire, which burned an estimated $12 million in real estate, research equipment and genetic material stored for clients, is counted among the most costly and damaging disasters in CSU history.

The rebuilt facility is “considerably” larger than its predecessor at 12,000 square feet and brings together several long-separated services. Traffic flow is much improved, Black said, with mare and stallion services kept apart for the safety of both horses and humans.

Still in the works is an equine molecular reproduction lab — what Black said will be “one of the only” labs of its type in the country. There users will manipulate high-tech equipment to identify in mere hours potentially harmful bacterial organisms growing in a mare’s uterus; compare this to common practice of growing cultures over two to three weeks.

There’s also more teaching space and places for professors and visiting professionals to conduct research, said Black, opening doors to rooms in which still-covered microscopes and boxed monitors lay unopened on countertops and tables. Down the hall, interns, professors and resident veterinarians were gathered around a microscope and screen that displayed fluid flushed from a mare next door.

Caring folks at Angel Fund saved Skipper’s life

Monday, April 29th, 2013

Skipper PhotoIn June, 2011, Kathy Mullins’ dog Skipper had a problem.  “We’d take him out in the yard and we’d notice immediately that he couldn’t urinate. He was trying very hard and he was straining and he just couldn’t. And that went on a day or so. Eventually little drops of blood started coming out.

“And you can imagine, I started panicking.” Mullins took her dog, a five-year-old Pomeranian-Toy Poodle mix, to Irvine Boulevard Animal Hospital in Irvine where Dr. David Driscoll examined him.  “I’m thinking he has some kind of blockage,” the veterinarian told Mullins, “probably some stones. But I won’t know for sure until we do x-rays. I might be able to do this without surgery. But I can’t guarantee that. It could be that he has to have surgery.’”

Mullins said: “So I’m thinking ‘Oh, Lord!’  First of all, you don’t want your pet to suffer and you don’t want to lose your pet but you’re also certainly thinking about the financial end of it. At the time, I didn’t have a job.  I was working at some temporary jobs.  That was the only thing I was able to get at the time. And I was between temporary jobs.  It was a really difficult time.

“So Dr. Driscoll did the x-ray and I was able to scrounge up a few dollars for that so that he could determine exactly what was going on.” The x-ray showed that Skipper had bladder stones – “quite a few of them.” Mullins recalled, and the doctor said that surgery would be needed to save Skipper’s life.

“Dr. Driscoll was able do a procedure to alleviate the problem that seemed to buy us a little time. It was getting to the point where the bladder could have ruptured.  And he told me about Angel Fund. It took us a day or two to arrange for them to help us.

“The people at Angel Fund were very nice. And we were able to get Skipper back in there and schedule the surgery.  I couldn’t sleep and I was crying the whole time and my three daughters were very upset.

“But everyone was very kind. We still talk about it to this day. How Angel Fund and the doctor and the other people at the hospital – people cared.  And that was so touching for our family, that they cared about our pet and they cared about us. And so we still get to enjoy our Skipper. They saved our dog.”

Angel Fund contributed $500 to help pay for Skipper’s surgery and Irvine Boulevard Hospital slashed its bill by $700.

Kathy and David Mullins, who lived in Irvine when Skipper was sick, have since moved with their three daughters to Ashland, Ky. “We feel very blessed. It was such a hard time then and there were some caring people who helped us and saved our dog and we are very grateful.”