Smart, co-operative, emotional: what cutting-edge science tells us about pigs

Source: The Financial Times (Tiered subscription model) 

(May 2022) Every year 1.5 billion pigs are killed for food, many of them raised indoors in cramped conditions. In the US, Brazil and elsewhere, sows are generally kept in gestation crates — metal cages, often 2 metres long and 60 centimetres wide, in which breeding sows weighing more than 200kg are confined for months at a time, unable to turn around. The cages enable as many as possible to be crammed into a shed. Indoors, pigs are unable to root around in the ground. They have so little stimulation that they sometimes end up gnawing the steel bars. Recommended McDonald's Corp Carl Icahn launches board fight at McDonald’s over treatment of pigs A more rounded, sensitive view of pigs’ interior lives would have large commercial implications...Read more»

 

 

Pug health so poor it 'can't be considered a typical dog' - study

Source: BBC News

(May 18, 2022) Research from the Royal Veterinary College has revealed the health of pugs is now substantially different and largely worse than other dogs. The study compared the health of 4,308 pugs and 21,835 non-pugs. UK pugs are almost twice as likely to experience one or more disorders annually, compared with other dogs. Overall, pugs were found to be around 1.9 times as likely to have one or more disorders recorded in a single year compared to non-pugs...Read more»

 

Crisis of Veterinary Care

Source: HumanePro

(April 2022) 

It started with a cat rescuer, a veterinarian and a commitment to help community cats in Bend, Oregon. With help from about 10 other volunteers, the Bend Spay & Neuter Project launched in 2004. Surgeries were performed on weekends in the rescuer’s garage. By 2021, when it celebrated its 50,000th surgery and was operating as a program of the Humane Society of Central Oregon, the clinic had its own building with two surgery suites, seven paid staff members and a cadre of longtime volunteers. The only nonprofit clinic in a three-county area, it offered low-cost spay/neuter surgeries, wellness clinics and a pet food bank. By late summer, the clinic went from operating four days a week to one, with Bloodworth taking time from her shelter duties to perform spay/neuter surgeries for the public. “We tried to hobble along in that capacity,” she says, but there were shelter animals who also needed surgeries and other medical treatments, and the shelter itself was understaffed. In early September, the humane society made the difficult decision to temporarily close the clinic, anticipating it would take two to three months to hire a new veterinary team...Read more»

 

Dog Breeds Don't Dictate Their Personalities, Study Finds

Source: Huffpost

(April 30, 2022) Research confirms what dog lovers know — every pup is truly an individual. Many of the popular stereotypes about the behavior of golden retrievers, poodles or schnauzers, for example, aren’t supported by science, according to a new study. “There is a huge amount of behavioral variation in every breed, and at the end of the day, every dog really is an individual,” said study co-author and University of Massachusetts geneticist Elinor Karlsson...Read more»

 

Are There Hypoallergenic Cats? Scientists Are Getting Closer to Making That a Reality

Source: Daily Paws

(April 22, 2022) If you're a pet lover with cat allergies, you've certainly wondered whether there are hypoallergenic cats. The prospect of being able to hold a fluffy kitty without sniffling, sneezing, or itching sounds too good to be true for many of us. A whopping three in 10 people living in the United States have dog or cat allergies. And cat allergies are around two times more common than dog allergies. If you have pet allergies, there are ways to limit your suffering, but odds are you're going to be at least a little uncomfortable around most cats. For now at least. Researchers are getting closer to developing a hypoallergenic cat using gene-editing technology that eliminates or alters DNA that encodes the protein humans are allergic to...Read more»

 

It's not just physicians and nurses. Veterinarians are burning out too

Source: Los Angeles Times

(April 18, 2022) Across the country, about 23 million families adopted a pet in the first year of the pandemic. Other pet owners, working from home, started paying more attention to their animals’ daily routines, noticing symptoms such as vomiting or coughing. The resulting spike in pet health concerns has been straining a corner of the medical world that doesn’t get as much attention as doctors and nurses: veterinarians. The overwork and staffing shortages of the pandemic have affected veterinarians as much as other doctors and nurses, and dealing with the constant moral dilemmas and emotional output was driving many to burn out even before 2020. The mean salary for vets is about $110,000 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about half that of physicians catering to people...Read more»

 

Low and No-Contact Euthanasia: Associated Ethical Challenges Experienced by Veterinary Team Members During the Early Months of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Source: Animals

(February 23, 2022) During the COVID-19 pandemic, many veterinary practices have been required to move to a low or no-contact consultation model to minimise the risk of SARS-CoV-2. Utilising data from a global survey, we explored the experiences of veterinary team members performing low and no-contact euthanasia during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. We found that low and no-contact euthanasia were encountered as common and/or stressful ethical challenges in the pandemic...Read more»

 

Street medicine: caring for pets of the homeless

Source: JAVMA

(January 14, 2022) There are 580,000 homeless individuals in the US as indicated by an annual count done in 2020, but other estimates put the number much higher. According to general observations and intermittent counts, approximately 10% of people experiencing homelessness have pets. Based on this estimate, 58,000 to 140,000 pets likely exist in the US that belong to owners who have no funds for veterinary care. The exact number is hard to ascertain because pet owners constitute a hidden subpopulation of those experiencing homelessness, oftentimes due to concerns about their pets being taken from them...Read more»

 
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