Ebola map shows people in more African regions risk infection from animals

A new study suggests the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa could extend far beyond earlier predictions. The researchers used knowledge of species that carry Ebola as well as environmental information to help identify “zoonotic niches” where transmission from animals to humans could occur — something they note is actually a rare event. The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has killed over 2,000 people and infected over 4,000, primarily due to human-to-human transmission, while a separate outbreak in Congo has spread to 30 people.

Read more via Reuters.

The perks of pet ownership for retirees

Owning a pet can offer companionship, but researchers are saying pets offer more perks, including better physical and emotional health for aging generations.

About 68 percent of U.S. households have a pet, according to a recent survey from the American Pet Products Association. The pets can be an essential part of the family — especially for aging pet owners, says Alan Beck, director of the Center for the Human-Animal Bond at Purdue University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

Read more at WTOP.

Cattle could Protect Butterflies, Conserve Prairies

Butterflies, cattle, and the military may seem like unlikely bedfellows, but for native prairies — some of the most threatened habitats in the world — the trio are closely connected. Scientists at Washington State University, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Defense and the Center for Natural Lands Management, have established a study in order to see how “working landscapes” might support habitat conservation goals.

Read more at AgWeb.

Canine Influenza Puts Manhattan Dog Owners On Alert

Manhattan dog owners are being warned of an outbreak of a potentially dangerous virus, canine influenza. Part of the danger with canine influenza is that the virus is airborne. At the mildest, symptoms often resemble the common kennel cough condition.

Read more at CBS New York.

Kansas animal health officials working with USDA officials on PEDv federal order protocols

Kansas Department of Agriculture’s Division of Animal Health is working with animal health industry officials at Kansas State University and around the country to provide a coordinated response to help control and mitigate porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv). Routine and standard disease reporting will help identify the magnitude of the disease in the U.S. and can help determine whether additional actions are needed.

Read more at High Plains/Midwest Ag Journal.

FDA Secures Full Industry Engagement on Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced today the first of its progress reports on its strategy to promote the judicious use of antimicrobials in food-producing animals. All 26 drug manufacturers affected by Guidance for Industry (GFI) #213 have now agreed to fully engage in the strategy by phasing out the use of medically important antimicrobials in food-producing animals for food production purposes and phasing in the oversight of a veterinarian for the remaining therapeutic uses of such drugs.

Read more from the FDA.

Demand Grows for ‘Animal Law’ Expertise

By Lorraine Mirabella, Baltimore Sun

Sheriff’s deputies knocked on Roger and Sandra Jenkins’ front door in Taneytown early one Saturday in January to serve a court paper to the couple’s teenage son. Within minutes, a chaotic scene unfolded, and the family’s chocolate Labrador retriever was shot by one of the deputies and collapsed bleeding in the snow.

The dog survived, but its owners say it is permanently disabled. The couple sued, alleging reckless endangerment and infliction of emotional distress.

Their lawsuit, filed against the Frederick County Sheriff’s Department in October, is part of a growing body of case law dealing with animal issues. The rapidly evolving field of animal law is not only being shaped by court decisions and new legislation, but has become a subject for study in law school. The University of Baltimore and University of Maryland both offer seminars in animal law.

Read more here.

Experts Warn That Any Dog Can Bite

By Abigail Curtis, Bangor Daily News

When Courtney Nelson heard that 7-month-old Annabelle Mitchell had been killed Tuesday by the Mitchell family’s Rottweiler, her first reaction was the same as that of many Mainers: shock and sorrow.

“I cried. I can’t even talk about it right now. It tears me up,” the assistant director at the Houlton Humane Society said Thursday. “I can’t even fathom what that baby went through.”

But then Nelson got back to work. For the past 11 years, she has been caring for animals at the no-kill shelter and trying to find them adoptive families, including the dogs that can be harder to place, such as pit bulls and Rottweilers.

Read more here.

Repopulating Rural Veterinarians

By Geni Wren, Dairy Herd

In last Sunday’s Kansas City Star an article by John Milburn from the Associated Press talked about Kansas Governor Sam Brownback signing a new law to create Rural Opportunity Zones in counties that have faced large population declines in the past decade. The point of the law is to lure new families to rural Kansas on the promise of no income taxes for five years.

These counties are in need of resident, jobs, and even veterinarians, though it can be difficult to recruit veterinarians to these areas. Mike Whitehair, DVM, Abilene Animal Hospital, Abilene, Kan., has served as an AVMA delegate for the Kansas Veterinary Medical Association and says the population of veterinarians seems to follow the growth or decline in people. Whitehair says there are a few examples of counties in Kansas where he looked at percent decline since 2000 and noted median age, number of farms, income per operation, number of cows and bushels of wheat produced. He says the numbers of veterinarians in those counties would be flat to declining. “When now Gov. Brownback was our U.S. senator, I had a good long discussion in his office about his desire to create an atmosphere to attract and retain people to move back to the rural areas,” Whitehair says. “I applaud his efforts in both arenas.”

Read more here

Vets’ Bodies See Off Attempt to Restrict Medicine Sales

By Rog Wood, Herald Scotland

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) and Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE) have successfully seen off an attempt by MEPs to restrict the ability of vets to sell veterinary medicines directly to farmers and other animal owners.

Ahead of yesterday’s debate in the Agriculture and Rural Development (AGRI) committee on the European Parliament resolution regarding antimicrobial resistance, a cross-party amendment was tabled that “Invites the member States to consider restricting veterinarians from, in non-acute cases, selling veterinary medicines directly to farmers and other animal owners, thus reducing the incentive to prescribe more antimicrobials than needed.”

That prompted a co-ordinated lobby by the vets’ organisations to counter the move. They successfully argued that the available evidence shows that restricting vets from selling medicines would not lead to a decrease in the use or sale of antimicrobials. They also pointed out that the ability of vets to prescribe and dispense medicines is already well regulated in the UK.

Read more here.