U of M Launches Nation’s First Animal Trauma Center

By Boua Xiong, NBC 11

he University of Minnesota’s Veterinary Medical Center is now home to the nation’s first animal trauma center.

For years the center has been a leader in animal care. Now, they’re taking their top practices and highlighting the best of the best into one.

The trauma center will give the hospital the opportunity to track how staff handles cases and allows them to study it and improve care, according to Dr. Kelly Hall, head of the trauma center.

Read more here.

New Animal Health Center of Innovation in Kansas

Drovers

A new high-speed lane will be built along the region’s Animal Health Corridor thanks to a $1 million investment by the Kansas Bioscience Authority (KBA). At its board meeting in Washington, DC today, the KBA approved seed money to establish a public-private consortium called the National Center of Animal Health Innovation. The “center of innovation” will bring nine area animal health companies, plus regional universities and government agencies together to accelerate job creation, research, development and commercialization of the next generation of animal health and nutrition products.

“This proposal is part of an overall strategy to position Kansas as the nation’s innovation hub for animal health and animal disease research and product development,” said Tom Thornton, President and CEO of the KBA. “The center will be led by and responsive to industry. Already, these leading companies have identified opportunities to work together to support new product development to advance the competitive position of their companies and the regional economy. Bottom line, we are talking about the potential to create new products, new companies, new jobs and whole new industries for Kansas.”

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Proposed Bill Could Tax Medical Expenses for Pets

By Sarah Bleau, FOX 31

Pet owners could see an almost eight percent increase in their medical bills if particular house bills pass a tax on pet services and veterinarian expenses.

“I think they should find another way to get their money. I shouldn’t be charged extra if I have a pet,” says pet owner Virginia Swift.

If pet expenses are taxed, it would provide the state with nearly $20,000 in revenue, which veterinarians say isn’t worth it when it comes to the total estimated tax revenue for the state, which comes out to $246,738.

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Vaccine Used to Eliminate Raccoon Rabies Proven Safe in Cats, Dogs

Cat Channel

The success story in Nassau and Suffolk counties, part of New York’s Long Island, is being attributed to Cornell’s Wildlife Oral Rabies Vaccination Program. The program was initiated during the mid-1990s.

The World Health Organization defines such success as a lack of rabies cases after two years of enhanced surveillance, according to Laura Bigler, Ph.D., a Cornell wildlife biologist and program coordinator. The last raccoon rabies case in Nassau County was in November 2007. Suffolk County’s last case was in January 2009.

Cornell’s program uses a U.S. Department of Agriculture-licensed liquid rabies vaccine hidden inside a small sachet that is coated with fishmeal and fish oil. Raccoons are attracted to the bait by its fishy smell, according to the university. The raccoons puncture the baits and ingest the liquid vaccine.

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Stabenow Outlines Approach for 2012 Farm Bill

Food Safety News

Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), the new chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee is urging the agriculture community to focus on “principles, not programs” as they begin working on the all-important farm bill this year.

“We should start with principles that will guide us as we evaluate what

works and what doesn’t in today’s economy to address the unique

challenges facing our farmers today and into the future,” said in Stabenow, in her remarks before audience of agriculture policy makers and industry representatives at the USDA 2011 Outlook Forum in Arlington, Virginia on Thursday.

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Fungus Knocks Out Malaria In Mosquitoes

By Joe Palca, NPR

Scientists have come up with a new approach to controlling malaria. Instead of killing the mosquito that transmits the malaria parasite, the researchers have found a way to let the mosquito live, while killing the parasite inside it.

The technique involves a fungus called Metarhizium anisopliae. It’s a fungus that can penetrate directly into a mosquito.

“The insect literally fills up with fungus,” says Raymond St. Leger of the University of Maryland. Ultimately, filling up with a fungus is a bad thing for the mosquito. With time, the fungus will kill the mosquito, but at first, it’s just an annoyance to the insect.

Read more here.

Taylor Highlights Food Safety Law at Global Forum

By Helena Bottemiller, Food Safety News

U.S. Food and Drug Administration Deputy Commissioner for Foods Michael Taylor delivered remarks before a truly international audience Thursday, highlighting the new food safety law’s impact on imports.

Taylor emphasized that improving food safety is both the right thing to do and good for business in his speech before the Global Food Safety Conference in London, an event produced by the Global Food Safety Initiative, an international organization seeking to harmonize global food safety standards. Over 600 food safety experts and corporate leaders from 40 countries were in attendance.

“All of you in this room acutely understand the major disruptions to our economies and to international trade that occur in the wake of major foodborne illness outbreaks and product recalls,” said Taylor. “You understand how these crises can undermine consumer confidence for months and years to come … we know we can do better, and we must do better.”

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CSIRO to Research How Bats Spread Disease

The Sydney Morning Herald

Some of the world’s deadliest viruses are carried by bats and Australian scientists want to know how to stop the bats spreading disease to other animals and humans.

The bats themselves often don’t suffer any ill-effects despite the dangerous illnesses they carry.

The CSIRO says it hopes to protect the health of people and livestock through a comprehensive research program into bats.

The program aims to better understand bat immunology and also to identify strategies to control the viruses.

Read more here.

The End of BSE

By Roger Highfield, The Telegaph

The first hint of catastrophe came a quarter of a century ago. In October 1987, David Brown of The Sunday Telegraph described “a mystery brain disease [which] is killing Britain’s dairy cows and vets have no cure”. A few months later, he disclosed that the government had launched an inquiry into what was now being called bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE. By the end of the decade, his stories were referring routinely to “mad cow disease”, and a chilling new phrase had entered the language.

The BSE epidemic cost us billions, and devastated the British farming industry. Now, that plague is at an end. A few days ago, in New Scientist, we described how just 17 cases were recorded worldwide in cattle last year.

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Legislative Notebook: Fort Valley Likely not a Fix for Vet Shortage

By Maggie Lee, Macon.com

Georgia is “critically” short of large-animal vets, Dean Scott Angle of the University of Georgia’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Services told a House Agriculture Committee meeting.

He’s got a small program that annually helps usher five future large animal vets through their undergraduate years into the extremely competitive veterinary medicine doctorate program in Athens. There’s also a short mentoring program for high-schoolers. But the state is still extremely lacking.

Fix it with a doctorate program at Fort Valley State University, suggested state Rep. Lynmore James, D-Montezuma. The school offers undergraduate degrees in veterinary technology and animal science, but would-be medical doctors must go to Athens.

Read more here.