Breana Carsey, 11, has always wanted to raise a horse to be a racing champion. Steve Hartman reports on how an unlikely horse is making that little girl's dream come true.
Source: CBS News / Steve Hartman
A Peaceful Farewell provides compassionate at home pet euthanasia to fellow pet owners in Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Scottsdale, and most of the Greater Phoenix Metropolitan Area.
A Chinese research company is planning to sell its 'micro pig' as a pet after it successfully edited the DNA of the animal to stunt its growth.
Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI) created the pig, which grows to weigh between 14 and 20 kilograms, by changing the DNA responsible for its growth.
The company originally genetically modified the Bama pig breed for research but announced at a Bio Tech Leader summit in China recently their plans to sell it.
But the reasons as to why researchers are excited about the micro pigs are quite different to people wanting a petite pet porker.
Researcher Dr Hannah Brown from the University of Adelaide said gene editing techniques were fascinating.
"It's almost like GPS-guided molecular scissors," she said.
"What they do is they put those scissors into a cell and those scissors attract specifically to a place in the DNA.
"They can make a cut and cut out a piece of DNA and exchange it for a different piece.
"In this case this is actually what they did in pigs.
"They took some pigs cells and they put in these molecular pair of scissors and they trimmed out a piece of the DNA that determines how big the pig grows," Dr Brown said.
Dr Brown said it's understood the pigs were firstly created for medical research.
"They were attempting to generate a smaller and faster-breeding pig so they could use them for genetic testing for the development of disease models.
"The thing about pigs is that generally they are quite large and expensive to look after, so reducing the size of the animals means that it's less expensive to work with and easier to look after."
What genetic editing could mean for human health
In terms of research, Dr Brown said the pigs were of high interest.
"Evidence like this, a generation of what looks like happy live pigs, is really exciting.
"It means we are advancing what we know about these genetic-editing technologies and advancing towards a place where maybe we will be able to use them to cure diseases in humans."
Dr Brown said successfully editing the pigs' growth wasn't far removed from curing a human disease.
"Research-wise they aren't that far apart," she said.
"Curing a genetic disease would require us to identify the message in the DNA that's faulty and replace it and that's basically what they did in these pigs.
"They took the pig DNA and cut out the part of the message that we know regulates pig growth.
"We now know that many of the genes or many of the parts of the DNA that regulate diseases like Huntington's and Cystic Fibrosis.
"Potentially this offers us hope in terms of hoping to trim out those disease-causing bits of DNA in humans," Dr Brown said.
Dr Brown said research coming out of China was already looking at modifying human DNA, in a contentious way.
"Three or four months ago there was some similar technology that looked like it had been pushed out of China in terms of genetically modified human embryos.
"This was really concerning because we hadn't seen a lot of this same technology being used in large animals, we had seen it be used with cells in the dish, we had seen it being used in rodents — but not in larger animals."
Dr Brown said cloning work was occurring in Australia but not in this form.
"In terms of generating cloned pigs and miniature pigs, that kind of research isn't going on, I'm not aware of it," she said.
"In pigs we do clone for other reasons so there's research looking into pigs as models for diabetes, as the pig is very similar to the human in many mechanisms."
A company spokesman said the animals were expected to live to 15 to 20 years old.
However Dr Brown did say the micro pigs had only been through one reproductive cycle, so its life expectancy was yet to be proven.
"We don't really know what their outcome is long term; we don't know if they'll live a happy full life based on the fact that we have modified their DNA," she said.
"They may be completely normal, but the jury is still out on whether that's the case or not."
Source: ABC Rural / Tyne McConnon
A Peaceful Farewell provides compassionate at home pet euthanasia to fellow pet owners in Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Scottsdale, and most of the Greater Phoenix Metropolitan Area.
LONGMONT, Colo. — A 650-pound pig that fell off a trailer in Colorado is getting a new name -- "Lucky" -- and a new home at a sanctuary for abandoned pigs.
The Daily Times-Call reports (http://bit.ly/1hsk5eM ) that Lucky rolled onto Interstate 25 on Sept. 30. He was probably destined for a slaughterhouse, but will instead be headed to a cozy home east of Denver.
The Weld County Sheriff's Office couldn't find the 3-year-old pig's owner, so the boar was given to Hog Haven Farm owner and director Erin Brinkley-Burgardt.
Brinkley-Burgardt says she primarily cares for pot-bellied pigs, which people buy as pets but often abandon as they grow larger. The veterinarian who treated Lucky says he appears to be a Yorkshire pig.
Brinkley-Burgardt says Lucky can expect to live about 13 years in captivity.
It’s official. At 6-foot-4, Blosom is the world’s tallest cow ever.
That’s the determination made by Guinness World Records, which had previously named the female Holstein the world’s tallest living cow.
The new record was announced on June 25.
Blosom lived on a farm in Orangeville, Illinois. Her owner, Patty Meads-Hanson, got Blosom when the cow was just eight weeks old.
Blosom was 13 years old when she died on May 26. During her life, she was the official "greeter" for Memory Lane Crafting Retreat, a retreat situated on the farm.
ABC News couldn’t reach Meads-Hanson for comment on Thursday evening, but a post on Blosom’s Facebook page said the cow “was called to graze in a more glorious pasture.”
Blosom died after suffering a leg injury.
Meads-Hanson found the cow down in a pasture, her left leg in “a position that wasn’t normal,” according to a post on the Facebook page. Two veterinarians worked in the pouring rain to try to lift the cow but they were ultimately unsuccessful.
“Her injury appeared to happen when she laid down, slipping in the mud, and damaging a ligament in her hip, and would never be able to stand. I had to make that hard decision - I wouldn't let her suffer. It's the last act of kindness you can do for an animal you love, but it sure is hard,” Meads-Hanson wrote on Facebook.
Source: ABC News / Guinness World Records
Let’s clear up a common misunderstanding about horses: they do not sleep standing up. They snooze standing up. There’s a big difference.
Horses, like humans and, in fact, all land mammals, require deep sleep for proper mental and physical functioning. But for a prey species like the horse, whose existence in the wild depends on its ability to outrun predators, deep sleep can be a serious threat to personal safety. So how do horses get enough sleep?
For starters, horses doze a lot. On any given day, drive past a pasture of horses and count how many are grazing and how many are just standing there, heads down, lower lips drooping. Those are your snoozers, standing up.
Horses are able to get some light shut-eye without lying down by way of a really cool aspect specific to equine anatomy called the stay apparatus. When a horse is standing at rest, he is able to lock his kneecap with ligaments and tendons keeping the joints in alignment. With these soft tissues locking the bones together, no extra exertion from muscle use is required. This allows the horse to actually rest while standing.
But what about that deep sleep mentioned earlier? Horses can’t attain deep REM sleep by standing; this is only accomplished when the animal lies down. Therefore, horses do lie down to get proper sleep. They just don’t do it for very long.
It turns out that horses do not require a lot of REM sleep — roughly two to three hours a night, typically in short bursts of ten to twenty minutes at a time. A typical night as a horse will involve grazing, snoozing standing up, and short periods of lying flat out to get some serious shut eye.
The important thing to note is that horses will only lie down to sleep if they feel safe in their environment, because obviously this action is very risky if you’re a prey animal in a potentially threatening situation. This issue of environmental stress also affects domesticated horses. While usually not threatened by mountain lions or wolves or other predators when in a farm pasture or in a stall for the night, if the horse is stressed, he will not lay down to sleep.
Very busy, loud barns, or an area that is too small for the horse to feel comfortable lying down are some common problems for the modern horse. And the result? Horses that go without REM sleep over the course of weeks will have a negative effect on physical performance, and may even factor into irritability or behavioral problems. That’s right — everyone needs beauty sleep, not just us humans.
Miniature animals are nothing new such as Miniature horses. But mini cows? How does that even happen?
Turns out, there’s really no secret behind mini cows. They have been developed in the same way horse breeders developed the miniature horse: primarily through select breeding. Mini cow breeders will take their desired “regular size” breed, like the lovely red and white splotched beef breed the Hereford for example, and cross it with a Dexter, a cattle breed known for its particularly small stature.
The resulting progeny will hopefully have the coloring of a Hereford and the size of a Dexter. Then with subsequent generations, breeders will select the animals that are the smallest, honing in the gene pool for size specificity. Eventually you’ll get cattle roughly 36 to 42 inches in height and voila: mini cows!
Other than the sheer uniqueness of a mini cow, you might wonder why anyone would actually have one. Truthfully, many folks have minis as pets — they make efficient grass cutters that require less hay in the winter and less space in terms of housing. They also tend to be somewhat docile in nature, which I think corresponds to their size — they are handled more because they are small and therefore are tamer than perhaps your larger bovine.
Some breeds of mini cow are actually endangered and some people are attracted to the preservation of a unique breed. Because of their small size, mini cows are easier to keep than larger bovines and thus can attract small-time hobby farmers. Exhibitions at shows and farm events are popular places to see mini cows and gives breeders a chance to educate the public.
Well, we have finally done it. Our overuse of antibiotics is selecting for “super bugs” of bacteria that are resistant to antibiotic therapy that threatens world health. As patients, pet owners, and doctors, we are all too quick to treat symptoms with antibiotics rather spend the time and money to work-up cases to find if bacterial infection is really the problem. As consumers and food producers we have been too eager to ensure a cheap supply of animal protein by the use of antibiotics. It appears we are now paying the price for our choices.
Dr. Keiji Fukuda, MD of the World Health Organization (WHO), warns that “common infections and minor injuries can kill” due to antibiotic resistance.
Dr. Fukuda’s Report on Antibiotic Resistance
In 2014 Dr. Fukuda issued a report to the World Health Organization titled “Antimicrobial resistance: global report on surveillance 2014.” This report shared data on the present state of antimicrobial drug resistance and called for more shared data to identify the extent of the problem. His own data surveyed information from 114 countries. The results are alarming. Fifty percent of isolated bacteria in many countries are resistant to antibiotics commonly used to treat these infections. Life threatening bacteria like E. coli, Staphylococcus and Klebsiella are now resistant to the last drug of resort to combat these bacterial infections. One-in-five countries report bacterial resistance to the most common treatment for E. coli bacteria.
The report cites two major causes for this problem: the accelerated use of antibiotic use in humans and animals, and the lack of new antibiotics to replace ineffective ones. The report emphasizes that the use of the same drugs for human disease as animal disease, particularly animals raised for food, contributes to the cross species drug resistance problem. Because we may share the same bacteria with food producing species, genetic resistance to antibiotics in food animals can be transferred to us and our pets. But the problem is not isolated to antibiotic use in livestock. The report states:
“In many countries, the total amount of antibiotics use in animals (both food-producing and companion animals), measured as gross weight, exceeds the quantity used in the treatment of disease in humans.”
Dr. Fukuda calls for “global recognition of the need to avoid inappropriate antimicrobial uses and to reduce the administration of those drugs in animal husbandry and aquaculture as well as reducing their use in humans.
What is Being Done About Antibiotic Resistance?
The FDA has asked pharmaceutical companies to withdraw drug approval for the administration of antibiotic drugs in livestock that promote growth or increased feed efficiency in livestock. They have threatened regulatory action against non-compliance. More than 24 drug companies have agreed to comply.
What Can You and Your Veterinarian Do?
When your veterinarian recommends an antibiotic for a disease symptom ask for a rationale. He/she should be able to tell you the probability of bacterial infection as the cause and the justification for antibiotic use. If the rationale is equivocal and requires further diagnostics, inquire into the cost and relevance of potential findings and the importance of antibiotics for those treatments.
Antibiotics have revolutionized human health worldwide. We have a responsibility to not abuse them. Let the body do what it does best: heal.
For most people familiar with cats and dogs, the concept of spaying and neutering your pets has been ingrained. For population control, health reasons, and behavioral issues, the reasons behind spaying and neutering our small animal friends are plentiful and obvious. But what about large animals? Spaying of female horses, called mares, is very rarely done. Let’s look at why this is.
To neuter a horse is to geld it and the result is a horse called a gelding. This is the most common surgical procedure done on the farm and most male horses are gelded before they reach the age of three. A relatively simple procedure, gelding can be performed with the horse either heavily sedated and still standing or under general anesthesia lying down.
Most geldings take about thirty minutes from start to finish and the horse can be quietly walked back to his stall to rest. Full recovery in two weeks is common.
The benefits to gelding a male horse far outweigh the risks of infection or anesthesia from the surgery. Non-gelded male horses are called stallions. Stallions can become aggressive and difficult to work with when they reach sexual maturity and recreational horse owners are not experienced enough nor want to deal with the responsibility that comes with owning a stallion.
Spaying a mare is a more complicated medical procedure than gelding, involving entering the abdominal cavity. Although there is more than one way to spay a mare, each resulting in the removal of the ovaries, the procedure tends to be painful and there can be scary complications, such as bleeding from the ovarian artery, which can be difficult to control.
More recently, many veterinarians elect to spay mares using laproscopic methods, which means using small incisions and inserting small cameras on the ends of lasers to view the ovaries and remove them.
Aside from the difficulties of the procedure, many mare owners don’t feel the need to spay their mares because female horses don’t become as aggressive or difficult to work with as many stallions do (I say many, not all, because I’ve known some very pleasant stallions).
True, some mares are renowned for being somewhat moody, or “mareish,” but some riders actually prefer mares to geldings. My personal opinion is that it all boils down to the individual horse. Yes, some mares are temperamental, but many geldings aren’t perfect either!
Then comes the question of population control, since I feel this is the strongest argument to spay and neuter dogs and cats. Although there is the problem of unwanted horses in the United States, you simply don’t have the hoards of stray horses roaming the streets as you do cats and dogs. Rare is the kid who comes in saying, “Mommy, look what followed me home. Can we keep this horse?”
Additionally, with the majority of male horses gelded, most mares can be kept intact without worries of unwanted pregnancies. Yes, there are stories of a neighbor’s stallion jumping the fence for an amorous visit, but I feel these are somewhat rare.
The primary reason a mare is spayed is due to medical reasons. Occasionally, a mare will develop ovarian cysts or cancerous growths that affect her hormone levels and can make her behave in unpredictable, aggressive, stallion-like ways. If systemic hormone therapies don’t help, removal of the ovaries does the trick.
Here is an oddity in equestrian history that fits with the summertime mood. In the late 1800s, a traveling Wild West show run by a man named “Doc” Carver featured a diving horse act where a horse ran off an embankment or pier into a body of water.
There are a few different variations of how Carver came to this diving horse idea. Other parts of Carver’s biography are fuzzy as well, but include time spent training as a sharp shooter and taking part in the famous Buffalo Bill Wild West show. The most widely cited account of Carver’s equestrian ingenuity details how he jumped a horse off either an embankment or bridge in Nebraska into the river below. Soon, Carver’s business partner, Al Floyd Carver, built a mobile ramp and tower and the diving horse traveling show was born.
In an era rich with entertainment in the form of traveling sideshows and circuses, the diving horses were a big hit. Unique to be sure, these shows offered paying customers a small piece of everything you could want in entertainment: danger, suspense, and the appearance of the human-animal bond. In the early 1900s, Carver’s show became a permanent fixture at Atlantic City’s Steel Pier.
If this story sounds a little familiar to some of you, it might be because of a Disney film called Wild Hearts Can’t be Broken, released in 1991. This film chronicles the true story of a young girl named Sonora Webster, who was a rider in Carver’s show. Tragically, in 1931, Sonora was blinded after an accident on the pier caused her horse to dive unexpectedly off-balance. Sonora hit the water with her eyes open and the force of the impact detached her retinas. A story of perseverance, Sonora continued to dive blind in the act for another eleven years and married Carver’s business partner.
Carver’s act continued at the Steel Pier until the 1970s — a very respectable tenure for something born in the previous century. Pressure mounting from various animal welfare groups finally closed the show. Atlantic City attempted to resurrect the show again at Steel Pier a few years ago, but it was again halted on grounds of animal welfare.
Although Sonora always maintained their horses were treated humanely, one must wonder: Is it in a horse’s nature to willingly climb atop a forty foot structure and then leap into water below? Granted, it is not in a horse’s nature to allow a human on its back either, and yet we are able to quite easily train a horse to accept that. Is a horse trainable enough to willingly dive?
Accusations arose during the show’s timeline that cattle prods and other methods of force were used to force the horses up the ramp and then off the pier. However, even if these aren’t true, there were horses that died over the course of the show’s lifetime, either from injuries sustained during a last-minute panic prior to jumping into the water, or to drowning.
Want to enjoy the benefits of pet ownership without the commitment of owning a dog or cat? One of these seven small pets might be your best bet.
Pets can be great sources of companionship and comfort, and the health benefits of keeping a pet are well documented. Pet owners often experience increased self-esteem and reduced feelings of loneliness, and they may even gain physical health benefits such as lowered heart rate and blood pressure.
But maybe you aren't up to the challenge and responsibility involved in owning a dog or cat. If that’s the case, don’t overlook the benefits of small pets! From pet birds and rabbits to ferrets and pet rodents, these guidelines can help you choose the best small pet based on personality and the level of care needed to safeguard its pet health.
Is a Rabbit Right for You?
Let a Bird Brighten Your Life
Keep a Hamster’s Schedule in Mind
Have Fun With Ferrets
Take a Gander at Guinea Pigs
Choose a Chinchilla
Get Acquainted With Gerbils
There are plenty of pet alternatives to choose from, especially if you are more comfortable welcoming a small pet into your home.
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For the LOVE of Pets
The goal of this blog is to help educate pet owners by sharing pet health facts and pet news articles...and ... sometimes put a smile on your face with a cute or funny pet story!
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