Mechanical disease-sniffing device vs dogs

A number of researchers from various universities have joined together to try and develop a mechanical device that can rival the scenting ability of dogs to detect diseases in people. No one denies that dogs have a remarkable ability to detect the early stages of disease in humans. But the cost of training the dog and the dog’s length of service makes using them expensive. If scientists can develop a device that can equal a dog’s nose it would reduce a lot of the cost.

What has proven elusive to scientists is that dogs can pick up connections that researchers cannot mimic in a machine. For example, some dogs that have been trained to detect one type of cancer will identify other types of cancer as well. When the researchers tried to determine what the dogs were detecting, they were not able to. The differences were not detectable by current tests. What complicates the problem is that the different cancers that were detected by the dogs do not have any biomolecular signatures in common. The dogs were able to generalize from one kind of cancer to be able to identify others.  

The detection system that has been developed is 200 times more sensitive than a dog’s nose but the machine cannot figure out the elusive patterns that the dog can, that allows the dog to detect various cancers. In other words, the machine cannot think and make the connections. Until the researches solve the mystery, the machine cannot replace the dog.

The important point for people who use dogs for scent detection work is that dogs are capable of analyzing scent in a much more complex way then they have been trained to do. The bottom line is that if your scent dog gives you an indication that does not make sense to you, trust your dog and look further.

Fish can perform addition and subtraction

The research group led by Prof. Dr. Vera Schluessel from the Institute of Zoology at the University of Bonn has proven that Cichlids and stingrays can perform simple addition and subtraction up to the number five. The researchers still do not understand how fish use this ability.

Google free images

What makes this very interesting is that fish do not have the part of the brain that allows them to perform complex cognitive tasks and these species of fish do not need the ability to count in the wild. Other species of fish do pay attention to the number of eggs in their clutch.

Author’s Note: It is always amazing to learn that fish and animals have more intelligence than humans assumed that they have. It makes it exciting to think of what is yet to be discovered and should make people pause the think about how we treat other species.

Artificial intelligence can now analyze animal behavior

Researchers at ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich have developed an automated way to analyze the recordings of animal behavior. The program uses computer vision and machine learning that can distinguish individual animals. The AI program can identify specific behaviors such as curiosity, fear, stress, anxiety and discomfort and harmonious social interactions.

Google free images

The advantage is that this technique can be used by many scientists which will allow them to compare results. It saves the researchers hours of viewing recordings of animals.

The application will be especially useful for the animals kept in zoos to determine their behavior and detect any problems that might go unnoticed by zoo keepers.

Author’s Note: Perhaps this will lead the way for veterinarians to better able to detect pain in pets.

Cannabis poisoning in pets

Since the use of cannabis has become legal in Canada and the United States, there has been an increase in the number of pets who have suffered cannabis poisoning. Researcher Richard Quansah Amissah of the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, and colleagues have conducted a study of this problem.

Although most of the animals that suffered from cannabis poisoning were dogs, the other pets included, cats, iguanas, ferrets, horses and cockatoos. Most of the poisoning was due to the pets eating cannabis edibles.

The symptoms (mostly in dogs) included urinary incontinence, disorientation, and a slow heart rate. Most pets were treated as outpatients and recovered. Although some died, it is not clear if there may have been underlying medical issues that contributed to the death of the pet.

Authors Note: Cannabis edibles should be treated as any other drug and kept in a safe place where pets, children and other adults who are not authorized to use cannabis, cannot ingest the products.  

Exploring a vegan diet for dogs

Many people are vegan’s and would prefer to feed their dogs an all-vegan diet. However, the traditional belief was that dogs were carnivores and need to eat meat. However, in reality dogs are omnivores and need a balanced diet. A recent study of 2500 dogs to determine the difference between a conventional diet, raw meat diet and vegan diet had some interesting results.

Dogs on a raw meat diet were healthier than those on a vegan diet and those on conventional diet were the least healthy. However, it should be noted that the researchers felt that the data was not conclusive because the dogs on raw meat diets were younger and less likely to be taken to a veterinarian. The researchers felt that people who had dogs on raw meat diets were less likely to seek veterinarian advice.      

The researchers felt that more studies need to be conducted. They agreed that feeding a raw meat diet has been linked to an increased risk of pathogens and nutritional deficiencies. They also considered that a nutritionally sound vegan diet may be the healthiest and least hazardous diet for dogs.  

Authors Note: Sifting through the dog food maze can be daunting. No pet food survey agrees which foods are the best. I have seen brands come and go, some start as top quality then change their formula to a very low quality. I have always believed that supplementing a high-quality commercial diet (which provides the balanced nutrients a dog needs) with table scraps (the highest quality food you can give a dog) with raw fruit and vegetables gives a dog all that they need. The brands of dog food that my research has shown to be the best are Wysong and Annamaet.

Many pet owners do not handle pet food safely

A recent study conducted by Dr. Emily Luisana of North Carolina State University in Raleigh and her colleagues demonstrated that many pet owners do not handle pet food and bowls safely. According to their study people did not handle their pet food or pet dishes in manner that reduces the bacteria that causes illness in both people and pets.

Pet food should not come in contact with surfaces where human food is prepared, bowls must be thoroughly cleaned and/or sanitized and people should wash their hands after handling food and bowls.

Sue’s Note: This is especially important where children are concerned because they will touch pet food and bowls, and possibly put their fingers in their mouths without washing them.

photo from freepic

Older pets whose digestive systems are weakened from age or illness may not be able to tolerate the bacteria buildup and suffer further health issues. Treats such as rawhide, natural bones, pig ears, cow hooves and other such products are a high risk due to the bacteria on them as well as a choking or intestine blockage risk for dogs.

Pet bowls and any utensils used with the pet food such as forks, spoons, etc. should be washed with very hot water and soap or run through a dishwasher after each use, this would include water bowls which should be cleaned at least daily.

Being in the Pet Care Business Could Help You Make a Lot of Money Each Month

guest blogger Brandon Butler

According to research, Americans spend an average of $100 on their pet each month. So, it comes as no surprise that the pet care industry is a profitable industry to be in, especially if you are thinking of starting up your own pet care business.

Check out Susan Bulanda’s blog  and website for more insightful content like this article.

Pick a niche business idea

There is a plethora of opportunities for entrepreneurs who want to enter the pet care business such as opening an e-commerce pet store, pet training, pet grooming, pet sitting, and much more. It is important to first decide on which business appeals to you and that ideally matches your strengths so that you have a great start.

image from pexels

Next, create a business plan

Creating a business plan is a vital step in establishing any business, and a pet care business is no different. It is a blueprint that details all the steps to get to where you want to be. Essentially, a business plan is your go-to plan that will involve all of the details of every aspect of your business. This will help you stay on course. Some of the details of a well-put-together business plan include your mission statement, the products or services you offer, your goals, sales and marketing objectives, your financial projections, etc.

Of course, one section of your business plan that’s going to require a fair amount of detail is the marketing plan. Moreover, you’re probably going to have to use many marketing channels and marketing tools to market your new business effectively. For example, business cards still work really well today (despite being around for decades) for marketing purposes. Business cards are also perhaps more memorable than email marketing because they are a tangible reminder of what you have to offer. With an online business card maker, you can customize your own business card using a premade template.

Getting the business basics in place

Creating a name for your business that is catchy, but that also speaks volumes about what you do can be a tricky thing to do. Also, it should be memorable enough so that your business instantly comes to mind when your services are needed. Next you have to decide on a business structure and start the filing process for that. You will need an EIN number, open a separate business bank account and apply for any licenses or permits if you need one.

Examine your financials

This can often be a complicated step if numbers aren’t your forte. However, it is vitally important if you need startup capital to achieving your business dream. That said, if you’re looking for additional capital, then a business loan isn’t your only option. Of course, you can also acquire start-up capital through other means such as bootstrapping, angel investors, venture capital, etc.

In conclusion, starting your own pet care business should be fairly given the high demand for pet care products and services. A genuine love for animals and a carefully thought-out plan will  make your new business venture a success.

Night blindness in dogs cured

Just a few short years ago, 2015 researchers at Penn’s School of Veterinary Medicine discovered that dogs could develop a form of inherited night blindness that is very similar to the same condition in people. Then in 2019 they identified the gene that is responsible for this condition.

Night blindness in people is referred to as congenital stationary night blindness (CSNB) and prevents people from distinguishing objects in dimly lit situations. This condition makes it nearly impossible for people with CSNB to drive at night or see when there is no artificial light.

The researchers have found that a group of cells deep in the retina called ON bipolar cells are the culprit. They have developed a single injection of gene therapy that has corrected night blindness in dogs that lasts a year or longer. They did observe that some dogs had better recovery than others.

The researchers are studying whether or not one injection will last a lifetime. They are also developing a therapy that can be used in a clinical trial for people.

Real Estate Today: Seller Beware

The real estate market is probably the most active then it has been in many years. The job of the RE agent is a difficult one since they have to juggle negotiating between the seller and buyer. Often the seller has lived in their house for most of their adult life. They have invested thousands of dollars into their home. While most RE agents are honest and do their best, this book will help the seller understand what is taking place and enable them to make decisions that will benefit them. My book Real Estate Today: Seller Beware helps the seller understand these decisions.

Sometimes RE agents on both sides of the transaction lean toward helping the buyer instead of the seller. This book will save the seller thousands of dollars. It is well worth the investment.

For some people, cat faces are not hard to read

In a recent study to determine if people can read a cat’s expression, Prof. Lee Niel, and Prof. Georgia Mason, from University of Guelph’s Campbell Centre for the Study of Animal Welfare made an interesting discovery.

They showed videos of cats who were in a positive frame of mine, such as soliciting petting or treats, and of cats in a negative state either due to health issues or in a situation where they wanted to retreat, to a group of people. None of the videos showed extreme fear such as flattened ears or bared fangs. The videos showed only the cat’s face.

The group consisted of men and women and not all of the people were cat lovers. Women, especially those who were veterinarians or vet technicians scored the highest. This finding is consistent with previous research that indicates women are better at decoding non-verbal displays of emotion than men.

The results of this study show that it is possible read a cat’s expressions and that it is possible to teach people how to do this, thus fostering a stronger bond between cats and people.

Esophageal disorder in dogs

Some breeds, especially German Shepherd Dogs suffer from congenital idiopathic megaesophagus (CIM) disorder. This prevents puppies from swallowing food and they often must be euthanized as a result. Some dogs live past puppyhood but still must be euthanized. Labrador Retrievers, Great Danes, Dachshunds, and Miniature Schnauzers are some of the other breeds that suffer form megaesophagus.

CIM usually becomes apparent when a puppy is weaned from its mother and starts to eat solid food, at about four weeks of age. The only way to get food into a puppy who has this condition is to feed them while sitting upright. They must remain upright for at least 30 minutes. While some puppies outgrow the condition, many need symptomatic management for the rest of their lives. They must be fed small liquid meals multiple times a day, gelatin cubes and they require drug therapy.

The good news is that Leigh Anne Clark a researcher at the Clemson University Department of Genetics and Biochemistry and her team have developed a genetic test to determine if a dog has the gene responsible for this disorder. Responsible breeders who have produced puppies that had ICM should have their dogs tested and avoid breeding dogs who have the gene for ICM.