Entries by Bronwyn Hayes

How fireworks harm nonhuman animals

Fireworks and other explosive materials, whose reactions can produce sparks, flames, and fumes, cause various harms to nonhuman animals. These often affect animals who are human companions, and whose reactions we can easily see. They also harm the other animals who are around us, both in urban environments and outside them, as well as those who are on farms or confined in other spaces. Physical damage to the hearing organs of animals The hearing of many animals is much more sensitive than it is in humans, so the explosions of fireworks are not only more disturbing to them, but they […]

Meet Bear, the dog who finds koalas injured in Australian bushfires

Thousands of hectares of koala habitat across northern NSW and southeast Queensland have been destroyed in the recent bushfires. An obsessive-compulsive dog who was abandoned as a puppy has a new mission: helping find and save koalas injured in Australia’s recent devastating bushfires.  Bear, a Cattle Dog cross-breed, is trained to find both koalas and quolls, another small Australian marsupial, in the wild. “This is the first year that we have been involved in the fires,” Romane Cristescu, his minder and ecologist at The University of the Sunshine Coast, told Reuters. “It is a bit more dangerous than what we usually […]

Family reunion: Top tips for bringing your pet into South Africa

Port Elizabeth – Emigration is a hot topic right now – at least one person in our inner circle is looking at making the move or has an aunt or twice-removed cousin that has emigrated successfully. However, in the midst of this, the #ImStaying movement is trending in South Africa. What started as a Facebook group dedicated to the loyal locals that choose to stick by their beloved country and help improve our current state of affairs, has grown into a national wildfire. PETport supports the #ImStaying movement and has seen an increasing trend of people returning to South Africa with […]

Chinese trade in hides has led to global donkey massacre

Amy McLean has always had a soft spot for long ears. The animal scientist at the University of California, Davis, grew up on a Georgia farm that bred donkeys and mules and has competed in mule riding world championships. Now, she studies donkey behavior and cognition, and she knows that despite popular negative stereotypes, donkeys are “highly intelligent and highly sensitive.” No wonder she calls the current plight of the world’s donkeys “horrific.” Over the past 6 years, Chinese traders have been buying the hides of millions of butchered donkeys (Equus asinus) from developing countries and shipping them to China, […]

Chylothorax in Cats – Our Feline Friends Don’t Like This Milk!

Pleural space disease causes fluid and/or air to abnormally accumulate between the lungs and the chest wall. There are many potential reasons for fluid to collect in the pleural space. There are even different types of fluid. This week, I share information about one of the more common types of fluid – chyle – found in this location to cause a condition called chylothorax. Chylothorax – What is it? The chest or thoracic cavity contains many vitals structures, most notably the lungs and heart. When a cat (or you) breathes in, the chest wall expands outward and the diaphragm contracts. […]

Myasthenia Gravis – When the Muscles & Nerves Don’t Talk

Nerves send vital signals to muscles throughout the body. When these chemical signals don’t interact with muscles normally, one possible result is profound muscle weakness. A unique disease caused by this very scenario is called myasthenia gravis, and has been documents in dogs, cats, and humans. Myasthenia Gravis – What is it? Muscles are controlled by nerves, but nerves don’t directly connect to the muscles. There is a small gap between them – this is called a neuromuscular junction. Electrical signals travel through nerves until they reach the neuromuscular junction, and somehow the signal must jump the gap from nerve […]

Primary Hyperparathyroidism in Dogs – High Calcium Isn’t Always Cancer!

Many dog owners know a finding of elevated blood calcium can be quite concerning. Cancer, including lymphoma and apocrine gland carcinoma of the anal gland, is a leading cause of blood calcium elevations in dogs. Yet, sometimes this elevation is not caused by lymphoma or anal gland cancer! Sometimes, the parathyroid glands in the neck are simply working too hard. This condition is called primary hyperparathyroidism. Primary hyperparathyroidism – What is it? The parathyroid glands are closely associated with the thyroid glands in the neck. Most dogs have four glands, and they are located on or in the capsule of […]

CapeNature explains why Simba was put down

For weeks, animal lovers across the country have been wondering what happened to Simba, the lion cub who was found in an Athlone home on August 21. On Wednesday, December 4, CapeNature confirmed that they euthanised the little lion after a Durban journalist publically announced that a reliable source had confirmed the cat was put down on the same day he was “taken to a place of safety”. “CapeNature has been faced with one of the hardest decisions to make in conservation as a result of the illegal behaviour of three local men. A wild lion cub of approximately four […]

Fires May Have Killed Up To 1,000 Koalas, Fueling Concerns Over The Future Of The Species

Editor’s Note: Since publication, the headline and lede of this story have been changed to better reflect the content of the reporting, and some clarifications have been made. As Australia experiences record-breaking drought and bushfires, koala populations have dwindled along with their habitat, leaving one group claiming the species is “functionally extinct,” though not all koala experts accept this claim. The chairman of the Australian Koala Foundation, Deborah Tabart, estimates that over 1,000 koalas have been killed from the fires and that 80 percent of their habitat has been destroyed. Recent bushfires, along with prolonged drought and deforestation, has led […]

18,000-Year-Old Puppy Found Frozen In Ice Could Be ‘Oldest Confirmed Dog’ Ever

An 18,000-year-old puppy discovered frozen in ice could be the ‘oldest confirmed dog’ in history. Researchers in Sweden have shared incredible photos of the ancient canine after finding it in the Siberian permafrost in summer last year. After studying it, they aren’t sure whether the ‘amazingly well-preserved’ creature (with a full set of teeth) is a dog or wolf – possibly because it comes from the point where dogs were domesticated. Love Dalén, 44, and his colleague Dave Stanton, 34, believe it could be the earliest confirmed dog. If true, it could be invaluable in teaching us about when wolves […]