Vets Can Now Legally Treat FIP In Cats, Thanks To COVID

Vets Can Now Legally Treat FIP In Cats

The nightmare is almost over. Until very recently, a diagnosis of Feline Infectious Peritonitis was a death sentence. Either a slow, lingering decline or a decision to euthanase and spare the suffering. This happened to around 1% of cats, most of them still kittens.

Then it was discovered that certain antiviral drugs could not only improve the symptoms, they could actually bring about a cure. But there was still a hitch.

These antivirals weren’t licensed in Australia, and therefore illegal to import and use. So the only cats who survived were those whose owners and vets were prepared to take the risk. My own veterinary association shamefully advised against their use, despite the evidence.

All that ends today.

Remdesivir: A New Hope For FIP

You’ve heard of remdesivir. It was rushed through TGA and FDA approval due to promising results in the treatment of COVID-19. What’s important about remdesivir is that it’s almost identical to those black market drugs like GS- 441524.

Except this time it’s freely available with a valid prescription, and has all the quality controls we expect from licensed drugs. Vets still need to warn you about ‘off-label’ use, but this is the same discussion we have whenever we pick up a human drug (which is often!)

Preliminary trial work in Sydney has produced excellent results. So now we have a drug for all. I estimate that less than 5% of cats with FIP are currently being saved. We should now see all owners getting offered the chance, and most taking it up, though cost issues still exist.

Costs Of Remdesivir Use In Cats

As you can imagine, it’s an expensive drug. I estimate that a course of 80 days treatment will cost around $4800.

However, this is very similar to the prices people are currently paying for black market GS- 441524 of unproven purity or efficacy. This time, if a cat is insured, the insurance company is likely to pay for it as well.

Based on our previous observations, 84 days of treatment should bring about a cure in the large majority of affected cats. It’s administered as once-daily subcutaneous injections, but don’t be put off. Everyone can do it, and we are happy to show you how.

Remdesivir Advice For Veterinarians

Australian vets reading this are welcome to contact me for a document containing suggested dose rates, protocols based on disease presentation, and how to source the injectable vials. Some brief notes on doses can be found in the comment section below.

We are all thoroughly indebted to the work of Dr Richard Malik DVSc PhD FACVSc FASM and the feline research team at my alma mater The University Of Sydney.

We are also indebted to the volunteer groups who, by taking on the risk, have helped many cats back to health. Their job is done, and we’re grateful.

By Andrew Spanner BVSc(Hons) MVetStud, a vet in Adelaide, Australia. These blogs are from a series regularly posted on email and Twitter.

Source: Walkerville Vet

Planting a bee-friendly garden

Planting a bee-friendly garden

Creating and planting a bee-friendly garden is easier than you think, just follow these tips from Garden Master

There are many benefits to attracting bees into your garden. One of the most obvious benefits is for the pollination process that will result in more flowers, fruits and vegetables. They are becoming more and more scarce, and this will result in a problem for the future of our plants and food. Play your part in keeping them around by making your garden a bee-friendly haven.

Choose plants that attract bees

Certain plants are more attractive to bees than others. These plants include basil, sage, thymelavender, watermelons, cucumbers and pumpkin.

Group similar plants together

If you have space, try to plant at least one square metre of the same plant genus together.

Pick plants with long blooming cycles

This will keep the bees coming back to your garden.

Let your plants flower

Leave the flowers on your plants, this will allow the honeybees to access the pollen and nectar they need.

Planting a bee-friendly garden

Have a fresh water source

Any shallow water source will do; a bird bath, a waterfall, a pool or even newly watered potted plants are good for bees.

No pesticides or other chemicals

Most chemicals are toxic to bees, so when in doubt, rather leave it out.


Flowering weeds are very important food sources for bees.

Source: Kempton Express

Shocking footage shows dead lion lying in a filthy pond in front of horrified visitors at a Chinese zoo as officials insist it ‘died of old age’

Viral footage of a dead lion lying in a filthy pond in front of horrified visitors at a Chinese zoo has sparked a public outcry.

The incident came to light after a tourist filmed the heart-breaking scene on Thursday at the Handan Foshan Wildlife Zoo in northern China‘s Hebei Province.

The park initially denied the animal had been dead, claiming that it ‘was resting in the water’. They told reporters today that the lion had ‘died naturally of old age’, citing autopsy results.

The shocking video was uploaded online yesterday by a zoo visitor who had captured the scene at the wildlife park in the city of Handan.

Footage shows the African lion caged in an enclosure with its lifeless body submerged in a filthy pond.

The horrified onlooker can be heard saying: ‘The lion is dead. Oh my god, this is so sad.’ The original footage has since been deleted from the account.

A manager of the zoo’s visitor centre initially denied that the animal had died, claiming that it ‘was just resting’ in the water.

‘We don’t have such an incident here. The lion was just lying there and resting. It wouldn’t die,’ the anonymous staff member told the Handan Television on Thursday.

As the incident continued to attract attention nationwide, another park manager, known by his surname Yang, told reporters that the lion drowned in the pond after being sick for a long time.

‘It’s because the lion had been sick, for a long time.’ Mr Yang told the Beijing Television. ‘We let it out to enjoy the sun today. It jumped into the pond and [drowned] due to a lack of energy.’

The park added that the local forestry authorities had been involved to investigate the animal’s death.

Speaking to reporters today, the zoo’s vice president, Wu Guangshu, claimed that the African lion had died of old age.

‘After our forensic examination, we have primarily determined that the lion had died naturally of old age,’ Mr Wu said.

An official statement will be released after the autopsy report is published, according to the official.

Angered netizens have been angered by the zoo’s mixed responses, slamming the wildlife park ‘shameless’ and calling to boycott the facility.

One viewer condemned: ‘What a shameless zoo. One day they said the lion was resting and then the next day they said it died of old age. What kind of excuses are they?’

Another commenter urged: ‘This is so sad and cruel. We need to shut this zoo down!’

Shocking footage shows dead lion

Viral footage of a dead lion soaked in a filthy pond in front of horrified visitors at a Chinese zoo has sparked a public outcry. This file photo shows an African lion at the Dubai Safari Park

The incident has also drawn criticism from international animal groups. 

Born Free Foundation, a UK-based wildlife charity, described the footage as ‘a profound and brutal disregard for life’ while urging the Chinese authorities to step in.

Will Travers OBE, executive president of the organisation, told MailOnline: ‘It tells you so much about the lack of compassion and the lack of professional care that so many captive facilities, not just those in China, display – a profound and brutal disregard for life. 

‘We simply have to get a grip. I will be writing to the Chinese Embassy in London expressing my deep concern and calling for action,’ Mr Travers added.

The park and local authorities have yet to publish any official statements regarding the cause of the lion’s death at the time of writing.

Similar events in relation to mistreatment towards zoo animals have recently been exposed by web users in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

A heart-wrenching video showing a captive tiger appearing to be depressed as it walked in circles non-stop inside a tiny enclosure at a Beijing zoo was revealed in April.

Another appalling video shows Chinese visitors using fishing poles to feed captive tigers in a so-called ‘interactive programme’ offered by a wildlife zoo in south-eastern China’s Yunnan province.

The health crisis has shed a light on the issue of animal welfare in China as officials scramble to establish laws to protect wildlife.

Source: Daily Mail UK

Dogwalkers urged to be cautious following an increase of baboon troops in Cecilia Forest

Dogwalkers urged to be cautious

Parkscape is urging all dog owners who frequently visit Cecilia Forest to be on high alert following an increase in the number of baboon troops seen in the area.

According to Parkscape, baboon troops from Constantia have crossed Constantia Nek and are now more regularly sighted in Cecilia Forest. The troop has also been seen roaming around Overseers Cottage as well.

Dog owners are urged to keep a close eye on their pets and ensure they don’t attempt to chase or attack any members of the baboon troop, as it could lead to either the dog or baboon suffering serious injuries. A dog was bitten yesterday, November 21, after it chased a baboon.

If you are uncertain of how your dog will react to seeing a baboon the safest option will be to keep on your pet on a leash for the duration of your visit to the forest.

If you come into contact with a troop of baboons or live on the urban edge of Cecilia Forest and your property is raided by baboons, contact the NCC baboon hotline at 071 588 6540 for assistance.

SANSpark, along with the NCC Environmental Services, who regularly monitor baboon troops, are aware of the baboons’ presence in Cecilia forest and urge all visitors to be cautious when visiting the forest.

Source: capetownetc

SPCA’s orthopaedic bone-plating kit helping furry friends with broken bones

By Mthuthuzeli Ntseku

SPCA’s orthopaedic bone-plating kit

Dr Debbie Clayton and lab assistant Brendon Carter with patient Ozzy, the dog set to be operated on by SPCA senior vet Dr Mark Middleton using the donated plating kit. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency

Christmas has come early for hundreds of animals in need of life- or limb-saving surgeries as the Cape of Good Hope SPCA welcomed a custom-manufactured orthopaedic bone-plating kit for such surgeries.

In August, animal lovers from Cape Town and beyond participated in a remote mass doggie walkathon to help the SPCA raise funds for a bone-plating kit, and brought in R211  492.

The event, called Pawfeet Love, saw participants and their furry friends take to the streets, the parks, the forests and the beaches to walk in honour of the victims of animal cruelty and neglect whose broken bones prevented them from doing the same.

SPCA spokesperson Belinda Abraham said at least one orthopaedic patient was admitted to the welfare hospital every day, and receiving the bone-plating kit was a wish come true for them.

“Broken bones previously broke our hearts, because we didn’t always have the tools we needed to save animal lives. When fractures occurred too close to the hock (wrist), limbs had to be amputated, and in worst case scenarios – where more than one limb was broken or if fractures occurred in areas where our current X-Fix remedy could not be applied, like the pelvis or the spine – lives were being lost.

“This plating kit will change so many lives, not only for the animals we treat but also for our veterinary team who will now be spared the heart-breaking decisions they have had to make in the past, ” said Abraham.

Source:  IOL

‘Abnormal spike in deaths’ as fin whales wash up on French shores

'Abnormal spike in deaths'

 Experts at the Observatoire Pelagis examine the dead body of a fin whale that was found stranded on a beach in Saint-Hilaire-de-Riez, France, November 16, 2020. © REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

Marine biologists are investigating the deaths of at least six whales found washed up on France’s western shores with no apparent sign of having been hit by a ship or caught in a trawler’s net.

Researchers on Monday used a mechanical digger and long knives to dissect a fin whale, the second largest species of whale after the blue whale, taking samples they believe might reveal evidence of a viral pathogen.

In an average year, between three and, at most, 10 whales are deposited dead on France‘s beaches, they say.

“We have what is almost an epidemic or, at any rate, an abnormal spike in deaths,” said Willy Dabin, a researcher from the Pelagis Observatory working on the corpse.

The most recent fin whale corpse was found on Friday near Saint-Hilaire-de-Riez. It measured nearly 16 metres and weighed an estimated 10 tonnes.

The common fin whales have all died within the past six weeks. All have been malnourished and shown evidence of hemorrhaging in the cardiac and respiratory systems.

“The question lurking in the background is: are humans a contributing factor in their capacity to upset the environment?” Dabin said. “Either by impacting food availability or polluting the living environment, which could leave the whales more vulnerable to disease.”

Officials put guards near the carcass at the weekend to keep intrigued locals at a distance.

“It’s disgusting,” said one local man. “I don’t know how they’re going to remove it. Cut it up piece by piece?”


Source: France 24

New Launch | Treat your dogs to Montego’s new Karoo Tender Meat Bits range of treats

New Launch

Treat your dogs to Montego’s new Karoo Tender Meat Bits range of treats

With more pet parents seeking high-quality pet food at an affordable price, Montego Pet Nutrition is excited to announce the launch of its newest pet treat product, Karoo Tender Meat Bits.

Karoo Tender Meat Bits are made with hearty and nutritious ingredients, available in four delectable variants; Chicken & Lamb infused with rooibos, Beef & Lamb infused with lavender, Ostrich & Lamb infused with rosemary, and Venison & Lamb infused with spekboom.

Karoo Tender Meat Bits treats are also free of corn, soya, gluten, and artificial colours and flavourants, providing the love and care of traditional home-cooked, country goodness with all the benefits of a scientific, super-premium formulation.

Made to the highest standards, each variation includes a combination of two fresh, high quality meats (Duoproteins), which are hardwood-smoked to mouth-watering perfection and infused with beneficial herbs and plants.

“Our customers have a wide variety of needs they expect to be met when it comes to their pet’s nutrition,” said Wilfred Cawood, Marketing Manager at Montego. “We’re committed to giving pet parents a full range of options so they can help their fur babies stay healthy, active and happy,” he concludes.

The Karoo Tender Meat Bits range of treats is available at a recommended retail price of R50.00 per 120g resealable packet.

Visit for more information.

Source: Montego


Emotional Support Animals vs. Service Animals vs. Therapy Animals

Emotional Support

Many pet owners are unfamiliar with the differences between service animals (SAs), emotional support animals (ESAs), and therapy animals (TAs). Many also attempt to skirt laws by inaccurately claiming their pet is an ESA in an effort to save a buck. So, this week I wanted to dedicate some blog space to differentiating them, to shedding a light on this important topic. I hope you find the information enlightening! Happy reading.

What is a service animal?

A service animal – as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) – is a dog “that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability. That’s right! As of 15 March 2011, only dogs are recognized as service animals under Title II and III of the ADA. Any breed of dog may be service animal.

Revised ADA regulations do recognize miniature horses that have been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. These animals are not included in the definition of service animal. However, businesses must make reasonable modifications in policies, practices, or procedures to permit the use of a miniature horse by an individual with a disability if the miniature horse has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of the individual with a disability.  

Factors to assist in determining whether miniature horses can be accommodated are:

  • The miniature horse is housebroken
  • The miniature horse is under the owner’s control
  • The facility can accommodate the miniature horse’s type, size, and weight
  • The miniature horse’s presence will not compromise legitimate safety requirements necessary for the safe operation of the facility

Where can a service animal go?

Service animals must be allowed to accompany disabled individuals in all areas where members of the public are allowed to go. The task(s) performed by the dog must be directly related to the person’s disability. Examples of such work or tasks include:

  • Guiding people who are blind
  • Alerting people who are deaf
  • Pulling a wheelchair
  • Alerting & protecting a person who is having a seizure
  • Reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications
  • Calming a person with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack
  • Alerting an individual when their blood glucose/sugar level is too low

Emotional Support

Does a service animal require any certification?

People with disabilities have the right to train their dog themselves. The ADA does not stipulate SAs must be professionally trained. The ADA does not recognize service animals-in-training as SAs. Some local and state laws, however, do cover SAs in training. There are some organizations that “sell” SA certification and registration documents online. These documents do NOT convey any rights under the ADA, and the Department of Justice does NOT recognize them as proof a dog is a service animal.

Can someone ask an individual what their SA does?

Employees of any business – public or private – may ask only two questions of an individual with a SA if it’s not obvious what service an animal provides:

  1. Is the dog a service animal required because of a disability?
  2. What work or task has the dog been trained to perform?

Staff can’t ask about a person’s disability, require medical documentation, require a special identification card or training documentation for the dog, or ask the dog to demonstrate its ability to perform the work or task. With all this being said, members of the public can ask an individual with a SA anything they want. The hope is such individuals are respectful and don’t escalate their inquiries to the point of harassment.

Does every business and organization have to comply with the ADA?

The simple answer is no. Religious institutions are specifically exempt from the ADA. However, there may be state laws that apply to them. Federal agencies and commercial airlines do not have to comply with the ADA. Rather, the former must comply with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the latter must comply with the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA). For more information about the ACAA, click here.

What is an emotional support animal?

Emotional support animals support animals provide companionship, relieve loneliness, and sometimes help with depression, anxiety, and certain phobias. They must be prescribed by licensed mental health professionals to a person with a disabling mental illness. In other words, a therapist / psychologist / psychiatrist must decide the presence of the animal is needed for the mental health of the patients. Even though some states have laws defining ESAs, these animals are not limited to working with people with disabilities and therefore are not covered by federal laws protecting the use of service animals. 

Emotional Support

The key difference between SAs and ESAs is the former are trained to perform a specific task or job directly related to the person’s disability and the latter have not. For example, alerting a hearing-impaired person to an alarm or guiding a visually impaired person around an obstacle are jobs performed by SAs. Behaviors such as cuddling on cue – although comforting – would not qualify. Tasks must be specifically trained, not something instinctive dogs would do anyway.

We should mention psychiatric service dogs. These are dogs that work specifically with people whose disabilities are due to mental illness. These dogs detect the beginning of psychiatric episodes and help ease their effects. Although this sounds similar to the role of ESAs, the difference is psychiatric service dogs are trained for their roles (and thus protected by the ADA) and ESAs are not.

Are people with ESAs protected by the ADA?

The simple answer is no. The ADA does not cover emotional support animals. However, they do have some rights in terms of housing and air travel. Emotional support animals are covered by the Fair Housing Act (FHA) as assistance animals. Learn more about the FHA here. Specifically, individuals cannot be discriminated against due to a disability when obtaining housing. Emotional support animals are not pets according to the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the agency that oversees the FHA and investigates claims of housing discrimination. There are only two questions HUD says a housing provider should consider with a request for an ESA as a reasonable accommodation:

  1. Does the person seeking to use and live with the animal have a disability?
  2. Does the person making the request have a disability-related need for an assistance animal?

A “no” answer to either of the questions means that a housing provider is not obligated to make a reasonable accommodation according to HUD. This may mean the person does not meet the definition of disability or the ESA does not help with symptoms of the disability. If the answer is “yes” to both, then HUD states the FHA requires an exception to a “no pets” rule. The emotional support animal must alleviate or help some symptom(s) of the disability. Rules such as no pets, species bans, or pet-size limitations do not apply to people who have a prescription for an ESA. Furthermore, they cannot be charged a pet deposit for having their ESA live with them.

The Air Carrier Access Act allows service animals and ESAs to accompany their handler in the cabin of an aircraft. Individual airlines may require documentation stating the person has a disability and the reason why the animal must travel with them. If one intends to travel with an ESA, one is strongly encouraged to contact the airline ahead of time to ensure one can provide the appropriate paperwork. While SAs can only be dogs, ESAs can be of any species. To qualify, the animal must be reasonably well-behaved by typical pet standards, such as being toilet trained, and can’t be a nuisance or danger to others. Of course, airlines require a prescription from a mental health professional, and because ESAs are not protected by the ADA, airline employees can ask individuals more questions and require documentation of an ESAs legitimacy.

Why do some people have issues with ESAs?

I don’t think most reasonable people have any issues with legitimate ESAs. I suspect they have issues with some individuals with illegitimate ESAs who don’t think the rules apply to them. An increasing number of people try to cheat the system by claiming they have ESAs simply to save money, to avoid airline fees and/or pet deposit fees. They purchase bogus online documents and try to skirt the rules. Indeed, the United States government does not recognize any certification process for ESAs. Pet owners are warned not to be tricked into buying bogus certifications from online outfits like CertaPet. If one wants their ESA to be legal and legitimate, one must obtain a valid prescription from a mental health care provider.

What is a therapy animal?

Therapy animals are used in facilities to comfort people and give affection. Spending time with therapy animals has been shown to lower blood pressure and heart rate, reduce anxiety, and increase endorphins and oxytocin. Therapy dogs do not have to be trained to perform specific tasks like service dogs. Those who have passed a therapy evaluation are only allowed in locations where therapy work is approved.

Emotional Support

herapy animals are not protected by the ADA, FHA, or ACAA. They’re NOT allowed in all public locations. If stores, hotels, or other locations don’t allow animals, then therapy animals are also not allowed there. They don’t have any special privileges in public, for flying on airplanes, and/or for special exceptions in housing. Depending on the requirements for the location where therapy work is being provided, therapy animals typically need to pass an evaluation to demonstrate they and their handlers are able to successfully and safely provide therapy work. 

Can you pass the quiz?

Q: What kind of dog can help a person when they experience social anxiety while flying?
A: Emotional support dog

Q: What kind of dog is needed at school to help children experiencing anxiety?
A: Therapy dog

Q: What kind of dog may be needed to pull a wheelchair?
A: Service dog

Q: What kind of dog is needed to remind a person with mental illness to take their prescription?
A: Service dog

Q: What kind of dog works with numerous people?
A: Therapy dog

The take-away message about SAs and ESAs…

Service animals are dogs that have been specifically trained to help an individual with a disability and are protected by ADA. Therapy animals are trained to work in various facilities to comfort people and give affection. Emotional support animals may be of any species and have been prescribed by a licensed mental health professional. Although not protected by the ADA, they do have some protected rights under the FHA and ACAA. Pet owners should respect current laws and not violate the system by pretending to have ESAs just to save a buck!

Wishing you wet-nosed kisses

Source: CriticalCareDVM


Tips to remember when travelling with a pet, according to the South African Veterinary Association (SAVA)

Tips to remember when travelling with a pet


Planning a holiday trip or vacation can be stressful, no matter the circumstances. As COVID-19 brings International holidays to a halt, many South Africans are set to explore our diverse and captivating country this December. Families will want to include their family pet in their plans, which may introduce an entirely new set of challenges. This includes packing the right equipment, checking the hotels pet policies, ensuring your pet meets the appropriate travel requirements, but not limited to. The South African Veterinary Services (SAVA) and Dr Dean Sim from the South City Vet, in Port Elizabeth, share useful tips to remember, which will help you, your family and beloved furry companion enjoy a safe, well-deserved and relaxing holiday.

1. Preparation is key!

Preparation is key to ensure a successful vacation, so book an appointment with your vet to ensure your pets vaccinations are updated. This includes deworming of parasites, such as roundworm, flukes and tapeworm. Calming medication might be viable especially if your pet is not used to driving long distances.

As many parts of South Africa reach high temperatures in December, make sure that you take your pet for a grooming session. This will help keep your pet cool and make it easier to find any ticks or flees. If you are planning a camping trip, be prepared for destinations with potential risks such as snakes and paralysis ticks.

Make sure to look up the name and contact details of a local vert in case of an emergency.

Order enough medication ahead of time and pack a first-aid kit including diluted antiseptic (betadine) and clean bandages.

Make sure that your pet is microchipped to help identify him or her in case they get lost. Make sure your contact details are registered so you can easily be contacted.

2. Tips when travelling in a car

If your pet is not accustomed to travelling long distances, spend a bit of time to get your pet used to the experience. Pets that are used to travelling in the car, are a lot calmer, which will ensure a less stressed trip for all.

  • A lot of pets associate car travels with going to the vet, which can be stressful. Take your pets on shorter trips from home (e.g. going to buy bread or milk).
  • Keep a doggie bed, a thin blanket, and their favourite toys to ease travel stress and for settling once you reach your destination.
  • Always remember to keep your travel food secured away from your pets when you leave the car.
  • When stopping to fuel up, or to grab a quick bite, park your car at a far distance so that your furry companion can relieve themselves. Never take them off their leashes at petrol stations!
  • NEVER leave your pet in your car, especially during days of extreme heat – always plan your outings to ensure that they can either go with you or a family member can sit under tree shade with them.
  • Make sure to pack plenty of water and food, treats, an extra leash, poop bags, and any medication for the treatment and prevention of the vomiting associated with motion sickness in dogs.

3. Make sure your destination is pet friendly

Do your research on pet friendly accommodation and activities before you book your holiday. Be sure to check for pet restrictions at the beaches as some beaches have different dog friendly hours during peak time holidays. Create a list of activities for your pet that includes:
– Nature walks
– Country markets
– Pet friendly restaurants

4. Taking care of the wellbeing of your animals

An important element to remember is the use of pet-friendly UV protection. Many pet owners might not be aware, but sunblock is as important on our furry companions, as it is for humans.

Should your pet enjoy swimming in the ocean, remember to pack an appropriate ear rinse. This will prevent your animals from getting an ear infection from the water gathered when swimming.

Ensure you pack eye rinse in case of sand coming into contact with their eyes when playing on the beach.

Brachycephalic dogs (commonly known as “short-headed” dogs such as the English bulldog, French bulldog, Pug, Pekingese, and Boston terrier) are prone to heatstroke. Be extra careful with these types of breeds in the car and provide a lot of water and shade if you plan a beach day.

5. Travelling with pets on an aeroplane

Should you opt to travel with your pet via an aeroplane, check with the airline for pet travel policies, regulations and restrictions. You’ll need to have your pet thoroughly examined, wormed and vaccinated before being approved for air travel.

Pets often do well travelling by air so ensure that you have the correct right type and size travel crate. Place a blanket and toys for comfort. However, if you see your pet showing any signs of distress, visit a vet you’ve located at your destination urgently. If you are still hesitant to take your pet travelling on an aeroplane, speak to your local veterinarian well in advance.

With the correct amount of preparation, you can ensure a safe, well-deserved, relaxing holiday with your family and your furry companion, regardless of where you go or what form of transport you take.

Source: South African Veterinary Association

The Problem with Honey Bees

Honey Bees

Credit: Ed Peeters Getty Images

To many people, honey bees symbolize prosperity, sustainability and environmentalism. But as a honey bee researcher, I have to tell you that only the first item on that list is defensible. Although they are important for agriculture, honey bees also destabilize natural ecosystems by competing with native bees—some of which are species at risk.

The rise in hobby beekeeping, now a trendy activity for hundreds of thousands of Americans, followed strong awareness campaigns to “save the bees.” But as a species, honey bees are least in need of saving. Media attention disproportionately covers them over native pollinators, and murky messaging has led many citizens—myself once included—to believe they are doing a good thing for the environment by putting on a beekeeper’s veil. Unfortunately, they are probably doing more harm than good.

“Beekeeping is for people; it’s not a conservation practice,” says Sheila Colla, an assistant professor and conservation biologist at Toronto’s York University, Canada. “People mistakenly think keeping honey bees, or helping honey bees, is somehow helping the native bees, which are at risk of extinction.”

Colla recently published an analysis of nearly a thousand comments submitted by citizens in response to Ontario’s draft Pollinator Health Action Plan—a proposal that involved a plan for stricter neonicotinoid pesticide regulations. Despite intense public interest in bees and pollination and strong support of tighter pesticide regulations, Colla and her colleagues found that citizens had a surprisingly poor understanding of the diversity of pollinators and their roles in pollination.

“The focus on neonics [a kind of pesticide] and honey bees has taken a ton of resources away from conserving wild pollinators from their most important threats,” Colla says. She is justifiably frustrated at the misappropriated attention on saving honey bees when, from a conservationist’s point of view, native bees are the ones in more dire need of support.

And while honey bee–centric businesses often support initiatives that benefit native bees, such as developing bee-friendly habitat, the financial contributions pale in comparison to what could be achieved if funds were applied to these initiatives directly. “Beekeeping companies and various non-science-based initiatives have financially benefitted from the decline of native pollinators,” Colla explains. “These resources thus were not allocated to the actual issue people are concerned about.”

For some reason, maybe because they are small, honey bees are not generally viewed as the massively distributed livestock animal that they are. There are millions of honey bee colonies in North America, 2.8 million of which are in the U.S. Approximating around 30,000 bees per colony (the size of a pollination unit), that’s roughly a billion honey bees in Canada and the U.S. alone—almost triple the number of people.

High densities of honey bee colonies increase competition between native pollinators for forage, putting even more pressure on the wild species that are already in decline. Honey bees are extreme generalist foragers and monopolize floral resources, thus leading to exploitative competition—that is, where one species uses up a resource, not leaving enough to go around.

But determining honey bees’ influence on natural ecosystems requires empirical testing. It is possible, for example, that alternate foraging habits of native bees—differences in their active times of day or preferred plants, for example—could lead to little effective competition. Honey bees are so ubiquitous, though, that it has been hard to test exactly how their introduction, and subsequent resource monopolization, affects ecosystem networks.

Not so for the Canary Islands. Alfredo Valido and Pedro Jordano, researchers from the Spanish National Research Council in Tenerife and Sevilla, respectively, saw an opportunity to use these islands—a Spanish archipelago off the northwestern coast of Africa—to study how the introduction of honey bees affects the native pollinating community.

In the highlands of the islands’ Teide National Park, thousands of honey bee colonies are introduced seasonally for honey production and removed again at the end of the nectar flow, creating an excellent scenario for experimentation. Their results, published in Scientific Reports, do not make honey bees look like the sustainability celebrities they have become.

Source: Scientific America