Snake-avoidance classes eliminate dogs' curiosity about all that slithers.
Thu, 09/01/2022 - 8:20pm

The Gossip Column: September 2, 2022

New head of AKC DNA, mysterious virus in Michigan, snake-avoidance training

The AMERICAN KENNEL CLUB has just announced the hiring of DR. CLAIRE WILEY as the executive director of the AKC DNA Program. One of the oldest continuously operating canine DNA programs in the world, it has nearly 1,000,000 canines profiled, nearly 300,000 canine DNA samples in storage and more than 250,000 active breeders. ...

In other AKC news, AKC REUNITE announced its donation of the 98th AKC PET DISASTER RELIEF trailer in Chatham County, Georgia, a combined effort of donations by AKC dog clubs and pet lovers from across the country. ...

An outbreak in Otsego County in northern Michigan has revealed a mysterious canine illness with parvovirus-like symptoms (vomiting and diarrhea, which most times is bloody) that has been killing dozens of dogs. The cause is unclear, and local, state and federal agencies are all working to identify this disease. In that county, approximately 30 dogs have died, most of them unvaccinated. It could be a new virus or a new strain of parvovirus for which there isn’t an effective vaccine, or it could have had its start in Europe, where in 2019 dogs took ill with the same symptoms. At the laboratory at MSU, KIM DODD is working with samples from affected dogs to positively identify what is causing the outbreak. ...

While this unidentified virus is killing dogs in Michigan, we know what’s killing dogs in the hot Southwest: They are being attacked by rattlesnakes. Arizona is home to 17 varieties of rattlesnakes, including the best-known and most dangerous diamondback, which can grow up to seven feet long. In Mariposa County, Arizona (an area that includes Phoenix), the population has increased by 18 percent from 2010 to 2021 to 4.5 million people. As housing areas spread, owners and their pets meet up regularly with the snakes. On average, rattlesnakes bite 200 people a year and an unknown number of dogs. To teach dogs not to go near the rattlesnakes, owners go to snake-avoidance classes. When dogs are exposed to a snake, they are shocked by the shock collar they are wearing. An unpleasant experience for the dog, at best. These very popular classes cost around $100 per dog. Arizona is not alone in facing this problem: Dear friends lost their beloved Griffon to a rattlesnake bite in California. Snake-avoidance classes are so popular that a gentleman in Arizona trains more than 2,000 dogs a year. ...

A study has concluded that dogs cry tears when they are reunited with their owners, proving their emotional bond to human beings. The study was conducted by TAKIHUMI KIKUSU at the laboratories of Human-Animal Interaction and Reciprocity at AZABU UNIVERSITY in Sagamihara, Kanagawa, Japan. They measured the dogs’ tears one minute before and after they were reunited with their owners. When put with humans who were not their owners, there was no difference in the amount of tears.


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