Pet Scoop: Nearly 600 Pet Deaths Tied to Jerky Treats, Andean Bears Hate Paparazzi

Oct. 23, 2013: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

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FDA Investigates Illnesses

Illnesses in 3,600 dogs and 10 cats have been tied to eating jerky pet treats since 2007, and there have been 580 related deaths. But despite conducting more than 1,200 tests on the treats, the Food and Drug Administration hasn’t been able to pinpoint the cause of the illnesses. Although the pace of the illnesses seems to have slowed, the agency is asking pet owners and their veterinarians to provide additional information to help their investigation, including blood, urine and tissue samples from affected animals.

"This is one of the most elusive and mysterious outbreaks we've encountered," says CVM Director Bernadette Dunham, DVM, Ph.D. The FDA continues to caution pet owners about giving their dogs and cats jerky treats, which can be made from chicken, duck, sweet potato, and/or dried fruit. Most of the treats that have been linked to illness were made in China. There has been a decrease in reports of illness since a number of jerky treats were recalled in January after a lab reported finding evidence of low levels of several drugs in the products, but the FDA doesn’t believe these drugs were causing the illnesses. If your pet becomes sick after eating jerky, the FDA recommends contacting your vet. — Read more from the FDA

Andean Bears Destroy Cameras

Much like a celebrity who’s sick of being followed, rare Andean bears apparently value their privacy and decided to tear apart remote cameras set up to capture images of them in a Bolivian clouded forest. Luckily, the “paparazzi” — the Wildlife Conservation Society — had additional cameras that captured the attack on film. One series of stop-action images shows a bear going after a camera and leaving it torn open, while another series shows a mama bear and two cubs scratching and biting a camera like a toy. "Andean bears are very curious animals," says Dr. Lilian Painter, WCS's Bolivia country director. "But they are also very strong, and the cameras are like big flashing toys. Still we were able to record important images that will allow us to better understand their distribution, abundance and behavior, and conserve these delightful bears into the future." — See photos at Discovery News

Zoo Atlanta Panda Names Revealed

With the arrival of their 100th day comes the official naming of Zoo Atlanta’s twin panda cubs. The zoo announced live on ABC’s Good Morning America that the winners of their public vote on the names were Mei Lun (may loon) and Mei Huan (may hwaan). The names come from a Chinese idiom meaning “something indescribably beautiful and magnificent,” and some of the people who voted for this pairing said on Facebook that they liked the reference to mom Lun Lun’s name. Naming pandas on the 100th day is a Chinese tradition. The cubs are the first surviving twins to be born to a giant panda in the U.S. — Read it from Zoo Atlanta and read Vetstreet’s story on the increased breeding success for captive pandas

Baby Rhino Dies in Alabama

Four months after making history as the first Indian rhino calf to be born in the U.S. using artificial insemination, the baby was found dead at the Montgomery Zoo. "It was a shock. We definitely feel the loss of Ethan," said Steve Pierce, the zoo's program services manager. Ethan was named for Ethan Gilman, the Alabama boy who was kidnapped from his school bus and held hostage for nearly a week before he was rescued in January. Zoo officials are investigating the cause of the calf’s death. — Read it at Reuters

Plus: In much happier rhino news, Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo has announced that a southern white rhinoceros was born at the zoo on Oct. 9 to mom Kidogo. The southern white rhino was recently classified as “threatened” due to the rapid increase in poaching over the last two years.

Eddie, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, is expected to make a full recovery after suffering from heat stroke during training in Florida.
Eddie, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, is expected to make a full recovery after suffering from heat stroke during training in Florida.

Veterinarians Save K-9 Hero

Eddie, an Air Force canine who saved the lives of 14 service members in Afghanistan, needed help himself on Monday. The 5-year-old Belgian Malinois was training at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa when he showed signs of heat stroke. His handlers rushed him to Blue Pearl Veterinary Partners for emergency treatment. “If it wasn’t for the quick-thinking handlers and their actions, this could have been a very different story,” said Dr. John Gicking of Blue Pearl. Eddie is credited with saving the lives of his handler, Air Force Staff Sgt. Shannon Hutto, and 13 others when he detected an improvised explosive device while on patrol in Afghanistan in May 2012. Eddie is expected to make a full recovery at Blue Pearl. — Read it from Florida’s Bay News 9

NYC Horse and Carriage Rides Could End Soon

An iconic — and controversial — tourist attraction in Manhattan may be coming to an end. After 155 years of horse and carriage rides through Central Park, both mayoral candidates say they would end the practice if elected, a move pushed for by animal activists, who say the horses are mistreated. — Read it at My Fox New York

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