Veterinary medicine

This Heartwarming Video Reminds Us Dogs Can Donate Blood, Too

Dogs can have both psychological and physical health benefits for humans, and we know they’ve saved human lives many times. But did you know that they can help save lives of other dogs, too?

A new video from BBC South Today demonstrates how dogs, like people, are capable of donating blood for use in transfusions for surgeries and other emergencies. A dog owner in the video explains that one round of donation can save as many as four other dogs, which, as he says, “is quite incredible.”

The requirements for blood donation may differ slightly based on where you live, but Seattle-based veterinarian Beth Davidow, director of medical quality for BluePearl animal hospital and founder of the pet blood bank ACCES, told HuffPost the basic requirements in the U.S. are the same as those described in the BBC video. At her bank, staff typically accept blood from both cats and dogs between the ages of one and six, and stop taking donations from animal…

These killer whales exhale sickening germs

killer whales
killer whales

People usually try to give killer whales their space. Getting close to one’s blowhole is especially risky. But Canadian and America scientists got that close — and for a good reason. “We wanted to know what kind of fungi and bacteria they had in their breath,” explains Stephen Raverty, who led the study. His team turned up germs, or microbes, that might cause disease. What they learned may help researchers protect these animals, which are endangered (at risk of extinction).

Raverty is a veterinary pathologist. That’s a scientist who studies animal diseases. He works for Canada’s Ministry of Agriculture in Vancouver, British Columbia. He and his team studied a population of endangered killer whales, or orcas. These are the biggest dolphins on Earth. The group they studied lives off of the West Coast of North America. Scientists call this population the southern resident killer whales. They migrate between California and British Columbia, depending on the season.

As of December 2016, there were only 78 whales left in this group. That’s down from 98, two decades earlier. Scientists hope to keep the population from shrinking even more. Checking the whales’ breath can give researchers a peak into the animals’ health.

The whales hold their breath while diving. When they surface, they exhale in a big burst from their blowholes. Afterward, they inhale fresh air.

The researchers used small motorboats to get within about 6 meters (20 feet) of the whales. By coming at them from the side or back, they didn’t get in the animals’ way or frighten them. When they were close enough, the researchers waved a 5.5-meter pole over a whale’s blowhole as it surfaced.

The pole had five petri dishes attached to it. When researchers twisted the pole’s handle one way, the lids on the petri dishes opened. This allowed them to catch liquid droplets and exhaled breath. When the scientists twisted the pole’s handle the other way, the lids closed again.

droplet collection
droplet collection

The team filled the petri dishes with the exhaled breath from 12 killer whales. In some cases, breaths from the same whale were sampled more than once between 2006 and 2009.

“The whales were very cooperative,” says Raverty. “There was no evidence we scared them.” Still, it took the researchers four years to…

8 Ways to Lower Your Vet Bills

Taking your dog or cat to the vet can cause a big hit to your bank account, and if your pet has a medical emergency, you can easily expect to spend more than $500. This can take a toll on any family’s finances, which is why we’ve found some easy ways to save money at the vet, without compromising your pet’s health.

1. Take advantage of preventive care

If your vet suggests preventive care services, such as heartworm prevention medication for example, consider how much you’ll save with this affordable service, as opposed to what you would spend treating heartworm disease.

Maintain a healthy lifestyle with regular exercise, grooming, proper food portions, teeth brushing, and overall care. Severe dental issues can cost more than $1,000 to treat, so it’s a preventive measure that shouldn’t be skipped.

2. Prevent parasites

Get your animal on a flea and tick prevention program to keep fleas, ticks, lice, and worms at bay. These typically come in the form of a monthly pill, and many of these provide protection against several parasites at once. Along with saving you money on future treatments, this will also keep your pet healthy, happy, and comfortable.

3. Take advantage of free exams

Some veterinary offices or hospitals offer discounts or even free exams, to encourage owners to bring their pets in to treat for issues before they become hard to treat. Make inquiries with your local veterinary offices to see what they offer.

4. Compare prices

Compare service and prescription prices…