Before last week, there were no known cases of cancer in naked mole rats, a feature that was unique to the long-lived species. However, a new report documents cases in two of the rats, one living at the Brookfield Zoo in Illinois and the other kept at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. The cases are discussed in Veterinary Pathology. The Brookfield Zoo rat has an adenocarcinoma that may not be a threat to his health. The rat from the National Zoo, euthanized due to weight loss and other problems, had a gastric neuroendocrine carcinoma.
A 20-month-old Maine boy died of an illness apparently caused by E. coli bacteria that may have been picked up at a county fair petting zoo, the child's father said. Another child who visited the petting zoo is undergoing treatment for symptoms associated with E. coli exposure. State veterinarian Michele Walsh said her team checks animals at every fair in the state for signs of illness, but she said animals often do not show any outward signs of E. coli, so people must take great care to wash or sanitize hands after contact with animals.
Three men who were accused of involvement in soring horses were sentenced Tuesday after pleading guilty to animal cruelty charges. Trainer Jackie McConnell pleaded guilty to 12 animal cruelty charges and was sentenced to one year of house arrest and four years' probation. McConnell must also pay $25,000 in fines and cannot train or own horses for two decades. Jeff Dockery and John K. Mays, who were captured on video along with McConnell applying burning chemicals to horses to induce a gait prized among Tennessee Walking Horses, also pleaded guilty and were sentenced.
Chase the golden retriever entertained fans of the Trenton Thunder, a New York Yankees affiliate in New Jersey, for years before his death from lymphoma on Monday. The team and fans threw Chase a retirement and birthday party last week, and last month he was honored at Yankee Stadium. Chase is succeeded by one of his offspring, Derby, who'll carry on the family tradition of retrieving bats, carrying water bottles to umpires and catching discs in the outfield. The team posted a tribute to Chase on its website.
A new study suggests Toxoplasma gondii oocysts could be more common in the environment than previously believed, and exposure to a single oocyst could cause infection. However, researchers note that cat ownership has not been shown to influence risk of infection, and AVMA spokeswoman Dr. Kimberly May says responsible cat owners likely face less risk than the general public. She says risks can be addressed through frequent litter box cleaning, hand-washing and other practices. "We are concerned that cats are being the scapegoats for this," Dr. May says.