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June 15, 2021

In Short

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Fungus threatens existence of three North American bat species

Photo by Al Hicks/New York Department of Environmental Conservation

White-nose syndrome has killed over 90% of northern long-eared, little brown, and tricolored bat populations in North America in less than a decade, according to a study published this April in Conservation Biology.

Findings from the study, titled “The scope and severity of white-nose syndrome on hibernating bats in North America,” are the most comprehensive dataset on North American bat populations to date, with data from over 200 locations in 27 states and two Canadian provinces.

The data were compiled by the North American Bat Monitoring Program established by the U.S. Geological Survey and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, along with many partners, to improve conservation science for bats.

The severity of white-nose syndrome, which is caused by a fungus first documented in New York in 2006, has resulted in a species status assessment of the long-eared, little brown, and tricolored bats by the FWS to determine whether regulatory protection under the Endangered Species Act is warranted.

Nonprofit provides financial help for pets with cancer

The Magic Bullet Fund, a New York–based nonprofit, is assisting pet owners across the U.S. who can’t afford the cancer treatments their pets need.

The nonprofit provides fundraising opportunities for pet owners who participate in bringing in donations over a 30-day period. The money covers cancer-related surgeries or other cancer treatments, including chemotherapy, and is paid directly to a veterinary clinic. As of the end of 2019, the Magic Bullet Fund has helped over 700 pets.

The typical processing time of an application is about two weeks. There are various requirements, including age and weight limits for dogs and cats, documents to verify the diagnosis, and proof of financial need.

The fund does not provide financial assistance for other conditions or diseases, treatment already completed, additional cancer treatment after the first course has failed, or palliative care or euthanasia.

Noise-averse dogs not calmed by CBD

A cannabidiol supplement did not reduce anxiety in dogs exposed to loud sounds, according to a Frontiers in Veterinary Science study published last year.

For seven days, researchers at Lincoln Memorial University’s DeBusk Veterinary Teaching Center gave CBD, trazodone, a combination of CBD and trazodone, or no drug to 16 mixed-breed dogs.

The CBD consisted of a proprietary industrial hemp extract that was incorporated into treats and administered as one treat twice a day. The daily dose of CBD was 1.4 milligrams per kilogram of body weight (0.64 milligrams per pound).

After seven days, researchers exposed the dogs to a 3-minute fireworks sound track. Blood samples were collected to measure cortisol concentrations, and the dogs’ behavior was videotaped and analyzed for movements associated with fear or relaxation. Each dog was also fitted with a heart monitor.

Researchers reported that dogs in the trazodone group had lower plasma cortisol concentrations after the track was played, whereas the dogs in the CBD, trazodone-CBD, and control groups did not. Moreover, the CBD didn’t reduce the dogs’ fearful behavior during the fireworks.

Researchers concluded that the dosage of CBD they used didn’t seem to have an anti-anxiety effect. They suggested that future studies try higher doses.