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Pets & vets: Alligator attack in Florida and other state veterinary news


A state-by-state look at the world of animal health.


Florida Veterinarian performs surgery on dog attacked by alligator

A stray dog apparently attacked by an alligator received treatment—including an $800 surgery—free of charge from Randy Eisel, DVM, owner of Animalife Veterinary Center in Naples, Fla., in June. The woman who found the injured pit bull and named him "Piglet" couldn't afford the veterinary bills or to keep the dog. Adopted by a Florida couple June 29, Piglet left the veterinary hospital with a clean bill of health: neutered, dewormed, vaccinated and licensed. The couple had been thinking about adopting a potbellied pig, but when they heard about Piglet's plight, they say they saw it as a sign that they should adopt him instead.



House Bill 251, sponsored by Rep. Alan Dick and Rep. Reggie Joule, which would have allowed out-of-state veterinarians to practice free of charge in rural Alaska, failed to pass committee. Dick and Joule have said the 350 veterinarians in Alaska in 2011 was an inadequate number to serve the number of animals that work and live with residents.


The U.S. Department of Agriculture has found a number of violations of the Animal Welfare Act at Santa Cruz Biotechnology, a company that develops research antibodies, biochemicals, labware and (more recently) animal healthcare products, in Santa Cruz, Calif. A March 6 inspection found that the facility had only one veterinarian on hand to care for 10,000 goats and 6,000 rabbits, as well as an undetermined number of cattle and horses. A follow-up inspection found further violations, including goats with broken legs and another goat with an untreated skin condition that was later euthanized.


Veterinarians and students from Colorado State University's Veterinary Teaching Hospital provided services at no charge to owners of large animals who had been evacuated by a large wildfire west of Fort Collins, Colo. As of June 13, they had examined about 150 horses, 150 alpacas and llamas, donkeys, sheep, goats and calves. Veterinarians and students performed physical exams and health checks and treated any injuries uncovered.


The University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine recently diagnosed a horse located in a pasture immediately adjacent to the Dalton Municipal Airport in Dalton, Ga., with rabies. Six people who had contact with the saliva or mucus of the animal are receiving post-exposure rabies treatments. Horses and cattle in the same pasture have been given rabies vaccine and will be observed for clinical signs during the next six months.


Timber Trails Low Cost Veterinary Clinic hosted a grand opening celebration in June at its new clinic near Murphysboro, Ill. Veterinarian Angie James, DVM, will staff the clinic. Anderson says the emphasis of the clinic will be on wellness care to prevent disease and unwanted litters of puppies and kittens.


Patricia Drauch of Marcellus, Ind., recently found her 14-month-old son, Stanley, face-up in the family pool. Drauch says Stanley was blue and appeared to be unconscious, but Bear, the family's black Labrador retriever, was holding the boy out of the water on his back. The boy regained consciousness on the way to a nearby fire station, then was treated at a local hospital and later released. The family is calling Bear a hero.


A new study from the University of Minnesota Extension and the Department of Applied Economics has found that the veterinary industry contributes $1.5 billion annually to Minnesota's economy. The report, "Economic Contribution of the Veterinary Medicine Industry in Minnesota," attributes the amount to the economic activity generated by the 14,500 people in the state's veterinary industry, who collect an estimated $680 million in annual combined wages and salaries.


Billie Deam, DVM, of Animal Clinic of Boardwalk Square in Kansas City, Mo., has successfully removed large nerve-sheath tumors from several dogs using laser surgery. The tumor's removal usually relieves the pet's pain. if the tumor is malignant, Deam refers the pet to a veterinary oncologist for further assistance.

New Jersey

The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission and the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals have joined forces to promote a pet buckle-up campaign. Drivers who do not secure their pet can face a ticket of $250 to $1,000 and up to six months in jail.

New York

Amish farmers participated in a two-day state-funded free Eastern equine encephalitis vaccine clinic June 28-29 in Heuvelton and New Haven, N.Y. Amish beliefs prevent them from inoculating their children, but some believe it is within the church's teachings to protect horses since they are essential to farmers' livelihoods. The mosquito-borne disease that attacks the brain has killed a dozen horses and a 4-year-old girl in the Amish community.

North Carolina

A 38-year-old African bull elephant named C'sar at the North Carolina Zoo is to receive contacts to help his vision after successful cataract surgery. Richard McMullen, DrMedVet, assistant professor of ophthalmology at North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine, removed the cataracts with the assistance of zoo veterinarians and keepers. Zoo staff saw a dramatic improvement in C'sar. He no longer bumped into things, was able to find snacks stashed around his pen and was able to return to the sprawling Watana Grasslands Reserve, his exhibit habitat. However, McMullen discovered that the 12,000-pound elephant was also farsighted, so the team decided to try contacts. A company is now making a pair and the veterinary team hopes that C'sar's eyes will be fully healed and ready to try the contacts in early fall.

South Carolina

Two young married employees at a veterinary clinic in Anderson, S.C., won $250,000 playing the Mega Millions lottery jackpot. The couple intend to pay off their house and plan for the future.


The Texas A&M University System won a federal contract likely worth up to $2 billion over the next 25 years to create a Center for Innovation in Advanced Development and Manufacturing in College Station, Texas. The Center for Innovation will become a national hub of vaccine production and bio-terror preparedness. Construction of the project should create around 1,000 jobs; after that many more science and biotechnology jobs are predicted to follow.


The only survivor of a triple-fatality accident where two cars were washed away in a 15-foot-deep washout on Highway M in Granton, Wis., is the dog Dukie, owned by 24-year-old victim Mary Malinowski. Dukie was found in the car with scratches and a shattered hind leg. Diana Kare, DVM, of Grassland Veterinary Services in Granton amputated the leg and said despite dehydration and shock, Dukie will recover.

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