It’s popular to report the news as a Friday variety show. Tired as the format might be, this week was so chock-full of news on the animal/veterinary front I figured it would be a shame to let any of it slide by unnoticed.

To that end, Dolittler will run with the wolves this week and offer you a round-up of things playing out in the veterinary arena. Here goes...

Beware blue-green algae––it kills

Oregon State University confirmed that four dogs in that state died as a result of romping in a pond containing an overgrowth of blue-green algae. The neurotoxins released by this kind of algae kill quickly after dogs drink it––which, of course, they are wont to do when around any body of water.

Animals usually seizure and die after playing in the cyanobacteria-contaminated water. It can happen within minutes and the symptoms come on so quickly that intoxication is rarely reversible (though much depends on the dose of the algae ingestion). That’s why owners are urged to be on the lookout for milky, brownish-green water. And to keep their pets away!

Here’s some more info on this deadly water contaminant.

Novartis’s Onsior gains approval from the FDA

Anyone need another NSAID? I’d be grateful for this news if this one didn’t appear to have all the same drawbacks as the other ones. I’ll be sitting tight and sticking to the ones with the most evidence to back them until everything shakes out in a couple of years.

Partial pit bull saved by DNA test!

This news story is so inane I thought of posting on this one all by itself. Lucey the mixed breed was up against her local pit bull ban. Until a DNA test used to determine mixed breed provenance identified her genes as only 12% Staffordshire terrier––not enough to establish a preponderance of pit bull genes contaminating her double helices.


I don’t know what’s more ridiculous, the pit bull ban or the reliance on this kind of notoriously fickle testing to determine breed origin.

USDA attempts to define “natural”

Seriously? Again?

The USDA’s conflicted––yet again. I guess it finally decided that having two vying definitions of “natural” didn’t actually inspire confidence in its regulatory prowess. Currently, its Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) claims that meat and poultry can go by the “natural” designation only if they are “minimally processed” and don’t offer any artificial flavorings, colorings, preservatives, or additives. Meanwhile, its Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) goes its own way. This USDA arm references hormone growth promoters, antibiotics, and animal by-products in its definition. As in, none of the above.

To reconcile its internal differences, the USDA is now “soliciting opinions.” As if putting the two definitions together was so very taxing. Well...I guess it is, seeing as how we’re all paying for this unnecessarily complex process with our tax dollars.


OK, so there’s more news I could have referenced. But I think this enough for today. Feel free to comment on any other newsworthy stories I might not have mentioned.


And if you haven't had enough on rabies vaccination (I'm sure you have), check out this week's USA Today column.