Every pet site gets to talk animal news, but somehow, every time I try it out I get accused of straying outside my veterinary zone. So to thwart any more of the same criticism I've decided to take a decidedly veterinary stance on all the animal news of the past couple of weeks. Who knows? If this post works out, I might just make a recurring feature of it.

Here's a trio of three items for your consideration. Consider it a trial run.

Fox shoots hunter!

Heard about this one from Belarus? Somehow the little thing was said to have pulled on a rifle's trigger just as a hunter was about to bash him in the head with its butt. The fox was said to have been resisting "fiercely." I'd say that's an understatement. I mean, foxes don't normally get a chance to grievously wound their predators. Good on him. Word is, he got away, to boot.

The veterinary perspective: But is this a veterinary issue? Of course. Because now we'll have to discuss the inevitable: How is a fox's anatomy in any way suitable to pulling a trigger on a rifle? I'd say his claws must've been over-long. But that's just a theory.

Francesca attacks Martha? Say It isn't so!

Actually, Martha says it isn't so. When Martha Stewart received a bunch of stitches to her lip last week it wasn't because her French bulldog, Francesca had bitten her, as was initially reported. In an impassioned defense, she explains Frannie headbutted her when she was inadvertently startled.

The veterinary perspective: Having suffered many headbutts from my wildly uncoordinated and ridiculously enthusiastic Slumdog, I can honestly report that stitches are absolutely plausible following non-aggressive, adverse human-dog interaction. I bit my tongue once, drawing blood. Another time, I suffered a nasty bruise just over my eyebrow.

Moreover, French bulldogs, as most everyone knows, rarely bite anything except for their food and the occasional chew toy. Aggressive Frenchies can bite, of course, but they more typically growl and lunge, sans dental involvement. (Lots of saliva all around.) As a veterinarian, I can also attest to the fact that their brachycephalic jaws are ill-suited to the task.

Can pets predict the weather?

According to an Associated Press poll released last week, almost three out of four pet owners believe their pets can predict the weather better than meteorologists can. As reported here in the Daily News, it's clear people have more faith in Fluffy than they do in the weather man.

While I'll hasten to agree that pets have innate, better-than-people powers when it comes to meteorology, I won't be lining up to play Groundhog Day with Fido before a hurricane. I'll take the technology of a Doppler radar any day.

The veterinary perspective: Dogs and cats do sense changes in electromagnetic radiation and barometric pressure more acutely than we do. Even for the least expected kind of natural disasters like earthquakes, tornadoes and tidal waves, there's evidence that dogs, cats and other animals become aware of impending doom before we more meteorologically tone-deaf humans do.


OK, so now it's your turn … what's the most interesting pet news of your week? And don't demur: Tell me what you think of my take on animal news. Is it veterinary enough for you?

Dr. Patty Khuly

Pic of the day: Dog Reads Newspaper? by Steve Eng