STEPS TO FOLLOW WHILE GETTING YOUR PET A PET INSURANCE

steps-to-follow-while-getting-your-pet-a-pet-insuranceWe get a knock out of the chance to know the nuts and bolts of pet protection since it is imperative. However, how about we return to the fundamental purpose of this article? How does pet protection work? It is truly basic, and it can be separated into three stages.

Step 1 – Get Proper Treatment From The Vet

In the case of something happens, and your pet needs therapeutic consideration, take them to the vet.

Step 2 – File a Claim

Every organization has its own procedure for recording claims, yet ordinarily, you can download the case structure from the organization’s site, round it out, and attach the receipts while sending it to the vet office.

Step 3 – Get Reimbursed

Most pet protection arranges have diverse levels of repayment that you can look over, contingent upon the sum you are willing to spend every month. When you present your case, the insurance agency will repay you in five to 14 business days.

It is not a muddled procedure, but rather you ought to ensure you pick an insurance agency that will truly deal with you and your pet.

Things to ask About Pet Insurance

As you are searching for pet protection, there are a few inquiries you ought to request that ensure you discover an organization that addresses your issues.

Will you utilize your present vet?

Great pet insurance agencies do permit you to utilize any authorized vet in the United States, and some will even cover visits in Canada. That way, in case you are going with your pet, and something happens, you can, in any case, record a case.

Do insurance agencies repay what the vet charges?

Yes. There are not any profit cut-off points or additional expenses, however, the repayment sum relies on upon the level you looked over the starting. Commonly, you can pick repayment measures of 80%, 90%, and even 100%, yet these levels will influence your month to month premium.

Do you need to pay additional for inherited, intrinsic, or endless conditions to be secured?

Usually, the response to this is no. If it’s not, then you ought to investigate other pet insurance agencies.

Are prior conditions secured?

Similarly, as with most insurance agencies, prior conditions are not secured. You may run over the uncommon insurance agency that will cover previous conditions.

Does the approach of routine check up considerate?

Here’s the place you must be cautious: some insurance agencies will cover routine consideration, yet they won’t cover much for real episodes, for example, surgery. The best pet insurance agencies do not cover routine consideration since they are intended to cover the costly care alternatives.

Pepper Spray to get rid of attackers

Pepper spray is a kind of self defense product. Pepper spray was originally invented by a mailman who has to deal with unfriendly dogs during his work. Pepper spray is a chemical compounds that is used for self defense against attackers and animals. The attackers are generally drug abusersScience Articles, drunkers and rapists. The effect of pepper spray differs from man to man based on their tolerance capacity. It causes irritability to eyes in the form of tears and pain. The composition of spray includes oleoresin capsicum and OC gas. It is a powerful weapon for self defense for man and woman both. Now a days the policemen also uses this spray on their duty. Pepper sprays are very easy to use. The attacker is on the ground after three minutes if you use pepper say. Pepper spray is very easy to acquire also because you do not need any registration for that.

The effects of pepper spray are very serious that includes: Temporary blindness which can remain for twenty to thirty minutes.

Immediate closing of eyes.

Difficulty in breathing that can last for three to ten minutes.

Difficulty in speaking.

Uncontrolled cough.

Runny nose.

Burning sensation of skin.

Pepper spray are very small in size and can be kept in pocket. Thus you are assured about your safety because it is always near to you. They can be concealed in rings. In this type of pepper spray the ring is filled with an alkaloid powders. It can be used from a distance of about two feet. the only thing you needed is to just press a button. Pepper projectile is also available which can be fired using a paintball gun. Now a days triple action pepper spray is also available whose composition includes tear gas with OC gases and oleoresin capsicum. Pepper sprays are provided with canisters so that if the powder in the weapon gets finished you can refill it. You just need to remove the old canister and fill it with the new one.

If you are buying a pepper spray you need to keep in mind that the amount of pepper should be eight percent and a minimum of two million SHV( Scoville Heat Units).It is the highest intensity of pepper permitted legally. If the pepper content is less than this than spray is of lower quality. The pepper spray is not so expensive so any person who is conscious about his safety can use pepper spray.

Why owning a pet makes you happier and more likely to live longer

Owning a lively pet may sometimes prove exasperating, but it appears all the effort is worth it.

Pet owners are healthier, have greater self-esteem and are less lonely than those who don’t have animals at home, according to a study.

Not only that, but they are also more conscientious, extroverted and less fearful, researchers at the American Psychological Association said

Man’s best friend: Owning a pet brings with it many benefits including improved health, greater self-esteem and less loneliness, according to scientists

They believe that pets serve as important sources of social and emotional support for the average person, and not just individuals facing significant health challenges.

Lead researcher, Allen R McConnell, of Miami University in Ohio, said: ‘We observed evidence that pet owners fared better, both in terms of well-being outcomes and individual differences, than non-owners on several dimensions.

‘Specifically, pet owners had greater self-esteem, were more physically fit, tended to be less lonely, were more conscientious, were more extraverted, tended to be less fearful and tended to be less preoccupied than non-owners.’

Pet owners are just as close to key people in their lives as to their animals, the study found.

This indicates no evidence that relationships with pets come at the expense of relationships with other people, or that people relied more on pets when their human social support was poorer.

The scientists, from Miami University and Saint Louis University in Missouri, conducted three experiments to examine the potential benefits of pet ownership among what they called ‘everyday people’.

They questioned 217 people with an average age of 31 and family income of $77,000, 79 per cent of whom were women.

The group answered a survey aimed at determining whether pet owners differed from people without pets in terms of well-being and personality type.

Researchers now believe that pets serve as important sources of social and emotional support for the average person, and not just individuals facing significant health challenges

Several differences between the groups emerged – in all cases, pet owners were happier, healthier and better adjusted than were non-owners.

A second experiment involved 56 dog owners with an average age of 42 and family income of $65,000, 91 per cent of whom were women.

This group were questioned about whether they benefit more when their pet is perceived to fulfill their social needs better.

The researchers here found greater well-being among owners whose dogs increased their feelings of belonging, self-esteem and meaningful existence.

The last group, made up of 97 undergraduates with an average age of 19, found that pets can make people feel better after experiencing rejection.

Subjects were asked to write about a time when they felt excluded. Then they were asked to write about their favourite pet, or to write about their favourite friend, or to draw a map of their campus.

The researchers found that writing about pets was just as effective as writing about a friend when it came to staving off feelings of rejection.

‘The present work presents considerable evidence that pets benefit the lives of their owners, both psychologically and physically, by serving as an important source of social support,’ the researchers wrote.

‘Whereas past work has focused primarily on pet owners facing significant health challenges…the present study establishes that there are many positive consequences for everyday people who own pets.’

The study is published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology

Snakebites in Costa Rica Rise Along with El Niño Cycles

Both the hot and cold phases of the El Niño Southern Oscillation (known as El Niño and La Niña, respectively) are accompanied by an increase in snakebites in the Central American country, according to a new study published today (Sept. 11) in the journal Science Advances. Here’s how the climate cycle might be tied to slithering creatures: Snakes are ectothermic, meaning they get their body heat from outside sources. That means their activity is sensitive to climatological factors.

“Snakebites, probably the most neglected of the neglected tropical diseases, [are] another disease showing changes in [the] face of climate change,” study researcher Luis Fernando Chaves, a scientist at the Institute of Tropical Medicine at Nagasaki University in Japan, told Live Science. [See Photos of Snakes from Around the World]

Snakebites are relatively rare in the United States, but pose a huge problem in many regions, particularly southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. A 2008 study published in the journal PLOS ONE found that at least 421,000 people are bitten by venomous snakes worldwide each year, and some 20,000 die — but those are conservative estimates. Given spotty statistics and reporting, the number of bites could be closer to 1.8 million and related deaths might reach 94,000, the authors reported.

Costa Rica is home to 22 species of venomous snake, according to the Costa Rica Star. The one that most often bites humans is the terciopelo (Bothrops asper), which can be deadly without antivenom treatment. [The World’s 6 Deadliest Snakes]
A female Terciopelo snake from the Caribbean basin of Costa Rica.
A female terciopelo from Costa Rica’s Caribbean Basin. In 2013, Discovery producer Steven Rankin was bitten by a terciopelo while scouting a location for the show “Naked and Afraid.”
Credit: Davinia Beneyto
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What made Costa Rica useful for studying snakebites, however, was its widely available and free healthcare system. Not only do doctors keep good records of snakebites in the country, Chaves said, people also have access to healthcare after a bite, meaning even the poorest victims get reported.

Chaves and his colleagues studied a database of snakebites that occurred between 2005 and 2013 — 6,424 in total. They found some predictable patterns: There are fewer snakebites at higher elevations, where the climate is cooler. Every degree Celsius increase in average temperature was linked to a 24 percent increase in the number of snakebites. Poorer areas were harder-hit than wealthier areas, in part because poor people in rural areas are often farmers or farm workers, which puts them in direct contact with snakes, Chaves said. Poverty-stricken citizens are also less likely to have well-built homes that keep snakes out, he added.

Snake weather

The crucial finding, however, was an odd increase in snakebites during both El Niño and La Niña. El Niño brings hot, dry weather to Costa Rica; La Niña brings cool moisture.

It’s simple enough to explain why hot weather might lead to more snakebites: Snakes are more active when it’s warmer, Chaves said. The increase in snakebites linked to the cool weather of La Niña is a little more complicated. The researchers think this increase is linked to El Niño, too, though. Costa Rica has a torrential rainy season, so El Niño’s drier weather (which is just less wet) is actually beneficial for plants compared to the usual deluge, Chaves said. More productive plants translate to more prey animals for snakes, which likely lead to a serpentine population eruption.

This is all well and good for the snakes until the El Niño pattern fades, at which point the snakes lose their abundant food supply. The prospect of starvation probably pushes snakes into areas they wouldn’t normally go — near humans. This delayed reaction to El Niño’s warmth could explain why the number of snakebites goes up again months later, during the cold La Niña. The snakebite count drops again when neither climate pattern is in play, the researchers found.

“This pattern is different from what has been observed for other diseases affected by El Niño,” Chaves wrote in an email to Live Science. “For example, in vector-borne diseases (those diseases transmitted by mosquitoes and other bloodsucking insects), only one phase tends to be important.”

Snakebites qualify as a neglected tropical disease, according to the World Health Organization, partly because victims tend to be poor and living in rural areas, without access to quality healthcare. In Africa, in particular, the need for antivenom outstrips supply, said study researcher José María Gutiérrez, a scientist at the Clodomiro Picado Institute in Costa Rica, which produces antivenoms for Central America.

Adding to the problem, the manufacturer Sanofi Pasteur recently announced it can no longer afford to produce Fav-Afrique, an antivenom effective against 10 sub-Saharan African snake venoms. Supplies — already short — will run out next year.

The Fav-Afrique shortage won’t affect Costa Rica or Latin America, as it’s specific to sub-Saharan snakes, Gutiérrez told Live Science. Clodomiro Picado and other manufacturers do make antivenom for Africa, he said, though they don’t meet the full need.

“The problem of antivenom availability in Africa is much more complex than the decision of a company to stop production,” Gutiérrez said. “It is a multifactorial health problem that demands multifactorial analyses and solutions.”

 

The Cute and Complicated Science of Raising Twin Pandas

The little panda was cold, low energy and having trouble breathing before its heart stopped beating. But the zoo baby left an indelible mark on its caretakers and admirers before it died, just days after being born to mother Mei Xiang, along with its brother. During its short life, the twin rode atop a lacrosse stick, snuggled with its mother and fed from a bottle, the last of which may have led to its demise.

The final necropsy results aren’t complete, but the butter-stick-size panda likely died when fluid got into its lungs and caused inflammation, a condition called aspiration pneumonia. Veterinarians are unsure whether the cub got the condition during a bottle-feeding blunder or from formula it regurgitated, said Dr. Donald Neiffer, the chief veterinarian at Smithsonian’s National Zoo.

“Whether or not the baby aspirated some of that [regurgitated] material or whether he aspirated material earlier in the day, we don’t know, and we will never know,” Neiffer told Live Science. [See Photos of Mei Xiang’s New Twin Panda Cubs]

Express delivery

The pink and fuzzy cubs are part of a delicate plan, orchestrated on an international level, to preserve the giant panda species and, one day, introduce captive-bred pandas back into the wild. Just 1,864 giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) exist in the wild, according to a 2015 panda census. An additional 395 of the roly-poly fur balls live in breeding centers and zoos around the world, said Devin Murphy, a spokesperson for Smithsonian’s National Zoo.

Wild panda numbers increased by about 17 percent in the past decade, according to the 2015 census. American zoos are doing their part to breed and raise the animals, all on loan from China. Right now, there are 13 giant pandas in U.S. zoos, including San Diego Zoo, Memphis Zoo, Zoo Atlanta and the National Zoo.

The new twins were born to Mei Xiang (may-SHONG), the star mother at the National Zoo. Mei Xiang, whose name means “beautiful fragrance,” has three surviving offspring, including Tai Shan (born in 2005), who now lives in China; Bao Bao (born in 2013), who lives at the National Zoo; and the surviving panda twin, which will be named this autumn.The second-retrieved cub squirms as a team examines its weight, length, mouth, heart rate and breathing.

Credit: Pamela Baker-Masson, Smithsonian’s National Zoo

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Each pregnancy is a carefully timed operation, as female pandas are only fertile for about two days a year. (Finding that fertile window can be tricky.) Mei Xiang didn’t go into estrus in 2014, because she was still nursing Bao Bao. But this year, the zoo’s endocrinologists began monitoring the panda’s hormones, a glamorous job that consists of analyzing panda urine on a weekly basis, Murphy said.

Zookeepers have also done their part to encourage Mei Xiang to mate naturally with Tian Tian (t-YEN t-YEN), a male giant panda at the National Zoo, but “unfortunately, our pandas have never figured out how to successfully breed,” said Laurie Thompson, a giant panda biologist at Smithsonian’s National Zoo. “They both have positioning issues, so we always have had to artificially inseminate her.”

So, as Mei Xiang’s urinary estrogen levels spiked, zookeepers kept an express delivery of semen on hand from potential father Hui Hui (h-WEI h-WEI), a genetically diverse match, who hails from the Chinese Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda in Sichuan. And to increase the likelihood of a pregnancy, veterinarians supplemented the sample with fresh semen from Tian Tian. On April 26 and 27, veterinarians artificially inseminated Mei Xiang.

“Then, we waited,” Murphy told Live Science. “Since pandas have delayed implantation, we just had to wait it out to see when she would start exhibiting behaviors consistent with a pregnancy or pseudopregnancy.” During such false pregnancies, a female panda can snooze a lot, craft bamboo nests, and even cradle foods and toys as if they were real cubs — making it nearly impossible for zookeepers to know if there’s a fetus in the panda’s belly.

Then, on Aug. 19, an ultrasound revealed a fetus, and zoo staff began a 24-hour watch for a delivery. Shortly after, on the morning of Aug. 22, Mei Xiang went into labor. [In Photos: Giant Panda Mei Xiang Gives Birth]

Twin birth

The first cub popped out at 5:35 p.m. EDT.

“I believe there was a cheer and high-fiving,” said Thompson, who was watching the panda cam with colleagues in another room.

Mei Xiang looked so calm that Thompson emailed the zoo’s panda team, saying it didn’t appear that a twin was on the way. But at 10:07 p.m., Mom surprised everyone by delivering a second cub.

Zookeeper Shellie Pick cares for the smaller panda cub in the incubator on Aug. 24. At the time, Pick was weighing the cub, stimulating it to go to the bathroom and taking its temperature.
Credit: Heather Roberts, Smithsonian’s National Zoo

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“When they’re born, they come out screaming, so there was a little, squealy thing on the ground, and she [Mei Xiang] had one that she was already holding,” Thompson said. “She was figuring out how to pick up the second one without dropping the first one, and she wasn’t really able to do it.”

Immediately, the zookeepers began to follow a “twin protocol” used by panda experts in the United States and China. The caretakers dressed in scrubs, approached Mei Xiang’s den and grabbed the squirmy cub that was on the ground — the larger of the twins.

Newborn cubs can’t regulate their own temperature, so zookeepers put the cub in a heated and humidified incubator, said panda-keeper Juan Rodriguez. Then, they did a medical checkup, and put the cub they’d retrieved to bed in the incubator.

Newborn cubs feed every 2 hours, so the zookeepers prepared for a cub swap. They put the larger twin on the ground about 3 feet (1 meter) away from Mei Xiang. When she heard it crying, she put down the smaller twin, allowing zookeepers to whisk that cub away after Mei Xiang picked up its brother. Soon, the smaller twin was in the incubator and then getting a medical checkup.

“The little one was really feisty,” Rodriguez said. “He tried to jump out of the scale area. We had to wrap him up like a burrito to get a good weight on him.”

The panda team was tired, but the twins were doing well.

Lacrosse-stick solution

The swaps went without a hitch, until Aug. 24, when a curious thing happened: Whenever zookeepers would put a squealing cub on the ground near Mei Xiang, she wouldn’t retrieve it. Instead, she would act as if the cub in her possession were crying, and tend to it.

The lacrosse stick that the panda team used to help swap the panda twins.
Credit: Smithsonian’s National Zoo

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“We had to change the process a little bit,” Rodriguez told Live Science. “We had to bring the cub closer, so she could actually visualize it a little bit better and realize, ‘Oh, this is the cub that’s crying, not the one on me.'”

Zookeepers couldn’t enter Mei Xiang’s den, for safety reasons — after all, she’s still an undomesticated, protective mamma bear, Rodriguez said. [Baby Panda Photos: See a Cub Growing Up]

Surprisingly, a lacrosse stick did the trick. The panda team covered the lacrosse-stick net with brown paper (so the cub’s feet wouldn’t get stuck in the netting) and held it out to Mei Xiang, so she could see the crying cub. Then, a member of the panda team stuck a hand into a hole in the den’s wall, felt around for Mom’s right armpit (where she usually tucked the cubs) and removed the other twin.

It was an unnerving situation.

“Your arm is in there with the bear,” Rodriguez said.

Luckily, in her post-pregnancy haze, Mei Xiang was largely oblivious to the outside world, focusing most of her attention on the cub. Even so, each swap required three to four people, each of whom received training, Murphy said.

The lacrosse-stick method helped the swaps proceed, allowing the team to continue switching the cubs between the incubator and Mom, Rodriguez said.

Last days

Until the panda team developed the lacrosse-stick method, they couldn’t always switch the twins on time. During one long stint in the incubator on Aug. 24, the little panda twin needed fluids and nutrients. So, the panda team fed it with a handheld bottle holding formula made from water, and human and puppy formula, Neiffer said.

“We noticed that he was having some trouble with the nipples, a little bit of troubling swallowing. The milk was pooling up in his throat,” Neiffer said. “And we worry about aspiration of that material into the lungs. It’s one of our biggest concerns.”

Feeding baby animals is as challenging as it is gratifying, and usually involves two to three people, he said.

“With small mammals and birds, you can be the most talented and excellent bottle feeder, and you can have these [aspirations] occur,” Neiffer said. “If the baby is literally sucking a drop of milk from a bottle and decides it’s going to squirm or vocalize, and that drop falls into the trachea, even a small amount can start a pretty significant reaction.”

To be cautious, the caretakers started the cub on antibiotics that target respiratory tissue. Neiffer described it as a catch-22 situation: “We’re trying to get enough calories into cub to survive, but at the same time don’t want to cause any problems,” he said.

They attempted another twin swap that night, but it was not successful. On the way back to the incubator, the little cub regurgitated, and formula came out of his mouth, again raising concerns about aspiration.

Finally, at about 2 p.m. on Aug. 25, the zookeepers successfully swapped the cubs again. The little cub stayed with Mom until the next morning — its last day living on Earth. [Butter Balls: Photos of Playful Pandas]

The end

The panda team quickly realized the little twin had not increased in weight, appeared weaker and less vocal, and had possible respiratory issues.

The zookeepers placed the cub in the incubator, but “all through the morning until the baby died, we had a lot of challenges with keeping the baby’s body temperature at a level that we felt was compatible with life,” Neiffer said.

The treatment ramped up immediately: They gave the cub fluids (to prevent dehydration), a sugar called dextrose (to prevent low blood sugar), antibiotics (to target possible lung infections) and a drug that helps pull fluid off the chest. The caretakers used the incubator’s nebulizer (which atomizes fluids into a breathable steam) to give the cub a saline solution that kept the animal’s respiratory membranes moist, and a drug that helps break up mucus.

Sometimes the cub appeared to be improving, but it stopped breathing at about 1:50 p.m. Zoo staff began resuscitation efforts, but to no avail: The cub died at 2:05 p.m. on Aug. 26.

A postmortem X-ray showed that at least 70 percent of the cub’s lung tissue was inflamed. Neiffer said he suspects the damage from the aspiration pneumonia happened quickly, probably within 24 to 48 hours of the aspiration event.

Aspiration pneumonia could technically happen to a cub while nursing on its mother, but Neiffer said he has never seen that happen in his career of about 20 years. A cub with a cleft palate might have a greater risk of aspirating its mother’s milk, but the condition is typically associated with hand-raised babies, Neiffer said.

To avoid future deaths like this, the zoo plans to modify the nipple sizes and holes on the handheld bottles, and copy nipple designs that have been used by other institutions, Neiffer said.

The twin who lived

The larger, surviving twin is “doing gangbusters” Neiffer said. This cub now spends all of its time with its mother, unless she leaves to drink, defecate or urinate outside her den. In those rare moments, zookeepers sometimes sneak in and weigh the cub to make sure it’s growing.

And it is. The little guy’s waistline is widening, and it’s now able to push itself up on all fours. It’s moved from screaming vocalizations to grunting, as expected, Neiffer said. The black saddle patch on the cub’s back is coming in, and admirers can catch a glimpse of the cute cub on the panda cam.

The other pandas at the zoo, Tian Tian and Bao Bao, haven’t met the twin, but seemed to sense something was up after the birth, the zookeepers said. The animals stopped vocalizing as much, providing quiet to Mei Xiang as she nursed her young, the panda team said.

“We are very happy that the other baby seems to be doing great,” Neiffer said. “And Mei Xiang is a great mother. We are hoping that we just get to watch him grow.”

Editor’s Note: This story was updated to better reflect when the surviving panda cub will be named. It may be named this autumn before it is 100 days old, according to the zoo.

How You Can Help Fight Animal Cruelty

Animal cruelty is something that is close to many people’s hearts. Many think of it as an abuse that is akin to child abuse, since animals are also defenseless against the hands or neglect of humans.

It tends to rouse similar anger and outrage as well, and there are now many storage locker dog man that are set up to help prevent animal cruelty, and also shelters where rescued animals find solace and comfort from their abusive or neglectful environments.

Years ago, there were not even any laws set up to protect animals from abuse, and abusers were able to get away with doing just about anything they wanted without consequence.

Now, there are animal protection laws set up in almost every state, and if you are found guilty of inhumane treatment of an animal, you are subject to anything from fines to community service, to jail time.

While we’ve come a long way in legislating animal protection laws, there is still room for improvement, as they are not stiff enough penalties in most people’s eyes, and it seems that it’s still taken rather lightly.

While I’m not aligned with the extreme mentality of animal rights groups that preach vegetarianism and use tactics that I don’t deem appropriate to get their point across, I certainly admire what they are trying to do, which is drawing attention to the animal kingdom and getting the word out that our furry friends need our help when they do not have a voice of their own to defend themselves.

One can read about stories of inhumane treatment weekly in any newspaper, and some of the stories are enough to make one nauseous. There are stories of animals left in homes without food or water, in their own waste and crawling with fleas and ticks, stories of farm animals abandoned, neglected, underfed and abused, and horrifying tales of household pets being beaten, starved, deprived of care, and even killed at the hands of the very people who are supposed to take care of them, that all still need to be addressed.

There are some steps you can take to make sure you are not a silent voice in the quest to prevent animal cruelty, you just need to be aware of your surroundings and know what to look for.

You can report any suspicions to the local police, or if you have an agency that works with abused animals, you can call on them to investigate and rectify also, usually the APL (Animal Protective League) and other similar shelters and animal rights nonprofit organizations will be able to help as well.

Some of the signs to look for you may already know, as most people who are animal lovers have a built in instinct for knowing when an animal has been abused or neglected. Many animals who have been physically abused will be hand shy.

They will not want to come near you or any other person, and may be especially leery of their owners or react in an aggressive way toward them or others.

While this does not always indicate abuse, as some animals are just tempered that way, it is a good underlying factor to look at when determining if an animal has been physically abused.

If an animal has patches of fur missing or looks extremely thin, or even if they are overrun with fleas, this may indicate neglect. Another one to look for is animals that you see outside on extremely cold days, tied to a chain for hours without any warm shelter. This is dangerous and can be abuse if the animal does not have a place of shelter to retreat to.

Likewise if they are left chained outside for hours without food or water – water of course being the most vital of the two. Use your judgment, there are always animals that may be acclimated to certain situations, but if you consistently see this, and are suspicious it may be worth an investigation by an officer of an animal protection agency or the police department.

Of course the most obvious thing to look out for is actually witnessing an act of animal abuse. If you see a person physically assaulting an animal, please make sure you report this immediately, as this is the most blatant and obvious form of animal abuse and certainly warrants a report for investigation.

If we all do our part in preventing animal cruelty, we can make this world a better and safer place for our furry friends who entrust us with their life and well being. If we don’t look out for themFree Web Content, who will?

New Species of Ancient River Dolphin Actually Lived in the Ocean

The fossilized remains of a new species of ancient river dolphin that lived at least 5.8 million years ago have been found in Panama, and the discovery could shed light on the evolutionary history of these freshwater mammals.

Researchers found half a skull, a lower jaw with an almost complete set of conical teeth, a right shoulder blade and two small bones from a flipper. The fossils are estimated to be between 5.8 million and 6.1 million years old, making them from the late Miocene epoch, researchers said in a new study.

The ancient river dolphin, named Isthminia panamensis, was calculated to be more than 9 feet (2.7 meters) long, according to the study. [Deep Divers: A Gallery of Dolphins]

The ancient mammal was discovered on the Caribbean coast of Panama, at the same site where other marine animal fossils have been found, which suggests that I. panamensiswas also a saltwater species, the researchers said.

I. panamensis is the only fossil of a river dolphin known from the Caribbean, the researchers said in the study.

“We discovered this new fossil in marine rocks, and many of the features of its skull and jaws point to it having been a marine inhabitant, like modern oceanic dolphins,” study lead author Nicholas Pyenson, a curator of fossil marine mammals at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., said in a statement.

But despite dwelling in the salty waters of the Caribbean Sea, I. panamensis is actually more closely related to modern-day freshwater river dolphins, the researchers said. In fact, “Isthminia is actually the closest relative of the living Amazon river dolphin,” study co-author Aaron O’Dea, a staff scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama, said in a statement.

Only four species of river dolphins exist today (although one, the Yangtze river dolphin, is now likely extinct), all living in freshwater or coastal ecosystems. All of these river dolphins moved from marine to freshwater habitats, developing broad, paddlelike flippers; flexible necks; and heads with particularly long, narrow snouts as they evolved, according to the study. These adaptations allowed the river dolphins to better navigate and hunt in winding, silty rivers, the researchers said.

“Many other iconic freshwater species in the Amazon — such as manatees, turtles and stingrays — have marine ancestors, but until now, the fossil record of river dolphins in this basin has not revealed much about their marine ancestry,” Pyenson said. “[I. panamensis] now gives us a clear boundary in geologic time for understanding when this lineage invaded Amazonia.”

Whales and dolphins evolved from terrestrial ancestors into marine animals, but river dolphins represent a backward evolutionary path, moving from oceans inland to freshwater ecosystems, the researchers said.

“As such, fossil specimens may tell stories not just of the evolution of these aquatic animals, but also of the changing geographies and ecosystems of the past,” O’Dea said.

How Armored Dinosaur Got Its Bone-Bashing Tail

Armored, squat, and built like a tank, ankylosaurs were a type of dinosaur known for their bony, protective exterior and distinct, sledgehammer-shaped tails. Now, scientists have pieced together how the animals’ rear-end weapons evolved, finding that the hammer’s “handle” came first.

Ankylosaurs were a group of bulky, tanklike dinosaurs with bony plates covering much of their bodies. Some of these animals — a subgroup known as ankylosaurids — also came equipped with a weaponized tail club as well.

“Ankylosaur tail clubs are made of two parts of the body,” said study lead author Victoria Arbour, a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Biological Sciences at North Carolina State University and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. “They’re made of the bones of the tail — the vertebrae — that change so that they’re stiff and lock together in a really characteristic way. We call that the handle, like the handle of an ax. And the other part of the tail is the knob.” [Paleo-Art: Dinos Come to Life in Stunning Illustrations]

Pet Scam The Animal Control Officer Who Wants Cash

On the heels of pet-flipping comes the latest ruse facing dog owners: Scammers posing as animal control officers.

It’s occurred sporadically but not extensively in the past.  Now it seems on the rebound – at least in retiree-rich South Florida. TV station WPTV reports a case in which a couple living in an over-55 community lost $550 to an imposter claiming there had been complaints about the couple’s dog.  He threatened to impound the pooch unless they immediately paid. They obliged.

“He had a badge, had an ID, gave us a business card and represented himself completely as being part of an independent company for animal care and control,” said the community’s HOA president.

If you’re approached the same way, don’t be fooled. Better to make a quick call to the local Animal Control department – or its reported vendors – to check such claims, no matter what paper “proof” of authority is represented.

“If anybody comes to your house and says give me money. I’m from the county. I’m going to take your dog. That’s not us,” said an official with Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control Operations.

Panda Protections Save Other Species Too

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Thanks, pandas! Conservation areas set aside to protect China’s national treasure also help to save many of China’s other one-of-a-kind species, new research reveals.

Pandas get disproportionate attention and conservation funding, but the new study, published online today (Sept. 16) in the journal Conservation Biology, offers some good news: The fuzzy-faced black-and-white bear is not surviving at the expense of other, less-cute species; instead, panda preservation creates a sort of conservation umbrella that benefits lots of species.

But the laserlike focus on pandas has left some gaps in protections for other animals, according to the new study. Amphibians, in particular, get less protection, the research found.

“Loving pandas is the right thing to do,” but China should be savvy in adding new panda protections in order to save as many species as possible, said study researcher Binbin Li, a doctoral student at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment. [See Images of China’s Amazing Species]

“We should love beyond pandas,” Li told Live Science.

Protecting China’s species

China has been aggressive in protecting the giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca), setting up conservation and breeding programs with international cooperation. China lends pandas to zoos around the world, with the stipulation that surviving cubs can be called back to China. In August, panda twins were born at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., illustrating the success of this program. (One twin later died, as is common in panda multiple births.) [Photos: New Panda Twins Keep D.C. Zookeepers Busy]

The panda-loan program provides about $1 million per pair each year for the conservation of pandas inside China. (There are currently about 45 pandas on loan.) The country has also listed the panda as the top species in need of protection in China, and has established a National Panda Program with more than $12 million in funding from 2001 to 2030 for research, breeding, reserves and monitoring. No other species has such singular protections, though China is also home to endangered species like the crested ibis (Nipponia nippon), the Chinese alligator (Alligator sinensis) and the Yangtze river dolphin (Lipotes vexillifer), the later two of which are listed as critically endangered.

China has also set aside almost 13,000 square miles (33,600 square kilometers) of nature preserves dedicated to saving panda habitat, Li and her academic adviser, Duke University’s Stuart Pimm, reported in their new paper. Li and Pimm wanted to know whether these nature preserves were effective at protecting other species, particularly animals found only in China, such as the fuzzy gansu hamster (Cansumys canus) or golden snub-nose monkey (Rhinopithecus roxellana), the later of which is endangered.

Golden snub-nose monkeys live in bands of dozens to hundreds in forests between 4,900 feet and more than 11,000 feet (1,500 meters to 3,400 meters) elevation.
Credit: Binbin Li

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The researchers built a map of species’ habitats across China, paying attention to elevation ranges and vegetation types that can determine whether species will survive in each region.

The researchers found that panda range overlaps with the habitat for 70 percent of China’s forest bird species, 70 percent of its forest mammals and 31 percent of forest amphibians, and 96 percent of panda habitat falls within areas dubbed “endemic centers.” These are regions in the top 5 percent for the number of different species living in an area.

But there are gaps. Ninety-nine percent of amphibians with small habitat ranges in China are inadequately protected, the researchers found, as are 85 percent of amphibians with more extensive ranges. Particularly concerning were the species listed as threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature: 14 mammal species, 20 birds and 82 amphibians. The golden snub-nose monkey, listed as endangered by the IUCN, is one example, Li said. Also in more danger than previously believed are the Lifan sucker frog (Amolops lifanensis) and the Schmidt’s lazy toad (Oreolalax schmidti), she said.

Geography of protection

Most of the country’s threatened mammals live in China’s central Sichuan province and northern Yunnan province, while the threatened birds and amphibians were mostly found around the edge of the Sichuan basin, in Hainan and Yunnan provinces, and elsewhere in southeastern China. Few of these species are protected by national reserves, the researchers found, and the protections provided by a few local reserves are spotty.

The Daxiang and Xiaoxiang mountain ranges of Sichuan are particularly rich targets for protection, Li said. The areas are rich in species and unprotected by national reserves. Other hotspots lie in the Nan mountains of southeastern China, in Yunnan province (which borders Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam) and in Hainan, an island province east of Vietnam, the researchers wrote.

There are 132 mammal species, 117 birds and 250 amphibians that have more than 80 percent of their range within China’s borders, Pimm and Li found. Of those species, 65 mammals, 78 birds and 96 amphibians are threatened. Expanding panda protections — while also looking beyond panda habitat — could turn the tide for these species, they said.

“China’s biodiversity is exceptional; it’s extraordinary,” Pimm told Live Science. And China has only begun to explore the potential for nature-based tourism to its protected areas, he said.

“If we can engage the Chinese authorities,” he said, “we can protect an awful lot of species at the same time as protecting the panda.”