The University of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine recently opened a new four-story, $58.5 million research building. Part of the school’s $63.7 million research enterprise, the Veterinary Medicine Research Facility 3B will be dedicated to making discoveries in basic science as well as human, animal and environmental health. A UC-Davis release says the research facilities are the largest in the nation among veterinary colleges, with 76,000 square feet of assignable space in the new building designated for 40 biomedical research teams. Their studies will focus on diseases that affect animals and humans, autism, nutrition, reproduction, respiratory disease, neurobiology, food safety, toxicology and aquatic toxicology. The building is also home to the 100K Genome Project, which aims to sequence the genomes of 100,000 infectious microorganisms and speed diagnosis of foodborne illnesses.
The Minnesota Zoo announced the successful hatching of its first endangered African penguin chick March 2. The chick is currently being raised behind the scenes by foster parents, as the biological parents were not incubating the egg consistently.
The chick, whose sex is not yet known, is currently healthy and thriving. It will grow to approximately 26 to 28 inches tall and weigh between 6 and 9 pounds when fully developed. Now more than a pound, it weighed 2.4 ounces when hatched.
African penguins, like most other penguin species, are endangered in the wild. “Oil spills, historical hunting and destruction of their habitat have killed 80 percent of the population in the last 50 years,” a release from the Minnesota Zoo states. “They are currently in a crisis situation due to catastrophic food shortages.”
The zoo says an African penguin’s life expectancy in the wild is between 10 and 15 years while birds in the care of humans can live up to 30 years. The zoo is home to the Penguins of the African Coast exhibit, which opened in 2011.
A Jersey show cow recently brought a record-high price at auction in Syracuse, N.J. Karlie, a 3-year-old whose full name is Page-Crest Excitation Karlie, sold for $170,000 to Arethusa Farm of Bantam, Conn. Reports say Karlie’s attributes include a physique that’s skinny and tall, meaning her body is efficient at making milk. Her udders are well-attached and don’t sag, allowing her years of milking. She also has perfectly placed hip bones, making it easier for her to birth calves. Karlie will be used for breeding, both traditionally and through the use of surrogates. Her fertilized embryos are worth about $6,000. It’s estimated that a calf born to Karlie will be worth about $20,000.
The Rhode Island Senate has voted unanimously to stop landlords from requiring tenants to declaw or remove the vocal cords of dogs. “Individuals with rental properties have a right to a ‘no pets’ policy, but they should not be allowed to require renters to force pets to undergo potentially dangerous and totally unnecessary procedures,” said Senate Majority Leader Dominick Ruggerio in a release. “There are other ways to protect property without putting pets at risk, forcing them to undergo harmful, dangerous and expensive procedures.”
If enacted, violators could face fines of up to $1,000, be barred from owning or possessing any animals or required to take humane education, pet ownership or dog training classes. The bill is similar to legislation passed in California last year.
A calf born March 9 on a ranch 12 miles west of Brenham, Texas, arrived with a fifth leg attached just behind her shoulder near the spine. Mixed animal veterinarian Lee Panko, DVM, owner of Brenham Veterinary Hospital, removed the rare extra limb for the calf’s owner Charles Harmel. “I didn’t believe him at first,” Panko says. “I haven’t seen this before.” After consulting with the College of Veterinary Medicine at Texas A&M, Panko performed the surgery on the 16-day-old calf.
Panko’s biggest concern was that the extra limb was somehow attached to the calf’s spine. Once surgery commenced, he was relieved to find it was actually attached to the rib cage. “The good thing was the limb wasn’t attached to the spine or the vertebrae so she has good mobility,” Panko says.
Post-surgery the calf was up within 15 minutes and Panko was able to send her home the same day. A month later, the calf was doing fine. “She’s out with her mother getting along great—doing well.”