Snow Leopard

Snow Leopard
Snow Leopard cub (7 mos old) - Cape May County Zoo

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Good food / Bad food

There are two stories I found interesting this week. In one, a food item may produce a cure for canine gum disease. In another a feed ingredient caused a mass death of livestock for one farmer.

Researchers to seek approval for canine drug made from strawberries

SAPPORO (Kyodo) -- A group of Japanese researchers plans to apply later this year for approval to sell a drug made from genetically modified strawberries to cure gum disease in dogs.
The use of genetically modified farm products in the development of drugs could cut total costs by a thousandth, the developers from three entities including the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology said recently.
The researchers are now in the final stage of clinical testing, they said. About 80 percent of dogs aged 2 or older can develop the disease, but to date there has been no drug available because of the high cost of developing one. The group envisions supplying the drug in powder form so that it can be applied to the dog's gums on a daily basis, it said.
Now this is truly only a brief story with not a lot of scientific information. I can't really assess how viable this is, how "good" the results are, etc. I'm sure if it's coming down the pipeline, I will eventually read something that includes more indepth studies about it. Still, it's amazing to me where they come up with stuff.

Mystery of 200 dead cows solved: toxic potatoes

Debra BlackStaff Reporter
The mysterious death of 200 steers on a farm in Wisconsin is due to a toxin produced from moldy sweet potatoes, a laboratory there confirmed.
The deaths on a farm in Portage County in north-central Wisconsin on Jan. 14 had prompted many to speculate about the cause of the steers’ death, especially since they followed the apparently mysterious deaths of thousands of red-winged blackbirds in Arkansas and thousands of starlings in South Dakota.
Scientists have said the bird deaths have explanations. The starlings died en masse because they ate poisoned bait; the red-winged blackbirds died from blunt-force trauma, flying into houses and trees.
In this case, however, the steers died from consuming moldy sweet potatoes that were mixed in with their food, Peter Vanderloo, associate director at the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, told the Star.

For people not in the large animal world, this may seem shocking, but in fact, food contaminated by toxins (mold, certain beetles, etc) is not that rare.  Given that farmers have feed coming from different sources at different times of year, stored differently, this is the kind of stuff that can happen. Sometimes, it's a matter of what vegetation is either IN the pasture or next to it and can FALL INTO the pasture that causes a problem.

Advice from a State Vet 

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