Heroic Dogs Save Family from Rattlesnake
An American bulldog and her puppies in Lake Wales, Florida risked their lives to defend their family from a rattlesnake. They were bitten in the process, but are now resting comfortably and recovering.
Unfortunately, a third dog involved did not survive the attack which took place near the front steps of the dog owner’s home.
Candy Sappington said her dogs, especially Maisy, began barking furiously at the six-foot-two-inch diamondback rattlesnake as she walked out threw her front door and down the steps of the front porch.
“As I stepped down the first step, she came from behind me and kind of pushed me forward,” Sappington said.
She said her two puppies were also barking while, much to the surprise of everyone involved, Maisy ran ahead of everyone and took a bite to the right ear from the venomous snake. Puppies Tundra and Chubbs were also bitten.
“It’s hard to think she took the punch for me,” Sappington said.”
Sappington’s 16-year-old son grabbed his .22 caliber rifle and shot the snake, but not before it was able to sink its teeth into Chubbs, who was his dog.
“Chubs was the aggressor,” Sappington said. “He always protected everybody. He’d done what he had to do to protect us.”
As the dogs fought for their lives at a vet in Winter Haven, Sappington was crying. Not too many people, let alone dogs, make it through a bite from a diamondback, which of all the snakes in the U.S., is one of the most deadly.
The family searched to find a vet that carries antivenin, but they could not find one in time to save Chubbs. Maisy and Tundra were each given a dose of antivenin, which goes for around $700 per vial. The high cost, according to one of the vets at the animal hospital, is why many vets don’t stock the stuff regularly.
“There’s not much that you won’t do for your kids and that’s how I feel about my dogs,” Sappington said. “They saved me, now I’m going to do everything in my power to save them.”
According to a report on Friday, the swelling has gone down at the bite sites of the surviving dogs, but they are still not 100% in the clear just yet.
“All we can do is pray that the other two live,” said Sappington. “Everybody says I should feel lucky right now. I don’t feel too lucky. I would have taken all three hits if I could.”
‘Man’s best friend’ shares similar albino gene
Michigan State University researchers have identified a genetic mutation in Dobermans that causes albinism in the breed, a discovery that has eluded veterinarians and breeders worldwide. Paige Winkler, a doctoral student in the College of Veterinary Medicine, co-led the study with Joshua Bartoe, an assistant professor in the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, and discovered that a mutated gene that is associated with a form of albinism in humans was the cause. “What we found was a gene mutation that results in a missing protein necessary for cells to be pigmented,” said Winkler. “Some defects in this same gene cause a condition called oculocutaneous albinism in people.” This type of albinism has certain characteristics that are evident in both humans and dogs. “With an albino Doberman, you see a white or lighter-colored coat, pink noses and lips, along with pale irises in the eyes,” added Winkler. “These traits are very similar to the characteristics humans display with this particular condition causing light pigmented skin and hair, along with eye discoloration and visionproblems.”
The dog breed and people also experience the same skin sensitivity to sunlight, which results in an increased risk of skin tumors. “We knew that the albino Dobermans typically developed these types of tumors, much like humans, but we wondered what the actual increase in was between a ‘white’ dog and a regular-colored Doberman,” said Bartoe. “What we found was a significant increase in risk for development of melanoma like tumors in the albino dogs.” Bartoe and Winkler studied a total of 20 dogs of each color and discovered that more than half of the albino dogs had at least one tumor while only one of the regular-colored dogs possessed a tumor. The results of their research will be of great importance to Doberman breeders around the world. Currently, AKC registration restricts dogs with the condition. “Because Dobermans can carry the defective gene, but show no signs of the disorder, this has posed serious problems for the breeders,” said Bartoe. “But now that we’ve identified the mutation, we can look at the genetic makeup of these dogs and determine if they might be carriers.”
‘Iron Dog’ race finds North America’s top police pooch
The Canadian Police Canine Association is holding it’s annual competition at the Bonnenfant Centre in Dunrobin, Ont., to find the top dog among North American police forces. CBC reporter Omar Dabaghi Pacheco is there, with CBC intern Jessie Archambault, who is tweeting from the competition. full story here
2 May, 2014
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