After Hurricane Katrina's devastating impact on people and animals, Rodolfo Almira convinced three friends to help him build a modern-day Noah's ark. Almira hopes the ark will be a beacon for people of all faiths, and plans include a small zoo, housing for stray dogs and cats, an on-site veterinarian, a restaurant and a store, as well as live webcams. The 500-foot, three-story boat is under construction in Miami.
This year's National Pet Week is May 5-11, but the Auxiliary to the AVMA is already looking ahead to next year's celebration. It's taking entries for the 2014 poster and writing contests for children and teens from kindergarten through high school. "Celebrate a Healthy Pet" is the theme for the 2014 contest, and entries must be submitted by May 10, 2013. This year's theme is "Love Your Pet, See Your Vet," and the winning poster and writing sample are included in this blog post. Winning entrants receive $100.
The dispersant used to help clear the 4.9 billion barrels of crude oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico three years ago is being blamed for worsening the ecosystem-wide effects of the disaster by some scientists, who point to high numbers of dead dolphins, turtle strandings and marine life with abnormalities as evidence. Experts say 1.8 million gallons of the dispersant broke down the oil into droplets, allowing it to spread farther and deeper. BP notes that the dispersant is a government-approved product and maintains its commitment to resolving the crisis.
Six years and 16,000 animals later, veterinary ophthalmologists in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico are again offering free eye exams for service animals during the month of May. Owners can register until April 30 on the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists' website, where they can also find a list of more than 250 participating veterinarians.
An overweight 6-year-old tabby cat named Elmer is at risk for conditions such as arthritis and liver disease, and his family worries about his condition. They are working with their veterinarian to help him shape up, but Elmer has other plans. Veterinarian Gary Thompson recommends increasing exercise for obese pets while decreasing calorie intake but admits that it can be difficult. "There is a difference between simple and easy," Dr. Thompson says. "Losing weight is simple -- consume fewer calories than you burn. However, as we all know, that is far from easy."