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‘It was the hardest and best gift I’ve ever given.’: Melbourne Writers festival director Marieke Hardy

When the tired-looking woman at the animal emergency clinic shuffled into the holding room wearing an apron spattered startlingly with blood, she told me I had a choice. I could submit my dear, doddery 14-year-old Staffy to some major surgery to determine whether the painful spots in her beautiful belly – causing her now sleepless nights and great, whimpering distress – were in fact a cancerous cluster, killing her slowly from the inside. Or I could...
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For years, scientists have tried to figure out why elephants are so good at not getting cancer. New research suggests their amazing ability involves resurrecting a gene from the dead and giving it a task to kill cells.

Experiments conducted by researchers from the University of Chicago have finally unveiled the mechanism behind the pachyderm's uncanny ability to avoid tumours, helping us better understand a riddle known as Peto's paradox.

It goes like this: the more cells an animal has, the more opportunities it should have to develop a tumour.

Within any...
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If you notice dogs aiming as high as possible when they pee in public, there might be a very good reason for that: they're trying to trick other dogs into thinking they're taller than they really are.

We already know that dogs leave a urine marker to label their territory or as a calling card to other canines, but a new study has now revealed the importance of height – the smaller a pooch is, the higher it seems to strain to shoot its spray of pee.

Researchers from Cornell University in New York...
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Most veterinarians and a growing percentage of the public are aware of the startling statistics previously reported regarding suicide in the veterinary profession. With media sharing news of veterinarians dying by suicide every month, it might not be surprising to hear claims that veterinarians are between 2 and 4 times more likely than members of the general population to have thoughts of or die by suicide. Some studies even suggest that rates of suicide among veterinarians are higher than those of other professions such as dentist or doctors who have been known...
Dr. Guyan Weerasinghe, an Australian veterinarian working in small animal practice and as a state government veterinary officer, has been announced by the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) and Hill's Pet Nutrition as the winner of the 2018 Next Generation Veterinary Award....

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For the first time, a medication that silences genes has won regulatory approval in the US. Not only is this a huge win for the amazing technology involved, it's also a treatment for a rare hereditary condition that causes nerve damage.

The drug, called patisiran, can now be used to treat hereditary transthyretin amyloidosis (hATTR) – where mutated proteins build up in the body, affecting crucial heart and nerve functions.

It's a major first, and a huge moment for...
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In the Australian town of Jimboomba, 50 kilometres (30 miles) south of Brisbane, a tawny frogmouth had an unfortunate run-in with a barbed wire fence.

"If you can picture a 6 foot chain fence with barbed wire at the top – that's where it was stuck," senior wildlife carer and president of Reptile Rehabilitation Queensland Anette Bird told Australian Geographic.

"It must have flown into the fence at night."

Tawny frogmouths...
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Veterinarians in Colorado are concerned that some of their clients may have intentionally hurt their pets in the hopes of receiving prescription painkillers, according to a recent survey conducted by the Center for Health, Work & Environment at the Colorado School of Public Health at CU Anschutz and a local veterinary association.

Although veterinarians can prescribe powerful drugs, their role in curbing the opioid epidemic has been largely overlooked. Researchers are calling for improved surveillance, more research, and better training in an editorial...
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Vets have developed a blood test that quickly spots early signs of liver disease in dogs, a study suggests.

Experts say that the test -- based on insights gained from human patients -- could help vets identify damage and start treatment early, saving the lives of many dogs.

The test -- which is to be launched worldwide -- means that fewer dogs will have to undergo invasive liver biopsies, findings by the University of Edinburgh suggest.

Diagnosing canine liver disease is challenging and catching early signs of damage is key to its treatment, vets say. Current...
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WA live exporter Livestock Shipping Services (LSS) recently condemned the McCarthy Review in a letter to the West Australian newspaper ‘No rigour in live export moves’.

VALE and many other advocacy groups were not satisfied with the Review recommendations, which ignored the AVA recommendation to discontinue sheep export to the Middle East in the northern summer months. LSS Livestock Manager Harold Sealy, however, appeared to object to the paltry 30%...
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