The genetic changes that transformed wild animals into domesticated forms have long been a mystery. An international team of scientists has now made a breakthrough by showing that many genes controlling the development of the brain and the nervous system were particularly important for rabbit domestication. The study gives answers to many genetic questions.
Wolves may be susceptible to yawn contagion, according to a new study. Researchers suggest that contagious yawning may be linked to human capacity for empathy, but little evidence apart from studies on primates, exists that links contagious yawning to empathy in other animals. Recently, researchers have documented domestic dogs demonstrating contagious yawning when exposed to human yawns in a scie
Sheepdogs use just two simple rules to round up large herds of sheep, scientists have discovered. The findings could lead to the development of robots that can gather and herd livestock, crowd control techniques, or new methods to clean up the environment.
Investing in dog owner education and facilities as a strategy to target physical inactivity and problems such as obesity in both people and their pets. It is estimated that 40% of dog owners don't take their dogs for a walk. In the UK, almost a quarter of households own a dog, but less than half of adults meet the recommended level of 150 minutes a week of physical activity.
Androstenone can stop dogs from barking, jumping, researchers report. Androstenone is produced by pigs in their saliva or fat, but Boar Mate androstenone is synthesized in a laboratory. One spray of Boar Mate on Toto was all it took to set the wheels of experimentation in motion.
Specially-trained victim recovery dogs can perform phenomenal feats in sniffing out the whereabouts of bodies and body parts, even beneath mounds of rubble or deep below water. But now a researcher is investigating ways in which they can carry out their grim but vital tasks even more efficiently.
A modified version of the Clostridium novyi (C. novyi-NT) bacterium can produce a strong and precisely targeted anti-tumor response in rats, dogs and now humans, according to a new report. In its natural form, C. novyi is found in the soil and, in certain cases, can cause tissue-damaging infection in cattle, sheep and humans. The microbe thrives only in oxygen-poor environments, which makes it a t
Patients recovering from total joint replacement surgery who receive animal-assisted therapy (AAT) require less pain medication than those who do not experience this type of therapy. Animal-assisted therapy (AAT) has been used in a variety of health-care settings to improve quality of life and physical, social, emotional and/or cognitive health for patients.
Two significant risk factors associated with painful neurological diseases in the skull shape of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel have been identified by researchers. The findings could help in tackling these conditions in toy dog breeds and could be used in breeding guidelines.
Veterinarians are testing the use of gold nanoparticles and a targeted laser treatment for solid tumors in dogs and cats. The nanoparticles circulate in the bloodstream and become temporarily captured within the incomplete blood vessel walls common in solid tumors. Then, a non-ablative laser is employed against the tumor.
Using statistical tools to map social connections in prairie dogs, researchers have uncovered relationships that escaped traditional observational techniques, shedding light on prairie dog communities that may help limit the spread of bubonic plague and guide future conservation efforts.
Humans aren’t the only species to react strongly to actions they consider unfair. A similar drive for fairness in monkeys and some dogs may offer insight into people’s desire for equity, according to experts.
Veterinarians say it is important to know the signs of heat exhaustion to make sure your pet isn't overdoing it this summer.
Dogs exhibit jealous behaviors. The first experimental test of jealousy in dogs supports the view that there may be a more basic form of jealousy, which evolved to protect social bonds from interlopers.
Sense of smell is critical for survival in many mammals. In a new study, researchers examined the olfactory receptor repertoire encoded in 13 mammalian species and found that African elephants have the largest number of OR genes ever characterized; more than twice that found in dogs, and five times more than in humans.
Pigs that are bred commercially in Europe are found to have a highly varied mosaic of different European and Asian gene variants. The Asian genes in particular result in a large number of piglets in European pig breeds. Researchers now explain that a number of important characteristics of European pigs have Asian origins. They previously demonstrated that the genetic diversity among commercial pig
Four out of five pet owners now consider their pet a member of the family, and consumers are shifting their priorities when it comes to purchasing food for their pets accordingly. One expert writes about recent trends in gourmet pet food in a newly published article.
UK legislation that targets 'dangerous dogs' has not been shown to reduce dog bites and policies should be based on evidence and risk assessment, suggests a new article. Risk assessment for human violence has proved to be accurate and reliable and the author says this "might be a practical preventative measure to reduce injury from dog bite" along with medical and veterinary professionals "familia
More than 140 years ago, Charles Darwin noticed something peculiar about domesticated mammals. Compared to their wild ancestors, domestic species are more tame, and they also tend to display a suite of other characteristic features, including floppier ears, patches of white fur, and more juvenile faces with smaller jaws. Since Darwin’s observations, the explanation for this pattern has proved elus
Low-fat wieners made with olive oil rather than pork fat make progress toward a healthful alternative hot dog without sacrificing satisfying flavor and texture.
When a breeding wolf dies, its sex and the size of its pack can determine whether that pack continues, according to research. In 2012, biologists at Denali National Park and Preserve noted a drop in wolf sightings following the death of a breeding female from a pack that lived along the Denali Park Road.
Nearly every second dog develops cancer from the age of ten years onward. A few therapies derived from human medicine are available for dogs. A very successful form of therapy by which antibodies inhibit tumor growth has not been available for animals so far. Scientists have developed, for the first time, antibodies to treat cancer in dogs.
In their quest to understand what kind of hunter the extinct marsupial Thylacine was, two paleobiologists built a dataset of forelimb bone measurements that predict the predation style of a wide variety of carnivorous mammals.
Excessive sunbathing damages the skin. Humans are not the only ones who need to monitor their exposure to UV rays: animals are at risk too. Dogs and cats with white or thin coats are at particular risk, as are animals with very closely shorn fur or with certain pre-existing conditions.
New research suggests that dogs who spend a short time in boarding kennels may not find it unduly stressful and could in fact find the change of scenery exciting.
The burger patty that slides off the plate, the ice cream treat that plops on the picnic table, the hot dog that rolls off the grill -- conventional wisdom has it that you have five seconds to pick it up before it is contaminated. Fact or folklore? “A dropped item is immediately contaminated and can’t really be sanitized,” explains one researcher. “When it comes to folklore, the ‘five-second rule’
A study published in The Prostate offers hope to men suffering from benign prostatic hyperplasia. Scientists treated 20 affected dogs with pulsed electromagnetic field therapy for 5 minutes, twice a day, for three weeks. This noninvasive technique resulted in an average 57 percent decrease in the size of the prostate gland. The researchers also found no side effects or impact on libido, semen qual
Viruses often get bad press. Likened to Trojan horses they are often associated with disease. But, it is precisely because of their infectious nature that they can potentially be used as gene vectors - which are vehicles loaded with good copies of malfunctioning genes - and delivered to cells. This is difficult but even more so is penetrating the fortress of the brain. But this is exactly what gen
The endangered African wild dog is increasingly coming into conflict with humans, partly because it is difficult to fence them out. But research shows that an unusual approach to keeping them away from people and livestock may offer hope. Promising experiments show that scent marking is more effective as a barrier than fences.
Equine influenza viruses from the early 2000s can easily infect the respiratory tracts of dogs, while those from the 1960s are only barely able to, according to research. The research also suggests that canine and human influenza viruses can mix, and generate new influenza viruses.