Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Cool Pet News

If only I'd had a dog to tutor me in school. I might have gotten beyond basic arithmetic. A couple of recent experiments show that dogs appear to use calculus-like, well, calculations to figure out the optimal path to fetch a ball or stick. And, of course, we all know they can count. My dogs all keep careful track of the number of treats each has received to make sure they're not shorted.

Those of you in tick country may be interested to learn that scientists have deciphered the genomes of certain bacteria that cause ehrlichiosis, a tick-borne disease that can affect dogs and people. The study reports new genes that allow the bacteria to evade a host's immune system and adapt to new niches and will help scientists better study the bacteria and how they operate.

Fellow pet writer Beth Adelman recommends a new book for people with allergies who have or would like to have pets. Here's what she says:

"I just got a copy of a great new book by Shirlee Kalstone, called "Allergic to Pets? The Breakthrough Guide to LIving With the Animals You Love." Shirlee worked with a DVM and an MD on this book, and it is really straightforward, practical, factual, and covers dogs, cats, birds, horses, ferrets and rodents!.

"She has dogs and cats, and is very allergic; she and her husband have a company that develops products that lessen the impact of allergies. But the book is not a commercial for her stuff. It's a rundown of pretty much everything we know so far about pet allergies and what you can do about them so you can keep your pet with you. The book is short and inexpensive, too ($7.99). Definitely, it will help keep some animals in their homes.

(And no, I did not work on the book with her at all, so this is an unbiased endorsement.) "

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