From ANIMAL PEOPLE, July/August 1994:

Tests by the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit have
concluded that the only sure way to prevent allergic reactions
to cats is “to remove the cat from the home,” Dr. Charles
Klucka recently told the American Academy of Allergy and
Immunology. “The next best thing is keeping the cat out of
the bedroom,” while the cat owner takes allergy drugs or
shots. Bathing cats in distilled water, applying a topical
spray 60 times per week, and giving them low-dose tranquil-
izers, all touted as antiallergen treatments, did not reduce the
dander of the 24 cats included in the Ford Hospital study.
Ten thousand volunteers in Connecticut, New
Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, and Wisconsin are field-
testing a Lyme disease vaccine developed by Connaught
Laboratories, following up on a 1992-1993 test that included
300 people. Preliminary data published in the June 8 edition
of the Journal of the American Medical Association showed
that levels of Lyme antibodies increased fourfold in 23 of 24
volunteers who participated in a limited test in Albuquerque,
none of whom suffered serious side effects. A rival firm,
SmithKline Beecham PLC, is reportedly also close to testing
a vaccine for Lyme disease, which afflicts about 10,000
Americans a year, and has been found in 44 of the 50 states.

Raccoon rabies officially reached Vermont on
June 4, when a Bennington resident shotgunned a rabid rac-
coon in his yard. The mid-Atlantic raccoon rabies strain
reached nearby corners of New York and Massachusetts
about a year ago, and was already assumed to be in Vermont.
The strain has spread north and west at about 50 miles a year
since 1977, when a group of West Virginia coonhunters and
trappers released 3,500 raccoons from a known rabies area in
Florida along the Virginia border in an attempt to rebuild the
hunted-out local raccoon population.
A new strain of the hantavirus blamed for killing
42 people in 18 states during the past 18 months has been
found in harvest mice inhabiting Orange County, California,
and Apache County, Arizona. The hantavirus, most com-
mon in the southwest, has previously been found mainly in
deer mice. Unlike deer mice, harvest mice favor grasslands,
and rarely if ever enter houses.
Agricultural vet medicine
The USDA on May 25 banned the import from
Mexico of Holstein steers and spayed heifers. Of 438
tubercular cattle found in in the U.S. during 1993, 427 came
from Mexico; about 240 of them were Holsteins. The ban
will reduce somewhat the incidence of facebranding and spay-
ing without anesthetic, targets of recent protest led by the
Coalition for Non-Violent Food. To check the spread of
bovine TB, the USDA requires that all 60,000 to 80,000
Mexican cattle imported each year be facebranded, and all
cows be spayed, before they are moved from the border.
Trying to avert an outright European ban on the
use of meat and bone powder in sheep and cattle feed,
which is believed to be the source of the bovine spongiform
encephalopathy outbreak devastating the English cattle indus-
try since November 1986, European Union agriculture com-
missioner Rene Steichen has recommended uniform high-tem-
perature processing requirements for meat and bone powder
additives. The incurable disease apparently infected cattle as
a mutation of scrapie, a serious sheep disease. Two German
states, Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westfalia, banned the
slaughter of any cattle imported from Britain in May, after
three cases of BSE were discovered in cattle who had been
kept by a breeder Horst Freiser, who is believed to have used
BSE-contaminated feed of German origin. The use of animal
remains in cattle feed has been banned in Germany since
1989. Lower Saxony agriculture minister Karl-Heinz Funke
has asked that all of the estimated 5,200 British-born cattle in
Germany be slaughtered, to keep BSE from spreading further.
Lower Saxony livestock exports have been banned since last
October, when the first BSE cases appeared, with devastating
impact on 1,500 farms. Lower Saxony had been believed to
have the highest density of pig-rearing in the world.
Canine distemper has killed more than 70 of the
2,000 lions in the Serengeti National Park of Tanzania since
February––spread, apparently, by the dogs kept by native
humans. A similar dog-to-lion outbreak reportedly occurred
at a southern California sanctuary several years ago.
Researchers hope that vaccinating the dogs can save the
remaining lions. “Of the 250 or so study animals we’ve been
following, perhaps a third have been wiped out and many
more are sick,” said behavioral ecologist Craig Packer of the
University of Minnesota, who has directed the 30-year-old
Serengeti lion observation project since 1978.
The American Humane Association’s third annu-
al Shelter Veterinarian Educational Program will be held
October 1-2 in New Orleans, following the September 28-
October 1 AHA annual conference. Sponsored by Cycle Dog
Food, the program will include sessions in practical immuno-
logy, rabies control, behavior evaluation, pain evaluation
and prevention; early-age neutering; and investigative
necropsy. Veterinarians completing the two-day program will
receive 12 continuing education credits preapproved by the
Louisiana Board of Veterinary Medicine. Registration is
$100. Get further details at 800-227-4645.
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