Africa’s endangered wild dogs are very clever: no traditional fence can keep them out. A doctoral researcher at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Craig R. Jackson, has explored ways to save the species.
Photo by Craig R. Jackson
African wild dogs are a distinct species that cannot inter-breed with other dogs. The populations of these dogs were in good shape until a few decades ago. In the middle of the last century, there were 500,000 of them in 39 countries. But the species is in decline across nearly its entire range south of the Sahara. Today there are somewhere between 3000 and 5500 left, in fewer than 25 countries. That’s roughly one per cent remaining – and that’s the best case scenario.
Wild dog packs are loath to intrude into the territories of other packs. These territories are defined by urine scent trails. So the researchers and their colleagues collected sand that had been sprayed with urine by wild dogs and moved it near to other packs to keep them inside a certain area – with success.
The use of the scent markings helps to keep wild dogs out of areas where they think there are other dog packs. But, collection of the urine needed for the scent trails is a problem. So the next step is re-creating the urine artificially.
The conclusion of the thesis: urine may be the best bet for saving the African wild dog population; that urine may have to be artificially produced.
Source: NTNU media release
Many holistic veterinarians are now recommending the use of cranberries in the long-term treatment of pets who are susceptible to urinary tract infections, or UTI.
Diabetic dogs, in particular, seem to develop UTI more regularly than the normal dog population. Spayed females are also more susceptible to infections.
When a dog has a UTI, they often struggle to eliminate urine or, when they do pee, not much comes out. Sometimes blood is seen in the urine, the urine may smell stronger, or it has a dark colour. If your dog has a UTI, then seeing your veterinarian for antibiotics is essential. A urinary tract infection left untreated means your dog is uncomfortable and in pain and if the infection travels to the kidneys, then your dog is in serious trouble.
Cranberries can assist when your dog is being treated for a UTI because cranberries help to acidify the urine which helps to prevent bacteria growth.
But what about prevention? This is where the cranberries come into their own. Not only does the cranberry acidify the urine, but studies show that they have the ability to prevent bacteria from sticking to the walls of the bladder and urinary tract and so they minimise the chance of an infection recurring.
Some owners treat their dog with cranberry powder because the juice is tart and unpalatable. Owners must be careful because lots of cranberry juices are full of sugar (that’s a warning for humans as well as pets).
I’m working on a wheat-free cranberry biscuit recipe now that will feature as the January/February special. I’ve just perfected my recipe and the latest batch is looking great – with the added benefit of no artificial colours!
In order to prevent recurring urinary tract infections, it’s also really important to ensure your dog has lots of fresh, clean water to drink and has lots of opportunities to go outside and pee. For diabetic dogs, care must be given to their daily diet to manage their blood sugars (another reason to watch the sugar content of any cranberry supplements).