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Rural News

Opioid Crisis Hitting Dogs Now

Halth Line | Posted on July 13, 2017

Veterinarians are seeing the aftershocks of the opioid epidemic as pets and police dogs have to be revived with opioid antidote.

How cats and cows protect farm children from asthma

Science Daily | Posted on July 13, 2017

It is a known fact that microbes on farms protect children from asthma and allergies. But even non-microbial molecules can have a protective effect. Immunologists have shown that a sialic acid found in farm animals is effective against inflammation of lung tissue. This study opens up a wide variety of perspectives for the prevention of allergies.

Interest rate increase for federal loans will affect veterinary students

AVMA | Posted on July 12, 2017

Many veterinary students rely at least partially on federal loans to finance their education. That’s why it’s important for veterinary students to be aware that interest rates for federal student loans increased on July 1. We know this change is unwelcome news for veterinary students, and the AVMA is working hard to secure lower interest rates in the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. The July 1 changes are based on formulas outlined in the Higher Education Act (20  U.S.C. 1087e(b)). Rates for direct unsubsidized loans for graduate students rose to 6 percent, up from 5.31 percent previously. Rates for direct PLUS loans also rose, to 7 percent from 6.31 percent. These rate changes mean that a veterinary student who borrows $50,000 in 2018 will pay approximately $2,000 more over a 10-year standard repayment term than they would have if they had borrowed in 2017.

Training video helps veterinarians treat opioid overdoses in dogs

AVMA | Posted on July 12, 2017

Overdoses from extremely potent illegal opioids are on the rise across America – but not just for humans. These drugs are now endangering working dogs wh o encounter them in the line of duty.  As a result, veterinarians are increasingly asked to consult by phone for dogs suffering from overdoses in the field. To ensure veterinarians have the resources they need to respond to this emerging health threat, and in response to law enforcement requests, the University of Illinois reached out to the AVMA and other organizations for help in creating educational materials. The result is a comprehensive training video to help veterinarians and law enforcement teams provide potentially life-saving treatment for dogs.Emerging opioids like fentanyl and carfentanil are so potent that even a small exposure can be deadly. To combat these drugs, many law enforcement officers have begun carrying naloxone, sometimes sold under the brand name Narcan, which can reverse the effects of a drug overdose. In the right hands, this drug can be used effectively to provide emergency treatment for working dogs, but the version carried by law enforcement officials is often a nasal spray rather than the injectable version commonly used by veterinarians.Law enforcement officials are encouraged to take a dog suffering from an overdose to a veterinarian immediately. However, available research indicates that administering naloxone on-site can be a proactive, life-saving option. This video provides critical information for veterinarians who have a doctor-client relationship with canine handlers and need to provide advice by phone.

2nd pack of gray wolves spotted in Northern California

Capital Press | Posted on July 9, 2017

A female gray wolf, her mate and at least three pups are the second pack of wolves spotted in Northern California since the species went extinct there in 1924, state wildlife officials said.  The gray pups were born this spring in Lassen National Forest to a female wolf of unknown origins. Her mate is the son of OR7, a wolf with a tracking device that was the first of its kind in almost a century to migrate into California from Oregon, the Department of Fish and Wildlife said.Biologists began surveying the Lassen National Forest area in May after they found evidence of wolf presence. On June 30, they captured the 75-pound female gray wolf and fitted her with a tracking collar. An examination revealed she had recently given birth to pups.A day later, Department of Fish and Wildlife biologists returned to the area for a follow-up check on the female and found that a nearby trail camera operated by the United States Forest Service had captured photos of the mother and pups. The gray pups were also photographed playing in front of the camera.

Opioid Overdoses Swamp Medical Examiners

Pew Charitable Trust | Posted on July 9, 2017

Dr. David Fowler’s staff is scrambling to keep up with the surging stream of corpses flowing through the doors. In his 15 years as Maryland’s chief medical examiner, Fowler has seen natural disasters, train crashes and mass shootings. Heroin- and cocaine-related homicides have plagued this city for decades. But he says he’s never seen anything that compares to the opioid epidemic’s spiraling death toll. As fentanyl, carfentanil and other deadly synthetic opioids seep into the illicit drug supply, it’s only getting worse. The recent surge in drug overdose deaths has created an unprecedented nationwide demand for autopsies and toxicology examinations, said Brian Peterson, president of the National Association of Medical Examiners, which accredits the forensic pathologists who perform death investigations.Many medical examiners are working overtime and, in some places, they’re running out of refrigerated storage for bodies. When that happens, local officials typically borrow additional space at local funeral homes and hospitals, and in some cases, rent refrigerated trucks

In North Carolina, areas that support GOP lawmakers are faring worse now

The News & Observer | Posted on July 9, 2017

Republicans have an iron lock on North Carolina’s General Assembly largely because of their support in rural areas, but after six years of Republican rule those areas are faring far worse than the state’s urban areas. A new report from the UNC Population Center shows that of the state’s 553 municipalities, 225 saw population decline in 2010-16. But those leaving – mostly younger people – are not leaving the state. Instead, they’re going to the new North Carolina, the larger cities that offer better jobs and a more diverse social life. Why people leave dying towns and fading counties is no mystery. But it is a puzzle that lawmakers with a rural base have been so indifferent to the condition of their districts and so thoughtless about how to stem the rural-to-urban tide.While providing little help to their rural base, the legislature’s Republican majority has hammered the cities. They’ve eliminated the privilege license tax on businesses, which help city budgets. They passed House Bill 2, a law, since rescinded, that gave legal sanction to discrimination against transgender people and eliminated local ordinances supporting gay rights. The law hurt the state’s reputation for tolerance and led to the cancellation of events and conventions, mostly in cities. And the legislature reached down to gerrymander some county and city voting districts to better Republican chances in mostly blue urban areas.

The California drought isn’t over, it just went underground

High Country News | Posted on July 8, 2017

Evelyn Rios wept in 2014 when the well went dry at her home of 46 years – the home where she and husband Joe raised five children on farm-worker wages. They cannot afford another well, so they do without. Her angst only grew as California’s five-year drought dragged on.  Finally, after one of the wettest winters on record, Gov. Jerry Brown announced in April that the drought had ended. But situation remains grim, says Rios, 80, who lives in rural Madera County in California’s San Joaquin Valley. She thought she was being hooked up to the city of Madera’s water system. Now the emergency money for such projects has dried up. “So, the drought is over?” she asks. “What about us? What about the plans to hook up to Madera’s water? How long will we have to wait now? The drought might be over for you, but it isn’t over for me.”  Full reservoirs and swollen rivers don’t mean that much to people living in rural San Joaquin Valley, where about 1,000 people still have dry wells. Their water sits underground in the nation’s second-largest groundwater aquifer, which was mined and dramatically drawn down by farmers protecting the valley’s $40 billion-a-year agriculture industry.  Legislation passed in 2014 will help regulate groundwater pumping, but it will be at least two decades before the law is fully implemented, leaving communities vulnerable to further groundwater shortages and having to compete with big farms digging deeper wells. In addition, many of those people live in small, unincorporated communities, which often lack the resources to properly maintain community water systems.

The ‘Rewilding’ of a Century-Old Cranberry Bog

The New York Times | Posted on July 6, 2017

Scientists are turning a cranberry bog back into coastal wetland. The experiment is seen as a path for dormant bogs and another chance for vanishing habitat.

While Most Small Towns Languish, Some Flourish

Pew Charitable Trust | Posted on July 6, 2017

In several Western and Southern states, small towns are growing quickly as fast-growing metro areas swallow up more outlying towns, according to a Stateline analysis of census estimates.Between 2015 and 2016, the growth was particularly strong in small towns in Utah, Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Florida, Idaho, Delaware, Texas, Arizona, North Carolina and South Carolina, where small towns grew around 1 percent or more.During the same period, 54 percent of small towns across the U.S. lost population, and most others saw only limited growth. The reasons for growth can be varied, according to Frey and other demographers. Jobs in booming cities can draw new residents to nearby small towns, where quiet streets and good schools can be especially appealing to millennials ready to raise children. In some states, urban gentrification has pushed the poor and immigrants further into outlying towns, where housing is less expensive.