National Pet Dental Health Month – A Dedicated Veterinary Dentist
Written by Ava   

February is National Pet Dental Health Month. For most of us, paw-lovers, our pets’ dental health may at times be overlooked. Some may only go to the veterinarian only when complications are experienced by our beloved cats and dogs. Our pets’ oral health is an important thing that we should look into as any infection on our pets’ gums and mouth may lead to more serious issues with their internal organs.

Dr. Patrick Roberts is a veterinarian who specializes on dentistry. As a veterinary dentist, Dr. Roberts has saved hundreds of canines and felines with his expertise and experience. Just in time for the month’s activity, we will get to know more about Dr. Roberts, his job, and oral health maintenance for our pets.

How does a veterinary dentist, like you, starts his day?

I start my day with brushing my teeth. I am a dentist and I say to it that I do what I preach! Kidding aside, I usually get in the clinic at 10AM. The first 30 minutes will be a quick full rounds on the clinic. If there are pets confined, I see to it that they get their daily reward treats. The next 30 minutes will be used to review appointments, reminders and to do’s before going ahead with the consultation and usual vet stuff.

About the “daily reward treats” that you mention, tell me about it.

The daily reward treats are given to confined pets to give their day a boost. It is a type of biscuit that can be eaten by most animals and is full of vitamins and minerals. It is also a way to connect with the pets – especially those who are aloof to strangers.

Why is February chosen as the National Pet Dental Health Month? Any reason for it?

It really has less to do with the month but that of the rationale behind the event. The main purpose is to choose a specific month as a reminder to pet-owners of the importance of oral health care for the pets. Oftentimes, we do not really look into our dogs and cats oral situation and maintenance. We assume that they “auto-clean” their teeth. They don’t. This is why we should learn how to teach our pets to be cooperative with regular tooth brushing.

You mean to say that my dog needs to be tooth-brushed, too? I have no problem with my pet ever since.

Yes, there is a thing such as brushing a dog’s teeth. Absence of any problems noted does not necessarily mean that the dog has a good oral health. You should regularly go to the vet to ensure that your pet’s oral and overall health is good.

Very Viral
Written by Ava   

There's Abbie, the graduate student that's studying the molecular and biochemical evolution of HIV and epigenetic control of endogenous retroviruses (ERVs). Then there's Abbie, the animal rescuer and pet owner who owns a dog named after a famous bodybuilder actor and who's family is known for rescuing stray pups.  

We got the chance to talk to Abbie about her work with animals and the viruses that could harm them, her devotion to rescuing dogs, her love for her dog Arnie, and of course, the blog that wraps all of that up in one pretty package.  

Why do you choose to study the evolution of viruses and how it impacts our health?

Honestly?  When I was little I wanted to be an astronaut.  I wanted to seek out new life and new civilizations like they did on Star Trek.  But real life doesnt really work that way, ha!  So I decided to study aliens right here on Planet Earth--Viruses.  Theyre weird little buggars, but theyve played a massive role in the evolution of life on this planet, including humans.  And viruses are absolutely everywhere.  They make up the largest biomass on this planet.  If aliens visited Earth, viruses would be the first thing they would notice.

Neuro Blogger
Written by Ava   

Mo is a UCL Neuroscience graduate and a Neurophilosophy blogger who comments on "molecules, minds and everything in between." So where do animals fit into the picture?

This neuroblogger and neuro expert frequently comments on animal intelligence research, animal behavior, cognitive skills, and occasionally, animal rights groups.  

How smart are animals? Read Mo's commentary and find out.  Then head on over to Neurophilosophy for more of his super smart, but totally relatable commentary on everything else.

Name That Creature
Written by Keith   
NAME THIS CREATURE:  A legally-protected species, this reptile grows in length up to one foot per year, uses its tail whip as primary weapon but yields razor sharp teeth and claws, may charge to attack during breeding season or when provoked, and lives in South Florida.

HINT: It’s not an alligator.

ANSWER: It’s an iguana.

The common green iguana (Iguana iguana) , the Mexican spiny-tailed iguana (Ctenosaura pectinata) and the black spiny-tailed iguana (C. similis) now roam the Everglades.  Perhaps it was inevitable in South Florida, a prominent destination in the exotic pet trade.  But it is unquestionable that due to the recklessness of pet owners, iguanas are eating the South Florida landscape and littering our yards, canals and parks with piles of odiferous (and salmonella-laden) waste.  See Smithsonian.  
On Ethical Grounds
Written by Ava   

Janet D. Stemwedel (or Dr. Free-Ride as her blog psuedonym goes) is a study in contrasts.  She's a philosopher now but but earned her Ph.D in physical chemistry. She muses on scientific research, but prides herself on promoting ethical conduct.  

Janet uses her blog, Adventures in Ethics and Science, as a means to muse on responsible conduct of scientific research with ethical means, but points out on the site that she usually ends up focusing on irresponsible conduct with an unethical means.  

Thus, I thought it would be appropriate to ask her her thoughts on the ethical or unethical nature of animal research for scientific purposes.  And she responded with some amazing insight from a philosophical and scientific standpoint.

Here's what Dr. Free-Ride had to say: 

The Paleontology Path
Written by Ava   

Who knew dinosaurs were in his future? Brian Switek certainly didn't, though he grew up gawking at their skeletal architecture, figures, and fossils. Despite having a deep love for these reptile ancestors, the New Jersey resident took it upon himself to study other topics, until he found himself back where he started--seeking out the paleontology he grew up enjoying immensely.

Perhaps the study of dinosaurs was meant for this paleontology buff and he took it upon himself to get all he could from his paleontology prospects.

Along the way, he picked up some blogging prospects, too, creating Laelaps for the crew and Dinosaur Tracking for a blog with Smithsonian magazine.  


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