27 May 2017

HEALTH - ZenCrate Partners With Veterinary Behaviorist for Study on Anxiety-Reducing Dog Den

When ZenCrate launched a kickstarter campaign last year for a crate designed to reduce anxiety in dogs, there was some question as to its effectiveness.

Designed with vibration-dampening technology and sound therapy, the crate sounded good to pet owners, but had limited data to back it up.

ZenCrate has now partnered with Dr. Lisa Radosta of Florida Veterinary Behavior Services to begin a series of clinical research studies that aim to determine the effect of ZenCrate’s anxiety-reducing abilities when it comes to noise and storm phobia in dogs.

“The ZenCrate holds promise as a part of a complete treatment plan for storm and noise aversion and phobias lowering fear, anxiety and stress in dogs afflicted with those disorders,” said Rodosta.

“I am excited to be a participant in upcoming research to assess the effect of the ZenCrate on fear, anxiety and stress in dogs afflicted with storm and noise aversions and phobias.”

Being one of the only 69 board certified veterinary behaviorists in the United States, Rodosta takes an innovative approach when it comes to her studies and use of medicine and has participated in tracking, obedience, herding and therapy dog work.

The crate includes an orthopedic memory foam bed, motion-activated music with a curated anti-anxiety playlist, sound insulation to reduce anxiety, motion-activated fan for improved ventilation and is WiFi enabled to view your pet from a smartphone.

Noise anxiety can be challenging to treat and historically has been managed through behaviour modification, anti-anxiety medicine, tranquilizers and gadgets like the ThunderShirt.

Last year, the FDA approved the first drug for noise anxiety in dogs - Sileo - which they recently released a warning about due to accidental overdoses.

26 May 2017

HR - Hiring in Today's Marketplace

Predictions of economic growth and increased employment opportunities in 2017, along with a large number of people looking for work, means businesses need to step up their recruitment game to find the best possible candidates.

With talk about millennials being “different” many companies are wondering just what needs to be changed in their recruitment process.

Canadian HR Reporter is offering a free webinar on June 1st - The New Face of Talent in Canada - that addresses how to effectively recruit from recent grads to recent retirees.

Everything from career sites, to employment brand, to how the application and onboarding process is laid out, affects how competently businesses are able to hire.

In this webinar participants will learn:  
  • Changes in candidate expectations today vs before
  • Areas of recruiting impacted by the changes
  • Simple ways your company can become more attractive to job seekers of all ages.

If you have ever been asked or wondered “Why do we have to do it differently than we did for years?” this webinar will provide you with answers.

25 May 2017

HEALTH - PREDICTing and Preventing the Next Global Pandemic

Preventing the next global pandemic is a priority for many health organizations.

Identifying risks is a critical part of the prevention process, and chances are good that the next major outbreak (like many of the previous) will be the result of a zoonotic disease.

Zoonotic diseases are those that cross species lines, like HIV/AIDS, Ebola, and both Avian and Swine Flu have.

Bubonic plague was another zoonotic disease, and so is malaria, which has been killing humans since 450 AD, and still infects a huge number of people globally.

Because zoonotic diseases are such a significant risk – 75 percent of emerging infectious diseases, and 60% of all human diseases, are zoonotic – responding to the threat is a major concern for global public health.

But how should health organizations, governments, and individuals respond? What methods are most effective at preventing the spread and impact of zoonotic diseases?

The answer is complicated.

One theory is the “dilution effect,” which suggests that biodiversity provides protection.

The underlying hypothesis of this theory is that maintaining a rich diversity of plant and animal species offers a buffer against zoonotic diseases.

It’s a good theory for multiple reasons, including the support it offers to conservation efforts.

If accurate, the dilution effect could be used to support increased focus on conservation and protecting the biodiversity that remains.

But the dilution effect is not a simple one, and some studies have found that increased biodiversity increases some risks while decreasing others.

A recent study found that protecting biodiversity did not have a consistent positive impact on human health, and this is not the ideal result for researchers who had hoped to find something that would clearly benefit both humans and the ecosystem within which we live.

Chelsea Wood, a lead researcher in the study, told Smithsonian Magazine, “I know that conservation provides so many benefits to human society beyond infectious disease transmission, but [with dilution theory] we consistently find a mixed bag, which is not a good outcome for people interested in selling conservation as disease control.”

Despite this “mixed bag” when it comes to the dilution effect, other efforts to address zoonotic disease risk are proving more consistently effective.

USAID PREDICT is a collaboration between University of California at Davis’s One Health Institute and School of Veterinary Medicine, the Wildlife Conservation Society, Metabiota, EcoHealth Alliance and the Smithsonian Institution’s Global Health Program.

The program is now eight years old, and has collected samples from over 56,000 wild animals, trained more than 2,500 government and medical professionals in over 20 countries, and has provided support during 23 outbreaks and 4 wildlife epidemics.

The goal of the program is to monitor ecosystem health in order to recognize and respond to threats before they reach epidemic levels among wildlife, and before the disease can hop across species to infect humans.

And although the dilution effect is a mixed bag, the positive outcomes of the PREDICT program interventions are clear.

The 2014 Ebola outbreak, that ravaged many West African countries, killed more than 11,000 people between 2014 and 2016.

In contrast, that same year, an Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo was significantly smaller and more contained, killing only 49 and lasting only three months.

The positive outcome was due to quick government response, enabled by the work that PREDICT had already done in training both medical staff and government officials.

The hope is that the PREDICT program can continue to work with governments and medical professionals globally, offering training and support to respond quickly and effectively to whatever new threats arise.

About Tiffany Sostar
Tiffany is a published academic, an editor with the Editors Association of Canada, an independent scholar and researcher, and a self-care and narrative coach. She is particularly interested in the intersection of technology and identity - how our tools shape our selves and change our stories, and in how the nature of work is changing as we incorporate more technology into our daily lives. 

23 May 2017

BUSINESS - Pet Care Market Predicted to Reach $117 Billion in 2021

Euromonitor International’s most recent forecast for the pet care market predicts it will hit $117 billion in 2021.

In the report, Healthy Pets, Happy Owners: Health & Wellness Product Development in Pet Care, it is projected that value sales will increase at a compound annual growth rate of 2.4 percent at constant prices.

According to the report: “health and wellness has become perhaps the main driver of innovation in pet care.”

Dog and cat food brands abound with products promising to aid weight management, slow cognitive decline in aging pets, or are grain- or gluten-free, natural and organic.

In pet products, natural ingredients and well-being have come to the fore, while electronic gadgets are enabling owners to monitor the activity levels of pets and even play with them remotely.

Euromonitor’s study aligns well with Packaged Facts’ report on the increasing popularity of natural and organic foods for pets, and the Nielson study on the humanization of pet foods.

The report analyzes a variety of factors influencing the pet care market such as:
  • Owners increasing unwillingness to compromise on the quality of food they feed their pets
  • The evolution of protein
  • The growth of internet retail
  • The lengthening life expectancy for dogs and cats and the increased prevalence of overweight and obese pets
  • The growth in pet tech
  • The accelerating pace of humanization.