Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Weldon Christmas Letter

Beth has for years written a Christmas letter that documents the ups and downs of the Weldon household. The mailing list has become quite large due to it's popularity so this year I thought I would post it for those that might think it was worth the read. It's a bit long but pretty funny.

The Christmas Letter

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! All are well. Mom turned 75 and she and dad went on the QE2 for 16 days to celebrate. Dad still practices part-time and plays tennis on Monday nights occasionally. Both have some health issues but are still quite active. Alan’s family is doing well but his parents also have health issues. All 4 kids are at Episcopal and though the monthly tuition check is painful it is nice having them at the same school with many cousins and an aunt, as well as each other to keep me apprised of “relevant” (like Polly, who hates peas, donating every can of peas in the house to the food drive) developments. My boss of 16 years sold the practice and I have 2 new bosses (another veterinarian and an ICU nurse at the Mayo Clinic who is our hospital manager). Dr. Myrick’s husband took a job in Gainesville and I really miss her. There are many changes and Alan thinks I have a difficult time with change but things seem to be going well. I still work 3 days a week and do most of the surgery in the practice now. I got a new Prius hybrid (Alan says now his next truck can be a 4x 4, he wants to call it “The Global Warmer”) and an Italian greyhound pup from Kiwi’s January litter, Netty (for Planetty, the Silver Princess of Oz in continuance with the Oz naming theme). She is silver of course and the kids are trying 1 more time to train a show dog. If this doesn’t work I will be done with trying to show dogs! Alan surfs, plays tennis, works out with a personal trainer (a resolution), yogas 1-2 times weekly, and as always works too hard. He shaped surfboards for the girls (see picture) and Murph this year. He has 2 associates and rotates call once every 4th weekend with them and a classmate of ours in town. We go to all of the Jaguar home games and Alan makes many Gator games as well. He even made the National Championship game in Arizona last year. He called me from a new 24 passenger stretch limo with 2 TV’s and a pool in back to let me know that he was having a cold Corona from the limo bar and he had arrived safely, while I was waiting in my second carpool line of the day and thinking about what to fix the feral children for dinner as soon as we got home. He’s such a considerate husband! I’m afraid that he was not a nice fan and enjoyed rubbing in every Florida point to the Ohio State fans that made the mistake of celebrating after their first (and last) quick score. We sit down at the dinner table 4-5 nights a week as a family and you would not believe the conversations. We discuss everything from what to look for in a mate to the origins of the Christian-Muslim tensions to whether Disco Duck or the theme song from HR Puffinstuff is the worst song ever written (no consensus). We made our annual trek to Cumberland, which as always made everyone’s top 5 of the year list. We also took a family cruise for spring break with the Nasrallahs that went to Belize, Roatan, Grand Cayman, and Costa Maya. The stingray city was very cool if a bit disconcerting (actually frightening to Mac). Polly was apprehensive at first (…it was the whole Steve Irwin thing) then Alan wiped the squid juice off of his hands on Polly’s swim suit which caused a feeding frenzy as dozens of stingrays began sucking all over her screaming body (what a Dad). Alan, Sarah, and I enjoyed the massages on the beach (Alan and I with great frozen margaritas). Sarah and Alan had hour-long back massages while I shopped. When I ran out of money I returned and asked Alan for his wallet and was reprimanded with “You’re messin’ with my Happy Place” as he handed it over, which caused a great deal of laughter by the other massage customers. Two months later, for Alan’s birthday, we spent a night and had a couple’s massage in St. Augustine, two tables and two masseuses (male and female). I immediately claimed the female masseuse and left the male for Alan. About 30 minutes into the massage my phone starts ringing in my purse and I ignore it. Alan is having the upper inner portion of his right thigh worked on and he teases me about interrupting our massage. He blurts out “ you’re messin’ with my happy place”(thinking that he will embarrass me), the startled and appalled masseuse immediately shifts his hands to work on Alan’s back. Realizing that the masseuse thought he was directing the comment at him, Alan started muttering about me, my phone, the quiet room etc until I wondered what was wrong with him. I was oblivious but laughed until I cried when Alan relayed the story to me afterwards! We spent a week at the beach this summer and finally made it to the mountains to stay with John, Erin, and their boys. Alan played tennis at least 4 times a week this summer with the kids and I probably played ½ that much in family tennis. We had some competitive tennis and Sarah learned that she loves angles and drop shots. The kids have all taken a shot at Pop in doubles but he is still undefeated in grandkid play. Alan and I went to the ACVIM meeting in Seattle this year for continuing education. I bought Alan some treats for the long flight out there including Snickers and Milky Way bars, and Milk Duds. He enjoyed his snacks and as we neared Seattle, he got up to use the restroom. He noticed that the stewardess was looking at him funny so when in the bathroom he checked the mirror for broccoli in his teeth or a booger. All looked good so he turned around and found to his profound embarrassment that some of the Milk Duds had missed his mouth and must have been sitting in his seat melting onto and into the crack of his pants for the last 1½ hours! He tried to remove the brown sticky stains to no avail. He took some toilet paper back to his seat to cover the Milk Dud mess in his seat so he wouldn’t get anymore stuck on him. That was a miscalculation because when he got up to disembark, he now had toilet paper and brown sticky stains on the back of his pants! I pressed as close behind him as I could get while trying not to laugh and attempted to shield the suspicious looking mess from view. There were no Milk Duds on the return trip. We had a great time with D.L., Eric, Patty, Robert, Anne, Will, and Ella in Seattle and there really is a Starbucks on every corner. We went to Halloween Horror nights at Universal Studios for the first time this year at the kids and cousins request. 3 out of 4 Weldon kids bailed after the first haunted house. Polly, the sole survivor insisted on walking between Alan and me with a death grip on each of our arms through all of the rest of the haunted houses. She refused to walk sandwiched with us in front and back of her. Unfortunately, the doorways are made for 1 person to walk through and with 3 across we stuck in every one! I thought I was in a 3 stooges skit. Sarah is taller than I am now and has blossomed into a really nice young lady. She rowed crew in the spring and ran cross-country again this fall (thanks to the bribe of no chores during cross country, a trip to visit cousin Cate and Aunt Connie by herself in New Hampshire, an MP3 player, and TV privileges on weekdays if all of her homework is done during cross-country season). She went to the Dominican Republic this summer on a mission trip. Unfortunately, for no apparent reason, I left Alan and Sarah in charge of the details of this trip. Sarah attended the meetings and I did not get involved until a week before the trip when it was time to pack. As I read the handout of necessities, I noticed a whole section on vaccines and malaria prevention, which needed to be started 2 weeks before leaving. When questioned, neither Alan nor Sarah knew anything about either of these recommendations (I have my suspicions about Sarah who abhors shots!) I discovered that it was too late for shots or prevention after talking to 2 travel doctors so I bought her some really strong Deet (98% it was available at the drug store so I hope it’s safer than malaria but I’m not certain) and told her to wear long sleeves and pants as much as possible and to keep the germ theory at the forefront of her thoughts. She had a wonderful experience and so far the test results for Malaria are still negative! She finished Latin last spring and all of her grades have gone up significantly without that drain on her time. She wants to go to college in the coldest place she can find (I suspect that this means as far away from us as possible). In March, Sarah was about to get her license and needed more driving hours so she drove us down to Miami to catch the cruise. We left in plenty of time so Sarah could follow all traffic laws and she did a great job until we had to stop for gas. Everyone piled out of the car and ran to the restroom while Sarah proceeded to lock the keys in the car, on a Sunday morning, in a rural area of Florida between Jacksonville and Miami. Fortunately she comes by it honestly and while Alan was pointing out that now we would miss the boat and that Sarah had ruined our vacation in a heated lecture, I went inside, procured a coat hanger and had the door open in less than 5 minutes (Alan suspects this is from my days in the Avondale Hood)! Murphy grew 4½ inches last year and put on 25 pounds. He is now taller than I am. His grades continue to be a roller coaster ride. A-B Honor roll one semester and 3 C’s the next mid-term. This means he spends much time missing TV, computer time, and outings with friends. He is actually the most likely to take up for me and berate the others for whining or making my day more difficult (he does not always recognize these weaknesses in himself however). He played JV Lacrosse, JV Soccer (even with a broken toe), ran JV cross-country this year, and is addicted to Guitar Hero (when he is not on grade restrictions). His high light this year was getting his license. My lowlight this year was Murph getting his license. I took him to get his Learner’s Permit. The test center is on a busy highway so I did not let him drive until we reached a residential street with low traffic on our way back to the beach house. I learned my lesson with Sarah (who is actually a great driver now) and had Alan take Murphy driving on several occasions this year to the corner food store, out of driveway, etc. We pulled into the convenience store and I parked so we could change places. Murphy couldn’t wait to get started but I stopped him to give some basic instructions. “Always put your foot on the brake before you put the car into gear.” A simple instruction but Murphy looked at me with a blank stare and inquired, “Which one is the brake?” I laughed and then realized that he was serious. “What do you mean which one is the brake? You’ve been driving with daddy all year!” He replied simply “Yeah but I never used the brake.” I calmed myself, sure that it would be fine and we started along the 25 mph street. As we approached the first stop sign my foot started stomping involuntarily until I realized that Murphy had no intention of stopping, then it started stomping in earnest as I screeched “STOP Murphy, didn’t you see the STOP sign, that means YOU!” “Oh” he said sheepishly “I didn’t see it.” After 2 more unseen stop signs I decided that maybe it wasn’t going to be fine. Consider yourselves warned! Polly continues to have the best sense of comical timing. While on the cruise, one of the comedians asked if anyone had sat on the airline like suction/vacuum type toilet and flushed while still on it. Up goes Polly’s hand and when he asked why she did such a crazy thing, she responded “It saves on toilet paper!” The comedian had to stop to laugh and asked if he could use that in his next show. Although she is still mostly great I see flashes of surly peevishness, which I fear portend some difficult times in the teen years ahead but they are also a comfort as it shows that she is forging her own way. She was horrified when Mac had better grades than she did after the first quarter and Alan has been teasing her about it ever since (how does it feel to B second!) She had to have a root canal in a front upper tooth right before we went to Universal and Dr.Holland was amazed that she was not in excruciating pain much sooner as the pulp was entirely dead. I didn’t tell him that the fear of Novocain shots was worse than excruciating pain for Polly. She missed cross-country practice for the first appointment and then again the next day for the root canal. The next day was cross-country JV Champs, her last meet, so the poor kid ran on ½ of a pain pill (maybe that made it easier!) She got the Celeste Hampton award for character but I think she got it for sheer guts! Avondale has a little Christmas street festival every year and this year Polly took her Italian greyhound Momo (short for Winged Monkey), up to the festival with her. Maurice Jones-Drew running back of the Jacksonville Jaguars was attending and signing autographs. Polly asked him to sign her dog (actually her dog’s sweater). He did and told Polly that Momo was the first dog that he had ever signed! Mac, what to say, always last but definitely not least. He is bright, impulsive, loves playing the computer, distractible, has lots of nosebleeds, and still likes to get in my lap when he is in the mood. He was the Nutcracker in the Fishwier play last Christmas and was Michael Jackson in Thriller in the spring production. He did a great job and was quite the cat’s meow the last month of school and was mobbed by fans at the 5th grade dance. He even had a groupie of sorts (he asked what the difference between a groupie and a girlfriend was and I explained not much in this case). If you want to see it go to Youtube and search Fishwier Thriller it’s worth the effort. He was center stage in the Episcopal talent show in a dance number and when they stepped on the chairs seat and then the top to ride them down as they exited the stage, Mac was a little behind and hurrying. He hurtled onto the chair and fell flat on his face. Before everyone could get out a gasp he leapt up and tapped danced off the stage throwing his arms wide like it was part of the show! Mac dances through life and talked 6 other boys in his class to go out for the dance troupe resulting in the largest number of boys in the dance troupe ever. He is wrestling and so far has had only 1 nosebleed. He was undefeated after his first 6 matches with only 3 weeks of wrestling but has lost his last 3 to older more experienced boys. He continues to fence and is doing great in school so far. He had a great time on the school field trip to the Keys. My final advice to him was “Be sure to get out of the shark pond if your nose starts bleeding!” We wish you all blessings. Love, Alan, Beth, Sarah, Murphy, Polly, and Mac

The Annual Ski Trip





We really don't get to do this very often but squeezed it in this year. When the kids finished their exams ( I should say I finished their exams, didn't think I would be doing Chemistry, History, Physics and Biology at this stage in my life) we bugged out for North Carolina . It's a 7 hour drive to Cataloochie and while not the best skiing it was great for the kids. All of their cousins went as well, Katie,Anna, Sally, Tucker and Meg as well as the Stiefels. We had 17 in all. What I learned.
1. Sarah is cautious 2. Murphy likes to get air 3. Polly hates wearing a helmet and 4. Mac is fearless and goes real fast. We got to ski 10-11 hours on Wednesday and nobody got hurt. we only did a 2 day trip and made it back for work on Friday. The bad thing is that since I'm such a last minute shopper it really cut into my Christmas shopping time......but it was worth it.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

cloned cats glow in the dark.


I didn't believe it when i saw this, but.......seeing is believing.

A group of South Korean scientists led by Kong Il-keun, a cloning expert at Gyeongsang National University, produced three cats possessing altered fluorescence protein (RFP) genes, the Ministry of Science and Technology said. The plan is to be able to manipulate the genome so that certain genetic diseases can be eliminated. I suspect the fluorescent protein gene was added from fish that possess a similar gene but it didn't say in the report.

"This technology can be applied to clone animals suffering from the same diseases as humans," the leading scientist, Kong, told AFP.

"It will also help develop stemcell treatments," he said, noting that cats have some 250 kinds of genetic diseases that affect humans, too.

The South Koreans were discredited several years ago when one of their scientists was found cheating on his cloning studies, he is now standing trial.

The North Koreans tried to down play the South Korean results. Government Science bureau director Sum Dum Prek stated " North Korean cats glow in dark to....particularly those around the Yong bong nuclear plant"

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Terrorist's still targeting airlines



While it's been a while since the 9-11 attacks, it appears that the jihadists are still trying to penetrate our airline security. It doesn't receive a great deal of press but there have been repeated "dry-runs" that the TSA have reported and have been acknowledged by the White House. Number 177 is interesting and was recently published on PatDollard's website. I wonder why they have not gone after a less guarded set of targets and remain absessed with commercial airliners. Perhaps the spectacular nature of their prior success. Regardless.....they don't seem to have stopped trying.

Suspicious Activity On board Flight to Milwaukee

On 24 October 2007, crew members aboard a Reagan-Washington National to Milwaukee General Mitchell International Airport flight reported to a Federal Flight Deck Officer (FFDO) flying in non-mission status that they noticed suspicious behavior by four passengers.

One of the subjects entered and exited the rear aircraft lavatory three times and failed to comply with crewmembers’ verbal instructions. The FFDO seated himself near this subject to observe his behavior. Shortly afterward, two more of the subjects moved into the aisles and entered both lavatories. After one of the subjects vacated the rear left lavatory, the FFDO searched it, noting that the mirror above the sink was not properly latched.

He exited the lavatory and a fourth subject was waiting second in line with a passenger in front of him. The FFDO offered the fourth subject access to the right lavatory, but the subject declined, claiming the right lavatory was dirty.The FFDO noted the right lavatory was clean, and the subject reluctantly entered the right lavatory and remained there for an extended period of time.

TSA Office of Intelligence Comment: Although there is no information that the aircraft was being specifically targeted for a future terrorist attack, the actions of the four passengers are highly suspicious. FFDO confirmation of possible tampering of the lavatory mirror in one of the lavatories could be indicative of an attempt to locate concealment areas for smuggling criminal contraband or terrorist materials. In this case, it appears the left lavatory was the sole area of interest for the passengers. One subject’s excuse that the right lavatory was dirty when it was confirmed to be clean shows the four passengers had a specific, operational objective. Although unconfirmed at this time, this incident has many of the elements of pre-operational terrorist planning.

Source: TSA Suspicious Incidents Report #177

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Veterans Day Parade




Every year Jacksonville has a wonderful Veterans day parade and this years was today. We have made a point of taking our kids to each one since they were in strollers . Now I have to take them out of school....all schools were out today EXCEPT Jacksonville Episcopal High School. They get out for almost any possible holiday except for the one that guarantees the freedom to celebrate all of the others. I must say that all of their teachers were in favor of them going so good for them. Jacksonville is a big Navy town and was the birth place of the Blue Angles so there is always a huge Navy and Marine presence in the parade. I always look forward to the few Pearl Harbor survivors that march in their Hawaiian aloha shirts but the numbers get smaller each year. This year there was a Veteran Tuskegee airman and a USS Indianapolis survivor( the ship that carried the atomic bomb to the Pacific that was torpedoed afterwards and many of the sailors were killed by sharks).
WWII veterans are dying at a very rapid rate and soon they will be a memory celebrated on Memorial day, so I try to instill in my children just how important it is to stop and say "Thank you" to the Vets of yesterday as well as the ones risking it all today. Happy Veterans Day.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Worlds tallest horse


The Instapundit has a post up today about The Worlds Tallest Horse. The horse is named Tina and is a large English Shire......and get this .....she is 20 hands tall ( 4" per hand). Thats 6'6" at the withers and a long way to the ground from the saddle. From the Knoxville News-
Tina, the large English Shire who recently became the tallest horse in the world, has now been certified by the Guinness Book of World Records. Owners Marge and Jim Williams have received the official papers from the organization after Tina was measured last summer for the record at 20 hands (80 inches) at her withers.
I have worked on a lot of tall ones over the years but I bet that one would be a real bugger to pass a stomach tube on.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

race


If horses could talk

Socks the Cat.....Dumped by Hillary


I don't delve into politics on my blog, but this really pisses me off. I hate it when clients want to dump pets. I've seen it throughout my career where owners get tired of the responsibility of a pet. I hear " he/she will require to much effort or expense or the child is now gone to school "and get this
....they ask me to put the horse down, or who can I "donate" them to. To me it's the "you broke it-you bought it" thing. You ARE responsible for that pet. So when I read this article from " The Times Online" it got my blood boiling. I remember Socks the cat from the Clinton White House which was new....usually it's the White House dog. It now looks like that was just a political move as Socks was dumped on Betty Currie when they left the White House. We have 3 cats in the Weldon household....one of them was a "dump offs" at my wife's clinic that we took in. One found it's way to our house after my sister-in-law took my oldest daughter by the feed store ( free kittens) and one is a truly great inside cat. We didn't just pass the less likable cats off, we take care of them. "

AS THE “first pet” of the Clinton era, Socks, the White House cat, allowed “chilly” Hillary Clinton to show a caring, maternal side as well as bringing joy to her daughter Chelsea. So where is Socks today?

Once the presidency was over, there was no room for Socks any more. After years of loyal service at the White House, the black and white cat was dumped on Betty Currie, Bill Clinton’s personal secretary, "

I don't know about any of the other candidates but I think how a person treats animals says a lot about their character. My wife had a client that was pretty high up in a local bank and her favorite interview question for tellers was about their own pets. She found that those with pets were better in dealing with people. From the Times-Online.....

“In the annals of human evil, off-loading a pet is nowhere near the top of the list,” writes Caitlin Flanagan in the current issue of The Atlantic magazine. “But neither is it dead last, and it is especially galling when said pet has been deployed for years as an all-purpose character reference.”

Flanagan’s article, headed No Girlfriend of Mine, points out that Clinton wrote a crowd-pleasing book Dear Socks, Dear Buddy: Kids’ Letters to the First Pets, in which she claimed that only with the arrival of Socks and his “toy mouse” did the White House “become a home”.

I guess that home just doesn't have room for Socks anymore.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

MRSA-Superbug?


I'm sure you have heard alot on the news about the new "super bug"( here) . It is a drug resistant strain of Staph Aureus or a Staph infection. The bad thing about this one is that it's resistant to antibiotics. This really isn't new, it's been coming for some time now. There has been numerous reports of MRSA for years and we probably created it by our over use of antibiotics, in animal feeds, treating kids ear infections and allowing the over the counter sale of antibiotics to farmers and horse owners. Now we have a problem, it is quite likely that we will see more of these with other bacteria. The resistance can be transmitted between organisms via plasmids fro bacteriophages. These are viruses that attack bacteria and can transport the genetic component that is responsible for resistance.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Interesting Strategy in Afganistan


There are interesting reports that the Global Jihad movement may be splintering. The American Thinker is reporting on this now. "In March and again in May of this year I reviewed relevant South Asian media reporting to predict that the global Islamic jihad movement was cracking up. That theory focused on a split between the leadership of al Qaeda and the jihad groups that secure them in Pakistan such as the Taliban.".
It appears that the U.S. used this split to set an elaborate trap in Afghanistan. Acc
ording to the UK Telegraph...
But an observer may wonder why, if al Qaeda had to vacate the camps, didn't they just go to other hideouts in Pakistan? According to this article in the Telegraph:
The Uzbeks are a surviving remnant of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, an al-Qa'eda affiliate that fought with the Taliban against the Americans in 2001.

Its surviving members fled into Pakistan's lawless tribal belt where earlier this year their hosts turned against them following a dispute. Afghan leaders say that the Uzbeks were recently given the choice to fight the Americans in Afghanistan or face annihilation by the local tribes.
At least one sizable group of al-Qa'eda and Taliban fighters is continuing to resist despite heavy bombing raids and attacks from US Special Forces. American military spokesmen declined to corroborate the claim, saying the operation was ongoing.

In addition, the leader of the Pakistani jihadist groups, Maulana Fazlur Rahman, was notified a few months ago that he was on a Dead Pool style list of people that al Qaeda wanted assassinated. Rahman came to our attention in captured Iraqi documents as the go between for Saddam and the Taliban arranging military and security agreements between the two in 1999. (Our book Both In One Trench: Saddam's Secret Terror Documents will be available on Amazon.com in a few weeks.) I mentioned before that he had turned over al Qaeda associated terrorists to the Libyan government and this had made him an enemy of al Qaeda.
He is probably the most responsible for turning the Taliban -- which he had a significant hand in creating -- against al Qaeda. Which means, believe it or not, on some level he may be working with the Pakistani government and possibly the US government, since he is purely an opportunist. No doubt he will not advertise that fact to his jihadists buddies.

This cannot be overstated: it is the most crucial development since the capture of Khalid Sheik Mohammed. Cutting al Qaeda's support in Pakistan has been a massive coup, of which our media has no clue of right now.

If you will recall ,VP Cheney went to Pakistan several months ago and it was leaked that we had coordinates for 29 terrorist camps in Pakistan that we were getting ready to bomb since Mushariff was not taking care of them. Since there was now a split within Al Qaeda they were only left with a path into Afghanistan that the Americans left open. Once across the border inside Tora Bora the U.S. closed the door. Now they were actually where we could attack them.

MSNBC is reporting on the battle here. The interesting thing here is that there is very little reporting coming out of this operation. Apparently there are NO reporters allowed in this one. Ray Robinson thinks that the full story may not be told for years but could be a huge Military, Intelligence and Diplomatic success splintering the Jihadist movement worldwide. This story is really worth watching. I for one never underestimate the breadth of the Jihadist movement or their resiliency. Lets just hope it's true.It would be welcome news.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Screwworms found in Mississippi



Screwworms were eradicated in the US years ago by using a unique method. Male flies were irradiated to make them sterile and then released into the wild making breedings infertile. Now there is a report of screwworms being found in Mississippi. Here's the USDA report.
"Dr. Henry Moreau, State Veterinarian, reports that Screwworms were confirmed in Mississippi on September 21, 2007 in a dog that was imported from Trinidad. Screwworms are flesh-eating larvae (maggots) that can infect any warm-blooded mammal, and if untreated can be fatal. Screwworms are on the list of OIE Foreign Animal Diseases that have been eradicated from the U.S., Mexico, and Central America, and economic effects would be devastating to livestock if a re-infestation were to occur in the U.S. Veterinarians are the first line of defense against FAD's, so please be on the look-out for these parasites. Attached is a fact sheet on Screwworms, and please call our office at 225-925-3980 to ask questions or to report anything suspicious. Thank you."
Importance
Screwworms are fly larvae (maggots) that feed on living flesh. These parasites can infect any mammal or bird and can enter wounds as small as a tick bite. Left untreated, screwworm infestation can be fatal. Screwworms have been eradicated in the United States, Mexico, and all countries in Central America; however, they could become re–established from larvae carried on infested animals.
Etiology
New World screwworm myiasis is caused by the larvae of Cochliomyia hominivorax
(Coquerel). Old World screwworm myiasis is caused by the larvae of Chrysomya bezziana (Villeneuve). These fly larvae are obligate parasites of live animals and feed on the living tissues and fluids inside wounds.
Species affected
All warm–blooded animals can be infested by screwworms; however, these parasites
are much more common in mammals than in birds.
Geographic distribution
Screwworms are very susceptible to freezing temperatures and to long periods of near–freezing temperatures. These organisms are seasonal in some areas, and can spread into colder climates during the summer.
New World screwworms are found only in the western hemisphere, primarily in the tropical and semitropical regions of South America, but are rare above 7,000 feet. These parasites were once widespread, but eradication programs (through the release of sterile male flies) have eliminated them from the United States, Mexico, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Curacao, and all of Central America and most of Panama, leaving only a small zone at the border with Colombia. The New World screwworm still exists in some countries of South America and on some Caribbean islands. Eradication programs are ongoing in Jamaica. In 1988, New World screwworms were detected in Libya, but have since been eradicated.
C. bezziana, the Old World screwworm, can be found in Southeast Asia, Kuwait, the Indian subcontinent, the main island of Papua New Guinea, tropical and sub–Saharan Africa, Oman, Muscat, and Fujaira. This fly has never become established in Europe, North Africa, Australia, the Middle East, or the Western Hemisphere.
Transmission
Screwworm infestations are transmitted when a female fly lays her eggs on a superficial
wound. Occasionally, Old World screwworms also lay their eggs on unbroken soft skin, particularly if it has blood or mucous discharges on its surface. The larvae hatch and burrow into the wound or into the flesh. Wounds infested by screwworms often attract other female screwworms, and multiple infestations are common. After feeding for 5 to 7 days, the screwworm larvae leave the wound and fall to the ground, then burrow
into the soil to pupate. The adults that emerge feed on wound fluids and mate after 3–5 days. The lifespan of a male fly is approximately 14 days; 30 days is common for a female.Female screwworms are attracted to all warm–blooded animals. The distance a fly will travel can range from 10–20 km in tropical environments with a high density of animals to as far as 300 km in arid environments. Outbreaks in non–endemic areas often occur when animals with screwworm myiasis are introduced or when adult flies are carried in vehicles.
Incubation period
Screwworm larvae emerge from the eggs in 8 to 12 hours. They mature in 5 to 7 days and leave the wound to pupate.
Clinical signs
Screwworms can infest a wide variety of wounds, from tick bites to cuts, dehorning or branding wounds, and other injuries. Infestations are very common in the navels of newborns.In the first day or two, screwworm infestations are difficult
to detect. Often, all that can be seen is slight motion inside the wound. As the larvae feed, the wound gradually enlarges and deepens. Infested wounds often have a serosanguineous discharge and sometimes a distinctive odor. By the third day, the larvae may be easily found; as many as 200 vertically oriented parasites can be packed deep inside the wound. However, screwworm larvae do not generally crawl on the surface, and tend to burrow deeper when disturbed. Sometimes, there may be large pockets of larvae with only small openings in the skin. Screwworms may be particularly difficult to find inside the nasal, anal, and vaginal openings. In dogs, the larvae often tunnel under the skin. Larvae from other species of flies, which feed on dead and decaying tissues,may also infest the wound.
Infested animals usually separate from the herd and lie down in shady areas. Discomfort, decreased appetite, and lower milk production are common. Untreated animals may die in 7 to 14 days from toxemia and dehydration and/or secondary infections.
Post mortem lesions
Screwworms may be found post–mortem in any wound.
Morbidity and Mortality
The morbidity from screwworms varies, but can be very high when the ecological conditions are favorable. In some areas, screwworms may infest the navel of nearly every newborn animal. A single deposition of eggs, or a treated infestation, is not usually fatal; however, deaths may occur in smaller animals or from secondary infections. Untreated wounds usually
develop multiple infestations and are often fatal within 7 to 10 days. Deaths seem to be more common with the New World screwworm than with the Old World screwworm. Screwworm infestations can be successfully treated with topical larvacides or some drugs. No vaccine is available.
Diagnosis
Clinical
Screwworm myiasis should be suspected in animals with draining or enlarging wounds with symptoms of infestation.
New World screwworm eggs are creamy and white, and are deposited in a shingle–like array on or near the edges of superficial wounds. The egg masses of Old World screwworms are similar but larger. The eggs from other species of flies are usually not well organized.
The second and third instar larvae of screwworms resemble a wood screw. They are cylindrical, with one pointed
end and one blunt end, and have complete rings of dark brown spines around the body. In third stage larvae, dark tracheal tubes can be found on the dorsum of the posterior end (101). Field diagnosis, even with a microscope or magnifying glass, is difficult.
Female screwworm flies are larger than a housefly. The thorax of a New World screwworm is dark blue to blue–green and the head is reddish–orange (102). On the back of the thorax, there are three longitudinal dark stripes; the center stripe is incomplete. The Old World screwworm is green to bluish–black, with two transverse stripes on the thorax. Adult screwworms are difficult to distinguish from other flies.
Differential Diagnosis
The differential diagnosis includes all other blowfly larvae that may infest wounds.
Laboratory Tests
Laboratory diagnosis is by identification of the parasites under the microscope. Serology is not used.
Samples to collect
Before collecting or sending any samples from animals
with a suspected foreign animal disease, the proper authorities should be contacted. Samples should only be sent under secure conditions and to authorized laboratories to prevent the spread of the disease. Screwworms can infest humans; samples should be collected and handled with all appropriate precautions.Larvae should be removed from the wound with forceps before the wound is treated. The larvae should be collected from the deepest parts of the wound. Any eggs on the edge of the wound should be carefully removed with a scalpel. The samples of eggs, larvae, or flies should be placed in 80% alcohol and transported to the laboratory. Formalin should not be used.
Recommended actions if screwworm is suspected Notification of authorities
Screwworm infestations should be reported to state or federal authorities immediately upon diagnosis or suspicion
of the disease. Federal: Area Veterinarians in Charge (AVICS) http://www.aphis.usda.gov/vs/area_offices.htm
State vets: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/vs/sregs/official.
Screwworm Myiasis
Quarantine and Disinfection
Organophosphate insecticides are effective against newly hatched larvae, immature forms, and adult flies. Larvae
inside wounds must be treated with a suitable larvacide. Spraying or dipping animals with an approved insecticide and treating infested wounds can protect against new infestations for 7 to 10 days. Larvae that are removed from the wound must be placed in alcohol preservative or destroyed. If any larvae leave an infested wound and mature into adults, screwworm can become established in an area.
Public health
Humans can be hosts for screwworm larvae.
For More Information
World Organization for Animal Health (OIE)
http://www.oie.int
OIE Manual of Standards
http://www.oie.int/eng/normes/mmanual/a_summry.htm
OIE International Animal Health Code
http://www.oie.int/eng/normes/mcode/A_summry.htm
USAHA Foreign Animal Diseases book
http://www.vet.uga.edu/vpp/gray_book/FAD/
References
“New World Screwworm (Cochliomyia hominivorax) and Old World Screwworm (Chrysomya bezziana).” In Manual of Standards for Diagnostic Tests and Vaccines.
Paris: World Organization for Animal Health, 2000, pp. 313–321.
“Obligatory Myiasis–Producing Flies.” In The Merck Veterinary Manual, 8th ed. Edited by S.E. Aiello and A. Mays. Whitehouse Station, NJ: Merck and Co., 1998, pp. 652–4.
Novy, J. E. “Screwworm Myiasis.” In Foreign Animal Diseases. Richmond, VA: United States Animal Health Association, 1998, pp. 372–383.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Why dumb people shouldn't own horses

This video is hilarious, stupid but hilarious. I've seen owners and a few Veterinary students when I was a resident that could give this lady a run for her money though .
video

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Mystery meterorite makes peruvians sick



A meteorite exploded near a village in Peru monday causing many inhabitants to become ill. It left a 100 ft. wide crater that had boiling water in its center. They complained of chemical smells and sulfur , likely Hydrogen sulfide gas. Around midday Saturday, villagers were startled by an explosion and a fireball that many were convinced was an airplane crashing near their remote village, located in the high Andes department of Puno in the Desaguadero region, near the border with Bolivia.

"Seven policemen who went to check on the reports also became ill and had to be given oxygen before being hospitalized, Lopez said.

Rescue teams and experts were dispatched to the scene, where the meteorite left a 100-foot-wide (30-meter-wide) and 20-foot-deep (six-meter-deep) crater, said local official Marco Limache.

Video link - here

Sunday, September 16, 2007

leishmaniasis reported in Texas-Baghdad Boil


9 cases of human leishmaniasis have been reported in N. Texas. This disease is found in South America ,Mexico and the Middle East. It has also been called "the Baghdad boil" and is caused by the single celled parasite Leishmania. The infection causes large sores that look like boils and usually last six to 12 months. Doctors suspect human infection begins when a sand fly bites a rodent called the burrowing wood rat, which carries the parasite. When the sand fly later bites a person, the sores may develop.
( on line lecture-Dr Andrews bio-seminars link)
For those who contract Leishmaniasis weeks of hospital treatment with some very strong drugs is required. Nearly all patients experience side effects from the drug, which include debilitating fevers and headaches, incredible fatigue, and other conditions including chemical pancreatitis.

The best drug for treating Leishmaniasis is called Pentosam, registered in Britain since 1978. This drug, which is based on the heavy metal, antimony, is not registered in the United States. U.S. servicemen are being treated with it because the surgeon general of the Army has a special arrangement with the Food and Drug Administration for "Investigational New Drug Protocols," and the Centers for Disease Control maintain a supply. INDP is an odd way of describing a drug that was originally developed in the 1950s, but at least the troops are able to get it. If a civilian like me were to find himself with the "Baghdad Boil," I'd have to fly to England to buy the drug or hope the CDC in Atlanta looked kindly on me.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Whats killing all the Honeybees?



There has been an unusual event occurring in US bee colonies recently, it's called "Colony collapse disorder". This is very significant in that %50 of US bee hives are affected and they are needed to pollinate over 90 different fruit and vegetable crops estimated at $14 billion annually. There are 2 schools of thought about the cause (1) via SFGate.com

A UCSF researcher who found the SARS virus in 2003 and later won a MacArthur Foundation "genius grant" for his work thinks he has discovered a culprit in the alarming deaths of honeybees across the United States.

Tests of genetic material taken from a "collapsed colony" in Merced County point to a once-rare microbe that previously affected only Asian bees but might have evolved into a strain lethal to those in Europe and the United States, biochemist Joe DeRisi said Wednesday.

DeRisi said tests conducted on material from dead bees at his Mission Bay lab found genes of the single-celled, spore-producing parasite Nosema ceranae, which researchers in Spain have recently shown is capable of wiping out a beehive.

(2) The 2nd and newest theory is a viral infection cause by the IAPV- Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus

Scientific sleuths have a new suspect for a mysterious affliction that has killed off honeybees by the billions: a virus previously unknown in the United States.

The new found virus may prove to have added nothing more than insult to the injuries bees already suffer, said several experts unconnected to the study.

"This may be a piece or a couple of pieces of the puzzle, but I certainly don't think it is the whole thing," said Jerry Hayes, chief of the apiary section of Florida's Agriculture Department.

Still, surveys of honey bees from decimated colonies turned up traces of the virus nearly every time. Bees untouched by the phenomenon were virtually free of it. That means finding the virus should be a red flag that a hive is at risk and merits a quarantine, scientists said.

Preliminary research shows some bees can integrate genetic information from the virus into their own genomes, apparently giving them resistance, Sela said in a telephone interview. Sela added that about 30 percent of the bees he has examined had done so.

Those naturally "transgenic" honeybees theoretically could be propagated to create stocks of virus-resistant insects, Lipkin said.

While this stuff never makes it to the evening news it has a huge impact on the US Agriculture industry and is something we should watch closely.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

EHV-5 linked to new Respiratory Disease

There is a new Respiratory disease that presents like "Heaves" in the horse. This condition may have been around for a while but not identified as a separate clinical entity until now.
"Equine multi nodular pulmonary fibrosis is characterized by coalescing nodules (scaring) in the alveoli of the lungs. Clinical signs include a low-grade fever,weight loss and progressive respiratory disease that is often mistaken for heaves or bacterial pneumonia, but doesn't respond to therapy". Dr Kurt Williams DVM Dipl ACVP at Michigan State University connected the disease with EHV-5 when he found viral inclusion bodies in cells obtained of the affected tissue. As of now it is not known if this is a new variant of EHV-5 or the common strain. Corticosteroids are the treatment of choice but an accurate diagnosis is required since steroids could make bacterial or fungal pneumonia worse. The diagnosis is made via a bronchial alveolar lavage (BAL) and percutaneous lung biopsy. A paper on 24 cases will be published this year in Veterinary Pathology.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Mysterious Camel deaths in Saudi Arabia



About 250 camels have died in a 4 day period in Saudi Arabia in the Dawasir Valley. From an Epidemiology standpoint....that's a lot in a short amount of time. The Saudi Government is pointing towards contaminated feed whereas camel owners/traders ( mostly Bedouin herders) think it's something infectious. There has been concern in the Middle east about the H5N1 "bird Flu" and it has been found twice this year. I always look at mass deaths with concern as was the case of the recent Foot and Mouth disease outbreak in England. In that case it was a security breach from a local lab and may have even been deliberate. It is still under investigation. I doubt this outbreak in Saudi was FMD as the animals died so fast, this points to either poison,toxin or a very serious infectious agent(ie. Botulism, Viral (encephalitis, influenza) . They are asking for outside help and my guess is that the CDC already has samples in Atlanta. With the rapid transit of pathogens I watch for these outbreaks as they could always be our problem next year.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Hotdoggin...Polly workin' her new board






Had a great weekend but even with small waves the kids (and myself) had a great time. Polly is really getting her new board wired. Since it was breaking in fairly shallow water she really had to work on her bottom turn so she didn't eat it. We did a mini-surf camp with most of my nieces and nephews there. It turned into a 4 hour surf session. Beth's brother Robert got some great photos of them...some were quite funny.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Two new custom surfboards



A long time ago....I won't elaborate, I made my own surfboard. I mentioned this to my kids and they said we should do it again. I've had two Clark long board blanks in my garage for over 2 years and each year I resolved to shape them and for 2 years I got boo's on New Years day for not doing it. This spring I started doing one of them and took my time. After about 2 weeks of on and off shaping I had finished a 8'0'' longboard for my youngest daughter Polly. I then went after the other blank with a vengeance. In one night I shaped a 9'0'' noserider for my oldest daughter Sarah. Since they really turned out well I took them down to Drew at Inspired Surfboards and had him fiberglass them with Epoxy for me. He did a superb job and even put down the Hawaiian print fabric for me. I picked them up last Friday and headed to the beach and naturally it was flat....no surf but we stayed thru the weekend. On Sunday just after lunch the surf started to break on the outside sandbar and the kids were able to hit it. They had a blast catching just about every swell that came through. Mac, my youngest was riding my old short board and said he wanted to make one like that.....until he rode Sarah's 9-0. Mac was flying into every wave....it helps to only weigh about 50lbs. All in all it was a great time out, now I have to start on boards for the boys.
Aloha

Friday, July 13, 2007

The Running of the Bulls-two brothers gored.





This year the historic running of the bulls in Pamplona Spain turned tragic for someone other than the bulls this time. While the running of the bulls takes place in many Spanish cities, the one in Pamplona is the most well known. The tradition dating back to 1591 follows the release of the bulls from holding pens on one side of town and the herding of them through the streets to the stadium where they will be killed that night during the bull fights. Historically young men and boys would jump down onto the street and run among the bulls to show their bravado. This year there were 9 injuries including 2 American brothers trying to do the same.
"A bull that broke from the pack seriously gored two American brothers, catching one on each of its horns during the running of the bulls festival in Pamplona, but both were recovering Friday in the hospital.
Lawrence and Michael Lenahan were gored simultaneously by the bull, ( one in the leg and the other in the "buttocks") which also injured 11 other people Thursday. It was the worst day for injuries in the nine-day festival." Usually the run only lasts 2 minutes but this year it went for over 6 minutes as one wanted to inflict a little damage along the way. Hemingway popularized the event in "The Sun also rises" and it has become an international event attracting participants from around the globe.
Since records began being kept in 1924, 13 people have been killed in the runs. The last fatality, a 22-year-old American, occurred in 1995.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

More than 240 Goats die in Traffic accident


There was a tragic accident this past Friday in California when a Tractor trailer carrying goats overturned and more than 240 died. Now that sounds bad enough but the circumstances surrounding it are much worse.

Many of the animals, en route to clear vegetation in Mill Valley, suffocated when the rig overturned near Irene Street on "The Loop" traffic route, police said.

The truck, owned by Orinda-based Goats R Us, was transporting about 400 animals from Milpitas to the Golden Gate Theological Seminary when the driver pulled off the freeway for a cup of coffee, police said.

Dead goats were spread across the road about 10 deep beside the tipped vehicle as emergency service officials spent more than an hour digging through the piles of animals, many pinned under loose metal shelves.

The animals were stacked four deep in tiered shelving units in the 13-foot-tall truck. The steel shelves separating the animals were strewn through the wreckage.

Officials from the Marin Humane Society, San Rafael Police Department, San Rafael Fire Department, California Highway Patrol, San Rafael Public Works and Marin Sanitary Service converged after the accident was reported at 8:45 a.m.

Oyarzun said the vehicle had been transporting more than 400 goats, all 1 to 2 years old, in the 32-foot-long, livestock trailer.

Elliot Katz, founder of In Defense of Animals and one of three veterinarians assisting at the scene, said most of the goats died from suffocation.

"It's sad, but when the goats freak out, the ones on top basically smothered the ones below them," he said.


These goats were being transported to Mill Valley to clear vegetation which is a great way to do it without having to use pesticides or expensive labor. Frequently in Florida goats will be turned out on overgrown land prior to clearing it for agricultural use. I was shocked to learn that they were transported stacked 4 high and on shelving that could collapse. It was either the driver taking the turn to fast or weight shifting in the high trailer that seems to have caused the accident. Either way it was a terrible tragedy.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

"Smeato" Have you heard of this Scottish phenom


Last week when Islamofascist's rammed a burning Jeep bomb into the Glasgow airport terminal there was an airport baggage handler there who is now something of a National hero. His name is John Smeaton, the blogosphere has dubbed him "Smeato" and his face is all over t-shirts with his face on Rocky, Superman, Shaft, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Braveheart. One even has a picture of Bin Laden saying " You didn't tell us John Smeaton worked on Saturdays" " He is the guy you saw giving interviews after the attack as he ran after the burning terrorist who was swinging at the cops and decked him with a kick. His message to terrorists is classic Scot " You come to Glasgow, we don't stand for it, We'll just put aboot ye" (translation: We'll kick your ass). A programmer has set up a website www.johnsmeaton.com and people are donating money to "buy John a pint" . He now has enough to buy 1000 at the airport bar but has yet to show up " I prefer whiskey" he said. Heres a link to one of his YouTube videos. Smeato has even inspired poetry in the Robert Burns style.
" Twas doon by the inch o' Abbots
Oor Johnny walked one day
When he saw a sicht that troubled him
Far more than he could say...
Now tht's no richt wur Johnny cried
And sailed to the fray
A left hook and a heid butt
Required tae save the day
Now listen up Bin Laden
Yir sort's nae wanted here
For imported English radicals
Us Scoatsman huv nae fear"

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Terror target close to home


Saw this one today as I following the Muslim doctors and their terror plots in London and Scotland.
Since I live in Jacksonville and surf within eyesight of the Mayport jetties......suffice it to say.....I was alarmed. My in-laws live just down the road for goodness sake. You don't like it when your home town shows up on some islamist website.

UK Terror Investigations - News Roundup - July 5

By Jeffrey Imm

July 5 news roundup of UK terror plot investigation activities and related news:

-- 45 Muslim doctors planned US terror raids. Daily Telegraph reports that "45 Muslim doctors threatened to use car bombs and rocket grenades in terrorist attacks in the United States during discussions on an extremist internet chat site". Police found details of discussion on the British Jihadist web site run by Younis Tsouli ("Terrorist 007"). Jihadists stated "We are 45 doctors and we are determined to undertake jihad and take the battle inside America.The first target which will be penetrated by nine brothers is the naval base which gives shelter to the ship Kennedy." Telegraph believes that is refers to the USS John F Kennedy, which is often at Mayport Naval Base in Jacksonville, Florida. Daily Telegraph states that the Jihadists also referred to using six Chevrolet GT vehicles and three fishing boats and blowing up petrol tanks with rocket propelled grenades. This would support Sky News report on July 4 of British Anglican cleric Canon Andrew White who has said of an April discussion with Al-Qaeda representative where "[h]e told me that they were going to start killing in the UK then the USA".

Good thing they just busted the so called Islamist 007. ( he's the one on the right) Judging from his photo....he was shaken and stirred.


Saturday, June 30, 2007

Terrorism.....Just a bumper sticker slogan? I don't think so.






In case anyone has forgotten, there are still a lot of Jihadists out there that want to kill people. There was a report/video several weeks ago of Terrorists "graduating" from terrorist school and were being sent to Europe and the United States......I don't think it was for post doc study. Now we have 2 car bombs found in London ( during Wimbledon) and today a car bomb driven into the terminal in Glasgow Scotland . Not long ago during the debates for the upcoming Presidential elections candidate John Edwards said " the War on Terrorism was just a bumper sticker slogan"
yea-right. NEW YORK — Democratic White House hopeful John Edwards, in a major foreign policy speech Wednesday, minimized the Bush administration's War on Terror as nothing more than a "bumper sticker slogan" used to justify the war in Iraq and "bludgeon political opponents."

Power-line is now reporting "

Meanwhile, the Scotsman says the authorities are looking for a missing Iraqi:

Police say they are looking for an Iraqi who went on the run from a control order only 11 days before yesterday's failed bombing attempts. The man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, is part of a six-strong cell linked to al-Qaeda in Iraq.

He went missing on 18 June in north-west England, and his whereabouts are unknown.

This will no doubt heighten the controversy over "absconders," terror suspects who are basically told by the authorities not to disappear, but who, unsurprisingly, often do so, much like illegal immigrants in the U.S. who are ticketed and told to show up for a hearing. Treating illegals this way is bad enough; treating terror suspects in such a cavalier manner is incomprehensible. Presumably the system will be tightened up following this near-miss.

Our polical process has morphed into a us-vs-them mentality where if your party of preference is out of power, then the other party can do nothing right and has to lose, no matter what. We as a country would have never won WWII with this mentality. There are those that want to do us, our children and our freedoms serious harm. They don't give a rats ass if you are Democrat, Republican, Green, Independent , Socialist, Communist or Libertarian. Christian, Jewish, Hindu or Atheist. Those that attacked us on 9-11 are the same that attacked us in Kenya, Tanzania, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and the WTC the 1st time in 1995. They are in Bali, Philippines, Spain, Italy, France, London and even in Glasgow Scotland. I truely wish we could be united on this one subject.