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From friend to foe: Free-roaming dogs overrun Navajo Nation. Here on the reservation, the largest in the United States, man’s best friend has become one of its biggest foes.The dogs have become not just a nuisance but a major public safety concern. Attacks on livestock occur regularly. So do attacks on people — sometimes with deadly results. Each year, more than 3,000 people are treated for animal attacks and bites that happened on the reservation. Most of the victims are children or the elderly.

CDC banned 113 countries from importing dogs due to rabies risk. The CDC noticed a significant jump last year in the number of dogs from such high-risk countries who were ultimately denied entry into the U.S. This has included finding some fake rabies vaccination certificates. It’s important to keep any dog infected with the rabies virus from entering the U.S. Vaccination of dogs against the canine rabies virus has helped essentially eliminate this variant of the virus from the U.S. since 2007. Just one rabid dog could re-introduce the canine rabies virus variant back into the U.S. That one dog could then pass the virus off to humans and other animals such as raccoons.

Can dogs help stop the invasion of Zebra mussels in Texas? Researchers at Texas Tech University are currently studying how well dogs can detect invasive mussels in bodies of water: looking into both the dogs’ natural capabilities and bulk environmental samples like soil and water. Researcher Nathan Hall predicts both methods will work. However, he believes dog abilities to provide real-time results will prove to be more beneficial. While dogs could be a key to slashing Zebra mussel populations, the mussels also have a way of striking back at the canines. Zebra mussels feed on “good” algae in bodies of water, it gives toxic algae free reign. This algae is also known as cyanobacteria.

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