Tag Archives: health

Canine Influenza – What You Need to Know

800px-Greyhound_puppy_white

CANINE INFLUENZA IN THE NEWS

You may have heard news reports about the Canine Influenza Virus (CIV). While it is not currently a major problem in California or the U.S., we want to address news of the virus to inform and quell some of our clients’ concerns.

The first strain of CIV diagnosed in the world,  H3N8, was identified in 2004 in racing Greyhounds at a track in Florida. A vaccine was developed for this strain in 2009.

Another CIV strain, H3N2, which affects dogs, and rarely cats, was diagnosed first in South Korea in 2007, and in the United States in the Chicago area in March 2015.

(H3N2 is NOT the same strain as H3N2v, the swine flu, which effects pigs and humans.)

It is not currently known whether the H3N8 vaccine works to prevent or lessen the symptoms of the H3N2 virus.

There have been no reports of dog flu spreading from dogs to any humans, so do not fear.

We currently have the H3N8 vaccine available at the hospital, but we do not recommend it to our clients, unless it is needed for your pets to travel (some states and countries require it). The dog flu currently does not pose a threat large enough in California to necessitate routine vaccination.

The DHPP vaccine, Bordetella vaccine, Rabies vaccine, and if you’re a hiker or desert resident, the Rattlesnake vaccine, are the inoculations currently recommended to keep your pup healthy and protected.

The doctors at the hospital are monitoring the situation with updates from the CDC and the American Veterinary Medical Association, and we will change our recommendations if the virus ever shows signs of becoming a larger threat.

SYMPTOMS of CIV

High fever, trouble breathing, loss of appetite, consistent dry or wet coughing, running nose, running eyes, lethargy.

Some dogs with CIV show no symptoms, but some can develop pneumonia and severe  respiratory infections.

DOGS AT RISK

Dog who go to dog parks, stay in boarding facilities, or have daily visits in a dog-friendly office are more likely to contract CIV then dogs who are mostly indoors. This is especially true if you live in a state that has had a CIV outbreak, such as Illinois or Indiana.

Older dogs, sick dogs, brachycephalic dogs (Boxers, Pugs, Bulldogs, etc.), and dogs with a history of respiratory infections will be more susceptible to developing severe respiratory illness and/or bacterial infection as a result of contracting CIV.

The percentage rate of dogs who die as a result of contracting CIV is very low. Some estimates put it as low as 1%, some go as high as 10%.

HOW DOGS GET CIV

H3N8 and H3N2 are very contagious ! It spreads easily from surfaces, air, clothing, and shoe contamination, and dogs can spread the virus for up to 24 days, even if they do not show any symptoms. From the AVMA:

Canine influenza is spread via aerosolized respiratory secretions (via coughing, barking and sneezing) and contaminated objects (kennel surfaces, food and water bowls, collars and leashes) and people moving between infected and uninfected dogs. The virus can remain viable (alive and able to infect) on surfaces for up to 48 hours, on clothing for 24 hours, and on hands for 12 hours.

The incubation period is usually two to four days from exposure to onset of clinical signs. The highest amounts of viral shedding occur during this time; therefore, dogs are most contagious during this 2-4 day incubation period when they are not exhibiting signs of illness. Virus shedding decreases dramatically during the first 4 days of illness but may continue up to 7 days in most dogs and up to 10 days in some dogs with H3N8 canine influenza. Intermittent H3N2 shedding for up to 24 days can occur.

DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT

If your furry baby is showing signs and symptoms of CIV and you think your dog might have canine influenza, bring your dog to the hospital – before you bring your pet in, tell the staff if your dog has been coughing so we can determine if your dog needs to be brought in through another entrance and isolated.

There are two main types of tests, the PCR test, which involves simply swabbing your pets’ oral cavity (throat), as well as the serum test, which requires drawing blood. Currently, the PCR test is more reliable and is the hospital’s first choice when diagnosing CIV.

Treatment depends on the severity of your dog’s infection. Most dogs will not have severe symptoms, and keeping your dog hydrated with fluids and a long period of rest will be all your pup requires. Some dogs have more severe symptoms and develop secondary infections, in which case antibiotics and other medication may be used.

PREVENTION

Currently, in California, you do not need to worry about CIV. We do not even recommend vaccinating for canine influenza at the current time. The best prevention is to stay informed, and be on top of your dog’s vaccinations and general health.

For more information please visit:

CDC: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/canineflu/keyfacts.htm

AVMA : https://www.avma.org/KB/Resources/Reference/Pages/Canine-Influenza-Backgrounder.aspx

(photo at top by Scott Robinson/Wikimedia Commons)

Don’t Leave Pups in the Car ! Avoiding Hyperthermia in Dogs

Hyperthermia dog drinking water
Keep your pup healthy during the warmer months ! Always provide plenty of fresh cool water
It’s summer !

So we are re-posting our warnings about hyperthermia in doggies. It is so important to be careful of hyperthermia in your furries during the summer months ! And never, ever, leave a dog in a car during a hot day, even if the windows are cracked and the car is in the shade. Summer activities with your dog are the absolute best, as long as they are done in a safe way.

The most important thing to know about heat prostration, or hyperthermia, is that it is an emergency.

Dogs can die within minutes when their bodies start going into hyperthermia. This happens when panting, a dog’s main way of cooling herself down, no longer works. When a dog can no longer cool herself down, her internal temperature rises, and once she reaches 104 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, she will start to go into shock.

Immediate measures must be taken to cool your dog down and transfer her to a hospital for intravenous fluids if she is showing signs of heat stroke.

If you cannot get your dog to a hospital right away, take steps to cool her down: Transfer your dog to a cool environment and use a cool wet towel to moisten and cool down her neck, armpits, stomach, and paws. Place a direct fan on the moistened areas to cool down her core more rapidly. Do not use cold water or ice on your dog because that will constrict the blood vessels, inhibiting blood flow which is essential to cooling down your dog’s core. Do not force feed water, because that can be dangerous.

Symptoms of hyperthermia include:

  • Rapid heavy panting
  • Glazed eyes
  • Dry mucous membranes (dry nose)
  • Grey gums
  • Diarrhea (may be bloody)
  • Vomiting
  • Staggering
  • Collapse
  • Seizures
  • Unconsciousness

 

CARS

Heat Stroke Car Chart

 

The scenario that we all think of when we hear about dogs suffering from heat stroke is  the dreaded CAR. Dogs being left in the car and consequently collapsing and dying is all too common. Even with the windows open, and in the shade, on a hot day, leaving your dog in the car is not an option. Studies have shown that cracking a window just does not work.

Here is a link from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) about dogs suffering from heat stroke when left in cars with a time-lapse temperature chart that shows external vs. internal car temperatures.

On a day that is a lovely 85 degrees outside, after only 10 minutes it will be 114 degrees inside your car!

Even 70 degrees after 10 minutes can become 90 degrees in a closed car.

Do not leave your dogs in your car, and encourage your friends and loved ones to do the same. If you see a dog left in a car in the heat of summer and the dog has collapsed, call 911 immediately!

If it is not an emergency but you are confident that the dog has been left in a dangerous situation, call your individual police station. Here are some numbers for your reference:

Beverly Hills Police Station: (310) 550-4951

West Hollywood Sheriff Station: (310) 855-8850

Los Angeles / Hollywood Police Station: (213) 485-4302

 

BE SMART AND HAVE FUN

Play with your pooch early in the morning or late in the day during the summer to avoid those blazing hot hours! Leave your furry at home with lots of fresh water if you have to run errands. Be sure to bring along plenty of water for both your dog and yourself if you go hiking. Encourage your dog to love water, the sprinkler, and the hose 🙂 Also, if your pooch has a thicker coat, give her some relief by getting her a short summer cut. She will thank you for it with her cool, doggy smiles.

There is so much fun to have with your dog in the hotter months, just make sure to keep her cool and happy, so you will enjoy your hot days and warms nights together happily! Woof woof.

OTHER CAUSES OF HYPERTHERMIA

Heat Stroke Asphalt

Aside from the car, dogs can suffer hyperthermia for a variety of different reasons and in a variety of different scenarios. Here are some common situations that should be avoided.

  • Leaving dogs for long periods of time in the sun without shade or fresh water.
  • Leaving dogs on asphalt with no shade.
  • Exercising excessively (or even regular amounts) in hot or humid weather.

 

Dogs that have a history of heat stroke, dogs that have respiratory conditions, and dogs with upper airway diseases, such as laryngeal paralysis and collapsing trachea, will be more sensitive to heat and humidity.

Also, short-nosed (brachycephalic) dogs, such as Pugs, French bulldogs, English bulldogs, American bulldogs, King Charles Spaniels, Lhasa Apsos, Chow Chows, and the Pekingese, among many others, are more susceptible to heat stroke, because they are not able to pant effectively enough to cool themselves down.

(Adorable photo of black lab drinking water by Gopal Aggarwal  http://gopal1035.blogspot.com)

 

 

Rattlesnake Awareness – Take a Bite Out of Venom

Rattlesnake Crotalus_ruber_02

It’s that time of year again – Rattlesnake Season!

Rattlesnake Cassie Commercial

Rattlesnake Cassie 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had a client come in to the BHSAH last week with their beautiful dog Cassie, who was bitten several times on the muzzle. Above left is Cassie’s normal appearance, and above right is Cassie with swelling around her face and muzzle due to snake bites.

Thankfully, the owner had been vaccinating Cassie for rattlesnake venom for many years, and she recovered fine after only 1 and a half days in the hospital.

If you live in Southern California and you like to walk around in natural environments with your dog, it is so important to get your dog the rattlesnake vaccine. The rattlesnake vaccine is not a magical cloak of immunity, and any time a dog is bitten she should be immediately RUSHED to the hospital;  BUT the vaccine will give you more time to get to the hospital, and will slow the effects of the rattlesnake venom in your pet.

Please see our blog post about the rattlesnake vaccine here – you will find details about the type of snakes the vaccine guards against, symptoms of a rattlesnake bite to look out for in your pet, and tips on what to do if you see a snake while walking your pet.

(Rattlesnake pic by Dawson from Wikimedia Commons)

Holidays are here – Keep Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, and Christmas Safe for your Pets!

Holiday Cat staring at Christmas lights

No matter if you celebrate the Festival of Lights, observe the Seven Principles of Kwanzaa, or dig in to a good old fashioned Christmas ham, the love for our pets is a universally celebrated tradition.

So let’s keep them safe this holiday season by watching out for a few key dangers:

 

Kwanzaa candles are a beautiful tradition, but watch out for wandering paws!
Kwanzaa candles are a beautiful tradition, but watch out for wandering paws!

1) Candles!

Menorah lights, Kinara candles, and Christmas votives are beautiful traditions, but keep them away from the tails and paws of cats and dogs. Do not put lit candles in the way of roaming curious pets, and make sure to blow out any candles before leaving a room or house. The fringe-like fur of a tail can easily burn when swept alongside a lit candle, and a rambunctious dog can easily knock into a candle that is sitting on a low coffee table, causing a carpet or rug to catch on fire. Let’s all use our heads when lighting candles around pets!

 

Holiday Menorah Dog Goldies bernalwood-hanukkahdogsbsc
These pups have impeccable candle behavior! Just don’t leave them unattended!

2) Holiday Plants

Poinsettias are toxic for pets. So are mistletoe, holly, holly berries, rosemary, and lilies. Lilies can also cause irreversible kidney failure in cats (lily nephrotoxicity). Almost all holiday-themed plants should be kept far far away from your pets’ mouths. The degree of toxicity depends on the weight of your pet and the amount of the plant your pet has eaten. If you suspect your pet has ingested an unsafe amount of a holiday plant, take your pet to your veterinarian right away.
Signs of toxic poisoning include vomiting, drooling, diarrhea, seizure, collapse, and unconsciousness.
Holiday dog knocked over tree
Someone looks guilty…

3) The Tree

Oh, the tree. So beautiful, so festive. Whether it’s a blue and white sparkly Hanukkah bush, a small fiber-optic dorm room tree, the fake, reliable family-room tree you dig out of the garage every year, or a real Douglas Fir that you cut down yourself, the tree is anything but simple for your pets. Especially kitties. Kitties looooove to make trouble with the tree.
Keep lights high! Don’t let dogs and cats chew on low-hanging lights and give themselves an electric shock.
Use safe decorations – go for plastic instead of glass, in case the ornaments get knocked off or end up between jaws, the plastic ornaments won’t shatter as easily. Keep ornaments with string and whispy angel hair out of the reach of your pets as well, to prevent any chance of dangerous string ingestion. Read more about linear foreign body dangers in our previous blog post here.
If your kitties love to climb the tree, make sure to anchor your tree to the wall, or give it a heavy, sturdy base, to prevent the tree from tipping over and hurting your pets or possibly causing damage to your home.
If your tree is REAL – keep cats and dogs away from tree water! The tree water can contain insecticide, pine resin, chemicals, and preservatives, everything your cat or dog should not ingest. The pine needles themselves are very dangerous for cats and dogs to digest – they can cause perforations or obstructions in the G.I. tract if ingested, and are toxic.
A couple of tips for keeping nosy pets away from the tree are:
  • Put aluminum foil around the base of your tree. The noise will alert you when pets are too close, and the noise itself may scare pets away.
  • Use a tree skirt to cover up tree water and the bottom portion of your tree.
  • Use strong citrus scents around the tree. Cats and dogs may not like these smells and may leave the tree alone because of them.

Holidays 800px-Classic_Hanukkah_sufganiyot

4) Holiday Foods

Mmmmm. We love holiday foods. Christmas has fruitcake, marshmallow bars, and honey baked ham. Kwanzaa has roasted chicken and peanut soup. Hanukkah has latkes and sufganiyot. Everyone eats chocolate. Yum.
These are all bad for our pets!
Keep all excess fatty foods, foods with onions, foods with raisins, and food with bones away from your pets. Excess fat and oils can upset your pets’ digestive systems. Onions and garlic can cause anemia in cats as well as dogs. Raisins and grapes, like chocolate, are toxic for pets.
Be mindful over the holidays of what leftovers and what treats you give to your pets. We all want our beloved animals to join in on the festivities and to make them feel like they are part of the fun, but let’s do so in a way that will not make them sick or compromise their health.

Holiday cats_hanukkah-and-xmas1

Happy Holidays from the Beverly Hills Small Animal Hospital! We hope that no matter what tradition you hold dear, that you celebrate it with loved ones, good fun, good cheer, and lots of warm snuggles.

 

 

 

Photo credits! :

Kitty in tree photo from:

http://insyncexotics.blogspot.com/2012/12/celebrating-christmas-with-your-pets.html

Kwanzaa candles photo from:

http://www.kwanzaa.org.uk/

Golden Retrievers photo from:

https://bernalwood.wordpress.com/2012/12/11/bernal-heights-canines-celebrate-beginning-of-hanukkah/

Mountain Dog looking guilty in front of the tree photo from:

http://www.collegehumor.com/post/6852810/dog-feels-bad-for-knocking-over-christmas-tree

Sufganiyot photo from:

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Classic_Hanukkah_sufganiyot.JPG

Santa and Rabbi Persian kitties photo from:

http://www.thegloss.com/2010/11/12/odds-and-ends/gallery-holiday-cats/

Meet Your Pharmacist! Payam Shabboui’s Wilshire Le Doux Pharmacy Turns 5 Years Old

Payam]1
The master pharmacist Payam Shabboui at work.

We carry quite a bit of medications here on-site at the animal hospital, but sometimes we need a pharmacist’s expertise to help find solutions for our patients’ pharmaceutical needs. Owners can have a difficult time giving their pets medications, or sometimes cats and small dogs need a smaller-than-normal dose of medication.  For most of these custom orders, we order from Payam Shabboui at the Wilshire Le Doux Pharmacy in Beverly Hills, at the corner of Wilshire Blvd. and Le Doux Road (one block West of La Cienega). Payam can formulate a chicken or even a fish flavored liquid medication for those finicky pets or compound their medications into smaller dosages for our small patients.

Payam exterior
Payam’s pharmacy is located on the ground floor of the Cedars Sinai Heart Institute Building on Wilshire and Le Doux

Payam is a first-rate pharmacist for both human and animal medications, having graduated first from UCLA and then the Western University of Health Sciences College of Pharmacy; but Payam started out at the BHSAH as a young fellow in high school!

Payam started working at the Beverly Hills Small Animal Hospital as a sophmore at Beverly Hills High School in 1992, and worked as a technician and doctor’s assistant until 1998. He worked with Dr. Suehiro, Dr. Winters, and Dr. Keagy, who is now retired.

Payam interior

Payam opened his pharmacy in Beverly Hills on the first floor of the Cedars Sinai Heart Institute Building on Wilshire because of its proximity to the medical community in Los Angeles – Cedars Sinai Hospital, Kaiser Permanente, and several private medical office buildings are in the immediate area.

 We love to use Payam as our compounding pharmacist for our custom-order veterinary prescriptions because he is reliable, trustworthy, fast, and does an excellent job. The doctors at our hospital use Payam as an important trusted resource regarding human-grade medications that we give to your pets and their interactions with other medications. Many of the employees at the BHSAH won’t go anywhere else for their human flu shots, either! He has an especially gentle touch and it is a pleasure to visit him at his wood panel-lined pharmacy, full of special products and gifts from all over the world.

 

Payam Snotsucker
The Swedish Snotsucker
Payam Be Healed card
Best get-well card ever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Even though the majority of Payam’s business is for human patients, we love and appreciate him for his animal care. We also love his young doggy Charlie! And apparently he has a name for every fish in his 500-gallon tropical fish tank as well. 🙂

Happy 5th Anniversary Payam!

-The BHSAH

Payam's lab Charlie looking quite handsome.
Payam’s lab Charlie looking quite handsome.

 

 

 

 

 

 Wilshire Le Doux Pharmacy is located at:

8536 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 101

tel (310) 657-4090

Mon–Fri 8:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Saturday 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Ebola and Pets: Why You Should NOT Be Afraid

BHSAH superstar Mr. Boo models the latest in surgical headwear.
BHSAH superstar Mr. Boo models the latest in surgical headwear.

Considering the current epidemic of Ebola in a few western countries of Africa (Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, and somewhat in Nigeria), and the fact that an Ebola patient’s dog was euthanized in Spain amidst growing fear associated with the disease, we at the Beverly Hills Small Animal Hospital thought we should address the growing fear of Ebola, and Ebola as it relates to our beloved pets.

You have nothing to fear about dogs and cats contracting and spreading Ebola in the United States.

Even in the western African nations that currently are dealing with a massive Ebola epidemic, there have been no reports of dogs or cats catching or spreading Ebola.

According to the Center for Disease Control, the Ebola virus is only known to spread through direct contact with the bodily fluids of a person or other animal who is actively sick with Ebola (showing symptoms). These fluids include urine, blood, feces, vomit, semen, sweat, and breast milk.

Currently, only a few species of mammals have been proven to have the ability to contract and spread Ebola (including humans, monkeys, apes). Some scientists believe Forest antelope and fruit bats are also carriers, as well as some species of rodents and some pigs and goats – but these animals have not been proven to transmit the disease.

There has been one well-known study conducted about dogs and Ebola, published in 2005.  After a 2001-2002 outbreak of Ebola in the western African nation of Gabon, researchers tested several hundred domestically-kept dogs that hunted and ate local animals that could have been infected with Ebola in their surrounding area. The study indicated that about 25% of the dogs had antibodies to Ebola but none were found to have Ebola virus and none of them died of Ebola.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15757552

http://mashable.com/2014/10/08/dogs-ebola/

http://www.scribd.com/doc/242221210/Ebola-Virus-Antibody-Prevalence-in-Dogs-and-Human-Risk

 

The risk of someone in the U.S. becoming ill with Ebola is very low, and even lower in Los Angeles County. The risk of someone who is infected with Ebola giving Ebola to their dog or cat is even lower. The risk of a dog or cat who has become infected with Ebola spreading it to humans is even lower than that.

If you are a nurse or doctor or family member or friend of someone who has Ebola, or someone who has had contact with someone who has Ebola, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health recommends minimizing contact with your pet until you have been proven to be free and clear of the disease.

Here are the two cases about Ebola and dogs that have been in the news:

Romero's partner Javier Romero with their dog Excalibur.
Romero’s partner Javier Romero with their dog Excalibur. (Family photo)

Teresa Romero, the Spanish nurse who was diagnosed with Ebola while treating a missionary worker who contracted Ebola in Sierra Leone, is now clear of the disease – but during her quarantine, the Spanish government decided to euthanize her dog Excalibur because, they decided, he could have spread the disease. The authorities in Spain did this without testing the dog, amidst much protest from Romero’s family and the Spanish public. Some protestors are now asking for Spain’s health minister Ana Mato to resign because of her decision to put Excalibur down. Excalibur was never shown to have signs of Ebola and was never tested.

Here is an article about the protests that arose when Excalibur was put down:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/ebola-dog-dead-spanish-social-media-users-grieve-as-nurses-pet-reportedly-is-put-down-9782748.html

 

Nina Pham with her loving buddy Bentley
Nina Pham taking a selfie with her loving buddy Bentley (Facebook photo)

Texas nurse Nina Pham, who was diagnosed with Ebola after treating an Ebola patient in Dallas who eventually died,  is now Ebola-free – but she had to wait 21 days for her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Bentley, to come out of a government-mandated quarantine. Bentley is fine, tested negative for Ebola several times, and was released to Pham when his quarantine ended on November 1st. The animal workers taking care of Bentley took his high-profile quarantine as an opportunity to raise public awareness about Dallas Animal Services, and posted several updates and photos about Bentley’s well-being on their Twitter feed @DallasShelter. You can even purchase a “Bentley-Approved” T-shirt on their website, the proceeds of which will go towards the Dallas Animal Services shelters.

Here is an article about their reunion from CNN.com:

http://www.cnn.com/2014/11/02/us/ebola-pham-bentley-reunion/

In neither of these cases did the family pets actually become sick with Ebola, their respective governments were just being hyper-vigilant because of widespread fear and panic associated with the Ebola virus.

If you still have questions about the health and safety of your pet, contact your veterinarian. Or, for more information about Ebola and Ebola as it relates to our pets, here are some resources:

American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)

https://www.avma.org

(800) 248-2862

Los Angeles County Department of Public Health

Dial 211

http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/vet/

 

California Department of Public Health

(916) 558-1784

http://www.cdph.ca.gov/Pages/DEFAULT.aspx

 

Center for Disease Control and Prevention

(800) CDC-INFO

http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/transmission/qas-pets.html

 

 

 

No Fin, No Fun

As an animal hospital, we value the lives and safety of all living creatures including those in the wild. Although humans view them as cold blooded killers, these “sea dogs” are animals too.

Sharks are the ultimate predator in the ocean and the apex of the food chain. They play a vital role in keeping a healthy functioning ecosystem. Scientists even measure shark population as an accurate way of evaluating the health of parts of the ocean. They have the ability to keep the oceanic population steady by regulating the behaviour of other prey species, preventing “over-grazing.”

 

See… these animals are not as scary as you thought they were. I mean come on, they can be kind of cute too.

Here’s the thing, these innocent beings are dying by the millions… 100 million annually at that. Why? Because of humans. For what? Their fins.

In Asia, shark fins are used in food, primarily shark fin soup, a luxury delicacy. Sharks are being fished, de-finned, and then thrown back into the ocean. Some sharks starve to death, others slowly get eaten by other fish, and some drown since sharks need to keep moving to force water through their gills for oxygen.

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There is such a high demand for shark fins because traders are able to make decent money off of them. These traders are solely interested in the fin as the shark meat is not high in economical value and takes too much space in holding. The body meat contains urea, which is a precursor to ammonia and is also high in mercury. These properties are both very toxic to the human body making the shark meat worthless. Shark fin itself is tasteless, but provides a gelatinous bulk for the soup which is flavoured with chicken or other stock.

Heres the funny thing… It’s not even worth it. A study has found that sharks are actually worth more alive, than dead. In Palau, more than half of visiting tourists are drawn by diving excursions. In these excursions, each reef shark brings in about $179,000 in tourism revenue annually, or about $1.9 million during its lifetime. A single shark’s fin, in shark fin soup, brings in only about $108. Let’s also put somethings into perspective. Did you know that each year 6 humans are killed by sharks versus 73 MILLION sharks being killed for their fins?

In Asia, another beautiful underwater creature has been put in danger as well, the manta ray. Similar to the shark finning, these manta rays are being hunted, but for their gill rakers. The gill rakers of a manta ray are made of thin filaments that they use to filter food from the water. The global manta ray population has already declined by about one-third in recent years and their slow reproductive rate worsens these threats.

What do they use their gill rakers for? Soup? No, gill rakers (known as “Peng Yu Sai” in China) are believed to contain a property that can treat health issues ranging from chicken pox to cancer. They are thought to boost the immune system and help purify the body by reducing toxins and enhancing blood circulation. Others believe that they can also help cure throat and skin ailments, male kidney issues, and even fertility problems. There is NO scientific research that proves that any of these purposes are valid.

Similar to the way sharks are treated, fisherman pull the mantas out of the water, take out their rakers and either throw them back in or grind up the remains for fish meal. This is done in the least humane way leaving these poor creatures to suffer or die. A trade in their gills is roughly worth just $5-10m a year and supports a tourist trade worth well over $100m a year.

If you too are against shark finning and this killing of manta rays, join support:

http://www.stopsharkfinning.net/stop-shark-finning-petitions/

http://www.sharksavers.org/en/blogs-news/shark-savers-blog/international-protections-for-manta-rays-goes-multilingual/