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Tag: eyes

Animal magnetism: There’s more than meets the eye in the eyes of dogs

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If, like me, you tend to mindlessly credit the canine nose when you hear about a dog miraculously finding his way hundreds of miles back home, you might be interested in this other possible explanation.

Researchers have shown for the first time that the eyes of dogs have a version of the molecule cryptochrome 1 — the same molecule that gives bats, birds and certain other mammals the ability to perceive Earth’s magnetic fields.

It’s not clear yet that dogs possess magnoreception — that GPS-like ability that allows birds to return to the same spot every year — but researchers at the Max Planck Institute in Germany have shown that a version of the molecule that gives birds that ability is present in the retinas of dogs, wolves, bears, and more.

Magnoreception could help explain the mystery of why dogs tend to line up parallel to the north-south axis when they poop.

And many, more important, things, as well.

Presence of the light-sensing molecule gives some plants and animals almost a sixth sense, allowing them to regulate their circadian rhythms and find places they have left far behind.

But not humans. We’ve lost whatever cryptochrome 1 we might have had long ago — probably about the same time we started asking for directions.

According to the study, simply having cryptochrome 1 doesn’t necessarily mean that animals can perceive magnetic fields, but the presence could be a sign of that.

It has been found in the cone photoreceptors of some mammals — the same place it is located in birds.

Out of 90 species of mammals examined, researchers found only a few contained cryptochrome 1.

It was found in the eyes of dogs, wolves and foxes; five members of the weasel family, including ferrets and sea otters; orangutans and two types of macaques; brown bears and polar bears.

With further studies, scientists could find out if and how those animals are using it.

“…It is possible that these animals also have a magnetic sense that is linked to their visual system,” the researchers concluded.

It could explain why some animals approach certain prey from a certain direction, why dogs like to line up north to south to do their business and how so many a lost dog — in real life and movies — manages to find his or her way back home.

How dogs see the world

1dogvisionA new app lets you see the world — or at least photos of the world — through a dog’s eyes.

All you have to do is upload a photo and wait as the app translates your clear and colorful image into a fuzzy, less bright and less colorful version.

The app is called Dog Vision, and this link takes you straight to the image processing tool.

A dog’s vision is similar to what a human with red-green color blindness sees.

Dogs don’t see as clearly as we do. They have less sensitivity to brightness. And they don’t see shades of grey — not 50 or even 10. All greys, to them, look the same. Because they have only two types of cones (unlike our three) their color vision is limited.

As a result, an Autumn scene like this:

1autumn

Looks more like this:

2autumn

And a colorful image of Mardi Gras like this:

1mardigras

Is seen by them like this:

2mardigras

(Photos: Business Insider)

The eyes have it

Animal eyes — and how some of them work differently than our’s — is the topic of an interesting piece at Environmental Graffiti.

Among the 10 sets of peepers featured are those of the Siberian husky — cold, steely and perfectly placed to detect movement.

Not to mention often of different colors. Some huskys have brown, blue, or amber eyes. Many have a combination of thereof.

Among the others selected as the “10 most incredible eyes are” those belonging to owls, geckos, hippos, chameleons, butterflies, goats, frogs and cuttlefish.

Sharpei loses his wrinkles — to keep his sight

sharpeiRoland, an abandoned sharpei, has had a face lift.

While sharpeis are prized for their wrinkly skin — and dog show breed standards deem it desirable — it can also lead to a condition called entropion, in which the wrinkles cause a dog’s eyelashes to turn inward and rub against the eyeballs.

For Roland, found as a stray and taken in by the RSPCA, the condition likely would have led to blindness, and it lessened his chances of finding an adoptive home.

The solution, according to the Daily Telegraph, was a double eye lift and full face lift.

“What we have done is made him adoptable,” RSPCA chief vet Magdoline Awadshe said. “It is not uncommon in this breed, it is a congenital problem.”

Roland’s 90-minute surgery eye lift surgery and excess face wrinkle removal cost almost $1000.

It’s not uncommon for sharpeis to undergo the procedure, in which a swath of of skin from across the animal’s forehead and between his eyes is removed, and the remaining skin is pulled together and sewn with stitches. Chow chows, bulldogs, pugs and other breeds are also prone to the condition.

The RSPCA says Roland is one of growing number of sharpeis turning up at animal shelters. Members of the once rare breed are often abandoned after owners realize the costs of correcting their congenital health problems.

(Photo: Daily Telegraph)

Reward in Chester County grows to $11,000

emmalunaThe reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person who shot and killed two dogs in Chester County, Pennsylvania, has grown to $11,000.

Rich Britton, a spokesman for the Chester County SPCA, said this morning that the Humane Society of the United States contributed $2,500 of the sum, most of the rest coming from public donations.

The reward started out at $500, grew to $5,000 by the next day, and was up to $11,000 by day’s end, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The dogs, Luna and Emma, both about 2, were killed, and left arranged tail-to-tail along the railroad tracks in Pennsbury Township, Pa. They were found on Sunday. The dogs were owned by a family that has not been publicly identified that lives about three miles from where they were found. They were last seen at the home on Saturday.

Both were shot between the eyes with a small caliber handgun.

Investigators are loking for the owner of a red Ford F-150 pickup truck with a cap that was seen parked beside Brintons Bridge Road with lights flashing sometime between 1 and 3 p.m. on Sunday, he said.

Anyone with information about the crime should call 610-692-6113, Ext. 213, he said.

To contribute to the reward fund, make checks payable to the CCSPCA and mail them to CCSPCA, 1212 Phoenixville Pike, West Chester, Pa. 19380.