by Jim Beers

THE SILENCE OF THE VETS*

(*Veterinarians that is.)

31 May 2011, Page 2 of the Saint Paul Pioneer Press:

“Hepatitis C cousin found in dogs”.

“Some of them (infected with the virus) will suffer cirrhosis, liver cancer, and even death.”

“Hepatitis C belongs to an entirely different virus family that includes diseases like West Nile fever and yellow fever.”

“Identifying the species reservoir of hepatitis C – one of the most common and deadly of all viruses – has been something of a holy grail in studies of viral evolution.”

“Scientists have gotten an important clue, finding a close relative in an unexpected host: dogs.”

“They swabbed the noses of dogs sick with respiratory disease and searched for viruses”. They “found that six of nine dogs in one outbreak and three of five in another shared the same unknown virus”, “closely related to the hepatitis C virus.”

HHHMMMM?

If dogs transmit it, what about wolves and coyotes? Aren’t wolves “just big dogs” according to the recently retired federal wolf program coordinator?

Can’t wolves or coyotes carry the virus and transmit it to domestic dogs? Is it transmitted in saliva? Is it transmitted when an infected wolf or coyote sneezes into a kennel or on a kennel fence as they threaten a dog? Can an infected wolf sneeze on a stick or old bone and leave the virus for a sniffing dog to pick up? For how long? Is it transmitted to a dog on an object mouthed recently by an infected wolf or coyote? Can it be transmitted in a bite? Should rural dogs be allowed in the house? In the kids’ beds? Should kids be allowed to “love” dogs or get licked by dogs? Can sneezing dogs spread deadly viruses in homes? Is it therefore still prohibited to suggest that wolf presence should be a local matter to be decided by local citizens and that wolf numbers should be determined based on human health hazards and not on idealistic urban dreams that scientists are being paid to fulfill?

The foregoing questions and many more apply to the 30+ diseases and infections carried and spread by wolves. None of them were even mentioned, much less answered in the federal wolf introduction documents. Even worse, all of THE State Wildlife Veterinarians and State Agricultural Veterinarians have been AWOL on this very important veterinary matter for decades. Add to this the almost total absence of any private Veterinarians commenting on wolves as disease vectors and we see one more degenerating sector of American society.

I could take cheap shots about vet schools being in the pay of governments or grinding out radical graduates that want to “love” and “protect” animals as if they were human, but what do I know? I could speculate about private vet practices being very competitive and being in jeopardy if customers thought the Dr.” so & so” was “anti-wolf” or “pro-trapping”: vets have families to raise as I once did. THE State Vets, be they “wildlife vets” or “livestock vets” are bureaucrats: politically incorrect actions, like my “whistle-blowing”, have nasty consequences as I found out. Besides, they just found out about this hepatitis C virus, didn’t they?

Over twenty years ago the federal government began dumping and protecting wolves in three corners (they have saved the Northeast Progressive Citizen Prey Base for last) of the nation and in four disparate locations. Clearly the intent and result will be wolves in every state eventually.

In this time the topic of wolves as vectors of disease has been denied and avoided by the bureaucrats’ whose retirements we now fete AND ALL the Veterinarians and Universities we all have such warm respect and affection for. So who needs to listen to all those NON-Veterinarians like Will Graves, Dr. Val Geist, and yours truly? What could ANY NON-Veterinarian possibly know?

Take those questions about Hepatitis C at the beginning of the article and just apply them to the diseases and infections I testified about before the Oregon State Legislature Agriculture Committee last year. Then consider the Silence of the Vets since wolves were proposed for and then dumped all over this great nation.

Here are those diseases and infections:

“The following list of diseases carried by wolves, while not totally comprehensive, represents over 30 infections that have been credited to wolves. Those that can infect humans are followed by an (H); those that affect other animals are followed by an (OA).

1. Rabies (H) (OA)
2. Brucellosis (H) (OA)

Hydatid Disease:
3. Echinococcus granulosis (H) (OA)
4. Echinococcus multilocularis (H) (OA)
5. Anthrax (H) (OA)
6. Encephalitis (H) (OA)
7. Great Lakes Fish Tapeworm (H) (OA)
8. Smallpox (H) (OA)
9. Mad Cow (BSE) (OA) (H)
10. Chronic Wasting Disease (OA)

From Ticks Carried by wolves:
11. Anemia (H)
12. Dermatosis (H)
13. Tick paralysis (H)
14. Babesiosis (H)
15. Anaplasmosis (H)
16. Erlichia (H)
17. E. Coast Fever (H)
18. Relapsing Fever (H)
19. Rocky Mtn. Spotted Fever (H)
20. Lyme Disease (H)

From Fleas:
21. Plague (H)
22. Bubonic Plague (H)
23. Pneumonic Plague (H)
24. Flea-Borne Typhus (H)
25. Distemper (OA)
26. Neospora caninum (OA)
27. 2 Types of Mange (H) (OA)
28. GID (a disease of wild and domestic sheep) (OA)
29. Foot-and –Mouth (OA)

Of the 29 diseases and infections listed, 24 affect humans and many of these are deadly. Whether it is a child ingesting tapeworm eggs from a ranch house floor rug or a jogging soccer Mom encountering wolves as a schoolteacher did recently in Alaska that resulted in a horrible death, the fact that these human health hazards have been given short-shrift by wildlife agencies and their veterinarians is nothing short of scandalous.”

We can now add one more deadly infection to the scandal!

Jim Beers
31 May 2011

Jim Beers is a retired US Fish & Wildlife Service Wildlife Biologist, Special Agent, Refuge Manager, Wetlands Biologist, and Congressional Fellow. He was stationed in North Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York City, and Washington DC. He also served as a US Navy Line Officer in the western Pacific and on Adak, Alaska in the Aleutian Islands. He has worked for the Utah Fish & Game, Minneapolis Police Department, and as a Security Supervisor in Washington, DC. He testified three times before Congress; twice regarding the theft by the US Fish & Wildlife Service of $45 to 60 Million from State fish and wildlife funds and once in opposition to expanding Federal Invasive Species authority. He resides in Eagan, Minnesota with his wife of many decades.

Jim Beers is available to speak or for consulting at [email protected]