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It is Interesting To Know

Read the article and write a letter to your friend to tell him/her what interesting things you’ve learnt from this article (see Appendix 3 on p. 72)

Did you know that in tests of intelligence, pigs have proved to be among the smartest of all domestic animals – even more intelligent than dogs? The world’s largest population of domestic pigs is in China. The second largest population of domestic pigs is in the United States and the third largest is found in Brazil.

Besides domestic pigs there several species of wild pigs found in Europe, Asia, and Africa. The pygmy hog is the smallest of the wild pigs. It is found in Nepal and northern India. It is now in danger of becoming extinct. The warty pig and the bearded pig live in parts of Southeast Asia, Malaysia and the Philippines.

Wild pigs eat a wide variety of foods, including leaves, roots, fruit, and reptiles. Food for domestic pigs includes corn and other grains and some garbage too. A pig’s snout ends in a flat rounded disk. Pigs use their snouts to search for food. Both male and female wild pigs have tusks on their snouts which they use for defense.

A female pig is old enough to have piglets when she is about a year old. Before she gives birth to her first litter, the female pig is known as“gilt”. After the first litter, she is known as a “sow”. Sows can have as many as 20 piglets in a litter, but a litter of 10 or 11 is the average. A male pig is called a “boar”. A young weaned pig of either sex is called a “shoat”.

( Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008)


Canine leptospirosis is a bacterial disease of dogs characterized by jaundice, vomiting, and kidney failure. At least fout different groups of leptospirosis organism, all belonging to the genus Leptospira, have been implicated in this disease in dogs. Remarkably, most infections are subclinical; that is, few show clinical signs of disease. When clinical signs do arise, however, the result can be serious, even life-threatening. Leptospirosis becomes more of a problem in kennels where animals are kept together under poor sanitary conditions. Animals become infected with the organism through contact with infected urine.

Leptospirosis is found primarily in young animals between the ages of 1 and 4 years. In addition, males seem to be more commonly affected than females. Signs associated with the disease reflect the damage done by the organism to the body’s blood, liver, and kidneys. Fever, depression, vomiting, and diarrhea might be early signs that become noticeable. Anemia might set in as red blood cells are destroyed by the invading organisms, and distinct bruising on the skin surface becomes evident as the body’s blood clotting mechanisms are impaired. In severe cases, liver and/or kidney failure appear, leading to rapid dehydration and to a urine with an orange-brown color, a feature characteristic of this disease. Left untreated, this disease will often result in death.

To diagnose this disease, veterinarians rely on a thorough history (including potential exposure to livestock), clinical signs, and special laboratory tests. The white blood cell count is usually elevated, in contrast to those seen with viral diseases. Blood and urine cultures might be used to confirm a diagnosis. Antibody levels measured at 2-week intervals have been used as well for this purpose.

Treatment of leptospirosis consists of high levels of specific antibiotics, combined with fluid therapy to combat dehydration and medications to stimulate kidney functions. Unfortunately, unless treated early enough, the kidneys could suffer irreparable damage, leading to unavoidable failure.

Because of the serious nature of this disease, dog owners need to focus their attention on prevention. Since cross-protection against this disease is not afforded by most leptospirosis vaccines, prevention is aimed at limiting access to potentially infected livestock and the water sources they may frequent.

(Chris C. Pinney. The Complete Home Veterinary Guide. p. 135)

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