Big Lake, Alaska and The Susitna Valley News, Weather, Events, And More

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Friday, January 19 2018 @ 12:16 AM AKST


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News from Office of the State Veterinarian

Pets and AnimalsThe last few months have been busy at Alaska’s Office of the State Veterinarian (OSV)!

Our staff spent much of the last month on the road, visiting fairs across the state doing livestock checks, poultry testing, and public outreach. You might have seen us at the Southeast Alaska State Fair (Haines), Tanana Valley State Fair (Fairbanks), Kenai Peninsula Fair (Ninilchik), Deltana State Fair (Delta Junction), Kodiak Rodeo and State Fair (Kodiak), or the Alaska State Fair (Palmer).

In a crowded, busy place such as a state fair, it is important that all members of the community work together to ensure a safe and disease-free environment for everyone. This is why Dr. Coburn and I visit each fair and work with a team of volunteer veterinarians to inspect livestock entries. It is our job to ensure that all animals are free of diseases and parasites that could potentially infect other animals or humans. We also educate 4-H participants about the importance of biosecurity and how to prevent illness in their livestock as well the transmission of zoonotic diseases to their human family members.

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Awareness is Key to Addressing Tick-borne Disease Reported in Sick Hares, Pets

Pets and AnimalsFrom Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game

Two domestic cats infected with tularemia died recently in the North Pole area and reports of sick snowshoe hares around Fairbanks and in the Matanuska Valley suggest outbreaks may be on the increase in these regions. Transmission of the disease to humans is rare and can be avoided by taking safety precautions; knowing how to spot tularemia symptoms in pets is key to early detection and treatment.

Tularemia is an infection caused by the Francisella tularensis bacteria. It most often kills hares but can also cause serious illness in people, dogs, and cats. While the disease can be fatal if untreated, it is easily cured if diagnosed quickly and antibiotics prescribed. Common signs in people and pets include lethargy, sudden lack of appetite, high fever and swollen lymph nodes.

The disease is spread by ticks, and hares are the primary host. The tick species known to carry the bacteria prefer to live on hares, but will occasionally bite dogs, cats, or people. Although tick bites are one possible cause, pets most often get tularemia from mouthing or catching a sick hare. People can become infected by handling hares or from infected pets' saliva, even before the pet exhibits signs of illness. Tularemia is most often diagnosed in hares and pets between Memorial Day and Labor Day because it is spread by ticks which are active during the summer.

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Animal Vaccination Clinic Today in Big Lake

Pets and AnimalsThere is a vaccination clinic for dogs and cats, 12-2 pm, at the Big Lake Lions Rec Center.

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Used building materials wanted

Pets and AnimalsSubmitted by Sammy Taylor

I'm renovating my Chicken's winter quarters and feed room. So please share this with those who are renovating and have thoughts of throwing all the usable old stuff away!


MSG @ 892-2353, Call for pickup AT YOUR CONVENIENCE.

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17 foot python in Meadow Lakes neighborhood

Pets and Animalsby Patty Sullivan, MSB

Matanuska-Susitna Borough Animal Care is looking for a 17-foot albino Burmese python that weighs 100 pounds in a neighborhood in Meadow Lakes. The owner reported it missing recently near W. Mallard Lane.

Animal Care Director Kirsten Vesel asks residents in the area to bring in small pets and be vigilant of your yard right now. Alaska's cold temperatures may weaken the snake or compel it to seek a warm place, she said.

The snake is not prone to attacking adult humans unless provoked. The snake could potentially pose a threat to pets and young children.

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Free Chicken University Class @ Big Lake Library

Pets and AnimalsContributed by Roma Scougal, Big Lake Public Library

The Big Lake Public Library Presents: Chicken University. March 29th, 6:30-7:30 pm.

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The Big Lake Library Presents: Alaska Livestock

Pets and AnimalsThe Big Lake Library Presents: Alaska Livestock, January 18th at 6:30 pm at The Big Lake Public Library.

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The Big Lake Public Library Presents: Chicken University (Dr. Steve Brown, Cooperative Extension Service)

Pets and Animals

Learn the fundamentals and ways to raise and care for chickens in Alaska. Tuesday Feb 9th @ 6:30 pm at The Big Lake Public Library. Taught by Dr. Steve Brown.

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The Big Lake Library Presents: Alaska Livestock

Pets and AnimalsThe Big Lake Library Presents: Alaska Livestock, January 12th and 14th at 6:30 pm at The Big Lake Public Library.

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Big Lake Barred Rock Rooster

Pets and AnimalsThis rooster was hatched in August 2015, and is a fine specimen. Out of 19 eggs, 10 hatched, 5 hens and 5 roosters. They enjoy free-ranging.

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Vegetables were once alive. Let’s not waste them!

Pets and Animalsby Sammy Taylor

When I first moved to the Valley and got Chickens, I was happy to see that there were businesses that practiced responsible use of vegetable “waste.” At the former Steve’s Food Boy in Big Lake, the produce persons were happy to give Chicken-keepers sacks of vegetable discards if we didn’t mind picking out the occasional piece of plastic. I was more than happy to get those because it was close to home and the Chickens really needed the greens in the winter. Later I discovered that Carr’s in Wasilla did the same thing. Of course, more people were competing for those scraps. It was great to hear that lots of folks got produce discards for their Chickens, Guinea Pigs or Rabbits. What a treat it was for our pets or farm animals to have real food rather than processed pellets!

So this is my thank you to those managers who allowed use of their “waste” rather than just mixing vegetables with “trash” headed for the landfill. I have tried to support these businesses by doing the majority of my shopping in places like those two. Everyone should!

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Big Lake Bunny and the Eggs

Pets and AnimalsTaken last fall, thought it would be appropriate.

Photo by Dennis Garrett

I won't let the rabbits free-range again, they eat everything.

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Free-Range Big Lake chickens

Pets and AnimalsHere are a couple of the Barred Rock out for their daily free range foraging. They love the lowbush cranberries.

Taken yesterday Photo by Dennis Garrett

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Free Plans: Mineral Feeder For Goats and Small Farm Animals

Pets and Animals"This is an easy to assemble feeder for goats and small farm animals. It's very inexpensive to construct, very durable and your critters will love it. They will have minerals as they need them and it stays clean and dry."

Free plans here:

Site also has other great low-cost easy-to-build plans from a local craftsman and artist.
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Deadline approaches to renew Alaska livestock brands

Pets and Animals(Palmer, AK) – Alaskans who have a registered brand or mark for their livestock should apply for renewal by March 2 to protect their exclusive rights under state law for use of the brand or mark.

Branding or marking livestock animals and registering the brand or mark with the Division of Agriculture provides legal evidence of ownership and exclusive rights to use the brand or mark. Under AS 03.40.010, “any person owning cattle, reindeer, bison, musk ox, elk, sheep, horses, mules, or asses may adopt a brand or mark.”

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