Zoo Animals and Their Discontents

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July 3, 2014

“Zoos contact Vint Virga when animals develop difficulties that vets and keepers cannot address, and he is expected to produce tangible, observable results. Often, the animals suffer from afflictions that haven’t been documented in the wild and appear uncomfortably close to our own: He has treated severely depressed snow leopards, brown bears with obsessive-compulsive disorder and phobic zebras. ‘Scientists often say that we don’t know what animals feel because they can’t speak to us and can’t report their inner states,’ Virga told me. ‘But the thing is, they are reporting their inner states. We’re just not listening.'” -From The New York Times Magazine

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Photo Credit: mikeywally via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: mikeywally via Compfight

Cat PDA Vs. Human PDA, And Other Animal Behavior Explained

July 23, 2014

“Veterinarian Vint Virga works with pets and zoo animals on behavior disorders. He talks about how house cats are more fulfilled when they forage for food, and how to show animals affection.”

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(Photo by Federico Gambarini via New York Magazine)

(Photo by Federico Gambarini via New York Magazine)

The Case for the End of the Modern Zoo

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July 11, 2014

“Vint Virga, in Halberstadt’s hands, is a winning subject and an obvious credit to his species….Called in by zoos to assess a psychologically troubled animal, he tries to understand the source of the stress and alter it….Virga, confronting something like the problem of the killer whale in the bathtub, does what he can to make the bathtub more accommodating and less stressful, to show the animal that it is home: He spends time alone with the giraffe so she might grow comfortable with him, feeds her branches when visitors are around so she grows more comfortable with the scenario. He teaches zoo technicians how to medicate animals without freaking them out.”

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Vint Virga with Harbor Seals-For Web

The Human-Animal Connection

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July 10, 2013

“Veterinarian and veterinary behaviorist Vint Virga discusses the inner lives of animals and explores the strong relationships we forge with them. The Soul of All Living Creatures draws from his decades in veterinary practice to reveal how to perceive the world as animals do and how that can enrich our own appreciation of life, improve our character, relationships, and communication.”

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The Truth About Dogs

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August 19, 1999

In this in-depth interview with Anderson Cooper, Vint Virga explores the human relationships with dogs. Are dogs the ultimate con artists? Are they social parasites as an article in The Atlantic Monthly suggests? Cooper and Virga dissect the attention-seeking behaviors of “man’s best friend.”

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The Secret Life of Cats

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This in-depth segment on National Geographic Explorer follows house calls to several feline patients, exploring the diagnosis and management of a number of behavioral issues which develop in cats.

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The Animals We Live With on PBS

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In this PBS Nature segment, a reporter follows Dr. Virga as he makes house calls. Virga explores our relationships with dogs and how we can best meet their behavioral needs in our families.

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