A scrawled note was stuck to the door of the clinic. “All animals left here have died,” it said. “We have buried them for you. I have no way of expressing my grief.” The note was signed by the vet whose clinic was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.
That note is a sad reminder that being prepared for a disaster is key to surviving storms, fires, floods, earthquakes, and whatever else might come crashing down upon us—and our animals.
That’s why Cynthia Faux says, “If I have 15 minutes to evacuate in front of a fast-moving fire, I don’t want to spend 10 of those looking … » More …
Mostly true stories, anecdotes, and illustrations about the animals and people from the life and career of a retired mixed animal veterinarian.
Notes in the Category of C: Reflections on Laboratory Animal Care and Use
Steven Niemi ’82 DVM
Academic Press: 2017
Niemi’s professional analysis and experience informs ways to improve laboratory animal care and use. His book characterizes the current state of the industry and speculates on its long-term future. Niemi, director of the Office of Animal Resources at Harvard University, has spent a lot of time in … » More …
One day in a drift boat along Henry’s Fork in eastern Idaho, Kyle Smith ’07 felt the lure of the trout, fly fishing for a signature fish of the West.
“The Henry’s Fork is just about as legendary as it gets among trout fishermen,” says Smith. “I remember casting Renegades, my favorite dry fly for trout, and catching five or six rainbows in a row.”
Smith’s trip cemented itself in his memory and led him to a career in trout conservation with Trout Unlimited. It’s his unique experience, but it matches the stories of many anglers, stories of steelhead and brook trout, cutthroat and browns, … » More …
Ancient Greek physician Hippocrates proposed that four basic personalities were driven by excess or lack of bodily fluids, the “humors.” Discredited by biochemistry, we may consider the idea humorous, but Hippocrates’ theories began a centuries-long consideration of temperaments and personality in psychology and philosophy.
Other ideas of human health were first spurned and then accepted. Germ theory, the thought that many diseases are caused by microorganisms, was treated with disdain when it was proposed in the sixteenth century. It didn’t receive its due until nineteenth-century experiments by cholera researcher John Snow and chemist Louis Pasteur, among others, proved germ theory’s validity.
In the ghoulish world of infectious disease agents, prions might well be the zombies. Unlike bacteria and viruses, prions have no DNA, yet still manage to replicate. Nearly indestructible themselves, the tiny agents slowly ravage the brains of their victims in an infection that is always fatal.
Prions were the culprit behind the mad cow disease outbreak in the late 1990s and early 2000s. And today, they’re driving the epidemic of chronic wasting disease (CWD) spreading rapidly through deer and elk across North America.
For nearly thirty years, Don Knowles ’88 PhD has bravely investigated these strange and elusive infectious particles. When asked if he … » More …
Our boy Mic’s symptoms were so subtle and their onset so gradual we didn’t initially see them. In fact, our other dogs noticed them first.
Mic, a Pembroke corgi then 12, had always embodied good “dog manners.” He’d never met a dog who didn’t like him. Suddenly, he was enraging his packmates. We sympathized; his nighttime barking was fraying our nerves, too.
A number of vet visits and lab tests revealed nothing, and Mic continued to decline. But when his spatial perception deteriorated, we realized he was acting like some elderly people and concluded, almost tongue-in-cheek, he had “doggy dementia.”
It may be possible to use good bacteria to control bad bacteria and, in the process, reduce the use of chemicals currently employed for such control. Just look in a tick’s gut.
Kelly Brayton, a WSU veterinary microbiologist, and her colleagues study the pathogens in ticks that cause disease in livestock and humans. The pathogens infest ticks’ guts and salivary glands and, along with other non-pathogenic organisms, comprise the tiny arachnid’s microbiome.
They’ve recently been studying something fascinating: If a tick is infected by a non-disease causing strain of the bacteria Anaplasma marginale, its bite won’t transmit anaplasmosis to its human victim. This “exclusion process,” … » More …