The day the bison herd swam across the river says it all.
About 80 of the legendary mammals, known for hardiness and stubbornness, decided to cross the half-mile wide Pend Oreille River in 1994—bulls, cows, and even calves—and all survived the crossing, recalls Ray Entz, natural resources director of the Kalispel Tribe of Indians in northeast Washington.
That same rugged strength of the wooly North American bovines—whether you call them bison or buffalo—helped the entire resilient species survive. Although bison are now the national mammal of the United States, they once balanced on the cliff of extinction … » More …
A woman lies dying in a hospital bed in an acute care facility in Nevada. She has a common infection induced by a common bacterium, Klebsiella pneumoniae. But she’s untreatable: her infection is resistant to all 26 of the antibacterial drugs available in the United States capable of treating the bacterium. The infection spreads further, which causes her blood pressure to drop precipitously until she finally succumbs to septic shock.
While death by “superbugs” is still fairly rare, the World Health Organization warns that, if bacteria keep evolving drug resistance at the rate they have been, such bugs will globally cause 10 million deaths per … » More …
When an international archaeology team needed to understand how an ancient civilization cared for its horses, they turned to Scott Bender ’95, a veterinarian with the Navajo Nation in Arizona.
Bender will be the first to admit that his career didn’t turn out like he expected—in fact, unforeseen twists are among his favorite parts. This particular turn got him involved in a research project that has changed our understanding of a pivotal point in human history: the emergence of horse domestication for war and transportation.
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.”