Monthly Archives: November 2016

Elusive pregnancy test for sharks could help save them

As shark numbers dwindle, the need to understand and monitor reproduction has become more pressing, so biologist James Gelsleichter has been catching sharks, conducting abdominal ultrasounds to check for pregnancy and drawing blood in an effort to develop a pregnancy test. The search hasn’t turned up a hormonal marker of pregnancy, so the team has turned to protein mapping, which is showing some possible differences between pregnant and nonpregnant (11/18)

Culture of perfectionism hurts veterinarians, experts say

Earlier this month, the Veterinary Health and Wellness Summit brought veterinarians and wellness experts together to discuss stress management and mental health in the profession. Keynote speaker veterinarian Michele Gaspar said veterinary school administrators may have inadvertently been fostering a culture of perfectionism in the field when they should be looking for resilience and self esteem. AVMA President Thomas Meyer called for “a culture that allows people to admit their mistakes without fear of punishment,” saying leaders in the field need to model this attitude and praise others who do the (11/16)

Veterinarians have a very high suicide rate compared to other health professionals. I know of 2. I think depression is extremely common. And when I went to school you were upheld to very high standards and pushed. The “Failure is not an Option” theme was sort of our motto.

I see this in many colleagues. And in myself.

Parasite in invasive species explains Mississippi River waterfowl kill

Nearly 1,000 waterfowl have been found dead in the Upper Mississippi River since early October, and scientists say an intestinal parasite carried by the invasive faucet snail — a common food source along migratory routes — is likely to blame. The trematodes parasite can infect more than a dozen waterfowl species, but coot and scaup are most vulnerable.Winona Daily News (Minn.) (11/17)

Reindeer starvation events ripple throughout the ecosystem

Weather events linked to the loss of Arctic sea ice may explain tens of thousands of reindeer deaths, with important implications for other species in the ecosystem and the local subsistence economy of West Siberia, researchers report in Biology Letters. Researchers examined major weather events in 2006 and 2013, the latter of which wiped out 22% of the 275,000 reindeer believed to inhabit Siberia’s Yamal Peninsula.Seeker (11/15)


I just don’t understand why politicians can’t see the science and the evidence.

BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill working up the food chain, study says

Research reported in Environmental Research Letters shows that oil from the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon spill is moving up the food chain. In Louisiana, the team evaluated sparrow gastrointestinal contents as well as their feathers, and they found evidence that carbon from the spilled oil had been integrated into biological tissues.BBC (11/16)


This is a huge reason why we need to block oil and gas drilling in the Artic National Wildlife Reserve.

Seal with history of military service dies at the National Zoo

Selkie, a 43-year-old seal at Smithsonian’s National Zoo, died Thursday after several months of observation by veterinarians, who were monitoring growths in her abdomen as well as ongoing issues such as cataracts. Selkie was the oldest gray seal known to be under human care, and she also had a history of military service, having been trained by Navy staff to retrieve equipment from the ocean floor, use a screwdriver and manipulate a wheel valve.The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (11/10)

Australia’s rabbit owners warned about myxomatosis, calicivirus

Australian veterinarians are warning Victoria state rabbit owners that recent rains and flooding could cause a surge in mosquitoes that transmit myxomatosis and calicivirus. The deadly viruses can manifest with a variety of symptoms, including swelling with myxomatosis and bleeding with calicivirus, but death also can strike with no symptoms in either case.The Age (Melbourne, Australia) (11/14)