• Rabies is a disease that kills an alarming number of bats worldwide.  Investigators are working on a vaccine to prevent rabies that can be applied to the fur of bats, and when they lick it off, they are protected.

  • There is a disease that deer in zoos and in the wild can get called babesiosis, and it’s often fatal.  There is a vaccine to prevent the disease, but it has not been tested or licensed for deer.  The researchers are investigating the dosages and frequency of administration needed to allow the vaccine to protect deer.

  • Researchers are studying vitamin D and calcium metabolism in elephants to better understand their functions and ensure that the elephants thrive in any environment.

  • Seals are subject to medical problems resulting from ocean pollution, but measuring the level of toxins in the blood is difficult when veterinarians and biologists have to collect test tubes of blood for testing.  This research is to develop a “dried blood spot card” where a drop or two of blood can be stored on a special card for analysis in the laboratory.   

  • Dolphins and seals are subject to disease outbreaks caused by morbilliviruses.  This study aims to investigate the roll of molecular receptors and the disease process in tissue samples and using molecular techniques in dolphins and seals that have succumbed to morbillivirus disease. 

  • Tuberculosis is a growing disease threat in rhinos, but it is difficult to test for it.  The investigators in this study are working on a reliable diagnostic test for tuberculosis so that animal managers can make informed decisions regarding treatment, transportation and/or quarantine of infected animals.

  • Sea turtles are victims worldwide of a debilitating skin tumor disease called fibropapillomatosis.  This research will screen free-ranging sea turtles for infection; it will attempt to predict the nature of the tumors based on the type of virus, and it will determine whether adult turtles can transmit the disease to hatchlings.

  • One way to aid in making a disease diagnosis is to measure serum proteins in the blood.  But for zoo animals and wildlife, little is known about the normal serum protein values.  The investigators in this study are evaluating serum proteins in turtles and tortoises for reference ranges during different seasons of the year to establish normal levels.

  • Gorillas, like humans, are prone to heart disease.  But it’s difficult to diagnose because most of the tests require a venous blood sample or techniques that require anesthesia, and it’s too risky to anesthetize a gorilla when we don’t know if it has heart disease.  The investigators are evaluating techniques to see if they can get reliable heart information from urine or peripheral serum blood that they can get without having to anesthetize the gorillas.

  • Whether in a rehabilitation facility or a zoo or aquarium, animals that eat fish, like whales and dolphins, otters, seals and sea lions, need proper nutrition.  To keep their food fresh, the fish they are fed must be frozen, and we know that the freezing and thawing and storage causes loss of some of the vitamins and minerals in the fish used as food.  The researchers in this study are comparing storage times and thawing techniques to determine the best way of preserving these essential nutrients for the animals. 

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