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How do you treat a spiny sea urchin? Very carefully!

And, the treatment has less to do with our safety than theirs!  Pharmacokinetics is the study of how the body processes drugs. Having this knowledge makes it possible to provide the best treatment for animals. For many important species, we have little or no information to go on. This is especially true for sea urchins.


Sea urchins are vital to the ocean's ecosystem. They provide food for predators and regulate algae and kelp forest growth. When large numbers of sea urchins die at once, it is called a mass mortality event. These events result from disease-causing organisms in their habitat. The sea urchins can develop opportunistic infections, which leads to the die off. The whole ecosystem suffers. So, having a reliable treatment for these diseases is a pressing need.


But how do veterinarians know the right drugs, dosages, and treatment protocols to use? Pharmacokinetic research provides the answers and the knowledge they require.  With your support of the Wild Animal Health Fund, we can work together to solve this prickly problem.   


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​Owen Slater Photograph

Animals can't tell us what hurts - we must care​