Life Lines by Dr. Dolittle

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Archive for August 2017

Attempts to save Houston’s bats

Got bugs? Get a bat. As many species of bats are insectivores, they help keep insect populations in check. Hurricane Harvey has been devastating to people, animals and property. So it probably comes as no surprise that there are many volunteers dedicating their time to saving animals displaced by Hurricane Harvey as well. From squirrels, cats and dogs to…you guessed it…bats. It turns out that bats are not very good […]

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White Nose Syndrome – What do we know now?

You may recall prior Lifelines posts discussing the devastating effects of white nose syndrome (WNS) in bats. WNS, Pseudogymnoascus destructans is a fungus responsible for the deaths of millions of North American bats over the last ten years. In a new study published in the American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, Dr. Craig Willis examined the effects of repeated arousals from hibernation induced by the fungal infection. […]

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Warm Waters = Smaller Fish

I love fishing. As with every fisherman, I have my fair share of “the one that got away” stories steeped in *mostly* truth. So, you can imagine my interest in reading research that shows fish appear to be shrinking in warming waters. Warm waters carry less oxygen, which makes it difficult for fish to breath…especially larger fish. Metabolism is also higher in fish living in warm waters. Higher metabolism means the […]

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Benefits to being furry, but not fat, in a cold environment

To deal with cold environments, mammals have several options. They could produce heat by increasing metabolism or shivering or they could conserve heat by constricting blood vessels in their skin or snuggling with a friend or insulating materials. With this in mind, researchers wondered how varying levels of insulation (obesity, fur) in mice affected heat loss and how much energy the animals used to maintain body heat. Their thinking was […]

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Avian vascular anatomy revealed

This is such a beautiful award-winning image of the complex vascular networks in a pigeon. The image was captured using  CT scan technology and a novel contrasting agent called BriteVu that allows visualization of even tiny capillaries. This image was captured by Scott Echols who is a member of the Grey Parrot Anatomy Project, whose goals are to create technologies to study animal anatomy. The complex capillary network located in […]

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Is your pet overweight?

A new study conducted by the Banfield Pet Hospital (Vancouver, Washington) reports that as many as 1 in 3 dogs and cats living in the United States are overweight. The study was based on data collected by Banfield veterinary clinics on 2.5 million dogs and half a million cats over the past year. Obesity in pets was not related to the weight status of their owners. In fact, overweight pets were less prevalent in states whose populations […]

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