Friday Links: Canine OCD, Immunotherapy, and Mind-Controlling Parasites


Similar Brain Abnormalities in Dogs and Humans with OCD Disorder

Researchers from Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine and McLean Imaging Center found that the abnormalities in the brains of dogs with OCD were the same as those found in humans with the same disorder. Niwako Ogata, BVSc, Ph.D, who lead the research team said “It has been very gratifying to me to use our imaging techniques developed to diagnose human brain disorders to better understand the biological basis for anxiety/compulsive disorders in dogs, which may lead to better treatments… Canines that misbehave are often labeled as ‘bad dogs’ but it is important to detect and show the biological basis for certain behaviors”
Tufts University

Land Mine Detecting Honeybees

Remember the mine-finding Hero RATs from last week’s Friday links? Other surprising species are also able to detect these horrible hidden weapons. Researchers both here in the US and in Europe are working on training honeybees to detect mines by getting them to associate the smell of TNT with sugar. In Croatia, where hundreds of thousands of landmines are still buried, Prof. Nikola Kezic, Department of Fisheries, Apiculture and Special Zoology at Zagreb University, has been training bees since 2007, and here in the US, The Department of Defense is conducting similar research. Bees have an amazing sense of smell, and according to Professor Kezic, it only takes a few days to train a bee to detect TNT.
US Department of Defense
BBC News

Dog Lives For Almost A Year After Cancer Diagnosis With Expected Survival of A Week

When Professor Michael Graner’s beloved 12-year old Great Dane Star was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer that had spread to the lymph nodes, and was estimated to live for about another week to at most another month, he turned to immunotherapy, his research specialty, and created a vaccine from a tiny sample of one of her tumors. Star received weekly injections, which halted the cancer, and she stayed happy and otherwise healthy for almost a year. Unfortunately, at that point, the cancer returned and Dr. Graner was eventually forced to put Star to sleep. But they did get another year together, and he is now hoping to be able to eventually test this therapy on humans with brain tumors.
University of Colorado

Cute story of the week: Baby Moose Saved by Vacationing Obstetrician

While on a fishing trip in Montana, PA gynecologist Karen Sciascia came across a Moose with a newborn baby trying to cross a swift river. Mama Moose ran across, but when the baby tried, it was swept away by the current. When it became apparent that the calf wouldn’t survive without help, Sciascia and her guide scooped it up and delivered it to safety where it was reunited with it’s Mother. Sciascia said “Having delivered so many babies, it was like every other day to me, though it was a different modality… It was cool to be in the right place at the right time.”
The Montana Standard

Mind Controlling Parasites

There are many parasites that not only wreak havoc on their hosts’ physical health, they also take control of their behavior. The video below is a very interesting talk on that subject by British science writer Ed Young. It is fascinating and disturbing all at once, and I wouldn’t recommend watching it while eating your lunch (at least not if you’re as squeamish as I am!).

Mind Controlling Parasites

Cattie Coyle

Cattie Coyle

Founder and Editor at Animal Wellness Guide
Cattie is the founder and editor of Animal Wellness Guide. She is a freelance photographer, graduate of Bancroft School of Massage Therapy’s small animal program, and has studied Applied Zoopharmacognosy. Learn more about Cattie
Cattie Coyle
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