Monday, December 11, 2017

Q24: Random Rat Questions

This week just a smattering of "things you should know" about rats...

1. At what light intensity (lux) is there a probability of phototoxic retinopathy?
2. Which 2 glands are responsible for tear production?
3. What is the normal hearing range of rats?  How does that compare to humans?
4. Also which kinds of rat communication calls happen in the ultrasonic range?
5. Which teeth do rats NOT have (ie of incisors, canines, premolars, molars)?
6. Which gland in the head is a "mixed" gland?
7. We all know rats have no gall bladder, but where does the common bile duct enter the GI tract?
8. How many chromosomes does a rat have?
9. Rat pups can absorb maternal antibodies until a) 7d,  b) 15d  c) 20-21d, d) birth
10. Rats do not begin breeding until  a) 9-13 weeks b) 4-6 weeks c)7-10 weeks d) 11-15 weeks
11. List rat models for:

  • Obesity
  • Spontaneous Type I diabetes mellitus
  • Type II diabetes mellitus
  • Hypertension
  • Prostate cancer
  • Diabetes insipidus
  • Stroke

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Q 23: Regulations, regulations, so much to learn!

Personally I'd rather go to the dentist than learn regulatory trivia, but I know it's important, so this week I'm going to start with some basics:

1.  In the US, the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) was passed in 1966.   What were the 3 purposes of the Act?
(bonus -what was the name of the dog whose emaciated picture in Life Magazine ignited a storm of public opinion?)

2.  The Public Health Service Act pre-dated the AWA. When was it first passed?  What was its purpose?

3. Which government agency is responsible for enforcement of the AWA? 
4. Which species are specifically excluded from the AWA?

5.  True or false: The AWA regulates...

  • Importation of dogs and cats for resale purposes
  • Animals used for exhibition
  • Animals sold for pets
  • Animals transported commercially
  • Animals used in research
  • Cock- and bull-fighting
  • Living conditions for regulated animals
  • Swine and cattle used for biomedical research
  • Birds bred for research
  • Dealers
  • Animal Care Committees
  • Psychological well being
6.  True or false: The AWA is enforcible through criminal penalties
7. What are the 3 R's, when were they first described, by who, and in what document?
8. What is the purpose of Policy 12?
9. What is the Act that allows enforcement of the PHS Policy?
10. How do the requirements for IACUC composition differ between the AWA and the PHS policy
11. Give examples of research animals that are NOT covered by either the AWA or the PHS policy

Monday, October 30, 2017

Q21: Nonhuman primate taxonomy/anatomy I: basics

This one is mostly new world primates....

1.  Depending on how you classify them, nonhuman primates can be divided into suborders  based on retention of primitive characteristics (prosimians meaning "before primates" and anthropoids or "resembling humans") or based on shared derived characteristics (Strepsirrhines - from the Greek meaning "twisted nose"  and Haplorrhines - meaning "simple nose").  Strepsirrhines have wet noses and haplorrhines have dry noses. 

  • List the superfamilies included in the suborders prosimii, and anthropoidea.  
  • Which suborder is classified either with the less- or more- advanced primates depending on which classification criteria are used?

2. Anthropoidea are generally divided into platyrrhines (new world monkeys) and catarrhines (old world monkeys).  Assign the following characteristics to prosimians, tarsiers,  platyrrhines, or catarrhines:
a. May have prehensile tail
b. cheek pouches
c. ischial callosities
d. "toilet claw"
e. largely nocturnal
f. Fissured nose
g. fused mandible
h. Hindlimbs longer than forelimbs
i. Can be bipedal
j. All arboreal
k. All carnivorous
l. Stereoscopic color vision
m. Flat nose with flared nares
n. Require vitamin D3

3. Platyrrhines can be divided into families Callitrichidae and Cebidae.
a. Which family has many CITES listed genera?
b. What does CITES stand for?  What specifically does it place controls on?
c. What is the unique feature of the placenta in Callitrichidae?  What does this often result in?
d. Which genus is often used for malaria research?  Why?
e.  Which genus has naturally occurring atherosclerosis?
f. Which genus was sent into space?
f. Squirrel monkeys are often classified according to whether the hair pattern on their face resembles a gothic arch or a roman arch.  Which species fall into each, and which of these is used in malaria research?
g. which genus has a semi-prehensile tail?  Which genera have true prehensile tails?  What is the difference between prehensile and pseudo-prehensile tails anyway?
h. What is the regulatory impact of brachiation?
i. Which genus is used to study gout?
j. What is special about the hallux in callitrichidae?  And what is a hallux?
k. Which genus gets Vitamin E responsive hemolytic anemia?
Many thanks to our residents and most recently to Diane for compiling this information!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Who is talking about the benefits of lab animal research?

This week's post is a little different.   Last week at AALAS I noticed a fair number of booths of organizations that promote animal research. A question I had was, "why don't these booths get a lot of traffic?"   Of course they are usually tucked away in the farthest reaches of the giant exhibition hall, but it would seem under the current climate where the reproducibility of animal research is being questioned by everyone from the man on the street to Congress, we might want to pay attention.   So I thought it was about time to feature some web-based organizations that support animal research and furthermore have fabulous websites...

Foundation for Biomedical Research (FBR).

FBR has been supporting animal research for a long time, and now has a new campaign called "Love Animals? Support Animal Research", designed to rebut the widely advertised view that researchers are faceless people in white coats who don't care about animals.  Great logo!  The FBR website is easy to navigate - has a counter prominently displayed with the # of people diagnosed with Alzheimers, diabetes, etc. and features recent medical advances accomplished using animal research.  There are a lot of resources on this site, including a BLOG,  information on how animal research benefits pets, an archive of research articles and pages useful in case we need to give talks to schools, such as "myths vs. facts."

Americans for Medical Progress (AMP)

In addition to acting as a bountiful resource for information on the benefits of animal research, AMP sponsors the hugely successful biomedical research awareness day , organized by veterinary "Hayre Scholars" this has expanded from activities in a couple of dozen US vet schools to schools companies and hospitals around the world.  We hosted a BRAD in our hospital (courtesy of Logan France, one of the original Hayre Scholars) and I can say that this was a highly effective method for bringing the message to the public rather than expecting the public to come to us.  BRAD for next year is on April 19th 2018.

Understanding Animal Research

This site brings "openness" to a level not previously seen before in the animal research community by virtue of the UK initiative "concordat on openness in animal research".  The front page features a video about an interactive tour of 4 animal research facilities, including pictures of the animals (including a monkey with a headcap), surgery preparation, and animal husbandry technicians at work.  I particularly like the news timeline on the sidebar - most recently a link to the 2017 Nobel prize in science awarded for how genes control the body's circadian rhythm. A lot of really interesting and useful information for giving presentations here - including the top 20 prescribed medications and how animals were used to develop them (the most prescribed med is a beta blocker, in case you were wondering).  In fact this site contains a lot of novel ideas such as "ask me anything" features where researchers (the most recent one by an Alzheimers researcher) answer questions posed by the public on Reddit (and yes, I had to look up what Reddit is!) and links to videos of animals in research.   Well worth spending quite some time on this site.

Any other websites you know of that should be featured here?

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Q21. Mouse Breeding Basics

How much do you know about mouse breeding?   Might be useful one day to know a few fun facts!
Here are some questions you ought to know the answer to.... (and if you forgot - links to useful online references are provided)

1.  Mouse pups: at what age does...

  • The milk spot disappear
  • Hair first appear
  • Ears start to come away from head
  • Teeth erupt
  • Eyes are fully open
  • Eat solid food
Check HERE if you need a reminder

2.  Timed breeding.  How would you time breeding without the use of drugs?   ( there are good summaries HERE  and HERE)

3.  If you need to superovulate to produce many eggs (eg for embryo freezing) the protocol is...
  • Take group housed female mice aged _______ days
  • Inject 2-5 IU PMSG between ___________(time of day) on day 1.
  • Inject 2-5 IU HCG ________   hours later on day _____
  • Mate with stud (8 weeks old individually housed)_____________(when?)
  • Ovulation occurs __________ hours later.
(And HERE is the protocol)

4.  Estrus Cycle: visual external characteristics (ie vaginal opening appearance) 
  • What distinguishes proestrus from estrus? 
  • Metestrus from Diestrus?
5. Estrus Cycle: Vaginal smears - 
  • What distinguishes proestrus from estrus? 
  • Metestrus from diestrus?
A really nice review for questions 4 and 5 can be found HERE

6. Early Pregnancy Diagnosis
  • Ultrasound can identify pregnancy as early as Embryonic Day ___  (assuming day following mating is Day 0.5)  Reference 
  • Weight change can identify pregnancy as early as day ED_____   Reference
And here are a few easy ones...
7. Delayed implantation generally occurs when ________________________________ 
8. For breeding, always add the female/male to the female/male's cage
9. Gestation generally lasts between ___ and ____ days
10. B6 mouse pups should weigh approximately _____grams on weaning at 3 weeks.

ANSWERS are posted HERE

Monday, September 18, 2017

Q20: Pneumocystis: clinical implications and diagnosis


For many organisms the information I learned decades ago is still largely correct (except for a tendency to change the name and then change it again!)  However for Pneumocystis this is not the case.  So here's a little quiz to see how up to date you are on Pneumocystis...

1. True/false. Pneumocystis was first discovered in 1909 and was thought to be a stage in the life cycle of Trypanosoma cruzi
2. True/false.  Pneumocystis is only a clinical problem for immune-suppressed animals
3. True/false.  Pneumocystis species are not host specific and they affect a wide range of mammalian species
4. The following diagnostic methods for rat pneumocystosis are the most sensitive:

  1. PCR of an oropharyngeal swab or wash
  2. PCR of feces
  3. Serology 10-20 days after the infection
  4. All of the above
  5. None of the above
5. In rats, Pneumocystis was previously known as __________and the species name is/are _______. In mice the species name is P.___________
6. Pneumocystis is intra/extra cellular, is classed as an  ___________________ and does/does not respond to antifungal treatments
7. In people, the Pneumocystis species name is P.______________, the infective stage is the _____ and transmission is by the ________ route
8. True/false.  In people, Trimethoprim/sulfa is the usual treatment.
9. The course of the disease in rats is acute/chronic and peak  disease occurs ____wks after infection
10. Pneumocystis can/cannot reliably be cultured in vitro
11. True/false. Pneumocystis cysts can survive freezing at -80C, but are susceptible to most common disinfectants.
12. The usual stain for identification of Pneumocystis in the lung is __________________

Peter Walzer in J eukaryot microbiol 2013 60(6)
Procop et al in J Clin Microbiol 2004 p.3333-
Menotti et al PLOS 1 8(4) April 2013
Kim et al experimental and therapeutic medicine 2014. 8:442-446 (accessed 9/2017)

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Q 19. Rabbit Bacterial Diseases.

This week we'll do a more 'traditional' lab animal species. There's a lot to know about rabbits, but here are some questions on bacterial infections to get you started...

  1. E coli.  True or False?
    1. E coli can be identified in normal rabbit feces and E coli overgrowth often results secondary to another infection
    2. Enteropathogenic strains of E coli can be diagnosed by serotyping and biotyping  in addition to PCR.
    3. PCR identification relies upon the abc gene that codes for intimin
    4. Disease manifestation is highly dependent upon serotype: O15:H is highly pathogenic whereas O103:H2 and O123 are not.
    5. Pathogenic strains typically exhibit attaching and effacing pathology.
  2. Treponema paraluiscuniculi
    1. Was formerly known as__________________
    2. Is closely related to T pallidum the cause of human __________ (disease)
    3. Disease is usually transmitted during___________
    4. The  ____ genes are primarily responsible for virulence.
    5. Diagnosis can be confirmed from a microscopic sample stained with_____________
  3. T paraluiscuniculi (True or false?)
    1. Antibodies to T pallidum and T paraluiscuniculi cross react
    2. Antibodies to one organism provides protection against the other 
    3. The lesions are generally restricted to mucocutaneous junctions and regional lymph nodes and can persist for many months 
    4. Following infection, seroconversion follows within 3 weeks 
    5. Positive serology in the absence of lesions indicates complete recovery from the disease
  4. Tyzzers Disease 
    1. is caused by _________ formerly known as ___________
    2. Most infections are subclinical/severe.
    3. During an outbreak,  there is typically high mortality in ___________ (age group)
    4. The most consistent organ infected is the liver; cecum/intestine; heart (pick one)
    5. Infection is generally via ingestion of _______
    6. True or false?  Latent infections exist, and clinical disease can result from stress
    7. _________ (another species) are highly susceptible to Tyzzers disease and have been used to diagnose latent infections
    8. True or false? PCR diagnosis is complicated by cross reaction with non-pathogenic bacteria.
  5. Enterotoxemia in rabbits 
    1. Is caused by the Clostridial organism ___________
    2. The toxin responsible for disease is neutralized by antiserum to _______(toxin) from this organism __________
    3. Enterotoxemia is most likely to follow changes such as ________________(give examples).  Mortality is highest in  ______________ 
  6. The most common bacterial infection in rabbits is _______ caused by ________________
    1. The most common clinical form of this disease is _____________
    2. This organism is also the primary cause of ________, ________,__________, __________ in rabbits
    3. Serotypes __ and __  are most commonly associated with disease in rabbits
    4. Infection is usually acute/chronic
    5. Humoral immunity protects against ____________ but not _____________
    6. Culture diagnosis based on colony morphology can be accomplished by incorporation of _______ , which suppresses most other likely flora,  into the growth medium
    7. A single serological test is sufficient to assure negative status. 
Reference: the 'blue book' "The Laboratory Rabbit, Guinea Pig, Hamster, and Other Rodents" Elsevier 2012.

Answers are now posted HERE (or click on the answers link in the right sidebar)