Seneca Park Zoo

Saint Paul, NY, United States

Seneca Park Zoo

Saint Paul, NY, United States

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Bechert U.,Oregon State University | Christensen J.M.,Oregon State University | Poppenga R.,University of Pennsylvania | Poppenga R.,University of California at Davis | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine | Year: 2010

The objective of this study was to determine the pharmacokinetic parameters of orally administered terbinafine hydrochloride based on 3, 7, and 15 mg/kg single- as well as multiple-dosage trials in order to calculate dosing requirements for potential treatment of aspergillosis in African penguins (Spheniscus demersus). Ten adult African penguins were used in each of these trials, with a 2-wk washout period between trials. Mean plasma concentrations of terbinafine peaked in approximately 4 hrs at 0.11 ± 0.017 g/ml (mean ± SD) following administration of 3 mg/kg terbinafine, while 7 mg/kg and 15 mg/kg dosages resulted in peak plasma concentrations of 0.37 ± 0.105 and 0.33 ± 0.054 g/ml, respectively. The volume of distribution increased with increasing dosages, being 37 ± 28.5, 40 ± 28.1, and 52 ± 18.6 mg/L for 3, 7, and 15 mg/kg doses, respectively. The mean half-life was biphasic with initial terminal half-life (t) values of 9.9 ± 4.5, 17.2 ± 4.9 and 16.9 ± 5.4 hrs, for 3, 7, and 15 mg/kg doses, respectively. A rapid first elimination phase was followed by a slower second phase, and final elimination was estimated to be 136 ± 9.7 and 131 ± 9.9 hrs, for 7 and 15 mg/kg doses, respectively. Linearity was demonstrated for area under the curve but not for peak plasma concentrations for the three dosages used. Calculations based on pharmacokinetic parameter values indicate that a 15 mg/kg terbinafine q24h dosage regimen would result in steady-state trough plasma concentrations above the minimum inhibitory concentration (0.81.6 g/ml), and this dosage is recommended as a potential treatment option for aspergillosis in penguins. However, additional research is required to determine both treatment efficacy and safety. © 2010 American Association of Zoo Veterinarians.


News Article | September 22, 2016
Site: www.sciencenews.org

The first time Jessica Cantlon met Kumang at the Seneca Park Zoo, the matriarch orangutan regurgitated her previous meal right into Cantlon’s face. “I was retching,” Cantlon recalls. “It was so gross.” But Cantlon was there to kick off a series of behavioral experiments, and her students, who would be working with Kumang regularly, were watching. “Does anyone have any towels?” she remembers asking, knowing she had to keep her cool. Cantlon’s deliberate nature and whatever-it-takes attitude have served her well. As a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of Rochester in New York, she investigates numerical thinking with some of the most unpredictable and often difficult study subjects: nonhuman primates, including orangutans, baboons and rhesus macaques, and — most remarkably — children as young as age 3. Both groups participate in cognitive tests that require them, for example, to track relative quantities as researchers sequentially add items to cups and to distinguish between quantities of assorted dots on touch screens. The kids also go into the functional MRI scanner where, in a feat impressive to parents everywhere, they lie completely still for 20 to 30 minutes so Cantlon and colleagues can get pictures of their brains. “She takes steps carefully, and she thinks very hard about where she is going,” says Daniel Ansari, a developmental cognitive neuroscientist at the University of Western Ontario in London, Canada, who is familiar with Cantlon’s work. “She goes for the big questions and big methodological challenges.” The central question in Cantlon’s research is: How do humans understand numbers and where does that understanding come from? Sub-questions include: What are the most primitive mathematical concepts? What concepts do humans and other primates share? Are these shared concepts the foundation for fancier forms of mathematical reasoning? In addressing these questions, Cantlon draws on a wide range of methods. “Very few people can combine work on cognitive skills — studies from the point of view of behavior — with imaging work in very young children, and very few people do that same combination in nonhuman primates,” says Elissa Newport, who chaired the brain and cognitive sciences department at Rochester for more than a decade and now leads the Center for Brain Plasticity and Recovery at Georgetown University. As a graduate student, Cantlon determined that neuroimaging studies would add an independent source of data to the cognitive questions under exploration in Elizabeth Brannon’s lab at Duke University. So she identified collaborators and taught herself functional MRI. “By the time she graduated, she had something like four dissertations' worth of work,” says Brannon, now of the University of Pennsylvania. In the years since, Cantlon has identified a type of “protocounting” in baboons; they can keep tabs on approximate quantities of peanuts as researchers increase those quantities (SN Online: 5/17/15). In her most attention-grabbing work, Cantlon studied activity in the brains of children while they watched Sesame Street clips that dealt with number concepts — an unexpected success that proved everyday, relatively unaltered stimuli can yield meaningful data. An ongoing study in Cantlon’s lab seeks to find out how monkeys, U.S. kids and adults, and the Tsimané people of Bolivia, who have little formal education, distinguish between quantities. Do they determine the number of dots presented on the computer screen or do they rely on a proxy such as the total area covered by the dots? The work explores how the brain understands everyday concepts, but it could also inform strategies in math education. “If we understand the fundamental nature of the human brain and mind, that might give us a better insight into how to communicate number concepts to kids,” Cantlon says. Growing up outside of Chicago, Cantlon enjoyed digging deep into a topic and becoming an expert. She and a friend turned themselves into ice skating superfans one summer, reading up on the Olympic skaters and checking videos out of the local library. In another project, Cantlon decided to learn everything possible about the price of gold. When she moved to a school where she could no longer take Latin, she taught and tested herself. Despite the fact that neither of her parents went to college, no one ever questioned that Cantlon would go. She studied anthropology as an undergraduate at Indiana University in Bloomington. “I was interested in the question of where we come from,” Cantlon says. “I was interested in studying people.” During college, she went on an archaeological dig in Belize and studied lemurs in Madagascar. For a year after graduation, she observed mountain gorillas in Rwanda, detailing their behavior every 10 minutes. “What they were thinking was something that was constantly on my mind,” she says. “‘How are we similar? Are you thinking what I’m thinking?’” Though she might have succeeded in any number of careers, she wanted exploration to be a big part of her life: “I don’t think doing a less exotic type of work would have been as satisfying.” Today, Cantlon, who at age 40 recently earned tenure, doesn’t spend much time in the field. And even in the lab, she leaves much of the data collection to her graduate students and research assistants. “At this point, we are a well-oiled system,” she says, referring to the brain scan studies on kids. To make the kids comfortable, Cantlon’s team does trial runs in a mock scanner, describing it as a spaceship and providing “walkie-talkies” for any necessary communication. To keep them interested, the researchers treat it as a team activity and offer a ton of positive reinforcement, with prizes including Lego sets and a volcano-making kit. The kids receive pictures of their brains, which typically interest the parents most. The older of Cantlon’s two daughters, a 5-year-old extrovert named Cloe, has participated in behavioral tests and will no doubt be excited for her first brain scan. The Sesame Street study was in part inspired by a paper by Uri Hasson, a neuroscientist at Princeton University who imaged the brains of volunteers while they watched The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. To better understand brain development, Cantlon wanted to see how brain activity compared in kids and adults exposed to math in a natural way. Of particular interest was a region called the intraparietal sulcus, or IPS, thought to play a role in symbolic number processing. The results, reported in PLOS Biology in 2013, showed that kids with IPS activity more closely resembling adults’ activity performed better on mathematical aptitude tests. “It was the clearest, cleanest — did not have to come out this way — result,” Cantlon says. Cantlon is notable for her diverse set of tools, says Steve Piantadosi, a computational neuroscientist and colleague at Rochester. “But she has something which is even more powerful than that. If you have different hypotheses and you want to come up with the perfect experiment that distinguishes them, that is something she is very good at thinking about. She is a great combination of critical and creative.” To add another methodological approach, Cantlon next plans to collaborate with Piantadosi to develop computational models that explain the operations the brain performs as it counts or compares quantities. She would also like to add data analyses from wild primates into the mix. When researchers talk about the evolution of a primitive number sense, they often speak about foraging activity — identifying areas of the forest with more food, for example. But Cantlon wonders whether social interactions also require some basic understanding of quantities. As for a recent question from a colleague about what risky project she’ll pursue now that she has tenure, Cantlon says nothing in particular comes to mind: “I feel like we’ve been doing the crazy things all along.”


News Article | October 6, 2016
Site: phys.org

It turns out a beer can make a difference. A scientist at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) recently sought out the most humane way to end the lives of the tiny snails she is raising in a laboratory here. The answer: A dip in a few ounces of beer or a 5 percent ethyl alcohol solution, as the first step in a two-step process, sedates and immobilizes the snails. Then they don't exhibit signs of physical distress during the final step—a terminal dunk in 95 percent ethyl alcohol. The process is much like that used with domestic animals, when a veterinarian sedates a dog or cat before administering a final dose of a euthanasia drug. "There are already strict protocols established for research with certain animals. You have to be sure they are not in pain and that they are treated humanely," said Cody Gilbertson, a graduate student at ESF, whose master's research (funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Great Lakes Restoration Initiative) focuses on an endangered population of Chittenango ovate amber snails. "There's not much out there regarding the treatment of invertebrates. "We looked at how to humanely euthanize invertebrates, especially land snails, as well as preserve tissue for research," she said. "We wanted to see if there was a way to minimize suffering and minimize the tissue damage that occurs when you put them straight into 95 percent ethyl alcohol. We aren't yet certain what pain these animals experience, but veterinarians can look for changes in tissue structure to better understand how the snails are reacting." The study by Gilbertson and Dr. Jeffrey D. Wyatt, a veterinarian at Seneca Park Zoo in Rochester and a professor at the University of Rochester Medical Center, is the cover story in the September issue of the Journal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science. This is the first time a snail has been featured on the cover in the 24-year history of the journal. "Our finding that beer, a globally available beverage, so effectively anesthetizes snails offers a new technique promoting good welfare for invertebrate research subjects everywhere," Wyatt said. "This is especially true for our population health studies of free-ranging endangered snails in remote locations from Tahiti to Chittenango Falls." The publication is part of Gilbertson's master's research, in which she is studying conservation of an endangered snail. The "Chit," as its called by its fans, is found only in one location alongside Chittenango Falls in Central New York. Gilbertson has achieved a crucial step in the species' recovery by breeding the snails in captivity in an ESF laboratory, and she is monitoring their population at the waterfall. She has used an invasive species of snail to help test different diets for the endangered snails. Some of the invasive snails became so abundant they needed to be euthanized. Traditional euthanization involves a lethal dose of ethyl alcohol (also called ethanol). Gilbertson said when the snails, which are less than an inch long, are dropped into a 95 percent solution, they show signs of physical stress: they quickly retract their tentacles, expel mucus and defecate. They retract deeply into their shells, making their tissue more difficult for researchers to access. A preliminary dip in beer, however, specifically Pabst Blue Ribbon with its 4.74 percent alcohol content, or a five percent ethyl alcohol solution, gradually immobilizes the snails and makes them unresponsive to stimuli such as a needle scrape or prick. Left alone, they are back to normal in about an hour. But if, in that anesthetized state, they are dropped into 95 percent ethyl alcohol, they die quickly without reacting. Gilbertson said she used beer in the research because it's inexpensive and available nearly everywhere. Although unheralded in pop culture, snails perform essential ecosystem functions and are frequently involved in research projects. They are found in a range of environments—dry, wet, tropical and temperate. They are a food source for many species and terrestrial snails provide other animals with a good source of calcium. They are part of the nutrient cycle, breaking down leaf litter into soil. "Land snails can be indicator species," Gilbertson said. "If you are monitoring a native population and they start to decline, you know something might be degrading the habitat, which could influence other species' decline. Snails are like canaries in a coal mine."


Wyatt J.,Seneca Park Zoo | Wyatt J.,University of Rochester | Divincenti Jr. L.,Seneca Park Zoo | Divincenti Jr. L.,University of Rochester
Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine | Year: 2012

Elephant ear mites, not previously described in North America, were eradicated in two African elephants (Loxodonta africana) after six otic instillations of ivermectin at 2-wk intervals. The microscopic examination of a clear, mucoid discharge collected from the external ear canals of two wild-born African elephants housed in a New York State zoo for 25 yr revealed live mites (Loxoaneotus bassoni). The cytologic examination demonstrated no evidence of inflammation or infection. Both elephants were asymptomatic with normal hemograms and serum chemistry panels. A diagnosis of otoacariasis was made. Each elephant was treated six times with 5 ml of 1% ivermectin syrup instilled in each ear canal once every 2 wk. Microscopic examinations of clear mucus collected from each elephant's ear canals 9 days after the first instillation of ivermectin were negative for any life stages of ear mites. Microscopic examinations of mucus collected from both elephants' ear canals at 6, 11, and 16 wk, as well as annually post-treatment for 7 yr, confirmed eradication of the ear mites. The L. bassoni ear mite was first identified in the external ear canals of wild, asymptomatic, lesion-free, African elephants culled in Kruger National Park in South Africa. However, a new species in the same genus of mites (Loxoanoetus lenae) was identified at the necropsy of an 86-yr-old Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) living in a circus in Australia. The autopsy revealed a marked, ballooning distension of bone around the left external acoustic meatus, suggestive of mite-induced otitis externa, as seen in cattle infested with ear mites (Raillieta auris). Elephant health care providers should identify the prevalence of, and consider treatment of, elephants in their care infested with ear mites, given the possible risk for adverse health effects. Copyright © 2012 by American Association of Zoo Veterinarians.


Divincenti Jr. L.,Seneca Park Zoo | Priest H.,Cornell University | Walker K.J.,Seneca Park Zoo | Wyatt J.D.,Seneca Park Zoo | Dittman D.,U.S. Geological Survey
Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine | Year: 2013

Hematology and serum chemistry analytes were compared between wild-caught and aquarium-housed lake sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens) to potentially improve understanding of medical issues in lake sturgeon. Blood samples were taken from 30 lake sturgeon exhibited in 11 institutions in the United States and from 23 experimentally stocked lake sturgeon caught in gill nets in the lower Genesee River in Rochester, New York, USA. For hematology, only segmented neutrophil count was significantly different, with wild-caught fish having a higher number of circulating neutrophils. For clinical chemistry analytes, chloride, uric acid, calcium, phosphate, glucose, aspartate aminotransferase, triglycerides, and creatine kinase were significantly different between the two cohorts. These differences are likely not clinically significant and are attributable to handling stress, variability in environmental parameters, or differences in nutritional status. This is the first report of hematology and serum chemistry values in aquarium-housed lake sturgeon and provides useful reference intervals for clinicians. Copyright 2013 by American Association of Zoo Veterinarians.


PubMed | Seneca Park Zoo
Type: Case Reports | Journal: Journal of zoo and wildlife medicine : official publication of the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians | Year: 2012

Elephant ear mites, not previously described in North America, were eradicated in two African elephants (Loxodonta africana) after six otic instillations of ivermectin at 2-wk intervals. The microscopic examination of a clear, mucoid discharge collected from the external ear canals of two wild-born African elephants housed in a New York State zoo for 25 yr revealed live mites (Loxoaneotus bassoni). The cytologic examination demonstrated no evidence of inflammation or infection. Both elephants were asymptomatic with normal hemograms and serum chemistry panels. A diagnosis of otoacariasis was made. Each elephant was treated six times with 5 ml of 1% ivermectin syrup instilled in each ear canal once every 2 wk. Microscopic examinations of clear mucus collected from each elephants ear canals 9 days after the first instillation of ivermectin were negative for any life stages of ear mites. Microscopic examinations of mucus collected from both elephants ear canals at 6, 11, and 16 wk, as well as annually post-treatment for 7 yr, confirmed eradication of the ear mites. The L. bassoni ear mite was first identified in the external ear canals of wild, asymptomatic, lesion-free, African elephants culled in Kruger National Park in South Africa. However, a new species in the same genus of mites (Loxoanoetus lenae) was identified at the necropsy of an 86-yr-old Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) living in a circus in Australia. The autopsy revealed a marked, ballooning distension of bone around the left external acoustic meatus, suggestive of mite-induced otitis externa, as seen in cattle infested with ear mites (Raillieta auris). Elephant health care providers should identify the prevalence of, and consider treatment of, elephants in their care infested with ear mites, given the possible risk for adverse health effects.

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