Friday, September 19, 2014

Animal intelligence, dolphin medicine and fish surgery

Nope, I don't have a pic of a dolphin, but I can't promise there aren't one or two hiding in this frame either...

In my day to day work in Sydney I don’t encounter too many dolphins (okay, so I think the number stands at zero). But they are fascinating creatures and often discussed in debates about animal intelligence and sentience.

SAT reader Jess sent this link about the comparative intelligence of dogs versus dolphins, which raises some interesting points about the way we measure and assess intelligence of non-human animals (but remember there are also controversies about the way we measure and assess the intelligence of humans – more on that in a later post).

Are dogs smarter than dolphins - or is this question a dumb question, reflecting our own predjudice?
You can read the article here.

If you’ve like to learn more about disease conditions of dolphins, the World Aquatic Veterinary Medical Association (WAVMA) is hosting a free webinar on September 24, 2014 at 8pm Australian WESTERN Standard Time (i.e. it will be a late night for East Coasters!).

Speaker Nahiid Stephens (BVMS, MANZCVS (Pathobiology) and PhD candidate) will discuss the pathology of select disease conditions affecting dolphins, the multifactorial nature of disease, risks and predisposing factors, common vacterial, mycotic, viral, protozoal and metazoan diseases of dolphins, clinical signs and gross pathology (as in, not “ewwww gross” but visible to the naked eye).

For registration visit here.

Note that the webinar will be made available to all registrants to view after the date, so you don’t have to stay up late or alienate your spouse/flatmate/dog etc, but you have to register first for this access.

Would you consent to surgery on your fish if it could improve quality of life?
Finally, on a smaller but no less fascinating scale, reader Kerry sent this link documenting the removal of a tumour on a gold fish at the Lort Smith Animal Hospital. The surgery of course is fascinating but fish anaesthesia is so different from mammalian anaesthesia, it’s worth a peak. Have a great Friday folks!