The general meeting of Prairie Dog Pals was conducted via Zoom on 7 February 2021. The minutes of the meeting can be accessed via the following link:
2021 Meeting: 2021 Meeting Minutes
The good news is that we completed 2020 with a small surplus. We have plenty planned for 2021 and judging by the dry winter, our stewards will be very busy.
In western North America, sylvatic plague (a flea-borne disease) poses a significant risk to endangered black-footed ferrets (Mustela nigripes) and their primary prey, prairie dogs (Cynomys spp.). Pulicides (flea-killing chemicals) can be used to suppress fleas and thereby manage plague. In South Dakota, USA, we tested edible “FipBit” pellets, each containing 0.84 mg fipronil, on free-living black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludivicianus). FipBits were applied along transects at 125 per ha and nearly eliminated fleas for 2 mo. From 9-14 mo post-treatment, we found only 10 fleas on FipBit sites versus 1,266 fleas on nontreated sites. This degree and duration of flea control should suppress plague transmission. FipBits are effective, inexpensive, and easily distributed but require federal approval for operational use.
- PMID: 33631008
- DOI: 10.7589/JWD-D-20-00161
Of the nine species that had been evaluated, three of them (i.e., deer mice, striped skunks and bushy-tailed woodrats) shed infectious viral particles following challenge. Conversely, the study showed that house mice, raccoons, fox squirrels, Wyoming ground squirrels, cottontail rabbits and black-tailed prairie dogs are not susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection.
Read More at: https://www.news-medical.net/news/20210126/Study-shows-several-peridomestic-mammal-species-are-potential-spreaders-of-SARS-CoV-2.aspx
During hibernation, mammals like the 13-lined ground squirrel cycle between physiological extremes. Most of the hibernation season is spent in bouts of torpor, where body temperature, heart rate, and cerebral blood flow are all very low. However, the ground squirrels periodically enter into interbout arousals (IBAs), where physiological parameters return to non-hibernating levels. During torpor, neurons in many brain regions shrink and become electrically quiescent, but reconnect and regain activity during IBA. Previous work showed evidence of extracellular matrix (ECM) changes occurring in the hypothalamus during hibernation that could be associated with this plasticity. Here, we examined expression of a specialized ECM structure, the perineuronal net (PNN), in the forebrain of ground squirrels in torpor, IBA, and summer (non-hibernating). PNNs are known to restrict plasticity, and could be important for retaining essential connections in the brain during hibernation. We found PNNs in three regions of the hypothalamus: ventrolateral hypothalamus, paraventricular nucleus (PVN), and anterior hypothalamic area. We also found PNNs throughout the cerebral cortex, amygdala, and lateral septum. The total area covered by PNNs within the PVN was significantly higher during IBA compared to non-hibernating and torpor (P < 0.01). Additionally, the amount of PNN coverage area per Nissl-stained neuron in the PVN was significantly higher in hibernation compared to non-hibernating (P < 0.05). No other significant differences were found across seasons. The PVN is involved in food intake and homeostasis, and PNNs found here could be essential for retaining vital life functions during hibernation
- PMID: 31748912
- DOI: 10.1007/s00429-019-01983-w