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Fleming Takes Part in Ontario-Wide Research Project


Faculty and students from the Fish and Wildlife program at Fleming College, Frost Campus, will participate in a special research project to study Leptospirosis, a disease found in wildlife and domestic animals. "The exact role of wildlife in this disease in Ontario is an unknown," said Dr. Karen Shearer, a veterinarian who teaches animal pathology with the Fish and Wildlife program. A total of $87,000 in funding has been granted over three years through the University of Guelph Animal Health Lab’s Animal Health Strategic Investment (AHSI) project, which in turn is funded by OMAFRA as part of the 2008 Ontario Budget. Leptospirosis is an infectious disease found in wildlife, but can be transferred to humans and can cause liver and kidney failure. One third-year student will be chosen each year to coordinate with wildlife groups in Ontario to obtain samples from wildlife, prepare instructional material and seminars and organize data collected. The samples will then be shipped to the University of Guelph for analysis. Researchers hope to determine the amount and types of Leptospirosis in the wildlife population in Ontario. " This is a significant research project, there are a lot of unknowns," said Dr. Shearer, adding the last large-scale study on the disease in Canada was in 1962. By participating in the research project, not only will the students gain valuable experience, they will also fulfil the placement requirement for the program. "The difficult thing about studying wildlife is getting close to it," said Dr. Shearer. The sample collection will be coordinated by The Fish & Wildlife Program, in conjunction with the Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Health Centre. The test development and validation will be performed by the Animal Health Laboratory, University of Guelph.For more information on fleming’s Fish & Wildlife program, click hereShelby Parker, Communications Officer, 705-749-5530 x 1370 or parker@flemingc.on.ca