Sunday, December 13, 2009

Vultures in trouble

Second hand smoke is a problem for people, second hand poisoning can be a problem for animals. DDT was one of those problems. Lead shot, another. But even some of the best intended medicines can cause unintended consequences.

Vultures in some areas were almost killed off by shooters, but now there is a new threat in town. Those well intended vets.

Millions of Asian vultures, particularly those in India, have died off over the last two decades after being poisoned by the veterinary drug diclofenac. The vultures eat dead cattle and other livestock treated with the drug, then go into renal failure.

Now scientists have discovered that another veterinary drug, ketoprofen, is also fatal to the birds. Vultures which feed on the carcasses of livestock recently treated with ketoprofen suffer acute kidney failure and die within days of exposure.

Read the rest here.

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