Melissa Zizek, Kelsey Dolen and Madison Williams wrote an awesome article about potentially toxic items for your beloved pets that can be found in your home! Check out their full article below to stay informed and look for their piece to be published in the Fairview Post this month.
Besides the students, staff, and faculty who frequent it, GPRC Fairview campus is also home to a group of unusual residents. If you attend this campus, you’ve probably noticed them in fish tanks in the offices and classrooms: tiny, aquatic salamanders known as axolotls, whose unique biological properties make them the perfect subjects of study for animal health students.
Dr. Chris Mizzi, Animal Sciences instructor at GPRC, has been breeding and raising the amphibious creatures as a hobby for around twenty years. He first became interested in the axolotl when his university chemistry instructor introduced him to them. “It kind of started my fascination with amphibians,” Mizzi said. “I’ve been involved with them ever since.”
Students in Dr. Mizzi’s classes are always offered the opportunity to care for axolotl eggs during the two- to four-week incubation period. Mizzi notes that the students would probably never otherwise get an opportunity to see the rare creature up close. Axolotls are of special interest to the medical research community for their regenerative properties. “They can regenerate most of their body parts,” explained Mizzi. “If they get a leg cut off, they can regrow it. Eyeballs, parts of their liver – they can even heal their own spinal cord.”
Axolotls are also excellent case studies for embryotic development. “The eggs are so large you can actually see them develop with the naked eye,” said Mizzi, adding that the transparent membrane allows a clear window to the inner workings of the egg. “I’ve seen them change from one cell to two cells to four cells. You can see them form gills and the head and you can just watch everything.” Because most organisms go through a similar process in utero, studying axolotl eggs can teach students a lot about fetal development.
“It’s the first time I’ve ever seen these guys,” said Kaytlin Evans, first year Animal Sciences student. “They started out looking like a tiny little bean. Now they’ve developed gills on the side of their face. Yesterday I noticed them moving.” Evans values the opportunity to work with an axolotl up close: “It’s a great experience to be able to deal with different types of animals, especially amphibians and reptiles. I hope to specialize in exotics, so this was a good learning experience.”
Yesterday, was National Pet Day, so naturally we honoured Neos. The adorable orange ball of fur that hangs out at our GPRC Fairview Library.
National Pet Day is a chance for those of us who own pets to show them how much we love them. So here’s some love to our beloved kitty, Neos.
Neos has been in the library for 14 years and is named after the library computer system. He was abandoned and found on our GPRC Fairview campus before being brought in to our Animal Health Department to get cleaned up. His personality led quickly to the decision that he should become a permanent resident at the library.
Neos loves hanging out with the students, many of whom are missing pets at home.Neos gets the most visits around exam time, as he’s the perfect companion for some stress relief.
Stop by our GPRC Fairview Library and say hi to our favourite kitty. You can also follow his Facebook page!