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As we learned at the beginning of this lesson, vertebrates are perhaps the most recognizable animals on earth, from the endangered Siberian tiger to the domestic cat. Vertebrates are complex animals with unique features and needs.
Veterinarians treat diseases, disorders, and injuries in animals, primarily vertebrates. They treat pets, livestock, and animals in zoos and laboratories. Veterinarians usually treat dogs and cats, but also treat birds, reptiles, rabbits, and other animals that are kept as pets. Veterinarians that work with farms and ranches treat pigs, goats, cows, sheep, and horses.
Veterinarians are required to complete a degree in veterinary medicine, which includes taking courses in animal physiology, anatomy, microbiology, and pathology, among many other courses. The physiology and biochemistry of different vertebrate species differ greatly.
Veterinarians are also trained to perform surgery on many different vertebrate species, which requires an understanding of the vastly different anatomies of various species. For example, the stomach of ruminants like cows has four compartments versus one compartment for non-ruminants. Birds also have unique anatomical adaptations that allow for flight.
Some veterinarians conduct research in academic settings, broadening our knowledge of animals and medical science. One area of research involves understanding the transmission of animal diseases to humans, called zoonotic diseases. For example, one area of great concern is the transmission of the avian flu virus to humans. One type of avian flu virus, H5N1, is a highly pathogenic strain that has been spreading in birds in Asia, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. Although the virus does not cross over easily to humans, there have been cases of bird-to-human transmission. More research is needed to understand how this virus can cross the species barrier and how its spread can be prevented.
Perhaps more importantly, human beings are vertebrates! The more we can understand our own bodies, the better we can navigate through life. This video introduces us to ourselves by taking us on a journey through the fascinatingly diverse phyla known as chordata. And the next time someone asks you who you are, you can give them the facts: you’re a mammalian amniotic tetrapodal sarcopterygian osteichthyen gnathostomal vertebrate cranial chordate.
A YouTube element has been excluded from this version of the text. You can view it online here: pb.libretexts.org/bionm2/?p=484
New Insights Into the Pathogenesis and Treatment of Necrotizing Enterocolitis: Toll-Like Receptors and Beyond
Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is the leading cause of death from gastrointestinal disease in the preterm infant. The dismal results of current treatment for NEC highlight the urgent need for greater understanding of the pathogenesis of this disease, and the importance of discovering novel, molecular-specific therapies for it. Current dogma indicates that NEC development reflects an abnormal response by the premature infant to the microbial flora that colonizes the gastrointestinal tract, although the mechanisms that mediate these abnormal bacterial-enterocyte interactions and the reasons for the particularly increased susceptibility of the premature infant to the development of NEC remain incompletely explained. Recent evidence has shed light on an emerging role for the Toll-like receptors (TLRs) of the innate immune system as central players in the pathways that signal in response to enteric bacteria resulting in the development of NEC. We now review recent advances in the field of NEC and identify several exciting potential avenues for novel treatments by focusing on abnormal TLR4 signaling in the premature intestine in the pathogenesis of NEC. In so doing, we seek to offer new hope to the patients and their families who are affected by this devastating disorder.