Ferrets in medical research

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The video shows ferrets playing whilst their enclosure is being cleaned. As you can see they are playful creatures, playing with a football and even a bag of sawdust. The wooden box is an example of items in their housing that are added for play and exploration. The enclosures seen are similar to those found in other facilities; fairly large with the animals are housed in groups as they benefit from social interactions with other ferrets. This video has no sound.

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Ferrets are used in biomedical research on the heart, brain and digestive system. Because they are domesticated and their oestrous cycle is similar to the human menstrual cycle, they have become important in reproduction research. In particular, they have been useful in determining the environmental factors that influence seasonal reproductive activity and the physiological factors which control puberty and ovulation. In addition, they have been used to study the control of sexual differentiation in the brain, auditory research, as well as to develop a bird and swine flu vaccines and anti-emetics for cancer patients.

Last edited: 18 November 2014 16:16