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Drawing Prairie Dog Blood

Detailed Description

Blood is taken from an anaesthetized prairie dog in Wind Cave National Park. 

Over 30 organizations and agencies are testing a USGS-developed oral vaccine to prevent the spread of plague in prairie dogs. If successful, the sylvatic plague vaccine could help protect endangered black-footed ferrets in the western U.S. because the ferrets rely on prairie dogs for food.

A veterinarian tags each trapped prairie dog and takes hair, whisker, and blood samples before scientists release the animals back into the wild. Blood tests check for plague antibodies. If antibodies are present, the animal from which that blood was drawn has been vaccinated.


Public Domain.