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College of Pharmacy Partners with Nashville Zoo for Research Project

Over the past two years, Belmont University’s College of Pharmacy has been working closely with the Nashville Zoo’s Veterinary Services to provide an answer to a research question that could help zoos across the globe provide better care for their lorikeets. Professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences Dr. Steven Stodghill and several  students have been working with the zoo’s flock of over 80 lorikeets to conduct their research and come up with a reliable conclusion.

The goal of the study is to discover how large a dosage of the drug ponazuril lorikeets need to protect them from Sarcocystosis, a seasonal parasitic disease, without overdosing them. The drug is given to the lorikeets regularly and up until this point, few studies have been conducted to determine the actual amount needed. Once the results are in, findings will be shared in the Exotic Animal Drug Formulary for use by other zoos that keep their lorikeets in an outdoor aviary environment.

“Accuracy of dosing is critical for accurate treatment,” Director of the Nashville Zoo’s Veterinary Services Dr. Heather Robertson said in a post on the Zoo’s blog. “If you overdose, you could cause other unintended health concerns. If you under dose, you are not treating appropriately which isn’t helping the animal improve. The results derived from this research will positively impact institutions housing parrots and lorikeets around the world.”

For more information on this research project, visit the Nashville Zoo’s blog.