November 16, 2012

In the Spotlight: Comparative Ocular Pathology Laboratory Seeks Wildlife Specimens

Our laboratory, the Comparative Ocular Pathology Laboratory of Wisconsin (COPLOW), at the University of Wisconsin - Madison, School of Veterinary Medicine, specializes in veterinary ocular pathology and is always seeking specimens from wildlife of all kinds.

We are asking members of the wildlife health community to consider submitting specimens from moles, voles, and woodpeckers.

We are interested in obtaining some freshly formalin-fixed mole or vole heads, particularly the star nosed mole. This stems from an interest in how the eye evolved, becoming rudimentary in animals inhabiting low light environments, and how the star nose of the mole might be a prime example of an adaptation providing sensory compensation for reduced eye size and limited vision. We are interested in the intact head because we are interested in the relationship comparing the eyes and other sensory adaptations.

We also seek freshly fixed woodpecker heads to examine the eye and it's relationship with orbital musculature and other adaptations that allow the woodpecker to pound away at trees without getting headaches.

We process the tissue into microscope slides, craft a report and archive the slides, paraffin blocks and reports. We use the collection for retrospective research studies. We are also interested in the evolution of the eye.

Ideally, eyes will be removed from the animal as close to death as possible and put into formalin, then transported to COPLOW. Eyes from animals that have been dead for more than 4 hours are not useful to use because post-mortem autolysis has already destroyed the bulk of the eye’s delicate anatomy.

Please download submission forms here:

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact me.

Chuck Schobert, DVM, MS
University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine
2015 Linden Dr
Madison, WI 53706

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