Guest lecture on anthrax and the diseases of wild animals in general, 23 October 2012, Robert Stewart Gainer, DVM


The lecture is open to all those interested in the subject, and it will be held in English.
The lecture will be held at 13-14 in Auditorium Kalevi in the Evira house in Viikki, Helsinki, address Mustialankatu 3.

Robert Stewart Gainer graduated in veterinary medicine from the University of Saskatchewan in 1971. He gained his Master’s degree in Veterinary Science at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver in 1979 with his dissertation entitled ‘The role of anthrax in the population biology of wildebeest in the Selous Game Reserve.’ While in Tanzania, Gainer also studied necrobacillosis that causes foot rot and arthritis in wildebeest. He became infected with anthrax himself while in Tanzania.

While in Africa, he also studied parasitic worms discovered in the Selous Game Reserve. Gainer is one of the few people in the world who has seen adult echinococcus parasites in the intestines of a lion. He also studied the Linguatula multiannulata parasite in hyena. This parasite is probably the closest living relative to the Linguatula arctica pentastomid in reindeer. In Selous, he also discovered other close relatives of the parasites in reindeer, although biogeography did not interest him so much at the time. Other parasites both in reindeer and wild animals in Tanzania include Paramphistomum and Setaria.

After returning to Canada from Africa, Gainer worked as a vet in Alberta and the Northwest Territories and as a biology teacher in the Thebacha College in Fort Smith, as well as acting as a commercial pilot. He finds anthrax fascinating even after retirement. His interest in the subject is renewed by the intermittent but frequent anthrax outbreaks in bison herds in Canada. The latest outbreak took place in summer 2012 when about one third of the 7,000 bisons in the Mills Lake region died.

Robert Gainer found references in literature that Finnish reindeer may be carrying the anthrax bacteria. He made his first expedeition to Finland in autumn 2011. However, no anthrax was found.
After studying Russian literature on the subject, Gainer decided to write a letter to the Canadian veterinary journal together with research professor Antti Oksanen.

The letter was published recently:
Gainer, R., Oksanen, A. 2012. Anthrax and the Taiga. Practitioners' Corner, Canadian Veterinary Journal 53: 1123-5.

During his trip to St Petersburg, Robert S. Gainer will be making his second research trip to Finland, during which he will visit Evira and deliver a lecture.

Gainer’s graduate theses and abstract on it can be read here

Further information about the guest lecture:
Research Professor Antti Oksanen

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