January 30, 2023

Dolphin Diagnosed With a Breathalyzer


Dolphins are one of the most beautiful species of animals that exist in the sea. Recently, researchers have discovered a means of testing the health of a Dolphin and determining whether or not the animal is currently going through any diseases. This method uses a special type of breathalyzer to measure for signs of illnesses. A standard breathalyzer is commonly used by police officers when pulling someone over for driving under the influence.

Certain professors at the UC Davis Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering have paired with researchers at both the Chicago Zoological Society’s Mote Marine Laboratory and the National Marine Mammal Foundation to create this specialized device and use it as a non-invasive means of checking the health of a Dolphin. As such, this means that Dolphins won’t have to go through difficult procedures in order for doctors to be able to diagnose any potential diseases. This is greatly helpful in minimizing the risk and potential health complications to Dolphins that sometimes occur when undergoing invasive procedures.

In order to begin this process, the special breathalyzer is placed over the blowhole of a Dolphin to achieve the results. This method of testing can be used on any type of Dolphin, including ones out in the wild and in the care of humans. This breathalyzer method of diagnosing a Dolphin works well on many different levels, as the blowhole of a Dolphin emits huge breaths in one go, meaning that the breathalyzer typically only needs to collect a single breath before being able to put the results to the test. This is aided by the fact that a Dolphin emits close to 90 percent of their available lung capacity in those instances.

A sample picked up by the breathalyzer can be used to diagnose a Dolphin due to the Metabolites that can be found within the sample of breath. Metabolites are tiny molecules that give small clues as to what is actually going on inside the Dolphins body. In fact, not only does this sample provide relevant info on the possible diseases that a Dolphin is going through, but also their diet and the types of environments that they have been exposed to. The researchers that have undertaken this project have been able to craft a specific profile that is tooled around what the metabolites from a healthy Dolphin are supposed to be like.

Given this profile, these researchers have the capabilities of comparing the healthy profile to the profile of the Dolphin they are testing to see if they are relatively similar. If they are not similar enough, this means that the Dolphin is likely experiencing some sort of disease or unhealthy condition, which gives doctors the go ahead to treat this disease. It’s clear that this new development will work wonders in maintaining the health of Dolphins throughout the world. In the meantime, you should consider taking a trip to swim with Dolphins in the Bahamas to receive a closer look at what they are really like!