Canton, Massachusetts

Baystate Wildlife | Vampire Bats Potential Breakthrough

Baystate Wildlife | Vampire Bats Potential Breakthrough

Baystate Wildlife Discusses Potential for Stroke and Heart Attack Prevention from Vampire Bats

Did you know that vampire bats may be the key to preventing strokes and heart attacks in patients at risk in the near future? At Baystate Wildlife, we know that bats have a bad reputation because of the way that vampire bats feed on living livestock by biting them and drinking their blood. However, the very thing that makes this possible may be, to Baystate Wildlife’s opinion, extremely useful for medicine in humans at risk or a stroke or heart attack. Image Source: National Geographic

Vampire bats feed by biting livestock like cows, goats, and even horses, usually on the back of their neck or head. After biting, they lap up the blood with their tongues. To help them do this, their saliva contains proteins named Draculin (for obvious reasons) and Desmolaris, which prevent the blood from clotting. It also allows the bat to store and regurgitate the blood to feed their young.

Baystate Wildlife believe that since heart attacks and strokes are both caused by blood clotting that prevents the flow of blood, Draculin has potential as a promising blood thinner. The protein was discovered in the 1990s and shown to inhibit two of the clotting factors in the clotting pathway. Currently undergoing clinical trials, Draculin has shown promise in treating ischemic strokes, which occur when an artery of the brain is blocked. It has been proven to be effective for up to 9 hours.

Desmolaris, on the other hand, was discovered more recently and inhibits inflammation and thrombosis in vivo. It is currently being tested on mice, with promising results. Desmolaris has been proven to reduce the polyphosphate-induced increase in vascular permeability and collagen- and epinephrine-mediated thromboembolism in mice.

Fossils of vampire bats have been found in California, but for the most part, they like to stay south of the border. Ecologists are saying, however, that they may soon return because of climate change. Desmodus rotundus, commonly known as vampire bats, have begun to push into new territories in both North and South America. They may begin to enter Florida and Texas as climate change makes these states more habitable for them.

Fortunately, there have only been around 10 recorded cases of rabies contracted from bats in the last 50 years. Vampire bats typically avoid human hosts, preferring for more docile creatures with less dexterous limbs. These bats are also only typically 2-ounces light, making them far less imposing than some of their cousins in the animal kingdom. Also, The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Rabies Management Program has already begun to prepare for the possible arrival of these vampire bats.

Regardless of the possible migration of bats into the United States, people are advised to have their rabies vaccination shots to avoid rabies from any kind of host. However, it is unlikely that the vampire bats will contribute to a significant increase in rabies infections.

If you encounter any unwanted bats, be sure to contact Baystate Wildlife. Baystate Wildlife is experienced in safely and humanely removing household pests such as bats, raccoons, skunks, and more.