This edition: Digestion and Fluid Balance
The survival of organisms depends on the constant supply of fluids and nutritional elements. Once this supply is taken in and processed, the waste must be efficiently eliminated from the system. Without these properly functioning organ systems, animals would die of malnutrition or from the toxic buildup of waste products. In the first segment, Dr. Carol Beuchat discusses the specialized fluid balance of hummingbirds and the role of the urinary tract in maintaining homeostasis in animals.
Next, the program explains the digestive system and the role of enzymes in digestion. Dr. James Sokolowski talks about pet food research, pointing out that familiar vertebrates like cats and dogs have very different nutritional needs, with dogs being more similar to humans than one might think. The final story illustrates the crucial role of the kidney in maintaining homeostasis. A patient is followed through the grueling process of being connected to a dialysis machine for four hours every day. Animations explain how the kidneys act to filter fluids in the body.