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Vet Gazette

Oregon State University College of Veterinary Medicine eNewsletter

New Wellness Coordinator and Counselor In Magruder Hall

September 15th, 2016
Wellness Coordinator and Counselor Alex Rowell with his rescue dog Winston.

Wellness Coordinator and Counselor Alex Rowell with his rescue dog Winston.

This month, the college welcomed a new wellness coordinator and counselor to the team. Alex Rowell will be developing the college’s new wellness program, as well as providing onsite hours for one-on-one counseling and consultation services. “The wellness part of this job is going to be a cultural shift which I am super excited to be a part of,” he says. “Wellness is not something a physician or a psychologist does, it is something a culture does. It takes little changes.”

Alex will be available to assist everyone in the college – faculty, staff, and students – but busy students, in particular need reminders not to neglect their need for sleep, exercise and nutrition.  “When I think of wellness I think of lifestyle,” says Rowell. “It means taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or holding a walking meeting instead of sitting in a room; wellness is meditating or just being mindful of what you are doing.”

Rowell also wants to tackle the vending machines in Magruder Hall. “I took a look at the vending machines downstairs and that stuff is loaded with sugar,” he says. “Maybe we can implement healthier options like bananas or apples. I’d like to swap out those Red Bull monsters for something that isn’t loaded with 60 grams of sugar.”

Dean Susan Tornquist worked with OSU Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) to create this shared position, and is excited to have Rowell on board. “The veterinary profession is stressful, as we all know from reading about the high rates of burn-out, compassion fatigue and suicide among veterinarians. Veterinary students start to feel this early on in their training, and often their schedules make it difficult to go across campus to the counseling center for an appointment. Having Alex onsite at the college makes counseling services much more accessible for students, faculty and staff.”

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OSU At The Heart Of Louisiana Flooding

September 7th, 2016
OSU alumna Clare Scully helps a victim of the Louisiana flooding.

OSU alumna Clare Scully helps a victim of the Louisiana flooding.

There is no question that the recent flooding in Louisiana requires the time, talents and care of many. OSU is proud to call two of these individuals ours. Dr. Clare M. Scully and Dr. Chiara de Caro Carella have both jumped in to help creatures in need, great and small.

Dr. Clare M. Scully recently completed her residency at OSU and was hired by LSU as an assistant professor in Food Animal Medicine. She has helped lead efforts for the rescue and treatment of the many large animals effected by the flood. Dr. Scully shared, “Many students, faculty and clients have lost everything.” Despite that, she marveled at the compassion of every person she works beside during the grueling 14 hour or more days. “So many people have not slept a full night in days. But, everyone is working to help each other.”

Dr. De Caro Carella arrived in Louisiana just days after the flooding began but put her skills to work immediately. Each faculty member is given a small fund to treat the animals they are assigned and said, “We are making the most of every dollar.” They fear that the lack of national publicity will mean there won’t be enough to treat every animal, but they will keep doing everything they can for the many animals effected by the flooding. Although small and thousands of miles away, Oregon State has played a piece in responding to the needs of the LSU community.

Veterinary medicine is a small profession. Each of the 30 Colleges of Veterinary Medicine in the U.S. employs professionals from all over the nation and world, all working together for animal health. A tragedy like the Louisiana flooding shines a light on the camaraderie and compassion of the veterinary medicine community. For more information or to help, visit http://www.lsu.edu/vetmed/disaster_preparedness/flooding.php

Written by Kelley Marchbanks, Development Director, OSU College of Veterinary Medicine

International Fellowship For Emeritus Blythe

September 7th, 2016
The lounge area in the Veterinary College of Swedish University.

The lounge area in the Veterinary College of Swedish University.

Professor Emeritus Linda Blythe traveled to Uppsala, Sweden last month to receive a fellowship for distinguished achievement in veterinary rehabilitation from the International Association for Veterinary Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy. The award is given to veterinary faculty who have demonstrated a deep and ongoing dedication to the goals and long-term future of the profession.

Awardees typically apply for the fellowship, but Blythe was surprised when the association chose to give her the award. She is one of the founders of the American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation.

Blythe’s award was given at a banquet in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Swedish University. A seasoned traveler, Blythe was impressed with the modern veterinary facilities and enjoyed the local customs: “When they have a banquet, everyone gets on the tables and salutes the horse,” says Blythe. “I don’t know why.”

The Veterinary College at Swedish University.

The Veterinary College at Swedish University.


Volunteer Brings Color And Comfort To The Hospital

August 18th, 2016
Dianne Ostergaard visits with Maggie who is enjoying one of the padded fleece kennel liners that Ostergaard makes for the hospital.

Diane Ostergaard visits with Maggie who is resting on one of the padded, fleece kennel liners that Ostergaard made for the hospital.

Six years ago, Diane Ostergaard brought her cat, Wolf, to the OSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital. Wolf was diagnosed with lymphoma cancer and treated with chemotherapy. The treatment was successful and Wolf lived two and a half more years. This was how the hospital found one of its most creative volunteers.

“When I was visiting my cat in the ICU, I noticed that the kennel beds were made with an assortment of towels. I wanted to do something nice for the staff, and I like to sew, so I made them some padded, fleece kennel liners in bright colors with animal prints,” says Ostergaard. They were a huge hit and she has been making them ever since; she made 70 for OSU this year alone.

Animal attendant Peggy Muths really appreciates the fleece beds. “They are awesome!” she says “They are, of course, comfy for the pets, but they also are easy to launder and store.  They take a beating and still come out looking great.”

Each time Ostergaard sews a fleece kennel liner, she is left with a long, one inch strip. Over the years, she has saved those in big garbage bags. “I didn’t want to waste them,” she says. This year she taught herself to crochet those strips into beautiful, multi-colored pet beds that look like soft bowls. Cats especially like them because they can lay down semi-hidden.

In addition to making beds for the hospital, Ostergaard also makes them for the Turtle Ridge Wildlife Center. The staff there like the loose structure of the crocheted bed; they use if for their injured ducks because it allows air to flow. They also like the fleece because a baby bird’s claws won’t get caught in it.

Ostergaard also donates pet beds to adoption events sponsored by local pet stores. “But OSU comes first,” she says.

It takes a lot of fleece to make all those beds, so Ostergaard shops the sales at fabric stores. “My dining room table is stacked with fleece,” she says, “but I really enjoy doing it.” Her husband, Terry, helps her lay out and cut the big pieces.

Making so many pet beds over the years means Ostergaard has the process down to a science. “I would be happy to teach someone how to do it, if they were interested in helping other animal rescue organizations,” she says. You can email her at terry.ostergaard@gmail.com for instructions.

Volunteer coordinator Tammy Barr holds a crocheted fleece pet bed made by Dianne Ostergaard.

Client Advocate Tammy Barr holds a crocheted fleece pet bed made by Diane Ostergaard.

Hospital Improvement Initiative Works From Within

August 4th, 2016
Engineering professor Chinweike Eseonu meets with a committee of hospital staff who are working on process improvement.

Engineering professor Chinweike Eseonu meets with a committee of hospital staff who are working on process improvement.

Thanks to television shows like Grays Anatomy, most Americans are familiar with the way a surgery suite is organized: a nurse oversees a tray of instruments that have been laid out in a precise order, so when the surgeon says, ‘Scalpel!’, she can slap the instrument into his hand. It’s good drama, but it also makes sense medically; it lets the surgeon focus on the patient, and it minimizes opportunity for infection. That method of organizing a surgery was developed by an engineer named Frank Gilbreth, who was a pioneer in motion studies.

At the OSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital, medicine and engineering meet again through OSU Professor Chinweike Eseonu and the graduate students in his Process Improvement Group (PIG).

Eseonu has developed a system of goals called the ‘Quadruple Aim’. Health care organizations across the country have been using the Triple Aim for years; it seeks to improve patient experience, improve patient health outcomes, and reduce the cost of care. “What they have found is that there is a missing component in the drive to measure all those things and get reimbursed,” says Eseonu, “That component is employee experience. With the Quadruple Aim, our primary focus is on improving employee experience, and then working backwards.”

Eseonu believes that to improve employee experience, you have to give them ownership of their processes. “Then, in spite of whatever happens, even if there is a total breakdown in management, people want to make things work well.”

Phase one of process improvement began at the hospital in November when Eseonu and his team met with staff from reception to get their ideas for improving front desk processes. “One thing we don’t want to do – that a lot of process improvement folks have done in the past – is come in and say, ‘Based on our previous knowledge this is what needs to happen here — do this.’  In three months we would be back at square one. So our new approach, which has yielded success elsewhere, is very, very collaborative.”

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Professor Discovers Research Fallacy

August 3rd, 2016

ZebrafishDr. Sean Spagnoli, assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences, was featured in the latest issue of Nature. He discovered that a common parasite that infects laboratory zebrafish may have been confounding the results of years of behavioural experiments.

Zebrafish are fast replacing white mice in research labs worldwide for the study of everything from the effects of drugs, to genetic diseases and disorders such as schizophrenia and autism. Since both zebrafish and people are highly social, researchers think that zebrafish may be a better lab model for some human behaviours than rodents.

Zebrafish demonstrate their preference for each other by clustering into shoals – a social behaviour that researchers  measure when they want to test how drugs affect zebrafish stress and anxiety levels, as a proxy for potential human responses. But this behaviour can change when fish are infected with a neural parasite called Pseudoloma neurophilia. Spagnoli found that individual fish infected with P. neurophilia swim closer to each other than do non-infected fish,  casting doubt on results from previous experiments.