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Vet Gazette

Oregon State University College of Veterinary Medicine eNewsletter

Diverse Skills Come In Handy At A Veterinary College

May 3rd, 2017

Steve Lehto adds a ramp to the animal lift he built for the hospital.

How do you examine the belly of a mini-horse? You either crawl around on the ground, or elevate the animal somehow.

Dr. Jacob Mecham, CVM’s mobile equine veterinarian, faces this problem often. He investigated commercial animal lifts and found they cost several thousand dollars, and still weren’t well-suited to his needs. So he asked Steve Lehto for help.

Lehto has been the jack-of-all trades at CVM since 2004 (official title: Trades/Maintenance 2). Prior to that he worked for Pacific North Industrial and Oregon Metallurgical. But he learned most of his diverse range of handy-dandy skills from his dad.

In a typical week, Lehto tackles everything from basic plumbing and electrical, to janitorial. In the past, he has helped plumb the swimming pool in the rehab area, and built the ramp leading up to it; he added new lights to the pharmacy; and he welded a bar on the squeeze chute in the food animal area to keep incoming bulls from turning around. So when Dr. Mecham approached him with the horse lift problem, he was able to draw on years of experience to solve it.

Lehto started with a $500 hydraulic motorcycle lift. Then he customized the heck out of it, right down to the orange and black paint job.

He added a chute to the top of the lift that is built from square metal tubing; all but the lowest bars are removable, so the veterinarian has easy access to the animal. Lehto built the chute with gates at both ends and he welded rings along the sides so the veterinarian can add ropes if needed.

The motorcycle lift came with a ramp at one end. Lehto added a ramp at the other end so the animal can walk off the lift going forward; much easier than trying to back them off. The ramps are built to swing out of the way while the veterinarian is working, so he can get closer to the animal.

There are two pedals on the side of the lift, one to pump the lift up, and one to release it. “I loaded Cory, Matt Weist, and a small student onto the lift to test it,” says Lehto. “That was 500 pounds of pure fun. It took 73 pumps to lift it as high as it will go – thirty-one inches.”

He also tested the wheels by rolling the lift out to the barn. He discovered that the small metal wheels made it difficult to move. Dr. Mecham pointed out another problem: the corral hung over the lift on one end, making it easy to tip. “So I customized some new wheels,” says Lehto. “These are bigger and heavier so it won’t tip anymore, and it’s easier to roll around the hospital. I also made a T-handle to pull it.”

The lift now resides in a stall in large animal hospital and is available for anyone to use. “They can use it with sheep, pigs, goats, whatever,” says Lehto.


Class of 2017 Graduation

May 3rd, 2017

Friend of the College Wins OSU Award

May 3rd, 2017

Congratulations to Rebecca Camden, who recently received the OSU Joan Austin Honorary Alumni Award!

Ms. Camden is a CVM advisory board member, and an invaluable volunteer, supporter, and friend of the College of Veterinary Medicine.

Ms. Camden frequently attends college events, where she pretty much knows everyone, and is genuinely interested in visiting with veterinary students and hearing about their education.

Ms. Camden recently endowed the Maude Camden Memorial Scholarship, in honor of her rescue dog Maude. It provides support for veterinary medicine students with interest in shelter medicine and rescue animals.

“People don’t go into veterinary medicine because they want to make money; it’s because they love animals. And that’s all the more true for students with a heart for shelter medicine. It’s even more important to support their education,” Rebecca says. “For many of us, companion animals are our family. We want to be sure they have outstanding health care.”

For Rebecca, the concept of family has grown even larger. “When people ask me if I have children, I say I have 224 – the college’s whole student body,” she says.

CVM Gets ‘Together’ To Encourage Students

May 3rd, 2017

Treven Tryon helps a visiting family learn to do canine CPR.

The College of Veterinary Medicine joined the rest of campus in providing hands-on activities to families visiting for Juntos ( “together” in Spanish) Family Day last weekend.

The fun-filled day is part of a larger program at OSU that works to empower families through knowledge, skills, and resources, with a goal of encouraging their kids to attend college.

Moms, Dads, big and little kids, had opportunities to try CPR on a dog dummy, stitch up a split banana with surgery tools, and take a tour of the anatomy lab where they tried to identify skeletons. Student and faculty volunteers were on hand to help.

Magruder Expansion Moving Forward

April 18th, 2017
Last fall, OSU approved an expansion plan for Magruder Hall that is currently in the design phase. Several groups have met with architects to address space needs, and help prioritize projects. At this point the plan is to add a 100-seat lecture hall, and two wings on the small animal hospital. Over the past four years, the hospital’s case load has increased 15 percent annually.
One hospital wing will house oncology, cardiology and internal medicine, freeing up space for the surgery service to expand. The other wing will house a linear accelerator for a new radiation oncology service.

The entire Magruder expansion will funded with philanthropic gifts, college funds and tuition revenues. “This project will directly improve the educational experience of veterinary students by providing improved instructional space,” says Dean Susan J. Tornquist. “With this project, graduating veterinarians will have training in new and advanced treatment procedures, such as radiation oncology.”

Equine Clinical Trial Seeks Vets and Owners

April 18th, 2017

The large animal hospital is evaluating the efficacy of vitamin E and selenium supplementation (or lack thereof) on blood concentrations of these substances in horses in the Pacific Northwest, while concurrently accumulating information about supplementation practices from owners and veterinarians by means of a survey tool. Both horse owners and veterinarians are encouraged to participate. Costs of testing will be covered in the trial with results provided to participants.

Contact: Dr. Erica McKenzie at 541 737 4809 or erica.mckenzie@oregonstate.edu

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