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Vet Gazette

Oregon State University College of Veterinary Medicine eNewsletter

Growing Up Around Dryden: Memories of A Vet Med Daughter

June 24th, 2015
Dr. Kermit Peterson was instrumental in growing the Department of Veterinary Medicine into a College.

Dr. Kermit Peterson was instrumental in growing the Department of Veterinary Medicine into a College of Veterinary Medicine.

In 1959, when Dr. Kermit Peterson accepted a faculty position in veterinary medicine at OSU, he moved his family from Salem to a small acreage on the northern edge of Corvallis. At that time, the Department of Veterinary Medicine was part of the School of Agriculture.

In addition to teaching and research, Dr. Peterson was also the veterinarian for the OSU dairy herd and his daughter, Patsy Smith, liked to tag along on his visits to the barn on Harrison Boulevard. “I went on calls with him on Saturdays and, in the summer, I would often go with him in the middle of the night,” she says. “I grew up in that big, old barn; it was fabulous. It had a huge haymow with gorgeous hardwood floors. It was really fun to go up there and play.”

OSU dairy barn (circa 1939) was located off Harrison Blvd. near the site of the current dairy barn. It burned in 1967.

OSU dairy barn (circa 1939) was located off Harrison Blvd. near the site of the current dairy barn. It burned in 1967.

That dairy barn, built in 1937 as a depression-era WPA project, caught fire in 1967 and Smith watched it burn from her kitchen window. “Our view looked out over the barn. It was dark, and when we looked out the kitchen window and saw the flames, my dad realized what it was, and jumped in his truck to drive down there. I don’t remember if they got all the animals out.”

As an undergrad at OSU, Smith worked in the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. At that time, it was housed in the small cement building south of Dryden, now the Veterinary Research Laboratory. “It used to have a big incinerator out back where they burned all the carcasses,” she says. “Farmers would bring them for testing; mostly it was lots of chickens. It was a very stinky place to work.” She also remembers that Dr. Donald Helfer, a professor of veterinary medicine who was the poultry science expert, treated wild birds in the Dryden barn. “He was the only person around here who treated wild birds, so people brought them in to him. He kept owls in the haymow; that’s where he treated them. He had a Great Horned Owl he got as a chick and kept as a pet; his name was Socrates. He loved women with long hair, and would sit on your shoulder and comb your hair with his beak.”

After graduating from OSU with a degree in virology, Smith worked as a tech in the laboratory of professor Donald Mattson. This was in the late 1970s and Smith remembers the ‘can-do’ spirit of the faculty. “Dr. Mattson would go to the slaughter house and get calf organs and blood. He’d come back in his little car with buckets of blood, and we’d have to spin it all down. Now you just order all that stuff.” They also reused all their plastic labware. “He built a box with UV lights in it, and we washed all our plastic plates and everything, then sterilized them in the box and reused them. You would never do that now, but it worked fine.” Dr. Mattson also built all the tissue culture hoods out of plywood in his garage. “He was a great guy; quite the handyman.”

Her dad, Dr. Peterson, was also a practical problem solver. The Department of Veterinary Medicine was on the second and third floors of Dryden, and he was concerned about the wooden stairwell. “He took one look at it and said, ‘If there was a fire, we’d never get out of here’,” says Smith. “We had these big heavy ropes for tying horses; he tied one to the steam radiator in the lab, and tied knots in it. It was right by the window so the idea was, in the case of fire, you could shinny down it. That rope was still there when I left in 1981.”

Dr. Peterson was a professor from 1959-1977. In 1975, the Oregon Legislature established the School of Veterinary Medicine with Dr. E.E. Wedman as the first Dean. Dr. Peterson was the Assistant Dean. “He was very involved in the inception of the vet school,” says Smith. “He really wanted a veterinary school here and worked hard to support it. He was involved in hiring Dr. Wedman. Later he was very active in establishing the WICHE program.”

Dr. Peterson’s first love was teaching, and in addition to his other duties, he always taught classes. “I remember him home at night, preparing for the next day’s lecture,” says Smith. “He was also a 4-H leader and was great with kids. He took all the kids to horse shows and on horse camping trips. Friends from grade school tell me how influential my parents were in their lives.”

Dr. Peterson’s wife, Mildred shared his love of kids and animals, and was very proud of her husband’s accomplishments. She saved all the newspaper clippings, photos and memorabilia from his OSU career; many of these have now been scanned and added to the OSU archives.

In her will, Mildred Peterson left a contribution to the scholarship fund at the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine. “My mom had such a passion for what my dad did, and was so proud of what he had done in his life. My sister and I talked about it, and decided to build on her contribution to create a scholarship in perpetuity.” The generous donations of the three women have now become the Kermit and Mildred Peterson Scholarship which is awarded to a veterinary student each year.

“I’m really proud to be able to do something in their name, because he was so passionate about veterinary education, and starting a veterinary school,” says Smith. “He really wanted that for Oregon and it’s so great that it now exists.”

Dr. Peterson's research was focused on dairy cattle.

Dr. Peterson’s research was focused on dairy cattle.

Dogs Benefit From Radiation Shielding

June 12th, 2015

Nemanic-coverProtective lead shielding of patients is not routinely used in veterinary radiology. The probable reason: A general belief that because the dosage of radiation received during routine radiographs is small, the timeline for the possible development of related cancer would exceed the lifespan of the animal.

However, in a recent study published in the May 2015 issue of Veterinary Record, Dr. Sarah Nemanic, Assistant Professor of Radiology at OSU College of Veterinary Medicine, notes that there is evidence that species with shorter lifespans may take less time than humans to develop radiation-induced cancer from high-energy radiation sources (Raabe, Health Physics, 2010, 2011). If the effects of lower energy x-rays are similar, then dogs may develop cancer faster than humans.

“Reducing the amount of radiation exposure to veterinary patients may be important to reduce the risk of carcinogenesis over their lifetime, especially in dog breeds with an increased risk of neoplasia,” says Dr. Nemanic.

The study, conducted at the OSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital, measured the effect of protective shielding on the dosage of radiation, as detected by dosimeters during 54 radiographic visits in an ongoing elbow development study of dogs. The goal was to determine if the use of lead aprons and thyroid shields on the bodies and eyes of the dogs would significantly reduce the dose of scatter and tube leakage radiation.

Scatter radiation is low energy radiation that results when the x-rays of the primary beam interact with matter and are deflected in an unpredictable direction. Tube leakage radiation comes through the shielding and housing around the source assembly.NemanicChart

The results of the study indicated that use of protective shielding significantly decreased the dose of scatter and tube leakage radiation to dogs, with the greatest protective effect at the head (see chart).

Because companion animals are so highly valued by their owners, Dr. Nemanic advocates for a level of radiation safety that is similar to human medicine. “Reducing radiation exposure to individual veterinary patients through all means reasonably achievable is a worth-while goal,” she says. “Even though the risk of cancer to veterinary patients from routine radiographs is low, it is reasonable to try to decrease it further through the use of shielding with readily available radiation safety equipment.”

Read the paper: “Decreased dose of radiation to dogs during acquisition of elbow radiographs using draped shielding.”

Shared Love Of Draft Horses Creates New Friendship

June 12th, 2015
Jerry Andres takes Daniel Hansen on a tour of the Sisters View ranch, Clydesdale-style.

Jerry Andres takes Daniel Hansen on a tour
of the Sisters View ranch, Clydesdale-style.

Last week Daniel Hansen, Class of 2018, helped Jerry Andres hitch a couple of Clydesdales to a wagon, and took a tour of the beautiful Sisters View ranch near Redmond, Oregon.

Hansen and Andres had met the previous month at the CVM Awards Ceremony, where Andres and his wife, Jinny, happily presented Hansen with the Andres Family Scholarship. They also invited him to visit their ranch.

Jerry and Jinny Andres raise world-class black Clydesdale horses, and for many years were active in fairs and parades across the Northwest. They often competed with their horses in driving competitions, from single-horse carts to eight-horse hitches. The Andres Family Scholarship was created in appreciation of the veterinary care their horses have received over the years, and designed it to assist veterinary students interested in large animal medicine and rural practice. “I really enjoyed the opportunity to go and personally express a deep sense of gratitude that I have for the Andres family, in a way that is more profound than just saying, ‘Thanks’,” says Hansen.

After arriving at the ranch, Hansen realized the Andres’ shared his passion for draft horses. “Helping them get their big 18-hand Clydesdales out, brushing them, harnessing them, and hitching them up was the perfect way to say ‘Thank you’. They are getting older and don’t hitch up the horses as often, so it was a real treat for both of us.”

Hansen and the Andres family really hit it off, and Hansen has a standing invitation to bring his family out to the ranch for a visit. “Experiences like these remind me why I want to become a veterinarian,” says Hansen.  “I want to associate with, and work for, good, hard-working individuals like them.  They inspire me with their example.”

It is not uncommon for scholarship donors to become friends with their student recipients (see related story in the Animal Connection newsletter). “The college offers scholarship donors the opportunity to connect with the students, and sometimes they develop lasting friendships,” says CVM Development Director Kelley Marchbanks. “It’s one of the nicest things that happens here.”

With the average cost of a veterinary education exceeding $150,000, scholarships are critical to alleviating some of the debt burden under which many students graduate. “Their contribution to my education will not only help reduce my debt load,” says Hansen, “but also it will inspire me to work a little harder, and study a little harder. I feel like they have become part of my education in a special way.”

Mobile Veterinary Practice Offers Special Care

June 10th, 2015

EchoCVM alumna Lori Gibson, Class of 1999, is the owner of Compassionate Care, a mobile veterinary service providing in-home cat and dog euthanasia in the Portland, Salem, and Vancouver areas.

Recently, Terrence Petty, an Associated Press reporter, wrote about his experience hiring Compassionate Care for home euthanasia of his sick cat, Echo. Because Echo was a very timid cat, who hated going to the veterinary clinic, Petty was relieved to be able to provide an at-home alternative for her last day.

Read more on the ABC news website.

CVM Welcomes Ross and St. Georges Students

June 9th, 2015

CarribeanStudents_2015Eight new students arrived at CVM last week from Ross and St. Georges Universities. They will be in Corvallis all year, completing their fourth year rotations in the OSU Veterinary Hospital. Here’s a little info about each of them; stop and say ‘Hello’ when you see them!

  • Aurora Lambert was born and raised in Alaska. She is named after the Northern Lights, Aurora Borealis.
  • April Esquivel was born in California and has travelled to Nicaragua and Thailand. She is very athletic and enjoys the outdoors.
  • Annita Costantini enjoys cooking for groups of friends, especially on holidays. She loves playing sports, especially boxing as a good stress release.
  • Lew Wells has moved fourteen times in his life, all across the world. He can beatbox.
  •  Rachel Mozwecz is from Chicago. She enjoys scuba diving, and is interested in exotics and small animal medicine.
  • Heather Abrams is a certified spin instructor. Her favorite hobbies are art and collecting license plates.
  • Gary Billings trains and team-hitches draft mules. He is interested in food animal medicine.

Welcome everyone!

CVM Faculty Mentor Top OSU Undergrads

June 5th, 2015
Dr. Erica McKenzie and Lauren Eyrich.

Dr. Erica McKenzie and Lauren Eyrich.

In 2011, then associate dean Susan Tornquist partnered with the University Honors College (UHC) to create a new program aimed at recruiting high-achievers: Pre-Veterinary Scholars. That program will celebrate it’s first two graduates next week.

As part of the program, Lauren Eyrich worked extensively with two CVM faculty mentors: as an intern with Dr. Karyn Bird in the Veterinary Diagnostics Laboratory, and working with Dr. Erica McKenzie on her honors thesis studying muscle tissue in Arabian racehorses.

Emily Mangan also received valuable mentorship from Dr. Christopher Cebra who helped with her honors thesis on in-vitro neutrophil functions in camelids.

You can read more about their experiences in the OSU Pre-Veterinary Scholars Program on the UHC blog.