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Vet Gazette

Oregon State University College of Veterinary Medicine eNewsletter

Been There Done That . . . And It’s Fun!

July 17th, 2014

KMorenoEvery summer at CVM, Dr. Dan Rockey organizes two weeks of veterinary workshops for fifth and sixth-graders from around Oregon. It’s part of OSU’s Adventures in Learning (AIL) and provides hands-on, small-group experiences for high-ability students. This year, Rockey has an assistant who knows all about AIL.

Katie Moreno, a high school junior who participated in the AIL program when she was in grade school, is working as a guide and mentor to the 12 students who visit the OSU Veterinary Hospital each morning. Her job is to greet the students and introduce them to the faculty person who will lead the workshop. She also answers questions and keeps an eye on the students so they don’t wander off.

Yesterday, Katie helped large animal internist, Dr. Keith Poulsen, herd the group through Magruder hall and into a stall where Clementine, a teaching cow with a surgically attached fistula, was waiting.

First Dr. Poulsen used a model of a bovine rumen to demonstrate how a cow digests food. Then CVT Betsy Snyder showed the kids how to put on arm-length gloves and Dr. Poulsen invited them to step up and reach inside Clementine’s rumen.

Most of the kids thought it was pretty cool,” says Moreno, “but some were grossed out. One guy wasn’t going to do it, but the other kids encouraged him and he gave it a try.”

Moreno is used to being around veterinary hospitals; her mom is Dr. Sarah Maxwell, a veterinary opthalmologist who occasionally teaches at CVM.

One of Moreno’s favorite memories of her AIL veterinary experience was dissecting brains in the necropsy room. “That was very interesting and something you could not do anywhere else,” she says. Moreno also remembers watching a dog on the underwater treadmill. “When the dog got off the treadmill, it ran up the ramp and jumped in the therapy pool. It was pretty funny and he splashed everyone,” she says.

Dr. Keith Poulsen helps a student find the digested grass inside a cow rumen.

Dr. Keith Poulsen helps a student find the digested grass inside a cow rumen.

Veterinary Holistic Medicine Conference in Portland

July 17th, 2014

holistic-ConferenceAmerican Holistic Veterinary Medical Association’s annual conference is being held in Portland this year. Experts in holistic and integrative modalities will speak and CE credit is available.
For more information, visit the website.


New Executive Assistant to the Dean

July 17th, 2014
Rhonda got Butterbean and Peggy Sue from the local animal shelter.

Rhonda got Butterbean and Peggy Sue from the local animal shelter.

Rhonda Hankins, the new Executive Assistant to the Dean at CVM, has over a decade of experience providing administrative support to leaders in higher education. She especially enjoys cultivating donor relations, a primary link between the university and the community.

Rhonda has a Master’s in Information Science from The University of Texas at Austin, a Master’s in International Studies from Claremont Graduate University, and a BA with a major in journalism from Cal State Northridge. She taught English as a Second Language in Tokyo for 14 years, working in universities and with corporate clients. While living in Japan she made time to travel widely throughout the world.

Here in Corvallis, Rhonda lives quietly with her husband David. Regrettably, their two dogs do not live quietly; they live very noisily indeed.

10 Tips for Owners of Overweight Pets

July 14th, 2014

chubbyA 2012 survey by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention found that 52.5 percent of dogs and 58.5 percent of cats were overweight or obese. Here are is a short list of easy tips to help a pet slim down.


Reproductive Medicine Team Helps Wildlife Safari

July 11th, 2014

cougarThe Reproductive Medicine team at the OSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital works mostly with horses and dogs, providing breeding services like artificial insemination and pregnancy evaluations. Last month they did something different: a laparoscopic spay surgery on a cougar.

The Wildlife Safari in Winston, Oregon recently acquired a female cougar. Although she was kept in a separate enclosure, a nearby male cougar got so agitated by her, he managed to get through the fence enough to bite a chunk out of her tail. Because the game park has plenty of cougars, they decided to solve the problem by spaying the new female.

OSU Drs. Hernan Montilla and Charles Estill performed the surgery in the Wildlife Safari hospital with assistance from theriogenology resident Dr. Clare Scully and staff veterinarians at the park. They also invited fourth-year student Ashley Runey to participate.

Runey is writing her senior paper on advanced reproduction techniques in large cats. “What is so wonderful about our clinicians, is they all get to know each and every one of us and our interests in veterinary medicine,” she says. “Then they truly try to give us as many opportunities as possible for hands-on experience in the field we hope to pursue.”

The OSU surgery team used a laparoscopic, minimally invasive surgery technique to spay the cougar. Several incisions, about the size of a quarter, were made to accommodate a tiny camera and the surgical instruments. The veterinarians then operated while viewing the procedure on a video monitor. The ovaries were removed through the same small incisions. “I was surprised how quick and clean the procedure was,” says Runey.

Minimally invasive surgery is especially beneficial for wild animals. “It reduces pain, recovery time, and aftercare,” says Estill. A post-surgery dog can be given a collar and be kept fairly inactive until his incisions heal. Obviously, it’s not that easy with a wild cougar.

Careful planning and teamwork are also critical pieces of wild animal surgery. “Everyone had a job and each step was meticulously planned for the safety of us and the cougar,” says Runey.

The cougar recovered from the surgery quickly and is doing well. OSU’s collegial relationship with Wildlife Safari includes future collaboration, particularly on the park’s cheetah breeding program.

Meanwhile, Runey appreciates the unique opportunity the partnership with Wildlife Safari provided her. “It was great to work with some phenomenal veterinarians in the field of study I would like to pursue,” she says. A big ‘thank you’ to Dr. Alcantar at Wildlife Safari as well as the great advisors who care so much about our education: Dr. Montilla, Dr. Estill, and Dr. Scully.”

Feline Hyperthyroid Study Uses CT To Improve Treatment

July 10th, 2014
The VetMouseTrap holds a cat in position for a CT scan.

The VetMouseTrap™ holds a cat in
position for a CT scan.

Feline hyperthyroidism is the most common endocrine disease in cats.  Cats with elevated levels of thyroid hormone can experience increased appetite, weight loss, vomiting and hyperactivity. The condition is usually diagnosed by symptoms and/or a blood test, and is commonly treated with the drug Methimazole.

Although computer assisted tomography (CT) has been shown to be a reliable alternative for diagnosis, in the past it required a cat be anesthetized prior to scanning. Anesthesia presents additional risk to hyperthyroid cats who often have several health issues, including heart disease and kidney disease.

Dr. Sarah Nemanic, assistant professor of radiology, and Dr. Jana Gordon, assistant professor of internal medicine at the OSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital recently completed a study that may help improve both diagnosis and treatment of cats with feline hyperthyroidism.

The study had several goals: to determine if awake cats can easily be imaged by a CT, to measure the effect of Methimazole on thyroid size and volume, and to see if a pre-treatment CT scan can predict drug dosage.

Participating cats received computer assisted tomography (CT) before and after treatment with Methimazole. Although hyperthyroid cats move around a lot, Dr. Nemanic was able to scan the cats without anesthesia by using a VetMouseTrap™, a padded, clear plastic tube with breathing holes or scan them in their cat carrier. The speed of the CT at OSU also made the process easier. “The head and neck of a cat can be scanned in 3-5 seconds,” says Nemanic.

The study demonstrated that CT is a useful way to image the thyroid glands of awake cats.  “CT is the ideal imaging modality for the thyroid gland because the gland has iodine in it, and iodine is the contrast medium that is used for all contrast CT examinations. It makes the thyroid gland easy to see and measure. Also, CT has excellent spatial resolution, so it is a fantastic imaging modality for measuring size and volume,” says Dr. Nemanic.

Images taken in the CT before and after treatment with Methimazole confirmed that hyperthyroid cats have significantly larger thyroid glands than normal cats and that Methimazole treatment does not change the size of the thyroid gland but does significantly lower the brightness (attenuation) of the thyroid gland on CT.