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Vet Gazette

Oregon State University College of Veterinary Medicine eNewsletter

Quick Response Restores Dog’s Mobility

December 1st, 2014
Magnum learns to walk again with the aid of a wheelchair.

Magnum learns to walk again with the aid of a wheelchair.


Imagine if one day your beloved pet dog was a healthy and energetic member of the family, and the next day he was completely paralyzed in all four limbs, with no apparent cause.

This is what happened to George and Jill Carter’s five-year-old Labrador Retriever, Magnum. “He could not stand, or even pee,” says Jill.

They rushed him to VCA Northwest Veterinary Specialists where neurologist Sophie Peterson ran tests. An MRI revealed hypersensitivity in the spinal cord at the level of C5-C7 but showed no compression. Dr. Peterson diagnosed Magnum with a fibrocartilaginous embolism (FCE) and referred him to the Lois Bates Acheson Veterinary Teaching Hospital (VTH) for rehabilitation.

An FCE is caused when debris from a degenerating spinal disk obstructs a spinal cord vessel causing stroke-like symptoms. It is fairly common in Schnauzers, Labs, and Boxers, and the best treatment is intensive physical therapy to restore the damaged neural pathways.

“It usually doesn’t recur,” says Dr. Wendy Baltzer, head of the VTH Rehabilitation unit, “and prognosis is good if physical therapy is started as soon as the diagnosis is made.” The Carter’s had the diagnosis on Saturday and brought him to OSU on Monday. “He could not move,” says Jill Carter,” except to thump his tail when students petted him.”

Magnum spent a week in the hospital, receiving physical therapy treatments four times per day including walks in a wheelchair, ultrasound therapy, deep muscle massage, and passive motion exercises. By the end of the week, he was able to walk on the underwater treadmill.

Now a month into his treatment, Magnum goes to rehab weekly and continues with at-home exercises. He does not have full coordination back but is now able to walk independently. “It proves you should never give up on your beloved pet,” says Jill Carter.

There are few full-scale veterinary rehabilitation units in the U.S. and Dr. Baltzer is grateful to all the donors, large and small, who have helped make the OSU unit a top-notch facility. “The wheelchair and hydraulic lift were donated,” she says, “and the new underwater treadmill.”

There is also a shortage of board-certified rehabilitation specialists in veterinary medicine, and Dr. Baltzer would like to raise enough money to offer a residency scholarship at OSU. “We are so busy and a resident would help us treat more animals,” she says. “There are only four residencies in Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine in the country.”

The Carters feel lucky to be within driving distance from OSU, and really appreciate all the care Magnum received from the doctors and staff. “The students were so attentive and aware of his emotions and needs; that is something you don’t get unless your pet is being treated at a teaching hospital,” says Jill.

You can donate online to the rehabilitation unit at the OSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital.

Research On Oyster Infection Helps Northwest Shellfish Farmers

November 20th, 2014

OysterDr. Claudia Hase, associate professor at the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine, has clarified the identity of a bacteria that hurt commercial oyster hatcheries in the Pacific Northwest.

Oyster Larval Death was previously thought to be caused by Vibrio tubiashii, but Hase has published a new study showing it was actually caused by a different pathogen:Vibrio coralliilyticus. In addition, the study shows that the bacteria are even more widespread and deadly than previously thought, and that they can infect a variety of fish and shellfish.

Hase’s research team has developed a rapid diagnostic assay for this bacteria that is nearing commercialization, and it may help shellfish farmers, as well as provide a tool in the fight to save coral reefs.

“Although we’ve largely addressed the problems the hatcheries face, these bacteria continue to pose threats to wild oysters,” Häse said. “And corals are still declining in many places, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia is dying at an alarming rate. Better diagnostics might help in all of these situations.”

Students Win Pathology Awards

November 19th, 2014

Axthelm_TensaTwo OSU students took top prizes at the annual conference of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists. Isaac Barber-Axthelm (Class of 2016) won first place for Best Student Poster in a field of 40 international competitors. Laura Tensa (Class of 2016) won second place. They both competed in the Natural Disease category. Barber-Axthelm’s topic was ‘Use of Polycolnal Rabbit Antibody Against Synthetically Derived Peptide Antigen to Detect Odocoileus Adenovirus’ and Tensa’s topic was ‘Genotype diversity of Infectious Bronchitis Virus in Broiler Chickens in Morocco’.

Congratulations to Isaac and Laura!

Outstanding Surgical Resident Award Winner

November 19th, 2014

twinkle-twinkle-little-starDr. Barbara Hunter received the outstanding surgical resident award at this year’s surgical summit of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons for her presentation on Equine Synovial Fluid Tiludronate Concentrations Following Intravenous Regional Limb Perfusion with Low or High Dose Tiludronate.

In the last seven years, a resident from the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine has won this award four times!

Close Group of Alums Reconnects at Reunion

November 4th, 2014
Drs. Anne Lichtenwalner, Laura Richards-Simmons, and Susie Omstead on a wine tour at the Class of 1989 Reunion.

Drs. Anne Lichtenwalner, Laura Richards-Simmons, and Susie Omstead on a wine tour at the Class of 1989 Reunion.

In September, OSU Vet Med alums from Washington, Montana, California, Virginia, Maine, Oregon, and Minnesota gathered in Corvallis to rejuvenate the life-long bonds they formed as veterinary students twenty five years ago.

The Class of 1989 had thirty-five graduates. Due to the enthusiastic lobbying of classmate Yvonne Wikaner, twenty-one of those graduates recently travelled to Corvallis for a three-day class reunion. “It was an amazing experience for me,” says Wikander. “It’s been twenty-five years since most of us have seen each other, but our interactions were as if almost no time had passed at all. We were a small class and a close one; that certainly hasn’t changed. ”

All the reunion attendees are still veterinarians. “Once a vet, always a vet,” says Wikander. “Some have boarded, some went into governmental agencies, but most of us are GPs.”

Wikander organized a full slate of activities for the group including tours of the hospital by Drs. Reibold, Blythe, and Huber, a barbecue, and a behind-the-scenes tour of the Oregon Aquarium with Dr. Tim Miller-Morgan (the Wet Vet). “It was fascinating and an excellent end to a rockin’ reunion,” says Wikander.

One of the objectives of this reunion was to honor a classmate who died several years ago, by endowing a student scholarship. All twenty-one alums attending the reunion donated to the fund. “A reunion seemed like the perfect time to honor her life. What better way than a scholarship?” says Wikander. “My goal was to raise $1000. We raised $3600! Now we can offer 3 scholarships in her name. Amazing! I think that says a lot about how close our class is and the value of the reunion to everyone; but mostly it speaks mountains about the generosity of my classmates. Really, they are truly an outstanding group of people.”

The reunion inspired the Class of 1989 to set up their own Facebook page, and they are already exploring ideas for their next reunion. “Life gets so busy, we tend to lose touch,” says Wikander. “The reunion brought us back together again.”

Shelby Zehnder Achieves a Big Goal

November 4th, 2014
Shelby Zehnder, Student Animal Attendant in the large animal hospital, completed her first marathon.

Shelby Zehnder, Student Animal Attendant in the large animal hospital, completed her first marathon.

Shelby Zehnder has been working at the OSU large animal hospital for four years as a Student Animal Attendant. She helps Farm Manager Lionel Snyder take care of the teaching herds. “I truly enjoy spending time with the fourth year students, learning from the doctors, and taking care of the patients,” says Zehnder. “The technicians, animal attendants, and my boss, Lionel, are some of the kindest, hard working, and dedicated people I have ever had the pleasure to be around.”

In addition to work and school, Zehnder spent most of this year training to run her first marathon. “Training for the marathon was probably harder than the marathon itself,” she says. “It is a lot of mental preparation, as well as physical determination of crossing the finish line. My training program was an intermediate 18 week program that trained up the 20 mile mark and then tapered back down. I was lucky enough to meet a friend that was also running the marathon, so the training was much more rewarding being able to conquer the pain and distance with someone.”

All that hard work paid off on the last Sunday in September when Zehnder ran 26.2 miles through the streets of Portland and crossed the finish line in 4 hours and 30 minutes. “I will do more marathons in the future,” she says, “and hopefully one day be as good a runner as Liz Harbert!”