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Vet Gazette

Oregon State University College of Veterinary Medicine eNewsletter

Veterinarians and Technicians Needed

April 24th, 2015

NicaraguaSurgeryEach year, OSU veterinary students volunteer to help the animals of Ometepe Island, Nicaragua.

Ometepe, a volcano located within Lake Nicaragua, is currently home to an estimated 10,000 rural families and 41,000 dogs, in addition to countless pigs, cattle, horses and chickens. Minimal veterinary care is available for the dogs and cats that inhabit the island.

In response to this need, the student members of OSU’s International Veterinary Student Association have implemented a program for the last 8 years to supply veterinary care to the community of Mérida for two weeks in September.

The service trip includes community education, over-population management, wellness exams and preventive medical care for both large and small animals.  Every effort is made to provide high quality medicine, however, due to variable, sometimes unpredictable conditions, flexibility and improvisation are often necessary skills for providing efficient health care to the patients.

Veterinarians and technicians are critical to the success of this trip! If you have questions, or are interested in volunteering, contact oregonivsa@gmail.com.

Ornamental Fish Medicine Class Learns By Doing

April 24th, 2015
Dr. Tim Miller-Morgan teaches Lindsay Norton-Miller about aquatic animal health.

Dr. Tim Miller-Morgan teaches Lindsay Norton-Miller about aquatic animal health.

Ornamental fish are a billion dollar global industry, and the U.S. is the single largest importer of them. An estimated 10 million households in this country own pet fish.

For veterinarians practicing in urban areas, requests for fish care are fairly common, especially from koi owners. “Koi can be very valuable,” says Tim Miller-Morgan, Assistant Professor of Aquatic Animal Health in the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM). “Show Koi can cost as much as $20,000 each, so ornamental fish are a viable addition to a veterinary practice.”

As clinical veterinarian at OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center, Dr. Miller-Morgan helps care for the center’s large collection of live fish and invertebrates. He also serves as clinical veterinarian for all aquatic animal facilities at OSU. Obviously, he wears many hats, and in 2010, that put him in an ideal position to spearhead the development of a an Aquarium Science degree program at Oregon Coast Community College (OCCC), the only programs of it’s kind in the nation.

Dr. Miller-Morgan also organizes, and helps teach, the Ornamental Fish Medicine elective for OSU veterinary students. Like much of his work, the CVM class is a multi-disciplinary collaboration between several organizations; instructors come from the OSU Department of Microbiology, the Oregon Coast Aquarium, Oregon Sea Grant, and OCCC.

The Aquarium Science Building on the tiny OCCC campus in Newport, was purpose-built for teaching students about fish. In addition to lots of fish tanks, it houses water-quality testing equipment, a food preparation laboratory, a hospital ward, and a workshop for building aquarium exhibits. Thanks to Dr. Miller-Morgan’s tireless efforts to improve the ornamental fish industry, private aquarium businesses donated most of the state-of-the-art equipment in the building. “Sea Life Aquariums donated tens of thousands of dollars-worth of tank racks alone,” he says.

The one-week Ornamental Fish Medicine elective includes instruction in anatomy, necropsy, fish handling, water systems, life support, fish disease, and clinical treatment — many of them hands-on lab classes. Fourth-year student Johnathan Den Herder was particularly interested in tank system mechanics. “The most interesting part to me was learning the different components of an aquatic life support system and how to trace the path of water through a system,” he says. “Many fish health problems can be attributed, in whole or in part, to poor water quality, and knowing how to do water quality testing and troubleshoot system deficiencies is extremely important.”

DenHerder was recently selected for a three-year residency in Laboratory Animal Medicine, where he can put this knowledge to good use. There are several aquatic species used as model organisms in biomedical research,” he says. “I will be able to use the knowledge I gained from this course to select appropriate housing systems for aquatic research animals, develop standard operating procedures that protect the health and welfare of those animals, and perform a general work up of fish medical cases. In addition, I will be able to serve as a resource for investigators performing research with aquatic species.”

Nick Brown, Johnathan DenHerder, and Marla Blaney trace the water through a tank system.

Fourth-year students Nick Brown, Johnathan DenHerder, and Marla Blaney trace water through a tank system.



Grant Expands Atherosclerosis Research

April 24th, 2015

heart-diseaseThe Medical Research Foundation of Oregon awarded Dr. Stephen Ramsey, Assistant Professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences, a grant for $37,051 to support his research on the different types of immune cells in plaque and how they affect the formation of atherosclerosis, (commonly known as hardening of the arteries) that can lead to heart attack and stroke. “It will expand my research by allowing me to look at T cells in addition to macrophages, and to use a state-of-the-art technique (RNA-seq),” he says.

Read more about Dr. Ramsey’s research on atherosclerosis.

OSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital Offers Electrochemotherapy

April 20th, 2015
Dr. Chelsea Tripp treats recurring tumors with electrochemotherapy.

Dr. Chelsea Tripp treats recurring tumors with electrochemotherapy.

When Dr. Katja Zellmer, large animal surgeon in the OSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital (VTH), read about electrochemotherapy in her journal club, she realized it might be a good treatment option for a client whose horse had a sarcoid that was unusually aggressive.

Dr. Zellmer had resected most of the horse’s tumor surgically, and had injected chemotherapy into the wound bed and surrounding tissue. “Things seemed to respond well,” she says, “but about two weeks ago, the owner noticed a new sarcoid that was rapidly growing adjacent to the area that had been looking better.”

So Dr. Zellmer contacted Dr. Chelsea Tripp, head of Veterinary Cancer Specialty Care in Lynwood, Washington, who is experienced in the use of electrochemotherapy, and arranged for her to come to Corvallis to treat the horse.

When Dr. Shay Bracha, veterinary oncologist at the VTH, heard about Dr. Tripp’s pending visit, he arranged for one of his patients, a thirteen-year-old golden retriever named Nikko, to receive treatment on the same day. Nikko has had several soft tissue sarcomas removed surgically, and has received traditional chemotherapy, but his tumors keep returning.

Electrochemotherapy has been used in human medicine for several years. In some cases, it can triple the efficacy of cancer drugs. It works because, when a cancer cell is exposed to a strong electric field, the cell’s membrane becomes more permeable. Dr. Tripp injects a cancer drug like Cisplatin directly into the tumor and then uses a probe to deliver multiple electric pulses around the surface area of the tumor. “It basically drives the chemo drug into the tumor and traps it there,” says Dr. Tripp. The duration of each pulse is only one-hundred microseconds, so she treated the two tumors on Nikko’s leg in just a few minutes. Although there is some mild discomfort during treatment, there are limited side effects from the chemotherapy.

Dr. Tripp has found tumors of this kind to be responsive to electrochemotherapy in approximately ninety percent of cases. “Sometimes a repetition of the treatment is needed,” she says. Dr. Tripp hopes to see Nikko’s tumors begin to shrink in a few weeks.

Although this treatment has primarily been used on external tumors, new electrochemotherapy techniques have been developed for treatment of internal tumors using surgical procedures like endoscopy. “Intraoperative use of electrochemotherapy can be beneficial in cases like bladder tumors where it is very difficult to get all the tumor,” says Dr. Tripp. “I just have to be able to get to it.”

Dr. Bracha is working with Dr. Tripp to provide electrochemotherapy to more VTH patients by scheduling semi-regular treatment days in which she can see many patients on a one-day visit.

Clinical Trial for Miniature Breed Dogs with Radius-Ulna Fracture

April 20th, 2015

RU-fracture-OG-recruitment-flyer-7-2015The OSU College of Veterinary Medicine is seeking patients with Radius-Ulna Fracture to participate in a randomized, clinical trial of free autologous greater omental graft to stimulate healing of radius/ulna fractures in miniature breed dogs.

Eligible dogs are miniature and toy breed dogs under six kilograms with confirmed diaphyseal to distal radius/ulna fractures who. Dogs under six months of age with Salter Harris fractures, or fractures older than  three weeks do qualify.

In the trial, Some dogs will get a bone graft from their shoulder and standard repair, while others will get omentum graft and standard repair. Additional imaging studies will be performed before surgery and every three weeks following surgery until the bones have healed (within 1-­3 months). These imaging studies will be repeated at three and six months following surgery.

The American College of Veterinary Surgeon Resident-in-Training grant program will pay for surgery, hospitalization, anesthesia, imaging, bandage care, and medications. Owners who miss more than one recheck appointment will be required to pay for the original surgery.

For more information, or to participate in the study, contact: Jennifer Ree, DVM (principal investigator): jennifer.ree@oregonstate.edu
or phone the Veterinary Teaching Hospital : 541-­‐737-­‐4812.

Connie White Brings A Passion for Evidence-Based Research to Veterinary Practice

April 20th, 2015
Connie White, Class of 1997,  and her dog Frazier.

Connie White, Class of 1997,
and her dog Frazier.

In nearly twenty years of treating sick dogs, cats, and horses, OSU alumna Connie White has identified a need in veterinary medicine: There is very little research providing evidence-based knowledge to primary care veterinarians.

Dr. White’s interest in research was cultivated in the OSU lab of Dr. Carol Rivin where she earned a Ph.D. in Genetics. At the same time, Dr. White was working on her DVM in the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine. “The OSU faculty was great — practical and rigorous,” says White. “The caseload was immense so we were well-trained for practice.”

Following graduation, Dr. White worked in a mixed animal practice, and then in emergency medicine for Dove Lewis. In 2004, she moved to her current position at the Fremont Clinic in Portland. “It’s a great group of six doctors,” she says. “We do lots of chronic care management — hyperthyroidism in cats, chronic bladder stones, and kidney disease.” That is an arena where she would especially like to see more evidence-based research. For example, most veterinarians have been using the same prevention plan for bladder stones for thirty years. She has recently been using a pill common in human medicine and thinks it may be helping her patients, but has no empirical evidence to support that. “It is a five cent pill, so no pharm company is not going to sponsor research on it if they can’t make money.”

There are many other human treatments that could possible benefit animals, but no studies have been done. “There are new standards of care in humans and we should be asking if those same standards might help dogs or cats.”

Dr. White would like to see universities do more primary care research, but understands that research funding mostly comes from the federal government for basic science. “Also, university teaching hospital’s don’t see a lot primary care cases,” she says.

Now, Dr. White is in a position to do something about that. She recently inherited ‘a bit of dough’ and is creating an endowment to fund evidence-based research in the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine. “I started thinking, ‘What happens to my money when I die?’ she says. “Planned giving allows me to be semi-specific in how it is used. I want it to go to evidence-based research because that is what I am passionate about.”