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Vet Gazette

Oregon State University College of Veterinary Medicine eNewsletter

Enthusiastic High Schoolers Try Out Veterinary College

August 23rd, 2017

Every summer the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine introduces a group of academically talented, low-income, and minority high school students to the world of veterinary medicine through the OSU Summer Veterinary Experience. The program represents one of many initiatives at OSU that support President Ray’s mission to promote diversity at the university. It also gives the participants an early introduction to college life, and helps them learn teamwork and leadership skills.

Last week, twenty-four carefully-selected young people with a passion for animals moved into the Cauthorn dorm, ate in the dining hall, and attended classes at the College of Veterinary Medicine. Mentors and faculty from the college introduced them to veterinary topics like equine acupuncture, small animal rehabilitation, surgery skills, and animal anatomy. The participants also worked on a research project.

“Our faculty work hard to provide interesting, real-world classes that will engage the interest of these talented young people,” says Dean Susan Tornquist. “Many past participants came to the program with a vague interest in veterinary medicine, among other fields, but they left with a passion for the profession.”

Joy Moore looks through a refractometer to measure total protein of a blood sample.

Admittance to the program is based on academic performance, family income, ethnic background, and a written essay. Twenty of the students selected were from cities and towns in Oregon. This year’s students have a 3.69 grade point average.

“Many of the attending students come from low-income families. This program gives them a glimpse into college life they may not have had otherwise,” says admissions coordinator Tess Collins. “Our goal is to provide a realistic understanding of the field of veterinary medicine, and to get participants excited about higher education, even if they decide veterinary medicine isn’t for them.”

The program offers scholarships, including housing and meals, to students who meet established criteria. The application cycle will be open again in March 2018. For more information, visit vetmed.oregonstate.edu/youth-summer-program.

The Summer Veterinary Experience would not be possible without the following volunteers:

  • Sara Smith
  • Brian Dolan
  • Dan Rockey
  • Luiz Bermudez
  • Claire Couch
  • Ling Jin
  • Maureen Larson
  • Stephany Vasquez-Perez
  • Nadette Stang
  • Liz Harbert
  • Pat Chappell
  • Janell Bishop-Steward
  • Travis Feldsher
  • Dr. DeMorias
  • Dr. McKenzie
  • Dr. Magnusson
  • Dr. Jennifer Johns
  • Dr. Scollan
  • Dr. Jana Gordon
  • Dr. Meritet
  • Dr. Semevolos
  • Dr. Allende
  • Dr. Mecham

A Pair of Bassetts Brighten Up the Hospital

July 13th, 2017

Dr. Alaina Moon and Dr. Silvia Funes with clients Gari Aman and Barb Hansen.

Repeat clients of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital often become friends. Barb Hansen and Geri Aman have been bringing their family of Basset Hounds to the VTH for years and are everyone’s favorite visitors. “Dr. Moon and I love when they come to the hospital,” says Dr. Silivia Funes. “I love how sweet and stubborn the dogs are and they have the best dog moms ever.”

On a recent visit, Hansen and Amen brought a cheery gift for the hospital: a portrait of their dogs, Gus and Maron, by Corvallis artist Carrie Tasman. It now hangs in the exam room hallway.

“They are exceptional clients,” says Dr. Funes. “They even invited us to Gus’s fourteenth birthday party last year.”

First OSU Pathology Course A Big Hit

July 13th, 2017

OSU hosted its first Davis-Thompson Foundation Descriptive Veterinary Pathology Course in June and Dr. Christiane Lohr worked hard to make it a great event. “Since the course paradigm shifted to vet schools hosting, we are never certain what kind of conditions we will have,” says course organizer Paul Stromberg. “We rely heavily on local faculty helping us and the results are variable. Oregon State and Dr. Lohr did a superb job and helped us to focus on the teaching part. An important part of the success was due to her efforts to make things run smoothly.”

Forty pathologists attended from thirteen states plus Canada and Australia. “Evaluations from participants were very favorable,” says Dr. Lohr. ” People really enjoyed the mock exams and active learning exercises, as well as the individual feedback from instructors.  They also enjoyed meeting trainees from other institutions, which helps them make personal connections for study purposes, and learn how things are done at other institutions.”

The course is an opportunity for veterinary pathologists develop and refine their skills in describing gross and microscopic lesions in a variety of major organs in numerous animal species, as well as describing and interpreting cytology specimens, electron micrographs, and immunohistochemical stains.

New Wellness and Counseling Program Serves Many Needs

July 3rd, 2017

Alex Rowell had a busy year as the first-ever counselor and wellness coordinator for the College of Veterinary Medicine. He lectured in the third-year Practice Management class, coordinated three guest lectures, served on a PVMA wellness panel, had private appointments with dozens of DVM students, and gave a presentation to hospital staff on compassion fatigue.

In addition to providing in-person counseling to faculty, staff and students, Rowell also focused on making a long-term impact on the CVM culture in general. One step he is taking toward a culture shift is the dissemination of information on good nutrition. “I don’t think I would have been very popular if, right off the bat, I took everyone’s Red Bulls and iced coffee [out of the vending machines],” he says “Mainly, I just want to bring awareness to healthy decision-making and awareness of certain non-healthy food and drink options. For example, an 11-ounce Red Bull energy drink has 48.5 grams of sugar in it when the recommend sugar intake for adults is about 25 grams per day.”

Rowell also writes a Wednesday Wellness email to share the latest research and useful information on topics like getting enough sleep, finding time to exercise, and treating yourself with kindness. His online survey revealed that a large majority of the college found these emails helpful.

All this hard work is not without rewards. “When I arrived last August, I was not sure what this position would look like, but I have really enjoyed meeting with faculty, staff and students who are so passionate about their work and education.” He has been assisting some of the students throughout the entire year and really enjoys that. “To see them grow, not just as professionals, but as people is truly amazing,” he says. “I am amazed at how brilliant, motivated, empathic, loving, and funny our students are.”

With a program that is so new, Rowell is on the lookout for ways to keep improving it. “One thing I got from the surveys I have done is that yoga is really popular here at the college, so I want to bring that back.” He is looking for a certified yoga instructor who can conduct onsite classes next school year. He also wants to provide more flexible office hours. “This positon was created to meet the needs of the students, so if someone can only meet for 15 or 30 minutes that it totally fine.” He also would like to collaborate with faculty at the college. “The faculty I have met have been very nice and welcoming, but as a mental health profession in a veterinary medicine world, sometimes I feel like a fish out of water.”

Dean Susan Tornquist worked with OSU Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) to create Rowell’s position. “Having Alex on our staff adds important support for students in maintaining their emotional, mental and physical health,” she says. “The feedback we’ve gotten, after Alex being here almost one year, is that he is serving an important role in the College and students very much appreciate the attention we are giving to their well-being.”



Dynamic Endoscope Expands Ability To Diagnose Equine Breathing Issues

June 26th, 2017

The Veterinary Teaching Hospital at Oregon State University has a new state-of-the-art scope for diagnosing upper airway disorders in horses.

The portable Optomed dynamic endoscope allows veterinarians to see a horse’s airway under a variety of conditions, in any environment. The custom-made scope is so new there are only a few currently being used in this country.

“The endoscope will allow us to examine the upper airway of client horses in real time during their normal activity,” says Dr. Erica McKenzie, specialist in equine internal medicine and sport horses. “It is especially useful with horses where we cannot duplicate their specific exercise on the treadmill, or when they cannot be safely trained to the treadmill.”

The dynamic scope is inserted into the horse’s nostril and, once it is properly placed, locked securely into place by a special nose band that fits comfortably over or under the bridle. A specially-designed saddle pad that houses the recording device is then placed on the horse’s back. A saddle or sulky harness easily fits over the pad. Once all the equipment is in place, the horse can follow its regular exercise routine. A real-time video of the horse’s airways can be watched on a mobile screen. The video can also be recorded on a flash drive for viewing later.

The dynamic endoscope allows the airway to be observed during all types of exercise and movement, including ridden horses. It will help veterinarians diagnose previously unidentified upper airway disorders such as noisy breathing during exercise and exercise intolerance. It was purchased, in part, with a donation from the Willard L. and Ruth P. Eccles Foundation.

Milovancev Research May Help Surgeons

June 26th, 2017

Cats with feline injection-site sarcoma (FISS) often have noncancerous tissue removed with their tumors as a precaution. This can have detrimental effects on felines, so Dr. Milan Milovancev, professor of small animal surgery, is studying ways to be more precise in determining which tissues are noncancerous.

“Older studies showed that if you had bigger margins, cats would live longer,” Milovancev said. “The previous margin guidelines of 2 to 3 centimeters had been found to be inadequate, and the new guidelines were 5, which seemed like a big jump, and in some of these cats may cause a lot of unnecessary suffering.

“The net take-home is that yes, 2 to 3 centimeters is indeed inadequate, but we didn’t find any tumors getting close to 5 centimeters. We can reduce morbidity by surgically removing what we need to take out, and leaving what doesn’t need to be taken out.”

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