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Vet Gazette

Oregon State University College of Veterinary Medicine eNewsletter

Histology Technician Is An Expert Slide Maker

December 30th, 2019

While studying for a degree in Zoology, Renee Norred was also a student worker in the OSU Department of Environmental and Molecular Toxicology, where she learned to make slides. She became so adept at it, that when she graduated, she was able to get a position at the Oregon Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (OVDL).

In her thirteen years as a histology technician at OVDL, Renee has created slides from all kinds of samples. She has processed everything from elephant skin and alligator teeth to apples and croissants. “The croissants came from researchers in food science who wanted to determine the fat content,” she says.

Most commonly, Renee prepares slides from biopsies and pieces of tissue sent by veterinarians. She embeds them in paraffin, creating small squares that are placed in a machine where a razor blade slices off a very thin strip. Renee moves the strip into a water bath, then dips a slide under it, perfectly placing the strip on top. The slides she creates get sent to pathologists for diagnosis of disease.

OSU Honey Bee Lab Helps Veterinarians

October 31st, 2019

Honey bees are classified as livestock/food-producing animals by the federal government because products from apiculture enter the human food chain. In 2017 the USDA began requiring veterinary oversight of antibiotics given to food animals, including bees. That means beekeepers need to get prescriptions from veterinarians, while many veterinarians know little or nothing about bees.

The OSU Honey Bee Lab is coming to the rescue! The Willamette Valley Veterinary Medical Association has arranged for scientists from the lab to present a CE class to educate veterinarians and veterinary technicians in the basics of bee medicine.

The free class will be in Magruder Hall on the OSU campus:
Date: Tuesday, November 12
Time: 7:00 pm (appetizers and cash bar open at 6:15 pm)
Location: 300 SW 30th Street, Corvallis 97331

Please RSVP to sara.k.smith@oregonstate.edu or call 541-737-6779

Colby Gets One Of His Lives Back

August 20th, 2019

When Linda Garrett’s cat started having seizures, she took him to her veterinarian who discovered his heart rate was so low (84 compared to a normal 140-150), she immediately referred him to the OSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital.

At OSU, cardiologist Kate Scollan discovered that Colby had an atrioventricular block. In a normal heart, the beat is created by an electrical signal that starts in the heart’s upper right chamber and moves down to a cluster of specialized cells that act like a relay station, slowing the electrical current before it passes to the lower chambers of the heart (the ventricles). When the current arrives in the ventricles, they contract and pump blood out to the body. In Colby’s case, the electrical signal that controlled his heartbeat was partially blocked from reaching the ventricles.

Dr. Scollan recommended installing a permanent pacemaker in Colby’s heart; without it, Colby’s prognosis was not good. “It didn’t take me long to make the decision to go ahead with this because he was otherwise healthy,” says Garrett. “I could not bear the thought that he would die suddenly while he was outdoors, and I would not know what had happened to him.”

Surprisingly, Colby received a human pacemaker. The OSU cardiology service buys the pacemakers through a program where the manufacturer donates last-generation devices to the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, who sells them at a discount and uses the funds to support cardiology residencies.

The OSU cardiology service has implanted pacemakers in nearly 150 dogs, but only a few cats. The human-sized devices are adapted to veterinary medicine by placing the battery pack in the animal’s abdomen. “There is plenty of room in there,” says cardiologist Nicole LeBlanc.

The surgery was a success and Colby is recovering well. “I feel satisfied to know that I am doing whatever I can for his health,” says Garret.

Hospital on Forefront of New Treatments

August 13th, 2019

Advanced Cardiology Treatment

The cardiology service at the VTH recently used a new technique to repair the defective heart of a one-year old terrier named Lucy. She was born with an abnormal heart: the right side was subdivided into two chambers by a thin membrane. When she came to OSU with a distended abdomen and no appetite, she was in the early stages of heart failure.

Cardiologist Nicole LeBlanc and cardiology resident Eric Owens performed a minimally invasive procedure where a special balloon was inserted into the right side of Lucy’s heart. The balloon had several microblades bonded to its surface that scored the membrane. Then a traditional balloon was inserted to expand the membrane into the space. Lucy recovered quickly from her surgery and went home the next day.

Cardiologist Nicole LeBlanc and cardiology resident Eric Owens performed a minimally invasive procedure where a special balloon was inserted into the right side of Lucy’s heart. The balloon had several microblades bonded to its surface that scored the membrane. Then a traditional balloon was inserted to expand the membrane into the space. Lucy recovered quickly from her surgery and went home the next day.

A tiny incision was made so a catheter holding a balloon could be inserted into the right side of Lucy’s heart.

Improved Tumor Removal

Did you get it all? It’s a common question asked after tumor removal surgery. Dr. Milan Milovancev is a soft tissue surgeon at the OSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital (VTH) whose research focuses on that question.

Dr. Milovancev operates on hundreds of dogs with cancer every year. He has also devoted many years doing research and clinical trials to improve techniques for removing tumors. His studies include subjects like how tumors grow, how to plan tumor surgery, and how to best test for residual cancer cells after surgery.

“I am dedicated to improving the quality of life for cancer patients by working to maximize chances of removing all the cancer during surgery, while preserving as much healthy tissue as possible,” he says. “Accurately determining whether or not a surgical procedure has successfully achieved local tumor control [removal of all cancer cells] is paramount,”

Doobie is just one of the many dogs who has benefitted from Dr. Milovancev’s studies. He came to the VTH with a large, malignant tumor growing on his nostril. “Surgery to remove a tumor in this location can be difficult due to proximity to important anatomical structures,” says Milovancev. Doobie size was also a factor – he is a nine-pound Chihuahua. Dr. Milovancev used information gained from several tumor studies to remove Doobie’s tumor and reconstruct his nose. “The microscopic analysis showed that we got all his tumor and there is a low chance of it growing back,” he says. Now Dr. Milovancev is investigating a new method for removing bladder tumors.

Bequest Will Support Research On New Treatments

July 16th, 2019

A close friend of the Carlson College of Veterinary Medicine has arranged an extraordinary bequest to Oregon State University. The planned gift represents the anonymous donor’s entire estate, valued at more than $6 million.

“We are incredibly grateful for the trust that a gift like this demonstrates,” says Susan Tornquist, Lois Bates Acheson Dean. “We feel a great sense of responsibility to live up to that sense of confidence.”

Gift will help college scale up, pursue cutting-edge work

The planned bequest will create an endowed fund for the college, generating a perpetual, dependable stream of income to be used at the dean’s discretion. Such a fund gives leaders the flexibility to take advantage of opportunities as they arise and meet needs as circumstances change.

“In my years as dean, we’ve seen a fair number of changes not in our basic goals but in new developments in veterinary medicine and the services we provide,” Tornquist says. “For example, in our new building expansion we’re gaining a linear accelerator, which will allow us to provide radiation oncology for cancer patients. Ten years ago, we wouldn’t have anticipated that we’d be an oncology center.”

OSU’s work with veterinary oncology is just one example of research that will ultimately benefit human medicine as well as improve treatment for animals. Faculty and students currently are working on such health issues as tuberculosis, HIV, respiratory diseases, neurological diseases and more.

The connection to human health is especially important to the anonymous donor. “Initially my commitment to the Carlson College of Veterinary Medicine was related to advancing the health of companion animals and to educating future generations of veterinarians,” the donor says. “Today my commitment is broader and reflects my intentions to help advance the mission of health at Oregon State.

“This university has tremendous strengths and unique capabilities in the areas of human and animal health,” the donor continues. “Veterinary medicine plays a key role in how OSU defines itself in health sciences and helps set us apart from other universities.”

Donor legacy creates a healthier future

Looking ahead, the college will continue to add specialists. For example, OSU recently hired its first criticalist, who works with the very sickest patients. Future developments are possible in neurology, dermatology, and the prevention and treatment of chronic pain.

“We take our mission very seriously, and this planned gift is an enormous investment in the future,” Tornquist says.

“There are hard moments in veterinary medicine, a lot of stresses. There are hard decisions to make when we’re trying to determine the best course of action.  To have this wonderful expression of support is incredibly meaningful for all of us. It’s a great message to students. Yes, you’re going to be working long hours but what you’re doing is really important and people deeply appreciate it.”

Learn more about making a planned gift to Oregon State University.


OSU Tackles Veterinary Suicide Prevention

July 11th, 2019

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a study in January that found suicide rates, when compared to the general population, were 2.1 times as high for male veterinarians and 3.5 times as high for female veterinarians.

This and recent news stories about veterinary suicide, have shined a much needed light on the problems of job stress and depression in the veterinary profession. As a result, private practices, corporate veterinary hospitals, the OVMA, and OSU are all facing the crisis and working to do something about it.

In the Carlson College of Veterinary Medicine, in-house psychologist Alex Rowell is implementing several initiatives to address the issue, including weekly wellness and self-care emails, one-on-one counseling, and a class for students focused on self-compassion and leadership.

“I think we’ve brought it [mental health] out of the darkness,” Rowell said. “We’ve had conversations about stress, anxiety and suicide. They used to be very taboo. We used to look at it as some moral flaw. But now we say it’s OK to talk about it with someone.”

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