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Oregon State University College of Veterinary Medicine eNewsletter

Research Profile- Dr. Erica McKenzie

January 12th, 2010

Dr. Erica McKenzie

Dr. Erica McKenzie– Large Animal Internal Medicine

Dr. Erica McKenzie received her veterinary degree from Murdoch University in Western Australia in 1996. She completed a residency and Ph.D. in Large Animal Internal Medicine at the University of Minnesota in 2003, focusing on nutritional and pharmacological methods of managing muscle disease in Thoroughbred horses. She then completed a 2-year post-doctoral fellowship in the Equine Athletic Performance Laboratory at Oklahoma State University where she was involved in studying the respiratory and musculoskeletal systems of exercising horses and Alaskan sled dogs. Currently, she is an Assistant Professor at Oregon State University where she practices Large Animal Medicine, teaches students, and pursues research projects involving horses, alpacas and racing Alaskan sled dogs.

Dr. McKenzie is currently focusing on the problem of anesthetic myopathy in horses, and the potential of the muscle relaxant dantrolene sodium as a preventative agent for this condition. Anesthetic myopathy is a serious complication of general anesthesia in horses and the resultant muscle and/or nerve damage can cause severe lameness. This multifaceted and collaborative project is funded by the ACVIM Foundation and the American Quarter Horse Association. Using clinical cases treated at the colleges of veterinary medicine at Oregon State University, Oklahoma State University, the University of Missouri, and the University of Minnesota, Dr. McKenzie is identifying how often this disease occurs and its predisposing or causative factors, including the potential role of two genetic mutations recently identified in Quarter Horses.

Anesthetic myopathy on right side of this horse's rump

Anesthetic myopathy on right side of this horse's rump

Recent studies have explored the effectiveness of using dantrolene sodium for the prevention of anesthetic myopathy in healthy Quarter Horses, and the impact of feeding and fasting on the absorption of orally administered dantrolene. The latter project involved two summer research scholars in the class of 2011, Ragan Garrett and Jocelyn Riehl. A trial evaluating the effect of dantrolene on cardiac output and anesthetic recovery quality in horses is planned for 2010, involving collaborators Drs. Ron Mandsager, Stefano DiConcetto and Matevz Arko. Dr. Arko is a visiting Fulbright scholar.

In addition to her work on anesthetic myopathy, Dr. McKenzie is evaluating the use of colloids in alpacas, in research funded by the Morris Animal Foundation in conjunction with the Northwest Camelid Foundation.

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