Vital Signs
February 2007

An Ugly Reminder of the Danger of Infectious Diseases

Dr. Gerhardt G. Schurig Dear Friends and Colleagues,
Infectious disease control remains one of the most challenging issues we face – in veterinary medicine and in human medicine. These days, most of us are aware of the threat that Avian Influenza H5N1 poses to both animal and human health. Many also recall the 2001 outbreak of Foot & Mouth Disease (FMD) that devastated Great Britain.
Improved vaccines and diagnostic tests have enabled us to make a great deal of progress in infectious disease control over the past several decades. But today, infectious diseases remain a major threat to public health and agricultural productivity.
Witness what we have encountered at our Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center in Leesburg, Virginia, where we have sustained a two to four week quarantine imposed by the Virginia State Veterinarian’s Office as a result of an outbreak of Equine Herpes Virus -1. Though it presents no public health threat, this extremely infectious agent is very dangerous to horses.
The quarantine that is required in order to deal with this problem is costly and it temporarily negates our ability to provide services to other horses that require urgent healthcare.
I would like to publicly acknowledge the excellent job that everyone at the Equine Medical Center is doing to deal with and control this situation.
Our Equine Medical Center staff and leadership team have worked closely with state regulatory officials, private practitioners, clients, horse owners, members of the media and many others throughout their response. The emergency management and communication protocols that have been put in place are superlative and are responsible for the steady progress we are making in dealing with this medical crisis.
This episode illuminates the importance of greater scientific investment in infectious disease research, to prevent and control outbreaks, and it speaks of the importance of our developing translational research and medicine plans.
For a three-week period that will run from February 26 through March 18, the Virginia Tech home-page will host a “Spotlight” on the VMRCVM’s emerging translational medicine program. Please find a moment to look it over if you get a chance to do so.

Gerhardt G. Schurig

VMRCVM Researchers Lead Pioneering Study in Equine Obesity

Drs. Scott Pleasant and Craig Thatcher America’s growing obesity problem has alarmed physicians and public health officials, and veterinarians have recently focused their attention on fat dogs and cats. Now, a team of researchers in the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine (VMRCVM) and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) at Virginia Tech has determined that horses are also facing serious health risks because of obesity.
Fifty-one percent of the horses evaluated during the pioneering investigation were determined to be overweight or obese – and subject to serious health problems like laminitis and hyperinsulinemia. And just like people, it appears as though the culprits are over-eating and lack of exercise.
“This study documented that this is an extremely important problem in horses that has been under-reported,” said Dr. Craig Thatcher, a professor in the VMRCVM’s Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences (DLACS) and diplomate in the American College of Veterinary Nutrition (ACVN). Thatcher and his colleagues believe the study results suggest that horse-owners should change some of the ways in which they care for their horses – and hinted that horses could emerge as an important model for studying the health implications of human obesity.
“Obesity, over the past decade, has become a major health concern in horses,” said Dr. Scott Pleasant, an associate professor in DLACS and diplomate in the American College of Veterinary Surgeons (ACVS). “This is primarily because of its association with problems such as insulin resistance, oxidative stress and inflammation, and laminitis.”
In fact, it was a spike in pasture-associated laminitis cases that led Dr. Pleasant to grow curious and seek the collaboration of Dr. Thatcher, an internationally renowned veterinary nutritionist, on the innovative research project. Dr. Ray Geor, the Paul Mellon Distinguished Professor of Agriculture in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and director of the Middleburg Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Middleburg, Va., and Dr. Francois Elvinger, an epidemiologist and associate professor in DLACS, were also enlisted as co-investigators.
“Laminitis is a failure of the connective tissue bond between the horse’s hoof and the bone within the hoof,” explains Dr. Pleasant, noting the highly publicized struggle that the racehorse Barbaro had with the disorder as a result of his catastrophic injury at the 2006 Preakness. “When that bond fails, and the hoof and bone start to full apart, it is extremely painful to the horse,” he continued. “Laminitis is one of the most devastating and debilitating problems that we see with the horse.”
Funded by the Virginia Horse Industry Board, the study also suggested that overweight horses can suffer from insulin and sugar imbalances, chronic inflammation, and oxidative stress, a malady that occurs as a result of changes to metabolic processes that alter the delicate balances between the destruction and creation of new cells in the body.
“Oxidative stress is an imbalance between the production of free radicals and reactive oxygen species and the body’s anti-oxidant defense mechanisms, and that imbalance is in favor of the oxidants,” said Thatcher. “Those free radicals and reactive oxidant species can affect macromolecules in the body such as lipids, DNA and proteins, ultimately causing cell death or changing the functionality of these macro-molecules.”
Other problems caused by equine obesity are heat stress, increased bone, tendon, and joint injuries, and reduced performance levels.
After surveying the academic literature the researchers discovered that only one documented study on equine obesity existed prior to this research, according to Thatcher. It was an owner-reported survey done in 1998 by the National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS) through the United States Department of Agriculture. This study reported the prevalence of overweight or obese horses to be 5 percent.
However, based on the horses seen routinely in clinical practice at VMRCVM, the research team hypothesized the prevalence of overweight and obese horses was much higher than the reported 5 percent. “We thought it was at a level of at least 15 percent,” said Dr. Thatcher.
The research team designed a prospective study and conducted it over the course of 60 days from June 19, 2006 through August 17, 2006. They studied 300 horses, ranging from 4 to 20 years old from 114 farms, chosen randomly from over 1,000 horses in VMRCVM’s Equine Field Service horse population.
The horses were studied between 6 a.m. and 12 noon, prior to any grain or concentrate consumption, which can alter glucose and insulin levels.
Two independent body-conditioning scores, which assess the amount of fat cover of the horses, were assigned to each animal. The scores range from 1 to 9 and a score of 8 or 9 signifies obesity. Morphometric measurements were also taken to allow the research team to calculate body weight and body mass index (BMI). These measurements include girth circumference, neck circumference, body length, and height.
Each horse was checked for signs of laminitis and blood was drawn to assess glucose and insulin levels as well as other hormones, cytokines, and oxidative biomarkers. A questionnaire was also completed by each horse’s owner to gather background information on breed, gender, health history, feed, and exercise. Ponies, minis, donkeys, draft breeds, and their crosses were excluded from the study, as were pregnant and lactating mares, and horses undergoing treatment for medical problems.
While laboratory testing and data analysis are still underway, the research team has already made some alarming discoveries.
Fifty-one percent of the horses in the study were found to be overweight and nineteen percent were found to be obese. Eighteen percent of the overweight horses and thirty-two percent of obese horses were hyperinsulinemic, findings which support the researchers’ hypothesis that the rate of overweight and obese horses is greater than the 5 percent figure reported in the 1998 NAHMS study.
The study also suggests that equine obesity may result from natural grazing behavior instead of the over use of grains and other feed supplements, which defies conventional thinking on equine weight matters. The majority of horses examined in the study were fed primarily pasture and hay with very little grain and concentrate.
Instead of overfeeding of grain and concentrates, the evidence indicates that improved forage and lack of exercise are the two most common contributing factors in equine obesity. Thatcher believes this may result from the fact that many pasture forages have been fortified with the goal of improving weight gain and productivity of cattle and other food animals, with little thought given to how these forages might affect horses, which often share the same pastures. In addition, the majority of the horses studied were under-exercised. They were left on pastures to eat, but did not have an actual exercise regimen.
Horses today are managed much differently from their evolutionary roots, indicated Dr. Pleasant. “The horse evolved as a free-roaming grazer on sparse pasture types,” he said. Later the horse served primarily as a work animal, serving as a source of transportation and draft power. Today, most horses serve as companions and light performance animals, he said.
“We can see with increased nutrition and lack of exercise how these animals could drift toward being overweight,” he said.
This research project remains underway, and has laid the groundwork for a series of provocative new studies. The researchers are now focusing more specifically on the role of hormone levels, oxidative stress, inflammatory biomarkers, and antioxidant mechanisms. However, the preliminary data clearly demonstrates that this research has important implications for both equine and human health.
For example, the knowledge gained concerning the correlation between fortified forage and lack of exercise and obesity in the horse can be immediately utilized by veterinary clinicians and owners who can now consider altering their existing feeding and management programs.
Human health may also substantially benefit from this study, according to Dr. Thatcher, because humans suffering from obesity experience chronic inflammation. If obese horses are also found to suffer from chronic inflammation, the possibility would then exist for the horse to serve as an animal model for the study of obesity in people for the very first time.

State-Imposed Quarantine Implemented at Equine Medical Center Due to Suspected Cases of Equine Herpesvirus (EHV-1)

Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center State officials have imposed a quarantine of the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center’s facilities effective immediately due to the suspected infection of the neurologic form of equine herpesvirus (EHV-1) in three hospitalized horses. No additional patients will be admitted to the hospital until further notice. Clients who may have questions or concerns regarding their horse should call the hospital’s main telephone line at (703) 771-6800. Hospital officials expect the quarantine to last anywhere from 14 to 28 days.
EHV-1, one of several strains of the equine herpesvirus, is a highly contagious disease that, although not transmissible to humans, can cause respiratory signs, abortion, peri-natal infection, encephalitis, and other complications in horses. It is spread from infected horses, which shed the virus through nasal fluids and bodily secretions, by both aerosol transmission and by direct contact with horses affected with the virus. Symptoms include fever, coughing, nasal discharge, loss of balance, urinary retention and recumbency.
“Based on the clinical signs and one positive test from the first horse with neurologic signs, we are treating this as an infection with EHV-1. We are taking extraordinary precautions and following the most stringent procedures possible in order to protect the horses in our care as well as the general equine population,” said Dr. Nat White, Jean Ellen Shehan Professor and Director of the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center. “The health and safety of our patients is our first priority.”
According to White, a horse that was brought to the hospital on Wednesday, February 7, to be treated for an unrelated emergency subsequently developed a fever and signs of nervous disease. The horse was immediately isolated in the hospital’s Biosafety Level 2 isolation unit. Initial PCR testing revealed that the horse was positive for the EHV-1 virus. “Though this test can have false positive results, we are treating this as a true infection,” said White.
In addition, hospital officials elected to impose a voluntary quarantine of patients in the area of the hospital where a risk of exposure was possible. These horses were promptly separated from the rest of the hospital’s equine population in designated isolation barns.
As of the morning of Tuesday, February 20, two additional horses being treated at the center for unrelated problems developed fever and neurological symptoms leading state officials to deem necessary an immediate quarantine of all hospital facilities.
“The center has always followed strict biosafety procedures governing patient care, movement in and out of the isolation unit, and cleaning of stalls between each horse occupancy in order to prevent the spread of infectious diseases,” said Dr. Martin Furr, Adelaide C. Riggs Chair in Equine Medicine at the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center. “However, this quarantine, which is the first that we’ve had since the center was opened in 1984, has been implemented to ensure that there is no chance of spreading the virus.”
EHV-1 is a reportable disease and the state veterinarians of Virginia and Maryland were notified on Monday, February 19. The mandate to quarantine the facilities was issued by Virginia State Veterinarian’s Office on the afternoon of Tuesday, February 20. Referring veterinarians and owners of all horses that may have been exposed to the disease have also been informed.
“I would like to emphasize that though these are not confirmed cases of EHV-1 by virus isolation or serology, we are implementing appropriate measures to prevent the spread of any contagions,” said White. “We are taking this situation very seriously and will do whatever is necessary to safeguard the well-being of our patients.”
Virginia Tech’s Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center is a Leesburg-based full-service equine hospital that is owned by Virginia Tech and operated as one of three campuses that comprise the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine.
For additional information concerning EHV-1, please see the Equine Herpesvirus Fact Sheet.

Careers in Veterinary Medicine Program Presented at VMRCVM

Careers in Veterinary Medicine For the 16th consecutive year, "Careers in Veterinary Medicine," a 4-H series that provides a glimpse of the modern veterinary profession, is being presented on the VMRCVM’s Virginia Tech campus. The series began on February 6 and will continue until March 20.
Sponsored by Seven Seas Veterinary Services, the VMRCVM, the Wildlife Center of Virginia and the Montgomery County 4-H Extension Office, the course is being held on Monday evenings from 7-8 p.m.
All classes, with the exception of one, will be held in the VMRCVM's Classroom 102, which is located across from the Veterinary Medicine Library. Attendees will enter via the Veterinary Teaching Hospital entrance and proceed to the left down the hall to the classroom. The class on February 26, Aquatic Veterinary Medicine for Fish and Horseshoe Crabs, will be held at the Aquatic Lab on Prices Fork Road in Blacksburg.
The program, which has been organized by Dr. Keath Marx (VMRCVM, '89), owner of Seven Seas Veterinary Services, provides registrants with an opportunity to learn about a variety of topics in the profession and culminates with a guided tour of the veterinary college complex at Virginia Tech. The first session, held February 5, was an introduction to the series by Dr. Marx and was attended by 38 4-H members.
"Veterinary medicine is playing an ever-growing role in the world we live in," said Dr. Marx, who has led the course for the past 16 years. "I think it's important that we help children learn as much as they can about this profession as they begin thinking about what they want to do with the rest of their lives."
Pre-registration is required and class size is limited to 40 children. Adult escorts or sponsors are invited if space is available at each of the events. Registrants need not be current members of 4-H.
The remaining scheduled topics and speakers include:
  • February 26 - “Aquatic Veterinary Medicine for Fish and Horseshoe Crabs," Dr. Stephen A Smith, professor, Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology (DBSP), VMRCVM. (this class to be held at the Aquatic Lab at Price's Fork Research Center)
  • March 5- “Veterinary Anatomy” – Dr. Larry Freeman, DVM, MS, Anatomy, Associate Professor, DBSP, VMRCVM.
  • March 12 - "Veterinary Radiology and Ultrasound” – Dr. Chris Ober, DVM, Resident and Dr. Sarah Davies, BVSc, Resident, Radiology, Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences (SACS), VMRCVM.
  • March 19 - Tour of Veterinary Hospital and College, Ted Smusz, Communications, VMRCVM.
For more information on the programs or on how to register, contact Michelle Adcock at or call 540-382-5790.

University of Maryland-College Park President Mote Visits New Gudelsky Center BSL-3 Lab

President Mote Visits the VMRCVM Work on the construction of a new Biosafety Level 3 containment (BSL-3) Laboratory located on the VMRCVM’s Maryland Campus at the University of Maryland at College Park’s Avrum Gudelsky Veterinary Center has been completed.
Dr. Dan Mote, president of the University of Maryland-College Park (UMCP), recently visited and toured the facility and had a lunch meeting with the faculty.
President Mote was extremely positive about his tour of the facility and the work being done there, according to Dr. Siba Samal, associate dean of VMRCVM’s UMCP Campus,
“We were very honored by his visit and happy to see Dr. Mote so interested in the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine and our faculty’s research,” said Samal. “It means a lot to have the University President show such an interest in our department, faculty, and work.”
The designation of BSL-3 is given only to laboratories that meet very strict United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) standards for handling infectious agents that pose serious or potentially lethal diseases as a result of inhalation.
VMRCVM researchers at College Park are investigating Avian Influenza (H5N1) and Newcastle Disease, two of three animal diseases designated as priorities by the USDA. H5N1 is a virus that typically affects birds, but can be deadly if transmitted to humans. Newcastle Disease is the leading cause of illness and death among domesticated poultry. The UMCP team is not only researching a vaccination for Newcastle Disease, but also studying how the disease can be safely used in vaccines for humans.
The new lab is an enhanced BSL-3 facility. This means there are features of BSL-4 containment, the highest designation a facility can receive, incorporated into the lab’s design. Some of these features include high efficiency air filters (HEPA) that filter exhaust air before it is discharged into the atmosphere, powered air purifying respirators (PAPRs) worn by researchers at all times, and complete waste sterilization prior to removal from the facility.
The lab also features an independent ventilation system with directional inward flow. Air flows from areas of lowest risk to areas of highest risk, protecting workers in other parts of the building.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging Installed in VMRCVM

New MRI Unit The VMRCVM has expanded the range of non-invasive procedures available in the Veterinary Teaching Hospital with the acquisition of a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) unit.
Unlike conventional x-rays and computed tomography (CT) which use ionizing radiation to create diagnostic images, MRI uses a strong magnetic field and radio waves to create detailed images of internal structures, according to veterinary radiologist Dr. Jeryl Jones, an associate professor in the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences.
MRI is considered the most sensitive diagnostic imaging test for brain and spinal cord diseases since it can detect extremely subtle abnormalities.
"We are very happy and excited to now have an in-house MRI scanner in the VMRCVM,” said Dr. Jones, who is board-certified by the American College of Veterinary Radiology. “This advanced imaging technology further increases our diagnostic capabilities and allows us to continue to provide outstanding care in a timely manner to our clients and patients. It is also a valuable teaching tool that will help us better serve the needs of our students, interns, and residents."
When placed in a MRI unit, the hydrogen atoms within tissues align with a strong magnetic field generated by the instrument, according to Dr. Jones. Radio waves pulsed into the field then stimulate the hydrogen atoms to release energy, which is transmitted to a computer for analysis, she explains. Since the signals of abnormal tissues are different from those received from normal tissues, they will show up as either very white or very dark areas in the computer image display.
VMRCVM’s new unit was installed in late December 2006. The first patient scan was performed in early January and around twenty scans have been performed since then, according to Dr. Jones.
Brain masses and spinal cord compression are the most common diagnoses made by the MRI unit. These conditions are most commonly treated through surgery or, in the case of tumors, radiation therapy.
While currently used primarily for the diagnosis and treatment of injuries and diseases of the spinal cord and brain, Dr. Jones predicts the unit will also likely be used to diagnose canine knee joint problems in the future.
The new unit is being leased with a current contract of three years. Leasing high-technology imaging equipment as opposed to purchasing allows lower up-front costs and more frequent upgrades, according to Dr. Jones. This benefits the patient, client, and clinician because it helps the VTH keep fees as low as possible while offering modern diagnostic and therapeutic technologies.
Before the installation of the new MRI unit, VMRCVM clinicians had to send patients to alternative veterinary MRI facilities, such as those in Vienna, Virginia and Raleigh, North Carolina, both owned by pet food giant IAMS®.

VMRCVM Student Receives First Place Award at Research Recognition Day

Dr. Ashish Ranjan Dr. Ashish Ranjan, a Ph.D. candidate in the VMRCVM’s Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences (DLACS), recently received first place for his research poster during the two-day Edward Via Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine Via Research Recognition Day.
The focus of the competition was nanomedicine research and its application. The competition was divided into biomedical sciences and clinical sciences. Ranjan won in the biomedical sciences category for his poster entitled “Targeted Delivery of Antimicrobials Using Functionalized Carbon Nanotubes to Control Intracellular Bacterial Infections.”
Intracellular bacterial pathogens, such as Salmonella, have typically been able to evade rapid destruction from a patient’s phagocytes or “killing cells,” a situation which often results in the need for long-term antimicrobial or antibiotic therapy. Prolonged drug therapy increases the chances of the pathogens becoming drug resistant, which is a rapidly growing global health concern, explains Ranjan.
However, the utilization of functionalized carbon nanotubes –long, thin cylinders of carbon-- to deliver antimicrobial therapy may decrease the amount of time a patient is on medication and decrease the required dosage size, thereby reducing the risks of pathogens becoming drug resistant. Dr. Ranjan and his fellow researchers are currently working towards standardizing this novel technique of antimicrobial therapy delivery in an effort to optimize the success of its approach.
The awards were presented by Sir Harold Kroto, Ph.D. and 1996 Nobel Peace Prize winner in chemistry, who also served as keynote speaker for the event. According to Ranjan, Dr. Kroto made the award even more meaningful. “I have been awarded a number of first prize awards in my academic career, but this award was very satisfying since I received it from a Nobel Prize winner,” said Ranjan. “In addition, my research was based to some extent on the properties of the nanoparticle which Dr. Kroto discovered.”
Ranjan was joined in this project by Dr. Ramanathan Kasimanickam, assistant professor, DLACS; Dr. Nammalwar Sriranganathan, professor, Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology (DBSP); Dr. Gary Pickrell, assistant professor, Materials Science and Engineering (MSE), College of Engineering; and Navin Manjooran, a graduate student from MSE.
Ranjan received his B.V.Sc. in 2005 from Madras Veterinary College in India. He currently serves as the president of the Biomedical and Veterinary Science Graduate Student Association and as the social director of the Council of International Students Organization.

Management of Retrovirus-Positive Cats Seminar Presented at College Park

Retrovirus-Positive Cats Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) are retroviruses responsible for two of the most important infectious diseases affecting cats worldwide.
A recent seminar on the management of retrovirus-positive cats presented by the VMRCVM’s Maryland Campus at the University of Maryland at College Park and IDEXX Laboratories shared current information on this important topic in veterinary medicine for dozens of private veterinary practitioners.
The seminar featured Dr. Susan Little, a feline practitioner who is a diplomate in the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (Feline). In feline practice since 1990, she is part owner of two feline specialty practices in Ottawa, Canada, president of the Winn Feline Foundation, on the editorial advisory committee of Pets Magazine and is a consultant for the Veterinary Information Network.
This seminar included current information on the treatment and prevention of disease transmission. Topics ranged from general background information on feline retrovirus to more specific strategies for the clinical management of retrovirus-infected cats.
The American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) recommends the retrovirus status of all cats should be determined, and has published guidelines for testing and management.
The seminar was organized by Dr. Katherine Feldman, an assistant director of the VMRCVM’s Center for Public and Corporate Veterinary Medicine in conjunction with IDEXX Laboraories. Two continuing education credits were awarded to those attending the seminar.

Lynn Young Named Friend of the VVMA

Lynn Young Lynn Young, Director of Alumni and Student Affairs at the VMRCVM, was recently awarded the Friend of the Virginia Veterinary Medical Association (VVMA) at the annual Virginia Veterinary Conference recently held in Roanoke.
This award is given to an individual who is a non-veterinarian and who has made outstanding contributions to the profession of veterinary medicine in Virginia. According to Dr. Bill Tyrrell, a veterinary cardiologist with Chesapeake Veterinary Cardiology and graduate of VMRCVM, Lynn exemplifies these criteria.
“Although this is her job, Lynn goes way above the call of duty. She has tirelessly moved the VMRCVM Alumni Society from its fledgling state to an alumni group that is vibrant, proactive, and growing,” wrote Dr. Tyrrell in his letter nominating Young for the award. “Lynn has become the recognized face at all events and someone that all of our alumni can turn to.”
Lynn received her B.S. in business education in 1989 and her M.A. in student personnel services in 1995 from Virginia Tech. Before assuming her current position in 2004, she was the assistant director of alumni relations for Tech’s Colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Natural Resources, and Veterinary Medicine.

Goat Day to be Held at VMRCVM

Goat Day The Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine will host “Goat Day: Topics in Herd Health,” on the VMRCVM campus at Virginia Tech on March 3, 2007 from 8:30am until 4:00pm.
Goat Day is designed to offer some of the most up to date information to help farmers and animal owners manage their herds and make their goats happier, healthier, and more productive.
The day will feature a symposium with some of the most renowned speakers in the Commonwealth of Virginia as well as Dr. Steve Hart from Langston University’s E (Kika) de la Graze Institute for Goat Research.
In addition to the symposium, classes will be offered throughout the day on special topics ranging from goat nutrition to mastitis. Rick Odom, VA Animal ID Program Coordinator, will also be on hand to answer questions about premise and animal ID in Virginia.
Pre-registration for Goat Day is strongly encouraged and is $15.00 which includes all classes and lunch. There will also be a FAMACHA course offered during the day which requires pre-registration and an additional fee of $13.00.
Goat Day is sponsored by the VMRCVM, Virginia Cooperative Extension, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the Virginia State Dairy Goat Association, Virginia Tech Department of Dairy Science, and
For more information please contact Anne Cinsavich, L.V.T. at (540) 231-5261 or

VMRCVM Pioneer Senator Bill Truban Passes Away

William A. Truban Senator William A. Truban, of Woodstock, Va., a veterinarian, long-time friend of the VMRCVM, and a legislator who was credited with helping gain Virginia General Assembly support and funding for the creation of the college, passed away on February 3.
“Senator Truban played a historic role in our founding and early years of development,” said VMRCVM Dean Gerhardt Schurig. “The VMRCVM and all that it is doing for the people and animals of the region is a part of the legacy of great public service that he leaves.”
Senator Truban served in the General Assembly from 1970 through 1992. A Republican, he served as the Senate Minority Floor leader in the Democrat-dominated General Assembly. He played a pivotal role in securing the initial state appropriations that provided start-up funding for the VMRCVM.
He also served on the Joint Legislative Audit & Review Commission, and was an early champion of what is now known as the state’s “Rainy Day Fund.” Finally passed after Senator Truban’s retirement, The 1993 Virginia Revenue Stabilization Fund establishes cash reserves to help the Commonwealth navigate economic downturns.
Born in 1924, Senator Truban earned three Bronze Stars while serving in World War II in the Burma theatre as part of the United States Army Air Corps.
After earning his VMD degree from the University of Pennsylvania, he opened the Shenandoah Animal Hospital in Woodstock, which has operated continuously since 1953.

David S. Kronfeld

Dr. David S. Kronfeld David S. Kronfeld, professor emeritus of animal and poultry sciences, died Sunday, Dec. 17, 2006. Kronfeld was born Nov. 5, 1928 in Auckland, New Zealand.
Kronfeld joined the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences as the Paul Mellon Distinguished Professor of Agriculture in 1988. He was charged with the development of a new pasture-based equine nutrition research program at the Middleburg Agricultural Research and Extension Center (MARE Center).
Dr. Kronfeld also held a professorial appointment in the VMRCVM’s Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences. Over the course of his 53-year academic career, Dr. Kronfeld served as a teacher and researcher at four universities.
He published more than 700 papers with 188 co-authors, including 248 refereed papers and 56 book chapters. He received numerous national and international honors and awards, including an honoris causa master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania for excellence in teaching and the 2006 Alumni Award for Excellence in Graduate Academic Advising at Virginia Tech.
He played an early role in the development of clinical specialties in veterinary medicine, and he was a founding diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, the American College of Veterinary Nutrition, and the Australian College of Veterinary Scientists.
He received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Queensland and a Ph.D. in comparative physiology from University of California Berkeley and a Doctorate of Science from the University of Queensland.
The David Kronfeld Endowment for Graduate Student Support has been established to help support graduate student education at the MARE Center. Funds from this endowment may be used to provide financial assistance for a graduate student when other means are not available or to help defray unexpected research project expenses for several graduate students.