An Ugly Reminder of the Danger of Infectious Diseases
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
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
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.
VMRCVM Researchers Lead Pioneering Study in Equine 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
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
“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
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 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.
State-Imposed Quarantine Implemented at Equine Medical Center Due to Suspected Cases of Equine Herpesvirus (EHV-1)
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.
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.
Careers in Veterinary Medicine Program Presented at VMRCVM
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:
For more information on the programs or on how to register, contact Michelle Adcock at
email@example.com or call 540-382-5790.
- February 26 - “Aquatic Veterinary Medicine for Fish and Horseshoe Crabs,"
Dr. Stephen A Smith,
professor, Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology
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
- March 19 - Tour of Veterinary Hospital and College, Ted Smusz, Communications, 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
Gudelsky Veterinary Center has been completed.
University of Maryland-College Park President Mote Visits New Gudelsky Center BSL-3 Lab
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.
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.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging Installed in VMRCVM
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
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
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®.
Dr. Ashish Ranjan, a Ph.D. candidate in the
VMRCVM’s Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences
recently received first place for his research poster during the two-day
Edward Via Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Via Research Recognition Day.
VMRCVM Student Receives First Place Award at 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;
Nammalwar Sriranganathan, professor, Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology
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.
Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) are retroviruses
responsible for two of the most important infectious diseases affecting cats worldwide.
Management of Retrovirus-Positive Cats Seminar Presented at College Park
A recent seminar on the management of retrovirus-positive cats presented by the VMRCVM’s
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
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, 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.
Lynn Young Named Friend of the VVMA
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.
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 to be Held at VMRCVM
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,
For more information please contact Anne Cinsavich, L.V.T. at (540) 231-5261 or
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.
VMRCVM Pioneer Senator Bill Truban Passes Away
“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, professor emeritus of animal and poultry sciences, died Sunday,
Dec. 17, 2006. Kronfeld was born Nov. 5, 1928 in Auckland, New Zealand.
David S. Kronfeld
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
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.