Vital Signs
March 2006

Our United Front in Veterinary Education

Dr. Gerhardt G. SchurigDear Friends and Colleagues,
 
Along with several members of our college community, I recently attended the annual meeting of the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) in Washington. It was one of the largest and most successful meetings in their history, and I'm pleased to report that the association that represents veterinary academia is doing the vital work that must be done.

Almost 100 people attended the educational symposium "Use of Animals in Veterinary Medical Teaching: Reduction, Refinement and Replacement." Registrants included people who represent the spectrum of engaged stakeholders on this issue, from the Humane Society of the United States and the Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights to USDA/APHIS and our own institutions. Thoughtful discussions were held and progress was made on this important issue in veterinary education. 

I also had the opportunity to participate in a four-hour workshop on risk communication for deans conducted by Dr. Will Hueston of the University of Minnesota, and as some of you will recall, former associate dean of our Maryland campus. This was presented by AAVMC's Advancement Committee, which was created several years ago and includes our college's Jeff Douglas. 

As you will read below, progress was also made in building legislative support for the Veterinary Workforce Expansion Act (VWEA), which seeks to create a ten-year, $1.5 billion fund to increase program capacity and infrastructure at the 28 American colleges of veterinary medicine. Authorizing language is making its way through the 109th Congress and there are significant signs of congressional support.  

There are now 17 co-sponsors in the United States Senate and almost 40 in the House of Representatives. AAVMC officials believe ten of these are a direct result of the major legislative day put together with the meeting last week. As you will see below, our Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Dr. Grant Turnwald represented us during this event, as did Drs. Ted Mashima and Katherine Feldman, both assistant directors of the Center for Public and Corporate Veterinary Medicine (CPCVM) on the College Park campus.

The success of this legislation is important for the profession, the nation and the world. And it is also critically important for the future expansion of our own college of veterinary medicine. As many of you know, we have ambitious plans for the development of our campus and for growth in the future. We are looking for support from the private sector through an upcoming capital campaign for some of these resources, but we know that we cannot identify everything we need from the private sector and from the state.

If the authorizing bill is passed in 2006, there is a chance that our profession will seek funding in the 110th Congress. Senator Wayne Allard (R-Colorado), a veterinarian who is the chief Senate sponsor of the bill is a widely respected fiscal conservative whose strong support for this legislation speaks influentially in Washington. This legislation is of vital importance to the profession and the multifaceted role it plays in our society. 

Sincerely,  


Gerhardt G. Schurig
Dean


VMRCVM to Present Annual Open House On April 1

Open House The VMRCVM will hold its annual "Open House" on Saturday, April 1 from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
 
Visitors will have the opportunity to take guided tours of the 225,000 square foot complex, glimpse the inside of a dog's stomach, witness equine acupuncture, and learn about the modern veterinary medical profession, among other things.
 
At 10 a.m., veterinary students will begin conducting guided tours of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital and other college facilities. Tours last approximately 60 minutes and will depart at thirty-minute intervals throughout the day. A new video profiling the college entitled "Breaking New Ground in Veterinary Medicine" will be shown periodically throughout the day.
 
Children's stuffed animals can be "surgically repaired" during a "Teddy Bear Repair Clinic" from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Demonstrations and informational sessions on radiology, endoscopy, ultrasound, equine thermography, electron microscopy and other topics will also be presented throughout the day.
 
Presentations on how to prepare a competitive application for veterinary college will be made at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m., presentations on equine colic will be featured at 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m., and presentations on common eye and vision problems affecting animals will be made at 10:30 a.m., 11 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and noon.
 
A silent auction featuring gift certificates and merchandise from local merchants as well as merchandise provided by VMRCVM clubs and organizations will be held from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
 
The annual Omega Tau Sigma Service Dog of the Year Award will be presented at 2 p.m. and the St. Francis of Assisi Service Dog Foundation will present a demonstration on how dogs are trained to help the physically-challenged.
 
For more information about the VMRCVM's Open House, check out the Open House website
 


Third Annual Dog Walk Against Cancer Scheduled for April 8

CeCO Dog Walk Against Cancer The third annual "Dog Walk Against Cancer" will be held on Saturday, April 8, 2006 from 10:30 a.m. - 2 p.m. on the grounds of the VMRCVM at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. The event is open to the public and their pets.
 
Sponsored by the VMRCVM's Animal Welfare Club and the Center for Comparative Oncology (CeCO), the event seeks to raise funds to support student cancer research and increase public awareness about cancer, according to >Dr. John Robertson, a professor in the college's Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology (DBSP) and director of CeCO, a research center that studies cancer in animals and people.
 
"Cancer is a major disease problem in dogs, just as it is in people," said Robertson, who estimates that as many as 40% of middle-aged and elderly dogs will eventually contract cancer. "Our goal is to learn as much about prevention, treatment and cure as we can."
 
Participants in the "Dog Walk Against Cancer" will complete a course that will wind through the "VMRCVM Grove" and nearby cross-country trails. Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times, must be in good health and must be current on immunizations, Robertson said. People participating in the event are asked to only bring dogs that get along well with other dogs and other people in crowded conditions.
 
Individuals participating in the event are asked to acquire sponsors for each owner/dog team and present those funds to organizers on the day of the event. Pre-registration can be accomplished electronically on CeCO's website or by contacting Robertson at 540-231-7666. Individuals who pre-register by April 5 will receive commemorative materials for their dog.
 
Local organizations, corporations and other commercial enterprises wishing to provide more substantial support for the event are encouraged to consider a $250 "Gold" level sponsorship of the "Dog Walk Against Cancer."
 
Chartered in 2002, CeCO is an academic center for basic and clinical research on cancer. The Center is based at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine in Blacksburg, Virginia. The mission of CeCO is to study the development of cancer in animals and in people, to develop new ways to diagnose cancer and to find new treatments to control and cure it.
 
For more information about registering for the event or providing corporate support, please contact Dr. John Robertson at drbob@vt.edu or call 540-231-7666.
 


Dr. Turnwald Goes to Washington

Dr. Turnwald Served as a Lobbyist at the AAVMC Meeting VMRCVM Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Dr. Grant Turnwald routinely attends the annual meeting of the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) in Washington. But this was the first time he ever got to serve as a congressional lobbyist for the profession of veterinary medicine as part of the process.
 
Turnwald was one of about 25 veterinary college deans, associate deans and department heads who participated in a coordinated effort on Tuesday, March 14 to lobby congressman and senators to support the landmark Veterinary Workforce Expansion Act (VWEA) which seeks federal support for growing the veterinary profession.
 
With over 120 visits to senators and representatives, it turned out to be the largest ever single day visitation for veterinarians on Capital Hill, according to the AAVMC.
 
"It was great, I really enjoyed it," said Turnwald of the event with a briefing that began with a 7:30 a.m. pep talk from Senator Wayne Allard, a veterinarian from Colorado who is chief sponsor of the Senate bill.
 
Former Senator John Melcher, a veterinarian from Montana who now works closely with AAVMC and the AVMA on federal legislative issues, also briefed the group (Senator Melcher was the keynote speaker for the VMRCVM's Dedication Ceremony on May 15, 1987). Turnwald said he found himself particularly intrigued by the title of one of his background reading assignments from AAVMC staff: "How to lose your political virginity while keeping your scientific credibility."
 
After the briefing it was making the appointed rounds, and Turnwald met with senior staff members working with Virginia Congressman Bobby Scott, Jim Moran and Senator John Warner.
 
Dr. Turnwald said he was particularly impressed with how well the senior staffers understood the profession of veterinary medicine and the critical role it must play in helping the nation deal with the public health issues it faces. The fact that the morning papers all carried a news story about an Alabama cow diagnosed with BSE only served to underscore their interest, so Turnwald used that event to illustrate the need for more rural veterinarians.
 
He and the others were prepared with talking points to use during their visits, and he customized his to address some specifics concerning how the VMRCVM would expand if the VWEA act was authorized and funded. Those would include adding another 10 students to the DVM program to pursue dual degrees in veterinary medicine and public health using existing programs and developing more capacity in the college's infectious disease research programs.
 
He was also impressed with just being in the stately marble corridors of the Congressional Office buildings and Capitol. "I was in awe of the whole process," he said. "You walk down the hallways and go 'I've seen that person on television.'" One of those people was Senator John McCain of Arizona, who exchanged a deferential good morning nod with Turnwald as they passed each other in an underground passageway connecting Senate Office Buildings.
 
The Veterinary Workforce Expansion Act is gaining solid support in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. If passed and funded, the $1.5 billion bill would provide competitive grants from the Department of Health and Human Services to increase programs and infrastructure at the nation's 28 colleges of veterinary medicine.
 
"Veterinary medicine touches the lives of every citizen in this country," said Senator Allard. "Veterinarians are serving 24 hours a day to protect our food supply, looking out for foreign animal diseases, and developing and implementing plans for bioterrorism and response."
 
The 28 U.S. colleges of veterinary medicine currently graduate about 2500 new veterinarians a year. More veterinarians are needed for work in several areas with public health implications, including food safety, animal disease control biosecurity and homeland security, research on domestic and foreign animal diseases, zoonotic infectious diseases and other areas, according to the AAVMC.
 
The Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, the National Research Council of the National Academies, the USDA, the AAVMC, the AVMA and other affiliated organizations have identified a current shortage of about 1500 veterinarians in those areas. Over the next 20 years, that shortage is projected to grow to an estimated 15,000 veterinarians.
 


College Park Faculty, Leaders Brief Congressman on H5N1

An Image of Avian Influenza A H5N1 Viruses Four members of the VMRCVM's College Park Campus recently briefed U.S. Congressman Wayne Gilchrest (R - Maryland) on Avian Influenza H5N1 in his Washington Office in response to an invitation extended by the Congressman.
 
UMCP College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Dean Cheng-I Wei, VMRCVM Associate Dean Dr. Siba Samal, noted Avian Influenza researcher Dr. Daniel Perez, and Extension Poultry Science Specialist Dr. Nathaniel Tablante provided an overview of the disease and detailed some of the work underway on the College Park campus.
 
"One of the critical challenges we face to control pandemic avian influenza is how fast we can respond with an effective vaccine against the pandemic strain," wrote Dr. Siba Samal, associate Dean Maryland Campus in a briefing document. "To achieve this goal, we have developed novel avian influenza vaccines for poultry and humans."
 
Their current approach involves the genetic alteration of the Newcastle Disease virus to carry the hemagglutinin (HA) protein of Avian Influenza virus. Newcastle disease can infect humans without causing disease, and the HA protein appears to sufficiently stimulate an immune response to the AI virus.
 
"We have successfully tested this virus as a platform to deliver protective antigens of a variety of human pathogens in primates," said Dr. Samal. Some of the advantages of this approach, should it be perfected and improved, include the speed with which a vaccine could be produced in the event of a pandemic, the vaccine production can be accomplished in cell culture as opposed to eggs, and a single vaccine could be used as a vaccine for poultry and humans, according to Dr. Samal.
 
Congressman Gilchrest resides on Maryland's Eastern Shore, an area that is one of the nation's busiest poultry production centers. Gilchrest plans to host three "Town Hall" meetings on H5N1 in different areas of his district and has asked the faculty members to participate in the program.
 
Dr. Perez is principal investigator on a $5 million USDA grant, which is the largest ever awarded by the agency to study a single disease, and he is leading a multi-university consortium on a major avian influenza research project. During his presentation, he outlined his research priorities relative to H5N1 as the following.
 
Those priorities include:
  • Learning more about the molecular mechanisms of interspecies transmission with the eventual goal of being able to predict and prevent the emergence of influenza strains that could cause human pandemic and/or major agricultural consequences
  • Developing modified live influenza vaccines that could be used to protect people and animals in the event of a pandemic outbreak
  • Developing improved diagnostic tests for field applications
  • Implementing a small surveillance project for avian influenza in the Chesapeake region
Tablante outlined the extension program he directs that is conducting nationwide training workshops on mass euthanasia and disposal of catastrophic poultry mortalities. So far, over 500 poultry industry workers, state and federal emergency response personnel and extension agents have been trained in 17 locations across the United States. Tablante also discussed his own research interests in avian influenza, which involve studying the collection and analysis of specimens from wild waterfowl and poultry from live bird markets and supply flocks in order to learn more about how the virus spreads.
 


Hurricane Katrina Lessons Learned

The Samuel Riggs IV Alumni Center A "Hurricane Katrina - Lessons Learned" conference will be held on Wednesday, April 5 from 9:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. at the Samuel Riggs IV Alumni Center on the campus of the University of Maryland at College Park.
 
A variety of experts representing organizations like the American Veterinary Medical Association's VMAT emergency response teams, the Humane Society of the United States, the United States Department of Agriculture and others will provide information concerning what worked and what didn't during the largest natural disaster to hit the United States in recent history.
 
Sponsoring organizations include the Center for Agro-Security and Emergency Management (CAEM), College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (AGNR), University of Maryland, the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA), the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS), USDA's Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), and the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine (VMRCVM).
 
For more information, contact Dr. Fraser Owens, APHIS Area Emergency Coordinator, at Fraser.Owen@aphis.usda.gov or 804-343-2560, or Dr. Judi Lynch, VMRCVM, at judi@vt.edu or 540-231-2013.
 


Center for Public and Corporate Veterinary Medicine Presents SAVMA Symposium

Students Enrolled in the CPCVM The VMRCVM's Center for Public and Corporate Veterinary Medicine (CPCVM) presented a day-long seminar focused on veterinary careers in the federal government on March 10 in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Student Chapter of the American Veterinary Medical Association at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
 
The event was broadcast live via web conference to any veterinary college that requested an open line, and has been made available via webcast for a 30-day period following the event.
 
Dr. Linda Detwiler, assistant director of the Center for Public and Corporate Veterinary Medicine, presented opening remarks at the symposium.
 
Other conference speakers included Dr. Marguerite Pappaioanou, professor, Infectious Disease Epidemiology at the University of Minnesota; Dr. Andrea Morgan, assistant deputy director of the USDA's Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service; and Dr. Bonnie Buntain, Chief Public Health Veterinarian with USDA's Food Safety Inspection Service.
 
Also, Dr. Nina Marino, associate director for veterinary public health, National Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Dr. Bernadette Dunham, deputy director of the Office of New Animal Drug Evaluation in the Food and Drug Administration's Center for Veterinary Medicine; and Dr. Michelle Colby, a policy analyst with the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) with the Executive Office of the President of the United States.
 


Ambassadors Program Seeks to Enhance Diversity of Veterinary Profession

Dr. Terry Swecker Leads DVM Students Becoming a more multi-cultural profession is one of the challenges facing the profession of veterinary medicine.
 
The Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) has launched a major initiative called "DiVersity Matters" which focuses on the importance of having the veterinarians in a community reflect the people of the community in which they serve.
 
That program is achieving results. Under-represented minorities now comprise about 10.3% of the DVM students studying in colleges of veterinary medicine around the country.
 
And one of the reasons for that success is that many of the nation's 28 colleges of veterinary medicine have launched individual programs designed to enhance minority recruiting.
 
In the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, a new "Ambassador Program" has been created to help stimulate interest in careers in veterinary medicine among multicultural populations.
 
"I think this is a step in the right direction," said Dr. Ed Monroe, a professor in the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences who chairs the college's Committee on Diversity. "I'm excited about it."
 
Monroe believes that one of the great strengths of the program is that it gets current DVM students –whom Monroe believes are the best recruiters– out into the high schools where they can talk with high school students about the veterinary profession.
 
The program was suggested by a second year veterinary student and established by Lynn Young, the college's Director of Alumni Relations and Student Affairs, according to Dr. Monroe. Young, who established similar programs for two other colleges here at Virginia Tech, is involved with the day-to-day management of the program.
 
About 20 DVM students have currently signed up to participate in the program. The experience orchestrated for participating DVM students over the past spring break offers a glimpse of how the program works. About 10 students spoke at a high school near their home that had a high ratio of ethnic and social diversity.
 
Armed with copies of the college promotional video, printed publications, PowerPoint presentations and other materials, the VMRCVM students talked with the students about veterinary medicine, obtained contact information for later follow-up and promoted the upcoming annual "Open House." The students also met with high school guidance counselors as part of the recruiting effort.
 
"I definitely think this program has the potential to increase the number of multicultural applications within our applicant pool," said Monroe.
 
Monroe, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Dr. Grant Turnwald, and several students also attended the "Southeast Regional DiVersity Matters" symposium at North Carolina State University in Raleigh. That meeting attracted students, administrators and faculty members from a half-dozen southeastern colleges of veterinary medicine to discuss new strategies for achieving more diversity in the profession.
 


Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center Pays Tribute to Dr. Jack Howard

The faculty, staff, Council members, and friends of the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center (EMC) gathered on March 9, 2006 to honor Dr. Jack Howard, a retired veterinarian and longtime friend of the Center for his years of distinguished service.
 
Dr. Fred Fregin, who opened the EMC in 1983 as its founding director, praised Dr. Howard for his tireless commitment to treating and caring for equine patients at any time of day or night. Dr. Fregin shared stories with the group about the important role Dr. Howard played in the development of the center.
 
Fregin, retired and living in Texas, shared stories about the many different ways that Dr. Howard had helped the center in its early years, from loaning equipment and medications that the center lacked to accompanying first-time clients upon their referral to the center and staying with them throughout the night as they waited for their horses to recover.
 
Mrs. Shelley Duke, chair of the Equine Medical Center's Council, expressed the Council's gratitude to Dr. Howard for his advocacy of the center over the years, noting that he was instrumental in introducing many members of the community to the center. His involvement, she said, helped build the center into the internationally respected facility that it is today - an advanced care equine referral hospital that offers 24 hour emergency care and treats about 2,500 horses a year.
 
A major highlight of the event was the presentation to Dr. Howard of a photograph of him taken at Oatlands in 2005 by Dr. Ken Sullins, who was hired 22 years ago as the Equine Medical Center's first veterinary surgeon. Dr. Sullins, an award-winning photographer whose work is featured in area galleries, thanked his longtime friend and colleague for his collaboration on cases and fondly recalled their many fishing trips together.
 
The photograph presented to Dr. Howard is #1 of a limited edition of 75 prints that have been produced in his honor. Copies of the photograph are being sold and the proceeds will benefit the EMC. Prints are available in two sizes, a 13" x19" print costs $100 and an 8" x10" print costs $40. To order a photograph, please call Amy Troppmann, assistant director of development at the EMC, at 703-771-6843.
 
Dr. Nat White, the Jean Ellen Shehan Professor and Director of the Center, concluded the program by presenting a framed certificate of appreciation to Dr. Howard that was inscribed "with sincere gratitude for being a longtime friend, counselor, and advocate for the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center."
 
During the presentation, Dr. White said that Dr. Howard's lengthy career as an equine veterinarian was characterized by integrity and compassion, that his life and career should be viewed as an ideal role model for today's veterinarians and students, and wished that more people could "be Jack Howards."
 


A Rare Breed: A Berry Speckled Cow Sponenberg Continues Rare Breeds Conservation Work

As an internationally recognized expert in rare breeds conservation, Dr. Phil Sponenberg has traveled around the world studying rare and endangered breeds of livestock and making recommendations about how to establish conservation programs that will help maintain genetic diversity in the animal population.
 
Recently, the professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology (DBSP) traveled to San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico to attend the Sixth Iberoamerican Symposium on the Conservation and Use of Animal Genetic Resources at the Universidad Autónoma de Chiapas where he presented a paper entitled "Rescue and Conservation of the Randall Cattle Breed in the United States."
 
This meeting has become an annual event in which researchers from around Portugual, Spain, and the Americas meet to discuss the conservation of rare livestock breeds, according to Sponenberg. "Most of these breeds are of Iberian origin, and nearly all are exquisitely adapted and productive under very compromised production systems," he said. "They are all in danger of extinction from crossing with higher producing but much frailer, breeds that are imported from the USA or Europe."
 
This group has been meeting annually or biannually since 1992, according to Sponenberg, which was the 500-year anniversary of the Spanish discovery of the Americas. Since then, the group has identified, characterized, and conserved many useful and productive breeds of livestock, some of which are now enjoying secure roles in sustainable agricultural production systems in a number of different countries.
 
Through the group, Sponenberg has become engaged in several ongoing multinational research projects. One of these involves the DNA characterization of turkeys in Mexico. A second involves the DNA fingerprinting of horses in southern Spain (Tuertas), other locations in Spain, and throughout the Americas. A third collaboration involves the DNA fingerprinting of Iberian type cattle in the USA so they can be compared with Portuguese, Spanish, and other Central and South American populations.
 
A trip to the Post-Katrina Mississippi Coast that Sponenberg took in November, 2005, to evaluate what was left of the local, adapted landrace Pineywoods cattle breed provided him with some useful information for that third study effort.
 
"The devastation of Katrina was obvious," said Sponenberg. "Stands of pine and hardwoods that were approaching maturity and harvest had been snapped off like matchsticks. This had a huge impact on fencing. Some long-time breeders of adapted livestock have decided to not rebuild, but to quit. With their exit go some very important and well adapted strains of livestock."
 
The Pineywoods cattle are of Spanish origin, according to Sponenberg, and remain from the earliest days of Spanish control of what is now the southeastern United States. Their usefulness to local populations as sources of meat, milk, hides, and oxen persist today.
 
While on that trip, Sponenberg also studied other species. Sheep in the area are descendants of old family flocks, and trace back to an Iberian origin much as do the cattle. Local goats have all but disappeared - largely due to crossbreeding to the imported Boer goat.
 
Sponenberg also identified swine that are remnants of an old Iberian type that can be found from Uruguay to the Gulf Coast of the USA.
 
In the early 1900's, Sponenberg said, geese were extensively used to weed cotton fields. Geese avidly consume grassy weeds and leave broad-leaved plants like cotton alone, he said; as a result geese were once vitally important in the cotton-producing regions of the deep South. Very few of these old "Cotton Patch" geese now remain, he said.
 
He also examined a few remnants of old strains of saddle horses. These again were all very Spanish in origin.
 
Sponenberg and colleagues are now working to establish plans to help preserve these endangered breeds.
 
 


Teaching Hospital Offering New Urological Disorder Treatments

Dr. David Grant of VMRCVM Urinary disorders in dogs can be challenging problems for veterinarians to manage and difficult problems for pet owners to contend with.
 
Two common reasons for the presentation of these problems include urethral sphincter mechanism incompetence -often referred to as "spay incontinence" - and stones that develop in the bladder and urethra.
 
The Veterinary Teaching Hospital's Small Animal Internal Medicine Section has recently introduced two new services that have each demonstrated good results in early research in dealing with these troublesome problems, according to Dr. David Grant, assistant professor, Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences (DSACS).
 
The first procedure, Urethral Collagen Injection, has been shown to be effective in managing spay incontinence in animals that have not responded well to medical treatments or do not tolerate the side effects that can occur from them.
 
"The treatment is considered a temporary, but repeatable solution for most patients and permanent solution for some," said Dr. Grant, who is board certified by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM).
 
The procedure involves a two to three day hospital stay, and involves the injection of purified bovine collagen into the area of the urethra causing the problem. About 65-75% of the dogs treated can be made continent with the collagen injections or a combination of the collagen and continued medical therapy, according to Grant.
 
The second new treatment involves the use of a laser to destroy stones - or uroliths - that form in the urinary tract. A laser is inserted into the tract through an endoscope and placed in contact with the urolith, where the laser energy then fragments the offending stone. The resulting small fragments are then flushed out of the urinary tract and eliminated.
 
The treatment has been found to be effective with a variety of stones and is expected to involve a two-day hospital stay for the pet.
 
Veterinarians interested in learning more about the procedures are invited to contact Dr. Grant at 540-231-5699.
 


EMC Faculty Present at Equine Event East

EMC Faculty Members Presented at the Equine Event East Equine Event East, a major Mid-Atlantic celebration of the equine industry and informational event for horse enthusiasts was held March 17-19 at the Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly, Virginia and the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center (EMC) was well represented.
 
The Virginia Horse Council again held their annual meeting in conjunction with the event, and several faculty members from the center made presentations as part of the program.
 
Dr. Jennifer Brown, who was deployed twice as part of her service on an American Veterinary Medical Association VMAT team, made presentations on Disaster/Emergency Planning and on equine colic.
 
Dr. Ken Sullins, professor of surgery, made a presentation on Magnetic Resonance Imaging in horses. Dr. Martin Furr, the Adelaide C. Riggs Professor of Internal Medicine, made a presentation on equine rhinopneumonitis. Dr. Harold McKenzie, assistant professor, made a presentation on equine laminitis.
 
Now in its third year, the Equine Event East bills itself as the mid-Atlantic region's premiere equine exposition for all breeds and disciplines.
 
The event is expected to double in size for next year, and EMC Director Dr. Nat White says it provides an excellent opportunity for the college and the EMC to meet with important constituencies and clients.
 
Plans are underway to increase the role of the Center and the college in future events.
 


Annual Beef Cattle Health Conference Attracts Almost 200

Dr. Whittier Speaks at Annual Beef Cattle Health Conference Presentations on infertility, the proposed national animal identification program, infectious diseases, toxicoses and others all helped the almost 200 people enrolled in the recent "Virginia Tech Beef Cattle Health Conference" pick up some useful tips on how to make their herds more productive.
 
Sponsored by the VMRCVM, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences' Department of Animal and Poultry Science (APSC) and the Virginia Cooperative Extension Service, the day-long conference was held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Virginia Cattleman's Association at Virginia Tech.
 
The afternoon session was dedicated to Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) Chuteside Certification, a program that promotes beef safety and quality through adherence to best practices. BQA certification, which requires extensive documentation of veterinary medical care and management practices, is required for producers to participate in value added marketing programs such as the Virginia Quality Assured Feeder Calf Program. In Virginia, over 3200 beef producers have now completed BQA training, according to the Virginia Cooperative Extension Service.
 
Registrants also had the opportunity to register for laboratory exercises in body condition scoring, supplemental feeding and dystocia.
 
VMRCVM faculty participating in the program, included Dr. Dee Whittier, professor, Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences (DLACS), and Beef Cattle Extension Specialist; Dr. Terry Swecker, associate professor, DLACS; Dr. Kevin Pelzer, associate professor, DLACS; Dr. John Currin, clinical associate professor, DLACS, Dr. Dennis Blodgett, associate professor, Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology, (DBSP) and Dr. Ondrej Becvar, PMM Resident, DLACS.
 


White, Feldman Selected to Serve on Maryland Equine Health Committee

Drs. White and Feldman chosen to serve on Maryland Equine Health Committee Two members of the VMRCVM have been appointed to serve on the newly established Equine Health Advisory Committee of the Maryland Horse Industry Board.
 
Dr. Nat White, the Jean Ellen Dupont Shehan Professor and Director of the Marion Dupont Scott Equine Medical Center (EMC) in Leesburg and Dr. Katherine Feldman, assistant director of the Center for Public and Corporate Veterinary Medicine (CPCVM) on the VMRCVM's College Park, Maryland Campus, will each serve on the committee.
 
The mission of the committee is to advise the Maryland Department of Agriculture through the Maryland Horse Industry Board on equine health issues that affect the Maryland Horse Industry, according to information provided by the Maryland Department of Agriculture.
 
That advice will assist state officials in the development of policies and procedures regarding reportable diseases, statutes and regulations pertaining to equine health, interstate health requirements, emergency preparedness protocols, the activities and operations of the Maryland State Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratories and other important areas.
 
The committee includes representatives from the Maryland Department of Agriculture, the Maryland Horse Industry Board, the VMRCVM, the University of Maryland's College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CAGNR), the Maryland Veterinary Medical Association, the Maryland Racing Commission, the Maryland Horse Council and the Maryland Association of Equine Practitioners.
 


Gastrointestinal Endoscopy Course to be Offered to Veterinarians

Drs. Lieb and Monroe to Lead a Course on Gastrointestinal Endoscopy Veterinarians with little or no endoscopic experience (20 cases) are invited to enroll in an intensive gastrointestinal endoscopy course May 3- 5, 2006 on the college's Blacksburg campus at Virginia Tech.
 
Twelve hours of classroom instruction and 12 hours of hands-on laboratory instruction will be included in the "Introductory Gastrointestinal Endoscopy" course, which is also sponsored by Virginia Tech's Continuing and Professional Education and Outreach Service. The course will be limited to six veterinarians.
 
Endoscopy is the use of medical instruments to visually inspect and harvest tissue samples from internal organs-in this case the gastrointestinal (GI) system.
 
Led by faculty members Dr. Michael Leib, professor, Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences (DSACS), and Dr. Ed Monroe, associate professor, DSACS, lectures will be provided on examination equipment, fiber-optic principles, terminology, and complications.
 
Laboratory time will be dedicated to case material demonstrating how endoscopy is helpful in diagnosing GI cases. Objectives include, but are not limited to, proper hand positioning, operation of controls, careful scope handling, and appropriate cleaning and disinfection.
 
Interested veterinarians can register on-line at www.conted.vt.edu/introge/ up to two weeks prior to the course. For more information, contact Anne Cinsavich at 540/231-5261 or aclapsad@vt.edu.
 
 
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