Utah State University School of Veterinary Medicine Magazine

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Veterinary Medicine M AG AZ I NE

{ Fall 2017 }




FACULTY/STAFF Faculty Highlight: Dr. Rusty Stott 10 Award-Winning Teaching 11

STUDENTS Fully Articulated Horse Skeleton Completed 12 Vet Students Gain Real-Life Experience with Foal Watch Program 13

RESOURCES The Moral Stress of Compassion Fatigue 14 Communication is Key 15 Mystery Case: Four Horses Down in a Matter of Days 16 USU Offers New Master's Degree in Veterinary Public Health 16 Students in a Time of Disaster 17

IN THE FIELD Vet Students Learn Career Skills While Serving Navajo Community 18

ALUMNI From the USU School of Veterinary Medicine Class of 2016 22 Alumni/Donor Recognition 24 On the cover: Clinical Assistant Professor Holly Mason with Laredo at Utah State University’s Animal Science Farm. By McKay Jensen.

WE TEACH WHAT YOU LOVE. PUBLICATION INFORMATION NOELLE E. COCKETT, President, Utah State University KENNETH L. WHITE, Dean of the College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences

MIKE WHITESIDES Director of Marketing


MICHELLE MERRILL Director of Development

MICHAEL WERNERT Graphic Designer

MICHAEL BISHOP Director of Student and Academic Affairs

AUBREE THOMAS Marketing Intern

Utah State University is an affirmative action/equal opportunity institution.

ASSOCIATE DEAN’S MESSAGE When plans were first being formulated to establish the Utah State University (USU) School of Veterinary Medicine (SVM) within the Washington - Idaho - Montana - Utah (WIMU) Regional Program in Veterinary Medicine, an overarching goal was to increase access to veterinary school for Utah residents. Prior to the establishment of the USU SVM, the primary route available to Utah residents interested in a career in veterinary medicine was through the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) program that enabled a limited number of Utah residents (three to nine new students admitted/year) to enroll in veterinary schools outside of Utah, while still paying “in-state” tuition. However, a particularly challenging aspect of the WICHE program for Utah residents was the variable number of positions available in any given year, which was essentially a “moving target” for residents aspiring to attend veterinary school. In contrast, by establishing the USU SVM, that uncertainty has been eliminated, since each class has 20 positions available for Utah residents and 10 positions available for non-residents. In an effort to ensure that Utah residents who are pre-veterinary students at Utah’s colleges/universities are fully aware of the USU SVM program, this past March we hosted a meeting for undergraduate pre-health advisors and their students in which we gave them an in-depth overview of the USU SVM/WIMU veterinary program. The feedback we received about the event was very positive, so we look forward to conducting similar programs in the future. In addition, if you, or someone you know, are interested in the USU SVM program, please contact us at 435-797-8786 for information and/or to arrange a visit. I hope you enjoy this issue of the SVM Magazine, and on behalf of the faculty, staff and students in the USU SVM, thank you for your interest and support of our program. Sincerely,


Associate Dean, School of Veterinary Medicine

THE CACHE VETERINARY PRACTITIONER’S ASSOCIATION The Cache Veterinary Practitioner’s Association is an active chapter of the Utah Veterinary Medical Association. Our mission is to conduct community outreach and education by participating in and supporting local events that educate both the public and veterinarians alike. We value practicing quality veterinary medicine and staying relevant within our profession. You may have met some of our members at the VETS Emergency Response Trailer or the UVMA booth at the Utah State Fair. “Boo at the Zoo” on October 28 will be another opportunity to interact with our members, and there are still spaces available for continuing education on “Applicable Equine Dentistry” on September 30 (see eventbrite.com). Our membership provides an important platform in which we can discuss and address topics pertinent to Cache Valley such as disease trends and needs within our community. We also take great pleasure in interacting with the veterinary students at Utah State University by providing financial support through scholarships and mentoring by opening our clinic doors for real-life learning opportunities. We are starting to see a rewarding return on investment as new, well-trained graduates are returning to our state to practice. Please direct questions, suggestions and membership inquiries to holly.mason@usu.edu. Thanks for reading! Sincerely,


President, Cache Veterinary Practitioner’s Association Clinical Assistant Professor, USU School of Veterinary Medicine





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Sarah Ward, research assistant and veterinary technician, checks one of about 160 cows at Utah State University’s Caine Dairy Research and Teaching Center. Students in USU’s School of Veterinary Medicine gain practical experience and have internship opportunities on the university’s farms.


tah State University’s Animal Science Farm and Caine Dairy Research and Teaching Center are places full of life and where four-footed creatures will always far outnumber their bipedal caretakers. The farms are where the university’s foundation as an agricultural school intersects with USU’s School of Veterinary Medicine, and where students who may have had little interaction with large animals and small ruminants gain experience and confidence. Certainly, studying and classroom lectures are crucial to success in vet school, but theoretical animals described in a lecture or textbook are nearly always less diverse than individual animals on the farms, and they are certainly cleaner, less intimidating and more predictable. Many veterinary medical students have rarely or never been around large animals, much less examined them, given them injections or assisted with needed surgical procedures. But experiences offered in classes and informally to vet students at the farm—a.k.a. the South Farm—and the dairy help even the most reluctant students learn their way around the animals. Of course, including students in surgical and assisted reproduction procedures means the work takes a bit longer, but it is training that faculty on the South Farm’s clinical team feel strongly about providing. It is also one of the benefits of being in a veterinary program with just 60 students. “Students come to the farm to observe and assist,” said Rusty Stott, clinical assistant professor. “We are here on Saturdays doing embryo transfers from September through early February, and students are very involved. They show up thinking they are going to watch, but I say ‘No, this is the first goat. It needs pre meds right now, and you are going to do it.’” Students are surprised at that, but Stott meets their apprehension with clear instruction and assistance. The school’s small class size (30 students each year), and just half that number in many labs, means everyone gets hands-on experience. “It’s impossible for someone to hide out in the back and not have to do something,” Stott said. “It pushes students out of their comfort zones because we do large animal and small ruminant work. It gives them great opportunities to work with animals most students don’t have experience with." Even students who have experience with large animals are surprised by some of the procedures they observe and in

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Above: Drs. Rusty Stott and Alexis Sweat (USU SVM class of 2016) prepare to treat a displaced abomasum. Right: Stott with students in one of the four courses he teaches in the School of Veterinary Medicine, in addition to one USU undergraduate course.

Next, Kinney explained, the doctor uses a needle and which they are able to assist. Dustin Kinney, now a third-year a vacuum pump to remove the gas, corrects the position of student (see related story on pg. 9), grew up on a ranch with the abomasum and sutures it (abomasopexy) to keep it in cattle, but was astonished the first time he watched Stott treat place. His amazement at a dairy cow to correct a the procedure has since displaced abomasum. turned to confident asThe procedure is “It pushes students out of sistance and greater unnecessary when the last their comfort zones because derstanding of anatomy. of a cow’s four stomwe do large animal and small Kinney, who does achs—the abomasum— equine theriogenology fills with gas, becomes ruminant work. It gives them research with Profesdistended and floats up great opportunities to work sor Dirk Vanderwall, has out of its normal posiwith animals most students invested a lot of time tion low in the cow’s don’t have experience with." at the farm and recombelly. It can then twist, mends other students do blocking the cow’s gasthe same. Clinical Assistrointestinal tract. tant Professor Holly Mason said students benefit from being “Dr. Stott uses lidocaine and then makes an incision in at the farm because while surgery days are scheduled, things the side of a cow that is fully awake and standing up,” Kinney sometimes happen that require quick action. In those cases, said. “The first time I saw that I thought ‘What? How is this veterinarians don’t have the luxury of scheduling and waiting, possible?’ Then he put his arm through the incision to locate though they often email students to alert them of a case and the abomasum and I was even more amazed.”


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Rusty Stott, DVM Rusty Stott teaches undergraduate courses in Utah State University’s College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences (CAAS) and in the School of Veterinary Medicine (SVM). He is responsible for the health of animals owned by the Utah Agricultural Experiment Station and some owned by CAAS—primarily cattle and small ruminants—that are used in teaching, research and dairy production. He works with many researchers, providing surgical expertise and collecting samples. He is interested in all facets of animal wellness and especially in assisted reproduction techniques.

Holly Mason, DVM Prior to joining the faculty at USU, Holly Mason was an associate veterinarian at Unionville Equine Associates in Chester County, Pennsylvania, and had several externships across the country, including at the Hagyard Equine Medical Institute in Lexington, Kentucky. She teaches an undergraduate horse health care course, in addition to teaching clinical anesthesiology and equine neonatal medicine in the SVM. She also participates in equine reproduction research and in doing embryo transfers and other work with USU researchers.

Sarah Ward, Research Assistant/Technician To say Sarah Ward loves animals is an understatement. As a teen, she actually delayed getting her driver’s license so she could continue riding her horse to school and other local stops. Prior to working at USU, Sarah received training at Mountain Veterinary Hospital and worked in several large and small animal practices. Word from the students and faculty she works with is that there isn’t a vein she can’t hit or an animal she can’t deliver.

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Caring for genetically engineered goats that are important in USU research includes embryo transfers and other procedures.


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invite them to participate in giving the needed care. “I’ve gotten to do some very interesting things just because I am at the farm,” Kinney said. “Also, it has made me comfortable here so I’m not worried about jumping in when I see the vets need help with something, even if it’s just getting pads for Dr. Stott if he’s kneeling for a surgery or helping handle an animal.” Technician Sarah Ward said it is important to the clinical team that all students have opportunities and training to be successful. “I usually run anesthesia on surgery days and we include students in that,” Ward said. “I give them instructions and have a sort of ‘three strikes and you’re out’ policy: They get three tries, but we have a schedule for procedures and need to keep to it. If a student doesn’t quite get it right on one animal, I take over so they can watch and try again on another animal. Everybody needs a chance to be successful. By the end of the year, I just monitor and students come in and take over most tasks, which is awesome to see. It is great to watch them develop their skills.” Mason, who came to USU from private veterinary practice, said that while working with students was a new experience, educating people about animal health was not. “I educated clients every time I made a farm call,” Mason said. “I like to keep things practical, to make sure students are learning things they can put to use. I think that philosophy is predominantly because of my private practice background.” Mason specializes in equine medicine and, in addition to her teaching duties, cares for horses used in the university’s undergraduate courses. Typically, there are about 70 horses, but that number will be increasing to accommodate growing enrollment in the equine science and management degree program. “From a vet student perspective, there are really good opportunities here to work with horses,” she said. “And as faculty liaison for the American Association of Equine Practitioners, I can put together labs on short notice for things our students are especially interested in.” Mason also devised a summer internship program for firstand second-year students at the farm, giving selected students even more intensive hands-on experience. This summer’s intern, Rickie Warr, said working with her dad on their farm shaped her goal to become a veterinarian. Working with Stott and Mason at the South Farm has been great motivation to keep her working hard to achieve that goal. Stott pointed out that experience at the South Farm is valuable because once students progress in school, much of their work with animals will be at a hospital where cases are referrals from other veterinarians and are more complicated. “You don’t see a lot of the things you’ll do in general practice at the hospital,” Stott said. “Students learn a lot there, but when you’re a third-year student, you are still behind the fourth year


Ken White, dean of USU’s College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences, and Animal Science Professor Irina Polejaeva with two of the genetically engineered sheep that are helping advance understanding of cystic fibrosis.

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{ UTAH STATE UNIVERSITY VETERINARY MEDICINE } students and residents in getting your hands on patients.” That doesn’t mean every patient at the South Farm is an average case. In fact, Stott and Mason often try treatments that would not be used on a working farm. Mason’s experiences in private practice ran the gamut from caring for average horses to some very expensive horses with prized genetics. “There are not the same financial limitations in equine practice, especially in the east, like you have for production animals where care comes down to dollars and cents,” Mason said. “Here, if the care is reasonable and in our skill set to manage, we’ll do it.” Ward recalled the recent case of a calf whose leg was successfully set and then healed after a severe compound fracture. “It took 6 months, but we put pins in it, reset the bone, monitored him and it healed,” she said. “He’s doing great. That would never happen in a production setting because it doesn’t make financial sense. It’s possible for us to try some treatments you would not do in private practice. It doesn’t always work out the way we would like it to, but it’s incredibly rewarding when it does.” Another unusual facet of veterinary work at the farm is the opportunity to work with sheep and goats that are part of the university’s animal science courses and research programs. At times there can be more than 400 small ruminants at the farm. Some are in the teaching flock and herd and some are research animals with very unique pedigrees. Due to the number of sheep and goats, and the option of doing unusual procedures when time and other resources allow, students have had opportunities to treat conditions that are not typically treated, such as rectal prolapse.


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“Now, when they see that in their practice, a client might decide to treat it because their vet has experience correcting it and can explain the options,” Ward said. Among the sheep and goats are a number of genetically engineered animals and clones that are helping USU researchers understand debilitating human diseases like cystic fibrosis and atrial fibrillation, and others whose particular genetic traits could make their offspring excellent protein sources for people in developing countries. Stott added, “You don’t see much work with sheep and goats because they typically aren’t worth the cost of veterinary care unless they are pure bred or produced for club or show lambs, and have very desirable genetics. Sometimes people will get care for them if they are part of a backyard flock and treated more like pets than an economic resource.” But when an animal has been designed specifically for biomedical research, it is extremely valuable and gets a lot of specialized care. Sadly, even then, things can go wrong and students see that as well. Stott said losing even a single research animal is a big loss. The team at the farm, which sometimes expands with additional help from other veterinarians on the school’s faculty, is gearing up in anticipation of a busy fall of more embryo transfers and expects students to participate. Stott said he doesn’t want to give students the idea that going to class is wasted time, but he supports the adage, “Don’t let school get in the way of your education.”

By: Lynnette Harris


FROM DREAM TO DOC Dustin Kinney’s desire to become a veterinarian was sparked by taking his dog to the vet. That’s probably not uncommon among people who are thinking about what they’ll be when they “grow up.” But Kinney was already 10 years out of high school, had a job, a wife and two children when he decided veterinary medicine was the path for him. Perhaps “decided” is too strong a word for his initial thoughts about going to veterinary school. Kinney and his wife, Brittany, had taken their dog to an appointment and talked to one of Kinney’s former high school classmates who had recently joined the practice. “On the way home I told my wife, ‘If I could do it all over again, I’d be a veterinarian,’” he said. She responded by asking why he couldn’t become a veterinarian, and shooting down every excuse he devised. He had worked at the Tooele County Chemical Incinerator for 10 years and taken a few night classes at Utah State University’s Tooele campus and some at Salt Lake Community College, but he didn’t have a specific major or goal. Adding to Kinney’s worries about taking on college and vet school was the lack of examples in his family of how to navigate higher education. In his immediate and extended family, the expected path is go to high school and get a job. “I didn’t know what I was doing and no one in my family had helped pave the way,” Kinney said. “But my wife never let up on the idea. She called (academic advisor) Tammy Spackman and a week later we were driving to Logan. Tammy told me I could do it and made a plan for me.” Kinney worked his last day at the Army base on a Friday and was in classes in Logan the following Monday. “In some of the USU classes I took in Tooele, I was the only student in a class that was broadcast to different places in the state.” Kinney said. “Then I walked into introductory physics or organic chemistry in Logan and there were 200 kids in there. It was a little shocking.” Kinney completed his bachelor’s degree in bioveterinary science and is still a little amazed and excited that he was accepted into vet school, even more surprised that his fellow students elected him president of the class of 2019. During his undergraduate years, Kinney approached faculty members about opportunities to do research and gained great experiences and skills. His strongest advice for students: Don’t be so connected to electronics. Put down your phone and go talk to people. Talking to faculty is what led him to equine reproduction research with Professor Dirk Vanderwall and work with others on the Animal Science Farm’s clinical team. “I think that is a big advantage of being in a small program,” Kinney said “There are always opportunities. I tell every prospective student to talk to professors and ask how you can be involved. Dr. Van-

derwall is a great mentor and some of the biggest learning moments for me have been at the South Farm working with Dr. Holly Mason and the horses.” Perhaps having grown up around cattle, horses and dogs is what put Kinney at ease on the USU farms, and he used every opportunity to be there and involved in caring for the university’s animals. “I tell prospective students that if they’re serious about education, they have to approach it like it’s a job,” Kinney said. “There are times I got up at 5 in the morning to study for 3 hours before class started. A lot of days I’ve gone to classes, been to the farm, gone home to eat dinner and spend time with my family, put the kids to bed, and then gone back to campus to study.” Members of the class of 2019 have made the move to Washington for their final 2 years of school and have their eyes on the future. “People ask what I want to do,” Kinney said. “’Large animal? Small animal?’ I tell them that at this point I’ll work on anything. Give me a horse, a lizard, a snake, I don’t care. We’ve loved life in Cache Valley, but I’m excited to be going on to finish and be at an animal hospital. I would love to get into a good equine practice, but I am open to anything.”

By: Lynnette Harris Photo: Courtesy of the Kinney Family

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Rusty Stott, DVM, Clinical Assistant Professor


usty Stott, DVM, is a clinical associate professor at Utah State University where he teaches and is part of the clinical group at USU's Animal Research Farm and at the George B. Caine Dairy Teaching and Research Center. He and his family love Cache Valley, but wish it was closer to the beef ranch Stott grew up on in Montana. He earned his DVM degree at Kansas State University. He came to USU from a mixed veterinary practice and is interested in many animal health topics and especially in assisted reproductive technologies.

What do you like the most about your job?

What do you like the least about your job?

Dr. Stott: The paperwork, I guess. The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee is a good thing and all the animal use requests are important, but the paperwork gets annoying sometimes. Slight differences in USDA regulation for teaching agricultural science versus veterinary science can give you a headache just trying to work out the regulations. Many people may be interested in veterinary medicine, but don’t decide to pursue it as a career. What was the tipping point that prompted you?

Dr. Stott: I think the best part of it really is the relationships Dr. Stott: I guess I’m one of those people who have never that you develop. If I was in private practice it would be with the clients, but here it’s with the researchers, farm managers and students. Working through issues as they arise with students and researchers, coming up with a solution either to treat an animal or work through how to make a research project work is very rewarding.


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wanted to do anything else, so I clawed my way until I made it there. I think I was 3 years old was when I first decided I was going to be a vet. I worked on my dad’s beef ranch, and I never paused along the way to do anything else. I was too dumb to know how much debt I would have beforehand so, once I got in, I just kept going.

AWARDS and HONORS AWARD-WINNING TEACHING Each year, students in the Washington/Idaho/Montana/Utah Regional Program in Veterinary Medicine are asked to reflect on their first 2 years of veterinary school and vote for faculty who demonstrated exemplary teaching and best helped prepare students for their final 2 years of study at Washington State University. Students in Utah State University’s classes of 2018 and 2019 chose to honor the following faculty members for their exemplary teaching.

First Year

Second Year

Heloisa Rutigliano

Tom Baldwin

Johanna Rigas

Arnaud VanWettere

Physiology & immunology

General pathology

Clinical pathology

Systemic pathology

What are some of the highlights of your work at USU?

What area of veterinary medicine is most interesting to you?

Dr. Stott: The things we have done, mostly on the reproduc- Dr. Stott: The most interesting part of vet med for me is retive side, to help create some of the animal research models for human diseases have been exciting, the atrial fibrillation goats and the callipyge clone goats. We haven’t seen the end of that yet, but that could be exciting worldwide to help feed more people. I would rather eat beef any day, but a lot of people eat goat. Being involved with the creation of the School of Veterinary Medicine has been one of the highlights of the time that I have been here as well.

What do you enjoy most about working with students?

Dr. Stott: The best part is to work with a student and see the light bulb turn on when they finally understand a principle in class or when they are out in the field with me working on animals. To be with them in that excitement, that zeal they have to become veterinarians, that is a lot of fun.

production. All of the advanced assisted reproduction techniques that are out there are things that I really enjoy doing, embryo transfer, follicular aspirations, high-end reproductive work. That’s my favorite class to teach as well.

What do you wish people knew about your work?

Dr. Stott: One advantage of being at the university is when we

have an animal with a problem, you can try just about anything. We will try to fix just about anything, something you may not try in a production setting because it’s too costly to do on a production animal. I would like people to know that we try. Maybe some people think that large animal vets do not have compassion for the animals that we work on. We do.

By: KailCee Harrison Photo: Dennis Hinkamp

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A fully articulated horse skeleton is on display in the Veterinary Science and Biology Building at Utah State University, the product of more than a year of work by Briedi Gillespie, a professional practice associate professor in the School of Veterinary Medicine, and a number of students. “It was a very involved process,” Gillespie said. “But the idea was to build it solidly so that we can have it for many, many years to come.” To begin assembling the skeleton, Gillespie collaborated with students enrolled in the skeletal prep class. “Through the skeletal prep class, we got the bones ready for articulation,” Gillespie said. “Last summer, I coordinated with the welder who helped get the process going and helped get the frame made.” After the skeletal prep work was completed, the skeleton was assembled in Blackfoot, Idaho. When on the base, the skeleton stands over 6.5 feet tall and is over 9 feet long. Because of its size, the only option for transporting it


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was a stock trailer. The skeleton is from a horse in USU’s teaching program that passed away due to old age. At the farm, the horse, a dun mare named Duals, was instrumental in helping students increase their knowledge and horsemanship skills. Now, she will continue to be a part of the program as she helps students learn about veterinary medicine and caring for horses and other large animals. Gillespie said that working with USU South Farm staff to acquire the skeleton was a great opportunity because it allowed the entire process to be completed at the university. “It’s nice that we were able to do all of it here rather than buy a horse skeleton from somewhere else,” Gillespie said. “The horse was part of the program at South Farm. With the vet school being quite new here, it will be neat that she will be able to be a part of this program from the very beginning.” The skeleton will be used to supplement teaching in various classes such as the gross anatomy course. Gillespie

said the skeleton will benefit students by helping them further understand how the structure in a large animal works. “For veterinary students, it is hard with a large animal to just look at a limb or head or ribs and get an idea for how all of the structures interact with each other,” Gillespie said. “In lab we study limbs, but they are from ponies, donkeys or miniature horses. Students often don’t get perspective on how large a limb actually is in a full-sized horse.” Dirk Vanderwall, associate dean of USU’s School of Veterinary Medicine, agreed the skeleton will greatly benefit the teaching program. “When I first heard that Dr. Gillespie would be preparing the full-sized horse skeleton, I was excited because it will be a great addition to our teaching program for both our undergraduate and graduate students,” Vanderwall said. “When we do horse Extension activities, it will also have a use in that realm as well.”

By: Aubree Thomas


Second-year vet students stayed throughout the night and checked mares every hour to monitor their progress when foaling was imminent.

Being a student in veterinary medicine means investing a lot of time studying and learning in the classroom. However, gaining hands-on experience is a must for students if they want to be successful in the professional world. To help students get more experience working with mares and foals, Holly Mason, a clinical assistant professor and advisor for USU’s student chapter of the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP), created a “Foal Watch” program. The program is open to second-year students in the AAEP chapter. Participating students were assigned a mare to look after until she foaled. When the mare was close to foaling, students stayed overnight at the university’s equine facility to make sure labor went smoothly and the foal was born safely and was healthy. Over the course of the semester, students helped nine mares foal successfully. Mason said the program is a great way for students to get handson experience with brood mares and increase knowledge about labor and delivery. “It gives students practice for when there are problems with foaling,” Mason said. “If they don’t know what a normal foaling is like, it can be pretty hard to know where to start. It can put them at a real disadvantage if they graduate without this experience

because their clients will automatically expect them to know all about it.” Students Lindsey Cheetham and Sarah Frandsen spent a record-setting 16 nights at the barn waiting for their mare to foal. Cheetham, who is also the president of the AAEP chapter, said the most rewarding part was assisting in the delivery of a healthy foal. “Dr. Mason gave us a lot of trust and placed a heavy amount of confidence in us,” Cheetham said. “She kindly reassured us and talked us through on the phone when our mare finally went into labor, but it was very thrilling and rewarding to be able to complete it on our own.” Frandsen said the experience was trying at times, but it helped solidify her passion for large animal medicine. “This was a great chance to gain clinical skills, as this is an opportunity our counterparts at Washington State University don’t even get,” Frandsen said. “It was a great reminder of why we’re in school torturing ourselves and solidified in my mind that large animal medicine is where I want to be in the future.” For now, the foal watch is a chapter activity but Mason hopes to turn it into a class.

By: Aubree Thomas Photos: Courtesy of USU AAEP students.

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COMPASSION FATIGUE By Steve Lucero, USU School of Veterinary Medicine


ooking back across your veterinary career, think of the most difficult ethical dilemmas you found yourself facing. How did you balance pet owners’ decisions when they were in opposition to your medical guidance? How did you handle your own reaction when you had to choose between what may be in your clinic’s best interests and what may conflict with an individual employee’s? These situations likely didn’t have a clear right or wrong answer; rather, you probably found yourself weighing various moral values against one another.

“Some of the most effective ways to handle the moral stress of compassion fatigue center around self-care.”

Moral stress arises when we are asked to prioritize moral values against one another, recognizing that some meaningful value will have to be sacrificed in the service of an even more important value. Think about how many micro-decisions you make every day that involve sacrificing one of your moral values for another when they are in conflict. For many veterinarians, the weight of these decisions accumulates to the degree that compassion fatigue begins to set in. Elizabeth Strand, one of the original founders of the veterinary wellness community, has described moral stress as the least researched and the biggest contributor to compassion fatigue in veterinary medicine (https://www.avma.org/News/ JAVMANews/Pages/150101e.aspx). Compassion fatigue arises from the chronic experience of moral stress. Your persistence and willingness to endure challenges as difficult as veterinary school are significant strengths that have greatly contributed to your success as a veterinarian. However, at what point does overreliance on those skills become an obsessive attitude to cure every animal brought to your office or lead to distress in other areas of your life? The AVMA has put together some helpful resources to deal with the stress of com-


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passion fatigue (tinyurl.com/vet-fatigue). Some of the most effective ways to handle the moral stress of compassion fatigue center around self-care. How might you open up more to a supportive friend or colleague? What trip or experience have you put off due to the timing being “just not right,” or what hobbies have you wanted to pursue but just haven’t put in the effort yet? What physical exercises, reading time or meditation do you regularly practice in a week? How bad do things have to get to stop justifying the excuses that have prevented you from taking better care of yourself? This is your challenge, your opportunity to deal more effectively with stress.


Communication IS KEY By Sandra Weingart, USU School of Veterinary Medicine Reference Librarian


hile visiting family in Colorado this spring, I made the acquaintance of an early-career veterinarian. In the course of our conversation, she commented on the difficulty of establishing a relationship with the client, getting all the relevant information about the patient, and devising a treatment plan, all within the scope of a 15-minute appointment. While her alma mater had prepared her very well for the medical aspects of her chosen profession, she felt very apprehensive regarding communications with clients (aka the people who pay the bills!). Fortunately, students in the WIMU Regional Program have a very different experience. I have the privilege of serving as a simulated client in VM 7502, Clinical Communications. For 6 weeks every spring semester, a small group of us play the roles of various veterinary clients. Some cases involve companion animals, some are production cases and some are deliberately designed to be difficult. The second-year students each have several opportunities to work on self-selected goals in improving their interviewing skills, from establishing a relationship to gathering information to summarizing the conversation and negotiating next steps, all under the supervision of a DVM coach. At first, many students find it awkward to role-play while being observed by mentors and classmates. However, by the end of the course, most of them have a much stronger sense of the socalled “soft skills” that will be critical to their ability to practice animal medicine. Being able to make rookie mistakes in a safe environment reduces apprehension and fosters a much greater awareness of clients’ motivations and desired outcomes. Satisfied clients make for thriving clinics. Of course, all of this is great, if you happen to have attended a program where such intensive practice is emphasized. What happens if you didn’t? How can a busy clinician brush up on these critical skills? Skills for Communicating in Veterinary Medicine by Suzanne Kurtz and Cindy Adams (1) was published in October of 2016. Building on the authors’ decades of experience in preparing human medicine students to communicate with their future patients, this long-awaited adaptation addresses skills and abilities directly relevant to animal health practice. While the book is solidly grounded in communication theory, it was designed with a widely varying readership in mind, and includes very practical examples and suggestions on what to say and how to listen. Adams and Kurtz have chosen a skills-based approach which can then be applied to specific issues as they arise. The book is arranged around those skills, with each skill occupying a separate chapter. This allows readers to be strategic in choosing where to focus their time and attention, as chapters can be read

out of sequence without loss of coherence. The book is available in paperback and electronic formats. While reading a book is not the same experience as role-playing a scenario, practicing veterinarians who seek to improve client relations and patient outcomes through more-effective communications can develop a solid foundation by investing some time here.


1. Adams, CL and Kurtz, S. (2017). Skills for communicating in veterinary Medicine. Dewpoint Publishing: New York

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Utah Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory

MYSTERY CASE FOUR HORSES DOWN IN A MATTER OF DAYS By Jane Kelly, DVM, MPH, Clinical Associate Professor A horse owner recently lost all four of his horses. Three died and one was euthanized. Clinical signs in these horses as described by the owner included rapid recumbency in at least two of the animals, slow eating, quivering, weakness, tongue hanging out, teeth grinding and tremors. The horses that were recumbent did not have the strength to raise their heads. The first horse became sick on March 4, the second on March 8. The third animal was euthanized and submitted to the UDVL, Spanish Fork, for necropsy on March 10. The last horse died on March 17. No gross lesions were seen in the horse necropsied. A complete set of tissues was taken for histopathology (in-

cluding the brain and spinal cord, to rule out other neurologic diseases). There were no significant histologic lesions in the horse necropsied including in the brain and entire spinal cord. The only change in management was feeding a new batch of alfalfa cubes to the horses starting on February 22. No new animals had come to the farm recently and none of the horses had moved off the farm in the previous several months. Vaccinations for tetanus and West Nile virus were up to date. Formulate your diagnosis and go to the USU School of Veterinary Medicine’s website for the answer and discussion: vetmed.usu.edu/mystery.


Utah State University now offers a graduate degree in veterinary public health through its new Master of Public Health program. The degree, available at USU’s main campus in Logan and at regional campuses across the state, prepares individuals to handle threats to public health by using their knowledge of veterinary medicine.


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Jane Kelly, clinical associate professor of veterinary sciences and program coordinator for the veterinary public health degree, said there is a demand for individuals who can address issues unique to veterinary medicine and that have a large impact on public safety and the food supply. “Veterinarians who receive an MPH degree increase their ability to become board certified in veterinary preventative medicine as well as seek employment opportunities in local, state and federal government and agricultural agencies,” Kelly said. “Additionally, there is a need for public health officials who can address the issues of animal-to-human infectious disease transmission (zoonotic diseases), food safety concerns and emergency responses to such outbreaks.”

The program will coordinate with the USU School of Veterinary Medicine to offer training in One Health—a collaborative effort that crosses over multiple disciplines and maintains that human health is linked to the health of animals and the environment. To pursue this degree, individuals must have an undergraduate degree with a background in biochemistry, biology, mathematics, statistics or animal disease, or a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree from an accredited school. Applicants who have a DVM are exempt from taking the GRE to be admitted. For more information and to apply for admission to the program, go to www.mph.usu.edu. By: Aubree Thomas



STUDENTS IN A TIME OF All veterinarians understand the profound negative impacts of an outbreak of footand-mouth disease (FMD). But did you know Washington State University veterinary students helped veterinarians stop Washington’s last FMD outbreak? On Tuesday, Nov. 10, 1914, the Washington State Department of Agriculture received a telegram stating two rail cars of cattle had left Wisconsin, bound for Roy, Washington. The 102 dairy animals had been unloaded, fed and watered on the previous Friday near St. Paul. The cattle had been penned in lots where previously, on Nov. 2, 125 other cattle had received respite before moving to the Billings, Montana, stockyards and breaking out with FMD on Nov. 8. The telegram was an unwelcome, but not unexpected, alert for Drs. F. H. Mason and C. M. McFarland, both with the Federal Bureau of Animal Industry and based in Washington state. The U.S. was in the grips of the worst FMD epidemic in its history and its first outbreak since 1908. The famous Chicago Union Stockyards were closed for the first time since opening in 1865, idling some


The outbreak was reported in Washington newspapers, November 6, 1914.

35,000 workers and cutting off some $1.2 million in daily revenue. Movement of more than 100,000 cattle, sheep and hogs was stopped. Before the epidemic was stopped, every cattle market in the U.S. was affected, complete quarantines were issued in 22 states and more than 172,720 animals had been euthanized. Most sources believe the epidemic’s spread was due in large part to the congregation of cattle brought to Chicago earlier for the National Dairy Show. The Nov. 10 telegram ordered Drs. Mason and McFarland to quarantine all animals immediately when they arrived in Washington and await “subsequent developments.” Aptly, the cattle arrived at Parkwater rail yard west of

Spokane on Nov. 13—Friday the 13th—and were quarantined in pens specially constructed by the railway. A photo from the day shows a wooden enclosure built with rough-cut lumber and railroad ties, swathed in carbolic acid-soaked canvas. Early on Nov. 16, a positive diagnosis of FMD was made jointly by state and federal veterinary inspectors; 51 animals in the shipment now had FMD lesions. Notice of what was to come was given to the animals’ owner, H. S. Royce.

Assisting in the depopulation and sanitation efforts were WSU veterinary students and faculty who took a train from Pullman to Spokane, after permission was granted by then veterinary dean, Dr. Sofus B. Nelson. Immediately after the check was delivered to Royce’s agent, the veterinarians went to work. By Saturday, Nov. 21, all Roy-bound cattle had been euthanized and cremated along with the pens and litter. They were the last cattle killed in Washington for FMD.

2017 Fall




Vet Students Learn




tudents and faculty from the Utah State University School of Veterinary Medicine, accompanied by two USU Extension faculty members, traveled to the Utah-Arizona border this spring to provide valuable service to a community in need, hone their medical skills and learn important lessons about communicating with clients. Karl Hoopes, assistant professor in the School of Veterinary Medicine and USU Extension equine specialist, organized a horse castration clinic at the old Mexican Water Chapter House because he saw an opportunity for students to help make a difference, while gaining important skills. “People were very excited and very welcoming to us on the reservation,” Hoopes said. “I knew there was a need there. They have a hard time getting any veterinarians to come down to the reservation and out to the different farms, and the veterinarians on the reservation typically stay near the larger populations.” San Juan County Extension faculty members Karah Nay and Jim Keyes also helped organize the clinic. Nay said in addition to the lack of veterinarians, the problem of free-ranging


Fall 2017

horses provided some of the inspiration to hold the clinic on the reservation. “There are no fences down there,” Nay said. “Everything just kind of runs wild and free. No one there typically castrates their horses, so there was a huge demand and they could really benefit from that type of help.” To make the clinic a reality, Hoopes partnered with the Unwanted Horse Coalition, a collection of equine organizations that joined together to educate the equine industry about the problem of unwanted horses and their impact on the environment. Through the coalition’s Operation Gelding program, Hoopes was able to provide the service at no cost to owners and receive a $100 reimbursement per horse to help cover the travel and medical supply costs. The clinic was by no means a money maker, it was all about the vet students gaining more experience. Six, second-year vet students from the USU student chapter of the Association of American Equine Practitioners participated in the clinic. Ariel Nelson, one of the vet students, went because she knew it would be a unique opportunity.

Mandy Langston, Jim Keyes, Lindsey Cheetham, Karl Hoopes, Ariel Nelson, Rickie Warr, Dustin Kinney, Sarah Frandsen and Karah Nay.

“I wanted to go because I have never done anything like this before,” said Nelson. “I love horses and grew up around them, but I kind of fell away from working with them. I went in not knowing a lot about horse medicine or anything, but I wanted to learn and get more experience under my belt.” Through 2 days of hard work, and under Hoopes’ careful supervision, the vet students castrated 15 horses, ranging in age from 2 to 18 years and in a variety of breeds, from miniatures to draft-influenced. Each student castrated two horses and received further experience in performing field anesthesia. They were also educated about potential complications and administered tetanus vaccinations and some antibiotics. The tribe’s veterinarian also microchipped every horse at the clinic. Student Dustin Kinney said working in a new setting, away from the university’s farm and with clients provided memorable lessons. “There were some horses we worked on who were pretty wound up,” Kinney recalled. “It was good to see that not every situation is as smooth as the procedures I’ve seen on the farm with Dr. (Holly) Mason. The differences in animals was important to see. You learn anatomy in vet school, but in practice you don’t often see ‘normal’.” Lindsey Cheetham, a vet student who plans to specialize

in horses, said this first experience with castrating horses was valuable because students usually don’t get this opportunity until their third or fourth year in school. Ricki Warr, another vet student, said it helped confirm to her that she is pursuing the right career. “I know there are a bunch of people who would have thought it was gross, dirty and tiring, but I really enjoyed it,” Warr said. “It really reaffirmed to me that I am getting into something that I truly enjoy. It helped me realize for sure that I am doing something I love.” Hoopes said many of the students were so focused on anticipating the medical aspects of the clinic, they had not realized what a remarkable opportunity it would be to interact with clients who have different beliefs and a different culture. “They began to realize it was an opportunity for them to meet a new people and understand some of their beliefs and traditions,” he said. “Beliefs and traditions, and respecting those, are a huge part of veterinary medicine.” Hoopes explained that the Navajo consider the horse to be an elite animal and there are

2017 Fall



Clockwise from left: Dustin Kinney at work on one of the horses. Ariel Nelson and Karah Nay with a client.

different beliefs and traditions associated with castrating horses. These traditions include wiping blood on the horse’s hooves to signify the change he was going through, throwing or burying the testicles, and offering prayers to ask for the horse to be good and live a long and healthy life. Cheetham said initially she didn’t know what to expect, but it was a rewarding experience. “They were really open with their traditions, so it was cool to be around their horses and learn about their culture and different beliefs,” Cheetham said. “Besides the medial aspect of things, that was my favorite part of the trip. It created a whole new meaning to being on the reservation.” Nay said the interaction between Hoopes and the vet students, and the transformations that occurred in the students over the 2 days, was amazing to see.


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“In the beginning, the vet students weren’t really sure what to do and seemed nervous,” Nay said. “But by the end, they were all jumping in and really enjoying it. The community members were having fun with the vet students and teaching them their traditions.” Nelson said the opportunity to serve others was a reminder of why the students are working so hard to become veterinarians. “It was a good reminder of why we are going through vet school in the first place, especially when it gets tough with all the classes and testing,” Nelson said. “It’s just really cool when you are reminded that this is why we are going to school, because we get to help animals and we get to help people.” On the last day of the clinic, the students were able to take a break and visit some of the sites on the reservation.

If you are interested in helping support or participate in future USU School of Veterinary Medicine trips to the Navajo reservation, please contact Michelle Merrill, michelle.merrill@usu.edu, 435-797-8556.

Curtis Yanito, a grazing official for the reservation, gave everyone a handmade piece of pottery and a Christmas ornament to thank them for their efforts. “We were only there for a day and a half, for them to open up to us and give us something that I’m sure was very time consuming for them to make, meant a lot,” Nelson said. “It was really touching that the people there were that grateful to let us share in their traditions and cultures with them.” In addition to Nelson, Warr, Kinney and Cheetham, students Mandy Langston and Sarah Frandsen also participated in the clinic. Everyone involved agreed that it was something they would gladly do again. “Before we had even left we were already talking about ways that we could get down there and do it again,” Cheetham said. “It would be really awesome if we could organize to bring

small animal supplies down with us because so many people were asking if they could bring their dogs and cats to us to castrate, but we just didn’t have the resources.” While the exact date hasn’t been set, Hoopes is planning another castration clinic next spring. “As long as the funds are there from the Unwanted Horse Coalition and Operation Gelding, this is something we will continue to do,” Hoopes said.

To learn more about the Unwanted Horse Coalition and Operation Gelding, visit www.unwantedhorsecoalition.org. By: Aubree Thomas, aubree.thomas@usu.edu Contacts: Karl Hoopes, karl.hoopes@usu.edu Karah Nay, karah.nay@usu.edu

2017 Fall




FROM THE USU SCHOOL OF VETERINARY MEDICINE CLASS OF 2016 Amanda Vockler I am working as an associate veterinarian at

without the support of my family and my

Holladay Veterinary Hospital in Salt Lake City,

work family. My colleagues, practice manag-

Utah. It is a small animal-exclusive practice. I

er and technicians have been so supportive

absolutely love my job! I work with five other

through my pregnancy and now motherhood.

doctors who have a range of experience from

I am very lucky to work with all of them. There

2 to 30 years in practice. It is a corporately

have been many learning curves this first year

owned clinic and I have enjoyed being able to

out of school. I see and learn something new

practice high-quality medicine. It’s been a year

every day and love being challenged by that.

since I graduated and there have been many

I am grateful for my education at USU and

changes this last year. Not only did I become

WSU that gave me the tools to help try and

a doctor, I also became a new mother in Feb-

meet these challenges. I am reminded by my

ruary. I have been slowly adjusting to being

colleagues that we will never know it all, for

a working mother and couldn’t have done it

that reason we call it “practice.”

Cassandra Eakins


Fall 2017

After graduation, I moved to Houston, Texas,

all sorts of veterinarians and technicians while

and began my career at Bear Branch Animal

adapting to different environments and styles

Hospital as a small animal general practitioner.

of work. It's challenging at times to move from

Life as a vet began with a whirlwind of infor-

clinic to clinic, but I know it has made me a

mation, akin to what we experienced during

much better veterinarian.

our first week of vet school all those years

All of these experiences have filled up the year

ago. However, through all of the stress and ex-

that has passed since graduating. When I look

citement of my new career, I was sure of one

back on vet school, I often wish I'd focused

thing: I absolutely love what I do.

my studies on more everyday issues like cy-

At our clinic we work with a lot of rescue

tology and skin problems, but thankfully the

groups in addition to regular clients. This has

world of veterinary medicine is full of resourc-

given me the opportunity to see and treat a

es that encourage lifelong learning, whether

significant variety of clients, patients and dis-

it be mentors, books, conferences or online

eases. There is never a dull moment, which is a

resources. I'm constantly learning new things

huge reason why I made the choice to become

and I wouldn't have it any other way. There is

a veterinarian. In addition to my regular clinic,

never a dull moment in this career and that's

I have also started working as a relief doctor

why I love it so much.

for several other clinics in the area. Not only

I want to thank everyone at USU for giving me

does this help lighten the load of student loan

this opportunity and helping me achieve my

payments, but it also allows me to learn from



CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR CLASS OF 2017! The new veterinarians and representatives of our faculty and staff (noted by an *) gathered at commencement at Washington State University in May for a celebratory group photo. Front Row, Left to Right: Briedi Gillespie*, Jason Koroghli, Nicole Elbert, Kristyn Sakurai, Abney Brown, Ashley Coll, Katelyn Danielson, Lauren Ayné, Casey Drummond, Kerry Rood*, Ken White*, Michael Bishop*

Middle Row, Left to Right: Bart Gillespie*, Catherine Van Dusen, Jessica Jones, Kirsi Gove, Hilary Wright, Jill Broadbent, Nathan Whiting, Anika Ward, Katie Velez, Jordan Marcus, Loren Normandeau, Chris Davies*

Back Row, Left to Right: Ralph Meyer*, Jared Johnson, Joshua Packer, Mark Robison, Kristen Slattery, Rachel Hill, Kelsey Horn, Marie Witbeck, Tanisha Ford, Daniel Harmer, Mark Fagundes, Rusty Stott*, Dirk Vanderwall*

Not Pictured: Jacob Van Dyke

Below: Katelyn Danielson and Rachel Hill at graduation (photos by Henry Moore, WSU. Group photo by After Image Visual Services.)

2017 Fall



ALUMNI/DONOR Recognition



homas Edison once said, “There is no substitute for hard work.” This quote speaks enormous truth to the lives and successful careers of Dr. James Brent McKinnon “Doc” and his wife, ReNee. Doc grew up on a cattle ranch in Randolph, Utah, and milked a herd of cows by hand up until he graduated high school. Also raised on a cattle ranch but located in Laketown, Utah, ReNee learned great respect and gratitude for the animals and land. Hard work was not a foreign concept for either of them! When a high school teacher told him he would never succeed at veterinary medicine because he did not have the chemistry background, Doc’s exact words were, “Watch me.” He took three chemistry classes in one semester of college and settled for nothing but “A”s. Doc and ReNee both graduated from Utah State University, ReNee from the College of Education with her teaching degree, and Doc from (what was then named) the College of Agriculture. His passion for taking care of animals, particularly bovine, led Doc to the School of Veterinary Medicine at Colorado State University. He graduated at the top of his class, and was also recognized as the outstanding large animal veterinary student. For the next 42 years, the McKinnons, along with their daughter, owned and operated Bear River Animal Hospital in Tremonton, Utah. In addition, they provided veterinarian services for ranchers in Cache, Rich, and Weber counties, as well as parts of Southern Idaho and Wyoming. Dr. McKinnon said of the travel, “It’s never too far to go if there is a herd of cows to check at the end of the road.”


Director of Development


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He was truly passionate about helping people and animals. “It was never about making money for him,” said ReNee. “It was all about what he could do to help others.” Their service and strong work ethic extended far beyond the clinic. For many years, Doc chaired the Animal Health Committee of the Utah Cattlemen’s Association, and ReNee was recently president of the Utah Cattlewomen’s Association. In addition to keeping a prompt schedule and beating all the cowboys to the chute, Dr. McKinnon always stayed up to date on the cutting-edge advancements of veterinary medicine. He purchased a Silencer chute on wheels, enabling him to pregnancy test cows anywhere. As new vet med technology advanced, Doc made sure he knew about it, had it on hand, and taught everyone at the hospital how to use it. Gary Rose, a friend from Park Valley, Utah, once told ReNee that Doc had done more than anyone to change the face of veterinary medicine during his years of practice. Today, many USU students seeking DVM degrees identify Doc McKinnon as the biggest influence in their decisions to become veterinarians. Doc and ReNee say they’ve had the pleasure of working with the finest people on Earth and they built many friendships along the way. Not only did they care about animals, but they truly loved the people they helped. And it’s safe to say those people have never met more honest, hard-working, and incredibly genuine people as Doc and ReNee.



Photo: Courtesy of Dennis Hinkamp


2017 Fall





4815 Old Main Hill Logan, Utah 84322-4800


CONTINUING EDUCATION OPPORTUNITIES APPLICABLE EQUINE DENTISTRY WITH NICK MOORE, DVM Saturday, September 30, 2017 LOCATION: Utah State University Equine Center 3580 S., US-89, Wellsville, Utah

REGISTER AT: tinyurl.com/USUdentistryCEU

Lecture only and lecture/wet lab options available

DAY OF ANESTHESIA WITH ANIMAL REFERENCE PATHOLOGY AND VETMED CONSULTANTS Saturday, November 4, 2017 LOCATION: Grand America Hotel 555 Main St., Salt Lake City, Utah

TO REGISTER: Call: 800-432-2099 or Email: customersupport@ animalreferencepathology.com


REGISTER AT: tinyurl.com/USUanimalCEU

UTAH ONE HEALTH SYMPOSIUM Friday, November 17, 2017 LOCATION: S.J. Quinney College of Law University of Utah 383 S. University Street, Salt Lake City, Utah

REGISTER AT: http://tinyurl.com/UtahOneHealth