USU School of Veterinary Science Magazine - Spring/Summer 2016

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Veterinary Medicine M AG AZ I NE


FROM THE FIELD TO THE LABORATORY AND BACK AGAIN Utah dairy herds gain health benefits from genetics research >>> PAGE 14

TABLE OF CONTENTS COVER STORY The Utah Veterinary Diagnostic Lab 3

FACULTY/STAFF Faculty Highlight: Dr. Johanna Rigas 6 West Nile Virus Transmission in Winter 7 Awards and Honors 8

STUDENTS Caring for Animal Athletes 9 Student Highlights 10

RESOURCES Veterinary Health and Wellbeing 12 Evidence-Based Medicine 12 Partners in Vet Education 13

RESEARCH From the Field to the Laboratory and Back Again 14

IN THE COLLEGE FDA Veterinary Feed Directive 16 Mock Emergency, Real Skills 17

ALUMNI Veterinarian at Heart 18 Alumni/Donor Recognition 20

WE TEACH WHAT YOU LOVE. PUBLICATION INFORMATION STAN L. ALBRECHT, 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 EDITOR/WRITER Lynnette Harris


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

WRITERS Charlie Powell David Wilson Dennis Hinkamp Dirk Vanderwall Jacqueline LaRose Jodi DeVries KailCee Harrison Kerry Rood


Welcome to the inaugural issue of Utah State University School of Veterinary Medicine Magazine. The school is a component of the Washington-Idaho-Montana-Utah (WIMU) Regional Program in Veterinary Medicine that provides 30 students/class with the initial two years of their veterinary medical training on our Logan campus, after which they move to Pullman, Washington to complete the remaining two years of the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree program at the lead WIMU institution, Washington State University (WSU). Although the USU SVM program is new, having been established by state legislation in 2011, the concept of a veterinary school at USU goes back over 100 years to 1907, when the Board of Trustees authorized the establishment of a DVM degree program at what was then known as the Agricultural College of Utah (ACU). However, the proposed DVM program was never formally established due to a federal requirement that all DVM degree-granting programs have at least four graduate veterinarians on the faculty, which the ACU did not have at the time. Plans to establish a DVM degree program were abandoned until the concept of establishing a program at USU in partnership with WSU emerged and became a reality. The first class of students was admitted in 2012 and those students are set to graduate this May. Although it’s been a long wait, the vision of a veterinary school at USU has come to life through the faculty, staff, students, friends and benefactors who collectively make the program vibrant and successful. You will read about many of these people on the following pages and we look forward to sharing more stories and information with you in future issues. Sincerely,


Associate Dean, School of Veterinary Medicine


Communities around us grow due to service. Volunteering on the local level is how many great and wonderful things are done. We, as members of our local communities, veterinarians, and active members of organizations (like the AVMA, UVMA and your SCAVMA chapter) can make a large impact on those around us. With the education, knowledge and experiences we continue to obtain, we bring something different to the table that we can share with others. We also have opportunities to learn from others. Making the effort to serve others within veterinary organizations fosters professional relationships with those who face the same day-to-day challenges that each of us encounter in our profession. In the UVMA, committee members and district leaders invest time working for the benefit of the field. Our Legislative Committee works hard following state and national legislation. The Education Evaluation Committee spends countless hours ensuring that quality continuing education is provided in the state. Our PR committee has headed up the UVMA booth for the Utah State Fair where several UVMA veterinarians and veterinary students volunteered their time to staff the booth and educate the public about the benefits of visiting the veterinarian. We all benefit from the work of volunteers. I am grateful for the veterinarians within our association who take time from their busy lives, practices, and families to serve within the association and in their communities. I encourage each of you to become involved in your local community and veterinary community now and in your future work.


President, Utah Veterinary Medical Association



Spring/Summer 2016





om Baldwin, director of the Utah Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (UVDL), points to a family photo he keeps on his computer. The photo is like one of the churning river rapids shots you see on advertisements for Grand Canyon trips; you can hardly see the wild-eyed passengers for the waves.

2016 Spring/Summer



Utah Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory staff.

“That’s what it’s like here,” he says. “We know we are headed in the right direction, but sometimes there is so much chaos around us, we just hang on and do the best we can. We never know what animals will die or what samples will be submitted, who’s sampling, which practitioners will submit samples. This is not a good place to work if you are the kind of person who has to plan your day.”

health and diseases of regulatory concern. For instance, we’re seeing a surge in bovine fetal deaths due to a particular viral infection. We track this and give the results to Dr. Barry Pitman, the state veterinarian, so that the state can make informed decisions.”

Every year the laboratory does all the avian influenza testing for the state plus constant monitoring for influenza in wild birds that use the Pacific flyway through Utah. In WE KNOW WE ARE HEADED addition, every October the staff processes 4,000-5,000 deer hunt samples to IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION, BUT check for chronic wasting disease.

To meet these challenges, the UVDL is designed as a unique partnership between Utah State University (USU) and the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF). At the main laboratory, SOMETIMES THERE IS SO MUCH Students in USU’s School of Veterinary in Logan, property is owned by USU but CHAOS AROUND US, WE JUST Medicine also benefit. “Our students do UDAF owns the building and provides HAVE TO HANG ON. real post mortems under supervision,” for its operation and maintenance. The branch laboratory in Spanish Fork is on land leased from Utah Baldwin says. “They get to see pathology up close and personal. All County, while the building is owned by UDAF. All work at both the veterinary students spend one semester on our postmortem floor. All the photos used in pathology courses are of real cases locations is performed by a mix of USU and UDAF employees. that have come through the laboratory.” Though it sounds as though it could be a little confusing, Baldwin says the organizational structure is “just the right balance between Animal and human health are intertwined; we all share the same academy and practicality. The university is interested in scholar- air, water and land. Baldwin says many diseases such as salmoship and teaching while UDAF is interested in diagnostic output. nellosis or even bubonic plague are transmittable from animals to The blend keeps the faculty stimulated and our staff active. The humans. He relates the story of a Division of Wildlife Resources laboratory allows the state to keep its finger on the pulse of animal officer who unwittingly contracted the plague from a sick deer.


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David Wilson and Jacqueline LeRose at work in the lab.

The officer reported that the deer was blind and wasting, Baldwin says. “It was unlikely that the animal would live much longer and there was danger of it passing disease along to other deer so it was euthanized. The officer brought it in for a postmortem and I noticed he was handling it with his bare hands. The deer’s eye condition (bilateral panophthalmitis) is common in mule deer with plague, and so I warned the officer that he likely had been exposed. He shrugged it off so I phoned his superior directly, asking that they insist the officer see his physician. Eventually, the Utah Division of Public Health was contacted and intervened.” Baldwin explains that plague is curable if treated early. In this case the officer was quarantined and given a course of antimicrobial drugs as a precaution. Sure enough, blood tests later revealed that his immune system had reacted to the plague. “If we had not intervened he may have died.” Every day the UDVL solves disease-related puzzles, whether it is a lump on a dog or a series of calf losses. To say it is like CSI (Crime Scene Investigation) on television is a bit of a cliché, but in some cases it fits the profile. “Horses are dying in a pasture that cattle had been happily grazing in for years; what’s wrong?”

took samples of the liver and looked at them under a microscope. There was evidence that this animal had been exposed to a particular plant that is poisonous for horses but not cattle.” “We had the county weed guy check the pasture for the plant (Alsike clover) and, as suspected, it was teeming with it,” Baldwin says. “I had to tell the famer that he was probably going to lose a couple more horses because they had been grazing the pasture for several months, but we solved the mystery.” “To continue the laboratory’s work, we need enough public support through tax dollars so that our fees for testing aren’t prohibitively high”, Baldwin says. If the cost was the same as a human postmortem, we wouldn’t get any submissions. If there was no charge we would become a dumping ground. The balance we have allows us to properly monitor animal health and fund about one-third of our operating costs.” “We are a laboratory, not a clinic,” Baldwin says. “No live animals come through here, but we test thousands of samples from live cattle, horses, dogs and cats that help our state’s veterinarians and animal owners save lives.”

“We did a postmortem on one of the horses and there was nothing unusual I could detect with my unaided eye”, Baldwin says. “I

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DR. JOHANNA RIGAS Johanna Rigas, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and Board Certified in Pathology. Her advice:

Embrace and learn from every opportunity given to you, good or bad. oratory, a clinical reference laboratory for veterinary practitioners and researchers in Utah and the surrounding region. Specifically, the lab provides hematology, biochemistry, hormone, and urine testing for veterinary samples. Dr. Rigas specializes in interpreting cytologic specimens and fluid samples from veterinary species.

What part of your work do you enjoy most?

Dr. Rigas: I like the variety of my career including teaching, diagnostics and working with a wide variety of people. Each day is different than the previous one, and there is always an opportunity to learn and teach, which allows continued personal growth.


ohanna Rigas, DVM, MS, DACVP is obviously an animal lover. Her inviting office at the Utah Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (UVDL) is a spot where two-legged and four-legged visitors feel welcome and a doggy gate helps contain her 10-year-old, vegetable-loving Border collie “Gordy” who loves coming to work. Rigas became an assistant professor in Utah State University’s School of Veterinary Medicine in 2013 and is an adjunct faculty member in Washington State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. She is also section head of the UVDL’s Veterinary Clinical Pathology Lab-


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Did you make your own decision to specialize in clinical pathology or was it the result of someone mentoring you?

Dr. Rigas: It was in my senior year that I decided to apply for a residency in clinical pathology at Oregon State University. The new professor teaching the fourth-year course let me know that they were going to take on a resident and she thought I would be a good applicant. So I did! She was a great mentor, and I’ll never regret this decision. Are you a cat person or a dog person?

Dr. Rigas: I am a cat person. Even though at the moment I only have two cats I self-identify as a “crazy cat lady.” I like naps in sunbeams on soft blankets. I

also like cats’ attempts at sophistication that get unmasked when curiosity prevails and they stupidly jump and scatter when they encounter unexpected surprises. What is the most exciting change you’ve seen in veterinary medicine?

Dr. Rigas: I have a hard time answer-

ing this question honestly without sounding disappointing. Veterinary medicine is slow to change, and there is now a great discrepancy between the traditional “James Herriot” style veterinarian and the current separation of specialty medicine as our field continues to expand. Veterinary medicine is stifled by the inability of average individuals to afford the services that are becoming more available to treat our veterinary species. Along with this, there is a great rift developing between what we teach our students, and what they actually are able to do in general practice. This goes to the question of what changes may be seen and it’s a very difficult question to answer as well. The bottom line is that people cannot afford the quality of medicine that we can potentially provide. If someone asked for your advice and you only had a few second to give them your best tip, what would it be?

Dr. Rigas: Embrace and learn from every opportunity given to you, good or bad. Author: Jodi DeVries Photo: Dennis Hinkamp




The 2013 Great Salt Lake bald eagle and eared grebes mortality event


est Nile Virus (WNV) infection has been reported in over 300 species of birds and mammals. Raptors such as eagles, hawks and falcons are remarkably susceptible, but reports of WNV infection in Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) are rare and reports of WNV infection in grebes (Podicipediformes) even rarer. We report an unusually large wild bird mortality event involving between 15,000-20,000 Eared Grebes (Podiceps nigricollis) and over 40 Bald Eagles around the Great Salt Lake, Utah, in November-December 2013. Mortality in grebes was first reported in early November during a period when the area was unseasonably warm and

the grebes were beginning to gather and stage prior to migration. Ten out of ten Eared Grebes collected during this period were WNV RT-PCR and/or isolation positive. This is the first report of WNV infection in Eared Grebes and the associated mortality event is matched in scale only by the combined outbreaks in American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) colonies in the north central states in 2002-2003. We cannot be sure that all of the grebes were infected by mosquito transmission; some may have become infected through contact with WNV shed orally or cloacally from other infected grebes. Beginning in early December, Bald Eagles in the Great Salt Lake area were observed to display neurological signs such as body tremors, limb paralysis and lethargy. At least 43 Bald Eagles had died by the end of the month. Nine of nine Bald Eagles examined were infected with WNV. To the best of our knowledge,

Study co-author Dr. Arnaud VanWettere and his peregrine falcon, Corinne.

this is the largest single raptor mortality event since WNV became endemic in the USA. Because the majority of the eagles affected were found after onset of below-freezing temperatures, we suggest at least some of the Bald Eagles were infected with WNV via consumption of infected Eared Grebes or horizontal transmission at roost sites. Authors: Hon S. Ip, Arnaud J. Van Wettere, Leslie McFarlane, Valerie ShearnBochsler, Sammie Lee Dickson, JoDee Baker, Gary Hatch, Kimberly Cavender, Renee Long, Barbara Bodenstein Photos: Dennis Hinkamp

To read the full article, visit:

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BEYOND THE CALL OF DUTY AWARD The first award given by Utah State University’s School of Veterinary Medicine was the Beyond the Call of Duty Award, presented to Michael S. Bishop and Melisa Bishop by associate dean Dirk Vanderwall in recognition of their outstanding contributions to the school and to the lives of students. Every student, or prospective student in USU’s School of Veterinary Medicine crosses paths with Michael S. Bishop, academic and student services coordinator and instructor for the Ambassador Practicum. He helps ease students’ minds and gladly answers countless questions. Once in the program, students also get to know Melisa Bishop. She is a program coordinator in Principles of Surgery, Communication, Diagnostic Challenge, Radiology and Anesthesiology and always willing to help and do whatever it takes to help students build their skills and succeed.

THE STUDENTS’ AWARD FOR TEACHING EXCELLENCE Bryan K. Slinker, DVM, PhD, of Washington State University presented four Utah State University School of Veterinary Medicine faculty members with The Students’ Award for Teaching Excellence, which recognizes faculty members who commit time outside the classroom to prevent students from falling through the cracks, demonstrates an enthusiasm for the subject matter, and instills enthusiasm and passion in students. What better way to see why these professors were chosen than from the student’s which they taught. Such as Colton Thacker said “Nearly every day as a fourth year in the clinic, I am continually reminded of how important the faculty in years 1-3 are in preparing me for a career in veterinary medicine. Without their efforts I would not be prepared to enter the veterinary profession in just a few short months.”

Thomas Baldwin

Johanna Rigas

Rusty Stott

Briedi Gillespie

“Dr. Baldwin is the type of teacher who leaves a lasting impression. Not only does he challenge you to think clinically but he encourages you to see the big picture.”

“Dr. Rigas cares about each student individually. She always has time to sit down and work with them. It’s incredibly meaningful and rare to find a clinician so invested.”

“Dr. Stott was very realistic in his teaching approach. He’s practiced in the real world and knows what we will see and what is common. He made it a point to emphasize those things and ensure that we were prepared for practice. He was an excellent professor and a great example of what I hope to be when I become a veterinarian.”

“She helped so much with giving me such a great knowledge base. She expected us to do well and taught us in a way that we could succeed. Dr. Gillepsie worked so hard to start up the new School of Veterinary Medicine.”


–Chiara Velotta


–Chiara Velotta


–Jesse Crozier


Spring/Summer 2016


–Amanda Vockler




Story & Photos By: Dennis Hinkamp


t’s a spring day on Antelope Island in the dwindling Great Salt Lake; though the bugs are biting the intermittent clouds and light breeze make it a near perfect day for an endurance race. If you have ever watched or run a long distance race you know that there are periodic aid stations where runners can pick up water and a quick snack. Horses racing long distances need aid stations too.

ity. A horse’s gut sounds can also give you an idea about fluid and electrolyte balance. For instance, if they don’t have gut sounds, won’t eat, and start showing signs of colic, they get pulled from the race. Another way to assess hydration is by looking at the color of horses’ urine. Similar to humans the darker the urine, the more dehydrated the horse.”

Late in the day, Rigas holds up a plastic bottle In many respects, horses receive better care containing coffee-colored urine taken from a than their human counterparts. Imagine if a horse that was pulled from the race. The stuteam of trained doctors checked heart rates dents gather around for a teachable moment as and hydration she explains that levels of all runthis is indicative of muscle breakners, observed each one doing down. a short jog to check for limps “This has been and strains, and a great oppor- DR. JOHANNA RIGAS required the ractunity to get some hands on ers to drink, eat, experience,” said and rest for a prescribed period of time before being let back second-year student Tara Whalen. “We learned on the course. Those tasks and more happen at a lot about general lameness in horses engaged in strenuous activities. We also got to listen to aid stations at an endurance horse race. some interesting cases like a grade five heart In early April, 28 Utah State University Veteri- murmur. All the hands-on experience we can nary Medicine students and faculty assisted at get really helps give us the clinical experience to aid stations during the Antelope Island Endur- build on our academic foundation.” ance Horse Race. “We are here as advocates for the animals’ health,” said Johanna Rigas, assis- Picking up a three-foot-long bull snake provides tant professor in the USU School of Veterinary another teachable moment. There is no cringing Medicine. “The students learn sportsmanship, or grimacing; these are veterinary students after animal handling, and how to do physical exams all. Several of them let the snake slither up their arms while they pose for photos. “This is not a and assess lameness.” poisonous snake but if it were, and it bit a dog, Students evaluate the horses’ cardiac and hydra- how would you verify the patient got a dose of tion status with manual and visual exams of the venom?” Rigas asks. mucus membranes, blood flow and skin elastic-

We are here as advocates for the animals’ health

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David Payne

Mark Fagundes

Keeping a balance while in vet school is already a challenge. Add a family with three children under the age of 4 and it becomes almost unsurmountable. My wife and I had our first child just two weeks before my first year of vet school. Learning to become a father and a vet student simultaneously was extremely difficult. It took time and a lot of effort to figure out how to divide my time between school and home responsibilities. In the beginning I spent too much time with my school work and not enough with my family. However, after having discussions with my loving wife we came up with a plan that worked for all of us. We determined that I would treat vet school like a job. I went to school at 8 a.m. and came home at 5 p.m. for dinner and to help put our child in bed, then returned to studying until I went to bed. The summer before my junior year we had our second child. Adding a second child was difficult, but because I had attained a good balance in my previous two years of school, it was easier to maintain it. About half way through my senior year we added our third child to the family. Some call us crazy for having three children during vet school but I think of it as a great blessing. It has forced me to be effective with my time and motivates me to work hard at school so I can spend time with my family. My children have become my way to unwind after a long day and I always look forward to see their smiling faces when I return home. It is a wonderful opportunity to be part of the inaugural class of the Utah State University School of Veterinary Medicine. It has come with challenges, but also with some great opportunities.

The idea to obtain PhD and DVM degrees arose from a conversation that I had with Michael Bishop in regards to obtaining a master’s degree concurrently with the DVM curriculum. After the summer 2014 research, and with much consideration, I decided to enroll for a PhD in ruminant nutrition by integrating additional projects from my summer research experiences at USU. What a great opportunity it has been to perform professional research and integrate veterinary medicine into a field of study that I am passionate about.

4th Year Vet Student, Class of 2016

The hard work to create a balance in my life was recognized when I was awarded an academic scholarship that paid my full tuition and living expenses for one year. What an incredible blessing this scholarship was to my family as it took some of the financial stress that vet school brings out of the picture and allowed me to focus more on my education. It motivated me to push harder in my schooling so this amazing gift would not go to waste. I will ever be grateful to Bruce and Donna Wilson, Kenneth German, and Dr. Lee Anderson for funding the Elizabeth Wilson Scholarship.


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3rd Year Vet Student, Class of 2017

The focus of my research is ruminant nutrition, primarily working with dairy cattle to optimize lactational performance and efficiency. The concentration is placed on manipulating balanced dairy rations and viewing responses to the addition of supplemental products. The study performed over the summer of 2014 emphasized the importance of lipid supplementation with specific essential fatty acids (FA) such as linoleic (omega 6) and linolenic acid (omega 3). Lactational performance, immune function (TNF-α and IL-1β), milk FA profiles, and early postpartum physiological parameters (β-hydroxy butyric acid, non-esterified FA, and glucose) were examined in response to lipid FA supplementation in the dietary treatments. The animal trial over summer 2015 focused on essential amino acid supplementation of methionine in early lactating dairy cows fed metabolizable protein (MP) deficient diets. Our objectives were to determine whether a MP-deficient ration supplemented with rumen protected methionine would maintain milk yield, protein percentage, protein yield, reduce urinary nitrogen excretion, and improve nitrogen efficiency.


Kendra Antonides

Marilize Van der Walt

After being accepted to vet school, there are a few more steps an international student still has to take. The most frustrating hurdle is paperwork, but it’s manageable once you ask the right officials to help you. The next most nerve-wracking part of going to vet school was crossing the border at 6 a.m. and handing in those papers to the guards. Yes, they did let me into the states. The other big hurdle was the physical move from Ontario to Utah. Most students can pack a car and drive into town. I had to downsize and be selective in packing since I traveled by air. Once at school, there’s no turning back to pick up something you forgot. It’s difficult being far from everyone I know, but I’ve managed to keep in contact regularly. It’s a big commitment to move so far for so long! The big hurdles to come include where I will work after school and what kinds of international tests I have to take.

I clearly remember the day I discovered vet medicine was a “thing” and being shocked that, “You can do that for a career???” I was utterly sold on being a vet. Knowing exactly what I wanted to do with my life helped me get an early start on preparing for vet school. I also love learning and experiencing new perspectives, so after spending time in vet clinics in high school, I decided to try something new in college. I became a zookeeper and an undergraduate researcher, working in reptile stress physiology. Since I began work in a research lab my freshman year, I was able to start my own research projects after a few years. Because of these experiences I am set on becoming a zoo veterinarian and am drawn to the conservation aspects. I have always told myself to have goals, not dreams, so even though zoo medicine may have been a risky thing to tell the admissions committee, I know if I take things one semester at a time, making sure I actively work on meeting and surpassing every required element, I know I can do it!

2nd Year Vet Student, Class of 2018

Many things drew me to the WIMU program. I knew working closely with faculty for hands-on experience and instruction would be beneficial, especially when it comes to difficult concepts. I also knew I needed to learn more than just the science of animal health, and WIMU promotes courses covering client communication, diagnostic challenges, and business skills. One of the biggest draws for me was the opportunity to get the exotic side of vet school. I’m not talking about the students, but the chance to treat wildlife at the teaching hospital. That includes the Global Animal Health Program. I’ve worked abroad with conservation programs, and would love working for wildlife preservation and community development through animal health in the future. I did a summer internship in Yonkers, NY, in the Banfield Student Job Program. I must say I won’t work for a corporation after I graduate, but the experience was invaluable. I’ve improved my skills as I take patient histories and TPR when clients arrive and developed new skills including drawing blood on a regular basis, placing cephalic catheters, and intubating for surgery.

1st Year Vet Student, Class of 2019

When I heard that I was accepted into vet school I just told everyone around me that if I died tomorrow it was okay because I had the thing I had wanted my whole life. In the past when I read blog posts or articles I would be filled with determination to get in. Whenever I read the same kind of thing now, I start getting that feeling and then I think, “Oh wait. I’m in! I get to be a part of this now!” It gives me a feeling of awe and pride that all my crazy-hard work paid off and I get to live my dream now. I didn’t apply anywhere else because I fell in love with USU and Cache County during my undergrad and I know Washington State is a great school. With the nature of veterinary medicine I couldn’t justify going out of state. After talking to all the students during the events surrounding the interviews here I am even more excited to have chosen this program.

One of the best parts of choosing WIMU over other schools was the small class size and the campus location. Those two factors help build new friendships and adventures in the natural beauty around the school – whether that’s camping, hiking or biking. 2016 Spring/Summer






ransformational leaders motivate those around them to higher levels of excellence than would have been otherwise possible and as a veterinarian, you have countless opportunities to demonstrate transformational leadership in interactions with clients and your clinic staff. This may mean taking a risk and being vulnerable with your staff to empathize with their struggles on a horizontal level rather than more traditional hierarchical approaches. That may fly in the face of your veterinary educational experience in which well-established power structures were the norm. Importantly, the four “I’s” of transformational leadership can help motivate you and others. “Individualized Consideration” involves authentic concern for those around you and demonstrating care for each client you meet in a purposefully mindful way. When your clients and staff tell you about their thoughts, worries, and ideas, what sort of interest do you have in what they

are saying? When you meet someone new, what efforts do you make to remember their name? “Idealized Influenced” includes charismatically living according to your values so that others trust you, exemplifying how your values flexibly and adaptively guide your decision-making. Do others see you acting out and living according to your values? If I asked one of your staff what was really important to your clinic, would they tell me the same things that you do? “Inspirational Motivation” is encouragement that challenges those around you while helping instill enthusiasm to accomplish shared aims. How often do your staff seek your support in areas where they might be vulnerable? How are you fostering group morale, and do you encourage your staff to continue pursuing goals even when they feel exhausted? “Intellectual Stimulation” is helping those around you to create more inventive solutions by providing them with the vision

and freedom to innovate in their own way, creating opportunities for your staff to take risks knowing that their mistakes are opportunities to learn from, rather than failures that may impede them. What do you tell your staff to help them to accomplish more than what they thought they could otherwise do? Think about people you know who have sought to create a greater world, veterinary clinic or project than they were initially given. Perhaps a mentor, teacher or relative encouraged you to do something that you otherwise would have given up on. You have an incredible opportunity to help your clients and staff live a life consistent with their most cherished values.



vidence-based Veterinary Medicine” (EBVM) is a hot topic at conferences and in the professional literature these days. But what exactly is it and how can it help you provide better care for your patients? A definition I find helpful is “… the use of best available scientific evidence, in conjunction with clinical expertise and consideration of owner and patient factors, to make the best clinical decisions for patients.” (1) At its heart, it’s a methodology for asking clinically relevant questions, acquiring the best research


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and data, appraising that information with a critical eye, applying the information to a specific patient, and assessing how well it worked. Of course, each of those areas has a great deal of information underlying it. Asking a clinical question involves identifying the patient/problem, an intervention, comparison interventions, and outcomes. Then it’s time to translate that question into a useful search strategy and choose the most relevant tool(s) for finding the research, plus acquiring the actual articles. When you’ve finished that you have to decide if what you’ve found applies to your particular case and if the evidence is strong enough to warrant use. After applying the information to a treatment plan, you’ll want to assess how well it worked and perhaps then track data from your own practice

going forward to continue the assessment over time. Overall, it’s rather an involved process, though each component is fairly straightforward. Fortunately, a team of veterinary educators and practitioners from the EBVM Network have written a comprehensive tutorial with detailed chapters on each of the five main concepts. It’s designed for vets and technicians in clinical practice and is available free of charge at Take a look and let me know what you think. If you have questions about this column, any of the resources listed, or any other topic related to veterinary medical information, feel free to contact me at 435-797-0739 or



For more than 116 years, Washington State University has been home to one of the world’s finest and most respected veterinary colleges.


t is the fifth oldest in the United States and the sixth oldest in North America. Many of the world’s leading veterinarians, disease researchers, and scientists have trained here and are dedicated to keeping animals, people, and our planet healthy. The WSU veterinary college occupies 10 major buildings in Pullman, Puyallup, and Spokane, Washington. The WSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Pullman covers more than three acres under one roof. The college’s reach is worldwide thanks in part to the Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health. Scientists in the Allen School are part of a global effort to eliminate human rabies deaths by 2030. Each year, 59,000 people die from rabies in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia; many are children.

Photo: Henry Moore, Jr.

The Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory is one of the nation’s 12 founding laboratories in the National Animal Health Laboratory network. WADDL serves the Pacific Northwest and the Pacific Rim with state-of-the-art animal and zoonotic disease testing. Annually the lab conducts nearly 500,000 tests often working around the clock. WADDL searches constantly for animal diseases of economic concern, maintains vigilant surveillance for animal diseases that can affect humans, assays for toxic substances, conducts post-mortem examinations, and works cooperatively with similar labs throughout the nation. In addition to the DVM degree program, the college offers master’s and doctoral degrees, provides internships and residencies in clinical medicine and surgery, and is home to four undergraduate ma-

jors in biochemistry, genetics and cell biology, microbiology, and neuroscience. Funding for the college’s more than $70 million annual budget is a combination of public and private support. Roughly, a third of the college’s funding comes from state appropriations, including tuition. The rest is made up of competitive grants and contracts, revenues generated in the teaching hospital and diagnostic lab, and private gifts. Applicants who interview for the DVM program or a graduate appointment often remark on the college’s inclusiveness and warmth. The college’s faculty, staff and students all work hard to ensure WSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine is more like a second home that welcomes learning and celebrates accomplishment.

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From the Field to the Laboratory.. BY: DAVID WILSON, KERRY ROOD, JACQUELINE LAROSE

Most research at the Utah Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (UVDL) is related to the tremendous variety of diagnostic samples and specimens of animal and bird species submitted from sources throughout the country. During 2015, over 10,660 submissions were received at the lab, representing 40 species.


n addition to its diagnostic mission, of genetic variations are related to resisthe Utah Veterinary Diagnostic Lab is tance or susceptibility to the disease. involved in collaborative research with Dave Wilson, DVM, PhD, the epideUtah State University’s School of Vetermiologist at the UVDL, is also the USU inary Medicine and Department of AniExtension veterinarian for dairy cattle. mal, Dairy and Veterinary Sciences. He collaborates on this project with USU One of the major UVDL-based research Extension Veterinarian Kerry Rood, DVM, projects of the last two who has a strong dairy “One variation was years investigates variabackground, Jacqueline tion within the genetics LaRose, DVM, a veteriassociated with 100% of Holstein dairy cows susceptibility to mastitis” nary medicine resident and its relationship to studying pathology at whether they are extremely susceptible the UVDL who is also pursuing a PhD, or extremely resistant to the most costly and Zhongde Wang, PhD, an associate disease in U.S. animal agriculture, masprofessor who works in animal genetics titis. Mastitis is inflammation of one or with the Utah Science Technology and more of the mammary quarters of cows Research initiative at USU. A number (or udder halves of sheep or goats), and of veterinary medicine students have is nearly always caused by a bacterial inworked on the project over the years as fection. Milk from affected animals is not well. allowed into the food supply and must be discarded. In any dairy herd, a proportion of the Some important outcomes of the cows are extremely resistant to mastitis Holstein dairy cow genome study and another fraction of the herd is exIn this study, cows in a commercial dairy tremely susceptible, contracting the disherd were monitored for mastitis for a ease multiple times in multiple mammayear through regular bacterial culture of ry gland quarters. This project uses new milk, clinical observation, and assessment methods of evaluating genetic variation of the somatic cell count (a measure of across the entire Holstein cattle genome white blood cells present in the milk that to test for whether certain combinations can indicate the presence of infection).


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Using these measures, 19 out of 250 Holstein cows were found to be extremely mastitis-resistant, with no bacteria isolated at any time from any mammary quarter and no other indications of intramammary infection throughout the study. In contrast, 28 cows were found to be extremely mastitis-susceptible, with 172 cases of mastitis, which is a high rate of infection, and high milk somatic cell counts. The genomes of 250 cows were examined and 777,000 different single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs, “snips”), the most common type of genetic variation, in those genomes were tested. A number of genetic variations were found to be protective against mastitis, with 78% to 100% of cows with certain genetic variations being mastitis resistant. In contrast, 94% to 100% of cows with alternative variations in the same gene were mastitis susceptible. A group of three SNPs was analyzed focusing on 13 cows that had all three resistance-associated genetic variations compared with nine cows that had all three susceptibility-associated variations of the same gene. The “triple resistant” cows were 85% resistant, while the “triple susceptible” cows were 100% susceptible to mastitis. Some genetic variations were associated with increased susceptibility to mastitis. One variation was associated with 100% susceptibility to mastitis among cows inheriting it; the cows with a different variation in the same gene were 82% resistant to mastitis. In both human and animal medicine, we are at the very early stage of discovering the complex relationships between


.. and Back Again the entire genome and resistance or susceptibility to diseases. The results of this study will help define the role of genetic variation in influencing mastitis resistance in dairy cows. Wilson and Rood have also collaborated on a number of statewide surveillance projects over the last 9 years that repeatedly tested milk from over 80% of all dairy farms in Utah and southern Idaho. These projects have required that each farm owner sign a permission form for their milk to be tested, which means that the high level of voluntary participation by the members of the local dairy industry has been extraordinary. The farms’ milk was tested at different times for two important dairy cattle diseases: mycoplasma mastitis and Johne’s disease. Mycoplasma mastitis is usually caused by Mycoplasma bovis, but these projects detected several other species of mycoplasma as well, including the first report of Mycoplasma gatae in the milk of dairy cows. Cows with mycoplasma mastitis sometimes develop severe mammary inflammation and lose nearly all milk production (agalactia). However, the cows can also develop arthritis, pneumonia, or infertility. Johne’s disease is a bacterial disease that can cause milk production loss, marked loss of body weight until cows are quite thin, and sometimes death of dairy cows. Both of these diseases are spread by cows or sometimes calves that have no visible signs of disease while they are shedding these pathogens to other herdmates. Diagnosis of individual cows requires testing of the milk and sometimes other tests on feces, serum or whole blood.

Research at the Utah Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory

Some important outcomes of the statewide dairy farm surveillance projects since 2007 Over 90% of Utah dairy farm operators were unaware of whether mycoplasma or Johne’s disease affected their herds when the projects began. In the year prior to the study, 96% of Utah dairy herds did not test any animals in their herds for the disease despite the existence of a subsidized testing program at that time. In 2007, over 7% of 222 Utah dairy herds had mycoplasma in at least one cow, one of the highest proportions of positive herds reported for any state, region or country. An outreach and control program was offered to all interested dairy producers. By 2013, only one (6%) of the 16 Utah dairy herds the previously tested positive for mycoplasma remained positive. Presently, the proportion of Utah dairy herds testing positive for mycoplasma is 3% (four herds). This is one of the lowest proportions ever reported in any region or state. In 2009 and 2013, 39% and 38%, respectively, of Utah dairy herds had Johne’s disease in at least one cow. This continuing low proportion of herds with Johne’s disease is one of the lowest reported in the U.S.; many states have 60 to 70% of herds infected. The proportion of Utah dairy herds testing individual cows for Johne’s disease has approximately tripled following an outreach and control program. The somatic cell count (SCC) is a white blood cell measurement in milk. A lower SCC is associated with less mastitis and

Photo: Dennis Hinkamp

improved milk quality in cows and herds. Fifteen years ago some dairy herds had SCC in their bulk tank milk greater than 1,500,000/ml. It was not uncommon for herds to have bulk milk SCC > 500,000/ ml. In 2006, the average SCC in Utah milk was approximately 270,000/ml. In 2014, Utah became one of a few states in the U.S. to have an average SCC in milk below 200,000/ml, coming in at 199,000/ ml. Few herds have SCC greater than 250,000/ml today, a reflection of the continuous improvement in Utah’s excellent milk quality. Wilson and Rood plan to continue with dairy cattle disease surveillance and outreach and control programs for dairy producers, milk processing plant field personnel, and veterinarians in Utah. DAVID WILSON KERRY ROOD

2016 Spring/Summer




FDA VETERINARY FEED DIRECTIVE What it Means for Vets and Clients By: Lynnette Harris

Exactly what the FDS’s new Veterinary Feed Directive will mean in practice is still being clarified, but Utah State University Extension veterinarians are tracking the process and preparing to provide training for animal producers and veterinarians throughout the state in late summer and early fall. In short, a number of animal drugs and medicated feeds that are currently sold over the counter will not be available without a veterinary feed order/ prescription. The new rules will apply to drugs used in or on feed, not those administered by injection or other methods.


ew regulations for drugs used in animal feed go into effect January 1, 2017, and will bring changes for veterinarians, animal producers, feed mills and feed distributors. According to information from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s website, the objective is to protect public health, both human and animal, and keep unnecessary drugs out of meat and animal products.


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“My worry is that come January a producer will go to a feed store and not be able to obtain medicated feed that they have always used,” said Kerry Rood, associate professor of animal science and Extension veterinarian. “We are waiting for the FDA to clarify several points and for feed drug manufactures to get their revised labels through that approval process so we can provide accurate information.” In addition to meetings for producers and veterinarians, Rood and colleagues David Wilson, associate professor and Extension veterinary dairy specialist, Allen Young, associate professor and Extension dairy specialist, and David Frame, associate professor and Extension avian veterinary/poultry

specialist, will train USU Extension faculty throughout the state so they will be prepared to assist people in their counties. Companies that produce animal drugs must work through a process of altering their drug labels and submitting them for FDA approval. At press time, just two medicines for food animals had been approved. “A lot of this change hinges on a veterinarian-client-patient relationship,” Rood said. “Producers must get a veterinary feed order from a licensed veterinarian and there must be a ‘valid veterinarian-client-patient relationship.’ It’s a relationship such that a vet can confidently diagnose, prescribe and treat animals. Does it mean I have to have been on your farm in the past “...animal drugs month? The past and medicated six months? That feeds that are I’ve seen every one sold over the of your animals in counter will not a certain period? be available What it means is without a still being clarified.

veterinary feed order/ prescription.”

Rood said large production operations have veterinarians on staff who will know the new regulations, but smaller operators including many farmers, ranchers, small acreage farmers, people who keep a few chickens, backyard beekeepers and those in the business of raising and selling game birds do not and may have limited access to veterinarians because of shortages of veterinarians in rural areas or find the veterinarians do not have expertise with certain species of animals. USU Extension is creating a website where dates of upcoming seminars, fact sheets, links to FDA publications and other information will be posted as it becomes available. Please visit in the coming months for more information.



Disease outbreaks that impact people and make headlines are often tied with animal diseases. That can put veterinarians in the position of working with public health agencies and in a sometimes uncomfortable spotlight.


econd-year students in USU’s School of Veterinary Medicine got a feel for the roles veterinarians often play when a zoonotic disease becomes a public health emergency as they participated in an emergency training exercise as part of their epidemiology and public health courses. The exercise was developed by professors Kerry Rood and David Wilson in partnership with Barry Pittman DVM, state veterinarian, Utah Department of Agriculture and Food, the United States Department of Agriculture and many other community facilitators to help the students understand their part in emergency communication and disease outbreak management. This training is an integral part of teaching veterinary students about their part in public health. “We really wanted students to gain an appreciation for an emergency situation and the complexity it takes to manage these situations,” said Rood. And because no one schedules an emergency in real life, students didn’t find the exercise on any course syllabi or outline. They came to class as usual but then were divided into groups including central command, communica-

Story: KailCee Harrison

tions, mammalian and poultry necropsies and a diagnostic laboratory group. Students had to manage three separate pathogenic emergencies as part of the training; avian influenza, West Nile virus, and a Salmonella outbreak. Students conducted necropsies and examined samples. Fictitious lab reports, phone calls and information were fed to the communications team throughout the exercise and they had to decide how to manage the information. They also did mock interviews with reporters Jake Miller, a veterinary student, said that he really enjoyed the experience. “I came into this training knowing that I wanted to be involved in some kind of emergency management after I graduated,” said Miller. “This let me see what it would be like. It was an eye-opening experience, very chaotic. We knew it was fake, but it felt very real to us.” Rood hopes to make similar emergency management exercises an annual training opportunity for his students. Photos: Dennis Hinkamp 2016 Spring/Summer





HEART Don O lse

to n’s journey from veterinarian cardio-thoracic surgery pioneer

By: Michelle Merrill

Playing a lead role in the research and implantation of artificial hearts made Don Olsen a trailblazer creating new paths for doctors treating cardiac patients.

Photo: Courtesy of Deseret News

Don Olsen’s career took him from country veterinarian to making medical history.


s the first scientist in the world to successfully implant an artificial organ into a calf, Olsen’s experience and success led to him serving as the primary surgical consultant to William DeVries, who implanted an artificial heart in the first human recipient. Olsen’s expertise and in-depth research of the artificial heart have resulted in prolonging the lives of many in-


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dividuals. This “medical journey to the moon,” as one colleague put it, began with a love for animals and veterinary science. Olsen’s path to a remarkable career, and being named a “Living Legend” by the World Society of Cardio-Thoracic Surgeons, began with a B.S. in animal nutrition and chemistry from Utah State Universi-

Photo: Courtesy of Deseret News


“He began studying the artificial heart as a bridge to transplantation”

Don Olsen’s original career plan was to become a veterinarian and treat Holsteins. ty, his DVM from Colorado State University, and a doctoral degree into Charlie for six months and then transplanted his twin’s heart from the University of Colorado, School of Medicine. He grew up into him. Charlie lived to weigh 1,870 pounds and sired 55 calves. on a small dairy farm outside Gunnison, Utah. During his junior and senior years of high school, his father suffered from coronary heart Years later, Olsen was asked to assist in implanting artificial disease. His father’s illness led to Don missing a lot of school as he hearts in three patients at LDS Hospital. Each patient later unwas needed to help run the farm. However, Olsen’s derwent transplantation of donor hearts, which desire to learn and attend college kept him academiconfirmed what Don had envisioned as the ar“After 7 cally engaged. “All I wanted to do was become a vettificial heart’s most useful purpose; to preserve years as a erinarian and treat black and white Holsteins,” he said. life until a natural heart could become available.

veterinarian, he was ready to embrace research.”

With his wife Joyce by his side, Olsen began his early career in a general veterinary practice in Smithfield, Utah. After 7 years as a veterinarian, he was ready to embrace research. “The most interesting veterinarian I knew told me that he thought research was more rewarding than treating sick animals,” said Don. “So I moved the whole family to Denver and started working on a PhD in biomedical engineering from the University of Colorado.”

When visiting with the Olsens, one would never know what incredible things this man, with the huge support of his wife, have done for the medical world. Their humble attitudes and willingness to give back are more evident than their accomplishments. Currently, Don and Joyce Olsen provide scholarships for students in Utah’s first and only School of Veterinary Medicine at Utah State University, as well as for students across the state attending other universities.

Not long after presenting a paper on using sheep as a cardiovascular research model, Olsen received a call from Willem Kolff, founder of the Institute of Biomedical Engineering and the Artificial Heart Research Lab at the University of Utah. Kolff’s research team was in need of a veterinary doctor as he was having a difficult time keeping calves that had been implanted with artificial hearts alive. In 1972, Olsen joined Kolff’s team as a consultant, and just two years later, became the team’s surgeon. His lateral thoracotomy method, which involved cutting through the fourth rib to access the heart, proved to be the most successful in the transplant process and was used by other labs across the country and in Europe.

In his book, Don reflects on his education, “I never forgot that my ability to go to college after I graduated from a small rural high school in Utah relied on a scholarship. It allowed me to go to USU and was the foundation for everything that happened afterward.”

His impact did not end there. Olsen took research a step farther. He began studying the artificial heart as a bridge to transplantation. Some of his most notable and favorite patients in this study were a pair of twin calves that he named Charles and Diana. In his veterinary studies, he learned that twin calves are unique in the sense that they don’t reject each other’s tissues. Olsen placed an artificial heart

Photo: Dennis Hinkamp

After placing nearly 3,000 hearts into calves and sheep, Olsen was a part of the 1982 history-making team that implanted the Jarvik -7 artificial heart in Barney Clark, a dentist from Seattle, Washington. In his recent book, True Valor, Don said of this experience, “It was, of course, the highlight of my career. For me- a veterinarian- to be invited by the main surgeons to assist in implanting an artificial heart in a human patient was an unprecedented and rewarding experience.”

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ALUMNI/DONOR Recognition



e are so thankful for the many donors who support the School of Veterinary Medicine at USU, whether it be through scholarships, internships, or other ways of giving. We have high-performing students who are committed and passionate about their field of study. When securing funds to begin the program, Provost Noelle Cockett said, “When you look at this program, you see students living their dream.” It is through our generous donors that we are able to help our students live their dream! Our first class of veterinarians will be graduating in May of 2016, and we are extremely proud of them, our staff, and faculty. At USU School of Veterinary Medicine, our mission is to “Teach What You Love.” We value the relationship between humans and the animals they interact with. It is our goal to raise the next generation of compassionate and caring veterinarians. We humbly ask for your support! Help us help our future veterinarians!


Director of Development



The Rep. John Mathis Scholarship Endowment in the School of Veterinary Medicine in the College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences at Utah State University, will be used to support scholarships that benefit DVM students during their first two years of training.

The purpose of the fund is to establish a lasting memorial for the names of the Humpherys and Collins families, to express gratitude to the citizens of Bear Lake County, Idaho, and to provide a perpetual tuition-only scholarship to benefit students enrolled in the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program, who will spend their careers comforting and helping animals.

DR. DON B. OLSEN AND JOYCE OLSEN Dr. Don B. Olsen and Joyce Olsen support and provide opportunities for rural Utahns to benefit from an education in USU’s School of Veterinary Medicine and provide the financial means for researchers to complete their research projects when they are short of funding needed to make imminent, serious breakthroughs in veterinary medicine.


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ROSS A. AND DARLENE SMART SCHOLARSHIP ENDOWMENT Income of the fund will be used to support scholarships to benefit DVM students during their first two years in Utah State University’s School of Veterinary Medicine.




Dr. David W. Gardiner

The Cache Veterinary Practitioners Association gives scholarships to the school as they are committed to helping lower the high debt load that most veterinary students incur during their undergraduate and professional training.

The Animal Reference Pathology Scholarship assists students in achieving their dream of working in the service of animals. The scholarship supports students pursuing a degree in veterinary medicine at Utah State University.

THE MICHAEL AND MELISA BISHOP SERVANT LEADERSHIP SCHOLARSHIP Michael and Melisa Bishop assist students who are enrolled full-time in the School of Veterinary Medicine and who serve in a student/service leadership capacity within the school.

THE OAKDELL EGG FARMS AND RITEWOOD SCHOLARSHIP Cliff Lillywhite The Oakdell Egg Farms & Ritewood Scholarship assists students in achieving their dream of working in the service of animals. Oakdell Egg Farms and Ritewood support students pursuing a degree in veterinary medicine.

SCOTT AND MARLA BOYER HUMANE SCHOLARSHIP Scott and Marla Boyer Humane Scholarship assists USU students in achieving their dream of working in the service of animals. Actions meriting the award include past and/or present performance on behalf of animals, demonstration of a humane attitude, and a clear understanding of humane ethics. Significant consideration will be given to students who volunteer or are employed at the Cache Humane Society or other animal protection organization

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4815 Old Main Hill Logan, Utah 84322-4800




PET LOSS HOTLINE The Pet Loss Hotline, sponsored and run by the USU School of Veterinary Medicine, is a free service run by dedicated veterinary medicine students who are supervised by a licensed psychologist to counsel people who are grieving the loss of a pet.

The Pet Loss Hotline offers support to community members who may: • Be making decisions about the timeline of euthanizing their pets • Know their companion animal is in the terminal stages of life • Have lost a close animal friend recently or in the distant past • Want to foster discussion with a child or friend who has lost a pet and are looking for additional ways to cope. Our mission is to become compassionate veterinarians who help our clients better cope with losing beloved pets. We are here to listen and offer support.

You are welcome to call to leave a voicemail or email anytime. We will respond to emails and phone calls Monday – Thursday from 5-7 p.m.