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EXCELLENCE AND LEADERSHIP IN RESEARCH, TEACHING AND SERVICE Autumn 2014 Volume Four Issue Four
C V M W E L C O M E S N E W F A C U LT Y M E M B E R S
his fall, the MU College of Veterinary Medicine welcomes one new faculty member to the Department of Biomedical Sciences and 10 new members to the Department of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery (VMS).
Shawn Bender, PhD Shawn Bender, PhD, is the newest biomedical sciences faculty member. In addition to being an assistant professor in the department, Bender has an appointment as a research health scientist at the Truman Veterans Hospital. Shawn Bender
Bender earned a PhD in physiology at Ohio University before coming to the CVM as a postdoctoral fellow in biomedical sciences. In 2011, he joined the MU School of Medicine as a research assistant professor in the Department of Medicine. Bender’s primary research interest is understanding the mecha-
nisms underlying coronary blood flow regulation and what contributes to the impairment of coronary blood flow regulation in obesity and diabetes. His research utilizes cell culture and molecular techniques, tissue culture techniques and whole animal experiments, allowing an integrative approach to hypothesis testing. In addition to research, Bender’s duties will include teaching veterinary pharmacology.
Megan DuHadway, DVM Megan DuHadway, DVM, has joined VMS as a clinical instructor of small animal emergency and critical care. DuHadway earned her doctor of veterinary medicine degree at MU. She then completed an internship in small Megan DuHadway animal medicine and surgery at North Carolina State University and a residency in emergency and critical care medicine at Michigan
State University. DuHadway said she was happy to return to MU. Her duties will involve predominantly clinical work with some research and teaching responsibilities.
Colleen Koch, DVM As a veterinarian, Colleen Koch, DVM, loves that each day brings new challenges and opportunities to help her patients. She is joining VMS as a resident in veterinary behavior at the Mizzou Animal Cancer Care faColleen Koch cility in Wentzville. She works with patients who exhibit problematic behavior to identify the causes and develop behavior modification programs. She sees a variety of species, including dogs, cats, horses, birds and pigs. Koch earned her DVM at the University of Illinois, where she later completed the executive veterinary Continued on page 2
New faculty, continued
program. A graduate of the Karen Pryor Academy for Animal Training and Behavior, Koch is pursuing a residency program that leads to board certification in veterinary behavior through the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists. Koch co-owns Lincoln Land Animal Clinic in central Illinois with her husband, who is also a veterinarian. Jill Luther, DVM, MS Jill Luther, DVM, MS, loves the tangible nature of surgery. “You can often see immediate improvement in a patient’s quality of life following a surgical procedure,” she said. Luther, who has joined VMS as an assistant Jill Luther teaching professor of small animal surgery, said the ability to influence future veterinarians drew her to pursuing an academic career. Luther completed her DVM, MS and a residency in small animal surgery at MU. Before returning this fall, she worked as an associate surgeon at Midwest Veterinary Referral Center in Chesterfield.
Luther’s primary responsibility will be training students, interns and residents in soft tissue surgery. Her interests include minimally invasive surgical techniques, hepatobiliary surgery and oncologic surgery.
Charles Maitz, DVM, PhD Charles Maitz, DVM, PhD, has joined VMS as an assistant professor of radiation oncology. He holds a joint position with the School of Medicine’s Department of Radiology and the International Institute of Nano and MoCharles Maitz lecular Medicine. Although a portion of his time will be devoted to clinical work, Maitz will spend most of it continuing his research on boron neutron capture therapy of cancer. He earned his DVM and completed a residency in radiation oncology and a PhD in radiochemistry at MU. In addition to being appointed the chapter adviser of the Beta Beta Chapter of Delta Sigma Phi Fraternity at MU, Maitz recently passed his certifying exam to become a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Radiologists in the subspecialty of radiation oncology.
Hans Rindt, PhD Hans Rindt, PhD, has joined VMS as a research associate in the Comparative Internal Medicine Laboratory. His duties will be split between research with Associate Professor Carol Reinero, DVM, PhD, and with Associate Professor Jeff Bryan, DVM, PhD.
Reinero’s research focuses on feline asthma, and Bryan’s addresses oncology, including efforts to identify how spontaneous tumors arise and ways to treat them. Rindt will work with residents, veterinary students and undergraduates. Rindt said he enjoys the hands-on work of doing experiments, optimizing protocols and even “failing miserably and trying again.” Rindt completed a PhD in biology at the University of Heidelberg in Germany. Before joining VMS, he worked for nine years at MU as a research assistant professor at the CVM, first in the laboratory of biomedical sciences Professor Richard Tsika, PhD, and later in the laboratory of veterinary pathobiology Professor Christian Lorson, PhD. Continued on page 3
New faculty, continued
Joshua Schaeffer, DVM Joshua Schaeffer, DVM, has joined VMS as a clinical instructor of food animal medicine and surgery. S chaef fer ’s new position involves collaborating with students on veterinary farm calls to provide care at both the Joshua Schaeffer individual and herd levels, including sick animal work, outbreak investigations and herd health. He enjoys training students and said he finds fulfillment watching them enter into productive practice, and he appreciates being able to help producers increase their productivity and profitability while providing safe quality products. Schaeffer’s main interest is swine health and production, and he is interested in developing herd health and biosecurity plans. “This is an excellent way to prevent disease and increase the profitability of the operation for the producer,” he said. Schaeffer completed his veterinary education, a rotating food animal internship and a produc-
tion medicine residency at MU. He recently finished coursework at the university for a master of public health degree.
Eva Ulery, DVM For as long as she can remember, Eva Ulery, DVM, has been interested in working with animals. As a first-grader, she discovered a kitten in her aunt and uncle’s barn and carried him home in her pocket to keep him warm. Eva Ulery In high school and college, her teachers fostered her interests in biology and medicine. Ulery has joined VMS as a clinical instructor in community practice and shelter medicine. She earned her DVM at Iowa State University, interned in Connecticut and then worked as an associate veterinarian in Connecticut and Chicago. Ulery said her teaching goals involve empowering students and preparing them for small animal general practice. Her interests include dentistry, medicine and spaying and neutering.
Allison Wara, DVM Allison Wara, DVM, was first drawn to veterinary medicine because of
her love for animals and science. Wara has joined VMS as a clinical instructor of veterinary nutrition. She will direct the new ReNu Clinic, a combined nutrition and rehabilitation/ physical therapy clinic for the Allison Wara treatment of companion animal obesity and to optimize patient outcomes after surgery or illness. As the director for the ReNu Clinic, Wara will coordinate day-to-day activities with other specialty services and establish clinic protocols. She also will be involved in the clinical instruction of third- and fourth-year veterinary students, nutritional consulting for internal and external cases, clinical practice and research. Her research interests include feline diabetes and obesity in canines and felines. Wara earned her DVM at Atlantic Veterinary College in Canada and completed a residency in small animal clinical nutrition at MU.
Dorothy Whelchel, DVM, MS Dorothy Whelchel, DVM, MS, has joined VMS as an assistant teachContinued on page 4
C V M F A C U LT Y EARN PROMOTIONS
ongratulations to the following College of Veterinary Medicine faculty members on their recent promotions: Dr. Brenda Beerntsen, Veterinary Pathobiology, to professor. Dr. Ileana Constantinescu, Biomedical Sciences, to associate teaching professor. Dr. David Cross, Biomedical Sciences, to associate teaching professor. Dr. John Dodam, Veterinary Medicine and Surgery, to professor. Dr. Marie Kerl, Veterinary Medicine and Surgery, to teaching professor. Dr. M. Cathleen Kovarik, Biomedical Sciences, to associate teaching professor. Dr. Dusty Nagy, Veterinary Medicine and Surgery, to associate teaching professor. Dr. Craig Payne, Veterinary Medicine and Surgery, to associate extension professor. Dr. Guoquan Zhang, Veterinary Pathobiology, to associate professor. Zhang also received tenure.
New faculty, continued
ing professor of equine medicine. Whelchel, who has been riding horses since age 11, said she became interested in veterinary medicine in high school after her horse had an episode of colic that necessitated surgery. An Atlanta na- Dorothy Whelchel tive, Whelchel earned her master’s and DVM degrees at the University of Georgia in Athens, where she completed a residency in large animal medicine. Before coming to MU, Whelchel worked in private practice in South Carolina for three years as an equine ambulatory practitioner and equine internal medicine specialist. She is board-certified in large animal internal medicine. As an assistant teaching professor, Whelchel’s duties will include teaching fourth-year veterinary students on their clinical rotations, caring for sick horses in the equine clinic and providing routine care for ambulatory clients. Her clinical interests include equine infectious diseases, respiratory diseases, endocrine diseas-
es, cardiology and neonatology, as well as ambulatory medicine.
Jennifer Willcox, DVM Jennifer Willcox, DVM, a clinical instructor of oncology in VMS, always knew she wanted to be a veterinarian. It was during an internship, however, that she discovered her love for working Jennifer Willcox in oncology. Willcox earned her DVM at The Ohio State University. After internships in California and Florida and a bone marrow transplant fellowship at North Carolina State University, she completed her residency in medical oncology at North Carolina State University. She is board-certified in oncology by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine. Willcox’s duties primarily will involve clinical work, though 25 percent of her time will be devoted to research and teaching. Her clinical interests include lymphoma and leukemia, and her research interests include translational medicine and clinical trials.
BAC T E R I A L CO M M U N I C AT I O N S YS T E M CO U L D S TO P C A N C E R S PR E A D, M U S T U DY F I N D S
ancer, while always dangerous, truly becomes life-threatening when cancer cells begin to spread to different areas throughout the body. Now, researchers at the University of Missouri have discovered that a molecule used as a communication system by bacteria can be manipulated to prevent cancer cells from spreading. Senthil Kumar, an assistant research professor and assistant director of the Comparative Oncology and Epigenetics Laboratory at the MU College of Veterinary Medicine, says this communication system can be used to “tell” cancer cells how to act, or even to die on command.
“Because this treatment shows promise in such an aggressive cancer like pancreatic cancer, we believe it could be used on other types of cancer cells.” – Senthil Kumar, assistant research professor
frey Bryan, an associate professor in the MU College of Veterinary Medicine, treated human pancreatic cancer cells grown in culture with bacterial communication molecules, known as ODDHSL. After the treatment, the pancreatic cancer cells stopped multiplying, failed to migrate and began to die.
“During an infection, bacteria release molecules which allow them to ‘talk’ to each other,” said Kumar, the lead author of the study. “Depending on the type of molecule released, the signal will tell other bacteria to multiply, escape the immune system or even stop spreading. We found that if we introduce the ‘stop spreading’ bacteria molecule to cancer cells, those cells will not only stop spreading; they will begin to die as well.”
“We used pancreatic cancer cells because those are the most robust, aggressive and hard-to-kill cancer cells that can occur in the human body,” Kumar said. “To show that this molecule can not only stop the cancer cells from spreading, but actually cause them to die, is very exciting. Because this treatment shows promise in such an aggressive cancer like pancreatic cancer, we believe it could be used on other types of cancer cells and our lab is in the process of testing this treatment in other types of cancer.”
In the study published in PLOS ONE, Kumar, and co-author Jef-
Kumar says the next step in his research is to find a more efficient
way to introduce the molecules to the cancer cells before animal and human testing can take place. “Our biggest challenge right now is to find a way to introduce these molecules in an effective way,” Kumar said.
“At this time, we only are able to treat cancer cells with this molJeffrey Bryan ecule in a laboratory setting. We are now working on a better method which will allow us to treat animals with cancer to see if this therapy is truly effective. The early-stage results of this research are promising. If additional studies, including animal studies, are successful then the next step would be translating this application into clinics.”
K A R E N C A M P B E L L I S A LU M N A O F T H E Y E A R
aren Campbell, DVM ’79, MS, is the MU College of Veterinary Medicine 2014 Alumna of the Year. Campbell was honored during the college’s Alumni Reunion Weekend held Sept. 12 and 13. The award recognizes outstanding professional and personal achievements and contributions to the enhancement of the veterinary profession. Campbell earned her doctor of veterinary medicine degree in 1979 at MU. She spent the summer following graduation working for Asheville Veterinary Associates in North Carolina. That fall she moved to Auburn University to do an internship in small animal surgery and medicine. Campbell completed a residency in small animal internal medicine and an MS in clinical pathology at the University of Georgia, and she later completed an additional residency in dermatology at the University of Illinois. Since 1983, Campbell has served on the faculty of the University of Illinois, where she is department head of veterinary clinical medicine. She is board-certified in veterinary internal medicine and dermatology. While accepting her award, Campbell thanked her family. “Nobody gets here by themselves,” she said. “I have always been tremendously supported by my family.”
Campbell has taught dermatology to thousands of students and has mentored 15 dermatology residents, 10 of whom have spent at least a portion of their careers as faculty members teaching veterinary dermatology at various universities. Her research and academic interests include dermatology, endocrinology, immunology and bacteriology. She has received more than 70 research grants, has published more than 100 scientific papers and more than 40 book chapters, and has taught numerous lectures domestically and globally. She has authored or co-authored six textbooks, two of which were written with her father. Most recently, Campbell co-authored the “Seventh Edition of Small Animal Dermatology,” working with Craig Griffin, DVM, whom she first met at MU while he was an intern and she was a third-year veterinary student. Campbell has served the profession through a variety of national offices including two years as the president of the American College of Veterinary Dermatology. She was the 2013 recipient of the ACVD Award of Excellence for Outstanding Contributions in Service and Education in the field of veterinary dermatology. She has served as secretary of the Mu Chapter of Phi Zeta at Illinois for 18 years and is also a mem-
CVM Dean Neil C. Olson, DVM, PhD, presents the 2014 Alumna of the Year Award to Karen Campbell, DVM ’79, MS. ber of Phi Kappa Phi, Alpha Zeta, Gamma Sigma Delta, Sigma Xi, Society of Comparative Endocrinology, American Academy of Veterinary Dermatology, American Animal Hospital Association, American Association of Veterinary Clinicians, Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association and the American Veterinary Medical Association. She is a lifetime member of the Missouri 4-H Alumni Association and an honorary member of the Missouri Guernsey Breeders Association. Campbell is married to Lawrence Motsinger. Their children are Sarah Motsinger, a member of the MU CVM Class of 2015, and Jason Motsinger, a student in agricultural engineering at the University of Illinois.
RECOGNITIONS AND HONORS Dane Foxwell, a fourth-year student at the CVM, had an article published by online news magazine Veterinary Economics, a dvm360 publication. The article, “Sell veterinary clients on your service,” focuses on providing excellent customer service. Robert “Bud” Hertzog, a 1956 graduate of the MU College of Veterinary Medicine, recently recieved the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) President’s Award. The AVMA President’s Award is given annually to recognize individuals and groups inside and outside veterinary medicine who have made a positive impact on animal, human or public health, veterinary organizations and the profession. Alan Wessler, DVM, ‘77, has been elected as chairman of the Board of Directors for the American Feed Industry Association. Wessler is the vice-president of feed operations and animal health at MFA Incorporated in Columbia, Missouri, where he has been employed since 1988. He is a previous recipient of AFIA’s Member of the Year Award for his efforts as chairman of the AFIA Centennial Task Force and has served two terms on the association’s Board of Directors.
B O O K’S AU D I E N C E E X PA N D S
he first book MU College of Veterinary Medicine Professor Tony Mann, DVM, MS, Diplomate ACVS, Diplomate ACVECC, authored was almost written by someone else. Now that book, Fundamentals of Small Animal Surgery, which was released in 2011, has been translated into Portuguese, and translations into Japanese and Chinese are also under way. Mann wrote the book with several colleagues. Hun Young Yoon, DVM, PhD, was undertaking a fellowship in soft-tissue surgery at the MU CVM and is now a member of the faculty of Konkuk University College of Veterinary Medicine in Seoul, South Korea. Gheorge M. Constantinescu, DVM, PhD, Dr.h.c., is a professor of veterinary anatomy at Mizzou. While Mann worked on the book from 2006 to 2010, he said the book’s inception dates back to the 1990s. The idea for the textbook started with one of his veterinary school classmates, Dr. John Payne, who was a surgeon at the MU Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital from 1989 to 1998. Payne approached Constantinescu about collaborating on a veterinary surgery book. Constantinescu, a skilled medical illustrator, agreed and got to work drawing hundreds of pictures. However, the text for the book remained unwritten.
Reluctant to let the illustrations in which he had invested so much time and energy go unused, Constantinescu approached Mann about taking up the project. “I wasn’t confident I would have the time for the project,” Mann said. “Eventually, I started on it, but I had a lot of other things going on. I am grateful to Dr. Constantinescu for keeping me motivated and moving forward on the project.” By 2006, Mann submited an example chapter and outline to textbook publisher Wiley-Blackwell, which accepted it. Mann then began the task of writing the rest of the manuscript with assistance from Yoon and several other CVM colleagues. “The book was written as a potential textbook for veterinary students and technicians and as a refresher book for practicing veterinarians who want to brush up on their basic techniques or use the book to assist in training their staffs,” Mann said. “We don’t go into specific disease conditions. We cover basic surgical principles, such as gowning, gloving, and identifying surgical instruments and prepping patients for surgery. We have chapters on preoperative assessments of patients and anesthesia. The book was written with didactic surgical instruction of veterinary students in mind.”
SMA DRUG DEVELOPMENT BRINGS HOPE
ccording to recent studies, approximately one out of every 40 individuals in the United States is a carrier of the gene responsible for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a neurodegenerative disease that causes muscles to weaken over time. Now, researchers at the University of Missouri have made a recent breakthrough with the development of a new compound found to be highly effective in animal models of the disease. In April, a patent was filed for the compound for use in SMA.
His research found that the earlier the treatment can be administered in mice with SMA, the better the outcome. In mice studies, the drug improved the survival rate by 500 to 700 percent, with a 90 percent improvement demonstrated in severe SMA cases, according to the study.
“The strategy our lab is using to fight SMA is to ‘repress the repressor,’” said Chris Lorson, a researcher in the Bond Life Sciences Center and professor in the MU Department of Veterinary Pathobiology. “It’s a lot like reading a book, but in this case, the final chapter of the book—or the final exon of the genetic sequence—is omitted. The exciting part is that the important chapter is still there—and can be tricked into being read correctly, if you know how. The new SMA therapeutic compound, an antisense oligonucleotide, repairs expression of the gene affected by the disease.”
Lorson’s study, “Morpholino antisense oligonucleotides targeting intronic repressor Element1 improve phenotype in SMA mouse models,” was published in September 2014 in the Journal of Human Molecular Genetics. Graduate student Erkan Osman was the lead author. The study was funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health, a training grant and a fellowship from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
In individuals affected by SMA, the spinal motor neuron-1 (SMN1) gene is mutated and lacks the ability to
Although there is no cure for SMA currently, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has listed SMA as the neurological disease closest to finding a cure, due in part to effective drugs like the one developed in Lorson’s lab.
Chris Lorson process a key protein that helps muscle neurons function. Muscles in the lower extremities are usually affected first, followed by muscles in the upper extremities, including areas around the neck and spine. Fortunately, humans have a nearly identical copy gene called SMN2. Lorson’s drug targets that specific genetic sequence and allows proper “editing” of the SMN2 gene. The drug allows the SMN2 gene to bypass the defective gene and process the protein that helps the muscle neurons function. Lorson’s breakthrough therapeutic compound was patented in April.
Editor’s Note: For a longer version of this story, please read, “Researchers flex new muscle in SMA drug development,” which can be found at: http://decodingscience.missouri. edu/2014/07/researchers-flex-newmuscle-in-sma-drug-development/
Niemeyer Lecture Addresses Importance of One Health Partnerships Tracey Lynn, DVM, MS, presented the lecture “Actualizing One Health: The Role of Public-Private-Academic Partnerships” Sept. 17 at the Bond Life Sciences Center. Held as part of MU’s 175th Anniversary Commemorative Week, the presentation was sponsored by the MU College of Veterinary Medicine’s Niemeyer Lecture Series. As the One Health science and policy academic liaison at the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Lynn is part of a team coordinating the agency’s animal health component of One Health. The One Health concept emphasizes that the health of animals, the health of people and the viability of ecosystems are inextricably linked. This approach embraces the idea that disease problems affecting the health of humans, animals and the environment can only be solved through improved communication, cooperation and collaboration across disciplines and institutions. The USDA has a long history of partnering with public and private organizations. Lynn discussed how the USDA and the One Health Collaboration Center (OHCC) are building upon that framework to develop innovative partnerships with academia to address challenges using a One Health approach.
Tracey Lynn There is tremendous value in such partnerships, Lynn said. “Creativity is better as a team sport than as an individual process,” she said. “In order to address these grand challenges, we really have to find new ways to work effectively together.” Working with a variety of organizations, including international partners, academia and state and federal agencies, the OHCC focuses on such priorities as zoonotic disease engagement, global health security, antimicrobial resistance, pandemic and animal disease preparedness and preharvest food safety. Goals include building new collaborations and partnerships, sustaining existing relationships in the One Health Continued on page 10
FOR CVM PROFESSOR, ALS SUPPORT GOES BEYOND THE BUCKET CHALLENGE The recent ice bucket challenge that went viral on social media not only raised awareness of the neurological disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, it also raised more than $107 million in donations for the ALS Association. Among the many good sports at the MU College of Veterinary Medicine who cheerfully subjected themselves to an ice water bath was Professor Joan Coates, DVM. A veterinary neurologist and neurosurgeon, Coates has devoted more than 15 years to researching degenerative myelopathy (DM), a neurological condition that affects dogs. She was principal investigator of the team that determined the same genetic mutation that causes DM in dogs causes some forms of ALS in people. Because most people choose euthanasia when their dog is stricken with DM, veterinary researchers had not seen the full spectrum of the disease in its end stages to note the similarity to symptoms such as paralysis and respiratory failure in late-stage ALS. “When I began working with dogs with DM, we didn’t know there was an ALS connection. The discovery Continued on page 10
One Health, continued
community and spearheading outreach and communication to build credibility, trust and respect. Lynn described the center as a “One Health Match.com” that helps organizations find partners of which they might otherwise be unaware. Lynn earned her DVM at Auburn University and her MS in epidemiology at Washington State University. Prior to joining APHIS, she spent seven years as an epidemiologist in federal and state public health agencies working across the spectrum from outbreak investigation and response to policy development. Initially hired into APHIS Veterinary Services to assist in building effective collaborations and methods for coordinating zoonotic disease surveillance and data sharing with the CDC, Lynn develops partnerships to increase efficiency and effectiveness in managing complex health threats through cross-disciplinary collaboration. The Kenneth and Margaret Niemeyer Visiting Lecture Fund sponsored her presentation. The Niemeyers established the fund in 1986 to defray expenses of individuals brought to the CVM to deliver scientific lectures to veterinary students, faculty and other interested individuals. Kenneth Niemeyer was a 1955 graduate from the MU CVM. A long-time faculty member at the college, he also served as associate dean of academic and student affairs until the time of his retirement.
of this mutation in the SOD1 gene allowed us to know the human correlate of this disease,” Coates said. Since the discovery of the SOD1 gene mutation, Coates and her collaborators have worked closely with ALS researchers on a pilot study of a potential pharmacologic therapy, research that the ALS Association is helping to fund. Coates said part of the reason she wanted to support the ALS Association by participating in the ice bucket challenge was because the organization has generously sponsored her DM research, and to bring awareness of ALS. Coates is also part of another team working to raise money for research to develop therapies to treat and cure ALS. Before the ice bucket challenge became a social media sensation, Coates, her colleague Dr. Teresa Lever, an assistant professor in the MU School of Health Professions, and second-year veterinary student Shelby Mancini, who has been studying DM as part of a Veterinary Research Scholars Program project, began working together to coordinate a fundraising walk for ALS. The walk was organized in honor of Alan Allert, DVM, a former College of Veterinary Medicine instructor who succumbed to ALS earlier this year. “When I was a veterinary student at MU, Dr. Allert was one of my professors and taught cardiovascular pharmacology,” Coates noted.
Joan Coates “He had a wonderful teaching style and really worked at connecting with all the students in the class.” In 2009, Allert became the executive director at the Central Missouri Humane Society and was instrumental in establishing a cooperative agreement with the CVM that allowed veterinary students to spay and neuter shelter animals. He also worked with college faculty on other programs, including “Walk a Hound, Lose a Pound,” and a study in which armed forces veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder teach dogs from CMHS basic obedience skills. From the initial team of three, the Mizzou CVM team had at least 55 members on its roster taking part in the Columbia Walk to Defeat ALS in Allert’s memory on Sept. 6 at Stephens Lake Park.
DOG CAN NOW LIVE LONG AND PROSPER
amela Crawford of Washington, Missouri, doesn’t think her mastiff cross, Mr. Spock, resembles his “Star Trek” namesake at all in personality.
“He’s such a lover,” she said, adding that he has more of a surfer boy mentality. “He’s not like the character.” Crawford found Mr. Spock, who is nearly 2 years old, at the Humane Society in Maryland Heights when he was a puppy. She had seen a listing for him online and went to meet him. When workers brought him into the room, she realized how he’d gotten his name. His left front paw was split, resembling the Vulcan salute the television character makes when saying “Live long and prosper.” She quickly fell in love with his outgoing personality. Mr. Spock had been featured on a TV news segment promoting pet adoption, and the many visitors he received had made him comfortable around people. “A lot of people had come to visit him, but they weren’t interested in adopting him; they just wanted to see his foot,” Crawford said. “He had been socialized quite a bit.” Crawford adopted him right away.
Uncommon condition demands creativity Mr. Spock was born with ectrodactyly, a developmental abnormality. Often called split hand deformity when it occurs in people, the condition can cause a variety of problems. In Mr. Spock’s case, he was missing one row of carpal bones, the bones that comprise the upper part of the foot in dogs, comparable to the wrist in humans. His metacarpals, located below the carpal bones, were split between the second and third digits and fused between the third and fourth digits. He had extra nails, and some curled under and protruded into the pads of his paw. As he grew larger Mr. Spock had difficulty putting weight on his foot and couldn’t walk on hard surfaces.
Mr. Spock “I noticed that the heavier and bigger he got, the more trouble he had with it,” Crawford said. Crawford’s veterinarian referred her to the University of Missouri Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital to explore Mr. Spock’s treatment options. The cause of ectrodactyly is unknown, and it seems to occur randomly, said Dr. James Tomlinson, a professor Continued on page 12
Mr. Spock, continued
of veterinary orthopedic surgery at the MU College of Veterinary Medicine. Depending on the degree of deformity, the uncommon condition doesn’t always need to be addressed. However, Mr. Spock’s deformity was particularly severe. Like humans, he had begun walking plantigrade, meaning his entire foot touched the ground when he stepped. Tomlinson said ectrodactyly cases can be complicated to fix because they’re not common and problems vary among animals. “The problem is that we don’t get to fix enough of them to really have a huge amount of experience as far as saying this is fixable,” he said. “These are difficult cases. Since no two are the same, it’s hard to just give an exact prediction of how well they’re going to do (with treatment).” Because the pads of Mr. Spock’s foot were so deformed, efforts to reduce his walking problems would require a little bit of experimentation. “The expectation is not for him to be 100 percent normal,” Tomlinson said. “His gait’s always going to be different. He’s probably going to favor the leg a little bit, but if we can make him pain-free and allow him to use his leg in a reasonable manner, that’s the goal.” Crawford thought the goal was a worthy one, especially considering
Mr. Spock’s reaction when he had the opportunity to play in the sand one day in her horse arena. “I took him down to the sand arena for the first time, and he actually could run,” she said. “And he ran and ran and ran and would not stop running. He was so happy. He was just going crazy. He ran until he collapsed.
Surgeries leave pup able to play Tomlinson and other veterinarians at the VMTH devised a plan that would address Mr. Spock’s deformity over a series of three surgeries. Spreading out the surgeries was important so he could heal and improve his strength through physical therapy between surgeries. The first surgery involved amputating two of Mr. Spock’s P1s, or the bones located in the tip of the finger in humans. They were in an abnormal position that caused them to become frequently irritated. The goal was to reduce the irritation so Mr. Spock could be more comfortable. Two months later, veterinarians performed the second surgery, a carpal fusion. During this surgery, Mr. Spock’s veterinarians implanted two bone plates with 20 screws to fuse the wrist joint and close the cleft between the bones in his foot. After the post-surgery swelling had subsided, he had to wear a cast for about two months while his foot healed. Then he began physical
therapy on an underwater treadmill to build muscle and become used to walking on that foot. During the recovery period, he began using his leg while walking on grass and sand, but he still couldn’t use it on hard surfaces. Finally, Mr. Spock was ready for his final surgery, called a podoplasty. The purpose of this soft-tissue surgery was to fuse the pads of Mr. Spock’s foot together. Although they normally wouldn’t be connected, this step was required because the bony formation on his foot was so abnormal and the pads were particularly separated, Tomlinson said. The goal was to make Mr. Spock more comfortable when stepping on his foot. After multiple surgeries and months of physical therapy, Mr. Spock now runs and plays nonstop without pain, Crawford said. She said he can bear weight on his foot and shows much more confidence on hard surfaces. Both Tomlinson and Crawford consider the treatment efforts a success. “My goal was for him to be painfree and that the leg be functional,” Tomlinson said. “Now he can use it; he’s comfortable with it. From where we started to where we are today, I’m happy.” Tomlinson isn’t the only one. “He’s running, he’s playing, he’s digging holes,” Crawford said about Mr. Spock. “He’s happy.”
I N T E N T H Y E A R , V E T O R I E N TAT I O N T H R I V E S
he clock is ticking.
“I’ve always felt like the scientific program that we offer the students here at the University of Missouri is extremely well done, a very good, balanced program, but when you have that type of a program it is so full you don’t have time to put into it the nontechnical portion of training to become a professional in a career that is so respected as veterinary medicine is,” Cott said.
On a hot summer day at the Lake of the Ozarks, a group of MU College of Veterinary Medicine students struggles to complete an activity called Search and Rescue. Using only a few supplies, including a rope and two long, wooden boards, the students have a limited amount of time to navigate an obstacle course composed of horizontal telephone poles with large gaps between them. If that isn’t challenging enough, they must carry a fellow student, representing an injured victim, in a rescue basket. Students walk across a narrow board, holding onto a rope overhead for balance. With one second to spare, the final group member reaches the end of the course. The team erupts in cheers. It may not sound like your typical veterinary school lesson. But for the past 10 years, incoming University of Missouri veterinary students have come together before classes begin for the Veterinary Enrichment and Teambuilding (VET) orientation. The program provides students the opportunity to develop their leadership, teambuilding and communication skills. Students travel to Windermere Conference Center on the edge of the Lake of the Ozarks. Through 3 ½ days of obstacle courses, other small-group activities and
A Windermere staff member supports James Lee of Chicago while he and other students from the MU College of Veterinary Medicine Class of 2018 work to complete the Search and Rescue activity. discussions, students bond with their peers and learn to trust each other before classes begin. In 2004, Ron Cott, DVM, associate dean for Student and Alumni Affairs, attended the Veterinary Leadership Experience, a national retreat for veterinary students and faculty that helps develop skills in servant leadership, self-awareness and emotional intelligence. Upon completing the program, he asked himself, “Why can’t we do this at Mizzou?”
Cott and Rebecca Jones, a business and management consultant who focuses on communications, leadership and training solutions, began developing a curriculum that would ease incoming students’ anxieties about veterinary school while also teaching them important nontechnical skills such as communication techniques and self-awareness. “The desire was growing to graduate professional DVMs that were more than just technically astute,” Jones said. “Seasoned practice owners and their clientele wanted more in a DVM than just the ability to spay a dog or assess a disease. They wanted a vet that made them feel good about themselves, their pet and the experience.” In the summer of 2005, the college hosted its first VET orientation. Editor’s Note: To read this story in its entirety, please go to: http://www. cvm.missouri.edu/News/VET2014. html