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April 2014 Edition

Dr. Kate Varela the Illinois Capitol

Photo credit: Molly Riley/AVMA


Dean Peter ConstableLast month I had the privilege of representing Illinois at the annual conference of the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges. Held just outside the nation’s capital, the meeting combined sessions focusing on “one health” initiatives in veterinary education with the opportunity to visit elected officials and highlight the veterinary profession’s contributions. For our college, the meeting was a chance to showcase our strengths. Dr. Jack Herrmann, veterinary clinical medicine, was honored with the 2014 Senator John Melcher, DVM Leadership in Public Policy Award. Both he and Dr. Duncan Ferguson, head of the Department of Comparative Biosciences, gave presentations. In 2004, Dr. Herrmann served as an AVMA fellow in Sen. Dick Durbin’s (D-Ill.) office, advising on public health and agricultural issues. He joined our faculty the following year and has built one of the country’s largest DVM/MPH programs. A 2012 graduate of that program, Dr. Kate Varela (shown above), is, fittingly, following in Dr. Herrmann’s footsteps and is the current AVMA fellow in Sen. Durbin’s office. —Peter

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Dr. Fred KummerowFred Kummerow, an emeritus professor of comparative biosciences at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, has spent more than seven decades studying the dietary factors that contribute to heart disease. Dr. Kummerow has painstakingly collected and analyzed findings that identify trans fats and unnaturally oxidized cholesterol as the underlying causes of heart disease rather than dietary cholesterol itself.

A symposium celebration honoring Dr. Kummerow in his centennial year will be held on April 23, from 10:00 am to 3:30 pm at the I Hotel.  Featured speakers include:

  • Dr. Mohan Kokatnur, Retired Professor, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center
  • Dr. William Marshall, Owner/CEO, IMMUNOM Technologies, Inc.
  • Dr. Chris Masterjohn, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Kummerow Lab
  • Dr. Ken Oye, Associate Professor of Political Science and Engineering Systems, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Dr. Roger Perkins, Retired, Lead Toxicologist at 3M

    Find out more or register now.
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veterinary student and bird of prey at Walk on the Wildside eventLet your support for local wildlife go wild at “Walk on the Wild Side,” a dinner and auction event that will be held at Pear Tree Estate on Friday, May 2. Guests will be treated to a bird of prey flight demonstration from the Illinois Raptor Center. Auction items include adventure packages, animal encounters, and outstanding art, including one-of-a-kind animal art. The Wildlife Medical Clinic’s resident hawks and owls will also be on hand. Register by April 21 and pay $80 (a $10 discount). All proceeds will benefit the Wildlife Medical Clinic.

For more information or to register now, visit


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In a recent News-Gazette story, equine veterinarian Dr. Scott Austin recommended that horses between 2 and 5 years of age should have two dental exams each year. Read the News-Gazette story.

One common reason for a call to the Animal Poison Control Center, a program of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, is a pet has eaten human medications. Veterinary teaching hospital pharmacist Dianna Black explains how to properly and safely dispose of expired and unneeded medications. Read the Journal Gazette & Times Courier story.

The spread of virulent, antibiotic-resistant strains of Streptococcus pneumoniae may be controllable through the use of competence-stimulating peptide (CSP) analogues, U.S. researchers believe. Using a mouse model of S. pneumoniae infection, pathobiology professor Gee Lau and student Luchang Zau showed that synthetic CSP analogues inhibited the bacteria's ability to acquire and transfer genes conferring resistance and virulence. Read the Medwire News story.

"Horse eyes are awesome," said Dr. Amber Labelle, assistant professor and veterinary ophthalmologist. "But excessive tearing is not awesome." Read the story.

Illinois swine veterinarian Dr. Jim Lowe responded to criticism of a swine industry approach to preventing the spread of the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus or PEDv. He also said there is no science behind an accusation that large farming operations are to blame for the emergence and outbreak of the virus. “PEDv, like in all diseases – the bug doesn’t know the size of the farm,” he says. “It’s an equal opportunity infector of pigs. So age or size – it is non-discriminate.” Read his two Brownfield Ag News interviews: one | two

Rabbits that remain indoors may suffer from a lack of vitamin D, researchers reported in the American Journal of Veterinary Research. "We know that vitamin D is important to vertebrates in that it helps with calcium absorption, but it also has been shown to benefit cardiovascular health and immune function," said veterinary clinical medicine professor Dr. Mark Mitchell, who led the research. Read the Science Daily story.

Miller Park Zoo uses students from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine to care for sick animals. "They bring four or five students every time they come. It's a way for them to give back to the community as well," Tetzloff said. "They get to do an ultrasound on an otter or draw different blood, all kinds of things that vets need to experience." Read the WJBC story.

An anesthesia team from the veterinary teaching hospital handled the anesthesia on six tigers, three lions and a leopard at the Exotic Feline Rescue Group in Indianapolis. The big cats had broken teeth that needed either root canal therapy or extraction. Watch the WVTM-Channel 13 video; NBC; Birmingham.

Professor and equine veterinarian Dr. Pam Wilkins advises veterinarians on how to choose the first bag of IV fluid for a distressed foal in the March 2014 issue of The Modern Equine Vet.

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This year, nearly $650,000 in scholarship support was awarded to Illinois veterinary students. $138,000 of this was awarded to first-year students through recruitment scholarships. View photos from the March 15 Awards & Scholarship Celebration on our Flickr site.

Dr. Aaron Lower, Class of 2009, has been named Young Swine Veterinarian of the Year by the American Association of Swine Veterinarians.

Dr. James Lowe, veterinary clinical medicine, served on the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) 8.3 Animal and Production Virtual Panel.

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  • 2014 College of Veterinary Medicine Convocation, Friday, May 16, 4:00 pm, in the Foellinger Great Hall at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, Urbana, Ill. Find out more.
  • AVMA Alumni Reception, Monday, July 28, 7:00 pm, at the Hyatt Regency Denver, Colo.  Find out more or register now.
  • 8th Annual Veterinary Medical Association Golf Outing, Saturday, September 20, 9:00 am,
    Lake of the Woods Golf Course, Mahomet, Ill. This event supports student and alumni activities.  Join us or sponsor a student. Find out more or register now.
  • Fall Conference Alumni Award Presentations, Thursday, September 11, 5:00 pm. Hilton Garden Inn, Champaign, Ill. Do you know colleagues, mentors or classmates who deserve to be recognized for their achievements? Nominate them for either the Dr. Erwin Small Distinguished Alumni Award or Special Service Award.  Find out more.
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VSC at Illinois

VSC at IllinoisUnder the name VSC at Illinois, a partnership has been formed between the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine and Veterinary Specialty Center, a private practice based in Buffalo Grove, Ill.

Located at the college's Chicago headquarters in the Illinois Medical District at 2242 West Harrison Street, VSC at Illinois is now offering advanced surgery, internal medicine, and oncology as well as round-the-clock emergency veterinary care for dog and cat owners referred for treatment by their primary care veterinarians. Veterinarians from VSC who will see patients at the VSC at Illinois location include Dr. Mitch Robbins and Dr. Paula West, surgeons; Dr. Mimi Noonan, internal medicine; and Dr. Rhonda Feinmehl, oncology. They will be assisted by certified veterinary technicians hired through VSC.

The partnership is built on common goals and interests of the college and private practice, including delivering high quality specialty services that augment the lifelong health services provided by primary care veterinarians to their clients and animal patients; advancing veterinary specialty medicine through residency training and scholarly publications; providing continuing education for veterinary practitioners; and improving the health and well-being of dogs and cats in the Chicago area. Find out more about VSC at Illinois.

VCS at Illinois Launches New Bi-monthly Journal Club Thursday, April 24

VSC specialists will be launching a new bi-monthly journal club at the Illinois Medical District facility on Thursday, April 24, from 7:30 to 8:30 pm. Mitch Robbins, DVM, DACVS will lead a discussion on surgical issues including hand asepsis, suture material selection, and cystotomy closure. Each article will be critically reviewed for introduction, hypothesis, materials and methods, results and discussion.  The conclusion of the article will be discussed in the context of the clinical practice of the participants. Registration is free. One hour of continuing education credit may be earned. Find out more or register now.

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The teaching hospital's dermatology service is seeking dogs for a study exploring the effectiveness of treating ear infections with Zymox. Evaluations and treatments will be offered free to owners along with a $50 credit for future use in the teaching hospital. Read more about eligibility requirements.

Visit our clinical trials website to learn more about other current studies.

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