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Winter 1999 Vol.23 No.1
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Purina Partners with Illinois

[Madeline, the World's Greatest Dog!]
Third-year student Amy Valentine checks the heart rate of Madeline Dog, a participant in the Purina dermatology study. Madeline would like to volunteer for any study that involves eating, preferably in large quantities.

"I’m so proud to be eating for science," proclaimed Madeline T. Dog, one of 47 canines participating in a feeding trial funded by Ralston Purina. Dr. Karen Campbell, veterinary dermatologist at the Small Animal Clinic, heads the study to examine effects on skin and hair coat of four nutritionally complete commercial dog food diets.

Like Madeline, who shares her Champaign home with the College editor, all participants in the study live with students, faculty, or staff from the College. The diets are therefore being tested under real-life conditions. The dogs are fed each diet in a randomly assigned order. Owners record weekly observations about their dog’s appetite and other measures. After 14 weeks in the study, Madeline had consistently scored a perfect 10 on the appetite scale, and many other trial participants have shown equal enthusiasm for the diets.

Researchers periodically record weight, body condition score, and measures of coat shine, appearance, and so forth. Measures are also taken of transepidermal water loss, skin hydration, and other indicators of skin health.

The commitment for the dermatology study is just one of the ways Purina has lent support to the College lately. Ralston Purina Co. has also funded a three-year oncology residency held by Dr. Marie-Eve Nadeau and sponsored the 50th anniversary kick-off event and new photomural display.

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