General News

35th Veterinary Respiratory Symposium Returns to Illinois

[Tekla Lee-Fowler and Kara Lascola]

Next Symposium Slated for Auburn, Ala., Oct. 7 to 10

The Veterinary Comparative Respiratory Society (VCRS) held its 35th symposium in Champaign, Ill., at the University of Illinois on October 1 through 4. The theme was “Advances in Respiratory Diagnostic Imaging.” The symposium was organized by the outgoing president of the VCRS, Dr. Kara Lascola, formerly an associate professor at the Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine. (In the photo above, incoming VCRS president Dr. Tekla Lee-Fowler (left) presents Dr. Kara Lascola with a plaque recognizing her efforts as the 2016-17 president of the society.) Around 50 attendees from across the United States and from seven other countries participated in the symposium.

The very first VCRS symposium, in 1978, had also been held at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, where Dr. Brendan McKiernan, a founder and first president of VCRS, was a faculty member. It was also hosted by Illinois in 1992, when Dr. McKiernan was co-organizer of the symposium with Dr. T.C. Amis.

At the 2017 symposium Dr. McKiernan delivered the Joan O’Brien Keynote Address: “Origins and Growth. What Is Our Future?”

Dr. Joan O’Brien was a founding member of the (Veterinary) Comparative Respiratory Society. She led a distinguished career at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. After her retirement in 1989, the VCRS board of directors named its recently established award for students after Dr. O’Brien.

[Tekla Lee-Fowler and Sophie Mainguy-Seers]
Incoming VCRS president Dr. Tekla Lee-Fowler congratulates Dr. Sophie Mainguy-Seers, recipient of the 2017 Joan O’Brien Research Award.
At the 2017 symposium, six graduate students in veterinary comparative respiratory medicine gave oral presentations. From among these, Sophie Mainguy-Seers, a graduate student from the University of Montreal Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, was selected to receive the Joan O’Brien Research Award for her abstract entitled “Study of tamoxifen for the treatment of severe asthmatic horses.”

Dr. Mathilde Leclère, an assistant professor also from the University of Montreal, received the 2017 VCRS Grant for her proposal entitled “Implication of the β-glucan receptor dectin-1 in the response to fungal antigens in horses with equine asthma.” Dr. Leclère will present the results of this research at the 2018 VCRS symposium, which will be held in Auburn, Ala., October 7 to 10.

Proposals for the 2018 VCRS Grant are currently being accepted until March 1. Further information regarding the 2018 VCRS symposium, which is being organized by incoming president Dr. Tekla Lee-Fowler, assistant professor at Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine, may be found online at

The following presentations from the 2017 symposium related to the theme of respiratory diagnostic imaging:

  • Multidisciplinary Approach to Small Animal Respiratory Disease: Perspectives of an Internist, Radiologist and Pathologist; Drs. Carol Reinero, Isabelle Masseau, and Kurt Williams
  • Pushing the Envelope in CT of the Respiratory Tract: Dyspneic, Coughing, and Awake; Dr. Bob O’Brien
  • Real-Time Label-Free Optical Biopsy of Tissue Microstructure; Dr. Stephen Boppart
  • Imaging Speech Movements and Brain Function with MRI: An Expensive Karaoke Machine; Dr. Brad Sutton
  • Lung MRI: Overcoming the Technical Challenges and Review of Applications in Lung Disease; Dr. Talissa Altes
  • Use of Standing CT to Diagnose Equine Paranasal Sinus & Upper Airway Conditions; Dr. James Brown
  • Thoracic Ultrasound for the Diagnosis of Pulmonary Disease in Dairy Calves; Dr. Theresa Ollivett

Additional state-of-the-art presentations included:

  • Novel Techniques for the Diagnosis of Lower Airway Disease in Adult Horses; Dr. Jean-Pierre Lavoie
  • Rapid Identification and Characterization of Respiratory Pathogens by MALDI-TOF MS; Dr. Carol Maddox
  • Endoscopically-Assisted Surgery for Canine Upper Airway Obstructions; Dr. Heidi Phillips
  • New Strategies to Enhance the Equine Laryngeal Tie-Back Procedure; Dr. Santiago Gutierrez Nibeyro
  • Development of the Ruminant Respiratory Microbiome in Health and Disease; Brian Aldridge