Dr. Bob Twardock passed away on Friday, September 3. He was a pioneer in the field of equine nuclear medicine.
Working with Dr. Michael Devous, he developed non-invasive techniques using a gamma camera to diagnose equine lameness and lung problems that otherwise went undetected by conventional diagnostic techniques. Bob was one of four editors of Equine Scintigraphy, 2003, the first textbook devoted entirely to this topic. He also led equine nuclear medicine workshops that were attended by veterinarians from 30 states and from countries including Italy and Australia.
Dr. Twardock earned both his undergraduate and veterinary degree (1956) at the University of Illinois. After practicing locally for a year, he earned a PhD from Cornell University and joined the Illinois faculty in 1962. In addition to his innovative research and clinical service, he was known as a caring teacher and dedicated statesman within the college. He served as associate dean for academic affairs, interim dean of the college, and chair of the college’s 50th anniversary celebration in 1998-99.
He retired in 1999 and was frequently involved in college activities during his retirement, including making appearances with his barbershop quartet at college events. In 1981 he received the Loyalty Award from the University of Illinois Alumni Association.
In a college newsletter from 1999, Dr. Twardock remarked, “We have one of the best gamma camera set-ups in the world; the camera moves in three-dimensions at the push of a button. We can work more safely and it gives us great images.”
The nuclear medicine facility had just received a new camera with a larger field and a crane and trolley system to move the it easily about the animal. At that time, the hospital used nuclear scintigraphy to diagnose 450 animal patients each year, half of them horses.