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The Painted Dogs of Africa

Sarah Bonnar, UC Davis

Experiences, Honorable Mention

SAVMA's IVEC Individual Scholarship Winner


Painted Dog Research Website


      The painted dogs of Africa are strange and fascinating animals. Classified as Lycaon pictus, they are the only surviving members of the Lycaon genus; their behavior, biology, and physiology is unique among extant canid species. I’ve been captivated by the struggle of this beautiful and reclusive endangered species since I was a child, and this summer—with help from SAVMA’s IVEC Individual Scholarship, and the U.C. Davis ICC Travel Grant, without which this trip would not have been possible—I had the opportunity to spend a month working for the Painted dog Research Trust in Zimbabwe. My internship was hosted and guided by Dr. Gregory Rasmussen, the founder of the longest-running research project on Painted dogs in Zimbabwe.


As a PDRT Research Intern, I was responsible for aiding in tracking, pack monitoring, fecal sampling, and darting operations. One of the most exciting parts of the trip was when I had the opportunity to aid in the location of an entirely new pack of Painted dogs in the Fuller Forest area of Zimbabwe; this type of wildlife work was entirely new to me, and the opportunity to contribute to such an important and delicate operation was amazing, both in how it contributed to my professional education and goals, and in the personal impact working hands-on with the dogs had upon me.


We spent several days tracking the dogs back to their den. Following a tip from a local forest service tracker, patiently and slowly traversed the bumpy roads deep into the Fuller Forest area, scouring the dust for spoor. I had the chance to learn from the highly skilled PDRT staff and trackers;

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Digital infrared thermal imaging assessments of body temperature in the equine eye, muzzle, and coronary band

Cameron Volpe, Mississippi State University

Abstract, Winner


Cameron Volpe, Susan Bowers, Lauren Hodges and Scott Willard, Mississippi State University Colleges of Veterinary Medicine and Agriculture and Life Sciences, Starkville, MS


Measuring vital signs such as body temperature in an efficient manner is crucial to monitoring the health of both humans and animals. Digital infrared thermal imaging (DITI) is a fast non-invasive method of measuring body surface temperature gradients by converting a heat signature of an object into a color picture. DITI is also efficient at detecting asymmetry in thermal gradients, as is seen in areas of inflammation. This study utilized a DITI camera manufactured by Flir to evaluate the temperatures of the equine eye, muzzle, and coronary band and investigated their correlation with internal body temperature. The coronary band was selected because of its importance to hoof health and the numerous diseases associated with the equine hoof. Mares and foals (n=45) were imaged in a covered barn at a distance of one meter to determine any correlation between DITI temperatures and rectal temperatures (RT) measured with a digital thermometer. DITI temperatures were compared to RT using Pearson correlation coefficients, regression analysis, and paired/unpaired comparisons where appropriate (StatView).  RT was positively correlated with eye DITI (0.44 to 0.48; P< 0.001) and muzzle DITI (0.393 to 0.436; P<0.001) at a moderate level. Front and rear coronary DITI differed (P<0.02) by 0.27 to 0.29°C and were positively correlated with RT at a moderate level (0.289 to 0.367; P<0.0074). In conclusion, DITI measures were positively correlated, albeit at a moderate level, with RT. Additional research is needed to determine if this is sufficient as a non-invasive measure of body temperature in the equine species. In the future, DITI may become a useful diagnostic tool for measuring body temperature and detecting areas of inflammation and lameness in the equine species.Healthy mare, image taken at distance of 1 meter, focusing on the eye and muzzle.


The source of student financial support was the NIH Summer Research Experience for Veterinary Students, grant number 5T35OD010432


This study was funded by the USDA-ARS-funded Biophotonics Initiative for study support.




Potential applications-Pictured here are a the forelimbs of a mare with an old hoof abscess on her right hoof. The picture indicates that the area of the abscess is cooler in temperature than the surrounding hoof wall, due to decreased perfusion of that area.Potential applications-Pictured here are the hindlimbs of a mare with known lameness in her left hoof. The picture indicates that the left hoof is higher in temperature than the right hoof, indicating ongoing inflammation.


Dad <3

Blair Dingler, Texas A&M University

Foot in Mouth Disease


Vet Student Mom on the Beach!!!

Nancy Boren, Tufts

Experiences, Honorable Mention


    I’m a second year vet student; a second year vet student with two sons, a husband, three cats, a golden retriever and a pet hedgehog.  If you see an SUV with two car seats, dog fur, Goldfish cracker crumbs,  and perhaps a melted rogue lollypop in the parking lot at school, you know it’s mine.  After being a stay at home mom for 10 year, being back in school has been a big change.  As such I’ve sort of blended the two different areas of my life together and have developed a whole new image:  the vet student mom.  You know the one who shows up to curriculum night smelling like the pig barn because she just came from clinical skills, and more importantly the one that comes in her coveralls and muck boots to the boys’ classrooms, bandages their stuffed animals and answers all the kids’ questions about animal poop. 

During the last couple weeks of summer break, the boys and I went to the beach.  I was relaxing decked out in my full SPF 50 long sleeve rashguard shirt and swim shorts complete with large brimmed hat when suddenly I heard a commotion; a commotion that involved lots of laughter, squealing and a group of 5 year old boys.  I just knew they had caught something, just like how when I hear our dog retching on our couch I know she’s eaten a Lego.   I went over and sure enough there was a fish in a sand bucket.  All the Goldfish cracker crumbs in my car and melted lollipops didn’t just come from nowhere.  They were earned from years of explaining crucial life lessons like why the dog doesn’t get to eat lunch, or why the cat can’t sleep in the hedgehog cage with the hedgehog even if it would be cute or, and this last one we’ve had to have a few times, why bologna does not belong on the kitchen chandelier.  With my hat covered head held high and my white rashguard shirt glistening in the sunlight, alright maybe glistening is a strong word, I told them that I was a vet student and talked to them about why it was important they let the fish go which they did.  They I went back to my chair to apply more sunscreen and to be grateful that unlike my younger classmates  I’m at an age where bikinis are no longer cool and rashguards are all the rage.  

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Anchorman 2: Movie Star Turned Vet Student

Nina Marie, Western University

Life as a Vet Student, Honorable Mention
          Before vet school, I had trouble finding a summer job. Most places didn't want to commit to or train somebody that could only be around for 3 months or less. My problems were all solved the day my father read the newspaper and saw an ad for a movie open casting call starring Russell Crowe. They were looking for runner-type bodies for a movie called "Noah". In the midst of several hundred people, I was chosen to be a stunt extra in the movie. I played a Refugee and had to run towards an ark alongside many people in the pouring rain. This lead to my summer job as a background actor for television and movies. 

The photo is from one of the movies I worked on (I am all the way to the left). Surprisingly, I found out about this job via Facebook! They were looking for people with "70s looks" for a movie called "Teaching Manheim". Assuming that Teaching Manheim was some independent film, I submitted my photos to be considered as a background extra. I was selected to be in the film, which was shooting in New York City. At the time, I completely forgot that movies tend to go by a codename, and when I googled the name, I was shocked to see that it was Anchorman 2! On the day of filming, I had the fortune of being placed right next to Will Ferrell, Steve Carrell, Paul Rudd, and David Koechner. It was exciting and unreal to be standing right next to Ron Burgendy and his news team. On set, I also met Drake, who made a cameo in the movie. I saw myself in the movie trailer as well as the film itself. This was by far the best summer job I've ever had! 

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