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Partners for Healthy Pets - June Newsletter

Click HERE for the link to PHP and their June newsletter!


First Contact

Julia S. Mekler, Ross University

Foot In Mouth, Winner

Today was a day I will remember for the rest of my life.  Today I received my first (and hopefully not last) kiss from an orangutan.  It was through the glass, but it still counts, and actually, it happened several times.  I have to admit, however, that she wasn't all that into it... Because all she wanted was my boyfriend.

Backtracking for the sake of context, this morning we left Salzburg and took the train to Vienna.  It was already late afternoon when Kev and I arrived, so we thought we'd wander around the Schonbrun grounds and go to the zoo, which is the oldest continuous zoo in the world.  We hadn't planned to visit 'cause their main attraction is the orangutans, and we didn't want to see them in an enclosure, but we loved the Salzburg Zoo, and I've come to understand that a lot of these critters were rescued from bad situations, and that a wealthy, progressive society like that of Austria does well by its zoo animals.  The Vienna Zoo is on the actual palace grounds, and the exteriors of many of the animal habitats are designed in the style of the Schonbrun palace, in these elegant Hapsburg structures you'd never think you'd find at a zoo.  We saw a panda, including a baby, some hippos, some wild South American pigs called collared peccaries (with newborn babies in tow), King and Macaroni penguins, Emperor tamarinds (the ones with the big mustaches), Red Ruffed lemurs, and many other critters.  We saw a couple of sea lions having an argument that's well-known throughout the animal kingdom: One inched its way over to the other in the hopes of covertly sneaking a snuggle, but the would-be snugglee wouldn't have it, roared, and hopped off their sunbathing rock into the water, leaving the snuggler to nap all alone.

Finally we made our way to the "Orang-erie," as it's called, and were very pleasantly surprised to see that the enclosure was both indoor and outdoor and absolutely enormous - the four orangutans have their own wing of the zoo.  When we first entered the Orang-erie, the male approached some children in this little viewing corner; he sat down with them and made some really soulful eye contact through the glass.  Kev and I were trying to push through the kids as much as was appropriate for adults without children in tow.  The kids didn't seem to realize how special this kind of contact was; they took flash-photo after flash-photo (mostly of each other making "monkey faces"), and after not too long the ape lost interest and sauntered away.  Kev and I found another viewing nook - one without kids - and parked ourselves there.  Soon a female approached us... And knocked on the glass.  We were completely stunned.  She kept knocking and pointing and knocking and pointing, and we pretty much went into a panic trying to figure out what she wanted so that we could provide it for her and keep her there forever.  We were sitting cross-legged on the floor, and she was pointing at what I thought were Kev's feet; I kept taking off his shoes to show them to her, but was only met by another knock and point.  Then I tried to get him to take off his socks; when he wouldn't, I took off mine, and offered her the soles of my feet.  I emptied the contents of my bag and combed my hair with my brush, showed her my iPhone, offered her anything and everything I could think of.  Some interest, but what she wanted was something only Kevin could give her.  Finally I thought, "Is she pointing at his bum?"  I suggested he get up and turn himself around.  He did, and she stood up, took a step back, and really, really checked out the goods.  Once that was over, he sat back down, but she wanted what was in front; he was wearing shorts, and she tried to entice him to pull them farther and farther up his thighs.  Apparently I'd been very naive to the ways of the orangutan, 'cause Kev whispered to me that he'd realized this from the first minute... It had taken me twenty.  In between all this I got in a few window kisses, which she must've figured was the price she had to pay to see the male parts she was asking for.  We stayed with her till the zoo keeper fed them dinner and kicked us out.  He confirmed that the ladies often ask to see adult human man-parts.

Animals in zoos usually seem desensitized to the constant stream of visitors.  I haven't encountered too many apes - just gorillas at the Bronx Zoo, I think, but they didn't interact with their human guests.  This was probably the single most incredible interaction I've ever had with an animal.  Though poor Kev has now been left wondering if he would've measured up to the orangutan's expectations.




An exciting externship in NYC

Lucy Chou, Ross University

Experiences, Winner

Over my winter break in December 2013, I was accepted for a 2 week externship at Veterinary Emergency Referral Group (VERG) in New York.  VERG is a large referral practice with 2 locations in Brooklyn that offers specialty services as well as emergency 24 hour care.  I spent my time in their larger North VERG hospital with the Emergency, Ophthalmology and Surgery Services. 

The day would start with morning hospital wide rounds where the staff veterinarians, interns and externs would gather to discuss the cases and treatment plans for the hospitalized animals.  Since VERG also has a large internship program there would occasionally be morning lectures given by one of the senior staff doctors prior to rounds.  During my visit, I attended a lecture given by their neurologist Dr. Kara Sessums.  She ran though clinical cases to discuss diagnostic tests, lesion localization, and treatment options.  The part of the lecture that stood out in my mind was the discussion of treatment options because even though we all learn about it school, I find it to be one of the most challenging aspects of veterinary medicine to get a handle on.  Throughout the discussion I could tell that Dr. Sessums was a seasoned clinician with years of experience in the way she discussed her preferred treatment protocols for various neurological cases.

The rest of the day would continue with client appointments or emergency triages depending on the service I was shadowing.  In both cases, I had the opportunity to see the structure of the internship program.  The senior clinicians were great mentors to the interns and pushed them to think critically about the cases to come up with differential diagnosis and propose a plan of action.  I saw how this could be especially challenging in emergency cases where its high stress, fast paced and interns are really pushed to develop their skills to become an experienced clinician.             

This externship was a perfect opportunity to see interesting cases that often get referred to specialty practices.  I remember an amazing surgery I witnessed where a 1 year old male Labradoodle named Fritz came in on emergency recumbent and catatonic.  Following a CT scan, a diagnosis of severe hydrocephalus was made.  The clinical signs matched the dramatic CT scan that showed only a thin layer of brain material left due to the severe brain compression.  Even with a poor prognosis, the owners elected to move forward to put in a ventriculoperitoneal shunt which is basically a piece of plastic tubing imbedded in the brain and tunneled to the abdominal cavity to drain the buildup of CSF fluid in the cranium.  It was amazing to see the neurologist, Dr. Sessums, and the surgeon, Dr. Karen Cherrone, work together to drill into the skull, place the shunt and then tunnel it through the subcutaneous layer.  They showed me how it would operate with a little pump that was also tunneled through the subcutaneous tissue.  The owners would be responsible for pushing on the pump to drain the fluid as needed to prevent the massive CSF build-up.  I remember this case being at the being of my visit so I got to watch the daily progression of recovery.  The very next day, Fritz was already sitting sternal and able to ambulate somewhat with a special body harness.  Each day, his head bobbed less and he was able to support himself more and more.  By the time he left the hospital he was a completely new dog that had come out of his catatonic state and now responsive to stimulus and aware of his surroundings. 

Another interesting case was a 6 month old kitten named Lucky that came in non-ambulatory in all 4 limbs.  After radiographs were taken, it was obvious that all 4 legs had suffered serious fractures that would need surgical intervention for any possibility at future ambulation and use of the appendages.  After further physical exam and history gathering, a working diagnosis of brittle bone disease or osteogenesis imperfecta was made by a joint consult between the Surgery and Internal Medicine Services.  The owners elected to proceed with surgery to repair all four limbs knowing that there would be a long road of recovery and supportive care.

These were just a couple of the cases that I was exposed to.  After my externship, I walked away with some great experiences shadowing the veterinarians at VERG.  I would recommend this externship experience for anyone looking for a fast paced environment with a constant flow of interesting medical cases and the opportunity to see advanced treatment procedures. 


Cornell uses SAVMA grant money for business negotiation skill advancement

On April 24, 2014, Cornell's Student Chapter of the Women's Veterinary Leadership Development Initiative (WVLDI) hosted Jeanne Bohen Simard, a Career Strategist with a clinical background as a registered nurse, at Cornell to host an interactive negotiation skills workshop. Mrs. Bohen Simard has had a long career in both the medical and business world, and she has earned several top leadership positions in her field along the way.  

Students at Cornell recognized the need for increased training of veterinary students in negotiation skills as it currently only exists in the curriculum as one part of an elective course. Early during the Spring semester, several Cornell CVM students had been working together to form the first student chapter of the Women's Veterinary Leadership Development Initiative (WVDLI), so this event fit perfectly as their kick-off event. The founders of Cornell's WVLDI worked with Mrs. Bohen Simard to design an interactive workshop to acquaint, train, and encourage proficiency in business negotiation skills. While the workshop was open to all students, Mrs. Bohen Simard specifically highlighted the challenges that women tend to face when negotiating and managing careers since our field is becoming more female-dominated each year. SheCornell's WVLDI Officers highlighted why men and women have trouble successfully negotiating for themselves, explained what to discuss when negotiating for your career and how to say it, and gave attendees an opportunity to practice these skills so they would feel comfortable using them in the future.

The event had over 65 people in attendance and was wildly successful. Cornell WVDLI would like to thank SAVMA for the funding to execute such a fun and educational event.


UC Davis SCAAEP - EPDC Grant Award Winner

The student members of the Student Chapter of AAEP at UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine (Equine Medicine Clun) biannually participate in dental days for local rescue organizations.  This fall, October 6-7, 2013, the SCAAEP (Equine Medicine Club) at UC Davis went to the Glen Ellen Vocational Academy (GEVA foundation) in Santa Rosa, CA on Saturday and Sadie’s Bright Haven Horse Rescue and Sanctuary (Sadie’s Haven) in Sebastobol, CA on Sunday.  Each day fifteen students, ranging from first year to third year veterinary students, performed wellness exams and dental exams on these rescued and retired horses. 

For the past five years the SCAAEP has participated in dental wet labs to provide dental care to local horse rescue and sanctuary groups in northern California.  Every fall and spring EMC visits GEVA foundation in Santa Rosa, CA.  The tradition was established by former EMC officer Dr. Maureen Kelleher and has been continued through today with her assistance and teaching.    GEVA is a non-profit organization that provides homes for injured, retired, and abused horses or horses that just need a home.   This fall Dr. Maureen Kelleher joined EMC for a day full of dental exams and dental floats on 17 horses. Dr. Prutton demonstrating the proper technique for using power float to correct dental malocclusions at GEVA.

This fall, we had the opportunity to work with Sadie’s Bright Haven Horse Rescue and Sanctuary in Sebastobol, CA.  This is the first time EMC has worked with Sadie’s Haven and it was a wonderful opportunity to provide routine wellness exams, dental exams, and dental floats.  The purpose of Sadie’s Haven Horse Rescue and Sanctuary is to provide safe, loving and experienced care and shelter for equines that have been neglected, abused or abandoned. It also offers educational tours and provides day camp programs for the community, with special consideration for underprivileged children and teens.   The horses at Sadie’s Haven were between the ages of 20-35 years old, which provided an excellent opportunity to review geriatric equine dental care and see a wide range of dental abnormalities.  Also, several horses had heart murmurs, lameness and Equine Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction (Cushing’s disease).   Students participated in discussion and review of principles of sedation and dental care for geriatric patients. 

 The purpose of the EMC Dental Days is two fold:  One, to provide an opportunity for Equine Medicine Club members to gain hands on experience with wellness exams, routine dental care and review dental anatomy.  Second, to provide wellness and dental services to equine rescue organizations within our area. We work with local veterinarians, UC Davis residents and rescue groups to foster relationships for students, residents andStudents using a power float to correct dental abnormalities on a rescued horse at Sadie's Bright Haven. referring veterinarians.  Dr. Tere Crocker from North Coast Equine Mobile veterinary service participated in the

dental day in addition to UC Davis Large Animal Medicine Resident Dr. Elsbeth Swain at Sadie’s Bright Haven.  Dr. James Prutton and Dr. Alison Harvey from the UC Davis Equine Medicine Service joined Dr. Kelleher at GEVA.  Students have the opportunity to work with local veterinarians as well as doctors from the veterinary school. 

For each dental each group of students had several goals.  One, to review dental anatomy and routine dental technique for dental examination and floats.  Prior to beginning each wet lab, dental pathology was reviewed such that students could think about the mechanism of how an abnormality occurred and how to correct it.  Each horse had a dental chart to describe the findings and treatment.  Each horse also had a complete physical exam sheet and any additional procedures such as sheath cleaning or deworming were also noted.  Each student was required to propose sedation plans for each horse and discuss the mechanism of action for the drugs used (Detomidine, Xylazine, Butorphanol), before sedation was dispensed for each horse.   Proper equine restraint, proper use of the speculum and appropriate technique for monitoring a sedated horse was emphasized for each case.   First, second and third year veterinary students participated in all of the above activities.

Following both days of dental wet labs SCAAEP was invited back for spring dental exams, floatations and wellness days at both GEVA and Sadie’s Bright Haven.  Sadie’s Bright Haven is very excited to work with UCD veterinary students and provide learning opportunities.   SCAAEP plans on working again with Sadie’s Bright Haven in the spring in addition to the Grace Foundation and GEVA. 

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