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Emma Svenson - Wisconsin-Madison

V:50 I:4 Experiences Honorable Mention


     Sleek grey shapes cartwheeled through the water in an ocean arabesque. I crouched motionless by the pool until one little ball of fur drew near. Then I pounced. I grabbed for the back flipper of pup 39. With a snap, her teeth closed on my sweatshirt, narrowly missing skin. I hauled back, dragging her into a temporary pen. I sighed and contemplated the iron grip on my sleeve. “They didn’t talk about this in the manual,” I muttered as I pried open her jaw. Why, why, had I volunteered to help drain pus from the infected ear of a homicidal harbor seal? 

#39 looking adorable - photo credit to my fellow intern Evan NiewoehnerI was spending my summer at the University of New England Biddeford’s Marine Animal Rehabilitation Center (MARC), authorized by the National Marines Fisheries Service to rehabilitate stranded marine mammals and sea turtles. At MARC, 39’s irascibility was legend. But despite her unlovable nature, this pup convinced me to become a veterinarian, though my interest in the field began long before I met her.

My passion for veterinary medicine first sparked as a child, awestruck at thoroughbreds sprinting down Keeneland racetrack. I was a classic horse-obsessed girl, happy in a barn, whether mucking stalls, riding, or watching veterinarians. But love of horses alone did not persuade me to be a vet. 

Nor, for a while, was vet medicine first on my list of potential careers. After my sophomore year in high school, I volunteered to translate Spanish for a team of doctors and medical students in Guatemala. Driving over rough mountain roads to help deliver healthcare, I learned about social determinants of heath. In clinics made of sheet metal and prayers, I was drawn to human medicine; I wanted to be a doctor.  

BFFStill, doubt dogged me, for dreams do not die easily. In college, I steered a middle passage between vet and human medicine. I began working hard to earn three majors and two minors, hoping a well-rounded mind would be an asset to any type of medicine. I joined a pre-med club and rode on UW’s equestrian team, still straddling two professions. 

On my quest to choose, I became an intern at MARC, responsible for the medical well being of our charges. My days were spent hosing down enclosures, tube feeding the youngest pups, running water quality tests, transitioning pups to eating fish, analyzing blood work, helping organize releases, and more. Each night I stank of fish and feces, yet my biggest problem was 39. Despite her small size, a suspected spinal cord injury, and an infection worming its way through her ears, 39 zoomed around pool and pen, terrorizing all. Some shied from her ferocity, but I admired her tenacity to live. I made her my special charge, entering a battle of wills she usually won.  

Watching the sunset from my backyard in Maine.After my return to Madison, sad news of 39 finally convinced me to be a vet: my fiery charge was dead, euthanized because her ear infection could not be controlled. I felt as if I had failed at my job to make her healthy. And I never wanted to feel that way again. I am not naïve, and know I can’t heal all animals. But in that moment, I decided that I want to have the clinical skills to try to help even those gruff as 39. I decided to become a veterinarian. Someday, I hope to work with wildlife – especially marine animals. 

This year, I am a first year veterinary student at UW- Madison. The hours are long, the work is tough, and it’s sometimes hard to remember why I’m torturing myself with twelve classes and endless hours of studying. When the workload gets to be too much, I think back on my experience at MARC. I remember the pup that refused to give up on life, right to the very end. And I remember why I’m becoming a veterinarian.


A 'Fancy' Antibody?

Is this antibody fancy?


Gongjoo Paik - Illinois

V:50 I:4 Foot in Mouth Disease Honorable Mention



Necropsy Report

Caitlyn Lennon - Western

V:50 I:4 Cases/Abstracts 1st Place




Pet’s Name:        Patient X

Sex:                    Castrated male

Age:                    14 years

Species:              Canine

Weight:               26 lbs       



Patient presented for evaluation after sliding down the stairs. A grade III/IV heart murmur, laxity of left stifle, moderate obesity, and significant periodontal disease was appreciated. Radiographs revealed mild cardiomegaly, mild left atrial enlargement, an otherwise unremarkable geriatric thorax (mild bronchointerstitial pattern), joint effusion in the left stifle, and mild DJD of the left tarsus. Pre-operative bloodwork revealed mild hyperalbuminemia, elevated ALP, and thrombocytosis. A lateral suture repair was performed the next day. Patient became hypotensive during surgery, but an increase in the fluid rate improved it slightly. At 11:20am the day after surgery the patient had a temperature of 104.5, was panting, had tacky mucous membranes, and was 6-7% dehydrated. His temperature decreased to 101.7 at 1pm after therapy initiated. By 8pm the temperature had increased to 103.1. The next day the patient was found deceased in his cage at 6:45am and his body was placed in the freezer at 12pm.



The animal submitted for necropsy is Patient X, a castrated male terrier mix canine.

Integumentary System:

The carcass has a body condition score of 4/5 with prominent fat stores. An oval mass was found in the right inguinal region, measuring 2.5cm by 1.5cm, and consisted of adipose tissue (lipoma). There was marked hyperemia of the skin in the inguinal region. No other significant lesions were observed in the skin or subcutaneous tissues. 

Musculoskeletal System:

The right hip joint was opened and revealed mild fibrillation, roughening, and erosion of the head of the femur, consistent with mild degenerative joint disease. A 10cm long incision was noted on the lateral aspect of the left stifle region (Figure 3). Staples were removed and sutured layers were incised, revealing strong, nonabsorbable sutures extending from the lateral fabella to the cranial aspect of the tibial crest, extracapsular to the stifle joint (Figure 4). This is consistent with a lateral suture repair technique for a rupture of the cranial cruciate ligament. The stifle joint was opened and no gross lesions were appreciated (Figure 4). The left tarsal joint was also opened and no gross lesions were revealed.

Gross Diagnosis:

1)     Mild degenerative joint disease of the right hip joint

2)     Lateral suture repair surgery of the left stifle

3)     Grossly normal left stifle and tarsal joints


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This Was a Terrible Idea

Abaigeal Mleziva - Wisconsin-Madison

V:50 I:4 Creative Corner Honorable Mention


This Was a Terrible Idea





Skinner Photography

Stephanie Skinner - Kansas State

V:50 I:4 Creative Corner Honorable Mention













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