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Skinner Photography

Stephanie Skinner - Kansas State

V:50 I:4 Creative Corner Honorable Mention














The Epic of Mesenchymesh

Joseph Zarin - UC Davis

V:50 I:4 Creative Corner Winner


The Epic of Mesenchymesh

In the realm, Endothelonia
Along the banks of the Red River
A young cell dreamt
To see the Spleen and the Liver

But he was bound with his brethren
Enshackled by chains
The world, his vision
Mesenchymesh, his name

He preached to his kin
"There is more, there is more!"
But the germ cells just laughed
The elders only ignored

Hepatocellular catacombs!
Splenic pulp, red and white!
The ebb and flow of the auricle
Not the left, but the right!

Mesenchymesh's words
Finally rang through
Unto the ears of a friend

They spread the gospel,
Of which they were emphatic:
"To truly reach enlightenment
Was to become Metastatic"

"What's that?" "No way!" 
was the buzz around town
"Can we truly be free
And not be bound?!"

"Yes, yes, yes,
YOU can be free!
You can see the world,
If you trust in me"

One by one,
Two by two,
What once was farce
Became the truth

Mesenchymesh led
With Endokidu at his side,
They set out at dawn
Along the sanguine tide

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My Time With Dr. Yin

This is a powerful piece about Sophie's very personal experience with Dr. Sophia Yin.


Sophie Liu - Cornell

V:50 I:4 Experiences 2nd Place


       Loss is a deeply complicated experience, one founded in sweet memories and buttressed by bittersweet realizations. Rarely a day goes by that I do not have vivid flashbacks to my time spent with the late Dr. Sophia Yin. Dr. Yin was my mentor, inspiration, and friend. She was the creative mastermind who helped uncover my deepest passion and guided me on this path towards behavior medicine. In her, I found not only a kindred spirit but also someone who genuinely cared for me and urged me to try harder than the last time. If it wasn’t readily apparent by all the free educational material displayed on her website, it also goes without saying that Dr. Yin poured her soul into her work, and she percolated with sage insight, freely flowing to every hungry apprentice who was willing to meet her rigorous standards. I’m not sure how many high school, college, or veterinary students are lucky enough to find a mentor this remarkable, but I was so lucky to have found Sophia Yin.


"Chickens were meant for eating, not training."From the moment I contacted her as an aimless high school junior to the moment she sent me off to veterinary school, Dr. Yin always relished in “putting me to work” and challenged my knowledge and skills. For my first internship, for example, she decided that a top priority was to expand my training skills to beyond just the canine variety. So, she purchased a small batch of chicks, and I thus began the task of raising and training animals with which I’d only had previous experience eating. Let me assure you – when I was growing up, backyard chickens were not yet popular in urban SF Bay Area. Chickens were meant for eating, not training. Yet, with Dr. Yin’s playful goading and experienced wisdom, I carefully crafted a training plan, documenting each behavioral success with the precision and rigor befitting any respectable scientist. In the end, I never quite trained the complete object discrimination task that we’d planned, but, in my defense, I was also tasked with training the resident cat and the neighbor’s unruly dog in four short weeks. One can only shape so many behaviors in such a short amount of time!

It is difficult now to reflect on my experiences with Dr. Yin without equal parts elation and profound emptiness. Dr. Yin’s broad reach and ability to straddle the two spheres of animal trainers and veterinary professionals has made her an immensely public figure. Her name is still everywhere, her work is in many of my classes, and her wisdom permeates so much of modern behavior medicine. Yet, the knowledge that she is no longer with us and the understanding that a deep suffering swept her from this world lingers with me, and it coats everything with a veneer of sadness and regret.

In veterinary school, we are taught how to manage physical pain. We are taught the neural pathways, instructed to lessen discomfort, and given advice on drug selection. We are taught to ameliorate suffering, to enhance quality of life, and to preserve dignity. But in our quest to control the suffering of creatures in our lives, we sometimes struggle to recognize our own pain and manage the suffering that accumulates with time. We brush aside the frustrations that burden our core each time we experience heartache, destructive criticism, or financial setback. We push on and we fight. But the truth is that we are not unbreakable, and even the giants among us need support. Reach out to your friend, your peer, your mentor, and listen. Ask deep questions, seek help, and, above all, do no harm to yourself, first. The legacy of Dr. Yin and every veterinarian or veterinary student whose untimely passing gave us pause demands that we do so. 



Dr. Kearns & Merck

Melissa Sigg - Ohio State

V:50 I:4 Creative Corner Honorable Mention


Dr. Kearns with 'Merck'



A Fluffy Present  







Canine Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency: A Challenging Condition


Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI) is a particularly concerning digestive condition that leads to nutrient deficiencies, weight loss, and death if left untreated (Foster and Smith, 2012). EPI4dogs Foundation defines EPI as “the inability of the pancreas to secrete digestive enzymes: amylase to digest starches, lipases to digest fats, and proteases to digest protein. Without a steady supply of these enzymes to help break down and absorb nutrients, the body starves. When EPI is undiagnosed and left untreated, the entire body is deprived of the nutrients needed for growth, renewal, and maintenance. In time, the body becomes so compromised that the dog either starves to death or dies of organ failure. The Merck Veterinary Manual defines EPI as “a syndrome caused by insufficient synthesis and secretion of digestive enzymes by the exocrine portion of the pancreas”. “Lack of pancreatic digestive enzymes leads to maldigestion and malabsorption” (2011). This condition is certainly nothing to overlook. Many pet owners and veterinarians are unfamiliar with the detrimental condition and the purpose of this case study is to enhance the veterinarian’s and pet owner’s knowledge and awareness of EPI.

Like other canine medical conditions, EPI requires proper diagnosis and management. However, the condition is unique because it also requires a responsible and financially stable dog owner with patience and willingness to learn as much as he or she can about EPI and nutrition. Clinical signs can be misleading, as they are comparable to those of many other conditions. While diagnosis can be simplified when differentials get ruled out, medical bills can add up to an outrageously high expense. Overall management of EPI is best described as nutritionally variable, effective, expensive, and lifelong. The following case report outlines signs, diagnosis, dietary management, and financial aspects of a canine EPI patient. Its purpose is to emphasize requirements of the veterinarian and client in nutritional support for the condition, as well as to highlight the significance of financial requirements. As such, this case can be of interest to a broad readership of veterinary professionals, veterinary science students, and pet owners.

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