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Entries in ross university (14)


My SAWorldVets Conservation Experience

Brian Tighe, Ross University

Experiences, Honorable Mention 


Often times when a person says you’ll have the opportunity to collaborate with a multimillion dollar industry, the opportunity to take care of animals that run into the tens of thousands of dollars per individual, a lot of feelings can come rushing towards you.  Excitement at the opportunity, disbelief in the trust placed upon you, anxiety over the possibility of a single mishap ruining your entire career, but the one emotion you would never expect is complacency.   Sable antelope, Hippotragus niger, is a species of antelope found in the savannahs of Africa.  Its rarity is dependent on the subspecies, spanning the spectrum from critically endangered to least concern, but that “least concern” label didn’t happen by itself. 

The farmers of South Africa have learned what valuable assets these animals can be, allowing offers from wealthy folks all over the world to spill in to purchase them for a variety of reasons, the most being hunting.  This gave great incentive to increase their numbers.  So when this student says he grew complacent seeing these creatures, he wasn’t bored or uninterested in them.  It was the sheer fact that on any given day as he drove threw the country, visiting farm after farm, these animals were everywhere.  Ever been to Pennsylvania and seen all the white-tailed deer?  Or how about sheep in New Zealand?  Or castles in Ireland?  It was kind of like that.  By the end of the trip we had seen so many Sable antelope we stopped taking pictures of them.  And you know what other emotion that made us realize on our journey back?  Pride in the efforts of conservationists, farmers, and veterinarians who were able to take an animal who used to have such low numbers and blow them up into a common sighting.

            I was one of fourteen students who went on an excursion to South Africa to follow a wildlife veterinarian as he worked to help farmers and maintain conservation of the animal species there.  The group was called SAWorldVets and was worth every penny.  Essentially we were following him on a day to day work schedule, awakening each morning before sunrise to whatever was scheduled, lunch, going out to calls, and then finally coming back in the evening to crash around the campfire.  Luckily for us, we just so happened to arrive two weeks before a giant auction that would involve many of the farmers in the area and, of course, they all wanted their animals in top shape.

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My SAVMA Symposium Experience

Adam Silkworth, Ross University

Experiences, Entry


After spending the last 2 years on the Caribbean island of St. Kitts attending Ross University, the little snow that we received in Loveland, Colorado at the 2014 SAVMA Symposium was a welcome reminder of the world outside of the beaches and oceans that I had been currently living.

Traveling from such a long distance made the trip there in and of itself an adventure alone. We had to sprint through the Dallas airport, making our connection by mere seconds, due to our Miami connection being delayed. But not before we got Wendy’s in the Miami airport that we had all been talking about for days leading up to the trip.

We didn’t land in Denver until 11:10 p.m. the night before Symposium was to kick off and still had over an hour ride to the hotel. Let us not forget the time difference between the Caribbean and Colorado. By our body clocks, we didn’t land until 1:10 a.m. and arrive at the hotel until well after 2 a.m. Oh and did I mention that breakfast was at 6 a.m. No sleep ‘til Symposium!

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My SAVMA Symposium Experience

Lisa Corsale, Ross University

Experiences, Entry


If one has an opportunity to attend the SAVMA Conference next year, then it should be taken.  The trip not only helps you network in your field with different social activities but also there are wet labs, day trips, and lecturers.

You get to meet many specialists during the lecturers. For example, I was able to attend a large animal behavior talk given by Dr. Temple Grandin.  From her lecture, being able to read the behavior and interpret correctly how the animal feels, I am able to incorporate that same lesson into small animals. No matter what area of veterinary medicine you are interested in, there was a lecture for every topic imaginable.

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A review of Veterinary Research in Epigenetics

Rebecca Zaremba, Ross University

Cases/Abstracts, Honorable Mention           


 For many years, millions[ACL1]  of healthy women and their families have suffered from miscarriage, which is openly defined as the loss of a fetus under 20 weeks of age (The March of Dimes). The trauma of miscarriage often impacts entire families, from expectant mothers and fathers to siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles. Many factors can cause miscarriage, and most of these are poorly understood. It is important to determine etiologies of miscarriage and it is also equally important to be able to understand that these tragedies do not disappear after the loss of the baby. Fortunately, the veterinary field has helped immensely in determining specific point mutations which are thought to be responsible for such tragedies in humans.

            One of the long-term goals of the Lossie lab is to understand the genetic and epigenetic causes of miscarriage. In an effort to understand these mechanisms, we have characterized two lethal mutations in mice known as l11Jus1 (L1) and l11Jus4 (L4). L1 and L4 are two separate mutations in a gene called Notchless (Nle1), which is a component found downstream to the Notch pathway (Baumgarner et al. 2007). These two mutant lines survive through the blastocyst stage (Figure 1) and are able to successfully implant into the uterus. However, neither L1 nor L4 survive past implantation; they arrest prior to gastrulation, which eventually leads to an immature body.

Figure 1. Implantation

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My Time in South Africa

Kristen Crouch, Ross University

Life as a Vet Student, Winner


I have always grown up having a passion for the Earth and all of its wild creatures. Having wildlife biologists as parents and growing up just a short bike ride away from to a local wildlife rehabilitation center called Southwest Wildlife fostered my interest in wildlife and conservation medicine. When I was younger, I was able to meet and shadow Dr. Dean Rice, former Phoenix Zoo veterinarian, at the local zoo. This background with both free-ranging and captive wildlife helped prepare me for my visit with a company called Wildlifevets in South Africa. Being able to actively participate and apply what we’ve learned to field conservation medicine was the best experiences I could have hoped for and an experience I will never forget.

While with Wildlifevets, I was able to learn more about and refine my rudimentary wildlife darting techniques, proper drug use and how to calculate appropriate dosages for various species, post-immobilization techniques, and transportation of immobilized wildlife. Reading texts and journal articles and observing captures are nothing compared to the practical experience of working with free-ranging wildlife.

While in South Africa, I had the opportunity to participate in the large-scale capture, immobilization, and translocation of buffalo, immobilization and translocation of individual nyala as they were spotted in the bush, and immobilization and dehorning of rhinoceros to significantly decrease their exposure to being poached. I also attended lectures, practicals, and a post-mortem examination of a buffalo calf to further enhance the learning experience of this opportunity. Lectures included the obvious veterinary topics, but also included information on the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), wildlife management techniques, and the roles of tourism and hunting in managing Africa’s vast wildlife species.

Unlike North America where wildlife belongs to the public and is managed in the public trust, in South Africa, wildlife is owned by the landowners and managed as the landowners see fit. This leads to a much more intensive management as wildlife is generally restricted in movements due to high fences (albeit these are enclosures spanning tens or hundreds of square miles). It also leads to a greater need for application of conservation medicine to ensure health of herds, genetic diversity, treatment of individual animals (injuries, orphans, and illness) and protection of habitat.

While translocating certain species may not seem to have strong ties to conservation medicine, it is actually core to the process. Another experience I was lucky enough to participate in was a mass capture of impala. They are herded using helicopters or other machinery into V-shaped bomas, or enclosures, and when pushed into the final “corral” enclosure, they are stressed, some injured, over-heated, and exhausted, requiring veterinary care. I also got to help translocate buffalo from one farm to another. All must be immobilized, and once immobilized, closely monitored. They are placed on sternal recumbency, have their eyes covered, and have their body temperature and respirations monitored until release. Their blood is drawn for disease testing and general health assessments are conducted. If injured, injuries are assessed and treated if possible, although severely injured individuals may need to be humanely euthanized. Sometimes calves are hopelessly separated from their mothers, or the calves are trampled during darting. These orphan calves are transferred and sometimes raised by people. This was the case for us. Although exhausting, it was also fun to be able to bottle feed these orphans throughout nighttime shifts. We named our buffalo calf “Rossie,” and I’m happy to report that he will be reintroduced into a new herd sometime in the near future.

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