The official newsletter of the College of Veterinary Medicine
September 2009 - Vol. 4, No. 9
Teaming up against H1N1
Drs. Dick Hesse and Bob Rowland join forces in research effort against spread of H1N1 flu virus.
Beefing up cattle welfare
Dr. Dan Thomson chairs international committee.
Hosting major rabies symposium
K-State wins right to host Merial symposium
If some day you are tested for the H1N1 virus without the painful prick of a needle, thank a team of CVM researchers and their collaborators who connect animal and human health.
Drs. Dick Hesse and Bob Rowland — along with a research partner at Iowa State University — are collaborating with Dr. Susan Wong, a scientist at the New York State Department of Health, on diagnostic and intervention tools for the H1N1 virus.
While Dr. Wong works on the human health side, the other scientists are focused on aspects of the research that will benefit animal health, including the health of swine in Kansas.
One of the ways these scientists’ work intersects is in a method for identifying the H1N1 virus. At K-State,
“Just as we are developing noninvasive techniques to collect samples from animals, it provides the New York State health lab the opportunity to develop the same oral fluids technique for humans,” Dr. Rowland said. “Using a saliva swab rather than a needle to draw blood works especially well for kids.”
The K-State researchers also contribute to the human health side by providing Dr. Wong’s lab with antigen targets and by validating test systems.
“We bring a lot to the table, but at the same time they bring a lot to us,” Dr. Rowland said. “One of the nice things is we can study the virus in pigs and get the type of reagents and samples from which to develop the tests. You can't do that with people.”
Such benefits to human health stem from K-State's efforts to help swine producers across Kansas. The K-Staters are developing multiplex system tests to profile swine herds and determine what's circulating, what the antibody response is, and with that knowledge help producers make sound management decisions.
“This standardized diagnostic testing is to help the citizens of Kansas,” Dr. Hesse said. “We herd profile on the veterinary end of things, and you can consider the human population a herd you can profile as well.”
Dr. Rowland said some of the benefits of their testing system are providing more information, better accuracy and reduced costs for producers.
“This is the next generation of diagnostic tests that will replace a lot of things we’ve done in the past,” he said. “The bottom line is these producers have to be able to afford the tests we provide them,” he said.
Healthy pigs mean successful producers, Dr. Hesse said.
“At the end of the day, these diagnostics help maintain the healthy agriculture economy of the state,” Dr. Hesse said.
After diagnosing diseases in herds, the researchers said that their next goals are to help producers with surveillance and prevention.
“The same reagents we use for diagnostics are often the ones we use for vaccines, so we're not only looking at diagnosing something, we’re always looking at the next stage,” Dr. Rowland said.
Gary Anderson, who directs the K-State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, said that what sets apart Hesse, Rowland and many of their colleagues at K-State is their work at the bench nearly always translates into benefits for the field.
"These are hard-core scientists who are really interested in meeting real-world needs and taking the research from the bench to the field, and the K-State Veterinary Diagnostic Lab is doing that every single day by helping people in our state and nation."
The importance of the K-State researchers’ efforts is magnified with diseases like the flu that humans share with other animals.
“This really gets back to the concept of one health, one medicine,” Dr. Rowland said. “Veterinary and human medicine have a lot of interaction, especially on the infectious disease side, where we look at infectious agents that may circulate in both human and animal populations.”
Students at Kansas State University are researching some of the most important infectious diseases in swine to improve the long-term health of pigs.
The K-State students are working in the laboratory of Dr. Bob Rowland, professor of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology.
Nicholas Crossland, first-year student in veterinary medicine and graduate student in veterinary biomedical sciences, Overland Park, and Jessica Otradovec, sophomore in animal science and pre-veterinary medicine, Palmyra, Neb., are conducting research this summer in Dr. Rowland's lab.
Maureen Kerrigan, Dr. Rowland's laboratory manager, said the students have been collecting samples to compare health factors and genetic profiles of swine.
"The big picture here is to improve swine health long-term through vaccination or by understanding which pigs genetically are more resistant to viruses without having to vaccinate them," Kerrigan said.
Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus is a highly infectious disease that causes a flu-like condition with high fever, loss of appetite and an overall deterioration of health. Porcine circovirus is a disease that compromises a pig's immune system with clinical signs like skin rashes, jaundice, fever, diarrhea, poor growth, weight loss and death.
Kerrigan said the lab research involves work with swine genetics and virus proteins. The researchers are looking at how the proteins differ in infected and noninfected swine to help understand if certain proteins can be used for protection from the viruses.
Crossland worked in Dr. Rowland's lab as an undergraduate student in preparation for applying to K-State's College of Veterinary Medicine. He is running enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays, a procedure in which he mixes swine sera with bacterial expressed viral proteins to see how they interact. Kerrigan said this will show if a pig has been exposed to the protein.
Otradovec started working in the lab as a freshman and had no prior experience in research or swine health. She is learning a variety of cloning techniques.
"I want to go to vet school, so working in a lab and learning to do all these procedures will help me immensely, even in the classroom," Otradovec said.
Crossland and Otradovec started working in the lab after they heard about the job opening through a pre-veterinary medicine club listserv. Crossland said Rowland and Kerrigan allow the students in the lab to work on their own with applicable research.
"It's not about being a robot in a lab and reproducing a protocol," Crossland said. "It's about thinking critically and producing something that's useful."
Kerrigan said the lab has had an increase in student help during the last year for the research. She said about five undergraduates will be doing research this fall.
Dr. Rowland is continuing swine health research at K-State's Biosecurity Research Institute. Dr Beth Montelone, interim director of the institute, said the facility's first animal health study starts this month. Drs. Rowland and Dick Hesse, K-State director of diagnostic virology, will conduct experiments on swine virus vaccination.
"As we begin to move forward with additional projects, we anticipate that there will be opportunities for veterinary, graduate and undergraduate students to take part in these projects," Dr. Montelone said.
The Biosecurity Research Institute is a biocontainment research and education facility at K-State's Pat Roberts Hall. It is designed for biosafety level 3 and biosafety level 3 agriculture research, which includes work on diseases caused by high-consequence pathogens and the development of vaccines for dangerous animal diseases.The National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility coming to Manhattan also will have biosafety level 3 capabilities where scientists will conduct animal and zoonotic disease research. Additionally it will have biosafety levels 2 and 4 capabilities.
Dr. Dan Thomson, K-State’s Jones Professor of Production Medicine and Epidemiology in the Department of Clinical Sciences, traveled to Paris, France, in late July to chair the OIE Beef Cattle Production and Animal Welfare committee.
Beef cattle production and international beef trading is important to the economic base of many developed and developing countries.
The committee included animal welfare experts from Uruguay, Kenya, Australia, China and Ireland as well as OIE experts.
“OIE is the world organization for animal health,” Dr. Thomson said. “It represents 174 countries around the world on issues such as animal health and disease control. The OIE has decided to include animal welfare as one of its interests.”
He said the OIE's mission and international scope for animal health is equivalent to the World Health Organization's mission for human health.
“This is the first time the OIE has put together standards for animal care and welfare,” said Clayton Huseman, executive director of the feedyard division of the Kansas Livestock Association. “They are internationally recognized in international trade and countries look to them for animal health information. What the committee comes up with has a huge impact on the countries they represent. It is really good to know we have a Kansan leading that charge. I have confidence in Dan’s scientific knowledge and more importantly his knowledge of how modern production agriculture works in the U.S.”
As the OIE moves forward setting animal welfare code as part of their business, it will definitely be involved in international trade and the World Trade Organization, Dr. Thomson said.
Dr. Thomson's work to advance the welfare of cattle has been on-going for his entire career," said Ralph Richardson, dean of K-State's College of Veterinary Medicine. "Being named chair of the OIE Beef Cattle Production and Animal Welfare committee is recognition of his efforts and the positive impact that he and other members of Kansas State University's Beef Cattle Institute are having on the livestock industry. We are very thankful for the leadership that K-State brings to Kansas, the nation and the world when it comes to beef production."
Dean Richardson said it is vital that K-State, in the heart of cattle country, be relevant to the livestock industry. "Educational events, like the International Symposium on Beef Cattle Welfare held at K-State in May 2008 and organized by Dr. Thomson, are vitally important because they work with the livestock industry to educate about best practices which benefit both the animals in a humane way and the bottom line financially for the producer."
Dr. Thomson said, "To my knowledge, there are no other published international standards for beef cattle welfare. The group of eight of us who sat around the table in Paris came from diverse backgrounds, not only from the standpoint of the development of our country but in the way we raise beef cattle. My involvement is recognition of Kansas’ and U.S. beef production as international leaders in animal welfare.”
Dr. Thomson said the draft includes guidelines and outcome assessment measurements for confined animals and cattle raised in extensive production systems. The member countries will review and comment on the document. The committee will reconvene next summer to put the finishing touches on the document before it will be put before the general assembly of the OIE for final vote to be included into code.
"We are extremely excited about getting the document out to the OIE member countries for review," Dr. Thomson said. "It was truly an honor to represent our country and our cattle producers. Kansas is the hub of the U.S. beef industry and we are continually looking to raise the relevance of our programs at Kansas State University for the beef industry."In addition to Dr. Thomson, the OIE Beef Cattle Production and Animal Welfare Committee includes Abass Mohamed, Kenya; Bernadette Earley, Ireland; Andrew Fischer, Australia; Stella Heurtas, Uruguay; Zoo Ling, China (unable to attend); along with OIE staff.
In support of World Rabies Day efforts, Student American Veterinary Medical Association (SAVMA) chapters competed to raise funds for rabies prevention and educational programs. This year’s winner, K-State, earned an on-site rabies symposium sponsored by Merial, scheduled for Sept. 19, 2009 at the K-State Alumni Center.
“Rabies awareness and education is critical to public health and safety in the United States and around the world,” said Dr. Ralph Richardson, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine. “K-State is committed to efforts to help prevent rabies and is excited to host the Merial Rabies Symposium.”
With the recent passing of Dr. George Baer, the “Father of Oral Rabies Vaccination,” this year’s event will have special meaning. Dr. Baer was regarded as an international wildlife rabies expert and was credited with developing one of the first oral vaccines that eliminated red fox rabies from several countries in Western Europe. In recognition of his efforts, the 2009 rabies symposium will be dedicated to him.
The daylong event – free of charge – starts with breakfast at 7:15 and will feature a session on the global perspective of rabies, a second session on the national perspective and a final session including recent rabies cases and implications. In addition, attendees can enter a drawing for a chance to win a K-State Scholarship for $2,500. The symposium concludes with a reception from 5 to 6 p.m.
“Merial is pleased to partner with student AVMA chapters, and this year brings a unique rabies education event to Kansas State University students and state veterinarians,” said Dr. Hal Little, director of Veterinary Field Services at Merial. “As a global leader in rabies prevention, we truly understand the importance of educating communities about this fatal disease.”
In addition to the symposium, Merial supports other rabies awareness and educational efforts including the sponsorship of nine rabies training seminars for Noah’s Wish, an international nonprofit organization that rescues and cares for endangered animals during natural disasters; and sponsorship of World Rabies Day.
For more information or to register to attend the 2009 Merial Rabies Symposium at K-State, visit:
Michelle Mazur and Stephan Gibson, both class of 2012, spent the summer working at Plum Island Animal Disease Center (PIADC). The opportunity was made available through a cooperative effort between the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, United States Department of Agriculture and Department of Homeland Security. Each student spent 12 weeks working in the facility in Plum Island, N.Y., on an assigned project.
Michelle worked in veterinary pathology on a study investigating the pathogenesis of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in persistently infected animals, while Stephan assessed the usefulness of a lymphocyte blastogenesis assay for measuring the T-cell response of cattle to FMD vaccine trials.
Both students gained valuable laboratory experience as well as experience in working in a biocontainment laboratory. PIADC is classified as a biolevel 3 facility, and it is the only place in the U.S. where scientists can conduct research and diagnostic work on FMD.
In addition to working on their respective projects, Stephan and Michelle also had the opportunity to attend a two-week intensive Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostician course. They heard a series of lectures describing the pathogenesis and characteristics of 20 different foreign animal diseases, and observed clinical cases and necropsies of each disease.
Irish eyes are smiling — at llamas and other camelids. Dr. David Anderson visited Galway, Ireland, in July and presented seven hours of continuing education on surgery of llamas and alpacas at the International Camelid Conference. Veterinarians from more than 10 countries attended the conference, which included hands-on laboratories and visits to the Cliffs of Moher in County Claireil, Caves of Aillwee, and the ruins at Poulnabrone, which are more than 3,000 years old.
Dr. Anderson also gave two hours of seminars on bovine welfare and pain management at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich main campus in Munich, Germany, and visited the Clinic for Food Animals located in Oberschleissheim in Bavaria, Germany, in July. A new clinic for food animals was constructed there in 2003.
“We enjoyed good fellowship with the faculty while dining on traditional white sausages (weisswurst) of Bavaria!” Dr. Anderson said.
Boot Hill meets Powercats at the annual Dodge City rodeo, as the CVM’s Equine Field Service team acted on behalf of the PRCA rodeo as veterinarians for the event. From left: Sara Dotson, (class of 2010), Dr. Chris Blevins (assistant professor), Kelsey Sapp (class of 2010), Courtney Bassett (class of 2010), Dr. Dave Ripple (local veterinarian and class of 1972), and Bryson Lacey (class of 2010).
First-year orientation took place the week of Aug. 17. Activities included training sessions, tours, a picnic and a team-building exercise (shown at right). Welcome lucky Class of 2013!
The results of an annual survey conducted by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) reveal an economic mixed bag when it comes to what new veterinary graduates encountered in 2009.
The survey results appear in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association in a Sept. 1, 2009, article entitled, “Employment, starting salaries, and educational indebtedness of year-2009 graduates of US veterinary colleges.”
“There’s good news, and there’s not-so-good news in the survey,” said Dr. W. Ron DeHaven, AVMA chief executive officer. “While most starting salaries are up, there are some areas that saw declines. And while the vast majority of these new veterinarians are getting jobs, we saw a drop this year in the number of graduates who received job offers by the time they graduated. That is a serious concern, considering that educational debt continues to climb.”
According to the survey, 79.5 percent of respondents received an offer of employment or advanced education by their graduation date, down about 11.5 percent from the class of 2008, most likely due to the economy. Of those who received an offer, nearly half received more than one. Eighty-four percent of those seeking employment accepted an offer. When it comes to salaries for these new hires, the average starting salary among all employer types combined increased 0.7 percent, from $48,328 in 2008 to $48,684 in 2009. Excluding those who continued their education through advanced study, the average starting salary increased 5.2 percent, from $61,633 in 2008 to $64,826 in 2009. The average starting salary in the public-corporate sector decreased 7.3 percent in 2009, while the average starting salary in all types of private practice increased 6 percent. Average starting salaries in the private sector, excluding those for equine practices, ranged from a low of $63,172 for food animal predominant positions to a high of $72,318 for food animal exclusive positions.
Graduates entering equine practice, according to the survey, continued to earn less than their counterparts in other types of private practice, with equine practices offering an average starting salary of $37,854 in 2009. That’s a decrease of 9.1 percent from last year’s starting salaries in the equine field. In contrast, the average starting salary in companion animal exclusive practices was $69,154, which was second highest only to food animal exclusive starting salaries.
While more than half of veterinary graduates sought employment immediately following graduation, many others decided to continue their education through internships, residencies or the pursuit of other degrees, such as a master’s or PhD. The proportion of graduates seeking advanced education increased by 9 percent from 2008.
Other graduates sought postgraduate education or training in an AVMA-recognized, board-certified specialty. Over a third of graduates, or 38.1 percent, indicated in the survey that they were planning on seeking diplomate status with such entities as the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, the American College of Veterinary Surgeons, the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care and the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners, among others.
Most of the news coming out of the 2009 senior survey paints a positive picture for those
entering the profession, but the AVMA remains concerned about student debt upon graduation.
According to the survey results, 88.6 percent of students had debt at the time of their
graduation from veterinary school, and all but 9.6 percent of that debt was incurred while the
students were in veterinary school. Average debt increased 8.5 percent between 2008 and 2009,
“Student debt continues to rise each year,” Dr. DeHaven said, “and the AVMA, along with the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges and other veterinary groups, are working hard to find ways to alleviate some of the financial burden these new graduates carry with them out of veterinary school.
“Most students graduate college with debt,” Dr. DeHaven continued. “That’s a reality of life. But we need to focus on ways to help students minimize and manage that debt while also working to increase their starting salaries. This is especially true for new veterinarians who commit to working in some of the nation’s most underserved areas.”
Get more information about the AVMA and other news at: http://www.avma.org/press/
Place of birth: Oak Grove, Mo.
Family Information: Misty, my wife. Our first child is due Oct. 12 — will the baby be a Tilly or a Paul? I convinced Misty into waiting until birth to discover if we are having a boy or girl — it is one of the few good surprises left in life!
Pets: Bobbi, a Jack Russell Terrier, and Jeff, a cat.
In addition to having a child on the way, Brandon tells us he will start a new job soon: I accepted a position with the American Veterinary Medical Association as an assistant editor in the publications division. October is going to be a crazy month. Our first child's due date is Oct. 12; my final defense for my Ph.D. is Oct.19; I begin my new job on the 26th; we close on our home Oct. 29; and move in the weekend of Oct. 30. Nuts, huh?
What will you remember the most from your time at K-State?
What did you like best about going back to school when you were a child?
Name a favorite quote: My favorite quote is a Bible verse. "A double minded man is unstable in all his ways." James 1:8
What's a hobby or talent you have that some of your closer friends might not know about? I really enjoy watching the HGTV and DIY shows. I cannot wait to transform the house Misty and I are purchasing in Bartlett, Ill.
If you were stranded on a desert island, name three things you would not be able to live without: Internet so I can check out the latest news from the UFC, Diet Mountain Dew™ and hot dogs (my favorite meal when they are cooked over a camp fire).
Finish this sentence: In the year 2019, I hope that ... Misty and I will have four kids, be living in the country rather than a suburb, and having a great time being a husband and father.
As the school year begins, we would like to remind everyone of the services available from the Veterinary Medical Library (VML). Gayle Willard is the director of the VML which includes the program of Library Services and the program of Digital Instruction, Support, and Creative Services. She also provides specialized information services for research faculty at Kansas State University as the information consultant on the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee. Carol Elmore provides information services for non-university persons seeking database searches and document delivery.
Library Services are provided by Mary Girard and Hava Nauss. Mary, manager of Library Services, assists CVM faculty in their scholarly activities by customizing a variety of library services such as database searching and document delivery. She is also in charge of collection development and welcomes recommendations for purchases of library materials. Hava Nauss supervises our student employees at the Information Desk. She is the library staff person who works with students who have requests for library materials, reference requests, and assistance with database searching. Staff requests are also handled by Hava at the Information Desk.
DISC (Digital Instruction, Support, and Creative) Services provides additional services for faculty, staff, and students. Cindy Logan manages DISC Services and helps teach an elective class along with Dr. Judy Klimek, Dr. Bob Larson, and Dr. Beth Davis. She also coordinates our annual book sale. Susie Larson is our print graphics staff member who assists faculty, staff, and students with their print copy needs including design services for brochures, cards, and other print needs. Dave Adams, our photographer, takes digital photos for teaching, research, portraits, and college functions. Gina Scott provides software support by teaching formal and informal technology classes as well as providing individual software instruction. She also checks out our technology equipment. Mal Hoover is our medical illustrator who in addition to her illustration work will assist faculty, staff and students with posters and digital formatting of illustrations for publications. She also helps teach our technology classes
You are invited to come to the VML to take advantage of the varied services that we provide. Also remember that the VML is a friendly place to study and meet, and we welcome everyone to take advantage of our variety of seating and study areas.
Dr. Roman Ganta was elected president for the American Society for Rickettsiology. “The conference is also going well and attendees are very complementary about K-State’s contributions in organizing the meeting,” Dr. Ganta said. He noted that Dr. Guy Palmer, 2009 Distinguished Alumnus Award recipient and DVM 1972, was elected vice-president. Congratulations!
Congratulations to Amy Fousek, class of 2010, for winning a scholarship through the Winner’s Circle Scholarship Program (under a partnership of The Race For Education, the American Association of Equine Practitioners Foundation and Platinum Performance).
Congratulations to Dr. Charles Dodd, Ph.D. student in food science, who was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in the Army Veterinary Corps.
Dr. Bob Larson presented at the National Agri Marketing Association meeting in Kansas City on Aug. 20. Topic: "How practicing veterinarians interact with clients and suppliers when choosing veterinary products."
Congratulations to Dr. Jason Grady who has successfully completed all requirements for certification has been approved by the ACVIM Board of Regents. Dr. Grady completed his large animal internal medicine residency at
Congratulations to Amanda McDiffett (business manager, CVM Business Office), whose baby David was born June 25.
Dr. Mary Lynn Higginbotham presented at the 3rd Annual CVC as part of a special research symposium on "Frontiers in Comparative Medicine: Animal Models for Human Disease," held in Kansas City on Aug. 31. Her presentation was entitled "Canine Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma: A One Health Disease." Dr. Kenneth Harkin was also one of the panelists and he presented research entitled "Comparative aspects of dysautonomias in man and animals."
Sept. 15, 9 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.: Red Cross Blood Drive, Trotter Hall - Room 2, appointments are available about every fifteen minutes.
Sept. 16, 9 a.m. - 2:45 p.m.: Red Cross Blood Drive, Trotter Hall - Room 2, appointments are available about every fifteen minutes.
Sept. 18, 5-9 p.m.: One Health Fest, Manhattan City Park
Sept. 19: Merial Rabies Symposium, K-State Alumni Center
Sept. 20: Small Animal Internal Medicine, Cardiology and Oncology Conference, Frick Auditorium - Mosier Hall*
Oct. 10-11: 16th Mid-Western Exotic Animal Medicine Conference, Frick Auditorium - Mosier Hall*
* More information about Veterinary Medical Continuing Education events can be found at the VMCE Web site.
Dr. Hui Li - A&P
Yaritxa Quinones - VMTH
Samir El-Zarkouny - A&P
Tracey Weston - KSVDL
Dharmendra Maurya - A&P
Lifelines is published each month by the Development and Alumni Affairs Office at the College of Veterinary Medicine.
The editor is Joe Montgomery, firstname.lastname@example.org.