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Kansas State University


The official newsletter of the College of Veterinary Medicine

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May 2012 - Vol. 7, No. 4

Top Stories

Dr. Dan Thomson on "DocTalk"National Broadcaster

Dr. Dan Thomson's program, 'DocTalk,' reaches a national audience.

Who carries this TV program?

Steer stars at Open House

Take an inside look at one of the veterinary college's biggest stars: Fertis.
What makes Fertis famous?

Diagnostic Lab responds to needs

New technology and partnerships are growing the Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory's reputation.
What's new in BVDV testing?

AABP student chapter hosts spring seminar

CVM employees receive all-campus awards

Meet KSDS puppy Champagne

CVM unveils new 'Pet Friendly' license plate

Dr. Stockham and fourth-year students receive honors

Ice Cream Social delivers sweet treats



Regular features

Tammy KoopmanUnder the Microscope
Tammy Koopman, Microbiologist III, Diagnostic Medicine and Pathobiology

Check it Out at the Library
Resources to care for pet rabbits and ferrets

News Ticker

Calendar of events

New Arrivals/Recent Departures

Lifelines back issues

Hard copy version of Lifelines (printable)
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Ready for his close-up

Dr. Dan Thomson takes 'DocTalk' to cable TV audience

  Dr. Dan Thomson hosts a half-hour program about livestock welfare and management, food supply safety and companion-animal health on the cable network, RFD-TV.  

A Kansas State University veterinarian is taking his expertise to a national television audience as host of his own weekly show.

Dr. Dan Thomson, the Jones professor of production medicine and epidemiology and director of the Beef Cattle Institute in the university’s College of Veterinary Medicine, will host “DocTalk with Dr. Dan Thomson” on cable television’s RFD-TV which began Monday, April 30. The weekly program airs Mondays at 3:30 p.m., with second airings of the show at 1:30 a.m. on Tuesdays.

Each week Dr. Thomson and his guests discuss important issues related to livestock welfare and management, including current animal agriculture research, ways to keep the food supply safe and companion animal health issues. Guests will include nationally and internationally known veterinarians and animal scientists — including Kansas State University faculty members — who conduct clinical research on ways to improve the health and well-being of all kinds of animals.

Topics for “DocTalk” programs include trichomoniasis in cattle, first aid for horses, choosing a companion animal, food safety issues like E. coli in beef cattle, carbon foot-printing misconceptions related to the beef industry, how dairy producers keep the nation’s milk supply safe, equine dentistry and more.

“DocTalk” is a spinoff from the locally produced ag show, “Ag am in Kansas,” which airs across the state. Dr. Thomson started doing the program a few years ago.

“Interest just grew. We first did five-minute segments that soon grew into 30-minute episodes,” he said. “Expanding our reach with ‘DocTalk’ is such an honor. I give 50-60 invited talks a year, so to be able to amplify your message to the 40 million to 60 million homes RFD-TV reaches is a great opportunity.”

Dr. Thomson said the show will reach two important audiences.

“The first audience, farmers and ranchers, watch to glean information on raising animals and improving their health,” he said.

The other viewing audience is made up of people not involved directly in agriculture.

"These are consumers of ag products. I hope we can help them understand how their food is produced," Dr. Thomson said. Pet owners also will benefit, as the show will discuss dogs, cats and other companion animals.

"Doing this show is a great way to showcase Kansas State University faculty, whether they're from the College of Agriculture or the College of Veterinary Medicine," Dr. Thomson said. "It's also a way to highlight our Kansas farmers, ranchers and veterinarians. We want to make the state of Kansas and the university proud."

Dr. Thomson, a third-generation bovine veterinarian, is an internationally recognized expert and leader in beef cattle production and health management. He is the former chair of the OIE Beef Cattle Production and Animal Welfare Committee, an international animal health group that develops beef cattle production and welfare standards worldwide. A K-State faculty member since 2004, Dr. Thomson teaches courses in cow/calf, stocker and feed yard production medicine welfare and nutrition. He has published 50 peer-reviewed papers, four book chapters and 186 abstracts. He has given 458 invited talks around the world on his research and experience in beef cattle welfare.

Dr. Thomson's research program has received more than $33 million in extramural grants, including $13.7 million to him as the principal investigator. He has worked with major advisory boards and committees for such industry groups as the Food Marketing Institute, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, American Farm Bureau, American Association of Bovine Practitioners and more. His expertise has been reported in many major media outlets, including CBS News, USA Today, New York Times and Los Angeles Times.

Prior to joining K-State, Dr. Thomson was director of animal health and well-being for Cactus Feeders in Amarillo, Texas, and was an associate veterinarian with Veterinary Research and Consulting Services in Greeley, Colo. He earned a bachelor's in animal science and his doctor of veterinary medicine degree from Iowa State University, a master's in ruminant nutrition from South Dakota State University and a doctorate in ruminate nutrition from Texas Tech University.

RFD-TV is the nation's first 24-hour television network dedicated to the needs and interests of rural America. According to RFD-TV, its broadcasts reach 63 percent of all farmers and ranchers in the nation, making it the No. 1 cable network for farmer and rancher viewership.



Video Report

Fertis steers visitors toward inside look at the rumen

During the campus wide open house, Fertis, the veterinary college’s fistulated steer, starred as the main attraction of the “Roaming in the Rumen” demonstration. The exhibit was presented by the student chapter of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners. Fertis features a fistula, or hole, that allows for access to his rumen, or the first digestive chamber of the bovine stomach.

“We allow people to go look inside the rumen to see how the food and nutrients are being digested,” said Miles Theurer, bovine club president. “It also allows people to see how that animal is able to convert all the grass and hay into the high quality product we all consume each and every day.”

Having t he fistula allows Fertis to fulfill several important duties for the college. He provides an educational opportunity for veterinary students to learn about the ability of the cattle to digest forages and teach students about digestive health in cattle.

Watch the full report in the video below:


Open House visitors meet Fertis the fistulated steer
Fertis ‘stars’ as one of the main attractions during the university’s annual Open House.

Video produced by Joseph Chapes and Kent Nelson, technology coordinators from
Computing and Technical Support (CATS).



Diagnostic Lab offers new technology for BVDV testing

  Diagnostic Lab technician  

The Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory offers new technology for BVDV testing and a wide variety of other diagnostic services for veterinary clients.


For decades, the Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory has been the go-to regional source for animal testing and diagnoses, and a national center for rabies serological testing. With recent developments it’s likely to remain so for decades more.

The diagnostic lab, headed by director Dr. Gary Anderson, offers a complete range of diagnostic services for all species but primarily focuses on food-producing animals.

The lab is constantly working to develop new and better tests for veterinary clients to identify, treat and prevent illness in animals.

During the last 18 months, huge accomplishments in the understanding and detection of Bovine Viral Diarrhea Virus have been made. BVDV is a common endemic disease of cattle that causes respiratory illness and reduced productivity, as well as abortion in pregnant cattle. If left undiagnosed, it can lead to economic strain due to reduced herd fertility and increased disease rates.

“We have some really ground-breaking information about BVDV that is being reported right now, and it’s related to how easy it is to transmit the virus between animals,” Dr. Anderson said. “New technology and tests have been plugged into what happens every day out there in the world of cattle production.”

The lab’s findings have been shared at conferences on both U.S. coasts — in Buffalo, N.Y., and San Diego, Calif., thus solidifying the lab’s relevance to the national cattle industry.

The lab is also world-renowned for its rabies serological testing. It handles large volumes of rabies cases — more than 60,000 samples a year from all corners of the earth.




AABP student chapter hosts spring seminar

  Dr. Shan Hullman, Dr. Dave Rethorst, Dr. Wade Taylor and Dr. Stan Perry  
  Dr. Shan Hullman, Dr. Dave Rethorst, Dr. Wade Taylor and Dr. Stan Perry give their insights into bovine practice and advice to students.  

On April 27, the Student Chapter of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners (SCAABP) presented the Spring Beef Seminar and Tailgate at the CVM. Practitioners from across Kansas and CVM students interacted with speakers covering a variety of topics including preparations for entering bovine practice, the future role of cow/calf practitioners, Beef Quality Assurance, antibiotic use, calf preconditioning, the Veterinary Medical Loan Repayment Program and the relationship between cattle production, humans, and the environment. Speakers included CVM alumni and faculty as well as Dr. Mark Hilton from Purdue University. The seminar finished with a panel discussion of Kansas practitioners sharing advice for students and their opinions on the future of bovine practice.

“Nobody has a history in beef cattle veterinary medicine like Kansas State University,” said Dr. Dan Thomson, SCAABP Advisor. “The meeting provided a venue for nearly 100 bovine veterinarians, students and faculty to network and share ideas about the future of our profession. The presentations were outstanding and the students were very engaged.”




Centennial Plaza bricks ad



CVM employees receive all-campus awards

Two CVM employees were recently recognized with all campus awards.

Dr. Mac Hafen received the 2012 President’s Award of Excellence for Unclassified Professionals.

Dr. Hafen was nominated by Dr. Bonnie Rush. According to her, Dr. Hafen has been proactive and creative in his contributions to service, scholarship and teaching for the CVM. His service has improved the lives of the professional students, his communication training program provides a critical function for the college and profession, and his research has raised awareness of the impact of the training program on the students. He consistently exceeds expectations for productivity and his work has resulted in attitudinal and cultural change by faculty, staff and administration.

Paul Wagoner, agricultural technician, was recognized with the 2012 K-State Classified Award of Excellence.

Dr. Roger Fingland, VHC director, said, “Our large animal hospital is the envy of veterinary teaching hospital directors across North America and Paul’s leadership, commitment to mission and incredible work ethic are the reason.”

Wagoner makes significant contributions as an employee and supervisor in the large animal section of the hospital. Cheerfulness and thrift are two of his outstanding characteristics and they are very evident every day in the way he carries out the many duties assigned to him.

Dr. Mac Hafen
Counselor Dr. Mac Hafen received the 2012 President's Award of Excellence for Unclassified Professionals.

Paul Wagoner
Ag technician Paul Wagoner received the 2012 K-State Classified Award of Excellence.



Meet KSDS puppy Champagne

The CVM welcomes Champagne, the new KSDS puppy-in-training. He was presented to Dr. Patricia Payne on Apr. 27. Champagne has made appearances at the campus open house and Dog N Jog. As Champagne works on his training at the college, remember to ask before petting him.




New ‘Pet Friendly’ License Plate

The College of Veterinary Medicine has unveiled a new way to support Kansas Shelter Medicine. The Pet Friendly license plate will be made available to Kansas residents early/mid summer 2012. For information, see, call 1-855-269-7387 or e-mail:

Pet Friendly license plate



Dr. Stockham and fourth-year students receive honors

The annual senior honors banquet was held April 6. While more than 71 awards and scholarships were presented throughout the evening to the seniors, another award was presented to one of the CVM faculty members. Dr. Steve Stockham was recognized as the 2012 Pfizer Distinguished Veterinary Teacher Award. Other nonstudent awards included:

Pet Tribute House Officer Awards
Dr. Roger Fingland presented to Dr. Marian Benitez & Dr. Dan Fredholm

Pet Tribute Technician Award
Dr. Roger Fingland presented to Kathy Shike

Dr. William and Deanna Pritchard Veterinary Service and Outreach Award
Dr. Ralph Richardson presented to Dr. Kenneth Harkin

Dr. Jim Carpenter presents the Mayo Exotic Animal Award to Max Renaldi
Max Renaldi, fourth-year student, is presented the Dr. and Mrs. Nelson S. Mayo Exotic Animal Award by Dr. Jim Carpenter. The award is presented to students who demonstrate proficiency in zoo and exotic animal medicine and surgery.

Dr. Stockham, Pfizer Teacher Award
Dr. Steve Stockham (inset) receives the 2012 Pfizer Distinguished Veterinary Teacher Award. Dr. M.M. Chengappa (left) accepted the award on Dr. Stockham's behalf from Pfizer representative Dr. Jerry Quinlan.


Ice Cream Social delivers sweet treats

The Pet Tribute program held the 17th Annual Ice Cream Social at the end of April with several buckets of Call Hall Ice Cream. Below are some photos from the event, held in the Trotter Hall basement. Information about the Pet Tribute program was displayed, a Whispering Garden drawing was held, and a sample of the new state Pet Friendly license plate was introduced.

This ice cream tastes great

Karen Ledbetter, Laura Schurr and Stacey Burdick
Karen Ledbetter, Laura Schurr and Stacey Burdick, class of 2014, help scoop the ice cream.
Enjoying the social part of the ice cream social



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Under the Microscope

Tammy Koopman, Microbiologist III, Diagnostic Medicine and Pathobiology


Tammy KoopmanHometown: Paragould, Ark.

Family Information: My husband Francis and I will celebrate out 30th anniversary of marriage this May. We have four children: Sean, Madison, Kailey and Ethan. My mom still lives in Arkansas. I have a sister in New York City, a sister in Dallas, a brother in Arkansas and a brother in Austin, Texas.

Pets: Our family has two cats.

How do you stay cool during the warmer weather? Stay inside with the air conditioner or hang out at the pool.

Who is the most inspirational person in your life? I don’t think there is only one individual I could name, but several people who inspire me on a daily basis. My mom for always making me see that anything can be accomplished if you try hard enough. My husband for his kindness to complete strangers and the support he shows in all my endeavors. My children for their total love and trust in me. Friends for their understanding and caring. My siblings for their humor and love. 

What advice do you have for graduating students? Trust your gut.

What was favorite childhood pet? My father was a farmer and we lived in the country of northeast Arkansas, so there were lots of stray cats and dogs at our doorsteps. When I was 8, a beautiful collie showed up, and I named him Toby. He was my shadow from that day forward. 

What movie are you most excited for this summer? I am excited to have time to go to movies and am looking forward to the release of “Peace, Love and Misunderstanding,”“Total Recall” and “The Bourne Legacy.”



Check it Out at the Library

Resources to care for pet rabbits and ferrets

by Carol Elmore

Carol Elmore While many people are familiar with the care, feeding and training of cats and dogs, other kinds of small mammals, such as the rabbit, may be of interest as a pet. The Veterinary Medical Library has many books about rabbits. "Rabbits for Dummies" (SF453 .P3823 2009) is a good comprehensive book on care, psychology, fun and feeding of this furry pet. The appendix in this book is called “Rabbit Resources” and lists organizations, websites and other rabbit trivia. Another book, "House Rabbit Handbook: How to Live with an Urban Rabbit" (SF453 .H37 2005 (Animals in Society)) presents examples and pictures of how rabbits, cats and dogs can co-habit. If health issues are of concern then "Rabbit Health in the 21st Century: A Guide for Bunny Parents" (SF453 .S65 2001) or "When Your Rabbit Needs Special Care" (SF997.5 .R2 M66 2008) might be helpful. Since training is always important, "The Rabbit Whisperer" (SF453 .T28 2005) and "Training Your Pet Rabbit" (SF453 .B37 2002) might be a good place to start learning about this topic. If adding a rabbit to the family would not be the best thing to do, our DVD "Ideal Pet Bunny" (SF453.2 .B86 2003 (Animals in Society)) has a virtual bunny that will obey your commands with a click of your remote control.

If a rabbit isn’t in the foreseeable future, then maybe a ferret is another option. "Ferrets for Dummies" (SF459 .F47 S36 2000) will be helpful with its many tips, photos and resource guides. Other guides such as "Ferrets: Care and Breeding" (SF459 .F47 R53 2005), "Find Out about Ferrets" (SF459 .F47 P38 2006), "The Ferret Handbook" (SF459 .F47 B83 2001) or "Ferrets: Everything about Purchase, Housing, Training, Nutrition, and Health Care" (SF459 .F47 M67 2010) will supply information for successful ferret ownership.

If all of the above listed books aren’t enough, then checking out "Ferrets, Rabbits, and Rodents" (SF997.5 .F47 F47 2012) co-authored by our own Dr. James W. Carpenter might supply the exact information sought. The books listed are just a few of the many titles that we have available on rabbits and ferrets, so don’t hesitate to come to the library to find books and articles that can help you learn about these animals.

Please visit the Veterinary Medical Library Web site: for help on this and other subjects.




News Ticker

Dr. Ronette Gehring, Clinical Sciences, was named to the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) Council of the Convention as an Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) representative.

Dr. H. Morgan Scott, DM/P, was selected to be the Key Note speaker at the American Society for Microbiology conference held in Aix-en-Provence, France, June 26-29.

Kristina Bigelow, an undergraduate student conducting research in Dr. Annelise Nguyen’s lab, was chosen to receive the University Award for Distinguished Undergraduate Student in Research. 

Dr. Dan Thomson was invited to serve on the McDonald's Corporation Animal Health and Welfare Team as the representative with expertise in beef production.

The Beef Cattle Institute (BCI) at Kansas State University has launched a Youth Animal Care Training program. The goal of the program is to utilize modern technology to reach youth and provide free online educational training modules for youth through high school age. Through participation in the training, youth can improve their knowledge of animal handling, animal welfare, antimicrobial residue avoidance and food safety. Dr. Dan Thomson believes training youth is essential for the future of the agriculture industry.

Staff of the Year

Classified Staff of the Year
Congratulations to Lin-Hua (Florence) Wang, classified staff of the year in Anatomy & Physiology, Tammy Koopman classified staff of the year in Diagnostic Medicine and Pathobiology, and Amy Lyons, classified staff of the year in the Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. Joining them in the back row are their supervisors: Dr. M.M.Chengappa, Dr. Michael Kenney, Dr. Melinda Wilkerson, Dr. Bruce Schultz and Dr. Gary Anderson.


Softball game brings out spirited rivalry: Fourth-years vs. Faculty

In a game that has become a regular tradition, this year's bragging rights go to the faculty, winning 13-4. Pictures were submitted by Director of Development Chris Gruber.

Fans watch the game


The team picture

SCAVMA picnic serves up fun on April 19. Hamburgers, chips and beans were the main course.

Allison Nelson
Allison Nelson, class of 2014, flips burgers on one of two grills that were being used.

Picnic line

Enjoying the picnic



Calendar of events

General events

May 11: Commencement, McCain Auditorium


Continuing Education events

June 4-6: 74th Annual Conference for Veterinarians

* More information about Veterinary Medical Continuing Education events can be found at the VMCE Web site.




New Arrivals/Recent Departures

Welcome to:

Bethany Plucinik, Senior Administrative Assistant - A&P
Lindsay Beardall, Research Assistant, KSVDL
Dr. Sanjeev Gumber, Assistant Professor, KSVDL

Thanks and Goodbye to:

Dr. Chandrasekar Raman, Post Doctoral Fellow, A&P
Ashley Layton, Administrative Assistant, DM/P
Chelsey Hutton, Senior Administrative Assistant, VHC
Audrey Gottlob, Research Assistant, DM/P
Jacqueline Yingling, Accounting Specialist - DM/P
Dr. Kimberly Stackhouse-Lawson, Post Doctoral Fellow, Clinical Sciences


Lifelines is published each month by the Development and Alumni Affairs Office at the College of Veterinary Medicine.
The editors are Joe Montgomery,, and Dana Avery,