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Kansas State University


The official newsletter of the College of Veterinary Medicine

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June 2012 - Vol. 7, No. 6

Top Stories

Dr. Butch KuKanich collaborates on a parasite treatment for giraffes.Reaching new heights

Dr. Butch KuKanich collaborates on a parasite treatment for giraffes.

Why are giraffes hard to treat?

A Night for Heritage

Alumni honors and fellowship hightlight this annual banquet.
What new award was presented?

The Write Stuff: CVM students sweep essay awards

K-State students walk away with all the top honors in the Smitchcors Essay contest.
Who are the winners?

Graduation: Students become doctors

CVM hosts 74th Annual Conference for Veterinarians

Reunion weekend brings classes together

CVM unveils new 'Pet Friendly' license plate

Congratulations Dr. Harkin!

BCI hosts 'Discovery Days'

TV news inquires about nasal strips for Belmont Stakes race horse


Regular features

Kristin ClementUnder the Microscope
Kristin Clement, Communications and Client Relations Coordinator, Development Office

News Ticker

Calendar of events

New Arrivals/Recent Departures

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Reaching new heights

Dr. Butch KuKanich collaborates on a parasite treatment for giraffes

  The giraffe is an animal that is prone to rapidly developing resistance to parasite treatment. Finding an effective drug can be a challenge as well as administering the drug.  

Treating the world’s tallest mammal for parasites isn’t the easiest job. The giraffe is an animal that is prone to rapidly developing resistance to parasite treatment. Finding an effective drug can be a challenge as well as administering the drug.

Dr. Gary West, former assistant professor in zoological medicine, and Dr. Butch KuKanich, associate professor, collaborated with the Morris Animal Foundation and the Lion Country Safari in Loxahatchee, Fla., to find an effective way to treat giraffes for parasites.

“The problem with giraffes is that we have very little information on them, in terms of what drugs we should use and what doses of the drugs we should use,” Dr. KuKanich said. “Often times, the drugs and doses are extrapolated from other species such as sheep, goats and cattle. It’s the best that we can do with the information, but it still might not be as accurate as we would like.”

In order to conduct the research, Drs. West and KuKanich wanted to find a drug that was still considered clinically effective for giraffe parasite treatment, which was moxidectin.

“In the study, we wanted to look at the doses of moxidectin to see if the drugs were actually getting into the giraffe and what the concentrations were in comparison to other animals,” Dr. KuKanich said.

The research team worked with the Lion Country Safari to find available giraffes for research. The organization had giraffes using moxidectin as part of the normal de-worming process. The research team drew blood from the unrestrained giraffes and analyzed the plasma to see how much moxidectin was going into their systems and how long it remained in the system.

“There are two different methods we studied for giraffe parasite treatment,” Dr. KuKanich said. “The first method involves pouring the drug on the back of the giraffe, and it is absorbed through the skin. The second method is conducted orally. It is easier to use the pour-on method, but it’s usually not as good as oral in terms of the amount of drug absorption. We wanted to look at both methods.”

The Lion Country Safari staff alternated between the two methods and sent the samples to K-State. Then in the pharmacology lab, the researchers would measure the amount of moxidectin in the plasma. The results confirmed that the oral method was more effective at getting the drug into the giraffe. This showed the drug was being administered in the correct amount. The topical results showed inconsistency, and the concentrations were much lower than oral.

“We become concerned when the drug is administered in lower doses,” Dr. KuKanich said. “With the lower doses, you’re just killing off the weakest parasites and the more resistant ones continue to live. Over time, you can actually select a resistant population of parasites very quickly.”

The results concluded that an oral drug administration would be the more effective method in treating giraffes for parasites. The research team would like to thank the Morris Animal Foundation for the funding for the research. Even though the research project has officially come to a conclusion, this does not necessarily mean their work is done.

“Any time you do one study, you end up asking more questions about it,” Dr. KuKanich said. “The next obvious questions are, can we change the dose and still use it topically? Does this dose actually kill the giraffe parasites? There are many more questions in the field of giraffe parasitology.”



Video Report

Heritage Evening adds new award to annual festivities

Young and old combined for fellowship and fun at this year’s annual Heritage Evening Reception. While some longstanding traditions were celebrated, a new one was introduced by the College of Veterinary Medicine and the Veterinary Medical Alumni Association, June 3, at the K-State Alumni Association.

The evening was the conclusion to a host of alumni events held in conjunction with the College’s Annual Conference for Veterinarians in June. While there has long been an alumni luncheon associated with the annual conference, the dinner was renamed Heritage Evening during the college’s centennial celebration in 2005.

Watch the full report in the video below:


Dr. Justin Janssen presents award to Dr. and Mrs. Cliff Mitchell
Dr. Justin Janssen, DVM 1972 and president of the Veterinary Medical Alumni Association, left, presents the Outstanding Young Alumnus Award to Dr. Cliff Mitchell, DVM 2002, and his wife, Crystal. This is a new award for 2012.

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



The Write Stuff: Students sweep essay contest

  Smithcors Essay winners  
Third-place winner and fourth-year student Katie Beach; first-place winner and second-year student Amy Sents; and second-place winner and second-year student Tracey Mullins.

Three Kansas State College of Veterinary Medicine students were recently selected as the winners of the Smithcors Essay Contest sponsored by the American Veterinary Medical History Society. The contest is held to increase awareness among veterinarians about the significant role veterinary medicine has played in American history. The contest winners this year were: first-place Amy Sents, second-year veterinary student; second-place, Tracey Mullins, second-year veterinary student; and third-place, Katie Beach, fourth-year veterinary student.

“I require our students who enroll in AP 780, History of Veterinary Medicine and also in AP 747, Veterinary Physiology II, to write a paper and encourage them to submit their papers for the Smithcors Veterinary History Essay Contest,” said Dr. Howard Erickson, emeritus professor of physiology and history of veterinary medicine. “I think communication, both oral and written, is very important in veterinary medicine. These students have very busy schedules, but have found the time to prepare outstanding papers on diverse topics related to the history of veterinary medicine. I am extremely proud of their accomplishments.”

The contest, named in honor of Dr. J. Fred Smithcors for his many contributions to veterinary history as founder of the AVMHS, author of several books on veterinary history, educator, publisher, and editor, is open to any veterinary student within the United States, Canada and the West Indies. K-State had the highest representation with 21 entries in the contest. Cash prizes are awarded to the top three finalists after being evaluated by a panel of judges. The judges are blind in terms of author and affiliation. The prize funds are made available by Dr. William Ryan, a retired officer of Fort Dodge Laboratories and the co-founder of AVMHS, and a generous anonymous benefactor member of AVMHS.

The winning essays were: “The Covert Arsenal of Biological Agents throughout History” by Amy Sents; “The Humble Beginning of the Corporate Companion Animal Hospital” by Tracey Mullins; and “The Dogs of War: History of the U.S. Military Dog” by Katie Beach.




Graduation: Students become doctors

The College of Veterinary Medicine welcomed a new generation of doctors on May 11. The Class of 2012 awarded 106 individuals their doctorate degree in veterinary medicine. Congratulations to the Class of 2012!

Dr. Nels Lindberg
Dr. Nels Lindberg, DVM 2001, speaks during commencement. Dr. Lindberg works with Animal Medical Center and Progressive Beef Consulting Services in Great Bend, Kan.

Dr. Halah Bajaber and Provost April Mason
Newly graduated Dr. Halah Bajaber, left, is congratulated by April Mason, provost and senor vice president of Kansas State University.

National anthem
The veterinary graduates listen to the national anthem during the ceremony. Graduation was held in McCain Auditorium.





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CVM hosts 74th Annual Conference for Veterinarians

The CVM hosted the 74th Annual Conference for Veterinarians on June 3-6. The conference offered many continuing education opportunities for veterinarians in the three educational tracks: equine, large animal and small animal. The event also featured a Kansas Veterinary Medical Association trade show and reception.

Radiography wet lab
“A Peek Inside Your Patient: Radiographic Interpretations of the Small Animal Patient” was one of the wet labs offered to veterinarians. The lab allowed participants to view different radiographic case studies.


Dr. Jane Ashley Stuckey
Dr. Jane Ashley Stuckey shares updates on treating cataracts.

Dental wet lab
New techniques are shared in a wet lab on dental extractions.

Dr. Mark Hilton
Dr. Mark Hilton presents tips on achieving reproductive efficiency in beef herds.

golf tournament
The 18th Annual Scholarship Golf Tournament was held on June 4 at Colbert Hills Golf Course. Participating teams helped raise funds for veterinary student scholarships.



Reunion weekend brings classes together

Tour group
Several alumni and their family members received a tour of the CVM on June 2, shown here between Trotter and Mosier Halls. Alumni returned to the CVM for a day filled of class reunions and other activities. Dean Ralph Richardson presented the college’s Master Plan for the visitors.




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



Congratulations Dr. Harkin!

Dr. Ken Harkin and Dr. Bonnie Rush
Dr. Kenneth Harkin is the recipient of the 2012 Dr. William and Deanna Pritchard Veterinary Service and Outreach Award, presented here by Dr. Bonnie Rush. This was the inaugural Pritchard award and will be presented annually. 



BCI hosts 'Discovery Days'

The Beef Cattle Institute (BCI) taught Kansas youth some edible examples of why Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) is an integral part of today’s beef industry at the 2012 4-H Discovery Days. As part of two, two-hour sessions on animal welfare and BQA directed by the BCI, the 4-Hers were taught and allowed to practice the proper methods to use when giving injections to cattle. These methods focused on proper product handling technique, needle selection, and placement for subcutaneous (SQ) and intramuscular (IM) injections as well as proper volume and spacing to prevent injection site lesions and residue violations. How did they practice this? By using cattle made in the bakery!

The students practiced giving SQ and IM injections of a highly visible nontoxic solution to loaves of Italian bread using the proper needles and techniques for both routes of administration. Then, the bread was sliced to reveal the different post-administration characteristics of the two injection routes. Kelly Oliver, a recent K-State agriculture education graduate and project coordinator for the BCI, said she first used the exercise as a student teacher in her classroom. She and third-year veterinary student, Tanner Miller, assisted D.J. Rezac, a Ph.D. student at the BCI, in teaching the classes.

The Discovery Days students, high school age youth from across Kansas, also learned about how to properly handle cattle and how to avoid misuse of driving aids such as sorting sticks and hot-shots. The 4-Hers also had a chance to participate in an impromptu role-play exercise where they had to answer questions they might encounter in day-to-day interactions with a public who is uninformed about agriculture and the beef industry. “It’s very reassuring to me to see so many young people passionate about the beef industry — not just passionate about their part in it, but passionate about doing things the right way and making sure that everyone else knows they’re doing it the right way," Rezac said. “I think this is the paradigm shift that we have needed and programs such as BQA have made it possible.”

Oliver also took time to show the 4-Hers how they can become BQA certified for no charge through the Youth Animal Care Training web site, which the BCI developed and operates as part of its online learning portal The youth site, is open to all high school age youth and offers training in BQA, food safety, Dairy Animal Care and Quality Assurance, and humane equine management.

Beef Quality Assurance is a national program that provides guidelines for beef cattle production. The program raises consumer confidence through offering proper management techniques and a commitment to quality within every segment of the beef industry. The program is operated nationally by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and funded in large by the Beef Checkoff Program.


4-H student practices injection techniques
4-H students learn proper cattle injection techniques by practicing with bread.

Checking injection in bread

D.J. Rezac teaches during Discovery Days
D.J. Rezac, Ph.D. student, teaches a class during 'Discovery Days,' to explain why Beef Quality Assurance is an integral part of today’s beef industry.



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Under the Microscope

Kristin Clement, Communications and Client Relations Coordinator, Development Office


Kristin ClementHometown:Pawnee Rock, Kan.

Family Information:My husband of three years, Matt.

Pets: The most wonderful dog ever! My chocolate Lab, Jordy.

What is something that you would like to accomplish this summer? I'm training for my first Ironman 70.3 in Boulder, Colo., in August. Right now, training consumes all of my free time so I'm anxious to have the first one under my belt.

What is the most rewarding experience you have ever had? Last October I did my first half-marathon. It was significantly rewarding because it was the first race I followed and stuck with a training program. I beat my goal by two minutes and that race catapulted me into this Ironman business along with my first full marathon this coming October.

What is the most interesting part of your job? I have learned so much in the short time I've been here, I can't pick just one interesting part! Any time I spend with faculty is always a highlight, whether it is in surgery or just getting to know their services better. I think veterinarians have the most interesting job, so writing about and promoting their work will always be exciting.

What is your favorite ice-cream flavor? Cake Batter, but I don't think there's any ice cream I won't eat!

How have animals been important in your life? I grew up on a farm raising and showing shorthorn cattle, so I've had animals in my life from day one. Dad taught us to feed the cattle before we fed ourselves in the morning, and watching his passion for every animal in his herd inspired a work ethic and respect for animals at a young age. Animals were always a part of the family and now, going home to a happy, wiggly 83-pound puppy, is the best part of my day. If one is good, more is better: I think my first few weeks here, I tried to bring home every animal I found that needed a home, but my husband thinks one dog is enough — for now.

What is your favorite quote? It's branding at its finest, but Saucony's (a running shoe) tagline is "Find Your Strong." It's something I see almost everyday, and it reminds me you may not feel strong everyday, but it's always there. You may just have to work a little harder to find it. 





News Ticker

Dr. David Anderson was appointed as Department Head of Large Animal Clinical Sciences at the University of Tennessee.

Hannah Leventhal, second-year student, was selected as the United States Zone and North America 1st place winner for the Alltech Young Scientist Award.

Jingjiao Ma, Ph.D. graduate student, was awarded a travel award to attend the American Society for Virology annual meeting at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in July 2012.

Getahun Agga, Ph.D. graduate student, was selected as a Phi Kappa Phi member. He was inducted on April 18.

Congratulations to Michael White who won the 2012 Society for Veterinary Medical Ethics Waltham Essay Contest with his essay on “Anthropocentrism and Its Bearing on Veterinary Medicine." The Waltham contest provides a $1,000 cash award and another $1,000 for travel expenses for the winner to attend the annual conference of the American Veterinary Medical Association in San Diego, from Aug. 4–8, where he will present the winning essay at the SVME Plenary Session, Monday, Aug. 6.


30th birthday is an 'exotic' occasion for intern

A couple of photos were shared with Lifelines in celebration of Dr. Dan Fredholm turning 30.

Dr. Fredholm birthday


birthday cake
Turning 30 is great when you get a cake like this one.

TV news inquires about nasal strips for Belmont Stakes race horse

Dr. Erickson and Dr. Poole
Dr. Howard Erickson, right, and Dr. David Poole explain how a nasal strip for horses was developed at K-State as an alternative to the drug Lasix. Drs. Erickson and Poole ran tests about 10 years ago, using a treadmill to help evaluate lung performance in horses and prevent exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage. KCTV-5 News from Kansas City sent photojournalist Rob Rhodes to cover the story after a racehorse named I'll Have Another was disallowed from using the strips in the Belmont Stakes in New York. The horse was ultimately scratched for tendonitis. The KCTV5 story is posted here and another story about the racehorse was also covered in the Washington Post, who quoted Dr. Erickson.



Calendar of events

Aug. 4-8: AVMA Convention, San Diego, Calif.
Aug. 22-28: Central Veterinary Conference, Kansas City, Mo.



New Arrivals/Recent Departures

Welcome to:

Karen Watson-Robinson, Veterinary Technician, VHC
Janice Delisle, Senior Administrative Assistant, VHC
Jessica Burns Anderson, Senior Administrative Assistant, VHC
Enrique Garcia Flores, Visiting Research Scholar, Clinical Sciences
Andrew Waters, Research Assistant - A&P

Thanks and Goodbye to:

Jonathan Masse, Research Assistant, KSVDL
Dr. Luciana Bergamasco, Research Assistant Professor, Clinical Sciences
Abby Jones, Project Coordinator, Clinical Sciences (BCI)
Dani Goodband,
Research Manager, A&P


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,