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College of Veterinary Medicine

Lifelines - February 2014 The official newsletter of the College of Veterinary Medicine

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February 2014 - Vol. 9, No. 2

Top Stories

Dr. Ken HarkinNew Chapter on Breast Cancer Research

Drs. Masaaki Tamura and Deryl Troyer contribute to book on stem cell therapeutics.
What were their main findings?

Students Travel on Humanitarian Excursions

Fourth-year students share experiences providing animal health care abroad.
Where did they go?

Multinational Research Project

Dr. Ronette Gehring contributes to pharmacological research on Egyptian goats.
What problems do the goats face?

CEEZAD project finds potential treatment for drug resistant H7N9 influenza virus

Alumni work together to ‘crown’ a cougar at Salina zoo

Thirty years and going strong

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Other features

Cheri UbelTravel Award
Brian Smith attends national meeting in Maryland.

Hot Topic
Canine Influenza
Can humans get it from their pets?

News Ticker


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New Chapter on Breast Cancer Research

Drs. Masaaki Tamura and Deryl Troyer contribute to book on stem cell therapeutics.
 Dr. Ken Harkin accepts award 
 Since human umbilical cord matrix stem cells traffic to tumor tissues, remain there for a few weeks, and control tumor growth, they can also be used as therapeutic gene or drug carriers. (Illustration by Mal Hoover, the CVM’s certified medical illustrator, is from “Stem Cell Therapeutics for Cancer.”) 

A team of researchers in the Department of Anatomy and Physiology in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University has just closed the book on an exciting chapter on stem cell research. The team, headed by Associate Professor Dr. Masaaki Tamura, contributed “Umbilical Cord Matrix Stem Cells for Cytotherapy of Breast Cancer” for a book titled, “Stem Cell Therapeutics for Cancer,” which was published in December.

“Stem Cell Therapeutics for Cancer” was edited by Khalid Shah, an Associate Professor at the Harvard Medical School. The book covers the application of stem cells in various cancers, with an emphasis on the aspects of these strategies that are critical to the success of future stem cell-based therapies for human cancer.
“This is very exciting,” Dr. Tamura said. He explained that in the chapter he worked on, “A number of researchers have shown a potential for the use of umbilical cord matrix stem cells for therapy in nerve injuries, renal failure and several organ-type cancers. Recent studies suggest there may be potentially good therapeutic cells for human breast cancer treatment.”

The chapter explains that breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in women in the United States. Approximately one out of eight women develops breast cancer in their life, and this cancer dependent mortality is the second leading cause of cancer-dependent death in women.

Dr. Deryl Troyer, a professor in anatomy and physiology, and a group of graduate students, staff and postdoctoral fellows, Naomi Ohta, Atsushi Kawabata, Deepthi Uppalapati and Susumu Ishiguro helped compose the chapter on breast cancer. The chapter examines immune evasion mechanisms and tropism of umbilical cord matrix stem cells to pathological lesions as well as the impact of therapies for primary breast cancer and breast cancer lung metastasis.

“Although cytotherapy with umbilical cord matrix stem cells seems to be a very promising and practical therapy for human cancer, inflammatory diseases, and degenerative disorders, the potential for human use has not been rigorously studied,” Dr. Tamura said. “Our research will further clarify the therapeutic potential and contribute significantly to the research in human stem cell–based targeted cancer therapy.”



Video Feature — Students Travel on Humanitarian Excursions

 Matthew Stewart 
 Fourth-year student Matthew Stewart (left) feeds a parrot at the zoo in Belize. He and several other students have been participating in humanitarian activities in different foreign countries.  

For some veterinary students, the most memorable experiences during veterinary school take place outside the traditional classroom – half a world away. Several Kansas State University veterinary students, including members of the class of 2014, have been volunteering with different organizations to practice their veterinary skills in African or Latin American countries.

One of these students, Nathaniel Cordel, traveled with the Veterinary Christian Mission to Zambia in southern Africa after his freshmen year.

“We did large animal work in the mornings when it was cool, a lot of deworming, vaccinations of cattle, primarily cattle, a few sheep and goats, but primarily cattle,” Nathaniel said.

See pictures from Nathaniel's trip as well as three other students in this month's video report below:

Loading the player ...

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


Dr. Gehring researches amoxicillin efficacy in goats with international team

 Dr. Ronette Gehring 

Dr. Ronette Gehring joined a multinational research team to study the effect of lead intoxication in goats on the use of the antibiotic amoxicillin.


The Nile is a river in Egypt. Sometimes that river is polluted with industrial waste, such as lead, which can cause detrimental effects on local sheep and goats via the water supply. Kansas State University’s Dr. Ronette Gehring, an associate professor of clinical pharmacology in the Department of Anatomy and Physiology, has joined a team of researchers from Egypt, Jordan and the United States in evaluating the effect of chronic lead intoxication in goats. In December, the researchers published an article, “Effect of chronic lead intoxication on the distribution and elimination of amoxicillin in goats” in the Journal of Veterinary Science.

Dr. Gehring has teamed up with other veterinary researchers at Iowa State University, Cairo University and the Jordan University of Science and Technology. The group found that lead intoxication can impair the therapeutic effectiveness of the antibiotic amoxicillin in goats.

“Amoxicillin is used to treat various types of infections in animals,” Dr. Gehring said. “The goats with lead intoxication show signs of kidney and liver damage, so we had hypothesized this damage would inhibit the excretion of amoxicillin, leading to higher drug concentrations in these animals.”

The test involved intravenous and intramuscular administration of amoxicillin. Blood and urine samples were collected over a period of 10 weeks to measure serum protein and amoxicillin concentrations. The protein concentrations helped indicate levels of kidney damage while the amoxicillin levels helped to demonstrate how much of the antibiotic was absorbed for therapeutic purpose. Surprisingly, the lead-intoxicated goats actually had lower concentrations of amoxicillin compared to the healthy animals.

“We found that amoxicillin was more quickly disposed in the lead-intoxicated goats than in the control group,” Dr. Gehring said. “We believe that goats with chronic lead intoxication would therefore need more frequent administrations of amoxicillin administration for the antibiotic therapy to be as effective as it is in the control group of healthy goats.”

Dr. Gerhing said a literature investigation had found similar research for lead poisoning in humans, but not in animal subjects. As one of the first studies of its kind, Dr. Gehring indicated that the effects of lead intoxication on drug disposition still warrant further investigation.


Hot Topic

Dogs susceptible to canine influenza

 desert tortoises 

Dr. Susan Nelson performs a routine check-up at the Veterinary Health Center at Kansas State University. She warns that dogs, like humans, can be susceptible to influenza.


The flu is spreading across the country, but did you know you're not the only one in your household at risk of getting the flu? A certain strain of the flu affects dogs.

Dr. Susan Nelson, clinical associate professor at Kansas State University's Veterinary Health Center, says H3N8, also called canine influenza, is a strain specific to dogs. The influenza jumped from horses to dogs in 2004, then mutated into the H3N8 strain now found in canines.

"So we have a lot of dogs in our population that have never been exposed to it before, and most dogs who are exposed to it will get sick from it," Dr. Nelson said.

Many boarding facilities and doggie day cares are now requiring dogs to be vaccinated for canine influenza. While the symptoms in dogs are similar to those in humans, Dr. Nelson says people are not likely to catch this from their dog.

"To date, the canine influenza H3N8 has not been shown to spread to people at all," Dr. Nelson said.

About 80 percent of dogs that get canine influenza show signs; those symptoms are coughing, fever, yellowish-green colored nasal discharge, dehydration and lethargy. For some dogs, this can lead to a more serious illness like pneumonia. Nelson says if your dog shows signs of a respiratory disease to contact your veterinarian.

"If your dog does show signs of canine influenza or another respiratory disease, you want to immediately quarantine it from other dogs and keep it at home," Dr. Nelson said. “Do not take your dog to doggie day care or other places where it may spread the disease to others."

Dogs typically show signs of the disease two to five days after exposure. Nelson says most dogs just need some rest, fluids and a warm place to nurse them back to health.

The Kansas State University Veterinary Health Center does offer the canine influenza vaccine. For more information, contact the center at 785-532-5700.


Centennial Plaza bricks ad

CEEZAD project finds potential treatment for drug resistant H7N9 influenza virus

 H7N9 Influenza Virus 
 An electron micrograph shows influenza A virus budding.  

The novel avian H7N9 influenza virus has caused more than 130 human infections with 43 deaths in China. New research conducted under the supervision of Dr. Juergen Richt, DVM, Ph.D., is showing promise in helping to fight this deadly virus. “Emergence of a novel drug resistant H7N9 influenza virus: Evidence based clinical potential of a natural IFN-alpha for infection control and treatment” is set to publish this month in an early online edition of the journal “Expert Review of Anti-infective Therapy.”

Dr. Richt, the Regents Distinguished Professor at Kansas State University and an Eminent Scholar of Kansas Bioscience Authority (KBA), is the director of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases (CEEZAD), which is working with scientists at Hemispherx Biopharma Inc. to develop novel pharmacological treatments. Research for the H7N9 project was conducted at K-State’s Biosecurity Research Institute (BRI) mainly by Dr. Qinfang Liu in Dr. Richt’s laboratory.

Dr. Richt is recognized as an expert on zoonotic agents and has published extensively on the monitoring of mutations and basic events leading to cross-species transmission of influenza viruses and the opportunities to adapt to human hosts, with the potential to cause a pandemic. Because of the lack of existing immunity against H7 subtype influenza viruses in the human population and the absence of a licensed commercial vaccine, antiviral drugs are critical tools for the treatment of human infections with this novel H7N9.

“Both M2-ion channel blockers (e.g., amantadine) and neuraminidase inhibitors (e.g., Tamiflu, Relenza) are used as antiviral drugs for influenza infections of humans,” Dr. Richt said. “The emerging H7N9 viruses are resistant to the M2-ion channel blockers and some also to neuramidinidase inhibitors because of mutations in the respective proteins. In this study we report that Alferon N can inhibit wild type and Tamiflu resistant H7N9 virus replication in vitro. Since Alferon N is approved for clinical use, this would allow a rapid regulatory approval process for this drug under pandemic threat.”

CEEZAD was officially inaugurated in June 2010, with its first annual conference held in Manhattan. It was formed to enhance the capability of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) by developing “state of the art” countermeasures for high priority emerging and zoonotic animal diseases.


Alumni work together to ‘crown’ a cougar at Salina zoo

 Imaging a mass in a white rhinoceros 

Dr. Doug Winter, a 1987 K-State DVM alumnus who practices in Wichita, puts a crown on Sadie the cougar at Salina's Rolling Hills Zoo.


Photo and story by Rolling Hills Zoo/Vickee Spicer, director of development & marketing

The Rolling Hill Zoo veterinarian, Dr. Danelle Okeson, DVM class of 1996, and veterinary technician, Sara McGinnis, make sure that all the zoo’s animals have regular check-ups — that includes their teeth! For many of the zoo’s animals, good dental care is as important for survival, as food and enrichment.

With assistance from both “human” and veterinary dentists, many procedures take place on an ongoing basis. Once in a while there is a special case that gets noticed. The zoo’s beautiful female cougar, Sadie, was just such a case.

Sadie had shown some abnormal wear on her upper left canine tooth that required some extra strengthening. Enter Dr. Douglas Winter, DVM class of 1987, who has had experience putting crowns on animal teeth. On Jan. 13, he made a "house call" to the zoo to perform this procedure. Thanks to the work of these veterinarians, Sadie has a beautiful and strong crown to enable her to use her teeth as she should. Seeing her growl is a little more visually interesting after her “coronation”!

Sadie is not the only animal to undergo some special dental care. It is not uncommon for aardvarks to have dental issues with their unique teeth composition (no enamel) and have had required treatment. Raja, the white tiger, recently had a root canal; Rusa, the orangutan, had some issues with periodontal disease; and Boo Boo, the Andean Bear has been given some special dental attention as well.

February is Pet Dental Health Month.


News and Notes from the Veterinary Medical Alumni Association

VMAA logoClass Reunion Photos

This year's class reunion photos were taken by University Photo Services. To order go to http://ksuphoto.zenfolio.com/vet2013 . If you need help, please call Photographic Services under the Department of Communication and Marketing at K-State. Their number is 785-532-2535 or email photo@k-state.edu . The College of Veterinary Medicine also has a class reunion photo form available online http://www.vet.k-state.edu/depts/alumni/pdf/reunionphoto.pdf .

Class Biographies

Class Biography order forms are available on the College of Veterinary Medicine website at http://www.vet.k-state.edu/depts/alumni/pdf/reunionbio.pdf . Thank you for submitting your updates.

20th Annual Scholarship Golf Tournament

Save the date, June 9, 2014, at Colbert Hills Golf Course. Find more information at our website: http://www.vet.k-state.edu/depts/development/golf/golf.htm

Alumni recognized at NAVC and NVMA

The CVM recognized alumni at two regional veterinary conferences in January. Dr. Robert Ridgway, Orlando, Fla., was recognized at the North American Veterinary Conference held in Orlando, on Jan. 19. Dr. Ridgway, who was born in Dodge City, Kan., earned a bachelor’s degree at Fort Hays State University in 1962 and a second bachelor’s degree at Kansas State University in 1969. He earned his doctor of veterinary medicine degree at K-State in 1971. Dr. Ridgway completed a residency in internal medicine at the University of California, Davis. After graduation, he worked for a short time at a veterinary hospital in Topeka, Kan., before entering the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps, where he became director of the Animal Medicine Division in Okinawa, Japan. He was the first U.S. Army officer to be in charge of the Department of Defense Military Dog Veterinary Service at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio and received a master’s degree in international management from the University of Maryland in 1999. After retiring from the Army, Dr. Ridgway worked at Covance Laboratories, Banfield Pet Hospital and Orange County Animal Services in Orlando. He has authored two books on animal health, “How to Treat Your Dogs and Cats with Over-the-Counter Drugs” in 2011 and “The Truth about Dog and Cat Treatments and Anomalies” in 2013. See Dr. Ridgway's full bio at this link:

Dr. Robert Ridgway with Dean Ralph Richardson
Dean Ralph Richardson congratulates Dr. Robert Ridgway as a 2014 Alumni Recognition Award recipient at the North American Veterinary Conference in Orlando, Fla.

Dr. Melissa “Dr. Missy” Girard-Lemons, Grand Island, Neb., was recognized Jan. 24 at the winter meeting of the Nebraska Veterinary Medical Association being held in Lincoln, Neb. Dr. Girard-Lemons was born and raised on a poultry, swine (farrow to finish) and cash-crop farm in Osceola, Neb. Her parents are Ron and Deb Girard of Osceola, and she has a younger sister, Kara, and younger brother, Tim. She attended undergraduate school at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where she held several offices in campus organizations: Pre-Vet Club, Mortar Board, College of Agricultural Science and Natural Resources, Student Government and Alpha Chi Omega sorority. Dr. Girard-Lemons earned a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree at Kansas State University in 1999. She has practiced more than 14 years in Grand Island with the Animal Medical Clinic. In 2005, she purchased the practice and built a new building in 2007. The Animal Medical Clinic is a three-doctor, progressive, small animal veterinary clinic where an emphasis is placed on education, communication and passionate caring. She enjoys getting to know each and every client so she can better meet their medical needs. See Dr. Girard-Lemons' full bio at this link: http://www.vet.k-state.edu/alumni/awards/recognition/girard-lemons.htm
Dr. Melissa Girard-Lemons at NVMA
Dean Ralph Richardson congratulates Dr. Melissa Girard-Lemons and her husband Tim at the NVMA meeting.


Second-year student wins travel award for AALAS Meeting

Second-year student Brian Smith was one of five students from different veterinary colleges to win a travel award to the American Association of Laboratory Animal Sciences national convention held in Baltimore last October. He was nominated for this award by Dr. Sally Olson, assistant director, Comparative Medicine Group. The award is sponsored by ASLAP, American Society of Laboratory Animal Practitioners.  The intention of the program is to increase awareness of the practice of laboratory animal medicine by assisting students to attend the annual AALAS national meeting.

“I have gotten to know Brian because he is looking to do a residency after veterinary school in laboratory animal Medicine and eventually becoming boarded in laboratory animal medicine,” Dr. Olson said.

Brian was the only second-year student out of the award winners, who came from different universities.

“The other students were either 3rd or 4th year students,” Brian said. “The national meeting was a great. I think the most useful part was networking with laboratory animal veterinarians and resident students. I attended an American Committee on Laboratory Animal Diseases luncheon, which was like speed dating for lab animal resident students looking for a future career. For me it was great because I got to go from table to table and talk with veterinary researchers or program directors from all over the country.“

Second-year Brian Smith (in purple) joins the ASLAP Veterinary Student Travel Award winners who attended the ASLAP luncheon at the AALAS Meeting in Baltimore. They are pictured here with ASLAP President Wanda West (left) and ASLAP Veterinary Student Liaison Committee Chair William Hill (right).


‘Pet Friendly’ License Plate

The College of Veterinary Medicine has a new way to support Kansas Shelter Medicine. The Pet Friendly license plate is available to Kansas residents statewide. For information, see www.vet.k-state.edu/depts/development/license.htm, call 1-855-269-7387 or e-mail: petplate@vet.k-state.edu.

Pet Friendly license plate


News Ticker

Thirty years and going strong

Cheri Ubel retirement collage
Audrey Fritz, senior administrative assistant, celebrates upon receiving her 30-year pin as a state employee, presented by Shirley Arck, the VHC hospital administrator.

Stem cell study - call for patients

Drs. Walter Renberg, James Roush and David Upchurch would like to announce that the enrollment period is still open for an IACUC approved clinical study evaluating the use of injectable stem cells for treatment of osteoarthritis. Stem cells derived from the patient’s own fat have been used for years in human and veterinary medicine and initial reports seems promising. Potential candidates should be dogs with lameness due to arthritis of the hip joints without other confounding sources of lameness (knee disease or neurologic issues that affect the hind limbs). Candidates will need to have an initial screening by the doctors to ensure that they qualify. The study has been generously funded, and all candidate dogs will have their initial exam and subsequent procedures and visits fully funded.

If you are interested or have further questions please email Dr. Upchurch (upchurch@vet.ksu.edu).

David Upchurch, DVM
Small Animal Surgical Resident
Kansas State University
Veterinary Health Center

BioKansas One Health Summit

Registration is open for the BioKansas One Health Summit on March 5 and 6 at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan. The university is an event sponsor. The One Health Summit offers podium presentations and panel discussions by subject matter experts working across human, animal, and plant sciences. The event also provides networking and exhibit opportunities to enhance connections within our bioscience community. Among the presenters are: Dr. Ralph Richardson, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine; Kent Glasscock, president of the Kansas State University Institute for Commercialization; Dr. Brian Lubbers, director of clinical microbiology, Kansas State Diagnostic Laboratory; and Dr. Scott McVeigh, adjunct professor of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology.

Skydiving invitation from Audrey Gibson in KSVDL Bacteriology Lab

Audrey Gibson, right, landing after midnight on a New Year's Eve skydive

During my undergraduate at K-State earning my degree in Animal Science, I gained many valuable experiences. These would include research opportunities, being a student worker in the KSUVDL Bacteriology lab where I am now a microbiologist. and can you believe it, even skydiving! During my sophomore year, I decided that while the Bake Club was helping me with the "freshman 15," I just could not pass up the opportunity to throw myself from a perfectly good airplane —so it was settled. I took the First Jump Course with the K-State Parachute club, the oldest colligate skydiving club in the nation and 512 jumps later I’m still in love.

The best part of the club is that anyone can join which leads to a variety of friendship ranging from doctors, waitresses and even professional skydivers. Many people choose to take a tandem their first time, where they have an instructor strapped to their back and exit at 10,000 ft. or you can exit solo at 3,000 ft and have your canopy automatically deploy. No matter your choice, as Leonardo Da Vinci said “When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will  long to return”.

My initial fear of the sport was drastically pushed aside when I look back on all the amazing experiences I have been a part of; delivering skydiving teddy bears to children in hospitals, holding a state record in Missouri, competing on a national collegiate level and just recently making a midnight skydive on new year’s eve with my boyfriend (whom I met in the club)! I highly encourage everyone who has a notion to personally contact me so you too can make a lasting memory, be it one jump or 1,000!

Audrey participates in a Missouri 10-way state record for female jumpers.

Congratulations to Dr. David Biller, whose son, Jake, signed a letter of intent to play baseball at Fort Scott (Kan.) Community College. Jake is primarily a second-baseman and middle infielder. They've shared a link to Jake's recruitment video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wV4ydEL7vhE

Dr. Deryl Troyer gave an invited presentation at the Midwest Conference on Cell Therapy and Regenerative Medicine, “Wharton’s Jelly Stem Cells as Delivery Vehicles,” KU Midwest Stem Cell Therapy Center, Kansas City, Mo., Nov. 23, 2013.



Department of Anatomy and Physiology Seminar Series

Seminars begin at 3:30 p.m., Mara Conference Center, 4th floor, Trotter Hall

Feb. 24: Dr. Jim Lillich, Kansas State University

March 3: Dr. Kristopher Silver, Kansas State University

March 10: Dr. Susan Brown, Kansas State University, Department of Biology, hosted by Dr. Jim Lillich

March 17: Spring Break-No Seminar

March 24: Dr. Yongming Sang, Kansas State University

March 31: Dr. David Volkin, University of Kansas, hosted by Dr. Jishu Shi

April 7: Xiangdong Li/Jie Ren, Kansas State University

April 14: Dr. Michael Neely, University of Southern California, hosted by Dr. Ronette Gehring

April 21: Dr. Butch KuKanich/Dr. Ronette Gehring/Dr. Michael Apley, Kansas State University

April 28: Dr. Tommy Huang/Dr. Mengjie Li/Dr. Keith DeDonder, Kansas State University

May 5: Ryan Broxterman/Clark Holdsworth, Kansas State University

Instructional Technology and Design:

The following workshops will be offered for the CVM faculty and staff in the Mara Conference Center. Please watch for email announcements for more information about each workshop.

Qualtrics: The New K-State Survey Tool, presented by Hong Wang, 3:30-4:30 pm, Tuesday, February 25.

Microsoft Office 2013, presented by Gina Scott, 2:00 – 3:00 pm, Wednesday, March 12.

Two Tools You’ll Ever Need: Facilitating File/Note Management and Sharing, presented by Hong Wang, 3:30-4:30 pm, Tuesday, April 8.


Lifelines is published each month by the Development and Alumni Affairs Office at the College of Veterinary Medicine. The editors are Joe Montgomery, jmontgom@vet.k-state.edu.