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College of Veterinary Medicine

Veterinary Health Center
For all veterinary referrals, please email
1800 Denison Ave.
Manhattan, KS 66506

For emergencies call:
785-532-5690, dial 0

For appointments call:
Small Animal Desk

Large Animal Desk

Admissions - Dean's Office

Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory Client Care
785-532-5650 or

Rabies Laboratory

Dean's Office


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May 2018 - Vol. 13, No. 5

Top Stories

Eagle flies again

Bald Eagle

Thanks to diligent action by concerned landowners, local law enforcement, staff of the Milford Nature Center, and veterinary intervention at Kansas State University, a bald eagle diagnosed with lead poisoning has regained its health and spread its wings to fly again through the skies over the Tuttle Creek River Pond near Manhattan. Lead poisoning is a common threat, not only to bald eagles but other animals as well. Read how the eagle was successfully treated and learn about other potential hazards from lead in the environment.

Veterinary intervention saves Spar; Leads to release back into wild (click to read)

Dr. Jim Carpenter helps release bald eagle
Dr. James Carpenter watches as Spar the eagle ventures back into the wild after two months of treatment and rehabilitation from lead poisoning.


Feeding eagle

 Students who helped treat the eagle named him Spar. The lead poisoning prevented Spar from eating on his own.

Oxygen for the eagle

 Spar is given some oxygen while being examined.

Banding the eagle

 Vanessa Avara, assistant director at the Milford Nature Center, helps a staff member with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, put a band on Spar's leg. Spar spent about two months rehabilitating at the center.

“This eagle was brought to us on Jan. 11” recalled Dr. James Carpenter, professor of wildlife and zoological medicine in the Veterinary Health Center (VHC) at Kansas State University. “It was depressed, emaciated, not eating and unable to fly. The prognosis for regaining its health appeared poor. The bird was determined to be a 4.5-year-old male.”

After the bird was admitted to the VHC, the staff performed a physical examination, took radiographs and obtained a blood sample to evaluate its health status.

“We then administered fluids, antibiotics, and placed it in a quiet, warm environment with food and water,” Dr. Carpenter said. “We also performed a diagnostic test to evaluate this eagle’s blood lead level. Lead levels in bald eagles are a significant problem and a high percentage of the eagles that are found ‘down,' are diagnosed with lead toxicity. In one raptor center in Minnesota, 25 percent of the eagles submitted had toxic levels of lead in their blood. Birds acquire lead most commonly by consuming dead animals that were shot by lead bullets or from other sources of lead contamination.”

This was not the first time Dr. Carpenter had worked with bald eagles. In fact, before coming to Kansas State University in 1989, he headed the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Endangered Species Propagation Program at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Maryland for 15 years. During this time, this program reintroduced 81 captive-produced eagles into the wild in 13 states.

“While I was at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, a severely debilitated eagle was brought to us and we diagnosed lead poisoning,” Dr. Carpenter said. “That was the index case — the first case ever reported of lead poisoning in a bald eagle. So now, here I am over 35 years later, and we’re still working on the same issue. Thousands of cases have now, presumably, been documented.”

Dr. Carpenter explained the protocol for treating birds with lead poisoning.

“We began chelation — using medications that reduce the lead levels — and between that and intensive supportive care, the bird’s condition improved,” Dr. Carpenter said.

Dr. Carpenter said the treatment of the eagle was a great educational opportunity. He was assisted on this case by Dr. Rob Browning along with three fourth-year veterinary students and a veterinary technician. The students named the bald eagle Spar, and after five days of treatment, Spar was sent for rehabilitation to the Milford Nature Center, northwest of Junction City, Kansas (about 25 miles away). Recovery of this bird was a team effort between the VHC and the Milford Nature Center.

“We have kind of a multi-tiered process,” explained Vanessa Avara, assistant director at the Milford Nature Center. “We bring [animals] in and have them inside the building for intensive care — or baby care if they are orphans — then we take them outside to an enclosure and let them get used to the weather and all that.”

The Milford Nature Center has a variety of specialized enclosures for birds, particularly birds of prey, including a large flight pen.

“The birds are placed in there to build up muscle and strength prior to being released,” Avara said. “That’s where [the bald eagle] has been for several weeks now, so we’ve watched his ability and strength improve over that period of time. He was obviously ready to go.”

Avara said lead poisoning has been a common problem recently.

“This situation happens because [eagles] eat something else that has been ingesting lead,” Avara said. “So it’s not that they get shot or something like that usually. It’s because they’ve eaten enough fish that have ingested lead sinkers or they have eaten deer that were shot with lead ammunition. A lot of people don’t realize how much lead ammunition fragments when it hits a target. Fragments can go 17 inches from the entry point, and some of that is microscopic. It doesn’t take much to poison a bird like an eagle — maybe two or three pieces the size of a BB can cause serious problems with one of those birds.”

“Once the lead gets into the gastrointestinal tract of an eagle, it breaks down and is absorbed,” Dr. Carpenter said. “Lead gets into the blood stream affecting numerous organs, resulting in clinical signs of disease including neurologic signs. Most eagles with lead toxicity will die or, even if rescued, may be euthanized if they are profoundly ill.”

Dr. Browning and his students visited Spar at the Milford Nature Center a few times and monitored the lead levels in his blood.

“We continued the chelation treatment,” Dr. Carpenter said, “and Spar responded very favorably, meaning that the lead in his blood was reduced to a safe level.”

Finally, at the end March, Spar was taken to Tuttle Creek where he was released.

“With every animal that we have come through rehab, release is our goal,” Avara said. “It isn’t always the outcome and to get that eagle out there is awesome, because I have had two eagles die in my hands from lead poisoning in the last three months.”

“Seeing that bird successfully released after two months of care was incredible!” Dr. Carpenter added. “It’s one of the best releases I’ve ever seen and it was really exciting. I also think it had a great impact on our students and others who were viewing the release. We’re really appreciative of the wildlife fund that we have at the Veterinary Health Center (a fund made possible by the financial contributions of private individuals who share our passion for wildlife) because that’s what paid for all the diagnostics and medications provided to this bird. It was an awesome day and I’m just appreciative that I was involved, and our students could be involved and to see the whole process.”

KSVDL toxicologist warns not to forgot about lead hazards such as cattle (click to read)

Dr. Steve Ensley

 Dr. Steve Ensley shows one of the diagnostic machines used to measure levels of lead toxicity in a blood sample from the bald eagle.

Dr. Steve Ensley, a professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine, serves as a toxicologist for the Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. He oversaw the diagnosis of blood samples from a locally found bald eagle earlier this year that was treated by Kansas State University veterinarians in the Veterinary Health Center and later released back into the wild in late March.

“We’ve got a piece of equipment we can do mineral analysis on allows us to analyze up to 26 minerals at a time,” Dr. Ensley said.  “We can look at a whole blood sample and see where the lead would be and do that analysis within about an hour and be able to tell what the lead concentration is.”

He said in the case of the bald eagle, there were three different blood lead samples that were analyzed over a period of time.

“They were giving the eagle an antidote to trying to eliminate the lead from the body, and we were going to measure how fast it decreased,” Dr. Ensley said. “The analytical method is similar for all species – humans and animals – the instrument and instrumentation we have is fairly unique.”

Dr. Ensley said that eagles aren’t the only animals susceptible to lead poisoning.

 “There was a significant exposure in Iowa in 2016,” Dr. Ensley said. “A [cattle] producer had a 75-pound tractor battery that got ground up and was inadvertently fed to 100 animals in a feedlot.”

He estimated approximately 100 head of cattle were exposed to lead and another 20 cow-calf pairs that were also exposed in the incident.

“That was a large death loss — a large number of animals that were affected at one time,” Dr. Ensley noted somberly.

Dr. Ensley mentioned the problem with lead has notable been in the media due to exposure in humans.

“There have been a lot of problems in Flint, Michigan, with lead,” Dr. Ensley said. “Lead is a problem that’s not going to go away in the foreseeable future because we don’t have a good way to make sure it’s not in the environment.”

One of the issues with lead is from ingesting it orally.

“In the short term it goes into the liver, the kidneys and some in the tissue, but it’s very easily, quickly metabolized out of those organs,” Dr. Ensley said. “The place it goes to that makes it the biggest issue is in the bone, because calcium is a divalent cation like lead, so lead will be substituted for calcium in the bone. Once lead is in the bone, it can take a long time to be moved out of the bone to be excreted in the animal.”

Dr. Ensley said lead in body tissue normally takes about 30 days to be excreted, but when lead moves into the bone, it can take six months to a year, depending on the dose.

“We usually measure blood lead in parts per billion, and clinical signs in all species will usually start around 300 to 350 parts per billion,” Dr. Ensley said. “In the eagle, the highest concentration we had was around 1,000 parts per billion. In one of the last samples, we had — when it was not showing clinical signs — was right around 200 parts per billion, so that’s a significant decrease due to the treatment that was initiated. It demonstrates a good response to the therapy, and the reason why the animal wasn’t clinically affected anymore.”

Dr. Ensley teaches toxicology to the sophomore veterinary students, and said his class recently covered the subject of lead and other heavy metals.

“I always tell them that if you see an animal with any kind of nervous signs, lead should be one of the things you think about,” Dr. Ensley said. “If we can get one ml of whole blood — it’s an inexpensive test we can do here at Kansas State and tell you whether it is or isn’t a problem. When I teach veterinary students about it, I say if you have a large animal ruminant, and they’re showing CMS signs, the potential for lead toxicity should be high on your differential list. Don’t forget about it because you don’t think it happens very often. It’s more common than you would believe.”

For information on blood lead testing, visit the Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory website at or contact KSVDL Client Care at 866-512-5650 or clientcare@vet.k-state.edu.

Video Feature

Spar and the Dangers of Lead Toxicity

See Spar's road to recovery in this video produced by the Kansas State University Division of Communications and Marketing.


Cumulative gift for CEVBD from Abaxis reaches $1 million

Dr. Roman Ganta, Dennis Bleile and Ken Aron

Steady support from a cutting-edge medical and veterinary technology company has now added up to $1 million. For each of the last four years, Abaxis has presented Kansas State University’s Center of Excellence for Vector-Borne Diseases (CEVBD) with a $250,000 gift. The CEVBD is an interdisciplinary research center in the College of Veterinary Medicine that has a mission to combat vector-borne diseases with a focus on pathogenesis, surveillance and disease prevention.

Read more ...

 Dr. Roman Ganta, Dennis Bleile and Ken Aron

Dr. Roman Ganta meets with Dennis Bleile, senior director, research and development, and Ken Aron, chief technology officer at Abaxis.

"Working with Roman is one of the great pleasures and honors of this job,” said Ken Aron, chief technology officer at Abaxis. “The Center of Excellence for Vector-Borne Diseases is in the forefront of research on issues influenced by urban areas that are increasingly encroaching on animal habitats, and can become unsuspecting starting points for vector borne diseases. It is a privilege to be in the position to support the work of someone like him.”

“The CEVBD foundation grant from Abaxis has been instrumental in developing various innovative projects,” Dr. Ganta, said. “We’ve identified several projects including vaccine development to control: canine infections with Ehrlichia species; Anaplasma species infections in dogs; and Rickettsia [the Rocky Mountain spotted fever disease agent] – also in dogs.”

Additionally, Dr. Ganta identified a project for developing axenic (cell-free) media growth of Ehrlichia and Anaplasma species pathogens. He said the gift also provided matching-fund support for a Kansas State University National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) transition-fund grant that is focused on vaccine development and pathogenesis study to prevent a foreign animal disease: Heartwater, which is caused by Ehrlichia ruminantium.

“Just as important, these funds are invested in promoting graduate education focused on vector-borne diseases,” Dr. Ganta said. “Our future goals for the foundation fund will be similarly allotted as indicated above and when we find a strategic need to enhance our progress in developing new projects.  In particular, we allot these funds for generating preliminary data leading up to publications and additional extramural funding, like we have achieved during the last three years.”

To continue to facilitate this successful partnership for the CEVBD and Abaxis, the KSU Foundation has provided significant assistance in its role as Kansas State University’s strategic partner for philanthropy.

For more information about the Center of Excellence for Vector-Borne Disease, visit the center’s website: http://www.vet.k-state.edu/research/cevbd.


Dr. David Poole one of K-State's three newest distinguished professors

Dr. David Poole

Three Kansas State University professors have been named 2018 university distinguished professors, a lifetime title that is the highest honor the university bestows on its faculty members.

The professors receiving the distinction include Dr. Mary Beth Kirkham, professor of agronomy; Dr. David Poole, professor of kinesiology, and anatomy and physiology; and Dr. James Sherow, professor of history.

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Dr. David PooleDr. Poole's discoveries have helped define how oxygen is transported from the lungs to be used by tissue mitochondria. Using innovative models, including humans, racehorses, dogs, elephants and rodents at rest and during exercise, he has identified key sites of metabolic control in health and disease. These observations have driven a paradigm shift in the understanding of how capillaries function and advanced novel therapeutics for heart failure.

Dr. Poole earned his bachelor's degree in sports science/applied physiology from Liverpool Polytechnic, England, and his master's degree and doctorate from the University of California, Los Angeles, with postdoctoral training in medicine at the University of California, San Diego. He was the first recipient of the higher Doctor of Science in Physiology from John Moores University in Liverpool in 2000.

Dr. Poole believes that outstanding teaching and research go hand in hand. He has taught more than 5,000 undergraduate and 2,000 graduate/professional students at Kansas State University and has mentored more than 50 master's students and 16 doctoral students as co-director of the university's Clarenburg Cardiorespiratory Laboratory.

Dr. Poole has authored more than 300 research publications, reviews and three books. He has been editor/associate editor for four scientific journals and currently serves on nine editorial boards. Dr. Poole has won top college awards at the university for research and teaching in the College of Human Ecology and the College of Veterinary Medicine. He was honored by the British first lady, Cherie Booth Blair, in 2000 and the Danish National Academy of Sciences in 2010. He is the 2018 Edward F. Adolph Distinguished Lecturer from the Environmental and Exercise Physiology section of the American Physiological Society. Dr. Poole is a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine, past president for the Central States American College of Sports Medicine from 2001-2002 and incoming councillor for the Exercise and Environmental Physiology section of the American Physiological Society.

Dr. Poole has been awarded more than $5 million as principal investigator and $17.9 million as co-investigator in research grants from the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and the American Heart Association. His h-Index is 65 with more than 15,000 citations.



More Headlines

Research team obtains grant to identify pain relief options for arthritic and postoperative dogs

Drs. Butch and Kate KuKanich and David Rankin

A research team from the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University asked the question: Is there a way to improve pain control in dogs?

The team consists of Dr. Butch KuKanich, professor of veterinary clinical pharmacology, Dr. Kate KuKanich, associate professor of small animal internal medicine, and Dr. David Rankin, clinical associate professor of veterinary anesthesiology.

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Drs. Butch and Kate KuKanich and David Rankin


Dr. Butch KuKanich, Dr. Kate KuKanich and Dr. David Rankin.

Together they are seeking options for canine pain relief and have recently received a $25,000 pain research grant from the American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF).

Already the team has identified a drug formulation to control mild to severe pain in dogs via oral administration once to twice daily. The team found methadone administered orally to dogs when combined with a pharmacokinetic enhancer produced prolonged effects in dogs.

Previous to their discovery, the poor absorption and short duration of opioids in dogs have resulted in inconsistent analgesia after oral administration.

“Other drugs such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs [NSAIDs] are not always effective, may not be well tolerated in older dogs or dogs with organ dysfunction and occasionally produce serious adverse effects,” stated Dr. Butch KuKanich “Our initial results are very promising, but with the abuse of opioids today, we not only want a formulation that works in dogs, but one that will not contribute to consequences of inadvertent drug exposure or drug misuse in humans.”

Dr. KuKanich explained the next step is to create a formulation that will not be misused. This is when the AVMF and the estate of Susan Isaac Maylahn and in memory of her dog, Igloo, a Samoyed, stepped in.

“Without Ms. Maylahn’s love of animals and her estate’s generous donation to the AVMF, who are also dedicated to helping veterinarians and animals, we would not be starting the next step,” Dr. KuKanich said. “The entire research team is excited to continue the difficult work of optimizing the analgesic effects of the formulation in dogs while making a safe formulation for both the dogs to be treated and the people handling the formulation.”

According to Dr. Rankin, “In my opinion, many dogs are under-medicated for post-operative and chronic pain due to a paucity of reliably efficacious ‘send home’ analgesics. This study has the potential to really have an impact on pets’ quality of life.”

“The ability to provide effective pain control for our canine patients is of utmost importance in companion animal medicine,” Dr. Kate KuKanich added. “This novel opioid strategy not only shows great promise in helping us to minimize our patients’ pain, but also addresses the larger public health concerns of minimizing opportunities for opioid abuse potential in our communities.”


Veterinary student receives equine medicine scholarship

Kate RigbyKudos to third-year veterinary student Kate Rigby. She is now a two-time recipient of a $1,500 Winner's Circle Scholarship presented by the American Association of Equine Practitioners' Foundation, Platinum Performance and The Race For Education.

Kate was a recipient of this scholarship in 2017 and has just been selected for a 2018 scholarship.

Click here to read more ...


Kate Rigby

 Kate Rigby
"I am very fortunate to have received this scholarship over the past two years," Rigby said. "Applying the funds directly to the loan amount I have accumulated to reduce the amount of interest and overall principal has proven financially beneficial."

Rigby said the support of the American Association of Equine Practitioners and Platinum Performance has confirmed that equine medicine values veterinary students and has influenced her decision to become involved with the organizations in the future.

"My goal is to become board certified in equine internal medicine, and these scholarships will certainly help me reach my goal of specialization through both financial and educational assistance," Rigby said.

The Winner's Circle scholarships, managed by The Race For Education, are intended to help ease the financial burden of a veterinary education by offering second- and third-year students at each of the American Association of Equine Practitioners' 39 full or full-affiliate student chapters an opportunity to earn scholarships ranging from $1,500 to $5,000, depending on the needs of the individual student. Students are selected for scholarships based on their leadership roles and dedication to a future in equine health care.

The scholarships include funding from the Race For Education's Assets for Independence Program, a federal grant program in partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Administration For Children and Families. Only U.S. students attending veterinary school in the U.S. were eligible for awards through the federal matching grant.


CVM gains membership to Clinical and Translational Science Award One Health Alliance

The College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University has just been accepted as the latest member of an organization dedicated to promoting “One Health” collaborations.

The Clinical and Translational Science Award One Health Alliance (COHA) is comprised of veterinary schools that are partnered with medical institutions through a National Institutes of Health Clinical Translational Science Award (CTSA).

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COHA’s mission is to advance the understanding of diseases shared by humans and animals. The alliance leverages the expertise of physicians, research scientists, veterinarians, and other professionals to find solutions for medical problems and to address the well-being of humans, animals, and the environment. This approach will capitalize on One Health opportunities that accelerate translational research.

The veterinary college’s primary collaborator is Frontiers: Clinical and Translational Science Unit at the University of Kansas, located in Fairway (near Kansas City).

“As the director of Frontiers, I am happy to work alongside Kansas State University to support COHA’s mission,” said Dr. Richard Barohn, who is also the vice chancellor for research at the University of Kansas Medical Center and president of its Research Institute. “I am excited about the potential of this partnership broadening the reach of Frontiers. I also look forward to discovering additional opportunities where partnerships between veterinary schools and medical colleagues exist.”

“Like many schools of veterinary medicine, our college continues to have a strong focus on One Health,” said Dr. Bonnie Rush, interim dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine. We already have a long-standing 20-year collaboration with the KU School of Pharmacy training its pharmacy students in our Veterinary Health Center. Our newest collaboration with KU scientists seeks to identify novel therapeutics for erythrocyte-infecting pathogens of both veterinary and human importance.”

Other examples of ongoing collaborations include 1Data, a structured environment and animal data and simulation; a series of pharmacokinetics studies on lung cancer treatments; stem cell research with the KU Medical Center; vaccine research with the Kansas Vaccine Institute at KU and several other projects.

More information about the COHA can be found at: https://ctsaonehealthalliance.org/announcements/


Tanzanian visitors enjoy unique learning opportunities at CVM

Dr. Richard Samson, Victor Ishengoma and Ally BaholelaFor eight weeks, the Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine has been home to two students and one faculty member from Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA), Tanzania.

These visitors traveled to Manhattan, Kansas, as part of the OIE Twinning Project, which has partnered the SUA College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences with K-State’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

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Dr. Richard Samson, Victor Ishengoma and Ally Baholela
Dr. Richard Samson prepares a cheetah at the Sunset Zoo for a physical examination with help from Tanzanian students Victor Ishengoma and Ally Baholela.


Treating cheetah at Sunset Zoo

 Ally examines an Asian claw-footed otter.

Treating cheetah at Sunset Zoo

 Victor works with the cheetah.

The goals of the project are to examine curriculum and teaching techniques to discover how to provide veterinary students with the tools to solve global issues in veterinary medicine.

Ally Baholela and Victor Ishengoma are two top students from the fifth and final year class in their program. They have spent their time shadowing a variety of clinical rotations at the Veterinary Health Center to gain a different perspective of veterinary medicine.

Dr. Richard Samson, the faculty member from SUA, has spent the majority of his time observing in the equine section. His plan is to take what he has learned at K-State to further develop equine teaching curriculum and services in Tanzania.

In addition to their time observing in the clinic, the visitors also had the opportunity to participate in veterinary management activities at the Sunset Zoo, tour K-State research facilities, and visit Kansas livestock production systems.

"We would like to extend a big thank you to all of the CVM faculty, staff, and students who have made our visitors feel welcome and provided unique learning opportunities.”

Victor Ishengoma, Dr. Richard Samson, and Ally Baholela
Victor, Dr. Samson and Ally accompany the VHC team to Tuttle Creek State Park for the release of the bald eagle successfully treated for lead poisoning.


CVM increases enrollment of in-state veterinary students

The College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) at Kansas State University (KSU) announces an increase in the number of in-state students accepted to the incoming class for fall 2018.

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The College of Veterinary Medicine accepts just 112 students each year. In past years, 45 Kansas residents have typically been admitted to each class. For the graduating Class of 2022, 51 Kansas residents were admitted to our program. Of these admitted Kansans, 21 students participated in the Early Admission Program offered by the college for undergraduate students. The program allows students to prequalify for admission through successful achievement of several prerequisite requirements.

The KSU CVM received 111 Kansas applicants for this incoming class and 90 applicants were interviewed. “The quality of the Kansas applicant pool was very strong this year,” said Dr. Bonnie Rush, interim dean of the college. “Producing more Kansas graduates will better serve the state. Native Kansans are more likely to practice in Kansas after graduation, often returning to serve their home communities.”

Dr. Rush said having additional in-state students will contribute to the college’s goal to produce graduates with less educational debt.

“In 2017 we established a strategic priority to reduce the debt-load for graduating students,” Dr. Rush said. “For our college, increased numbers of in-state residents and freezing tuition both have an impact on achieving this goal.”

For more information about CVM Admissions or the Early Admission Program see:





K-State College of Agriculture names Dr. Justin Kastner Outstanding Young Alumnus

Dr. Jusitn Kastner

Dr. Justin Kastner, associate professor in the Department of Diagnostic Medicine/Pathobiology has been chosen as the 2018 Outstanding Young Alumnus for the College of Agriculture at Kansas State University. He teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on the Manhattan and Olathe campuses and through Global Campus. 

Dr. Kastner earned a bachelor’s degree in food science and industry in 1998. While a K-State student, he served as a city commissioner and was named Truman, Fulbright and Rotary scholars.

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Dr. Kastner with Michael Burns and Keith Bryant
Michael Burns, left, and Keith Bryant, right, present the CVM's Dr. Justin Kastner with the College of Agriculture's Outstanding Young Alumnus Award.


Dr. Justin Kastner

 Dr. Kastner shares his gratitude on being selected for this honor by his undergraduate Alma Mater.

After completing a master’s degree in food safety and control at the London South Bank University, United Kingdom, and a doctorate in food science at the University of Guelph, Canada, he returned to the K-State Department of Animal Sciences and Industry. He moved to the College of Veterinary Medicine in 2006. From 2013 to 2016, he served as the university honors program director.

Using his experience working with international trade policy at the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, he co-founded the Frontier Program. It allows students to visit trade ports, private firms and other groups involved with international trade

Dr. Kastner has served as principal investigator for $2 million in federal grants related to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), trade policy, trade facilitation, or capacity building. In 2015-16, he led a state-of-Kansas-funded project providing experiential learning for students exploring global food system careers. Dr. Kastner also is president of K-State’s chapter of Phi Kappa Phi and an ordained Anglican minister.

Jacob Lauer (B.S. 2007, food science and industry), who nominated Dr. Kastner, said, “He guided me through my first research project with patience and confidence, allowing me to receive my first peer-reviewed publication. He imparted to me research skills that I continue to use this day.”

Agricultural alumni board members Michael Burns and Keith Bryant presented the awards.

In addition to this award, Dr. Kastner was also recognized in April with the Outstanding Graduate Faculty Member award from the School of Applied and Interdisciplinary Studies award from the Graduate Student Council and the Graduate School different award (a faculty award for an Olathe-affiliated faculty member): “Outstanding Graduate Faculty Member in the School of Applied and Interdisciplinary Studies.”


CVM Graduate Student Association collaborates with Texas A&M on seminar series

GSA tours Texas A&M

During the spring semester, the College of Veterinary Medicine Graduate Student Association (GSA) participated in a joint effort with their counterparts at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences to host the first-ever, student-led seminar series.

The goal of the seminar series was to provide graduate students with a unique forum to foster networking, idea sharing, and research collaborations between academic institutions.

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Diarra Williams, Ph.D. candidate at Texas A&M, and Mariana Guerra-Maupome, Ph.D. candidate at K-State, visited each other’s institutions for a 45-minute seminar about his and her doctoral research along wtih a brief description of their respective graduate programs. This was followed by meetings with faculty in their fields of interest, a tour around the campus and networking sessions with graduate students.

“We all know that each graduate program and areas of research are somewhat different between academic institutions — in some cases, very different, but that doesn’t mean our goals are divergent," Mariana said. "Despite what we do, we can always find the common ground to conduct better research.”

The seminars are intended to provide an informal forum for highlighting the exciting research conducted by graduate students at the CVM, and a starting point for collaborations that will utilize the academic resources to drive exciting research. All graduate students enrolled in a graduate program at the CVM were eligible to travel through abstract submission to the organizing committee.

GSA tours Texas A&M
Mariana Guerra-Maupome, K-State Ph.D. candidate (middle) tours the Texas A&M campus with its graduate student association officers (left to right): Garhett Wyatt, president; Jaime Benn, travel award secretary; Amanda Blanke, social activities chair; Italo Zecca, treasurer; Kanika Badjwa, vice president; and Cassandra Skenandore, general secretary.

Diarra Williams from Texas A&M
Diarra Williams, Ph.D. candidate at Texas A&M, presents his doctoral research entitled “Genetically engineering a sheep model of Hypophatasia” in the Mara Conference Center at K-State.



Regular features

Alumni Events, Development and Continuing Education

VMAA logoThe Veterinary Medical Alumni Association organizes alumni receptions at several of the national annual conferences plus continuing education events and more. This month's section includes an interview with 2018 Alumni Fellow Dr. Michael Whitehair, a special award for Dr. Kimathi Choma and his wife Tosha, the upcoming Alumni Reunion Weekend in June, plus sad news on the tragic passing of Dr. Gerald John Thouvenelle, DVM 1979, of Russell Veterinary Services.

See news and upcoming events below ...

Alumni Fellow Dr. Michael Whitehair chats about his career

Here's a brief preview of the annual Alumni Fellow interview with this year's honoree, Dr. Michael Whitehair, DVM 1974. See the full interview at the KSUCVM YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lNr9zMFhs-0

Video produced by Kent Nelson, technology coordinator from Computing and Technical Support (CATS). See more CVM videos at our YouTube site: youtube.com/KSUCVM

K-State Black Student Union awards Choma family with Stacey Hall Humanitarian Award


Tosha and Dr. Kimathi Choma

 Tosha and Dr. Kimathi Choma, DVM 2007.

Congratulations to Dr. Kimathi Choma, DVM 2007 and assistant dean for diversity, recruitment, and retention in the College of Arts and Sciences at K-State, and Tosha Sampson-Choma, assistant professor of English, who received one of the K-State Black Student Union's highest honors: the Stacey Hall Humanitarian Award.

The Chomas were selected to receive this special award for the continued service they provide in Ghana, Africa. For the past 10 years they have traveled to Ghana to support the African Initiative Mission's Wechiau Girl Conference where they provide community sustainability, education and health.

The Stacey Hall Humanitarian Award is named after K-State student Stacey Hall, who was a member of the Black Student Union. Hall was committed to community service, local civic organizations and becoming a global citizen to work toward a better world. Tragically, in 1996, Hall died in a car accident. In her memory the K-State Black Student Union created this award in her memory and for more than 20 years, the Black Student Union has awarded individuals who display her spirit for humane efforts and civic engagement.


Diagnostics Of Endemic & Emerging Diseases: Beyond The Status Quo

CEEZAD logo June 11-13, K-State Alumni Center

The Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases (CEEZAD) in collaboration with the Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (KSVDL) invites you to participate in this special workshop to promote discussions and collaborations on novel diagnostic tests for endemic, zoonotic and foreign animal diseases including the scientific and regulatory challenges associated with the development of such tools.

KSVDL logo A special session of a live lab will be viewed from the K-State Alumni Center along with a poster session on June 11.

The workshop will bring together practitioners, diagnosticians, scientists, federal employees and representatives from the industry.

Regular registration - $150
K-State Faculty/Staff/Students - 75

For more information, Call for Abstracts and to register visit: www.vet.k-state.edu/education/continuing/conferences/CEEZAD-KSVDL-Conf/index.html

Alumni Reunions

In Memoriam - Recently Departed Alumni

Dr. James Lajos Palotay, DVM 1950
Jan. 21, 2017

Dr. Charles David Heinze, DVM 1953
March 25, 2018


Dr. Gerald ThouvenelleDr. Gerald John Thouvenelle, 67, longtime and well-respected veterinarian across central Kansas, and resident of Russell, Kansas, died in a fatal truck accident on Sunday, April 29, 2018, at the Russell Regional Hospital Emergency Room. He was born Feb. 14, 1951, in Fort Benning, Georgia, the son of Gerald Jack and Margaret Rose “Peggy” (Bibza) Thouvenelle. He grew up in a military family, traveling all over the world, graduating from Iolani High School in Honolulu, Hawaii. While in high school he was an avid soccer player and surfer. After High School, he attended Carson-Newman University in Jefferson City, Tennessee, and continued his participation in soccer. He graduated with a bachelor's degree from Carson Newman College in 1973. While attending undergraduate school as a student, he was employed as a research associate with the American Cancer Society.

He then attended Kansas State University and earned a bachelor's degree in animal sciences and industry in 1977, and in 1979, matriculated with a DVM. In 1984, John established Russell Veterinary Service and Reproduction Lab, LLC, which since that time had been a leading innovator and provider of reproductive health and care for large and small animals, including bovine, horses, sheep and exotic animals. He was one of the few local veterinarians who offered acupuncture, and for a number of years provided a weekend acupuncture clinic for clients in the Kansas City area. For 14 years he served as the regulatory veterinarian for the Russell Livestock Commission. He was always supportive of young students interested in working with animals, so he mentored elementary age students through their 4-H club experiences, and often encouraged young volunteers “working” at the clinic. Additionally his enthusiasm for working with animals prompted his appointment as an adjunct faculty member of Fort Hays University.

John held veterinary licenses in Kansas and Colorado. He continued his professional development through active memberships in the following:  American College of Theriogenology since 2007, American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP), American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), Kansas Veterinary Medicine Association, since 1979 and Academy of Veterinary Consultants.

Surviving family include his mother, Peggy recently of Charleston, South Carolina, two sisters Suzanne Thouvenelle of Arlington, Virginia, and Adrienne Ashby of Charleston, a niece and a nephew, also of Charleston.

Memorials are suggested to Canine Assistance Rehabilitation Education & Services Inc. (CARES Inc.) a group providing training for canine assistance to the elderly and those with disabilities. John was an active participant and avid promoter of their training and certifying animals suitable for this type of work.  Memorials may be sent in care of the mortuary.  

Pohlman-Varner-Peeler Mortuary of Russell, Kansas, is in charge of memorial arrangements.

Questions about Alumni or CE events?


Ashley McCowan PhotoAshley McCowan
Alumni and Events Coordinator


Dana ParkerDana Parker
Program Assistant




Annual Conference 2018




News Ticker

More activities and accomplishments in the College of Veterinary Medicine:

Some scenes from the White Coat Ceremony on May 4

White Coat Ceremony
Congratulations to the class of 2019 on receiving their new professional apparel at the annual White Coat Ceremony as they transition into their fourth-year of studies and enter into clinical rotations. Top left, Dr. Laurie Beard celebrates with Amanda Jones. At right, Dr. Mary Lynn Higginbotham straightens the collar for Daniel Lee.

Drs. Kara Berke and Dana White have successfully passed the Phase 1 Small Animal Surgery Boards. Dr. Cori Youngblood has passed Phase I of the Large Animal Surgery Boards.

Dr. Beth Davis presented "The CVM Curriculum at K-State from a Pre-Veterinary Perspective" to the Veterinary Voyagers group on April 10.

Dr. Bonto Faburay was recognized for Quality Mentoring in Undergraduate Research at the Eighteenth Annual Research Poster Symposium by the Office of Undergraduate Research and Creative Inquiry at Kansas State University on April 15.

Dr. Mike Apley presented Pharmaceutical Regulations, Changes and Trends at the Academy of Veterinary Consultants in Dallas, Texas, on April 13.

Dr. Raghavendra Amachawadi presented at the 5th International Conference on Enterococci in Chamonix, France, on April 15-20. His presentation was titled "Effects of zinc and menthol supplementation on antimicrobial resistance among fecal enterococci in feedlot cattle."

Dr. Neala Boyer presented, “Body Condition, Weight and its impact on Disease in Dogs and Cats,” at the K-State Olathe Careers and Cases in Veterinary Medicine Lecture Series on April 25.

Drs. Kate KuKanich and Sue Nelson were part of the Drug Enforcement Administration National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, April 28. The day provided a safe and responsible way to dispose of prescription drugs which keeps them from being flushed and entering the water supply which can be harmful to pets and humans or being accidentally ingested by pets and children.

Dr. A. Sally Davis joined the editorial board of the Journal of Histochemistry & Cytochemistry (JHC), Sage Publications. She continues to serve as a Councilor for the Histochemical Society chairing their Communications Committee. At Experimental Biology 2018 (EB2018), she chaired the joint American College of Veterinary Pathologist-American Society of Investigative Pathology Symposium entitled “Vector-Borne Diseases: Bridging Scale.” The journal Veterinary Pathology has invited a follow-on cross-cutting review based on this symposium. Two of her students, Kaitlynn Bradshaw and Deepa Upreti, presented posters at EB 2018 entitled, “Pneumocystis: A Polysaccharide Mystery” and “Evaluation of Competitive ELISA for Detection of Rift Valley Fever Virus in Cattle and Sheep Sera.” A third student, MaRyka Smith was selected to serve as the Histochemical Society’s social media consultant and live reported the conference activities at EB2018.

Dr. Kate KuKanich presented “Respiratory One Health: Respiratory therapy for companion animals and public health considerations,” at the Kansas Respiratory Care Society’s Annual Education Symposium, in April.

Drs. Manuel Chamorro and Cynthia Bell presented about the care of food producing animals to a group of fourth-graders on April 30. The Lyon County Farm Bureau hosted the event, “A Day at the Farm,” at the Emporia fairgrounds.

Dr. Walter Renberg presented an international case discussion on “Small Animal Orthopedic Surgery” with DVM students from both K-State and Sokoine University of Agriculture in Tanzania on April 30.

Dr. Nicky Cassel joined the CVM as an assistant professor of radiology.

Congratulations to Dr. Megan Wilson for obtaining her Master of Science Degree in Biomedical Science.

Dr. Ying Fang reports that her Ph.D. student Rui Guo was recently accepted for a postdoc position at Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Pradeep Malreddy successfully completed all the requirements for the Teaching Certificate in Higher Education Pedagogy awarded by the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning at Harvard University.

Dr. Philine Wangemann, University Distinguished Professor, has agreed to review grants and attend the AUD (Auditory systems) study section in Washington, D.C., in June.

Mal Hoover visits elementary school at Fort Riley
Kudos to Mal Hoover, the CVM's certified medical illustrator, on visiting an elementary school at Fort Riley. Here she teaches the students to work with grids while drawing an image of a cat. "It is a great exercise for drawing what you see and the relationship of positive and negative space relative to the subject," Mal said.

Second-year student Sarah Wilson reports she is trying to form a new Veterinary Medicine Recruitment and Outreach Club of Kansas State, aka Vet Med ROCKS! The club will allow veterinary students to work on their leadership skills and apply those skills by working to educate the community about veterinary medicine through presentations and hands on activities. "We will work with local organizations (4H, Boy and Girl Scouts, etc.) and schools (K-12)," Sarah said.

Sarah said he club adviser is Dr. Callie Rost, and that she is working on developing summer day camps for elementary through pre-vets this summer that the club will be helping with.

Shelter Medicine hires two full-time faculty

Drs. Alyssa Comroe and Brad Crauer
The Shelter Medicine program welcomes a new member, Dr. Alyssa Comroe, and a returning member, Dr. Brad Crauer.

The College of Veterinary Medicine welcomed two faculty members to its Shelter Medicine program in April. Drs. Brad Crauer and Alyssa Comroe will serve the college as clinical assistant professors of shelter medicine.

Dr. Crauer previously worked for the College of Veterinary Medicine and helped develop the Shelter Medicine program in 2015. After more than two years with K-State, he moved to the Seattle, Washington, area where he served as medical director for the Wenatchee Humane Society. He received his DVM from Iowa State University in 1991.

“I think Kansas State is poised to be a leader in this area, and my goal is to develop this program so the college becomes known as the university that produces the most-skilled, knowledgeable and practice-ready shelter veterinarians,” Dr. Crauer said.

Dr. Comroe joined K-State from Jacksonville, Florida, where she was a veterinarian at Jacksonville Animal Care and Protective Services, a large municipal animal shelter. She received her DVM from the University of Florida in 2015.

“I’m really excited to continue to grow the Shelter Medicine program at K-State to help prepare students to be shelter veterinarians,” Dr. Comroe said. “The field needs more qualified shelter veterinarians, and I think K-State can provide that training.”

The Shelter Medicine program provides learning and teaching opportunities to veterinary students by offering a rotation on the college’s Mobile Surgery Unit. Students on the rotation provide spay, neuter and other surgical procedures and veterinary consultation to 16 private and municipal partner organizations. The Shelter Medicine team includes Drs. Crauer and Comroe as full-time faculty members, an intern, Dr. Sarah Steen, and two veterinary technicians, Gillian Campbell and Ron Orchard.

Veterinary students study for diversity and inclusion certification

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has sponsored a small group of veterinary students through a scholarship fund to complete the certificate program for Diversity and Inclusion through Purdue University during 2017/2018. Kansas State University veterinary students currently completing certification through this program are first-year student Karissa Severud and second-year students Alexandra Allen and Sarah Wilson.

"I signed up for this program because I thought it would be interesting to learn about different cultures and how to work with people from those cultures," Sarah said. "Being able to work with people ranges from coworkers to bosses to clients, and everyone has a different background, so this is a very important communication skill. I have just completed the course as of last week and I received my certificate and pin in the mail today. I would highly recommend this course, regardless of area of interest within veterinary medicine."

Karissa Severud, Alexandra Allen and Sarah Wilson
Karissa Severud, Alexandra Allen and Sarah Wilson.

Equine emergency training

Code 3 college
A special large animal rescue training day was held in April at the Equine Peformance Testing Center. Training was led by staff from the emergency equine response unit of Code 3 Associates. About 20 students were joined for this event by firefighters with the Manhattan Fire Department and members of the Kansas State Animal Rescue Team (KSSART).

Exotic medicine meeting in Poland

Dr. James Carpenter in Poland
Dr. James Carpenter was one of two featured speakers that presented the entire program for the Exotic Pet Medicine meeting April 14-15 in Warsaw, Poland. There were 180 attendees from 16 different counties!

Poultry wet lab

Dr. Cindy Bell gave a short presentation to the student chapter of the ACVP on common diseases of backyard poultry and how to obtain an appropriate “flock history” from the owner.

"We discussed basic husbandry since these issues often relate to disease problems," Dr. Bell said. "During the web lab portion, we focused on skills necessary to perform a diagnostic workup on poultry. Students gained hands on experience in performing a complete post-mortem examination (necropsy) on chickens. We discussed normal and abnormal anatomy and how to obtain the best samples needed to diagnose poultry diseases, including Avian Influenza."

Poultry wet lab
Dr. Cindy Bell (center) works with student members of the ACVP during a wet lab on poultry.

K-State Developing Scholars benefit from CVM mentors; Present research posters

Undergraduate research took center stage at Kansas State University's 18th annual Developing Scholars Program Research Poster Symposium held April 15 in the K-State Student Union's Ballroom.

The Developing Scholars Program is an undergraduate research program that provides opportunities for highly motivated students from diverse backgrounds to participate in research projects with a faculty mentor. Students receive academic, social and financial support while participating in the discovery and creation of new knowledge at Kansas State University. Developing Scholars is housed in the university's Office of Undergraduate Research & Creative Inquiry directed by Anita Cortez.

"The Developing Scholars Symposium has become an anticipated and celebratory spring tradition at K-State where the campus and community come together to celebrate the diverse contributions of Kansas State undergraduates and their faculty research mentors," Cortez said. "Their research ranges from cutting-edge cancer research to cybersecurity to indigenous hip-hop to green roof systems, beekeeping and much more. We encourage all undergraduates to seek out research opportunities while they are at K-State surrounded by so many gifted faculty. K-State's faculty are well known for their generous support of undergraduates in research."

Among those participating included several students being mentored by faculty in the College of Veterinary Medicine. This included Amara Ehie, in Dr. Meena Kumari’s lab, whose poster was titled, “Differentiation of P19 cells into neurons.” Ruben Pando, in Dr. Deryl Troyer's lab, presented, "Novel Promoter-Controlled Expression of Proteins Selectively in Tumor Cells Using Whole or Fragmented Plasmid Sequences." Jake Jimenez, who works with Dr. Mark Weiss, presented "Evaluation of Cell Culture Media Supplemented with pHPL-depleted exosomes on HUC-MSCs and Cancer Cell lines." Dursitu Hassen, who works with Dr. Troyer, presented, "Delivery of a Peptide with Anti-Cancer Activity Using Mesoporous Silica Nanoparticles."

Dr. Bonto Faburay's undergraduate research student/mentee, Sahiba Grover, was recognized as a second-year honorable mention recipient for the James R. Coffman Award of Excellence for her poster, "Recombinant expression of outer membrane proteins of Ehrlichia ruminantium and their assessment as potential diagnostic and vaccine antigens."

“Sahiba is a diligent student and demonstrates the intellectual and scientific curiosity required to succeed in biomedical science,” Dr. Faburay said.

Dr. Bonto Faburary and Sahiba Grover
Dr. Bonto Faburay and Sahiba Grover.

Dr. A. Sally Davis's mentee Mya Masterson was a third-year winner for the James R. Coffman Award of Excellence for her poster, "Visualization of Rift Valley fever virus nucleoprotein by immunohistochemistry."

“Mya, has been a delight to have in my lab,” Dr. Davis said. “She is a consistent performer who enjoys learning new techniques and has the attention to detail and persistence required for succeeding in science.”

Dr. A. Sally Davis and Mya Masterson
Dr. A. Sally Davis and Mya Masterson.

See a full list of awards and recipients at this link: http://www.k-state.edu/scholars/dspsymposium.html.

New 'House' system promotes broader interaction in CVM

House Sorting Ceremony
A special ceremony was held at the end of April to provide new opportunities for interaction, growth and wellness in the CVM.

"Houses function as a smaller cross-section of the larger college, and include students from each of the four classes allowing for formation of meaningful peer and near-peer mentoring relationships," said Dr. Peggy Schmidt. "Faculty, staff, house officers and graduate students are also invited to participate in a house and further enrich students’ veterinary school experience. These broader interactions with members of the college nurtures both personal and professional development of students. Plus, there will be opportunities to have fun and foster a sense of team spirit with house competitions throughout the year."

Above are some photos from the "sorting" ceremony for the first group of students to participate. The students palpated the college's dystocia simulator and drew bandanas, with the different colors representing the houses they would belong to. Names will be assigned to the houses later. Watch Lifelines for updates on this program.

CEVBD holds national meeting in Manhattan

Drs. Roman Ganta, Dr. Christopher Paddock, Dr. J. Stephen Dumler and Dr.  Ed Breitschwerdt
Dr. Roman Ganta, director of the Center of Excellence for Vector-Borne Diseases, thanks his invited speakers: Dr. Christopher Paddock from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta; Dr. J.  Stephen Dumler from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland; and Dr. Ed Breitschwerdt from the College of Veterinary Medicine at North Carolina State University.

CEVBD National Meeting
The CEVBD held a National Meeting on Tick Borne Diseases Impacting Human and Animal Health on May 5 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Manhattan.  Thanks to all who attended.

CVM hosts guest from AAVMC

Tony Wynne, director of admissions and recruitment affairs for the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) visited the CVM April 25 and 26. He serves as the director of the Veterinary Medical College Application Service (VMCAS), editor of Veterinary Medical School Admissions Requirements, and project lead on initiatives involving pre-vet/pre-health advisor development, veterinary school admissions and recruitment, and pre-veterinary student development. 

While he was here, he gave a presentation on the VMCAS application to members of the KSU Pre-Vet Club and the KSU Veterinary Voyagers. He also met with several Pre-Health advisers.

Tony Wynne from the AAVMC


New Arrivals/Recent Departures

Click here to see the New Arrivals/Recent Departures at the CVM ...

Welcome to:

Dr. Charles Dodd, Diagnostic Medicine/Pathobiology, Assistant Professor
Madison Blevins, Dean of Veterinary Medicine, Program/Project Assistant
Jean Stewart, Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, Research Assistant
Dr. Nicolette Cassel, Clinical Sciences, Assistant Professor
Colin Stoy, Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, Research Assistant

Farewell to:

In Joong Kim, Diagnostic Medicine/Pathobiology, Fellow (Post Doc)
Cristin Edmonston, Veterinary Health Center, Client Services Assistant


Lifelines is published each month by the Marketing and Communications Office at the College of Veterinary Medicine. The editor is Joe Montgomery, jmontgom@vet.k-state.edu.

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