College of Veterinary Medicine

Development & External Relations

Your Gifts Tell the Story

Behind every gift to WSU's College of Veterinary Medicine, there is a story.  A dog learns to walk again.  A scholarship made veterinary school more affordable.  A beloved animal's life saved from cancer.  Your gifts are helping to support our faculty, our patients, and our students. From everyone at the college, you have our sincere gratitude for your generous support.

Gifts in Action 2010

Maggie Highland
Dr. Maggie Highland
CVM Graduate Student Receives the Morris Animal Foundation/Zoetis Animal Health Fellowship

Like a lot of veterinarians, Maggie Highland loved animals as a child.  Growing up on a farm for much of her life, she had always admired the veterinarians who came to treat their animals.
"I wanted to be a farm veterinarian as a kid," explained Highland. "But by the time I decided to go to veterinary school, I knew I wanted to specialize in pathology to better understand the nature of disease in order to diagnose disease or determine the cause of death in animals." 
After receiving her DVM from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, she spent two years at the University of California-Davis as a resident training in pathology with a focus on domestic and exotic animal diseases.  She then spent two more years at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Milwaukee County Zoo specializing in zoo and wildlife pathology.
"I’m really interested in how the environment and environmental stressors affect the spread of diseases in wild animals," said Highland.  "For instance, the role human and domestic animal encroachment plays in the spread of infectious diseases in wildlife."
This year, Highland received the prestigious Morris Animal Foundation-Zoetis Animal Health Fellowship.  While at WSU her doctoral project will focus on intervention strategies to decrease the number of deaths in wild Bighorn sheep caused by pneumonia.  Pneumonia outbreaks sporadically and profoundly affect Bighorn sheep herds throughout the western United States.
"I was fortunate to have 4 years of post-DVM training in anatomic pathology," said Highland.  "But I knew I wanted to continue my education and pursue a Ph.D., which would give me more options for work in academia, government, or a wildlife health agency.  Without this fellowship, getting my doctorate would have been less feasible financially."


CT Scanner
"Tari," [pronounced TAR-ee] a 10 year-old
registered Quarterhorse mare undergoes a spiral
CT scan to examine a mass near one of her
carotid arteries
The WSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital Has a New CT Scanner Thanks to Dear Friends of the College

Last spring, the WSU College of Veterinary Medicine installed a new, upgraded spiral, computed tomography (CT) scanner for use in both small and large animals thanks to a very generous donation from Joseph T. Mendelson, Sr. and his wife Barbara of Santa Barbara, Calif.
"We knew that a CT scanner would help everybody for a long time," said Joe Mendelson. "I've been around horses my whole life and the old CT scanner wasn't adequate for what the veterinarians are doing at WSU."
More than a decade ago, Joe and Barb Mendelson's dog, "Scout," was treated by WSU alumnus Dr. John Oplinger (‘79) at the Wickenburg Veterinary Clinic in Arizona.  The Mendelson's were so grateful for the wonderful care Dr. Oplinger gave Scout, they wanted to give back to his alma mater.  And they did just that.  Their first gift to WSU in 1996 started a cancer fund in Scout's name, and they have been supporting the college ever since.  In 2010, the Mendelsons made an extraordinary donation when they gave the college the funds to purchase a 16-slice spiral CT scanner.
Speed is one of the main features of the CT unit, and the imaging is produced in a variety of planes as well as in three-dimensional representations of anatomic structures. Small animals, such as cats and dogs, can often be imaged in the new CT scanner in seconds, in many cases without general anesthesia.  With the faster speed, many more horse can be scanned each year.
"Before the new CT, we only imaged a few horses a month, but now I would expect to do 10 times that," said Professor John Mattoon, a board certified veterinary radiologist and chief of WSU's diagnostic imaging section.  "The new CT is truly state-of-the-art with brand new software that greatly improves its capabilities."
Horses are too large to fit entirely in the CT scanner, so only the head, upper neck, and lower limbs are imaged.  For smaller animals, the entire body can be scanned, and is especially useful for examining the lungs and abdomen.
For the Mendelsons, WSU has a special place in their hearts.  Although neither attended WSU (Joe almost came here in the 1950s on a basketball scholarship) or have had a pet treated at the Veterinary Teaching hospital, they have become loyal Cougars and dear friends of the college.  Their current veterinarian in Santa Barbara, Dr. Ron Faoro ('81), is also a WSU alum.
"Seems we have a lot of connections to WSU," said Joe Mendelson.
We're glad they do.

Large Screen TV Monitor in the VALT Lab
Dr. Boel Fransson, WSU small animal surgeon
 and VALT lab director and Dr. Courtney Watkins,
WSU small animal surgery resident,
work on the virtual reality trainer.  
A Big Screen, High Definition Television Monitor Allows Trainees to Watch and Learn

In a small, windowless room, four veterinarians simultaneously tie sutures, biopsy a liver, and perform minimally invasive abdominal surgery.  No, this is not a typical operating room.  It is a veterinary laparoscopic training laboratory—the first of its kind in the nation.
But earlier this year when the WSU Veterinary Applied Laparoscopic Training, or VALT, laboratory got its new virtual laparoscopic trainer, the only place to watch the virtual procedures was on a small laptop computer monitor.
"The small monitor made it difficult to really see and get a feel for what was happening," said Dr. Boel Fransson, director of the VALT laboratory.  The virtual laparoscopic trainer has a real feel and provides immediate feedback to surgeons during training.
Thanks to four generous donors, veterinarians training in laparoscopic surgery can now view their procedures on a big screen, high definition television monitor.  Long-time college supporters John and Charyn Zarzycki, who also support a student scholarship, along with Dr. Rick DeBowes, associate dean of Veterinary Development and External Relations, and an anonymous donor understand how vital this kind of training is for surgeons.
"We are so grateful for this new television monitor," said Dr. Fransson. "It is invaluable for teaching and learning the latest techniques in laparoscopic surgery."
Laparoscopic surgery is being used more often in veterinary medicine because of the same advantages to patients seen in humans.  Risks associated with traditional open surgery are minimized, pain is reduced and easier to control, and patients often recovery much more quickly.  It is also a valuable tool that allows veterinarians to run diagnostic tests they may not otherwise be able to perform.
"Currently we are training residents and veterinarians at WSU in our lab," said Dr. Fransson. "Our plan is to open it up to DVM students as an elective.  We hope in the future to even invite surgeons from other universities to come train in our lab."

Dr. Annie Chen-Allen
Dr. Annie Chen-Allen, WSU veterinary neurologist  
A Neurological Diagnostics Machine Helps to Detect Disease and Deafness

The WSU neurology service's new Electrodiagnostics machine will help make advanced muscle and nerve disorder diagnoses thanks to a generous friend of the college.  Electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction velocity (NCV) are two of the medical tests veterinarians will be able to perform with the new equipment. 

"It is a valuable tool for diagnosing muscle and nerve disorders in our patients," said Dr. Annie Chen-Allen, a WSU veterinary neurologist.  "We can also use this machine to diagnose deafness, which, as a hereditary disorder, is especially important for breeders."

An EMG diagnostic test is often used when patients show signs of muscle weakness or atrophy, while a NCV is used when symptoms include pain or numbness. 

"It is a very important tool for patient diagnostics," said Dr. Chen-Allen.  "With it we can more easily identify diseases that involve the muscles, nerves, and the hearing centers."

The new machine will also be a valuable learning tool for veterinary students, interns, and residents.  They will learn firsthand how to perform these diagnostic tests and interpret the recorded information.

"This machine has the ability to make recordings so that we can play back the abnormalities for teaching purposes," said Dr. Chen-Allen.  "We are very grateful to have this new device to train future veterinarians and to better care for our patients."

Large Screen TV Monitor in Cardiology
(from l-r): 
Dr. Brian Maran, cardiology resident;
DVM students Jackie Parker '12,
Shana O'Donnell '10, Brynne Lyle '10.
A Large Screen TV Monitor Makes Teaching and Learning Easier Thanks to a Generous Friend of the College

Students can now watch ultrasounds, radiographs (or x-rays), and other procedures more easily thanks to a new large screen TV monitor from a generous friend of the college. Before the WSU cardiology group received the monitor, veterinary students crowded around a small computer screen or viewing window. Now students can view procedures more easily and more students can watch procedures at the same time. Students will also be able to watch medical procedures, such as fluoroscopy, in real time.
"Students used to have to watch live procedures crowded around a little window," said Dr. Brian Maran, a first year WSU veterinary cardiology resident. "With the new monitor, more students can watch and it is easier for them to see what is happening."
The new monitor also makes it easier to put up teaching materials such as Web pages, photos, or an ECG (electrocardiogram) of a teaching case.  Teaching cases are generally typical cases of classic conditions that all students need to learn. 
"It is great for teaching," said Dr. Lynne Nelson, a WSU veterinary cardiologist. "With fluoroscopy it is not practical to have six students in the room at the same time observing a surgical procedure.  Now we can have one student in the room and five students can view the procedure on the monitor."
"It is nice set-up for the students because we can watch and don't all have to be standing around the patient," said DVM student, Brynne Lyle. "It is especially good for radiographs because before it was difficult to see. With the new monitor it is easy to see."

Performing echocardiography on a grizzly bear
(from l-r): 
Biosound applications specialist, Chris Ingle;
WSU wildlife specialist, Dr. Charlie Robbins;
and WSU cardiologist, Dr. Lynne Nelson use
the echo to perform myocardial strain analysis
on Kio the grizzly bear.  The test gives
information about different regions
of Kio's heart muscle.

A New Portable Echocardiograph Makes Heart Diagnosis Possible in Remote Locations

Patients at WSU's Veterinary Teaching Hospital can now receive on-location cardiovascular diagnosis thanks to a new portable echocardiograph from a generous friend of the college.
"We are very grateful to have this machine." said Dr. Lynne Nelson, a WSU veterinary cardiologist.  "This echo is the latest, state-of-the-art, portable machine.  Because it is portable, we can take it to a sick horse, kitten, or any animal." 
An echocardiograph is used to diagnose cardiovascular conditions in animals.  The machine can test for heart disease, measure the size and shape of the heart, and locate tissue damage.
But, until now, patients had to come to the WSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital for testing.  Veterinarians and technicians can bring the new portable echocardiograph to a sick or downed animal and make a diagnosis in remote locations.
"It has the same quality as a larger, stand alone machine," said Nelson.  "And, it is very versatile.  It can be use on small exotic animals to large animals like horses.  We love it." 

Last Edited: Feb 07, 2013 12:29 PM   

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