Center for Companion Animal Health

Equipment Funding

CCAH Offers Support for Research Equipment Funding

We offered our first-ever call for Research Equipment Funding in February 2014, and we are pleased to announce we are able to fund nine requests submitted by faculty at the School of Veterinary Medicine.  Find below a description of the approved equipment funding requests:

Gel Doc EZ system (imaging system + software)

Principal Investigator:  Bruno Chomel
Co-Investigator: Jane Sykes
Amount Funded: $7,847
Lay Abstract:
The equipment will allow us to continue our research on Bartonella in dogs and cats. Bartonella species can be diagnosed only by molecular methods requiring PCR and then sequencing. The GelDoc is essential for us to pursue our research. Bartonella infection is an important cause of endocarditis in domestic animals, especially dogs, and can be caused by a wide range of Bartonella species.  The Gel Doc EZ system will enable us to properly diagnose the species involved. Similarly, detection of infection in shelter animals requires this type of diagnostic tool.

von Frey Anesthesiometer

P.I.  Alonso Guedes
Co-Investigator: Bruno Pypendop
Amount Funded: $2,237
Lay Abstract:
This equipment allows objective and non-invasive quantification of pain sensitivity related to inflammation and response to different medications.  As an objective yet non-invasive way to assess pain sensitivity, this equipment could  be used in client-owned cats and dogs to assess pain sensitivity and response to pain medications. There are very few approved painkillers for use in cats, and these are all for short-term use only. There are no approved painkillers for long-term use in cats, yet many cats would benefit from long-term pain medications. Arthritis, a condition that affect many cats especially as they get older, is on example of a painful condition that would benefit from long-term pain control. It is our goal with these studies to be able to identify novel pain medications and address the need to improve pain medicine of cats.

Eppendorf benchtop centrifuge, model 5702R; Cryogenic Dewar for liquid nitrogen for sample storage

P.I.  Michael Kent
Co-Investigators: Katherine Skorupski, Rob Rebhun, Jenna Burton, Erik Wisner
Amount Funded: $8,433
Lay Abstract:
We propose to purchase equipment to augment our clinical trials and biorepository.  Our biorepository is made up of tumor samples and blood that have been donated from patients who have tumors.  This resource allows researchers access to vital tissues needed to conduct studies to find new drug targets and screen compounds for cancer therapy.  We will also be using this same equipment for conducting oncology clinical trials. This will directly impact our ability to carry out clinical trials as well as allow us to properly handle and process patient samples needed for these studies. We will be buying equipment to allow for the freezing and storage of these samples as well as for processing blood samples. This equipment includes a refrigerated centrifuge, a portable liquid nitrogen container and storage equipment for our -80 freezers.

Karl Storz Endocameleon Hopkins multi-angle telescope

P.I.  Philipp Mayhew
Co-Investigators: William Culp, Michele Steffey, Geraldine Hunt
Amount Funded: $4,050 
Lay Abstract:
The Endocameleon is a rigid endoscope that is placed through keyhole incisions to complete a variety of minimally invasive surgical procedures. It allows the surgeon a high definition view of the surgical site and in so doing allows completion of these procedures in a safe and efficient manner. While minimally invasive surgery has been mainstream for over twenty years and a variety of endoscope designs have been in clinical use during this time, continual improvements in this area of medical technology have occurred. The Endocameleon is unique in that it has a variable angle of view that the surgeon can manipulate between 0 and 120. While endoscopes are in existence that can deflect the angle of view up to 30 the Endocameleon can deflect the angle of view to a much greater extent and to a variable degree. With minimal movement of the body and tip of the endoscope itself the surgeon can dramatically change the view of the surgical site. While not critical in some procedures this can be a game-changing advantage in others. Areas where this could be a critical improvement might include those procedures performed in the chest cavity as well as those performed in very restricted surgical fields such as endoscopic colorectal surgery.

FACSCalibur flow cytometer (recertified)

P.I.  Peter Moore
Co-Investigators: Brian Murphy; Bill Vernau
Amount Funded: $10,000
Lay Abstract:
An analytical flow cytometer is required by many investigators who study the immune system and its diseases in companion animals. Flow cytometry is an important method to determine the lineage of cells isolated from blood and tissue samples.  It is a fundamental tool used in immunological research and in cancer diagnostics requiring precise determination of cell lineage. Cells are labeled with markers of cell lineage (antibodies linked to fluorescent tags).  The cells pass in single file in front of a laser. The laser beam excites the fluorescent tag attached to the cell lineage marker bound to the cell.  All fluorescent signals and scattered light signals associated with each cell are recorded in a list file.  This file is analyzed later to determine the characteristics of the scattered light signals (cell size and complexity), and the characteristics of the fluorescent cell marker signals associated with each cell.  The combination of scattered light signals and fluorescent cell marker signals identifies the type of cell and its precise lineage.  In cancer research knowing the precise cell lineage is an initial step along the path to developing targeted therapies that are often better tolerated than broad spectrum therapies.  Also, determining cell lineage is an initial step in diagnosis of lymphoma and leukemia in companion animals.

Hallowell EMC Anesthesia WorkStation

P.I.  Joanne Paul-Murphy
Co-Investigators: Michelle Hawkins, Peter Pascoe, Linda Barter
Amount Funded: $6,380
Lay Abstract:
The Hallowell EMC Anesthesia WorkStation is described as “the solution for supplying both gas anesthetic delivery and ventilatory support for pocket pets, avian, exotics and laboratory animal applications in one easy to use package”.  The Anesthesia WorkStation is both a basic respirator and delivery source for inhalant anesthetics. The Hallowell anesthetic workstation will be extremely beneficial to our research programs that require anesthesia of companion small mammals such as rabbits and guinea pigs as well as species of birds and reptiles commonly kept as pets. The Companion Avian and Exotic Pet (CAEP) faculty and several anesthesia faculty are engaged in team research that requires anesthesia of these types of animals, for which the Hallowell equipment  is frequently borrowed from our clinical service where it is an invaluable asset for anesthetizing  our very small patients. We expect there to be an increased research demand for this workstation because our team of faculty have several clinically relevant projects planned. Additionally, the Hallowell unit would be used for training residents in anesthesia, companion zoological and laboratory animal medicine programs. The current unit used in our CAEP clinical service is not easily accessible for the other training programs. In addition, our veterinary curriculum includes hands on training laboratories for third year students interested in these unique species and the anesthesia workstation  could also be used in these courses. Currently we only have a few appropriate sized ventilators available for these labs and demonstrating the Hallowell EMC Anesthesia WorkStation to students would be very beneficial.

Agilent Bioanalyzer 2100

P.I. Ben Sacks
Co-Investigator: Niels Pedersen
Amount Funded: $10,000
Lay Abstract:
The Agilent Bioanalyzer 2100 is a highly sensitive instrument that can detect and output graphically and numerically the exact frequency of DNA fragments as a function of their lengths. This capability is essential in applications of next generation sequencing (NGS), which requires that DNA be fragmented to within a certain size range. Traditional approaches of sizing genomic DNA fragments, such as gel electrophoresis, are too imprecise and too insensitive (especially with pre-amplified DNA) for many NGS applications. By facilitating NGS, this instrument will increase the efficiency of ongoing efforts to study the ancestral history of companion animals and the genetic bases of their hereditary diseases.

i-STAT 1 Analyzer System for in vitro diagnostic use

P.I.  Josh Stern
Co-Investigator: Anita Varga
Amount Funded: $10,000
Lay Abstract:
The I-STAT analyzer is a handheld device that provides rapid and reliable measurement of important enzymes and markers of disease found in the blood of companion animals.  This device is a versatile measurement tool that through the use of different disposable cartridges provides custom blood analysis panels that may inform researchers about disease and health states.  The unique feature of this device is that it puts the results, which are normally only available in reference laboratories, into a portable unit that researchers may utilize in the field.  Field research into companion animal health is a common practice for companion animal geneticists and those that research disease in the general population of animals.  Often specific blood values are unstable for freezing or transport and rapid on-site analysis is a key feature for the production of credible research.  One important measure that the I-STAT unit provides is called cardiac troponin-I.  Cardiac troponin-I circulates in blood of all mammals and increased levels may be the first indication of significant but often asymptomatic heart disease.  This measurement has been nicely demonstrated to correlate with the presence of asymptomatic heart muscle disorders in dogs and the I-STAT device would allow screening for this value at dog enthusiast events, such as dog shows and agility trials. Identification of this heart disease in seemingly healthy dogs is important for enabling genetic investigations into inherited heart disease and also facilitating appropriate cardiac care for these animals.

Karl Storz 9.5Fr integrated pediatric cysto-urethroscope

P.I.  Jodi Westropp
Co-Investigators: Jonathan Dear, Ann Della Maggiore, Carrie Palm
Amount Funded: $6,520
Lay Abstract:
Scopes allow veterinarians to examine body spaces under large magnification. They can be used to examine gastrointestinal, respiratory and urinary tract as well as obtain samples from these tissues without the need for surgery. In general, scopes are either flexible, contouring to the shape of the body space or rigid. Rigid scopes allow for excellent visualization of the section of interest while providing a larger access port to introduce tools and instruments to work within the space. The scope we would like to replace is called a cystoscope, referring to its use in scoping bladders. This scope will be used often to evaluate patients with recurrent urinary tract infections, obtain biopsies of the bladder,break stones apart in the bladder for removal (laser lithotripsy) and also repair congenital problems that cause incontinence.  Oftentimes, when we use this scope, these procedures do not require invasive therapies and patients recover quickly and may be discharged the same day as the procedure. With the varied interests and training of our faculty, we remain one of the only veterinary hospitals in Northern California to offer such cutting edge procedures. Through the support of organizations like the CCAH we are able to develop and complete clinical research projects, which advance the cause of the university and improve the healthcare for small animal patients.