Center for Companion Animal Health

Equipment Funding

CCAH Offers Support for Research Equipment Funding

We are pleased to announce we are able to fund 16 requests submitted by faculty at the School of Veterinary Medicine in February 2015.  Find below a description of the approved equipment funding requests:


Principal Investigator:  Danika Bannasch
Co-Investigator: Josh Stern, Sara Thomasy
Amount Funded: $7,855
Benefit to Companion Animals:

This centrifuge is an integral part of our extraction procedure to obtain DNA from blood or tissue samples from animals affected with inherited diseases.  These DNA samples are used in research to help us identify the molecular basis of their inherited diseases.

Clinical Trials Refrigerator and Freezer

P.I.  Jenna Burton
Co-Investigator:Michael Kent, Katherine Skorupski, Rob Rebhun
Amount Funded: $9,170
Benefit to Companion Animals:  

Evaluating novel drugs and medical therapies through clinical trials is a critical path to identify new and better ways to treat diseases in companion animals.  Many of the investigational products evaluated in clinical trials require storage either in a refrigerator or freezer prior to administration. In order to ensure that these products have been stored at appropriate conditions at all times, they need to be kept in refrigerators and freezer that are capable of staying in a more precise temperature range than a typical household refrigerator or freezer is able to do. 

UVP BioSpectrum Imaging System

P.I.  Xinbin Chen
Co-Investigators: Jin Zhang, Wensheng Yan, Michael Kent 
Amount Funded: $10,000
Benefit to Companion Animals:

The new camera will be used to replace the broken one in UVP BioSpectrum 810 Imaging System.  Once replaced, the imaging system will be used to analyze gene and protein expression from dog and human samples.  The equipment will allow us to examine how cancers in dog develop and progress.

pH meter

P.I.  Bruno Chomel
Co-Investigators: Jane Sykes
Amount Funded: $1,300 
Benefit to Companion Animals:

The pH meter is used to measure pH of solutions and buffers used in our veterinary serology research projects and genetic analysis research projects and is an essential component of the laboratory equipment. The micropipettes are used in the PCR procedure in our genetic analysis projects. For the highest quality of work, labs dedicate a set of pipettes to be used only for the PCR and genetic research projects. This helps reduce outside contamination of the PCR products generated in the procedure.

Ultra low -86 degree freezer

P.I.  Peter Dickinson
Co-Investigators: Matthew Mellema, Alonso Guedes
Amount Funded: $8,955
Benefit to Companion Animals:

Ultra low freezer storage is critical for successful research to benefit companion animals for two specific reasons: a) It allows for the storage of sensitive samples that must be collected and analyzed in an ongoing manner. This is also important when it is necessary to collect many samples over weeks or months. b) It allows for the ongoing storage (archiving) of normal and diseased samples over the longer term (years) so that extensive sample resources are immediately available in the future when new technologies or scientific breakthroughs occur.

Cage/enclosure upgrade/repair

P.I.  Andrea Fascetti
Co-Investigators: Jennifer Larsen, John Ramsey, Niels Pedersen
Amount Funded: $10,000
Benefit to Companion Animals:

Housing units are particularly important; as they not only provide shelter, but opportunities for exercise, engagement and socialization with humans and other cats.  Recently, we have undertaken the task of updating and improving feline housing, but still have more to accomplish. In particular, we are creating housing units so cats have more space to move around.  The new units are also stocked with enrichment activities such as climbing structures, structures they can crawl into, perches at multiple levels, different types of bedding and plenty of toys.  In order to improve the living environment for our cats, we have requested assistance from the Center for Companion Animal Health’s Equipment Purchase/Replacement Program to help us reach our goals. The end result will be a research and teaching environment that provides quality housing and a better living environment for our cats.

Biorepository tracking system

P.I. Michael Kent
Co-Investigator: Jenna Burton
Amount Funded: $2,725
Benefit to Companion Animals:

The Freezer works package will allow the tracking of clinical samples used in research.  This will be primarily used to track tumor specimens that are banked from patients that will be used in future research into the pathways and treatment of cancer and in tracking clinical trials samples from patients enrolled in one of the oncology services clinical trials.  We currently have over 20 clinical trials for a variety of cancers which are being conducted by many of our faculty.  Often samples are stored for several months before testing is done and these need to be tracked and organized.  This software package that is equipped with a bar code printer and reader will allow us to ensure accurate labeling and storage of samples to ensure that we can track them and that they are available when needed.

Ultrasound biomicroscopy systems

P.I.  Kathryn Good Koehler
Co-Investigator: Sara Thomasy, Mary Lassaline, Christopher Reilly
Amount Funded: $10,000
Benefit to Companion Animals:

This unit will allow us to assess and research critical structures in various diseases in order to evaluate their primary role in the disease and survey changes seen in response to therapy. Of primary interest to the members of our department is the relationship of structures inside of the eye in patients with glaucoma, both hereditary glaucoma and that which occurs secondary to other intraocular disease. Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in our companion animals and an area of research focus that needs additional support in veterinary medicine. Ultrasound biomicroscopy will allow critical evaluation of the drainage angle, the primary ocular structure that is affected in this irreversibly blinding condition, and hence allow us to expand upon our current understanding of disease progression and optimal therapeutic choices. The end goal of engaging is this research is long term preservation of sight in our companion animals afflicted with these devastating diseases. We are also hopeful that the information gained by utilizing this new modality of imaging will shed light on the disease for our physician colleagues and their treatment of glaucoma in people.

MSC 3887 Manoscan - High-resolution manometry catheter

P.I.  Philipp Mayhew
Co-Investigators: Stanley Marks
Amount Funded: $10,000
Benefit to Companion Animals:

A variety of investigative tools are available to assess esophageal function including swallow studies of contrast agents that can be visualized using moving radiographs (fluoroscopy) and endoscopic examination of the inside of the esophagus. High-resolution manometry (HRM) is a recent addition to this armamentarium that crucially provides a complete assessment of the pressure profile of the entire esophagus that cannot be provided by other modalities. HRM is performed in awake animals and pressure waves can be assessed in response to the ingestion of food or water. The large number of companion animals with disorders affecting the pharynx, upper esophageal sphincter, body of the esophagus, and lower esophageal sphincter including dogs with hiatal herniation and gastroesophageal reflux will benefit from the our ability to perform HRM. This invaluable tool is highly sensitive for detecting minor alterations in the motility of the esophagus and will help us diagnose functional esophageal disorders and will also be used as an outcome measure to gauge the response to various medical and dietary therapies in dogs with esophageal disease.

Ultrasound for regional anesthesia in small animals

P.I.  Bruno Pypendop
Co-Investigators: Peter Pascoe, Linda Barter, Robert Brosnan
Amount Funded: $10,000
Benefit to Companion Animals:

Regional anesthesia, in which a local anesthetic is deposited near a nerve, provides excellent pain relief, by preventing the transmission of pain to the central nervous system. It can be used alone, or in combination with general anesthesia. To successfully provide regional anesthesia, injecting the local anesthetic drug in close proximity to the nerve is essential. This is achieved by 3 possible techniques, alone or in combination: use of anatomical landmarks, use of nerve stimulation, in which a needle conducts current and movement is observed in response to this current as the needle approaches the nerve, or ultrasound guidance, in which the nerve and needle are visualized. Ultrasound guidance, with or without nerve stimulation is considered the standard for many regional nerve blocks in humans, and is increasingly used in small animal patients. In addition, some regional anesthetic techniques cannot be conducted without ultrasound guidance, because the nerves being targeted are not associated with specific anatomical landmarks, and are only sensory (i.e. their stimulation does not elicit movement). We propose to purchase an ultrasound machine allowing the Anesthesia Service to provide optimal pain relief in clinical patients and to conduct research that would improve techniques for regional anesthesia in dogs and cats.


Ultra low temperature (-86F) freezer

P.I.  Rob Rebhun
Co-Investigators: Alain Theon, Dan York
Amount Funded: $10,000
Benefit to Companion Animals:

Purchase of a new ULT freezer will allow the Oncology Faculty to store critical samples from laboratory based research as well as storing clinical tumor samples for future analyses.  Active areas of research in the lab include canine and feline tumors such as lymphoma, carcinoma, and sarcomas.  Additional areas of research include the study of metastasis (the spread of tumors) and evaluation of novel therapeutics for dogs and cats with cancer.

Microwave ablation generator

P.I.  Michele Steffey
Co-Investigators: Allison Zwingenberger
Amount Funded: $10,000
Benefit to Companion Animals:

Microwave ablation probes are thin, needle-shaped probes designed to be applied through small skin incisions. These probes allow the focused application of microwave energy to a tumor, in order to generate heat that destroys cancerous cells in a minimally-invasive manner.  Minimally invasive approaches result in less pain for patients, accelerated recoveries, and shorter hospitalization times, and the potential for fewer wound complications that could delay combination treatment protocols that also involve chemotherapy or radiation.  A variety of types of tumor ablation technologies exist, and are used with increasing frequency in humans to treat cancer.  Microwave ablation is an emerging technology that is considered to be more powerful, and allows treatment of larger mass lesions than previous thermal ablation technologies.  Use of this technology may offer new and improved options in our approaches to certain solid cancers in companion animals.

Motion-capture video analysis software upgrade

P.I.  Susan Stover
Co-Investigators: Amy Kapatkin
Amount Funded: $10,000
Benefit to Companion Animals:

Video-based motion-capture is technologically advanced software used to capture and analyze a dog’s or other companion animal’s motion. Tracking-markers are taped to the animal’s limbs or torso as it walks, runs, or performs tasks such as a service dog would do when assisting the human companion. The software tracks the markers and calculates the amount of motion of the animal’s limbs or spine.  Clinicians and researchers use the resultant data to assess changes due to a surgical treatment or medicine for joints, limbs, or spinal conditions.  A return of normal motion shows the dog is likely no longer in pain or the problem is fixed; and if not, the dog can be evaluated for further treatment.  Video-based tracking is also an important method in canine orthopedic implant design and evaluation before use of new implants in clinical canine patients.  Testing is done by loading cadaveric bones or limbs from dog cadavers donated to research with implanted prostheses or fracture repair devices in a machine which simulates the in-vivo (real-life) weight-bearing.  The software records and calculates small motions of the bone or implants.  For example, the metal part of a hip-replacement or the screws and plates of a fracture repair should not have a lot of motion relative to the bone or it will not heal or function properly.  The software captures and reveals those results.  Clinicians and researchers use this data to determine if the implant is strong enough or stable enough to ultimately be used in live companion animals.

Trackit® aEEG unit

P.I.  Beverly Sturges
Co-Investigators: Karen Vernau, Peter Dickinson, Colette Williams
Amount Funded: $10,000
Benefit to Companion Animals:

The Trackit® EEG monitoring system, made for recording EEG in people, utilizes Bluetooth technology. It weighs <1lb and is compact enough to be carried easily in a pocket on a dog’s harness. We will adapt the Trackit® system for use in awake dogs for long-term EEG recording, combined with simultaneous video recording. This would enable us to diagnose and classify seizures, as well as monitor the effectiveness of anti-seizure medication in dogs. In addition, it will allow us a wide array of opportunities in translational research into the effects of novel anti-epileptic drugs with the dogs serving as a spontaneous large animal model for (human) epilepsy.

Coulter Complete Blood Analyzer

P.I.  Fern Tablin
Co-Investigators: Dori Borjesson, Brian Murphy
Amount Funded: $2,963
Benefit to Companion Animals:

Funds are requested for an emergency repair of our Coulter Complete Blood Analyzer. This machine provides complete CBCs – except for differentials – and is essential to the work in our laboratories.  This machine serves not only the Tablin laboratory, but also the Borjesson and Murphy labs.  All of our laboratories do our primary research in cats and we collectively use this machine up to 20 times a day.  

TMO Forma 956 -80 Freezer

P.I. Jodi Westropp
Co-Investigators: Carrie Palm, Stanley Marks, Jonathan Dear
Amount Funded: $9,455
Benefit to Companion Animals:

Clinical research is one of the core missions of our service and we want to continue this mission to best of our ability.  Oftentimes, clinical research involves obtaining blood, urine and tissue specimens from companion animals.  Typically, samples are stored until the proper analyses can be performed in-batch (at the same time), to ensure quality control.  In order to store samples properly, they need to be frozen at -80 oC so the various analytes do not degrade over time.  Therefore, a -80 oC freezer is essential for the majority of research projects that our various faculty members perform.   For example Dr. Dear is obtaining samples for ongoing research into blood-borne infectious diseases and Dr. Palm requires storage for on-going research of acute and chronic kidney disease.  Finally our fellow, Dr. Vishkautsan, requires -80 oC freezer space for storage of plasma samples for evaluating blood levels of antifungal drugs in cats. These research endeavors will directly impact how veterinary patients are managed in the future.  

Download a listing of our February 2014 Equipment Grants.