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Veterinary Round-up: 2012 Year in Review

The school is awarded full accreditation status by the American Veterinary Medical Association Council on Education. 

An international team led by Stephen McSorley of the Center for Comparative Medicine takes an important step toward the development of an effective vaccine against salmonella, a group of increasingly antibiotic-resistant foodborne bacteria that kills hundreds of thousands of people worldwide each year.

Faculty launch the second year of the new curriculum, built on the foundations of defined learning outcomes, acquisition of entry-level clinical skills, problem solving and critical thinking, and lifelong learning.

Photo: Dog Veterinary oral surgeons and biomedical engineers prove that an experimental reconstructive procedure can regrow jawbones in dogs that have lost bone to injuries or removal of cancerous tumors. Early success with eight canine patients at the William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital indicates that this valuable data will translate into biomedical treatments in human and veterinary medicine.

Studies from the Center for Children’s Environmental Health regarding the impacts of toxic chemicals on the onset of autism reveal:

  • The first known link between flame retardants and the social, behavioral and learning deficits associated with autism
  • Strong evidence that triclosan, an antibacterial chemical widely used in hand soaps and other personal-care products, is of concern to both human and environmental health   
  • A new explanation about how a defective gene causes brain changes that lead to the atypical social behavior characteristic of autism; the research offers a potential target for drugs to treat the condition.
  • Early exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) causes a chain of events that disrupts normal patterns of neuronal connections in the brain; the impairment is a common feature of a number of conditions, including autism spectrum disorders

Faculty, staff and administrators begin to implement the comprehensive Strategic Plan, a 5-year guide for initiatives related to the school’s mission, curriculum, faculty recruitment, research, clinical service, finances and infrastructure that builds on the school’s reputation for leading veterinary medicine and addressing societal needs. 

As part of a national, targeted surveillance program, personnel from the California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory System help identify the fourth case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy to occur in the United States and determine that the animal had the “atypical” form of the disease. This form is not associated with previous BSE outbreaks in humans, and the cow, an older animal, did not enter the food supply.

Photo: New FacultyThe school recruits 10 new faculty members with expertise and experience in poultry medicine, equine reproduction, dairy production medicine, veterinary ophthalmology, small animal community medicine and more.

The school initiates a 5-year interagency 100,000 Foodborne Pathogen Genome Project to sequence the genomes of 100,000 infectious microorganisms and speed diagnosis of foodborne diseases. The team, led by Bart Weimer, is developing a public database of salmonella, E. coli and Listeria monocytogenes, as well as common foodborne and waterborne viruses that sicken people and animals. 

An enthusiastic student team embarks on a Calvin Schwabe One Health Project by surveying a Nicaraguan community with limited access to medical care and  veterinary services. The ongoing task involves assessment of intertwined factors of animal, human and environmental health and promotes cooperation among physicians, veterinarians, environmental specialists and public health professionals to enhance community health.

Ranchers, veterinarians, veterinary students, animal science students and others attend the First Annual Beef Improvement and Low-stress Cattle Handling Seminar. Veterinary experts teach about the science and principles of animal welfare and explain practical tips for low-stress handling, safe use of antibiotics, and facility designs that optimize health and well-being in cattle.

Photo: Alonso GuedesEquine specialist Alonso Guedes, working with a colleague in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, successfully treats Hulahalla, a young Thoroughbred mare near death from laminitis. The novel anti-inflammatory compound dramatically relieves the animal’s pain until she heals; the researchers plan clinical trials for further study of the drug’s safety and effectiveness.

In its tradition of promoting student diversity and excellence, the Office of Student Programs directs the Summer Enrichment Program for undergraduates, who strengthen academic skills, acquire veterinary experience and become more competitive applicants to veterinary school.

The Companion Avian and Exotic Pet Service introduces the Parrot Wellness & Welfare Program to provide services in preventive medicine, promote client education and perform research to improve the health and welfare of parrots.

Pamela Lein heads up the $17 million CounterACT Center of Excellence, part of an innovative NIH network seeking to develop antidotes that would protect emergency responders, medical professionals and others from intentional or accidental exposure to chemicals that cause neurological damage. Future findings will also help scientists improve new treatments for people and animals with seizure disorders.

Photo: StarThirty students are selected for specialized research projects and mentorship in the Students Training in Advanced Research program. The veterinary scholars learn the scientific method, investigate pressing health issues and present research findings to their peers. These and similar programs encourage students to consider veterinary research careers.  

Photo: Cattle DiseaseFood animal veterinarians and other scientists begin a $600,000 project to advance the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of bovine respiratory disease in dairy calves. Respiratory disease is the leading natural cause of death in US beef and dairy cattle, causing losses of more than one million animals and $700 million every year.

Emergency medicine clinicians at the William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital treat a paralyzed border collie, placing the patient on a ventilator for 22 days until he can breathe and move again on his own. Knowledge gleaned from this rare case is expected to greatly increase understanding of mechanical ventilation in veterinary practice.

Three Nobel laureates—Jules Hoffmann, Bruce Beutler and Stanley B. Prusiner—inform and inspire faculty, staff, students and community members about specialized aspects of innate immunity, immune system deficiencies and prion-related brain disorders.

Food animal veterinarians collaborate on a $25 million USDA effort to prevent potentially fatal illnesses linked to E. coli. School faculty begin research to increase understanding of the epidemiology and ecology of non-Shiga toxin-producing E. coli in dairy cattle.


Learn more about activities and accomplishments over the years -- See previous annual reviews at http://www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/about_vetmed/history_lessons/year_review.cfm