Dr. Natalie Isaza
BY SARAH CAREY
C1. o. Hn.- ccIAl ii c i
V\iki-1iliI '1i 11. 1'i
Ibe ic't I. LIIA.iCL
finds unlikely niche
in veterinary academia
BY SARAH CAREY
> II, ,'
,,I.t fDr. Steven Brinsko has a
I motto, it is "never say
-, c Brinsko, a member of the
college's Class of '85, was never
big on school, although he loved
'I Ii to learn. He never figured he'd
be a veterinarian, or that later in
life he'd enjoy academics, much
less amass several graduate
degrees or become board
certified in theriogenology. He
never thought his love for horses
would supercede the pleasure he
derived from working with cows.
But Brinsko's overall interest
in education, coupled with a
propensity to make unconven-
tional choices, has led him from
Florida to Texas, New York and
Colorado and finally back to the
Lone Star state, where he relishes
his job on the faculty as a
theriogenologist at Texas
Dr. Steven Brinsko in front of his
microscope at Texas A & M University's
College ofVeterinary Medicine. In the
background is a digital image of
fluorescently labeled stallion sperm
taken by his graduate student with the
scope as part of her research.
Photo courtesy of Dr Steven Brinsko
A & M University's College of
UF theriogenologist Dr.
Margo MacPherson, who
performed her residency at Texas
A & M, called her friend and
former colleague "a top shelf
guy" who has made a difference
in the way equine reproduction
management is carried out in the
His research provided
information about sperm transport
in the mare and established the
safe interval from the time a mare
is bred to when her uterus could
be flushed to remove contami-
nants without reducing pregnancy
"The work that Steve did
really established the way that
many mares with delayed uterine
clearance are managed today,"
Nearly 30 years ago, Brinsko
was in Gainesville, where his
family recently moved from South
"I graduated in the charter
class from Buchholz High School
SeeBRINSKO p. 3
4 Gator Vet
Alumni join faculty and friends
to celebrate homecoming,
Class of'93 reunion
Dr. Michael Burridge says more
imported reptiles means
greater threat of exotic ticks.
is UF grad
Dr. Mark Cunninghammonitors
disease issues in panthers,
bears and other wildlife.
10 \ Champion
A former UF equine neonatal
intensive care unit patient is
world champion barrel racer.
II ... .
Joseph A. DiPlelro
Executive Associate Dean
Associate Dean for Research
and Graduate Studies
Charles H. Courtney
Associate Dean for Students and
Senior Director of Development
& Alumni Allairs
Development & Alumni Allairs
Small Animal Hospilal
(352) 392-4700. Ex. 4700
Large Animal Hospilal
(352) 392-4700, Ext.5000
(352) 392-4700. Ex. 5206
Development S Alumni Affairs
v v ,
Mesg *o 9 evelopmeg nt
Senior Director, Development
and Alumni Affairs
M ove over, Dean
Since the good dean has
occupied this space in the
newsletter for all the years
he's been here, I thought I'd
give him a break and talk to
you directly about the pro-
grams I represent -- develop-
ment and alumni affairs.
another word for fundraising,
which is another word for
Whatever you call my job,
it involves developing and
between the college and
individuals, couples or groups
who wish to help support the
UF College of Veterinary
Medicine's programs with their
The key word here is
relationships. Philanthropy is a
time-honored tradition in this
country because most people
want to share their resources
with causes they deem v :.rthl..
It makes them feel good
about themselves; it is a way of
giving back to the community.
We are here to help our
alumni, friends and clients
meet that need.
It's as simple as that.
Your resources can benefit
the college through direct
financial donations, or through
bequests of real estate or other
Often our veterinary alumni
and friends help us by recom-
mending us to a client who
may wish to make a donation
in the name of a special pet, or
help the college with a cause
near and dear to their hearts.
Our donors played a key
role in the college's major
expansion efforts over the past
decade, including construction
of the Alec P and Louise H.
Courtelis Equine Teaching
Hospital in 1994 and the
Veterinary Academic Building
Longtime friends and
supporters assisted us in
putting on the successful "Get
On Board the Ark" event to
raise awareness of our need for
a new Small Animal Hospital.
So let me take this opportu-
nity to thank all of you who
give time and treasure to our
You've been there for us --
and we're always here for you.
UF veterinary cardiologists remove heartworms from
cat in first-ever procedure for college
University of Florida veterinary
cardiologists manually removed
three heartworms from an infected cat
Dec. 17, dramatically improving his
prognosis through a procedure never
previously performed at UF
Dr. Darcy Adin, chief of the hospital's
new cardiology service, removed the
worms from the anesthetized cat's heart
using forceps while Dr. Amara Estrada, a
member of the UF CVM's Class of '88
guided their location with an
"No additional worms were seen on two
follow-up echocardiograms and antibody
testing will be done in several months to
confirm that the infection was cleared,"
i said Adin. "Midnight's prognosis is very
BRINSKO, from p.1
in 1973," Brinsko said. "While
in high school, I became
friends with a family that had a
small cattle ranch outside of
Alachua and I spent many
weekends and holidays helping
them work cattle, building
fences and bailing hay. The
thought of becoming a
veterinarian, however, did not
occur to me at that time."
He began college at UF in
1973 with hopes of becoming a
pediatrician. His grades were
disappointing, so he bought a
car, packed a surfboard and
took off with some friends for
South Carolina. By winter, he
was ready to return to school
and the Gainesville area. He
attended Santa Fe Community
College for two years and
finally graduated from UF with
a bachelor's degree in zoology.
Thanks to a friend, Bob
Hagadorn, '82, who was then
applying to veterinary school,
Brinsko landed a job as a small
animal technician at UF's
Veterinary Medical Teaching
Hospital. His initial intent was
to use this experience to pursue
a career in the pharmaceutical
or biological supply industry.
"Since UF's first graduating
class of veterinarians was in
1980, there were no students in
the clinics at that time,"
Brinsko said. "Therefore,
although my primary duties
were the mundane cleaning of
cages and mopping of floors,
etc., I had a tremendous
opportunity to ilitc.kract v itl the
clinicians and assist in
It didn't take long for
Brinsko to see how much he
enjoyed the science and art of
"I'd spend the bulk of my
lunch hours in the library
looking through veterinary
texts, which further fueled my
desire to be a veterinarian,"
He remembers those years
with nostalgia now.
"This was an extraordinary
time at the VMTH," Brinsko
said. "The college had recruited
some of the best and the
brightest from all over the
country to become faculty
members. The young and
enthusiastic clinicians were a
joy to work with."
By then, Brinsko was a
surgery technician, absorbing
all he could about large animal
medicine from such faculty
members as Dr. Pat Colahan,
Rob MacKay and Al Merritt.
"Because of these
interactions and with the help
and support of several faculty
members, even with my
mediocre grades I was
fortunate to be accepted into
veterinary school on my second
application," he said.
During his senior year,
Brinsko's interest in horses had
increased. He recalls Drs.
Victor Shille, Ken Braun and
Woody Asbury as "skilled and
patient instructors" who had a
tremendous impact on him as a
student. He said Asbury's
influence was probably the
main reason he became a
"I can remember a mare
being presented for a pregnancy
check and Woody said, 'Steve,
palpate her and tell me what
you think.' So I sleeved up,
palpated the mare and said,
'She's pregnant in the right
horn about 35 days.'"
Brinsko remembers that
Asbury then palpated the mare
and responded that he agreed
the mare was pregnant in the
right horn but about 37
"I was dumbfounded,"
Brinsko said. "After we loaded
the mare up and sent her on her
way, I said, 'Dr. Asbury, I know
you've been doing this a heck
of a lot longer than I have, but
how do you tell the difference
between 35 and 37 days?' He
just looked at me and grinned.
"'I can't,'" he said. '....but I
like to b-s them (the students) a
realized that Asbury probably
had access to the mare's
breeding records and hence a
better idea of when ovulation
had taken place.
"Instructors like Woody
gave you a chance to show
what you knew, and made
learning fun," Brinsko said.
In the years following
veterinary school, he went into
practice with a classmate, Dr.
Mary Smart, in a mixed
practice in Sarasota. Eventually
- despite his assertions that he
would never perform an
internship or a residency -
Brinsko applied for and was
accepted into the
program at Texas A & M.
A master's degree followed,
a stint on the faculty at Texas A
& M, and then another graduate
degree this time a Ph.D. -
from Comell University's
College of Veterinary
"Probably the best thing
that happened to me there was
aspecially a ao s eac
that I met my future wife,
Anne Bahr, who was a small
animal intern during my
second year of graduate work,"
Between 1994 and 1998,
Brinsko served on the faculty
at Colorado State University's
College of Veterinary
Medicine, where he worked
primarily as an equine
"Although I enjoyed many
aspects of ambulatory practice,
I also felt that my advanced
training in reproduction was
being underutilized," Brinsko
said. So when his wife was
offered a radiology faculty
position at Texas A & M, off
"Although earning my
Ph.D. took a lot of time and
effort and answered basic
biological questions regarding
early embryonic death in
mares, the research I did for
my master's degree on post-
breeding uterine lavage is even
more gratifying because of the
impact it has had on breeding
management," he said.
At Texas A & M, he sees
some local clients for breeding
mares and pregnancy examina-
tions but the lion's share of his
caseload comes from referrals,
and most cases are stallions.
Together with his colleagues,
including Drs. Terry Blanchard
and Dickson Varner, Brinsko
performs the breeding
management at one of the
Texas Department of Criminal
Justice's prison units, which
has 150 broodmares and
stands nine stallions.
"This is a wonderful hands
on opportunity for our students
to palpate mares and make
breeding decisions," Brinsko
said. "It's funny l.: ti' h
world turns. I was told
numerous times that I would
never get into vet school, and
here I am helping decide who
will be our next generation of
Gator spirit high at Homecoming
No rain, plenty of food, games for the
kids and a visit from Albert and
SF Alberta made for good times
'i ,i in the CVM courtyard
.1 1.. URIDRI DA
1 10 year mark
Class of '85 plans
Members of the Class of '85 who have not done so already
should contact Dr. Diane (DeLany) Lewis to help plan the
"Plans for our 20th reunion are progressing," Lewis said. i i ill
take place sometime in 2005, and the site has yet to be determined."
Lewis said information should by now have been sent to most class
members. Anyone who has not received information about the reunion
should contact Lewis at (352) 392-4700, ext. 5744 or email
Several options have been presented to members of the class, Lewis
"We need classmates to respond if they haven't and let us know if
they are interested in participating or not," she added. "We also need
help with potential reunion site suggestions."
UF veterinary grads get "Gold Star"
awards from Florida Veterinary
S several UF veterinary college graduates have been honored
recently with "Gold Star"awards from the Florida Veterinary
Medical Association. These awards are given to FVMA members who
have helped promote the advancement of veterinary medicine and the
Dr. Molly Pearson, '88, a small animal practitioner at Micanopy
Animal Hospital, was honored for her outstanding service as president
of the Alachua Veterinary Medical Association and her efforts in
obtaining a Maddie's Fund grant for the local association.
Dr. Mark Presnell, '86, of Lakeland is a small animal practitioner at
Santa Fe Animal Hospital. He is being honored for his leadership role as
president of the Ridge Veterinary Medical Association.
Dr. Julio Ibanez, '80, of Miami practices small animal medicine at
Quail Roost Animal Hospital. He is being recognized for his services to
the South Florida Veterinary Medical Association, for which he served
as president, and also for his work with the Dade County Veterinary
1. Dr. Jacquie Neilson, '93,
2. Dr. Randy Thomas, Dr.
Marcia Schwassman,'89. Dr.
Gail Kunkle, Dr. Lisa
Akucewich and Dr. Dawn
Logas, '86, catch up on news
from the derm world.
3. Dr. Jim Himes with Albert
4. Dr. Karen Zimmerman
checks out the "kid games"
with her husband, David,
second from left, and sons
Justin, left, and Tyler, right.
5. Dr. Geoff Gardner, '85, and
6. Dr. Danny Levenson, '93,
with wife, Jill, and daughter
7. Dr. Dave Newman, '93, and
wife, Robin, and son, Brock.
8. Drs. Eric Bostrom, '93, Barry
Bonnville, '93, Paul Jaffe, '93,
and Robert Larocca, '93.
- u ... Dr P
pets may mean
BY SARAH CAREY
Exotic reptiles are being imported into the country in
massive numbers as lizard lovers and other pet
aficionados clamor for the creatures, but an unwanted
companion ticks often hitch a ride, a University of Florida
That's a problem because ticks can carry and spread diseases
that threaten the health of domestic animals, native wildlife, and, in
some cases, people, said veterinarian Mike Burridge, an expert on
"Recently, the pet trade has become a significant importer of
live reptiles, and in 2000 it was estimated that 8.6 million reptiles
and amphibians were kept as pets in the United States," Burridge
said. "In addition to the legal trade, the worldwide illegal trade in
live reptiles is substantial and profitable."
Since 1997, when they discovered more than 100 African
tortoise ticks on a leopard tortoise admitted to UF's Veterinary
Medical Teaching Hospital, Burridge and his colleagues have
found at least 11 exotic tick species have been imported into
Florida on reptiles. At least seven of those species have spread
beyond importation facilities, and at least five had spread within
the state to other captive reptiles.
Two species were known carriers of heartwater, an often-fatal
circulatory infection that affects livestock in Africa and the eastern
Caribbean, and another two were later confirmed as capable of
transmitting the organism that causes it. In one shipment of
leopard tortoises imported from Africa to a reptile facility in
Central Florida, Burridge and his colleagues found 15 of 38 ticks
on the tortoises to be infected with the organism that causes
Burridge's longtime research program, which has components
in several African countries, has focused on the prevention and
treatment of tick-borne diseases, specifically heartwater. But i lI
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reporting that the
number of U.S. residents traveling to Africa increased by 70
percent between 1986 and 1996, and the international reptile trade
growing by leaps and bounds, Burridge's focus has broadened in
recent years to include a problem he feels poses a much more
immediate threat to U.S. agriculture, and possibly to humans as
"In general, the problem of exotic ticks entering Florida is not
just that they are coming here, but that they are reproducing," said
Petey Simmons, a UF wildlife biologist working with Burridge.
"We managed to eradicate the ticks at the Central Florida facility
through a protocol of chemical treatments we developed, but for
the most part, these methods are not being used."
A notable exception is the Miami Metro zoo, where exotic ticks
that had plagued the zoo's Komodo dragons were eradicated this
year with help from Burridge and Simmons.
"Dr. Burridge took a personal interest, and made several visits
on his own time along with Simmons and the manufacturer of the
chemical," said Miami zoo veterinarian Christine Miller. "They
examined the ticks and the animals, took samples and confirmed
that these ticks had not spread to other animals. We made the
decision not to treat the animals directly, but to treat the environ-
ment in which they lived."
Former state veterinarian Leroy Coffman, who has worked with
Burridge in the past, said the biggest problem officials face is
keeping up with new reptile importers and new areas of the globe
the reptiles are originating from.
"That, and finding the resources to do this in ways we can
adequately measure," he said. "Shipments can and have contained
prohibited species. The method of detection so far has been by our
working relationship with the importing industry and by
Dr. Mike Burridge examines a giant Aldabra tortoise at a reptile facility to see if any
exotic ticks can be found.
Dr Dar o W.IIad 37 rdne&.' h, Srrenidjslip %lAn Dr WValler B'rgjhardI
30 righl ond BurghardI S %efe Charlene
Dr Hobson Fulmer 52 and clIfl1nioe Dr Lee Kier-Izn 3Z colch up on
ea'.-I olher 5 h1e5
Dr Don Beck. 36 mllh hi, ,,fe Maria o.nd Dr Rob Pernell SS
Dr. Frank Olliver, left, an ophthalmology resident, examines corneal tissue before
Dr. Dennis Brooks, center, transplants the new cornea into this horse's eye at the
Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital.
Photo by Sarah Carey
Veterinary ophthalmologists at the University of Florida
completed their 100th corneal transplant on a horse Jan. 9.
"I'm fairly certain that in reaching that number, we have performed
more than half of the cases done in the United States," said Dr. Kirk
Gelatt, a former dean of the UF veterinary college and professor of
The horse, Togey, a 3-year-old Thoroughbred/Dutch warmblood is
recuperating well after a short and sweet procedure that Dr. Dennis
Brooks, professor of ophthalmology, completed in about 45 minutes in
UF's Alec P. and Louise H. Courtelis Equine Teaching Hospital.
The UF College of Veterinary Medicine began performing coreal
transplants in 1998, Gelatt said, adding that horses with a condition
known as stromal abscess disease are the most likely recipients.
"This condition is relatively common in large animals and relatively
rare in small animals," Gelatt said.
Togey is recuperating well at home with his owner, Kelly Spearman,
on a horse at UF
Dr. Mark Cunningham enjoys life
on the wild side
BY SARAH CAREY
Wen state wildlife
a Florida panther hit by a car near
Naples on Dec. 4, it was Dr. Mark
Cunningham who sedated the
animal and rushed it to UF's
Veterinary Medical Teaching
Hospital for emergency treatment.
Cunningham, a member of
the Class of 1998 and the Florida
Fish & Wildlife Commission's
veterinarian, was working in
Homestead at the time. He
immediately dropped what he was
doing, drove two hours to reach
the cat, stabilized and sedated it,
then drove the animal another
Dr. Mark Cunningham administers an
antibiotic to this baby Florida panther
cub while in the field.
Photo courtesy of Dr Mark Cunn ngham
four hours to Gainesville, where
zoo medicine personnel received
the case early the next morning.
Unfortunately, the panther -
nicknamed 'Mr. Favre' by UF
veterinary students because his
muscular build reminded them of
a certain Green Bay Packers
quarterback did not survive the
trauma of his accident, which was
followed by seven hours of
surgery to correct lung and other
chest injuries as well as leg
UF zoo medicine chief Darryl
Heard said the cat had been found
to have head injuries and other
internal injuries more severe than
It was a sad story that
Cunningham, who is the state
panther project's veterinarian, has
witnessed too many times. Ten
Florida panthers reportedly have
died after being hit by cars in the
last year alone. The likelihood of
survival following such a
traumatic event is slim, he said.
At the UF VMTH,
Cunningham was present during
the panther's stay, quietly
deferring media questions to UF
clinicians while surgery, zoo
medicine and anesthesia teams
worked frantically to save the
"We work closely with UF,"
he said. "I just feel that the UF
zoo medicine folks and surgeons
are the experts and I trust them to
do what they need to do."
Emergency care and rescue of
the endangered Florida panthers -
of which only about 100 remain
in the wild south of Lake
Okeechobee- are just a few of
responsibilities. His other duties
include monitoring and working
to prevent disease outbreaks
among various wild animal
populations in the state, including
"I actually don't see
individuals that often,"
Cunningham said. "More
typically, I look at population-
based problems, such as feline
leukemia, which may be
spreading through the panther
population and demodectic mange
in black bears."
Commission requires the
presence of a veterinarian during
panther projects. A big part of the
state's project involves tracking
and capturing a certain number of
panthers in order to vaccinate
them against various diseases,
including feline leukemia, and
placing a radio collar on the cat in
order to monitor its movements in
"I travel a lot," Cunningham
said. "Usually I'm in South
Florida between November and
March for the panther captures.
There's a team of four or five of
us, including a houndsman, and a
tree-climber. The dogs trail the
panther and then tree it, then we
dart it and when it goes down we
catch it in a net and crash bags."
The process involves a lot of
hard work, he added.
"That's one thing about my
job," Cunningham said. "For
every animal we handle, there are
several days of just fieldwork
involved, so we're not handling
animals very often."
Cunningham began working
as an assistant to Mike Dunbar,
then-veterinarian for the state's
panther project, ten years ago. A
number of other UF veterinary
students now alumnae had
held the position before him,
Cunningham said, among them
Dr. Pauline Knoll, Dr. Mamie
Lamb and Dr. Dave Rotstein.
"It's what I wanted to do all
through veterinary school,"
Cunningham said. "I like
veterinary medicine and working
with wildlife populations, so it's a
good combination. Before I
started working with Mike, I was
torn between wildlife ecology and
veterinary medicine, but the
experience helped me make up
Among his immediate goals
are eradicating feline leukemia
from the Florida panther
population and better preparing
state personnel to respond to
See CUNNINGHAM, p.9
Ibrking together to save lives
Florida Panther Society honors UF veterinary
team for recent role in caring for cat
The state's Florida Panther
population may still have a
viable chance of recovery
if public awareness of the cat's
struggle for survival grows.
That was the take-home
message at an event held Jan. 31
at the UF College of Veterinary
Medicine by the Florida Panther
Society and the Friends of the
Florida Panther Refuge.
The purpose of this, and a
simultaneous event held in South
Florida, was to launch a new
public awareness campaign called
P.Ril l! i and Pavement."
During the event, the FPS
presented members of UF's
veterinary medical team with an
award in recognition of the care
they provided for a Florida
panther who was found severely
injured on U.S. 41 near Naples
after being hit by a car.
UCFP60, as he was officially
called, was rushed to the
Emergency Pet Hospital in Naples
and stabilized for transportation to
UF. There he underwent more
than six hours of intensive
"The university's veterinary
medical staff and students
affectionately named the endan-
gered cat 'Mr. Favre' because he
reminded them of Green Bay
Packers quarterback Brett Favre,"
said Karen Hill, FPS's vice
"The whole Gainesville
community came together over
his struggle for survival, yet two
days after his surgery, 'Mr. Favre'
died," she said.
Honored for their participation
in the panther's treatment were
members of the college's zoo
medicine, surgery, anesthesia and
medicine services, specifically
Drs. Jim Wellehan, Jason
Wheeler, Conny Gunkle, and
Michael Schaer, along with
veterinary student Christian
CUNNINGHAM, from p.8
foreign animal diseases and other
diseases present in Florida
"We'll do this by training
biologists to recognize diseases,
developing protocols for dealing
with sick and injured or dead
wildlife and conducting a greater
number of necropsies in
laboratories," Cunningham said.
He enjoys his job, but admits
to feeling pulled in many different
"Overall, the most frustrating
thing is trying to maintain clinical
knowledge and skills while
working on very few animals at a
time," he said. "I'm a generalist
when it comes to wildlife health
and disease, and I'm often
working with populations and
individuals of many species."
Cunningham said Drs.
Donald Forrester and Michael
Schaer had been mentors.
Forrester and Cunningham
continue to interact regularly as
Cunningham pursues his graduate
degree in wildlife ecology.
Aspiring veterinarians who
hope to interact with wildlife in
some fashion should be aware that
"there are a number of routes" to
that goal, Cunningham said.
"Wildlife veterinarians can
work on wildlife in a number of
different ways, either by pursuing
a pathology or zoo and wildlife
medicine residency or by getting
an advanced degree in wildlife
ecology," he said. "Each have
their own strength and may be
more suited to a particular
On the straight and narrow
path to recovery
Amanda Alexander, a 20-year-old junior student majoring in biology at the
University of Florida, hangs on to a sandhill crane in the zoo medicine ward
at UF's Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital. The crane was brought in to
UF's College of Veterinary Medicine for treatment after it was found outside
of Gainesville with a case of aflatoxin poisoning. The young crane had to be
fed through a tube each day, but was recovering nicely at the time of this
photo shoot in January. Aflatoxin is a toxic mold found on peanuts, a food
crop that sandhill cranes are quite fond of. Alexander is presently
volunteering in the zoo medicine ward. She hopes to one day enter
veterinary school to become a wildlife veterinarian.
Former UF neonatal patient
is world barrel racing champion
BY SARAH CAREY
Eleven years ago, a
Horse named Dyna's
Plain Special spent three days
in the University of Florida's
equine neonatal intensive care
unit born prematurely and so
sick she was unable to stand.
Today, she flies.
In December, Dee Dee, as
her breeder, Linda Jones, calls
her, raced to victory in the
Wrangler National Finals
Rodeo in Las Vegas, becoming
the first mare to win the world
title in 40 years.
"This horse is so fast," said
Jones, of Bowling Green, Fla.
"Her heart is so big and she has
so much 'try'. After she won, I
just had to call Dr. (Rob)
MacKay at UF to tell him that
little baby that could not get up
is ni:. t'hi world champion
During her first days of life,
the filly was treated with
penicillin and other drugs while
her nursing habits were
carefully monitored. She
received physical therapy on
her front legs to strengthen
In top photo, rider Janae Ward and
Dyna's Plain Special after big win. In
below photo, Ward rides "Dee Dee" in
December at the Wrangler National
Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.
Photos by Kenneth Springer
them. Before she was sent
home with the Joneses, Dee
Dee was standing, v ailing;
drinking water and taking her
The college's equine
neonatal ICU opened in the late
1980s, then the only such
facility in the world. Today
there are still only a handful of
veterinary hospitals that offer
intensive care services for
"We started our neonatal
intensive care unit in 1985,
modeling it after Florida's
program," said Dr. Mary
Paradis, an associate professor
of large animal medicine at
Tufts University's School of
Last year, approximately
120 horses from all over
Florida were admitted to UF's
foal unit for care.
"Horses born prematurely
are at greater risk than other
species, so in many cases the
availability of care can mean
the difference between life and
death," said Dr. Rob MacKay, a
professor of large animal
medicine at UF.
Jones tells Dee Dee's
story as if she were recounting
the life of one of her own
children. First there was the
filly's initial health scare. Then
there was Dee Dee's recovery,
then the racing that started in
1996 when Dee Dee turned 4
and a friend of the Jones
family, Kim Thomas, began
competing with her in barrel
racing events and winning.
Toward the end of that year,
Thomas caught the eye of
another barrel racing aficio-
nado, Tracy Johnston, during
an event in Oklahoma.
Johnston's boss, Jud Little,
an oil man from Ardmore,
Okla., had taken an interest in
the sport and was looking to
buy Johnston a new ride.
"On New Year's Day of
1997, Jud told me, 'it's a done
deal,'" Jones said. "I began to
cry, because I was losing my
baby, who would not come
home. Kim cried, because she
was losing her mount. And
Tracy cried, because she felt
sorry for us! That poor man had
three women crying on the
phone with him."
In the years that followed,
Little kept in close touch with
the Joneses. A new rider, Janae
Ward, whose mother and
grandmother both performed in
national barrel racing champi-
onships, began competing with
Dee Dee in August. In a few
short months, Janae and Dee
Dee had advanced from 26th in
the world to 14th, having
amassed more than $43,884 in
earnings and the opportunity to
compete in the finals.
"Jud called me up. 'This is
your travel agent,' he said,"
Jones laughed. "The place was
totally sold out, but he'd gone
on the Internet and gotten us
Jones then asked her
husband, Gary, to cut some
mane from Dee Dee's dam,
Dyna Snow, and her sire,
Special Feelins, who reside at
the Joneses farm, to place in a
silver locket. The couple gave
the locket to Ward to wear for
"I told Janae I would really
like Dee Dee's Mama and her
Daddy to be with her," Jones
On the day Dyna's Plain
Special was officially crowned
the champion, Little called
Jones, overcome with emotion.
"Miss Linda, I know I'm a
grown man," he said. "But I've
got to tell you that I cried."
Pa t e s ip .. F A la h u C o nt an ,e a ,I
SHELTER, from p.1
of assistant professor of shelter
medicine at UF's College of
Veterinary Medicine, students
who sign up for the new shelter
medicine rotation are able to
sharpen their clinical skills in
surgery and in the treatment of
But the prolonged, day-in,
day-out exposure to shelter
medicine that comes from
working on site contributes to
students' knowledge in other key
ways, say those involved with
administering the program.
"Most of these
cases (seen by stu-
dents at the shelter)
never make it to the
vet school because
they are handled by
practitioners and not
Dr. Natalie Isaza, '94
"They also leave with a deeper
understanding of the plight of
unwanted animals and the
importance of educating the
community where we live about
the importance of spaying and
neutering," Isaza said.
company Merial has contributed
both money and equipment to the
new collaborative effort between
UF and the Alachua County
shelter, supplying all vaccine,
heartworm preventive, and flea
and tick control medication.
Merial also pays a portion of
"Without Merial's support
and vision, this program would
Dr. Natalie Isaza, at left in photo, assists
veterinary student Todd Vinoski n
performing a spay procedure on a dog at
the Alachua County Animal Shelter.
Photo by Sarah Carey
never have been possible," said
Dr. Colin Burrows, chairman of
the college's department of small
animal clinical sciences.
In addition, Sedecal donated a
$16,000 X-ray machine, which
greatly bolsters the shelter's
The college has had a
relationship with the shelter
dating back to the 1980s, through
which animals were brought to
the Veterinary Medical Teaching
Hospital for spay-neuter surgeries.
Veterinary students have also
completed occasional externships
at the shelter.
"We would only get students
through the summer, however, and
it was one or two at a time if we
were lucky," said Randy Caliguiri,
the shelter's director of animal
services. N..:- it's four or five at
a time, and it's a part of the
Isaza said the shelter rotation
exposes students to a variety of
"Here, students may treat
scabies, cat bite abscesses,
dehydrated 3-week-old kittens
and aural hematomas in a given
week at the shelter," Isaza said.
"They are typical of what
veterinarians in private practice
might see every day, but most of
those kind of cases never make it
to the vet school because they are
handled by practitioners and not
Students are able to see
infectious diseases such as kennel
cough, upper respiratory infec-
tions in cats, parasitic diseases
and parvo virus. They also are
able to perform physical examina-
tions on cats and dogs as well as
the occasional rabbit, snake,
iguana, ferret and exotic bird.
"Any animal that needs
medical attention absolutely gets
it, no matter what," Isaza said.
Caliguiri said that while the
number of animals admitted to the
animal shelter is overwhelming,
fewer euthanasias are being
performed. Recent figures
released by Maddie's Pet Rescue
Project indicate that overall dog
and cat adoptions are up 32
percent in Alachua County while
shelter deaths are down 18
"I believe the euthanasia rate
has declined because of the
formation of the No More
Homeless Pets in Alachua County
coalition and to the coalition's
being a recipient of the
multimillion dollar Maddie's
Fund grant," Caliguiri said.
"Those two programs have
elevated community awareness to
the pet overpopulation problem
and to the importance of spaying
or neutering their pets."
Junior veterinary student
Debbie Burd said she enjoyed the
shelter rotation so much she
hoped to take it again as an
elective course in the spring.
"When you are doing two to
three surgeries a day, you're
getting incredible experience,"
Burd said. "I think it's awesome."
Dr. Zack Mills, executive
director for Merial's veterinary
services, said his company was
pleased to invest in such a novel
approach to student learning.
"This is a special program that
combines education with public
service to meet the multifaceted
needs of the university, the
students and the local animal
shelter," Mills said. "Our hope is
that this program will foster
opportunities for the next
generation of veterinarians while
meeting important animal health
needs of the community."
Don't miss Open House at the UF CVM, 10
a.m. to 3 p.m. April 17. As always, the event is
sponsored by SCAVMA and free to the public.
Major cat scan
nesthesiology resident Dr.
Conny Gunkle stabilizes
Rambo, a 7-month-old
Siberian tiger cub owned by
Nancy Adams. Rambo has suffered
from a chronic head tilt all his life, and
his owners brought him to UF's
Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital
for analysis. UF veterinarians
diagnosed an ear infection following a
CAT scan and a hearing test.
The annual CVM Golf Classic
will be held at Haile Plantation.
Contact Jo Ann Winn at (352)
392-4700, ext. 5013.
CVM Open House will be held
from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the
college. Contact Sarah Carey,
(352) 392-4700, ext. 5206. The
College's Alumni Council will
meet in the morning at 9:30
a.m. Contact Gail Crawford,
(352) 392-4700, ext. 5015.
The UF CVM alumni reception
will be held in conjunction with
the American Veterinary
Medical Association's annual
meeting in Philadelphia. Hotel
and time TBA. For more
information, contact Bev
Saunders, (352) 392-4700, ext.
Cat and dog owners and
breeders symposiums will be
held. Further details will be
forthcoming. This event will
take the place of two separate
events held in the past.
Contact Cathy Gentilman at
College of Veterinary Medicine
P.O. Box 100125
Gainesville, FL 32610-0125
Address Service Requested
(352) 392-1701, ext. 238.
Team Vet Med will once again
participate in The annual
Horse Farm 100 ride
sponsored by the Gainesville
Cycling Club. Proceeds will go
to support veterinary student
scholarships. For more
information about how to
support riders or ride yourself,
please contact Jo Ann Winn at
(352) 392-4700, ext. 5013.