thI NEWS FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA COLLEGE OF VETERINARY MEDICINE
right, a member of the
Class of 2010, is
pictured with her
husband, Dr. Tim
Holloway, '07, following
the 2008 sophomore
coating ceremony. For
more photos from
the ceremony, see p.5.
Brazilian Olympic dressage horse returns home after successful treatment at UF
BY SARAH CAREY
After surviving an odyssey of difficult surgeries and complicated medical problems, a
Brazilian Olympic dressage horse named Livello has lived to train another day and is
recuperating back in his home country, thanks to University of Florida veterinarians.
UF equine surgeon David Freeman, who played a key role in Livello's amazing story and
eventual turnaround, discharged the horse on April 11 to one of his Brazilian veterinarians,
who flew home with him.
"This horse is all quality," Freeman said. "Everyone who dealt with him here did a
wonderful job, and this is a horse that came all the way from Brazil because we had the
technology to treat him."
Freeman said Livello's case illustrated the importance of powerful imaging equipment,
particularly UF's MRI unit, in guiding effective medical treatment.
"Radiology, specifically Drs. Matt Winter and Shannon Holmes, did a wonderful job with
interpreting the images," Freeman said, adding that clinicians and technicians from the
radiology, surgery, ophthalmology and anesthesia services were all extremely helpful.
"Livello actually came here because the owners were aware we had CT and thought that
could be used to help him, but it turned out that the MRI was a better imaging tool for his
problem," Freeman said.
"Livello is the horse we dreamed of back in our childhood, when we
first realized we loved horses....their smell, the noise from their
- Patricia Brossi, Brazilian veterinarian
Brazilian veterinarian Femanda Bicudo Cesar said the horse's owner, Dr. Jorge de la Rocha,
and his family were "very thankful for everyone involved."
Cesar spent two weeks at UF with Livello when his primary veterinarian, Patricia Brossi,
had to return home after spending two months in Gainesville.
"The owners haven't seen him for three months, but now they can sleep well and finally
feel that things are going to be OK," Cesar said.
Brossi said Livello was a fighter, and so much more than that to those who know him.
"You have only to go through his medical records to appreciate how much of a fighter he
is," she said. "Besides that, he talks to you, he makes it really clear how much he appreciates
everything you do for him.
"Livello is the horse we dreamed of back in our childhood, when we first realized we loved
horses, those huge creatures, their smell, the noise from their hooves, the feeling of being on
top of them," Brossi said. "He is special to Dr. Jorge because he fits him, with his size and his
personality, as no other horse ever did."
Livello's story began in Brazil last October with a bad tooth. A tooth extraction procedure
damaged the horse's tear duct and infraorbital nerve, veterinarians said.
"Tears were coming down his face, and he had nerve damage that was causing him to rub
his face and sneeze," Freeman said, adding that a subsequent procedure involving a veterinary
surgeon from Tennessee and a world-renowned equine dentist who were flown to Brazil to
help, did not resolve the problem.
"The surgeries went well, but never cleared up the infection Livello had developed in his
sinuses," Freeman said.
Because of his infection, Livello subsequently developed facial swelling and a malodorous
Desperate to help him, his owners and their veterinarians, who had heard of Freeman and
UF's imaging capability through veterinary meetings in Brazil, decided the horse needed to be
seen and treated at UF. In February, de la Rocha, who also has ridden Livello as part of the
Brazilian Olympic dressage team, flew the horse and Brossi, his veterinarian, to Florida's Alec
P and Louise H. Courtelis Equine Hospital.
"We had some idea based on Livello's history and clinical signs that there was probably
Dr Da....d Freeman Elani l ;ilh LI..ell a Brailian 01,mpic dre aij. e l earn h-,.r e .* *h. under .-iil Ihree ur.-ener al IF
some necrotic bone that needed to be removed," Freeman said. "But we didn't know the exact
location or extent of it, and that is where both the CT and our new MRI unit came in."
An initial surgery resulted in the removal of a lot of dead bone and tissue, but Livello's
sinus drainage continued as did the malodorous nasal discharge.
"So we did another MRI on him about three weeks later and then another surgery after
that," Freeman said. "The MRI images helped us find the sites where we needed to go, and the
site was not an easy area to gain access to. We were somewhat reserved by then in terms of our
level of satisfaction because we knew there might still be more bone left."
By the time Livello left, however, he had undergone three surgeries at UF, with the last one
being the most difficult. Within two weeks of his last procedure, however, Livello began
showing signs of improvement.
"His attitude definitely improved," Freeman said. When Livello's nasal discharge
vanished, Freeman and his colleagues knew they had turned a comer.
"This was a tough case," he said. "Every now and then we get cases that test us and test our
general ability to handle very serious veterinary challenges and this was one of them."
Freeman added that he gave a lot of credit to Livello's owner, de la Rocha, for his
unwavering commitment to the horse.
"He was not going to be deterred by the cost of treatment but he was realistic and
committed and most of all, he did not want this horse to suffer," Freeman said. "He wanted the
very best for him, and he did all the right things. That didn't replace any of our caregiving for
the horse, but it made it a lot easier."
Shelter medicine rotation coordinator receives
universitywide Superior Accomplishment Award
D r. Natalie Isaza, the Merial
Clinical Assistant Professor
of Shelter Medicine at the
University of Florida College of
Veterinary Medicine, has received a
Accomplishment Award for her
outstanding and meritorious
Isaza was honored in the
academic services category along
with five other individuals who
received top honors in their
employment categories during a
ceremony held April 22 at the UF's
Reitz Union. All six winners
received $2,000, a plaque, and an A
invitation to the president's box
during an upcoming home football
A 1994 graduate of UF's
veterinary college, Isaza has served
as director of its shelter medicine
program forfouryears. She works
closely with Alachua County ..
Animal Services to provide clinical
experience with shelter animals to
UF veterinary students, and
oversees the shelter medicine Dr. Natalie Isaza
In exit interviews, graduating veterinary students have said they value the shelter program
because it provides with solid surgical experience for spays and neuters and gives solid
background regarding common preventable conditions and diseases affecting dogs and cats.
In addition, the program provides students insights into animal welfare issues impacting
society in general as well as their local communities. During the past year, Isaza has taken her
students to Gainesville's St. Francis House to provide veterinary care to the pets of homeless
and financially needy individuals, an effort started by Gainesville veterinarian Dale Kaplan-
Stein, owner of Oaks Veterinary Hospital and Northwood Oaks.
The program recently was honored at the Work of Heart Awards banquet an annual
tradition started in 1971 by the recently disbanded Volunteer Center of North Central
Florida. Honorees were nominated by fellow co-workers, employees and volunteers. Each
demonstrated "significant contributions of time, talent and an unmistakable passion for
bettering the community," according to a story that appeared in the Gainesville Sun.
Dr. Colin Burrows, chair of the department of small animal clinical sciences and chief of
staff of the Small Animal Hospital, said Isaza's award was well-deserved.
"Natalie received this award because of her selfless dedication to animals, students and the
community," said Dr. Colin Burrows, chairman of the department of small animal clinical
sciences and chief of staff of UF's Small Animal Hospital. "Her efforts benefit so many, and we
are lucky to have her."
Hat ino a hall
Infectious diseases professor awarded UFRF
D r. Mary Brown, a specialist in
infectious diseases at the University of
Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, has
received a UF Research Foundation professor-
Sponsored by the university's Division of
Sponsored Research, the professorships are
awarded to tenured faculty campuswide for
distinguished research and scholarship. The
honor includes a $5,000 salary increase each
year for three years and a one-time $3,000
award for research support.
Brown, a professor in the UF veterinary
college's department of infectious diseases
and pathology, specializes in bacteria called
mycoplasmas. Over the past 22 years, Brown-
has studied infections in creatures from
alligators to humans. She has studied the role
of mycoplasma in the premature birth of
babies and in a respiratory ailment of
environmentally threated tortoises.
The smallest free-living bacteria, myco- Dr. Mary Brown
plasmas need intimate contact with a host, for
instance in the respiratory or urogenital tract,
and establish a chronic disease that usually is not fatal because they need the host to survive.
The bacteria are spread through direct contact and can cause a wide spectrum of diseases in
humans and animals, such as pneumonia, mastitis, urinary tract infection, genital infections,
neonatal infections and more rarely, arthritis. "Walking pneumonia" is one example of a
mycoplasmal disease in people.
Most recently, Brown has been studying the role of mycoplasmas in a respiratory infection
that has spread rapidly among Florida gopher tortoises, a species of special concern, as part of a
National Science Foundation project. The gopher tortoise population has declined in part
because of loss of habitat. Infectious disease has also been a contributing factor to population
declines. The NSF project examines the interactions between infectious disease and human-
induced changes to the environment on tortoise health and populations.
With funding from the National Institutes of Health, Brown has studied the role of myco-
plasma in recurrent urinary tract infections in women. The U.S. Department of Agriculture and
Department of Defense have also supported her studies of mycoplasmal disease in food
Brown has been a member of UF's veterinary college faculty since 1985.
Clinical pathologist approved for patent on
A patent for technology developed by a
clinical pathologist at the University of
Florida College of Veterinary Medicine for
diagnosing the presence of a tick-transmitted
bacterium that affects a wide variety of
mammalian species, including humans, has
been approved by the United States govern-
"There is lots of interest in this disease,
known as Anaplasma phagocytophilum,
because of its emerging prevalence in
particularly the human and canine popula-
tions in the United States'," said Dr. Rick
Alleman, a professor of clinical pathology at
the UF veterinary college.
"We are recognizing that a percentage of
dogs and people who get infected with this
agent get sick, while others just carry the
organism:' said Alleman, who has collabo-
rated with others at the college, including Dr.
Anthony Barbet, an infectious diseases
professor, and scientist Dr. Roberta Veluci- Dr. Rick Alleman
Marlow, to develop a test that can be used to
detect an antibody response no matter what
particular variant of the organism the species might be infected with.
"Animals form antibodies to this protein whenever they become infected'," Alleman said,
adding that the test could be used in dogs or in humans, and in any part of the country.
A.ic I \ c identified the protein, which was a major first step, we then cloned the gene and
sequenced it, which makes it possible to create the protein without using the organism -
namely a recombinant version which is like a manufactured version of the original'," Alleman
Two companies are now testing the protein to determine if they wish to purchase the patent
and use it commercially, he added.
A few years ago, Barbet, Burridge, Alleman and others from the veterinary college were
involved in a patent that resulted in a test for the diagnosis of infection with another tick-bome
agent known as Ehrlichia canis. That test is now being marketed commercially by IDEXX
The UF C i-1 .:. intramural basketball team knoJ.in as the 3S Special -- .on the Graduate-
Staff intramural Championlhip in April. The .innninQ team, shou .n abo.e, included Justin
Phillips, Jaj intieman, Wi.ll Robertson, Dr. Dan Leui.i, Jame. loiel,, Dan Krull, Greg Long,
Ke.in Schmidt, jame. Steel and [like Reese. lHot pictured are team members Jonathan
Shi.ers and Ben lie.itt. Photo courteci of Cr Dan Let mi
Class of '83 reunites for Silver Anniversary celebration
Animal Planet's Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald will be guest speaker at 2008 commencement ceremony
Dr. Kevin Fitzgerld, star of Animal
Planet's Emergency Vets, will be the guest
speaker at upcoming commencement
exercises for the UF College of Veterinary
Medicine's Class of 2008, to be held May 24
at 2 p.m. at the Phillips Center for the
Fitzgerald, a well-known comedian and
entertainer, also maintains a busy practice at
Alameda East Veterinary Hospital in Denver.
This year, 83 UF veterinary seniors will
receive their DVM degrees. In addition, the
2008 winners of the UF CVM Alumni
Council's Distinguished Awards will be
announced during the commencement
Everyone is invited to come out and
support the Class of 2008!
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Novartis gift funds renovations to surgery bandage room
Members of the small animal surgery service gathered Wednesday, April 30, to celebrate the recent renovations made to the surgery bandage roam. The renovations were made possible thanks to a $15,000 donation from
Novartis Animal Health. Joining the UF group for the celebration was Dr. Steven Fox, now director of pain management with Novartis and a former UF small animal surgery resident, and local Novartis representative
Nichole Roberts. From left to right are Dr. Kelly Thieman, Dr. Alistair Coomer, Dr. Dan Lewis, Dr. Colin Burrows, Dr. Steve Fox, Nichole Roberts, Dean Glen Hoffsis, Dr. Kristin Kirkby, St. George's University veterinary student
Paul Weber, Dr. Jim Farese, Dr. Marine Risselada and Wendy Davies. Photo by Sarah Carey
T he Small Animal Hospital's surgery treatment room -- better known internally as
the "bandage room" -- recently received a facelift, thanks to a generous
contribution from Novartis Aniimal Health.
The company's donation, approximately $15,000, covered the cost of installing all
new cabinets and treatment tables, in addition to new computers and a digital radiographic
"All three surgery services, including orthopedics, soft tissue and surgical oncology,
use the room, which is arguably the busiest room in the hospital." said Dr. Dan Lewis, an
orthopedic surgeon and professor in the department of small animal clinical sciences.
Helping to facilitate the gift was former UF small animal surgery resident Dr. Steve Fox,
who now serves as director of pain management for Novartis.
"I specifically asked Steve to work with the company to help us make this happen,"
Lewis said. "He worked very hard to find the money from several divisions. We ame
extremely grateful to Steve and to Novartis for all of these efforts."
Lewis said the renovations will make possible better patient care as well as educating
students, interns and residents in the art and practice of small animal surgery.
"My experiences at UF as a surgery resident are most memorable Fox said. "I worked
with some of the finest mentors in our profession and witnessed the University of Florida
College of Veterinaiy Medicine 'get its legs.' The college now enjoys international
recognition for its standards of excellence in teaching. research and clinical medicine. As
....... Lsuch. it (gives me geat pride to be an alunli'F
Fox added that the Inew phy sical structure of the school is "-bothl amlbitious and
im~pressive,. testimonial to the unliverlsity's g)oal of mal'tchingo thle faculty's state-of-the-art
excellence with equtivalenit housingo"
He said Novar1tis has alway)Ns enjjoyed a close collabomtion wNith academiai and that hie
w~as pleased his company could assist UF in an area of need.
'"Vecterinlat me I ldicinhe is best served wNith a close relationship betwN een academ)ia and
industry' Fox said. "-Novartis is dedicated to advacncmnt of state-of-the-art 'best
medicine' and this example of Novar-tis support for a UF request servecs the best interest of
each parkt s well as Our profession.
"-No doubt, mnany present and fuiture students will benefit froml this modest conitribu-
tion," Fox said.
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Sophomore coating ceremony marks transition to clinical rotations
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