C o l eg ofia ema c 2 9
th e NEWS FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA COLLEGE OF VETERINARY MEDICINE
Nicotine, sleep, SIDS, blood pressure ...for CVM researcher,
it's just another day in the lab
BY LAURA MIZE
L inda Hayward, Ph.D., is an associate professor of cardiovascular physiology in the UF
College of Veterinary Medicine, but the goal of her research is to help people.
Hayward's research focuses mostly on blood pressure and how it is regulated by
different body systems.
Her interest in physiology began with a focus on muscle and exercise physiology, which
stemmed from her years playing tennis in high school and college. Hayward says she wanted to
understand lio%\ to become a better athlete."
"For tennis, what is the difference in someone like (an) elite athlete (such as) Roger Federer
and an excellent player that doesn't make it to that level? Some of it is related to brain
interaction with sensory input and muscle control," Hayward said.
One of her recent projects examines how exposure to nicotine in the womb affects the
body's management of blood pressure and the respiratory system.
Hayward says the research, which she has conducted with the help of graduate student
Carie Reynolds and David Fuller, Ph.D., from the College of Public Health and Health Profes-
sions, shows that nicotine exposure in the womb can affect a person for the rest of his or her
"It changes brain function," she said. "A lot of those changes are permanent."
Another result, she explained, is that body systems develop differently. This seems to be
linked to sudden infant death syndrome.
"Our data suggest that the sleep system develops out of phase with all the other systems,"
Hayward explained, "and that probably contributes to the inability of these kids to arouse in Dr. Linda Hayward is an associate professor of cardiovascular physiology in the college's depart
response to a physiological stimulus." physiological sciences.
Not all children exposed to nicotine in the womb die of SIDS, of course, but Hayward said
such children may develop a different set of problems as they grow.
"Instead of sudden infant death syndrome, (the) child is thought to not awaken in response
to low oxygen, and so they sleep really well," she said. "And then it turns out, as they grow
older, the system regulating sleep has been chronically changed, and it looks like when they
become adolescents and adults that they don't sleep well enough anymore."
Hayward says a lot of medical literature links poor sleep with cardiovascular disease and Homeward bound after hemodialysis
that rats exposed to nicotine in the womb "have a slightly higher blood pressure than the
average rat or a control rat." -
This supports the idea that a malfunction in the sleep control system, which controls other
body systems, may cause changes in blood pressure regulation. The next step in the research is
to see if moms with hypertension who smoke during pregnancy have babies with blood
pressure even higher than their own.
Together with Mohan Raizada, Ph.D., from the College of Medicine, and Michael
Katovich, Ph.D., from the College of Pharmacy, Hayward has received a grant from the
university's Division of Sponsored Research to begin the work.
"We've started those studies and it looks like it indeed is true," she said. "So the question
is: Is that a function of the interaction between what the nicotine model changes and this
hypertensive situation, which involves this renin angiotensin system and changes in the
Hayward also has supervised the work of Joslyn Ahlgren, a Ph.D. student in physiology at
the veterinary school, on how exercise affects the body's response to blood loss. Hayward and
Ahlgren designed the study together.
Though Ahlgren is still compiling the data, findings so far show that rats that exercise
maintain a higher blood pressure after losing blood than those that don't. They also return to a
normal blood pressure sooner than rats that have not been exercising, and do not go into as
severe a state of shock after blood loss.
Hayward said this research is important to help understand if treatments for humans
deemed to be effective in sedentary rats would also work well for people who get a lot of
Ahlgren, who is in the final year of the program, said working with Hayward has helped her
develop better research skills.
"She is an excellent mentor for several reasons. She is highly organized. I have definitely
learned prioritizing and time management within a research design. She's just very good at it."
A Welsh Corgi named Bear, center, gets a pat from Dr. Carsten Bandt before going home fo
U N I V E R S o with his owner, Betty Skel, far right, on Feb. 27. Bear received two weeks of hemodialysis t
SI to purify her blood of a toxin believed to have been antifreeze before being discharged front
F LI ID Aon March 9. For additional photos, see p. 2. (Photo by Sarah
ir the weekend
treatment at UF
n the UFVMC
Gulfstream Barbaro Awards given
to two DVM students, one graduate student
T three students from the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine have
received financial awards from Gulfstream Park to further their equine studies.
Established after the death of 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro, the award
program is in its third year. One of a family of racetracks owned by Magna Entertainment
Corp., the park provides $12,500 in financial assistance as well as professional mentoring
through the American Association of Equine Practitioners to two senior UF veterinary students
committed to pursuing a career in equine medicine and surgery.
Those awards are known as the Gulfstream Barbaro Awards.
In addition, the park provides $5,000
through the Barbaro Research Award to a UF
S'.%. veterinary graduate student who is conduct-
ing ing equine research.
The D.VM. student awards went to Megan
Lamb and Erica Rosen, both from the class
/ Lamb grew up on her parent's Thorough-
bred breeding farm in Reddick, Fla., and
started riding at an early age. She competed
successfully for many years in hunter/jumper
and evening competition and subsequently
graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Colgate
University. While at Colgate, she partici-
pated in animal behavior research projects in
both Thailand and Belize. Lamb has been
an active member of the student chapter of
AAEP and the UF colic team while in
After graduation from UF, she will
complete an internship at the New Jersey
Equine Clinic in the interest of working
Megan Lamb toward board certification in either equine
surgery or medicine.
The Gulfstream Barbaro Award
program offers financial
assistance to two senior UF
veterinary students and one
graduate student focusing on
careers in equine practice or
Rosen, a summa cum laude graduate of
Cornell University, also grew up riding and
showing horses in hunter/jumper competi-
tion and is a former captain of Cornell's
Varsity Equestrian Team. During her
undergraduate years, she worked alongside
equine veterinarians in private practice as
well as in the clinical research field. While a
veterinary student, she has been active in
equine clubs and activities and also has
worked closely with surgical faculty on a
4 .' research project pertinent to the equine
i UI .athlete.
Erica Rosen She plans to pursue the field of sport
horse medicine, focusing on lameness,
diagnostic imaging and surgery.
The graduate student award went to
Astrid Grosche, a board-certified internist in
large animal medicine. Grosche is the UF
veterinary college's current Deedie Wrigley-
Hancock Equine Colic Research Fellow and
is pursuing her Ph.D. under the mentorship of
Dr. David Freeman.
She received her veterinary degree from
Leipzig University in Germany in 1997 and
subsequently worked as a scientific collabo-
rator in the department of large animal
internal medicine at Leipzig University,
specializing in veterinary internal medicine
and clinical laboratory medicine.
Grosche is now focusing on the role of
inflammation in mucosal damage and
restitution in the equine colon during
ischemia and reperfusion.
All three awards were presented at the
annual Florida Derby, held March 28 at
Dr. Astrid Grosche
Journey through hemodialysis
Bear received a series of hemodialysis treatments at the UF VMC.
Andrea Shultz, triage and hemodialysis technician, monitors Bear's condition during one of her hemodialysis
Betty Skel, Bear's owner, was happy to pick her dog up from the small animal hospital Feb. 27 to take Bear
home to Ft. Myers for the weekend between hemodialysis treatments.
Small animal surgeons shine at
Veterinary Orthopedics Society
Several UF small animal surgeons were
honored for their presentations during the
annual meeting of the Veterinary Orthopedics
Society, held Feb. 28-March 7 in Steamboat
"The meeting was dominated by the UF .
small animal surgery section, our comparative
oncology group and the collaborative
orthopedics and biomechanics laboratory,"
said Dr. Dan Lewis, a professor of small
Dr. Alastair Coomer, a third-year small
animal surgery resident, received a Mark S.
Bloomberg Award, which provided funding
for seven residents to attend the VOS meeting
and present their research. Coomer
subsequently received the award for the Best
Research Presentation in the Bloomberg
session for his paper on "Anti-Tumor Effects
of Radiation Therapy, Carboplatin and
Combrestastatin-A4 Phosphate Combination
Therapies in a Mouse Model of Xenografted UF surgery residents Alastair Coomer, right, and Kelley
Canine Osteosarcoma." Thieman take a break on the slopes with others on the
According to Lewis, Coomer's work may UF surgery team between presentations at the annual
meeting of the Veterinary Orthopedic Society in
significantly improve the survival of dogs Steamboat Springs, Colo.
affected with osteosarcoma.
Dr. Kelley Thieman, a first-year small animal surgery resident, received the award for the
week's best podium presentation. Her topic was "The Contact Mechanics of Meniscal Repairs
and Partial Meniscectomy as Treatment for Simulated Bucket Handle Tears in the Stifle of
Thieman's presentation was "beautifully illustrated," Lewis said, adding that the work
provided a rationale for preserving meniscal function which should help mitigate the
development of arthritis in dogs with cranial cruciate ligament ruptures and meniscal damage.
Dr. Antonio Pozzi won the award for Best Clinical Poster Presentation in the clinical
His presentation was titled, "Minimally Invasive Percutaneous Tarsal and Carpal
Pozzi's poster examined an innovative means of performing arthrodeses, or fusion of the
joints. His techniques appear to decrease post-operative morbidity and make possible faster
fusion of the joints.
UF's team shone in terms of physical prowess as well as academics.
"To top it off, Drs. Coomer and Pozzi placed second and first in their respective age groups
in the ski race," Lewis said.
Department of Agriculture bulletin
o11101 es to online rmat
Because of increasing costs and wide access to electronic mailing, the Florida Department
of Agriculture and Consumer Services has discontinued publication of hard copies of its
Animal Health Bulletin and now will be moving to an online-only format.
The current issue of the bulletin is available at: http://www.doacs.state.fl.us/ai/pdf/
Titles of articles in the current winter edition include: Equine Piroplasmosis Update; Avian
Influenza--Then and Now; Rift Valley Fever Exercise; Gertrude Maxwell Save-a-Pet, Inc.;
Tuberculosis in a Roping Steer from Florida; The Dangers of Brucellosis in Feral Swine; and
Construction of New Necropsy and Incineration Facility for the Bureau of Diagnostic Labora-
Anyone who would like to receive the Animal Health Bulletin by e-mail is asked to
provide their e-mail address to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
"If people provide us with their e-mail address, we will be happy to send them notification
and the link every time there is a new issue, so they can go right to it," said Thomas Holt,
D.VM., state veterinarian and director of the Division of Animal Industry.
Key dates: Mark your calendars
May 8: Completion ceremony and reception for graduating offshore students will
be held at 3:30 p.m. in the equine hospital auditorium.
May 9: The sophomore professional coating ceremony will take place at 2 p.m. at
University Auditorium with a reception to follow.
May 23: Commencement exercises for the graduating class of 2009 will be held at
2 p.m. at UF's Phillips Center for Performing Arts. A reception will follow immediately
afterward at the Touchdown Terrace, Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
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UF vets make right whale sedation possible, enabling disentanglement effort
wo UF veterinarians were part of a multi-institutional team that helped disentangle a
North Atlantic right whale from life-endangering fishing gear March 6 near the coast
of St. Augustine Beach.
Dr. Mike Walsh, associate director of UF's Aquatic Animal Health program, has been working .
with sedation and anesthesia in dolphins and whales in oceanaria and with the support of the
Aquatic Animal Health provided the drugs and dosages used to sedate the endangered animal.
This allowed rescuers to remove 90 percent of the entanglement that was wrapped around the
animal. Dr. James Bailey, an anesthesiologist and clinical assistant professor at UF's College of
Veterinary Medicine with a longtime interest in marine mammals, provided anesthesia support
and helped to document the sedation procedure.
The rescue involved the efforts of a multi-institutional team including the Woods Hole
Oceanographic Institution; NOAA Fisheries, which manages the Atlantic Large Whale
Disentanglement Network, based at the Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown, Mass.; the
University of Florida's Aquatic Animal Health Program; Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation
Commission; Georgia Department of Natural Resources and Coastwise Consulting Group.
Team members on four boats assisted by an aerial survey plane worked for two days to free
the animal. Eventually they succeeded in injecting the 40-foot, 40,000-pound whale with two
darts containing a mixture of sedatives that allowed them to cut away the gear that wrapped ,
around the animal's head.
The new sedation delivery system, built by Trevor Austin of Paxarms, New Zealand,
consists of a 12-inch needle and a syringe driven by compressed air, which injects the drug into
the whale's muscle.
Dr. Mike Walsh Dr. James Bailey
This is the first time in worldwide history a free-swimming
large whale was successfully sedated in the wild, according to
experts at NOAA Fisheries Service and Woods Hole
"This tool enhances fishing gear removal from entangled whales and minimizes the added
stress from repeated boat approaches to the animals," said Dr. Michael Moore, a veterinarian
and research biologist at WHOI. Moore has led the investigation into chemical and physical
tools to facilitate and enhance the safety of large whale restraint during efforts to remove
entangling fishing gear. "It's gratifying to have successfully employed this new technique."
North Atlantic right whales are frequently entangled in fixed fishing gear, especially from
the trap and gill net fisheries. Many of them eventually disentangle themselves, but some
entanglements persist for months, at times resulting in a slow and presumably very painful
Whale avoidance of boats attempting disentanglement has historically limited resolution
of complex cases. Over the past 10 years WHOI, in collaboration with NOAA Fisheries, UF and
the University of Wisconsin, has now developed a sedation system to hopefully make them
more approachable by rescue boats.
Walsh said he initially was brought on board back in 2001, based on his experience at Sea
World, where he was head veterinarian for nearly 20 years, and his familiarity with anesthetics
used in marine mammals.
"I developed the anesthetic procedures, with the help of UF veterinarians, on manatees and
the initial procedures used on walruses," Walsh said. "Many of these have improved, but we set
baselines and also did a lot of the initial work on dolphins and whales."
He said this gave him a comfort zone in working with these animals.
If \ c hadn't already worked out these techniques in other cetaceans (whales and
dolphins), we'd be less likely to attempt this," Walsh said. "We plan things so that we decrease
that potential for failure in the sedation process."
In the case of the most recent right whale known as 3311 Walsh convinced the team
that the drug used was the best one that was available and had worked in other animals. He
said Aquatic Animal Health program administrators had prepared for the possibility of a whale
needing sedation this year by purchasing the drug ahead of time.
"Dr. (Charlie) Courtney helped us tremendously," Walsh said. "I felt that 'it's probably
going to happen, so let's be ready.' In this case, it was a bigger investment than most people
would be willing to take a chance on, but that is what wildlife vets are supposed to do they
take a chance, make the effort and prepare for any issue."
Courtney, the college's associate dean for research and graduate studies, oversees the AAH
program within the college. ZooPharm in Colorado had the drugs needed in the right
concentrations to fit the darts and in a form that the two could be mixed together.
"We were attacking the drug delivery system, the drug type and the potential drug effects
at the same time," Walsh said, adding that the goal with 3311 was not to anesthetize the whale
but rather to seek its cooperation so that it would continue breathing and moving on its own
while the material ensnaring it was cut away.
"Trying to balance the safety of animals with the procedural needs to cut off the material is
where the tension comes in," Walsh said.
The disentanglement team initially tried unsuccessfully to sedate whale 3311 back in
January when it was swimming off the Georgia/Florida border. The animal subsequently left
the area, but returned about five weeks later in early March when the most recent effort was
made. The dosage for the second attempt was increased significantly, but the dart did not hit
the animal at the desired angle. There was a change in its respirations but the whale did not
allow the disentanglement boat to get near its head. The next day, the drug dose was increased
again. The dart team was able to make its approach and the whale was successfully darted.
"We felt confident that we got the drug into the muscle of the animal and after waiting 30
minutes for the drugs to take effect the animal allowed the disentanglement boat to approach
Disentanglement team cuts rope tightly wrapped over the whale's head. Cut releases approximately 150 feet of
rope. (Photo courtesy of Wildlife Trust)
and did not turn away," Walsh said. "This allowed Jamie Smith, the right whale
disentanglement coordinator, to begin cutting off the line."
He was disappointed that not all of the gear was able to be cut away.
"It was a mixture of elation and disappointment," Walsh said. "We accomplished
something that hadn't been done before with a great team effort, but I was really hoping we
could get it all off. However, now we have a potential tool that can be used to intervene more
quickly with severely entangled whales that are slowly starving to death.
Walsh added that the new sedation technique may greatly expand the options for the
disentanglement teams dealing with these severely compromised whales, and for the whales
"It is very exciting to be able to see this technique have an effect in an animal so large," he
UF's Bailey has worked with Walsh on a variety of marine mammals since the early 1990s.
"I've had opportunities to work with various large, difficult or dangerous species, including
polar bears, manatees and dolphins," Bailey said. "Some of these patients even came here to UF
for various procedures."
In the case of the recent whale disentanglement, Bailey was invited to participate when
another member of the team was unable to participate at the last minute.
"This event was over a decade in the making and has involved numerous highly skilled
and dedicated individuals from multiple organizations sometimes with divergent opinions,"
Bailey said. "In the end, they all came together to get this done and they made me feel like a
part of the team.
"The obvious concern was that the whale could drown. I was there to help everyone to
believe their decisions were sound and I just happened to be on base when they hit a home
The animal remains in very poor condition and has a guarded prognosis, but the
disentanglement will give it a better chance for survival.
The North Atlantic right whale is the most endangered great whale, with a population of
less than 400. Human activity-particularly ship collisions and entanglement in commercial
fishing gear-is the most common cause of North Atlantic right whale deaths.