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New Steinbrenner Family CT imaging suite dedicated on lune 26
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H orsewoman Jessica Steinbrenner, general manager of Kinsman Farm in Ocala
and daughter of New York Yankees' owner George Steinbrenner, visited
Gainesville June 26 to celebrate the dedication of a new CT imaging suite at
the University of Florida Veterinary Medical Center.
The Steinbrenner Family CT Imaging Suite was named in honor of the
Steinbrenners in appreciation for an $800,000 gift that made construction of the suite
possible, providing UF with one of the most powerful tools available for veterinary
diagnostics in the Southeastern United States.
Housed in the college's large animal hospital, the suite contains an 8-slice,
multidetector row Toshiba Acquilion CT unit that allows for rapid imaging with
exceptional contrast and spatial resolution.
"The Steinbrenner family feels that the University's veterinary faculty and
program are forward thinking and have the ability to help large animals on a grand
scale, all while educating students in this field," Jessica Steinbrenner said.
UF VMC also has a 1.5 Tesla Toshiba Titan MR unit, which allows veterinar-
ians to obtain highly detailed images in multiple planes of bone and soft tissue in
all species. Foot, fetlock, suspensory ligaments, carpus, hock and heads are regions
capable of being examined through MR in the horse. Multidetector row CT is often
used for rapid evaluation of the skull and distal extremities. It is especially helpful
in characterizing complex fractures using multiplanar reformatting techniques and
3-dimensional reconstructions. In small animals, both imaging tools are routinely
applied to neurologic and orthopedic cases at the VMC, with additional studies
performed for radiation planning and metastasis evaluations.
"Diagnostic imaging is an extremely important part of patient care," said
Matthew Winter, D.V.M., assistant professor of radiology at UF's VMC. "Advanced
imaging allows for more accurate diagnosis and better therapeutic management.
The Steinbrenner's generous gift allows us to image rapidly and accurately, and all
of our patients benefit from this technology."
Longtime pharmacy manager sets her sights on Tennessee
BY SARAH CAREY
N early 24 years to the day after Joan Thompson joined the University of Florida
Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital as it was known then she's saying
goodbye to join her husband, Dr. Jim Thompson, in Knoxville, where he will soon
complete his first year as dean of the University of Tennessee's College of Veterinary Medicine.
Thompson was first hired at UF by the hospital's original pharmacy manager, James
Cooper, who retired in 1987. She then became the pharmacy manager, and has held that job
"The first summer I worked here, it was so quiet that I read the novel, 'North and South,'"
Thompson recalled. "That's how slow it was."
Back then, the pharmacy had no office, just two desks in the back of the room and an
electric typewriter. The pharmacy was located in the block of rooms currently in use by the
"We didn't have a computer, and no Plumbs' or other veterinary drug formulary-type
references. Since 1985, we've been through at least four software programs, including VSI, then
Vetstar, now Cornerstone," Thompson said. "It was all on the job training."
Dr. Colin Burrows, chairman of the department of small animal clinical sciences and chief
of staff of the small animal hospital, called Thompson "the rock on which our pharmacy has
"Joan ran the pharmacy with quiet and rigid efficiency and gained the respect of all the
clinicians," Burrows said.
Dr. Michael Schaer, associate chief of staff for the small animal hospital, added that he was
especially grateful for Thompson's recent efforts to procure anti-venom for the treatment of Joan Thompson served as the CVM's pharrr
dogs with snakebite.
As pharmacy manager, Thompson spent much of her time performing tasks other than
dispensing medications. Her biggest job has been monitoring and managing the use of
controlled substances, ensuring that everything from dispensations of such drugs to detailed
record keeping was accurate and in compliance with state and federal regulations.
"The challenges are so many that it's hard to see what your accomplishments have been
because you're always swimming upstream," Thompson said, adding that the pharmacy service
has been strong over the years, with low turnover and a very efficient staff.
Today that staff includes pharmacist Kathy Rode, who has been at the UF CVM for more
than 20 years; Adam Zipper, a certified pharmacy technician; Melanie Wilcox, also a pharmacy
technician; and Raymond Moore, who is responsible for the inventory, including all stocking
and ordering and has also been a pharmacy staff member for more than 20 years. In August
2008, Thompson also hired a part-time pharmacist, Sandy Still, who will become the new
pharmacy manager after Thompson's departure.
"There was a time when you could run the pharmacy with one pharmacist, one technician
and one clerk and keep up," Thompson said. "That would be just impossible now. We have
animals on multiple infusions, animals receiving postoperative pain management after surgery.
In addition to ear cleaning products, heartworm prevention and flea control, pet care may now
include multi-drug therapies for heart disease, renal disease and cancer, utilizing human and
veterinary pharmaceuticals, natural products and nutriceuticals."
Thompson has been a fellow in the Society of Veterinary Hospital Pharmacists, an
international organization of veterinary pharmacists, since 1989, serving as secretary and as
"It's an organization comprised of pharmacists working in similar environments and
dealing with similar challenges," Thompson said.
Her professional plans in Knoxville are currently undetermined, but Thompson said she'll
be happy to finally take up residence again with her husband. Still, leaving Gainesville and From left to right are Sandy Still, Melanie
Florida will be difficult in many ways, she said. pictured during Thompson's last week at t
"I've been here since 1975," Thompson said. "This is as much of a hometown as I've ever
had. Our children will continue to reside in Florida...for now."
Dean Glen Hoffsis and Jessica Steinbrenner outside the newly dedicated Steinbrenner Family C.T. Imaging Suite.
(Photo by Sarah Carey)
nacy manager for 24 years. (Photo by Sarah Carey)
Wilcox, Kathy Rode, Adam Zipper, Joan Thompson and Raymond Moore,
he UF CVM. (Photo by Sarah Carey)
Kinsman Farms manager Jim Scott and Dr. Ali Morton, a UF CVM large animal surgeon, visit after the dedication
ceremony. (Photo by Sarah Carey)
For UF reptile expert, herp species
have been lifelong passion
Editor's note: Special thanks to the editor of Reptile magazine for allowing us to reprint these
excerpts from Dr. Elliott Jacobson's responses to their questions. Jacobson is a professor of
wildlife and zoological medicine in the college's department of small animal clinical sciences.
His interview will appear in an upcoming issue of Reptile Magazine.
VP: How did you first become interested in herps?
EJ: I was a city kid, growing up in Brooklyn, NY, from the late 1940s through the 1960s.
My first love was actually insects. I probably started collecting insects as soon as I could walk.
As I grew up I thought I would be an entomologist. During the warmer times of the year, I
would spend hours upon hours collecting insects in backyards and vacant lots in my
neighborhood. It was amazing what I could find.
My only opportunity to see reptiles was when my father took me to the Staten Island
Zoo, Bronx Zoo, American Museum of Natural History, and to the Brooklyn Botanical
Gardens. When I was a child, my mother would take me to the Ringling Bros. and Barnum &
Bailey Circus when it had its annual show in NYC. There I discovered American anoles and
red-eared sliders that were sold in small boxes displayed on a large frame as you walked into
the mezzanine area of Madison Square Garden. I was attracted to reptiles instantly, but had no
opportunity in my neighborhood to collect any.
When I became older, and I was allowed to travel on my own elsewhere in Brooklyn, I
found populations of Dekay snakes and eastern garter snakes still existing at that time. Each
summer my parents would take my younger sister and me on week-long vacations somewhere
in the tri-state area, and it was then I began to spend almost all my time collecting amphibians,
and reptiles. I caught my first snake, a northern water snake, at Enfield State Park, Ithaca, NY in
1953. That moment is etched in my mind and was captured by my father on film. As I grew
older, herps started displacing my interest in insects and by my early teens I was totally hooked
VP: Did you go to school to study them specifically?
EJ: My love for herps and my decision to go to school and study them evolved together
over time. I went to undergraduate school at Brooklyn College, a campus of the City
University of New York. As a resident of Brooklyn, I was eligible for admission and because it
was free, that is where I went. I had no friends who kept herps as pets, so that was a hobby I
pursued on my own. Although I was a science major, with most of my elective courses in
biology, unfortunately there were no herp-oriented faculty members at BC at that time. But my
love for herps kept growing I had a collection of herps that originated from various pet
stores in NYC and I finally decided I wanted to go on to graduate school where I could more
specifically work with them. In 1965 I traveled throughout the western United States and
immediately fell in love with our Southwestern deserts. This influenced my decision to go to
New Mexico State University for my Master of Science degree in 1967. It was at NMSU that I
had the best experience in all of my college years. My major advisor, Dr. Walter Whitford, took
a group of us to the American Museum of Natural History's Southwestern Field Station for
Research in the Chiricahua Mountains of Arizona. Because of this I have been going back just
about every summer since 1967. From NMSU, I went to the University of Missouri to continue
my graduate studies, working on mudpuppies for my Ph.D. research. Deaths of many of my
research animals made me realize how little was known about diseases of these animals, which
motivated me to pursue a career in veterinary medicine where I could use my background and
interest in herps to better understand the medical and disease problems of these animals. I
graduated in 1975 with my D.V.M. degree and my Ph.D. degree in zoology. From 1975-1977, I
worked as a wildlife veterinarian for the state of Maryland. In 1977, I arrived at the new
College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Florida as a resident in Laboratory Animal
and Wildlife Medicine. Following this training program, I became a faculty member at UF, and
32 years later, I am still at the same institution. For herps, UF has been a great place to be a
VP: Take me through a timeline of your progression in the reptile industry.
EJ: Around 1950, my first pet reptiles were red-eared sliders, American anoles from
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus and eastern newts from local pet stores. A few
years later, I caught my first snake, a northern water snake. From the 1950s to the late 1960s, I
bough various snakes, lizards, turtles, American alligator, and brown caiman from various pet
stores in NYC and then for two years I was able to catch a wide variety of herps throughout the
Southwest United States. From the 1970s on, I have purchased many herps through various
reptile dealers and expos, and more recently, through kingsnake.com.
VP: What is the most rewarding part of what you do?
EJ: Teaching students and training residents in our zoological medicine training-program,
coupled with research projects that ultimately improve the health of captive and wild reptiles is
extremely rewarding. Many of our former residents are now zoo veterinarians and university
clinicians around the country.
I have also served as the major advisor to a number of graduate students, several who
now are academicians at UF and elsewhere. The torch has been passed on to others in our field.
There are more veterinarians knowledgeable in reptile medicine today than ever before, and I
feel that I have been able contribute to this growth in knowledge.
VP: What projects are you currently working on?
EJ: First, there are my research projects. My laboratory at UF focuses on infectious diseases
of reptiles and I have a graduate student working on IBD (inflammatory bowel disease) of boid
snakes. This is one disease problem of snakes that needs to be solved, and I would like to see
that happen before I retire in less than three years. Then there is my snake breeding project.
Since retirement is approaching far too quickly, two years ago I started purchasing snakes that I
would like to breed after I finish my academic career. These include Baja ratsnakes, Arizona
Dr. Elliott Jacobson handles a Madagascan ground boa in the zoological medicine ward. (File photo)
green ratsnakes, Trans-Pecos ratsnakes, Texas indigos, mussuranas, and bush vipers. Several
have reproduced for the first time last year.
With about 90 snakes, my evenings are quite busy trying to keep up with job
responsibilities and animal responsibilities at the same time. I have learned so much by
keeping and breeding these animals, things that I would never have learned otherwise.
VP: What has been your biggest accomplishment to date?
EJ: As mentioned above, my greatest accomplishments have been my academic teaching
and research accomplishments. I have had the great fortune to work at a major university where
I have been able to help build a zoological medicine service and training program, and a
laboratory that studies infectious diseases of reptiles.
I and my colleagues have identified a wide variety of infectious diseases of reptiles, and
my laboratory now offers a variety of tests to determine exposure to or infection with these
pathogens. I feel I have done a lot for a group of animals I have kept and worked with almost
my entire life.
VP: What are some tips you would give for someone interested in following your footsteps
in a herp career?
EJ: First, follow your heart. Second, put your full energy into whatever you want to do.
And third, realize when there is an opportunity that you need to respond to. Some people fail to
respond to an opportunity because there is always a certain amount of risk when you are
deciding to do something new. Still, use some common sense when making such a decision.
VP: Any unusual, funny or special stories to share?
EJ: The best are almost always animal escapes. My mother had just purchased a new stove
that she was so proud of since she had to save for years to purchase it. I was cleaning out a corn
snake's cage and for some reason brought the snake into the kitchen to get something.
Somehow the snake got into a heat-venting hole on the side of the stove and I basically had to
dismantle the entire stove to extricate the snake. My mother came home just as the last piece of
the stove was removed. Her new stove was in a pile. Needless to say, this did not go over very
well. But still, she never forced me give away my collection.
VP: Anything else you'd like to share?
EJ: Two things. First my luck for having parents who never prevented me from bringing
home all the insects and animals I had as a child. While they never had any experience with
these animals, they saw some value in my attraction to them. Second, there is my wife
Stephanie. We met because of a common interest in animals and she has also seen value in all
the animals I have brought home. While she sees my post-retirement breeding program as just
an excuse for having more herps, she has allowed me to swamp our home (and our guest house)
with these animals. Our bedroom has often been a quarantine room for many of my snakes.
Around the college... New vaccine should
Schaer named to new administrative post
M ichael Schaer, D.V.M., a professor of small animal medicine at the University of
Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, will soon assume a new administrative
role as special assistant to the dean.
Schaer has been a member of UF's veterinary college faculty since 1979. He served
as head of the small animal hospital between 1980 and 1998 and then as associate
chief of staff from 1998 to the present. Schaer also served as chief of the small animal
medicine service from 1979 to 2005.
In his new post, Schaer, a board-certified specialist in veterinary emergency and
critical care, will work closely with the college's Office for Students and Instruction by
helping to advise and orient veterinary students. He will also work with the Office of
Development and Alumni Affairs and will remain involved in programs for residents
"Dr. Schaer has a distinguished record as a faculty member and clinician," said the
college's dean, Glen Hoffsis, D.V.M. "He will bring his extensive experience and
knowledge to the administration, which will yield great benefits, but at the same time
he will be able to continue the important teaching and clinical roles that have always
been his passion." Dr. Cynda Crawford
Dr. Michael Schaer Schaer's new role will become effective later this summer. BY SARAH CAREY
T he UF discovery that equine influenza
virus had jumped species into racing
greyhounds, causing several dogs to die at
the track in 2004, was a major scientific
finding worthy of international news. Within
a year, however, the new pathogen now
known as canine influenza virus exploded
into the pet dog population, causing mass
hysteria at kennels and shelters across the
country, and among veterinarians who had no
idea how to protect pets against the deadly
Five years later, veterinarians and the pet
owning public will soon have an important
tool for fighting canine flu in the form of a
vaccine approved conditionally in June by
the USDA and being marketed by Intervet/
Schering Plough Animal Health Corporation.
During the conditional license period,
Intervet/Schering Plough will continue to
submit data in support of the product's
performance while governmental regulators
decide whether to issue a regular license.
"The vaccine has actually been sent by
Intervet/Shering Plough to its distributors, so
it is now available for vets to order for their
clients," said Dr. Cynda Crawford, the
Maddie's Fund clinical assistant professor of
shelter medicine at UF and a co-discoverer of
the canine influenza virus. "The vaccine is
intended as an aid in the control of disease
associated with CIV infection."
Crawford served as a consultant in the
vaccine's development, along with Dr. Ed
Dubovi, a professor of virology at Cornell
University's College of Veterinary Medicine.
"Although the vaccine may not prevent
infection, efficacy trials have shown that
vaccination significantly reduces the severity
of damage to the lungs," Crawford said. "In
addition, the vaccine reduces the amount of
virus shed and shortens the shedding interval.
This means that vaccinated dogs that become
infected have less illness and are not as
Dr. Huisheng Xie, right, a veterinary acupuncturist at the UF Veterinary Medical Center, finds a point on the head of this cat, Nickolas, into which a needle will
soon be inserted to calm him and treat his behavioral problem. Holding Nicolas at left is Rachel Brown, a junior veterinary student. Nickolas is owned by Dr. contagious to other dogs."
Carol Ash, CVM's volunteer advocate coordinator and longtime college supporter. (Photo by Sarah Carey) Since canine influenza was first identi-
fied, the virus has continued to spread and
has now been detected in dogs in 30 states
and in the District of Columbia, Crawford
Most dogs have no immunity to the virus,
which is highly contagious and can quickly
spread through communal groups of animals,
such as shelters, adoption groups, pet stores,
boarding and training facilities and veteri-
"This vaccine represents the culmination
of six years of investigations led by UF which
underpinned the development of a vaccine to
better protect the health and welfare of dogs,
particularly those housed in groups,"