Group Title: Florida veterinarian.
Title: Florida veterinarian. Winter 2008.
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Title: Florida veterinarian. Winter 2008.
Uniform Title: Florida veterinarian.
Physical Description: Newspaper
Creator: College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida
Publisher: College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida
Publication Date: Winter 2008
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Bibliographic ID: UF00088916
Volume ID: VID00010
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College receives $6 million, largest-ever gift

from ranchers' estates

By Sarah Carey

The University
of Florida
College of Veterinary
Medicine has received
approximately $6
million from the estates
of two South Florida
cattle ranch owners,
Harriet Weeks and her
daughter, Robin Weeks.
The largest private
gifts ever received
by the college, the
Weekses' estate gifts are
eligible for matching
funds from the state of
Florida major gifts trust
fund, which would raise
the total to $12 million.
The gifts will be used
to create an endowed
chair in veterinary
medicine and an
endowed professorship
in bovine medicine,
as well as an endowed
fund to support

teaching, research and programs at the
college. UF veterinary administrators
say the gifts will be especially helpful in
bolstering the area of bovine health, which
is facing critical shortages in veterinary
medicine in both the public and private
sectors. The bovine professorship may
aid in attracting more students to this
particular field, as well as enhance disease
research in this area, administrators say.
"In this time of decreasing state
budgetary support, endowments are
critical," said the college's dean, Glen
Hoffsis, D.V.M. "For our college to receive
two endowed positions simultaneously is
just extraordinary."
A previous installment of $1 million
from the Robin Weeks estate enabled
the college to meet its $4 million private
funding goal and to obtain $57 million
in state funding for a new small animal
The most recent gifts consist of $3.5
million from Robin Weeks' estate and
$950,000 from the estate of Harriet
Weeks, earmarked to the UF veterinary
continued on page 7

in DeSoto County.

and Robin made
their decision
because of their
to Florida
agriculture and
love of small
animals, as well
as their desire to
help veterinary
students through
education and
research. i


Message from the Dean

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Sarah Carpy. Florida Volnrinarian Pdi:lr.
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Check out the college websile at:
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Glen F HoffiiS

Executive Associate Dean
Jariei F' Tho-Ipson

Interim Associate Dean
for Students and Instruction
Thlomas W Vickr,:,;
Ph D

Associate Dean for Research
and Graduate Studies
Charles H Courli'L.y

Senior Director of Development
and Alumni Affairs
Zoe Seale

Director of Development
and Alumni Affairs
Karen Le:liato

Director of Public Relations
Sara' K Care,'

Coordinator of Alumni Affairs
Jo Ann Winn

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Winning the Lottery

O ne of the most inspiring stories I have heard
in a long time relates to the priceless value
of education and how this can affect alumni and the
loyalty they feel for their alma mater and also others
whose lives they touch.
This story is at the heart of the largest gift the College
of Veterinary Medicine has ever received some $6
million, which was received by the college just before
the end of December 2007. We project that after state
matching funds are received, the gift will add $12
million to the college endowment. Funds will be used
to establish two endowed faculty positions, one of
which will focus on bovine research; funds for the new
small animal hospital; and funds to promote excellence.
Endowments such as this are critical in this time of
decreasing state budgetary support and will position
us to better attract and retain top faculty. It will also
help us serve an area of critical need food supply
Dean Glen Hoffsis veterinary medicine.
The gift came from the estate of two hard working cattle ranchers from near Lake
Okeechobee. Harriet Weeks and her daughter, Robin, both retired school teachers, struggled
their whole lives to make a living on their cattle ranch. They attributed much of their success to
their veterinarian, Dr. Mike McNulty, a 1983 graduate of our college. Through the years, Dr.
McNulty provided health and production management services to the Weekses and they saw this
as vital to sustaining their enterprise.
Some years ago, after a long day of performing veterinary work at the ranch, Dr. McNulty
commented to Robin that he was going to purchase a lottery ticket on his way home. She then
turned to him and replied, "Dr. McNulty, you have already won the lottery." When asked
to explain, she said that with his veterinary education, which equipped him to provide such
valuable services to her and that community, he had something more valuable than winning the
That comment had a powerful effect on Dr McNulty and as he reflected on it, he came to
more fully appreciate the truth of her statement. Periodic discussions on the statement took
place between Dr. McNulty and Robin Weeks over the ensuing years. One day she announced to
Dr. McNulty that she wanted to leave her estate to the College of Veterinary Medicine to further
the institution that had served him so well. The rest is history.
Dr. McNulty has expressed to me numerous times his pride in the profession and his gratitude
in having received a DVM from UE His professional service was appreciated by the Weekses
and in honoring our College with their gift, they have honored their veterinarian and the entire
profession as well. The Weekses were well served in the process because they were provided with
a way to create their legacy.
It's important to remember the theme behind this story and the resultant gift: Education really
is the winning lottery ticket.

Glen Hoffsis

UF graduate heads for Caribbean to serve as veterinary

officer for agricultural group
By Sarah Carey

When Puerto Rico native Dr. Jos6
Urdaz began veterinary school at
the University of Florida, his original goal was
to work with marine mammals, even working
with manatee research in his senior project.
That was all fine until he fell out of love
with sea cows and became enamored with
cows of the more bucolic kind.
"Actually, I discovered that I loved the
FARMS group," said Urdaz, referring
to the acronym used for the UF College
of Veterinary Medicine's food animal
reproduction and medicine group.
"I realized that most work I would do
with marine mammals would be research-
related, and that I probably wouldn't touch
them much. But being with cattle, I was
outside, in the sun, plus it was a more relaxing
environment. Even though the work was hard,
I felt more complete."
Eight years after graduating from UF's
veterinary college in 1999, Urdaz has taken
his interest in cattle and production animal
medicine to a new level. This past December,
he received his Ph.D. from UF and began
his new job as a veterinary officer for the
Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on
Agriculture, based in San Josd, Costa Rica.
"I really want to get the science out there
and make public policies and regulations
that can be applied right away to livestock
producers," Urdaz said. "I want to help create
animal health and food safety as a part of
my career.
Initially after graduation, Urdaz planned
to return to Puerto Rico to work with dairy
cattle. But he found out about an internship
in food animal internal medicine, surgery
and production at the University of Missouri,
and pursued that option. After zeroing in on
his interest in dairy production, he accepted
a residency at the University of California,
Davis, which he completed in 2003, picking
up a master's degree in preventive veterinary
medicine along the way.
"Each time I am about to finish a training
program, another opportunity arises," said
Urdaz, laughing. "After three years of palpating
cows, I wanted to do something different."
During his Ph.D. program, which was
funded in part through a grant from the
USDA, Urdaz studied the epidemiology

Dr. Urdaz assists a dairy farmer in completing an 80-question survey. These surveys were conducted one-on-one with each dairy farmer
in the region Urdaz was studying.

of bovine anaplasmosis and babesiosis in
commercial dairy farms of Puerto Rico.
"One day, Dr. Urdaz came to my office,
desperate because he needed a Ph.D.
committee chairman as soon as possible," said
Dr. Pedro Melendez, an assistant professor
with UF's FARMS group. "I told him this
wasn't my field, but I agreed to help him and
I accepted. After that, he wrote a USDA grant
by himself, which was funded for $99,000 and
then for another $38,000."
Melendez said he went to Puerto Rico for
a few days to help Urdaz get started on his
"Jos6 is a hard worker and he also is
extremely passionate about what he does,
which is the reason for his success,"
Melendez said.
In his studies, Urdaz dealt with a situation
that helped him focus his interests yet again.
He wanted to use modern epidemiological
tools to understand major infectious disease
processes in livestock, so he designed a course-
program focusing on geographic information

systems (GIS), ecological modeling and
applied veterinary epidemiology.
The program and corresponding courses
involved four main academic units at UF:
the veterinary college; the department of
geography; the department of wildlife ecology
and conservation; and the department
of statistics.
"I love working with maps," he said.
"During my program, the idea came up about
how to integrate GIS (global information
systems) with epidemiology. We identified
farms on a map and tested whether the
diseases on those farms were clustered or not.
We figured out what is making the cluster (of
disease) and we looked for a river, a road -
anything that could tell us something about
the disease."
Through his grant, Urdaz presented
his graduate work at several international
conferences, including Australia, Italy and
"I represented UF all over the place," he said.

See Urdaz, continued on page 11


Stuen Prfl

Student creates "aWEARness" to highlight pet

overpopulation problem
By Sarah Carey

G ot style? University of Florida veterinary
senior Allison Montague, also known as "Top
Dog" of aWEARness Clothing, not only has it, she
can also tell you where to get it and help animals at the
same time.
Montague, a former advertising account executive,
started the business two years ago. Through her Web
site,, she sells T-shirts
and other clothing to promote the responsible spaying
and neutering of pets. Montague recently decided to
donate all profits from her clothing sales to the UF
College of Veterinary Medicine's shelter program.
The program, through which veterinary students gain
surgical experience by spaying and neutering animals
from the Alachua County animal shelter, has been
threatened by recent county budget cuts.
"After getting into veterinary school, I learned that
a small percentage of pet owners actually spay and
neuter their pets," Montague said. "In school, we learn
the benefits of these types of programs."
Three million to 4 million dogs and cats enter
animal shelters each year in the United States, and
roughly half of those animals are euthanized, according
to the Humane Society of the United States.
As school unfolded, Montague discovered the shelter
medicine program didn't just help animals it also
enabled her to hone surgical skills and better prepare *
for private practice.
"I've done a few externships, where the doctors
were impressed with the surgical skills I know I would
not have had were it not for the shelter program,"
Montague said. "My first day in the shelter medicine
rotation, it took me an hour and a half to do a spay,
but on my last it took me 20 minutes. Everything
improved tremendously, and my confidence did,
too. Everyone's nervous the first time they perform
Montague developed her Web site, aWEARness-, with help from her brother, Matt
Behind Allison Mon
Montague, and classmate Crystal Hmielewski. class of '08.
She came up with catchy slogans such as "Neutering
makes dogs less nuts" and "Cats can't add, but they're great at
multiplying" to include on her shirts. Meanwhile, Hmielewski
established the Web site, capturing visuals that include photos of some
of Montague's classmates modeling various items. Then she went to
Premier Productions in Gainesville, a custom design and printing
"We worked together on some of my ideas and came up with some
layouts," Montague said. "We ended up with between 600 and 700
items in multiple designs, sizes and colors."

Lill i &r Iui
~I1 aialr i

Shirts start at $15 a piece, and are available on her Web site, www.
Just a week after Montague sent a collegewide e-mail about her plan
to donate proceeds from sales to the shelter program, she already had
raised $100.
"What Allison did by donating all the profits from the sale of her
spay/neuter aWEARness T-shirts is phenomenal," said Dr. Natalie
Isaza, the shelter program coordinator. "The program received so
much support from our students, both current and former, when
they learned the program might lose funding, and Allison's generosity
illustrates how much the students appreciate this clinical elective." -4K


Veterinary researchers probe link between nicotine and

breathing awareness

By Sarah Carey

If that smoker next to you seems
more relaxed than you, you might
be right. UF veterinary researchers say
smokers do experience less stress than
non-smokers because nicotine appears
to mask the brain's awareness of outside
stimuli, thereby reducing anxiety.
"Smoking may kill, but the stress-
reducing effects of nicotine on the brain
are probably one reason why the habit is
so prominent among college students,"
said Paul Davenport, Ph.D., a professor
in the University of Florida College of
Veterinary Medicine's department of
physiological sciences. "As many as 15
to 20 percent of college students are
smokers, perhaps best exemplified by
the phenomenon of social smoking.
These students often ignore the deadly
side effects in exchange for the trade-off
of reduced anxiety."
Davenport is studying the effect of
nicotine withdrawal on brain activity
and cough in one of four projects
UF veterinary researchers have been
working on as part of a $1 million
grant from the Florida Department
of Health's James and Esther King
Biomedical Research Program. Data
from his study assessing how nicotine
affects smokers' ability to sense their
breathing will be presented in May at
the American Thoracic Society meeting.
For that project, Davenport measured
Dr. Pa
how respiratory stimuli are controlled an adj
by higher brain centers responsible
for thinking, reasoning and problem-
solving and found that individuals who are
withdrawing from smoking become more
aware of their breathing and may even become
fearful, especially if their airway becomes
"When you have individuals that abstain
from smoking for a 12-hour period, they
get very agitated," Davenport said. "This is
because while they are smoking, smokers'
brain activity is 'gated,' or controlled. Nicotine
is useful because it reduces anxiety, but it also
helps mask certain brain activity, so that if you
withdraw from nicotine you are much more
sensitive to stimuli coming in."

ul Davenport and his graduate student, Sarah Pei-Ying Chan apply a respiratory load to a subject. The subject is not seen because they are in
acent room. Davenport's recent nicotine studies also examine the relationship between brain activity and respiration.

Other research efforts, spearheaded by
Donald Bolser, Ph.D., and Linda Hayward,
Ph.D., from the veterinary college and David
Fuller, Ph.D., from UF's College of Public
Health and Health Professions, are examining
the effects of nicotine on everything from
sleep patterns to newborns exposed in the
womb. In future studies, Davenport plans
to examine how nicotine affects the brain
pathways that lead to consciousness.
"You don't constantly think about
breathing, but when something changes, you
become aware of it," Davenport said. "With
smoking, your lungs change, but you're not
aware of it. It's awareness of one's internal

environment that we are most interested in."
In a related study with Bolser, whose
expertise is in the cough reflex, Davenport has
used capsaicin the hot ingredient in hot
peppers to induce the urge to cough. He
and Bolser are interested in why smokers don't
cough in response to inhaling cigarette smoke,
but non-smokers do.
"This sensation of the need to cough comes
before you actually cough, which allows our
consciousness to interact with the cough
reflex," Davenport said. "If you're in a concert
and you feel the need to cough, you have the
ability to suppress that cough by conscious
See Davenport, page 7


Tennesseean owes Florida veterinarians- for one more

Christmas with dog

By Sarah Carey

Thanks to University of Florida
veterinarians, Tennesseean Marc
Mandeville once more celebrated Christmas
with his beloved boxer, Sirus, who is
recuperating at home in Knoxville after
successful treatment this fall for a brain tumor.
"Sirus loves Christmas," said Mandeville,
who gave his 6-year-old boxer plenty of
Frisbees and other favorite toys and treats this
year. "The night before, he is always restless
because he knows there will be presents under
the tree for him."
So far Sirus is doing well and is seizure-free,
Mandeville said.
"His medication has him hungry and
thirsty, but beyond that, there are no recurring
issues," Mandeville said.
The procedure Sirus received in Gainesville
at UF's Veterinary Medical Center known
as stereotactic radiosurgery, or SRS is not
available anywhere else in the Southeast.
Sirus' problems first became apparent when
Mandeville, a district sales representative
for Socket Mobile, returned home with him
after their morning walk. Sirus typically
would lie down on the tile kitchen floor while
Mandeville began working from his home
office. But that day, he came over and leaned
against Mandeville, giving him a strange look.
Almost immediately, the dog collapsed on his
side and went into a seizure.
When the seizures continued, Mandeville
took Sirus to the University of Tennessee's
College of Veterinary Medicine. A CT scan
of Sirus' brain revealed a mass, which a
biopsy and an ultrasound identified as an
oligodendrocytoma of the left forebrain, an
aggressive tumor common in boxers.
Mandeville searched the Internet to learn
more about treatment options and discovered
an article about an advanced method of
obliterating tumors and lesions with a single
session of potent and precisely pinpointed
radiation that UF veterinarians are using to
help animals through a unique relationship
the veterinary school has with UF's McKnight
Brain Institute.
He asked Dr. Sarita Miles, an intern at
UT and a 2007 UF veterinary graduate who
helped treat Sirus, about the procedure. Miles

The team arrived at the McKnight Brain Institute on the morning of Oct. 26 for Sirus's procedure. Pictured left to right with Sirus are
neurology resident Dr. Rossi House; anesthesia technician Maria Ransone, small animal medicine/surgery intern Dr. Katie Belz, offshore
veterinary student Phil Shaw, junior veterinary student Steve Tutela and offshore veterinary student Zach Snable.

put Mandeville in touch with UF neurology
resident Dr. Rossi House to determine
whether Sirus was a candidate.
"I told him this was probably Sirus' best
chance for long-term survival," House said.
The side effects associated with SRS
are almost nonexistent, particularly when
compared with conventional treatment, UF
veterinarians say.
In the past seven years, UF veterinarians,
working in close collaboration with faculty
and staff at the McKnight Brain Institute,
have treated nearly 100 cases, including
animals with tumors located not only within
the brain but also within the nose and mouth,
and even osteosarcomas of the limbs.
"We will irradiate any tumor within the
cranial vault regardless of what type we think

it is," said Dr. Tom Schubert, chief of the UF
veterinary college's neurology service.
Ni,,, ..1.. I' cases receiving SRS have CT
and MRI images taken. Those images then are
merged and analyzed with special software, so
veterinarians can precisely pinpoint the tumor
and determine the proper dose of radiation to
be administered.
Mandeville and his wife, who do not have
children, said they view Sirus as a family
"In our minds, the cost was a small price
to pay for a member of our family," he said.
"What we know is that we did everything that
we could have possibly done to help him, and
that we feel good about. When it comes right
down to it, we weren't ready to give up." -4K


Gift, continued from page 1

college. An additional gift of
approximately $500,000 is
expected when the estates are
totally settled.
"Harriet and Robin were
I both school teachers and
part-time ranchers until
Robin's father and brother
A passed away," said accountant
Robert Richardson, a trustee
for the Weekses' estate. "Not
fo wealthy people, the Weekses
sacrificed heavily to retain
their land and to run a 300-
head cattle ranch.
Harriet and Robin Weeks both had worked as school
teachers before taking over operation of the family "Their family was not a
ranch and 300-head of cattle. typical one to make such a
large bequest," Richardson
added. "Harriet and Robin made their decision because of their
commitment to Florida agriculture and love of small animals, as well
as their desire to help veterinary students through education and
Dr. Mike McNulty, a mixed-animal practitioner and a member of
the college's class of '83, was Robin Weeks' veterinarian and friend
for many years. McNulty worked with Weeks' four herds of Brangus
cattle, advising her on health and production management.
"I'll never forget, a few years before she died, I was leaving her ranch
late on a Saturday afternoon and I told her, 'I'm going to stop and
get a lottery ticket.' She immediately replied, 'you've already won the
McNulty added, "I looked at her quizzically and she explained,
'with your education, you've already won the lottery.' She knew

education was a sure ticket, if not to wealth and riches, at least to a
better life. I've never forgotten that afternoon and appreciate it greatly
every time I think about it."
Some time later, he shared with Weeks his intent to include the UF
veterinary college in his own estate plans.
"I think that registered in her mind," he said, adding that a short
time after Weeks became ill, she asked to meet with him at her home.
"She said she
wanted me to
give her some
information about
how to make a gift
to the veterinary
college," McNulty
said. "I then put
her in touch
i with the college's
a development office
and her plans
unfolded from that
Dr. Mike McNulty visited the UF veterinary college in 2006 and is Harriet Weeks
pictured here with Dr. Jim Himes, associate dean emeritus of students died in February
and instruction. 2005 and Robin
Weeks died shortly thereafter. The majority of their estate assets
consisted of agricultural real estate in Glades County.
"I'm pleased that Dr. McNulty has remained so loyal to the college,
and that he felt he received such a great veterinary education here,"
Hoffsis said. "He was able to use his education for his clients' benefit,
and in doing so, helped the Weekses create their legacy through these
substantial gifts." 4 0

Davenport, continued from pace 5

"That's why it's important that your brain knows your need to
cough before you actually cough," he added. "Nicotine is changing the
way the brain functions."
Bolser said studies of the relationship between the urge-to-cough
sensation and the behavior associated with it are new and a "big deal"
in the field of respiratory disease research.
"The people in our field really didn't think about the sensations
associated with the behavior and how the behavior is produced,"
Bolser said. "The urge to cough is a sensation we now know exists
and now we are thinking about the relevance of the urge to how the
nervous system generates behavior and how this might be a factor in
how cough suppressants work."
Davenport said it's clear that if breathing is obstructed in either
animals or humans, tremendous fear and anxiety occur, and in many
cases, humans experience a full-blown panic attack.
"What is it about disordered breathing that makes us so fearful,
and what can we do to help patients and animals that have these
tremendous fear responses to disordered 'i-.r ul]in'' Davenport asks.

"Clinically, we need to treat the lung disease, but what we seldom treat
is the anxiety the patient has."
Anyone with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease understands the
feeling of breathlessness even upon such activity as walking through
a mall, or mild exercise. Because of this, many people with COPD
become less and less active, Davenport said.
"When we fear we won't be able to breathe, we won't exercise," he
said. "So if we can figure out how to lessen the anxiety of those who
suffer from COPD, we can improve their rehabilitation from lung
And as for those college students who smoke don't look for their
habits to change anytime soon.
"The use of nicotine to self-medicate for stress has serious side
effects, produces deadly disease and is extremely addictive," Davenport
said. "When I talk to young people, I tell them, 'You will get lung
and heart disease; smoking will kill you.' But we have to recognize
that even with that knowledge, kids still smoke because they feel the
benefits exceed the risks." 490


Honors, Awards, Appontments Announcements

Veterinary administrator
receives lifetime
achievement award
John Harvey,
D.V.M., Ph.D.,
a professor and
chairman of the
University of '
Florida College of
Veterinary Medicine's
department of
physiological sciences,
has received the
American Society for
Dr. John Harvey
Veterinary Clinical
Pathology's lifetime achievement award.
The award was presented during the group's
annual meeting, held Nov. 10 in Savannah,
in honor of Harvey's numerous contributions
and outstanding service within the field of
veterinary clinical p tul'..l.. ',.
The ASVCP is a professional organization
dedicated to education, scientific research and
standards in veterinary laboratory medicine
and diagnostics.
A Kansas native, Harvey earned both his
bachelor's and D.V.M. degrees from Kansas
State and his Ph.D. from the University of
California, Davis. He is board-certified in
clinical p iul.. .. ',- by the American College of
Veterinary Pathologists.
Harvey's research interests are comparative
hematology and erythrocyte enzyme
deficiencies. He discovered and named
the Ehrlichia platys organism that infects
platelets in dogs and, along with co-workers,
first recognized and reported four inherited
erythrocyte enzyme deficiencies.
Among the honors Harvey has received at
UF are the Daniels Pharmaceutical Senior
Clinical Investigator Award and the Norden
Distinguished Teacher Award. He was given
an Alumni Recognition Award from the
Kansas State University College of Veterinary
Medicine in 2002.
A former president of the American Society
for Veterinary Clinical Pathology, Harvey
also served as president of the International
Society for Animal Clinical Pathology. He
has published more than 140 journal articles
and book chapters concerning comparative
hematology and has presented more than 210
scientific and continuing education talks and
Harvey has been a member of UF's
veterinary faculty since 1974.

Scientist to head up
manatee rehabilitation
Iske Larkin,
Ph.D., an assistant
scientist with the
University of Florida's
Aquatic Animal
Health program, will
chair the Manatee
The partnership
consists of a
onssts o a Dr. Iske Larkin
consortium of
scientists, educators, government agencies,
wildlife organizations, zoos and aquariums,
all of which are involved in rehabilitating and
monitoring released Florida manatees. The
group's goal is to monitor released manatees
to ensure their survival in the wild, provide
new data to improve rehabilitated manatee
survivorship and to continue to learn about
manatee natural history.
Larkin's research interests include Florida
manatee reproductive n. inr. .1.. ,,
reproductive behavior, embryology and
development. She arranges several courses
relating to aquatic animal health for the UF
College of Veterinary Medicine and has for
several years coordinated a lecture series that
brings experts in various aspects of aquatic
animal health to Gainesville to speak with
college faculty, staff and students as well as the
For more information about the
partnership, go to

Emeritus professor honored
by equine group
Alfred Merritt,
D.V.M., the former
Appleton Professor of
Equine Studies and
retired director of the
Island Whirl Equine
Colic Research
Laboratory at the
University of Florida
College of Veterinary
Medicine, has
received the Florida Dr. Alfred Merritt
Association of Equine Practitioners' lifetime
achievement award.
FAEP members honored Merritt, a

UF faculty member from 1978 until his
retirement in 2003, in September during the
group's annual meeting in the Bahamas.
Award presenter Carol Clark, D.V.M.,
completed her residency in large animal
medicine at UF
"There is probably not a person at this
meeting whose life has not been touched by
Dr. Merritt," she said.
Merritt's primary research interests were
the function and malfunction of the equine
gastrointestinal system. The Island Whirl
laboratory is a resource for faculty, staff and
student research in the area of equine colic
Merritt served as editor or co-editor of four
books and has written 20 book chapters. Two
of his books, "Equine Medicine and Surgery"
and "Veterinary Gastroenterology" are widely
used in veterinary courses throughout the
While at UF, Merritt was recognized
with several teaching awards, including the
Norden Distinguished Teacher Award, which
is bestowed by college faculty. Veterinary
students chose Merritt three times as Large
Animal Clinician of the Year.

Veterinary ophthalmologist
presents Smith Lecture to
British equine group
University of
Florida veterinary
Dennis Brooks,
D.V.M., Ph.D.,
presented the
prestigious Sir
Frederick Smith
Memorial Lecture in
Warwickshire, England
kicking off the annual D. D s
meeting of the British
Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA).
The lecture is named in honor of the late
Sir Frederick Smith, a veterinarian that started
the British Army Veterinary Corp for cavalry
horses in the late 1800s. He served in the
British Army in India and in South Africa.
Smith was knighted and also became a Major
General, and performed research into equine
laminitis, and general horse health.
"He even did some ophthalmology of the
horse," Brooks said.
A professor in small and large animal
clinical sciences at UF's College of Veterinary


Medicine, Brooks spoke to the British
Equine Veterinary Association about the
changing medical standards of care in horses
with ophthalmic problems, and the use of
antiproteases in treating infectious corneal
ulcers in horses. He was seated next to
Britain's Princess Anne during the BEVA's
awards presentation, and received a medal for
his selection as the Smith Memorial Lecturer.

Surgery resident honored
for presentation
Alastair Coomer,
B.V.Sc., a second
year resident in small
animal surgery at the
University of Florida
College of Veterinary
Medicine, won first
prize in the research
category of the
Resident's Forum at
the annual American
College of Veterinary Dr. Alastair Coomer
Surgeons meeting,
held Oct. 17-21 in Chicago.
Coomer, who also is pursuing a master's
degree at the college, was honored for a
presentation focusing on his graduate studies
and titled "Intramuscular Murine Model for
Radiation Therapy of Canine Osteosarcoma."
ACVS established the Outstanding Surgical
Resident Awards competition to encourage
the development of clinically important
research and the dissemination of the results
of these investigations, particularly those
conducted by surgical residents.

Dr. Doug Corey, right, outgoing president of the AAEP, places the
"President's Pin" on Dr. Eleanor Green Dec. 4 at the group's
annual meeting.

College administrator
heads equine group
Eleanor Myers Green, D.V.M., chairwoman
of the University of Florida College of
Veterinary Medicine's department of large
animal clinical sciences, is the new president
of the American Association of Equine
Practitioners. She will serve through 2008.
Green, who also serves as chief of staff of
UF's Large Animal Veterinary Medical Center,
was inducted into office during the AAEP's
annual convention, held Dec. 1-5 in Orlando.
She is the first female practitioner to serve as
the AAEP's president.
Board-certified by both the American
College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
and the American Board of Veterinary
Practitioners, Green is a past president of the
ABVP and also of the American Association of
Veterinary Clinicians.
She has been an active member ofAAEP
since joining the organization in 1973, the
year she graduated from veterinary school
at Auburn. Green most recently served as
AAEP's president-elect and also has served as a
district director and as chair of the internship
and student relations committee and the
AAEP foundation's student scholarship task
force, and has participated on several other
The AAEP, headquartered in Lexington,
Ky., was founded in 1954 as a nonprofit
organization dedicated to the health and
welfare of the horse. The group has 8,500
members worldwide and is actively involved
in ethics issues, practice management, research
and continuing education in the equine
veterinary profession and horse industry.

Veterinary anesthesia
technician joins elite ranks
with national certification
A University of Florida veterinary anesthesia
technician has become the first UF veterinary
technician, and only the second in the
state, to receive certification in this specialty
by the Academy of Veterinary Technician
Terry Torres, an employee of UF's
Veterinary Medical Center, learned in
December that she had passed her certification
examination. For her, the process was a way
to validate 20 years of experience as an animal
"Specialty certification should allow
technicians to advance up the career ladder,"
Torres said. "It definitely has promoted
interest from the rest of the staff, and we have
another technician applying to take the 2009
Applicants must have at least 6,000
hours of experience as a certified veterinary
technician, with 75 percent of that time spent
providing anesthesia. To be considered for
the certification process, applicants must also
have amassed at least 40 hours of continuing
education relating to anesthesia over a five-
year span, and must submit a case log of 50 or
more anesthesia cases as well as four detailed
case reports.

Veterinary technician Terry Torres in the clinic, working with
Joshua, a Chihuahua.


Former CVM faculty member, esteemed veterinary

radiologist dies
By Sarah Carey

N orman Ackerman, D.V.M.,
a board-certified veterinary
radiologist and former faculty member
at the University of Florida College of
Veterinary Medicine, has died.
Known by his peers and friends as a quiet
and humble man as well as a great teacher,
Ackerman, 65, was a member of UF's
veterinary faculty from 1979 to 1994.
"Dr. Ackerman was one of our earliest
faculty members and a stalwart leader of
our radiology service," said Colin Burrows,
B.Vet.Med., Ph.D. Burrows helped recruit
Ackerman back to UF two years ago to
serve as a locum in the veterinary college's
radiology service.
"A new generation of students and
clinicians were able to appreciate his skills,"
Burrows said. "He was a universally revered ..
radiologist and the profession is poorer for
his passing."
A 1966 graduate of Auburn University's Dr. Norm Ackerman with an anesthi
School of Veterinary Medicine, Ackerman
served for three years as base veterinarian for the United States Air
Force in Japan and in Thailand. He completed his residency in
radiology at the University of Missouri and later served as an assistant
professor of radiology on the veterinary school faculties at the
University of Missouri and the University of California, Davis prior to
coming to UE
He was a professor of veterinary radiology and had served as
chief of the college's radiology service when he left UF in 1994. He
subsequently practiced in Louisville, Ky., and in Huntsville, Ala.
"Dr. Ackerman was one of the reasons I went into veterinary
radiology," said Clifford "Kip" Berry, D.V.M., a 1984 graduate of
the UF veterinary college. "Just after my residency when I came
back and taught at UF for a year, he prepared me for the oral board
examination, which I passed, and protected me so that I could do the
appropriate research for a tenure track position."
"He was great pillar in my life and was a fatherly figure to me,"
Berry added. "There is nothing that I can say that would ever truly
express my appreciation for his help and what he did for me, or my
admiration for him."
Ackerman became board certified as a Diplomate in the American
College of Veterinary Radiology in 1974 and also was a member of
the Radiological Society of North America, the American Veterinary
Medical Association, Phi Zeta and the Association of Military
"Dr. Ackerman was a highly respected member of the ACVR," said
Tod Drost, D.V.M., the group's current president and an associate
professor at The Ohio State University's College of Veterinary
Medicine. Drost is a 1991 graduate of the UF veterinary college.

"He was one of the pillars of ACVR and
r respected as a great diagnostic radiologist. Even
after he left UF, he continued to work in the clinic
there and elsewhere when needed, and anytime the
clinic was short of people, he helped."
Drost said Ackerman had coauthored two
editions of a textbook, "Small Animal Radiology
and Ultrasonography," with Ron Burk.
"My colleagues and I never refer to the title
of the book, we just always call it 'Burk and
Ackerman,'" Drost said.
"People do say that, or they call it Ackerman
and Burk, because 'A' is before 'B,'" said Crispin
Spencer, D.V.M., a former UF veterinary college
faculty member and board-certified veterinary
radiologist who worked closely with Ackerman for
many years while at UF
Spencer said Ackerman's name "nearly always
Ended up first" on almost every list of any
committee or group he ever belonged to, because of
its spelling.
bear. "There were not very many veterinary radiologists
at all when Norm first became board certified in
1974," Spencer said. "At that time, he was one of the most revered
radiologists in the country. Everybody knew of his skill and dedication
to the profession. It was quite a feat to have him end up at Florida."
In 15 years they worked together at UF, Crispin said he and
Ackerman grew together as clinicians, seeing many of the same cases.
"You work with someone every day, day in and day out, and go
to professional meetings together, you almost start to think alike,"
Spencer said. "In some ways, it's like being married."
But he added, "In all the time we knew each other, we never had a
cross word."
Spencer said Ackerman was a kind and concerned teacher dedicated
to writing and publishing clinically pertinent material for the student,
the practitioner and his radiological colleagues.
"He was 100 percent behind the students and their getting an
excellent education," Spencer said. "He might have come across
sometimes as being a little tough on them, but the truth was, he just
really wanted the students to develop excellence."
Behind the scenes, the private and reserved Ackerman, who was
also an accomplished photographer, and an avid reader and was
known to have a quick and dry wit. He could be unusually kind and
unexpectedly generous in his dealings with friends and colleagues.
Ackerman had extensive experience in MRI and CT scanning,
and in addition to his textbook, authored or coauthored numerous
scientific articles in the field of veterinary radiology.
He is survived by his wife, Lourdes Corman, M.D., of Huntsville
and two children. -44


In Memorial

Urdaz, continued from page 3

As Urdaz approached the end of his program, like most new
graduates, he began looking for a job. He approached Dr. Charlie
Courtney, the UF CVM's associate dean for research and graduate
studies, for guidance.
"I said, 'these are my goals. I want to work with epidemiology, with
GIS, and I want to work in the Caribbean," Urdaz said.
Courtney directed Urdaz to Dr. Paul Gibbs, professor of infectious
diseases at UF and an expert in virology, who then put Urdaz in touch
with one of the world's most renowned epidemiologists, Dr. Moe
Salman from Colorado State University. The two corresponded and
a few months later, Salman urged Urdaz to send his resume to the
USDA, as the department was seeking a veterinarian job candidate
for IICA.
After an initial interview with the USDA and a subsequent
presentation to IICA in Costa Rica, Urdaz got the job.
"My group will consist of six people, with 33 countries in five
regions reporting to us," Urdaz said. "This is a great opportunity for
me. My main goal besides epidemiological research is to help develop
public health policies and regulations within major livestock industries
and among livestock producers to solve national and regional animal
disease-related problems."
One of Urdaz's mentors from UF's FARMS group, Dr. Carlos Risco,
is very proud of his former student and truly believes Urdaz will be
successful in meeting his goals.
"Jose's creativity in designing an applied epidemiological model
to understand an infectious disease process for his Ph.D. work is
remarkable," Risco said. "He will become a tremendous asset to the
Inter-American Institute because of his strong background in dairy
production medicine and training in epidemiology."
IICA's Web site identifies the group as a specialized agency of the
Inter-American System, and claims its purposes are to encourage
and support the efforts of its member states to achieve agricultural
development and well-being for rural populations.

Blood samples were obtained from each animal to test for antibodies against Anaplasma marginale
and Babesia bovis.

Urdaz said he has always felt driven to help people working within
the field of agriculture.
"My classmates used to make fun of me because I wanted to save the
world and make milk to feed everyone, to help people. They'd tell me
I was a dreamer, but you know what? Being a dreamer has taken me a
long way." 4-F

James A. Himes Scholarship reaches threshold for state match

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March 30

April 12

April 12

May 24


The first annual Holistic and Integrative
Veterinary Medicine Symposium, presented
by the Holistic and Integrative Veterinary
Medical Club and sponsored by Betsy
Coville, D.V.M., and Natura Pet Products,
will be held. Continuing education credits
will be offered. For more information
about speakers and registration, e-mail or call (352) 392-
1701 or go to

The annual Open House, sponsored by the
UF College of Veterinary Medicine and the
Student Chapter of the American Veterinary
Medical Association, will take place from
10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the main college
complex in Gainesville. For more
information, go to:

The Class of 1983 will have its 25th
anniversary celebration as a part of Spring
Weekend at the University of Florida.
Contact Jo Ann Winn at (352) 392-2213,
ext. 5013 or e-mail
for more information.

Commencement exercises for the Class of
2008 will be held at the UF Phillips Center
for the Performing Arts. Contact the Office
for Students and Instruction at (352) 392-
2213, ext. 5300 for more information.

Referring Veterinarian Appreciation Day will
be held at the UF Hilton. Contact Cathy
Gentilman by e-mail at
for more information.

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College of Veterinary Medicine
P.O. Box 100125
Gainesville, FL 32610-0125


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