th e NEWS FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA COLLEGE OF VETERINARY MEDICINE
Clinicians, animal patients all benefiting from upgraded radiology service
BY MEREDITH WOODS
T he radiology service is looking a little different these days thanks to the addition of a
new faculty member and an assortment of new equipment and management systems
that enhance both data collection and storage capacity. As a result, clinicians receive
client images faster, radiologists can take more and better images of their animal patients, and
the filmless image storage system reduces the likelihood of patient records being lost or
Dr. Matthew Winter joined the service as assistant professor of radiology, department of
small animal clinical sciences, in May. According to Dr. Michael Schaer, associate department
chair and associate chief of staff of UF's small animal hospital, Winter is a great asset to the
"We are most appreciative of all of his efforts and expertise that have brought us to the
cutting edge of modem medical imaging, which has been so beneficial to our patients," Schaer
said. "Caring much about the responsibility on his shoulders, Dr. Winter has proven to be of
great value to our hospital and the college."
Winter's arrival supports one of the busier services at the small animal hospital. Currently,
the radiology group takes images of approximately 750 small animal patients and 150 large
animals every month. A group of nine technicians, two program assistants, two students, and
one summer intern work with the radiologists to image patients and monitor the flow of
animals through the service. Led by senior veterinary care manager Mary Wilson, the close
knit team boasts over 150 years of combined experience in radiology.
"There's a great deal of camaraderie between the technicians and the clinicians," said
Wilson. "The radiology group is a family. We really care about each other in this department."
Among their many responsibilities, radiology technicians and program assistants are
tasked with the management of all the radiographic images that are processed on a daily basis.
Three years ago, the CVM adopted a digital solution for radiography and purchased a com-
puted radiography (CR) system as well as a Picture Archive and Communications System
(PACS) from Kodak. CR allows for the capture of a digital radiographic image. This image is
stored on PACS, a long term storage system and database that maintains records of all images
taken at the CVM. In addition, the CVM purchased a radiology information system that
allows for electronic generation of imaging requests, reports and charges. The addition of
these electronic and digital resources has streamlined the efficiency of the diagnostic imaging
The Veterinary Medical Center is also making good use of two advanced diagnostic
imaging tools: a 1.5 Tesla Toshiba Advantage magnetic resonance imaging unit (MRI) and a
Toshiba Acquilon, 8-slice computed tomography (CT) scanner, which complement the full
array of imaging services including fluoroscopy, ultrasound, nuclear imaging, and radiogra-
phy already available to CVM animal patients.
The new CT scanner, which was made possible in part due to a generous donation from
New York Yankees owner and racehorse aficionado George Steinbrenner, captures eight
separate images in one rotation around the patient table, and can be upgraded to capture 16
images per rotation. By comparison, the previous scanner only took one image per rotation.
CT is used in imaging suspected nasal tumors and sinus masses, to check for primary and
metastatic neoplastic disease (cancer), to aid in the diagnosis of neurological conditions, and
to identify musculoskeletal problems. The increased speed of the new machine allows for
advanced vascular imaging that was not possible with the previous scanner. CT is also used to
plan radiation therapy procedures such as stereotactic radiosurgery for oncology patients. That
procedure is often used to treat well defined cranial and nasal tumors in addition to certain
types of bone tumors, such as osteosarcomas. Radiosurgery procedures are performed at the
University of Florida McKnight Brain Institute, part of the University of Florida Health
The MRI unit was installed just over a year ago. Used primarily for neurological imaging
(brain and spinal cord), MRI is also used to diagnose orthopedic diseases involving bone,
cartilage and ligament injury in small animal and equine patients.
Both the CT scanner and the MRI unit are designed for use with large and small animal
patients. The MRI unit is equipped with a table to handle a variety of species, including
horses. Since its arrival in March, clinicians have been using the CT scanner on small animal
patients until the college is able to install a table equipped for large animal patients, which is
anticipated in December 2007. In the meantime, the older CT scanner is still utilized for large
An anesthetized horse's leg is imaged using the new MRI unit.
(Photo courtesy of CVM radiology service)
A dog, under anesthesia, enters the CT scanner for diagnostic imaging.
(Photo courtesy of CVM radiology service)
Thanks to the newly improved diagnostic imaging technology available at the CVM,
Winter foresees offering more advanced imaging services in the near future.
"We anticipate more vascular imaging with the new CT and MRI scanners, which will
allow us to better diagnose vascular malformations and diseases," said Winter. "We look
forward to performing more accurate, non-invasive tumor characterization and offering more
interventional radiology procedures, such as chemoembolization and radiofrequency ablation.
The three dimensional reconstructions and the manipulations of these images are also helpful
for planning corrective orthopedic surgery for patients with skeletal malformations."
A graduate of Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, Winter completed his
diagnostic imaging residency at Tufts University and was an assistant professor in radiology at
Iowa State University prior to joining the faculty at the UF CVM.
"I was excited by the advanced imaging capabilities at the University of Florida. The UF
veterinary college has one of the highest quality MRI units and CT scanners rivaling equip-
ment at any other veterinary college, excellent traditional imaging capabilities, as well as a
robust PACS and radiology information system," Winter said. "This investment shows that UF
recognizes the importance of diagnostic imaging and its ability to interface with all specialties
to improve patient care. Additionally, we have a skilled group of radiology technicians who
are a pleasure to work with and who are unparalleled in the veterinary community. There's a lot
of potential here for UF to have one of the best diagnostic imaging sections in the country."
Infectious disease specialist named UFRF professor
Anthony Barbet, Ph.D., an infectious disease specialist at the University of Florida
College of Veterinary Medicine, has received a UF Research Foundation professorship.
The professorships are awarded through the university's Division of Sponsored Research
to tenured faculty members 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
Barbet, a professor in the UF veterinary college's department of infectious diseases and
pathology, specializes in tick-borne rickettsial diseases, a growing threat to human health.
Such diseases occur worldwide, but are most common in temperate and subtropical regions.
Barbet and his colleagues at the UF veterinary college have long studied the animal variations
of many of these diseases, specifically anaplasmosis and ehrlichiosis.
While perhaps best known for their decades of research into heartwater, a devastating
disease that affects cattle and other livestock, UF's team also has significantly contributed to
the understanding of other rickettsial organisms in the same family. Barbet is currently
focusing on understanding why these diseases are now spreading from animals to humans and
how they persist in the environment. The research also involves developing new molecular
approaches that may be applied to pinpoint and control both human and animal infections.
Barbet has been a member of UF's veterinary college faculty since 1986.
Dr. Tony Barbet
Veterinary graduate student to present poster
at NIH research festival
T he research findings of University of Florida veterinary graduate student Shasta
McClenahan will be featured in a poster presentation slated for the second annual
National Institutes of Health-sponsored National Graduate Student Research Festival, to be
held Oct. 11-12 in Bethesda, Md.
McClenahan's research involves the isolation and characterization of caliciviruses from
marine mammals. Calcivimses can cause blisters on the flippers and in the mouths of marine
mammals, and have caused spontaneous abortions in pregnant animals.
"These marine caliciviruses are unique in that they can move from the ocean into the
terrestrial environment, where they infect many other animal species, livestock and even
humans," McClenahan said.
Her project began as a collaboration with Alaska Veterinary Pathology Services and the
Alaska Department of Fish and Game, which are investigating the declines in the Steller sea
lion population in Alaska.
The event will be held at the NIH's main campus. One of the festival's goals is to help
"Several hundred students from all over the country applied for this privilege, and those
selected represent the 'creme-de-la-crime' of our future scientists'," said Carlos Romero, Ph.D.,
a scientist in the department of infectious diseases and pathology at UF's College of Veterinary
Medicine and McClenahan's graduate program supervisor.
Graduate student to
A University of Florida College of
Veterinary Medicine graduate
student Pablo Pinedo has received the
Richard Merkal Memorial Fellowship
to attend the International Colloquium
on Paratuberculosis, to be held
Oct. 29-Nov. 2 in Tsukuba, Japan.
Pinedo is pursuing a Ph.D. under
the supervision of Owen Rae, D.VM., a
professor in the department of large
animal clinical sciences. Pinedo's
travel and registration costs will be
covered through the fellowship, which
is sponsored by the International
Association for Paratuberculosis. While
at the event, Pinedo will give a
presentation on his research, which
focuses on genetic resistance to
paratuberculosis -- also known as
Johne's disease -- in beef and dairy
Paratuberculosis is a chronic,
debilitating disease of ruminants
characterized by progressive weight
loss and profuse diarrhea. It resembles
Crohn's disease in humans and
produces high losses for the animal
industry in the United States.
Architects/engineers interview for small animal hospital design job
O n Aug. 13, CVM administrators interviewed three potential candidates to provide
architectural and engineering services for the new Veterinary Education and Clinical
Research Center, a $58 million, 90,000 square-foot facility that will include a major expansion
of UF's small animal hospital.
The three firms interviewed included Zeidler & Associates, Flad & Associates, and
Reynolds, Smith, and Hills. Officials anticipate hiring an architect for the 90,000 square-foot
facility by fall, with groundbreaking likely to occur in September 2008.
"A new small animal hospital has been a dream of the college for many years, and much
work went into the campaign to obtain private support, as well as to gain high priority for this
project within the university," said the college's dean, Dr. Glen Hoffsis.
The original hospital opened in 1978 and has undergone no major renovation in 25 years.
Hoffsis credited his predecessor, former college dean Joseph A. DiPietro for his "relentless
work culminating in this success."
"The case for the need for the hospital was compelling, and this resulted in more than $4
million in private gifts'" Hoffsis said. "This degree of private support was a major factor in
moving the project up the priority list within the university."
During the early months of 2007, the college successfully garnered the #1 priority ranking
for new construction at UF. Following the legislative session in May, it became evident that
only one new building would be funded for UF the Veterinary Education and Clinical
In addition, the college was able to obtain a 100 percent state match for the private gifts
raised through a program known as the "Courtelis Match." This means that in addition to the
appropriated $49 million, more than $8 million was added to the project for a total of $58
"This sounds like a huge sum, and it is"' Hoffis said, adding that the cost of construction
within the UF environment is "astronomical." And while initial funding hurdles have been
cleared with recent legislative approvals, needs for equipment and programmatic expansion
"We are offering naming opportunities and gifts will continue to be matched, so that
contributions will be leveraged significantly," Hoffsis added.
The new hospital will likely be a three-story building located immediately north of the
existing small animal hospital, located at 2015 S.W 16t Ave. in Gainesville. The building will
triple the existing hospital square footage and will occupy nearly all of the existing small
animal patient parking area, officials said. People transitioning from one area to the other
should be able to do seamlessly.
Hospital client access and patient examination rooms all will be housed on the first floor.
Separate waiting areas will be designed for dogs and cats. Within close access to these areas
will be an intensive care unit and separate spaces for satellite digital radiography and ultra-
sonography, and for the hospital pharmacy.
The second floor will house a surgical operating suite, anesthesia preparation, monitoring
and recovery areas, a rehabilitation/physical therapy suite, an endoscopy suite and a laundry
area, as well as showers and lockers for veterinary staff.
The third floor will mostly consist of faculty offices and meeting rooms.
UF's College of Veterinary Medicine graduated its first class in 1980 and now boasts 2,080
alumni and 209 recipients of master of science or Ph.D. degrees.
CVI l data storage system is hot tech topic
D ean Glen Hoffis shared his comments about one of his favorite books for the Health
Science Center's RxEAD: Prescription for Knowledge campaign. The book he chose to
highlight was: "Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years" and "The War Years" by Carl Sandburg.
Hoffsis's comments follow:
"I wanted to read some of the works of our most celebrated writers and Carl Sandburg was
one I'd never read. Most importantly, I wanted to know more about Lincoln, someone who
had a unique and fascinating life.
"Finally, I like to learn leadership lessons from those who have actually been in the arena.
In Lincoln, we have one of the greatest leaders in American history," Hoffsis said.
The idea behind the "RxEAD: Prescription for Knowledge" campaign is to promote an
ongoing positive relationship to the library with the faculty, staff and students via the fun and
personal connection of a poster showing a love of reading and learning.
"It's based on a popular celebrity campaign from the American Library Association, which
in 2004 we modified adding the 'Rx' for the Health Science Center, and then Smathers Library
picked it up the next year. Now the posters are all over," said Ned Davis, the HSC library's
marketing and publications coordinator.
Congratulations to new or soon-to-be specialists
Congratulations to the following individuals who have passed board examinations
In small animal clinical sciences, Dr. Herb Maisenbacher, who completed his
residency in cardiology in July, passed the certifying examination with the the Ameri-
can College of Veterinary Cardiology and received the second highest score on the
exam; Dr. Nikki Hackendahl, who completed her residency in internal medicine in July,
passed the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine certifying exam; and Dr.
Carrie Goldkamp, a third-year internal medicine resident, passed the ACVIM qualifying
In large animal clinical sciences, theriogenology resident Dr. Adam Eichelberger
passed his board examinations with the American Colege of Theriogenologists and Dr.
Andre Shih, a former resident, now a faculty member in anesthesiology, passed his
written examination for the American College of Veterinary Anesthesiology. Shih will
take his oral examination in September. Dr. Nicholas Ernst passed his board examina-
tions for the American College of Veterinary Surgeons.
In other news, the Office of Research and Graduate Studies reports that summer
graduates from the program include Dr. Fiona P. Maunsell, who received her Ph.D.
Maunsell was mentored by Dr. Mary Brown in the department of infectious diseases
Sommer Sharp's work on a virtual data storage system for UF's College of Veterinary Medicine was featured in
T he computer system used to store all of the data produced at the UF College of Veterinary
Medicine was the subject of recent media coverage. Network World magazine ran a story
about the CVM's virtualization storage system for computer data in their May 2007 issue. The
system, which was on the cutting edge of information technology when UF installed it back in
October 2005, has streamlined backup capability for the huge amounts of data stored by the
Back in 2005, the college's informational technology (IT) department was struggling to
find storage capacity for the voluminous amounts of computer data that had to be stored on the
CVM system, which includes everything from radiographs to medical records and e-mails.
"In an environment where animal patients are treated 24 hours a day, it's critical to mini-
mize the time the network is down for routine maintenance," said Sommer Sharp, computer
With the old system, the time required to back up files to tape was greater than the window
available to do so, and the CVM's computer servers were not adequately meeting the storage
The IT group recognized that the CVM needed a new Storage Area Network. Working on a
limited budget, Sharp concluded that the IT
team would probably have to build its own
storage system to stay in budget. That's when
she learned about the Storage Virtualization
Manager system made by LSI Logic.
The system enables data to be quickly
saved to disk during routine backup periods.
Data is then copied from disk to tape. Since
the data is already stored on the disks, the
time consuming process of transferring data
from disk to tape doesn't require any addi-
tional system down time.
The CVM was an early adopter of the new
technology, and LSI Logic featured the
veterinary school in a technology case study
that was featured in trade publications.
Earlier this spring, Sharp received a call from
Network World magazine inquiring about the
new system. Sharp was then invited to speak
about virtualization and how it improved data
storage at the CVM at a Virtualization Summit
for technology executives held in Boston in
"When we began the project we didn't realize that we were doing anything cutting edge. It
was just a solution to meet the needs that came in under budget," Sharp said. "We're doing our
part to keep back-end processes up to speed with front end processes to support cutting edge
To read the story online, please visit: http://www.networkworld.com/supp/2007/ndc3/
The Veterinary Page is the UF College of Veterinary Medicine's
internal newsletter. Please submit story ideas to Sarah Carey,
editor, at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call (352) 392-2213, ext.
UF researchers collaborate with private laboratory to analyze effects of
environmental pollutants on bull sharks
Photos courtesy of Mote Marine Lab
BY MEREDITH WOODS
S ending commonly prescribed
medications down the drain is taking a
bite out of the environment -- at least when it
comes to shark habitat, University of Florida
veterinarians warn. In fact, the combination of
flushing unused medications and the natural
excretion of drug residue from antidepres-
sants, cholesterol-regulating drugs and
contraceptives into wastewater systems is
having repercussions on aquatic animal life in
Now researchers at UF's College of
Veterinary Medicine's Analytical Toxicology
Core Laboratory, in collaboration with Mote
Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, are studying
the bull shark's exposure to pharmaceutical
drug residue found in the waters of the
Caloosahatchee River. Because bull sharks
are able to survive in both saltwater and
freshwater environments, compared with
Dr. Nancy Szabo
strictly saltwater sharks they are in closer and
more frequent contact with humans. This also
means that bull sharks are frequently exposed to wastewater pollutants found in freshwater
basins. In southwest Florida, young bull sharks often use the freshwater Caloosahatchee River
as a breeding area, and the river's proximity to Fort Myers and nearby water treatment facilities
make it a prime location for studying pharmaceutical pollution exposure in the species.
Scientists agree that the relationship between the ATCL and
other research institutions is important because it utilizes the
strengths of the different organizations.
Scientists are trying to determine if exposure to prescription residue contaminates affects
the growth and reproduction of young bull sharks.
Marine biologist Jim Gelsleichter, of the Mote Marine Laboratory, is testing for the
presence and levels of human drug contaminants in bull shark blood. He is also working to tag
bull sharks in the river basin with passive sampling devices -- silicone rubber discs that collect
chemical samples in the water for later examination. When sharks are caught by local anglers
or by the Mote team on subsequent research expeditions, the tags are retrieved and sent to UF's
Analytical Toxicology Core Laboratory (ATCL) for analysis.
The laboratory provides comprehensive analytical support to on-campus and off-campus
researchers requiring qualitative and quantitative chemical analyses to meet study objectives.
The laboratory is unique in that it specializes in non-routine analysis, so researchers turn to the
ATCL when they require distinct analytical techniques.
"If a client requests a routine assay, I refer him or her to a lab that specializes in that area,"
said Nancy Szabo, laboratory director. "The type of work we do requires a lot of effort, and one
has to have the expertise available to know where to even begin."
Szabo added that the laboratory's ability to support the type of cutting-edge research
conducted on the UF campus where most researchers request that unique analytical methods
be used -- is "a good match."
The bull shark study is the most recent collaboration between Mote Marine and the ATCL.
The two groups have worked together for the past nine years on various studies. Szabo
explained that in the case of the bull shark study, which is supported by the Charlotte Harbor
National Estuary Program and a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administra-
tion to the National Shark Research Foundation, the ATCL worked with Mote Marine Labora-
tory to design the experiment and continues to help adapt the experimental methods as needed
to ensure that valid results are produced.
When the blood and -- if recaptured -- silicone-rubber discs from the bull sharks arrive in
the ATCL laboratory, Szabo's team goes to work to determine the variety and concentration of
chemicals present in the bull shark's environment by analyzing the animals' blood and tissue
samples. After the samples are processed and the data collected, Szabo summarizes the results
for Mote Marine researchers and team members discuss the information and seek to publish it.
To date, the collaboration between Gelsleichter and Szabo has resulted in three published
articles and one manuscript that is currently under review.
The relationship between the ATCL and other research institutions is important because it
utilizes the strengths of the different organizations, the scientists agreed.
"ATCL is clearly a leader in the analysis of environmental contaminants and it is important
to have such expertise on a project that seeks to break new ground in assessing environmental
risks of emerging contaminants of concern," Gelsleichter said. "At the same time, Mote is
obviously a leader in shark research and the nation's center for such studies.
"Our collaborative efforts have provided new data on the environmental quality of
essential fish habitat for the U.S. shark populations," he added. "This information is necessary
for NOAA fisheries to manage and conserve these populations from an ecosystem perspective."
Mote Senior Biologist John Tyminski measures bull shark (left) while
Principal Investigator Dr. Jim Gelsleichter prepares to draw blood.
Mote senior biologist John Tyminski tags a bull shark while Mote intern Lisa Arneson, left, and
Principal Investigator Dr. Jim Gelsleichter, right, hold the animal. Mote interns Christelle Abadia,
rear left, and Kristina Knight, rear right, record data and observe the tagging process. All interns
are supported by Mote's NSF-funded Research Experiences for Undergraduates Program.
Mote senior biologist John Tyminski secures silicone rubber discs to a nylon dart tag.