the NEWS FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA COLLEGE OF VETERINARY MEDICINE
Veterinary student creates "aWEARness" for pet overpopulation problem
BY SARAH CAREY
G ot style? Senior veterinary student 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 her own business two years ago.
Through her Web site, www.aWEARness-clothing.com, 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 has been threatened by recent 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."
As school unfolded, Montague also became a huge fan of the shelter medicine program,
which she says has enabled her to hone surgical skills and better prepare for private practice.
"I've done a few extemships, 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 program, 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 surgery."
Montague developed her Web site, aWEARness-clothing.com, with help from her class-
mate, Crystal Hmielewski, with whom she brainstormed about ideas and her brother, Matt
Montague of Orlando, who helped with the business end of things.
"Crystal and I did our senior projects together, and in our free time, we sketched ideas
about what we wanted the Web site to look like and who we wanted to reach," Montague said,
adding that she wanted to create a look for her T-shirts that was stylish, contemporary, and
"I did a Google search for cat-dog-neuter-T-shirts and couldn't find anything I didn't think
was tacky," Montague said.
She came up with catchy slogans to include on her shirts, while Hmielewski proceeded to
establish the Web site, capturing visuals which include photos of some of Montague's class-
mates modeling various items. Then she went to Premier Productions in Gainesville, a custom
design and printing company.
"We worked together on some of my ideas and came up with some layouts," Montague
said. "We ended up with between 600-700 items in multiple designs, sizes and colors."
Shirts start at $15 apiece, and are available on her Web site.
A week after Montague sent a collegewide email about her plan to donate proceeds from
sales to the shelter program, she already had raised $100 for the program.
"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."
Staff members in the Office for Students and Instruction were impressed enough with
Montague's efforts that each of its members wore an aWEARness T-shirt on Nov. 1.
"When we received Allison's email about her company donating proceeds from the T-shirt
sales to the shelter medicine program, we thought, 'what better way to support our students,"'
said Erin Sanetz, program assistant. "The phrases on these T-shirts are very amusing, and
certainly grab peoples' attention. We were so impressed with Allison's initiative and generosity
that we decided that, as an office, we would show our support for her product, for shelter
medicine and for our students."
To purchase a T-shirt and help the shelter program create "aWEARness," go to
www.aWEARness-clothing.com. Questions regarding sizes, styles, payment or donations can
be sent to aweamess awearness-clothing.com.
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Aquatic Animal Health certificate approved
T he University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine's faculty assembly voted
Aug. 28 to approve a new certificate program in Aquatic Animal Health.
The university already has a very active aquatic animal health program thanks to collabora-
tive efforts between the college, the Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience, the depart-
ment of fisheries and aquatic science and the zoology department in the College of
Agricultural and Life Sciences. Partnerships with other public and private aquatic institutions
in Florida, such as the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, Disney's animal programs,
Sea World, and the Florida Aquarium further enhance the scope of the program.
The purpose of the certificate program is to identify and recognize veterinary students with
an interest in aquatic animal health, to provide guidance to them during their veterinary
studies, and to help them develop a knowledge base in this specialty area.
According to the program's educational director Dr. Iske Larkin, the aquatic animal health
certificate will enhance the resume of any student interested in pursuing a residency in
zoological medicine, and will help prepare those interested in aquaculture for entry level
"Aquatic animal medicine is rapidly expanding and includes aspects of food supply
veterinary medicine through aquaculture practice, zoological medicine with aquatic display
animals, companion animal practice, and wildlife medicine," said Larkin.
Currently, the certificate program is designed only for veterinary students, although Larkin
said there is potential for future expansion to include graduate students, biologists, and
veterinarians who would like specialized training in aquatic animal health.
In addition to the required seven credit hours of core curriculum and eight credit hours of
elective courses needed to complete the certificate program, students must complete a research
component, also known as individualized investigation. This research should ideally be
conducted between their freshman and sophomore years and lead to a peer-reviewed publica-
Since the program requires additional coursework that is outside the core requirements for
veterinary school, all students participating in the aquatic animal health program must be in
good academic standing. "If a student is placed in academic probation for any reason, their
participation in the program will be curtailed until the academic probation has been completed
in a satisfactory manner," said Larkin.
"This certificate program is the first of its kind, and faculty members are excited to work
with motivated students to help them meet their career goals," Larkin said.
The Veterinary Page is the UF College of Veterinary Medicine"s
online internal newsletter. Archives of the Veterinary Page are
http://www. vetmed. ufl. edu/pr/vp/
Got a story idea? Please submit to Sarah Carey, editor, at:
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Veterinary clinical pathologist honored
by professional society
for many contributions to field
chair of the University of Florida
d ohnHarvey, D.VM., PhD., professor and
College of Veterinary Medicine's
department of physiological sciences, has
received the American Society for Veterinary
Clinical Pathology's lifetime achievement I I
The award was presented during the
group's annual meeting, held Nov. 10 in bh i U I
Savannah, in honor of Harvey's numerous
the field of veterinary clinical pathology.
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.VM. degrees from Kansas
State, andhis Ph.D. from the University of
California-Davis. He is board certified in Dr. John Harvey
clinical pathology by the American College
of Veterinary Pathologists.
Harvey's research interests are comparative hematology and erythrocyte enzyme
deficiencies. He discovered and named the Ehrlichia plays organism that infects platelets in
dogs and, along with co-workers, first recognized and reported four different inherited
erythrocyte enzyme deficiencies.
Among the honors Harvey has received at UF are the Daniels Pharmaceutical Senior
Clinical Investigator Award, 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 a four-year term on the Morris Animal Foundation's scientific advisory board. 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.
Emeritus professor of large animal medicine
receives Florida equine group's
lifetime achievement award
Sr. Alfred Merritt, 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 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.VM.,
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 Dr. Al Merritt
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 world.
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.
"I felt extremely honored to receive this recognition from this first class organization,
especially since numerous former students and residents were involved in the decision to name
me," Merritt said. "What could be more gratifying than knowing that your life's work has had
some lasting positive impact?"
Stereotactic radiosurgery treatment for UF veterinary patients
now thriving in seventh year
Approximately 100 animals seen through UF's veterinary
neurology and oncology services have received the treatment,
which offers several advantages over conventional therapy to
patients that qualify.
D despite a nine-hour drive complete with multiple interstate accidents and traffic
snafus, Knoxville, Tenn. resident Marc Mandeville made it to Gainesville and the
University of Florida Veterinary Medical Center Oct. 22 with his dog, Sims, for
brain tumor treatment unavailable anywhere else in the Southeast.
The specific procedure, known as steriotactic radiosurgery or SRS, was successfully
performed a few days later, following examinations, CT and MRI imaging at UF So far, Sims, a
6-year-old boxer, is doing well and seizure-free.
"His medication has him hungry and thirsty, but beyond that, there are no reoccurring
issues," said Mandeville on Nov. 17.
Sirus's problems first became apparent when Mandeville, a district sales representative for
Socket Mobile, returned home with Sirs after their morning walk. Sims typically would lay
down on the tile kitchen floor while Mandeville began working from his home office. But that
day, Sims came over and leaned against Mandeville, giving him a strange look. Almost
immediately, Sirs collapsed on his side and went into a seizure.
"It lasted one or two minutes, but it seemed like forever," Mandeville said.
When the seizures continued, Mandeville took Sims as an emergency case to the Univer-
sity of Tennessee's College of Veterinary Medicine. That trip resulted in a CT-scan of Sims's
brain, which revealed a mass. A subsequent biopsy and an ultrasound helped UT veterinarians
identify the mass as an oligodendrocytoma of the left forebrain.
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discovered an article about an advanced method of obliterating tumors and lesions with a
single session of potent and precisely pinpointed radiation being used at UF 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 Sims, about SRS. Miles put Mandeville in touch with UF neurology resident Dr. Rossi
House to determine if Sims might qualify as a candidate.
"I told him this was probably Sims's best chance for long-term survival," House said.
Dr. Chris Mariani, a former adjunct clinical professor of veterinary neurology and neurosur-
gery at UF who is now on the faculty at North Carolina State University's College of Veterinary
Medicine, has given several talks relating to SRS and its use to treat dogs with brain tumors.
A study he conducted at UF was the focus of one such presentation given during the
American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine's annual meeting in 2005.
"In a nutshell, the 25 or so dogs I kept track of for the UF study seemed to do about as well
or better than those that received conventional radiation therapy, but SRS has several impor-
tant advantages over conventional radiation:' Mariani said. "It's a single treatment, which
means one anesthesia, and it's potentially an outpatient procedure or one overnight stay as
compared to weeks of treatment and multiple anesthesias."
The side effects associated with SRS are almost nonexistent, particularly when compared to
conventional treatment, UF veterinarians say.
Almost 20 years after Dr. Frank Bova and Dr. William Friedman, professors in the depart-
ment of neuroscience, UF College of Medicine, initiated radiosurgery treatments in people
using their patented system known as the LINAC scalpel, SRS has evolved to become the
treatment of choice for humans with certain types of intracranial tumors. Over the past seven
years, UF veterinarians, working in close collaboration with Bova and his 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
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said Dr. Tom Schubert, chief of the UF veterinary college's neurology service. "The last one we ,e-r.nar, sJideniz.;,: n A-..,
did (on Nov. 9) we did instead of regular surgery because despite the fact that it was accessible,
the owners did not want their dog to go through the pain of standard surgery."
Neurology cases receiving SRS have radiographic images taken through both CT and MRI
technology initially. Those images then are merged and analyzed with special SRS planning
software, so that veterinarians can precisely pinpoint the tumor and determine the proper dose
of radiation to be administered.
In the early days, a head frame was built to aid veterinary radiologists in obtaining up-to-
date computer images. The process was cumbersome, however, and a new method was devised
that makes use of a dental mechanism known as a bite plate. The method was developed at UF r *
for human use and then readapted at the McKnight Brain Institute for use in veterinary
radiosurgery cases. The biteplate is custom molded to the animal's upper teeth and a set of
reference markers are then attached. At the time of treatment, these markers are tracked by a
stereoscopic infrared camera and software developed at UF.
"The combined system allows the delivery of small high-intensity radiation beams to the
tumor, with an accuracy of approximately .25 millimeters," Bova said. "This system also allows
normal tissues to be avoided with the same precision."
Not having children, Mandeville and his wife view Sims as a family member.
"He is, in a sense our child," Mandeville said. "He is a very loving dog and has always been
the neighborhood's favorite dog, both in Tennessee and when we lived in Florida. In fact, it's
not unusual for kids to come by and knock on the door to ask if Sims can play, even when
most of the kids have their own dogs."
Mandeville's costs to treat Sims involved not onlyprocedures conducted at both Tennessee
and Florida, but travel and hotel expenses as well. Still, he says he and his wife would do it
again, even though they do not know what the ultimate outcome will be.
"In our minds, the cost was a small price to pay for a member of our family," Mandeville
said. "What we do 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 o u .-:, i ,s ,., .- ..... ..r ,.r ,I
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Photos of Sirus's
treatment, from p.3
Sirus's trip to the McKnight Brain Institute riith
IUFs veterinary team on Oct. 26 took most of
the morning. These photos capture some of the
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rii.l'iighl Brain In-hiilule
Dachshund lover has a weakness for head cases
A my Reynolds, a neurology technician at UF's Veterinary Medical Center, has a soft spot
for head cases. The Richmond, Va., native has been working in the field of veterinary
medicine since 1992. Also known around the VMC as a dachshund aficionado, Reynolds
joined the UF in 2004. She initially worked in the pharmacy, then later in the phone room and
as a small animal referring veterinarian liaison before being encouraged by Dr. Roger
Clemmons to work for the neurology service.
Reynolds's interest in neurology stemmed from her personal experiences with her two
beloved dachshunds. One of the dogs is epileptic and requires management by neurologists to
keep her seizures under control. The other was treated by neurologists for a spinal condition
that required surgery. Watching her dogs' quality of life improve thanks to the skills of
veterinary neurologists sparked Reynolds's interest in the specialty.
"Since both of my dogs are neuro cases, neurology is where my special interest lies," said
Having worked in several different veterinary offices during her 15 year career, Reynolds is
familiar with the limitations that some practices face. Reynolds likes working at the UF VMC
because of the expertise available under one roof.
"It's wonderful that we have the ability to offer patients so many things that aren't com-
monly available in private practice because of equipment costs and staff limitations,"
Reynolds said. "We have so many resources here, both in terms of equipment and the expertise
of the faculty and staff."
As with any job, working with neurology patients has its ups and downs.
"The most difficult part of the job is knowing that not all of the patients will have a happy
ending. Try as we might, we can't fix every case. Also, it's very difficult for me not to adopt
every neurology patient in need of a new home," Reynolds said.
"One of the most amazing parts of this job is when patients arrived paralyzed and are able
to walk out of the clinic after being treated. That makes all the hard stuff easier," she said. "It's
also rewarding to help improve an animal's quality of life by helping change or improve the
way in which the pet's owner manages their condition, whether it's seizures or some other
neurologic problem. It's wonderful to watch owners follow our protocols and see their pets
Interest in neurology and in the benefits of alternative treatments for neurology cases
prompted Reynolds to begin taking courses towards certifications in animal rehabilitation/
physical therapy and Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine. She studied TCVM at the Chi
Institute near Ocala and took
courses towards her Certified
Canine Rehabilitation Therapist
designation at the University of
"Rehabilitation and TCVM,
especially acupuncture, were of
personal interest to me because I
saw how they improved my
dogs' conditions," Reynolds
said, noting that her interests
also are compatible with others
working within the neurology
service and the hospital.
Reynolds said she has seen
the benefits of acupuncture to
animals who are not responding
well to traditional treatments.
"It's great for pain manage-
ment and we're lucky to have it
to offer as another modality of
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rehabilitation," she said. "Also as
we prepare for the new hospital,
we are all excited about the possibility of having an in-house rehabilitation/physical
therapy service. This will allow us to focus specifically on our patient's recovery and
quality of life. This is just one more way we will provide our patients with important
and specialized veterinary care."
Service chief Dr. Tom Schubert said Reynolds consistently goes out of her way to
help client animals.
"Amy is tenacious and compulsive about making sure that the patients have the
treatment they require especially the dachshunds," Schubert said.
New Charlie Bild VIP appreciates friends, challenge of work in field of nephrology
D r. Claudio Brovida, the college's current Charlie Bild VIP, is a long way from his
26-person veterinary practice in Turin, Italy, but says his ties to Florida make him feel at
The small animal practitioner with specific interests in nephrology and urology, as well as
respiratory disease, heard about the Bild program through friend and colleague Dr. Michael
Schaer, associate chief of staff of UF's small animal hospital. He also knows Dr. Colin Burrows,
recently-retired neurologist Dr. Cheryl Chrisman, and longtime friend of the college Dr. Larry
Dee through various international meetings.
"I really wanted to have the opportunity to follow some aspect of internal medicine, as I am
always trying to update things in my own country," said Brovida, who has owned his practice
in Turin since 1976. He also has been extensively involved for the past 27 years in organized
veterinary medicine at the international level. He has been active in the Italian Small Animal
Veterinary Association, the European Society of Veterinary Nephrology and Neurology and
other groups, serving in many cases as a board member or an officer.
"I have gotten to know many colleagues internationally," he said.
A past president of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association, Brovida continues his
involvement with WSAVA as the group's standards projects coordinator, heading up efforts to
establish greater uniformity of standards for the way veterinarians look at various diseases.
Over the past seven years, Brovida has helped establish standards for approaches to liver
disease, a task that resulted in the publication of a book on the topic. Subsequently, WSAVA's
standards-focused group began looking at gastroenterology, which yet again resulted in a
soon-to-be published book on the subject.
"Since I was mostly interested in nephrology and urology, I began talking to some
colleagues -- world-renowned nephrologists -
- who said why not do the same thing with
renal biopsies for histopathology?" Brovida
said. "So we developed a still more ambitious
"We started thinking about a project
based not on the retrospective evaluation of
projects, but rather on how to evaluate
kidney diseases -- in particular the IRIS State
II of CKD -- by comparing the use of three
different methods: light microscopy,
immunofluorescence and electron-
microscopy," he added.
When Brovida talks about this project, it
is obvious that he is, as he puts it, a "glass
half full" type of person. He's always looking
for excitement in a challenge and his
enthusiasm for his work is obvious.
Brovida will be taking part in as many
activities as possible during his month-long
stay in Gainesville, which culminates on
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