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Veterinary Medicine

Winter 2017

Reconsidering health

Ancient Greek physician Hippocrates proposed that four basic personalities were driven by excess or lack of bodily fluids, the “humors.” Discredited by biochemistry, we may consider the idea humorous, but Hippocrates’ theories began a centuries-long consideration of temperaments and personality in psychology and philosophy.

Other ideas of human health were first spurned and then accepted. Germ theory, the thought that many diseases are caused by microorganisms, was treated with disdain when it was proposed in the sixteenth century. It didn’t receive its due until nineteenth-century experiments by cholera researcher John Snow and chemist Louis Pasteur, among others, proved germ theory’s validity.

Even today we continue … » More …

Prion protein
Winter 2017

Unraveling a curious killer

In the ghoulish world of infectious disease agents, prions might well be the zombies. Unlike bacteria and viruses, prions have no DNA, yet still manage to replicate. Nearly indestructible themselves, the tiny agents slowly ravage the brains of their victims in an infection that is always fatal.

Prions were the culprit behind the mad cow disease outbreak in the late 1990s and early 2000s. And today, they’re driving the epidemic of chronic wasting disease (CWD) spreading rapidly through deer and elk across North America.

For nearly thirty years, Don Knowles ’88 PhD has bravely investigated these strange and elusive infectious particles. When asked if he … » More …

Winter 2017

Dog gone day

Our boy Mic’s symptoms were so subtle and their onset so gradual we didn’t initially see them. In fact, our other dogs noticed them first.

Mic, a Pembroke corgi then 12, had always embodied good “dog manners.” He’d never met a dog who didn’t like him. Suddenly, he was enraging his packmates. We sympathized; his nighttime barking was fraying our nerves, too.

A number of vet visits and lab tests revealed nothing, and Mic continued to decline. But when his spatial perception deteriorated, we realized he was acting like some elderly people and concluded, almost tongue-in-cheek, he had “doggy dementia.”

Turns out we were right.

» More …

Winter 2017

The secrets in a tick’s gut

It may be possible to use good bacteria to control bad bacteria and, in the process, reduce the use of chemicals currently employed for such control. Just look in a tick’s gut.

Kelly Brayton, a WSU veterinary microbiologist, and her colleagues study the pathogens in ticks that cause disease in livestock and humans. The pathogens infest ticks’ guts and salivary glands and, along with other non-pathogenic organisms, comprise the tiny arachnid’s microbiome.

They’ve recently been studying something fascinating: If a tick is infected by a non-disease causing strain of the bacteria Anaplasma marginale, its bite won’t transmit anaplasmosis to its human victim. This “exclusion process,” … » More …

rabies 360 video
Summer 2017

360-degree video: Vaccinating dogs to eliminate rabies

In Tanzania and other East African countries, Washington State University and their partners are working to eliminate rabies in humans by 2030 by vaccinating domestic dogs.

People with pets, particularly in rural areas, travel many miles to get their dogs and cats vaccinated. Read more in “Old Remedy,” Summer 2017 issue.

In the 360-degree video below, you can drag the video around the scene of one such vaccination clinic in Bunda, Tanzania, while WSU Regents Professor Guy Palmer from the Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health explains the Eliminate Rabies program.

(Use mouse or finger to pan video in 360° … » More …

Summer 2017

Old remedy

Veterinarians use an old remedy to eliminate the deadliest infectious disease known to humanity. Rabies.

It was the season for guavas. Their sweet musky fragrance drifted through the morning air and into the open window of seven-year-old Sharon Korir, beckoning her outside to play.

The year was 2003, the day after Christmas. As was customary, Sharon had traveled with her parents to their home village in rural Kenya for the holiday. When it came time to return to Nairobi, the doting grandparents asked Sharon to spend an extra day.

The rains had passed and that day arrived with welcome blue skies. Sharon and her friends … » More …

Winter 2016

Prevention of cruelty to animals

A teenaged Marvin Mackie ’63 DVM was working all summer on the family farm at the end of the rail line in Buhl, Idaho, wondering what to do with his life.

“One day I saw a cloud of dust coming down the gravel road. It was the veterinarian and he was going to go save an animal. And the light came on.” Off Mackie went, first to the University of Idaho for his undergraduate degree, and then next door to Washington State University for his doctorate of veterinary medicine.

Mackie ended up in southern California, where he loved the weather and found lots of work. … » More …

Fall 2016

Bob Olds ’64, DVM ’67

If you want to get to know Bob Olds ’64, DVM ’67, just ask Lizzy. Sure, Lizzy is a dog and can’t speak, but her story speaks volumes.

Found beaten on the streets of Tijuana, Lizzy’s jaw was so badly damaged she couldn’t close her mouth, and could neither eat nor drink. Rescued by members of a Los Angeles-based nonprofit, The Forgotten Dog, Lizzy got a complicated, pro bono surgery that repaired the damage to her jaw. The surgeon? Bob Olds. Lizzy is now a happy, normal dog.

Olds always wanted to be a vet. Kids love animals, he says, and he never had any … » More …

A veterinarian to the corps
Spring 2016

A veterinarian to the corps

He was the old guy in airborne training at Fort Benning, Georgia, a U.S. Army veterinarian holding his own with soldiers half his age, preparing to leap from a plane.

JOHN L. POPPE ’86 DVM had parachuted recreationally back in his Pullman days but was taking command of a special airborne veterinary unit in 2001 and wanted to be jump ready.

“I was determined to do it,” recalls Poppe, now a brigadier general and chief of the U.S. Army’s multifaceted Veterinary Corps.

He was a 42-year-old lieutenant colonel back in jump school and his commitment to readiness was no academic exercise. Two years later, … » More …