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Animal health

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 …

Winter 2015

Emerging disease: A case study

Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory at WSU

1999

Hundreds of people, cats, dogs, porpoises, birds, and other animals on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, fell victim to what was diagnosed as a rare fungal infection called Cryptococcus gattii. Though physicians and veterinarians were familiar with the more common Cryptococcus neoformans, C. gattii was considered a tropical disease found only in places like Australia.

Upon deeper investigation, B.C. health officials were alarmed to discover that C. gattii had established itself in the native trees and soil—and was especially prevalent in decaying wood. Epidemiologists speculate that climate change and warmer summers helped create favorable habitat for the … » More …

Robert Franklin
Spring 2014

Robert Franklin ’75, ’76, ’79—A new leash on life

Over more than three decades, veterinarian Dr. Robert Franklin has advocated for animal welfare—even when those animals never set a paw into his specialty practice in Beaverton, Oregon.

Franklin ’75 BS, ’76 BS, ’79 DVM is on the frontlines of animal wellbeing and companionship issues in the Pacific Northwest, whether he’s working behind the scenes to save a stray or squarely in the spotlight ensuring that famed orca Keiko was getting appropriate medical care.

“The animal welfare movement is waiting for veterinarians to lead it like we should,” says Franklin, who recently received Washington State University’s Distinguished Veterinary Alumnus Award. “We’ve got to look at … » More …

Chancho, a puppy treated by World Vets in Nicaragua
Fall 2012

World vets

Quivering all over, a dirty yellow and white puppy with a large potbelly whimpers as a veterinarian injects it with saline fluids. The puppy is severely dehydrated and disoriented, unable to stand up on its own.

Chancho, as the veterinarians name him because of his pig-like round belly, initially had a grave prognosis. Found wandering along the street, and visibly weak with parasites and tremors, he did not have long to live.

The puppy spends the night on intravenous fluids and medication. When the veterinarians return the next morning, his condition has improved. By the following day, they are confident he will survive.

Chancho was … » More …

John Gorham
Spring 2012

John R. Gorham 1922-2011—Veterinary pathologist

In the early 1940s, John Gorham ’46 DVM, MS ’47 left his family home in Sumner to attend Washington State College as an undergraduate. He found a life here, marrying fellow student Mary Ellen Martin and staying on to earn his doctorate in veterinary medicine, at the same time serving in the U.S. Army. In 1948, he was the first student to earn a graduate degree from the veterinary college.

He then took a position as a U.S. Department of Agriculture researcher in 1949 and the next year made his first big contribution to the field of animal disease research with his major professor Donald … » More …

Spring 2010

Of honor and friendship

One of the most successful partnerships in WSU history began in failure.

It was the spring of 1975, Kansas State University. Guy Palmer was given a piece of ore in an analytical chemistry class and told to figure out how much nickel was in it. He got it wrong, earning an F.

This happened to be in the highly competitive environment of undergraduates vying for veterinary school. About one in ten applicants would gain admission, so it was not exactly in students’ interest to help each other out. But Terry McElwain saw Palmer struggling to redo the assignment while working on a second one. He … » More …

Fall 2003

Petland owner started from the ground up

What happens when Fluffy dies?

David Bielski knows where the bodies are buried. “Samantha.” “Bubbles.” “Fluffy.” In fact, the owner-president of Petland Cemetery, Inc. lives on the grounds of the adjoining Fern Hill Cemetery, which has been in the family for three generations. The two cemeteries are situated above the Wishkah River on the north side of Aberdeen.

Bielski’s grandfather, Paul, started working at Fern Hill about 1924 after immigrating from Germany, and eventually acquired ownership. When he died in 1947, his son, Hans, purchased Fern Hill. Seeing a need, he and a monument builder founded Petland in 1973. In the beginning most of Petland’s … » More …

Winter 2001

Gorham earns award for animal disease research

John Gorham, longtime professor of veterinary microbiology and pathology in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Washington State University, received the Gold Head Cane Award in July. The award from the Hartz Mountain Corp. recognizes his landmark contributions to the epidemiology of certain animal diseases, some of which also affect humans.

Gorham is an international authority on slow-virus disease research in animals. He is perhaps best known for his 1953 co-discovery of the microorganism responsible for salmon poisoning in dogs and foxes.

In recent years, Gorham’s research group has worked on three fronts—developing a diagnostic test for scrapie in sheep; investigating the molecular biology, immunology, … » More …