Pets and Vets: Feline breast cancer study hopes to find better treatments for animals and humans


Patients receive two vaccines, one pre-surgery and one post.

Ontario, Canada

Researchers at the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) and McMaster University's Immunology Research Centre have joined together to treat breast cancer in cats using new vaccines designed to boost the immune system and kill tumor cells without harming healthy tissue, according to a University of Guelph release. The trial may lead to better treatment of breast cancer in animals and people.

Maci, the first patient in the trial receives a vaccine.

Breast cancer occurs naturally in cats and is similar in many ways to the disease in humans. Trials may answer important questions about the disease that studies involving artificially induced cancer in laboratory animals cannot.

Cats participating in the study receive two vaccines, one prior to surgery and the other after. Each vaccine contains a virus modified to carry three genes associated with breast cancer. The first injection is a nonreplicating adenovirus intended to trigger an anti-tumor response, according to the release. The second is an intravenous infusion about a month after surgery. It delivers an oncolytic Maraba virus that replicates only in tumor cells, targeting and killing them.


Land along SR 260 in the Verde Valley will be the home of the University of Arizona veterinary extension campus, according to the Camp Verde Bugle. The university is going to build next to a wildlife animal park on land donated by a local rancher. The facility will have two purposes-serving as an extension of the university's horticulture programs and as home base for the veterinary medical program.

According to the Bugle, the building won't be completed for a decade, but the program will be fully implemented by August 2016. The Verde campus will provide a site from which students will travel to nearby ranches.


A court in California approved a settlement in fall 2014 that ordered a nonveterinary pet-teeth-cleaning operation to pay $150,000 restitution for the unlicensed practice of veterinary medicine, according to JAVMA.

A California Department of Consumer Affairs investigation found that Canine Care Inc. used scalers to perform anesthesia-free pet teeth cleaning statewide without veterinary supervision. It is illegal in California to use scalers, instruments or devices to clean a patient's teeth without veterinary supervision.

According to JAVMA, the restitution will be paid to consumers, the Veterinary Medical Board and county governments that were involved in the investigation and legal action. Additionally, the company and its employees are prohibited from practicing veterinary medicine unless they have the necessary licenses.


A Winter Haven, Florida, veterinarian was arrested after a co-worker reported to police that she had stolen a narcotic from their clinic, according to the Orlando Sentinel. Alicia Grasso-Gutierrez, 38, of Orange Park, was charged with felony counts of theft of a controlled substance and possession of hydromorphone. Grasso-Gutierrez had been working at the clinic just a month when the theft occurred.

According to the Sentinel, Grasso-Gutierrez came in on her day off and was acting strangely. Through the clinic's closed-circuit camera a co-worker saw her take a bottle of the narcotic and hide it under some paper. She then left the office and returned a few minutes later and put the bottle back. When the co-worker checked the bottle, the seal was broken.

Grasso-Gutierrez told deputies she'd started taking painkillers for her back pain and had become addicted, the Sentinel reports.


The Entomological Society of America has presented University of Georgia entomologist Nancy Hinkle, MS, PhD, with the 2014 Recognition Award in Urban Entomology for her studies of insects considered pests in the human environment-including pests that are sometimes imagined, according to a university release.

Hinkle has worked as a medical-veterinary entomologist for the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences' entomology department at the university since 2001, primarily with insect pests that affect the poultry industry. She has also researched various insects that affect humans, from fleas to head lice to mosquitoes. Her interest in bloodsucking insects has led her to become one of the nation's leading experts on delusional parasitosis, the release states.

Currently, Hinkle is working on control methods for avian mites, pest flies and darkling beetles that carry Salmonella and can transmit it among poultry flocks, according to the release.


The world's oldest Janus cat-a cat with two faces-has passed away at the age of 15, according to the Telegram of Worcester. The cat, named Frank and Louie, was receiving treatment at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, says owner Martha Stevens. The university veterinarians told Stevens that the cat was probably suffering from cancer. Frank and Louie had initially been brought into a Tufts clinic to be euthanized in September 1999, but Stevens was determined to save him-beginning with tube-feeding him until he was three months old, the Telegram says.


A shortage of large animal veterinarians in Montana has led to a new program at Montana State University to produce veterinarians to fill this need in partnership with Washington State University and Utah State University, according to the Billings Gazette. The program guarantees 10 spots in the WSU program for MSU students, who complete one year of their postgraduate work at MSU before transferring to WSU. The Utah State students study there for two years before leaving for WSU. Students enrolled in the program have to be Montana residents.

The American Veterinary Medical Association's Council on Education will visit MSU to approve accreditation, as long as the Montana Legislature agrees to fund the program in future years.

North Carolina

The North Carolina Department of Agriculture's veterinary division has banned the use of gas chambers for euthanasia performed at animal shelters, according to the Charlotte Observer. Shelters have until February 15 to make the switch to lethal injection. Gas chambers will be permitted only for unusual and rare circumstances, such as natural disasters and large-scale disease outbreaks, the ban states.


A federal appeals court has heard questions surrounding the First Amendment and the practice of veterinary medicine in the case of Ron Hines, DVM, of Brownsville, Texas, according to Hines is a retired veterinarian whose license was suspended in 2013 because he gave online advice to pet owners without having hands-on contact with their animals first. Hines alleges his free speech rights were violated. The Texas veterinary board sought to have the suit dismissed and filed an appeal with the Fifth Circuit after a district court ruled against its motion. 

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