Pets and vets: UC Davis veterinarians rescue cow stuck in mine shaft


The Veterinary Emergency Response Team used a specialized crane to lift the Brahman cow from the hole.


Molly the cow was rescued by University of California Davis veterinarians after falling down a mineshaft and getting stuck, according to the Sacramento Bee. After Molly had failed to return to her corral, her owner, Antoinette Nichols, found her in a 30-foot hole. She was given food and water, but Nichols and the local sheriff's department didn't have a way to get her out. So they called the UC Davis Veterinary Emergency Response Team (VERT). 

Molly is a Brahman cow, a breed known for aggressive behavior, so VERT veterinarians sedated her before bringing her up from the hole. They used a lift specifically designed by the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine for picking up large animals. It works with the skeletal system of the animal, rather than wrapping around the belly, which can constrict an animal Molly's size, according to the Bee. The uninjured cow was returned to her corral after being rescued.


Recently, the California Department of Food and Agriculture's (CDFA) Animal Health Branch has ben investigating the largest EIA outbreak it's seen in years, according to Since 2012, testing has confirmed 34 positive cases of EIA in racing Quarter Horses, ranging in age from 3 to 8 years. The investigation has identified about 250 exposed horses from 19 different locations, which tested negative on the initial and 60-day retest after removal of the positive horse. Thirty-three of the 34 horses were euthanized and one was moved to isolation, according to

Investigations indicate that positive horses were involved in Quarter Horse racing and were potentially exposed to high-risk practices such as sharing needles and other medical equipment and the use of contaminated blood products, according to the site. Changes in ownership and lack of or difficulty reading lip tattoos, made the training and racing histories of the horses difficult to obtain.

Evidence suggests, although difficult to verify, that some of the horses that tested positive participated in unsanctioned racing. It also points to disease spread via contaminated multi-dose drug vials, according to The contamination occurred when a new needle and used syringe are used for drug administration, in this situation. Infected blood in the hub of the used syringe contaminates the drub vial, resulting in disease spread.


The Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) has awarded two members of Colorado State University's veterinary community with research and teaching awards, according to a university release. Sue VandeWoude, DVM, DACLAM, associate dean for research at the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, won the AAVMC's Excellence in Research award, presented by Zoetis. Former college dean Lance Perryman, DVM, PhD, DACVP, was selected as the 2015 AAVMC Recognition Lecturer.

The Excellence in Research award honors those who demonstrate excellence in original research, leadership in the scientific community and exceptional mentoring of trainees and colleagues in any discipline of veterinary medicine. VandeWoude is an authority on feline viral diseases and disease spread through wild and domestic cat populations, according to the release. Her research, which is funded by federal and nonfederal sources, including the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, and Morris Animal Foundation, is significant for discoveries tied to both animal and ecological concerns. This information can also shed light on the emergence and spread of viruses in the human population, the release states.

The Recognition Lecture is an invited presentation from someone who has made major contributions to veterinary teaching and practice; it provides the honoree with a platform to discuss innovation. Perryman will speak about approaches in veterinary education and how they might be improved.


K. Paige Carmichael, DVM, PhD, DACVP, a pathology professor at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine, is the recipient of the 2015 Iverson Bell Award, according to an AAVMC release.

The award recognizes outstanding leadership and contributions in promoting opportunities for underrepresented minorities in veterinary medical education. Carmichael served as the associate dean for academic affairs for eight years at the UGA veterinary college and has co-authored successful grant proposals to address the recruitment of underrepresented groups in academic veterinary medicine.

She created the college's VetCAMP (Veterinary Career Aptitude and Mentoring Program), which works to recruit young underrepresented minority students with an aptitude for science, technology, engineering and mathematics, according to the release. She also mentors students and early career faculty and facilitates the development of student diversity groups.

Carmichael also launched the “Dog Doctors” outreach program, which reaches out to elementary school students in Georgia from groups that are underrepresented in veterinary medicine and teaches them about the variety of career paths available in veterinary medicine.


The veterinary technology program at the University of Maine at Augusta will become a four-year bachelor's degree program, according to The university is eliminating its associate-degree veterinary technology program as part of its shift toward offering more bachelor's degrees-and because the program has been losing more than $200,000 a year, the site reports.

The program initially took three years to complete because of the clinical and laboratory courses requiring a low student-to-faculty ratio. The fourth year of classes will allow students to focus on specific areas, such as small business or biology, according to The university hopes that by expanding the program it will become self-sustaining and allow the university to continue to provide technicians to the state.


An injured swan was taken to the Cummings School for Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University to be treated after being brought in by an animal control officer, according to the Worcester Telegram and Gazette. The only visible injury was a laceration near its beak, but radiographs taken at Tufts found pellets in the swan's neck. Rushmie Nofsinger, a spokesman at the Grafton campus, said the pellets were not a fresh wound and were not the cause of the swan's weakened state.

“We don't know exactly why it was acting disoriented, but generally, adult swans behave that way if they have interacted with a vehicle in some way,” Nofsinger told the Telegram and Gazette.


A 4-year-old mixed-breed dog named Vince is recovering after eating a pair of calf-high women's Frye boots, according to NBC Philadelphia. Vince was taken to the Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Center (VSEC) in Philadelphia where he underwent surgery.

“These x-rays are absolutely remarkable, especially given that you can see and count the number of eyelets on the boots,” says Laura Tseng, DVM, DACVECC, a board-certified specialist in critical care and emergency medicine with VSEC. “The sheer volume of what he ate is impressive and caused a very serious emergency situation.”

Because the volume of leather was so large, Vince's stomach was unable to pass the material into his small intestines.


Washington State University's College of Veterinary Medicine is studying overweight dogs to find out whether maintaining an ideal body weight and fat percentage is as important to the cardiac health of dogs as it is for human cardiac health, according to The Columbian. Melissa Tropf, DVM, is looking for dogs to participate in the college's study.

Dogs must be overweight for their size but weigh less than 25 pounds. Dogs accepted into the study will receive a free cardiovascular exam, echocardiogram, ECG, blood pressure measurement and complete blood and urine work-ups at the veterinary teaching hospital, according to the Columbian. Pet owners and veterinarians can contact Raychel Fairchild at for more information.

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