Veterinary Experiences Affecting Environmental Health

As a new intiative by SAVMA's Global and Public Health Outreach Officer, The Vet Gazette will be highlighting student research projects that involve the third, often forgotten arm of the One Health triad -- the environment!

The first to be featured is Bonni Beaupied from Colorado State University!

"This summer, with the support of CSU's Veterinary Summer Scholars Program, I worked with our Department of Environmental and Radiological Health Sciences on a budding One Health research project. The broad goal of this project is to evaluate the impact of air pollution on dairy cow health and to use that information to better understand the impact on human health in understudied populations. Exposure to air pollution, including criteria pollutants such as ozone (O3) and aerosolized fine particulate matter (PM2.5), has been associated with increased morbidity and mortality in mammals. These effects have primarily been studied in the laboratory or in humans living in urban settings. Situated in a controlled environment that facilitates data collection, dairy cattle present a unique, yet unexplored, opportunity to assess the correlation between subtle shifts in air pollution and mammalian health. Furthermore, ground-level O3 peaks during the hot summer months, when dairy production is lowest, and may therefore be an unexplored factor in reduced milk production. My research aimed to assess the effects of air pollutants on dairy cow health by comparing O3 and PM2.5 levels recorded by local US EPA air quality monitors to daily production data and bulk tank somatic cell counts. Initial results have supported the hypothesis that O3 exposure is associated with reduced dairy yield. The results of this study may uncover areas for intervention to improve these impacts at the dairy level. These data will also contribute to a translational model for using cattle health as a proxy for human health, particularly in rural settings or other regions with limited air quality data."

Congratulations, Bonnie!


Smithcors Veterinary History Essay Contest

Calling all history buffs!

This contest is for students interested in researching topics relating to the history of veterinary medicine. There are scholarships available for those essayists placing 1st through 4th. Students wishing to enter can find everything they need (guidelines, entry forms, etc) on the website. Submissions are due April 15th, 2020.

Photo obtained from the "History of the AAVMC" on the AAVMC website


First Mate Flint, Hedgehog Pirate

These adorable photos of Flint were submitted by his owner, Jaclyn Melvin from Cornell University.

Covered in spines but always willing to cuddle!All smiles in his favorite pirate hat hideawayFlint the Hedgehog - Professional Pirate & Amateur Model


Into the Wild

These photos were taken and submitted by Priya Allen from North Carolina State University!

Sheltering TreeEndangered Friends










Underserved Areas Grant Winner! (Part 2) 

By Regina Doss, The Ohio State University

Christian Veterinary Mission (CVM) sends groups all over the world to provide services to underserved populations. This past March, I traveled to three remote villages in rural Alaska with a group of veterinarians and veterinary students through CVM. Our group traveled to four village’s total, but we had split up for the last two.


Our mission was to provide basic veterinary care including distemper and rabies vaccinations, dewormer, and spays/neuters to the communities who otherwise have no available access to veterinary care. We carried over 1000 pounds worth of supplies with us, including vaccines, medications, spay/neuter supplies, an autoclave, activities for the village children, and food. Part of our goal is to help reduce the number of unwanted pets in these areas. Because there are no veterinarians, the villages rely on groups such as CVM and Alaska Rural Veterinary Outreach to spay and neuter their dogs. The overpopulation of these animals has led to public health and safety issues. The villagers don’t have the resources to take care of all the puppies so they have to get rid of them on their own. This takes a huge emotional toll on them and they were so relieved that they were able to get their dogs spayed.


Another reason they are trying to decrease the population is due to dog bites. The children are not taught how to properly approach a dog and even a lot of the adults didn’t handle the animals well. They do not know the warning signs that dogs give and the majority of kids had admitted to being bitten before. A big part of this trip was educating people, mainly the kids, on how to recognize warning signs from dogs and how to approach them in a way that will reduce the risk of getting bitten. The kids were so excited and eager to help us, so it was easy to incorporate education as we were taking care of their animals. We also went to the local school in each village to present to the classes about dog bite prevention, rabies, and careers in veterinary medicine. We acted out bad vs good ways to approach an animals and taught them about what rabies is and how it’s spread. These villages have had many recent cases of rabies, in both foxes and dogs.


It was also great to share information on the veterinary profession. Most of the high schoolers stay in their villages instead of going off to college, or they leave for college, but dropout to go home. These communities are very isolated and they’re not exposed to the opportunities outside of their villages. We were able to discuss the programs offered and how they could come back home and help their community with their problems as a veterinarian. Mental health and drugs are big issues in these areas. We heard many stories of suicide attempts and addiction and there didn’t seem to be a lot of hope. Being able to reach the lives of the youth and show them that there are many opportunities for them helped give them motivation to seek these out.


These rural communities live in isolation and don’t have access to resources through which they can learn about diseases, nutrition, and proper equipment such as dog houses, leashes, and collars. The CVM and Alaska Rural Veterinary Outreach groups have built relationships with the villages over the years. They have earned their trust by coming in and showing them how veterinary care can help their animals and the health and safety of their communities. It was amazing to see the excitement of the villagers when we arrived. Many of them knew why we were there and they spread the word to their friends, family, and neighbors. The ones who didn’t know were open to learning about our mission and how we could help their animals. My trip leader said it has been difficult earning their trust. These villages have had bad experiences in the past with groups coming in trying to help but end up doing more harm.


I learned so much on this trip and hope to travel back in order to continue to help. I hope that the resources become more readily available and that these villages continue to learn and receive support. This trip wasn’t easy. We took many flights, carried endless bags of supplies, slept on local jail floors, and at one point the veterinarian was doing surgery with a head lamp because there was no electricity. It is difficult to get to underserved areas, but it is so important to recognize that animals everywhere deserve appropriate and humane care and that we need to advocate for these people and their pets.