Pets and Vets: Army officers graduate from Colorado State veterinary program

Pets and Vets: Army officers graduate from Colorado State veterinary program

Four new military veterinarians enter the Army Veterinary Corps, the highest number from any U.S. university.
Aug 01, 2014
By staff

Four new military veterinarians enter the Army Veterinary Corps, the highest number from any U.S. university.

Army 2nd Lt. Jeff Ulmer was called to serve his country, but after his tour with Colorado's Fort Carson Mounted Color Guard he found a second calling: veterinary medicine. His experience with Army horses gave him insights into the long tradition and importance of supporting the health of U.S. military service animals, according to a release from Colorado State College of Veterinary Medicine.

This May, Ulmer was one of four veterinarians to graduate from CSU's doctor of veterinary medicine program and be commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps during commencement. CSU and Kansas State University each graduated four military veterinarians, the highest number of any university in the country. CSU also has six more students in veterinary school who will join the corps after graduating, according to the release.

Dr. Jeff Ulmer was one of four graduates of CSU's doctor of veterinary medicine program to be comissioned as an officer in the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps during commencement this spring. (PHOTO COURTESY COLORADO STATE UNIVERSITY)

"People's lives depend on the health and well-being of military service dogs," Ulmer says. "It's our jobs as veterinarians to ensure that they are in proper health to perform their duties."

Army veterinarians care for military working dogs on and off the field, including training handlers to respond to medical emergencies and supporting human-animal bond programs at military hospitals.

After commencement, the new veterinarians from CSU traveled to Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio for training and will be deployed to new posts from there.


A look at the world of animal health


Construction has begun at the Chi Institute of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine in Reddick, Fla., for a 14,000-square-foot addition, according to the Gainesville (Fla.) Sun. The addition will house a laboratory, museum and lecture hall, and the goal is to have the project completed before the end of the year.

Huisheng Xie, DVM, PhD, founded the Chi Institute in 1998. The institute offers classes in acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, food therapy and Tui-Na, a manipulative therapy, according to the Sun.

University of Florida scientists and their collaborators have identified a previously unknown poxvirus after studying skin lesions in two orphaned sea otter pups, according to a university release.

The poxvirus family causes significant disease affecting both animal and human populations. The emergence of smallpox disease in humans became a global pandemic in the 19th century.

The scientists say the potential for transmission of this particular poxvirus to humans is unclear. Although no pox infections have been reported in humans exposed to sea otters, the scientists advise wearing protective clothes and gloves when handling these animals, either in the wild or in rehabilitation settings, according to the release.


During the Idaho Veterinary Medicine Association annual meeting, veterinarians voted to support a campaign to create a law that would prohibit nonprofit animal welfare groups from providing veterinary care to pets of people who are not low-income, according to the Idaho Statesman.

Talk of legislation came after the Idaho Humane Society received approval from the city of Boise to build a new, larger, centrally located shelter. The group’s existing shelter is on the far edge of town, according to the Statesman. Veterinarians are concerned about the nonprofit shelter’s planned 10,000-square-foot hospital, which is four times the size of its current hospital. Four clinics are within a mile of the new site.


Veterinarians at Iowa State University (ISU) are using forensic techniques—the same technology used by crime scene investigators—to monitor drug residues in milk and meat, according to a university release.

The Pharmacology Analytical Support Team (PhAST) in the ISU Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory uses liquid chromatography mass spectrometry to test dozens of milk and animal feed samples every month to strengthen food safety and make sure animals are medicated properly. The goal is for local veterinarians and farmers to make sure the meat and milk they produce satisfy Food and Drug Administration regulations governing the use of antibiotics and are safe for human consumption.


Kansas State University is making its dual DVM-PhD program more financially practical, offering a scholarship program to a select group of students, the university says in a release.

Charley Cull, a 2014 college of veterinary medicine graduate, is the first student to complete his DVM program as part of this scholarship.

“The DVM profession has many opportunities through general practice and veterinary specialties, as well as working for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, government or even politics,” Cull says. “The PhD probably brings in more of the data-driven jobs—wanting to know more answers, seeing if we can treat populations of animals—while looking at disease processes and food safety.”

The scholarship program pays for tuition and fees for the students’ DVM courses regardless of their resident status. Those interested in a dual degree can apply any time after being accepted into the DVM program.


Changaram Venugopal, DVM, MD, PhD, a professor in the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences at Louisiana State’s School of Veterinary Medicine, has been awarded an Academic and Professional Excellence Award in teaching by the Fulbright-Nehru Foundation, according to a university release. Venugopal will spend five months teaching pulmonary pharmacology at the Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University in India, and will also be giving seminars at other veterinary colleges.


Stricter enforcement of state veterinary regulations could result in shelters euthanizing tens of thousands of additional pets each year, animal welfare advocates are warning. According to the Houston Chronicle, at issue is the veterinary care provided to shelter and rescue animals.

The Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners requires the same level of medical care and attention for shelter dogs and cats as they would receive from a private veterinarian. This means volunteers and fosters cannot perform routine care, such as administering vaccinations, without a veterinarian present. Requiring a veterinarian to be on site at all times would hurt budgets and hamper no-kill efforts, the shelters say.

Texas board executive director Nicole Oria told the Chronicle that the board has always interpreted the law in this way to protect public health and safety. Shelters, she says, will not be targeted by the agency because it only takes action when it receives a complaint.


Ten years ago the owners of a golden retriever diagnosed with lymphoma brought their dog to Edmund Sullivan, DVM, and Theresa Westfall, DVM, at Bellingham Veterinary Clinic to see if anything else could be done for treatment. After talking to an expert in human lymphoma the doctors decided to try a bone marrow transplant and spent six months learning how to perform the procedure, according to the Bellingham (Wash.) Herald.

The transplant worked, and the dog survived. Since that first patient, more than 100 dogs have undergone the treatment at Bellingham Veterinary with a cure rate of 50 percent, and three more hospitals in the United States have been trained to perform the procedure, according to the Herald.