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Connect to Veterinary Medicine: November 2011

News at the College

2011 Innovator of the Year

Dr. Yasuko Rikihisa, professor in the Department of Veterinary Biosciences, has been named The Ohio State University 2011 Innovator of the Year. Additionally, Dr. Gustavo Schuenemann, assistant professor in the Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, and Dairy Extension Specialist, was nominated for the Early Career Innovator of the Year Award. Dr. Caroline Whitacre, vice president in the Office of Research, announced the awards at the November Research Day event held at the Ohio Union. Dr. Rikihisa has focused her research career on the fundamental understanding of and diagnostic platforms for a number of zoonotic tick-borne diseases that infect farm animals, dogs, cats, and people. Her work has been successfully translated into commercial products and services by Ohio State licensees. Revenues from licenses of her intellectual property and assets portfolio have made the College of Veterinary Medicine the leading commercialization revenue-producing college for the past five years. Read more about Dr. Rikihisa's and Dr. Schuenemann's research.

Generous donation allowed for first of its kind study

This summer a generous donation made by Mr. Duncan Alexander, a long time supporter of programs at the College of Veterinary Medicine, allowed for a ground-breaking Alzheimer's study to be performed. The study, "The Effect of Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) with Horses on the Psychological and Behavioral Symptoms of Persons with Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementias," was a collaborative effort between the College of Veterinary Medicine and the College of Social Work. The research team was led by Dr. Gwendolen Lorch, assistant professor of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, and Dr. Holly Dabelko-Schoeny, associate professor at the College of Social Work. Follow the link for more information about this study.

Dr. Boris-Lawrie to head new Life Sciences Network

Dr. Kathleen Boris-Lawrie, David White Professor of Veterinary Biosciences in the college, has been selected as the first executive director for the new Life Sciences Network for The Ohio State University. One of the top findings of the Graduate School's 2008 doctoral program review revealed tremendous unrealized potential in the environmental and life sciences at Ohio State. Since then, two faculty task forces and advisory groups have met with college deans to develop a plan to move Ohio State forward in these areas. The Life Sciences Network will help draw together faculty, graduate students, and others to address important topics in environmental and life sciences research and graduate education.

"Plan for a Happy Reunion:" A guide to Finding Lost Cats and Dogs

The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine, through a grant supported from the Kenneth A. Scott Charitable Trust, a Key Bank Trust, has designed a guide to help owners keep their pets safe. Our "Plan for a Happy Reunion" guide offers easy-to-follow steps to help owners keep their pet safe, as well as tips for what to do if their pet gets lost. An important part of this is planning ahead. About 50 percent of "indoor" cat owners don't microchip their cats because they don't think their cats will get outside or get lost, says Ohio State researcher and veterinarian Dr. Linda Lord. Ironically, another Ohio State study found that 41 percent of pet owners looking for a lost cat were looking for an "indoor-only" cat that got outdoors. This guide lays out steps to help owners find their pet, including contacting local animal agencies, distributing fliers, notifying neighbors, going online, and advertising.

Ohio State Greyhound Program partners with racetrack to save racing greyhounds

A partnership between The Ohio State University and Wheeling Island Racetrack is an effort to improve the wellness of racing greyhounds, as well as rehabilitate those that are injured from the sport. An investigative study to check the health of active racing greyhounds was conducted in July by Dr. Guillermo Couto, Dr. Lori Bohenko, and a group of veterinarians and students from Ohio State. Another part of the partnership involves "4 legs 4 hounds," an initiative to provide surgery for racing greyhounds with career-ending injuries. Severely injured greyhounds are brought to Ohio State for rehabilitation and then are adopted out through a program at the university. Additionally, Dr. Couto was featured in a story that aired on ABC 6 News at 5 on October 18, discussing the amazing greyhound breed and how the Ohio State Greyhound Program is giving injured racing dogs a second chance at life. Read the full story, watch the video clip, and learn more about The Ohio State University Greyhound Health and Wellness Program.

Focusing on Pet Wellness

October was National Pet Wellness Month and pet owners were reminded of the importance of regular veterinary visits. National Pet Wellness Month is sponsored by the American Veterinary Medical Association and Zoetis (formally Pfizer Animal Health) and recommends taking your pets to the veterinarian for routine check-ups and preventive care "twice a year for life." The Ohio State University Veterinary Medical Center (VMC) recognizes the importance of this routine veterinary care. Read more about how Ohio State is encouraging pet wellness.

Climate Change Webinar presented by Dean Lonnie King

As part of The Ohio State University Climate Change Webinar Series, Dean Lonnie King presented a webinar on December 1 to explore how the convergence of human health and animal health has led to a new era of emerging infectious diseases. Information about the factors that created this unprecedented era of emerging diseases, environmental changes that will impact the human-animal interface, and why the One Health Initiative offers a new mindset and solutions to address the health threats created by this unique convergence were addressed. The webinar can be viewed (and heard) at

"Update for Veterinarians"

The November/December issue of "Update for Veterinarians" features some of the exciting clinical trials that are currently being conducted in the Veterinary Medical Center. All of the featured studies are currently enrolling patients. The flyer will be distributed in the OVMA newsletter, and can also be accessed online. Online version of "Update for Veterinarians"

Upcoming Events

Join your Alumni Society for Men's Hockey and Basketball!

Tickets are available for Veterinary Medicine Alumni Society members for the Ohio State vs. Michigan Men's Hockey Game and Tailgate, hosted by the Ohio State Alumni Association as well as the Ohio vs. Penn State Men's Basketball Game. Tickets will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis. Tickets to both events can be purchased online at

Ohio State vs. Michigan Hockey game and tailgate- Friday, January 13, 2012

  • Tailgate: 5-6:30 p.m., Longaberger Alumni House, 2200 Olentangy River Road (free parking!).
  • Game time: 7:05 p.m.
  • Food includes pizza, salads, dessert, soda, and water. A cash bar will be available. Entertainment provided by the Ohio State Athletic Pep Band, Ohio State Cheerleaders and a vist from Brutus. Archie Griffin will also be in attendance. A raffle will be held to win great prizes including a ride on the Zamboni during one of the intermissions at the game. Proceeds benefit The Ohio State University Alumni Association scholarship fund. The game starts at 7:05 p.m.
  • Price includes admission to the tailgate and game:
    • Adults: $20
    • Children 3-12: $15
    • Children under 3: $7

Ohio State vs. Penn State basketball game- Wednesday, January 25, 2012

  • Game time: 6:30 p.m.
  • Tickets are $21

Midwest Veterinary Conference

The 2012 Midwest Veterinary Conference (MVC) will be held February 23-26, 2012. Visit the Midwest Veterinary Conference website for more information.

Alumni Reception at the Midwest Veterinary Conference

The Ohio State Veterinary Medicine Alumni Society and the College of Veterinary Medicine will host an Alumni Reception at the Midwest Veterinary Conference. Please plan to join the dean and board members of the Veterinary Alumni Society on Saturday, February 25 from 6-8 p.m.

Save the date for the next Alumni Golf Outing!

The next Alumni Golf Outing will take place on Monday, June 25, 2012. It will be held at the beautiful Ohio State University Golf Club, Scarlet Course, 3605 Tremont Road, Columbus, OH 43221. More information will be available in the future. We hope to see you there!

In Memoriam

George Robert Blind (DVM 1957)

Dr. George Robert Blind, 83, passed away in November. Born in New Philadelphia, Ohio, he was an area resident all his life and retired after 38 years as the founder and owner of the Barberton Veterinary Clinic. Dr. Blind was also one of the founders of the Metropolitan Veterinary Hospital of Copley, Ohio. He was a member of Lakeview United Methodist Church in Barberton. Dr. Blind was actively involved in Barberton Kiwanis, Elks Club, served as a past President of the Ohio Veterinary Medical Association, American Veterinary Medical Association, American Animal Hospital Association, Summit County Veterinary Association and the Barberton Area Chamber of Commerce, in which he was also a past President. He was also a proud Army Veteran having served during the Korean War. George is preceded in death by his parents, John W. and Lillian and brother, Richard Blind. He is survived by his loving wife, Jeannette; children, John (Marilyn) of Chillicothe, George (Nancy) of Bath, and Geoffrey (Marlene) of Wadsworth; and grandchildren, Katie, Emily, Stephanie, Jaclyn and Olivia.

Robert C. Gonser (DVM 1946)

Robert C. Gonser, D.V.M. 87, passed away in late October. He was born January 19, 1924 the son of Charles and Prudence Gonser. He graduated from Lehman High School in 1942 and graduated from The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1946. Robert was in the U. S. Army Specialized Medical Training Corps proudly serving his country during WWII. Robert practiced veterinary medicine for 40 years as a founding member of Stark Animal Hospital. He was an avid golfer, raised quarter horses, and raced Standardbred horses. He was preceded in death by his parents and wife of 64 years, Joan Gonser. Robert is survived by his daughters, Nancy (Robert) Smith and Cinda (Joseph) Harold; sister, Lois Mattson; nephew, James (Wendy) Mattson; nieces, Karen and Kristen Mattson; grandchildren Robert (Lauren) Smith III, Andrew Smith, Lindsy Frakes, Cortney (Mark) Sketch and Jacob Harold; and great –grandchildren, Ramsey and Henry Smith.

Waldo F. Keller (DVM 1953)

Waldo Frank Keller of East Lansing passed away in October. Dr. Keller, or Wally as he was known to friends, colleagues, and family, was born in 1929 and grew up in Hicksville, Ohio. He graduated from The Ohio University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1953. He also played junior varsity basketball at Ohio State under legendary head coach Jack Gibbs. Wally came to Michigan State University, then left to serve his country as first lieutenant in the Strategic Air Command of the United States Air Force from 1954 to 1956. He met the love of his life, Dr. Mary Jane (Currey) Keller in 1957 and was married to her until her death in 2007. Wally served in a number of capacities at the Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine including Assistant Professor (1961), Associate Professor (1964), Professor (1970), Associate Dean of Academic Affairs (1979-1988), Chairperson of Small Animal Science (1968-1979), Acting Dean (1993-1995), and Dean of Veterinary Medicine until his retirement in 1996. Wally was also a distinguished member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity, having been bestowed with the high honor of Significant Sig. Wally is survived by his sister, Teresa Lehman; his brother, David Neal Keller; his daughter, Ann Clifford; and son, Rick Keller. In addition, Wally had numerous nieces and nephews as well as three grandchildren, Alec, Briana and Ian Keller.

Samuel R. Thomas (DVM 1961)

Samuel R. "Doc" Thomas, of Bucyrus, died in late October. Sam was born in 1934 in Pittsburgh to the late Samuel J. and Mary M. (Menk) Thomas. He received his Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from The Ohio State University in 1956, and completed his DVM degree in 1961. While in college, Sam served with the U.S. Army and was honorably discharged as a Lieutenant. Doc served as an adjunct professor with Ohio State; managed and served as the Pickwick Farms Veterinarian for a number of years; served as Crawford County Health Commissioner for 10 years; and served on the Bucyrus Community Hospital Board of Directors. He was a member of Delta Chi and Alpha Psi, where he served both as president. Sam is survived by his wife of 25 years, Tina Schnabel; five children, Barbara (Dr. Richard) Patterson, Dr. Beth (Bruce Glaser) Thomas, Samuel (Crystal) Thomas, Michael C. (Andrea) Thomas and Morgan S. Thomas; seven grandchildren, Ellen Patterson, Mark Patterson, Jim (Virginia Patterson) Douglas, Steven Harter, Blake Thomas, Alec Thomas and Eric Thomas; one great granddaughter, Ellen Olivia Douglas; as well as two nieces and one nephew. Sam is preceded in death by his parents; and a son, James S. Thomas.

Herbert C. Topp (DVM 1964)

Dr. Herbert C. Topp, 72, passed away in late October. He was born August 1, 1939 in New Bremen, Ohio. He graduated from The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1964. For over 47 years he was the owner and operator of the Mechanicsburg Veterinary Clinic. His survivors include his wife, Helen; his son, Douglas A. (Barbara); his daughter, DiAnn (William) McMillen; 4 grandchildren; his brothers, Marvin (Linda) & Thomas; his sisters, Martha (Paul) Ewing and Doris (Jerry) Carr; and several nieces and nephews.

Last updated: 

Monday, February 18, 2013 - 11:06am