CAHF and EHRF support local research

Drs. Joseph Rubin and Madalagama Appuhamilage Roshan Priyantha examine bacterium commonly found in dogs.

Drs. Joseph Rubin and Madalagama Appuhamilage Roshan Priyantha examine bacterium commonly found in dogs.

Two research funds at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) have awarded over $146,000 to University of Saskatchewan researchers who are investigating critical health issues in horses and pets.

The Companion Animal Health Fund (CAHF), which supports pet health research, granted nearly $76,800 to six research teams that include 22 researchers. The Equine Health Research Fund (EHRF) awarded nearly $69,700 toward 19 scientists working on six horse health-related research projects.

“The Companion Animal Health Fund and the Equine Health Research Fund are wonderful assets to this university. Their financial support allows WCVM researchers to conduct high-quality, clinically-relevant research,” said Dr. Baljit Singh, associate dean of research for the WCVM.

For nearly four decades, the veterinary college’s CAHF and EHRF have supported companion animal and equine health research. This year, the funded projects span a various range of topics including equine Cushing’s disease, cancer, septic arthritis, bacterial infections, laminitis and assessing kidney function in pets.

“The WCVM boasts a very collaborative research environment and that is certainly reflected in the projects that were submitted this year,” added Singh. “Many projects include researchers from diverse backgrounds who provide the expertise required to conduct meaningful research. These projects will ultimately result in improved animal health.”

In addition to the large team grants, the CAHF and EHRF support opportunities for advanced education and research to students through fellowships and undergraduate summer student awards.

The CAHF has allocated more than $40,000 to support two research fellows at the WCVM. Dr. Margaret (Meg) Scuderi is a small animal internal medicine resident under the supervision of Dr. Elisabeth (Liz) Snead in the college’s Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences.

Scuderi will complete her combined Master of Veterinary Science (MVetSc)-residency program in July 2015. Her main research focus is assessing the safety and efficacy of a GLP-1 and glargine insulin combination for feline diabetes.

The second CAHF fellow is Dr. Roshan Madalagama Appuhamilage, a graduate student whose supervisor is Dr. Joe Rubin in the WCVM’s Department of Veterinary Microbiology.

Appuhamilage, who is working toward a Master of Science degree at the WCVM, is investigating the emergence of antimicrobial resistance in Staphylococcus pseudintermidius in dogs.

The EHRF has provided more than $70,000 to renew research fellowships for Drs. Keri Thomas and Andres Sanchez who are surgical residents (combined MVetSc-residency program) in the WCVM’s Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences.

Under the supervision of Dr. David Wilson, Thomas is conducting an in vitro comparison of MCIII trans-cortical pin location for transfixation pin cast construction in the horse.

Sanchez is evaluating the effect of arthroscopic lavage on serum amyloid A (SAA) concentration, total protein and nucleated cell count in synovial fluid of healthy horses. His supervisor is Dr. Joe Bracamonte.

Rebecca McOnie, a second-year veterinary student from Armstrong, B.C., is the EHRF’s undergraduate summer student in 2014. Her research project focuses on Cushing’s syndrome under the supervision of Dr. James Carmalt.

Companion Animal Health Fund-supported research for 2014-2015:

  • “Metformin: a new potential cancer drug for dogs?”

Drs. M. Casey Gaunt, Charlotte Johnson, Valerie MacDonald Dickinson and Trisha Dowling, WCVM; and Ryan Dickinson, Prairie Diagnostic Services

  • “Investigating the connection between E.coli infections and cancer”

Drs. Valerie MacDonald, Charlotte Johnson, and Joseph Rubin, WCVM

  • “Examining the details of a common bacterium found in dogs”

Drs. Joseph Rubin and Matthew Gaunt, and Madalagama Appuhamilage Roshan Priyantha, WCVM

  • “Evaluating chest tube fluids may provide better animal care”

Drs. Sherisse Sakals, Germaine Hung, Casey Gaunt, Joseph Rubin and Greg Starrak, WCVM

  • “A new method for detecting kidney disease in cats”

Drs. Elisabeth Snead, James Montgomery, and Jewel Milo, WCVM; Drs. Carl Wesolowski and Michal Wesolowski, U of S College of Medicine

  • “SAMe may have antioxidant potential in companion animals”

Drs. Katharine Woods and Astrid Kjaergaard, WCVM

Equine Health Research Fund-supported research for 2014-2015:

  • “Is SAA a reliable marker for septic arthritis therapies?”

Drs. Joe Bracamonte, Andres Sanchez-Teran and Hilary Burgess, WCVM; Dr. Luis Rubio-Martinez, University of Liverpool; and Brent Hoff, University of Guelph

  • “Developing a minimally invasive technique to test, monitor and treat PPID”

Drs. James Carmalt and Andrew Allen, WCVM; Dr. Hall Schott II, Michigan State University; and Dr. Han van De Kolk, Euregio Laboratory, The Netherlands

  • “Do horses with heaves have different microbiomes than normal horses?”

Drs. Katharina Lohmann, Julia Montgomery, Hilary Burgess and Janet Hill, WCVM

  • “Using hormones to identify previous exposures to stress”

Drs. Fernando Marqués, Carolina Durán, David Janz and John Campbell, WCVM

  • “Investigating the mechanism of hormone imbalances in equine PPID”

Drs. Suraj Unniappan, James Carmalt and Andrew Allen, WCVM

  • “A potential therapy for equine laminitis”

Drs. David Wilson, James Carmalt and Kathryn Carmalt, WCVM


Sarah Figley is a second-year veterinary student from Saskatoon, Sask., and is the WCVM’s research communications intern for the summer of 2014.


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