Fund backs baker’s dozen of research projects

Matthew Malyk wraps a horse's legs.

This year’s EHRF-backed studies address key health issues such as equine herpesvirus type 1 (EHV-1), equine skin tumours and tick-borne diseases. Photo: Mike Raine.

Researchers at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) have received more than $183,000 in grants to support a baker’s dozen of vital research projects that will enhance equine and companion animal health care in Canada.

“The calibre of the submitted research proposals was very high this year — making it difficult for the funds to make a final selection of projects,” says Dr. Baljit Singh, associate dean of research of the WCVM.

“However the end result is that we have 13 excellent research studies that will address significant health issues that are of concern to horse owners and pet owners as well as veterinarians.”

The equine studies address key health issues such as equine herpesvirus type 1 (EHV-1), equine skin tumours, tick-borne diseases, and congenital stationary night blindness in appaloosa horses.

In the companion animal health field, research teams will take a closer look at canine cancers and E. coli infection in dogs with parvoviral enteritis. Other pet health studies include one evaluating the effects of an anesthesia drug on intraocular pressures and two investigations of advanced medical imaging modalities.

Singh says the bulk of the research money comes from two of the veterinary college’s longtime research funds: the Equine Health Research Fund (EHRF) is investing more than $86,000 in six horse health research projects, while the Companion Animal Health Fund (CAHF) will provide just over $67,000 for five pet health projects.

Two other WCVM-administered funds — the Kaye Canine Research Trust Fund and the Gavina Maggie Reekie Fund for Canine Research — are supporting two additional pet health studies worth nearly $30,000.

The research projects, which all involve WCVM faculty and graduate students, will be conducted at the veterinary college over the next 18 to 24 months.

Besides the research funding, the EHRF will provide nearly $65,000 to support two equine research fellowships and an undergraduate summer research student position. The CAHF has also earmarked about $39,000 to support the work of a CAHF research fellow in 2012-2013.

Established in 1977 and 1978 respectively, the EHRF and CAHF were created to stimulate and support equine and pet health research at the WCVM. Each year, both funds also invest in research fellowships, summer research and learning opportunities for undergraduate veterinary students and animal health information for the public.

The EHRF annually invests about $150,000 in the veterinary college’s equine health programs while the CAHF’s provides about $125,000 in support each year for the WCVM’s companion animal health programs.

Equine health studies approved for funding in 2012-2013

  • “Histamine release with morphine infusions in anesthetized horses.” Research team: Drs. Tanya Duke, Joe Bracamonte, James Carmalt and a graduate student.
  • “Targeted gene therapy in TRPM 1-/- mice and in appaloosa horses affected from congenital stationary night blindness.” Researchers: Drs. Bruce Grahn, Vikram Misra, Lynne Sandmeyer, Bianca Bauer and Nora Denk.
  • “Granulocytic anaplasmosis and Lyme disease exposure of horses in Canada.” Researchers: Drs. Katharina Lohmann, Gili Schvartz, Hilary Burgess and Tasha Epp.
  • “Is latent equine herpesvirus type 1 (EHV-1) reactivated by the triggering of the unfolded protein response in horse cells?” Research team: Drs. Katharina Lohmann, Vikram Misra, Andrea Di Marzo.
  • “Effect of venepuncture site on hematologic values in horses with gastrointestinal disease compared with health controls.” Researchers: Drs. Fernando Marqués, Imma Roquet, Holly Sparks and Tasha Epp.
  • “The role of papillomaviruses in the development of equine skin tumours in western North America.” Researcher: Dr. Bruce Wobeser.

Companion animal health studies approved for funding in 2012-2013

  • “Direct computed tomographic lymphography of the pelvic limb in dogs.” Research team: Drs. Monique Mayer, James Montgomery, John Pharr, Tawni Silver and Cheryl Waldner.
  • “Can we control canine cancers by turning off their unfolded protein response?” Researchers: Drs. Vikram Misra, Kathleen Linn, Valerie MacDonald, Kirsty Elliott and Elemir Simko.
  • “Development of an immunohistochemical panel for prognosis of survival of cats diagnosed with mammary gland cancer.” Researchers: Drs. Elemir Simko, Kristyna Musil, Steven Mills, Steve Hendrick and Bruce Wobeser.
  • “Prevalence of enteropathic Escherichia coli in dogs with parvoviral enteritis.” Research team: Drs. Anthony Carr, Casey Gaunt, Joe Rubin and Janet Hill.
  • “Where is the iron in feline bone marrow located? Synchrotron x-ray fluprescence (SXRF) detection, speciation and quantification of iron in feline bone marrow samples from healthy cats and cats with anemia of inflammatory disease.” Researchers: Drs. Liz Snead, Marion Jackson, Ian Pickering and Tasha Epp.
  • “Distribution of voriconazole in body fluids of healthy adults dogs after repeated oral dosing.” Researchers: Drs. Sue Taylor, Julie Lemetayer, Trisha Dowling and Anthony Carr.
  • “The effects of alfaxalone for anesthesia induction on intraocular pressures in normal dogs.” Researchers: Drs. Bianca Bauer and Barbara Ambros.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *