WCVM faculty present pet research in Turkey

Bursa, Turkey

The city of Bursa, Turkey, from a southern hilltop. Photo: Dr. John Pharr.

Two medical imaging specialists from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) travelled to Turkey to present some of their latest research at an international veterinary radiology conference in late August.

The International Veterinary Radiology Association (IVRA) is a worldwide organization of veterinarians and others interested in the medical imaging of animals that meets once every three years. This year, the IVRA’s annual scientific meeting was held in Bursa, Turkey — the first time that the group has met in a Muslim country.

The Bursa meeting was a great success, attracting more than 260 delegates from 35 countries who enjoyed the wonders of the country and the warm hospitality of the Turkish people.

In another first, two of the 70 oral scientific papers given at Bursa were presented by WCVM medical imaging faculty whose research was conducted at the western Canadian veterinary college:

Dr. Tawni Silver

WCVM medical imaging specialist Dr. Tawni Silver at the entrance to the Koza Han, the ancient silk bazaar of Bursa. Queen Elizabeth II entered the same doorway during her 2008 visit to Turkey. Photo: Dr. John Pharr.

• Dr. Tawni Silver, an associate professor in the WCVM’s Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, presented a research paper entitled, “CT correlates visceral fat with adverse cardiac changes in canine obesity and weight loss.” Her co-authors were Dr. Lynn Weber and graduate student Jennifer Adolphe.

In this project two imaging modalities were employed: CT to measure the amount of visceral fat in the subject dogs and echocardiography to measure the effective function of the dogs’ hearts at varying stages of obesity.

Study results added valuable further evidence of the detrimental effects of obesity on pets as well as people.

• Dr. John W. Pharr, a professor in the WCVM’s Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, presented a research paper entitled, “Evaluation of electrocardiography and thoracic radiography for identification of heart enlargement in the canine patient: a retrospective study.” This research was the internship project of Dr. Casey Gaunt (now a WCVM faculty member) under the supervision of Dr. Tony Carr and Pharr.

Dr. John Pharr

WCVM professor Dr. John Pharr on the balcony of Hagia Sofia Museum (once the ancient cathedral of Constantinople) in Istanbul, Turkey. Photo courtesy of Dr. John Pharr.

Results of this study indicated that the “vertebral heart score” measurement (Buchanan method) was the most sensitive and reliable indicator of heart enlargement that a non-radiologist could use, demonstrating the best agreement between observers.

This was Silver’s first IVRA meeting while Pharr has been attending IVRA meetings since 1973 — one year after he joined the WCVM faculty.

Pharr has been the IVRA’s treasurer since 2006 when he and Dr. Greg Starrak (then a private practitioner and now a WCVM faculty member), worked together to host the IVRA’s 2006 triennial meeting. The Vancouver event was the first time that the IVRA had met in Canada.

Pharr was re-elected for a third three-year term as IVRA treasurer during the 2012 annual general meeting in Turkey. The next IVRA meeting, which is scheduled for 2015, will take place in Perth, Australia.

Article and photos submitted by Dr. John W. Pharr.


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