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Veterinary Medicine

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  • Dr. Leyi Wang in his lab, wearing his white veterinarian's coat.

    Which animals can catch the coronavirus?

    Dr. Leyi Wang and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory have played a key role in diagnosing coronavirus infection in animal species in zoos across the country. This is important work for understanding the virus’s spread and its broad host range, Wang says.

  • A portrait of Dr. Jim Lowe

    Can people take a livestock drug to treat a deadly virus?

    Taking large or multiple doses of the anti-parasitic drug ivermectin can cause a toxic overdose, and humans should not take forms intended for animal use, says Illinois veterinary medicine expert Dr. Jim Lowe.

  • An Illinois student provides a saliva sample for a COVID-19 test.

    Frequent COVID-19 testing key to efficient, early detection, study finds

    The chance of detecting the virus that causes COVID-19 increases with more frequent testing, no matter the type of test, a new study found. Both polymerase chain reaction and antigen tests, paired with rapid results reporting, can achieve 98% sensitivity if deployed at least every three days.

  • Portrait of Dr. Sam Sander

    How do July 4 celebrations affect wildlife?

    Celebrating the nation’s Independence Day with fireworks is an enduring tradition, but fireworks can be a source of distress and danger to wildlife. Dr. Sam Sander, a clinical professor of zoo and wildlife medicine at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, spoke with News Bureau life sciences editor Diana Yates about how fireworks affect wildlife and the environment, and how to minimize the risks.

  • Photo of an infant in the IKIDS program seated on her mother’s lap. The infant has a sticker on her forehead that allows an eye-tracking instrument to orient to her eyes.

    Study links prenatal phthalate exposure to altered information processing in infants

    Researchers have found evidence linking pregnant women’s exposure to phthalates to altered cognitive outcomes in their infants.

  • Portrait of Aditi Das standing outdoors.

    Lipid epoxides target pain, inflammatory pathways in neurons

    A process known as epoxidation converts two naturally occurring lipids into potent agents that target multiple cannabinoid receptors in neurons, interrupting pathways that promote pain and inflammation, researchers report in a new study. The findings open a new avenue of research in the effort to find alternatives to potentially addictive opioid pain killers.

  • Yee Ming Khaw stands on the left, Makoto Inoue stands on the right.

    Childhood trauma could affect development, treatment of multiple sclerosis, mouse study finds

    Childhood trauma could affect the trajectory of multiple sclerosis development and response to treatment in adulthood, a new study in mice found.

    Mice that had experienced stress when young were more likely to develop the autoimmune disorder and less likely to respond to a common treatment, researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign found. However, treatment that activated an immune-cell receptor mitigated the effects of childhood stress in the mice.

  • Image of the head and face of a timber rattlesnake. It looks concerned.

    Study finds fungal disease of snakes in 19 states, Puerto Rico

    In a collaborative effort between scientists and personnel on U.S. military bases in 31 states and Puerto Rico, researchers surveyed for an infection caused by an emerging fungal pathogen that afflicts snakes. The effort found infected snakes on military bases in 19 states and Puerto Rico, demonstrating that the fungus is more widely distributed than was previously known. The team reports the findings in the journal PLOS ONE.

  • Professor Sumiti Vinayak stands outdoors, wearing a black sweater and a blue scarf.

    Repurposed anti-malarial compounds kill diarrheal parasite, study finds

    A class of compounds used for malaria treatment also kill the intestinal parasite Cryptosporidium, a leading global cause of diarrheal disease and death in children that has no cure, a multi-institution collaboration of researchers found in a new study.

  • A new study of Humboldt penguins reveals metabolic differences between those that nest in sheltered and exposed areas.

    Blood markers predict Humboldt penguin nest type, reproductive success

    In a new study, researchers looked at metabolic markers in the blood of 30 Humboldt penguins nesting in the Punta San Juan Marine Protected Area in Peru. The scientists discovered metabolic differences between penguins nesting in sheltered burrows and those in more exposed areas. Nesting success is critical to the Humboldt penguins’ long-term survival as a species.

  • U. of I. professor of comparative biosciences Jodi Flaws and her colleagues reviewed dozens of studies exploring the relationship between exposure to environmental contaminants, the gut microbiome and human and animal health.

    Environmental contaminants alter gut microbiome, health

    Scientists review the research linking dozens of environmental chemicals to changes in the gut microbiome and associated health challenges.

  • U. of I. veterinary clinical medicine professors Ashley Mitek and Jim Lowe discuss the traits of viruses that can be transmitted between animals and humans.

    Veterinary infectious disease expert weighs in on coronavirus threat

    Influenza, SARS and COVID-19 are all zoonotic diseases, readily transmitted from animals to humans. The viruses that cause these diseases also share traits that allow them to quickly mutate, infect widely and spread around the world.

    In a new podcast, a veterinarian and expert in zoonotic diseases offers insights into the special characteristics of the new coronavirus that make it more like influenza and less like SARS or the virus that causes the especially lethal Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome.

  • Veterinary neurologist Dr. Kari Foss greets a Dalmation puppy that needs his hearing tested.

    Veterinarians: Dogs, too, can experience hearing loss

    Just like humans, dogs are sometimes born with impaired hearing or experience hearing loss as a result of disease, inflammation, aging or exposure to noise. Dog owners and K-9 handlers ought to keep this in mind when adopting or caring for dogs, and when bringing them into noisy environments, researchers say.

  • Leyi Wang, a virologist and professor of Veterinary Medicine.

    What is the coronavirus spreading across the globe?

    The first case of a novel strain of coronavirus has been confirmed in the United States. Virologist Leyi Wang, a professor of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Illinois, discussed the outbreak of the new strain with News Bureau biomedical sciences editor Liz Ahlberg Touchstone.

  • U. of I. veterinary clinical medicine professor Dr. Leyi Wang led the team that detected bovine kobuvirus in the U.S.

    Team finds bovine kobuvirus in US

    A virus that afflicts cattle that was first discovered in Japan in 2003 has made its way to the U.S., researchers report in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.

  • Graduate student Payel Mondal, left, biochemistry professor Kai Zhang and their colleagues developed a new optogenetic technique that will help scientists study protein function.

    New approach uses light to stabilize proteins for study

    Researchers have developed a new technique that uses light to control the lifetime of a protein inside the cell. This method will allow scientists to better observe how specific proteins contribute to health, development and disease.

  • With their colleagues, veterinary clinical medicine professors, from left, Dr. Ashley Mitek, Dr. Stephanie Keating and Dr. Maureen McMichael, developed an online pain management training program for veterinarians.

    Prescribing oral opioids for dogs likely doesn’t help them, veterinary experts say

    Sending ailing dogs home with oral opioids may not be an effective way to manage their pain, experts report in a free, online continuing education program recently developed for veterinarians. In light of growing evidence that such drugs don’t work well in dogs – added to the fact that humans sometimes abuse opioids prescribed for pets – the common practice of prescribing oral opioids for dogs in pain should be reexamined, the experts say.

    Anticipating the need among opioid prescribers for additional training to meet regulatory mandates, these experts created an online continuing education program that addresses the problem. The training includes cautions about unwarranted prescription of oral opioids and advice on effective pain management for veterinary patients. 

  • New protocols will help emergency medical personnel stabilize, treat and transport law enforcement K-9s injured on the job.

    Dog down: Effort helps emergency medical staff treat law enforcement K-9s

    Recognizing a gap in care for law enforcement K-9s injured on the job, a team of veterinarians, emergency medical services experts and canine handlers has developed protocols for emergency medical service personnel who may be called upon to help treat and transport the injured dogs.

  • The risk of some mosquito-borne diseases can go up with increased rainfall, U. of I. entomology professor Brian Allan said. However, excess rainfall can reduce the number of mosquitos that hatch in stormwater catch basins, such as the Culex species that carry West Nile virus.

    Does more rain mean more risk of mosquito-borne diseases in Illinois?

    Experts have ranked May 2019 as one of the wettest Mays on record in central Illinois. Is it possible that the incidence of mosquito-borne illnesses increases with the amount of rainfall? To find out, News Bureau science writer Ananya Sen asked Brian F. Allan, an entomology professor at the University of Illinois.

  • Cilia in the efferent ductules of the male reproductive tract don’t transport sperm, as was previously thought, but agitate the fluid to keep the sperm from aggregating, new research indicates. Rex Hess was a co-author on the study.

    Cilia beat to an unexpected rhythm in male reproductive tract, study in mice reveals

    Waves of undulating cilia drive several processes essential to life. They clear debris and mucus from the respiratory tract, move spinal fluid through the brain and transport embryos from the ovaries to the uterus for implantation. According to a new study in mice, however, cilia perform somewhat differently in the male reproductive tract.

  • Viruses may inject their DNA into a host cell synchronously or randomly, a new study finds. The difference appears to influence the course of infection.

    Discovery: Mechanical properties of viral DNA determine the course of infection

    A new study reveals a previously unknown mechanism that governs whether viruses that infect bacteria will quickly kill their hosts or remain latent inside the cell. The discovery, reported in the journal eLife, also may apply to viruses that infect humans and other animals, the researcher said.

  • U. of I. researchers identified the factors most closely associated with a countrys risk of experiencing an outbreak of chikungunya or dengue.

    Study explores risk factors linked to chikungunya and dengue outbreaks

    In one of the largest studies of its kind, researchers analyzed chikungunya and dengue outbreak data from 76 countries over a period of 50 years, focusing on regions across the Indian Ocean that are hard hit by these and other mosquito-borne infectious diseases.

  • Comparative biosciences professor Aditi Das and veterinary clinical medicine professor Timothy Fan found that a class of molecules that form when the body metabolizes omega-3 fatty acids may prevent cancer from migrating.

    Products of omega-3 fatty acid metabolism may have anticancer effects, study shows

    A class of molecules formed when the body metabolizes omega-3 fatty acids could inhibit cancer’s growth and spread, University of Illinois researchers report in a new study in mice.

  • Illinois professors Jodi Flaws, Megan Mahoney and Rebecca Smith found that sleep problems in menopause are closely correlated with hot flashes and depression, but that they may not last after menopause.

    Sleep problems in menopause linked to hot flashes, depression - and may not last

    A new study of middle-aged women found that sleep problems vary across the stages of menopause, yet are consistently correlated with hot flashes and depression.

  • U. of I. veterinary oncologist Dr. Timothy Fan, left, chemistry professor Paul Hergenrother and their colleagues are testing the safety of a new cancer drug in a clinical trial for humans with late-stage brain cancer. The compound has worked well in canine patients with brain cancer, lymphoma and osteosarcoma.

    Cancer drug starts clinical trials in human brain-cancer patients

    A drug that spurs cancer cells to self-destruct has been cleared for use in a clinical trial of patients with anaplastic astrocytoma, a rare malignant brain tumor, and glioblastoma multiforme, an aggressive late-stage cancer of the brain. This phase Ib trial will determine if the experimental drug PAC-1 can be used safely in combination with a standard brain-cancer chemotherapy drug, temozolomide.

  • A new study of mice by scientists at the University of Illinois raises concerns about the potential impact that long-term exposure to genistein prior to conception may have on fertility and pregnancy. The study was conducted by, from left, food science and human nutrition professor William G. Helferich, comparative biosciences professor Jodi A. Flaws and animal sciences research specialist James A. Hartman.

    Study in mice finds dietary levels of genistein may adversely affect female fertility

    Exposure to the phytoestrogen genistein prior to conception may adversely affect female fertility and pregnancy outcomes, depending on the dosage and duration of exposure, a new study in mice by scientists at the University of Illinois suggests.

  • Professor Jason Pieper

    Antibiotic-resistant infections in pets: What now?

    Rates of antibiotic-resistant infections in companion animals are rising at an alarming rate. An Illinois veterinarian discusses what can be done about it.

  • In a new study of more than 1,400 critically ill calves with diarrhea, Peter D. Constable and his colleagues found that clinical signs of disease were better predictors of mortality than the laboratory data that clinicians have relied upon historically. Constable is the dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Illinois.

    Paper: Clinical signs best predictors of mortality in critically ill calves

    Clinical signs may be better predictors of mortality in neonatal calves with diarrhea than blood pH levels and other laboratory findings, suggests a new study co-written by University of Illinois researcher Peter D. Constable.

  • Graduate student Josephine Watson, professor Aditi Das, graduate student Megan Corbett, professor Kristopher Kilian and their colleagues discovered an enzymatic pathway that converts omega-3-derived endocannabinoids into more potent anti-inflammatory molecules.

    Study: Omega-3 fatty acids fight inflammation via cannabinoids

    Chemical compounds called cannabinoids are found in marijuana and also are produced naturally in the body from omega-3 fatty acids. A well-known cannabinoid in marijuana, THC, is responsible for some of its euphoric effects, but it also has anti-inflammatory benefits. A new study in animal tissue reveals the cascade of chemical reactions that convert omega-3 fatty acids into cannabinoids that have anti-inflammatory benefits – but without the psychotropic high. 

  • Fred Kummerow, a professor of comparative biosciences at the University of Illinois, continued his research for more than seven decades. Kummerow died May 31 at his home in Urbana.

    Fred A. Kummerow, successful crusader against trans fats, dies at 102

    Fred A. Kummerow, a pioneer in the study of dietary contributors to heart disease who led a decades-long crusade to remove trans fats from the food supply, died Wednesday, May 31, at his home in Urbana, Illinois. He was 102.

  • New MRI opens door to innovative veterinary research and care

    Advances in magnetic resonance imaging have transformed medicine over the last several decades. Unfortunately, this technology is rarely available to veterinarians. The University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine is now one of a few veterinary research and clinical care schools in the U.S. with a state-of-the-art 3-Tesla MRI facility.

  • Scientists test nanoparticle drug delivery in dogs with osteosarcoma

    At the University of Illinois, an engineer teamed up with a veterinarian to test a bone cancer drug delivery system in animals bigger than the standard animal model, the mouse. They chose dogs – mammals closer in size and biology to humans – with naturally occurring bone cancers, which also are a lot like human bone tumors.

  • Report: A host of common chemicals endanger child brain development

    In a new report, dozens of scientists, health practitioners and children’s health advocates are calling for renewed attention to the growing evidence that many common and widely available chemicals endanger neurodevelopment in fetuses and children of all ages.

  • With online games, high school students learn how to rein in disease outbreaks

    High school students investigate Ebola-like outbreaks and administer vaccines through Outbreak!, a new summer course at Illinois that uses online games to encourage critical thinking about fighting infectious diseases. 

  • Dr. Adam Stern

    When veterinarians become crime scene investigators

    A Minute With...™ veterinary diagnostic laboratory professor Adam Stern

  • Human trials of cancer drug PAC-1 continue with new investment

    Clinical trials of the anti-cancer agent PAC-1 are continuing to expand, thanks to a $7 million angel investment from an anonymous contributor who originally invested $4 million to help get the compound this far in the drug-approval pipeline.

  • Illinois researchers found that the shape of a tumor may play a role in how cancer cells become primed to spread. From left: materials science and engineering professor Kristopher Kilian, graduate student Junmin Lee and veterinary medicine professor Timothy Fan.

    Shape of tumor may affect whether cells can metastasize

    Only a few cells in a cancerous tumor are able to break away and spread to other parts of the body, but the curve along the edge of the tumor may play a large role in activating these tumor-seeding cells, according to a new University of Illinois study.

  • Study links fetal and newborn dolphin deaths to Deepwater Horizon oil spill

    Scientists have finalized a five-year study of newborn and fetal dolphins found stranded on beaches in the northern Gulf of Mexico between 2010 and 2013. Their study, reported in the journal Diseases of Aquatic Organisms, identified substantial differences between fetal and newborn dolphins found stranded inside and outside the areas affected by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

  • Leatherback sea turtles choose nest sites carefully, study finds

    The enormous, solitary leatherback sea turtle spends most of its long life at sea. After hatching and dispersing across the world’s oceans, only the female leatherbacks return to their natal beaches to lay clutches of eggs in the sand. A new study offers fresh insights into their nesting choices and will help efforts to prevent the extinction of this globally endangered giant of the sea, researchers said.

  • 3-D cow app will help veterinary students learn anatomy

    Point your phone or tablet at the poster with a cow image and a small 3-D cow appears before you – Desktop Bessie, with her skeleton, circulatory, digestive and nervous systems, and various organs visible as you move around her.

    If you’re a veterinary student, the augmented reality cow is a great way to learn a cow’s anatomy.

  • Graduate student Daniel Raudabaugh, left, and mycologist Andrew Miller, of the Illinois Natural History Survey, conducted the first in-depth study of the basic biology of Ophidiomyces ophiodiicola, the fungus that causes snake fungal disease.

    Snake fungal disease parallels white-nose syndrome in bats

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — A deadly fungal infection afflicting snakes is eerily similar to the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome in bats, researchers report.

  • University of Illinois veterinary clinical medicine professor Timothy Fan, pictured here with his dog, Ember, describes the advantages of testing potential cancer therapies on pet dogs with spontaneously occurring cancers.

    Drug trials in pet dogs with cancer may speed advances in human oncology

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Pet dogs may be humans’ best friends in a new arena of life: cancer treatment, said University of Illinois veterinary clinical medicine professor Timothy Fan. Physiological similarities between dogs and humans, and conserved genetics between some dog and human cancers, can allow pet dogs to serve as useful models for studying new cancer drugs, he said.

  • Bottlenose dolphins found on Gulf of Mexico beaches after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill had severe lung and adrenal gland abnormalities consistent with petroleum product exposure, researchers report.

    Researchers link dolphin deaths to Deepwater Horizon oil spill

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Dolphins found stranded on Gulf of Mexico beaches following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill were much more likely to have severe lung and adrenal gland damage “consistent with petroleum product exposure” than dolphins stranded elsewhere and prior to the spill, researchers report. One in five dolphins from the spill zone also had primary bacterial pneumonia.

  • In a study of mice, comparative biosciences professor Jodi Flaws and her colleagues linked BPA exposure during pregnancy to reproductive problems in the next three generations.

    BPA exposure in pregnant mice affects fertility in three generations

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - When scientists exposed pregnant mice to levels of bisphenol A equivalent to those considered safe in humans, three generations of female mouse offspring experienced significant reproductive problems, including declines in fertility, sexual maturity and pregnancy success, the scientists report in the journal Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology.

  • University of Illinois chemistry professor Paul Hergenrother, left, and veterinary clinical medicine professor Timothy Fan tested an anti-cancer compound in pet dogs that will be used in human clinical trials.

    Cancer drug first tested in pet dogs begins human trials

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - A new drug that prompts cancer cells to self-destruct while sparing healthy cells is now entering phase I clinical trials in humans. The drug, called PAC-1, first showed promise in the treatment of pet dogs with spontaneously occurring cancers, and is still in clinical trials in dogs with osteosarcoma.

  • Muskrats in central Illinois are being exposed to toxoplasmosis, a disease spread by cats.

    In Illinois, muskrats and minks harbor toxoplasmosis, a cat disease

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - A new study of muskrats and minks in central Illinois indicates that toxoplasmosis, a disease spread by cats, is moving rapidly through the landscape and contaminating local waterways.

  • An interdisciplinary research team developed a new approach to treating endometriosis. The team includes, clockwise, from back left: molecular and integrative physiology professor Milan Bagchi, chemistry professor John Katzenellenbogen, visiting research scientist Ping Gong, molecular and integrative physiology professor Benita Katzenellenbogen, postdoctoral fellow Yiru Chen, research scientist Yuechao Zhao, and comparative biosciences professor CheMyong Ko.

    New drug compounds show promise against endometriosis

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Two new drug compounds - one of which has already proven useful in a mouse model of multiple sclerosis - appear to be effective in treating endometriosis, a disorder that, like MS, is driven by estrogen and inflammation, scientists report in Science Translational Medicine.

  • After experiencing power outages during a 2007 ice storm in Springfield, Missouri, Dickerson Park Zoo officials improved their backup power and heating systems to keep animals - like Henry, pictured here -- safe and warm.

    Flu at the zoo and other disasters: Experts help animal exhibitors prepare for the worst

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Here are three disaster scenarios for zoo or aquarium managers: One, a wildfire lunges towards your facility, threatening your staff and hundreds of zoo animals. Two, hurricane floodwaters pour into your basement, where more than 10,000 exotic fish and marine mammals live in giant tanks. Three, local poultry farmers report avian influenza (bird flu) in their chickens, a primary source of protein for your big cats.

  • An emerging fungal disease threatens the last eastern massasauga rattlesnake population in Illinois.

    Scientists gear up to fight deadly snake fungal disease

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Researchers have developed a faster and more accurate way to test for infection with Ophidiomyces ophiodiicola, a fungus that is killing snakes in the Midwest and eastern United States. The test also allows scientists to monitor the progression of the infection in living snakes.

  • Regular exposure to artificial ultraviolet B light for two weeks doubled rabbits' serum vitamin D levels, the researchers found.

    Rabbits kept indoors could be vitamin D deficient

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Rabbits that remain indoors may suffer from a lack of vitamin D, researchers report in a new study. In rabbits kept as pets or used in laboratory studies, the deficiency could lead to dental problems, undermine their cardiovascular health, weaken their immune systems and skew scientific findings.