A sixth veterinary cardiologist has been hired for the William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital at the University of California, Davis.
Joshua Stern, DVM, Ph.D., Dipl. ACVIM, will serve the university’s veterinary school as an assistant professor.
Rob Warren, communication and marketing officer for the teaching hospital, acknowledged that most private veterinary practices probably don’t have one cardiac specialist on their payroll.
"I’m not sure of all other hospitals in the country, but I would think that it is probably rare for a hospital to have six veterinarians specializing in cardiology,” Warren said.
"Our overall caseload of 45,000 patients a year warrants this number and Dr. Stern’s addition.”
Dr. Stern joins two full-time cardiologists and three cardiology residents at UC Davis.
Stern, who earned his undergraduate and DVM degrees from Ohio State University, brings a raft of cardiac research experience with him.
"We are excited by the addition of Dr. Stern to our faculty,” said David Wilson, BVMS, director of the UC Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital.
"His achievements to date are impressive for an individual in the early stages of his academic career,” Dr. Wilson added.
Stern’s research has primarily focused on inherited heart disease and has led to several exciting discoveries:
• Identification of a mutation responsible for the development of subaortic stenosis in Newfoundland dogs.
• Discovery of a mutation responsible for sudden death and QT syndrome in a family of English springer spaniels.
• He has helped develop many of the current available tests for genetic heart disease.
Stern’s Ph.D. comes from Washington State University, where he focused on the genetics of familial subvalvular aortic stenosis in dogs.
"Dr. Stern’s role will be research and clinical,” Warren said.
"We do perform heart surgeries and have a large clinical base of cardiac patients,” he noted.
Warren said that Stern’s future work at UC Davis might have implications beyond veterinary medicine.
"With the research, we are always mindful of our work leading to other benefits for human medicine,” he said.
There is the noteworthy example of UC Davis’s chief of veterinary cardiology, Leigh Griffins, who won a business model competition with a new heart valve that was successfully tested on small animals and "could lead to ground-breaking changes for human heart transplant patients,” Warren said.
"Our vet school and our med school often collaborate on cases,” Warren added.
"We feel fortunate that he is now part of our team and look forward to his continued success at UC Davis,” Wilson said, singing Stern’s praises.