The Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech’s Veterinary Memorial Fund recently celebrated its 30th year of providing competitive grants to faculty members working on clinical research projects.
The fund was established in 1985 to enable pet owners and families to leave a legacy of support for scientific investigations which improve the quality of health care for future generations. The fund accepts contributions, both small and large, from veterinarians and owners in memory of a pet, as well as from family and friends in memory of a person who loved animals.
After Michele Sizer of Woodbridge, Va., lost her dog, Baby, this past June, the veterinarians and staff at Mapleshade Animal Hospital donated to the memorial fund in Baby’s honor.
“It means the world to me to share Baby’s memories and know that through his loss other animals can have a better quality of life,” Sizer said. “I sincerely thank Mapleshade Animal Hospital for their kind donation to the memorial fund, and I thank the researchers for the work that they do in honor of our animal companions.”
The college initially established the fund in partnership with the Virginia Veterinary Medical Association and was later joined by the Maryland Veterinary Medical Association. To date, the fund has raised almost $1.5 million and funded more than 100 research projects, according to the college.
One such example includes an $8,000 grant to Ian Herring, DVM, Dipl. ACVO, associate professor of ophthalmology in the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, and ophthalmology resident Rachel Matusow, DVM. The grant allowed Drs. Herring and Matusow to offer anti-glaucoma medication to 120 dogs that underwent cataract surgery over an 18-month period. The project’s findings will become part of routine preoperative care for dogs undergoing cataract surgery at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, according to the college. Their research has been submitted for publication in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.
“Elevation in eye pressure is the most common complication following cataract surgery in dogs and affects 75 percent of patients,” said Herring, who is also the teaching hospital’s assistant director and has been a part of 10 projects funded by the memorial over the years. “Veterinarians typically use anti-glaucoma medication following surgery to reduce eye pressure, but very few use it before. We investigated whether pre-treatment with this medication would reduce the frequency of this complication and found that, yes, it does.”
Specially designated donations of $2,500 and above will be recognized with a new donor wall, which is slated to be installed in the Veterinary Teaching Hospital this fall.
For details about the fund, visit the website here.