[March 26, 2014; Philadelphia, PA] – The University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine (Penn Vet) is pleased to announce the addition of a new residency program in reproductive medicine for companion animals, thanks to a generous gift from the American Kennel Club (AKC) and the Theriogenology Foundation. Penn Vet is one of only three veterinary schools in the US to receive funding for this novel program. The other recipients are Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine and the University of California Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.

(L to R) Dean Joan Hendricks, Mr. Alan Kalter, Dr. Charles Franz and Dr. Anita MigdayThe $100,000 gift will support one resident for two years under the guidance of Dr. Margret Casal, Associate Professor of Medical Genetics. The program will provide specialty training in all aspects of reproductive medicine and surgery, as well as all features of clinical practice related to male and female reproduction, obstetrics, and neonatology in companion animals. [Downloadable images available here.] 

“I am so proud that Penn Vet is a recipient of this important residency program,” said Joan C. Hendricks, VMD, PhD, the Gilbert S. Kahn Dean of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. “Purebred animals serve as important links to understanding how diseases develop and how they can be treated. Much of Penn Vet’s heritage is based in a deep understanding of genetics and germ cells, most notably through the work of Dr. Ralph Brinster. It is critically important for us to train the next generation of veterinarians in both the clinical aspects of reproduction and the fundamentals of basic science so that we can translate improvements into advances for the real world.”

Theriogenology is often seen as an ancillary service in veterinary medicine, and few clinics offer the services of a reproductive specialist, which is why the AKC decided to invest in training more veterinarians in this field.

“The AKC and the Theriogenology Foundation recognize a joint commitment to breeding as an invaluable tool for the continued improvement of the genetic health of dogs,” said Alan Kalter, chairman of the AKC. “We are thrilled to establish this program, which we hope will bear a greater understanding of and respect for the purpose-bred dog.”

“Since 1884, the American Kennel Club has recognized that ancestry is the tool that best predicts a dog’s health, temperament, and working skills,” said Dr. Anita Migday, president of the Theriogenology Foundation. “Now, the AKC is investing in the next generation of veterinary specialists who will merge science and breeding practices to accelerate improvements in canine health and predictability.”

“Purpose-bred dogs such as those that help people with physical disabilities, detect explosives, or engage in sporting events have traits that are genetically determined,” said Dr. Charles Franz, executive director of the Theriogenology Foundation. “The rapidly changing world of clinical theriogenology and genetic testing has given dog breeders the tools to produce healthier litters and puppies with predictable aptitudes and temperaments.”

About Penn Vet

Penn Vet is a global leader in veterinary medicine education, research, and clinical care. Founded in 1884, Penn Vet is the only veterinary school developed in association with a medical school. The school is a proud member of the One Health Initiative, linking human, animal, and environmental health.

Penn Vet serves a diverse population of animals at its two campuses, which include extensive diagnostic and research laboratories. Ryan Hospital in Philadelphia provides care for dogs, cats, and other domestic/companion animals, seeing nearly 33,000 patients a year. New Bolton Center, Penn Vet’s large-animal hospital on nearly 700 acres in rural Kennett Square, PA, cares for horses and livestock/farm animals, treating 33,000 patients each year – 4,100 in the hospital and 29,000 at farms through the Field Service. In addition, New Bolton Center’s campus includes a swine center, working dairy, and poultry unit that provide valuable research for the agriculture industry.

For more information, visit www.vet.upenn.edu