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Stories of Gifts in Action


Barbaro and Dr. Dean Richardson

Thanks to the support of our many donors and friends, Penn Vet continues to lead in breakthrough research, state-of-the-art clinical care, and the education of tomorrow's veterinary leaders.

Please take a moment to read some of the wonderful stories of generosity that have helped our School to continue to grow and change and become a world leader in veterinary medicine.

Thank You!

From all of us, thank you to our many 2018 friends, alumni, and donors. Gifts like yours make all the difference in our animals' lives.


Ryan Hospital Stories


Ichthyosis-A Skin Disorder Affecting Dogs and Humans

Progress in addressing a severe skin disease that affects dogs and humans

Think of the skin as a kind of raincoat for the inner organs. With its densely packed layers of cells and lipids, it keeps foreign substances from leaking in and keeps water from leaking out, preventing dehydration. But in certain skin disorders, this barrier breaks down, and problems arise.

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Treating Orthopedic Injury Makes Dog and Owner Comfortable

During a casual conversation, a dog park friend once advised New York City resident Leslye Alexander to take her dog Olivia to Penn Vet in an emergency. “I never thought I would need it,” said Alexander. “But then Olivia was injured.”

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Dr. Michael Mison Answers Ten: Surgical Oncology, Ah Ha Moments, and Summiting Kilimanjaro

As a child, Dr. Michael Mison’s parents encouraged him to be a physician. Drawn to animals and science, Mison knew early on that he would indeed go into medicine but focus on animals instead of humans.

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Angel's Long Way Home

Saturday, March 17, 2018, 6:00 AM. Earl Welsh was home getting his family ready for his teen daughter’s dance competition. Before they headed out for a long day, Welsh wanted to give Angel, their four-year-old Yorkie, some outdoor time. He and Angel headed into the quiet streets of Philadelphia for a walk. They would not come home together. Instead, Angel would end up in Emergency Services at Ryan Hospital. And Earl would face an agonizing decision about her life.

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Augmented Reality at Penn Vet

How can Penn Vet students operate on a real dog’s spine without ever touching a real dog? The answer isn’t a riddle, it’s augmented reality.


New Bolton Center Hospital Stories


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Ventilating with mixture of helium and oxygen improves outcomes for horses in surgery

A horse in general surgery is an awkward sight. For the best access, the animals may be placed on their sides or even their backs, a position that puts considerable pressure on their internal organs, often leading to partial lung collapse. In spite of using oxygen-rich ventilation, blood oxygen levels can fall to dangerous levels during lengthy procedures.

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Senior Senator's Triumphant Return

Senior Senator has been called “one of the craziest horses that ever looked through a bridle.” But a serious accident in May 2017 temporarily dampened some of the eight-year-old gelding’s fiery, unique personality, nearly ending his racing career. While defending his 2016 Maryland Hunt Cup title at the 2017 race, the Thoroughbred and jockey Eric Poretz tumbled at the third fence in the notoriously challenging four-mile timber course.

Dr. David Levine Answers Ten: Surgery, Disease Prevention, Gardening, and More

Assistant professor of clinical large animal surgery Dr. David Levine is a world class surgeon, clinician, and teacher. Holding Diplomate status in Large Animal Surgery from the American College of Veterinary Surgeons and in Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation from the American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation, Levine is well-respected among his peers, clients, and students.      

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Surprise! It's Twins!

Excitement over a first pregnancy turned to concern for owner Adel Dukes Melson when her pregnant Holsteiner began showing signs of premature foaling. Weeks before the mare’s March 13 due date, her mammary gland started to develop and secrete milk, a typical indication that her body was preparing to soon give birth.

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Turtle Secrets

The precise moment of death, 65 million years ago, is captured in stone. The head and the legs are tucked under the shell, just as a threatened turtle would do today. Nearly intact, the fossil is exceedingly rare.


Penn Vet Research Stories


Ichthyosis-A Skin Disorder Affecting Dogs and Humans

Progress in addressing a severe skin disease that affects dogs and humans

Think of the skin as a kind of raincoat for the inner organs. With its densely packed layers of cells and lipids, it keeps foreign substances from leaking in and keeps water from leaking out, preventing dehydration. But in certain skin disorders, this barrier breaks down, and problems arise.

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Assets in the opioid epidemic, working dogs can also become its victims

It’s hard to overstate the magnitude of the nation’s opioid crisis, which claims more than 100 lives each day due to overdoses. The impact of opioids radiates beyond the direct users, however, as secondary exposure to drugs can harm first responders such as police officers, firefighters, and even working dogs, which can use their perceptive noses to find illicit drugs.

Dr. Chakrabarti's Lab at Penn Vet is studying stem cell signaling and its relationship to breast cancer.

Stem cell signaling drives mammary gland development and, possibly, breast cancer

The human body develops most tissue types during fetal development, in a mother’s uterus. Yet one only tissue develops after birth: the mammary gland. This milk-producing organ, a defining characteristic of mammals, is also the site of one of the most common cancers, breast cancer, which affects roughly one in eight women in the United States over the course of their lifetime.

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Innovative vaccine offers canine cancer patients a shot at a longer, happier life

Osteosarcoma is the most common bone cancer to affect dogs. It is a painful and aggressive disease. Affecting more than 10,000 dogs annually, predominantly larger breeds, it kills more than 85 percent within two years. 

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Immune cells involved in triple-negative breast cancer could offer future therapeutic target

 About 15 percent of breast cancers are classified as triple-negative, lacking receptors for estrogen, progesterone, and Her2. These cancers do not respond to targeted hormonal therapies, and they tend to be particularly aggressive, often resisting systemic chemotherapy and metastasizing to other tissues.


Penn Vet Student Scholarships


James Ferrara, a third-year student in Penn’s School of Veterinary Medicine.

Penn One Health goes abroad

James Ferrara, a third-year student in Penn’s School of Veterinary Medicine, grew up in Montvale, N.J., with his family’s Labrador retriever, Cody. When Ferrara was 10 years old, Cody, also 10, suffered from arthritis and had to be put down. Ferrara says that this childhood experience encouraged his interest in veterinary medicine. While he hoped to one day minimize animal suffering, he later learned that animals and humans have a global impact on each other’s health.

Briana Wilson V'19, helps to establish a commercial goat dairy operation in Gambia.

Vet students’ goat dairy aims to fill a nutrition gap in Gambia

Briana Wilson, a third-year student in the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine, plans to pursue a career as a small-animal vet, mainly caring for cats and dogs. But this summer, she’s getting a trial-by-fire education in goat husbandry, project management, and negotiating the challenges of helping launch a business in a relatively remote region of a developing nation.

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Change in Plans

Fourth year student Sridhar Veluvolu, V’18, entered Penn Vet wanting to be a general practitioner. He’s leaving the School with a different plan.  

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Hooked on Birds

Linnea Tracy, V’19, believes birds are veterinary medicine’s next frontier, and she wants to help chart the way. Driven by a profound love of animals and interest in the intersections among human and animal health, agriculture and public health, Tracy has begun the journey at Penn Vet.

Meghana Pendurthi-PIADC

The Definition of a "Real" Vet

When I tell my friends and family members what I would like to do when I graduate from Penn Vet, oftentimes I am met with the question, “Don’t you want to be a real vet?”


Planned Giving Stories


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Lilly’s Courageous Journey Inspires a Commitment to Penn Vet

My interest in animals with special needs began with Columbus, a blind cat I adopted in 2000. At first I felt sorry for Columbus, but soon I realized that animals don’t feel sorry for themselves and don’t know they have limitations. Columbus was intrepid and more fearless than my cats with sight. He taught me about determination and perseverance, and brought love to everyone who had the honor of knowing him.

Dr. Midge Leitch, New Bolton Center

Midge Leitch, V’73, a True Pioneering Spirit

Dr. Midge Leitch, V’73, embodied the true pioneering spirit of many female veterinarians entering the profession at a time when it was still dominated by men.

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Peter Vogel, V'90: The Power of Planned Giving

In addition to becoming a successful small animal veterinarian, Penn Vet alumnus Peter Vogel, V’90, has dedicated himself to strengthening the veterinary profession. He is particularly concerned about the significant loan debt facing many vet school graduates and sees a need to increase public awareness of the value that veterinarians offer to society.

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Dr. Abram Stavitsky, V’46 - Creating a Permanent Legacy

Through the use of gift annuities and IRA rollover gifts to support scholarship at Penn Vet, Dr. Abram Stavitsky, V'46, has ensured that the School can continue to provide the highest level of scientific training for future veterinarians. He is particularly passionate about providing financial support for minority students.

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Carol Rinehart - A Love of Animals

Born in Texas, Carol Ann Rinehart loved animals all her life. She made sure they would be well taken care of in years to come by creating an endowed Opportunity Scholarship.