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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


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Cat-tastrophe

At only two months old, Bridget the kitten has had a lot of close calls. She was thrown from a stranger’s car off the South Street bridge in Philadelphia—where she landed, miraculously unharmed—and was rescued by her current foster owner, Ariel Smith, who named her after the ordeal. After a few weeks in the relative safety of Smith’s apartment, though, Bridget ran headfirst into yet another death-defying situation.

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Physical Rehab Helps "Rock Star" Ranger Walk Again

One day, your young dog is wagging and running around; the next, he’s barely able to move. Cory Laslocky lived through this nightmare a few months ago.

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Specialized Surgery Gets Goliath Back to the Farm

Steve and Leah Jefferson were looking for a way to protect their 38 chickens from roving coyotes on their 10-acre farm in Martinsburg, West Virginia. Goliath was their answer. The Great Pyrenees joined the family in the spring of 2017, when he was just eight weeks old. The Jeffersons quickly realized the “flock dog” would be spending as much time indoors as out.

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Joey the Senior Cat Triumphs Over Illness with Help from Friends

For most of his life, Joey was a happy, healthy cat—never sick and always in charge. With nary a sniffle, the scrappy domestic short hair has lived with his owner Amanda Arrowood since he was found as a kitten in West Philadelphia. But, at the age of 13, Joey started losing weight and suffering from chronic diarrhea.

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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.


New Bolton Center Hospital Stories


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A Pain in the Paddock

Stephanie Rzeplinski grew up around horses in rural Pennsylvania. Since age 4, she’s ridden and cared for the animals daily—so when her 13-year-old gelding, Robbie, fell ill, she immediately noticed something was wrong.

Surviving the Storms

Since Hurricane Katrina, displaced pets and their families have captured the attention of animal lovers everywhere. Some of the most heart-wrenching stories are of people separated from their four-legged family members. Penn Vet’s Dr. Sue McDonnell and Dr. Carlo Siracusa talked to Knowledge@Wharton SiriusXM Business Radio about how animals respond to weather emergencies and what owners, caretakers, and concerned citizens can do to keep them safe.

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Solving Sports Medicine's Trickiest Mysteries

Penn Vet’s Dr. Elizabeth Davidson loves a good horse mystery. She and her team of equine Sports Medicine experts at New Bolton Center have solved many cases of ‘just not right’ horses, athletic animals who aren’t performing well but don’t have any obvious clinical complaints.

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Equine Field Service on the Beat for Clydesdale Cops

Clydesdale cops Spartan and Julio help keep the peace in northern Delaware, so the horses’ massive bodies must always be up to the task. With their human riders, the equine officers police parks, neighborhoods, and community events as members of the New Castle County (NCC) Mounted Patrol Unit.  When recent eye issues bothered both horses, their sergeant called New Bolton Center’s Equine Field Service.

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Big-hearted Quarter Horse Fights through EPM to Finish Strong

“Allie Kat is the friendliest, sweetest horse. She loves everyone,” said Tracy Barbeito about her six-year-old Quarter Horse. But the mare’s big-hearted nature isn’t always a good thing. Because the performance horse “loves to please,” her charming personality can make it hard to know when she’s not okay. It took an alarming head tilt a little more than a year ago to alert Allie’s caretakers that something was amiss with the horse’s health.


Penn Vet Research Stories


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VMD-PhD Program Leads in Training

Completing a veterinary degree—with four years of intensive classwork, clinical rotations, surgeries, community outreach, and more—takes perseverance. So does earning a PhD. It takes exceptional dedication to do both.

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. 


Penn Vet Student Scholarships


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VMD-PhD Program Leads in Training

Completing a veterinary degree—with four years of intensive classwork, clinical rotations, surgeries, community outreach, and more—takes perseverance. So does earning a PhD. It takes exceptional dedication to do both.

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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Recent grad Meghan Ramos helps people by training animals

Penn Vet graduate Meghan Ramos, V'18 continues her work at the Penn Vet Working Dog Center as a research fellow.

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Change in Plans

Recent graduate Sridhar Veluvolu, V’18, entered Penn Vet wanting to be a general practitioner. By the time he graduated, he had a different plan.  


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.