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Wiederhold Foundation Funds Challenge Match for Penn Vet Shelter Animal Medicine Program Mobile Unit

By: Ashley Berke Date: Nov 5, 2015

Foundation also supports groundbreaking clinical trials at Penn Vet

[November 5, 2015; Philadelphia, PA] – A $150,000 challenge match from the John T. and Jane A. Wiederhold Foundation will support a new mobile unit for the Penn Vet Shelter Animal Medicine Program. The medical-grade mobile clinical unit will significantly expand the program’s teaching capacity and elevate the quality and breadth of services offered to the Greater Philadelphia community. Through the generous support of the Wiederhold Foundation, all gifts made by December 31, 2015, toward the purchase of the mobile unit will be matched, dollar-for-dollar, up to $150,000. Click here to make a gift.

In addition, a $225,000 gift from the Wiederhold Foundation will support two new clinical trials through the Veterinary Clinical Investigations Center at Penn Vet.

“Mr. and Mrs. Wiederhold shared their lives with many animals and had great affection and respect for all living creatures,” said Susan Linker, Trustee of the John T. and Jane A. Wiederhold Foundation. “We are proud to provide this grant, which honors the Weiderholds’ legacy by helping animals in need, and inspiring veterinary students to seek ways they can personally contribute to the welfare of animals.”

About the Shelter Animal Medicine Program Mobile Unit

Penn Vet has long been known as a provider of compassionate care and clinical expertise. In that tradition, the School established the Penn Vet Shelter Animal Medicine Program in 2006 to provide consultative, educational, and veterinary support to regional shelters and residents of the Greater Philadelphia community. The program has a significant impact on how many homeless animals are given quality care and placed into permanent homes.

With the addition of a mobile unit, the program can significantly increase its medical, teaching, and community service capabilities. The Penn Vet mobile unit will allow for advanced care for shelter animals and outreach to at-risk pets in communities without access to veterinary care. It will also serve as a real-world classroom for Penn Vet students and the community. In addition, the mobile unit will allow the program to implement a comprehensive humane education and community outreach initiative with local middle schools and high schools. 

The state-of-the-art, 40-foot mobile clinic will house a surgical suite with multiple surgical tables, a prep room, an animal holding area, radiograph machine, consulting area, storage, commercial-grade heating and air conditioning for optimal infection control and working conditions, and custom data connections.

“This generous grant from the Wiederhold Foundation is both a tremendous investment and a call-to-action to further Penn Vet’s leadership in shelter medicine and community outreach,” said Dr. Brittany Watson, Penn Vet’s Director of Shelter Animal Medicine and Community Engagement. “The mobile unit will enable us to be a resource in the community for surgical, medical, and educational initiatives.”

About the Veterinary Clinical Investigations Center Trials

The Veterinary Clinical Investigations Center (VCIC) was created in 2005 to support Penn Vet investigators engaged in clinical research and to coordinate clinical trials of novel approaches for treating, managing, and preventing disease in animals. The VCIC offers animal patients new treatments and interventions that they would not otherwise have access to, often at little or no cost to their owners.

A $75,000 challenge match from the Wiederhold Foundation will support a trial by Penn Vet’s Dr. Dorothy Brown, one of the leading experts in pain management. It is well known that pain in cats is difficult to recognize because cats instinctively hide their symptoms. Through her new trial, Dr. Brown aims to create an instrument to measure chronic pain in cats. Such a tool would be invaluable in treating cats with conditions such as arthritis and cancer, where accurate measurement of their level of pain is critical to effective management and treatment. As part of the study, Dr. Brown will further develop her Feline Brief Pain Inventory, an objective assessment of adequate pain control, through both owner-completed questionnaires and individual feline activity monitors to allow for measurement in a home environment. To make a gift, call Jillian Marcussen at 215-898-4235.

Additionally, a $150,000 gift will support a trial by Penn Vet’s Dr. Kimberly Agnello, Assistant Professor of Small Animal Surgery. Dr. Agnello’s study aims to establish a cartilage grading system for dogs with knee osteoarthritis from cranial cruciate ligament disease, the most common orthopedic condition in dogs. Osteoarthritis is a chronic, degenerative disease of the joint, resulting in progressive inflammation and deterioration of the cartilage, underlying bone, and the surrounding soft tissues, which then leads to prolonged pain and lameness. Dr. Agnello’s evaluation system will serve as a predictive tool to determine if the state of cartilage prior to surgery impacts surgical outcomes. If the condition of the cartilage is correlated to the effectiveness of surgical treatment, this will help owners make more informed decisions about their dog’s care when considering surgery for osteoarthritis.

About Penn Vet

Penn Vet is a global leader in veterinary 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, handling more than 30,000 patient visits 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. The hospital handles more than 4,000 patient visits a year, while the Field Service treats nearly 37,000 patients at local farms. In addition, New Bolton Center’s campus includes a swine center, working dairy, and poultry unit that provide valuable research for the agriculture industry.