University of Missouri - Columbia.
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Posted 02.23.06

Vet Med Professors Named Top Dogs at Animal Emergency and Critical Care College

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Animals in need of critical care at the University of Missouri-Columbia's College of Veterinary Medicine are in good hands. MU is now home to two members of the nine-member council of regents of the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care (ACVECC).

Tony Mann and Marie Kerl.Tony Mann, associate professor of veterinary medicine and surgery and director of small animal emergency and critical care services at MU, will serve as president for the next two years. Marie Kerl, clinical associate professor of veterinary medicine and surgery, recently began a two-year term as vice president.

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Formed in 1989, ACVECC is one of the newest veterinary medicine specialty areas. To become an ACVECC diplomate, a doctor of veterinary medicine must receive training in a rotating internship or equivalent private practice experience, complete a residency program, submit his or her credentials, and pass a board examination. The process takes a minimum of four years. Currently, the College has 178 diplomates from the U.S. and abroad, three of whom represent MU: Mann, Kerl and Alisa Reniker, clinical assistant professor of small animal emergency and critical care.

As president of ACVECC, Mann will conduct monthly regents meetings, appoint and assign tasks to committees and handle all official ACVECC matters.

"In the next few years, our primary goal will be to standardize residency training programs so that residents are better-prepared to pass the exam," Mann said. "Currently, only 40 percent of residents pass the exam on their first attempt. We'd like to train them so well that 90 percent pass it, without reducing the rigor of the exam."

Kerl's responsibilities as vice president include serving as chairperson for the scientific programs committee, organizing a post-graduate review course in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Society of Critical Care in Medicine, and coordinating ACVECC research grant programs. Every year, ACVECC awards $10,000 in grants to researchers such as Mike Karagiannis, a small animal emergency and critical care resident at MU, who was awarded funding last year to evaluate the usefulness of portable lactate analyzers. Lactate is produced by the body when cells are not getting enough oxygen, such as when a person or animal is in shock. The analyzer provides a measure of the amount of lactate produced by the body to predict levels of cellular injury.

On the MU campus, the College of Veterinary Medicine's critical care unit serves as the emergency clinic for the Columbia area, but the majority of clinic patients are referred by veterinary hospitals from around the state. Residents and interns work in service teams with faculty members to treat patients suffering from many diseases including neurological disorders, corneal ulcers and paralysis. The clinic has an infectious disease ward and treats trauma victims on a regular basis.

"People and animals may find themselves in vulnerable positions after experiencing catastrophic events," Kerl said. "They need to know that veterinarians who specialize in critical care are available to provide advanced continuing education to veterinarians working in emergency practice, who, in turn, will be able to provide patients with the appropriate care. For this reason, it's important that ACVECC fosters an environment of learning and research to produce scientific advancements and a better outcome for patients."

In 1998, the College of Veterinary Medicine established a residency program in cooperation with the Animal Emergency Clinic South in St. Louis to provide residents an opportunity to work in a different clinical setting. MU also offers an off-campus post-graduate program at a veterinary hospital in Lee's Summit, Mo., which is designed to prepare specialty interns for residency.



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