School of Veterinary Medicine
The School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania was founded in 1884, and has a long-standing tradition as a global leader in veterinary medicine education, research, and clinical care, with a tradition of compassionate clinical expertise, intellectual rigor and the pursuit of innovative thinking.
Our mission at Penn Vet is to train the next generation of veterinary leaders to advance healthcare outcomes and access, ensure global health, bolster sustainable agriculture, support interdisciplinary career paths, and foster diversity, equity, and inclusion in the profession.
PublicationCriteria for Development of Animal Models of Diseases of the Eye(1980-12-01) Aguirre, Gustavo D PublicationCloning and Characterization of the cDNA Encoding the α-Subunit of cGMP-Phosphodiesterase in Canine Retinal Rod Photoreceptor Cells(1996-05-09) Wang, Weiquan; Acland, Gregory M; Aguirre, Gustavo D; Ray, Kunal PublicationThe Pathology of the Feline Model of Mucopolysaccharidosis VI(1980-12-01) Haskins, Mark E; Aguirre, Gustavo D; Jezyk, Peter F; Patterson, Donald FThree cats with feline arylsulfatase-B-deficient mucopolysaccharidosis were studied by light and transmission electron microscopy. Membrane-bound cytoplasmic inclusions were present in hepatocytes, bone marrow granulocytes, vascular smooth muscle cells, and fibroblasts in skin, cornea, and cardiac valves. Central nervous system lesions were restricted to mild ventricular dilatation, perithelial cell vacuolation, and, in one animal, cord compression by vertebral exostoses. The lesions in these cats closely resembled those described in human patients with mucopolysaccharidosis VI (Maroteaux-Lamy syndrome). PublicationAccelerating the Deactivation of Salmonella enterica Serovar Newport and Escherichia coli O157:H7 in Dairy Manure by Modifying pH or Temperature(2012-01-01) Toth, John D; Aceto, Helen W; Rankin, Shelley C; Dou, Zhengxia; DebRoy, ChitritaTo assess methods for control of disease-causing bacteria in animal manures prior to field application, we manipulated the temperature or adjusted pH of dairy manure to high (3.5 to 5) or low (10 to 12) values with aluminum sulfate or hydrated lime, and inoculated the manure with Salmonella enterica serovar Newport or Escherichia coli O157:H7, then incubated the manure at ambient temperature. At pH 4.2, S. Newport was eliminated within 6 days; however at pH >4.2 S. Newport was suppressed only temporarily and recovered to concentrations near the unamended controls. pH required to eliminate E. coli O157:H7 was 4.5. Both pathogens were killed by pH 11.0. The pathogens were eliminated within 2 weeks when inoculated manure was incubated at 37°C, whereas at 22°C and 4°C, the organisms persisted for much longer periods. S. Newport survived for over 300 days at 4°C, which has implications for manure spreading in colder seasons. PublicationExonic SINE Insertion in STK38L Causes Canine Early Retinal Degeneration (erd)(2010-12-01) Goldstein, Orly; Aguirre, Gustavo D; Kukekova, Anna V; Acland, Gregory MFine mapping followed by candidate gene analysis of erd — a canine hereditary retinal degeneration characterized by aberrant photoreceptor development — established that the disease cosegregates with a SINE insertion in exon 4 of the canine STK38L/NDR2 gene. The mutation removes exon 4 from STK38L transcripts and is predicted to remove much of the N terminus from the translated protein, including binding sites for S100B and Mob proteins, part of the protein kinase domain, and a Thr-75 residue critical for autophosphorylation. Although known to have roles in neuronal cell function, the STK38L pathway has not previously been implicated in normal or abnormal photoreceptor development. Loss of STK38L function in erd provides novel potential insights into the role of the STK38L pathway in neuronal and photoreceptor cell function, and suggests that genes in this pathway need to be considered as candidate genes for hereditary retinal degenerations. PublicationUtilizing Cinematic Stories to Shift Fear Into Compassion Towards Pit Bull Type Breeds(2022-01-01) Wagner, NatalieCreating entertaining yet educational stories to cultivate curiosity in caring for animals can improve animal welfare as well as our own public health under a One Health initiative. More specifically, tailoring well-crafted cinematic stories utilizing thoughtful anthropomorphism about misunderstood dog breeds such as pit bulls can potentially debunk sensationalized media myths surrounding their reputation. Further research is worth pursuing on how an anthropomorphic film with an emotional arc utilizing a non-aggressive pit bull character can decrease a population's previous concerns of “scary” dog breeds discriminated against under breed specific legislation while also championing the use of particular films as moral educators. While the pilot data showed both positive and negative trends in subjects’ perceptions of pit bulls, “scary” dog breeds, and animal sentience after watching the film Kitbull, emotional cinematic stories and the content within those stories matter. We as animal welfare scientists and media professionals must work in collaboration to create truthful yet compelling stories utilizing anthropomorphism more thoughtfully so that we may nurture an audience’s empathy and compassion towards misunderstood animals in society. By increasing our efforts in improving domesticated dog welfare with a focus on debunking societal myths about mislabeled “dangerous” dog breeds such as the pit bull through motion picture stories, we not only better animal and human welfare within local communities, but world-wide. PublicationFood Recovery Hierarchy: Quantifying Food Recovery for the End Users(2014-12-09) Ferguson, JamesMunicipal landfills received 36.4 million tons of food waste in 2012, representing 14.5% of all municipal waste. Looking ahead to 2050 when the world population will exceed 9 billion people, the needed increase in food supply may exceed 70% of current supply. Reducing food waste could provide a significant buffer to help with world food supply. In addition, disposal of food waste to landfills is not a sustainable means of disposal. A priority in reducing food waste is diverting edible food to food banks and other institutions which can utilize edible food. However, for food not acceptable for humans and inedible residues may be effectively used as animal feed. Currently the US produces about 375 billion pounds of animal feed annually for pets, livestock, horses, and fish. About 25% of animal feed is derived from by-products of the oil, milling, rendering, and processing industries. A further hidden source of animal feed includes food refusals for shelf-life, packaging errors, blemishes, and other reasons. The food manufacturing sector reports it diverts about 30.6 billion pounds or 70% of total food waste to animal feed. The retail and wholesale industries divert about 14% of food waste or 0.53 billion pounds of food waste to animal feed. Significant barriers exist to using more food waste as animal feed. Barriers exist on the food manufacturing supply side and also on the nutritionist end user side of the relationship. Logistics of collection, transport, and storage create problems for both supplier and user as food waste contain a high water percentage and have poor stability, degrading easily with prolonged unrefrigerated storage. Regulations for food safety mandate only certain food items may be fed to certain animal species and specify heating requirements for safety. Nutritional variability and variability of supply make it difficult to use on a routine basis in many farm situations. Collection and processing prior to farm delivery would mediate much of the variability of nutrient content and supply, but would require an intermediate handling and processing facility to make more available as animal feeds. PublicationCloning of Canine Galactokinase (GALK1) and Evaluation as a Candidate Gene for Hereditary Cataracts in Labrador Retrievers(2005-06-01) Sidjanin, Duska J; Aguirre, Gustavo D; McElwee, John L; Miller, BrianWe identified a pedigree of Labrador retrievers (LR) that develop hereditary cataracts between 6 and 18 months of age. In humans, galactokinase deficiency is an autosomal recessive disorder characterized by juvenile onset of cataracts.1 In order to evaluate GALK1 as a candidate gene, we cloned and sequenced the canine GALK1 gene and tested a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the gene for segregation with cataracts in the LR pedigree. PublicationEvaluation of Adeno-Associated Viral Vectors for Liver-Directed Gene Transfer in Dogs(2011-08-22) Bell, Peter; Haskins, Mark E; Gao, Guangping; Sleeper, Margaret M; Wang, Lili; Wang, Huan; Calcedo, Roberto; Vandenberghe, Luk H; Chen, Shu-Jen; Weisse, Chick; Withnall, Elanor; Wilson, James MThis study evaluated six adeno-associated viral (AAV) vectors expressing green fluorescent protein (GFP) from the liver-specific thyroid hormone–binding globulin (TBG) promoter made with novel capsids in canine liver-directed gene transfer. Studies in 1.5-month-old dogs, which were administered vector through a peripheral vein, showed that AAV8 capsid vectors had the most favorable performance profiles. Interestingly, the absolute levels of hepatocyte transduction achieved with AAV8 were lower in dogs compared with what had been achieved in mice and nonhuman primates. Additional studies were performed with AAV8 delivered into the hepatic artery in adult dogs, with higher doses of vector used to assess potential dose-limiting toxicities. These studies showed good transduction on day 7 in one dog that apparently was lost by day 28 in another dog through the generation of GFP-specific T cells. Each adult dog was carefully monitored for any hemodynamic changes associated with vector infusion. Both animals demonstrated mild to moderate hypotension and bradycardia, which appeared to be anesthesia-related, making it difficult to evaluate contributions of the vector. PublicationA Non-Stop S-Antigen Gene Mutation Is Associated With Late Onset Hereditary Retinal Degeneration in Dogs(2013-08-01) Goldstein, Orly; Aguirre, Gustavo D; Jordan, Julie Ann; Acland, Gregory MPurpose: To identify the causative mutation of canine progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) segregating as an adult onset autosomal recessive disorder in the Basenji breed of dog. Methods: Basenji dogs were ascertained for the PRA phenotype by clinical ophthalmoscopic examination. Blood samples from six affected cases and three nonaffected controls were collected, and DNA extraction was used for a genome-wide association study using the canine HD Illumina single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) array and PLINK. Positional candidate genes identified within the peak association signal region were evaluated. Results: The highest -Log10(P) value of 4.65 was obtained for 12 single nucleotide polymorphisms on three chromosomes. Homozygosity and linkage disequilibrium analyses favored one chromosome, CFA25, and screening of the S-antigen (SAG) gene identified a non-stop mutation (c.1216T>C), which would result in the addition of 25 amino acids (p.*405Rext*25). Conclusions: Identification of this non-stop SAG mutation in dogs affected with retinal degeneration establishes this canine disease as orthologous to Oguchi disease and SAG-associated retinitis pigmentosa in humans, and offers opportunities for genetic therapeutic intervention.