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Toby before and after surgery to remove the grapefruit-sized tumour from his head. Submitted photo.

WCVM Today’s top five stories of 2018

It’s been a busy and exciting year at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM), and to celebrate the end of 2018, here are five stories that were readers’ favourites on the WCVM Today website and the college’s social media channels.

1. Skull surgery a success for Toby

Norma and Kelly Tait of White Fox, Sask., brought their dog Toby, a shih-tzu-Yorkshire terrier cross, to the WCVM because of a large, grapefruit-sized mass on their pet’s head. After the WCVM’s clinical team diagnosed the mass as a rare type of tumour, the Taits agreed to have Toby undergo surgery. Dr. Danielle Zwueste, the WCVM’s board-certified neurology specialist, successfully removed the tumour and little Toby made a full recovery.

Read Toby’s full story.

2. WCVM to operate Canada’s first PET-CT unit for animals

Thanks to an Alberta donor, whose $2.5- million gift is the largest private donation in WCVM’s history, the college will soon be home to Canada’s first PET-CT unit dedicated to animals. This new imaging technology will be a key component of the WCVM’s growing veterinary oncology centre that will be dedicated to animal health care, teaching and research for animals and people.

Read more about the WCVM's new PET-CT.

3. WCVM maintains international accreditation

After undergoing intensive review in 2017, the WCVM successfully maintained its accreditation with the American Veterinary Medical Association’s (AVMA) Council on Education. “Our team works very hard to maintain the high quality of our veterinary college’s academic programs, facilities and clinical services, so it’s gratifying to receive this international confirmation that our efforts are successful,” said WCVM Dean Dr. Douglas Freeman.

Read the full story.

4. Vet’s world built on community connections

WCVM graduate Dr. Tom Schmidt has been a trusted clinician, adviser and friend to his clients in the North Battleford, Sask., area for almost two decades. He has built his practice, Battlefords Animal Hospital, on his two core values: relationships and trust. A former president of the Saskatchewan Veterinary Medical Association (SVMA) and a staunch supporter of the WCVM, Schmidt believes the future of veterinary medicine in Saskatchewan depends on the WCVM remaining strong. “The backstop they provide, the support and the services that the veterinary school provides to practicing veterinarians help us to do a better job for our clients, and I think they make a difference economically for the province for agriculture and food animal production.”

Read Schmidt’s full story.

5. Injured turtle on a roll with Lego wheelchair

In July 2018, WCVM veterinary student Garret Fraess was completing an externship at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, Md., when a zoo employee brought in an injured wild eastern box turtle. The bottom part of the turtle’s shell had multiple fractures, and the zoo’s veterinary team had to perform surgery to stabilize the broken shell. To allow time for the turtle’s shell to heal properly, the resourceful Fraess worked with a friend in Denmark to design and build a one-of-a-kind wheelchair out of colourful Lego bricks, plastic wheels and some putty.

Check out the full story and video.
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