University of Calgary

Diabetes

February 9, 2011

Cow had rare case of diabetes

By Jenny Allford

Veterinary medicine student Emily Ames won an award for her work on a post mortem cow that died from a rare case of diabetes. Photo credit: Riley BrandtVeterinary medicine student Emily Ames won an award for her work on a post mortem cow that died from a rare case of diabetes. Photo credit: Riley BrandtFaculty of Veterinary Medicine student Emily Ames received one of two runner up awards for a case study she presented “Diabetes Mellitus in a BVDV Positive Holstein Heifer” at the Western Canadian Association of Bovine Practitioners (WCABP) conference in Saskatoon in January.

Ames submitted the case study after a 19 month Holstein Heifer was brought into the University of Calgary’s veterinary medicine faculty for eventual post mortem. The animal had been diagnosed with diabetes by the referring veterinarian. Students and faculty treated the cow with insulin for 42 hours to confirm the diagnosis and monitor the serum glucose and beta hydroxybutyric acid on a unique cow side testing device, prior to conducting a post mortem.

“It turned out to be a pretty interesting case,” says Ames. “We kept getting more information after she had been sent for post mortem.”

Diabetes in cows is very rare, but Ames didn’t know how rare until she started doing literature searches and trying to find more information. “There has actually been only one other reported case of diabetes associated with this virus in a cow in Canada and it’s interesting because in humans there’s association with viral infection and Type 1 or juvenile onset diabetes,” says Ames.

The six student case studies were a real highlight of the WCABP conference says Dr. Gordon Atkins, senior instructor in the production animal health department.

“Emily did an outstanding job with her presentation and represented UCVM extremely well,” he says.

For her part, Ames is grateful for Atkins’ mentorship and other help she received from her faculty. “Anyone I asked for help, or to help interpret results was great, and that was a big factor in why this went well,” she says.


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