CORVALLIS, Ore. – The $12 million large animal hospital and diagnostic imaging expansion at Oregon State University is nearly complete. Launched through a $5 million gift from the Wayne and Gladys Valley Foundation of Oakland, Calif., the project will significantly increase the ability of OSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine to serve the needs of Oregon’s large animal owners and industries.
A dedication of the facilities will be held on Saturday, May 3, at 10 a.m. in the new large animal arena behind Magruder Hall (30th Street and Washington Way in Corvallis). A free public open house also is scheduled from 10 to 4 p.m. in conjunction with the college’s popular Pet Day celebration. There is a separate news release with more information.
“Our ability to teach students, work with large animal owners, and conduct critical research is taking a quantum leap forward,” said Cyril Clarke, dean of OSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine. “The expansion also will benefit the small animal component of our college. With the new space, we are establishing a canine rehabilitation program and animal physiotherapy initiative that will address chronic and debilitating conditions for cats and dogs, and help them recover after surgery.”
The new Lois Bates Acheson Veterinary Teaching Hospital and Large Animal Clinic will boast an intensive care unit and isolation facilities for cattle, horses and other large animals; a multi-purpose, all-weather arena for assessing lameness; a nuclear medicine suite for assessing muscle and tissue damage; teaching and research space for students and faculty; and a new imaging wing that will include the most sophisticated CT scanner in Oregon.
By this summer, the newly expanded facility also will have in place a high-speed treadmill designed to evaluate racehorses and equestrian animals in motion.
OSU’s large and small animal clinics are referral services, where surgeons work on cases that community veterinarians can’t accommodate. With household pets, such conditions run the gamut from intricate surgery to cancer treatment to heart conditions.
“We’ve got the best referral surgeons around,” Clarke said.
In addition to the $5 million gift from the Valley Foundation and several other donations, the expansion project is being funded through bonds that will be paid off from an endowment created by a bequest from Lois Bates Acheson to the College of Veterinary Medicine. Acheson, a 1937 OSU graduate and lifelong animal lover, left OSU $21 million – the second largest gift in the university’s history.
The impact of these contributions underscore the importance of private giving, Clarke pointed out.
“We want to give the students who end up serving as Oregon’s large- and small-animal veterinarians the best education possible,” Clarke said, “and to do that, we needed to expand our facilities, add talented new faculty, and provide the facilities that give them the best learning environment we can. That wouldn’t be possible without private gifts that supplement our state appropriations.”
Large animal care is important for livestock, working horses, equestrian animals, and exotic pets, including llamas and alpacas. Perhaps the most valuable new piece of equipment housed in the Magruder Hall expansion will be a “64-slice” CT scanner, valued at more than $1 million. The OSU college will be the first veterinary program in the nation to have such a capability, says Richard “Fuge” Fucillo, the college’s CT coordinator.
“When a person goes in for an MRI, they usually have to remain motionless for five minutes or so while technicians are taking a scan of their knee or back,” Fucillo said. “With a 64-slice scanner, we can take a head-to-toe scan in 15 seconds, with a ‘slice’ every half a millimeter. With such a thin slice, you get a much better image that can tell you a lot about a patient’s condition.
“This isn’t an extravagance,” he added. “It is important for the animals’ health and safety to have the fastest digitization possible. The less time you have to sedate the animals, the less anesthesia you use, and the better off they are. Plus it saves time and money for the clients.”
A sophisticated, heavy-duty table will be adjacent to the scanner, Fucillo added, capable of holding a horse, cow or alpaca. He also is working with area hospitals on the possibility of using the scanner to treat obese human patients.
The scanner also will have use among other researchers on campus. For example, it can scan and digitize ice cores from the Arctic or Antarctica that scientists use to look for signs of past climate change. Or it can look at a cross-section of wood and tell foresters things about the health of a tree that may not be revealed by the naked eye.
The expansion project is part of The Campaign for OSU, the university’s first comprehensive fund-raising campaign, which recently surpassed $400 million in new commitments toward a $625 million goal. More than 42,500 households have participated to date. Guided by OSU’s strategic plan, the campaign seeks contributions to provide opportunities for students, strengthen the Oregon economy and conduct research that changes the world. Facility improvements are a major part of the campaign and projects include the new Linus Pauling Science Center, the Student Success Center, and improvements to Reser and Goss stadiums.
OSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine, the only professional veterinary medicine program in Oregon, graduates approximately 50 students each year.