New AKC-funded theriogenology resident reflects on first year

Dr. Anum Ahmed with a golden retriever puppy.

Dr. Anum Ahmed with a Labrador retriever puppy.

In 2020, the UF College of Veterinary Medicine was selected to receive funding from the American Kennel Club, the AKC Canine Health Foundation and the Theriogenology Foundation for a new two-year residency focused on small animal reproduction.

Dr. Anum Ahmed, a graduate of Kansas State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, was the inaugural recipient and began her UF residency in theriogenology in July, after completing a small animal rotating internship through BluePearl Veterinary Partners in Tampa.

She agreed to an interview with the Veterinary Page and offered these insights into her role and what she has learned so far in her first year of residency.

VP: Could you tell us
what attracted you to apply for the new UF residency in theriogenology?

AA: The UF residency was appealing to me as the majority of the cases I would be seeing would be small animal, while I would still be able to gain additional knowledge and experience on large animal species from a comparative theriogenology standpoint. The location of the residency was another highlight, as I was born and raised in Florida.

VP:  What is your average day like; how do you spend your time?

AA: Generally, the morning consists of either preparing and/or giving lecture presentations to veterinary students enrolled in the theriogenology courses, working on research or interacting with large animal cases. The afternoon is spent seeing small animal appointments and educating clients, as well as participating in journal club or teaching topic rounds.

Some days also consist of teaching theriogenology laboratories to veterinary students, going to the dairy farm for cow palpations, or practicing mare palpations through the teaching herd.

VP: What are the most exciting/inspiring aspects of the residency program for you?

AA: The most exciting aspects of the residency program are when I learn a new skill and implement it in clinical cases; or when I get to teach veterinary students about different topics in theriogenology that they can take with them into practice when they graduate. The idea of there being more information to add to my knowledge base inspires during the residency program.

VP: Could you explain more about your project and its significance?

AA: My project is looking at the incidence of mastitis in relation to serum-ionized calcium concentrations in female dogs in a guide dog population. As of now, we have information on mastitis as it occurs in dairy cattle, but not a lot of information in regard to female dogs. Low calcium levels in cows has been shown to contribute to the formation of mastitis. I hope to add to the body of information on this topic in dogs.

VP: You are obviously are passionate about working with breeders to help them. Could you tell us more about why that is, as well as why you are interested in the issue of canine species in the wild?

AA: I want to educate breeders prior to breeding their dogs, as there are many diseases that have a genetic component in certain breeds. With proper genetic testing and breeding management, we can prevent puppies from having certain diseases that could be a potential threat to their well-being. Conservation medicine has always been fascinating, and there are not many theriogenologists who are working in that field. I would like to expand my skills and knowledge to prevent extinction of species in the wild that are threatened due to human causes, such as deforestation, poaching, etc.

VP: Is there anything else we haven’t asked you about that you might like to share?

AA:  I want to say a big thank you to the AKC for funding my residency, and for allowing me to advance in my goal toward becoming a theriogenologist!


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