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Mini-Veterinary School Provides Information For Pet Owners

By Lois Baker

Release Date: November 11, 1998

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The 240 pet owners and animal lovers filling Butler Auditorium in the University at Buffalo's School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences watched intently as Kevin Kuhn, D.V.M. -- with the aid of Bud the Bouvier des Flandres -- demonstrated how to take a dog's pulse, clear its throat of obstructions and give cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

Following the presentation on pet first-aid, the audience heard a lecture on hypothyroidism, diabetes and other endocrine disorders common in dogs and cats.

The rapt attendees were enrolled in the first "mini-vet school" for lay people in the U.S. It is an offshoot of the University at Buffalo's popular mini-medical school, which just completed its sixth session.

Lectures in the series, which opened on Oct. 29 and runs through Dec. 3, are being presented by veterinary specialists in gastroenterology, ophthalmology, oncology, parasitology, dentistry and dermatology. They are being held from 7-9 p.m. on Thursdays, with the exception of Thanksgiving, in Butler Auditorium in Farber Hall on the UB South (Main Street) Campus.

The cost of the full series -- or any portion of it, including a single lecture -- is $30, or $25 for senior citizens. Information about the mini-vet school may be obtained by calling 829-2168.

One of the participating veterinarians is James Brown, D.V.M., a UB alumnus who practices at the Blue Cross Animal Clinic in Eggertsville. UB's mini-medical school, which offers five-week sessions designed for lay people focusing on chronic diseases and organ systems and taught by some of UB's finest faculty members, was a frequent topic of conversation among pet owners patronizing the clinic.

Intrigued, Brown contacted Harry Sultz, D.D.S., director of the program, and floated the idea of putting together a similar series of lectures on the science of veterinary medicine. With Sultz's approval, Brown recruited 10 veterinarians to present the lectures.

"This is not two hours of tips on how to raise a pet," said Sultz. "These are really scientific lectures. I am impressed that veterinary medicine involves so many specialties."

Each two-hour lecture covers a subject that is studied in veterinary school, albeit in considerably greater length.

"Achey-Breaky Hour" is devoted to musculoskeletal diseases, "There is Good News and Bad News" covers cancer, "More Than Bad Breath" discusses animal dentistry and "#@%*~# Rover!!!" addresses behavior problems.

Other lectures include "The Body's Information Superhighway" on endocrine diseases, "I Can't Keep Anything Down" on gastrointestinal problems, "I Can See Clearly Now" on eye diseases, 'Creepy, Crawly Things and You" on parasites and zoonotic diseases (diseases than can be transmitted from animals to humans) and "I Itch, Therefore I am" on skin and ear disorders.

Several of the 126 medical schools in the U.S. sponsor mini-medical schools, but Sultz said UB's medical school is the first to develop a program in veterinary medicine.

The veterinarians are excellent presenters, he said, and the audience is extremely receptive. "You know how pet owners are," he added.