Veterinary innovations:

Currently, about 70 percent of the
world's farmed shrimp supply is
produced in Asia.

Shrimp farming has experienced rapid
growth over the past 30 years.
Despite the growth, the industry has
suffered billions of dollars in losses
due to viral diseases. The two most
devastating are white spot syndrome
virus (WSSV) and infectious
myonecrosis virus (IMNV). Both are
being targeted by Hank Harris' vaccine
development program.

Hank Harris, a professor at Iowa State
University in animal science, started
working on shrimp vaccines in 2000
and has now reached an agreement
with one of Asia's dominant
aquaculture producers for
collaborative research support and
marketing of the products resulting
from the research throughout Asia.

Harris says:  "Invertebrates, like
shrimp, are generally believed to be
incapable of acquiring immunity, but
we have discovered strategies to
induce a similar effect in shrimp."

The research has led to effective
vaccines, but the current challenge is
how to vaccinate individual animals.

"Consider that a typical shrimp
production pond is stocked with
500,000 post larvae about the size of
mosquitoes. It's kind of tough for the
farmer to inject each animal".

Right now,they are looking at
delivering the vaccine orally in the feed
through a pellet they would eat, or
immersing the post larvae in [the
vaccine] in the water.

Colony collapse disorder  involves the
sudden death of a large number of
bees that leave the hive and
disappear. It has been occurring with
increasing regularity since 2006, in the
U.S. and elsewhere in the world.
It  maybe be caused by a lethal
combination of fungi and viruses,
suggests new research.

Researchers, predominantly from the
University of Montana, have identified
three viruses — Varroa destructor-1,
Kakugo and an invertebrate iridescent
virus  in dead honeybees felled by  
colony collapse disorder. They also
found these bees were infected with
two fungi — Nosema apis and Nosema
The presence of both fungi and
viruses appeared to be a much more
lethal mix than an infection with one
virus or fungus.
The fungi appeared to cause tumor-
like structures and cell death in the

Experts say that combination attacks in
nature, like the virus and fungus
involved in bee deaths, are quite
common, and that one answer in
protecting bee colonies might be to
focus on the fungus — controllable
with antifungal agents — especially
when the virus is detected.

One of the goals is to curtail the
spread of mosquito-borne diseases
through strategic use of compounds,
known as endectocides, to target hosts.
This new strategy will make blood
meals from humans lethal to
mosquitoes so they die before they
can transmit a disease.
Endectocides are currently mass
administered to human populations to
control the worm parasites that cause
river blindness and are widely used in
animals for worm control.
A vaccine developed using functional
genomics is already in early stages for
cattle, whose production is greatly
affected by tick-borne diseases.
Katherine Kocan, Ph.D., at Oklahoma
State University, concentrates her
research on tick vaccines and
anaplasmosis, a tick-transmitted
disease of cattle that infects the red
blood cells, causing mild to severe
anemia and often death. "Even if the
cow doesn't die," explains Professor
Kocan, "the bacteria serve as a
continued source of infection for cows
and ticks. We are working on a vaccine
to target tick-protective genes, so
when ticks feed on immunized cattle,
the vaccine antibodies interfere
directly with the biology of the tick and
its feeding pattern which results in
reduced tick populations." The vaccine
model being developed for cattle,
which we call a dual target vaccine
approach because both ticks and tick-
borne pathogens are targeted, will
likely be applicable to other ticks and
the bacteria that they transmit.

MediVet of Australia  is about to
introduce a same-day stem cell
therapy procedure for dogs, cats and
horses to treat arthritis, ligament and
cartilage injuries, hip dysplasia and
other degenerative conditions

The procedure involves removing fat
cells from the animal,for example from
the shoulder -- then separating out the
stem cells and, using a patented
technology involving light-emitting
diodes, activating and reinfusing the
cells in the animal.

The animal can have the procedure
the morning, go home that afternoon
and  notice a marked improvement in  
in a matter of days.

Dr. Hutchinson, a  veterinarian  says
with the new stem cell process he has
been able to collect 2,000-fold more
stem cells compared with the
traditional stem cell approach. The
additional stem cells greatly improve
the chances they will successfully
repair and regenerate the animal's
cartilage and bone. Other than an
anesthetic, no drugs are used.

While stem cell therapy has been
available for a while, it traditionally has
meant sending samples to an outside
laboratory for processing, a two-day
process that costs about $3,000,
compared with about $1,700 for the
new procedure.

The procedure requires specific
equipment that MediVet sells for about
$7,000. But a top MediVet-America
official estimates that veterinarians
doing five stem cell procedures a week
can earn up to an additional $300,000

Implantation in a large bone defect in
sheep unequivocally demonstrated
that osteoinductive ceramics are
equally efficient in bone repair as
autologous bone grafts. Our results
provide proof of concept for the clinical
application of “smart” biomaterials.

Scientists in London and the
Netherlands have found that particles
of calcium phosphate can stimulate
bone growth.

A new study shows how particles of the
ceramic have the ability to stimulate
promising bone regrowth by attracting
stem cells and natural growth factors
that encourage tissue growth to
promote healing and integration of the
grafted tissue.
‘The rate of bone repair we see with
these materials rivals that of traditional
grafts using a patient’s own bone,’ said
Prof Joost de Bruijn from the School of
Engineering and Materials Science at
Queen Mary, University of London.
‘And what sets it apart from other
synthetic graft substitutes is its ability
to attract stem cells and the body’s
natural growth factors, which coincide
to form new, strong, natural bone
around an artificial graft.’

The researchers tested natural bone
grafts against ceramic particles with
varied structural and chemical
properties. They are reported to have
found that microporous ceramic
particles composed of calcium
phosphate, the primary component of
bone ash, induced stem cells to
develop into bone cells in the lab and
stimulated bone growth in live tissue in
mice, dogs and sheep.

Bone injuries packed with the ceramic
particles are said to have healed
similarly to implants constructed from
the animals’ own bone.
The study suggests that biomaterials-
based bone grafts can manipulate cell
behaviour in order to repair injury, and
have potential for the repair of bone
injuries in humans.


Northwestern University researchers
have designed a unique bioactive
nanomaterial that promotes the growth
of new cartilage in vivo and without the
use of expensive growth factors.

Minimally invasive, the therapy is said
to activate bone marrow stem cells and
produce natural cartilage in a way that
conventional therapy can not.
‘Unlike bone, cartilage does not grow
back, and therefore clinical strategies
to regenerate this tissue are of great
interest,’ said Northwestern’s Samuel I.
Stupp, Board of Trustees professor of
Type II collagen is the major protein in
articular cartilage, the smooth, white
connective tissue that covers the ends
of bones where they come together to
form joints.

‘Our material of nanoscopic fibres
stimulates stem cells present in bone
marrow to produce cartilage containing
type II collagen and repair the
damaged joint,’ said Ramille N. Shah,
assistant professor of materials
‘A procedure called microfracture is
the most common technique currently
used by doctors, but it tends to
produce cartilage having
predominantly type I collagen, which is
more like scar tissue.’
The researchers implanted their
nanofibre gel in an animal model with
cartilage defects.

The animals were treated with
microfracture, where tiny holes are
made in the bone beneath the
damaged cartilage to create a new
blood supply to stimulate the growth of
new cartilage. The researchers tested
various combinations: microfracture
alone; microfracture and the nanofibre
gel with growth factor added; and
microfracture and the nanofibre gel
without growth factor added.

Stem cells for horses and dogs: by
San Diego's Vet-Stem, a treatment for
hip and elbow dysplasia, osteoarthritis
and tendon and ligament injuries also
by University of California, Davis, and
VetCell (Cambridge, England);

In the therapy, stem cells, which
produce chemicals that reduce
inflammation and pain, are extracted
from the animal's own fatty tissue. The
cells are then injected directly back
into the arthritic joints, where they can
develop or change into other cells
necessary for repair.
Pets that receive the treatment
typically find relief within a month or
two, says Keith Clement, the
veterinarian at Burnt Hills Veterinary
Hospital in Florida, but results have
been observed as early as within three
days of treatment.
Since April 2008, Clement has treated
45 to 50 dogs and one cat. All but five
of the pets were treated for arthritis, he
says, the most common application for
the stem-cell procedure. Vet-Stem also
approves experimental use of the
treatments for issues such as liver
disease and kidney disease.
About 85 percent of patients respond
to treatment, Clement says, and it's
unknown why it's ineffective in some
A standard treatment for animal
arthritis would be to put the pet on a
regimen of supplements such as
glucosamine; nonsteroidal medicines,
which can cause stomach irritation;
and in some cases surgery such as hip
replacement, which can cost $5,000
per hip.
On average, stem-cell therapy costs
$2,700 to $3,000 for the treatment of
three to four joints, Clement says.
Because fatty tissue contains so many
stem cells, patients often have more
than are needed for the treatment and
the remaining cells can be
cryopreserved and stored for future
use. An annual storage fee is $150
after the first year.

The racing horse, Fabulous Strike, a
five-time graded stakes winner and
one of the top sprinters in the country
over the past three seasons, recently
underwent stem cell treatment at New
Bolton Center in Kennett Square, Pa.,
in an effort to get him back to the
racetrack later this summer.
Trainer Todd Beattie said Walter
Downey's homebred 7-year-old gelded
son of Smart Strike had the stem cell
treatment  after an ultrasound
determined he had a ligament strain in
his pastern.
Stem cell therapy is a breakthrough
procedure in which bone marrow is
used to help regenerate tissue. The
relatively new technique has been
used with success by a handful of
equine veterinarians, including Dr.
Doug Herthel, who helped pioneer the
treatments at Alamo Pintado Equine
Center in California. Stem cell therapy
has been used successfully to help a
number of horses recover from many
types of joint, tendon, and ligament