Being asked to write a column for the Florida Veterinarian magazine sounded very daunting at first. What could an advancement/development officer have to say that would be of interest to our readers?
After some contemplation, I realized that as an avid animal lover (and a certified crazy cat lady), I get the opportunity to talk about my favorite subject every day with some of the most amazing professionals in the veterinary field. I’m able to see the ever-changing work that continues to improve the lives of our companion animals, food animals, wildlife and aquatic creatures that we all care so deeply about. Many people think my job is just about raising money but in reality, it’s also that of a storyteller.
I find many of our veterinary stories so compelling that asking people for support becomes secondary to raising their awareness of how their dollars can make an impact in moving our college forward. I’d like to briefly tell you about a couple of our most recent initiatives that our team is excited to share.
The first development is the exciting news that UFCVM will soon have the first fully functional open heart surgery program for dogs in the country and the only one to offer a complex procedure known as cardio mitral valve repair. I’m not an authority on all the technical explanations of how the procedure is performed, but I do know that it will save hundreds, maybe thousands of dogs that suffer from this issue. Small-breed dogs most commonly develop this cardiac problem, which has previously been treated on a temporary basis with medication.
A collaboration between renowned veterinary cardiologist, Masami Uechi, D.V.M., Ph.D, of Yokohama, Japan, and our college will make this all possible. Dr. Uechi has agreed to train UFCVM cardiologists, surgeons and other essential staff in mitral valve repair surgery. The collaboration will also involve cardiologists at UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital. Simon Swift, D.V.M, chief of the cardiology service, will head up the UFCVM team. This story is certainly an exciting one for my team to tell, and we look forward to sharing it with you. Sarah Carey’s story is included in this issue.
In the equine and large animal field, UFCVM is developing new robotic imaging technology that will eliminate the need for animals to be anesthetized before the scanning process. This groundbreaking technology will be developed through a collaborative effort of UF scientists in the veterinary field, engineering and human medicine. Stay tuned for further developments.
Aside from storytelling, my job is also to manage a team of committed advancement professionals who work tirelessly to garner support from individuals who care about the health and welfare of animals. Whether you are a grateful client of the hospital clinics, a shelter medicine advocate who cares about rescue animals, or someone with an interest in providing scholarship opportunities for our students, our goal is to help you find a way to make a difference in the lives of people and animals.
Please don’t hesitate to call me at 352-294-4256 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about our many programs or how you can help. We have a great team; we’re all honored to be here supporting the UFCVM, and we’re here if you need us.