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Around the Columns

Dogged veterinary resident

Meredith Thoen

Raphaela Maques, left, a visiting veterinarian from Brazil, helps Meredith Thoen, DVM ’07, draw blood from a greyhound. Thoen is one of three residents whose salaries are paid by James Redhage’s $3.4 million estate endowment. Photo by Nicholas Benner

Providing emergency and critical care for animals has nerve-wracking demands and a frenetic pace, but Meredith Thoen, DVM ’07, finds it to be the most gratifying work in veterinary medicine. While working in the MU Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, for example, she encountered a dog who had eaten a bunch of grapes and was experiencing kidney failure. His owners had taken him to a local veterinarian who could no longer manage his condition. Through dialysis, Thoen was able to get the dog’s kidneys back to normal, leading to a full recovery.

“Some of the most rewarding moments are helping animals that come in at death’s door,” says Thoen of St. Louis. “I help stabilize the animals and monitor them in the ICU, hour to hour.”

This type of dedication to veterinary care and respect for human-animal companionship led James Redhage to leave a $3.4 million estate endowment to the College of Veterinary Medicine. Redhage of Pike County, Mo., died Nov. 14, 2008. He was president of Abel Oil Co., and though he didn’t attend Mizzou, he had brought his parents’ sick dog, Red, to the MU Veterinary Hospital every month for two years. The Irish setter received treatment for congestive heart failure.

Redhage’s donation will fund the annual salaries of three senior residents, who are licensed veterinarians gaining advanced training. This academic year’s chosen residents include Thoen; Dylan Buss, MS ’10, of Calgary, Alberta, Canada; and Kerry Rissetto, MS ’10, of Cedar Grove, N.J. The recipients will also receive a $1,000 stipend for continuing education. Money typically dedicated to those salaries will be directed to other needs at the college.

When her residency ends in July, Thoen, who was inspired by helping her family foster retired racing greyhounds, hopes to work in an emergency center of a specialty veterinary practice.

“More and more in the veterinary practice, we see the love and loyalty given by animals repaid by their owners, who are willing to seek out the newest therapies and request interventions,” she says. “Just as people want the best care for their family members, they want no less for their four-legged family members as well.”