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Korinn Saker


CVM Main Building C291


Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Nutrition


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Date: 05/15/18 - 8/15/18
Amount: $5,000.00
Funding Agencies: Morris Animal Foundation

The focus of this study is to determine the occurrence of skin and gastrointestinal (GI) allergic conditions in epileptic dogs. A three-part pilot study is proposed to identify overlapping canine populations and evaluate the expression of select biomarkers in canine patients with one or both conditions. This pilot study would ultimately manifest as a feeding trial investigating the effect of diet change in epileptic dogs displaying such biomarkers to control seizure frequency and severity.

Date: 09/01/13 - 8/31/15
Amount: $10,546.00
Funding Agencies: Morris Animal Foundation

Chemotherapy treatment of cancer in dogs has an exceedingly high rate of adverse effects, compromising patient comfort and well-being as well as often necessitating additional medical treatment and hospitalization. Dogs receiving doxorubicin, a commonly utilized chemotherapeutic agent, commonly experience signs of gastrointestinal (GI) toxicity (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or inappetance) within a few days after chemotherapy treatment. These effects are distressing to the patient as well as the caregiver, and may necessitate a dose reduction for subsequent treatments, which negatively impacts efficacy of the treatment. The mechanism of doxorubicin-induced GI toxicity is an ongoing area of study, but based on current knowledge, it appears as if oral probiotic supplementation may be beneficial to off-set the adverse GI signs associated with this treatment modality. We hypothesize that a multi-strain probiotic administered to dogs receiving a standard doxorubicin chemotherapy protocol will result in decreased severity or frequency of GI toxicity.

Date: 05/18/15 - 8/05/15
Amount: $5,000.00
Funding Agencies: Morris Animal Foundation

The Muscle Condition Score (MCS) is a scale used by clinicians to evaluate muscle mass of a patient, from a scale of 0 to 3, where 0 is severe muscle wasting, and 3 is normal muscle condition. It requires visual assessment and palpation of the patient for an accurate assessment, however research has shown that this system is extremely subjective, and not precise, especially for the stages of muscle loss between 0 and 3. A precise system of muscle scoring is essential, as muscle loss has been shown to negatively affect animal strength, mobility, and wound healing. Muscle loss can occur as early as 2-3 days after hospitalization with acute disease, and is known to occur with chronic diseases such as cancer. This study aims to quantify the muscle scoring system, making it more repeatable and precise, especially in the initial stages of loss, allowing clinicians to identify muscle wasting earlier and supplement these patients with additional protein. Using donated cadavers, muscles will have be identified that are: 1) readily accessible in a live patient, 2) are not affected by differences in patient body position, and 3) identical measures of these muscles can be compared to gold standard imaging measures such as dual x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) and/ or computerized tomography (CT) scans. As these measures are limited for their clinical use compared with ultrasonography, patients already undergoing full-body CT scans for other reasons, will have ultrasounds (US) performed to compare to the pre-selected measurements obtained by CT scan. The measurements obtained between CT and US will be statistically evaluated to determine how well they correlate. As not all hospitals have board-certified radiologists, part two of the project will be to compare radiologist measurements to US muscle measurements obtained from veterinarians and trained technicians. The last objective will be to correlate measured muscle wasting with changes in the protein breakdown pathway, such as increased concentrations of protein degradation enzymes in blood. Protein degradation and turnover occur constantly, in health and disease, but with disease and chronic illness, there tends to be more degradation. If there is a correlation between enzyme concentration and measured muscle wasting, it may become possible to quantify and monitor muscle wasting from a blood sample. This project is relevant to the mission of Morris Animal Foundation, as the quantification of the MCS system will allow clinicians to better identify metabolic changes that can delay patient healing and improvement. This will allow them to supplement protein earlier, preventing such severe patient muscle loss, and helping patients maintain strength and mobility as they battle both acute and chronic disease.

Date: 03/01/08 - 9/30/10
Amount: $64,022.00
Funding Agencies: Morris Animal Foundation

Recently an association between insensitivity to insulin, obesity and inflammation was reported in horses, in accord with research in other species. The nature of how insulin sensitivity is related to weight gain and obesity in horses is not fully understood, nor is there a recommendation for an ?ideal? level of adiposity for insulin sensitivity. Therefore, this study is designed to determine how differences in body composition affect insulin sensitivity in the horse. Insulin sensitivity will be assessed using the euglycemic-hyperinsulinemic clamp method at different times following a period of body composition gain, maintenance or loss caused by differences in dietary energy intake in the form of forages; followed by a subsequent reversal (gain to loss, loss to gain, maintenance continued) to achieve baseline body composition. The effect of body composition on insulin sensitive glucose transporter (GLUT4) quantity, insulin receptor quantity, adipocyte hormones (leptin and adiponectin) and inflammatory markers will also be determined. Our goal is to identify the mechanisms affecting insulin sensitivity and determine specific feeding strategies that minimize the occurrence of insulin resistance in effort to improve equine health.

Date: 06/01/09 - 11/30/09
Amount: $20,692.00
Funding Agencies: Harris Teeter, Inc.

Ho: The commercial frozen dog treat, when fed as directed on the package label, to healthy adult dogs will maintain specific gastrointestinal (GI) health and normal GI function as well as not elicit any adverse health concerns for the pet. Specific Goal(s): Evaluate the response of healthy dogs to feeding the frozen dog treat in conjunction with a nutritionally balanced commercially available dog food(s) in regards to gastrointestinal tolerance and overall health. Specifically evaluating adverse response as indicated by regurgitation, vomiting, diarrhea, appetite and attitude changes and acute adverse dermatological responses.

Date: 05/12/08 - 6/30/09
Amount: $12,000.00
Funding Agencies: American Academy of Veterinary Nutrition

The distribution/phosphorylation of intestinal tight junctional proteins is altered in dogs/cats with LPE compared with clinically and histologically normal animals. This alteration is correlated with severity of inflammatory disease both histologically and clinically.

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