Merial Veterinary Scholar award presented to a Cummings School student

Merial Veterinary Scholar award presented to a Cummings School student

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Nida Intarapanich, V16, wins honor for her research on animal abuse

Selected from a competitive applicant pool of students from the 28 veterinary schools around the country, Nida Intarapanich, a student from the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, has been named the 2014 Merial Veterinary Scholar. It is the second year in a row that a Cummings School student has received the award.

Intarapanich has always been interested in advocating for survivors of trauma and chose to focus her research on specific patterns of injuries that are caused by animal abuse.

 “I felt I could make a difference as a veterinarian through shelter medicine, emergency/critical care, and the crusade against animal abuse,” she wrote in her Merial award application. “The latter in particular resonated with me because it bridges veterinary medicine and human trauma. Animal cruelty has been linked to child abuse and domestic violence, so identification and prosecution of animal abuse is crucial for the welfare of animals as well as the human members of their household.”

Intarapanich’s research addresses a challenge often faced by clinicians and prosecutors alike. It is easy to mistake injuries caused by physical abuse cases for ones sustained in motor vehicle accidents. Her project gathered and analyzed data from dogs and cats that were either hit by cars or physically abused to see if there were different patterns of injury that could be used to differentiate motor vehicle accidents from non-accidental blunt force trauma. Her primary project mentor was Dr. Emily McCobb, a clinical assistant professor at Cummings School.

The Merial Veterinary Scholars Program has given Intarapanich a monetary award, a plaque and an opportunity to present her research work at the 2014 Merial-NIH Summer Symposium scheduled for July 31 – August 3 in Ithaca, N.Y.

Last year, Yuki Nakayama from the Cummings School received the 2013 Merial Award.  The primary goal of Nakayama’s study was to investigate if the presence of protective antibody titers for feline herpesvirus-1 (FHV-1) and feline calicivirus (FCV) are predictive of a shelter cat’s resistance to developing upper respiratory tract disease (URTD).