Auburn veterinary dermatology resident places in NAVDF Research Awards for dual presentations

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Dr. Karen Ho, a third-year dermatology resident at Auburn University’s College of Veterinary Medicine from Weston, Wisconsin, placed nationally in two categories for her research presentations at the recent North American Veterinary Dermatology Forum, or NAVDF, held in Maui, Hawaii.

Conference presentations of their research are a requirement for veterinary dermatology residents by the time they are in their third year of residency.

“Karen presented two scientific abstracts,” said Dr. Amelia White, an assistant professor of dermatology in the Department of Clinical Sciences and Dr. Ho’s faculty mentor. “Only one was required for residency credentials. The awards are based not only on the research but also the presentation. She is truly outstanding.”

Dr. Ho placed first for her research project, “Pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of multiple oral dosing of rifampin in the dog,” and second for “Defining rifampin’s minimum inhibitory concentration and killing properties against Staphylococcus intermedius group in the dog.”

“My research is focused on learning more about how the antibiotic Rifampin interacts with the bacteria that it is designed to treat, and more about how it interacts with the dog,” Dr. Ho said. “Rifampin is an antibiotic that we use more frequently than we would like to treat methicillin-resistant infections.

“This study was performed because we actually don’t know much about this drug and how it interacts with the dog. These two studies helped to define the relationship between the antibiotic and the dog, and the relationship between the antibiotic and the organism that we are treating.”

The ultimate goal of her research is for veterinarians to be able to prescribe more effective, safer and more appropriate medication doses, according to Dr. Ho.

Objectives were to determine the minimum inhibitory concentration of rifampin needed to target specific organisms and to determine the killing properties of the antibiotic on the targeted organism.

“Rifampin performed consistently against all four of the isolates that we tested, and showed that it is very effective as a treatment option for antibiotic-resistant staphylococcal infections in the dog,” Dr. Ho said. “We also monitored our dogs in the study to determine more about how they reacted to the treatment. We found no significant adverse effects at the dose administered during the study. However, long-term use of this antibiotic may lead to adverse effects, so it is important to use this drug with caution.”

Dr. Ho says that her two studies provide supporting evidence for clinical trials to evaluate orally administered rifampin as well as the need for more studies to determine minimal doses needed to target specific infections.

Dr. Ho received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Wisconsin’s School of Veterinary Medicine in 2012. She completed a rotating internship at Blue Pearl Veterinary Partners in Tampa and dermatology internships at the University of Illinois and Texas Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists. She will complete her three-year residency at Auburn in July and plans to relocate to Dallas to join a private dermatology veterinary hospital.

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