Rachel Turner '12 Engages in Colic Recovery Research with College of Veterinary Medicine Professor

With the support of a Park Enrichment Grant, Rachel Turner ‘12 attended the 10th Annual International Colic Research Symposium in Indianapolis where her research on colic recovery was presented by Dr. Matthew Gerard, a clinical associate professor of large animal surgery in the NC State University College of Veterinary Medicine.

Rachel Turner analyzes equine colic data with Dr. Matthew Gerard.

For the past year, Gerard and Turner have collaborated to determine risk factors that lead to the failure of incisions after colic surgery.

“Our research on equine surgery is especially important because it can be applied across disciplines to improve the outcome of surgery in many types of animals,” says Turner.

Equine colic is the number one cause of premature death in horses. The symposium involved a meeting of surgeons, researchers, and professors from veterinary schools and hospitals around the world to present and discuss the newest techniques of detection, prevention, and treatment of colic. Gerard and Turner plan to use the feedback they received on their research at the symposium to expand and improve upon their work.

“Rachel’s participation in our colic study has been instrumental to the success of the project,” says Gerard. “She is learning what it takes to design and implement a study of this nature, and also the long term value of such research – results from this study will directly impact how equine surgeons approach colic surgery, and, in particular, how they close and manage abdominal incisions.”

Turner also received a Park Enrichment Grant last summer to help fund an internship with the Millennium Elephant Foundation in Sri Lanka. The organization provides housing and medical care for injured elephants, and delivers educational programs about the Asian elephant and its struggle for survival to tourists.

Turner hails from San Jose, California and is in her final year of studying animal science. She is currently in the process of applying to veterinary school where she plans to specialize in zoological medicine and pursue a career as a conservation veterinarian.