2014 HSVMA Student Scholar Program Projects

February 15, 2015

HSVMA awarded two animal welfare research grants this year to students at the University Of Florida College Of Veterinary Medicine. The HSVMA Student Scholars Program is made possible by a grant from the Kislak Family Foundation.

2014 Featured Research Project

Comparison of Non-Contact Infrared Thermometry and Rectal Thermometry in Cats
Kelly Nutt, University of Florida (Class of 2017)


View larger version.  Kelly Nutt


UF veterinary student, Kelly Nutt, doing research
Kelly (left) using a non-contact infrared thermometer to measure to body temperature from a cat's pinna. &nbspKelly Nutt

Body temperature is commonly used for assessing health and identifying infectious disease in cats. Rectal thermometry is the most commonly used method, but it is stressful, invasive, and time consuming. Non-contact infrared thermometry (NIRT) has been used to measure temperature in humans and other species with mixed success. The purpose of this study was to determine if NIRT measurements were comparable to rectal temperature measurements, or if not highly correlated, could at least be used to identify cats in the hypothermic or hyperthermic range in need of further evaluation. Rectal temperature measurements in 200 healthy indoor cats were used to establish a new reference interval of 98.1-102.1 degrees Fahrenheit, which is lower than previously published normal ranges. A total of 6 NIRT devices and 15 anatomic sites were narrowed to the 3 devices and 3 sites (pinna, gingiva, and perineum) with the highest correlation to rectal temperature. Measurements were made in 202 adult cats housed indoors at animal shelters, veterinary clinics, and private homes across a wide range of body temperatures and compared to rectal temperatures. Bland-Altman analysis revealed poor agreement between NIRT and rectal thermometry. The mean NIRT measurements ranged from 1.3-2.4 degrees Fahrenheit below the mean rectal measurements. NIRT measurements tended to exceed rectal measurements in hypothermic cats and to fall below rectal measurements in normothermic and hyperthermic cats. Infrared measurements were only weakly correlated with rectal temperature. Current NIRT devices are inadequate for clinical use in cats.

Kelly Nutt


Kelly Nutt is a second year veterinary student studying shelter medicine at the University Of Florida College Of Veterinary Medicine (class of 2017). As a Florida native who also attended UF as an undergrad, Kelly is a true Gator! Kelly is a member of the Student Chapter of the Association of Shelter Veterinarians and is a volunteer for Operation Catnip. When she graduates, Kelly hopes to become a shelter veterinarian.


Maria Brandifino, University of Florida (2017), was also awarded a 2014 HSVMA Student Scholars grant for her research project, Using Structured Interactions to Increase Adoption of Shelter Dogs.


View larger version.  Maria Brandifino


2013 Grant Recipients

A list of last year's grant recipients and their projects are below. Read more about their projects»

View photos of the 2013 grant recipients and their posters»

The Effects of Different Social Enrichment Methods of Hyperactivity in Shelter Dogs
Hagar Hauser, University of Florida (2016)

Prevalence and risk factors for determination of protective antibody titers against canine distemper, canine parvovirus, and canine adenovirus-2 using a point-of-care ELISA test in Ecuador
Patricia Dingman, University of Florida (2016)

Training Tomorrow’s Humane Veterinarians: Service Learning Through Community Cat Trap-Neuter-Return
Sandra MacArthur, University of Florida (2016)