Texas A&M Faculty Member Receives Career Achievement Award Honoring Work In Veterinary Advancements For Dogs

Story by Rachel Knight, VMBS Communications

Dr. Jan Suchodolski
Suchodolski

Dr. Jan Suchodolski, a professor at the Texas A&M School of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (VMBS), is the 2024 recipient of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Career Achievement in Canine Research Award.

The award recognizes AVMA members who’ve made long-term contributions to research that advances dog health. Suchodolski, who also serves as associate director of the Gastrointestinal Laboratory (GI Lab) at the VMBS, has been a pioneer in advancing veterinary care for dogs and cats for over a decade.

“Dr. Suchodolski’s contributions to companion animal health have made him a leading expert in dog health,” said Dr. John R. August, the Carl B. King Dean of Veterinary Medicine at the VMBS. “His cutting-edge projects often result in a better understanding of the microbiome and produce diagnostic tests and baselines that veterinarians worldwide use to better serve their patients.”

Throughout his research career, Suchodolski has contributed to more than 160 research articles about dogs. His work includes looking at the metabolome — the complete set of small-molecule chemicals produced during metabolism — of both dogs and cats and examines things like how they interact with antibiotics.

One of Suchodolski’s most recent research publications validated a new diagnostic index called the Dysbiosis Index (DI), which aids in distinguishing between acute and chronic GI dysfunction and detecting non-GI disorders.

“The Dysbiosis Index can accurately predict total shifts in the microbiome,” Suchodolski said in an article about the DI. “Doing this helps us define what is normal and abnormal for gut microbiome health so we can see when a patient’s gut system has shifted away from normal.”

Acute and chronic GI dysfunction require different management techniques, making the DI an instrumental tool in both diagnosis and treatment by ensuring the proper care can begin more quickly.

While Suchodolski’s discoveries primarily benefit dogs and cats, they also build a bank of knowledge about the bacteria composing the microbiome that also supports improvements in other species, including humans.

“Dr. Suchodolski is truly a pioneer in veterinary medicine, having nearly single-handedly defined the gastrointestinal microbiome in small animals,” said Dr. Jonathan Levine, head of the VMBS’ Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences. “He is a field leader in canine research, and based on his metrics and discipline wide impact, highly deserving of this recognition.”

Suchodolski holds two degrees from the Veterinary University of Vienna, including his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine; a Ph.D. from Texas A&M; and is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Microbiologists.

He originally came to Texas A&M from Austria as a veterinary graduate to complete a short-term credit program, with the intention of returning to Austria after two years, but extended his time at Texas A&M when he was offered the opportunity to complete a Ph.D.

During the first year of his Ph.D. program, a new study examining the molecular method for studying the microbiome was published. The study ultimately changed the trajectory of Suchodolski’s career from veterinary practice to research. He officially joined the faculty at Texas A&M in 2005.

“We’re at the beginning of characterizing the different bacterial types, and we still don’t have the best methods available,” Suchodolski said. “There are a trillion bacteria that are living in our gut, and it’s exciting to be on the cutting edge of discovering what they are, what they do, and how to use them to better health outcomes for dogs, cats, and other species.”

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For more information about the Texas A&M School of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, please visit our website at vetmed.tamu.edu or join us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

Contact Information: Jennifer Gauntt, Director of VMBS Communications, Texas A&M School of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, jgauntt@cvm.tamu.edu, 979-862-4216


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