Dr. Clarence Bagshaw of the Edgefield Veterinary Clinic grew up on the beaches of Connecticut and Rhode Island, spear fishing, scuba diving, and catching turtles, outside exploring the animal world around him. His interests led him to attain his degree in Biology at Quinnipiac College in Hamden, Connecticut, where he was pre-med, then his Masters at the University of Rhode Island in Animal Science and Wild Life Diseases. Prior to receiving his Master’s degree he worked at a public health virus lab and did his Master’s Thesis on Quail Bronchitis in Bob White Quails.
Continuing his education he moved south and received his Veterinarian Degree at the University of Georgia where he met his good friend Dr. Brishin. While being interviewed, he spoke of fascinating memories working with Dr. Brishin, one on a Mutual of Omaha Wild Kingdom’s Marlin Perkins film called Environmental Research in the Wild Kingdom that focused on the ecology lab at the Savannah River site where part of his job was to catch alligators to put radios he’d made on them.
After receiving his Veterinarian Degree he worked for 10 years as the Head Emergency Room Vet at the Greater Charleston Veterinary Clinic, a very high stress position dealing with animal versions of similar situations as other human ER’s, like gunshot wounds and stabbings but pertaining to injured animals.
Later on he relocated to Aiken to work, but when he decided to open his own clinic in 1996 he chose Edgefield to start his business and reside because he liked and continues to enjoy the small town atmosphere – a reminder of the small towns of his childhood. Besides his Edgefield Clinic, Dr. Bagshaw has been working with the Aiken SPCA for 17 years, volunteering his surgical skills to help animals, as well as the Rescue K9 Shelter.
In another study he traveled to the island of Ossabaw off the coast of Savannah where Dr. Brishin was doing research on feral pigs that proved good models for research on the onset of diabetes. These pigs were slightly diabetic that made them better at metabolizing proteins, which helped them to survive in the harsh conditions of the island. With Dr. Brishin’s team he tested blood samples to identify 25 healthy pigs that were then transported to Missouri State University to be used to study Type 2 diabetes. To this day, these pigs remain the best species to study the onset of Adult Type 2 diabetes and the herd remains at Missouri State University.
Dr. Bagshaw’s latest study being published by Elsevier, one of the world’s largest science, technology and math publishing companies in the world, explores a virus called Parvovirus that is blamed for the deaths of millions of dogs worldwide every year. For years Dr. Bagshaw had observed an increase in the incidence of this disease during the spring and fall and suspected that an insect vector may be responsible for the seasonality of the disease and felt the information on the epidemiology and transmission of the disease was incomplete. His belief was that by better understanding how this disease survives and spreads in the regional environment, more effective methods of disease control could be developed. Prior to this study, no information that defining factors influencing the spread of this disease existed aside from the dog to dog or indirect contact with virus contaminated objects in the environment.
In particular Dr. Bagshaw suspected flies to be a potential insect vectors and could possibly represent a major disease transmission pathway. Flies attracted to open bowls of canine parvovirus positive canine feces were first trapped, identified and tested for the virus using molecular diagnostic methods. He began to document his observations which aroused interest in the research world and as a result his study expanded to the assistance of Dr. I. Lehr Brishin of the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, Alan Isdell, an etymologist with A and R Exterminating Company, Dharma S. Thiruvaiyaru of Georgia Regents University and Dr. Susan Sanchez of the University of Georgia College Veterinary Medicine.
Primary and secondary surveillance sites represented by different canine facilities, like shelters and private kennels, were selected to determine if these same flies could be carrying the virus. In his study over 38 sites in 10 states up and down the east coast from Florida to New York had flies collected and tested and statistics compiled.
Research revealed that 92% of all sites where flies tested positive of the virus were open, fly accessible canine facilities, like shelters and kennels where the dogs have outdoor runs or play yards. Only 22% of all closed sites, that kept dogs indoors with no access to outside, tested positive for the virus. This research confirms Dr. Bagshaw’s suspicion that these flies do carry the virus and could be a cause of the virus spreading to dogs, especially when the flies are in large concentrations.
As a result of Dr. Bagshaw’s efforts in conducting this study, this information will be useful in developing and implementing more effective disease control measures and standards that can benefit veterinarians, canine shelters and private kennels. Dr. Bagshaw’s recommendation to the general public is to not leave young susceptible puppies outdoors and in contact with flies for extended periods of time until they are at least completely vaccinated as the larger portion of fatalities affect puppies under 20 weeks that have not been fully vaccinated. Conduct good fly control around animals using fly traps, externally directed fans at kennel entrances to deter flies, pesticide fly bait stations that are inaccessible to animals and removing animal waste that attracts flies are helpful precautions that can help control these insects and prevent this deadly disease.
Dr. Bagshaw is a twin and also a single parent with 2 boys, Walter and Dalton. Walter was in The Devil Wears Petticoats with the Edgefield Community Theater. Although he returns north twice a year to visit his family, Dr. Bagshaw prefers the south and loves living in Edgefield.