New Faculty Focus: Adrianna Sage


Adrianna Sage


Clinical Assistant Professor of Veterinary Anesthesia and Pain Management, Department of Surgical Sciences


Innisfil, Ontario, Canada

Educational/professional background:

BSc(Honors) in Biomedical Science, University of Guelph; DVM, Ontario Veterinary College; MS in Veterinary Clinical Medicine – Anesthesiology; Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Anesthesia and Analgesia (DACVAA)

What is your field of research, and how did you get into it?

I became interested in the areas of anesthesia and pain physiology while working as a veterinary general practitioner. Daily, I would see patients presenting in various forms of pain and pet owners not always aware of it. I also felt that there was a lack of understanding around the best practices for veterinary anesthesia and a hesitancy to go beyond the “we’ve always done it this way” mentality, so I decided to pursue a residency after seven years in practice. As an anesthesiologist, I have strived to bring evidence-based practices to the general population of veterinarians and veterinary technicians through my involvement with the North American Veterinary Anesthesia Society (NAVAS), and now as a teacher of future veterinarians. My research focuses on ways to improve outcomes in veterinary anesthesia, especially during the recovery period, and how we can develop evidence-based perioperative guidelines such as those used in human anesthesia.

What attracted you to UW-Madison?

I was attracted to UW-Madison and the School of Veterinary Medicine for its excellent reputation and the collaborative environment not only within the school itself, but also with the other health sciences on campus. It also offered great research opportunities, along with the ability to foster my love of teaching. The friendly and inviting Midwest attitude among the faculty and staff made me feel welcomed, especially as new junior faculty.

What was your first visit to campus like?

I was lucky enough to visit Madison and the campus pre-pandemic in November 2019. I remember being captivated by the lakes and trails and could imagine how green everything would be in the spring and summer. It was also the day before an at-home Badger football game and the atmosphere was full of excitement.

Favorite place on campus?

I have not had the chance to explore too many areas of campus yet since I started during the pandemic, but I have enjoyed waking along the Lakeshore Path and was recently introduced to Babcock ice cream at the Babcock Dairy Store.

This is a unique point in time, as we’re returning after more than a year of pandemic. What do you most look forward to?

I think I am most looking forward to having the ability to get to know my colleagues better and interacting with them in a non-virtual environment. Starting a new position during a pandemic has been somewhat isolating and there are so many names I still have not put a face to! Outside of work, I am most looking forward to being able to travel back to Canada to visit my family. I haven’t seen them in person in a year and a half, and I have a new nephew that I want to be able to spoil.

Do you feel your work relates in any way to the Wisconsin Idea? If so, please describe how.

The SVM prides itself on being at the forefront of veterinary education, medicine, research and outreach. By educating the future generations of veterinary practitioners and public health specialists, we are not only benefiting the state of Wisconsin, but also the rest of the nation and the world. In my work, I hope to provide advancements in knowledge and guidance so as to benefit animal health and wellbeing globally.

What’s something interesting about your area of expertise you can share that will make us sound smarter at parties, now that we can attend them again?

As a veterinary anesthesiologist, I work with all species, be it a tiger, horse, dog, hamster, penguin, Komodo dragon or even fish. Surprisingly, the amount of gas anesthesia required to inhibit movement in 50 percent of patients in response to a noxious stimulus (what we call MAC) is conserved across almost all species!

Hobbies/other interests:

I love to play board games and do escape rooms; basically, anything involving puzzles! This year I have started to play hockey with the UW women’s C team, which, surprisingly, is not something I have ever done, being Canadian and all. I look forward to being able to travel again in addition to exploring all that Madison has to offer.

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