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Cathryn K.   Sparks MS, PhD

Assistant Professor of Anatomy

Dr. Cathryn Sparks received her undergraduate degree (BSc) from Louisiana State University A&M (LSU), Baton Rouge, in 1993, her MS (LSU A&M) in 1999, and her PhD (LSU School of Veterinary Medicine) in 2012. She was employed as an instructor at LSU in the Department of Biological Sciences from 1999 – 2001 where she taught comparative anatomy, human physiology, and general biology.

Dr. Sparks worked as a research associate in the transgenics/obesity laboratory at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge from 2001 – 2004. She taught veterinary gross anatomy and neuroscience at the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine from 2004 – 2014. Dr. Sparks was employed as an adjunct instructor of human anatomy and physiology at Our Lady of the Lake College, Baton Rouge, for ten years (2004 – 2014), and also taught as an adjunct instructor of biology, anatomy, and physiology at River Parishes Community College, Sorrento from 2005 – 2007. She continues her research in deafness in dogs and cats, where her focus is on the development, vascularization, and ligaments of the canine middle ear.


BSC Zoology, Louisiana State University A&M

MS Zoology, Louisiana State University A&M

PHD Veterinary Medical Sciences, Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine


Pressure effects on G-proteins (MS)

Deafness in dogs and cats (PhD and current)

Teaching methods to enhance student learning of anatomy


Deans Teacher Merit Honor Roll, Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine (2012, 2014, 2015)

Poster recognition (4th place) at Phi Zeta Research Emphasis Day,

Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine, “Microanalysis

of the Vasculature of the Canine Middle Ear using Microcomputed

Tomography for Improved Anatomical Understanding”, September 24, 2014

Publication Highlights

Stevens-Sparks, CK, Strain, GM. The canine jaw-ear connection: The malleomandibular and tympanomandibular ligaments. Anatomical Record 2014; 297(5):876-891.

Stevens-Sparks, CK Anatomy of the ear. In: Strain, G.M. Deafness in Dogs and Cats. 2011.
CAB International, Wallingford, UK., pp. 1-22.

Stevens-Sparks, CK, Strain, GM. Post-anesthesia deafness in dogs and cats following dental and ear cleaning procedures. Veterinary Anaesthesia and Analgesia 2010; 37:347-351.

Stevens, CK, Siebenaller, JF. The effects of hydrostatic pressure on pertussis toxin-catalyzed ribosylation of G proteins from deep-living macrourid fishes. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology 2001; 125B:103-114.

Current Projects

A Review of the Canine and Feline Blood Supply to the Ear and New Findings in the Dog (submitted manuscript, in review)

The Regression of Meckel’s Cartilage Relative to the Development of the Canine Tympanic Bulla (in preparation)


My research focuses on the anatomy of the auditory system and deafness in dogs and cats. I have documented the occurrence of acute onset deafness in dogs and cats following dental procedures, identified a ligamentous connection between the canine jaw and middle ear, and analyzed the vasculature in close proximity to the temporomandibular joint. My ongoing research goals are to more fully explore the anatomical link between the jaw and middle ear and to determine if there is a relation between extremes of jaw manipulation and acute onset deafness in dogs and cats.

In addition to my biological research, I am interested in exploring and developing new teaching strategies within both the lecture and laboratory setting to enhance student learning.