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Market improving, but value of veterinary degree unclear

AVMA economists predict an improving market for veterinary services over the next several years.

But they also released results of analyses indicating the typical veterinary college graduate will earn less during his or her career than the typical bachelor's degree holder, once educational costs are considered.

The AVMA Veterinary Economics Division's latest estimates project a decline in the excess capacity for veterinary services, a measure that is related to underemployment and refers to unused but available ability for veterinarians to deliver services. The number of veterinary college graduates also is expected to

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research
Fighting the cyberbully

Cyberbullying, also known as cyberharassment, is the use of email, instant messaging, and derogatory websites to bully or otherwise harass an individual or group through personal attacks, according to U.S. Legal Definitions.

Department of Justice statistics reveal that some 850,000 adults, most of them female, are targets of the practice each year. Cyberbullying has been shown to make victims feel sad, hopeless, or depressed, according to an article published in May 2007 in Developmental Psychology.

Cyberbullies can also harm a business's reputation, including a veterinarian's.

Dr. Kimberly May, director of professional and public affairs in the AVMA

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research
Bad medicine or natural remedy?

Veterinarians are likely to see more and more cases of accidental marijuana poisoning, particularly in states where the use of cannabis for human medicinal or recreational purposes has become legal, experts say. Nevertheless, support for cannabis's potential as a veterinary drug is gaining ground.

The American Holistic VMA is the first, and so far only, veterinary organization that officially encourages researching the safety, dosing, and uses of cannabis in animals.

This past July, the AHVMA adopted a position that states in part: “There is a growing body of veterinary evidence that cannabis can reduce pain

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research
Substitution errors

Ten percent of veterinarians responding to recent polls said they have had patients harmed when outside pharmacies made substitutions in filling prescriptions.

Surveys conducted by five veterinary medical associations together indicate about one-third of respondents knew of occasions when pharmacies dispensed drugs to clients that were different from those that were prescribed or were different in dosage, and they did so without consulting the prescribing veterinarian. Most of those changes occurred without any known harm.

The Oregon, Idaho, Iowa, and Washington veterinary medical associations conducted their surveys in 2012, and the Southern California VMA conducted its survey in

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research
Southern specialty

Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine is located in a rural area and does not have a medical school to partner with on campus, and yet, it has a 64-slice CT scanner, a 3-T MRI scanner, a 4-D ultrasound machine, and a linear accelerator that is so precise its beam can target a tumor within 5 millimeters.

This wealth of diagnostic and treatment equipment came to be started when the veterinary college's administration established in 2008 a 509(a)2 nonprofit corporation, MSU-CVM-Clinical Outreach Services, to develop and manage private specialty clinics that would enhance teaching and student learning.

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research
Veterinarians tend to unique needs of exotic pets

Exotic companion mammals and pet reptiles and amphibians are not as popular as pet cats, dogs, and birds are, but they number in the millions in the United States. Veterinarians who work with these exotic pets say each species has its attractions as well as its challenges—and say owners of exotic pets seem somewhat more likely to seek veterinary care than in the past.

The AVMA's 2012 U.S. Pet Ownership & Demographics Sourcebook estimated that, at year-end 2011, 10.6 percent of U.S. households owned “specialty and exotic pets,” or pets other than

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research
Shelter medicine recognized as veterinary specialty

Dramatic advances in the science and practice of shelter veterinary medicine have occurred since the first courses on shelter animal health were taught in veterinary colleges in the 1990s.

In less than two decades, shelter medicine has evolved into a distinct field of veterinary practice drawing on a wide range of disciplines.

Training in shelter medicine is now offered at most North American veterinary colleges along with several postgraduate internships and residencies, while hundreds of hours of continuing education on the subject are presented at veterinary conferences every year. The Association of Shelter Veterinarians,

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research
Banking on wellness

Wellness plans offer the promise of enhancing preventive care for dogs and cats while improving finances for pet owners and veterinary clinics.

The plans are packages of preventive care services with charges billed monthly rather than at the time of each veterinary visit. The 2011 Bayer Veterinary Care Usage Study revealed that 45 percent of pet owners said they would visit a veterinarian more often if the practice offered a wellness plan billed monthly.

In reality, the plans can be hard to create and maintain, and pet owners sometimes confuse them with pet health insurance. The Bayer

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research
Researchers develop humane, safe method for euthanizing stranded whales

For most veterinarians, the only thing worse than euthanizing a dying animal is lacking the means of ending its suffering in a humane and timely manner. Such is the dilemma sometimes confronting volunteer response teams dispatched to aid whales stranded along the coastal United States.

A newly developed technique offers a humane alternative.

As a member of one of the many federal Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response teams along the U.S. coasts, Dr. Craig Harms is well acquainted with the dangers—as well as the logistic and emotional hardships—associated with humanely

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research
HOD again rejects measures to stop foreign accreditation

The nays have it.

Nearly 80 percent of the AVMA House of Delegates voted against a resolution calling for the Executive Board to end accreditation of non-U.S. and non-Canadian veterinary colleges by the AVMA Council on Education.

The resolution, submitted by the New York State Veterinary Medical Society, was considered by delegates during their 2014 regular winter session, Jan. 11 in Chicago.

The HOD has now debated the merits of foreign accreditation three times in the past four years.

Dr. Eric M. Bregman, owner of the Bregman Veterinary Group in Williston Park,

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research