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Essentiality of access to federal animal welfare records

In these hyper-partisan times, governmental transparency is more important than ever. In this regard, February's decision by the USDA to remove from its website thousands of records providing information on compliance with the Animal Welfare and Horse Protection acts is a substantial step backwards. These documents included inspection reports of commercial animal breeding facilities, animal research facilities, and roadside zoos as well as information about violations of the Horse Protection Act. In taking these documents down, the USDA has made it more difficult for veterinarians and others working to correct systemic animal

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Veterinary medicine and the opioid epidemic

Although I was encouraged reading the JAVMA News story 1 addressing veterinary medicine's role in the opioid epidemic, I thought the article missed the mark by focusing solely on current laws surrounding prescription monitoring. Although timely, balanced, and informative, the article's focus could inadvertently drive a deeper wedge between state and federal officials and veterinarians, who should aim to work together to help tackle this public health crisis.

As stated in the article, veterinarians do indeed have “professional obligations to the public to ensure appropriate drug use.” And, the Veterinarian's Oath

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Fixing the debt

In an effort to continue the dialogue about recent efforts to reduce the educational debt of veterinary students, I would like to provide information on an admissions change here at the Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine—a change touched on by Dr. Jerrold M. Ward in a recent letter to the editor 1 and one that the college will be implementing in the next admissions cycle.

In his letter, Dr. Ward remarked that in the recent past, many students entered veterinary school after only 2 years of undergraduate education. Not only do many of our

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Further thoughts on possible discrimination against LGBT veterinarians

Like Dr. Keri Jones, 1 I read with interest the JAVMA News story on health concerns of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans-gender veterinarians. 2 However, I took away a different message. My interpretation of the statement from Dr. Michael Chaddock that LGBT veterinarians have a greater likelihood of mental health and substance abuse issues (compared with other practitioners) is that the factors listed may contribute to an increased likelihood, but do not automatically mean that members of this group will develop such issues. Dr. Jones does make a

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Identifying screwworms

After reading the recent JAVMA News story “Screwworms found in Florida: flesh-eating larvae infested deer, possibly pets,” 1 I wanted to applaud JAVMA for continuing to alert all veterinarians (both young and old) concerning this devastating “imported” pathogen that can affect all warm-blooded animals throughout much of North America. Veterinarians and wildlife biologists are truly the first lines of defense in recognizing this devastating parasite. The simplest method for identifying screwworms is by examining the dorsal, posterior third of the third stage larva and locating the deeply pigmented tracheal tubes. In past reports

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Reduction of healthy teeth in nonhuman primates

I would like to thank the authors of the recent report 1 describing a capuchin monkey with multiple canine tooth root abscesses following crown reduction of the canine teeth. The report aptly demonstrates one of the reasons why the AVMA opposes the reduction of healthy teeth in nonhuman primates and carnivores. 2 However, I believe there may be a better take-home lesson than the one suggested by the authors. An owner's request for tooth reduction or removal to prevent injuries from aggression can, I believe, be interpreted as tacit acknowledgement that

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Danger of generalizing LGBT research to veterinarians

When I opened my October 15 issue of JAVMA, I was pleased to see a news story 1 addressing health concerns of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender veterinarians. That is, until I started reading it. As a lesbian veterinarian, I was surprised to read in the first sentence that LGBT veterinarians have “an even greater likelihood of mental health and substance abuse issues (than do other practitioners),” when the rest of the article indicates that the veterinary professional population has not yet been studied. To assume statistics that apply to

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Priorities of owners using reduced-cost spay-neuter clinics

I applaud Benka and McCobb 1 for their study on users of a reduced-cost spay-neuter program for cats in Massachusetts. 1 Some of the findings related to so-called spay delay, however, give me pause.

According to the report, when users of this reduced-cost spay-neuter program were asked to indicate why their cats had not previously been spayed or neutered, 526 of 1,188 (44.3%) respondents selected “too expensive.” Although it may have been true that from the owners' perspective, the procedure was too expensive, the study did not assess the owner priorities

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Continued discussion of onychectomy consequences

Once again the topic of declawing has come up in JAVMA,1 and I was interested in the study's findings, although mostly because one of the authors, Dr. Claudia Baldwin, was so kind and helpful to me early in my shelter medicine career when she ran the shelter medicine program at Iowa State University.

However, until someone can guarantee that no more declawed cats will be brought into my high-volume, high-quality, spay-neuter clinic after being trapped in the community, I don't expect to spend much time reading more research on the effects

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Global group bridges veterinary dermatology and pathology

We read with interest the commentary from Dr. David Pinson on “Frustrations, requirements, and expectations of skin biopsy for diagnosing skin disease.” 1 Histologic examination of skin biopsy specimens is an extremely useful, and in many cases essential, tool in the investigation and diagnosis of skin disease in animals, and so we wanted to take this opportunity to inform readers about the International Society of Veterinary Dermatopathology (ISVD). The ISVD was established by a group of veterinary pathologists and dermatologists who saw a need for a global specialist group that could bridge

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association