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Decreasing the population of homeless dogs and cats

The recent article by Phillips et al 1 concerning the role private veterinary practitioners can play in reducing the numbers of homeless dogs and cats and decreasing shelter euthanasia rates is a welcome contribution and provides some practical solutions for a serious and difficult issue. As one step, the authors urge practitioners to actively engage in local legislative efforts dealing with animal-related issues or with animal health and welfare initiatives. I believe this is especially important advice, because in my experience, local and municipal councils frequently accept recommendations from local animal

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Choosing a career beyond private practice

We applaud the recent calls for improved student awareness of the breadth of opportunities in the veterinary profession. 1,2 Veterinary colleges provide excellent comprehensive education in clinical medicine and surgery, but in our opinion, often do too little to promote careers other than those in private clinical practice.

The Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine has been offering veterinary education and training beyond private practice through its Center for Public and Corporate Veterinary Medicine for nearly three decades. The college curriculum is differentiated into several clinical practice tracks, along with a track in public

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

The US FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) protects human and animal health by regulating animal drugs and animal food, treats, and food additives. 1 Animal food must be safe and accurately labeled and produced in a sanitary manner. 1,2

Two recent cases of animal food–related illness involving commercial pet food contaminated with pentobarbital 3 and thyroid tissue 4 highlight the important role veterinarians play in reporting suspected animal food issues. Veterinarians and others in the animal health field (eg, veterinary students and clinic staff) represent an invaluable, front-line partner because they can identify likely cases of

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
FSIS and food safety

The recent JAVMA News story 1 on proposed changes in federal regulations related to food inspection duties in swine slaughter facilities contains statements that we believe are misleading for readers.

The USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is the federal agency charged with protecting public health by ensuring the safety of meat, poultry, and processed egg products. Inspectors from the FSIS inspect establishments that manufacture these products and the products themselves to ensure that all products are safe, wholesome, and correctly labeled and packaged before the USDA mark of inspection is applied.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
In favor of standards of care

As a healthcare professional and pet owner, I was pleased to read Dr. Gary Block's commentary, “A new look at standard of care.” 1 Better defining and enacting standards of care (SOCs) in veterinary medicine should, I believe, be a top priority. Treatment decisions guided by well-defined, evidence-based SOCs—and not subjective beliefs—will improve outcomes, ultimately benefiting pets, owners, and veterinarians alike. 1,2 Benefits may also extend to state veterinary boards by enabling more objective review of cases appearing to fall outside established SOCs. 1

Although I appreciate that treatment recommendations could vary

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
The importance of veterinary career awareness

We commend Drs. Pritt and Case on their recent Viewpoint article, “The importance of veterinary career awareness,” 1 and agree that it is important to expose veterinary students to nonclinical career opportunities during their professional training. We would like to call attention to a major research training program that has been doing just that for more than 2 decades. We are referring to the National Veterinary Scholars Program and its associated National Veterinary Scholars Symposium. This program was started more than 25 years ago, with strategic input from individuals throughout the veterinary research

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
More on veterinarian wellbeing

Like Dr. Fox,1 I too was disturbed by the findings of the recent Merck Animal Health Veterinary Wellbeing Study, but perhaps for different reasons.

I first became concerned about the future of the veterinary profession in 19962 and have been continually frustrated since then by the profession's failure to address what I believe to be the root cause of poor wellbeing: our inability to provide a less expensive way to produce effective veterinarians. Substantial curricular reform and minimization of preveterinary requirements have not occurred, and veterinary student indebtedness has ballooned as a

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Methodological issues on reliability of interpretation of neurologic examination findings for the localization of vestibular dysfunction in dogs

We were interested to read the paper by Boudreau et al 1 on the reliability of using neurologic examination findings to localize the underlying cause of vestibular dysfunction in dogs. Specifically, the authors aimed to determine whether certain features of the clinical examination were reliably associated with the presence or location of MRI-identified lesions of the vestibular system in dogs. Neurologic examination findings for dogs were reviewed by 3 independent observers, who were asked to score each dog as having signs

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Looking beyond debt and income

I found the JAVMA News stories “Divided by debt” 1 and “Decline in real veterinary incomes continues despite strong job market,” 2 which appeared together in the same issue, to be quite interesting. Numerous factors affect the cost of educating veterinarians and the income they will receive after graduation. As a profession, however, we must remember that the clinical services we provide are often discretionary. Thus, what services we can provide depend both on the cost of doing business and the amount that clients are willing and able to pay. We

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Tramadol for treatment of pain in dogs

I was interested to read the recent report1 on the lack of effectiveness of tramadol in treating pain in dogs with chronic osteoarthritis and thank the authors for emphasizing the need for science-based treatments in veterinary medicine. I hope further appropriately controlled evaluations of therapeutic modalities, both new and tried-and-true, continue to see publication. I must admit to being a little dismayed by the authors’ results, as I have used tramadol for years to manage acute (eg, postoperative) and chronic pain in dogs on the recommendation of respected and trusted colleagues,

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association