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Diversity starts with us

How did the 2013 article 1 from The Atlantic naming veterinary medicine the whitest profession in America (with whites making up 96.3% of the veterinary workforce, according to figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics) impact practicing veterinarians? Was anyone surprised? Did the article or moniker challenge the profession to become more inclusive? Did it raise greater concerns about the fact that the veterinary profession is so far afield from current US demographics?

Recent data indicate that > 90% of US veterinary students are Caucasian. 2 This is a stark reminder that

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
What kind of education makes a veterinarian?

The kind of education veterinary students need depends on the kind of veterinarians we want them to be. The quality of our current veterinary medical college faculties is impressive, 1 yet current veterinary medical curricula cannot produce finished veterinarians. 2 They can only provide a basic knowledge of the medical sciences and their practical employment, while preparing graduates to continue learning throughout their varied careers.

The path to a veterinary career begins with a well-planned undergraduate education. Although academic excellence is the prime requisite for admission into veterinary college, more emphasis

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Recognition of botanical medicine specialists

Regarding the recent letter from Dr. Peter Eyre 1 discussing the petition before the AVMA's American Board of Veterinary Specialties seeking recognition of the American College of Veterinary Botanical Medicine, I would point out that use of botanical preparations is of increasing interest to pet owners, pet professionals, farmers, and researchers, yet veterinarians themselves have no recognized body of specialists to whom they can turn for education and research to aid these clients. The American Botanical Council reported in September 2015 that annual sales of herbal supplements had risen for the 11th consecutive year.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Heartworm seropositivity in cats

There is one finding in the recent study “Seroprevalence of heartworm infection, risk factors for seropositivity, and frequency of prescribing heartworm preventives for cats in the United States and Canada” 1 that caught my interest. Table 1, which reports results of bivariate analyses of putative risk factors for heartworm seropositivity in cats, indicates that seroprevalence was 0.5% among cats for which heartworm preventive had been prescribed and 0.4% among cats for which it had not been. There was no significant difference between these values.

I did not see any mention or analysis of the possible

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
More on rigid endoscopy and laparoscopy in small animal general practice

We read with interest the report by Jones et al 1 on the economic and clinical feasibility of introducing rigid endoscopy and laparoscopy in a small animal general practice. Having trained > 300 veterinarians (most in general practice) in these techniques and having performed them in our own practice (> 3,500 laparoscopic ovariohysterectomies and ovariectomies alone) for nearly 15 years, we hope to provide additional perspective. In addition, one of us was an author on a study 2 evaluating patient benefits of laparoscopic-assisted ovariohysterectomy in dogs, which

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Botanical medicine, homeopathy, and the placebo effect

The AVMA is currently exploring two aspects of complementary and alternative medicine: a petition before the AVMA American Board of Veterinary Specialties for recognition of the American College of Veterinary Botanical Medicine 1 and a recent news report 2 on the role of homeopathy in the veterinary profession.

We know from archeological evidence that plants have been used to treat human and animal ailments since before recorded history. And, many plants are known to contain medicinal compounds. Well-known examples include morphine, derived from the opium poppy, and digitalis, which comes from

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Comments on fixing the debt

I read with interest the letter 1 on educational debt from Dr. John Baker, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Michigan State University. In his letter, Dr. Baker describes the college's efforts to address the problem of educational indebtedness by decreasing “the number of preveterinary requirements to 55 credits,” which would allow students to enter the veterinary college after 2 years, or even 1 year, of undergraduate education.

When I attended Purdue some 30 years ago, similar requirements were in effect. Many of my classmates with only 2 years of undergraduate work

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Call for research on tick-prevention products

Tick season is upon us here in the Northeast, meaning that tick prevention is especially important. As I understand it, there are two general classes of tick prevention products available for dogs: those that repel ticks and those that kill ticks after they bite a host. Manufacturers of products that kill ticks after they bite a host provide evidence that transmission of Borrelia burgdorferi requires 24 to 72 hours of attachment and transmission of Anaplasma phagocytophilum may require 12 to 24 hours of attachment. Although these organisms cause two of

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
On the Mars-VCA merger

The recent JAVMA News story 1 on the acquisition of VCA Antech by Mars quoted Dr. Scott Spaulding, CEO of Badger Veterinary Hospitals and a member of the AVMA Veterinary Economics Strategy Committee, as suggesting that the merger may be a potential positive for the veterinary industry because veterinary medicine is “a capital-intensive business. We have to have facilities and a large enough staff. We also invest heavily in surgical facilities and the latest diagnostic technologies. With $9.1 billion coming into the veterinary industry, I think that it is definitely needed by veterinary

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
AVMA policy on responsible pet breeding

The AVMA's new policy “Inherited Disorders in Responsible Breeding of Companion Animals” 1 is a diluted statement that does little more than call for continued research and education of breeders and owners. As a long-standing supporter and Honor Roll member of the AVMA (Fox) and as the producer of a widely viewed documentary on this issue (Harrison), we are extremely disappointed that this new policy does not specifically address serious inherited abnormalities, both physical and behavioral, in purpose-bred dogs and cats in the same way that they are addressed in position statements from

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association