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The Veterinary Community

CRWAD dedicated to Ross


Dr. Richard F. Ross

Citation: American Journal of Veterinary Research 69, 4; 10.2460/ajvr.69.4.447

The 88th annual meeting of the Conference of Research Workers in Animal Diseases was held Dec. 2-4, 2007, in Chicago. An estimated 540 people attended the meeting, with guests from 27 countries, including Egypt, the Philippines, and Uzbekistan.

The conference was dedicated to Dr. Richard F. Ross of Ames, Iowa. For more than 25 years, the 1959 Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine graduate dedicated his skills and energy to swine infectious disease research.

Not long after earning a PhD degree in veterinary bacteriology, Dr. Ross returned to Iowa State in 1966 for a research faculty position with the Veterinary Medical Research Institute, where he was eventually awarded the Clarence Hartley Covault Distinguished Professor in Veterinary Medicine.

A diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Microbiologists, Dr. Ross has served on the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture's Strategic Planning Board and as dean of Iowa's College of Veterinary Medicine and College of Agriculture. He is also a former president of the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges and CRWAD.

Life membership was awarded to Dr. Donald G. Simmons of Apex, N.C., former director of the AVMA Education and Research Division, and to Dr. Bruce N. Wilkie, professor emeritus of pathobiology, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph.

Officers of CRWAD for 2008 are Dr. Richard E. Isaacson, Saint Paul, Minn., president; Dr. Bill Stitch, Columbia, Mo., vice president; and Robert P. Ellis, PhD, Fort Collins, Colo., executive director.

The Association for Veterinary Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine named Dr. Clive C. Gay recipient of the 2007 Calvin W. Schwabe Award. A 1960 graduate of the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph, Dr. Gay served on the faculty of Washington State University from 1979-2005, and was the division head for population medicine, theriogenology, and food animal medicine and surgery within the Department of Clinical Sciences from 1988-2005.

Recipients of the AVEPM student awards were as follows: Epidemiology and Animal Health Economics category, oral: W.L. Walker, The Ohio State University, for “Effects of internal teat sealant use on udder health and milk yield in a commercial Jersey dairy herd,” and T.C. Boyer, University of Minnesota, for “GIS as a tool for regionalization of orbivirus infection risk: a case study in Illinois and Indiana.” Food and Environmental Safety category, oral: T.M. Platt, Texas A&M University, for “In-feed antimicrobial drug administration and antimicrobial susceptibility of non-type-specific Escherichia coli.” Poster: H.L. Abrecht, The Ohio State University, for “Evaluation of serum total protein as an indicator of IgG level in dairy calves up to eight days old.”

The Mark Gerhart Memorial Award was presented by the AVEPM to W.Q. Alali, Texas A&M University, for “Longitudinal study of antimicrobial resistance among Escherichia coli isolated from integrated multi-site cohorts of humans and swine.”

The American Association of Veterinary Immunologists presented the Distinguished Veterinary Immunologist Award to John E. Butler, PhD, of Iowa City, Iowa. Dr. Butler received his degree in zoology/biochemistry from the University of Kansas in 1965 and has been a faculty member in the Department of Microbiology at the University of Iowa Medical School since 1971. His research has been supported by the Department of Agriculture and National Institutes of Health.

Recipients of the AAVI student awards were as follows: First place, oral: Amanda A. Adams, University of Kentucky, for “Characterization of the immunological and physiological response of aged horses to equine influenza infection.” Second place, oral: R.R. Kulkarni, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, for “Immunization of broiler chickens against Clostridium perfringens-induced necrotic enteritis and identification of B-cell epitopes in protective antigens.” First place, poster: L.K. Beura, University of Nebraska, for “Certain PRRSV proteins inhibit IFN-A promoter activation.” Second place, poster: A.A. Elliot, University of Tennessee, for “Relationship of CXCR1 genotypes with responses to experimental challenge with Streptococcus uberis.”

The Society for Tropical Veterinary Medicine student award was presented to E. Cobo, University of California-Davis, for “Systemic immunization induces protection against Tritrichomonas foetus colonization in bulls, unlike preputial infection.”

The American Association of Veterinary Parasitologists student award was presented to James B. Reinbold, Kansas State University, for “Diagnosis of bovine anaplasmosis following iatrogenic infection.”

The NC-1007 Gastroenteric Diseases (North Central Committee for Research on Enteric Diseases of Swine and Cattle) student awards were presented to the following recipients: Oral: P. Plummer, Iowa State University, for “Transcriptional and functional analysis of Campylobacter genes involved in chicken colonization.” Poster: J. Erume, University of Nebraska, for “Relative contributions of LT and STb to the virulence of F4+ Escherichia coli in swine.”

The American College of Veterinary Microbiologists selected Dr. Gordon R. Carter of Blacksburg, Va., as the Distinguished Veterinary Microbiologist award recipient for 2007. Dr. Carter received his DVM degree in 1943 from Ontario Veterinary College. His focus has been the microbiology of infectious diseases of animals with emphasis on the laboratory diagnosis of these conditions.

Dr. Carter has been a faculty member of at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine, and Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, where he retired as professor emeritus in 1986.

The ACVM student awards were presented to the following recipients: In vitro category: S.P.S. Pallai, The Ohio State University, for “Infection and transmission studies with low pathogenic H5 subtype avian influenza viruses of different origins.” Molecular category: S.M. Szczepanek, University of Connecticut, for “Global in vitro transcriptomic comparison of Mycoplasma gallisepticum strains Rlow and F.” In vivo category: S. Ahluwalia, Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine, for “Auburn University differential immune response against Chlamydophila abortus associates with differential severity of staphylococcal and streptococcal mastitis in postpartum and post-abortion sheep.” Poster: J.J. Bao, South Dakota State University, for “Genetic marker development in the Nsp2 region of a U.S. type I PRRSV.”

The Don Kahn Award of the ACVM was presented to D.M. Madson, Iowa State University, for “Experimental inoculation of mature boars with different isolates of porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2).”

The Biosafety and Biosecurity Student Awards, sponsored by the Animal Health Institute, were presented to the following students: First place: H.B. Kim, University of Minnesota, for “Evaluation of virucidal effect in vitro on disinfectants and formalin against porcine circovirus type 2.” Second place: M.F. Spindel, Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, for “Development of a one-step real time reverse transcription PCR assay for the rapid detection of canine influenza virus in nasal swab specimens.” Poster: K.A. Smith, Michigan State University, for “New prospects for vaccine production: an immortalized chick embryo cell line that grows human and avian influenza virus.”

NIH, EPA partner to reduce their toxicity testing on animals

The National Institutes of Health and Environmental Protection Agency have announced a collaboration to reduce the use of laboratory animals for testing the toxicity of compounds to humans.

An article in the Feb. 15 issue of the journal Science outlined plans to shift from primarily in vivo animal studies for toxicity assessments to in vitro assays, in vivo assays with lower organisms, and computational modeling.

The five-year agreement and the plans in the Science article provide a framework to implement the longrange recommendations of a 2007 report from the National Research Council, “Toxicity Testing in the 21st Century: A Vision and a Strategy,” which called for a collaborative effort across the toxicology community to rely less on animal studies and more on in vitro tests using human cells.

Rural practice input sought from all veterinarians, students

The Academy of Rural Veterinarians is requesting all veterinarians, regardless of their present employment or area of expertise—as well as veterinary students—to complete a brief online survey designed to more fully explain why veterinarians enter rural practice, and why some leave and others stay. This feedback will help guide efforts to recruit and retain more veterinarians for this underserved practice area.

Participation in the survey is anonymous, and responses will be kept confidential, the ARV assures. This survey is a cooperative effort between the ARV and the colleges of veterinary medicine at Oregon State University and The Ohio State University.

For questions or comments about the survey, contact the ARV toll-free at (877) 362-1150 or at The survey Web site is The survey is also posted on the AVMA Web site at

From the AVMA

AVMA, HHS reach agreement on roles in emergency response

The AVMA has signed a new memorandum of understanding with the Department of Health and Human Services regarding the roles of each in delivering veterinary services during emergencies. The memorandum sets the stage for continuing collaboration between the AVMA and the HHS—but distinguishes the AVMA Veterinary Medical Assistance Teams from the federal government's National Veterinary Response Team.

The AVMA's original agreement with the HHS established the VMAT program in 1993 as a public-private partnership to aid the federal government by providing veterinary emergency preparedness and response services. During each deployment, VMAT members became temporary federal employees under the National Disaster Medical System.

Recently, though, federal officials have developed the National Veterinary Response Team as a program that operates entirely under government oversight. So now the AVMA is exploring other directions for its VMAT program, such as assisting states.

The new agreement calls for the AVMA and the HHS to appoint liaisons to communicate on veterinary emergency issues. The AVMA will promote participation in the National Disaster Medical System, while the HHS will administer programs for maintaining and training that system's intermittent federal personnel.

The AVMA-HHS memorandum is subject to review every three years.

Dee, Meyer elected to AVMA Executive Board

Drs. Larry G. Dee of Hollywood, Fla., and Thomas F. Meyer of Vancouver, Wash., were elected in uncontested races to the AVMA Executive Board representing districts IV and XI, respectively. They will be installed on the board at its July 23 meeting in New Orleans.

Dr. Dee is a 1969 graduate of Auburn University School of Veterinary Medicine and co-owner of a small animal practice. He is a member of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners—Canine and Feline Practice and an alternate delegate for Florida in the AVMA House of Delegates.

Along with his work in private practice, Dr. Dee is an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Medical Sciences at the University of Florida. Additionally, Dr. Dee is a former president of the American Animal Hospital Association, Florida VMA, ABVP, and World Small Animal Veterinary Association.

Dr. Meyer is a 1978 graduate of Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine and co-owner with his wife, Dr. Jean Meyer, of a mixed animal practice.

The former president of the Washington State VMA has been his state's delegate or alternate delegate to the AVMA since 1995 and has served on and chaired the House Advisory Committee. Dr. Meyer was also the equine representative on the AVMA Clinical Practitioners Advisory Committee.

Education council schedules site visits

The AVMA Council on Education has scheduled site visits to schools/colleges of veterinary medicine at seven institutions for the remainder of 2008.

Comprehensive site visits are planned for the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine, April 6-10; Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, April 20-24; Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Sept. 14-18; University of Edinburgh Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, Oct. 19-23; University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, Nov. 2-6; and University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine, Dec. 7-11.

A focused site visit to the Tuskegee University School of Veterinary Medicine will be conducted in November (date to be determined).

The council welcomes written comments on these plans or the programs to be evaluated. Comments should be addressed to Dr. David E. Granstrom, Director, Education and Research Division, AVMA, 1931 N. Meacham Road, Suite 100, Schaumburg, IL 60173-4360. Comments must be signed by the person submitting them to be considered.

Legislative Actions

Senate hearing focuses on beef recall

Herb Kohl, chairman of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, is demanding greater vigilance from the Department of Agriculture at the nation's meat processing plants following the largest beef recall in U.S. history this February.

“We must have tougher standards, round-the-clock surveillance, and stiffer penalties to ensure our meat inspection system protects Americans,” said Kohl during a Feb. 28 subcommittee hearing into the recall of 143 million pounds of beef, which was sparked earlier this year by abuses and violations at the California-based Hallmark/Westland Meat Co.

Hallmark/Westland had been one of the largest beef suppliers to a USDA program that supplies food for school lunches and programs for the needy. Employees were secretly videotaped dragging downer cows, rolling them with forklifts, and using electric cattle prods and high-intensity water hoses to make the animals stand.

In the ensuing investigation, the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service revealed that the plant failed to consistently involve the FSIS public health veterinarian in situations where cattle became unable to walk after passing preslaughter inspection, as required by federal regulation.

Once the abuses came to light, the AVMA encouraged the Office of the Inspector General and FSIS to thoroughly investigate the matter and enforce federal standards governing the humane care of animals destined for slaughter. The AVMA has several policies on the humane treatment of production animals, including the policy “Disabled livestock,” which recommends that disabled livestock be handled humanely in all situations.

At the hearing attended by Agriculture Secretary Edward Schafer and others, Kohl pressed the secretary to have all 900 meat processing plants that slaughter cattle audited to make sure they have language-appropriate materials for their workers and that employees are sufficiently trained. The senator asked that the audits of the 23 plants supplying meat and poultry to the USDA nutrition programs be completed within 30 days.

Kohl also suggested that cameras be installed on every slaughter line and that the regulatory “loophole” allowing for the processing of some downer cattle be closed.

Schafer told the subcommittee that the USDA took immediate action against Hallmark/Westland once it became aware of the video Jan. 30. The secretary said he remains confident in the safety of the U.S. food supply, saying it was “extremely unlikely” that the animals processed at the plant had bovine spongiform encephalopathy.

Given the current safeguards against BSE in U.S. cattle, such as the ban on most mammalian protein-to-ruminant feed and the testing of some 40,000 animals annually, “we can definitively say that the incidence of BSE in the United States is extremely low,” Schafer told the subcommittee.

Schafer added that the USDA would soon announce additional steps the department is taking to strengthen its inspection system. The following day, Feb. 29, the USDA issued a series of interim actions to verify and analyze humane handling activities in federally inspected establishments. All of the interim actions are posted on the USDA-FSIS Web site at

Questions were raised during the hearing about the professional capabilities of veterinarians during the inspection process. In written testimony provided to the subcommittee after the hearing, the AVMA stated Hallmark/Westland illustrates that the problem is not about adequate training but a shortage of veterinarians working in the areas of food safety and public health.

Research in Progress

Health studies of Sept. 11 dogs ongoing

The American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation and AKC Companion Animal Recovery continue their support of studies to determine long-term health impact of search-and-rescue dogs deployed at the World Trade Center and Pentagon following the Sept. 11 attacks.

As of late January, nearly $125,000 has been contributed, including $62,000 from AKC-CAR through its Canine Support and Relief Fund. The remaining costs are being provided by AKC-CHF and supporters.

For six years, scientists at the University of Pennsylvania, led by Dr. Cynthia Otto, have been monitoring the health and behavior of 97 search-and-rescue dogs deployed Sept. 11. No clinically obvious differences have been observed between the dogs and a control group of 55 nondeployed dogs.

A veterinary epidemiologist is analyzing the first five years of health survey data. In addition, Dr. James A. Serpell, director of the Center for the Interaction of Animals & Society at the University of Pennsylvania, is analyzing data from his validated behavior survey to identify any significant differences over time and determine any correlation with dogs' deployment.

To date, 35 deployed dogs and 15 control dogs enrolled in the study have died. The proportion of deceased deployed dogs to deceased control dogs is not significantly different than the control group, nor is the rate of cancer.

To further evaluate the effect of deployment on rate and onset of health and behavior problems, it is essential to continue monitoring the dogs and the controls throughout their natural lifespan, according to the AKC.

Public Health

Workers at swine slaughterhouses develop neurologic illnesses

The national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Minnesota Department of Health are investigating an outbreak of neurologic illnesses among workers at a Minnesota swine slaughterhouse.

As of Jan. 28, investigators had identified eight workers at the plant with progressive inflammatory neuropathy and four workers with probable or possible PIN. Symptoms ranged from acute paralysis to gradually progressive symmetric weakness over periods from eight to 213 days.

All 12 patients reported either working at or having regular contact with an area for processing pig heads. The plant used a compressed-air device to harvest brain tissue. In response to the investigation, the plant suspended harvesting of brains.

A survey of swine slaughterhouses found two plants, in Nebraska and Indiana, that used compressed air to extract pig brains. Investigators identified several workers at the Indiana plant with neurologic illnesses and exposure to head-processing activities. Both plants have stopped using compressed air to extract pig brains.

One hypothesis for development of PIN is that worker exposure to aerosolized pig neural protein might induce an autoimmune-mediated peripheral neuropathy.


Equine association updates vaccination guidelines

The Infectious Disease Committee of the American Association of Equine Practitioners in January issued revised guidelines for the administration of vaccines to horses. The recommendations are based on the age of the horse and its previous vaccination history, and are meant to serve as a reference for veterinarians.

Highlights of “Guidelines for the Vaccination of Horses” include the following:

  1. identification of tetanus, eastern/western equine encephalomyelitis, West Nile virus infection, and rabies as “core” vaccines. Core vaccines have clearly demonstrated efficacy and safety, and exhibit a high enough degree of patient benefit and low enough degree of risk to justify their use in most patients
  2. addition of a vaccination protocol for anthrax
  3. recommendations for the storage and handling of vaccines, as well as information on vaccine labeling and adverse reactions
  4. inclusion of the AAEP's Infectious Disease Control Guidelines, which provide an action plan for the containment of infectious disease during an outbreak

Chaired by Dr. Mary Scollay, the AAEP committee that updated the guidelines stresses that veterinarians, through an appropriate veterinarian-client-patient relationship, should use the recommendations, coupled with available products, to determine the best professional care for their patients. Horse owners should consult with a licensed veterinarian before initiating a vaccination program.

The complete document, along with easy reference charts, is available on the AAEP Web site at

Global News

Ebola outbreak in Uganda involves a new strain of the virus

Laboratory analysis has confirmed the presence of a new strain of Ebola virus in a recent outbreak in humans in western Uganda, according to the World Health Organization.

As of Dec. 7, the number of suspected cases of Ebola hemorrhagic fever in Uganda's Bundibugyo District had risen to 93—including 22 fatalities.

Laboratory experts from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have provided support to the Uganda Virus Research Institute in the diagnosis and analysis of samples from suspected cases.

Scientists previously identified four strains of Ebola virus—the Zaire, Sudan, Ivory Coast, and Reston strains. According to the WHO, the mortality rate of Ebola hemorrhagic fever is 50 percent to 90 percent in human cases of clinical illness. The virus can infect humans, nonhuman primates, and some other mammals.