From the AVMA; Research Results; Regulatory Actions; Global News; Proposals Invited; Invitations; Business World; The Veterinary Community

From the AVMA

New online monograph series is open access

The AVMA debuted an online monograph series recently, and because of the positive reception, it has been made available to all viewers, not just AVMA journal subscribers

AVMA Collections is designed to help veterinarians and others locate and put to use the best information from the AVMA scientific journals. In addition to the summary and bulleted highlights of each article, all viewers can access full-text PDFs without needing to log in.

Of the initial two monographs, there are three AJVR articles in the “Obesity in dogs” collection and an AJVR article in the “Zoonosis Updates” compilation, with the remainder of articles from JAVMA.

When Dr. Althea A. Jones, AVMA online professional services editor, announced the new series, the intent was ultimately to make this freely available to AJVR and JAVMA readers, with others being able to view articles on a pay-per-view basis. Shortly after the series' April 1 debut, demand was so strong that the editors decided to open access to everyone who might benefit from this service. Within days, nternational visits more than doubled

To view AVMA Collections, visit

Members' e-mail addresses protected by AVMA

Periodically, the AVMA receives messages from members who are concerned that the e-mail addresses they provided to the Association may have been used by commercial firms to send them unsolicited e-mail.

The AVMA does not provide members' e-mail addresses to commercial sources, and when it receives a complaint, it mounts an investigation. AVMA policy has strict prohibitions against the sharing, renting, or selling of e-mail addresses or phone numbers from the Association's database.

Requests to purchase a posta mail list of AVMA member addresses are approved only if the materials to be mailed conform with the AVMA mail list policy. Only the addresses approved by AVMA members for release are included. At no time are e-mai addresses or phone numbers released.

AVMA members are urged to provide and keep current their e-mail addresses and other contact information in the AVMA database, to ensure them of rapid notification in urgent situations. AVMA member profiles can be updated by going to and clicking on “My AVMA” and then “Update your member information.”

Research Results

Genetic cancer link between humans, dogs identified

Researchers at the University of Minnesota and North Carolina State University have found that humans and dogs share the same genetic basis for certain types of cancer. The researchers also report that because of the way the genomes have evolved, getting cancer may be inevitable for some humans and dogs.

Dr. Jaime Modiano with the U of M College of Veterinary Medicine and Matthew Breen, PhD, from NCSU collaborated on the study. Their findings are published in the March 2008 issue of Chromosome Research. The American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation and American Cancer Society funded the study.

“ Many forms of human cancer are associated with specific alterations to the number or structure of chromosomes and the genes they contain,” Dr. Breen said. “We have developed reagents to show that the same applies to dog cancers, and that the specific genome reorganization which occurs in comparable human and canine cancers shares a common basis.”

More specifically, the researchers found that the genetic changes that occur in dogs with certain cancers of the blood and bone marrow are virtually identical to genetic abnormalities in humans with the same cancers.

“We believe the implication of this finding is that cancer may be the consequence of generations of genetic evolution that has occurred similarly in dogs and humans,” Dr. Modiano said “This means that to some degree, cancer may be inevitable in some humans and dogs just because of the way our genomes have developed since the separation from a common ancestor.”

Next, the researchers will use grants received from the National Cancer Institute to start pinpointing risk factors for cancer in various breeds of dogs

Researcher identifies eye disease in dogs

A recent report identifies an eye disease in dogs—immune-mediated retinopathy—that causes loss of function in retinal cells.

Dr. Sinisa Grozdanic, an assistant professor at Iowa State University, found and named the eye disease. His findings appear in the March edition of Veterinary Clinics of North America Small Animal Practice.

Immune-mediated retinopathy is similar to sudden acquired retinal degeneration syndrome. Both diseases occur when a dog produces autoantibodies that attack the retinal cells.

The difference between the diseases is that the eye is the source of autoantibodies in SARDS patients. In MR patients, autoantibodies travel to the eyes in the blood from elsewhere in the body. The autoantibodies do not destroy the retinal cells in IMR patients, though the retinal cells do lose function.

Regulatory Actions

FDA clarifying minor use of drugs under MUMS Act

The Food and Drug Administration has proposed amending regulations relevant to the development of drugs for minor uses in major species to specify what constitutes a “small number of animals” needing a drug. Sponsors who develop such drugs qualify for incentives under the Minor Use and Minor Species Animal Health Act.

The purpose of the MUMS Act is to encourage the development of drugs for minor species as well as for minor uses in major species. The major species are cattle, horses, swine, chickens, turkeys, dogs, and cats.

In its March 18 proposal, the FDA presented an analysis of the threshold number of animals for each major species that represent a drug market value insufficient to prompt a sponsor to develop the drug in the absence of the MUMS Act incentives. The agency evaluated food-producing animals separately from nonfood-producing animals.

In the context of a “minor use” drug, the FDA proposes the following as constituting small numbers of animals for each major species:

  • • Horses—50,000

  • • Dogs—70,000

  • • Cats—120,000

  • • Cattle—310,000

  • • Pigs—1.45 million

  • • Turkeys—14 million

  • • Chickens—72 million

The AVMA was a key member of the coalition that helped frame the MUMS Act and urged Congress to pass the legislation. The AVMA also actively comments on regulatory proposals on behalf of AVMA members—and will analyze and comment on this proposal.

The complete text of the proposal is available in the March 18 edition of the Federal Register at The deadline for comments is July 16. Parties may submit comments electronically at by fax at (301) 827-6870, or by mail at Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, Room 1061, Rockville, MD 20852. Comments should include the identification Docket No. 2008N-0011 and RIN 0910-AG03.

Additional information is available from Dr. Margaret Oeller at the Center for Veterinary Medicine (HFV-50), Food and Drug Administration, 7519 Standish Place, Rockville, MD 20855; phone, (240) 276-9005; e-mail, Margaret.

Global News

Team studies disease outbreak among pigs in China

A group of scientists traveled to China in December to investigate an ongoing outbreak of high-fever disease in swine that has killed millions of pigs since 2006.

The team members were Dr. Butch Baker, senior clinician at Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine; Dr. Eric Neumann, previously with the National Pork Board and now a senior lecturer at the Massey University Veterinary Institute in New Zealand; Ying Fang, PhD, a veterinary microbiologist at South Dakota State University, who is originally from China; Dick Hesse, PhD, director of diagnostic virology at Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine; and Johnny Callahan, senior scientist specializing in development of viral assays at Tetracore Inc., one of the trip's sponsors.

Dr. Neumann recounted the visit for the board of the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, also a trip sponsor, during the AASV annua meeting in March. Team members spent two weeks visiting farms to observe the clinical signs of the high-fever disease in pigs, collecting samples to test for viral agents, and consulting with Chinese scientists. Real-time assays identified the presence of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus, classical swine fever virus, and porcine circovirus type 2b. Tests did not find African swine fever virus or PCV2a.

According to a brief summary from the National Pork Board, another trip sponsor, the most common combination of agents in pigs with the disease was the PRRS and PCV2b viruses—and the second most common was the CSF and PCV2b viruses.

A letter in the November/December 2007 issue of the Journal of Swine Health and Production, from two English veterinarians who also traveled to China recently, suggested that co-infection with an American strain of PRRS virus and a virulent CSF virus is a possible cause of the high-fever disease. The letter adds that Chinese scientists have focused on the theory that the problem is a highly pathogenic PRRS virus strain.

The National Pork Board noted, in its summary of the December investigative trip by U.S. scientists, that swine diseases in China may pose biosecurity risks for the global pork industry. The team seeks to publish its findings in the near future.

Proposals Invited

Funds available for research on porcine circovirus

Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica Inc. again requests proposals for studies investigating porcine circovirus-associated disease.

The company created the PCVAD Research Award Program in 2006 to help facilitate better understanding of the disease and the development of effective management solutions.

The program targets swine researchers, academia, veterinarians and veterinary students, and producer organizations throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Three $25,000 awards are available annually for yearlong studies to generate information about PCVAD with relevance to enhancing disease diagnosis, control, prevention, or eradication.

The deadline for research proposals is July 1. Instructions and forms for submitting proposals are available at or by contacting Trudy Luther at (800) 821-7467 Ext. 2780.


Workshop to explore antimicrobial indications for companion animals

The American Academy of Veterinary Pharmacology and Therapeutics has announced a workshop to discuss how to support new antimicrobial labeling indications for companion animals.

Labeling indications for the usage of antimicrobials in dogs and cats sometimes are too narrow to be consistent with the ways that veterinarians use the drugs in practice to treat disease. The workshop's objective is to explore approaches to data development that will support a variety of antimicrobial labeling indications to meet the therapeutic needs of companion animals.

The AAVPT encourages veterinary practitioners to participate. The workshop also targets veterinary specialists, academicians, pharmaceutical ndustry representatives, and federal regulators.

The workshop will be from Oct. 23-24 in Rockville, Md. The meeting format includes lecture presentations, roundtable discussions, and breakout sessions.

More information is available on the AAVPT Web site at www.aavpt.orq. Additional details are available from the AAVPT secretary-treasurer, Dr. Anthony Lucas, at (317) 651-4371 or

Business World

ISU establishes, fills entrepreneurial professorship

Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine has named its first professor of entrepreneurial studies, Dr. Donald D. Draper, to help instill business skills in veterinary students.

The college established an entrepreneurial studies program in veterinary medicine eight years ago. The new professorship is part of a plan to develop a curriculum, speaker series, off-campus internships, and chair in veterinary entrepreneurship. A commitment from Dr. David R. Trask, an ISU alumnus, created the professorship.

Dr. Draper, an ISU professor of biomedical sciences, has been on the faculty of the veterinary college for 37 years. He received his veterinary degree from ISU in 1966 and his master's of business administration from ISU in 1997.

The Veterinary Community

Gates Foundation helps fund global animal health school

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has gifted Washington State University with the largest private grant in its history. The $25 million grant will help construct the flagship building of the university's School for Global Animal Health.

Dr. Guy Palmer is director of the school, which is currently housed within the Animal Disease Biotechnology Facility Dr. Palmer, the Regents Professor of Pathology and Infectious Diseases in the College of Veterinary Medicine, said that what makes the school unique is its focus not only on zoonotic and emerging diseases but also on the dependence of human health, food security, and economic security on animals, especially livestock.

The school will focus on three interrelated approaches—vaccine development and deployment, emerging pathogen and disease detection, and control of disease transmission from animals to humans.

Drs. Palmer and Terry McElwain are the chief architects of the global animal health school. Dr. McElwain is professor of pathology in the veterinary college and executive director of the Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory at WSU.

Construction of the new research laboratory building is projected to cost $35 million and represents the first phase in the school's capital plan.

CDC hosts second Veterinary Student Day

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention welcomed 360 veterinary students and faculty members to the Atlanta campus in late January for the second CDC Veterinary Student Day.

Like the first event, in 2006, this year's seminar introduced veterinary students to the CDC mission of public health and epidemiology while encouraging them to consider public practice as a career choice.

The 2008 seminar featured a presentation by Dr. Gregory S. Hammer, AVMA president, about taking the veterinarian's voice to Capitol Hill. The day also featured talks about outbreak investigations in which CDC veterinarians took the lead. A lunch session highlighted programs in public health with the CDC, Department of Agriculture, and Food and Drug Administration.

More than 50 CDC staff members helped simulate an outbreak of food poisoning. The exercise allowed students to examine how agencies cooperate to determine the cause of an outbreak. The highlight of the exercise was a tape of Julie L. Gerberding, MD, CDC director, in a mock press interview.

Co-sponsors of the CDC Veterinary Student Day included the AVMA, Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges, Department of Homeland Security, National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians, and American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine.

Professor receives recognition for equine research

Dr. Noah Cohen recently received the 2008 Schering-Plough Animal Health Applied Equine Research Award from the World Equine Veterinary Association.

Dr. Cohen is a professor of large animal clinical sciences at Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. He has conducted extensive research in the field of equine neonatology and perinatology. Recently, he has focused his efforts on studying Rhodococcus equi foal pneumonia.

Eight microbiologists certified

Eight new diplomates were certified by the American College of Veterinary Microbiologists in 2007. Drs. Jaime Anderson, Hagerstown, Md.; Alejandro Banda, Pearl, Miss.; Isabelle Cote, Tucson, Ariz.; Francesco Origgi, Gainesville, Fla.; Kristy Pabilonia, Fort Collins, Colo.; Viswanathan Srinivasan, Somerville, Mass., and Andrea Torres, Fort Collins, Colo., were certified in virology. Dr. Yunjeong Kim, Manhattan, Kan., was certified in immunology.