AVMA study identifies excess capacity in veterinary workforce
Approximately 12.5 percent of veterinary services in the United States went unused last year, according to a new AVMA study. The study further projects double-digit underutilization of veterinary labor over the next decade.
The demand for veterinary services in 2012 was sufficient to fully employ just 78,950 of the 90,200 veterinarians currently working in clinical and nonclinical settings, resulting in an underuse of services equal to the labor of 11,250 veterinarians, study results show.
Moreover, the nation's veterinary services capacity is likely to be under utilized by 11 to 14 percent through 2025, or the equivalent of an underemployment of as many as 12,300 veterinarians annually.
The U.S. Veterinary Workforce Study offers a measure of excess capacity in the veterinary profession, a condition in which demand for veterinary services is less than the available supply of those services at prevailing prices. On April 23, the AVMA released its final report on the study, which found excess capacity highest among equine practices, followed by small animal practices, food production practices, and mixed animal practices.
Michael Dicks, PhD, director of the AVMA Veterinary Economics Division and a study consultant, said excess capacity is present in every industry and is necessary to meet surges in demand. “What we don't know is the optimum level of excess capacity for veterinary medicine, that is, meeting the demands of society and the profitability of the practice,” Dr. Dicks said. “Thus, it is difficult to say for certain from the current measure of excess capacity what this means about the health of the veterinary industry.”
Dr. Dicks cautioned against reading too much into the finding that 12.5 percent of veterinary services were unused. “The estimate's not really saying that there are 11,250 veterinarians who can't find work. What it is saying is that a majority of private practitioners don't feel like their capacity to provide services is being fully utilized,” he said.
Many veterinarians are self-employed and work in an industry with relatively low unemployment, leading researchers to conclude that excess capacity has manifested as underemployment, not out-of-work veterinarians. Identifying the causes of the underutilization of veterinary services was not a goal of the AVMA study.
Additional study findings include a decline in mean income for veterinarians in clinical practice from 2006–2012, most notably in the equine sector. On average, veterinarians employed in clinical practice are working more than 40 hours a week, despite the excess capacity in the workforce generally. Women, who constitute about half the current veterinary labor force, will likely make up 71 percent of the profession by 2030.
The AVMA describes its workforce study as the beginning of a long-term process to better understand the U.S. market for veterinary labor and services—no easy task, given the broad range of veterinary disciplines and a general lack of reliable employment data for the profession.
A key component of the study was the development of a computer simulation model that could be used to estimate current and future excess capacity in the veterinary workforce. The AVMA Veterinary Economics Division will refine and update the model as research gaps related to the market for veterinary labor and services are identified and filled.
The AVMA also released a report from the Workforce Advisory Group regarding the study's implications for the veterinary profession. In it were 11 recommendations for actions the Association and the veterinary profession could undertake in response to the study report, including identifying ways to boost the demand for veterinary services, researching the relationship between the demand for veterinary services and the U.S. economy as a whole, and evaluating the effects of price sensitivity and changes in consumers’ disposable income on demand.
Smithsonian exhibition showcases veterinarians
A Smithsonian exhibition celebrating the human-animal bond, “Animal Connections: Our Journey Together,” will premier at the AVMA Annual Convention in late July.
The AVMA collaborated with the Smithsonian Institution on the exhibition to showcase the work of veterinarians and to mark the 150th anniversary of the AVMA. Zoetis is the founding funding partner for the interactive experience.
The exhibition has been years in the making. The sections revolve around animals in four settings: the home, the farm, the zoo, and the wild. The centerpiece is a virtual veterinary clinic with computer touch tables that allow visitors to try out diagnostic skills.
“Members have asked for some time for a national outreach to the public on the value of veterinary medicine,” said J.B. Hancock, director of the AVMA Communications Division. “This is part of that effort and an excellent way to spread the word about the 150th anniversary of an important national resource: the AVMA.”
Hancock and other AVMA representatives have been working with the Smithsonian on the exhibition, honing messages that highlight the roles of veterinarians in society. The Smithsonian assembled a group of veterinarians as consultants to flesh out the messages.
The exhibition fits in a semitrailer that opens up to provide about 1,000 square feet of display space. The truck will drive inside Chicago's McCormick Place to debut July 20–22 during the AVMA Annual Convention. The exhibition's public launch will follow July 23 at Chicago's Shedd Aquarium.
The focus of the exhibition is the human-animal bond, with veterinary medicine as the secondary subject.
Jennifer Bine, project director with the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, said, “People have a great deal of trust in veterinarians and are interested in the many facets of veterinary medicine. Much of that interest is based on the deep human-animal bond Americans have with animals. This exhibition uses this as the audience's point of entry.”
Dr. Christine C. Jenkins, Zoetis group director for veterinary medical services in the United States, said her company is proud to sponsor the exhibition.
“It gives us the opportunity with the Smithsonian Institution as well as the AVMA to help elevate the awareness of the importance of the veterinary profession and what veterinarians provide to our society—and to bring it down to a level that's relevant to people in their day-to-day lives,” Dr. Jenkins said.
House to deliberate on education, alternative medicine
The AVMA House of Delegates will consider issues ranging from veterinary education to alternative medicine during its regular annual session, July 18–19 in Chicago.
The AVMA Executive Board sent a number of proposals to the HOD. The HOD also may consider late proposals.
One proposed amendment to the AVMA Bylaws would change the method of appointment of members of the AVMA Council on Education. Currently, the AVMA selects almost all COE members. Under the proposal, the AVMA and Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges would divide up responsibility for these appointments.
Another proposed bylaws amendment would remove the COE as a pre-approval body for recommendations from the AVMA American Board of Veterinary Specialties to the AVMA Executive Board.
A third proposed amendment would update the composition and responsibility of the AVMA Council on Veterinary Service.
The HOD will deliberate on a new policy on “Complementary, Alternative, and Integrative Veterinary Medicine” that would replace the current policy on the subject.
According to both versions of the policy, the AVMA believes that all aspects of veterinary medicine should be held to the same standards. Both versions of the policy elaborate on this statement, but the proposed policy does not go into any specifics about alternative medicine the way the current policy does.
The HOD also will receive an application for the American Holistic VMA to become a member.
Two other proposed policies and a revised policy are on the HOD agenda. The proposed policies are on “Veterinarian Notification of Violative Residues in Foods of Animal Origin” and “Safe Handling of Commercially Prepared Pet Food and Pet Treats.” The revised policy is on “Remote Consulting,” currently titled “Paid Media Consulting.”
Proposals going to the HOD are available at www.avma.org/about/governance under “House of Delegates.” AVMA members can find contact information for their delegates by visiting www.avma.org/members and clicking on “My AVMA Leaders.”
Board looks at big picture
The AVMA Executive Board met April 18–20 to deliberate on matters of workforce and education as well as a variety of other professional issues.
The board received the results of the U.S. Veterinary Workforce Study that it had commissioned (see page 949) and the report of the AVMA Task Force on Foreign Veterinary School Accreditation (see page 951).
The board approved a $32.1 million budget for 2014, with income projected to exceed expenses by about $790,000.
Board members took several actions in the realm of research. Among these actions, the board approved spending $30,000 annually to support veterinary students conducting summer research projects across the country. Every year, the AVMA will provide each of five students with a $5,000 stipend along with $1,000 to attend the Merial/National Institutes of Health National Veterinary Scholars Symposium, the culmination of the projects.
On a recommendation from the Task Force on the American Journal of Veterinary Research, the board approved developing and administering two surveys. The first survey will explore whether the AJVR meets the expectations of the veterinary research community, and the second survey will explore whether the AJVR meets the needs of readers and AVMA members.
The board approved participation by the AVMA in the Institute for Laboratory Animal Research Roundtable on Science and Welfare in Laboratory Animal Use.
Among other actions, board members established an AVMA Task Force on Continuing Education. The task force will develop a vision for the AVMA's future CE offerings and assess the AVMA Annual Convention. According to background materials, members of the Convention Management and Program Committee and staff in the AVMA Convention and Meeting Planning Division have been discussing the shifting expectations and developing opportunities for member CE.
An AVMA Executive Board vote resulted in the American Association of Veterinary State Boards discontinuing one of the AAVSB's two pathways for graduates of foreign veterinary schools not accredited by the AVMA Council on Education to practice in the U.S. The AAVSB operates the Program for the Assessment of Veterinary Education Equivalence and has stopped offering the pathway that ends in a clinical skills examination.
The decision followed a vote by the AVMA board to end an agreement that let PAVE participants take the same final examination used by educational equivalence certification programs run by the AVMA and Canadian VMA. The PAVE program will continue offering a certification pathway that ends with evaluated clinical work at an AVMA COE-accredited college.
The AVMA Executive Board also approved a number of policy changes. These include a new policy in support of research on the impact of extractive industries such as mining or oil drilling on animal health, food safety, and the environment; a new policy in support of regulations and legislation to remove, control, and eradicate feral swine; a new policy advocating that the Environmental Protection Agency allow emergency use of unregistered disinfectants during disease outbreaks; and a revised version of the AVMA's guidance on vaccine administration.
AVMA pilots new mentoring program
Dr. Rachel Cumberbatch has been a veterinarian for two years, working as an associate at a Connecticut practice, and she is not sure yet where her career will take her.
In recent months, however, she has found a mentor in Dr. Eva Ceranowicz, an associate at another Connecticut practice. They email and meet regularly to discuss everything from cases to career paths.
What brought the two together was the Compass Mentoring Program, a new initiative from the AVMA. The AVMA introduced the program in Connecticut late last year and is expanding the program to other states this year.
Dr. Christopher Gargamelli, a program leader, said organizers have been thrilled with the response to date from collaborators and participants. Dr. Gargamelli, an associate at Animal Emergency Hospital of Central Connecticut in Rocky Hill, was a member of the 2011–2012 class of the AVMA Future Leaders Program. The class surveyed recent veterinary graduates about their needs, and mentorship turned out to be high on the list.
Dr. Gargamelli's group within the class proposed a mentoring program. The group studied the AVMA's past online mentoring program and programs through other professional organizations and corporations.
“We found that mentoring works best when it's local, when people travel to see each other, when they can get together over a cup of coffee or a drink,” Dr. Gargamelli said.
The AVMA launched a pilot version of the Compass Mentoring Program in Dr. Gargamelli's home state of Connecticut in partnership with the Connecticut VMA and with additional funding from the CVMA and Zoetis. The project kicked off last fall, pairing 17 recent graduates in practice with mentors at other practices.
Dr. Cumberbatch has found mentors within her own practice, Connecticut Veterinary Center in West Hartford, but she saw value in connecting with an outside mentor through the Compass Mentoring Program.
“As a young professional, there is not a lack of general advice,” she said. “The Compass program gives mentors an opportunity to listen and share their advice on concerns specific to the graduate.”
Mentor Dr. Ceranowicz, an associate at Bloomfield Animal Hospital in Bloomfield, Conn., said, “I think it's a nice opportunity for me, too, to talk to this young veterinarian who is just out of school and get her perspective on things.”
Report finds benefits to foreign accreditation
An AVMA task force assigned to evaluate the impact of the AVMA Council on Education's accreditation of foreign veterinary schools concluded that the practice benefits U.S. and foreign practitioners alike.
Specifically, the task force named a few impacts of international accreditation, including the following:
• Providing a leadership role in shaping world veterinary medical standards to the benefit of the entire profession, including the veterinary profession in the United States.
• Improving human and animal health in the United States by addressing emergent and zoonotic diseases, food safety, and public health on a global basis.
• Improving the overall veterinary infrastructure around the globe.
Furthermore, current statistics from the National Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners, which proctors the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination, and the AVMA database, which includes all veterinarians known to the AVMA, show that foreign accreditation recognizes existing, well-performing international programs. They also reveal that many of the graduates from some of the biggest foreign institutions are already U.S. citizens.
Among the 4,214 students who took the NAVLE in 2012, the pass rate for students from AVMA COE-accredited schools was about 92 percent, but it was just 37 percent for students from nonaccredited schools.
And, according to the AVMA database, which includes all veterinarians known to the Association—whether living inside or outside the U.S.—the current total as of the end of 2012 was 117,048 veterinarians, and of that number, 99,019 were of working age (70 or younger) and living in the United States.
Of the latter figure, 88.4 percent (87,567) are graduates of the 28 U.S. veterinary schools, 3.6 percent (3,579) are from foreign veterinary schools with high proportions of U.S. citizens (i.e., Ross, St. George's, or St. Matthew's University School of Veterinary Medicine on Grand Cayman, British West Indies), and 6.9 percent (6,855) are from other foreign veterinary schools. The AVMA database does not have school information for the remaining 1 percent of individuals.
The task force, amid its findings, also requested further clarification of some accreditation standards, such as the criteria for determining whether a veterinary school is part of a larger institution of higher learning, the role the NAVLE plays in accreditation and outcomes assessment, and the accreditation standard on research.
And finally, task force members noted in the report, “For the future, if all foreign colleges that have expressed interest and appear to have a realistic expectation of meeting the standards were accredited, the total number of accredited programs would increase to 51 (including two domestic schools that have expressed interest).”
The most likely candidates among the foreign schools would be the National Veterinary School of Lyon in France, which will have a comprehensive site visit Sept. 22–26, 2013, and the University of Copenhagen Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences in Denmark. Their annual class sizes are 125 and 150, respectively, and neither currently has any U.S. citizens enrolled.
The task force's 25-page report was released May 2 after the AVMA Executive Board gave the green light during its April 18–20 meeting.
Board members planned to listen to feedback from the council, AVMA House of Delegates, and AVMA members before discussing, at their June 6–8 meeting, whether to continue foreign school accreditation.
The report from the AVMA Task Force on Foreign Veterinary School Accreditation is available at www.avma.org by selecting “Resources” under the “Knowledge Base” tab and clicking on “Reports.”
Annual meeting of voting members
The AVMA Executive Board approved holding the annual meeting of AVMA voting members in conjunction with the opening session of the AVMA Annual Convention, at 6 p.m. CDT July 19 at McCormick Place, 2301 S. Lake Shore Drive, in Chicago.
Education council schedules site visits
The AVMA Council on Education has scheduled site visits to three schools and colleges of veterinary medicine for the remainder of 2013.
Site visits are planned for the VetAgro Sup Campus Veterinaire de Lyon, Sept. 22–26; Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine, Oct. 13–17; and The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Oct. 27–31.
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. Comments must be signed by the person submitting them to be considered.
States have been chipping away at the federal prohibition on medical marijuana since 1996, when California voters approved a referendum allowing patients to receive a doctor's recommendation to grow or possess marijuana for personal use. Nineteen states and the District of Columbia have since passed similar laws permitting people to use marijuana medicinally. And in 2012, Colorado and Washington state legalized recreational marijuana use.
The federal government has not followed suit. Federal law prohibits all uses of marijuana, and anyone violating the law faces serious legal penalties. Even in those states where medical marijuana use has been approved, officers with the federal Drug Enforcement Administration periodically raid medical marijuana dispensaries.
However, in April, the Pew Research Center reported that, for the first time in four decades, most Americans (52 percent) favor legalizing marijuana. In addition, 77 percent of those surveyed said marijuana has legitimate medical uses. Such sentiment is notable, given the Food and Drug Administration's position that marijuana is neither safe nor efficacious for treating any human or animal disease.
Ernest Misko had never experimented with marijuana until his doctor recommended the 77-year-old Chatsworth, Calif., resident try it for his chronic back pain. Misko was so amazed with how good his back felt afterward that when his aged pet cat, Borzo, had difficulty walking, Misko started feeding the cat a marijuana tincture. Within a few days, Borzo appeared to be pain-free and was moving much better, according to Misko.
Becky Flowers’ pet horse, a 20-year-old Paso Fino named Phoenix, had degenerative ligament disease for several years. Phenylbutazone, glucosamine, Cavallo boots, cold and warm wraps—whatever Flowers tried, it didn't help the horse for long. Eventually, Phoenix lay on her side and stopped eating and drinking.
Before resorting to euthanizing Phoenix, Flowers fed the horse marijuana. After all, Flowers herself had found marijuana to be a more effective analgesic than the pain medication she had been prescribed. Within an hour of ingesting a small amount of marijuana, Phoenix was walking, eating, and drinking, according to Flowers.
“She never appears panicky or disoriented. She's just her normal, happy Phoenix,” she said.
Since 2011, some 300 people have told Dr. Douglas Kramer about having experimented with medical marijuana for a pet. Prior to that, Dr. Kramer had worked at a small animal practice in California, where clients would occasionally admit to giving marijuana to an animal companion for a medical reason. He now runs his own mobile practice in the Los Angeles area focused exclusively on pain management and palliative and hospice care.
Dr. Kramer didn't think much of marijuana's potential to help animals until his pet Siberian Husky developed terminal cancer.
“I'd exhausted every available pharmaceutical pain option, even steroids,” he recalled. Dr. Kramer began feeding her a small amount of marijuana. The dog's appetite returned, and she appeared more comfortable during her final months.
Now, Dr. Kramer finds himself at the forefront of an effort to bring veterinary medicine into the national debate about medical marijuana. On the basis of his review of medical marijuana research, Dr. Kramer believes there's ample evidence to support using marijuana in veterinary patients as an alternative or adjunctive treatment for postoperative or chronic pain and also for palliative care.
Dr. Kramer's survey shows owners are feeding marijuana to pets to treat behavior-based disorders, including separation anxiety and noise phobia, as well as irritable bowel syndrome and feline immunodeficiency virus infection; for management of pain, nausea, and seizures; and as an appetite stimulant.
Physicians in states where medical marijuana is sanctioned are exempt from prosecution by the state for recommending the drug to patients. Such protections do not apply to veterinarians.
Dr. Kramer sympathizes with veterinarians leery of openly considering marijuana's potential as a veterinary drug. Besides the social stigma the drug carries, the only experience most veterinarians have with pets and marijuana is being presented with patients that have ingested toxic amounts of the drug. Nevertheless, Dr. Kramer is frustrated that so many of his colleagues haven't been more engaged in an area with real and potential animal welfare impacts.
He isn't alone. For several years, Dr. Brown (not his real name) has practiced at a small animal hospital in Ohio. Many of his patients are geriatric pets or cancer patients. Even before the medical marijuana movement commenced in the 1990s, clients were asking about giving marijuana to their sick pets, according to Dr. Brown.
Like his colleague, Dr. Brown is frustrated by the predominant view among veterinarians that marijuana is only a toxic plant. “Some of the newer strains (of cannabis) that seem to have less-intoxicating properties and higher pain-relieving properties may be very useful in animals,” he said.
Dr. Dawn Boothe thinks veterinarians shouldn't discount marijuana's potential as an animal therapy simply because it's a controlled substance or a plant; after all, the same can be said about morphine. Whereas morphine's pharmacological effects on humans and animals have been thoroughly studied, Dr. Boothe said that's not the case for marijuana, which is why giving the drug to a pet as medicine is actually putting the animal at risk.
Dr. Boothe referred to a study from a 2012 issue of the Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care that found the number of marijuana toxicosis cases at two Colorado veterinary hospitals quadrupled during a five-year period when the number of state medical marijuana registrations substantially increased. Researchers reported two dogs died after eating baked goods containing marijuana.
The chances of this trend being unique to Colorado are remote, according to Dr. Boothe, who sees this as one more reason the veterinary profession can no longer sit on the sidelines as the rest of the country debates medical marijuana.
“I can see a well-designed, controlled clinical trial looking at the use of marijuana to treat cancer pain in animals,” she said. “That would be a wonderful translational study, with relevance to both pets and their people.”
Treating illness with milk from modified goats
Goat's milk containing human lysozyme someday could be used to combat diarrheal illnesses among children in impoverished areas, according to researchers at the University of California-Davis.
Those researchers administered such milk to young, sick pigs in a recent study, reducing the duration and harm from a bacterial infection.
The study involved infecting young pigs with a strain of enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli and treating them with milk from the university's Artemis line of genetically modified goats, which were developed in 1999 to carry a gene for producing human lysozyme in their milk, according to a university announcement and a scientific article published March 13, 2013, in PLOS ONE. The pigs that received the transgenic goat's milk recovered more quickly from illness and experienced less dehydration and less damage to their intestines than did pigs fed milk from nontransgenic goats, the article states.
James D. Murray, PhD, a professor in the UC-Davis departments of Animal Science and Population Health and Reproduction, said lysozyme naturally produced in goat's milk is similar to the human-type lysozyme produced by the university's transgenic goats, but the latter tends to act more strongly as an antimicrobial. He is involved in further study to find out whether consuming milk from the modified goats is consistently effective at combating diarrheal disease.
In April, Dr. Murray was among researchers analyzing data from a study on use of the milk as a preventive measure against E coli–related disease in pigs as well as conducting experiments that used malnourished pigs as models. He noted that malnourished children are more prone to disease, which can increase the difficulty of absorbing nutrients in a spiral of declining health.
The milk also could have veterinary applications, particularly for high-value animals, he said.
The article, “Consuming transgenic goats’ milk containing the antimicrobial protein lysozyme helps resolve diarrhea in young pigs,” is available at www.plosone.org
AAHA, AAFP release guidelines on fluid therapy
The American Animal Hospital Association and the American Association of Feline Practitioners on May 1 released the new AAHA/AAFP Fluid Therapy Guidelines for Dogs and Cats.
“Our hope is that we have removed the barriers for veterinarians who currently are not embracing fluid therapy to do so now,” said Dr. Tracey Jensen, contributing author. “There are many conditions and situations where the patient can benefit from fluid support. We see this as a win-win-win: a win for the patient by receiving better medical care; a win for the client with quicker resolution of illness, decreased anesthesia risk, and overall decreased veterinary expense; and a win for the practitioner with increased positive case outcome.”
The guidelines cover general principles and patient assessment, maintenance and replacement fluid therapy, fluid administration during anesthesia, fluid therapy in the sick patient, changes in fluid volume, changes in fluid content, changes in fluid distribution, and equipment and staffing.
AAHA is offering a free Web conference on the new guidelines from July 1–14. Details are available at www.aahanet.org/webconf. The guidelines are available at www.aahanet.org/Library/Guidelines.aspx.
Critical care specialists designate trauma centers
The American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care has provisionally designated nine veterinary hospitals as veterinary trauma centers in a new initiative to improve outcomes in small animal trauma cases.
The ACVECC Veterinary Committee on Trauma seeks to create a network of lead hospitals that will seed development of trauma systems nationally. The hospitals will work collaboratively to define high standards of care and disseminate information.
The ACVECC designated the following as veterinary trauma centers:
• Southern California Veterinary Specialty Hospital, Irvine
• VCA West Los Angeles Animal Hospital
• BluePearl Veterinary Partners, Tampa, Fla.
• University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital, Urbana
• Foster Hospital for Small Animals at the Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, North Grafton, Mass.
• University of Minnesota Veterinary Medical Center, Saint Paul
• North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Raleigh
• Oradell Animal Hospital, Paramus, N.J.
• University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, Philadelphia
Michigan State administrator takes top post at Florida
A search for a new dean at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine has concluded with the appointment of veterinarian and agricultural economist Dr. James W. Lloyd.
Dr. Lloyd most recently served as associate dean for budget, planning, and institutional research at Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine. He replaces Dr. Glen F Hoffsis, who is retiring.
Dr. Lloyd starts in July and will be the veterinary college's sixth dean.
While at Michigan State, Dr. Lloyd served not only as associate dean but also maintained joint appointments as a professor in the veterinary college's Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences and the agriculture college's Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics, and as an adjunct professor in the Eli Broad College of Business.
Dr. Lloyd has secured grant funding for veterinary education and animal health projects and for his research interests, which include nontechnical behaviors that contribute to veterinarians’ success, markets for veterinary medical services, and financial dimensions of veterinary education.
He earned his DVM degree and a doctorate in agricultural economics from MSU in 1981 and 1989, respectively.
Crufts Dog Show honors canine researchers
Elaine Ostrander, PhD, and Dr. Gustavo Aguirre (UP ‘68) received recognition during the Crufts Dog Show, March 7–10 in the United Kingdom, for their work in canine health.
Dr. Ostrander won the Lifetime Achievement Award. She is chief of the Cancer Genetics Branch at the National Human Genome Research Institute of the National Institutes of Health. Her research over two decades includes work to map the dog genome and development of a host of other important tools for research in canine genomics.
Dr. Aguirre received the International Prize in Canine Health. He is a professor of medical genetics and ophthalmology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. He has worked on mapping the dog genome and on the characterization and treatment of eye diseases in dogs. He has identified more than 14 genes that cause blindness in more than 59 breeds of dogs.
National Phi Zeta awards presented
Phi Zeta, the international honor society of veterinary medicine, recently presented two awards for winning research manuscripts.
Each award consists of an engraved plaque and a check in the amount of $1,000. Phi Zeta has chapters at the 28 U.S. veterinary colleges and at St. George's University in Grenada, West Indies.
Dr. Josephine S. Gnanandarajah, King of Prussia, Pa., won the 2013 Phi Zeta Research Award in the Basic Sciences category. The Kappa chapter at Minnesota submitted her winning manuscript, “Comparative faecal microbiota of dogs with and without calcium oxalate stones” (J Appl Microbiol 2012;113:745–756).
Dr. Gnanandarajah earned her BVSc degree from the University of Peradeniya Veterinary School in Sri Lanka in 2003. As a research assistant in Dr. Michael P. Murtaugh's laboratory at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine, she studied the serum proteomic profile of pigs infected with porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus to elucidate novel host response molecules. Her doctoral research was on the role of gut microbiota in the incidence of oxalate urinary stones in dogs.
Dr. Kathleen Ivester (MO ‘02), West Lafayette, Ind., was presented with the 2013 Phi Zeta Research Award in the Clinical Sciences category. The Omicron chapter at Purdue submitted her winning manuscript, “Variability in particulate concentrations in a horse training barn over time” (Equine Vet J 2012;44 suppl. 43:51–56).
Dr. Ivester completed a large animal surgery residency at Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2006 and a year later became board-certified in veterinary surgery by the American College of Veterinary Surgeons. She is pursuing her doctorate at Purdue under Dr. Laurent L. Couetil.