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    Dr. Tolani Francisco (Photo by R. Scott Nolen)

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    Dr. Joe Kinnarney, AVMA president, said, “My takeaway is we have to keep this moving forward; we can't just slow down. It's a marathon, but we want to get out of the gate fast.”

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    Casey Abbatiello, community outreach coordinator at Delaware Humane Association, spends time with Hailey, a cat up for adoption. (Photo by Steph Gomez)

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    Dr. Andrew Maccabe, AAVMC executive director, serves as master of ceremonies during the evening gala. (Courtesy of AAVMC)

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    Dr. K. Fred Gingrich II (Courtesy of Dr. K. Fred Gingrich II)

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JAVMA News Digest

An unconventional traditionalist

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Dr. Tolani Francisco (Photo by R. Scott Nolen)

Citation: American Journal of Veterinary Research 77, 6; 10.2460/ajvr.77.6.560

It's March 19—the feast day of St. Joseph—and the Pueblo of Laguna Tribe of New Mexico is celebrating with a fiesta. There's a carnivallike atmosphere on the Laguna reservation, located roughly 45 miles west of Albuquerque. Vendors line a dusty road selling fry bread, handmade jewelry, and traditional tribal clothing.

Dr. Tolani Francisco moves among the crowd, stopping to chat with friends and relatives. She's home for the weekend to spend time with her family, one of her regular visits from Aurora, Colorado, where she's stationed as a veterinary epidemiologist with the Department of Agriculture.

Dr. Francisco tells everyone that Reaching UP, the AVMA's high-quality, high-volume spay-neuter clinic for underserved populations, is returning this year. More than a hundred reservation dogs and cats were castrated and spayed when Reaching UP came to the Pueblo for four days last November. Dr. Francisco takes leave from the USDA to do the clinics; she hopes her participation shows Laguna boys and girls that, like her, they can be educated without compromising their Native American heritage.

In 1986, Dr. Francisco enrolled at Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine with plans of opening a veterinary clinic on the Laguna reservation. She took a job at a small animal practice in Las Vegas. But after eight weeks of 12-hour days, six days a week for $20,000 a year, she called it quits. Almost immediately, Dr. Francisco was hired as an associate at a mixed animal practice in Reno, where she stayed for two years before moving to Albuquerque to work as a relief veterinarian.

It was 1992, and after five months of relief work, Dr. Francisco was recruited into the USDA's Public Veterinary Practice Career Program. Participants were groomed to work for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and were taught how to protect the nation's animals from economically important animal diseases such as bovine tuberculosis and foot-and-mouth disease.

So in October 1992, Dr. Francisco moved to Helena, Montana, where she spent the next nine months training as a field veterinary medical officer. When the program ended, Dr. Francisco was assigned to APHIS’ Albuquerque office to continue her animal disease investigations for the New Mexico region.

From May 1999 until August 2001, Dr. Francisco was a USDA representative in a multinational effort to eradicate FMD in Bolivia. In February 2001, the first cases of the disease were being reported in the United Kingdom. Given her experience, Dr. Francisco volunteered when the USDA called on U.S. veterinarians to assist their U.K. colleagues. She arrived in England in late March and was dispatched to the northern part of the country near the Scottish border.

Following the terrorist attacks of 9/11, Dr. Francisco felt a “burning desire” to serve her country. In August 2002, she joined the Air Force as a public health officer with the rank of captain and, until March 2006, remained on active duty. The next month, she returned to the USDA as an epidemiologist with APHIS Veterinary Services, her current position.

Dr. Francisco is eager to return to private practice when she retires from the USDA. For years, she's eyed an abandoned house near her parents' Laguna home for the brick-and-mortar clinic she's dreamed of since her days as a veterinary student. “You don't have to go to Africa to work in a developing area,” Dr. Francisco said. “We have over 500 tribes in the United States, and I haven't been to a reservation yet that is prosperous, where people have money to spend on their animals like they do on non-native lands.

“Reservation animals still deserve the same quality care as those living in more prosperous areas. We owe that much to our four-legged brothers and sisters.”

Condensed from May 15, 2016, JAVMA News

Reversing the downward spiral

The current mental health and addiction treatment options vary across the U.S.

The American Society of Veterinary Medical Association Executives sent a survey to its member organizations this past year. The results were discussed during a veterinary profession wellness roundtable held March 14–15 in Schaumburg, Illinois, and convened by the AVMA (see page 562).

Of the 66 ASVMAE organizational members, 36 responded to the survey, and of those, 21 said they were active in addressing wellness issues. Most activities involve continuing education, online resources, newsletter articles, and wellness committees or task forces.

Nineteen VMAs said they had a monitoring program for veterinary professionals recovering from substance abuse, with programs ranging in their operations. Most often, they were operated by a private nonproÿt that allowed health care professionals to receive services to help with addiction and mental health issues, similar to Ohio's arrangement. According to the survey, seven states with these programs also accepted veterinary students, eight provided services for family members, nine offered preventive services, and 17 had conÿdentiality or license protection guarantees in place.

“A lot are underutilized because of a fear of nonconfidentiality as well as a lack of awareness,” said Candace Joy, executive vice president of the Washington State VMA and president-elect of ASVMAE. Other reasons could be that veterinarians are often self-employed and don't self-refer, she said, or that those in their practice who might refer them are dependent on protecting their own position.

Joy added, “Each state addresses wellness issues for their members differently, depending upon available programs and resources.”

Condensed from May 1, 2016, JAVMA News

State committees to assist veterinarians

Committees (or individuals) to assist impaired veterinarians, veterinary students, veterinary technicians, and their families have been organized in many states. For additional information regarding the function and activity of these committees, or for resource and referral information, go to http://jav.ma/wellnesscommittees or contact your state veterinary medical association.

Veterinary wellness roundtable advances conversation

The AVMA convened a veterinary profession wellness roundtable March 14–15 in Schaumburg, Illinois. The 35 participants were representatives of the AVMA and other veterinary organizations, universities, large private employers of veterinarians, the AVMA Future Leaders Program, and private industry, along with experts in psychological wellness.

The main consensus from the roundtable was that the profession needs to improve awareness of mental illness, mental health treatment, and suicide prevention resources; decrease the stigma associated with mental illness within veterinary colleges, veterinary medical associations, and veterinary licensing boards; and enhance the educational experience, both in veterinary colleges and in continuing education, through training in coping skills. Participants highlighted the following specific priorities to explore

  • • Seek continuing education credits for wellness.

  • • Explore creation of a national hotline for veterinarians.

  • • Consider an expanded wellness website with links to coalition organizations to make existing resources easier to fin and access.

  • • Explore creation of more support communities for veterinarians.

  • • Identify mental health strategies and build resilience among students.

  • • Study successful wellness strategies specific to the lesbian gay, bisexual, and transgender community.

A steering group will take leadership and define strateg, create an action plan, and develop resourcing among a coalition of members that is still to be assembled. Other roundtable attendees divided themselves among subcommittees to tackle specific priorities

Roundtable participants plan to host a wellness session at this year's AVMA Annual Convention, being held Aug. 5–9 in San Antonio, that will provide an opportunity for open discussion by the veterinary community.

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Dr. Joe Kinnarney, AVMA president, said, “My takeaway is we have to keep this moving forward; we can't just slow down. It's a marathon, but we want to get out of the gate fast.”

Citation: American Journal of Veterinary Research 77, 6; 10.2460/ajvr.77.6.560

Condensed from May 1, 2016, JAVMA News

Videos

The Student AVMA Wellness Task Force has released a series of videos on YouTube to combat the stigma surrounding mental health in the veterinary profession. These “It's OK” videos feature veterinary students, faculty members, clinicians, veterinary technicians, and school counselors discussing their struggles with mental health and wellness. The full playlist is available at http://jav.ma/itsokvideos.

Adjusting to reduced drug access, use

Dr. Mike Apley thinks judicious use and stewardship are needed to help ensure antimicrobials remain useful in 30 to 40 years.

True stewardship, he said, is the hard work of evaluating how to promote health without antimicrobials.

Dr. Apley, a professor of production medicine and clinical pharmacology at Kansas State University, said antimicrobial resistance is a concern, and new antimicrobial classes are likely to be reserved for use in human medicine rather than be approved for use in livestock.

Veterinarians can help maintain the value of antimicrobials already approved for use in livestock by helping to find ways to use smaller volumes of the drugs when they are needed and by identifying alternatives, he said.

He delivered one of a series of lectures Feb. 29 at the American Association of Swine Veterinarians annual meeting in New Orleans on pending changes in antimicrobial availability and oversight, disease concerns following those changes, and effective medical care.

By December, antimicrobials used in human medicine will become unavailable for uses in water or feed to promote livestock growth or otherwise improve production, and they will be available only with prescriptions or veterinary feed directives, which are similar to prescriptions. The Food and Drug Administration has called for those changes and indicated all pharmaceutical companies that sell affected products have agreed to comply.

Condensed from May 1, 2016, JAVMA News

Report: Veterinary markets provide optimism, opportunities

A report from AVMA economists expresses “cautious optimism” about the market for veterinarians, reiterating findings reported during an October 2015 summit on veterinary economics.

The AVMA's first of four economic reports for 2016 is an 80-page overview of information presented during the fall 2015 meeting. The Association is providing the reports to members for free at http://jav.ma/2016markets. A second report, on the market for veterinary education, was published at the same website shortly before press time.

The report describes a robust market for veterinarians yet cautions that the risk of recession raises concern that veterinarians may be unable to maintain recent income growth and job satisfaction, particularly as the number of veterinarians continues to increase.

Among other findings, the report indicates more people want veterinary services than are willing to pay for them at current prices.

Citing a presentation by Dr. Matt Salois of Elanco, the report suggests conducting research focused on learning how veterinarians can become invaluable to pet owners and broaden the scope of veterinary clinic visits. He suggested, for example, research on specific products and services that improve pets' lives, owner convenience, and practice revenue as well as improve practice management, inventory control, and staff use.

Data in the report indicate that, since the early 2000s, the prices of veterinary services have risen at a faster pace than has the consumer price index.

Condensed from May 15, 2016, JAVMA News

Researchers looking to tie occupational, mental health outcomes

Following publication of the JAVMA study on risk factors for mental illness in veterinarians (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2015;247:945–955), a few investigators got in touch with the authors, including Dr. Meghan Davis, an assistant professor at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health; Peter Rabinowitz, MD, associate professor in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences at the University of Washington School of Health and director of the Center for One Health Research; and Dr. Heather Fowler, a doctoral student at UW and associate director of animal health at COHR.

They are now part of a team of 20 that has gotten together to plan and implement research that would incorporate mental health into occupational health outcomes. For example, Drs. Rabinowitz and Fowler are considering looking at the psychological wellness of veterinary and other animal workers, including factors such as professional burnout, compassion fatigue, and stress from animal euthanasia. There's interest, too, in establishing and following a cohort of veterinary workers to assess and help reduce occupational health risks and enhance wellness.

Dr. Davis intends to develop one or more cohorts of veterinarians in the next three years to evaluate outcomes, one being mental health and suicide. A potential focus area is pathways to intervention for veterinarians in need of help.

There will not be one grand study, Dr. Davis said. Instead, this group of researchers is looking to break down the topic of wellness in the veterinary profession and piece together a more complete picture.

Condensed from May 1, 2016, JAVMA News

Get Involved

Individuals interested in getting involved in research on the mental health of veterinary and allied health care professionals should contact Dr. Meghan Davis at mdavis65@jhu.edu; Peter Rabinowitz, MD, at petterr7@u.washington.edu; or Dr. Heather Fowler at hfowler@uw.edu.

CATalyst connects pet adopters with private practitioners

Before adopters take home a new pet from the Delaware Humane Association in Wilmington, an adoption counselor asks them to choose from a list of private practitioners to visit for a free examination.

Some adopters already have a veterinarian, of course. “And then we have people who are so excited about adoption they're not really paying attention to the veterinary part,” said Patrick Carroll, Delaware Humane executive director.

Asking adopters to choose a veterinarian puts the idea on the table as part of the conversation, he said. Many adopters do choose a private practitioner on the spot, and many go on to make a visit.

The effort in Delaware is part of Catalyst Connection, a program to connect adopters of cats, dogs, and other pets with private practitioners. The program is from the CATalyst Council, which champions cats. The council has piloted the program in Portland, Oregon, and Columbus, Ohio, as well as Wilmington and is bringing aspects of the program to Douglas County in Colorado.

Animal shelters participating in Catalyst Connection send the pet's records and adopter's contact information to the participating private practitioner chosen by the pet adopter for the free examination. The CATalyst Council is working with Sikka Software Systems to develop a software platform to help automate the process.

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Casey Abbatiello, community outreach coordinator at Delaware Humane Association, spends time with Hailey, a cat up for adoption. (Photo by Steph Gomez)

Citation: American Journal of Veterinary Research 77, 6; 10.2460/ajvr.77.6.560

Dr. Jane Brunt, executive director of the council, said the aim of Catalyst Connection is to be “a real community booster for working together to get adopted cats into homes and then get them veterinary care and encourage lifelong care through a post-adoption veterinary visit.”

Condensed from May 1, 2016, JAVMA News

Veterinary academia celebrates milestone

The Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges' yearlong 50th anniversary celebration culminated March 4–6 in Washington, D.C., when about 250 gathered from around the world for the AAVMC's annual conference, centered on the theme of “Fifty and Forward.”

At the event, a book on the history of the AAVMC debuted. Conference programming examined 50 years of progress in veterinary education and the critical role veterinary medicine plays in promoting public health and safety. In addition, AAVMC President Eleanor M. Green announced the establishment of the Council for International Veterinary Medical Education, a group designed to help inspire higher-quality academic veterinary medicine in developing areas of the world. She concluded her remarks by announcing that the AAVMC would join other academic associations in the health professions by moving into the new Association of American Medical Colleges building in September at 655 K St. in Washington, D.C.

During the anniversary gala March 5, attendees experienced a multimedia celebration featuring a host of international officials from the profession, higher education, business, and government. Also, the inaugural AAVMC President's Award for Meritorious Service was presented to Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota for the leadership role he has played in advancing one health on Capitol Hill.

Prior to the conference and gala, the AAVMC's publication, the Journal of Veterinary Medical Education, put together an extensive account of the association's history along with the issues and initiatives that have shaped academic veterinary medicine over the years. These articles appear in a special 50th anniversary edition published this past December, available at http://jvme.utpjournals.press/toc/jvme/42/5.

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Dr. Andrew Maccabe, AAVMC executive director, serves as master of ceremonies during the evening gala. (Courtesy of AAVMC)

Citation: American Journal of Veterinary Research 77, 6; 10.2460/ajvr.77.6.560

Condensed from May 15, 2016, JAVMA News

AABP selects next executive

Dr. K. Fred Gingrich II, current president of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners, will become the organization's new staff executive in 2017.

The dairy veterinarian and practice owner from northern Ohio will end his term as volunteer leader of the association July 1, about two months early, to begin learning how to manage the association as the new executive vice president. He will take over from Dr. M. Gatz Riddell, who is retiring at the end of the year and has been executive vice president since March 2005.

Dr. Gingrich plans to sell his dairy and small animal practices and establish an AABP office in Ashland, Ohio. That office will replace the current AABP headquarters in Auburn, Alabama.

Dr. John Davidson, immediate past president, will fill the remainder of Dr. Gingrich's presidency, which will end in September.

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Dr. K. Fred Gingrich II (Courtesy of Dr. K. Fred Gingrich II)

Citation: American Journal of Veterinary Research 77, 6; 10.2460/ajvr.77.6.560

Condensed from May 15, 2016, JAVMA News

Cats sickened by canine influenz

Four cats in Indiana were sickened by a canine influenza virus that caused an outbreak among dogs in Chicago and spread throughout the U.S. during 2015.

Diagnostic tests found that cats in a northwestern Indiana animal shelter were positive for an H3N2 canine influenza virus that had sickened dogs in the same shelter, according to information from the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine. Clinical signs in the cats included runny noses, congestion, malaise, excessive salivation, and “lip smacking” behavior.

The infected cats and dogs were quarantined while shedding the virus. The university announcement indicates the virus appeared to spread between cats, with subsequent diagnostic tests showing increases in viral loads.

Infected dogs can develop a persistent cough, runny nose, and fever, and the virus has been connected with some dog deaths.

Cats in South Korea also have been sickened by the virus, but only one cat in the U.S. had a positive test for H3N2 infection prior to the four discovered in Indiana, university information states. Information from Cornell University indicates the H3N2 virus is descended from an avian influenza strain. It was first identified in southern China and South Korea.

From May 15, 2016, JAVMA News

American College of Veterinary Microbiologists

The American College of Veterinary Microbiologists welcomed six new diplomates and recognized two dual-certified diplomates and one diplomate certified in three specialties, following the board certification examination it held Dec. 4–5, 2015, in Chicago. The new diplomates are as follows:

Bacteriology/Mycology

*Artem Rogovskyy, College Station, Texas

Immunology

*G. Kenitra Hammac, West Lafayette, Indiana

Parasitology

Christopher Adolph, Tulsa, Oklahoma Ashley McGrew, Fort Collins, Colorado Andrew Moorhead, Athens, Georgia Lindsay Starkey, Stillwater, Oklahoma

Virology

Thavamathi Annamalai, Columbus, Ohio Sarah L. Caddy, Cambridge, England *Rinosh J. Mani, Lansing, Michigan

*Dr. Rogovskyy was previously certified in immunology and virology, Dr. Hammac was previously certified in virology, and Dr. Mani was previously certified in bacteriology/mycology.

Condensed from May 1, 2016, JAVMA News