JAVMA News Digest

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Diagnosing diabetes in cats and dogs is pretty straightforward, but treatment and monitoring can be complex—especially with more options available than ever, including flash continuous glucose monitors.

Dr. Lawren Durocher-Babek, a specialist in small animal internal medicine at 9 Lives Hong Kong, presented “Rational Use of Flash Continuous Glucose Monitors in Small Animal Medicine” in July at AVMA Virtual Convention 2021.

FCGMs consist of a sensor that attaches to an animal for up to two weeks along with a reader or smartphone to collect data. The sensor has a filament that samples interstitial fluid once a minute to measure glucose. The data points are merged every 15 minutes and held in the sensor for up to eight hours. A reader or smartphone is used to scan the sensor, and then data are transferred to the web.

Problems with FCGMs include that they are inaccurate at very low ranges of glucose, dehydration can cause issues, they don't always last two weeks, pets can have skin reactions, and owners can be overly anxious.

Why should veterinarians consider using flash continuous glucose monitors? FCGMs are able to catch rebound hyperglycemia after an insulin dose that is too high, which can lead to better regulation. There is a decreased stress response in pets, in comparison with blood draws and usually a hospital stay. The system is possibly cheaper in the long run. And FCGMs allow pet owners to be more involved.

The FreeStyle Libre is the type of FCGM that is most commonly used in veterinary practice. Among the ideal patients for FCGMs are the newly diagnosed, difficult-to-control diabetics, pets with diabetic ketoacidosis, cats going into remission, and surgical patients. The ideal clients are those who are not too anxious, will listen to instructions, and want to be involved.

Dr. Durocher-Babek's take-home points were to still evaluate clinical signs, give clear instructions to owners, and know that FCGMs are not perfect but still good for trends.

Dr. Jessica Pritchard, a clinical assistant professor of small animal internal medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, presented the session “Updated Strategies for Monitoring Diabetes and Troubleshooting Your Difficult Diabetics” in July at AVMA Virtual Convention 2021.

For the initial investigation of the uncontrolled diabetic, Dr. Pritchard said, start by ensuring proper insulin handling. Watch the owner give the insulin. Questions to ask: Is the insulin shaken or rolled? Where is it stored? Who gives the insulin usually? Are there changes in color, consistency, or clarity?

Next, check mealtime habits. Is the owner feeding meals or free-feeding? Is the owner giving snacks between meals? Have there been diet changes recently? If the pet won't eat its diet, try changing the diet to something the pet will eat reliably. Other options might be an appetite stimulant or feeding tube. If another pet is eating the food, try a feeder with radio-frequency identification.

Finally, take a thorough drug history. Among the things that are likely to cause insulin resistance are steroids and cyclosporine, plus hormones in intact animals. Don't forget alternative routes of exposure such as owners’ hormone creams or pets’ eye drops, topical sprays, or ear drops.

For further investigation of the uncontrolled diabetic pet, Dr. Pritchard said, there is no substitute for a good history and physical examination. Has the owner noticed anything new at home? Have there been changes in the hair coat or dental changes? Has a goiter developed? Has the pet gained weight to the point of obesity?

Dr. Pritchard recommended that baseline diagnostics should consist of weight, the physical examination, a complete blood count, chemistry with triglycerides, urinalysis, urine culture, and a thyroid panel. Run additional diagnostics on the basis of suspected concurrent conditions.

Condensed from Sept. 1, 2021, JAVMA News


The AVMA has identified nearly three dozen competencies necessary for certification in what would be the nation's first standardized training program for veterinary disaster and emergency planning and response.

The 35 competencies address a broad range of logistical and health issues that a certified veterinary first responder must be ready to address during a disaster or animal health emergency, from resource procurement to recognizing the circumstances when mass animal depopulation is the humane solution.

The AVMA Committee on Disaster and Emergency Issues finalized the list of competencies this summer. The CDEI is now in the process of accepting submissions from organizations to have their training courses approved as teaching these competencies, according to Dr. Warren Hess, an assistant director in the AVMA Division of Animal and Public Health who is overseeing the Association's certification program.

Last November, the American Veterinary Medical Foundation board of directors voted to provide $80,000 for the AVMA to develop a certificate program for veterinary first responders. As the CDEI explained in its funding request, the program is needed as no standardized program for training veterinarians in disaster and emergency planning and response currently exists.

Some training courses will air this fall on AVMA Axon—the Association's continuing education platform—but most courses, at least initially, will be provided directly by veterinary colleges or other organizations whose training content is approved by the CDEI, Dr. Hess explained.

Condensed from Sept. 1, 2021, JAVMA News


Incoming AVMA president Dr. José Arce will spend the coming year focused on removing financial barriers for those who want to join the veterinary profession and promoting the well-being of veterinary students and the entire veterinary team.

Speaking during the regular annual session of the AVMA House of Delegates on July 30 in Chicago, Dr. Arce linked high educational debt and other “formidable” economic challenges to the profession's wellness issues. He said: “As president, I will strive to improve the educational debt-to-income disparities that exist in our profession by advocating in Congress on legislation to make possible low-interest or interest-free student loans and to make veterinary medical education more accessible.


Dr. José Arce

Citation: American Journal of Veterinary Research 82, 10; 10.2460/ajvr.82.10.780

“I will foster an environment that promotes the mental health, emotional well-being, and personal happiness of veterinarians, veterinary staff, and students both at work and at home.”

Dr. Arce is the first Puerto Rican president of the AVMA. A 1997 graduate of the Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Arce is president and co-owner of Miramar Animal Hospital in San Juan, Puerto Rico. His wife, Dr. Anik Puig, is also a veterinarian.

One of the lessons of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic is that veterinary medicine is essential to protecting public health, Dr. Arce said. “It is of utmost importance that we continue to promote one health, recognizing that the interconnections between people, animals, and their shared environment have become more significant and impactful than ever,” he said.

Condensed from Sept. 1, 2021, JAVMA News


Veterinary practitioners feeling like there aren't enough hours in the day may think their workload is a consequence of too many “pandemic pets” and too few veterinarians to meet the surge in demand. Yet, as Matthew Salois, PhD, the AVMA's chief veterinary economist, explained July 29 during the AVMA House of Delegates’ Veterinary Information Forum, reality is often more complicated.

Productivity and efficiency in veterinary care have taken a significant hit as a result of COVID-19, Dr. Salois said. High staff attrition is also contributing to that sense of having too much work.

During the comment period following Dr. Salois’ presentation on the veterinary workforce, several VIF attendees spoke about how the professionwide underutilization of veterinary technicians has contributed to practice inefficiencies and high turnover.

Practice owners can't retain their veterinary technicians because the owners have failed at providing the veterinary technicians with a professional identity within the business, according to Dr. Wendy Hauser, the American Animal Hospital Association delegate to the HOD.

“We ask them to be janitors instead of aligning their talents and passions to the mission of the practice,” Dr. Hauser said.

On July 30, delegates voted during their regular annual session in Chicago to approve a resolution that calls for the AVMA Board of Directors to consider issuing the following statement to the profession:

“Your AVMA recognizes the economic, staffing, and morale challenges that currently exist in the U.S. veterinary workforce. Your AVMA is working on these complex problems and will be delivering information to aid in your understanding of these issues, including JAVMA articles going forward, as well as providing tools to assist you, such as convening the economic summit in the fall of 2021 with a focus on these issues.”

Condensed from Sept. 15, 2021, JAVMA News


Dr. Lori Teller, then chair of the AVMA Board of Directors, won the race for 2021-22 AVMA president-elect on July 30 after a vote by the AVMA House of Delegates. She defeated Dr. Grace Bransford, former AVMA vice president, in the first women-only race for president-elect in the Association's 158-year history.

Three women have previously ascended to the office of AVMA president, starting with Dr. Mary Beth Leininger in 1996. Dr. Bonnie Beaver was next in 2004, followed by Dr. René Carlson in 2011. Since then, two women have run unsuccessfully for the AVMA presidency: Drs. Jan Strother in 2015 and Angela Demaree in 2017.

Dr. Teller is a clinical associate professor of telehealth at Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, from which she graduated in 1990.

A diplomate of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners in canine and feline practice, Dr. Teller practiced for several years at Meyerland Animal Clinic in Houston until joining the faculty at TAMU in 2018. She was a founding board member of the Women's Veterinary Leadership Development Initiative.


Dr. Lori Teller

Citation: American Journal of Veterinary Research 82, 10; 10.2460/ajvr.82.10.780

Dr. Teller will spend the coming year as AVMA president-elect and, next summer, will succeed Dr. José Arce as AVMA president.

Condensed from Sept. 1, 2021, JAVMA News


The AVMA has won this year's World Veterinary Day Award for its immediate response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Association developed an online COVID-19 resource center that was first made available to veterinarians around the world in February 2020—three weeks before the World Health Organization's global pandemic declaration.


On behalf of the AVMA, Drs. Janet Donlin, AVMA CEO, and Douglas Kratt, outgoing AVMA president, accept the World Veterinary Day Award, which the AVMA received July 29 during AVMA Virtual Convention 2021 for its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by R. Scott Nolen)

Citation: American Journal of Veterinary Research 82, 10; 10.2460/ajvr.82.10.780

The WVA created World Veterinary Day in 2000 as an annual celebration of the veterinary profession, taking place on the last Saturday of April. The World Veterinary Day Award, given by the WVA and Health for Animals, the global animal medicines association, honors one WVA member's activities related to the theme. This year's focus was the veterinarian response to the COVID-19 crisis.

Drs. Patricia Turner, WVA president, and Carel du Marchie Sarvaas, executive director of Health for Animals, virtually presented the award and $3,500 to Dr. Douglas Kratt, outgoing AVMA president, on July 29 in Chicago during AVMA Virtual Convention 2021.

Dr. Kratt thanked the groups for the award and said he was in awe of the work done by the AVMA's 97,000 members around the country and by the AVMA staff during a crisis of historic proportions.

The AVMA's COVID-19 webpage at avma.org/coronavirus continues to provide information for practitioners and their clients as well as accounts of how veterinarians around the U.S. provided patient services, protected the food supply, and responded to COVID-19 with a one-health mindset.

The AVMA also received the 2014 World Veterinary Day Award for developing an online hub about animal welfare.

Condensed from Sept. 1, 2021, JAVMA News


Attendees at AVMA Virtual Convention 2021, held July 29-Aug. 1, didn't have to decide between two sessions happening at the same time—thanks to recorded lectures. Plus, special events and programs allowed attendees to connect with colleagues in a whole new way.

Michael Wilson, director of the AVMA Convention and Meeting Planning Division, said shortly after the convention: “The AVMA was able to transition the AVMA Convention into a successful virtual convention for a second straight year. Even with all of the virtual fatigue that attendees may have experienced over the past year and a half, we had over 3,600 registered attendees, thus far, and offered double the amount of continuing education. I am very pleased with the outcome, but look forward to being back in person in 2022.”

The exhibit hall's Digital District made professionals available to provide brand and resume reviews, and the tech hub showcased start-up and technology companies at the forefront of the veterinary industry.

A scavenger hunt, the Power Up Virtual 5K, and Virtual Zoo Yoga kept attendees’ bodies and minds active. Kicking everything off was a concert by Prince tribute band Purple Xperience, whose performance was livestreamed from Minneapolis's famed First Avenue Club, a site featured in the film “Purple Rain.”

A mentorship program connected students with veterinary professionals prior to the convention and during Convention-al Conversations. The Meet-the-Experts Round Table allowed participants to connect with presenters and peers to discuss trends in the veterinary industry.

The AVMA intends to return to its in-person convention, planned for July 29-Aug. 2, 2022, in Philadelphia.

Condensed from Sept. 15, 2021, JAVMA News


African swine fever killed 2,200 pigs in at least 24 outbreaks in the Dominican Republic this summer.

Another 200 pigs were culled in response to the outbreaks.

The infections are the first identified in the Western Hemisphere since 1984, according to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). The first outbreak began around July 1 and killed almost 800 pigs in the country's northwest, and an OIE update published Aug. 8 indicates subsequent testing found infections back to April 10.

“While further investigations are ongoing to determine how the virus entered the country, several measures are already in place to halt its further spread,” an OIE announcement states.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory confirmed the presence of ASF virus in the Dominican Republic on July 27, and Dominican Republic authorities reported the results to the OIE on July 29, according to OIE and USDA information.

ASF can wipe out entire herds of domestic swine. The virus is highly contagious, and study results suggest the virus is hardy enough to remain viable for months in common feed ingredients, including those shipped across oceans.

Condensed from Sept. 15, 2021, JAVMA News


The AVMA Council on Education has scheduled site visits to eight schools and colleges of veterinary medicine for the remainder of 2021. Comprehensive site visits are planned for Long Island University College of Veterinary Medicine, Oct. 10-14; Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, Oct. 24-28; Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Nov. 7-11; and The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Nov. 14-18.

In accordance with the AVMA Council on Education policy regarding site visits conducted virtually because of COVID-19, verification site visits are planned for North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Oct. 28-Nov. 1; the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine, Oct. 31-Nov. 3; the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, Nov. 8-10; and Texas Tech University School of Veterinary Medicine, Nov. 21-23.

The council welcomes written comments on these plans or the programs to be evaluated. Comments should be addressed to Dr. Karen Martens Brandt, 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.

From Oct. 1, 2021, JAVMA News


The AVMA presented the following 2021 AVMA Excellence Awards during AVMA Virtual Convention 2021, July 29-Aug. 1.


Dr. Gregory S. Hammer

Citation: American Journal of Veterinary Research 82, 10; 10.2460/ajvr.82.10.780

  • The AVMA Award—Dr. Gregory S. Hammer, a veterinarian at Brenford Animal Hospital in Dover, Delaware, who served as 2007-08 AVMA president.

  • AVMA Meritorious Service Award—Dr. Stuart E. Brown II, equine safety director at Keeneland Association Inc., which offers Thoroughbred sales and racing, and past partner at Hagyard Equine Medical Institute.

  • Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award—Dr. Jason Coe, a professor at the University of Guelph Ontario Veterinary College and an expert in veterinary clinical communication.

  • AVMA Animal Welfare Award—Dr. Jeff Boehm, chief executive officer of The Marine Mammal Center.

  • AVMA Humane Award—Valerie Fenstermaker, former executive director of the California VMA.

  • AVMA President's Awards, presented by 2020-21 AVMA President Douglas Kratt—Dr. Mark Carlson and the late Dr. René Carlson, for their impact and inspiration; Carole Jordan, AVMA director of governance administration, for her support and commitment; and the veterinary profession, for playing an integral role during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • AVMA Advocacy Award—Sen. Tina Smith, one of the U.S. senators who introduced the Advancing Emergency Preparedness Through One Health Act.

  • AVMA Public Service Award—Dr. Megin Nichols, a veterinary epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • AVMA Global Veterinary Service Award—Dr. Jonna Mazet, founding executive director of the University of California-Davis One Health Institute.

Condensed from Convention Insider


Veterinary parasitologists warn that multidrug-resistant hookworms are spreading in the U.S. and that veterinarians should watch for persistent infections.

The Ancylostoma caninum bearing those genetic resistances likely emerged from retired racing Greyhounds and now appear to be spreading within the broader pet dog population, according to parasite researchers and representatives from the American Association of Veterinary Parasitologists. A rise in hookworm shedding also threatens human health because the larvae can infect people through skin contact, causing cutaneous larva migrans.


Veterinary parasitologists suspect multidrug-resistant Ancylostoma caninum emerged among Greyhounds, but the parasites are now also spreading among other dog breeds. (Photo by Greg Cima)

Citation: American Journal of Veterinary Research 82, 10; 10.2460/ajvr.82.10.780

Some hookworm isolates collected from dogs appear to be resistant to all three anthelmintic drug classes approved in the U.S. for treating hookworm infections. Researchers have found efficacy with emodepside, an anthelmintic approved in Europe for use in dogs, but administering it requires administering a product that is unapproved in the U.S. for use in dogs and that can be dangerous if a dog is coinfected with hookworms and heartworm microfilariae.

Another, Food and Drug Administration–approved drug contains emodepside and praziquantel but is labeled only for use in cats, and administering this product to dogs would constitute extralabel use and carry the same heartworm-related concerns.

The AAVP formed a task force, in part, to teach veterinarians that hookworms in the U.S. can be resistant to common treatments and that they should follow up on patients to verify the dewormers they prescribe are effective.

Condensed from Sept. 15, 2021, JAVMA News

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