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USDA rolls out new electronic certificates of veterinary inspection

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The Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is starting to implement a new system for electronic certificates of veterinary inspection, also known as animal health certificates.

The new system is part of the Veterinary Services Process Streamlining program, which will provide a single site for Web access to electronic documents dealing with the movement of animals. One of the documents is the certificate of veterinary inspection, necessary for the interstate and international movement of animals and animal products.

The VSPS eInterstate module will allow accredited veterinarians to fill out a certificate of veterinary inspection online and attach diagnostic test results. The module will then send the certificate electronically to the importing state’s veterinary authorities before any animals or animal products move—and create a copy for original signatures to accompany the animals or animal products.

The VSPS eInterstate module will also offer Web access to state regulations and real-time summary reports.

“For the accredited veterinarian, the eInterstate module of VSPS streamlines the process for complying with USDA-APHIS regulations as well as individual state regulations regarding interstate movement of livestock,” said Dr. Larry A. White, regional import/export coordinator at the Western Regional Office of USDA-APHIS Veterinary Services.

Dr. Lyle P. Vogel, director of the AVMA Scientific Activities Division, said the module’s advantages include round-the-clock access and rapid distribution of documents.

The eInterstate module includes features to incorporate the identification numbers for animals and premises that are evolving as part of a future National Animal Identification System. The module could contribute to a 48-hour traceback capability and interface with entities such as the new National Animal Health Laboratory Network.

Colorado, Florida, New Jersey, and Wisconsin are participating in the first phase of implementation, while APHIS will progressively add the rest of the states.

The VSPS program features an eVAP module, too, allowing veterinarians to apply online for accreditation with the National Veterinary Accreditation Program or to update their information. The USDA deployed the eVAP module last year for internal APHIS Veterinary Services use—and will make the module available to accredited veterinarians this year as APHIS implements the eInterstate module.

Also in the works at APHIS is a proposal to restructure the accreditation program with two tiers, authorizing veterinarians to issue documents for companion animals only or for companion and food animals. Under the rule, accredited veterinarians would need to meet educational requirements every three years. As of late January, the proposed rule was awaiting review in the Office of General Counsel.


Diamond Pet Foods narrows recall after aflatoxin tests

Diamond Pet Foods has narrowed down the list of its products affected by aflatoxin contamination, which has been believed to have killed dozens of dogs despite a broad recall.

According to the company, independent laboratories tested more than 2,700 product samples to confirm that only Diamond Maintenance Dog and Diamond Premium Adult Dog with “Best By” dates of April 3, 4, 5, and 11, 2007, are potentially toxic.

The products also have a “G” in reference to the company’s facility in Gaston, S.C., in the 11th or 12th position of the date code on 18- to 55-pound bags. The “G” is in the ninth position on 4- to 8-pound bags.

However, the company has asked consumers to continue to return to retailers all products from the original recall (see JAVMA, Feb. 1, 2006, page 334).

Aflatoxin is a byproduct of the growth of the fungi Aspergillus flavus and A parasiticus on corn and other crops. Signs of aflatoxicosis include lethargy, loss of appetite, vomiting, jaundice, fever, and severe or bloody diarrhea. Aflatoxicosis can lead to severe liver damage.

On Dec. 21, Diamond Pet Foods initiated the recall of all products from its Gaston facility that contain corn. The facility distributes products to 23 states in the eastern United States.

On Dec. 30, the Food and Drug Administration issued a statement that the agency was investigating the situation. The agency also discovered that the company exported the products to at least 29 countries.

As of Jan. 5, the FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine had received unconfirmed reports of 76 dogs dying and 23 more becoming ill.

FDA approves new Micotil label

The Food and Drug Administration has approved adding safety information to the label for Micotil, a treatment for respiratory disease in cattle and sheep, to assist in the response to a human exposure.

Elanco Animal Health had added warnings to this brand of tilmicosin injection after the accidental death of a cattleman. The latest label includes information from recent research on the mechanism of toxicity.

“The heart is the target of toxicity in laboratory and domestic animals given Micotil 300 by oral or parenteral routes,” according to the label. “The primary cardiac effects are increased heart rate (tachycardia) and decreased contractility (negative inotropy). Cardiovascular toxicity may be due to calcium channel blockade.”

The label lists research results from administering Micotil at various doses to mice, rats, dogs, monkeys, swine, cattle, and sheep.

“In dogs, intravenous calcium offset Micotil-induced tachycardia and negative inotropy, restoring arterial pulse pressure,” according to the label. “Dobutamine partially offset the negative inotropic effects induced by Micotil in dogs. β-adrenergic antagonists, such as propranolol, exacerbated the negative inotropy of Micotil in dogs.”

The complete text of the new label is available by calling (800) 428-4441 or through, under Products.

New forms available for disaster relief

The American Veterinary Medical Foundation has revised the forms for applying for Animal Disaster Relief and Response Fund grants of up to $2,000.

The AVMF is still giving the grants to veterinarians who suffered losses from the hurricanes of 2005—and continues to reimburse veterinarians who care for animal victims of declared disasters.

The new forms are available by visiting or calling (800) 248-2862, Ext. 6689. The deadline for applications is nine months after a disaster.

The AVMF revised the forms to decrease the time between submission and committee review, as well as to clarify which expenses are reimbursable. The Ad Hoc Review Committee considers applications at least weekly. If necessary, the AVMF sends a request for additional information to the applicant.

The AVMF Board of Directors established the Animal Disaster Relief and Response Fund on Sept. 1, 2005, to provide funding for disaster relief in connection with Hurricane Katrina and future disasters.

As of Jan. 18, the relief fund had provided about $765,000 to veterinarians and the AVMA Veterinary Medical Assistance Teams—with about $274,000 of that amount going to individual veterinarians.

Veterinarians try to connect with clients via e-mail

Many practitioners have doubts about the technology's pros or cons

Half of veterinarians use e-mail for professional purposes, according to the 2005 AVMA-Pfizer Business Practices Study.

What the study doesn't say is how many practitioners use e-mail to communicate with their clients—or whether they should.

Apart from the few studies touching on the topic, some practitioners say e-mail is convenient for them and their clients. They add that the Internet offers other valuable avenues for communication, particularly for clinics with Web sites.

And almost half of veterinarians work at a clinic with a Web site, according to the AVMA-Pfizer study. But many, if not most, practitioners still prefer to communicate with individual clients either in person or by phone rather than by e-mail.

The pros of e-mail

Dr. Stephen Pittenger, a past president of the Association for Veterinary Informatics, was an early adopter of e-mail in practice. He works at Memorial-610 Hospital for Animals in Houston, which created a Web site and began communicating with clients by e-mail in 1995.

“Not many people had e-mail at home, but they did at the office more and more,” Dr. Pittenger said. So, the practice simply printed its e-mail address on its business cards.

And after the practice began keeping electronic records in 1999, Dr. Pittenger said, e-mail became easier than voice mail to add to medical records—though voice mail does allow him to hear a client's inflections and tone.

Dr. Pittenger said most of his e-mail communication is with clients, and the practice never offers specific medical advice to nonclients. The practice rarely charges clients extra for e-mail or phone communication.

“Clients will ask just about anything via e-mail that they will over the phone,” he said. “They also give us progress reports on their animals. It seems to work great for them, as they can report things at 11:30 p.m. and it is there for us to read in the morning to follow up on.”

Dr. Pittenger often sends hand-outs, forms, or treatment plans to clients by e-mail. However, clients usually call to schedule appointments.

E-mail plus the Web

Dr. Carl Palazzolo of Long Beach Animal Hospital in California has been reaching clients by e-mail and through the hospital's Web site since 1998. He said the site receives more than 5 million hits every month, mostly because it provides details about animal diseases.

“So a large segment of the e-mail we get is actually not from my clients,” he said.

Dr. Palazzolo said he has received a lot of unique questions by e-mail as well as requests for a free second opinion, or even a diagnosis. In rare cases, the hospital has helped some-one overseas who found the Web site—by analyzing a bladder stone from a dog in South Korea or advising someone in Saudi Arabia who couldn't find veterinary care for a ferret. However, the hospital won't offer out-of-state consultations.

Many clients and nonclients are simply seeking general information. The topics of e-mail include boarding, refills, vaccinations, updates, and follow-up questions.

Dr. Palazzolo, who has written about organizational management for the JAVMA, suggests that veterinarians should delegate someone to answer e-mail.

“I still think it's well worth doing,” he said. “We're trying to give clients the service they need. … Everyone has their way of communicating.”

Dr. Palazzolo said sometimes a veterinarian can overwhelm the client's ability to absorb information during a visit. His hospital's Web site helps clients digest the details, and computers are actually available for clients in every examination room for general information about diseases and the hospital.

“Their understanding goes up dramatically,” he said. “It's a huge client tool to communicate the medical problems their pets have.”

Dr. Palazzolo said the Web site also serves as a good way for the hospital to bond with existing clients and attract new ones. For example, he posts photos of new clients with their pets, with permission, and he maintains a section about the staff's adventures.

E-mail, Web services

Dr. Peter S. Glassman, director of Friendship Hospital for Animals in Washington, D.C., started using e-mail plus the Web in his practice in 2002.

“We did it because we realized it was a very efficient way of communicating, educating, building our relationships with our clients,” he said.

Dr. Glassman is also president of VetInsite, which provides Web and e-mail services for veterinarians. His hospital has been the test site for the business model.

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“In order to use e-mail effectively, it has to be managed,” Dr. Pittenger said.

He said veterinarians need a system that allows clients to create accounts with the Web site and that handles bad e-mail addresses. VetInsite collects client e-mail addresses and then creates pet portals, or individual Web pages.

The system e-mails clients about the portals and provides passwords. The clients visit the veterinarian's Web site to log in to their pet portals, which display their pets' health information. The portals list information about individual prescriptions, food purchases, and veterinarian visits—as well as general medical topics.

Clients can fill out forms, update addresses, request refills, and e-mail the office through the pet portals.

“In general, the questions are the same questions that arise by the telephone,” Dr. Glassman said. “It's really just another way for them to connect with the hospital.”

He warned that veterinarians should be judicious with any advice by e-mail because a message can go to millions of people at the touch of the button. He added that each message from the hospital includes a notice to call in an emergency.

Nevertheless, he said, e-mail can be convenient for both sender and receiver for matters of less urgency or delicacy. And e-mail allows the hospital to reach out to clients with appointment reminders or electronic newsletters on medical topics.

E-mail cons and caveats

Yet even veterinarians who are comfortable with the Internet have hesitated to embrace e-mail as a way to communicate with clients.

Dr. Kevin Dajka, a 2003 graduate of the University of Illinois, said he doesn't know of any classmates who e-mail clients.

“Answering basic questions via e-mail or using it as a follow-up tool may save a veterinary practitioner some time,” said Dr. Dajka, who is now assistant director of AVMA Membership and Field Services. “However, communicating complicated medical information to owners of patients is a very difficult art to master.”

Trust representatives with the AVMA PLIT, which offers professional liability and business insurance, agreed on the need to establish a veterinarian-client-patient relationship before beginning e-mail communication.

“My thought is that the same advice applies whether the communication is by phone or by e-mail,” said Mike Ahlert, executive vice president of Hub International, PLIT's broker. “Making a diagnosis without seeing the animal is always a risky thing and should be avoided.”

Dr. Richard E. Shirbroun, Trust representative, also had concerns that e-mail might lead to making a diagnosis without a complete medical examination or to making recommendations on therapy without a diagnosis. Dr. Linda J. Ellis, Trust representative, emphasized that a veterinarian should always examine the animal.

Dr. Rodney G. Johnson, Trust representative, suggested that appropriate e-mail should become a bona fide part of the medical record. Ahlert said the legal system treats e-mail the same way as any other document.

The Trust representatives also suggested adding a disclaimer to e-mail on general topics similar to disclaimers for call-in radio shows or newspaper advice columns.

Ahlert added that state licenses vary on allowing a veterinarian to consult with a client in a state where the veterinarian doesn't hold a license.

Of course, veterinarians aren't the only doctors trying to decide how to communicate with clients by e-mail— or whether they should.

The American Medical Association has established guidelines for patient-physician electronic mail, as well as policies on other aspects of Internet communication. The guidelines are available by searching AMA's Policy Finder at, under AMA Agenda, Be informed.


Veterinary workforce

Why have you chosen the shortage of veterinarians in the workforce as your main focus for your upcoming role as AVMA president?


Dr. Roger K. Mahr, AVMA president-elect, responds:

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 228, 4; 10.2460/javma.228.4.487

First of all, it's important to recognize that there are actually five strategic issues that the AVMA Executive Board identified in November 2004 as issues for the profession and for the AVMA to focus on over the next three to five years. Input concerning these issues was collected from all the various AVMA entities as well as allied and state constituent associations. Those five strategic issues are animal welfare, economic viability, veterinary work-force, veterinary education, and veterinary services. As the AVMA addresses each of those issues, our ultimate intent is to better serve society.

As we look at the veterinary work-force and veterinary education issues, the critical need for more veterinarians to meet the responsibilities in those areas becomes more and more apparent. Those responsibilities include caring for and improving animal health, public health, food systems, environmental health, and biomedical research. I believe addressing the shortage of veterinarians in the workforce is certainly very timely, and that the AVMA and the veterinary profession must look with a sense of some urgency at how we will meet those responsibilities.

Could you explain how the veterinary workforce needs tie in with veterinary education?

To meet the veterinary workforce needs, certainly veterinarians must be prepared and trained to fill areas where those responsibilities exist. Veterinarians need to be educated so that they are prepared to reap the opportunities that come with those responsibilities. One of the important areas in addressing the shortage of veterinarians and filling those responsibilities is to increase the applicant pool—both in the amount and diversity of applicants—at veterinary colleges and schools. Also related to education, the veterinary profession needs to look at the various college curriculums, and how training for these responsibilities will occur. Some creative ways need to be identified, and perhaps established, to allow for collaborative training across universities, such as through consortia, as well as interrelationships among disciplinary areas, including veterinary medicine, human medicine, biomedical engineering, and animal science. It's important that the AVMA Council on Education's standard requirements for the accreditation of veterinary colleges and schools remain as the gold standard throughout the world for veterinary medical education. The council will certainly reassess and evaluate those standards to make sure they continue to fulfill the necessary needs to produce veterinarians to meet those responsibilities.

In 2005, two studies were released from the National Academies, “Critical Needs for Research in Veterinary Science” and “Animal Health at the Crossroads: Preventing, Detecting, and Diagnosing Animal Diseases.” How will these studies affect the AVMA's role in addressing the veterinary workforce issues?

Those two studies were based on the continuing convergence and the interrelationship of animal health, human health, and the ecosystem—or wildlife health—and embracing what's termed as the “one medicine” concept. Each study highlighted the responsibilities of veterinary medicine to society and identified those areas where needs exist, such as public health, particularly related to food safety, food security, and emerging zoonotic diseases. There's an over-riding message that came from those reports concerning the need for communication, coordination, and collaboration among the various entities that are involved with those issues, including the associations, colleges, government agencies, and animal industries. Another point that was highlighted was biomedical research and the need for collaboration among all the medical sciences—veterinary and human—to establish a means of funding to accomplish those requirements.

As we look at the AVMA's responsibilities related to what came out of those reports, it's clear that the AVMA is an important partner with the colleges, agencies, and animal industries in recruiting and preparing additional veterinary graduates in the needed areas. The studies identified a national animal health education plan, which would be developed to train individuals involved in all sectors dealing with disease prevention and early detection, including all veterinary practitioners. Finally, the AVMA will play a part in educating the public about the importance of financially supporting the animal health needs related to biomedical research.

Will there be any other related studies coming forward in 2006?

With great anticipation, a very timely study commissioned by the Food Supply Veterinary Medicine Coalition and Bayer Animal Health will come forward early this year. David M. Andrus, PhD, who heads the marketing department at Kansas State University, directed the study. The study estimates what the demand for food supply veterinarians is for the future, in terms of numbers of veterinarians needed and the types of employment opportunities, and how to maintain availability of veterinarians for careers in food supply veterinary medicine. The study addresses student recruitment, appropriate training for all segments of the food systems, and veterinary retention—how do we keep veterinarians a part of food supply veterinary medicine? It's an example of a study that again involved collaboration and cooperation among entities within the veterinary profession, as I referred to earlier.

Along with the AVMA, the coalition includes the Academy of Veterinary Consultants, American Association of Bovine Practitioners, American Association of Swine Veterinarians, American Association of Small Ruminant Practitioners, American Association of Food Hygiene Veterinarians, Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges, and Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service.

In November 2005, the AVMA Executive Board adopted an AVMA Position Statement on Research for Healthy Animals 2010. How will this position statement help address the shortage of veterinarians in the workforce?

This past fall, the AVMA Council on Research reviewed recent studies from the National Academies, including the two we discussed earlier, and they recognized that there is a significant role that the AVMA must play in addressing the studies' recommendations. With a focus on research, the council developed a position statement, which provides, in part, a strategic approach to improving national animal health within the broader context of public and environmental health. The position states that the AVMA supports increasing the size and diversity of the veterinary workforce; developing funding resources; preparing and training more veterinarians in biomedical research, public health, food systems, and environmental health; and doing that by enhancing the resources of the veterinary colleges and laboratories.

This position statement certainly not only gives direction toward research initiatives that the AVMA can pursue, but it also can serve as a template to help further the Association's visioning and planning in addressing the veterinary profession's responsibilities related to animal and human health.

What's the status of the Veterinary Workforce Expansion Act (H.R. 2206/S. 914)?

Both bills are identical and are currently in committee (mid-January). The act would provide $1.5 billion over the next 10 years to expand the educational capacity of the veterinary colleges and increase the number of veterinarians trained in public health and biomedical research. As the committees are currently reviewing these bills, they are looking at them in terms of their importance to homeland security, particularly biosecurity and agrosecurity. These security issues are particularly important because of the growing concern for our country to be prepared for the potential occurrence of foreign animal diseases from either natural, unintentional, or malicious entry. The bills are being actively pursued by the AVMA's Governmental Relations Division, in Washington, D.C., with a close working relationship with the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges. We're also actively working with the AAVMC to acquire more sponsors for those particular bills.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Communications will be a key element as the AVMA moves forward in addressing these issues. We have a need here now to develop the image of the veterinary profession so that it depicts the value of veterinary medicine to society. The AVMA has an important responsibility in developing that image and then conveying it not only outside the profession to the public, government, and media, but also to the entire veterinary profession. The importance of unity in the profession and working together to address these issues is critical.


Health Savings Accounts benefit members

HSAs can lower medical insurance costs and help save on taxes

By the end of March 2005, more than one million U.S. residents were enrolled in Health Savings Accounts, which are qualified, high-deductible health insurance plans combined with tax-advantaged savings accounts. The March total was more than double the total number of enrollees in September 2004, according to a survey conducted by the Center for Policy and Research, America's Health Insurance Plans. The survey also revealed that individuals, as opposed to employees enrolled in a group plan, accounted for more than half the total enrollees.

The AVMA Group Health & Life Insurance Trust has also seen interest in HSAs grow. In 2004, 12 percent of the active AVMA GHLIT health insurance coverage was for HSA-qualified, high-deductible plans. By the end of 2005, that figure grew to 21 percent.

Health Savings Accounts were created when Congress included a provision in the 2003 Medicare reform bill that eliminated previous restrictions inhibiting the insurance plans. During the first nine months the HSAs were available, more than 430,000 Americans enrolled in the plans.

Congress created HSAs to allow insureds to have more control over their health care dollar. The AVMA GHLIT provides HSA-qualified, high-deductible health insurance plans to help reduce medical costs for members, most of whom are self-employed and pay for their own health care coverage. In many cases, switching to an HSA-qualified, high-deductible plan can immediately lower the premium. For instance, a 45-year-old male residing in Georgia covered under the AVMA GHLIT traditional indemnity plan with a $1,500 deductible would pay a monthly premium of $429.* The same individual could switch to an HSA-qualified, high-deductible plan with a $1,500 deductible and reduce his monthly premium to $305.* A 35-year-old female residing in Georgia with the same traditional indemnity plan could switch to an HSA-qualified, high-deductible plan and reduce her monthly premium from $320* to $258.*

Raising the deductible on the HSA-qualified, high-deductible plan can reduce the premium even further. In 2006, the maximum deductible for an individual totaled $2,750, up from $2,650 in 2005. The maximum family deductible increased to $5,450 in 2006, compared with $5,250 in 2005.

The savings in premiums is only one component of HSAs. There are other benefits, some of which may be even more compelling in the long run.

Insureds may deposit funds equal to their deductible into a personal HSA. Contributions are deductible from gross earnings for federal tax purposes, and interest on HSA balances accumulates tax-free. These funds may be used for qualified medical expenses, and unused funds roll over from year to year. In effect, an HSA provides a tax-sheltered environment to save for future medical expenses. The definition of qualified medical expenses is rather broad. Along with additional typical co-pays on doctor visits and prescription drugs, HSA funds may also be used for prescription eyeglasses, dentist visits, radiographs, many over-the-counter medicines, and more.

One of the first AVMA GHLIT members to take advantage of an HSA was Dr. Roger Wells, an equine practitioner. As a single parent, he was frustrated with the rising annual premiums.

“With a $1,500 family deductible, most years I never hit enough in expenses for insurance to kick in,” Dr. Wells said. “If I’m healthy and my daughter is healthy—and I’m thankful that we are—that money is gone.”

At a national meeting of the American Association of Equine Practitioners, Dr. Wells learned about HSAs. He quickly grasped the benefits and realized how an HSA could not only reduce his health care expenses now, but also help him protect against future costs.

“The money goes into the account tax-free, and you can take it out tax-free if you use it for a medical purpose,” Dr. Wells said. “At the end of the year, if you stayed healthy, it rolls over and remains in your savings account.”

“The private savings account is integral to the insurance,” Dr. Wells pointed out. “For younger veterinarians just starting out who feel they cannot afford to fund a Keogh or an IRA, this could serve as a beginning retirement program that also covers medical.”

“It’s a fantastic program,” he said. “I have been a strong advocate to everyone. If you have to buy your own insurance, it’s the way to go.”

While many insureds will find HSAs to be useful tools for containing health care costs, the bottom-line success of HSAs across the country will depend on consumers making wiser health care choices.

Preventive care is one important aspect, since preventive care is, overall, less expensive than emergency or remedial care. The AVMA GHLIT has an upgraded Wellness Benefit on many plans to encourage veterinarians to be more proactive about their health. The GHLIT also sponsors a Wellness Center at the AVMA Annual Convention to reinforce the Trust’s commitment to preventive care and health screenings.

Making wiser health care choices also means being smart about expenditures. The use of generic drugs is a prime example—generic drugs typically cost 30 percent to 70 percent less than their brand-name counterparts.

For veterinarians desiring to take advantage of an HSA, the AVMA GHLIT offers several HSA-qualified, high-deductible health insurance plans, which are underwritten by New York Life Insurance Company (New York, NY 10010). The GHLIT can also provide additional information about financial institutions to contact to establish an HSA. The AVMA GHLIT and New York Life bear no responsibility for the establishment or administration of HSAs. Members are also advised to confer with their tax adviser.

For more information on the AVMA GHLIT HSA-qualified, high-deductible insurance plans, including exclusions, limitations, rates, eligibility, and renewal provisions, call the Trust at (800) 621-6360.



Based on rates effective Nov. 1, 2005. Rates increase as members attain a higher age bracket and are subject to changes by the insurance carrier. In addition, rates are subject to medical underwriting and can be up to 50 percent higher.

Europe bans antimicrobials, legislation proposed in U.S.

The European Union has banned the use of four additional antimicrobials as growth promoters in animal feed. As of Jan. 1, the antimicrobials monensin sodium, salinomycin sodium, avilamycin, and flavophospholipol may not be marketed or used for nonmedicinal purposes. The antimicrobials may only be added to animal feed for veterinary purposes.

As a result of the emergence of microbes resistant to antimicrobials that are used to treat human and animal infections, the EU stated, the Commission of the European Communities decided to phase out, and ultimately ban, the marketing and use of antimicrobials as growth promoters in animal feed. The Jan. 1 ban was the final step in the phaseout. The EU previously banned antimicrobials such as avoparcin and virginiamycin, used in human medicine, from being added to animal feed to promote growth.

Similar to the EU ban but more extensive, legislation was proposed in the United States to amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. Called the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act of 2005 (S. 742/H.R. 2562), the bill is more restrictive than the EU ban because it proposes to eliminate antimicrobial uses in feed and water for undefined routine disease prevention and other routine purposes, in addition to growth-promotant uses.

In June 2005, the AVMA Executive Board approved “nonsupport of passage” of the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act. The AVMA Legislative Advisory Committee recommended nonsupport of passage because it believes the ban on antimicrobial uses for routine disease prevention and other routine purposes presents risks to the health and welfare of animals without reasonable assurance that the bill will protect or improve human health. Instead, the AVMA believes the availability and effectiveness of antimicrobials are important for maintaining the health and welfare of food-producing animals and ensuring food safety. The AVMA stated that there is not enough evidence to justify legislative or regulatory prohibition of classes of use, such as uses to prevent diseases, of antimicrobials in animal feed or water.

The AVMA proposes that the proper strategy is to perform risk analysis of the specific uses of individual drugs to assess health risks and benefits to humans, to communicate any identified health risks or benefits, and to decide on appropriate risk-management procedures, said Dr. Lyle Vogel, director of the AVMA Scientific Activities Division. The risk management options can range from no change, to a change from an over-the-counter approval to a veterinary feed directive approval, or to a ban on the use, if needed to protect human health, he said.

“The many different drugs and the many ways of using drugs do not create uniform risks of antimicrobial resistance affecting human or animal health,” Dr. Vogel said. “Therefore, general overarching bans on classes of use are not appropriate.” The AVMA believes that the Food and Drug Administration has adequate authority to perform these evaluations. The FDA has demonstrated its authority with the recent ban on the use of enrofloxacin in water to treat disease in poultry (see JAVMA, Sept. 1, 2005, page 677). Additional legislation is not necessary, Dr. Vogel said.

“Reportedly, the FDA is reevaluating the currently approved uses of penicillins and tetracyclines in feed,” Dr. Vogel said. “The FDA has performed a risk assessment of the use of virginiamycin in feed. The AVMA believes that the U.S. Congress should ensure that the FDA has the resources necessary to prioritize and complete the risk-based determinations.”


Web site on zoonotic parasites in dogs and cats debuts

The Companion Animal Parasite Council launched a Web site,, as a resource on zoonotic parasites in dogs and cats for pet owners.

The Web site provides information on 10 common internal and external parasites of dogs and cats. The site, which is divided into “Dog Owner” and “Cat Owner” sections, offers answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about pets and parasites, including how parasites affect human health. The site also lists behavioral descriptions and signs, but directs pet owners to consult a veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment.

The CAPC strives to foster animal and human health, while preserving the human-animal bond, through recommendations for the diagnosis and year-round management of parasitic infections in dogs and cats. The council works to inform veterinarians about parasite control guidelines and educate pet owners about the importance of year-round control of internal and external parasites that threaten the health of pets and people. The CAPC also provides information to veterinarians through a Web site designed specifically for them, which is located at

The CAPC is an independent organization with a membership that represents broad expertise in parasitology, internal medicine, public health, veterinary law, private practice, and association leadership. Dr. Kevin Kazacos serves as CAPC president.

Texas VMA establishes fund to assist injured veterinarian

Dr. Sharon Gaston, owner of the Cactus Veterinary Clinic in Saint Jo, Texas, suffered critical injuries Jan. 1 while attempting to evacuate some horses whose lives were in danger from a large grass fire in nearby Ringgold. At least three of the horses panicked and bolted, knocking Dr. Gaston to the ground and trampling her. As of mid-January, she remained in critical condition in John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth.

Dr. Gaston is a member of the AVMA and the American Association of Equine Practitioners. To assist Dr. Gaston, the Texas VMA has set up The Sharon Gaston Fund through the Texas Veterinary Medical Foundation to help defray her medical costs. Tax-deductible contributions can be made to the fund by calling the TVMA office at (512) 452-4224. Checks should be made payable to the Texas Veterinary Medical Foundation, located at 8401 Exchange Drive, Austin, TX 78754.

Local veterinarians are working on a volunteer basis to keep Dr. Gaston's clinic open. Additional volunteers are invited to call the TVMA. Dr. Gaston is married to David Gaston.


American College of Veterinary Radiology


Dr. John Mattoon

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 228, 4; 10.2460/javma.228.4.487

Event: Annual meeting, Nov. 30-Dec. 3, 2005, Chicago

Program: More than 270 members registered for the meeting, which featured almost 60 papers, five keynote addresses, and two in-depth forums on all aspects of diagnostic imaging and radiation oncology.

Awards: Resident-authored Paper Award: Dr. Robert Cole, Bryan, Texas, for “Trans-splenic portal scintigraphy in dogs.”

Diplomates: Twenty-three new diplomates were welcomed into the ACVR in 2005. They are as follows: Radiology—Drs. Robert Cole, Bryan, Texas; Sloan H. Dupree, Raleigh, N.C.; Eric A. Ferrell, Maitland, Fla.; Anthony Fischetti, New York; Silke Hecht, Knoxville, Tenn.; Hock Gan Heng, Selangor, Malaysia; Eric G. Johnson, Davis, Calif.; Alan Lipman, Portland, Ore.; Anthony P. Pease, Raleigh, N.C.; Elissa Randall, Fort Collins, Colo.; Jaime Sage, Columbus, Ohio; Travis Saveraid, St. Paul, Minn.; Gustavo Sepulveda, Alpharetta, Ga.; Todd Smithenson, Kirkland, Wash.; Tonya Tromblee, Blacksburg, Va.; and Sandy Wang, Parker, Colo.; Radiation oncology—Drs. Elizabeth M. Brown, North Grafton, Mass.; Blaise Burke, Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.; Michele Cohen, Staten Island, N.Y.; Nancy R. Gustafson, Springfield, Va.; David M. Lurie, Gainesville, Fla.; David R. Proulx, San Marcos, Calif.; and Philip Treuil, Dallas Officials: Drs. John Mattoon, Columbus, Ohio, president; Bill Hornof, Davis, Calif.; president-elect; and Ron Burk, Cooper City, Fla., past president

Rhode Island VMA


Pamela Hood

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 228, 4; 10.2460/javma.228.4.487


Dr. Courtney Rebensdorf

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 228, 4; 10.2460/javma.228.4.487

Event: Annual meeting, Aug. 9, 2005, Providence

Awards: Animals' Best Friend Award: Pamela Hood, Providence, won this award, given in appreciation of humane efforts by nonveterinarians on behalf of animals. Founder of Sweet Binks Rabbit Rescue Inc., Hood cares for more than 70 rabbits and educates the community and rabbit owners on rabbit health and behavior.

Officials: Drs. Courtney Rebensdorf, Cranston, president; David Sweet, East Greenwich, president-elect; Susan Newell, East Greenwich, secretary; Christopher Hannafin, Providence, treasurer; and Henry Wietsma, North Kingstown, past president

new diplomates

American Board of Veterinary Practitioners

The American Board of Veterinary Practitioners certified 34 new diplomates following the board certification examination it held in November 2005.

New diplomates are as follows: Avian Practice—Drs. Johanna Briscoe, Philadelphia; Leigh Ann Clayton, Baltimore; Stephen Dyer, Mansfield, Mass.; Gwendolyn Flinchum, Loxahatchee, Fla.; Tarah Hadley, Knoxville, Tenn.; Jeffrey Jenkins, San Diego; Eric Klaphake, New Albany, Ohio; Robert Moore, New York; and Anthony Pilny, New York. Canine/Feline Practice—Drs. Chris Bonnell, Clackamas, Ore.; Zeev Gans, Mantua, N.J.; Stephen Inglis, Sandringham, Australia; Rebecca Ironmonger, Dameron, Md.; Melville Kinney, Acworth, Ga.; Kristine Lively, Knoxville, Tenn.; Tony R. Lopez, Dallas; Chris Miles, Veazie, Maine; Cynthia Mitchell, San Diego; Deanna L. Schoenborn, Jacksonville, Fla.; Elizabeth Share, Southaven, Miss.; and Timothy Smith, North Andover, Mass. Dairy Practice—Drs. Tessa Marshall, Urbana, Ill.; and Eugene White, South Woodstock, Conn. Equine Practice— Drs. Etta Bradencamp, Warrenton, Va.; Dina Duplantis, Bueche, La.; Giles A. Gray, Blackburg, Va.; Sylvia Greenman, Monrovia, Calif.; Kris Harris, Ness City, Kan.; Julaine Hunter, Frisco, Texas; and Sandra Valdez-Almada, Woodland, Calif. Food Animal Practice—Dr. Sameeh Abutarbush, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada. Feline Practice—Drs. Kristian J. Fisher, Lake Forest, Calif.; Sandra Grover, Elbert, Colo.; and Wendi Rekers-Braun, Portland, Ore.


Donald A. Price 1919–2005

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Dr. Donald A. Price of Hunt, Texas, died Dec. 11, 2005, at the age of 85. Dr. Price served 26 years on the AVMA staff—14 of them as chief administrative officer—in a veterinary career that began in research and private practice.

Joining the AVMA staff in 1958 as associate editor, Dr. Price was appointed editor-in-chief the following year. In 1962, he accepted the additional responsibilities of assistant secretary (later called assistant executive vice president).

“It was a perfect fit,” said Dr. Walter F. Juliff (TEX ‘46), his longtime friend and former partner. “He had that curious scientific mind and also that knowledge and obsession with the English language.”

On the first of January 1972, Dr. Price became AVMA executive vice president. His tenure was characterized by many changes within the profession, and steady growth of the Association and an accompanying increase in staff size. He supervised construction of the first AVMA headquarters building and the move from Chicago to Schaumburg, III., in 1975.

For encouraging cooperation between veterinary groups for the betterment of the profession, Dr. Price received the Award of Merit from the American Animal Hospital Association in 1983. At that time, he was vice president of the Pan-American VMA. He represented the AVMA at international congresses in Mexico City, Venezuela, and Chile. The Panamerican Congress of Veterinary Medicine and Zootechnics also recognized his contributions.

Dr. Price had studied business administration and worked at Wheeling Steel Corp. in West Virginia. His five years of Air Force service included the World War II years and ended in his 1946 discharge with the rank of captain.

The Ohio native enrolled as a postwar student at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Upon receiving his DVM degree in 1950, Dr. Price was a veterinary research scientist at the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station in Sonora. There, he did investigational research, chiefly on diseases of sheep and cattle.

A disease had just emerged in Texas sheep that was being called soremuzzle. Dr. Price co-authored a January 1952 report in JAVMA with Dr. W.T. Hardy describing the similarities to bluetongue, a disease not previously known in the United States. The causative agent was later confirmed to be bluetongue virus. Dr. Price also worked with sporadic bovine encephalomyelitis and plant poisoning in cattle, produced a contagious ecthyma vaccine, and provided veterinary extension services.

In 1955, he and Dr. Juliff formed a general practice partnership at San Angelo, Texas, where Dr. Price worked until joining the AVMA Publications Division three years later. The author or co-author of scientific reports in professional journals as well as special reports and editorials in JAVMA, Dr. Price was the first veterinarian elected a fellow of the American Medical Writers Association.

Other honors included the Distinguished Alumnus Award from OSU in 1966 and the Kentucky Colonel Award from the Kentucky VMA in 1973.

At the end of 1984, Dr. Price retired from the AVMA, moving with his wife, June, to the hill country north of San Antonio, where he expanded their homestead. He maintained his Texas license and was delighted to help neighbors who called with a sick sheep or a heifer that was calving.

When Dr. Price retired, the AVMA endowed the D.A. Price Lectureship Fund in Veterinary Medicine in his honor at his Ohio State to stimulate discussion of veterinary issues. After retirement, he served as a consultant and adjunct professor at Texas A&M.

Dr. Juliff, who served many years in the AVMA House of Delegates and was on faculty at Texas A&M, noted, “He was an OSU graduate but had real affection for A&M, knowing the high values and standards the university instills in its students.”

Dr. Price was a distinguished life member of the Texas VMA; an honorary life member of the Illinois State and Michigan VMAs; and an honorary member of the American Association of Equine Practitioners, American Association of Small Ruminant Practitioners; AAHA, and Bexar County VMA in San Antonio.

Dr. Price is survived by his wife, June, and their three daughters: Karen Privett, Benita Esposito, and Donna Jean Rocap.

Memorials may be made to Presbyterian Mo-Ranch Assembly (a camp and conference center), 2229 FM 1340, Hunt, TX 78024; Galveston Shriners Hospital, 815 Market St., Galveston, TX 77550; Deitert Senior Center, 617 Jefferson St., Kerrville, TX 78028; or another charity.

AVMA Honor Roll Member, AVMA Member, AVMA Nonmember

U. Stanley McConnell

Dr. McConnell (COL '35), 93, Fort Smith, Ark., died June 27, 2005.

Robert E. McCutcheon

Dr. McCutcheon (KSU '50), 85, Atlantic, Iowa, died June 26, 2005. He was a member of the Iowa VMA.

Edward P. Miller

Dr. Miller (KSU '66), 63, Oskaloosa, Kan., died Nov. 21, 2005. A diplomate of the American Board of Veterinary Toxicology, he was a toxicology con-sultant since 2000. Following gradua-tion and until 1968, Dr. Miller served in the Army, attaining the rank of captain. He then owned a practice in Oskaloosa. In 1979, Dr. Miller joined Coopers Animal Health Inc., where he became director of product safety and efficacy. He worked for Hill's Pet Nutrition from 1994-2000.

Dr. Miller served on the Oskaloosa volunteer fire department, city council, and school board. His wife, Peggy, and two sons survive him.

David A. Morrow III

Dr. Morrow (COR '60), 70, State College, Pa., died Dec. 22, 2005. From 1991-2002, he owned a veterinary consulting practice in State College. Following graduation, Dr. Morrow served as a clinical instructor at Cornell University. In 1968, he joined the faculty of Michigan State University, where he became a professor of large animal clinical sciences. Dr. Morrow was involved in research, teaching, extension, and continuing education programs in nutrition, physiology, and reproduction to improve livestock production.

A charter diplomate of the American College of Theriogenologists, he edited two editions of the text “Current Therapy in Theriogenology.” Dr. Morrow was a member of the American Animal and Dairy Science Association, American Association of Veterinary Clinicians, Society for Theriogenology, American Association of Bovine Practitioners, and the national and Pennsylvania Holstein associations. He received several honors, including the Norden Distinguished Teaching Award in 1975, Borden Award in 1980, Michigan VMA Merit Award in 1990, American Feed Manufacturers Association Award in 1993, and Holstein Foundation's Distinguished Service Award in 2001.

Dr. Morrow's wife, Linda; two daughters; and a son survive him. Memorials may be made to the David Morrow Scholarship, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Box 39, Ithaca, NY 14853; or Penn State Alpha Zeta Scholarship, c/o College of Agricultural Sciences, 230 Agriculture Administration Building, University Park, PA 16802.

Henry J. Osterholtz

Dr. Osterholtz (KSU '34), 96, Blue Springs, Mo., died June 16, 2005. Prior to retirement, he was a supervisor for the state of Missouri's meat inspection program in Kansas City, Mo. Dr. Osterholtz also served as assistant state veterinarian in Missouri. Earlier in his career, Dr. Osterholtz worked for the Department of Agriculture for 30 years, in meat and poultry inspection, and cattle testing.

His two daughters survive him. One daughter and a brother, Drs. Kathryn J. Osterholtz (MO '60) and W.E. Osterholtz (KSU '35), are veterinarians in Lee's Summit, Mo., and Fresno, Calif., respectively.

Davie L. Paice

Dr. Paice (OSU '56), 75, East New Market, Md., died Dec. 24, 2005. He was in mixed practice, focusing on equine medicine, and served on Standardbred farms throughout the eastern shore of Maryland. Earlier in his career, Dr. Paice was chief examining veterinarian for the Maryland Racing Association and the Delaware Racing Association. He also owned Rebel Acre Farm and Jenaloo Farm of Royal Oak in Maryland, where he bred and trained several Thoroughbreds.

Dr. Paice was a member of the Maryland VMA and a lifetime mem-ber of the American Association of Equine Practitioners. His wife, Alison; a son; a daughter; a stepson; and two stepdaughters survive him. Memorials may be made to Mid-Atlantic Horse Rescue, P.O. Box 403, Chesapeake City, MD 21915.

Herbert Shear

Dr. Shear (COR '40), 88, Haddonfield, N.J., died Sept. 29, 2005. Prior to retirement, he was an inspector-in-charge with the Department of Agriculture in Philadelphia. Prior to that, Dr. Shear practiced in Long Island, N.Y. Following graduation, he worked for the Department of Agriculture in Chicago; Springfield, Mass.; and Hartford, Conn. Dr. Shear's wife, Eleanor, and two daughters survive him. Memorials may be made to the College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.

Wilfried T. Weber

Dr. Weber (COR '61), 69, Philadelphia, died June 28, 2005. He was professor emeritus and former chair of pathobiology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Weber received the Norden Distinguished Teaching Award and the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching in 1971 and 1975, respectively. His son and daughter survive him. Memorials may be made to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, 2 International Plaza, Suite 245, Philadelphia, PA 19113.

John O. Wilson

Dr. Wilson (OSU '44), 83, Lawton, Okla., died June 17, 2005. In 1970, he was named director of the Department of Veterinary Science at the Army Medical Field Service School at Fort Sam Houston in Texas. Following graduation, Dr. Wilson worked for the New Jersey Department of Agriculture as a veterinary supervisor. He joined the Army Veterinary Corps in 1946, serving in several capacities, including veterinary meat and dairy product inspector, port veterinarian, and station veterinarian.

In 1961, after serving as chief of the biological branch at the Army Chemical Corps School in Alabama, he was named the veterinary adviser to the Imperial Iranian Army in Tehran. Later, he was chief of the meat products branch at the Defense Subsistence Supply Center and the technology branch at the Defense Personnel Support Center. A diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, Dr. Wilson received a Meritorious Service Medal in 1970.

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