JAVMA News

Click on author name to view affiliation information

Adulterated pet food could lead to loss-of-companionship suits in N.J.

article image

“Although the bill is specific to animals that were harmed or died as a result of contaminated pet food, it'd be an easy jump to go from that to loss of companionship of an animal from other causes, such as a vaccine reaction or a surgery that did not go well and the patient died.”

—RICHARD ALAMPI, NEW JERSEY VMA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Lawmakers target manufacturers, producers, and distributors

The New Jersey legislature is considering legislation granting owners of pets harmed by contaminated pet food the right to sue for the loss of companionship and claim damages of up to $15,000.

The measure, passed unanimously by the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee in late May, is the latest effort to let aggrieved pet owners sue for noneconomic damages when a pet is hurt or killed.

If the bill were enacted, New Jersey would join Illinois and Tennessee as the only states allowing such lawsuits, in limited circumstances.

Assembly Deputy Speaker Neil Cohen introduced the legislation (A.B. 4217) in the wake of the massive recall of adulterated pet food begun by Menu Foods Inc., a Canadian-based manufacturer. More than 100 brands were found to have been adulterated by melamine, which is associated with kidney problems in cats and dogs. At least 50 class action lawsuits have been filed against Menu Foods.

Under U.S. law, animals are classified as property. Although animal abuse or theft of pets can result in criminal charges with fines and even jail time, civil law allows plaintiffs to recover only economic damages when a pet is hurt or killed.

Few pet owners understand their rights to compensation when a pet is harmed, but the recall has brought national attention to a legal standard that's seeing more challenges in state legislatures, said Joyce Tischler, executive director of the Animal Legal Defense Fund.

“Animal lives are valued so low at this point that many pet owners are deprived of the opportunity to protect their animals, as they presume they can. That's why a lot of this legislation is occurring—pet owners are incensed that when something happens to a pet and then they attempt to sue, they realize, ‘My pet was worth nothing in the eyes of the law,'” Tischler said.

Cohen's bill would clear the way for suits against the manufacturer, producer, and distributor of adulterated pet food, or any other person who caused or contributed to the contamination that resulted in a pet's illness or death. Persons who had a “duty” to act to prevent illness, injury, or death of a pet from adulterated pet food could likewise be sued.

In addition to compensation for loss of companionship, plaintiffs may recoup expenses related to veterinary care and training, and any unique or special value of the pet, such as a service or show animal, with total damages not exceeding $15,000.

The assemblyman was prompted to introduce the legislation after he saw that many stores still stocked brands of recalled pet food, according to Gleshia Givens, Cohen's director of legislative service. “He started going to all these different stores, just buying the food so other people wouldn't purchase them for their pets,” Givens explained, adding that Cohen is himself a pet owner.

Veterinary associations such as the AVMA and New Jersey VMA oppose noneconomic rewards for pet injury or death, saying they will drive up the cost of veterinary care and lead to frivolous lawsuits (see the AVMA Policy on Compensatory Values for Animals Beyond Their Property Value).

“Although the bill is specific to animals that were harmed or died as a result of contaminated pet food, it'd be an easy jump to go from that to loss of companionship of an animal from other causes, such as a vaccine reaction or a surgery that did not go well and the patient died,” explained Richard Alampi, NJVMA executive director.

Originally, the bill set no limit on damages. But after the NJVMA and AVMA expressed reservations about the legislation, Cohen amended the proposal by capping damages at $15,000 and removing language referring to emotional distress suffered by the pet owner or immediate family.

The Pet Food Institute, representing manufacturers, also opposes the bill because it singles out pet food with respect to liability and introduces the legal question of the value of a pet, explained PFI President Duane Ekedahl. The PFI board has not taken a position on the economic value of a pet in civil suits, he said, but it is currently evaluating the unintended consequences of litigation that includes personal loss and suffering when a pet is harmed.

“We need to better understand the effect of such potential penalties on pet owners, the pet community, and veterinarians with respect to malpractice insurance,” Ekedahl said.

Alampi is pleased that Cohen is willing to work with the NJVMA but worries the bill could be pushed through the Assembly. “Because of the concerns the veterinary profession has expressed, I would certainly hope that this bill is not fast-tracked to a point where we cannot try to reason with (Cohen),” he said.

At press time in June, the bill was not scheduled for a vote in the Assembly, nor was there a companion bill in the state senate. Alampi wondered how much attention the measure would receive, given the legislature's current focus on passing a state budget and the coming November elections, along with a traditionally slow summer session.

If New Jersey were to sanction noneconomic damages for pets, Tischler of the ALDF doesn't expect a flurry of similar bills in other state legislatures. But when U.S. consumers are spending billions of dollars on their pets annually, it shouldn't be all that surprising when some pet owners believe their companion is worth more than the law allows.

“What veterinarians are not looking at is Americans do value their animals more highly than they used to, and because of that, the veterinary community has seen an increase in income,” Tischler said. “But these non-economic lawsuits are the other side of that double-edged sword.”

To access AVMA resource specific to the pet food recall and noneconomic damages, visit www.avma.org/advocacy/state/issues/default.asp#ned_recall.

—R. SCOTT NOLEN

Compensatory values for animals beyond their property value

The American Veterinary Medical Association recognizes and supports the legal concept of animals as property. However, the AVMA recognizes that some animals have value to their owners that may exceed the animal's market value. In determining the real monetary value of the animal, the AVMA believes the purchase price, age and health of the animal, breeding status, pedigree, special training, veterinary expenses for the care of the animal's injury or sickness, related to the incident in question, and any particular economic utility the animal has to the owner should be considered. Any extension of available remedies beyond economic damages would be inappropriate and ultimately harm animals. Therefore, the AVMA opposes the potential recovery of non-economic damages.

AAVLD continues to seek samples, case reports

The American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians encourages AAVLD laboratories, along with other laboratories and private practitioners in the United States and Canada, to continue sending samples and reporting cases of nephrotoxicosis possibly associated with adulterated pet food, using the Web-based survey tool it launched in April.

The survey is accessible to AAVLD laboratories on the members-only area of the Web site, www.aavld.org. Nonmembers can enter case data via the public area by clicking on News and then on AAVLD Pet Food Toxicity Survey.

Dr. Barbara Powers, AAVLD president and director of the Colorado State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, said that the survey goal is to distinguish true cases of nephropathy unique to this recall, resulting in criteria that define a true case.

“So far, the survey has 486 cases posted, and those data are under review and analysis,” Dr. Powers said. “Considering the many entries, that will take some time. Any cases that do not meet the criteria for further investigation will be excluded.

“A few late occurrences of renal failure have been reported, related perhaps to earlier exposure to the contaminated pet food. It will be valuable to receive any other such reports so that we may document them as possible late effects of pet food-associated nephrotoxicosis.”

The data will be made available to the Food and Drug Administration for its investigations and will form the basis for a retrospective study to be presented at the AAVLD convention in October.

Veterinarians who want to submit relevant samples can go to www.aavld.org and click on Accreditation to access a list of AAVLD-accredited diagnostic laboratories, or contact a state veterinary diagnostic laboratory, veterinary teaching hospital, or veterinary laboratory with which they have a professional relationship and inquire about sample submission.

Consumer-driven health care aids self-employed and small business owners

HSAs continue to grow in popularity among AVMA GHLIT participants

Consumer-driven health care. It's a phrase that's heard more and more often in the discussion of health care in America, and a concept of great importance to all Americans—especially those who are financially responsible for all or a substantial portion of their health insurance costs.

Historically, health care in the United States has been largely defined as an entitlement of employment. Most employees insured under employer group plans have had little or no choice in plan design, nor have they been exposed to the true cost of health care, since their exposure has typically been limited to a small portion of the insurance cost as well as a small percentage of the actual health care cost—a deductible or copay, for example.

Consumer-driven health care, as the name implies, places much more control over costs and care directly in the hands of the insured. The assumption is that when the insured has a larger financial stake in the decisions being made, health care dollars will be spent more wisely.

Being an educated and conscious consumer of health care is really at the heart of the consumer-driven model. Proponents of this new model point out that individuals who were covered by first-dollar insurance were insulated from the true cost of health care. While some health care services are beyond the consumer's control, such as emergency services, the concept is that an educated consumer will shop wisely, make choices on the basis of quality, and will spend health care dollars judiciously—hopefully well-armed with knowledge, and in partnership with his or her physician.

The AVMA GHLIT is committed to providing participants with access to quality cost information needed to make wise decisions. Last August, Medco Health Solutions, the pharmacy benefit manager for the GHLIT, signed an agreement with Consumer Reports to deliver Best Buy Drugs information to participants. Beginning with the prescription drug component of health care was logical, since drug costs represent a substantial portion of health care expenses. Today, GHLIT participants can access online information to research and evaluate the effectiveness, safety, and pricing of prescription drugs and to get cost-savings alternatives based on the participant's personal prescription history and drug plan by visiting www.medco.com. A personalized results page can be printed out to bring to the participant's doctor for a discussion of options.

Because being an educated consumer can enhance the benefits of consumer-driven health care, veterinarians should be well-positioned to make the most of this health care model. Many veterinarians—as self-employed individuals and/or small business owners—are uniquely qualified to benefit from the financial incentives of consumer-driven health care since this model can address two of the biggest issues the self-employed and small business owner face: taxes and health care costs. In particular, one consumer-driven health insurance plan that can provide a welcome break for both is the Health Savings Account, which is a qualified, high-deductible health insurance plan paired with a tax-advantaged savings account.

In effect, an HSA provides a tax-sheltered environment to save for future medical expenses. The 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 all qualified medical expenses, and withdrawals are not taxed. Unused funds roll over from year to year. In addition to out-of-pocket costs such as prescription drug costs, HSA funds may be used for prescription eyeglasses, dental visits, radiographs, many over-the-counter medicines, and many other qualified medical expenses that are not covered by the GHLIT HSA-qualified plans. (Insureds should consult with their accountant or tax adviser before opening an HSA to determine whether this savings vehicle is appropriate for them.)

Dr. Michael Thorp, owner of Burlington Veterinary Center in Burlington, Kan., was an early proponent of the HSA. He is one of the 3,196 GHLIT participants who purchased a high-deductible, HSA-qualified plan as of the end of April 2007. This figure represents a 23.5 percent increase over the same time period last year.

Dr. Thorp said he contributes the maximum allowable amount to his HSA every year. “If you discipline yourself to put in the maximum every year, you can enjoy a nice tax deduction, and your money draws a little interest,” he said.

“The advantage of the high-deductible plan is you don't spend your money until you absolutely need to,” Dr. Thorp said. “With an HSA, I can lay aside more money, and get some tax benefit.”

Beverly Kirkpatrick, who runs the office of her husband, Dr. Doug Kirkpatrick, helps make insurance decisions for their business, called the Southwest Veterinary Clinic in Porter Hill, Okla. Making the switch to a high-deductible, HSA-qualified plan dramatically reduced their premiums, and has allowed them to begin accumulating money tax free.

“The HSA looked like a nice option for us to save money back for those times when we might need it in the future,” Kirkpatrick said. “It's nice to be able to shelter some money from taxes. It also earns a little interest, which is a plus.”

Congress recently expanded HSA provisions to allow individuals and families to tuck away even more money every year. Beginning this year, insureds with single coverage can deposit up to $2,850 in their HSA, and insureds with family coverage can deposit up to $5,650—with no restrictions as to deductible level selected or time of year the account was opened. HSA holders who are 55 years or older can make extra catch-up deposits.

The tax savings can be substantial. A married couple with two dependent children and an annual income of $100,000 will find making the maximum $5,650 HSA contribution could reduce income taxes by $1,413. (This example is for illustrative purposes only and individuals should consult with their tax adviser.)

Consumer-driven health care encourages an ongoing dialogue with one's health care provider. It can provide a better grasp of the real cost of medical care as well as more control over one's health care dollars. Consumer-driven health care holds great potential to help veterinarians get a better handle on the important personal and business issue of quality, affordable health care.

The AVMA GHLIT program is underwritten by New York Life Insurance Company (NY, NY 10010). The GHLIT and New York Life bear no responsibility for the establishment or administration of any Health Savings Account.

PREPARED BY THE AVMA GROUP HEALTH AND LIFE INSURANCE TRUST

Poster promotes campaign to cure cancer in dogs

article image

Veterinarians can now order a poster to help educate their clients about the risk of cancer in dogs and to promote the Morris Animal Foundation's Canine Cancer Campaign. The poster is free to veterinarians and can be ordered by e-mail, vetposter@MorrisAnimalFoundation.org, or by phone, (800) 243-2345.

In April, the MAF officially kicked off the Canine Cancer Campaign, a large-scale, $30 million initiative to cure cancer in dogs within the equivalent of a dog's lifetime of 10 to 20 years (see JAVMA, May 1, 2007, page 1287).

The poster charts the breeds of dogs most susceptible to cancer and the types of cancer that are prevalent in those breeds. The poster also provides an overview of the campaign, along with contact information.

To learn more about the Morris Animal Foundation's Canine Cancer Campaign, visit www.CureCanineCancer.org.

Homeland Security appoints two-year director for Plum Island

article image

The Department of Homeland Security has selected Dr. Lawrence Barrett to serve for two years as director of the Plum Island Animal Disease Center.

The Homeland Security Department also is in the midst of selecting a site to build a facility to replace the center on Plum Island. At press time, 18 sites were under consideration for the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility. The department was about to announce a shorter list of potential sites.

The department plans to select a site in October 2008. The facility will not be operational until 2013 or 2014.

At the Plum Island center, Dr. Barrett has served as the interim director since October 2006. He also is a specialist in foreign animal and zoonotic infectious diseases with the University of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.

Previously, Dr. Barrett headed the Division of Food, Drug, and Radiation Safety within the California Department of Health Services and was the state veterinarian for public health. He has served on active duty in the Air Force as a base veterinarian and public health officer, and he is now a reserve colonel public health officer.

Dr. Barrett is a past president of the American Association of Public Health Veterinarians and a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine. He received his veterinary degree from Oklahoma State University in 1981.

Some veterinarians at increased risk of avian influenza virus infection

Veterinarians who work with birds are at an increased risk for avian influenza infection and should be among those with priority access to pandemic influenza vaccines and antivirals, according to a study conducted by researchers at the University of Iowa College of Public Health.

The study, “Infection due to 3 avian influenza subtypes in United States veterinarians,” is published in the July 1 issue of the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, available online at www.journals.uchicago.edu/CID/home.html.

The researchers, led by Kendall Myers, a doctoral student in occupational and environmental health, and Gregory Gray, MD, a professor of epidemiology, examined blood samples from a group of U.S. veterinarians for evidence of previous avian influenza virus infection. The veterinarians all had occupational exposure to live chickens, ducks, turkeys, geese, or quail.

The study showed that, compared with the control group, the veterinarians who worked with birds had substantially higher concentrations of antibodies in their blood against the H5, H6, and H7 avian virus strains, indicating previous infections with these viruses. The infections were likely a result of the mild forms of avian influenza virus that have occasionally circulated among wild and domestic birds in the United States, according to the researchers. The greatest risk factor for infection reported by veterinarians was examining birds known to be sick with influenza.

“Veterinarians and others with frequent and close contact to infected birds may be among the first to be infected with a pandemic strain of influenza,” Myers said in a prepared statement. “They have the potential to spread the illness to their families and communities. Because of this, we suggest that veterinarians should be considered for inclusion on priority access lists for pandemic influenza vaccines and antivirals.”

The authors reported in their study that a better understanding of interspecies transmission of avian influenza is a crucial component in efforts to minimize the effects of a pandemic.

“While these avian influenza virus infections in veterinarians were likely mild or subclinical, the story might be very different should aggressive avian influenza strains enter the United States like the H5N1 strains infecting domestic birds in Asia,” Dr. Gray said.

“As federal officials continue to plan for a pandemic event, it is increasingly important to identify the best ways to protect veterinarians and other agricultural workers most at risk for zoonotic diseases.”

Equine injury reporting system debuts at racetracks

In an effort to generate accurate, national statistics of racing injuries, more than 30 racetracks implemented a uniform, on-track equine injury reporting system in June.

The reporting system was developed Dr. Mary Scollay, association veterinarian at Calder Race Course and Gulfstream Park, both in Florida. Dr. Scollay developed the system while serving on one of six committees that were established following the Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit held last October (see JAVMA, Dec. 1, 2006, page 1705). The Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation and The Jockey Club coordinated and underwrote the event, which worked to address concerns over the safety and soundness of Thoroughbred racehorses.

There are several goals of the injury reporting system. One goal is to identify the frequency, type, and outcome of racing injuries, using a standardized format that will generate valid composite statistics. Another goal is to develop a centralized epidemiologic database that could be used to identify markers for horses that are at increased risk of injury. The system will also serve as a source of data for research directed at improving the safety of racehorses.

The centerpiece of the system is a standardized form used by racetrack veterinarians to identify what happened to an injured horse. It is optional to list the name of the injured horse on the form, and racetracks are able to compare their statistics to the aggregate statistics.

“Most tracks have been keeping much, if not all, of this information already,” Dr. Scollay said. “The difference with this program is that by using standardized terminology, definitions, and reporting criteria, we can all be on the same page. And that will permit constructive interactions.”

During a press conference in June, Dr. Scollay said that within six months, she expects to have national statistics on the rate of injury per thousand starts, along with statistics on fatalities. The standardized form will be reviewed and changes will be made if necessary. In one year, she expects to start targeting markers for horses that are at increased risk for injury.

“I think that this program may actually raise more questions than it answers, but I think it's going to help raise the right questions, and allow people to go off in a specific direction and get some constructive information,” Dr. Scollay said.

Along with the Injury Report Committee that Dr. Scollay serves on, the other five committees stemming from the Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit are as follows: Stallions' Progeny Racing Durability, Racing Surfaces, Race Condition and Race Office, Shoeing and Hoofcare, and Education and Licensing.

On a mission in Iraq, Afghanistan

Veterinarians with U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force continue to provide support overseas

d1949978e385

In Baghdad, Iraq, Lt. Col. Erik Torring re-enlists Staff Sgt. David Livermore of the 72nd Medical Detachment.

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 231, 2; 10.2460/javma.231.2.184

From providing working dogs with veterinary care to acting as a small public health department, numerous veterinarians with the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force continue to perform crucial duties in Iraq and Afghanistan.

U.S. Army

The Army Veterinary Corps remains supportive of the Global War on Terrorism through Operation Enduring Freedom in several regions and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

At any given time, just fewer than 10 percent of active duty Veterinary Corps officers are deployed in support of OEF and OIF, according to Maj. Kimberly T. Lawler, assistant to the chief, U.S. Army Veterinary Corps, who is stationed in Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

The Veterinary Corps comprises all the officers who are in the U.S. Army Veterinary Service. Currently, 671 veterinarians are commissioned officers in the Corps— 429 active duty veterinarians and 242 in the Reserve. The 242 veterinarians in the Reserve consist of 161 Army reserves, 69 individual ready reserves, and 12 National Guardsmen. Besides the veterinarians, 84 warrant officers are in the Corps.

Deployed Army veterinarians in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait, and locations in Southwest Asia and Africa provide world-class veterinary medical and food inspection support to U.S. and Coalition Forces, said Maj. Lawler, who earned her DVM degree from the University of Tennessee in 1998.

Supplying veterinary medical care to the hundreds of working dogs supporting operations is a major function of the Army Veterinary Service. The Veterinary Service encompasses not only the active duty and Reserve veterinarians and the warrant officers in the Veterinary Corps but also 2,100 enlisted soldiers and 645 civilians—some of whom are veterinarians.

One example of the benefit of food inspection support, Maj. Lawler said, resulted from Veterinary Service's help in acquiring and approving locally owned bottled water plants in Afghanistan. This provided a savings of more than $38 million per year and eliminated 4,320 water-hauling truck trips from supply routes, which decreased driver exposure to improvised explosive devices. Major Lawler said these water plants are now part of the approved source audit program that is linked with other government food safety agencies to share information that protects service members and contributes to the nation's food safety.

In addition to veterinary medical and food inspection support, Veterinary Service personnel play a key role in civil affairs operations.

“Both in Iraq and Afghanistan, Army veterinarians are working directly with the government to develop and improve animal health and food safety infrastructures,” Maj. Lawler said. “They also serve as coordinators and facilitators for nongovernmental and private volunteer organizations.”

Another accomplishment by the Veterinary Corps came in March 2006 when U. S. Naval Medical Research Unit No. 3 (NAMRU-3, Cairo, Egypt) deployed one of its Army veterinarians with a mobile polymerase chain reaction laboratory to Afghanistan to diagnose what proved to be highly pathogenic avian influenza, then track the outbreak and guide control measures.

Subsequently, NAMRU-3 retained the veterinarian in Afghanistan to refurbish four rooms in the Central Veterinary Diagnostic and Research Laboratory and install biosafety cabinets, permanent conventional and real-time PCR machines, and all the ancillaries to perform PCR assays to U.S. biosafety standards. During outbreaks this past spring, the laboratory functioned independently, detecting and tracking outbreaks, and now it is a permanent fixture of the Afghanistan Ministry of Agriculture.

U.S. Air Force

Approximately half of all public health officers that the U.S. Air Force deploys overseas are veterinarians. Currently, 10 officers are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to Col. William G. Courtney, chief of public health for the Air Force and the military consultant for public health to the Air Force surgeon general.

In essence, the officers function as leaders of small public health departments. Their daily responsibilities, along with their highly trained enlisted partners, include disease surveillance and outbreak investigations in humans. They also perform medical entomology work, communicable disease control, and all food safety and sanitation for troops at the Air Force bases.

For routine assignments, the officers are stationed in Iraq or Afghanistan for four-month rotations. Recently, the Air Force has paired with the U.S. Army on civil affairs missions, which require a six-month stay.

There are at least 17 civil affairs missions that the officers have participated in, said Col. Courtney, who is stationed at Bolling Air Force Base, Washington, D.C.

The officers are helping to develop national food safety campaigns, national public health education plans, hazardous and medical waste disposal programs, and slaughterhouse sanitation programs. Particularly in Iraq, officers with a veterinary background are working with the locals to establish an infectious animal-disease control program. They assist the U.S Agency for International Development and the U.S. Department of Agriculture with this work.

Colonel Courtney said one of the main challenges of being an Air Force public health officer in Iraq and Afghanistan is just being in a foreign country.

“You learn public health here in the United States, but then you go someplace where it's a little bit different, (and) it's not only a challenge, but it's probably the most educational experience you can have—to actually see, smell, feel public health in some other part of the world,” said Col. Courtney, who earned his DVM degree in 1980 from the University of Illinois and his master's in public health from the University of Minnesota in 1991.

“Public health is one of the first things to go when there's a war. Rebuilding that and trying to focus on what does the most good for the most people is kind of an art and a science,” he continued. “The challenge is to figure out what you can do with the limited resources you have, to do the most good for the most people.”

Along with dodging bombs and snipers, Col. Courtney said, trying to work with the local public health officers presents another challenge.

“It's one thing to go to a peaceful country like Thailand; it's another to go to someplace in the Middle East,” he said. “The cultural differences between the United States and the Middle East are quite stark, really. Working within that environment is challenging, but rewarding.”

—ALLISON REZENDES

Elanco to expand with addition of Ivy Animal Health

Eli Lilly and Company has signed an agreement to acquire Ivy Animal Health, which offers products primarily for promoting growth in beef cattle.

Ivy will become a unit of Lilly's Elanco Animal Health, which has headquarters in Indiana, though Ivy will continue operating from Kansas.

Ivy started business in 1982 and currently has four divisions. Ivy Laboratories manufactures the company's products and performs research and product development. VetLife carries out marketing, technical services, and sales activities for the company's traditional products for beef cattle. AgSpan manages Ivy's databases as well as programs and services for production management. Ivy Natural Solutions markets the company's products for beef cattle in the natural sector.

Lilly's Elanco Animal Health has existed since 1954. Elanco offers products for cattle, sheep, swine, and poultry.

This year, Lilly also launched a new business group focusing on the health of companion animals. The new group will produce medicines for dogs and cats under the Lilly brand name.

accolades

Academia

The Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine recently named three 2007 Wilford S. Bailey Distinguished Alumni for their contributions to animal welfare, the profession, and their communities.

d1949978e479

Dr. Annelda Baetz

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 231, 2; 10.2460/javma.231.2.184

Dr. Annelda Baetz (AUB '47) practiced from 1948-1986 in San Antonio, Texas, and is a charter member of three animal control associations, including the National Animal Control Association. In 1978, she served as a consultant on dog control for the United Nations and the World Health Organization.

d1949978e492

Dr. Wayne Roberts

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 231, 2; 10.2460/javma.231.2.184

Dr. Wayne Roberts (AUB '67) opened Westgate Veterinary Hospital in Enterprise, Ala., in 1969. He operated a mixed practice until 1984, when he began concentrating on companion animals. He sold the practice in 2003 but continues to work part time. He is a past president of the Southeast Alabama VMA and Alabama VMA.

d1949978e504

Dr. Clyde Taylor

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 231, 2; 10.2460/javma.231.2.184

Dr. Clyde Taylor (AUB '60) was one of the 17 founding faculty members at the Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1976. He also worked with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in private practice, and as a poultry consultant. He served 20 years in the Air National Guard, retiring as a lieutenant colonel.

college news: Student business group launches new Web site, continues to grow

The Veterinary Business Management Association, a growing student group, recently launched a new Web site at www.vbma.biz.

The Web site includes information about the national VBMA, meetings, board, sponsors, programs, scholarships, job opportunities, and college chapters.

The VBMA began at the University of Pennsylvania in 2003. The group's mission is to provide more business education than most veterinary colleges conventionally offer. Members seek to develop skills in communication, leadership, client service, negotiation, management, and finance.

As of early 2007, the VBMA had 22 active chapters at colleges across the country and about 2,000 student members. The group also has attracted a number of sponsors.

Hill's Pet Nutrition is the founding sponsor. The company sponsors the annual VBMA National Meeting at the North American Veterinary Conference in Orlando, Fla. Every semester, Hill's also provides each chapter with the opportunity to secure funding to create a business education program.

Novartis Animal Health is the sponsor of the annual Regional Education Program, which sends a top speaker on veterinary business to VBMA chapters that differentiate themselves by past performance and a formal application.

Through an annual contest, Veterinary Pet Insurance donates a trip to NAVC plus $600 in spending money to one student member from each chapter.

The Simmons Educational Fund Business Aptitude Award, an essay competition from Simmons & Associates practice brokers, offers scholarships to third-year students. One winner from each college receives a $1,500 scholarship. The winners enter a national competition, which awards one $10,000 scholarship as well as a trip to the Western Veterinary Conference.

Louisiana appoints Haynes as dean

d1949978e547

Dr. Peter F. Haynes

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 231, 2; 10.2460/javma.231.2.184

Dr. Peter F. Haynes was named dean of the Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine, effective June 1. Dr. Haynes had served as interim dean of the school since July 2006 after the retirement of then dean, Dr. Michael Groves.

Dr. Haynes began his academic career in 1970 as an instructor of large animal surgery at Colorado State University, where he received his DVM degree the preceding year. He also taught equine ambulatory medicine at CSU from 1971-1974.

In 1974, Dr. Haynes joined the LSU faculty as an assistant professor and veterinary clinician in the Veterinary Clinical Sciences Department. There, he held various positions over the years, including section chief of the Large Animal Clinic, professor of veterinary surgery, assistant director of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital and Clinics, and co-director of the Equine Veterinary Research Program.

In addition, Dr. Haynes was interim associate dean for research and advanced studies, associate dean for research and advanced studies, associate dean of administration, and executive associate dean from 2000-2006.

Dr. Haynes has represented the American Association of Equine Veterinarians in the AVMA House of Delegates since 1991. He is a former chair of the House Advisory Committee and was a member of the AVMA Long-Range Planning Committee, now sunset.

“I believe that Dr. Haynes has demonstrated the abilities and aptitudes needed for this position during his excellent service over the past year as interim dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine,” LSU interim Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Harold Silverman said. “He is committed to reinforcing our veterinary medicine teaching program, enhancing our veterinary and biomedical research activities, and improving our service to the Baton Rouge community and surrounding region.”

Winners of Hill's writing competition announced

The winners of the 2007 Hill's Pet Nutrition Inc. Innovations in Public Health Award have been announced.

Sponsored by Hill's and coordinated by the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges, the annual award encourages the submission of veterinary-related papers for the (Health and Human Services) Secretary's Award for Innovation in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention. AVMA Vice President Charles M. Hendrix is a cofounder of the Hill's award and one of its top advocates among veterinary students.

The Hill's writing competition mirrors that of the Secretary's Award and encourages single and interdisciplinary proposals. The written proposals must have a veterinary-related theme, and award applicants must be enrolled in a veterinary medical curriculum.

This year's winners are as follows: First place ($1,000): Cathryn T. Youmans, University of Tennessee, for “Improving the quality of life for pet-owning Meals on Wheels recipients with flea and tick prevention.” Second place ($750): Evan Apotheker, Purdue University, for “The modern day canary: A novel and cost-effective system for detecting highly pathogenic avian influenza in the United States.” Third place ($500): Aleisha Nesset, Iowa State University, for “The international traveler's infectious disease handbook.”

The winning entries are posted on the AAVMC Web site at www.aavmc.org/students_admissions/scholarships.htm.

obituaries: AVMA Honor Roll Member, AVMA Member, Nonmember

Earl B. Bearden

Dr. Bearden (GA '52), 88, Madison, Ga., died Nov. 30, 2006.

Dale E. Blackburn

Dr. Blackburn (IL '76), 64, Harvard, Ill., died April 7, 2007. He practiced at Fox Valley Animal Hospital in Crystal Lake, Ill. Earlier in his career, Dr. Blackburn worked as a relief veterinarian in McHenry County, Ill. He raised and showed Shropshire sheep for more than 30 years, and served as secretary-treasurer and registrar of the American Shropshire Registry Association.

Wilbur S. Bull

Dr. Bull (UP '50), 91, Watertown, N.Y., died Nov. 16, 2006. He founded Watertown Animal Hospital in 1969. Earlier in his career, Dr. Bull owned practices in New York at Chaumont and Burrville. In retirement, he was active with rabies vaccination clinics in Jefferson County, N.Y.

Dr. Bull served as a meat inspector in the Army Veterinary Corps. Active in civic life, he was the Watertown supervisor from 1960-1966. His wife, Mary; three daughters; and a son survive him. Memorials may be made to the Hospice of Jefferson County, 425 Washington, Watertown, NY 13601; Town of Watertown Fire Department, 22825 County Road 67, Watertown, NY 13601; Burrville United Church of Christ, 25200 Van Allen Road, Watertown, NY 13601; or Jefferson County SPCA, 25056 Water St., Watertown, NY 13601.

John W. Cable

Dr. Cable (UP '56), 76, Mechanicsburg, Pa., died May 13, 2007. Prior to retirement in 1980, he worked for the Department of Agriculture. Dr. Cable served in the Air Force Veterinary Corps for 22 years, retiring as a colonel. He was a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine and a life member of the Pennsylvania VMA. Dr. Cable's wife, Nancy; a son; and a daughter survive him. Memorials may be made to the American Heart Association, 1019 Mumma Road, Wormleysburg, PA 17041; or Diabetes Foundation, P.O. Box 11454, Alexandria, VA 22312.

Germille Colmano

Dr. Colmano (BOL '49), 85, Blacksburg, Va., died Nov. 16, 2006. He was professor emeritus in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and the University of Maryland since 1992. Following his move to the United States in 1951 from Italy, Dr. Colmano worked as a project assistant in enzyme biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a biophysicist at the Research Institute for Advanced Study in Baltimore. He began his tenure with Virginia Tech in the Veterinary Science Department of the College of Agriculture in 1962. In 1978, Dr. Colmano became part of the newly forming College of Veterinary Medicine. His research interests included colloidal chemistry and spectral analysis of bio-systems. Dr. Colmano's son and daughter survive him.

John T. Creasey

Dr. Creasey (IL '06), 27, Canton, Ill., died Jan. 30, 2007. He practiced at the Spoon River Animal Clinic in Canton. Dr. Creasey was a member of the Illinois State VMA, and he was active in the 4-H Club and the National FFA Organization. Memorials may be made to the Bushnell-Prairie City High School Foundation, 845 N. Walnut, Bushnell, IL 61422; or the Dr. John Creasey Memorial Fund, 155 Emmy Road, Macomb, IL 61455.

Arlynn A. Cuthbertson

Dr. Cuthbertson (CAL '53), 84, Elko, Nev., died March 31, 2007. He was the founder of Elko Veterinary Clinic. Dr. Cuthbertson served on the Nevada State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners for four years and was track veterinarian at the Elko County Fair race meet into the 1990s. He also served on the Nevada State Board of Health. Dr. Cuthbertson taught classes at Northern Nevada Community College and chaired the Elko Hospital Board. A veteran of World War II, he served in the Army. Dr. Cuthbertson attained the rank of 2nd lieutenant.

His wife, Carol; a son; and four daughters survive him. Dr. Cuthbertson's son, Dr. Alan A. Cuthbertson III (ROS '89), is a veterinarian in Lamoille, Nev. Memorials may be made to the Community Cares Program, Elko Veterinary Clinic, 1850 Lamoille Highway, Elko, NV 89801.

Roy H. De Motte

Dr. De Motte (OSU '52), 82, Odon, Ind., died Nov. 30, 2006. Prior to retirement in 1990, he owned Odon Veterinary Clinic for 38 years. Dr. De Motte was an Army veteran of World War II. His two sons survive him. Memorials may be made to The Barn, c/o Odon First Christian Church, Odon, IN 47562.

Kenneth D. Funk

Dr. Funk (TEX '64), 67, Blanco, Texas, died Nov. 19, 2006.

Donald B. Gisler

Dr. Gisler (OSU '55), 77, Pahrump, Nev., died Dec. 13, 2006. From 1971 until retirement in 1991, he practiced at Countryside Animal Hospital in Sylvania, Ohio. Prior to that, Dr. Gisler was a member of the veterinary faculty at The Ohio State University. During that time, he also coordinated laboratory animal technology for the Columbus Technical Institute in cooperation with OSU's College of Veterinary Medicine.

A retired Air Force colonel, Dr. Gisler served early in his career as veterinarian in charge of the primate colony and space research of NASA's project “Little Joe” on the Mercury Space Program. He also directed the Veterinary Medical Division of the Aerospace Medical Research Laboratory. In 1966, Dr. Gisler received an Air Force commendation medal for his contributions. His wife, Denise; a daughter; and a son survive him. Memorials may be made to the Sierra County Humane Society Inc., P.O. Box 638, Williamsburg, NM 87942.

Roy H. Hughes

Dr. Hughes (MID '47), 86, Tequesta, Fla., died May 5, 2007. Prior to retirement in 1980, he owned a small animal clinic in Puerto Rico. Earlier, Dr. Hughes was in mixed practice in Arkansas at Hot Springs and Fort Smith. During his career, he also co-established an artificial insemination clinic in Cuba and helped eradicate foot-and-mouth disease in Mexico. Dr. Hughes is survived by his wife, Joyce; a son; and four stepchildren. Memorials may be made to the Hospice of Palm Beach County, 5300 E. Ave., West Palm Beach, FL 33407.

Gwen H. Lowitt

Dr. Lowitt (UP '94), 39, New York, died May 6, 2007. A relief veterinarian, she practiced part time at Abingdon Square Veterinary Clinic in New York. Earlier in her career, Dr. Lowitt served as staff veterinarian at Oradell Animal Hospital in Oradell, N.J. Her husband, Gary, survives her. Dr. Lowitt's father, Dr. Fred Fernich (UP '63), is a retired veterinarian in Hauppauge, N.Y. Memorials may be made to the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, 3800 Spruce St., Department 171E, Philadelphia, PA 19104.

John A. McIlhattan

Dr. McIlhattan (WSU '70), 61, Bozeman, Mont., died May 6, 2007. He owned Valley View Veterinary Hospital, a mixed practice in Bozeman, for more than 30 years. Earlier in his career, Dr. McIlhattan practiced in British Columbia, Canada, and Butte, Mont. In 2006, he was inducted into the Montana Draft Horse Teamster's Hall of Fame. Dr. McIlhattan's son survives him. Memorials may be made to the Heart of the Valley Animal Shelter, P.O. Box 11390, Bozeman, MT 59719; or Montana Draft Horse Association, c/o Donna Reimer, Secretary-Treasurer, 51 Horse Ranch Road, Roy, MT 59471.

Clifford L. Walker

Dr. Walker (KSU '82), 58, Fair Oaks Ranch, Texas, died May 28, 2007. A colonel in the Army Veterinary Corps, he was commander of the U.S. Army Veterinary Command at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. Dr. Walker began his military career with the Air Force in 1972. In 1976, he moved to the Air Force Reserve, flying F4 fighter jets. After receiving his DVM degree, Dr. Walker owned a practice in Austin, Texas, before joining the Army Veterinary Corps in 1988.

His assignments included serving as deputy commander of the Southern European Veterinary Detachment Europe, and commander of the 34th medical detachment in Vicenza, Italy; the Northern California Veterinary Service Support District; the Southern California District Veterinary Command; and the Great Plains Regional Veterinary Command. He also served in Kolding, Denmark, and as Coalition Forces Land Component command veterinarian of Central Command.

Dr. Walker was a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine. He received several honors, including the Legion of Merit and the Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal, Joint Forces Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal, and Air Force Commendation Medal. Dr. Walker was also the recipient of Air Force Navigator Wings and the Army Achievement Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, Army Expeditionary Medal, and National Defense Medal. Dr. Walker's wife, Mette; three daughters; and a son survive him. Memorials toward a college fund for his children may be made to Frost Bank, 10215 Wurzbach Road, San Antonio, TX 78230.

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 102 0 0
Full Text Views 713 684 127
PDF Downloads 38 23 2
Advertisement