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USDA laboratory employees suspended in drug probe

Department says facility activities not compromised

In early February, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced it had placed 19 employees at its federal laboratory campus in Ames, Iowa, on administrative leave as part of an investigation into whether veterinary credentials were used to buy discount human medications for personal use.

The drugs the employees are said to have ordered were medications that could be used by humans, such as antibiotics, antihypertensives, pain relievers, and vitamins.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack called the allegations “a very serious situation” requiring immediate and decisive action. There is no evidence that the alleged activities interfered with any test results or other official laboratory activities, Vilsack said.

Three USDA laboratories are located on the Ames federal campus. The National Veterinary Services Laboratories and Center for Veterinary Biologics are part of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service; the National Animal Disease Center is part of the Agricultural Research Service.

Of the 19 employees, 17 worked with APHIS and two with the ARS. Additional staff may be implicated in the ongoing investigation, according to the USDA.

Although the drugs were being filled offsite, the USDA wouldn't comment on where that was occurring or whether multiple pharmacies were involved.

In a letter to Vilsack, AVMA President James O. Cook wrote that the AVMA condemned the alleged actions “of a few individuals who appear to have acted outside the ethical standards of the veterinary medical profession.”

“In doing so, these individuals have damaged the image of our profession and the reputation of a truly world class laboratory,” Dr. Cook wrote.

The Principles of Veterinary Medical Ethics of the AVMA state that it is unethical and a federal offense for a veterinarian to prescribe drugs without a veterinarian-client-patient relationship.

Citing privacy concerns, few details about the employees have been made public. Cindy Smith, USDA's acting deputy undersecretary of marketing and regulatory programs, said a mix of veterinarians and nonveterinarians working in supervisory and nonsupervisory positions have been implicated.

Those individuals placed on administrative leave were involved in obtaining the medications or receiving the drugs, or they were aware of what the others were doing, Smith explained.

“What we understand was happening was some people had put a mechanism in place to purchase these medications and distribute them to colleagues at work or family members. It was for personal use, it wasn't to resell them,” Smith said.

The practice appears to have been going on for more than 20 years, she added.

The alleged misconduct came to light back in January 2008 when an APHIS supervisor was evaluating the conduct of an employee. In that process, a forensic check of the employee's computer indicated that veterinary credentials had been used to purchase the medications.

APHIS turned the information over to the USDA Office of Inspector General and requested that an investigation be started, Smith said. She wouldn't comment on whether a criminal investigation was also under way.

The USDA commissioned third-party reviews of the laboratory processes at the Ames facility and of the management processes. The laboratory review is complete and “affirmed for us that the laboratory is generally functioning very well and successfully fulfilling its responsibilities,” Smith said.

The management review had not been completed as of press time in February. To the extent permitted by concerns of privacy and security, both reviews will be eventually made available to the public.

—R. SCOTT NOLEN

Comments invited on proposed sports medicine and rehabilitation specialty

The AVMA American Board of Veterinary Specialties has received a petition for recognition of the American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation as a new “recognized veterinary specialty organization.” In compliance with ABVS procedures (www.avma.org/education/abvs/abvs_policies_II.asp), the ABVS is now seeking comment from the public and the profession regarding the proposed new specialty organization.

The organizing committee of the proposed American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation submitted a letter of intent to the ABVS in 2003 and a formal petition for recognition of the specialty organization to the ABVS Committee on the Development of New Specialties in November 2008. The development committee determined the petition fulfilled minimal requirements.

The ACVMSR organizing committee has indicated the new specialty organization would meet the unique needs of athletic and working animals to optimize performance, treat injury and disease, and provide rehabilitation after injury. The organizing committee has said the growth of animal participation in sports and service activities, coupled with recognition of the benefits of rehabilitation, are substantial enough to warrant formation of a new specialty certification program and recognition of a new veterinary specialty organization.

The petition estimates 30 veterinarians are currently involved in graduate or residency programs with a sports medicine or rehabilitation focus.

Twenty veterinary specialty organizations are currently recognized by the AVMA (www.avma.org/reference/marketstats/vetspec.asp). All AVMA-recognized specialty organizations and specialties comply with recognition guidelines outlined in the ABVS Policies and Procedures Manual, which are available online at www.avma.org/education/abvs/abvs_pp.asp. Refer to those guidelines when developing comments regarding the proposed new American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation specialty organization.

The American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation is the first organization to petition to become a stand-alone specialty organization and to have its petition distributed for public comment since the early 1990s, when the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists sought initial recognition. The ABVS reviews petitions and forwards recommendations regarding recognition to the Council on Education, which if in agreement, forwards any ABVS recommendations to the AVMA Executive Board.

Comments must be signed and received no later than Nov. 1, 2009, by David Banasiak, AVMA Education and Research Division, 1931 N. Meacham Road, Suite 100, Schaumburg, IL 60173-4360, or via e-mail at dbanasiak@avma.org. Questions regarding the recognition guidelines or the proposed new specialty may be directed to Banasiak via e-mail or by phone, (800) 248-2862, Ext. 6677.

Ear crop, tail dock policy not a radical departure, AVMA says

Science doesn't show therapeutic benefits of cosmetic procedures

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It isn't often the AVMA is on the receiving end of kudos from the Humane Society of the United States. But there it was, in the Letters to the Editor section of the JAVMA (Feb. 1, 2009), a missive from the society's veterinary component commending the AVMA for taking a stand against cosmetic ear cropping and tail docking of dogs.

“It is a strong statement in opposition to these procedures when performed for nontherapeutic purposes,” wrote Dr. Barbara Hodges on behalf of the Humane Society VMA.

Dr. Hodges was referring to the revised policy on Ear Cropping and Tail Docking of Dogs approved by the AVMA Executive Board this past November. The statement goes beyond opposing the procedures when performed for cosmetic reasons to recommend that cropped ears and docked tails be dropped from dog breed standards altogether.

The American Kennel Club, the nation's most recognized registry of purebred dogs, was quick to criticize the policy and in a statement said: “Mislabeling these procedures as ‘cosmetic’ is a severe mischaracterization that connotes a lack of respect and knowledge of history and the function of purebred dogs.”

As with most AVMA positions on animal welfare, because of the diversity of AVMA membership, the revised ear cropping and tail docking policy was sure to garner its share of supporters and detractors. What was surprising to those involved in the policy process was the minimal amount of controversy it generated within the veterinary profession and the degree of support it obtained from among the purebred dog fancy.

“We did not get the volume of mail that we expected regarding this most recent revision,” explained Dr. Gail C. Golab, director of the AVMA Animal Welfare Division and staff consultant to the Animal Welfare Committee, which recommended the policy.

The AVMA received approximately 250 letters mostly from nonveterinarians associated with the purebred dog fancy. A substantial portion of those letters were supportive of the revised position, which, Dr. Golab said, is in itself surprising since people are more likely to contact the Association when they're upset with a policy than when they are supportive. Contrast this with the AVMA policy on Free-roaming Abandoned and Feral Cats, which was revised a few years ago and resulted in thousands of highly emotional responses.

“This seems to imply that more people are pleased (with the ear crop/ tail dock policy) than disappointed by it,” Dr. Golab said.

The AVMA is by no means the only veterinary organization opposed to performing these procedures, which is viewed by many as inhumane. Cosmetic ear cropping and tail docking of dogs is banned in Australia and much of Europe. On this side of the Atlantic, the American Animal Hospital Association and Canadian VMA have had long-standing policies against the surgeries.

Critics of the policy consider it a capitulation to an aggressive campaign by animal rights groups.

How it came about: The AVMA position on Ear Cropping and Tail Docking of Dogs, most recently approved in 1999, was up for evaluation by the Animal Welfare Committee as part regular reviews of all AVMA policies by their oversight councils and committees.

“The reason this came up is because of the review requirement. We were not approached by the HSUS; we were not approached by PETA; nor did anyone else call to ask us to change the policy,” Dr. Golab said.

The revised AVMA policy is consistent with earlier iterations on the subject. In 1976, the AVMA House of Delegates approved a policy whereby the Association called on the AKC and other breed associations to delete ear crops from breed standards. Moreover, that version of the policy suggested that dogs with cropped ears be prohibited from shows.

The HOD took up the issue again in 1999 and declared that the procedures, when not medically necessary, cause the patient to suffer pain and distress, and encouraged veterinarians to counsel dog owners about the risks of performing these procedures.

As part of the review of the 1999 policy, which began more than 18 months ago, the committee and the Animal Welfare Division searched the scientific literature for evidence showing cosmetic ear crops of dogs have therapeutic effects. That search revealed that justifications for the procedures lacked substantial scientific support, with the exception of some suggestive, but inconclusive, data related to German Shorthaired Pointers before and after a docking ban in Sweden, Dr. Golab said. Interestingly, among the similar German Shorthaired Pointer, German Longhaired Pointer, and Pointer, only the German Shorthaired Pointer's tail is traditionally docked. The committee was also unable to identify unconfounded evidence supporting the benefits of ear cropping, she added.

“The basis of the policy's most recent revision wasn't just someone's unsubstantiated opinion,” Dr. Golab said. “The results of the committee's scientific review provide good justification for the policy. Any policy that comes out of the AVMA will be a combination of professional opinion, practical experience, and what we know about the science. In this case, the science appears to lend clear support to the policy.”

The committee unanimously approved the revised policy as did the Executive Board in November 2008.

Given the AVMA's history of not supporting cropping and docking for cosmetic purposes, Dr. Golab admits she is puzzled by the impression that the AVMA has reversed itself. “The 2008 policy has been viewed by some as a reversal of policy, and it's not. The revisions strengthen the Association's policy, to be sure, but they don't change the philosophy of it,” she said.

AVMA policies are science-driven, Dr. Golab noted, so if critics of the new policy can identify research showing dogs benefit from cosmetic ear cropping and tail docking, then the committee would welcome receiving that evidence and would consider amending the policy yet again.

Whether the AVMA position will influence practitioners to stop performing the procedures remains to be seen. Some veterinarians worry that nonveterinarians will step in and start doing the surgeries without the benefits of anesthesia or pain medication. Dr. Golab acknowledged that this was a concern of the committee as well, but it ultimately decided that performance of these procedures by lay individuals would constitute the practice of veterinary medicine, something that is illegal, and that the committee felt it should be handled within that context.

—R. SCOTT NOLEN

History of AVMA policy on ear cropping and tail docking of dogs

1976 POLICY

Suggested by the American Animal Hospital Association and approved by the AVMA House of Delegates

Ear cropping

Resolved, that the American Veterinary Medical Association recommend to the American Kennel Club and appropriate breed associations that action be taken to delete mention of cropped or trimmed ears from breed standards for dogs and to prohibit the showing of dogs with cropped or trimmed ears if such animals were born after some reasonable future date.

1999 POLICY

Suggested by the American Animal Hospital Association, California VMA, Oregon VMA, Rhode Island VMA, Vermont VMA, and American Association of Food Hygiene Veterinarians and approved by the AVMA House of Delegates

Ear cropping and tail docking

Ear cropping and tail docking in dogs for cosmetic reasons are not medically indicated nor of benefit to the patient. These procedures cause pain and distress, and, as with all surgical procedures, are accompanied by inherent risks of anesthesia, blood loss, and infection. Therefore, veterinarians should counsel dog owners about these matters before agreeing to perform these surgeries.

2008 POLICY

Recommended by the AVMA Animal Welfare Committee and approved by the AVMA Executive Board

Ear cropping and tail docking of dogs

The AVMA opposes ear cropping and tail docking of dogs when done solely for cosmetic purposes. The AVMA encourages the elimination of ear cropping and tail docking from breed standards.

Price, Trimmer elected to AVMA Executive Board

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Dr. V. Hugh “Chip” Price Jr.

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 234, 6; 10.2460/javma.234.6.710

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Dr. H. Theodore Trimmer

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 234, 6; 10.2460/javma.234.6.710

Drs. V. Hugh “Chip” Price Jr. of Shreveport, La., and H. Theodore Trimmer of Las Vegas were elected in uncontested races to the AVMA Executive Board representing districts VIII and X, respectively. They will be installed on the board at its July 14 meeting in Seattle.

AVMA Executive Vice President W. Ron DeHaven called to congratulate the winners Feb. 3.

Dr. Price will replace Dr. Larry M. Kornegay, who is running for AVMA president-elect. District VIII comprises Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas. Dr. Trimmer replaces Dr. David L. McCrystle, current board chair. District X comprises California, Hawaii, and Nevada.

Dr. Price is director of Animal Resources at the Louisiana State Health Sciences Center at Shreveport, where he is a professor of molecular and cellular physiology and emergency medicine.

Prior to graduating from the Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine in 1980, Dr. Price served in the Navy. Later on, he joined the Army Reserve and retired as a lieutenant colonel in 2007. He was a postdoctoral fellow in the National Institutes of Health's Laboratory Animal Medicine Training Program from 1981–1984.

As for organized veterinary medicine, Dr. Price is the Louisiana delegate in the AVMA House of Delegates and a member of the House Advisory Committee. Additionally, he is a former president of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science.

“I welcome this honor and great responsibility to serve the profession at so high a level,” Dr. Price commented.

Dr. Trimmer currently owns and operates several small animal practices throughout the Las Vegas metropolitan area. After graduating from the University of Missouri-Columbia College of Veterinary Medicine in 1968, he served two years in the Army Veterinary Corps.

During his career, Dr. Trimmer has held positions in local and state VMAs and was a member of the Nevada State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners for 18 years, during which time he served as president.

Dr. Trimmer is the Nevada delegate in the AVMA HOD and was a member of the AVMA Group Health and Life Insurance Trust until his election to the board. He served two terms as the trust's chair from 2005–2007.

“As a member of the Executive Board, I will work with my fellow board members to ensure the veterinary profession continues to be one of the most respected vocations in the eyes of the public,” Dr. Trimmer said.

AVMA accepting nominations to GHLIT

The AVMA Executive Board is accepting nominations for a vacancy on the AVMA Group Health and Life Insurance Trust. Dr. H. Theodore Trimmer resigned as a trustee after his recent election to the board.

The nomination deadline is May 4.

The at-large position carries an unexpired term of June 2009-July 2011. The Executive Board will appoint Dr. Trimmer's successor at its June meeting.

The trustees report annually to the board and to the AVMA House of Delegates.

Nominees should have an interest in the subject of insurance and be willing to devote substantial amounts of time on occasion to projects undertaken by the GHLIT.

Trustees hold three annual meetings but may convene more frequently as necessary. Committees and subcommittees of the trust meet as needed in locations determined by the trust chair.

For more information about the GHLIT vacancy, contact the AVMA Office of the Executive Vice President via e-mail at OfficeEVP@avma.org or call AVMA headquarters at (800) 248-2862, Ext. 6605.

Correction

Michelle Gratson is the correct name of the photographer for the first image accompanying the article “Practitioners discuss how they are weathering the downturn” (JAVMA, March 1, 2009, page 579).

Sleep apnea—unmasking a nighttime health risk

Effective treatments are available for the chronic condition

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It affects an estimated 18 million Americans and is the leading cause of daytime drowsiness, yet many of those who suffer from sleep apnea are unaware that they have a chronic condition with life-threatening consequences.

Characterized by pauses in breathing—sometimes hundreds of times per night—that disrupt sleep three or more nights a week, sleep apnea often goes undiagnosed and therefore untreated. In fact, because it occurs during sleep, a family member or loved one is more likely than the sufferer to suspect something is wrong.

If left untreated, sleep apnea can have a number of life-threatening consequences. When breathing ceases during the night, less oxygen makes its way through the body, causing measurable blood deoxygenation. This results in a high concentration of carbon dioxide in the body, which can precipitate a heart attack or stroke. High blood pressure and other cardiovascular diseases also may result.

The impact of untreated sleep apnea on the individual's quality of life is high. Because they awaken multiple times throughout the night, individuals with sleep apnea tend to suffer from excessive daytime sleepiness, which can impact productivity and even their ability to drive safely. Sleep apnea can affect memory and concentration as well as cause morning and nighttime headaches, weight gain, impotence, heartburn, and personality changes.

Patients with undiagnosed sleep apnea use health care resources at higher rates than others. A 1999 study from St. Boniface General Hospital Research Centre in Canada found that, for the 10 years prior to diagnosis, physician claims for patients in whom sleep apnea was eventually diagnosed ($3,972) were twice that of age-matched individuals in a control group ($1,969). The researchers noted that it is possible that the findings do not reflect sleep apnea per se but the presence of risk factors for the condition, such as obesity and alcohol consumption.

The AVMA Group Health and Life Insurance Trust paid claims related to sleep apnea in excess of $552,000 in 2007 and $568,000 in 2008.

Types and risk factors

There are two types of sleep apnea, obstructive and central. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common form and is caused by an obstruction of the airway during sleep. The blockage is usually made by the soft palate or other soft tissue in the rear of the throat collapsing, making breathing difficult or impossible. Snoring is a prevalent sign of obstructive sleep apnea.

Central sleep apnea is caused by a failure of the brain to send the correct signals to the body to breathe. With central sleep apnea, the body never attempts to breathe and can “over-look” doing so for periods of time. Central sleep apnea frequently occurs with obstructive sleep apnea, but it can occur alone. Because the airway is not blocked, snoring typically does not occur with central sleep apnea.

Both forms of sleep apnea cause breathing to stop repeatedly during the night, often for more than a minute. With each apnea event, the brain briefly arouses the sleeper so the person will resume breathing normally. This is usually accompanied by a loud snort or choking sound.

Although the typical sleep apnea patient is an overweight male older than 40, sleep apnea affects men and women of all ages and weights.

Those most at risk are individuals who are overweight or who have high blood pressure or a physical abnormality of the nose, throat, or other parts of the upper airway. People with a family history of sleep apnea and those who smoke or consume alcohol also are at higher risk of having sleep apnea.

Of particular interest to practicing veterinarians—who have a higher-than-average risk for allergies, asthma, and sinus conditions—researchers believe that those conditions may influence whether a patient will develop sleep apnea. In a 2006 study, researchers from the University of Cincinnati and Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center found that young women who have asthma are twice as likely to experience habitual snoring, the primary symptom of obstructive sleep apnea.

Treatments for sleep apnea

The good news is that, with proper diagnosis, effective treatments for sleep apnea are available. Those who suspect they have sleep apnea are encouraged to keep a sleep diary in which they or a family member tracks frequency and volume of snoring, sleep quality, trouble breathing, and other sleep issues. Their physician can use the information to help determine the appropriateness of additional testing for sleep apnea—usually an overnight sleep study in a sleep clinic.

Treatment decisions are based on the individual's medical history and the severity of the disorder. For minor sleep apnea, lifestyle changes are often effective. These include losing weight, avoiding alcohol, and quitting smoking. Sleeping on one's side, elevating the head of the bed 4 to 6 inches, and using nasal dilators can help. For people who suffer from allergies and sinus conditions, treating those conditions first may result in better sleep.

For moderate sleep apnea, the most common treatment is the use of a machine that maintains continuous positive airway pressure in the nasal passages. The machine pushes air through the nasal passages at a pressure high enough to keep the airway open during sleep, preventing lapses of breathing to give users a more restful night's sleep. Dental devices that open the airway by bringing the lower jaw or tongue forward during sleep also have proved effective.

In severe cases of sleep apnea, surgery to increase the size of the airway is an option. This includes removal of tonsils, adenoids, or excess tissue at the back of the throat or inside the nose, or reconstruction of the jaw to enlarge the upper airway.

— PREPARED BY THE AVMA GROUP HEALTH AND LIFE INSURANCE TRUST

More information more accessible on food supply veterinary medicine site

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Job postings, statistics, videos, and updates are easier to access because of recent changes to the food supply veterinary medicine section of the AVMA Web site: www.avma.org/fsvm/.

The site is expected to help recruit food supply veterinarians, serve as a clearinghouse of information and resources for veterinarians, and provide credible information to the public, said Dr. Jerry Torrison, chair of the AVMA Animal Agriculture Liaison Committee.

“There's a mountain of information out there, and it helps to have a site bring it together in an organized format,” Dr. Torrison said.

Dr. Torrison thinks the recent changes have made the site easier to navigate and more interesting, and the addition of video segments, interactive maps, position papers, and links to other sites has made it more informative.

The Food Supply Veterinary Medicine site already contained information about the shortage of livestock veterinarians and about career opportunities for veterinary students and practitioners. It now includes sections that introduce prospective veterinary students and the public to the subject and its importance and encourage their involvement to help reduce the shortage of food supply veterinarians.

The site also includes reports on the demand for food supply veterinarians; statistics about the occupation; tools for associations and industry partners; advocacy resources; information on veterinary student loan repayment programs; and educational, mentoring, and career opportunities.

Dr. Torrison has received positive feedback from food supply veterinarians who were contacted by veterinary students after those veterinarians posted job openings on the Veterinary Career Center, which is linked from the site. He predicted the site could eventually contain a catalog of externships and internships, as well as a forum for internal and public discussion of issues involving food supply veterinary medicine.

A Kansas State University study published in 2006 states the demand for food supply veterinarians is expected to increase by 12 percent or 13 percent from 2006 to 2016. The increase in demand is predicted to coincide with a shortfall of 4 percent to 5 percent annually.

Also, “Veterinarians Wanted” positions are listed in the JAVMA classified advertisements, accessible through www.avma.org. Look under the blue Jobs bar and click on “JAVMA Classified Ads.”

Many faces, one profession

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Drs. Lynne A. White-Shim, Ronald E. Gill, Amanda Chea Hall, Grace F. Bransford, and D. Lisa Parshley (Not shown: Dr. David A. Dimeo)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 234, 6; 10.2460/javma.234.6.710

Strategic Planning Committee

Charge/mission: The committee designs and deploys mechanisms for environmental scanning to identify, gather, and analyze information and trends that could impact the AVMA and the veterinary profession. It also collaborates with the Executive Board and staff to foster strategic planning, identify issues, and develop and prioritize goals.

Members:

D. Lisa Parshley (COL ′03), chair, Portland, Ore.; representing AVMA councils

Ronald E. Gill (IL ′75), Gill Veterinary Clinic, West Salem, Ill.; representative-at-large

Grace F. Bransford (CAL ′98), Ross Valley Veterinary Hospital, San Anselmo, Calif.; representing AVMA committees

Lynne A. White-Shim (IL ′06), AVMA Scientific Activities Division; representing AVMA staff

David A. Dimeo (IL ′83), Atwood Animal Hospital, Cranston, R.I., representing AVMA House of Delegates

Amanda Chea Hall (NCU ′02), Canby, Ore.; representing recent graduates

What current project are you most excited about?

J. Karl Wise, PhD, AVMA associate executive vice president, said the Strategic Planning Committee is developing a framework for environmental scanning that would strengthen the AVMA's ability to forecast changes and trends in the profession and society. Those predictions are vital to the AVMA's dynamic strategic planning process.

A recent meaningful accomplishment:

The SPC was instrumental in gaining the Executive Board's approval of the current strategic plan in 2008, Dr. Wise said. The committee also conceived and recommended the current management structure that oversees tactical achievements by the executive vice president and goal managers on staff.

How is your entity addressing the profession's pressing issues?

Dr. Wise said the committee is charged with developing and fostering the planning process that allows the AVMA leadership to consider pressing issues, predict changes, and develop the best strategies for interacting with an ever-changing society.

How is the entity addressing the strategic or operational goals of the AVMA?

Dr. D. Lisa Parshley said strategic planning helps the AVMA be proactive and responsive to shifting geographic, political, cultural, and economic trends.

“I can say with great pride our committee's past and present members, the Executive Board, and the Office of the Executive Vice President have made incredible strides in realigning our governance toward strategic planning,” Dr. Parshley said.

The committee recommended adoption of a planning framework, the Executive Board approved five strategic goals and specific objectives, and responsibility for development and execution of the plan was assigned to the executive vice president and senior management, Dr. Parshley said. The Executive Board also approved a fund for tactical programs.

The SPC is currently helping to develop the AVMA's environmental scanning system.

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Dr. Larry G. Dee, Rebecca M. Steers, Dr. Joseph H. Kinnarney, Dr. Scott T. Aoki, Dr. Theodore J. Cohn, Dr. Gregory S. Hammer, and Ralph Johnson

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 234, 6; 10.2460/javma.234.6.710

Task Force on Future Roles and Expectations

Charge/mission: The task force will evaluate roles and expectations of AVMA officers and Executive Board members, including travel, as well as the AVMA's relationship with students, the Student AVMA, student chapters of the AVMA, and the faculty of veterinary schools/colleges.

Members:

Dr. Gregory S. Hammer (KSU ′73), chair, Brenford Animal Hospital, Dover, Del.; representing AVMA past presidents/officers

Dr. Scott T. Aoki (CAL ′06), Harvard Medical School; representing the AVMA Member Services Committee

Dr. Theodore J. Cohn (TUS ′75), University Hills Animal Hospital, Denver; representing the AVMA Executive Board

Dr. Larry G. Dee (AUB ′69), Hollywood Animal Hospital, Hollywood, Fla.; representing the AVMA Executive Board

Dr. Joseph H. Kinnarney (COR ′80), Reidsville Veterinary Hospital, Reidsville, N.C.; representing the AVMA Executive Board

Ralph Johnson, Colorado VMA; representing the American Society of Veterinary Medical Association Executives

Rebecca M. Steers (TUF ′10), Tufts University, representing the Student AVMA

What current project(s) are you most excited about?

Dr. Lyle P. Vogel, AVMA assistant executive vice president, said the task force's entire objective is very important. He said the task force is examining the roles and responsibilities of AVMA officers and Executive Board members in maintaining and improving dialogue with the AVMA's constituents.

A recent meaningful accomplishment:

Dr. Vogel said the task force, with the help of the AVMA Marketing Department, conducted a survey to gather input from key groups—including past AVMA officers and board members, AVMA council and committee chairs and staff consultants, student leaders, deans and faculty advisers at veterinary schools/colleges, and executives and delegates representing state and allied associations.

How is your entity addressing the profession's pressing issues?

“The current economic challenge is causing us to review, with a critical eye, how we can make more effective and efficient use of AVMA resources, including membership dollars and volunteer leadership's time,” Dr. Vogel said. “The challenge has provided a climate where some procedural changes in the best interests of the Association are possible that might otherwise be difficult or impossible to implement.”

How is the entity addressing the strategic or operational goals of the AVMA?

Dr. Gregory S. Hammer, chair, said the task force hopes to attract more and younger leaders to serve the AVMA by streamlining travel and other requirements.

More than 400 positions exist on AVMA councils, committees, and task forces. To showcase the diverse backgrounds and expertise of the volunteers who serve on them and to inspire even more AVMA members to participate, JAVMA News will feature a few entities each month. To be a candidate for one of the current vacancies, go to www.avma.org/about_avma/governance/volunteering, or contact officeevp@avma.org.

Group to offer accreditation for online veterinary pharmacies

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Pet owners who order products from Internet pharmacies soon may be able to look for a seal of accreditation from the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy.

The NABP began the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites program in 1999 to provide voluntary accreditation to online pharmacies that dispense human medications. This year, the group has launched a veterinary version of VIPPS to accredit online pharmacies that dispense prescription drugs for companion animals and horses.

The NABP created Vet-VIPPS partly in response to concerns from state pharmacy boards that have received complaints about online veterinary pharmacies dispensing prescription drugs outside a valid veterinarian-client-patient relationship. “The state boards of pharmacy approached NABP and saw VIPPS as the best means possible to help them and consumers differentiate between legitimate sites and illegal or rogue sites,” said Carmen A. Catizone, RPh, DPh, NABP executive director.

The AVMA Position Statement on Internet Pharmacies recognizes the VIPPS seal as identifying lawful online pharmacies.

“It gives the prescriber and the patient/client some assurance that they're dealing with a legitimate, licensed firm,” agreed Dr. Charles A. Lemme, who serves as a member of the AVMA Clinical Practitioners Advisory Committee, representing the American Animal Hospital Association.

The AVMA policy on Internet pharmacies notes issues not only with companies initiating prescriptions inappropriately but also with companies importing drugs that have not received approval from the Food and Drug Administration.

The Vet-VIPPS criteria for accreditation extend beyond requiring online veterinary pharmacies to follow state and federal regulations. Internet pharmacies displaying the Vet-VIPPS seal also must demonstrate that they meet criteria for protection of patient privacy, authentication and security of prescription orders, adherence to a quality assurance policy, and provision of meaningful consultation between clients and pharmacists.

Dr. Catizone said the Vet-VIPPS program has attracted interest, though the NABP has not accredited any online veterinary pharmacies yet.

“NABP has received a number of inquiries from all sectors of veterinary medicine and pharmacy,” Dr. Catizone said.

Eventually, according to the NABP, pet owners will be able to search the Vet-VIPPS site for an Internet pharmacy that meets their needs. The NABP also will list online veterinary pharmacies that it does not recommend, just as the group now lists illegal or rogue Internet pharmacies that dispense human medications.

Dr. Lemme thinks that online veterinary pharmacies are here to stay. He added that clients at his practice—Blairs Ferry Pet Hospital in Cedar Rapids, Iowa—turn to Internet pharmacies mostly for long-term medications.

The AVMA policy on Internet pharmacies states that veterinarians should honor client requests to prescribe rather than dispense drugs, in keeping with the AVMA Principles of Veterinary Medical Ethics, and notes that clients have the option of filling prescriptions at any pharmacy.

Dr. Lemme said he'd advise clients who order from online veterinary pharmacies to look for the Vet-VIPPS seal.

“The vast majority of our clients are really interested not just in saving money but also in getting a quality drug for their pet,” Dr. Lemme said.

—KATIE BURNS

Online CE available on camelids

Veterinarians can learn about llama and alpaca care and gain continuing education credits anytime through an online program out of Kansas State University.

The distance education program, which is in its first year of development, includes training in herd health, nutrition, reproduction, neonatology, medicine, and surgery.

Dr. David E. Anderson, head of agricultural practices in the university's College of Veterinary Medicine Clinical Sciences Department, has received positive feedback from veterinarians who took courses as well as suggestions for new subjects. He and assistant professor Dr. Meredyth L. Jones co-direct the program. They are collaborating with Dr. Dusty Nagy at the University of Missouri-Columbia and Dr. Melanie Boileau at Oklahoma State University.

The five-year initiative to create the continuing education program is funded by a $20,000 grant from the Mid-America Alpaca Foundation.

Foundation President Pete Caffrey, who has raised alpacas for eight years, said the education project started with a conversation he, his wife, and other alpaca breeders had about the difficulties in finding veterinarians with experience treating alpacas. They decided to use profits from an alpaca show and silent auction to increase awareness of the animals. Those profits are split among efforts to increase camelid education for college students and current practitioners.

Caffrey hopes there will be between 40 and 60 hours of camelid CE available to veterinarians through the KSU site within the next five years. He expects some of the courses, such as pasture management, may help owners and breeders as well.

The Camelid Distance Education Program Web site is www.vet.ksu.edu/CE/camelid/camelid.htm.

One-health wonders

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Dr. Val R. Beasley is a toxicologist who's not content with figuring out why wild animals are declining and disappearing.

“That's not good enough. We need to find out and then provide what their populations need to be healthy and come back,” he said.

Dr. Beasley graduated from Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine in 1972 and worked in small animal practice for six years. He completed a residency and doctorate in toxicology at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, and helped establish what is now the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Poison Control Center. He is a diplomate of the American Board of Veterinary Toxicology.

He has served in the college's Department of Veterinary Biosciences and the Division of Pharmacology and Toxicology, where he is a professor and executive director of the Envirovet Program in Wildlife and Ecosystem Health. Dr. Beasley's major research thrust currently is causes of amphibian declines, including investigations of interactions among ecosystem integrity, water quality, infectious disease incidence, and contaminants, including endocrine disruptors, pesticides, and metals.

How serious are current species declines and disappearances?

A 2008 report by World Wildlife Fund from a survey of more than 1,300 vertebrates found unprecedented losses—since 1970, approximately 30 percent of individual vertebrates have disappeared. Habitat loss and degradation, crowding, inbreeding, toxic chemicals, overharvest, exotic invasive species, climate change, and infectious diseases culminate in species declines, extinctions, and reduced ecologic services for society. Now that's an opportunity for veterinary medicine. We can work with others to identify and counteract stressors that eliminated wild animals, we can help reconfigure habitats that make sense from a health perspective, and we can support range expansions.

Share your thoughts on the future of animal production.

There's a big concern of losing the meat production industry to producers in the developing world. There is a need for options that solve multiple problems at once. One opportunity is raising wildlife at low enough densities that disease risks are few and natural selection is largely intact. In some regions, cropping reasonable numbers of the animals can be economically viable while allowing for recovery of biodiversity. Also, pastures can be grazed by livestock in ways that reduce needs for herbicides and replanting, while improving soil quality, pasture biodiversity, and livestock health and productivity. Assuming that people are going to continue to eat pork, poultry, and eggs, we need a diversified agricultural landscape, configured to produce feed grains where we grow animals, so wastes are fertilizers rather than pollutants. If we have smaller, more biosecure, better managed animal production systems, the risks of infectious diseases will decline. If we put these next-generation animal facilities higher in the watershed, surrounded by the crop fields, we can have reduced risks of disease transmission among wildlife and production animals. If problems decline and we educate the public regarding economic, health, and ecological gains, food animal producers should have fewer objections to new facilities.

How do you view the effects of environmental contaminants on animals and people?

We're all in this world together. If it's contaminated for one of us, it's contaminated for others. It's not just pesticides and heavy metals. It's also industrial chemicals, salts, fuels, plasticizers, excreted pharmaceuticals, free nutrients, and natural toxins produced by organisms that use those nutrients. We are learning how to limit exposures to protect the farm and the home. When we make those places safe for those animals, it's safer for us, too. Knowing that we have protected wild species is more of a challenge, especially when they are small species like insect pollinators or when they are rare or secretive. Poisoning, which may cause subtle impairment of essential behaviors or endocrine disruption that impacts metabolism or reproduction, is likely to have important impacts on the highly competitive lives of wildlife, where peak performance is essential for survival and reproduction.

How can people help restore the environment and biodiversity? What are some of the benefits?

To conserve genetic diversity, wild animals need clean, interconnected habitats. We need to choose our chemicals more carefully and use them more wisely to avoid harm to ecosystems, plants, and animals. We need to conserve habitats for soil and aquatic organisms that compete with pathogens for nutrients, for fungi that poison pathogens with antibiotics, for dung beetles that remove feces and parasite ova from the surface, for micropredators that consume microbial and macroscopic parasites as well as vectors, and for larger predators that remove the sick from wildlife populations.

There is also a need to address human psychologic well-being. A recent book about nature deficit disorder says that, for little kids to be emotionally healthy and intellectually stimulated, they need to interact with biodiversity. When it comes to multisensory stimulation, nothing works like a truly wild place. Give them that—in addition to clean food and exercise, good parenting, and education—and they can come out with rich intellectual curiosity and a love of life. Increasingly, veterinarians are directly and indirectly involved in conserving biodiversity. Our role in preventing nature deficit relates to the spirit, optimism, and effectiveness of future generations.

Veterinary and human medicine, agriculture, wildlife biology, business leaders, regional planners, and political leaders can collaborate to assume area wide responsibility for health of people, animals, and ecosystems of their given regions. Fortunately, we can partner with other groups that are working in a one-health paradigm.

The International Association for Ecology and Health, which hosts the International EcoHealth Forum, is a great organization that deals with the interface of public health, animal health, and ecosystem health.

Another organization is the International Society for Animal Hygiene. This group hosts an international meeting focused on clean milk, meat, and eggs; the humane treatment of animals in production systems; and the farm ecosystem, including areas beyond the edge of production sites.

A third group in the United States is the National Council for Science and the Environment, which hosts an annual conference to share discoveries and to deliver knowledge and recommendations to decision makers.

We live in an era of increasing collective knowledge and, hopefully, collective wisdom. “One health” and ecosystem health can help us organize our thoughts and actions to move the world toward rapid recovery of biodiversity and economic viability. It's our choice, and it's everyone's business.

—INTERVIEW BY MALINDA OSBORNE

First rDNA construct approved for human use

A human-use anticoagulant derived from milk of genetically engineered goats is the first approved pharmaceutical product of a genetically engineered animal.

The Feb. 6 approval for rhAT (trade name ATryn), which is used to prevent blood clots in patients with a rare hereditary condition, came 22 days after the Food and Drug Administration issued a guide for industry on the regulation of genetically engineered animals. The final guidance document asserted the FDA's authority in regulating such products.

The recently approved anticoagulant, which was developed by GTC Biotherapeutics, is approved for use in patients with hereditary antithrombin deficiency. About one in 5,000 people in the United States has the condition, and they are particularly at risk of life-threatening blood clots during surgery and childbirth, according to the FDA.

Prior to approval of the recombinant antithrombin, patients relied on antithrombin derived from human blood plasma.

A statement from GTC Biotherapeutics says the product was approved for use in the European Union in summer 2006.

The FDA final guidance document details the agency's view of its jurisdiction in regulations on genetically engineered animals and provides the framework for those products to reach consumers.

Also known as Guidance for Industry #187, the document includes nonbinding recommendations for industry and language that describes genetic modifications as “new animal drugs.” It says existing regulations give the agency authority over “articles intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of disease in man or other animals” and articles other than food “intended to affect the structure or any function of the body of man or other animals.”

Genetically engineered animals have to be approved by the FDA prior to distribution, and the document includes recommendations on the types of information producers can supply to gain approval for sales.

The final guidance includes few substantial changes from a draft document released in September 2008. One change is the addition of two paragraphs that state the FDA intends to increase transparency of deliberations and actions by holding public advisory committee meetings prior to approval of genetically engineered animals.

The document notes the FDA could revisit the policy of holding such meetings in the future.

About 28,000 of the nearly 29,000 comments received by the FDA by mid-December were form letters, most of which expressed opposition to genetic engineering of animals, according to information from the FDA. About 60 of the remaining 797 comments contained substantive comments with “detailed analyses, recommendations, or opinions.”

The FDA's responses to those comments, the guidance document, and additional information about genetically engineered animals are available at www.fda.gov/cvm/geanimals.htm.

World Veterinary Day, award will focus on livestock theme in 2009

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World Veterinary Day, the last Saturday of April, is an opportunity to celebrate the contribution of veterinarians to society. Every year, the AVMA promotes the event to the press and public while encouraging U.S. veterinary groups to mark the occasion.

In 2009, World Veterinary Day will fall on April 25. The theme for the year is “Veterinarians and livestock farmers, a winning partnership.”

The World Veterinary Association established World Veterinary Day in 2000. The WVA partnered with the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) last year in creating the World Veterinary Day Award to reward the most successful celebration of the profession by national veterinary associations alone or in cooperation with other veterinary groups.

The Kenya Veterinary Association won the $1,000 award in 2008.

“I am happy to say that the Kenya Veterinary Association best met the criteria of the award by celebrating the diversity of the profession with excellent coverage of different subjects such as the regulatory aspects of the profession, clinical and rural practice, wildlife, food safety, food security, animal health, and animal welfare,” said Dr. Leon H. Russell, then WVA president, during the award ceremony at the 29th World Veterinary Congress last July in Vancouver.

The 2009 award will recognize the national veterinary association that best publicizes this year's theme by involving livestock farmers in World Veterinary Day, along with other stakeholders such as the media and general public.

Pfizer to acquire Wyeth

Pfizer has announced a $68 billion merger agreement to acquire Wyeth, parent of Fort Dodge Animal Health.

Both biopharmaceutical companies make animal and human health products, including over-the-counter consumer drugs on Wyeth's part.

Pfizer Animal Health and Fort Dodge offer a variety of vaccines, parasiticides, anti-infectives, and other products for companion animals, horses, livestock, and poultry.

“Wyeth and Pfizer are highly complementary businesses, and together we can build the best diversified health care company in the world,” said Bernard Poussot, Wyeth's chairman, president, and chief executive officer.

Jeffrey B. Kindler, Pfizer's chairman and CEO, said, “The new company will be an industry leader in human, animal, and consumer health.”

Revenues for Pfizer Animal Health were $2.8 billion in 2008, an increase of 7 percent from 2007. Revenues for Fort Dodge were $1.1 billion, an increase of 4 percent. Revenues for Pfizer overall were $48 billion, flat from a year ago. Revenues for Wyeth were $23 billion, an increase of 2 percent.

Pfizer and Wyeth together will become the biggest biopharmaceutical company in the United States, in terms of revenues, with a market share of 12 percent. The company also will have a strong presence in Europe, Asia, and Latin America.

Pfizer had 82,000 employees worldwide at year's end, while Wyeth had 48,000 employees globally. Pfizer announced plans to reduce the total workforce by 15 percent.

Fort Dodge is one of the AVMA's platinum sponsors, and Pfizer Animal Health was a gold-level sponsor for the 2008 AVMA Annual Convention.

NAVC events educate, entertain attendees

Economy, practice management a focus in a few sessions

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Members of the 2009 NAVC board of directors: Front row: Lynne M. Johnson; Dr. Earl H. Rippie, secretary/treasurer; Dr. Christine B. Navarre; Dr. Jorge Guerrero; Dr. Charlotte A. Lacroix; and Dr. Don J. Harris, immediate past president. Back row: Drs. Colin F. Burrows, executive director; Douglas R. Mader, president-elect; Earl M. Gaughan, president; David F. Senior, conference coordinator; Mark M. Smith; M. Gatz Riddell; Laurel A. Kaddatz, vice president; and Mark R. Crootof.

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 234, 6; 10.2460/javma.234.6.710

A mix of continuing education, hands-on laboratories, entertainment, and of course, sun greeted attendees of the North American Veterinary Conference Jan. 17–21 in Orlando, Fla. More than 1,400 hours of CE were offered at three hotels.

During the 2009 conference, 14,036 registrants checked in, among them, 5,420 veterinarians, 1,361 veterinary technicians, 462 practice managers, 302 veterinary students, and 296 veterinary technician students.

“Our numbers dropped from last year's record high of 16,051, but we consider ourselves fortunate in this time of economic uncertainty,” said NAVC executive director, Dr. Colin F. Burrows.

The economy figured prominently in the minds of a number of attendees and was the focus of several NAVC lectures. For the second year, the well-attended “Elephant in the Room” program looked at the alarming rise in veterinary student debt. One speaker touched on changes in the educational lending market between the spring and fall of 2008, and one student talked about results from a survey she conducted at U.S. veterinary schools and colleges evaluating students' business acumen. The remainder of the program largely comprised an open discussion facilitated by themes of sharing best practices, equipping students for success, and finding creative sources of funding and financing. Attendees talked about how to work with colleges and schools to enhance students' business education and life skills, and how to become more politically involved to improve funding of higher education and student loan programs.

A special half-day symposium examined the current veterinary economic situation. The interactive sessions allowed the audience to respond to questions such as whether their gross income and average charge per transactions in 2008 were up, down, or comparable with those in 2007, using a handheld digital keypad that was then projected on-screen.

For the second year, the interactive educational program FutureVet, sponsored by the AVMA and Banfield Charitable Trust, took place at the conference. Eighty-five children, ages 5 to 14, participated in the program, which was offered for two days this year, Jan. 19–20, instead of one. Children learned about basic pet care, nutrition, and parasites as it pertained to their newly adopted dog.

Merial launched a new educational CD for veterinarians on heartworm disease in dogs, complete with animation and graphics. The CD is titled “Heartworm Infection, Prevention and Treatment” and will be available from Merial field veterinarians and sales representatives. According to Merial, the CD provides veterinarians a dynamic view of the interaction of heartworm development in a dog, using case scenarios frequently seen in practice.

Dr. C.A. Tony Buffington was presented with the 2009 Mark L. Morris Sr. Lifetime Achievement Award. Dr. Buffington is a professor at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine. He was honored for his work in helping understand the causes of urinary tract disease in cats and in identifying the role of the environment in the health of indoor cats. Dr. Buffington identified the role of acid-base balance in foods and its relationship to the formation of feline uroliths, work that resulted in broad reformulation of commercial pet diets. He also was the first to identify the commonalities between feline urologic syndrome and interstitial cystitis in women.

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Dr. C.A. Tony Buffington

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 234, 6; 10.2460/javma.234.6.710

Susan Bartlett of Fort Dodge Animal Health was presented with the inaugural Neill P. Overman Award. The award honors Overman, founder of Veterinary Learning Systems and NAVC's first director of exhibits. Nominated by fellow exhibitors for her ethical behavior, salesmanship, and knowledge of the veterinary profession, Bartlett received an award and $1,000 check.

For entertainment, comedian Bill Engvall provided laughs while actor and musician Jim Belushi and the Sacred Hearts Band from The House of Blues played a rhythm and blues set.

Ewing honored by CRWAD

Animal disease researchers gather for annual meeting

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Dr. Sidney A. Ewing

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 234, 6; 10.2460/javma.234.6.710

Some 480 people attended the 89th annual meeting of the Conference of Research Workers in Animal Diseases Dec. 7–9, 2008, in Chicago.

The conference was dedicated to Dr. Sidney A. Ewing of Stillwater, Okla., professor emeritus of the Department of Veterinary Pathobiology at the Oklahoma State University College of Veterinary Medicine.

A 1958 graduate of the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Ewing has spent his career in the field of veterinary parasitology and is internationally known for his research on parasites transmitted from ticks to dogs. Soon after receiving his doctorate from Oklahoma State, Dr. Ewing joined the faculty at Mississippi State University in 1965. Three years later, he returned to Oklahoma to head the Veterinary Parasitology and Public Health Department.

In 1972, Dr. Ewing was named dean of the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine. He returned to Oklahoma State in 1979 when he served as the Wendell H. and Nellie G. Krull Endowed Professor of Veterinary Parasitology and interim associate dean for academic affairs. He retired in 2003.

Life membership was awarded to Dr. Louis F. Archbald, Gainesville, Fla., and James A. Harp, PhD, Ames, Iowa.

Officers of CRWAD for 2009 are Bill Stich, PhD, Columbia, Mo., president; Dr. Eileen L. Thacker, Beltsville, Md., vice president; and Robert P. Ellis, PhD, Fort Collins, Colo., executive director.

The Association for Veterinary Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine named Dr. David W. Hird recipient of the 2008 Calvin W. Schwabe Award. Dr. Hird is professor emeritus at the University of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, where he was a faculty member from 1980–2008.

The 1968 graduate of UC-Davis is widely regarded as a preeminent educator and leader in the fields of veterinary epidemiology and preventive medicine. Dr. Hird is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine and a fellow in the American College of Epidemiology. A Fulbright Scholar, Dr. Hird has served as a consultant to the Agriculture Department and to several South American countries on disease surveillance and control programs for livestock.

Recipients of the AVEPM student awards were as follows: Epidemiology and Animal Health Economics category, oral: T. Rosendal, University of Guelph, for “Association between PRRS virus genotypes and clinical signs of disease,” and J.B. Walker, The Ohio State University, for “The effect of strain differences on curerates in dairy cows with naturally occurring Staphylococcus aureus intramammary infections.” Food and Environmental Safety category, oral: A. Rodriguez-Palacios, The Ohio State University, for “Wild birds in the epidemiology of Clostridium difficile: A study in the Midwestern USA,” and M.E. Jacob, Kansas State University, for “Evaluating methods for detecting Salmonella in fecal and carcass samples using Bayesian Analysis [FSRRN].” Poster: E. Taylor, Kansas State University, for “Genetic variation and Shiga toxin production of Escherichia coli O157:H7 isolates from bovine and human feces.”

The Mark Gerhart Memorial Award was presented by the AVEPM to Ranata Ivanek, Cornell University, for “Extreme value theory in analysis of differential expression in microarrays where either only up- or down-regulated genes are relevant or expected.”

The American Association of Veterinary Immunologists presented the Distinguished Veterinary Immunologist Award to Lorraine M. Sordillo, PhD, of East Lansing, Mich. Dr. Sordillo is the Meadow Brook Chair in Farm Animal Health and Well-being in the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences at Michigan State University. She holds a doctorate in immunology from Louisiana State University and her primary research has focused on developing solutions to control mastitis in dairy cattle by understanding basic mammary gland physiology and immunology.

Recipients of the AAVI student awards were as follows: First place, oral: Junbae Jee, The Ohio State University, for “Effect of vitamin A on bovine coronavirus infection, vaccination and immunity in feedlot calves.” Second place, oral: Kuldeep Chatta, University of Guelph, for “Expression of CD21, CD32 and membrane IgM on calf lymphocytes varies with age.” Third place, oral: Ali Elliott, University of Tennessee, for “Altered actin expression by neutrophils from cows genetically more susceptible to mastitis.” First place, poster: Hiep Vu, University of Illinois, for “Sub-typing PRRSV isolates by means of measurement of cross neutralization reactions.” Second place, poster: M.C. Heller, University of California-Davis, for “Rhodococcus equi infection of indoleamine 2, 3 dioxygenase (INDO) knockout mice.” Third place, poster: Mini Bharathan, Texas A&M University, for “Characterization of T lymphocytes response to Staphylococcus aureus sensitized monocyte derived dendritic cells from cows with prior Staphylococcus aureus mastitis.”

The Society for Tropical Veterinary Medicine student award was presented to James B. Reinbold, Kansas State University, for “Comparison of three oral chlortetracycline treatment regimens for persistent Anaplasma marginale carrier clearance.”

The American Association of Veterinary Parasitologists was presented to Amed Mohamed, Purdue University, for “Prevalence of Giardia in US pet dogs and its distribution in the state of Colorado.”

The NC-1041 Enteric Diseases (North Central Committee for Research on Enteric Diseases of Swine and Cattle) student awards were presented to the following recipients: Oral: Eeuri Nam, Kyungpook National University, for “High-density porcine aminopeptidase N (pAPN) is essential for porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) infection.” Poster: Dharanesh Gangaiah, Iowa State University, for “Studies on polyphosphate kinases of Campylobacter jejuni.

The American College of Veterinary Microbiologists selected Dr. Carlton L. Gyles of Toronto as the Distinguished Veterinary Microbiologist for 2008. Dr. Gyles is a professor emeritus in the Department of Pathobiology at the University of Guelph. His decades of research on E coli led to such discoveries as the E coli heat-labile enterotoxin and E coli plasmids with enterotoxin and drug resistance genes.

The ACVM student awards were presented to the following recipients: In vitro category: Y.P. Lin, Cornell Unviersity, for “Fibronectin-binding activity on a surface exposed domain within the C-terminal variable region of Leptospira interrogans LigB protein.” Molecular category: E. Kabara, University of Minnesota, for “Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis transcriptionally regulates apoptotic genes in the bovine macrophage.” In vivo category: Robin L. Cissell, University of Tennessee, for “Prevalence of malignant catarrhal fever virus—white-tailed deer variant in Tennessee hunter harvested deer.” Poster: R.J. Ortiz-Marty, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, for “Suppression of bovine mammary epithelial cell immune response by intracellular Staphylococcus aureus.” The ACVM's Don Kahn Award was presented to D.M. Madson, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, for “Reproductive effects of PCV2 in semen when used for artificial insemination.”

The Biosafety and Biosecurity Awards, sponsored by the Animal Health Institute, were presented to the following students: Lindsey Holmstrom, Texas A&M University, for “Movement patterns of feral swine (Sus scrofa) in a South Texas rangeland: implications for disease transmission dynamics,” and Kevin J. Cummings, Texas A&M University, for “Salmonella among cattle admitted to a veterinary medical teaching hospital.” Poster: Lindsey Leister, Cornell University, for “Potential mechanical and antiviral methods to insure PRRSV free semen.”

assemblies

Michigan Veterinary Conference

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Dr. Michael W. Bolton

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 234, 6; 10.2460/javma.234.6.710

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Dr. Tari Kern

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 234, 6; 10.2460/javma.234.6.710

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Dr. Paula Rode

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 234, 6; 10.2460/javma.234.6.710

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Dr. James Lloyd

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 234, 6; 10.2460/javma.234.6.710

Event: Annual conference, Jan. 23–25, Lansing

Program: The conference, held jointly by the Michigan VMA and Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine, drew more than 1,600 attendees and offered 150 hours of continuing education.

Awards: W. Kenneth McKersie Service Award: Dr. Michael W. Bolton, Belding, for cumulative services and accomplishments benefiting the veterinary profession, the community, and the Michigan VMA. A 1978 graduate of Michigan State University, Dr. Bolton is a technical services veterinarian in dairy cattle business at Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health in Michigan. Earlier in his career, he owned practices in Auburndale, Wis., and Greenville, Mich. Dr. Bolton was president of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners from 2007–2008. He has served on the MVMA Food Animal Practice Committee and has been involved in the association's emergency preparedness efforts. Merit Award: Dr. Tari Kern, Clinton Township, for time and effort toward a project or activity benefiting the Michigan VMA or the veterinary profession. A 1999 graduate of Michigan State University, Dr. Kern practices at CATS Veterinary. She is chair of the MVMA Public Education Committee and for five years has coordinated People, Pets, and Vets—an event in Macomb County that helps educate children and the public on veterinary medicine. Community Service Award: Leader Dogs for the Blind, Rochester Hills, for contributions benefiting society. Since 1939, the organization has placed almost 14,000 leader dogs with people who are blind or visually impaired, and provides services every year to more than 250 people requiring assistance.

Officials: Drs. Paula Rode, Chelsea, president; James Lloyd, Okemos, president-elect; Franklin Carmona, Troy, 1st vice president; Susan Sayles, Jackson, 2nd vice president; and Hylon Heaton, Grand Blanc, immediate past president

obituaries: AVMA Honor Roll Member AVMA Member Nonmember

John M. Arburua

Dr. Arburua (COL ′46), 85, Los Banos, Calif., died Aug. 16, 2008. He owned Arburua Ranch in Los Banos, where he raised beef cattle for 54 years. Earlier in his career, Dr. Arburua practiced small animal medicine in San Francisco with his father, Dr. Joseph M. Arburua (deceased). A veteran of the Korean War, he served as a captain in the Army. Dr. Arburua is survived by his wife, Jean; two sons; and a daughter. Memorials may be made to Our Lady of Fatima Catholic School, 1625 Center Ave., Los Banos, CA 93635.

Lucius N. Butler

Dr. Butler (KSU ′37), 94, Mesa, Ariz., died Jan. 8, 2009. From 1960 until retirement in 1979, he was Arizona state veterinarian and executive director of the Arizona Livestock Board. Dr. Butler began his career practicing in Phoenix. He then served four years in the Army Air Force Veterinary Corps during World War II, attaining the rank of major. Following the war, Dr. Butler established Glendale Animal Hospital, a mixed animal practice in Phoenix.

He was a past member of the Arizona Veterinary Medical Examining Board and a past president of the Arizona VMA. In 1982, the AzVMA honored Dr. Butler for his service to the veterinary profession as state veterinarian. His wife, Gladys; two sons; and three daughters survive him.

Christian J. Haller

Dr. Haller (COR ′42), 90, Sun City Center, Fla., died Jan. 20, 2009. From 1944 until retirement in 1986, he owned a practice in Avon, N.Y. Prior to that, Dr. Haller taught at Cornell University. He chaired the former AVMA Committee on Mastitis, was a member of the New York State VMS Mastitis Committee, and helped establish the National Mastitis Council, serving as its president in 1972. Dr. Haller was a past president of the NYSVMS and a charter member of the Finger Lakes VMA. In 1991, he received the NYSVMS Merit Award. Active in civic life, Dr. Haller was a past president of the Avon Rotary Club. He is survived by his wife, Trudy, and a son. Memorials may be made to Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, Box 39, Ithaca, NY 14853.

Douglas D. Hildebrand

Dr. Hildebrand (ISU ′70), 61, Marshalltown, Iowa, died Nov. 28, 2008. From 1971 until retirement in 2006, he owned Marshalltown Veterinary Clinic. His wife, Patricia, and three daughters survive him. Memorials may be made to the Animal Rescue League, 5452 N.E. 22nd St., Des Moines, IA 50313; or Alzheimer's Association, 1730 28th St., West Des Moines, IA 50266.

Charles R. Jones

Dr. Jones (KSU ′56), 80, English, Ind., died Oct. 20, 2008. Prior to retirement in 1976, he owned a practice in Jasper, Ind. Dr. Jones served in the Air Force from 1946–1949. His wife, Erma; two daughters; and two sons survive him.

Clinton N. Kaminis

Dr. Kaminis (AUB ′43), 91, Tarpon Springs, Fla., died Nov. 5, 2008. Prior to retirement, he headed Warner Lambert Pharmaceutical Company in Mexico for 30 years. During World War II, Dr. Kaminis served as a veterinary liaison officer with the Chinese Army in Burma, with the rank of captain. His wife, Patricia; two sons; and a daughter survive him. Memorials may be made to the Tarpon Springs Public Library, 138 E. Lemon St., Tarpon Springs, FL 34689; or Tarpon Springs Area Historical Society, 160 E. Tarpon Ave., Tarpon Springs, FL 34689.

Harold C. King

Dr. King (MSU ′43), 88, Cape Coral, Fla., died July 18, 2008. During his career, he worked for the Department of Agriculture as chief staff veterinarian for brucellosis eradication and, later, as acting regional director for animal health programs for the southeastern region.

Jack J. Labold

Dr. Labold (UP ′41), 93, Hopkinsville, Ky., died Dec. 28, 2008. During his career, he owned practices in Brownsville, Tenn., and Hopkinsville; served as assistant state veterinarian for Kentucky; and worked for the Department of Agriculture as a superintendent in meat inspection. Dr. Labold served 12 years on the Hopkinsville school board and was a member of the rotary club. His wife, Margaret; a son; and a daughter survive him. Memorials may be made to First Christian Church, 2601 S. Walnut St., Hopkinsville, KY 42240; or The Gideons International, P.O. Box 140800, Nashville, TN 37214.

Harvey F. McCrory

Dr. McCrory (TEX ′49), 87, Starkville, Miss., died Jan. 10, 2009. From 1971–1990, he served as Mississippi state veterinarian and director of the Mississippi Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Jackson. Earlier in his career, Dr. McCrory was a member of the veterinary faculty at Mississippi State University. During that time, he served as a professor of veterinary science and was acting head of the university's Department of Veterinary Science.

A past president of the Mississippi VMA, Dr. McCrory served as the association's delegate to the AVMA House of Delegates from 1971–1977 and was a member of the AVMA Council on Public Health and Regulatory Veterinary Medicine from 1977–1982. He was past president of the National Association of State Veterinarians, Southern Animal Health Association, and Chief Livestock Officials of the United States and Canada; past executive secretary of the Mississippi Board of Veterinary Medicine; and past director of the Southern Veterinary Medical Federation. Dr. McCrory was also a member of the Mississippi Cattlemen's Association and Mississippi Farm Bureau.

He received several honors, including Mississippi Veterinarian of the Year in 1971 and the Hall of Fame Award in 1996. Active in civic life, Dr. McCrory was past president of the Starkville chamber of commerce and Starkville rotary club, served on the board of directors of the Felix Long Memorial Hospital, and was a member of the board of directors of the Mississippi Association of Hospital Governing Boards. His wife, Nadine; three daughters; and a son survive him. Dr. McCrory's son, Dr. John C. McCrory (MIS ′03), is a veterinarian in Brandon, Miss.

George A. Millis

Dr. Millis (AUB ′73), 60, Pike Road, Ala., died Dec. 30, 2008. He was the founder of Vaughn Road Veterinary Clinic in Pike Road, practicing there for 20 years. During his career, Dr. Millis also served as a public health officer with the Army National Guard. He was a member of the Alabama and Central Alabama VMAs. Dr. Millis' wife, Mary Ellen, and a daughter survive him. Memorials may be made to Montgomery Area Non-Traditional Equestrians, 3699 Wallahatchie Road, Pike Road, AL 36064.

Hal D. Minnick

Dr. Minnick (ISU ′68), 64, Morton, Ill., died Jan. 2, 2009. Prior to retirement, he was a partner at Mediapolis Veterinary Clinic in Mediapolis, Iowa, for 33 years. Dr. Minnick is survived by his wife, Karen, and a daughter. Memorials may be made to the Hope Haven Area Development Center, Attn: Julie Anderson, 1307 Broadway, West Burlington, IA 52655; or Illinois CancerCare, 8940 N. Wood Sage Road, Peoria, IL 61615.

Charles E. Moore

Dr. Moore (MO ′54), 84, Buffalo, Mo., died Oct. 17, 2008. From 1954–1990, he practiced in Dallas County, Mo. An Army Air Corps veteran of World War II, Dr. Moore was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. He was also a member of the Dallas County fair board and board of education. Dr. Moore's wife, Joan; two sons; and two daughters survive him. One son, Dr. David E. Moore (MO ′78), is a veterinarian in Buffalo.

Nicholas J. Neutzling

Dr. Neutzling (OSU ′74), 60, Sarasota, Fla., died Nov. 13, 2008. He owned the Animal Medical Clinic of Gulf Gate in Sarasota, practicing there for more than 30 years. Early in his career, Dr. Neutzling practiced briefly in Athens, Ohio. His son survives him. Memorials may be made to the Tanner Neutzling Fund, Animal Medical Clinic of Gulf Gate, 2316 Stickney Point Road, Sarasota, FL 34231.

Jeffrey A. Philpot

Dr. Philpot (FL ′83), 56, Newberry, Fla., died Nov. 2, 2009. He owned Newberry Animal Hospital. Dr. Philpot was a veteran of the Air Force. His wife, Beverly; a son; and a daughter survive him.

William K. Rodman

Dr. Rodman (GA ′65), 69, Myrtle Beach, S.C., died Dec. 7, 2008. He owned Grand Strand Animal Hospital in Myrtle Beach for almost 30 years. Prior to that, he owned Stone Mountain Animal Hospital in Stone Mountain, Ga. Dr. Rodman was a member of the South Carolina Association of Veterinarians. His wife, Judy, and two daughters survive him. Memorials may be made to the American Heart Association, 1113 44th Ave., Suite 200, Myrtle Beach, SC 29577.

Yvonne T. Walacavage

Dr. Walacavage (UP ′77), 57, Ashland, Pa., died Dec. 2, 2008. She owned Anthracite Animal Clinic in Ashland. Dr. Walacavage was a member of the Pennsylvania VMA.

Hugh M. Wallace

Dr. Wallace (TEX ′50), 83, Mound City, Mo., died Dec. 27, 2008. He owned a practice in Mound City for 26 years. Following that, Dr. Wallace was involved with the family livestock business. He was a past president of the Missouri VMA. An Army veteran of World War II, Dr. Wallace was a member of the American Legion. He served multiple terms on the city council of Mound City, was a past president of the Mound City Development Corporation, and was a charter member of the Mound City kiwanis club. Dr. Wallace's daughter and two sons survive him.

Richard W. Woerpel

Dr. Woerpel (IL ′78), 58, Simi Valley, Calif., died Jan. 8, 2009. Prior to retirement in 2006, he co-owned Avian & Exotic Animal Hospital in Hawthorne, Calif. Dr. Woerpel also worked with horses and cattles on ranches in California. Known for his expertise in avian and exotic animal medicine, he partnered with herpetologic and avian researchers to help develop protocols and standards for avian and reptile clinical pathology. He also published articles on disease agents, conditions, and syndromes of psittacine birds.

Dr. Woerpel was a member of the Association of Avian Veterinarians and California VMA. His wife, Lynn, survives him. Memorials may be made to The Oasis Sanctuary, P.O. Box 30502, Phoenix, AZ 85046; Black Beauty Ranch, P.O. Box 367, Murchison, TX 75778; Lifesafers Wild Horse Rescue, Lifesavers Inc., 23809 E. Ave. J, Lancaster, CA 93535; The Elephant Sanctuary, P.O. Box 393, Hohenwald, TN 38462; or The Gabriel Foundation, 1025 Acoma St., Denver, CO 80204.

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