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6 factors in declining veterinary visits

Study identifies client, environmental factors in frequency of veterinary visits for dogs and cats

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Clients seeing no need for checkups

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 238, 5; 10.2460/javma.238.5.538

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Cost concerns

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 238, 5; 10.2460/javma.238.5.538

Some pet owners think that routine checkups are unnecessary for dogs and cats. The cost of veterinary care can be much higher than many pet owners expect. Plus, cats are plain difficult to take to the clinic.

These are the three primary client-related factors associated with a recent decline in the frequency of veterinary visits for dogs and cats, according to findings from the new Bayer Veterinary Care Usage Study.

The study also identified three primary environmental factors associated with the decline—the recession, fragmentation of veterinary services, and use of the Internet as a source of information about animal health.

“Are pets overall getting the kind of care that they should be getting?” asked Ian Spinks, president of Bayer Animal Health North America, during an interview with JAVMA News after the release of the study results. “The data would seem to indicate that there's a ways to go yet.”

Bayer Animal Health, Brakke Consulting Inc., and the National Commission on Veterinary Economic Issues released the results of the study Jan. 17 during the North American Veterinary Conference. The study included a literature review, interviews with veterinarians and pet owners, and a national survey of 2,000 pet owners.

Even before the recent recession, AVMA data indicated a decline in veterinary visits for dogs and cats. Dogs averaged 1.5 visits in 2006, down from a mean of 1.9 visits in 2001, according to the AVMA's 2007 U.S. Pet Ownership and Demographics Sourcebook. Cats averaged 0.7 visits in 2006, down from a mean of one visit in 2001.

The Bayer Veterinary Care Usage Study and its organizers offer some recommendations to potentially reverse the trend, from promoting routine checkups to improving pricing strategies.

Client factors

The study found that 24 percent of pet owners completely agreed or somewhat agreed with the statement that routine checkups are unnecessary, while another 23 percent neither agreed nor disagreed.

At a time when many small animal practitioners have moved to a three-year vaccination protocol, the study found that 33 percent of dog owners and 41 percent of cat owners agreed that if their pet did not need to be vaccinated every year, they would not take it to the veterinarian as often.

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Feline resistance

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 238, 5; 10.2460/javma.238.5.538

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Impact of the recession

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 238, 5; 10.2460/javma.238.5.538

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Fragmentation of services

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 238, 5; 10.2460/javma.238.5.538

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Internet information

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 238, 5; 10.2460/javma.238.5.538

Twenty-four percent of dog owners and 39 percent of cat owners would visit the veterinarian only if their pet were sick.

“They really ought to be having fairly regular checkups,” Spinks said. “If you think about an annual checkup for a pet in the context of its lifespan, that would be the equivalent of a person only going for an annual physical every six or seven years.”

Dr. Karen E. Felsted, NCVEI chief executive officer, said the veterinary profession needs to establish a consistent message about an appropriate frequency of checkups for pets—just as the human dental profession has established the routine of twice-a-year visits.

John Volk, Brakke senior consultant, noted that individual veterinarians can be clear with clients about what they believe to be the proper frequency of checkups.

Also noteworthy, the study found that owners of indoor pets were less likely than owners of outdoor pets to have taken their pet to a veterinary clinic in the past year. Owners of older cats were likelier than owners of younger cats to say they were taking their cat to its primary veterinary clinic less often than two years ago.

Regarding the price of veterinary care, 53 percent of pet owners think costs are usually much higher than they expected. Thirty percent would try another clinic that had a coupon or special, 26 percent would switch veterinarians if they found one who was less expensive, and 26 percent are always looking for less expensive options for veterinary services and products.

“We're going to have to start to explore the kinds of pricing strategies that you see in many other professions and in many other industries,” Dr. Felsted said. “Pricing strategies are not just for retail things like electronics.”

Dr. Felsted said veterinarians might need to reconsider simply raising fees by a certain percentage from one year to the next. Pricing strategies could include discounts for slow times or lapsed clients. Many pet owners in the study liked the concept of a wellness plan billed monthly.

Client perceptions of the cost of care are not about the dollar figures alone, Dr. Felsted said. She said veterinarians should communicate the value of services and offer financing options.

One key recommendation from the study is for veterinarians to create cat-friendly practices. The study found that 64 percent of cats visited the veterinarian within the past 12 months, in comparison with 86 percent of dogs. Cat owners were more likely than dog owners to say that their pet hates going to the veterinarian and that just thinking about a veterinary visit is stressful.

Environmental factors

The study found that environmental factors, which are less under veterinarians' control, may also be contributing to the decline in veterinary visits.

The impact of the recession is on the top of veterinarians' minds, according to the study. The study found that unemployed pet owners and pet owners with lower incomes were less likely than other pet owners to have taken their pet to a veterinary clinic in the past year.

Fragmentation of veterinary services is high on veterinarians' minds, according to the study. Pet owners now have the option of visiting clinics at pet stores, specialty practices, mobile clinics, and animal shelters as well as traditional clinics.

Some pet owners in focus groups said they had taken their pet to a mobile vaccination clinic but had a regular veterinarian for the pet when it was sick or even for checkups, Volk said. Veterinarians in focus groups expressed concerns, however, about full-service clinics losing starter services that establish a relationship with clients.

Fifteen percent of pet owners in the survey said that with the Internet, they don't rely on the veterinarian as much. Thirty-nine percent look online first if a pet is sick or injured.

Veterinarians in the focus groups said they had observed that clients were going to the Internet ahead of the clinic, Volk said.

“Before widespread use of the Internet, if a pet owner saw a pet that was off feed or limping a little bit or showed some other signs of distress, they might just pick up the phone and call the vet,” Volk said. “Now many people go to the Internet, and they kind of self-diagnose.”

As a result, said veterinarians in the focus groups, some pet owners delay contacting the clinic until the pet is sicker.

Also relevant to new communication technologies, one recommendation from the study is for veterinarians to take advantage of e-mail and text messages as well as traditional methods to help pet owners schedule and keep appointments.

Next steps

At press time, the study's organizers were planning a national survey of veterinarians to evaluate existing and potential approaches to increase veterinary visits.

Spinks added that a coalition has formed in response to the decline in veterinary visits. The coalition is analyzing findings from the study to help develop strategies to address factors in the decline.

Slides from an NAVC presentation on the study results are available from the NCVEI website at www.ncvei.org.

Katie Burns

Candidates vie for AVMA Executive Board seat

Two candidates are running to succeed Dr. John R. Brooks, whose term as District II representative on the AVMA Executive Board expires this July.

AVMA members living in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Virginia will elect either Dr. Charles S. Dunn of Media, Pa., or Dr. Mark P. Helfat of Mount Laurel, N.J., to a six-year term on the board.

On a related note, as the sole nominee to represent Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin on the Executive Board, Dr. Chester L. “Chet” Rawson of Markesan, Wis., was declared to be elected District VI representative in February. He will replace current board representative Dr. John R. Scamahorn this July.

Dr. Dunn, who was nominated for the position on the Executive Board by petition of more than 50 AVMA members, is the Northeast regional medical director for Banfield Pet Hospital. After earning a VMD degree in 1996 from the University of Pennsylvania, he practiced exotic and small animal medicine in the Philadelphia area.

For the past five years with Banfield, Dr. Dunn has helped coach and mentor new veterinarians and hospital staff to deliver high-quality veterinary care.

Serving on the Executive Board is an opportunity for Dr. Dunn to give back to a profession that he says has treated him kindly. “We need to ensure that our profession flourishes despite an ever-changing economy, and I want to make sure that we do our best to help our profession, including current and future veterinarians, succeed and grow,” he said.

The New Jersey VMA nominated Dr. Helfat for the District II seat. The 1977 Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine graduate owns a mixed animal practice and is active in his state and local VMAs as well as the AVMA.

With the AVMA Dr. Helfat served in the House of Delegates for nine years, including seven years on the House Advisory Committee, and one year as committee chair. He also contributed in the revision of the AVMA Bylaws and the Manual of the AVMA House of Delegates.

Dr. Helfat wants to assist the AVMA as it addresses veterinary education, diversity, and the scope of practice—issues that will affect the profession for years to come. “I wish to represent District II on the Executive Board and thereby volunteer my time and my best energies toward finding the proper answers to these pressing challenges,” he said.

More information on the two candidates will be posted by March 1 in the “About the AVMA” section of the AVMA website, www.avma.org. Ballots for the District II election must be returned to the AVMA by April 1. The election winner will be announced that month.

R. Scott Nolen

AVMA delegates say yes to dues increase, no to open voting

Leadership conference attendees refine personal skills

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Photos by R. Scott Nolen

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 238, 5; 10.2460/javma.238.5.538

Nearly 450 people gathered for the AVMA Veterinary Leadership Conference and regular winter session of the House of Delegates, held Jan. 6–9 in Chicago.

AVMA President-elect René A. Carlson chaired the HOD session during which delegates approved resolutions authorizing an annual dues increase (see col. 3) and recognizing 2011 as World Veterinary Year (page 543). A proposal for open voting in the HOD was voted down, however (page 544).

While delegates worked through their agenda, current and up-and-coming leaders within the veterinary profession attended workshops to sharpen their vision and hone their business and management skills. Dr. Richard DeBowes, co-founder of the popular AVMA Veterinary Leadership Experience for veterinary students, taught a mini-VLE on self-awareness as the foundation for leadership.

At the HOD session, AVMA President Larry M. Kornegay announced that AVMA membership had recently surpassed 81,500 for the first time in the Association's nearly 150-year history. AVMA finances are in better shape now than in recent years, Dr. Kornegay said, and the Executive Board has adopted a balanced budget for 2011.

Dr. Kornegay commented on the board's approval of a revised Veterinarian's Oath that emphasizes veterinarians' role in animal welfare and preventing animal suffering. “These changes align our professional oath with our strategic goal of being recognized as a leading authority in animal welfare and animal welfare issues,” he told delegates.

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Dr. Richard DeBowes, co-founder of the AVMA Veterinary Leadership Experience, guides attendees at the Emerging Leaders Networking Event through one of several icebreaker exercises. Later, attendees discussed with AVMA Executive Board members, staff, and each other ways the Association could be more responsive to member needs.

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 238, 5; 10.2460/javma.238.5.538

Late last year, the AVMA's advocacy efforts resulted in veterinarians being exempted from the administrative burdens that would have been required to comply with the “red flags” rule and in the first awards under the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program being given to veterinarians willing to work in underserved areas in exchange for veterinary school debt relief, Dr. Kornegay noted.

Dr. Kornegay solicited delegate and member input for three major veterinary-related initiatives in the works: the AVMA Model Veterinary Practice Act, the AVMA draft Strategic Plan for 2012–2014, and the North American Veterinary Medical Education Consortium standards. (The comment period for the three initiatives closed in February.) “We want and expect your thoughtful participation to help us shape the future of our profession,” he said.

Resolutions

Beginning in 2013, membership dues will increase by $10 annually through 2015. In addition, dues of members in reduced-dues categories will equal 50 percent of the annual dues of regular members.

The Executive Board introduced the dues increase as a resolution to the House of Delegates, and the House Advisory Committee and HOD Committee on Finance recommended approval of the resolution. Delegates passed the measure with just over 90 percent support and without additional discussion.

As the resolution background explained, the AVMA has historically raised membership dues on an irregular basis to align the budget and increasing operating expenses associated with inflation and the needs of the Association. Small, annual increases are more predictable and less onerous for members than large, periodic dues increases, the background stated. Moreover, scheduled annual increases will provide a consistent income allowing the AVMA to strategically plan, budget, and manage for the escalating costs of doing business.

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Members of the House of Delegates Committee on Finance discuss the Association's budget prior to an HOD vote approving an increase of $10 each year in membership dues from 2013–2015.

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 238, 5; 10.2460/javma.238.5.538

The $10 increase is based on the approximate historical average annual increase in the Consumer Price Index over the past 20 years, according to the background. The financial impact is expected to be additional dues income of $700,000 in 2013, $1.4 million in 2014, and $2.1 million in 2015.

The expiration provision in the resolution allows the House of Delegates to revisit this issue after three years to determine at that time the best course of action.

Finances

Dr. Bret Marsh, whose term as AVMA treasurer ends this July, spoke about the Association's economic health. The 2010 budget, which was initially projected to run a major deficit, is now expected to have a surplus totaling more than $1 million. Dr. Marsh credited extraordinary cost-cutting measures by the AVMA Executive Board and staff, a successful annual convention in Atlanta this past year, and better-than-expected investment returns.

“Fiscal year 2010 clearly illustrated the determination and resolve of the AVMA to do right by their members and persevere through the most challenging economic period experienced in decades,” Dr. Marsh said.

Revenues of $30.5 million with $29.5 million in expenditures are projected for the 2011 budget, which, according to Dr. Marsh, would allow the AVMA to replenish and maintain the reserve fund. On a related note, the dues adjustment approved by the HOD in January 2010 became effective with the 2011 dues notices, and the renewal rate has reached record pace, he said.

Work on the 2012 budget is under way, and the proposed budget will be presented this April to the Executive Board for approval and to the HOD in July. Dr. Marsh told delegates his forthcoming successor, Dr. Barbara Schmidt, has been engaged in the process.

Dr. Marsh pointed out that with a member-to-staff ratio of approximately 560-to-1, the AVMA is one of the leanest not-for-profits in the country. “Despite this fact, AVMA uniquely provides unprecedented service to its members,” he said.

Candidates

The two candidates for 2011–2012 AVMA president-elect addressed delegates, who will elect one of them during their regular annual session this July in St. Louis.

Dr. Douglas G. Aspros of White Plains, N.Y., spoke first and said, “Those who know me recognize that I'm running for this office because I'm dedicated to veterinary medicine and believe that AVMA plays a really important role in helping us safeguard our profession.”

Since announcing his candidacy last year, Dr. Aspros, a practice owner and former AVMA Executive Board member, has been attending veterinary meetings across the country. Members, he said, have voiced concerns about such issues as the economic downturn, corporate practice, the growing number of new graduates from the Caribbean and other foreign veterinary schools, and educational debt, among others.

This is a time of anxiety within the veterinary profession, as are all times of rapid change, and the AVMA has a unique role to protect, defend, and expand the role of veterinary medicine in society, Dr. Aspros said.

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Dr. Douglas G. Aspros

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 238, 5; 10.2460/javma.238.5.538

The AVMA president is the public face of the profession and must be a credible representative of the Association and the profession, according to Dr. Aspros. “Our president needs to be more than just a figurehead, more than just a cheerleader. Too much is expected of AVMA,” he said.

Speaking next was Dr. Gary S. Brown of Princeton, W.Va., a former member of the House of Delegates who recently completed two terms as AVMA vice president.

The AVMA president represents every member of the veterinary profession, Dr. Brown explained, and must therefore be able to relate to each of them. “I feel my experience allows me to do this well,” he said.

As AVMA vice president, Dr. Brown was involved in all aspects of veterinary education and mentorship as well as international medicine and public health, he said. “When your president speaks to Congress, allied groups, or foreign organizations, you want someone with hands-on experience to speak passionately and educatedly,” he told delegates. “Someone that can speak to the level that the audience dictates.”

Dr. Brown's deep admiration for the veterinary profession is why he's seeking the AVMA's highest office. He recounted how, after he was seriously injured by a mare a few years ago, the practice he owns didn't close while he recuperated, thanks to colleagues from West Virginia, Virginia, and even South Carolina who pitched in.

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Dr. Greg S. Brown

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 238, 5; 10.2460/javma.238.5.538

“That is our veterinary profession, and it's what puts the fire in my gut to do what I do and stand here before you and ask that we help others,” Dr. Brown said.

NAVMEC, BioWatch

Updates and presentations on a number of topics were delivered during the HOD session.

Dr. Willie M. Reed, dean of the Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine, provided a summary of the goals and progress of the North American Veterinary Medical Education Consortium, and he indicated feedback on the NAVMEC draft report will be used in March during development and submission of a final report to the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges. The final report is expected to be implemented in April.

Dr. Reed said a bold vision for veterinary education could help attract and keep the best students, inspire educators, create value for investors, engage stakeholders, and serve animals and people. Mike Walter, PhD, detection branch chief and BioWatch program manager in the Office of Health Affairs of the Department of Homeland Security, said the program needs veterinarians' help gathering information on zoonotic diseases and the impact of diseases on animals as well as preparing in case someone uses a biological agent in an attack. BioWatch is intended to quickly detect biological terrorism involving airborne agents.

“I think it's critical to the nation that you become involved in this,” Dr. Walter said.

R. Scott Nolen and Greg Cima

Bonjour, AVMA delegates!

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The father of veterinary medicine, Claude Bourgelat, aka Greg Hammer, gets World Veterinary Year started in the AVMA House of Delegates. Photo by R. Scott Nolen

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 238, 5; 10.2460/javma.238.5.538

Claude Bourgelat, the father of modern veterinary medicine, made a surprise appearance at the regular winter session of the AVMA House of Delegates, Jan. 7.

Actually, it was Dr. Greg S. Hammer, former AVMA president, dressed as the Frenchman who established the first veterinary school in Lyon, France, in 1761.

“Dr. Bourgelat” graced the HOD session to kick-start the U.S. veterinary profession's celebration of 2011 as World Veterinary Year in honor of the school's 250th anniversary. Founding of the institute, known today as the National Veterinary School of Lyon, is recognized not only as the beginning of veterinary education but also of the veterinary profession and comparative biopathology.

The slogan for the anniversary, also referred to as Vet 2011, is “Vet for health, Vet for food, Vet for the planet!” The opening ceremony for Vet 2011 was held Jan. 24 in Versailles, France, with a number of international veterinary officials in attendance, including Dr. Ron DeHaven, AVMA CEO and executive vice president.

Congress has marked the occasion with a proclamation declaring 2011 as World Veterinary Year.

As Bourgelat, Dr. Hammer expounded on the veterinary profession's humble beginnings. “We admitted our first students in 1762, and there were no criteria other than evidence of baptism and the ability to read and write,” he said. “We didn't even have an age requirement. In fact, we had an 11-year-old boy as a student in 1762.”

At the time when the Lyon veterinary school was founded, rinderpest was ravaging France's livestock, Dr. Hammer said, and veterinarians were badly needed to preserve the animals from disease. “Then, just as now, veterinarians proved they are critical to protecting livestock and the food supply,” he said.

“Through the years, our profession has played a critical role in society,” Dr. Hammer continued. “We and our colleagues are guardians of food safety, public health, animal health and welfare, and the human-animal bond. I am also honored by our profession's dedication to the advancement of science.”

Following Dr. Hammer was Adèle Martial-Gros, the scientific attaché with the French embassy in Chicago. France, she said, is honored to be recognized as the birthplace of veterinary medicine. “We join you in celebrating 250 years of veterinarians as guardians of animal health and welfare, human health, and environmental health,” Martial said.

During the HOD session, delegates voted unanimously in favor of a resolution submitted by the AVMA Executive Board calling on Association members to join with their veterinary colleagues around the world to celebrate World Veterinary Year.

The resolution calls for “appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities to bring attention to the contributions the veterinary profession has made and continues to make to animal health, public health, animal welfare, and food safety.”

Among the many ways AVMA is commemorating Vet 2011 is a booth highlighting World Veterinary Year at veterinary meetings across the country, a student exchange between U.S. veterinary schools and the National Veterinary School of Lyon, and a symposium at the AVMA Annual Convention in St. Louis titled “World Veterinary Year: 250 Years of Improving Animal and Human Health,” among others.

R. Scott Nolen

HOD voting results will remain closed

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Dr. C. Jeffrey Brown, Arizona delegate, speaks during the HOD regular winter session in favor of his state VMA's resolution that called for open balloting. Photo by R. Scott Nolen

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 238, 5; 10.2460/javma.238.5.538

A resolution calling for open balloting in the AVMA House of Delegates received extensive debate before failing by a vote of nearly 70 percent.

The discussions and vote on Resolution 3, submitted by the Arizona VMA, took place during the HOD regular winter session Jan. 7–8 in Chicago.

The state association's resolution directed the House Advisory Committee to change the voting procedures in the HOD Manual. If the resolution had been approved, all main motions and elections would have been by open electronic ballot. Plus, the results of these votes would have been posted on the AVMA website for the membership to view. Currently, only the vote tally is revealed at the meeting, not how each delegate voted. Individual votes are considered confidential.

The day before the meeting, the HAC considered the resolution and voted to recommend disapproval. HAC chair Dr. Daniel E. Lafontaine said the committee had more than one reason for doing so.

The AVMA Bylaws charge the HOD with “establishing policy and providing direction for matters relating to veterinary medicine.” Dr. Lafontaine said delegates are responsible for voting according to what is in the best interest of the profession, while being informed of the needs of their constituents.

The HAC thought with open balloting, delegates would be subject to pressure to vote certain ways by other delegates and by outside groups, Dr. Lafontaine said, rather than voting for what is, in the delegate's opinion, best for the veterinary profession.

He pointed out that the HAC also was concerned about unintended consequences of the change in voting procedures.

“While the intent of the resolution is to share delegates' votes with AVMA members, it is very plausible that, in this information age, the public-at-large may access this information, and some may use it against individual delegates and the profession,” Dr. Lafontaine said.

At the HOD meeting, Dr. C. Jeffrey Brown, Arizona delegate, explained on the floor that his organization had submitted the resolution as a way of making the AVMA more transparent.

“We have noticed over the last few years there has become something of a perceived disconnect between our Association and our members. We felt that we have to quit looking at this situation as ‘us’ and ‘them.’ We are them. They are us. We feel we should open this up for them to see how we vote and, therefore, we need to be accountable for how we vote.

“You'll hear this will politicize the process more. We disagree. It's politicized as is. (Open balloting) will make it less so, because people will know how you vote…. There's going to be concerns, and they're justified, from groups in our organization that if their name gets out in public, it will be a risk to them. We think it's a small risk. If people want this information, they'll get it anyway.”

Five other delegates spoke on the floor of the House regarding the resolution—three against it, one for it, and one wanting to amend it so that elections would not be subject to an open ballot, a motion that failed.

Delegates then took a vote. The final tally was 69.5 percent against the resolution.

Malinda Larkin

GHLIT changes PPO, promotion of pet insurance

The AVMA Group Health and Life Insurance Trust has switched its preferred provider organization from Aetna Signature Administrators to UnitedHealthcare Options PPO Network.

In separating from Aetna Inc., the GHLIT also has discontinued an arrangement with Aetna to promote pet health insurance. Aetna is the underwriter for Pets Best Insurance Services LLC.

Elizabeth L. Wallace, GHLIT chief executive officer, spoke about the changes while providing a brief update about the Trust to the AVMA House of Delegates in January. She also discussed the effects of health care reform on the GHLIT (see JAVMA, Dec. 15, 2010, page 1343).

The impetus for the switch in PPO networks, effective Jan. 1, was savings for the Trust and for plan participants.

“We hope to earn significant savings, which will help mitigate any kind of premium increases in the future,” Wallace said.

After the HOD session, Wallace told JAVMA News, “The GHLIT still believes that pet insurance is good for pets and the veterinary practices that treat pets, and we will continue to spread that message to veterinarians.”

The Trust's website at www.avmaghlit.org provides details about the UnitedHealthcare Options PPO and about the effects of health care reform on GHLIT insurance plans.

In a separate change, the GHLIT has extended the hours for its primary telephone number, (800) 621-6360, to 7 a.m.–7 p.m. Central on Mondays through Thursdays and 7 a.m.–5 p.m. Central on Fridays.

AVMA fellows take posts on Capitol Hill

The two 2010–2011 AVMA Congressional Science Fellows—Drs. Kathryn A. Simmons and Terry Ryan Kane—have taken posts on Capitol Hill.

In December, the AVMA announced Dr. Ryan Kane is working in the office of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Dr. Simmons had taken a position in the office of Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine.

Dr. Ryan Kane's position with Sen. Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, gives her the opportunity to work on issues closely related to the veterinary profession. “New York has thousands of dairy farms and small producers, so we are constantly tackling issues related to food production. In addition, the farm bill is coming up for renewal in 2012,” Dr. Ryan Kane said.

“As an AVMA fellow I have the task of working on food safety issues, the judicious use of antibiotics in agriculture, biofuels, and conservation of resources. I am finding this work to be intellectually stimulating and very rewarding,” she added.

Sen. Snowe is the ranking Republican member of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee. “As veterinarians, we are directly impacted by small business policy through the ownership and operation of our clinical veterinary practices. The legislative agenda regarding small business is relevant to the concerns of veterinarians who own veterinary practices and businesses in this country,” Dr. Simmons said.

“The AVMA congressional fellowship experience has been very rewarding in terms of both my personal and professional growth. I am very appreciative of the opportunity to serve the AVMA in this way,” Dr. Simmons explained.

call out

AVMA invites nominations for trial leadership program

The AVMA is seeking to identify emerging leaders in veterinary medicine for a pilot leadership development program.

Up to 10 participants will be selected for mentorship in a yearlong AVMA Future Leaders Program. This pilot program is designed to bolster leadership and problem-solving skills related to organized veterinary medicine.

Veterinarians are invited to apply if they have graduated within the past 15 years and are interested in developing their leadership skills so they can take an active role in the AVMA and other veterinary organizations. Preference will be given to those with leadership experience and those nominated by a principal or constituent allied organization in the AVMA House of Delegates.

Participants will take part in leadership and project management training exercises, working with a professional facilitator. They will also work together on a focused project impacting organized veterinary medicine.

If the AVMA implements the Future Leaders Program as an ongoing program, it envisions the 2011–2012 participants serving in mentor-ship roles for the 2012–2013 group.

Nominations are due by March 21. To apply, to nominate a colleague with leadership potential, or to learn more program details, go to www.avma.org, click on the blue “Services” bar, and scroll down to “Leadership development.” E-mail questions to FutureLeaders@avma.org or call (800) 248-2862, Ext. 6636.

Pfizer Animal Health is providing support for this program, which originated with the AVMA staff working group on leadership strategy. The Executive Board approved it with the concurrence of the Task Force on AVMA Programs for Students and Recent Graduates.

Father of veterinary medicine IN AUSTRALIA

Dr. William Tyson Kendall founded institutions, promoted veterinary medicine

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This painting of Dr. William Tyson Kendall hangs in the dean's office at the Werribee campus of the University of Melbourne Faculty of Veterinary Science. Painting by Frederick McCubbin/Photo by Dr. Ivan Caple

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 238, 5; 10.2460/javma.238.5.538

A 29-year-old veterinarian emigrated from England to Australia in 1880, and he helped found the Australasian Veterinary Medical Association that year, according to Australian Veterinary History Record archives.

He became a co-editor of the Australasian Veterinary Journal in 1882; published the book “Diseases of Australian Horses” in 1884; drafted the act that, when passed in 1887, granted legal recognition to the profession in Victoria; and opened the country's first veterinary college to students in 1888. In 1891, he was elected as an honorary associate of London's Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.

Dr. William Tyson Kendall, 1851–1936, is considered to be the father of the veterinary profession in Australia, University of Melbourne information states. Yet because of his efforts to eliminate tuberculosis in cattle, his life's work may have had a more important impact on public health than on animal care, according to Dr. Ivan W. Caple, professor emeritus of the Faculty of Veterinary Science at the university.

When Dr. Kendall arrived in Melbourne, cattle slaughtered for human consumption were frequently infected with the organisms that cause bovine tuberculosis and were the cause of infection in humans. Young children with tuberculosis-affected hips and spines filled many of the surgical beds at Melbourne's children's hospital, Dr. Caple said.

The November 2004 edition of the Australian Veterinary History Record indicates Dr. Kendall had estimated about 25 percent of slaughtered cattle were affected by tuberculosis, and no inspection services were keeping diseased meat or dairy products from markets. He lobbied the government to create a royal commission on tuberculosis because of the number of infected cattle slaughtered at city abattoirs and the related risk to human health, Dr. Caple said. Dr. Kendall saw the close alignment between veterinary and human medicine.

Establishing himself and the profession

Yet many animal owners didn't initially see the value of paying for medical care for their animals, as shown by Dr. Kendall's practice of buying horses to treat and sell, Dr. Caple said.

“The strategy Dr. Kendall used to overcome the ignorance of owners was to purchase sick and lame horses, bring them back to health and fitness with medical and surgical care, then sell them at a profit,” Dr. Caple said. The horses were often sold back to their original owners.

While Dr. Kendall gained a reputation for performing high-quality work, “He was despised by some of the other veterinarians in Melbourne who clearly did not have his knowledge and skills,” Dr. Caple said. Despite that animosity, Dr. Kendall worked to increase standards within the profession and separate qualified veterinarians from laymen who had been practicing animal care.

Using the 1881 British Veterinary Surgeons Act as a model, Dr. Kendall also lobbied for legal recognition of the veterinary profession through the Veterinary Surgeons Act of Victoria, which was passed in 1887.

The legislation required four years of education for veterinarians, and it would make Australia's first veterinary school the first in an English-speaking country to provide four years of instruction for veterinarians, according to an article from the December 1992 edition of the Australian Veterinary Journal. It allowed registration of unqualified people who had worked as veterinary surgeons for at least five years before the legislation went into effect in January 1888.

Increasing the profession's population

Prior to the passage of the Veterinary Surgeons Act, leaders in the veterinary profession had lobbied governmental officials to provide resources for a veterinary school. However, a grant for one site was canceled following objections from nearby residents, and a favorably received petition to build at another site was shot down because the site was allocated for market purposes, according to the 2004 history record article.

Following those attempts, Dr. Kendall bought a site for a privately run veterinary college and modified the property to provide college and hospital facilities by mid-1886. He received the property's full title by May 1888, the 1992 article states.

His institution, the Melbourne Veterinary College, was supposed to show the usefulness of such a college and prompt a governmental takeover of the facility, the article states. Instead it produced 61 graduates from 1891–1909, after which 22 students from the college transferred to the newly established veterinary school at the University of Melbourne, Dr. Caple said, citing a 1912 report to the university. Dr. Kendall's privately run college operated at a loss for each of the 20 years between its founding and the formation of Australia's first university-based veterinary school.

“I had to stand all the expenses and take the full responsibility without any monetary or other help, except that my staff accepted moderate salaries,” Dr. Kendall wrote, according to an article in the December 1987 edition of the Australian Veterinary Journal.

Following the closure of his college, Dr. Kendall taught at the University of Melbourne until 1918.

Dr. Caple said that Dr. Kendall “must have been a very single-minded person, willing to forgo personal comforts and fortune, to achieve his goals for his students and the profession.”

“The level of recognition of a country's veterinary profession can probably be assessed by the improvements in health and welfare of the animals in the country made over time,” Dr. Caple said. “Dr. Kendall was the pioneer, and—through his clinical work, teaching, research and writing, and communication skills to assist the development of a professional association—he provided broad shoulders for others to stand on.”

Dr. Kendall had five sons and a daughter, and four of his sons became veterinarians. His portrait hangs in the dean's office at the Werribee campus of the University of Melbourne's veterinary school.

Greg Cima

Drug resistance monitoring to be adapted by 2015

Antimicrobial resistance surveillance could expand in areas involving humans and animals as authorities with the federal monitoring system work to improve the program over the next several years.

The Food and Drug Administration published in late January a draft 2011–2015 strategic plan for the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System. The FDA is accepting comments on the plan through March 25.

NARMS is a collaborative program developed by the FDA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Department of Agriculture.

The plan published in January has four broad goals that involve creating a shared database for the agencies that contribute to NARMS, providing sampling that is more representative and applicable for trend analysis, increasing collaboration on laboratory-based and epidemiologic research, and supporting international food safety and antimicrobial resistance surveillance programs.

The draft plan indicates that, in reaching the sampling-related goal, the FDA plans to establish by 2014 “systematic, representative monitoring” of antimicrobial-resistant commensal bacteria isolated from humans. The document indicates commensal bacteria can serve as resistance gene reservoirs and transfer such genes to pathogens.

The document lists target completion years for about half the projects proposed, to help reach the overall goals. The database launch is planned for 2012; by 2013, more data should be available to stakeholders and surveillance data should be published closer to the time of collection.

The proposal also indicates NARMS would modify collection of samples from animals to overcome current biases created by relying on the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service's Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points compliance sampling, which collects post-slaughter samples on the basis of risk. NARMS would also implement surveillance of resistant bacteria isolated from animal feed.

The research goal includes studying the prevalence of drug-resistant bacteria in food products and their risk to consumers as well as conducting epidemiologic studies focused on the public health impact of antimicrobial-resistant foodborne infections.

The goals involving international activity include supporting World Health Organization programs, increasing capacity for foodborne pathogen and antimicrobial resistance surveillance, and sharing data.

Paula J. Fedorka-Cray, PhD, a research leader at the USDA Agricultural Research Service and leader of the animal surveillance arm of NARMS, said the proposed changes should strengthen surveillance and improve the quality and quantity of data NARMS produces. Although she expects the changes will provide better information on antimicrobial resistance, the USDA will maintain a similar role in surveillance of antimicrobial resistance in livestock.

“Essentially, there are no major changes proposed,” Dr. Fedorka-Cray said. “There are only enhancements.”

To view the document or submit comments, go to www.regulations.gov and search for FDA-2010-N-0620. Comments can also be mailed to the Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, Room 1061, Rockville, MD 20852.

Cities banning retail sale of dogs, cats

Albuquerque ban took effect in 2007, other cities passed bans more recently

A small but growing number of cities are banning the sale of dogs and cats at retail pet stores.

Albuquerque banned the retail sale of dogs and cats several years ago. Several towns in California have passed similar bans in the past couple of years. Austin, Texas, is one of the latest and largest cities to pass a ban. In the same state, El Paso recently banned the sale of dogs and cats under 1 year old for profit.

Proponents of the bans say the aim is to increase the adoption of animals from shelters, thereby reducing the number of shelter animals that are euthanized, and diminish the market for animals from substandard breeding facilities that supply some pet stores. Opponents say pet stores should be able to sell dogs and cats.

Albuquerque's ban

Albuquerque's city council passed a ban on all retail and roadside sales of dogs and cats in 2006, effective in early 2007, along with other revisions to the city's animal ordinance.

The impetus for the ban was the high euthanasia rate at Albuquerque's public shelters, said Peggy Weigle, executive director of Animal Humane New Mexico, the largest private shelter in the state. Weigle said, “Albuquerque's euthanasia and intake rates were much higher per capita than most other cities of our size.”

The ban on retail dog and cat sales and other provisions of the Humane and Ethical Animal Rules and Treatment Ordinance have factored into improvements in adoption and euthanasia rates in Albuquerque, Weigle said.

The two stores in the city that had sold dogs and cats now work with rescue groups to offer pets for adoption, Weigle said. Total euthanizations for the Albuquerque Animal Welfare Department and Animal Humane decreased 32 percent between 2006 and 2009, as adoptions increased 23 percent and intakes decreased 6 percent.

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A potential adopter bonds with a dog at one of two storefront adoption centers that Animal Humane New Mexico operates in Albuquerque, a city that prohibits pet stores from selling dogs or cats. The Albuquerque Animal Welfare Department operates an adoption center in a mall. Courtesy of Dawn Glass

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 238, 5; 10.2460/javma.238.5.538

Weigle added, “I think that the more unspoken logic behind the HEART Ordinance was to begin to put a cramp in the style of the puppy mills.”

Aside from the ban on retail dog and cat sales, other measures factor into the decrease in euthanasia rates in Albuquerque, Weigle said.

The city's Animal Welfare Department and Animal Humane subsidize neutering of dogs and cats via taxes and donations, respectively, in an effort to reduce intakes of unintentional litters of puppies and kittens. The HEART Ordinance also requires Albuquerque residents to pay $150 annually for each sexually intact dog over 6 months old and each sexually intact cat over 5 months old, and $150 per litter.

Among various efforts to increase adoptions, the city has opened an adoption center in a mall, and Animal Humane has opened two storefront adoption centers.

Beyond Albuquerque

The Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council, which represents pet stores and other segments of the pet industry, is fighting against bans on the retail sale of dogs and cats.

“Responsible pet owners should be able to choose where they acquire their pets, based on their individual needs and circumstances,” said Michael R Maddox, PIJAC vice president of governmental affairs and general counsel. “Shelter animals are not necessarily appropriate for everybody.”

Maddox said an apartment dweller who wants a small dog might find that a shelter has only large dogs available for adoption, for example.

Cities that are seeking to eliminate substandard breeding facilities should go after irresponsible breeders directly rather than banning the retail sale of dogs and cats, Maddox added.

“You're banning pets that come from sound, responsible breeders in order to get at those few that might come from less responsible breeders,” he said.

Best Friends Animal Society is among the national humane organizations that have supported bans on the retail sale of dogs and cats as a tactic for targeting the substandard breeding facilities that supply some pet stores.

Elizabeth Oreck, national campaign manager for puppy mill initiatives, said Best Friends focuses more of its attention on individual pet stores and breeding facilities. The organization pushes for pet stores that sell dogs and cats to switch to offering shelter animals for adoption.

“People are rethinking how they obtain their pets, really wanting to understand where their pets come from,” Oreck said.

Katie Burns

Free eye exams available to service animals

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ACVO & MERIAL

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 238, 5; 10.2460/javma.238.5.538

Guide dogs, assistance dogs, detection dogs, and search-and-rescue dogs rely on their eyes in their daily work. During the month of May, these service dogs are eligible for free eye examinations, courtesy of a program through the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists and Merial.

More than 180 veterinary ophthalmologists in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Canada are expected to participate in the fourth annual ACVO/Merial National Service Dog Eye Exam Event.

Early detection and treatment of eye problems are vital to working animals. “Our hope is that by checking their vision, we will be able to help a large number of dogs better assist their human friends,” said Stacee Daniel, ACVO executive director.

A sampling of groups served since the ACVO/Merial National Service Dog Eye Exam Event launched in 2008 include the Transportation Security Administration and military working dogs from Lackland Air Force Base in Texas; an organization providing psychiatric service dogs to soldiers coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan; Puppies Behind Bars; and local fire, rescue, and police agencies. Individual service dog owners and handlers have also been served.

To qualify for a free eye examination, dogs must be active working dogs with certification from a formal training program or be an enrollee in a training program. Other service animals, such as horses and cats, are welcome to participate as long as they meet the stated qualifications.

Owners or agents of service dogs must register via an online registration form. Then they may locate a participating veterinary ophthalmologist and schedule an appointment for May.

The website www.ACVOeyeexam.org provides additional details about the ACVO/Merial National Service Dog Eye Exam Event. The registration form will be available April 1-April 29.

Racetrack surfaces just one factor in horse racing fatalities

Experts say further study needed to determine other causes

More information has been released on North American racetrack fatalities, with a specific focus on the effect racetrack surface has on fatality rates.

The study “Comparison of racing fatality rates on dirt, synthetic, and turf at four California racetracks” showed that racing fatalities declined 37 percent after dirt track racing surfaces were converted to synthetic racing surfaces over a six-year period. The study's results also showed that the difference in fatality rate between dirt and synthetic surfaces was, in fact, significant.

Yet the study's author, Dr. Rick M. Arthur, equine medical director for the California Horse Racing Board, noted that the use of synthetic surfaces remains controversial and needs further study. He presented his findings Dec. 8 at the American Association of Equine Practitioners 56th Annual Convention in Baltimore.

The study, which lasted Jan. 1, 2004, through Dec. 31, 2009, collected data from the Del Mar, Golden Gate Fields, Hollywood Park, and Santa Anita racetracks.

The racing fatality rate was 3.09 fatalities per 1,000 starts on dirt before conversion to synthetic surfaces and 1.95 fatalities per 1,000 starts after conversion to synthetic racing surfaces, according to the study. The racing fatality rate on turf was 2.44 per 1,000 starts over the same six-year period. There was no significant difference between the 2004–2006 turf fatality rate (2.37 fatalities per 1,000 starts), when the main tracks were dirt, and the 2007–2009 turf fatality rate (2.50 fatalities per 1,000 starts), when the main tracks were synthetic.

In the meeting proceedings, Dr. Arthur wrote that, although racing fatalities have decreased, many trainers are convinced that synthetic surfaces are associated with an increased incidence of long-term, nonfatal injuries and an increase in hind limb injuries.

“Unlike the decrease in racing fatalities,” he wrote, “there does not seem to be a similar decrease in training fatalities on California's synthetic tracks. Efforts are underway to better evaluate the non-fatal-injury issue, but all objective parameters examined to date … have all failed to support that synthetic tracks result in increased long-term non-fatal-injury rates. Veterinarians and trainers report that synthetic surfaces are associated with a different menu of injuries than seen on dirt. This would not be surprising; many surgeons have reported a drop off in arthroscopic surgeries on synthetic tracks.”

Dr. Arthur also pointed out that synthetic surfaces have proved to be inconsistent and difficult to maintain for racing and training. Sunlight and temperature fluctuations, neither of which were factors on California dirt surfaces, have caused track superintendents to develop new maintenance techniques to keep tracks consistent after heavy use, he wrote.

Although racing fatalities may have decreased on synthetic surfaces in the study, there is little confidence that the reduction in racing fatalities can be maintained, Dr. Arthur added. The synthetic tracks simply wear out much more quickly than anyone anticipated, and the cost of maintenance and refurbishment could prove too much for the tracks to handle.

Notably, the similarity of turf-racing fatality rates to the fatality rates on dirt and synthetic is the opposite of reports outside North America. Turf racing internationally on the flat is generally well below 1 fatality per 1,000 starts; California turf racing is two times that, with more than 2 fatalities per 1,000 starts. Dr. Arthur wrote that a reasonable conclusion would be high racing fatality rates in North America are related to more than just track-surface factors, but perhaps other factors such as shoeing practices or genetics.

In another look at horse racing fatalities in North America, the Jockey Club released updated statistics from its Equine Injury Database, the North American database for racing injuries, in a Dec. 15, 2010, press release.

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Thoroughbred fatality rate per 1,000 starts for 70 racetracks Nov. 1, 2008, through Oct 31, 2010

Source: Jockey Club Equine Injury Database

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 238, 5; 10.2460/javma.238.5.538

Results of an analysis of 754,932 starts at more than 70 participating racetracks collected from Nov. 1, 2008, through Oct. 31, 2010, showed the prevalence of fatal injuries declined to 2.00 per 1,000 starts, compared with 2.04 reported in March 2010 for a one-year period starting Nov. 1, 2008 (see JAVMA, May 15, 2010, page 1049).

The analysis was performed by Dr. Tim Parkin, a veterinarian and epidemiologist from the University of Glasgow, who serves as a consultant on the Equine Injury Database.

Dr. Parkin noted, according to the press release, that the change in the overall fatality rate revealed a significant difference in the prevalence of fatalities on both turf and synthetic surfaces versus dirt but that the difference between turf and synthetic surfaces was not significant (see chart).

“The addition of 376,000 starts to the database in year two enabled us to statistically validate certain trends seen in the data,” Dr. Parkin said in the press release. “Trends will continue to emerge and evolve as additional data becomes available for study and as more complex statistical analyses are performed. This will allow us to understand how different variables, alone and in concert, may impact the risk of fatality.”

Among other trends gleaned from Dr. Parkin's analysis of the cumulative two-year data were these:

  • • The prevalence of fatal injuries continued to be unaffected by distance, weight carried, and movement of races off the turf.

  • • Fillies and mares competing in races that were open to horses of both sexes were not at increased risk of fatality compared with those competing in races restricted to fillies and mares.

  • •The prevalence of fatality in 2-year-olds racing on dirt surfaces continued to be significantly lower than the prevalence in older horses. However, on synthetic or turf surfaces, there was no significant difference in the prevalence of fatality between 2-year-olds and older horses.

A list of racetracks that have signed up to participate in the Equine Injury Database can be found at www.jockeyclub.com/initiatives.asp.

Malinda Larkin

Approval for animals, use for humans?

Two companies in the U.S. and Canada have developed cattle-use vaccines that could reduce human illnesses from Escherichia coli O157.

But officials with those companies will not be allowed to make label claims related to human health or food safety or use evidence of such benefits toward gaining approval of the biologics, even though beef producers are considering using the vaccines because of the potential food safety improvement.

The Department of Agriculture's Center for Veterinary Biologics has, since 2005, allowed manufacturers to seek USDA approval of products intended to reduce the colonization or shedding of organisms that cause a carrier state but not disease in the animals receiving the products. In February 2009, the USDA conditionally licensed an E coli O157 vaccine made by Epitopix, a Minnesota-based company, for treatment of a carrier state in cattle.

While the USDA regulates such veterinary biologics, officials with the CVB said claims regarding benefits to human health would require approval by the Food and Drug Administration.

Dr. Jim Sandstrom, general manager of Epitopix, said that while regulations prevent his company from claiming its vaccine could help prevent illnesses, use in tests has been connected with good titers and reduction of E coli O157 in cattle manure.

The Ontario-based Bioniche LIfe Sciences Inc. has received approval in Canada for its cattle-use vaccine to reduce shedding of E coli O157, and the company is waiting for issuance of a conditional license in the U.S.

Rick Culbert, president of Bioniche Food Safety, said the U.S. and Canadian regulatory bodies similarly have no jurisdiction to approve an animal-use vaccine for a human benefit. The label claims have to reference their impact on the animals, such as the reduction of E coli O157 shedding claimed on the label of his company's vaccine.

Culbert also said that, if a study were to indicate use of his company's vaccine reduced E coli in beef from treated cattle, that information could not be used toward approval.

Culbert likened the approval process to that of rabies vaccines, which have been approved on the basis of their impact on animals but largely adopted to prevent rabies in humans. However, he noted that E coli O157 infections are different in that they are subclinical in cattle and that cattle do not benefit from vaccination against the bacteria.

Dan Schaefer, assistant vice president of research and development for Cargill Beef, expressed hope about the potential use of E coli O157 vaccines to improve food safety and increase consumer confidence. His company collaborated with officials from Epitopix, Kansas State University, Texas Tech University, and the Beef Checkoff Program on a commercial study in summer 2010 involving 85,000 cattle in feedlots, 58,000 of which received two doses of vaccine. More testing is planned for summer 2011.

Dr. Daniel U. Thomson, the Jones Professor of Production Medicine at Kansas State University, has studied the Epitopix vaccine and worked on challenge and field studies, and he says cattle-use E coli O157 vaccines could increase veterinarians' on-farm role in food safety. Current research at his university includes investigation into whether use of the vaccine could provide cross-protection against strains such as those that cause neonatal calf diarrhea, also known as scours.

Rabies variant absent as Arizona's infections decline

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George Andrejko/Arizona Game and Fish Department

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 238, 5; 10.2460/javma.238.5.538

A bat-associated rabies virus variant that spread among northern Arizona's terrestrial wildlife in previous years was not found in those animals in 2010.

And the overall number of rabies cases in the state dropped by nearly two-thirds from 2009 to 2010.

Decreases in carnivore populations and an increased use of vaccination programs are possible contributors to the decline in rabies cases after record-high numbers of laboratory-confirmed cases in 2008 and 2009, with 176 and 280 cases, respectively.

Craig Levy, an epidemiologist and the manager of the vectorborne disease program for the Arizona Department of Health Services, said rabies and canine distemper drove down carnivore populations, and only 102 animals tested positive for rabies infection in 2010. While the adapted virus variant wasn't found in any of Arizona's terrestrial animals that year, he said it could re-emerge as animal populations rise. Effects of the bat-associated variant are the same as for other variants.

A 2006 report in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's journal Emerging Infectious Diseases described the discovery in 2001 of a cluster of 19 rabid skunks infected with a bat-associated rabies virus variant, the largest recorded cluster of infection with the bat-associated variant among terrestrial mammals. The virus was isolated from the salivary glands of five affected skunks, and it was found again in 2004.

The report indicates the virus adapted from bats to terrestrial carnivores. Health authorities also found in 2008 that the virus was transmitted among foxes.

David Bergman, Arizona's director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services under the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, said the USDA started an oral rabies vaccination program in late July 2009 in a 4,100-sq-km area including Flagstaff. About 125,000 vaccine-filled packets were dropped from the air, and about 4,300 were distributed on the ground. Because those oral vaccines do not work on skunks, 110 of them were captured and vaccinated, as were four raccoons.

The USDA had a similar campaign in June 2010 and plans to again in summer 2011.

No rabies-infected terrestrial animals had been found in the area where vaccines were distributed since the 2009 vaccination program began, Bergman said. And results of tests performed on blood samples drawn from captured gray foxes indicate about 64 percent of those foxes had ingested vaccine through the bait packets.

Bergman said greater-than-average snowfall in late 2009 and early 2010 also potentially lowered the population density of Arizona's carnivores and the number of rabies cases.

Dr. Charles E. Rupprecht, chief of the CDC's rabies program, said the bat-associated rabies virus variant is still present in foxes and skunks in northern Arizona. Oregon state officials are also monitoring rabies infections, and CDC officials are analyzing samples from infected animals in southwestern Oregon, where a bat-associated rabies virus variant may have spread among foxes.

Greg Cima

Vet, human medicine start regenerative medicine venture

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Dr. Gregory B. Daniel (left), head of the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, and Dr. Reid Tyson, assistant professor of radiology in the same department, use regenerative medicine techniques to treat chronic kidney disease in a feline patient. Courtesy of Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 238, 5; 10.2460/javma.238.5.538

The Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine announced Jan. 20 the formation of the Center for Veterinary Regenerative Medicine.

The center is the product of a research agreement that Virginia-Maryland made with Wake Forest University's Institute for Regenerative Medicine in Winston-Salem, N.C., according to a Virginia-Maryland press release.

The veterinary college and the institute will work together with ongoing collaborations in translational research in regenerative medicine through the new center. The agreement facilitates the application of cutting-edge regenerative treatments to both human and animal patients, the release stated.

There is no dedicated building; it is a virtual center. Some of the research will take place in the translational medicine facility the veterinary college is planning to build as well as in existing facilities.

As part of the collaboration, clients at Virginia-Maryland's veterinary teaching hospital, located on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, may have the option to enter their pets into clinical trials, giving them access to cutting-edge technology. In return, the Wake Forest institute will have the ability to evaluate new regenerative medicine techniques in spontaneously occurring animal diseases that can be models for human disease. This collaboration with the veterinary college will allow researchers at Wake Forest to assess the efficacy of regenerative treatments to remedy clinical conditions more quickly and, therefore, facilitate their application to human medicine. These clinical applications will come later and will be housed at the veterinary teaching hospital.

The center has been up-and-running in the sense that research has been ongoing for more than a year. Current research at Virginia-Maryland focuses on chronic kidney disease in cats, which are being treated in an effort to induce kidney regeneration and restore renal function.

Additionally, a stem cell approach is being applied to dogs with spay-induced incontinence. Muscle stem cells, placed into the neck of the dog's bladder, may help to strengthen the bladder muscle and cure the condition, according to the release.

Other collaborative projects in start-up mode involve canine and bovine induced pluripotent cells, rapid pathogen detection, wound healing in horses, and canine cardiomyopathy.

Willard H. Eyestone, PhD, research assistant professor of reproductive biology and biotechnology at Virginia-Maryland, will act as lead faculty member at the veterinary college and the liaison to Wake Forest in the collaboration, according to the release. Dr. J. Koudy Williams, professor of pathology and surgical sciences at Wake Forest, will serve as the lead faculty member from the institute.

Food safety problem-solving method to be explored with grant

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Dr. H. Scott Hurd (Courtesy of Iowa State University CVM)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 238, 5; 10.2460/javma.238.5.538

A multi-institutional project is under way to teach a new framework for problem solving to veterinary students involved with food safety and food animal medicine.

The Department of Agriculture recently awarded a $308,667 Higher Education Challenge Grant to Dr. H. Scott Hurd, an associate professor in the Department of Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine at Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine.

His project, “Food Systems Veterinary Medicine for the 21 st Century,” will be a collaboration among the Iowa State veterinary college, Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine, and the University of Arkansas Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food & Life Sciences. Faculty from these institutions will incorporate a new framework—systems thinking—into topics they're already teaching.

Systems thinking is an approach to problem solving that views problems as parts of an overall system. It is based on the belief that the components of a system can be understood best in the context of relationships with each other and with other systems, and how things influence one another within a whole.

“You express the phenomenon you're experiencing in terms of inputs and outputs and processes. Then everyone gets a framework on which they can look at the model together,” Dr. Hurd said. “The systems approach can become a new language for problem solving.”

The topic became relevant to Dr. Hurd during his time as deputy undersecretary of food safety at the USDA. He implemented the largest recall of meat in U.S. history in early 2008 after undercover video surfaced showing abuse of nonambulatory cattle at a California slaughter plant (see JAVMA, March 15, 2008, page 824). During that incident, he found veterinarians and the veterinary colleges had a tremendous need for a new skill set.

The timing for implementing this teaching method, however, hadn't worked out until this past fall when the USDA put out a request for curriculum development grants, one of which was targeted toward veterinary medicine.

Higher Education Challenge grants are administered through the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The grant program encourages innovative teaching enhancement projects with the potential for regional or national impact and for serving as models for other institutions. While research and extension activities may be included in a funded project, the primary focus must be to improve teaching within a degree-granting program.

With this grant, faculty at the three schools will develop case studies that will convey systems thinking and the basics of diseases. The institutions were chosen for their expertise in poultry (Arkansas), beef cattle (K-State), and swine (Iowa State) medicine. These three schools form the Food Safety Consortium, which has been successfully researching food safety topics for more than 20 years.

“The goal is to put together packages that are usable to other schools for teaching food animal medicine and public health topics,” Dr. Hurd said.

The World Health Organization and Food and Agriculture Organization will be working on the three-year project as well.

It will start this spring with faculty conducting baseline evaluations of the students to ascertain their existing knowledge. Classes will begin in the fall and will expand as warranted.

Malinda Larkin

Partnership forged between ISU, specialty practice

Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine will purchase a 24-hour Des Moines veterinary hospital this year. According to the veterinary college, the resulting partnership will enhance the clinical and educational experiences for its students and residents.

The Iowa Board of Regents on Jan. 13 unanimously approved the $4.6 million purchase of Iowa Veterinary Specialties, which will be handled through a nonprofit business entity, ISU Veterinary Services Corp. The resulting affiliation between IVS and the ISU veterinary college's Lloyd Veterinary Medical Center in Ames, about 35 miles north of Des Moines, “will bring together unique strengths and resources to provide enhanced veterinary care in central Iowa,” according to an ISU press release.

Iowa Veterinary Specialties is a modern, 7,200-square-foot private veterinary hospital that includes a 24-hour small animal emergency facility and surgical and internal medicine specialty practices. The acquisition of IVS includes the real estate, equipment, and active veterinary practice. Approximately $1.6 million of the purchase price will be financed through a Wells Fargo master lease; the remaining $3 million will be financed through an ISU trust, according to the regent's meeting agenda.

ISU-VSC is to be organized for charitable, scientific, and educational purposes and will provide “students and residents with opportunities for learning, faculty and staff of the ISU College of Veterinary Medicine with opportunities to assist in the provision of quality veterinary health care in the greater Des Moines area, researchers at the ISU College of Veterinary Medicine with opportunities to advance the practice of veterinary medicine, … and a physical location to conduct continuing education programs for veterinarians and their staff in the greater Des Moines area,” according to the university's request to the board of regents.

Iowa Veterinary Specialties and the Lloyd Veterinary Medical Center will continue to focus on emergency and specialty care and will operate independently in their current locations.

“The timing is right for creating this affiliation,” said Dr. L.A. Holmes, a founder of IVS, in the press release. “Our hospital has grown considerably throughout its 30-year history and is well positioned for future growth. Iowa State can help IVS recognize its potential much sooner than would otherwise be possible.”

IVS was founded in 1980 as an “after hours” emergency hospital by 18 Des Moines veterinarians. IVS staff includes six full-time emergency doctors, two surgeons, one internist, a dermatologist, 30 veterinary technicians, and six receptionists. The hospital serves more than 7,500 patients annually.

The Lloyd Veterinary Medical Center provides veterinary emergency and specialty care as a referral hospital for large and small animals throughout Iowa and the region. The LVMC serves more than 11,000 small animal patients annually.

Cornell opens specialty clinic in Connecticut

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Dr. Mandi Kleman reviews fluoroscopic images at the new Cornell University Veterinary Specialists, a center located in Stamford, Conn., that is operated by the university's College of Veterinary Medicine. Courtesy of Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 238, 5; 10.2460/javma.238.5.538

Cornell University Veterinary Specialists welcomed its first patients Jan. 14. The satellite referral and 24-hour emergency care hospital located in Stamford, Conn., leverages the resources of Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine with specialty private practice.

At CUVS, according to a university press release, board-certified specialists offer treatments and procedures as well as continuing education opportunities for veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and pet owners. In addition to 24/7 emergency and critical care and minimally invasive procedures, CUVS will specialize in orthopedic and soft-tissue surgery, internal medicine, cardiology, oncology, and advanced imaging. Additional services will be added over time, in consultation with referring veterinarians. Students may complete externships at CUVS, but they will not provide patient care.

“As the largest university-affiliated veterinary specialty and emergency hospital in the nation, we are committed to providing the most sophisticated and compassionate patient care,” said Dr. Susan Hackner, chief medical officer, in the press release. “We will contribute to the advancement of companion animal medicine as well as being a good neighbor—to our community and to the profession. Our aim is to combine the most advanced medical practice within a service-oriented, efficient, and sustainable practice model.”

The decision to open a referral/emergency clinic in the New York metropolitan area was an outcome of the veterinary college's strategic planning process. CUVS is housed in a 20,000-square-foot building that is part of a mixed-use urban redevelopment project, which includes a supermarket, apartments, and office buildings.

The university says the clinic will expand Cornell's role in specialty medicine by creating an integrated veterinary medical center that supports clinical research and expands the educational experience for veterinary residents and students seeking their DVM degree. The facility includes a tiered auditorium and overnight rooms for rotating students and residents.

call out

Award nods sought for influential veterinarians

Nominations for the 2011 Penn Vet World Leadership in Animal Health Award are due March 18.

The Penn Vet World Leadership in Animal Health Award Committee is accepting nominations for the prestigious honor, which the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine gives to veterinarians who have positively influenced the practice and image of veterinary medicine and influenced others' lives and careers. It carries a $100,000 monetary award.

The selection committee is chaired by Dr. Alan M. Kelly, dean emeritus of the School of Veterinary Medicine, and includes representatives from U.S., European, and South American veterinary schools.

“All nominees will be reviewed based on their vision, lifetime achievements, and future potential,” university information states.

More information is available at www.vet.upenn.edu/worldawards.

assemblies

Joint pathology meeting

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Dr. J. Robert Duncan

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 238, 5; 10.2460/javma.238.5.538

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Dr. Keith W. Prasse

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 238, 5; 10.2460/javma.238.5.538

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Dr. Derek Mosier

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 238, 5; 10.2460/javma.238.5.538

Event: American College of Veterinary Pathologists, American Society for Veterinary Clinical Pathology, joint annual meetings, Oct. 30-Nov. 3, 2010, Baltimore

Program: The ACVP program included premeeting symposia, a joint plenary session, specialty group sessions, and an emerging disease focus seminar. The ASVCP held a premeeting workshop, an education symposium, a teaching forum, slide and chemistry case reviews, and clinical pathology scientific sessions.

American College of Veterinary Pathologists

Awards: Young Investigator Award, category of diagnostic pathology, First place: Erin M. Quist, Texas A&M University, for “Garden hose scalding syndrome”; Second place: Erin Brannick, The Ohio State University, for “Assessing informational completeness in biopsy submission forms”; Third place: Katy Bradford, Oklahoma State University, for “Candida peritonitis in dogs: A report of four cases.” Category of natural disease, First place: Kelly Santangelo, The Ohio State University, for “Temporal expression and tissue distribution of interleukin-1β in a guinea pig model of naturally occurring osteoarthritis”; Second place: Carolyn Legge, University of Prince Edward Island, for “Histological characterization of dilated cardiomyopathy in 12 juvenile toy Manchester Terriers”; Third place: Dodd Sledge, Michigan State University, for “Evaluation of 15-hydroxyprostaglandin dehydrogenase and cyclooxygenase-2 and comparison to cadherin and beta catenin expression in canine urothelial carcinomas of the urinary bladder.” Category of experimental disease and industrial and toxicologic pathology, First place: Jennifer K. McCleese, The Ohio State University, for “Examination of the role of Met interactions with EGFR and Ron in canine osteosarcoma”; Second place: Aline Rodrigues, Texas A&M University, for “Target cells infected by Cache Valley virus in the ovine fetus”; Third place: Brian Simons, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, for “WNT signaling is required for prostate induction in the urogenital sinus.” Student Poster Award, experimental disease: Caroline E. Salter, University of Georgia, for “Colitis-associated lesion severity and intestinal microbiota changes in TNF-a-deficient mice”; Clinical pathology: Loni Schumacher, Oklahoma State University, for “Diagnosis of Ajellomyces capsulatus in a dog by direct sequencing of paraffin-embedded intestinal samples”; Society of Toxicologic Pathology Student Speaker Award: M.P. Goravanahally, West Virginia University/National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, for “Diacetyl increases sensory innervation and substance P production in rat trachea.” ACVP/AAVLD Diagnostic Travel Award: Erin M. Quist, Texas A&M University, for “Garden hose scalding syndrome.” ICPI Trainee Travel Award: Erin M. Quist, Texas A&M University, for “Garden hose scalding syndrome” and Jennifer K. McCleese, The Ohio State University, for “Examination of the role of Met interactions with EGFR and Ron in canine osteosarcoma.” Harold W. Casey Memorial Scholarship: Dr. Elizabeth Driskell, University of Georgia. The William Inskeep II Memorial Scholarship: Megan Shoemaker, Colorado State University. Distinguished members: The ACVP elected Drs. Robert Montali, Baltimore, and Gary Boorman, Chapel Hill, N.C., as distinguished members. Honorary members: The ACVP elected Drs. Roy Pool, College Station, Texas, and Danny Scott., Ithaca, N.Y., as honorary members.

New diplomates: The ACVP recognized 86 new diplomates on successful completion of the certifying examination in Ames, Iowa, Sept. 28–30, 2010. They are as follows:

Veterinary anatomic pathology

Ahmad Al-Dissi, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Angela Arenas, Hilltop Lake, Texas

Midori Asakawa, Raleigh, N.C.

Charles Bailey, Southborough, Mass.

Bhupinder Bawa, Manhattan, Kan.

Todd Bell, Ames, Iowa

Lore Boger, Harrisburg, Pa.

Erin Brannick, Westerville, Ohio

Bonnie Brenseke, Blacksburg, Va.

Angela Brice, Philadelphia

Grant Burcham, West Lafayette, Ind.

Rachel Burns, San Diego

Eric Burrough. Ames, Iowa

Tracy Carlson, Columbus, Ohio

Brian Caserto, Riley, Kan.

Lynne Cassone, Lexington, Ky.

Beth Chaffee, Columbus, Ohio

Christine Christensen, Frederick, Md.

Heather Clarke, Sacramento, Calif.

Julia Conway, Archer, Fla.

Timothy Cushing, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia

Santiago Diab, San Bernardino, Calif.

Elizabeth Dobson, Ithaca, N.Y.

Elizabeth Driskell, Athens, Ga.

Paul Facemire, Jefferson, Md.

Rebekah Fleis, Ann Arbor, Mich.

Stacey Fossey, Columbus, Ohio

Karen Fox, Fort Collins, Colo.

Barbie Gadsden, Lansing, Mich.

Christiana Glover, Pierrefonds, Quebec

Felix Goulet, Montreal

Jamie Haddad, Durham, N.C.

Sushan Han, Palouse, Wash.

Margaret Hanson, San Antonio

Naomi Harms, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Travis Heskett, Reddick, Fla.

Chelsea Himsworth, Richmond, British Columbia

Cary Honnold, Ames, Iowa

Crystal Johnson, Raleigh, N.C.

Natalie Keirstead, Basseterre, St. Kitts and Nevis

Jennifer Koehler, Auburn, Ala.

Joshua Kramer, Roslindale, Mass.

Darin Madson, Ames, Iowa

Chelsea Martin, Delaware, Ohio

Leslie McPherson, Madison, Wis.

Caroline Millins, Leighton Buzzard, United Kingdom

Sunish M.N. Padmini, Ithaca, N.Y.

Carolina N. Freixa, Madison, Wis.

Brandon Plattner, Nevada, Iowa

Jana Ritter, Newberry, S.C.

Jeanine Sandy, Raleigh, N.C.

Dirk Schaudien, Hannover, Germany

Vanessa Schumacher, Manchester, Conn.

Jodi Smith, Ames, Iowa

Jennifer Stewart, Royston, United Kingdom

Norbert Takacs, Albuquerque, N.M.

Karen Trainor, College Station, Texas

Brigid Troan, Cary, N.C.

Gregory Wilkerson, Elgin, Texas

Fred Williams, Columbia, Mo.

Lucy Woolford, Hatfield, United Kingdom

Veterinary clinical pathology

Virginie Allegre, Montreal

Kathrin Burke, College Station, Texas

Melinda Camus, Watkinsville, Ga.

Noel Clancey, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island

Sara Connolly, Darlington, Wis.

Janice C. Cardona, Gainesville, Fla.

Keith DeJong, Oakland, Calif.

Mark Dunbar, Gainesville, Fla.

Carrie Flint, Delta, British Columbia

Angelica Galezowski, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Bradley Galgut, Doncaster East, Australia

Shir Gilor, East Keswick, United Kingdom

Joanne Hodges, Davis, Calif.

Karen Jackson, Media, Pa.

Gwendolyn Levine, College Station, Texas

Tzuyin Lin, Sacramento, Calif.

Amy Miller, Dallas

Sakurako Neo, Bunkyo-ku, Japan

Ida Piperisova, Raleigh, N.C.

Suzanne Pratt, Portland, Ore.

Heather Priest, Ithaca, N.Y.

Graham Stock, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom

Maria Vandis, Newton, Mass.

Karen Velguth, Memphis, Tenn.

Tamara Wills, Pullman, Wash., received dual certification in veterinary anatomic and clinical pathology.

Officials: Drs. Derek Mosier, Manhattan, Kan., president; Claire Andreasen, Ames, Iowa, presidentelect; Michael Topper, West Point, Pa., secretary-treasurer; and Michael Lairmore, Columbus, Ohio, immediate past president

American Society for Veterinary Clinical Pathology

Awards: Lifetime Achievement Award: Drs. J. Robert Duncan, Athens, Ga., and Keith W. Prasse, Bethlehem, Ga. A 1959 graduate of the University of Georgia and a diplomate of the ACVP, Dr. Duncan is professor emeritus and former head of the Department of Pathology at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine. He served as president of the ASVCP from 1980–1981. A 1965 graduate of Iowa State University and a diplomate of the ACVP, Dr. Prasse is former dean of the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine. He served as president of the ACVP from 1985–1986. The fourth edition of the textbook Veterinary Laboratory Medicine was changed to Duncan & Prasse's Veterinary Laboratory Medicine: Clinical Pathology to honor their contributions to the field of veterinary clinical pathology. ASVCP Education Award: Dr. Mary Christopher, Davis, Calif., was the second recipient of this award, given in recognition of her contributions to education. A 1980 graduate of Iowa State University and a diplomate of the ACVP, Dr. Christopher is a professor in the Department of Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology at the University of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. She served as editor-in-chief of Veterinary Clinical Pathology for 12 years. Research Grant Award ($2,500): Dr. Nora Springer, Cornell University, for “Procoagulant activity in horses: Measurement of platelet-derived microparticles and endogenous thrombin potential.” Travel grants in the amount of $500 were presented to the following trainees: Drs. Erica Behling-Kelly, University of Wisconsin; Patricia Crosse, Royal Veterinary College, England; Nora Springer, Cornell University; Melanie Spoor, University of Missouri; and Emily Pieczarka, The Ohio State University

Officials: Drs. Kirstin Barnhart, Bastrop, Texas, president; Leslie Sharkey, Minneapolis, presidentelect; Robin Allison, Stillwater, Okla., secretary; Dori Borjesson, Davis, Calif., treasurer; and Joanne Messick, West Lafayette, Ind., immediate past president

obituaries: AVMA Honor Roll Member AVMA Member Nonmember

Hugh W. Armstrong

Dr. Armstrong (GA ′53), 90, Matthews, N.C., died Jan. 13, 2011. Retired since 2008, he established Monroe Animal Clinic in Monroe, N.C., in 1953, later founding Armstrong Animal Hospital, also in Monroe. During his career, Dr. Armstrong initially practiced mixed animal medicine but since 1971 had focused on small animals. He was a life member of the North Carolina VMA and a member of the North Carolina Academy of Small Animal Medicine. Dr. Armstrong served in the Air Force from 1942–1945. He is survived by a son and a daughter. Memorials may be made to The Children's Home Society of North Carolina, P.O. Box 14608, Greensboro, NC 27415; or First Presbyterian Church, 302 E. Windsor St., Monroe, NC 28112.

Ivan R. Edwards

Dr. Edwards (COL ′55), 81, Wellington, Nev., died Nov. 25, 2010. Prior to retirement in 1993, he owned a primarily small animal practice in Lake Tahoe, Nev. Dr. Edwards was a board member and volunteer for the Lake Tahoe Humane Society and was active with the Rotary Club. He was a veteran of the Army. Memorials toward the Miki Society for Companion Animal Research may be made to Colorado State University Foundation, P.O. Box 1870, Fort Collins, CO 80522.

Howard E. Gregory

Dr. Gregory (TEX ′54), 82, Spotsylvania, Va., died Jan. 2, 2011. From 1978 until retirement in 1992, he owned Chancellor Animal Clinic, a small animal practice in Fredericksburg, Va. Prior to that, Dr. Gregory owned Confederate Ridge Animal Hospital, a mixed animal practice in Fredericksburg. Early in his career, he taught at Auburn University. Dr. Gregory was a past president of the Virginia Board of Veterinary Medicine. Active in civic life, he served on the Fredericksburg City Council for 12 years and was a member of the Jaycees and Kiwanis Club. Dr. Gregory's wife, Sara, and two daughters survive him.

Robert A. Harcus

Dr. Harcus (WSU ′51), 90, Kirkland, Wash., died Dec. 22, 2010. Prior to retirement in the mid-1980s, he co-owned North Seattle Veterinary Clinic, a small animal practice. Dr. Harcus was an Army veteran of World War II. He is survived by his wife, Bessie; two sons; and a daughter.

Stephen B. Hitchner

Dr. Hitchner (UP ′43), 94, Salisbury, Md., died Jan 1, 2011. A diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Microbiologists and an honorary diplomate of the American College of Poultry Veterinarians, he was professor emeritus of avian diseases at Cornell University since 1981. Following graduation, Dr. Hitchner served in the Army Veterinary Corps for three years, attaining the rank of captain. He then served as an associate professor at Virginia Polytechnic University and later as professor in the Department of Veterinary Science at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. In 1947, while at the Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station, Dr. Hitchner identified and characterized the low-virulence strain of Newcastle disease, which became known as the Hitchner B1 strain. During his tenure at the University of Massachusetts, he spent four years in research on avian diseases.

From 1953–1960, Dr. Hitchner was research veterinarian with American Scientific Labs in Madison, Wis., where he continued his research on avian diseases and vaccine development. He then helped establish and became co-owner and research director of L&M Laboratories in Berlin, Md. Dr. Hitchner developed and improved vaccines for Newcastle disease, infectious bronchitis, infectious laryngotracheitis, and fowl pox. After L&M Laboratories was subsequently acquired by Abbot Laboratories, he served as group leader in animal disease research. In 1966, Dr. Hitchner became professor and chairman of what was known as the Department of Avian Diseases at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. His research efforts resulted in the development of several new or improved vaccines, including those against canary pox and Pacheco's herpesvirus. Dr. Hitchner also helped establish a program in companion bird medicine.

A past president of the American Association of Avian Pathologists, he was a member of the Poultry Science Association, World Poultry Science Association, United States Livestock Sanitary Association, and New York Academy of Sciences. Dr. Hitchner received several honors, including the AAAP Special Service Award in 1981 and the first AAAP Bruce Calnek Applied Research Achievement Award in 2004. He is survived by his wife, Mariana; three sons; and a daughter.

Richard D. Howe

Dr. Howe (TEX ′49), 82, Hillsboro, Ore., died Nov. 15, 2010. He practiced small animal medicine in Baytown, Texas, for 49 years, prior to retirement in 1998. Dr. Howe was an Army veteran of the Korean War. He retired from the Army Reserve in 1968 with the rank of major. Dr. Howe's wife, Glenda; a daughter; and two sons survive him.

James C. McCrea

Dr. McCrea (MO ′50), 87, Platte City, Mo., died Dec. 2, 2010. A mixed animal practitioner, he owned McCrea Veterinary Establishment in Platte City for 56 years. Early in his career, Dr. McCrea practiced in Kansas. He was a member of the Missouri VMA, American Association of Bovine Practitioners, American Association of Equine Practitioners, Platte County Fair Board, and Platte City Lions Club. An avid collector of antique horse-drawn vehicles, Dr. McCrea was also a member of the Kansas City Carriage Club. He served in the Army Air Corps from 1942–1945. Memorials may be made to Alpha Gamma Sigma Foundation Scholarship, 503 E. Nifonz #182, Columbia, MO 65201; or Platte County Historical Society, P.O. Box 103, Platte City, MO 64079.

James G. Paine

Dr. Paine (AUB ′61), 78, Strafford, N.H., died Nov. 27, 2010. A mixed animal practitioner, he owned and served as president of Russell Animal Hospital in Concord, N.H. Dr. Paine was a past president of the New Hampshire Board of Veterinary Medicine and New Hampshire VMA and was past New Hampshire Fish and Game commissioner for Merrimack County. He received several honors, including the first Meritorious Service Award of the NHVMA in 1975, the Humanitarian of the Year Award from the Concord Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the American Animal Hospital Association Region 1 Outstanding Practitioner Award in 1977, and the Granite State Award from the University of New Hampshire in 1979.

Active in civic life, Dr. Paine was a past president of the Concord Rotary Club and Concord Hospital board of trustees, served as a consultant to the New Hampshire Post Secondary Education Commission, and was a member of the New Hampshire Legislative Academy of Science and Technology. He was a veteran of the Air Force, attaining the rank of major. Dr. Paine is survived by his wife, Gertrude, and two sons. One son, Dr. James L. Paine (COR ′83), practices at Russell Animal Hospital. Memorials may be made to Wildlife Heritage Foundation of New Hampshire, P.O. Box 3993, Concord, NH 03302; or Payson Center for Cancer Care, c/o Office of Philanthropy, Concord Hospital Trust, 250 Pleasant St., Concord, NH 03301.

James R. Saunders Jr.

Dr. Saunders (TEX ′41), 92, San Antonio, died Dec. 11, 2010. From 1953 until retirement in 1991, he owned a primarily small animal practice in San Antonio. Following graduation, Dr. Saunders served as an animal clinic instructor at the Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine. He then briefly practiced in Brownfield, Texas. From 1943–1946, Dr. Saunders served with the Navy Hospital Corps in San Diego. On discharge from the Navy, he received a commission in the Army Reserve Veterinary Corps. From 1947–1950, Dr. Saunders practiced large animal medicine in Texas at Taylor and San Saba. He next served as professor of surgery at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine before moving to San Antonio.

Dr. Saunders was past chairman of the AVMA Judicial Council, served as Texas' delegate to the AVMA House of Delegates from 1960–1964, and was a past member of the AVMA Council on Biologic and Therapeutic Agents. He was a past president of the Bexar County VMA and past vice president of the Texas VMA. Dr. Saunders' wife, Velma; five sons; and two daughters survive him. Memorials may be made to Central Christian Church, 720 N. Main Ave., San Antonio, TX 78205; San Antonio Humane Society, 4804 Fredericksburg Road, San Antonio, TX 78229; or Animal Defense League of Texas, 11300 Nacogdoches Road, San Antonio, TX 78217.

Kenneth A. Schulte

Dr. Schulte (MIN ′66), 69, Milbank, S.D., died Dec. 25, 2010. He owned Dairy Production Services, a nutrition-based dairy management company, since 1997. Following graduation, Dr. Schulte practiced mixed animal medicine in Dickinson, N.D., and Pierz, Minn., before buying Arlington Veterinary Clinic, a mixed animal practice in Arlington, Minn., in 1967. In 1973, Dr. Schulte moved to Milbank to join Milbank Veterinary Clinic, where he continued to practice mixed animal medicine. During his career, he also served on the Monsanto Dairy Advisory Board, South Dakota Emergency Disaster Task Force, and Novus Dairy Strategic Advisory Panel.

Dr. Schulte was a past president of the South Dakota VMA and was named Veterinarian of the Year in 1995. He is survived by his wife, Janet, and three sons. Memorials may be made to Living Word Lutheran Church, P.O. Box 301, Milbank, SD 57252; or Watertown Christian School, 15 Twelfth Aven. N.E., Watertown, SD 57201.

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