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Judge allows bulk ingredients for compounding

Ruling favors pharmacy, but FDA can still distinguish manufacturing, compounding

By Greg Cima

A Florida pharmacy can fill veterinary prescriptions with drugs compounded from bulk pharmaceutical-grade ingredients, a judge ruled in September.

The Food and Drug Administration had sought an injunction that would have stopped Franck's Compounding Lab of Ocala and company CEO Paul W. Franck from using bulk ingredients, rather than finished pharmaceuticals, in compounding animal drugs and shipping them throughout the U.S. The agency complaint, filed in April 2010, accused the company of illegally manufacturing unapproved animal-use drugs under the guise of compounding.

U.S. District Judge Timothy J. Corrigan wrote in his ruling that the FDA has the authority to regulate drug manufacturing and to distinguish manufacturing from compounding. Yet, he said, the FDA overreached in interpreting what authority was given to the agency by the 1938 Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

“However, what the FDA seeks to do here is reinterpret the FDCA to allow it to eradicate the line between manufacturing and traditional compounding of animal medications,” the ruling states. “Its wholesale assertion of authority over traditional pharmacy compounding in the context of a pharmacist-veterinarian-patient relationship is contrary to congressional intent.”

Asked whether the FDA was considering an appeal or other legal options, agency spokeswoman Laura Alvey said the FDA was reviewing the decision and had no further comment at that time.

Compounded animal drugs are often prescribed to provide treatments not available through commercial pharmaceuticals. In 2004, the AVMA petitioned the FDA to allow veterinarians to prescribe compounds containing bulk pharmaceutical ingredients in limited circumstances where such drugs would benefit animal health or improve medication compliance.

Dr. Bruce W. Little, then AVMA executive vice president, stated in a letter to the FDA that too few approved drugs were available to treat non-food-producing species and relieve pain and suffering. He indicated that the AVMA believed compounding from bulk ingredients might be necessary when approved drugs were not commercially available or when needed compounds could not be produced from approved drugs.

Joe Cabaleiro, RPh, executive director of the Pharmacy Compounding Accreditation Board, said his organization views the ruling as affirmation that veterinarians and pharmacists should be allowed to meet individual patient needs by compounding medications from active pharmaceutical ingredients, or those referred to as bulk ingredients by the FDA. Pharmacists use bulk ingredients when compounding to avoid introducing excipients that would not be tolerated by a patient and to increase the accuracy of ingredient amounts in a preparation. The amount of metronidazole contained in commercially available 250 mg tablets, for example, can vary 10 percent from the label amount.

“The prohibition against compounding with (active pharmaceutical ingredients) for animals has placed veterinarians and pharmacists in a difficult position—do what is best for the patient or comply with the letter of the law,” he said. “Notably, this is not a choice a physician and pharmacist dealing with a human patient have to make, as the law only applies to veterinary compounding.”

Franck's compounds prescription medicines for human and veterinary use and is licensed in the 47 states that require such licenses. A court document indicates that the Florida company fills about 37,000 prescriptions for compounded animal drugs annually, and those compounds account for 40 percent of its business.

Franck's Compounding Lab initially gained FDA attention because of an error that occurred in compounding a drug intended to treat muscle fatigue and exhaustion in horses. The drug was administered to 21 ponies on Venezuela's national polo team before their deaths at the April 2009 U.S. Open Polo Championship.

The FDA inspected Franck's facilities three times in the following eight months. Although the FDA complaint against Franck's mentioned the incident as a basis for the inspections, it was not used as the basis for the court complaint.

The FDA considered nearly all the business' compounded animal-use drugs to be adulterated and mis-branded because they were produced with bulk pharmaceutical ingredients rather than approved finished drugs.

FDA guidance documents related to human and veterinary drug compounding express concern about pharmacies that are illegally manufacturing unapproved drugs yet claiming their actions are typical pharmacy practices. The guidance for human-use drugs, however, expresses fewer concerns about the use of bulk ingredients than the guidance document for veterinary-use drugs, a distinction Corrigan indicated was problematic.

“If the FDA's position is correct, Congress intended to give the agency the authority to require traditionally compounded medications for nonfood-producing animals to go through the FDA's lengthy and involved new drug approval process but declined to require it for compounded medications prescribed for human beings,” Corrigan wrote. “This is simply too much for a public health statute like the FDCA to bear.”

Previous court rulings have given mixed opinions on the validity of certain rules Congress enacted in 1997 to exempt some compounded human-use drug products from regulations governing drug adulteration, misbranding, and approval. Two appellate courts and the U.S. Supreme Court agreed that advertising restrictions in the legislation were unconstitutional, but the appellate court rulings disagreed over whether the advertising provisions could be separated from other legal changes made at the same time, including the provisions regarding drugs compounded for human use. The Supreme Court did not address this severability issue.

Corrigan also said that, even if Congress had given the FDA authority to regulate traditional pharmaceutical compounding, the FDA still had not tested its views by developing formal regulations, presenting its arguments, and seeking public comment.

Because the FDA sought the injunction against Franck's on the basis of its use of bulk ingredients, rather than on the scale of its compounding operation, the judge wrote that the same type of enforcement action could have been applied to a pharmacy that filled a single prescription for a compounded product for use in one horse.

Franck said legal fees and a temporary suspension of sales of compound ed veterinary drugs early in the court proceedings nearly cost him his business, which he kept solvent by withdrawing his own retirement funds and laying off employees who had worked for him 15 to 20 years. Franck's voluntarily suspended sales of compounded animal-use drugs starting in mid-May 2010 but resumed sales three months later, when Corrigan denied a government motion to ban such sales while the case proceeded.

Although Corrigan indicated the FDA could distinguish between compounding and manufacturing, Franck thinks such regulation would not be problematic for him as long as the agency focused its enforcement efforts against pharmacies truly involved in manufacturing, which state pharmacy boards could help identify.

He expressed gratitude that the district court case was finished and that the court provided some guidance for his business.

Franck said it seems clear from the judge's opinion that, when a pharmacy serves veterinarians by compounding medications formulated for patients, the use of bulk materials is governed by state authorities.

“As long as the veterinarian is writing a prescription for a particular patient, it's under state regulations,” Franck said.

AVMA board approves Panel on Euthanasia report

Updated guidelines cover more species and methods

By R. Scott Nolen

The AVMA Executive Board approved the content of the 2011 update of the AVMA Guidelines on Euthanasia during a Sept. 27 conference call.

The AVMA Guidelines on Euthanasia are recognized by government regulators and the animal care and use community as the gold standard for acceptable procedures and agents for euthanizing a broad spectrum of animal species.

At press time in October, the guidelines were undergoing final edits and were to be published in an upcoming issue of JAVMA as well as on the AVMA website.

This latest edition of the AVMA euthanasia guidelines, the eighth since they were first published in 1963, is approximately three times the length of the previous, 2007 report. The number of animal species covered is more extensive, with both vertebrate and invertebrate species included.

The guidelines also feature a flowchart to aid veterinarians in making ethical decisions regarding euthanasia.

The effort to update the guidelines began in earnest in 2009 with the formation of 11 working groups consisting of more than 70 representatives from veterinary medicine, animal science, animal control, animal agriculture, wildlife, and other relevant fields. Each group was responsible for identifying and assessing research pertaining to technique- or species-specific topics. Also included on the panel for the first time was a schooled ethicist.

The working groups are a departure from earlier formats. For example, just more than a dozen individuals oversaw the revisions resulting in the 2000 version of the guidelines.

During the Executive Board conference call, Dr. Steven L. Leary, chair of the current AVMA Panel on Euthanasia, noted how the groups allowed the panel to compile a credible and comprehensive report. And, as a living document, the guidelines can be updated as new data become available, Dr. Leary added.

Before submitting its report to the AVMA board, the panel took into account more than 300 AVMA member comments elicited by a draft version of the guidelines posted online.

Unlike previous editions of the euthanasia guidelines, humane slaughter and depopulation are not covered in this latest report. The AVMA will address those two topics in separate guidance documents likely due in 2012–2013.

A table of contents, glossary, and index are intended to make the euthanasia guidelines more reader friendly.

Workforce study tabled

Also on the AVMA Executive Board's agenda was a proposal postponed from the August board meeting to conduct a study of the U.S. veterinary workforce.

The AVMA recently launched a national strategy to bring relief to a profession many analysts say has been in financial decline foryears. The plan features a $5 million fund for veterinary economic projects and creation of an AVMA veterinary economics division to keep the issue at the forefront of the Association's activities (see JAVMA, Oct. 15, 2011, page 1029).

Such initiatives benefit from a better understanding of the profession's economic challenges, the AVMA board agreed, yet it is hesitant to approve the workforce study, given the inherent difficulties of undertaking such a broad analysis. Several board members also voiced concern that the study findings and recommendations might be ignored by parts of the profession able to effect positive changes.

In the end, the recommendation was tabled until the November board meeting pending a review by the AVMA ad hoc Economic Vision Steering Committee.

Leptospirosis brochure available from AVMA

In response to member requests, the AVMA has, in collaboration with the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, developed a new client education brochure on leptospirosis.

The document provides a description of leptospirosis along with basic information about distribution of the disease, animals at risk of infection, and spread of the disease. The document goes on to cover signs of infection, diagnosis and treatment, risk of human infection, and methods of prevention.

The brochure is available at www.avma.org/products by clicking on “Brochures” and then on “Client Information.” English and Spanish versions of the brochure are downloadable for free in PDF format. The English version is available in print form by order in packages of 50 via the website or by calling (800) 248-2862, Ext. 6655.

Charts list animal care provider requirements

The AVMA has prepared charts to provide examples of educational and other requirements for veterinarians in comparison with requirements for nonveterinarian providers of animal care in select areas.

The first chart offers an overview of the education, training, certification, and regulatory oversight of veterinarians. The other charts give examples of requirements for nonveterinarian providers of equine dentistry, embryo transfer, chiropractic, physical therapy, acupuncture, and massage therapy.

The AVMA State Legislative and Regulatory Affairs Department compiled the charts as an informational resource but not as an exhaustive list.

The charts are available at www.avma.org/advocacy/state by clicking on “Scope of practice issues” on the left side.

The Student AVMA is seeking hosts for its exchange program.

Each year, dozens of veterinary students from universities across the globe apply for veterinary externship positions in the United States through the International Veterinary Students' Association Hosting Program. The SAVMA fields applications and places foreign students at U.S. veterinary clinics and hospitals that have expressed interest in serving as host practices, matching foreign students with participating veterinarians on file. Once a practitioner accepts a student, the SAVMA international exchange officer gives the host veterinarian's contact information to the student. The student and host veterinarian arrange the details of the exchange and create an experience that is educational yet comfortable for both participants.

A veterinarian who wishes to become a host can fill out a practitioner participation form at www.avma.org/noah/members/savma/ivsa/ivsahostform.rtf. Additional information is available through the SAVMA Web pages at www.avma.org/savma. For access to SAVMA members-only sections, AVMA members may enter their AVMA identification number and password.

Protecting endangered species, one letter at a time

Sales of a new premium postage stamp are helping support international wildlife conservation projects for tigers, great apes, and other endangered animal species.

The U.S. Postal Service began offering the Save Vanishing Species stamps Sept. 20 at post offices nationwide and online at www.USPS.com following a release ceremony at the Smithsonian's National Zoo in Washington, D.C.

An illustration of an Amur tiger cub is featured on the stamp, which costs 55 cents —11 cents more than a first-class mail stamp.

The Amur, or Siberian, tiger is one of six remaining tiger subspecies, all of which are found only in Asia, according to the World Wildlife Fund. As few as 3,200 tigers remain in the wild, where they are threatened by poaching and habitat loss, the WWF says.

Revenue generated by the sale of the Save Vanishing Species stamps will supplement the Multinational Species Conservation Funds, which support programs such as those protecting wild tigers. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service administers the MSCF, which include the African Elephant Conservation Fund, Asian Elephant Conservation Fund, Great Ape Conservation Fund, Rhinoceros and Tiger Conservation Fund, and Marine Turtle Conservation Fund.

Congress authorized the Save Vanishing Species stamps in 2010. Passage of the law was spearheaded by the Wildlife Conservation Society and the WWF and was supported by the 33 organizations comprising the Multinational Species Coalition, of which the AVMA is a member.

“The stamp provides a unique opportunity for the American public to work with the federal government to contribute to saving some of our most beloved threatened species,” said Herb Raffaele, chief of the USFWS Division of International Conservation. “A commitment to the stamp will demonstrate that Americans really care about wildlife conservation abroad.”

Veterinarians advocate for AVMA legislative priorities


Dr. Kurt Schrader (center), the only veterinarian currently serving in Congress, talks with Dr. Myron Downs, Georgia's alternate representative in the AVMA House of Delegates.

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 239, 10; 10.2460/javma.239.10.1266


Congressman Kevin Yoder (right) and fellow Kansan Dr. Vern Otte discuss the Fairness to Pet Owners Act, which would mandate veterinarians write prescriptions regardless of who is dispensing the medication. The AVMA believes the legislation is redundant and unnecessary. (Photos by R. Scott Nolen)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 239, 10; 10.2460/javma.239.10.1266

By R. Scott Nolen

These are austere times in Washington, D.C.

That Congress is in no mood to approve new spending was a sentiment that 34 members of the AVMA House of Delegates and other veterinary representatives heard frequently during their Oct. 3–4 visit to the nation's capital.

AVMA delegates representing state VMAs, species groups, practice areas, and veterinary students participated in the legislative visit to see for themselves how the Association advocates for veterinary medicine at the federal level. A small number of other AVMA members joined the HOD members, such as area veterinarians and VMA presidents.

The AVMA Governmental Relations Division facilitated the capital visit. Participants were provided with an overview of GRD operations, which included an explanation of the AVMA Congressional Advocacy Network. The online resource is a key means of keeping Association members apprised of federal issues relevant to veterinary medicine and generating grassroots action.

AVMA staff and federal veterinarians described the political process and the current Washington budgetary climate to the HOD members, who also received tips for effective communication with lawmakers.

Participants also learned about how important the nonpartisan AVMA Political Action Committee is to advancing the Association's agenda. “The PAC doesn't lobby. It opens doors and helps us elect candidates supportive of our issues,” explained AVMAPAC chair Dr. Ernest Godfrey. Approximately 2 percent of AVMA members contribute to the PAC. The goal is to increase the percentage of PAC contributors to at least 5 percent, he added.

Later, visitors attended an AVMAPAC-hosted event supporting the re-election of Rep. Kurt Schrader of Oregon—the only veterinarian in Congress—and several other Blue Dog Democrats facing competitive House races in 2012.

The HOD visit culminated in delegates meeting with their respective members of Congress or staff to askthem to support the AVMA agenda.

Specifically, AVMA representatives requested co-sponsorship of bills eliminating the 39 percent tax on Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program awards (S. 518); banning the transport of horses in double-decker trailers for any purpose (S. 1281); and establishing a competitive grant program to strengthen the nation's food safety, public health, and animal health and welfare systems (S. 1053).

Knowing that preventing the creation of bad laws is equally as important as getting good laws passed, AVMA delegates also asked their representatives to oppose two bills. The first would prohibit transporting horses to slaughter for human consumption (S. 1176/H.R. 2966); the second would require veterinarians to write a prescription for a companion animal patient regardless of who is dispensing the product to the client (H.R. 1406).

AVMA GRD Director Mark Lutschaunig counted the HOD visit a success. “The participants put words into action by visiting with their members of Congress to discuss important issues on the AVMA's legislative agenda,” Dr. Lutschaunig said.

AVMF receives 4-star rating

More donations, programmatic spending were factors

By Malinda Larkin

The American Veterinary Medical Foundation this year has been awarded a four-star rating by Charity Navigator, America's largest independent evaluator of charities.

The four out of four stars rating means the foundation exceeds industry standards and outperforms most charities with a similar cause.

“Over the past two years, the AVMF has been in the happy situation that our donors are giving more, and we're seeing more donations from every sector—from our generous corporate partners to individual donations” said Dr. Clark K. Fobian, chair of the AVMF board of directors, in a Sept. 22 AVMF press release. “Over that same time, the AVMF has done a good job putting that money to work. The amount of each donation that goes toward programs has skyrocketed.”

The Foundation awarded a total of $1.2 million in programmatic distributions in 2010, according to audit documents. The Pfizer Animal Health/AVMF Veterinary Student Scholarship Program accounted for about half the share at $555,000. Remaining distributions included $225,000 for disaster relief and response grants, $250,000 for public awareness and education activities, and $ 100,000 for the AVMA/AVMF pilot Food Animal Veterinarian Recruitment and Retention Program.

Overall, the amount that AVMF distributed for these types of programs increased from 58 percent of all expenses in 2009 to 71 percent in 2010, according to the AVMF auditor.

Meanwhile, the AVMF took in $1,695,809 in donations, in some measure thanks to partnerships with corporations. That's an increase of $755,681 from the previous year. Total revenue was $2.4 million.

Not only did the AVMF score well with Charity Navigator for its impressive figures on donations collected and money allocated, it also received high marks for accountability and transparency—two criteria recently added to the site's rating system.

In late September 2011, Charity Navigator unveiled a refined, expanded, and more in-depth rating system that provides donors with easy access to information as to how effectively a charity uses donor support. It was the first fundamental change to the system since the site's launch in 2002.

Charity Navigator used to base its evaluations solely on the financial statements each charity submits annually in its informational tax returns, or Internal Revenue Service Form 990. Now the site includes accountability and transparency in its evaluation criteria to make its rating system more in depth, according to Charity Navigator CEO Ken Berger in a Sept. 20 blog post on www.charitynavigator.com.

The AVMF is evaluated in the Animal Rights, Welfare and Services Category along with 239 other charities, which include the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Humane Society of the United States, and Morris Animal Foundation. Under the new rating system, the AVMF is one of only 53 (22 percent) charities with a four-star rating in its category.


The American Veterinary Medical Foundation chair, Dr. Clark K. Fobian, speaks at the Foundation's “A Night at the Zoo” fundraiser this past July during the AVMA Annual Convention. (Photo by R. Scott Nolen)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 239, 10; 10.2460/javma.239.10.1266

The Foundation held a one-star rating in 2005 before improving to a two-star rating in 2006 and then three stars in 2007 before dipping back down to one-star status in 2008 and 2009.

In 2005, the California VMA referred to the Foundation's low rating when it submitted a resolution to the AVMA House of Delegates asking that the Executive Board suspend its promotion of the Foundation to AVMA members until the expense-to-income ratio was reduced.

Since then, the AVMF has made tremendous strides in improving its balance sheet, as reflected in the most recent rating.

“The AVMF, with the impact it has made on the medical care and well-being of animals for almost 50 years, is very pleased to be recognized by Charity Navigator as a premier organization that is both transparent and efficient with its donors'support,” said Michael W. Cathey, AVMF executive director. “In addition, the AVMF is the only national animal charity whose operations are all directed by animal health and well-being experts—veterinarians. The AVMF is the special intersection where the animal-owning public can work directly with veterinarians in the care of animals.”

For more information on the American Veterinary Medical Foundation's 4-star rating, visit www.charitynavigator.com.

Elevating cat care

CATalyst Council advances cat-friendly practice, shelter relations

By Katie Burns

The CATalyst Council, in its mission to champion the cat, has been helping make over veterinary clinics as cat-friendly practices and is seeking to bolster relations between private practitioners and animal shelters.

A coalition of veterinary organizations, shelter organizations, and other stakeholders formed CATalyst in 2008 to elevate cat health and welfare. Last year, CATalyst and the American Association of Feline Practitioners began promoting the concept of cat-friendly practices. At the same time, the council started efforts to enhance shelter-practitioner relations.

Practice makeovers

CATalyst continues spreading the word that pet cats make fewer veterinary visits than pet dogs in the United States, even though pet cats are more populous.

“They're not getting the appropriate level of care just given their nature and given the perceptions and the beliefs that pet owners have about the health care of their cat,” said Dr. Alexis Nahama, CATalyst board chair and vice president for marketing for VCA Animal Hospitals.

The council has been working with ThinkPets Inc., a provider of client communications and practice analytics, on a pilot project of making over veterinary clinics as cat-friendly practices to increase veterinary visits.

To provide information for the pilot project, ThinkPets surveyed 1,800 pet owners early this year about their attitudes toward veterinary care.

The survey found that if an animal had never been to a veterinarian, it was two times as likely to be a cat as it was to be a dog. A quarter of cat owners who had not brought their cat to a veterinarian in the past year did not think a visit would improve the cat's overall health or lifespan.

A third of cat owners said they would bring their cat to a veterinarian more often if the veterinarian explained the value and importance of preventive care. More than half of cat owners said transporting their cat to the veterinarian was difficult or very difficult.

The pilot program of cat-friendly makeovers involved 17 practices that are ThinkPets customers, said Dr. Jane E. Brunt, CATalyst executive director.

Dr. Brunt said a ThinkPets consultant assisted practices in developing or refining standards for feline wellness care by referring to the Feline Life Stage Guidelines from the AAFP and American Animal Hospital Association and to materials from the United Kingdom's Feline Advisory Bureau, which pioneered the concept of cat-friendly practices.

The pilot project featured 10 training webinars on cat-friendly practices and specific steps for client communication. In July, practices began sending letters with product offers and follow-up email messages to invite existing clients to bring in cats for a visit.

Comparing July 2011 with July 2010, practices in the pilot project had a 1.9 percent increase in invoices from feline patients and a 4.1 percent increase in revenues from feline patients. Among ThinkPets customers that did not participate in the cat-friendly makeovers, invoices from feline patients decreased 2.9 percent and revenues from feline patients increased just 0.2 percent, comparing July 2011 with July 2010.

Dr. Brunt said CATalyst plans to expand the cat-friendly makeover program to more practices next year.

“If we can fine-tune it and sustain it and replicate it over thousands of veterinary hospitals, it will be good for cats,” Dr. Brunt said.

Shelter relations

In starting efforts to enhance the relationship between animal shelters and local practitioners, Dr. Brunt said, CATalyst facilitated a strategic alliance between the Society of Animal Welfare Administrators and the American Society of Veterinary Medical Association Executives. Now the council is developing materials to assist shelters and private practitioners in working together better at the local level.

CATalyst plans to identify communities to participate in a pilot project to implement the materials. The goals include “If you put things on the table and if everybody understands the big picture of their community's animal care world, then there would be opportunities to help more pets and help more people enjoy responsible pet ownership,” Dr. Brunt said.

Dr. Nahama said CATalyst has talked with people in communities with good shelter-practitioner relations and in communities with poor relations. The materials for the pilot project to bolster relations include case studies of communities that have or are building good relations.

One aspect of the project is to urge people from the veterinary and shelter circles to agree on acceptable terminology—not referring to “the pound,” for example. Another aspect could be to organize casual get-togethers of people from both circles in neutral environments such as dog parks.

Dr. Nahama said a common factor in communities with good shelter-practitioner relations is simply that “people know each other, people understand each other.”

In addition to cat-friendly practice makeovers and efforts to enhance shelter-practitioner relations, CATalyst continues to promote feline health and welfare to the press and directly to the public. Among the council's resources for cat owners is a recently released video with five steps to reduce cats' resistance to carriers.

Feline-friendly medicine

AAFP promotes cat-friendly practice, offers feline health information

By Katie Burns


Dr. Elizabeth J. Colleran and her supervising technician, Jan Yaroslav, examine a frightened cat by using a towel for restraint rather than scruffing the patient. This photo appears in Dr. Colleran's presentations on the concept of the cat-friendly practice. (Courtesy of Dr. Elizabeth J. Colleran)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 239, 10; 10.2460/javma.239.10.1266

The American Association of Feline Practitioners is increasing its efforts to promote the concept of cat-friendly practices while increasing its offerings of continuing education and informational resources on feline health.

The AAFP also expanded the scope of its annual meeting by holding the conference in conjunction with the International Society of Feline Medicine. The first World Feline Veterinary Conference, Sept. 8–11 in Boston, attracted 484 attendees from 19 countries.

Cat-friendly practices

Last year, the AAFP and the CATalyst Council embarked on parallel initiatives to promote cat-friendly practices. The campaign aims to increase feline veterinary visits by making the experience less stressful for cats and cat owners.

The AAFP initiative is in partnership with the ISFM, formerly the European Society of Feline Medicine. The ISFM is the veterinary division of the United Kingdom's Feline Advisory Bureau, which pioneered the concept of cat-friendly practices.

Earlier this year, the AAFP and ISFM published their Feline-Friendly Handling Guidelines as a resource for veterinarians. The AAFP subsequently released a client version of the guidelines in the brochure “Getting Your Cat to the Veterinarian.”

Veterinarians have welcomed the handling guidelines, which provide a foundation for the next stage in the AAFP initiative to promote cat-friendly practices, said Dr. Donna Stephens Manley, 2012 AAFP president.

“Now we're going to step them out of the exam room, that room that they're most comfortable in, and have them start taking a look at the surroundings that truthfully are what the cat sees first and the client sees first,” Dr. Manley said. “If we can make these visits more positive for the cat and for the client, then the end result is improvement in the health care provided to cats.”

Dr. Elizabeth J. Colleran, 2011 AAFP president, said an AAFP task force is adapting ISFM materials on cat-friendly practices for a U.S. audience. The AAFP will offer CE on cat-friendly practices at the North American Veterinary Conference, the Western Veterinary Conference, and the annual meeting of the American Animal Hospital Association next year.

In the meantime, Dr. Colleran said, the AAFP is collaborating with AAHA to offer a webinar on cat-friendly practices and a webinar on feline-friendly handling. The webinars will be available at the beginning of next year.

World conference, other activities

Cardiovascular disease was the focus of the World Feline Veterinary Conference in September.

“Many practitioners had indicated, as we did some research beforehand, that cardiac cases can be challenging in private practice,” said Dr. Arne Zislin, co-chair of the meeting and 2012 AAFP treasurer. “And this was a unique opportunity to go to one meeting and capture state-of-the-art information for their clients' cats.”

The conference featured an advanced track, a generalist track, and a paraprofessional track. Sessions covered topics such as blood testing as an adjunct in the diagnosis of cardiovascular disease in cats, nutrition for the feline cardiac patient, and emergency management in feline heart failure.

The AAFP also will be offering CE on various subjects in feline medicine at the NAVC, WVC, and AAHA meeting and at all three CVC conventions next year.

In September, the AAFP began offering a free webinar on the AAFP Senior Care Guidelines from 2008. The course is available via VetMedTeam, an online education provider, at www.vetmedteam.com.

Another new resource from the AAFP is a position statement on “Environmental Enrichment of Indoor Cats.” The statement addresses health risks to cats from a lack of stimulation and considerations for designing a plan for environmental enrichment.


Dr. Donna Stephens Manley

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 239, 10; 10.2460/javma.239.10.1266


Dr. Roy B. Smith

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 239, 10; 10.2460/javma.239.10.1266


Dr. Arne Zislin

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 239, 10; 10.2460/javma.239.10.1266


Dr. Elizabeth J. Colleran

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 239, 10; 10.2460/javma.239.10.1266

Guidelines, position statements, and other informational resources from the AAFP are available at its website at www.catvets.com.

During the World Feline Veterinary Conference, Dr. René A Carlson, AVMA president, installed the individuals who will take office as the AAFP officers in 2012. The full list of AAFP officers for 2012 is as follows: Drs. Donna Stephens Manley, Chapel Hill, N.C., president; Roy B. Smith, Round Rock, Texas, president-elect; Arne Zislin, Leawood, Kan., treasurer; and Elizabeth J. Colleran, Chico, Calif, immediate past president.

Dr. Carlson wrote about the conference afterward on the AVMA@Work blog. She referred to participants as “a passionate group of people about helping cats get the care they deserve.”

AAFP president connects with cats in practices, shelters


Dr. Donna Stephens Manley

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 239, 10; 10.2460/javma.239.10.1266

By Katie Burns

Dr. Donna Stephens Manley has worked in feline medicine as a small animal practitioner, as a feline-exclusive practitioner, and now as a staff veterinarian at an animal shelter.

In 2012, she also will be taking on the leadership of the American Association of Feline Practitioners as the association's president. The AAFP has about 2,000 members, with more than half of them in small animal practice rather than feline-exclusive practice.

The future AAFP president studied chemical engineering as an undergraduate student before deciding to follow her dream of becoming a veterinarian. She earned her veterinary degree from Auburn University in 1992.

Dr. Manley, who always felt a connection with cats, went on to work at small animal practices and feline-exclusive practices. In 2004, she started performing spay and neuter operations on a part-time basis at a county shelter operated by the Animal Protection Society of Durham in Durham, N.C. In 2006, she devoted herself to shelter medicine as the county shelter's first full-time staff veterinarian.

“What's most rewarding about it is the ability to help those animals that need a second chance in life,” Dr. Manley said.

She also volunteers her surgical services for Operation Catnip, a trap-neuter-release program for feral cats in Raleigh, N.C.

Dr. Manley's first involvement with the AAFP was as a recipient of the AAFP award for fourth-year veterinary students with outstanding interest and ability in feline medicine and surgery. A few years after graduation, she began attending AAFP conferences. She joined the AAFP Guidelines Committee in 2005, and she became a board member in 2008. She is currently AAFP president-elect.

As president, Dr. Manley's primary focus will be the AAFP initiative to promote the concept of cat-friendly practices to small animal practitioners.

“If we can show them ways by which to make their practice more receptive to the client and to the cat, then that's going to increase the number of visits that the cat is going to have in its lifetime,” Dr. Manley said.

Increasing feline veterinary visits benefits feline health and represents a growth opportunity for clinics, she said.

Dr. Manley said she hears concerns from private practitioners about shelters providing veterinary services such as surgery and vaccinations. She would like to pursue methods of improving communications between shelters, private practitioners, and cat adopters—if time allows during her tenure as president.

“What the rescue groups and shelters do is just the beginning of that cat's life of needing health care,” Dr. Manley said. “We do have situations where adopters don't get that communication, and they receive this new kitten or cat from the group, and they don't know that they still need to go to the veterinarian and continue to receive preventative health care.”

Among Dr. Manley's other goals as AAFP president are looking at various feline welfare issues and continuing to provide informational resources on feline medicine.

“It's very important that what I do as president is not about me or for me, but it's for helping cats wherever they are located,” Dr. Manley said.

Guidelines created for performance horse treatment


Appropriate treatment for horses such as this hunter competing in a show jumping competition requires accurate diagnostics and the development of evidence-based therapeutic regimens, according to the AAEP. (Courtesy of Robbi Meisel/United States Hunter Jumper Association)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 239, 10; 10.2460/javma.239.10.1266

Most equine veterinarians, at least those who are American Association of Equine Practitioners members, work with nonracing performance horses during their years of training and competition. These animals compete in a wide range of athletic activities encompassing everything from rodeo to dressage to endurance riding.

To better assist its members, the AAEP has developed guidelines for veterinarians who treat horses competing in athletic events other than racing. The document, “Clinical Guidelines for Veterinarians Treating the Non-Racing Performance Horse,” promotes medical practices the AAEP believes place the appropriate emphasis on the health, safety, and welfare of performance horses.

Focusing on the highly competitive performance horse environment, the guidelines address the importance of obtaining a specific diagnosis before administering treatment.

“The current use of medications to manage competition horses is often permissive and excessive. This environment is propagated by owners, trainers, and veterinarians who fail to appreciate the potential harm to the horse inherent in the excessive or frivolous use of multiple medications and supplements in the quest for competitive success,” according to the guidelines.

All medical treatment of performance horses should be based on a veterinary diagnosis with appropriate time allowed for an evaluation following treatment to ensure the horse has recovered before it competes again, the guidelines go on to say. Administering joint injections without a specific medical indication is listed as an example of underdiagnosis and overtreatment. The competition schedule should not be the primary factor when evaluating a horse's need for medical care, the guidelines contend.

In addition to medication administration, the document addresses the use of Shockwave therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic, and cold therapy. Also included are recommendations for veterinary medical records, drug compounding, and infectious disease control at competitions and sales. The guidelines will be updated as research provides new data about the medical care of performance horses.

The clinical guidelines were developed by the AAEPTask Force on Medication in the Non-Racing Performance Horse, a group composed of private and regulatory veterinarians involved in a wide range of sport horse disciplines. Dr. Nathaniel A. White II, AAEP immediate past president, served as task force chair.

“While the guidelines were written for veterinarians, we hope our recommendations will resonate with owners, trainers, and organizations involved with competitions,” explained Dr. White in a Sept. 19 AAEP press release. “Everyone involved in the care of the horse must appreciate the potential harm that may come from the excessive use of multiple medications. Simply giving a horse time off from competition is often the best medical choice that can be made.”

The clinical guidelines are at www.aaep.org/white_papers.htm.

Heartworm treatment to be available in limited quantities

Limited quantities of Immiticide, the only heartworm adulticide on the U.S. market, became available in October through a restricted distribution program.

The product was completely unavailable for a time because of ongoing technical issues at the U.S. plant that manufactures Immiticide for Merial. Subsequently, Merial received permission from the Food and Drug Administration to import the product from Merial's European supplier.

A Sept. 22 “dear doctor” letter from Merial states that the European supplier's production capacity will limit the amount of Immiticide available for importation to a quantity that will satisfy only a fraction of U.S. demand. According to the letter, Merial expected to receive a small shipment of the product from Europe in October and additional shipments thereafter on an intermittent basis.

The Immiticide from Europe will be available only directly from Merial through a restricted distribution program. As product becomes available, Merial will contact clinics that previously reported a need for Immiticide to treat patients with heartworm infection. Clinics that identify new cases should call (888) 637-4251, option 1.

Hundreds of animals recovered near Bastrop fires


Austin Humane Society staff members Lisa Starr (left) and Misty Valenta carry dogs into the organization's shelter Sept. 5. The dogs were recovered during searches of the area affected by fires in Bastrop County, Texas.

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 239, 10; 10.2460/javma.239.10.1266

By Greg Cima

Veterinarians, animal control officers, and animal protection organizations have helped recover and treat hundreds of animals affected by wildfires near Austin, Texas.

The Bastrop County fires started in early September and had affected more than 34,000 acres, destroyed more than 1,500 homes, and killed two people by Sept. 27, when the fire was 95 percent contained, according to the Texas Forest Service. A statement from the Texas Animal Health Commission indicates the agency didn't yet have tallies of the numbers of animals killed by the fires or removed from the areas affected by fires.

“Many of these animals were boarded at emergency shelters run by the community, local veterinary clinics, and local sale barns, so trying to keep track of numbers with fires in multiple parts of the state was a moving target,” TAHC officials said.

Dr. Wesley T. Bissett, director of Texas A&M University's Veterinary Emergency Team, said his 22-member team treated about 150 injured animals rescued from the scorched area in Bastrop County. Most were dogs and cats with burns—typically on the pads of their feet. The team also treated animals for respiratory problems related to smoke inhalation and dehydration. Operating from two trailers, the Texas A&M team moved with the search-and-rescue teams, always staying within a few miles of them.

“Virtually everything that we saw that had respiratory issues also had burns, and they were dehydrated as well,” Dr. Bissett said.

The team included eight veterinarians, four veterinary technicians, one administrator, and nine veterinary students, said Angela G. Clendenin, a spokeswoman for the college.

The Texas A&M team also cared for six search-and-rescue dogs, which experienced wear on their pads from walking on hot, rough ground and needed treatment to prevent harm from dehydration, Dr. Bissett said. Other than treating some minor burns, the Texas A&M team provided only preventive care for those dogs, he said.

Dr. Bissett said animals that received care by the university team were moved to emergency shelters.

Lisa Starr, spokeswoman for the Austin Humane Society, said her organization took in animals that needed additional care following examination and initial care by the Texas A&M team. The humane society sheltered about 170 animals, about 105 of which were recovered from areas affected by the fires. With the shelter run by Bastrop County's animal control department, the groups together housed about 400 animals, she said.

Dr. Katie Luke with the Austin Humane Society, Dr. Shawn Ashley with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Texas, and staff members from area shelters provided care for animals and helped bring in and reunite animals with owners. The Austin Humane Society also paid local veterinarians to treat some animals with severe injuries.

About even numbers of dogs and cats accounted for most of the animals in the Austin shelter, and the rest included three pigs, two rabbits, two guinea fowl, and a ferret.

Chris Copeland, executive director of the Texas VMA, said his organization and the Texas Veterinary Medical Foundation brought supplies to clinics near the Bastrop County fires. Those clinics have been taking in animals from people evacuated because of the fires and some stray animals. He said that staff from at least one clinic checked pastures in the area for animals injured by the fires.

Although Copeland wasn't aware of damage to clinics, he said at least one was in an evacuation zone. Animals held at the facility had to be distributed among other clinics in the area.

Some of the clinics aided by the TVMA and TVMF have been treating animals injured by the fires, Copeland said.

In addition to the Bastrop County fire, Copeland noted that another large fire had moved through Waller County near Houston. By late September, temperatures were still topping 100°F in Austin and dry conditions continued, providing fuel for new fires.

“With the conditions, we just hear about more and more fires popping up all over the state, and the weather forecasts don't look very encouraging for either the near term or for the long term,” Copeland said.” We're supposed to be hotter and dryer than normal for this next several months, which is certainly of concern to us.”

As of late September, the Texas Forest Service was receiving reports of new fires affecting thousands of acres daily. Those fires and the Bastrop fires were not included in the tally of 18,500 wildfires that had burned 3.5 million acres in Texas from January to August, according to figures from the office of Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Antimicrobial oversight could increase through VFDs

By Greg Cima

Veterinary oversight could become required for some antimicrobials currently available over the counter to livestock owners.

Federal drug authorities also plan to increase restrictions on extralabel use of cephalosporin-class antimicrobials.

Dr. William T. Flynn, deputy director for science policy in the Food and Drug Administration, said the agency could begin requiring veterinary feed directives for many of the antimicrobials currently available for use in animal feed without prescriptions. He said the agency is considering changes to the regulations governing the directives, which allow administration of medicated feeds under the supervision and direction of a veterinarian.

“The concern was the existing (VFD) process (is) just simply too onerous, and it was going to create some really significant workability issues if we go in this direction,” Dr. Flynn said.” That's something we've identified and have been trying to get input on, is how to improve that process.”

Dr. Flynn made the comments during a session on antimicrobial resistance at the American Association of Bovine Practitioners annual conference Sept. 22–24 in St. Louis. He said the FDA is considering ways to phase out nontherapeutic use of some antimicrobials important for use in human medicine while ensuring the drugs remain available for treatment of animal disease. The agency is most concerned about products approved before 2003, when the FDA began considering the potential risk posed by antimicrobial resistance in the drug approval process.

Dr. M. Gatz Riddell, executive vice president of the AABP, said his organization favors increased veterinary oversight of antimicrobial use and has given the FDA comments on ways to streamline the VFD process. He expects the FDA to consider requiring VFDs for nearly all antimicrobials currently available over the counter for use in the feed of food animals. Ionophores are likely among the few exceptions, although bambermycins could also be exempt from VFD-related requirements, he said.

Dr. Flynn similarly said that his agency's concerns regarding antimicrobial resistance applied only to drugs relevant to human medicine and not to those with no counterparts or limited uses in human medicine.

Dr. Riddell said some cattle veterinarians have expressed concerns that, because no products for use in cattle have been labeled as VFD drugs, their unfamiliarity with the VFD process could lead to confusion and errors. He hopes to partner with the agency, however, to provide training for cattle veterinarians.

The workload required to issue sufficient VFDs for large herds is a concern, Dr. Riddell said. He estimated that if a veterinarian needs to write VFDs for individual pens on a feedlot with about 100,000 cattle, that veterinarian could write about 2,200 VFDs annually. Instead, the AABP would prefer that a veterinarian be allowed to write directives that would apply over 6 to 12 months to animals managed in identical conditions and needing identical preventive measures.

Dr. Flynn also said the FDA plans to issue in the near future an order that would increase restrictions on the use of cephalosporin-class antimicrobials in food animals. In July 2008, the FDA issued an order that would have, by October 2008, banned all extralabel use of such drugs in food-producing animals. The agency extended the comment period and subsequently revoked the order, citing the need to fully consider comments. FDA officials had indicated a revised version of the cephalosporin extralabel use ban would be published, at one time indicating the new order was expected in summer 2009.

The AVMA was among veterinary organizations that opposed the 2008 order, stating in comments to the agency that the restrictions could have unintended negative consequences for animal health and welfare and decrease food safety without providing the desired improvements to human health. The Association requested that the FDA delay the order and further assess the risks and benefits.

Dr. Riddell said the AABP has not seen evidence connecting antimicrobial resistance among foodborne pathogens to extralabel cephalosporin use, as opposed to use according to the label. He said the AABP wants a rigorous system that could determine whether a drug's use is connected with resistance and whether restrictions on extralabel use of a drug are connected with changes in resistance.

The FDA's Federal Register notice for the 2008 order states that reduced susceptibility to veterinary-use ceftiofur was connected with reduced susceptibility to human-use ceftriaxone, both of which are cephalosporin-class antimicrobials. The agency acknowledged in that order that few data were available to show the extent of extralabel veterinary cephalosporin use, but inspections of eight poultry hatcheries in 2001 and examination of the facility records indicated that ceftiofur was used in an extralabel manner in six of the facilities.

“For example, ceftiofur was being administered at unapproved dosing levels or by unapproved methods of administration,” the 2008 order states. “In particular, ceftiofur was being administered by egg injection, rather than by the approved method of administering the drug to day-old chicks.”

Some cephalosporin antimicrobials are currently approved for use in dairy cattle to treat bovine respiratory disease, foot rot, shipping fever, pneumonia, pododermatitis, uterine infection, and mastitis. Extralabel uses have included treatment of septicemia and peritonitis, as well as use as a postoperative prophylactic antimicrobial.

Cephalosporin antimicrobials are also labeled for use in poultry to control Escherichia coli and early mortality. Extralabel uses have included prophylaxis for young birds and eggs at high risk of bacterial infection.

Genetic markers could help avoid cattle disease

Cattle owners may eventually use a genetic marker to breed cattle resistant to bovine respiratory disease, pinkeye, and foot rot.

Findings from the Agricultural Research Service of the Department of Agriculture indicate a genetic marker found on bovine chromosome 20 is connected with resistance to those diseases, according to an article in the September 2011 issue of Agricultural Research. The article indicates more research is needed, however, to confirm the connection.

The article states that bovine respiratory disease, or pneumonia, causes about 75 percent of cattle feedlot deaths and about 70 percent of all cattle deaths, costing cattle owners more than $1 billion annually in losses through deaths and illnesses. It also estimates that pinkeye costs producers about $150 million annually, and the disease is highly contagious among cattle. Total figures for foot rot were not immediately available.

“What's interesting about the markers on chromosome 20 is that they are in very close proximity to other markers related to other diseases,” ARS geneticist Eduardo Casas, PhD, said in the USDA publication. “That particular region may have a significant effect on the general health of animals.”

More information is available in the September 2011 issue of Agricultural Research, which is available at www.ars.usda.gov/is/AR.

Partnership launches cat health initiative

The Cat Health Network, a newly formed partnership among some of the most influential feline organizations in the country, approved funding for several research projects to be conducted at U.S. and foreign laboratories this year.

The investigators, and their research projects, include the following:

  • • Stephen O'Brien, PhD, National Cancer Institute, “Dense physical linkage map using SNP array for rigorous assembly of the feline genome sequence.”

  • • Tosso Leeb, PhD, University of Bern, Switzerland, “Genetic analysis of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in Maine Coon cats” and “Genetic analysis of polycystic kidney disease in Maine Coon cats.”

  • • Leslie A. Lyons, PhD, University of California-Davis, “Genome-wide association studies of brachycephaly in domestic cats”; “Construction of a high-resolution map for assisting cat genome sequence assembly”; “Genomewide association study for hypokalemic polymyopathy in Burmese cats”; and “Genome-wide association studies for progressive retinal atrophies in cats.”

  • • Robert Grahn, PhD, University of California-Davis, “Genome-wide association study for congenital muscular dystrophy in Sphynx and Devon Rex cats.”

  • • Bianca Haase, PhD, University of Sydney, Australia, “Bodyweight: Investigation of genetic aspects in an experimental cat population.”

  • • Dr. Kathryn M. Meurs, Washington State University, “Genome-wide association of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in the Sphynx cat.”

  • • Dr. Niels C. Pedersen, University of California-Davis, “Genetic susceptibility to feline infectious peritonitis.”

To assist them in their research, the investigators will receive samples of feline single nucleotide polymorphisms. SNPs are small variations from the common feline DNA sequence that can be used as markers to track down genes responsible for genetic diseases. Hill's Pet Nutrition Inc. donated the SNPs, valued at around $1 million, to the Morris Animal Foundation in 2008 in an effort to jump-start the research initiatives. The American Veterinary Medical Foundation, Winn Feline Foundation, and American Association of Feline Practitioners will provide a total of approximately $100,000 annually to fund these approved studies.

The MAF, the Winn Feline Foundation, the AAFP, and the AVMF comprise the Cat Health Network, part of the Animal Health Network that originated at the behest of the AVMF and the AVMA Council on Research after years of planning for an Institute for Companion Animal and Equine Research to fund feline, canine, and equine health studies (see JAVMA, June 1, 2011, page 1376).

The Animal Health Network was started in early 2011 to bring together like-minded groups to facilitate greater research in a collaborative effort. The first initiative was the species-specific Cat Health Network, a pilot effort launched in response to cats falling behind dogs when it comes to visits to the veterinarian. Research conducted into cat health also falls short of the research conducted for dogs.

“The formulation of the Cat Health Network is a step in the right direction. The decline in feline veterinary visits is alarming and now more than ever before it's becoming critical for us to identify new ways to improve the health and welfare of cats” said Dr. Letrisa Miller, AAFP Research Committee chair in a Sept. 6 CHN press release.

The CHN's mission is to improve feline health and welfare through funding of targeted health studies in cats, particularly in the areas of cancer, chronic renal disease, diabetes mellitus, feline lower urinary tract disease, and pain management.

Tufts, IFAW sign partnership agreement


Dr. Sara Heslop, a recent veterinary graduate from Tufts, completed a project at an IFAW-sponsored wildlife facility in British Columbia, Canada. (Courtesy of Sara Heslop/Tufts)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 239, 10; 10.2460/javma.239.10.1266

Tufts University's Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine signed a memorandum of understanding Sept. 20 with the International Fund for Animal Welfare. The agreement is meant to encourage collaborative research, teaching, and student opportunities between New England's only veterinary school and the internationally recognized group, which is dedicated to assisting animals in crisis.

Signed by Cummings School Dean Deborah T. Kochevar and Azzedine Downes, IFAW's executive vice president, the agreement acknowledges mutual areas of interest between Tufts and IFAW and lays out intentions to work together and to share training opportunities for staff and students.

The international components of the partnership will enhance an already strong International Veterinary Medicine program at Cummings. The program consists of a core course as well as electives, selectives, a certificate program, and international experiences in places such as Nepal, South Africa, Bhutan, Indonesia, and Uganda.

Several Cummings School students already have worked on IFAW-sponsored projects, including elephant rehabilitation in India, raptor rescue and rehabilitation in China, and improvement of community dog and cat welfare in Mexico and Native American reservations in the United States.

Plus, four students from Tufts' Master of Science in Animals and Public Policy program have completed externships with IFAW. One went to Navajo territory to assess attitudes among the native peoples toward dog ownership. Another traveled to Cozumel, studying the health of free-roaming dogs.

IFAW also is represented at the instructional level, as the group's representatives teach in the veterinary school's curricula, both for the DVM-degree and the master's program. For example, Kate N. Atema, the organization's program director for companion animals, teaches the qualitative methods class within the Animals and Public Policy curriculum. Also, IFAW has helped to launch the Disaster Medicine elective course, offered for the first time this past April.

Now with the agreement signed, Tufts and IFAW have already begun investigating many more opportunities for collaboration and hope to roll those out within the next year, said Tufts spokesman Thomas Keppeler.

IFAW is headquartered in Yarmouth, Mass. With more than 1.2 million supporters worldwide, IFAW works to engage communities, government leaders, and like-minded organizations around the world to achieve lasting solutions to pressing animal welfare and conservation challenges for dogs and cats, wildlife and their habitats, and animals in crisis.

Colorado professor takes over as NC State dean


Dr. D. Paul Lunn (Courtesy of Dr. Lunn)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 239, 10; 10.2460/javma.239.10.1266

Dr. D. Paul Lunn will become dean of the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine effective Feb. 15, 2012. Provost Warwick A. Arden announced the appointment Sept. 26. Dr. Arden was previously dean of the college before becoming provost and executive vice chancellor of NC State in December 2010.

Dr. Lunn comes from Colorado State University's College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, where he has been professor of equine medicine and head of the Department of Clinical Sciences since 2003. He is an expert in equine immunology and infectious disease; his laboratory researches equine influenza and equine herpesvirus infection.

From 2000–2003, Dr. Lunn served as associate dean for clinical affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine and director of Wisconsin's Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital. He was a professor at the school from 1991–2000.

Dr. Lunn was born in Wales and received his BVSc degree at the University of Liverpool in 1982. He earned a master's in veterinary medicine from the UW-Madison in 1988 and his doctorate from the University of Cambridge in 1991. Dr. Lunn is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine.

Dr. Lunn is past president of the American Association of Veterinary Clinicians and served on a Department of Agriculture review panel titled “Sustaining Animal Health and Well-being: Immunology and Parasitology.” He is currently the chairman of the Research Advisory Committee of the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation.

Oklahoma State's new dean gets to work


Dr. Jean E. Sander

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 239, 10; 10.2460/javma.239.10.1266

The Oklahoma State University Center for Veterinary Health Sciences' new dean arrived on campus Aug. 1 and has gotten off to a busy start.

Dr. Jean E. Sander, in addition to running the college, began teaching pathology starting this fall semester. She also addressed students during their student chapter of the AVMA meeting in late September.

Dr. Sander had been at The Ohio State University, where she served as the associate dean for academic and student affairs at the College of Veterinary Medicine and as a professor in the Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine.

She was selected as Oklahoma's new dean this past April.

OSU's Center for Veterinary Health Sciences includes the veterinary college, the Oklahoma Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, and the Boren Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital.

The search for a new CVHS dean began following the announcement of the retirement of Dr. Michael D. Lorenz in October 2010. Dr. Lorenz had served as dean since 2004.

Dr. Sander received her DVM degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1987. Prior to Ohio State, Dr. Sander was a professor at the University of Georgia, where she received a master's in avian medicine in 1989.

Her research interests are commercial poultry preventive medicine and pathology.

She is a diplomate of the American College of Poultry Veterinarians.

Community Accolades


Dr. Wesley G. Bieritz

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 239, 10; 10.2460/javma.239.10.1266


Dr. Michael Schaer

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 239, 10; 10.2460/javma.239.10.1266


Andrew M. Dahlem, PhD

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 239, 10; 10.2460/javma.239.10.1266


The University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine and its alumni association presented four alumni with the Dr. Erwin Small Distinguished Alumnus Award and a Special Service Award Sept. 15 during the annual Fall Conference for Veterinarians.

Recipients of the 2011 Dr. Erwin Small Distinguished Alumnus Award are Dr. Wesley G. Bieritz (IL ′63), Dr. Dennis E. Brooks (IL ′80), Dr. Michael Schaer (IL 70), and Andrew Michael Dahlem, PhD (IL ′89). The award is given to Illinois graduates who've made significant contributions to the veterinary profession or the college.

Dr. Bieritz is a retired practice owner who has supported Illinois veterinary students and recent graduates for several years. As Illinois State VMA president, he established the Illinois Veterinary Medical Foundation, which currently funds four student scholarships at the veterinary college. Dr. Bieritz also worked to develop a program that sends recent Illinois graduates to the AVMA Veterinary Leadership Conference as part of the emerging leaders initiative.

Dr. Brooks is widely regarded as an authority on corneal transplantation and glaucoma as well as infectious corneal ulcers in horses. The diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists has mentored and taught numerous ophthalmology residents and advanced-degree students at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, where he is a professor.

Dr. Schaer is professor and small animal medicine service chief at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine. He was one of the first candidates to pass the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine written examination for certification and is a charter diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care. Dr. Schaer has held offices with the ACVIM, ACVECC, and American Association of Veterinary Clinicians.

Dr. Dahlem earned his doctorate at the University of Illinois' Department of Veterinary Biosciences and is currently vice president and chief operating officer of Eli Lilly Research Laboratories. He was instrumental in the development of the Eli Lilly fellowships in toxicologic pathobiology and toxicology/pharmacology. Dr. Dahlem is also an adjunct professor at Illinois, Purdue, and The Ohio State universities.

Karen Koenig received the Special Service Award for her work at the veterinary college's Wildlife Medical Clinic, where she cares for resident raptors.

Community Obituaries: Member Honor roll member Nonmember

Rachel Y. Beard

Dr. Beard (IL ′05), 31, Lancaster, Texas, died Aug. 24, 2011. She practiced small animal medicine at VCA Metroplex Animal Hospital in Dallas. Earlier in her career, Dr. Beard worked for Maryland Veterinary Group Equine Practice in Laurel, Md., serving at the Bowie, Laurel, and Pimlico racetracks; practiced emergency medicine at Falls Road Animal Hospital in Baltimore; and worked as an emergency clinician at Veterinary Specialists of the Valley in Woodland Hills, Calif. She moved to Texas in 2009.

Passionate about horses and horse racing, Dr. Beard was active with Veterinarians for Equine Welfare, a group committed to the humane treatment of horses and opposed to horse slaughter. She was also involved with the Never-E-Nuff Acres Horse Rescue and Sanctuary in Waxahachie, Texas. Memorials may be made to the sanctuary at P.O. Box 94, Waxahachie, TX 75168.

Phil A. Blair

Dr. Blair (COL ′59), 77, Phoenix, died Aug. 4, 2011. He was an assistant state veterinarian with the Arizona Department of Agriculture's Animal Services Division since 1997. Earlier in his career, Dr. Blair practiced in Broken Bow, Neb.; served as a partner at the Casa Grande Animal Hospital in Casa Grande, Ariz.; farmed in southern Colorado's San Luis Valley; and managed the Arnold Pickle and Olive Company in Phoenix.

He was a past president of the Arizona VMA and a past member of the board of directors of the Western Veterinary Conference. Active in civic life, Dr. Blair was a past president of the Van Buren Civic Association; served on the advisory committee for Gateway Community College; and was a member of the Phoenix Planning and Zoning Committee. His wife, Judy; three daughters; and a stepson survive him. Memorials may be made to The Myelodysplastic Syndromes Foundation Inc., 4573 S. Broad St., Suite 150, Yardville, NJ 08620; or Western Veterinary Conference Student Scholarship Foundation, P.O. Box 50755, Henderson, NV 89016.

Kenneth S. Gingrich Sr.

Dr. Gingrich (MSU ′44), 88, St. Charles, Mich., died March 16, 2011. A mixed animal veterinarian, he practiced in Richmond, Mich., for more than 40 years prior to retirement in 1987. During that time, Dr. Gingrich established the Richmond Veterinary Clinic. Early in his career, he worked as a poultry inspector for the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Michigan. Dr. Gingrich was a life member of the Michigan VMA. Active in civic life, he was a past president of the Richmond Community Schools Board of Education and was a member of the Richmond Rotary Club. Dr. Gingrich served as a captain in the Army Veterinary Corps. He is survived by four sons and two daughters. Memorials may be made to the First Free Methodist Church, 2625 N. Center Road, Saginaw, Ml 48603.

William L. Hay

Dr. Hay (OSU ′50), 91, Piper City, III., died March 25, 2011. During his career, he practiced in Piper City. Dr. Hay was a past president of the Central Illinois VMA. Active in civic life, he was also a past president of the Piper City School Board and was a member of the Lions Club. An Army veteran of World War II, Dr. Hay was a member of the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. His five sons survive him. Memorials may be made to the Presbyterian Church, 224 S. Margaret St., Piper City, IL 60959.

Jerome B. Higgins

Dr. Higgins (COR ′65), 69, Setauket, N.Y., died Aug. 14, 2011. He practiced small animal medicine at Miller Place Animal Hospital in Miller Place, N.Y. Dr. Higgins was a member of the Long Island VMA and served on the board of directors of Animal Emergency Service in Selden, N.Y. He was an Army veteran of the Vietnam War, attaining the rankof captain. Dr. Higgins is survived by his wife, Donna, and two sons. Memorials may be made to the Long Island Coalition for Life, P.O. Box 223, Ronkonkoma, NY 11779.

Kenneth E. Keppy

Dr. Keppy (ISU 72), 64, Bettendorf, Iowa, died Aug. 17, 2011. In 1974, he became a partner at Abel-Keppy Animal Hospital, a small animal practice in Bettendorf. Dr. Keppy was named president of the hospital in 1989. At the time of his death, he was managing veterinarian of all three of the hospital's clinics, including facilities in Davenport, Iowa, and Milan, III. A past director of the Scott County Humane Society, Dr. Keppy helped organize a spay-neuter program with its auxiliary in 1977.

He was a member of the American Animal Hospital Association, Iowa and Quad City VMAs, and Veterinary Dental Society. Active in civic life, Dr. Keppy was also a member and a past chair of the Scott County Board of Health and a member and a past chair of the board of directors of the Center for Active Seniors Inc. He is survived by his wife, Lois; three sons; and a daughter. Memorials in his name may be made to CASI, 1035 W. Kimberly Road, Davenport, IA 52806; St. Paul Lutheran Church, 2136 Brady St., Davenport, IA 52803; or the National T.T.T. Society (providing educational camping experiences for girls), 811 E. Washington St., Mount Pleasant, IA 52641.

Elmer H. Lerner

Dr. Lerner (UP ′55), 93, Sarasota, Fla., died June 27, 2011. He practiced in Palmyra, Pa., for 13 years, and in 1970, after receiving a master's in laboratory animal medicine from Pennsylvania State University, he joined the university's Milton S. Hershey Medical Center as an associate professor of comparative animal medicine. Dr. Lerner's wife, Matilda, and two sons survive him. Memorials may be made to the Chisuk Building Fund, P.O. Box 5507, Harrisburg, PA 17110; Hospice of Central Pennsylvania, 1320 Linglestown Road, Harrisburg, PA 17110; or American Cancer Society, P.O. Box 22718, Oklahoma City, OK 73123.

Grace Loomis

Dr. Loomis (COR ′42), 92, Warsaw, N.Y, died May 22, 2011. A small animal practitioner, she served as a relief veterinarian from 1970–2001. Earlier in her career, Dr. Loomis co-owned Warsaw Veterinary Hospital with her husband, Dr. Ralph E. Loomis (now deceased). Her three sons and a daughter survive her. Memorials may be made to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 4002018, Des Moines, IA 50340; or Warsaw Rescue Squad, P.O. Box 22, Warsaw, NY 14569.

Charles R. McCune

Dr. McCune(PUR'64),73, Indianapolis, died Aug. 30, 2011. A small animal veterinarian, he practiced in Indianapolis for 43 years. Dr. McCune also bred Akitas and Border Terriers. Early in his career, he practiced in the Quad Cities. Dr. McCune was a member of the Indiana VMA and CIVMA. His wife, Priscilla; two daughters; and a son survive him. Memorials may be made to the Lawrence Exchange Club (for the prevention of child abuse), P.O. Box 26851, Lawrence, IN 46226; or Low Cost Spay/Neuter Clinic, 1721A Pleasant St., Noblesville, IN 46060.

Joseph J. Merenda

Dr. Merenda (COR ′34), 98, Brooklyn, N.Y, died July 13, 2011. Prior to retirement in the mid-1970s, he practiced small animal medicine at the Zepp Clinic in Manhattan, N.Y. Dr. Merenda was part of a People-to-People veterinary delegation to Eastern Europe in 1964. An Army veteran of World War II, he was active with the Army War Dogs program and retired in 1972 with the rank of lieutenant colonel. Dr. Merenda is survived by a son and a daughter. Memorials may be made to Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, P.O. Box 223623, Pittsburgh, PA 15251.

Edwin H. Page

Dr. Page (OSU ′53), 91, West Lafayette, Ind., died May 21, 2011. From 1975 until retirement in 1985, he was head of large animal clinics at Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine. Following graduation, Dr. Page practiced mixed animal medicine in Kentucky at Greensburg and Glasgow. In 1964, he joined the Department of Large Animal Clinics at Purdue University. Dr. Page was promoted to full professor in 1967, teaching equine medicine with a focus on lameness diagnosis and therapy.

He was a past president of the American Association of Equine Practitioners and a member of the Indiana and West Central Indiana VMAs. Dr. Page was also a past chair of the IVMA Large Animal Program Committee. In 1985, he received the IVMA President's Award. Dr. Page was a Navy veteran of World War II, receiving a Purple Heart for his combat service. He is survived by a son and a daughter. Memorials toward the Edwin and Margaret Page Student Scholarship may be made to Purdue Foundation, Lynn Hall Room 1177A, 625 Harrison St., West Lafayette, IN 47907.

Jack O. Parker

Dr. Parker (MO ′54), 82, Ravenwood, Mo., died Aug. 18, 2011. Prior to retirement in 1989, he was a meat inspector with the United States Department of Agriculture in Arkansas and New Mexico. Earlier in his career, Dr. Parker practiced in Grant City, Mo., for 28 years. He served as a 1st lieutenant in the Army during the Korean War and was a member of the American Legion. Active in civic life, Dr. Parker was a past mayor of Grant City. He was also a member of the Worth County Sheriff's Posse and was active with the 4-H Club. In 2001, Dr. Parker wrote and published his autobiography “Life of a Country Veterinarian.” His wife, Lucille, and two daughters survive him. Memorials may be made to the Christian Church of Ravenwood, 207 E. Elm St., Ravenwood, MO 64479.

Karl A. Schmidt Jr.

Dr. Schmidt (MSU ′97), 41, Plantation, Fla., died Aug. 11, 2011. A diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists, he was in the midst of a career move to the Chicagoland area at the time of his death. Following graduation, Dr. Schmidt practiced in Rockford, III., for a year. After completing his residency in veterinary ophthalmology at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign from 1998–2000, he joined Animal Eye Consultants in Illinois, practicing in Crestwood, Elgin, and Rockford. In 2003, Dr. Schmidt moved to Florida, where he practiced at the Animal Eye Specialty Clinic's locations in Deerfield Beach and Miami. He was a member of the Florida, South Florida, and Broward County VMAs. Memorials may be made to the Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine, East Lansing, MI 48824.

Stanley C. Skadron

Dr. Skadron (MIN ′57), 81, Mendota Heights, Minn., died July 13, 2011. He practiced small animal medicine at Skadron Animal Hospital in West St. Paul, Minn., for 40 years. Dr. Skadron is survived by his wife, Nancy, and four children. Memorials may be made to Temple of Aaron Synagogue, 616 S. Mississippi River Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55116; or the Stanley C. Skadron Scholarship Fund, c/o University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine, 1365 Gortner Ave., St. Paul, MN 55108.

Heinz J. Tolksdorf

Dr. Tolksdorf (BER ′42), 92, Washington, Mo., died Aug. 24, 2011. After graduating from Free University in Berlin, he practiced mixed animal medicine in Germany. In 1952, Dr. Tolksdorf immigrated to the United States and worked in Washington for nearly 50 years prior to retirement in 2002. He was a lifetime member of the Missouri VMA. Dr. Tolksdorf is survived by two sons and three daughters. One daughter, Dr. Christa Tolksdorf (MO ′82), practices small animal medicine in South Pasadena, Fla.

Rufus F. Weidner

Dr. Weidner (MIN ′53), 88, Queensbury, N.Y., died May 24, 2011. During his career, he practiced mixed animal medicine in Reedsville, Wis; served as a veterinary meat inspector near Milwaukee; worked for the Department of Agriculture as an assistant station veterinarian at Beltsville Agricultural Research Center in Beltsville, Md.; and was a veterinary medical officer for the Food and Drug Administration in Washington, D.C, and Chicago. Dr. Weidner retired in 1986. He is survived by his wife, Mary Jane; two daughters; and a son.

Gregg H. Wilson

Dr. Wilson (WSU ′50), 86, San Diego, died May 30, 2011. A small animal practitioner, he owned Bay Park Pet Clinic in San Diego from 1951–1993. Dr. Wilson served on the board of directors of the Emergency Animal Clinic of San Diego in the 1980s. Active in civic life, he was a member of San Diego Rotary Club 33 for more than 40 years. Dr. Wilson served in the Army during World War II. His wife, Ellen; two sons; and two daughters survive him. Memorials may be made to the San Diego Humane Society, 5500 Gaines St., San Diego, CA 92110.

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