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Honoring the dogs of 9/11


Then and now. Tony Zintsmaster and Kaiser, one of a few remaining search-and-rescue dogs deployed during 9/11. (Photo by R. Scott Nolen)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 239, 6; 10.2460/javma.239.6.704

Tragedy highlights human-animal bond and quiet heroism of canine search-and-rescue teams

By R. Scott Nolen


(Courtesy of Bob Kaufman/Alaska.org)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 239, 6; 10.2460/javma.239.6.704

Deep inside the condemned building, a person hides in a closet, the door closed tight. Outside the room, far down a long hallway, a black Labrador Retriever is released. The dog bolts down the corridor, darting in and out of empty rooms as if pulled by an invisible leash.

When the dog reaches the last room at the end of the hall and smells its quarry, it barks and scratches at the door until the person emerges, rewarding the animal with praise and a rough tug of war with a toy.

The debris-littered building is a close approximation of a structure that's been pounded by a hurricane or other disaster and helps prepare canine search-and-rescue teams for finding an injured survivor lying buried beneath piles of rubble.

Outside, another dog, Kaiser, watches intently as other teams of dogs and their handlers file into the dilapidated structure for their turns.

Though his spirit is clearly willing, Kaiser is nearly 13, and his body can no longer meet the rigorous demands of SAR work. So the German Shepherd Dog watches the exercise while owner Tony Zintsmaster offers the occasional reassuring word or ruffles the dog's ears.

Kaiser and Zintsmaster are veterans of numerous disasters, both natural and man-made. Zintsmaster has worked for more than 20 years in canine search and rescue. His most memorable deployment, however, was the nine days he and Kaiser spent as part of Indiana Task Force 1 at what remained of the World Trade Center after the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. “The scene was surreal,” he recalled, adding how he could smell the site from blocks away.

“The gray dust was ankle-deep, black smoke, white smoke, fires burning, three cranes, two dozers, five claws, and 500 workers, working on our corner of an 80-foot-tall rubble pile, illuminated by high-powered lights from a dozen generators,” Zintsmaster said.

On day two, Kaiser, preceding Zintsmaster up a part of the pile, stopped short and refused to move. “I reached down and discovered that the ground was hot,” he explained. Fires were still burning beneath the rubble, and the ground could have easily collapsed beneath a worker.

That was a decade ago, and the years have caught up with Kaiser. Zintsmaster retired his dog from SAR work in 2010 after he saw Kaiser struggle up a debris pile. He's now training Kaiser's successor, Jago, a 4-year-old German Shepherd Dog, for certification by the Federal Emergency Management Agency as an SAR dog.

Of the hundreds of dogs that participated during the 9/11 disaster, few are alive today. The median age of the dogs at that time was 5 years, and soon they all will be gone. As the country marks the 10th anniversary of 9/11, Kaiser, like all the SAR dogs the nation took some small comfort in during those dark days, is a reminder of the remarkable ability these creatures possess to serve man, both body and soul.

In the immediate aftermath of the attacks, images of the SAR dogs guided by their handlers across the ruined backdrop were snapshots of hope amid so much carnage. And for so many of those who joined in the rescue and recovery efforts at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the field near Shanksville, Pa., where United Flight 93 crashed, the chance to pet one of the dogs was a welcome break from the grim work.

Prior to 9/11, the public knew little about SAR dogs and what they are capable of, according to Dr. Cindy M. Otto, director of the Penn Vet Working Dog Center at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. But that changed once the news media seized on the dogs as one of the few positive narratives they could tell.

“When people saw or touched the dogs, they would relax or have a moment's hope. It was incredible to see the power those dogs had,” noted Dr. Otto, who deployed to the WTC as a member of the Pennsylvania Federal Urban SAR team to assess and treat the dogs as they returned from the rubble.

Search and rescue is one component of canine detection, which ranges from locating explosives, firearms, and narcotics to tracking people and animals. Law enforcement, military, and government agencies capitalize on the dogs' abilities to support these missions. More than a dozen breeds have been used for detection work, but German Shepherd Dogs, Labrador Retrievers, and Belgian Malinois dominate the field.


Lynne Engelbert and Lucy, part of California Task Force 4, working at what was left of the Marriott Hotel near the World Trade Center (Courtesy of Lynne Engelbert and Tom Clark)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 239, 6; 10.2460/javma.239.6.704

Dr. Robert L. Gillette is director of the largest dedicated academic research program for canine detection in the United States: the Canine Detection Research Institute at Auburn University's College of Veterinary Medicine. He remembers how, during the ′80s, much work went into creating a machine capable of mimicking a dog's powers of detection. Eventually, the project was scrapped as a fool's errand.

“I lost Lucy when she was 15 1/2. Because she was so afraid of the vet's office, I carried her to her favorite place—the rubble pile—and we let her go there. I choose to believe that her spirit is still roaming the rubble, looking for lost souls.”

— Lynne Engelbert, deployed with Lucy as part of California Task Force 4 to the World Trade Center

“A lot of research went into that, but what we found out is you can't replace the dog. They're efficient, they're mobile, and they're driven to do these things,” Dr. Gillette said. Because the limits of the dog's detection abilities are constantly expanding—just recently. dogs were used to find pythons released into the Florida Everglades—Dr. Gillette believes dogs will be effective in search-and-rescue scenarios that haven't yet occurred to us.

Canine SAR teams have been receiving less public attention in recent years, even though there's been no corresponding drop in demand for their services. Linda Blick wants to reverse that trend. She co-chairs the Finding One Another project, a 9/11 anniversary tribute started by the Tails of Hope Foundation to honor the 10-year anniversary of the canine search-and-rescue teams that served at that time. AVMA Veterinary Medical Assistance Teams are participating in the memorial ceremony at Liberty State Park in Jersey City, N.J., intended to recognize the SAR teams and remind the public about their value.

“These are unique skills the dogs use for the betterment of our society,” Blick observed.

Finding One Another is creating a historical registry with the names of the dog teams that served during 9/11. So far, more than 950 teams have been added to the list. Once the registry is complete, the project will present it to the National September 11 Memorial and Museum at ground zero.

For Blick, the dogs and their handlers are “unsung heroes,” and she worries their contributions and sacrifices then and now aren't fully appreciated, especially because the handlers give so much, often putting themselves and their pets at risk.

Penny Sullivan has been part of detection dog work since the ′60s. Sullivan has gone through numerous deployments, including to the World Trade Center with Quest, her German Shepherd Dog, who has since died, and has written extensively about the field. She was a member of the FEMA subcommittee to develop search-and-rescue dog criteria for disaster response. Sullivan estimates a handler spends approximately $2,000 annually on SAR dog–related expenses, including training and certification, not counting veterinary expenses.

“Most SAR teams are entirely volunteer,” Sullivan explained. “They give freely of their time and service so that others may live. We are definitely in need of programs to benefit our working dogs and handlers—programs such as those to fund medical research to address the many health issues affecting our dogs over time.”


Denise Corliss of Texas Task Force 1 and Bretagne at the World Trade Center (Courtesy of Texas Task Force 1)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 239, 6; 10.2460/javma.239.6.704

Blick anticipates Finding One Another will be a mechanism of ongoing support for the canine SAR community. Plans include underwriting veterinary expenses, public education campaigns about the teams' work and needs, and even a White House conference on the subject.

Sadly, few 9/11 dogs will be present for the anniversary tribute in New York. For the past several years, Dr. Otto has monitored nearly a hundred 9/11 dogs. Of the original study group of 95 dogs, just 13 remain. Dr. Otto is part of a team of researchers trying to determine whether exposure to environmental contaminants at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon caused the dogs any ill health effects.

Unlike many of the human 9/11 responders who have reported a range of mostly respiratory-related illnesses, the search-and-rescue dogs fared remarkably well. “We really are hard-pressed to identify any consistent finding that can be associated with 9/11,” Dr. Otto said.

One possibility is that the long canine nose filters out the airborne contaminants more effectively than the shorter human nose. Another theory is the canine immune and respiratory systems are better at preventing reactive respiratory diseases. Researchers are now looking at whether the 9/11 dogs have a higher incidence of hemangiosarcoma or lymphosarcoma, the most common cancers in many breeds of dogs that worked at the World Trade Center and Pentagon.

Other studies are under way to identify various components that make the ideal detection dog. The American Kennel Club Companion Animal Recovery Group is funding one such study at the Penn Vet Working Dog Center, which houses a databank of DNA samples from approximately 273 detection dogs.

“We want to look at all of the things we're doing and figure out how do we make it better, how do we make it reproducible, and how do we improve the performance, health, and well-being of these dogs,” said Dr. Otto, who is leading an AVMA VMAT initiative to train handlers in basic medical care for their dogs.

Also working to advance the field of canine search and rescue is the Scientific Working Group on Dog and Orthogonal Detector Guidelines. A partnership among government, private companies, law enforcement, and first responders, SWGDOG develops consensus-based best practices for detection dog teams. Dr. Gillette of Auburn University says standardization is essential, given the teams' work.

“There's got to be some way of making sure that the dogs are able to do what their handlers say they can do,” Dr. Gillette explained. “You have training standards and management standards to make sure that the detection dog is a sound detection tool.”

From 9/11 to now: Disaster preparedness and response evolves


A search-and-rescue dog receives an IV treatment to combat exhaustion and overexertion while working at the Pentagon following the attack of 9/11. (Photos courtesy of FEMA)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 239, 6; 10.2460/javma.239.6.704

Training, collaboration key to mitigating future disasters

By Malinda Larkin

Sept. 11, 2001. Dr. Barry N. Kellogg sat tensely on his sofa with a packed bag at his side. He had on his AVMA Veterinary Medical Assistance Team clothes. A call to the higher-ups at the Federal Emergency Management Agency let them know he and his team were ready to deploy to New York City.

He was told to sit tight.

By that afternoon, the VMAT-1 commander and his team had finally made it to the World Trade Center. They had received no official direction, in part, because the federal government didn't know what to do with them.

“From the beginning, they didn't want us down there (at ground zero) because they didn't understand veterinarians as significant or important to the rescue mission,” Dr. Kellogg said. “9/11 turned out to be the first real transition where federal agencies recognized that we had something to bring to the table.”

Ten years later, animal-related disaster preparedness and response has changed dramatically.

State and federal laws now better recognize the importance of caring for animals in response efforts, and state and county animal response teams have been created to respond to local disasters. VMATs have evolved from a public-private partnership that responded to federally declared disasters to a private program that seeks to fill in any gaps in response and assist with training. And the federal government has increased the involvement of veterinarians in disaster planning and response plans.

Looking to the future, strong collaboration at all levels—whether through shared training or preparedness agreements— will take on even greater importance in this area, according to emergency officials.

From the beginning

Animal-related disaster preparedness and response began well before the WTC and Pentagon were hit and United Flight 93 crashed that day.

Hurricane Andrew, which hit Florida in August 1992, served as the catalyst for talks between the AVMA and the federal government. The hurricane destroyed the veterinary infrastructure in the region and left thousands of animals dead or displaced.

With the signing of a memorandum of understanding in May 1993, veterinary services became incorporated into the Federal Response Plan for disaster relief as part of the National Disaster Medical System. The agreement was signed by the AVMA and the Office of Emergency Preparedness of the U.S. Public Health Service.

It was then that the AVMA organized veterinary health professionals into VMATs. The system was developed to provide supplemental medical care to animal victims of catastrophic disasters in the event state and local resources are overwhelmed and federal assistance is required.

Though 9/11 wasn't the first major deployment for these teams, it proved to be one of the most indelible for them.

FEMA initially dispatched VMAT-1, based out of Massachusetts, because it was nearest to New York City and could deploy the quickest, since all air travel had come to a halt.

After arriving in New York, Dr. Kellogg and his team soon established three canine triage stations at the World Trade Center to provide assistance to the search-and-rescue dogs working to locate survivors in the rubble.

Dr. Kellogg said on more than one occasion, the VMAT volunteers had to physically pull the dogs from service because they couldn't get the handlers to stop after 18 or 20 hours.

In all, 51 members from the four VMATs aided search-and-rescue efforts at ground zero from Sept. 11 until Oct. 31. The VMATs provided more than 900 treatments to about 300 SAR dogs that served at the disaster site.

Dr. Kellogg said it was a difficult experience not only because of concerns that biological or chemical agents were present at the site but also because of how emotionally draining the experience was, due to the nature of what happened.

But some good came from the deployment, too.

“It was probably a real good thing for VMAT. That did elevate us in the federal eyes of what we could bring to the table. We were not just dismissed as animal lovers. We all know why we're doing it, but that's not a good enough reason to convince government managers. We're there to take care of animals so people don't put themselves at risk. This is how we got accepted,” Dr. Kellogg said.


Search-and-rescue teams operated at ground zero in New York City as well as the Pentagon in Arlington, Va.

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 239, 6; 10.2460/javma.239.6.704

The aftermath

Dr. Heather Case, director of the AVMA Scientific Activities Division and coordinator of emergency preparedness and response, said the event woke the general community up to the need to prepare for all hazards.


On Sept. 11, 2001, at the World Trade Center, Veterinary Medical Assistance Team-1 established a station in the Jacob Javits Convention Center, where the canine units were being housed. The VMAT also operated a mobile triage unit at ground zero and had a mobile unit on an ATV that circulated through the pile.

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 239, 6; 10.2460/javma.239.6.704

New federal entities were also part of that sea change. The Food, Agriculture, and Veterinary Defense Division of the Department of Homeland Security formed not long after the attack. The U.S. Northern Command, also created after 9/11 to provide command and control of Department of Defense homeland defense efforts, brought on veterinarians to help with its preparedness efforts.

In 2002, the Department of Homeland Security was created and started awarding grants aimed at safeguarding the country. Several states used grants to purchase equipment, such as emergency response trailers, and add staff positions so that animal health agencies could work toward building geographic information system maps.

That same year, FEMA announced it would distribute $225 million for state and local preparedness. Almost half that money was intended for updating plans for responding to all hazards, with an emphasis on the use of weapons of mass destruction, including bioterrorism. Other areas slated for funding included state emergency operations centers; mutual aid agreements between counties, cities, and states; and increased communications resources.

Then, the Medical Reserve Corps was founded to supplement community resources for emergency response and public health. This national network, under the Department of Health and Human Services, now has more than 1,800 veterinarians enrolled. Of the 952 units, 385 report having at least one veterinarian, and 23 have 10 or more veterinarians, mostly on SART teams.

More changes

Further changes to animal-related disaster response and preparedness came after Hurricane Katrina struck in August 2005.

In the past, many states weren't capable of mounting a veterinary or animal health response on the natural disaster side, Dr. Case said. Hurricane Katrina highlighted the need to do so after some people stayed behind with their pets because most evacuation vehicles did not allow animals at the time.

Congress passed the Pet Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act in 2006, granting FEMA the authority to help state and local governments develop emergency and evacuation plans that take pets and service animals into account.

Incidentally, around the time Hurricane Katrina hit, changes in federal government policy led to the creation of two separate yet complementary Veterinary Disaster Response Team programs: the federal National Veterinary Response Team and the AVMA VMAT program.

The NVRT, which evolved from the long-standing AVMA program, operates entirely under government oversight to provide veterinary emergency preparedness and response services. It serves as a temporary supplement to the local, state, and tribal response teams by providing specialized veterinary medical capability consisting of providers, supplies, and equipment. Many volunteers serve on both a VMAT and the NVRT.

The change left VMATs to officially relaunch in 2009 to respond to requests for assistance from state governments—and to offer training in disaster response (see JAVMA, June 15, 2009, page 1488), thanks to funding from the American Veterinary Medical Foundation. Specifically, the VMAT program offers three main areas of help: training, early assessment of veterinary conditions and infrastructure, and basic treatment to augment overwhelmed local capabilities. So far, the program has memorandums of understanding with more than a dozen states, and more are in the works.

Present situation

So, what is the state of animal-related disaster preparedness and response now, 10 years after 9/11? For one, there's a lot of synergy and cross-training, Dr. Case said, thanks to volunteers active at the local, state, and national levels.

“The reality is all emergencies are local. A veterinary volunteer is usually a member of their county animal response team or their state animal response team, or, ideally, both. They're going to respond first at the county level. If the response escalates and additional assistance is required, then the county responder can deploy as a state resource and still be able to help,” Dr. Case said.

Though the large, national catastrophes often grab the headlines, small and local events are more the norm, particularly house fires.

“So every veterinarian, ideally, would be involved in their state or local reserve corps and be prepared to assist if they need to shelter animals in an emergency situation or provide care for animals affected by a disaster,” Dr. Case said. Short of that, she said veterinarians have a role in educating the public to be sure they've read disaster-preparedness brochures, have IDs for their animals, keep their pets' prescriptions up to date, and have made arrangements to take their pets with them in an emergency.

For the VMAT program, training is now a big part of its mission. The nearly 200 VMAT volunteers—from state wildlife veterinarians to board-certified equine surgeons, all engaged in disaster preparedness and response—work to help train teams and build capacity.

“Our primary role has begun to shift to education and training to assist the states in building up their response,” Dr. Case said. “We're in the process of further creating our training component, because it's been clear there's a need to educate veterinarians on these activities.”

Since their relaunch in 2009, the VMATs have received and fulfilled many training requests. Requests are filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Most often, this involves providing a single speaker for a one-hour lecture at an event created by the requester. But, the teams have also provided assistance at state and regional training events.

VMAT teams will celebrate 20 years of service in 2013. As part of that, there will be an event at the AVMA Annual Convention in Chicago.

Planning ahead

Training and cooperation will be high priorities for the federal government as well now that Dr. Ty J. Vannieuwenhoven has been named as chief veterinary officer of the National Disaster Medical System. He was appointed the first week of June. He oversees the NVRT, but more broadly, his role will be to coordinate veterinary services in Emergency Support Function 8 of the national response framework.

“A lot of it is not just being in charge of it, but also linking it together. So that means talking to Medical Reserve Corps Director Rob Tosatto about how we could use the MRC veterinarians or talking to Capt. Hugh Mainzer (chief veterinary officer of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps) about how those 88 veterinarians could be used in what role as well,” Dr. Vannieuwenhoven said.

He also hopes for his office to better engage with state and local responders—largely state veterinarians' offices or state emergency response offices—so they understand what capabilities the federal government has and how to access them.

A long-term goal he has is for the NVRT, which holds field training exercises annually, to facilitate a more coordinated training effort among all veterinary medical responders, including VMATs, the MRC, and other entities.

“I'm hoping we work together so we're all training responders on whatever the current doctrine is, so they're not all developing different protocols,” he said.

One collaborative training opportunity happening in the near future will be at next year's Integrated Medical, Public Health, Preparedness and Response Training Summit, hosted by the DHHS. The summit, May 23–25, 2012, will for the first time include a 1–1/2- to 2-day veterinary program.

Dr. Vannieuwenhoven also is in the process of working out an agreement with FEMA whereby urban search-and-rescue teams deployed by the agency would automatically engage the NVRT to provide the veterinary support for the SAR dogs. As it is now, the USAR teams set up contracts with local veterinary medical providers on a case-by-case basis.


AVMA bestows awards for contributions to profession

The AVMA acknowledged a number of individuals in July during the AVMA Annual Convention in St. Louis for their efforts to advance veterinary medicine, animal welfare, and public health. Dr. John W. Albers received the AVMA Award, the Association's highest honor, and Dr. Nancy D. Kay received the Leo K. Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award (see JAVMA, Sept. 1, 2011, pages 541 and 543). Fifteen other veterinarians and one nonveterinarian also received awards during the convention. Below are some career highlights of these recipients. In addition, Dr. Mary Beth Leininger received the Russell Anthony Award for commitment to the AVMA Political Action Committee (see page 719).

The AVMA is accepting nominations for many of next year's awards. Information and nomination forms are available at www.avma.org/awards.

AVMA Animal Welfare Award

This award recognizes an AVMA member for achievements in advancing the welfare of animals.

Dr. Jan K. Shearer professor, Iowa State University


Dr. Jan K. Shearer

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 239, 6; 10.2460/javma.239.6.704

Dr. Shearer (OSU ′75) was a professor and dairy extension veterinarian at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine for 27 years before joining the veterinary faculty at Iowa State University in 2009. Early in his career, he spent time as an assistant professor at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine and as associate veterinarian at Orrville Veterinary Clinic in Ohio.

Dr. Shearer's primary research and extension interests are lameness and welfare issues of cattle. He is chair of the Food Animal Working Group of the AVMA Panel on Euthanasia and a past chair of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners' Animal Welfare Committee. He serves on the board of directors of the Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization and on the organizing committee of the proposed American College of Animal Welfare.

Charles River Prize

The Charles River Commitment to Humane Animal Research Through Excellence and Responsibility program sponsors this award for an AVMA member who has contributed to laboratory animal science.

Dr. Steven L. Leary assistant vice chancellor, Washington University


Dr. Steven L. Leary

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 239, 6; 10.2460/javma.239.6.704

Dr. Leary (ISU ′71) has more than 30 years of experience in laboratory animal medicine and management of laboratory animal facilities. He is assistant vice chancellor for veterinary affairs and director of the Division of Comparative Medicine at Washington University in St. Louis.

Throughout his career, Dr. Leary has promoted the welfare of laboratory animals through organizations such as the National Association for Biomedical Research and Mid-Continent Association for Agriculture, Biomedical Research and Education.

Dr. Leary serves as chair of the AVMA Panel on Euthanasia. He is an emeritus member of the council of the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International, a past president of the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine, and a past chair of the AVMA Animal Welfare Committee.

AVMA Humane Award

This award recognizes a nonveterinarian for achievements in advancing the welfare of animals.

Anne Lindsay founder, Massachusetts Animal Coalition


Anne Lindsay

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 239, 6; 10.2460/javma.239.6.704

Lindsay has been an advocate for animals for more than two decades. Her work has focused on connecting people and ideas in the animal welfare and veterinary communities. She founded the Massachusetts Animal Coalition as a vehicle for learning and networking by animal welfare professionals and volunteers.

Lindsay consults with humane organizations on team building, board development, coalition building, and compassion fatigue. She is a clinical instructor at Tufts University's Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine on the subjects of pet loss and euthanasia. She also serves as a board member of the State of Massachusetts Animal Response Team and a member of the Tufts steering committee for shelter medicine. She is a past president of the New England Federation of Humane Societies.

AVMA Lifetime Excellence in Research Award

This award recognizes a veterinarian for lifetime achievement in basic, applied, or clinical research.

Dr. Donald F. Patterson emeritus professor, University of Pennsylvania


Dr. Donald F. Patterson

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 239, 6; 10.2460/javma.239.6.704

Dr. Patterson (OKL ′54) served early in his career as chief of laboratory services for the Aero-Medical Field Laboratory at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico. He trained chimpanzees for research, and one of his charges was the first chimpanzee to complete a suborbital space flight.

A diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, Dr. Patterson became an instructor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine and studied genetic defects in canine cardiac development. He was the first chief of the Section of Clinical Cardiology, then founded a medical genetics clinic at the veterinary school. From 1985–2000, he was principal investigator for the Referral Center for Animal Models of Human Genetic Disease. In 1995, he founded the Center for Research in Comparative Medical Genetics. He retired in 2000.

AVMA Practitioner Research Award

This award recognizes an AVMA member who has contributed to research while working in private practice.

Dr. Dominic J. Marino chief of staff, Long Island Veterinary Specialists, New York


Dr. Dominic J. Marino

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 239, 6; 10.2460/javma.239.6.704

Dr. Marino (AUB ′89) has pioneered micro–hip replacement surgery in pets, the diagnosis and treatment of elbow joint dysplasia, corrective surgery for syringomyelia/Chiari-like malformation in dogs, and the use of thermography as a diagnostic screening modality. He is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons and the American College of Clinical Thermology and has earned certification in canine rehabilitation. He lectures and publishes extensively on surgical topics.

Dr. Marino directs the Canine Chiari Institute at Long Island Veterinary Specialists, and he has published a free handbook on Chiari-like malformation at www.caninechiariinstitute.org. He is on the board of the New York Veterinary Foundation and the Police Surgeons Benevolent Association, and he serves as a surgical consultant for numerous nonprofit organizations and governmental agencies.

AVMA Public Service Award

This award recognizes an AVMA member for contributions to public health and regulatory veterinary medicine.

Dr. John P. Huntley area veterinarian in charge, U.S. Department of Agriculture


Dr. John P. Huntley

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 239, 6; 10.2460/javma.239.6.704

Dr. Huntley (COR ′80), a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, previously was director of New York state's Division of Animal Industry. His responsibilities included programs to control infectious diseases in livestock populations and captive wildlife.

From March 2003 to March 2004, Dr. Huntley served with the U.S. Army in Baghdad. He commanded a unit that engaged in civil infrastructure projects such as rebuilding medical clinics, schools, and the University of Baghdad's veterinary college.

Dr. Huntley is the Department of Agriculture's Veterinary Services area veterinarian in charge for Washington state, Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands. He has served on the AVMA Council on Public Health and Regulatory Veterinary Medicine, AVMA Food Safety Advisory Committee, and the executive board of the United States Animal Health Association.

XIIth International Veterinary Congress Prize

This award recognizes an AVMA member who has contributed to international understanding of veterinary medicine.

Dr. Paula L. Cowen director, professional development staff, USDA Veterinary Services


Dr. Paula L. Cowen

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 239, 6; 10.2460/javma.239.6.704

Dr. Cowen (COL ′85) worked at a rural mixed animal practice in northeastern Colorado for 10 years. She joined Veterinary Services in the Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service as a veterinary educational specialist in 1995. In 2004, she became the director of the professional development staff for APHIS Veterinary Services.

Dr. Cowen has engaged in veterinary capacity building in a number of countries, beginning in the Middle East and Afghanistan, and serves as coordinator of the American Team for International Veterinary Affairs. The team consists mostly of Americans from government, the military, academia, the AVMA, and other nongovernmental organizations who are collaborating across organizational lines to improve animal health infrastructure in the Middle East, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Africa.

Student AVMA Teaching Excellence Award

The Student AVMA gives this award to recognize a professor who educates, inspires, and strongly impacts veterinary students.

Dr. Linda A. Mizer senior lecturer, Cornell University


Dr. Linda A. Mizer

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 239, 6; 10.2460/javma.239.6.704

Dr. Mizer (ONT ′80) devoted a number of years to morphological studies at The Ohio State University, earning a doctorate in 1987 with a dissertation on “Maturation of the Pulmonary Architecture in the Fetal Dog and Neonatal Pig: A Qualitative and Quantitative Investigation.” She became an assistant professor at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine before she joined the faculty of the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1991.

At Cornell's veterinary college, Dr. Mizer is a senior lecturer in the Department of Biomedical Sciences with primary teaching responsibilities in “The Animal Body”—a 12-hour, case-based, multidisciplinary course for first-year veterinary students. She also teaches a 3-hour course on ruminant anatomy and is pursuing an interest in camelid anatomy.

Student AVMA Community Outreach Excellence Award

The Student AVMA gives this award to recognize a professor who goes beyond collegiate responsibilities to focus on education in the community.

Dr. Karen K. Cornell professor, University of Georgia


Dr. Karen K. Cornell

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 239, 6; 10.2460/javma.239.6.704

Dr. Cornell (PUR ′88) spent two years at a small animal practice in Evansville, Ind., before returning to Purdue University to achieve board certification with the American College of Veterinary Surgeons and earn a doctorate in cancer biology. In 1998, she joined the faculty of the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine, where she teaches and practices surgery.

In 2009, Dr. Cornell co-founded Vets for Pets and People to disseminate information about links between animal abuse and domestic violence. The group also cares for pets whose owners seek protection from abusive situations.

Dr. Cornell teaches communication skills as an elective course and as a component of veterinary students' surgery rotations. She instituted a personal and professional development course for interns and residents. She also serves on the ACVS Board of Regents.

AVMF/AKC Career Achievement Award in Canine Research

The American Veterinary Medical Foundation and American Kennel Club created this award for an AVMA member who has contributed to canine research.

Dr. Peter Muir professor, University of Wisconsin-Madison


Dr. Peter Muir

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 239, 6; 10.2460/javma.239.6.704

Dr. Muir (BRI ′85), a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons, spent time on the faculty at the University of California-Davis and the University of London before joining the faculty of the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine in 1999. He has gained international recognition for his expertise in small animal orthopedics.

During his career, Dr. Muir has had a particular interest in fracture repair in dogs and cats and in tendon and ligament diseases in dogs, particularly cranial cruciate ligament rupture. Last year, he published “The Canine Cranial Cruciate Ligament,” first in a series of specialty textbooks that the ACVS Foundation has established. He has served in leadership roles on the ACVS Credentials Committee, ACVS Journal Advisory Board, and AVMA Council on Research.

AVMF/Winn Excellence in Feline Research Award

The American Veterinary Medical Foundation and Winn Feline Foundation created this award for contributions to feline research.

Dr. Jody L. Gookin associate professor, North Carolina State University


Dr. Jody L. Gookin

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 239, 6; 10.2460/javma.239.6.704

Dr. Gookin (CAL ′93) has gained national recognition for her expertise in gastroenterology with an emphasis on infectious causes of feline diarrheal disease. She helped identify Tritrichomonas foetus as a cause of diarrhea in domestic cats and has dedicated years to studying T foetus infection in cats.

At North Carolina State University, Dr. Gookin earned her doctorate in gastrointestinal physiology and achieved board certification with the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine. She currently is an associate professor in the Department of Clinical Sciences at the College of Veterinary Medicine.

Dr. Gookin also advocates for mentorship of the next generation of clinician-scientists as co-director of the NCSU Veterinary Scholars Program and as a leader for research training programs in conjunction with the National Institutes of Health.

Karl F. Meyer–James H. Steele Gold Headed Cane Award

The American Veterinary Epidemiology Society gives this award for advancement of human health through veterinary epidemiology and public health. The sponsor is Hartz Mountain Corp.

Dr. Craig N. Carter professor, University of Kentucky


Dr. Craig N. Carter

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 239, 6; 10.2460/javma.239.6.704

Dr. Carter (TEX ′81), a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, spent 24 years at Texas A&M University, most recently as head of diagnostic epidemiology and informatics at the veterinary diagnostic laboratory. He joined the University of Kentucky as an epidemiology professor and later became director of the veterinary diagnostic laboratory.

Dr. Carter's research has focused on the epidemiology of leptospirosis, Rhodococcus pneumonia in foals, near-realtime systems for detecting disease, and continuous electronic monitoring of livestock health. A retired colonel in the Army Reserve and a consultant for federal government agencies, he has traveled extensively on military deployments and to participate in agricultural capacity building. He is president of the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians and executive director of the World Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians.

Karl F. Meyer-James H. Steele Gold Headed Cane Award

The American Veterinary Epidemiology Society gives this award for advancement of human health through veterinary epidemiology and public health. The sponsor is Hartz Mountain Corp.

Dr. Alejandro B. Thiermann president, OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code Commission


Dr. Alejandro B. Thiermann

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 239, 6; 10.2460/javma.239.6.704

Dr. Thiermann (CHI ′71) is an employee of the Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service detailed to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), where he is president of the standard-setting Terrestrial Animal Health Code Commission and senior adviser to the director-general.

Earlier in his career, Dr. Thiermann was national program leader for animal health research within the USDA Agricultural Research Service. He joined APHIS in 1989 as the deputy administrator for international services, promoting the agency's role in trade facilitation and leading overseas eradication and control programs to promote animal and plant health.

Dr. Thiermann later became APHIS senior trade coordinator and regional director with responsibility for Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. He served twice as chairman of the World Trade Organization's Sanitary and Phytosanitary Committee.

AVMA President's Award

The AVMA president gives this award to individuals or groups who have made a positive impact on health, veterinary organizations, and the profession.

Dr. Christina Kornegay co-owner, Antoine-Little York Animal Clinic, Houston


Dr. Christina Kornegay

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 239, 6; 10.2460/javma.239.6.704

Dr. Kornegay (TEX ′74) has co-owned Antoine-Little York Animal Clinic in Houston since 1977 with her husband, Dr. Larry M. Kornegay, AVMA immediate past president.

Active in organized veterinary medicine, Dr. Kornegay was a director or officer of the Harris County VMA from 1982–1986, serving as president in 1985. She was on the Texas VMA board of directors from 1986–1991 and executive board from 1992–1999, serving as president in 1998.

Dr. Kornegay was on the executive board of the Texas Academy of Veterinary Practice from 1989–1992, serving as president in 1991. She was on the CE committee of the Southwest Veterinary Symposium from 2001–2004. She was Texas delegate to the AVMA from 2003–2009. She also served as president of an emergency referral group for several years.

AVMA President's Award

The AVMA president gives this award to individuals or groups who have made a positive impact on health, veterinary organizations, and the profession.

Dr. Bret D. Marsh Indiana state veterinarian


Dr. Bret D. Marsh

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 239, 6; 10.2460/javma.239.6.704

Dr. Marsh (PUR ′84) completed a six-year term as AVMA treasurer in July. Previously, he served in the AVMA House of Delegates for nearly a decade. In that time, he was a member of the House Advisory Committee and the Constitution and Bylaws Committee.

As Indiana state veterinarian, Dr. Marsh is responsible for state animal health programs and inspection services for meat, poultry, and dairy products. He advises the Indiana State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners.

Dr. Marsh served a special detail to the Department of Agriculture on matters of homeland security, representing the views of state veterinarians on the nation's ability to preserve and protect agricultural assets. He is a past president of the Indiana VMA, the United States Animal Health Association, and the Purdue Veterinary Alumni Association.

AVMA President's Award

The AVMA president gives this award to individuals or groups who have made a positive impact on health, veterinary organizations, and the profession.

Dr. Evan M. Morse president, Warrensville Animal Hospital, Ohio


Dr. Evan M. Morse

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 239, 6; 10.2460/javma.239.6.704

Dr. Morse (TUS ′68), a champion of diversity for the profession, has spent 50 years advocating for equality and inclusion. An activist at 16, he participated in the civil rights movement and has led the charge toward development of culturally competent veterinarians.

Dr. Morse has been chair and a presenter for diversity symposia at the AVMA Annual Convention and was a force behind the AVMA Task Force on Diversity. He chaired the Ohio VMA Diversity Committee and Iverson Bell Veterinary Diversity Symposium.

Founder and president of Warrensville Animal Hospital near Cleveland, Dr. Morse also co-founded a consortium of veterinarians to serve needy pet owners in Cleveland. He has served as a veterinary consultant for Sea World, police, the media, and other institutions. He is a past president of the Cleveland Academy of Veterinary Medicine.

Leininger wins AVMAPAC award


Dr. Mary Beth Leininger

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 239, 6; 10.2460/javma.239.6.704

This summer the AVMA Political Action Committee presented Dr. Mary Beth Leininger with the 2010 Russell Anthony Award for her longstanding commitment to the organization's PAC.

In addition, the AVMAPAC policy board named Sen. Tim Johnson of South Dakota winner of the 2011 Advocacy Award for his support of legislation promoting the veterinary profession and animal health. Johnson was unable to attend the PAC event and will receive the award at a later date in Washington, D.C.

The Russell Anthony Award is given to an AVMA member who has worked to further the strength of the AVMAPAC and to advance issues important to veterinary medicine and the profession. Dr. Leininger received the award July 17 during the AVMAPAC luncheon in St. Louis.

Dr. Leininger was the AVMA's first female president and has been an active member of the AVMAPAC for more than two decades.

“Congress continues to discuss issues and pass laws that affect our profession. Veterinarians must continue to play an integral part in ensuring effective public policy is passed by our congressional leaders, and to do that, AVMA must continue to have a strong PAC. Our contributions support the election of legislators who understand our profession's needs,” Dr. Leininger said.

Veterinary profession has long protected animal, public health

Symposium underscores achievements over the years

By Malinda Larkin

It can be said that the essence of the veterinary profession stems from an unexpected source—rinderpest.

Talks by two global veterinary leaders at the daylong symposium titled “World Veterinary Year: 250 Years of Improving Animal and Human Health” on July 17 in St. Louis demonstrated how this devastating disease served as a catalyst for the creation of the profession and as a symbol of one of its greatest achievements.

Professor Jean-François Chary, inspector general of the French Ministry of Agriculture and president of the Vet2011 Animation and Coordination Committee, spoke of the profession's heritage and why we celebrate World Veterinary Year today.

Claude Bourgelat of France was one of the preeminent scientific minds during the Age of Enlightenment and an expert horseman (see JAVMA, Jan. 1, 2011, page 8).


Professor Jean-François Chary (Photo by Matt Alexandre/Robb Cohen Photography)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 239, 6; 10.2460/javma.239.6.704

He noticed discrepancies in previous descriptions of the biomechanics of horses, and attributed this to a lack of anatomic knowledge, Dr. Chary said. This inspired Bourgelat to work with human surgeons in Lyon when they dissected horse carcasses and discussed their findings. From this experience, he had three revelations: an understanding of the difference between the empirical approach and the scientific approach, an appreciation for the similarities between human and animal bodies, and an idea to create a profession of animal doctors.

“Bourgelat is the father of veterinarians and we all belong to the same family. He is indeed creator of the veterinary profession, but he is also the inventor of the concept of comparative biopathology and one health,” Dr. Chary said.


Dr. Bernard Vallat (Photo by R. Scott Nolen)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 239, 6; 10.2460/javma.239.6.704

A stroke of luck came when King Louis XV wanted to resolve the crisis caused by rinderpest, which had ravaged the countryside. This allowed Bourgelat to set up the first veterinary school in Lyon—and in the world, for that matter.

The Vet2011 committee's objective is to organize events celebrating the 250th anniversary of the founding of the Lyon veterinary school. Dr. Chary said the hope is to explain that the veterinary profession is in service to human and animal medicine, and that veterinarians are not only animal doctors but also key players in protecting global health.

The latest figures show Vet2011 has 1,377 corresponding members in 126 countries, where there are 52 national committees. Currently, 365 proposed events—229 of which are accredited by Vet2011—will take place or have already done so in 73 countries.

Coincidentally, another occasion being celebrated this year is the eradication of rinderpest.

The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) proclaimed May 25 that all 198 countries and territories with rinderpest-susceptible animals were free of the disease, and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations declared June 28 that the disease has been eradicated (see JAVMA, July 1, 2011, page 12).

Such an achievement would not have been possible without the support of the international veterinary community and efficient tools for control and eradication, said Dr. Bernard Vallat, director general of the OIE and president of the Vet2011 Executive Council, at the symposium.

The OIE is now working on developing international standards on control programs for foot-and-mouth disease, rabies, and peste des petits ruminants; policies on disease surveillance and notification for wildlife; and tentative official recognition of animal disease status for classical swine fever, African horse sickeness, and PPR.

FMD is the OIE's next target for eradication; it remains in more than 100 countries.

The first global conference on this mission will take place in June 2012 in Thailand. Dr. Vallat estimates it could take about 50 years to eradicate FMD and admits that it's a huge challenge.

Yet, that is the purpose of veterinarians—to contribute to the public good and take care of animal and human health, he said.

In the future, veterinarians will have to deal with the emergence and re-emergence of new diseases in the context of climate change and changing ecosystems, new risks arising at the wildlife-human-animal interface, new risks as a result of globalization, the constant threat of bioterrorism, and societal demands, Dr. Vallat said.

FDA scientist says action needed on drug use concerns

By Greg Cima

Dr. William T. Flynn said agriculture industries need to address concerns and alter their antimicrobial use policies before others—possibly those less knowledgeable of animal agriculture—act for them.

Dr. Flynn, deputy director for science policy for the Food and Drug Administration's Center for Veterinary Medicine, said in a presentation in July that antimicrobials are vital tools for protecting animal health and for producing a safe and abundant food supply. But the use of such drugs, their connection with antimicrobial resistance, and the potential impact of such resistance on human health are enduring topics of consumer and congressional concern.

Dr. Flynn was the last speaker during a symposium on the future of poultry production. The symposium was part of the joint meeting between the American Association of Avian Pathologists and the Poultry Science Association. The groups met in July in St. Louis in conjunction with the AVMA Annual Convention.

Dr. Flynn said consumers and members of Congress have expressed concern particularly about over-the-counter use of antimicrobials, especially when such uses were approved before FDA assessment of the risk of antimicrobial resistance became part of the drug approval process. Members of Congress have proposed legislation to address their concerns related to antimicrobial resistance, and Dr. Flynn said such measures would have uncertain outcomes and collateral effects.

Overall, Dr. Flynn said consumers are becoming less informed about, and less connected to, agriculture, and they are increasingly demanding assurances about the safety of their food. But he thinks agriculture industries still have an opportunity to acknowledge people's concerns, show they are acting on those concerns, preserve their ability to use antimicrobials, and provide clear explanations for practices that should remain the same.

“My concern is that if that agenda isn't set, others who are less informed may set it for us,” Dr. Flynn said.

Dr. Flynn noted that the FDA has produced guidance on how agriculture can most judiciously use antimicrobials. The draft guidance, published in June 2010, states that phased-in measures should limit the use in agriculture of antimicrobials important for human medicine, allowing use only when necessary for animal health and when accompanied by veterinary oversight or consultation.

Town hall meetings offer dialogue about profession

By Katie Burns

The AVMA Live town hall meetings July 17 in the exhibit hall at the AVMA Annual Convention attracted participants and passers-by for a dialogue about the AVMA and the profession.

This is the third year that the AVMA has held such an event, but it was in the exhibit hall for the first time this year—at the AVMA Pavilion, with one meeting in the morning and one meeting in the afternoon.

Dr. Bernadine D. Cruz, a California veterinarian and previous chair of the former AVMA Council on Communications, collected some questions for AVMA Live ahead of time and moderated the meetings. The panelists representing the AVMA were Dr. John R. Brooks, then chair of the Executive Board; Dr. Larry M. Kornegay, then president; and Dr. Ron DeHaven, chief executive officer.

Professional issues

At the morning meeting, Dr. Debra F. Horwitz of St. Louis started the conversation by asking how the AVMA can impact the high costs of veterinary education.

Dr. Brooks said the AVMA is trying to help address the issue as a partner with the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges and the deans of the veterinary colleges.

“There is no one answer, and there is no easy answer, and it will in fact require us to look at the total educational process,” he said. “We also have to look at enhancing the demand side of veterinary services, because, in essence, a high debt load by the student can be offset by a higher demand for veterinary services, which improves their worth in the workplace.”

Dr. DeHaven said the North American Veterinary Medical Education Consortium has identified approaches to make the educational process more efficient. Relevant to student debt, the AVMA has helped establish loan repayment programs for veterinarians who work in underserved areas.

The discussion turned to AVMA efforts in member communications, governmental relations, and disaster response. Then Dr. Cruz raised a question about the extent to which the AVMA should focus on global issues, a topic of debate during the AVMA House of Delegates regular annual session just before the convention.

“I personally feel that it's critical that we remain engaged internationally,” Dr. Kornegay said. “The more I travel, the more I realize that our issues are very similar—whether they are related to animal welfare, veterinary education, or the economic viability of our profession.”


Rebecca Rose, a certified veterinary technician, asks a question during an AVMA Live town hall meeting at the AVMA Annual Convention. (Photo by Katie Burns)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 239, 6; 10.2460/javma.239.6.704

Rebecca Rose, a certified veterinary technician from Lakewood, Colo., asked about the growing pains that the veterinary community might experience with the increase in the number of veterinary technicians.

Dr. Brooks said the Executive Board is looking closely at the economics of the veterinary profession, including the impact of veterinary technicians.

“Part of our job is to convince the veterinarian, the practice owner, of the value—the economic value as well as the delivery of optimum care—that the technicians bring,” Dr. DeHaven said. “As a profession, historically, we want to do it ourselves. We've been reluctant to delegate as much responsibility or functions to the technicians as they're fully capable of doing.”

He said better use of veterinary technicians will be fundamental to a new initiative to promote preventive care for pets and increase demand for veterinary services. A press conference the next day announced the Partnership for Preventive Pet Healthcare (see JAVMA, Sept. 1, 2011, page 536).

Input and outreach

Dr. Cruz asked the panelists how AVMA members can offer input on various issues.

Dr. Brooks said members can submit comments on the AVMA@Work blog or contact representatives in the House of Delegates or on the Executive Board. Dr. DeHaven noted that the AVMA has recently solicited comments on revisions to its euthanasia guidelines, model veterinary practice act, and strategic plan.

Dr. Cruz later asked the panelists about how the AVMA is reaching out to members of the public.

Dr. DeHaven said one example is public service announcements from the AVMA. The initiative to promote preventive care will include outreach to the public as well as veterinarians. During AVMA Live in the afternoon, the discussion touched on many of the same subjects as the morning meeting. Some of the additional topics included environmental and welfare concerns in animal agriculture and the variety of career opportunities in veterinary medicine.

Euthanasia experts say best methods may be unappealing

By Greg Cima

Temple Grandin, PhD, understands that many people may think physical methods of euthanasia are “icky,” but contends that often they are the best methods for providing animals a humane death.

Speaking during a lecture in July at the AVMA Annual Convention in St. Louis, she noted that the handling associated with “nonphysical” euthanasia methods, such as barbiturate overdose, can cause stress, particularly among wild animals, as evidenced by higher cortisol concentrations than in animals accustomed to human contact.

During her talk, Dr. Grandin provided information on the proper application and use of physical euthanasia methods—including the use of guns, captive bolt devices, and electricity. Her presentation was part of a daylong series of lectures on euthanasia by various speakers.

Dr. Jan K. Shearer, who described the acceptable methods for poultry, cattle, small ruminants, and pigs, also indicated physical methods are often a humane alternative to the stress of human contact.

“The stress of restraining the animal is often much greater than people realize,” Dr. Shearer said.

Dr. Steven L. Leary, chair of the AVMA Panel on Euthanasia, said the panel has been working to update the AVMA Guidelines on Euthanasia at a time of increased pubic attention to humane treatment, of which euthanasia is an important part. That public interest is reflected in laws, policies, and regulations, and the AVMA is expected to provide leadership.

Earlier this year, the Panel on Euthanasia published at www.avma.org the draft updates for the AVMA Guidelines on Euthanasia, and the AVMA said it would accept comments on the guidelines through Sept. 1. Dr. Leary noted that the final document will become the eighth edition of the guidelines, which were first published in 1963.

“This is a living document that will continually improve,” Dr. Leary said.

Raymond Anthony, PhD, who served as an ethicist on the Panel on Euthanasia, said a trend in the field of animal ethics has been to consider animals not as equals or solely as resources but as beings that deserve some moral consideration. He said such consideration involves providng suitable husbandry and an acceptable environment, rather than merely preventing cruelty.


Temple Grandin, PhD, talks with Dr. Kathleen Cooney of Loveland, Colo., between sessions on euthanasia at the AVMA Annual Convention. Dr. Grandin provided one of a series of lectures on euthanasia methods, ethics, and species considerations. (Photo by Greg Cima)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 239, 6; 10.2460/javma.239.6.704

In considering the ethics of euthanasia, Dr. Anthony said animal welfare competes with technologic capability, economics, laws, and client interests. He said veterinarians may also have varied influences, such as differing information and philosophies, and the profession needs to respond to such dilemmas.

In listing considerations for what euthanasia technique would be appropriate for an animal, Dr. Anthony indicated considerations include what is best for veterinarians' clients, veterinarians' consciences, public perception, laws, and balance of harms to animals and people.

In discussing appropriate uses of inhalational methods of euthanasia, Dr. Robert E. Meyer noted that the suitability of a euthanasia agent depends on whether it causes distress or pain prior to loss of consciousness.

“As a general rule of thumb, a gentle death that takes longer is preferable to a rapid, distressing death,” Dr. Meyer said.

The draft AVMA Guidelines on Euthanasia are available at www.avma.org/issues/animal_welfare/euthanasia_guidelines/default.asp.

Student leaders want their voices heard

SAVMA creates task forces to address issues

By Ashley Smit, The Vet Gazette Editor

The 64 members of the Student AVMA House of Delegates didn't just talk about the economic issues they and their peers face, they took action to become a part of the conversations affecting their future profession.

The SAVMA HOD convened July 17–18 for its biannual meeting during the 2011 AVMA Annual Convention in St. Louis. Each college of veterinary medicine in the U.S. as well as those at the University of Prince Edward Island, St. Matthew's University, Ross University, and St. George's University sent delegates to represent their student colleagues, conduct business, examine what it means to be the next generation of veterinary medicine, and discuss where they want the profession to go. President Joseph M. Esch (OSU ′12) presided over the meeting and guided the delegates through a large body of work.

Discussion about recent matters of concern to students dominated the agenda, specifically, the increase in student debt-to-income ratio, evaluation of veterinary shortages, and increases in the numbers of veterinary students.

In keeping with SAVMA's mission to represent all veterinary students and be their organized voice, the SAVMA House created three task forces to address these issues.

The first task force is charged with writing a letter to the editor of JAVMA responding to several previously published editorials and articles on such areas, voicing students' concerns and thoughts.

The Task Force on Economic Issues will take those issues further, working with the AVMA and the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges to take a deeper look at economic issues of concern to veterinary students today and making sure the students' point of view is communicated.

The Task Force on Corporate Funding will seek to address the extent and appropriateness of corporate funding at veterinary schools and colleges.

Each of these task forces will be composed of SAVMA delegates and SAVMA Executive Board members who will work between SAVMA HOD meetings to write letters, gather information, and, ultimately, make recommendations to the SAVMA HOD.

A final action that received SAVMA HOD approval had to do with better educating SAVMA members about relevant topics. The Education and Professional Development Committee was authorized to create a presentation that delegates can use to better inform and veterinary students about challenges facing the profession and prepare them to address those challenges. The presentation will include, but may not be limited to, the following topics: recent studies and reports on current economic data and trends, actions being taken by SAVMA or by the AVMA to address current issues, and opportunities being made available by the AVMA to educate and develop future leaders of the profession.

In approving these actions, SAVMA delegates said they strive not only to be reacting to decisions and actions but also to making statements and recommendations on behalf of students outright.

Fiscal responsibility

That leadership spirit carried over to other actions throughout the meeting.

The Integrative Communications and Diversity Committee drafted an anti-discrimination statement. It reads: “SAVMA does not discriminate in any of its activities or membership on the basis of race, color, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, ancestry, age, marital or parental status, disability, or other status protected under state or federal law.”


Melissa Andritz, senior SAVMA delegate from Cornell University, addresses her colleagues. (Photo by R. Scott Nolen)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 239, 6; 10.2460/javma.239.6.704

The intent was to demonstrate the openness of the organization. It was adopted by the SAVMA House as an official policy statement of the Student AVMA and modeled after a similar position taken by the AVMA.

Funding was increased and reallocated to the future schools and general managers hosting the annual Student AVMA Symposium to ensure future financial stability for SAVMA's premier event. The SAVMA HOD approved a balanced budget presented by Treasurer Dan Tappemeyer (MO ′13), ensuring that students' dues and funds continue the work of SAVMA, its committees, and its liaison representatives.

SAVMA committees continued their work of allocating funds to student scholarships, grant competitions, travel stipends, and recognition of superior programming and professors at veterinary schools.

A new publicity campaign geared toward presenting the benefits of SAVMA and AVMA membership to students, increased use of social networking sites to link students to SAVMA entities, and letters to deans' offices to accompany the recently passed duty hours proposal (see JAVMA, May 15, 2011, page 1225) were all products of the SAVMA committee meetings.

SAVMA liaison representatives—those students who serve the purpose of representing SAVMA and the student voice on various AVMA committees, the AAVMC, and the National Commission on Veterinary Economic Issues—brought back news of progress within those organizations. Of particular note was the news that the AAVMC has become the first organization to grant a student liaison representative both a voice and a vote on its board of directors. Later in the meeting, the SAVMA liaison to the AAVMC, Josh Yonas, spoke in favor of a motion to endorse the final report of the North American Veterinary Medical Education Consortium in the form of a letter to the association; the motion was approved by the delegates.

Visitors and new members

In response to the call to improve connections of recent graduates to organized veterinary medicine, representatives from the AVMA highlighted current initiatives such as the Future Leaders Program, the AVMA 20/20 Vision Commission, and the work of the Task Force on AVMA Programs for Students and Recent Graduates. The delegates showed enthusiasm for news of such projects that will directly affect their generation of veterinarians.

Additional speakers included Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Dr. Jolle Kirpensteijn of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association, SAVMA's Global and Public Health Officer Claire McPhee (NCU ′12) on the upcoming One Health Vector Borne Disease initiative, Chad Clancy (ISU ′13) on the Merck Rabies Symposium to be held Sept. 24 at Iowa State University, and Dr. Karen Felsted on behalf of Hill's Pet Nutrition and Bayer Animal Health's client preference study.

The SAVMA Executive Board welcomed newly elected members Chad Clancy, secretary-elect; Erich Roush (WIS ′13), treasurer-elect; Taylor Simon (LSU ′13), information technology officer-elect; and Melissa Andritz (COR ′13), The Vet Gazette editor-elect.

The SAVMA House of Delegates will reconvene in March 2012 at the SAVMA Symposium at Purdue University, but the months until then will be filled with work that continues on the behalf of veterinary students across the country. As Dr. Kirpensteijn reminded the students during his presentation, “We lead the world (if we participate).”

Meows and barks greet shelter volunteers

By Malinda Larkin

High-pitched barks and deep woofs from the shelter dogs—mostly pit bull-type dogs and mixes—echoed against the concrete floors and walls at Stray Animal Rescue of St. Louis. The cacophony always grew louder when a volunteer took a dog out of its cage to go for a walk.

Dr. Rachel Tapp, one of the dog walkers, and more than 50 other volunteers donated their time July 16 to be a part of the American Veterinary Medical Foundation's fourth annual Our Oath in Action Shelter Rehab project. It combines volunteerism and tourism to put the Veterinarian's Oath into action while offering AVMA Annual Convention–goers a closer look at the community.


Anna Migneco, a second-year veterinary student at the University of Missouri-Columbia, pours paint at the Animal House, a shelter exclusively for cats, as part of the American Veterinary Medical Foundation's fourth annual Our Oath in Action Shelter Rehab project. (Photo by Malinda Larkin)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 239, 6; 10.2460/javma.239.6.704

Dr. Tapp, a small animal practitioner from Rock Hill, S.C., said she participated because she thought it would be nice to “not be a veterinarian for a day, but to spend time with animals and not worry about the medical stuff.”

Her efforts and those of the other volunteers helped to socialize the dogs and keep them happy, said Tami Zahrndt, volunteer coordinator at Stray Animal Rescue, a no-kill shelter. Since its opening in 1998, the organization has grown by leaps and bounds. It now has three facilities—one with an on-site veterinary clinic—that house a few hundred dogs at a time, thanks to the efforts of 28 staff members and hundreds of volunteers. Last month, adoptive homes were found for nearly 100 dogs, Zahrndt said.

Another local shelter happy to see some extra volunteers was Animal House. It is a stray cat rescue organization that opened in August 2010 after the city shuttered its animal shelter. Animal House took the cats while Stray Animal Rescue took the dogs.

Brandyn Jones, executive director of Animal House, said the shelter has been busy this summer with a high number of intakes and an active kitten season.

The Animal House building is large and airy and holds 100 to 200 cats and kittens, all waiting to be adopted. Most remain in cages, but the shelter is working on building more cat rooms with scratching posts and shelves that hold 10 to 12 cats at a time.

Volunteers such as Anna Migneco and Erin Willis—both second-year veterinary students at the University of Missouri-Columbia—painted the walls of Animal House eggshell blue. The two roommates hoped to help the shelter by volunteering and, if possible, by also adopting a cat to join the other one they own.

Migneco's father, Dr. Ed Migneco, helped select the four shelters that partnered with the AVMF for the event, the other two being the Clowder House and Five Acres Animal Shelter. Dr. Migneco owns the Hillside Animal Hospital in downtown St. Louis and works frequently with these shelters to provide care for the animals.

The AVMF provided all volunteers with lunch and T-shirts. The event was sponsored by Hill's Pet Nutrition.

Students awarded scholarships from AVMF

The American Veterinary Medical Foundation announced July 17 during its board of directors meeting in St. Louis the 26 recipients of scholarships it handed out this year through its 2011 Veterinary Student Scholarship program. Each student won $1,000.

The recipients and their career interests are as follows:

  • • Anna Altobelli (KSU ′14), large animal medicine or laboratory animal science.

  • • Kathryn Sharbrough Bass (TUS ′11), shelter animal medicine.

  • • Courtney Blake (ISU ′12), large animal medicine.

  • • Matt Brewer (ISU ′12), food animal medicine.

  • • Lynn Brockway (MO ′14), food animal medicine.

  • • Vanessa Wen-Xi Chen (CAL ′14), emerging infectious disease research.

  • • Kari Chesney (MO ′14), veterinary pathology and research.

  • • Dana Franzen (WIS ′13), zoo animal and wildlife medicine.

  • • Lauren Habenicht (COL ′13), medical research.

  • • Kathryn Hooper (ORS ′12), shelter animal medicine and public health.

  • • Carrie Muller (WES ′14), small animal medicine and research.

  • • Amelia Naher (WSU ′13), food animal medicine.

  • • Melissa Nashat (COR ′13), infectious disease research.

  • • Ravi Padte (COR ′12), public health.

  • • Timothy Perano (CAL ′12), large animal medicine.

  • • Alexander Piazza (MSU ′12), surgery.

  • • Megan Pozza (OSU ′13), public health.

  • • Cari Rasmussen (IL ′14), shelter animal medicine.

  • • Rochelle Reddig (KSU ′12), mixed animal medicine.

  • • Jose J. Rivera-Rivas (WIS ′13), host-pathogen interaction research.

  • • Carolina Salter (GA ′12), oncology research.

  • • Kate Schoenhals (ORS ′12), large animal medicine.

  • • Mary Thurber (WIS ′14), epidemiology research.

  • • Christopher Torre (UP ′12), emergency and shelter animal medicine.

  • • Laura Willard (MIN ′14), disaster medicine.

  • • Melissa Yu (TUF ′13), nutrition and small animal medicine.

Christopher Torre (UP ′12), was awarded a scholarship from the Mildred C. Sylvester Scholarship Fund.

Dr. Jody L. Gookin is the 2011 recipient of the AVMF/Winn Foundation Excellence in Feline Research Award, presented July 19 at the President's Installation Luncheon during the AVMA Annual Convention (see page 717). It is accompanied by a $2,500 cash award from Winn.

The award is paired with a matching scholarship by the AVMF to a veterinary student interested in feline medicine. This year's scholarship was awarded to Dr. Jessica L. Balter (COR ′11) in the amount of $2,500. The two awards are designed to promote and encourage feline health studies by established veterinary research scientists and those entering this field of study.

Finally, the Foundation announced Kimberly Hitt (MIS ′12) and Emily Meyer (NCU ′12) as the winners of a scholarship award made possible through a partnership with the American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation and the AVMF. Each will receive $3,000.

For more information about the AVMF, visit www.avmf.org.

Scholarship program taking applications

Applications are now being accepted for the Pfizer Animal Health Veterinary Student Scholarship Program.

The program, now in its third year, annually provides $2,500 scholarships to up to 300 second- and third-year veterinary students studying at AVMA-accredited schools. Pfizer funds the scholarships, and the American Veterinary Medical Foundation administers the program.

Dr. J. Michael McFarland, Pfizer Animal Health group director of veterinary medical services, said the program is one way the company shows its commitment to the future of the veterinary profession.

“We work to support students' dreams to become veterinarians in several ways, from education and hands-on training to research and the Pfizer Animal Health scholarship program, which allows us to help lessen the financial debt that our students face today,” he said.

The scholarships are used as a way to promote food animal practice and diversity in the veterinary profession.

Applications will be initially reviewed by the Foundation with consideration to the above criteria. The final decisions will be made by the AVMF on the basis of the total amount of scholarship dollars available for disbursement and each college's enrollment.

The Pfizer scholarship application will be available Oct. 1. Applications may be downloaded at www.avmf.org and are due by Nov. 30.

The scholarship winners will be announced in March during the 2012 Student AVMA Educational Symposium at Purdue University.

Finalists vie for American Hero Dog title

After hundreds of nominations and weeks of voting, the eight finalists for the American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards were announced in August.

Hero Dog Awards is a national event recognizing the bond between dogs and people and celebrating the extraordinary achievements of individual dogs while educating the public about responsible dog care.

As two of several charity partners, the AVMA and American Veterinary Medical Foundation have a chance to receive a share of $50,000 in grants awarded by the AHA to support their work.

The AHA Hero Dog Awards finalists are as follows: Sadie, a certified accelerant detection dog who works with the Major Crimes Unit of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation; Zurich, a certified service dog who has enriched the life of his sick partner; Stacey Mae, the therapy dog who has helped collect thousands of teddy bears for sick children in hospitals; Bino, who has served as a narcotics detection and patrol dog for almost 11 years; Roselle, the guide dog who calmly directed her handler down more than 1,400 stairs at the World Trade Center on 9/11; Sage, the search-and-rescue dog who provided closure to many families of the missing; Harley, the hearing dog who has given his owner self-confidence and a feeling of equality that she had not experienced before; and Ricochet, the dog who surfs with special needs kids and people with disabilities for therapeutic purposes.

The public and an all-star panel of judges and animal care experts will choose the Grand Prize Winner from among the eight finalists. The judging period will conclude Sept. 30.

The winner will be announced Oct. 1 at the first AHA Hero Dog Awards celebrity gala in Los Angeles. The Hero Dog Awards will be broadcast on the Hallmark Channel on Veteran's Day, Nov. 11.

See photos of the finalists and learn more about each of them and the contest at www.herodogawards.org.

Reversing the decline in patient visits

Survey of practice owners examines the problem, potential solutions

By Katie Burns


Pets' visits to companion animal practices in the past two years (Source: Bayer Veterinary Care Usage Study, May 9–16 survey of 401 owners of companion animal practices)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 239, 6; 10.2460/javma.239.6.704

Companion animal practices in the United States have opportunities to increase patient visits, according to new survey results, despite a decline in the frequency of visits that began before the current economic downturn.

Fifty-one percent of a sample of companion animal practices reported a decrease in patient visits in the past two years, while 34 percent reported an increase, according to the second phase of the Bayer Veterinary Care Usage Study.

The Bayer study's second phase, like the first phase, examined both the problem as well as potential solutions. “The time and energy spent building clinic traffic—that is, patient visits—are worth it,” said John Volk, senior consultant at Brakke Consulting Inc. “There are pets out there, especially cats, that need better care. And their owners tell us they're willing to provide that care if you tell them what to do.”

Bayer Animal Health, Brakke, and the National Commission on Veterinary Economic Issues released the results of the Bayer study's second phase July 18 at the AVMA Annual Convention.

Earlier in the day, a coalition of organizations—including the AVMA and American Animal Hospital Association—had announced the new Partnership for Preventive Pet Healthcare to help practices reverse the decline in the frequency of pets' veterinary visits (see JAVMA, Sept. 1, 2011, page 536).

Looking at the problem

Various studies have identified decreases in how often pet cats and dogs see a veterinarian and how many cats and dogs each practice sees.

Before the current economic downturn, surveys by the AVMA of roughly 50,000 U.S. pet owners in 2001 and 2006 found a decrease in mean number of veterinary visits per year both for cats and for dogs.

The AVMA surveys also revealed that total number of veterinary visits by cats decreased between 2001 and 2006, even as the number of pet cats increased. Total number of veterinary visits by dogs increased, however, alongside an increase in the number of pet dogs.

More recently, an AAHA survey found decreases in total veterinary visits for dogs and cats in a sample of nearly 4,000 U.S. companion animal practices. From 2009–2010, dog visits decreased by 0.6 percent, and cat visits decreased by 1.7 percent.

“With the recent economic crisis, things certainly got worse and aggravated,” said Dr. Cristiano von Simson, Bayer director of veterinary technical services. “Since we can't change anything in the economy ourselves one by one, every veterinarian, are there other trends and other things that we can work on and improve the number of visits, improve the health care for those pets?”

The first phase of the Bayer study included a literature review, interviews with U.S. veterinarians and pet owners, and a survey of U.S. pet owners. The results, which came out in January, highlighted six factors as contributing to the decline in the frequency of veterinary visits.

Environmental factors that were identified were the recession, fragmentation of veterinary services among more providers, and an increase in the use of the Internet as a source of animal health information. Client-related factors were a belief by some pet owners that routine checkups are unnecessary, cost concerns, and the difficulties of taking cats to the clinic.

The second phase of the study consisted of an online survey of about 400 owners of companion animal practices in the United States. The results revealed that many practices have seen a decrease not only in patient visits but also in revenues. Forty-two percent of practices reported a decrease in revenues from 2009–2010, although 47 percent reported an increase.

“There is a tremendous amount of unused capacity in the companion animal world,” Volk said. “We have a tremendous amount of open spots on the appointment book.”


John Volk, senior consultant at Brakke Consulting Inc., presents results from the second phase of the Bayer Veterinary Care Usage Study. On the right are Drs. Cristiano von Simson, Bayer director of veterinary technical services, and Karen E. Felsted, chief executive officer of the National Commission on Veterinary Economic Issues. (Photo by R. Scott Nolen)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 239, 6; 10.2460/javma.239.6.704

Practice owners reported filling a mean of 61.7 percent of available client appointments during the first three months of 2011.

“We did identify four things that were common amongst practices that were seeing increases in visits, and I think we can consider these foundational elements,” Volk said. “No matter what else you're doing, these are four boxes that you want to check off in your practice.”

Practices that saw an increase in patient visits were more likely to arrange for clients to see the same veterinarian for every visit. Owners of such practices tended to believe that wellness examinations are one of the practice's most valuable services and that marketing and advertising are a key part of the business strategy. Also associated with an increase in patient visits was active use of social media such as Facebook.

Owners of practices that saw a decrease in patient visits were more likely to think advertising undermined their credibility as veterinarians. Such practices also tended to lack referral arrangements with providers of other pet services.

Six factors

The second phase of the Bayer study explored the six factors that the first phase identified as contributing to the decline in frequency of veterinary visits.

The survey of practice owners found that 33 percent thought the recession had a substantial negative impact on their local economy, and 51 percent of practice owners reported a moderate negative impact.

Relevant to the fragmentation of veterinary services, practice owners identified a mean of 15.3 other clinics in their trade area. The list included traditional independent practices, chain clinics, specialty clinics, shelter practices and other “low cost” or “limited service” clinics, and mobile vaccination clinics.

“I think another way to look at this is not just fragmentation, but proliferation of veterinary services,” Volk said.

Forty percent of practice owners completely or somewhat disagreed with the statement “The Internet has made it easier to work with my clients,” although 31 percent completely or somewhat agreed.

Internet usage by the surveyed practices was variable. Seventy-seven percent of practices had a website, and 43 percent used Facebook.

Relevant to routine checkups, 26 percent of practice owners completely agreed and 46 percent somewhat agreed that they view wellness examinations as the most important service that the practice performs.

Almost all practice owners recommended at least annual examinations for dogs and cats. The earlier survey of pet owners found that 85 percent had taken their dog to the veterinarian within the past year, but only 60 percent had taken their cat to the veterinarian within the past year.

Relevant to the cost of care, 56 percent of practice owners increased fees in 2010 and 2011, and 24 percent increased fees in one of the two years.

“Veterinary medicine is a low-frequency-of-purchase service,” Volk observed. “You see clients typically once or twice a year, so they always think it costs a lot more than they were expecting.”

With regard to their attitudes toward cats, 70 percent of practice owners completely or somewhat agreed that they go to great lengths to ensure that the experience in the reception room causes as little stress as possible for cats and their owners.

Nevertheless, 38 percent completely or somewhat disagreed that they provide each cat owner with instructions on how to make travel to the clinic less stressful.

Looking for solutions

Dr. Karen E. Felsted, NCVEI chief executive officer, emphasized that the Bayer study looked for practical solutions to reverse the decline in the frequency of veterinary visits.

The survey of pet owners found, for example, that 45 percent said they would visit the veterinarian more often if the practice offered a wellness plan billed monthly. The survey of practice owners found that only 5 percent offer such a plan, but 29 percent would be willing to do so.

“Essentially, that's a bundled group of preventative health services, the basic services that a pet needs during a year, that a pet owner is allowed to pay for over time,” Dr. Felsted said. A pet owner could pay for a wellness plan in monthly installments, for example.

Among findings related to practice management, the study revealed that practice owners generally reviewed financial figures at least quarterly, but fewer reviewed client and patient numbers this often.

Eighty-two percent of practice owners completely or somewhat agreed that they would change how their practice operates if they knew doing so would increase client satisfaction, but only 20 percent completely or somewhat agreed that they routinely measure client satisfaction with after-service surveys.

With regard to client communication, the study revealed that, while 57 percent of pet owners completely agreed with the statement “My veterinarian communicates with me in language I understand,” 43 percent did not agree completely. Nevertheless, 88 percent of practice owners completely or somewhat agreed with the statement “I talk my clients through the exam, explaining what I am doing in detail.”

Dr. Felsted remarked during her presentation on the disconnect between how clients and veterinarians perceive the quality of communication.

“This is a critical area for improvement,” Dr. Felsted reiterated after the convention. “If we expect clients to spend the money on good quality care, we simply must communicate not only what we are doing and the need for our recommendations, but the value the client receives from this as well.”

Increasing patient visits

Owners of companion animal practices who reported an increase in patient visits were more likely to do the following:

  • • Arrange for clients to see the same veterinarian at every visit.

  • • Believe that wellness examinations are one of the practice's most valuable services.

  • • Believe that marketing and advertising are a key part of the business strategy.

  • • Actively use social media such as Facebook.

Source: Bayer Veterinary Care Usage Study

The study found that 74 percent of practice owners agreed that increasing fees has become more difficult, and 49 percent agreed that clients increasingly are complaining about fees.

“We have worked on the assumption for many, many years that as long as we communicated value, clients would pay anything that we asked,” Dr. Felsted said during her presentation. “It's become very, very clear, even before the recession, that that's not an assumption we can count on any longer.”

Dr. Felsted said some strategies that practices can use to improve profitability, in addition to offering wellness plans, are providing payment options and designing better marketing programs, which might include offering promotional discounts. Forty-five percent of practice owners reported providing a free initial examination for pets adopted from shelters, and 36 percent offered price matching on products.

Practices have a major growth opportunity in the number of veterinary visits by focusing on cats, Dr. Felsted noted.

Dr. Felsted also advised that practices make sure to schedule the next appointment before the patient leaves the clinic. Four percent of practices always do so, while 35 percent often do so and 49 percent sometimes do so.

“There are things, easy things, that every single practice can do to actually reverse this trend in visits,” Dr. Felsted said.

Additional information from the Bayer study is available at http://bayer-ah.com/news.cfm.

Banfield's wellness plans

The recent Bayer Veterinary Care Usage Study suggested that offereing wellness plans could increase the number of veterinary visits by cats and dogs. Banfield Pet Hospital is an example of a practice group that already promotes wellness plans.

Banfield's hundreds of clinics offer Optimum Wellness Plans, annual packages of preventive care with monthly payments. Currently, about 46 percent of Banfield's feline and canine patients are on a wellness plan.

Among Banfield's patients not on wellness plans, cats averaged 1.42 visits in 2010, and dogs averaged 1.43 visits. Among Banfield's patients on wellness plans, cats averaged 3.67 visits in 2010, and dogs averaged 2.86 visits.

Dr. Jeffrey S. Klausner, Banfield's chief medical officer, said Banfield believes twice-annual examinations are key to ensuring that pets receive proper preventive care.

“Regular visits also assist in building long-lasting relationships with clients,” Dr. Klausner said. “The relationship piece is an important part of preventive care—the better the relationship with a client, the more likely clients are to trust doctor recommendations.

“We've also found that wellness plan clients not only come in twice as often, they have better compliance with preventive care recommendations. For example, our data show that 45 percent of wellness plan clients have their pets on heartworm preventive, while only 20 percent of non-wellness plan clients do.”

USDA accreditation training available

The National Veterinary Accreditation Program's first four supplemental training courses became available in July, and another five courses were expected to become available in September.

The Department of Agriculture is adding the supplemental training as part of its updates to the NVAP, through which veterinarians can gain federal accreditation that lets them to perform some work for the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. The department announced in December 2009 that veterinarians who wanted to continue being accredited would need to participate in a new, tiered program that requires continuing education and renewals. It replaced a system that had lifetime accreditation without separate categories.

One of the two accreditation categories allows veterinarians to perform some APHIS-related work on companion animals such as cats, dogs, and rodents, while the second accreditation category allows veterinarians to perform such work on all animals. Veterinarians accredited under the first category need to complete at least three units of APHIS-approved supplemental training every three years to renew their accreditation, and each course provides one unit. Veterinarians accredited under the second category need to complete six units. Each training course is expected to require about one hour of work.

APHIS officials also announced plans to make four more training modules available in March 2012 and five more in September 2012.

More information on the supplemental training is available at www.aphis.usda.gov/nvap.

APHIS proposes new framework for tracing food animals

By Greg Cima and Katie Burns

Federal agriculture authorities want to require identification and veterinary inspection for nearly all livestock that cross state lines.

In a proposal announced Aug. 9 and published Aug. 11 in the Federal Register, the Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service indicated the new rules would require that state and tribal governments collect information on livestock movements across their boundaries. That information would be used to trace the origins and movements of those animals during disease outbreaks.

Facilities such as stockyards and livestock markets would also need to keep records of veterinary inspections for at least five years.

APHIS is, through Nov. 9, seeking comments on the plan, which is intended to decrease the time and cost associated with investigating animal disease outbreaks. The agency will respond to the comments in a final rule 12 to 15 months after the comment period closes, an APHIS spokeswoman said.

To view or comment on the proposal, go to www.regulations.gov and search for APHIS-2009–0091.

APHIS officials had indicated during a July 19 session at the 2011 AVMA Annual Convention that a framework is coming together to trace the origins of food animals during disease outbreaks in the United States.

In the session on the future of traceability, Dr. John R. Clifford, deputy administrator for APHIS Veterinary Services, said the cattle industry would be the highest priority for the new system, because the commercial swine and poultry industries already have good tracing abilities.

“We're looking at getting more cattle ID with this,” Dr. Clifford said. “We do not have to have a final rule in place to get IDs in cattle's ears.”


(Photo by Greg Cima)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 239, 6; 10.2460/javma.239.6.704

The agency's proposal similarly expresses particular concern about “inadequacies in disease tracing capabilities in the cattle industry” that have emerged with the success in eliminating nearly all brucellosis cases in the U.S. That success has been met with a steep decline in the number of cattle identified through tattoos and eartags, from 10 million calves in 1988, when only half the states were considered to be free of the disease, to 3.1 million in 2010, when only the area around Yellowstone National Park was known to contain reservoirs of the disease.

“As a result of decreasing levels of official identification in cattle, the time required to conduct other disease investigations is increasing,” the proposed rule states. “For example, disease investigations for bovine tuberculosis frequently now exceed 150 days as USDA and state investigative teams spend substantially more time and money in conducting tracebacks. The decreased level of official identification has resulted in an expansion of the scope of investigations to identify suspect and exposed animals, necessitating the testing of thousands of cattle that would otherwise not have needed to be tested.”

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in an Aug. 9 conference call with news media he is confident the new system will improve the response to disease outbreaks, which he thinks could take days or weeks rather than lengthy periods such as those needed for bovine tuberculosis investigations. He also indicated the tracing system could help U.S. livestock owners market their products while providing an animal origin tracing system that is flexible and responsive to producers' needs.

“This is a discussion we've been having in this country for a long time, and it's high time that we get to a point where we actually have a system that works,” Vilsack said.


Dr. Gregory L. Parham, administrator of the Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Servicem, and Dr. John R. Clifford, deputy administrator for APHIS Veterinary Services, speak at the AVMA Annual Convention about their agency's proposal for a framework for tracing food animals.

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 239, 6; 10.2460/javma.239.6.704

The USDA previously spent more than $120 million trying to develop and implement a voluntary identification program, the National Animal Identification System, but only 36 percent of U.S. animal producers were participating when the department announced in February 2010 that the program would be replaced. The program had been proposed in 2003 as a way to rapidly identify the animals and locations potentially affected by disease outbreaks.

The new program would be required by federal authorities but led and administered by state and tribal governments, APHIS information states.

The proposed rule indicates states will have to accept some forms of official identification, such as some metal ear tags with nationally unique identification numbers. Other forms of identification, such as branding and tattoos, could be used if the states sending and receiving the animals both agree to accept such identification.

During the July 19 session at the AVMA Annual Convention, Dr. Clifford said APHIS' role in the new system would involve coordinating the livestock tracing activities.

“It's going to be the role of the states and tribes to implement them,” he said.

Dr. Gregory L. Parham, APHIS administrator, said in the session that veterinarians need to remain vigilant to ensure that emerging diseases do not become established. He discussed the scope of his agency's efforts to protect and promote animal health and emphasized the centrality of surveillance to the agency's mission.

“Early response and detection are still the key to controlling and eradicating animal diseases,” Dr. Parham said.

A statement from Dr. Ron DeHaven, AVMA CEO and a former APHIS administrator, commends the collaborative approach taken by APHIS in developing the proposal and indicates the AVMA will work with USDA to develop an effective animal disease traceability system with minimal burden on those responsible for implementing the system.

“From a veterinary perspective, preventing and controlling the spread of infectious disease is paramount to protecting our nation's herds and flocks and maintaining a safe food supply,” Dr. DeHaven said.

New specialty college issues certification requirements, sets exam date

The American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation is accepting applications for board certification in canine and equine sports medicine and rehabilitation.

This August, the newest of the veterinary specialty colleges published application requirements and announced that the initial examination for board certification in the two areas of specialization was scheduled for May 2012.

The ACVSMR has been in the works for more than a decade. Interest in a veterinary rehabilitation and sports medicine specialty started to gain momentum in 1999 after the 1st International Symposium on Veterinary Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy was held in Corvallis, Ore. (see JAVMA, July 1, 2011, page 29).

The college expects ACVSMR membership will increase to more than 200 over the next several years as the demand for veterinary sports medicine and rehabilitation continues to grow.

Credentials applications for ACVSMR board certification, qualifications required for certification, and additional details about the examination are available at www.vsmr.org. Applications must be received by Oct. 15, 2011. For additional information, email the ACVSMR secretary at info@vsmr.org.

Sites offer help with waste issues

Two sites are providing guidance for veterinarians on waste storage and removal.

The AVMA has published guidance intended to help veterinarians learn about environmental and legal considerations for waste management and disposal. Information on hazardous and medical waste and federal and state regulations are available at www.avma.org/wastedisposal.

The information is part of an educational campaign on hazardous substances and wastes that was recommended by the AVMA Task Force on National Hazardous Waste Product Database and contributed to largely by the AVMA Committee on Environmental Issues.

The Veterinary Compliance Assistance site created by the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences, with contributions from the AVMA, includes information on pollution prevention, compliance with state and federal laws and regulations, identification and risks of hazardous materials, identification and management of medical waste, and guidance on carcass disposal. That site is at www.vetca.org.

Heartworm treatment not available

Immiticide, the only heartworm adulticide on the U.S. market, was temporarily unavailable as of early August. In response, the American Heartworm Society released an alternative management plan for heartworm disease.

The company that manufactures Immiticide for Merial reported technical issues that are expected to interrupt the supply of the heartworm treatment for several weeks to months, according to an Aug. 4 “dear doctor” letter from Merial. Merial depleted its remaining inventory of Immiticide within days of the letter, a spokeswoman confirmed.

According to the letter, “there is a possibility that an alternate source of supply may be identified.”

On Aug. 9, the American Heartworm Society released a plan for managing heartworm disease in dogs while Immiticide is unavailable.

The guidance advises that, lacking a heartworm adulticide, veterinarians should manage heartworm disease in dogs to achieve three primary goals:

  • • Reduce the potential for development of pathologic abnormalities associated with heartworm infection.

  • • Maintain the health of the dog until it can be appropriately treated.

  • • Prevent additional heartworm infection.

The guidance advises the following steps:

  • • Limit activity level of the dog to reduce development of pathologic abnormalities.

  • • Carefully start the dog on heartworm preventive.

  • • Administer doxycycline to reduce the infective potential of heartworms.

The complete management plan is available at www.heartwormsociety.org.

According to the “dear doctor” letter, Merial will continue reporting on changes in the supply of Immiticide.

Student loan subsidy's end raises concerns

By R. Scott Nolen

Next year, the federal government will no longer subsidize the interest on Stafford student loans for graduate and professional students still in school.

The Budget Control Act of 2011 that President Obama signed Aug. 2, just hours before the U.S. would have defaulted on its debt, raised the nation's debt ceiling by $2.4 trillion. The compromise legislation agreed to by the House and Senate contained a number of cost-cutting measures aimed at curbing federal spending over the long term and included a provision eliminating the student loan subsidy.

The subsidy meant students pursuing an advanced degree were not charged interest on the principal of their educational loans until six months after graduation. But starting July 1, 2012, the loans will begin accruing interest while the students are still in school. Students are not required to start making payments on the interest or the principal until after graduation.

The law also ended an incentive program for all students making on-time loan payments. According to the Congressional Budget Office, eliminating the graduate and professional in-school interest subsidy and direct loan repayment incentives would yield a total savings of $21.6 billion from 2012–2021. Of that, $17 billion is being redirected into the Pell Grant program, with the remainder going toward deficit reduction.

In a statement, the AVMA said the organization recognizes the need for reducing federal spending in light of the growing national debt but worries about the unintended consequences of ending the student loan subsidy.

“Eliminating educational financing for graduate and professional students who rely on student loans to fund their education, such as veterinary school, will ensure higher education is out of reach for many,” said Dr. Mark Lutschaunig, director of the AVMA Governmental Relations Division.

The Student AVMA says the measure will make the already high cost of veterinary education even higher. “Without this financing, many veterinary students already faced with skyrocketing tuition rates may find veterinary education out of reach. With average veterinary student loans greater than $130,000, and average salaries of $65,000, eliminating the in-school interest subsidy will result in thousands of dollars in extra costs to veterinary students,” the SAVMA said in a statement.

Prior to the budget legislation's passage, the SAVMA joined the AVMA in a coalition of concerned organizations writing members of the bipartisan congressional group overseen by Vice President Joe Biden and charged with striking a comprehensive deficit-reduction deal. They asked that the group's proposal not cut the in-school loan interest subsidy.

In the letters, the two veterinary associations noted how graduate and professional students receiving subsidized Stafford loans are already required to pay more interest than undergraduates receiving subsidized Stafford loans—6.8 percent versus 4.5 percent.

“Current student loan policies for graduate and professional students are not the cause of the deficit we are facing today,” the AVMA and SAVMA stated. “Increasing the costs of graduate and professional education will harm our nation's ability to cultivate and develop highly skilled individuals who would be future leaders in business, government, medicine, science, and technology.”

The AVMA and SAVMA are now working with members of Congress to restore the loan subsidy.

NAVMEC ready for implementation

Final report to be published online

By Malinda Larkin

Save for some last-minute editing, work on the final report of the North American Veterinary Medical Education Consortium has wrapped up.

The Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges board of directors gave its approval July 17 during its summer meeting. The NAVMEC board had voted in favor of the document earlier this year.

The five strategic goals of the report are as follows:

  • • Graduate career-ready veterinarians who are educated and skilled in an agreed-upon set of core competencies.

  • • Ensure that admissions, curricula, accreditation, and testing and licensure are competence-driven.

  • • Strive for a veterinarian's education that is maximally cost-effective.

  • • Ensure that an economically viable system for veterinary medical education is sustained.

  • • Stimulate a profession-wide sense of urgency and focus on action.

After some tweaking, the core competencies are multispecies knowledge and clinical competency in one or more species or disciplines; one health, looking at health across animals, humans, and the environment; and professional competencies, such as communication, collaboration, management, leadership, lifelong learning, and diversity.

The report will be available at www.aavmc.org in coming weeks.

NAVMEC comprises several hundred stakeholders in veterinary education, including private practitioners, government and industry representatives, and faculty members. Approximately 400 individuals from 150 groups participated in a series of three national meetings in 2010 to discuss core competencies needed by graduates, and to review and explore progress in developing new educational models for delivery of the veterinary curriculum.

The NAVMEC board of directors is composed of members representing education, accreditation, and the licensing and testing arms of veterinary medical education. “That's a big difference between this effort and the Foresight and Pew reports and previous efforts; colleges and schools came together, but we didn't have key groups in the educational system at the table,” said Dr. Michael Chaddock, AAVMC deputy executive director.

The consortium board was charged with drafting a final report for the AAVMC leadership. After crafting an initial draft report and recommendations, they solicited comments.

More than 350 people submitted feedback on the draft report from Nov. 1, 2010-May 1, 2011. Slightly fewer than half represented private practices, and about a quarter were from academia. Eighty percent said they support or strongly support the NAVMEC recommendations.

The NAVMEC board listened carefully to the comments that came in, and the report was revised to incorporate that feedback, said Dr. Marguerite Pappaioanou, AAVMC executive director. Edits to the draft document by the NAVMEC and AAVMC boards of directors included a greater emphasis on the importance of research and scientific method in the report's recommendations.

The report also now gives greater acknowledgment to the progress veterinary schools and colleges have already made toward meeting the report's recommendations, Dr. Pappaioanou said.

Lastly, a recommendation was added to one of the strategic goals that a working group be established to optimize what's happening with veterinary teaching hospitals and specialty groups.

“We recognize that there are many ways to educate students to become veterinarians and that each college is unique and serves a unique constituency,” said Dr. Willie M. Reed, immediate past president of the AAVMC board of directors and dean of the Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine, “but this effort will go a long way toward ensuring that academic veterinary medicine continues to evolve and adapt in order to remain relevant. With NAVMEC, academic veterinary medicine continues to be one step ahead of change.”


Participants at the first meeting of the North American Veterinary Medical Education Consortium in February 2010 in Las Vegas listen to presenters. (Photo by R. Scott Nolen)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 239, 6; 10.2460/javma.239.6.704

The report lays out a number of recommendations for the AAVMC, AVMA, AVMA Council on Education, and National Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners and for others that will play coordinating roles in implementing the recommendations. The AAVMC will before, the end of the year, convene a meeting to bring these groups together to discuss all of the recommendations, some of which will require substantial contributions and investment from across the profession to put them into action, Dr. Pappaioanou said.

In addition, the AAVMC will conduct a survey, which will include obtaining input and assessments from employers of veterinarians, to collect baseline data regarding veterinary education, accreditation, and testing and licensure. Additional surveys will be done on an ongoing basis to measure how well the groups progress in meeting the NAVMEC recommendations.

AAHA to stop endorsing pet insurance policies

In July the American Animal Hospital Association announced it had started phasing out its endorsement program for high-deductible pet insurance policies with the goal of eliminating the program by year's end.

The AAHA Seal of Acceptance program was introduced in 2008 as a means of educating pet owners about meeting the cost of veterinary care for their pets. Companies awarded the seal had to let pet owners choose their veterinary care provider and also provide direct reimbursement to the owner.

Companies that earned the seal include Trupanion, PurinaCare, and Pets Best Insurance.

In a statement, the AAHA explained that mounting requests from association members, pet insurance representatives, and pet owners for additional Seal of Acceptance requirements and policy scrutiny led to the program's demise.

The AAHA board of directors decided that members and pet owners would be better served if the association discontinued the Seal of Acceptance and reallocated resources to general pet insurance education for the veterinary profession and pet owners.

The association also announced it had alerted pet insurance companies having policies that had earned the organization's endorsement about the board's decision. The AAHA Seal of Acceptance program will officially end Dec. 31, 2011.

In the meantime, the AAHA will continue to invest in educating pet owners about insurance and other payment options to help them meet the cost of veterinary care.

Colorado lab devastated by fire


Fire ravaged parts of Colorado State University's Equine Reproduction Laboratory this summer. (Courtesy of John Eisele/Colorado State University)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 239, 6; 10.2460/javma.239.6.704

By Malinda Larkin

Fire heavily damaged parts of Colorado State University's Equine Reproduction Laboratory on the Foothills Campus early July 26.

Firefighters found flames shooting through the roof of the building. The blaze impacted only the office building, which housed some laboratories.

“There was some research done there, and there was some computer data, but as far as how much data was available elsewhere or the extent of the damage, we are several days from figuring that out,” said Dell Rae Moellenberg, CSU senior media and community relations coordinator, on July 29.

She added that no people or horses were injured in the fire, and it did not touch any barns or stock areas. Twenty to 30 horses in the immediate area were moved into pens away from smoke during the fire, but were not in any danger.

The CSU Equine Reproduction Laboratory is a teaching, research, and service facility connected to the CSU Animal Reproduction and Biotechnology Laboratory. Work there includes veterinary reproductive research and services such as artificial insemination. The facility's staff pioneered reproductive techniques such as semen collection and AI, equine embryo recovery and transfer, and the shipping of cooled semen and embryos.

The Poudre Fire Authority estimates the fire caused a loss of $9 million to $15 million. As of early August, the origin was listed as undetermined and the cause as under investigation.

ERL employees will not be allowed access to the building until CSU safety officials conduct an audit of the building to evaluate potential hazards. Depending on that audit and following steps to address hazards, employees may need to wait days to weeks to enter the building to assess damage to building contents, according to the university.

For now, staffers have been temporarily moved to other buildings.

During the salvage and rebuilding of facilities, the ERL will continue to offer clinical services to clients.

Some laboratory clients may have had semen, oocytes, or embryos stored at the facility; however, not all client samples were stored in the building that was damaged by the fire. Staff will need to assess the viability of each sample recovered from the facility, a process that could take weeks, according to the university.

“Impact will be minimal to the daily activities,” Moellenberg said. “The long-term impact on research data is yet to be determined.”

The last major fire on campus in recent history occurred in May 1970 with the burning of Old Main, one of the first buildings at CSU, Moellenberg said.

Wildlife center joins international coalition protecting animal and public health

The U.S. Geological Survey in July announced the agency's National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wis., had been designated by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) as a Collaborating Center for Research and Diagnosis of Emerging and Existing Pathogens of Wildlife.

The OIE is an intergovernmental organization headquartered in Paris and responsible for improving animal health worldwide. Its objectives include ensuring transparency in the global disease situation; collecting, analyzing, and disseminating veterinary scientific information; and promoting veterinary services.

A critical component of the OIE's scientific expertise is the organization's international network of Collaborating Centers. These are centers of expertise in a specific designated sphere of competence relating to management of animal health issues. Collaborating Centers assist the OIE by providing their expertise internationally.

Other U.S. animal health and research facilities named as OIE Collaborating Centers include the Institute for International Cooperation in Animal Biologics at the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine and the Southeast Poultry and Research Laboratory in Athens, Ga.

“International recognition for the USGS National Wildlife Health Center by the World Organization for Animal Health could not be more prestigious or more timely,” said USGS Director Marcia McNutt. “As with all great honors, this one bears great responsibilities: to be ever watchful for the next outbreak and work internationally to stop it in its tracks.”

Located in Madison, Wis., the NWHC provides information, technical assistance, training, and research on domestic and international wildlife health issues.

In addition, the NWHC announced it will be creating a consortium with the Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Health Center, which is based at the University of Saskatchewan and is an OIE Collaborating Center for Wildlife Disease Surveillance and Monitoring, Epidemiology, and Management.

Agriculture department funding climate, environmental studies

Researchers will receive about $53 million in federal grants to help agricultural industries prepare for climate changes, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and sequester carbon.

The Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture announced in late June that the money will be given through 13 grants to 10 universities and the USDA Agricultural Research Service. The grants will fund multiyear projects connected with plant and animal agriculture; they will be provided through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative and will be administered through NIFA.

The initiative is a competitive grant program established through the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, USDA information states.

The grants connected with livestock include about $5 million to the University of Arkansas to evaluate how swine operations can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, $4.7 million to the University of Delaware to consider how chicken producers can lessen their industry's environmental impact, and $4.3 million to the University of Nebraska to help extension services give animal agriculture producers science-based climate resources.

Community Accolades


Dr. Christopher C. Carpenter (AUB ′89) has joined the Companion Animal Parasite Council as executive director.

Before coming to the CAPC, Dr. Carpenter spent 10 years at Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca marketing medical devices and pharmaceutical products. Most recently, he served as group director at Vistakon, a division of Johnson & Johnson.

Dr. Carpenter is the second executive director in the nearly 10-year existence of the council. He will continue the CAPC's efforts to educate the veterinary community and pet owners about zoonotic parasite infections and the importance of year-round parasite prevention.

Vermont VMA


Dr. Julie M. Moenter

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 239, 6; 10.2460/javma.239.6.704


Dr. Greg Dowd

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 239, 6; 10.2460/javma.239.6.704


Dr. Hailey Gentile

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 239, 6; 10.2460/javma.239.6.704

Event: Annual meeting, Burlington, June 24

Awards: David Walker Award: Dr. Julie M. Moenter, Bristol, won this award, given for dedication to animal health and the veterinary profession. A 1979 graduate of The Ohio State University, Dr. Moenter is a founding member of Hinesburg Veterinary Associates and established Bristol Animal Hospital in 1987. She is a past president of the Vermont VMA and served as its delegate to the AVMA House of Delegates from 2007–2011.

Officials: Drs. Greg Dowd, Arlington, president; Hailey Gentile, Newport, president-elect; Ron Veenema, Dummerston, secretary-treasurer; and Rick Baum, Arlington, immediate past president

American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine

The American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine certified 57 new diplomates following the certification examination it held June 26, 2011, in Bethesda, Md. The new diplomates are as follows:

Marilyn Arce, Guayama, Puerto Rico

Robert Baker, San Antonio

Douglas Brining, Corvallis, Mont.

Coralie Z. Cannon, Research Triangle Park, N.C.

Mark Chappell, Fort Detrick, Md.

Dondrae Coble, Greensboro, N.C.

Jonathan Cohen, New York

Turhan Coksaygan, Baltimore

Nathan Culley, Kansas City, Kan.

Lauren Davidson, Beltsville, Md.

Sandra Duarte-Vogel, Glendale, Calif.

Kristin Evans, Woodland, Calif.

Laura Garzel, Corpus Christi, Texas

Margaret Gilbert, New Orleans

Tamara Goode, Germantown, N.Y.

Alexander Gordon, Rochester, N.Y.

Brian Hanks, Columbia, Mo.

Lara Helwig, North Grafton, Mass.

Antwain Howard, Menlo Park, Calif.

Tanise Jackson, Tallahassee, Fla.

Bambi Jasmin, Webster, N.Y.

Audrey Jenkins, Platte City, Mo.

Nancy Johnston, Springfield, Ill.

Corinna Kashuba, Gaithersburg, Md.

Jessica Keen, Rochester, N.Y.

Megan Knowland, Ann Arbor, Mich.

Patrick Lester, Ann Arbor, Mich.

Jan Linkenhoker, Rockville, Md.

Jennifer Lofgren, Cambridge, Mass.

Charles Long, Perrysburg, Ohio

Sreenivasa Maddineni, Staten Island, N.Y.

Paul Makidon, Ann Arbor, Mich.

Christopher Manuel, Denver

Aaron Olsen, Logan, Utah

Kelly Pate, Baltimore

Calvin Patten Jr., Madison, Wis.

Lloyd Phinney Jr., San Antonio

Skye Rassmussen, New York

Shawn Rosensteel, Pittsburgh

Adam Schoell, Kalamazoo, Mich.

Manu Sebastian, New York

Julie Sharp, Durham, N.C.

Christine Sivula, Minneapolis

Briana Skinner, Atlanta

Jeffrey Smiley, Lexington, K.Y

Felicitas Smith, Raleigh, N.C.

Maggie Struck, Gainesville, Fla.

Jacquelyn Tubbs, Raleigh, N.C.

Jason Villano, Galveston, Texas

Horatiu Vinerean, Miamisburg, Ohio

Temeri Wilder-Kofe, Atlanta

Chandra Williams, Lexington, Ky.

Wendy Williams, Ithaca, N.Y.

Misty Williams-Fritze, Augusta, Ga.

Jolaine Wilson, Philadelphia

Kelly Yamada, New York

Joanne Zahorsky-Reeves, Woodland Hills, Calif.

American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine

Event: 2011 ACVIM forum, June 15–18, Denver

Program: Of the 3,233 registered attendees at the meeting, 2,707 were veterinarians, 338 were veterinary technicians, and 188 were veterinary students.

Awards: Robert W. Kirk Award for Professional Excellence: Dr. Dennis O'Brien, Columbia, Mo., for meritorious contributions to the veterinary profession. An ACVIM-certified specialist in neurology, Dr. O'Brien is a professor of neurology at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Throughout his career, he has conducted research on the advantages of comparative and translational approaches to discovery. Dr. O'Brien is currently focused on the phenotypic and genotypic understanding of Parkinson's disease. Distinguished Service Award: Dr. John E. Oliver Jr., Bogart, Ga., for outstanding and dedicated service to the college in a volunteer capacity. An ACVIM-certified specialist in neurology and small animal internal medicine, Dr. Oliver is professor emeritus in the Department of Small Animal Medicine and professor emeritus in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology at the University of Georgia. Resident Research Award: Drs. Jenna Burton, Colorado State University, for “Low-dose cyclophosphamide selectively depletes regulatory T cells and inhibits angiogenesis in dogs with soft tissue sarcoma”; James Campbell, North Carolina State University, for “Assessment of cord dorsum potentials from caudal nerves in clinically normal dogs”; Ryan Garcia, University of California-Davis, for “The use of blood and urine galactomannan antigen tests for the diagnosis of canine systemic aspergillosis”; Ruth Gostelow, Royal Veterinary College, for “Plasma free metanephrine and normetanephrine concentrations are elevated in dogs with pheochromocytoma”; Karin Kruger, North Carolina State University, for “Pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of quinapril in horses”; Brian Maran, Washington State University, for “Identification of two deletion polymorphisms within the canine beta-1 adrenoceptor gene”; Rosie Naylor, Royal Veterinary College, for “Influence of allele copy number on skeletal muscle histopathology in horses with type 1 polysaccharide storage myopathy”; Valerie Parker, Iowa State University, for “Association between body condition and survival in dogs with acquired chronic kidney disease”; Davin Ringen, University of Missouri, for “Epidemiology of mastitis pathogens in heifers on a grazing dairy”; and Nicole Smee, Kansas State University, for “Investigations into the effect of cranberry extract on the bacterial adhesion to canine uroepithelial cells.”

New diplomates: One hundred thirty veterinarians completed the requirements for board certification by the ACVIM in 2011. The new diplomates are as follows:


Justin W. Allen, Chicago Nevena Borozan, Toronto Richard E. Cober, Columbus, Ohio Michael F. Cocchiaro, Charleston, S.C. Kimberley Hawkes, Sherwood Park, Alberta

Markus Killich, Ismaning, Germany

Mandi Kleman, Stamford, Conn.

Jeremy M. Orr, Aurora, Ill.

Gordon D. Peddle, Fairfield, N.J.

Robert J. Schutrumpf, Medford, Mass.

Katherine F. Scollan, Corvallis, Ore.

Sarah M. Scruggs, Denver

Cassidy D. Sedacca, Sarasota Springs, N.Y.

Sandra P. Tou, Raleigh, N.C.

Danielle L. Yuhas, Lawndale, Calif.

Large animal internal medicine

Cody J. Alcott, Ames, Iowa

Rosa Barsnick, Braunschweig, Germany

Kelly L. Carlson, Champaign, Ill.

Katelyn R. Carney, Albany, Ore.

Henry B. Carslake, Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom

Julie Dauvillier, Les Breviaires, France

Rebecca A Funk, Blacksburg, Va.

Tiffany L. Hall, Navasota, Texas

Laura Y. Hardefeldt, South Australia, Australia

Jaime L. Hustace, Wellington, Nev.

Alisha M. Janzen, Edmonton, Alberta

Vengai Mavangira, Auburn, Ala.

Maeva L. May, Kennett Square, Pa.

Katharyn J. Mitchell, Gilborn, Australia

Joan L. Norton, Sheridan, Ind.

Nelson Pinto-Hernandez, Raleigh, N.C.

Courtney Rand, Sanger, Calif.

Mary K. Sheats, Holly Springs, N.C.

Diana M. Short, Palouse, Wash.

Katharine M. Simpson, Stillwater, Okla.

Alice Stack, East Lansing, Mich.

Benjamin Uberti, San Isidro, Argentina

Kati Vainio, Degerby, Finland

Anita Varga, Davis, Calif.

Jamie M.G. Wearn, Chino Hills, Calif.

Sonya Wilsterman, Jackson, Wyo.

Lauren N. Wise, Pullman, Wash.


David M. Brewer, Leesburg, Va.

Laura Browand-Stainbeck, Las Vegas

Sheila Carrera-Justiz, Los Angeles

Andrea M.K. Finnen, Newmarket, Ontario

James J. Hammond, Clinton, Conn.

Rossi A. House, Nashville, Tenn.

Fiona M.K. James, Cambridge, Ontario

Jason B. King, Charleston, S.C.

Dominique Paquette, Sainte-Genevieve, Quebec

Michael A. Wong, Miami


Laura G. Accola, Hartland, Wis.

Katharine M. Andres, San Francisco

Sandra M. Barnard, Columbus, Ohio

Lynda Beaver, Gilbert, Ariz.

Michael O. Childress, West Lafayette, Ind.

Amanda K. Elpiner, North Canton, Ohio

Michael S. Henson, St. Paul, Minn.

Kenji Hosoya, Sapporo, Japan

Brian D. Husbands, St. Paul, Minn.

Janet C. Lori, Argyle, Texas

Pamela W. Lucas, Irmo, S.C.

Christina A. Manley, Reston, Va.

Angela L. McCleary-Wheeler, Rochester, Minn.

Dorothy E. Parshley, Olympia, Wash.

Suzanne E. Rau, Jamestown, N.C.

Kai-Biu Shiu, Madison, Wis.

Chelsea D. Tripp, Edmonds, Wash.

Jarrod M. Vancil, Tustin, Calif.

Small animal internal medicine

Lucia Alvarez, San Antonio

Brianna B. Backlund, Middletown, Conn.

Reto Barmettler, Emmen, Switzerland

Brier M. Bostrom, Scottsdale, Ariz.

Christina A. Bradbury, Meadow Vista, Calif.

Sibylle Buob, Wavell Heights, Australia

Kristin N. Cameron, Manlius, N.Y.

Scott A. Campbell, Louisville, Ky.

Stephan A. Carey, East Lansing, Mich.

Shannon Carley, Santa Barbara, Calif.

Isabelle N. Cattin, Mildenhall, United Kingdom

Serge Chalhoub, Charleston, S.C.

Amy P. Cordner, New York

Ashley M. Cruse, Long Beach, Calif.

Michael A. Della Ripa, Cincinnati

Brandy N. Dugas, Anchorage, Ark.

Jason M. Eberhardt, Phoenix

Joshua M Elliot, Vancouver, Wash.

Sarah K. Flint, Edmonton, Alberta

Claudia Fraune, Zurich

Isuru Gajanayake, Solihull, United Kingdom

Michael R. Geist, San Diego

Kelly M. Gisselman, Arlington, Va.

Lucie V. Goodwin, Bristol, United Kingdom

Todd A. Green, Great River, N.Y.

Avril Hamel-Jolette, Sainte-Julie, Quebec

Andrew S. Hanzlicek, Stillwater, Okla.

Crystal Hoh, Overland Park, Kan.

James B. Hummel, Cary, N.C.

Sarah J. Irom, Cleveland

Lisa A. Keno, Easton, Conn.

Tyler C. Klose, Milwaukee, Wis.

Jonathan J. Kreissler, Miami

Emily F. Kruger, Santa Rosa, Calif.

Leslie A. Kuczynski, Westmont, N.J.

Tara E. Lampman, Manchester, N.H.

Elizabeth S. Lechner, West Palm Beach, Fla.

Sarah B. Love, Fairbanks, Ark.

Sascha V. Mace, Wappingers Falls, N.Y.

Ashley A. Martin, Raleigh, N.C.

Suzanne N. May, Hawthorne, N.J.

Meg J. McBrien, Dallas, Pa.

Erika N. Meler, Laval, Quebec

Jessica A. Morgan, Portsmouth, N.H.

Courtney E. North, Estero, Fla.

Saskia Quante, Hong Kong

Julie G. Quartier, Lagoubran Olliolis, France

Erica V. Queen, Orangeville, Calif.

Lara K. Rose, Montreal, Quebec

Allison A. Sande, Clarksburg, Md.

Stefan Schellenberg, Urdorf, Switzerland

Lauren E. Sikorski, Oakdale, N.Y.

Dennis J. Slade, Vienna, Va.

Andrea J. Sotirakopoulos, San Diego

Amy M. Tamulevicus, Red Bank, N.J.

Mary K. Tolbert, Raleigh, N.C.

Amy K. Totten, Fort Wayne, Ind.

Sameer Trivedi, Los Angeles

Flurin Tschuor, Wikon, Switzerland

Amanda L. Wagner, Madison, Wis.

Officials: Drs. Jean Hall, Corvallis, Ore., chair, Board of Regents; Leah Cohn, Columbia, Mo., president; Virginia Buechner-Maxwell, Blacksburg, Va., president-elect; Debra Zoran, College Station, Texas, vice president; Jonathan Abbott, Blacksburg, Va., Specialty of Cardiology president; Simon Platt, Athens, Ga., Specialty of Neurology president; Chand Khanna, Chevy Chase, Md., Specialty of Oncology president; Steve Marks, Raleigh, N.C, Specialty of Small Animal Internal Medicine president; and Allen Roussel, College Station, Texas, Specialty of Large Animal Internal Medicine president

Community Obituaries: Member Honor roll member Nonmember

Gerald W. Albright

Dr. Albright (MIN ′58), 79, Bethany Beach, Del., died May 28, 2011. He retired in 1990 from Pennfield Corporation, an agribusiness in Lancaster, Pa. Earlier in his career, Dr. Albright worked in the poultry industry in Maryland and Alabama. In retirement, he served, mainly overseas, as a consultant and volunteer for 10 years. Dr. Albright's wife, Darleen; three sons; and a daughter survive him.

Roger A. Asplin

Dr. Asplin (MIN ′57), 77, Slayton, Minn., died May 26, 2011. A mixed animal veterinarian, he moved to Slayton in 1958 and practiced at the Slayton Veterinary Clinic until retirement. Prior to that, Dr. Asplin worked for the Department of Agriculture, testing cattle in Aberdeen, S.D. He was a member of the Minnesota VMA. Dr. Asplin is survived by his wife, Jean; three daughters; and a son.

William C. Dolowy

Dr. Dolowy (IL ′53), 84, Mercer Island, Wash., died June 12, 2011. From 1976 until retirement in 2001, he owned Animal Care Hospital on Mercer Island. Dr. Dolowy began his career as administrator of the Medical Research Laboratory at the University of Illinois School of Medicine in Chicago. In 1967, he was appointed as a professor of experimental animal medicine at the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine, where a year later he became chair of the newly created Department of Experimental Medicine.

Dr. Dolowy returned in 1974 to Illinois, where he served as a microbiologist at Hines Veterans Hospital, was a professor in the Department of Microbiology at the Chicago Medical School, served as an adjunct professor at Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine, and owned Dolowy Animal Hospital in Chicago. During his career in Illinois, he also served as a consultant for Presbyterian-St. Luke's Hospital, Mount Sinai Medical Research Foundation, and the Illinois State Psychiatric Institute. While in Washington state, Dr. Dolowy served part time as a senior biologist at the Pacific Northwest Research Foundation and as director of the Northwest Institute for Animal Studies. His research interests focused on the link between veterinary and human medicine. Dr. Dolowy showed that L-asparaginase is beneficial in treating human acute lymphoblastic leukemia. He was a diplomate of the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine and a member of several organizations, including the American Society of Laboratory Animal Practitioners, American Association for Cancer Research, American Society of Microbiology, and Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine.

Dr. Dolowy was also a member of the Washington State, Seattle, Illinois State, and Chicago VMAs. He was a past chair of the ACLAM Examination Committee and the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges Animal Care Committee. In 1988, Dr. Dolowy was named Washington State Veterinarian of the Year. His wife, Joan, and a daughter survive him. Memorials may be made to the American Veterinary Medical Foundation, 1931 N. Meacham Road, Schaumburg, IL 60173.

David V. Engstrom

Dr. Engstrom (MSU ′58), 82, Marquette, Mich., died April 22, 2011. A mixed animal practitioner, he owned Marquette Veterinary Clinic until 1996. During that time, Dr. Engstrom also established a trauma clinic. He was a past president of the Michigan VMA and a veteran of the Army. Active in civic life, Dr. Engstrom served on the Marquette General Hospital board of directors for 31 years and was a member of the Kiwanis Club. His wife, Eileen Marie; two sons; and three stepchildren survive him. Memorials may be made to Lake Superior Hospice Association, 914 W. Baraga Ave., Marquette, MI 49855; or First Presbyterian Church Organ Fund, 120 N. Front St., Marquette, MI 49855.

Paul G. Fink

Dr. Fink (MIN ′75), 60, Scottsdale, Ariz., died July 9, 2011. A mixed animal practitioner, he owned Aitkin Veterinary Clinic in Aitkin, Minn., for 18 years. After moving to Arizona, Dr. Fink worked at the Arizona Humane Society. He is survived by his wife, Katherin, and two daughters.

Silvio A. Fittipaldi

Dr. Fittipaldi (AUB ′37), 99, Cocoa Beach, Fla., died March 28, 2011. He practiced in Collingswood, N.J., for 40 years. During that time, Dr. Fittipaldi established Collingswood Veterinary Hospital and owned it until 1978. He was a past president of the New Jersey and Southern Jersey VMAs and was a past member of the New Jersey Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners. Dr. Fittipaldi was also a member of the American Animal Hospital Association. In 1981, the NJVMA honored him for his service on the NJBVME. Dr. Fittipaldi's two sons and a daughter survive him. Memorials may be made to the Christian Foundation for Children and Aging, 1 Elmwood Ave., Kansas City, KS 66103.

Walter R. Hendricks

Dr. Hendricks (OSU ′53), 87, Gurnee, Ill., died May 30, 2011. Prior to retirement, he owned Hendricks Animal Hospital in Gurnee. Dr. Hendricks was a member of the Illinois State VMA and was honored by the association in 2003 for having graduated from veterinary school 50 years prior. He was an Army veteran of World War II. Dr. Hendricks is survived by his daughter. Memorials may be made to Odyssey Hospice, 85 W. Algonquin Road, Suite 100, Arlington Heights, IL 60005.

Stephanie M. Imperatore

Dr. Imperatore (UP ′92), 67, Oakwood Village, Ohio, died May 14, 2011. She practiced small animal medicine in northeast Ohio. Dr. Imperatore also bred and showed French Bulldogs and bred, trained, and owned Thoroughbred horses. Her two sons survive her.

Gerald W. Jacobson

Dr. Jacobson (MIN ′68), 67, Cook, Minn., died June 22, 2011. A mixed animal practitioner, he practiced in Clarissa, Minn., for 32 years. In 2000, Dr. Jacobson moved to Cook, where he established a part-time practice. He was a life member of the Minnesota VMA. Active in civic life, Dr. Jacobson served on the Clarissa School Board for 18 years and was a member of the Lions Club. He is survived by his wife, Charlotte; three sons; and a daughter.

John C. LeMay

Dr. LeMay (GA ′59), 84, Durham, N.C., died June 6, 2011. A small animal veterinarian, he owned Guess Road Animal Hospital in Durham from 1978–2002. Dr. LeMay also served as an adjunct professor at the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Early in his career, he was chair of the Department of Veterinary Medicine at Duke University Medical School. During that time, Dr. LeMay also served as a professor and was university veterinarian. He was a member of the North Carolina VMA and North Carolina Academy of Small Animal Medicine and served on the Advisory Board of the Central Carolina Technical Institute's veterinary assistant program. Dr. LeMay is survived by his wife, Louise; a daughter; and a son.

Wendell C. Morse

Dr. Morse (MSU ′43), 90, South Bend, Ind., died June 27, 2011. From 1982 until retirement in 1992, he served as executive director of the International Association of Pet Cemeteries. Following graduation, Dr. Morse worked as veterinarian-in-charge for what was known as the American Scientific Breeding Institute in Elgin, Ill. He also owned a mixed animal practice at the same time. In 1948, Dr. Morse moved to Charlotte, Mich., where he was in mixed animal practice for the next 16 years. During that time, he established Town and Country Animal Hospital. From 1964–1967, Dr. Morse worked for the Food and Drug Administration's Bureau of Veterinary Medicine in Fairfax, Va. He then joined the American Animal Hospital Association in Elkhart, Ind., as assistant executive secretary. In 1969, Dr. Morse was named executive director of AAHA, serving in that capacity until 1978. He was appointed editor of the publication American Hospital Product News in 1980.

Dr. Morse was a member of the Michigan VMA and a past president of the Midwest VMA. He was a veteran of the Army Veterinary Corps, attaining the rank of captain. Dr. Morse is survived by his wife, Bette; two sons; two daughters; and two stepchildren. Memorials may be made to the American Parkinson's Disease Association, 720 Harrison Ave., Suite 207, Boston, MA 02117; or Center for Hospice, 111 Sunnybrook Court, South Bend, IN 46637.

Bruce S. Ott

Dr. Ott (MSU ′46), 88, Longwood, Fla., died July 7, 2011. Prior to retirement in 1985, he served as director of research and development for Lambert Kay Company, a manufacturer of pharmaceutical and nutritional products for pets. Following graduation, Dr. Ott was commissioned as a first lieutenant in the Army. During his 25-year military career, he served as senior veterinary adviser to the Military Assistance Command in Vietnam, was chief of the laboratory animal branch at the Army Institute of Surgical Research at Fort Sam Houston, and served as chief of the Veterinary Medicine Department at the Medical Research Laboratory at Edgewood Arsenal. Dr. Ott attained the rank of colonel and received several honors, including a Bronze Star, a Legion of Merit, and the Army Commendation, Armed Forces Expeditionary, and United Nations Service medals. After his military service, he served as director of animal health services at Parke-Davis and Company and practiced small animal medicine in California, before joining Lambert Kay in 1978.

Dr. Ott was a past president of the American Academy of Veterinary Nutrition and a member of the Scientific Research Society of America. He is survived by five sons and a daughter. Memorials may be made to Catholic Relief Services, P.O. Box 17090, Baltimore, MD 21203.

William J. Owen

Dr. Owen (ISU ′55), 82, Maxwell, Iowa, died May 21, 2011. Prior to retirement in 1991, he taught and served as an epidemiologist at Iowa State University for 13 years. During that time, Dr. Owen took a brief sabbatical and earned a master's in preventive veterinary medicine from the University of California-Davis. He began his career in Maxwell, where he practiced food animal medicine for 17 years. Dr. Owen also ran a cow-calf operation at his farm. He then worked for the state of Iowa as district veterinarian for six years before joining the faculty at ISU. Dr. Owen was a member of the Iowa VMA and a veteran of the Army Air Corps. His wife, JoAnne; four daughters; and two sons survive him. Memorials toward the Science Department may be made to Collins-Maxwell School, 400 Metcalf St., Maxwell, IA 50161.

Allen G. Robinson

Dr. Robinson (MO ′66), 71, Palmyra, Mo., died May 5, 2011. A mixed animal practitioner, he owned Palmyra Veterinary Clinic. Dr. Robinson was a past president of the Missouri VMA and a past MVMA Veterinarian of the Year. He was also a member of the American Association of Equine Practitioners. Active in civic life, Dr. Robinson was a past president of the Palmyra R-1 School Board. He served as a captain in the Army during the Vietnam War. Dr. Robinson's wife, Linda; four daughters; and a son survive him. One daughter, Dr. Julie A. Robinson (MO ′86), is a veterinarian in Evanston, Ill. Memorials may be made to Shriners Hospitals for Children, Office of Development, 2900 Rocky Point Drive, Tampa, FL 33607; Palmyra Nutrition Center, 219 W. Ross St., Palmyra, MO 63461; or Missouri Veterinary Medical Association Foundation, 2500 Country Club Drive, Jefferson City, MO 65109.

Harry S. Russell

Dr. Russell (COR ′58), 79, Springville, N.Y., died May 28, 2011. He is survived by his wife, Delphine; a son; and a daughter.

William H. Whitenack

Dr. Whitenack (KSU ′63), 84, Conway, Ark., died July 15, 2011. A mixed animal veterinarian, he practiced in Grand Island, Neb., for 25 years prior to retirement. Dr. Whitenack was a member of the Nebraska VMA and a past member of its board of directors. He was a veteran of the Army. Dr. Whitenack's wife, Joy, survives him.

Charles C. Wunderlich

Dr. Wunderlich (MSU ′56), 86, Pittsburgh, died May 24, 2011. He practiced small animal medicine in Pittsburgh. Dr. Wunderlich was a past president of the Pennsylvania VMA and a past chair of its Long Range Planning and Policy Committee. He also served as its alternate delegate to the AVMA House of Delegates from 1974–1984. In 1975, Dr. Wunderlich was named Veterinarian of the Year. He served in the Army during World War II and was awarded three Purple Hearts, two Bronze Stars, and a Presidential Unit Citation. Active in civic life, Dr. Wunderlich was a member of the Rotary Club and was named a Paul Harris Fellow by the Rotary International Foundation. He is survived by his wife, Yvonne, and two daughters.

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