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Getting down to business

AVMA acts to remedy profession's economic woes; $5M designated for national strategy

By R. Scott Nolen

The AVMA is undertaking a long-term, multimillion-dollar initiative to develop a strategy for reversing a troubling economic decline evident throughout much of the U.S. veterinary profession.

Following a series of meetings at AVMA headquarters Aug. 22–23, the Executive Board approved a package of proposals totaling more than $5 million to aid a profession plagued by low numbers of client visits, skyrocketing veterinary student loan debt, and questions over whether the supply of veterinarians is outpacing demand for veterinary services.

A fiscally sound profession has been a strategic goal of the Association since 2008 and is articulated in the report of the AVMA 20/20 Vision Commission, which was charged with developing a vision for the Association. The scope of this new initiative, however, and the commitment of considerable Association resources signal a new willingness among the AVMA leadership to take a more active role in influencing the veterinary profession's economic future.

“I truly believe AVMA has to do this,” AVMA President René A. Carlson said. “If we do not immediately begin addressing these challenges, then we will lose many of the valuable services veterinary medical professionals provide every day, including promoting animal health and welfare and ensuring a safe and plentiful food supply.”

A component of the AVMA economic initiative is a pledge to make a reality of the vision statement “Veterinary medicine is a personally and financially rewarding profession.” To that end, the Executive Board established a $5 million fund in support of plans and programs to strengthen the U.S. veterinary profession's economic foundation.

As soon as possible, a veterinary economics division will be created within the AVMA to manage economics programs and a veterinary economic strategy committee will be formed to advise the Executive Board. The Economics Vision Steering Committee will be continued with a new mission of forming partnerships to advance the AVMA's economic strategy.

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AVMA Executive Board Chair Ted Cohn makes a case for greater Association engagement in veterinary economic issues. (Photo by R. Scott Nolen)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 239, 8; 10.2460/javma.239.8.1026

And finally, the AVMA will provide its members with resources and information to help them improve their financial condition. The board postponed a decision on a proposal to commission a veterinary workforce study until late September.

AVMA Executive Board Chair Ted Cohn said the Association is responding to members worried about the veterinary profession's economic future. “As a prime leader and the largest association of veterinarians within the profession, it is vital that we are aware of, and are responsive to, the needs of our members and the profession as a whole,” Dr. Cohn said.

“For AVMA to ignore these economic problems or place the burden on individual veterinarians would be reckless and indefensible,” he added.

Dr. George Bishop, the AVMA House of Delegates liaison to the Executive Board, commended the board for its “bold” action to ease the economic burdens of the membership. He also expressed a common sentiment among board members that the AVMA alone cannot improve the veterinary economic situation but, instead, can serve best as a catalyst for change.

“By bringing us together to work toward a common goal,” Dr. Bishop said, “the AVMA can provide economic analysis, education, research, programs, and leadership.”

That the veterinary medical system suffers from a number of fundamental problems has been recognized for years. In 1999, the KPMG study on the U.S. market for veterinary services warned that the highly fragmented veterinary delivery system threatens the profession's economic viability. The imbalance between low salaries and high veterinary student debt was also one of a “group of serious problems” the study identified.

Subsequent surveys and research have found many of these problems persist today. In some cases, they're worse. Recently updated data from the AVMA (JAVMA 2011;239:953–957) show the mean veterinary educational debt among the 90 percent of fourth-year students with debt in 2011 was $142,613, a 6.5 percent increase from the previous year. Excluding salaries for graduates pursuing advanced study, the mean starting salary for a veterinarian in 2011 was $66,469, a 1.3 percent drop from 2010.

A number of factors are exacerbating the situation. Despite recent projections by the American Pet Products Association that pet industry spending in 2011 is on track to exceed $50 billion, the Bayer Veterinary Care Usage Study released this year revealed persistently low numbers of veterinary visits, an indication the public isn't convinced about the value of veterinary services.

Also of concern are the high rate of veterinary graduates entering private companion animal practice and a growing number of nonveterinarians offering services traditionally considered within the scope of veterinary medicine. In addition, questions have been raised about whether graduates of AVMA-accredited foreign veterinary colleges practicing in the United States are creating competitive pressure on the domestic veterinary workforce.

Dr. Lonnie King, executive dean of The Ohio State University Health Sciences and dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine, participated in the Executive Board deliberations this past August. More than 10 years ago, he represented the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges on the committee tasked with finding answers to problems raised by the KPMG report. The result was the formation of the National Commission on Veterinary Economic Issues in 2000.

The profession's response to NCVEI recommendations, such as updating fee structures and improving practice efficiency, was “uneven,” according to Dr. King. “Some practices took the recommendations seriously and benefited, but many others didn't. It's more likely that veterinarians haven't really changed a lot of their business practices,” he acknowledged.

The current economic climate for veterinary medicine is worse than when the KPMG report was released more than a decade ago, Dr. King said, and is a consequence of fundamental problems within the profession rather than a temporary setback sparked by the economic recession.

The nonprofit NCVEI is currently in the process of dissolving owing to funding difficulties. The AVMA is finalizing the purchase of commission assets, including the website, database, and brand (see JAVMA, Aug. 1, 2011, page 278).

Reasons why veterinary medicine finds itself in such difficult financial straits are more complex than most people realize, Dr. King said, and he anticipates that coming up with solutions for reversing the economic decline will be equally daunting, as will getting buy-in from all sectors of the profession and its industry partners.

Regardless of the difficulties, Dr. King considers the AVMA initiative to mobilize veterinarians to better their profession's economic future admirable and, at the end of the day, a necessity, not an option.

“If this is the most serious issue facing the profession, then it demands a bold strategy and a compelling set of actions moving forward,” he said. “Having a national plan and sounding the clarion call to action is really an important step.”

Economics dominates AVMA board agenda

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Dr. Mark P. Helfat—District II representative to the AVMA Executive Board and one of its newest members—follows deliberations over a proposed bylaws amendment concerning student membership in the AVMA. (Photo by R. Scott Nolen)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 239, 8; 10.2460/javma.239.8.1026

The bulk of the AVMA Executive Board's August meeting agenda was devoted to developing a comprehensive plan for bolstering the economic foundation of the U.S. veterinary profession.

Prior to the Aug. 23 meeting, board members participated in more than a day and a half of strategy sessions to best determine how the AVMA could facilitate a reversal of the chronic economic decline evident throughout veterinary medicine.

Dr. Ted Cohn, the District IX representative to the Executive Board, chaired the official board meeting, during which several proposals comprising a sustained effort by the AVMA to provide economic relief to the veterinary profession were approved.

Among those initiatives, $5 million was designated for a National Economic Strategy Fund to support initiatives ensuring the veterinary profession's economic viability (see “Getting down to business” on page 1027).

From that fund, $250,000 was appropriated to begin the immediate work of establishing a veterinary economics division within the AVMA to oversee and manage pertinent programs. A further $30,000 from the fund will pay for a new AVMA economics advisory committee.

Other items on the Executive Board agenda, detailed on the following pages, included acting on recommendations from the House of Delegates to evaluate AVMA governance and to examine the Association's accreditation of foreign veterinary schools.

Additionally, the board initiated an AVMA Bylaws amendment pertaining to veterinary students and AVMA membership; adopted joint AVMA/Federation of Veterinarians of Europe statements on veterinary education, antimicrobials, and animal welfare; and approved funding support for the CATalyst Council.

The board also revised the entity description of the AVMA Steering Committee for FDA Policy on Veterinary Oversight of Antimicrobials to allow for the board's appointment of an AVMA governance adviser. Former Executive Board chair Dr. John Brooks of Kingsville, Md., was named to the position to provide clarity and focus as the committee works within AVMA governance. The board allocated $4,000 to cover travel expenses.

And finally, Debbie Whitten of Birmingham, Ala., was elected to the AVMA Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities representing credentialed veterinary technicians. Dr. Mark Spiegle of Toronto was elected to the Educational Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates representing the Canadian National Examining Board.

Foreign accreditation, AVMA governance to be reviewed

AVMA board forms task forces to address HOD questions

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AVMA House Advisory Committee chair Dr. George Bishop (center) believes members of the House of Delegates will be satisfied with the work of the two new task forces. (Photo by R. Scott Nolen)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 239, 8; 10.2460/javma.239.8.1026

By R. Scott Nolen

The AVMA Executive Board has approved the goals and structures for two task forces in response to AVMA House of Delegates' requests for evaluations of Association governance and the role of the AVMA in accrediting foreign veterinary schools.

Each of the resolutions recommending the assessments won majority support during the HOD regular annual session this past July (see JAVMA, Sept. 1, 2011, pages 546–549).

The VMAs from Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and Utah submitted the resolution calling for a task force studying whether U.S. veterinarians benefit from the AVMA Council on Education's accreditation of foreign veterinary schools.

Questions about the role of the HOD brought about the resolution submitted by the Executive Board and House Advisory Committee to appoint a task force charged with determining whether the current AVMA governance structure will meet future needs of the membership, profession, and Association.

After conducting a thorough review of the two resolutions, the Executive Board structured the task forces so as to provide appropriate participation and proper focus on the issues, observed the HAC chair and HOD liaison to the Executive Board, Dr. George Bishop.

“I think the HOD will be pleased with the seriousness the Executive Board has demonstrated in establishing the task forces and will be very satisfied with the outcome,” Dr. Bishop said.

Foreign veterinary school accreditation

The Task Force on Foreign Veterinary School Accreditation is charged with evaluating several issues, starting with the current environment and projected over 10 years. The group is to prepare a written informational report, “without prejudice,” for the Executive Board.

Those issues will be the impact of foreign veterinary school accreditation on the U.S. veterinary profession, and the quality of standards for the U.S. veterinary profession; the impact of not requiring certification by the Educational Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates or the Program for the Assessment of Veterinary Medical Education for graduates of AVMA Council on Education-accredited foreign schools; how foreign veterinary school accreditation serves the needs and interests of the public and of AVMA members; the existence of any international pressure on the COE to accredit foreign veterinary schools; and the logistic resources required to accredit foreign veterinary schools.

Nominations for the 11-member task force are already being accepted. Members will be appointed by an ad hoc committee consisting of the Executive Board chair, president, president-elect, executive vice president, House Advisory Committee chair, Student AVMA president, and task force chair. The task force chair will be appointed by the executive vice president and AVMA Board of Governors, which consists of the AVMA board chair, president, and president-elect.

The board appropriated $25,000 for the task force's work, including up to two two-day meetings at AVMA headquarters.

AVMA governance

The Task Force on Governance and Member Participation is charged with reviewing and evaluating the AVMA governance structure, including the Executive Board, HOD, councils, committees, task forces, commissions, trusts, and all other entities.

The review should account for an entity's purpose and effectiveness; member election or appointment method; and the quality, outcome, and satisfaction of membership involvement.

Additionally, the governance evaluation should determine whether the current structure will meet future needs of the membership, the profession, and the Association. The task force will develop a vision of the AVMA governance that considers the qualities and attributes of governance as generally outlined by the AVMA 20/20 Vision Commission in its final report to the board.

The board encourages the task force to use such resources as member input, external experts and consultants, and other information to leverage and complement its knowledge and evaluation of AVMA governance.

The 11-member task force will be appointed by the same ad hoc committee that will name the Foreign Veterinary School Accreditation Task Force.

The board designated $45,000 for the task force, which is authorized to hold up to three two-day meetings at AVMA headquarters.

Both task forces will be sunset following submission of their reports to the board.

Amendment would ease membership requirements for vet students

The Executive Board has initiated an AVMA Bylaws amendment that would allow all graduates of schools represented in the Student AVMA to qualify for automatic conversion to AVMA membership.

Current AVMA Bylaws and policy stipulate that automatic AVMA membership may be granted only to graduating students who are certified to be a member in good standing of a student chapter of the AVMA. It is AVMA policy to automatically convert these graduates to AVMA members.

Graduates who are automatically converted to AVMA membership pay no membership dues for the remainder of their graduating year and reduced dues—half that of active member dues—for two years following graduation. All other graduating veterinary students can apply for reduced dues—but for only one year following graduation—by completing an application for AVMA membership and paying prorated, reduced recent graduate dues for the year they graduate.

The Task Force on AVMA Programs for Students and Recent Graduates believes AVMA Bylaws and policy should be changed and recommended amending Article II, Section 3.a.1. of the AVMA Bylaws to state: “A graduating student who has been certified to be a member in good standing of an organization represented in the Student AVMA House of Delegates.”

Students of two veterinary schools currently represented in the SAVMA House of Delegates do not qualify for automatic conversion: St. George's University and St. Matthew's University. Combined, these schools annually graduate a mean of 157 students, of whom 40 percent become AVMA members.

If approved by the AVMA House of Delegates, the bylaw and policy changes would come with an initial loss to the AVMA of up to $18,600. The task force believes the potential for new members who may otherwise not have joined as well as long-term membership in the AVMA will quickly offset this initial loss.

AVMA pledges financial support of CATalyst Council

The AVMA has pledged an annual contribution of $5,000 to the CATalyst Council for 2011–2013.

The AVMA is one of several founding member organizations that established the CATalyst Council in 2008. The council was initially conceived of as a health- and welfare-based response to data showing that more dogs than cats receive veterinary care. Those goals soon expanded to focus also on the financial benefits to veterinary practices from increased feline visits.

Such CATalyst Council projects as consumer awareness campaigns align with the AVMA's strategic goal of promoting the economic health of the veterinary profession.

While the AVMA has been consistently supportive of the CATalyst Council since its inception and has produced a number of products to enhance the group's visibility and promote cat health and welfare, the Association had yet to contribute financially.

Recently, the council adopted a policy that prohibits recognition of “in-kind” support without a minimum financial contribution. Under this policy, the AVMA as a founding member would have continued to occupy a seat on the council's board of directors but would no longer have been recognized for its contributions.

So the AVMA Executive Board approved the AVMA Office of the Executive Vice President's recommendation for the $5,000 contribution, to come from the AVMA Communications Division line item titled “Partnership development.”

AVMA, FVE strengthen ties with joint statements

For the first time, the AVMA and Federation of Veterinarians of Europe have adopted joint statements, and they relate to veterinary education, antimicrobials, and animal welfare.

The Executive Board approved the three joint statements Aug. 21, as did the FVE board the following week.

As part of the AVMA's growing partnership and collaboration with the FVE, it had been proposed that the organizations issue joint statements on topics of relevance to the veterinary profession.

The Federation of Veterinarians of Europe is an umbrella organization of veterinary organizations from 38 European countries.

It was noted that the two organizations share many of the same issues and concerns, and their respective positions and policies are much more in alignment than not. Initial versions of the joint statements were prepared and extensively reviewed by AVMA staff and officers and are consistent with AVMA policies on veterinary education, antimicrobials, and animal welfare.

The AVMA-FVE statements “Responsible and Judicious Use of Antimicrobials,” “The Roles of Veterinarians in Ensuring Good Animal Welfare,” and “Veterinary Education” are posted at www.avma.org under “Policy” in the Issues section.

Make your voice heard

The search is on for nominations to AVMA entities

One way that AVMA members can voice their views on veterinary issues is through service on one of the Association's councils, committees, task forces, or other entities.

Entity members provide much-needed expertise and add their insights on matters ranging from veterinary education and economic issues to legislation and animal welfare.

Dr. Ron DeHaven, AVMA CEO and executive vice president, said, “Much of the work of AVMA starts with our committees and councils. Participating on one of these groups provides a great way for a member to have a say and, ultimately, influence the AVMA positions and policies in an area of specific interest to the member. We need the active involvement of our members to ensure that we stay relevant and current in the broad array of issues affecting our profession.

“The time commitment does not have to be significant; indeed, I have never heard a member complain about the time commitment to serve on one of our councils or committees. What I do hear time and again from members is how personally rewarding the experience has been for them—often as they are seeking another volunteer position with AVMA.”

Nominations are being sought for 90 vacancies.

The first deadline is for positions on three new key AVMA entities—the Veterinary Economics Strategy Committee, Task Force on Foreign Veterinary School Accreditation, and Task Force on AVMA Governance and Member Participation. The deadline for those nominations is Oct. 31.

Members will be chosen by an appointing body chaired by Executive Board Chair Ted Cohn along with the AVMA president, president-elect, and executive vice president; House Advisory Committee chair; Student AVMA president or designee; and a member chosen by the AVMA Board of Governors and executive vice president to chair the task force or committee. As a member of the appointing body, the entity chair will help select the other members.

The Veterinary Economics Strategy Committee will comprise nine members. This committee is charged with advising the Executive Board on the broad scope of economic issues affecting veterinary medicine and making recommendations on developing strategies to address them.

The Task Force on Foreign Veterinary School Accreditation, composed of 11 members, will evaluate six specific accreditation issues and prepare a written informational report, “without prejudice,” for the Executive Board.

The 11 members of the Task Force on AVMA Governance and Member Participation will review and evaluate the governance structure of all AVMA entities, including the Executive Board and House of Delegates, and develop a written report and recommendations for the board.

The Executive Board will fill a variety of committee and trust vacancies at its April 2012 meeting. Nominations are also invited for two Political Action Committee Policy Board members, who will be appointed by the House Advisory Committee at its spring 2012 meeting. Committee and trust nominations must be submitted to the AVMA Office of the Executive Vice President by March 19, 2012.

Committee nominations, unless otherwise noted, may be made by local or state veterinary associations, by allied groups represented in the HOD, or by AVMA members on their own or another's behalf.

The HOD will fill council vacancies when it convenes in August 2012 in San Diego. Council nominations may be made by organizations represented in the AVMA House of Delegates or by petition of 10 voting members.

Nominations for councils must be submitted by April 1, 2012, to the AVMA Office of the Executive Vice President. Nominations for the Council on Education must be submitted by Feb. 1, 2012, so that the Council on Education Candidate Qualification Review Committee may review the nomination materials prior to the HOD election.

Nomination materials for councils, committees, trusts, and task forces, including descriptions of the entities and the open seats, are available at www.avma.org/about_avma/governance/volunteering/vacancies.asp, or by calling AVMA headquarters at (800) 248–2862, Ext. 6605, or emailing OfficeEVP@avma.org.

In addition to the 90 currently open positions, nominations for 12 previously unfilled vacancies on six AVMA entities were accepted until Oct. 11. The Executive Board will make appointments to those seats in November.

AVMA seeks award nominations

The AVMA and American Veterinary Medical Foundation are accepting nominations for their 2012 awards to recognize individuals who have made key contributions to veterinary medicine or animal welfare.

The Association will present the awards at the 149th AVMA Annual Convention, Aug. 4–7 in San Diego. Many of the honors include a monetary award, travel expenses, or both.

AVMA Award

The Association's highest honor recognizes an AVMA member who has contributed to organized veterinary medicine.

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Photo by R. Scott Nolen

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 239, 8; 10.2460/javma.239.8.1026

Leo K. Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award

The AVMA, Delta Society, and Hill's Pet Nutrition co-sponsor this award to recognize outstanding work by a veterinarian in preserving human-animal relationships.

AVMA Advocacy Award

This award recognizes an AVMA member or a nonveterinarian for advancing the AVMA legislative agenda and advocating on behalf of the veterinary profession.

AVMA Animal Welfare Award

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

AVMA Humane Award

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

AVMA Lifetime Excellence in Research Award

This award recognizes a veterinary researcher for lifetime achievements in basic, applied, or clinical research.

AVMA Meritorious Service Award

This award recognizes an AVMA member who has contributed to veterinary medicine through activities outside organized veterinary medicine and research.

AVMA Practitioner Research Award

This award recognizes an AVMA member who, while in private practice, has made substantial research contributions to advance the veterinary profession.

AVMA Public Service Award

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

AVMF/American Kennel Club Career Achievement Award in Canine Research

This award recognizes an AVMA member's long-term contributions to canine research.

AVMF/Winn Feline Foundation Research Award

This award recognizes contributions to advancing feline health and welfare through research.

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.

Royal Canin Award

The Royal Canin Veterinary Diet sponsors this award to recognize a veterinarian whose recent work in clinical research or the basic sciences has contributed to small animal medicine and surgery.

XIIth International Veterinary Congress Prize

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

Nominations

The deadline is Feb. 1, 2012, for award nominations, except the nomination deadline is March 1, 2012, for the Leo K. Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award.

Information about the awards and nomination forms are available by visiting www.avma.org/awards or by contacting AVMA staff as follows:

AVMA Award, AVMA Meritorious Service Award, Charles River Prize, Royal Canin Award, XIIth International Veterinary Congress Prize—Julie Finney, (800) 248–2862, Ext. 6737, or email jfinney@avma.org.

AVMA Advocacy Award—Dr. Mark T. Lutschaunig, (800)321–1473, Ext. 3205, or email mlutschaunig@avma.org.

Leo K. Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award, AVMA Animal Welfare Award, AVMA Humane Award—Kathy Sikora, (800) 248–2862, Ext. 6635, or email ksikora@avma.org.

AVMA Lifetime Excellence in Research Award, AVMA Practitioner Research Award, AVMF/AKC Career Achievement Award in Canine Research, AVMF/Winn Feline Foundation Research Award—Eileen Hoblit, (800) 248–2862, Ext. 6778, or e-mail ehoblit@avma.org.

AVMA Public Service Award—Jennifer McBride, (800)248–2862, Ext. 6712, or email jmcbride@avma.org.

Old NVAP accreditation expires

By Greg Cima

About 60,000 veterinarians are participating in the new veterinary accreditation program from the Department of Agriculture. The department's accreditation of veterinarians under its previous program expired Oct. 1.

Participation in the National Veterinary Accreditation Program allows veterinarians to perform some regulatory duties, such as issuing travel documentation for animals, for the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. Those participants are divided into two categories of accreditation on the basis of the amount of training required between renewals and the species they can work on or examine for APHIS.

Under the old version of the NVAP, veterinarians who received one-time accreditation were eligible to perform regulatory duties on any species without renewals.

APHIS officials previously set an Aug. 2, 2010, deadline for accredited veterinarians to submit applications and avoid letting their accreditation expire. The agency announced in September 2010 that the deadline was extended to allow it extra time to process applications.

Those who let their accreditation expire will need to submit applications for reinstatment and complete supplemental training to gain renewal.

About 27,000 veterinarians have elected to participate in category I of accreditation, which requires three hours of continuing education every three years and allows them to perform work for USDA on a limited number of species, including many companion and laboratory animals. About 33,000 are in category II, which requires six hours of continuing education every three years and allows work on all animals.

Workabeba Yigzaw, a spokeswoman for APHIS, said most foreign animal disease incursions in the U.S. over the past decade have been discovered by accredited veterinarians. She said APHIS depends on accredited veterinarians for programs and services intended to protect public and animal health.

The changes implemented in switching to the new NVAP are similar to those called for in a 2002 report in JAVMA and in a 2006 proposal from APHIS. The JAVMA report, “New Directions for the National Veterinary Accreditation Program,” was published in the May 15, 2002, issue by the AVMA-USDA Relations Committee and it supported a two-category accreditation system with supplemental training, specializations involving particular diseases, and renewals every three years.

In the article, the AVMA-USDA Relations Committee indicated trade, disease eradication, emergency preparedness, and increased involvement in integrated surveillance activities were among the many reasons to enhance the accreditation program.

1921

Department of Agriculture begins accrediting private practice veterinarians to help federal veterinarians control animal disease.

1992

National Veterinary Accreditation Program is established.

June 2006

APHIS proposes creating two accreditation categories, requiring supplemental training and renewals, and providing specialized training.

December 2009

APHIS announces new program will replace existing NVAP. Agency estimates 71,000 are accredited under existing program.

March 2010

More than 10,000 veterinarians have opted to participate in the new NVAP.

July 2011

First four NVAP supplemental training courses made available.

October 2011

Old NVAP accreditation expires.

2013–2015

Participating veterinarians need to renew their accreditation for the first time.

FDA reporting numbers of adverse drug experiences

The Food and Drug Administration's Center for Veterinary Medicine is now providing information about the numbers of reports it receives regarding various adverse drug experiences in animals.

The CVM previously provided information about ADE types in animals, but not the number of reports.

Dr. Lynne A. White-Shim, an assistant director in the AVMA Scientific Activities Division, cautioned that the numbers can be difficult to put in perspective. The ADE summaries do not include information about underlying conditions or concurrent treatments that could have affected animals that had adverse drug experiences, for example, or information about how the number of ADE reports for a particular drug compares with how frequently that drug is used.

The ADE summaries list drugs by active ingredient. For each active ingredient, separate entries for each species and each route of administration list adverse experiences from the most frequent to the least frequent. The ADE summaries are available at www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/SafetyHealth.

The AVMA provides information about how to report adverse experiences in animals associated with drugs and other products at www.avma.org/animal_health/reporting_adverse_events.asp.

ISU providing swine FMD guide

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Iowa State University is providing a guide on identifying the lesions caused by foot-and-mouth disease virus in domestic and feral swine.

Electronic copies of the guide are available free from the university's Center for Food Security and Public Health, and printed copies range from $6 to $15 each, depending on the quantity ordered. Those who want a copy can download or order the guide at www.cfsph.iastate.edu. Scroll over “Products,” and follow the link “FMD Pocket Guide for Swine.”

The guide includes photos depicting the progression of FMD in pigs at the Plum Island Animal Disease Center following experimental inoculation with the FMD virus. It was developed through collaboration by ISU, the Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, and the National Pork Board.

Delivery device for feline vaccine poses risk

The Food and Drug Administration's Center for Veterinary Medicine is warning veterinarians and pet owners of a possible risk of femur fracture in kittens associated with use of the Vet Jet transdermal vaccination system.

Bioject Inc. makes the Vet Jet device as the transdermal delivery system for Merial's Purevax vaccine for feline leukemia.

The FDA is aware of three recent reports of femur fractures in kittens involving use of the Vet Jet device. In two of the cases, the user failed or might have failed to lock the nozzle into the device properly. The nozzle of the device subsequently dislodged at the time of vaccination, causing a fracture of the femur.

Merial is investigating the three cases. The company also is revising the instructions for the Vet Jet device to stress that users need to lock the nozzle into the device securely. In addition, Merial is sending a letter to Vet Jet device users urging them to follow the nozzle-locking procedure carefully.

Corrections

The article “6 factors in declining veterinary visits” in the March 1, 2011, issue of JAVMA News misstated a finding from the survey of pet owners in the Bayer Veterinary Care Usage Study. The finding that 64 percent of cats and 86 percent of dogs visited a veterinarian in the past year applies only to pets whose owners had visited a veterinarian in the past two years. Among all pet owners in the survey, 60 percent had taken their cat and 85 percent had taken their dog to a veterinarian in the past year.

The article “American College of Veterinary Clinical Pharmacology” in the Sept. 1, 2011, issue of JAVMA News listed four individuals as being certified by the ACVCP as new diplomates in 2011. Dr. Brian V. Lubbers, Manhattan, Kan., is the only new ACVCP-certified diplomate this year.

FAO: H5N1 resurgence possible

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This photo was taken during efforts to control the spread of highly pathogenic H5N1 during 2005 in Vietnam. (©A. Thiermann/OIE)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 239, 8; 10.2460/javma.239.8.1026

By Greg Cima

A “major resurgence” of highly pathogenic avian influenza could occur, and an emerging viral strain currently infecting birds is less vulnerable to existing vaccines, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Information gathered so far hasn't indicated the strain is more dangerous, however, and a new vaccine is being manufactured, according to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

An Aug. 29 FAO announcement encouraged “heightened readiness and surveillance,” given signs that a mutated strain of H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza virus was spreading. The FAO has also received confirmation of nearly 800 outbreaks with H5N1 HPAI in wild and domestic birds in 2010 and to date in 2011 in Asia, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East. The number of recorded outbreaks had generally declined from 2004–2008, reaching a low of about 300 annually, ending in mid-2008.

An FAO newsletter states that the number of reported outbreaks of H5N1 HPAI increased starting in July 2008, particularly in Asia. The increase could be attributable to improved surveillance and emergence of the new strain, which is known as clade 2.3.2.1.

The new strain, which has been found in China and Vietnam, is particularly concerning because of its ability to “sidestep the defenses provided by existing vaccines,” the FAO announcement states. Veterinary services in Vietnam were considering launching a novel, targeted vaccination campaign.

The virus' circulation in Vietnam “poses a direct threat to Cambodia, Thailand, and Malaysia as well as endangering the Korean Peninsula and Japan further afield,” the announcement states. “Wild bird migration can also spread the virus to other continents.”

Glaïeul Mamaghani, deputy head of the OIE's communication unit, said the emergence of any new strain should be treated with caution, but epidemiologic information received so far had not indicated the variant was more dangerous or more easily spread. The organization also has not received an increased number of notifications about H5N1 infections in 2011 or since the variant was identified.

The strain's emergence shows the need, however, for surveillance and monitoring in domestic and wild bird populations, Mamaghani said. An OIE reference laboratory in China has finished testing a vaccine against the new strain and begun manufacturing the vaccine, although a release date was not immediately available.

An Aug. 31 OIE announcement also indicates the emergence of the new strain was not cause for immediate alert.

“As is the case with human influenza vaccines whose composition needs to be reviewed every year, avian influenza vaccines need to be regularly tested to check whether they effectively combat the viruses circulating in the field,” the OIE announcement states. “OIE Reference Laboratories and other partner laboratories are actively involved in ongoing surveillance and development of good quality vaccines that match the viruses of concern.”

A scientific article in Eurosurveillance (Euro Surveill 2011;16:19941), “Avian influenza A(H5N1) in humans: New insights from a line list of World Health Organization confirmed cases, September 2006 to August 2010,” indicates about 132 of 235 confirmed infections in people during that period resulted in death. Contact with potentially infected poultry was reported in 187 of the 194 cases where such information was available.

Millions awarded in search for nonsurgical sterilant

The search for a non-surgical sterilant for dogs and cats has been fueled by more than $6 million in research grants since 2008 when a $25 million prize was offered to the first person to successfully develop a method of chemically castrating pets.

In the three years following the Found Animals Foundation's launch of the Michelson Prize & Grants program, the private nonprofit has received more than 150 letters of intent, and some 50 investigators were asked to submit full grant proposals.

As of August, 15 grants totaling more than $6 million had been awarded to researchers in the United States and around the world, according to Found Animals.

“We are thrilled with the high level of interest we've seen from qualified applicants to date and we are confident that we'll see many more proposals of equal excellence in the future,” said Aimee Gilbreath, Found Animals executive director.

“What's even more exciting is that we're seeing proposals based on new technologies, such as nanocontainers and gene silencing, meaning that researchers are applying cutting-edge science to this problem, which was our hope when launching the program,” Gilbreath said.

In addition to the $25 million incentive to the first person to successfully develop a nonsurgical method for sterilizing cats and dogs, the Michelson Grants in Reproductive Biology offers up to $50 million in overall funding for promising research in pursuit of nonsurgical sterilization technology. The Foundation seeks proposals for up to $250,000 per year for a maximum three years of funding.

The Michelson Prize & Grants program is named after Found Animals' creator Gary Michelson, a billionaire orthopedic spinal surgeon and philanthropist who wants to see an end to the nation's dog and cat overpopulation crisis.

Research proposals are reviewed by Found Animals' scientific advisory board, which is made up of scientists from a variety of relevant fields, including reproductive biology, immunology, biotechnology, drug development, and animal welfare.

“Through the interest we've seen so far, we're confident this innovative program is moving in the right direction, and we're excited about what's in store with this group of elite researchers,” said Dr. Shirley Johnston, director of scientific research for Found Animals, who oversees the Michelson Prize & Grants program.

Learn more about the Michelson Prize and Michelson Grants in Reproductive Biology at http://michelson.foundanimals.org/, where resources on applying for the prize and grant program are also available.

Carbon dioxide cooling may reduce Salmonella risk

Rapidly cooling eggs with carbon dioxide could decrease the risk posed by Salmonella, according to recent research.

A cooling process developed through research at Purdue University appears to not only inhibit bacterial growth but also alter the pH in the eggs sufficiently to increase the activity of lysozyme, an enzyme that lyses gram-positive bacteria, a university announcement states. The gas is drawn into the egg shell during cooling, reversing the pH rise that occurs as carbon dioxide escapes from freshly laid eggs.

The announcement indicates increasing such lysozyme activity would increase safety of the eggs.

Kevin M. Keener, PhD, a professor of food science and one of the study authors, said previous evaluations of use of the carbon dioxide cooling process have indicated the treatment would cost 3 to 7 cents for every dozen eggs, with the largest portion of that cost coming from delivery of the gas. A commercial version of the cooling system could bring egg temperatures to 45 degrees in less than two minutes, preventing population explosions among the small numbers of Salmonella organisms deposited near or on the yolk membranes in about 1 in 10,000 eggs, he said.

Dr. Keener said additional research indicated egg quality was substantially improved among eggs treated with the rapid cooling method, and a report on those findings was under review.

The article “Influence of carbon dioxide on the activity of chicken egg white lysozyme” was published the journal Poultry Science (Poult Sci 2011;90:889–895). More information is available at http://ps.fass.org.

APHIS proposes restrictions on dog importation

The Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is soliciting comments on a proposal to restrict importation of dogs into the United States for purposes of resale, research, or veterinary treatment unless the dogs are in good health, have received all necessary vaccinations, and are at least 6 months old.

The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 included an amendment to the Animal Welfare Act to restrict importation of live dogs from foreign countries. APHIS is seeking to implement that amendment with this proposal.

The APHIS proposal would require that live dogs imported into the United States for purposes of resale, research, or veterinary treatment be accompanied by an APHIS import permit, a certificate of veterinary inspection, and a rabies vaccination certificate.

The proposal includes some exceptions to the 6-month age requirement and the certificate requirements for dogs coming into the country for veterinary treatment or research purposes.

The APHIS proposal also includes an exception to the 6-month age requirement for dogs imported into Hawaii from the British Isles, Australia, Guam, or New Zealand, if the dogs are not transported out of Hawaii for resale at younger than six months of age. These areas are all rabies-free.

Community Accolades

Academia

Oklahoma State University College of Veterinary Medicine Alumni Association has selected four 2011 Distinguished Alumni Award recipients.

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Dr. Theresa M. Casey

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 239, 8; 10.2460/javma.239.8.1026

Dr. Theresa M. Casey (OKL ′82) of Belton, Texas, began her veterinary military career in the Air Force Biomedical Sciences Corps, serving as the chief of environmental health services at Vance Air Force Base in Oklahoma. She was one of the first veterinarians to enter this new career field. Dr. Casey continued to move through the military ranks and accomplished many firsts along the way, including her appointment as brigadier general in August 2006—making her the first active duty BSC officer and veterinarian to serve as a general officer.

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Dr. Keith Flanagan

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 239, 8; 10.2460/javma.239.8.1026

Dr. Keith Flanagan (OKL ′78) of Texhoma, Okla., served two years as a captain in the Army Veterinary Corps and then worked seven years for the Marlow Veterinary Clinic. Dr. Flanagan has spent the past 24 years working in Haiti with the Christian Veterinary Mission. He has held many positions with the organization, including liaison to the Haitian Ministry of Agriculture, co-director of a classical swine fever program, and co-director of the avian influenza program.

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Dr. D. Dee Griffin

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 239, 8; 10.2460/javma.239.8.1026

Dr. D. Dee Griffin (OKL ′75) of Hastings, Neb., is a professor at the University of Nebraska in the Veterinary and Biomedical Science Department, teaching at the Great Plains Veterinary Educational Center. He serves on the National Cattlemen's Beef Association's Beef Quality and Safety Assurance Advisory Board, the Food and Drug Administration's Veterinary Medicine Advisory Committee, the FDA's Minor Use Minor Species Committee, and the Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization's board of directors.

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Dr. Kermit. W. Minton

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 239, 8; 10.2460/javma.239.8.1026

Dr. Kermit W. Minton (OKL ′58) of Lindsay, Okla., founded the Lindsay Veterinary Hospital. Through the years, Dr. Minton has seen both large and small animal patients. His wife, Frankie, works as office manager and his daughter, Tammy, joined him in 1993.

Dr. Minton is a lifetime member of the Oklahoma VMA and the OSU Alumni Association. In his community, he is active in the Lions Club and is a lifetime member of the National FFA Organization and the Elks Lodge.

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Dr. Gordon D. Spronk

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 239, 8; 10.2460/javma.239.8.1026

Dr. Gordon D. Spronk of Pipestone, Minn., received in September the Allen D. Leman Science in Practice Award

The award was given by the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine and Pfizer Animal Health for Dr. Spronk's contributions toward creation and dissemination of knowledge for swine health and management.

A university announcement indicates Dr. Spronk is a staff veterinarian and partner at Pipestone Veterinary Clinic, adjunct professor at the Minnesota veterinary college, and advisory board member for the college's Swine Disease Eradication Center. He has performed swine health consultations in at least 10 countries, and he makes presentations connected with swine medicine and production at domestic and international meetings.

Organizations

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Dr. Harry Rozmiarek

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 239, 8; 10.2460/javma.239.8.1026

Dr. Harry Rozmiarek (MIN ′62) was elected secretary-general of the International Council for Laboratory Animal Science during the 15th ICLAS General Assembly and Conference, held this June in Istanbul. He will serve as secretary-general from 2011–2015.

Professor emeritus of laboratory animal medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and director of laboratory animal medicine at the Fox Chase Cancer Center, Dr. Rozmiarek is a former member of the AVMA House of Delegates and past president of several laboratory animal organizations. He is also a visiting professor at the Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine.

Dr. Rozmiarek retired as a colonel from the Army Veterinary Corps and was a consultant to the Army surgeon general.

The National Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners has selected Dr. R. Michael Thomas (AUB ′68) of Indianapolis to receive the 2011 NBVME award, presented at the board's July 22 meeting.

Dr. Thomas established Noah's Animal Hospitals, a group of six veterinary hospitals in central Indiana. He served as president of the American Animal Hospital Association in 2001–2002 and served three three-year terms on the NBVME starting in 2001. During his two years as NBVME chair (first in 2005–2006 and again from 2006–2007), the Veterinary Clinical Skills Assessment was pilot-tested and administered for the first time.

Society for Theriogenology

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Dr. Dwight Wolfe

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 239, 8; 10.2460/javma.239.8.1026

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Dr. Cheryl Lopate

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 239, 8; 10.2460/javma.239.8.1026

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Dr. Gary Warner

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 239, 8; 10.2460/javma.239.8.1026

Event: Society for Theriogenology annual conference, Aug. 9–12, Milwaukee

Program: The plenary sessions were “Information resources and searching techniques for veterinarians” by Andre Nault, “Metritis” by Dr. Martin Sheldon, and “Theriogenology to enhance animal well-being” by Dr. Dwight Wolfe. In addition to providing information on reproduction in horses, production animals, and small animals, the conference offered an educators forum on the core content for the theriogenology curriculum. Thirty-five scientific abstracts and six veterinary student case presentations were given during various sessions at the conference, and the poster session had eight presentations.

Awards: David Bartlett Honorary Address: Dr. Wolfe, Auburn, Ala., was recognized for his dedication to teaching and clinical service in theriogenology at Auburn University and for his research on infertility in bulls. Dr. John Steiner Award for Excellence in Practice: Dr. Cheryl Lopate, Aurora, Ore., was recognized for her expertise in equine and small animal theriogenology. Winners of the Dr. Jerry Rains Memorial Abstract Competition, sponsored by Merck Animal Health: Dr. Brandon Forshey, Columbus, Ohio, “Effects of lactoferrin on post-breeding uterine inflammation in the mare,” first place ($1,000); Dr. Elizabeth M. Woodward, Lexington, Ky., “Susceptibility to delayed uterine clearance after breeding: relationship to endometrial biopsy score and age, and variations among seasons,” second place ($750); Dr. Lewrell Strickland, Auburn, “Surface architectural anatomy of the penile and preputial epithelium of bulls,” third place ($500); and Laura Sahlfeld, Corvallis, Ore., “Isolation and primary cell culture of canine trophoblasts,” fourth place ($250). Winners of the veterinary student case presentation competition, sponsored by Pfizer Animal Health: Kristina Janson, Iowa State University, “Neonatal isoerythrolysis and alloimmune neutropenia in the foal of a primiparous mare,” first place ($650); Jordan Vendramin, University of Illinois, “Long-term management of cystic benign prostatic hyperplasia in a valuable breeding dog,” second place ($525); Katie Comerford, Texas A&M University, “Epididymitis, ampullitis, and periorchitis due to an ascending seminal vesiculitis caused by Pseudomonas aeruginosa in a stallion,” third place ($450); Nicole Ferguson, Texas A&M University, “Ovarian abscess in a maiden mare,” fourth place ($375); Rachel Lacey, University of Florida, “Normal parturition after unilateral ovariectomy and uterine leiomyoma removal in a Thoroughbred mare,” fifth place ($300); and Brianne Simonsen, Iowa State University, “XY sex reversal in a Quarter Horse mare,” sixth place ($200). Each of the six participants in the student case presentation competition also received a travel stipend of $500 from the Theriogenology Foundation.

Business: The bull breeding soundness examination form will soon be available in an electronic format. The Trichomoniasis Task Force is developing a position statement. A member survey has been completed, and the data are being analyzed. The Theriogenology Foundation, a joint effort between the SFT and American College of Theriogenologists, disbursed funds to support the veterinary student case presentation competition, the ACT Educators Forum, six travel grants for residents, and one travel grant for new faculty.

Officials: Drs. Gary Warner, Elgin, Texas, president; Scott Pretzer, Lincoln, Neb., president-elect; Don Sanders, Marysville, Ohio, vice president; Herris Maxwell, Auburn, secretary/treasurer; and Richard Hopper, Starkville, Miss., immediate past president. Newly elected members of the board of directors are Drs. Jill Colloton, Edgar, Wis.; David Hartman, Gainesville, Texas; and Kit Kampschmidt, Houston.

40 years and counting

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Dr. David Bartlett

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 239, 8; 10.2460/javma.239.8.1026

The American College of Theriogenologists is celebrating its 40th anniversary. Dr. David Bartlett, a charter diplomate, gave a brief history of the ACT during the Society for Theriogenology's annual conference, Aug. 9–12 in Milwaukee.

“Over the past 40 years, it is clearly evident that incredible progress has been achieved by veterinarians in our area of professional interest,” Dr. Bartlett said.

Dr. Bartlett recalled a 1971 meeting during which the AVMA American Board of Veterinary Specialties considered the ACT's petition for recognition as a specialty college.

A member of the ABVS asked whether sufficient knowledge and literature existed to support theriogenology as a distinct discipline in veterinary medicine. Dr. Bartlett was able to cite only a couple of books, various articles, and the annual meetings of the American Veterinary Society for the Study of Breeding Soundness.

“Forty years later, it is exciting and gratifying to be able to deal with that same question,” Dr. Bartlett said.

The ACT study guide is now four pages long—listing numerous monographs, journals, and proceedings.

The membership of the ACT has grown to 441 diplomates. Each year, more than two dozen candidates take the examination for diplomate status.

Dr. Bartlett reflected on how, in the decades preceding the 1970s, most of the pioneers in animal reproduction were animal scientists.

In 1970, a conference brought together educators in the field of animal reproduction at veterinary colleges. The participants agreed that the subject is integral to the veterinary curriculum, and they decided that the term “theriogenology” should replace “animal reproduction and obstetrics” in veterinary medicine.

“For more than three decades, dictionaries have defined theriogenology as a ‘branch of’ or ‘specialty of’ veterinary medicine,” Dr. Bartlett said.

Back in 1971, the ACT did receive a go-ahead from the ABVS and held its first meeting. In 1974, the American Veterinary Society for the Study of Breeding Soundness became the Society for Theriogenology. The ACT and SFT continue to progress in close partnership.

American College of Theriogenologists

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Dr. Ahmed Tibary

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 239, 8; 10.2460/javma.239.8.1026

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Dr. Steve Brinsko

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 239, 8; 10.2460/javma.239.8.1026

Event: American College of Theriogenologists business meeting, Aug. 10, 2011, Milwaukee

Award: Theriogenologist of the Year Award, sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica Inc.: Dr. Ahmed Tibary, Pullman, Wash., for excellence in teaching and research on reproduction in camelids. Dr. Tibary has written one of the landmark textbooks on reproduction in camelids and has given many presentations on camelid reproduction throughout the world.

Business: The ACT is celebrating its 40th anniversary and was honored to have four of its charter diplomates in attendance: Drs. Bill Adams, David Bartlett, C. J. “Bush” Bierschwal, and Douglas Mitchell. The ACT is undertaking a job task analysis of its members. The ACT Credentialing Committee continued work on a set of guidelines for maintenance of certification, which has been mandated by the AVMA American Board of Veterinary Specialties. The ACT board approved revisions to the general information guide submitted by the ACT Credentialing Committee.

New diplomates: The college certified 18 diplomates who successfully completed the certification examination:

David Beehan, Baton Rouge, La.

Igor Canisso, Lexington, Ky.

Celina Checura, Madison, Wis.

Tonya Collop, Rutledge, Mo.

Brent Cousin, Brillion, Wis.

Mouhamadou Diaw, Beverly Hills, Fla.

Craig Easley, Bellefontaine, Miss.

Francois Grand, Montreal

Shelby Hayden, Bryan, Texas

Candace Jacobson, Cochranville, Pa.

Alicia Lindholm, Chelan, Wash.

Monica Morganti, Bologna, Italy

Roberto Palomares Naveda, Auburn, Ala.

Kendra Rock, Glencoe, Okla.

Mary Sebzda, Aliso Viejo, Calif.

Jonathan Spears, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island

Smadar Tal, Ramat Gan, Israel

Justin Voge, Bryan, Texas

Officials: Drs. Steve Brinsko, College Station, Texas, president; Claire Card, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, president-elect; Gary Althouse, New London, Pa., vice president; Bruce Eilts, Baton Rouge, La., treasurer; R. Bruce Hollett, Athens, Ga., secretary; and Augustine Peter, West Lafayette, Ind., immediate past president. Dr. Lloyd Kloppe, Buckeye, Ariz., was elected to the board of directors.

North Dakota VMA

Event: Annual meeting, Aug. 14–16, Fargo

Awards: Veterinarian of the Year: Dr. David Calderwood, Casselton. A 1980 graduate of Iowa State University, Dr. Calderwood co-owns Casselton Veterinary Clinic. He is a past president of the NDVMA, serves as North Dakota's alternate delegate to the AVMA House of Delegates, and is chair of the NDVMA Continuing Education Committee.

Officials: Drs. Vince Stenson, Williston, president; Charlie Stoltenow, Fargo, 1st vice president; Neil Dyer, Fargo, 2nd vice president; Frank Walker, New Rockford, secretary-treasurer; and Del Rae Martin, Mandan, immediate past president

South Dakota VMA

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Dr. Jim Bain

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 239, 8; 10.2460/javma.239.8.1026

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Dr. Penny Dye

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 239, 8; 10.2460/javma.239.8.1026

Event: Annual meeting, Aug. 7–10, Sioux Falls

Awards: Veterinarian of the Year: Dr. Jim Bain, Frederick. A 1975 graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, Dr. Bain practices large animal medicine at Frederick Veterinary Clinic. He is a past president of the SDVMA and served as South Dakota's alternate delegate to the AVMA House of Delegates until recently.

Business: The association membership approved a resolution to support funding for South Dakota State University's College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences. Recent state budget cuts have led to reductions in staff and programming, impacting the veterinary sciences program and the operation of the Animal Disease Research and Diagnostic Laboratory, which provides critical services to the veterinary profession.

Officials: Drs. Penny Dye, Rapid City, president; Cindy Franklin, Yankton, president-elect; Tom Rentschler, Tea, vice president; Todd Carr, Sioux Falls, secretary-treasurer; and Bill Baus, Redfield, immediate past president

Community Obituaries: Member Honor roll member Nonmember

Robert W. Acton

Dr. Acton (MSU ′51), 86, Jackson, Mich., died April 26, 2011. He practiced in Jackson for 40 years. A life member of the Michigan VMA, Dr. Acton was a member of the Mid-State VMA and helped establish the Jackson VMA. He was a veteran of the Navy and the Marines. Dr. Acton's wife, Margaret; a son; and two daughters survive him.

Robert C. Asmus

Dr. Asmus (KSU ′57), 81, Omaha, Neb., died June 18, 2011. He was the founder of Omaha Vaccine Company, which he sold to ConAgra in 1984. Early in his career, Dr. Asmus practiced large animal medicine at the Omaha Stockyards. He is survived by his wife, Shirley; two children; and five stepchildren. Memorials may be made to Boys Town (providing care to at-risk youth), 14100 Crawford St., Boys Town, Nebraska 68010.

Timothy J. Barrow

Dr. Barrow (LIV ′69), 64, Reading, Pa., died July 28, 2011. A graduate of the University of Liverpool in England, he was a small animal veterinarian who owned Oley Valley Animal Clinic in Oley, Pa., from 1986–2009. Dr. Barrows then sold the practice and served as its managing veterinarian. Early in his career, he was a veterinary investigation officer in North Yemen and practiced small animal medicine in the United Kingdom. Dr. Barrow began practice at Oley Valley Animal Clinic in 1981. His wife, Fiona, survives him. Memorials may be made to Fauna and Flora International, 4th Floor, Jupiter House, Station Road, Cambridge, CB1 2JD, United Kingdom.

Ernest E. Bruce

Dr. Bruce (KSU ′54), 87, Eau Claire, Wis., died July 20, 2011. He retired in 1984 as a circuit supervisor with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Eau Claire and St. Cloud, Minn. Following graduation, Dr. Bruce practiced large animal medicine in Pierce, Neb., and Estherville, Iowa. He subsequently joined the USDA with supervisory duties in Estherville and Storm Lake, Iowa. Dr. Bruce later worked for the USDA in Arlington, Va. and Denton, Texas. He was a member of the National Association of Federal Veterinarians. An Army veteran of World War II, Dr. Bruce was also a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. During his military service, he received a Purple Heart. Dr. Bruce's wife, Wilodyne, and three children survive him. Memorials may be made to Shriners Hospitals for Children, 2025 E. River Parkway, Minneapolis, MN 50414; or Walter Reed Fisher House, 6900 Georgia Ave. N.W., Washington DC 20307.

Asa B. Childers Jr.

Dr. Childers (TEX ′60), 75, Bryan, Texas, died July 21, 2011. He was a member of the veterinary faculty at Texas A&M University for 37 years, retiring as associate professor emeritus of veterinary integrative biosciences. Dr. Childers was a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine.

Dr. Childers is survived by his wife, Barbara; a son; and two daughters. Memorials may be made to First Baptist Church, 3100 Cambridge Drive, Bryan, TX 77802; Texas A&M Foundation (in support of the Corps of Cadets), 401 George Bush Drive, College Station, TX 77840; or Baptist Student Ministry, Texas A&M University, 203 College Main, College Station, TX 77840.

Wyman D. Davis

Dr. Davis (MSU ′51), 90, Venice, Fla., died May 19, 2011. He practiced mixed animal medicine in Adrian, Mich., for 25 years. Earlier in his career, Dr. Davis was a member of the veterinary faculty at Michigan State University for 10 years. He served in the Navy during World War II. Dr. Davis is survived by his wife, Harriet; a son; and a daughter.

Raymond O. Hill

Dr. Hill (KSU ′51), 84, Centralia, Ill., died Aug. 7, 2011. During his career, he served as a veterinary pathologist and directed the Illinois Department of Agriculture's Animal Disease Laboratory. Dr. Hill was a past president of the Illinois State VMA and a past chair of its board of directors. In 1992, the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine honored him with a Service Award.

A Navy veteran of World War II, Dr. Hill was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion. Active in civic life, he was a past president of the Central City Lions Club. Dr. Hill is survived by two sons and three daughters. Memorials toward the Central City Lions Club or St. Peters United Church of Christ may be made c/o Irvin Funeral Home, 234 S. Elm St., Centralia, IL 62801.

Walter Jastrembsky

Dr. Jastrembsky (LEI ′45), 97, Chicago, died June 4, 2011. A graduate of the University of Leipzig in Germany, he practiced at Avondale Animal Hospital in Chicago. Dr. Jastrembsky was a life member of the Chicago VMA. His son, Dr. Ihor W. Jastrembsky, a 1985 graduate of the University of Vera Cruz in Mexico, practices at Avondale Animal Hospital.

Sidney R. Kay

Dr. Kay (TEX ′40), 93, Webster, Texas, died Aug. 3, 2011. From 1942 until retirement in 1984, he owned a small animal practice in Galveston, Texas. Dr. Kay is survived by his wife, Shirley, and three daughters. Memorials may be made to the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, College Station, TX 77843.

William T. Kerber

Dr. Kerber (ISU ′60), 75, Tallahassee, Fla., died July 31, 2011. A diplomate of the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine, he served as director of laboratory animal medicine at Florida State University prior to retirement. Earlier in his career, Dr. Kerber served as a captain in the Army Chemical Corps; worked for Hazleton Laboratories as research coordinator and staff veterinarian; was an assistant professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia; served as head of the Medicine Section in the National Center for Primate Biology at the University of California-Davis; and was director of the Caribbean Primate Research Center at the University of Puerto Rico in San Juan. His three daughters survive him. Memorials may be made to Goodwood Museum and Gardens, 1600 Miccosukee Road, Tallahasee, FL 32308.

Norman H. Laber

Dr. Laber (COL ′65), 74, Eaton, Colo., died June 10, 2011. He owned Eaton Animal Clinic since 1965, practicing mostly large animal medicine for 35 years and then focusing on small animals. Dr. Laber was a life member of the Colorado VMA and was active with the Weld County VMS in the early years of his career. He is survived by his wife, Rose Marie; a son; and a daughter. Memorials toward the Weld County Humane Society, Eaton Lions Club, American Lung Association, or Faith Lutheran Church may be made c/o Mosier Funeral Service, 3501 11th Ave., Evans, CO 80620.

Paul E. Neff

Dr. Neff (MSU ′44), 89, Madera Canyon, Ariz., died April 3, 2011. Prior to retirement in 1985, he owned a small animal practice in Tucson, Ariz. Earlier in his career, Dr. Neff practiced mixed animal medicine in Sheboygan, Wis. His wife, Iris, and a son survive him.

Harold W. Pilcher

Dr. Pilcher (MO ′50), 88, Kansas City, Mo., died July 25, 2011. Prior to retirement in 1984, he owned Pilcher Animal Hospital in Kansas City. Dr. Pilcher also raised Black Angus cattle and in retirement he established Lakeview Angus Farms near Gallatin, Mo. He served in the Army during World War II, attaining the rank of 1st lieutenant. Dr. Pilcher served in the Army Reserve for 27 years, retiring as a lieutenant colonel.

His daughter and son survive him. Memorials may be made to Crossroads Hospice, 9237 Ward Parkway, Suite 300, Kansas City, MO 64114; Gashland Methodist Church, 7715 N. Oak Trafficway, Kansas City, MO 64118; or Honor Flight Network of Kansas City, c/o Kendallwood Hills Estate, 8559 Line Creek Parkway, Kansas City, MO 64154.

Richard E. Shope Jr.

Dr. Shope (COR ′59), 84, Hudson, Wis., died July 7, 2011. After receiving his doctorate in microbiology and physiological biochemistry from the University of Minnesota in 1964, Dr. Shope became a member of the university's faculty, teaching and conducting research on several diseases, including pseudorabies, bovine viral diarrhea, infectious bovine rhinotracheitis, hog cholera, and swine influenza. His research also focused on the adverse effects of viral vaccines in various species, isolation of C-type virus particles from leukemic and lymphocytotic cattle, and epidemiologic studies on the mechanisms of vertical and horizontal transmission of bovine leukemia. Dr. Shope's efforts on foot-and-mouth disease, sponsored by the World Health Organization, led to field work in Brazil from 1970–1972. He retired in 1994 as a professor in the Department of Veterinary Molecular Biosciences.

Dr. Shope was a member of the Minnesota VMA, United States Animal Health Association, American Association of Veterinary Clinicians, and American Association of Veterinary Diagnosticians. His late father, Richard E. Shope Sr., MD, worked on a variety of animal diseases, including the Shope papillomavirus in rabbits, and was known for his efforts in isolating the swine influenza virus and helping isolate the human influenza virus. Dr. Shope's brothers, the late Robert E. Shope, MD, and Thomas C. Shope, MD, also pursued careers involving animal research, the former in the field of arbovirology and the latter in virology and experimental biology.

Dr. Shope is survived by five sons and a daughter. Memorials may be made to the American Lung Association, 1301 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W., Suite 800, Washington, DC 20004.

Mark H. Werbin

Dr. Werbin (KSU ′53), 87, Derby, Kan., died July 1, 2011. He worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture in meat inspection prior to retirement. Earlier in his career, Dr. Werbin owned a primarily large animal practice in Sedgwick, Kan. He served as a 1st lieutenant in the Air Force Reserve until 1972. Dr. Werbin's wife, Nora, and four children survive him. Memorials may be made to First Christian Church, Sixth and Franklin, Sedgwick, KS 67135.

Bradley D. Wilson

Dr. Wilson (KSU ′87), 51, Salt Lake City, died May 26, 2011. He owned Foothill Animal Clinic, a small animal practice in Salt Lake City, since 1994. Earlier in his career, Dr. Wilson practiced large animal medicine in Salt Lake City. He is survived by his daughter. Memorials may be made to the Billye Wilson Educational Fund, c/o Merrill Lynch, 60 E. South Temple Suite 200, Salt Lake City, UT 84111; or Humane Society of Utah, P.O. Box 573659, Murray, UT 84157.

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