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Opportunity: New program to help practices increase preventive care for pets

By Katie Burns

A new program, The Opportunity, seeks to help veterinary practices increase the number of canine and feline visits for regular preventive care.

During a Jan. 15 press conference at the North American Veterinary Conference in Orlando, Fla., the Partnership for Preventive Pet Healthcare announced that The Opportunity is under development. The basis of the program will be a survey tool for individual practices to obtain client and staff feedback about preventive care and reveal areas for action.

“Research that's been conducted with veterinary teams and pet owners reveals that there are opportunities to increase preventive care visits with enhancements to everyday practice,” said Dr. Michael T. Cavanaugh, executive director of the American Animal Hospital Association.

A coalition of veterinary associations, including the AVMA and AAHA, and a number of animal health companies came together this past year to establish the partnership to promote preventive care in response to a decline in the frequency of pet veterinary visits that began before the economic downturn.

The partnership sponsored development of the new AAHA-AVMA Canine and Feline Preventive Healthcare Guidelines. During the NAVC, the partnership offered a session about using the guidelines as a foundation for communicating with pet owners about preventive care (see article, page 483).

In September 2011, the partnership conducted a benchmarking survey that found that 79 percent of veterinary professionals agree there has been an industry-wide decline in pet veterinary visits. Nevertheless, 77 percent believe they can have a positive impact on pet owners' perceptions of preventive care for pets.

Research results

Jeremy Kees, phd, assistant professor of marketing at Villanova School of Business, Villanova, Pa., participated in the partnership's benchmarking survey and discussed the results during the press conference.

The survey yielded responses from 708 veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and practice or office managers. Although most respondents perceived a decline in pet veterinary visits, 41 percent believe that the causes are beyond their control and are not sure they can do much to reduce the trend.

Respondents cited causes such as the economic downturn, changes in the competitive landscape, and price increases by veterinarians. Eighty-eight percent also cited ineffective communication about the value of preventive care for pets, with 72 percent of respondents agreeing they should spend more time talking to pet owners about preventive care.

The recent Bayer Veterinary Care Usage Study found that more than half of dog and cat owners would take their pet to the veterinarian more often if they knew they could prevent problems and expensive treatment later or if they were convinced doing so would help their pet live longer.

The partnership also arranged for a psychologist to conduct in-depth interviews with 10 veterinarians and 15 pet owners. Dr. Kees said the interviews revealed that many veterinarians and pet owners interact more on the basis of transactions than on the basis of a long-term relationship or a lifetime plan for each pet.

“We also found, through these indepth interviews, that veterinarians have trouble conveying the ‘ask,’” Dr. Kees said.

“They're not sure that they're clearly explaining what complete preventive care means and, more importantly, communicating the value of what preventive pet health care means—and convincing pet owners that they should be bringing their pets in for routine check-ups, for regular visits. And, also, a difficult economy just makes this even more challenging for the profession.”


Data from phase one of The Opportunity revealed that most pet owners were very satisfied with the overall service they received but were not aware of many of the specific services that practices performed, ranging from dietary recommendations to discussion of the follow-up plan.

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 240, 5; 10.2460/javma.240.5.480

The Opportunity

The partnership is developing The Opportunity as a program to help veterinarians and pet owners work together to enhance preventive care, Dr. Kees said. The program is a research tool for individual practices to assess perspectives on preventive care, with a survey for pet owners and a survey for the veterinary team.

“There's an emphasis on keeping The Opportunity easy—easy to administer, easy to use for the practitioner,” Dr. Kees noted.

The questions in both surveys cover the practice's staff, practice's services, value of services, importance of preventive care, meaning of preventive care, and communication between veterinary professionals and pet owners. Responses reveal areas of opportunity for practice enhancement.

In November and December 2011, 23 practices participated in phase one real-world testing of the Opportunity program, Dr. Kees said. At the AAHA annual meeting in mid-March, the partnership plans to introduce a larger pilot program with about 100 additional practices. The partnership plans to roll out The Opportunity to the entire profession later this year.

Data from phase one of The Opportunity revealed that most pet owners were very satisfied with the overall service they received but were not aware of many of the specific services that practices performed, ranging from dietary recommendations to discussion of the follow-up plan.

“If the clients don't recognize that these specific services are being performed during their preventive care visit, then it's very difficult for them to understand the value associated with preventive pet health care, routine visits,” Dr. Kees said.

Phase one also found that pet owners and veterinary professionals view the importance of various services differently.

Dr. Cavanaugh said The Opportunity is one of many initiatives that the partnership has been planning to achieve a mission “to ensure that pets receive the preventive health care they deserve through regular visits to a veterinarian” and to achieve a vision to improve pets' overall health.

“Veterinary professionals recognize there's an issue at hand and there is an opportunity for improvement, and pet owners are ready to embrace preventive health care if they know it will make a difference,” Dr. Cavanaugh said. “So I know we can bridge that gap.”

Among other initiatives, the partnership previously announced plans to launch an outreach campaign later this year or early next year to educate pet owners about the value of preventive care for pets.

Additional information about the partnership is available at www.pethealthpartnership.org.

Guidelines promote preventive care

By Katie Burns

The new AAHA-AVMA Canine and Feline Preventive Healthcare Guidelines can help veterinarians improve patient care and can provide a foundation for communicating with pet owners about the value and scope of regular preventive care.

That's according to Dr. Michael R. Moyer, president of the American Animal Hospital Association, speaking Jan. 16 at the North American Veterinary Conference in Orlando, Fla., during a session about the guidelines.

The Partnership for Preventive Pet Healthcare sponsored development of the guidelines, which first appeared in the Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association and the JAVMA in September 2011. A poster version of the guidelines accompanies this issue of the JAVMA.

Dr. Moyer said the guidelines are specific without being overly prescriptive and concise enough to fit on a single page for dogs and a single page for cats.

“They are not a re-analysis of all the data that's out there,” said Dr. Moyer, who was a member of the task force that developed the guidelines. “There are a lot of good guideline documents on different subjects. This is a distillation of many of those excellent sources of information.”

The new guidelines recommend that dogs and cats have a veterinary examination at least annually. The other sections of the guidelines offer recommendations for the health evaluation; diagnostic, therapeutic, and prevention plans; follow-up plans; and documentation.

Dr. Moyer said the document provides a framework for consistent delivery of preventive care.

“It emphasizes the value, it emphasizes the expectation of the visit, so that it's clear to the practice team and hopefully clear to owners what is considered, discussed, and covered during that wellness or preventive care visit,” Dr. Moyer said. “Hopefully, veterinarians can do a better job, using these tools, of communicating that value.”

Dr. Nona Rodan, a member of the guidelines task force and a past president of the American Association of Feline Practitioners, spoke about implementing the feline guidelines in practice.

“The cat is a special problem,” said Dr. Rodan, who consults on cat-friendly practice.

Pet cats are more populous than pet dogs in the United States, Dr. Rodan said, yet U.S. veterinarians see more dogs than cats. She said the companion animal practices where she consults often estimate that cats make up 40 percent of their patients, but the proportion can be as low as 20 percent when they look at the numbers.

Dr. Rodan said practices can implement the Feline Preventive Healthcare Guidelines in a way that not only improves feline health care but also reduces the stress of veterinary visits for cats and cat owners.

“Preventive health care is key here, but it has to be in a feline-friendly way,” Dr. Rodan said.

The stress of a feline veterinary visit starts with getting the cat into the carrier at home, Dr. Rodan said, so practices should educate cat owners about how to acclimate cats to carriers.

At the practice, the team member who takes the cat's history from the owner can first open the door to the carrier to give the cat the comfort and sense of control to leave the carrier independently if the animal so desires.

Dr. Rodan said the veterinarian then can examine the cat wherever it is comfortable, possibly on the floor or in the bottom half of a carrier with a removable top. During the examination, the veterinarian can verbalize the process for the owner.

“We need to talk about the value, the value to the client,” Dr. Rodan said.

Dr. Rodan provided numerous additional tips on how to implement the guidelines in a feline-friendly way.

Sessions about the AAHA-AVMA Canine and Feline Preventive Healthcare Guidelines also are on the program for the AAHA annual conference in March and the AVMA Annual Convention in August.

AVMA: Economic concerns push AVMA into action

Leadership conference inspires, informs members


Members of the House of Delegates socialize before their meeting convenes. (Photo by Malinda Larkin)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 240, 5; 10.2460/javma.240.5.480

By R. Scott Nolen, Malinda Larkin, Susan C. Kahler

2011 saw the AVMA leadership redefine its goals and start to take action on one major initiative in particular—reversing the profession's economic decline. The Association, meanwhile, has also worked hard to maintain fiscal responsibility when it comes to budgeting and investing.

AVMA officers spoke about these accomplishments and more during the plenary session of the regular winter session of the House of Delegates, held Jan. 6–7 in Chicago.

Unseasonably warm weather greeted delegates and attendees of the 2012 AVMA Veterinary Leadership Conference, held Jan. 7–8. Both events took place at the Intercontinental Hotel. In all, 465 veterinary professionals and others enjoyed walks along Michigan Avenue in 50°F weather between listening to motivational speakers, learning about the latest AVMA initiatives, and taking part in governance activities.

More than 80 of those individuals were emerging veterinary leaders on hand for the abbreviated Veterinary Leadership Experience and a networking event.

Opening speaker

Astronaut Mike Mullane keynoted the conference with a “Countdown to teamwork.”

The West Point graduate flew 134 combat missions in Vietnam as a weapons system operator before being selected by NASA in 1978 as one of the first shuttle astronauts. Mullane completed three missions aboard the shuttles Discovery and Atlantis.

On a space mission, decision making and teamwork mean the difference between life and death. Mullane related stories and showed video clips to create a vicarious space experience and illustrate three leadership fundamentals.

Mullane described the first fundamental, “normalization of deviance,” as the natural human tendency, under budgeting and scheduling pressures, to rationalize shortcuts from established best practices. False feedback and the absence of something bad happening are taken to mean the shortcut is acceptable. Examples are the 1986 Challenger and 2003 Columbia shuttle disasters.

Challenger disintegrated after an O-ring seal in its right solid rocket booster failed at liftoff. “Fourteen of 24 inspections (of earlier flights) found the O-rings had been touched by fire; that was in the internal memos,” he said. “(NASA) had been blinded by a long-term normalization of deviance.”

NASA forgot the lessons of Challenger when 17 years later, Columbia was damaged during launch by foam insulation breaking loose and hitting the thermal protection system. On previous missions, they knew that foam had missed the tiles, so deviance became the norm.

To guard against the normalization of deviance, Mullane said, one must recognize vulnerabilities, review practices and make sure there are no information silos, review and archive near-disasters, and be situationally aware. It's also important to listen to the people closest to the issue.

“(Morton) Thiokol pleaded with NASA hours before (the Challenger) launch to call it off because of the O-rings being less flexible in cold temperatures,” he said. “Nobody grounded the flight, because of scheduling pressures.”

The second leadership fundamental is responsibility. He was once on the crew of an F-111 fighter bomber that was running out of fuel. Mullane was distressed but said nothing, in retrospect because of his need for acceptance and reluctance to confront the pilot, who was experienced. The crew abandoned the plane moments before it crashed.

“Remain passionately engaged in the team,” Mullane said. The power of the team lies in the diversity of life experience and perspectives of its members.

Courageous self-leadership is Mullane's third leadership fundamental. The keys are to expand one's performance envelope and be tenacious, he said. Great self-leaders challenge themselves with lofty goals, make midcourse corrections, stay focused, advance their education, and constantly do their best.

Leaders must empower the team in this way.

There was a reason he and other astronauts didn't raise concerns with NASA managers about the danger of private citizens being on board, for example, or a system that would destroy an out-of-control shuttle. “We feared our leadership. Signals were sent that actions would be taken if we spoke up, that we'd find ourselves in a long line to go on a mission,” he said.

Veterinary economics committee members named

The Veterinary Economics Strategy Committee was created this past November to advise the AVMA Executive Board and develop plans addressing veterinary economic issues.

In January, the AVMA announced the committee members had been appointed. They are as follows: Dr. Link Welborn, Tampa, Fla., chair; Dr. Jane Brunt, Annapolis, Md; Dr. Margaret Coffey, Baton Rouge, La.; David Gersholowitz, New York, N.Y.; Dr. Jeff Klausner, Portland, Ore.; Dr. Roger Saltman, Cazenovia, N.Y.; Dr. Carin Smith, Peshastin, Wash.; Dr. Scott Spaulding, Milton, Wis.; and Dr. Mike Thomas, Indianapolis.

“You can have different leadership styles, but at the end of the day, people have to know you value them,” Mullane said.

AVMA president's report

In her address during the VLC Jan. 6, AVMA President René A. Carlson identified the ability to listen as an essential leadership skill. She then listed ways AVMA leaders had responded to member concerns over the past year.

The AVMA established task forces charged with determining the degree of AVMA involvement in international veterinary medicine, for example, and with recommending ways to revitalize Association governance. Considerable AVMA resources—including $5 million—were set aside as part of the Association's long-term initiative aimed at improving the bleak economic situation facing current and future veterinarians.

In addition, member comments guided the most recent version of the AVMA's multiyear strategy for improving animal and human health and advancing the veterinary profession, Dr. Carlson noted.

“This past year has been about listening to our members,” Dr. Carlson said. And it is important that the AVMA continues to hear from its membership, whose input and participation Dr. Carlson said are necessary to the success of any professional organization. She challenged the audience to engage AVMA leaders and staff as they shape the AVMA into a member-driven association equipped to meet societal demands and the needs of the profession.

“Leadership is about facing the challenges before us, creating a vision for a better future, and creating a plan of action for our goals,” Dr. Carlson said.

Officer candidates

Each candidate for AVMA president-elect and vice president was allowed time to make brief remarks. Dr. Clark K. Fobian was the only contender for 2012–2013 president-elect. Dr. Fobian owns a small animal practice in Sedalia, Mo. Also, he is District VII representative on the AVMA Executive Board and chair of the American Veterinary Medical Foundation board of directors.

There's a three-way race to succeed Dr. Jan K. Strother as AVMA vice president when her two-year term ends in August. This past summer Drs. James E. Smallwood and Walter R. Threlfall announced they were running to be the next AVMA liaison to the Student AVMA and student chapters. Dr. Stacy L. Pritt recently declared she also is a candidate for the office of vice president.

Dr. Smallwood is a professor of anatomy at North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine and faculty adviser to the college's student chapter of the AVMA. Dr. Threlfall taught at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine for nearly 40 years and is currently a theriogenology consultant. Dr. Pritt is director of preclinical laboratory operations for a contract research organization and an instructor with the Colorado Technical University Online. She is the alternate delegate for the American Society for Laboratory Animal Practitioners in the AVMA HOD and serves on AVMA committees dealing with federal legislation and the AVMA Annual Convention.

The HOD will elect the new president-elect and vice president this August during the House's regular annual session in San Diego.

AVMA Group Health and Life Insurance Trust representatives spoke about the potential impact the new health care law will have on the GHLIT plan, which insures some 36,000 veterinarians and their families (see page 488).

Dollars and sense

Next up, data showing a chronic decline in the economic fortunes of the veterinary profession were presented along with an update on the AVMA's efforts to reverse that downward trend.

AVMA Executive Board Chair Ted Cohn, who led the ad hoc committee helping implement the initial stages of the Association's veterinary economic strategy, said the AVMA will soon commission a study of the U.S. veterinary workforce. (Publication of a National Academy of Sciences report on the topic was originally set for 2008 but, after four years, the NAS has yet to release its findings.) Dr. Cohn said the AVMA study will examine the relationship between the number of veterinarians and demand for veterinary services and make proposals about increasing the profession's profitability.

Other AVMA economic-related activities Dr. Cohn mentioned include a meeting between AVMA officials and veterinary college deans that started a dialogue about how, together, they can help make the veterinary profession economically sound again (see page 501). The AVMA is part of a coalition of veterinary and pet-related industries—the Partnership for Preventive Pet Healthcare—devising strategies for expanding veterinary visits, especially among feline patients. The members of the recently formed AVMA Veterinary Economics Strategy Committee were announced (see page 485), and the search for the new AVMA Veterinary Economics Division director continues.

Dr. Karen Felsted presented data from several studies on the business of veterinary medicine. The consultant and former CEO of the National Commission on Veterinary Economic Issues said the numbers show veterinary usage softening prior to the recent recession—a trend that persists despite ever-growing numbers of pet owners. “We really ignored the trends because revenue and earnings were still increasing,” Dr. Felsted explained.

But that is no longer the case. Most companion animal practices continue to see only modest revenue growth. As a consequence, veterinary incomes either plateaued or fell slightly in recent years.

“I don't think anyone thinks 2012 is going to be a whole lot better,” Dr. Felsted said.

Inadequate business practices and fee increases have contributed to the current climate, according to Dr. Felsted, who believes an oversupply of veterinarians is also a factor. She cited AVMA data showing the total number of companion animal veterinarians grew from 30,255 in 1996/1997 to 44,785 in 2006/2007, a 48 percent increase. Pet ownership during the same period rose about 36 percent, Dr. Felsted noted. More data on the veterinary workforce is needed to better understand the problem, she said, adding that the economic impact of laypersons performing veterinary procedures also must be evaluated.

Another sign of the profession's financial woes is the widening gap between veterinary student debt and starting incomes. According to an AVMA survey of veterinary students graduating in spring 2011, mean educational debt among the approximately 90 percent of graduates with debt was $142,613—up 6.5 percent from 2010—while the mean full-time starting salary for veterinarians dropped 1.3 percent to just under $67,000.

For 2011 veterinary graduates with educational debt, almost all of the debt—91.2 percent—was incurred while students were in veterinary college. Eighteen percent of last year's veterinary graduates owed more than $200,000 in student loans. “I can't imagine starting a career with that much debt” she said. “It can't be paid off in any reasonable time frame.”

Studies show more and more new veterinarians are enrolling in internships to enhance their clinical competence. But unless the internship leads to a residency, there is no financial benefit associated with interning at a practice. “If you look at future earnings, internships don't do anything for it,” Dr. Felsted said. “It just puts you a year behind on lifetime earnings.”

Related to veterinary income, Dr. Felsted cited AVMA data indicating veterinary practice owners earn approximately $58,000 more annually than practice associates. An NCSU study, however, reported 74.2 percent of male first-year veterinary students were interested in eventually owning a practice as opposed to just 48.5 percent of female students being interested.


Dr. Ted Cohn, AVMA Executive Board chair, talks about the Association's work to reverse troubling economic trends seen throughout the veterinary profession. (Photo by R. Scott Nolen)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 240, 5; 10.2460/javma.240.5.480

Veterinarians continue to earn less than human physicians, dentists, and lawyers, and their practices are also less profitable, Dr. Felsted observed. She also pointed out that 62 percent of veterinary practice owners aren't using any financial concepts to monitor business growth.

AVMA treasurer's report

Despite a period of unprecedented uncertainty in the U.S. and global economies, the AVMA remains financially strong and fiscally sound, according to AVMA Treasurer Barbara Schmidt.

Though the numbers had not been finalized when she gave her report, Dr. Schmidt anticipated the AVMA would end the 2011 budgetary year with a $2.3 million surplus. Those gains, she said, are attributable to the 2011 membership dues increase and the fiscally responsible actions of the AVMA Executive Board and staff, as well as a profitable 2011 AVMA Annual Convention.

“All this (was) despite the high volatility experienced by all domestic and international markets, which influenced all sectors of our AVMA investment portfolio in 2011,” Dr. Schmidt said.

A $64,000 surplus is projected for the AVMA's 2012 budget, with expenditures expected to fall just below the $30 million in revenue. “Through careful strategic planning, keeping the interests of the members first, and maintaining a solid fiscal foundation, the AVMA will continue to be vital, strong, and relevant to its members,” Dr. Schmidt said.

Membership dues account for 60 percent of the AVMA annual revenue, motivating Association leaders to ensure the AVMA is a member-driven organization, Dr. Schmidt said. More than 82,500 veterinarians are AVMA members, accounting for an “outstanding” 83 percent of all U.S. veterinarians. And, with a member to staff ratio of 595:1, the AVMA ranks as one of the highest in this category among the nation's large professional associations. “This speaks to the efficiency of operations at the AVMA,” she noted.

The planning process for the Association's 2013 budget is already under way, and the Executive Board Budget and Financial Review Committee will submit a budget for approval at the board meeting in April. The approved 2013 budget will then be provided as information to the AVMA House of Delegates in August, Dr. Schmidt explained.

The AVMA reserve fund is currently 102 percent of the Association's operating budget, Dr. Schmidt said. AVMA policy requires that 50 to 150 percent of the Association's annual operating budget be set aside in a reserve fund.

Dr. Schmidt listed several projects supported by the AVMA's $1 million Strategic Goal Fund. These include purchasing the assets of the National Commission on Veterinary Economic Issues, developing MyVeterinarian. com, and establishing the 20/20 Vision Commission and the Governance and Member Participation Task Force.

The key undertaking Dr. Schmidt highlighted is AVMA's long-term commitment to strengthening the economic viability of the profession. The Executive Board, responding to member concerns, established the $5 million National Economic Strategy Reserve Fund to support programs and strategies toward that end. “You helped the AVMA identify economics as the number one critical issue for our Association,” she said. “Your Executive Board listened and is responding in a positive way.”

AVMA Executive Vice President Ron DeHaven rounded out the plenary session with an overview of the Association's participation in a national initiative that seeks to increase veterinary visits (see page 480).

AVMA: Pending regulations put future of GHLIT in doubt

By R. Scott Nolen

Uncertainties surrounding the 2010 health care reform law have raised concerns about the sustainability of the AVMA health insurance plan currently covering thousands of Association members and their families.

The AVMA Group Health and Life Insurance Trust is classified under federal and state insurance regulations as a bona fide association health plan. These non–employer-based health plans operate under a different set of rules than non–bona fide association plans and are able to offer a number of benefits because enrollment is limited to association members.

During a session of the AVMA Veterinary Leadership Conference Jan. 6, Libby Wallace, CEO of the AVMA GHLIT, warned that the medical insurance plan “designed by veterinarians for veterinarians and managed by veterinarians” for the past 54 years is in jeopardy of losing its unique status.

Wallace explained that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, signed by President Obama in 2010, is ambiguous on the matter of bona fide association health plans. This has led to concerns that the departments responsible for implementing the reforms—Health and Human Services, Labor, and Treasury—could promulgate regulations that don't recognize association plans such as GHLIT's.


Strategies for on-the-job success

For two days during the AVMA Veterinary Leadership Conference, Dr. Rick DeBowes led a compressed version of the popular Veterinary Leadership Experience. Sponsored by Hill's Pet Nutrition, the mini-VLE was an opportunity for veterinarians to learn novel approaches for finding on-the-job satisfaction. Such skills are especially needed given the demands on today's veterinarians, Dr. DeBowes said. Veterinarians are pulled in many directions and are expected to possess skills ranging from healing and grief counseling to serving as a human resource director and small-business executive. All these demands are “people stuff,” Dr. DeBowes noted, and are what practitioners struggle with every day, more than with “the vagaries of parvovirus.” Dr. DeBowes spent the VLE session walking participants through strategies for managing these and similar issues. (Photo by R. Scott Nolen)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 240, 5; 10.2460/javma.240.5.480

Were that to happen, GHLIT would have to also start offering medical coverage to individuals who are not AVMA members, once the new rules take effect Jan. 1, 2014. As a consequence of losing the advantages of limited enrollment, Wallace believes New York Life Insurance Company would no longer underwrite the AVMA health plan.

“If the bona fide association designation goes away, then GHLIT medical plans would change as we know them today,” she said.

Wallace noted that most states had filed suit in federal court challenging the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and the Supreme Court will hear arguments in March 2012, with the final ruling expected in late summer.

Appearing with Wallace at the VLC was GHLIT chair Dr. James H. Brandt to highlight features and benefits of the AVMA health plan. With more than 17,000 policyholders, for example, GHLIT covers approximately 36,000 veterinarians and their families. More than $118 million in claims was paid out in the past fiscal year, Dr. Brandt noted. Policy benefits he mentioned were guaranteed coverage regardless of health status, portability, and year-round enrollment.

Although New York Life Insurance Company underwrites this AVMA health insurance plan, it is managed by a trustee board composed entirely of veterinarians, Dr. Brandt said.

GHLIT is lobbying Congress and federal regulators to preserve bona fide association plans in the new rules, Wallace announced, and she called on veterinarians to do the same. The Trust has issued a white paper on this and other concerns about the new health care law and posted an issue brief online at www.avmaghlit.org.

“President Obama promised that Americans who liked their health insurance would be able to keep it under the new health care reform law,” Wallace said. “The goal of your GHLIT is to see that the president keeps his promise to AVMA members.”

AVMA: AVMA updates model practice act

Delegates also act on rabies vaccine waivers, abuse reports

By Greg Cima

Recent revisions to the AVMA Model Veterinary Practice Act will help Wyoming develop standards on veterinary technician certification and supervision, Dr. Gary W. Norwood said.

The Wyoming Board of Veterinary Medicine and Wyoming VMA struggled in a December 2010 meeting to define the jobs and qualifications of veterinary technicians and veterinary technologists within the state's veterinary medical practice act, Dr. Norwood said. He is a member of the Wyoming VMA's Executive Board and is Wyoming's alternate delegate to the AVMA House of Delegates, which voted in January to approve a resolution implementing a series of revisions to the AVMA's Model Veterinary Practice Act. Some of the revisions address the AVMA's views of veterinary boards' authority over veterinary technicians and the credentials needed for such technicians.


Dr. H. Winston Pirtle, alternate delegate from Alabama, encouraged delegates to delay acting on changes to the AVMA Model Veterinary Practice Act until after evaluating changes to the definition of the veterinarian-client-patient relationship. (Photos by Malinda Larkin)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 240, 5; 10.2460/javma.240.5.480

The AVMA Executive Board also voted in favor of the changes this past November.

The model act revisions expand the definition of “animal” to include invertebrates and all vertebrates other than humans; clarify the definitions of “direct supervision” and “indirect supervision”; expand the term “patient” to include a group of animals; define complementary, alternative, and integrative therapies as those differing from conventional medicine rather than from current scientific knowledge and veterinary college instruction; and add prognosis of animal disease under the definition of the practice of veterinary medicine. The model act also encourages allowing veterinarians and technicians licensed in one state to practice in another when invited in response to emergencies, letting those working under veterinarian supervision to provide some care at animal shelters, and allowing some disclosure of client and patient information to third parties.

Delegates also voted during the meeting to approve two other resolutions that encourage states to accept a waiver when rabies vaccination could threaten an animal's life and to encourage prompt reporting of animal abuse and neglect.

The three resolutions considered by the House of Delegates passed with about 80 percent of votes in favor of each measure.

The House of Delegates session was part of the AVMA Veterinary Leadership Conference, which includes AVMA entity meetings and continuing education on topics such as business operations and advocacy.

Defining the relationship

Prior to passing the model practice act changes, delegates debated whether the text was complete.

Dr. Billy Martindale, the delegate for Texas, proposed delaying updates to the Model Veterinary Practice Act until the body was able to consider an AVMA task force's then-pending recommendations on updates to the definition of the veterinarian-client-patient relationship. After the HOD meeting, proposed changes were published at www.avma.org/issues/policy/mvpa.asp, where members and allied organizations could provide comments until March 1.

In the proposed update to the VCPR, the word “patient” would replace instances of the word “animal,” reflecting a change made elsewhere in the Model Veterinary Practice Act that defines a patient as a single animal or a group. Other changes would describe examinations needed to establish a diagnosis, and conditions for treatment of a patient by a second veterinarian.

Dr. H. Winston Pirtle, alternate delegate from Alabama, also encouraged fellow delegates to delay enacting the MVPA updates. He said the MVPA language has repercussions for the practice of veterinary medicine, and the House of Delegates must be able to say the model is the body's recommendation.

Dr. Susan B. Chadima, delegate from Maine and a member of the task force that examined the Model Veterinary Practice Act, urged colleagues not to refer the model back to the task force for further development during evaluation of the VCPR definition.

The model act is a resource for every state, veterinary association, and state board to use and modify as it needs in reviewing or updating veterinary practice acts, Dr. Chadima said.


Dr. Susan B. Chadima, delegate of Maine, encouraged delegates to implement changes to the AVMA Model Veterinary Practice Act, which she said is a resource that can be used during further consideration of proposed changes to the definition of the veterinarian-client-patient relationship.

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 240, 5; 10.2460/javma.240.5.480

Joseph M. Esch, delegate from the Student AVMA, said the changes in the MVPA should be made available as soon as possible to states that need guidance as they edit their practice acts. He expressed doubt any state legislature would implement all of the changes in the model veterinary practice act before the AVMA finished evaluating changes to the VCPR definition. He also noted that the previous VCPR definition would remain in place until then.

Dr. Norwood also had spoken in favor of the House of Delegates approving the document.

“In my view, the practice act is always a fluid document that will be in constant flux and change for the rest of our lives,” Dr. Norwood said. “So, as long as we, on a national level, can keep a model practice act tuned as sharply as we can but know that it's always going to change, then we have that in front of our states.”

Advocating for rules on health, welfare

The House of Delegates also established the AVMA policy “Annual Rabies Vaccination Waiver.” The policy indicates waivers should be issued in limited circumstances, and it recognizes that vaccination is critical to protecting public and animal health.

“However, AVMA recognizes that some individual animals may have experienced a severe life-threatening adverse event to a previous rabies vaccination that may contra-indicate vaccination, or a waiver might be necessary for research purposes” the policy states in part. “If adequate steps can be taken to minimize the chance of exposure to rabies virus, the AVMA recommends that such animals be granted a waiver from mandatory rabies vaccination, upon recommendation of a licensed veterinarian and with the concurrence of the appropriate public health authorities.”

Changes to the AVMA policy “Animal Abuse and Animal Neglect” clarify that veterinarians should promptly report any animal abuse or neglect they observe. Background information given to delegates states that the Animal Welfare Committee was contacted by participants in an industry-supported farm animal care initiative, who had asked the committee to consider adding explicit statements about the need for prompt reporting. The statement was particularly desired in response to secretly recorded video that has appeared to show abuse that was not immediately reported.

New Jersey leaves delegate seats empty

The New Jersey VMA declined to send delegates to January's House of Delegates regular winter session.

Richard Alampi, executive director of the New Jersey VMA, said the organization's Executive Board is waiting for an AVMA task force's evaluation of AVMA governance before it decides whether to fill vacancies that were created when its delegate and alternate delegate left those positions in 2011.

“We are still supportive of AVMA, and all we're really looking for is to have the best AVMA that we can,” Alampi said. “And I think that, periodically, any entity needs to critically re-examine how it is put together and how it operates.”

Alampi noted that he, two New Jersey VMA Executive Board members, and an emerging leader from the state attended the AVMA Veterinary Leadership Conference connected with the January HOD session.

Dr. Robert P. Gordon was New Jersey's most recent delegate, but he left the position following the July 2011 House of Delegates session. Dr. Mark P. Helfat was the state's alternate delegate, but he was elected to the AVMA Executive Board and also left the HOD following the July session.

At that session, the NJVMA had called for creation of a task force that would evaluate the role of the House of Delegates, its costs, and its benefits. The NJVMA's statement on the resolution maintained that the HOD was “increasingly ineffective” as a policymaking body, and the cost of the governing body's two annual sessions needed examination.

“A governance structure that includes a policy making body that meets twice a year is no longer relevant in the 21st Century” the resolution stated.


Photo by Malinda Larkin

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 240, 5; 10.2460/javma.240.5.480

The resolution also noted that the Association's other policymaking body, the AVMA Executive Board, could determine whether to implement HOD recommendations, and the lack of consensus has led to repetitive debate.

Delegates voted in July against the resolution but in favor of creating a task force that would evaluate the AVMA's entire governance structure and the role of member participation. In August, the Executive Board approved a recommendation to form the AVMA Task Force on Governance and Member Participation and spend up to $45,000 for three meetings.

More graduates eligible to be AVMA members; bylaw on voting amended

A change to the AVMA Bylaws makes graduating veterinarians eligible for membership if they were members of any organization represented in the Student AVMA House of Delegates.

The AVMA House of Delegates approved the change at its regular winter session in January. Membership previously was offered automatically only to graduates who were members of student chapters of the AVMA, which are entities separate from SAVMA.

Eligible graduates pay no dues during their graduation year, and half the active-member dues rate for two years after graduation.

The change will immediately affect graduates from St. Matthew's University on Grand Cayman Island. Students there have representation in SAVMA but do not have an AVMA student chapter. When the bylaws change was first considered, it also would have affected graduates from the Caribbean schools at Ross University and St. George's University, which have since gained AVMA accreditation and student chapters.

Graduates from universities without SAVMA representation can apply for AVMA membership and pay a reduced dues rate during their graduation year and the following year.

Delegates also passed an AVMA Bylaws amendment that will require a two-thirds vote of the House of Delegates to approve all future bylaws amendments. The bylaws previously allowed a majority vote by delegates when the proposed changes had AVMA Executive Board approval.

AVMA: Extralabel drug use policy revised

AVMA to send FDA comments on new antimicrobial order

By Malinda Larkin

A revised policy approved by the AVMA Executive Board will be used to comment on the Food and Drug Administration's further restrictions on the use of cephalosporin-class antimicrobials in most food animals. Notably, discussion before the vote revealed ongoing frustration members of both the House of Delegates and board have with the Association's current governance structure.

The board amended and approved the AVMA's “Policy on Limited Prohibition on Extralabel Drug Use” at its Jan. 6 meeting prior to the AVMA Veterinary Leadership Conference in Chicago. The new version is available at www.avma.org by clicking on “Policy” under the “Reference” heading.

The vote came as a result of a joint policy recommendation by the AVMA Council on Biologic and Therapeutic Agents, Clinical Practitioners Advisory Committee, Animal Agriculture Liaison Committee, Aquatic Veterinary Medicine Committee, Council on Public Health and Regulatory Veterinary Medicine, and Food Safety Advisory Committee.


Dr. Thomas F. Meyer, District XI Executive Board representative, discusses with fellow members the merits of referring a revised policy on limited prohibition of extralabel drug use to the AVMA House of Delegates. (Photo by R. Scott Nolen)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 240, 5; 10.2460/javma.240.5.480

Changes to the document reflect the AVMA's position that a science-based risk analysis should be performed by any regulatory authorities considering prohibitions on extralabel drug use and that any such prohibitions should be as narrow in scope as possible, consistent with protection of the food supply, public health, and animal welfare. These revisions also reflect the entities' desire for policy language that can be used by the AVMA whenever any type of extralabel drug use prohibition is under consideration, whether for antimicrobial or non-antimicrobial drug products and for food and non-food animal species.

As it so happened, the FDA issued an order two days earlier that limits, effective April 5, extralabel use of cephalosporin antimicrobials in cattle, chickens, swine, and turkeys by banning disease prevention uses and limiting prescription applications (see JAVMA, Feb. 15, 2012, page 362). The agency had opened the order for comments; the AVMA anticipated sending a letter to the FDA and including the revised policy for context.

At the same time, the House Advisory Committee had asked that the board refer the policy to the House of Delegates for consideration at its Jan. 7 session, in conjunction with the AVMA Veterinary Leadership Conference, because under the AVMA Bylaws, the HOD is responsible for establishing policy for matters relating to veterinary medicine.

Dr. Stewart “Chip” Beckett, Connecticut delegate, told Executive Board members at the board meeting that delegates would like to feel their trip to Chicago is of value to the Association. Referring the new policy to the House, he said, was “the best way to not let them feel neglected.”

Dr. Thomas F. Meyer, District XI Executive Board representative, responded that he was surprised the HOD asked to see the policy at such a late stage, when the board was ready to make a decision on it. The policy had come before the board first in April 2011 and again in November 2011. Both times, it was referred to relevant AVMA entities such as COBTA and CPAC for their input. In December 2011, the respective entity chairs, Executive Board liaisons, and applicable AVMA staff held a joint conference call, during which the policy was reviewed and revised. Concurrence was eventually achieved within the full membership of all six entities.

“This is an area where we've been as open as we can be. There's been ample opportunity for the HOD to comment, and at the 18th hour, they want a few more months to look at this. Why? I would pass this (policy). Not to keep HOD out of this, but when do they step to the plate and get in the game?” Dr. Meyer asked.

Members of governance task force announced

The Task Force on Governance and Member Participation was created this past August to evaluate the AVMA governance structure, including the Executive Board, House of Delegates, and all other entities, including councils, committees, task forces, commissions, and trusts.

In January, the AVMA announced the committee members who had been appointed. They are as follows: Ralph Johnson, Denver, chair, Richard Alampi, Hillsborough, N.J.; Dr. Sarah Babcock, Washington, D.C.; Dr. Stewart “Chip” Beckett, Glastonbury, Conn.; Dr. Grace F. Bransford, San Anselmo, Calif; Bridget Heilsberg, Fort Collins, Colo.; Dr. Adam J. Langer, Atlanta; Dr. Stacy L. Pritt, Chino Hills, Calif; Dr. Kathy M. Reilly, Keene, N.H.; Dr. Rebecca E. Stinson-Dixon, Reidsville, N.C.; and Dr. Lori M. Teller, Houston.

Board Chair Ted Cohn added that the HOD can rework the policy whenever it wants, and ultimately, the board declined to refer the policy to the House.

Looking forward, work continues on analyzing the governance structure of the AVMA, including the Executive Board and HOD. The Task Force on Governance and Member Participation is charged with reviewing all entities and examining their purpose and effectiveness; member election or appointment method; and the quality, outcome, and satisfaction of membership involvement.

The 11-member task force was recently named (see sidebar above) and will soon determine the date of its first meeting.

Model ordinance, practice act

In other actions, the Executive Board invited the HOD to review and comment on a policy postponed to the April 19–21 board meeting. The Council on Public Health and Regulatory Veterinary Medicine had submitted the revised “Policy on Model Dog and Cat Control Ordinance” to the board.

According to the background to the council's recommendation, the council changed the definition of “feral” from “an animal that has never been owned” to “existing in a state of nature: not domesticated or cultivated, having escaped from domestication and become wild.”

The board also postponed until April consideration of those sections of the AVMA Model Veterinary Practice Act pertinent to the definition of the veterinarian-client-patient relationship, so it may solicit feedback from the membership, HOD, and various other AVMA entities.

The Model Veterinary Practice Act Task Force had recommended that the Executive Board approve revisions to update and clarify portions of the practice act dealing with the definition and scope of the veterinarian-client-patient-relationship at its January meeting.

According to the recommendation's background, this topic generated several divergent comments from various AVMA entities during the comment period for the practice act.

The draft proposed changes to these sections are open for comment by AVMA members and entities until March 1 at www.avma.org/issues/policy/mvpa_vcpr-commerits.asp.

Once comments have been received, they will be directed back to the task force, which will make any changes as necessary and send a revised version to the board in April for further action. Then, the wording will likely go for final approval to the HOD at its meeting in August. The board had approved the remaining practice act revisions this past November, and the HOD approved them at its Jan. 7 session (see page 489).

Council nominations, YouTube videos due soon

The deadline for receipt of AVMA council nominations is close, and there's a new requirement for council candidates who want to be included in the electronic campaign guide.

Council candidates who want to be profiled in the 2012 AVMA Campaign Guide now must record and submit a 2-minute YouTube campaign video.

The House Advisory Committee sees the videos as an opportunity for all council candidates to introduce themselves before the delegates elect new council members.

April 1 is the deadline for receipt of council nomination forms, information for the campaign guide, and the YouTube videos.

Candidates who choose not to record a video will not be included in the campaign guide. A YouTube video is not required for House Advisory Committee or officer candidates, as they are required to give 2-minute speeches in person during the HOD regular annual session in San Diego.

A list of council vacancies, nomination forms, and details about the campaign guide and videos are posted online at www.avma.org; click on “Volunteer opportunities” and select the link “Current Volunteer Opportunities.” Or call AVMA headquarters at (800) 248-2862, Ext. 6605.

AVMA: Human-animal bond to be emphasized at 2013 AVMA convention

By Malinda Larkin

A new partnership between the AVMA and the International Association of Human-Animal Interaction Organizations should strengthen continuing education opportunities during next year's AVMA Annual Convention and attract new attendees. The AVMA Executive Board approved the deal at its Jan. 6 meeting in Chicago.

The IAHAIO, which hosts an international symposium every three years, reached out to the AVMA in June 2010 about potentially holding the IAHAIO meeting as part of the AVMA convention's human-animal bond track.

“The human-animal bond was first coined in veterinary medicine, and much of what we do has to do with human-animal interaction. It seemed the logical thing—as we were looking for collaborators—to approach the AVMA, because that's where the bond began” said Rebecca A. Johnson, phd, president of the IAHAIO and director of the University of Missouri-Columbia College of Veterinary Medicine Research Center for Human-Animal Interaction.


The Delta Society, which seeks to improve human health through therapy and service animals, is a member of the International Association of Human-Animal Interaction Organizations. (Courtesy of Delta Society)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 240, 5; 10.2460/javma.240.5.480

The IAHAIO's triennial conference draws nearly a thousand attendees. Dr. Johnson said investigators present research on all facets of interactions, from humans walking dogs for physical activity to research on animal behavior and how it can influence animals' interactions with humans. The CE programs typically feature the latest, best practices on human-animal interaction from IAHAIO members. They implement their own programs and report back their findings. One member is the Delta Society, which runs its own animal-assisted activities.

According to the agreement, the IAHAIO will help draft the human-animal bond-track sessions at the AVMA convention to be held July 20–23, 2013, in Chicago. In turn, the usual eight hours of human-animal bond CE will be expanded to 16 hours. The American Association of Human-Animal Bond Veterinarians will oversee content developed by the IAHAIO, and the AVMA Convention Management and Program Committee will determine which presentations will be a part of the companion animal programming.

The goal of the collaboration is to improve opportunities for networking, exposure, and education for all attendees, be they veterinarians or allied health providers.

“I think it's a nice blending and will be mutually beneficial for both organizations,” Dr. Johnson said. “It's a great opportunity for people who wouldn't ordinarily talk together to do that.”

AVMA: Leadership development program in transition


Attendees of the 2011 Veterinary Leadership Experience take part in a team-building exercise. (Courtesy of the VLE Foundation)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 240, 5; 10.2460/javma.240.5.480

By Malinda Larkin

The AVMA Veterinary Leadership Experience is in the midst of a transfer of direction and operation from its home base at Washington State University, but that's not the only change that could be in store for the program.

The AVMA Executive Board at its Jan. 6 meeting in Chicago approved going forward with a proposal to ask each college of veterinary medicine, through the dean's office, what the impact of the AVMA VLE program has been, to decide whether to continue funding the program directly or to instead, for example, send funds directly to the colleges to support local programs for leadership development of veterinary students.

The AVMA VLE is typically held the first week of June at Ross Point Camp and Conference Center, in Post Falls, Idaho. Its history dates back a decade to when Dr. Richard M. DeBowes, chair of the WSU College of Veterinary Medicine's Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, and Kathleen Ruby, phd, a psychologist, developed the university's Cougar Orientation and Leadership Experience in 2002. The 3½–day, on-site training program is focused on servant leadership as a model for collegiality and medical professionalism.

The AVMA VLE was modeled after the Cougar experience and rolled out in 2004 on a national level for students, faculty, and a few veterinarians from industry and private practice. A year later, the AVMA added sponsorship dollars, and in 2006, the Association elected to continue sponsorship on the condition that the program be called the AVMA VLE.

According to Dr. DeBowes, the program draws about 200 participants a year at a cost of approximately $1,100 per person. Funding has come from a number of sources besides the AVMA, such as the animal health care industry.

During its April 2011 meeting, the AVMA Executive Board approved spending up to $75,000 in 2012 on the AVMA VLE, but with the cost split with the American Veterinary Medical Foundation (see JAVMA, June 1, 2011, page 1375). The board also approved spending $45,000 annually on the AVMA VLE starting in 2013, with the money intended to defray the costs for one faculty member from each veterinary school represented in the Student AVMA to attend.

That funding could be in jeopardy, because starting this year, Drs. Ruby and DeBowes, along with their employer, Washington State, plan to transfer direction and operation of the AVMA VLE and to license the use of the VLE curriculum to Dr. Elizabeth “Betsy” Charles so that she can lead and expand the event.

Dr. Charles, supervising veterinarian at Equest Diagnostic Imaging Center in San Marcos, Calif, is director of the new VLE Foundation, which is now fully responsible for all aspects of the program. The AVMA VLE 2012 will be the first time the program is run by the VLE Foundation.

The foundation's board of directors will be announced soon. Dr. Charles said the nonprofit is in the process of getting all the paperwork signed and commitments solidified.

At the January Executive Board meeting, AVMA President-elect Douglas G. Aspros said the AVMA/Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges joint committee came to the board with the recommendation to examine the impact of the VLE because the AVMA has been funding the program and there was enough concern from the deans to look at what each college is doing and whether the AVMA funding may be better used otherwise.

“This is to guide how we move forward,” Dr. Aspros said.

WSU has already surveyed AVMA VLE attendees about their impressions of the experience, Dr. DeBowes said.

“They are effusive in their high marks for the lasting impact of the program, its applicability in their daily lives, and for their continued connection to the program through the weekly leadership lessons. It will be interesting to get the deans' perspectives on the program and its impact at their campuses” he said, adding that only one dean and a few associate deans have attended the AVMA VLE program.

AVMA: Balloting for Executive Board election commences

Howe declared District VII winner, District IX undecided

By R. Scott Nolen


Dr. John A. Howe

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 240, 5; 10.2460/javma.240.5.480

Three candidates have been nominated for two open seats on the AVMA Executive Board.

Dr. John A. Howe of Grand Rapids, Minn., was the sole nominee for District VII board representative, while the District IX seat is in contention between Drs. Billy R. Clay of Stillwater, Okla., and Michael L. Whitehair of Abilene, Kan.

Facing no challengers, Dr. Howe was declared elected to a six-year term on the Executive Board following the Feb. 1 nomination deadline. He will succeed Dr. Clark K. Fobian this August as board representative for AVMA members residing in Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

Dr. Howe started, developed, and now manages a four-doctor mixed animal practice in Grand Rapids and is a former president of the Minnesota VMA, which nominated him to the AVMA board. He has served on several MVMA committees and currently holds the vice chair seat on both the AVMA Council on Veterinary Service and Governance Performance Review Committee.

A 1977 graduate of the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Howe is a state-certified fish health inspector. He was appointed twice by the governor to the Minnesota Board of Animal Health, for which he served a term as president, and he was a member of the Minnesota Veterinary Reserve Corps Advisory Committee.

Dr. Howe says the challenges facing the veterinary profession are considerable, and he looks forward to using his Executive Board office to identify and implement solutions. “My lifetime experiences give me a perspective to face the challenges ahead and help shape the future of our profession,” he said.

Areas of interest to Dr. Howe include scope-of-practice issues, animal welfare issues, changing philosophies of veterinary education, and national and state legislative issues affecting veterinary medicine and small business.

“Helping the general practitioner realize the value of AVMA membership and the importance of involvement in organized veterinary medicine is also important to me,” he said.

District IX candidates

Balloting for the District IX race is in progress. AVMA members living in Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Utah will elect either Dr. Clay or Dr. Whitehair to succeed Dr. Ted Cohn as their new Executive Board representative this August.

Completed ballots must be received by the AVMA no later than April 1. The election winner will be announced that month.

Dr. Clay is a board-certified veterinary toxicologist who has worked for more than four decades as a private consultant. He also is an adjunct professor at the Oklahoma State University College of Veterinary Medicine, where he graduated in 1970.

Dr. Clay's Executive Board nomination was submitted by the Oklahoma VMA. He is a past president of the OVMA and has served on many of the association's committees, including the Animal Welfare Committee, which he currently chairs.

At the national level, Dr. Clay has been a member of the AVMA Animal Agriculture Liaison Committee and Environmental Issues Committee as well as the Council on Public Health and Regulatory Veterinary Medicine. He has also represented the AVMA on a delegation to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and on the Environmental Protection Agency's Farm Ranch and Rural Communities Advisory Committee.

The Kansas VMA nominated Dr. Whitehair to the AVMA Executive Board. Currently, he is a partner in a mixed animal practice in Abilene. His clinical interests include beef cattle, feedlot, and equine medicine.

The 1974 Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine graduate has been active in organized veterinary medicine for many years. In addition to serving as president of the KVMA and the Academy of Veterinary Consultants, Dr. Whitehair represented his home state in the AVMA House of Delegates from 1997–2011. During that time, he was a House Advisory Committee member and spent a year as chair.

Dr. Whitehair served on the committee that selected the AVMA executive vice president in 2007. More recently, he participated on the AVMA 20/20 Vision Commission and American Veterinary Medical Foundation Scholarship Committee for Rural Recent Graduates.

Auxiliary promotes pet health for National Pet Week

“Healthy Pets Make Happy Homes” is the message that the Auxiliary to the AVMA will be spreading for National Pet Week 2012, May 6–12.

The AVMA and the Auxiliary created National Pet Week in 1981 to foster responsible pet ownership, recognize the human-animal bond, and increase public awareness of veterinary medicine.

The Auxiliary held its annual poster and writing contests in early 2011 to generate promotional materials for National Pet Week 2012. The winner of each contest received $300.

Stephanie Jensen, a stay-at-home mother from Grantsville, Utah, submitted the painting that won the poster contest. Her seven children and many pets provided inspiration for the painting.

Emma Jewell of Lincoln, Neb., was a fifth-grader when she submitted the poem that won the writing contest.

The Happy Home Recipe

A healthy pet is a happy pet;

That means that they don't

rip up curtains,

Or “go” in the house,

Or decide to raid the fridge.

A healthy pet is a happy pet;

And when they're happy,

They usually behave.

That makes their owners happy, too.

A healthy pet is a happy pet;

So their owners don't mind

If (once and a while)

They decide to chase a squirrel on

the evening walk.

A healthy pet is a happy pet;

Paradise is a nap in the sun,

A favorite squeaky toy,

Not an “all you can eat of your

owner's chocolate stash” buffet!

The recipe:

Happy, healthy pets +

Nice owners =

A happy home.

Practice: New program helps practices become cat-friendly

Program offers educational resources, certification at silver or gold level

By Katie Burns

The American Association of Feline Practitioners has launched the Cat Friendly Practice Program to help veterinary practices become more accommodating of the distinct needs of cats.

Dr. Elizabeth J. Colleran, 2011 AAFP president, said cat owners love their cats but often do not visit a veterinarian because of the stress of the experience. She said the CFP Program “has the potential to transform the delivery of feline veterinary care and to increase veterinary visits.”

The AAFP introduced the CFP Program, sponsored by Pfizer Animal Health and Ceva Animal Health, during a Jan. 16 press conference at the North American Veterinary Conference. The primary program materials are educational resources, including “A Guide to Creating a Cat Friendly Practice” and a practice assessment checklist.

To participate in the CFP Program, practices must have at least one AAFP member. Practices may earn a certificate as a cat-friendly practice at the silver or gold level. The AAFP plans to list cat-friendly practices in an online directory for cat owners.

Program development

The AAFP has been developing the CFP Program in consultation with the International Society of Feline Medicine. The ISFM is the veterinary division of the United Kingdom's Feline Advisory Bureau, which pioneered the concept of cat-friendly clinics.

Dr. Andrew H. Sparkes of the ISFM said the efforts to promote cat-friendly clinics in the United Kingdom started as a competition in 2006 and included some tools to help clinics.

“It really caught the imagination of veterinary clinics,” Dr. Sparkes said. “And the clinics that participated saw a massive difference, both in the willingness of clients to come back again but also in the behavior of the cats within the clinics”

This year, the Feline Advisory Bureau and the ISFM will be launching a comprehensive program to promote cat-friendly clinics in Europe.

Dr. Nona Rodan chaired the task force that developed the CFP Program for the United States and Canada. She said the program will help “cat owners and veterinary practices to get cats back into practices.”

Dr. Rodan said she started her feline practice 25 years ago because of her love of cats, but not because of an understanding of cats.

“In 2000, I started work on behavior, and I recognized that cats need much more than we are giving them,” and so do cat owners, Dr. Rodan said.

Dr. Donna Stephens Manley, 2012 AAFP president, said the CFP Program will allow her as a shelter veterinarian to recommend cat-friendly practices to people who adopt cats—particularly first-time cat owners.

“That first impression is so critical,” Dr. Manley said. “Getting into a practice where they're welcoming, warm, and it's a good positive experience is nothing but a win-win situation for everyone.”

Dr. Kari D. Mundschenk, an AAFP board member, said she has applied many of the approaches of the CFP Program in her feline practice.

“Owners appreciate the fact that they know somebody cares enough about their cat to understand how a cat behaves, how a cat thinks,” Dr. Mundschenk said. “And they come back.”

Program implementation

Dr. Colleran said many practitioners recognize a need for change in how they interact with cats and cat owners.

“As a practice owner, I can tell you that effecting change in the day-to-day practice is hugely complicated and very difficult, unless you have someone else providing you with the tools to do that,” Dr. Colleran said.

The CFP Program provides tools to help practices become cat-friendly in the following topic areas:

  • • Staff training and continuing education; client communication

  • • Practice premises, reception room

  • • Feline handling and interaction with clients

  • • Examination rooms and clinical records

  • • Wards, facilities

  • • Pain management; operating room and anesthesia

  • • Surgical equipment, dentistry

  • • Diagnostic imaging and laboratory facilities

  • • Treatment; health and safety

  • • Preventive care by life stages

The CFP Program offers multimedia presentations about the implementation of various criteria under each topic area. More details about how to incorporate the criteria into a practice are available from “A Guide to Creating a Cat Friendly Practice” and from supplemental educational resources and photographs. An online assessment checklist allows practices to evaluate themselves by the criteria and keep track of their progress.

Dr. Colleran said a key part of the CFP Program is for each practice to designate one or more cat advocates to help implement the program criteria. When a practice meets the criteria for the level it chooses, silver or gold, it may submit the complete assessment checklist to the AAFP.

Following AAFP approval, the practice will receive certification as a cat-friendly practice at the silver or gold level along with a poster and numerous other marketing materials. The practice also will receive a listing in an online directory of cat-friendly practices.

In addition to the press conference introducing the CFP Program, the AAFP offered continuing education on cat-friendly practices during the North American Veterinary Conference. The organization also organized CE sessions on cat-friendly practices for the Western Veterinary Conference in February and the annual conference of the American Animal Hospital Association in March.

“Phase two of Cat Friendly Practice will be a national outreach,” Dr. Colleran added. “And that's intended to bring awareness to people in the general public to look for and choose a cat-friendly practice for their cat.”

Additional information about the CFP program is available by visiting www.catvets.com and clicking on “Cat Friendly Practice”; practices that have an AAFP member may apply to participate via the program website. Veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and practice managers may apply to become AAFP members at www.catvets.com/professionals/joinus.

Practice: Free eye exams for service animals this May


Courtesy of ACVO

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 240, 5; 10.2460/javma.240.5.480

Guide dogs and other service animals are eligible for free eye examinations during the month of May, courtesy of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists and Merial.

More than 200 veterinary ophthalmologists in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Canada have volunteered to participate in the fifth annual ACVO/Merial National Service Dog Eye Exam Event.

Since the event launched in 2008, more than 10,500 service animals have been examined. In addition to dogs, other eligible service animals, including horses and even a service donkey, have participated in the program.

During the ocular examination, a veterinary specialist looks for such problems as redness, squinting, cloudy corneas, retinal disease, and early cataracts.

“Our hope is that by checking their vision, we will be able to help a large number of service animals better assist their human friends,” said ACVO Executive Director Stacee Daniel.

To qualify for a free eye examination, animals must be “active working animals” with certification from a formal training program or be an enrollee in a training program. Beginning April 1, owners or agents for the animal must first register the animal via an online registration form at www.ACVOeyeexam.org. Registration ends April 30.

Once registered, owners or agents will receive a registration number and will be allowed access to a list of participating veterinary ophthalmologists in their area whom they can contact to schedule an appointment. Appointments will take place during May. Times may vary, depending on the facility, and appointments are provided on a first-come, first-served basis.

Practice: CDC gives guidance on diagnostic lab safety

A guide published in January is intended to reduce injuries and infections that occur during work in human and veterinary diagnostic laboratories.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention document “Guidelines for safe work practices in human and animal medical diagnostic laboratories” was published Jan. 6 as a supplement to the agency's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The guide was produced by a panel with members from the CDC, university diagnostic laboratories, and private medical laboratories. It is available at www.cdc.gov/mmwr/ through the “Supplements” section and under Vol. 61.

“Whether the patients are humans or animals and whether laboratorians work in microbiology or elsewhere in the laboratory, the human and animal diagnostic laboratory is a challenging environment,” the publication states. “The more that laboratorians become aware of and adhere to recommended, science-based safety precautions, the lower the risk.”

The document recommends creation of a “culture of safety” and includes guidance on topics such as biological safety cabinet use and inspection; appropriate disinfectant use; the need for negative airflow in laboratories; and the need for centralized surveillance and reporting of laboratory-related incidents, exposures, injuries, and infections.

The guide notes that laboratory employees are at higher risk than the general public of infection with some pathogens. Hepatitis B, for example, is the most frequent laboratory-acquired viral infection, and it affects 3.5 to 4.6 of every 1,000 laboratory workers, a rate two to four times that of the rest of the population, the guide states.

“Any laboratorian who collects or handles tubes of blood is vulnerable,” the guide states.

Issues: State cuts put colleges in precarious situation

Academic, veterinary leaders discuss potential solutions

By Malinda Larkin

The nation's 28 veterinary colleges have been hit hard by steep reductions in state appropriations to higher education, leading to cuts in faculty, substantial tuition increases, and increased student debt, according to new data from the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges.

Findings from the 2012 AAVMC Advocacy Survey were presented during a closed-door economic summit attended by AVMA and veterinary college officials this January in Orlando, Fla.

Results of the AAVMC survey show a 46 percent increase in median out-of-state veterinary tuition over a 10-year period, from $21,100 in 2000–2001 to $38,788 in 2010–2011. Median in-state tuition jumped 50 percent in that same time, from $9,134 to $18,316. In total, tuition revenue at the 28 veterinary institutions has more than doubled, going from $4 million in 2001–2002 to $8.7 million in 2011–2012.

Separate figures for Ross University in St. Kitts and St. George's University in Grenada place tuition at about $30,000 and $32,000, respectively, for two semesters.

As for student enrollment, the AAVMC projects a 3.6 percent increase at U.S. veterinary colleges, from 11,255 for the 2011–2012 school year to 11,677 for the 2012–2013 school year. It would be the second largest bump in a decade with the greatest increase coming from an addition of 512 students (a 4.6 percent increase) between 2008–2009 and 2009–2010. In the past 10 years, U.S. veterinary colleges will have added 2,314 seats, which is almost a 25 percent increase from total enrollment of 9,363 students for the 2002–2003 school year. Adding the two Caribbean veterinary colleges would increase the total enrollment for the 2012–2013 school year by about 1,500 more students.

Dr. Gerhardt G. Schurig, AAVMC president and dean of the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, said in an AAVMC press release that even though tuition has gone up, the extra revenue barely begins to make up for more than $106 million in cuts in just the past two years, when total state appropriations for U.S. veterinary colleges dropped from $642 million to $536 million. In the past decade, student aid—that is, anything from scholarships to endowments to private donations—per DVM/VMD student has risen only 30 percent, from $2,371 in 2001 to $3,375 in 2011.

“These are challenging times for veterinary medical education and higher education in general. What's particularly alarming is how schools report that this is affecting their ability to hire and maintain faculty and provide students with the course offerings that they need,” Dr. Schurig said in the release.

According to the AAVMC Advocacy Survey, which received response from all but two U.S. veterinary colleges, more than half of respondents reported that cuts in state support for academic veterinary medicine, particularly over the past couple years, have seriously affected their ability to hire or retain faculty and staff, invest in new technology, maintain academic programs and course offerings, or provide extension and outreach services. Twenty-two veterinary colleges said state funding cuts have reduced their ability to update or maintain campus infrastructure.

“I think we need to fight to sustain and garner public support, but we will also have to start looking at alternative funding sources and educational models if we want to maintain quality,” Dr. Schurig said in the release. “We also need to work with other stakeholders of academic veterinary medicine to find ways to increase student financial aid.”

Dr. Schurig and nearly 70 other leaders representing all 28 U.S. veterinary colleges and seven foreign AVMA Council on Education-accredited colleges, the AAVMC, and the AVMA, met Jan. 15 in Orlando for the joint economic summit. The goal was to start a dialogue among the stakeholders and commit to working together on behalf of the broader profession. Attendees identified a range of economic issues and pressures they agreed were critical to the veterinary profession. They also determined that workforce concerns, educational debt, demand for clinical veterinary services, and public support of veterinary education were of high priority.

AVMA President-elect Douglas G. Aspros called the meeting a valuable and productive first step. “All of us came away from the meeting with a sense of relief that we got so many things out on the table and walked out of the room united as a profession,” he said.

The need to find and develop data sets on the demand for veterinary services that everyone can agree on became apparent at the meeting, he added, noting that such data sets currently don't exist.

“If we want to talk about solutions for veterinary medicine, we need to guide education and professional development with reliable and contemporary data.” The AVMA is already working in this area with the recent appointment of members to the Veterinary Economics Strategy Committee (see page 485) and with development under way on a Veterinary Economics Division within the AVMA.

Going forward, summit participants agreed to jointly review the anticipated National Academy of Sciences veterinary workforce study, when released, and committed to participating in additional meetings. The first will occur during the AAVMC's annual conference March 8–11 in Alexandria, Va., and will focus on identifying specific economic solutions. Progress reports will be jointly released periodically to AVMA and AAVMC members, and working committees could be established.

Issues: USDA reducing offices, employees

By Greg Cima

About 270 Department of Agriculture offices are closing, and the department is cutting jobs and operational costs.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the closings during a speech in January, in which he noted that his department faces substantial reductions in its operating and program budgets. A transcript of the speech, which was delivered at an American Farm Bureau meeting, notes that three separate proposals from a committee of legislators, Rep. Paul Ryan, and President Barack Obama call for USDA program budget cuts of $23 billion, $48 billion, and $33 billion, respectively, over 10 years.

“These proposals set the range” the transcript states. “The hard part will be settling on a number and what must be cut to reach that number.”

USDA information states that the department has been working to “create optimal use of USDA's employees, better results for USDA customers, and greater efficiencies for American taxpayers.”

Vilsack said the USDA will close the following offices, although operations from the closing Farm Service Agency offices will be consolidated with those of other offices:

  • • 12 Agricultural Research Service laboratories in 10 locations.

  • • 15 Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service offices within the U.S.

  • • Five APHIS offices in other countries.

  • • 131 Farm Service Agency county offices.

  • • 31 Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services field offices.

  • • Five Food Safety and Inspection Service district offices.

  • • Two Foreign Agricultural Service country offices.

  • • 24 Natural Resources Conservation Service soil survey offices.

  • • 43 Rural Development offices.

“These closings and consolidations will begin taking place over the late winter and spring” Vilsack said. “FSA's goal is to finish consolidation by July, and all other agencies—except for Food Safety district offices—aim to close facilities by the end of September.

“I know that some may be inconvenienced by this choice, but services will not be interrupted.”

In October and November 2011, AVMA sent letters to members of Congress who were considering appropriations for USDA agencies. The AVMA advocated that funding for agencies such as APHIS, FSIS, and ARS be a priority and warned that substantial cuts to those agencies could harm their abilities to ensure food safety, protect animal health and welfare, and watch for and respond to disease outbreaks.

Lyndsay M. Cole, a spokeswoman for APHIS, said the office closures affecting her agency are necessary to meet projected budget reductions and improve efficiency. Most of the 78 employees at those facilities will be able to relocate to other nearby USDA offices or work from home.

“APHIS will work with stakeholders to ensure they continue to receive needed services without disruption once the closures occur,” Cole said.

Some office closures are related to a reduced need for international APHIS surveillance for avian influenza, completed work on a disease in wheat in Texas, and shifting focus on efforts to control a moth that has been a pest in California.

The department also has reduced travel, supply, and equipment costs by $90 million, implemented hiring controls, and offered early retirement and separation incentives. About 7,000 USDA employees retired on their own or took advantage of those incentives over 15 months.

“The workforce reductions are spread across all agencies and throughout many locations—including reductions in the D.C. headquarters and regional offices” the transcript states. “Both management and rank and file positions are being reduced.”

The USDA will also work to cut costs through efforts such as standardizing software purchases and centralizing human resources activities.

Vilsack also noted that the USDA's discretionary budget has been cut by $3 billion, or 12 percent, since 2010. Salaries and expense money sharply dropped in several agencies, including APHIS and the ARS, and the USDA's Office of the Chief Economist and Office of General Counsel took an 18 percent cut in the current budget year.

The secretary indicated that the 2012 Farm Bill, “first and foremost,” must provide a safety net for food producers, and the net must include expansion of crop insurance and revenue protection during disasters and low prices.

The bill also needs to provide adequate resources and flexibility to promote stewardship and conservation, provide money to encourage and promote expanded trade, maintain research efforts needed to keep a competitive edge and leadership in productivity, and support young people who want to grow crops or raise livestock, Vilsack said.

Community: CRWAD dedicated to Simmons

Animal disease researchers convene, honor their own

Approximately 450 people attended the 92nd annual meeting of the Conference of Research Workers in Animal Diseases, Dec. 4–6, 2011, in Chicago.

The meeting was dedicated to Dr. Donald G. Simmons, considered one of the founding fathers of the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine.

After earning his DVM degree in 1967 and his doctorate from the University of Georgia, Dr. Simmons became a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Microbiologists. Early in his career, he spent several years with the NCSU Department of Poultry Science researching viral and bacterial diseases of turkeys.


Dr. Donald G. Simmons

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 240, 5; 10.2460/javma.240.5.480

In the late 70s, Dr. Simmons joined the new Veterinary Science Department at NCSU, where he would be instrumental in helping start the College of Veterinary Medicine. He taught veterinary students while continuing to research turkey diseases.

Dr. Simmons left NCSU in 1988 to head the Department of Veterinary Science at Pennsylvania State University. There, he provided leadership for teaching, research, and extension programs and for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences' diagnostic laboratory.

In 1996, Dr. Simmons was hired as director of the newly established AVMA Education and Research Division. For the next 11 years, he participated in the AVMA Council on Education accreditation process for U.S. and foreign veterinary colleges, the accreditation of domestic veterinary technology programs, and the certification of foreign veterinary graduates wanting to practice in the United States.

Dr. Simmons played a key role in the AVMA securing reciprocity agreements with Canada and Great Britain that allowed U.S.-trained veterinarians to practice abroad. He retired to North Carolina in 2007.

Life membership in CRWAD was awarded to Edmour F. Blouin, phd, Stillwater, Okla.

The 2012 CRWAD officers are Dr. Donald L. Reynolds, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, president; Dr. Rodney A. Moxley, Lincoln, Neb., vice president; and Robert P. Ellis, phd, Fort Collins, Colo., executive director.

AVEPM awards

The Association for Veterinary Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine awarded the 2011 Calvin W. Schwa be Award to Dr. Dale D. Hancock, professor of epidemiology in the Field Disease Investigation Unit at the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine.

The 1975 graduate of Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences earned a master's and doctorate from The Ohio State University and has been at WSU since 1984, when he joined the Field Disease Investigation Unit. Since that time, Dr. Hancock has taught veterinary students and undergraduates and headed up numerous disease investigations at farms.

At WSU, Dr. Hancock developed and led a pioneering research program in the field of preharvest food safety, focusing especially on Escherichia coli 0157:H7. This program defined many of the key epidemiologic features of that agent in diverse animal populations.

Dr. Hancock's influence reached an entire generation of food animal clinicians through his publication, “Population Medicine News.” The biweekly periodical, available from 1988–1996, covered a wide variety of epidemiologic concepts and ideas.

Recipients of the AVEPM student awards were as follows: Epidemiology and Animal Health Economics category, oral—Matthew Allerson, University of Minnesota, for “The impact of maternally derived immunity on influenza virus transmission in neonatal pig populations,” and Heidi Pecoraro, Colorado State University, for “Comparison of virus isolation, one-step real-time reverse transcriptase-PCR assay, and two rapid influenza diagnostic tests for detecting canine influenza virus (H3N8) shedding in dogs.” Food and Environmental Safety category, oral—Sara Gragg, Texas Tech University, for “Salmonella in lymph nodes of cattle presented for harvest” and William Chaney, Texas Tech University, for “Development of a semi-quantitative ranking scheme to estimate the concentration of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in bovine feces.” Poster—Josephine Afema, Washington State University, for “Antimicrobial resistance in the ten most common Salmonella serotypes at the Salmonella bank at Washington State University, Pullman: 1986–2010.”

The Mark Gearhart Memorial Graduate Student Award was presented by the AVEPM to Dr. Rebecca Smith, Cornell University, for “Environmental contamination with Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis in endemically infected dairy herds.”

AAVI awards

The American Association of Veterinary Immunologists named Dr. Patricia E. Shewen winner of the 2011 AAVI Distinguished Veterinary Immunologist Award.

Dr. Shewen earned her DVM degree, master's, and doctorate from University of Guelph's Ontario Veterinary College, where she has been a faculty member since 1982. She currently holds the title of professor emerita.

The focus of Dr. Shewen's research has been immunity in infectious diseases of ruminants, particularly chlamydial infertility in sheep and bovine pneumonic pasteurellosis, with recent emphasis on induction of immunity in neonates.

During her career, Dr. Shewen helped organize three international scientific meetings at Guelph, including the 1st International Veterinary Immunology Symposium in 1986. She has held senior administrative positions at Ontario Veterinary College, having been the assistant dean of research and inaugural chair of the Department of Pathobiology at the college.

Recipients of the AAVI student awards were as follows: First place, oral—Nicole Behrens, University of California-Davis, for “T regulatory cells and IgE are inversely correlated in horses vaccinated with viral vaccines.” Second place, oral—Sarah Mattmiller, Michigan State University, for “Selenoproteins alter eicosanoid biosynthesis in macrophages.” Third place, oral—Xavier Revelo, University of Missouri, for “Impaired capacity of neutrophils to produce reactive oxygen species, release extracellular traps and express genes encoding for cytokines may contribute to altered immune function in periparturient dairy cows.” First place, poster—Lakshmi Sunkara, Oklahoma State University, for “Modulation of antimicrobial host defense peptide gene expression by free fatty acids.” Second place, poster—John Schwartz, University of Minnesota, for “The porcine antibody repertoire and its response to PRRSV infection.” Third place, poster—Lydia Siebert, University of Tennessee, for “Expression of CXCR1 and CXCR2 in bovine mammary tissue.”

ACVM awards

The American College of Veterinary Microbiologists named Dr. Yehia Mohamed “Mo” Saif the 2011 Distinguished Veterinary Microbiologist.

Dr. Saif is an internationally renowned expert on enteric and respiratory diseases of poultry. During a research career spanning more than three decades, Dr. Saif has written extensively about infectious poultry diseases and has edited several editions of “Diseases of Poultry,” seen as the standard reference text on the subject.

In addition to his duties as professor and head of the Food Animal Health Research Program at The Ohio State University, Dr. Saif is an assistant dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine. A diplomate of the ACVM and American College of Poultry Veterinarians, he has been involved in international activities related to infectious poultry diseases throughout Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, and Asia.

Dr. Saif is the delegate for the American Association of Avian Pathologists in the AVMA House of Delegates.

Dr. Saif received his veterinary degree from the University of Cairo in 1958 and later earned his master's and doctorate at OSU.

The ACVM student awards were presented to the following recipients: Don Kahn Award—Ahmed M. Abdallah, University of Minnesota, for “Misfolded Y145stop catalyzes the conversion of full prion protein.” In vitro category—Lauren Demos, Murdoch University, Australia, for “FISHing for cats: development of a fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) assay targeting feline papillomaviruses.” Molecular category—Sally R. Robinson, University of Minnesota, for “Novel PRRSV ORF5a protein is not immunoprotective but drives GP5 glycosylation.” In vivo category—Heather R. Walz, Auburn University, for “Evaluation of cd25, foxp3, and cc15 gene expression in placentomes of pregnant cattle inoculated with bovine viral diarrhea virus.” Poster—Huiling Wei, Purdue University, for “Development of DNA vaccine against H1N1 subtype swine influenza viruses.”

Other awards

The Society for Tropical Veterinary Medicine student award was presented to J.D. Ramsay, Washington State University, for “A novel Theileria equi sporozoite challenge model for pathogenesis and immune control studies in immunocompetent and immunodeficient horses.”

The American Association of Veterinary Parasitologists student award was presented to Ann Taylor Busby, Oklahoma State University, for “Functional analysis of tick genes differentially expressed in response to Anaplasma phagocytophilum infection.”

The NC-1041 Enteric Diseases (North Central Committee for Research on Enteric Diseases of Swine and Cattle) student awards were presented to the following recipients: First place, oral—Hye-Kwon Kim, University of Minnesota, for “Quantitative evaluation of changes in C-reactive protein level and Salmonella enteric status as indicators of the swine health status in response to use of the antibiotic growth promoter, tylosin.” Poster—Yong-il Cho, Iowa State University, for “Detection and molecular characterization of bovine noroviruses among bovine diarrhea cases in the U.S. Midwest.”

The Biosafety and Biosecurity Awards, sponsored by the Animal Health Institute and the Joseph J. Garbarino Foundation, were presented to the following students: First place—Carmen Alonso Garcia-Mochales, University of Minnesota, for “Evaluation study of interventions for reducing the risk of PRRSV introduction into filtered farms via retrograde air movement (back-drafting) through idle fans.” Second place—Audrey Ruple-Czerniak, Colorado State University, for “Isolation of Salmonella organisms from the environment in a large animal hospital using electrostatic (Swiffer) and sterile sponge collection devices.” Third place—Kate Bottoms, University of Guelph, Ontario, for “Biosecurity assessment as a tool towards risk-based surveillance on swine farms in southern Ontario.”

American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists

Event: Annual meeting, Oct. 26–29, 2011, Hilton Head Island, S.C.

Awards: Cynthia Wheeler Memorial Award: Best overall presentation—Dr. Jay Harrington, North Carolina State University, for “Clinical and histopathic effects of diode laser endoscope cyclophotocoagulation in the normal equine eye.” Residents Award, sponsored by Veterinary Ophthalmic Specialties Inc. and ACVO: Best clinical paper—Dr. Elizabeth Lutz, The Ohio State University, for “Impact of modified cyclosporine A on lens epithelial cell and corneal endothelial viability.” Best research paper—Dr. Cassandra Bliss, Michigan Veterinary Specialists, for “Ocular findings and reference values for selected ophthalmic diagnostic tests in the Macaroni penguin (Eudyptes chrysolophus).”

New diplomates: Twenty-six new diplomates were welcomed into the ACVO.

They are as follows:

Pete Accola, Waukesha, Wis.

Terri Alessio, Spokane, Wash.

Bianca Bauer, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Daniel Binder, Blacksburg, Va.

Dylan Buss, Columbia, Mo.

Bill Crumley, Philadelphia

Allyson Groth, Moorabin, Australia

Amy Horn, St. Charles, Ill.

Sarah Hoy, Essex Junction, Vt.

Heidi Klein-Weddle, Fishers, Ind.

Brian Marchione, Los Angeles

Carey Mclnnis, Annapolis, Md.

Emily Moeller, Tucson, Ariz.

Keith Montgomery, Appleton, Wis.

Diana Pate, Charlotte, N.C.

Kenneth Pierce, Baton Rouge, La.

Kelli Ramey, Calgary, Alberta

Christa Robinson, Worthington, Ohio

Gwen Sila, Southfield, Mich.

Kirsten Steele, Reno, Nev.

Jeff Studer, Dallas

Rustin Sturgeon, Overland Park, Kan.

Sara Thomasy, Davis, Calif.

William Weinstein, Las Vegas

Anja Welihozkiy, Woburn, Mass.

Hans Westermeyer, Hong Kong

Officials: Drs. Brian Gilger, Raleigh, N.C., president; Robert English, Cary, N.C., president-elect; Nick Millichamp, Houston, vice president; Michael Paulsen, Arlington, Texas, secretary-treasurer; and Carmen Colitz, Jupiter, Fla., immediate past president



Dr. Joseph Gaydos has been elected chair of the Science Panel of the Puget Sound Partnership, part of a comprehensive effort to restore the nation's largest inland sea.


Dr. Joseph Gaydos (Courtesy of the SeaDoc Society)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 240, 5; 10.2460/javma.240.5.480

Washington state officials have launched a major initiative to restore the Puget Sound, where more than 100 species are listed as threatened or endangered, or are candidates for listing. Two years ago, the Washington Academy of Sciences named Dr. Gaydos to a panel providing expert advice on the project. In December 2011, he was elected panel chair.

Dr. Gaydos is a senior wildlife veterinarian at the University of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine's Wildlife Health Center, where he serves as regional director and chief scientist for the SeaDoc Society. Dr. Gaydos has also been a member of the Northwest Straits Marine Conservation Commission since 2004.

A 1994 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Gaydos has studied marine wildlife and ecosystem health in Puget Sound for more than a decade, publishing articles on topics ranging from diseases of killer whales to major ecologic principles for designing healthy ecosystems.

Obituaries: AVMA Honor Roll Member AVMA Member Nonmember

Douglas M. Bengford

Dr. Bengford (COL ′86), 52, Lakewood, Colo., died July 27, 2011. A small animal veterinarian, he worked for Banfield Pet Hospital in Lakewood. Prior to that, Dr. Bengford practiced at Nelson Animal Hospital in Denver. His two sons survive him.

John M. Beverly

Dr. Beverly (MO ′81), 56, Myrtle Beach, S.C., died Nov. 19, 2011. An equine veterinarian, he practiced at Coastal Equine Clinic in Galivants Ferry, S.C. Dr. Beverly also consulted in Germany and Argentina. Earlier in his career, he worked in Cedarburg, Wis. Dr. Beverly was a member of the American Association of Equine Practitioners. Memorials in his name may be made to the American Cancer Society, P.O. Box 22718, Oklahoma City, OK 73123.

Edward H. Bohl

Dr. Bohl (OSU ′44), 89, Wooster, Ohio, died July 19, 2011. A charter diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Microbiologists, he was professor emeritus of veterinary microbiology at The Ohio State University's Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. Following graduation, Dr. Bohl served in the Army during World War II. From 1946–1947, he practiced in Mount Orab, Ohio. Dr. Bohl then returned to OSU, where he earned a master's in veterinary pathology in 1948 and obtained a doctorate in microbiology in 1952. During that time, he also served as an instructor in the Department of Microbiology at the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine, eventually becoming a professor. In 1963, Dr. Bohl was named professor in the Department of Veterinary Science at the OARDC, where he remained until retirement in 1982.

Known worldwide for his expertise in the enteric viruses of swine, he focused his research on leptospirosis in cattle and swine, porcine and bovine enteroviruses, germ-free pigs, viral abortion in cattle, infectious bovine rhinotracheitis, mycoplasmosis in turkeys, colibacillosis in piglets, transmissible gastroenteritis of swine, and the mechanism of intestinal immunity. Dr. Bohl demonstrated the value of gnotobiotic pigs and used them in research on the purification and adaptation of a human rotavirus.

He was a member of the Ohio VMA, American Society for Microbiology, American Association for the Advancement of Science, United States Animal Health Association, World Association of Veterinary Microbiologists, Conference of Research Workers in Animal Diseases, and Immunologists and Specialists in Infectious Diseases. In 1983, Dr. Bohl received an OSU Distinguished Alumnus Award. The 76th annual meeting of the CRWAD in 1995 was dedicated to him, and in 2002, the OARDC held the E.H. Bohl Honorary Symposium.

Dr. Bohl was a member of the Woosters Kiwanis Club. He is survived by three sons. One son, Dr. E. Eric Bohl (OSU ′75), is in mixed dairy practice in New Richmond, Wis. Memorials may be made to the Wooster United Methodist Church Sunday School Program, 243 N. Market St., Wooster, OH 44691.

Patricia O. Brackett

Dr. Brackett (CAL ′62), 87, Bluffton, S.C., died Oct. 17, 2011. An equine practitioner, she worked for the Maryland Racing Commission for 20 years prior to retirement. Earlier in her career, Dr. Brackett owned practices in Maryland and Virginia. Her husband, Bruce; a son; and a daughter survive her.

Jack R. Dinsmore

Dr. Dinsmore (OSU ′41), 93, Tulsa, Okla., died Nov. 18, 2011. A small animal practitioner, he owned Glenview Animal Hospital in Glenview, Ill., until 1980. During that time, Dr. Dinsmore also served as veterinarian for the Brookfield Zoo. He was a past president of the American Animal Hospital Association, American Veterinary Radiological Society, Chicago VMA, and Midwest Small Animal Association. Dr. Dinsmore served on the AVMA Professional Liability Insurance Trust from 1968–1993. In 1997, he was appointed to the former AVMA Honor Roll Committee. He was a founding member of the American Veterinary Medical Law Association and Flying Veterinarians Association. Dr. Dinsmore served on the Citizens Advisory Committee for the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine and was a past chairman of the group's subcommittee on preceptorships.

Dr. Dinsmore received several honors, including the Morris Animal Foundation Award in 1970; the UOI-CVM Alumni Association Service Award, given to a nonalumnus for contributions to the development of the college, in 1974; and the 1975 Illinois State VMA Veterinary Award for meritorious service to the profession. In 1982, he received an OSU Distinguished Alumnus Award, and, in 1991, the ISVMA 50-year Award.

Dr. Dinsmore is survived by his wife, Elizabeth; a son; and three daughters. Memorials in his name may be made to St. Simeon's, 3701 N. Cincinnati Ave., Tulsa, OK 74106.

James J. Dorman

Dr. Dorman (OSU ′40), 95, Leesburg, Fla., died Dec. 16, 2011. Prior to retirement in 1978, he worked for the Department of Agriculture in North Carolina and Tennessee. Earlier in his career, Dr. Dorman practiced mixed animal medicine in Argos, Ind., for 25 years. His wife, Nora, and three children survive him. Memorials may be made to Cornerstone Hospice of Tavares, 2445 Lane Park Road, Tavares, FL 32778; or Lake Square Presbyterian Church, 10200 Morningside Drive, Leesburg, FL 34748.

Harold S. Gober

Dr. Gober (AUB ′40), 94, Aventura, Fla., died Oct. 28, 2011.

Danielle N. Goldin-Munday

Dr. Goldin-Munday (TUF ′07), 45, Sutton, Mass., died Nov. 25, 2011. A small animal veterinarian, she practiced at VCA Blackstone Valley Animal Hospital in Uxbridge, Mass. Dr. Goldin-Munday was an opera singer and served on the board of the Fritz and Lavinia Jensen Foundation, helping aspiring opera singers. Memorials may be made to the World Wildlife Fund, 1250 24th St. N.W., P.O. Box 97180, Washington, DC 20090.

William C. Gross

Dr. Gross (KSU ′50), 84, Jacksonville, Ill., died July 21, 2011. He owned a practice in Winchester, Ill., and practiced mixed animal medicine across central Illinois for more than 55 years. During that time, Dr. Gross also worked with his siblings, Drs. Glen G. Gross (now deceased), Dean R. Gross (now deceased), Robert U. Gross (KSU ′54), and Joanne G. Pfeffer (now deceased), who were all practicing veterinarians in Jacksonville. He bred and raised Black Angus beefalo and traveled to South American countries to study cattle herds and to Poland to study the European bison bloodlines. Dr. Gross was a member of the Elks Club. He is survived by a daughter and two sons. Dr. Gross' nephew, Dr. Joseph M. Gross (KSU ′52), practices mixed animal medicine in Winchester. Memorials may be made to the Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Manhattan, KS 66506; or Mayo Clinic, c/o Barbara Flasch, Department of Development, 200 1st St. S.W., Rochester, MN 55905.

Charles D. Knecht

Dr. Knecht (UP ′56), 79, Opelika, Ala., died Sept. 20, 2011. A diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons and American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, he was professor emeritus of small animal surgery and medicine at the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine and former head of the college's small animal clinic. Following graduation, Dr. Knecht was in private practice in Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. He then served in the Air Force Veterinary Corps, attaining the rank of captain. Dr. Knecht began his academic career at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine in 1964. From 1970–1972, he was a professor and chief of surgery at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Knecht then moved to Purdue University, where he served as a professor and chief of surgery in the small animal clinic. He joined Auburn in 1979, retiring in 1997.

In 1971, Dr. Knecht invented a surgical device known as the Knecht Condyle Clamp. He also authored the textbook “Fundamental Techniques in Veterinary Surgery.” Dr. Knecht was a past president of the ACVS, American Association of Veterinary Clinicians, and American Neurology Association. He was elected to the AVMA Judicial Council in 2000.

Dr. Knecht received the Pfizer-Norden Distinguished Teaching Award in 1971 and was honored with an UG-CVM Faculty Adviser Award in 1972. He was the recipient of the AVMA Gaines Award in 1982 and the American Animal Hospital Association CYCLE Award in 1997. In 2001, the Veterinary Medical Alumni Society of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine honored Dr. Knecht with an Alumni Award of Merit. He is survived by two sons.

Herbert F. Lindsey

Dr. Lindsey (AUB ′46), 87, Griffin, Ga., died Aug. 25, 2011. He practiced mixed animal medicine for 52 years, retiring from what was known as Lindsey Smith Veterinary Clinic in Griffin. Dr. Lindsey was a member of the Georgia VMA. He is survived by a son and a daughter. Memorials may be made to Griffin Rotary Club, P.O. Box 473, Griffin, GA 30224.

Solomon S. Mirin

Dr. Mirin (OSU ′36), 100, Boca Raton, Fla., died Dec. 11, 2011. A small animal practitioner, he owned McKim Animal Hospital in Port Chester, N.Y., prior to retirement. Early in his career, Dr. Mirin was a federal animal inspector in the mid-Atlantic states. He served in the Army Veterinary Corps during World War II, attaining the rank of major. Memorials may be made to Guiding Eyes for the Blind, 611 Granite Springs Road, Yorktown Heights, NY 10598.

George H. Muller

Dr. Muller (TEX ′43), 92, Concord, Calif, died Oct. 3, 2011. A diplomate and a past president of the American College of Veterinary Dermatology and a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, he established Muller Veterinary Hospital in Walnut Creek, Calif, in 1956.

Following graduation, Dr. Muller served in the Army Veterinary Corps as a captain in the China-Burma-India theater for three years, receiving the China War Memorial Medal. He then owned Pittsburg Veterinary Hospital in Pittsburg, Calif, before establishing his practice in Walnut Creek. During his practice career, Dr. Muller simultaneously served as a clinical professor of dermatology at Stanford University School of Medicine for more than 30 years.

Known internationally for his work in veterinary dermatology, he co-authored “Small Animal Dermatology.” Dr. Muller served as chair of the American Animal Hospital Association's Dermatology Committee in 1959 and helped establish the American Academy of Veterinary Dermatology, later serving as its president. He was also an honorary charter member of the European Society of Veterinary Dermatology.

Dr. Muller established the Postgraduate Symposium of Veterinary Dermatology at Stanford University, which later became known as the George H. Muller Veterinary Dermatology Seminar and is now sponsored by the University of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. He received an ACVD Award of Excellence in 1991. In 2008, Dr. Muller was the first recipient of the Hugo Schindelka Medal in recognition of excellence of scholarship and publication in the field of veterinary dermatology from the World Association for Veterinary Dermatology.

Dr. Muller is survived by his wife, Opal. Memorials (with the memo line of checks notated “in memory of Dr. George H. Muller”) may be made to UC Regents, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Office of the Dean-Development, One Shields Ave., Davis, CA 95616.

John L. Noordsy

Dr. Noordsy (KSU ′46), 89, Marion, S.D., died Sept. 30, 2011. He retired in 1990 as a professor of large animal medicine and surgery and associate dean of academic affairs and alumni relations at the Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Noordsy began his career in Marion, where he practiced food animal medicine for 13 years. He joined the veterinary faculty of KSU in 1960. During his tenure, Dr. Noordsy also served as assistant head of the college's Department of Surgery and Medicine.

Known for his work in bovine surgery, he was a past president of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners and authored the text-book “Food Animal Surgery.” Dr. Noordsy was a member of the AVMA Council on Veterinary Service from 1975–1986, including service as chair. He was a member and a past secretary of the South Dakota VMA. Dr. Noordsy received several honors, including the AABP Amstutz-Williams Award in 2004, an AVMA President's Award in 2008, and the KSU-CVM Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2010. His wife, Pat; two sons; and a daughter survive him.

Alfred A. Reich

Dr. Reich (MSU 74), 62, Rumely, Mich., died July 18, 2011. He owned North Rumely Veterinary Services since 2010, providing clinical services and house calls. Earlier in his career, Dr. Reich worked in Lansing, Mich., and Charlotte, N.C.; owned practices in Virginia at Waynesboro and the Shenandoah Valley; worked as an emergency veterinarian in Ypsilanti, Mich.; and owned Westgate Animal Clinic in Ann Arbor, Mich. His wife, Carol, and two daughters survive him.

Sonny D. Reynolds

Dr. Reynolds (AUB ′66), 73, Murfreesboro, Tenn., died Nov. 20, 2011. A small animal practitioner, he owned Animal Birth Control Clinic in Nashville from 1979 until retirement in 2005. Prior to that, Dr. Reynolds served in the Army, attaining the rank of lieutenant colonel. He was a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine and a member of the Upper Cumberland VMA. Dr. Reynolds is survived by his wife, Carole; a son; and a daughter. His brother, Dr. Buddy L. Reynolds (AUB ′66), is a mixed animal veterinarian in Cookeville, Tenn. Memorials may be made to Rotary Foundation, Paul Harris Fellowship, P.O. Box 1391, Murfreesboro, TN 37133.

Joseph H. Robbins

Dr. Robbins (COR ′53), 86, Rochester, N.Y., died Nov. 2, 2011. A small animal practitioner, he owned Robbins Animal Hospital in Rochester from 1955 until retirement in 1989. Earlier in his career, Dr. Robbins worked in the small animal clinic at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. A member of the New York State VMS, he served on its Small Animal Practice Committee. Dr. Robbins was also a past member of the Western New York VMS board of directors.

An Army veteran of World War II, he served in the European theater and was awarded a Bronze Star. Dr. Robbins is survived by two daughters. Memorials may be made to the First Unitarian Church of Rochester, 220 Winton Road S., Rochester, NY 14610; or Janice Lynn Cohen Memorial Fund, Colgate Rochester Divinity School, 1100 S. Goodman St., Rochester, NY 14620.

Ralph R. Romo

Dr. Romo (TEX ′41), 97, Belvedere Tiburon, Calif, died Aug. 2, 2011. Prior to retiring at the age of 75, he practiced small animal medicine in San Marino, Calif, for more than 30 years. Earlier in his career, Dr. Romo established small and large animal practices in California at Downey, Montebello, Whittier, and La Habra. An Army veteran, he attained the rank of major. Dr. Romo is survived by his wife, Alta, and a son. Memorials may be made to Hospice By the Bay, 17 E. Sir Francis Drake, #100, Larkspur, CA 94939.

Samuel R. Thomas

Dr. Thomas (OSU ′61), 77, Bucyrus, Ohio, died Oct. 27, 2011. He practiced mixed animal medicine in Crawford County (Ohio) and surrounding areas for 50 years. Dr. Thomas was also the Pickwick Farms veterinarian for several years and served as an adjunct professor at The Ohio State University. He was a member of the Ohio VMA. Dr. Thomas served as Crawford County Health commissioner for 10 years and was a member of the Bucyrus Community Hospital board of directors.

An Army veteran, he attained the rank of lieutenant. Dr. Thomas's wife, Tina, and five children survive him. Memorials toward Hope Lodge, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Ronald McDonald House, The Humane Society serving Crawford County, Salvation Army, or Crawford County Chapter of the American Red Cross may be made c/o Wise Funeral Service, 129 W. Warren St., Bucyrus, OH 44820.

William L. Tilgner

Dr. Tilgner (KSU ′57), 80, North Platte, Neb., died Nov. 11, 2011. Prior to retirement, he worked for the Department of Agriculture in meat and poultry inspection for 35 years. During that time, Dr. Tilgner was posted in Kansas at Wichita and Dodge City and then moved to North Platte, where he served as supervisor of western Nebraska meat plants. Early in his career, he practiced in Salina, Kan. Dr. Tilgner was a member of the Salvation Army and the City Tree Board. He is survived by his wife, Velda, and three daughters. Memorials may be made to Bethel Evangelical Church, 2700 W. Philip, North Platte, NE 69101; or North Platte Gideon Memorial Bibles, P.O. Box 383, North Platte, NE 69103.

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