JAVMA News

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A female Burmese python on her nest with eggs (Photo by Jemeema Carrigan/University of Florida)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 240, 7; 10.2460/javma.240.7.778

How big is Florida's python problem?

Debate smolders over whether invasive snakes are a national threat or trouble for just one state

By R. Scott Nolen

January was a bad month for giant-snake enthusiasts.

First, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the Burmese python, yellow anaconda, and Northern and Southern African pythons as injurious invasive species under the Lacey Act, making it a federal crime to import the non-native snakes or transport them across state lines.

Nearly two weeks later, on Jan. 30, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published the first study documenting the ecologic impacts of feral Burmese pythons in Florida's Everglades National Park. Researchers found evidence suggesting python predation has caused dramatic declines in the numbers of raccoons, opossums, and other mammals in the park.

But, apart from a general recognition that feral pythons and other large constrictors have the potential to upset naive ecosystems, little else about the Sunshine State's invasive snake conundrum isn't in contention.

In dispute are how the giant reptiles first became established in South Florida, the number of Burmese pythons in the region, the scale of non-native snake predation on indigenous wildlife, the chances of pythons and other wild constrictors becoming established elsewhere in the United States, and the impacts of tougher restrictions on the trade and ownership of giant snakes.

Scott Hardin is the exotic wildlife species coordinator for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the state agency responsible for regulating native and non-native species. When it comes to Florida's most problematic invasive species, Hardin says feral pigs top the list. Wild hogs, found throughout the state, are estimated at half a million strong. They damage sensitive wetlands with their rooting, adversely impact agriculture and forestry, and cause erosion on roads, dikes, and levees. They also can be aggressive toward humans and are reservoirs for infectious diseases and parasites.

Burmese pythons are a problem because they prey on native wildlife and threaten already imperiled species, such as the endangered Key Largo woodrat, according to Hardin. In 2010, the commission stopped issuing licenses for people to acquire seven constrictor species as pets, including Burmese pythons. Still, Hardin doesn't think pythons pose a serious danger to people, nor does he believe they can extend their habitat beyond Florida's subtropical climate, as some researchers suggest. For Hardin, it's unrealistic to consider his state's invasive snake population a national emergency.

“There is something about snakes in general, and very large snakes in particular, that just evokes a very visceral reaction amongst people,” Hardin observed.

The federal government is taking no chances, however. On Jan. 17, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced four constrictor snake species had joined the mongoose, Java sparrow, and some 200 other exotic animals on the list of injurious wildlife. The injurious wildlife provisions of the Lacey Act authorize the Interior Department to regulate the importation and interstate transport of wildlife species determined to be injurious to humans or the nation's agriculture, horticulture, forestry, or wildlife interests.

Restrictions on the four giant-snake species are warranted, Salazar explained, because they jeopardize the Everglades and other sensitive U.S. ecosystems.

“The Burmese python has already gained a foothold in the Florida Everglades,” he warned, “and we must do all we can to battle its spread and to prevent further human contributions of invasive snakes that cause economic and environmental damage.”

With its warm temperatures, proximity to Central America and South America, and status as a major international hub, South Florida has long served as a gateway for exotic fish and wildlife coming into the United States, legally or otherwise. In fact, Miami is one of the nation's top ports for reptiles entering the country.

Over the years, so many exotic animals either escaped or were dumped in Florida that approximately 100 species of non-native birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians, mammals, and invertebrates are currently established within the state. Barring a major effort to remove them, wildlife experts expect that these animals are here to stay.

Alarms sound with each discovery of an invasive species, but few are louder than those raised by the Burmese python. Andrew Wyatt, president of the United States Association of Reptile Keepers, believes politics and exaggerated news media reports have overtaken efforts to address the python presence scientifically.

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Wild hogs damage Florida's sensitive wetlands with their rooting and are a source of parasites and zoonoses. (Courtesy of Don Fox, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 240, 7; 10.2460/javma.240.7.778

“This is an issue that affects three counties in the state of Florida, not the entire nation,” said Wyatt, whose association advocates on behalf of private reptile owners and traders.

The U.S. reptile industry is estimated to have earned revenues of up to $1.4 billion in 2009, according to a 2011 study commissioned by USARK. If all nine constrictor snake species were to be listed as injurious wildlife, the study projected industry losses would range from $76 million to $104 million within the first year, particularly among snake breeders and sellers. Losses over the first 10 years could run between $372 million and $900 million.

Invasive species poster child

Explanations vary as to how a giant constrictor native to southern Asia and Southeast Asia came to make a home in Florida. The state Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission estimates Burmese pythons have inhabited southern portions of the Everglades since at least the 1980s, although reports of loose constrictors date as far back as the 1970s. These snakes may have accidentally escaped, been intentionally released, or both.

One theory popular within the reptile trade but disputed is that Florida's wild python population exploded after hundreds of the snakes escaped from a facility outside Miami that was destroyed by Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

Today, the giant constrictors are established in Miami-Dade and Monroe counties, and possibly Collier County as well. From 2000–2011, a total of 1,825 pythons were removed from within and around Everglades National Park. Estimates on the number of Burmese pythons inhabiting South Florida range from several thousand to as high as 100,000. Additionally, a small colony of boa constrictors has been established in a park outside Miami since the 1970s, and there's evidence suggesting Northern African pythons are reproducing in that region.

That the nation's largest subtropical wilderness is a home to non-native constrictors is understandable. The Everglades comprise 1.5 million acres of mostly isolated saw grass marshes, cypress swamps, pinelands, and mangrove prairies. Burmese pythons have flourished in this environment for several reasons. One of the largest snakes in the world, they can grow as long as 23 feet and weigh up to 200 pounds. They reproduce quickly, with females laying clutches of 100 eggs.

While the American alligator likely remains atop the Everglades food chain, pythons are an apex predator in their own right. They climb trees, ambush prey from land or water, and, according to Dr. Elliott Jacobson, aren't finicky eaters.

“Some snakes have a much more narrow food preference, but the Burmese python is a generalist feeder and will eat birds, mammals, small reptiles, whatever comes its way. That's one reason why this animal has been successful,” explained Dr. Jacobson, who taught zoologic medicine for more than three decades at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine until his recent appointment as professor emeritus.

Science says

When the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced its rules concerning constrictor species in January, Interior Secretary Salazar cited a 2009 U.S. Geological Survey analysis—“Giant constrictors: biological and management profiles and an establishment risk assessment for large species of pythons, anacondas, and the boa constrictor.”

The 302-page Constrictor Report, as it is known, classified Burmese pythons, Northern and Southern African pythons, boa constrictors, and yellow anacondas as high-risk invasive species for the following reasons: The snakes put large portions of the country at risk, constitute a significant ecologic threat, or are popular within the reptile trade. Medium-risk species are the reticulated python, DeSchauensee's anaconda, green anaconda, and Beni anaconda, the report stated.

The USGS risk analysis identified the pet trade as “the only probable pathway by which these species would become established in the United States.” The recent snake bans are meant to mitigate the invasive-constrictor threat by squeezing off channels through which a person can legally possess a giant snake. The other five constrictors in the report also face possible listing under the Lacey Act.

The Constrictor Report followed up on a 2008 paper in which USGS scientists used a climate-based distribution model to show a sizeable portion of the U.S. mainland is vulnerable to feral Burmese python habitation. Regions where the climate may be suitable to support python populations, according to the USGS study, include the Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf coasts and range from Delaware to Oregon, including most of California, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. By 2100, the report said feral pythons may be able to expand their range to parts of Washington, DC, and Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York.

Two subsequent studies challenge the premise that Florida's Burmese python can survive far from the snake's current subtropical home, however.

Using ecologic models that accounted for climatic extremes and averages, researchers at The City University of New York found the only suitable habitat for the python is in South Florida and far-south South Texas. Moreover, future climate models based on global warming forecasts indicate the python's current U.S. habitat and native range will actually decrease. A related study by scientists with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Wildlife Research Center found evidence suggesting Burmese pythons in Florida lack cold-weather survival instincts necessary to flourish elsewhere in the United States.

USGS scientists subsequently evaluated the methodology of the CUNY study. The models used to challenge the potential for python colonization in the United States may not identify all sites at risk of habitation, according to the paper they published in 2011. A more biologically realistic model less prone to statistical problems may reveal a larger geographic range where pythons could become established, the scientists concluded.

When the Senate was reviewing legislation in 2009 to designate constrictors as injurious animals, nine herpetologists and veterinarians wrote leading members of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works with concerns about the Constrictor Report. They questioned the USGS scientists' methods as well as the peer-review process the report underwent. The accuracy of the risk assessment model the report authors used was called into doubt; critics wrote the model resulted in a “gross overstatement” of the potential habitat for the snake species.

In their letter, critics noted “a pervasive bias” throughout the Constrictor Report. “There is an obvious effort to emphasize the size, fecundity, and dangers posed by each species; no chance is missed to speculate on negative scenarios. The report appears designed to promote the tenuous concept that invasive giant snakes are a national threat. However, throughout the report there is a preponderance of grammatical qualifiers that serve to weaken many, if not most, statements that are made,” the letter states.

The letter concludes with a request for the Senate committee to view the USGS analysis not as an authoritative scientific publication but as a report drafted with a predetermined policy in mind.

In addition to his post at the University of Florida, Dr. Jacobson chairs the Association of Reptilian and Amphibian Veterinarians' Legislative and Animal Welfare Committee. One of three ARAV officials who signed the letter to the Senate committee, Dr. Jacobson isn't opposed to listing certain large constrictors as injurious wildlife—unless the science for doing so is flawed, which he believes to be the case.

“The perception is that certain politicians used the USGS report to justify their position without really understanding what was being presented in the report,” Dr. Jacobson explained.

Robert Reed, PhD, is a USGS invasive species scientist and herpetologist who co-authored both agency studies warning about the giant-snake threat. He's spent the past six years researching the brown tree snake, which, within four decades of its arrival in Guam, devastated much of the island's native wildlife. More recently, he's turned his attention to the Burmese python and is investigating the snakes' ecologic impact in South Florida and exploring ways of managing their numbers.

Dr. Reed knows what critics are saying about him. “I'm accused by the pet trade of pushing the ‘injurious’ listing to get loads of research dollars,” he said. “But I've never given any public opinion on the utility of this listing, and it doesn't result in any more research dollars whatsoever.”

He's equally dismissive of allegations he wants to criminalize snake ownership, as is his USGS colleague Gordon Rodda, who co-wrote both USGS invasive-snake studies.

“Gordon and I own or have owned giant constrictors, and we say so in the first chapter of the Constrictor Report. We think they're beautiful animals,” he explained. “To suggest we're anti-snake ownership is really silly on the face of it.”

“On the science issues,” Dr. Reed continued, “I'm happy to let the peer-reviewed papers speak for themselves. There's an increasing body of evidence to suggest that these snakes are a big problem in southern Florida and that there are several other (constrictor) species that have climates in their native range that suggest they could become established in the U.S.”

Assessing the damage

Burmese pythons have flourished in South Florida since the 1980s, yet no one could say with certainty how they were affecting the ecosystem. Then in late January, a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences made a correlation between severe mammal declines and the proliferation of pythons in Everglades National Park.

Dr. Reed was a co-author of the report, in which researchers state raccoons, rabbits, and opossums have almost entirely vanished from the southernmost regions of the Everglades, where pythons have been established the longest. Populations of raccoons in that part of the park dropped 99.3 percent, opossums 98.9 percent, and bobcats 87.5 percent. Marsh and cottontail rabbits and foxes were no longer seen at all, according to the study.

Data were gathered during repeated, systematic nighttime road surveys within the Everglades, with researchers counting live and roadkill animals. Surveys from 2003–2011 of nearly 39,000 miles of road were analyzed and compared with results of similar surveys peformed along the same roadways in 1996 and 1997, before pythons were recognized as established in the park.

Researchers also surveyed ecologically similar areas north of the Everglades where pythons have not been discovered. In those areas, “mammal abundances” were similar to those reported in the park before pythons proliferated. At sites where pythons have only recently been documented, however, mammal populations were reduced, though not to the dramatic extent observed within the park where pythons are well-established.

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This Burmese python weighed 162 pounds and measured more than 15 feet long at the time of its capture in 2009. The giant constrictor was caught alive in the Everglades and had just eaten an American alligator that measured approximately 6 feet in length. (Photo by Mike Rochford/University of Florida)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 240, 7; 10.2460/javma.240.7.778

“The magnitude of these (mammal) declines underscores the apparent incredible density of pythons in Everglades National Park and justifies the argument for more intensive investigation into their ecological effects as well as the development of effective control methods,” said lead study author Michael Dorcas, PhD, a professor in the Biology Department at Davidson College in North Carolina.

“Such severe declines in easily seen mammals bode poorly for the many species of conservation concern that are more difficult to sample but that may also be vulnerable to python predation,” added Dr. Dorcas, who co-wrote “Invasive pythons in the United States: Ecology of an introduced predator.” Published in 2007, the book suggested Burmese pythons could spread over much of the United States.

Shortly after the NAS Proceedings paper became available, The Huffington Post ran an article written by Frank Mazzotti, PhD, one of the study coauthors, in an attempt to clarify what the report does and doesn't say. The data do not show Burmese pythons caused the mammal declines, only that the snakes' occurrence is coincident with the decreases, wrote Dr. Mazzotti, an associate professor of wildlife ecology at the University of Florida.

“I liken what we did to a grand jury investigation,” he wrote. “We amassed the available evidence and asked if it was sufficient to demonstrate that a crime had occurred (mammal populations had declined) and to suggest that pythons could be responsible (they had motive, means, and opportunity). An indictment was handed down. That does not mean the pythons are guilty. It does mean we need to go to trial.”

The next step, according to Dr. Mazzotti, is to “design a study that evaluates the presence of the pythons with the absence of mammals in relation to differences and changes in habitat, hydrology, and other biological components.” The study should be a “high priority for funding,” he wrote, because it could go a long way toward identifying what's behind the mammal die-off in the Everglades.

“(W)hat happens if we are wrong and something else caused mammal populations to decline?” Dr. Mazzotti wrote. “Because if it is not pythons (and it might not be), something else is wrong in an ecosystem that we are spending billions of dollars to restore, and we need to know what that is.”

clicks with clinics

AVMA offers online directory to help public find veterinarians

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Species served by veterinary clinics registered with MyVeterinarian.com

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 240, 7; 10.2460/javma.240.7.778

By Katie Burns

More than 11,000 veterinary clinics have registered with MyVeterinarian.com, the AVMA's new online directory that allows the public to search for clinics by location, species, and services.

Among the early registrants was Woodman Drive Animal Hospital, a two-veterinarian small animal practice in Dayton, Ohio.

“The idea that we could put out information in a readily available format was great,” said Dr. Bradley Middlebrooks, owner of the practice. “We could put doctors' information, hours, a little bit about the type of animals we took care of, and ultimately have a link to a website, too. And that's a new area for us; we just expanded to that three or four years ago.”

The AVMA launched MyVeterinarian.com in late 2010 through early 2011 as a free resource to help members market their clinics on the Web. Dr. Kevin Dajka, director of the AVMA Membership and Field Services Division, said the site is a tangible member benefit that serves as one avenue to connect people with veterinary care.

“We've got a lot of members who want to have a reliable search tool out there for veterinary practices, some of which don't have any online presence or marketing,” Dr. Dajka said.

He added that the membership division receives a substantial number of calls from the public regarding finding a veterinarian.

Reaching out

In late 2010, the AVMA started promoting MyVeterinarian.com to veterinarians to build up the directory. The outreach to veterinarians has included postcards, email, and a sign-up kiosk at the AVMA booth at veterinary conferences.

In early 2011, the AVMA began promoting the website to the public. The campaign features Google and Facebook advertisements. Ads ran on buses during December 2011 in Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Seattle. The AVMA is developing plans to increase outreach to the public over the next 12 months.

When talking with members about MyVeterinarian.com, Dr. Dajka has found “an overwhelmingly excited response that this is available to them.”

Jodie Taggett, AVMA corporate relations director, said the AVMA has been able to provide the website as a free resource partly because of initial funding support from Bayer, Pfizer Animal Health, and Iams Eukanuba.

Heather Jensen, assistant director of marketing in the AVMA Communications Division, said the primary target of MyVeterinarian.com is pet owners—including pet owners who are relocating, traveling, or looking for emergency services as well as people who have adopted a new pet.

The AVMA introduced the website to animal shelters with a booth at the meeting of the Society of Animal Welfare Administrators in November 2011. About 100 shelters signed up to receive additional information about MyVeterinarian.com. The goal is for shelters to refer adoptive pet owners to the website to find a veterinarian.

“Shelters have an interest, as do veterinarians, in making sure that shelter pets get veterinary care,” Jensen said. “Everybody wants the animal to stay in the home.”

Clinic information

Pet owners who visit MyVeterinarian.com can search by city and state or by zip code to find veterinary clinics within a 5-, 10-, 20-, or 50-mile radius. They can check a box if they are looking for emergency services. An advanced search allows them to narrow results by species or services.

The search results feature a map of clinic locations alongside a list of clinics by distance. Clinics can provide the facility name, address, phone and fax numbers, any website, hours of operation, species, services, and veterinarians practicing at the facility.

Taggett said MyVeterinarian.com also allows pet owners to compare services of up to three clinics at a time, so she encourages clinics to provide as much information as possible.

“While there are numerous sites with similar search services available, MyVeterinarian.com seems to be the most comprehensive and in-depth search tool to date,” Taggett said.

Dr. Middlebrooks registered his clinic for MyVeterinarian.com immediately after learning about the directory. He has turned to the website himself for various reasons, such as helping clients who are relocating to find a new veterinarian.

Most of Dr. Middlebrooks' new clients find him via word-of-mouth, but he believes people are looking more and more to the Internet for information about veterinary clinics. He knows some of his new clients have looked up his clinic's new website before visiting the clinic.

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The AVMA ran advertisements to promote MyVeterinarian.com on buses in Chicago and seven other cities during December 2011. (Courtesy of Titan)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 240, 7; 10.2460/javma.240.7.778

Dr. Middlebrooks said the directory at MyVeterinarian.com is a reliable Internet resource that comes from the veterinary industry for the benefit of veterinary practice.

“It's a very innovative step forward that allows people to have a resource to efficiently narrow down choices for veterinarians,” Dr. Middlebrooks said.

Dr. Dajka noted that, as the AVMA enhances the technology of MyVeterinarian.com over the next one to two years, another benefit of the website will be to provide the profession with more data about the distribution of clinics and needs of clients by location, species, and services.

Of clinics that had registered with MyVeterinarian.com as of Feb. 8, more than 10,000 each reported offering services for cats and dogs. About 1,700 offered services for horses, 1,300 for pigs, and 1,200 for cattle.

The most common medical service was wellness examinations, while the least common was laser surgery.

Clinics that have not registered for MyVeterinarian.com may do so by visiting the website, clicking on “Clinic Login,” then on “Not yet registered?”

Education council recognized by national council on accreditation

By Malinda Larkin and Susan C. Kahler

The AVMA Council on Education, which accredits veterinary colleges, has received renewed recognition from the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

Following a yearlong process of review, the CHEA board of directors granted continued recognition to the Council on Education on Jan. 23.

CHEA is an independent, nonprofit, nongovernmental organization that grants formal recognition to accreditation bodies for higher education that meet rigorous standards.

“In short, CHEA recognition provides assurance to the public and the profession that the AVMA Council on Education is fulfilling its charge in accordance with nationally established standards,” said Dr. David E. Granstrom, director of the AVMA Education and Research Division.

The CHEA Committee on Recognition found the council in full compliance with all criteria and recommended that it be recognized for up to 10 more years—the maximum length of recognition.

In its standards for recognition, CHEA requires accrediting bodies to meet the following criteria:

  • • Advances academic quality.

  • • Demonstrates accountability.

  • • Encourages, where appropriate, self-scrutiny and planning for change and for needed improvement.

  • • Employs appropriate and fair procedures in decision making.

  • • Demonstrates ongoing review of accreditation practices.

  • • Possesses sufficient resources.

The Council on Education has been continuously recognized by CHEA and its predecessors as well as the Department of Education for more than 50 years. The forerunner of the COE was founded within a year of the founding of the AVMA in 1863 (as the United States Veterinary Medical Association). The COE currently accredits 45 veterinary institutions—33 in the U.S. and Canada, and 12 in other countries.

CHEA scrutinizes the COE every 10 years and requires interim reports three and six years after recognition. DOE recognition must be renewed every five years.

Recognition by these two entities obligates the COE to follow strict guidelines designed to ensure that appropriate standards of accreditation have been developed and are being applied fairly and uniformly to all colleges seeking accreditation.

To be eligible for CHEA recognition, the COE had to “demonstrate independence from any parent entity, or sponsoring entity, for the conduct of accreditation activities and determination of accreditation status.”

The COE is also a member of the Association of Specialized and Professional Accreditors, which serves to advance the knowledge, skills, good practices, and ethical commitments of accreditors. The council adheres to the ASPA Code of Good Practice.

The CHEA review

The Council on Education submits voluntarily to CHEA review as part of its program of continuous improvement. It is a multistep process during which the COE had to demonstrate the quality of its activities and the value of those activities to higher education and the public interest.

Dr. Granstrom said, “Accreditation is a peer-review process that involves veterinarians in private, public, and academic practice as well as members of the public all working together to ensure veterinary education maintains high academic standards and continues to meet the needs of society.”

The council's submission of eligibility documentation in September 2010 set the CHEA review in motion. The process continued with various reviews, and a CHEA observer made a site visit to the September 2011 COE meeting at AVMA headquarters in Schaumburg, Ill. The observer filed a report that identified no deficiencies. This past November, the CHEA Review Committee held a public meeting to review the evidence and hear testimony from the council chair and senior staff support. In January, the CHEA board approved the Review Committee's decision to continue recognizing the COE.

Offsetting recent criticism

The CHEA recognition comes at a time when some have leveled criticism at the council, something Dr. Granstrom attributes largely to a lack of familiarity with higher education accreditation in the U.S.

“The COE doesn't operate in a vacuum,” he said. “There are hard-and-fast rules and expectations that must be followed to become and to remain a recognized accrediting agency in the U.S. The COE is no less conscientious or effective today than it was 60 or 20 years ago. In fact, it is far more rigorous, based on the significant advancements made in accreditation practices and accountability over the last 10 years.”

In 2002, the council introduced a new accreditation standard, Standard 11, which placed much greater emphasis on outcomes assessment. This was done in accordance with DOE and CHEA requirements to focus attention not only on the educational process but also on student achievement. Since then, accredited colleges must demonstrate that each student has achieved clinical competence in nine areas specified by the COE, and must survey alumni and employers regarding the clinical competence of graduates. (See related letter and staff response on page 805.)

Colleges must address curricular deficiencies identified during the accreditation process within two years. They are also required to report their progress toward correcting curricular deficiencies annually, or more often if deemed necessary. Through a strong focus on outcomes assessment, accreditation ensures that colleges maintain compliance with a published set of quality standards and remain on a path of continuous quality improvement.

“There is a reason our colleges are among the best in the world,” Dr. Granstrom said. “I'm extremely proud of the role the COE has played in that process and of the AVMA for supporting the council without interference.”

Accreditation task force members announced

The AVMA created a Task Force on Foreign Veterinary School Accreditation this past August to evaluate the following issues, given the current environment projected over 10 years, and to prepare a written informational report, without prejudice, to the Executive Board:

  • • The impact of foreign veterinary school accreditation on the U.S. veterinary profession, and the quality of standards for the U.S. veterinary profession.

  • • The impact of not requiring certification by the Educational Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates or the Program for the Assessment of Veterinary Education Equivalence for graduates of AVMA Council on Education–accredited foreign schools.

  • • How foreign veterinary school accreditation serves the needs and interests of the public.

  • • How foreign veterinary school accreditation serves the needs and interests of AVMA members.

  • • The existence of any international pressure on the AVMA COE to accredit foreign veterinary schools.

  • • The logistic resources required to accredit foreign veterinary schools.

In February, the AVMA announced the task force members who had been appointed. They are as follows: Dr. James R. Coffman, Manhattan, Kan., chair; Dr. Mimi Arighi, West Lafayette, Ind.; Dr. Philippe J. Baneux, Winnetka, Ill.; Dr. Eric M. Bregman, New York; Dr. Susan B. Chadima, Topsham, Maine; Dr. Orlando Garza, El Paso, Texas; Dr. Peter W. Hellyer, Fort Collins, Colo.; Dr. Anthony M. Miele, New York; Dr. Mark Nunez, Van Nuys, Calif.; Jason Stanhill, Fort Collins, Colo.; and Dr. Caroline J. Zeiss, New Haven, Conn.

Resource helps manage MSDS library

The AVMA has produced a flowchart to help veterinary practices manage their library of material safety data sheets for hazardous substances.

The resource, “Conducting an MSDS Library Compilation or Review,” offers guidance for practices in determining which items within a facility are hazardous substances and in compiling a complete MSDS library—including an MSDS for each hazardous product in the facility.

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires an MSDS library as one part of a hazard communication plan. Material safety data sheets relay a variety of information, including factors for determining whether a facility must dispose of certain products or containers as hazardous waste.

The AVMA's “MSDS 101” Web page provides tips on how to read and use material safety data sheets as well as the flowchart on how to manage an MSDS library. The page is available at www.avma.org/wastedisposal by going to the members-only “Clinical Resources” section, clicking on “Recordkeeping,” then looking for the link next to the first yellow diamond icon.

Laser guidelines encompass veterinarians

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A veterinarian and a veterinary student at Oklahoma State University demonstrate safe use of a laser for surgery. Safety precautions include use of a smoke evacuator, eyewear specific for the laser wavelength, and laser-safe surgical masks. (Courtesy of Dr. Kenneth E. Bartels)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 240, 7; 10.2460/javma.240.7.778

By Katie Burns

Laser safety in veterinary medicine is now an integral part of the American National Standards Institute's Z136.3 guidelines for the safe use of lasers in health care.

In 2005, an appendix was added to that year's edition of the ANSI Z136.3 guidelines, for information only, on the safe use of lasers in veterinary medicine. The 2011 edition, newly available, retains the appendix, but also incorporates veterinary offices and animal patients throughout the body of the document.

“Having this accomplished will require manufacturers to work closer with vets on safety issues when selling the technology to them and also provides assurances that we take care of ourselves and our patients appropriately and safely when using the technology,” said Dr. Kenneth E. Bartels, AVMA representative to the Z136.3 subcommittee and a professor of laser surgery at Oklahoma State University Center for Veterinary Health Sciences.

“These are guidelines but now carry a bit more weight on how we use lasers in veterinary medicine.”

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration and state regulatory agencies refer to the Z136.3 standard, Dr. Bartels noted.

More than a decade ago, the AVMA asked Dr. Bartels to become a liaison to the Z136.3 subcommittee to ensure that a veterinarian had input into guidelines applicable to the profession. He said some members of the subcommittee did not believe that veterinary medicine should be part of the standard, because the patients are not human.

“However, the vet as well as the tech involved in the laser technique—as well as our patients—warranted safe use of the technology,” Dr. Bartels said.

The subcommittee agreed to add an appendix on veterinary medicine to the 2005 edition of the Z136.3 guidelines, and the 2011 edition continues to offer that appendix.

Following the completion of the 2005 edition, Dr. Bartels continued to advocate for the inclusion of veterinary medicine in the Z136.3 standard. The subcommittee agreed to incorporate veterinary medicine in the body of the 2011 document.

“It still leaves a lot of leeway in how veterinarians institute some of these guidelines,” Dr. Bartels said.

Dr. Bartels said basic precautions for safe use of lasers in health care include posting signage and using a smoke evacuator and appropriate eyewear. The Z136.3 guidelines spell out precautions in great detail.

The AVMA Guidelines for Hazards in the Workplace state in part: “The use of lasers in Veterinary Medicine is becoming more common and it is paramount that the operator of the laser as well as the employer and all employees be thoroughly versed in the use and hazards of the use of the laser. …” The AVMA refers veterinarians to the Z136.3 guidelines.

The Z136.3 guidelines are available for purchase from the Laser Institute of America at www.lia.org/store. Members of the AVMA who reference “AVMA” with their orders will receive the LIA member price of $130. The regular price is $150.

World Veterinary Day to center on antimicrobial resistance

On April 28, World Veterinary Day 2012 will raise awareness of antimicrobial resistance.

The AVMA plans to promote the event via an advertisement—with the message “Antimicrobial resistance, it's everyone's responsibility”—as well as a press release on pet medications, a podcast, and other promotions.

The World Veterinary Association created World Veterinary Day in 2000 as an annual celebration of the veterinary profession, falling on the last Saturday of April. Each year, the WVA and World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) announce a theme for the event.

“Loss of efficacy in antimicrobial treatment through resistance development is an ever-present risk both towards animal as well as public health,” according to the WVA-OIE announcement of the theme for World Veterinary Day 2012.

According to the announcement, “delivery of antimicrobials and treatment of animals should be done directly through well-trained veterinarians.” The WVA and OIE advocate for better control of antimicrobials, surveillance for resistance, and risk assessment programs.

The WVA and OIE again are offering the $1,000 World Veterinary Day Award for the most successful celebration of the occasion by a national veterinary association working alone or in cooperation with other veterinary groups.

In 2011, Myanmar won the award for best promoting rabies awareness during World Veterinary Day. The country marked the occasion with free rabies vaccinations for animals and various educational efforts.

Information about World Veterinary Day and the World Veterinary Day Award is available at www.worldvet.org.

Explosion of hyperbaric chamber kills woman, horse

The explosion of a hyperbaric oxygen chamber Feb. 10 at Kesmarc Florida equine rehabilitation center near Ocala, Fla., killed a horse inside and the woman operating the unit.

The horse's steel shoes created sparks that caused the explosion, according to a report from the Marion County Sheriff's Office.

The incident report states that Erica Marshall, the woman who died while operating the unit, had received training from the chamber's manufacturer, Equine Hyperbarics. The company's names include Equine Oxygen Therapy and Veterinary Hyperbaric Oxygen.

According to the report, the horse that died was receiving treatment for equine protozoal myeloencephalitis. A woman observing the treatment said that because the chamber's interior had a protective covering, the horse's steel shoes were not covered. She said the horse began to kick, dislodging a lid at the rear of the unit, thereby exposing the metal of the chamber. He continued to kick, and his shoes created sparks on contact with the metal. The sparks caused the explosion.

Top 5 pet toxins

Prescription medications for human use top the list of pet toxins for the fourth year in a row, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center in Urbana, Ill., fielded more than 165,000 phone calls in 2011 regarding exposures of pets to potentially poisonous substances. The top five toxins that prompted calls were as follows:

1. Prescription human medications

The center received almost 25,000 calls regarding pets ingesting prescription medications intended for human use. A large percentage of the calls were about heart medications and medications for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

2. Insecticides

About 11 percent of calls concerned insecticides such as lawn products, home products, and flea and tick products.

3. Over-the-counter human medications

Almost 18,000 calls were about over-the-counter human-use medications such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen.

4. People foods

More than 7,600 calls concerned chocolate. Xylitol was the second most common human food that prompted calls.

5. Household items

The center received nearly 12,000 calls about general household items such as paint, fire logs, and drain openers.

The center's 24-hour hotline is (888) 426-4435.

Meat, dairy, egg production expected to rise through 2021

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The Department of Agriculture expects that exports will contribute to growth in U.S. meat production through 2021. The predictions are in the report “USDA Agricultural Projections to 2021.” (USDA Office of the Chief Economist)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 240, 7; 10.2460/javma.240.7.778

By Greg Cima

Domestic red meat and poultry production is expected to decline through 2013 but increase overall by 2021.

The Department of Agriculture published in February projections that indicate U.S. beef, pork, and poultry producers will increase exports and gradually increase production, even though U.S. citizens' mean yearly meat consumption is expected to remain lower than previous highs. The publication, “USDA Agricultural Projections to 2021,” is available at www.usda.gov/oce/commodity/ag_baseline.htm.

The recession, increased costs, and drought pushed livestock owners to reduce red meat and poultry production starting in 2012, the department reported.

“The projected rise in U.S. meat and poultry exports over the next decade reflects the resumption of global economic growth, a depreciation of the U.S. dollar, and continued foreign demand for selected cuts and parts from the large U.S. market,” the report states.

The U.S. beef cow inventory is expected to rise from about 30 million head in early 2012 to 34 million in 2021, when the overall cattle inventory is projected to increase from 91 million to 97 million. The hog inventory is expected to rise from about 66 million in 2012 to 73 million in 2021.

Turkey and chicken production are also expected to increase, the report states. Federally inspected slaughter of young chickens is projected to produce about 36 billion pounds of meat in 2012 and about 42 billion in 2021. Turkey production is expected to increase from 5.8 billion pounds of meat to 6.6 billion in the same period. Egg production also is expected to rise from about 7.6 billion dozen in 2012 to 8 billion in 2021.

U.S. dairies are also projected to produce more milk with fewer cows as technologic and genetic developments increase mean production per cow, the report states. The number of cows is projected to decline from 9.2 million to 8.9 million, and production per cow is projected to rise from 21,600 pounds annually to 25,400 annually.

Dr. M. Gatz Riddell, executive vice president of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners, also expects that a smaller number of dairy cows will produce as much milk as or more milk than the cows on dairies today.

“This has been pretty standard over the past 50 years as the national herd size has dropped as production per cow has increased,” Dr. Riddell said.

Dr. Riddell hopes the USDA is correctly predicting the increase in the beef cow inventory over the current low population. He said drought during the past year was particularly tough on some beef producers.

Demand for food animal practice veterinarians may decline as meat and dairy producers consolidate, but that will coincide with retirements among current veterinarians, Dr. Riddell said.

“I believe that there are some indicators that the current supply pipeline will be able to provide for retirement and cattle herd size changes,” he said. “This does not, however, completely address the shortage of rural mixed animal practitioners.”

Mean meat consumption among U.S. residents is expected to decline to 198 pounds annually in 2013, down from about 221 pounds annually in 2004–2007, the report states. Consumption is also projected to remain lower than the mean during the 1980s and 1990s, although it is expected to rise to 213 pounds annually by 2021. Per capita poultry consumption is projected to reach a record high of 106 pounds annually.

Kansas disease center's funding debated

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Concept image of the National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility in Manhattan, Kan. (Courtesy of Perkins+Will Inc.)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 240, 7; 10.2460/javma.240.7.778

By Greg Cima

Members of Kansas' congressional delegation say the nation needs the new animal disease center planned for their state.

Rep. Lynn Jenkins, whose district includes the planned site of the facility in Manhattan, Kan., provided a statement saying she was disappointed the president's proposed federal budget doesn't request any money for construction of the National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility. But she said the lack of funding in the president's budget proposal, although important, is a suggestion that will likely become “merely a footnote” in the facility's future.

“The NBAF is an essential part of the Animal Health Corridor, and there is no part of the country better suited to study the security of our food supply,” Jenkins said.

The Department of Homeland Security has planned to build the facility as a replacement for the nearly 60-year-old Plum Island Animal Disease Center in New York. A department schedule indicates the start of construction was planned for February 2012.

President Barack Obama's proposed fiscal year 2013 budget indicates Congress provided only $50 million of the $150 million the administration requested for construction of the facility during FY 2012, which ends Sept. 30. The 2013 proposal states that “is insufficient to begin construction on the project.” The recent proposal includes no appropriations request for the facility but notes the administration is asking for $10 million toward research at Kansas State University on African swine fever and classical swine fever. The research would complement work at Plum Island.

Jenkins said she is working with appropriations committee and subcommittee chairs to ensure progress on the project, and she's confident her colleagues in the House of Representatives will see that the facility is funded and built.

Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts announced Feb. 15 that the NBAF “would remain a critical funding priority.” He said in a hearing for the Senate Agriculture Committee that the federal government has spent more than $100 million toward building the facility, and the state of Kansas has agreed to pay more than $200 million of the facility costs, according to a recording provided by his office.

“In fact, the land where this facility is to be built at Kansas State University has already been cleared of all the buildings and structures,” he said.

Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran also indicated in mid-February that members of Kansas' congressional delegation were disappointed the president's proposal didn't include money for the NBAF even though $40 million in previously appropriated federal funds was available for utility work at the facility, which he sees as important to the nation's economic security.

The Department of Homeland Security estimated construction would cost between $525 million and $575 million, according to a 2009 solicitation for contractors at www.fbo.gov. The facility is expected to encompass about 500,000 square feet of space on at least 30 of the 48 acres available and would be similar in size to a 400-bed hospital or a 1,600-student high school, DHS documents state.

Homeland Security officials have also provided a map that indicates they expect the facility will be built near KSU's Pat Roberts Hall, which is home to the existing Biosecurity Research Institute, and Mosier Hall, which houses the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital and the Department of Clinical Sciences in the College of Veterinary Medicine.

Officials with Kansas State University indicated they were working with their congressional delegation, and the proposed budget is one part of the appropriations process.

“We believe Kansas State University will continue to play a vital role in protecting our nation's food supply,” the announcement states.

DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano told members of Congress in February that her department's Science and Technology Directorate planned to convene a task force this year to assess “whether and for what purpose” such a facility should be constructed. The assessment would include a review of costs, safety, and alternative plans that could reduce costs and ensure safety.

Napolitano's remarks were given to the House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, according to information provided by the DHS.

The administration's proposal documents indicate the $10 million requested for research at Kansas State would help the administration identify and prioritize future needs at the Biosecurity Research Institute and the NBAF. Those plans include public outreach “to ensure that all stakeholders surrounding the facility understand the value of the proposed work and the safeguards in place that ensure the work will be done safely.”

DHS information indicates the Plum Island facility has biosafety levels 2 and 3 laboratories and that the Kansas facility would include BSL-2, BSL-3, and BSL-4 laboratories.

Company recalls horse feed after report of deaths

Western Feed LLC issued a recall in early March of two lots of Kountry Buffet 14% feed for horses after receiving a report of horses that died after consuming the feed.

Initial testing by a private laboratory found a potentially harmful concentration of monensin sodium in two lots of the horse feed. Monensin sodium can be fatal to horses at high concentrations, although the Food and Drug Administration has approved it as a drug for some livestock and poultry species.

A small amount of monensin sodium can cause horses to go off their regular feed, have signs of colic, and appear unwell for a few days. A large amount can cause horses to experience more serious signs within a few hours—with signs including colic, stiffness, sweating, a lack of coordination, and an inability to stand.

Western Feed recalled lots M718430 and M720280 of Kountry Buffet 14% feed. The feed is in 50-pound bags with a Payback logo. The company distributed the feed in early December 2011 to retailers in Nebraska and Wyoming.

Consumers may contact Western Feed at (308) 247-2601.

Ohio lifts designation of pit bulls as vicious

Ohio, the only state that had statewide legislation specific to a particular breed of dog, has lifted the designation of pit bull-type dogs as vicious.

In late February, the governor of Ohio signed H.B. 14 to amend state law on dangerous or vicious dogs. The bill removed the provision that having a pit bull “shall be prima-facie evidence of the ownership, keeping, or harboring of a vicious dog.”

In Ohio, owners of dangerous or vicious dogs must comply with certain requirements. A new requirement is for owners to obtain registration certificates for dangerous or vicious dogs.

The Ohio VMA worked for many years to lift the state's designation of “pit bulls” as vicious, said Jack Advent, OVMA executive director.

“After a number of unsuccessful attempts, we are very pleased that H.B. 14 passed the Ohio General Assembly and was signed by the governor,” Advent said. “The legislation properly focuses enforcement, penalties, and identification on the actions of those dogs who exhibit inappropriate activity as well as holding the owners of those animals responsible.”

Barbara Sears, the representative in the Ohio House who introduced H.B. 14, said, “For too long, many dogs with good temperaments have been unfairly discriminated against, while many other truly vicious ones have been permitted to roam our streets. Breed-specific laws imply that pit bulls, by their very nature, are vicious and are the only types of dogs that can attack without provocation—but this is simply not the case.”

The AVMA State Legislative and Regulatory Affairs Department has identified court rulings in nine states upholding municipal ordinances to prohibit or impose additional requirements on ownership of pit bull-type dogs. Conversely, 12 states prohibit municipalities from adopting breed-specific ordinances.

“The AVMA supports dangerous animal legislation by state, county, or municipal governments provided that legislation does not refer to specific breeds or classes of animals,” according to the AVMA policy on “Dangerous Animal Legislation.”

Virus suspected in ruminant illnesses, deaths in Europe

By Greg Cima

A newly identified virus is thought to have caused illnesses, stillbirths, and congenital malformations among ruminants in at least five Western European countries.

The novel orthobunyavirus, which is currently identified as Schmallenberg virus, has been linked with disease in sheep, cattle, bison, and goats in Belgium, England, France, Germany, and the Netherlands. It is not likely zoonotic, and it is believed to be transmitted through mosquitoes, biting midges, or both, as well as passed to offspring in utero, according to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

Clinical signs in adult cattle have included fever, anorexia, reduced milk production, and diarrhea, and animals have typically recovered within a few days. The disease has also been connected with stillbirths and malformations among calves, lambs, and kids.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control reported that the virus was detected and isolated in November 2011 from cattle near Schmallenberg, a city in Germany. Detection followed an unusually high incidence of illnesses during the summer. Cattle herds in the Netherlands had similar signs of illness during August and September 2011, and PCR tests showed 18 of 50 serum samples from affected herds were positive for the orthobunyavirus.

Lambs in the Netherlands were also infected with the virus in utero, resulting in congenital malformations, according to the European disease prevention agency.

“Based on current evidence, it is not possible to confirm or exclude a causal relationship between detection of the new orthobunyavirus and the observed clinical symptoms in cattle and small livestock,” the ECDC reported in December 2011.

The ECDC predicted at the time that, because the virus was likely spread by midges, infections would decrease during winter and potentially increase during the next vector season.

An Emerging Infectious Diseases journal article (Emerg Infect Dis 2012;18:469–472) indicated humans' risk of harm from the orthobunyavirus was believed to be low or negligible, because the virus is closely related to Shamonda virus, which is not zoonotic, and no human illnesses have been linked with that virus. But risk assessments should be updated with clinical and serologic surveillance of humans and animals, according to the article.

The OIE similarly called for collaboration among public and animal health services to detect possible human infections, particularly among farmers and veterinarians.

A report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agricultural Service indicates Russia responded to the disease reports with bans on importation of German and Dutch sheep, goats, and related products. Mexico banned importation of reproductive tissues from sheep, goats, and cattle from the Netherlands.

USDA delays added E coli tests

The Department of Agriculture is delaying new tests in beef for six serogroups of Escherichia coli.

The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service announced in February that the agency would delay until June 4 routine sampling of beef trimmings and other ground beef components for the presence of shiga toxin–producing E coli O26, O45, O103, O121, and O145. Testing was previously scheduled to begin March 5.

The delay is intended to give industry time to validate their own test methods and detection abilities related to the pathogens, the FSIS announcement states. The agency had announced in September 2011 that, as with E coli O157:H7, bacteria from the six serogroups would be considered adulterants, and food containing the bacteria could not be sold for food (see JAVMA, Jan. 15, 2012, page 131).

Group offers certification for manufacturers of pet food

The American Feed Industry Association announced in late January that it has developed a voluntary third-party certification program for manufacturers of pet food and ingredients for pet food.

The AFIA designed the Pet Food Manufacturing Facility Certification Program and Pet Food Ingredient Facility Certification Program to meet or exceed requirements under the Food Safety Modernization Act.

In 2004, the AFIA began offering voluntary third-party certification for feed manufacturers through its Safe Feed/Safe Food program. The group added the International Safe Feed/Safe Food program in 2010 for companies that wish to meet European Union requirements.

Information about the certification programs is available at www.safefeedsafefood.org.

Community: Accolades

Rhode Island VMA

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Dr. Gary Block

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 240, 7; 10.2460/javma.240.7.778

Dr. Gary Block, co-owner of Ocean State Veterinary Specialists in East Greenwich, R.I., was selected as the Rhode Island VMA's 2011 Veterinarian of the Year at the association's annual meeting, Dec. 7 in Newport.

The RIVMA recognized Dr. Block for his numerous achievements in advancing companion animal medicine, promoting veterinary ethics, and contributing as a volunteer to many nonprofit organizations.

Dr. Block received his DVM degree in 1991 from the New York State College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University. He is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine in small animal internal medicine and has a master's in animals and public policy, focusing on the teaching of veterinary ethics.

Dr. Block has served on the board of directors of the Companion Animal Parasite Council since 2009. He is a past president of the RIVMA and the Society for Veterinary Medical Ethics.

Texas VMA

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Dr. Orlando Garza Jr.

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 240, 7; 10.2460/javma.240.7.778

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Dr. P. Jed Ford (Photos courtesy of Brian O'Neill)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 240, 7; 10.2460/javma.240.7.778

Event: Annual meeting, Feb. 3–5, College Station

Awards: Distinguished Career Achievement Award: Dr. Thomas Hairgrove, Bryan. A 1974 graduate of Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Dr. Hairgrove has owned a rural mixed animal practice in northwest Texas for more than 30 years, focusing on bovine medicine and surgery. Since 2008, he has also served as program coordinator for livestock and food animal systems with Texas AgriLife Extension/Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory in College Station. Dr. Hairgrove is a diplomate of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners, certified in both beef cattle practice and food animal practice, and is the American Association of Bovine Practitioners' designated member of the National Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners. Companion Animal Practitioner of the Year: Dr. Wendy Blount, Nacogdoches. A 1992 graduate of Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Dr. Blount serves as medical director of the Nacogdoches Animal Shelter. She also volunteers her time to other practitioners and serves as a mentor to veterinary students and high school and college students interested in veterinary medicine. Dr. Blount moderates and participates on the VetWitness4Him and TexasVet listserves. Equine Practitioner of the Year: Dr. Benjamin Buchanan, Navasota. A 2001 graduate of Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Dr. Buchanan practices at Brazos Valley Equine Hospital. He chairs the TVMA Equine Practice Committee and is a founding board member of the Texas Equine Veterinary Association, also serving as editor of the TEVA's quarterly publication. Dr. Buchanan is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine and American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care and serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care. General Practitioner of the Year: Dr. Darrell W. Kinnard, Mabank. A 1974 graduate of Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Dr. Kinnard practices mixed animal medicine at Mabank Animal Hospital Inc. He is past chair of the TVMA Brucellosis Control, Farm and Ranch, and Bovine Practice committees. Medical Specialty Practitioner of the Year: Dr. Elaine R. Caplan, Austin. A 1981 graduate of Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Dr. Caplan owns Capital Area Veterinary Specialists and Texas Veterinary Oncology. She is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons and American Board of Veterinary Practitioners. Dr. Caplan is also certified in veterinary acupuncture and chiropractic. Non-Traditional Species Practitioner of the Year: Dr. Joe Ables, Decatur. A 2002 graduate of Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Dr. Ables practices at Wise County Animal Clinic, with a special interest in cervid medicine and surgery. He is active in the Texas Deer and National Deer Farmers associations and teaches a third-year course on cervid medicine at the Texas A&M veterinary college. In 2011, Dr. Ables developed a treatment for epizootic hemorrhagic disease in deer. Clinical Referral and Consultation Award: Dr. James H. Wright, Tyler. A 1968 graduate of Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Dr. Wright retired in 2011 as a veterinarian with the Texas Department of State Health Services' Zoonoses Control Program. Earlier in his career, he served in the Air Force for 22 years, retiring as a colonel, and worked for the TDSHS as a meat safety assurance veterinarian. Dr. Wright is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine. Industry Representative of the Year: Kevin Walter, Infintech, Austin. Walter has helped generate non-dues revenue for the TVMA, contributed articles to the Texas Veterinarian about the business side of the profession, and been involved with the Texas VMA Industry Advisory Committee and TVMA Auxiliary. Heritage Practice Award, given to veterinary clinics that have been in continuous operation for 50 years or more: Ridglea Animal Hospital, Fort Worth; Holt Veterinary Clinic, Dallas; Sweetwater Veterinary Hospital, Sweetwater; and Animal Hospital of Denison, Denison

Officials: Drs. Orlando Garza Jr., El Paso, president; P. Jed Ford, North Richland Hills, president-elect; Michael Joyner, Killeen, treasurer; and John M. Morton, Athens, immediate past president

Community: Joint pathology meeting

Event: American College of Veterinary Pathologists, American Society for Veterinary Clinical Pathology, joint annual meetings, Dec. 3–7, 2011, Nashville, Tenn.

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

American College of Veterinary Pathologists

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Dr. Claire Andreasen

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 240, 7; 10.2460/javma.240.7.778

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Dr. V.E. “Ted” Valli

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 240, 7; 10.2460/javma.240.7.778

Awards: Young Investigator Award, category of diagnostic pathology, First place: Laura Lane, Oklahoma State University, for “Initial diagnosis of protothecosis in a dog via cerebrospinal fluid cytology”; Second place: Joy Gary, Michigan State University, for “An outbreak of a low-virulence calicivirus in a rabbit colony”; Third place: Julia Lankton, University of Tennessee, for “Preputial Demodex sp. in four big brown bats (Eptesicus fuscus).” Category of natural disease, First place: Melissa Meachem, Western College of Veterinary Medicine, for “Putative biomarkers of feline pancreatic neoplasia”; Second place: Kelly Santangello, The Ohio State University, for “In vivo reduction or blockade of interleukin-1beta in primary osteoarthritis influences expression of mediators implicated in pathogenesis”; Third place: Nicole Jackson, Texas A&M University, for “Tubuloreticular inclusions in human, canine, and feline renal diseases.” Category of experimental disease, First place: Arnaud Van Wettere, North Carolina State University, for “Activation of the TGF-beta pathway in a DMN-induced fish model of hepatic fibrosis”; Second place: K. Yasuna, Azuba University, Japan, for “Effects of rennin-angiotensin system on podocyte injury in Osborne-Mendel rats”; Third place: Victoria Castillo, University of California-Davis, for “Investigative studies on the effects of an antisense oligonucleotide on kidney glomeruli in mice.” Student Poster Award, experimental disease: A.J. Otamendi, Louisiana State University, for “Moderate intensity exercise training attenuates angiotesin II induced hypertension by modulating MAPK-IkB-NFkB pathway”; Natural disease: J.M. Jankovsky, University of Tennessee, for “Cox-2 and C-kit expression in canine gliomas.” Society of Toxicologic Pathology Student Speaker Award: Bonnie Brenseke, Virginia Tech, for “Long-term effects of intravascular exposure to gold nanoparticles in mice.” Charles Capen Student Travel Award in Experimental Pathology: Famke Aeffner, The Ohio State University, for “Aerosolized nucleotide synthesis inhibitor therapy for influenza A (H1N1) infection in mice.” ACVP/American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians Diagnostic Travel Award: Amanda J. Crews, University of Tennessee, for “Naked mole-rat skin and soft tissue metastatic mineralization.” Intersociety Council for Pathology Information Trainee Travel Award: Sarah Beck, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and Famke Aeffner, The Ohio State University. Harold W. Casey Memorial Scholarship: Dr. Kelly Santangelo, The Ohio State University. The William Inskeep II Memorial Scholarship: Angela Gwynn, Colorado State University. Distinguished members: The ACVP elected Drs. Carl Alden, Lawrenceburg, Ind., M. Donald McGavin, Knoxville, Tenn., and Linda Munson (posthumously), as distinguished members. Honorary members: The ACVP elected Drs. Wolfgang Baumgartner, Hannover, Germany, and Gary Williams, Valhalla, N.Y., as honorary members.

New diplomates: The ACVP recognized 104 new diplomates on successful completion of the certifying examination in Ames, Iowa, Sept. 20–22, 2011. They are as follows:

Veterinary anatomic pathology

Hibret A. Adissu, Guelph, Ontario

Theresa Alenghat, Philadelphia

Brittany S. Baughman, Brandon, Miss.

Jeremy J. Bearss, Silver Spring, Md.

Amanda P. Beck, Manhattan, Kan.

Cynthia M. Bell, Madison, Wis.

Monali M. Bera, Boston

Pamela E. Blackshear, Durham, N.C.

Chantelle C. Bozynski, Columbia, Mo.

Jason W. Brooks, Rebersburg, Pa.

Vinicius S. Carreira, Lawton, Mich.

Vincent W. Carroll, Orefield, Pa.

Francisco R. Carvallo, Willimantic, Conn.

Kimberly Cavender, Nibley, Utah

Kenneth J. Conley, New York

Francois Courtin, Mansfield, Conn.

Sarah D. Cramer, Jefferson, Md.

Genevieve H. D'Amours, Hamilton, New Zealand

Michael J. Dark, Gainesville, Fla.

Elaine Debien, Sherbrooke, Quebec

Danielle R. Desjardins, Lansing, Mich.

Anh N. Diep, Palo Alto, Calif.

Keren Dittmer, Palmerston

North, New Zealand

Shannon L. Donahoe,

Bainbridge Island, Wash.

Rebecca M. Ducore, Silver Spring, Md.

Abigail C. Durkes, West Lafayette, Ind.

Jaclyn A. Dykstra, Roseville, Minn.

Chad B. Frank, Lafayette, Ind.

Karelma Frontera-Acevedo, Athens, Ga.

Katherine L. Gailbreath, Boise, Idaho

Chanran K. Ganta, Manhattan, Kan.

David J. Gasper, Madison, Wis.

Barbara Gericota, Davis, Calif. Sanjeev Gumber, Baton Rouge, La.

Charles H.C. Halsey, Fort Collins, Colo.

Wael M. Hananeh, Irbid, Jordan

Jennifer H. Hanks, Fulton, Mo.

Seth P. Harris, Lincoln, Neb.

Ian K. Hawkins, Kirksville, Mo.

Kristi Helke, Charleston, S.C.

Samuel H. Jennings, Raleigh, N.C.

Ryan N. Jennings, West Lafayette, Ind.

Yoko Kashida, Worthington, Ohio

Rie Kikkawa, Everett, Wash.

Susan Knowles, Athens, Ga.

Shannon H. Lacy, Silver Spring, Md.

Carolyn H. Legge, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island

Aaron D. Lehmkuhl, Ames, Iowa

Michelle L. Lepherd, Ithaca, N.Y.

Debabrata Mahapatra, Orlando, Fla.

Raffaele Melidone, Millbury, Mass.

Linda F. Meola, Little Rock, Ark.

Kristy A. Mietelka, Canton, Mich.

Sasmita Mishra, Athens, Ga.

Tamas Nagy, Athens, Ga.

Danielle D. Nelson, Albion, Wash.

Janelle M. Novak, Knoxville, Tenn.

Gopinath Palanisamy, New York

Susan A. Piripi, Corvallis, Ore.

Brendan K. Podell, Fort Collins, Colo.

Deepa B. Rao, Morrisville, N.C.

Janildo L. Reis, Asa Norte, Brazil

Genevieve Remmers, St. Paul, Minn.

Daniel R. Rissi, Athens, Ga.

Nicholas A. Robinson, Roseville, Minn.

Ahmad A. Saied, Baton Rouge, La.

Soraya T. Sayi, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island

Leah K. Schutt, South San Francisco

Fabienne H. Serra, Glasgow, United Kingdom

Farshid Shahriar, Irvine, Calif.

Alba M. Shank, Oregon, Wis.

Artem Shkumatov, Champaign, Ill.

Adam W. Stern, Mahomet, Ill.

Leonardo Susta, Athens, Ga.

Rommel M.T. Tan, Urbana, Ill.

Debra Tokarz, Raleigh, N.C.

Jose G. Vilches-Moure, Sacramento, Calif.

Andrew R. Vince, Guelph, Ontario

Srikanth Yellayi, Harrisburg, Pa.

Veterinary clinical pathology

Erica L. Behling-Kelly, Madison, Wis.

Elizabeth G. Besteman, Groton, Conn.

Katie Boes, West Lafayette, Ind.

Liesl C. Breickner, Knoxville, Tenn.

Jennifer S. Brown, Cordova, Tenn.

Michelle C. Cora, Raleigh, N.C.

Laura C. Cregar, Columbia, Mo.

Kathi A. Ellis, White Rock, British Columbia

Emily C. Graff, Auburn, Ala.

Aradhana Gupta, Baton Rouge, La.

Amir Kol, Davis, Calif.

Laura V. Lane, Stillwater, Okla.

Cinzia Mastrorilli, Auburn, Ala.

Jennifer K. McCleese, Columbus, Ohio

Don J. Petersen, Manhattan, Kan.

Nicolas Pouletty, Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec

Johanna D. Rigas, Corvallis, Ore.

Davis M. Seelig, Fort Collins, Colo.

Cleverson Souza, Meireles, Brazil

Dilini Thilakaratne, Torquay, United Kingdom

Elaine J. Tobias, Santa Barbara, Calif.

Michael Wiseman, Huntington Beach, Calif.

Valerie M. Wong, Guelph, Ontario

Audrey Baldessari, Redmond, Wash., and Mika Tanabe, Irvine, Calif., received dual certification in veterinary anatomic and clinical pathology.

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

American Society for Veterinary Clinical Pathology

Awards: Lifetime Achievement Award: Dr. V.E. “Ted” Valli, Davis, Calif. A 1962 graduate of the University of Guelph Ontario Veterinary College and a dual-certified diplomate of the ACVP, Dr. Valli has worked for Veterinary Pathology Services since 2008. Prior to that, he served as dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Early in his career, Dr. Valli owned Bow Valley Veterinary Clinic in Brooks, Alberta, and served as a professor of pathology, head of the pathology department, and associate dean of research at Ontario Veterinary College. ASVCP Education Award: Dr. Jennifer Thomas, East Lansing, Mich., was the third recipient of this award, in recognition of her dedication to the education of veterinary students and residents in clinical pathology. A 1981 graduate of Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine and a diplomate of the ACVP, Dr. Thomas is an associate professor at Michigan State. Research Grant Award ($2,500): Dr. Kelly Santangelo, The Ohio State University for “Validation of formulae to correct for serum sodium values measured by indirect potentiometry.” Travel grants in the amount of $500 were presented to the following trainees: Drs. Paola Cazzini, University of Georgia; Jamie Haddad, North Carolina State University; Jelena Palic, Iowa State University; Taryn Sibley, North Carolina State University; and Valerie M. Wong, University of Guelph.

Officials: Drs. Leslie Sharkey, Minneapolis, president; Marlyn Whitney, Columbia, Mo., president-elect; Robin Allison, Stillwater, Okla., secretary; Dori Borjesson, Davis, Calif., treasurer; and Kirstin Barnhart, Bastrop, Texas, immediate past president

Community: American College of Veterinary Radiology

Event: Annual meeting, Oct. 11–14, Albuquerque, N.M.

Awards: Bernstein Award: Dr. Donald E. Thrall, Raleigh, N.C., won this award, given for outstanding contributions to the ACVR. A 1969 graduate of Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Thrall is a professor at North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine. He has served as editor-in-chief of the journal Veterinary Radiology & Ultrasound for 30 years. Dr. Thrall was honored for his service to the college in this role. Outstanding Resident-Authored Paper Award: Dr. Jantra Suran, Philadelphia. A 2006 graduate of Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Suran serves on the veterinary faculty of the University of Pennsylvania. He was honored for “Contrast enhancement of extradural compressive material on magnetic resonance imaging.”

New diplomates: Twenty-two new diplomates were welcomed into the ACVR. They are as follows:

Radiology

Hadley Bagshaw, Royersford, Pa.

Eric N. Carmel, Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec

Christina Copple, Raleigh, N.C.

Abigail Dimock, Woodland, Calif.

Michelle Ellison, Madison, Wis.

Julie Gadbois, Lachine, Quebec

Abbi Granger, Baton Rouge, La.

Deborah L'Heureux, Wallkill, N.Y.

Susannah M. Lillis, Neston, United Kingdom

Dawn Macready, Seattle

Dana Neelis, Blacksburg, Va.

Sarah Nemanic, Corvallis, Ore.

Esteban Pokorny, Seattle

Holly Polf, Stillwater, Okla.

Tawni Silver, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Jantra N. Suran, Philadelphia

Corey R. Wall, College Station, Texas

Radiation oncology

Mary-Keara Boss, Morrisville, N.C.

James T. Custis III, Fort Collins, Colo.

Michele A. Keyerleber, North Grafton, Mass.

Nathan D. Lee, Knoxville, Tenn.

Isabelle F. Vanhaezebrouck, Davis, Calif.

Officials: Drs. Kari Anderson, St. Paul, Minn., president; Clifford Berry, Gainesville, Fla., president-elect; Thomas Nyland, Davis, Calif., secretary; Robert McLear, Swarthmore, Pa., treasurer; and Valerie Samii, Daly City, Calif., immediate past president

Obituaries: AVMA member AVMA honor roll member Nonmember

Jerome Banicki

Dr. Banicki (IL ′53), 91, Tempe, Ariz., died Jan. 29, 2012. Following graduation, he established Eldorado Animal Hospital in Decatur, Ill., where he practiced small animal medicine for 45 years prior to retirement. During that time, Dr. Banicki also served as the veterinarian on call for the Scovill Zoo in Decatur. He was an Army Air Corps veteran of World War II, receiving two Purple Hearts. Dr. Banicki is survived by two daughters and two sons.

Clem V. Cottom Jr.

Dr. Cottom (OKL ′58), 78, Bixby, Okla., died Nov. 4, 2011. A mixed animal practitioner, he established Cottom Veterinary Clinic in Bixby in 1962. Dr. Cottom was a lifetime member of the Oklahoma State University Alumni Association and a member of the Oklahoma and Northeast Oklahoma VMAs. Active in civic life, he was a charter member of the Bixby Lions Club and was active with the 4-H Club, National FFA Organization, Girl Scouts, and Boy Scouts, receiving several honors and awards for his service. Dr. Cottom's two daughters and two sons survive him.

Joyce E. DeWeese

Dr. DeWeese (MO ′55), 85, Marceline, Mo., died Dec. 30, 2011. During his career, he was a meat inspector with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and served as an assistant state veterinarian. Dr. DeWeese was an Army veteran of World War II and a member of the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars. He is survived by a son and two daughters. Memorials toward the Shriners Hospitals for Children or Marceline United Methodist Church may be made c/o Delaney Funeral Home, 1720 N. Missouri Ave., Marceline, MO 64658.

Charles E. Deyhle Sr.

Dr. Deyhle (TEX ′51), 87, Clarendon, Texas, died Dec. 29, 2011. He practiced mixed animal medicine and served as a feed yard consultant in Clarendon. Dr. Deyhle was a past vice president of the Texas VMA, a charter member of the Texas Cattle Feeders Association, and a member of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners.

In 1990, he received the AABP Award for Excellence in Veterinary Preventive Medicine in beef cattle. Dr. Deyhle was also the recipient of the TVMA Food Animal Practitioner of the Year Award in 1998.

Active in civic life, he served on the Clarendon College Board of Regents and Greenbelt Water Authority Board. Dr. Deyhle was a Navy veteran of World War II. His wife, Frances; a son; and three daughters survive him. Dr. Deyhle's son, Dr. Charles E. Deyhle (TEX ′77), is a mixed animal practitioner in Canyon, Texas. Memorials may be made to First United Methodist Church Building and Grounds Fund, P.O. Box 157, Clarendon, TX 79226; or Clarendon College Charles E. Deyhle Sr. Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 968, Clarendon, TX 79226.

Richard P. Draudt

Dr. Draudt (COR ′53), 83, Ocala, Fla., died Jan. 1, 2012. Following graduation, he owned a practice in Randolph, N.Y., and established Angus Hill Farm. In 2002, Dr. Draudt moved to Ocala, where he worked part time on a Thoroughbred breeding farm. He was a member of the American Angus Association and American Embryo Transfer Association. Dr. Draudt's daughter and two stepsons survive him.

Frederick E. Ducey Jr.

Dr. Ducey (GA ′50), 86, Ridgeland, S.C., died Nov. 17, 2011. He practiced mixed animal medicine in Ridgeland for 61 years. Dr. Ducey was a past mayor of Ridgeland and a past president of the Ridgeland Jaycees. He received several honors, including an Award of Excellence from the Jasper County Rotary Club and a resolution from the South Carolina House of Representatives. Dr. Ducey also received an award from the Jasper Animal Rescue Mission and was the recipient of the Sergeant Jasper Award from the Jasper County Chamber of Commerce.

Dr. Ducey was an Army Air Corps veteran of World War II. His wife, Margaret; three sons; and a daughter survive him. Dr. Ducey's brother, Dr. James E. Ducey Sr. (GA ′58), is a small animal veterinarian practicing in Savannah, Ga.

F. Eugene Eads

Dr. Eads (MSU ′41), 93, Scottsdale, Ariz., died Feb. 6, 2012. From 1951 until retirement in 1980, he served as head of the veterinary department at Parke-Davis in Detroit. Earlier in his career, Dr. Eads worked briefly for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the state of Illinois, and was part of the teaching and clinical staff at Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine. He was a member of the American Animal Hospital Association and Medical Advisory Council of the Detroit Zoological Park.

Dr. Eads was also a member of the Advisory Council of Michigan State Basic College, American Agricultural Council, and Greater Detroit Board of Commerce. He is survived by two daughters and a son. Dr. Eads' cousin, Dr. Alan D. Eads (COL ′61), practices at Kaibab Animal Hospital in Scottsdale. Memorials may be made to Hospice of the Valley, 1510 E. Flower St., Phoenix, AZ 85014.

Raymond L. Hanson

Dr. Hanson (MIN ′52), 95, Lindstrom, Minn., died Aug. 26, 2011. He practiced in Lindstrom for more than 30 years. Dr. Hanson is survived by his daughter and son.

John B. Jeffers

Dr. Jeffers (COR ′57), 79, Mount Laurel, N.J., died Oct. 11, 2011. Continuing his education after graduating from veterinary college, Dr. Jeffers earned an MD degree and specialized in ophthalmology. He went on to serve as director of resident education and as head of Wills Eye Emergency Room until his retirement in 2004. A diplomate of the American Board of Ophthalmology, Dr. Jeffers was known for his expertise in the field of ocular sports-related injuries and traumatic hyphema. His wife, Nancy; a daughter; and two sons survive him. Memorials may be made to AtlantiCare Hospice, P.O. Box 1626, Pleasantville, NJ 08232.

James A. Kennedy

Dr. Kennedy (MO ′79), 64, Rocky Ford, Colo., died Dec. 31, 2011. He was director of the Colorado State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Rocky Ford since 2002. Dr. Kennedy also served as a liaison between the Colorado Department of Agriculture and the CSU VDL and was the state coordinator of the Colorado Voluntary Bovine Viral Diarrhea Control Program. Following graduation, he worked as an associate veterinarian at Meriweather Veterinary Supply in Miller, S.D. From 1980–1984, Dr. Kennedy owned Ellis Veterinary Clinic, a mixed animal practice in Ellis, Kan. He then served as veterinarian in charge of food safety at Monfort in Garden City, Kan. In 1985, Dr. Kennedy became owner of Western Veterinary Services Inc. in Syracuse, Kan. For the next 10 years, he worked mainly with beef cattle in cow-calf, stocker, and feedlot operations. In 1996, Dr. Kennedy began his academic career in the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture at the University of Nebraska-Curtis, serving as an associate professor and instructional coordinator. He remained there until he was named director of the CSU VDL in 2002.

A member of the Colorado VMA, Dr. Kennedy was named Veterinarian of the Year in 2007. In civic life, he was a past president of the Syracuse School Board and Curtis Airport Board. Dr. Kennedy was a veteran of the Air Force, attaining the rank of captain. His wife, Barbara; a son; and two daughters survive him. Memorials toward the First Baptist Church of Rocky Ford, CSU College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, or Colorado Cattlemen's Association may be made c/o Fellers Funeral Home and Monuments, P.O. Box 1253, 401 N. Sumner St., Syracuse, KS 67878.

William E. Ketter

Dr. Ketter (KSU ′58), 77, Hanover, Pa., died Dec. 24, 2011. Prior to retirement, he worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture for 42 years. Dr. Ketter was an Army veteran, attaining the rank of captain. He is survived by his wife, Nadine; a son; and three daughters. Memorials may be made to the Seminarian Fund, Peter Paul Maher Council-Knights of Columbus #6793, c/o Grand Knight, P.O. Box 570, Olney, MD 20832.

Robert A. Kirby

Dr. Kirby (AUB ′46), 87, Eufaula, Ala., died Jan. 10, 2012. From 1980 until retirement in 1997, he practiced small animal medicine in Eufaula. Earlier in his career, Dr. Kirby practiced mixed animal medicine in Alabama at Birmingham and Moody. He also raised cattle. Dr. Kirby served as a meat inspector with the rank of captain in the Army Veterinary Corps from 1953–1954. He is survived by his wife, Marion; a son; and three stepchildren.

John H. Miller

Dr. Miller (WSU ′44), 89, Balboa Island, Calif., died Jan. 27, 2012. A small animal veterinarian, he owned Covina Animal Hospital in Covina, Calif., a practice founded by his father, Dr. Gerial N. Miller. Dr. Miller was a veteran of the Army Veterinary Corps. His wife, Victoria, and three daughters survive him. Memorials may be made to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 4002018, Des Moines, IA 50340.

LeRoy E. Nelson

Dr. Nelson (ISU ′49), 85, Bricelyn, Minn., died Dec. 8, 2011. Prior to retirement, he was a poultry and meat inspector and supervisor with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Albert Lea, Minn. Earlier in his career, Dr. Nelson owned a large animal practice in Bricelyn for 22 years. He was a past president of the Southern Minnesota Veterinary Society and the Minnesota chapter of the National Association of Federal Veterinarians. Active in civic life, Dr. Nelson was a member of the Bricelyn School Board and the Bricelyn Voluntary Fire Department. He is survived by his wife, Jeanne; two daughters; and a son.

Kenneth H. Niemeyer

Dr. Niemeyer (MO ′55), 83, Columbia, Mo., died Dec. 28, 2011. He was professor emeritus and past associate dean of academic affairs at the University of Missouri-Columbia College of Veterinary Medicine. Following graduation, Dr. Niemeyer briefly practiced small animal medicine in St. Louis before joining the teaching faculty at MU. In 1963, he was appointed associate professor, later serving as director of the Small Animal Clinic. Dr. Niemeyer was named assistant dean for student and alumni affairs in 1976. In this position, he developed an alumni relations program and initiated alumni publications and a college development fund. Dr. Niemeyer served as the interim chairman of veterinary medicine and surgery in 1981 and 1982. He was named associate dean of academic affairs in 1985.

In retirement, Dr. Niemeyer remained active with the MU College of Veterinary Medicine. He oversaw the college's 50th anniversary celebration and established the Visiting Lecture Fund. Dr. Niemeyer was a past president of the Missouri VMA and a member of the American Animal Hospital Association and American Association of Veterinary Clinicians. He also served on the Advisory Board to Animal Control for the city of Columbia.

Dr. Niemeyer received several honors, including the CVM Alumnus of the Year Award in 1986 and the Missouri VMA Veterinarian of the Year Award in 1993. He was a veteran of the Navy. Dr. Niemeyer is survived by his wife, Margaret, and a son. Memorials toward the Niemeyer Lecture Fund or the Kenneth H. Niemeyer Scholarship Fund may be made to the College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Missouri, 1600 E. Rollins, Columbia, MO 65211.

Debra S. Riding In

Dr. Riding In (OKL ′94), 42, Portland, Ore., died Oct. 1, 2011. A small animal veterinarian, she practiced in Portland and other areas of Multnomah County. Dr. Riding In was a member of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz and the Pawnee Nation. She is survived by her husband, Andres; a stepdaughter; and two stepsons.

Charles W. Riley

Dr. Riley (KSU ′44), 93, Fort Worth, Texas, died Nov. 20, 2011. He practiced in Minnesota and Texas for more than 60 years, focusing on small animal medicine and surgery.

In Texas, Dr. Riley practiced initially at Ridgmar West Animal Hospital in Fort Worth. He eventually bought the Animal Hospital and Clinic of Arlington in Arlington, Texas, and practiced there with his son, Dr. Doug H. Riley (TEX ′77). Dr. Riley also served as the primary commission veterinarian at Greyhound Park in Harlingen, Texas, and co-founded what is now known as the Fort Worth/Tarrant County Animal Foundation. He helped in funding companion animal medical research and assisted in finding resources for veterinary students at Texas A&M University.

Dr. Riley was a past president of the Tarrant County VMA and a past chair of the Texas A&M Veterinary Development Council. He was trustee emeritus of the Morris Animal Foundation since 1986 and was the second inductee into the Mark L. Morris Hall of Fame. Dr. Riley was also a past director of the Texas VMA and Texas Veterinary Fund. He received several honors, including the first Texas A&M University Mark Francis Development Award in 1983 and the Friends of A&M College Award in 1991.

Dr. Riley is survived by his wife, Betty, and his son. Memorials may be made to the Fort Worth/Tarrant County Animal Foundation, P.O. Box 163574, Fort Worth, TX 76161.

Philip J. Snoy

Dr. Snoy (IL ′75), 59, Barnesville, Md., died Aug 15, 2011. A diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists, he directed the Division of Veterinary Services in the Food and Drug Administration's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research since 1995. During his 32-year career with the FDA, Dr. Snoy contributed to the research mission of the CBER and collaborated with scientists in the FDA and at the National Institutes of Health. He was involved with performance and assessment of neurovirulence tests for measles, mumps, and poliovirus vaccines, and efficacy and safety evaluation of vaccines for viral hepatitis, diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis. Dr. Snoy also collaborated on research on HIV, SIV, anthrax, and shigellosis studies, using animal models. He is survived by his wife, Dr. Frances S. Dougherty (GA ′77), who owns an equine riding business, and a daughter. Memorials may be made to Parent Encouragement Program, 10100 Connecticut Ave., Kensington, MD 20895; Coronado Performing Arts Center, 314 N. Main St., Rockford, IL 61101; or Newark Boys Chorus School, 1016 Broad St., Newark, NJ 07102.

John M. Springs Jr.

Dr. Springs (GA ′58), 77, Santee, S.C., died Nov. 18, 2011. A diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, he served in the Air Force for 28 years, retiring as a colonel in 1986. Dr. Springs earned a master's in public health from the University of Michigan in 1967. During his career with the Air Force, he served as command veterinarian at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois, and as deputy chief and program consultant for the Biomedical Sciences Corps.

From 1980–1986, Dr. Springs was the professional affairs liaison officer for the Headquarters Air Force Office of Medical Support at Brooks Air Force Base in Texas. He coordinated and implemented the plan to transfer Air Force veterinary activities to the Department of the Army as directed by Congress and developed an environmental health program to provide for public health preventive measures at Air Force installations within the United States and overseas.

Dr. Springs received a Legion of Merit for his service. He was a member of the South Carolina Association of Veterinarians and a life member of the American Public Health Association. In 1991, Dr. Springs was awarded life membership in the Conference of Public Health Veterinarians for his service. His wife, Connie; a daughter; and a son survive him. Dr. Springs' daughter, Dr. Carol S. King (GA ′92), is a small animal veterinarian in Campobello, S.C.

Emilie S. Thompson

Dr. Thompson (KSU ′99), 37, Rogers, Ark., died Nov. 15, 2011. A small animal practitioner, she had worked in Lawrence, Kan., and St. Louis Park, Minn., before working part time from home. Dr. Thompson is survived by her husband, Jason Bohannon, and three children. Memorials may be made to St. Vincent DePaul Society, 1416 West Poplar, Rogers, AR 72758.

Herbert L. Tscheiller

Dr. Tscheiller (MSU ′68), 75, Andersonville, Tenn., died Jan. 20 2012. A mixed animal veterinarian, he founded Agri-Pet Veterinary Service in Hamilton, Ohio, and practiced there until retirement in 1995. Early in his career, Dr. Tscheiller worked briefly in Wisconsin. He was a veteran of the Air National Guard. Dr. Tscheiller's wife, Minnie, and two stepsons survive him. Memorials may be made to the Dr. Herbert Tscheiller Student Scholarship Fund, College of Veterinary Medicine, F130 Veterinary Medical Center, East Lansing, MI 48824.

John F. Van Vleet

Dr. Van Vleet (COR ′62), 73, West Lafayette, Ind., died Jan. 5, 2012. Retired since 2010, he was professor emeritus and past associate dean for academic affairs at the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Van Vleet joined the faculty at Purdue in 1967 after earning a master's and a doctorate in veterinary pathology from the University of Illinois in 1965 and 1967, respectively. During his career, he also served as a visiting professor at St. George's University in Grenada.

Dr. Van Vleet was a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists and a member of the International Academy of Pathology. He received several honors, including a Carl J. Norden-Pfizer Distinguished Teaching Award in 1980 and inclusion in the Book of Great Teachers at Purdue University in 2008. Also in 2008, Dr. Van Vleet received a Dr. Erwin Small Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine.

Civically, he was a member of the Kiwanis Club. His wife, Nancy, and two daughters survive him. Memorials may be made to the Van Vleet Auction Scholarship, Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine, 625 Harrison St., West Lafayette, IN 47907.

Tom B. Watson

Dr. Watson (KSU ′49), 90, Lavaca, Ark., died Nov. 14, 2011. During his career, he owned several farming operations and worked as a veterinary inspector for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Dr. Watson served as a bombardier/navigator during World War II, stationed at Metfield Air Base in England. His wife, Thelma, and three daughters survive him.

Merle S. Watts

Dr. Watts (KSU ′53), 85, Tucson, Ariz., died Dec. 27, 2011. He owned Fillmore Veterinary Hospital, a small animal practice in Colorado Springs, Colo., from 1955 until retirement in 1990. Dr. Watts also helped establish the local humane society. Earlier in his career, he practiced in Tulsa, Okla. Dr. Watts was a member of the Colorado VMA. Active in civic life, he was a member of the Rotary Club and Boy Scouts. Dr. Watts served in the Marines Corps from 1945–1947. His wife, Louie; two sons; and two daughters survive him. Memorials may be made to Christian Veterinary Mission, 19303 Fremont Ave. N., Seattle, WA 98133.

Ronald T. Williams

Dr. Williams (MSU ′45), 90, Montecito, Calif., died Dec. 26, 2011. A mixed animal practitioner, he owned a practice in Klamath Falls, Ore., prior to retirement in 1984. Before that, Dr. Williams raised cattle and practiced on his ranch near Bonanza, Ore. Early in his career, he practiced at Hi-Way Pet Hospital in Montecito. Dr. Williams trained and ran Labrador Retrievers in field trials. His wife, Lola Jean; a son; a daughter; a stepson; and a stepdaughter survive him. Memorials in his name may be made to Klamath Humane Society, P.O. Box 482, Klamath Falls, OR 97601.

  • A female Burmese python on her nest with eggs (Photo by Jemeema Carrigan/University of Florida)

  • Wild hogs damage Florida's sensitive wetlands with their rooting and are a source of parasites and zoonoses. (Courtesy of Don Fox, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission)

  • This Burmese python weighed 162 pounds and measured more than 15 feet long at the time of its capture in 2009. The giant constrictor was caught alive in the Everglades and had just eaten an American alligator that measured approximately 6 feet in length. (Photo by Mike Rochford/University of Florida)

  • Species served by veterinary clinics registered with MyVeterinarian.com

  • The AVMA ran advertisements to promote MyVeterinarian.com on buses in Chicago and seven other cities during December 2011. (Courtesy of Titan)

  • A veterinarian and a veterinary student at Oklahoma State University demonstrate safe use of a laser for surgery. Safety precautions include use of a smoke evacuator, eyewear specific for the laser wavelength, and laser-safe surgical masks. (Courtesy of Dr. Kenneth E. Bartels)

  • The Department of Agriculture expects that exports will contribute to growth in U.S. meat production through 2021. The predictions are in the report “USDA Agricultural Projections to 2021.” (USDA Office of the Chief Economist)

  • Concept image of the National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility in Manhattan, Kan. (Courtesy of Perkins+Will Inc.)

  • Dr. Gary Block

  • Dr. Orlando Garza Jr.

  • Dr. P. Jed Ford (Photos courtesy of Brian O'Neill)

  • Dr. Claire Andreasen

  • Dr. V.E. “Ted” Valli

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