Providing a humane death
Expanded euthanasia guidelines add species, process, technique considerations
By Greg Cima
The AVMA is providing expanded guidance on the process of euthanasia, considerations for euthanizing animals, and the application of specific euthanasia methods in various species.
The 2013 edition of the AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals was scheduled to be available by early March at www.avma.org. The 100-plus-page document includes sections on species and species groups; expanded technical information on euthanasia methods; guidance on minimizing stress on animals, clients, and those who perform euthanasia; and advice on actions before and after euthanasia.
Dr. Steven L. Leary of Washington University in St. Louis has been chair of the AVMA Panel on Euthanasia since deliberations began on the current edition of the guidelines in 2009. He said the panel intends for this edition to help with the process of administering euthanasia to animals ranging from “spiders to whales.” Panel members decided to provide direction for a wider range of species in this edition, he said.
Dr. Leary said the euthanasia process “involves ethical decisions, animal handling, the technique, confirmation of death, and disposal of the animal remains.”
Dr. Gail C. Golab, director of the AVMA Animal Welfare Division, said the panel members decided to address process concerns largely in response to questions from veterinarians and others.
Although the document has expanded from the 39-page edition issued in 2007, Dr. Leary expects that an index and appendix will help veterinarians quickly navigate the 2013 edition.
The guidelines' preface notes that attention to animal treatment and welfare has increased substantially in the 50 years since the publication of the first report of the AVMA Panel on Euthanasia, as evidenced by the growing number of studies and extent of policymaking related to animal welfare science and ethics. In creating the 2013 AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals, the panel—also called the POE in the report—tried to apply the best available research and related information.
“As new research is conducted and more practical experience gained, recommended methods of euthanasia may change,” the report states. “As such, the AVMA and POE have made a commitment to ensure the Guidelines reflect an expectation and paradigm of continuous improvement that is consistent with the obligations of the Veterinarian's Oath.
“As for other editions of the document, modifications of previous recommendations are also informed by continued professional and public sensitivity to the ethical care of animals.”
The guide includes additional technical guidance to help ensure, for example, that a firearm used to euthanize livestock will have the needed muzzle energy to cause a humane death or that a veterinarian euthanizing a finfish through immersion uses an appropriate agent at the correct concentration for a sufficient immersion time.
The new guidelines have also incorporated considerations for people who perform euthanasia, especially for those who could experience emotional or physical fatigue after administering euthanasia to many animals, Dr. Golab said, because performance can suffer and animal welfare can decline in such situations.
While the panel on euthanasia considered the aesthetics of euthanasia methods, animal welfare was the top concern, Dr. Golab said. For example, manually applied blunt-force trauma is considered to be an acceptable euthanasia method for some species under certain conditions.
“If blunt-force trauma is done correctly, it can actually be among the most humane of methods performed,” she said.
But it can have negative effects on operators, and the public is increasingly opposed to it, so the panel recommended that those who use it look for alternatives.
Dr. Leary noted that the panel had input from more than 60 people with expertise in particular techniques or species, and during the panel's deliberations, many of those individuals consulted with additional experts.
In choosing the members of the panel, the AVMA had sought volunteers with a mix of technical expertise and practical experience across a broad range of animal species, Dr. Golab said. Volunteers on the panel and its working groups as well as AVMA staff committed hundreds of hours to working on the document.
“We tried to make sure we had folks who were very technically savvy in terms of the techniques sections, and we tried to make sure that we brought in people—particularly for the species sections—who were actually doing this out in the field and could be realistic about when it was possible to match theory to application,” she said.
For example, carbon dioxide or carbon monoxide can be used humanely for euthanasia of companion animals in animal control situations, but only if those using the method are well-trained and well-equipped. Meeting those standards with limited resources can be challenging, however.
Therefore, the panel described specific conditions that need to be met for the use of inhaled gases to be considered acceptable and recommended alternatives with fewer conditions and disadvantages for routine euthanasia.
Importantly, the 2013 edition of the guidelines does not address techniques used for slaughter or depopulation. Dr. Leary noted that those subjects involve substantial additional considerations that will be addressed later, in separate reports.
The guidelines' impact on animal welfare and their use in enforcing welfare-related laws and informing decisions in and beyond the U.S. imposed a sense of responsibility on the panel, Dr. Golab said.
While the panel is giving advice, veterinarians who make recommendations on euthanasia techniques must use their professional judgment, and anyone performing euthanasia has ultimate responsibility to do so appropriately, Dr. Golab said.
The first edition of the guidelines, the Report of the AVMA Panel on Euthanasia, was published in the Jan. 15, 1963, edition of JAVMA. The five panelists who developed the report relied on their own training and knowledge of the literature, and they visited locations where unwanted or fatally diseased animals were euthanized. The panel focused on dogs and cats and, at that time, considered ethical considerations to be beyond the scope of its activities.
“The first criteria of evaluation in this study were effectiveness and rapidity of action in producing quiet, painless death,” the 1963 report states. “Beyond these considerations the esthetic effect, cost, and reliability of the technique received consideration.”
AVMA: Former AVMA VP Brown elected to Executive Board
Two candidates run for District III seat
By R. Scott Nolen
Former AVMA vice president Dr. Gary S. Brown has been elected to be the next District V AVMA Executive Board representative. As the sole nominee for the seat, Dr. Brown was declared elected by acclamation Feb. 1. He will replace Dr. Janver Krehbiel as the Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and West Virginia representative this July.
Voting for a new District III representative on the Executive Board commenced March 1.
Drs. Michael E. Newman and Walter C. Robinson are running to succeed Dr. Joseph Kinnarney when his term on the board expires this July. AVMA members in Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee have until April 1 to cast ballots for their district representative. The AVMA is expected to announce the winner April 2.
AVMA Executive Board members are elected to a six-year term.
Dr. Brown is a 1984 graduate of the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine and owner of small animal practices in Princeton, W.Va., and Pearisburg, Va. He was West Virginia's delegate in the AVMA House of Delegates for two years before his election as AVMA vice president in 2008. As vice president, Dr. Brown was the AVMA liaison to the Student AVMA and student chapters and a voting member of the Executive Board.
In 2009, Dr. Brown won a second term, and the following year, returned to the HOD as West Virginia's delegate.
“I come to the Executive Board with a thorough working knowledge of the AVMA components plus the current issues before the organization,” Dr. Brown said.
“Recent graduate and student issues make up a fairly large portion of AVMA's agenda, and that is right up my alley. I look forward to effectively supporting membership and leadership as a cohesive team.”
Dr. Newman received his DVM degree from Auburn University in 1980. Six years later, he established a private surgical referral practice in Birmingham—the first in Alabama and one of five in the Southeast at that time. The practice was eventually relocated to Decatur, Ala., and it currently serves some 250 veterinarians in Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Georgia.
In addition to holding leadership positions with the Southeastern Veterinary Surgeons Conference and Alabama Academy of Veterinary Practitioners, Dr. Newman was elected president of the Alabama VMA in 2008 and recently completed a six-year-term on the AVMA Council on Research. He currently sits on the board of Jefferson State Community College's Veterinary Technology Program in Birmingham, Ala.
Dr. Newman believes the AVMA and other stakeholders should foster the profession's expansion into nontraditional veterinary career fields, most notably, biomedical research. “In order to accomplish this and to alleviate student debt, our education should not be cheapened but broadened to quality people and jobs, job security, and job worth,” he said.
“The success of our profession, the quality of the people comprising the profession, and the benefits our country derives from this relatively small profession remains a best-kept secret,” Dr. Newman added. “It is long past time that effective pubicizing strategies were employed to inform the public of our worth and to support our foundation.”
Dr. Robinson graduated from the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine in 1973 and is a diplomate of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners specializing in companion animals. He owns and operates a small animal practice in Greenville, S.C., and for the past 16 years has represented the Palmetto State in the AVMA House of Delegates.
For nearly four decades, Dr. Robinson has been active in organized veterinary medicine, and he has also participated on several county and state boards and commissions. He was elected president of both the Greenville County VMA and South Carolina Association of Veterinarians and served a six-year stint on the South Carolina Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners, including one year as chair.
Additionally, Dr. Robinson has been a member of the Veterinary Medicine Advisory Committee to the Food and Drug Administration and the Advisory Council of Veterinary Technology for Newberry College in Newberry, S.C. He is a member of the American Association of Veterinary State Boards' Resolution and Bylaws Committee and has been a South Carolina state constable since 1973.
“The AVMA is going through some very divisive and turbulent times,” Dr. Robinson said. “I am dedicated to sustaining a strong veterinary profession. I believe the only way that can be accomplished is by good, strong representation from all areas of veterinary medicine.
“Having been in the House of Delegates for 16 years, I believe I have the experience to be a very effective Executive Board member for the third district.”
More information on Drs. Newman and Robinson will be posted in the “Governance” section at www.avma.org. Ballots for the District III election must be returned to the AVMA by April 1.
GHLIT offering insurance exchange
The AVMA Group Health & Life Insurance Trust announced Feb. 12 that it will launch a private insurance exchange this spring to assist members of the AVMA and Student AVMA in purchasing major medical insurance coverage.
Previously, the GHLIT had announced that it will stop offering medical coverage at year's end. The new private insurance exchange will be a way for current policyholders to transition to another major medical plan and for other AVMA and SAVMA members to find medical coverage.
The current GHLIT program guarantees coverage for applicants with pre-existing medical conditions. Policyholders who must transition to a new plan can rest assured that, as of 2014, federal health care reform will prohibit all insurers from denying coverage because of an individual's pre-existing conditions.
The Trust will not be able to offer medical coverage after 2013 because the underwriter intends to discontinue underwriting major medical coverage for professional associations in light of impending federal health care regulations—and no other companies are willing to take over.
The GHLIT's private insurance exchange will help AVMA and SAVMA members, at no cost, with identifying medical coverage from an insurance carrier that best suits their needs. The Trust and the Trust's administrator, HealthPlan Services, are building the exchange on HPS' existing Benefit Crossroads platform for purchasing insurance.
“Making sure our members have easy and secure access to the information, resources, and customer service they need to make informed insurance coverage decisions is our top priority,” said Dr. James H. Brandt, GHLIT chair. “Our new Web-based insurance exchange marketplace will enable our members to easily and conveniently review and compare medical insurance options and is an innovative solution to the challenges created by recent events impacting GHLIT medical coverage.”
The private exchange will roll out in two phases. The first, scheduled to go online in March, focuses on AVMA members who will be 65 or older by year's end by helping them sort through Medicare options. The second phase, scheduled for late spring, will include insurance plans and resources for all other AVMA and SAVMA members.
The Benefit Crossroads team will be available to assist AVMA and SAVMA members and GHLIT insurance agents by preparing custom packages and providing ongoing support services via phone and the Internet.
Jeff Bak, HPS president and chief executive officer, said, “We are pleased to partner with the AVMA GHLIT on this venture and look forward to the positive impact this exchange will have on the veterinarians' and agents' experience.”
Plan for shelter medicine specialty open for comment
The AVMA American Board of Veterinary Specialties is seeking comments regarding the need for a specialty encompassing all aspects of veterinary practice important to the care and management of shelter animals.
This past November, an Association of Shelter Veterinarians committee petitioned the ABVS to recognize shelter medicine under the umbrella of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners, which is a recognized veterinary specialty organization. The ABVP currently awards species-specific certification in 10 categories, including beef cattle, feline, and exotic companion mammal practice.
All RVSOs and recognized veterinary specialties comply with recognition guidelines outlined in the ABVS Policies and Procedures Manual, available online at www.avma.org/ProfessionalDevelopment/Education/Specialties/Pages/abvs-pp.aspx. The ABVS is seeking comments from the public and stakeholders regarding whether identifying shelter medicine as an RVS would fulfill a justifiable need. Individuals are advised to refer to the recognition guidelines when developing their comments.
The practice of veterinary medicine in an animal shelter differs substantially from conventional small animal veterinary practice, according to the committee petition. “Whereas traditional small animal veterinary practice focuses on the individual patient, shelter veterinary practice emphasizes the health of a population while still ensuring individual animal welfare,” the petition states.
“Veterinarians who work with shelters must not only possess medical and surgical skills and knowledge, they also must be capable and willing educators and managers, able to draw from many disciplines to meet the needs of the shelter and community,” the petition continues. “Beyond a conventional veterinary education, a strong background is necessary in areas such as epidemiology, popuation management and statistical tracking, immunology, infectious disease, behavior, public health, general management and veterinary forensics.”
On its website, the Association of Shelter Veterinarians notes a growing demand for shelter medicine resources. Moreover, most U.S. veterinary colleges have incorporated shelter medicine into their curricula, and several have developed postgraduate internship and residency training programs in the field.
“An RVS in Shelter Medicine Practice within ABVP will provide improved veterinary medical services to the profession and the public by enabling animal shelters to seek specialty services or consultation in Shelter Medicine to optimize care for millions of animals,” the organization states in the petition.
“Likewise, it will also provide the means by which veterinary medical boards, local and state legislatures and other relevant professional organizations can seek veterinarians qualified to offer expert opinions on medical, ethical and paraprofessional service issues and policies related to community animal sheltering.”
Signed comments are due by Sept. 1 and should be sent to David Banasiak, AVMA Education and Research Division, 1931 N. Meacham Road, Suite 100, Schaumburg, IL 60173-4360, or via e-mail at email@example.com. Questions regarding the recognition guidelines or the proposed new specialty may be directed to Banasiak via e-mail or by phone, (800) 248-2862, Ext. 6677.
AVMA: Comments invited on proposed equine dental specialty
The AVMA American Board of Veterinary Specialties has received a petition for recognition of an Equine Veterinary Dental specialty under the auspices of the American Veterinary Dental College, which has been an AVMA-recognized veterinary specialty organization since 1988. In compliance with ABVS policies and procedures for recognition of a new recognized veterinary specialty under an existing RVSO, the ABVS is seeking comment from the public and the profession.
The AVDC first petitioned the ABVS in January 2012 to begin the process for recognition of the Equine Veterinary Dental specialty. The AVDC submitted a formal petition for recognition of the specialty to the ABVS Committee on the Development of New Specialties in November 2012.
The AVDC and the ad hoc Equine Specialty Development Committee of the AVDC, Academy of Veterinary Dentistry, European Veterinary Dental College, and International College of Equine Veterinary Odontology believe that equine dentistry has become a distinct and identifiable specialty as a veterinary dental discipline steeped in literature and research, but with only a small number of veterinarians qualified to perform specialist-level clinical service. The proposed specialty seeks to eliminate this deficiency in veterinary dentistry.
The petition also states that equine practitioners and horse owners have become more aware of the importance of oral health and high-quality dental services. With an increasingly interested AVDC member body and a supportive veterinary and public sector, the AVDC says the time is right to establish an equine dental specialty.
The petition estimates 25 veterinarians would be interested in pursuing forma training and certification in the AVDC equine dental specialty within the first three years of recognition.
The AVMA recognizes 22 RVSOs, and of those, seven have at least one RVS.
AVMA-recognized specialty organizations and specialties comply with recognition guidelines outlined in the ABVS Policies and Procedures Manual, available online at www.avma.org/ProfessionalDevelopment/Education/Specialties/Pages/abvs-pp.aspx.
Individuals are advised to refer to the recognition guidelines when developing and submitting comments regarding the proposed Equine Veterinary Dental specialty. Signed comments must be received no later than Sept. 1 and should be sent to David Banasiak, AVMA Education and Research Division, 1931 N. Meacham Road, Suite 100, Schaumburg, IL 60173-4360, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions regarding the recognition guidelines or the proposed new specialty may be directed to Banasiak via email or by phone, (800) 248-2862, Ext. 6677.
AVMF contest taps into clients' appreciation for their veterinarians
The American Veterinary Medical Foundation has officially launched its America's Favorite Veterinarian initiative to celebrate the work practitioners do every day.
The goal of this contest is to promote the veterinarian-patient relationship and its importance to owners of pets and other animals.
Clients are encouraged to nominate their veterinarians through the Foundation's Facebook page, www.facebook.com/AVMFdn. They can submit a photo of their animal alone, with themselves, or with their veterinarian, along with a short story—250 words or less—on why their veterinarian deserves to be America's Favorite Veterinarian.
The contest started in early March and runs through June 1. Nominations will be presented to a panel of judges: Steve Dale, syndicated pet columnist and host of “Steve Dale's Pet World”; Dr. Bernadine D. Cruz, a chair of the former AVMA Council on Communications; Ginger Brainard, chair of the America's Favorite Veterinarian Task Force; Kimberly Topper, from the AVMF board of directors; and Dr. Susan Giovengo, senior director of Central Garden & Pet Co.
The judges will narrow the entries to the top 12, select the winner, and announce the winner at the AVMF Impact and Partner Breakfast July 21 during the AVMA Annual Convention in Chicago. The winning veterinarian and the nominating client will each receive a $250 cash prize, courtesy of the AVMF. In addition, each will receive a free night's stay in Chicago, plus travel expenses for those outside the area. The veterinarian will also receive complimentary registration to the convention.
The AVMF will publicize the client and veterinarian in a press release following the AVMA convention as well as on the Foundation's Facebook page, in its newsletter, and on its website, www.avmf.org.
“I don't think there's a good way in place yet to honor your general veterinarian. And this is open not just to small animal private practice, either. We're leaving it open to any type of vet, whether they're large animal or in research or academia,” Brainard said.
Clinics can download and print an advertisement about the contest from the AVMF website to help the Foundation promote this project.
Leadership tool kit targets young veterinarians
The 2011–2012 class of the AVMA Future Leaders Program has launched an online tool kit for veterinarians who are looking to build their leadership skills.
The class designed the Leadership Toolkit for Veterinarians with young veterinarians in mind. The kit offers resources to help veterinarians take a leadership role in the workplace, society, and organized veterinary medicine. Among the resources are podcasts and videos, reading lists, and links to many other online resources.
The toolkit is available at www.avma.org by scrolling over “Professional Development” and clicking on “Personal Development” and then “Leadership Toolkit for Veterinarians.”
150 and counting
A new book, “The AVMA: 150 years of education, science, and service,” commemorates the sesquicentennial of the Association. According to the preface, the book represents “a celebration of the AVMA and all it has accomplished for its members and the veterinary profession during its first 150 years.”
The book is available for purchase via the AVMA Store by visiting www.avma.org/products or by calling (800) 248-2862, Ext. 6655.
Practice: Solving the cat riddle
Study looks at lack of feline veterinary visits from veterinarians' viewpoint
By Katie Burns
Seventy-eight percent of practice owners say cats represent one of the most significant missed opportunities for the profession, according to a new study.
The study found that many, but not most, practices are taking steps to increase feline veterinary visits, which lag far behind canine veterinary visits even though pet cats outnumber pet dogs. Reasons for the discrepancy between pet ownership and veterinary visits could include the stress of the experience for cats and a notion that cats need less veterinary care.
“Probably the greatest opportunity for veterinarians to improve companion animal health care, as well as their own incomes, is to solve the cat riddle,” said John Volk, senior consultant with Brakke Consulting Inc.
The Bayer Veterinary Care Usage Study III: Feline Findings examined the problem and potential solutions from the viewpoint of veterinarians. Bayer HealthCare partnered with the American Association of Feline Practitioners and Brakke on the study. They presented preliminary results Jan. 21 during the North American Veterinary Conference.
The study consisted of six focus groups during September and October 2012 of owners and associates of companion animal veterinary practices in Boston, Atlanta, and San Francisco and a national survey in November 2012 of 401 owners of companion animal practices.
“We heard from veterinarians, ‘We want to change the situation; we're trying to do a few things,”’ said Dr. Cristiano von Simson, director of veterinary technical services for the Animal Health Division of Bayer HealthCare. He saw a big gap between where veterinarians are and where they want to be.
Half of practices are taking actions to increase visits among current feline patients. Forty-six percent are making an increased effort to attract more cat-owning clients. Forty-one percent are taking specific steps to make the practice more friendly to cats and cat owners.
In the preceding two years, 41 percent of practices have implemented changes specifically to reduce stress for cats. Twenty-four percent intend to make such changes, although 35 percent do not intend to make such changes.
More than half of practices use certain cat-friendly techniques such as covering carriers or examination tables with a towel, having staff members with good feline-friendly handling skills, and training staff in feline handling. Less than half have created cat-only examination rooms, reception areas, and appointment hours.
“Not surprisingly, veterinarians think that cats are more challenging to work with and to diagnose (conditions in) than dogs,” said Dr. Elizabeth Colleran, spokeswoman for the AAFP's Cat Friendly Practice Program. “So we have some attitude issues, too, that are important for us to look at.”
According to the survey, 65 percent of veterinarians found cats easy to work with during examinations, in comparison with 90 percent for dogs. Fifty-seven percent found it challenging to diagnose conditions in cats, in comparison with 34 percent for dogs.
Just 17 percent of veterinarians prefer cats in general, while 48 percent prefer dogs—although 70 percent own cats and 81 percent own dogs. Twenty percent of veterinarians examined their cats less than once a year.
Volk said a key finding from the focus groups was that most veterinarians have difficulty explaining to cat owners why they should come back in a year for an annual appointment if a cat does not need a vaccine.
“We need to educate every pet owner on the importance of the work we do, the annual exams we do,” Volk said.
Veterinarians said overall patient visits and revenues have stabilized somewhat.
“They say things are better, but they're still not great, meaning the decline in visits slowed down,” Dr. von Simson said.
The previous phase of the Bayer Veterinary Care Usage Study found that, in 2010, 51 percent of companion animal practices reported a decrease in visits over the preceding two years. Fourteen percent saw no change, and 34 percent saw an increase.
In 2012, 38 percent of practices reported a decrease in visits over the preceding two years. Twenty-three percent saw no change, and 39 percent saw an increase.
Many practices continue to have capacity for more appointments. More than half of practices reported filling less than 70 percent of appointments during the first nine months of 2012.
Cat Friendly Practice Program
Dr. Colleran said participating in the AAFP's Cat Friendly Practice Program is one approach for companion animal practices to use in making changes to improve the quantity and quality of feline veterinary visits.
“It's really hard to effect change in a veterinary practice,” Dr. Colleran said. “That's why we did Cat Friendly Practice.”
The AAFP launched the member program in late January 2012. The program allows practices to evaluate their care of feline patients, their environment for cats, and the relevant skills, training, and education of their personnel. Practices can make changes at their own pace and within the parameters of their needs, Dr. Colleran said.
As of late January 2013, 285 practices had earned approval as AAFP Cat Friendly Practices, while another 539 were going through the process.
A survey of AAFP Cat Friendly Practices found the factors attracting them to participate were opportunities to increase the frequency of feline veterinary visits, thus allowing for better care; to differentiate the clinic; and to reduce stress on feline patients.
The benefits that the practices experienced included less stress for feline patients, a way to demonstrate how much the clinic cares about cats as patients, more expertise on feline-specific care in the clinic, listing as an AAFP Cat Friendly Practice on the AAFP website, and higher satisfaction among current cat-owning clients.
This year, the AAFP plans to launch a consumer campaign to educate cat owners about the need for routine veterinary care and to increase awareness of AAFP Cat Friendly Practices.
Call to action
Bayer and the American Association of Feline Practitioners issued a call to action during the North American Veterinary Conference. They suggested that veterinarians join the AAFP to participate in the Cat Friendly Practice Program. They offered the following steps that veterinarians can take now to increase feline veterinary visits:
Relations rarely adversarial between practices, shelters
By Katie Burns
A new study has found that private practices and animal shelters rarely perceive their relationship to be adversarial, despite a concern among some private practitioners that certain shelters are competing to provide veterinary services.
Each group perceives itself as being more supportive of the other, however.
The CATalyst Council partnered with AllPoints Research Inc. to develop the study on relations between practices and shelters. Study findings are aiding the council's efforts to promote adoption and lifetime veterinary care of shelter cats.
“In the veterinary community and in the sheltering community, there is a lot we can do and already do in some locales together,” said Dr. Jane Brunt, CATalyst executive director.
AllPoints conducted the study in October 2012 via online interviews with 455 private practitioners and 772 shelter representatives.
According to the study, 12 percent of private practitioners and 2 percent of shelter representatives perceive most relationships between practices and shelters to be adversarial. Within their own community, only 5 percent of private practitioners and 1 percent of shelter representatives perceive their relationship to be adversarial.
“What we found is, I would describe it not as animosity, but I would describe it as maybe some hesitancy,” said Tara Olson, co-CEO of AllPoints.
“I think there is certainly room to increase the amount of mutual benefit and respect that is perceived between the organizations.”
Within the community, 53 percent of private practitioners and 71 percent of shelter representatives perceive their relationship to be one of mutual support and respect. Some 36 percent of private practitioners said practices support shelters, but shelters don't always support practices. Conversely, 24 percent of shelter representatives said shelters support practices, but practices don't always support shelters.
The study confirmed that private practitioners frequently see shelters as competition. Shelter representatives report that they do not provide veterinary services to the general public as much as private practitioners believe they do. Thirty-six percent of shelter representatives say a successful relationship with practices includes practices providing services to shelters at discounted rates.
“They themselves don't view themselves as competing with veterinarians,” Olson said. “They are certainly looking for that extra medical support where they can get it.”
Private practitioners report offering free post-adoption examinations more than shelter representatives believe they do. Shelter representatives report referring more cats for post-adoption examinations than private practitioners believe they do.
Among current needs and recommendations, shelters would like private practitioners to encourage clients to adopt animals from shelters, while private practitioners would like shelters to educate adopters about the importance of veterinary care.
Two-thirds of each group expressed interest in a program to work together to connect cat adopters with private practitioners.
In 2011 and 2012, CATalyst completed a program of cat-friendly practice makeovers and launched an initiative to strengthen relations between practices and shelters for the benefit of cats. The council is focusing on the latter for 2013.
“Nationwide, shelters euthanize cats by the millions,” Dr. Brunt said. “And so there is, poof, gone an opportunity for a family to have a cat; two, an adoption to happen with a happy ending; three, a veterinarian to have a cat to care for.”
CATalyst's Partnering to Make a Difference initiative, formerly the Top to Top initiative, seeks to help practices and shelters build partnerships within communities to improve animal health and welfare.
Dr. Brunt said CATalyst is enhancing its resource tool kit for practices and shelters that want to work together on common goals. Among other plans, the council hopes to identify certain communities in which it can facilitate partnership building.
On the basis of the recent study, CATalyst created a cooperation scoring system for practices and shelters to assess the relationship within a community. The cooperation score for each group is the difference between the percentage of the group's representatives who perceive a relationship of mutual support and respect and the percentage with a less positive perception.
“There is a big opportunity there to sort of level that perception playing field,” Dr. Brunt said.
CATalyst also has begun advocating the concept of the handoff, or the transfer of veterinary care from a shelter to a private practice during adoption of an animal. Dr. Brunt said the goal is, at the point of adoption, to schedule a veterinary appointment with a private practice convenient for the adopter.
“Now you've adopted your pet,” she said. “Now it needs a lifetime of veterinary care.
Rodenticide use, risks may change
Anticoagulant sales restricted, bromethalin use rising
By Greg Cima
Federal regulators want to remove 12 rodenticides from the consumer market, and with them, most public access to rodenticidal anticoagulants deemed to be dangerous for nontarget wildlife.
Dr. Ahna Brutlag, assistant director of veterinary services for the Pet Poison Helpline, an industry poison control center, expects that the public will sharply increase use of rodenticides containing bromethalin, a neurotoxic poison, if the Environmental Protection Agency successfully prohibits Reckitt Benckiser Inc. from selling those 12 d-Con products. She expressed concern that many veterinarians may not know that bromethalin use is increasing as rodenticide manufacturers switch away from anticoagulants or that treating bromethalin poisoning is more difficult, time-consuming, and, often, expensive than treating anticoagulant poisoning.
Hal Ambuter, director of regulatory and government affairs for d-CON products at Reckitt Benckiser, said his company would vigorously challenge the EPA actions.
In May 2008, the EPA announced that it planned to restrict sales of the second-generation anticoagulants brodifacoum, bromadiolone, and difethialone because of the poisons' toxicity and persistence in body tissues, which are risks to nontarget predators, scavengers, and other animals. Those products would be sold only directly to pest control professionals or through agriculture supply stores.
Other rodenticides, such as first-generation anticoagulants and bromethalin, that are intended for use in homes would be sold only with tamper-resistant bait stations, which are supposed to prevent consumption by pets and children.
EPA officials asked rodenticide registrants to comply by June 2011. The agency announced Jan. 30, 2013, that it was moving to ban the sale of 12 rodenticides sold by Reckitt Benckiser, the only manufacturer that did not adopt the standards.
Eight of the 12 d-Con products contain brodifacoum or difethialone. The other four, which contain the first-generation anticoagulant warfarin, are sold without bait stations.
“For companies that have complied with the new standards in 2011, EPA has received no reports of children being exposed to bait contained in bait stations,” the announcement states.
Ambuter said Reckitt Benckiser had hoped the EPA instead would implement an educational program to reduce accidents. His company contends that increased use of non-anticoagulant rodenticides increases risks to children and pets and that first-generation anticoagulants are less effective than second-generation anticoagulants.
He also said rodents have been reluctant to enter bait stations or eat the bait blocks within, and costs can sharply increase when consumers buy multiple bait stations.
Reckitt Benckiser was given 30 days to request a hearing by an administrative law judge.
“We are deeply concerned that the EPA is trying to restrict access to essential safeguards that protect our families and our children from the serious public health dangers associated with rodent infestation,” Ambuter said.
James Jones, acting assistant administrator for the EPA Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, said in an announcement that the EPA is preventing avoidable risks and has worked with rodenticide manufacturers over the past five years to ensure safe and effective products are available.
Dr. Brutlag, who treats small animals in clinical practice, said bromethalin's market share among rodenticides is growing, largely because it is more effective than first-generation anticoagulants.
“It's a neurotoxic rodenticide that can be very difficult to treat,” she said. “It does not have an antidote, and it does not have an antemortem test.”
Postmortem tests of brain or fatty tissue can reveal the presence of bromethalin, but anticoagulant poisoning can be determined on the basis of antemortem prothrombin time measurements, Dr. Brutlag said. Anticoagulant poisoning also can be treated cheaply and safely with vitamin K, whereas bromethalin treatment relies on aggressive decontamination.
But information provided by the EPA states that second-generation anticoagulants have long half-lives and extended presence in body tissues, and treatment can require weeks or months of vitamin K administration and monitoring of blood parameters.
Treatment for bromethalin poisoning typically involves administering three doses of activated charcoal over 24 hours, Dr. Brutlag said. Early treatment usually provides good outcomes, she said, but animals that have signs of toxicosis before treatment can sustain permanent neurologic damage.
Information from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals expresses similar concerns that increased regulation of anticoagulants could lead to increased use of bromethalin and cholecalciferol, the latter of which causes hypercalcemia, is toxic to dogs and cats, and can require “extensive and expensive” treatment.
No rodenticides currently marketed for consumer use contain cholecalciferol, and the EPA did not know of any companies working to develop such products.
By press time, the EPA's list of rodenticides sold with protective bait stations included only products containing bromethalin or one of two first-generation anticoagulants, diphacinone and chlorophacinone. Dr. Brutlag was glad manufacturers had not adopted use of cholecalciferol, which has a lower toxic dose than bromethalin, is equally difficult and expensive to treat, and can require weeks of medical treatment to reduce serum calcium concentrations.
Call volume steady
Mallory Kerley, a spokeswoman for the ASPCA, said anticoagulant rodenticides are still the most prevalent rodenticide baits. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center received about 1,300 bromethalin-related calls in 2012, up from about 1,200 in each of 2011 and 2010 but down from about 1,600 in 2009 and 2,200 in 2008.
Dr. Brutlag said the Pet Poison Helpline has had a modest increase in bromethalin-related calls since summer 2011, but the overall rodenticide-related call volume has remained steady. She was surprised that the total number of rodenticide-related calls did not decrease after bait stations were required, but veterinarians may be more likely to call the helpline about bromethalin-related poisonings because they are unfamiliar with the treatment protocols. She also noted that many consumers are using bromethalin blocks improperly.
For example, bags of 15 or more bromethalin blocks often are sold with a single bait station, leading some people to use both the bait station and loose bait in multiple rodent entry points, Dr. Brutlag said. She also noted that dogs will chew through rodenticide bags. Recently, she consulted on a helpline case involving a dog that ate two pounds of bromethalin-based rodenticide; it was successfully treated.
Dr. Brutlag expressed concern that many veterinarians may be unaware of the shift toward bromethalin and that some pet owners may be unable to afford overnight treatment.
“There are definitely vets out there—and I talk to them on a daily basis—who say, ‘I had no idea that bromethalin was becoming more popular’ or ‘I don't even know how to treat bromethalin; I've never seen it before,”’ she said.
Issues: NIH advised to retire most research chimps
Agency decision expected in March
By R. Scott Nolen
The National Institutes of Health is expected to announce a decision later this March on the future of hundreds of federally owned chimpanzees used in research funded by the agency.
Earlier this year, an independent advisory committee recommended most of the 451 chimpanzees be retired to the federal sanctuary system and a colony of approximately 50 animals be maintained for possible future research needs.
The committee also urged the NIH to end nearly half the 30 studies involving chimpanzees the agency is currently supporting. These studies, which include biomedical, behavioral, and comparative genomics projects, were determined to fall short of the rigorous criteria the NIH adopted after a 2011 Institute of Medicine review found little scientific necessity for using chimps as research subjects.
Prompted by the IOM review, the NIH announced it would support only chimpanzee studies that advanced public health; could not be performed with another animal species, including humans; and were conducted in ethologically appropriate physical and social environments or in the chimpanzee's natural habitat (see JAVMA, Feb. 15, 2012, page 357).
The Working Group on the Use of Chimpanzees in National Institutes of Health–Supported Research, formed to develop a plan for implementing the IOM proposals, issued its report Jan. 22. It contained 28 recommendations for the NIH ranging from the placement of federally owned and supported chimpanzees to the process for determining when research involving man's nearest genetic relative is scientifically necessary and consistent with the IOM principles.
Public comments on the working group report were being accepted through March 23. NIH Director Francis Collins is expected to announce a decision regarding the recommendations later that month.
The Humane Society of the United States welcomed most of the working group recommendations. “The Humane Society of the United States is extremely pleased that these experts confirm what the public has been urging: Move away from invasive chimpanzee experimentation and release these animals to the most appropriate setting available: sanctuary,” said Kathleen Conlee, HSUS vice president of animal research issues. “There are top-notch sanctuaries in the U.S., including federal sanctuary Chimp Haven, that have the capacity to expand and are ready to work with the government to provide these chimpanzees with the retirement they so greatly deserve.”
Chimp Haven operates the federal chimpanzee sanctuary, located on 200 acres in northwest Louisiana, where more than 120 chimpanzees receive lifetime care.
The working group report advises the NIH to “immediately” begin planning to expand these facilities to accommodate the chimpanzees selected for retirement. Planning must also commence on building a facility for the 50 or so chimpanzees to be kept for potential research. Ethologically appropriate housing for chimpanzees includes grouping a minimum of seven males and females together and a providing a primary living space of at least 1,000 square feet per individual.
The report does not include the projected costs of implementing the recommendations.
Dr. Christian Abee, director of the Michael E. Keeling Center in Bastrop, Texas, one of the research centers that maintains an NIH-supported chimpanzee colony, said the report has “serious flaws” and shows a lack of understanding of research resource management. If the working group recommendations are accepted, the 167 chimpanzees housed at the center would be relocated to Chimp Haven, disrupting stable social groups living together for many years at the center, he said.
Building new facilities while “excellent” ones such as those at Keeling Center already exist would be a wasteful use of federal dollars, Dr. Abee added, and comes at a time when the NIH budget is already tight.
“The overall goal of the report appears to be focused on eliminating the availability of chimpanzees for research of any kind. This will make it very difficult or impossible to carry out studies that would ultimately save lives,” Dr. Abee said. “It is my hope that NIH Director Dr. Collins will not simply accept the report as written. There are some parts of the report that can be accomplished, but the recommendations as written cannot be implemented in a manner consistent with the IOM report that he accepted in 2012.”
The working group recommends the NIH replace the Interagency Animal Models Committee with an independent oversight committee to advise on the proposed use of chimpanzees in research. The current committee, according to the report, is not considered independent from other individuals and bodies that review and approve grant applications submitted to the NIH.
The oversight committee is to be separate from extramural initial review groups, intramural scientific program personnel, and institute or center directors, according to the recommendations. In addition, the oversight committee's reviews would take place after the standard reviews and approvals by these entities. Reviews are to focus on whether the proposed research is consistent with the IOM principles and criteria for the use of chimpanzees in research.
The working group also counseled the NIH against supporting any long-term maintenance of chimpanzees intended for research on new, emerging, or re-emerging diseases in biosafety level 2 or greater biocontainment-level facilities. The agency also should not revitalize breeding strategies to derive a population of chimpanzees for any research purposes, the working group said.
The report of the Working Group on the Use of Chimpanzees in NIH-Supported Research is available online at http://dpcpsi.nih.gov/council/pdf/FNL_Report_WG_Chimpanzees.pdf.
Border inspection dispute settled, for now
Under a new ruling, federal veterinarians and animal health technicians will not be required to travel into Mexico to inspect cattle. The Veterinary Services division of the Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service announced in January that it has made service in Mexico for current employees a voluntary activity.
The decision comes after months of debate between APHIS and its employees over safety concerns (see JAVMA, Dec. 1, 2012, page 1402).
The United States allows the importation of 10,000 to 20,000 cattle a month from Mexico. The cattle enter the U.S. through land ports along the U.S.-Mexico border. Because of escalating violence along the border, five of six inspection facilities located on the Mexican side of the Texas-Mexico border were relocated to the U.S. side over the past few years. Cattle must be inspected for tick-borne diseases and tuberculosis along with foot-and-mouth disease and other foreign animal diseases before they are released. The inspections are performed by federal veterinary medical officers assisted by trained livestock inspectors.
In 2011, the Regional Cattlemen's Union of Nuevo Leon in Mexico began constructing an inspection facility by the Columbia Bridge near Nuevo Laredo, across the border from Laredo, Texas.
APHIS Veterinary Services had announced that beginning in spring 2012, it would open and staff the facility so cattle could be exported to the United States through Laredo, Texas. The opening was pushed back several times, but finally took effect this past September.
The National Association of Federal Veterinarians, speaking on behalf of the federal U.S. veterinary inspectors, told agency managers that assignment to the facility was dangerous and could be life-threatening. The NAFV also challenged the legality of involuntarily assigning civilian employees to a foreign country.
In mid-January, representatives from the State Department and APHIS Security completed a final review of the Columbia Bridge facility, and after certifying the completion of all requested modifications, gave the USDA the green light to service it.
Soon after, Dr. Kevin P. Varner, APHIS' Texas area veterinarian-in-charge, sent a memo to Texas area staff on Jan. 18 that said import inspection service would begin Jan. 22 at the Columbia Bridge facility. For four months, inspections will alternate daily between Laredo and Columbia Bridge. During this time, the USDA will review cattle numbers and cattle flow at the five Texas-Mexico land ports, Dr. Varner wrote.
To staff the Columbia Bridge facility, the USDA will use a group of volunteer veterinary medical officers, drawing from those in Texas and elsewhere. At the same time, the USDA will create two new positions for the facility—one for a veterinarian and another for a technician—that would require travel into Mexico as part of the job.
“No current Texas VS employee will be required to work in Mexico and there will be no negative effects on an employee's career if they do not volunteer,” Dr. Varner wrote.
In a Jan. 22 press release, the NAFV said it applauded the actions by Veterinary Services but does not believe it resolves the entire situation.
“It protects present employees from forced assignments, but does not properly address the ongoing dangers of such travel into Mexico, even if by volunteer employees, and the authority of the agency to place its employees into danger under any circumstances,” according to the NAFV release.
Issues: Pathogens in food caused 1,500 outbreaks from ‘09-’10
Beef, dairy products, fish, and poultry were the foods most commonly implicated in foodborne disease outbreaks in 2009 and 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Eggs were responsible for fewer outbreaks than in previous years but still caused the highest total number of outbreak-related illnesses. The CDC defines a foodborne disease outbreak as the occurrence of at least two illnesses from eating a common food.
In January, the CDC indicated about 1,500 foodborne disease outbreaks were identified in total during 2009 and 2010, and about 300 were attributed to a food that fit in a single category. For those 300 outbreaks, beef, dairy products, fish, and poultry were each responsible for 11 to 13 percent of the outbreaks. But while eggs were connected with fewer outbreaks, they were connected with 27 percent of the reported illnesses in those 300 outbreaks.
The data are available in the CDC's Jan. 25 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report at www.cdc.gov/mmwr/.
For the 1,500 identified outbreaks, a total of about 29,000 people reported illnesses, 1,200 were hospitalized, and 23 died. Norovirus was the most commonly identified single etiologic agent responsible for outbreaks and illnesses, followed by Salmonella and Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O157.
Salmonella was responsible for nearly 600 of the 1,200 total foodborne illness-related hospitalizations during those two years, STEC for about 200, and norovirus for just over 100.
Bacteria also were connected with 22 of the 23 foodborne disease-related deaths, and the remaining death was attributed to norovirus infection. Listeria monocytogenes was connected with nine deaths, Salmonella with five, STEC O157 with four, Clostridium perfringens with three, and Shigella with one.
The most commonly paired pathogens and foods implicated in outbreaks were Campylobacter with unpasteurized dairy products, Salmonella with eggs, STEC O157 with beef, ciguatoxin with fish, and scombroid toxin with fish, the report states.
The number of norovirus-related outbreaks reported in 2009 and 2010 declined from the preceding five years, according to an editorial note in the report. A new electronic reporting system implemented in 2009 may have enabled public health officials to more appropriately classify outbreaks, the note states, and limited epidemiologic and laboratory resources in 2009 may have reduced attention to norovirus outbreaks. For example, the 2009 pandemic H1N1 influenza outbreak could have diverted resources.
Research: Agriculture led dog ancestors to adapt to eating starch
The ancestors of today's dogs adapted to eat more starch as humans began growing grains, recent research indicates.
A letter published online Jan. 23 in the journal Nature states that a group of researchers identified signs of selection across 10 genes that are connected with starch digestion and fat metabolism. The adaptations let ancient canids thrive on starch and “constituted a crucial step in early dog domestication,” the letter states.
“This may suggest that a change of ecological niche could have been the driving force behind the domestication process, and that scavenging in waste dumps near the increasingly common human settlements during the dawn of the agricultural revolution may have constituted this new niche,” the letter states.
“In light of previous results describing the timing and location of dog domestication, our findings may suggest that the development of agriculture catalysed the domestication of dogs.”
The research involved analysis of DNA from 12 wolves and 60 dogs, the latter of which represented 14 breeds. The researchers are affiliated with Uppsala University in Sweden, the Broad Institute of Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University, the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, and Hedmark University College in Norway.
A copy of the full text can be purchased at www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature11837.html.
Community: Nightclub fire kills 15 veterinary students
The fire at the Kiss nightclub Jan. 27 in Santa Maria, Brazil, claimed the lives of more than 230, including a group of local veterinary students.
Santa Maria, at the southern tip of Brazil near the country's borders with Argentina and Uruguay, is a major university city, with a population of around 250,000. The fire is believed to have started around 2:30 a.m.; firefighters worked for three hours to contain the blaze. News reports say up to 2,000 people—mostly students—were in the nightclub when the fire started.
A total of 113 students from the Federal University of Santa Maria perished, including 64 from the Rural Sciences Center. Fifteen of those students were with the College of Veterinary Medicine, according to Flavia Tonin, a spokesperson for the university.
One veterinary class lost five students, said Dr. Alexander W. Biondo, an associate professor of molecular biology at the University of Illinois, who completed his master's at Santa Maria. The Santa Maria veterinary college admits two classes per year, with around 50 total in each class.
A letter published online by the Brazilian Federal Council of Veterinary Medicine, the country's equivalent of the AVMA, expressed sympathy for the families and friends of the victims.
Most of the victims died of suffocation or were trampled in the stampede toward the venue's only emergency exit, according to reports.
Michigan Veterinary Conference
Event: Annual conference, Jan. 25–27, Lansing
Awards: W. Kenneth McKersie Service Award: Dr. Alan Berger, Ray, for cumulative service and accomplishments benefiting the veterinary profession, the community, and the Michigan VMA. A 1959 graduate of the Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Berger practiced at Macomb Veterinary Associates in Utica prior to retirement. He helped establish the Humane Society of Southeast Michigan and plays a leadership role in the Macomb Oakland Management Seminars Group, an organization that recognizes that greater success can be attained by treating other veterinarians as colleagues rather than competitors and whose meetings focus on practice management and challenges facing the profession. Dr. Berger is a past member of the MVMA Informatics Committee.
Officials: Drs. Ralph Huff, North Branch, president; Therese Burns, Caledonia, president-elect; Julie Cappel, Warren, 1st vice president and treasurer; Kevin Stachowiak, Caseville, 2nd vice president; and Susan Sayles, Jackson, immediate past president.
Obituaries: AVMA member: AVMA honor roll member: Nonmember
Marion D. Bliler
Dr. Bliler (IL ′59), 78, Taylorville, Ill., died Nov. 8, 2012. A mixed animal veterinarian, he co-owned North Side Veterinary Clinic in Taylorville, practicing in the area for more than 50 years. Dr. Bliler was active with the 4-H Club and the National FFA Organization. He is survived by his wife, Elaine; three daughters; and two sons. Memorials may be made to Davis Memorial Christian Church, 1500 W. Franklin St., Taylorville, IL 62568; or Taylorville FFA Chapter, 815 W. Springfield Road, Taylorville, IL 62568.
Howard W. Cargill
Dr. Cargill (TEX ′50), 85, Bryan, Texas, died Nov. 12, 2012. A mixed animal practitioner, he co-owned El Cerrito Animal Clinic with his late brother, Dr. Bobby J. Cargill (see obituary, Dec 1, 2012), prior to retirement in 1992. Earlier in his career, Dr. Cargill owned a practice in Brazos Valley, Texas, and worked at Bryan Animal Clinic. He was a past president of the Brazos Valley VMA and Brazos County Producers Cooperative Association. Dr. Cargill was also a past president of the Bryan Rotary Club. He served in the Army during World War II. Dr. Cargill's wife, Irene; two sons; and two daughters survive him. One son, Dr. Thomas H. Cargill (TEX ′77), owns El Cerrito Animal Clinic. Memorials may be made to First Baptist Church Library, 3100 Cambridge Drive, Bryan, TX 77802.
G. Dudley Collins
Dr. Collins (ONT ′56), 80, Ancaster, Ontario, died July 21, 2012. He co-owned Mountain Animal Hospital in Hamilton, Ontario, prior to retirement in 1994. Dr. Collins was also the founder of the Ancaster Pet Cemetery. His wife, Laurene; four sons; a stepson; and a stepdaughter survive him. Memorials may be made to the Dr. Bob Kemp Hospice, 277 Stone Church E., Hamilton, ON L9B 1B1, Canada.
George F. Dixon
Dr. Dixon (OSU ′43), 92, Nevis, Minn., died Nov. 15, 2012. He was an Army veterinarian for 31 years, retiring with the rank of colonel. During that time, Dr. Dixon served on the faculty of the Army Meat and Dairy Hygiene School in Chicago, was an instructor in the Department of Veterinary Science at the Army Medical Service School at Fort Sam Houston, and served as chief of the Standards and Animal Branch of the Veterinary Division in the Office of the Surgeon General. He received the Legion of Merit with one Oak Leaf Cluster for his service. In retirement, Dr. Dixon worked for Hill's Pet Nutrition for several years.
He is survived by his wife, Frances; a son; and a daughter. Memorials may be made to Hospice Foundation of America, 1710 Rhode Island Ave. N.W., #400, Washington, DC 20036; www.hospicefoundation.org
Gaylord H. French Jr.
Dr. French (OKL ′63), 74, Crozet, Va., died Sept. 28, 2012. A mixed animal veterinarian, he practiced at Allied Animal Hospital in Richmond, Va. Dr. French bred Angus cattle and was a member of the North Carolina Angus Association. He served in the Air Force from 1963–1965. Dr. French's two daughters survive him.
Boynton A. Grover
Dr. Grover (COR ′43), 92, Bonita Springs, Fla., died Nov. 8, 2012. Prior to retirement in the mid-1980s, he practiced in Haverhill, Mass., focusing initially on large animals and then switching to small animals. Dr. Grover served in the Army Veterinary Corps during World War II. Active in civic life, he was a past member of the Haverhill Chamber of Commerce, a past chair of the Whittier District Boy Scouts, and a past president of the Haverhill Rotary Club. Dr. Grover is survived by three daughters.
Kenneth S. Ishimoto
Dr. Ishimoto (MSU ′57), 83, Kaneohe, Hawaii, died Nov. 1, 2012. He owned small animal practices in Hawaii at Kailua and Kaneohe prior to retirement. Dr. Ishimoto was a member of the Hawaii VMA and was active with the Kaneohe Rotary Club and Kaneohe Business Association. He served in the Army during the Korean War. Dr. Ishimoto is survived by his wife, Nancy, and three daughters.
Kenneth L. Kuttler
Dr. Kuttler (COL ′45), 88, College Station, Texas, died Nov. 13, 2012. Prior to retirement in 1986, he worked for the Department of Agriculture in Maryland and Moscow, Idaho. Earlier in his career, Dr. Kuttler chaired the Department of Veterinary Science at the University of Nevada and was a professor of veterinary microbiology at the Texas A&M University Agricultural Experiment Station.
While on a two-year sabbatical from the University of Nevada, he worked for the Rockefeller Foundation at the University of East Africa in Kenya, where he taught clinical pathology and conducted research on immunization methods for anaplasmosis.
Dr. Kuttler was a past president of the Society for Tropical Veterinary Medicine. In 1969, he was honored by the Texas VMA for outstanding work in teaching and research. Dr. Kuttler was an Army veteran of the Korean War, attaining the rank of captain. His wife, Joanne; four sons; and a daughter survive him.
Albert P. Pontick
Dr. Pontick (COR ′39), 98, Boynton Beach, Fla., died July 24, 2012. A mixed animal practitioner, he owned East Hampton Animal Hospital in East Hampton, N.Y., from 1941 until 1976. Earlier in his career, Dr. Pontick practiced in Rochester, N.Y. He was a past member of the East Hampton School Board and a member of the Lions Club. Dr. Pontick is survived by two daughters and a son. Memorials may be made to the Lighthouse for the Blind, 111 E. 59th St., New York, NY 10022.
Dr. Stucki (WSU ′56), 85, Escondido, Calif, died July 26, 2012. An equine veterinarian, he practiced in Southern California for many years. Dr. Stucki is survived by nine children.
John E. Tartaglione
Dr. Tartaglione (UP ′64), 75, Blakeslee, Pa., died Nov. 15, 2012. A mixed animal practitioner, he owned East Stroudsburg Veterinary Hospital in East Stroudsburg, Pa., for 35 years prior to retirement in the early 2000s. Dr. Tartaglione's wife, Elaine; three daughters; and two sons survive him. Memorials may be made to Alzheimer's Association-Greater Pennsylvania Chapter, 3544 N. Progress Ave., Suite 205, Harrisburg, PA 17110; or Monroe Animal League, 112 N. 8th St., Stroudsburg, PA 18360.
Dale E. Walters
Dr. Walters (OSU ′52), 85, Delaware, Ohio, died Nov. 6, 2012. He practiced large animal medicine in Delaware for 60 years. Dr. Walters also owned Sugar Valley Farm, where he raised racehorses. He was a member of the American Association of Equine Practitioners, Ohio VMA, U.S. Trotting Association, and Ohio Harness Horsemen's Association. Dr. Walters served in the Navy from 1946–1947. His wife, Evelyn; a daughter; and a son survive him. Memorials may be made to the Old Stone Presbyterian Church, 41 Hodges Road, Delaware, OH 43015.