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Study shines spotlight on neutering

Assumptions about a mainstay of companion animal practice are called into question

By R. Scott Nolen

Earlier this year, a study out of the University of California-Davis showed higher rates of certain cancers and musculoskeletal disorders among neutered Golden Retrievers, compared with rates among sexually intact Goldens. The findings challenge what is essentially an article of faith within the U.S. veterinary profession: Thou shalt spay or castrate cats and dogs.

Unlike in many parts of Europe, where elective gonadectomy is seen as unethical and the procedure is rare, most owned cats and dogs in the United States are spayed or castrated before 1 year of age. “Spaying and neutering is the most common surgery performed in Banfield hospitals,” said Dr. Karen Faunt, vice president of medical quality for Banfield's more than 830 hospitals.

Veterinarians and humane organizations alike support neutering as a population management tool that can also improve pet health and curb unwanted behaviors. Spayed cats and dogs, for example, are known to have lower incidences of mastitis; castrated dogs have a lower risk of developing prostate disease and are less likely to roam than are sexually intact dogs. Spay Day USA, World Spay Day, and the U.S. Postal Service's 2002 “Neuter or spay” commemorative stamps have reinforced the importance of neutering pets.

Belief in the advisability of spaying and neutering was called into question this past February when the online journal PLOS ONE published the UC-Davis study linking neutering to the increased occurrence of certain adverse health conditions in Golden Retrievers. While it isn't the first study to challenge widely held assumptions about neutering, it garnered a great deal of attention, possibly because of the Golden Retriever's standing as one of America's most popular dog breeds.

Number crunching

As part of the study, UC-Davis researchers analyzed medical records for 759 Golden Retrievers treated at the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital for hip dysplasia, cranial cruciate ligament tear, lymphosarcoma, hemangiosarcoma, and mast cell tumor—conditions to which the breed is predisposed. The dogs were privately owned, were of both sexes, and ranged from 1 to 8 years of age. What researchers found was noteworthy (see JAVMA, April 1, 2013, page 900).

Of males castrated early—defined in this study as before 1 year of age—10 percent had hip dysplasia, double the occurrence among sexually intact males. Cranial cruciate ligament tears were not diagnosed in any of the sexually intact males or females, but in the early age-neutered males and females, prevalences were 5 percent and 8 percent, respectively. Lymphosarcoma was diagnosed in almost 10 percent of males castrated early, three times the rate in sexually intact males.

Additionally, researchers found the percentage of females spayed at 1 year of age or later that developed hemangiosarcoma (about 7 percent) was more than four times the percentages of sexually intact and early age-neutered females that developed hemangiosarcoma. None of the sexually intact females developed mast cell tumors, but nearly 6 percent of females spayed at 1 year of age or later did.

“Understandably, we see plenty of push back, along with lots of compliments like ‘thank goodness someone is finally doing something about the issue, especially the very early neutering',” acknowledged Dr. Benjamin L. Hart, the study's lead investigator and a distinguished professor emeritus at the UC-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.

Dr. Ann F. Hubbs is chairwoman of the Golden Retriever Club of America's Health and Genetics Committee. The GRCA, comprising more than 4,500 members, has long been concerned with issues regarding the health effects and optimal timing of neutering. The club welcomes the findings of the UC-Davis study.

“Studies such as this may help owners and veterinarians make neutering decisions together that balance numerous factors and are tailored to the individual dog's health, the owner's goals, and the overall circumstances,” Dr. Hubbs said.

Critics of the UC-Davis study claim a retrospective analysis won't produce any meaningful insights into the complex physiological changes brought on by gonad removal. Others fault the study for being limited to Golden Retrievers and say the data cannot be extrapolated across dog populations. Still others insist the study only confirms what they had already suspected about the health risks of neutering.

“The interesting thing is that our paper did not report any new disease related to neutering,” Dr. Hart said. “The information has been around for several years but lumped breeds, genders, and times of neutering together. We focused on one breed that gets a lot of diseases, looking at neutering in different sexes and at the different ages of neutering.”

He explained that preliminary work at the UC-Davis Center for Companion Animal Health on Labrador Retrievers suggests that dogs of this breed are not as likely to see an increase in cancers or joint disorders associated with neutering as are Golden Retrievers.

Veterinarians, Dr. Hart said, have two concerns about delaying neutering. One is an increased risk of mammary cancers in females, and the other is an increased risk of problem behaviors, such as aggression, in males. With regard to mammary cancer, he pointed to a recent meta-analysis that concluded there is only a weak link, if any, between sexually intact females and an increase in the rate of mammary cancer.

Dr. Hart further noted that none of the 120 sexually intact females in their study reportedly developed mammary cancer and the two dogs that did have mammary cancer were spayed females. “The picture with regard to mammary cancer will undoubtedly vary among breeds,” he said.

“There is an erroneous feeling that neutering males before puberty is necessary to prevent some problem behaviors, such as urine marking in the home or aggression toward the owners,” Dr. Hart said. Research done at their center and cited in their paper shows that neutering males in adulthood, after the onset of problem behavior, is as effective in changing the behavior as neutering before puberty is in preventing the problems.

Mixed messages

The UC-Davis study on Golden Retrievers is part of a growing body of evidence indicating elective gonadectomy can adversely impact an animal's health.

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Dr. Stephen Poduska of Harper Animal Hospital in Palatine, Ill., castrates an adult West Highland White Terrier. Neutering has been associated with longer life spans in cats and dogs, but there's growing evidence of a possible link between neutering and higher rates of certain diseases. (Photo by R. Scott Nolen)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 243, 9; 10.2460/javma.243.9.1218

Numerous studies published in peer-reviewed scientific journals, including the JAVMA, have reported the health benefits neutering can impart. Spayed and castrated cats and dogs tend to live longer and are less susceptible to reproductive tract diseases and hormone-associated disorders than are those left sexually intact.

Throughout the past three decades, however, the same journals have also published data showing the opposite to be true. Researchers have reported higher incidences of musculoskeletal and endocrinologic disorders, obesity, and urinary incontinence in neutered mixed-breed and pedigreed cats and dogs, compared with incidences in sexually intact animals.

“We change animals when we spay and castrate them, both in good and bad ways,” explained Dr. Margaret V. Root, a professor of small animal theriogenology at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine.

“There is little to help us understand cause and effect of surgery and disorders prevented or apparently promoted by this surgery. There also are few studies specifically addressing whether or not age at the time of surgery has an effect on development of problems.”

Dr. Root is a diplomate of the American College of Theriogenologists and has twice published literature reviews on the positive and negative health effects of neutering on dogs and cats, first in 2007 and most recently in 2012.

“There have been several studies published since then, including the Golden Retriever study out of UC-Davis, and findings from those studies do not refute what has already been reported,” she said.

JAVMA News contacted several pet health insurers to determine whether neutering is a factor for assessing premium costs. Four companies—Petplan Pet Insurance, Pets Best Insurance, ASPCA Pet Health Insurance, and VPI Pet Insurance—stated that neutering is not a consideration. Embrace Pet Insurance offers a 5 percent discount to insure pets that are spayed or castrated.

To date, research on the disadvantages of neutering isn't persuasive enough for Petplan Pet Insurance to include the procedure as a risk factor when assessing premiums, according to Dr. Jules Benson, the company's vice president of veterinary services. Petplan covers more than 100,000 pets in the U.S. and more than 1 million worldwide.

“Some of the data are obviously very compelling, and you can't ignore that,” Dr. Benson said. “What is needed are long-term studies that then allow us to make the best, informed decisions.”

Crowd control

This September, Best Friends Animal Society released results of a national survey that revealed most Americans vastly underestimate how many cats and dogs are euthanized daily in U.S. animal shelters. Most respondents guessed fewer than 500; Best Friends puts the number at more than 9,000.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is one of the most widely recognized humane organizations working to remedy this crisis, in part by advocating for the neutering of all cats and dogs, except those that are part of a responsible breeding program or for which neutering isn't medically viable.

Moreover, the ASPCA supports neutering animals as soon as they reach 2 months of age and weigh 2 pounds. The AVMA likewise endorses pediatric or “early-age” spay and neuter to manage dog and cat overpopulation, and advises veterinarians to use their best judgment in deciding at what age the surgery should be performed.

Dr. Jed Rogers, senior vice president of Animal Health Services for the ASPCA, acknowledged there is a lack of scientific evidence proving that neutering has helped reduce the number of unwanted cats and dogs. The consensus within the shelter community, however, is that neutering has contributed to a substantial decline. It is estimated that, some 30 years ago, upward of 70 million shelter animals were being euthanized annually. Today, that number is thought to have dropped to fewer than 5 million.

“People with knowledge of veterinary medicine and/or animal welfare will say it's an easy concept to believe,” Dr. Rogers said.

Given the ASPCA's intersecting interests in animal welfare and solving the dog and cat overpopulation problem, the organization stays apprised of new research on neutering, Dr. Rogers explained. “Over the past 10 years,” he said, “there've been probably 20 significant studies looking at both the benefits and the risks of spay-neuter.

“We know that an animal that has been spayed or neutered is less likely to be relinquished to shelters. We know that spay-neuter conveys health benefits with respect to certain types of cancers. There are some risks that we all know about, such as obesity and urinary incontinence in female dogs.”

While commending the UC-Davis study for offering new insights on the effects of neutering on the health of Golden Retrievers, Dr. Rogers said the findings are too limited in scope to spur a review of his organization's policies and initiatives. “The increase in spay-neuter over the past 50 years has been driven by veterinarians and shelters. We've done that, and I'm proud of us for doing that,” he said. “This one study is not going to knock 50 years of thinking off course.”

A two-tiered approach

While the ASPCA is steadfast in its convictions, some veterinarians’ faith in neutering was shaken by the UC-Davis study. To help practitioners sort through the mixed messages, the Humane Society VMA this past September hosted a webinar summarizing the research on the health benefits and risks associated with neutering cats and dogs.

The webinar was presented by Dr. Philip A. Bushby, a professor of humane ethics and animal welfare at the Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine, whose interest in dog and cat overpopulation was sparked while he was interning during the 1970s at the ASPCA's Bergh Memorial Hospital in New York City.

“At that time, ASPCA did animal control for all five boroughs of the city. I was just shocked by the numbers of animals being euthanized every day in the shelters. That's always lived with me,” Dr. Bushby recalled. He has since spent most of his career educating veterinary students about how they can help remedy dog and cat overpopulation.

The UC-Davis study created “a fair amount of buzz in the profession,” Dr. Bushby acknowledged, and has even caused some veterinarians to question whether the current approach to neutering is appropriate. What many people ignore, he says, is this key statement in the UC-Davis analysis: “An important point to make is that the results of this study, being breed-specific, with regard to the effects of early and late neutering cannot be extrapolated to other breeds, or dogs in general.”

“These data are real, the issue is there, but the numbers are real small,” Dr. Bushby said. “We know that spay-neuter increases the incidences of some tumors and some medical conditions. We know that. We know that spay-neuter decreases the incidences of some tumors and some medical conditions. We know that.

“But before we, as a profession, make any major decision about spay-neuter, we should look at more numbers, and before we try to extrapolate these findings across all dogs, we should look at populations in general, not just one breed.”

Given the amount of knowledge on the health effects of spaying and castrating, Dr. Bushby believes the decision to neuter a cat or dog should be based, in part, on the animal's ownership status. “My position on shelter animals is there is no reason to change anything. We should still be promoting spay-neuter, and we should still be promoting early-age spay-neuter because of the population dynamics involved,” he said.

Before neutering an owned animal, a veterinarian should take into account the pet's breed and its genetic predisposition to particular diseases, Dr. Bushby said. “When you're talking about the individual owned animal, if you're dealing with a breed that is known to be predisposed to osteosarcoma, then you probably need to have that sit-down conversation with the owner so the owner can make a more informed decision,” he suggested.

Similar to Dr. Bushby, Dr. Root believes that, given the millions of unowned cats and dogs and the research on neutering, shelter animals and pets should be treated differently when it comes to spaying and castrating. Veterinarians, she added, owe it to their clients to make sure they understand the pros and cons of neutering so they can make the best choices for their pets.

“Everyone wants what is best for the animals. The problem is that what is best for an unowned animal may not be what is best for an owned animal, depending on the situation,” Dr. Root said.

“In the absence of other ways to prevent adopted animals from repopulating shelters with their offspring, shelters will continue to perform spay-castration surgery.”

Best in Show

Breeder and veterinarian cherished for building important connections

By Joe Kaiser

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Dr. Josephine Deubler (Courtesy of School of Veterinary Medicine/University of Pennsylvania)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 243, 9; 10.2460/javma.243.9.1218

When Dr. Joan C. Hendricks, dean of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, walks into the lobby of the veterinary school each day, she sees a portrait of the late Dr. Josephine Deubler, a member of the Penn Vet faculty for more than 50 years.

“She's got the 3-by-5-foot portrait in the lobby; there are plaques (for her) all over the place,” Dr. Hendricks said. “She's just one of ours.”

In addition to being a household name at Penn Vet, Dr. Deubler, who died in 2009, was a renowned dog breeder and dog show enthusiast. She chaired shows for both the Bucks County and Montgomery County kennel clubs for more than 25 years and judged Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in 1998.

“She's looked to still today,” said Helma Weeks, former director of communications at Penn Vet and a former colleague of Dr. Deubler. “She's always mentioned in terms of how to put on a really good dog show and recognize talented people to judge. She had a good eye for a dog.”

Dr. Deubler remained active in the dog breeding world until her death. Dr. Hendricks recalled being with her at Westminster in 2007 on her 90th birthday and how special it was to see so many people paying homage and showing respect to Dr. Deubler.

Appreciation of her was not limited to that spring day in Westminster six years ago. The Penn Vet faculty and dog breeders alike continue today to remember what Dr. Deubler accomplished, even when it seemed the odds were stacked against her.

Breaking new ground

Born in 1917 in Allentown, Pa., into a family of veterinarians, including her father and brother, Dr. Deubler became the first female graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in 1938. But her entry into veterinary school was far from welcome by the male-dominated veterinary profession of the time.

“She said the only reason she survived vet school is because she couldn't hear what the guys were saying,” Weeks said, referring to her congenital hearing impairment. “They were very mean and nasty. There was some lady before her, but she was driven out.”

Later in life, Dr. Deubler received a hearing aid, but while she was confronting the challenges of veterinary school, the technology was not yet available. According to “A Legacy and A Promise,” which details Penn Vet's first 100 years, fewer than 40 women graduated from U.S. veterinary colleges in the 1930s. Dr. Deubler, even with her hearing impairment—which she said actually made her more interested in animals because of their body language—managed to be part of that elite group.

Following her graduation, Penn graduated two women from its veterinary school in 1939, one in 1940, and a total of 103 from 1940–1972. Weeks said she thought Dr. Deubler's presence was noteworthy for changing the gender dynamic in veterinary medicine by just “showing it could be done.”

Dr. Deubler continued to set an example by receiving her doctorate from the veterinary school in 1944. Over the following decades, while part of the veterinary faculty, she created the school's annual Canine Symposium and Feline Symposium that were held for many years and built connections between the dog breeding world and the school. Dr. Hendricks said the ongoing outreach Dr. Deubler began with the dog breeding world greatly benefited the veterinary school.

“It connected us to the dog breed clubs in the region and nationally,” Dr. Hendricks said. “Dog breeders have sort of a complex relationship with veterinarians, because they know a lot and you have to respect what they know. So she was great at connecting people to the dog shows and doing introductions and making sure that the breeders respected our expertise.”

Dr. Hendricks said that the school received additional funding from new donors, mainly because of the connections Dr. Deubler built, her accomplishments, and her respected name in dog breeding and the dog show world.

Dr. Urs Giger, director of the Josephine Deubler Genetic Disease Testing Laboratory at Penn Vet, said it was important that Dr. Deubler be the person to make these connections with the dog breeding world because of her expertise.

“She really allowed breeders and show people to find a trust in the veterinary profession to get them to the right person,” Dr. Giger said. “She really was one of the first advocates for healthy dogs. Being a judge and a breeder, I think it was very important that it was a person like her that made that kind of move to assure that the dogs were healthy as they were being shown and bred.”

Remembering her impact

While Dr. Deubler was working to build connections with the dog breeding world for Penn's veterinary school, she was also becoming a decorated dog breeder and exhibitor.

Her ascension in dog breeding and showing started in 1956 when she won Best in Show at Westminster Kennel Club. In 1962, she became a licensed American Kennel Club judge, and she went on to chair the Bucks County Kennel Club show, the largest outdoor show in the U.S., and the Montgomery County Kennel Club show, the world's largest all-terrier show, which Weeks credits her with building into what it is today. She reached the dog show pinnacle in 1998, judging Best in Show at Westminster.

Not only was she well-recognized through accolades—winning the Gaines Fido Award for Dogdom's Woman of the Year three times and the American Kennel Club's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003—but also, she was recognized by her peers. Dr. Hendricks noted one particular man years ago who left a large sum of money in his will for Penn Vet because of the respect he had for Dr. Deubler.

“Legends in U.S. veterinary medicine”

In honor of the AVMA's 150th anniversary this year, JAVMA News is profiling 12 individuals who have made substantial contributions to the American veterinary profession.

Penn Vet recognized her as well, naming Dr. Giger's laboratory for her, presenting its Alumni Award of Merit to her in 1983, and hanging her portrait in the lobby. She received the university's Alumni Achievement Award in 1998.

“She was a wonderful person—an extraordinary person—who was very instrumental in getting the connections between veterinarians, breeders, and pet owners established,” Dr. Giger said. “She was probably the first one to recognize that, and I think she did an excellent job.”

Joe Kaiser is a third-year journalism major at Marquette University and was a 2013 summer intern with JAVMA News.

Be part of the dialogue

The search is on for AVMA council and committee nominees, liaisons.

One way that AVMA members can voice their views on veterinary issues and collaborate on efforts to advance veterinary medicine is through service on a council, committee, or other AVMA entity or as a liaison.

These entities help develop AVMA policy and influence such important areas as animal welfare, clinical practice, and food safety.

Nominations are being invited for 68 upcoming vacancies. A strong response is sought that represents the diverse demographics of the AVMA membership, since a key objective in the AVMA Strategic Plan is to engage increased and diverse membership participation at many levels of interest and capacity.

AVMA President Clark K. Fobian said, “Any member looking to positively impact the contributions of veterinary medicine will find these volunteer opportunities to be an exceptional outlet.”

The Missouri practitioner has found service in organized veterinary medicine to be “every bit as gratifying as administering to the needs of animals.” He said, “It's another way to make a difference in the lives of animals and those who care for them.”

Dr. Fobian noted that a personal request and encouragement from a colleague, mentor, or friend was what prompted the involvement of most veterinarians who have volunteered for AVMA activities and entities. He said, “A verbal invitation garners the most consideration. If you are currently a volunteer, or are just someone who cares deeply about veterinary medicine, share this invitation with someone you know.”

The Executive Board will fill at least 54 vacancies on AVMA committees and other bodies at its meeting April 10–12, 2014. It will also appoint or reappoint one of the two North American councilors to the World Veterinary Association and a liaison to the Pan-American Association of Veterinary Sciences Directive Council. Nominations are also invited for an AVMA Political Action Committee Board member, who will be appointed by the House (of Delegates) Advisory Committee in July 2014.

Nominations may be made by AVMA members on their own or another's behalf, by local or state veterinary associations, by organizations represented in the HOD, by a specific organization to be represented by the nominee, or as otherwise stated in the entry description.

Council members will be elected by the HOD, which will fill at least 14 vacancies when it convenes in July 2014 in Denver. Council nominations may be made by organizations represented in the HOD or by petition of 10 AVMA voting members.

The AVMA Office of the Executive Vice President must receive nominations for committee and trust seats and liaison positions by Feb. 24, 2014, and nominations for councils by April 1, 2014.

Nomination materials—including forms, entity descriptions, and vacant positions—are available at www.avma.org/Members/Volunteer/BecomeAVolunteer under “Vacancies.” They are also available by calling AVMA headquarters at (800) 248-2862, Ext. 6688, or by emailing OfficeEVP@avma.org.

Nominations open for 2014 Excellence in Veterinary Medicine Awards

The AVMA and American Veterinary Medical Foundation are accepting nominations for the 2014 Excellence in Veterinary Medicine Awards, which recognize contributions to the profession.

The awards will be presented at various venues, including the AVMA Annual Convention, July 25–29, 2014, in Denver, and the 2014 Merial–National Institutes of Health Veterinary Scholars Symposium.

The AVMA Award

The Association's pre-eminent award recognizes an AVMA member who has contributed to organized veterinary medicine.

AVMA Meritorious Service Award

This award recognizes a veterinarian who has brought honor and distinction to the veterinary profession through personal, professional, or community service activities outside organized veterinary medicine and research.

AVMF/AKC Career Achievement Award in Canine Research

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

AVMF/Winn Excellence in Feline Research Award

The American Veterinary Medical Foundation and Winn Feline Foundation established this award for an individual who has contributed to feline research.

AVMA Advocacy Award

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

AVMA Animal Welfare Award

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

AVMA Humane Award

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

AVMA Lifetime Excellence in Research Award

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

AVMA Practitioner Research Award

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

AVMA Public Service Award

This award recognizes an AVMA member for outstanding public service or education of veterinarians in public service activities.

AVMA XIIIth International Veterinary Congress Prize

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

Nominations

The deadline is Feb. 1, 2014, for award nominations.

The contact for the awards is Cheri Kowal, at (800) 248-2862, Ext. 6691, or ckowal@avma.org.

Horse head count

Kentucky survey helps state gauge impact of equine industry

By Malinda Larkin

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The Kentucky Equine Survey team anticipates that new data will help policy makers set policy, aid entrepreneurs and business owners in developing business plans, assist veterinarians with disease surveillance, help community planners facilitate future projects, and provide important benchmarks for the state. (Photos courtesy of UK Ag Equine Programs)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 243, 9; 10.2460/javma.243.9.1218

The horse industry has taken a hit since the Great Recession began five years ago.

There are far fewer horses and owners, as evidenced by the declining number of registrations with several breed registries. Thoroughbred foals registered with The Jockey Club numbered 23,500 in 2012 compared with 38,099 in 2006. The Standardbred industry also reported decreasing foal crops, citing 9,441 foals registered in 2012 compared with 14,106 in 2006. And the number of new registrations in the U.S. for American Quarter Horses was 68,902 in the U.S. in 2012, which is down more than 6,323 from the previous year.

Dr. Mats H.T. Troedsson, director of the Maxwell H. Gluck Equine Research Center at the University of Kentucky, said, on the basis of his contact with practices, caseloads have gone down, and large practices have contracted.

“And quite obviously, if fewer horses are bred, broodmare work will be less, but I would be surprised if people around central Kentucky at least feel there's a lack of veterinarians. I think the impression is that, if anything, there is an overpopulation of veterinarians here. If you go to other parts of Kentucky you may hear another version,” Dr. Troedsson said.

But now, Kentucky practitioners, horse owners, and policy makers no longer have to speculate.

By the numbers

The 2012 Kentucky Equine Survey looking at the horse industry in Kentucky—a major hub of racing, competition, and breeding activity—showed that the horse industry had a total economic impact of almost $3 billion and generated 40,665 jobs last year.

On Sept. 6, the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment's Ag Equine Programs and Kentucky Horse Council, in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service, released the economic impact figures from the 2012 Kentucky Equine Survey of all breeds of horses, ponies, donkeys and mules. This was the first such wide-ranging study of Kentucky's equine industry since 1977 and the first detailed economic impact survey about the state industry.

Looking specifically at the estimated impact of each sector of the equine industry, breeding represented the highest employment figure of 16,198, an output of $710 million, and a value-added impact of $333 million. Racing had the highest output impact at $1.28 billion, with a figure of 6,251 in employment and $601 million in value-added impact. Competition figures were 2,708 in employment, $635 million in output, and $297 million in value-added impact. Recreation had 594 in employment, $166 million in output, and $78 million in value-added impact. The “other” sector, which accounts for operations such as therapeutic riding facilities and those where horses are used for work, had an employment figure of 14,914, a $194 million output, and a $91 million value-added impact.

The first phase of the survey was released this past January and measured Kentucky's equine and asset inventory. That portion of the survey found that the state is home to 242,400 horses, and the total value of Kentucky's equine and equine-related assets is estimated at $23.4 billion. The survey's results identified 35,000 equine operations and 1.1 million acres devoted to equine use.

The survey also determined that 56 percent of Kentucky's equine operations are farms or ranches, and 30 percent are for personal use, while 3 percent are boarding, training, or riding facilities. Breeding operations accounted for 2 percent.

Most horses inventoried were light horses (216,300), followed by donkeys and mules (14,000), ponies (7,000), and draft horses (5,100). Thoroughbreds represent the most numerous breed in the state (54,000), followed by American Quarter Horses (42,000), Tennessee Walking Horses (36,000), American Saddlebreds (14,000), donkeys and mules (14,000), Mountain Horse breeds (12,500), Standardbreds (9,500), miniature horses (7,000), ponies (7,000), American Paint Horses (6,500), and Arabian and Half-Arabian horses (5,500).

The primary uses of most of Kentucky's horses are trail riding/pleasure (79,500), followed by use as broodmares (38,000); horses currently idle/not working (33,000); for competition/show (24,500); horses currently growing, including yearlings, weanlings, and foals (23,000); for racing (15,000); for work/transportation (12,500); as breeding stallions (3,900); and for other activities (13,000).

Data-based decisions

C. Jill Stowe, PhD, University of Kentucky Ag Equine Programs director and survey project leader, said the survey has been a long time in the making. It took 2 1/2 years to put together and cost $600,000, with two-thirds going directly to the NASS.

Researchers traveled the state for five months and met with equine groups to gain support and identify horse owners so they could be included in the list of names from which a sample of 15,000 were drawn who ultimately received the questionnaires.

To estimate the number of horse owners they missed, NASS representatives visited 279 parcels of land and went door to door.

Dr. Stowe say she hopes they can replicate the survey every 10 years or, perhaps, on a smaller scale more frequently.

“We need to be more nimble. If we could figure out a reasonable way to do a study like this every five years, it would allow the industry to react to changes more quickly. In addition, with the current data we have, there are further studies we'd like to do,” Dr. Stowe said, such as looking at equine operations that intend to make a profit and analyzing how they operate.

She anticipates the survey's results guiding everything from disease surveillance to the location for new equestrian trails to policy decisions. For example, in Kentucky, feed for livestock is exempt from sales tax, but feed for horses is not. Dr. Stowe said this survey gives estimated figures on how much money would be involved if the state were to make horse feed sales tax-exempt.

She adds that the survey data will be beneficial in guiding business owners and entrepreneurs on decisions about what kind of business to start and where, or if they should expand. In either case, the information allows these individuals to put together a solid business plan.

A veterinarian from Shelby County contacted her a year ago wanting to know how many horses were in the county, because he wanted to expand his veterinary clinic but to first make sure there was sufficient demand.

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Equine-related expenditures by equine operations in Kentucky totaled about $1.2 billion in 2012. Operating expenditures—including expenses paid for boarding, feed, veterinary services, farrier services, training, and other fees—totaled $839 million.

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 243, 9; 10.2460/javma.243.9.1218

“With this data, now we know where the industry stands, so that if another recession occurs, we can measure changes,” Dr. Stowe said. “One reason the industry came to us again to ask for help was because the recession hit, and farms were closing and horses leaving. However, there were no data available to measure those trends. Now, we have a benchmark and can measure future changes.”

Dr. Troedsson said what he took from the survey was that “it shows the horse industry still has a large impact on the economy. I think that was good news.”

Other states that have done similar surveys in the past decade include Michigan, North Carolina, Virginia, Indiana, New Jersey, and New York. Dr. Troedsson encourages more states to do them.

“To me, the significance of the study is that we now have data to make business plans and base lobbying activity on and to confirm that the horse industry is important to the Kentucky economy, as it gives context for state revenues,” he said.

“I think it's absolutely essential to have data to back up the importance of the horse industry to the economy if we want anything back from the state.”

Heartworm preventive resistance is real

By Greg Cima

Dr. Wallace Graham said heartworm experts seem to agree genetic change in heartworms is related to resistance to preventive drugs.

Dr. Graham is the immediate past president of the American Heartworm Society, and he said that presenters at the organization's triennial symposium Sept. 8–10 in New Orleans agreed that resistance is real, a more definitive conclusion than was available at the 2010 meeting. But those presenters disagreed over resistance's causes and contributing factors.

“Practitioners had believed that they were seeing that for some time, but of course, we can only talk definitively about facts that we have based upon scientific research,” Dr. Graham said. “So, I think some practitioners left the last meeting somewhat unsatisfied, because we were not able to say definitively resistance is possible, whereas now, we were able to do that.”

Dr. Graham said the symposium's speakers generally agreed that preventives fail most as a result of failure to properly administer the drugs or test for heartworms, and veterinarians can best serve patients by following the AHS guidelines on heartworm preventive use throughout the year and heartworm testing annually.

Dr. Stephen L. Jones, AHS president, said such resistance does not appear to be spreading beyond a small percentage of dogs in the Mississippi Delta, where it likely is most prevalent because of high rates of transmission by mosquitoes, although it could exist elsewhere.

Dr. Jones also noted that he has seen only reports of positive tests but no illness among dogs with resistant heartworms. A particularly unlucky dog could have two or three preventive-resistant heartworms, as preventives still protect against most infective larvae that pets encounter.

When resistant heartworms are suspected in dogs that are receiving preventives, Dr. Jones said it is more important than ever to administer treatment and try to eliminate both adult heartworms and microfilaria.

Resistance of Dirofilaria immitis to macrocyclic lactone drugs was one of the topics of the symposium, along with developments in diagnostics and epidemiology, heartworm disease management, feline heartworm infection, and clinicians’ observations.

Since the 2010 meeting, advancement in heartworm research improved understanding of endosymbiont Wolbachia organisms and their connection with heartworms and heartworm disease, the connection between heartworm and feline respiratory disease, and the parasites that produce signs that mimic heartworm-associated respiratory disease in cats, Dr. Graham said.

“It was a jam-packed meeting, and, I think, very well-received by the folks who were in attendance, especially the practitioners,” he said.

Dr. Graham said the veterinary profession needs more knowledge about heartworms and prevention, particularly on how macrocyclic lactones affect heartworms. Since 2010, he said, research has provided a better indication of how preventives work by showing that they seem to modify a heartworm's ability to hide itself from a host's immune system.

“It's impossible to fully understand resistance until we fully understand how the macrocyclic lactones work, and that's ongoing,” he said.

Dr. Jones said he would like to see further investigation into the pathology of heartworm infection, particularly into why the disease manifests in various clinical signs in dogs, which can have coughing, lung inflammation, or congestive heart failure, or why they can have no clinical signs at all.

The AHS recently approved spending $100,000 on heartworm-related research, which will be in addition to $40,000 available this year through an AHS research fund managed by the Morris Animal Foundation. Dr. Jones said the amount is a substantial investment toward improving understanding of heartworm disease.

Also during the meeting, Dr. Cristiano von Simson of Shawnee, Kan., became AHS vice president, and Dr. Robert W. Stannard of Livermore, Calif., became secretary-treasurer.

Saving pets through education

Dr. Stephen L. Jones is the 2013–2016 American Heartworm Society president

By Greg Cima

Dr. Stephen L. Jones estimates he treated 4,000 to 5,000 pets with heartworm infections before joining the American Heartworm Society's Executive Board in 2008.

When he did, fellow board members—including cardiologists and parasitologists—showed him he knew “nothing” about heartworm, he said.

“The amazing thing to me is to see how much I've learned in the past six years,” he said.

Dr. Jones, who started his three-year term as president of the society in September 2013, has worked to contribute to the organization on the basis of his clinical experience, complementing those working in research and academia.

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Dr. Stephen L. Jones

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 243, 9; 10.2460/javma.243.9.1218

For example, he could educate fellow members about the lack of clinical signs of disease in some dogs that had been infected for years with high volumes of Dirofilaria immitis as well as describe the reluctance among some clients to administering preventives to their pets. He knew that making heartworm prevention affordable could be difficult, particularly for clients who can barely afford rabies vaccines and own six or eight pets.

Dr. Jones became the AHS president during the group's 2013 Triennial Symposium, Sept. 8–10 in New Orleans. He also is a partner at Lakeside Animal Hospital in Moncks Corner, S.C., less than 20 miles from Summerville, where he grew up.

As a child, he spent time in nearby woods, using traps to capture birds, squirrels, and rabbits just long enough to see them up close. His father suggested that he become a veterinarian, and he wanted to be one since he was 12 years old.

After earning his DVM degree in 1985 at the University of Georgia, he looked for work close to home. He partnered with Dr. William West, who had founded Lakeside in 1981.

Moncks Corner is in an area with lakes, rivers, swamps, and, as a result, enough mosquitoes to make heartworm disease a common concern. Foxes, coyotes, and stray dogs also serve as hosts, as do pets that are not given preventives.

He hopes the AHS can improve awareness among the public and many veterinarians about the need for heartworm prevention and testing as well as improve its services for veterinarians and veterinary technicians, increase its role in research funding, and provide guidance for those running animal shelters.

Working with shelters

Dr. Jones said it seems that every animal shelter in the U.S. has different methods of dealing with heartworm infections. He wants the AHS to address a void in knowledge among many who operate those shelters. Some of those shelters do not test for heartworms and do not know when pets are infected, he said.

“Those pets continue to spread disease, and clients adopt pets not knowing that they have an illness or potential illness they're going to have to face,” he said.

For the shelters following AHS recommendations, treatment can take three to four months to eliminate heartworms in a dog, and keeping a dog in a shelter for so long can be problematic, Dr. Jones said. Shelter operators do not always give appropriate treatment or educate a pet's new owner on heartworm prevention.

Dr. Jones expressed hope that the AHS could develop some guidance in the next 12 months.

“We're hopeful to put together some information for animal shelters: something they can hold in their hands, pass along to people who adopt pets, educate their staff with, and make sure they understand the recommendations of the American Heartworm Society and why those recommendations are significant, why they are important,” he said.

Reaching veterinarians

Dr. Jones said the AHS board is working to deliver more information and make the organization more valuable to veterinarians and veterinary technicians, who have diverse interests and educational needs.

“For example, the heartworm symposium is a fabulous symposium if you want to go and learn about heartworm,” Dr. Jones said. “But, what if you also want to learn how to do a knee surgery, and you also want to learn more about cardiology?

“There are so many things that will take veterinarians in a different direction.” Dr. Jones hopes the AHS can periodically attract their attention toward heartworm disease.

“That has to come from them finding value in what we're doing—value in the information we produce, value in the posters they can print from our website, value in the downloaded application that can help them calculate treatments for heartworm disease,” he said.

He also wants to make sure veterinarians know about the AHS service that passes along its members’ heartworm-related questions to experts who can provide answers.

To better reach veterinarians and the public, the AHS also has been increasing its use of social media and working to improve its website and logo, providing opportunities to remind people what they need to do to prevent heartworm disease in both dogs and cats.

Even the dogs that survive heartworm infections can have permanent damage in blood vessels and lungs, potentially shortening their lives, he said. Infected cats can have reactions that cause increased vomiting, asthma-like signs, or death, even though heartworms are less likely to survive to adulthood in cats.

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Dr. Stephen L. Jones wants the American Heartworm Society to give more guidance to those who work in animal shelters. (Photo by Malinda Larkin)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 243, 9; 10.2460/javma.243.9.1218

Dr. Jones said people whose pets develop heartworm disease understand thereafter why preventives are needed, whereas educating others can be more difficult. Pet owners need to know that preventive care through annual checkups, vaccinations, and heartworm preventive use are helping keep their pets healthy.

“I would like all of my clients to prevent all of the diseases we can prevent,” he said. “And if we can do that, I won't have to work so hard.”

Investigations ongoing in dog illnesses, deaths

A recently discovered circovirus is no longer suspected as a cause of illnesses and deaths among dogs in Ohio.

The Ohio Department of Agriculture has been investigating possible connections among at least 12 dogs that developed similar clinical signs, including four that died, since August, in the Cincinnati and Akron areas. The department received reports that clinical signs included vomiting and diarrhea connected with vasculitis, weight loss, and lethargy.

Department investigators considered research published in April (Emerg Infect Dis 2013;19:534–541) that describes a novel circovirus first found in a dog in California that had hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, necrotizing vasculitis, and granulomatous lymphadenitis. The article, “Circovirus in tissues of dogs with vasculitis and hemorrhage,” indicates it is unclear whether the circovirus causes disease, but it should be considered in dogs with unexplained vasculitis.

Officials with Michigan State University announced in October that the circovirus had been found in two dogs that were coinfected with other organisms. One was coinfected with parvovirus, and details on the second dog were not immediately available.

Erica Hawkins, a spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Agriculture, said samples from 12 to 15 dogs considered to be part of the potential outbreak in Ohio were tested for the presence of the circovirus, and only two were positive. And she noted that the scientific article published in April indicated the circovirus has been found in healthy dogs.

Dr. Thomas P. Mullaney, acting director of the Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health at the MSU College of Veterinary Medicine, said merely finding the circovirus told investigators nothing about the cause of the disease. The diagnostic center planned further investigations using in situ hybridization, through which investigators can look for the virus in microscopic lesions.

Dr. Mullaney said coinfection with the novel circovirus and other pathogens may cause disease in dogs in the same manner that coinfection with porcine circovirus type 2 and other pathogens can cause disease in pigs.

The university announced that, once more common disease causes are excluded, veterinarians should consider circovirus to be a possible factor in dogs with clinical signs including vomiting, diarrhea, ascites, pleural effusion, hypovolemic shock, bicavitary hemorrhage, and disseminated intravascular coagulation.

AHA certification covers nearly 1 billion farm animals

The number of animals living on farms certified by the American Humane Association quintupled in 14 months.

Kathi Brock, director of AHA's Humane Heartland program, said in September that about 950 million animals were living on farms verified by the American Humane Certified program as providing acceptable animal care, up from about 190 million in mid-2012. The program expanded during that period largely because of the addition of two national poultry producers.

The population covered by the program had doubled by March to about 400 million animals with the addition of Foster Farms. In September, the AHA certified about 500 million turkeys owned by Butterball that also met the AHA requirements.

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A Large White turkey (Courtesy of USDA ARS)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 243, 9; 10.2460/javma.243.9.1218

“Both of those brands are major national brands, and that obviously accounts for that huge number,” Brock said. “But I think it's significant to say, even before that, for instance, we certified 94 percent of all the cage-free egg production in the United States.”

She noted that farms in the program—which raise livestock for meat, milk, and eggs—range in size from family farms to companies with national brands.

Brock said farms with small and large numbers of animals are certified, and the size of a farm is not an indicator of animal welfare.

“We don't think that size is really the factor, the indicator, whether the welfare is good or bad,” Brock said.” We think there's good welfare in both, and we're particularly pleased at the large producers that come forward and voluntarily meet our standards and want their performance verified by us.”

Brock said the number of animals in the program tells her that intensive production systems can meet welfare standards, and she commends those that have.

Assay to help identify PED-infected pigs

A new assay can determine which pigs have been infected with a virus that has killed thousands of pigs since the pathogen was identified in the U.S. this year.

And a pork industry organization indicated extra caution is needed in the fall to avoid spreading the virus through contaminated manure.

Officials with Iowa State University announced in September that the university's researchers had developed an indirect fluorescent antibody assay to detect serum antibodies against the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus in pigs. Assay results can determine whether a pig has been infected with the virus in the past, helping veterinarians and their clients understand whether mixing particular groups of pigs could pose a disease risk, the announcement states.

The ISU Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory is providing information on the test and the PED virus at http://vetmed.iastate.edu/diagnostic-lab.

The National Pork Board also announced that it was advocating for caution to prevent spread of the PED virus and providing guidelines for manure handlers at www.pork.org/pedv. The announcement indicated fall is a critical time to prevent spread of the virus, as it is when manure transporters travel between farms and manure is distributed on fields.

Porcine epidemic diarrhea had been prevalent among pigs in Asia and has been connected with sporadic outbreaks in Europe but was not found in the U.S. prior to this spring. Outbreaks cause high mortality among piglets.

Information distributed in early September by the American Association of Swine Veterinarians indicates veterinary diagnostic laboratories had received samples positive for the virus from farms in 17 states: Colorado, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin.

Pathogen's drug resistance varied across species in study

A study in the U.K. found that drug resistance patterns among Salmonella enterica Typhimurium DT104 isolates from humans differed from those isolated from livestock.

Officials with the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, a genomic research organization, announced in September that genetic variation and differences in drug resistance were found among 373 S Typhimurium isolates obtained from 1990–2011, mostly in Scotland, indicating that humans and livestock had separate populations of such bacteria. Those bacterial populations were more varied than expected, and domesticated animals may not be the primary source of antimicrobial-resistant Salmonella organisms that infects humans, the announcement states.

The announcement cites a scientific article, “Distinguished Epidemics of Multidrug-Resistant Salmonella Typhimurium DT104 in Different Hosts,” which was published Sept. 27 (Science 2013;341:1514–1517).

The article indicates that multidrug-resistant S Typhimurium DT104 caused a global epidemic in humans and animals throughout the 1990s, and animal populations were thought to be the primary source of infections in humans, through food and through contact between people and livestock.

The authors used whole-genome sequencing to examine the relationships among 142 isolates collected from humans and 120 isolates from animals in Scotland, as well as 111 isolates from other countries. The article indicates antimicrobial resistance, abbreviated in the article as “AMR,” was more diverse in the human population, and isolate transmission appeared to occur within each host population, with little spillover in either direction.

“With humans having a more diverse source of infections than the local animal population, it is probably that imported food, foreign travel, and environmental reservoirs are significant sources of Salmonella and AMR in humans in our study,” the article states.

AVMA warns of risks in lamb tail docking

Docking lambs’ tails can help save their lives, but cutting tails too short also can hurt the animals.

Lambs’ tails often are cut too short in attempts to make the lambs look better in livestock shows, according to a video developed by the AVMA and available since August.

Dr. Joseph H. Snyder, immediate past president of the American Association of Small Ruminant Practitioners, said in the video that the AVMA finds it unacceptable when lambs’ tails are docked too short, which often is done for cosmetic reasons and increases the risk of rectal prolapse. The video recommends that, when docking is needed, tails should be cut no shorter than the distal end of the caudal tail fold.

Local anesthetic should be used, and docking should be done at the earliest age practical.

The AVMA also states in the video that lambs and the sheep industry could benefit from alternatives to docking, such as genetic selection for shorter tails and attention to external parasite control.

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(Cour te sy of Dr. Joseph H. Snyder)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 243, 9; 10.2460/javma.243.9.1218

Tail docking can reduce the health risks caused by blowflies attracted to fecal soiling. The flies lay eggs in wool, offspring from which burrow into sheep's skin and poison the animals with secreted ammonia.

The video, “The AVMA's Policy on Docking of Lambs’ Tails,” is available at www.youtube.com/user/AmerVetMedAssn.

Correction

The article “International efforts continue to promote profession” in the Aug. 15, 2013, issue of JAVMA News inaccurately reported the month that the International Bourgelat Committee's international and national websites were scheduled to be up and running. The actual month is December 2013, on the occasion of the third World Conference on Veterinary Education in Brazil.

Cell, organ biotechnology center opening in Texas

A new center in Texas is aiming to become a global leader in adult stem cell research, organ transplantation, and personalized medicine.

Gov. Rick Perry announced on Sept. 13 a $3 million investment through the Texas Emerging Technology Fund to create the Center for Cell and Organ Biotechnology in collaboration with the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences and Texas Heart Institute.

Texas A&M's veterinary college is home to the Michael E. DeBakey Institute for Cardiovascular Sciences. The institute is known for its biomedical research programs in vascular studies and cardiovascular devices.

The new center will be co-located at the existing laboratories in Houston and College Station, and will take a multifaceted approach to chronic disease for both human and veterinary health care, looking at cell and organ failure. It will be led by Dr. Doris Taylor, director of regenerative medicine research at THI, whose concentration is on the adult human stem cell field. Scientists, engineers, physicians, veterinarians, and business managers from THI and Texas A&M will be a part of the center.

Dr. Eleanor M. Green, dean of the veterinary college, said in the press release, “We know that the health of animals and people is inextricably linked and this unique center will advance both human and animal health. Texas A&M veterinary students, medical students, undergraduate students, graduate students in biomedical sciences and other students from the Texas Medical Center and beyond will benefit from participating in the use of advanced stem cell technologies to advance the research of cardiovascular science, personalized medicine, organ replacement, regeneration and repair, and more.”

The Texas Emerging Technology Fund was created by the Texas Legislature in 2005 to enhance the quality of the Texas higher education system and its research potential by attracting world-class researchers to institutions in the state. To date, the fund has allocated more than $203 million to 142 early-stage companies and over $216 million in grant matching and research superiority funds to Texas universities.

Online business training courses created for practitioners

Veterinarians can strengthen their business knowledge and skills, thanks to a new Internet-based program.

Five courses with a total of 25 video modules are being offered online, with the assistance of the large animal continuing education site Animal Care Training on the following topics: budgeting, recruiting and hiring new employees, improving client satisfaction, personal financial management, and sales forecasting. The program targets veterinarians in rural areas.

The National Food Animal Veterinary Institute, based at Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph, created the program through a collaborative effort with Kansas State University and its colleges of business, veterinary medicine, and agriculture as well as Iowa State University, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Oklahoma State University, and the University of Missouri-Columbia.

The program, titled “Best Practices Business Model for Rural Veterinarians,” is anticipated to help veterinary practices stay in business and turn a profit so that they can grow and hire more people, said Bruce J. Prince, professor of management at KSU's business college, in an Aug. 19 press release.

“Veterinarians come out of school with really strong scientific and technical skills within the context of veterinary medicine, but, sometimes, they may lack the knowledge to run a small business, which is exactly what they will be doing,” he said.

David M. Andrus, PhD, professor of marketing, said helping large animal veterinarians engage in better business practices will help improve productivity, rural economies, and the food production chain as many other businesses, such as feedlots, ranches, and food supply companies, depend on veterinarians daily.

The new program helps veterinarians become financially successful, Dr. Andrus said in the press release. “Because of the increasing debt load from tuition, helping veterinarians learn how to manage finances involved with owning a business, a truck, a house and more, while planning for retirement, is essential,” he said.

Each course costs $75.

The NFAVI, supported by the Department of Agriculture's Rural Development and a handful of state departments of agriculture, was created in 2010 to foster the development of food animal practitioners (see JAVMA, Jan. 1, 2011, page 17). It emphasizes regulatory and continuing education as well as best practices business models for rural veterinarians.

To view the courses or for more information, visit www.nfavi.org or www.animalcaretraining.org.

South Dakota VMA

Event: Annual meeting, Aug. 11–14, Sioux Falls

Awards: Veterinarian of the Year: Dr. James Stangle, Milesville. A 1989 graduate of the Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Dr. Stangle owns a mainly large animal practice in Milesville. He is a past president of the South Dakota VMA. Dr. Stangle serves as a mentor and sponsor to veterinary and veterinary technology students during their internships. Distinguished

Service Award: Dr. George Twitero, Rapid City, won this award, given in honor of an individual who has brought distinction to the veterinary profession through devotion to the care and well-being of animals, support for the profession, and contributions to the community. A 1966 graduate of the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Twitero practices at Black Hills Animal Hospital in Rapid City. He is a past president of the South Dakota VMA, served as South Dakota's delegate to the AVMA House of Delegates from 1997–2013, and is a past member of the AVMA Judicial Council. Emerging Leader Award: Dr. Dustin Oedekoven, Pierre, won this award, given to a member who has graduated in the preceding 10 years and has a record of outstanding accomplishments in veterinary research, private practice, regulatory services, civic activities, or organized veterinary medicine. A 2002 graduate of the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Oedekoven is South Dakota state veterinarian and executive secretary of the South Dakota Animal Industry Board. He serves on the board of directors of the United States Animal Health Association and chairs its Committee on Tuberculosis. Dr. Oedekoven also serves on the industry board's Animal Disease Research and Diagnostic Laboratory Advisory Board.

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Dr. James Stangle

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 243, 9; 10.2460/javma.243.9.1218

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Dr. George Twitero

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 243, 9; 10.2460/javma.243.9.1218

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Dr. Dustin Oedekoven

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 243, 9; 10.2460/javma.243.9.1218

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Dr. Tom Rentschler

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 243, 9; 10.2460/javma.243.9.1218

Officials: Drs. Tom Rentschler, Tea, president; Todd Carr, Sioux Falls, president-elect; Christy Teets, Rapid City, vice president; Travis White, Wessington Springs, secretary-treasurer; Cindy Franklin, Yankton, immediate past president–AVMA alternate delegate; Chris Chase, Brookings, AVMA delegate; Mark Braunschmidt, Sioux Falls, District 1 representative; Chanda Nilsson, Groton, District 2 representative; and Ethan Andress, Lodgepole, District 3 representative

American Holistic VMA

Event: Annual meeting, Aug. 24–27, Kansas City, Mo.

Business: The AHVMA will continue to offer lectures that include traditional Chinese medicine training but will not submit them to the Registry of Approved Continuing Education for approval, since RACE will not grant CE credits for them.

Officials: Drs. Barbara Royal, Chicago, president; Mona Boudreaux, Wonder Lake, Ill., president-elect; Larry Bernstein, North Miami Beach, Fla., vice president; Tricia Stimac, Evergreen Park, Ill., secretary; and Dirk Yelinek, Redondo Beach, Calif., immediate past president

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Dr. Barbara Royal

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 243, 9; 10.2460/javma.243.9.1218

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Dr. Mona Boudreaux (Photo by Kerry Bolger)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 243, 9; 10.2460/javma.243.9.1218

Obituaries: AVMA member AVMA honor roll member Nonmember

Elwyn L. Church

Dr. Church (KSU ‘49), 86, Beach, N.D., died June 27, 2013. Prior to retirement in 1988, he worked for the Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service for 21 years. During that time, Dr. Church served as a veterinary medical officer and foreign animal disease diagnostician, was a member of task forces on hog cholera and Newcastle disease, and helped in the efforts to eradicate diseases such as tuberculosis and brucellosis. Early in his career, Dr. Church practiced mixed animal medicine in Battle Creek, Neb. He is survived by a son and two daughters; four grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren. Dr. Church's brother, Dr. Douglas Church (KSU ‘55), is a veterinarian in Salem, Ore.

Cecil R. Johnson

Dr. Johnson (IL ‘52), 91, Decatur, Ill., died Aug. 4, 2013. He practiced large animal medicine in the greater Blue Mound and Decatur areas of Illinois for 40 years, focusing on equine medicine toward the end of his career. Dr. Johnson was a member of the American Association of Equine Practitioners. He served in the Navy during World War II. Memorials may be made to the Humane Society of Decatur and Macon County, 2890 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Decatur, IL 62526; Homeward Bound Pet Shelter, 1720 Huston Drive, Decatur, IL 62526; or Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses, 876 W. Pershing Road, Decatur, IL 62526.

Leo J. Kirkegaard

Dr. Kirkegaard (ISU ‘51), 89, Sioux City, Iowa, died July 11, 2013. He founded South Omaha Animal Hospital in Omaha, Neb., and practiced mixed animal medicine prior to retirement in 1982. Dr. Kirkegaard also co-owned the Animal Emergency Clinic in Omaha. He was a Navy veteran of World War II. Dr. Kirkegaard is survived by two daughters; eight grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren. Memorials in his name may be made to the Siouxland Humane Society, 1015 Tri-View Ave., Sioux City, IA 51103.

Clyde E. Lanfair

Dr. Lanfair (COR ‘43), 92, Bennington, Vt., died June 5, 2013. Prior to retirement in 1991, he owned a mixed animal practice in Bennington. Earlier in his career, Dr. Lanfair served as a livestock inspector for the state of Vermont. He is survived by his wife, Beatrice; two sons; two stepsons; and three stepdaughters.

Michael T. Lender

Dr. Lender (OSU ‘73), 68, Orange, Conn., died July 10, 2013. A small animal veterinarian, he founded Orange Veterinary Hospital, where he practiced for almost 40 years. Early in his career, Dr. Lender worked at Fairport Animal Hospital in Orange. He was a member of the Connecticut VMA. Dr. Lender's wife, Marilyn; three daughters; and a son survive him.

Arthur Motta

Dr. Motta (COR ‘53), 90, Highland Village, Texas, died July 2, 2013. A mixed animal practitioner, he founded New Bedford Veterinary Hospital in New Bedford, Mass., where he practiced until retirement in 1992. During his career, Dr. Motta also served as the city's inspector of animals and was the on-call veterinarian for the Buttonwood Park Zoo. He served in the Marine Corps during World War II. Dr. Motta was active with the Boy Scouts. He is survived by his wife, Sylvia; three sons and two daughters; 12 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

Theodore B. Patek

Dr. Patek (ISU ‘49), 89, Yuma, Ariz., died April 1, 2013. He practiced primarily large animal medicine in Randolph, Wis., for 40 years prior to retirement. Dr. Patek was a lifetime member of the Dodge County VMA. He served in the Navy during World War II. Dr. Patek is survived by a daughter; four sons; and four grandchildren.

James L. Voss

Dr. Voss (COL ‘58), 79, Fort Collins, Colo., died July 12, 2013. Prior to retirement in 2001, he was dean of the Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences for 15 years. As dean, Dr. Voss fostered a successful period of growth in terms of buildings, research funding, faculty numbers, postgraduate training, and impact of the college on the veterinary profession. Under his guidance, the college also established its Veterinary Teaching Hospital, which was subsequently named in his honor.

Dr. Voss began his career at Colorado State in 1958 as an ambulatory veterinarian. He went on to head the clinical sciences department at the College of Veterinary Medicine prior to becoming dean in 1986. Known for his expertise in equine medicine and his contributions to equine research, Dr. Voss was a past president of the American Association of Equine Practitioners. He was also a past president of the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges and the Colorado VMA. Dr. Voss served on the AVMA Council on Education from 1997–2001. He received several honors, including the AAEP Distinguished Life Membership Award in 2002 and the CSU Honor Alumnus Award in 2004.

Dr. Voss is survived by his wife, Kathleen; two sons and a daughter; and seven grandchildren. One son, Dr. Edward D. Voss (KSU ‘91), is a veterinarian in Chandler, Ariz. Memorials may be made to Colorado State University/Equine Reproduction Laboratory, CVMBS Dean's Office, Colorado State University, 1601 Campus Delivery, Fort Collins, CO 80523.

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