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A specialty whose time has come

Shelter medicine recognized as veterinary specialty

By R. Scott Nolen


Photo by R. Scott Nolen

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 244, 11; 10.2460/javma.244.11.1218

Dramatic advances in the science and practice of shelter veterinary medicine have occurred since the first courses on shelter animal health were taught in veterinary colleges in the 1990s.

In less than two decades, shelter medicine has evolved into a distinct field of veterinary practice drawing on a wide range of disciplines, from design and oversight of preventive health care protocols to veterinary forensics, all aimed at ensuring shelter animal well-being while protecting public health.

Training in shelter medicine is now offered at almost every veterinary college in North America along with several postgraduate internships and residencies, while hundreds of hours of continuing education on the subject are presented at veterinary conferences every year. The Association of Shelter Veterinarians, which began as a grass-roots movement in 2001, today claims more than a thousand members, including some 700 veterinarians, and has student chapters in 22 veterinary colleges.

So it was no surprise when the AVMA Executive Board on April 11 voted unanimously in favor of granting provisional recognition to the Shelter Medicine Practice specialty within the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners, on a recommendation from the AVMA's American Board of Veterinary Specialties. Shelter medicine was one of two veterinary specialties recognized by the AVMA board this April (see story on equine dentistry specialty, page 1223).

“This group has been passionate about elevating the level of medicine provided to shelter animals, and their effort has paid off. I am very happy for them and what this will mean for the animals that find themselves in shelters,” ABVP President Amy Vogt told JAVMA News.

Dr. Kate Hurley oversees the shelter medicine program at the University of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. She is amazed at how quickly the field of shelter medicine has evolved, from its fragmented and marginalized beginnings to recognition by the American Board of Veterinary Specialties. “I remember when shelter medicine as a veterinary specialty wasn't even a twinkle in anyone's eye. ABVS recognition certainly came much sooner than I expected,” Dr. Hurley acknowledged.

Shortly after receiving her veterinary degree from UC-Davis in 1999, Dr. Hurley was working at an animal shelter when parvovirus struck. She felt overwhelmed and unprepared. “I had one veterinarian telling me vaccinating dogs on intake wouldn't work, and another colleague telling me the test wasn't reliable, and I had animals with bloody diarrhea and 150 dogs at risk,” she recalled.

“I had to make a decision,” Dr. Hurley continued, “and it was going to have far-reaching consequences for the animals in my shelter, our reputation in the community, and potentially for pet animal health if I let animals go out of my shelter sick. That's when I realized we need to think about animal shelters as a whole system, much the same as we think about herd health.”

Dr. Hurley returned to UC-Davis in 2001 to start the world's first residency in shelter medicine. “I was the first person crazy enough to undertake a residency in shelter medicine when there was no clear path for what that would mean,” she noted.

That path would eventually lead Dr. Hurley to co-chairing the committee that in 2012 would formally petition the ABVS for recognition of shelter medicine as a veterinary specialty. Her co-chair, Dr. Brenda Griffin, said that, unlike conventional small animal practice and its focus on individual patients, shelter medicine must address the well-being of entire populations of captive dogs and cats in the context of unique shelter environments.

“Shelter medicine is a very, very unique blend of population and individual health care,” said Dr. Griffin, a professor of shelter medicine at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine. “Our endpoint is to be able to release physically and behaviorally healthy animals into the community for a lifetime of care from practitioners in the community.”

Most communities are home to at least one animal shelter, which may be a public or private institution, a small sanctuary providing lifetime care, or a large facility that admits thousands of animals annually. Demand for long-term shelter of homeless animals has increased in recent years, Dr. Griffin explained, putting these populations at greater risk of contracting infectious disease, developing problem behaviors, and having their welfare compromised.


Photo by R. Scott Nolen

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 244, 11; 10.2460/javma.244.11.1218

The role of veterinary medicine within the animal shelter community has historically been limited to neutering animals and treating the ill. One of the new veterinary specialty's goals is to increase veterinary guidance within the animal shelter community and provide science-based recommendations that protect the health and welfare of millions of homeless animals.

The skills and knowledge a veterinarian needs to work effectively within the animal shelter context go beyond medical and surgical skills, according to Dr. Stephanie Janeczko, ASV president and senior director of community outreach shelter medicine programs for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

“Shelter medicine practice encompasses all aspects of veterinary medicine that are relevant to the management of shelter animal populations, including many skills beyond medical and surgical care,” Dr. Janeczko said. “As shelter veterinarians, we must take a broad approach to the physical and behavioral health of the animals that addresses community-level concerns and protects public health. This includes a thorough understanding of epidemiology, immunology, infectious diseases, and animal behavior; educating and managing staff; facilitating spay-neuter and adoption programs; and addressing cases of animal cruelty.

“It really is a distinct area of practice, and it requires a distinct set of skills and application of knowledge.”

A distinguishing characteristic of a board-certified shelter veterinarian will be a knowledge base and skill set applicable to the wide variety of shelter types. “A veterinarian can become an expert on their own shelter, but no two shelters are alike,” Dr. Hurley noted. A shelter medicine specialist will be able to optimize shelter animals' physical health; enhance shelter animal behavioral health; protect community and public health; alleviate companion animal homelessness; address animal cruelty, abuse, and neglect; facilitate animal shelter management; serve as a resource on animals and public policy; and advance the practice of shelter medicine.

Shelter medicine diplomates will likely be found working in municipal and nonprofit shelters as medical or executive directors, in academia, for nongovernmental organizations, in federal and state departments or agencies, and as consultants. “We're seeing an incredible amount of excitement because shelter medicine has traditionally been overlooked as a veterinary practice area,” Dr. Griffin said.

The inaugural examination for specialty certification in shelter medicine is scheduled for November 2015. The application deadline is September 2014, and the credentialing deadline is January 2015. For more information about the examination or the Association of Shelter Veterinarians, go to www.sheltervet.org.


“Shelter medicine is a very, very unique blend of population and individual health care,” says Dr. Brenda Griffin, a professor of shelter medicine at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine. Courtesy of Dr. Brenda Griffin

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 244, 11; 10.2460/javma.244.11.1218


Board recognizes new specialties, condemns horse tripping


Photo by R. Scott Nolen

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 244, 11; 10.2460/javma.244.11.1218

The AVMA Executive Board convened April 10–12 at Association headquarters in Schaumburg, Ill., with an agenda of proposals concerning veterinarians as well as animal health and welfare.

Dr. Thomas Meyer, the District XI representative to the board, chaired the meeting, where shelter medicine and equine dentistry were recognized as the newest veterinary specialties.

Plans to investigate the feasibility of developing a national online registry for veterinary clinical trials were approved. The AVMA Council on Research recommendation includes forming a working group to study the usefulness, costs, and benefits of creating and operating a publicly accessible database that lists ongoing veterinary clinical trials.

In addition to adopting a new AVMA policy opposing horse tripping, the board referred revised versions of policies on pregnant sow housing, cat declawing, veterinary dentistry, and judicious therapeutic use of antimicrobials to the House of Delegates for consideration during its regular annual session in July.

Board members also authorized Student AVMA representation on the Committee on International Veterinary Affairs and the AVMA hosting a Veterinary Feed Directive Summit this summer to discuss proposed Food and Drug Administration regulations.

New specialty for equine dentistry a go

By Malinda Larkin

Equine dentistry has become one of the newest veterinary specialties to be recognized by the AVMA.

At its April meeting, the AVMA Executive Board approved a petition from the equine dentistry organizing committee to receive provisional recognition as a specialty within the American Veterinary Dental College. Prospective members may now become diplomates after fulfilling the requirements.

Representatives of the proposed specialty initially submitted a letter of intent to the AVMA's American Board of Veterinary Specialties in January 2012. Near the end of 2012, the group submitted a petition for recognition to the ABVS Committee on the Development of New Specialties, and the petition was opened for public comment. In September 2013, the equine dentistry group submitted a full petition and response to public comments to the ABVS for consideration. At its February meeting, the ABVS approved a motion to recommend provisional recognition of Equine Dentistry within the AVDC to the AVMA Executive Board.

Dr. Ed Murphey, assistant director of the AVMA Education and Research Division, said one of the criteria for recognition as a new specialty is whether the field represents a distinct facet of veterinary medicine and is substantiated by a sizeable volume of scientific evidence. Equine dentistry met that threshold not only because of the anatomic differences between horses and other animals but also because of the number of continuing education opportunities, book chapters, published papers, and courses offered at veterinary colleges in this area, he said.

Dr. Kenneth Bartels, the AVMA House Advisory Committee chair, added that the new specialty could be a benefit for states dealing with scope-of-practice issues in the area of equine dentistry. Dr. Bartels, who's from Oklahoma, can attest to the struggle between the Oklahoma State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners and Oklahoma Farm Bureau five years ago over whether aypersons could float teeth, among other things.

“We had difficult advocacy issues in Oklahoma. Having this specialty could be a benefit and show a state legislature this is, indeed, taken seriously by veterinary medicine and the veterinary colleges, and so, I'm in support of it,” Dr. Bartels said.

Specialty organizations granted continued AVMA recognition

The AVMA has granted continued recognition to 22 veterinary specialty organizations following a review of reports from each organization by the AVMA's American Board of Veterinary Specialties.

The AVMA Executive Board approved the ABVS recommendation to grant official AVMA recognition to the following organizations at the indicated levels: Continued full recognition based on 2013 five-year, in-depth reports—American College of Theriogenologists; American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists; and American College of Veterinary Clinical Pharmacology. Continued full recognition based on 2013 annual reports—American Board of Veterinary Practitioners; American Board of Veterinary Toxicology; American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine; American College of Poultry Veterinarians; American College of Veterinary Anesthesia and Analgesia; American College of Veterinary Behaviorists; American College of Veterinary Dermatology; American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care; American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine; American College of Veterinary Microbiologists; American College of Veterinary Nutrition; American College of Veterinary Pathologists; American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine; American College of Veterinary Radiology; American College of Veterinary Surgeons; American College of Zoological Medicine; and American Veterinary Dental College. Continued provisional recognition based on 2013 interim reports—American College of Animal Welfare and American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation.

AVMA recognition is granted at the designated levels for one year, in keeping with the ABVS Policies and Procedures Manual.

Registry for veterinary clinical trials being considered

The AVMA is set to study the feasibility of creating a national online registry for veterinary clinical trials.

The Executive Board approved a proposal from the AVMA Council on Research to form a working group tasked with determining the usefulness, costs, and benefits associated with developing and operating a publicly accessible database listing ongoing veterinary clinical trials.

No mechanisms currently exist on a national scale in veterinary medicine to connect candidate patients with clinical trials or to disseminate knowledge about them from study directors to veterinarians and their clients, according to the recommendation background. It goes on: “Thus, clinical trials in veterinary medicine are predisposed to failure simply because they are frequently underpowered to reach statistically significant results—they simply do not have enough patients to detect modest, but clinically significant, differences between treatment groups.”

Therefore, the background states, a searchable, actively maintained, publicly accessible clinical trials registry that was widely visible online would disseminate knowledge of, facilitate access to, and enhance enrollment of sufficient numbers of patients to ensure that potentially lifesaving therapies were adequately studied and assessed.

A veterinary clinical trials registry would not only benefit companion animals, their owners, and veterinarians but also have implications for one health, the council stated. Many spontaneously occurring diseases in animals also occur in humans; validation through a well-conducted and well-populated clinical trial would be of immense value in coordinating research with the National Institutes of Health on similar conditions in people, the council noted.


Executive Board member Dr. Michael Newman, District III, discusses the potential advantages of a national online registry for veterinary clinical trials. Photo by R. Scott Nolen

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 244, 11; 10.2460/javma.244.11.1218

Members of the working group would ideally represent veterinary academic institutions with experience in clinical trials, private veterinary practice, pharmaceutical or device companies, veterinary partner associations, the National Institutes of Health's National Cancer Institute, and the National Libraries of Medicine.

Young leaders sought for international committee

The AVMA Committee on International Veterinary Affairs has added two new positions: one representing recent graduates or emerging leaders, another representing the Student AVMA.

The AVMA Executive Board approved the two new seats during its April meeting; the terms will begin with the 2014–2015 Association year in July.

The committee currently comprises the following eight members: the AVMA director of international affairs, North American councilor to the World Veterinary Association, AVMA representatives to the Pan-American Association of Veterinary Sciences and the World Small Animal Veterinary Association, a member representing the AVMA Executive Board, two members representing the AVMA Council on Education, and a member representing the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges.

“Committee members who interact with young veterinarians on a regular basis through continuing education courses, meetings, or other organizations noted that global animal health and one-health issues and opportunities resonate strongly with (young veterinarians and students). Moreover, many bring a wealth of experience and expertise to these discussions surrounding the Association's role in these issues and opportunities,” according to the background with the recommendation.

The AVMA board will appoint the recent graduate—defined by the AVMA as a veterinarian who graduated within the preceding five years—or emerging leader—defined as a veterinarian who graduated within the preceding five to 15 years—to a three-year term that can be renewed once. The veterinary student representative will be appointed by the SAVMA Executive Board.

The AVMA board also approved a new charge for the committee, which now states it “will evaluate trends and activities that enhance and sustain the AVMA's role in global veterinary medicine, and propose programs, initiatives, and strategic partnerships to create and enhance global opportunities for AVMA and SAVMA members.”

Horse tripping a new welfare concern

By Malinda Larkin

The AVMA has come out against the practice of horse tripping, which involves roping the front or hind legs of a galloping horse while on foot or horseback, causing it to trip and fall for entertainment purposes.

The AVMA Executive Board approved a policy in April, recommended by the AVMA Animal Welfare Committee, that reads as follows:


Horse Tripping

The AVMA opposes tripping, injuring or causing the death of horses, mules and donkeys for any entertainment purpose or during the training of such equids for any entertainment purpose.

Horse tripping, a long-standing tradition in Mexican-style rodeos (“charreadas”), has been on the Association's and the American Association of Equine Practitioners' radar the past few years after AVMA and AAEP members voiced their concerns about the practice.

The practice has been banned in 11 states, including Texas, California, New Mexico, and Arizona. However, attempts to circumvent animal cruelty regulations continue at county and local events, according to the AVMA Animal Welfare Committee. The three events during a charreada that include horse tripping are as follows:

  • • “Piales en lienzo”: roping the hind legs of a horse.

  • • “Manganas a pie”: roping the front legs of a horse while on foot.

  • • “Manganas a caballo”: roping the front legs of a horse while on horseback.

Points are awarded for how quickly the “charro,” or roper, can rope the horse.

Reported horse injuries include lacerations, dislocated joints, fractured bones, and teeth, neck, and shoulder injuries. Additional concerns that have been expressed are that the horses used for these rodeos are underfed, overused, and repeatedly roped until lame, sometimes with rope burns down to the bone.

The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and the National Professional Rodeo Association have prohibited the intentional tripping of horses at their sanctioned events. The Charro Federation USA, which oversees larger charreadas, has penalties for charros who trip horses.


A roper, or “charro,” ropes a horse during a Mexican-style rodeo called a “charreada.” Some of the events feature a practice that involves horse tripping, which the AVMA and other organizations consider inhumane.

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 244, 11; 10.2460/javma.244.11.1218

An AAEP contingent of Drs. Jeff Blea, president, and Jerry B. Black, Tom Lenz, and Doug G. Corey attended a charreada put on by the Charro Federation USA this past fall in Pico Rivera, Calif. Dr. Blea said he was impressed with their horsemanship and care for horses, but added, “But I'm not naive. I'm sure some of this horse tripping that's alleged does go on in smaller, unsanctioned events by associations not as well organized and attuned to welfare” as the Charro Federation USA.

In February, the AAEP board of directors approved a new position on the use of equids in entertainment that included the AAEP's opposition to horse tripping.

CVTEA changes accreditation term

The AVMA Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities has taken steps to eliminate confusion over one of its accreditation terms.

The term “provisional accreditation” has been replaced by the term “initial accreditation.” The committee believes using the latter term will more accurately convey the accreditation standing and process to stakeholders and the public. The AVMA Executive Board approved the committee's recommendation in April.

This category of accreditation is given to newly accredited programs for their first five years. Programs receiving this designation are considered AVMA-accredited programs, with graduates eligible for licensure.

However, according to the CVTEA, the perception was that “provisional” equated to “temporary, less accredited, or not yet accredited.”

“This resulted in frequent misunderstanding by state licensing boards and associations on the eligibility of candidates for licensure. In addition, the general public is often confused on the meaning of ‘provisional,’ generating numerous inquiries by phone and email for clarification,” the background to the recommendation stated.

Pregnant sow housing, cat declawing on HOD agenda

Veterinary dentistry, antimicrobials also will get consideration

By Malinda Larkin

The AVMA Executive Board during its April meeting voted to send four policies to the AVMA House of Delegates for it to consider at its upcoming annual session, July 24–25 in Denver, preceding the AVMA Annual Convention.

The first is a revised policy on “Pregnant Sow Housing” that was sent to the House so delegates may consider it along with another policy on the same topic that the Humane Society VMA will likely introduce. The board submitted the revised policy with a recommendation for approval.

The decision to revise the policy was spurred by AVMA Animal Welfare Committee discussions on decisions by pork processors, distributors, and retailers as well as actions taken by state and international governments and agencies regarding the use of stalls to house pregnant sows and corresponding requests for information and comments from the AVMA over the past two years.

During its fall 2013 meeting, the committee created a “perspective-balanced topical subcommittee,” with the AWC representative from the American Association of Swine Veterinarians as lead. The group made its recommendations during the AWC's spring 2014 meeting, and the AWC subsequently voted to send the revised policy to the board.

The revised policy adds wording to clarify some points on research in this area and pig behavior in this type of housing. Regarding the latter, the revised policy states, “The AVMA encourages ongoing research to better understand and meet the welfare needs of gestating sows. Appropriate and ongoing training for people handling and working with pregnant sows is critical to ensure that they are able to provide and promote good welfare within the management system being used.”

The committee also added wording that says, “There are advantages and disadvantages to any sow housing system and the benefits and harms to the animals of each should be considered by weighing scientific evidence and veterinary professional judgment.”

Board Chair Thomas F. Meyer, District XI, stated at the April board meeting, “To my understanding, the wording in this policy has been a nice consensus compromise. It brought everyone to the middle of the road for now; it's a workable policy that everybody at this point in time can hang their hat on. We could have approved this today in its form, and at the end of the day, we know we'd like to make this our policy, and we're hoping the House can make this our policy.” For more information, visit http://goo.gl/W4Q800.

Cat declawing

The board also sent another revised policy from the Animal Welfare Committee, this one on “Declawing of Domestic Cats,” to the HOD with a recommendation for approval.

Substantive revisions being recommended include the following:

  • • Clarification that onychectomy is a major surgical procedure in cats.

  • • Acknowledgment that, in addition to potentially transmitting zoonotic diseases, cats with claws may pose increased risks of injury and morbidity for certain owners. The revised statement also cautions that such risks should not be generalized to the human population at large but should be considered on a case-by-case basis.

  • • Recognition that, while claws contribute to the ability of cats to defend themselves from various threats, cats that are declawed may be safely allowed outdoors if they are appropriately supervised.

The language of the revised policy mirrors existing policies of the American Animal Hospital Association and the American Association of Feline Practitioners

Dr. Gail C. Golab, director of the AVMA Animal Welfare Division, said the committee was trying to achieve balance.

“Declawing is one of those situations where behavioral issues can become a welfare issue, in which owners have to address the scratching issues or the cat risks relinquishment,” she said. “This (policy) does not say you can't declaw. It does say you need to give serious consideration to when it is or is not appropriate to do so.”

Antimicrobial use

The board also referred to the HOD a revised policy on “Judicious Therapeutic Use of Antimicrobials” with a recommendation for approval.

In 2013, the AVMA Food Safety Advisory Committee began a review of the policy that included an examination of the judicious therapeutic antimicrobial use policies of the Association's allied organizations.

The FSAC spent the past year updating the policy language to provide consistency and harmonization with other AVMA policies and with those of allied organizations, the committee explained in the recommendation background. The revisions also reflect current objectives, strategies, and needs related to the judicious use of antimicrobials by veterinarians.

The updated policy, the FSAC stated, provides appropriate guidance to veterinarians as well as messaging to stakeholders on the judicious therapeutic use of antimicrobials by veterinarians.

Types of dentistry

And finally, a revised policy on “Veterinary Dentistry” submitted by the AVMA Council on Veterinary Service was referred by the board to the HOD with a recommendation for approval.

Revisions were made for clarity and to include language that addresses equine dentistry. The council sought input from the American Veterinary Dental College, the American Animal Hospital Association, and the American Association of Equine Practitioners in the process of reviewing this policy along with member input through the policy comment process and direct emails to staff.

According to the recommendation background, “Dentistry without anesthesia was considered during the review. The opinion of the council was that most invasive procedures should be performed on animals that have been sedated or anesthetized.”

Dr. Patricia Wohlferth-Bethke, an assistant director of the AVMA Membership and Field Services Division and staff liaison to the COVS, said the council has formed a subcommittee to investigate other methods of dentistry that are developing, such as those that do not require anesthesia, but indicated that the COVS felt strongly that this revised policy should still go forward as the subcommittee does its work.

AVMA continues to work with FDA on antimicrobials

By Malinda Larkin

The AVMA intends to give the Food and Drug Administration feedback on—and essentially review—licensing and oversight requirements in newly proposed veterinary feed directive regulations that will affect clinical practitioners.

Already, the AVMA has been working closely with the FDA as it plans to require increased veterinary oversight of medically important antimicrobials in feed and, by the end of 2016, to phase out production uses—e.g., growth promotion and feed efficiency—of such antimicrobials.

That increase in oversight will include eliminating over-the-counter availability of those drugs, some of which, instead, will be available through veterinary feed directives for disease treatment, prevention, or control. The FDA is trying to improve the VFD requirements ahead of that change. At press time, the agency had not yet announced its timeline for issuing the final VFD rule.

The VFD is the primary mechanism for veterinary oversight of antimicrobials administered in feed. Dr. Joni Scheftel, chair of the AVMA Steering Committee for FDA Policy on Veterinary Oversight of Antimicrobials (VOSC), described the directive as “prescriptionlike, but for feed only,” during the AVMA Executive Board meeting in April. The VFD is federally regulated, whereas prescriptions are regulated by states. Currently, there are only two VFD drugs: tilmicosin and florfenicol.

“During this transition, it is critical that the VFD program is as efficient as possible while protecting human and animal health and welfare. In the recently released proposed rule for VFDs, the FDA has included nearly all recommendations provided by the VOSC and the AVMA to improve efficiency of the program,” according to the VOSC. The committee also said that, because the program has not yet been finalized or implemented, it is difficult to predict what inefficiencies or obstacles may be encountered.

So, on the basis of a recommendation by the VOSC, this April the board approved a VFD tabletop summit for June 9–10 at AVMA headquarters. The purpose is to simulate the use of veterinary feed directives in real-life scenarios to identify possible unanticipated consequences, obstacles, and inefficiencies in the rules before they are finalized. The VFD scenarios will be designed to engage practitioners and other affected parties and allow collaboration to respond to the implementation of changes to the VFD process.

Dr. Christine Hoang, an assistant director of the AVMA Scientific Activities Division, said, “We don't want to wait until it's fully implemented to find out what the challenges might be. We want to provide feedback to the FDA so that can potentially be incorporated into the final rule.”

Dr. Hoang added that, at a meeting among AVMA, FDA, and Department of Agriculture representatives in February, the AVMA and USDA were informed that there would be an “aggressive timeline,” meaning the AVMA needs to give information learned to the FDA soon, so as not to delay the regulatory process.

In 2011, the AVMA had two in-person meetings with the FDA that were spent discussing recommendations from the VOSC for the VFD program. Among the AVMA recommendations reflected in the proposed FDA rule are a requirement for compliance with applicable licensing and omission of language defining the veterinarian-client-patient relationship.

Dr. Scheftel explained that enforcement and control of veterinary professional conduct is a state function through licensure and state practice acts.

Therefore, the proposed regulations say a veterinarian may issue a VFD for use in animals only “under his or her supervision or oversight in the course of his or her professional practice, and in compliance with all applicable veterinary licensing and practice requirements.” In other words, to issue a VFD, a veterinarian must be licensed in the state in which the animals reside and comply with the tenets of the VCPR and other requirements for professional conduct in that state.

In addition, on Dec. 11, 2013, the FDA gave pharmaceutical companies 90 days to tell the agency whether they will comply with the plan to phase out production uses of medically important antimicrobials. In late March, the agency announced that 25 of the 26 affected pharmaceutical companies had agreed to comply (see JAVMA, May 15, 2014, page 1118).

For more information about the proposed veterinary feed directive regulations, visit http://goo.gl/7tY9Yt.

AVMA no-vote on pet prescription legislation

The reintroduction of the Fairness to Pet Owners Act in this current session of Congress prompted the AVMA Executive Board to reiterate its opposition to the legislation, which the Association considers unnecessary and an administrative burden for veterinary practitioners.

Rep. Jim Matheson of Utah introduced H.R. 4023 on Feb. 10 with the intent of promoting competition and helping consumers save money by giving them the freedom to choose where they buy prescription pet medications.

Matheson's bill would require veterinarians to provide a pet owner with a prescription before offering to fill the prescription or dispense the medication, whether the owner requested the prescription or not. The prescribing veterinarian could neither require payment for the prescription nor ask the pet owner to sign a waiver or disclaim liability.

During the previous congressional session, the AVMA took a position of “active pursuit of defeat” for a similar piece of legislation. The newest version of the Fairness to Pet Owners Act differs in two main ways, however: The veterinarian would not be required to provide the client with a written notification informing clients that they could take the prescription to be filled elsewhere, and medications administered by the veterinarian while providing acute care would be exempt.

The AVMA Legislative Advisory Committee reviewed H.R. 4023 and recommended the Executive Board again approve taking a position of “active pursuit of defeat.”

The legislative committee explained in the recommendation background that the Principles of Veterinary Medical Ethics and most states already require veterinarians to honor a client's request to receive a written copy of any prescription. Thus, the requirement that a written prescription be provided prior to offering to fill it or determining whether the client would like to go elsewhere creates an administrative burden for veterinarians and veterinary clinics.

Additionally, the committee noted that the AVMA Council on Biologic and Therapeutic Agents, Clinical Practitioners Advisory Committee, Council on Veterinary Service, and Veterinary Economics Strategy Committee suggest that the Executive Board oppose H.R. 4023.

The Fairness to Pet Owners Act was at press time before the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade.

Research symposium gets further AVMA, AVMF support

A popular meeting for veterinary students interested in research has gained further support from the AVMA and American Veterinary Medical Foundation in recent months.

Each summer, several hundred veterinary students participate in research projects conducted by investigators at veterinary colleges in the U.S. and abroad. These summer research experiences culminate in the presentation of their research findings at the Merial-National Institutes of Health Veterinary Scholars Symposium. Last year's symposium, held at Michigan State University, saw 600 registrants, including 458 students who presented their research findings.

The success of the program in recent years has imposed increasing logistic and financial burdens on host institutions. To help, AVMA Executive Board members, during their April meeting, approved developing a process to collect abstract submissions and collate them into a program abstract booklet as an in-kind donation to support the symposium. The Council on Research made the recommendation. The cost is estimated at up to $8,066 per year, starting next year.

It's likely that a digital edition of the booklet would be much less costly, once the AVMA Information Technology Division develops it, according to the background.

In addition, the AVMA and AVMF approved a program in spring 2013 called the Second Opportunity Summer Scholars Awards. Ten veterinary students who participated in the 2013 summer research program have been awarded $5,000 stipends to perform a second research project this summer. Each award includes $1,000 to cover travel expenses to the symposium, which will be held July 31-Aug. 3 at Cornell University.

The AVMA, via the AVMF, supports the symposium with $20,000 annually. Part of that money is used to sponsor the Young Investigators Award competition and to pay expenses associated with hosting the AVMA Excellence in Research Awards.

In January of this year, the AVMA Executive Board approved hosting the symposium in conjunction with the 2020 AVMA Annual Convention, to be held July 30-Aug. 4 in San Diego.

For more information about the Merial-NIH Veterinary Scholars Symposium, visit www.merialscholars.com.

Board makes appointments

The AVMA Executive Board made the following appointments during its April meeting.

Animal Welfare Committee

Representing the American Association of Corporate and Public Practice Veterinarians, primary representative—Dr. Hilton Klein, Lansdale, Pa.; American Association of Feline Practitioners, alternate representative—Dr. Nancy Suska, Alexandria, Va.; American Society of Laboratory Animal Practitioners, primary representative—Dr. Leanne Alworth, Athens, Ga.; ASLAP, alternate representative—Dr. David Schabdach, Pittsburgh; and Association of Shelter Veterinarians, alternate representative—Dr. Jyothi Robertson, Belmont, Calif.

Aquatic Veterinary Medicine Committee

Representing private clinical practice, companion aquatic animal—Dr. Brian Palmeiro, Allentown, Pa.; private or public practice, food animal production—Dr. Grace Karreman, Nanaimo, British Columbia; and public health or epidemiology—Dr. Thomas Waltzek, Gainesville, Fla.

AVMA Group Health & Life Insurance Trust

At-large representatives—Drs. Blair Hollowell, Virginia Beach, Va.; Dwight King, Wharton, Texas; and Carolynn MacAllister, Stillwater, Okla.


At-large representatives—Drs. Stuart Brown, Lexington, Ky., and Rosemary LoGiudice, Bartlett, Ill.

AVMA Political Action Committee Policy Board

Representing Area 1, Eastern states—Dr. Gary Bullard, Austell, Ga.

Clinical Practitioners Advisory Committee

Representing the American Animal Hospital Association, primary representative—Dr. Thomas Cusick, Watertown, Mass.; AAHA, alternate representative—Dr. Robert Trupp, Topeka, Kan.; American Association of Avian Pathologists, primary representative—Dr. Hector Cervantes, Watkinsville, Ga.; American Association of Small Ruminant Practitioners, alternate representative—Dr. Sarah Lowry, Lockport, N.Y.; and zoo and wildlife medicine, primary representative—Dr. Victoria Clyde, Milwaukee.

Committee on Disaster and Emergency Issues

Representing equine medicine—Dr. Jeanne Rankin, Raynesford, Mont.; small animal practice—Dr. H. Jay Kerr, San Ramon, Calif.; and Veterinary Medical Assistance Teams—Dr. Patrice Klein, Washington Grove, Md.


Executive Board member Dr. Chester Rawson, District VI, follows the discussion. Photo by R. Scott Nolen

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 244, 11; 10.2460/javma.244.11.1218

Committee on Environmental Issues

Representing bovine practice—Dr. Greg Sykes, West Grove, Pa.; veterinary toxicology—Dr. Karyn Bischoff, Ithaca, N.Y.; and avian medicine—Dr. Patrick Redig, Scandia, Minn.

Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities

Representing clinical veterinary medicine, small animal—Dr. Edward Javorka, Culver, Ind.; and veterinary technicians—Ramona Crane, Colorado Springs, Colo.

Educational Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates

Representing clinical practitioners holding an ECFVG certificate—Dr. Neil Moss, Kaysville, Utah; state veterinary licensing boards—Dr. Kristin Woestehoff, Monument, Colo.; and veterinary surgery or anesthesia—Dr. Diane Craig, Tustin, Calif.

Food Safety Advisory Committee

Representing American Association of Food Safety Veterinarians, primary representative—Dr. Katherine Waters, St. Paul, Minn.; AAFSV, alternate representative—Dr. Candace Jacobs, Olympia, Wash.; and American Association of Small Ruminant Practitioners, alternate representative—Dr. Jason Johnson, Tazewell, Tenn.

Governance Performance Review Committee

At-large representative—Dr. Saundra Willis, Tacoma, Wash., and representing AVMA committees—Dr. Lori Teller, Houston

Legislative Advisory Committee

Representing the American Animal Hospital Association, primary representative—Dr. John Albers, Denver; AAHA, alternate representative—Dr. Thomas Kendall, Sacramento, Calif.; American Association of Food Safety Veterinarians, alternate representative—Dr. Eric Willinghan, Rogers, Ariz.; American Association of Small Ruminant Practitioners, primary representative—Dr. Seyedmehdi Mobini, Macon, Ga.; AASRP, alternate representative—Dr. Kelly Still Brooks, Vass, N.C.; AVMA House of Delegates, primary representative—Dr. Vern Otte, Leawood, Kan.; and HOD, alternate representative—Dr. Cynthia MacKenzie, Fortville, Ind.

State Advocacy Committee

At-large representative—Dr. Angela Demaree, Indianapolis; representing the AVMA Executive Board—Dr. John Howe, Grand Rapids, Minn.; and the AVMA House of Delegates—Dr. James Weber, Alexandria, Ky.

Steering Committee on Human-Animal Interactions

Veterinarian or scientist with expertise in nondomestic human-animal relationships (wildlife, zoo, and aquaria)—Dr. Oliver Knesl, Randolph, N.J., and veterinarian or scientist with expertise in domestic animal relationships (animals used for companionship, research, food, work, recreation)—Dr. Leslie Cooper, Davis, Calif.

Veterinary Economics Strategy Committee

At-large representatives—Dawn Burdette, Taylorsville, Ky.; Dr. Michael Thomas, Indianapolis; and Dr. John Thomson, Kelley, Iowa.

AVMA liaisons

Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums—Dr. Thomas Waltzek, Gainesville, Fla.; American Association for Laboratory Animal Science—Dr. Mark Suckow, Granger, Ind.; Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care—Dr. Harm HogenEsch, West Lafayette, Ind.; Council for Agricultural Science and Technology—Dr. Donald Sanders, Urbana, Ohio; National Coalition for Food and Agriculture Research—Dr. John Baker, East Lansing, Mich.; North American councilor to the World Veterinary Association—Dr. Lyle P. Vogel, Morehead City, N.C.; Pan-American Association of Veterinary Sciences Directive Council—Dr. Theresa Bernardo, East Lansing, Mich.; and Working Group on Aquaculture Drugs, Chemicals and Biologics—Dr. James Brackett, Nanaimo, British Columbia.

Annual meeting of AVMA voting members announced

The AVMA Executive Board approved holding the 2014 annual meeting of AVMA voting members in conjunction with the regular annual session of the House of Delegates this July in Denver.

The meeting of AVMA voting members will take place from 11–11:30 a.m. July 24 as part of the HOD Informational Assembly and House Advisory Committee candidate introductions from 8–11:30.

Resource provides guidance on backyard chickens


Photo by R. Scott Nolen

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 244, 11; 10.2460/javma.244.11.1218

The AVMA has developed a new online reference, “Backyard Chickens 101: A Quick Guide for Small Animal Veterinarians,” in response to member requests for a go-to resource on the subject.

Chickens are coming to roost in both rural and urban areas, as sources of eggs and as backyard pets. Owners of backyard chickens may turn to small animal practitioners for treatment of the birds. The nuances of poultry topics, including federal rules on drug use in pet chickens, can mean a paradigm shift for small and mixed animal practitioners and may even require adaptations by food animal practitioners used to commercial operations.

The AVMA guide on backyard chickens provides short synopses on topics ranging from extralabel drug use to common diseases in chickens. The reference also provides a one-stop shop of links to experts and additional resources.

The guide, available only to AVMA members, is at www.avma.org/KB/Resources/Reference.

Considering risks after colleagues' battle

Cattle veterinarian leaders watching effects of pig disease

By Greg Cima


Photo by Greg Cima

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 244, 11; 10.2460/javma.244.11.1218

Watching the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus spread through the swine industry, Dr. Daniel L. Grooms has seen opportunities to improve disease prevention in cattle.

The devastation caused by the PED virus, counted in millions of neonatal pig deaths since spring 2013, clearly illustrates the potential impact of foreign animal diseases. Dr. Grooms, the president of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners and a professor at Michigan State University, said cattle veterinarians cannot be complacent because such diseases exist in all livestock species.

“Looking at things such as what's happening with the PEDv in the swine industry makes us step back and think about things that we can do to continuously improve biosecurity and thus the management of infectious diseases of all cattle operations,” Dr. Grooms said.

Dr. Tom Burkgren, executive director of the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, hopes and expects PED has been a wake-up call for everyone who works in agriculture.

“If it can happen in the swine industry, it certainly could happen in the bovine or poultry world as well,” he said.

Fortifying against disease

In 25 years as a veterinarian, Dr. Grooms has seen disease control improve in the cattle industry through better testing, animal isolation, and cleaning and disinfection, among other changes. But he noted that the PED virus entered well-managed swine farms and that the swine and poultry industries, which largely use indoor housing, employ more biosecurity measures against microorganisms than do cattle industries.

He is not recommending implementing the same degree of security as the swine industry, but he thinks cattle veterinarians, as trusted scientific advisers, can help clients make improvements.

“We're never going to eliminate risk, but the goal should be to continue to look at ways to reduce risk,” he said.

For example, he sees potential for veterinarians to examine where vehicles and people enter farms and recommend closing some entrances and posting signs at remaining ones to tell visitors what disease control measures to take on entry.

Dr. Burkgren described PED as a disease that “exposed our weaknesses in biosecurity,” an area in which small mistakes can cause big trouble. Not only do visitors need to follow security protocols, but also, veterinarians and their clients need to scrutinize the histories of items entering farms, including boxes, pallets, and trucks.

Neither U.S. nor international health authorities required notification about PED outbreaks during 2013, the first year infections were found in U.S. pigs. And it wasn't until April 2014 that Department of Agriculture officials announced an impending federal order that would require reports when the disease is detected (see page 1234).

Dr. Jessica Laurin, a veterinarian in Kansas and the president-elect of the Academy of Veterinary Consultants, an organization of beef cattle veterinarians, said veterinarians are looking more closely at imported fomites than they did in the past. And officials with the USDA warn those in the beef industry about foreign disease risks.

While diseases such as foot-and-mouth and bovine spongiform encephalopathy are priorities, Dr. Laurin said, “As an industry, we may have to continue to watch diseases that are not listed as high-priority foreign animal disease risks.” She cited the disease caused by the Schmallenberg virus as an example.

Even moving cattle within the U.S. presents disease risks, and veterinarians need to know about the variety of pathogens throughout the country, she said.

Dr. Grooms also said the likelihood that a foreign pathogen will enter the U.S. through goods, animals, or people is increasing as trade and travel expands. To protect livestock against known and undiscovered pathogens, he said veterinarians need not just to act against specific pathogens, but also to improve overall biosecurity.

Drs. Kathy Simmons, chief veterinarian for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, and Dale Grotelueschen, chairman of the NCBA working group on herd security and bovine viral diarrhea, provided JAVMA a joint statement that said the PED outbreak has reminded the beef cattle industry and other industry groups about the need to continue increasing abilities in surveillance, herd monitoring, and animal movement tracking. Outbreaks can disrupt commerce as well as have harmful effects on trade, commodity prices, and markets for related goods, such as grain.

Veterinarians and risk audits

Dr. Grooms also wrote in a recent column for AABP members that the cattle industry “could very easily” experience an outbreak similar to that of PED, and veterinarians should discuss that risk with clients.

“In fact, when is the last time you talked with a client about ways to reduce biological risks?” he wrote. “In today's world of tight profit margins and increasing infectious disease risks because of the global world we live in, discussing biosecurity practices is something we should be doing regularly with clients.”

He suggested offering a risk audit for clients and consulting resources compiled by the AABP Biological Risk Management and Preparedness Committee, available to AABP members at www.aabp.org/members/committee.asp.

Dr. Laurin noted that survey results published in 2011 by the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service indicated 85 percent of cattle owners “very likely” would contact a veterinarian if they suspected one of their animals had FMD or another foreign animal disease. Another 10 percent were “somewhat likely” to contact a veterinarian.

The survey results also indicate more than half of cattle owners polled knew little or nothing about diseases such as Johne's disease (paratuberculosis), bluetongue, and vesicular stomatitis. Barely more than half said they had at least basic information on anthrax and bovine tuberculosis.

Dr. Burkgren said an AASV committee is trying to determine which foreign pathogens of pigs—most of which are viruses—should be considered priorities for prevention efforts. The likelihood U.S. pigs would become infected and the potential impact of infection will determine which pathogens will receive their focused interest “simply because we don't have the resources to worry about all of them.”

The swine industry also is working to reduce weaknesses in barriers to disease entry, he said, and that includes work with the USDA to close pathways for pathogens to enter the country.

USDA to require reports of PED

Pig owners, veterinarians, and laboratory diagnosticians will need to tell the Department of Agriculture if they discover pigs infected with porcine epidemic diarrhea virus or a recently discovered deltacoronavirus.

USDA officials announced in April that the requirements—to be implemented with the impending publication of a federal order—would help identify problems in disease control and help efforts to stop spread of the organisms. The requirements would not only mandate reporting of infections but also require tracking movements of pigs, vehicles, and equipment when they are removed from farms with infected animals.

Joelle R. Hayden, a spokeswoman for the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, said at the time that the publication date for the federal order had not been set.

The USDA will not stop owners from moving pigs off farms with infections. But a department document available in April indicated the industry would help develop protocols to minimize virus spread, and use of those protocols would be required. The protocols were expected to involve efforts such as vehicle cleaning and disinfection.

PED is estimated to have killed millions of neonatal pigs since it was first identified in the U.S. in April 2013. Swine deltacoronavirus was discovered earlier this year. Officials with the Ohio Department of Agriculture announced it had found the virus in fecal samples from pigs that had clinical signs similar to those of PED, but with a lower herd mortality rate.

Dr. Brian McCluskey, chief epidemiologist for APHIS Veterinary Services, said epidemiologic investigations by the agency showed that pigs confirmed to be infected with the deltacoronavirus had clinical disease. That included up to a 40 percent mortality rate among neonatal pigs in some herds, a lower rate than that found with most PED virus infections.

Some of those herds had been infected with PED virus prior to infection with the deltacoronavirus and could have had overlapping clinical signs, but some of the herds with clinical signs were positive for the deltacoronavirus and not for PED virus, Dr. McCluskey said.

The USDA announced that the department was helping owners with PED outbreaks through disease surveillance, herd monitoring, and epidemiologic investigations, as well as by providing credit to help farm finances. And work by the USDA Agricultural Research Service has included modeling disease transmission, which is contributing to vaccine development, the USDA announced.

Elanco to grow with Novartis addition

Eli Lilly and Co. announced April 22 an agreement to acquire Novartis Animal Health for $5.4 billion to strengthen and diversify Lilly's animal health business, Elanco.

On completion of the acquisition, Elanco will be the second largest animal health company in terms of global revenue, after Zoetis. Lilly expects to close the transaction by the end of the first quarter of 2015, subject to regulatory approvals.

The acquisition provides Elanco with a greater commercial presence in the companion animal and swine markets, expands Elanco's presence in the equine and vaccines areas, and creates an entry into the aquaculture market.

“Combining these two great companies will enable us to provide more diversified brands, reach more market segments, expand our global footprint, and strengthen our pipeline, capabilities, and expertise,” said Jeff Simmons, president of Elanco Animal Health. “Best of all, it will enable Elanco to better fulfill our important mission of enriching people's lives through safe, nutritious, affordable food and healthier pets.”

Mars buys most of P&G's pet foods

Mars Inc. and Procter & Gamble Co. announced April 9 that Mars has agreed to buy the Iams, Eukanuba, and Natura brands of pet foods from P&G in major markets for $2.9 billion. Mars already owns the Pedigree, Royal Canin, Whiskas, Banfield Pet Hospital, Nutro, Sheba, Dreamies, and Cesar brands of pet foods.

The companies expect to complete the transaction in the second half of 2014, subject to regulatory approvals. The acquisition accounts for about 80 percent of P&G Pet Care's global sales. The agreement applies to countries in the Americas and certain other countries, with an option for Mars to acquire the business in several additional countries.

Markets not included in the transaction are primarily European Union countries. P&G is developing alternative plans to sell its Pet Care business in those markets.

USDA proposes simpler biologics labels, more data access

Proposed regulatory changes would give veterinary biologics simpler labels intended to more clearly describe product performance expectations.

The changes also would give veterinarians access to standardized summaries of efficacy and safety data.

Officials with the Department of Agriculture announced in an April 21 Federal Register notice that the department's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service would accept comments through June 20 on the proposed changes, which are described at www.regulations.gov under docket number APHIS-2011-0049.

If APHIS implements the proposed changes to the Virus-Serum-Toxin Act regulations, labels on veterinary biologics will have a uniform format rather than one of four current formats that reflect different levels of effectiveness. Efficacy and safety information for each product also would become available to the public through the APHIS Center for Veterinary Biologics website, which is accessible through the APHIS website at www.aphis.usda.gov.

The APHIS notice states that, in a 2009 meeting, representatives from the AVMA had indicated veterinarians considered existing labeling indication statements to be confusing, and they wanted statements that gave insight into actual performance, with safety and efficacy data. Representatives from associations of veterinary biologics manufacturers expressed concern at that time that such changes would reduce emphasis on product differences or diminish their position in the market by requiring disclosure of company information.

APHIS responded with a draft guide that described potential changes similar to those requested by the AVMA. And, at a 2011 public meeting on that guide, comments generally showed support for changing the label format to one that describes expectations for product efficacy, the notice states.

If the regulatory changes are approved, APHIS will require new labels for existing biologics within four years, although agency officials would consider extension requests. Products licensed within six months of the proposal would have one year for compliance, and any biologics licensed more than six months after the effective date would need to have labels in the new format.

Dr. Elizabeth Curry-Galvin, AVMA assistant executive vice president, said, “Guided by our teams of volunteer veterinarian leaders, AVMA has worked to support veterinarians by helping to ensure that biologic product labels provide clinically relevant information that veterinarians can use to guide their clinical recommendations to clients.”

The proposed changes to veterinary biologics labels are available under docket number APHIS-2011-0049 at www.regulations.gov.

Fish disease–based travel restrictions lifted

Federal animal health authorities are reducing restrictions on the movement of dozens of fish species from Great Lakes states or the importation of them from Ontario or Quebec.

Officials with the Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service announced in April that, starting June 2, the agency would no longer prohibit movement of 37 species of live fish that are susceptible to viral hemorrhagic septicemia from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, or Wisconsin. The agency also will no longer restrict importation of such fish from Ontario or Quebec.

APHIS is removing a 2006 federal order that was issued in response to an outbreak of the disease in the Great Lakes region. The order since has become duplicative of state regulations related to the disease, the announcement states.

Banfield finds increase in FIV, borreliosis


Marble is among Banfield Pet Hospital's patients who are infected with feline immunodeficiency virus. In the background are her family and Dr. Lindsay McClintock. Photo by John Amis/Invision for Banfield Pet Hospital

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 244, 11; 10.2460/javma.244.11.1218

Infection with feline immunodeficiency virus increased 48 percent in cats from 2009–2013, according to Banfield Pet Hospital's State of Pet Health 2014 Report. Borreliosis increased 21 percent in dogs in the same time frame.

Banfield released this year's edition of the annual report on April 15. Banfield Applied Research and Knowledge analyzed data collected in 2013 on nearly 2.3 million dogs and 470,000 cats cared for in Banfield's more than 850 hospitals in 43 states, along with patient data going back to 2009.

“This year's report features an exclusive look at the infectious and emerging diseases affecting the overall health of our pet population,” said Dr. Sandi Lefebvre, an epidemiologist and senior research manager at Banfield. “Banfield believes in preventive pet health care as a way to improve the quality and longevity of a pet's life by reducing the risk of developing serious, costly, and sometimes fatal diseases.”

In 2013, about 1 of every 300 cats seen in Banfield hospitals was found to be infected with FIV—with the highest prevalence of infection in Oklahoma, Iowa, and Arkansas. Banfield's research findings indicated that male cats are three times as likely as female cats to be infected with FIV.

The prevalence of infection with feline leukemia virus in cats has remained fairly stable over the past five years, decreasing overall by 5 percent to 41 cases per 10,000 cats seen in 2013. The prevalence of upper respiratory tract infection in cats increased 18 percent over the same five years, to almost 1 case per 10 cats seen in 2013. The prevalence of infestation with ear mites in cats decreased 28 percent over five years, to 233 cases per 10,000 cats seen in 2013.

In 2013, about 1 in every 130 dogs seen in Banfield hospitals was found to have borreliosis. Banfield's research indicated that pets living in Northeastern states have the highest risk of contracting the disease.

The prevalence of canine parvovirus infection in dogs has remained fairly stable over the past five years, with 1 in every 290 dogs seen in 2013 testing positive for canine parvovirus. Giardia infection in dogs decreased 14 percent over five years, to 48 of every 10,000 dogs seen in 2013. The prevalence of kennel cough in dogs has fluctuated somewhat over five years, with almost 2 percent of dogs seen in 2013 having kennel cough.

The State of Pet Health 2014 Report is available at www.stateofpethealth.com.

Worms & Germs Map tracks diseases in dogs, cats, horses

Veterinarians and veterinary technicians can contribute to a new Web-based mapping system to track infectious diseases in dogs, cats, and horses worldwide.

The Worms & Germs Map at www.wormsandgermsmap.com is a companion to the Worms & Germs Blog at www.wormsandgermsblog.com. The latter is an educational site focusing on infectious diseases of companion animals—encompassing household pets and horses—with an emphasis on zoonotic diseases. Drs. Scott Weese of the University of Guelph and Maureen Anderson of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food began the blog in 2006 and launched the map in early April 2014.

Drs. Weese and Anderson wrote, “This disease mapping site was developed because we perceived a need for realtime tracking of companion animal infectious diseases and a need to foster more knowledge about infectious diseases amongst vets, animal owners, and people in human medicine and public health. It may also help track emerging diseases (and) diseases that have a changing range and allow for more rapid identification of outbreaks.”

Veterinarians and veterinary technicians can register at the site to submit information about cases. The map currently tracks a dozen infectious diseases that affect dogs or cats or both and a dozen infectious diseases of horses, as well as nonspecific outbreaks.

AAHA toolkits help implement guidelines

The American Animal Hospital Association offers open-access toolkits to help implement some of its guidelines.

Available online are toolkits for the 2011 guidelines on anesthesia for dogs and cats, 2012 guidelines on canine life stages, 2013 guidelines on dental care for dogs and cats, 2013 guidelines on fluid therapy for dogs and cats, and now, the 2014 guidelines on weight management for dogs and cats.

The weight management toolkit provides the following:

  • • Information about why guidelines matter.

  • • An at-a-glance summary.

  • • The guidelines on weight management.

  • • An algorithm for weight management.

  • • Information about staff roles and responsibilities.

  • • Talking points for partnering with clients.

  • • Links to resources on weight management from AAHA Press.

  • • A download center with additional resources.

The online implementation toolkits and many AAHA guidelines are available at www.aahanet.org/Library/GuidelinesTerms.aspx.

Guide on cattle lameness available

Guidelines published in spring could help bovine veterinarians teach clients how to identify and respond to lamenesses in cattle that are caused by infection or environmental factors.

The American Association of Bovine Practitioners published in March the document “Lameness in dairy and beef herds,” which is intended for use by veterinarians in the instruction of clients. The two-page document is available at http://aabp.org/about/AABP_Guidelines.asp.

The guidelines offer advice on identifying lameness and factors that can contribute to lameness, use of preventive care, communication with farm employees, and assessment of problems on the basis of farm records.

In an announcement, Dr. Richard Wiley, who chaired the AABP task force that created the guidelines, said lameness not only affects growth and development but also is “a visible welfare issue.”

“Veterinarians are encouraged to take these guidelines to their clients and become leaders in the discussion of lameness issues,” he said.

Auburn dedicates new small animal teaching hospital

Auburn University dedicated the new Wilford and Kate Bailey Small Animal Teaching Hospital at the College of Veterinary Medicine on April 11 with a ceremonial ribbon cutting and tours of the 208,000-square-foot facility.

Dean Calvin Johnson said, “In dedicating this beautiful facility, this college pledges to cultivate the skills, knowledge, and attitudes that promote career success for students, to serve the public by offering the most advanced standards of veterinary medical care, and to expand veterinary biomedical knowledge through innovative and impactful research.”

The hospital is named for the late Dr. Wilford and Cratus “Kate” Bailey. Dr. Wilford Bailey, a 1942 graduate of the veterinary college, devoted 50 years of continuous academic and administrative service to Auburn, including serving as the university's 13th president.

The $47 million facility handles about 15,000 cases annually. The hospital encompasses 12 clinical services: cardiology, critical care, neurology and neurosurgery, oncology, radiology, orthopedics, physical therapy and rehabilitation, internal medicine, general surgery, ophthalmology, dermatology, and theriogenology.

The new building also houses a pharmacy serving both the small and large animal teaching hospitals; a clinical pathology department; an 82-seat, high-tech conference room as well as smaller meeting spaces to expand the college's instructional and outreach capabilities; and the Auburn University Veterinary Clinic. The clinic, which is open to the public, provides veterinary students with experience in operating a small animal practice.

The teaching hospital can accommodate 150 fourth-year clinical students in addition to residents, interns, faculty, and staff. The surgery complex has areas for anesthesia, surgical preparation, operating rooms, nurses' stations, patient recovery, and central sterile supply. Two state-of-the-art radiology machines, at a cost of nearly $1 million, complement the Holland M. Ware Imaging Facility.

$23 million for influenza research in 2014

Five institutions will together receive $23 million this year for research and surveillance that could improve understanding of influenza viruses and preparation for pandemics.

The National Institutes of Health is providing that money through September in the first year of a seven-year contract with institutions of the Centers for Excellence for Influenza Research and Surveillance, a network established in 2007, the NIH announced in April.

The NIH will give $8 million to the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.; $6 million to the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City; $3.6 million to Emory University in Atlanta; $3 million to the University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, N.Y.; and $2.3 million to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Examples of the institutions' projects are research on the abilities of some influenza viruses to infect multiple species, factors connected with pandemics, human and animal immune responses, and international surveillance of influenza strains.

Anthony S. Fauci, MD, director of the NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in the announcement that the institutions exemplify the NIAID mission to perform research and remain able to respond to an emerging health threat. He said the network of institutions was critical for the national response to the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic, during which the institutions characterized the virus and tested candidate vaccines.

“CEIRS investigators have contributed greatly to our understanding of how influenza viruses emerge from wild and domestic animals, their adaptation to and global circulation throughout the human population and the interplay between the viruses and human immune responses,” he wrote.


The article “Orthopedic organization honors equine veterinarian” in the May 15, 2014, issue of JAVMA News, page 1121, should have stated that Dr. C. Wayne McIlwraith received the Marshall R. Urist, MD Award from the Orthopaedic Research Society.

Obituaries: AVMA member AVMA honor roll member Nonmember

Charles H. Aiken

Dr. Aiken (TEX ′51), 88, Georgetown, Texas, died Feb. 11, 2014. He owned a mixed animal practice in Georgetown, serving ranchers, farmers, and dairymen in addition to pet owners in the area for 44 years. Dr. Aiken was a member of the Texas VMA. He served in the Navy during World War II. Dr. Aiken's wife, Anna; two daughters; and two sons survive him. Memorials may be made to St. John's United Methodist Church, 311 E. University Ave., Georgetown, TX 78626.

Sammy K. Allen

Dr. Allen (IL ′70), 69, Wayzata, Minn., died Jan. 8, 2014. He was the founder of Northwest Animal Hospital in Plymouth, Minn., where he practiced small animal medicine with a special interest in allergies and other areas of dermatology, prior to retirement in 2012. Dr. Allen was a past president of the Affiliated Emergency Veterinary Service and Minnesota VMA and a member of the American Academy of Veterinary Dermatology and Academy of Veterinary Allergy. The MVMA honored him with the 1998 Distinguished Service Award. Dr. Allen is survived by his wife, Janis; a son; and a daughter. Memorials may be made to Alzheimer's Association, Minnesota-North Dakota Chapter, 7900 W. 78th St., Suite 100, Minneapolis, MN 55439.

J. Bruce Arensman

Dr. Arensman (IL ′64), 73, Martinez, Ga., died March 6, 2014. A small animal veterinarian, he practiced at VCA Columbia Animal Hospital in Evans, Ga. Dr. Arensman also worked at the Augusta Animal Emergency Clinic in Augusta, Ga., for several years. Early in his career, he served in the Army Veterinary Corps for 20 years, attaining the rank of major. Dr. Arensman was a member of the Georgia VMA and the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society. His wife, Geri; two sons and a daughter; and three grandchildren survive him.

Memorials may be made to Augusta Warrior Project (an advocacy program for service members and veterans), 4115 Columbia Road, Suite 5-333, Martinez, GA 30907; or American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, P.O. Box 96929, Washington, DC 20090; www.aspca.org

John M. Bryan

Dr. Bryan (TEX ′47), 90, Farmington, Ark., died Jan. 11, 2014. He began his career in North Dakota, later moving to Batesville, Ark. Dr. Bryan served in the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps during World War II. He is survived by three sons and four daughters; 15 grandchildren; and 18 great-grandchildren. Memorials may be made to Willard Walker Hospice Home, 325 E. Longview St., Fayetteville, AR 72703.

Jonathan E. Diehl

Dr. Diehl (UP ′83), 60, Weston, Mass., died Oct. 10, 2013. A small animal veterinarian, he was the co-founder of Winchester Veterinary Group in Winchester, Mass., where he practiced for more than 20 years. Dr. Diehl was active with the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts. He is survived by his wife, Suzanne; a son; and a daughter. Memorials may be made to Mass Audubon (the Massachusetts Audubon Society), 208 S. Great Road, Lincoln, MA 01773; or Boy Scout Troop 147, Weston, MA 02493; www.troop157.org

A.M. Easterling Jr.

Dr. Easterling (TEX ′62), 75, Centerville, Texas, died Dec. 30, 2013. He owned Easterling Veterinary Clinic, a mixed animal practice in Centerville, for 51 years. Dr. Easterling was a past president of the Three Rivers VMA and a member of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners, Texas Academy of Veterinary Practitioners, and Texas VMA. In 1994, he was named TVMA Food Animal Practitioner of the Year. Active in civic life, Dr. Easterling served on the Centerville School Board and was the Centerville Chamber of Commerce's Man of the Year in 1986. His wife, Peggy; two daughters and a son; and three grandchildren survive him. One daughter, Dr. Denise Easterling (TEX ′85), owns Easterling Veterinary Services in Madisonville, Texas. Memorials may be made to the Bonnie Easterling Scholarship Fund, 813 S. Commerce St., Centerville, TX 75833.

Maynard O. Engstrom

Dr. Engstrom (IL ′59), 85, Moline, Ill., died March 9, 2014. He was the founder of Towne & Country Veterinary Clinic in Rock Island, Ill. Dr. Engstrom is survived by six children, 14 grandchildren, and several great-grandchildren. Memorials may be made to Two Rivers United Methodist Church, 1820 5th Ave., Rock Island, IL 61201; or Beacon of Hope Hospice, 256 S. Soangetaha Road, Galesburg, IL 61401.

Robert Ferber

Dr. Ferber (COR ′39), 99, Syosset, N.Y., died Dec. 12, 2013. He established a small animal practice in Bayside, N.Y., following graduation. During World War II, Dr. Ferber served in the Army Veterinary Corps, attaining the rank of captain. He then established North Shore Animal Hospital in Bayside. Dr. Ferber was joined in practice shortly thereafter by his brother, the late Dr. Leonard Ferber (COR ′43), and, in later years, by his son, Dr. Alan Ferber (COR ′70), and his grandson, Dr. Michael Ferber (COR ′96). Dr. Robert Ferber retired in 1987. His son and daughter, five grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren survive him. Memorials may be made to Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, Ithaca, NY 14853.

Daniel C. Gray

Dr. Gray (STG ′08), 37, Brooklyn, N.Y., died Feb. 15, 2014. A 2008 graduate of St. George's University in Grenada, he was a partner and medical director of Veterinary Emergency and Referral Group (South) in Brooklyn. Dr. Gray served on the board of directors of Positive Tails, an organization dedicated to providing critical assistance to animals and people in need. Memorials may be made to Morristown Memorial Hospital Cancer Research Center, 100 Madison Ave., Morristown, NJ 07960; or Positive Tails, P.O. Box 27192, Brooklyn, NY 11202.

Dale L. Haggard

Dr. Haggard (MIN ′59), 79, White Bear Lake, Minn., died Nov. 27, 2013. From 1978 until retirement in 1995, he was on the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine faculty, also holding an appointment with the university's extension service. Earlier in his career, Dr. Haggard practiced large animal medicine in southwest Minnesota and served on the faculty of Michigan State University. He is survived by two daughters and two grandchildren.

George E. Hahn

Dr. Hahn (COR ′56), 81, North Branford, Conn., died Feb. 1, 2014. In 1956, he founded Jeffersonville Animal Hospital in Jeffersonville, N.Y., where he initially practiced mixed animal medicine, later focusing on small animals. Dr. Hahn retired in 1995. Active in civic life, he served on the Sullivan County Parks and Recreation Commission and Jeffersonville-Youngsville Central School Board and was a member of the Jeffersonville Lions Club. Dr. Hahn is survived by his wife, Barbara; a daughter and a son; and four grandchildren. Memorials may be made to the Cornell Cooperative Extension Association of Sullivan County–4H Education Programs, 64 Ferndale Loomis Road, Liberty, NY 12754.

Manuel A. Hernandez-Segovia

Dr. Hernandez-Segovia (MEX ′56), 99, San Salvador, El Salvador, died Feb. 18, 2014. From 1992–2012, he worked in product representation for Laquinsa in San Jose, Costa Rica. Earlier in his career, Dr. Hernandez-Segovia served with the Ministry of Agriculture in El Salvador in a variety of roles, including heading the sections of hygiene and poultry sanitation and laboratories. During his career, he also served as a consultant for various laboratories. Dr. Hernandez-Segovia helped establish a veterinary medical association for Salvadorian veterinarians.

Dr. Hernandez-Segovia is survived by his wife, Elizabeth; four children; and eight grandchildren. Memorials may be made to Asociacion Protectora de Animales (Abandoned Pets Organization), Calle San Carlos, No. 507, Colonia Layco, San Salvador, El Salvador.

Midge Leitch

Dr. Leitch (UP ′73), 67, Cochranville, Pa., died Feb. 15, 2014. A diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons, she was staff veterinarian in the Section of Sports Medicine and Imaging at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine's New Bolton Center from 2005–2011. Dr. Leitch began her career as a member of the surgical staff at New Bolton Center. From 1980–1996, she owned Londonderry Equine Clinic in Cochranville, also serving as an equine consultant. Dr. Leitch then returned to New Bolton Center, where she was an adjunct assistant professor of surgery for the next 10 years.

She served as veterinarian for the United States equestrian team at the Atlanta and Sydney Olympic games and was a member of the United States Equestrian Federation's Veterinary Committee. Dr. Leitch was a past director of the American Association of Equine Practitioners, a past chair of the AAEP Animal Welfare Committee and Tennessee Walking Horse Task Force, and a member of the Pennsylvania VMA. She was active with Canine Partners for Life and raised puppies for The Seeing Eye, an organization dedicated to enhancing the lives of blind people through the use of trained dogs.

In 1988, Dr. Leitch received the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine Alumni Award of Merit. The AAEP honored her with the President's Award in 2008, and, in 2012, she received the AAEP Distinguished Service Award. In 2012, Dr. Leitch also received the Best Friends Award from The Seeing Eye. Memorials may be made to The Seeing Eye, 10 Washington Valley Road, P.O. Box 375, Morristown, NJ 07963.

Paul D. Lundgren

Dr. Lundgren (MIN ′51), 88, Montevideo, Minn., died Dec. 30, 2013. He was a partner at Montevideo Clinic, where he practiced for 48 years. Dr. Lundgren was a member of the Minnesota VMA. He served in the Army Air Corps during World War II and was a member of the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars. Dr. Lundgren was also a member of the Lions Club and Ducks Unlimited. He is survived by his wife, Bette; a son; and a granddaughter and two grandsons.

Donald E. Martinelli

Dr. Martinelli (CAL ′55), 86, Sacramento, Calif., died Dec. 23, 2013. He practiced small animal medicine at Ben Ali Veterinary Clinic in Sacramento for more than 44 years. In retirement, Dr. Martinelli served as a relief veterinarian. He was a past president of the Sacramento Valley VMA. Dr. Martinelli's wife, Betty; three daughters and a son; 11 grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren survive him.

Clial D. McDonald

Dr. McDonald (KSU ′54), 89, Sarasota, Fla., died Jan. 9, 2014. He worked for the Department of Agriculture as a meat inspector prior to retirement. Earlier in his career, Dr. McDonald was in general practice in the Downs area of Kansas for 35 years. A veteran of World War II, he served in the Navy and earned a Purple Heart. Dr. McDonald was a charter member of the Downs Lions Club and a member of the Marine Corps League of Salina. He is survived by his wife, Georgia; a daughter; and two granddaughters. Memorials may be made to Johnson Cancer Research Center, 1 Chalmers Hall, Kansas State University, 1700 Anderson Ave., Manhattan, KS 66502; or Marine Corps League of Salina, Salina, KS 67401.

Grady A. McElmurray Jr.

Dr. McElmurray (GA ′58), 80, Lexington, S.C., died Feb. 15, 2014. In the mid-1960s, he established Veterinary Services in Aiken, S.C., where he initially practiced mixed animal medicine, later focusing on small animals. Dr. McElmurray retired in the early 2000s. In the beginning of his career, he practiced in Kentucky and Georgia.

Dr. McElmurray was a past president of the South Carolina Association of Veterinarians and served six years on the South Carolina Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners, including service as chair. In 1993, he was named South Carolina Veterinarian of the Year. Active in civic life, Dr. McElmurray was a past president of the Aiken County Heart Association. He is survived by his wife, Thera; two daughters and a son; 10 grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. Memorials may be made to The Gideons International, 5106 Two Notch Road, Columbia, SC 29204; or Guido Evangelistic Association of Metter, 600 N. Lewis St., Metter, GA 30439.

Robert C. McKnight

Dr. McKnight (WSU ′53), 84, Florence, Ore., died Dec. 24, 2013. Prior to his retirement in 1998, he owned a mixed animal practice in Florence. Dr. McKnight was a life member of the Oregon VMA. His wife, Phyllis; three sons and a daughter; eight grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren survive him.

Memorials to Dr. McKnight may be made to New Life Lutheran Church, 2100 Spruce St., Florence, OR 97439.

Quintin C. Metzig

Dr. Metzig (MSU ′45), 96, Oshkosh, Wis., died March 2, 2014. He owned a primarily large animal practice in Wisconsin's Winnebago County, where he practiced for 45 years. Dr. Metzig was a past chair of the Wisconsin VMA Executive Board and a past member of the Wisconsin Veterinary Examining Board. He was named 1959 Wisconsin Veterinarian of the Year. Active in civic life, Dr. Metzig was a past president of the Oshkosh School Board. In 2013, he and his wife, Jeanne, were named Volunteers of the Year by the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation.

Dr. Metzig is survived by his wife; three daughters and three sons; 21 grandchildren; and 12 great-grandchildren. Memorials may be made to Peace Lutheran Church Endowment, P.O. Box 177, Rosendale, WI 54974; Oshkosh Area Community Foundation, Metzig Family Conservation Fund, 230 Ohio St., Suite 100, Oshkosh, WI 54902; or University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine, Madison, WI 53711.

Barbara F. Nichols

Dr. Nichols (TEX ′97), 62, Richardson, Texas, died Dec. 25, 2013. A small animal veterinarian, she most recently practiced at Animal Medical Center of Richardson.

Earlier in her career, Dr. Richardson worked in Lewisville, Texas.

Jose P. Quintana

Dr. Quintana (COL ′77), 66, Farmington, N.M., died Oct. 27, 2013. A mixed animal veterinarian, he co-owned Animal Haven Clinic in Farmington with his wife, Dr. Susan Moreland (GA ′76). Dr. Quintana was a member of the New Mexico VMA. He served in the Marine Corps from 1965–1970.

He is survived by his wife. Memorials may be made to the Kona Fund, c/o Animal Haven Clinic, 822 E. Main St., Farmington, NM 87401; or Riley Industrial Men's Health Fund, P.O. Box 110, Farmington, NM 87499.

Stuart R. Rosenburg

Dr. Rosenburg (TEN ′93), 46, Tampa, Fla., died Nov. 19, 2013. He was the former owner of Bayshore Animal Clinic in Tampa, where he practiced small animal medicine with a special interest in acupuncture and herbology until 2013. Early in his career, Dr. Rosenburg served as zoo veterinarian for the Silver Springs attraction in Silver Springs, Fla., and the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa. His wife, Gayle Marie, survives him.

John H. Schmidt

Dr. Schmidt (WSU ′52), 87, Klamath Falls, Ore., died Feb. 6, 2014. A mixed animal practitioner, he retired from Klamath Animal Clinic in 1987. Earlier in his career, Dr. Schmidt practiced in Stockton, Calif; Merrill, Ore.; Walla Walla, Wash.; and Redmond, Ore. He was a life member of the Oregon VMA and a member of the American Animal Hospital Association. Dr. Schmidt served in the Navy during World War II and was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. He is survived by his daughter, son, and two grandchildren. Memorials may be made to High Desert Hospice, 2894 Greensprings Drive, Klamath Falls, OR 97603; or Klamath Animal Shelter, 4240 Washburn Way, Klamath Falls, OR 97603.

Niles J. Thomason

Dr. Thomason (OKL ′07), 31, Eagle, Colo., died Dec. 25, 2013. He practiced small animal medicine at Castle Peak Veterinary Service in Eagle for the past seven years. Dr. Thomason's wife, Tiffany, and a son survive him. Memorials toward an investment fund for his son may be made to Fidelity Investments, FBO Carter Hinson Thomason, c/o Steve Streeter, 4111 S. Darlington, Suite 120, Tulsa, OK 74135.

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