gaining WEIGHT

Livestock are bigger now at slaughter than in previous decades

By Greg Cima

Cattle are about 200 pounds heavier when sent to slaughter today than they were in the 1980s, now reaching a mean weight of 1,300 pounds

Turkeys have gained a mean of 10 pounds in that period, up from 20 pounds to 30. They averaged 17 pounds each in the 1960s.

Figures from the Department of Agriculture indicate that pre-slaughter weights of livestock species have been increasing since at least the 1920s, and some of the largest gains have occurred in the past 25 years. The USDA's monthly data on livestock weights, averaged by decade, show that, since the 1980s, mean hog weight has increased by 8 percent, mean sheep and lamb weights by 21 percent, mean broiler weight by 38 percent, and mean weight of other chickens by 27 percent.

Kenneth H. Mathews, PhD, an agricultural economist for the USDA Economic Research Service, said U.S. beef industries today produce almost the same amount of meat they did with the peak cattle population of the mid-1970s, despite having a third fewer cattle. He thinks genetic selection likely is the largest factor in the size increases, along with changes in technology, nutrition, care, and management.

Faster gain, larger at slaughter

The weights recorded by the USDA ERS at slaughter show faster growth, but not always a corresponding change in the proportions of adult animals. Dr. M. Gatz Riddell, executive vice president of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners, said cattle's mature weights, rather than slaughter weights, likely have not increased since introduction of more heavily muscled cattle breeds from Europe during the 1970s or 1980s.

“If you look at a mature 5-year-old bull or cow from the breeds in the same two decades, they probably have not changed,” he said.

Instead, the cattle slaughtered at 12 or 18 months of age have body proportions similar to those of their predecessors, but more muscle relative to fat, Dr. Riddell said.

Dr. Dan Thomson, a professor of production medicine and epidemiology and director of the Beef Cattle Institute in the Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine, said the rise in slaughter weights is not only a result of selection for factors such as increased lean body growth and more efficient growth but also of sorting that better divides cattle into groups slaughtered when they reach ideal weights.

Steve R. Meyer, PhD, president of Paragon Economics and a consulting economist for the National Pork Board, said pigs are still slaughtered at 6 or 7 months of age, but they are heavier at that age because they grow more quickly. He said the changes in hog slaughter weights were driven by economics and limited by factors such as the genetic ability of an animal to convert feed into lean meat instead of fat.

Keith Williams, vice president of communications and marketing for the National Turkey Federation, said that, in response to Americans’ increased desire for turkey meat starting in the 1970s, turkey owners bred in favor of turkeys with broader breastplates as well as for stronger legs that can support the larger birds.

Adapting with the animals

Dr. Riddell said cattle raised for beef carry the added weight about three to six months of their 12- to 18-month lives. While cattle with substantially higher mature weights would be at risk for joint problems, Dr. Riddell does not think the short period they are carrying the added weight is cause for concern. He also noted that lameness and joint disease are affected by diet.

“As these animals are growing faster and converting feed more efficiently, if we weren't doing things like trying to minimize digestive upsets, we could expect more foot problems,” Dr. Riddell said.

Cattle veterinarians also know that the larger animals are at greater risk of injury when they become stressed, Dr. Riddell said.


(Courtesy of National Turkey Federation/Copyright Iowa Turkey Federation)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 244, 6; 10.2460/javma.244.6.628


Mean weights prior to slaughter (in pounds, by decade)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 244, 6; 10.2460/javma.244.6.628


(Courtesy of USDA ARS/Photo by Stephen Ausmus)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 244, 6; 10.2460/javma.244.6.628

“If we kept doing the things we had been doing for the last 30 years, and the cattle got bigger, the way we handled them can lead to problems,” Dr. Riddell said. He later added, “Because we've increased our skills in handling them and we've increased our knowledge base in how we need to have good footing for them that is safe and healthy for their feet, we have counteracted some of the potential negatives.”

Breeding programs also include efforts to select for calmer animals, he said.

As pigs have increased in size, companies have scrutinized stocking densities and tried to make sure facilities used by the animals, such as loading chutes and alleys, still work well, said Meyer of the pork board.

“The heavier pigs today are probably handled better than they used to be, because we know more about it,” he said.

Williams, of the National Turkey Federation, said he thinks turkeys grow more quickly, in part, because they have less stressful lives than did their predecessors that were more exposed to weather changes, predation, and communicable disease, and because turkeys now are given continuous access to food and water.

Kurt D. Vogel, PhD, an assistant professor who teaches animal welfare and physiology at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, said he worked in beef cattle slaughter facilities at the start of his career, and he noticed that the mean weight of carcasses already was higher than what he was taught in school. But he has not seen changes in cattle behavior or mortality associated with weight gain, although he said mortality is known to increase among turkeys and chickens that exceed certain weights.

“In all cases, care from vets and farm employees is very important, regardless of the size and age of the animals,” he said.

Breeding's potential

Temple Grandin, PhD, a professor of animal science at Colorado State University and an author of animal welfare standards, said she is concerned that livestock are being pushed beyond optimal production.

“I think one of the biggest animal welfare issues in the future is going to be what I'm going to call ‘biological system overload,’” Dr. Grandin said.

In the second edition of “Genetics and the Behavior of Domestic Animals,” published in 2014 and edited by Dr. Grandin and Mark J. Deesing, a design consultant for Grandin Livestock Handling Systems, they wrote that selecting animals for production traits alone will result in unintended harm to the animals. The book describes a “metabolic drain” on Holstein cows that produce twice as much milk as cows 30 years earlier, chickens that are “spent” after a year laying eggs, and declines in relative heart and lung sizes among broiler chickens that reach market weight in less than half the time of their ancestors a century earlier.

Dr. Grandin said in an interview that she is not suggesting that the country return to raising “1950s-style animals.” Instead, she said that pushing animals toward a goal requires trade-offs, with energy from feed divided among needs, whether to grow, fight disease, produce milk, or grow feathers. And she thinks livestock industries, especially the dairy and egg industries, are approaching limits on acceptable trade-offs favoring increases in production over increased stress.

As an example, Dr. Grandin cited pectoral muscle necrosis, which she said can occur in turkeys and broilers when fast-growing muscle outstrips its blood supply. Noninfectious hoof problems seem to be more common among dairy cows, she said, and larger pigs are more likely to become fatigued than smaller pigs if they experience rough handling. She also has felt flimsy feathers on egg-laying hens, which she noted can also develop osteoporosis and bone fractures.

But Dr. Grandin noted that industries have made changes when problems have emerged. Lameness was a more substantial problem in pigs about 10 years ago, but since then, she said the pork industry has implemented lameness assessments to reduce the problem.

She also said livestock industries can breed animals and change practices in ways that increase strength or correct problems. She recalled visiting a slaughter plant where half of arriving pigs were lame, a problem she attributed to a genetic condition affecting the animals’ feet and legs that was exacerbated by administration of more-than-ideal doses of a beta-adrenoceptor agonist. Culling boar lines and halving the drug's dosage corrected the problem, she said.

Joy A. Mench, PhD, a professor of animal science at the University of California-Davis, said selection for rapid growth in broilers, which reach market age in as little as six weeks, has caused negative health consequences such as skeletal and cardiovascular disorders. But the broiler industry has, over the past decade, made improvements by selecting for attributes such as walking ability and improved health.

She said selecting for increased growth rate also selected for increased appetite, which has become a welfare concern in breeding stock. Those birds will become obese and unable to reproduce if given access to as much food as desired, but the feed restrictions leave them hungry. Efforts to supplement feed with non-nutritional substances have not been effective.

Dr. Kate Barger, director of animal welfare for broiler producer Cobb-Vantress, provided a company statement indicating breeder companies balance production, health, and welfare, as demonstrated through improved quality of life and fewer birds euthanized along with improvements in fertility rate, feed efficiency, and rate of weight gain. Selection of a particular processing weight is less important than managing broilers to ensure optimal health, well-being, and development.

The opening chapters of the 2003 book “Poultry Genetics, Breeding and Biotechnology” similarly describe unintended negative consequences of selection—such as metabolic disorders and skeletal defects—but also indicate selective breeding can be an instrument to improve animal well-being. The book's first chapter indicates the growth rate of broilers has roughly quadrupled since commercial breeding began in the 20th century, and at the time of publication, broiler producers had been trying to balance selection pressures to counteract problems.

“The body composition of the birds has changed dramatically, especially the relative size of pectoral muscles,” the book states. “Although commercial breeding programmes have been successful in counteracting this basic imbalance by genetic improvement of leg strength and other aspects of general livability such as susceptibility to ascites, there is no doubt that commercial broilers today are showing higher mortality and higher susceptibility to suboptimal management of nutrition and environment than broilers that have been selected less extremely for efficiency and meat yield.”

Asked about the risk that livestock owners would overshoot the limits of animals’ potential, Dr. Meyer said he has confidence in those owners’ abilities to select for production within acceptable limits and continue to provide benefits.

“I don't see it slowing down any,” Dr. Meyer said.

Arce, Carlson-Lammers to join Executive Board

By Katie Burns

The AVMA has announced that Drs. José V. Arce and Rena Carlson-Lammers will be the next representatives for districts IV and XI, respectively, on the AVMA Executive Board. The sole candidates for their seats, they will begin their six-year terms in July.


Dr. José V. Arce (Photo by R. Scott Nolen)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 244, 6; 10.2460/javma.244.6.628

Dr. Arce will succeed Dr. Larry G. Dee as the board representative for AVMA members residing in Florida, Georgia, and Puerto Rico. Dr. Carlson-Lammers will succeed Dr. Thomas F. Meyer as the board representative for AVMA members residing in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming.

Dr. Arce, a native of Puerto Rico, and his wife, Dr. Anik Puig, graduated from Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine in 1997 and moved to Puerto Rico in 1998. He held positions early in his career at several animal hospitals and the San Juan Municipal Shelter. In 2003, he founded Miramar Animal Hospital in San Juan.

Since 2000, Dr. Arce has served on the board of the Puerto Rico VMA. He is secretary of the association's Legislation Commission and is a member of the association's Convention Committee. He was Puerto Rico's alternate delegate to the AVMA House of Delegates from 2000–2010 and has been its delegate from 2010 to the present.

Dr. Arce might be the first representative from Puerto Rico to serve on the AVMA Executive Board, which dates back to 1916. Dr. Olaguibeet Lopez-Pacheco of Puerto Rico served as an AVMA vice president in the 1949–1950 Association year, but the Association did not add the vice president to the board until 1967.

Current veterinary issues in Puerto Rico are much the same as in the States, Dr. Arce said, except the territory's economy is worse. He and his wife have a personal tie to the issue of student debt because they are still paying off theirs.

Dr. Arce said he brings a global and diverse perspective to the board as a native of Puerto Rico who is Hispanic. He believes the AVMA must continue to take a leadership role globally—especially in animal welfare, one health, and veterinary education.

After he first attended the AVMA Veterinary Leadership Conference in 1999, Dr. Arce knew the AVMA was the right place for him. “This is where I wanted to give my two cents and help the future of our profession. I enjoy it. I think if we don't work for our profession, nobody will,” he said.


Dr. Rena Carlson-Lammers(Photo by Craig Lamere)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 244, 6; 10.2460/javma.244.6.628

Dr. Carlson-Lammers, a native of Idaho, is a 1989 graduate of Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine. She returned to Idaho to work as a companion animal practitioner. In 1993, she became co-owner of Alpine Animal Hospital in Pocatello, which has grown into a six-veterinarian, mixed animal practice. She is attending veterinarian for the Idaho State University Animal Care Facility, which handles care of laboratory animals. She also helps on her parents’ cattle ranch.

Dr. Carlson-Lammers served as president of the Eastern Idaho VMA in 1991. She was president of the Idaho VMA in 2000 and has been on the association's board for 16 years, serving as chair in 2001. She became Idaho's alternate delegate to the AVMA House of Delegates in 2005 and currently serves as delegate.

Political advocacy is a passion for Dr. Carlson-Lammers. At the state level, she has focused on scope-of-practice issues. She believes advocacy must remain a priority for the AVMA.

Among the other priorities for Dr. Carlson-Lammers are representation for women in veterinary leadership, maintaining the economic viability of the profession, and reform of AVMA governance.

“The profession demographically is changing. Economically, things are changing. We really need to be in position to deal with those changes and stay relevant,” she said. “We need to engage young members. We need to engage women. There are a lot of ways we can structure our Association to make sure it's reasonable for all of those groups to be involved and play a role.”

Horse slaughter defunded again

The ongoing saga over whether to allow commercial horse slaughter plants to operate in the U.S. appears settled for now.

On Jan. 17, President Barack Obama signed into law a spending bill that provides funding for the federal government for the 2014 fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30. A provision in the measure stops the Department of Agriculture from spending money on inspections necessary for slaughterhouses to ship horse meat interstate and, ultimately, export it to overseas consumers.

The first federal ban on the use of taxpayer funds to inspect horse slaughter facilities took effect in 2006. That and state legislation forced the last operating horse slaughter facility, in Illinois, to close in 2007. Congress reversed its position in 2011 and lifted the federal funding provision that prohibited USDA inspections.

The first company to apply for horse meat inspections by the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service was Roswell, N.M.-based Valley Meat Co. in December 2011. Almost a year later, Valley Meat owner Rick de los Santos sued the USDA for delaying the processing of the application. The department granted the company's request in June 2013 to convert its cattle facility into a horse slaughter plant and start operations.

But before Valley Meat could begin processing horse meat, Obama signed the spending bill. That same day, a New Mexico judge granted a preliminary injunction against Valley Meat from moving forward with its plans to slaughter horses. The ruling keeps alive a civil lawsuit by New Mexico Attorney General Gary King, who is seeking to permanently block horse slaughter in the state.

Meanwhile, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources turned down a permit request from Rains Natural Meats in Gallatin, Mo., which had also sought to process horses for meat. The Jan. 23 MDNR letter cited the new federal budget for its denial.

Responsible Transportation in Sigourney, Iowa, was the only other company that had an active application for equine inspection services with the USDA FSIS.

The House of Representatives and Senate are considering another piece of legislation that relates to horse slaughter: the Safeguard American Food Exports Act of 2013 (H.R. 1094/S. 541). It would amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to permanently prohibit the export of horses to processing plants in Canada and Mexico, which is currently legal. Annually, tens of thousands of horses are shipped to these countries (see graph).


Number of U.S. horses exported to North American countries, 2012–2013* (Source: USDA *The USDA compiles only aggregate numbers of horses shipped and not specifically numbers of horses moving to slaughter in these countries.)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 244, 6; 10.2460/javma.244.6.628

NAVC grows its brand

NAVTA, Vetlearn now under NAVC umbrella


Veterinary students take a quiz for fun during some downtime at the 2014 North American Veterinary Community Conference.

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 244, 6; 10.2460/javma.244.6.628


A young conference attendee gets up close with an alligator. (Photos courtesy of NAVC)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 244, 6; 10.2460/javma.244.6.628

The North American Veterinary Community—the nonprofit that includes the annual conference, other continuing education offerings, a journal, and partner conferences abroad—has expanded its scope with some new resources and partnerships.

During the 2014 NAVC Conference, held Jan. 18–22 in Orlando, Fla., the NAVC debuted VetFolio (http://vetfolio.navc.com), which seeks to bring the conference experience online. An NAVC press release touts VetFolio as a mobile-friendly website that supports professional development for all members of the veterinary health care team.

VetFolio provides access to more than 500 hours of veterinary CE through the Registry of Approved Continuing Education, 2,500 NAVC conference proceedings, “Clinical Views” written by veterinary faculty, moderated discussion forums, how-to articles for practice success, and industry and animal health research news.

Monthly subscriptions cost $45 for practices of up to 15 members and $25 for individuals. Students, faculty, and professional staff at veterinary colleges have free access to VetFolio.

Also in January, the NAVC began retaining shared rights to publish all content from the information resource Vetlearn. That covers about 4,600 articles, 100-plus CE components, and more than 100 slideshows and videos, not to mention new material from the Vetlearn team.

In addition, NAVC will begin to manage and publish Vetlearn's publications and websites, such as Compendium, Veterinary Technician, and Standards of Care; however, both organizations will co-own the material produced. Vetlearn and NAVC had partnered for more than 30 years prior to this announcement.

According to an NAVC press release, the new arrangement is intended to keep intact the Vetlearn editorial teams. In addition to using current Vetlearn content in VetFolio, the NAVC will add new content monthly.

Late last year, the NAVC announced another formal partnership, with the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America.

The NAVC is now helping manage NAVTA's day-to-day operations. The two nonprofit associations will work together to develop products and services for veterinary technicians, including webinars, articles, conference lectures, and online courses.

Julie Legred was named NAVTA executive director Jan. 7; she had filled the position on an interim basis since Nov. 1, 2012.

Legred is also the senior manager of veterinary technician programs for NAVC and has been involved with NAVTA in other roles for many years, including serving as its president twice.

Legred said in an NAVC press release that NAVTA will remain its own entity and operate under its existing constitution and bylaws.

“This partnership will now enable NAVTA to offer and provide input into many additional benefits and opportunities for veterinary technicians, while polishing and enhancing the communications and services provided to its members,” she said.

About 1,512 veterinary technicians attended this year's NAVC conference in addition to 6,296 veterinarians, 583 practice managers, 377 support staff members, and 870 students.

The conference introduced a new learning opportunity, Ignite! (navc.com/ignite), which consisted of a full day of 15-minute talks and breakout sessions Jan. 21. The sessions were meant to explore new ideas and perspectives in veterinary education, practice, professionalism, and community. Ignite! is modeled after the popular TED talks, which are filmed presentations owned by the private nonprofit Sapling Foundation that have the slogan “Ideas Worth Spreading.”

Presenters at Ignite! touched on personal wellness and mental health, the future of drug dispensing by veterinarians, and how to overcome hurdles in data sharing among clinics. Rep. Kurt Schrader of Oregon gave the talk “Effecting change as a volunteer on the national level through political service.”

Another new session at the conference was “Hospital Design for the 21st Century.” It featured panel discussions with architects, builders, and financing professionals. In all, more than 1,200 hours of CE were offered.

Finally, the NAVC hosted its first Wellness Screening and Assessment Center during the conference, co-sponsored by the AVMA Group Health and Life Insurance Trust and Zoetis’ Pet Wellness Report. Attendees were offered blood chemistry profile and lipid panel analyses along with prostate-specific antigen testing and rabies titer testing.

The 2014–2015 NAVC officers are Dr. Charlotte Lacroix, Whitehouse Station, N.J., president; Dr. Christine Navarre, Baton Rouge, La., president-elect; Dr. Melinda D. Merck, Gainesville, Fla., vice president; Dr. Laurel Kaddatz, Pound Ridge, N.Y., secretary-treasurer; and Lynne E. Johnson-Harris, Hinckley, Ohio, immediate past president.

Website provides tools for pet nutrition

The Pet Nutrition Alliance has developed a website to provide veterinary professionals with credible resources on pet nutrition. The PNA announced the website Jan. 19 at the North American Veterinary Community Conference in Orlando, Fla.

The American Animal Hospital Association, the AVMA, and other veterinary organizations established the PNA to promote the importance of proper pet nutrition and the value of nutritional assessments for every pet at every veterinary visit. The PNA website offers a collection of tools on pet nutrition for veterinary professionals to use in practice and to educate clients.

“Our goal was to create this go-to website where people could find all sorts of nutritional information from pretty much every credible source out there,” said Kate Spencer, AAHA communications manager.

A PNA committee developed the website by compiling existing resources on pet nutrition and writing answers to frequently asked questions, Spencer said. She noted that the website does not have any company branding, although some of the tools come from companies. The PNA is rolling out the website to veterinary professionals now and will roll out the website to pet owners later this year.

The website has sections with resources for veterinary teams, nutritional guidelines, and resources for pet owners. Tools include the following:

  • • Online training on weight loss programs for pets.

  • • A Web conference on pet foods.

  • • A “Healthy Weight Protocol” tool to determine an overweight pet's idea weight.

  • • Feline and canine assessment forms.

  • • Checklists for physical examinations.

  • • Feeding guides and charts.

  • • Charts for body and muscle condition scores.

  • • Nutrition pamphlets for pet owners.

  • • Step-by-step instructions on how to report problems with pet food.

  • • A tool to translate pet weight to comparable human weight.

  • • Printable client information sheets.

  • • Articles on communicating with clients about weight and nutrition.

“With obesity and weight-related diseases on the rise, education about proper nutrition for optimal pet health is more important now than ever before,” said Dr. Kate Knutson, chair of the PNA. “Veterinary health care teams need tangible tools they can use to meet this challenge head-on. Our vision in launching these resources is to bring a variety of credible, vetted nutrition tools to veterinary professionals so that they can better address nutrition in their practices.”

The website is at www.petnutritionalliance.org.

Survey delves into veterinarians’ personal financial health

By Katie Burns

Many veterinarians believe they are personally not doing well financially, according to a new survey.

Veterinary Pet Insurance, Veterinary Economics magazine, and Brakke Consulting produced the VPI–Veterinary Economics Financial Health Study as a follow-up to the Bayer Veterinary Care Usage Study. The survey was conducted July 25-Aug. 4, 2013. The companies released the results Jan. 19 at the North American Veterinary Community Conference in Orlando, Fla.

Dr. Carol McConnell, VPI chief veterinary officer, said the objective was to look at the personal side of the changing economics of veterinary practice and “How is this affecting individuals in our profession?”

The study sample was 1,193 veterinarians from the database of Advanstar, publisher of Veterinary Economics, who responded to an email invitation to an online survey. Respondents were owners and associates whose practice consisted of at least 75 percent companion animals.

Forty-one percent of owners and 31 percent of associates said they were doing well financially, rating their personal financial condition as 8 to 10 on a 10-point scale. A quarter of owners and 30 percent of associates said they were doing poorly, 0 to 5 on a 10-point scale. Male and older veterinarians were more likely to be doing well than female and younger veterinarians.

The mean income for associates was $84,000, and their mean household income was $138,000. The mean income for owners was $109,000, and their mean household income was $187,000—falling into the top 10 percent of all U.S. households, according to the 2010 U.S. Census.

“We don't feel that we're doing very well financially, and once you dive deeper into it, it's for a host of reasons,” Dr. McConnell said.

A third of owners said their practice was doing well, but another third said their practice was doing poorly. Twenty-two percent of associates were unaware of the financial health of their practice. Just over half of owners were paying off loans for the practice, with mean debt of $362,240.

Twenty-two percent of owners had student loans, with mean debt of $66,110. Forty-nine percent of associates had student loans, with mean debt of $112,082.

Twenty-seven percent of owners were planning to delay retirement because of the poor financial condition of their practice. Fifty-eight percent of owners worked more hours than they would have liked because the practice needed the revenue, overlapping with the 69 percent who would have liked to work less but needed the income personally.

Dr. McConnell noted that owners and associates often have personal debt beyond student loans, and other members of their households often have student loans and additional debt. “They feel they have to work really hard and a lot of hours to sustain the income that they need,” she said.

Only a third of owners believed the sale of their practice would provide them with a comfortable retirement income. Forty-four percent of associates were interested in owning a practice, although few believed they had the financial means to do so.

Dr. McConnell wrote a blog post about the study at http://vpivetchannel.com/study with a link to a white paper about the results.

Revised heartworm guides add resistance information

The American Heartworm Society's guidance on heartworm infection in dogs and cats now includes information on resistance to heartworm preventives.

The organization also increased the prominence of prevention instructions in its 2014 guides on prevention, diagnosis, and management of heartworm infection. The AHS published in January updated editions of the two sets of guidelines—one each for dogs and cats. They are available under “Veterinary Resources” at www.heartwormsociety.org.

Through the guides, the AHS also now recommends microfilaria testing along with antigen testing to reduce the likelihood of false-negative tests from antigen testing alone. The guides include updated recommendations on adulticide treatment in dogs as well as added diagnostic differentials for infections in cats.

AHS officials published a separate statement that describes resistance to macrocyclic lactones as an issue of great importance in veterinary medicine.

“Every compound currently marketed in every form of administration (oral, topical, and parenteral) has been shown to be less than perfect in at least one study,” the publication states. “However, while the evidence indicates that resistance affects all macrocyclic lactones, differences in active ingredients, doses, and product formulation among the available preventives can result in varying rates of failures.”

The statement notes that heartworm preventives remain effective in the “vast majority” of uses, and appropriate use according to the label is of paramount importance. Inappropriate uses include administering macrocyclic lactones alone to treat heartworm-infected dogs and administering products that are intended for use in large animals as heartworm preventives in dogs or cats.

New resource targets veterinary students, recent graduates

Zoetis launched an online resource Jan. 22 for soon-to-be or recently minted veterinarians.

Vetvance (www.vetvance.com) features free educational content and resources to help prepare these individuals in starting their careers and handling nonclinical aspects of the job.

At launch, Vetvance had about 100 short multimedia modules in which industry experts discuss topics in the following three areas:

  • • Professional Development: This covers resume writing, interview techniques, career options, the job search, and client service and leadership skills.

  • • Business Skills: A focus in this section is on the elements involved in running a successful veterinary business.

  • • Financial Literacy: Information in this area highlights topics such as financial basics, budgeting, and student loan repayment.

In addition, veterinary students or recent graduates who subscribe to the website gain access to a job search engine co-hosted with the American Animal Hospital Association. They may also connect with other veterinary students and recent graduates to share experiences, get real-world advice from veterinary professionals, and find mentors.

Vanessa Mariani, Zoetis director of academic and professional affairs, said in a press release, “We know that veterinary students and graduates are equipped with the medical knowledge and know-how to provide the best care possible for animals. Vetvance is a platform dedicated to providing crucial information for their long term success and thus help sustain a strong profession.”

FDA offers resource on medication errors

The Food and Drug Administration's Center for Veterinary Medicine has developed a Web page on prevention of medication errors.

The page covers topics such as causes and consequences of errors with veterinary medications, the role of the CVM in preventing medication errors, case examples of medication errors, and how consumers can avoid errors with veterinary medications.

The resource is at www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/SafetyHealth/ProductSafetyInformation on the left side under “Veterinary Medication Errors.”

LMU appoints Hoffsis as dean


Dr. Glen F. Hoffsis

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 244, 6; 10.2460/javma.244.6.628

Exactly a year since departing from the University of Florida, Dr. Glen F. Hoffsis will lead Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tenn., as it launches its College of Veterinary Medicine.

He has been appointed dean of the veterinary college and associate vice president of health sciences starting July 1, according to an LMU press release. Dr. Hoffsis formerly served as dean of the veterinary colleges at Florida for seven years and The Ohio State University for 11 years, and he was the associate director of veterinary services at P&G Pet Health and Nutrition (formerly Iams Co.).

He replaces Dr. Randall K. Evans, who was chosen as the founding dean of the emerging veterinary college in 2011 after serving as the founding dean of the LMU School of Allied Health for four years. In addition, Dr. Evans was director for 19 years of Lincoln Memorial's veterinary technology program, which is accredited by the AVMA Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities. Dr. Evans will serve as an associate dean at the veterinary college.

Dr. Hoffsis has held many professional positions, including president of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners, chair of the Food and Drug Administration's now-disbanded Veterinary Medicine Advisory Committee, and president of the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges. He currently serves on the board of directors of Banfield Pet Hospital of Portland, Ore., and Live Oak Bank of Wilmington, N.C. He is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine.

Lincoln Memorial received a letter of reasonable assurance of future accreditation of its veterinary college from the AVMA Council on Education in July 2013. The college is on target for provisional accreditation. It will accept its first class of 85 students this August and anticipates full accreditation in 2018 at the time those first students are graduating.

The veterinary college will be part of the university's Division of Health Sciences, which includes osteopathic, physician assistant, nursing, veterinary technology, and other allied health programs.

“I'm excited to have the opportunity to create an innovative program from square one,” Dr. Hoffsis said in the press release. “This is a rare opportunity to institute new concepts in veterinary education.”

Croney chosen to head Purdue animal welfare center

Purdue University associate professor of animal sciences Candace Croney, PhD, began overseeing the university's new Center for Animal Welfare Science this February when it opened.

The mission of the Center for Animal Welfare Science is to promote the welfare of animals through innovation in research, education, and outreach. It hosts a large collaborative group of scientists working in a variety of related fields and brings together diverse, cross-disciplinary approaches to animal well-being issues in animal and poultry science, veterinary medicine, psychology, philosophy, genetics, public health, and zoology.

“Members of the sciences and animal industries are often perceived as being uncaring or tone-deaf on issues pertaining to animal well-being,” Dr. Croney said. “Purdue's investment in creating a Center for Animal Welfare Science is a timely and necessary step toward changing this perception. The new center will permit exploration of both the scientific and socioethical issues underlying public concerns.”


Candace Croney, PhD

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 244, 6; 10.2460/javma.244.6.628

Dr. Croney will lead a center that includes scientists and educators from the Purdue colleges of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine and the Livestock Behavior Research Unit of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service. Her responsibilities include soliciting both traditional and nontraditional sources of extramural funding for the center's research and outreach activities, serving as spokesperson and resource person on welfare issues in public policy, and disseminating knowledge, guidance, and expertise on animal welfare science through a variety of media.

In addition, Dr. Croney will develop and maintain national and international relationships with leaders in animal agriculture, animal welfare faculty at other universities and institutions, nongovernmental organizations, and the public.

Cancer center receives large donation

A family has pledged $10 million to the Colorado State University Flint Animal Cancer Center, which is the single largest contribution in the center's history.

The gift comes from the Hadley and Marion Stuart Foundation, led by two of the Stuarts’ children, Nan and Brett Stuart of Longmont, Colo., and nearly doubles operational funds for the center. The donation also completes the funding of two endowed academic chairs, the university said in a press release.

In 1983, the late E. Hadley Stuart first brought one of his Golden Retrievers to CSU's College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences for cancer care. Since then, the Stuart family has provided nearly $22 million toward cancer research and clinical treatment of naturally occurring cancers in dogs, including this most recent donation.

Opened in 2002, the Animal Cancer Center houses the world's largest group of scientists studying cancer in pets, according to CSU, with more than 100 faculty clinicians, staff members, and veterinary students. The center books about 6,000 appointments per year and provides an additional 3,000 consultations by phone and email. Collaborations with the National Cancer Institute and University of Colorado Cancer Center, among others, demonstrate the relevance of the center's work to human cancer as well.


Dr. Nicole Ehrhart, a surgical oncologist at the CSU Flint Animal Cancer Center, provides a patient named Berkley with a checkup following limb amputation to successfully treat osteosarcoma. (Courtesy of Colorado State University)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 244, 6; 10.2460/javma.244.6.628

The Hadley and Marion Stuart Foundation was established by heirs to the founder of Carnation Milk Products Co., a family dairy turned industry-leading food company best known for its condensed milk. Nestlé acquired Carnation in 1985.

Nan Stuart's interest in cancer research in dogs stems from one of her Golden Retrievers, Keester, who developed neurofibrosarcoma in a forelimb. A CSU team developed a radiation protocol and rehabilitation plan that reduces pain for the 8-year-old dog.

Keester and Stuart's other Golden Retrievers are award-winning service dogs that are trained to perform emergency rescues from swift water and ice. Stuart's dogs have helped to train thousands of emergency responders through Code 3 Associates, a nonprofit Stuart founded to provide professional animal disaster response and training.

The Stuart family has had three other dogs treated at the center for hemangiosarcoma, Nan Stuart said.

Texas A&M dean an official cowgirl

Dr. Eleanor M. Green (AUB ‘73), dean of Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, was inducted into the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame this past October. She and three others joined 211 previous honorees.

At the start of her career, she worked as a veterinary practice owner before she became one of the founding faculty members at Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1976.

The museum and hall of fame cited Dr. Green for being the first female veterinary dean at Texas A&M, the first woman in the nation to officiate at a National Intercollegiate Livestock Judging Contest in 1974, and the first female president of three national associations: the American Association of Equine Practitioners, American Association of Veterinary Clinicians, and American Board of Veterinary Practitioners.


Dr. Eleanor M. Green

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 244, 6; 10.2460/javma.244.6.628

Dr. Green is an avid horsewoman who has owned and shown horses for nearly 60 years, winning numerous circuit and state championships. She has also served on the boards of directors of a number of horse industry organizations.

American College of Veterinary Radiology

Event: Annual meeting, Oct. 8–11, 2013, Savannah, Ga.

Awards: Outstanding Resident-Authored Paper Award: Dr. Erin Keenihan, Royal Veterinary College, for “Canine meningeal disease: Associations between magnetic resonance imaging signs and histologic findings.” Outstanding Oral Presentation by a Resident: Dr. R.A. VanHatten, Cornell University, for “Comparison of electroretinography and brainstem auditory response to three-dimensional time-of-flight magnetic resonance angiography for detecting reduced blood flow in the maxillary arteries of cats with the mouth opened”; and Dr. K.C. Lynch, University of Illinois, for” “Ex vivo magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1HMRS) of normal, reactive, and malignant canine lymph nodes: Evaluation of the choline metabolite as a marker for malignancy.” Outstanding Poster Presentation by a Resident: Dr. A.M. Adrian, Colorado State University, for “Sedated computed tomographic angiography: A novel method for improving the diagnosis of canine pancreatitis”; and Dr. J.M. Gambino, Mississippi State University, for “In vivo noninvasive single voxel 1h magnetic resonance spectroscopy at 3t for the evaluation of intracranial neoplasms in dogs.”

New diplomates: Thirty-six new diplomates were welcomed into the ACVR. They are as follows:


Dustin Adams, Fort Collins, Colo.

Kristy Barksdale, Longwood, Fla.

Ann Bettencourt, Christiansburg, Va.

Lawrence Brown, Auburn, Ala.

Fernando Castro, Somerset, N.J.

Kemba Clapp, Blacksburg, Va.

Eli Cohen, Palmerston North, New Zealand

Ilva Drumm, Leopoldshoehe, Germany

Matthew Enroth, San Antonio

Aaron Feagin, Melissa, Texas

Nicole Geyer, Cary, N.C.

John Haller, Columbia, Mo.

Kevin Koernig, Southport, N.C.

Chelsea Kunst, Temecula, Calif.

Meghann Lustgarten, Cary, N.C.

Alyce Marks, Missouri City, Texas

Alexis McMurray, Mercer Island, Wash.

Rachel Moon, Hudson, Ohio

Kathryn Phillips, Raleigh, N.C.

Erin Porter, Alachua, Fla.

Jeff Ruth, Christiansburg, Va.

Christopher Ryan, Philadelphia

Kurt Selberg, Athens, Ga.

Miriam Shanaman, La Jolla, Calif.

Meg Sislak, Fairlawn, Ohio

Kenneth Waller Ill, Madison, Wis.

Jennifer White, San Diego

Meghan Woodland, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island

Alex Young, Davis, Calif.

Radiation oncology

Tara Ehling, Oro Valley, Ariz.

Elias Gumpel, Kelvin Grove, Australia

Katherine Hansen, Berkeley, Calif.

Lyndsay Kubicek, Gainesville, Fla.

Dustin Lewis, Atlantic Highlands, N.J.

William Ratterree, Pompano Beach, Fla.

Kim Selting, Columbia, Mo.

Officials: Drs. Anthony Pease, East Lansing, Mich., president; Elizabeth Watson, Key West, Fla., president-elect; Sheri Siegel, Waltham, Mass., president of Radiation Oncology; Thomas Nyland, Davis, Calif., secretary; Robert McLear, Swarthmore, Pa., treasurer; and Clifford Berry, Gainesville, Fla., immediate past president

Nebraska VMA

Event: Annual conference, Jan. 23–25, Lincoln

Awards: Veterinarian of the Year: Dr. Ann Kramer, Columbus. A 1983 graduate of the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Kramer practices at Columbus Small Animal Hospital. She is a past president of the Nebraska VMA. Outstanding Young Veterinarian of the Year: Dr. Jeremy Young, Albion, won this award, given to a veterinarian who has graduated in the past seven years. A 2006 graduate of the Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Young works at Town and Country Veterinary Clinic, which he has co-owned since 2008. He serves on the NVMA Continuing Education Committee. Distinguished Service Award: Alan Moeller, Lincoln, for outstanding service contributing to the advancement of veterinary medicine in all aspects of the profession. Moeller served as assistant vice chancellor of the Institute of Agricultural and Natural Resources from 1977 until retirement in 2013. He played an important role in the partnership between the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine and in the building of a new veterinary diagnostic laboratory at UNL.


Dr. Ann Kramer

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 244, 6; 10.2460/javma.244.6.628


Dr. Jeremy Young

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 244, 6; 10.2460/javma.244.6.628


Alan Moeller

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 244, 6; 10.2460/javma.244.6.628

Officials: Drs. Mark Hughes, Grand Island, president; Henry Cerny, Lincoln, president-elect; Shane Pedersen, Pierce, secretary-treasurer; and Vergil Heyer, Ainsworth, immediate past president

Michigan VMA

Event: Annual conference, Jan. 24–26, Lansing

Awards: Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award: Dr. Janver D. Krehbiel, Mason. A 1962 graduate of Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine and a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists, Dr. Krehbiel was acting director of the international program, senior associate dean for administration, and associate dean for academic programs at the Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine prior to retirement. During his tenure at the college, he also served as director of the clinical pathology laboratory, was acting and associate chair of the Department of Pathology, and served as acting dean. Dr. Krehbiel was chair of the AVMA Executive Board from 2012–2013 and served as the District V representative from 2007–2013. He is a past president of the American Society for Veterinary Clinical Pathology and Michigan VMA and has served on several AVMA committees and councils, including the Council on Education, Council on Research, and Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities. W. Kenneth McKersie Service Award: Dr. Al W. Stinson, Norcross, Ga., for cumulative service and accomplishments benefiting the veterinary profession, the community, and the Michigan VMA. A 1956 graduate of the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Stinson retired as professor emeritus from Michigan State University in 1994. During his tenure, he taught microscopic anatomy and animal behavior and helped raise money to support research on purebred dogs at the university. A member of the MVMA Legislative Advisory Committee until 2012, Dr. Stinson has supported Michigan dog breeders with legislative lobbying and remains active in the veterinary and dog breeding industries.


Dr. Janver D. Krehbiel

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 244, 6; 10.2460/javma.244.6.628


Dr. Al W. Stinson

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 244, 6; 10.2460/javma.244.6.628

Officials: Drs. Therese Burns, Caledonia, president; Julie Cappel, Warren, president-elect; Kevin Stachowiak, Caseville, 1st vice president and treasurer; Bruce Cozzens, Traverse City, 2nd vice president; and Ralph Huff, North Branch, immediate past president

The American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists announces the seventh annual ACVO National Service Animal Eye Exam Event to provide free eye examinations for service animals in May. Animal owners and handlers can register in April at www.ACVOeyeexam.org.

Obituaries: AVMA member AVMA honor roll member Nonmember

Rayford B. Albritton

Dr. Albritton (GA ‘58), 83, Fayetteville, Ga., died Aug. 8, 2013. He worked for the Department of Agriculture, retiring as deputy director in charge of meat and poultry inspection in the Southeast. Dr. Albritton was a Navy veteran of the Korean War. He is survived by his wife, Margaret; two daughters and a son; and five grandchildren. Memorials may be made to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, P.O. Box 96929, Washington, DC 20090; or Hospice Advantage, 101 Yorktown Drive #223, Fayetteville, GA 30214.

Mark Berens

Dr. Berens (COR ‘87), 67, Pelham, Mass., died Dec. 1, 2013. A small animal veterinarian, he owned Dr. Berens’ Animal Hospital in Northampton, Mass., prior to retirement. Dr. Berens served with the Peace Corps in Ecuador in the 1960s. His wife, Leslie Nyman, survives him.

David C. Berglund

Dr. Berglund (OSU ‘49), 88, Anguilla, West Indies, died Dec. 26, 2013. He owned a home-based mixed animal practice in Anguilla from 1972 until the mid-2000s. Following graduation, Dr. Berglund served as a captain in the Army, working as a post veterinarian and food inspector. In 1957, he established Hill-Chester Hospital for Animals, a small animal practice in Hillside, Ill. Dr. Berglund was active with the Anguilla Rotary Club and was a founding member of the Anguilla Freemasons Association.

He is survived by his wife, Charlotte; two sons and a daughter; a stepson; and five grandchildren. Dr. Berglund's brother, Dr. Nevin E. Berglund (OSU ‘52), is a small animal veterinarian in Wilmette, Ill.

James D. Carroll

Dr. Carroll (TEX ‘52), 89, Corsicana, Texas, died Nov. 24, 2013. Following graduation, he practiced large animal medicine in Corsicana, where two years later he co-founded Carroll and Harper Animal Hospital. In 1957, Dr. Carroll's brother, Dr. Ray D. Carroll (TEX ‘57), joined the practice. Dr. James Carroll retired in 2008 after serving Texas’ Navarro County and surrounding areas for 56 years. During that time, he identified neonatal isoerythrolysis in calves and determined the cause. As an auction barn veterinarian for more than 50 years, he initiated aging and pregnancy testing of cattle at the sale barn.

Dr. Carroll served in the Army during World War II. He is survived by three daughters and a grandson. Memorials may be made to the Dr. J.D. Carroll Youth Exposition Award, Community National Bank and Trust, 321 N. 15th St., Corsicana, TX 75110; or Family First Hospice, 109 S.W. Main St., Ennis, TX 75119.

Everard L. Cooper

Dr. Cooper (ONT ‘52), 87, Chesterville, Maine, died Nov. 30, 2013. He practiced mixed animal medicine in Chesterville. Dr. Cooper began his career working for the Ontario Racing Commission. He then practiced in Kamloops, British Columbia, and Farmington, Maine, before establishing a mixed animal practice in Livermore Falls, Maine. Dr. Cooper eventually moved that practice to Turner, Maine. He was a member of the Maine VMA.

Dr. Cooper is survived by his wife, Joan; two sons and two daughters; 15 grandchildren; and 16 great-grandchildren.

Ernest R. Griner

Dr. Griner (GA ‘50), 85, Atlanta, died Aug. 26, 2013. A small animal practitioner, he owned Atlanta Pet Hospital. Dr. Griner's three children, a grandchild, and three step-grandchildren survive him. Memorials may be made to Northside Drive Baptist Church, 3100 Northside Drive S.W., Atlanta, GA 30305.

Patrick M. Hourigan

Dr. Hourigan (IL ‘84), 57, Williams Bay, Wis., died Dec. 7, 2013. A small animal practitioner, he was the founder of Richmond Veterinary Clinic in Richmond, Ill. Dr. Hourigan donated his services to Fellow Mortals Wildlife Hospital. He was a member of the Williams Bay Lions Club. Dr. Hourigan is survived by his wife, Donna; a daughter; and two sons. Memorials may be made to Fellow Mortals Wildlife Hospital, W4632 Palmer Road, Lake Geneva, WI 53147, http://fellowmortals.org

Gene R. Kind

Dr. Kind (MIN ‘55), 82, St. Peter, Minn., died Dec. 15, 2013. He owned Kind Veterinary Clinic, a mixed animal practice in St. Peter, prior to retirement in 1998. Dr. Kind was a past president of the Minnesota VMA. He was active with the Boy Scouts, Rotary Club, and Meals on Wheels. Dr. Kind's wife, Naomi; two sons and a daughter; and two grandchildren survive him. Memorials may be made to Blue Earth–Nicollet County Humane Society, 1250 N. River Drive, Mankato, MN 56001; or University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine, St. Paul, MN 55108.

Robert W. Klindt

Dr. Klindt (ISU ‘59), 79, Montfort, Wis., died Jan. 9, 2014. He was a partner and co-owner of Montfort Veterinary Service, where he practiced primarily large animal medicine from 1963 until retirement in 1995. Dr. Klindt began his career with the Army Veterinary Corps as officer in charge of the Veterinary Food Inspection Detachment. He joined Montfort Veterinary Service in 1961. Dr. Klindt was a past president of the Southwest Wisconsin VMA and a member of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners and Wisconsin VMA. Active in civic life, he was a past president of the Montfort Village Board and Ruritan International and was active with Little League, Boys Scouts, and 4-H Club. Dr. Klindt's son, three daughters, and eight grandchildren survive him. He is also survived by his companion, Donna Petersen. Memorials may be made to the Robert and Martha Klindt Memorial Scholarship Fund, c/o Julie Anderson, 751 N. 57th Ave., Omaha, NE 68132.

Stewart McConnell

Dr. McConnell (TEX ‘50), 90, College Station, Texas, died Dec. 4, 2013. A diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, he was professor emeritus at the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences since 1985. Following graduation, Dr. McConnell practiced briefly in Las Vegas before joining the Army Veterinary Corps. During his military service, he worked at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Washington, D.C.; served as an adviser to the Bolivian government in La Paz, where he helped establish vaccine production capabilities and assisted in the identification and control of an outbreak of hemorrhagic fever; and conducted research on vaccine development and prevention of animal diseases at Fort Detrick, Md. In 1965, Dr. McConnell received an Army Commendation Medal for his work in Bolivia. He retired from the veterinary corps as lieutenant colonel in 1968 and joined the Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Parasitology at TAMU.

Dr. McConnell was a member of the United States Animal Health Association. He served in the Army Air Corps during World War II and received a Purple Heart. Dr. McConnell is survived by his wife, Willie; a son and two daughters; and four grandchildren. Memorials may be made to the 95th Bomb Group Memorials Foundation, c/o Nancy Freemantle, Treasurer, P.O. Box 6154, Eureka, CA 95502; http://95thbg.org/95th_joomla/