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FIGHTING THE CYBERBULLY

HOW HARASSMENT CAN AFFECT YOUR PRACTICE

By Reedhima Mandlik and Malinda Larkin

The 19th of June started out like any other typical Thursday for Dr. Jennifer Eachus as she got ready for work, that is, until she received the email that sent her life—and practice—spiraling into a waking nightmare.

In June, when Bella the cat was adopted from Dr. Eachus’ Cat Clinic of Cary, North Carolina, the veterinarian had been happy that Bella had found a loving home. The adopter had been referred by a former Cat Clinic employee who had previously worked at another clinic where the adopter was a client.

But two days later, the adopter brought Bella back, claiming the cat had a severe ear infection that had been diagnosed by a veterinarian at another clinic. She asked for a refund of the adoption fee but said she intended to keep the cat.

On the basis of an examination she had performed before adopting the cat out to its new owner and a re-examination after the ear infection claim, Dr. Eachus determined that there was no infection and that there were no traces of bacteria in Bella's ear. When Dr. Eachus’ offer to refund the adoption fee and take Bella back was refused, the veterinarian was faced with a hard choice. She felt it was imprudent to return Bella to the owner, worrying that the owner had been untruthful about the diagnosis of an ear infection and was trying to obtain the cat at no charge.

“She wanted the cat and the money, and she was going to go out the door angry. I opted to make sure Bella was safe,” Dr. Eachus said. “The only way I could do that is make sure she stayed with us.”

It was then that the adopter took to social media. With dozens of phone calls, harassing emails, and social media pages springing up against her, Dr. Eachus knew she had stumbled into something a lot worse than anything she had dealt with before—she was now a victim of cyberbullying.

Living in fear

Cyberbullying, also known as cyberharassment, is the use of email, instant messaging, and derogatory websites to bully or otherwise harass an individual or group through personal attacks, according to U.S. Legal Definitions. Cyberbullying can also be used to threaten, embarrass, or frighten, and can even result in physical harm to its victims.

Department of Justice statistics reveal that some 850,000 adults, most of them female, are targets of the practice each year. Cyberbullying has been shown to make victims feel sad, hopeless, or depressed, according to an article published in May 2007 in Developmental Psychology (www.apa.org/pubs/journals/dev/).

Cyberbullies can also harm a business's reputation. In Dr. Eachus’ case, the threats posted online continued to escalate, eventually resulting in a person posting her home address online.

“I was getting threats on Facebook. People were recommending that (the bully) hold an AK-47 to my head,” Dr. Eachus said. “We were on a hiring freeze. We were afraid to advertise for jobs that were open. We were afraid to bring in anybody that we didn't know. I couldn't trust anybody at the Cat Clinic. We were short-staffed for a very long time before we were comfortable hiring anybody. Even though no one showed up to our house, I was terrified to leave my (12) cats … out in the general living area of my house.”

Dr. Kimberly May, director of professional and public affairs in the AVMA Communications Division, is largely responsible for AVMA's social media presence. She said cyberbullying is a trend on the rise, given what she's seen and heard from veterinarians who have reached out to her or whose experiences she's read about. Over the past year, she's talked to about 10 clinics that have experienced incidents and, through the grapevine, has heard of another five to 10 with similar stories.

She attributes the perceived rise in cyberbullying to the increasing popularity of social media, which, because of the anonymity they afford, give individuals “the ability to lash out from behind a keyboard instead of facing the person against whom they're making the allegations or accusations.”

In many cases, Dr. May says, cyberbullying of a veterinarian starts with a client who posts his or her side of a real or perceived grievance against the veterinarian online and makes a plea for justice. From there, things tend to take on a life all their own.

“(Readers) get upset and don't stop to think there's another side to this story, and they just jump on the veterinarian. It's an Internet lynch mob mentality,” Dr. May said. “They're getting stories and events that have really no impact on their lives, and it's like you insulted their grandma. And when you throw in a pet, any threat or perceived threat to them, people get their ire up quickly. That's why I think veterinarians are at a higher risk (for cyberbullying) than other professions.”

Extreme cases

A more extreme case of cyberbullying of a veterinarian happened earlier this year and involved Dr. Shirley Koshi, the late owner of Gentle Hands Veterinary Clinic in New York City.

She committed suicide this past February at age 55 following a cyberbullying campaign led by a group called The Veterinary Abuse Network.

According to news reports, Dr. Koshi's Bronx clinic, which opened in July 2013, took in a stray cat named Karl a month later. But Gwen Jurmark had fed Karl and other cats that lived in a nearby park, and she sued the veterinarian that October to get Karl back. That was followed by a demonstration outside Gentle Hands led by Jurmark and online attacks against Dr. Koshi, according to reports. A clinic worker said the lawsuit, online attacks against the veterinarian, and financial problems “drove (Dr. Koshi) over the edge.”

Dr. Colleen Currigan of the Cat Hospital of Chicago was another victim of cyberbullying, this time caused by a documentary called “The Paw Project,” which focuses on declawing and casts a negative light on the veterinary profession and allied organizations for not supporting declaw bans. According to Dr. Currigan, who says her practice strongly opposes declawing as a means of addressing normal feline behavior, an unsettling aspect was that the threatening phone calls, hurtful emails, and rude Facebook posts weren't aimed just at her—they affected all the employees at her practice. Even worse, they were criticizing her practice for mistaken reasons.

“It's hard to be accused of things that are really not true. Veterinarians do so much … we deeply care about the welfare and the lives of our patients, and we never consider doing something that's cruel or inhumane, (so) it's difficult to be accused of that,” Dr. Currigan said.

“It's kind of hard to take the high road when you've been accused of something that's just the antithesis of your whole being and your focus and efforts regarding declawing throughout your career.”

Ultimately, Dr. Currigan did not respond directly to the critics, but instead provided additional information regarding declawing and the hospital's position on the procedure in cats on its website.

Standing up to bullying

Nowadays, avoiding cyberbullies is becoming harder and harder, particularly following the creation of websites such as The Veterinary Abuse Network (www.vetabusenetwork.com); Ripoff Report (www.ripoffreport.com), an anonymous review site; and Regret A Vet (http://regretavet.blogspot.com), an inflammatory site dedicated to targeting veterinarians.

According to Dr. Eachus, cyberbully attacks are often centered on the profession because it is unique and because of the radical nature of some individuals in the pet-owning community.

“It is going to happen to (more veterinarians). It's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when,” Dr. Eachus said. “I think it's because we're such a different profession ourselves. We wear our hearts on our sleeves. We are very compassionate. Most of us are truly about the pets and put the pets’ needs first and are their advocate.”

According to Dr. Currigan, veterinarians need to stand their ground.

“Stand tall, stand up for what you believe in. I don't think it's appropriate to go on the offensive or to be terribly defensive,” Dr. Currigan advised. “Just be who you are.”

Resources to combat an attack

Enlisting the help of a crisis management company is essential, as Dr. Eachus learned from AVMA staff member Dr. May, who reached out to Dr. Eachus after learning of her plight.

Often when Dr. May hears about a cyberbullying incident, she'll call the clinic to offer basic advice for handling it. In Dr. Eachus’ case, she recommended Jonathan Bernstein, from Bernstein Crisis Management, who says he is no stranger to cyberbullies in the professional world.

“There have always been bullies, and the Internet has simply given bullies a new method of doing what they do. The court of law operates very slowly; the court of opinion operates instantaneously. A full day on the Internet is eons in real life,” Bernstein said. “So much damage can occur in a 24-hour period that the necessity for really rapid response is critical.”

According to Bernstein, shutting down social media pages may only create more problems for the business. Even after the wave of attacks is over, lingering reviews and posts can show up in online searches and continue to damage a clinic's reputation months down the road.

“The asset of any organization is its reputation. If your reputation is being damaged, then you're going to lose the ability to operate, and certainly for any business, that's the worst thing that can happen,” Bernstein says.

For Dr. Eachus, the worst part about dealing with cyberbullying has been the finances sacrificed for damage control and the loss of some clients.

“It's been financially draining. It's money that we don't have,” Dr. Eachus said. “You're caught between a rock and a hard place. You can almost bankrupt yourself trying to save your reputation.”

Reporting cyberbullying to one's local or state VMA could help other victims by letting them know they are not alone and by building a veterinary database. Or suggesting that a client file a complaint with the state veterinary medical board—assuming the veterinarian has done due diligence—could head off a civil lawsuit, Dr. May said. A veterinarian who receives a substantial threat would be well-advised to contact the police, she added.

The AVMA is developing a survey to assess the severity and scope of cyberbullying across the profession, and the results may drive further efforts in policymaking related to cyberbullying in the profession. The survey form was anticipated to go out by the end of November.

Creating a climate that averts bullying

The best method to avoid cyberbullying is to communicate with one's clients and the community, Bernstein says.

“It's really critical to neither overreact nor underreact. Those two errors … are the most common mistakes made,” Bernstein says. “Really clear customer communication and customer service (are) at the front lines of crisis prevention, whether (veterinarians) realize it or not. Be proactive. Create a cushion of goodwill.”

Dr. May often tells cyberbullied practitioners that “this, too, shall pass.”

“It's a double-edged sword with social media. Things explode fast, but people move on to something else to get upset about,” she said, “that is, unless the veterinarian does something to stoke the fire.”

Veterinarians would do well to address just the facts and not get pulled into personal arguments. Any message put out should show compassion and focus on doing what's best for the animals, she said. “The hard part is not taking it personally and lashing back because that will stoke the fire. Being as transparent as you can be about the situation is good,” Dr. May advised.

To help avoid cyberbullying in the first place, she recommends keeping tabs on what people are saying about the clinic. That could entail contracting with a reputation management company or simply setting up Google alerts for the clinic's name and doctors’ names. Monitoring any social media accounts as well as what people are saying on business review sites such as Yelp can help, too.

“That way, you can respond to it quickly and can handle it right away before it gets huge,” Dr. May said.

Reedhima Mandlik is a third-year journalism and psychology major at Northwestern University and was a 2014 summer intern with JAVMA News.

Hancock retires after helping broaden reach of AVMA

By Katie Burns

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J.B. Hancock, director of the AVMA Communications Division from late 2004 to late 2014, accepts the President's Award during the 2010 AVMA Annual Convention in Atlanta. (Photo by Michael San Filippo)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 245, 10; 10.2460/javma.245.10.1068

A Smithsonian exhibition showcasing veterinary medicine. More materials from the AVMA to meet the needs of a range of audiences. Materials in new formats and new media.

These are just a few of the highlights of the work of the AVMA Communications Division during the past decade as the division grew under director J.B. Hancock, who retired at the end of September.

“Our ability and capability to reach out to our audiences in a wide variety of formats have changed dramatically,” Hancock said. “Today, within moments, we can get up information that's factual, that's science-based, and that people turn to. … I think that our effectiveness and our value as a resource has gone up tremendously.”

Born in Meriden, Connecticut, Hancock started out in the field of education. She earned a bachelor's degree from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, and taught special education for a year before earning her master's degree from the University of Virginia-Charlottesville. She took a position with the Council for Exceptional Children in Arlington, Virginia.

Producing a film for the council led to her communications career in the Washington, D.C., area. In 1972, she established JBH Productions. Also in the 1970s, she helped establish the National Association of Women Business Owners. Later positions included AARP broadcasting director and communications director for a lobbying firm.

When Hancock arrived at the AVMA in late 2004, the Communications Division consisted of only a few people. She planned to stay three years to build the division. She ended up staying for a decade, leading a division that now consists of departments for marketing, media relations, professional and public affairs, electronic media, and state legislative and regulatory affairs.

“The first thing that kept me here was, after we put the division together, … we got involved in building on that and doing more and more new and exciting projects,” Hancock said.

Hancock said the Communications Division has increased the amount of informational materials available from the AVMA for members, veterinary organizations, and legislators as well as the public.

The division provides materials in many print and electronic formats, including Spanish-language materials. Among the electronic newsletters for members are AVMA@Work, which covers AVMA activities. Anyone can sign up for Animal Health SmartBrief, an electronic newsletter.

The division led the redesign of the AVMA website, which was launched in August 2012, to improve accessibility of materials. The division also has moved into social media such as Facebook, Twitter, podcasts, and YouTube.

Hancock also highlighted outreach to the press and establishment of the AVMA State Legislative and Regulatory Affairs Department.

The second thing that kept Hancock at the AVMA was the Smithsonian exhibition. She spent years collaborating with others on the project, dealing with the ups and downs in picking a theme and finding funding.

The result is a traveling exhibition on the theme of the human-animal bond. The Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service launched “Animal Connections: Our Journey Together” in 2013 to mark the 150th anniversary of the AVMA.

Hancock said the exhibition “meets our members’ requests to get to the general public and explain to them what veterinary medicine is and how broad and wide and deep it is and how important it is to society.”

Hancock said the third thing that kept her at the AVMA is that she never had a job where she laughed so much. The division works hard but has fun.

“Today we've got five departments with a very strong team of highly creative people who work with each other almost without any help from me,” Hancock said. She has tried to be a mentor to help her communicators be successful.

On retirement, Hancock returned to Washington, D.C. She hopes to do consulting, conduct research at the Smithsonian, volunteer at an animal shelter, and travel.

AVMA congressional fellows take posts on Capitol Hill

Members of the newest class of AVMA Congressional Science Fellows have received their congressional office placements, the Association announced in September.

Dr. Elise Ackley has accepted a position with Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, Dr. Chase Crawford with Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota, and Dr. Carrie La Jeunesse with Rep. Jeff Fortenberry of Nebraska.

During their yearlong assignments, the AVMA fellows use their scientific expertise and training in veterinary medicine to advise their respective members of Congress on a variety of policy issues, including agriculture, animal health and welfare, appropriations, food safety, biosecurity, and public health.

“Across the nation and around the world, we are facing incredible animal and public health and environmental challenges,” said Dr. Mark Lutschaunig, director of AVMA's Governmental Relations Division.

“Veterinarians like Ackley, Crawford, and La Jeunesse have a unique opportunity to use their scientific training and expertise to help our nation's leaders craft sound legislative policies that will enhance animal health and welfare, protect our food supply, promote public health, and preserve our environment for the future,” Dr. Lutschaunig said.

The AVMA fellowship program is funded by the American Veterinary Medical Foundation and sponsored through the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which places scientific experts in congressional offices where they are needed. To date, more than 60 veterinarians have participated in the AVMA program.

Drs. Ackley, Crawford, and La Jeunesse were selected out of 20 applicants earlier this year after completing a three-phase, competitive selection process (see JAVMA, July 1, 2014, page 21). They will serve as fulltime employees to their members of Congress, supporting the needs and activities of their respective congressional offices, until August 2015. AVMA fellows are neither AVMA employees nor lobbyists.

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Dr. Elise Ackley

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 245, 10; 10.2460/javma.245.10.1068

Dr. Ackley is a native of Shreveport, Louisiana, and a 2014 graduate of the Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine. She will concentrate on public health and higher education issues in Durbin's office. Dr. Ackley has worked for the Department of Homeland Security, the World Health Organization, and the Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. She has also served as president of the Student AVMA and as a student extern in AVMA's Governmental Relations Division.

Dr. Crawford is originally from Houston and a 2014 graduate of the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. He will focus primarily on agricultural issues in Franken's office. Prior to this post, Dr. Crawford worked on issues related to the one-health concept with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the WHO.

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Dr. Chase Crawford

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 245, 10; 10.2460/javma.245.10.1068

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Dr. Carrie La Jeunesse

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 245, 10; 10.2460/javma.245.10.1068

Dr. La Jeunesse is from Port Orchard, Washington, and a 1983 graduate of the University of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. She will work on international development issues in Fortenberry's office. Dr. La Jeunesse has practiced small companion animal emergency and critical care medicine. As president of the Washington State VMA, she worked on issues and policy pertaining to veterinary practice and animal health and welfare.

Cat Friendly Practice resounds

American Association of Feline Practitioners keeps growing with program

By Katie Burns

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The AAFP's annual conference in September attracted a total of 862 attendees. (Images courtesy of the AAFP)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 245, 10; 10.2460/javma.245.10.1068

Cat owners who recently visited the Martha Stewart, Today, or CNN websites might have seen advertisements promoting yearly check-ups for cats or the possibility of a less stressful veterinary visit.

The advertisements connect cat owners with the Cat Friendly Practice program from the American Association of Feline Practitioners. The AAFP is expanding public outreach to promote routine feline preventive care as well as the CFP program. The program has grown dramatically since starting in early 2012.

Membership in the AAFP, a prerequisite for participation in the CFP program, increased 72 percent in the past three years to 3,308 as of Sept. 29. Attendance also was up for the AAFP's annual conference, Sept. 18–21 in Indianapolis.

Cat Friendly Practice

According to the Bayer Veterinary Care Usage Study III: Feline Findings, which came out in 2013, 78 percent of practice owners agree that cats represent one of the most significant missed opportunities for the profession.

“If what you really want to do is create a healthier, more prosperous business, then you need to reflect on the fact that increasing feline visits is the single biggest opportunity to grow a small animal practice,” said Dr. Elizabeth J. Colleran, an AAFP past president and a member of the task force behind the CFP program.

“The true value is in improving the health care for cats,” she continued. “We know that we're not catching illnesses early.”

By August 2012, the AAFP had designated 191 practices as cat friendly, with another 447 practices in the process of earning the designation. As of August 2014, 670 practices had earned the cat-friendly designation, with another 639 practices in the process. Practices must earn the designation again every two years, and 90 percent of early adopters have repeated the process.

Recently, the AAFP produced two series of educational videos relating to the CFP program. A series of eight videos helps veterinary teams make cat-friendly changes in practice. A series of three videos for cat owners promotes routine preventive care and the CFP program.

In addition to providing marketing toolkits for cat-friendly practices, the AAFP puts out an electronic newsletter for cat-friendly practices every other month. Content includes educational tools such as presentations for staff meetings and marketing tips such as advice on how to use social media more effectively.

The AAFP has been doing some regional marketing to the public via the advertisements on big public-facing websites.

“We've had some really great success with that in terms of driving people to the search engine for cat-friendly practices,” Dr. Colleran said.

The AAFP plans to assess the entire CFP program in the spring to determine how to develop additional resources for practices and identify future marketing initiatives for cat owners.

Conference, guidelines

The AAFP's annual conference attracted 724 veterinary professionals and 138 exhibitors and guests. The focus was feline gastroenterology and endocrinology. The task force that planned the conference wanted to present the latest research and techniques related to disorders of the digestive and endocrine systems that practitioners see day in and day out, chair Dr. Heide L.G. Meier said.

Key sessions covered chronic small intestinal disease, pancreatitis, hepatic lipidosis, constipation, hyperthyroidism and the kidney, hypothyroidism, and diabetes. A panel brought together representatives from cat-friendly practices to discuss their experience with the designation process.

Dr. Meier said the AAFP continues to offer feline tracks at other veterinary conferences and is working on adding tracks at more conferences.

In other activities, the AAFP and International Society of Feline Medicine recently produced the AAFP and ISFM Guidelines for Diagnosing and Solving House-Soiling Behavior in Cats. The AAFP and ISFM also produced a brochure on the subject for cat owners.

The AAFP website is at www.catvets.com.

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The American Association of Feline Practitioners is running advertisements such as this one on popular public-facing websites to encourage cat owners to bring their pets in for yearly check-ups.

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 245, 10; 10.2460/javma.245.10.1068

AAFP president sees opportunities in feline medicine

By Katie Burns

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Dr. Susan Little and Zanzibar (Photo by Rose Javinsky)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 245, 10; 10.2460/javma.245.10.1068

Dr. Susan Little did not grow up in a home with cats as pets, yet cats always fascinated her. She went on to become a feline practitioner in 1990 and president of the American Association of Feline Practitioners for 2015.

She said cats are a challenging species to work with, and she likes the challenge. She said, “There are also many things we do not yet understand about cats and feline medicine, so the scientist in me likes the opportunity for research.”

Dr. Little graduated in 1988 from Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph. She is part owner of Bytown Cat Hospital and Merivale Cat Hospital, both in Ottawa, Ontario. She is a diplomate in the feline category under the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners.

She became aware of the AAFP through the feline club at her veterinary college. She said, “The AAFP organization has done a tremendous amount of work to further feline medicine, so the chance to both learn from colleagues and help others improve feline health care is very important to me.”

Dr. Little is a past president of the Winn Feline Foundation and a member of the Examination Development Advisory Board of the National Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners. She has served on committees for the Canadian VMA.

She is one of five feline veterinary specialists in Canada who created Cat Healthy Canada, an initiative to help veterinarians improve feline preventive health care. She is the editor of “The Cat: Clinical Medicine and Management” and the forthcoming seventh volume of Dr. John R. August's “Consultations in Feline Internal Medicine.”

In addition, Dr. Little has participated in research on feline infectious disease, particularly feline leukemia virus and feline immunodeficiency virus infections.

As AAFP president, Dr. Little hopes to help build on and improve current programs. She said the AAFP considers any veterinarian who sees cats to be a feline practitioner and is conducting strategic planning to identify other needs.

“Veterinary team members are actively trying to increase their feline knowledge and skills,” Dr. Little said. “The AAFP offers a wide array of membership benefits that enable them to do so.”

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Dr. Colleen Currigan

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 245, 10; 10.2460/javma.245.10.1068

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Dr. Marcus G. Brown

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 245, 10; 10.2460/javma.245.10.1068

Among the benefits for members are the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, continuing education, and the Cat Friendly Practice Program. Dr. Little said the program has been “a huge success, both in improving experiences in veterinary clinics for cats and in helping grow our membership.”

The AAFP continues to have feline clubs at many veterinary colleges, Dr. Little said. Among the benefits for student members are online access to the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, a discount on registration to the AAFP annual conference, and a discount on AAFP member dues at graduation.

Joining Dr. Little as AAFP officers for 2015 are Drs. Colleen Currigan, Chicago, president-elect, and Marcus G. Brown, Arlington, Virginia, immediate past president.

California law adds protections to pet health insurance

A new California law will add consumer protections to pet health insurance, effective July 1, 2015. The law is the first of its kind in the country, according to the AVMA State Legislative and Regulatory Affairs Department.

The new law will require pet health insurers to disclose information regarding their policies such as reimbursement benefits; limitations on coverage of pre-existing conditions, hereditary disorders, or congenital anomalies or disorders; and other limitations on coverage, including coinsurance, waiting periods, deductibles, and annual or lifetime reimbursement limits. Consumers will gain a 30-day trial period during which they can drop a policy for a full refund.

AARP offers discount on pet health insurance

AARP has partnered with Petplan pet health insurance to offer AARP members a discount on Petplan policies.

Petplan insures nearly 150,000 cats and dogs in the United States, and AARP has 38 million members. Petplan's package for AARP members features a discount of 10 percent on monthly premiums.

“AARP is concerned with enhancing the quality of life of its members,” said Chris Ashton, Petplan co-CEO with his wife, Natasha. “As pet parents ourselves, we understand how important our pets’ companionship is to the quality of life.”

Other associations and many employers also have partnered with pet health insurers to offer a discount on premiums.

Video promotes preventive care for avian, exotic pets

A free video is available for veterinary practices to use on their websites to promote preventive care for avian and exotic pets.

A group of exotic animal veterinarians—Drs. Greg Rich, Scott Echols, Christal Pollock, and Ted Lafeber—created the video with funding from the Lafeber Company, a supplier of bird food and other products. The video encourages clients to bring in avian and exotic pets for yearly examinations.

“Let's prevent the critical illnesses, and let's promote proper health care, proper diet, and proper behavior care at home,” says Dr. Rich as narrator.

The video is available at www.LafeberVet.com/yearlycheckup.

Administration wants more restraint over antimicrobial use

By Greg Cima

Federal agriculture authorities will reduce certain uses of antimicrobials in agriculture as part of a strategy to reduce risks from antimicrobial-resistant bacteria, according to an executive order published in September.

“The Federal Government will work domestically and internationally to detect, prevent, and control illness and death related to antibiotic-resistant infections by implementing measures that reduce the emergence and spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and help ensure the continued availability of effective therapeutics for the treatment of bacterial infections,” it states.

The order also will require antimicrobial stewardship in health care industries, although a Food and Drug Administration spokeswoman said that objective is focused on stewardship efforts in human health care. By the end of 2016, the Department of Health and Human Services will have to propose regulations or other actions that would require “robust antibiotic stewardship programs” in hospitals and other inpatient health care facilities and encourage adoption of stewardship programs by outpatient facilities, according to the order.

The Food and Drug Administration, which is part of the HHS, and the Department of Agriculture are ordered to collaborate and take actions to prohibit use of drugs from antimicrobial classes important for human medicine toward improving growth of animals raised for food. The FDA already expects to reduce access to and use of those drugs by the end of 2016; 26 pharmaceutical companies have agreed to let the agency by then remove approvals that allow administration of the drugs in feed or water to promote livestock growth and that allow over-the-counter sales of those drugs.

According to the executive order, the FDA, USDA, and Environmental Protection Agency will need to coordinate with each other in common program areas, such as those involving surveillance over antimicrobial use and resistance in food animals, interspecies disease transmissibility, and research findings.

A White House announcement about the order states that bacteria resistant to antimicrobials threaten public health, national security, and the economy. Drug-resistant infections are associated with 23,000 deaths and 2 million illnesses yearly as well as $20 billion in health care costs and $35 billion in lost productivity.

In addition to requiring action from existing departments and agencies, the order creates a 30-member federal advisory council on antimicrobial resistance and establishes a multiagency task force to develop a national plan for implementing a strategy to detect, prevent, and combat resistant bacteria.

And federal authorities will sponsor a $20 million prize for development of a rapid diagnostic test that health care providers could use to identify bacterial infections highly resistant to antimicrobials.

The administration published a pair of reports along with the executive order. One of the reports describes the national strategy to identify, fight, and prevent the spread of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria, and the other describes recommendations by the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology on federal government actions that could help the nation fight antimicrobial-resistant bacteria.

The executive order and the related reports are available at http://goo.gl/Th13Ua.

California veterinarian's death ruled a homicide

By R. Scott Nolen

Dr. Richard J. Meinert, a popular mixed animal practitioner from Janesville, California, known for his compassion and generosity, was killed during a break-in at his veterinary clinic this summer.

Police investigators believe Dr. Meinert interrupted a burglary at the Thompson Peak Veterinary Service on the evening of June 22. It appears Dr. Meinert struggled with an intruder, who shot the veterinarian at close range. Lassen County sheriff's deputies found Dr. Meinert's body at the clinic the next morning. He was 55.

On the basis of autopsy and toxicology reports, along with evidence at the scene of the crime, the Lassen County sheriff's office officially ruled Dr. Meinert's death a homicide on Sept. 9.

At press time in October, the investigation into Dr. Meinert's murder was ongoing. The sheriff's office “continues to work this case from multiple directions, including following up on all leads or tips coming in from the community, forensics, and other investigative tools. We will continue to use all of the tools available to us until the murderer(s) are brought to justice,” the office said in a statement.

On Facebook, the Justice for Rich Meinert page has been created “to help bring justice for our local Vet and friend Rich Meinert and bring justice to his killer.”

Dr. Meinert was born Jan. 14, 1959, in Washington, D.C. He spent his childhood in Illinois, Tennessee, and Southern California, and moved to Janesville with his parents and five siblings in 1975.

His interest in animals began on the family ranch, where he learned to raise pigs, rabbits, cows, and horses. Dr. Meinert went on to earn a bachelor's degree in animal science at the University of Nevada-Reno in 1984. Six years later, he received his DVM degree from Kansas State University.

For a time, Dr. Meinert was licensed in five western states, Kansas, and New Hampshire. He studied livestock diseases related to bioterrorism at Plum Island Animal Disease Center and researched bovine tuberculosis for the California Department of Agriculture. He worked for several years as the contract veterinarian for the Bureau of Land Management's horse and burro program in Litchfield, California.

Additionally, Dr. Meinert volunteered as the fair veterinarian at the Lassen County Fair and taught young members of the Lassen Dairy Group, 4-H Club, and National FFA Organization about animal husbandry.

American College of Veterinary Nutrition

The American College of Veterinary Nutrition certified two new diplomates following the certification examination it held June 2–3 in Nashville, Tennessee. The new diplomates are as follows:

Jason Gagne, Maitland, Florida Jonathan Stockman, Davis, California

American Board of Veterinary Toxicology

The American Board of Veterinary Toxicology certified three new diplomates following the certification examination it held July 27 in Denver. The new diplomates are as follows:

Colleen Almgren, Bloomington, Minnesota Cynthia Gaskill, Lexington, Kentucky Hany Youssef, Champaign, Illinois

Clarification

The article “Certificate programs promote diversity in veterinary medicine” in the Nov. 1, 2014, issue of JAVMA News, page 995, gave an incomplete definition for the term “microaggression.” It should be defined as verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate slights and insults on the basis of characteristics including gender, sexual orientation, and physical ability.

Colorado VMA

Event: Annual meeting, Sept. 18–21, Loveland

Awards: Veterinarian of the Year: Dr. Edward R. Eisner, Centennial. A 1964 graduate of the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Eisner is chief of dental services at Animal Hospital Specialty Center in Highlands Ranch. Earlier in his career, he owned Campus Veterinary Practice in Denver for 30 years. Dr. Eisner is a diplomate of the American Veterinary Dental College and coauthor of the textbook, “Veterinary Dental Techniques.” He helped establish and serves as president of the Peter Emily International Veterinary Dental Foundation. Dr. Eisner is a member of the Academy of Veterinary Dentistry and American Veterinary Dental Society and has served on the Colorado State Board of Veterinary Medicine. Distinguished Service Award: Dr. Apryl Steele, Littleton, for outstanding service to the advancement of veterinary medicine over an extended period of time in Colorado in any or all aspects of the profession. A 1997 graduate of Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Dr. Steele owns Tender Touch Animal Hospital in Denver. Earlier in her career, she practiced small animal medicine in Cherry Hills. Dr. Steele is a past president of the CVMA, Denver Area VMS, and Animal Assistance Foundation and has chaired the CVMA Task Force on Pre-veterinary Emergency Care. She serves on the board of directors of PetAid Colorado, Dumb Friends League, and American Association of Feline Practitioners. Dr. Steele also served on the former AVMA Governance Engagement Team. Outstanding Faculty Award: Dr. Craig Webb, Fort Collins. Dr. Webb earned his DVM degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1997 and his doctorate in neuroscience from the former Hahnemann University before that, in 1991. He is associate professor and head of the Small Animal Medicine Section at the Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. Dr. Webb is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine. Rising Star Award: Dr. Jeffrey Fankhauser, Denver. A 2007 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Dr. Fankhauser is chief veterinarian at the Dumb Friends League. He serves on the CVMA Task Force on Collaboration and co-chairs its Commission on Leadership. Dr. Fankhauser is central area director for the Denver Area VMS and heads its Member Connections Committee. Technician of the Year: Nicole Becker, Boulder. A certified veterinary technician, Becker serves as practice manager at North Boulder Companion Animal Hospital. She helped redesign the clinic and worked with a team to create a faster and more enjoyable client experience. Earlier in her career, Becker was employed at clinics in Florida and Colorado. Becker is known for her leadership skills, integrity, and self-discipline. Industry Partner of the Year: Amy Patterson, Montrose, won this award, given to a company representative considered highly valuable in providing resources to veterinarians and in supporting the association's goals and mission. Patterson is territory business manager for Zoetis. Early in her career, she worked as a bench chemist for nine years, and in 2003, joined Pfizer before its animal health business became Zoetis. Patterson is known for going above and beyond in her service to veterinary practices and for her dedication to patient care and comfort through education. President's Award: State Sen. David Balmer, Centennial; state Rep. Beth McCann, Denver; Dr. Randa MacMillan, Littleton; and Dr. Anthony Woodward, Monument. Balmer was honored for his sponsorship of the Dog Protection Act and his role in passing the Pre-veterinary Emergency Care Act. Prior to his election to the state Senate, he served four terms in the Colorado House of Representatives. McCann, completing her third term in the state House, was honored for her role in founding the Colorado Legislative Animal Welfare Caucus and for sustained leadership in advancing legislation that improves the well-being of animals in Colorado. She was a prime sponsor of the Pre-veterinary Emergency Care Act. Dr. MacMillan, a 1981 graduate of the Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences and a past president of the CVMA, owned Arapahoe Veterinary Hospital. She was honored for her service as co-chair of the Colorado Dog Protection Task Force. Dr. Woodward, also a 1981 graduate of the Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences and a past president of the CVMA, owns Animal Dental Care and Oral Surgery in Colorado Springs. He is a diplomate of the American Veterinary Dental College and was honored for enabling medical teams at shelters to improve their knowledge of veterinary dentistry. Colorado Federation of Animal Welfare Agencies Veterinary Partnership Award: Dr. Gretchen Norton, Silverthorne, won this award, given in recognition of a veterinarian who has made a difference to homeless and abused animals by volunteering with a local animal care and control agency, animal shelter, or rescue group. A 2000 graduate of Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Dr. Norton practices at Summit County Animal Control and Shelter. She has initiated vaccination and inventory protocols, provides care and documentation to prosecute cases of animal cruelty, and educates staff on matters of animal health. Dr. Norton is known for going above and beyond in her service and care of patients.

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Dr. Edward R. Eisner

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 245, 10; 10.2460/javma.245.10.1068

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Dr. Apryl Steele

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 245, 10; 10.2460/javma.245.10.1068

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Dr. Craig Webb

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 245, 10; 10.2460/javma.245.10.1068

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Dr. Jeffrey Fankhauser

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 245, 10; 10.2460/javma.245.10.1068

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Nicole Becker

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 245, 10; 10.2460/javma.245.10.1068

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Amy Patterson

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 245, 10; 10.2460/javma.245.10.1068

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Sen. David Balmer

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 245, 10; 10.2460/javma.245.10.1068

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Rep. Beth McCann

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 245, 10; 10.2460/javma.245.10.1068

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Dr. Randa MacMillan

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 245, 10; 10.2460/javma.245.10.1068

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Dr. Anthony Woodward

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 245, 10; 10.2460/javma.245.10.1068

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Dr. Gretchen Norton

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 245, 10; 10.2460/javma.245.10.1068

Officials: Dr. Erin Epperly, Fowler, president; Dr. Curtis Crawford, Monte Vista, president-elect; Dr. Sam Romano, Arvada, secretary-treasurer; Dr. Sara Ahola, Fort Collins, secretary-treasurerelect; Dr. Peter Hellyer, Fort Collins, immediate past president; Ralph Johnson, Denver, executive director; and AVMA delegate and alternate delegate—Drs. John Rule, Steamboat Springs, and Melanie Marsden, Colorado Springs

Obituaries: AVMA member AVMA honor roll member Nonmember

Robert D. Angus

Dr. Angus (California-Davis ‘56), 83, Bancroft, Idaho, died April 30, 2014. He worked for the Department of Agriculture prior to retirement. During his career with the USDA, Dr. Angus served as area veterinarian in Pocatello, Idaho; was area epidemiologist in Boise, Idaho; and worked at the National Animal Disease Center in Ames, Iowa. He is survived by his wife, Vivien June; two sons and a daughter; and 11 grandchildren.

Kerstin F. Brosemer

Dr. Brosemer (Washington State ‘95), 45, Richland, Washington, died Aug. 3, 2014. She practiced at Mid-Columbia Pet Emergency Service in Pasco, Washington, for the past 10 years. Dr. Brosemer also volunteered her services at Prevent Homeless Pets in Benton City, Washington. Earlier in her career, she worked at Vineyard Animal Clinic in Kennewick, Washington.

Dr. Brosemer's husband, Michael J. Okoniewski, survives her. Memorials may be made to Prevent Homeless Pets, 812 Della Ave., Benton City, WA 99320, www.preventhomelesspets.org; or Pet Over Population Prevention, P.O. Box 442, Pasco WA 99301, www.popptricities.org.

Edward Crook

Dr. Crook (Washington State ‘45), 95, Clarkston, Washington, died July 1, 2014. He began his career teaching and serving as veterinarian in charge of animal health at the University of Arkansas. Dr. Crook then attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he obtained his doctorate in virology in 1957. He subsequently worked for Cutter Laboratories in Oakland, California, directing vaccine development. In 1961, Dr. Crook moved to Mossyrock, Washington, and established a mixed animal practice. He retired in 1993.

Dr. Crook was a past president of the Mossyrock Lions Club. He is survived by two sons. Memorials may be made to the Ed and Ruth Crook Scholarship, Mossyrock High School, P.O. Box 348, Mossyrock, WA 98564.

William K. Dowding

Dr. Dowding (Iowa State ‘51), 90, Covington, Louisiana, died March 16, 2014. Prior to retirement in 1984, he owned Warren Veterinary Services, a large animal practice in Warren, Illinois. Early in his career, Dr. Dowding briefly worked in Rockford, Illinois. He was a past chair of the Illinois State VMA executive board, a past president of the Northern Illinois VMA, and Illinois’ alternate delegate to the AVMA House of Delegates from 1973–1981. In 1981, the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine honored Dr. Dowding with its Service Award for his contributions to the college. His wife, Betty; two sons; and four grandchildren survive him. One son, Dr. Alan Dowding (Illinois ‘76), is a retired small animal practitioner in Louisiana.

David J. Elliott

Dr. Elliott (Texas A&M ‘72), 70, Houston, died June 7, 2014. A small animal veterinarian, he practiced in Houston until retirement in 1999. During his career, Dr. Elliott also volunteered with the Houston Livestock Show. His life partner, Greg Clifford; two sons; and three grandchildren survive him.

Harry C. Eschenroeder

Dr. Eschenroeder (Missouri ‘53), 85, Kirkwood, Missouri, died Aug. 6, 2014. He owned Yorkshire Animal Hospital in St. Louis, where he practiced small animal medicine for 40 years prior to retirement in 1998. During that time, Dr. Eschenroeder also taught veterinary pharmacology at the St. Louis School of Pharmacy. Earlier in his career, he served in the Army Veterinary Corps during the Korean War.

In 2013, the Missouri Veterinary Medical Foundation inducted Dr. Eschenroeder into the Veterinary Honor Roll of Missouri. His wife, Nancy; three sons and a daughter; 14 grandchildren; and a great-grandchild survive him. Memorials may be made to St. Louis Zoo, One Government Drive, St. Louis, MO 63110.

Courtney A. Jones

Dr. Jones (Pennsylvania ‘98), 42, Baltimore, died May 10, 2014. A small animal veterinarian, she practiced at Hunt Valley Animal Hospital in Hunt Valley, Maryland, since 2009. Earlier in her career, Dr. Jones practiced in Columbia, Maryland, and worked for the Eastern Veterinary Blood Bank. She was a member of the Maryland VMA.

James R. Lindsey Sr.

Dr. Lindsey (Georgia ‘57), 80, Birmingham, Alabama, died July 30, 2014. He was professor emeritus and founding chairman of the Department of Comparative Medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Under Dr. Lindsey's leadership, the department achieved national prominence for its work in the development and investigation of animal models of human diseases. During his tenure, he established graduate biomedical research and laboratory animal model training programs for veterinarians, managed animal resources for UAB's biomedical research community, and was known for his research on diseases caused by Mycoplasma spp.

After earning his master's in veterinary parasitology and pathology from Auburn University, Dr. Lindsey began his career in the Department of Pathology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where he helped establish the Division of Laboratory Animal Medicine. He became a diplomate and served as president of the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine. Dr. Lindsey was also a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists. He joined the faculty of the schools of Medicine and Dentistry at UAB in 1967. During his career, Dr. Lindsey also served as an adjunct professor in the Department of Pathology at Auburn.

He received several honors, including the 1979 Charles River Prize for distinguished contributions to the field of laboratory animal science and the 2003 UAB Distinguished Lecturer Award. In 2005, the University of Georgia named Dr. Lindsey Distinguished Alumnus of the Year, and, in 2010, he received the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine Wilford S. Bailey Distinguished Alumnus Award.

Dr. Lindsey is survived by his wife, Ann; four children; and 12 grandchildren.

James R. Meyer

Dr. Meyer (California-Davis ‘71), 67, Hayden, Idaho, died April 22, 2014. A small animal veterinarian, he owned Prairie Animal Hospital in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. Dr. Meyer was active with the Kootenai Humane Society. He is survived by his wife, Mari Lou; three daughters and two stepsons; and six grandchildren. Memorials may be made to the Kootenai Humane Society, P.O. Box 1005, Hayden, ID 83835.

Edwin G. Robertson

Dr. Robertson (Auburn ‘74), 65, Harrogate, Tennessee, died July 29, 2014. Following graduation, he established Harrogate Hospital for Animals, which included locations in LaFollette, Tennessee, and Jonesville, Virginia. In 1977, Dr. Robertson began working in the area of embryo transfers, subsequently founding Harrogate Genetics International and American Senepol Company. He was a past president of the American Embryo Transfer Association and Society for Theriogenology and served on the former AVMA Manpower Committee.

Dr. Robertson was a member of the board of trustees of Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate and helped establish its veterinary technology program and the College of Veterinary Medicine, which admitted its first class this August. He was the first recipient of Auburn University's El Toro Award for his mentorship of veterinary students. Dr. Robertson was named Tennessee's Outstanding Practitioner in 1993 and the American Association of Bovine Practitioners’ Practitioner of the Year in 1994. His wife, Judy; a son and a daughter; and four grandchildren survive him.

Eric D. Swanson

Dr. Swanson (Minnesota ‘90), 48, Cable, Wisconsin, died June 22, 2014. A small animal veterinarian, he owned Cable Area Veterinary Clinic for 13 years. Dr. Swanson also bred and raised Brittany Spaniels with his wife, Jacqueline. Earlier in his career, he worked in Wisconsin at Bloomer, Glenwood City, and New Richmond.

Dr. Swanson was a member of the Cable Chamber of Commerce and Cable Lions Club and volunteered with the Boy Scouts. He is survived by his wife, a son, a daughter, and a stepdaughter. Memorials toward a fund to support suicide prevention and depression in youth may be made c/o Jacqueline Swanson, 14895 N. Riverside Road, Cable, WI 54821.

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