Veterinarians stay TRUE to their school
Practitioners’ loyalty to their alma maters may be second only to their devotion to animals
By Malinda Larkin
“People asked, ‘Why did you do that?’ I said, ‘This is the invitation to the big dance, and I'm ready to dance.’ That's just how rabid we (Auburn fans) are,” Dr. Hendrix said.
This is the same man who would call the University of George College of Veterinary Medicine each year before the football game against Auburn.
“I would tell them real fast, ‘This is Dr. Charles Hendrix calling from Auburn College of Veterinary Medicine, the No. 1 veterinary school in the nation, alphabetically and otherwise,’” he said. “The lady on the other end would say, ‘It's that man again.’ “
Dr. Hendrix (Georgia ‘74), a professor of parasitology at Auburn and a former AVMA vice president, went to Georgia for his undergraduate studies and veterinary school, then got a position at Auburn after being rejected by Georgia for the master's program. He has taught at Auburn for 33 years, which is why he refers to himself as a Georgia boy and an Auburn man. Dr. Hendrix is so much an Auburn man, in fact, that Dean Calvin Johnson calls him “the closer” because he's so good at persuading potential veterinary students to attend there.
His story illustrates just how loyal veterinarians can be to their institutions. Their dedication shouldn't be so surprising, considering many practitioners have wanted to join the profession since they could talk. Reaching veterinary college, then, is their dream come true. That loyalty to their institution lasts a lifetime, according to recent graduates and longtime practitioners who spoke with JAVMA about their veterinary college experiences and whether they think that fervent devotion will continue with future classes of veterinarians.
“Nothing like a kind vet”
Veterinarians’ allegiance to their alma mater manifests in three ways, according to Dr. Hendrix. There's a love of athletic prowess; a bricks-and-mortar love, or the love of the school and its people; and their appreciation of getting a good education, that is, actually learning to be a veterinarian.
Loyalty can also mean rivalries, which build solidarity and camaraderie, he says.
Dr. Hendrix gives the example of his relationship with a former professor of his from UGA, Dr. Oscar Fletcher (Georgia ‘64), who also is a former dean at North Carolina State University.
“Every time he sees me, he shakes his head and says, ‘I should have flunked you when I had a chance.’ That's priceless. It's not mean or cruel, it's just good-natured fun and part of the rivalry (between Auburn and Georgia). If he didn't say it, I'd be hurt,” he said.
Dr. Hendrix admits he wasn't a very good veterinary student, but what made the difference for him was the people he met along the way.
“It took me a while to learn the ropes,” he said. “I also had teachers who were wise enough to give me a second chance. It took me a while to go back and say, ‘Thank you,’ not because I wasn't thankful, but because I was stupid. So now I return the favor and try to do the same with my students.”
He also advises his students to stick together and help one another because that's what veterinary medicine is about.
“I tell my students, ‘I'm good to you because people have been good to me, and you must be good to others.’ There's nothing like a kind vet, nothing like it in the world,” Dr. Hendrix said.
Trial by fire
Dr. Rosemary LoGiudice (Illinois ‘81), rehabilitation veterinarian at Integrative Pet Care in Hanover Park, Illinois, and a former AVMA staff member, is so devoted to the University of Illinois that, if there's something with Chief Illiniwek (the former, longtime symbol of the University of Illinois) on it, Dr. LoGiudice probably has it—from her doormat to hats to her golf bag to the towel she wears when shooting sporting clays. That's not to mention she has two customized, single-action revolvers engraved with Chief Illiniwek's image. “And I'm not at all embarrassed about it,” she adds.
Dr. LoGiudice says the connections she made with fellow students and faculty at the U of I College of Veterinary Medicine cemented her loyalty.
In high school, Dr. LoGiudice worked at her hometown veterinary clinic with the late Dr. David Rash (Illinois ‘60). She remembers him taking her to the dedication of the veterinary college's new surgery and obstetrics laboratory. That's where Dr. LoGiudice met the late Dr. Erwin Small (Illinois ‘57), former associate dean for alumni and public affairs and professor at the Illinois veterinary college. Both men became important mentors to her.
“Dr. Small was so enthusiastic and inspiring about the U of I, telling me how wonderful it was. He was bigger than life to me. He was an ex-Marine and overpowering when he spoke with pride and enthusiasm for U of I,” she said.
She started veterinary college in 1977 and fondly remembers having an “extremely cohesive class.” In part, that unity was solidified by the anatomy professor, Dr. Robert Davis (Illinois ‘65). She recalls him locking the anatomy laboratory if there was a student chapter of the AVMA meeting so that students would attend the SCAVMA meeting instead of studying that night. Nevertheless, students would try to sneak in to study by entering through the basement and taking the old freight elevator, which opened into the laboratory. So, before one meeting, he put barricades across the anatomy laboratory doors of the elevator with a sign that said “Go to the SCAVMA meeting.”
She said, “Early on, he sat us down and told us, ‘You're in veterinary school. Now you need to learn and graduate and do what you've been trying to do your whole life. Whether you graduate with a C or an A, they'll call you the same thing and that's ‘Doctor.’ So now you need to learn to work as colleagues.’ “
Even now, more than 50 percent of her classmates come back for reunions. They keep in touch with newsletters, and the class officers continue to spearhead events, which makes all the difference in the world, she said.
Dr. LoGiudice added that, in general, alumni receptions are prevalent at meetings such as the AVMA Annual Convention, North American Veterinary Conference, and Western Veterinary Conference. “Veterinarians gravitate to seeing classmates and finding out what's going on with them and with the school or to finding out what's new,” she said.
Are you ready for some football?
Recent veterinary graduates, too, talk of a strong allegiance to their colleges.
Dr. Joe Pluhar (Texas A&M ‘14) declared his devotion early on to Texas A&M University. Both his parents went to graduate school at A&M, so he grew up in an Aggie household in Canyon, Texas, south of Amarillo. “I was born with maroon blood,” he says.
In high school, he'd visit College Station once a year for the Texas 4-H Roundup. Between that and trips for football games and visiting friends in the area, he had been to “Aggieland” quite a bit before starting freshman year. Dr. Pluhar ended up spending nine years at the university, earning his bachelor's, MBA, and DVM degrees there.
He suggests a reason for veterinarians’ loyalty to their alma maters is that in those four years, students spend a lot of money and “a lot of blood, sweat and tears go into it. Plus, there's lots of rivalry with other schools. That's part of it as well.”
Given how relatively few veterinary schools there are—compared with, say, dental, medical, or law schools—the veterinary profession is still a close-knit community with fewer than 100,000 active practitioners, according to the 2013 AVMA Veterinary Workforce Study. Within the community are some natural rivalries, thanks to the veterinary colleges’ geography and conference alignment. In fact, 17 of the 28 U.S. veterinary colleges are distributed among three major conferences: the Southeastern Conference and the Big 10 and Big 12 conferences. And, if football seems to be a popular topic among veterinarians, that could be because six of the past 11 national champions in NCAA Division 1 have been at universities with veterinary colleges.
Some of the institutions have taken things to another level, creating competitions among themselves. The Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine and the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences decided to celebrate their long-standing traditions in sports and veterinary medicine by creating Dog Bowl: A Taste of Victory. The competition began in 2013 and is complete with a trophy for whichever participant's football team wins the event each year; so far the score is even at 1–1.
The University of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and the Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences created #VetBet this year. The competition included a wager between the deans leading up to the Aggies vs. Rams football game in Fort Collins on Sept. 13. The winner was Colorado State, so UC-Davis had to send CSU some its locally grown olive oil. More importantly, #VetBet helped generate donations to veterinary student scholarships.
As Dr. Hendrix likes to say, “As far as football rivalries go, even when you lose, we're going to play another game next year.”
Not what it used to be
Dr. Pluhar, who this year joined Southwest Texas Veterinary Medical Center in Uvalde, Texas, posits that what also makes veterinarians so attached to their veterinary college is that many also went to undergraduate school at that university. That was the case for most of his graduating class, but it might be changing. Over the past few years, veterinary colleges have added seats and begun enrolling an increasing number of out-of-state students (see JAVMA, Feb. 1, 2011, page 256).
Faculty, too, have changed. Dr. Jim Thompson, dean of the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine, said long-term buy-in doesn't appear as strong as it used to be in this group.
“When we have an alumni reception, it's mostly our more mature, retired, and emeritus faculty who attend. Rarely do our midcareer or younger faculty come, presumably because they have other, more pressing responsibilities,” he said. “Faculty don't appear to be engaging socially with students as much, either. There just doesn't seem to be as much bonding.”
Dr. LoGiudice says her class was lucky to have professors who were supportive, got to know students personally, and encouraged them to collaborate as colleagues and not become competitors.
Dr. Small was “a driving force at the University of Illinois who held people together,” Dr. LoGiudice said. During clinic orientation, she remembers him saying, “I want you students to take care of this school as though it's your own, and if you don't, I'll be watching you. After all, this clinic is named after me, the ‘Small Animal Clinic.’” None of them questioned it.
She continued, “A few of the schools still have great rah-rah people, but they are fewer and fewer because everyone's so busy and there are not as many homegrown faculty members like Dr. Small. It's people like that who really helped us be more enthusiastic about school.”
Love of profession and institution
There's another brand of loyalty some veterinary alumni have, and that's to the profession at large. Dr. Scott Dudis (Cornell ‘14), who is stationed at the Joint Base Lewis-McChord Veterinary Treatment Facility in Tacoma, Washington, is a good example.
He says he feels a sense of pride for Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, thanks to the people he's met and the rigors they have shared, specifically, Block IV. At Cornell, Block IV is a combination class on infectious diseases, immunity, and parasites with a two-day final examination that is one of only two tests for the semester. “When you meet somebody from Cornell veterinary college, they'll ask if you've gone through Block IV. It helps build that school unity,” he said.
At the same time, Dr. Dudis thinks he could have succeeded at other veterinary colleges because there are so many great programs. He explains his loyalty this way: “I feel more loyal to the profession. I think my time in (the Student AVMA) has made me realize that more because some of my best experiences in veterinary school have been with SAVMA and being with a bunch of students from other schools. Even beyond that, so many of my professors didn't go to Cornell.”
Dr. Dudis says his volunteer service in SAVMA also allowed him to be engaged in what it means to be a part of the veterinary profession. He recalls a comment from Dr. Clark K. Fobian, AVMA immediate past president, during this year's SAVMA Educational Symposium when he said he sees the profession as a fraternity of sorts. Everyone goes through a similar experience becoming a veterinarian, and that sometimes grueling process allows fellow practitioners to commiserate and build special bonds with one another.
“Everyone talks about how they wanted to be a veterinarian since they were a little kid, and you finally get into veterinary school, and you meet the people who make your dreams come true. It's hard not to fall in love with that,” Dr. Dudis said. “The people at Cornell have helped my dreams come true, and I will be grateful to them forever, and I think everyone can tell that story.”
Once ‘over there,’ Ebola now here
AVMA releases Ebola resources for veterinarians and pet owners
By R. Scott Nolen
There was a time for most Westerners when the Ebola virus was as exotic and remote as the African continent where the deadly hemorrhagic disease it causes periodically flares up.
All that changed this September when the virus, responsible for well over 4,000 human deaths in an ongoing outbreak in West Africa, was identified first in Spain and a short time later in the United States.
“The Ebola outbreak that is ravaging parts of West Africa is the most severe, acute public health emergency seen in modern times,” Margaret Chan, director-general of the World Health Organization, declared Nov. 3. “It has many unprecedented dimensions, including its heavy toll on front-line domestic medical staff.”
At press time in early November, Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian national who contracted Ebola in his home country before traveling to Texas, is the only person to have died of the virus in the United States.
Although the Ebola outbreak is being managed as a public health problem, the virus is a zoonotic pathogen, stoking fears that animals exposed to Ebola, including pets and livestock, could pass along the virus to people. Government officials in Spain cited public health concerns in October to persuade a court to order the euthanasia of a dog belonging to a nurse who contracted Ebola from a patient being treated at a Madrid hospital.
The World Small Animal Veterinary Association responded, noting that, while it is possible for dogs to carry the Ebola virus, particularly in endemic areas where the dogs have access to infected animal carcasses, house pets in developed countries are another matter entirely. “Sadly, the dog in question was not tested for the virus, and it is our view that available technology should allow for testing and quarantine rather than automatic euthanasia,” the WSAVA stated.
When Nina Pham, a nurse at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, tested positive for the virus after treating Duncan, two Texas A&M University veterinarians cared for her dog, Bentley, for 21 days. Bentley tested negative for the virus and was reunited with Pham after her release from the hospital.
Most experts agree that the relative risk of human and animal exposure to Ebola in the United States is extremely low, given the current situation involving a small number of isolated human cases and no known animal cases.
Nevertheless, after questions surfaced about whether the Ebola virus could infect animals in the U.S. and whether infected animals could spread the organism to humans, the AVMA began collaborating with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Agriculture, and other entities and experts to develop information for AVMA members and the public.
On Nov. 5, the AVMA released two documents related to pets and Ebola exclusively for AVMA members to serve as resources in the interim while waiting on official guidance from authorities. The Checklist for Practicing Veterinarians is designed to help practitioners determine how to proceed if they are confronted with a patient or client who has potentially been exposed to the Ebola virus. It is based on the AVMA's understanding of the currently available science and will be updated as needed.
The Pet Owner's Guide to Ebola Exposure is a simple flowchart veterinarians can give to clients to provide basic guidance about the virus. The information is based on the Interim Guidance for Public Health Officials on Pets of Ebola Virus Disease (Ebola) Contacts developed by the AVMA and others in the Ebola working groups.
Both resources are available only to AVMA members and can be found along with other Ebola resources at www.avma.org/Ebola. Resources on that page, including FAQs, will continue to be updated with the latest information as it becomes available.
Training in foreign diseases opens students’ eyes
USDA program on mainland and Plum Island emphasizes disease impact, exposes students to career options
By Katie Burns
Veterinary student Ashley Hagauer went into veterinary college knowing she wanted to explore career options in public health and regulatory veterinary medicine. Participating in the Smith-Kilborne Program helped persuade her to keep following that path.
Veterinary Services within the Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service puts on the Smith-Kilborne Program annually to acquaint veterinary students with foreign animal diseases. APHIS offers the program in conjunction with training for veterinarians in government and academia to become FAD diagnosticians.
A key component of the program is spending time at the Plum Island Animal Disease Center at Plum Island, New York. Training includes working with animals that have been experimentally infected for instructional purposes with organisms that cause diseases such as foot-and-mouth disease.
The Smith-Kilborne Program began in the 1990s entirely at Plum Island. The course takes its name from Theobald Smith, MD, and Dr. Fred Kilborne, who collaborated with Dr. Cooper Curtice on the discovery that ticks are the vectors for the protozoan that causes Texas cattle fever.
After a lapse, the course started up again in 2003 as a two-part class. Students spend three days on the mainland learning about foreign animal diseases, epidemiology, and public health. Then they spend two days at Plum Island. The first part of the course was at Cornell University until this year, when it moved to APHIS headquarters in Maryland.
Dr. Jason Baldwin, an APHIS training specialist and coordinator of the Smith-Kilborne Program, said the course emphasizes the impact of foreign animal diseases more than their diagnosis.
“We want the students to understand what those diseases are and why they're a threat to our country, what we would do if we had an outbreak in this country,” Dr. Baldwin said. “We teach them emergency management and incident command system, give them a chance to practice.”
The course incorporates topics such as communicating with the public; the roles of international health agencies; and the one-health concept that animal, human, and environmental health are interconnected.
At Plum Island, veterinary students in the Smith-Kilborne Program join veterinarians training to be FAD diagnosticians for part of the veterinarians’ two-week course. The students see animals that have FMD, exotic Newcastle disease, and African horse sickness. They conduct necropsies of chickens with END.
“I've had students, years after the program, tell me that they've never forgotten going into the lab and seeing foot-and-mouth with their own two eyes,” Dr. Baldwin said. “They understand the importance of being able to see these diseases and recognize them early.”
Each U.S. veterinary college selects one second-year student for the Smith-Kilborne Program, which takes place just after Memorial Day every year. APHIS covers expenses. The governments of Canada and Mexico cover airfare for each country to send one veterinary student. On returning to school, each student gives a presentation.
Most participants in the program have an interest in public health or regulatory veterinary medicine or have worked or traveled internationally.
“Some students come in thinking they are small animal–focused, and then they leave with a different viewpoint of what regulatory veterinarians do,” Dr. Baldwin said. “That's one of the other goals, too, to expose the students to the variety of careers in veterinary medicine.”
Participants have gone on to careers with the USDA, state agencies, and the military. Some have even gone on to work at Plum Island.
Hagauer, who is a fourth-year veterinary student at Texas A&M University, said her interest in public health and regulatory veterinary medicine stems from a desire to have a broad impact on health. In 2013, she participated in the Smith-Kilborne Program.
The classroom work was enjoyable, Hagauer said. Students worked in groups on scenarios in outbreak and disaster response. Veterinarians spoke about their experiences responding to outbreaks of diseases such as highly pathogenic avian influenza.
At Plum Island, Hagauer found that seeing pictures is not the same as seeing the clinical signs of a foreign animal disease in person.
“You really don't understand until you see it in front of you,” she said. “I finally felt connected to those diseases.”
Hagauer did not realize how many opportunities there are for veterinarians with the USDA until she participated in the Smith-Kilborne Program. She went on to an extern-ship with APHIS Veterinary Services earlier this year at the Center for Epidemiology and Animal Health in Fort Collins, Colorado. While there, she went out in the field with an FAD diagnostician responding to the recent outbreak of vesicular stomatitis.
After earning her veterinary degree, Hagauer hopes to earn a master's degree in public health or complete a residency in veterinary preventive medicine.
Hagauer said the training at Plum Island was one of her best experiences as a veterinary student. The course made her realize that she still wants to go in the direction of public health and regulatory veterinary medicine for her career.
“It was eye-opening,” she said. “I feel like I got to see the ocean. You can talk about what the ocean looks like … but you have to actually experience it.”
Course helps veterinarians respond to foreign diseases
Dr. William Stump had a chance to see poultry with exotic Newcastle disease five years before responding to an outbreak of the foreign animal disease.
He is one of hundreds of federal, state, military, and academic veterinarians who have traveled to Plum Island Animal Disease Center at Plum Island, New York, for training to become FAD diagnosticians. Veterinary Services within the Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has offered the course since 1971.
The two-week course involves working with animals infected for instructional purposes with organisms that cause foreign animal diseases, including foot-and-mouth disease and END.
Dr. Stump has been a veterinary medical officer with Veterinary Services for 23 years, almost entirely at his current duty station in Grand Island, Nebraska. In 1997, he participated in the training at Plum Island.
“They inoculate the animals before we show up, and then we watch the disease progress over a period of time, and then they'll euthanize the animals on different days,” Dr. Stump said.
Course participants spend mornings attending lectures covering foreign animal diseases and spend afternoons in the laboratory observing animals with the most important diseases and conducting necropsies of the animals.
In the field, Dr. Stump said, veterinary medical officers do a lot of routine disease investigations. A practitioner will call an officer out to a farm or a clinic to look at an animal with an unusual problem. The officer looks for signs of a foreign disease and sends samples to a diagnostic laboratory.
“We don't want to be hitting the panic button for an endemic disease that looks pretty obviously not (to be a) foreign animal disease, but at the same time, we still want to check it out,” Dr. Stump said. “The practitioners, I think they get reassured when we're there that they can rely on us to make a good evaluation and then do what needs to be done.”
Dr. Stump was among the responders to the END outbreak in 2002 and 2003 in California and Nevada. He led depopulation teams and served as an operations chief.
“This is a really virulent disease. You could watch birds dying right before your eyes, it was so bad out there,” Dr. Stump said. “So the training at Plum was pretty valuable to just get you attuned to what to expect and how to react.”
Dr. Stump assists with FAD training at Plum Island and elsewhere. He said the current course at Plum Island has evolved to emphasize disease response as much as disease recognition.
“We never want to see foot-and-mouth in this country, but if it comes, we need to be ready because there won't be any opportunity to stand around,” Dr. Stump said.
Exotic mange outbreak reported in wild California eagles
Novel species of mite may be cause
By R. Scott Nolen
Golden eagles in the western United States may be at risk of infestation by an exotic and possibly new species of mite that causes a fatal skin disease, according to an Emerging Infectious Diseases case report published this October.
Two adult golden eagles that were recovered in California between July and August 2013 were infested by a mite with morphologic features similar to those of Micnemidocoptes derooi, a species of mite seen only once, in an African palm swift in West Africa more than 40 years ago.
Both eagles had substantial feather loss and scabbing on the head, neck, and legs and near the cloaca. One of the raptors was found grounded and so ill the animal was euthanized. The other was live-trapped, rehabilitated, and eventually returned to the wild.
A third golden eagle, found in December the previous year in the same region as the others, was likely also infected by the Micnemidocoptes–like mite, according to the report. The bird had been struck by a car and died of its injuries.
In their report, the authors note that while wild raptors can sometimes become infested with mites, such debilitating mange in otherwise healthy animals is highly atypical. “The severity and diffuse distribution of skin lesions of these eagles suggest a possible serious, unique outbreak,” they wrote.
Additional golden eagles with suspicious feather loss have been spotted in California and Nevada since August 2013.
Dr. Michelle Hawkins is director of the California Raptor Center at the University of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and one of the report's co-authors. Her team spent several months treating the golden eagle that was eventually healthy enough to be released. Dr. Hawkins said mites in the Knemidocoptinae subfamily typically infest a bird's non-feathered areas, such as its face, beak, or legs. The mites on the golden eagles are unusual because they only affected the feathered areas.
Feather loss impacts an eagle's ability to maintain normal body temperature and may limit the animal's ability to obtain food, making it weak and susceptible to trauma. Severe mite infestation is unusual in birds, especially adult birds. No such infestation among golden eagles has been previously reported.
“It's all very strange,” Dr. Hawkins admitted. “It's not something that's been identified by any researchers that we're aware of at that point. This may be closely related to M derooi but has not been previously described.”
As for how this potentially novel species of mite arrived in the United States and is spreading, they are also mysteries. The entire life cycle of M derooi is reported to be spent on its host, so theoretically, transmission would require direct contact between birds. Dr. Hawkins supposes the mites could be passed along through an infested bird's nest, although additional research is needed in this and other areas involving this mite.
In the meantime, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife is asking residents to report golden eagles or other large birds with severe feather loss. Dr. Hawkins has written a paper on the clinical treatment of eagles with mange, which is expected to be published in the near future.
The article, “Knemidocoptic mange in wild golden eagles, California, USA,” is also available online at wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/20/10/14-0504_article.
Expanding, adapting cattle practice
Veterinarians hear ideas on improving business and clinical practice
By Greg Cima
Acting instructor Greg Justice told hundreds of cattle veterinarians to show energy and passion in conversations with clients and colleagues.
Agricultural economist Lowell B. Catlett, PhD—using sweeping arm movements and yelps of mock surprise—said the future will require unpredictable changes in what skills veterinarians will need.
“I want veterinarians smart enough to do things differently,” Dr. Catlett said.
Justice, an associate professor in the School of Performing Arts at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and Dr. Catlett, dean of the New Mexico State University College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences, were among presenters at this year's American Association of Bovine Practitioners annual conference who focused on helping veterinarians improve skills or adapt their businesses to changes. About 1,100 veterinarians attended the meeting Sept. 18–20 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Justice described how audiences perceive more in actions and voice than in words, and he encouraged the hundreds in his audience to consider their volume, diction, tone, and inflection as well as to practice improving these components, if they want to make changes in their communication. Dr. Catlett described a need to adapt to rising global wealth, increased segmentation of food markets, increased volumes of and access to health data, new technologies for disease discovery and treatment, and improved understanding of the health benefits of such practices as increasing the physical contact among herd animals.
Adding to practice
Dr. John M. Davidson, who started his one-year term as AABP president during the meeting, said in an interview afterward, “To be successful and to remain relevant, some of the things that we're doing now we're going to have to modify and change.” For example, he said some veterinarians have difficulty telling clients what practices should be implemented and how they will benefit, and he hoped the Albuquerque meeting gave attendees new tools to engage those clients.
The mix of clinical and nonclinical sessions included ideas for how veterinarians can adapt to serve more markets and expand services for existing clients.
Dr. Andrea M. Mongini described opportunities for veterinarians in cattle medicine to add goat dairy–owning clients. Veterinarians can aid in feeding, breeding, identification, care, vaccination, disease prevention, and kid rearing. They also can help reduce production bottlenecks, stress to animals, and disease as well as raise standards of care.
Dr. Mark Wustenberg, vice president of quality and operations for Tillamook County Creamery Association, said veterinarians can help the dairy industry improve and meet growing global market demand by helping clients meet increasing quality standards. A rising number of companies that buy milk and produce milk-based products are, for example, testing for somatic cell counts, which they are using as indicators of quality, he said.
Other sessions provided information on topics such as regulations, cattle handling, pathology, reproduction, practice building tools, and nutrition.
Dr. Davidson, who was chair of the meeting's program committee, said, “My charge to the program committee last year was to identify continuing education content that would be immediately useful to the practitioners, that they could implement upon return to their practices, to reclaim lost opportunities.”
Diversity in instruction
Dr. M. Gatz Riddell, AABP executive vice president, thinks meeting attendees liked the diversity of speakers. The AABP tries to provide something unusual through nonscientific portions of the meetings.
And he noted that Dr. Catlett delivered a presentation during the AABP's 1993 meeting, when audience members dismissed as crazy his idea that everyone would carry cellular phones within five years.
Dr. Riddell expects future challenges for bovine veterinarians will include determining how to serve larger clients as cattle industries continue a trend toward consolidation and how to help smaller clients that cannot compete with the economies of scale of the larger producers.
AABP wants public reports of illegal residues
By Greg Cima
Veterinarians have been surprised by reports that their clients have, on multiple occasions, sent to slaughter cattle that contained illegal drug residues, according to leaders of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners.
The AABP is pushing for public notification about all such residue violations, which the association's leaders hope will help reduce such surprises.
Dr. K. Fred Gingrich, AABP president-elect, said such notification would ensure veterinarians could act following first-time violations involving clients who would not share that information otherwise. Intervention should follow the first violation, not the fourth, he said.
He noted that Food and Drug Administration inspectors visited him about 15 years ago because a client had multiple violations involving flunixin meglumine residues in dairy cattle. He didn't know his client was not following his prescription, and an inspector told him he had responsibilities to maintain treatment records and prevent residues in meat and milk.
The Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service tests for illegal—or “violative”—residues in meat and milk, and the FDA decides what enforcement action is needed. FDA information states that veterinarians can be considered responsible for residue violations involving drugs they prescribe, administer, or dispense, depending on the circumstances of the drug administration and violation.
While the FSIS publishes lists of those responsible for multiple violations within the preceding 12 months and the FDA issues warning letters in response to some violations, Dr. Gingrich said the AABP wants the FSIS to give public notification about all residue violations, preferably within 90 days of the occurrence.
Dr. M. Gatz Riddell, AABP executive vice president, said the FSIS published lists of all confirmed residue violations during a brief period a few years ago, and the AABP had sorted that information for members. Some veterinarians who checked the information discovered that their clients had been caught with illegal residues.
Like Dr. Gingrich, Dr. Riddell said veterinarians should become involved after the client's first residue violation to prevent further ones.
Dr. Gingrich noted that public notification about residues provides another incentive for clients to immediately tell veterinarians when they are contacted about residues: If a residue is misattributed to a client's animals or the FSIS is otherwise mistaken, a veterinarian may be able to help clear up that mistake prior to public notification.
In a May 2013 Federal Register notice, the FSIS responded to a request that the agency resume publishing a list of all producers who have had residue violations, a list that trade organizations had used for outreach intended to prevent repeated violations. The response states that publishing those names to the public can result in substantial economic harm to those livestock producers, and producers would no longer have an incentive to improve their operations so as to avoid being on the repeat violator list.
The response states that the FSIS does not intend to resume publishing the names of livestock owners whose animals have only one residue violation in 12 months.
Cattle veterinarians wanted
By Greg Cima
About 5,000 veterinarians are members of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners, but that's still likely less than a third of all veterinarians who work with cattle in the U.S.
Dr. John M. Davidson (Texas A&M ‘01) cited those figures, attributed to an AVMA member database, in stating that he wants to show more cattle veterinarians the value of the AABP. He started his one-year term as president of the organization in September.
“If they're disconnected from organized veterinary medicine —particularly AABP and the issues that we address and the things that we offer to cattle veterinarians—then that's a chief concern of mine,” he said.
Recruitment and retention
An AABP task force has started work on member recruitment and retention, with a focus on the former. Part of the group's job will be figuring out how the AABP can tell non-members about, for example, the clinical continuing education and business training the AABP gives members and educate them about its advocacy efforts, which can affect veterinary practices across the cattle industry.
Dr. Davidson also wants AABP efforts to help veterinary students develop in bovine practice, and he expects the association will be key in recruiting the “best and brightest” students into cattle medicine.
The AABP particularly needs to identify solutions to the rising burden of educational debt and the lack of opportunities for veterinarians to work in some regions where cattle are raised, Dr. Davidson said.
The organization already is working to expand on the tools and training it provides to help those in clinical practice improve their business. The association has been developing training on subjects such as accounting principles, areas of practice opportunity, benchmarks for practice success, and communication with clients about the benefits of services that can increase practice revenue.
He expects the public will want more accountability on animal welfare and production practices in coming years and that AABP members will gain broader recognition for their expertise.
“As our membership knows, we are the original experts in cattle welfare,” he said. “Our profession needs to increase its visibility on these important issues.”
The AABP is playing a large part in that improvement, he said.
While cattle practice has changed since the AABP was founded in 1965, the association's leaders have worked to remain true to the organization's founding principles “to endeavor to do all things necessary to enhance the interests, to improve the public stature, and increase the knowledge of veterinarians in the field of dairy and beef cattle practice,” Dr. Davidson said.
Commitment to AABP
Dr. Davidson grew up in Floresville, a rural, southern Texas town where he spent countless hours working with his grandfather and his grandfather's cattle. The rising number of veterinarians in the growing town impressed him with their hard work and the way they gave of themselves for their community.
He spent summer breaks from Texas A&M University learning from a veterinarian, Dr. Wayne Deason, and he envisioned having a long career in rural mixed animal practice.
Dr. Davidson worked in private practice for several years after graduation before joining the faculty at Texas A&M as an ambulatory clinician and extension veterinarian. He enjoyed teaching veterinary students, fellow veterinarians, and ranchers while continuing his work in bovine veterinary medicine. He now works as senior professional services veterinarian for Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica Inc.
Dr. Davidson found a home in organized veterinary medicine early in his career through the Texas VMA and through a mentor, Dr. Lelve G. Gayle, who had been TVMA president in 1996. He was hooked again after attending the 2007 AABP meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia, and he hasn't missed an AABP meeting since.
“The AABP has a tremendous group of volunteer leaders working on very important issues facing animal agriculture” and the veterinarians that serve agriculture, he said.
Dr. Gayle, Dr. Davidson's mentor from the TVMA, described Dr. Davidson as the consummate veterinarian and an outstanding person, as well as honest, well-liked, and willing to help others any way he can. He thinks the AABP could not find a better choice for president.
“He is a straight shooter, hard worker, and he can do anything and do well at it, so I would highly recommend him,” he said.
Out of the classroom and into the community
AVMF taps veterinary colleges to host events for Our Oath in Action Day
By Malinda Larkin
Creating awareness of the important work veterinarians do was the goal of this year's American Veterinary Medical Foundation Our Oath in Action program, which took place in eight communities this fall. The campaign started in 2013 at six locations throughout the U.S. This year, most events took place on Make a Difference Day, Oct. 25, and were put on primarily by veterinary students, state VMAs, and local veterinarians. Each event was free and open to the public, thanks to $15,000 in funding for each project—except for two repeat events, which didn't require as much support from the Foundation and Hill's Pet Nutrition.
For the second year, students and faculty of Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine, joined by the Alabama VMA, put on their event Sept. 27 during the 2014 Fall Roundup and Taste of Alabama Agriculture on the university's campus.
With the AVMF's Animal Emergency Response trailer on location, volunteers educated the public on how to care for animals during natural disasters and handed out giveaways and information about keeping pets healthy year-round.
“We want people to learn more about how to protect their pets when the unthinkable happens,” said Dr. Julie Gard, an associate professor in the Department of Clinical Sciences at the veterinary college. “During natural disasters or other emergencies, companion animals are also in harm's way, and it's important for owners to know what steps to take to ensure their pet's care.”
The veterinary college's Canine Performance Sciences program also showcased some of its working detector dogs and puppies to bring attention to the program's important national security work.
The University of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine hosted a multispecies adoption event on Oct. 25 at Russell Field on the university campus. The event featured free veterinary examinations and consults, vaccinations, heartworm testing, and microchipping by veterinary students under the supervision of faculty. Cats, dogs, birds, and miniature horses were on hand to be adopted, thanks to the participation of more than a dozen area shelters and rescue organizations.
In all, about 10 animals were adopted on-site, and many more applications were submitted to rescue organizations that require home visits first. Almost 200 animals received free veterinary services.
Organizers also rounded up dog training and 4-H clubs to present dog tricks and obedience training, an agility course, grooming, and rabbit showmanship, along with other demonstrations. And volunteers collected a good deal of new or gently used pet supplies and blankets, and unopened pet food, to donate to Yolo County Animal Services.
The event at Michigan State University's Lansing Center, held Nov. 15, focused on decreasing the number of local homeless animals and increasing awareness of their need for homes.
Families were invited to participate in an interactive scavenger hunt in which they received a booklet as they entered the venue encouraging them to visit interactive stations to discover amusing facts about animals. Stations included homeless-animal Jeopardy, a “spay experience” that involved boxes of spaghetti and water balloons, and a “Guess that breed” game. Prizes and raffles were available for those who participated in the event.
Representatives were on hand from the Michigan State Small Animal Clinic as well as Ingham County Animal Shelter and other rescue groups to further promote awareness of homeless animals and offer animals for adoption. Also, a local AVMA Veterinary Medical Assistance Team member performed demonstrations on microchipping.
Once again, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Professional Program in Veterinary Medicine sponsored a community outreach event on Oct. 25 at the Science Complex on campus where dogs could receive $10 microchips and $2 nail trims. In all, about 50 dogs were implanted with chips.
Canine agility and hunting dog demonstrations entertained eventgoers along with a petting zoo. Booths were set up by local veterinary-related groups, including the program's Large Animal Club and Zoo, Exotic, Wildlife, & Companion Animal Club as well as area shelter and rescue groups.
In addition, area veterinarians guest lectured on pet first aid, the importance of annual examinations, and veterinary dentistry.
Two events took place in the greater Buffalo region. First, a clinic was set up Oct. 25 for those living in facilities of the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority's northeast area. Approximately 80 pets of the underprivileged residents were seen by first- and second-year Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine students, who performed wellness examinations under the direction of faculty and local veterinarians, including Cornell veterinary alumni mentors. The event was part of the college's student-directed course Directing Community Practice.
The other event was open to the public and was also held Oct. 25 at the Bidwell Farmers Market in collaboration with three local veterinary groups: Buffalo Academy of Veterinary Medicine, Niagara Frontier Veterinary Society, and Western New York State VMA. Members of the Cornell veterinary and preveterinary programs along with staff and students of the Medaille College veterinary technology program also took part.
The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine took on an ambitious project by organizing four events on Oct. 25—a spay-neuter clinic, wellness clinic, six mobile wellness teams, and two farmers market community outreach booths in Columbus. The 75 volunteers were mostly OSU veterinary students, faculty, interns, and staff as well as local veterinarians.
Patients came from all over Franklin County as volunteer drivers picked up pets from Columbus Housing Network homes and took them to the clinic for wellness care and spaying or neutering. About two-thirds of CHN residents were formerly homeless. In all, about 50 surgeries and 110 wellness examinations were performed that day.
Oregon State University had three major themes for its two events held on Sept. 20: infectious diseases, food safety, and pet disaster preparedness and response.
The first event took place on the front lawn of the Oregon State College of Veterinary Medicine, which happens to be across the street from the football stadium. Oregon State played a home game that day, so the student chapter of the AVMA took advantage of the opportunity and set up an informational booth a few hours before kickoff. The second event was held at a farmers market.
At each, volunteers handed out pamphlets and talked with visitors about how easily diseases can spread among animals, particularly at dog parks and county fairs. To drive home the point, they gave away stickers saying “I've been exposed” with instructions to give other stickers to the next four people the participants encountered.
Regarding food safety, OSU students and faculty focused not only on how to safely handle food at tailgates but also on best practices for backyard farming, which is popular in the Pacific Northwest. The volunteers also handed out pamphlets and refrigerator thermometers.
For pet disaster preparedness and response, visitors could build their own pet first-aid kits and hear from an AVMA VMAT member who spoke about AVMF's Saving the Whole Family initiative.
Kelsey Scanlan, a third-year Oregon State veterinary student, said her SCAVMA hosted the events because “the veterinary school isn't well known in the community, and we want to make it a point to get out there and be known, to reach out to Salem and Eugene, and promote the profession. A lot of people feel connected to veterinarians because of their love of animals, but we have so much involvement with public health and protecting families, too, and we want to spread awareness of that.”
A one-health–themed event on Sept. 27 in Martin, Kentucky, was dedicated to the support of animal care and well-being in eastern Kentucky. It also served as the launch and first activity of the Drs. Chandra and Mehandra Varia Fund (see JAVMA, Oct. 1, 2014, page 730).
AVMF staff were on hand with the Foundation's mobile veterinary clinic. The event included a health fair with area veterinarians and physicians, accompanied by their respective teams, to provide medical care and health education and information on both pets and people.
Calling all veterinarians
For 2015, the American Veterinary Medical Foundation is expanding its Our Oath in Action program. In addition to the types of events it funds now, the Foundation wants to assist individual veterinarians, students, VMAs, and veterinary technicians in planning smaller Our Oath in Action events at their clinics or in their communities.
Events will take place on or around Oct. 24, 2015, in conjunction with national Make a Difference Day.
The goals of these individual events are to connect members of the veterinary profession with their neighborhoods and to raise awareness of the AVMF and its Veterinary Care Charitable Fund.
The deadline to submit an application for an Our Oath in Action project is Dec. 31. Application forms are available at www.avmf.org/programs/main/our-oath-in-action.
Notification will be made to selected applicants in March 2015; project leaders will attend an informational training session in April.
For more information, contact Cheri Kowal at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 847-285-6691.
Cheri Kowal, manager of programs and impact for the AVMF, said people lined up for veterinary care a few hours before the event was scheduled to begin. Many waited for more than five hours to have their pets checked by one of the veterinarian volunteers. By day's end, more than 300 pets received an examination and vaccinations.
Donated leashes, collars, pet food, and toys were given to owners, and cash contributions went to pay for follow-up veterinary care for animals in which medical problems were diagnosed during the event.
Local veterinarian Dr. Shawn Tussey and his staff registered the animals, assisted with examinations, and brought the necessary medical equipment and supplies, and he will hold the medical records for the pets treated at the event. In addition, Dr. Tussey, whose family cat, Skittles, died the evening before, adopted a homeless kitten brought to the event.
Research, veterinary student scholarships offered by AVMF
Applications for the Merck Animal Health Veterinary Student Scholarship Program are now being accepted through Dec. 31.
Merck is partnering with the AVMA to offer 20 $5,000 scholarships to second- and third-year veterinary students in the U.S.
Half the scholarships will be awarded to students focusing on companion animal or equine medicine, the other half to students working toward a career in food animal or aquatic animal medicine.
Another 14 scholarships will be awarded to students at select international schools in the Caribbean, Canada, Latin America, and Southeast Asia. The list of international schools can be found on the AVMF's website, www.avmf.org.
Application forms, posted Nov. 15, can also be found at the Foundation's website.
In addition, the AVMA and AVMF are announcing the application period for the Second Opportunity Summer Scholars Awards. These scholarships are given to students who participated in the 2014 Merial-NIH National Veterinary Scholars Symposium and would like another opportunity to participate.
Five students will receive $6,000 each: a $5,000 stipend to perform a second research project and $1,000 to cover travel expenses to the symposium, which will take place July 30-Aug. 2, 2015, at the University of California-Davis.
Students should submit their completed application, available at www.avmf.org, to their veterinary college, and college officials will select one nominee from their college. The AVMA Council on Research will then select the five recipients from among the colleges’ nominees.
Merck scholarship applicants will be notified in March; research applicants will be notified by Feb. 28.
AVMA seeks nominations to board
AVMA voting members in districts VIII and X have the opportunity to nominate representatives to the Board of Directors.
Drs. Chip Price, District VIII representative, and H. Theodore Trimmer, District X representative, will complete their terms in July 2015. The Association is sending a letter to each AVMA voting member in districts VIII and X to invite nominations for representatives to serve on the board for the next term.
District VIII comprises Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas. District X comprises California, Hawaii, and Nevada.
New board members will serve for four years instead of six. Board members also now receive a $10,000 annual stipend.
The Association will accept nominations for district representatives from a state VMA in the district or by petition of at least 50 AVMA voting members in the district.
District residents are eligible to run for the board if they have been AVMA voting members for at least the preceding five years. Nominations must include the completed nomination form, a letter from the candidate indicating a willingness to serve, a biographical summary, and a brief statement of the candidate's reasons for seeking office.
Information about the nomination process will be available online in mid-December at www.avma.org/Members/Volunteer by clicking on “Current Volunteer Opportunities.” Information also is available by emailing OfficeEVP@avma.org or calling (800) 248-2862, ext. 6688.
Feb. 1, 2015, is the deadline for receipt of nominations for district representatives. If a district has more than one nominee, the Association will mail a ballot to all AVMA voting members in the district.
Former AVMA officer elected WVA president
René Carlson wins presidency; Lyle Vogel re-elected North American councilor
AVMA past president Dr. René Carlson was elected president of the World Veterinary Association during the first electronic balloting of the WVA's member-association representatives this past September. Former AVMA executive Dr. Lyle Vogel was also re-elected to a second full term as one of two North American councilors to the association.
The WVA is a federation of more than 80 national VMAs. Founded in 1863, the association is the internationally recognized representative of global veterinary medicine and has collaborative agreements with the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and the World Health Organization.
In recent years the AVMA has turned to the global stage to advance its strategic goals, particularly in the areas of animal welfare, food safety, public health, and veterinary education, and has worked to ensure that the U.S. veterinary profession's voice is heard in international settings. Much of this effort requires engaging with foreign veterinary and scientific organizations on an international level.
“Veterinarians here in the states—indeed, veterinarians around the world—benefit from a U.S. presence on bodies like the WVA,” AVMA President Ted Cohn said. “It is critically important that we are able to bring such a strong voice to an international table of influence like the WVA Council.”
Drs. Carlson's and Vogel's terms on the WVA Council run from November 2014 through 2017.
Dr. Carlson was AVMA president from 2011–2012. She had previously served in the AVMA House of Delegates, on the AVMA Council on Education, and as AVMA vice president. Dr. Carlson currently serves as the AVMA director of international affairs and as chair of the Association's Committee on International Veterinary Affairs.
“The WVA has tremendous potential to serve veterinarians and animal health professionals from around the world by facilitating collaboration in addressing important challenges, such as rabies control, veterinary medical education, animal welfare, the value of the human-animal interface, and a humanely produced food supply of animal origin,” Dr. Carlson said.
“I bring enthusiasm, passion, pride, positive energy, teamwork, and proven leadership to the WVA so as to further advance the credibility, visibility, and branding of the WVA, enabling it to reach its true potential as the true ‘voice of global veterinary medicine’ in the 21st century,” she said.
Dr. Vogel joined the AVMA in 1993 after nearly two decades as a food safety and public health specialist with the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps. With the AVMA, Dr. Vogel served as the assistant director of the Division of Membership and Field Services, director of both the Scientific Activities and Animal Welfare divisions, and, finally, as assistant executive vice president before retiring in 2010.
In his role as a WVA councilor, Dr. Vogel also serves as a member of the AVMA Committee on International Veterinary Affairs.
“I recognize the trust and obligation given to me as evidenced by this reelection to the WVA, and I look forward to working with the association's new leadership to take advantage of the opportunities before us to help the WVA become a truly international representative for the veterinary profession,” Dr. Vogel said.
“We now have the ability to expand our membership, gain credibility as an international leader, and provide valuable services to our members. I want to help the WVA achieve its great potential.”
Visit www.worldvet.org/index.php for more information about the World Veterinary Association.
USDA awards $4.6 million for farm, public service
By Greg Cima
The Department of Agriculture will help 51 veterinarians repay about $4.6 million worth of student loans in exchange for working in underserved rural areas or in shortage areas of public practice.
This year's awards through the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program include 39 new awards and 12 renewals for veterinarians. They will work in 22 states. Each has to commit to work at least three years in a designated area with a shortage of veterinary services.
The USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture will give a mean of $90,000 to each award winner, a figure that includes taxes paid on the award amounts. Veterinarians can receive up to $75,000 after taxes for loan repayment.
Among this year's winners, 45 will need to provide food animal services and six must work in public practice.
Sonny Ramaswamy, PhD, director of NIFA, said the funding has been a huge benefit for previous recipients. At least one veterinarian in Iowa told him that, without the loan repayment program, his student loan debt would have prevented him from entering food animal practice.
A NIFA announcement published in October states that the nation has substantial shortages of food animal veterinarians in some areas as well as shortages of veterinarians in specialty fields such as food safety, epidemiology, diagnostic medicine, and public health.
“A leading cause for this shortage is the heavy cost of four years of professional veterinary medical training, which leaves current graduates of veterinary colleges with an average debt burden of $134,470,” the announcement states.
Dr. Ramaswamy stressed that the VMLRP serves a critical need.
“Veterinarians end up being a significant part of being able to achieve that nutritional and food security that we talk about,” he said. “And so, the veterinary loan repayment program and the other research investments that we make, the extension efforts that we support, et cetera, are all a very critical part of getting from where we are today to where we need to be.”
The USDA is planning to collect data on previous award recipients to find out whether they intend to stay in the communities they have served in connection with their awards. Dr. Ramaswamy said delivering such sustainability is a challenge. He noted that other programs have used similar terms to bring physicians into rural communities, and many have left once they finished their required years of service.
NIFA is considering collecting the data by conducting a survey of veterinarians in the VMLRP.
“Can we do follow-ups with the individuals that received funding, let's say, a couple of years ago, see how they're doing?” he said. “Are they on the right track?”
The AVMA is working to eliminate the 39 percent withholding tax on each award, a change intended to let the USDA provide more awards and provide service in more high-priority areas. The AVMA has also noted that a counterpart in human medicine, the National Health Service Corps loan repayment program, is exempt from federal taxation.
The AVMA is advocating for passage of the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program Enhancement Act, S. 553 and H.R. 1125, which would create withholding tax exemptions for state and federal awards that would repay or forgive veterinary education debt when the awards are intended to increase access to veterinary services.
Project expands visual guides to theriogenology
The Drost Project's visual guides to theriogenology have expanded from bovine reproduction to visual guides on reproduction in water buffalo, horses, sheep, pigs, goats, and dogs. Next up are the camelid and feline guides.
Dr. Maarten Drost, a professor emeritus at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, created the project in 2000 to share his teaching slides and other images as a free global resource for reference and presentations. Many colleagues have since contributed images to keep the cyber atlas ongoing; many have provided financial support, as well.
Spanish versions are available for the guides on cattle, water buffalo, sheep, and goats. Translation is underway for the guides on horses, pigs, and dogs.
The Drost Project is at www.drostproject.org.
Major retrovirus study awarded $8.6 million
Thanks to an $8.6 million program project grant from the National Cancer Institute, experts at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine's Center for Retrovirus Research are investigating retroviral forms of cancer in a five-year study, “Retrovirus Models of Cancer.”
The multidisciplinary and multi-institutional team, led by the center's director and the project's principal investigator, Dr. Patrick Green, aims to reach a greater understanding of the viral, cellular, and microenvironmental factors that influence the development of cancer, which could possibly lead to new diagnostic methods and treatment options.
Dr. Green will lead the first project of the center's initiative, which is investigating various methods by which specific RNA and proteins—alone or in combination—contribute to the survival and malignant transformation of human T-cell leukemia virus type 1. The extensive knowledge that the center already has on HTLV-1 will be applied throughout the research project.
The second project, led by Lee Ratner, MD, of Washington University in St. Louis, and performed in collaboration with Dr. Green, hypothesizes that tax activation of NF-κB expression, particularly through the alternative NF-κB pathway, is critical for tumorigenesis. This project will test this hypothesis and identify and characterize tax-interactive proteins that mediate alternative NF-κB activation.
Finally, in the third project, Dr. Thomas Rosol of The Ohio State and Katherine Weilbaecher, MD, of Washington University will combine their expertise and focus on how the bone microenvironment—in particular, the hedgehog and Wnt pathways—contributes to adult T-cell leukemia development and progression. This work takes into consideration not only the extrinsic factors in the bone microenvironment but also how the microenvironment influences, or is influenced by, tax and Hbz signal transduction.
The Center for Retrovirus Research's work includes examining the composition, pathogenesis, and development of retroviruses as well as analyzing the many issues surrounding the prevention and treatment of retroviral diseases in both human and nonhuman animals.
The National Cancer Institute has awarded two other five-year grants to the veterinary college, the first being in 2003. This year's stipend brings the NCI's total contribution to more than $29.5 million, which is the largest single grant in the veterinary college's history.
NIH continues funding tick-borne pathogen research at KSU
Roman Ganta, PhD, professor of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology at Kansas State University, was awarded a four-year, $1.8 million National Institutes of Health grant to continue studying the tick-borne bacterium Ehrlichia chaffeensis, the university announced Oct. 8.
With the latest grant, Dr. Ganta now has 16 years of continuous NIH funding for his research related to tick-borne pathogens.
By studying the genetic makeup of E chaffeensis, Dr. Ganta and his research team plan to develop vaccines to protect against infections from the bacterium and similar tick-borne pathogens.
“Our research is directed at more than just one pathogen and one disease from one tick,” Dr. Ganta said.
“There are several different tick species that transmit pathogens that cause diseases in humans, dogs, cattle, sheep, and other vertebrate animals. Our research also applies to other pathogens transmitted from different tick species.”
Ehrlichia chaffeensis is transmitted to humans and animals by the lone star tick. The bacteria causes monocytic ehrlichiosis in humans. The lone star tick is prevalent in eastern Kansas and throughout the southeastern and south-central regions of the U.S., where cases of human monocytic ehrlichiosis are frequent.
The major goal of Dr. Ganta's research is to understand what proteins are important for E chaffeensis to grow in vertebrate hosts and in ticks.
Dr. Ganta and his research team are working at the genome level to understand how the pathogen grows in humans, animals, and ticks, and how it is uniquely able to adapt to vertebrate hosts and ticks.
“We want to identify which genes are essential for the pathogen and use them to develop a vaccine,” Dr. Ganta said. “We want to understand the molecular basis for the pathogenesis by carrying out basic research that has important implications for applied science.”
Dr. Ganta has also received $90,000 from KSU's College of Veterinary Medicine and the college's Department of Diagnostic Medicine and Pathobiology to develop a tick-rearing laboratory.
Cattle veterinarians honored
Seven veterinarians received awards in September for their contributions to bovine medicine.
And two veterinarians were inducted into the Cattle Production Veterinarian Hall of Fame.
The awards were given Sept. 20 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, during the 47th annual conference of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners. The inductions were announced between educational sessions of the meeting Sept. 19.
Dr. Mark E. Hardesty of Maria Stein, Ohio, received the 2014 Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica Inc. Bovine Practitioner of the Year Award. The award is given to veterinarians in bovine practice for accomplishments that may span several years, and the accomplishments can include those related to practice, education, organized veterinary medicine, legislation, and contributions to the cattle industry.
Two veterinarians received the Merial Excellence in Preventive Medicine Award, which is given to practitioners or practices that develop outstanding preventive medicine programs. Dr. Daniel R. Goehl of Canton, Missouri, received the award for beef practice, and Dr. Nicholas C. Chuff of Ilion, New York, received the award for dairy practice.
Dr. Jesse P. Goff of Ames, Iowa, received the Zoetis Distinguished Service Award. The award is given for lengthy service that promotes AABP goals and serves as a model for contributions to bovine agriculture through organized veterinary medicine.
Dr. Hans Coetzee of Ames, Iowa, received the AABP Award of Excellence. The award is given to veterinarians involved in teaching, research, industry, or government work for consistent and direct influence on daily activities in bovine practice.
Dr. John Fetrow of the University of Minnesota was named the Merck Animal Health Mentor of the Year. The award is given to members who have worked in veterinary medicine at least 25 years and served as advisers and role models to veterinary students or preveterinary students.
Dr. Callie D. Willingham of Chandler, Arizona, received the James A. Jarrett Award for Young Leaders. The award is given to AABP members who provide extraordinary service that enhances the mission of the AABP within their first 10 years of graduation from veterinary school.
And Drs. David T. Bechtol of Canyon, Texas, and Maarten Drost of Gainesville, Florida, were inducted into the Cattle Production Veterinarian Hall of Fame. Dr. Bechtol was inducted for contributions in beef practice and Dr. Drost for contributions in dairy practice, and both were honored for lifelong commitment to bovine veterinary medicine.
Association of Avian Veterinarians
Event: Annual meeting, Aug. 2–6, New Orleans
Awards: Dr. T.J. Lafeber Avian Practitioner Award: Dr. Joanne Paul-Murphy, for advancing avian medicine and surgery while providing inspiration and showing compassion. A 1982 graduate of the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Paul-Murphy is a professor in the Department of Medicine and Epidemiology and chief of the Companion Avian and Exotic Pets Medicine Program at the University of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. She also directs the Richard M. Schubot Parrot Wellness and Welfare Program at the university. Dr. Paul-Murphy is a diplomate of the American College of Zoological Medicine and American College of Animal Welfare. Speaker of the Year: Dr. Marli Lintner, Lake Oswego, Oregon. A 1984 graduate of the Oregon State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Lintner owns The Avian Medical Center in Lake Oswego. She was chosen as the favorite speaker from the 2013 AAV meeting. Donald W. Zantop Emerging Leader Award: Dr. Yvonne van Zeeland, Utrecht, Netherlands, won this award, given in recognition of her substantial contributions to the AAV and to avian medicine and surgery. A 2004 graduate of the Utrecht University Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. van Zeeland is an assistant professor in the Department of Clinical Sciences of Companion Animals at Utrecht University's Division of Zoological Medicine. A diplomate of the European College of Zoological Medicine (avian) with a de facto recognition in the small mammal specialty of the college, she also serves as a parrot behavior consultant. Student Manuscript Contest Award: Dr. Mary I. Thurber, Knoxville, Tennessee, for “CT diagnosis of hydrocephalus in African grey parrots.” House Officer Manuscript Competition Award: Dr. Delphine Laniesse, Guelph, Ontario, for “Lysosomal storage disease in an 18-month-old African grey parrot (Psittacus erithacus)” AAV Service Appreciation Award: Dr. Steven Metz, Shelburne, Vermont
Officials: Drs. Cheryl Greenacre, Knoxville, Tennessee, president; Kenneth Welle, Urbana, Illinois, president-elect; Patrick Redig, St. Paul, Minnesota, treasurer; and Bruce Nixon, College Station, Texas, immediate past president and conference chair
Event: Annual meeting, Sept. 19–21, Louisville
Awards: Veterinarian of the Year: Dr. Stuart E. Brown II, Versailles. A 1991 graduate of Tuskegee University School of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Brown is a partner at Hagyard Equine Medical Institute in Lexington and owns a Thoroughbred breeding farm in Woodford County. He is a past president of the Kentucky VMA and Kentucky Association of Equine Practitioners, serves as a trustee of the AVMA PLIT, is director of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association Inc./Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Inc., and serves on the KVMA Legislative Committee. Dr. Brown also serves on the American Association of Equine Practitioners board of directors and on the board of directors of the Gluck Equine Research Foundation. Distinguished Service Award: Dr. Sue K. Billings, Springfield. A 1971 graduate of the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Billings co-owns Springfield Animal Clinic. She is a past president of the KVMA and a past deputy state veterinarian.
Officials: Drs. Vicky Owens McGrath, Bowling Green, president; Alice W. Mills, Lexington, president-elect; Walter G. Haines, Glasgow, vice president; Heidi Hulon, Crestwood, secretary-treasurer; and Mark S. Smith, Barbourville, immediate past president
Obituaries: AVMA member AVMA honor roll member Nonmember Student
John A. Blair
Dr. Blair (Michigan State ‘62), 81, Brentwood, Tennessee, died July 14, 2014. He owned a small animal practice in West Lafayette, Indiana, prior to retirement in 1999. Dr. Blair authored the book “I Never Went to Work.” His three daughters and 11 grandchildren survive him. One daughter, Dr. Lisa B. Banker (Purdue ‘88), is a small animal practitioner in West Lafayette. Memorials may be made to Heifer International, 1 World Ave., Little Rock, AR 72202.
Robert L. Byram
Dr. Byram (Michigan State ‘46), 94, Juno Beach, Florida, died Sept. 14, 2014. He owned a mixed animal practice in Rockford, Michigan, prior to retirement in 1985. Dr. Byram was a member of the Michigan VMA and a former member of the Rockford City Council. A veteran of the Army, he was also a member of the American Legion. Dr. Byram's wife, Nancy; a son and a daughter; two grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren survive him.
Catherine M. Hartley
Dr. Hartley (Texas A&M ‘03), 50, Magnolia, Texas, died Aug. 2, 2014. A small animal practitioner, she most recently served as a relief veterinarian. During her career, Dr. Hartley worked at Prestonwood Animal Clinic in Houston; VCA Tomball Veterinary Hospital in Tomball, Texas; and Veterinary Emergency Referral Group Inc. in Houston. She also volunteered at Abandoned Animal Rescue in Tomball and was active with Montgomery Pet Partners.
Dr. Hartley was a past president of the Montgomery County VMA. Her husband, Douglas; a son; and three grandchildren survive her. Memorials may be made to the Dr. Catherine Hartley Memorial HOPE Fund, c/o VERGI, 8921 Katy Freeway, Houston, TX 77024; www.facebook.com/VERGI247, click on “Hope Fund.”
Robert J. Hoyland III
Dr. Hoyland (Texas A&M ‘64), 73, Bandera, Texas, died April 6, 2014. He owned a small animal practice in Spring, Texas, from 1969–1998. Dr. Hoyland also raised Boer goats. Earlier, he served in the Army, attaining the rank of captain. Dr. Hoyland was a member of the American Boer Goat Association. He served on the Spring Independent School District board of trustees from 1974–1983, and the Hoyland Elementary School was named in his honor. Dr. Hoyland is survived by his wife, Sandra; three daughters and two sons; 13 grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. Memorials may be made to Pipe Creek Community Church, 289 Racquet Club Drive, Pipe Creek, TX 78063; or American Cancer Society, P.O. Box 22718, Oklahoma City, OK 73123.
James L. Laurita
Dr. Laurita (Cornell ‘89), 56, Hope, Maine, died Sept. 9, 2014. He was co-founder, curator, and elephant manager of Hope Elephants, a nonprofit established in 2011 as a refuge for injured and ailing elephants and retired circus elephants. Earlier in his career, Dr. Laurita was a partner at The Camden Hospital for Animals in Rockport, Maine, where he continued to practice as an associate until his death. His interest in elephants began even before veterinary school, when he served as an elephant handler for Carson & Barnes Circus and worked as head elephant trainer for a wildlife safari park in Oregon. During his time as a veterinary student, Dr. Laurita traveled to South India, where he studied captive elephants in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. His wife, Carrie, and two sons survive him. Memorials may be made to Hope Elephants, P.O. Box 2025, Hope, ME 04847; www.hopeelephants.org.
Millard M. Mershon
Dr. Mershon (Pennsylvania ‘55), 85, Lititz, Pennsylvania, died Aug. 3, 2014. He worked as a toxicologist and pharmacologist for the Army at the Edgewood Area of Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland for 33 years. During that time, Dr. Mershon conducted research focused on protection from the threats of chemical warfare. Earlier in his career, he practiced in western Maryland and was in charge of a veterinary laboratory for the University of Maryland. In retirement, Dr. Mershon conducted research for Science Application International Corporation on the impact of biological warfare, and reviewed and evaluated research on the treatment of certain kinds of cancer. He was awarded a patent for a chemical that dramatically stopped bleeding.
Dr. Mershon was a veteran of the Navy. He is survived by his wife, Joyce; two sons and a daughter; four grandchildren; and a great-grandchild.
Marvin S. Phillips
Dr. Phillips (Ohio State ‘44), 93, Mansfield, Ohio, died Aug. 28, 2014. He practiced mixed animal medicine in Athens, Ohio, before retiring in the mid-1970s. Earlier, Dr. Phillips briefly worked in Indiana and served in the Army Medical Corps during World War II. During his career, he served on the Ohio Veterinary Medical Licensing Board.
Dr. Phillips is survived by his wife, LaVey; two sons and two daughters; 12 grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandchildren. His son Dr. Steven Phillips (Ohio State 72) and grandson Dr. Jordan Phillips (Iowa State ‘12) practice small animal medicine in Mansfield. Memorials may be made to Feed My Starving Children, 401 93rd Ave. NW, Coon Rapids, MN 55433.