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Generic drugs, skyrocketing prices

Veterinarians struggling with dramatic price increases for certain generic drugs

By Katie Burns

The first sentence of the email message was simply this: “Exorbitant drug price increases.”

Dr. Ron Gaskin continued by citing 1,000 percent increases in the price of some generic drugs. He wrote, “By current trends, it will be less than five years, and no pet owner will be able to afford drugs for their sick pet!”

Dr. Gaskin is a solo practitioner at Main Street Veterinary Service in Shakopee, Minnesota, outside of Minneapolis. He is one of the practitioners who have expressed concerns to the AVMA about dramatic price increases for certain generic drugs approved for use in humans and used in an extralabel manner in veterinary medicine. Doxycycline is a key example.

Over the years, generic prescription drugs have provided tremendous savings in human and veterinary medicine alike. According to a report on human medicine by the IMS Institute for Health Informatics, generic drugs reached 86 percent of dispensed prescriptions by 2013 in the United States.

Recently, however, the prices of some generic drugs, often older ones, have spiked by hundreds to thousands of percents. The issue has begun to gain attention in human medicine, even though most patients have insurance to buffer drug costs. In January 2014, the National Community Pharmacists Association asked for a congressional hearing on the situation.

In early October, two congressmen launched an investigation. The AVMA has been providing congressional staff with dozens of examples of how increases in drug prices have been impacting the practice of veterinary medicine.

In late November, a Senate subcommittee held a hearing to examine “Why Are Some Generic Drugs Skyrocketing In Price?” Witnesses testified that the reasons include a lack of competition among manufacturers for certain drugs as well as shortages.

Veterinarians’ concerns

Dr. Gaskin has been practicing at the same site for more than two decades. He started noticing spikes in the prices of generic human drugs about two years ago.

“It's one drug here, one drug there, kind of spaced apart,” Dr. Gaskin said. “Sometimes it's prefaced by a manufacturer back order, where the drug is not available, and then when the drug comes back out, it's got a huge price increase.”

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(Photo by Megan Hamilton)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 246, 2; 10.2460/javma.246.2.162

According to Dr. Gaskin's records, a bottle of 100 mg doxycycline tablets increased in price from $3.27 for 100 in August 2012 to $48.27 for 50 in October 2014. A 1,000-count bottle of 5 mg prednisone tablets increased in price from $10.58 in December 2011 to $102.34 in November 2014. A 1,000-count bottle of 64.8 mg phenobarbital tablets increased in price from $11.97 in August 2010 to $253.28 in October 2014.

Dr. Gaskin sometimes substitutes minocycline for doxycycline, but many dogs can't stomach minocycline. He continues to use prednisone to treat atopy and inflammatory bowel disease in dogs and has found that the bigger pill sizes also have jumped in price. He now writes prescriptions for phenobarbital so clients know he is not making big bucks off the drug and so they can scout out the cheapest source.

With the limited number of drugs available specifically for animals, Dr. Gaskin said, “I would estimate 80 percent of the time, when we have a sick animal or we've got a disease or a pathologic condition, we're probably turning to a human generic to deal with it.”

Dr. Thomas Cusick also has expressed concern about drug prices. He represents the American Animal Hospital Association on the AVMA Clinical Practitioners Advisory Committee, which advises the AVMA Council on Biologic and Therapeutic Agents. He is a solo practitioner at Watertown Animal Hospital in Watertown, Massachusetts, outside of Boston.

Most of the price spikes seem to follow shortages, in Dr. Cusick's experience. He said, “It is easier on the human side to make these huge jumps because the insurance companies, not most individuals, see the increase. These increases affect how some diseases are treated since owners are declining drugs that they cannot afford.”

Dr. Cusick started noticing the price increases several years ago. He had paid 8 to 12 cents per tablet for doxycycline and now pays $1.05 to $1.20 per tablet. Ophthalmic ointments were $1 to $4 per tube, then disappeared, and now are $20 or more per tube.

Drs. Gaskin and Cusick both believe the problem originates with manufacturers discontinuing drugs that are less profitable, leading to a lack of competition. Then prices escalate because the remaining manufacturers can raise them.

Investigating the issue

On Jan. 8, 2014, B. Douglas Hoey, a registered pharmacist who is chief executive officer of the National Community Pharmacists Association, sent a letter asking for a congressional hearing. He wrote, “Over the last six months I have heard from so many of our members across the U.S. who have seen huge upswings in generic drug prices that are hurting patients and pharmacies ability to operate.”

A member survey of nearly 1,100 pharmacists found that 77 percent each reported 26 or more instances of a large upswing in a generic drug's acquisition price during the previous six months. Pharmacists reported patients declining medication because of higher co-pays or the Medicare coverage gap. Eighty-six percent of pharmacists said third-party payers took between two and six months to update the reimbursement rate to pharmacies, and not retroactively.

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A 500-count bottle of 100 mg doxycycline tablets increased in price from a mean of $20 in October 2013 to a mean of $1,849 in April 2014.

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 246, 2; 10.2460/javma.246.2.162

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(Courtesy of Dr. Thomas Cusick)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 246, 2; 10.2460/javma.246.2.162

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Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, D-Md., and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speak during a Nov. 20 Senate subcommittee hearing to examine “Why Are Some Generic Drugs Skyrocketing In Price?” Sanders and Cummings have been investigating the issue. (Photos courtesy of U.S. Senate)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 246, 2; 10.2460/javma.246.2.162

On Oct. 2, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, D-Md., sent letters to 14 manufacturers of generic drugs requesting information about escalating prices.

“Generic drugs were meant to help make medications affordable for the millions of Americans who rely on prescriptions to manage their health needs,” Sanders said in a statement. “We've got to get to the bottom of these enormous price increases.”

The letters cited data from the Healthcare Supply Chain Association on price increases for purchases of 10 generic drugs by group purchasing organizations. Doxycycline tops the list. A 500-count bottle of 100 mg tablets increased in price from a mean of $20 in October 2013 to a mean of $1,849 in April 2014.

AVMA staff reached out to congressional staff to share information because AVMA members had expressed concerns about drug prices and as part of AVMA advocacy for the continuing availability of drugs for use in animals. Dr. Ashley Morgan, an assistant director of the AVMA Governmental Relations Division, met with staff from Sanders’ and Cummings’ offices. The congressmen's staffs requested additional examples of how drug prices are impacting veterinary medicine.

The AVMA emailed executive directors of state VMAs for assistance. Executive directors from Illinois, Kansas, North Carolina, Tennessee, Washington, and Wisconsin collected examples from members of their state VMAs. The AVMA is sharing examples with various congressional staff.

Veterinarians reported price increases for a long list of drugs—and reported difficulties in finding alternatives. Among the drugs are doxycycline, prednisone, phenobarbital, ophthalmic ointments, saline solution, and ketoconazole. Many of the drugs on the list have had shortages.

Congressional hearing

On Nov. 20, the Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging under the Senate's Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions held a hearing on price increases for generic drugs. The chief executive officers of three manufacturers were invited but did not attend.

“No doubt, there are certainly legitimate reasons to increase the price of drugs on occasion,” Cummings said in his testimony. “But I believe some companies are exploiting monopolies and disruptions in supply to implement massive price increases in order to reap unconscionable profits.”

Stephen W. Schondelmeyer, PharmD, of the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy testified that a third of a sample of 280 generic drugs had price increases in 2013, “not price decreases, as we normally expect.” According to his longer written testimony, 27 of the drugs in the sample had an increase of 50 percent or more in 2013. The market basket was based on outpatient prescription drugs widely used by older Americans.

Robert Frankil, a registered pharmacist who owns Sellersville Pharmacy in Sellersville, Pennsylvania, testified about how community pharmacists are struggling with price spikes for generic drugs. Carol Ann Riha of West Des Moines, Iowa, testified about how she and her husband, early retirees, are coping with the price increases on a fixed income.

In his written testimony, Scott Gottlieb, MD, of the American Enterprise Institute noted that drug prices rise when shortages of drugs or active ingredients exist or when manufacturers exit the market. According to an analysis by the Food and Drug Administration, a generic version of a brand-name drug needs at least four manufacturers for the price to decrease to about 40 percent of the price of the brand-name drug.

In his spoken testimony, Dr. Gottlieb noted that certain lower-volume drugs have fewer manufacturers and, therefore, higher prices. He also pointed to barriers to entry to the generic market, including regulatory requirements.

Aaron S. Kesselheim, MD, of Harvard Medical School said reasons that competition can fail in the generic market include business decisions, fluctuations in supply and demand, and anti-competitive behavior by sellers or purchasers. He suggested that solutions could include reporting of certain price increases to the Department of Health and Human Services, fast-tracking approvals for certain market entrants by the FDA, intervention by the Federal Trade Commission, and interventions by government payers.

Actions and reactions

Ralph G. Neas, president of the Generic Pharmaceutical Association, said in a statement responding to the hearing that the congressional investigation is focusing on 10 examples “in a marketplace of more than 12,000 safe, affordable generic medicines.”

“In fact, thousands of generics have seen significant price erosion over time due to the competitive nature of the marketplace,” Neas said.

On the same day as the hearing, Sanders and Cummings introduced legislation to require manufacturers of generic drugs to provide a rebate to Medicaid if prices rise faster than inflation. Manufacturers of brand-name drugs already must do so.

Also in November, the Department of Justice issued subpoenas to two manufacturers of generic drugs, as disclosed in company filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Each company received a subpoena requesting documents relating to communications or correspondence with competitors regarding the sale of generic prescription medications.

Dr. Cusick said it will be interesting to see what happens, but he remains frustrated with practitioners’ lack of options.

“So, it's probably as much about educating our clients that we have no control over these huge price increases by drug manufacturers,” he said.

AVMA PLIT transforms brand, expands outreach

Insurance trust building on AVMA member satisfaction through refreshed identity, simplified resources

The AVMA PLIT recently conducted a research study of its policyholders and other AVMA members to gain insights into their liability and business insurance needs and was both gratified and motivated by the results.

“We asked what they valued—we wanted the unvarnished truth. What we heard back was refreshing. They thought of us as their trusted partner. What also came out was that they don't understand the program as well as they could,” PLIT CEO Janet Donlin said.

The results of the extensive study and subsequent rebranding initiative are a refreshed image and expanded educational programs and risk management tools, which, at press time, PLIT officials planned to introduce at the AVMA Veterinary Leadership Conference, Jan. 8–11 in Chicago, where they would enlist leaders’ help in sharing the message.

“It was such a positive story in terms of the research,” Dr. Donlin said, “and it means a lot to them that the program comes from us, that it's overseen by veterinarians.”

The PLIT's new brand is the first of three being launched this year by AVMA entities. The Association itself plans to implement its branding efforts starting this summer, and the AVMA Group Health & Life Insurance Trust intends to follow suit in September.

Branding casts ‘a whole new light'

The centerpiece of the AVMA PLIT rebranding initiative is its new logo and the tag line “Protecting you through it all.” A press announcement states, ‘We're inviting members to see us in a whole new light.”

Other new brand elements include a print ad and a list of the “Top 10 reasons why we protect you better.” The promotional materials incorporate action-oriented photography and color schemes differentiating the various PLIT services.

The streamlined brand elements are more than a new image. The contemporary look reflects the PLIT's commitment to delivery of simplified and enhanced policy resources for busy insureds. When researchers asked what would help them the most, they asked for highlight points, short lists, and concise executive summaries, for example.

Such features will be found in educational resources under the refreshed brand and communicated through the PLIT's newsletters, webinars, articles, and a new microsite, www.youravmaplit.com. The site provides additional information including the new logo and communication materials. The main website is www.avmaplit.com.

Surveying AVMA members, recalibrating resources

Dr. Donlin said the PLIT thought it was critical to reach out to AVMA members who are insured by the PLIT as well as those insured elsewhere to find out what they valued and needed.

More than 60,000 veterinarians have insurance policies through the PLIT for coverages that include professional liability, license defense, student liability, workers’ compensation, business property damage and liability, employment practice liability, flood damage, data breaches, event liability and cancellation, and association director and officer liability.

The research included focus groups; interviews with equine, food animal, and companion animal veterinarians, along with veterinary students and practice managers; and an online survey completed by 1,235 veterinarians.

According to Dr. Donlin, the message came through that veterinarians are small-business people who want PLIT's help to determine the coverage they need, and they want the information available 24/7 on the Web. “So, we're really enriching our educational components,” she said.

Veterinarians deemed it “absolutely essential” that they participate in a program overseen by veterinarians and tailored to the needs of veterinarians and veterinary practices. Though PLIT insurance was viewed as a top benefit available to AVMA members, about one in four respondents admitted to not fully understanding their malpractice policy. The research findings indicate that AVMA members aren't fully aware of all the benefits available to them. For example, 34 percent don't realize the PLIT program offers business insurance.

The AVMA House of Delegates established the PLIT in 1962, initially as the AVMA Professional Liability Insurance Trust. The delegates planned for the program to provide malpractice policies designed for veterinarians rather than modifications of physician or dentist policies. In 1984, the Trust started providing business insurance, such as workers’ compensation insurance, through the program.

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The previous PLIT logo

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 246, 2; 10.2460/javma.246.2.162

The PLIT is led by a board of trustees consisting of seven veterinarians selected by the AVMA and a liaison veterinarian from the AVMA. The PLIT program has helped protect the reputations of veterinarians at all stages of their careers and helped guide them through tough legal situations and license complaints, according to the Trust.

PLIT Chair Andrew R. Clark said, “Whether you're working in a private practice, corporate general practice, specialty clinic, or academic setting, or if you are an associate or an owner, your colleagues at the PLIT are here to protect you through it all.”

AVMA also planning member-centered changes

While the AVMA PLIT is presenting its new images and messages, the AVMA is working on updates to its own.

Dr. Ron DeHaven, AVMA CEO, said the AVMA plans to implement its branding efforts starting this summer. The AVMA PLIT, formerly known as the Professional Liability Insurance Trust, started presenting its new image and messages in January, and the AVMA Group Health & Life Insurance Trust plans to do the same in September.

The changes planned for the AVMA this summer follow efforts to adapt the Association's operations. The AVMA started its Strategy Management Process in 2014 to help the Association focus on its most important challenges and evolve to better support and benefit its members.

At press time, the agenda for the AVMA House of Delegates regular winter session Jan. 10 included a proposal to change the Association mission statement to reflect increased focus on advocacy for members as well as to change the objective statement. Instead, a purpose statement would add declarations that the AVMA will advocate for the profession and practice of veterinary medicine and improve members’ lives.

The AVMA Board of Directors in January also was expected to vote on a new strategic plan for the Association, and the board's agenda included discussion and possible approval of a three-year operating plan.

Dr. DeHaven said that, because of these changes, “The advocacy efforts we pursue, the products we offer, the services we provide, and the way we work will be even more aligned to our members’ needs.”

“It means the work we do on your behalf will be conducted in a more focused and efficient manner,” he said. “You can expect greater, more relevant communication from the AVMA and increased collaboration among the AVMA and its family members—PLIT, GHLIT, and AVMF.”

Dr. DeHaven said help from members, through surveys, comments, and conversations, has been integral to the process of making these changes.

“We're excited to bring you a stronger, more focused, and more relevant AVMA in 2015,” he said.

Economic reports dig into the details

The AVMA is releasing a series of six reports, the 2015 AVMA Economic Reports, that dig into the economics of the veterinary profession.

The release schedule is as follows:

  • • January: AVMA Report on Veterinary Markets

  • • February: AVMA Report on Veterinary Employment

  • • March: AVMA Report on Veterinary Debt and Income

  • • May: AVMA Report on the Market for Veterinarians

  • • July: AVMA Report on Veterinary Capacity

  • • September: AVMA Report on the Market for Veterinary Education

The AVMA is selling the reports as a series. The price is $249 for members and $499 for nonmembers. The series is available for purchase via the AVMA Store at www.avma.org/products.

Out in January, the AVMA Report on Veterinary Markets contains findings from the Oct. 28, 2014, AVMA Economic Summit and provides an overview of the markets for veterinary services, veterinarians, and veterinary education.

Ross Knippenberg, PhD, economic analyst in the AVMA Veterinary Economics Division, said some of the key points in the overview include the following:

  • • The outlook for both the near and long term is improving for the veterinary profession as the U.S. economy begins to return to its longer-term growth trend.

  • • The market for veterinary education is at or very near equilibrium. As long as the ratio of eligible applicants to available seats remains above 1, and these eligible applicants are willing to pay the price per seat at which the colleges are willing to sell those seats, the supply of new veterinarians will remain equivalent to the number of available seats.

  • • The cost of veterinary education is forecast to increase at a rate exceeding the rate of increase in veterinary compensation. Thus, at some point, higher-priced seats will likely be left vacant.

  • • The market for veterinarians is not in equilibrium. The number of new veterinarians being absorbed into the profession is increasing faster than the growth in demand for their services. This is reflected in the flat trend in real incomes that began during the last recession and the increasing number of existing veterinarians at the lower end of the compensation range.

  • • Female veterinarians indicate they wish to work fewer hours, and the percentage of women in the profession is increasing. The combination could result in fewer veterinary services being provided per veterinarian.

  • • Excess capacity is the ability to provide services in excess of the quantity of services demanded at a specific price. The AVMA's economists forecast constant class sizes of new veterinarians from 2018–2025 but a growing number of pets and increasing demand for veterinary services overall. As a result, excess capacity for veterinary services will decline.

Board makes appointments

The AVMA Board of Directors made the following appointments during its November 2014 meeting.

Convention Management and Program Committee

Companion Animal Practice Section manager—Dr. Vaughn Park, Provo, Utah; DVM Interactive Lab manager—Dr. Tam Garland, College Station, Texas; Poultry Medicine Section manager—Dr. Danny Magee, Brandon, Mississippi

Educational Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates

Representing medical or health educators with expertise in clinical assessment methods—Dr. Diane McClure, Pomona, California

Food Safety Advisory Committee

American Association of Swine Veterinarians, primary representative—Dr. Jennifer Koeman, Vancouver, British Columbia

Legislative Advisory Committee

Representing AVMA Board of Directors—Dr. Mark Helfat, Mount Laurel, New Jersey

Steering Committee on Human-Animal Interactions

Expert on human-animal attachment—Dr. Benjamin Hart, Davis, California

Veterinary Leadership Conference Planning Committee

Representing American Society of Veterinary Medical Association Executives—Richard Alampi, Hillsborough, New Jersey; representing recent graduates—Dr. Erin Casey, Washington, D.C.

Hunting for novel viruses

Separate groups looking for potential pathogens

By Greg Cima

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A Predict project staff member works on viral detection and discovery at a partner laboratory in Kathmandu, Nepal. (Courtesy of the UC Davis One Health Institute)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 246, 2; 10.2460/javma.246.2.162

Research teams on a project to find and predict pathogen emergence have discovered more than 800 novel viruses in wild animals over the past five years.

Dr. Christine Johnson, one of the principal investigators for the U.S. Agency for International Development–funded Emerging Pandemic Threats project Predict at the University of California-Davis, said the effort has provided vast information on viruses, particularly those present in wildlife most likely to spread disease to humans. The hundreds of project workers—who have trained thousands more in disease detection and surveillance—have found potential pathogens such as viruses similar to those that cause severe acute respiratory syndrome and Middle East respiratory syndrome.

Dr. Jonathan H. Epstein, a veterinary epidemiologist for EcoHealth Alliance, a nonprofit public health and conservation organization participating in Predict, said that the project could reduce the risks posed by wildlife-source pathogens.

“We've never really known what the collective diversity of viruses is in wildlife, and these are the viruses that jump into people and cause outbreaks like SARS, like MERS, like HIV, and now we have the ability to understand more and more what is out there,” he said. “And so, if there is an outbreak in the future, it's less likely to catch us by surprise, and we're actually hoping to just more rapidly be able to identify where these viruses come from if they do get into human populations.”

While Predict's teams are taking samples largely from healthy wildlife, a separate research group at the UC-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine is looking for viruses in tissues of animals that had clinical signs of disease but were negative for known pathogens. Dr. Patricia A. Pesavento said her group in the Pesavento Research Laboratory, in collaboration with virus hunter Eric Delwart, PhD, and the shelter medicine team at UC-Davis, has found viruses such as a circovirus that could be connected with vasculitis and hemorrhagic gastroenteritis disease in dogs, a polyomavirus connected with brain tumors in raccoons, an astrovirus that causes neurologic disease in cattle, and at least three previously unidentified viruses that circulated among cats in an animal shelter. The team has discovered other viruses in dogs, foxes, and alpacas.

Weekly, if not daily, Dr. Pesavento said, “We're making decisions about whether or not we should go deeper, if you will, with sequencing or a degenerate primer strategy to try to find what is causing disease in those animals.”

Dr. Delwart, senior investigator for the Blood Systems Research Institute in San Francisco and an adjunct professor of laboratory medicine at UC-San Francisco, said that research on virus detection and characterization in animals is still near its beginning. He hopes the work eventually will lead to better diagnostic tests and even vaccines.

Accelerated discovery

A scientific article, “A strategy to estimate unknown viral diversity in mammals,” published in September 2013 in MBio (http://mbio.asm.org), the American Society of Microbiology's online, open-access journal, includes an estimate that mammals are carrying at least 320,000 undiscovered viruses within nine virus families of interest. Finding 85 percent of those viruses would cost about $1.4 billion, and finding nearly all would cost $6.3 billion, the article states.

Dr. Epstein, who co-authored the article, said the rate of virus discovery has accelerated in the past five years as sequencing technology has become more affordable, and more people know how to interpret information from virus studies. EcoHealth is working, in part, to identify viruses that have the potential to emerge from wild reservoirs, particularly rodents, bats, and primates.

Dr. Pesavento said her work depends on time, a strategy for hunting for viruses, and submissions by clinicians who recognize unusual forms of disease.

“The methodology now is so exquisitely fine and financially feasible that we're finding viruses at a very, very rapid rate,” she said. While she said discovery is important, linking viruses to disease is more important, and it requires more careful study.

Dr. Delwart, whose research has involved evolution of blood-borne viruses such as the HIV virus, recalled reading in 2001 a scientific paper that showed the potential for explosive growth in virus discovery through the deep genetic sequencing process he now uses. While he said people have described his work as a fishing expedition, he characterizes it as fishing with dynamite.

Dr. Delwart said he is particularly interested in viruses from species that have close contact with humans, such as farm animals, pets, and rodents, although he will examine interesting samples from, for example, an exotic bird with strange clinical signs. He even was among authors who wrote in a recent issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences about two viruses recovered from 700-year-old caribou feces, one related to viruses that infect plants and fungi and another related to an insect-infecting virus.

Using the results

Dr. Pesavento noted that, even if surveys find most of the viruses circulating in dogs and cats, she doubts samples from every sick pet will be subjected to, say, 150-virus panels, especially since those panels could indicate the presence of viruses that are not causing harm. And she said the ability to find viruses has not been matched by adequate understanding of co-pathogens, particularly combinations that cause disease only when a host responds to stress or environmental factors.

If two viruses together cause a problem, researchers have few ways to identify that interaction.

“We'll find them, but we can find them in normal animals, and so how do we handle that?” she asked.

She described the effort to understand the interaction of viruses and host factors as a new horizon of viral discovery.

Dr. Johnson, who is also a professor of epidemiology in the UC-Davis veterinary school, said the Predict program screens for families of viruses known to cause disease in humans, but those viruses do not necessarily cause disease in their natural hosts. That work and efforts to build capacity for disease detection have taken place in 20 countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

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An in situ hybridization image showing bovine astrovirus, in brown, within neurons of a steer's brainstem (Courtesy of Dr. Patricia A. Pesavento)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 246, 2; 10.2460/javma.246.2.162

Dr. Epstein said countries’ leaders seem to increasingly see the value of understanding viral diversity in wildlife. Knowing which species carry particular viruses and the routes through which people can become infected can reduce the risk or impact of outbreaks.

He cited the emergence of the Ebola virus as an event in which such knowledge could have been helpful.

“We'd be less likely to be surprised, say, that Ebola exists in wildlife in West Africa and has the potential to emerge,” he said.

Faster identification of pathogens and their animal sources can hasten response, saving lives and resources, Dr. Epstein said. Most of the viruses identified through Predict have long-term associations with host animals that appear to be healthy while carrying the viruses.

“We're not just interested in looking at what viruses are out there but also in looking at the ecological context,” he said. “And it's so important to get the message across that most of these viruses we're discovering seem to be normal microbial flora in wildlife.”

Those animals are not to blame for infections in humans, whose activities such as expanding agriculture, urbanization, and deforestation are drivers of crossover infections. Predict is working to help governments build surveillance capacities and increase their ability to identify zoonotic disease risks.

The USAID has committed to spending up to $100 million on the project over another five years, and Dr. Johnson said the project will become limited to Africa and Asia while expanding sampling activities to additional wildlife and livestock and the people who come into contact with them.

Dr. Dennis Carroll, director of the USAID Emerging Threats Unit, said that, by improving our understanding of the virus families that circulate in animals and that could cause disease in humans, the Predict project can help disrupt disease emergence and reduce the risk of an epidemic in humans. He said the program already has improved understanding of the roles of wildlife, livestock, and human populations in disease emergence.

Dr. Epstein said that, as human activities intensify to meet the growing demand for protein, contact among humans, wildlife, and livestock likely will expand.

“So, we need to be aware of that as a veterinary community and understand that there are real public health consequences to these activities that may go beyond some of the diseases we're used to thinking about” in livestock and people, he said.

Work continues to fight emerging pandemic threats in Africa, Southeast Asia

Under a new five-year award of up to $50 million, the University of Minnesota and Tufts University will be part of an international partnership to strengthen global workforce development against emerging pandemic threats. Called One Health Workforce, the work is part of the U.S. Agency for International Development's new Emerging Pandemic Threats 2 program, which builds on the successes of the agency's programs in disease surveillance, training, and outbreak response.

Since 2009, a coalition comprising the Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine; Development Alternatives, Bethesda, Maryland; Minnesota's College of Veterinary Medicine; Training and Resources Group, Arlington, Virginia; and Ecology and Environment Inc., Chicago, received up to $185 million in a five-year cooperative agreement with USAID to create the Respond project via the initial Emerging Pandemic Threats program.

The project's aim was to strengthen countries’ capacity to identify and respond to new disease outbreaks in a quick and sustainable manner. The following was accomplished:

  • • Two one-health networks were developed at universities under the leadership of deans in 10 countries in Africa and Southeast Asia. These networks involve public health and veterinary schools as well as nursing and medical schools in Asia. The networks created one-health core competencies that form the basis of curricula and other education tools at these institutions.

  • • One-health teaching and learning activities were conducted that included global health institutes, one-health modular courses and interactive activities, student field experiences, and faculty exchange and development activities.

  • • New and strengthened graduate and undergraduate programs were piloted, focused on creating a new kind of health professional with the practical skills and knowledge needed to address emerging infectious disease threats.

  • • In-service training programs were developed, as a university-government partnership targeted the creation of new one-health leaders in the existing workforces in these countries.

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A team of veterinary, nursing, and public health students as well as a nurse from the University of Minnesota work together on community challenges in western Uganda. As part of the Respond project, faculty from U of M, Tufts University, and Makerere University in Uganda work with these interdisciplinary teams of students who go into rural villages together. Part of the time, they practice in their respective health clinics. The rest of the time, they work together to identify community health needs, implement interventions, and develop business venture concepts to address these needs. (Photos courtesy of Dr. Katey Pelican)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 246, 2; 10.2460/javma.246.2.162

Now, with the Emerging Pandemic Threats 2 program, the focus is to build on the operational platforms, institutional partnerships, and expanded knowledge base developed over the past decade by USAID's Emerging Pandemic Threats program and the avian influenza tools to pre-empt or combat, at their source, newly emerging diseases of animal origin that could threaten human health.

More specifically, USAID's EPT 2 program will focus on helping more than 20 countries in Africa and Asia detect viruses with pandemic potential, improve laboratory capacity to support surveillance, respond in an appropriate and timely manner, strengthen national and local response capacities, and educate at-risk populations on how to prevent exposure to these dangerous pathogens.

The EPT 2 program is being managed by USAID with technical collaboration from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. In addition to these partnerships, USAID funded three new projects this past November to provide additional technical support to developing countries.

One of those projects is the One Health Workforce. It builds on the partnership and expertise of University of Minnesota and Tufts University, and global university networks established during the Respond project, which recently concluded after five years of work. The Respond project successfully built capacity to respond to emerging pandemic threats.

This new global workforce development program will focus on the One Health Central and Eastern Africa Network—14 public health and veterinary medical institutions from the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Uganda—and the Southeast Asia One Health University Network, which includes 14 faculty members from 10 universities in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam.

These university networks, alongside the University of Minnesota and Tufts, will, in turn, partner with in-country government ministries to define the one-health workforce and determine the competencies, knowledge, and skills required in practice, and in undergraduate and graduate education. From there, curricula, training modules, field experiences, and other teaching and learning opportunities will be established to ensure that future graduates are prepared to address disease detection, response, prevention, and control challenges. These capacity-building activities will be anchored in local institutions, including universities, to support long-term sustainability.

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Health professional students get an interdisciplinary, field-based training experience in “one-health villages,” or long-term engagement field sites—this one located in Thailand—as part of the Respond project via the Emerging Pandemic Threats program.

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 246, 2; 10.2460/javma.246.2.162

“These global partnerships will create a new generation of skilled health workers needed to battle infectious disease threats like Ebola in the world's most vulnerable communities,” said Dr. Katey Pelican of the University of Minnesota.

“We're helping our colleagues be ready to respond with sustainable models that maintain change long into the future.”

Nine imprisoned on federal dogfighting convictions

Organizers and participants in a dogfight business that killed hundreds of dogs have received prison sentences, including the longest prison term given in a federal dogfighting case.

Court documents and an early November 2014 announcement from federal prosecutors indicate that nine people who were arrested in connection with an August 2013 raid—the second largest in U.S. history—received sentences ranging from two months to eight years. All had entered negotiated guilty pleas to charges they were involved in a criminal conspiracy related to dogfighting, and some had additional charges connected with gambling and possession of firearms by a felon.

The sentences delivered by U.S. District Judge Keith Watkins are as follows:

Donnie Anderson of Auburn, Alabama, eight years

Demontt Allen of Houston, five years

Michael Martin of Auburn, Alabama, five years

Ricky Van Le of Biloxi, Mississippi, four years

Irkis Forrest of Theodore, Alabama, three years

Edward Duckworth of Decatur, Georgia, 14 months

William A. Edwards of Brantley, Alabama, one year

Sandy Brown of Brownsville, Alabama, six months

Jennifer H. McDonald of Collins, Mississippi, two months

The announcement includes an estimate that the dogfighting operation killed between 420 and 640 dogs. Court documents indicate that, since 2009, the group had operated in at least six states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Mississippi, and Texas.

U.S. Attorney George L. Beck said in the announcement that the group kept dogs in deplorable, cruel conditions; made them fight; and killed them if they lost. Gambling money exchanged at the events often ranged between $20,000 and $200,000, providing a venue for drug dealers.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Humane Society of the United States helped the U.S. Attorney's Office and Federal Bureau of Investigation seize hundreds of dogs during raids Aug. 23, 2013, in Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia, the announcement states. Guns, narcotics, and more than $500,000 in cash were seized.

Behavior pioneer inspired many to learn humane, positive techniques

The late Dr. Sophia Yin was known for her books and lectures, but few really knew her

By Malinda Larkin

Passionate. Dedicated. Focused. Those who knew Dr. Sophia Yin frequently used these words to describe her. The 48-year-old animal behavior expert spent her life advocating humane handling techniques, be it through lectures or the videos, books, and posters she produced. Her single-minded focus helped raise awareness of proper behavior training, but it also appears to have come at a great personal cost. Dr. Yin committed suicide on Sept. 28, 2014, at her home in Davis, California.

In the wake of her death, Dr. Yin has left an enduring legacy that will continue to impact the veterinary profession and pet-owning public. At the same time, colleagues and friends remain baffled as to how such an exuberant personality could have resorted to such measures.

The nerdiest of all

Dr. Yin showed great potential even in veterinary school. She attended the University of California-Davis for both her undergraduate and DVM-degree studies. In 1992, when she was a third-year veterinary student, she and her classmates would compile clinically useful notes in pocket-sized binders, which they called “nerdbooks.” “Because of her well-honed note-taking and organizational skills, Dr. Yin and her compilation were soon deemed the nerdiest. Fellow students offered to buy her book and she willingly shared her pages,” according to www.drsophiayin.com.

Dr. Yin parlayed this into an opportunity to publish her own textbook. More than 4,500 copies of “The Small Animal Veterinary Nerdbook” were sold in the first year of the first printing in 2000. Now in its third edition, the Nerdbook has seen total sales of more than 30,000 copies.

Also, after graduation in 1993, she went into private practice, but according to a Sept. 30, 2014, UC-Davis press release on Dr. Yin: “She quickly realized that more pets were euthanized due to behavior problems than medical ones.”

This inspired her to return to the university to earn her master's in animal behavior in 2001. Dr. Yin studied vocal communication in dogs and worked with behavior modification in horses, giraffes, ostriches, and chickens. Dr. Edward O. Price vividly remembers Dr. Yin as a student in his animal behavior class at UCD.

“Of all the graduate students I had over my 36-year career, Sophia was one of only two students who basically designed and carried out her thesis research project almost completely independent from my assistance. Since the Department of Animal Science did not house dogs or cats, she got her own subjects (dogs), collected her data, and wrote her thesis without asking for a dime for anything. I read her thesis, of course, and offered comments and handled other administrative responsibilities of a major professor, and that was about it,” Dr. Price said.

During this time, she also became a pet columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle.

After receiving her master's, Dr. Yin served for five years as a lecturer in the UC-Davis Animal Science Department. She taught three undergraduate courses in domestic animal behavior and supervised students in various animal training and behavior research projects.

Dr. Yin eventually struck out on her own, building her personal brand, conducting positive reinforcement training, and teaching humane handling of veterinary patients. Dr. Yin was relentless. Not only did she make house calls for behavior issues and work for San Francisco Veterinary Specialists, but also, she found time to write for numerous publications, publish research findings, and lecture internationally on animal behavior. Dr. Yin also appeared on shows such as “Dogs 101” on Animal Planet as a behavior expert.

That's not to mention, she wrote three books—“Perfect Puppy in 7 Days,” “How to Behave So Your Dog Behaves,” and “Low Stress Handling, Restraint and Behavior Modification of Dogs & Cats”—at the pace of one book a year from 2009–2011. Known for her business savvy, Dr. Yin formed her own company, Cattle Dog Publishing, to handle all of the educational materials she created for veterinary professionals and pet owners.

On a mission

Dr. Fiia Jokela, owner of Deer Run Animal Hospital in Schererville, Indiana, is one of the many veterinarians who say Dr. Yin has inspired them to learn more about animal behavior and humane handling techniques.

“She changed my life. She made me feel like I could do (behavior training). … She made it seem so simple—she brought it down to a level for everybody to understand,” Dr. Jokela said. “She kept putting out resource after resource. Her posters and everything else (were) so visual and great for instruction.”

Dr. Jokela recalls going to conferences and seeing Dr. Yin speak, but consistently in small rooms.

“I'm like ‘Why don't these conferences give her a giant room? We'd all be in line to get in. Nobody used to be interested in behavior like that, but then we realized we all need to know it,” she said. “I remember anytime she talked, everyone was just mesmerized.”

Dr. John Ciribassi, president of the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior, knew Dr. Yin through her time serving on the AVSAB board and the association's committees; she was society president in 2007–2008.

“She had a very single-minded need to educate pet owners and also vets and vet staff about how best to interact with, communicate (with), and handle pets we deal with. She had a very strong issue with a lot of the individuals who focus on punishment-based methods of managing behavior. Her life's goal was to undo misinformation. That's her biggest legacy,” Dr. Ciribassi said. “As far as I'm concerned, she revolutionized that aspect of training and behavior, for dogs and cats especially.”

He continued, “The other part of her life was media. She promoted herself. She had to because she was in business for herself, and you have to let people know you're out there. She also used that skill to promote the profession and pet care.”

Most recently, Dr. Yin had been chairing the AVSAB Committee on Communication and was involved with media relations as well as revamping the AVSAB website. She also was working on developing an inaugural AVSAB conference in conjunction with the Society of Veterinary Behavior Technicians and the Academy of Veterinary Behavior Technicians, to be held in Las Vegas in 2015.

Business savvy

Dr. Kelly Moffat, medical director at VCA Mesa Animal Hospital in Mesa, Arizona, was one of the few who knew Dr. Yin on a more personal level.

In 2007, after Dr. Moffat spoke at the AVMA Annual Convention on humane handling, Dr. Yin asked to come to her clinic to get ideas because she wanted to develop a book on low-stress handling. Dr. Yin stayed with her for a week and came to work every day, taking notes and video. They'd chat between appointments about ways to handle pets and techniques to help limit stress in both the patients and the veterinary staff.

“She had boundless energy. We'd go jogging, and after I finished, she'd double or triple the route,” she said. “I think she had a hard childhood; we didn't talk about it much, but I know that was difficult for her. I also know she still saw her parents and helped them acquire and train a new puppy.”

The two stayed in touch over the years by video, chatting on their computers when they had free time. They'd talk about work and their personal lives, although Dr. Yin seemed to limit it to her pets and work.

“I have never seen her in a bad mood, ever. She was laughing and smiling when we'd meet at 6 a.m. on FaceTime, and she would be cracking jokes. I would email at midnight, and she'd be up and answer my emails. I think she slept less than me. I'd carp about work, but she would never complain,” said Dr. Moffat, who has been a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists since 2004.

“Part of her business model was to give out information and promote her business. I think some people—I don't know if they were jealous of it—but they weren't as nice to her because she was so business-oriented,” Dr. Moffat said.

She recalls a phone call with Dr. Yin after the latter gave a lecture to training groups in California. Afterward, they criticized Dr. Yin for promoting her business too much. “The reason she put her products there (was) to use (them) as visual aids. She has taken the time and effort to stage and develop thousands of pictures in these books and videos that demonstrated proper and successful techniques. I know people's criticisms, even though she'd try to let roll them off, would bother her,” she said.

Yet, Dr. Yin was very giving, handing away hundreds of dollars’ worth of products to veterinarians and trainers at speaking engagements and continuing education meetings.

Dr. Moffat says she can't recall Dr. Yin being in a romantic relationship any time she knew her. Dr. Yin never married or had children. Near the end of her life, she had been booked for speaking engagements into 2015 but started dropping out of commitments the week before she killed herself.

Dr. Moffat also says she doesn't know the full story, but “things happened with the business beyond her control, and I think that's what frustrated her so much, but I never knew she had personal problems that (would have) led to such an outcome. … From what I got from some emails, things weren't going well with the business. She put her life into that. And I don't think she had anything to fall back on. I'm not sure how many close friends she had in California.”

She added, “What I figured out after all of this is that nobody knew her really well.”

Leaving a legacy

Indeed, for as widely known as Dr. Yin is throughout the world, her personal life remains somewhat a mystery. Her parents, Raymond and Jacqueline, could not be reached for the article.

According to one of her staffers, Dr. Yin was a talented pianist and even composed her own music. She was a member of the Traditional Tae Kwan Do Club and track team at UC-Davis and boxed as an amateur for two years before graduate school, she told the UC-Davis Dateline newsletter in 2004. Dr. Yin competed in the 106-pound division of the 1999 USA Boxing Women's Championships and lost in the quarter final bout.

Dr. Yin enjoyed CrossFit, rock climbing, and running. She loved chocolate and the color pink but didn't want to look too girly, said a staff member of Cattle Dog Publishing at a memorial that the employees held in her honor Nov. 9 at Slide Hill Park in Davis, California. Jonsey, Dr. Yin's Jack Russell Terrier, was there.

Shock and disbelief were the words commonly used in colleagues’ and friends’ reactions to Dr. Yin's death. According to the Yolo County Coroner's Office, Dr. Yin's cause of death is asphyxia by hanging and has been ruled as suicide. No additional details will be released until the case is closed.

Dr. Jokela said she could understand it if Dr. Yin felt burned out and failed to take care of herself because she was focused on taking care of others or her business, which happens often with veterinarians.

At the same time, she said, “It's hard to wrap your head around why she felt that way, that suicide was the answer. I guess that's the one thing she's doing for us now: It's a wake-up call that we need to support one another. How do we deal with the stressors and pain? It's a wonderful profession, but it's also very painful. Maybe she can save lives that way.”

But perhaps Dr. Yin's greater legacy will be what she has done for the animal behavior community and pet-owning public.

“What she did in two decades, most in 40 years can't do,” Dr. Jokela said. “She left volumes of work that will teach others for a long time to come.”

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Dr. Sophia Yin at Wolf Park in Battleground, Indiana. She spent time there learning wolf behavior and participating in a seminar in the early 2000s. (Courtesy of Dr. Edward Price/Photo by Monte Sloan)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 246, 2; 10.2460/javma.246.2.162

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Dr. Sophia Yin gave this photo to Dr. Edward Price to use as an illustration of mobile target training, in which the animal is rewarded—usually with food—for touching an object such as the ball at the end of the pole she is holding. Once the animal learns that touching the object may result in a reward, the object can be used to facilitate leading the animal to anywhere in its environment. In the case of horses, the object could be used to entice an animal to go from a corral to a stall or horse trailer. (Courtesy of Dr. Edward Price)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 246, 2; 10.2460/javma.246.2.162

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Friends, family, and colleagues gather for the “Celebration of the Extraordinary Life of Dr. Sophia Yin” on Nov. 9 at Slide Hill Park in Davis, California. (Courtesy of the Dr. Sophia Yin Memorial Page)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 246, 2; 10.2460/javma.246.2.162

Center for Animal Health in Appalachia created

Lincoln Memorial University College of Veterinary Medicine in Harrogate, Tennessee, announced Dec. 1, 2014, the formation of the Center for Animal Health in Appalachia. Located at the DeBusk Veterinary Teaching Center in Lee County, Virginia, CAHA will host an annual conference on animal and public health issues in Appalachia each October, starting in 2015.

Overall, the mission of CAHA is to improve animal health and public health in the Appalachian region through conferences, workshops, and training programs to raise awareness and advance knowledge of the issues. These events will feature veterinarans, physicians, public health officials, scientists, researchers, and policymakers with interests in Appalachian health issues.

One of the training programs aims to provide veterinary students from Lincoln Memorial and other schools with the opportunity to earn a Rural Animal Practice Certificate. It will combine training in mixed animal medicine, surgery, veterinary business practices, communication, and public health through clinical and in-house placements throughout Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia as well as the veterinary college's facilities.

CAHA also plans to host community educational programs for Appalachian residents, farmers, and veterinarians both on campus and online. In addition, it will provide public education, advocacy, and research related to Appalachian animal health and public health, including through annual publication of a report on the State of Animal Health in Appalachia.

Leading CAHA will be its executive director and chief veterinary officer, Dr. Jason Johnson, and the veterinary college's one-health director, Dr. Gary Vroegindewey. Supporting it will be CAHA director of administration Ashley Knight and policy adviser Mark L. Cushing of the Animal Policy Group. LMU's veterinary college clinical faculty will provide the CAHA Rural Animal Practice Certificate curriculum as well as public education programs.

Missouri professor gives $1 million toward physical activity research

Frank Booth, PhD, a professor in the University of Missouri-Columbia College of Veterinary Medicine, School of Medicine, and Dalton Cardiovascular Research Center, granted $1 million to the university Nov. 20, 2014. The money will go toward funding his research into physical activity and health. Dr. Booth's gift will also provide fellowship awards for second- and third-year graduate students engaged in research on physical health and exercise at the MU Health Activity Center.

“In his 15 years at MU, Frank Booth has worked tirelessly to research exercise in animals and people and the impact of a sedentary lifestyle on health and longevity,” said Dr. Neil Olson, dean of the veterinary college.

Dr. Booth has more than 40 years of research experience in physiological, biochemical, molecular, and genetic adaptations that occur during exercise. Some of his most recent research has focused on genetic predispositions to exercise. He has succeeded in breeding rats that have traits of either extreme activity or extreme laziness. Dr. Booth believes these findings may suggest a link between the genes responsible for exercise motivation and the genes responsible for mental development. He also says this research hints that exercising at a young age could help develop more neural pathways for motivation to be physically active.

He says his gift is motivated by a passion to help humans and animals live longer lives free of chronic diseases.

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Frank Booth, PhD (Courtesy of University of Missouri)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 246, 2; 10.2460/javma.246.2.162

“Throughout my years of research, I have discovered the true importance of exercise and physical activity on health,” Dr. Booth said. “Unfortunately, many people fail to realize how much they could improve their health by remaining physically active.

“My goal with this gift is to support continuing research on the effects of exercise and to help communicate the importance of exercise to overall health, including the prevention of chronic diseases.”

Wisconsin VMA

Event: Annual meeting, Oct. 10, 2014, Madison

Awards: Veterinarian of the Year: Dr. Lisa Peters, Freedom. A 1995 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine and a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care, Dr. Peters is a co-founder of the Fox Valley Animal Referral Center and co-director of its Department of Emergency and Critical Care. She is also a partner at the Green Bay Animal and Emergency Center, Central Wisconsin Animal Emergency Center, Eastern Iowa Veterinary Specialty Center, and Horizon Services Inc. Meritorious Service Award: Drs. Thomas Howard, Poynette, and Robert Leder, Bear Creek. A 1969 graduate of the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Howard worked as a staff veterinarian for Catalent, a pharmaceutical company in Madison, prior to retirement. He has served as the association's treasurer for the past 14 years and is a past member of the WVMA Residue Task Force and Budget and Auditing Committee. A 1982 graduate of the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Leder is a partner at United Veterinary Service, with offices in Bear Creek and Clintonville. He is chair of the WVMA Dairy Welfare Committee and has served on the association's Public Health and Food Safety, Personnel, Animal Welfare, and Executive committees. WVMA Friend of Veterinary Medicine Award: Wisconsin Veterinary Practice Managers Association Inc., won this award, given to an individual or organization in recognition of their service, commitment, and contributions specifically to veterinary medicine in Wisconsin. The WVPMA was recognized for its partnership with the WVMA and its fundraising efforts for the Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Foundation and designated WVMA charities.

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Dr. Jane Clark

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 246, 2; 10.2460/javma.246.2.162

Business: The WVMA Food Armor Hazards Analysis and Critical Control Points For Proper Drug Use program has hired an outreach specialist and has started to license other states and train veterinarians across the country.

Officials: Drs. Jane Clark, Waunakee, president; John Been, Prairie du Sac, president-elect; Thomas Howard, Poynette, treasurer; and Chris Booth, Plymouth, immediate past president

American College of Veterinary Behaviorists

The American College of Veterinary Behaviorists certified three new diplomates following the certification examination it conducted Oct. 11–12, 2014, in Raleigh, North Carolina. The new diplomates are as follows.

Leticia Dantas, Athens, Georgia

Beth Strickler, Fall Branch, Tennessee

Elizabeth Stoelow, Davis, California

Obituaries: AVMA member AVMA honor roll member Nonmember

Barry O. Barnes

Dr. Barnes (Iowa State ‘51), 89, Des Moines, Iowa, died Oct. 8, 2014. He owned Ottumwa Animal Hospital, a mixed animal practice in Ottumwa, Iowa, from 1962 until retirement in 1985. Earlier in his career, Dr. Barnes practiced in Milford, Iowa. With an interest in improving animal husbandry in developing countries, he served on the board of directors of Heifer International for six years. Dr. Barnes helped establish and was a member of the Hospice of Wapello County board of directors for several years. He was also active with Habitat for Humanity. Dr. Barnes served in the Army during World War II. He is survived by his wife, Carol; three daughters and a son; four grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. Memorials may be made to Heifer International, 1 World Ave., Little Rock, AR 72202; or Habitat for Humanity, 121 Habitat St., Americus, GA 31709.

Raymond W. Gustafson

Dr. Gustafson (Colorado State ‘51), 89, Conrad, Montana, died Oct. 30, 2014. Following graduation, he established his first clinic working with the stockyards in Shelby, Montana. In 1953, Dr. Gustafson moved to Conrad, where he founded a mixed animal practice. He also owned a ranch on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation, helping to eradicate brucellosis from animals on the reservation and in surrounding counties. During his career, Dr. Gustafson was a regulatory veterinarian for the Montana Horse Racing Board and a deputy state veterinarian for the Montana Department of Livestock; served as an American Quarter Horse Association judge; bred Texas Quarter Horses; and chaired the Montana Board of Environmental Health from 1992–1998.

He was an honor roll member and a past president of the Montana VMA. Dr. Gustafson served in the Montana House of Representatives from 1961–1962; was a past member of the Conrad School Board; and authored the books “Under the Chinook Arch” and “Room to Roam.”

His five children survive him. Dr. Gustafson's son Dr. Sid Gustafson (Washington State ‘79) practices mixed animal medicine in Big Sky, Montana, and serves as the equine behavior educator at the University of Guelph. His son Dr. Barr Gustafson (Oregon State ‘85) practices mixed animal medicine near Browning, Montana.

Robert T. Moore

Dr. Moore (Auburn ‘78), 62, New Bern, North Carolina, died May 22, 2014. A small animal practitioner, he was the former owner of Oriental Village Veterinary Hospital in Oriental, North Carolina. Dr. Moore is survived by his wife, Hesta. Memorials in his name may be made to Agape Animal Rescue, 2624 Brookfield Drive, Midway Park, NC 28544.

Richard W. Moreland

Dr. Moreland (Texas A&M ‘73), 71, Gatesville, Texas, died Oct. 12, 2014. In 1974, he established a large animal practice in Fort Gates, Texas, later moving it to Ater, Texas, where he worked for 40 years. Dr. Moreland is survived by his wife, Rose; a daughter and a son; and four grandchildren. Memorials may be made to Ater Cemetery Association, c/o Carmon Alexander, 605 CR 195, Jonesboro, TX 76538.

James J. Sheldon

Dr. Sheldon (Iowa State ‘61), 76, Mesquite, Nevada, died Sept. 16, 2014. A diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists, he founded JJ Sheldon & Associates, a feed yard consulting group, and Central Arizona Veterinary Laboratory in Casa Grande, Arizona, in 1973.

Following graduation, Dr. Sheldon practiced large animal medicine in Hinton, Iowa, before joining the Army Veterinary Corps. During his military service, he worked in the pathology division of the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and attained the rank of captain. Dr. Sheldon later served as a partner at Plaza Veterinary Hospital, a mixed animal practice in Sioux City, Iowa; worked for Abbott Laboratories in Chicago; and served as a professor in the Department of Animal Pathology at the University of Arizona. From 1972–1973, he was a professor of veterinary pathology at the University of Missouri-Columbia College of Veterinary Medicine. Subsequent to establishing JJ Sheldon & Associates, he consulted and did product evaluation for several chemical and pharmaceutical companies and owned cattle and feeding facilities.

His wife, Carolyn; a daughter; and four grandchildren survive him. Memorials may be made to the San Diego Zoo, Dr. James J. Sheldon Memorial Fund, San Diego Zoo, P.O. Box 120551, San Diego, CA 92112

Sophia A. Yin

Dr. Yin (California-Davis ‘93), 48, Davis, California, died Sept. 29, 2014. A well-known animal behaviorist, she most recently consulted at VCA San Francisco Veterinary Specialists, made behavior-related house calls, wrote for several magazines, and provided her services to the Santa Barbara Zoo. Dr. Yin also lectured and taught workshops internationally and served as a behavior expert for shows such as “Dogs 101” on Animal Planet.

Following graduation, Dr. Yin went into private practice, returning to UC-Davis to study animal behavior. During that time, she also served as pet columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle. On earning her master's degree in animal science in 2001, Dr. Yin worked five years as a lecturer in the UC-Davis Animal Science Department.

She was a past president of the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior and chaired its Committee on Communication. Dr. Yin also served on the American Association of Feline Practitioners’ Handling Guidelines Committee and the American Humane Association's Animal Behavior and Training Advisory Committee. She authored “The Small Animal Veterinary Nerdbook,” “Perfect Puppy in 7 Days,” “How to Behave So Your Dog Behaves,” and “Low Stress Handling, Restraint, and Behavior Modification of Dogs & Cats.” Dr. Yin developed what is now known as the Treat & Train positive reinforcement dog training system. She served as founding writer and adviser for the Pet Health Network and received several journalism awards from the Dog Writers Association of America. She eventually formed her own company, Cattle Dog Publishing, to handle the educational materials she created.

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