Unmasking the shelter dog

Research redefining adoptability could save many animals' lives

By Susan C. Kahler

Black dogs don't get adopted. Animals adopted to be given as gifts are usually returned. And dogs that engage in warning behaviors such as whale eye and food guarding should never be offered for adoption.

Behavioral scientists and shelter professionals are disproving many such myths while working toward a future where more animals are regarded as adoptable and fewer are euthanized. Researchers are also refuting certain assumptions about prospective and current owners that could be hampering adoption and retention.

According to these experts, the idea that there are “shelter dogs” and “shelter cats” is itself a distortion, implying that homeless animals are different from their counterparts with homes and feeding the notion that these animals are damaged goods.

“These dogs and cats that are in shelters are just dogs and cats, they are not shelter dogs and cats,” said Dr. Amy Marder, an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Clinical Sciences at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University. “Every dog is an individual.”

Dr. Marder keynoted the National Council on Pet Population's second research symposium last November in Dallas, an event that explored the impact and application of behavioral science in animal shelters. Dr. Marder focused on why now, more than ever, it's important to understand the behavior of animals in shelters.

“For years, we've been talking about rescuing, but it wasn't the time. Now is the time, now things are changing. We have experts. By (May), we'll have a textbook on behavior in shelters. There's a great interest in debunking shelter myths,” she said.

She noted there is more need today to identify and manage behaviors in shelters and an increasing number of dogs being handled by grassroots networks.

The much-awaited textbook due out next month is “Animal Behavior for Shelter Veterinarians and Staff,” co-edited by Emily Weiss, PhD; Heather Mohan-Gibbons; and Stephen Zawistowski, PhD.

A new source of expertise will be the Shelter Medicine Practice specialty under the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners, which was granted provisional recognition by the AVMA a year ago April. Seven veterinarians have applied to take the first certification examination in November. Meanwhile, the American Association of Shelter Veterinarians, www.sheltervet.org, has grown to 750 member veterinarians and 22 student chapters around the globe since its 2001 founding.

This spring, Maddie's Shelter Medicine Program at the University of Florida launched an online master's program catering not only to veterinarians, veterinary students, residents, and interns but also to veterinary technicians, shelter administrators, and other animal welfare professionals.

In companion animal behavior, certification is available for veterinary behaviorists, applied animal behaviorists, and professional dog trainers.

Pet population council

The 242 symposium attendees from the animal welfare community heard 10 behavioral scientists describe how their research findings could be applied at the shelter or community level.

NCPP Board Chair Janet Scarlett told them, “We want to put out behaviorally healthy animals, safe animals, but we also want to provide for their enrichment.”

The NCPP (www.sawanetwork.org/national-pet-council.html) was established in 1993. The AVMA was one of the founding members. Dr. Scarlett said the council was founded to address the need for “good, scientifically collected” information that could help ground policies and benchmark progress.

“Back then, there were a number of papers that came out of that original research, and they are still widely quoted today. About three years ago we resurrected the National Council, and one of our goals is to facilitate the exchange of information and ideas between our animal welfare professionals and the research community,” she said. Dr. Scarlett is a professor of epidemiology at Cornell University and founder of its Maddie's program.

Policies backed by assumptions

Dr. Marder spent 20 years in practice as a certified applied animal behaviorist until a client survey she conducted caused her to move from the private sector to the staff of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in New York City.

Her survey had asked clients how severe their pet's behavioral problem was and whether they'd considered giving up or euthanizing their pet. Even though 99 percent said the problem was severe, most had never entertained the idea of giving up the pet, and none had considered euthanasia.

Those findings underscored the strength of the owners' attachment and advocacy, something that animals in shelters were lacking. She said, “They were the same as animals I saw in practice, but they didn't have an owner standing by their side. I told myself this is where I can save animals' lives.”

Dr. Marder started collaborating on research with Dr. Zawistowski of the ASPCA, a founding board member and past president of the NCPP. Despite the lack of science to back up the practice, shelters were euthanizing animals that were food guarders or showed whale eye, for fear they'd maul toddlers.

“So many policies were being made leading to unnecessary euthanasia,” she said. “There were reams to learn in shelters.”


(Courtesy of Cornell University)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 246, 7; 10.2460/javma.246.7.700

Evaluations under scrutiny

Dr. Marder, who has devoted her career to behavior evaluations, said, “The big question people have is: How good are evaluations?”

Various studies have called into question the correlation between food guarding—in the shelter and in the home environment before and after adoption—and aggression, one of the key areas in evaluations. Speaking at the meeting, Dr. Weiss, vice president of shelter research and development for the ASPCA, asked, “Could it just be about the value of the resource, like time is of value to us?”

Shelters responding to a 2006 nationwide survey by the ASPCA reported food guarding to be a top reason dogs were not eligible for adoption, according to Dr. Weiss. Of the 77 responding shelters, the 71 that assessed for food aggression reported that 14 percent of their dogs showed food guarding behavior during an assessment. Only 34 percent of the shelters tried behavior modification, and 51 percent made no attempt to adopt out these dogs.

But behaviorists such as Drs. Marder and Weiss say that food aggression is both treatable and controllable.

In the shelter, Dr. Weiss and her colleagues developed a behavior modification program for dogs assessed as food guarders that includes free-feeding of dry food. They provide enrichment along with a protocol for adopters to begin as soon as they take their dog home.

It seems to work, Dr. Weiss said. In a 2004 study, the Wisconsin Humane Society followed 96 dogs with food guarding after sending them to new homes on a food program. The researchers conducted phone surveys at three days, three weeks, and three months, at which time they asked the owners to videotape the dogs at mealtime to confirm there were no signs of aggression. Only six dogs were reportedly guarding in the first three weeks—only one of them at the food bowl, and by three months, even those dogs were not guarding.

Dr. Marder said food guarding is part of what used to be called dominance-related aggression. “Why do dogs do this? They're dogs,” she said.


(Copyright © 2015. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). All rights reserved.)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 246, 7; 10.2460/javma.246.7.700

When interpreting food guarding through a behavior evaluation, Dr. Marder said one must keep in mind it doesn't necessarily mean a dog would behave that way in a home. About half the dogs in her food aggression study were not food-aggressive in the home after adoption. Dr. Weiss, in a recent blog, wrote that often, dogs and cats may be “un-shelterable” but be quite “homeable” and thrive there.

If a shelter does not have resources for behavior modification, Dr. Marder said it is possible to safely adopt out food guarders with pre-adoption counseling, adoption with restrictions, and follow-up. In fact, the ASPCA has a campaign “Time to Send Food Guarders Home,” with resources at www.ASPCApro.org/food.

Dr. Gaille Perry of the RSPCA Australia told attendees that in 2012, the society decided to standardize the behavior assessments in RSPCA shelters. Assessors meeting from around the country decided on the test components, and a protocol was developed that included a range of levels for food guarding from 1 to 8. Handlers and observers were trained, handouts were developed for adopters, and a new-owner survey was developed.

Dogs were assessed four to seven days after intake, and 175 were eligible for inclusion in the study. Dogs were assessed initially with dry food, then wet food, then with a freeze-dried bone. Those that displayed no interest in the bone were assessed with a pig's ear. Of this sample, none were assessed at higher than level 3 for wet food, and levels were similar or lower for dry food. Levels were higher with the bone, with five dogs assessed at level 4, seven at level 5, and one at level 6. One-third of the dogs showed no interest in the bone. A vast volume of data has been collected for analysis.

Myths about relinquishers

Dr. Marder said some research has found a disparity between a dog's behavior and the owner's perception of it, and most owners said that even if their dog were food-aggressive, they would adopt it again.

Are shelters evaluating what's important to the public? Dr. Weiss said, “I don't think we know. People are keeping dogs with significant behavioral issues. … It's time for us to take off the veil in terms of us deciding what they want.”

Much of her research has focused on the human animal. For example, the areas of focus in the upcoming text on animal behavior in shelters are basic behavior, applied behavior in shelters, and the human animal.

And owners were central in a survey on large dog relinquishment to two municipal facilities in New York and Washington, D.C. (Animals 2012;4:409–433), which she co-authored with Dr. Scarlett and five others. In most shelters, large dogs are at greater risk of euthanasia, so the survey was geared at finding reasons owners relinquish them and ways to help keep them in their home.

Dr. Weiss said the survey “busted a few myths.” “Not everyone relinquishing was severely impoverished,” she said. A large percentage had household income greater than $34,000, the point where it's often hard to get help. Most had finished high school, and cultural identity was not a factor. And most considered relinquishment for at least a week and had tried to get help.

Behavior problems were not on the top of the list of reasons for relinquishment. Issues such as access to affordable pet-friendly housing, temporary life issues with the pet owner, and health issues with the pet were all drivers. Local ordinances and insurance restrictions often led to relinquishment of large and bully-type dogs.

Dr. Weiss said temporary help can often keep a pet with its family. Supporting an animal in its home could mean paying a pet deposit on an apartment or providing the cost of training or veterinary treatment. She commended shelters that already offer such help, noting that some are even taking back an animal from the family to give it needed medical care and then re-adopting to the owner. Finding pet-friendly housing is another challenge, and she mentioned Lollypop Farm, www.lollypop.org, as one group that has been working on this issue.

In a similar vein, Alexandra “Sasha” Protopopova, PhD, in her talk on adopter-dog interactions at shelters, said, “Instead of focusing on animal welfare from the perspective of the dog, I'm going to take it from the perspective of the adopter.” A certified professional dog trainer at the University of Florida, she found that adopters are more likely to adopt dogs that play with them. She then talked about how a shelter can identify an individual dog's preferences for play and engagement, then encourage potential adopters to do the same with that dog to see whether they are a good match.

Inside the shelter

Dr. Karen Overall of the University of Pennsylvania related how the population at a municipal, open-access shelter doubled when the other area shelters became “no-kill.” She intervened to reverse the inhumane conditions. She said, “The way we treat dogs in these municipal shelters is a civil rights concern. And we do it because we can. And when we stop treating dogs this way, we'll stop treating people this way.”

A diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists, she said shelters need to test and collect data on the hypothesis that shelters cause or worsen fear and anxiety in dogs. She said investing in informed, standardized, reliable, and valid behavioral evaluations; staff education; and true veterinary behavioral care makes for a more humane experience for the dogs and the volunteers and staff.

Lisa McCluskey, a certified professional dog trainer and certified canine behavior consultant, described a study she conducted to measure whether instituting a canine companion training curriculum could reduce return rates in a “no-kill” shelter environment. The study found that dogs that attended training were 2.63 times as likely to stay in their adoptive home. Her conclusion: A training curriculum can substantially reduce the return rate.

Dr. Linda Lord, associate dean for professional programs at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine, filled in for Dr. Meghan Herron, an assistant professor of behavioral medicine at the college, on the effects of environmental enrichment on the behavior of dogs in shelters. Dr. Herron started this program in 2011 as a partnership between the veterinary college and the Franklin County Dog Shelter, an open-access, municipal facility that adopts out about 4,000 of the 11,000 dogs it impounds annually. The program runs as a hands-on elective course opportunity for veterinary students. The hope was that a program combining inanimate enrichment such as food-filled toys with animate social interaction would improve behavior and increase adoptability as well as increase student community service awareness.

The program has increased desirable behaviors and decreased undesirable ones, and the study presented by Dr. Lord found that dogs that are not enrolled in the program develop a worsening of behavior. Adoption rates during the study time period were not measurably different, likely because almost all dogs were adopted within a week. Although a lack of proven effect on adoption rates is disappointing, Dr. Lord said the enrichment still improves animal welfare, and the shelter and college partnership offers a new approach to providing education for students and a service to the population of disadvantaged dogs.

Terri Bright, PhD, director of behavior services with the MSPCA-Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston, profiled the SafeWalk program she created in 2009 to improve enrichment for dogs in shelters. Volunteers are trained to increase their expertise and interaction with the dogs, such as by taking them to obedience classes. They write behavioral observations for each interaction in a “dog log” so everyone learns from the notes.

Pit bull–type dogs account for a large percentage of the dogs this open-admission shelter takes in. A special class was created to teach the volunteers behavioral skills to save those dogs' lives. Since SafeWalk was begun, adoption rates for pit bull–type dogs have risen from 77 to 91 percent. Dr. Bright said the goal is to create a program over the next two years that teaches other shelter directors to set up a SafeWalk program.

Animal behaviorist Monique A.R. Udell, PhD, an assistant professor of animal and rangeland sciences at Oregon State University, spoke on evaluating and understanding the social cognition of dogs living in shelters, which have been underrepresented in basic research, she said. Behavioral and cognitive tests find shelter dogs, feral dogs, strays, and working dogs often perform differently from pets.

Fanning out

“Where do we go from here? We can use research to save so many animals' lives. If we work together with shelters, universities, coalitions, and volunteers, we can leave our old ways, take our scientific abilities to debunk myths, and establish new ways,” Dr. Marder said.

Discussion ensued on how to widely reach shelters and the public with new research. Fanning out with it via the Internet and social media was encouraged. A primary clearinghouse is the ASPCA's online shelter resource, www.ASPCApro.org. The Center for Shelter Dogs at Tufts, www.centerforshelterdogs.org, is another outlet. How can municipal shelters with limited resources implement new science? In baby steps.

Dr. Marder said behavioral work in cats is lagging behind that of dogs but will eventually catch up. Last December saw the launch of the Million Cat Challenge to reduce loss of life among cats in shelters by the Koret Shelter Medicine Program at the University of California-Davis, Maddie's Shelter Medicine Program at UF, and hundreds of shelters.

At day's end, Dr. Scarlett appealed for good ongoing data the NPPC can collect and release.

Bill would lift tax on veterinary student loan repayment program

A bipartisan proposal to eliminate the federal tax on a Department of Agriculture program that pays off student loan debt for veterinarians working in underserved areas of the country is back before Congress.

On Feb. 10, Republican Sen. Mike Crapo of Idaho and Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan introduced the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program Enhancement Act (S. 440) to exempt VMLRP awards from a 39 percent federal income withholding tax, which would allow more veterinarians to participate in the program.

Administered by the USDA, the program provides select food animal and public health veterinarians up to $75,000 in loan repayment for a three-year commitment to practice in an area of the country where their services are most needed.

Since 2010, 286 veterinarians have participated in the VMLRP, serving in 45 states, in Puerto Rico, and on federal lands. They have helped protect food safety, improve animal health and welfare, promote sustainable economic development, and guard against the introduction of foreign animal diseases.

“Shortages of food animal veterinarians raise serious concerns as many areas of the country have a disproportionate number of animals compared to available veterinary services,” Crapo said. “This legislation will provide a lifeline to rural communities by incentivizing well-trained veterinarians to serve in the areas where they are needed most.”

The Internal Revenue Service currently takes 39 cents of every dollar Congress appropriates to the program. According to the AVMA, which is advocating for the tax exemption, if Congress were to lift the withholding tax as it did in 2004 with the VMLRP's human medicine counterpart, roughly one additional veterinarian could participate for every three currently enrolled in the program.

“Veterinarians are such an important part of animal health and our agricultural economy. Yet, too many communities in Michigan, and throughout the country, lack access to their services,” said Stabenow, ranking member of the Senate Agriculture Committee. “That's why Congress needs to work in a bipartisan way to pass this legislation. Our bill supports our farmers and rural communities by creating stronger incentives for veterinarians to practice in underserved areas.”

Legislation exempting the program from the withholding tax was introduced in the last congressional session but failed to pass. More than 150 veterinary-, commodity-, and agriculture-related organizations support the bill, and the AVMA continues to seek its passage.

“The AVMA has lobbied hard for the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program Enhancement Act over the last six years because we understand the far-reaching impacts that it can have on improving the health and welfare of our nation's livestock and sustaining U.S. agriculture production,” AVMA President Ted Cohn said.

Read more about the VMLRP, the legislation, and participant testimonies by going to the Advocacy section of the AVMA website (www.avma.org) under “National Issues” and clicking on “Congressional Activities” and then “Veterinary Professional and Educational Issues.”

Education council schedules site visits

The AVMA Council on Education has scheduled site visits to nine schools and colleges of veterinary medicine for the remainder of 2015.

Site visits are planned for the Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, April 12–16; University of Copenhagen Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, April 26–30; University of Life Sciences in Lublin Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, May 17–21; Midwestern University College of Veterinary Medicine in Arizona, Sept. 20–24; University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, Oct. 4–8; University of Guelph Ontario Veterinary College, Oct. 18–22; University of Edinburgh Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, Nov. 8–12; Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Nov. 29-Dec. 3; and Lincoln Memorial University College of Veterinary Medicine in Tennessee, Dec. 13–17.

The council welcomes written comments on these plans or the programs to be evaluated. Comments should be addressed to Dr. Karen Martens Brandt, Director, Education and Research Division, AVMA, 1931 N. Meacham Road, Suite 100, Schaumburg, IL 60173. Comments must be signed by the person submitting them to be considered.

Study: 1 in 6 veterinarians have considered suicide

Mental health study explores U.S. veterinary professionals' well-being

By Malinda Larkin

Results from the first mental health survey of U.S. veterinarians show that they are more likely to suffer from psychiatric disorders, experience bouts of depression, and have suicidal thoughts compared with the U.S. adult population. Specifically, these data suggest that nearly one in 10 U.S. veterinarians might experience serious psychological distress, and more than one in six might have contemplated suicide since graduation.

The project's goal was to increase awareness that veterinarians have a high prevalence of mental illness and that mental health treatment and suicide prevention resources are available to those suffering, said principal co-investigator Randall J. Nett, MD.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published “Prevalence of Risk Factors for Suicide Among Veterinarians—United States, 2014” in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report of Feb. 13. The findings come from an anonymous, online survey made available this past year to veterinarians by researchers with the National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians, Auburn University, and the CDC. The questionnaire asked respondents about their experiences with depression and suicidal behavior and included standardized questions from the Kessler-6 psychological distress scale that assesses for the presence of serious mental illness. The authors then compared the results with national figures from the CDC.

The survey results, based on answers from more than 10,000 practicing veterinarians—most (69 percent) of whom are in small animal practice—revealed the following:

  • • 6.8 percent of males and 10.9 percent of females in the profession have serious psychological distress compared with 3.5 percent and 4.4 percent of U.S. male and female adults.

  • • 24.5 percent of males and 36.7 percent of females in veterinary medicine have experienced depressive episodes since veterinary school, which is about 1 1/2 times the prevalence in U.S. adults overall throughout their lifetime.

  • • 14.4 percent of males and 19.1 percent of females who are veterinarians have considered suicide since graduation. This is three times the U.S. national mean.

  • • 1.1 percent of males and 1.4 percent of females in the veterinary profession have attempted suicide since veterinary school.

Regarding the last point, the suicide attempt rates for veterinarians are below the national mean—1.6 percent for men and 3.0 percent for women. One possibility suggested by the survey authors is that veterinarians' ready access to drugs may more often result in lethal suicide attempts, leaving fewer survivors to respond to the survey. No information was given on suicide rates.

Dr. Nett, a career epidemiology field officer for the CDC stationed at the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, said the survey's results are similar to those from mental health surveys given to veterinarians in other countries, including Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. For example, one structured review found that the U.K. veterinary profession has three to four times the rate of suicide that would be expected in the general population and around twice that reported for other health care professionals (Veterinary Record 2010;166:388–397).

“I think it's more indicative of the practice of veterinary medicine, more so, than any specific factors going on in the U.S.,” regarding the higher rates of mental illness, he said. “There's probably a combination of certain personality traits veterinarians share, combined with the environment or stress of practice that results in some of the findings we described.”

The survey's authors plan to submit a more detailed manuscript to JAVMA in the coming months. That report will provide data on the prevalence of the perceived stigma toward those with mental illness within the profession, attitudes toward mental health treatment and access, and job-related stressors, Dr. Nett said. It also will break down respondents' answers by their specialty, age, years of practicing medicine, veterinary association membership, and other factors.

“This was not a study of what is currently being done to improve the psychological health of practicing veterinarians. I think it would be interesting to know comprehensively in the U.S.—through the veterinary schools and veterinary medical associations—to get a report about what is being done and to have some evidence, among those tools being used, what is actually effective,” Dr. Nett said.

Taking action to prevent and treat mental illness in veterinary professionals may become more imperative in coming years.

“Going forward in the field of veterinary medicine, there's going to be a greater number of female veterinarians than there even is now, based on veterinary school enrollment. Because females experience depression and suicidal thoughts more often than males, relatively speaking, you'll likely have a higher proportion of veterinarians who are experiencing these risk factors for suicide, compared with other similar occupations,” Dr. Nett said.

During the 2014–2015 academic year, women represented 79.6 percent of veterinary students enrolled in the United States. There's a growing body of evidence that veterinary students are experiencing increased stress, anxiety, and depression, according to the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges. In response, the AAVMC began hosting an annual Health and Wellness Summit last year (the International Veterinary Officers Coalition hosted the first one, in 2013). The third one will be held Nov. 2–3 at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. The goals of the conference are to develop a common understanding of the health and wellness issues involving veterinary students and recent graduates and to continue to formulate and implement an action plan for enhancing health and wellness within the profession.

The AVMA, for its part, provides information on mental health issues on its Wellness and Peer Assistance resources Web page at http://jav.ma/1AX7Xtw. In addition, members of the 2014–2015 AVMA Future Leaders program are developing resources for veterinarians with mental health issues that should be made available close to the time of the AVMA Annual Convention in July in Boston. Several presentations on emotional and mental wellness have been scheduled during the convention, including a half-day symposium facilitated by the Future Leaders on July 12.

Finally, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline website, www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org, provides a number of useful resources, including how to find a therapist or support group.

RCVS puts money toward mental health resources

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons announced Feb. 13 a total of about $1.54 million (1 million pounds) in funding to address mental health and well-being within the U.K. veterinary profession over the next five years.

Approximately half will go toward the Veterinary Surgeons' Health Support Programme, effectively doubling the college's current contribution. The VSHSP, independently run by the Veterinary Benevolent Fund, offers a confidential service that aims to combat problems with alcohol and drugs, eating disorders, and other addictions and mental health issues.

The Mind Matters Initiative will receive the other half of the funding. Launched in December 2014, the initiative seeks to increase the accessibility and acceptance of support, encouraging a culture that is better equipped to talk and deal with stress and related mental health issues, and, ultimately, helping to reduce such triggers within the profession. Mind Matters is supported by a task force comprising eight veterinary organizations that represent students, schools, veterinarians, veterinary nurses, and practice managers in the U.K.

Mind Matters will receive $156,343 a year for the next five years. Its main activities are as follows:

  • • Research within the veterinary profession into such factors as occupational stress and research among related professions and private- and public-sector organizations that have successfully tackled similar issues.

  • • A communications program that seeks to help generate a positive environment for discussion, reduce stigma, increase awareness and the ability to identify risks, and encourage help-seeking behavior.

  • • Financial and other support for existing services such as the Vet Helpline and Veterinary Surgeons' Health Support Programme, together with an investigation into what more may be required to support those in need.

  • • Training and guidance for those who may be working or living with someone who needs assistance, to help those supporters spot and understand signs of stress and mental illness and then assist the person in seeking expert help.

  • • Working closely with the joint RCVS/British Veterinary Association Vet Futures Group project to help identify aspects of the profession's structure and activities—from veterinary education to retirement—that exacerbate stress and mental health problems and consider how they may be addressed.

For more information, visit www.vetlife.org.uk.

Lawmakers seek expansion of animal welfare regulations

A New York Times story exposing alleged abuses at an agricultural research facility has prompted legislation to expand federal animal welfare standards to include farm animals used in scientific studies at federal facilities.

The Times' investigation of the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center in Nebraska suggested that, over the past three decades, thousands of animals had been mistreated at the center, part of the Agriculture Department's Agricultural Research Service, to make livestock larger, leaner, and more productive (New York Times, Jan. 20, 2015, “Animal Welfare at Risk in Experiments for Meat Industry”).

USDA officials reportedly told the Times that the Meat Animal Research Center complies with federal rules on animal welfare.

However, farm animals used in agricultural research are exempt from the standards of humane care required under the Animal Welfare Act, the only federal law regulating the treatment of animal species used for research, exhibition, and transport and by dealers. (The law also doesn't apply to birds, rats, and mice bred for use in research, or coldblooded animals.)

On Feb. 5, a bipartisan group of legislators in the House and Senate responded to the Times' report with the Animal Welfare in Agricultural Research Endeavors Act (H.R. 746/S. 388). This act would amend the AWA so there would no longer be an exemption for farm animals used in agricultural research at federal facilities.

Oregon Democrat Earl Blumenauer introduced the House bill, saying it was time to end the “horrible misuse” of taxpayer funds. “When USDA research facilities experiment on farm animals, they should be held to the same standard as federal research facilities conducting lifesaving disease research with the same kinds of animals. This bill is common sense for taxpayers, for researchers, and for the humane treatment of animals,” the congressman said.

“As stewards of taxpayer dollars, we felt a responsibility to present the AWARE Act as a legislative fix that holds the USDA to the same humane standards that countless research facilities across the country are held to,” said Mike Fitzpatrick, a Pennsylvania Republican co-sponsoring the House legislation. “If we expect staff in these facilities to recognize their professional and legal obligations to safeguard the welfare of animals, we should set the bar at an equal, or higher, level for the federal government.”

Cory Booker of New Jersey introduced the Senate version of the AWARE Act.

The AVMA's Animal Welfare, Animal Agriculture Liaison, and Legislative Advisory committees were set to review the legislation as of press time in early March.

Egg rules endure challenges

California implements hen housing requirements

By Greg Cima

California's housing requirements for egg-laying hens, which took effect this year, have survived one appeal and face a second.


Egg cartons labeled as complying with the California Shell Egg Food Safety regulations (Courtesy of the California Department of Food and Agriculture)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 246, 7; 10.2460/javma.246.7.700

Eggs sold in the state now have to come from hens given enough room to spread their wings.

Egg prices in the state also doubled from January 2014 to January 2015, but most of that increase was reversed in February. Prices are expected to remain higher than they were in 2014.

In 2008, California voters passed a ballot proposition that set minimum space requirements for egg-laying hens, veal calves, and pregnant pigs raised in the state. In 2010, state legislators passed a law requiring that all eggs sold in California come from hens that live in conditions described by the proposition, under which the hens have room to fully extend their limbs and turn around.

Both measures took effect Jan. 1.

Related state regulations now require that owners of egg-laying hens provide at least 116 square inches of space for each hen living in an enclosure of nine or more hens. Enclosures with fewer birds need to have progressively more space for each bird, with 322 square inches of space required for a hen living alone.

Proposition 2 appeal

In February, a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Court of Appeals dismissed a challenge to Proposition 2. William Cramer, who owns egg farms in California, had argued that the proposition, rather than the regulations, should be overturned as too vague because the proposition did not specify minimum cage sizes for egg-laying hens. The ruling states that the housing requirements are clear enough for an ordinary person to understand and apply.

“Because hens have a wing span and a turning radius that can be observed and measured, a person of reasonable intelligence can determine the dimensions of an appropriate confinement that will comply with Proposition 2,” the ruling states. “While it may have been preferable for Proposition 2 to state that an enclosure for egg-laying hens must provide a specified minimum amount of space per bird, the Due Process Clause does not demand ‘perfect clarity’ or ‘precise guidance.’”

Cramer had filed the appeal after a district court judge dismissed his lawsuit in September 2012.

Legislation appeal

Five state attorneys general and one governor are challenging the 2010 California law in a separate federal appellate case, their district court lawsuit having been dismissed in October 2014. Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster is leading the suit, with support from the attorneys general from Alabama, Kentucky, Nebraska, and Oklahoma and Iowa Gov. Terry E. Branstad.

In the district court ruling, Judge Kimberly J. Mueller of the Eastern District of California wrote that the state governments had failed to show they had standing to sue on behalf of all citizens of their states. They did not show that the public would be harmed by the changes, and the evidence presented by those states indicated to the judge that the changes would harm only the egg farmers who chose not to comply with California's law.

The ruling includes an estimate from the plaintiff states that egg production companies would need to spend $120 million on capital improvements to comply with California law or lose the ability to sell in the country's largest egg market. Court documents indicate Iowa and Missouri, respectively, are the top two suppliers of eggs to California.

Egg price fluctuations

Maro Ibarburu, associate scientist for the Egg Industry Center at Iowa State University, said that, in January, egg prices in California had been about double the prices in the Northwest and double the prices paid within California a year earlier. Those prices started declining during the last week of January, and, in February, egg prices were only about 20 percent higher than one year earlier.

Ibarburu said the egg industry is competitive, and he expects companies will work to be able to sell in California. About 12 percent of the U.S. populace lives in California, and Ibarburu said he has seen data indicating egg consumption in the state is proportionate to consumption in the rest of the U.S.

California has the fifth-largest number of egg-laying hens, behind Iowa, Ohio, Indiana, and Pennsylvania, according to statistics from the American Egg Board.

California consumers likely will continue to pay higher prices for eggs, but how much higher is unclear, he said. A report he published Dec. 29, 2014, includes an estimate that eggs could cost about 15 percent more than in prior years, given the increased cost for enriched cages.

Dr. Gregg Cutler, who represents the American Association of Avian Pathologists as alternate delegate in the AVMA House of Delegates, also said he expects eggs will remain more expensive in California than they were before 2015.

He said the egg industry has far fewer hens and is in a smaller number of hands, and he thinks the decline has reduced price competition. The industry has consolidated from more than 10,000 commercial egg producers to fewer than 200.

Egg board figures indicate the 60 largest egg companies sell about 87 percent of eggs produced in the U.S. The number of companies with at least 75,000 hens declined from about 350 in 1994 to about 170 today.

Virginia establishes first attorney general's animal law unit

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring has created what is thought to be the nation's first attorney general's animal law unit.

A small group of current staff attorneys will work as needed as a resource for local law enforcement and state agencies on issues involving animal welfare and animal fighting or abuse, the attorney general's office said in a statement Jan. 22.

“We've seen firsthand in Virginia that animal fighting is associated with other serious crimes such as drug distribution, possession of illegal alcohol or firearms, assaults, and illegal gambling,” Herring said. “There's also evidence that abuse of animals or exposure to animal abuse, especially by young people, can be predictive of future abusive or criminal behavior.”

Local agencies will still initiate an investigation or prosecution, but the animal law unit will be available to provide assistance or handle a case by request from an attorney in the state or a law enforcement agency.

Leading the unit is Michelle Welch, an assistant attorney general with nine years of service whose work on animal-related cases has earned her numerous accolades.

For its first project, the unit has partnered with the Humane Society of the United States to send a letter and fact sheet to Virginia pet stores on consumer rights involving the purchase of animals, including a new law requiring customers to have complete and accurate information about the health and history of a dog or cat before purchase. The law also gives consumers recourse if an animal is later found to have major undisclosed health problems.

Alberta cow positive for BSE

Canadian health authorities were investigating the diet and feed sources of a 6-year-old cow from the province of Alberta found to be infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy.

The cow was nonambulatory Feb. 4, and samples taken by a veterinarian were positive for the classical form of BSE, according to a report from the Canadian government to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). The animal is the first known to be infected in Canada since 2011.

Officials from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency said in a technical briefing Feb. 18 that investigators were trying to find information on feed given to the cow, including feed mill records. Rules enacted in 1997 and 2007, respectively, are supposed to prevent the spread of BSE by prohibiting most mammalian proteins in ruminant feed and prohibiting inclusion of the highest-risk materials in any animal feed, pet food, or fertilizer.

CFIA officials noted that the cow's carcass had been kept out of the food supply. The report to the OIE states that movement controls and quarantines were enacted.

The classical form of BSE is most often transmitted through feed contaminated with pathogenic prion proteins originating in infected animals' brains and spinal cords, according to information from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It differs from atypical BSE, which can develop spontaneously and could be inherited, according to information from the USDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

New Salmonella serotype identified

Research intended to find Salmonella organisms in certain organs included in some ground beef led to the discovery of a new serotype.

That serotype, Salmonella enterica Lubbock, was found in cattle peripheral lymph nodes, and it appears to be related to S Mbandaka and S Montevideo, said Dr. Guy Loneragan, a professor of food safety and public health at Texas Tech University. The serotype is named after the city where it was found, the home of Texas Tech's main campus.

Further research will involve examining related strains in historical data sets, such as those held by veterinary diagnostic laboratories and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to determine whether S Lubbock is present but unidentified in prior samples. Other research will involve work to understand why certain serotypes persist in niches such as peripheral lymph nodes and will re-examine methods and actions that transmit Salmonella organisms.

“Identification of a new serotype indicates that we still have quite a bit more to understand, in particular about the ecology of Salmonella and how it's evolved or coevolved with cattle populations over time,” Dr. Loneragan said.

He said the discovery of S Lubbock is a testament to the brilliance of research assistant professor Marie Bugarel, PhD, who was a postdoctoral student when she noticed that the Salmonella strain recovered in the research did not match designated serotypes.

“Discovering this strain really represents the intellectual detective work that Marie Bugarel did, in that she identified that something just didn't make sense and pursued it to the point that we have confirmation of a new serotype from the reference center at the Pasteur Institute in France,” he said.

Dr. Loneragan said the research began in 2010 out of concern that peripheral lymph nodes could harbor Salmonella organisms, which could be mixed into ground beef.

Dr. Bugarel said current work to characterize the Salmonella strain has shown that the serotype emerged recently, “confirming that Salmonella is a dynamic bacteria that is able to adapt to a host and to colonize and survive on it.” The work also will help improve understanding of bacteria-host interactions, selection pressure on bacteria, and features important for bacteria to persist in a bovine host.

By late February, the strain had been identified only in cattle.

Feedyard dust can include drugs, bacteria

Wind-borne dust from Plains states feedyards can include antimicrobials and drug-resistant bacteria, according to a recent study.

Study results published in Environmental Health Perspectives indicate air samples collected downwind from 10 beef cattle production facilities in the southern High Plains contained higher concentrations of antimicrobials, bacteria, and bacteria with genes that convey drug resistance than did samples taken upwind.

“This study clearly demonstrates the potential for antibiotics and bacteria to be transported from beef cattle feedyards into the environment by wind,” the article states. “Thus, it is reasonable to consider how far microbes may be transported from these sources, and if they remain viable after aerial transport.”

The article, “Antibiotics, bacteria, and antibiotic resistance genes: Aerial transport from cattle feed yards via particulate matter,” was published online Jan. 22 (http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1408555) in advance of print, which is expected within the next few months.

The researchers took air samples at feedyards with 20,000 to 50,000 cattle, all within 200 miles of Lubbock, Texas.

The article indicates tests on the air samples showed the presence of five veterinary-use antimicrobials. Pathogens found included clostridia and staphylococci. The article also notes that downwind samples had a substantially greater abundance of genes conveying resistance to tetracycline antimicrobials.

Of cattle feeding operations with at least 1,000 cattle, three-quarters are in Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, or Texas, according to the article. Those states include a region that has both the highest density of feed-lots and the most frequent dust storms in the U.S.

The article also states that dust likely helps distribute microbes throughout the world, and the authors cited previous studies on transcontinental dust movement and presence of microorganisms in the atmosphere. The contents of particulate matter from feedyards in the Plains states provide “significant potential for widespread distribution” of bacteria, antimicrobials, and antimicrobial resistance–conveying genes, according to the authors.

NAVC kicks off the year

Announcements abound at first major conference of 2015

By Katie Burns


2015–2016 NAVC board of directors, front row: Drs. Melinda D. Merck, Christine Navarre, Charlotte Lacroix, and Gail Gibson. Back row: Dr. Cheryl Good, Dr. Susan Klein, Dr. Laurel Kaddatz, Dr. K. Leann Kuebelbeck, and Paige Allen. (Courtesy of NAVC)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 246, 7; 10.2460/javma.246.7.700

The topics ran the gamut: military and police dogs, kidney disease in cats and dogs, pet parasites and pet nutrition, small animal practice in Africa.

These were among the subjects of announcements during the North American Veterinary Community Conference, Jan. 17–21 in Orlando, Florida. Organizers of the first major veterinary conference of the year invited attendees to “Lead the way”—to share ideas, sharpen skills, and learn about the latest innovations.

The AVMA Council on Education held a listening session for veterinarians to express their concerns about the council's accreditation of veterinary colleges (see JAVMA, March 15, 2015, page 574). The parent company of Veterinary Pet Insurance, Nationwide, and Purdue University's Krannert School of Management reported findings that veterinary prices are decreasing slightly (see JAVMA, March 15, 2015, page 580).

Zoetis Inc. launched a program to support veterinary care for hundreds of retired military and police dogs. Idexx Laboratories Inc. announced a new test to detect chronic kidney disease sooner in cats and dogs. The Companion Animal Parasite Council and Bayer HealthCare released a study on educating pet owners about parasites, and Nestlé Purina PetCare released results of a survey on educating pet owners about nutrition. The African Small Companion Animal Network unveiled the next phase of its educational program for African veterinarians.

NAVC news

The NAVC Conference 2015 attracted more than 16,000 attendees and offered more than 1,200 hours of continuing education. Among the attendees were 6,447 veterinarians, 1,581 veterinary technicians, 613 practice managers, 394 support staff members, and 863 veterinary and veterinary technician students.

The nonprofit NAVC has grown beyond holding an annual conference to also offering a variety of educational offerings and publications. On Oct. 1, 2014, the organization added Today's Veterinary Practice to its portfolio. The publication provides information on companion animal medicine and surgery and on practice building and management. Today's Veterinary Practice is published six times per year and sent free of charge to more than 60,000 subscribers.

The NAVC had debuted VetFolio, an online CE platform, at the 2014 conference. At the 2015 conference, the NAVC and American Animal Hospital Association announced they are teaming up to provide VetFolio in a joint partnership. The platform now will offer educational and practice management resources from AAHA as well as resources from the NAVC Conference. In addition, LifeLearn Inc. will make VetFolio content available through the new Sofie app, which answers questions posed in natural language rather than using search terms.


An attendee pets a bunny at the North American Veterinary Community Conference in January. (Courtesy of NAVC)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 246, 7; 10.2460/javma.246.7.700


Diane Whetsel, board chair of The Sage Foundation for Dogs Who Serve; Matthew Foster, formerly with the Marine Corps; and Mick, a retired military dog, participate in the launch of a Zoetis program to support veterinary care for hundreds of retired military and police dogs. (Courtesy of Zoetis)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 246, 7; 10.2460/javma.246.7.700

The 2015–2016 NAVC officers are Drs. Christine Navarre, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, president; Melinda D. Merck, Austin, Texas, president-elect; Gail Gibson, Skowhegan, Maine, vice president; Laurel Kaddatz, Pound Ridge, New York, treasurer; and Charlotte Lacroix, Whitehouse Station, New Jersey, immediate past president. The other members of the board of directors are Paige Allen, West Lafayette, Indiana; Dr. Cheryl Good, Dearborn, Michigan; Dr. Susan Klein, Chester, New Jersey; and Dr. K. Leann Kuebelbeck, Brandon, Florida.

Military and policy dogs

Zoetis launched the Rimadyl K-9 Courage Program to help with annual health care costs for as many as 500 retired military and police dogs.

The program will provide $300 on a debit card annually for each participating dog toward services at veterinary clinics such as wellness examinations, vaccinations, and grooming.

Zoetis has joined with The Sage Foundation for Dogs Who Serve and the National Police Dog Foundation to publicize the new program and verify applicants. The company is donating an additional $10,000 to each of the foundations to support their general work for service dogs. Zoetis' overall contribution for the health care costs of the retired dogs and the donations to the partner organizations will total up to $170,000.

Matthew Foster, a former corporal with the Marine Corps, has joined with The Sage Foundation and Rimadyl K-9 Courage Program to help retired military dogs. Foster adopted one of his explosives detection dogs, Mick.

“I know firsthand the wear and tear on these dogs while they are in service, and having a program to help offset their medical needs after retirement is very useful,” he said. “After what you go through with your dog in the military and then to adopt them afterward, you wouldn't want to say goodbye to your partner because you couldn't afford to take care of him.”

Information about the program can be found at www.rimadylk9courage.com.

Kidney disease

Idexx announced that it will offer a new test of kidney function, measuring symmetric dimethylarginine, to identify chronic kidney disease in cats and dogs sooner than with traditional methods. The company plans to include SDMA testing in all routine chemistry profiles at no additional cost and with the same turnaround time.

According to a write-up by Dr. Jane Robertson, an internist with Idexx, measuring blood creatinine concentration does not detect chronic kidney disease until cats and dogs have lost up to 75 percent of their kidney function.

“SDMA is excreted almost exclusively by the kidneys, making it a good marker for estimating kidney function,” according to Dr. Robertson. “Research has shown that SDMA can identify CKD an average of 9 months earlier in dogs and 17 months sooner in cats—in one cat 4 years earlier. In addition, SDMA is not impacted by muscle mass, thereby providing practitioners a better tool for diagnosing and monitoring CKD in thin geriatric animals, especially cats and animals with other diseases that cause muscle wasting.”

Dr. Roberton's write-up, including citations, is at www.idexx.com/sdma along with additional resources.

Pet parasites

The CAPC-Bayer study “Connecting with today's clients” found that providing pet owners with information about pet parasites can drive veterinary visits. The study involved an April to May 2014 survey of 2,000 pet owners, 401 veterinarians, and 263 veterinary technicians.

Ninety percent of pet owners want to be notified if there is a high incidence of parasites in their county, and 89 percent said they are likely to make an appointment to get their pet tested on the basis of the risk. Ninety-two percent of veterinarians agreed clients would more likely seek out veterinary services if the clients were aware of parasite risks in the area.

Seventy-eight percent of pet owners consider their veterinarian to be their primary source of parasite information.

Following up on the study, CAPC is creating free tools to help veterinary practices communicate with clients about parasites. Parasite prevalence maps already are available at www.capcvet.org. Resources also will include videos with key study findings plus educational webinars.

Pet nutrition

Purina released results from a November 2014 survey of 201 veterinarians and 307 pet owners. The survey found that veterinarians and pet owners concur that nutrition is very important to pet health.

Almost all veterinarians said they have clients with misperceptions about how to best feed pets. Sixty-nine percent of pet owners would like to be more knowledgeable about their pets' nutrition, and 65 percent would like to spend time discussing the subject with their veterinarian during regular checkups.

Seventy percent of veterinarians said that if they had more time, they would be more proactive about educating clients with healthy pets about nutrition. Eighty-eight percent of veterinarians would feel comfortable having a veterinary technician provide client education if they could find an efficient way to train veterinary technicians, and 86 percent of pet owners viewed veterinary staff members as a credible source of information on pet nutrition.

Following up on the findings, Purina plans to add resources to its Daily Nutrition Matters course, at www.purinaveterinarydiets.com under “Continuing Education,” and its Nutrition Myths center, at the same site.

Practice in Africa

In 2014, the World Small Animal Veterinary Association Foundation launched The African Small Companion Animal Network. AFSCAN aims to advance standards of veterinary care across Africa through education and facilitating creation of a sustainable network of companion animal veterinarians, associations, and specialist groups in sub-Saharan Africa. Zoetis is the major supporter.

The initiative's flagship education project is Distance Learning for Colleagues in Africa. The first phase of the project was carrying out research and appointing six veterinarians as country ambassadors in five African countries.


While serving in Afghanistan with the Marine Corps, Matthew Foster poses for a photo with Mick, one of his explosives detection dogs. Foster later adopted Mick. At the NAVC Conference, they participated in the launch of a Zoetis program to support veterinary care for hundreds of retired military and police dogs. (Courtesy of Zoetis)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 246, 7; 10.2460/javma.246.7.700

The next phase, unveiled at the NAVC Conference, will allow African veterinarians to access online resources at a substantial discount from Vetstream, a provider of clinical reference sources, and from VetFolio, the latter including CE from WSAVA congresses. Computers 4 Africa in the United Kingdom is collecting unwanted computers, tablets, and smart-phones for African veterinarians.

“Before AFSCAN, we had access to little other than a few textbooks,” said Dr. Berna Nakanwagi, one of two country ambassadors from Uganda. “This will transform our practice.”

Information about AFSCAN is at www.afscan.org.

APHIS plans actions on cattle fever ticks, screwworms

By Greg Cima

U.S. Department of Agriculture authorities plan to develop areas in Mexico that are free of cattle fever ticks, and an anti-tick vaccine could be available in the U.S. this fall.

Other USDA officials will prepare for potential screwworm outbreaks in Central and North America, and those preparations could aid eventual efforts to eliminate the worms on Caribbean islands.

The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service plans to work with foreign entities to keep those pests, certain pests of plants, and invasive species out of the U.S., as the agency describes in a five-year plan published earlier this year.

Cattle fever ticks

Dr. Michael A. Carter, assistant director of APHIS' Surveillance, Preparedness, and Response Services Cattle Health Center, said APHIS will work with state authorities in Texas to maintain the current cattle fever tick quarantine zone that extends about 500 miles along the U.S.-Mexico border, starting at the Gulf of Mexico, in addition to working toward creating cattle fever tick–free zones in Mexico where cattle would be held prior to export to the U.S.

APHIS officials are working with the USDA Agricultural Research Service on a cattle-use vaccine, and Dr. Carter hopes the vaccine will be available in fall 2015. He also said APHIS was working with the Food and Drug Administration and a private company to make available an antiparasitic-treated molasses that could be distributed to cattle while they are on ranges.

Cattle fever ticks carry protozoa for Babesia bovis and B bigemina. Texas Animal Health Commission information indicates infections can cause fever, anemia, enlargement of the spleen and liver, and, for about 90 percent of susceptible naive cattle, death.

Efforts to eradicate cattle fever ticks from the U.S. started in 1906, and only isolated cases remained in a quarantine zone along the Mexican border by 1943, APHIS information states. The ticks were declared to be eliminated from the U.S. by 1961.

But outbreaks still occur in the 500-mile quarantine zone, and infestations require quarantines of at least six months. An outbreak confirmed in October 2014 near the Gulf of Mexico had extended past the quarantine zone; in response, the quarantine zone was expanded in one border county.


Cattle at an APHIS fever tick treatment bath in McAllen, Texas (Photos courtesy of USDA ARS)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 246, 7; 10.2460/javma.246.7.700


A screwworm larva

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 246, 7; 10.2460/javma.246.7.700


Murali Bandla, associate deputy administrator for APHIS' International Services program, said APHIS is trying to improve on the screwworm eradication program that already has been “one of the most successful pest eradication programs in the world.”

The U.S. and Panamanian governments collaborate on a project of producing and releasing more than 2 billion sterile screwworm fly pupae each year near the border between Panama and Colombia, an effort to maintain a barrier to keep the flies from spreading from South America into Central America. New World screwworms, the larvae of screwworm flies, infect open wounds in warmblooded animals, mostly livestock but also including humans, APHIS information states.

Self-sustaining screwworm populations were eliminated from the U.S. by 1966, and Mexico has been free of them since 1991, APHIS information states. Two dogs infected with screwworm larvae entered the U.S. in 2007 and 2010 from Trinidad and Tobago and from Venezuela, respectively. Veterinary practitioners identified the infections in both cases.

Information from the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) indicates screwworm has been eliminated from North America and Central America, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Curacao. The flies are still present in South America, particularly in northern countries, and an eradication program in Jamaica failed “due to complex management and technical difficulties.”

Bandla said APHIS plans to develop surveillance and emergency response plans in Central America and Mexico as well as improve the business, energy, and production efficiency of the Panama screwworm-growing facility. That includes developing technology that could double production capacity, improving delivery without adding more production modules, he said.

Screwworms persist in some Caribbean islands, including those that trade with Central American countries, Bandla said. Better understanding of emergency needs and sterile fly production capacities could help APHIS make further plans to eradicate screwworms from the Caribbean, he said.

World Veterinary Day to focus on vector-borne zoonoses

On April 25, World Veterinary Day 2015 will raise awareness of vector-borne diseases with zoonotic potential.

The World Veterinary Association created World Veterinary Day in 2000 as an annual celebration of the veterinary profession, falling on the last Saturday of April. Each year, the WVA and World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) choose a theme for the event.

“Vector-borne zoonotic diseases are an important example of the interdependence that exists between vectors, animal hosts, climate conditions, pathogens, and susceptible human population,” according to the announcement for World Veterinary Day 2015.

The announcement concludes, “Collaboration and coordination between veterinarians and physicians are fundamental to prevent and then treat vector-borne diseases.”

The WVA and OIE offer the $1,000 World Veterinary Day Award for the most successful celebration of the occasion by a national veterinary association working alone or in cooperation with other veterinary groups.

In 2014, World Veterinary Day highlighted the role of veterinarians in animal welfare. The AVMA won the 2014 World Veterinary Day Award for developing an online hub about animal welfare at www.avma.org/animalwelfare.

Details about World Veterinary Day and the World Veterinary Day Award are available at www.worldvet.org.


The article “Horse racing model rules see gradual adoption” in the Feb. 15, 2015, issue of JAVMA News, page 383, incorrectly attributed a quote to Dr. Cynthia MacKenzie.

The article “AVMA had an active 2014, more in store for 2015” in the March 1, 2015, issue of JAVMA News, page 482, gave an incorrect date for enactment of an amendment to the Controlled Substances Act. It was August 2014.

Advanced education increasing in popularity but not as much salarywise

The national mean salary for veterinary residents was $30,916 in 2014, and the national mean salary for veterinary interns was $26,191, according to survey results from the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges released in January.

The AAVMC annually collects data from its 28 accredited members in the U.S. through its Comparative Data Report. Veterinary colleges reported a total of 1,056 veterinary residents and 332 veterinary interns at 27 of the institutions in 2014, and that 23.1 percent of the class of 2014 had accepted residency or internship positions within academic institutions.

In addition, 26 institutions voluntarily reported salary information for veterinary residents and interns in the 2014 survey. Resident salaries ranged from $23,976 to $40,972; the national median for resident salaries was $30,487. Intern salaries ranged from $22,751 to $34,200; the national median for intern salaries was $25,992.

Overall, the AAVMC found that the mean salary for residents and interns increased by only 1.9 percent and 2 percent, respectively, since 2012. And, in fact, the salary floor for residents declined by nearly 14 percent, while the lowest salary for interns increased by 4 percent during the same period.

It should be noted that most internships take place at private practices, while residencies largely take place at veterinary colleges, according to data from the American Association of Veterinary Clinicians' Veterinary Internship and Residency Matching Program—a computer program that is the primary vehicle for placing veterinarians in internships and residencies in the United States. In 2015, 82 percent of residency positions offered by the VIRMP (347) were located at AAVMC member institutions, while the same could be said for only 27 percent of the internship positions offered (286).

The AAVC does not collect salary data, and therefore, information on compensation by private practices for residents and interns is not available.

Still, when looking at the mean salaries for interns and residents reported by AAVMC member institutions, it's interesting to note they were less than half of what U.S. veterinary graduates not pursuing advanced education reported as their starting salary in 2013, the last year for which data are available from the AVMA Annual Senior Survey.


Advanced education salaries at U.S. veterinary colleges in 2014 (Source: AAVMC)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 246, 7; 10.2460/javma.246.7.700

AVMA senior survey results revealed that when excluding internships, residencies, doctorate programs, and other advanced education programs, the mean full-time starting salary for graduates was $70,008 for males and $65,968 for females (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2013;243:1122–1126).


Veterinary Internship and Residency Matching Program statistics (Source: AAVC)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 246, 7; 10.2460/javma.246.7.700

Comparatively, in 2013, the national mean salary for those pursuing advanced education was just under $29,797, according to the AAVMC.

At the same time, the most recent data from the VIRMP indicate that the number of applicants to internships and residencies continues to rise. In 2013, the VIRMP drew 1,998 applicants. That number increased by about 10 percent to 2,222 applicants in 2015.

For more information on the AAVMC survey results, visit http://jav.ma/1zCET9R.

Kansas State establishing Center for Outcomes Research and Education

Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine has created a center with a goal of improving effectiveness and efficiency in animal health care. The Center for Outcomes Research and Education was launched Feb. 25 under the guidance of Dr. David G. Renter, a veterinary epidemiologist who will be the center's director.


Dr. David G. Renter (Courtesy of KSU)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 246, 7; 10.2460/javma.246.7.700

The discipline of outcomes research involves applied clinical- and population-based research that seeks to study and optimize the end results of health care practices and interventions in terms of benefits to the patient and society.

CORE will focus on demonstrating the value of animal health interventions, such as treatment, prevention, or diagnostic activities intended to improve health. This will be done by providing structured, applied research and educational programs that explicitly define and incorporate the societal and economic values relevant to health interventions, said Dr. Renter, who is a professor of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology at the veterinary college.

He anticipates the center providing leadership and infrastructure for collaboration among practitioners, industry, government, and academics—from KSU and elsewhere—to determine optimal animal health approaches for various situations.

“This type of outcomes research approach is already well-integrated into some human health programs, but a center like this is new in animal health. We will generate and synthesize evidence on health interventions and train people on how to best utilize that evidence to influence health care decisions,” he said.

The center's research and training activities will be funded through a variety of sources, including $250,000 from Zoetis Inc., private donations, and federal grants through the Department of Agriculture.

$100,000 supports poultry education at Georgia

Merck Animal Health announced a $100,000 sponsorship for a student at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine on Jan. 29. The money will provide educational support to Grace Ashby, who is attending the veterinary college's Poultry Diagnostic and Research Center, over a three-year period.

Ashby is a doctoral candidate who was accepted to the center in 2014. Ashby earned a bachelor's degree in avian biology from UGA, has served as a poultry surgery teaching assistant, and completed internships at the Georgia Poultry Laboratory Network in Oakwood, Georgia, and Pilgrim's Pride Corp. in Athens, Georgia. Ashby said she looks forward to continuing her education through research and contributing to the development of new vaccine methods and respiratory health.

Dr. Mark W. Jackwood, head of the Department of Population Health at Georgia's veterinary college, said, “These funds will help us continue providing our students with the education and experience they need for a successful career in avian medicine, as well as offering valuable research and services to the poultry industry.”

Every year, Merck Animal Health collaborates with educational and veterinary organizations to ensure the advancement of animal health. The sponsorship program is part of a broader commitment to education, students, and the future of the industry, according to a Merck press release.

More information on the Poultry Diagnostic and Research Center at UGA is available at www.vet.uga.edu/avian.

American College of Veterinary Radiology

Event: Annual meeting, Oct. 21–24, 2014, St. Louis

Awards: Outstanding Resident-Authored Paper Award: Dr. Chelsea Kunst, Michigan State University, for “Computed tomographic (CT) identification of dysplasia and progression of osteoarthritis in dog elbows previously assigned orthopedic foundation for animals (OFA) grade 0 and 1.” Outstanding Oral Presentation by a Resident: Dr. Stacy Cooley, Cornell University, for “Ultrasonographic measurement of the optic nerve sheath diameter in horses”; Dr. Beth Biscoe, Washington State University, for “Comparison of sonoelastography and ultrasound to detect and monitor experimentally-induced deep digital flexor tendinitis in the equine forelimb”; and Dr. Kelsey Pohlmann, Colorado State University, for “Survival in dogs with stage 4 nasal tumors treated with streotactic body radiation therapy.” Outstanding Poster Presentation by a Resident: Dr. Samantha Loeber, Colorado State University, for “Incorporation of FDG PET/CT into radiation therapy planning to improve treatment of canine nasal tumors”; and Dr. Layla Shaikh, University of Georgia, for “Imaging the canine spine with space, a 3D T2-weighted spin echo sequence with variable flip angle refocusing”

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


Anna Adrian, Six Mile Bottom, United Kingdom

Joseph Amory, Raleigh, North Carolina

James Atherton, New York

Elizabeth Biscoe, Flower Mound, Texas

Alexandra Bratton, Port Coquitlam, British Columbia

Jennifer Gambino, Starkville, Mississippi

Lindsey Gilmour, College Station, Texas

Nedra Guckert, Exeter, New Hampshire

Elyshia Hankin, Washington, D.C.

Joshua Hobbs, North Bethesda, Maryland

Seamus Hoey, Zurich

Laura Hoyt, New York

Katherine Kerrigan, Princeton, New Jersey

Stephanie Knapp, Raleigh, North Carolina

Alexandre Le Roux, New York

Britany Lindl, Sacramento, California

Ellie Nuth, Fircrest, Washington

Julien Olive, Annecy, France

Matthew Paek, Laurel, Maryland

Reynsen Shigemoto, Gaithersburg, Maryland

Kate Sippel, Perrysburg, Ohio

Swan Specchi, Vergato, Italy

Dainna Stelmach, Salt Lake City

Nathan Tong, Davis, California

Ruth Van Hatten, Ithaca, New York

Andrea Weissman, Red Bank, New Jersey

Jackie Williams, Madison, Wisconsin

Lesley Zwicker, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island

Radiation Oncology

Gregory Almond, Auburn, Alabama

Neil Christensen, Madison, Wisconsin

Lynn Griffin, Fort Collins, Colorado

Heather Lasher, Delaware, Ohio

Charles Maitz, Columbia, Missouri

Nicholas Rancilio, West Lafayette, Indiana

Officials: Drs. Elizabeth Watson, Key West, Florida, president; Silke Hecht, Knoxville, Tennessee, president-elect; Monique Mayer, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, president of Radiation Oncology; Thomas Nyland, Davis, California, secretary; Ronald Burk, Naples, Florida, treasurer; and Anthony Pease, East Lansing, Michigan, immediate past president

Student wins award for marketing plan

A University of Florida veterinary student has received a business aptitude award for promoting the importance of business education in veterinary practice.

Geoff Landau, a fourth-year student in the university's College of Veterinary Medicine, received the Simmons Educational Fund National Business Aptitude Award in January, which included $15,000 and a trip to the North American Veterinary Community Conference this past January in Orlando.

He won the award for a marketing plan with cost analyses, estimated returns on investment, and methods to increase staff participation, according to an announcement from Simmons and Associates, the veterinary practice broker that created the fund. The marketing plan was well-organized, easy to follow, and potentially useful for many practices, the announcement states.

Indiana VMA

Event: 131st annual meeting, Feb. 5–8, Indianapolis

Program: The meeting drew more than 400 veterinarians and 200 veterinary technicians and assistants and offered in excess of 130 hours of continuing education. Also held were accreditation modules, a behavior forum for the public, and a meeting for beef cattle producers.

Awards: Lifetime Achievement Award: Dr. Jim Scott, Carmel, for cumulative service and accomplishments benefiting the profession, organized veterinary medicine, and the community. A 1968 graduate of the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Scott recently retired as director of the Indiana State Board of Animal Health's Meat and Poultry Division. Earlier in his career, Dr. Scott owned Post Pet Hospital in Indianapolis for 35 years. He is a past president of the Indiana VMA and served eight years on the Indiana Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners. Volunteer of the Year: Dr. Julie Davis, Modoc, for leadership or service to a particular project or program of the association. A 2005 graduate of the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Davis owns Circle D Veterinary Services in Modoc. She is chair of the IVMA Public Relations Committee and a member of the IVMA Legislative and Annual Meeting committees. Dr. Davis also serves on the IVMA board of directors. President's Award: Dr. Jim Feutz, Princeton. A 1972 graduate of the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Feutz is the founder of Princeton Veterinary Hospital and a past chair of the IVMA board of directors.

Officials: Dr. Jerry Risser, McCordsville, president; Dr. James Stepusin, Indianapolis, president-elect; Dr. Maria Cooper, Noblesville, vice president; Dr. Aaron Smiley, Anderson, treasurer; Dr. John Feutz, Princeton, immediate past president; and Lisa A. Perius, Indianapolis, executive director

Missouri VMA

Event: 123rd annual convention, Jan. 22–25, St. Charles

Program: The convention offered 60 continuing education lectures and drew more than 600 attendees.


Dr. William A. Wolff

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 246, 7; 10.2460/javma.246.7.700


Dr. Charles L. Barry

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 246, 7; 10.2460/javma.246.7.700

Awards: Veterinarian of the Year: Dr. William A. Wolff, Columbia. A 1954 graduate of the Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Dr. Wolff served in the Army Veterinary Corps, practiced in western Colorado, taught and conducted research on foreign animal diseases, and served as an instructor and extension specialist at the Missouri University Extension Service, prior to retirement. He is a past chair of the MVMA Emergency Management and Public Health Committee and a past director of the Missouri Volunteer Veterinary Corps. Dr. Wolff helped build the MOVVC into a group of 300 veterinarian, ready to assist the state and federal governments in the event of natural disasters or animal disease outbreaks in Missouri. President's Award: Dr. Neil C. Olson, Columbia. Dr. Olson earned his DVM degree from the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine in 1975 and his doctorate in physiology from Michigan State University in 1982. He is dean of the University of Missouri-Columbia College of Veterinary Medicine and serves as an ex-officio member of the Missouri VMA Executive Board. William A. Wolff Volunteerism Award: Dr. Charles E. Massengill, California, was honored for his service to veterinary medicine in Missouri and his work with the MOVVC. A 1979 graduate of the Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Massengill works for CRM Veterinary Consulting. He is director of the MOVVC and a member of the MVMA

Emergency Management and Public Health Committee and Missouri Stocker Feeder Quality Assurance Program. Robert E. Hertzog Leadership Award: Dr. Clark K. Fobian, Sedalia, won this award, given for outstanding vision, leadership, and personal sacrifices for the betterment of the veterinary profession in Missouri and the United States. A 1977 graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Fobian owns Thompson Hills Animal Clinic in Sedalia. He is immediate past president of the AVMA and a past president of the Missouri VMA. Distinguished Legislative Service Award: Dr. Dan W. Brown, Rolla. A 1977 graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Brown owns Brown Veterinary Clinic in Rolla and is a state senator, representing the 16th district. He previously represented the 149th district in the Missouri House of Representatives. Missouri Veterinary Medical Foundation Distinguished Service Award: Trenton Boyd, Columbia, for helping expand the foundation's mission of public education and charitable giving to worthy organizations. Boyd is the librarian curator of medical and veterinary historical collections at the University of Missouri-Columbia veterinary college. He has been an MVMF volunteer for several years. Honorary Membership Award of the Missouri Academy of Veterinary Practice: Dr. David A. Wilson, Columbia, won this award, given for distinguished or meritorious service to the veterinary profession. A 1984 graduate of the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Wilson serves as a professor of equine surgery and hospital director at the University of Missouri Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital. He is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons.

Officials: MVMA—Dr. Charles L. Barry, Warrensburg, president; Dr. Mel H. Falk, Lee's Summit, president-elect; Dr. Clifford J. Miller, Moberly, vice president; Dr. Shelia L. Taylor, Springfield, secretary-treasurer; Dr. David A. Prigel, Republic, Executive Board chair/immediate past president; and Richard D. Antweiler, Jefferson City, executive director. Missouri Academy of Veterinary Practice—Dr. George Fischer, Amity, president; Dr. Richard D. Linn, Ozark, president-elect; Dr. Lauren Smith, Kansas City, vice president; and Richard Antweiler, Jefferson City, executive secretary/treasurer. Missouri Veterinary Medical Foundation—Dr. William J. Shore, St. Louis, board chair; Dr. Clark A. Gwin, Chillicothe, vice board chair; George Buckloo, Lake Tapawingo, secretary-treasurer; and Dr. Roger Dozier, Jefferson City, museum director

Obituaries: AVMA member AVMA honor roll member Nonmember

Lawrence J. Algiers

Dr. Algiers (Minnesota ′52), 86, Hartford, Wisconsin, died Jan. 16, 2015. A mixed animal practitioner, he owned Algiers Veterinary Service in Hartford prior to retirement. Dr. Algiers was a member of the Wisconsin VMA. His wife, Elizabeth; five daughters and two sons; and 19 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren survive him. Memorials may be made to St. Kilian's Education Endowment Fund, 428 Forest St., Hartford, WI 53027.

Richard M. Barschak

Dr. Barschak (Michigan State ′41), 95, Los Angeles, died Oct. 22, 2014. He began his career working for the city of Detroit. In 1945, Dr. Barschak moved to Los Angeles and practiced small animal medicine for 20 years. He then sold his practice and became a building contractor. Dr. Barschak later co-founded Westdale Savings and Loan. He is survived by his wife, Rita; two daughters and a son; and five grandchildren.

Stephen V. Camp

Dr. Camp (Purdue ′72), 66, Arlington Heights, Illinois, died Dec. 14, 2014. A small animal veterinarian, he owned Arlington Heights Animal Hospital prior to retirement in 2014. Dr. Camp was a past member of the Chicago VMA board of directors and a member of the Illinois State VMA. His wife, Laura, and a daughter survive him. Memorials may be made to The Buddy Foundation (a no-kill animal shelter), 65 W. Seegers Road, Arlington Heights, IL 60005.

Beverly F. Corey

Dr. Corey (Tuskegee ′71), 66, Rockville, Maryland, died Aug. 5, 2014. She worked for the Food and Drug Administration, most recently serving as senior regional adviser for sub-Saharan Africa with the FDA's Office of International Programs in Pretoria, South Africa. During her 43-year career with the FDA, Dr. Corey was a veterinary officer in the Center for Veterinary Medicine; served as a speech writer in the Office of Public Affairs; was director of staff for the Asia and Pacific, Africa, and Middle East regions; and served as acting country director for India. She was posthumously honored with the FDA Foreign Post Award.

Memorials may be made to Mount Calvary Baptist Church, 608 N. Horners Lane, Rockville, MD 20850.

Albert B. Few

Dr. Few (Auburn ′61), 69, St. Petersburg, Florida, died Dec. 12, 2014. A small animal veterinarian, he co-owned Skyway Animal Hospital in St. Petersburg for 42 years. Earlier in his career, Dr. Few taught anatomy at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine. He was a member of the Florida and Pinellas County VMAs. In 1996, Dr. Few received an FVMA Distinguished Service Award. He is survived by his wife, Carolyn; four daughters; and eight grandchildren.

Memorials may be made to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, 9099 130th Ave. N., St. Petersburg, FL 33773; or First Baptist Church, 1900 Gandy Blvd. N., St. Petersburg, FL 33702.

Michael M. Forney

Dr. Forney (Georgia ′70), 73, Worton, Maryland, died Dec. 31, 2014. He was a partner at Chestertown Animal Hospital in Chestertown, Maryland, practicing mixed animal medicine for 45 years. During his career, Dr. Forney also served 10 years as a consulting veterinarian in Ecuador. He was a veteran of the Air Force.

Dr. Forney's wife, Kirsten; a daughter, two sons, and a stepdaughter; and seven grandchildren survive him. Memorials may be made to the Humane Society of Kent County, 10720 Augustine Hermann Highway, Chestertown, MD 21620; Kent Association of Riding Therapy, P.O. Box 126, Worton, MD 21678; or Animal Welfare League of Queen Anne's County, 201 Clay Drive, Queenstown, MD 21658.

Fred C. Hartman

Dr. Hartman (Texas A&M ′58), 79, Austin, Texas, died Oct. 9, 2014. Following graduation, he established a large animal practice in Edna, Texas. After earning his master's in public health administration from Tulane University in 1968, Dr. Hartman moved to Austin, where he began a 30-year career with the Texas Department of State Health Services. During that time, he served as a public health veterinarian and a regional director.

Dr. Hartman's two daughters and three grandchildren survive him. Memorials may be made to Faith Lutheran Church, 6600 Woodrow Ave., Austin, TX 78757; or Alzheimer's Association, 3520 Executive Center Drive Suite #140, Austin, TX 78731.

Margaret S. Helphrey

Dr. Helphrey (California-Davis ′79), 70, La Mesa, California, died Dec. 21, 2014. A small animal veterinarian, she and her husband, Dr. Marvin Helphrey (Iowa State ′74), co-owned Rancho Village Veterinary Hospital Inc. in La Mesa for 34 years. Dr. Helphrey is survived by her husband.

Fred E. Husmann

Dr. Husmann (Iowa State ′52), 96, Jerseyville, Illinois, died Aug. 15, 2014. He owned a small animal practice in Fairview Heights, Illinois, prior to retirement. Earlier in his career, Dr. Husmann was in large animal practice in Augusta, Illinois, and consulted for Fort Dodge Laboratories. He was a member of the Illinois State and Missouri VMAs.

Dr. Husmann served in the Army during World War II and was a member of the American Legion and 5th Armored Division Association. He was also a member of the Elks Lodge and Moose Lodge. Dr. Husmann is survived by a son, a daughter, and two stepdaughters; and eight grandchildren and several great-grandchildren. Memorials may be made to Hope Lutheran Church, 1009 N. State St., Jerseyville, IL 62052.

James T. King

Dr. King (Georgia ′54), 83, Thomaston, Georgia, died Nov. 6, 2014. A mixed animal practitioner, he owned Thomaston Animal Clinic. Dr. King was a member of the Georgia VMA and Georgia Cattlemen's Association. He received the GVMA President's Award in 1991 and the GCA Hall of Fame Award in 2010.

Active in civic life, Dr. King served on the board of trustees of Westwood School and was a member of the Kiwanis Club. He is survived by his wife, Latrelle; two sons and two daughters; and seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Memorials may be made to the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America, 706 Haddonfield Road, Cherry Hill, NJ 08002.

Morris R. Levy

Dr. Levy (Auburn ′43), 95, West Palm Beach, Florida, died Sept. 21, 2014. He worked as a veterinary medical officer for the Food and Drug Administration. During his career with the FDA, Dr. Levy received the Commendable Service Award and FDA Commissioner's Special Citation. His daughter, 10 grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren survive him.

Dale W. Longtin

Dr. Longtin (Iowa State ′58), 80, Muscatine, Iowa, died Nov. 7, 2014. Following graduation, he joined Muscatine Veterinary Hospital, soon becoming a partner. During his 55-year career, Dr. Longtin initially practiced mixed animal medicine, later focusing on small animals. A past president of the Iowa and Eastern Iowa VMAs and Midwest Small Animal Association, he was a member of the American Animal Hospital Association. Dr. Longtin received the ISU College of Veterinary Medicine Stange Award in 1997 and the IVMA Meritorious Service Award in 2007.

Active in civic life, he was a past president of the Muscatine chapter of the American Red Cross and a member of the Muscatine Rotary Club. He is survived by his wife, Midge; three sons; and seven grandchildren. Memorials in Dr. Longtin's name may be made to Companion Animal Fund, Iowa State University, College of Veterinary Medicine, 1600 S. 16th. St., Ames, IA 50011.

Stanley Newman

Dr. Newman (Michigan State ′61), 82, Springfield, New Jersey, died Nov. 15, 2014. He owned Clark Animal Hospital, a small animal practice in Rahway, New Jersey, prior to retirement.

Earlier in his career, Dr. Newman served as director of research at what is now known as the New Jersey Medical School and owned practices in New Jersey at Clinton, Stewartsville, and Union. He was a past president of American Veterinarians for Israel and a member of the New Jersey and Metropolitan New Jersey VMAs.

Dr. Newman was a veteran of the Army. His wife, Arlene; a son and two daughters; and six grandchildren survive him. Dr. Newman's son, Dr. Scott Newman (Tufts ′92), works for the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization in Hanoi, Vietnam. Memorials may be made to the Alzheimer's Association, P.O. Box 96011, Washington, DC 20090; or Wildlife Conservation Society, 2300 Southern Blvd., Bronx, NY 10460.

Harty S. Powell

Dr. Powell (Georgia ′53), 84, Brentwood, Tennessee, died Oct. 16, 2014. He served as director of the diagnostic laboratory at Ellington Agricultural Center in Nashville, Tennessee, for more than 20 years prior to retirement. Earlier in his career, Dr. Powell earned a master's degree in pathology from the University of Georgia and directed diagnostic laboratories in Kentucky at Hopkinsville and Lexington. A member of the Tennessee VMA, he was the recipient of an Award of Excellence in 1983, the Distinguished Service Award in 1991, and the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002.

Dr. Powell served in the Army during the Korean War, attaining the rank of first lieutenant. His wife, Elizabeth; a son and two daughters; and four grandchildren survive him. Memorials may be made to the Senior Adult Ministry, Brentwood Baptist Church, 7777 Concord Road, Brentwood, TN 37027.

Jack K. Robbins

Dr. Robbins (Pennsylvania ′45), 93, Rancho Santa Fe, California, died Nov. 29, 2014. An equine veterinarian, he began his career practicing at California racetracks. Dr. Robbins later worked as farm manager at Conejo Ranch in California's Conejo Valley and managed the Laguna Seca Ranch in California's Monterey peninsula. He returned to his racetrack practice in Southern California in the mid-1960s, continuing until retirement in 1982.

A longtime breeder of Thoroughbreds, Dr. Robbins helped establish and was a past president of the American Association of Equine Practitioners, also serving as the first chair of the AAEP Practice Committee. He was a founding director and a past president of the Oak Tree Racing Association and director emeritus of the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation and University of California-Davis Center for Equine Health. Dr. Robbins was a member of the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association for more than 50 years and was the first veterinarian to be elected to the Jockey Club.

In 1980, he received an AAEP Distinguished Life Member Award, and, in 1997, the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine honored him with a Bellweather Medal and Citation of Gratitude. Dr. Robbins was named the Thoroughbred Club of America's Honored Guest in 2002 and received the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters' Joe Palmer Award for meritorious service to racing in 2009.

He is survived by four sons, eight grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

William H. Smith

Dr. Smith (Texas A&M ′54), 90, Harrisonburg, Virginia, died Jan. 17, 2015. A mixed animal veterinarian, he established Massanutten Animal Clinic in Harrisonburg in 1955. Dr. Smith later opened a sister clinic in Elkton, Virginia. He also farmed and raised cattle. Dr. Smith retired in 1990.

A World War II veteran, he served in the Army in the Pacific Theatre. Dr. Smith's two daughters and two granddaughters survive him. His son-in-law, Dr. Douglas A. Houston (Georgia ′79), is a small animal veterinarian in Mechanicsville, Virginia.

James E. Strickland

Dr. Strickland (Georgia ′61), 77, Glennville, Georgia, died Aug. 2, 2014. He practiced in Glennville, Georgia, initially in mixed animal practice, and, later, focusing on large animals. Dr. Strickland also served as an extension veterinarian for the University of Georgia. Earlier in his career, he practiced in Thomaston, Georgia.

A past president of the Georgia VMA, Dr. Strickland also served on the AVMA Council on Public Health and Regulatory Veterinary Medicine from 1998–2004 and was a member of the AVMA Food Safety Advisory Committee from 2000–2004. He served on the former AVMA Steering Committee on Antimicrobial Resistance.

Dr. Strickland was a veteran of the Army Veterinary Corps and Air Force. He is survived by his wife, Norma; a daughter and two sons; and four grandchildren.

Stephen F. Wurst

Dr. Wurst (Pennsylvania ′77), 63, Manahawkin, New Jersey, died Nov. 16, 2014. A small animal veterinarian, he owned Barnegat Animal Clinic in Barnegat, New Jersey, for 30 years. Earlier, Dr. Wurst practiced at Brunswick Animal Hospital in Brunswick, Maine, and Stafford Veterinary Hospital in Manahawkin.

His wife, Cindy; two sons and a daughter; and two grandchildren survive him. One son, Dr. Andy Wurst (Iowa State ′06), practices at Barnegat Animal Clinic. Memorials in Dr. Wurst's name may be made to the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey, P.O. Box 420, Trenton, NJ 08625, www.conservewildlifenj.org.

  • View in gallery

    (Courtesy of Cornell University)

  • View in gallery

    (Copyright © 2015. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). All rights reserved.)

  • View in gallery

    Egg cartons labeled as complying with the California Shell Egg Food Safety regulations (Courtesy of the California Department of Food and Agriculture)

  • View in gallery

    2015–2016 NAVC board of directors, front row: Drs. Melinda D. Merck, Christine Navarre, Charlotte Lacroix, and Gail Gibson. Back row: Dr. Cheryl Good, Dr. Susan Klein, Dr. Laurel Kaddatz, Dr. K. Leann Kuebelbeck, and Paige Allen. (Courtesy of NAVC)

  • View in gallery

    An attendee pets a bunny at the North American Veterinary Community Conference in January. (Courtesy of NAVC)

  • View in gallery

    Diane Whetsel, board chair of The Sage Foundation for Dogs Who Serve; Matthew Foster, formerly with the Marine Corps; and Mick, a retired military dog, participate in the launch of a Zoetis program to support veterinary care for hundreds of retired military and police dogs. (Courtesy of Zoetis)

  • View in gallery

    While serving in Afghanistan with the Marine Corps, Matthew Foster poses for a photo with Mick, one of his explosives detection dogs. Foster later adopted Mick. At the NAVC Conference, they participated in the launch of a Zoetis program to support veterinary care for hundreds of retired military and police dogs. (Courtesy of Zoetis)

  • View in gallery

    Cattle at an APHIS fever tick treatment bath in McAllen, Texas (Photos courtesy of USDA ARS)

  • View in gallery

    A screwworm larva

  • View in gallery

    Advanced education salaries at U.S. veterinary colleges in 2014 (Source: AAVMC)

  • View in gallery

    Veterinary Internship and Residency Matching Program statistics (Source: AAVC)

  • View in gallery

    Dr. David G. Renter (Courtesy of KSU)

  • View in gallery

    Dr. William A. Wolff

  • View in gallery

    Dr. Charles L. Barry