Report sheds new light on VETERINARY EMPLOYMENT
Findings range from wage implications of internships to veterinarians' wish to work fewer hours
By R. Scott Nolen
Homeownership, board certification, and the first postgraduate job are better predictors of the probability of veterinary employment than gender, region of residence, educational debt, marital status, health, or alma mater, according to the 2015 AVMA Report on Veterinary Employment, published in March.
Veterinarians were more likely to be unemployed if their first job out of veterinary college wasn't in a veterinary field, according to a 2014 AVMA survey of U.S. veterinarians.
Perhaps the most notable finding in the AVMA employment report was the higher probability of unemployment and lower income associated with veterinary graduates who participated in internships, compared with values for veterinarians who opted for full-time work after graduation.
The AVMA employment report is the second of six scheduled to be published this year by the AVMA Veterinary Economics Division examining veterinary markets. This latest study sought to determine the extent of unemployment in the veterinary profession and the difference between the number of hours veterinarians were willing to work and the number they actually were working.
Findings were based on responses to a 2014 survey of 1,881 veterinarians who had graduated from one of the 28 U.S. veterinary colleges in 2012, 2008, 2003, or 1998.
Michael Dicks, PhD, director of the economics division, said the data shed new light on earlier AVMA research identifying a trend among new veterinary graduates to choose internships over full-time employment (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2013;243:976–980).
The new survey found that the percentage of graduates entering an internship varied by veterinary college and ranged from 56.7 percent of graduates from Western University of Health Sciences to 12.1 percent of graduates from Iowa State University.
“We need to take a very serious look at why so many students from specific colleges are participating in internships but don't intend on becoming board-certified specialists,” said Dr. Dicks, adding the reasons may have less to do with competence than confidence. He said the 2014 survey results indicate that veterinarians who did not complete an internship perceived a higher level of preparedness in more of their clinical and non-clinical skills than veterinarians who did complete an internship.
The survey examined veterinarians' perception of their own preparedness in nine areas of clinical competence, the same areas evaluated by the AVMA Council on Education during veterinary college accreditation. Little difference was found to exist among the perceptions of veterinarians from the various colleges about their degree of veterinary clinical preparation. Across the board, veterinarians perceived that they were adequately prepared except in the areas of orthopedic surgery, business acumen, management of reproduction programs, and interpretation of ultrasound images.
The 2015 AVMA report goes on to state that, while the national unemployment rate was 7.4 percent in 2013, the overall unemployment rate for the veterinary profession was just 3.19 percent. The highest rate of unemployment—4.2 percent—was experienced by 2008 graduates, whereas 2012 graduates saw the lowest rate of 2.9 percent.
The highest rate of unemployment for clinical practitioners occurred in equine practice (6.3 percent) and the lowest in companion animal–exclusive practice (3.2 percent). The highest rate of unemployment among all practice types was in the “other” category (14.7 percent), followed by the not-for-profit category (10.7 percent).
The AVMA report also found the profession was experiencing a net “negative underemployment” rate that would be balanced by 951 more full-time veterinarians in the workforce. Whereas underemployment represents the number of hours that veterinarians would want to work above their current workweek, negative underemployment signifies the number of hours by which they would wish to reduce their workweek.
Negative underemployment was highest among equine and food animal practitioners, whose typical workweek exceeded 60 hours.
“The results of this survey suggest that female and male veterinarians may have a different desired work/life balance,” the report states.
Most female respondents to the AVMA survey indicated a desire to reduce their workweek by 10 hours. Male respondents, however, were split almost equally, with some wishing to reduce their workweek by 10 hours and others wanting a 10-hour increase.
“On average, female veterinarians want to work 39 hours per week, whereas male veterinarians want to work an average of 47 hours per week. Female veterinarians work less on average and want to work less than their male counterparts,” the report continued.
“This may explain, at least in part, the difference in the level of average compensation between genders. More importantly, because the percentage of women in the profession is constantly increasing with each new class of veterinarians, the amount of services provided per year per veterinarian (veterinary productivity) will decline.”
Additionally, the survey found no meaningful difference among practice types with respect to veterinarians' perceptions of their own health; however, the largest group of veterinarians reporting excellent health were those in the uniformed services, in which 50 percent reported being in excellent health. Veterinarians employed otherwise by the federal government represented the largest group reporting poor health, at 4.5 percent.
The 2015 AVMA Report on Veterinary Employment can be purchased as part of a series of six reports on the economics of veterinary medicine. The series price is $249 for AVMA members and $499 for nonmembers. Order it online from the AVMA Store at http://jav.ma/18V8lgV. For more information, call 800-248-2862, ext. 6655.
ENJOYS A LOW 3.19%
LEVEL OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND A NEGATIVE UNDEREMPLOYMENT
WHICH EQUATES TO ROOM IN THE PROFESSION, ALL ELSE EQUAL, TO EMPLOY AN ADDITIONAL
951 FULL-TIME VETERINARIANS”
AVMA Report on Veterinary Employment
USDA wants dog breeder accreditation
Purdue center developing dog care standards
By Greg Cima
The Department of Agriculture is supporting an effort to create dog care standards that could eventually lead to development of a privately operated dog breeder accreditation program.
Animal advocates think such a program could help reduce animal suffering.
The Purdue University Center for Animal Welfare Science is developing and testing uniform care standards for dog breeding and raising over the next two years. The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is supporting the effort, and the agency earlier this year included creation of a private accreditor program for professional dog breeders among its goals for the next five years.
Candace C. Croney, PhD, director of the center and an associate professor of comparative pathobiology and animal science, said the center intends to create and test a set of voluntary standards applicable at any scale of dog breeding as well as useful in creating a dog breeder accreditation or certification program. Whether the dogs are raised for sale as pets or for research, compliance with the standards would meet the dogs' needs for socialization, enrichment, and comfort and include well-being assessment.
“We want to be a little bit careful that we don't rush to release standards that haven't been properly vetted and tested,” she said. “But we do realize that there's an industry that's waiting for this information, hungry for this information, so we're really trying to be aggressive about our timeline.”
The work includes studying aspects of welfare where scientific literature is lacking, she said.
In an August 2014 announcement about the project, Dr. Croney said variation among state-based care standards and a lack of studies on some factors affecting welfare had raised questions.
“The public is becoming increasingly concerned that existing state laws, typically written as minimum standards, do not fully address important elements of dog care and well-being, such as health, genetics, reproductive soundness, and behavioral wellness,” she said.
The Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council, Pet Food Institute, and World Pet Association are funding the project.
Participation would be a voluntary activity beyond federal government requirements that affect thousands of dog breeders inspected and licensed by the USDA.
In addition to the goal of supporting creation of a dog breeder accreditation program, APHIS included in the same five-year plan a goal to partner with accredited professional or industry organizations such as the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to reduce the frequency of inspections at facilities that have implemented animal care and welfare programs.
Welfare advocates see potential
Robin Ganzert, PhD, president and CEO of the American Humane Association, thinks the standards being created at Purdue could help improve the lives of animals and help eliminate the “demonstrable” cruelty in some dog breeding businesses. She thinks buyers and sellers of dogs alike could embrace the program.
“It's very important for all of us who celebrate the power of the bonds with animals in our lives to make sure that we are able to have healthy animals brought into our homes,” she said. “And so, I think this program will go a long way to ending the abuse and the poor welfare practices we have seen in puppy mill types of facilities.”
Dr. Ganzert said the AHA, through one of the association's chief veterinary officers, has provided information for use by the center in creating the dog care standards.
Dr. Martha Smith-Blackmore, chair of the AVMA Animal Welfare Committee and vice president of animal welfare at the Animal Rescue League of Boston, said an accreditation program is needed, and she applauds the effort. She said she has seen wide variability in animal care in industries that breed dogs and cats.
Dr. Michael J. Blackwell, senior director of veterinary policy for the Humane Society of the United States, said the project could provide better oversight of the dog breeding industry, which he said has an unfortunate number of puppy mills with questionable-to-poor care standards.
“Given that we do still see quite a few puppy mills across the country, it is clear that there needs to be more attention given to ways of providing oversight, and an accreditation process would certainly be one way to do that,” he said.
Dr. Smith-Blackmore hopes the program will be an all-or-nothing form of accreditation rather than a tiered form, which she thinks can unintentionally give legitimacy to operations providing substandard care. She expressed hope that the standards would cover transportation, often a source of horrid conditions for dogs traveling long distances to multiple stops as well as measures to ensure that dogs at accredited facilities are bred to have good health and provided with an acceptable quality of life.
She also hopes any certification or accreditation would require continuous verification of compliance. She noted that webcam feeds seem to remind poultry industry workers that someone could be watching to see whether they treat animals with respect, and she said webcams could provide similar benefits for dog breeding operations.
Customers could influence participation
The AHA Humane Heartland program now certifies humane care is given to more than 1 billion animals on 10,000 farms, numbers reached in response to retail customer demands for improvements, Dr. Ganzert said. She expects the same pressure would apply to dog sales, and retailers would have a vested interest in supporting transparent standards based in science and evidence.
“It's in the retailer's best interest to provide for an opportunity for pets to enter our lives in a healthy way,” she said.
Dr. Blackwell said it's likely retailers would pressure breeders to participate in such a program, a result he hopes will come to pass.
“I think the public's interests will probably drive that support for working only with accredited breeders,” he said.
Dr. Croney said the center had yet to decide who would perform audits or certification under a national program using the standards, but they would be outside Purdue University.
She has been surprised by dog breeders' positive reception of the project.
“Every single breeder that we have talked to, that we've consulted with, has actually given us good feedback that strengthens the standards,” she said.
Dr. Croney also hopes an accreditation or certification program would help participating breeders distinguish themselves from others and reassure those buying dogs that the participants planned and documented their efforts to provide the best possible quality of life for their dogs.
Dr. Ganzert said humans have a social contract with domesticated animals, whether they are raised for agriculture or as pets.
“As we evolve, as we learn and know more, we have to do right by what we know, and that means we'd better provide for better humane treatment of animals in all environments,” Dr. Ganzert said.
Toxocara canis genome mapped
An international team of researchers has sequenced the genome of dog-associated roundworms.
The team's scientific article, “Genetic blueprint of the zoonotic pathogen Toxocara canis,” was published online in February in Nature Communications. The researchers are from institutions in six countries: Australia, China, Denmark, Germany, Singapore, and the United States.
The parasitic nematode causes toxocariasis in humans, mostly in impoverished areas, including in the U.S. The authors said in their article that they produced a draft genome and transcriptome that could support future research.
The article is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ncomms7145.
Humans can be infected by the T canis or T cati roundworm species through eggs shed in feces of infected dogs or cats, respectively, as well as through undercooked meat that contains larvae, according to information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Infection is associated with organ damage, eye disease, and allergic disorders.
Toxocariasis is among the parasitic diseases CDC officials consider to be neglected and have targeted for public health action.
Senators, academics, others embrace one-health approach
By Katie Burns
The one-health concept continues to catch on from the halls of Congress to academic circles and beyond.
The concept is that human, animal, and ecosystem health intertwine to make “one health.” The accompanying one-health approach involves collaboration among health professions and relevant associated disciplines to improve health locally and globally.
In February, a group of U.S. senators sent a letter urging President Obama to pursue a multidisciplinary approach to addressing zoonotic diseases such as Ebola. New efforts in academia include a one-health alliance to accelerate translational research and a plan to establish a One Health Center for Food Safety in Asia. In January, the nonprofit One Health Commission and the One Health Initiative team announced they have begun working together to promote the one-health approach.
Led by Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota, seven U.S. senators sent a Feb. 12 letter to President Obama supportive of the one-health approach.
The letter notes that the ongoing Ebola outbreak in Africa was caused by transmission of Ebola virus from animals to humans and that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, zoonotic diseases account for about 75 percent of recently emerging infectious diseases. According to the letter, “Although One Health is widely recognized to be integral to efforts to combat zoonotic disease, the collaborative effort of multiple disciplines required to address such disease outbreaks that occur at the human-animal interface has yet to materialize in a substantive way.”
The senators urged the president “to develop a National One Health Framework that will outline the steps required to instill a culture of collaboration between human, animal and environmental health agencies.” The senators also encouraged the president to press the United Nations to develop an interagency framework to address the World Health Organization's information gaps in animal and environmental health.
Efforts in academia
The National Institutes of Health Clinical and Translational Science Awards support a national consortium of more than 60 research institutions focusing on human health. A number of the institutions are at a university with a veterinary college, and now the veterinary colleges have created the CTSA One Health Alliance.
The participating veterinary colleges are at Colorado State University, Cornell University, The Ohio State University, Tufts University, University of California-Davis, University of Florida, University of Minnesota, University of Pennsylvania, and University of Wisconsin-Madison.
The alliance will develop strategies to capitalize on one-health opportunities that accelerate translational research. Priority areas are research on naturally occurring animal disease in a comparative framework, education of veterinary clinician-scientists, and communication and collaboration.
The UC-Davis Western Institute for Food Safety and Security, School of Veterinary Medicine, and College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences have formed an educational exchange program with Nanjing Agricultural University in Nanjing, China, as the foundation of a 10-year plan to establish the NAU-based One Health Center for Food Safety in Asia.
The vision is for the center to house multidisciplinary faculty working on a wide array of projects related to food and water safety using a one-health approach. As part of the program, the WIFSS hosted a Jan. 20-Feb. 6 one-health conference for NAU undergraduate students interested in graduate programs at UC-Davis.
In a January letter to the AVMA, the One Health Commission and One Health Initiative teams wrote that they had established a relationship of mutual support that they believe “will synergize the shared objectives of the AVMA, OHI and OHC for advancing the One Health approach to global health.”
In 2006, Dr. Roger K. Mahr, then AVMA president, envisioned the One Health Commission. The OHC was chartered in 2009 as a nonprofit organization. Its mission is to educate and create networks “to improve health outcomes and well-being of humans, animals and plants and to promote environmental resilience through a collaborative, global One Health approach.”
The One Health Initiative is a parallel effort to advance the one-health agenda. Since 2006, the OHI team has worked with many one-health programs and proponents. In 2008, the team created the OHI website at www.onehealthinitiative.com to offer one-health news, publications, and events. The site attracts about 20,000 visitors monthly from more than 150 countries.
In recent activities, the One Health Commission delivered the international Who's Who in One Health Webinar in November 2014 with participation by the One Health Initiative team. The free, daylong webinar featured presentations by 15 one-health leaders and attracted more than 1,000 viewers. Recordings are available at the OHC website, www.onehealthcommission.org.
Nominations sought for working groups of the AVMA Panel on Depopulation
The AVMA will convene a Panel on Depopulation and is seeking a diverse group of individuals to serve on working groups to develop guidance on techniques appropriate for the various species.
Demonstrable expertise is needed in depopulation techniques or their application to one or more of the following species and facility types: poultry, cattle, swine, small ruminants, equids, aquaculture, companion animals (animal control and sheltering), laboratory animals, zoo animals, and wild animals.
While developing the 2013 edition of the AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals, the Panel on Euthanasia determined additional direction was needed on depopulation, that is, the rapid destruction of large numbers of animals in response to disease outbreaks and other emergencies. The Department of Agriculture is supporting the depopulation panel's work through a cooperative agreement with the AVMA.
Members of the panel itself will be selected from those chosen for its working groups.
To nominate oneself or another person, complete and return the nomination form with the requested supporting documentation to the AVMA by May 15. Visit the AVMA website (www.avma.org) and enter “Panel on Depopulation” in the search field for a PDF version of the form as well as additional information about the panel and its working groups.
Questions about the panel or the nomination process should be directed to Elana Kritikos in the AVMA Animal Welfare Division at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ringling Bros. will retire its elephants
After decades of allegations of abuse by animal rights organizations, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will phase out its elephant acts by 2018.
Under the plan announced March 5, the 13 Asian elephants currently performing in Ringling's three touring circuses will be retired to the Ringling Bros. Center for Elephant Conservation in Florida, where they will join the rest of the company's herd of more than 40 elephants.
Kenneth Feld, chairman and CEO of Feld Entertainment, Ringling's parent company, said in a statement the decision was not easy, “but it is in the best interest of our company, our elephants, and our customers.”
In comments reported by The New York Times, Feld said state and municipal regulations regarding the treatment of animals often led to frequent litigation and problems for the circus with scheduling venues in advance. He also acknowledged a change in public attitudes regarding Ringling's use of elephants in its circuses. “There's been, on the part of our consumers, a mood shift where they may not want to see elephants transported from city to city,” Feld reportedly told The Times.
Other animal performers including tigers, lions, horses, dogs, and camels will continue to be featured in the circus.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which has for 35 years been protesting Ringling's use of elephants as circus performers, was not satisfied with the retirement plan. “If the decision is serious, then the circus needs to do it now,” said Delcianna Winders, deputy general counsel at PETA.
Ringling's Center for Elephant Conservation is home to the largest herd of captive Asian elephants and the most successful breeding program for the endangered species in the Western Hemisphere. The company plans to focus on its Asian elephant conservation programs in North America and through its partnership with the island nation of Sri Lanka.
Additionally, Ringling will continue to collaborate with other elephant conservation organizations. For example, the company has placed elephants at eight zoos, either on loan or through donations, and will continue to support the Smithsonian Institution's research laboratory working to find a cure for diseases that impact juvenile elephants.
Speakers invited for 2016 AVMA Annual Convention
The AVMA is accepting abstracts from veterinary professionals and other individuals who would like to present a session at the 2016 AVMA Annual Convention, August 5–9 in San Antonio. The deadline is May 31, 2015.
Potential speakers should visit www.avmaconvention.org/callforabstracts to submit their topic of interest for consideration. The AVMA Convention Management and Program Committee will review the topics and select speakers to continue the application process.
For additional information, email AVMA_CE@avma.org.
Large animal practitioners grapple with fluid shortage
AVMA, AAEP reach out to FDA, Zoetis
By Katie Burns
Dr. Stuart E. Brown II might not have any 5-L bags of sterile fluids left to treat his equine patients.
At press time in March, Dr. Brown was among the large animal practitioners across the country grappling with a shortage of large-volume polyionic fluids—separate from the ongoing shortage of normal saline solution.
The problem started last fall and became critical by winter. The AVMA has been collaborating with the American Association of Equine Practitioners plus the AVMA PLIT, the Trust that provides professional liability insurance for veterinarians, to come up with short- and long-term fixes.
“The lack of availability of these products is impacting veterinarians' ability to provide care for their patients,” according to a January letter from the AVMA to the Food and Drug Administration.
In response, the FDA announced in February that it is working to address the lack of both 3-L and 5-L bags of fluids for intravenous administration in large animals. According to the announcement, “The shortage has been triggered by a range of factors, including increased demand combined with a reduction in the manufacturing of sizes most suitable for use in large animals.”
The FDA is allowing Sypharma Pty. Ltd. of Australia to distribute Hartmann's solution in the United States temporarily to mitigate the shortage. The agency advised veterinarians to contact Sypharma directly at email@example.com for information on obtaining the product.
“Preventing drug shortages is a top priority for the FDA,” spokesperson Megan Bensette said. “While FDA cannot require a manufacturer to produce a product, the agency will continue to work with industry to improve access and alleviate this shortage.”
Also in February, the AVMA and AAEP sent a letter to Zoetis requesting that the company work with a supplier to manufacture 5-L bags of sterile fluids for intravenous administration in horses and other large animals.
According to the letter: “In equine referral hospitals during just a moderately busy week, it is commonplace to use more than 1,000 liters of sterile fluids per week. Use of one-liter bags is unmanageable in equine medicine. A single horse with colic or other intensive medical conditions can require 40–100 liters, or more, per day. The compounding of intravenous-use fluids as an alternative has both animal-health risks and legal risks. Simply put, equine veterinarians are in critical need of large-volume, manufactured sterile fluids to provide optimal patient care.”
In March, Zoetis announced that it is “actively and urgently seeking to secure product with registered suppliers.”
According to a statement from Zoetis to AAEP members, there has been a multiyear history of global supply challenges in fluids for intravenous administration. According to the statement, “With our acquisition of the fluids business from Abbott Animal Health in February 2015, we have begun to evaluate this segment in greater detail and we are evaluating all supply options.”
Per Zoetis, the supply challenges are primarily the result of changes in the regulatory oversight of fluids manufactured for intravenous administration in humans.
“The former Abbott Animal Health fluids had the distinction of being the only products labeled specifically for veterinary use,” according to the statement. “It is our current understanding that supply for all providers continues to be difficult and frequently disrupted.”
Dr. Brown sees the situation from several angles. He is a partner at Hagyard Equine Medical Institute in Lexington, Kentucky, as well as a member of the AAEP board of directors and a member of the AVMA PLIT board of trustees.
In February, Hagyard was at the height of its busy season with foaling mares and neonatal foals. Dr. Brown can treat foals by using 1-L bags of fluids, but the smaller bags are cumbersome for fluid therapy in mares. For fluid therapy in adult horses, he can put together four 5-L bags on a fluid administration set, but not 20 1-L bags. Hagyard has investigated various options such as finding fluid administration sets that can accommodate 20 1-L bags, repackaging 1-L bags, or even preparing fluids.
“We are very, very concerned about the health of our patients,” Dr. Brown said. At the same time, he has concerns about the concentration and sterility of homemade fluids and about the sterility of repackaged fluids.
If large animal practitioners do have to resort to repackaging or preparing fluids in certain scenarios, Dr. Brown said, it would be advisable whenever possible to have a conversation to gain owner consent before administering the fluids.
Dr. Brown realizes companies have to analyze the costs and benefits of manufacturing products for a niche market. Nevertheless, he said, “Having the commercially available products that give us confidence that we're delivering a high-quality intravenous fluid that is sterile and nonpyrogenic is really crucial to delivery of the standard of care that most of our clientele have come to expect.”
AAHA, AAFP expand guidelines on pain management
Advances in pain management for companion animals underlie the decision of the American Animal Hospital Association and American Association of Feline Practitioners to update the 2007 AAHA/AAFP Pain Management Guidelines for Dogs and Cats. The 2015 guidelines represent a consensus of expert opinions, summarizing and offering a review of new research and knowledge.
“The management of pain is a crucial component in every veterinary practice,” said Dr. Mark Epstein, co-chair of the task force that prepared the guidelines. “Practices should be committed to educating the entire health care team about prevention, recognition, assessment, and treatment of pain. Alleviating pain is not only a professional obligation, but also a key contributor to successful case outcomes and enhancement of the veterinarian-client-patient relationship.”
“Pain management requires a continuum of care that includes anticipation, early intervention, and evaluation of response for every individual patient,” said Dr. Ilona Rodan, co-chair of the task force. “A team-oriented approach that also includes the owner is essential for maximizing the recognition, prevention, and treatment of pain for our patients. Client education is also a key component that enables the pet owner to manage pain in the home.”
The 2015 guidelines differ from the 2007 version in several ways:
• The first section contains general concepts to set the stage for the remaining, more-specific content.
• The new guidelines discuss the importance of an integrated approach to managing pain that does not rely strictly on analgesic drugs. Because pain assessment in animals has become more scientifically grounded in recent years, the document describes various clinically validated instruments for scoring pain in both dogs and cats.
• A section on feline degenerative joint disease has been added because of the increased awareness of this painful condition in cats over the last few years.
• The extensive list of published references includes numerous studies published within the last three years.
The 2015 AAHA/AAFP Pain Management Guidelines for Dogs and Cats are available online at www.aaha.org/professional/resources/pain_management.aspx.
Lawsuit claims Beneful kibble is toxic
A pet owner hopes to start a class action lawsuit over kibble that he says killed or sickened thousands of dogs, including three of his own.
The kibble producer says the lawsuit is baseless, and the pet food is safe.
Frank Lucido of Discovery Bay, California, which is east of San Francisco, accuses Nestle Purina Pet Care of selling food tainted with toxic materials in its Beneful line. His complaint filed Feb. 5 in the U.S. District Court for Northern California states that his 8-year-old English Bulldog died, and his 4-year-old German Shepherd Dog and 11-year-old Labrador Retriever were sickened, after eating Beneful products.
He said in the court documents that the Bulldog and German Shepherd Dog had internal bleeding, and the three dogs had a mix of other disorders such as liver malfunction, lethargy, and hair loss. And he claims to have found more than 3,000 other complaints made online over the past four years about dogs that became ill or died after eating Beneful.
Lucido filed the accusations as a proposed class action lawsuit. Nestle Purina had received an extended deadline of April 2 to file a response in court.
Company officials released a public statement that the lawsuit is baseless, as were two similar lawsuits that have been dismissed. They further stated that their priority is the health and well-being of the millions of dogs that eat the “high-quality, nutritious food” produced for the Beneful line, and people can be confident in feeding Beneful products to their dogs.
The accusation claims that the Beneful line of kibble is toxic because it contains propylene glycol and mycotoxins, and it may contain other substances toxic to dogs.
The company said in the public statement that propylene glycol is approved as a food additive in foods for humans and animals, with the exception of cats. While Lucido's filings indicate the substance is used in automotive antifreeze, the company responded that the substance is used in nontoxic versions, and it differs from ethylene glycol.
Nestle Purina's statement also indicates the company tests for aflatoxins in its ingredients and acquires and keeps them under strict standards.
The AVMA has published a statement that AVMA officials know about the lawsuit but have no additional information, and any veterinarian or pet owner who thinks a food or treat is related to an illness should report the illness to the manufacturer and the Food and Drug Administration. The latter accepts reports at www.safetyreporting.hhs.gov.
Recombinant virus used to treat rabies in mice
A parainfluenza virus-based therapy saved the lives of some mice infected with rabies in a recent study.
Further research could determine whether the treatment could be used to treat rabies infection in humans.
The scientific article “Parainfluenza virus 5 expressing the G protein of rabies virus protects mice after rabies virus infection,” which was published in March (J Virol 2015;89:3427–3429), indicates researchers at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine produced the virus to express a rabies glycoprotein and administered it to mice at four, five, or six days after inoculation with rabies virus. The study results indicate about 80 percent of the mice treated four days after rabies virus inoculation survived, as did 30 percent of those treated five days and 50 percent treated six days after inoculation.
The parainfluenza virus treatment also was associated with reduced clinical signs of rabies infection.
The article is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JVI.03656-14.
Pet food and product recalls
Monitor the AVMA Web page www.avma.org/News/Issues/recalls-alerts for timely alerts on recalls and notices about pet foods and other animal-related products. Recalls and alerts are also posted on the AVMA Facebook page and @AVMARecallWatch on Twitter.
King leaving Ohio State this fall
Dr. Lonnie J. King will step down from his position as dean of The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine this August.
An accomplished scholar and national leader in understanding emerging diseases as well as the connections between human and animal health, Dr. King (Ohio State ′70) has devoted more than 40 years to advancing the causes of one health and preventive medicine as well as advocating for veterinary-related legislation.
Dr. King started out in private practice, eventually making his way to the Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. There, he dedicated 19 years of his career, culminating in his serving as the agency's administrator for four years. During that period, he also served as the country's chief veterinary officer for five years and worked extensively on global trade agreements and protecting the nation's plant and animal resources. Dr. King originated the National Disease Detection System, which later became the U.S. National Animal Health Monitoring System. He left APHIS briefly to serve as the director of the AVMA Governmental Relations Division from 1987–1988.
Dr. King also served as dean at the Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine from 1996–2006. He was a key driver in securing $58 million for new animal health diagnostic laboratory facilities at the college.
In 2005, he joined the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as its first director of the Office of Strategy and Innovation. A year later, he became the first director of the National Center for Zoonotic, Vector-Borne, and Enteric Diseases and served as the senior CDC veterinarian. Dr. King pioneered the one-health program at the CDC and established veterinary positions at the agency to ensure better linkages with human health.
In 2009, Dr. King returned to Ohio State as dean of the veterinary college. He was also appointed executive dean for health services, overseeing seven health science colleges; holds the Ruth Stanton Chair in Veterinary Medicine; and serves as a professor of preventive veterinary medicine.
Throughout Dr. King's distinguished career, he has met and interacted with congressional representatives, state legislators, executive branch leaders, and staffers on issues of animal and public health and veterinary education, and on 11 occasions, he testified on Capitol Hill.
Among Dr. King's accomplishments and titles, he is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, served as president of the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges from 1999–2000, and was the vice chair for the National Commission on Veterinary Economic Issues from 2000–2004. He has master's degrees in epidemiology from the University of Minnesota and in public administration from American University.
Dr. King helped start the National Alliance for Food Safety, served on four National Academies committees, and was elected as a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies in 2004. In addition, he chaired the National Academies Committee on Assessing the Nation's Framework for Addressing Animal Diseases, the AVMA One Health Initiative Task Force in 2008, and, most recently, the Task Force on Antibiotic Resistance in Production Agriculture, created this past year to influence federal research on antimicrobial use and resistance.
The dean of Ohio State's College of Pharmacy is heading the search committee for Dr. King's successor; final candidates will be invited for on-campus interviews in May. The new dean is slated to start Sept. 1.
The veterinary college will continue to move forward with a $30 million expansion and enhancement project for its Veterinary Medical Center. A groundbreaking ceremony took place this past September; the center is expected to open in early 2016.
Tornquist steps into new role as Oregon State dean
Dr. Susan Tornquist has been named dean of the Oregon State University College of Veterinary Medicine, according to a March 6 announcement by the university. Dr. Tornquist was named interim dean in October 2013 after Dr. Cyril Clarke resigned that month to accept a new position as dean of the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine.
Dr. Tornquist has been on the faculty at Oregon State since 1996 and previously was associate dean of student and academic affairs in the college, where she also is a professor of clinical pathology.
“Sue Tornquist has been a very effective leader for the College of Veterinary Medicine over the past 17 months, and has demonstrated that she has the very best interests of the college at heart and the skill set for enhancing the college's education, clinical services, research, and outreach,” said Sabah Randhawa, PhD, OSU's provost and executive vice president.
While Dr. Tornquist was interim dean, the college surpassed its fundraising goal of $47 million, again received full accreditation in 2014 from the AVMA Council on Education, launched a graduate program in comparative health sciences, and saw the class of 2014 achieve a 100 percent pass rate for the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination.
Dr. Tornquist said the OSU veterinary college has a bright future, with opportunities for research and strengthened clinical capabilities in oncology and infectious diseases.
“We hope to see expansion in both instructional and clinical facilities in the next five years,” she added.
As associate dean, Dr. Tornquist helped the veterinary college grow its enrollment, coordinate student internships, build partnerships with the Oregon Humane Society and other organizations, and make student experiential learning a hallmark of the program.
Dr. Tornquist received her DVM degree from Colorado State University in 1985 and obtained her doctorate in veterinary microbiology and pathology from Washington State University in 1996. She is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists and a member of its executive council. Her research interests have focused on immune responses to infectious and metabolic diseases in animals, particularly llama and alpaca.
Before coming to Oregon State, she was on the veterinary faculty at Washington State from 1990–1996. She also has been a research associate in New Mexico's Veterinary Diagnostic Services office; an associate veterinarian in private practice in Albuquerque, New Mexico; and a teaching and research assistant at the University of New Mexico. She is currently president of the veterinary honor society of Phi Zeta and chair of the Academic Affairs Committee of the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges.
Dr. Tornquist is the eighth female dean of a North American COE-accredited veterinary college.
“I do think it's important to have very visible female leadership in veterinary medicine, including academic veterinary medicine, where roughly 80 percent of our students are female. It was definitely a consideration of mine when I thought about this position and the message we want to send to women,” Dr. Tornquist told JAVMA.
Veterinarians among AAAS fellows
Drs. Xinbin Chen, David Dorman, and Michael Oglesbee were recognized in February as three of 401 new fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science for 2014.
Dr. Chen earned his veterinary degree in 1982 from Anhui Agricultural University in China and is a professor at the University of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and School of Medicine. His research focuses on the p53 gene and related proteins known to play an important role in suppressing cancer.
Dr. Dorman (Colorado State ′86) is a professor of toxicology at North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine. He was recognized for distinguished contributions to the field of toxicology, particularly research investigating the nasal toxicity and neurotoxicity of environmental chemicals.
Dr. Oglesbee (Ohio State ′84) is chair of the Department of Veterinary Biosciences at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine. His recognition as a fellow is based on his contributions to the understanding of interactions between heat shock proteins and viruses related to infection and virulence as well as the impact of these interactions on innate and adaptive antiviral immunity.
Noted reproduction expert dies
Patrick W. Concannon, PhD, a pioneer in canine reproduction who conducted some of the initial studies on hormone measurements during the estrous cycle of dogs, died Feb. 23.
His research focused on the endocrinology of reproduction in several species, including dogs, cats, groundhogs or woodchucks, cattle, and horses. Dr. Concannon obtained his master's degree in comparative biology at Northeastern University in Boston in 1965 and his doctorate in animal physiology (reproduction) at Cornell University in 1971.
One of the major contributions from Dr. Concannon and his group at Cornell came in the 1970s when they reported that estrogen decline, not peak, was necessary for luteinizing hormone release in the bitch, and that pre-ovulatory secretion of progesterone was necessary for onset of receptive behavior.
“This report led, in the mid-1980s, to expanded application of serum progesterone testing, using both (radioimmunoassays) in laboratories and in house semiquantitative ELISA kits that became tremendously powerful tools in planning breeding management with frozen or extended semen,” according to proceedings from the Society of Theriogenology 2000 Annual Conference.
Dr. Concannon authored or co-authored over 150 research publications in animal reproduction and pathology; authored numerous abstracts presented at national and international conferences, including the World Small Animal Veterinary Association; and edited or co-edited five books in the areas of animal rights legislation and small animal reproduction. He earned honorary membership in the European Veterinary Society for Small Animal Reproduction, the American College of Theriogenologists, and the veterinary honor society of Phi Zeta.
His career spanned 40 years of teaching in the biomedical sciences, of which 32 were spent at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, where he conducted animal health research and was a lecturer in human physiology, animal physiology, and veterinary endocrinology and theriogenology. He retired in 2000.
Dr. Concannon was founder and chairman of the Quadrennial International Symposium on Canine and Feline Reproduction and the International Veterinary Information Service organization. The latter, established in 2000, is a nonprofit educational organization created to improve access to clinically relevant information for veterinary students and practitioners, particularly those in developing countries and Latin America.
“He was a firm believer in the importance of disseminating information and helping veterinarians and students around the world. He volunteered a very significant part of his time to the development of IVIS and we believe that we would not be what we are today without his vision and determination,” according to a post on the IVIS website, www.ivis.org.
Rosol named to committee on regulation of research
Dr. Thomas Rosol has been appointed to the National Academies' Committee on Federal Regulations and Reporting Requirements: A New Framework for Research Universities in the 21st Century.
Dr. Rosol (Illinois ′81) is special assistant to the vice president for research at The Ohio State University and a professor at the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine as well as a member of the AVMA Council on Research.
The National Academies committee will develop a new framework for federal regulation of research universities that addresses the needs of Congress, federal agencies, and the broader public while advancing to the maximum extent feasible the missions of research universities.
ASPCA grant supports animals, owners in Midwestern states
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in February announced the first recipients of a grant providing more than $50,000 to Midwestern communities for monetary support, training, and expertise that helps animals and pet owners during and after disasters.
The ASPCA Midwest Disaster Resiliency Program assists animal welfare organizations and government agencies in Midwestern states that experience disasters at a high rate but often receive little attention or support.
“Communities must be prepared to rescue, shelter, and provide emergency care for pets, as we've seen pet owners put their own lives in jeopardy if the local community doesn't have a system in place to assist or accommodate their pets,” said Elizabeth Dominguez, ASPCA disaster response manager.
Grant monies were given to groups in states including Iowa, South Dakota, Arkansas, and Oklahoma for needs ranging from water rescue equipment and training to emergency storage trailers.
In addition to launching the ASPCA Midwest Disaster Resiliency Program, the ASPCA has been working with PetSmart Charities Inc. to support animal welfare organizations across the country by providing the equipment and supplies necessary to respond to large-scale disasters. PetSmart Charities has provided its first grant of $6,550 to the Nebraska Humane Society for disaster response equipment such as crates and other sheltering supplies that will allow the society to board and care for an increased number of animals in the event of a disaster.
Organizations interested in applying for funding or assistance through the Midwest Disaster Resiliency Program should contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Organizations outside the Midwest seeking disaster response funding should visit www.aspcapro.org/grants.
Obituaries: AVMA member AVMA honor roll member Nonmember
Alfred L. Britt
Dr. Britt (Michigan State ′50), 90, Chesterland, Ohio, died Jan. 18, 2015. He taught and served as a veterinary pathologist at the University of Cincinnati from 1977 until retirement in 1989.
Prior to that, Dr. Britt taught at Auburn University and worked at Cornell University's New York State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. Early in his career, he practiced in Montfort, Wisconsin; served as an instructor at the University of Georgia; was a county veterinarian in Illinois; practiced in Albion, Indiana; and worked for the Florida Department of Agriculture. During those years, Dr. Britt also earned his master's in public health from the University of Michigan (1961) and obtained his doctorate in veterinary pathology from Michigan State University (1967).
He was an Army Air Corps veteran of World War II and served in the Air Force Reserve until 1953.
Dr. Britt is survived by his wife, Jean Marie; three daughters and two sons; and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren. One son, Dr. Kevin V. Britt (Ohio State ′84), is a feline practitioner in Roanoke, Virginia. Memorials may be made to Hospice of Care Corporation, 831 South St., Chardon, OH 44024.
Don A. Franco
Dr. Franco (University of Philippines ′64), 83, West Palm Beach, Florida, died Jan. 31, 2015. Prior to retirement, he was vice president of scientific services for the National Renderers Association, also serving as president of its biosecurity arm, the Animal Protein Producers Industry.
Dr. Franco began his career practicing in Trinidad. He later joined the U.S. Department of Agriculture. During his career with the USDA, Dr. Franco served as a staff officer with the Food Safety and Inspection Service and directed slaughter operations. He also helped develop continuing education programs for FSIS veterinarians. In 1990, Dr. Franco received a USDA Special Career Service Award for his work on food hygiene and public health. A diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine and a past president of the National Association of Federal Veterinarians, he was appointed to the Secretary's Advisory Committee on Foreign Animal and Poultry Diseases in 2002.
He is survived by his wife, Jovita; three children; and nine grandchildren. Memorials may be made to The Diocese of Buea, c/o Father Wilfred Emeh, Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church, 1728 Oxmoor Road, Birmingham, AL 35209. Buea is in Cameroon.
William H. Giddens
Dr. Giddens (Auburn ′49), 88, Leesville, South Carolina, died Jan. 25, 2015. He began his career practicing large animal medicine in Washington, Georgia, and Saluda, South Carolina. Dr. Giddens later moved to Leesville and established Lake Murray Animal Hospital, transitioning to small animal practice.
He retired in 1999. Dr. Giddens' wife, Edith; five children; nine grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren survive him. Memorials may be made to the Alzheimer's Association, 3223 Sunset Blvd., Suite 100, West Columbia, SC 29169.
Jerry A. Harsch
Dr. Harsch (Washington State ′55), 83, Medford, Oregon, died Feb. 17, 2015. From 1964 until retirement in 2000, he owned Mid-Columbia Veterinary Clinic in Goldendale, Washington, where he practiced primarily equine and bovine medicine. Earlier, Dr. Harsch served in the Air Force; practiced mixed animal medicine at Follett Veterinary Clinic in Walla Walla, Washington, and Ellensburg Animal Hospital in Ellensburg, Washington; and worked as a large animal clinician and instructor at the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine.
He served on the executive board of the Washington State VMA and was a member of the American Association of Equine Practitioners and American Association of Bovine Practitioners. Dr. Harsch also served on the Goldendale School Board. He was a past recipient of the Goldendale Boss of the Year Award and Klickitat County and Sherman County achievement awards.
Dr. Harsch is survived by his wife, Evelyn; a daughter and a son; four grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.
Thomas J. Hartman
Dr. Hartman (Ohio State ′84), 61, Toledo, Ohio, died Dec. 12, 2014. He practiced small animal medicine at Shoreland Animal Hospital in Toledo from 1996 until retirement. Earlier, Dr. Hartman was in mixed animal practice at Amanda Animal Hospital in Spencerville, Ohio, and Claremont Animal Hospital in Claremont, New Hampshire. His wife, Lynnette, and two sons survive him. Memorials may be made to the American Diabetes Association, P.O. Box 11454, Alexandria, VA 22312.
Dr. Jenkins (Oklahoma State ′09), 30, Frisco, Texas, died Feb. 1, 2015. She practiced small animal medicine at the Animal Medical & Surgical Hospital of Frisco. Prior to that, Dr. Jenkins worked in Spiro, Oklahoma. She was a member of the Oklahoma, Texas, and Dallas County VMAs.
Dr. Jenkins' father, Dr. Stanley Jenkins (Oklahoma State ′81), practices at Town & Country Animal Hospital in Henryetta, Oklahoma. Memorials may be made to the American Cancer Society, P.O. Box 22718, Oklahoma City, OK 73123.
Derald W. Johnson
Dr. Johnson (Minnesota ′52), 91, Plymouth, Minnesota, died Jan. 18, 2015. He co-owned Brooklyn Park Pet Hospital in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, prior to retirement in the late 1980s. Dr. Johnson also served as veterinarian for Hennepin County's Animal Humane Society in Golden Valley, Minnesota. He was a veteran of the Navy.
Dr. Johnson's four sons and two daughters, three grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren survive him. Memorials may be made to the Animal Humane Society, 845 Meadow Lane N., Golden Valley, MN 55422.
Dr. Kasza (Szent Istvan University ′43), 94, Budapest, Hungary, died Nov. 11, 2014. Following graduation, he served briefly as an assistant professor at Szent Istvan University and then practiced for a few years in Kethely, Hungary. In 1952, Dr. Kasza started working for the National Animal Health Institute in Budapest. He moved to the United States in 1956 and subsequently joined The Ohio State University as a technician, eventually becoming a professor and head of the research laboratory. Earning a master's in 1960 from Ohio State and a doctorate in veterinary pathology from the Royal Veterinary College in London in 1969, Dr. Kasza later served as a pathologist for the Food and Drug Administration and Environmental Protection Agency. During his career, he also taught and conducted research at the Royal Veterinary College and participated in research projects at the Nova Southeastern University in Florida.
Known for his expertise in the pathology of cancer, Dr. Kasza developed procedures for isolating viruses and identified several new viruses, some of them registered in his name. He conducted extensive research on materials that cause cancer and served as a group leader for one of the World Health Organization's virus characterization programs.
Dr. Kasza was a member of the Society of Pharmacological and Environmental Pathologists and the Florida VMA. In 1984, the EPA Office of Pesticides and Toxic Substances honored Dr. Kasza with the Dr. Joseph Seifter Memorial Award, and the Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine bestowed on him a Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1990. He was also a past recipient of the American Cancer Society's Eleanor Roosevelt Award, recognizing his efforts in cancer research.
Dr. Kasza authored the book “Hardships and Joys of an Exiled Cancer Researcher: The Life of a Political Refugee in America and England.” He is survived by his wife, Ilona.
Richard A. Klein
Dr. Klein (Pennsylvania ′65), 73, The Villages, Florida, died Jan. 23, 2015. Following graduation, he practiced briefly in Freehold, New Jersey, before serving in the Army in Fort Polk, Louisiana, for two years. Dr. Klein went on to establish a practice in Howell, New Jersey, where he focused on equine medicine. He also served as veterinarian at the Great Adventure Safari Park in Jackson, New Jersey. Dr. Klein later relocated to Florida, where he practiced small animal medicine in Satellite Beach and Orlando; served as a relief veterinarian; and owned a house call practice in the Satellite Beach and Melbourne areas prior to retirement.
He is survived by his wife, Bonnie; a son and a daughter; and three grandchildren. Memorials may be made to the Endangered Animal Rescue Sanctuary, P.O. Box 3686, Ocala, FL 34478, http://jav.ma/1MQEeX5
Terry A. Parker
Dr. Parker (Auburn ′79), 62, Brewton, Alabama, died Aug. 22, 2014. A small animal veterinarian, he was a partner at Brewton Animal Hospital for 34 years. Dr. Parker was a member of the Brewton Rotary Club.
His wife, Susan, and three children survive him. Memorials may be made to First United Methodist Church of Brewton, Brewton, AL 36426; Comfort Care Hospice, 722 Douglas Ave., Brewton, AL 36426; or American Cancer Society Hope Lodge, P.O. Box 22718, Oklahoma City, OK 73123.
Russell F. Portman
Dr. Portman (Ohio State ′46), 91, West Lafayette, Indiana, died Jan. 9, 2015. He began his career practicing in Concord, New Hampshire. In 1948, Dr. Portman moved to Lafayette, where he established the Lafayette Veterinary Hospital. He was a past president of the Indiana, Northeast Indiana, and West Central Indiana VMAs. In 1989, Dr. Portman received the IVMA President's Award. He served as a contributing author of the book “One Hundred Years of Veterinary Medicine in Indiana.”
Active in civic life, Dr. Portman was a past president of the Lafayette Board of School Trustees and Lafayette Kiwanis Club and a life member of the Elks Club. In 1999, Dr. Portman received the Kiwanis International Tablet of Honor Award. His wife, Ava; two sons; five grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren survive him. Memorials may be made to the Lafayette Kiwanis Foundation, West Lafayette, IN 47906.
Robert M. Schwartzman
Dr. Schwartzman (Pennsylvania ′52), 88, Winchester, Massachusetts, died Dec. 28, 2014. He was a former chief of dermatology and professor emeritus at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine since 1996.
Dr. Schwartzman began his career as an instructor in clinical medicine at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine. After earning his master's in public health and doctorate in veterinary medicine from the university in 1958 and 1959, respectively, he joined Penn Vet as an assistant professor of dermatology. Dr. Schwartzman became a professor and chief of the dermatology section in 1968. He also held a secondary appointment as a professor of dermatology at the university's School of Medicine.
Dr. Schwartzman was a founder and a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Dermatology and a founder and a past president of the American Academy of Veterinary Dermatology. He was also a member of the American Association of Veterinary Clinicians and American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. Dr. Schwartzman co-authored the books “Veterinary and Comparative Dermatology” and “Atlas of Small Animal Dermatoses.” In 1974, the British Small Animal Veterinary Association honored him with the Bourgelat Award, and, in 1991, he received an ACVD Award of Excellence.
Dr. Schwartzman was an Army veteran of World War II. His two sons, a daughter, and three grandchildren survive him. Memorials, with the memo line of checks notated to the Schwartzman Graduate Fund, may be made to Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania, Office of Advancement, Alumni Relations & Communication, Penn Vet School, 3800 Spruce St., Philadelphia, PA 19104, http://jav.ma/199unfM; or Penn Wynne Library Association, 130 Overbrook Parkway, Wynnewood, PA 19096, http://jav.ma/199uo3d
Leonard E. Spiker Jr.
Dr. Spiker (Iowa State ′85), 66, Eagle, Idaho, died Jan. 26, 2015. A small animal veterinarian, he most recently worked at a practice in Boise, Idaho. Dr. Spiker also volunteered his services to several hunting dog groups in southern Idaho, including the local chapter of the North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association. Earlier in his career, Dr. Spiker practiced in Twin Falls, Idaho. He was a veteran of the Marine Corps.