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welcome to the NEW AVMA

Association debuts logo, brand during annual convention

By Katie Burns

The AVMA has a new look and a new outlook.

On July 11 at the AVMA Annual Convention in Boston, the Association debuted a modern logo and other elements of a new brand. The green-and-blue logo incorporates the veterinary version of the Aesculapian staff and the tag line: “Our Passion. Our Profession.” Leaders of the AVMA said the brand combines a fresh look with a member-centric focus.

The Association's new guiding promise: “The AVMA is the leading organization that protects, promotes and advocates for the entire veterinary profession through the strength and diverse perspectives of our members.”

Because members are the strength of the AVMA, an impetus for branding is to communicate to members why they should belong. The effort ties in with the AVMA Strategic Plan, which has the ultimate goal of growing member value. The Association also will use the brand in communicating with audiences outside the profession.

Behind the brand

Association leaders wrote about the new direction behind the brand in an open letter to members.

According to the letter: “This is a new day at the AVMA, and you've probably seen at least a glimpse of the changes we have been making, including our new look. Improvements have been under way for some time to help us better serve you, and our new logo is symbolic of our renewed commitment to you that includes a new way of doing business and a new way of ensuring that we meet your needs now and into the future.”

The letter states that, historically, “membership in the AVMA has been a key way to engage in the greater good of the profession.” According to the letter, “Belonging to the AVMA is still the right thing to do, but we understand that it's up to us to make sure that the return on your investment is obvious and tangible.”

Members need a strong AVMA “that works on your behalf, protects the value of your veterinary medical degree and provides resources that help you continue to deliver high-quality veterinary services.”

Feedback from members suggests that the Association can improve in several areas, including by providing members with information related specifically to their interests and by promoting the value of veterinarians to society. New marketing and communications efforts will focus on delivering information in a way that members can easily access, consume, and use. The Association will work to promote veterinarians through advertising campaigns, public education, and other outreach initiatives.

Brand development

The AVMA started developing a new logo in January 2013. The Association contracted with 88 Brand Partners in January 2014 to finish the new logo and develop the overall brand.

Michael McGuire, president and chief executive officer of 88 Brand Partners, said data gathering for the AVMA Strategy Management Process provided a baseline for embarking on a branding process “anchored in the emerging vision for the AVMA.”

“We look at the brand as more than just a logo,” he said. “It's really how the whole entire organization is felt by its member base.”

88 Brand Partners met with AVMA members throughout the brand development process, learning that the Association's strength is not only in the size of the membership but also in the diversity of the members. McGuire said the Association is “the comprehensive organization of a diverse group of veterinary professionals working on behalf of the veterinary profession.”

The new brand builds on the heritage and values of the AVMA, McGuire said. He said the new logo incorporates the Aesculapian staff in a fresh way in refreshed colors.

The new tag line is the option that resonated most with members in focus groups. When separate from the logo, the full tag line is: “Our Passion. Our Profession. Our AVMA.” The brand's visual identity extends to fonts, a color palette, iconography, and other graphic elements as well as original photography.

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The Association's new guiding promise: “The AVMA is the leading organization that protects, promotes and advocates for the entire veterinary profession through the strength and diverse perspectives of our members.”

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 247, 3; 10.2460/javma.247.3.224

McGuire said the brand will help the AVMA streamline content to “provide the right information to the right person at the right time,” an objective of the AVMA Strategic Plan. The iconography, for example, will provide a cue that information pertains to equine subjects or animal welfare or veterinary students.

A defining moment

Dr. Ron DeHaven, AVMA chief executive officer, said the launch of the new brand is a defining moment for the AVMA.

For the past year and a half, a lot of work has gone into the AVMA Strategy Management Process behind the scenes. He said, “It was building the foundation of a new organization that has been the important part of the effort, and this launch is our coming-out party.”

The new AVMA has strategic business units focusing on three areas: advocacy for the veterinary profession, products and services for members, and accreditation of educational programs.

“We have been providing a lot of services for our members but not doing a good job of telling them all that we've been doing,” Dr. DeHaven continued. “We hope that the new look and feel of our communications will help to deliver those messages.”

The old logo had come to symbolize the profession at large, he said, so the AVMA needed a new logo that members could relate specifically to the Association. The profession can continue to use the old Aesculapian staff, and members will be able to use a new member mark.

Dr. DeHaven likes the way the new logo combines green, the longtime AVMA color, with blue. He also is excited about the new tag line. He said, “‘Our Passion. Our Profession.’ really embodies who we are and why we do what we do.” On public-facing materials, for clarity, the words “American Veterinary Medical Association” rather than the tag line will appear under “AVMA.”

The original photography really captures veterinarians’ passion for the profession, Dr. DeHaven added. The new photos cover the breadth of disciplines and activities in veterinary medicine.

Carrying the flag

Dr. Joe Kinnarney, AVMA president, is carrying a flag with the new logo as he travels during his year in office. He said, “I will utilize our brand to help me bring the message of AVMA being there for our members.”

The percentage of U.S. veterinarians who belong to the AVMA appears to have declined slightly in recent years. Dr. Kinnarney said the new brand is a signal “that we're taking steps to meet the changing needs of our members.”

He reiterated that the new brand and marketing efforts will allow the AVMA to communicate with members as well as the public more effectively and with a modern face.

“It's an exciting time for AVMA and the veterinary profession,” Dr. Kinnarney said. “Contrary to what some people will say, it is a good time to be a veterinarian, it is a good time to be a new graduate. There are lots of good things coming down in our future, and we need to bring that message forward. ‘Our Passion. Our Profession.’ “

Additional information about the new AVMA brand is available at http://newavma.avma.org

Animated video promotes National Check the Chip Day

Max the dog is scared by fireworks, runs away, and becomes lost. Thanks to a microchip, though, he is reunited with his family.

That's the plot of a new animated video to promote National Check the Chip Day, which falls on Aug. 15 each year. The AVMA and American Animal Hospital Association established the event in 2013 to encourage pet owners to have pets microchipped and to keep the registration information up to date.

Wide Awake Films made the video, and microchip manufacturer HomeAgain provided a grant toward production and promotional efforts.

The video will be available in early August at www.avma.org/checkthechip. The page also provides resources such as a flier that veterinarians can share with clients after checking a pet's microchip number, a link to the AAHA Universal Pet Microchip Lookup to help pet owners figure out where a chip is registered, and links to microchip manufacturers and databases.

AVMA produces multitude of videos, podcasts

The AVMA produces a multitude of videos for veterinarians and the public as well as the Animal Tracks series of podcasts for pet owners.

Recent videos have focused on subjects such as the need for veterinarians in rural America, the AVMA Strategic Plan, elderly pets, and anesthesia in pets. For the past two years, the AVMA has produced a popular series of videos on preventing dog bites, featuring an actor playing Jimmy the dog, for National Dog Bite Prevention Week the third full week in May. The Association posts videos on the AVMAvets channel on YouTube at www.youtube.com/AmerVetMedAssn.

The Animal Tracks podcasts recently have covered subjects such as canine influenza, vaccines in pets, and pet dental health. A January podcast featured research published in the JAVMA finding that dogs with out-of-date rabies vaccination status were not inferior in their antibody response following booster rabies vaccination, compared with dogs with current vaccination status (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2015;246:205–211). Podcasts are available in the AVMA Media Library at www.avmamedia.org.

Cast your vote in the America's Favorite Veterinarian contest! The American Veterinary Medical Foundation conducts the contest annually to celebrate the special relationships veterinarians share with clients and patients. Voting is open through Sept. 1 at www.avmf.org/afv.

Problems persist with federal veterinary workforce numbers

GAO: Not enough veterinarians to respond to animal disease emergency

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The number of veterinarians working for the departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services is insufficient to adequately respond in the event of a foot-and-mouth disease outbreak or emergence of another economically devastating animal disease, according to a GAO analysis.

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 247, 3; 10.2460/javma.247.3.224

Federal agencies likely lack sufficient numbers of veterinarians necessary to mount an effective response to outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease and similar animal health emergencies. Moreover, the departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services, which employ the most federal veterinarians, do not know how many veterinarians would be needed in the event of a highly contagious or economically devastating animal disease.

The findings of a new report by the Government Accountability Office released in late May follow up on the agency identifying shortcomings in the federal veterinary workforce in 2009. Federal agencies employed about 2,100 veterinarians as of 2014, according to the report.

While the USDA and HHS have made progress in strengthening their veterinarian workforce planning efforts since then, the GAO concluded the veterinarian workforce still remains a concern.

The GAO said the USDA and HHS must do a better job of determining and addressing skill gaps and dealing with other human capital needs. Additionally, it said the Office of Personnel Management should give agencies direct-hire authority when a critical need for veterinarians emerges.

The National Association of Federal Veterinarians applauded the GAO report. “The NAFV is encouraging all federal agencies employing veterinarians to quickly assess their workforce capacities and capabilities to better prepare for emergencies and ensure they can assist other agencies when needed,” NAFV President Ken Angel said.

In a statement, the NAFV noted the United States already faces many challenges resulting from veterinary shortages at food production facilities. “Currently, the veterinary workforce in USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service has a 13 percent vacancy rate that is causing severe stress and workload burdens on existing personnel in food production facilities throughout the nation,” the association said.

The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, the association added, has maximized its internal workforce response and is now calling on assistance from its National Animal Health Emergency Response Corps to control and contain the current outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza, the largest in U.S. history, which had killed 48 million poultry in the Midwest as of July 1.

GAO auditors evaluated workforce plans and other related documents from the USDA, HHS, and their component agencies that are major employers of civilian veterinarians. These component agencies include the USDA's FSIS, APHIS, and Agricultural Research Service and HHS’ Food and Drug Administration, National Institutes of Health, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The USDA, according to the report, has done a better job than the HHS of making improvements. However, the USDA has no plans for how the department will augment its workforce to respond to a large-scale emergency. For example, in the event of an outbreak of FMD or the highly infectious exotic Newcastle disease, the department would not be well-positioned to respond, the GAO said.

While the USDA has made some estimates to determine its needs in such an emergency, the GAO said the numbers aren't reliable. Its current workforce, the auditors added, is capable of handling only a routine workload.

The USDA said it agreed in part with the GAO recommendation for APHIS to conduct a veterinarian workforce assessment. In a response to the agency, the USDA explained that APHIS has learned that some of the best information to improve workforce planning models comes from real-world outbreaks, such as the ongoing avian influenza outbreak, which is producing new challenges requiring strategies that will be incorporated into the agency's planning.

“The outbreak strategies and disease vectors currently employed for HPAI, and those employed during our response to exotic Newcastle disease, have produced useful insights into veterinarian adjustments for disease response,” the USDA said. “Specifically, this has caused APHIS to adjust its models to scale operations based on need and available veterinarian resources.”

The Office of Personnel Management said it would evaluate the need for direct-hire authority for veterinarians. This gives an agency the ability to hire, after public notice is given, any qualified applicant the hiring manager selects.

Mutation protected mice in study against prion disease

A prion protein mutation gave laboratory mice protection against several prion diseases, according to one study's results.

Those results, published online June 10 in the journal Nature, indicate transgenic mice that expressed a novel human prion protein variant were resistant to Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, variant CJD, and kuru, all of which are degenerative neurologic diseases. The article, “A naturally occurring variant of the human prion protein completely prevents prion disease,” is available at www.nature.com.

The researchers found the variant while studying survivors of a kuru epidemic that occurred in the 1950s among the Fore people of Papua New Guinea's highlands, according to an announcement from the Medical Research Council Prion Unit at the University College London Institute of Neurology. All of the authors are affiliated with the Prion Unit.

The Fore had eaten their dead as a sign of respect, leading to the epidemic. The researchers found the novel prion protein in some survivors and engineered the same genetic change in mice.

In the announcement, Dr. Emmanuel A. Asante, who led the team that produced the mice, said the genetic engineering was expected to provide some disease resistance.

“However, we were surprised that the mice were completely protected from all human prion strains,” he said. “The result could not have been clearer or more dramatic.”

John Collinge, MD, unit director and leader of the kuru research program, called the mutation “a striking example of Darwinian evolution in humans.” The epidemic selected for a genetic change that provided full protection against invariably fatal dementia, he said.

“Much work is now ongoing in the unit to understand the molecular basis of this effect, which we expect to provide key insights into how seeds of other misshapen proteins develop in the brain and cause the common forms of dementia, thereby guiding us to new treatments in the years ahead,” he said.

Biosecurity gaps likely aided H5N2 spread

Lax biosecurity likely helped spread a highly pathogenic H5N2 avian influenza virus among farms, according to federal agriculture authorities.

The virus, which had caused the deaths of 48 million birds as of July 1 through a combination of infections and depopulation to control the outbreak's spread, likely entered flocks through multiple routes, according to a June 15 report by the Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

New infections were found with less frequency by early June, with APHIS reports indicating the numbers of farms with new infections declined to one new case per week after June 5. In April and May, the agency had received a mean of three reports daily.

The H5N2 virus has spread to just more than 200 commercial farms since it was found March 4 in a Minnesota turkey farm, which itself followed seven other reports of the virus's presence in backyard farms in the West. It spread to 150 turkey farms, affecting 8 million turkeys, and about 50 chicken farms, affecting 40 million chickens.

In the epidemiology report published in June, APHIS officials listed the following examples of possible contributors to transmission: equipment sharing among farms that included those with infections, lack of cleaning and disinfection of vehicles traveling among farms, and presence of rodents and wild birds inside barns housing poultry. The potential for the virus to also spread among farms by wind depends on virus shedding periods and distances the virus can travel on dust particles and remain viable, and details on virus survival characteristics were not yet available.

Air sampling had shown the presence of RNA from the highly pathogenic virus in samples collected inside and immediately outside infected premises, the report states, and some genetic material was detected at distances of up to 1 km. More investigation was needed, but agency officials “hypothesize that both the transport of airborne particles and the deposition of infectious airborne particles on the surfaces around infected premises represents a risk for the spread of HPAI to other locations.”

The report states that the virus was introduced to the U.S. through wild bird movement, but the numbers and proximity of affected farms indicated the virus was spreading in other ways. Samples collected from one cluster of farms with infections contained identical viruses, indicating the potential for transmission among those farms.

“In addition, genetic analyses of the HPAI viruses suggest that independent introductions as well as transmission between farms are occurring in several States concurrently,” the report states.

At the time the report was published, the agency lacked “substantial or significant enough evidence to point to a specific pathway or pathways for the current spread of the virus.”

In a separate message published earlier in June, APHIS Administrator Kevin Shea praised the “around the clock” work by hundreds of veterinarians in his agency to aid egg and turkey farmers in response to the outbreak. And he expressed pride in those efforts alongside state agriculture department veterinarians, agriculture industry members, and contractors.

“We take the trust placed in us extremely seriously, and assure you that includes being ready to help producers and respond to outbreaks of serious livestock diseases,” he said.

He also said that, if needed, APHIS could call on a large network of food animal veterinarians and veterinary students “trained and ready to augment our response efforts.” And veterinarians set the policies and lead the teams responding to the most serious threats to livestock.

Shea also praised APHIS employees’ work in response to the outbreak as evidence the agency made successful investments in workforce planning, emergency response, and employee training “even as our appropriation has been consistently reduced over the last several years.”

“This will most likely be the most comprehensive response to a livestock disease in our Nation's history,” he wrote. “We will carefully assess our efforts, and make sure that we continue to do all we can to build and support our veterinary workforce, which is the finest in the world.”

Organization seeks ban on sale of products for fake service dogs

Canine Companions for Independence is mobilizing to stop the indiscriminate sale of assistance dog vests and identification materials that allow owners to claim untrained pet dogs are service dogs so the dogs will be permitted on planes and inside public places where family pets are otherwise not allowed.

As a result of this fraudulent practice, people with disabilities who have a legitimate need for an assistance dog face added discrimination and are sometimes denied access to public places in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“In the last few years, the questions and the looks I get have radically changed,” says Peter Morgan, whose service dog, Echuka, helps him with the challenges of a spinal disorder. “Now wherever I go, I see fraudulent service dogs. I have been kicked out of businesses because employees think I'm an impostor.”

The largest nonprofit provider of assistance dogs, CCI was founded in 1975 and is headquartered in Santa Rosa, California.

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(Courtesy of Canine Companions for Independence)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 247, 3; 10.2460/javma.247.3.224

The organization is rallying supporters to send a message to the Department of Justice that the online sale of service dog products for untrained pet dogs must stop. CCI is collecting signatures on a pledge that urges the crackdown at cci.org/stop-fraud. As of July 1, CCI had obtained 29,862 of its goal of 50,000 signatures, primarily from individuals.

What can a business ask a person with a service dog under the Americans with Disabilities Act? The ADA states that staff may ask only two questions: (1) Is the dog a service animal required because of a disability? (2) What work or task has the dog been trained to perform?

Businesses can learn more about their rights at www.ada.gov/qasrvc.htm or www.ada.gov/service_animals_2010.htm.

FDA to look for pathogens in raw pet food

The Food and Drug Administration wants some indication of how often raw or minimally processed dog and cat foods contain certain pathogens.

The agency cited rising numbers of dogs and cats fed such foods, in a June 3 announcement about plans for sampling and analysis of dog and cat foods labeled as raw and sold through retail stores. The agency plans to investigate prevalences of Salmonella, Listeria monocytogenes, Escherichia coli O157:H7, and non-O157 shiga toxin-producing E coli in those samples.

The sampling and analysis are scheduled for completion Aug. 31.

Correction

The credits for the photos that accompanied the July 15 news story “SCAVMAs in Ariz., Tenn. receive charters” (page 134) were transposed. Dr. Anna Reddish shot the photo at the Lincoln Memorial University College of Veterinary Medicine, and Dr. Caroline Cantner took the photo at the Midwestern University College of Veterinary Medicine.

Is there a job Ralph Abraham can't do?

The DVM-MD is now a representative from Louisiana

By Valerie Goddard

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Dr. Ralph Abraham speaks to veterinary students visiting Capitol Hill earlier this year. (Photo by R. Scott Nolen)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 247, 3; 10.2460/javma.247.3.224

Some might say that Dr. Ralph Abraham, the Republican congressman for Louisiana's 5th district in the U.S. House of Representatives, prefers to have his head in the clouds.

“If I have any free time, I'm usually up in the air flying,” Dr. Abraham said. “I fly airplanes and helicopters, and that's something I enjoy immensely. Usually, if I can slip away for an hour or two, you'll find me somewhere in the clouds.”

A few of the freshman congressman's interests have shaped his career. He graduated from Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine in 1980 and was a practicing veterinarian for 10 years. Dr. Abraham says although his first love is veterinary medicine, he wanted the opportunity to see things from a different perspective, so he returned to LSU and obtained his medical degree in 1994. He has practiced family medicine and been an aviation medical examiner.

“I wanted to see the human side since I had the veterinary side under my belt. They've both been very good to me, but there are certainly many days that I miss the veterinary medicine part of it,” he said.

Dr. Abraham believes that his diverse experiences are an asset to him as he serves in Congress, particularly in his role on the House Committee on Agriculture. He says he is looking forward to having a voice in legislation that affects both agriculture and animal husbandry businesses.

“I was raised on a farm, a member of 4-H, a practicing veterinarian for 10 years, and am still an active farmer. At one time, I had several head of cattle. My father-in-law still runs a couple of hundred head of cattle,” Dr. Abraham said. “So having that base, including all of the things I've done in my life, has helped me do two things: It gives me a baseline since I know what it takes to run a ranch or a farm, but it also gives me a wealth of knowledge so that when I am asked in committees on the Hill for my take, I can give them a very educated response, not only from that knowledge base, but also from the practical side.”

Dr. Abraham served in the U.S. military performing Army officer infantry training, which makes his role on the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs something he is passionate about.

“Veterans are certainly near and dear to my heart. We need to do more, and we need to do better for our veterans, so if I had to just pick the one thing that I want to put the target on and make better, it would be that,” he said.

As a newly elected member of Congress, Dr. Abraham finds it most surprising that there is a fair amount of bipartisan work on Capitol Hill.

“We were told coming up here that it would be tough and that you could not accomplish anything because of the partisanship, but I've found that just to be the opposite. People on both sides of the aisle are mostly good people, and they want to do a good job for the nation. And even though we may disagree on certain issues and certain policies, we can find common ground with most of them,” Dr. Abraham said.

When he looks back on his time as a veterinarian, the congressman says he has only good memories. He remembered one Christmas Eve when his three children were very young that he was called out to perform a cesarean section on a cow.

“It just so happens that that night was Christmas Eve, and I got home about 1:30 that morning after doing the C-section on the cow,” Dr. Abraham said. “At that age, we had things to put together for the children, and, looking back, it probably wasn't a bad thing for me, but Dianne had to put all of that stuff together. She still reminds me of that pretty routinely,” he joked, “that I missed Christmas Eve and most of Christmas because I was trying to catch up on my sleep the next day. But any veterinarian is going to give you these same types of stories.”

As for maintaining his busy lifestyle, Dr. Abraham says his current pets do their share.

“Right now we have two cats, Laverne and Shirley. They are pretty independent, as all cats are, and since we live in the country, the cats are doing a wonderful job as mousers. Basically, we feed them and pet them, and they do the rest on their own,” he said. “When you're in Congress and not home a lot, cats are great pets to have.”

Dr. Abraham is the third veterinarian serving in Congress currently, all three in the House, and has joined the Veterinary Medicine Caucus.

Valerie Goddard is a staff assistant in the AVMA Governmental Relations Division in Washington, D.C.

Diesch wins agriculture prize

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Dr. Stanley Diesch (Photo by Don Breneman/University of Minnesota)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 247, 3; 10.2460/javma.247.3.224

Dr. Stanley Diesch (Minnesota ‘56) recently became only the third veterinarian to win the Siehl Prize for Excellence in Agriculture. An authority on public health and epidemiology, Dr. Diesch is professor emeritus at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine and School of Public Health. He was one of three laureates who received the award May 21 from the U of M College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences.

The prize was created in the early 1990s by the late livestock breeder Eldon Siehl, who was concerned that people were losing touch with their agrarian roots and wanted to honor extraordinary contributions to the production of food and alleviation of hunger. Recipients are chosen in three categories: knowledge (teaching, research, and outreach), agribusiness, and production agriculture. Each prize includes a $50,000 award.

Dr. Diesch won the knowledge category. He received his bachelor's in agriculture, DVM degree, and master's in public health at U of M. He spent 30 years as a professor in the university's Department of Clinical and Population Sciences, then in a joint appointment in the Division of Epidemiology, School of Public Health. Also, while director of international programs in veterinary medicine for U of M, he provided leadership on the control of animal disease, including a joint project in Uruguay involving foot-and-mouth disease. He was one of the first to document the Leptospira serovars hardjo and grippotyphosa, which led to vaccines. Later, he established the Minnesota Food Animal Disease Reporting System.

A diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine with a subspecialty in epidemiology, Dr. Diesch was president of the International Society for Animal Hygiene from 1991–1994 and helped expand the organization globally. An AVMA honor roll member, he served on the AVMA Council on Public Health and Regulatory Veterinary Medicine.

Obituaries: AVMA member AVMA honor roll member Nonmember Student member

Robert L. Carson Jr.

Dr. Carson (Auburn ‘73), 66, Waverly, Alabama, died March 21, 2015. A diplomate of the American College of Theriogenologists, he was a professor at the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine prior to retirement in 2014. During his 36-year tenure, Dr. Carson also served as head of the food animal medicine department, focusing on theriogenology. Early in his career, he was in private practice in North Carolina.

Dr. Carson raised beef cattle in Gold Hill, Alabama, and was active with the Alabama Cattlemen's Association and Southeastern Livestock Expo. In 2002, he received what is now known as the Zoetis Distinguished Veterinary Teacher Award, and, in 2010, the Society for Theriogenology honored him with the David E. Bartlett Award. The AU CVM dedicated the beef cattle receiving barn at its large animal teaching hospital to Dr. Carson in 2006. In 2011, he was inducted into the Alabama Cattlemen's Association Hall of Fame, and, in 2013, he received Auburn's Wilford S. Bailey Distinguished Alumnus Award.

Dr. Carson was active with the 4-H Club and the National FFA Organization. He is survived by his wife, Karen; two daughters and a son; and a grandchild. His daughter, Dr. Kelly Barrett (Auburn ‘08), and son-in-law, Dr. Jay Barrett (Georgia ‘08), are small animal veterinarians in Georgia. Memorials may be made to the Robert L. Carson Jr. Memorial Fund, 317 S. College St., Auburn, AL 36849.

James F. Christensen

Dr. Christensen (Michigan State ‘63), 80, Buchanan, Michigan, died April 4, 2015. He owned Christensen Animal Hospital, a small animal practice in Scottdale, Michigan, prior to retirement in 2013. Dr. Christensen also raised sheep and llamas. Early in his career, he worked in Ionia, Michigan. He was a past board member of the Michigan VMA and was active with the Berrien County Animal Control. He was a veteran of the Army.

Dr. Christensen is survived by his wife, Ann; two sons and a daughter; and five grandchildren. His brother-in-law, Dr. Fred Shiery (Michigan State ‘65), is a veterinarian in Camden, Michigan. Memorials may be made to Berrien County Animal Control, 9204 Huckleberry Road, Berrien Center, MI 49102; or Hospice at Home, 4017 Chamberlain Road, Buchanan, MI 49107.

Ralph E. Day

Dr. Day (Minnesota ‘57), 86, Platteville, Wisconsin, died April 28, 2015. He practiced mixed animal medicine at Platteville Veterinary Clinic prior to retirement. Dr. Day was a member of the Wisconsin VMA. He was active with the Boy Scouts of America, Elks Club, and Jaycees. A military veteran of the Korean War, Dr. Day was also a member of the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars. His four sons and three daughters, 13 grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren survive him.

Whitney Engler

Engler (California-Davis ‘15), 27, Davis, California, died March 27, 2015. She was a member of the University of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine student chapter of the AVMA. Engler served as fundraising coordinator for the Mercer Veterinary Clinic for the Pets of the Homeless, a nonprofit organization that provides free medical care to companion animals of the homeless. President-elect of UC-Davis’ Behavior Medicine Club, she participated in the Students Training in Advanced Research program and received a Veterinary Student Research Award from the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists in 2014 for her work on the effects of music on pets and owners in a veterinary hospital setting. Engler also received awards and scholarships from the Westminster Kennel Foundation and American Humane Association. Memorials toward a scholarship fund in her honor may be made to the UC-Davis Foundation, School of Veterinary Medicine, Office of the Dean, P.O. Box 1167, Davis, CA 95617.

Robert T. Handel

Dr. Handel (Kansas State ‘43), 94, Napa, California, died May 2, 2015. He practiced in Napa for 40 years prior to retirement in 1986. During World War II, Dr. Handel served in the Army Veterinary Corps. He was a member of the Napa Elks Lodge for more than 70 years. Dr. Handel's wife, Verna; two sons; and two grandchildren survive him. Memorials may be made to the Queen of the Valley Hospital Foundation, 1000 Trancas St., Napa, CA 94558.

Louis W. Heavner Jr.

Dr. Heavner (Oklahoma State ‘58), 83, Navarre, Florida, died May 2, 2015. A mixed animal veterinarian, he moved to New Orleans in 1967 and established Aurora Animal Hospital, where he practiced until retirement in 1999. Dr. Heavner also co-founded three outpatient clinics on the Westbank of New Orleans and helped establish the Westbank Pet Emergency Clinic. Early in his career, he owned Purcell Veterinary Hospital in Purcell, Oklahoma, and was a partner at Norman Veterinary Hospital in Norman, Oklahoma. From 1972–1982, he served two weeks each year as the practicing veterinarian at Cayman Veterinary Practice in the Cayman Islands. In retirement, he worked part time as track veterinarian at Ebro Greyhound Park in Ebro, Florida.

A past president of the Oklahoma State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners and Southeast Louisiana Veterinary Association, Dr. Heavner was a director emeritus of the American Animal Hospital Association and a member of the Louisiana VMA and Miracle Strip VMS. His wife, Mary; two sons and a daughter; and 11 grandchildren survive him. Memorials may be made to Greyhound Pets of America/Emerald Coast, P.O. Box 64, Gonzalez, FL 32560, www.gpaec.com.

Mahlon B. Huffman

Dr. Huffman (Texas A&M ‘49), 97, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, died Dec. 26, 2014. Prior to retirement in 1997, he worked for the Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service in Bismarck, North Dakota, as veterinarian in charge of North Dakota, South Dakota, and Montana. Earlier in his career with the USDA, Dr. Huffman worked in tuberculosis and brucellosis eradication; served as assistant veterinarian in charge of Kentucky, Louisiana, and Ohio; was chief staff veterinarian for technical and professional development; and served as chief veterinarian for health inspection and identification. He was a member of the National Association of Federal Veterinarians. Dr. Huffman served in the Army during World War II, attaining the rank of major. In later years, he was a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve. Dr. Huffman's wife, Margaret; a daughter and a son; two grandchildren; and a great-grandchild survive him. Memorials toward the Texas A&M Foundation may be made to the Director of Development, Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, 4461 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843.

James E. Humphries

Dr. Humphries (Texas A&M ‘52), 88, Yantis, Texas, died Jan. 1, 2015. He worked for the Department of Agriculture prior to retirement. Early in his career, Dr. Humphries practiced in Dallas. A Marine Corps veteran of World War II, he received a Purple Heart. Dr. Humphries is survived by two daughters, five grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

Don A. Hyde

Dr. Hyde (Purdue ‘64), 78, Keenesburg, Colorado, died April 16, 2015. Following graduation, he practiced briefly in Rising Sun, Indiana. Dr. Hyde subsequently moved to Colorado, where he began working for Monfort Feedlot in Greeley. He later bought a practice in Keenesburg and established County Line Animal Hospital in Brighton, practicing mixed animal medicine in the area. Dr. Hyde also taught at the Bel-Rea Institute of Animal Technology in Denver, was a contract surgeon at the Denver Dumb Friends League, and served as veterinarian for The Wild Animal Sanctuary. Dr. Hyde's wife, Lauren; four daughters; seven grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren survive him. Memorials may be made to The Wild Animal Sanctuary, 1946 County Road 53, Keenesburg, CO 80643.

John A. La Belle

Dr. La Belle (Ohio State ‘63), 83, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, died May 11, 2015. A small animal practitioner, he owned Okemos Animal Hospital in Okemos, Michigan, from 1965–2002. Dr. La Belle was a past president of the Ingham County VMA. He was a veteran of the Army. Dr. La Belle's wife, Janet; two daughters; and two grandchildren survive him. Memorials may be made to St. Martha's Catholic Church, 1100 W. Grand River Ave., Okemos, MI 48864.

Charles W. Monsees

Dr. Monsees (Missouri ‘54), 85, Columbia, Missouri, died April 15, 2015. A mixed animal veterinarian, he was a partner at Sedalia Veterinary Center in Sedalia, Missouri. From 1983–1986, Dr. Monsees served as Missouri state veterinarian. A past president of the Missouri VMA, he received the Honorary Membership Award of the Missouri Academy of Veterinary Practice in 2008. Dr. Monsees volunteered with the Christian Veterinary Mission and Heifer International and served on the Sedalia School Board. He was a veteran of the Army Veterinary Corps. Dr. Monsees is survived by his wife, JoAn; two daughters and a son; six grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren. Memorials may be made to Alzheimer's Association, P.O. Box 96011, Washington, DC 20090; Heifer International, 1 World Ave., Little Rock, AR 72202; or Lenoir Benevolent Fund, Lenoir Woods, 3710 S. Lenoir St., Columbia, MO 65201.

Douglas E. Peters

Dr. Peters (Ohio State ‘75), 66, Blanchester, Ohio, died March 17, 2015. He owned The Animal Hospital in Blanchester for 37 years, initially practicing mixed animal medicine, and, later, focusing on small animals. Early in his career, Dr. Peters served in the Army for three years, attaining the rank of captain. He is survived by his wife, Penny; a son and a daughter; and seven grandchildren.

George P. Pierson

Dr. Pierson (Kansas State ‘62), 81, Fort Myers, Florida, died May 24, 2015. He began his career practicing mixed animal medicine in Indiana. From 1963–1989, Dr. Pierson worked for the Department of Agriculture. During that time, he served as a veterinary medical officer and district veterinarian in Indiana; as a brucellosis epidemiology leader in North Dakota and Minnesota; as chief staff veterinarian for import birds and poultry in Maryland; as assistant director for the North-Central region with the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service's Veterinary Services; and as director of the Northern region. Dr. Pierson briefly directed the Western region before leaving the USDA in 1989, then worked as a staff veterinarian for the state of Maryland until retirement in 1998. Dr. Pierson's wife, Donna; a daughter and a son; five grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren survive him.

Lynn D. Reno

Dr. Reno (Washington State ‘66), 75, Bakersfield, California, died Dec. 6, 2014. He owned Mount Vernon Veterinary Hospital in Bakersfield, where he practiced mixed animal medicine for 48 years. Dr. Reno is survived by two sons, two daughters, and 12 grandchildren. His son Dr. Shane J. Reno (Mississippi State ‘94) practices at Mount Vernon Veterinary Hospital. Memorials may be made to the John Wayne Cancer Institute, 2200 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90404, http://california.providence.org/john-wayne/giving/.

Frank C. Riley

Dr. Riley (Illinois ‘58), 80, Mendota, Illinois, died Jan. 8, 2015. He owned West Chicago Animal Hospital, a small animal practice in West Chicago, Illinois, for 37 years. A past president of the West Chicago and Mendota Rotary clubs, Dr. Riley was a Paul Harris fellow. He was also a past president of the West Chicago Public Library Board and a member of the Mendota Historical Society. Dr. Riley is survived by his wife, Jo Anne; two daughters and two sons; 16 grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. Memorials may be made to First United Methodist Church, Mendota, IL 614342; or St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105.

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