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AVMA weighs stepped-up role in global FOOD SECURITY

Summit IDs ways veterinarians and livestock can help end chronic hunger

By R. Scott Nolen

With the world's population projected to grow by one-third to more than 9 billion people by 2050, global food production must increase as much as 70 percent to meet demand. Roughly 800 million men, women, and children already lack enough nutritious food to sustain a healthy and productive life, a condition the Food and Agriculture Organization describes as food insecurity.

Earlier this year, the AVMA convened a summit in Washington, D.C., to identify strategies for the Association to strengthen food security by promoting veterinary medicine and greater reliance on animal-source foods. More than a hundred people attended the AVMA Global Food Security Summit, held Feb. 9–11, including representatives from humanitarian and intergovernmental organizations involved with food development programs across the globe, such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Heifer International, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), and Veterinarians Without Borders.

The idea of hosting a summit dedicated to food security originated some two years ago with the AVMA Committee on International Veterinary Affairs, which formed an organizing committee to make the event a reality. The intent was to bring together individuals working in food security to brainstorm how the AVMA can support those efforts. The committee also wanted to assess whether a more visible commitment from the AVMA to food security would translate into tangible benefits for Association members and increase economic opportunities for U.S. veterinarians.

AVMA President Tom Meyer, in his address to summit attendees, spoke about the complexities of food security, which he said requires an integrated, coordinated, and collaborative approach among a diverse array of professions to achieve. “Although they may not be in unanimous agreement on the best way to feed the world, we cannot, and we must not, take our shared responsibilities lightly. That's why collaboration and cooperation are such key components to what we do as individuals, as organizations, and as nations,” Dr. Meyer said.


Dr. Delia Grace, program leader for the International Livestock Research Institute in Kenya, said, “In many parts of the world, there's not enough reliance on animal protein.” Dr. Grace was one of several speakers at the AVMA Global Food Security Summit who supports greater availability of animal-source foods in resource-poor regions where chronic malnutrition is the norm. (Photo by R. Scott Nolen)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 250, 8; 10.2460/javma.250.8.822

“My hope is that this summit will form new partnerships and reinforce existing relationships, and that collectively, we will strengthen our commitment to global food security,” Dr. Meyer continued. “Working together on these initiatives, we will build bridges across disciplines in the true spirit of one health … to protect and promote the health of both the animal and human members of our community.”

The summit format was designed to get at these issues through a mix of presentations, facilitated discussion, and networking. During the deliberative portions of the summit, attendees were tasked with three objectives: Define how eggs, milk, beef, and other animal-source foods strengthen global food security; describe how enhancing animal health and well-being contributes to a safe, sustainable, and nutritious food supply; and identify pathways to integrate veterinary expertise into current and future global food security programs.

The AVMA summit commenced with a presentation by Evan Fraser, PhD, director of the Food Institute at the University of Guelph and professor of geography at Guelph, where he is also the Canada Research Chair in Global Food Security. “I believe the issue of food security is one of those defining challenges that will shape the 21st century,” Dr. Fraser said, noting how the global spike in food prices in 2008 sparked riots around the world and even led to the Haitian government's collapse.

An informed understanding concerning the challenges associated with feeding in excess of 9 billion people is necessary if the issue is to be addressed in a meaningful way, according to Dr. Fraser. Contrary to popular opinion, he said there is no evidence to support the premise that greater outputs in global food production will necessarily eliminate hunger. To support his theory, Dr. Fraser referenced United Nations data indicating the dietary calories available per day per person on the planet in 2015 was around 2,850.

“There is more food now, per person, than in any time in history,” he said. “What we produce, how we produce it, distribution, waste, and, perhaps, global energy policy, are all more important than how much food we produce in determining if the next generation will be well-fed.”

Poverty and hunger are flip sides of the same coin. Not surprisingly, the majority of people experiencing food insecurity are in developing regions of the world. Most are rural farmers dependent on agriculture to eke out a living. Most government agencies and nongovernmental organizations believe the surest way of ending global poverty and hunger is through accelerated growth in the agriculture sector.

Dr. Samuel Thevasagayam, head of the Livestock Initiative within Agriculture Development for the Gates Foundation, insists animal agriculture must expand as well. Dr. Thevasagayam told summit attendees that animal-source foods contain particular nutrients necessary for a nutritious diet not as readily found in other food sources, nutrients such as vitamin A and zinc.

“Animal-source food is going to be an essential part of the food security equation, and animal health is going to be a fundamental building block to get there,” he said. “We need to have healthy animals in order to build a sustainable production of animal-source foods, in turn, to ensure food and nutritional security that will lead to global food security.”

Veterinarians are essential for optimizing livestock production and productivity through disease control and prevention, Dr. Thevasagayam said. He noted the situation in sub-Saharan Africa where smallholder family farms are responsible for the bulk of livestock production. The Gates Foundation identified three preventable animal diseases in the region (Newcastle disease, infestation with gastrointestinal endoparasites, and infestation with ectoparasites) that cost smallholders more than $800 million annually.

“There's such a leakage in the (production) system, and it's important for us as veterinary professionals to block that leak and stop that wastage in order to work toward global food security,” he said.

Animal diseases are incredibly costly. A 2015 report by the National Research Council titled Critical Role of Animal Science Research in Food Security and Sustainability stated the collective price of six major zoonotic disease outbreaks that occurred between 1997 and 2009 was $80 billion. “During the last two decades, the greatest challenge facing animal health has been the lack of resources available to combat several emerging and reemerging infectious diseases,” according to the report.


The AVMA Global Food Security Summit included facilitated discussions during which attendees brain-stormed various topics with an eye toward helping the AVMA identify how the organization can promote food security while benefiting AVMA members and U.S. veterinarians. Speaking here is Dr. Joyce Turk, retired senior livestock adviser for the U.S. Agency for International Development and a member of the summit organizing committee. (Photo by R. Scott Nolen)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 250, 8; 10.2460/javma.250.8.822

Dr. Thevasagayam said demand for livestock products in sub-Saharan Africa, where an estimated 220 million people are undernourished, is expected to increase by roughly 150 percent over the next 30 years because of growth in population, income, and urbanization. Smallholders with the capacity to contribute additional eggs, meat, dairy, and poultry through enhanced livestock productivity, he said, are likely to experience higher incomes, improved nutrition and health, and financial security.

Later during the summit, human nutritionist Lora lannotti, PhD, echoed Dr. Thevasagayam's advocacy for animal-source foods, which she considers an essential component in programs aimed at alleviating hunger and nutritional deficiencies. Dr. lannotti is an associate professor at Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis and is currently engaged in development programs in Haiti, Ecuador, and East Africa.

The most prevalent health conditions associated with malnutrition are stunting, that is, reduced growth caused by chronic malnutrition related to poverty and infectious disease, and “hidden hunger” from a deficiency of vitamin A, zinc, or other essential micronutrients, Dr. lannotti explained. Together, stunting and hidden hunger are responsible for 45 percent of deaths of children younger than 5 years old, she noted.

Dr. lannotti has presented her nutrition research in resource-poor areas of Ecuador and Kenya, highlighting how she found that a diet including eggs or milk can greatly benefit early childhood development. “Over thousands of years, nature has perfected the nutritional composition of these foods and crafted them to sustain early life, completely. And as an added benefit, they're economically affordable and environmentally sustainable,” she said.

Several summit speakers acknowledged the many consequences of expanding global food production, and veterinarians will be needed to work collaboratively with environmental scientists, physicians, agricultural economists, animal scientists, and others to address these challenges. For example, additional land and fresh water resources will be needed to accommodate new farms, generating higher outputs of agricultural waste and greenhouse gases. Deforestation will reduce already diminished habitats and likely increase contact between wild animals and people, an important point in light of the fact that more than 70 percent of all emerging diseases are zoonotic. There are also potential impacts on human health from using antimicrobials to treat even larger numbers of food animals. These challenges are not insurmountable, but will take a concentrated and cooperative approach to find new solutions and paths forward.

Attendee input from the facilitated discussion portions of the AVMA summit were recorded and will be incorporated into a report developed by the summit organizing committee, finalized by the Committee on International Veterinary Affairs, and presented to the AVMA Board of Directors later this year.

“This Global Food Summit is not the end of this,” said Dr. René Carlson, AVMA director of International Affairs and chair of the CIVA. “No, this is just the beginning.”

Comments invited on proposed veterinary botanical medicine specialty

The AVMA American Board of Veterinary Specialties has received a petition for recognition of the American College of Veterinary Botanical Medicine as a new recognized veterinary specialty organization. In compliance with ABVS procedures, the board is seeking comment from the public and the profession regarding the proposed specialty organization.

The organizing committee of the proposed American College of Veterinary Botanical Medicine submitted a letter of intent to the ABVS in 2014 and a formal petition for recognition of the specialty organization to the ABVS Committee on the Development of New Specialties in November 2016.

The ACVBM organizing committee proposes that a specialty in veterinary botanical medicine would serve a public need. Herbal therapy is one of the most common topics offered in complementary and alternative veterinary medicine courses taught at veterinary schools; the number of faculty members with training in botanical medicine at veterinary colleges is increasing; externship sites for 18 veterinary schools include sites that use botanical medicine; and continuing education programs in botanical medicine are available for veterinarians through four organizations (Chi Institute, Veterinary Information Network, International Veterinary Acupuncture Society, and College of Integrative Veterinary Therapy) and are included at most national veterinary conferences, including those of ABVS-recognized specialty organizations.

Twenty-two specialty organizations are currently recognized by the AVMA. All AVMA-recognized specialty organizations and specialties comply with recognition guidelines outlined in the ABVS Policies and Procedures manual, which is available online at http://jav.ma/ABVSmanual. Refer to those guidelines when developing comments regarding the proposed American College of Veterinary Botanical Medicine specialty organization.

A link to the ACVBM petition in PDF format as submitted to the ABVS can be found on the proposed specialty organization's home page of www.ACVBM.org. Comments must be signed and received no later than Sept. 1, 2017.

Send comments regarding consideration of recognition of the American College of Veterinary Botanical Medicine as a veterinary specialty organization to the American Board of Veterinary Specialties, c/o David Banasiak, 1931 N. Meacham Road, Suite 100, Schaumburg, IL 60173, or by email to DBanasiak@avma.org.

AVMA fellows get down to work in 115th Congress

With the start of the 115th Congress, the AVMA announced the placements of the Association's 2016–2017 fellows, who will spend a year serving as full-time staff in congressional offices advising on policy issues as part of the AVMA Fellowship Program.

Dr. Jenifer Chatfield is working in the office of U.S. Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas). Dr. Chatfield's portfolio includes oversight and government reform, small business, animal issues, immigration reform, and agriculture.

Dr. Chelsey Shivley is working with the minority staff of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry. Dr. Shivley's portfolio includes dairy issues, animal welfare, research, livestock issues, and the 2018 Farm Bill.

Dr. Taylor Winkleman is working in the office of U.S. Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.). Dr. Winkleman's portfolio includes foreign policy with an emphasis on global health and Africa, in addition to military and veterans’ issues.

In a Jan. 30 announcement in the AVMA@Work blog, the Association states: “We look forward to seeing these veterinarians bring science-based solutions to challenges around such issues as food safety, animal welfare and public health. The AVMA Fellowship Program offers veterinarians an unparalleled opportunity to shape public policy while enhancing their own knowledge of the political process, and we have high hopes that Drs. Chatfield, Shivley and Winkleman can do much to help protect, promote and advance veterinary medicine during their time on Capitol Hill.”

The AVMA sponsors its fellowship program through the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which works to place scientific experts in congressional offices. To date, more than 60 veterinarians have participated in the AVMA Fellowship Program.

NAVC features research in companion animal medicine

NAVC Conference will become the Veterinary Meeting & Expo in 2018

NAVC coverage by Katie Burns

The studies covered a range of subjects in companion animal medicine: antimicrobial resistance, osteosarcoma prevalence, veterinary pricing trends, shelter population estimates, and the benefits of service dogs.

These were among the topics of research released during the North American Veterinary Community Conference, Feb. 4–8 in Orlando, Florida. The North American Veterinary Community, a nonprofit organization that provides a variety of education, publications, and other services, also announced that it has renamed its flagship event as the Veterinary Meeting & Expo starting in 2018.

At the 2017 conference, AVMA staff gave several presentations on the Association's work on issues including veterinary wellness, telemedicine, and economics. The Association's booth in the exhibit hall connected attendees with AVMA offerings such as economic reports, resources for practicing veterinarians, and materials for client education.

Banfield Pet Hospital joined with the NAVC to present the first Veterinary Emerging Topics Report, focusing on antimicrobial resistance in companion animal medicine (see page 829). Nationwide released a study on the prevalence of osteosarcoma in dogs and gave an update on veterinary pricing trends (see page 830). Michigan State University researchers presented new estimates for the population of shelter dogs (see page 831). Purdue University researchers released findings on the benefits of service dogs to owners’ emotional well-being (see page 832).

NAVC news

The 2017 NAVC Conference attracted more than 17,000 attendees and had 425 speakers and 721 exhibiting companies. Among the attendees were 6,834 veterinarians, 1,757 veterinary technicians, 553 practice managers, 314 support staff members, and 722 veterinary and veterinary technology students.

The North American Veterinary Community has renamed the conference as VMX starting in 2018 partly to resolve any confusion between the organization and the conference.

Ahead of the 2017 conference, the NAVC announced the introduction of a new publication, Today's Veterinary Business, and the acquisition of the Veterinary Advantage publications.


Attendees enjoy the exhibit hall during the 2017 North American Veterinary Community Conference, Feb. 4–8 in Orlando, Florida. (Courtesy of NAVC)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 250, 8; 10.2460/javma.250.8.822

Today's Veterinary Business will cover topics relating to practice management, marketing, communication strategies, industry news, retailing and merchandising, and financial benchmarks. The first print issue will be available in August.

The Veterinary Advantage publications focus on serving the animal health distribution channel. The NAVC acquisition includes the companion, equine, and livestock editions of Vet-Advantage as well as the Fountain Report, a weekly newsletter for executives.

The 2017–2018 NAVC officers are Drs. Gail Gibson, Skowhegan, Maine, president; K. Leann Kuebelbeck, Brandon, Florida, president-elect; Cheryl Good, Dearborn, Michigan, vice president; Laurel Kaddatz, Pound Ridge, New York, treasurer; and Melinda D. Merck, Austin, Texas, immediate past president. The other members of the board of directors are veterinary technician Paige Allen, West Lafayette, Indiana; veterinary technician Harold Davis, Davis, California; Dr. Sally Haddock, New York City; and Dr. Bob Lester, Harrogate, Tennessee.

Report explores antimicrobial usage at Banfield hospitals

Many urinary tract infections and respiratory tract infections in dogs are treated with an antimicrobial not concordant with guidelines from the International Society for Companion Animal Infectious Diseases.

That was one of the key findings of the first Veterinary Emerging Topics Report from Banfield Pet Hospital and the North American Veterinary Community, focusing on antimicrobial resistance in companion animal medicine. Banfield and the NAVC released the report, “Are We Doing Our Part to Prevent Superbugs? Antimicrobial Usage Patterns Among Companion Animal Veterinarians,” on Feb. 6 at the 2017 NAVC Conference in Orlando, Florida.

According to the “Clinical Bottom Line” section of the report: “In response to the need for improved antimicrobial usage, guidelines have been developed to direct treatment of common companion animal infections. However, studies indicating low awareness of these guidelines among veterinarians suggest that poor concordance of usage patterns with guideline recommendations might be expected.”

The report explored antimicrobial usage at 926 Banfield hospitals throughout the United States in 2015, looking specifically at urinary tract infections and bacterial respiratory tract infections in dogs for which a single antimicrobial was dispensed in the hospital.

Among the findings, 44.2 percent of recurrent urinary tract infections and 67.1 percent of nonrecurrent urinary tract infections were treated with an antimicrobial concordant with ISCAID guidelines. For respiratory tract infections, 21.7 percent of bronchitis episodes and 79.6 percent of episodes of canine infectious respiratory disease complex were treated with an antimicrobial concordant with ISCAID guidelines.

The report suggests: “Voluntary adjustment of usage patterns to achieve improved concordance with guidelines may result in a better balance between patient care and public health. By proactively addressing this issue, the veterinary profession could avoid mandatory antimicrobial use restrictions that would compromise the ability to care for patients in the safest and most efficacious manner possible. Additionally, by leading in the movement to reduce pressure for antimicrobial resistance selection, veterinarians will help maintain access to and efficacy of the most important antimicrobial agents.”

Dr. Daniel Aja, Banfield chief medical officer, said in an announcement about the report: “As the world's largest veterinary practice, Banfield is committed to working with our profession to advance pet health. Joining forces with the NAVC on the first annual VET Report enabled us to draw on our combined strengths to bring this important issue to the forefront for the veterinary profession—so that together, we can work to reduce the inappropriate use of antibiotics and ultimately be better stewards of public health.”

Tom Bohn, NAVC chief executive officer, said in the same announcement: “We are thrilled to team up with Banfield on the VET Report. This year's topic sheds light on an important issue that doesn't receive a lot of attention. We hope this joint effort will help generate awareness among companion animal veterinarians that they can be part of the fight against AMR.”

The full report is available at www.banfield.com/vetreport.

Analyses delve into osteosarcoma prevalence, veterinary pricing

An analysis of Nationwide's pet insurance claims has revealed trends in the prevalence of osteosarcoma in dogs in the United States by size, breed, and other factors.

Another analysis of claims found that U.S. veterinary pricing for medical treatments and wellness care both increased faster than the consumer price index did from January 2015 through June 2016.

Nationwide released the report “Osteosarcoma: Prevalence and influences” at AVMA Convention 2016 this past August in San Antonio and presented the report again Feb. 6 at the 2017 North American Veterinary Community Conference in Orlando, Florida. Also at the NAVC Conference, the company gave an update on the Nationwide-Purdue Veterinary Price Index.

According to the executive summary of the osteosarcoma study: “Osteosarcoma diagnoses are significantly more common among the largest dogs, a trend more pronounced in a number of extra-large breeds. The disease prevalence starts to climb in late middle age, peaking from age 8–11, after which prevalence declines in step with the typical lifespan for large and extra-large dogs. Gender does not appear a significant risk, although male dogs are slightly more affected than females.”

The five breeds at the highest risk for osteosarcoma were Irish Wolfhound, with a 7.31 percent prevalence of the disease; Greyhound, 5.56 percent; Akbash, 4.76 percent; St. Bernard, 4.12 percent; and Leonberger, 4.04 percent. The prevalence among all dogs was 0.35 percent. Also, an osteosarcoma diagnosis was more likely in the West and in rural areas.

According to the report summary: “In analyzing the data set, Nationwide hopes to assist the veterinary community in educating pet owners about the prevalence of osteosarcoma, a disease with a generally poor prognosis. Sharing this information may lead pet owners to choose a different breed of dog. Additionally, a general knowledge of osteosarcoma prevalence allows those with the most affected breeds to be aware of the higher risks, so that affected dogs can be diagnosed as early as possible, when prognosis and treatment options are greatest.”

Foundation receives $1M grant for osteosarcoma research

The Petco Foundation and the Blue Buffalo Foundation have partnered to sponsor a $1 million grant for Morris Animal Foundation to help fund research on osteosarcoma in dogs, according to a Feb. 24 announcement from MAF.

“Morris Animal Foundation continues to invest in groundbreaking osteosarcoma research, and we are deeply appreciative of the Petco Foundation and the Blue Buffalo Foundation for their support of this important work,” said Dr. John Reddington, president and chief executive officer of the Morris Animal Foundation, in the announcement. “This grant will help in our efforts to develop interventions to improve quality of life and survival time for our canine companions with this devastating disease.”

According to the announcement, current osteosarcoma statistics are grim:

  • • Osteosarcoma is diagnosed in 10,000 dogs in the United States each year.

  • • 4,000–8,000 dogs die every year from metastatic disease.

  • • In 90 percent of dogs, osteosarcoma already has spread at the time of diagnosis.

  • • 80 percent of dogs die within two years of diagnosis.

Safe and effective treatment options are available to treat the primary cancer, but better treatments are needed to stop metastasis. The new grant will help fund innovative approaches to combat metastatic osteosarcoma.

Other osteosarcoma studies at Morris Animal Foundation have focused on ways to optimize chemotherapy selection, control pain, and find new therapeutic targets.

Veterinary pricing continues to increase following a decline that lasted from 2009 through 2014, per the new report on the Nationwide-Purdue Veterinary Price Index. The increase continues to be highest in urban areas and the Midwest.

The latest analysis found a 4 percent increase in veterinary pricing from January 2015 through June 2016. The consumer price index increased 2.1 percent for all consumer spending on goods and services over the same period. Medical treatments are driving the continuing increase in the veterinary price index more than wellness care is.

The Midwest had a 6.1 percent increase in veterinary pricing during the 18-month period. Veterinary pricing in urban areas increased 6.2 percent in that period.

The osteosarcoma report and the pricing update are available at http://nationwidedvm.com/studies-and-research.

Research offers new estimates for shelter dog population

Many previous estimates regarding the population of dogs in U.S. animal shelters underestimated the number of dogs taken in every year and overestimated the number euthanized, according to a new study by faculty at the Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine.

Drs. Kimberly Woodruff and David R. Smith found that shelters take in 5.5 million dogs every year, with 2.6 million being adopted, 969,000 returned to an owner, 778,000 transferred, and 776,000 euthanized. The researchers presented their results at the 2017 North American Veterinary Community Conference in February in Orlando, Florida.

Dr. Woodruff, who leads the college's shelter medicine program, said the study's goal was to put quality science behind shelter population estimates. The researchers surveyed 413 brick-and-mortar animal shelters across the country that adopt out dogs, then extrapolated to create a nationwide picture of the movement of dogs into and out of shelters.

The researchers also examined region, size, and funding sources to determine which variables might lead to different outcomes for dogs. Dr. Smith noted that regions that have high shelter populations are transporting more dogs than before to areas of the country where there are fewer shelter dogs available for adoption.

Dr. Smith said baseline data from the study and possible future studies could help with developing animal health policy by providing trend data over a number of years through a replicable process.

The Pet Leadership Council, whose members include the AVMA, provided funding for the study. Drs. Woodruff and Smith hope to publish the full results.


Dr. Kimberly Woodruff (Photos by Tom Thompson)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 250, 8; 10.2460/javma.250.8.822


Dr. David R. Smith

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 250, 8; 10.2460/javma.250.8.822

Study finds service dogs contribute to owners’ emotional well-being

In addition to the physical benefits that service dogs provide to owners, the dogs also contribute to owners’ emotional and psychosocial well-being, according to preliminary study results from researchers at Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine.

The findings were presented Feb. 7 at the North American Veterinary Community Conference in Orlando, Florida. Elanco Animal Health, a division of Eli Lilly and Co., is funding the study.

The new research is part of a larger, four-year study on the emotional and health benefits of service dogs to owners. The goal of the three-part study is to evaluate the impact of the human-animal bond on mental health and well-being. Leading the project is Maggie O'Haire, PhD, assistant professor of human-animal interaction at Purdue's veterinary college.

Researchers worked with Canine Assistants, a nonprofit organization dedicated to education and placement of service dogs with children and adults who have physical disabilities or other special needs. Elanco is a sponsor of Canine Assistants.

The study compared recipients of service dogs and those recipients’ family members with people who were on a waiting list for service dogs and the families of those people.

Preliminary findings of the study indicate the following: • Recipients of a service dog enjoyed a higher overall quality of life as well as better emotional, social, and work or school functioning than people who were waiting to receive a service dog.

  • • Family members with a service dog in the home functioned better socially and emotionally as well as worried less as a result of the recipient's health than family members on the waitlist did.

  • • Family members with a service dog also managed daily family activities better than family members on the waitlist did.

  • • No differences were found between the two recipient groups in the categories of anger, companionship, and sleep disturbance.

Veterinary technicians add rehabilitation specialty

The organizing committee for the Academy of Physical Rehabilitation Veterinary Technicians announced that the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America has recognized the academy as its 15th veterinary technician specialty. The mission of the new specialty is to provide assistance in veterinary physical rehabilitation and to encourage veterinary professionals and colleagues to further their education, while improving the quality of animals’ lives.

According to Kristen L. Hagler, a registered veterinary technician and president of the organizing committee, the physical rehabilitation specialty looks forward to supporting colleagues at the American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation and veterinarians credentialed in physical rehabilitation with expertise, knowledge, and skill while providing a high standard of care to patients and their families.

Veterinary technicians wishing to apply for the second examination cycle, in late 2019, must submit a pre-application letter of intent and two letters of recommendation from colleagues who are recognized experts in the field by Jan. 1, 2018. More information is available on the academy's website, www.aprvt.com. The first examination will be given in August 2018 in Las Vegas; the deadline for letters of intent was April 1, 2017.

In a press release, Hagler invited veterinary technicians who do not think they are qualified yet to apply for APRVT recognition to first become a technician associate member of the American Association of Rehabilitation Veterinarians. The liaison for AARV technician associate members, Dawn Hickey from the University of Tennessee, is a member of the Academy of Physical Rehabilitation Veterinary Technicians board of directors and is their voice. Questions pertaining to what might help them succeed in becoming recognized, how to find continuing education events, and other matters relating to APRVT recognition can be directed to her at dhickey3@utk.edu.

The APRVT joins the existing 14 NAVTA-recognized veterinary technician specialties: dentistry, anesthesia, internal medicine, emergency and critical care, equine nursing, zoological medicine, surgery, behavior, clinical practice, nutrition, clinical pathology, dermatology, ophthalmology, and laboratory animal medicine.

The NAVTA Committee on Veterinary Technician Specialists was formed in 1994. It provides guidelines to the veterinary technician organizations to facilitate the formation of specialties and assists the existing academies. Academies develop pathways and advanced standards that candidates must complete and maintain to be awarded the designation of veterinary technician specialist in their specific discipline.

Cattle veterinarians asked to issue illegal VFDs

By Greg Cima

Veterinary associations warned in March that cattle veterinarians were being pressured to issue illegal orders for medicated feeds.

The AVMA and American Association of Bovine Practitioners published a joint statement March 6 on the AVMA@Work blog at www.avma.org warning that both organizations had received reports veterinarians had been pressured to issue veterinary feed directives for chlortetracycline-containing feeds in unapproved formulations or for unapproved indications.

Dr. K. Fred Gingrich II, AABP executive vice president, said that, in the prior two months, frustrated AABP members had told him about calls they received from feed mill distributors who requested that they sign such VFDs, creating conflicts between the federal regulations and their business relationships.

Chlortetracycline is among the antimicrobials that are no longer available over the counter or for growth promotion and other production indications because they are in drug classes shared with human medicine. The Food and Drug Administration told pharmaceutical companies in December 2013 that they would have three years to agree to change approvals for such drugs or risk regulatory action, and all affected companies complied.

The change involved replacing over-the-counter access with requirements for VFDs for feed-delivered drugs and prescriptions for water-delivered ones. VFDs are filled by feed mills.

In the southeastern U.S. and other areas where anaplasmosis is endemic, chlortetracycline is administered to cattle to control the disease. Cattle owners and their herd nutritionists developed and administered custom feed mixes containing chlortetracycline during previous years, and Dr. Gingrich said that many of them may not know those custom formulations already were subject to different regulations, depending whether they were administered daily under supervision, known as “hand-fed,” or were “free choice” medicated feeds, which are placed in feeding or grazing areas and not intended to be consumed in one feeding.

The latter requires use of approved formulations, and custom formulations are prohibited, he said. Veterinarians have oversight over all chlortetracycline administration and are responsible for ensuring drugs are administered as directed.

Dr. Gingrich also noted that, despite previous uses of over-the-counter products, no feed-administered antimicrobials are approved to treat, control, or prevent pinkeye or foot rot. Those indications had been illegal before the drug approval changes took effect, but the uses are receiving more attention now that veterinarian oversight is required.

Dr. Gingrich described the improper requests as bumps in the road.

“I think that, in this first year of implementation of the VFD, it's going to be a learning process for feed mills, feed distributors, veterinarians, and producers,” he said.

Another H7N9 epidemic, with possible HPAI isolates

CDC developing new vaccine but says public health risk low

By Greg Cima


(Courtesy of Cynthia S. Goldsmith and Thomas Rowe/CDC)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 250, 8; 10.2460/javma.250.8.822

China is enduring its fifth epidemic in four years of an avian influenza strain that has killed hundreds of people, according to the World Health Organization. Recent isolates of the influenza A H7N9 virus, found in humans and environmental samples, have genetic sequences characteristic of highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses, which cause disease in birds. While viruses with those changes could cause severe disease in birds, WHO officials reported in March that they had no evidence the changes affect pathogenicity or transmissibility in humans.

The current epidemic is the largest of five, with 460 reported human infections since Oct. 1, 2016, according to a March 3 report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most infections in humans have been connected with exposure to poultry, especially on farms, in live bird markets, and at slaughter locations.

CDC officials are developing a vaccine against the H7N9 virus and working with counterparts in China in response to the latest epidemic.

The virus is transmitted from birds to humans, and the risk of sustained human-to-human transmission is low, according to the WHO. But the organization's report notes that constant change is the nature of influenza viruses.

In a recording from a March 1 WHO press briefing in Switzerland, Jacqueline Katz, PhD, deputy director of the CDC's influenza division and director of a CDC collaborating center with the WHO, said sporadic infections can occur in humans while avian influenza viruses circulate in poultry. Avian influenza viruses can acquire genetic changes that would let the viruses infect people more easily or spread person to person, which could lead to a pandemic, she said.

The CDC report—an early release from the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report—indicates 453 of the 460 laboratory-confirmed human infections since October 2016 occurred in mainland China. Four others were associated with travel from the mainland to Hong Kong, one each involved travel to Macao and Taiwan, and one involved an asymptomatic poultry worker in Macao.

Of the 800 known human infections from the prior four outbreaks, 88 percent of victims developed pneumonia, and 41 percent died, the CDC reported.

The CDC Influenza Risk Assessment Tool, which is used to assess the pandemic risk of influenza A viruses not circulating in people, lists the low-pathogenic H7N9 avian influenza virus as having the highest risk of emergence and highest potential impact among 12 influenza viruses that are public health concerns. It also has the highest listed pandemic risk: moderate to high.

But the MMWR article notes the public health threat remains low.

A. Danielle Iuliano, PhD, an epidemiologist in the CDC's influenza division and one of the MMWR article authors, said the general risk of a person becoming infected with the H7N9 virus is low, and she noted that most of the H7N9 infections in humans have followed exposure to poultry in specific areas of China. The assessment of a virus's pandemic potential considers factors such as epidemiologic characteristics, virus characteristics, and clinical presentation, and the findings from that assessment become more important if the virus becomes transmissible among humans.

“Right now, we think the general risk to the public is low because it's not transmissible person to person,” she said. “But we're monitoring things very closely because of the anticipated pandemic risk.”

The virus is circulating among poultry populations and is endemic in some areas.

As for the avian influenza isolates with characteristics of highly pathogenic viruses, Dr. Iuliano noted that clinical signs—including die-offs—among birds infected with highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses can help alert people that the virus is present before anyone becomes infected. Identifying the presence of low-pathogenic avian influenza often involves looking for the sources of infections in humans, she said. She was not aware of any bird die-offs reported in connection with the H7N9 epidemics.

U.S. Department of Agriculture officials also announced March 7 that a highly pathogenic H7N9 avian influenza virus found in a Tennessee chicken breeding flock was different from the H7N9 virus in China. On March 5, officials with the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service said the farm had the first commercial flock of 2017 with confirmed infections with a highly pathogenic avian influenza virus, then an unknown variety of H7 influenza.


Laboratory-confirmed infections in humans with H7N9 avian influenza (Source: The World Health Organization)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 250, 8; 10.2460/javma.250.8.822

The farm had 73,500 chickens. Birds on the property were depopulated and buried, APHIS information states.

Nolan named dean of UGA College of Veterinary Medicine


Dr. Lisa K. Nolan

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 250, 8; 10.2460/javma.250.8.822

Dr. Lisa K. Nolan has been named dean of the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine, effective July 1.

She succeeds Dr. Sheila W. Allen, now senior accreditation adviser for the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges. Dr. Richard Keith Harris is serving as interim dean at Georgia.

Since 2011, Dr. Nolan has been the Dr. Stephen G. Juelsgaard Dean of the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine.

As dean of the Iowa State veterinary college, Dr. Nolan co-chaired a One Health—One Medicine initiative that brought faculty members from across campus together to foster new collaborations that span animal, human, and ecosystem health. To improve student learning outcomes, she oversaw a comprehensive curricular review, enhanced the assessment of teaching, and upgraded teaching laboratories and study spaces. The college met or exceeded all its fundraising goals under her leadership and is now in the public phase of a campaign to increase scholarship support, enhance facilities, and create additional endowed faculty chairs.

Among her previous positions, Dr. Nolan was founding director of the Great Plains Institute of Food Safety at North Dakota State University and chair of the Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Preventive Medicine at the Iowa State veterinary college. Also at the college, she served as associate dean of academic and student affairs and associate dean of research and graduate studies.

Her research focuses on bacterial diseases that impact animal health, human health, and food safety. Her patents include a potential vaccine target, a gene associated with Escherichia coli virulence in poultry.

Dr. Nolan earned her veterinary degree from the University of Georgia in 1988 and her doctorate in medical microbiology from UGA.

American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation

The American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation welcomed 24 new diplomates following the board certification examination it held Feb. 1–3 in Orlando, Florida. The new diplomates are as follows:

Canine specialty

Michael Bell, Craigieburn, Australia

Nicholas Cabano, Fort Carson, Colorado

Stephen Fearnside, North Ryde, Australia

Juliette Hart, Weston, Connecticut

Jonathan Shani, Tel Aviv, Israel

Giuseppe Spinella, Ozzano dell'Emilia, Italy

Bryan Torres, Columbia, Missouri

Equine specialty

Morton Adams, Leesburg, Virginia

Andrea Bertuglia, Turin, Italy

James Carmalt, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Virginie Coudry, Goustranville, France

Katja Duesterdieck, Corvallis, Oregon

Ryland Edwards, Newtown, Connecticut

Christopher Elliott, Sydney

Sandine Guibon-Jacquet, Goustranville, France

Jens Koerner, Rotenburg, Germany

Susanne Kolding, Faxe, Denmark

Russ Peterson, Menlo Park, California

Marie Rhodin, Uppsala, Sweden

Barbara Riccio, Torino, Italy

Maria Rodriguez Vizcaino, Murcia, Spain

Don Shields, Bradbury, California

Matthew Stewart, Urbana, Illinois

Betsy Vaughan, Davis, California

Obituaries: AVMA member AVMA honor roll member Nonmember Student

Jessica R. Brooks

Brooks (Washington State ‘17), 26, Pullman, Washington, died Dec. 27, 2016. She was a fourth-year student at the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine. As a young girl, Brooks helped with local sheep and other farm animals, and at the age of 14, she began volunteering at Sequim Animal Hospital in Sequim, Washington. She was active with several ministries, including the Christian Veterinary Mission, and traveled to Mexico, New Mexico, and Oregon on mission trips. Brooks is survived by her parents and siblings.

George M. Chapman

Dr. Chapman (Kansas State ‘45), 94, Beloit, Kansas, died Jan. 30, 2017. He was in general practice in Beloit for 38 years prior to retirement. Dr. Chapman later worked at the Solomon Valley Feedlot in Beloit. Early in his career, he practiced in Fargo, North Dakota, and served as a meat and egg inspector for the Army in Wichita, Kansas. Dr. Chapman was a member of the Kansas VMA. He is survived by a daughter, two sons, six grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren. Memorials may be made to Post Rock Humane Society, P.O. Box 131, Beloit, KS 67420.

Richard O. Cook

Dr. Cook (Pennsylvania ‘56), 86, Bel Air, Maryland, died Feb. 20, 2017. A mixed animal veterinarian, he owned Bel Air Veterinary Hospital since 1958. Dr. Cook was a member of the Maryland and Harford VMAs and was director emeritus of the Harford County Farm Fair. In 1987, he received the MVMA Good Doctor Award. Dr. Cook was active with the Boy Scouts of America, serving as a scoutmaster and a merit badge counselor. He was a member of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and Ducks Unlimited.

Dr. Cook's wife, Bonnie; a daughter, son, and stepdaughter; and four grandchildren survive him. Memorials may be made to Shriners Hospitals for Children, Office of Development, 2900 Rocky Point Drive, Tampa, FL 33607, or Boumi Temple, 5050 King Ave., Baltimore, MD 21237.

Richard J. Delgado

Dr. Delgado (Cornell ‘55), 88, Orchard Park, New York, died Feb. 4, 2017. He was a retired small animal veterinarian. Dr. Delgado's daughter, son, and two grandchildren survive him.

A.L. Duckworth Jr.

Dr. Duckworth (Auburn ‘59), 83, Greeneville, Tennessee, died Dec. 19, 2016. Following graduation, he returned to Greeneville, where he practiced mixed animal medicine for 45 years at Duckworth Animal Hospital, a practice established by his father, Dr. Ancel Duckworth Sr., in 1935. Dr. Duckworth also helped his father operate Grassy Valley Angus Farm. In 2009, the Greene County Partnership honored him with the J.W. Massengill Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award. Dr. Duckworth is survived by his wife, Nancy; a son and a daughter; and five grandchildren. His son, Dr. Ancel L. Duckworth III (Tennessee ‘92), practices at Duckworth Animal Hospital and operates Grassy Valley Angus Farm. Memorials may be made to the Community Ministries Food Bank, 107 N. Cutler St., Greeneville, TN 37743.

Kay L. Duffin

Dr. Duffin (Louisiana State ‘94), 66, Albuquerque, New Mexico, died Jan. 17, 2017, She practiced small and exotic animal medicine in Albuquerque, with a special interest in avian medicine. Dr. Duffin is survived by two sisters. Memorials may be made to a bird sanctuary, Project Perry Inc., P.O. Box 1208, Louisa, VA 23093, or NM Biopark Society, Avian Department, 903 10th St. SW, Albuquerque, NM 87102.

Elmer L. Lashua

Dr. Lashua (Michigan State ‘46), 93, Tryon, North Carolina, died Sept. 16, 2016. Following graduation, he practiced small animal medicine. In 1953, Dr. Lashua joined the Air Force, retiring in 1977 with the rank of lieutenant colonel. During his military service, he traveled to and was stationed in several countries, including Poland, Greece, Iceland, Greenland, South Korea, Mexico, and England.

Dr. Lashua's two sons and a daughter, five grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren survive him. Memorials may be made to Foothills Humane Society, 989 Little Mountain Road, Columbus, NC 28722.

Herman D. Schroeder

Dr. Schroeder (Colorado State ‘50), 92, Wheatland, Wyoming, died Aug. 27, 2016. Following graduation, he worked briefly in Longmont, Colorado. Dr. Schroeder subsequently moved to Wheatland, where he established a mixed animal practice, retiring in 1998. He was a past president of the Wyoming VMA. Dr. Schroeder served in the Marines during World War II and was a member of the American Legion. He was a past member of the Wheatland School Board and was active with The Gideons International.

Dr. Schroeder's son, three daughters, 11 grandchildren, and 21 great-grandchildren survive him. Memorials may be made to First Christian Church of Wheatland, 95 Nineteenth St., Wheatland, WY 82201, or The Gideons International Processing Center, P.O. Box 97251, Washington, DC 20090.

William K. Settle

Dr. Settle (Georgia ‘57), 90, Sanford, North Carolina, died Jan. 27, 2017. A mixed animal veterinarian, he was the founder of Sanford Animal Hospital. Dr. Settle served as an adviser to the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Board and helped initiate the veterinary medical technology program at Central Carolina Community College. He was a veteran of the Navy. Active in the community, Dr. Settle was a member and a Paul Harris Fellow of the Rotary Club, and a member of the Sanford Jaycees, Moose, and Elks clubs. His wife, Bobbie; three daughters and a son; and seven grandchildren survive him. Dr. Settle's daughter and son-in-law, Drs. Katherine Settle (Ohio State ‘78) and John Shontz (Ohio State ‘78), practice at Sanford Animal Hospital.

Robert O. Shannon

Dr. Shannon (Georgia ‘50), 88, Willis, Texas, died Feb. 26, 2017. A diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, he retired as a colonel from the Air Force in 1980. During his military service, Dr. Shannon earned a master's in public health from the University of Michigan and served 20 years as a public health veterinarian, also conducting research at the Hanford Atomic Research Facility in Hanford, Washington. He was the recipient of a Legion of Merit and a Meritorious Service Medal.

Following retirement from the Air Force, Dr. Shannon served as director of public health for the city of Houston and was executive director of the Houston Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. He wrote a column for the Houston Post and published the book “Tails A Waggin.” Early in his career, Dr. Shannon spent 10 years in private practice in Newton County, Georgia. He is survived by his wife, Cora Jane; two sons and a daughter; and two grandchildren.

James A. Smith

Dr. Smith (Auburn ‘48), 90, Richfield, Minnesota, died Dec. 4, 2016. A small animal veterinarian, he practiced at Blue Cross Animal Hospital in Minneapolis for 33 years. Dr. Smith was a veteran of the Army. His wife, Joan; a son and a daughter; and a grandson survive him. Memorials may be made to Alzheimer's Association, P.O. Box 96011, Washington, DC 20090.

Robert C. Stubbs

Dr. Stubbs (Texas A&M ‘65), 74, Johnson City, Texas, died Nov. 25, 2016. Following graduation, he served four years in the Air Force. Dr. Stubbs then began his career in mixed animal medicine, working in Texas at Austin and Coleman before establishing his own practice in Burnet, Texas. He subsequently established practices in Johnson City and Blanco, Texas.

After several years of mixed animal practice, Dr. Stubbs began a mobile equine practice and went on to invent, patent, and modify various equine dentistry tools, used now by veterinarians around the country. He testified on equine dentistry issues in front of the Texas legislature and, in 2010, was named Texas VMA Equine Practitioner of the Year. Dr. Stubbs is survived by his wife, Linette; a daughter and a son; and five grandchildren. Memorials may be made to the Johnson City Texas Volunteer Fire Department, P.O. Box 316, 300 Live Oak Drive, Johnson City, TX 78636, or North Blanco County EMS, P.O. Box 557, Johnson City, TX 78636.

Harold T. Trimmer

Dr. Trimmer (Missouri ‘68), 74, Las Vegas, died Feb. 22, 2017. Following graduation, he served as a captain in the Army Veterinary Corps. In 1972, Dr. Trimmer moved to Las Vegas and began his career in small animal medicine, owning several practices in the metropolitan area over the past 40 years. He also owned a farming operation in northwest Missouri.

Dr. Trimmer represented District X on the AVMA Board of Directors from 2009–2015. He was a past president of the Nevada State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners and served as Nevada's alternate delegate and delegate to the AVMA House of Delegates from 1993–2009. He was a trustee of what is now known as AVMA Life from 1999–2009, chairing it from 2005–2007. Dr. Trimmer also served on what is now the AVMA Steering Committee on Human-Animal Bond Interactions as well as the AVMA Animal Welfare Committee, Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities, Council on Veterinary Service, and Committee on Environmental Issues.

He is survived by his wife, Paula; three sons and a daughter; and seven grandchildren. Dr. Trimmer's daughter, Dr. Ann Trimmer (Purdue ‘01), is a veterinary dermatologist in Las Vegas. Memorials may be made to Save Red Rock, P.O. Box 59, Blue Diamond, NV 89004, or The Michael J. Fox Foundation, Donation Processing, P.O. Box 5014, Hagerstown, MD 21741.

Arthur Young

Dr. Young (Georgia ‘52), 86, Cherry Hill, New Jersey, died Nov. 8, 2016. Certified by the Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy, he owned Homeopathy for Animals in Cherry Hill since 1995. Earlier, Dr. Young owned Brockton Animal Hospital in Brockton, Massachusetts, and Stuart Animal Hospital in Stuart, Florida. During his career, he also served as an instructor in pathology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Young is survived by his wife, Nancy, and their family.

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