DOGS IN OVERDRIVE
When noise sends a dog into frenzied or frozen panic, veterinary behaviorists have a range of remedies
By Susan C. Kahler
The sounds of spring and summer can spell misery for dogs with noise aversion and their families. While loud noise any time of year can trigger fear, it's the thunderstorms, outdoor festivities, and Fourth of July fireworks that make those seasons a minefield.
In a June 2016 Harris Poll Online survey, 44 percent of owners reported their dogs had signs of noise aversion. The poll was commissioned by Zoetis, which, a month earlier, had launched a new type of drug to treat the behavioral and clinical signs of noise aversion.
Dr. Sharon Campbell, Zoetis' companion animal medical lead for analgesia, sedation, anesthesia, and behavior, told JAVMA this May, “As much as the dog is suffering with noise aversion, the family often suffers, too,” whether it's loss of sleep during a nighttime episode or the dog breaking loose and being hit by a car.
“After a while, if these dogs go untreated or are treated ineffectively, it puts a strain on the human-animal bond that gets worse with time.”
Phobic responses in dogs are generally associated with loud noises such as thunder, fireworks, or gunshots, according to the Merck Veterinary Manual, as well as the stimuli associated with these events, including rain, lightning, and pressure changes.
Some dogs react with overt signs of fear such as hyperactivity, panting, pacing, destructive activity, or escape behavior. Others have signs so subtle they can be missed, such as lip licking, yawning—even immobilization. Dr. Campbell said, “They're almost comatose, because they don't respond. Their eyes are dilated, and they are completely immobilized. It's essentially a panic attack.”
Teaching the client techniques
In the veterinary behavior clinic at the Chicago Center for Veterinary Medicine, a satellite of the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Kelly Ballantyne, a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists, has a caseload largely of dogs with fear-related aggression, but at this time of year, at least 30 percent of her patients are dogs with noise aversion. Often, patients come in with multiple issues.
By the time they turn to a veterinary behaviorist such as Dr. Ballantyne, most clients have tried a lot of things, so she listens to what triggers they have observed and what solutions have and haven't helped.
“We talk a lot about how they can manage the pet's home environment and how they can teach their dog to relax,” she said.
Playing white noise or music and establishing a safe place for the dog to retreat to, such as an interior room, help manage the home environment. Dr. Ballantyne might also work with the owner on behavior modification techniques. For example, she shows clients how to teach their dog to relax on a specific mat or a bed that can become a safe spot.
Dog anxiety vests such as the ThunderShirt work for an occasional patient in conjunction with other treatments, but if they were a silver bullet, she doubts most of her patients would need to see her. She has also met some noise-averse dogs that are frightened by the sound of the hook-and-loop fasteners and other dogs that become frozen in place when the vest is applied.
“So it's important for clients who are trying out these interventions to assess their dogs,” she said. “Do they look relaxed, or do they look frozen but not comfortable?”
She said a lot of her clients journal and keep a log of their pet's behavior so she can track the effectiveness of their interventions. “It might be as simple as them scoring the dog's response to a storm on a scale of 1 to 5. As we're implementing treatment, we have them keep monitoring so we know if those numbers are changing and if we're making a good difference,” she said.
Some of her patients with mild fears respond positively to the Adaptil pheromone or a mild nutraceutical such as Zylkene from their veterinarian. For moderate to severe fears or phobias, she said Adaptil should be used as an adjunct to medication.
She explores medication options with clients whose dogs have intense responses to a noise, have generalized their fear to stimuli such as dark skies, have hurt themselves, or are having a prolonged recovery.
“My treatment is going to be different for the dog that is scared every single night versus the dog that is scared just in response to thunder,” she said.
One of Dr. Ballantyne's patients was hiding in the bathroom every night. “It started in relation to storms, and we perceive that he learned that nighttime predicts bad weather and scary events,” the veterinarian said.
His owner had tried a few medications that helped with storms but caused the dog to be off balance and too sedate. Then, Dr. Ballantyne prescribed Sileo, a drug new to the market.
Sileo enters the scene
Zoetis launched Sileo in May 2016 after the Food and Drug Administration approved it as the first drug to treat the behavioral and clinical signs of noise aversion in dogs. It was approved as a new use for an already approved drug. Sileo is a low dose of the commonly used anesthetic drug dexmedetomidine, an alpha-2 adrenoceptor agonist.
Veterinarians prescribe Sileo as an oromucosal gel that the pet owner administers between the dog's cheek and gum via a needleless syringe. According to Zoetis, the drug typically takes effect within 30 to 60 minutes and lasts two to three hours. Unlike tranquilizers such as acepromazine, it is an anti-anxiety drug.
Dr. Ballantyne said that after her client gave her dog Sileo, “The storm hit, and he noticed the sound of the thunder but went back to what he was doing, which was huge. Now he's hanging out with his family in the evening and being his normal, happy self.”
She has prescribed Sileo quite a bit and has used it on her own dog, who has a fear of fireworks.
“I think Sileo is a great treatment option because it decreases the fear. Most of the patients I've used it on are showing minimal side effects, and they look a lot more comfortable during a noise event,” she said.
Safety of Sileo
Dr. Sara Bennett is an ACVB-certified veterinary behavior specialist based in the southwest Indiana town of Evansville and is a member of the behavior advisory board for Zoetis.
“Sileo is very safe. I think veterinarians get a little worried about it because it's dexmedetomidine. Veterinarians have lots of experience with that drug, given by different routes, particularly injection, and we use it for sedation. But because Sileo is absorbed transmucosally, the bioavailability consequent to that route is much, much lower,” she said.
In a few cases where owners said their dog had become too sedate, she told them to reduce the dose by a dot the next time. The syringe uses a dot-dosing system based on the dog's weight.
On May 23, the FDA issued a warning to dog owners and veterinarians about accidental overdoses that have resulted from the ring-stop mechanism not properly locking at the intended dose (see sidebar).
Dr. Bennett said a few patients, usually small dogs that are less inclined to tolerate their mouths being handled by their owner, have swallowed a dose rather than allowing it to be absorbed, but with no effect.
“If it's swallowed, it does pretty much nothing because it goes through first-pass metabolism with transformation in the liver and is broken down before it ever gets through the targeted areas of the body,” she said.
She lets owners know that it is normal for vasoconstriction to cause their dog's gums to pale on the side where the drug is administered.
It is important to choose the patient population appropriately, Dr. Bennett noted. Sileo has not been evaluated in dogs younger than 16 weeks of age and should not be used in dogs with certain conditions, such as cardiovascular, respiratory, liver, kidney, or gingival disease.
Noise aversion case studies
At AVMA Convention 2016, Dr. Bennett presented a continuing education session on noise aversion case examples, describing the short-term management of each patient to overcome the immediate threat and the long-term interventions to resolve the problem. Some of those cases are posted with videos at www.sileoatwork.com. They also serve to educate the public on the various signs of noise aversion.
In her patient population, dogs are often affected by multiple triggers. She recommends Debbie Jacobs' fearful dogs website, www.fearfuldogs.com, which offers support, advice, and resources for these dogs' caregivers.
Dr. Bennett uses a systematic approach for treating noise aversion. She teaches the dog to relax on cue; some of her clients call it doggy yoga. She ensures there is a safe place for the pet to retreat to and avoid the intensity of the noise, even something like the Thunder Hut, a type of cave made of sound-dampening foam.
Behavior modification might also involve classical conditioning, such as pairing noise with petting or food.
Many times, she discusses medication options such as Sileo, benzodiazepines, or the antidepressant trazodone to give situationally before or during an event. Then she looks at adjunct options the owner might want to try, from natural supplements such as milk-protein derivatives to pheromones to a body wrap such as the ThunderShirt or Storm Defender Cape.
She finds that dogs refractory to treatment often respond well to Sileo. At the Chicago-area Golden Retriever rescue As Good as Gold, where she is sometimes called to help, dogs with severe noise aversion are often puppy mill dogs with global fear. Most become adopted into permanent homes with her help and Sileo.
FDA warns of accidental overdose risk with Sileo
The Food and Drug Administration on May 23 alerted dog owners and veterinarians about the risk of accidental overdose of dogs treated with the drug Sileo, a prescription gel given by mouth to treat noise aversion.
Sileo is packaged in an oral dosing syringe with a ring-stop mechanism on the plunger that must be “dialed” and locked into place to administer the correct dose. Since Zoetis began marketing Sileo in May 2016, the FDA has received 28 reports involving overdoses in dogs resulting from the ring-stop mechanism not properly locking at the intended dose. As of early June, the agency had not determined whether the overdoses resulted from improper use of the ring-stop.
FDA spokeswoman Lindsay Dashefsky told JAVMA, “We took this action because the risk of medication error and overdosage described in these reports may be reduced by greater awareness on the part of veterinarians and dog owners, particularly pertaining to the proper use of the oral dosing syringe.
“We also wanted to increase user awareness prior to the summer months when this product is more likely to be used.”
In some cases, the entire contents of the dosing syringe were administered. In 15 of the 28 reports, dogs experienced clinical signs of overdose, including lethargy, sedation, sleepiness, slow heart rate, loss of consciousness, shallow or slow breathing, trouble breathing, impaired balance or incoordination, low blood pressure, and muscle tremors.
Zoetis spokeswoman Colleen White said in a statement that in those rare cases of overdose, clinical effects were temporary.
Dr. Sharon Campbell, Zoetis' companion animal medical lead for analgesia, sedation, anesthesia, and behavior, said Zoetis has stressed all along that the syringe is a novel way to deliver drugs but that clients must be shown how to lock the ring-stop.
“From our perspective, it's an end-user issue, not a mechanical failure,” she said. “We have received syringes from overdose cases. We put them through a quality assurance evaluation and found they worked properly.” She said thousands of dogs have been treated safely for noise aversion with Sileo.
The FDA and Zoetis encourage veterinary staff members to educate dog owners on operation of the syringe. The Sileo package gives step-by-step dosing instructions, and instructional videos are posted on the product website, www.sileodogus.com.
The veterinarian-client conversation
A market research study done internally by Zoetis found that 40 percent of dogs with signs of noise aversion are taken to a veterinarian, owners try to help 20 percent themselves, and 40 percent go untreated.
Dr. Ballantyne has seen studies that found 50 percent of dog owners have a dog that fears noises.
“Asking (the client) about behavior at every visit and using open-ended questions such as ‘What concerns do you have about your dog's behavior?’ for one, gives them the opportunity to ask, and two, normalizes it,” she said.
Dr. Campbell believes Sileo has facilitated conversations between pet owners and their veterinarians as well as increased owners' awareness of noise aversion triggers and behaviors. Zoetis created a simple questionnaire for clients, downloadable for free at www.sileodvmus-resources.com, that some veterinarians say they print and ask clients to fill out for any dog they bring in over 6 months of age. The questionnaire responses can lead to a conversation about noise aversion.
Unless prompted, most pet owners don't bring up noise aversion with their veterinarians, Dr. Campbell said at a CE session she and Dr. Bennett presented at AVMA Convention 2016 on how to have conversations with clients about noise aversion. She told the packed audience it's a matter of shared decision making. “The key concept is you're shifting the paradigm from a vet-centric conversation to a relationship-centered conversation.”
Dr. Campbell told JAVMA that sometimes the reason veterinarians are reluctant to bring up behavioral questions is that they don't feel they have adequate training. Zoetis has worked with Dr. Jane Shaw, an associate professor of communication at Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences and an expert in veterinarian-client-patient interactions, on the Frank Communication Workshops and Modules.
Dr. Shaw worked with Suzanne Kurtz, PhD, at the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine to help adapt for veterinarians the Calgary-Cambridge Guide Dr. Kurtz helped develop for physicians.
Dr. Campbell said Zoetis sends colleagues and customers to the Frank Workshops for intensive training on communication skills.
“Dr. Shaw has actors play the role of the pet owner, and it's up to you as the veterinarian in this role-playing situation to tease out what are the true underlying causes or concerns that pet owner has,” she said.
“The premise is that, although the veterinarian is the medical expert, the pet owner is really the expert for that pet,” Dr. Campbell said. “We want to make sure that in that conversation with the pet owner, that they are with you along that journey, so that they know what your concerns are and you know what their concerns are.”
Anything less could lead to decreased client satisfaction and compliance, she said.
Dr. Shaw told JAVMA that an example of an open-ended inquiry to start a behavior dialogue would be “When there are loud noises, what behaviors do you see in your dog?”
Additional information on the Frank Workshops is available at www.cvmbs.colostate.edu/ce/frank-workshops.
Quantifying behavioral signs
“I have some patients that are afraid of the click of ice cubes in the fridge,” said Dr. Theresa DePorter. “I have some that are afraid of the classics—wind, thunder, lightning, fireworks.”
Dr. DePorter is board-certified by the ACVB and the European College of Animal Welfare and Behavioural Medicine. She works in southeastern Michigan at one of the largest specialty referral hospitals of its type in the Midwest. Her cases are complex; some dogs are referred from four or five hours away. Often, noise phobias are a factor with her patients. Most have generalized anxiety.
Dr. DePorter says the profession needs a system to quantify behavioral signs, and new technology is promising to help meet these goals. She will speak July 24 at AVMA Convention 2017 in rooms 205–206 on “futuristic technology that is here today for monitoring behavior.”
“My dream goal for behavior is that we have some way to communicate numerically or with a graph and to share with someone else how severe a behavior case is,” she said. “If I call a veterinarian and say a dog has a BUN of 200, we're quickly thinking in the same way, whereas to even begin to discuss a dog with a noise phobia and how severe the anxiety is, we don't have good numbers and ways to share that information.”
One of the technologies she will profile is Vetrax (www.vetrax.com), a new monitoring system analogous to the personal activity trackers, such as Fitbit, used by people.
Dogs can respond to noise events by shutting down and hiding, for example, or by becoming hyperactive. “So we start to put activity monitors on those dogs, the outliers— the dogs that show more extreme behaviors, and Vetrax monitors the dog's activity so we can get how many steps they're moving and when they're doing it, and plot it over time,” Dr. DePorter said.
One case involved a 15-year-old Siberian Husky with a history of noise phobia that manifested as crouching. But, when Dr. DePorter put an activity monitor on the dog, she said, “We noticed that, on a particular day, the activity monitor showed this 15-year-old dog walked 15 miles.”
According to Dr. DePorter, “The owner said she had been at a wedding that day,” and further questioning made it clear the dog's hyperactivity was not the result of noise phobia, eventually leading to a diagnosis of pain and separation anxiety. That's why, Dr. DePorter said, it's important to journal over time the nature of storms and noise events and a dog's corresponding activity.
Another innovation is the ZenCrate, she said, describing it as a wooden box that gives the dog a safe place to go when afraid of noises. It's insulated, and the padded bottom restricts vibration. When a dog steps in, the crate begins playing bioacoustic music. (It's not being shipped yet but can be preordered at https://zendogcrate.com.)
The product Through a Dog's Ear is classical music that purportedly reduces anxiety in dogs and helps block out sound. It is bioacoustically adjusted to create “a consistently calm auditory environment,” according to the product website, www.throughadogsear.com
Sound therapy is one way of modifying the dog's environment to decrease noise impact. Simultaneously, Dr. DePorter uses medications such as anxiolytics, and pheromone supplements, as indicated by severity of the pet's anxiety. Also important is behavior modification—teaching and building positive associations.
“I teach the dog that something wonderful happens—you get a Kong with some peanut butter in it—when a storm happens,” she said. “All these things come together to give the dog a coping strategy.”
Such was the case with Sterling, a 13-year-old Labrador Retriever owned by Dr. Kate Reynolds of Clarkston, Michigan. Dr. Reynolds said, “I tried treating his anxiety prior to seeing Dr. DePorter, but I knew I needed help when he began to destroy things.”
Dr. Reynolds adopted Sterling in 2004 after the veterinary hospital where she was interning saved him from a parvovirus infection. He has been her constant throughout her career and many life changes.
“Dr. DePorter not only helped me manage his anxiety through the use of pharmaceuticals and supplements, pheromones, music, and positive reinforcement training, she also helped me be more compassionate with him and with myself. As a veterinarian, I tend to be a perfectionist,” she said.
Dr. DePorter said, “Mostly, his emotional distress has been treated with compassion for his fears. He has been given tools to help him reduce his own fear and live in confidence he will be protected when there is a storm.”
Because Dr. DePorter taught her so much about behavior, Dr. Reynolds said, “My entire practice style has changed in the course of the last four years, and I like to think that our profession is moving toward a kinder, gentler way of practicing medicine, which will make it a more effective way to deliver quality care.”
Pritt supports students as AVMA vice president
Message addresses wellness and career management
Interview by R. Scott Nolen
With the first half of a two-year term as AVMA vice president behind her, Dr. Stacy Pritt talked to JAVMA News about her time as the Association's liaison to the Student AVMA and student chapters.
Which veterinary colleges have you visited so far?
There are currently 37 veterinary schools visited by the vice president within two academic years. This includes seven schools outside the United States—one in Canada, three in the Caribbean, and three in the United Kingdom—along with three 2+2 programs in Alaska, Utah, and Nebraska. Between official school visits and various conferences, I have visited 15 schools as of late May.
What's your message when you speak to students?
I have a combined message about career management, wellness, and the advocacy organized veterinary medicine provides for the profession. With regard to career management, I focus on how to evaluate career options and how to manage unexpected twists and turns in one's career.
Are there any recurrent comments you're hearing during your visits to the veterinary colleges?
Several topics have been discussed during multiple visits.
First, veterinary schools are continuing to explore the use of non-animal models to teach basic clinical skills. Many of these models are incredibly creative and more lifelike than ever. Students who come into veterinary school without significant hands-on experience take advantage of these models to build confidence prior to entering the clinical portion of their education.
Second, several schools are increasing their commitment to mental well-being. This spans the gamut from establishing access to mental health services that were previously unavailable to sponsoring events aimed at educating students, faculty, residents, and staff about wellness. Of particular concern with students is the necessity to destigmatize seeking professional mental health assistance.
Third, the veterinary profession has done an excellent job promoting the concept of one health. Students are now actively engaged in the conversation and want to pursue career paths in this area. Unfortunately, one health hasn't yet become a discipline with defined jobs, although I realize that there are a few veterinarians who work full time as coordinators or promoters of one-health activities. For our profession to truly expand career opportunities, potential jobs within the one-health sphere should be better identified, broadly defined, and more accessible, since they may span several different disciplines. Additionally, the veterinary profession needs to do a much better job of educating our human medical counterparts on what one health is.
There's talk of revamping the office, such as making the vice presidency a three-year position. What are your thoughts on this?
The AVMA Bylaws identify the AVMA vice president as the official liaison to the Student AVMA and the student chapters, while the SAVMA Bylaws identify the vice president as an adviser to SAVMA. Given the increases in the number of veterinary schools, in two-year programs associated with four-year programs, in veterinary schools establishing SAVMA chapters, and in veterinary students as well as the increased staff resources dedicated to student activities, it's important that we keep the vice presidency relevant to today's students and SAVMA. Because of this, I think it's great that the AVMA Board of Directors is investing time and effort into evaluating all possibilities for the position. I am sure that the task force will determine the best path forward for this important seat on the AVMA Board.
How do you and the AVMA's student services team coordinate?
Drs. Caroline Cantner, Derrick Hall, and Anna Reddish, who serve as assistant directors for student initiatives, do a tremendous job supporting SAVMA at the national and school levels. They also become experts in topics of interest for the students, such as student loan debt and wellness. Of the 15 visits I mentioned previously, 11 of those were conducted in conjunction with an assistant director. Therefore, a lot of coordination is involved. Mostly this is by email, text, or phone, but we also meet together a couple times a year to plan out school visits and other activities. We also share ideas, goals, and networks as we travel together.
How do you balance the challenges of your office with your career?
I am fortunate to work in an administrative position that allows me the flexibility to travel and ability to work remotely. My place of employment, the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, supports my involvement in the AVMA. I am also fortunate to have staff who are comfortable with an office director who has a very busy schedule, especially during the fall of the academic year. If I get behind a bit at work, I will usually come in on the weekends to catch up.
Anything else you want to discuss?
While it's tangential to being vice president, I strongly believe that our profession needs to focus more on leadership development for new professionals. Veterinary students are exposed to, and take advantage of, a myriad of leadership positions and training programs while in school.
Once students graduate, and depending on where they end up working, opportunities for furthering their leadership training can be minimal to nonexistent.
Until very recently, the need to develop the newly graduated professional into a leader was not deemed important. I firmly believe that all veterinarians are leaders. We are leaders in our work environments, communities, and professional organizations. Leadership training includes building self-awareness—also known as emotional intelligence—setting goals and strategies, working toward those goals and strategies, and motivating others. Focusing on developing these skill sets benefits us all as individuals as well as the profession.
At a year, AVMA database amassing clinical studies
By Katie Burns
At a year, the AVMA Animal Health Studies Database has seen success in amassing clinical studies in veterinary medicine.
This July marks the one-year anniversary of the public launch of the database as a resource for researchers seeking animals to participate in clinical studies and for veterinarians and animal owners exploring options for treatment.
As of late May, the database listed 279 studies and had averaged about 2,500 searches per month since the pubic launch. There are studies in every state, the District of Columbia, and two provinces in Canada. There are studies in 17 primary fields of veterinary medicine or species, from agricultural animals to soft-tissue surgery. There are studies recruiting dogs, cats, horses, and cattle—and even one study recruiting rabbits.
Dr. Ed Murphey, an assistant director in the AVMA Education and Research Division, said many state VMAs, other veterinary organizations, and practices link to the database from their websites. He added that the database appears at the top of Google search results for “veterinary clinical trials” and “veterinary clinical studies.”
Mindy Quigley, coordinator of clinical trials at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, is enthusiastic about the AVMA project getting off the ground. She said the database is a great resource for animal owners, who often spend a lot of time going through practice or university websites.
“Having one place rather than a number of different scattered sites will eventually be a transformative thing for owners and veterinarians who are interested in clinical research,” Quigley said. “Probably the biggest barrier to enrollment is just getting the information into the hands of the people who need it, so any tool that we can have that casts a wider net is definitely something that is going to help the entire field.”
Quigley also appreciates that the database will allow researchers to report results from studies that are complete. She said, “Oftentimes, there's not a great way to share study results, particularly if it's just a small pilot study at one university and gets published in an obscure veterinary journal.”
When speaking at continuing education events, Quigley spreads the word about the database to practitioners. She said, “Clinical trials are often not at the forefront of a veterinarian's mind, so that's a larger mindset shift that needs to occur.”
Quigley is always surprised at what animal owners are willing to do, whether they are owners seeking treatment for ill animals or owners of a particular breed of dog seeking to help understand a problem in the breed.
Dr. Michael D. Lairmore is a member of the AVMA Council on Research and dean of the University of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. He said the AVMA Animal Health Studies Database really enhances veterinary medicine because clinical trials in patient-owned animals contribute to raising the standard of care.
He said, “Most of these are designed to improve treatments, develop new diagnostics, identify genetic causes of disease in animals—all of which are of great interest obviously to veterinarians, but also animal owners as well.”
At UC-Davis, the Veterinary Center for Clinical Trials is a drawing card for patients, Dr. Lairmore said. As an example, a trial of stem cells to treat gingivostomatitis in cats has accrued patients quickly. Referring veterinarians said they were frustrated that they didn't have anything else to offer in the way of treatment.
Dr. Lairmore said the AVMA database is off to a good start. He noted that experts curate the studies, serving as quality control and making sure information is correct. He said, “What we need next is to publicize it more.”
AVMA Convention 2017 in Indianapolis this July will feature two sessions highlighting the database. Dr. Murphey of the AVMA will discuss “Clinical Trials in Patient-Owned Animals: Raising the Standard of Care for All.” Dr. Rodney Page, director of the Flint Animal Cancer Center at Colorado State University, will discuss “Advocating for Your Client/Patient Through Clinical Studies Participation.”
Education council schedules site visits
The AVMA Council on Education has scheduled site visits to six schools and colleges of veterinary medicine for the remainder of 2017.
Comprehensive site visits are planned for the University of Prince Edward Island Atlantic Veterinary College, Sept. 17–21; the University of Saskatchewan Western College of Veterinary Medicine, Oct. 1–5; Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Oct. 8–14; Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Oct. 29-Nov. 2; and Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, Nov. 5–9.
A consultative site visit is scheduled for the University of Nottingham School of Veterinary Medicine and Science in Nottingham, England, Dec. 3–7.
The council welcomes written comments on these plans or the programs to be evaluated. Comments should be addressed to Dr. Karen Martens Brandt, Director, Education and Research Division, AVMA, 1931 N. Meacham Road, Suite 100, Schaumburg, IL 60173. Comments must be signed by the person submitting them to be considered.
Grants available for veterinary pharmacology research
By Malinda Larkin
The American Veterinary Medical Foundation is partnering with the Veterinary Pharmacology Research Foundation to fund research projects geared toward advancing animal health.
Specifically, investigators are encouraged to submit proposals that focus on research to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of treatments for veterinary species, explore new drug treatments for animals, develop and validate models of animal diseases or conditions, or ensure that a safe food supply is not compromised by drug treatment. These areas focus exclusively on unmet needs in veterinary medicine that are often overlooked by other funding sources. The program is intended to encourage studies with direct clinical application, according to the application form.
Criteria used in considering proposals will involve the potential of the study to enhance the treatment or prevention of disease in animals, relevance to existing scientific knowledge, feasibility of the study, qualifications of the investigators, and the potential to enhance collaboration among veterinary pharmacologists and AVMA members.
The Veterinary Pharmacology Research Foundation has funded pharmacology research grants for eight years as a way to encourage more discoveries in this area. Dr. Jane G. Owens, president of the VPRF, said her organization is excited about the new partnership with the AVMF.
“The mission of the two organizations aligns very well, and we hope to fund our first round of grants this year. This alliance will support funding for evaluation of new and currently approved medications for combating diseases of companion and food animals as well as for ensuring the safety of food products from treated livestock. We believe this partnership will offer veterinary researchers a unique funding source as no other granting agency focuses solely on veterinary pharmacology,” she said.
Debborah Harp, AVMF executive director, said the Foundation also is thrilled to be working with VPRF and expand its offerings related to research.
“Our Foundation was founded on research, giving research grants in the beginning. Overtime, the mission expanded and included veterinary scholarships as well as service and animal welfare activities. We continued to support research to a lesser degree, but through this collaboration, we're excited about again focusing on research as one of our main tenets,” Harp said.
Dr. Jan K. Strother, chair of the AVMF Board of Directors, added, “Since our founding over 50 years ago, the AVMF has supported scientific research that advances veterinary medicine. Our research support has led to better prevention (and) treatment protocols and has improved the health and the quality of animals' lives globally.
“I believe that our model of partnership with VPRF will connect our organizations' members and resources to promote and provide research studies that are vitally important for our veterinary profession.”
A call for proposals for the grants will be posted in July at www.avmf.org, and the deadline for submissions is Sept. 15; recipients will be announced in November.
Proposals push for more veterinarians for slaughter inspection, disease response
By Katie Burns
The National Association of Federal Veterinarians has proposed resolutions to the AVMA House of Delegates that would urge the Department of Agriculture to recruit and retain more veterinarians for slaughter inspection and disease response.
The House will consider the resolutions during its regular annual session, July 20–21 in Indianapolis.
The following resolution regards the role of veterinarians in slaughter inspection at the USDA Food Safety and inspection Service:
The Importance of Veterinarians in Food Safety
RESOLVED, that the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) support the USDA FSIS Public Health Veterinary workforce hiring efforts by recommending that FSIS implement the three actions below to resolve the recruiting and retention issues when hiring of veterinarians in FSIS:
All slaughter plants must be under the direct supervision of a Supervisory Public Health Veterinarian (SPHV); Federal veterinarians, as animal and public health professionals, are uniquely equipped to lead the inspection and food safety processes necessary to protect Americans' food source.
Remuneration and incentives of SPHV's must be immediately improved to be commensurate with their extensive education and expertise and to be competitive with the private sector.
Administrative time and support for annual professional continuing education and training are essential to retaining SPHVs.
According to a passage in bold within the statement about the resolution, “FSIS has, for the first time in its 110 year history, proposed changes that remove veterinarians from their direct role in food safety and to instead place inadequately educated lay inspectors into more primary decision making roles with much less direct supervision or oversight from the SPHV.”
The following resolution regards USDA veterinarians in disease response and other emergency response:
The Importance of Federal Veterinarians in Emergency Response
RESOLVED, that the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) supports the recruitment and retention of veterinarians in the Federal Government to build a veterinary emergency response surge capacity. Further, the AVMA supports providing veterinary specialty and board certification pay for federal veterinarians, as well as recruitment and retention incentives to address this need.
The statement about the resolution asserts, “The USDA veterinary workforce is not robust enough to adequately respond to major animal disease outbreaks and the severe repercussions of that event.”
Proposals going to the House of Delegates are available at www.avma.org/about/governance. Members of the AVMA can find contact information for delegates by visiting www.avma.org/members and clicking on “My AVMA Leaders.”
House to discuss marijuana, VCPR, opioids, service animals
The AVMA House of Delegates plans to discuss the diverse topics of marijuana for treatment of animals, application and definition of the veterinarian-client-patient relationship, prescription monitoring programs and opioid prescribing, and service and assistance animals.
The House will consider these issues at its next Veterinary Information Forum, July 20 in Indianapolis. Members of the AVMA can find contact information for delegates by visiting www.avma.org/members and clicking on “My AVMA Leaders.”
Many states have passed laws to permit medicinal or recreational use of marijuana in people, although federal law prohibits all uses of marijuana. The American Holistic VMA, which is seated in the House, encourages researching the safety, dosing, and uses of cannabis in animals.
The AVMA, Food and Drug Administration, and states have various definitions for the veterinarian-client-patient relationship. Delegates recently discussed application of the VCPR in telemedicine.
Almost all states track dispensing of controlled substances, and about a third require veterinarians to report such dispensing. Human deaths from prescription opioids have quadrupled since 1999, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Also in Indianapolis, the House will deliberate on a proposed policy on “The Veterinarian's Role in Supporting Appropriate Selection and Use of Service, Assistance and Therapy Animals.” The growing number of animals being falsely identified as assistance animals has caused increased scrutiny of their use.
Amendment would allow leeway for allied groups
The AVMA House of Delegates will consider a proposed amendment to the AVMA Bylaws to provide allied veterinary organizations the opportunity to remain seated in the House even if an organization's membership does not increase as quickly as the AVMA's.
The House Advisory Committee proposed the bylaws amendment. Delegates will deliberate on the proposal during their regular annual session, July 20–21 in Indianapolis.
According to the bylaws, “Constituent Allied Veterinary Organizations are organizations of veterinarians with specific vocational interests allied to the interests of the Association.” Generally, the voting membership of an allied group seated in the House must include at least 1 percent of all voting members of the AVMA.
The proposed amendment would allow organizations that are unable to maintain the requirement as of July 1 of any year to have one year from the end of the summer session of the House to meet the requirement.
Donate books, journals, and supplies
Veterinarians and students in foreign countries can make use of the unused textbooks, journals, instruments, equipment, and other supplies cluttering many veterinary clinics in the United States.
The AVMA maintains a list of individuals and organizations that collect contributions for various countries. The list is available at http://jav.ma/donate-books. Potential donors should call or email contacts on the list directly.
Individuals or organizations that collect contributions may inquire about being added to the list or updating their listing by calling 800-248-2862, ext. 6754, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Court halts medicated feed production by Florida company
A federal court order shut down medicated feed production by a company accused of safety failures and associated with the deaths of 17 horses.
The injunction issued May 4 in an agreement between the Food and Drug Administration and Syfrett Feed Company of Okeechobee, Florida, will require that the company and three company officers prove they have implemented adequate production controls and will comply with federal law before they are allowed to resume production of medicated feeds, FDA information states. Those controls must include hiring an expert who will ensure the company follows regulations on manufacturing practices, collecting samples from medicated feeds for laboratory analysis during the first year of resumed production, reimbursing the FDA for inspections and other regulatory operations, and cooperating with FDA investigators.
The company officers named in the agreement are owner and president Charles B. Syfrett; his daughter, vice president Melissa S. Montes De Oca; and his son, operations manager Charles B. Syfrett II. They agreed to the injunction without admitting guilt.
The company's primary products have been medicated feeds, and most of the company's products have been for use in food-producing animals, according to the complaint filed by the Department of Justice.
In three inspections from January 2014 through June 2016, FDA investigators found that the company failed to name active ingredients on medicated feed labels, failed to provide directions for use on the labels, lacked adequate contamination controls, and had inadequate procedures for identifying, storing, and controlling inventory of drugs used in medicated feeds, court and FDA documents state.
A July 2014 warning letter indicates that, during the January 2014 inspection, the company warehouse had an apparent rodent infestation—identified through gnaw marks and excrement—as well as at least four cats and six birds inside the building.
Syfrett Feed Company recalled a nonmedicated horse pellet product in April 2014—between the time of the inspection and the warning letter's arrival—in response to complaints that horses were becoming ill, and 17 horses were euthanized by September 2014, court documents state. The company discontinued the product after the illnesses and deaths but did not tell the FDA about the recall until May 2015.
In a response filed with the court, the company and its officers admit that they conducted a recall, horses owned by their customers were euthanized, and they told the FDA about the recall in May 2015. But they say they do not know whether the horses needed euthanasia as a result of eating Syfrett feeds, and they “therefore deny the allegation.” But they acknowledged that the company has stopped making horse feeds.
Petco incorporating full-service veterinary clinics
Petco has announced a joint venture with Thrive Affordable Vet Care to incorporate full-service Thrive clinics in certain Petco stores this year.
Bill Engen, Petco senior vice president, said in a May 15 announcement that his company is partnering with Thrive to expand Petco's current offerings. Petco's existing Vetco clinics provide vaccinations as well as flea and tick products, microchipping, heartworm testing and medication, and deworming.
In addition, on April 4, Petco had announced that it had acquired PetCoach, a company that connects pet owners digitally with veterinary professionals for expert advice.
Thrive Affordable Vet Care opened its first location in January 2015 and now has five locations in Texas. Petco operates more than 1,500 Petco and Unleashed by Petco locations in the United States and Mexico and offers prescription medications and pet supplies from online retailer Drs. Foster & Smith.
NAVTA ready to start veterinary nurse effort
Veterinary Nurse Initiative Coalition will pursue legislative amendments in 50 states
By Malinda Larkin
More details have emerged on how the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America plans to move forward with its veterinary nurse credential change. NAVTA's board of directors announced May 15 the formation of the Veterinary Nurse Initiative Coalition to pursue legislative changes in all 50 states to establish the credential of registered veterinary nurse. It would replace the titles of registered veterinary technician, licensed veterinary technician, certified veterinary technician, or licensed veterinary medical technician. NAVTA's board approved the action to unite the profession under a single title, set of credentialing requirements, and scope of practice. The coalition is currently defining the legislative strategy and is targeting 2018 for the initial legislative reform efforts to begin in a handful of states.
While the full impact of the changes on the veterinary technology profession remains to be seen, what is clear is that simplifying things will be anything but simple. The process could take years of hard, patient work. That said, NAVTA's leaders say much of what they are proposing to change addresses many of veterinary technicians' biggest issues.
“Through the standardization and public awareness of the registered veterinary nurse credential, the entire profession will make significant strides towards better recognition, mobility, and elevated practice standards,” said Kara M. Burns, president-elect of NAVTA, in a press release. “All of this will lead to better patient care and consumer protection.”
What's in a name?
Veterinary technicians have seen the profession go through many changes over 50 years—including previous title changes from animal technicians and then animal health technicians. Currently, a patchwork exists throughout the United States of varying credentialing requirements, titles, and scopes of practice (see map, page 23). For example, 11 states privately credential via their state VMA or veterinary technician association, and in each of those cases, credentialing is not mandatory. Utah is the only state that does not require any credentialing. When it comes to titles, 15 states use RVT, 19 use CVT, 14 use LVT, and only Tennessee uses LVMT.
NAVTA aims to create alignment within the veterinary profession with this initiative, as a unified title will create a national and global standard, according to a NAVTA FAQ. Indeed, Australia and the U.K. already use the title veterinary nurse. Further, “The term ‘Technician’ implies an individual has mastered the science and technology involved with the profession. The term ‘veterinary nurse’ will incorporate the art of caring for our animal patients from a whole picture perspective in addition to the science and technology,” according to the FAQ. “In addition, standardization with a title easily recognizable to the public aids in public awareness of our role. In human medicine, the term ‘nurse’ is widely recognized to describe a group of medical professionals working in collaboration with physicians to treat a patient. The term ‘registered veterinary nurse’ will in turn have similar association in the public's eyes.”
The scope of practice of a “registered veterinary nurse” is expected to be the same as it is currently for credentialed veterinary technicians. The new title would build from the current system and should not directly affect the amount of education required to qualify for examination or credentialing, according to the FAQ.
The initial suggestion for distinguishing between recipients of associate and bachelor's degrees in veterinary technology is to differentiate the degrees, much like the human nursing field designations RN, BSN, and MSN. For registered veterinary nurses, the proposed credential is RVN for those with associate degrees and BSVN for those with bachelor's degrees. Changing the credentials for veterinary technician specialists could be considered later. Currently they use the designation of VTS (Veterinary Technician Specialist).
What's up for debate is what will happen to veterinary technicians who haven't graduated from a school accredited by the AVMA Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities and passed the Veterinary Technician National Examination.
“There will be a desire, just as human nursing did, to not punish people and reflect their expertise and find means to accommodate them. Having said that, I think NAVTA has been very careful about establishing basic two- and four-year accredited credential requirements,” said Mark Cushing, who is a consultant to NAVTA for this initiative.
Cushing is founding partner of the Animal Policy Group, which provides government relations and strategic services for various animal health, veterinary, and educational interests, including Banfield Pet Hospital and Zoetis.
Sights set on state capitols
To tackle this ambitious agenda, NAVTA created the Veterinary Nurse Initiative Coalition to work with the AVMA, American Association of Veterinary State Boards, industry and professional veterinary organizations, and legislators to create common terminology, policies, and procedures “to ease the burden on individual states and associations in governing credentials,” according to a NAVTA press release.
Cushing will manage the lobbying effort, while Kenichiro Yagi and Heather Prendergast will co-chair the coalition and work with stakeholders. Yagi and Prendergast are registered veterinary technicians in California and New Mexico, respectively.
Cushing commented, “I work on a number of national and regional initiatives that end up before the legislature. It's going to take us time to even get a majority of states on board. State legislatures meet three to five months typically, and some, like Texas, every other year. We want to get this done and get it done right.”
The coalition will start with five states in 2018, adapt the models from these states, and then work with legislatures throughout the U.S. The target state legislatures convene in January 2018, so the coalition will start to lay the groundwork in the third quarter of this year. They will not only work closely with veterinary stakeholders but also reach out to human nursing associations and schools to make it clear how the RVN credential will operate.
According to the American Nurses Association, at least 39 states have language in their Nurse Practice Act that either explicitly restricts use of the title “nurse” to those who are licensed or implicitly restricts use of any words implying someone is a licensed nurse.
“Whether or not nurses will get involved with the states where they have no claim to the name but want to use their political capital to oppose it, we'll see. Nurse organizations have been very active in 50 states regarding nursing practice rights and independent rights to write prescriptions, so they already have a fairly full political agenda,” Cushing said.
He continued, “We would be consistent everywhere with using the full title so there's no chance for confusion. Plus, it's not like people are walking into a veterinary clinic expecting medical care (for themselves).”
Putting in the work
NAVTA already has done a lot of work to get to this point. Yagi said the process to evolve the name of a veterinary technician to a veterinary nurse began last year with extensive research on the legality of the name change and the level of industry support as well as a review of the current credentialing. NAVTA conducted a survey this past fall and received 4,700 responses from members of the veterinary profession, largely from veterinary technicians. In all, 81 percent said they would be in favor of or neutral to the name change.
“We've now come to the implementation phase and will address even more questions as things progress. But some of the concerns that come up, like when people ask if we should focus on other specific aspects of the profession, we argue it's all interconnected,” Yagi said. “These are only the first steps to the changes needed in the profession. Long term, it will be more effective than picking and choosing what we need to work on.”
He points out that ideally, legislation will standardize the scope of practice among states enough that reciprocity agreements will enable veterinary technicians to practice more easily in different states. Also, standardized credentials allow for better title protection and delineation of tasks among credentialed and noncredentialed individuals.
At the same time, NAVTA leaders acknowledge that veterinary practice acts are not all the same, and having identical language in all 50 states would be difficult. Currently, NAVTA is updating its Model Practice Act and speaking with veterinary leaders regarding credentialing to achieve as much consistency as possible. In addition, NAVTA has already built a network of veterinary technicians throughout the U.S. through its state representative committee and anticipates using that heavily during this effort.
Yagi noted the process could take several years because of the need to ensure legislative, industry, and individual alignment and support at the national and local levels.
“It's quite a collaborative process. We'll, hopefully, have a lot of people in states step up, and we have every reason to think we'll be successful,” he said.
Mizzou's dean heading to St. George's
St. George's University in Grand Anse, Grenada, announced May 17 the appointment of Dr. Neil C. Olson as the new dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Olson is currently dean of the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine. On Aug. 15, he will take over the position from St. George's current dean, Dr. Timothy H. Ogilvie, who is stepping down after three years.
Dr. Ogilvie's contributions to St. George's have been key in establishing superior instruction and a commitment to student success as hallmarks of the veterinary school, according to a university press release. He plans to assist in the leadership transition in the coming year.
Prior to being named dean, Dr. Ogilvie had been a visiting professor at St. George's since 2008. He was dean of the Atlantic Veterinary College at the University of Prince Edward Island from 1998–2008. Dr. Ogilvie is a 1975 graduate of the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph and a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, Specialty of Large Animal Internal Medicine.
“I am honored to continue the great work that my predecessor, Dr. Ogilvie, has already laid out,” Dr. Olson was quoted as saying in the same release. “I hope to keep building upon our numerous partnerships with other institutions across the world to recruit and train the best veterinarians. I'm also excited to continue developing our curriculum so that veterinary students can take advantage of the unique global environment that Grenada has to offer.”
At Mizzou, Dr. Olson orchestrated a 60 percent increase in professional enrollment, which provided about $4 million a year in new tuition revenue for the veterinary college; hired more than two dozen new faculty; and oversaw the establishment of a new animal radiation oncology and imaging facility in a suburb of St. Louis, according to his biography on the university's website. Mizzou Interim Chancellor Garnett Stokes, PhD, also credited him with increasing the veterinary college's endowment and earning full accreditation for the college from the AVMA Council on Education and full accreditation for the diagnostic laboratory.
Dr. Olson serves on the Kansas City Animal Health Corridor Advisory Board and is a member of the Missouri VMA executive board. In 2014, the U.S. secretary of agriculture appointed Dr. Olson to serve on the National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education, and Economics Advisory Board until September 2016.
Prior to his appointment at Missouri in 2007, Dr. Olson spent nearly 25 years at North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine in a variety of administrative and professorial roles, including senior associate dean for research and graduate studies and director of the Centennial Biomedical Campus.
Dr. Olson obtained his DVM degree from the University of Minnesota in 1975 and earned a doctorate in physiology from Michigan State University in 1982.
Dr. Carolyn Henry will become the interim dean of Mizzou's veterinary college Aug. 1. A national search will begin in the fall to find a permanent dean.
John C. Thurmon, 1930–2017
Dr. John C. Thurmon, a founder of the American College of Veterinary Anesthesia and Analgesia, died March 20, 2017, at the age of 87.
Born March 4, 1930, in Redford, Missouri, Dr. Thurmon received his DVM degree from the University of Missouri in 1962 and joined the faculty at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine that same year. In 1971, he established the college's first anesthesiology section in the Department of Veterinary Clinical Medicine, which he oversaw until he retired as professor emeritus in 1998.
Dr. Peter Constable, dean of Illinois' veterinary college, remarked in a statement on the professor's contributions in his field as well as to the institution. “John had a tremendous impact on veterinary anesthesiology and built an outstanding anesthesiology research and training program at Illinois,” Dean Constable said.
During his career, Dr. Thurmon served as the research adviser for more than 25 anesthesia residents and graduate students.
In an obituary about her father, Nancy Schmitt wrote that, between the late 1980s and early 1990s, Dr. Thurmon was a leader in developing several injectable anesthetic protocols, including the “triple drip” combination for large animals.
Dr. Thurmon was chosen by his colleagues in 1971 to look into forming a veterinary anesthesiology specialty. The committee he convened, Schmitt wrote, worked for four years to gain the support of established veterinary specialty organizations that had initially objected to the proposal.
The American College of Veterinary Anesthesiologists was granted preliminary approval by the AVMA in 1975 with Dr. Thurmon serving as the organization's first president. The specialty college has since been renamed the American College of Veterinary Anesthesia and Analgesia and now has more than 220 members.
Dr. Thurmon was editor-in-chief of the third edition of “Lumb and Jones Veterinary Anesthesia,” the gold-standard reference for anesthesia and pain management in animal patients, published in 1996. He was an editor of the fourth edition, published 11 years later.
“Indeed, Dr. Thurmon's contributions to veterinary anesthesiology were both highly consequential and significant,” ACVAA President Lesley J. Smith, clinical professor of anesthesiology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Veterinary Medicine, said in a statement.
Dr. Thurmon is survived by his daughter and son-in-law, Nancy and Thomas Schmitt, and three grandchildren. Donations to the ACVAA Foundation in memory of Dr. Thurmon may be sent to Dr. Lynne Kushner, ACVAA Executive Director, 2246 E. Main Road, Apt. D., Portsmouth, RI 02871, or made at http://acvaa.org/Foundation/.
Obituaries AVMA member AVMA honor roll member Nonmember
James W. Allison
Dr. Allison (Illinois '55), 87, Charlotte, North Carolina, died April 18, 2017. He practiced mixed animal medicine in Lawrenceville, Illinois, for more than 30 years, retiring in 1985. Dr. Allison's wife, Anita; a son and a daughter; and a grandchild survive him. Memorials, with the memo line of the check notated to the Community Center, may be made to Village of Flat Rock, P.O. Box 81, Flat Rock, IL 62427.
Donald L. Crimmins
Dr. Crimmins (Washington State '58), 89, Portland, Oregon, died March 1, 2017. A small animal veterinarian, he founded Rockwood Animal Hospital in Gresham, Oregon, where he practiced for 40 years prior to retirement. Dr. Crimmins was a veteran of the Marine Corps. His wife, Nadine; two daughters and a son; and two grandchildren survive him.
Henry F. Doerge
Dr. Doerge (Cornell '57), 83, Middleburgh, New York, died March 26, 2017. In 1961, he moved to Middleburgh, where he practiced mixed animal medicine at Middleburgh Animal Hospital and Clinic for 55 years. Earlier in his career, Dr. Doerge was an instructor at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine and worked at a veterinary clinic on Long Island.
Active in his community, he was a former member of the Middleburgh Volunteer Fire Department and served as treasurer of the Middleburgh Rotary Club for several years. Dr. Doerge is survived by his wife, Anne; five sons and a daughter; 13 grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren. Memorials may be made to the Middleburgh Rotary Club, P.O. Box 1100, Middleburgh, NY 12122, or Middleburgh Reformed Church, P.O. Box 112, Middleburgh, NY 12122.
Jeanne W. George
Dr. George (Cornell 71), 71, Davis, California, died April 3, 2017. A diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists, she was professor emeritus of clinical pathology at the University of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine since 2008. Following graduation and after earning her doctorate in pathology from the University of Georgia in 1980, Dr. George served on the UGA faculty until 1982. She then moved to UC-Davis, working as a research clinical pathologist at the California Regional Primate Research Center and the Feline Immunodeficiency Virus Laboratory. Dr. George joined the faculty of the Department of Clinical Pathology in 1992.
A past president of the American Society of Veterinary Clinical Pathology, she received the society's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013. Dr. George is survived by her husband, Dr. Lisle George (Cornell 71), professor emeritus of medicine and epidemiology at UC-Davis; a son; and two grandchildren.
George M. Grimes
Dr. Grimes (Texas A&M '43), 96, Palm City, Florida, died April 7, 2017. He owned a small animal practice in Tennessee's Tipton County prior to retirement. Following graduation, Dr. Grimes practiced in Arkansas and Tennessee before joining the Army as a captain. He retired from military service 21 years later as a colonel, earning several honors, including the Army Commendation and National Defense Service medals. Dr. Grimes subsequently earned a master's in biomedical communications from a combined program at Texas A&M University and Tulane University and joined the University of Illinois in Champaign, where he taught for several years. He then moved back to Tennessee, where he established his small animal practice.
Dr. Grimes traveled to Africa and Central America as a veterinary missionary. His three sons, a daughter, and four grandchildren survive him. Memorials may be made to Poplar Grove Methodist Church, 228 Quito, Drummonds, TN 38023.
Donald P. Gustafson
Dr. Gustafson (Ohio State '45), 96, West Lafayette, Indiana, died April 23, 2017. He retired in the late 1980s from the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine as Leo Philip Doyle Professor of Virology emeritus. A diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Microbiologists, Dr. Gustafson was known for his expertise in animal viral diseases, including hog cholera, pseudorabies, sheep scrapie, chronic equine enteritis, and Newcastle disease. He was a past chair of the AVMA Council on Biologic and Therapeutic Agents and a past member of the AVMA Council on Research. Dr. Gustafson also served on the Food and Drug Administration's Veterinary Medicine Advisory Committee and on the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Research Resources Committee. In 1970, he received The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine Distinguished Alumnus Award. Dr. Gustafson was also a past recipient of the F.L. Hovde Award for contributions to agriculture in Indiana.
A World War II veteran, he served as a captain in the Army. Active in his community, Dr. Gustafson was a member of the advisory board of the Lafayette Salvation Army and executive board of the Lafayette Rotary Club, and he was active with the Tippecanoe County Historical Society.
He is survived by two sons, three daughters, 13 grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren. Memorials may be made to the Disabled American Veterans, 575 N. Pennsylvania St. #324, Indianapolis, IN 46204, or Franciscan St. Elizabeth Hospice, 1415 Salem St. #202, Lafayette, IN 47904.
Robert V. Johnston
Dr. Johnston (Texas A&M '48), 91, Lake Jackson, Texas, died Feb. 2, 2017. Following graduation, he joined Allied Laboratories, a pharmaceutical and biological company, in Indianapolis. In 1960, the Dow Chemical Company acquired Allied Laboratories, and Dr. Johnston was named director of the company's agricultural laboratories in Midland, Michigan, and Lake Jackson. He served in this capacity until retirement in 1986. Dr. Johnston was a veteran of the Navy Air Corps. His wife, Maxine; a daughter, son, stepson, and stepdaughter; eight grandchildren and a stepgrandchild; and three great-grandchildren and three step-great-grandchildren survive him.
Robert G. La Follette
Dr. La Follette (Iowa State 70), 72, Winterset, Iowa, died May 10, 2017. He worked for the Department of Agriculture in meat inspection for 18 years prior to retirement in 2004. Following graduation, Dr. La Follette served two years in the Army. He subsequently practiced in Dubuque, Iowa, and continued, in Turtle Lake, North Dakota. From 1975–1984, Dr. La Follette owned a practice in Fonda, Iowa. He then moved to Winterset, where he worked with the Madison County Veterinary Clinic prior to joining the USDA. Dr. La Follette was a member of the Iowa VMA for more than 40 years. He was also a member of the Madison County River Alliance and served on the board of directors of the Madison County Foundation for Environmental Education.
He is survived by two sons, two daughters, eight grandchildren, and a great-grandchild. One son, Dr. Ahren La Follette (Iowa State '93), is a veterinarian in Edgerton, Minnesota. Memorials toward the development and construction of a nature center may be made to MCFEE, 2273 Clark Tower Road, Winterset, IA 50273.
Dr. Roen (Texas A&M 77), 74, Clarkston, Washington, died Feb. 2, 2017. He owned Clarkston Veterinary Clinic, a mixed animal practice, prior to retirement in 2007. Dr. Roen wrote and illustrated a veterinary column for the Lewiston (Idaho) Tribune for more than 30 years. In 2008, the Washington State VMA awarded him the Media Award for his column. Dr. Roen was an Air Force veteran of the Vietnam War. He is survived by his wife, Patricia; a son and a daughter; and six grandchildren. Memorials may be made to the Lewis Clark Animal Shelter, 6 Shelter Road, Lewiston, ID 83501, or Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research, Donation Processing, The Michael J. Fox Foundation, P.O. Box 5014, Hagerstown, MD 21741.
Gregg A. Scoggins
Dr. Scoggins (Illinois '90), 53, Ashland, Virginia, died March 26, 2017. Following graduation and after earning his law degree in 1991, also from the University of Illinois, he moved to Ashland, where he worked for McGuire, Woods, Battle & Boothe. In 2000, Dr. Scoggins joined Magna Entertainment Corporation as lead counsel, traveling to MEC-owned racetracks across the United States and Canada. He established his own law practice in 2010, focusing on racing industry, equine, and veterinary law. Dr. Scoggins was a past president of the American Veterinary Medical Law Association. He is survived by his companion, Sue Lilly, and two sons.
Memorials may be made to Cullather Brain Tumor Quality of Life Center, 5875 Bremo Road, St. Mary's Hospital Medical Office Building S. Suite 108, Richmond, VA 23226, www.cullather.org, or Emily Couric Clinical Cancer Center, UVA Health Foundation, P.O. Box 800773, Charlottesville, VA 22908.
Cletus M. Vonderwell
Dr. Vonderwell (Ohio State '63), 81, Delphos, Ohio, died April 7, 2017. A mixed animal veterinarian, he owned Vonderwell Clinic in Delphos for more than 40 years, retiring in 2004. Dr. Vonderwell had a special interest in harness horses and took care of the canine units of the Van Vert Sheriff Department. A co-founder and a past president of the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society, he taught veterinary acupuncture worldwide. Dr. Vonderwell's wife, Mary; six sons, a daughter, and two stepsons; and 20 grandchildren and six step-grandchildren survive him.
Dr. Wolf (Michigan State '46), 94, Milton, Massachusetts, died Jan. 28, 2017. He practiced in the Boston area for more than 50 years. Dr. Wolf was a past chair of the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Veterinary Medicine and a past president of the New England and Massachusetts VMAs, receiving the 1984 MVMA Distinguished Service Award. He volunteered with the Milton Animal Shelter, served on the Milton Board of Health, and was a member of the Rotary Club and Kiwanis International.
Dr. Milton was a veteran of the Army Veterinary Corps. His three daughters, a son, 10 grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren survive him. Memorials may be made to Congregation Beth Shalom of the Blue Hills, 18 Shoolman Way, Milton, MA 02186, or Milton Animal Shelter, 181 Governor Stoughton Lane, Milton, MA 02186.
Wilfred C. Wood
Dr. Wood (Ohio State '56), 85, Lorain, Ohio, died Feb. 12, 2017. Following graduation, he served two years as a captain in the Army Air Force. Dr. Wood then bought Lorain Animal Clinic, where he practiced small animal medicine until 1996, when his son, Dr. Thomas Wood (Ohio State '87), took over the practice. He served on the Lorain City School Board and was a member of the Lorain Rotary Club, Masonic Lodge, and Elks Club. Dr. Wood is survived by three daughters, two sons, nine grandchildren, and a great-grandchild. Memorials may be made to the Wood Foundation, 4205 Oberlin Ave., Lorain, OH 44053.