Veterinarians can help clients with assistance animals and discourage fraud

By Katie Burns

Is that cockatoo riding a man's shoulder in the produce section really an emotional support animal? Even if so, should it be there?

In June, a passenger on an airplane was bitten by another passenger's emotional support dog. Could someone board an airplane claiming that a snake is a service animal?

Then consider the blind young woman who trained her service dog to run with her. Or the widow who has always had anxiety and got a letter designating her dog as an emotional support animal so she could move into an apartment that usually does not allow pets.

According to AVMA leaders, veterinarians can provide support for clients who have service animals or emotional support animals while discouraging fraudulent representations of pets as assistance animals.

Two members of the AVMA Steering Committee on Human-Animal Interactions presented a July 23 session at AVMA Convention 2017 in Indianapolis on “Emotional Support Animals: Your Role as a Veterinarian.” The AVMA House of Delegates, meeting in Indianapolis ahead of the convention, passed a policy on “The Veterinarian's Role in Supporting Appropriate Selection and Use of Service, Assistance and Therapy Animals.”

The AVMA also is providing other resources to assist veterinarians whose patients include assistance animals. Among these is the recent AVMA report on “Assistance Animals: Rights of Access and the Problem of Fraud.”


Presenting the convention session were Aubrey Fine, EdD, a psychologist at California State Polytechnic University in Pomona, and Dr. Oliver Knesl, a veterinarian with Zoetis.

Dr. Fine explained that service animals are trained dogs or miniature horses that perform tasks for people with disabilities and are covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Emotional support animals act as comfort animals and are covered by the Fair Housing Act and Air Carrier Access Act but not the ADA.

Therapy animals—most commonly but not always dogs—are trained animals that are integrated into various health care environments as a complementary form of therapy as well as used to provide comfort and support for people in various settings, including hospitals, schools, hospices, and retirement homes. Therapy animals are not covered under the ADA, FHA, or ACAA.

“When you see people walking around with jackets on their animals, it isn't clear who is who,” Dr. Fine said. Then there's the problem of fraud, with some animal owners getting a certificate online so their animal can fly free in the cabin of an airplane—on the floor or the owner's lap—or because they want to take their animal to various places it wouldn't usually be allowed to go. Now, people with disabilities are being questioned for having an animal with them.

Dr. Knesl presented three scenarios for veterinarians. In the first, a client asks for a letter documenting that her dog is her emotional support animal so she can move into an assisted living facility. However, Dr. Knesl said, it is a licensed mental health professional who must write the letter. He explained, “View it in this way: The pet is being prescribed by a human health professional for a person with a particular disability.”

In the second scenario, a veterinarian examines a service dog. According to Dr. Knesl, the veterinarian can ask what tasks the dog performs, but cannot charge more for the examination should it take longer than usual because of the veterinary implications of the dog's role. The veterinarian also should refrain from recording information about the client's disability in the dog's medical record.

In the third scenario, a veterinarian teaches a module on the welfare of laboratory animals, and that involves a visit to a pathogen-free rodent facility. A student has permission to bring his emotional support dog to class per university policy, but is it reasonable to bar the dog from the pathogen-free laboratory?

There is no legal requirement to provide access for an emotional support animal to an educational facility, Dr. Knesl said. In deciding whether to provide access voluntarily to the laboratory, the veterinarian teaching the module should carry out an objective analysis of whether the animal's presence would result in a fundamental alteration to the nature of the activity, such as by endangering the laboratory animals’ health or welfare. Ideally, Dr. Knesl said, if the emotional support animal cannot be admitted, alternatives should be investigated to give the student an equivalent educational experience.


On July 20, the AVMA House of Delegates discussed assistance animals during its Veterinary Information Forum in Indianapolis.

Dr. Gail Golab, AVMA chief veterinary officer, said there is an opportunity “for the profession to be able do the right thing for these animals and for the clients who own them.” She said it is important for veterinarians to understand the unique needs of assistance animals and customize recommendations accordingly.

Public access for these animals is important to their owners, she continued, but access varies depending on spaces and laws. There also are differences in definitions of assistance animals and expectations for public access.

“I think it's critical that we as veterinarians do not relinquish our voice in this issue,” said Dr. Wendy Hauser, delegate for the American Animal Hospital Association. When on flights with emotional support animals, she worries about the safety of humans.

Dr. Cia Johnson, director of the AVMA Animal Welfare Division, said the AVMA is reaching out to a variety of other professional organizations so veterinarians can have a voice in conversations about assistance animals. Some of these organizations are human-focused, some animal-focused.


Assistance animalDepartment of Housing and Urban Development“An animal that works, provides assistance, or performs tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability, or provides emotional support that alleviates one or more identified symptoms or effects of a person's disability.”
Service animalAmericans with Disabilities Act“Any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability.” Miniature horses have been added as a specific provision to the ADA.
Emotional support animalFair Housing Act and Air Carrier Access ActAn emotional support animal may be an animal of any species, the use of which is supported by a qualified physician, psychiatrist, or other mental health professional on the basis of a disability-related need. Emotional support animals may be permitted as reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities under the Fair Housing Act. The Air Carrier Access Act provides specific allowances for emotional support animals traveling on airlines, though documentation may need to be provided.
Therapy animalAVMA policy “Animal-Assisted Interventions: Definitions”A therapy animal participates in animal-assisted therapy or an “intervention in which an animal meeting specific criteria is an integral part of the treatment process. … Animal-assisted therapy is provided in a variety of settings, and may be group or individual in nature.”
Condensed from the AVMA report on “Assistance Animals: Rights of Access and the Problem of Fraud”

Later that day, a House committee deliberated further on the issue. Dr. Johnson said a veterinarian's role has to do specifically with the assistance animal. She said, “So we're trying to make sure that it's being cared for appropriately, that it's suited to the job it's supposed to do.”

Dr. Cathy Lund, alternate delegate for Rhode Island, suggested creating a form for veterinarians with bullet points such as that an animal has the appropriate temperament and is not a zoonotic disease risk. The AVMA is working with mental health professionals toward such a form, Dr. Johnson said.

Emily Patterson-Kane, PhD, an animal welfare scientist with the AVMA Animal Welfare Division, said veterinarians would not be signing a certification, and any liability attaches to the human health care professionals. She continued, “We need to work directly with the people prescribing and training these animals in order to find some way to very simply communicate the demands being placed on the animal and, therefore, the extra preventative and other care that animal might need.”


On July 21, the House of Delegates passed the new AVMA policy on assistance and therapy animals. According to the policy, “Veterinarians have a role in assisting their clients in selecting the right animal for the right task, recommending that the animal receives appropriate training for its intended role, and ensuring that the health and welfare of that animal is addressed.” Furthermore, veterinarians “should discourage inaccurate or misleading descriptions.”

In addition to the policy, delegates approved three recommendations to the AVMA Board of Directors regarding assistance animals. The House recommended creating educational materials on assistance animals to educate the public, veterinarians, businesses, and human medical professionals; advocating for unified definitions for service, assistance, and emotional support animals; and creating a working group that includes human health care providers to develop communication materials in support of the exchange of information between human health care providers and veterinarians.

The AVMA has created a webpage, available at http://jav.ma/animalassist, that provides an overview of service, emotional support, and therapy animals, with a link to the April 2017 AVMA report on “Assistance Animals: Rights of Access and the Problem of Fraud.” Also being developed is an AVMA brochure with guidance for veterinarians on assistance and therapy animals.


The AVMA report on assistance animals discusses the “perceived increase in problems caused by people fraudulently identifying their pet as an assistance animal to gain access and/or avoid pet fees.” According to the report: “This has led to calls for more regulations related to obtaining and identifying an assistance animal. Opponents, however, argue that a case can be made for permitting public access to any animal that accompanies a person and provides them some benefit, including companion animals, so long as those that are unsuitable, uncontrolled or dangerous are identified and denied access.”

According to the report: “Part of the problem is that the lack of a centralized or standardized form of proof that can be used to ascertain an assistance animal's status makes fraudulent animals difficult to identify. The ADA does not require any standardized training or certification program for service animals, nor does it require the handler to provide any form of documentation stating the necessity for a service animal. Such documentation is considered a barrier or unreasonable burden that could limit access to a service animal. Conversely, people who use ESAs may need to provide documentation stating the need for an ESA, but that documentation can be easily counterfeited.”

Approaches to remedying current challenges could include reconciling conflicts in federal and state laws, having clear and consistent definitions, reducing availability of fraudulent materials, increasing access for companion animals in housing and public spaces, and increasing access for emotional support animals.


The Veterinarian's Role in Supporting Appropriate Selection and Use of Service, Assistance and Therapy Animals

Service, assistance and therapy animals provide valuable help, support, and comfort for people. Once it has been determined that use of a service, assistance, or therapy animal is appropriate, veterinarians have a role in assisting their clients in selecting the right animal for the right task, recommending that the animal receives appropriate training for its intended role, and ensuring that the health and welfare of that animal is addressed.

The AVMA encourages veterinarians to be familiar with the legal status and protections accorded to service, assistance, and therapy animals and their owners, and should discourage inaccurate or misleading descriptions of these animals’ roles (e.g., “emotional support animals” status should be supported by a statement of need from a licensed mental health professional). Veterinarians should work collaboratively with their human health and other human service-provider colleagues in developing and supporting guidance for the appropriate use of animals for therapeutic purposes and to assist people with disabilities.

Garry Adams receives AVMA Award

By Katie Burns


Dr. L. Garry Adams

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 251, 6; 10.2460/javma.251.6.612

Dr. L. Garry Adams values collaboration to achieve greater goals in research and organized veterinary medicine. On July 22 at AVMA Convention 2017, he received the AVMA Award for his contributions in the latter arena.

In 2012, Dr. Adams received the AVMA Lifetime Excellence in Research Award. Throughout his career in academia at Texas A&M University, the professor also has been active in the AVMA and other veterinary organizations.

Dr. Sam G. Miller Jr. nominated Dr. Adams for the AVMA Award on behalf of the Texas VMA. Dr. Miller wrote, “One of the most accomplished veterinary professionals in the world, Dr. Adams is also one of the nicest, most unassuming individuals I have had the pleasure of meeting during my career in veterinary medicine. He is truly one of those people who leads by example and whose quiet confidence has helped build and strengthen the reputation of every organization that has had the privilege of his service.”

Dr. Adams grew up in a small mountain town in Texas, and he always had livestock and pets. He worked for two local practitioners who encouraged him to attend Texas A&M to become a veterinarian.

At the university, he earned his veterinary degree in 1964 and his doctorate in veterinary anatomic pathology in 1968, then joined the faculty. Working with the Rockefeller Foundation and U.S. Agency for International Development, he went to Colombia to develop diagnostic tests and vaccines for anaplasmosis, babesiosis, and trypanosomiasis. Along the way, he became a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists. He returned to campus after five years to teach pathology and continue studying infectious diseases.

Dr. Adams’ research has focused on diseases such as brucellosis, tuberculosis, and salmonellosis. When pathogen meets host, he said, there are spectacular lesions and specific patterns and reactions. He said, “This is a very remarkable interaction of two different organisms, two different genomes. It's a genome-to-genome interaction, and as a consequence of that, both have survived for a long, long time. How did this occur, why did it occur, and how can we know more about it—and perhaps unbalance the interaction of host and pathogen in favor of the host?”

In the past decade, researchers have begun to understand the interaction on a molecular level. Dr. Adams’ curiosity keeps getting deeper.

Dr. Adams said he is engaged in the AVMA because of his commitment to the veterinary profession. He has been a member of the Council on Research, Council on Education, and Committee on International Veterinary Affairs. He served on the working group that developed the concept for the AVMA Animal Health Studies Database launched last summer, and he served on the organizing committee for the AVMA Global Food Security Summit held early this year.

With the Texas VMA, Dr. Adams has been a member of the Research Committee for many years. Among other activities in organized veterinary medicine, he served on the board of directors of the American Association of Veterinary Immunologists.

Dr. Adams lives by a “team of teams” collaborative approach to complex issues. He relies on his personal team, faith team, academic team, and professional team. To share some of his thoughts on collaboration in research, he published “Putting together a scientific team: collaborative science” in the September 2014 issue of Trends in Microbiology.

He encourages his students to stay engaged in the veterinary profession through local, state, and national associations. Through organized veterinary medicine, he has formed lifelong networks and continues to find inspiration from interacting with his colleagues.

AVMA recognizes excellence in veterinary medicine

Awardees have made contributions in animal welfare, public service, international veterinary medicine, leadership training

During AVMA Convention 2017 this July in Indianapolis, the AVMA bestowed awards to recognize excellence in veterinary medicine.

Dr. L. Garry Adams received the AVMA Award (see page 618), and the AVMA Meritorious Service Award went to Dr. Bruce Kaplan (see page 621). Following are some key achievements of the other award recipients.

AVMA Animal Welfare Award

This award recognizes an AVMA member for accomplishments in the field of animal welfare involving leadership, public service, research, education, or advocacy.

Dr. Hans Coetzee

Dr. Coetzee heads the Department of Anatomy and Physiology at the Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine. His interests include the development of pain assessment techniques and practical analgesic drug regimens for food-producing animals.

After earning his veterinary degree from the University of Pretoria in South Africa in 1996, Dr. Coetzee worked in mixed animal practice in Northern Ireland and then in pharmaceutical research and development at Norbrook Laboratories Ltd. He received a certificate in Cattle Health and Production from the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons in 2000 and a doctorate in veterinary microbiology from Iowa State University in 2005. He is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Clinical Pharmacology, American College of Animal Welfare, and European College of Animal Welfare and Behavioural Medicine. He has also published more than 110 peer-reviewed scientific papers and received more than $10 million in research funding.

AVMA Humane Award

This award recognizes a nonveterinarian for accomplishments in the field of animal welfare involving leadership, public service, research, education, or advocacy.

Joan Miller

Miller has been an advocate for the health and well-being of cats for more than 45 years. During the 1970s and l980s, she was known for her award-winning Abyssinian cats and became a Cat Fanciers’ Association judge of all breeds, retiring with emeritus status in 2013. She also was a board member of the CFA for 25 years.

From 1980–1996, Miller served as president of the Winn Feline Foundation, which funds feline health research. She then focused on cat population problems, including shelter issues and free-roaming unowned cats. In 1996, she coordinated a national workshop on feral cats.

Miller has been engaged in legislative advocacy for pet ownership, education programs for the general public at cat shows and pet expos, and shelter presentations on handling difficult cats and has served as a lecturer at the University of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.

AVMA Public Service Award

This award recognizes an AVMA member for outstanding public service while an employee of a government agency or for education of veterinarians in public service activities.

Dr. Valerie Ragan

Dr. Ragan (Georgia ‘83) is director of the Center for Public and Corporate Veterinary Medicine at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine. She focuses on veterinary public practice, including providing opportunities for student engagement in national and international veterinary and animal health organizations. She provides counseling and training for veterinarians wishing to make career changes. She also works around the world on the control and eradication of brucellosis and on projects related to building veterinary capacity.

Starting out as a small animal practitioner, Dr. Ragan transitioned to Veterinary Services with the Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. She rose to assistant deputy administrator of Veterinary Services, serving as the national coordinator of animal health surveillance and establishing the National Surveillance Unit at the USDA Center for Epidemiology and Animal Health. She then led a veterinary consulting company engaged in resolving animal health issues and building international veterinary capacity.

AVMA XIIth International Veterinary Congress Prize

This award recognizes an AVMA member who has contributed to international understanding of veterinary medicine.

Dr. Andrew Clark

After earning his veterinary degree from Michigan State University in 1964, Dr. Clark served a Peace Corps assignment in what is now Tanzania. The assignment led to a 26-year international career, primarily in eastern and southern Africa and also in North Africa and the Near East. His work in Africa involved disease control in large populations of animals. As a veterinary officer in Tanzania, Dr. Clark was responsible for the health concerns of approximately 1 million cattle and 1 million sheep and goats, along with thousands of donkeys. In the late 1960s, he was involved with the initial efforts to eradicate rinderpest.

Dr. Clark went on to a 22-year career with the Oregon Department of Agriculture that ended with the role of state veterinarian. After retirement, he worked with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Egypt regarding highly pathogenic avian influenza and with the USDA and U.S. Agency for International Development in Nairobi.

AVMA President's Award

Dr. Tom Meyer, 2016–17 AVMA president, chose the recipients of this award, which is for individuals or groups that have made a positive impact on health, veterinary organizations, or the profession.

Dr. Robert Kit Flowers

Dr. Flowers (Colorado State ‘78), executive director of the Christian Veterinary Mission, started his career in private practice in Walla Walla, Washington, followed by service as a captain in the Air Force based at Tyndall Air Force Base in Panama City, Florida. He subsequently opened a mixed animal practice in Panama City. He and his wife, Jan, did a short-term service trip to Haiti with the Christian Veterinary Mission, an organization founded in 1976 in response to a need in the developing world for training in animal health.

Dr. Flowers and his family then committed to long-term service in veterinary relief and development work in Kenya with the mission, serving with the Maasai people from 1985–90. Dr. Flowers returned to join the mission staff in Seattle. He has been the organization's president and executive director for nearly 25 years.

Dr. Richard DeBowes

Dr. DeBowes (Illinois ‘79) is a professor of equine surgery and director of the Professional Life Skills program at the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine. He oversees the curriculum in practice management and teaches courses on leadership and clinical communication. He helped fund, develop, promote, and host the Cougar Orientation and Leadership Experience at WSU and the Veterinary Leadership Experience, a leadership training program for veterinary students and others.

Previously, Dr. DeBowes served as associate dean for veterinary development and external relations at WSU and chairman of the departments of clinical sciences at the Kansas State University and WSU veterinary colleges. He is a diplomate and former regent of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons. He has presented more than 400 programs on leadership, teamwork, communication, and organizational culture in 28 countries.

Kathleen Ruby, PhD

Dr. Ruby is a licensed professional clinical counselor with more than 35 years of experience in the counseling and educational fields. For the past 20 years, she has been on the faculty at the WSU College of Veterinary Medicine, where she has served as the director of counseling and wellness. In this capacity, she has worked with students and faculty to improve the culture of veterinary training and to create programs that enhance professional and personal well-being and emotional competence within the veterinary profession. These programs include training veterinary students in the realm of end-of-life care and personal leadership training.

Dr. Ruby helped develop the Veterinary Leadership Experience, a leadership training program for veterinary students and others, to teach psychological flexibility and enhance self-awareness and mindfulness in veterinary professionals. She also was the founding editor-in-chief of Veterinary Team Brief.

Meritorious Service Award goes to Kaplan

The AVMA presented its Meritorious Service Award to Dr. Bruce Kaplan, a staunch advocate of the one-health concept, July 22 at AVMA Convention 2017.

The Meritorious Service Award is conferred on a veterinarian who has brought honor and distinction to the veterinary profession through personal, professional, or community service activities outside organized veterinary medicine and research.

Dr. Kaplan (Auburn ‘63), a retired veterinarian, formerly worked as a writer, editor, and consultant on public affairs. He resides in Florida and devotes his time to promoting the one-health movement with Laura H. Kahn, MD; Thomas P. Monath, MD; Jack Woodall, PhD; and Dr. Lisa A. Conti, a veterinarian.


Dr. Bruce Kaplan

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 251, 6; 10.2460/javma.251.6.612

The one-health concept is that human, animal, and environmental health are inextricably interconnected. Dr. Kaplan is the primary content manager for the One Health Initiative website, www.onehealthinitiative.com, and serves as contributing editor on the editorial board of the One Health Newsletter. He also serves on the scientific advisory board of Veterinaria Italiana; the editorial advisory board of Infection, Ecology & Epidemiology; and the board of the American Veterinary Epidemiology Society.

Dr. Kaplan practiced small animal medicine for 23 years. He held positions in public health with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as an epidemiologist and with the Department of Agriculture's Office of Public Health and Science. He also served as the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service public affairs specialist in California for 14 Western states, and he wrote a JAVMA News column on food safety.

For Topper, leadership development is job one

AVMA's new president wants to ensure profession's future

Story and photos by R. Scott Nolen

Training veterinary leaders to ensure the future of the profession will be Dr. Michael Topper's top priority as AVMA president.

In his address to the AVMA House of Delegates on July 21 in Indianapolis, the retired Army colonel outlined the focus of his presidency in the coming year. In addition to leadership development, Dr. Topper will use his office to address shortages in the federal veterinary workforce, strengthen AVMA leadership in the one-health movement, and promote member wellness.

“One thing I learned in my 22 years as an officer in the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps is that a successful leader takes care of their troops,” he said. “This conviction has guided me throughout my career in both the paid and volunteer workforce, and it is why I embrace the principles of servant leadership.”

He succeeded Dr. Tom Meyer as AVMA president at the conclusion of AVMA Convention 2017 on July 25.

Dr. Topper enlisted in the Army Veterinary Corps in 1980 after receiving his DVM degree from the University of Georgia. He worked in various capacities during his military career and was running the pathology division at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research when he retired from the Army in 2002. A board-certified veterinary pathologist, Dr. Topper is currently director of clinical pathology at Merck Research Laboratories in West Point, Pennsylvania.

For the workplace, the key priorities of servant leadership, Dr. Topper explained, are developing people, building a trusting team, and achieving results; the key principles are service first, persuasion, and empowerment; and the key practices are listening, delegating, and connecting followers to the mission. He said the AVMA can do more in promoting leadership development, specifically by helping veterinary practice owners develop team-building and team-leadership skills.


Dr. Michael Topper

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 251, 6; 10.2460/javma.251.6.612

“By better utilizing the annual Veterinary Leadership Conference, our Future Leaders Program, and our Early Career Development Committee; by expanding our partnership with the Women's Veterinary Leadership Development Initiative and other leadership programs; and by improving existing seminars, workshops, and online leadership training, we can better meet this need for our members and for our principal and constituent allied veterinary organizations,” Dr. Topper said.

“And so, let's work together and make the AVMA the center of excellence for veterinary leadership development for our next generation of leaders,” he added.

The AVMA also must continue to work on finding ways of growing the federal veterinary workforce, according to Dr. Topper. There is an ongoing concern that federal agencies lack sufficient numbers of veterinarians necessary to mount an effective response to a highly contagious or economically devastating animal disease, he said.

“We can do our part by advocating for the creation of new jobs and increased responsibilities in all public practice areas,” Dr. Topper said. “We also have two resolutions before this body that call for assistance in supporting the federal veterinary workforce.” (See “USDA recruiting for slaughter inspectors” on page 628.)

Regarding one health, Dr. Topper believes the AVMA should strengthen its commitment to the movement. “Ultimately, people and animals rely on the environment for their nourishment and survival, and it's these interconnections that make the practice of one health so critically important for each of us,” he said.

Dr. Topper highlighted AVMA initiatives promoting veterinary wellness and well-being such as “Question, Persuade, and Refer” training to identify those at risk of suicide; the AVMA Wellness and Well-being community on LinkedIn; and cyberbullying resources. The AVMA is working with veterinarians in the United Kingdom and Australia on enhancing outreach in this critical area, he added.

Dr. Topper concluded his HOD address by encouraging his colleagues to “own” their profession.

“If we veterinarians do not own the professional issues dealing with the diverse practice of veterinary medicine, somebody else will. We must own advocacy at the state and national levels to prevent legislators from telling us how to treat animals. We must own production animal welfare to prevent consumers and retailers from telling us the best way to humanely raise these animals. We must own being the public face of veterinary medicine to prevent others from being the go-to source for information,” he explained.


Dr. Michael Topper outlines his priorities as president in his address to the AVMA House of Delegates in Indianapolis.

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 251, 6; 10.2460/javma.251.6.612

“Owning it may force us out of our comfort zone because it will mean being proactive and not reactive, and being willing to take on challenges that are best for the profession,” Dr. Topper said. “But I believe we have it in us.”

House fills council, HAC seats

In Indianapolis, the House of Delegates filled vacancies on AVMA councils and the House Advisory Committee. The results are as follows.

Council on Biologic and Therapeutic Agents

Dr. Brian Lubbers, Manhattan, Kansas, representing pharmacology; Dr. Brad Tanner, Lexington, Kentucky, representing private clinical practice, predominantly equine; and Dr. Bruce Coston, Woodstock, Virginia, representing private clinical practice, predominantly small animal

Council on Public Health and Regulatory Veterinary Medicine

Dr. Christopher Olsen, Madison, Wisconsin, representing agricultural agencies; and Drs. Allan Drusys, Riverside, California; Patricia McKane, Lansing, Michigan; and Misha Robyn, Decatur, Georgia, each representing public health agencies or uniformed services

Council on Research

Drs. Alicia Bertone, Columbus, Ohio; Kristin Evans, Davis, California; Mark Suckow, Minneapolis; and Katrina Taylor, Princeton, New Jersey, each representing veterinary medical research

Council on Veterinary Service

Dr. Robert Sager, Wilsall, Montana, representing private practice, predominantly food animal; Dr. Duane Colmey, Livingston, Montana, representing private mixed practice; and Dr. Manuel Himenes, Kailua, Hawaii, representing private practice, predominantly equine

Judicial Council

Dr. George Cuellar, Woodland Hills, California, representing members at large

House Advisory Committee

Dr. James Brett, Mississippi State, Mississippi, representing members at large

At the subsequent HAC meeting, members of the advisory committee elected Dr. Douglas Kratt, of Onalaska, Wisconsin, as chair and Dr. Sandra Faeh, of River Forest, Illinois, as vice chair.

Delegates make de Jong AVMA president-elect

Story and photos by R. Scott Nolen


Dr. John de Jong speaks to the AVMA House of Delegates about his priorities when he becomes AVMA president in 2018. Beside him is his son Jack.

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 251, 6; 10.2460/javma.251.6.612

The AVMA House of Delegates elected former Board of Directors chair Dr. John de Jong as 2017–18 AVMA president-elect during the House's regular annual session July 21 in Indianapolis.

A companion animal veterinarian and practice owner from Weston, Massachusetts, Dr. de Jong will succeed AVMA President Michael Topper at the conclusion of AVMA Convention 2018 in Denver.

Joined by his wife, Carole, and their sons Jack and Sam, Dr. de Jong thanked delegates for their confidence in his leadership. “I stand before you exceptionally honored and humbled to be elected. Besides being one of the greatest moments of professional life, this is one of the greatest moments of my entire life,” he said.

“We serve in the most noble and honorable profession, serving animals and mankind, and have a profound impact on the world around us,” Dr. de Jong continued. “There are always challenges to face and conquer. No one president of the AVMA can do it alone. We have to protect, promote, and advance our profession collaboratively and, as an association, focus on our members’ needs and what they want from us.

“In the past, we've identified advocacy, education, and economics as the three most important roles for the AVMA. It is these three areas I would like to focus my attention on, especially on advocacy.

“We desperately need to be a bigger national presence, and I look forward to making the acronym ‘AVMA’ known to most of the American public. I want the public to have greater understanding of, and respect for, the breadth of veterinary medicine. I believe that in achieving that, we'll find greater economic security and a healthier pathway for those entering the profession that currently find themselves saddled with enormous debt.”

Dr. de Jong received his veterinary degree in 1985 from the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. He owns the Boston Mobile Veterinary Clinic and Newton Animal Hospital in Newton, Massachusetts.

His commitment to the AVMA spans nearly two decades, beginning in 1999 as the alternate delegate from Massachusetts in the HOD. Within four years, Dr. de Jong would become his home state's delegate. Of the 12 years Dr. de Jong spent in the House, eight were as a member of the House Advisory Committee, including as chair.

In 2010, Dr. de Jong overcame a challenger to represent Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont on the AVMA Board. He spent his final year with the Board as chair.

Additionally, Dr. de Jong is a past president of the Massachusetts and New England VMAs as well as the American Association of Housecall Veterinarians. He is on the board of trustees at Tufts University and serves on the board of advisors for the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University.

Schmidt gives last treasurer's address

By Malinda Larkin

Dr. Barbara A. Schmidt leaves the AVMA in sound fiscal shape after her six-year tenure as treasurer. In her last address before the AVMA House of Delegates on July 21, she reported that net revenue from operations was just over $1.5 million at year-end 2016. After deducting expenses approved from reserves, net income over expenses was almost $1.4 million. The reserve balance has a little more than $41 million. Plus, the 2017 annual operating budget shows a balanced budget, with revenues just over $36.8 million and expenses just over $36.7 million. Sixty-eight percent of the AVMA's annual revenue is from membership dues, “but the Veterinary Career Center continues to play a significant role in nondues revenue,” Dr. Schmidt said, and the AVMA would like to see income from nondues revenue continue to increase from a variety of other product and service offerings.

Dr. Schmidt, a 1984 graduate of Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine, served as alternate delegate and delegate representing Kentucky to the HOD from 2002–11. Representing equine private practice, Dr. Schmidt was the first female member of the House Advisory Committee, serving from 2007–11 and as chair from 2009–10. She also was the first female treasurer when she was elected to the position in 2010.

“I've learned so much from so many in the profession—from leaders, volunteers, fellow Board members, officers, and highly qualified, committed professional staff. They are all truly inspirational to me,” she said. “To see veterinarians so engaged and passionate about the profession, it's inspirational. And to work with staff and volunteers, not many associations have that level of camaraderie and collaboration.”

Going forward, Dr. Schmidt plans to stay busy in Union, Kentucky, where she practices equine medicine full time and owns and manages Bridlewood Farm with her husband, Frederick Abblett.

Dr. Schmidt said one of her biggest achievements was working with other Board members to adopt a less conservative asset allocation and alignment policy and to hire Bernstein Global Wealth Management as the AVMA investment adviser. She also made it so that the treasurer chairs the Board of Directors’ Budget and Financial Review Committee instead of the Board chair, along with empowering the committee to look at Board recommendations with financial implications prior to Board meetings.


Dr. Barbara A. Schmidt has completed her term as AVMA treasurer after six years in the position. (Photo by R. Scott Nolen)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 251, 6; 10.2460/javma.251.6.612

“This allows the Board to become more agile, offering more strategic alignment as we allocate and prioritize our resources. It's all about providing the absolute best member value that we can,” she said.

Her advice to the incoming treasurer, Dr. Arnold Goldman, who served as Connecticut alternate delegate, is to prioritize AVMA resources to do the right projects, the right way, for the right reasons.

“What does success look like and how is it measured? Always ask those questions, and when those answers are evident, you're ready to craft a plan to move forward,” she said.

Candidates introduce themselves in Indy

Howe, Demaree seek AVMA presidency, Bransford vice presidency

Story and photos by R. Scott Nolen

Three veterinarians launched their campaigns for the AVMA presidency and vice presidency during the Candidates’ Introductory Breakfast July 21 in Indianapolis. Drs. John Howe and Angela Demaree are vying for the office of 2018–19 president-elect, while Dr. Grace Bransford is running for 2018–20 vice president.

Elections will be held next July during the AVMA House of Delegates’ regular annual session in Denver.

First to speak was Dr. Howe, a mixed animal practitioner and former practice owner from Grand Rapids, Minnesota. He likened the AVMA to a bridge that not only links the veterinary profession to the veterinarian but also bypasses obstacles to their success. “My vision for AVMA consists of strengthening this bridge,” Dr. Howe said.

“AVMA must continue to be the bridge that holds us together with shared goals and objectives, and AVMA must continue to strive for diversity and inclusiveness because that makes us stronger,” he explained. “Listening to the concerns of membership is part of maintaining the integrity and effectiveness of the AVMA.”

Since 2012, Dr. Howe has represented Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota on the AVMA Board of Directors. He has also served on several AVMA committees and currently chairs the State Advocacy Committee.

A 1977 graduate of the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Howe spent seven years on the governor-appointed Minnesota Board of Animal Health and was president of the Minnesota VMA, which has endorsed his candidacy for AVMA president-elect.


Dr. John Howe

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 251, 6; 10.2460/javma.251.6.612


Dr. Angela Demaree

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 251, 6; 10.2460/javma.251.6.612


Dr. Grace Bransford

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 251, 6; 10.2460/javma.251.6.612

“I can personally relate to many of your concerns and challenges because I have experienced them,” Dr. Howe said. “I am familiar with AVMA operations, and I am an advocate for unity in our profession as we cross our bridge and confront our challenges together.”

Next to speak was Dr. Demaree, whose candidacy is endorsed by the Indiana VMA. The sixth-generation Hoosier and Indianapolis native credited determination and commitment to service—core values instilled in her at an early age—for her career in veterinary medicine and the U.S. Army Reserve Veterinary Corps.

Advocacy remains the top concern of AVMA members, according to Dr. Demaree, a former associate director of the AVMA Governmental Relations Division. “(E)nsuring we are effective advocates for the profession and small business owners will remain a top priority as your 2018 president-elect,” she said.

“By using the skill sets that we know veterinarians are best trained for—working together, embracing our diversity, and thinking outside of the box—we can ensure that we will have a sustainable and thriving veterinary profession for generations to come,” Dr. Demaree said.

After receiving her veterinary degree from Purdue University in 2002, Dr. Demaree practiced companion animal and equine medicine before joining the AVMA staff in 2007. Three years later, she joined the Indiana Horse Racing Commission as its equine medical director.

In 2009, Dr. Demaree was commissioned as an officer in the Army Reserve Veterinary Corps, and in 2012, she was deployed to Kuwait in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. She is currently a major in the Army Reserve.

“Our members want the AVMA to continue to provide resources on how to make health and wellness a priority, not just for our patients but also for us, the busy professionals who often put the needs of others above our own,” Dr. Demaree said. “As your 2018 president-elect, health and wellness will remain a top priority.”

The final speaker, Dr. Bransford, is so far the only candidate for the office of AVMA vice president, currently held by Dr. Stacy Pritt, who is in the final year of her term. The vice president is the Association's official liaison to the Student AVMA and its chapters and is a voting member on the AVMA Board.

Veterinary student debt and wellness are the key issues Dr. Bransford would focus on as vice president. She is a 1998 graduate of the University of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and owns a small animal practice in San Anselmo, California.

Dr. Bransford has served on several AVMA entities, including the 20/20 Vision Commission and the Task Force on Governance and Membership Participation, and is currently a member of the Council on Veterinary Service. Prior to becoming a veterinarian, she worked in advertising for some of the top advertising agencies in the country.

“What do I have to offer?” Dr. Bransford asked. “I have the skills and knowledge from a decade in marketing and advertising working on leading brands. I have nearly 20 years of AVMA volunteer experience working with many different AVMA volunteer staff entities. I've worked in the profession for nearly two decades as an associate and practice owner. And I have the ability to integrate and leverage the unique combination of skills to help drive AVMA's efforts for students and schools forward.”

AVMA helping veterinarians take on telemedicine

By Katie Burns

The AVMA is providing guidance and soon a toolkit to help veterinarians take on telemedicine in practice.

On July 21 at its regular annual session in Indianapolis, the AVMA House of Delegates passed a policy on telemedicine and accompanying revisions to the Model Veterinary Practice Act, which is a model for state practice acts.

Dr. Lori Teller, District VIII representative on the AVMA Board of Directors, said ahead of the regular annual session of the House that the AVMA has spent more than two years thoughtfully and thoroughly considering the potential impacts of telemedicine on the public and the profession. She updated HOD members on the Association's activities in the area of telemedicine.

In 2016, the AVMA Practice Advisory Panel completed a comprehensive report on telemedicine. In 2017, the Association solicited feedback on the report from members, stakeholders, and the general public. The “Policy on Telemedicine” draws on the report and the feedback.

“Telemedicine is a tool that may be utilized to augment the practice of veterinary medicine,” according to the policy. “The AVMA is committed to ensuring access to the convenience and benefits afforded by telemedicine, while promoting the responsible provision of high quality veterinary medical care.”

Per the policy, “Given the current state of technological capabilities, available research, and the current state and federal regulatory landscape, the AVMA believes that veterinary telemedicine should only be conducted within an existing Veterinarian-Client-Patient Relationship (VCPR), with the exception for advice given in an emergency until that patient can be seen by a veterinarian.”

According to language added to the Model Veterinary Practice Act in 2003, “A veterinarian-client-patient relationship cannot be established solely by telephonic or other electronic means.” Much of the telemedicine policy offers guidance on the VCPR in the context of telemedicine.

The new policy also states, “Telemedicine regulations should be harmonized across the nation and strongly enforced to protect patient and public safety.”

In a separate action, the House revised the Model Veterinary Practice Act to reflect the new telemedicine policy.

The telemedicine policy notes that federal law requires a VCPR for prescribing drugs in an extralabel manner for animals and issuing veterinary feed directives. Dr. Teller said in her update that the Food and Drug Administration currently does not allow for the VCPR to be established by electronic or telephonic means.

According to the policy, “The AVMA recognizes that future policy in this area will be informed by evidence-based research on the impact of telemedicine on access to care and patient safety.”

The AVMA is developing an extensive toolkit and guidelines for members who are interested in using telemedicine in practice, Dr. Teller said. The toolkit and guidelines will include information on policies, laws, and regulations; potential applications; an FAQ; descriptions of various service models; and guidance on monetization. The goal is to have the first phase available by September and the remainder by June 2018.

The AVMA also is in the process of notifying pertinent associations and government agencies about the new policy.

USDA recruiting for slaughter inspection

By Katie Burns

The Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service posted flyers everywhere at AVMA Convention 2017, this past July in Indianapolis, as part of a hiring event to recruit veterinarians for slaughter inspection. Meeting ahead of the convention, the AVMA House of Delegates approved a policy on “The Importance of Veterinarians in Food Safety.”

Delegates also approved a policy on “The Importance of Federal Veterinarians in Emergency Response” to support USDA recruitment of veterinarians for disease response and other emergency response. The National Association of Federal Veterinarians submitted both policies as resolutions.

The policy on food safety reads as follows:

The Importance of Veterinarians in Food Safety

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) supports the United States Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service 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:

  1. 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;

  2. Remuneration and incentives of SPHVs must be immediately improved to be commensurate with their extensive education and expertise and to be competitive with the private sector;

  3. Administrative time and support for annual professional continuing education and training are essential to retaining SPHVs.

Dr. Michael J. Gilsdorf, NAFV senior staff veterinarian, said in a statement after the convention, “NAFV has been working towards resolving these veterinary workforce issues for several years. It wasn't until FSIS started placing lay inspectors into vacant veterinary positions that NAFV members decided to start working outside the agency to gather support to help FSIS permanently resolve the chronic Supervisory Public Health Veterinarian (SPHV) vacancy issues.”

The current vacancy rate for FSIS public health veterinarians is 12 percent, Dr. Gilsdorf said.

The policy on emergency response reads as follows:

The Importance of Federal Veterinarians in Emergency Response

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.

Policy addresses therapeutic use of stem cells, regenerative medicine

The AVMA House of Delegates passed a new policy July 21 on “Therapeutic Use of Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine.”

According to the policy: “Regenerative medicine is defined as the use of biological therapies including platelet rich-plasma, pluripotent stem cells, and multipotent stem cells to effect therapeutic benefit in disease states. While regenerative medicine holds promise of improvements in the treatment of a variety of diseases, many of which lack adequately effective treatments, questions remain. The AVMA supports the continued scientific development of these modalities while at the same time encouraging its members to employ caution with respect to their use.

“While data continue to accumulate suggesting therapeutic benefit from regenerative medicine, published peer-reviewed studies definitively documenting benefit are still lacking for many diseases. Nor has a scientific consensus for stem cell type, stem cell origin, dosage, transfer media, or method of administration been developed for each disease being treated. Despite these scientific insufficiencies, the adoption of regenerative medicine in the veterinary profession has grown rapidly. Unfortunately, some therapies being propounded and the processes and equipment being sold have outpaced the science which supports them. Veterinarians have few guidelines and limited resources for differentiating valid and effective therapies from ones which have insufficient data supporting the processes and/or therapies. Therefore, it is incumbent upon veterinarians engaged in regenerative therapies to be well versed in the emerging science of the field in order to successfully select the specific therapeutic protocols, processes, equipment, and vendors most likely to result in clinical benefit for their patients.”

The policy lists nine considerations for use of regenerative medicine by veterinarians. The full text is available at http://jav.ma/stemcellpolicy.

House passes proposals on end-of-life care, SAVMA, allied groups

The AVMA House of Delegates approved a policy on end-of-life care for companion animals and approved bylaws amendments regarding the Student AVMA and allied veterinary organizations.

The AVMA Board of Directors had submitted a revised version of the existing “Policy on Veterinary Hospice Care” to the House. Delegates renamed the policy as “Veterinary End-of-Life Care” and made corresponding changes in the text of the policy.

On recommendation of the AVMA Steering Committee on Human-Animal Interactions, the policy now states that the AVMA endorses the 2016 guidelines on end-of-life care from the American Animal Hospital Association and the International Association for Animal Hospice and Palliative Care.

The revised policy outlines the concept of veterinary end-of-life care as “the provision of palliative care (including medications) for the remainder of a pet's life followed by humane euthanasia if an acceptable quality of life can no longer be maintained.” The policy specifies that advice on veterinary care should be provided only by veterinary professionals, and veterinarians should be empowered as animal advocates in end-of-life care facilities for animals.

The House approved a bylaws amendment paving the way for transfer of the student chapters of the AVMA to the Student AVMA. The goal is to streamline the structure of organized veterinary medicine for students and eliminate confusion. The amendment removed the student chapters of the AVMA from the AVMA Bylaws and authorized SAVMA to establish chapters. All student chapters of the AVMA and their assets will be transferred to SAVMA.

Delegates also approved a bylaws amendment clarifying the process for an allied group to meet the requirements to maintain a seat in the House. Each allied group generally must have a voting membership that includes at least 1 percent of all voting members of the AVMA. The amendment, referring to the overall AVMA membership count, states, “The number of AVMA voting members for a calendar year shall be calculated as of the date of March 31 of that year.” The amendment allows organizations that are unable to maintain the 1 percent requirement as of July 1 of any year, starting in 2018, to have one year from the end of the summer session of the House to meet the requirement.

AVMA providing guidance on handling of pet remains

By Katie Burns

The AVMA has adopted a policy and is creating educational materials to provide guidance to veterinarians on the handling of companion animal remains.

On July 21, the AVMA House of Delegates approved a resolution establishing the new policy “Handling of Companion Animal Remains.” The forthcoming educational materials will advise veterinarians on the sensitive handling of pets’ remains and selection of suitable vendors for services such as cremation, burial, and animal memorials.

Emily Patterson-Kane, PhD, an animal welfare scientist with the AVMA Animal Welfare Division, said fraud has sometimes occurred in the cremation of human and animal remains because crematoriums are not always well-monitored or -regulated. According to the statement about the resolution, “The AVMA has been monitoring reports about fraud and other improper handling of companion animal remains.” There are concerns about whether cremations of individual companion animals are being properly performed in all cases, and reports exist of dumped animal remains that were traced back to deceased pets sent for proper disposal.

The new policy reads as follows:

Handling of Companion Animal Remains

Veterinarians should recognize that an owner's attachment to an animal extends beyond death and that the sensitive handling of animal remains is an important aspect of veterinary practice. The AVMA recommends that veterinarians:

  • Encourage prior planning so that owners are aware of their options and can easily communicate their preferences.

  • Be aware of all legal restrictions relating to the disposition of remains and counsel owners accordingly.

  • Handle remains in a sensitive manner such that is not unnecessarily disturbing to the owner or any other person with a valid reason to see the remains and that provides adequate containment of the remains.

  • Use trustworthy service providers for postmortem care or interment of remains.

  • If receiving remains following cremation, inspect remains upon receipt from service provider to verify the requested services have been properly executed.

The educational materials will show veterinarians how to identify vendors for services such as cremation, burial, or animal memorials by direct assessment of vendors or checking whether vendors belong to a professional association and participate in a valid certification program. According to the statement about the resolution, “These materials will assist veterinarians by outlining a simple vendor selection and review process they can implement to protect their reputation from being damaged by working with a vendor that is fraudulent or disrespectful to their clients.”

Marijuana treatments, drug monitoring programs discussed

HOD Veterinary Information Forum also tackles telemedicine, use of service and assistance animals

By Malinda Larkin


(Photos by R. Scott Nolen)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 251, 6; 10.2460/javma.251.6.612

AVMA House of Delegates members want the Association to develop policies and further guidance on emerging issues affecting the profession, such as prescription drug monitoring programs and marijuana treatments for animals. Delegates say they've already fought battles in their state legislatures or had clients bring up these issues in their clinics.

These two topics were part of the third Veterinary Information Forum on July 20, an open discussion during which HOD members address high-profile issues brought by the delegates and their constituents, prior to the House's regular annual session. Other topics discussed were the application and definition of the veterinarian-client-patient relationship (see page 627) along with service and assistance animals (see page 612).

Cannabinoid therapy

On the topic of the use of marijuana in veterinary medicine, Dr. Michael Ames, Arizona delegate, pointed out that even though 29 states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for medical use—and nine of them have also legalized it for recreational use—it's still illegal at the federal level.

“So while it may be legal for you to use yourself, it's not legal to prescribe it to animals,” he said.

Dr. Dick Sullivan, California delegate, said, “We are definitely seeing an increase in toxicity cases. For that reason alone, we need research and our national association to write a letter or petition the FDA to allow us to do research and get good information to our clients because they are asking us, and our obligation, morally and ethically, is to address these cases.”

Because marijuana is a schedule I drug, it is difficult to procure for research applications. That said, Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences is conducting two clinical trials examining the efficacy of cannabidiol, a nonpsychoactive cannabinoid, one involving treatment of osteoarthritis and the other involving treatment of epilepsy in dogs. CSU is still recruiting animals for the studies. There is no estimated release date for the findings. For more information, visit bitly.com/csutrials.

The Colorado VMA has put out a position statement on the use of marijuana in veterinary medicine, available at http://colovma.org/marijuana-and-pets. And the AVMA Council on Biologic and Therapeutic Agents and the Clinical Practitioners Advisory Committee are looking at this issue.

Prescription drug monitoring programs

On the topic of PDMPs, Dr. Melanie Marsden, Colorado delegate, said the AVMA is aware of only one state, Missouri, that does not have a PDMP. Thirty-four states exempt veterinarians from reporting requirements in some manner, and six states along with the District of Columbia have laws requiring veterinarians to report dispensing of controlled substances, whether within 24 hours or as long as six months after dispensing. HOD members at the forum said they are concerned not only about burdens associated with reporting but also administrative and continuing education requirements as well as concerns of violating the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

Dr. Anne Del Borgo, Maine delegate, said that in her state, veterinarians have to red-flag patients, but they aren't told what constitutes a red flag. They also have no way of knowing whether clients are drug shopping, because there is no central database for reporting. Another problem: the state requires continuing education on opioid-related issues, but no such education exists right now. “If the AVMA could have webinar material, that would be great,” she said.


Dr. Rebecca Ruch-Gallie, Colorado alternate delegate, notes during the AVMA House of Delegate's Veterinary Information Forum on July 20 that Colorado State University is conducting clinical trials involving cannabidiol and dogs with arthritis and epilepsy.

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 251, 6; 10.2460/javma.251.6.612

Because Maine has seen a number of regulations in this area, the Maine VMA developed a draft position statement in June.

Some delegates suggested that practitioners should consider not prescribing opioids or controlled substances, or at least look at how often they are doing so.

While veterinarians may not be prescribing a substantial amount of these drugs, Dr. Marsden said, “It's important to keep in mind that one prescription can have an impact if it falls into the wrong hands.”

She continued, “I encourage every state to develop and maintain a relationship with state boards of pharmacy so that we have a voice, so that when this kind of legislation comes into our arena, it doesn't have unintended negative consequences.”

Dr. Mark Cox, Texas delegate, went further, saying, “We ask that the AVMA establish a policy on how we see ourselves (on this issue), hopefully excluded from prescription drug monitoring programs. Every state in the union has been faced with this at some point. If we don't have a directive or policy from our mother institution, we'll all fight this fight individually. Our request is development of a policy to give direction on how to work with PDMPs,” he said.

Dr. Arnold Goldman, then Connecticut alternate delegate and now AVMA treasurer, mentioned efforts by state legislatures to require all health practitioners, including veterinarians, to prescribe by electronic means even though veterinarians don't have software that interacts directly with pharmacies. The Connecticut VMA was able to get an exemption for its members.

“This would further tie our hands when treating patients,” he said. “I wouldn't be surprised if that's the next thing that's coming” in other states.

Other delegates did, in fact, mention difficulties in their states with legislatures. Twice in Texas, the state legislature has tried to require that its prescription drug monitoring program apply to veterinarians, but it failed both times.


Finally, on the topic of the application and definition of the VCPR, delegates discussed the fact that the AVMA and the Food and Drug Administration have different definitions of the VCPR. The main difference is that the AVMA has added a requirement to include veterinary oversight of treatment and outcome and that records be maintained. Dr. Steven Solomon, director of the FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine, said, “We recognize that the federal VCPR, the definition adopted by states, and the AVMA's are not all harmonized. That has the opportunity to create some confusion. We're open to discussing how to move forward to harmonize to the extent possible and that comes with a close working relationship with the AVMA.”

The AVMA Council on Veterinary Service will review the Association's model practice act starting next year, with the potential to include provisions on unlicensed practice, said Dr. Melanie Marsden, Colorado delegate.

Dr. Solomon added, “The veterinary profession continues to evolve, including the use of technologies such as telemedicine. We're committed to working with the AVMA to advance such technology but won't undermine the principles of the VCPR. Our current thinking is a VCPR cannot be established remotely, but once established, telemedicine can be a useful tool in maintaining a VCPR.”

The AVMA, too, takes the stance that veterinary telemedicine should be conducted only within an existing VCPR, with the exception for advice given in an emergency until that patient can be seen by a veterinarian (see page 627).

Jim Penrod, executive director of the American Association of Veterinary State Boards, said his organization feels it is important to establish a model policy to be used as an educational tool for state leaders so that regulations are not dictated to boards by uninformed forces.

“The AAVSB encourages timely exploration of pilot projects testing the using of telehealth technologies to ensure the health of the patient is met and standards of care are maintained,” he said.


Dr. Kathleen Smiler, Michigan delegate, gives her input during the forum. She says she knows of a neurologist who is already prescribing cannabis for ataxic dogs.

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 251, 6; 10.2460/javma.251.6.612

Action items

Following the forum, HOD members attended reference committee meetings, then reconvened July 21 and took the following relevant actions that were approved by the full House:

  • • Recommended the AVMA Board of Directors consider creating and disseminating informational pieces on the current legal status of cannabis as applied to practitioners; unified definitions of cannabis and its derivatives; current research available; and the signs, symptoms, and treatment of cannabis toxicosis in animals for both practitioners and clients.

  • • Recommended the Board investigate working with other research organizations and medical stakeholders to reclassify cannabis from schedule I to schedule II to facilitate research opportunities for veterinary and human medical uses.

  • • Recommended the Board encourage appropriate AVMA entities to develop model language pertaining to veterinarians’ involvement in state PDMPs and report back to the HOD during the 2018 regular annual session. Recommend that this includes the following as background: model language for waivers; information on how to positively interact with state boards of pharmacy; recommendations for reporting that are practical, reasonable, and realistic; development of appropriate software; methods for permanent identification for animals; veterinarians’ responsibility in monitoring; continuing education for veterinarians, such as best prescribing practices and identifying diversion and abuse; clarifying the differences between patients (in human medicine) and clients (in veterinary medicine) and the impact of HIPAA; and what happens with the information, such as who is tracking it or being notified.

Dr. Cathy Lund, Rhode Island delegate, said, “These topics in the Veterinary Information Forum underscore the essential fact that we need to be ahead of this as a leader. If we want to be relevant to the profession, we have to tackle these topics.”

Whitehair and Brown win top seats on AVMA Board

The AVMA Board of Directors elected Drs. Michael Whitehair and Gary Brown as chair and vice chair, respectively, while meeting July 25 in Indianapolis.

Dr. Whitehair is a mixed animal practitioner from Abilene, Kansas, who has served on the AVMA Board since 2012 when AVMA members in the District IX states of Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Utah elected him as their representative on the board. Dr. Whitehair joined the Board after spending some 13 years in the House of Delegates, where he was a member of the House Advisory Committee as well as its chair.

In 2008, Dr. Whitehair was part of the selection committee that chose Dr. Ron DeHaven as the new AVMA executive vice president and CEO. Dr. Whitehair chaired the committee that selected Dr. Janet Donlin to succeed Dr. DeHaven when he retired in 2016.

A 1974 graduate of the Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Whitehair is a partner in the Abilene Animal Hospital. His clinical interests include beef cattle, feedlot, and equine medicine. The practice also includes three veterinarians who are health and production consultants in swine medicine and three veterinarians who focus on companion animal medicine, surgery, and equine practice.


Dr. Michael Whitehair

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 251, 6; 10.2460/javma.251.6.612


Dr. Gary Brown

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 251, 6; 10.2460/javma.251.6.612

Dr. Brown is a 1984 graduate of the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine and owns a small animal practice in Princeton, West Virginia. He is a former president of the West Virginia VMA and for seven years was a member of the HOD. In 2008, Dr. Brown was elected to the first of his two terms as AVMA vice president. He joined the AVMA Board in 2013 as the District V representative for Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and West Virginia.

Case appointed to AVMF board

The AVMA Board of Directors appointed Dr. Heather Case, Crystal Lake, Illinois, to the American Veterinary Medical Foundation Board in June.

Education council members appointed

Four new members joined the AVMA Council on Education beginning with the new Association year in July.

The AVMA Council on Education Selection Committee appointed Dr. H. Jay Kerr, San Ramon, California, representing private clinical practice.

The Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges appointed Dr. Luke Heider, University of Prince Edward Island's Atlantic Veterinary College, representing veterinary preventive medicine, and Dr. Fern Tablin, University of California-Davis, representing basic science.

The COE also appointed Dr. John Gittleman, Athens, Georgia, as a public member.

Chairing the council will be Dr. Patrick Farrell, Russell, Pennsylvania, who represents private food animal clinical practice.

Pain control approved in a food animal

Topical flunixin solution has pain relief indication for foot rot in cattle

By Greg Cima

A topical NSAID is the first drug approved for use in cattle to control pain associated with foot rot, the first pain control approval in a food animal.

The drug also was approved to treat fever associated with bovine respiratory disease.

The Food and Drug Administration announced the approval July 25 of Banamine Transdermal, a prescription flunixin solution to be applied along the backs of cattle. It is approved for use in steers, beef heifers, beef cows, beef bulls, and replacement dairy heifers younger than 20 months of age. An injectable Banamine product, flunixin meglumine, already was approved for controlling fever associated with BRD.

Dr. Hans Coetzee, who represents the American Association of Bovine Practitioners on the AVMA Animal Welfare Committee and is head of the Department of Anatomy and Physiology at the Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine, said the approval is “a game changer” for managing pain in livestock.

Some compounds—including flunixin meglumine—have been recognized as pain relievers, he said. But none had label approval for analgesia in food-producing animals. With extralabel drug administration, veterinarians assume responsibility for adverse events and illegal residues in meat or milk, he said.

“Though we had some guidance on the drugs that we had available for analgesia, in terms of a residue or withdrawal period, we didn't specifically have that information down to the zero tolerance, and so that created some challenges for practitioners in terms of making these recommendations” for animal withholding periods, he said.

Dr. Renee Dewell, who has researched pain management in cattle and is a veterinary specialist in the Center for Food Security and Public Health at the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine, thinks the flunixin solution's approval to relieve pain in certain cattle with a specific condition may lead to additional drug approvals for pain relief indications. She said the transdermal application also could provide animal welfare and beef quality benefits since subcutaneous and intramuscular administration of flunixin meglumine are associated with tissue damage at injection sites and clostridial myositis.

“Hopefully, lesions associated with these types of injections will decrease now that a transdermal formulation is available,” she said.

Veterinarians have had few options for controlling pain in cattle, Dr. Dewell said. Meloxicam, another NSAID, has been used to alleviate pain associated with foot rot, with anecdotal reports of success, but that use requires extralabel administration. Certain drugs regulated as controlled substances likely are effective in reducing pain from foot rot, but they should not be left at clients’ facilities and should be administered only under a veterinarian's supervision, she said.

Gaining FDA approval as an analgesic required that pharmaceutical companies show their products reduce pain in the target species, which required development of validated methods of pain assessment, Dr. Coetzee said, citing agency guidance.

“For several years, my research group and others have worked on validating pain assessment endpoints that could potentially be used as part of a drug approval, and one of those endpoints, I believe, has been used successfully by Merck to get this drug approved,” he said.

Dr. Coetzee said he was involved in one set of studies that used a pressure-sensitive mat to assess changes in pressure applied, stride length, and contact area for each foot in response to administration of an analgesic drug. He also worked on a more recent study that suggested topical flunixin applied at the time of dehorning could provide some pain relief, although cortisol concentrations were similar in controls, which he attributed to the absence of local anesthetic during that study.

Dr. Coetzee said veterinarians have an obligation and oath to improve the welfare of animals under their care, and lack of approvals for pain relief indications has presented a challenge because advocating extralabel drug use required that veterinarians bear added responsibility.

“I think this really opens up an opportunity for us as veterinarians to have a conversation with producers about pain relief—routine use of pain relief drugs at the time of some of the management procedures that we commonly perform like dehorning and castration—and really engage them in a dialogue about incorporating some of this new analgesic technology at the time of these procedures in order to improve the welfare of animals under their care,” Dr. Coetzee said.

Red Cross offers online course on first aid for cats and dogs

The American Red Cross announced Aug. 8 the release of its new Cat and Dog First Aid online course to teach pet owners what to do in an emergency until veterinary care is available.

“It's so important for people to know what to do if a person is experiencing a life-threatening emergency,” said Dr. Deborah C. Mandell of the University of Pennsylvania's Matthew J. Ryan Veterinary Hospital, a member of the American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council, in the announcement. “Now, the Red Cross Cat and Dog First Aid online course provides owners, pet-sitters and dog walkers with an easy and convenient way to learn life-saving skills for their pets.”

People can access the course on their desktop computer or tablet at www.redcross.org/catdogfirstaid and go through the content at their own pace. It takes approximately 30 minutes to complete the course.

The interactive course includes the following:

  • • How to determine a pet's normal vital signs so that owners can notice any irregularities.

  • • Step-by-step instructions and visual aids for what to do if a pet is choking, needs CPR, has a wound, or is having a seizure.

  • • Information on preventive care and health and tips for a pet's well-being.

The Red Cross’ Pet First Aid App, linked from the same site, complements the course by providing cat and dog owners with instant access to resources such as expert advice, an animal hospital locator, pet-friendly hotels, and content on how to include pets in family emergency preparedness plans. The app can be downloaded for free in mobile app stores or by texting “GETPET” to 90999.

American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine


Dr. Jane Armstrong

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 251, 6; 10.2460/javma.251.6.612


Dr. Carolyn Henry

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 251, 6; 10.2460/javma.251.6.612


Dr. Jean Hall

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 251, 6; 10.2460/javma.251.6.612


Dr. Ellen Behrend

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 251, 6; 10.2460/javma.251.6.612


Dr. Susan White

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 251, 6; 10.2460/javma.251.6.612

Event: 2017 ACVIM forum, June 8–10, National Harbor, Maryland

Program: Of the registered attendees at the meeting, 2,594 were veterinarians, 389 were veterinary technicians, and 120 were veterinary students.

Awards: Robert W. Kirk Award for Professional Excellence: Dr. Carolyn Henry, Columbia, Missouri, for outstanding achievements and dedicated service to the veterinary profession. An ACVIM-certified specialist in oncology, Dr. Henry is interim dean of the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine, associate dean for the college's Office of Research and Graduate Studies, and associate director of research for the university's Ellis Fischel Cancer Center. She also serves as faculty facilitator for the Mizzou Advantage One Health/One Medicine initiative within the Office of the Provost. Dr. Henry is a past president of the Veterinary Cancer Society and the ACVIM Specialty of Oncology. Distinguished Service Award: Dr. Jean Hall, Corvallis, Oregon, for outstanding and dedicated service to the college in a volunteer capacity. An ACVIM-certified specialist in small animal internal medicine, Dr. Hall serves as a professor of physiology at the Oregon State University College of Veterinary Medicine. She is a past chair of the ACVIM Board of Regents and ACVIM Forum Program Committee and a past president of the Oregon VMA. ACVIM Resident Research Award ($500): Dr. Christina Eberhardt, equine, University of Zurich, for “Quantification of left atrial wall motion in healthy horses using two dimensional speckle tracking”; Dr. Emily Schaefer, equine, University of California-Davis, for “Investigation of an experimental infection model of equine coronavirus in adult horses”; Dr. Emily John, food animal, Atlantic Veterinary College, for “Variability of bovine leukemia virus bulk tank milk antibody levels over different sample collection intervals”; Dr. Kiira Rodriguez, cardiology, University of Tennessee, for “Normal echocardiographic parameters in clinically healthy adult captive tigers with and without medetomidine sedation”; Dr. Devin Ancona, neurology, University of California-Davis, for “Common cytogenetic alterations define choroid plexus tumors in dogs”; Dr. Chai-Fei Li, neurology, University of California-Davis, for “Exosome-associated integrins as liquid biopsy biomarkers for canine glioma”; Dr. Cecilia Lopez, oncology, The Ohio State University, for “MicroRNA-34a regulates the invasive capacity of canine osteosarcoma cell lines”; Dr. Heidi Fink, small animal internal medicine/endocrinology, The Ohio State University, for “Pharmacodynamics of insulin detemir and insulin glargine (300 U/mL) in healthy dogs”; Dr. Erin Lashnits, small animal internal medicine/infectious disease, North Carolina State University, for “Bartonella seroepidemiology in dogs from North America, 2008–2014”; Dr. Masahiko Sato, small animal internal medicine/infectious disease, Colorado State University, for “Impact of immune suppression on dogs with treated select vector borne disease agents”; and Dr. Lauren Adelman, small animal internal medicine/respiratory, University of Tennessee, for “Effect of oral Yunnan Baiyao on periprocedural hemorrhage and coagulation in dogs undergoing nasal biopsy.” ACVIM Early Career Clinical Oncology Research Abstract Award: Dr. Lark Walters, University of Tennessee, for “Expression of PDGFR-β, VEGFR2, and KIT in canine transitional cell carcinoma”

New diplomates: The ACVIM certified the following 123 new diplomates in 2016.


Kristin Barncord, Santa Monica, California

Bryan Eason, Kent, Washington

Catherine Gunther-Harrington, Davis, California

Melanie Hezzell, Radstock, England

Joshua Morgenstern, Melville, New York

Jaylyn Rhinehart, Canal Winchester, Ohio

Julia Sargent, Marchwood, England

Lauren Schlater, Edmonds, Washington

Courtney Smith, Redondo Beach, California

Ivan Sosa, Woburn, Massachusetts

Melissa Tropf, West Lafayette, Indiana

Jordan Vitt, Urbana, Illinois

Christian Weder, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Kathleen Woodruff, San Francisco

Large animal internal medicine

Tiago Afonso, Roseworthy, Australia

Marion Allano, Saint-Hugues, Quebec

Christie Balcomb, Kihei, Hawaii

Susan Barnett, Auburn, Maine

Emily Berryhill, Davis, California

Rana Bozorgmanesh, Lexington, Kentucky

Rosemary Cuming, Scone, Australia

Maud de Lagarde, Mont Saint-Hilaire, Quebec

Katherine Delph, Manhattan, Kansas

Laura Dunbar, Columbus, Ohio

Maria Duran Graeff, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Emma Gordon, Philomath, Oregon

Gretchen Grissett, Starkville, Mississippi

Charles Hinds, Columbus, Ohio

Laszlo Hunyadi, Weatherford, Texas

Sarah Jacob, Okemos, Michigan

Piper Norton, Manor, Texas

Rachel Oman, Columbia, Missouri

Nicholas Parkinson, Edinburgh, Scotland

Sarah Raabis, Madison, Wisconsin

Melissa Restifo, Brandon, Florida

Eva-Christina Schliewert, Bakum-Lüsche, Germany

Katja Shell, Leichlingen, Germany

Goncalo Silva, Morpeth, England


Ashley Bennett, Las Vegas

Noelle Bergman, Essex Junction, Vermont

Jerome Calvalido, North Grafton, Massachusetts

Sofia Carvalho, Lisbon, Portugal

Ashley Case, Buffalo, New York

Michelle Custead, Milwaukee

Maura Faller, Fairfax, Ohio

Crystal Garnett, San Diego

Julie Gillem, Gambrills, Maryland

Fernanda Mantovani, Toronto

Bobbi McQuown, Silver Spring, Maryland

Candace Pagano, Puyallup, Washington

Rachel Rasmussen, Silver Spring, Maryland

Jessica Talbott, Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts

Jessica Thiman, Athens, Georgia


Leontine Benedicenti, Philadelphia

Devin Berthiaume, Scituate, Massachusetts

Kathryn Bray, Winston Salem, North Carolina

Melissa Carpentier-Anderson, Ray, Minnesota

James Cellini, Chicago

Chelsie Estey, Albany, New York

Laura Harvey, Annapolis, Maryland

Jill Hicks, Davis, California

Matt Holahan, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Michele James, Watertown, Massachusetts

Melissa Jennings, Coconut Creek, Florida

Sharon Kerwin, College Station, Texas

Serene Lai, Ottawa, Ontario

Guillaume Leblond, Madison, Wisconsin

Mathew Lovett, Worthington, Ohio

Jennifer Michaels, Boston

Jennifer Perkins, Middletown, Connecticut

Dani Powers, Kirkland, Washington

Robert Powers-Davis, Dana Point, California

Michele Provencher, Stow, Ohio

Jessica Rivera, Leesburg, Virginia

Meghan Slanina, Cincinnati

Tricia Tai, Los Angeles

David Weinstein, Overland Park, Kansas

Jonathan Wood, Philadelphia

Danielle Zwueste, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Small animal internal medicine

Jennifer Ayoub, West Palm Beach, Florida

Tim Bolton, Burlington, Vermont

Cecily Bonadio, San Diego

Faith Buckley, Londonderry, New Hampshire

Marie Buckley, Levittown, Pennsylvania

Victoria Byfield, Somerset, New Jersey

Forrest Cummings, Louisville, Kentucky

Evence Daure, Quebec City, Quebec

Lauren Devine, Seattle

Michaela Doring, Bad Feilnbach, Germany

David Ryan Dulaney, Durham, North Carolina

Hathaway Ellis, Boston

Rikki Fitzpatrick, Indianapolis

Ashley Gold, Chicago

Laura Greene, Raleigh, North Carolina

Megan Grobman, Columbia, Missouri

Kimberly Ho, Mount Albert, Ontario

Roman Husnik, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Kristen Kelly, Santa Monica, California

Stephanie Kennedy, Lackland Air Force Base, Texas

Sophie Keyte, Bristol, England

Gregory Kuhlman, San Diego

Maya Lottati, Woodland Hills, California

Bianca Lourenço, Athens, Georgia

John Lucy, Hoboken, New Jersey

Kristin Manning, San Leandro, California

Christina Marino, Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania

Lindsay Merkel, Plymouth, Minnesota

Ayeley Okine, Dublin, California

Cristiane Otoni, Lisle, Illinois

Benjamin Polansky, Del Mar, California

Sandra Schafer, Edlibach, Switzerland

Emily Skovira, Jackson, Mississippi

Nicole Smee, Las Vegas

Alyssa Sullivant, Starkville, Mississippi

James Swann, Oxford, England

Marlene Townsell, Long Beach, California

Catherine Vachon, Granby, Quebec

Heather Vaske, Leawood, Kansas

Justin Wakayama, Honolulu

Sara Wennogle, Fort Collins, Colorado

Jill Yates, Abita Springs, Louisiana

Alyse Zacuto, San Diego

Vincent Ziglioli, Greenville, South Carolina

Officials: Drs. Ellen Behrend, Auburn, Alabama, chair, Board of Regents; Susan White, Mountain Rest, South Carolina, ACVIM president; Jane Armstrong, Salt Spring Island, British Columbia, president-elect; Barbara Kitchell, Albuquerque, New Mexico, immediate past chair; Allen Roussel, College Station, Texas, treasurer; Etienne Cote, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Specialty of Cardiology president; John Rossmeisl Jr., Blacksburg, Virginia, Specialty of Neurology president; Antony Moore, Wauchope, Australia, Specialty of Oncology president; Wallace Morrison, Otterbein, Indiana, Specialty of Small Animal Internal Medicine president; Harold Schott II, East Lansing, Michigan, Specialty of Large Animal Internal Medicine president; and Harold McKenzie, Blacksburg, Virginia, ACVIM forum program chair

Obituaries: AVMA member AVMA honor roll member Nonmember

Denise W. Boriack

Dr. Boriack (Texas A&M ‘86), 56, Tomball, Texas, died April 16, 2017. She was a mixed animal veterinarian in Tomball, with a special interest in horses. Dr. Boriack is survived by her husband, Michael; five children; and two grandchildren. Memorials may be made to Widow's Fund, Homeschool Foundation, P.O. Box 1152, Purcellville, VA 20134, www.homeschoolfoundation.org, or Upbring Krause Children's Center, 8305 Cross Park Drive, Austin, TX 78754, www.upbring.org.

Gilbert R. Conklin

Dr. Conklin (Michigan State ‘71), 70, Cosby, Tennessee, died June 19, 2017. Following graduation, he practiced small animal medicine in Milwaukee; Hopkinsville, Kentucky; and St. Petersburg, Florida. Dr. Conklin later moved to Tennessee, where he served as medical director of the Dr. Carol Hood Memorial Animal Shelter in Newport.

He is survived by his brother. Memorials may be made to Liberty Church of Cosby, 3541 Cosby Highway, Cosby, TN 37722, or City of Newport Animal Control, 219 E. Main St., Newport TN 37821.

Jorgen Grymer

Dr. Grymer (Copenhagen ‘77), 66, Galten, Denmark, died March 1, 2017. He began his career in the United States as a member of the large animal faculty at the Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine. During his tenure, Dr. Grymer co-invented the Grymer-Sterner toggle suture method of left displaced abomasum repair. In 1983, he left MSU to work in Saudi Arabia for two years as a large dairy herd practitioner, also gaining experience in camel medicine. Dr. Grymer later worked a year in Libya in the same capacity before returning to his native Denmark. He then established a mixed animal practice in Galten, where he worked for 25 years.

Dr. Grymer is survived by his wife, Anne Marie; a son; and a daughter. His daughter, Dr. Catherine Grymer (Copenhagen ‘15), is a veterinarian in Falun, Sweden. Dr. Grymer's late father and grandfather, Drs. Peter Grymer and Soren P. Sorenson, were graduates of the University of Copenhagen and practitioners in Galten.

Warren W. Kent Sr.

Dr. Kent (Auburn ‘52), 94, Birmingham, Alabama, died Jan. 17, 2017. He practiced small animal medicine in Birmingham for more than 50 years. Dr. Kent also served as veterinarian for the Birmingham Zoo. He was a past vice president of the Alabama State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners, a past president of the Alabama and Jefferson County VMAs, and a more than 20-year member of the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine Alumni Advisory Council. In 1981, Dr. Kent was named Alabama Veterinarian of the Year. A veteran of World War II, he served in the Air Force. Dr. Kent was a member of the Rotary Club.

He is survived by a son and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Memorials may be made to the Greater Birmingham Humane Society, 300 Snow Drive, Birmingham, AL 35209, or Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 758516, Topeka, KS 66675.

Craig J. Mabray

Dr. Mabray (Tufts ‘83), 62, Albuquerque, New Mexico, died April 21, 2017. He was a canine and domestic feline expert with the Animal Care Program of the Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service since 2010. Prior to that, Dr. Mabray served as chief of veterinary services for the city of Albuquerque Animal Welfare Department's municipal animal shelter. Early in his career, he was president of Tramway Animal Medical Center in Albuquerque and worked for VCA Wyoming Animal Hospital in Albuquerque. Dr. Mabray served on the New Mexico Board of Veterinary Medicine for four years.

His wife, Karen; two sons; and two grandchildren survive him.

Samuel F. Muecke Jr.

Dr. Muecke (Texas A&M ‘69), 78, Wolfe City, Texas, died Feb. 19, 2017. He practiced mixed animal medicine in the Wolfe City area for several years. He is survived by three sons and four grandchildren.

Doris M. Oliveira

Dr. Oliveira (Tuskegee ‘61), 83, Tuskegee, Alabama, died May 1, 2017. She is survived by her son.

Thomas B. Owen Jr

Dr. Owen (Texas A&M ‘49), 91, Lufkin, Texas, died May 13, 2017. From 1963 until retirement in 1986, he worked for the Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service. Prior to that, Dr. Owen lived in Sinton, where he farmed, owned a practice, and managed Owen Farm Supply.

A veteran of World War II, he served in the Army Air Corps from 1944–1945. Dr. Owen was active with the Boy Scouts of America. His wife, Dorothy; two sons and a daughter; five grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren survive him. Memorials may be made to First Presbyterian Church of Lufkin, 607 Janeway Ave., Lufkin, TX 75904, or Alzheimer's Association, 304 N. Raguet, Suite C, Lufkin, TX 75904.

Harry F. Prussner

Dr. Prussner (Cornell ‘72), 70, Titusville, Florida, died June 5, 2017. He was in mixed animal practice in Florida's Brevard County since 2006. Prior to that, Dr. Prussner practiced in Greenville, New York, for 30 years. His wife, Gloria, survives him.

Memorials may be made to Parkway Animal Hospital, 5155 Port St. John Parkway, Cocoa, FL 32927.

J. Bruce Rankin

Dr. Rankin (Washington State ‘55), 87, Salem, Oregon, died Jan. 28, 2017. Following graduation, he served as a captain and base veterinarian with the Air Force in Delaware. Dr. Rankin moved to Salem in 1957 and joined his father, the late Dr. F.G. Rankin (Colorado State ‘28), in his small animal veterinary practice. In 1960, he established his own practice in Salem, working there until retirement. Dr. Rankin was a member of the Oregon VMA and served on the Oregon Veterinary Medical Examining Board. His three daughters and five grandchildren survive him.

Memorials may be made to Willamette Humane Society, 4246 Turner Road SE, Salem, OR 97317.

Roger L. Siegert

Dr. Siegert (Iowa State ‘57), 85, Plymouth, Wisconsin, died June 7, 2017. Following graduation, he founded Plymouth Veterinary Center, where he initially practiced mixed animal medicine, focusing later on small animals until retirement.

Dr. Siegert was a past president of the Sheboygan County Fair and a member of the Plymouth Lions Club. He is survived by two sons, a daughter, four grandchildren, two stepgrandchildren, two great-grandchildren, and five step-great-grandchildren.

Moise A. Waguespack Jr.

Dr. Waguespack (Texas A&M ‘55), 87, Bourg, Louisiana, died April 17, 2017. He worked for the Department of Agriculture prior to retirement. Dr. Waguespack served as a captain in the Air Force.

His daughter, son, two grandchildren, four great-grandchildren, and two great-great-grandchildren survive him.

B.J. Woodruff

Dr. Woodruff (Auburn ‘60), 88, Scottsburg, Indiana, died May 27, 2017. Following graduation, he owned a small animal and equine practice in Scottsburg for 23 years. Dr. Woodruff subsequently moved to Palmer, Alaska, where he continued practicing, also managing a musk ox herd. A lifetime member of the American Association of Equine Practitioners, he incorporated equine acupuncture into his practice and developed and marketed a horse feed.

Dr. Woodruff is survived by two sons and six grandchildren. One son, Dr. Arthur Woodruff (Purdue ‘82), owns Pet Housecalls in Bloomington, Indiana.

Wesley J. Zehr

Dr. Zehr (Illinois ‘59), 88, Goshen, Indiana, died July 7, 2017. A small animal veterinarian, he began his career practicing at Goshen Animal Clinic, later working at Milford Small Animal Clinic in Milford, Indiana, where he also performed diagnostics for local poultry farms. Dr. Zehr retired in 1992.

His three sons, seven grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren survive him. Memorials may be made to College Mennonite Church Encircling Fund, 1900 S. Main St., Goshen, IN 46526, or Heifer International, 1 World Ave., Little Rock, AR 72202.