Veterinary push for Farm Bill, Higher Education Act
Annual legislative visit brings scores of veterinarians to nation's capital
Story and photos by R. Scott Nolen
Nearly 100 veterinarians and veterinary students traveled to Capitol Hill this March as part of the annual AVMA legislative fly-in. These U.S. residents came from 37 states and every veterinary school in the country as well as schools in Canada and the Caribbean. They met with staffers at their congressional offices to discuss two issues of particular importance to the veterinary profession: the 2018 Farm Bill and reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.
“Right now, Congress is debating issues that will have a serious impact on the future of the veterinary profession,” AVMA President Michael Topper said. “Ultimately, their decisions will determine whether veterinarians are able to afford their educations and effectively do their jobs. Lawmakers need to hear directly from our profession on these policies, which is why we're bringing our members and veterinary students to the Hill.”
Before heading to Capitol Hill on March 27, fly-in attendees spent a day preparing for their meetings and hearing from veterinary leaders.
Attendees asked Congress to help prevent animal disease outbreaks by establishing and funding a three-pronged measure: an animal pest, disease, and disaster prevention and response program; a stronger National Animal Health Laboratory Network; and a U.S. Livestock Vaccine Bank with immediate priority given to foot-and-mouth disease. Attendees also requested that Congress support programs improving animal agriculture and animal health, as outlined in the AVMA's Farm Bill priorities.
The United States’ stake in the existing North American FMD Vaccine Bank, shared with Canada and Mexico, is adequate to respond only to a localized FMD outbreak. The requested bank would be specific to the U.S., be able to readily provide vaccine, and have the production surge capacity to respond to much larger FMD outbreaks. Further, this bank would be able to provide vaccines to combat other animal disease outbreaks in the future.
“When it comes to food animals, veterinarians play a key role in ensuring animals remain healthy so we have a safe and nutritious food supply,” said Dr. Lauren Stump, assistant director of the AVMA Governmental Relations Division.
“The Farm Bill can enhance our ability to protect against animal disease outbreaks like avian influenza or foot-and-mouth disease, and make veterinarians better able to safeguard animal health. We need this proposed, proactive approach to help us avoid future high-consequence disease outbreaks.”
In early April, following the introduction of the Farm Bill by the House Committee on Agriculture, Dr. Topper praised the committee for including several veterinary priorities.
“We appreciate the committee's work and are also pleased with the bill's reauthorization of programs that advance animal health and welfare through important research and data gathering,” Dr. Topper said.
“We are continuing to analyze the bill and look forward to working with Congress to ensure these new programs are permanent and to protect veterinary priorities such as providing rural farmers with access to veterinary medicine.”
Fly-in attendees also asked Congress to support the AVMA's Higher Education Act principles, with a focus on preserving the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program and loan options through Grad PLUS. These programs play a vital role in enabling veterinarians to fund their educations, which is increasingly important as educational debt has risen.
“Today, veterinarians graduate with an average of around $140,000 in student debt, or approximately $167,000 when considering only students with debt,” said Alex Sands, assistant director of the AVMA Governmental Relations Division.
“If lawmakers remove loan options tailored to meet the needs of graduate students like veterinarians, we're afraid we're going to see more veterinarians forgoing critical public service or rural careers because they simply can't afford to manage their educational debt on the lower salaries often associated with those jobs. Congress needs to consider these consequences when reauthorizing the Higher Education Act.”
To prepare attendees for their visits to Capitol Hill, the AVMA's three congressional fellows shared their experiences and insights as participants in the legislative process. On the panel were Dr. Radhika Gharpure, who serves in the office of Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio and works on public health and health care; Dr. Matt Holland, who serves in the office of Rep. Cheri Bustos of Illinois and works on gun safety and immigration; and Dr. Mark Logan, who serves in the office of Rep. Jeff Fortenberry of Nebraska and works on wildlife conservation, agriculture, small business, and nutrition.
They have been in Washington, D.C., since this past August and will spend a year as full-time staff in the congressional members’ offices as policy advisers for a range of issues. The fellowship program is sponsored through the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which works to place qualified scientific experts in congressional offices where they are needed. The AVMA also provides funding for the program. To date, more than 65 veterinarians have participated in the AVMA Fellowship Program.
Originally from Plainsboro, New Jersey, Dr. Gharpure is a 2016 graduate of the University of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. As a veterinary student, she had the opportunity to intern with several national and international public health organizations, including the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and U.S. Department of Agriculture.
She was a 2015 student extern with the AVMA Governmental Relations Division. Dr. Gharpure recently completed her master's degree in public health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, where she focused on epidemiology and infectious diseases. Her professional interests include emerging and neglected zoonoses, outbreak response, and global health policy.
Dr. Holland graduated in the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine class of 2017. Originally from Libertyville, Illinois, a Chicago suburb, he came to veterinary medicine as a second career. After receiving his bachelor's in radio and television journalism from Drake University in 2007, he worked as a television producer for various media outlets in Chicago and New York City, including the Big Ten Network, Major League Baseball Network, and Chicago Bears.
Between sport seasons, he spent free time working with animals and ultimately decided to pursue his passion in the field of veterinary medicine.
During veterinary school, Dr. Holland served as president of the Student AVMA while pursuing a master's in public health from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Through his journalism background and experiences in organized veterinary medicine and public health, he recognized the need for health communicators at the intersection of science and policy. He said he is thrilled to pursue this work by serving in the AVMA Fellowship Program.
Dr. Logan graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in 1983 and moved to Cape May Court House, New Jersey, to begin a 34-year career in private small animal practice. He has served as volunteer staff veterinarian at the Wetlands Institute of Stone Harbor, New Jersey, for more than 30 years, providing advice and consultations for aquatic species in the exhibits, support for the diamondback terrapin project, and shell fracture repairs for more than a thousand female terrapins injured while crossing coastal boulevards.
Dr. Logan was elected president of the New Jersey VMA in 2001, was appointed to the New Jersey Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners in 2002 and subsequently reappointed by governors of both parties, and was elected president of the board each year over the past decade.
Additionally, Dr. Logan has been a member of the board of the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine, New Jersey, where he advises on policy and planning, supports fundraising efforts, and provides veterinary insight on planning and new projects. He also served on the board of directors for the American Veterinary Medical Law Association and continues as a member of the organization.
AVMA finalizing depopulation guidelines
Document to help reduce suffering during crises
By Greg Cima
The AVMA's guidance on emergency animal depopulation is in editing following a draft's approval.
The guidelines are intended to minimize animal suffering and distress in instances when depopulation is required because of a disaster. In April, the AVMA Board of Directors voted to approve the 300-page draft text, which is undergoing revisions ahead of publication. The AVMA hopes to publish the document by the end of the year.
The new guidance document contains recommendations for depopulating companion animals; laboratory animals; horses; farmed animals, including aquatic animals; and wildlife.
Dr. Gail Golab, the AVMA's chief veterinary officer, said in a presentation to the Board ahead of the vote that the AVMA's existing guidelines on euthanasia are cited in federal and state laws, and she expects the depopulation guidelines will help veterinarians, industry, and government officials make plans and decisions.
The Department of Agriculture contributed about $36,000 toward development of the depopulation guidelines.
The guidelines recognize that eliminating all animal pain and distress may not be possible during a disaster. However, they emphasize that acceptable methods of depopulation must involve humane handling and best efforts to ensure rapid loss of consciousness or loss of brain function.
“When the absence of pain and distress cannot always be achieved, depopulation must still be guided by balancing the ideal/ethical impulse of minimal pain and distress with the reality of the environment in which depopulation must occur,” the draft document states. “These Guidelines are part of a triad of documents on humane killing—the other two being the AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals: 2013 Edition and the AVMA Guidelines for the Humane Slaughter of Animals: 2016 Edition.”
Preferred methods listed in the draft document are similar to those used to euthanize or slaughter animals. The draft also lists methods considered acceptable when constraints apply and those that are not recommended but may be necessary under rare circumstances.
Dr. Golab said the volunteers who created the document decided against saying those nonrecommended methods are unacceptable. The draft indicates some situations, such as building collapses or radiologic contamination, could require using those methods because other methods are precluded, and doing nothing would increase animal suffering.
Veterinarians and others involved in depopulation face challenges in balancing rapid response needs, animal welfare obligations, and human safety, the draft states. Limitations may involve equipment, expertise, biosecurity, money, and time.
The draft also encourages consideration of the psychological and emotional effects of depopulation on the people killing the animals and public sentiment.
The AVMA's efforts to produce the depopulation guideines included convening a panel with species-specific expertise, an ethicist, and nonvoting representatives from USDA Veterinary Services and the National Institutes of Health Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare, as well as working groups together consisting of more than 50 volunteers. The Association also sought comments from members.
Antimicrobial research a priority for AVMA
Antimicrobial resistance is a global threat, and the AVMA is advocating for development of new drugs that would help protect humans and animals.
The Association's revised research priorities, passed by the Board of Directors in April, added language describing the threat of antimicrobial resistance and expanded language on the need for antimicrobial agent development. New drugs should be created to combat diseases in humans, decreasing concerns about selection pressure associated with administering existing drugs to animals, it states.
Revisions to the research policy also added statements about the need to research how antimicrobial administration in agriculture affects antimicrobial resistance in surrounding environments and how to reduce that risk. Research is also needed on how changes in antimicrobial use affect farm animal welfare.
The overall policy states that the AVMA sees the following topics as research priorities: clinical developments that could improve animal health, infectious and zoonotic diseases, environmental issues, food security and safety, improved animal welfare and the human-animal bond, and human and animal disease. Training of veterinarians for research work is another priority.
Among revisions to the policy, the AVMA struck climate change from a list of factors that contribute to increased infectious disease emergence. Dr. Ed Murphey, assistant director of the AVMA Education and Research Division, said the Council on Research had received comments from other committees, especially the Animal Agriculture Liaison Committee, indicating some thought the term “climate change” was divisive and its inclusion could detract from the message that infectious disease emergence may increase.
Another revision to the policy replaced a 2012 figure that indicated the estimated cost of foodborne illness was $80 billion with an estimate that the economic burden is $113 billion. The policy now cites a 2010 article that indicates foodborne illnesses cost about $152 billion, and the council came to the $113 billion figure by subtracting $39 billion attributed to produce.
The Council on Research proposed the change because the revision seemed to offer more perspective on the impact of foodborne illness, according to information provided by Dr. Murphey. But the council may revisit that change.
The AVMA also expanded a statement about use of animals in biomedical research to add that investigators should work to reduce pain and distress among animals used in research. Other added language states that the AVMA prioritizes implementing the one-health concept of cross-disciplinary clinical and scientific problem-solving.
In another vote, the Board members expanded the scope of the guidelines for antimicrobial use in companion animal practice. The policy now titled “Antimicrobial Use Guidelines for Veterinary Practice” expresses the Board's support for development of antimicrobial administration guideines that can improve drug stewardship in veterinary practice.
AVMA opposes reduced liability for bird deaths, favors drug fees
The AVMA opposes a legislative amendment that would remove liability for energy companies that unintentionally kill migratory birds.
And AVMA leaders said Congress should renew the Food and Drug Administration's authority to collect fees from drug manufacturers in support of hastened reviews of new and investigational drugs.
The Association's Board of Directors voted in April to oppose an amendment to HR 4239, the Strengthening the Economy with Critical Untapped Resources to Expand American Energy Act, which would remove liability for accidental or incidental deaths of migratory birds by energy companies.
The legislation, introduced by Louisiana Republican Rep. Steve Scalise, is intended to promote increased exploration, development, and production of oil, gas, and wind energy resources, according to a December 2017 announcement from Scalise and co-sponsors. The AVMA has taken no position on the overall bill.
Other provisions already in the legislation would reduce protections for marine mammals and penalties for marine mammal deaths. The House bill also would prevent a president from declaring or reserving new marine national monuments, reduce environmental review requirements for energy leases, reduce human safety and pollution-related requirements in Arctic drilling, and let the federal government delegate authority over oil and gas exploration on federal lands to states.
Board members also voted in support of a five-year renewal of the Animal Drug and Animal Generic Drug User Fee Amendments of 2018, S 2434, which would reauthorize fee agreements between pharmaceutical companies and the FDA to help fund expedited drug reviews, quality assurance, and market surveillance. Without renewal, the provisions will expire Oct. 1.
AVMA President Michael Topper testified in March that the fee-supported review process has given veterinarians drugs that can improve patient care (see JAVMA, May 1, 2018, page 1044). He said the expedited reviews are needed to address the lack of treatment options in some conditions and species.
Specialties in sports medicine, exotic companion mammals receive full recognition
By Katie Burns
The AVMA has granted full recognition to the American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation and the Exotic Companion Mammal specialty under the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners.
The AVMA Board of Directors, while meeting April 5–6, approved the recognition of each on recommendations from the AVMA American Board of Veterinary Specialties. The AVMA had granted provisional recognition of the ACVSMR as a veterinary specialty organization in 2010 and of the Exotic Companion Mammal specialty within the ABVP in 2008.
Dr. Andris J. Kaneps, ACVSMR representative to the American Board of Veterinary Specialties, said, “Veterinary sports medicine and rehabilitation meets the unique needs of athletic and working animals to optimize performance, to treat injuries and diseases, and to provide rehabilitation for all patients after injury or illness, with neurological, cardiovascular, or respiratory impairments or with chronic musculoskeletal disease and pain.”
He continued, “The need for a veterinary sports medicine and rehabilitation specialty has arisen as a result of the explosive growth of animal participation in sports and service activities, recognition of the benefits derived by all animals from rehabilitation, and the intimate relationships between the fields of veterinary sports medicine and rehabilitation.”
As of January 2018, the ACVSMR had 226 diplomates, with 91 in the canine category and 135 in the equine category, representing 21 countries. The college has more than 45 residents in training.
The AVMA's 2012 U.S. Pet Ownership & Demographics Sourcebook estimated that 10.6 percent of U.S. households owned “specialty and exotic pets,” or pets other than dogs, cats, birds, and horses, at year-end 2011. Within that category, the order of popularity for exotic companion mammals was rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, “other rodents,” ferrets, and gerbils. The total U.S. population of these pets was nearly 8 million at year-end 2011.
Dr. Angela M. Lennox, regent for the Exotic Companion Mammal specialty, said the ABVP is pleased that the Exotic Companion Mammal specialty has been given full recognition. The first class of diplomates took examinations in 2009. There are now 27 diplomates in five countries and a growing number of residencies.
Dr. Lennox said, “Full recognition allows ABVP to continue to certify specialists in this interesting, dynamic, and growing area of veterinary medicine.”
Veterinarians have a role in global food security, Association says
By Katie Burns
“Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life,” according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
A new AVMA policy states, in part: “The AVMA supports the promotion of the veterinarian's role in achieving global food security through the establishment of public and private stakeholder partnerships between veterinary and related networks. In addition, the AVMA will play an active role in leveraging AVMA member expertise in convening meetings and other opportunities to build such networks.”
The AVMA Board of Directors, while meeting April 5–6, approved the new “AVMA Policy on Global Food Security.” The AVMA Committee on International Veterinary Affairs wrote the policy as a follow-up to the AVMA Global Food Security Summit of early 2017.
According to background materials, the Association convened the summit as a way for the AVMA to make a visible commitment to promoting the U.S. veterinary profession's role in progressive food-production initiatives inside and outside the United States, provide tangible benefits of the Association's international activities to AVMA members, and potentially increase opportunities for U.S. veterinarians in the arena of global food security.
The committee believes that the Association's strengths lie in the ability of the AVMA to serve as a trusted convener—to bring together seemingly disparate groups to work together for a common good. The committee believes another of the Association's strengths rests with AVMA members’ diverse areas of expertise—with some AVMA members already working in food security at governmental agencies, research institutions, funding agencies, and boots-on-the-ground development organizations.
The new policy combines these two strengths, according to the background, and the committee believes the policy will help focus the AVMA as the Association solidifies activities in the arena of global food security.
The AVMA Food Safety Advisory Committee supported the policy, stating, “Veterinarians, as individuals and as members of associations, play a vital role in food security through their education and professional support of large-scale farmers and smallholders; work on disease eradication programs; roles in ensuring good biosecurity; public health interventions for food safety; research; capacity building; and as a source of expert advice and opinion for governments, the media, consumer groups, and the public.”
Policy spells out reasons for vaccination and following labeling
Recognizing an aversion to vaccination among some members of the public and concerned that some veterinarians are advocating dosing of vaccines that deviates from the labeled instructions, an AVMA council and an AVMA committee saw a need to revise the Association's policy on “Vaccination Principles” to more clearly elucidate the principles and ensure the policy is up-to-date.
The AVMA Board of Directors, while meeting April 5–6, approved revisions recommended by the AVMA Council on Biologic and Therapeutic Agents and the council's Clinical Practitioners Advisory Committee.
“The use of vaccines has been proven to be highly efficacious and beneficial to the health of veterinary patients as well as the general public,” according to the revised policy. “Historically, vaccination has had a dramatic effect upon decreasing the incidence of infectious disease in the animal population. Appropriate decisions concerning individual vaccine selection and vaccination program choices are best made under veterinarian-client-patient relationships.”
The policy states: “While vaccine safety is tested by vaccine companies prior to licensing for general use, individual instances of adverse reactions can and do occur. This is generally a small percentage of the vaccinated population, and the benefits of vaccination have been shown to far outweigh the risks.”
The policy also states: “Failure to administer a vaccine in the method deemed appropriate by the manufacturer (e.g., allowable concurrent treatments, route of administration, full dose) may result in suboptimal protection and/or adversely alter the established safety profile of the products. All manufacturer cautionary warnings on vaccines should be followed. Veterinarians should recognize that failure to use vaccines according to manufacturer-labeled directions may result in potential liability to the veterinarian in the case of an adverse event or lack of efficacy.”
AVMA emphasizes responsible stewardship of laboratory animals
The AVMA has revised the policy “Use of Animals in Research, Testing, and Education” to balance the emphasis placed on the importance of animal-based research with the corresponding duty to provide responsible stewardship for animals used in the laboratory.
The AVMA Board of Directors, while meeting April 5–6, approved revisions to the policy recommended by the AVMA Animal Welfare Committee.
The first paragraph of the policy now states: “The AVMA recognizes that animals have an important role in research, testing, and education for continued improvement of human and animal health and welfare. The use of animals in research, testing, and education is a privilege carrying with it unique professional, scientific, and moral obligations, and ethical responsibilities. The AVMA encourages proper care of all animals, and supports the judicious use of animals in meaningful research, testing, and education programs.”
Language describing the need for oversight of animal welfare and for regulatory compliance has been clarified and harmonized with other AVMA policies.
The policy was developed with the assistance of representatives of the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine and the American Society of Laboratory Animal Practitioners.
Policy provides for tail docking of cattle under guidance via telemedicine
The AVMA has revised the policy “Tail Docking of Cattle” to provide for the procedure to be done under guidance of a veterinarian via telemedicine.
The AVMA Board of Directors, while meeting April 5–6, approved the revision to the policy as recommended by the AVMA Animal Welfare Committee.
“The AVMA opposes routine tail docking of cattle,” according to the policy. “Current scientific literature indicates that routine tail docking provides no benefit to the animal, and that tail docking can lead to distress during fly seasons.”
The policy previously stated, “When medically necessary, amputation of tails must be performed by a licensed veterinarian.”
The policy now states, “Tails may be amputated on an individual basis when medically necessary by or under the guidance of a licensed veterinarian.”
According to background materials, the Animal Welfare Committee believes the revision acknowledges the current state of veterinary medicine in rural communities with limited access to veterinary care. Working under an existing veterinarian-client-patient relationship, a veterinarian may teach a producer to perform tail amputation. When cost, time, or travel constraints prohibit the veterinarian from performing the procedure, telemedicine can be used to determine when amputation of a tail is medically necessary.
Board makes appointments
The AVMA Board of Directors, at meetings from November 2017 through April 2018, named the following individuals to the entities indicated, representing the designated areas. The duration of each term varies.
American Board of Veterinary Specialties
Veterinarian (non–board-certified) representing small animal practice—Dr. Jill Stetz, Narberth, Pennsylvania; veterinarian (non–board-certified) representing nonclinical practice—Dr. Vito DelVento, Washington, D.C.
Animal Welfare Committee
American Animal Hospital Association—Dr. Jodi Wiktorowski, Creswell, Oregon; American Association of Equine Practitioners—Dr. Clara Mason, Winfield, West Virginia; AAEP, alternate—Dr. Nora Grenager, San Carlos, California; American Association of Industry Veterinarians, alternate—Dr. Wendy Weirich, Waterford, Virginia; Association of Avian Veterinarians, alternate—Dr. Jennifer Graham, North Grafton, Massachusetts; humane or animal welfare organization, alternate—Dr. Stephanie Janeczko, Clifton, New Jersey; state VMAs—Dr. Kevin Lewis, Deerfield, Illinois
Aquatic Veterinary Medicine Committee
Aquatic animal conservation medicine (wildlife, zoo, aquarium, marine mammals)—Dr. Jay Sweeney, San Diego; aquatic invertebrate health—Dr. Christine Richey, Sacramento, California; corporate or laboratory aquatic veterinary medicine—Dr. Timothy Kniffen, Waukee, Iowa; non-veterinarian with expertise to enhance aquatic veterinary medicine and fulfill AqVMC objectives—Rodman Getchell, PhD, Ithaca, New York
Clinical Practitioners Advisory Committee
American Animal Hospital Association—Dr. Laura Niman, Eugene, Oregon; American Association of Avian Pathologists, alternate—Dr. Megan Lighty, Willmar, Minnesota
Committee on Antimicrobials
American Association of Avian Pathologists—Dr. Randall Singer, St. Paul, Minnesota; AAAP, alternate—Dr. Hector Cervantes, Watkinsville, Georgia; American Association of Fish Veterinarians—Dr. Janet Whaley, Brookeville, Maryland; AAFV, alternate—Dr. Patricia Gaunt, Stoneville, Mississippi
Committee on Disaster and Emergency Issues
Federal or state public health agency—Dr. Michael Parker, Gaithersburg, Maryland; state veterinarian—Dr. Peter Mundschenk, Waddell, Arizona
Committee on Environmental Issues
Government service (federal or state agency dealing with environmental issues)—Dr. Mark Starr, Rocklin, California; small animal medicine— Dr. Camille Fischer, Redwood City, California; small ruminant practice—Dr. Judy Marteniuk, East Lansing, Michigan; swine practice—Dr. Clayton Johnson, Quincy, Illinois; veterinary ecology—Dr. Terry Ryan Kane, Ann Arbor, Michigan; zoo and wildlife medicine—Dr. Clayton Hilton, Kingsville, Texas
Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities
At large—Dr. Seyedmehdi Mobini, Macon, Georgia; laboratory animal medicine—Dr. Jennifer Asher, Clinton, Connecticut; regulatory veterinary medicine—Dr. Lawrence Kosmin, Long Beach, California
Convention Education Program Committee
DVM interactive labs—Dr. Tam Garland, College Station, Texas; Poultry Medicine Section manager—Dr. Ivan Alvarado, Watkinsville, Georgia; Professional Development Section manager—Dr. John Sanders, Kearneysville, West Virginia
Early Career Development Committee
Emerging leaders—Dr. Gillian Angliss Glaser, Bethel, Connecticut; recent graduates—Dr. Stacey Piotrowski, Houston
Food Safety Advisory Committee
American Association of Small Ruminant Practitioners—Dr. Signe Balch, Larkspur, Colorado; AASRP, alternate—Dr. Joan Rowe, Capay, California; American Association of Bovine Practitioners—Dr. William McBeth, Morgantown, Pennsylvania; aquatic food animal medicine veterinarian—Dr. Kerry Collins, Brunswick, Maine
Legislative Advisory Committee
American Association of Avian Pathologists—Dr. Suzanne Dougherty, Athens, Alabama; American Association of Equine Practitioners—Dr. James Zeliff, Murrysville, Pennsylvania; AAEP, alternate— Dr. Brad Tanner, Lexington, Kentucky; American Society of Laboratory Animal Practitioners—Dr. Elizabeth Nunamaker, Gainesville, Florida; ASLAP, alternate—Dr. Donna Clemons, Trevor, Wisconsin
Political Action Committee Board
Area 2 (Central states)—Dr. Bridget Heilsberg, Whitesboro, Texas; at large—Dr. Timothy Montgomery, Dacula, Georgia
State Advocacy Committee
Area 2 (Central states)—Dr. Derine Winning, West Fargo, North Dakota; Veterinary Medical Association Executives—Candace Joy, Snoqualmie, Washington, and Scott Piper, Atlanta
Steering Committee on Human-Animal Interactions
Veterinarian or scientist with expertise on human-animal attachment—Dr. Thomas Catanzaro, Lakewood, Colorado
Veterinary Economics Strategy Committee
At large—Dr. Amy Grice, Virginia City, Montana; Dr. Amanda Price, Delhi, California; Dr. Peter Weinstein, Irvine, California
Veterinary Leadership Conference Planning Committee
Leadership development advisers—Dr. Maggie Canning, Houston, and Dr. Jeff Thoren, Chandler, Arizona; Veterinary Medical Association Executives—David Foley, Lexington, Kentucky
National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians’ Committee to Develop a Compendium of Measures to Prevent Zoonotic Diseases Associated with Live Poultry, Reptiles, Rodents, Amphibians, and Selected Other Animals—Dr. Christopher Olsen, Madison, Wisconsin; Pan-American Association of Veterinary Sciences Directive Council—Dr. Carmen Fuentealba, Brookville, New York; World Small Animal Veterinary Association—Dr. Julie Stafford, Anchorage, Alaska
AVMA acts on spending, policy
The AVMA Board of Directors voted for dozens of measures to plan and fund meetings, direct Association activities, and adopt, revise, or rescind policies.
In addition to acting on proposals involving animal welfare, vaccination, legislation, research, and specialty organizations (see previous pages), the Board took the following actions.
The AVMA will spend $5,000 each to sponsor the May 2018 International Association for Aquatic Animal Medicine conference in Long Beach, California, and the September 2018 conference of the American Association of Fish Veterinarians in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.
The Board edited an AVMA committee's description to recognize equivalence between the titles of veterinary nurse and veterinary technician. The description outlines the duties and membership of the AVMA–National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America leadership committee. NAVTA leaders are campaigning for legislative changes that would establish a registered veterinary nurse credential in all states.
The Board also revised a policy on safe handling of pet foods and treats to align recommendations with those from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Beyond votes, the Board members also heard reports from AVMA staff tasked with implementing directives from the Board and House of Delegates. Among those reports, they heard that the AVMA has a 2019 target of growing membership to 95,000, up from 91,000 at the start of this year.
Dr. Kevin Dajka, AVMA's chief of products and services, said in the meeting that AVMA staff members are working to increase retention of AVMA members in their first years of paying dues. To increase membership value for those veterinarians, the AVMA has made a priority of building career development, financial health, and well-being resources that he said are important to veterinarians early in their careers.
Doubling space for cats in shelters reduces upper respiratory disease
Upper respiratory infection in cats in shelters can be dramatically decreased by doubling cage sizes and providing cats with two compartments, reported Morris Animal Foundation–funded researchers at the University of California-Davis.
Upper respiratory infection decreases the likelihood of a cat being successfully adopted and is a leading cause of illness and euthanasia in cats in shelters. The UC-Davis team published its findings Jan. 2 in PLoS One, a multi-disciplinary online journal of the Public Library of Science. The study is available at https://jav.ma/catspace.
Upper respiratory infections in cats commonly are caused by feline herpesvirus type 1 and often emerge during times of stress. A substantial number of cats develop URIs within their first two weeks of coming to a shelter. Many shelters invest as much as a third of their resources in cat care dealing with this one disease.
To better understand and combat the problem, the UC-Davis team worked with nine animal shelters across North America. Shelter staff members recorded data daily about the feline populations, such as how many cats had a URI and how long those cats had been at the shelter. Staff members also filled out surveys that included questions about cage size, hide boxes, disinfection practices, and vaccinations.
The UC-Davis team found that, to minimize stress and cases of URI, cats needed about 8 square feet of floor space inside cages, rather than the common average of 4 square feet. Cats also were less likely to get sick at shelters with double-compartment cages that allowed each cat to remain comfortably on one side of the cage while the other side was cleaned. This configuration furthermore allowed separation of the litter box from food, water, and the bed, which may have further lowered stress.
Dr. Kate Hurley, director of the UC-Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program, and colleagues already have begun to assist interested shelters in remodeling existing cages.
Pet Insight Project to study links between activity and health
On April 5, Mars Petcare announced the launch of Pet Insight Project, a three-year study of more than 200,000 dogs across the United States to uncover links between pet activity and health.
The aim of the study is to better understand when activity may signal a change in a pet's health and to make it possible for pet owners to better partner with their veterinarian on proactive health care.
Dog owners who have enrolled their dogs in the Optimum Wellness Plan at Banfield Pet Hospital, a subsidiary of Mars Inc. with more than 1,000 hospitals, will be invited to participate in the research. Participants will receive a free Whistle Fit activity monitor from Whistle Labs Inc., a subsidiary of Mars Petcare.
Dogs in the study will wear the trackers continuously, and the dogs’ owners will take the dogs for wellness visits at a Banfield hospital. Electronic health records will then be correlated with data collected through the activity monitors.
Data scientists and veterinary professionals will analyze the results to map patterns of pet behaviors and movement with illness, with the goal of aiding in more precise detection of ailments and eventually providing early warnings.
Information about the study is at www.petinsightproject.com.
DEA provides update on opioid shortage
The Drug Enforcement Administration released a statement April 10 on the ongoing opioid shortages affecting both human and veterinary medicine.
“In order to prevent any pharmaceutical drug shortage that negatively impacts patients, DEA is working closely with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, drug manufacturers, wholesale distributors and hospital associations to ensure that patients have access to necessary hospital-administered pain medications,” according to the DEA statement. “These include certain injectable products that contain morphine, hydromorphone, meperidine, and fentanyl.”
“In recent months, the largest U.S. manufacturer of these injectable products has slowed production at one of their manufacturing facilities in order to perform necessary and required upgrades. As a result, this company voluntarily surrendered a portion of their quota allotment and DEA reallocated these amounts to three DEA-registered manufacturers of FDA-approved injectable products in accordance with DEA regulations. It is important to note that an increase in DEA procurement quotas to various manufacturers cannot alone prevent future shortages as DEA does not control the quantity or the speed by which manufacturers produce these or any of their products.”
The AVMA remains in frequent communication with the DEA, FDA, and other stakeholders to advocate for veterinarians’ needs during this shortage. The AVMA encourages veterinarians experiencing shortages to report this information to the FDA by emailing AskCVM@fda.hhs.gov or calling 240–402–7002, and to use professional judgment in treating patients with opioids or available alternatives.
AABP: Determine drug use by disease, not marketing
Cattle should receive antibiotics when needed to treat disease even if the animals are in antibiotic-free production, according to the American Association of Bovine Practitioners.
Companies selling beef or dairy products from antibiotic-free herds need backup plans for selling products of the cattle that need treatment, AABP leaders said in a position statement published in March on raised-without-antibiotics programs. The document is available in PDF format at https://jav.ma/AABPrwa.
“Regardless of the intended marketing channel, the first priority must always lie with the welfare and health of the cattle in our care,” the document states. “Programs that seek to market cattle as ‘raised-without-antibiotics’ (RWA) must not compromise cattle health and well-being in order to maintain animals in an RWA status.”
In an announcement about the publication, AABP president Dr. Mike Apley said animal welfare is a primary obligation for veterinarians.
“We are not making any kind of statement as to the acceptability of these programs, but rather how veterinarians can best work with producers in RWA programs to ensure animal welfare is at the forefront,” he said.
The position statement lists three tenets: Farms need strategies within a veterinarian-client-patient relationship to administer antibiotics when needed, raised-without-antibiotics programs should recognize cattle develop injuries and diseases requiring antibiotic treatment, and RWA programs should include alternative marketing plans for treated animals.
Clinics open in Walmart stores
By Greg Cima
Veterinary clinics are opening in Walmart stores.
By April 5, the pet products company PetIQ had opened its first three Walmart-based clinics in the Oklahoma cities of Bartlesville, Duncan, and Edmond. Company officials plan to have 20 by the end of June, the start of a push for more than 1,000 in Walmart and other retail stores through 2023, an announcement states.
Walmart spokeswoman Erin Hulliberger said those first 20 clinics are expected to open in Arkansas, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania. She said Walmart has a landlord-tenant relationship with PetIQ.
In January, PetIQ bought the clinic chain VIP Petcare, which has walk-in services at pet and feed stores. Presentation materials given in April to investors indicate VIP Petcare had 1,400 veterinarians who worked at 2,900 locations.
Information for investors indicates the expansion into retail stores is related to the purchase of VIP, but the new clinics opening inside Walmart stores will be branded under the name of pet health products company VetIQ, another PetIQ subsidiary.
Cory Ziskind, a spokesman for PetIQ, provided the locations of the first stores but declined to answer questions about clinic staffing by veterinarians or any pending agreements with other retailers. He said he was unable to share any information not previously disclosed to the public.
An announcement from PetIQ indicates PetIQ and VIP have relationships with 40 retail companies with a combined 60,000 stores. CEO Cord Christensen said in the announcement those locations “represent a significant opportunity for us to grow our veterinary services offering.”
“This will enable us to further achieve our mission of providing access to convenient and affordable veterinarian care for all pet owners, including those who currently cannot afford the care they need,” he said. “We are very excited to participate in this high-growth and high-potential veterinary services market.”
Other materials presented to investors in January express a desire for the joined companies to increase sales of PetIQ products to VIP customers and VIP services to PetIQ customers.
Rapid response reduces spread of drug resistance
Aggressive containment of emerging antimicrobial-resistant pathogens can reduce risks they will spread in health care facilities, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In an April 6 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, agency officials describe results of an antimicrobial resistance and control strategy in human health care. In 2017, the agency implemented a program for rapid detection of resistant pathogens, infection control interventions when a single resistant isolate is found, screening tests on people who were in contact with those infected or colonized with pathogens, coordination among health authorities and their organizations, and addition of lasting controls.
The report (MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2018;67:396–401) is available at www.cdc.gov/mmwr.
In the first nine months of 2017, testing through the Antibiotic Resistance Laboratory Network found 221 instances of rare carbapenemase-producing bacteria that a related announcement describes as “nightmare bacteria” containing genes that convey resistance to most or all antimicrobials used in susceptibility tests. The MMWR indicates that those bacteria were among about 6,000 carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae and carbapenem-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa isolates tested.
In 1,500 screening tests of people with no symptoms, 11 percent were colonized by carbapenemase-producing bacteria that are both difficult to treat and easily spread. Those screening tests were conducted among people who had contact in health care centers with people who were infected or colonized with those bacteria.
The report indicates the containment approach advocated by the CDC was used in some facilities that had single identifications of carbapenem-resistant isolates without any known transmission.
The agency's announcement states that “With new resources nationwide, early and aggressive action—when even a single case is found—can keep germs with unusual resistance from spreading in health care facilities and causing hard-to-treat or even untreatable infections.”
Veterinarians discover themselves in Antarctica
Two AVMA members take part in global leadership program that promotes female scientists
By Malinda Larkin
For most veterinarians, networking might involve attending a local VMA meeting and taking time for self-reflection, or starting meditation or a personal journal. Two AVMA members took a more nontraditional approach that involved a weekslong excursion to Antarctica with nearly 80 other women who are veterinarians, physicians, doctoral scientists, and other professionals.
The Homeward Bound Project 2018 (https://homewardboundprojects.com.au) is a global leadership initiative that aims to heighten the influence and impact of women in decision-making roles that shape the planet. Homeward Bound hopes to train 1,000 women over 10 years, with a focus on those in science, technology, engineering, medicine, and math careers.
Their yearlong journey culminated in the largest-ever female expedition to Antarctica, aboard the ship MV Ushuaia departing from Argentina on Feb. 18 for the three-week Antarctic expedition.
While the voyage to Antarctica was the peak of the Homeward Bound program, the 78 participants spent 10 months beforehand preparing for it. The program focuses on leadership, strategy, science communication, and collaboration. Participants video conferenced during this time, and some even met in person.
“We are all leaders in our professions, and I learned how we can develop our best selves, lead teams more effectively, and promote a harmonious working environment,” Dr. Jill M. Lynn said.
She and Dr. Elisa D. Harvey were among only four veterinarians worldwide—two others from Australia—who were selected to take part in the second Homeward Bound expedition, the first having taken place in 2016.
Dr. Harvey (Tufts ‘92) is a practicing veterinarian who works at Maple Springs Veterinary Hospital in Gaithersburg, Maryland, and is a biotechnology consultant for CardioMed Device Consultants LLC. She holds a doctorate in physiology and a master's in ecology and evolutionary biology from the University of Connecticut. An advocate for one health, Dr. Harvey has led a varied career that has included regulatory work with the Food and Drug Administration, spay-neuter work with the Maryland Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and international veterinary volunteer work through WorldVets. She is a mother of two scientist sons and has a menagerie at home, including horses, dogs, and chickens.
Dr. Lynn (Michigan State ‘08) owns and operates Harmony Mobile Veterinary Clinic in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. She also serves as a captain in the U.S. Army Reserve Veterinary Corps. Like Dr. Harvey, Dr. Lynn has worked outside the country to advance animal health. Her two most exciting Army missions were a six-month deployment in East Africa, where she partnered with local animal health workers in remote areas, and a two-week mission in the Darién province of Panama.
After closely following the first Homeward Bound cohort in 2016, Drs. Harvey and Lynn were among the hundreds who applied for 2018.
In an interview with JAVMA News after their Antarctic journey, the two veterinarians said the continent was, for lack of better words, “awesome” and “amazing.”
“It's such a different-looking place, so huge and vast, and everything is in shades of white and gray and blue. It's so stark. There's not a lot of wildlife, but the wildlife there is so interesting,” Dr. Harvey said.
The group made landings at several international research stations, including two U.K. (Port Lockeroy and Rothera Station), one American (Palmer Station), two Argentinian (Carlini Base and Camara Station), and one Chinese (Great Wall Base). Dr. Lynn said she spoke with an Argentinian veterinarian in Antarctica who handles and sedates seals to gather information for studies.
Once the participants saw a seal chasing an Adélie penguin. “We thought we were going to see this poor penguin get eaten in front of our eyes, but an expert later pointed out that it was a crabeater seal that doesn't eat penguins. More likely, it was lonely and wanted to be around another living creature,” Dr. Lynn said with a laugh.
Dr. Harvey said everyone fell in love with the penguins.
“They're so curious and sweet and funny. We were told to keep our distance, but they come right up to you. They peck on your pants and strings. It's very fun. If you sit in one place, they will engage with you,” she said.
Aboard the ship, the group did leadership development training and strategy mapping, which had group members looking at various aspects of their professional and personal lives.
Dr. Lynn said not only did she realize that she needed to find more work-life balance, but also: “Being away made me appreciate my staff even more, given how well they took care of the clinic and patients. They now feel empowered. They had extra duties and made sure to take care of clients. They are skillful at doing things, and I can delegate more; I don't need to do all by myself. If we work as a team in our profession, that's one way to address wellness concerns. We are stronger together. That was one of the messages of Homeward Bound, and it's true.”
Participants also had a chance to speak for a few minutes during the “Symposium at Sea” portion of the program to describe their passions. One was a theoretical physicist who talked about being part of a team that won a Nobel Prize a few years ago for research on gravitational waves in black holes. Dr. Lynn talked about her military experience and what military veterinarians do, from supporting military working dogs to food safety to humanitarian missions. Others discussed doing research on climate change and its impact on coral reefs or the ecosystems of Antarctica.
Dr. Lynn said the program focuses on women because “while more women are earning advanced degrees—like in veterinary medicine, where classes are around 80 percent female—when you look at leadership and the higher levels, women aren't well-represented there. The program is structured to help foster women becoming more engaged in leadership and how best to serve their chosen career fields and have a seat at the table. Studies have shown if there's more balance in leadership, not only men and women but also from different cultures, leadership ends up being more effective.”
Dr. Harvey said a great benefit of the program is the network it builds among accomplished women. “Not only with our cohort, but (in) all the years to come and the one before,” she said. “This large network of women around the world doing all kinds of amazing things—who knows what kinds of collaboration will open up in the future? For me, I want veterinarians to widen their perspective and look outside their traditional roles, to think bigger and wider on the many ways they can contribute to society.”
Aside from the networking and training, Dr. Lynn said there was value in stepping outside her comfort zone, which led to personal growth. That's something Dr. Harvey could attest to as well.
“We were engaging in lots of introspection and ways we can do better and where our areas of growth are in our lives. It was psychologically challenging at the time, especially for people who value solitude. You're on a boat with 78 people and nowhere to go, but out of that came personal growth and the ability to look at one's life and values. It was an opportunity to examine how you are living the values you say you have and how your work life meshes with what you say is important to you,” Dr. Harvey said, something she recommends for anyone.
Dr. Harvey has plans to work with The Jane Goodall Institute's Roots & Shoots program, a youth-led global community action program designed to help young leaders create positive change. She is currently going through its certification program and hopes to talk with children and young adults about science, one health, and leadership.
Dr. Lynn wants to share some of those messages, such as fostering more caring of each other and the planet, through outreach programs at libraries and elsewhere.
They both hope to be role models for girls and young women hoping to enter the veterinary profession or other science fields. “I hope that we can show aspiring scientists that there is no set path, that your career can take you in many directions,” Dr. Lynn said.
They will talk further about their experiences with the Homeward Bound program at AVMA Convention 2018 and encourage female colleagues to participate as well.
Campaign pushes for profession to recognize third gender option
By Malinda Larkin
The student and professional veterinary organizations representing the LGBTQ community have endorsed a letter-writing campaign asking the veterinary profession to include a third gender option on client intake forms, application forms, and surveys.
Morgan Miller, a second-year veterinary student at Colorado State University, came up with the idea to start a letter-writing campaign early this year. Miller shared the letter she composed with the boards of the Broad Spectrum Veterinary Student Association and Pride Veterinary Medical Community (formerly the Lesbian and Gay VMA; see sidebar). Both signed onto the campaign, and are encouraging their members to contact veterinary college deans and leaders of other associations to spread the word. They hope to increase acceptance of the concept that gender refers to a person's personal identity, while sex refers to biological characteristics.
Historically, only cisgender identities have been recognized. Cisgender refers to a person who identifies with the sex they were assigned at birth. Yet, leading medical organizations and other advocates say that individuals’ gender and sexual identities do not always fit neatly into binary paradigms. For example, when a male is born, gender binarism assumes the male will be masculine in appearance, character traits, and behavior, including having a heterosexual attraction to females.
Now, although this is not universally accepted, there is greater recognition among segments of society that individuals may identify as transgender (meaning their gender identity is the opposite of their sex at birth), inter-sex, nonbinary, gender-fluid, or otherwise. Broad Spectrum VSA has put together a presentation on the topic of gender and sexual identities, available at https://jav.ma/IdentitySpectrum.
Nonbinary gender identity is currently not recognized by most states, but some changes have occurred to add more-inclusive options. Last June, Oregon became the first to recognize a nonbinary gender option on driver's licenses. Since the bill passed, Washington, D.C., and more states have followed suit: Washington, New York, and California, which became the first state to allow nonbinary residents to change their gender on all relevant legal documents, including birth certificates, to a gender-neutral option.
“We are moving towards a generation where there is an increasing number, and awareness of trans and nonbinary individuals. As a profession we need to recognize the growing need and create an application process that acknowledges these individuals: our colleagues, classmates and clients,” the letter states, in part.
It goes on to suggest that universities, associations, and practices adopt one of the following options:
• Include a blank space where individuals can fill in their gender identity.
• Offer three gender options: male, female, and “gender not listed.” “For prospective students/clients/employees that fall outside the male/female binary, it can be alienating to routinely not see themselves identified. If more than the binary is reported and they saw their gender identity validated, they would feel a lot more safe and encouraged to apply for that prospective university/clinic,” the letter states. “The recognition of other genders signals to applicants and clients an awareness of their identity and that the veterinary profession is a supportive environment.”
Miller also introduced the letter to the Student AVMA executive board during the SAVMA Symposium in March. The board voted to back the effort, as did the board for Veterinary Students as One in Culture and Ethnicity.
Subsequently, the AVMA, Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges, and North American Veterinary Community indicated their support for including a third gender option on forms and surveys.
The AVMA implemented the change in its annual Senior Survey sent out this spring. Jen Brandt, PhD, director of member well-being and diversity initiatives, said staff members had already planned on updating the 2018 survey form to ensure consistency with evolving best practices in inclusivity.
Earlier, Dr. Brandt and Lisa Greenhill, EdD, AAVMC senior director for institutional research and diversity, had discussed how the AAVMC has implemented the nonbinary gender question, and its future plans.
The AAVMC has had nonbinary gender–related questions on its independent research projects since 2011, and last year it added a nonbinary gender option to its annual data collection from the veterinary colleges, Dr. Greenhill said. Further, the AAVMC's Veterinary Medical College Application Service has gone through several versions of its gender-related questions in the past decade. The VMCAS 2019 application cycle questions about gender will move closer to what the AAVMC asks on its other data collection efforts.
Following their discussion and AVMA staff leadership discussions on the topic in March and April, the Association adjusted the survey just before it was launched.
Dr. Brandt said she fully supports the AVMA taking this step. In a message to organizers, she wrote: “It was important to us that we identify a tenable solution to accommodate researchers who depend on government data on biological sex, as well as provide a culturally competent approach to asking about gender identity.”
One question on the senior survey now asks, “What is your sex?” and a second question asks, “What is your gender identity?” with male, female, and “gender X” as options.
“Our first priority, because of the time-sensitive nature of it, was updating the (senior) survey. We will have broader discussions on how we implement this Associationwide,” Dr. Brandt said, such as in other surveys and the AVMA Membership Database. She said the next step is to work with the AAVMC to develop a joint statement in support of this approach.
Last year, Broad Spectrum and the LGVMA successfully petitioned the AVMA Board of Directors to update the “AVMA Policy on Diversity and Inclusion” to add “nondiscrimination language” that now includes both gender identity and expression.
Dr. Brandt said, “Eventually we would like to see major corporations and private practices have this on the application process and client intake forms so we can start making change at the national level for veterinarians and clients. It will be a progressive change, step by step, but it's taken off quicker than anyone expected.”
LGBTQ veterinary group renames itself
The Lesbian and Gay Veterinary Medical Association has rebranded itself as the Pride Veterinary Medical Community.
The group's origins date to the late 1970s when it started as the Association of Gay Veterinarians. That name was replaced in 1991 by the International Membership of Gay and Lesbian Animal Doctors, founded by Drs. Ken Gorczyca and Diana Phillips. I'M GLAD then changed in 1993 to the Lesbian and Gay Veterinary Medical Association.
The latest iteration of the organization came from discussions during a strategic planning session held at AVMA Convention 2017 in Indianapolis, in addition to feedback from an LGVMA survey of its membership this past year. In March, the LGVMA board voted to modernize and choose a more inclusive name, as suggested by student members and other young members, according to an April 20 press release. A formal rollout is planned for June, which is LGBT Pride Month.
Pride VMC endeavors to represent the entire spectrum of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning and/or queer people, along with allies who are veterinarians, veterinary students, veterinary technicians and technology students, and veterinary staff and faculty.
“As our world and our profession changes, we feel that the time has come to update our name once again,” Dr. Melinda Merck, president of Pride VMC, said in the release. “The veterinary profession has become more aware of and concerned with diversity and wellness in our communities. We feel that the name of our organization should be one that represents all of us and seeks to be as inclusive as possible. Many LGBTQ+ organizations across the country and the world have begun to move away from the ‘alphabet soup’ acronyms and are choosing names that include members and allies under one umbrella. This is our goal, to choose a name that is inclusive, fun, and truly represents who we are and what we stand for.”
Pride VMC is also becoming a 501(c)3 organization. Its new strategic focus is as follows:
• Fight discrimination against LGBTQ people in the veterinary medical profession.
• Build collaborative networks for the LGBTQ veterinary medical community.
• Support LGBTQ students in veterinary medicine through mentorship, program development, and scholarships.
Pride VMC is planning to build a new website (www.pridevmc.org) that will include several new features, such as a jobs page.
For more information, contact email@example.com.
The Broad Spectrum Veterinary Student Association plans to keep its name, as it represents all students at North American veterinary colleges, wherever they fall on the spectrum of sexuality or gender.
Winn Feline Foundation awards $300,000 for research
Winn Feline Foundation announced in April that it has awarded $304,071 for 14 grants in feline medical research.
The foundation awarded three grants for research in feline shelter medicine, with funding from PetSmart Charities, as follows:
• “Protecting foster kittens from infectious diarrhea with a new potential probiotic,” Dr. Jody Gookin, North Carolina State University, $25,000.
• “Understanding immunity to protect cats from distemper (panleukopenia),” Drs. Vanessa Barrs and Julia Beatty, University of Sydney, $24,500.
• “Evaluating feline coronavirus as a cause of upper respiratory disease in shelter cats,” Gary Whittaker, PhD, and Dr. Elizabeth Berliner, Cornell University, $24,307.
The foundation awarded 11 additional grants for research, as follows:
• “Understanding genetic differences in immunity to feline infectious peritonitis (FIP),” Dr. Emi Barker and Christopher Helps, PhD, University of Bristol, $6,400.
• “Predicting susceptibility to FeLV infection in cats,” Elliott Chiu, Colorado State University, $15,000.
• “Evaluating a new drug therapy for lung cancer in cats,” Drs. Alycen Lundberg and Timothy Fan, University of Illinois, $24,998.
• “Identifying a new biomarker for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) in cats,” Drs. Jonathan Stack and Ryan Fries, University of Illinois, $21,900.
• “Using new approaches to modulate feline leukemia virus infection,” Dr. Cheryl Swenson and Vilma Yuzbasiyan-Gurkan, PhD, Michigan State University, $24,974.
• “Understanding how toxoplasmosis develops in cats could lead to new therapies or prevention,” Dr. David Arranz Solis and Jeroen Saeij, PhD, University of California-Davis, $17,500.
• “Examining the effectiveness of a low-cost treatment for oral cancer in cats,” Dr. Michael Nolan, North Carolina State University, $23,060.
• “Investigating a new pain pathway associated with osteoarthritis in cats,” Santosh Mishra, PhD, and Dr. Duncan Lascelles, North Carolina State University, $23,560.
• “Determining feeding behavior in cats to manage weight and obesity,” Dr. Andronie Verbrugghe and Anna-Kate Shoveller, PhD, University of Guelph, $24,002.
• “Evaluating the genetic differences of amyloidosis in Siamese/Oriental and Abyssinian/Somali cats,” Dr. Maria Longeri at the University of Milan and Leslie Lyons, PhD, at the University of Missouri, $23,870.
• “Measuring total cat count in communities,” Tyler Flockhart, PhD, University of Maryland, $25,000.
Event: 134th annual meeting, March 1–4, Indianapolis
Program: The meeting drew more than 310 veterinarians and 175 veterinary technicians and assistants. On offer were accreditation modules, a wellness track, and more than 190 hours of continuing education.
Awards: Lifetime Achievement Award: Dr. Robert N. Jackman, Milroy, for cumulative service and accomplishments benefiting the veterinary profession, organized veterinary medicine, and community. A 1967 graduate of the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Jackman practices at Jackman Animal Clinic in Milroy. He also operates a contract finishing hog unit for Corya Pork Farms. Dr. Jackman served 12 years in the Indiana State Senate, representing District 42. President's Award: Dr. Lindsey Hedges, Lebanon, for exceptional contributions to the association. A 2011 graduate of the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Hedges owns Pleasant Paws Veterinary Care in Lebanon. She served as the emerging leader from Indiana at the AVMA Veterinary Leadership Conference in 2013 and has been program facilitator for the association's Power of 10 Leadership Program since 2015. Volunteer of the Year: Dr. James Stepusin, Indianapolis, for leadership or service to a project or program of the association. A 2002 graduate of the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Stepusin is the Midwest regional director of field veterinary services with Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health. He is a past president of the Indiana VMA, serves as chair of the association's Annual Meeting Committee, and is a member of its Legislative Committee. Achievement Award: Dr. Lisa Hepworth, West Lafayette, won this award, given to an IVMA member who has graduated within the preceding five years and has made outstanding accomplishments in veterinary research, civic activities, academia, or organized veterinary medicine. A 2012 graduate of the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Hepworth practices at Paw Prints Animal Hospital in Lafayette. She serves on the IVMA Continuing Education Committee and Annual Meeting Task Force.
Officials: Dr. Nathan Rich, New Castle, president; Dr. Matt Cantrell, Zionsville, president-elect; Dr. Aaron Smiley, Anderson, vice president; Dr. Kyle Shipman, Indianapolis, treasurer; Dr. Maria Cooper, Indianapolis, immediate past president; and Lisa A. Perius, Indianapolis, executive director
Event: 121st annual meeting, Feb. 15–17, Rochester
Awards: Veterinarian of the Year: Dr. Richard “Dick” Reierson, Dayton. A 1971 graduate of the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Reierson is the founder of Elm Creek Animal Hospital in Champlin. He is a longtime member of the MVMA Continuing Education Committee and serves on the Minnesota Veterinary Medical Foundation's Clay Shoot Committee. Dr. Reierson is a past member of the American Animal Hospital Association board of directors. President's Award: Dr. George H. Krienke, Roseville. A 1961 veterinary graduate of the University of Minnesota, Dr. Krienke is the founder of Rice Pet Clinic in Little Canada, where he practiced until retirement. He helped establish the Animal Emergency and Referral Center of Minnesota and is a past president of the MVMA Council of Senior Veterinarians. Distinguished Veterinary Service Award, given for service to the veterinary profession and contributions to animal well-being: Dr. Paul Anderson, Chaska. A 1975 graduate of the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Anderson served as assistant director with the Minnesota Board of Animal Health from 1990 until retirement in 2017. Earlier in his career, he practiced small animal medicine in Apple Valley, did emergency and relief work for a dairy and equine practice in Lakeville, and practiced mixed animal medicine in Greene, Iowa. Emerging Leader Award: Dr. Brittney Brock, Farmington. A 2010 veterinary graduate of the University of Minnesota, Dr. Brock practices at Inver Grove Heights Animal Hospital in Inver Grove Heights. She is a past president of the Minnesota Veterinary Medical Foundation. Outstanding Faculty Award: Dr. Erin Malone, Roseville. A 1989 graduate of the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Malone is a professor at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine, where she oversees the clinical skills program, serves as the veterinary student mental health adviser, and manages the curriculum.
Officials: Drs. David Fell, Jackson, president; Joni Scheftel, St. Paul, president-elect; Matthew Boyle, Hager City, Wisconsin, vice president; Jim Winsor, Inver Grove Heights, secretary-treasurer; and Tim Krienke, St. Paul, immediate past president
Obituaries: AVMA member AVMA honor roll member Nonmember
Donald E. Bailey
Dr. Bailey (Colorado State ‘50), 91, Roseburg, Oregon, died March 20, 2018. He was the founder of Bailey Veterinary Clinic in Roseburg, where he practiced mixed animal medicine for 40 years prior to retirement in 1991. Dr. Bailey also owned Bar None Ranch, a cattle and sheep operation, ranching until a few years ago.
He helped organize and served as the second president of what is now known as the American Association of Small Ruminant Practitioners. Dr. Bailey served on the board of directors of the Western Veterinary Conference from 1977–83; was a past chair of the Oregon Veterinary Medical Examining Board; served as Oregon's alternate delegate and delegate to the AVMA House of Delegates from 1977–88; and was a member of the AVMA House Advisory Committee for three years during his service in the AVMA HOD. He was a past chair of the Health Committee of the National Wool Growers Association and a past president of the Oregon Sheep Growers Association and Oregon VMA.
Dr. Bailey advocated for the establishment of the veterinary college at Oregon State University and served on the OSU President's Committee on Agriculture Education. He wrote an animal health column for Sheep! magazine for 30 years and contributed to veterinary medical guides, including “Current Veterinary Therapy: Food Animal Practice.”
The AASRP honored Dr. Bailey with the George A. McConnell Award in 1987. He received the AVMA Award in 1989 and the OVMA Meritorious Service Award in 2001.
Dr. Bailey was a past president of the Roseburg Kiwanis Club, served on the Roseburg Planning Commission, and co-founded the Douglas County Soil and Water Committee. Active with the National FFA Organization, he was awarded the Honorary American Farmer Lifetime Achievement Award in 1981. Dr. Bailey also received the OSU College of Agricultural Sciences Diamond Pioneer Award in 2001 and was named First Citizen of the Year for 2012 by the Roseburg Area Chamber of Commerce. He was a past recipient of the Douglas County Livestock Associations Pioneer Award.
Dr. Bailey is survived by his wife, Betty; two daughters and a son; six grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren; and a brother. His son, Dr. Blair E. Bailey (Washington State ‘78), is a retired mixed animal veterinarian in Roseburg, and his grandnieces, Drs. Katherine B. Weitsel (Washington State ‘10) and Jessica B. Van Noopen (Western University ‘17) are small animal veterinarians in Washington state at Federal Way and Kirkland, respectively. His late brother, Dr. Robert B. Bailey (Colorado State ‘58), practiced with him at Bailey Veterinary Clinic. Memorials may be made to the Oregon State University Foundation, 850 SW 35th St., Corvallis, OR 97333.
Malcolm T. Barksdale Jr.
Dr. Barksdale (Georgia ‘54), 87, Hartwell, Georgia, died Feb. 25, 2018. He began his career as a equine racetrack veterinarian in New York state and Florida. Dr. Barksdale subsequently established a practice in Orlando, Florida, where he practiced mixed animal medicine for several years. He then served five years as veterinarian for the humane society in Nassau, The Bahamas, before returning to mixed practice in Orlando. Dr. Barksdale retired in 2000.
He was a life member of the Florida VMA and served on the Florida Board of Veterinary Medicine.
Dr. Barksdale's wife, Alice; two daughters, a stepdaughter and two stepsons; 10 grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; and a sister survive him. Memorials may be made to Sharon Presbyterian Church, P.O. Box 1051, Hartwell, GA 30643.
Grover D. Cloyd
Dr. Cloyd (Auburn ‘42), 99, Staunton, Virginia, died Dec. 23, 2017. Following graduation, he served as a major in the Army. Dr. Cloyd then owned a large animal practice in Florence, Alabama, for 10 years, after which he began a career in medical research and development of consumer products in Ohio, first with Provico, and, later, with Hess and Clark. In 1968, he joined A.H. Robins in Richmond, Virginia, as a research veterinarian. Dr. Cloyd retired from the company in 1985 as director of veterinary medicine and consumer products research and development.
A fellow of the American Association of Veterinary Toxicologists, he was a past president of what is now the American Association of Industry Veterinarians, a past secretary of the Virginia VMA, and a member of the Central Virginia VMA. Dr. Cloyd is survived by his two daughters, a son, seven grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. Memorials may be made to Friends of Bryan Park, P.O. Box 15481, Richmond, VA 23227.
James W. Edwards
Dr. Edwards (Colorado State ‘49), 94, Sidney, Nebraska, died March 27, 2018. He was the founder of Edwards Veterinary Hospital in Sidney, where he practiced for 36 years. Dr. Edwards was a past president of the Nebraska VMA and served two terms on the Nebraska Board of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery. In 1985, he was named Veterinarian of the Year. Dr. Edwards is survived by his wife, Kathleen; a son and two daughters; six grandchildren; and a great-grandchild.
Randall G. Ezell
Dr. Ezell (Missouri ‘82), 61, Henderson, Nevada, died Feb. 24, 2018. He practiced small animal medicine at Tropicana Animal Hospital in Las Vegas. Dr. Ezell was a past president of what is now the Western Veterinary Conference and instrumental in the design and construction of the WVC Oquendo Center, an educational facility. In 2009, the WVC honored him with the Distinguished Service Award, and, in 2016, the WVC conference was named the Randall G. Ezell 88th Annual Conference.
Dr. Ezell's wife, Janis; a son and a daughter; and a brother survive him. Memorials, toward the Student Scholarship Fund, may be made to the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine, Columbia, MO 65211.
Samuel M. Grossman
Dr. Grossman (Michigan State ‘43), 97, Southfield, Michigan, died Jan. 30, 2018. Following graduation, he served as a lieutenant in the Army during World War II, working in meat inspection. Dr. Grossman subsequently established Gratiot Animal Clinic in Eastpointe, Michigan, where he practiced small animal medicine until 1995. He then continued working at several practices in the Detroit area until retirement in 2004.
Dr. Grossman's two daughters and a grandchild survive him.
Warren W. Herrmann
Dr. Herrmann (Iowa State ‘50), 91, Sibley, Iowa, died Jan. 29, 2018. He was a partner at Sibley Veterinary Clinic, where he practiced mixed animal medicine for several years prior to retirement. Dr. Herrmann was a veteran of the Army Air Corps and served on the Sibley City Council and Sibley School Board.
His wife, Shirley; two daughters; four grandchildren; and a great-grandchild survive him.
Donald C. Hunt
Dr. Hunt (Cornell ‘61), 80, Salisbury, Vermont, died Jan. 27, 2018. He owned Middlebury Large Animal Clinic in Middlebury, Vermont, prior to retirement in 2013. Dr. Hunt began his career working in Randolph, Vermont. From 1962–64, he served as a captain in the Army. Dr. Hunt subsequently joined the Middlebury Large and Small Animal Clinic, eventually buying the large animal part of the practice.
Known for his expertise in equine reproduction, he served as veterinarian for the University of Vermont Morgan Horse Farm and established the Draft Horse Show at the Addison County Fair and Field Days. Dr. Hunt was a past president of the Vermont Draft Horse Association and Vermont VMA.
His five daughters, a son, 12 grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, a brother, and three foster brothers survive him.
Memorials may be made to Helen Porter Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, 30 Porter Drive, Middlebury, VT 05753; Addison County Home Health and Hospice, 254 Ethan Allen Highway, New Haven, VT 05472; Project Independence (an adult day center), 112 Exchange St., Middlebury, VT 05753; or Alzheimer's Association, P.O. Box 96011, Washington, DC 20090.
Anton A. Kammerlocher
Dr. Kammerlocher (Oklahoma State ‘57), 84, Newcastle, Oklahoma, died March 21, 2018. In 1965, he established Anton's Animal Hospital in Norman, Oklahoma, where he practiced companion animal medicine until retirement in 2001. Following graduation, Dr. Kammerlocher worked briefly in livestock inspection for the Department of Agriculture in Indianapolis. He then served four years as a veterinary officer in public health and food inspection with the Air Force, retiring in 1961 with the rank of captain.
Dr. Kammerlocher subsequently accepted an appointment as veterinarian on the faculty of what was known as Jimma Agricultural Technical School in Ethiopia. He returned to the United States in 1964 and practiced mixed animal medicine in Amarillo, Texas, before founding his Norman practice.
In 2007, the Oklahoma State University Center for Veterinary Health Sciences honored Dr. Kammerlocher with a Distinguished Alumnus Award. Active in his community, he served two terms on the Newcastle School Board of Education and was a member of the Rotary Club.
Dr. Kammerlocher is survived by five children, 11 grandchildren, a great-grandchild, and a sister. Memorials, toward the Center for Veterinary Health Sciences, may be made to OSU Foundation, c/o Sharon Worrell, 308 McElroy Hall, Stillwater, OK 74078, https://cvhs.okstate.edu/giving.
William J. Neuliep
Dr. Neuliep (Iowa State ‘53), 95, Rochelle, Illinois, died Dec. 3, 2017. He owned a mixed animal practice in Rochelle for 62 years. Dr. Neuliep was a Marine Corps veteran of World War II.
He is survived by his wife, Margaret; five children; five grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren. Memorials may be made to United Presbyterian Church of Rochelle, 1100 Calvin Road, P.O. Box 215, Rochelle, IL 61068, or Serenity Hospice and Home, 1658 S. Illinois Route 2, P.O. Box 462, Oregon, IL 61061.
Dr. Pickerill (Iowa State ‘62), 82, Austin, Texas, died Oct. 16, 2017. He was a veterinary epidemiologist with the Department of Agriculture for almost 40 years prior to retirement in 2002. During that time, Dr. Pickerill worked in Lake City, Iowa; Austin, Texas; Des Moines, Iowa; and Jackson, Mississippi.
Early in his career, he practiced large animal medicine in Iowa, first in Slater, and, later, in Lake City. In 1994, the USDA honored Dr. Pickerill with a Distinguished Service Award. He was a veteran of the Army.
Dr. Pickerill's wife, Sarah; four sons and a daughter; 10 grandchildren; and a brother and a sister survive him.
Memorials may be made to the American Cancer Society, P.O. Box 22478, Oklahoma City, OK 73123.
Robert E. Pierson
Dr. Pierson (Iowa State ‘43), 98, Fort Collins, Colorado, died Dec. 8, 2017. He had been a professor and a large animal clinician at the Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences since 1954, retiring as professor emeritus in 1984.
Following graduation, Dr. Pierson served as deputy state veterinarian in Wyoming. He subsequently owned a mixed animal practice in Saratoga, Wyoming, before joining the veterinary faculty at Colorado State University. Following his retirement from Colorado State, he became a watercolor artist whose work was featured on the covers of veterinary journals, including the American Equine Journal and JAVMA.
Dr. Pierson was a past president of what is now known as the American Association of Small Ruminant Practitioners, receiving its George A. McConnell Award in 1992. He also received several teaching honors while at CSU.
Dr. Pierson's two sons, a daughter, seven grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren survive him. Memorials, toward the Dr. Robert E. Pierson Memorial Scholarship, may be made to CSU Foundation, P.O. Box 1870, Fort Collins, CO 80522.
Walter C. Robinson III
Dr. Robinson (Georgia ‘73), 76, Taylors, South Carolina, died Feb. 9, 2018. A diplomate of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (canine and feline practice), he owned East North Veterinary Clinic in Greenville, South Carolina, practicing small animal medicine in the area for four decades.
Dr. Robinson was named South Carolina Veterinarian of the Year in 2007, and, in 2011, the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine recognized him as a Distinguished Alumnus.
He was a past chair of the South Carolina Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners; served as South Carolina's representative in the AVMA House of Delegates from 1996–2014, as alternate delegate and delegate; was a member of the AVMA Legislative Advisory Committee from 2009–14; and served on the AVMA Political Action Committee Policy Board from 2005–09, with a year as treasurer in 2008.
He also served on the Veterinary Technology Advisory Board for Tri-County Technical College and Newberry College, both located in South Carolina; was a past president of the South Carolina Association of Veterinarians and Greenville County VMA, a past secretary-treasurer of the Blue Ridge VMA, and a past treasurer of the Greenville County Veterinary Emergency Clinic; and served on the Veterinary Medicine Advisory Committee of the Food and Drug Administration and the American Association of Veterinary State Boards’ Resolution and Bylaws Committee.
Dr. Robinson was an eight-year member of the South Carolina State Election Commission, including six years as vice chair. In 1998, then South Carolina governor, David Beasley, awarded him the Order of the Palmetto for his service.
He is survived by a son, daughter, two grandchildren, and a sister. Memorials, notated to the College of Veterinary Medicine Memorial/Honors Fund in memory of Dr. Walter Robinson, may be made to the UGA Foundation, 501 DW Brooks Drive, Athens, GA 30602.
Victor I. Sorgen
Dr. Sorgen (Colorado State ‘50), 93, Pikesville, Maryland, died March 30, 2018. A small animal veterinarian, he owned Essex Dog & Cat Hospital in Baltimore prior to retirement in 2000. From 1976–2000, Dr. Sorgen also directed the veterinary technology program at Essex Community College, a program he helped initiate and establish. Early in his career, he worked at Suburban Animal Hospital in Baltimore.
Dr. Sorgen was a past president of the Maryland VMA and served on the Maryland State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners. In 1993, he was a co-recipient of the MVMA's The Good Doctor Award.
Dr. Sorgen is survived by a daughter, a stepdaughter, three stepsons, four grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren. Memorials, toward the Dr. Victor I. Sorgen Veterinary Technology Scholarship, may be made to the Maryland Veterinary Foundation, P.O. Box 5407, Annapolis, MD 21403, or toward the DVM Scholarship Fund at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, Fund #883194, In Memory of Victor I. Sorgen, College of Veterinary Medicine, Office of Development, 225 Duck Pond Drive, Blacksburg, VA 24060.