Hill's Pet Nutrition broke ground this August for a $20 million, 25,000-square-foot facility in Topeka, Kansas, focused on the nutritional needs of small dogs—Small Paws—and a center for engaging veterinarians and other pet caregivers.

The new Small Paws center will include state-of-the art facilities and will house 80 dogs weighing less than 12 pounds that will receive specially formulated nutrition developed to meet their unique needs. The facility will be devoted to veterinary care and offer a variety of indoor and outdoor enrichment activities that the dogs can choose during the day, including an outdoor park.

The Engagement Center will have dedicated space for educational seminars and continuing education programs for veterinary students and professionals.

“All around the world, there's a steady increase in the popularity of small dogs. Our investment in this specialized facility will help us develop food with the taste and aesthetics that small dogs prefer and that works best with their distinctive behaviors and unique physiology,” said Dave Baloga, Hill's vice president of science and technology, in a statement.

More than half of dogs in the U.S. are small and miniature, and the percentage is growing, according to the pet food company.


The 2020 annual meeting of AVMA voting members will be held at 9 a.m. CST on Jan. 10, at the Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile, 540 N. Michigan Ave. As determined by the AVMA Board of Directors, the meeting will be held in conjunction with the regular winter session of the AVMA House of Delegates, during the plenary session of the AVMA Veterinary Leadership Conference.

The meeting will include reports from the treasurer and AVMA staff, a message from the president, speeches by candidates for president-elect and vice president, and other information as determined by the House Advisory Committee.


The Drug Enforcement Administration is using a new form, effective Oct. 30, for ordering controlled substances.

Veterinarians, among other DEA registrants, still need to send paper order forms when buying schedule I or II controlled substances. But the new process eliminates three-sheet carbon copy forms.

The change replaces DEA Form 222. The old version remains viable for two years.

With the new version of Form 222, agency officials send doctors stacks of numbered forms on paper with fraud-prevention features. Doctors place an order by filling out a form, making a copy—electronic or paper—for their own files, and sending the original form to their controlled substance supplier.

That supplier keeps the physical copy, fills the order, and submits information on the order to the DEA through an automated system or by email, mail, or fax. Doctors and suppliers need to keep copies of the orders for at least two years.

Please send comments and story ideas to JAVMANews@avma.org.

State authorities see disease risk in imported dogs

State veterinarians, pork industry cite surprise arrivals of rescue dogs as cause for concern

By Greg Cima

Dr. Beth S. Thompson learned in August that a rescue group was bringing Greyhounds to Minnesota from a meat market in China.

She is Minnesota's state veterinarian and executive director of the Minnesota Board of Animal Health. An official with Missouri's state government sent a message that a rescue group had arranged to ship the dogs to homes in Missouri but seemed to divert them to Minnesota at the last minute.

Dr. Thompson checked with Customs and Border Protection authorities for dogs arriving at the state's airports. She also sought help from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which checks incoming dogs for rabies vaccination. She was missing the rescue organization's name, so she searched for Greyhound rescues in a listing of Minnesota-registered nonprofit organizations and looked for updates from those groups.

She eventually found a Facebook post that indicated five Minnesota-bound dogs had arrived in Chicago. By then, the post was more than a week old.

The dogs—four Greyhounds and a Whippet—should have been kept in quarantine at least 10 days so they could be watched for signs of illness, Dr. Thompson said. When contacted by her office, members of the rescue organization claimed ignorance of state rules to reduce disease risk.

“They thought, with the certificate that they had gotten from the veterinarian in China, they were good to go,” Dr. Thompson said. “So, it's a matter of educating a lot of these people that are traveling.”

Veterinarians with state governments are concerned that dogs and their carriers could bring with them pathogens, especially the African swine fever virus responsible for killing whole pig herds in China and Eastern Europe.

Department of Agriculture authorities think the virus is unlikely to spread from imported dogs to pigs. Still, Dr. Lisa J. Becton, director of swine health information and research for the National Pork Board, warns that the ASF virus is hardy, and while dogs cannot be infected, she is concerned it could survive in bedding or on crates.

“Unlike other viruses that can desiccate and become nonviable relatively easily, African swine fever is, unfortunately, not one of those,” Dr. Becton said.

She described six Beagles from China that arrived unannounced this summer in a suburb of Raleigh, North Carolina, along with shipping crates, blankets, water, and food bowls. The dogs had been destined for a dog meat festival before a rescue group flew them from Beijing to Atlanta, then drove them hours northeast.

Dr. Douglas Meckes, state veterinarian for North Carolina, said his office might not have learned about the imports had the organizers not told news outlets. He ordered quarantines that held two of the dogs at a veterinary clinic and the rest at their foster homes, and state authorities gave the veterinary clinic protective suits for cleaning and disinfecting the clinic.

Dr. Becton said dogs at many meat markets can be exposed to blood, feces, and insanitary handling.

“There's multiple species and very little regulation or oversight,” Dr. Becton said.


All dogs entering the country need to be at least 4 months old, CDC information states. Pets need to look healthy and may need rabies vaccine certificates, depending on the risk from the source country. Dogs from China, for example, need proof of rabies vaccination.

Under the Animal Welfare Act, dogs entering the U.S. for resale—which includes adoption—have to be at least 6 months old, in good health, and accompanied by a rabies vaccination certificate and an international health certificate that shows they are vaccinated against distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, and parvovirus and parainfluenza virus infection, according to information from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

Airlines may require health certificates, according to CBP information. CDC and USDA authorities say animal importers also should check state requirements.

Dr. Molly Katherine Houle, who completed an internship with the CDC team responsible for enforcing dog importation regulations, wrote an article on the CDC's website about the 2017 discovery of hordes of puppies smuggled to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, the discovery of a 6-month-old Chihuahua with rabies, and the risks that young dogs in particular can spread tapeworms, roundworms, Giardia, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus skin infections, and canine brucellosis.

Megan Jacob, PhD, associate professor and director of diagnostic laboratories at North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine, said moving animals across national or state borders risks spreading infectious disease and antimicrobial-resistant bacteria. Dogs in one region might be naive to another region's strains of canine influenza, distemper, parvovirus, or Salmonella, she said.

“In addition to bringing viruses or bacteria that may be transmissible to other dogs, there is certainly a risk that the animals—any animal—could carry an infecting agent that could be passed to people or other animal species,” Dr. Jacob said.

Researchers linked a 2015 canine influenza outbreak in Chicago with a strain that circulated in China and South Korea, according to information from Cornell University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dr. Jacob said studies also have linked dog shows and breeder sales with domestic movement of canine influenza serogroups.

International health certificates arriving with dogs show that veterinary authorities are screening for sick animals that are likely to shed high amounts of an infectious pathogen.

“I think the challenge is those animals that are subclinical or asymptomatic—that aren't overtly sick,” Dr. Jacob said.

Dr. Houle wrote that investigators determined some canine influenza outbreaks in the U.S. likely originated with rescue dogs, and some strains can develop into human health risks. In 2016, avian influenza spread from a cat to a person in a New York City animal shelter, the article states.

“Although the disease was mild, a more severe strain could emerge from the sick underage puppies imported into the United States,” she wrote. The article is available at jav.ma/CDCarticle.

APHIS spokeswoman Joelle R. Hayden said agency authorities determined dogs from China's meat markets pose a negligible risk of spreading ASF to the U.S. because of long-term security measures designed to protect against foot-and-mouth disease. When dogs arrive from China or other countries with FMD, inspectors at ports check dogs and their bedding for excess dirt, hay, straw, or other substances that could carry disease.

Agency officials also recommend bathing dogs after arrival and keeping them away from livestock at least five days after arrival.

Dr. Scott Dee, director of research at Pipestone Veterinary Services in Pipestone, Minnesota, also sees a generally low risk that U.S. swine will be infected by ASF virus arriving in contaminated dog crates or bedding. Undeclared or smuggled pork products are more substantial risks, as are contaminated feed products.

Dr. Dee is the lead author of a 2018 article that found the ASF virus, among other pathogens, survived in conditions that simulated overseas trips in feed, pet food, and sausage casings. He said the risk of infection rises if someone feeds backyard pigs any dog food left over from an overseas trip.


Through a newsletter and social media posts, members of Triangle Beagle Rescue indicated they brought the six Beagles to North Carolina in partnership with Rushton Dog Rescue, which is based in Somerset, U.K. At press time, neither group had responded to messages with questions about their importation processes.

A local ABC affiliate's report on the dogs’ arrival noted that Triangle Beagle Rescue also imported eight Beagles in 2018.

Dr. Mike Neault, livestock director for the veterinary division of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, said division employees acted out of caution once they learned of the Beagles’ arrival. They made sure the bedding and food that came off the plane with the dogs went to a landfill. They cleaned, sanitized, and sun-dried the carriers from the trip, as well as incinerated all feces, trash, and papers.

Dr. Douglas Meckes wants more federal scrutiny of animals arriving in the U.S., and he worries about the animal importation that goes unnoticed. He and Dr. Neault said USDA officials at ports sometimes neglect to mention state requirements, and no state authorities saw the international health certificate information when the six Beagles arrived.

Dr. Beth S. Thompson said she would like to see a federal system to notify states when animals are arriving.

“Once the animals land in our states, we can actually address any concerns that the individual states may have,” Dr. Thompson said.

Health authorities could reduce the risk through quarantines when dogs arrive and follow-up evaluations before adoption or further travel, Dr. Jacob said. They could make use of better surveillance data, with detailed observations on each animal's health and travel history, along with post-health certification monitoring for signs of illness.

As for potential fomites arriving with an animal, Dr. Jacob said countermeasures should depend on the organisms of concern. Some items could be disinfected, and others should be disposed.


By Kaitlyn Mattson

Long Island University College of Veterinary Medicine will begin accepting students to its program in fall 2020 after having received a letter of reasonable assurance of accreditation from the AVMA Council on Education. That brings the total number of U.S. veterinary colleges to 32, including the University of Arizona, which also recently received a letter of reasonable assurance from the council (see story on page 1204).

The COE made the decision regarding LIU during its fall meeting Sept. 22-24 at AVMA headquarters in Schaumburg, Illinois, after performing a comprehensive site visit Aug. 12-17, 2018, in Brookville, New York.

“The launch of our veterinary school further elevates LIU as we clearly continue on our path to status as a nationally recognized teaching and research institution,” said Kimberly R. Cline, EdD, president of LIU, in an Oct. 21 press release.

A letter of reasonable assurance is not a pre-accreditation action, but indicates that the LIU veterinary college may gain accreditation in the future if the program follows through with all the plans it presented to the COE.

The veterinary college will be one of four programs in the Northeast, including the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in Philadelphia; Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine in Ithaca, New York; and Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University in North Grafton, Massachusetts.

LIU is a private university founded in 1926 that offers 320 academic programs. The university, which has another main campus in New York City, has recently suffered from enrollment decline and financial issues, according to media reports, but despite this, has moved forward with plans for the veterinary college. Entering student enrollment is up this year, and the university's overall retention rates have continued to improve, according to LIU.


An artist's rendering of the Long Island University College of Veterinary Medicine building (Courtesy of LIU)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 255, 11; 10.2460/javma.255.11.1199

The veterinary program will be housed in a 47,000-square-foot facility that is expected to be completed in the next year and cost $40 million. LIU is ahead of schedule on construction of facilities for the new veterinary college, including remodeling and construction of laboratories and classrooms, with construction projected to be finished before classes begin in September 2020. LIU was awarded $12 million by the state of New York in 2018 to help build facilities to house the veterinary college.

The veterinary college plans to accept 100 students, and its curriculum will include a distributive model for fourth-year clinical training along with supervised clinical experiences provided throughout the four years of the program through partnerships with more than 50 organizations in the area.

“LIU College of Veterinary Medicine faculty, selected based on their strong reputation as scholars and educators, are prepared to offer the highest quality education to the next generation of globally competent, practice-ready and entrepreneurial veterinarians,” said Dr. Carmen Fuentealba, dean of the veterinary college, in the press release. “With our extensive network of research and clinical partners—including pet hospitals, zoos, and animal rescues—the entire region has been enthusiastically anticipating approval of the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program.”

At this time, tuition for veterinary students is expected to be $55,000 per year, which will be among the top 10 highest tuition rates among U.S. veterinary colleges.


By Kaitlyn Mattson


An artist's rendering of the University of Arizona College of Veterinary Medicine in Oro Valley, Arizona (Courtesy of Arizona Board of Regents/University of Arizona)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 255, 11; 10.2460/javma.255.11.1199

The University of Arizona College of Veterinary Medicine received a letter of reasonable assurance from the AVMA Council on Education in October after two attempts vying for the accreditor's approval over six years.

“This show of support from the AVMA paves the way for the University of Arizona to become a leader in veterinary medical education,” said Robert C. Robbins, MD, president of UA, in an Oct. 17 press release.

The COE made its accreditation decision during its Sept. 22-24 meeting at AVMA headquarters in Schaumburg, Illinois, following a comprehensive site visit May 12-16 to the Oro Valley campus, about 6 miles north of Tucson, Arizona.

The veterinary college will accept its first class in fall 2020 and anticipates an initial class size of 110 students. The University of Arizona, founded in 1885, is a land-grant institution with two medical schools—one in Tucson and the other in Phoenix. The university, a leading research institution, has $687 million in annual research expenditures.

“Agricultural, ranching, and related industries drive strong demand for veterinarians in our state and across the nation, and Arizona students will now be able to take advantage of an innovative Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program situation within the land-grant, Research-1 setting provided by the University of Arizona at in-state tuition rates,” Dr. Robbins said in the release.

The veterinary college first sought accreditation from the COE in 2013 with a feasibility study and a request for a consultative site visit, which took place Jan. 13-15, 2014. UA then applied for a letter of reasonable assurance in 2016, but the council voted to deny the letter.

A letter of reasonable assurance is not a pre-accreditation action but indicates that the UA veterinary college may gain accreditation in the future if the program completes all the plans it presented to the COE.

In 2016, UA appealed the council's decision. The COE reversed parts of its earlier denial and approved the program's plans for research, but ultimately upheld its decision to deny the veterinary college a letter of reasonable assurance. UA reapplied for the letter in 2017 and finally was successful based on a comprehensive site visit in 2019. If a college can prove that it is making progress towards compliance with the standards of accreditation, it can be granted provisional accreditation. During the provisional accreditation period, graduates are eligible to sit for licensure to practice veterinary medicine.

The planned curriculum at the veterinary college will be designed as a year-round, three-year program. Tuition for Arizona residents will likely be $15,000 per semester and $23,333 per semester for nonresidents; the tuition rates have not yet been approved by the Arizona Board of Regents.

“We have designed our nine-semester continuous curriculum to help address the increasing cost of education. Moreover, the curriculum design provides more frequent vacation breaks than traditional nine-semester programs and synchronizes well with our competency-driven, systems-based educational model,” Dr. Jim Maciulla, associate dean of clinical relations and outreach, told JAVMA News.

Students will spend two years in preclinical courses that use active learning techniques and a “no-lecture” format that is followed by a year in clinical training rotations. The veterinary college will have a distributive model of clinical teaching, placing students among 250 various private and corporate veterinary practices throughout the Southwest for clinical training.

“The year-one and -two preclinical curriculum at Arizona is built to engage students through higher-order thinking and small-group discussion,” Dr. Walter Klimecki, associate dean of academic programs and faculty affairs, told JAVMA News. “Our classrooms are designed for active learning; we have no lecture hall configurations. The focus is on critical thinking, interpersonal communication skills, and student ownership of learning. All key elements of the year-three clinical rotations and, ultimately, of a successful veterinary career.”


The Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges has created a series of guidelines on how service dogs should be handled in veterinary teaching hospitals run by member institutions.

The document, “AAVMC Guidelines for Service Animal Access to Veterinary Teaching Facilities,” was developed by a working group established by the AAVMC board of directors and published this August.

The guidelines offer definitions to distinguish between service animals and emotional support animals, outline the legal framework covering these animals, and make recommendations for professional conduct toward and accommodation of service animals at veterinary teaching hospitals.

In human health care settings, according to the guidelines, areas not open to the public and areas in which protective attire is required are usually recognized to have restricted access to service animals. In veterinary settings, it may be necessary to restrict service animals from examination rooms where patients are being evaluated or treated, procedure rooms where patients are undergoing diagnostic procedures or treatment, limited-access areas that require greater-than-general infection control measures, patient units housing immunosuppressed patients or patients that need to be in isolation, large animal settings, in-patient housing and boarding areas, and intensive care units.

The document states that best practices for reducing the risk of disease transmission or other risks to patients also include ensuring that service animals are fully vaccinated and dewormed against the most likely pathogens; are maintained on appropriate flea and tick control; undergo a thorough health screening prior to accessing the veterinary teaching hospital; are licensed and wearing appropriate rabies tags for the municipality involved; are harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless these devices interfere with the service animal's work or an individual's disability prevents using these devices; are not fed raw diets; and are appropriately bathed, groomed, and housebroken.

The guidelines are available at jav.ma/servicedogaccess.

Students at UC-Davis, LMU make virtual connection

Wellness strategies shared during first virtual town hall

Story and photos R. Scott Nolen


Veterinary students at Lincoln Memorial University, shown here, discuss results of a survey on student wellness with their counterparts at University of California-Davis in real time.

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 255, 11; 10.2460/javma.255.11.1199

Veterinary students at the University of California-Davis and Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tennessee, met recently via video conference to talk about wellness and share strategies for keeping the stresses of student life at bay.

Approximately 240 students, faculty members, and AVMA officials participated in the first AVMA Student Virtual Town Hall, held Oct. 8 simultaneously at the two universities. Presentations about the importance of mental health and well-being were given during the two-hour event, and students were provided resources to help them achieve a better work-life balance.

Additionally, students at both veterinary schools participated in a survey on wellness-related topics. They discussed the results with one another, identifying commonalities while also brainstorming strategies for managing the stresses of academic life.

A common refrain among students was the need to take breaks from schoolwork to exercise, play video games, have coffee with a friend—anything that helps a student relax and recharge. Most students said they would more likely seek out counseling if it included an emotional support animal.

Chris Moyer, a second-year veterinary student at LMU helped emcee the town hall. “From what I gathered, our students did not want the question portion to end. I had a number of students approach me afterward and say how spectacular the event was.”

Sean Gadson, a second-year veterinary student and host of the UC-Davis portion of the event, said the town hall provided an environment where students felt comfortable discussing mental health issues.

“Students from both universities shared their own experiences and strategies for dealing with the mental health challenges that are so common in this profession,” Gadson said.

“I think the greatest thing to come out of the event was a renewed sense of community for both schools,” he continued. “Students tend to focus so much on their specific school that they forget students in other places are experiencing similar struggles. Discussing mental health with another school reminds both student bodies that they are a part of an amazing community and that they can reach out to that community for support.”

The virtual town hall is the brainchild of Dr. Grace Bransford, who, as AVMA vice president, meets with veterinary students throughout her two-year term. Dr. Bransford saw value in bringing together students from distinctly different veterinary colleges, such as LMU, located in rural Appalachia, and UC-Davis in urban California, who might not otherwise cross paths to talk to one another about a common issue.

“Nothing like this has been done before for veterinary students,” Dr. Bransford explained. “It's a relatively easy and efficient way of reinforcing that sense of community among our veterinary students, reminding them that they aren't alone in their struggles—whatever they may be—and that there's an abundance of help and support available to them.”

Dr. Bransford hopes the virtual town hall becomes a model for future AVMA events and will be used to connect with veterinary students at foreign colleges.


Approximately 240 veterinary students, faculty members, and AVMA officials participated in the first AVMA Student Virtual Town Hall this past October.

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 255, 11; 10.2460/javma.255.11.1199

Veterinary workers continue unionization efforts

Four practices vote to unionize, contract negotiations stalled

By Kaitlyn Mattson


Workers at the VCA San Francisco Veterinary Specialists facility organized a one-hour strike on Sept. 5 in response to stalled contract negotiations.

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 255, 11; 10.2460/javma.255.11.1199

Veterinary workers at four practices on the West Coast have voted to unionize, but finalizing contracts with practice owners is proving difficult.

Staff at VCA San Francisco Veterinary Specialists; BluePearl North Seattle; VCA Northwest Veterinary Specialists in Clackamas, Oregon; and Columbia River Veterinary Specialists in Vancouver, Washington, have successfully elected to unionize in the past few years. A campaign at another practice this year ended in a tie vote, which means that the business will continue as is for the time being. The National Veterinary Professionals Union will return in a year for a new vote.

“I wish I could say we've negotiated contracts in a bunch of practices and we're organizing at a bunch more, but I can't say that because we're working really hard to get these contracts negotiated. And I understand why it's difficult—it's the first one,” said Liz Hughston, president of the NVPU.

The NVPU partners with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union for help with resources and outreach. Three of the four practices that voted to unionize are technically members of the ILWU. Union members at the practices include all nonmanagement, nonveterinarian members of the staff such as front desk personnel, kennel workers, veterinary assistants, and veterinary technicians.


VCA San Francisco Veterinary Specialists voted to unionize in April 2018, but stalled contract negotiations have led staff members at the hospital to strike twice since then.

According to a statement from VCA: “At VCA, we have worked hard to build a special relationship with our associates that goes beyond a traditional employer or employee relationship. Each VCA Associate is an integral part of the company due to the nature of the care we provide.”

The statement continued, “With that in mind, it has always been our goal to foster a culture where our associates do not want or feel the need for union representation. They, of course, have a right to do so, but ultimately, we remain steadfast in our commitment to open conversations with associates to ensure we hear directly from them regarding any concerns they may have about their employment at VCA. We aim to work together in a process that is local, collaborative, and that avoids the legal process of collective bargaining and the challenges and divisions it can bring.”

The two parties have met 19 times for bargaining sessions but are reportedly not close to an agreement on a contract. VCA plans to continue bargaining efforts to reach an agreement, according to the VCA statement.

Several VCA SFVS workers responded with their own statement, which said: “Workers throughout the veterinary industry are concerned about low wages, poor benefits, inadequate training, and disrespect that are compromising quality care in an increasingly corporatized industry where profits seem to be the only thing that matters. Workers at a growing number of hospitals are coming together to work for improvements that will benefit patients, clients, and employees. It's disappointing to see large corporations, including Mars, oppose these efforts by attacking workers with anti-union campaigns when we should all be working together.”

Mars Petcare bought about 800 VCA practices, including VCA San Francisco Veterinary Specialists, in September 2017 for $9.1 billion. Mars also owns the Banfield and BluePearl veterinary practice groups.


Along with the two strikes, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed a resolution in July urging Mars Petcare and the VCA to stop any anti-union behavior and labor law violations. The board sent a copy of the resolution to Mars Inc.

The ILWU also filed charges against VCA for violating federal labor laws with the National Labor Relations Board. However, VCA moved to settle the charges before a hearing was held by the NLRB.

“In resolving the charges, both parties (the ILWU and VCA SFVS) agreed that the settlement is not an admission of wrongdoing or violation of law. The parties instead decided to resolve the charges to avoid the time and expense of the hearing and focus efforts on bargaining to reach an agreement,” according to a statement from VCA.

The NLRB hearing was originally scheduled for Oct. 29.

“Those of us at SFVS and other locations remain committed to positive change through our union, and will continue to take action, especially when employers break the law and put profits ahead of quality care,” said VCA SFVS workers in the statement. “We've decided to hold two strikes that lasted one hour and included staff who stayed behind to protect the animals we love and want to help by improving conditions here and throughout the industry.”

Despite the contract issues, Liz Hughston, who is also a registered veterinary technician, is confident that the union campaigning will continue. Her hope is that if one or two practices successfully negotiate contracts, more will follow.


By Kaitlyn Mattson


Wildlife sampling activity in Rwanda (Courtesy of USAID Predict)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 255, 11; 10.2460/javma.255.11.1199

A consortium led by the University of California-Davis One Health Institute has been awarded up to $85 million over five years from the U.S. Agency for International Development for the One Health Workforce-Next Generation project.

The U.S.-based consortium plans to enhance global health security through university networks and member institutions in Africa and Southeast Asia by developing training and programs using a one-health approach.

The training for the students and faculty will not only be on how to take a one-health approach to combating disease at human-animal interfaces, but it's also on business practices for these organizations so they can become more independent and be able to function on their own, said Dr. Woutrina Smith, the technical director of One Health Workforce-Next Generation. Dr. Smith is also a professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the UC-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and associate director of the UC-Davis One Health Institute.

One Health Workforce-Next Generation will teach professionals problem-solving skills to deal with health issues such as antimicrobial resistance and zoonotic diseases. The consortium is partnering with the Southeast Asia One Health University Network and One Health Central and Eastern Africa.

“The university networks in Africa and Asia are already doing a fantastic job offering many different types of training opportunities, so we want that to continue,” Dr. Smith said. “They've been doing that for years now. We're just taking over as the new global lead to help bring new ideas to the table. How can they do training in a more effective way? How can we help those university networks be self-sustaining?”

The other consortium members are Columbia University, EcoHealth Alliance, UC-Berkeley, UC-Irvine, Ata Health Strategies, the University of New Mexico, and Sandia National Laboratories.

“As we go forward, we'll be able to share more specific updates on the plan. Right now, we're initially conducting conversations with the networks to understand their current priorities so that we can be most effective and help to bring new ideas to the partnership,” Dr. Smith said. “We are very excited to be able to act on behalf of the USAID and the UC (system) to help promote one health for the veterinary and public health sectors. I think that bodes well for a united team that can solve health problems around the world.”


Misbehaving dogs may have a new excuse for their behavior, according to new research.

In a paper published Oct. 16 in the journal Animals, researchers from the University of Nottingham School of Veterinary Medicine reported finding that the severity of the itch in dogs with atopic dermatitis was directly linked to behavior that is considered problematic. This could include mounting, chewing, hyperactivity, eating feces, begging for and stealing food, excitability, attention seeking, and excessive grooming.

Atopic dermatitis is a common allergic skin condition in dogs that causes chronic itching. The overall quality of life in dogs with atopic dermatitis is reduced, and humans with atopic dermatitis report significant psychological burdens from itching that increase stress levels.

Behavioral data was gathered directly from dog owners as part of the Itchy Dog Project, an online study designed to help researchers examine the possible genetic and environmental causes of canine atopic dermatitis.

Just over 340 dogs with a diagnosis of atopic dermatitis and 552 healthy dogs were recruited. Owners also provided scores for the severity of the itching experienced by their dog.

The results showed that itching severity in dogs with atopic dermatitis was associated with more frequent problem behavior, which could suggest a link between the severity of the itching and psychological stress in dogs suffering from atopic dermatitis.

Dr. Naomi Harvey, a research fellow at Nottingham who led the study, said in a press release: “Our study clearly showed a relationship between the occurrences of problematic behaviour in dogs and chronic itching. This can have a knock-on effect and impact the relationship between owner and dog, which means it's important for owners to know that their dog's behavioral problems could be due to the itching, rather than the dog themselves.”

The results showed that dogs with atopic dermatitis displayed more comfort-seeking and grooming-related behavior and were less trainable than dogs without the condition, all directly associated with the severity of the itching.

According to the paper, “Given the large body of evidence demonstrating the impact of stress on skin barrier function, and the increased stress reported by human patients with (atopic dermatitis) it is plausible that psychological stress experienced by dogs with (canine atopic dermatitis) could prolong and exacerbate allergic flares, potentially compounding the disease with idiopathic dermatoses.”

The research supports calls for the treatment of dermatoses in dogs and other animals, including management of environmental stressors, to reduce the overall stress burden.

According to the paper, “Given the potential importance of stress in cAD pathogenesis, and the implications of the behavioural problems demonstrated here for dog welfare and the human-animal bond, further study into the potential stress-inducing nature of pruritus from cAD is warranted.”



The Narragansett turkey matures early and tends to have good egg production, meat quality, and disposition, yet its population is less than 5,000.

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 255, 11; 10.2460/javma.255.11.1199

Livestock genetic diversity is fading, with up to one-quarter of livestock breeds lost or at risk of disappearing, according to a recent paper.

Among poultry, upward of 79% of breeds are at risk of extinction.

The Council for Agricultural Science and Technology, a nonprofit organization that promotes farming sciences, published a paper in September that calls for efforts to protect genetic material that could help animal populations adapt, aid research, and fill specialty markets. The most effective conservation efforts combine living populations that can adapt to disease and other challenges and cryopreserved genetic material that can restore lost bloodlines, the paper states.

“In the face of the mounting depletion in genetic diversity among livestock species, there is an urgent need to develop and maintain an intensive program of sampling and evaluation of the existing gene pools,” the paper states. “Genetic diversity can be preserved through living populations or cryopreserved for future use.”

The publication, “Protecting Food Animal Gene Pools for Future Generations,” is part of a CAST series on agricultural innovations needed to feed the global human population by 2050. The authors are with the Department of Agriculture, The Livestock Conservancy in North Carolina, West Virginia University, and Iowa State University, along with a poultry research scientist with no affiliation listed.

The paper indicates seven domesticated species—cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, chickens, turkeys, and ducks—will provide food for 9.6 billion people by the 2050s. Animals already supply one-third of humans’ dietary protein.

U.S. livestock productivity depends on specialized genetic resources. The most productive breeds are becoming less diverse, though, especially among dairy and poultry animals.

The Gulf Coast sheep, with a population of less than 2,000 animals, is resistant to internal parasites and foot rot, as well as some common sheep diseases, the article states. The Narragansett turkey matures early and tends to have good egg production, meat quality, and disposition, yet its population is less than 5,000.

“Although the rare livestock and poultry breeds are currently not major contributors to modern U.S. agriculture, one can examine the recent outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza in the United States (or outbreak of African swine fever in China) and realize that over-reliance on a few highly-productive breeds could endanger the global food supply if these productive breeds are highly susceptible to a new pathogen,” the article states.

In addition to calling for preservation of breeds with diverse properties, the paper's authors call for government entities, particularly the USDA, to help study genetic and phenotypic diversity, publish data on that diversity, work with philanthropies to fund studies on improving cryopreservation, and invest more money into the USDA Agricultural Research Service's National Animal Germplasm Program that houses cryopreserved germplasm from livestock species, including poultry and aquatic species.

“A strong need exists to characterize this remaining biological diversity to identify uniqueness that will influence the collection and conservation of breeds,” the article states Maintaining genetic diversity will help farmers adapt to climate change, farmland urbanization, and consumer demands. Losing that diversity could hurt efforts to feed the world, the article states.

The paper is available at jav.ma/geneticpaper.


Many benefits come with having pet cats, according to the American Association of Feline Practitioners, but education is key to prevent transmission of zoonoses from these animals. To that end, the AAFP on Oct. 15 released updated Feline Zoonoses Guidelines online ahead of publication in the November issue of the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery. In publishing the guidelines, the AAFP aims to provide accurate information about feline zoonotic diseases to cat owners, physicians, and veterinarians to allow logical decisions to be made concerning cat ownership.

The AAFP also aims to address misinformation that exists about cats and disease transmission.

The AAFP created a panel of veterinarians and physicians who worked closely together to create a document that can be used to support the international one-health movement. This version of the guidelines builds on the AAFP's first Feline Zoonosis Panel Report, published in 2003. In 2006, the AAFP also published a panel report on feline bartonellosis or cat scratch disease. The guidelines focus on new information published since 2003 and provide an updated reference list and recommendations. The panelists based the recommendations on published data when available and took into consideration recommendations of other public health-affiliated groups.

The guidelines cover enteric zoonoses; zoonoses from scratch, bite, or exudate exposure; ocular and respiratory zoonoses; zoonoses of the urogenital tract; vector-borne zoonoses; and how to decrease the risk of zoonotic transfer of disease from cats. The guidelines are accompanied by a brochure for cat owners, “What Can I Catch from my Cat?” The brochure discusses how zoonotic organisms are spread, provides examples of potential cat-associated zoonoses, and explains how to decrease risk.

The guidelines provide the following summary points:

  • • While humans are rarely infected with a zoonotic agent by exposure to a healthy cat, there are many potential infections that can occur.

  • • Disease is generally more prevalent or more severe in people with immunodeficiency-inducing disorders, the very old, the very young, those receiving chemotherapy or glucocorticoids for immune-mediated diseases, organ transplant recipients, and cancer patients.

  • • Cats should have consistent deworming and should be prescribed vector control.

  • • Cats with clinical signs of disease should be assessed by a veterinarian to determine the risk of zoonotic disease transmission and to have the clinical abnormalities treated.

The guidelines and brochure are available at catvets.com/zoonoses.

Relief practice not just a temporary gig

Rather, it's a career for many and a mainstay of veterinary medicine

By Katie Burns


Dr. Cindy E. Trice, relief veterinarian and founder of Relief Rover, an online community for relief veterinarians, gave a talk at AVMA Convention 2019 this past August in Washington, D.C., on “Relief Practice as a Rewarding Alternative Career Path.” Following are some of the tips from her session, which have been condensed and edited for clarity.


A common question is whether your relief business should be set up as a sole proprietorship or as some type of business entity, such as a limited liability company or even an S corporation. Always consult with your own lawyer and accountant to discuss the best way to operate your business in light of your specific state's laws, risk tolerance, liability exposure, and specific tax advantages.

The next step will be to set up an accounting system. I recommend setting up a separate bank account for your business, although if you are a sole proprietorship, you are usually not legally required to do this.

Some expenses you will need to track include equipment purchases, marketing materials, association dues, professional fees, and the costs of insurance, continuing education, and travel.

Decide the sectors for which you would like to provide relief services. Some options include daytime-only general practice, night or day emergency clinics, vaccine clinics, shelters, telehealth, or even house call services.

Decide how far you are willing to travel. You may only want to work in your town or might be willing to drive two hours or more for a job. Consider becoming licensed and working in multiple states as a way to experience another part of the country or spend extended time with geographically dispersed friends or family.


Drawing up a contract that clearly outlines the services you are willing to provide, the species you will see, the fee schedule, and the agreed-upon dates and times will eliminate misunderstandings and miscommunications. Also include any cancellation policy. The practice should sign and return the contract.

The main insurance categories that you should consider as a relief veterinarian are professional liability, disability, health, worker's compensation, and potentially business property.

If you are acting as an independent contractor, then you should receive a 1099 tax form from each clinic as a means of reporting your income. If you are acting as a relief employee, then you should instead receive a W-2 tax form from each clinic where you worked. Speak with an accountant about how to best classify your business for income tax purposes, how to deal with self-employment taxes, how to maximize your available business deductions, and the benefits and burdens of being a relief employee versus an independent contractor.


Dr. Cindy Trice takes care of a patient while working a relief shift at Bradenton Veterinary Emergency in Bradenton, Florida. (Courtesy of Dr. Trice)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 255, 11; 10.2460/javma.255.11.1199

Working as a relief veterinarian has taken Dr. Cindy Trice from Florida to Montana to California and back.

“I found that I really, really loved it and that I got this real sense of satisfaction at helping my colleagues take time off,” she said. “I thought, this could be a whole career choice.”

Like many relief veterinarians, Dr. Trice enjoys the variety and flexibility of the work. She has indeed made a career out of relief work and recently founded Relief Rover, an online community for relief veterinarians.

Relief practice long predates the gig economy and is a mainstay in veterinary medicine and other medical professions. A new California law that classifies more gig workers as employees rather than independent contractors made specific exceptions for physicians, veterinarians, and certain other medical professionals.

Among veterinarians for whom the AVMA has data on position type, the number of relief veterinarians has grown from about 1,800 in 2008 to about 2,300 in 2018, a 30% increase in 10 years—on par with the percentage increase in actively working veterinarians. Relief veterinarians comprise the largest segment of the veterinary profession outside of practice owners, associates, and interns or residents.

Dr. Andrew Heller of the staffing company Independent Vets presented the session “It's Not You, It's Me: Changing Labor Markets and the Impact on Hospital Owners & Associates” during AVMA Convention 2019 this past August in Washington, D.C. He said relief veterinarians provide one solution to staffing challenges resulting from the profession's changing demographics, as the increasing number of women and younger people seek everything from maternity leave to nontraditional schedules.


Dr. Trice worked as an associate and completed an internship before trying relief work as a way to check out other practices around Bradenton, Florida. Then her husband had a job opportunity to work in Missoula, Montana, for six months at a time. For several years, Dr. Trice split her time between being the only full-time relief veterinarian in the Missoula area and doing relief work in the Bradenton area.

Afterward, she became an associate in Bradenton, but she did some relief work to make extra money and keep her foot in the field. She thought about partnering or practice ownership but felt her true passion was relief work.

On one occasion, Dr. Trice covered maternity leave for a single-doctor practice in Truckee, California, near Lake Tahoe. She thought: “I can't possibly be the only relief vet who is willing to travel for work and who uses this career choice partly as a lifestyle choice and as an excuse to go live other places and explore other places. And I thought, there could be all manner of reasons for doing that.”

The trouble was that a platform didn't exist for people to connect that way.


The company Independent Vets, which provides interim veterinarians for animal hospitals along parts of the East Coast, provides the following short list of best practices for getting top performance from these new team members, plus recommendations for shift schedules.


Let the team know she's coming—the front desk, veterinary technicians, and other veterinarians. Share her profile and background.

Have your front desk notify clients when scheduling that one of your hospital's partner veterinarians, Dr. “IndeVet,” is working that day. Better than “relief doctor” or “temporary vet.”

Add her into your system before the first shift. Make sure she can log in.

Encourage your doctors to leave extra-detailed records, especially for any ongoing cases.


Put a good team around her so she doesn't spend 20 minutes looking for the X-ray machine.

Manage her time well, especially over the first few shifts. She may be slower at first as she gets to know your hospital. Longer appointments (20 minutes plus) and limited double booking will go a long way to keeping her on schedule. After a few shifts, she will build comfort and confidence.

If she is working a full shift—eight hours or more—make sure she has time for a break and some food. She'll be happy, your team will be happy, and your clients will be happy.


Relief veterinarians get to choose where they work. Let her know she did a good job—or how she might improve the next time.

If she feels welcome and hears that she's making a difference, she'll want to come back.


There are many ways to build a daily schedule for a practice's veterinarians. Many veterinarians use blocks in their schedules to catch up on appointments, complete diagnostic tests and medical treatments, finish medical records, and eat lunch or dinner. To have the most efficient, productive veterinarians, consider the following recommendations when building a daily schedule for a relief veterinarian:

  • • Any shift of six hours or less: No recommended blocks in the schedule.

  • • Any shift of six to nine hours: One 60-minute block or two 30-minute blocks.

  • • Any shift longer than nine hours: 90 minutes of blocks—three 30-minute blocks or one 60-minute block and one 30-minute block.

Because blocks are routinely set in schedules to catch up on veterinary medical duties, relief veterinarians should remain clocked in during their scheduled blocks.

So Dr. Trice founded Relief Rover to empower veterinarians who want to start their own business, to be business-to-business service providers. She said the niche has existed a long time but needs development because little attention has been paid to rules and regulations and to business development. She said, “There are more and more veterinarians who want to do this, and there are more and more practices that need veterinarians who provide these services.”

Through Relief Rover, Dr. Trice wants to share advice from lawyers, accountants, and insurance professionals. The distinction between independent contractors and employees varies by state and is also subject to federal regulations. Payroll taxes must be handled by the relief veterinarians or the employers. Relief veterinarians need their own insurance, including professional liability insurance.

Relief Rover connects relief veterinarians with employers as well as with one another. Dr. Trice said many relief veterinarians have more work than they can handle because so many veterinarians want to work fewer hours.

According to AVMA economic data for 2014-18, more female veterinarians want to work fewer hours than want to work additional hours, and for the third time since 2016, the percentage of male veterinarians who wish to work less is also greater than the percentage who wish to work more hours per week. In 2018, 31% of men and 37% of women desired a reduction in hours per week of 10-19 hours, an increase from 2017. Overall, more women reported wanting to work fewer hours than men, and this desire increases the further out veterinarians are from when they entered the veterinary workforce.


Dr. Marisa Brunetti (left) is chief medical officer of Independent Vets, and Dr. Kristine Stellato has been with the company for over a year. (Courtesy of Independent Vets)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 255, 11; 10.2460/javma.255.11.1199


Dr. Meggan T. Graves examines a horse on a farm in Knoxville, Tennessee. She provides a night and weekend large animal emergency relief service through the University of Tennessee. (Photo by Phil Snow/UT College of Veterinary Medicine)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 255, 11; 10.2460/javma.255.11.1199


Dr. Heller is chief growth officer for Independent Vets, which covers northern Virginia up to the New York metropolitan area. The company provides interim staffing for hospitals down a doctor because of hiring gaps, maternity leave, vacation, or unexpected openings.

The company vets its 50 or so doctors via background checks, drug screenings, clinical and personality assessments, and references. The doctors work near their homes and are employees of Independent Vets, receiving benefits if they work 25 hours a week or more on average, while still being able to customize their schedules. They also meet internally for social events and continuing education.

Dr. Heller, while previously working at a two-doctor small animal practice, was thinking about starting his own practice when he met entrepreneur Michael Raphael. Raphael had co-founded a network of animal hospitals and saw a need for relief veterinarians. The two started Independent Vets in Philadelphia, with Raphael as CEO, and expanded north and south.

Dr. Heller has gone to many practices, in between developing Independent Vets. He said: “I love the variety. I love that I don't have anybody in charge of my schedule, and it allows me the freedom to spend more time outside of work with my family and doing things that I like to do. And I can learn more. I can expand my horizons and meet new people and build my own reputation, as well, in the community of my peers.”

Dr. Heller thinks technology, the demand for veterinary services, and the gig economy have accelerated relief practice. He doesn't think practice owners realize how much relief veterinarians are a part of their practice, especially with doctors not staying at the same practice as much as they used to.



Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 255, 11; 10.2460/javma.255.11.1199

In terms of technology, Independent Vets has developed its own platform to better schedule its veterinarians. The platform allows hospitals to upload shifts directly, and the doctors can choose among the shifts.


After earning her veterinary degree in 2001, Dr. Meggan T. Graves joined an equine practice serving parts of South Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee, but she struggled to balance the hours with starting a family. After having her first son, she proposed covering night and weekend emergencies only. It was a game changer.

Later, she started her own practice in North Carolina providing emergency relief services for seven large animal practices. She didn't have any business background, so she hired a lawyer to get incorporated and an accountant to handle her taxes. In 2013, she brought the model to the University of Tennessee.

Dr. Graves now has four sons, one in middle school and three in high school. She home-schools them during the day and takes over the phones for large animal practitioners in the area at night and on weekends, but not every night and weekend. Her service is incorporated into the field service clinical rotation at the University of Tennessee. The caseload has quadrupled since 2013.

Dr. Graves said the relief setting allows veterinarians to let their lives dictate their jobs instead of the other way around. Just as she occasionally did prior to providing relief services, she has a few nights a year with little or no sleep, but most animal owners aren't in the barn after midnight. She does live the on-call life, but it's all worthwhile when she's spending time with her kids in the afternoons.

“The best part about it now is that I have students and interns with me, and I am able to show them that it's not horrible when your phone rings,” Dr. Graves said. “You are literally coming to these owners in their greatest time of need, when they feel panicked and helpless. That's a great feeling to be able to help others that way. And specifically for me, when I am providing this after-hours emergency care, I'm improving the quality of life of the veterinarians that I'm covering for as well.”

Dr. Graves continued, “As we stress more and more as a profession what work-life balance looks like, considering a business model like this one is important,” especially for large animal practices trying to hold onto associates.


In North Carolina, Jacklyn Phillips worked for 15-plus years as a veterinary technician in small animal practice, mostly emergency practice, and also was a manager for about five years. The practice always had staff shortages because of turnover or someone being out.

She left clinical practice for sales in 2016 to make better money and because she was burned out. She didn't feel fulfilled in sales, though, and she realized she was last happy on the job when she worked as a veterinary technician and not in management. She took a temporary job helping reopen a spay-neuter clinic. From there, she reached out to other clinics about relief work.

“I like people,” Phillips said. “I like seeing different ways of doing medicine. I like the variety. I like working for myself.”

Phillips founded Action Vet Tech Services LLC, targeting mostly emergency clinics. She turned to the Small Business Administration for help getting started, as well as an accountant and a lawyer. She wants to create a staffing company to provide veterinary technicians for clinics that have a crisis, turnover, inexperienced staff, or someone on maternity leave or vacation. Another veterinary technician recently joined the roster.

Phillips doesn't know exactly why there aren't more relief veterinary technicians. Some clinics think a veterinary technician will need training for at least two weeks, wondering how Phillips can show up and be useful. She says, “Try me.” She said veterinary technicians with experience and communication skills can function about the same from clinic to clinic.


Jacklyn Phillips, a veterinary technician, started relief work by taking a temporary position helping reopen the Saving Lives Spay/Neuter Clinic through the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Wake County in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Courtesy of Jacklyn Phillips)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 255, 11; 10.2460/javma.255.11.1199

The demand by practices for relief veterinary technicians is bigger than Phillips realized. She said, “Usually, it's that they've had turnover or their staff is really young and underexperienced—even if they're licensed, they are underexperienced—so they need leadership on the floor.”

At first, Phillips contacted clinics that had an ad out for a veterinary technician, asking if they wanted to hire her in the meantime. Now she is working at least 50 hours a week, sometimes 60, as she builds her business.

“I wanted to be able to do what I'm passionate about,” she said.


The following individuals are winners of the 2019 Zoetis Distinguished Veterinary Teacher Award and the Zoetis Award for Veterinary Research Excellence. The Zoetis Distinguished Veterinary Teacher Award is given to educators in recognition of their character and leadership qualities as well as their outstanding teaching abilities. The Zoetis Award for Veterinary Research Excellence recognizes researchers whose innovative studies have advanced the scientific standing of veterinary medicine.


Ellen N. Behrend, VMD, PhD, Auburn University

Lance C. Visser, DVM, University of California-Davis

Dean Hendrickson, DVM, Colorado State University

Erin Epperly, DVM, Cornell University

Martha F. Mallicote, DVM, University of Florida

Corrie Brown, DVM, PhD, University of Georgia

Devon Hague, DVM, University of Illinois

Jessica Ward, DVM, Iowa State University

Lisa M. Pohlman, DVM, Kansas State University

Stacy Anderson, DVM, PhD, Lincoln Memorial University

Amy M. Grooters, DVM, Louisiana State University

Jennifer Roberts, DVM, Michigan State University

Sarah A. Matyjaszek, DVM, Midwestern University

Roxanne Larsen, PhD, University of Minnesota

Talisha Moore, DVM, Mississippi State University

Cathleen Kovarik, DVM, PhD, University of Missouri

Michael Davidson, DVM, North Carolina State University

Jerome Masty, DVM, PhD, The Ohio State University

Jill C. Akkerman, DVM, PhD, Oklahoma State University

Christiane Löhr, Dr. med. vet., PhD, Oregon State University

Joseph S. Bender, DVM, University of Pennsylvania

Stephanie A. Thomovsky, DVM, Purdue University

Michelle Dennis, DVM, PhD, Ross University

Anne Marie Corrigan, DVM, St. George's University

Andrea S. Lear, DVM, PhD, University of Tennessee

Sara Lawhon, DVM, PhD, Texas A&M University

Gregory Wolfus, DVM, Tufts University

Lauren L. Rowe, DVM, Tuskegee University

Kemba S. Clapp, DVM, Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine

Pamela Lee, DVM, Washington State University

Paul Gordon-Ross, DVM, Western University of Health Sciences

Karen M. Young, VMD, PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison


Douglas R. Martin, PhD, Auburn University

Peter J. Havel, DVM, PhD, University of California-Davis

Kelly S. Santangelo, DVM, PhD, Colorado State University

Jeongmin Song, PhD, Cornell University

Jose Ignacio Aguirre, DVM, PhD, University of Florida

Eric R. Lafontaine, PhD, University of Georgia

Aditi Das, PhD, University of Illinois

Phillip C. Gauger, DVM, PhD, Iowa State University

Wenjun Ma, BVSc, PhD, Kansas State University

Undine Christmann, DVM, PhD, Lincoln Memorial University

Yogesh Saini, DVM, PhD, Louisiana State University

Adam James Moeser, DVM, PhD, Michigan State University

Mark J. Aciero, DVM, Midwestern University

Molly E. McCue, DVM, PhD, University of Minnesota

John M. Thomason, DVM, Mississippi State University

Shawn B. Bender, PhD, University of Missouri

Nanette Yoder, PhD, North Carolina State University

Prosper Boyaka, PhD, The Ohio State University

Andrew S. Hanzlicek, DVM, Oklahoma State University

Stephen Ramsey, PhD, Oregon State University

Serge Y. Fuchs, PhD, University of Pennsylvania

GuangJun Zhang, PhD, Purdue University

Felix Toka, PhD, Ross University

Tara Paterson, DVM, St. George's University

Stephen A. Kania, PhD, University of Tennessee

H. Morgan Scott, DVM, PhD, Texas A&M University

Jonathan Andrew Runstadler, DVM, PhD, Tufts University

Pawan L. Puri, DVM, PhD, Tuskegee University

Michele Borgarelli, DVM, PhD, Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine

Jon M. Oatley, PhD, Washington State University

Yvonne Drechsler, PhD, Western University of Health Sciences

Linda Schuler, VMD, PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison



Connexity by AAHA, Sept. 12-14, Indianapolis


AAHA-Accredited Practice of the Year

Saint Francis Veterinary Center in Woolwich Township, New Jersey, won this award that recognizes outstanding achievements of accredited veterinary practice teams and celebrates ongoing advancements in veterinary medicine. Saint Francis Veterinary Center is a family-owned practice that, for more than 30 years, has provided wellness, emergency, and advanced surgery services. The practice is also active in the local community.


Saint Francis Veterinary Center

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 255, 11; 10.2460/javma.255.11.1199

AAHA-Accredited Referral Practice of the Year

Pet Specialists of Monterey in Del Rey Oaks, California, won this award that recognizes outstanding achievements of accredited referral veterinary practice teams and celebrates ongoing advancements in veterinary medicine. Pet Specialists of Monterey is a 24-hour emergency and specialty animal hospital. The practice offers emergency and intensive care; provides internal medicine, cardiology, oncology, and surgery services; and collaborates with veterinarians across the state.


Pet Specialists of Monterey

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 255, 11; 10.2460/javma.255.11.1199


Dr. Guylaine Charette, Pembroke, Ontario, president; Dr. Pamela Nichols, West Bountiful, Utah, president-elect; Dr. Adam Hechko, North Royalton, Ohio, vice president; Dr. Dermot Jevens, Greenville, South Carolina, secretary-treasurer; Dr. Darren Taul, Lancaster, Kentucky, immediate past president; Dr. Michael T. Cavanaugh, Lakewood, Colorado, chief executive officer; and directors—Cheryl Smith, Galway, New York; Dr. Mark Thompson, Eden, Wisconsin; and Dr. Margot K. Vahrenwald, Denver


Dr. Guylaine Charette

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 255, 11; 10.2460/javma.255.11.1199


Dr. Michael T. Cavanaugh

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 255, 11; 10.2460/javma.255.11.1199



52nd annual conference, Sept. 12-14, St. Louis


The conference drew 1,934 attendees, including 375 student members. Continuing education included sessions from the American Association of Small Ruminant Practitioners and National Mastitis Council. Drs. Dan Grooms, Ames, Iowa, and Callie Willingham, Okotoks, Alberta, presented the keynote address “What is Success?” Frank Mitloehner, PhD, University of California-Davis, spoke about the environmental impacts of cattle production, and Dr. Bill Flynn, Food and Drug Administration Center for Veterinary Medicine, provided an update on the FDA's five-year plan.


Boehringer Ingelheim Bovine Practitioner of the Year

Dr. Arn Anderson (Virginia-Maryland ‘91), Bowie, Texas, for exemplifying practice excellence, leadership, and service. Dr. Anderson owns Cross Timbers Veterinary Hospital in Bowie with five rural locations. A diplomate of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners, he provides herd health management services to several beef cattle operations in north Texas.


Dr. Arn Anderson

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 255, 11; 10.2460/javma.255.11.1199

James A. Jarrett Award for Young Leaders

Dr. Carie Telgen (Purdue ‘09), Greenwich, New York, won this award, given to a member who has graduated in the past 10 years and exemplifies leadership via significant contributions to the association. Dr. Telgen is a managing partner at Battenkill Veterinary Bovine in Greenwich. President-elect of the AABP, she has served on several of its committees.


Dr. Carie Telgen

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 255, 11; 10.2460/javma.255.11.1199

Boehringer Ingelheim Excellence in Preventive Medicine Award—Beef

Dr. Breck Hunsaker (Washington State ‘91), Preston, Idaho. Dr. Hunsaker is a managing partner at Feedlot Health Services USA in Preston, offering consulting and research services for beef cattle. His career has focused on beef cattle production, both as a veterinarian and as a producer.


Dr. Breck Hunsaker

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 255, 11; 10.2460/javma.255.11.1199

Boehringer Ingelheim Excellence in Preventive Medicine Award—Cattle

Dr. Gabe Middleton (Ohio State ‘08), Orrville, Ohio. Dr. Middleton is a partner at Orrville Veterinary Clinic, where he focuses on bovine, equine, and small ruminant medicine. He serves as chair of the AABP Membership Committee, is president of the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology, and is copresident of Ohio Dairy Veterinarians.


Dr. Gabe Middleton

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 255, 11; 10.2460/javma.255.11.1199

Zoetis Distinguished Service Award

Dr. Christine Navarre (Louisiana State ‘90), Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Dr. Navarre is a professor in the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences and serves as extension veterinarian at the Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine. A past president of the AABP and North American Veterinary Community, she serves as parliamentarian of the AABP. Dr. Navarre participated in the AABP Rural Veterinary Medicine Task Force. Her research on beef cattle production focuses on internal parasite control, bull management, and trichomoniasis.


Dr. Christine Navarre

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 255, 11; 10.2460/javma.255.11.1199

Merck Animal Health Mentor of the Year Award

Dr. Chuck Guard (Cornell ‘80), Lansing, New York. A large animal veterinarian, Dr. Guard worked in the Ambulatory and Production Medicine Clinic at Cornell University for 28 years prior to retirement. He was instrumental in the design and construction of the Cornell Teaching Dairy Barn. Dr. Guard's research has focused on cattle lameness, evaluation of management procedures for routine activities, and interventions for common diseases.


Dr. Chuck Guard

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 255, 11; 10.2460/javma.255.11.1199

AABP Award for Excellence

Dr. Sandra Godden (Guelph ‘93), St. Paul, Minnesota. Dr. Godden is a professor in the Department of Veterinary Population Medicine at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine. Her research focuses on mastitis prevention and control, calf health management, and antimicrobial stewardship. Dr. Godden is a past president of the National Mastitis Council.


Dr. Sandra Godden

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 255, 11; 10.2460/javma.255.11.1199


Drs. Calvin Booker, Okotoks, Alberta, president; Carie Telgen, Greenwich, New York, president-elect; Pat Gorden, Ames, Iowa, vice president; Bryan Halteman, Turlock, California, treasurer; and Glen Rogers, Graford, Texas, immediate past president


Dr. Calvin Booker

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 255, 11; 10.2460/javma.255.11.1199



Dr. Boman (California-Davis ‘57), 87, Santa Cruz, California, died Aug. 13, 2019. He co-founded a practice in Rialto, California, and co-established Hacienda Animal Clinic in La Puente, California, working at Hacienda Animal Clinic until retirement in 1991. Dr. Boman also helped establish the Santa Anita Emergency Hospital, serving as treasurer for several years.

He is survived by his wife, Roberta; two sons and two daughters; six grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.


Dr. Del Borgo (Cornell ‘99), 46, Orrs Island, Maine, died Aug. 19, 2019. A small animal veterinarian, she owned Sunray Animal Clinic in Brunswick, Maine. Earlier, Dr. Del Borgo worked at Boothbay Animal Hospital in Boothbay, Maine, and Coastal Veterinary Care in Wiscasset, Maine.

She was a past president of the Maine VMA and was a past chair of the Maine Animal Control Association's Animal Welfare Advisory Committee. Dr. Del Borgo received the Maine VMA Service Award in 2008. Her husband, Robert; her mother; and a sister survive her. Memorials may be made to Dogwill, an organization providing pet food to pet owners in need, and sent to P.O. Box 772, Bath, ME 04530.


Dr. Ecker (Purdue ‘64), 78, Granger, Indiana, died Aug. 14, 2019. A mixed animal veterinarian, she owned Clayview Animal Clinic in South Bend, Indiana, for more than 40 years. Dr. Ecker also owned Ecker Enterprises and Marcell's Pet Salon in South Bend and Clayview Farms in Granger. She trained and showed American Quarter Horses and bred and showed Pembroke Welsh Corgis.

Dr. Ecker was a past president of the Indiana VMA and the Humane Society of St. Joseph County. Known for her efforts toward animal welfare, she initiated and served as chair of the former IVMA Humane Society Committee. The committee formulated legislation and worked with the state's Department of Natural Resources on a new law for exotic animals. Dr. Ecker wrote several ordinances and state laws, including one banning dog and cock fighting in Indiana, and was instrumental in the state's passage of a humane euthanasia law.

She served on the IVMA Annual Meeting, Audit and Budget, and Legislative committees and the Purdue University Board of Trustees. Dr. Ecker was a founding member of the Indiana Animal Health Foundation and was a member of the South Bend Animal Care and Control Commission, Lakeshore Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club, American Quarter Horse Association, Indiana Quarter Horse Association, and Palomino Horse Breeders Association.

In 1989, Dr. Ecker was named Indiana Veterinarian of the Year. The Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals honored her as Veterinarian of the Year in 1994. Dr. Ecker received the AVMA Animal Welfare Award in 1995, and Purdue University awarded her an honorary Doctor of Science degree in 1998.

Her son, daughter, and three grandchildren survive her. Memorials may be made to the Carol and Ken Ecker Scholarship, Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine, 1177 A625 Harrison, West Lafayette, IN 47907.


Dr. Lindsey (Georgia ‘97), 47, Seneca, South Carolina, died Aug. 8, 2019. He owned Clemson Animal Hospital in Clemson, South Carolina, where he practiced companion animal medicine for the past 16 years. Earlier, Dr. Lindsey worked at Spartanburg Animal Clinic in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

He is survived by his wife, Amanda; two daughters; his parents; and two brothers. Memorials, toward scholarships for his daughters, may be sent to Clemson Animal Hospital, 108 Liberty Drive, Clemson, SC 29631.


Dr. Maret (Ohio State ‘61), 86, Fort Myers, Florida, died April 9, 2019. A companion animal veterinarian, he owned Crestview Animal Hospital in Indianapolis prior to retirement. Dr. Maret also took care of the Indianapolis Police Department's canine unit for several years. Early in his career, he worked at East Side Animal Hospital in Indianapolis.

Dr. Maret was a veteran of the Army. His wife, Judy, survives him. Memorials may be made to The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine, 1900 Coffey Road, Columbus, OH 43210.


Dr. Parker (Oklahoma State ‘65), 78, Iowa Park, Texas, died Aug. 27, 2019. She served as a meat inspector with the Department of Agriculture for almost 45 years prior to retirement. Dr. Parker was active with the First African Violet Society, Plants Unlimited, Benson Iris Society, Red River Orchid Society, American Iris Society, and American Orchid Society.

Her husband, William; a daughter and a son; four grandchildren; and two sisters survive her. Memorials may be made to St. Paul Lutheran Church, 1417 11th St., Wichita Falls, TX 76301.


Dr. Westergaard, 82, Horsholm, Denmark, died Aug. 11, 2019. A 1964 veterinary graduate of the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, he was chief executive officer of ADC-Consult, consulting in animal disease control, veterinary legislation, epidemiology, and contingency planning.

Following graduation, Dr. Westergaard worked for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in Uganda and Kenya. He obtained a diploma in 1970 in tropical veterinary medicine from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland and then worked for the U.N. in Rome. After earning a doctorate in 1977 from Auburn University, Dr. Westergaard served as an inspector with the Danish Veterinary Administration.

From 1987-2001, he worked for the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium, involved with animal health legislation, disease surveillance, disease outbreak management, contingency planning, and international trade in livestock and products of animal origin. During that time, Dr. Westergaard also focused on swine and poultry diseases, including African swine fever, Newcastle disease, and avian influenza. In 1995, he was awarded a civil order of merit by Spain for his efforts in combating African swine fever.

Dr. Westergaard co-authored the book “The EU Veterinarian.” He was a veteran of the Royal Danish Army, serving as a first lieutenant in the Jutland Dragoon Regiment. Dr. Westergaard remained in the Reserves until he was 62.

His wife, Ebba; a son and a daughter; and two grandchildren survive him. Memorials may be made to the Danish Cancer Society, Strandboulevarden 49, 2100 Copenhagen, Denmark, or American Cancer Society, P.O. Box 22478, Oklahoma City, OK 73123.


Dr. Wilson (Tuskegee ‘79), 66, Ames, Iowa, died Aug. 27, 2019. Following graduation, he served as a veterinary service officer in the Army. Dr. Wilson subsequently worked in Massachusetts until 1982, when he moved to California to begin his career with the Department of Agriculture.

During his tenure with the USDA, he earned his master's in veterinary pathology from Iowa State University and served in support of Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm. Dr. Wilson retired from the USDA in 2016. He attained the rank of major with the Army Reserve.

Dr. Wilson was a member of the American Legion. His wife, Jodie; two daughters and a son; three grandchildren; and a sister survive him.

Please report the death of a veterinarian promptly to the JAVMA News staff via a toll-free phone call at 800-248-2862, ext. 6754; email at news@avma.org; or fax at 847-925-9329. For an obituary to be published, JAVMA must be notified within six months of the date of death.

  • An artist's rendering of the Long Island University College of Veterinary Medicine building (Courtesy of LIU)

  • An artist's rendering of the University of Arizona College of Veterinary Medicine in Oro Valley, Arizona (Courtesy of Arizona Board of Regents/University of Arizona)

  • Veterinary students at Lincoln Memorial University, shown here, discuss results of a survey on student wellness with their counterparts at University of California-Davis in real time.

  • Approximately 240 veterinary students, faculty members, and AVMA officials participated in the first AVMA Student Virtual Town Hall this past October.

  • Workers at the VCA San Francisco Veterinary Specialists facility organized a one-hour strike on Sept. 5 in response to stalled contract negotiations.

  • Wildlife sampling activity in Rwanda (Courtesy of USAID Predict)

  • The Narragansett turkey matures early and tends to have good egg production, meat quality, and disposition, yet its population is less than 5,000.

  • Dr. Cindy Trice takes care of a patient while working a relief shift at Bradenton Veterinary Emergency in Bradenton, Florida. (Courtesy of Dr. Trice)

  • Dr. Marisa Brunetti (left) is chief medical officer of Independent Vets, and Dr. Kristine Stellato has been with the company for over a year. (Courtesy of Independent Vets)

  • Dr. Meggan T. Graves examines a horse on a farm in Knoxville, Tennessee. She provides a night and weekend large animal emergency relief service through the University of Tennessee. (Photo by Phil Snow/UT College of Veterinary Medicine)


  • Jacklyn Phillips, a veterinary technician, started relief work by taking a temporary position helping reopen the Saving Lives Spay/Neuter Clinic through the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Wake County in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Courtesy of Jacklyn Phillips)

  • Saint Francis Veterinary Center

  • Pet Specialists of Monterey

  • Dr. Guylaine Charette

  • Dr. Michael T. Cavanaugh

  • Dr. Arn Anderson

  • Dr. Carie Telgen

  • Dr. Breck Hunsaker

  • Dr. Gabe Middleton

  • Dr. Christine Navarre

  • Dr. Chuck Guard

  • Dr. Sandra Godden

  • Dr. Calvin Booker