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Animal health authorities worked with a farm to depopulate 32,000 turkeys in April and stop an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza.

The HPAI infections near Chesterfield in north-central South Carolina are the first found in the U.S. since 2017, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

Dr. Boyd Parr, South Carolina's state veterinarian, said the affected birds were 12-week-old tom turkeys that lived in a single barn. Those turkeys also were infected with a low-pathogenic H7N3 strain that circulated among turkeys in the other four barns on the farm.

“That is a strong indication that we found this HPAI in the barn where it made the jump through mutation to the highly pathogenic form and makes us hopeful that we have been able to eliminate this particular HPAI before it spread from this barn,” Dr. Parr said.

Clemson University Livestock Poultry Health tested other commercial poultry in the county and started enhanced surveillance in the area, he said. Testing would continue two weeks following depopulation, and biosecurity and movement controls would last at least three weeks.

The U.S. had its historically worst outbreak of avian influenza in 2014-15, when about 50 million chickens and turkeys died because of a highly pathogenic H5N2 strain that spread among commercial farms.


New research has identified a gene associated with fatal neonatal interstitial lung disease in Airedale Terriers.

The study, “Recessive missense LAMP3 variant associated with defect in lamellar body biogenesis and fatal neonatal interstitial lung disease in dogs,” was published online March 9 in PLOS Genetics and is available at jav.ma/LAMP3. The research was conducted by the University of Helsinki with support from Mars Petcare's Wisdom Health, maker of a dog DNA test.

Using transmission electron microscopy to examine diseased lungs, the researchers found that the affected puppies had defects in their lungs’ secretory organelles causing respiratory distress and ultimately failure. The puppies with the lung disease did not live past the first days or weeks of their lives.

Through a genomewide association study and whole exome sequencing, the researchers found that the puppies had a recessive variant in the gene that encodes lysosome-associated membrane protein 3, a protein within the organelles that produces cytoplasmic surfactant.


Unrestricted access to veterinary antimicrobials remains a global health threat, according to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

In the fourth annual report on antimicrobial agents intended for use in animals, OIE officials reported almost three-quarters of the 136 member countries assessed by December 2019 lacked sufficient controls over the safety and quality of animal drugs, their importation and sales, or their administration. Without regulation, antimicrobial products circulate uncontrolled alongside fraudulent and substandard versions and are sold regardless of need, the report states.

“This variable quality and unrestricted use of antimicrobial products creates conditions of high risk for the development and spread of resistance,” the report states.

The report notes that the OIE had little information on global patterns of antimicrobial resistance among the pathogens of animals. Studying resistance is key to seeing how often pathogens are resistant and how that resistance evolves.

In 2016, OIE officials published a plan on combating antimicrobial resistance through prudent drug use. The plan calls for education, surveillance, research, improved governance of antimicrobial use, expanding the abilities of national veterinary services, and adhering to international standards.

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


By Kaitlyn Mattson


Dr. Eleanor M. Green, dean of Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, speaks at a press conference in September on the 2+2 program with West Texas A&M University. Construction on the Veterinary Education, Research & Outreach facility at WTAMU is projected to end in the fall. (Courtesy of Texas A&M University)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 256, 11; 10.2460/javma.256.11.1179

Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences received approval from the AVMA Council on Education in April to develop a 2+2 program with West Texas A&M University.

The 2+2 program will be run through the Veterinary Education, Research & Outreach program, a partnership between the TAMU veterinary college and WTAMU. The VERO facility, projected to be completed in the fall, is being built adjacent to WTAMU's new Happy State Bank Academic & Research Building in Canyon, Texas. That's where veterinary students will complete the first two years of a four-year veterinary curriculum. The first cohort of up to 18 first-year veterinary students from TAMU will start taking classes on the WTAMU campus in 2021.

The following year, there will be two cohorts cycling through the Canyon campus, bringing the total number of enrolled students within the veterinary college to 180. The WTAMU campus location will grant veterinary students more exposure to livestock and rural veterinary medicine, according to a university press release.

Dr. Paul S. Morley, an epidemiologist and director of research for the VERO program, spoke at the 2019 AVMA Economic Summit about how the number of private-practice veterinarians who work with food animals dropped 30% from 2008 to 2018 (see JAVMA, Dec. 15, 2019, page 1321).

“The 2+2 program helps fulfill a 10-year goal to increase large animal veterinary medicine in the Texas Panhandle,” said TAMU System Chancellor John Sharp in the university press release.

“While the launch of the VERO program has already tripled the number of applicants from WT (West Texas) being admitted to the CVM's veterinary curriculum, this approval brings us one step closer to being able to admit even more students from WT and the Texas Panhandle region who can then, close to home, receive an education from one of the best veterinary schools in the nation,” said Dr. Eleanor M. Green, dean of Texas A&M's veterinary college, in the press release. “We anticipate that many of these veterinary graduates will choose to return home to serve their hometown communities.”

TAMU System officials also announced a $5 million commitment to the 2+2 program in January, which is in addition to a $90 million commitment to build the VERO facility. The new funding will be used to increase faculty members from five to 23 for the VERO program, according to TAMU.

The 2+2 program will be monitored by the COE. The approval requires a site visit to the WT campus, which is tentatively scheduled to occur in 2022.



Among the AVMA resources for recent graduates is the My Veterinary Life website.

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 256, 11; 10.2460/javma.256.11.1179

The AVMA House of Delegates will consider a proposal to expand the reduction in AVMA member dues for recent graduates as well as revisions to policies on antiparasitic resistance and transportation of research animals.

Delegates will deliberate on the resolutions during their regular annual session this summer.

In 2019, to help the Association balance its operational budget, the House passed a $30 dues increase for members, effective in 2020, that brought regular member dues to $360. Currently, new veterinarians receive free AVMA membership for the balance of the year that they graduate and a 50% reduction in dues for the next two consecutive renewal periods.

Under the proposal, which was submitted by 10 state VMAs, new veterinarians would still receive free membership in their graduating year. The proposal would then reduce dues to 25% of regular dues for the first full year of membership, maintain dues at 50% for the second full year, and reduce dues to 75% for the third full year, for a total savings of $180 in dues over that four-year period.

According to the statement about the resolution, “The goal of this resolution is to financially assist recent graduates who are often burdened with substantial student loan debt, while bonding them to the AVMA as lifelong members.”

The House Advisory Committee and the Board both recommended that the House refer the resolution to the Board for further analysis.

An informational document from the Board noted, “Over the past several years, the AVMA developed and implemented an overarching strategy to support recent graduates and provide targeted resources focused on their areas of primary concern: career development, financial health and wellbeing.”

The document went on to note, “Early career members are highly satisfied with the AVMA and their likelihood of renewing membership is similarly high.” The document also states, “Across nearly every metric we survey, the response for early career members is higher than the average and at the highest point since AVMA began tracking.”

If the dues reduction does not increase renewals, the effect over the first six years would be a decrease in revenue of approximately $2.5 million for the AVMA, which “would severely jeopardize the availability of resources that AVMA members—including this key group—need and value,” according to the Board document.

“We can all agree that recent graduates are a key group and these members deserve support,” said Dr. Rena Carlson, AVMA Board chair.

Unfortunately, she said, if the dues changes don't trigger an increase in renewals, “the financial loss will severely limit AVMA's ability to provide programs that these members tell us are valuable to them. That is why we need further analysis that will help us identify those factors that truly influence recent graduate membership and renewal decisions.”

“It's not unlike how we treat patients—we need the diagnosis before we can determine a treatment plan,” said Dr. Sandy Willis, HAC chair.

During its regular annual session, the House also will discuss revisions to the AVMA policy “Antiparasitic Resistance.” The AVMA Council on Biologic and Therapeutic Agents reviewed the policy because of the directive that all policies be reviewed every five years.

The changes would delete a list of parasites known to have developed resistance to common parasiticides because the list is not exhaustive, recommend that veterinarians lead the decision-making process regarding use of parasiticides, and recommend that studies of antiparasitic drug susceptibility be considered in decision-making.

The AVMA Animal Welfare Committee reviewed the AVMA policy on “Transportation of Research Animals for the Purpose of Research, Testing, and Education” in accordance with the five-year review directive.

At the recommendation of the American Society of Laboratory Animal Practitioners, some of the revisions would add language stating that veterinarians should be involved in the evaluation of transportation methods and that air and ground transportation should be available to allow for selection of the best method to provide for animal welfare.

Animal health laboratories aid testing for COVID-19 in people

Several partner with human health care, work under existing approvals

By Greg Cima

Veterinary diagnostic laboratories are helping overwhelmed public health laboratories identify COVID-19 in people.

The U.S. had conducted 17,717 tests through March 12, according to COVID Tracking Project estimates. By April 12, the total was up to 2.8 million. As of May 3, the project estimated the U.S. had run 7 million tests.

One veterinary laboratory—the Oklahoma Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory at Oklahoma State University—conducted polymerase chain reaction-based assays on more than 10,000 nasopharyngeal swabs in three weeks.

Dr. Jerry Ritchey, interim director of the Oklahoma State laboratory, said state public health authorities had trouble keeping up with the volume of incoming samples. The OADDL worked with the governor's office, state public health department, and partners in the OSU Center for Health Sciences to become eligible to accept samples from humans.

“At our diagnostic laboratory, we had the equipment and expertise to perform high-volume testing because that's what we do normally,” Dr. Ritchey said.

That typical work includes testing for animal disease outbreaks and conducting disease surveillance. But Dr. Ritchey and other laboratory directors said working in human health care involves additional procedures and standards for processing individual tests as well as meeting the documentation and privacy requirements for each patient.

Testing at OSU began at the end of March, and about 4% of the samples sent from human health facilities tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, Dr. Ritchey said.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a federal agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, regulates all diagnostic testing on humans in the United States—with exceptions for research—through the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments program. The agency certifies about 260,000 laboratory entities through that program, according to CMS.

Veterinary diagnostic laboratories usually have no need for CLIA certification. The laboratory directors at OSU and veterinary diagnostic laboratories at Colorado State University and Oregon State University, instead, formed partnerships with human health care laboratories to work under their existing certifications.


In about three weeks, the Oklahoma Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory at Oklahoma State University conducted polymerase chain reaction-based assays for the COVID-19 virus in more than 10,000 samples from human medicine. (Courtesy of Oklahoma State University College of Veterinary Medicine)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 256, 11; 10.2460/javma.256.11.1179

Dr. Ritchey said Anil Kaul, MD, from the OSU Center for Health Sciences, was working as clinical director for the veterinary college's COVID-19 diagnostic testing, meaning reports from the laboratory bore his name as the person responsible for those test results.

A CMS spokesperson said a veterinary degree meets the education requirements to direct a CLIA-approved laboratory conducting high-complexity testing, although a veterinarian also would need certification by one of the HHS-approved boards that evaluate the qualifications of individual laboratory directors.


Though the U.S. Department of Agriculture coordinates animal disease responses, the veterinary laboratories decided on their own whether to help test human samples for the virus, without federal coordination, said Joelle R. Hayden, spokesperson for the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. The agency runs the National Animal Health Laboratory Network, which was monitoring the laboratories’ capacities to test for animal diseases while they aided the COVID-19 response.

On April 15, World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) authorities published guidance stating that veterinary laboratory personnel possess the skills and experience to help public health services meet the surge in demand for diagnostic testing for SARS-CoV-2 in humans.

“Testing of human specimens in veterinary laboratories should be part of a coordinated government-led Public Health response and laboratories performing COVID-19 diagnostics should ensure they comply with regulations regarding the laboratory testing of human specimens,” according to the guidance.

VDL officials also need to consider the impact of the added work on animal health and welfare, veterinary public health, trade, food safety, food security, and their own people and finances, according to the OIE guidance. Keeping laboratory staff members healthy is the priority, and laboratory managers should stagger employees’ schedules and evaluate their health daily.

Recommendations from an American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians task force state that member laboratories have limited resources to maintain their capacities for animal health work while they help peers in human health respond to the pandemic. The document focuses on testing for SARS-CoV-2 in animals, encouraging testing only on individual animals on the basis of health and COVID-19 exposure, rather than any blanket testing that could compete with public health laboratories for resources.

Dr. Deepanker Tewari, 2020 AAVLD president, said in an April newsletter to members that all veterinary diagnostic laboratories remained open to provide essential services. Many tested animals, aided human testing, or found other means of supporting public health.

“It is for every member to realize that our efforts and work are more important than ever,” he wrote.


The Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine hosts the River Road Testing Lab, a facility set up during the pandemic to process COVID-19 virus tests in people. The laboratory is a collaboration with 18 local medical facilities, said Ginger Guttner, communications manager for the veterinary school.

Diagnosticians began work in the laboratory March 23 and processed about 2,500 samples in the first month. A physician at a nearby hospital helped the laboratory gain CLIA approval. The state had 25,739 total positive human cases and 1,540 COVID-19 related deaths as of April 23.

“Together, we are easing the burden on the other labs throughout the state,” Guttner said.

Dr. Kristy Pabilonia, interim director for the Colorado State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratories, said her laboratory accepted its first 60 nasopharyngeal swabs for testing in early April, following a few weeks of validation, resupply, and CLIA registration, which allows human health work pending an audit for full certification. The director of the CSU Health Network laboratory, Bruce Smith, MD, is serving as director of the VDL CLIA laboratory.

The laboratory was ready to handle more testing, Dr. Pabilonia said, and she expected to do more testing in the near future. But she noted that commercial laboratories are taking on increasing numbers of samples as well.

Dr. Pabilonia said that in exercises, her laboratory handled upward of 1,200 animal diagnostic samples in a day. With the different procedures for handling and documenting human samples, she expects the laboratory could handle 300-500 daily.

The Indiana Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, located at Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine, is working with the human hospital Parkview Health to start conducting COVID-19 tests for human patients. Testing began after the laboratory received CLIA certification to conduct human diagnostic testing, with Parkview agreeing to provide clinical oversight. The laboratory was certified days after Purdue leaders suggested using the ADDL to address the state's limited testing capacity and need for resources, according to an April 17 university press release.


Laboratory technicians Sara Watson and Christina Weller, of the Colorado State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratories, test for the COVID-19 virus in samples from human patients in the biosafety level-3 laboratory. (Photo by John Eisele/CSU)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 256, 11; 10.2460/javma.256.11.1179

Dr. Mark R. Ackermann, director of the Oregon Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, said physicians and physician groups near the university asked for help processing samples at a time when he and others at the laboratory were looking for ways to contribute. The owners of nearby Willamette Valley Toxicology Laboratory wanted to contribute as well and had CLIA certification but lacked the equipment to perform the testing, he said.

By moving a PCR machine and staff to Willamette's laboratory, employees of the institutions could work together under the existing approvals, he said.

As private laboratories began testing, state health authorities told Ackermann his animal disease laboratory's capacity wasn't needed, Dr. Ackermann said. But nearby physicians still wanted faster testing for their own patients, plus Oregon State University researchers needed a place to test 4,800 samples for an epidemiology study that could help measure community prevalence of the virus.

“We'll still be handling all of our veterinary samples,” he said. “But we have the capacity to help out with the COVID testing. We want to do that to support the response.”

In April, his laboratory began taking in samples for the study and conducting testing for community members, including commercial fishing employees who will spend months away from shore.

Other laboratories contributed equipment. The Texas A&M University Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory, for example, sent 2,000 COVID-19 sampling kits to hospitals in cities with TAMU campuses, including Galveston, McAllen, and Fort Worth. Laboratory officials made the kits from their existing stocks of swabs, vials, and transport medium—materials that were back-ordered for months as the need for testing surged.

Later, the TVMDL laboratory in College Station began limited human testing on April 27 through a temporary partnership with a local health care provider, according to a university news release. Since March, Texas A&M System officials had been trying to get exempted from the CLIA certification requirement.

Texas had one of the nation's lowest rates of COVID-19 testing per capita with 390,560 tests done as of May 4 in a state with a population of 29 million.


An employee at the Oklahoma Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory at Oklahoma State University conducts PCR assays for the COVID-19 virus in humans. (Courtesy of Oklahoma State University College of Veterinary Medicine)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 256, 11; 10.2460/javma.256.11.1179

Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine donated medical supplies useful in both clinical care and diagnostic testing, including swabs and transport medium needed by human health care providers.

Dr. Francois Elvinger, executive director of Cornell's Animal Health Diagnostic Center, said his team contacted the New York State Department of Health with an offer to help conduct PCR assays for human patients, and he said the offer stands. But conducting the testing would involve clearing regulatory hurdles. He also noted that commercial laboratories were increasing testing as well, and they may be more efficient in that work.

Dr. Elvinger's laboratory adopted staggered schedules so that only half his staff members worked in the laboratory at any time. They handled about 85% of their typical caseload as of mid-April, and he saw a decline in submissions starting in mid-March.

Dr. Pabilonia estimated her laboratory had received about 30% fewer submissions for animal care since the pandemic started, including a substantial drop in routine tests such as vaccine antibody titers.

“We're still getting the normal amounts of livestock testing,” she said.

In April, the diagnostic laboratory's site included a notice that laboratory employees continued accepting samples but performed triage to determine the order of testing, and results for routine sampling might take longer than usual.

Submissions to Oregon's veterinary diagnostic laboratory declined during the pandemic, Dr. Ackermann said.

Dr. Ritchey saw steady numbers of samples during the pandemic. Some of that ongoing work comes from agriculture, where disease sampling continued, but he heard other regions had substantial declines in overall submission numbers.

“There might be a slight downtick, but it's really not noticeable, to be honest with you,” Dr. Ritchey said.

When health departments catch up, he assumes his role will quietly shift back to solely working in animal health.

“It's been tough,” he said. “It's long hours many days—every day, actually. But, overall, it's been rewarding.”

Though COVID-19 cases rare in pets, testing is available

Routine testing of animals for the virus is not recommended

By Malinda Larkin

Veterinarians can test for the COVID-19 virus in animals, but whether and when they should still remain issues.

At press time in early May, only a very few animals had tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. Among them were three domestic cats, one each in Hong Kong, Belgium, and France; three dogs, a German Shepherd Dog and a Pomeranian, both in Hong Kong, and a Pug in North Carolina; and five tigers and three lions at the Bronx Zoo in New York City. In addition, two cats in the state of New York tested positive for the virus, according to an April 22 announcement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. These were the first cases involving pets in the U.S.

The cats lived in two separate areas of the state, the announcement stated. The first cat showed mild respiratory signs. No person in the household was confirmed to be ill with COVID-19. “The virus may have been transmitted to this cat by mildly ill or asymptomatic household members or through contact with an infected person outside its home,” according to the agencies.

The second cat showed signs of respiratory illness. The owner of the cat had tested positive for COVID-19 prior to the cat showing signs. Another cat in the household showed no signs of illness.

Antech Diagnostics, part of Mars Veterinary Health, found that the ill cats had presumptive positive results for SARS-CoV-2 as part of its ongoing surveillance of cat and dog samples submitted for analysis by polymerase chain reaction-based assay analysis, according to Antech. Confirmatory testing was conducted at the USDA National Veterinary Services Laboratories. Both cats are expected to make a full recovery, according to the CDC-USDA announcement.

Should other animals be confirmed positive for SARS-CoV-2 in the United States, the findings will be posted at jav.ma/confirmedcases.


Routine testing of animals for COVID-19 is not recommended by the AVMA, CDC, USDA, American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians, National Assembly of State Animal Health Officials, or National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians.

Guidance from the CDC is available at jav.ma/testingguidance, and more information from the AVMA on testing animals for SARS-CoV-2 is available at jav.ma/COVID19testing. Also, an FAQ by the USDA on testing is available at jav.ma/animalsCOVID19.

Veterinarians should contact their state public health veterinarian or state animal health official to discuss the need before testing pets for SARS-CoV-2, according to the CDC, the USDA, and other federal agencies. Practitioners also are encouraged to rule out other, more common causes of illness in animals before considering SARS-CoV-2 testing.

The agencies have suggested that laboratory testing for SARS-CoV-2 could be considered for animals that have clinical signs of a new, concerning illness suggestive of an infectious disease in conjunction with a history of close contact with a person suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 or a history of exposure to a high-risk environment where a human outbreak has occurred, such as a nursing home, prison, or cruise ship.

In addition, the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians has recommended testing for a threatened, endangered, or otherwise rare animal in a rehabilitation or zoological facility with possible exposure to SARS-CoV-2 through an infected person or animal, regardless of whether the animal appears healthy or has clinical signs of a new, concerning illness that is suggestive of an infectious disease.

The AAVLD has also suggested that animals in a mass care or group setting, such as an animal shelter, boarding facility, zoo, or feedlot—including companion animals, livestock, and other species—could be considered for testing if a cluster of animals in the group develops clinical signs of a new, concerning illness suggestive of an infectious disease, even if it is not known whether the animals have been exposed to people with COVID-19.

Human and animal health organizations agree that there is currently no evidence that dogs or cats in a home environment can be a source of COVID-19 infection in other animals or humans. The AVMA, CDC, and USDA recommend that people with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known and that, if possible, another member of the household take care of walking, feeding, and playing with pets. If ill people must care for pets or have service animals, it is recommended they wash their hands before and after interacting with the animals and wear a cloth face covering.


Idexx Laboratories Inc., headquartered in Westbrook, Maine, said its polymerase chain reaction-based assay for SARS-CoV-2 in pets would be available to veterinarians in North America starting the fourth week of April and would continue to roll out across most of the world in the following weeks. (Courtesy of Idexx)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 256, 11; 10.2460/javma.256.11.1179


Idexx Laboratories Inc. announced April 20 that it launched a commercial test for SARS-CoV-2 in animals for veterinarians to use.

Idexx says it is launching the test “in response to customer demand and growing evidence that in rare cases pets living with COVID-19 positive humans can be at risk for SARS-CoV-2 infection.”

The veterinary diagnostic company had announced in mid-March that it tested more than 4,000 samples from dogs, cats, and horses with its PCR assay, and no evidence of the coronavirus had been found, although these were stored samples, and it is unclear to what extent the animals had been exposed to infected people. Idexx also noted that its testing had expanded into Canada and European Union countries, including areas with high rates of COVID-19 in humans, and all tests continued to be negative.

Antech started surveillance for SARS-CoV-2 in cats and dogs in early March and had two confirmed positive cases out of 2,000 samples as of late April. Antech says it will continue to monitor samples and report any discovery of positive results to local, federal, and veterinary authorities.

Preliminary research suggests cats are more susceptible than dogs to the virus. Dr. Susan Little, part owner of Bytown Cat Hospital and Merivale Cat Hospital, both in Ottawa, Ontario, and a past president of the American Association of Feline Practitioners, said other companies will likely roll out their own tests.

“It's especially challenging because, for the last few weeks, most messaging from veterinary organizations and infectious disease experts has been that cats are not a risk to people, it's rare that cats get infected, and most don't seem to get very sick,” Dr. Little said. “How do we reconcile that now that a test is available? A lot of translation has to go on there.”

At the same time, everyone is stressed, including pets wondering why their world has turned upside down, too, she said. There are many common viruses that affect cats, some of which lie dormant until reactivated by stress.

“When we see cats that have respiratory signs, such as sneezing, runny eyes or nose, and maybe they're not eating well, that's far and away most likely one of the common feline respiratory diseases, such as herpesvirus,” she said.

Further, when one criterion for testing is that the pet is in the home with someone who is suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19, that presents its own dilemma.

“We do have to be careful recommending the pet leave the home,” Dr. Little said. “You have to make sure everyone is safe and that it's absolutely necessary to do the test.”

She said it's one thing to do population surveillance to see whether the virus is in the pet population, but that's different from individual cat testing.

“Very few pets will require a test for this virus, and we want to make very sure if we are going to do the test that it's definitely needed and we will take specific action with the results and the test is done properly, which means sedating the cat to get the samples we need,” Dr. Little said.

Because there is no specific treatment for COVID-19, a positive test won't change how the veterinarian manages the case or treats the cat. Most cats don't seem to get seriously ill even if they've tested positive, she said, so it won't change anything for the cat.

“You have to wonder if knowing the answer doesn't make a difference, then do we need to put people and pets at risk to get the answer? It's not an easy question, and it takes some thoughtful reflection and evaluation of the pet.”


The Food and Drug Administration issued a warning in early April that ivermectin, an antiparasitic drug, should not be used in the treatment of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

The drug is approved by the FDA to prevent heartworm disease in some small animals and to treat certain internal and external parasites in various animal species. Ivermectin tablets are approved for use in humans to treat some parasitic worms, and ivermectin topical formulations are approved for use in humans to treat certain external parasites and skin conditions.

A recent prepublication report scheduled for publication in the journal Antiviral Research suggested that ivermectin inhibited the replication of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in vitro. However, additional extensive testing is required to determine whether ivermectin is safe or effective to prevent or treat the virus.

“People should not take any form of ivermectin unless it has been prescribed to them by a licensed health care provider and is obtained through a legitimate source,” the FDA said in a letter to stakeholders.

The FDA has established a task force to monitor for fraudulent treatments and prevention products for SARS-CoV-2.

Business as un-usual

Veterinary practices find their way in a pandemic economy

By R. Scott Nolen


The best scenario for recovery of the U.S. economy in a post-COVID-19 world is depicted as a V-shaped graph, with a sharp decline in economic activity and a quick recovery. In the U-shaped model, the economy declines, remains depressed for a time, then recovers. The worst scenario is an L-shaped graph, with economic activity declining and not recovering to its previous level.

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 256, 11; 10.2460/javma.256.11.1179

With the number of human COVID-19 cases and deaths continuing to rise in the United States at press time in early May, some states were already planning on easing strict shelter-in-place measures.

The Trump administration, over the objections of public health officials, issued guidelines in April for governors to take a phased approach to reopening their states.

Such efforts are due in part to the financial troubles that millions of Americans are experiencing as a result of furloughs, layoffs, and shuttered businesses.

As Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves told Fox News in an April 19 interview, “We can't wait until there's a cure for this. … We have serious mental health issues going on in this country right now, and we also have a serious economic crisis going on in this country right now.”


The overall impact to the veterinary industry is an open question, although bits of economic data gathered from practices across the country are shedding some light on the issue.

Industry analyst VetSuccess has been tracking the daily impact of COVID-19 at more than 2,500 practices nationwide. The company reported the year-over-year loss of revenue and invoices for the second week of April was less profound than in previous weeks, showing what appears to be a leveling off at a decrease in the 10% to 15% range.

Smaller hospitals—those with less than $1.5 million in annual revenue—are outperforming larger practices. Notably, practices in Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, and Arizona all experienced, on average, year-over-year growth.

Year-over-year daily average revenue per practice was down 8% nationwide, compared with 12% the first week of April. Revenue at larger practices was down 12%, compared with 2% at smaller practices. Not including home-delivery data, pharmacy revenue was up 5%, whereas revenue for over-the-counter medications and for diets was down 10%, and revenue for professional services was down 10%.

Year-over-year daily average invoices per practice were down 13% nationwide, compared with 16% the previous week. Larger practices were down 15%, compared with 17.5% the previous week. Smaller practices were down 5.5%, compared with 11% the previous week. The top three states with the biggest change in invoices year over year were Connecticut, down 28%; Massachusetts, down 26%; and Maryland, down 25%.


Speaking during an April 22 webinar, the AVMA's chief economist, Matthew Salois, PhD, referenced a Harvard Business Review article laying out three potential recovery scenarios for the U.S. economy, from best- to worst-case scenario.

The first and most preferable scenario is depicted as a V-shaped graph indicating a sharp decline in economic activity followed by a quick recovery.

The least desirable, Great Depression model is the L-shaped graph showing economic activity declining and not recovering to its previous level.

“Obviously, this is not what you want to happen, and we need to make sure that the right actions and decisions are made to prevent that happening to our economy,” Dr. Salois said.

Between those two scenarios is the U-shaped model, which looks a lot how the Great Recession of the late 2000s played out, when the economy declined, remained depressed for a time, then recovered.

“This is more like a blow to the kneecaps,” Dr. Salois explained. “It hurts. You heal, but not without some sustained injury. There is some economic loss and productivity declines, and some practices won't survive.

“My hope is the veterinary profession is somewhere between the V and U models. I don't think the worstcase scenario is necessarily the most probabilistic scenario, but I do think we've got to take the appropriate actions to ensure that we have the quickest, most painless recovery possible.”


In late April, Congress sought to soften the blow to the U.S. economy with a $484 billion package containing $370 billion for Small Business Administration loan programs, including the new Paycheck Protection Program.

The bill, passed first by the Senate on April 21 and two days later by the House, also included $75 billion to support hospitals and $25 billion for coronavirus testing.

The PPP was created by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act to allow small businesses to apply for low-interest, private loans to cover their payrolls and certain other costs. The program quickly exhausted its initial $349 billion allocation, however, and the SBA stopped accepting applications on April 16.

Of the latest $370 billion appropriation for SBA loans, the package provides $310 billion for the PPP, of which $60 billion is set aside for smaller institutions as defined in the bill, and $60 billion for the SBA Emergency Injury Disaster Loans, with $50 billion directed toward EIDL loans and $10 billion to support EIDL's forgivable cash grants of up to $10,000.

The AVMA website offers information on COVID-19 legislation and relief programs, available at jav.ma/relief, with additional information about these loan programs for small businesses and how to apply.


By R. Scott Nolen

Self-care has never been more important or, arguably, more challenging to prioritize as millions have lost their jobs, are forced to stay home, or suddenly are caring for children whose schools have been closed.

Plans, routines, entire lives have been put on hold indefinitely as the world focuses on countering the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus. People are right to be concerned about their health and the health of family and friends, experts say, including their financial well-being. Yet care must be taken not to let those concerns become overwhelming.

Signs of stress manifest in several ways, both obvious and subtle, and shouldn't be ignored, according to Jen Brandt, PhD, director of well-being, inclusion, and diversity initiatives for the AVMA.

“A good starting point is to recognize if you are experiencing a change in your mood states, such as feeling more agitated, numb, or less productive than usual. If so, you are not alone,” Dr. Brandt said. “Those are common responses to the sense of trauma and grief we experience when undergoing rapid and unexpected change.”

As the Mayo Clinic explains on its website, stress negatively affects the body, thoughts, feelings, and behavior. Unresolved stress can contribute to high blood pressure, obesity, and heart disease, among other illnesses. Stress may manifest physically as fatigue, muscle pain, or upset stomach. A person experiencing stress may feel restlessness or irritability or lack focus and motivation.

Unhealthy coping mechanisms for stress include drug and alcohol abuse, overeating, and withdrawing from friends and family, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Sleep is another casualty of stress. Donn Posner, PhD, an adjunct clinical associate professor at Stanford University School of Medicine, recently described the present situation as “a perfect storm of sleep problems.” Dr. Posner was speaking this April as part of a weekly online forum hosted by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health on the emotional and psychological effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Approximately 30% to 35% of the population suffers from short-term insomnia, explained Dr. Posner, a member of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. While in most cases short-term insomnia resolves itself, Dr. Posner said recovery is not always complete. A small number of cases may become chronic, lasting up to three months or more.

To remedy insomnia, Dr. Posner suggested avoiding napping after a lost night's sleep. If you must nap, limit it to 20 minutes. He advised against sleeping late on the weekends to make up for lost sleep as it only disrupts one's regular sleep patterns.

“Keep a rhythm,” Dr. Posner said, “even if it's a different time of day than it used to be.”

Well-being is a choice that requires intentional and deliberate prioritization. “Committing to self-care and recognizing what we must do to protect and improve our well-being are key steps in taking ownership of our health,” Dr. Brandt explained.

Talking to a friend or family member about feeling anxious or overwhelmed is an important step in the right direction. Of course, do so while observing social distancing. Take advantage of one of the several online video platforms such as Skype, Zoom, or FaceTime.

Keeping active is another strategy for weathering the COVID-19 storm. Take a walk, go for a run, or ride a bike. “Physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals that may leave you feeling happier, more relaxed and less anxious,” the Mayo Clinic states. “You may also feel better about your appearance and yourself when you exercise regularly, which can boost your confidence and improve your self-esteem.”

The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented event that has dramatically reshaped our lives, replacing routine with uncertainty. A key to maintaining a sense of equilibrium, Dr. Brandt said, is focusing on the behaviors that are within your control, and breaking those down into small, manageable units.

“It may be increasing your water intake by dividing up the number of ounces you consume each hour or focusing on getting your heart rate up through short bursts of exercise or cleaning an area in your work or home space,” she said.

The AVMA webpage at jav.ma/COVID19wellbeing offers tips to help protect and maintain well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Veterinary clinics take precautions even without statewide orders

Five states without shelter-in-place orders into May

By Kaitlyn Mattson

In March and April, 42 governors across the U.S. issued shelter-in-place orders, but governors in North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Arkansas, and Iowa moved forward without statewide orders. As of press time, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wyoming had shelter-in-place orders in parts of those states.

Despite this, it appears most veterinary practices modified, to various degrees, their operations to limit staff and client exposure to SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

Veterinarians in Nebraska, Arkansas, and Iowa said they closed their lobbies and were trying to follow social-distancing guidelines.

Dr. Jeremy Young, president of the Nebraska VMA, said veterinarians are trained in epidemiology and how viruses can be introduced so he is not surprised to see them embracing public health guidelines related to stopping the spread of SARS-CoV-2.

“We are a well-trained profession that understands what we are trying to accomplish here,” Dr. Young said.


Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts said he would not issue a shelter-in-place order for the state, but he prohibited gatherings of more than 10 people and requested that people practice physical distancing. He also banned elective procedures, including those done by veterinarians.

A statewide order may be less necessary in more rural states depending on cases, population density, and culture. Logistically, however, not having an order can make issuing broad guidelines difficult.

In Nebraska, the state was divided into health districts, and each district offered different advice for businesses and residents.

“What's right for me in my central Nebraska location is not necessarily right for someone in Omaha,” said Dr. Young, who is a partner in the Town and Country Veterinary Clinic, which has locations in Albion, Elgin, and St. Edward. Two of the locations are in one health district, and one is in a separate district.


Social distancing and shelter-in-place orders are reportedly making a difference in decreasing the spread of the COVID-19 virus. As of press time, 42 governors had ordered residents to stay at home and issued a list of essential business that could remain open, with nearly all states considering veterinary professionals to be essential workers.

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 256, 11; 10.2460/javma.256.11.1179

Dr. Young shifts back and forth on whether he thinks the state should have a statewide order, but he respects Gov. Ricketts’ decision.

“I can appreciate that it would be nice to just make the order and make sure everyone knows what the plan is,” he said. “There are people who feel this isn't something to worry about, and they're still living their lives and taking their whole families into Walmart. People are worried about this keeping us safe versus allowing government overreach. It is not just about the spread of COVID-19. There are a lot of things politicizing it.”


Dr. Paul Jenkins, president of the Arkansas VMA and co-owner of the Vilonia Animal Clinic in Conway, Arkansas, said his practice and others in the area are taking steps such as closing lobbies and implementing curbside service.

“We are taking the temperatures of all our employees, including myself, in the morning,” Dr. Jenkins said. “We closed our boarding kennel, and we aren't doing anything elective.”

Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson declared a state of emergency on March 11 and declared the state a disaster area on March 26. The governor imposed restrictions on gatherings of more than 10 people and requested residents to perform social distancing.

“Arkansas is doing a good job,” Dr. Jenkins said. “From what I can tell, looking at the numbers from the Department of Health, I think what we are doing is working.”

The state had 3,458 positive cases and 80 deaths as of May 4, according to the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement.


Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds suggested residents stay home and issued a public health emergency declaration in March. She extended the order in April. The proclamation limits gatherings in certain counties and requires people to practice social distancing, among other things.

Dr. Randy L. Wheeler, executive director of the Iowa VMA, said the association is advocating for animals to receive the care they need but with the pandemic in mind.

“We want to protect our clients, staff, and community from exposure and spread,” Dr. Wheeler said. “The Iowa veterinary profession is still conducting business as usual, but we are acting like we are doing shelter in place.”

The IVMA has provided member veterinarians with guidelines based on AVMA suggestions and resources available at jav.ma/AVMAcovid.

“Overall we are a conscientious group, and we are telling our members to use sound medical judgment,” Dr. Wheeler said.

The association sent a survey to members in April asking about the COVID-19 pandemic and received results suggesting most practices were open but doing curbside service and limiting contact with clients.

“Over 40% of our survey responses were from mixed and food animal veterinarians saying that they are being careful and that they are trying to social-distance and utilize that 6-foot distance,” Dr. Wheeler said.

Iowa had its largest single-day increase in COVID-19 cases on April 19, with state officials saying 261 of the 389 new cases of COVID-19 reported were discovered as part of testing 1,000 meatpacking employees at Tyson Foods Inc. and National Beef Packing Co. The Tyson pork processing plant in Columbus Junction, Iowa, had an outbreak linked to hundreds of infections and the deaths of two workers. It later closed for two weeks. Then Tyson suspended operations April 22 at the pork processing plant in Waterloo, Iowa, after more than 180 infections had been linked to it.

President Donald Trump signed an executive order April 28 to compel meat processing plants to remain open amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Invoking the Defense Production Act, Trump signed the order that declares these plants part of critical infrastructure in the US.

The administration is also working with the Department of Labor on issuing guidance about which employees who work at these meat processing facilities should remain home.


South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, a Republican, said she would leave it up to individuals to make social-distancing and quarantine-related decisions but urged residents to stay home and groups of 10 or more not to gather.

In early April, the single largest outbreak of COVID-19 in the U.S. was announced at Smithfield Foods Inc. in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, a pork packaging facility. About 350 people tested positive for the virus. The plant accounts for 4% to 5% of all U.S. pork production and closed indefinitely after 783 workers tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 and two died.

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, a Republican, ordered bars, restaurants, barbershops, beauty salons, health clubs, movie theaters, and large venues to close.

Gov. Burgum reported frustration as some residents were not taking social distancing seriously but did not order residents to stay home.

The state released an app, Care19, to help public health workers trace COVID-19 within the state.


By Kaitlyn Mattson

Zoos and aquariums across the U.S. have closed their doors to follow physical-distancing guidelines during the COVID-19 outbreak, so the animals inside these facilities are going online instead.

“Some of the animals are developing a celebrity base,” said Dr. Bill Van Bonn, vice president of animal health at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago.

He referred specifically to Wellington, a 32-year-old penguin, who has been caught on camera exploring other exhibits during the aquarium's closure. Videos and photos by caretakers and veterinarians still working on-site are being posted to the aquarium's social media channels.

The Shedd Aquarium closed its doors to the public on March 13, and the situation has brought about unique opportunities for enrichment for the animals, including when caretakers take penguins to other areas of the facility.

But the Shedd Aquarium and its penguins aren't alone in their social media adventures. Dr. Robert Hilsenroth, executive director of the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians, said zoos are adapting and being inventive.

“We can't take the batteries out of the animal at zoos and put them on hold, so zoos are being quite inventive about finding things for animals to do,” he said.

Zoo Miami has a livestream of its meerkat exhibit at jav.ma/Meerkat. The zoo has also started Zoocademy at jav.ma/Zoocademy. The program includes educational videos about the animals and activities at the zoo.

Ron Magill, communications director at Zoo Miami and the person behind Zoocademy, has been working at the zoo for 40 years. He said this is a surreal time.

“Short of going through natural disasters such as Hurricane Andrew in 1992, this is the only time the zoo has been closed for an extended period of time,” he said. “The big difference now is that everything looks beautiful and pristine. The weather is gorgeous, and the animals look totally relaxed.”

Dr. Darin Collins, director of the animal health program at Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, has been at the zoo for 20 years and said it has never experienced a closure like this, either. He said staff members are using online platforms to keep the public informed.

“Social media is allowing us to reach a huge audience that we usually wouldn't, and they keep coming back to stay updated,” Dr. Collins said. “Social media has been an interesting way for people to get behind the scenes.”


Carmen the penguin interacts with Kayavak the beluga whale at the Shedd Aquarium. (Courtesy of Shedd Aquarium)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 256, 11; 10.2460/javma.256.11.1179

He said Woodland Park Zoo will eventually open again, but it likely will be different and could offer more online content for the safety of the animals, the public, and zookeepers.

“We are having conversations about what it might look like,” Dr. Collins said. “Maybe that might be limits on the number of people that can be in the zoo, and maybe we don't let people inside enclosures.”

For many zoo veterinarians and caretakers, it is business as usual despite the lack of visitors, although most elective procedures are on hold as well as any animal transfers or shipments. Zoos also have updated their procedures related to several species after tigers and lions at the Bronx Zoo in New York City tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.

“As a niche of veterinary medicine, zoo veterinarians feel privileged and grateful that we are in this position and still considered essential,” Dr. Hilsenroth said. “We feel lucky to help out when we can.”

AVMA Convention canceled because of pandemic

Association has held a convention every year since 1863 with only three exceptions


AVMA Convention 2020 will no longer take place in the San Diego Convention Center because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Pictured here is the building in 2012 during the AVMA's only previous convention in the city. (Photo by Dr. Kim May)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 256, 11; 10.2460/javma.256.11.1179

AVMA Convention 2020 in San Diego has been canceled by the AVMA Board of Directors because of public health concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The cancellation includes all in-person meetings and related events, including the Cannabis Symposium, that had been scheduled to be held between July 27-Aug. 4. The Board determined the convention would present too great a risk to the health and safety of attendees, vendors, exhibitors, volunteers, and AVMA staff members.

“Though this decision wasn't easy to make, we believe it's the right one,” wrote Drs. John Howe, AVMA president; Rena Carlson, AVMA Board chair; and Janet Donlin, AVMA CEO in a May 1 email message to AVMA members.

“We know that many people plan well ahead for the AVMA Convention, and we wanted to let you know of our decision as soon as possible to allow you to make necessary changes to your schedule and travel plans.”

At press time, convention organizers were exploring virtual conference options, including potentially live continuing education sessions and a virtual AVMA House of Delegates meeting. Details were still being finalized.

The AVMA is issuing refunds for registration fees. Any hotel reservations made through the official AVMA block are being canceled by the AVMA.

Those who have booked travel but not yet registered and those who booked their hotel outside the official AVMA block should follow up with their travel agent, air carrier, or hotel directly. Any questions can be directed to convention@avma.org or 800-248-2862. More information is available on the AVMA Convention website at avma.org/convention.

California had about 55,000 confirmed human cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection and 2,216 deaths as of May 4, according to Johns Hopkins University.

On April 14, California Gov. Gavin Newsom was quoted in news reports saying, “The prospect of mass gatherings is negligible at best until we get to herd immunity and we get to a vaccine. So large-scale events that bring in hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of strangers all together across every conceivable difference, health and otherwise, is not in the cards based upon our current guidelines and current expectations.”

Gov. Newsom said mass gatherings are unlikely in June, July, and August.

The AVMA has held a convention every year since 1863 with only three exceptions. The association failed to hold an annual meeting in 1873 because of a mistake on notices about the date of the meeting. In 1914, the meeting was scheduled for December in New Orleans but was canceled because of an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease. And the AVMA canceled its 1945 meeting to comply with a governmental request that all organizations do so to relieve transportation problems during World War II; the AVMA House of Representatives did hold a meeting.

In 1943, although the annual convention was not canceled, only 700 attendees met in St. Louis for general sessions with no entertainment or commercial displays because “section work was abolished to make way for the special problems of the war,” according to previous reporting in JAVMA. Despite wartime travel restrictions, attendance at the 1944 meeting in Chicago exceeded 1,500, including 998 veterinarians.

The novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 has resulted in the cancellation of many veterinary-related meetings this year, including state VMA conferences, the Student AVMA symposium this past March at Cornell University, and the Veterinary Innovation Summit this past April at Texas A&M University.

AVMA Convention 2021 will be held in Minneapolis.


In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting social-distancing rules, the AVMA Board of Directors held its April 17 meeting virtually rather than in person.

Board members spent much of the time discussing the novel coronavirus, its impacts on the veterinary profession, and how the virus might reshape the profession in the future. The agenda for the business portion of the meeting was relatively light, consisting mostly of reaffirming and updating policies and making committee appointments.

The Board did approve a plan to pursue a five-city rotation for the AVMA Convention to comprise Boston, Chicago, Denver, San Diego, and Washington, D.C., starting in 2027.

As the Convention and Meeting Planning Division explained in its proposal to the Board, a review of convention attendance numbers over the past 15 years showed these cities had the highest attendance numbers and attendee satisfaction scores. Moreover, each city is able to accommodate the Association's meeting needs in terms of convention center space and hotels.

“As pricing increases year after year, controlling costs becomes an increasing focus. With more frequency of returning to these cities on a regular basis, it will enhance our opportunity to receive better pricing as well as receiving more favorable dates for our members,” the recommendation stated.

During an April 30 meeting, the Board canceled AVMA Convention 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic (see story). The convention is scheduled to be in Minneapolis in 2021; Philadelphia in 2022; Denver in 2023; Washington, D.C., in 2025; and Anaheim, California, in 2026.

During the April 17 meeting, the Board also voted in favor of providing in-kind support to assist the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology with releasing and disseminating the paper “The Impact of Recruitment and Retention of Food Animal Veterinarians on the U.S. Food Supply.”

CAST is a nonprofit organization that communicates the science behind food and agricultural issues with input from the scientific and legal community, as well as summarizes the latest scientific research for policymakers, the media, the private sector, and the public.

The paper is intended to educate and inspire readers to help reverse a decline in the country's supply of food animal veterinarians, who are critical to ensuring the future of a safe, nutritious, and humanely raised U.S. food supply, according to the recommendation background.

CAST wants to put this paper in front of as many key influencers and decision-makers as possible in agriculture, government, academia, policy groups, and the media. It is available at jav.ma/CASTpaper (PDF).


The article “Research delayed, rodent populations reduced during pandemic” in the May 15, 2020, issue of JAVMA News misspelled the name of Dr. Jennifer K. Pullium.


The National Academies of Practice, an interdisciplinary organization of health care practitioners and scholars, accepted Drs. Amara H. Estrada and Andrew T. Maccabe as new veterinary fellows of the Veterinary Medicine Academy and Dr. Mia Cary as a new professional member of the academy.

Dr. Estrada (Florida ‘98), a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine in cardiology, is recognized for research in comparative and veterinary clinical cardiology. A professor at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, she has worked with representatives from five other colleges at the university to develop programs in interprofessional education. Her most recent endeavor in this area is the identification and development of an activity based on the opioid crisis.


Dr. Amara H. Estrada

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 256, 11; 10.2460/javma.256.11.1179

Dr. Maccabe (Ohio State ‘85) is CEO of the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges. He started in mixed animal practice before joining the Air Force as a public health officer. In 1995, he became chief of the Health Risk Assessment Branch of the Air Force. He then joined the AAVMC. In 2007, he was appointed liaison from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to the Food and Drug Administration. He returned to the AAVMC as CEO in 2012.


Dr. Andrew T. Maccabe

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 256, 11; 10.2460/javma.256.11.1179

Dr. Cary (Florida ‘99) is a consultant, coach, speaker, and workshop facilitator. Her purpose is helping others to thrive, advocating for the veterinary profession, and optimizing interprofessional collaboration. She held positions as AVMA chief of professional development and strategic alliances and as chief innovation officer for the North American Veterinary Community. She serves on the Pet Peace of Mind board of directors and Veterinary Entrepreneurship Academy board of advisers and is a past president of the American Association of Industry Veterinarians.


Dr. Mia Cary

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 256, 11; 10.2460/javma.256.11.1179



Virginia Veterinary Conference, Feb. 27-29, Roanoke


Paul F. Landis Veterinarians of the Year

Drs. Margaret Rucker (Georgia ‘75) and Bayard Rucker (Georgia ‘75), Lebanon. The couple founded Southwest Virginia Veterinary Services in Lebanon. Dr. Margaret Rucker is a past president of the American Animal Hospital Association and Virginia VMA. Dr. Bayard Rucker is a past president of the Virginia Board of Veterinary Medicine.

Distinguished Virginia Veterinarian

Dr. Gregory Daniel (Auburn ‘83), Blacksburg. A diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Radiology, Dr. Daniel has served as interim dean of Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine since 2017. He is a past president of the ACVR and American Association of Veterinary Clinicians.

Veterinary Service Award

Drs. Jennifer LaPlume (Pennsylvania ‘94), North Garden; Anna Russau (Pennsylvania ‘03), Catlett; and Abby Sage (Pennsylvania ‘87), Rockville. Dr. LaPlume owns Ragged Mountain Equine Services in North Garden. She has served on the board of directors of the Virginia Association of Equine Practitioners and VVMA. Dr. Russau owns Warrenton Horse Works, an equine practice in Catlett. A diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, Dr. Sage works for the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Recent Graduate Leadership Award

Dr. Lauren Maxey (Virginia-Maryland ‘13), Falls Church. Dr. Maxey practices at Banfield Pet Hospital in Falls Church. She serves on the VVMA board of directors.

Mentor of the Year

Dr. Thomas Cecere (Virginia-Maryland ‘05), Blacksburg. Dr. Cecere serves as an associate professor of anatomic pathology at Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine. He is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists.

Virginia Academy of Food Animal Practitioners Lifetime Achievement Award

Dr. Susan C. Gardner (Oklahoma State ‘70), won this award posthumously (see obituary, May 15, 2020, JAVMA, page 1093). Dr. Gardner served as director of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ regional diagnostic laboratory in Lynchburg until retirement. Earlier in her career, she co-owned Bedford Animal Hospital in Bedford. Dr. Gardner was a past director of the VVMA.


Drs. Jay Margolis, Chantilly, president; Terry Swecker, Blacksburg, president-elect; Martin Betts, Charlottesville, vice president; Brian Neumann, Alexandria, secretary-treasurer; and Kelly Gottschalk, Richmond, immediate past president



Dr. Amsden (Colorado State ‘57), 100, Sunnyside, Washington, died Oct. 11, 2019. He served as a federal meat inspector prior to retirement. Early in his career, Dr. Amsden owned a practice in North Dakota. A veteran of the Army, he was a member of the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars. Dr. Amsden is survived by his sister.


Dr. Beck (Cornell ‘59), 89, Reston, Virginia, died Jan. 16, 2020. He owned County Animal Hospital, a small animal practice in New City, New York, prior to retirement in 1998. Following graduation, Dr. Beck joined the veterinary faculty of Cornell University. During that time, he served as president of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Tomkins County in Ithaca, New York. Dr. Beck subsequently practiced large animal medicine in Watertown, New York, for several years. After earning his master's in veterinary cardiology from the University of Pennsylvania, he practiced on Long Island, New York, for a year, before moving to New City.

Dr. Beck was a past president of the Westchester/Rockland VMA. He was active with the Boy Scouts of America and was a member of the Rotary Club. Dr. Beck served in the Air Force during the Korean War, attaining the rank of first lieutenant. He is survived by his wife, Patricia; two sons and a daughter; seven grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. Memorials may be made to Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, Box 39, 930 Campus Road, Ithaca, NY 14853.


Dr. Fritzen (Purdue ‘01), 45, Morton Grove, Illinois, died Dec. 11, 2019. She was a small animal veterinarian. Dr. Fritzen is survived by her husband, Joe, and two children. Memorials may be made to PAWS Chicago, 1997 N. Clybourn Ave., Chicago, IL 60614, pawschicago.org, or American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, P.O. Box 96929, Washington, DC 20090, aspca.org.


Dr. Glick (Cornell ‘49), 92, Boynton Beach, Florida, died Jan. 19, 2020. Following graduation, he served as a captain in the Army Veterinary Corps during the Korean War. In 1953, Dr. Glick established a mixed animal practice in Ferndale, New York, serving New York's Sullivan, Ulster, and Orange counties for several years. He later worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets.

Dr. Glick was active with the Liberty Rotary Club. His wife, Grete; a son and three daughters; nine grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; and a sister survive him. Memorials may be made to Trustbridge Hospice, 5300 East Ave., West Palm Beach, FL 33407, trustbridge.com, or American Heart Association, 10 Glenlake Parkway, NE South Tower, Suite 400, Atlanta, GA 30328, heart.org.


Dr. Holmes (Oklahoma State ‘54), 89, Wichita, Kansas, died Jan. 13, 2020. A diplomate of the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine, he was chief veterinary medical officer for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington, D.C., from 1986 until retirement in 1993. Following graduation, Dr. Holmes moved to Norman, Oklahoma, where he was in mixed animal practice until joining the Army as a first lieutenant. Whilst in the Army, he served as chief of the experimental animal laboratory at the former Letterman Army Medical Center, where he helped establish the surgical research unit.

From 1962-65, Dr. Holmes worked as a laboratory animal veterinarian at the Civil Aeromedical Research Institute in Oklahoma City. During that time, he earned his master's in veterinary pathology from Oklahoma State University. Dr. Holmes went on to serve as laboratory animal veterinarian at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center and Oklahoma City Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and he consulted with the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation. From 1979-86, he directed laboratory animal resources and was a professor of veterinary pathology at the Oklahoma State University College of Veterinary Medicine, also serving as attending veterinarian.

Dr. Holmes was a member of the Oklahoma VMA, American Association for Laboratory Animal Science, Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine, and Oklahoma State University Emeriti Association. He helped establish and served as president of what was known as the Association of Veterans Administration Veterinary Medical Officers. Dr. Holmes authored the reference book “Clinical Laboratory Animal Medicine: An Introduction.” In 2016, the Oklahoma State University College of Veterinary Medicine named him an Outstanding Alumnus.

Dr. Holmes is survived by a son, daughter, and five grandchildren.


Dr. Keith (Iowa State ‘59), 89, Monroe, Wisconsin, died Feb. 12, 2020. A past president of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners, he practiced for 35 years at Monroe Veterinary Service, where he served as a partner and president. Dr. Keith also served as veterinarian for the city of Monroe for several years.

Active in organized veterinary medicine, he was a member of the AVMA Council on Veterinary Service and the Ethics Committee of the World Dairy Expo, and he was a past AABP delegate to the AVMA House of Delegates. Dr. Keith was a member of the Wisconsin VMA and Rock Valley VMA. In 1983, he was named Wisconsin VMA Veterinarian of the Year. In 1989, he was honored as AABP Bovine Practitioner of the Year. Dr. Keith received Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine's Stange Award for Meritorious Service in Veterinary Medicine in 1992.

Dr. Keith was a veteran of the Air Force. He was a member of the Lions Club and active with the Boy Scouts of America and Girl Scouts of the USA. He is survived by his wife, Careen; two sons and two daughters; eight grandchildren; and three greatgrandchildren.


Dr. Martens (Minnesota ‘56), 87, Park Rapids, Minnesota, died Oct. 9, 2019. A mixed animal veterinarian, he owned practices in Minnesota at Nicollet, New Ulm, and Mankato. Dr. Martens was a past president of the Minnesota VMA and was named MVMA Veterinarian of the Year in 1981.

Active in his community, he was a past mayor of Nicollet and a past president of the Nicollet School Board and Nicollet Lions Club. Four sons, eight grandchildren, five greatgrandchildren, three brothers, and three sisters survive him. Memorials may be made to Minnesota Veterinary Medical Foundation, 101 Bridgepoint Way, Suite 100, South St. Paul, MN 55075, or Hosanna Campus Ministry Fund, Hosanna Lutheran Church, 105 Hosanna Drive, Mankato, MN 56001.


Dr. Pensenstadler (Pennsylvania ‘65), 79, Ambridge, Pennsylvania, died Jan. 13, 2020. A small animal veterinarian, he owned Ambridge Area Veterinary Clinic. Dr. Pensenstadler served in the Army during the Vietnam War. He is survived by a son, a daughter, a grandchild, a brother, and two sisters. Dr. Pensenstadler's son, Dr. Mike Pensenstadler (Pennsylvania ‘94), is a small animal veterinarian in Finleyville, Pennsylvania.


Dr. Riggs (Ohio State ‘44), 99, Mount Gilead, Ohio, died Jan. 11, 2020. He practiced mixed animal medicine in Mount Gilead for 40 years. Dr. Riggs also owned and raced Standardbred trotting horses. He was a former member of the United States Trotting Association and Ohio Harness Horsemen's Association.

Dr. Riggs served in the Army Reserve. He is survived by a son, a daughter, two grandchildren, two greatgrandchildren, and a sister. Memorials may be made to Humane Society of Morrow County, 16 S. Main St., Mount Gilead, OH 43338.


Dr. Rupp (Colorado ‘64), 79, Oak, Nebraska, died Jan. 31, 2020. From 1988 until retirement as professor emeritus in 2010, he was director of the Great Plains Educational Center in Clay Center, Nebraska. Following graduation and after completing a residency at the University of California-Davis, Dr. Rupp practiced large animal medicine in Meeker, Colorado. In 1973, he began teaching at Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. During his tenure, Dr. Rupp earned a master's in food animal medicine in 1975, was a member of the team that created the Kimberling-Rupp spay instrument and technique, and led initial efforts to establish the John E. Rouse-Colorado State University Beef Improvement Center near Saratoga, Wyoming. From 198388, he taught at Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences.

Dr. Rupp was a diplomate of the American College of Theriogenologists. In 2005, the American Association of Bovine Practitioners honored him with the Excellence in Preventive Medicine Beef Award. Dr. Rupp was the recipient of the 2014 Colorado VMA Achievement of 50 Years in Veterinary Medicine Award. In 2015, he was inducted into the AABP Cattle Production Veterinarian Hall of Fame. Dr. Rupp is survived by his life partner, Ronda Jaeger; two sons; six grandchildren; 15 great-grandchildren; two sisters and a brother. Memorials may be made to Dr. Gary P. Rupp Beef Cattle Production Management Scholarship Fund, University of Nebraska Foundation, 1010 Lincoln Mall, Lincoln, NE 68508.


Dr. Skillen (Pennsylvania ‘54), 91, Gorman, California, died Oct. 9, 2019. A small animal veterinarian, he owned Raymond Avenue Veterinary Hospital in Pasadena, California. Dr. Skillen was a life member and a past president of the Southern California VMA. He is survived by his wife, Priscilla, and his family.


Dr. Wade (Ohio State ‘44), 98, Defiance, Ohio, died Oct. 4, 2019.

A mixed animal veterinarian with a special interest in equine reproduction and nutrition, he founded Central Kentucky Stallion Station, a Thoroughbred operation in Hardinsburg, where he worked until retirement. Earlier in his career, Dr. Wade practiced in Lancaster, Ohio; served as cattle operations manger for a ranch in Hamilton, Missouri; raised hogs and bred performance Quarter Horses in Ohio; bred Charolais cattle and Quarter Horses in Virginia; and managed a cattle operation in Florida.

He was a member of the American Quarter Horse Association, Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, Jockey Club, Kentucky VMA, and The Ohio State University Alumni Association. Dr. Wade served as a captain in the Army Veterinary Corps during the Korean War. His son, two daughters, two grandchildren, and a great-grandchild survive him. Dr. Wade's nephew, Dr. Donald Van Vlerah (Ohio State ‘66), is a veterinarian in Defiance. Memorials may be made to Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church, 301 Carter Road, Defiance, OH 43512.


Dr. Welcome (Michigan State ‘71), 71, Ithaca, New York, died Jan. 9, 2020. A diplomate of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners and American College of Theriogenologists, he was senior extension veterinarian for Cornell University Animal Health Diagnostic Center's Quality Milk Production Services Program from 2000 until retirement in 2018. Earlier in his career, Dr. Welcome was a partner at Cherry Valley Veterinary Associates in Springfield Center, New York, where he practiced primarily large animal medicine.

Active in organized veterinary medicine, he twice served as president of the Catskill Mountain VMA and was a member of the New York State Veterinary Medical Society, American Association of Bovine Practitioners, and National Mastitis Council. Dr. Welcome received the Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine's Birth of a Purebred Food Animal Practitioner Award in 1993. In 1994, he was honored with a NYSVMS Merit Award.

Dr. Welcome's wife, Maxine; three sons; two grandchildren; and six siblings survive him. One son, Dr. Jeremy Welcome (Tufts ‘03), is a veterinarian in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Memorials, notated to the Francis Welcome Future Dairy Practitioner Scholarship Fund, may be sent to the AABP Foundation, 1130 E. Main St., Suite 302, Ashland, OH 44805, aabp.org/foundation/donate.asp.


Dr. Wolff (Ross ‘03), 44, Fairfax, Virginia, died Jan. 5, 2020. He practiced small animal medicine at Vienna Animal Hospital in Vienna, Virginia. Earlier, Dr. Wolff worked at Critter Croft Pet Clinic in Milan, Ohio. His wife, Katherine; a daughter; his parents; and a brother survive him. Memorials, toward an educational fund for Dr. Wolff's daughter, may be made via gofundme.com/f/support-the-wolff-family, or memorials may be made to Lost Dog & Cat Rescue Foundation, 6801 Wilson Blvd., Falls Church, VA 22044.

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.

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